Friday, November 29, 2013

Allen and Holbrook lines: Our Pilgrims

When I was about 11 or 12 years old, my father received as a Christmas gift from his sister, a genealogy of the Starr family.  Dad thought I should read it (really?), since I had an interest in history, and while doing so, I found that there was a marriage in the Starr family that took us back to Elder William Brewster and his wife, Mary.  Yes, that good man and his wife Mary are our ancestors!
I have been interested in the Pilgrims/Puritans/separatists ever since, and when my interest in family history ignited in 2006, that was the first family line that I added to my tree. 

However, I always thought it would be nice if I could find some Pilgrim ancestors for Mom, too. The odds seemed at least somewhat favorable, since there were many of her lines that were in early New England.  I'll never forget the day I found Mom's Pilgrims. I was working on the Foster family, which was a true joy in itself because I'd finally found Elizabeth Whittemore's parents, after searching for years. Her maternal grandfather was a Foster. I was at work (before work hours, naturally), and came across the name Hannah Standish, who had married Nathan Foster. They were born in the early 1700's, and the thought crossed my mind "How many Standish families can there be?"  Sure enough, as I traced her line back, not only did she descend from Myles Standish, she also descended from Edward Doty!  Oh, that was a happy genealogy dance day! 

Here's a very brief summary of each man. 

William Brewster was apparently a man of some means, and was thought highly of by his fellow Separatists. He was an Elder in the church and served as their pastor once the Mayflower group reached Massachusetts, until a pastor arrived to lead them. He taught and preached, but refused to serve communion since he was not ordained.  Everything I have read about him points to his being a really good man.  His wife was Mary, last name not certain.  I have listed her as Mary Wentworth on my tree because the evidence seems to point that direction, but I haven't carried her line back further because I don't consider it "proof" enough to continue. 

Myles Standish may or may not have been a member of the Pilgrims in the religious sense, but he attended services with them and shared his life with them.  He was a "Captain", and was apparently hired or otherwise enticed by the Pilgrims to come to "Virginia" with them (Virginia was their original destination) as their military leader.  He served admirably in that capacity, and from what I have read, was a diplomat as far as relations with the native Americans went.  It is due in large part to what he did that the little colony survived.  We are descended through his second wife, Barbara, whose last name is also unknown. 

Both of these men were also commended for the "tender care" they gave the sick and starving Pilgrims during the first disastrous winter, when so many of them died.  I'm sure neither man had nursing in his background, but they did what needed to be done in a loving and caring manner.  Yes, they were heroes in my book.

The third Pilgrim, Edward Doty, didn't join the church until some years after the arrival of the Mayflower.  He was apparently a contentious man, frequently in court over some matter, usually as the defendant.  He came to the New World as an indentured servant of Stephen Hopkins, and the first mention that is made of him is of his involvement in a duel with the other indentured servant of Stephen Hopkins.  Maybe he did not achieve at the high level of Elder William Brewster or Captain Myles Standish, but he did survive the first winter, and many more, and he did accumulate considerable wealth.  He was married to Faith Clarke.

These are very brief summaries of the men and women we can claim as ancestors, written as a brief Thanksgiving Day tribute.  If you would like more information about how our lines descend, please contact me and I'll be happy to send the information. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beeks Line: Jackson Wise

Jackson seems to be a sore spot in the Beeks family.  I've been told by more than one person that the Beeks line came from horse thieves and that's why "they never amounted to anything."  First, I beg to differ: Many people in the Beeks line have amounted to something. They've been good people, hard workers, and have provided for their families. If their names won't be found in any history book 100 years from now, so what?  That is the case for most of us; we're just ordinary folks doing our best to make it through life. 

So on to Jackson Wise.  First, the bad news:  He was indeed convicted of burglary in Hancock County, Indiana back in 1847, along with his brother in law, McLain Bodkin.  Jackson was sentenced to 12 years and McLain to 6 years.  I don't know whether Jackson was considered to be the leader in the crime, or whether the judge had compassion for McLean. He lived only a few months in prison, so perhaps he was already ill when he was sentenced.  This was a very short trial and under today's court rules, perhaps the defense attorney could be called incompetent.  However, this was 1847 and if someone thought they could identify the perpetrators of the crime, that may have been the deciding point. At any rate, there are no records of the trial, and the end result was that both men went to Jeffersonville State Prison.

There are two good things that resulted from this conviction. First, Jackson was pardoned in 1854 as is reported in the "Governor's Message Delivered to the General Assembly of the State of Indiana on January 4, 1855."  The language is that he was "Pardoned on the application of the individual upon whom the crime was committed and who were the witnesses for the State, eleven of the jury who tried the cause, the present prosecuting attorney, the clerk treasurer, sheriff, recorder, the Associate judge at the time of the conviction, the Attorney who prosecuted the case for the State, one hundred citizens of Wabash County, where the defendant's family reside, and the principal citizens of the county of Hancock, who were familiar with the transaction, and reside in the area where it occurred-with the statement of the officers of the prison that he has been a faithful and obedient man for the seven years and (f)our months that he has been imprisoned, and that his health is declining."

This seems to me to be a well-orchestrated project. One wonders what had happened that so many people could be found to ask for his release, when no one appears to have step forward at the time of the trial.  Was is a simple case of "let bygones be bygones", or had new evidence come to light that perhaps made the jurors and others involved in the trial have second thoughts?  This is apparently something that we can never know, as further records seem to have been destroyed.

The second good thing that happened, for those of us who care, is that we have a physical description of Jackson Wise, based on his physical when he entered Jeffersonville.  He was a laborer, 30 years old, 5' 10 1/4" tall, dark complexion, blue eyes, and dark hair.  In addition, the back of his head was covered with scars, and the finger next to the little finger on right hand was scared, with the first joint stiff. He also had a "scar in the right groin, just below---".  It is also noted that he was born in Ohio.  There is no entry for the column "former character", so apparently there had been no earlier charges against him. 

There is still a lot I don't understand about Jackson. He married Charity Botkins on March 18, 1836, in Shelby County, Ohio.  Prior to that, it's a mystery. Census records show that both of his parents (unknown at this time) were born in Virginia, but that he was born in Ohio.  According to Find A Grave, his birth date was December 27, 1817 and he died March 4 1893.  His monument at Center Grove Cemetery near Lincolnville in Wabash County, Indiana is fairly substantial, so either he or someone in his family must have had a little bit of money.   Jackson was a laborer when he was convicted, and a retired farmer by the 1880 census, so the comment in 1854 that he was in declining health was probably correct.  He would have been only 62 at the time of the census, which was very young to be "retired". 

Jackson and Charity had three children listed in the 1860 census: Mary, born about 1846, Abel, born about 1851, and Rachel, born about 1857.  I am not sure how Abel came to be, since Jackson was in prison in 1851, but perhaps conjugal visits were allowed.   Sarah had been born earlier and apparently had already left home.  There were probably other children, too, as the 1840 census in Shelby County lists two females under the age of two, but I don't know who they are.  It's possible other children were born in the 1840-1846 time period also.

Besides filling in the gaps in his life, I'd also like to know who his parents were.  My only clue is that he named his (possibly) only son Abel.  There is an Abel Wise in Virginia who married Ann Fitchett in 1776, and it is possible that he is some relation to Jackson.  I need to do more research there. 

If anyone has additional information that could help, I'd love to hear it.

Here's the line of descent:

Jackson Wise-Charity Botkin
Mary Wise-William Beeks
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise  (a different line, as far as I know now)
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
children-grandchildren etc of Wilbur and Cleo

Friday, November 22, 2013

Holbrook line: Obadiah Holmes, another hero, or not?

Obadiah Holmes was born about 1607 near Reddish, England, to Robert and Catherine Johnson Holmes. He was one of eight or nine children, and he grew up as a farm boy.  He became a glassmaker and a weaver.  He confessed "his evil ways" to his mother on her death bed, and somehow felt responsible for her death. This led to a greater spirituality on his part.  He married Catherine Hyde in Manchester's Collegiate College Church on November, 16, 1630.

It's not clear whether his parents were Puritans, but Obadiah did join the Puritan movement and he and his family came to New England in 1638, It is noted that their voyage was extremely stormy, and took 6 weeks for them to reach Boston.  The family soon settled in Salem, Massachusetts.  Here he plied his trade as glassmaker, making common window glass.  Obadiah was not happy with the rigidity of the established church there, and had moved to Rehoboth by 1645.  He was made a freeman there.

As so many times happens, Obadiah soon discovered that moving to another town did not mean moving away from the central problem, in this case, doctrinal differences.  Obadiah apparently participated in and perhaps founded a house church movement, which met after the regular Sunday services and was considered schismatic.  He was hauled up before church authorities, and ordered to cease and desist his religious activities with the house church. Not content with that, his Puritan pastor charged him with perjury, and Obadiah in turn filed slander charges. Obviously he would need to move on, despite having many friends in Rehoboth. 

He had basically been "forced out" to Newport, Rhode Island, where religious freedom was practiced.  In 1651, he, Pastor John Clarke, and John Crandall, all Baptists, traveled to Lynn, Massachusetts to bring comfort and communion to an aged parishioner who had been ministered to by Holmes.  They were there by invitation, but they were apprehended by two constables who arrested them on the authority of the magistrates, and detained them at a local tavern. The three were more or less forced to attend Sunday night church services, where they indicated their disrespect for the situation by putting their hats back on after having removed them. (This was considered rude in Puritan society.) 

The next day the three men were sent to Boston where the trial was fixed and all three men were found guilty "without producing either accuser, witness, jury, law of God or man."  In addition, Holmes was assaulted, struck, and cursed by Rev. John Wilson, while he was in the custody of an officer in the presence of the court, and within the protection of the law.  Can we say "kangaroo court?" 

The three men were fined, Obadiah the most heavily, and banished. Fine monies were raised among the Baptists for all three men, but Obadiah refused to accept the monies. Instead, he chose to accept the alternative punishment, which was to be well whipped. The day of the punishment was cold, but he was stripped to his waist, tied to a post, and whipped 30 strokes (double strokes, actually, which was basically within an inch of his life.  He stated after the whipping that "You have struck me as with roses", and was able to give a bit of a sermon.   

He healed at a supporter's house but had to basically escape from that when still recovering, because he was on the verge of being arrested again for not having left according to the terms of the banishment.  He travelled through the woods and was met 4 miles outside of town by his wife and 8 children.

I've found differing information as to when Obadiah actually became pastor of the Baptist church in Newport. It may have been 1652 or it may have been 1676, or perhaps he became some sort of associate in 1652. Also I've found differing opinions on whether Obadiah attended or graduated from Oxford University, although Obadiah did state that his parents were able to send three sons there.
Finally, we don't know for sure when Obadiah died, although his will was proved December 4, 1682. He was buried in his own field, in what is now the town of Middletown, and there a tomb was erected to him. 

The questions is: Was he a hero, or was he merely a stubborn man who brought out the worst in his associates?  There is quite a bit of controversy even yet surrounding this man, but the Baptist church  honors his memory.  I have no wish to stir up religious controversies, so I'll simply say that he lived by his beliefs and seems to have been a very good man.   I feel privileged to have him in our family tree. 

Here's our line of descent:

Obadiah Holmes-Katherine Hyde
Mary Holmes-John Brown
Sarah Brown-John Pray
Mary Pray-Richard Brown
Othniel Brown-Deborah Brown
Sarah Brown-Enos Eddy
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys/Lois/Howard/Ray Holbrook

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Harshbarger line: Happy dance, follow-up to William Withers post

Yes, I am definitely doing the genealogy happy dance today!  Following my post of a few weeks ago on Civil War veteran William Withers, I decided to make good on my promise to go to Whitley County to get the death record for William, in hopes of learning his parents. Unfortunately, the information is only as good as the informant, and in this case the only thing I could glean from the document was that his mother's name was
Mary.  That narrowed it down rather nicely, right?

Still, I had suspected that William's parents were Joseph and Mary Withers, who were shown in the 1850 census as being in Marion County, Iowa, and who were both born in Pennsylvania.  Joseph was a shoemaker then.  I didn't know where to go next, so I finally turned to the internet to try to trace down some of the brothers and sisters of William. Maybe there was additional information to be found there?  I knew that John Withers, the oldest male sibling, was in Whitley County, Indiana by 1860, because he was married there in 1857.  I eventually found that he was also married in 1886 in Huntington County, Indiana, to Maria Roberts. (His first wife was Linne Roberts, who was deceased, but I don't know how or if the two Roberts were related.)  In that 1886 marriage record, John's father was named as Joseph Withers and his mother as Mary Dearhart, in the index.  However, when  I looked at the actual entry, I thought Mary's name might actually have been Gearhart.

With that hunch, I was able to pull up, on, a death index for Sarah Jane Mills. Sarah Jane Withers was 16 in the 1850 census, and born in Pennsylvania.  She is listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, and her father was Joseph Withers and her mother was Mary Gearhart, on the death index.  Bingo and happy genealogy dance!  The only thing I can't explain is how she ended up in Newark, Licking County, Ohio.

I think something pretty drastic happened to the Joseph Withers family between 1850 and 1860.  In the 1860 census, John Withers in Whitley County. His sister Mary Ann is living in the home of Oliver Quick, in Jefferson Township, Whitley County. Eliza Eunice, who is only 12 years old, is living in the home of Jacob Keiser, Columbia City, Indiana.  I have not located marriage records for either of these young women, but I'm thinking they didn't marry in Whitley County. Where did they go? Why were they in Whitley County? Was big brother John looking out for them?  Where were the other children, including William?  Were either of the parents still alive?  A man matching Samuel Withers basic information is actually in Perry Township, Richland County, Ohio in 1860.  Is this our Samuel Withers, and how did he end up there?

While I pondered those questions, I of course could not stop wondering when and where Joseph and Mary had married.  On Ancestry, in the Pennsylvania Church and Town Records 1708-1935, I found the marriage record for Joseph Whithers and Mary Gerchark, on May 24, 1832, at what is now the Allison United Methodist Church in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.  By enlarging the actual image, I feel confident that the "Gerchark" is actually Gerhart, a very common name in that part of Pennsylvania.  It's a German name, though, so I'm a little surprised to find the wedding in the Methodist church records.  My working hypothesis is that these people are the parents of William and the other children, and this is their marriage record.  I believe it is this family that was in Morris Township, Knox County, Ohio in the 1840 census. 

Here are some other questions:  There was a Mary Gearhart next door to a William Withers in 1840 in Jackson, Pickaway County, Ohio.  Did this William Withers have any connection to our Joseph Withers?  He is of about the right age to be a brother to Joseph, perhaps.  Could this Mary Gearhart possibly be Mary Gerhart's mother?  If so, there was a marriage between Peter Gerhart and Polly Wallace in 1805 in the Presbyterian church records, in Carlisle, Cumberland County, Pa. Would "Polly" have been a nickname for Mary?

So, hurrah!  I think I've found Joseph and Mary in 1832. Who were their parents? Were Mary's parents Peter and Polly/Mary?  I'm not ready to make that argument yet, as there were a lot of other Gerhart's in the area. Peter is the only Gerhart of the right age in the 1840 Carlisle, Cumberland, Pa census, but he may have been an uncle or cousin or no relation at all. And as for the Withers/Whithers, there is a George Withers in Dickinson Township, which is not far from Carlisle. As best I can tell, he was a fuller, so having a son who is a shoemaker is not such a far stretch.  That's not much to go on, though. I haven't located wills for either Peter or George, so at this point, they are mysteries.

However, a happy genealogy dance is in order, in honor of Joseph and Mary Gearhart Withers, parents of William and his brothers and sisters!  And I'll be even happier if this post generates more leads or information, or even clues.  

Here's the new line of descent:
Joseph Withers-Mary Gearhart
William Withers-Barbara Cook
William Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks

Friday, November 15, 2013

Harshbarger line: Peter Shollenberger

This is going to be a very brief sketch because as far as I can see, there is no good documentation for much of the information in this article.  It is taken from copies of copies of information from a book  or article by Marian E Shelenberger called "Shollenberger, Shelenberger, Frantz and Allied Families of Lehigh and Crawford Counties, PA and Stark Co."

Peter was the grandson of immigrants from Albig, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany. His grandparents, Johann Friederich and Anna Katharina Hoppach had arrived in Philadelphia on the ship "Loyal Judith" in 1742.  The timing of their arrival means they were likely coming for economic reasons rather than religious reasons.  It was 5 years until Frederick obtained a Land Warrant for 100 acres in what was to become Greenwich Twp, Berks County, Pa.  (This could indicate that he served for a time as an indentured servant, or it could simply mean it took that much time to save enough money to buy land.)

Frederick and Katharina's son Johann Lorenz would have been about 6 years old when the family made this trip. Johann Lorenz Schollenberger married Elizabeth Mertz on August 13, 1763.  They had at least 9 children, of whom Peter was was in the middle, being born December 26, 1771.  Just as his father may have been too young to remember much about his trip from Germany, Peter may have been young to remember the Revolution, at least the early years.  He may have been apprenticed or indentured as a young man, becuase his biography states that he was a pipe organ builder in Philadelphia, Pa, a fine cabinet maker, and then later a farmer.  One does not learn to build pipe organs or fine cabinets without some training. 

His biography states that he lived in Hamburg, Berks County, Pa until 1810 when he moved with his two sons to Plain Twp, Stark County, Ohio. This was early to be moving to Ohio, because of course he didn't know that the War of 1812 was about to be fought.  We don't know the maiden name of the woman he married, but she was Susanna and was born May 4, 1777.  His (and presumably her) daughter Catherine was born September 6, 1796, and John and Joseph were born in 1798 and 1801, respectively.  It is quite possible that there were other children, but no record of them has yet been found. 

Peter probably fought in some capacity in the War of 1812, simply because most of the men in Ohio did fight, either in the militia, as part of the US Army or Navy, or as sort of a home guard.  In any case, this would have been an uneasy time for Peter and Susannah.

Peter and Susannah were apparently good Christian people, because on June 7, 1817, Peter was among the signers of the Constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran and Germany Reformed Church of Plain Twp, Stark County, Oh. On June 17, 1826, Peter and Susanna sold land to the Lutheran and Presbyterian Churches for a building and burial ground.  He later sold his land and moved to Marlboro Township, where he died July 27, 1844. He is buried at the St Peter's Curch Cemetery in Marlboro Township. 

I haven't been able to locate Peter in any census, or in church records, or in any of the other "usual sources" so this story is to be continued, I hope.  In the meantime, it's fun to think that a Harshbarger ancestor built pipe organs! It's fun to wonder how they made the trek to Ohio and how long it took, and it's fun to wonder about a lot of other of the unknowns in Peter's life. 

Here is the line:

Peter Shollenberger and Susanna
Catherine Shollenberger and George Essig
Susannah Essig and Daniel Kemery
Adam Kemery and Nancy Buchtel
Della Kemery and William H Withers
Goldie Withers and Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger and Mary Margaret Beeks

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Allen line: A tribute to Richard Allen 1919-2006

Dad went to be with Jesus 7 years ago today. The following highly personal post is the tribute that I had hoped to give at his funeral. Unfortunately, a severe strep throat kept me from speaking that day.  I hope Dad's children and grandchildren will read this post, and perhaps spend a moment or two in quiet reflection, in honor of a good man.

"When the gates of heaven opened Sunday afternoon, and Dad walked through (for the first time in over two years, he walked!), I believe Jesus was there with His arms wide open, saying "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

When I think about his life, I think about all the ways he served during his time here on earth.  First and always, he served God and God's church.  From the time in 1945 that he received his call to ministry, he was God's willing servant.  He served in several small churches through the years, and was always obedient.  When God told him that his work in one town was done, he moved on to the next spot God had prepared for him.  When God prepared slightly larger churches as his next assignment, he served there, too, even though that was outside of his comfort zone. In every church, there were people he led to the Lord, people he counseled, and people he just encouraged with his pastoral calls.

Dad also served his country. He served in the European theater during World War II, arriving in France on something like D Day plus 44.  There, he faithfully did his job as a soldier and a radio operator. His hearing was damaged in an explosion that sent the jeep he was riding in through the air, but Dad resisted applying for veteran's benefits. His explanation was that the country didn't owe him anything,  but he owed his country more than he could every repay.  Dad was part of a generation of heroes.

In every community he ever lived in, Dad always got involved in community events. He was frequently a member of the Lions Club or the Kiwanis, or both. In one town, he served as chaplain for the fire department. In another, he was an on call chaplain for the military, and he was supposed to go to a missile silo in case of nuclear attack, to counsel and support the underground heroes who would have survived an initial attack from the enemy. This was during the Cuban missile crisis, and we lived on the west coast. The enemy we were all worried about was the USSR.  In most places that he lived, he was part of the American Red Cross in one way or another.  And he absolutely loved serving as a scorekeeper for some of the high schools in some of the towns we lived in.

Finally, Dad served his family.  As a young man, he was anxious to join the service and fight for his country overseas.  However, his father developed cancer, and Dad reluctantly accepted a deferment to stay behind and care for his father during his final illness.  Shortly after that, his mother had a serious heart attack, and once again, Dad put his plans for military service on hold while he nursed her back to health.  It was late 1942 before he was free to join the army.

Down through the years, he worked hard to provide for his growing family. Our family never had a lot of money, but Dad provided us with things much more valuable than money: values, faith, and an attitude of caring about other people.

Then, as he retired and thought his days of  family service were winding down, things happened. A daughter and her four children moved in for the better part of a year, and Dad enjoyed being a very active Grandpa to those four children. Another time, a grandson stayed with his grandparents for several months, and again, Dad was pleased about it. When his youngest daughter was killed and his son in law was in poor health for years, he was thrilled to be able to help with two more grandchildren.  Even when his health was failing and he and Mom ended up moving in with my sister, Sue, I remember him trying to help with little things like setting the table at mealtime.

So Dad, I want to echo the words of Jesus and say, "Well done".  We will miss you, but we'll cherish your memory until we meet again."

There are a lot of things I could add to this tribute, but these are the memories and thoughts that I had at the time, and I've changed nothing in posting this.  I still miss Dad, of course, but I cherish the memories, and I still look forward to that reunion some glorious day. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Allen line: Reverend Nicholas Street, immigrant and Puritan pastor

Once upon a time, long long ago...

Well, this story is not about a prince or princess, but it is a long ago story.  It is hard for us to think about what life was life in England about the year 1600, or what would have inspired someone who presumably could have had a good life in England to come to America. It's hard to imagine the possibly difficult trip over the ocean, or the work involved in building or finding a place to live, or the feelings that must have been involved when a child was born.

Nicholas Street is an ancestor of whom quite a bit is known, but quite a bit is not known.  His great grandfather, Richard Street, was a clothier in Stogumber, Somersetshire, England, who died in 1592.  His grandfather was Nicholas Street who died in 1610, who was married to Mary.His father, Nicholas Street, was married to Susanna Gilbert at Bridgewater, Somerset, on January 16, 1602. . Our Nicholas was born to this couple shortly before January 29, 1603 (date of baptism).  His mother died about a month later, and his father died when he was 13.  Nicholas was the only child of this marriage, but he had 7 half brothers and sisters by his father's second marriage.

Since Nicholas was the eldest son, his father lest him "myne antient estate of Rowberton neare Taunton, and also my lease of Hentesbell in the Marsh."  Presumably these properties were the source of the funds that allowed him to go to Oxford University beginning Nov 2, 1621.  In his matriculation papers, he is listed as "gent." which basically meant he came from a distinguished family.  He received his B.A. degree on February 21, 1624/25, and received his MA from Cambridge in 1636. (What did he do in the ensuing years?)

Nicholas was or became a Puritan, although little is known about how he came to these beliefs in a country that was strongly of the Established church (now known as the Church of England) established by the crown.  However, life must have been uncomfortable for him, as he came to Plymouth Colony about 1637 and was recongized as a freeman there in 1638.

It is probable that the "ordination" he received at Taunton, Massachusets along with Reverend William Hooke was actually an installation service.  Reverend Hooke became the head of this church and Rev. Nicholas Street was the "Teacher".  They continued there together for 7 years. When Mr Hooke moved on to New Haven, Ct, Nicholas Street continued as sole pastor of the church there for 15 years.  This was a long time for a pastor, even in those days, so he must have been much admired and loved by his congregants.  (Did he serve in military units, or were Pastors and Teachers exempt?)

In 1659, Reverend Street moved on to New Haven where he was again the "Teacher" under Reverend John Davenport.  Eight years later, Rev. Davenport was called to Boston and from 1667 until his death in 1674, Reverend Street was the sole pastor there.

Evidence seems strong that Nicholas Street was first married to Anna Poole, daughter of William Poole or Pole and Mary or Marie Periam.  Their children were Samuel, Abiah, Hannah, Sarah and Susanna, all good Puritan names. 

Reverend Nicholas is one of many Allen ancestors who were pastors. We can be proud of his faith and his dedication, even if some of his beliefs may be hard to understand.  Thanks to the hard work of this and many more ancestors, we have a chance to continue the story as "happily ever after."

Much more work remains to be done to learn more about his life, but the information I've used here was primarily from the website of Walter Gilbert and from a book called The Street Genealogy by Mary E Anderson, published in 1895.

Our line of descent is:

Nicholas Street and Ann or Anna Poole
Samuel Street and Anna Miles
Nicholas Street and Jerusha Morgan
Jerusha Street and Thomas Starr
John Starr and Mary Sharp
John Starr and Betsy Chester Havens
John Havens Starr and Clarissa Falley
Harriet Clarissa Falley and John Wilson Knott
Edith Clarissa Knott and Edward Franklin Allen
Allen children-Vernon, Edith, Richard, Corinne, Tessora

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Beeks line: Follow up to John Simpson Aldridge post

As promised, I'm providing some commentary to the rather long post I did about John Simpson Aldridge on Friday, November 1. I was pleasantly surprised at how much detail the author of the post gave, especially considering that he and Larry Stout did this research over 30 years ago, long before the days of computers and the internet. 

Now that the internet is here, I am able to substantiate most of the information about John's Revolutionary War service through Fold 3.  He enlisted at a very young age and I certainly wonder what his parents thought about that!  In the next four years, however, he would grow up quite quickly, as he was present at some of the best and worst moments of the War, including battles and including Valley Forge.  One puzzle to me is how he ended up in Washington (now Greene) County, Pennsylvania at the age of 15 or 16.  One reason he would have enlisted for a second time is that by this time, land was being promised to the men of Virginia who would reenlist. 

The information about John Aldridge moving on to Kentucky and to Clermont County after his marriage was new to me, but it explains how John Simpson Aldridge Jr would have married Lucinda Wheeler, who was living there with her parents, Jason and Patience Wheeler, in the 1820 census.  It appears that the Aldridges lived and farmed in Clermont County for over 25 years before moving to Rush County, Indiana, so some of his children may have considered Clermont County to be "home".  It is tempting to speculate whether it was John's idea to move on to Rush County, or whether it was his children's idea.  He was at least 60 by that time.

It appears that John and Mary used their children as their retirement plan, when they gave their land to Nathan and to John Jr, in return for being looked after and provided with life's necessities. John would have been about 66 when this arrangement was made, and he and Mary lived another 15 and 16 years, respectively.  We have visited the cemetery on the land in Rush County that they originally owned. It's a gently rolling area. We didn't see a creek nearby but there may well have been one at the bottom of the hill. 

Sources on the internet indicate that Jacob Aldridge's wife (presumably John's mother) was Elizabeth Soper, but I haven't been able to find any documentation for that. There were certainly Soper's around the Prince George's County area in that time period, but I am not locating anything that supports this "fact".  If someone reading this has documentation, I'd love to know what the source is for this!

The many descendents of John Aldridge Senior should be proud of this ancestor. He was one of the many many ordinary people who got caught up in major historical events, and then went back to a life of normalcy. His record as a resident of Clermont County shows that he continued doing what a good citizen  would do, and he raised children who continued the tradition of hard work and sacrifice.  

The Aldridge line of descent goes like this:

John Simpson Aldridge Sr-Mary Lakin
John Simpson Aldridge Jr-Lucinda Wheeler
Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Gretta Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Beeks children, some still living
Many grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great great grandchildren of Wilbur and Cleo

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beeks line: John Simpson Aldridge (Senior) Revolutionary War hero

John Simpson Aldridge entered the service in 1776 as a private and was discharged in 1780 as a private.  So what makes him a hero, in my eyes?  From my reading and research, it wasn't common for someone to re-enlist, as he did in 1777, and to stay for the entire three year term.  John stuck it out, and I commend him for it. 

The blog today isn't mine. I am copying, with gratitude, a document I found in the Rushville, Indiana library, that was sent to them on September 6, 1981 by Geo. M. Stiers.  Mr. Stiers acknowledges the help of Larry Stout in putting this document together, so I would like to acknowledge both of them as the researchers and authors of this blog. 

"John Seimpson Aldridge was born 9 Feb 1761 in Prince Georges County, Maryland.l  It is believed that he was the son of Jacob and ______ Aldridge.

On August 8, 1776, at the age of fifteen, was was enlisted in the Maryland "Flying Camp" by 1st Lr. Clement Hollyday, for duty until December 1, 1776.  This took place in Frederick County, Maryland--Upper District (Washington County).  Washington County was separaged from Frederick County in 1776, and while not yet organized, was to consist of what is now Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties, Maryland.

The "Flying Camp" was a militia organization which, when combined with the Pennsylvania and Delaware "Flying Camps" was to consist of 10,000 men and was to serve in the three Colony area.  However, This organization was moved immediately to New York and fought in battles at White Plains, New York on 22 August 1976 and near Fort Washington on 16 November, 1776.  The Maryland brigade was disbanded on December 1, 1776 and he was discharged at Philadelphia, Pa.

John Aldridge's pension record states that he was living in Washington County, Penn (no Greene Co., Pa) when he again enlisted as a Private or Drummer on 28 December 1776 in a Company which was recruited and later commanded by Cap't James Hook.  This Company was made a part of the 13th Virginia Regiment of Light Infantry, commanded by Col. William Ressell.  His pay was to be 9 and 2/3rds dollars per month. 

Washington County, Penn. was at that time in an area that was claimed by both Virginia and Penn.  Both States were recruiting in the area.

The 13th Virginia fought in the battle of Brandywine at Chadd's Ford, Penn on 11 Sept. 1777, and then spent the winter of 1777-1778 in camp at Valley Forge, Penn. In March of 1778, the 13th Virginia was consolidated into the 9th Virginia Regment and re-assigned to Fort Pitt in Western Penn.  John Aldridge was there and also spent some time on detached duty at Fort Armstrong. Cap't. Uriah Springer was Company Commander and Col. John Gibson was in charge of the Regiment.  John Aldridge was discharged in 1780, while still stationed at Fort Pitt.

After this, he returned to Frederick County, Maryland and married Mary Lakin on the 14th of Nov. 1783, in the Evangelical Reformed Church at Frederick.  Mary Lakin was the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Fee) Lakin.

A few years after the marriage John and wife, and her parents moved to Franklin Township, Greene Co, Penn.  The Fee family had preceded them there.  They are listed on the 1788 tax roll and in the 1798 census.  All three families moved on to Kentucky about 1793 and then on to Clermont County, Ohio about 1795.

The early records for Clermont County lists John Aldridge:

1801: Army Lands Virginia Military District
1806: Clermont County, Ohio Tax List.
1807 Served on Grand Jury.
1809: Road Supervisor, Washington Township
1810: On Tax List

John Aldridge had been awarded a Land Grant, Warrant No. 4274, for 100 acres of land, in the Virginia Military District by the State of Virginia, for his services in the Revolutionary War.  The date of entry for the Survey (no. 3878) in the V.M.D. Entry book was made on the 7th May, 1807 and recorded May 30, 1808.  However, it was not until March 1822, that a patent was obtained for this tract of land.  This was obtained by a Polly Nash.  The 100 acres tract is located four miles west and one mile south of Batavia on Shaylor Clermont County, Ohio. 

On 4th Oct. 1819, John Aldridge applied for his Revolutionary War pension. He was living in Clermont County at that time. 

The 1820 Federal census for Clermont County shows John Aldridge and family as (probably) 1 male 16-18, Nathan, 2 males 16-26,  John Simpson Jr and Erasmus, 1 male over 45, John Simpson Sr., 1 Female under 10, (Delilah Ann, Granddaughter), 3 females 16-26, Mary, Sarah, and Delilah, and 1 female over 45, Mary Lakin Aldridge.

He appeared in Circuit Court on 7th of July 1821 in Fayette Co., Indiana and made an affidavit pertaining to his Pension Claim No. 15674, which had been approved on 4th Nov. 1819.  It is thought that he was living in or moving to Rush Co., Indiana at this time as the Circuit Court in Rush County was not yet organized. 

On May 30, 1826, he and hiw wife willed all of their household furniture and bedding to their daughter Sarah, who was living with them and had not married. At that time He owned the southeast quarter of Section 9, Township 12 N., Range 8E., in Rush County.

On March 23, 1827, he and Mary entered into an agreement with their sons, Nathan and John Aldridge and wives, whereby John and Mary would give to the two sons the southeast quarter of Section 9, and, in exchange the two sons would provide them a decent and confortable support, substinence, maintenance in furnishing them and care of them during their lives---meat, drink, and lodging suitable to their age and situation in life, when ever the needs require----------.

The 1840 Federal census, which was also the Register of Pensioners for Revolutionary War Military Service, shows John Aldridge, age 79, and his wife Mary, living with their son Nathan in Orange Township, Rush County.

John Simpson Alddridge died on 17 Nov. 18423 and is buried in the Aldridge Cemetery on the Orange-Anderson Township line in Rush County, with grave marker appropriate for his service in the Revolutionary War.  Mary lived until 27 Nov. 1843, and was granted his War pension, but did not live to receive it. The pension was divided between surviving children.  She is also buried in the Aldridge Cemetery.

During their lifetime, it is reported that they had the following children:

Joseph Lakin b. 27 Sept. 1784
Rachel Plummer b. 21 Mar. 1786
Ramzy or Rauzy b. 20 Sept.. 1789
Elizabeth b. 10 March 1791
Mary b. Feb. 15, 1793
Sarah b. 10 May 1795
John Simpson Jr.l b. 27 Feb. 1798
Delilah b. 23 Dec. 1799
Erasmus b. 1801-1803
Nathan B. b. 3 Aug. 1803

However, there is one line of thought that suggests that there were only nine children in the family, and that Ramzy or Rauzy and Erasmus were one and the same person. In none of the old records, ie: John Simpson's prayer book; Mary Lakin Aldridge's estate papers, the War Dep't correspondence and, the Aldridge Bible frecord, which is included in the Southern Bible Records are the names of Ramzy-Ruazy and Erasmus stated together. It was not until later generations that both names begin to occur in the lists of children.  It is thought that Ramzy or Rauzy was a nickname used by John Aldridge for Erasmus.  Erasmus is shon in the Federal Census for 1830-1840-1850 and 1860 as living in Rush County close to other Aldridge's and married to Sarah _______?. The census'indicate that he was born in 1789-1790 instead of 1801-1803 as later reported."

I have tried to copy this with the same typos that were in the original.  For any additional typos, I apologize.  I'm absolutely amazed at how much research went into this report, which was done way before the internet. There was information in this that I did not have, but much of it is supported by my own research, and I have faith that this information is correct. Because of the length of this post, I will wait until Tuesday to make my additional comments to this document. 

Again, thanks to George Stiers and to Larry Stout for this information, and for telling us about a family hero!