Friday, August 30, 2013

Allen line: Richard Falley, Jr. One of our good guys!

I hope I can convey to you why I have so much respect for this man. Undoubtedly he was not perfect, but from what we can see, he was a hard-working soldier and businessman who led a somewhat adventurous life.

Richard was born on January 31, 1740 at the Lower Settlement on St Georges River in what is now Knox County, Maine.  His parents were Richard Falle and Anna Lamb. Richard Sr according to family tradition was kidnapped from the Isle of Guernsey and sent to the colonies to be sold as an indentured servant.  (Guernsey has a history of belonging to France more than it belonged to England, so the name there would have been Faille, and there were a lot of Failles on the island. As far as I know, no one has yet figured out which was ours).  Richard Sr spent most or all of his indenture period clearing out stumps for his master. He married Anna Lamb, who was an orphan from The Coombs, Dublin, Ireland probably about 1739.  Richard, our good guy ancestor, was their first child, but he had at least 8 brothers and sisters.

The first we learn about Richard after his birth is his service in the French and Indian War. He was just 16 years of old, but that was considered of military age in that time, and his country, or colony, needed him.  Details of when he reported for service are sketchy, but it is known that he was one of the militia who left Ft William Henry alive, after the surrender to the French in Agusut of 1757.  He didn't reach Ft Edward, the immediate destination of the defeated British, but was instead captured by Indians who were "out of control". Eventually he was taken to Quebec, and the story is that a kind woman there "bought" him from the Indians for 16 gallons of rum.  He was eventually released, whether by the kind woman or whether in the general release of prisoners from Quebec at the end of September, and made his way home to what must have been a very relieved family.

"Home" by this time was Westfield, Massachusetts, where Richard started a manufacturing business of sorts.  He seems to have studied gunsmithing and perhaps he was already making guns when the Revolutionary War broke out.  The first order of business for Richard was to join the patriot cause and that meant the militia.  He is variously listed as a second lieutenant, ensign, and first lieutenant beginning shortly after the battles of Lexington and Concord.  His name is on an officer's list as early as May 27, 1775.  He was at the Battle of Bunker (Breed's) Hill in June of 1775 and withdrew to Cambridge with the American forces. With him was his son Frederick, age 14, a drummer for the Revolutionary forces.

Richard was granted beating orders on April 11, 1776, which essentially meant he was a recruiter, responsible for enlisting men to serve in a regiment to be raised to fortify the town and harbor of Boston, which was still under siege by the British. He was also present for the surrender of Borgoyne in 1777, which means he was involved in the expedition to Saratoga. This man must have walked a lot of miles!

About this time the shortage of guns for the American soldiers became a real problem, and Richard returned to his home in Westfield to enlarge the manufacturing and gunsmith work he had been doing.  He built a factory or gunsmith shop at the foot of Mt Tekoa, near Westfield, and his workmen lived in Westfield.  The guns he produced were regarded as being of top quality, and doubtless made a difference in the outcome of later battles in the Revolutionary War.

Richard Falley married Margaret Hitchcock, daughter of Samuel Hitchcock and Ruth Stebbins, in 1762, and they had 10 children. (Our line runs through Samuel, who was born October 9, 1780, and I will likely write about him in a future post.)   One of their descendents was Grover Cleveland, so we are some sort of cousin to the former president of the United States. Richard died in Westfield, Massachusetts on September 3, 1808. He was just 68 years old and one wonders if the hardships of war had anything to do with his relatively brief lifespan. 

It would truly be a genealogy happy dance day, if I could learn who Richard's grandparents were, but for now, he is one of my most admired ancestors and I'm proud to call him my fourth great grandfather.  The line goes: Richard, (Edith, Tessie, Vernon, Corinne) Allen, Edith Clarissa Knott, Harriet Clarissa Starr, Clarissa Falley, Samuel Falley, Richard Falley Jr.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beeks: Folsom brick wall

On many Tuesdays, I'll be writing about brick walls.  There are a lot of them in our tree, and I've been told that some may stay brick walls forever.  I would at least like to "find" ancestors who were born in America after 1750.  It doesn't seem like that should be so very difficult. The gentleman I'm writing about today was born sometime around the year 1795, because when he married on July 24, 1815 (date of license)  his father (unnamed) gave permission.

The marriage record of Jeremiah Fulsom and Sally Lock is the first solid evidence we have of his existence.  This was in Switzerland County, Indiana. Sarah was the daughter of William Lock or Locke and Elizabeth Teague. William's family originally were Slots and their trail went from Shelby County, Kentucky to Mercer County, Kentucky to Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Amsterdam, Holland, and even to Protestant France at a time that being Protestant in France was not politically acceptable, nor even safe.  That family history is fascinating and I'll write more about it another time.

There is, however, no indication of where the Folsoms came from.  Most Folsoms in America trace back to the New Hampshire and Massachusetts Folsoms, and there are plenty of Jeremiah's there to study. So far, none that I have found seem to indicate a close connection to "our" Jeremiah.  If he was a New England Folsom, it is possible that he came overland to western Pennsylvania or Virginia and then came down the Ohio River, possibly landing at Marietta, where there were some Folsoms in the early 1800s. Folsom names don't start showing up on Indiana land records until about 1819, although of course they could have lived there without owning land prior to that time. 

Jeremiah "and family" were settled in Manchester Township, Dearborn County, Indiana by 1820. He and Sally are each listed as being between the ages of 16-25, and there was one male under the age of 10, presumably their son .  Since they had been married almost 5 years by then, having only one child makes one wonder if there were other pregnancies that ended prematurely, or if one or more children died very young.

Jeremiah himself died young, because in 1835 and later there were court records with the minor children choosing Austin Clark (who was married to Sally's sister Leah) as their guardian. The children listed as minor heirs of Jeremiah Folsom were Rachel Corn, Ella Baxter Folsom, Hannah Folsom, Jane Folsom, Leah Folsom, Mary Ann Folsom, and Richard Folsom.  Austin bought land for himself as well as the Folsom heirs in Decatur County, Indiana. The land purchase may have been in process in 1835, and Jeremiah may have died before it was completed.

There were at least two other Folsom men in the same general area (Switzerland, Dearborn, Ripley Counties, Indiana). One was Richard, and one was James. I suspect that these men are brothers or cousins, although it is possible one was the father of one or both.  James shows up on a petition signed in 1813, which means he would have been at least 21 by then.  Richard was married in the 1820 census, and was listed as 26-45 years old, with 4 males in the household under the age of 16, and one female 16-26.  A Richard married Elizabeth Overturf in 1823, and children by his first wife are noted to have been named Jeremiah and James.

I can trace most of the orphaned Folsom children forward, and three of them married Aldridges, including Leah who married Darlington D Aldridge. They were my husband's great great grandparents.   

I'd dearly love to know who Jeremiah was, and who his parents were. Did his father come directly from New England, or did he come from the Folsoms who had gone south, to Georgia and Mississippi, and married Indian women?  Who was his mother?  I'd love to hear from anyone who has any thoughts or knowledge, or suggestions about where I could look for clues.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Beeks: Connection to President Barack Obama

Most people in the Beeks and Aldridge families know there is a connection to the President, Barack Obama, but they aren't sure where the connection is.  I'll try to lay it out here. The common ancestors are

                                                  Jacob Dunham and Catherine Goodnight

Our line goes:                                                            The President's line goes: 

Samuel Dunham and Eliza Reese                               Jacob Mackey Dunham and Louise Stroup
Margaret C Dunham and Homer H Aldridge             Jacob William Dunham and Mary Ann Kearney
Gretta Cleo Aldridge and Wilbur Beeks                    Ralph W.E. Dunham and Lucile Armour
Beeks children                                                          Stanley Armour Dunham and Madelyn Payne
Beeks grandchildren                                                 Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr
Beeks great grandchildren                                         President Barack Obama

Of course, there are Aldridge descendents who fit into this family, too.  All the children of Homer Aldridge and Margaret Aldridge would fit on the next line down, etc. 

I'll never forget the day I learned that a relative of my husband and children was a senator from Illinois and aspired to be the President of our country. Regardless of huge differences in our political beliefs, it was just absolutely awesome to realize what surprises there were to be found in genealogy and family history.  Some of the surprises have been wonderful, some interesting, and there are a couple of ancestors I sort of wish I'd never found. However, the day I made the connection between Jacob Dunham and Barack Obama was a happy genealogy dance day! 

I will write of Jacob Dunham and Catherine Goodnight another time, but this is a sort of by popular demand post (one person asked for it, so that counts!). 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Finding the good stuff

Finding "good stuff" is fun, and the "good stuff" is probably not on line.  There is some "good stuff" to be found in libraries, of course, but mostly library (and internet) finds are what point us to the "good stuff".  I am very much a novice at looking in courthouses and historical societies, but the few times I have tried this I have been fortunate enough to find what are to me priceless insights into the lives of our ancestors. 

For instance, when I finally went to the Whitley County, Indiana Historical Society, I was thrilled. The research area is very small, but there was a good selection of books and materials, and the volunteer on duty that day was very helpful.  She found a newspaper clipping about a small accident that William Withers, my husband's great grandfather, had in 1933, which told us much about the way he lived. I also was able to find and prove a generation back to what would be his third great grandfather and grand mother, on another line, Henry Cook and Catherine Whetstone.  There are more treasures there to be found, I'm sure, and I plan to go back for more work one day. 

The leads I found there were enough to send me to "The Vault", which was another wonderful experience. This is a Whitley County office, where wills and marriage licenses and court proceedings are kept.  There were wonderful treasures there from my husband's family.  We found wills and marriage licenses galore, but the real surprise was a divorce filing for my husband's great grandfather, Emmanuel Harshbarger.  It was fascinating, and I'll be writing more about that another time. (As far as we know now, the divorce was never finalized, but there is more searching to do to get to the bottom of this story, which was never mentioned in the family.) 

Another find was at the Indiana Archives, where we learned that my husband's ancestor, Jackson Wise, who was in the state penitentiary in 1850, was pardoned in 1854. According to the archivist, there are no records to show why the governor pardoned him, so we hope there are some answers at the county level, and will be looking for court records there to help explain the rest of the story.  

I've had similar experiences in other facilities, particularly Harrodsburg, Kentucky, although I only knew about my ancestors (Allen, Dunn, Campbell) when we visited there. As it turns out, there were several lines on my husband's side to be explored there, too, so we may someday go back. 

We hope to take a short road trip to another research site sometime in the early fall, and I can't wait to find out  what we learn.  Internet finds are great, and we can learn  much sitting in our chairs at home, but  sometimes we lose sight of where the real goodies are to be found. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Holbrook line: Reverend Isaac Hetrick

For my first "real" post, I'm highlighting Isaac Hetrick.  The Holbrook children (Ray, Howard, Lois, Gladys) were his descendents through their mother, Etta Alice Stanard, and her mother, Mary Alice Hetrick Stanard, who was the daughter of Isaac Hetrick and Elizabeth Black. 

Information about ancestor Isaac is more plentiful than for many of our ancestors, yet there are great gaps in his record which means there is still more research to do. On the theory that sharing what I've learned may lead to someone sharing with me what they've learned, and also on the theory that something is better than nothing, here is what I know as of today. 

Isaac Hetrick was born in Baltimore County, Maryland on June 15, 1810.   He was the son of Abraham Hedrick who was from York County, Pa, and Sarah Lemmon, who was from Maryland.  In 1814, as the War of 1812 was winding down, the family moved to Morrow County, Ohio, and is reported as being one of the first two families of "easterners" there.  The Hetrick family were farmers, and were apparently well respected in the community as both Abraham and Isaac served as justices of the peace. 

Isaac first married Sarah Zeigler, and they apparently had three sons. Michael, Jacob, and Simeon are listed in the 1850 census, aged 19, 17, and 15, respectively.  Michael died in the Danville, Va Confederate prisoner of war camp in the Civil War.  Sarah died sometime prior to March 12, 1840, when Isaac married Elizabeth Black, daughter of Peter Black and Martha Amos.  The marriage took place in Richland County, Ohio, where the Blacks lived. 

Isaac and Elizabeth had at least eight children: Davis, Sarah E, Owen, Mary Alice, Oliver P, Naomi Ellen, Martha Ann, and Frank.  There is a large age gap between Davis and Sarah, (6 years) so the possibility of additional children who died young can't be ruled out.  Elizabeth died December 1, 1862 in Mansfield, Ohio, and Isaac married Elizabeth Rowland August 3, 1863 (may be date of application),  He is listed as being a merchant of dry goods in the 1860 census.

Isaac Hetrick was a two term representative for Morrow County in the Ohio state legislature, and served at the same time as James Garfield, later President of the United States.  The Hetrick family had helped found a Baptist church in the area, and about 1866 Isaac became convicted that God was calling him to go to Kansas and establish Baptist churches there. 

He and Elizabeth and the children moved to Kansas in 1867 (Isaac would have been 57 by then) and lived primarily in Franklin County.  He organized and established six churches, and built four houses of worship.  One of those churches was the Appanoose Baptist Church, which was one of the four churches that Isaac actually helped build.  Quoting from the Franklin County Historical Society's "Headlight" of April 2003, "Although he was a weary, hardworking, baldheaded man by the week, he became on the Sabbath a handsome, bewigged gentleman filled with God's message of courage and faithfulness".  There is a picture of Isaac Hetrick from about this time period, on the Franklin County Historical Society website.  Go to, and type Isaac Hetrick in the search box. You'll pull up a history of the Appanoose Baptist church, including pictures of the slightly modified original building, and a pictures of our hardworking, baldheaded ancestor. 

Isaac died August 15, 1891 in Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas, and is buried in Greenwood cemetery there. He was apparently preaching until very near the end of his life.  He left a will which I have not yet seen.  We can truly admire and honor this man's legacy to his family and his community, of service, faith, and obedience to God's call. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why I dance, genealogically speaking

Happy genealogy dance...what does that mean?  To me, it means almost any new discovery about our ancestors, or something new I've learned that helps me understand what I found.  Specifically, I do a happy genealogy dance when I:

  • Go to a repository, especially a courthouse, and find new records 
  • Am able to extend an ancestor's history back another generation, or 10, or 20
  • Connect with a cousin who has information or pictures that I don't have, and they're willing to share
  • Am able to help someone with one of their genealogy puzzles, or get someone started for the first time
  • And of course, when I actually find information that I've been looking for, sometimes for years.

Some examples of happy genealogy dance days, which I'm sure I'll be writing more about:

  • The day I figured out that Barack Obama, then a US Senator just starting his run for the presidency, was a distant cousin of my husband's

  • The day I finally found marriage records for Archibald Allen, which proved his wife's name, told me where they were married, and led to his father's will which led to his father's will and the names and ancestors of their wives.  Even more exciting was actually going to Harrodsburg, Ky and finding wills of two of my great great great grandfathers, researching in a building that was there when my ancestors were there, and actually holding in my hand a document signed by my third great grandmother and my second great grandfather.  

  • Several days when distant cousins, or people who were researching distant cousins, contacted me and gave me information that led to days and weeks of exciting discoveries.  I've received pictures, copies of wills, names and dates, and other information that I would never have found without their help.  I don't have permission to publish their names, but I hope they someday read this blog and realize that I am talking about them.  

  • Coming across ancestors who are actually famous such as Roger Williams, Myles Standish, William Brewster (I grew up knowing about him, actually).

  • Learning bits and pieces of the lives of ancestors who were not famous. They often served in wars, or did the work that kept the country growing (or fed), and finding even a little bit about them is priceless.

  • Looking at a page in my tree and realizing it said some of these people were born in castles, which eventually led to more lines to the Plantagenets, Tudors, Stewarts, Capets, and other royal lines than I can count. I don't feel special because I know most of the English speaking world descends from these same lines, but it's much more exciting to read history and realize that that's my "grandpa" or "grandma" they're talking about. 
In the weeks to come, I'll be writing more about happy genealogy dance days.  If you care to join me for some of these dances, I'd be honored!  

Friday, August 9, 2013

My first post

I'm writing this blog for anyone who will read it. I'm writing it for myself. But most of all, I'm writing it to honor the people of our past, plain and simple, or royal and regal, or somewhere in between. 

My plan is to post primarily on Tuesdays and Fridays.  Tuesdays will be a miscellaneous kind of day. Maybe I'll mention a book I'm reading, or a new genealogy find, or the results of a trip to a courthouse or library.  I'll also post my "missing" ancestors here, in the hope that someone will recognize them and be able to offer additional information or help. 

Fridays I'll write about a specific person or family. I will try to label these so you will know whether this is someone in the Harshbarger, Beeks, Allen, or Holbrook family, and will then know whether you want to read further, or not. 

 A word of warning:  I am writing for family, not for the world of scholars and genealogists. I may mention sources in passing, but it will not be in the format desired by the genealogy world. I can spend weeks or months trying to master those rules, or I can write and share what I have. I'll be writing and sharing!