Friday, August 28, 2015

Holbrook line: John Kinglsey 1614-1678 Immigrant

This immigrant ancestor is interesting to me because he is another one who went from England to Massachusetts to Rhode Island.  In my mind, someone who moves to Rhode Island has at least a 50/50 chance of having moved for religious principles, although of course there are family and economic issues to consider, also.  I don't think there is enough information about John to allow us to draw a conclusion about this issue, but there is quite a bit of information available about him, more than I can use in one of these short sketches.

John Kingsley was born September 7, 1614 to John Kingsley (various spellings) and Katherine Butler. We know little about his life in England except that he had at least one brother, Stephen.  We also know that John and Stephen sailed on the "James" from Bristol, England on June 3, 1635.  Richard Mather, a Puritan "teacher", was aboard this ship so it is likely that John was already a Puritan and came to New England at least partly for religious reasons. 

This particular voyage was even less enjoyable than most.  The ship was caught in the "Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635" as it neared the coast and the ship was forced to ride out the storm near what is now Hampton, New Hamphire.  At one point their ship was stranded but refloated with the high waves of the storm.  Their sails were gone as were their anchors, but the sailors made new sails and other repairs, and the ship eventually landed at Boston on August 17, 1635.  I wonder if any passenger on that ship ever sailed again? 

John married Elizabeth Stoughton about 1636 in Dorchester, Suffolk, where he had gone to live shortly after landing in New England.  There is some question about her last name because the documentation seems to not exist, but this is the traditional name of his first wife, and she seems to be the mother of his children, who were Freedom, Enos, Edward, Eldad and Renewed, all born before 1645.  The family lived at Dorchester until about 1655, and Elizabeth died sometime during this time period.  During his life in Dorchester, John had been a bailiff, a tax collector, and an elder in the church, after having helped found the church in 1636. 

About 1656, John married Alice Thatcher, who was a widow, and they moved to Rehoboth, Bristol County, sometime shortly after.  (The time lines I have seen vary as to when the moves and the marriages took place so consider this just a general outline, not firm as to dates.)  At any rate, when the family lived in Rehoboth, they were prosperous, with a fertile farm east of the Seekonk River.  They, like other families, raised grain and had horses, cattle, sheep, swine and fowls. 

John's wife Alice died in 1673 and John married for a third time, to Mary Johnson, who was the daughter of John Johnson and Mary Heath.  (John and Mary are our ancestors through another line.) 

It wasn't enough for John to survive Puritanism in England, a hurricane on the voyage to New England, and to have buried two wives and married a third.  He was 62 years old on March 28, 1676, when, as part of King Philip's War, Indians came to Rehoboth and burned all but two houses, the barns, and outbuildings.  John survived because he was in the garrison house, which was too heavily fortified for the Indians to burn, and Mary had probably gone with the other women and children to Newport, R.I., where they were sheltered and cared for by Rev. John Clarke. 

Probably due to the turmoil of the war (aha! we may have an answer to my question in the first paragraph!), John and Mary went to Bristol, Rhode Island to live out their remaining years, which were few.  John and Mary died within a few days of each other in January of 1678 or 1679.  John had asked to be buried with his second wife, in Rehoboth, and so he was.  However, his tombstone has been removed to what is now the Newman Cemetery, in E. Providence, R.I. 

John Kingsley had a fascinating life, although I'm sure he would not have chosen to walk through it, had he seen as a young man in England what the next 42 years would bring.  He must have been a strong man, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, to have raised his family through the turmoil. If you're interested in learning more, the blog "Miner Descent" has a blog post about our ancestor that gives much additional information. 

Our line of descent is:

John Kinglsey-Elizabeth possibly Stoughton
Freedom Kingsley-John French
Elizabeth French-Jonathan Thayer
Huldah Thayer-Benjamin Wheelock
Mary Wheelock-Ebenezer Thayer
Abigail Thayer-Jesse Holbrook
Amariah Holbrook-Molly Wright
Nahum Holbrook-Susanna Rockwood
Joseph Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Allen line: Rev. John Youngs 1598-1672 Is he ours?

As I was preparing to write this post, I realized that the connection for this ancestor is not absolutely proven.  Our descent is through his daughter Sarah, who is not a documented daughter of John.  Some sites are referring to her as Sarah (Mary) or Mary/Sarah Youngs, and there is some documentation for Mary.  If this is wrong, then I will have a lot of interesting English folk to prune from the Allen tree!  I am hoping that the Sarah Youngs connection is not another one of the frauds that Gustave Anjou and others of his sort perpetrated on those of us who want to know the truth! 

Rev. John is the son of Reverend Christopher Youngs and Margaret Ellwin.  He was born in 1598 in Reydon, Southold, Suffolk, England, and was one of at least seven children.  Reydon is a small town of about 2500 people, situated on the east coast of England.  The church there dates from the early 14th century, so this is the church Reverend Christopher would have pastored, and where John would have first formal religious teachings.  I haven't yet found information as to whether Rev. Christopher had any Puritan leanings, but Reverend John apparently did.

John Youngs married three times, first to Joan Herrington, second to John Harris, widow of Richard Palgrave, and third to Mary Warren, first married to a Gardner.  It is believed that Sarah was the daughter of Joan Herrington, who in turn was the daughter of Stephen Harrington and Joan Jentilman.

John Young was the minister at Hingham, Norfolk, England, until he and his (second) wife and five children and a step daughter, sailed for Salem, Massachusetts on the "Mary Anne" in 1637.  At the time, Salem's port was larger than Boston's, which is why he arrived there.  The family stayed in Salem about three years, and then went to Long Island, now New York but then under the jurisdiction of Connecticut.  He founded the settlement of Southold, Long Island, named for his home in England.  He was of course a Puritan, but was much loved by his family and his congregation.

Rev. John Youngs served his church apparently until his death, and was also a magistrate for the area.  In 1664-65, Long Island became part of New York rather than Connecticut.  Rev. Youngs died February 24,1672.

I'm sure there is more to be learned about Rev. John Youngs, but first I'd like to figure out whether Sarah is indeed his daughter.  If someone reading this can help with this confirmation or denial, I'd love to hear from you.

The proposed line of descent is:

John Youngs-Joan Harrington
Sarah Youngs-Daniel Scofield
Daniel Scofield-Abigail Merwin
Daniel Scofield-Hannah Hoyt
Hannah Scofield-Nathaniel Finch
Jesse Finch-Hannah
Hannah Finch-John Bell
Hannah Bell-Thomas Knott
John W Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Update,before this went live:  I have very serious doubts that Sarah Youngs is the daughter of John and Joan.  My internet connection wasn't working well when I wrote this post, or I would have discovered an NEHGS article that would have convinced me that Sarah's parentage, and even her surname, is unknown.   Here I go, to lop a big branch off the Allen tree!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Harshbarger line: Emanuel Harshbarger 1854-1928

Here is a transcription of the obituary for Emmanuel Harshbarger.  The newspaper is from Columbia City, Indiana, Wednesday Evening, May 9, 1928 but the header is missing.  This may be from the Columbia City Post.

Headlines: " Emanuel Harshbarger Dies at His Home Sunday   Death Took Place at 3:30 A.M. As Result of Illness Due to Diabetes And Goitre-Funeral Services Tuesday Afternoon at Thorn Creek Bethel." (All of this was in capital letters but that seemed to be too "loud" so I toned it down.)

"Emanuel Harshbarger, 74 years old last July, died Sunday morning at 3:30 o'clock at his home in Thorncreek township on the old Tri-Lake Road two miles north of Columbia City after an illness due to goitre, diabetes, and complications.  Mr. Harshbarger had been in failing health and became seriously ill seven weeks ago.  His daughter, Mrs. Simon Gardner, cared for him since that time.  Mr. Harshbarger went to the Cryle clinic at Cleveland, Ohio for a week but was unable to obtain pronounced relief and it was found there that he was suffering from diabetes. 

He was born in Summit County, Ohio on July 28, 1854 (date is fuzzy but I think this is what it says) and was a son of Lewis and Catherine Mencer Harshbarger.  The parents of Mr. Harshbarger brought him to Union township, Whitley county, when he was but three years old.  He resided on that farm until thirty-nine years ago when he purchased the farm on which he resided at the time of his death.

Mr. Harshbarger owned the saw mill on his farm for seventeen years and owned it previous to the time he began operating his cider mill.  The cider mill was in operation until last year when Mr. Harshbarger discontinued it.  In addition to running the mills Mr. Harshbarger also moved buildings and farmed.

On May 5, 1876 Mr. Harshbarger was united in marriage to Clara Ellen Harter, who died three years ago.  Eight children were born to this union, of whom four are living, namely: Grover Harshbarger, of Huntington, Mrs. Simon Gardner, Mrs. Charles Shepherd and Logan Harshbarger, of Columbia City.  The deceased is survived by one brother, Henry, of Jefferson township and two sisters, Mrs. Mary Smith of Columbia township, and Mrs. Cassie Banta, of Fort Wayne, and seven grand children and four great grandchildren.

Mr. Harshbarger united with a church in Union township when a young man.  He was highly respected and well liked by all who knew him.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30o'clock at the Thorncreek Bethel Church of God.  Rev. Emma Isenbarger will conduct the services and burial will be in the church cemetery.

Note:  The birthdate we have is July 16, 1855 and the location we have is Stark County, Ohio.  It is more likely to be Summit County.  I can't reconcile the birthdates, but since his tombstone also says July, 1854 I am changing my records for both date and location.  I also note that I am missing two children, who would have died young, in my records.  Reading an obituary is a very good thing to do!

The line of descent is:

Emanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Beeks line: Percival Towle abt 1620-1691, Immigrant and Quaker

What an amazing morning this has been. When I decided to write about Percival Towle for today's blog, all I "knew" about him was that he was one of the proprietors of the original 100 shares of West New Jersey, and that he lived in London and was a baker, before he came to New Jersey.  I have learned so much in just the last hour that my head is literally spinning.  Google is my friend!

I still have a lot of questions about him, of course (including who named him, but that's beside the point), but now I know there is a person behind those few facts in the first paragraph, and I'm excited to go learn more.  In the meantime, here's what I've learned.

His parents may have been Francis Towle and Elizabeth Cooke.  I haven't found the documentation for that yet, so take it with a grain of salt.  He was born about 1620, presumably christened in a church somewhere, and at some point, married Thomasin Scattergood (again, I haven't seen documentation.)  Also there is no document to point to his conversion to a member of the Society of Friends (Quaker) but there is evidence that he was one by 1663, when "A few days after (March 22, 1663), Percival Towle a baker of Ratcliff was also committed to Newgate for not pulling off his hat as he passed by the Lord Mayor and Richard Brown in the Street."  This came from "A Collection of the Sufferings of the People Called Quakers, Volume 1", first published in the late 1600's.  We don't know how long he stayed at Newgate Prison, or what his circumstances were there.  Money bought better treatment, but we don't know if he had money at that point or whether he would have used it for that purpose, if he'd had it. 

I've found various dates for his arrival in the New World, but it seems to have been sometime in or .  shortly after January 1, 1677.  He and five other men (Richard Mew, Peter Hayles, Thomas Martin, Nicholas Bell and Richard Clayton, all from the London area) purchased a "full propriety" in West New Jersey.  Percival was the only one to actually come to West Jersey to live; the others were likely Quakers who were trying to help other Quaker settlers by making a land purchase.  According to a 1951 volume of "The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography," Percival was active on grand and petty juries, was an overseer of the highways, a member of the Council of Proprietors, and died a wealthy man.  His plantation, Sutton's Lodge, was one of the largest in the Province, containing about 1300 acres. The "Manual of the Legislature of New Jersey" lists him as a member of the assembly from 1683-1685.  For a baker, he was doing pretty well for himself.

We know that he had and Thomasin had at least two children, Alice and Susannah.  There is also an "Annie" which some people have taken as a nickname for "Susannah" and others have listed as a separate daughter.  If there were more children who perhaps died early, we don't know of them. The children were born in England in about 1643-1645, and joined their parents in West Jersey.

The area that they lived in was in Burlington, N.J.  The bakehouse that Towle owned was on the Delaware River and went "back to the next street."  I haven't found a precise location for "Sutton's Lodge" yet, but it was most likely on the Delaware River or one of its tribuaries also. 

We are fortunate to have an abstract of the wills of both Percival and Thomasin.  Percivals was was dated October 26,1691 and proved December 12,1691.  He left much of his estate to his wife, with the stipulation that after her death his house, bakehouse and lands on Burlington Island and in town bounds were to be sold for the benefit of the Quarterly Meeting of Friends in Burlington Co., and left the plantation called Sutton's Lodge to his brothers and their children,800 acres "not yet taken up" were to go to several people who appear to be in-laws and possibly other relations, and there were separate legacies to four others and the Ratcliffe Meeting in England. 

The appraisal of his estate totaled 740 pounds, 14 shillings, and 10 pence.  His cash and silverware was valued at almost twice that of his 800 acres.  His house in Burlington, where his wife would live, was valued at 120 pounds so it must have been quite a home. 

When Tomasin died, (will dated September 28,1695 and proved December 7, 1695, she left a number of bequests to friends and relations in London and in West Jersey, as well as to the Devonshire Meeting of Friends in London.  Her estate was valued at 465 pounds, 5 shillings, 6 pence, all personal (no real estate).  She was quite wealthy for her time, too. 

Here is a picture of a hard working man who loved his God and would not take off his hat to anyone.  He came to West Jersey in middle age and not only made a home for himself here, but he prospered among his Quaker friends.  It's a story I'm glad to learn, and I'm sure there is still more to be found of this man and his family. 

The line of descent is:

Percival Towle-Thomasin Scattergood
Alice Towle-John Thomas Wilsford 
Mary Wilsford-James Moon
Simon Moon-Louretha Humphrey
Jacob Moon-Jane Rees
Thomas Moon-Jean Gray
Margaret Ellen Moon-Owen T Rees
Eliza Reese-Samuel Goodnight Dunham
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents

Friday, August 14, 2015

Holbrook line: Thomas Joslin, Immigrant 1591-1660/61

I love it when I find so much information about an ancestor that it's hard to fit it all into one blog post!  This is definitely a case of "pick and choose" what I can reasonably expect my family to read.

Thomas Joslin was born at Roxwell, County Essex, in England late in 1591, the son of Ralph Josselyn and Mary Bright (or possibly Dorothy unknown).  Roxwell is a small village and was likely never much larger than it was in 1872, when it had a population of 986.  There is a church there that has been in existence since the 14th century, where Thomas would have been baptized.  Ralph, the father, is called a yeoman, so he was a respectable farmer who owned at least some land.  Thomas had at least 10 brothers and sisters, some of which were likely half siblings, so it was a large family in what was probably a small home.

Sometime about 1615, Thomas married Rebecca Jude, and they raised their family for about 20 years in Dedham and later in Barham, county Suffolk, England.  In between, they may have lived in Ardleigh, Essex county, because two of their children were baptized there.  The last child was baptized in Barham, but we are missing baptismal locations for some of their other children.  The question is, did they move, or did they simply take some of their children to other (family) locations to be baptized in the "home church"?

We do know that in April of 1635, the family set sail on the ship Increase to come to Massachusetts.  They brought with them Rebecca, age 18, Dorothy, age 11, Nathaniel, age 8, Elizabeth, age 6, and Mary, age 1.  They also had a maidservant, Eliabeth Ward, who may or may not have been a relative.
The family first settled at Hingham, and by 1647 were well enough established that they were being given small parcels of land (one and one half acre of fresh meadow, and three acres of land in Hockly Field.  Thomas also purchased land from Stephen Lincoln, and by the time he was ready to sell it, it was described as "our houses, barns, homestalls, outhouses and dwelling house and barns, orchards and gardens, with the homelot", about three acres in all.  At the same time, he and son Nathaniel sold additional land to George Lane and Thomas Collier.

Thomas and Rebecca's children were Abraham, Rebecca, Mary, Dorothy, Nathaniel, Elizabeth, and Mary again (the first Mary died soon after her 1619 baptism, and Dorothy died as a young woman.)

According to "Account of the Joslin Family", he was admitted freeman at Hingham in 1636, and was largely interested in commerce, owning several vessels that sailed between England and the Colonies, and was also proprietor of land in the towns of Lancaster, Hingham, and Sudbury.  He was described as a man of commendable habits, generous disposition, and great business ability, and was respected by the citizens for his excellent personal character. He was a selectman for the town for several years, apparently.

In 1654 the Joslins sold their land and moved to Lancaster.  We aren't told why they moved, but it must have seemed a better opportunity.  By this time, Thomas would have been 63 years old, and perhaps he went because Nathaniel was moving, and he wanted to be with his son and grandchildren.  Lancaster of course was very much a frontier town, but during the time Thomas lived there relations with the native Americans seem to have been peaceful.  Still, a 63 year old man may have had a hard time building a new home, unless he was able to have it built.

Thomas's will was written May 9,1660 and proved March 29,1661. He left his estate to his wife Rebecca, and land or money to each of his children.  He left little to his son Abraham, so he may have already given him his share of the estate.  His housing and lands were valued at 30 pounds.
Rebecca later remarried and disposed of the land according to (Thomas's) will.

I've used material from "Great Migration, Volume 4, page 117, "English Origins of New England Families Volume I," and New England Historical and Genealogical Register Volume 158" in writing this post, as well as bits and pieces from Wikipedia.

The line of descent is:

Thomas Joslin-Rebecca Jude
Nathaniel Joslin-Sarah King
Nathaniel Joslin-Esther Morse
Israel Joslin-Sarah Cleveland
Sarah Joslin-Edward Fay
David Fay-Mercy or Mary Perrin
Euzebia (Luceba) Fay-Libbeus Stanard
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents

Fun fact:  There are genealogies that say that our Thomas can be traced back to Gilbert Josceline, who was a contemporary of William the Conqueror.  Others say it isn't so, so take it with a grain of salt.  The dates seem to work, and it's fun to think it might be so! 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Allen line: Short notes about Thomas Stump, Immigrant.

I'm writing this post in the hopes that someone knows something more about this immigrant ancestor.  He is a bit unusual in the Allen line since the only records I can find about him are from Maryland.  There aren't a lot of Maryland ancestors in the Allen line.

We don't know when he was born, although almost every tree I can find on line says he was born in 1690, and possibly in Germany.  That would again be unusual, for not many Germans settled in Prince Georges County in the early 18th century.  Of course, saying something would be unusual doesn't prove it's not true, because our family, and our country, are made up of "unusual" people. 

There are very few facts we can pull out about our ancestor Thomas.  His wife's name (at his death) was Eliza or Elizabeth, and they had three sons, Thomas, John, and William, born roughly from 1715 to 1721.  Thomas is named on a list of taxables in 1719, in the Rock Creek Hundred of Prince Georges County.  We also find William McCoy on this list, and John Jackson.  The Rock Creek Hundred, per "The Ten Mile Country and Its Pioneer Families" would have been part of Rock Creek Parish, and located in or very near the present city of Washington, D.C.

According to the Maryland Calendar of Wills, volume 6, his will was written April 29 1723 and probated May 10, 1723, leaving to his 3 sons, Thomas, John and William and their heirs, 200 acres "Stump's Valles in the freshes of Potomoac River, equally.  Wife Eliz. executrix, and testators were John Flint,Ninian Tannchill, and Robt. Payne or Paine. 

Then, in Settlers of Maryland 1701-1730- we find Thomas Stump, presumably the son of this Thomas Stump, listed as owning 200 acres called Stump's Valley as of May 20, 1725. This is confusing because son Thomas would have been only about 10 years old.  Perhaps the land was being registered for the first time under the deceased Thomas's name, since many times having the land surveyed and a deed made was not the first thing on a settler's mind. 

I find a lot of trees out there giving Thomas a death date in 1730, so there is confusion about his death date as well.  Perhaps there were later probate proceedings, or possibly guardianship papers, which generated this date.  I'd like to know the source for the 1730 date, which so far I have been unable to find. 

Of course I'd like to know almost everything about Thomas.  Was he truly born about 1690, and was he from Germany?  If so, how and why did he come to Maryland?  If he wasn't from Germany, where was he from?  Who was his wife, and what is her story?  There are surely more records to be mined that have presently gone unnoticed, and I'd love to find them and see what else can be learned about Thomas Stump.His story is just too much of a blank.

I'd love to hear from others who are interested in this man.  Where else can we look for records?

The line of descent is:

Thomas Stump-Elizabeth
Thomas Stump-Jane Booth
Elizabeth Stump-Henry Jackson
Alexis Jackson-Catherine Moore
Eleanor Jackson-Vincent McCoy
Nancy McCoy-George Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendents

Friday, August 7, 2015

Harshbarger line: William Withers, Civil War and Pension Records

Again, it is a joy to be able to share the story of William A. Withers, 1840-1912, as found in his Civil War and Pension records.  Again, it's a story of one of the masses of soldiers who went into the war a private, and came out of the war a private, with difficulties incurred in service (also before and after, in William's case) that affected the rest of his life. We read about the generals who became U.S. President of CEO of some big company, but the story of the privates is largely untold.  I've previously written about George R. Allen (Allen line) and David Wise (Beeks line), and now it's time to tell William's story.

He was born, according to his statement, on February 24th, 1840 in Frederick, Ohio, which was in either Richland County or Knox County, depending on which affidavit we look at.  (His family's 1840 census record shows them in Morris Township, Knox County, Ohio at the time of the census.)  When he was just a baby, he rolled or fell into the fire and the middle, ring, and little fingers of his right hand were burned off to the distal joints. (I can't imagine how painful this must have been, and how horrible it would have been for his mother!) As he grew, his burned fingers did not grow with him and they were eventually just small stumps which turned inward on his palm, with no range of motion to them. 

This was a challenge, but he learned to overcome it because he enlisted in Company C of the 15th Ohio Infantry on August 30, 1861.  Apparently he could still use his "trigger finger" and so was acceptable according to the standards of the time.  He enlisted for a term of three years.  On one of his musters, his residence at the time of enlisting was c/o Mordecai Bartley, Mansfield, Ohio.  (I've done just a little bit of research on this man, who was a U.S. Congressman and governor of Ohio, but I haven't yet found a family connection.)  William is variously listed as having enlisted at Lexington and at Mansfield, Ohio.  Most likely he took the oath and signed preliminary papers at Lexington, but went to Mansfield when the company was actually formed.

For the first year or so of his service, there is little information other than he was present at company roll calls.  However, he was sick beginning about July 28,1862 with the diarrhea/dysentery that was so common with the troops.  This was at Discard Station, Tennessee, and he was treated, apparently in the hospital at Talahoonia, (I wonder if this should be Tullahoma, but I give it as I see it) by the surgeon in charge of the hospital there.  It fascinates me that he was also treated by a "citizen physician."  This was in Tennessee, early in the war.  Was this physician a volunteer who came to help the Union troops?  Was he a Union sympathizer?  Or was he more or less pressed into service by the Union?  Someone could write a novel about this, or at least a short story!

After this, we find William was a teamster and usually was on detail somewhere at Division Headquarters.  He seems to have hauled supplies for about a year.  A teamster did not have an easy job because they had to be up at dawn to feed and care for their horses or mules, and they had to take care of the animals the last thing at night.  In between, they worked long, hard hours through all kinds of weather, hauling whatever needed to be hauled to keep the men supplied.  However, it did give a weakened man a chance to take a break when he needed to, and probably allowed for a more frequent answer of a call of nature, which may explain why William received this assignment.  After about a year, he was moved from teamster to ambulance driver.  This seems to be his assignment when he was located at Corinth, Mississippi according to the affidavit of Thomas Bowsher, who later claimed in Columbia City that he had known William at Corinth.  There are several payroll reports where he is detailed at Bridgeport, Alabama as an ambulance driver.  It's not clear whether he went out into the field to pick up wounded soldiers, or whether he met them at the railroad station or steamboat landings, but he must have been a busy man. 

William did not re-enlist when his term of service was up.  He had been at Corinth, he was at Atlanta for that battle, where he received the damage to his ears that would eventually result in loss of hearing (he was very near the cannonading, according to an affidavit later in life), he had spent a year hauling sick and wounded soldiers to the hospital, and he was not well himself.  At his discharge in Chattanooga, Tn. on September 20, 1864, he received the $100 bounty he was due from his date of entry, and he was on his way home.

We don't really know where he went, but he was in Columbia City, Indiana by 1865.  Apparently he worked in a woolen mill in the city or nearby, because later he told of rheumatism in his right knee that was caused by being "wound around a line shaft."  He injured his shoulder then, too, but it must have healed for there is no other mention of that in the pension records.  On June 16, 1867 he married Barbery Cook, even though he was hard of hearing, had chronic diarrhea, and had a knee injury.  It makes me think he must have been a charming man with other good qualities. 

During the next years, he raised a family, farmed, and did some manual labor although affidavits say he was frequently sick and unable to do more than half a man's work.  In 1889, as the pension became closer to reality, William started gathering his affidavits and getting physical exams. In 1890, it became much easier to get a pension, and William wanted to make sure he was ready to qualify.  He did qualify for an $8 pension, which was later raised to $12 and eventually to $24, in 1904.  Along the way, he had numerous physical exams in which he was diagnosed with chronic diarrhea, rheumatism in the right knee, impaired right hand due to loss of fingers, deafness, disease of the neck and throat, and lumbago, not necessarily all on the same exam.  He was rejected a couple of times for an increase in pension, but appealed and eventually won out 

Among those who made affidavits for him, other than physicians, were Christian Hawn, Alexander Kemery, Albert Cook, and Henry Keiser.  It is possible that all of these men were somehow related to William, or would be related, through their children or grandchildren.  

William died October 5, 1912 and his wife "Barbery", which is specifically noted as how she spelled her name, applied for a widow's pension a week later.  This was granted and she received it until her death on October 29, 1915.

We've been to William's grave site and we put a flag on the grave, because we knew he had been in the Civil War.  It's nice to now be able to have some details of his life, and to understand more of the sacrifices he made for his country.  Thank you, William A Withers, and the hundreds of thousands of men like you! 

The line of descent is:

William Withers-Barbara Cook
William Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendents

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Beeks line: Civil War Records and Pension Records for David Wise

It is such a joy to read the records for David Wise, because there is much genealogy material in them, but also because it helps make one man, and his experiences, come alive.  It is one thing to know about the end battles of the Civil War, in Georgia and the south, and another thing to know that your children's ancestor was there.  Even though I still have many, many questions about his life, I have this much information, which is invaluable to me.  Yes, I was doing my happy genealogy dance when I got these records last week!

First, as to the war records:  David was drafted, and mustered in on October 21, 1864, in Wabash, Indiana, for a term of one year.  At the time he enlisted, he was 25 years old, was 5' 9 1/2 inches tall, had grey eyes and black hair, with a dark complexion, and resided at Lagro Township, Wabash County, Indiana.  He was a farmer. 

The records of his payroll show that in January and February of 1865 he was part of a detachment of company I, 23rd Indiana Infantry that was temporarily attached to Co. C of the 25th Massachusetts Infantry.  The records don't show why he was assigned there.  It may have been for training, or to boost the numbers of the 25th Massachusetts until new Massachusetts troops could be provided.  This unit was at Brice's Creek, near Newberne, N.C. on payday.  for the March -April payroll he was marked as absent, sick, 4 Division and marked as hospitalized at the time the company was paid.  (I found no further mention of this in any of his papers, so I don't know why he was hospitalized.)  The last muster roll, for May-June 1865, shows him absent sick in hospital 4th Division, Louisville, Ky. since June 20, 1865. He was discharged from the hospital (personal witness in later affidavit says he was very weak at the time) on July 20,1865 and discharged from the service at the same time.  He was due $11.97, which he was paid, as he had not been paid at all since his entry into the service. 

The illness that hospitalized him at Lousiville was "yellow jaundice", which he was showing signs of when the regiment left Raleigh, N.C. I found mention in these records that the unit was also in Dublin, Ga. and Georgetown, (apparently Virginia, as it was near Washington D.C.) so the unit had travelled quite a bit.  One or two of the affidavits say he contracted the jaundice due to exposure, severe cold, or/and the usual hazards of military life. 

That's as much as the records show, and some of that came from the pension files rather than the compiled military service record.  I'm sure glad I ordered the pension files, also!  Much of the pension files is medical information. David was examined early and often, all through the rest of his life as he tried from 1890 to get a pension and then get increases in his pension.  His principal medical complaints were jaundice, stomach and bowel trouble, loss of eyesight (blind in one eye by 1873 with gradual loss of vision in the left eye) and later neuralgia, rheumatism, asthma, inguinal hernia, catarrh, loss of hearing, and eventually "marked senility both physical and mental ."  I feel funny about putting so much of his medical history on line, but it helps us understand his fight for what he felt was due him.  He was unable to perform manual labor for much of his life, although the records start only in 1890.  David died in 1927.

This is some of the personal history of David, as gleaned from different pages in the pension file.  He never learned to read or write, and did not know his alphabet, although an affidavit from a neighbor, Jospeh Slirey, says he and his family had gone to school with David.  So was he a "slow learner", or did he only stay in school a short time?  I learned that his family had come to Lagro Township about 1842 and "stayed there always."  David was born October 10, 1837 in Shelby County, Ohio, so he was not quite five years old when they made the trip.  His mother died when he was seven years old or less, so about 1844.  (David's parents were Andrew Wise and Mary Searfoss, not mentioned by name in the records.) On January 10, 1864 he married Matilda Martin in Lagro, with the ceremony conducted by Squire Hedges, J.P.

Andrew, who had never remarried, went to live with the couple when they established their own household. David and Matilda had five children.  Andrew was born June 22, 1865; Hannah, December 10, 1867; Elizabeth, August 10, 1870; John Philip, June 14 (or 15, he gave each date on a separate occasion) 1873, and Martin, January 22, 1876.  As of 1915, Hannah, Elizabeth and John Philip were still living.  Matilda died in the fall of 1876, but no exact date is given in the records. In fact, he twice says 1876 and once says 1877.  David had three brothers and two sisters who were all deceased when David was trying to prove his birthdate.  He had affidavits from several people who said his birthday was always celebrated as October 10, 1837 but no written proof and no one who knew him when he was born could be found.  There was a family Bible but it had been taken by John Searfoss (Surface), David's uncle,some 50 years ago, and he did not know where either could be found. (Note: I suspect this was a Searfoss family Bible, and I'd sure love to know what happened to it!)

The pension records show that David was never a well man after he was discharged from the service, which would have made it hard to thrive as a farmer and a laborer.  As he aged, more health problems developed and at the end of his life, he was pretty much helpless.  Hannah Harris took care of him for many years, and then John and Elizabeth Beeks cared for him.  After Elizabeth died, he went to live with his grandson, Wilbur Beeks and Cleo.  He died there, in Andrews, on April 5, 1927, never having remarried.  I have not yet found where he is buried but it is likely somewhere in Lagro Township.  I would love to make sure that he has a veteran's marker on his grave, if I can find it. 

I'm honored to be able to share this much of David's story.  He was not educated, and he didn't have the money to provide a substitute when he was drafted.  However, he faced the challenges in his life and raised his family by himself, at a time when most men would have remarried.  He must have been a tenacious man, as he certainly was determined to make sure he got all the pension money he could.  (The $8 he started with was raised gradually to $72 a month at the end of his life.)  He had friends who were willing to provide affidavits on the subject of his birthdate and also on his health issues.  I don't know his religion, if any, as it isn't mentioned anywhere in the records. 

I know there are great grandchildren of David's who are alive and may remember him, or remember stories about him, and I'd love to hear from them, or from anyone who can help give more details to David's story.

The line of descent is:

David Wise-Matilda Martin
Elizabeth Wise-John Beeks
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendents