Friday, May 26, 2017

Holbrook line: RIchard Seymour 1604-1655 Immigrant

First,the fanciful but probably not true, or at least not proven:  Some believe that Richard Seymour was a descendant of the Seymours of Wolf Hall, recently a series on PBS television.  Those Seymours were powerful people involved with even more powerful people, and they are fascinating.  Our Richard may or may not be descended from them, but his own life is fascinating in its own way.  Of course, I say that about all my ancestors!

Richard Seymour was baptized on January 27, 1604/05, the first child of Robert and Elizabeth Waller Seymour, at Sawbridgeworth, county Herts, England.  This is right on the border with Essex county, and likely there were friends and relatives of the Seymours who lived just a few miles down the road but were from Essex and not Hertfordshire. 

The next thing we know about Richard is that he married Mercy Ruscoe, daughter of Roger and Sarah Ruscoe of Sawbridgeworth, and the marriage occurred there on April 15,1631.  Richard and Mercy had three children born at Sawbridgworth, from 1632 to 1636.  Although I've not located immigration or transportation records, it seems likely that the Seymours (also spelled Seamer and Semer, among other variations) left England in 1638 and went to Hartford Connecticut, where many of the young town would have been old acquaintances from England.  Many Hartford settlers had their origins in Essex County, and if these people had been worshipping together as Puritans, they would surely have known and loved their new/old neighbors.

Richard was not a first settler at Hartford, as his lot number was number 70, but he did receive a land allotment in 1639 so he and his family, which consisted of four sons (two daughters had apparently died in England), settled down in their new home, early in the town's history.  His house was near the Ely home, and he also owned land toward West Hartford.  He was elected chimney viewer in 1647, which was somewhat analogous to that of fire inspector today.  The homes during this time period were built (except our pioneers used wood rather than the stone used in England) like those homes they'd left behind in England, meaning the roofs were thatched and prone to catching fire.  It was Richard's job to make sure the families were taking safety precautions and to watch for fires that might start on the roof, especially around the chimney. 

The land Richard had was "by the courtesy of the town", which meant in effect that he only had a life lease to the property, and could not pass it on to his sons.  Possibly due to this fact, Richard joined a group of settlers who planned to settle a new area, Norwalk, also in what is now Connecticut.  He signed an agreement for the settling and planting of Norwalk in 1650 and was settled there by 1652.  Here his home was directly opposite the meeting house and Parade Ground, on the highway leading from Stamford to Fairfield. He is considered an original founder of Norwalk.  He was elected townsman, or selectman, in 1655 but four months later wrote his will, when he was "very week and sike". 

Richard Seymour's estate was inventoried October 10, 1655 and was valued at 255 pounds, 9 shillings, which is not bad for a man 50 years old.  Most of the inventory is illegible but one can make out "books" valued at one pound.  this would indicate probably several volumes, but maybe not more than 20.  It would be intriguing to know what they were.  Were they all religious books, or did he have some practical books also?  His widow, Mercy, married Thomas Steele, one of the leaders of the Connecticut Colony.  He died in 1665 and she outlived him, but records of her death have not been located. 

So whether or not there is a connection to the Seymours of Wolf Hall, we certainly have a line to one of the early settlers of our country, and that is a good thing, too.  

The line of descent is:

Richard Seymour-Mercy Ruscoe
Richard Seymour-Hannah Woodruff
Hannah Seymour-Joseph Pomeroy
Medad Pomeroy-Hannah Trumbull
Medad Pomeroy-Eunice Southwell
Eunice Pomeroy-Libbeus Stanard
Libbeus Stanard-Euzebia or Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Allen line: Richard Smith 1595-166, Immigrant

I'd like to be more confident in what I'm writing about Richard Smith.  As you can see, it's a common name and even in a small town the size of Wethersfield, Connecticut there may have been as many as three Richard Smiths there during the lifetime of our ancestor.  Mostly I'll be writing about the more likely and unlikely possibilities, instead of being more definite about the facts that I usually find. 

Richard Smith was probably born about 1595.  He may have been the son of John Smith and Alice Walker, but others have disputed this and I certainly don't have anything more to add to the story.  He did marry Rebecca Buswell, daughter of Roger and Margaret Buswell on February 13, 1615 in Husbands Bosworth, Leicester, England.  It is a small village now and may have been even smaller when the couple were married.  The church dates from the 1500's so one could presumably visit there if desired, and see the actual location.  

It's been suggested that Richard came to Connecticut as early as 1635, but that is based on the idea that he was the son of John and Alice mentioned above.  It seems to me to be just speculation until his parentage is firmly established.  At aany rate, it appears that all of their six known children were born in Husbands Bosworth, with Abigail being born in 1638,  So sometime after that time, the family arrived at Wethersfield, which is on the Connecticut River, and is now just south of Hartford. (At the time, probably several miles separated the two towns, with travel back and forth being done by ship). 

Wethersfield was the scene of three witch trials while the Smiths lived there, which indicates that the town had problems and also that the town in general was a Puritan town.  We know that Richard was on jury duty in 1650, when he was at least 55 years old and some have guessed he was actually 72 or 73 at this time.  He was involved in some sort of law suit in 1652, and there are records for land he sold or gave to family members.   He died about 1669,still in Wethersfield.

That is as much as is known about Richard Smith, husband of Rebecca Buswell.  We can hope that he had a trade, or skill as a farmer, or something that supported the family, but we don't know what that was.  There apparently was no will, as he gave his assets to family members, particularly all his remaining real estate to his youngest son Jonathan  Rebecca is thought to have preceded him in death by about two years.

As is so often true, there's much more work to be done to identify Richard Smith and to tell his story.  We don't know when he came to America, or why, or what he did after he arrived here.  We don't know the extent of his religious commitment, or even whether or not he could read.

 Oh, one cool note...We do know that both Richard and his wife were treated by John Winthrop, Jr, the governor of Connecticut.  His brief Wikipedia article doesn't describe any medical degree or training, so that leaves me a little confused.  I'll keep looking for an explanation for that!

The line of descent is:

Richard Smith-Rebecca Buswell
Susanna Smith-Simon Hoyt
Benjamin Hoyt-Hannah Weed
Hannah Hoyt-Daniel Scofield
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




Friday, May 19, 2017

Harshbarger line: No more ancestor stories, for now

At the moment, I am out of names in the Harshbarger line to write about.  Either I've written about them back to their home in Germany or Switzerland (mostly) or I'm not able to find them any further back than whatever their birth or marriage date is, here in the states.  Unfortunately there are quite a few of those names, such as Mary Gearhart, Joseph Withers, Joseph Kirk, Tobias Miller, Peter Ulrich Schnerr, Jacob Kestenholtz, and others.  There is more to be found about these people, I'm sure, but I'm also sure that at this point I don't have the knowledge to do it.  So for now, this might be the end of the Harshbarger posts-until my next discovery.

I have had some thoughts about the more recent Harshbarger lines.  In contrast to the Beeks family, who is somewhat well documented in local newspaper accounts, I have found nothing at all about the Grover Harshbarger family in the 15 years (1927-almost all of of 1942) of newspapers I've read for the Huntington Herald Press.  Obviously one explanation is that the Harshbarger family was small and the Beeks family was large.  But other factors may play in to the difference also.  Grover was a hard working man and Goldie, as far as is known, stayed at home to raise her son.  They didn't get into legal trouble.  They weren't leaders in any church or other organization. They had no musical talents that meant they would be called on to sing at funerals. They didn't have auto accidents (I'm not sure when they actually got their first car, but it would have been before they moved to the Majenica area, surely).  I haven't found their name in any of the "removal" columns either, so I'm not sure exactly when the move was.

The point I'm making is that many ancestors were like the Grover Harshbarger family.  They weren't highly educated, or maybe not educated at all, and the friends they had were also low profile people.  They likely engaged in some of the same activities that more publicized families did, such as get togethers with neighbors, basket dinners, helping each other out. Perhaps they voted, perhaps they didn't, but they likely had political opinions that were not noted in letters to the editor. Lots of good people are hard to trace even 75 to 80 years ago.  No wonder they are hard to trace back in the 1700s! 

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle the loss of the Harshbarger family lines, as far as blog posts go.  Maybe I'll make a discovery in the next two weeks that will allow me to postpone having to make that decision.  I've truly enjoyed learning more about this family, starting from the information I had in my wedding book (great grandparents) and working both backwards and sideways, to learn the stories of the ancestors I've found.  When I started, all I "knew" of the origins was that the Harshbargers were "Pennsylvania Dutch."  They are so much more! 


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Beeks lines: "Bits and Pieces from my Andrews research"

Most of my very few readers know that I am currently reading newspapers for a possible second book about Andrews history.  I am fortunate in that while I am reading Huntington, Indiana newspapers I occasionally come across some articles that "fill in the blanks", or at least a few of them, about the Beeks family.  Maybe everyone(!) who reads this post will already know this information, but it was all news to me. 

First, a little on the light hearted side, Wilbur Beeks seemed to get called for jury duty with great regularity.  I don't know what happened, but in May of 1941, when he was again called for grand jury duty, he apparently asked to be excused.  I don't know whether this was the first time, or what the reason was, but here's what the Huntington Herald Press said on May 18,1941:

"TWO GRAND JURORS EXCUSED BY JUDGE

Remaining Xis Expected to meet Thursday, 9 A.M.

William E Norris, Jackson township farmer and Wilbur Beeks, of Andrews, members of the Huntington county grand jury, have been excused from serving in the session set to begin Thursday, 9 a.m. (cdwt) according to entries made on the court record by Judge Otto H. Krieg. 

The entries set out that the men presented "good and sufficient reason" and accordingly were excused. 

The riding bailiff has summoned Ora Baker, Jefferson township, to take Beeks place.

Beeks, seventh man drawn for the April term grand jury, was summoned when Norris was excused.  When Beeks was excused the eighth and last man was summoned..."  So, what was the good and sufficient reason, I wonder?

Now, to information that was to me both interesting and sad, besides being new to me.  The first was an article from the same Newspaper of November 7,1941 headed "John Wise Dies at Home of Nephew in Andrews."  Briefly, it told the story of John Wise who had died at the home of Wilbur Beeks, with whom he had lived for some time. I've never heard of this man, other than that he was the son of David and Matilda Martin Wise, so I had to go out looking for information.  He was not to be found in the 1900 census, at least not that I recognized, but in 1910, 1920, and 1930 he was listed as a farm worker.  In 1910 and 1920 he apparently worked on the farm of two sisters (not his) in Lagro Township, wabash County, and in 1930 he was a laborer already living with Wilbur (and Cleo) Beeks.  Perhaps the two women he worked for had died, as they were considerably older than he was.  He lived with the Beeks family for at least 10 years and possibly longer, until his death at age 69.  The only other named relatives were his nephew Chester Beeks of Chicago, and his niece Mrs. Charity Carpenter, also of Chicago.  I learned from the census that he had a seventh grade education and could read and write. 

There are those living who could tell more of John's story.  I'd like to know more about him.  For instance, I didn't find him in a WW I draft registration index.  Was he simply too old to be drafted?  What about the Spanish American War?  I have no reason to think he served in the military, but it's possible.  Did he have some physical handicap that kept him from living a more expansive life, or was he simply a happy go lucky man who didn't have a lot of ambition?  And what was he like?  There will soon be no one left to remember him, and I'd like to know his story.

Finally, there was another obituary, which had some surprising information.  Printed in the November 29, 1940 Huntington Herald Press there was an obituary for Mrs. Dorothy O. Huston.  She was the daughter of Harvey and Margaret Aldridge, and the sister of Cleo Beeks, among others.  She died at the age of 46 after having been in failing health for several sears, and being bedfast for two years. 

Survivors included her husband, Frank, four daughters, four sons, four grandchildren, two brothers and two sisters.  Three sons preceded her in death.  What surprised me was the number of children, and also the fact that I think I knew some of them.  Mrs. Doris Reynold of Lagro and Roy Huston were the two who appear to have established their own households.  Vivian, Bernetta, Lois, Alven, Marvin and Walter all lived at home.  Brother Frank Aldridge lived in Wabash and Samuel Aldridge in Midland, Michigan.  Sisters were Mrs. Cleo Beeks of Andrews and Mrs. Stella (should be Della) Harrell of Lancaster township. 

I'm coming to the conclusion that there are a lot more cousins out there than I knew about.  I know a Beeks reunion would be very large, but an Aldridge reunion would be awesome!!  And all this news was because I read some newspapers.






Friday, May 12, 2017

Holbrook line: Walter Haynes 1583-1665, Immigrant

How do I condense the life of this immigrant ancestor into a few paragraphs and still tell a little of his story?  We are fortunate to know so much about Walter Haynes, as he was a linen-weaver by occupation.  We would probably have been considered a tradesman, rather than a farmer but most likely raised at least some crops for his family.  Not everyone is so fortunate as to have this much information about a tradesman ancestor, so I'm not complaining.

Walter Haynes was born in 1583 in Sutton, Mandeville, Wiltshire, England.  It's a small village not far from the south central coast of England,  There is a 13th century church there, with the tower built in the 15th century.  Walter's parents, probably John and Alice Lambert Haynes, would have been very familiar with this church and likely Walter was, too.  We don't know when or if Walter became a Puritan because despite considerable information about him, I don't find mention of a church allegiance.

He and his wife Elizabeth left England on April 24, 1638 on board the "Confidence" and arrived in New England in June of that year. Boston and the surrounding small towns would have been new then, and anxious for skilled men such as linen-weavers to arrive and help build the colony.  When Walter arrived, it was with five of their six children, and three servants.  Walter was already 55 years old so it was likely that servants were necessary to do some of the hard work of building a home and a town.

Walter first lived in Watertown, probably while the plans were being completed for the founding of the town known as Sudbury.  He was granted land there in December of 1639, and the first houses or lean tos were constructed then.  Let's hope that he had a house constructed!  The first church was organized in 1640, and it seems likely that Walter was a member if only because he was made a  freeman in 1641 and was frequently a selectman, and also a representative to the General Court.  .  We are also told that Walter Haynes's first house was made into a garrison during King Philip's War (1675-1677), after Walter and his wife had both died.  This indicates that the house he constructed, or had constructed, was substantial.

Elizabeth tied in 1659 and Walter wrote his will at about that same time.  He lived for six more years, dying February 14, 1665.  At his death, he left property in England to the daughter who had stayed in England, and his inventory amounted to 495.18.10, which would not seem insubstantial for a linen weaver.  I'm proud to call him an ancestor.

The line of descent is:

Walter Haynes-Elizabeth
Suffrance Haynes-Nathaniel Treadway
Elizabeth Treadway-Joseph Hayward
Lydia Hayward-John Hanchett
Hannah Hanchett-John Stannard
Libbeus Stannard-Eunice Pomeroy
Libbeus Stannard-Luceba Fay
Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis E Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Allen line; Robert Johnson died 1661, Immigrant

There are a lot of stories about Robert Johnson on line, but not a lot of good, documented information.  I'm not sure but I think it's possible that two Robert Johnson's have been combined and confused, and that makes it hard to determine which Robert Johnson is ours.

The esteemed genealogist Donald Lines Jacobus in his "Families of Ancient New Haven" gives the idea that three brothers came from Hull, Yorkshire, England, and from that others have apparently jumped at the conclusion that Robert is the son of Abraham who was the son of Robert Johnson son of Maurice Johnson, who was an alderman of Stanford in Lincolnshire.  I'm not sure this holds up under scrutiny, but it's possible.

I'll start with what I believe to be correct.  Robert Johnson was in New Haven, Connecticut as early as 1641.  At least two more generations of Johnsons lived in New Haven, and their records seem to be a little more easily traced.  So that's helpful, to show that Robert was an early resident there 

William Richard Cutter says that Robert came to Boston in 1637 from Kingston on Hull, Yorkshire, England, where he was in business.  He brought his wife "Adlin" and four sons, Robert, Thomas, John, and William.  There is some belief that Aldin may have been a second wife, but so far no records have been produced to indicate whether this is so or not.

The first I can really find about Robert is that he was in New Haven, Connecticut in 1641, and that this is where he spent the remainder of his days.  He is believed to have been born sometime between 1603 and 1612, but again, there is no known documentation.  It makes sense based on the ages of his known children to think that it would be closer to 1603, since some of his children are believed to have been born in the early to mid 1620's.

We see him in 1641 in New Haven in a dispute with his brother, John.  He had loaned money to John back in England, and John apparently did not pay him back. the house had been pledged as security, or so Robert thought. In the 1640's he was several times appointed to committees to resolve disputes about crops damaged by cattle and hogs, and to determine how much corn each farmer was growing, that the town would be responsible to buy.  He bought 91/2 acres of land "in the Necke" and also had recorded 62 acres of "upland" he had purchased from Thomas Yale, both in 1646.  He apparently also owned a dwelling or land in "Yorkshire quarter", which was disposed of in his will.

That is pretty much what is known of Robert Johnson.  If he was descended from Maurice Johnson then there is likely more material to be found regarding his ancestry, and hopefully more clues to his occupation, religion, and other mundane matters that bring our ancestors to life.

For now, we will leave him at the end of his life, in 1661, in New Haven.  He chose to live there and had been there at least 20 years, watching his family grow and settle in to the new land they had come to.  I am thankful that men like Robert Johnson were willing to come to America and build this new land!

The line of descent is:

Robert Johnson-Adeline
John Johnson-Hannah Parmalee
Samuel Johnson-unknown
Mary Johnson-Matthew Bellamy
Hannah Bellamy-John Royse
Elizabeth Royse-William McCoy
James McCoy-Nancy Ann Lane
Vincent McCoy-Eleanor Jackson
Nancy McCoy-George Allen
Edward Allen-Edith Knott
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, May 5, 2017

Harshbarger line: Jacob Maag 1703-1767 Immigrant

Every time I write a Harshbarger blog post now, I fear that I've found the last ancestor who is "findable", and it makes me feel like a failure even though I've set the rules for this post, and I could always change them.  The rues are pretty loose.  It needs to be a direct ancestor (for the most part) and it needs to be an immigrant or have another compelling story to tell.  Of course, I could always break those rules, and I may have to, if I want to keep writing about people in the Harshbarger line.

However, I did find "just one more" ancestor who is an immigrant and from everything I can tell, is a Harshbarger.  He follows much of the typical Harshbarger story, which is a good thing because I don't have very many details about him.  Jacob Maag was born in Endhori, Zurich, Switaerland.  He was born or baptized on May 22, 1703.  His parents are given as Heinrich Maag and Klienvre Volkhart, or Jacob Maag and Barbara Surber.  There are good reasons to accept either pair of parents but I have no opinion.  It's enough to know he came from Endhori, which may have been a small town on the southern border with Germany, near Zurich.


Jacob was 42 when he came to America on the  "Loyal Judith" in 1743, according to the ship manifest.  There was also a Henry or Heinrich who was 15, and who is as yet not identified to my satisfaction.  He could be a younger brother, or a son, or nephew.  It is possible that Jacob went back to Switzerland a few years later and brought his family back, as it seems he didn't take the oath until 1746.  Usually the oath was taken as soon as one stepped off the ship.  Or the 1746 date could possibly be a typo. 

Jacob married Anna Surber, as yet not further identified, in Bolach, Zurich Canton in March of 1721.  I've found several conflicting records of their children but they had several, and they seem to have all come to America also.  I found a will that Jacob witnessed on April 17,1748, for Maria Gertraut Seibel, in Philadelphia.  I've not yet determined whether she was a family member or a friend.  I've found a listing for him at the Red Lion Inn in 1758 in Philadelphia and one mile from Germantown in 1761, so it doesn't appear that he left the immediate area, although I've not yet found land records.

He and his wife "Barbara" were sponsors for two of the children of Isaac Wetstein (Whetstone) and Anna Maria's children, and also for other Maags.  These records are in the First Reformed Church of Philadelphia.  This church began as a German Reformed (Calvinist) church but the Maags would have been quite at home there and may well have been German speaking even though their home was in Switzerland. 

I haven't found Jacob's will yet but I've found a reference to it, so I'm anxious to see it  He died May 18, 1767, in Philadelphia.  The fact that he stayed so near to, or in, the city makes it likely that he was a tradesman or merchant of some kind.  I'd sure like to learn his occupation.  The "city" dwelling aspect here is a little different than those of the family who have farmed, and that makes him interesting.  I'd love to learn more of Jacob's story!

The line of descent is:

Jacob Maag-Anna Barbara Surber
Anna Maria Maag-Isaac Whetstone
Jacob Whetstone-Anna Maria Schaeffer
John Whetstone-Maria Magdalena
Catherine Whetstone-Henry Cook
William Cook-Elizabeth Brown
Barbara Cook-William A Withers
William H Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Beeks line: Jason Wheeler 1765-1843, some thoughts

Jason Wheeler is one of the brick walls that is driving me crazy.  Most trees out there give a definite date of birth for him, of October 4, 1765, and an approximate death date of 1843, supposedly in Marion County, Indiana.  I have no reason to dispute those dates except that I can't find documentation for them.  My hope is that the birth date came from a family Bible somewhere, and that someone seeing this will contact me with more information. 

So the only real thing I have to go on is his birthdate, and the fact that the 1850 census shows his widow, Patience, or Palina possibly, as having been born in Vermont.  So the 1791 census (called the 1790 census on Ancestry, but it was taken a year later than the rest of the country) shows a Jason Wheeler in Lunenburgh, Orange County, Vermont.  This is the only Jason Wheeler in the entire 1790 census, so I'm going to assume this is our guy.  I have bits and pieces through land records and census records of the rest of his life.  He and Timothy Wheeler (a possible brother, possibly named for Timothy Nash) went to Chenango County, New York and then Jason moved on to Clermont County, Ohio, before the final move to Marion County, Indiana.  The dates and time frame aren't really part of this discussion, because I want to focus on the early years of Jason Wheeler's life-in fact, his earliest years. 

Specifically, I would like to know who his parents were.  Every tree that ventures a guess seems to think his father is Joseph Wheeler, from Smyrna, Cobb County, Georgia.  If someone has proof of this I sure would be pleased to see it, but on the face of it this doesn't seem likely.  Going from Georgia to New York (where Joseph supposedly died) is not a usual migration path, and none of Jason's known children are named Joseph.

Let's leave that name alone for a while and apply some of the thought processes that family historians rely on.  We know that family tended to stay together, so let's look at the other Wheelers in Orange County, Vermont in 1791.   There are quite a few, but the one closest geographically is George, who is in Guildhall, which is basically right over the line from Lunenburgh.  In fact, the two men probably thought they were living in the same town, until a 1786 survey showed that the border was not where the towns thought they were.  George Wheeler's name is on some petitions in 1786 and 1788, and Jason's name joins his in 1788.  George's 1791 census shows that he still has quite a large family, with a total of 10 people in the household.  As a further note, Lunenburgh and Guildhall were each very small communities, with only 16 heads of households listed in each town in that year.  George and Jason are the only two Wheelers here. 

The only record I've found for a child for George is George Junior, who was born in 1773.  That doesn't mean that this was the only child the family had, though.  I've found that George first went to the area that became Guildhall in 1764, as one of a small group of people that also included Timothy Nash and David Page.  These men settled in the area, with George pitching a tent on the south side of Fiske's pond (which I've not yet located on a map; it could be drained by now).  There is a reference to the Wheeler family being there in the early years but it's possible that at least for the first year or two that the family joined George only for the warmer months. 

So who was George Wheeler?  Well, the record for George Junior's birth shows his parents as George and Experience Wheeler.  George Wheeler and Experience Nash (she seems to be the daughter of the Timothy Nash mentioned above, and Experience Kellogg) were married in Shutesbury, Massachusetts on March 17, 1764.  Jason was born about 19 months later.  If we count back nine months from October 4, 1765 we arrive at early January, 1765, a time when it would make sense for the couple to have been together, if George went back to Shutesbury that first winter.  It's an "if", but it may be a reasonable "if".  And if Jason was born in Vermont in early fall, it makes sense that his birth records would either be non-existent due to the pioneer experience, have been lost, or are somewhere in the archives of either New York or New Hampshire, each of which was claiming this land at the time. There are no further records for George Wheeler in Shutesbury, so he must have gone someplace.

George served in the Revolutionary War under a New Hampshire group, in Captain Bedell's company, and again in 1782 in a group credited to Vermont.  I haven't done a lot of digging on the war story because I'm still trying to piece together a timeline and figure out how much sense this idea makes. 

George is in Lunenburgh, now Essex County, in the 1800 census.  He is about the age of 45, so born earlier than 1755, and still has 5 people living with him, plus a woman over 45 who is presumably his wife, Experience.  After that, I can no longer locate a likely suspect to be George.  He may have died between 1800 and 1810, or he may be living in a child's home, but since we don't know the children to check that is hard to determine at this point.  Jason, meanwhile has moved on to Frankfort, Herkimer, New York in 1800 (again, he's the only Jason I can find in the 1800 census).  He is apparently married (best guess for marriage date is 1788 or so) and has six children living in the household.  One of these children is a son named George, born in 1799. 

I have no smoking gun here.  I haven't found a will for George, or estate papers, land records or pension records.  I don't know what happened to him.  I have geographic location, opportunity, and names (some of Jason's children used the name George, also, which may be for George Wheeler, or could be for George Washington)  This is more than I can find for the supposed Joseph.  

What do my genealogy friends think?  Are George and Experience strong possibilities for Jason's parents?  Where else can I look?  I'd sure love to add these names to the Beeks family tree, and start researching George and Experience!  Please email me: happygenealogydancingATgmailDOTcom, or leave a comment!

Here's Jason's line of descent:

Jason Wheeler-Patience
Lucinda Wheeler-John Simpson Aldridge Jr.
Darlington Aldridge-Leah Folsom
Harvey Aldridge-Margaret Catherine Dunham
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants


Friday, April 28, 2017

Holbrook line: Francis Garrett 1610-1691, Immigrant

Francis Garrett is a fun ancestor because he came to Virginia early, in 1635 in the "Thomas and John".  He apparently was the son of John Garrett, and possibly Bridget unknown, but documentation is lacking.  Some have tied him to the Gerard line that goes back decades is not centuries further, but I wonder if that is just wishful thinking.  I consider that unproven at this point-but wouldn't it be fun if it were true?  Francis's birthplace is listed as Graesend, Kent, England, and there is a John Garrett who died at Deptford, Kent in 1655, who may be Francis's father, but that is as far as I'm willing to go at this point.

So Francis arrived in 1635 in Virginia and may have married Mary in Northumberland County, Virginia in 1649.  His two sons, William and Dennis, were born 1650-1652.  Mary's maiden name is often given as Dennis but there is some question, since a single Mary Dennis gave livestock to her daughter in 1664.  If this was the same Mary, then she couldn't have been married to Francis since approximately 1668.  If there was a divorce and that is why she was single in 1664, no one seems to have found records for that yet.  Since some give the birthplace of their children as Baltimore County, Md, maybe they married and went "north" soon after, and the Mary Dennis who gave livestock to her daughter is someone else entirely. 

I'm still looking for documentation about his life in either Virginia or Maryland.  He seems to have died in 1691, about the time his son Dennis was killed by a neighbor.  (Lots of websites call this a murder but it may have been an accident, manslaughter, in our legal terms, but not murder). I hope Francis wasn't alive to see his son wounded and then die a month later from his injuries. 

I hope to locate land and probate records for Francis.  Perhaps he owned no land and was a merchant, tradesman or sailor, since he's not listed in Peter Wilson Coldham's "Settlers of Maryland 1679-1783.  Or perhaps he acquired land earlier than that.  I will keep looking for these records, because we have two or three lines of descent from this ancestor.  I guess what we know now is that his life was probably different than our New England ancestors, in economics, military history, religion, and government.  That's enough to make me want to learn more! 

The line of descent is

Francis Garrett-Mary possibly Dennis
Dennis Garrett-Barbara Stone
Joanna Garrett-John Cole
Sarah Cole-Charles Gorsuch
Hannah Gorsuch-Thomas Stansbury
Rachel Stansbury-Alexis Lemmon
Sarah Lemmon-Abraham Hetrick
Isaac Hetrick-Elizabeth Black
Mary Alice Hetrick-Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Allen line: Daniel Finch 1560-1641

Actually, Daniel's birth date and location are still unrecorded, but 1560 is a guess based on his son Abraham's birth, again not found, of about 1585.  If we go with these dates, then Daniel was really quite an old man when he came to New England in an unknown ship in the Winthrop fleet in 1630.  He and several other Finches (brother John and son Abraham, and possibly others), settled in Watertown, Massachusetts.  To remind ourselves of how difficult life was in the beginning, in a new colony, there are notes that "Old Man Finch, of Watertown, had his wigwam burnt and all his goods", noted on October of 1630 by Winthrop himself  This would presumably been a first home, put up until a more suitable but still modest home could be found or built.  At least it was shelter from the rain, if not the cold winter, and the loss of his home and all his personal property would have been devastating.

Nevertheless, he persevered.  He is serving on a jury in May of 1631 and was made a Freeman on May 18.  He left Watertown before land grants were first recorded in 1636, and was the constable of Wethersfield, Connecticut in April of 1636.  This indicates he probably arrived there in 1635.  Again, by now he was 75 years old if we are working from the birthdate of 1560 or so.  I have seen speculation that Abraham was born as late as 1610, so genealogists could be off in thinking that Daniel was as old as I've represented him here.  Perhaps he was born as late as 1585-he was still 50 when he went to Wethersfield and probably feeling his age, whatever it was.

He stayed in Wethersfield only a few years and then moved on with friends to found Stamford in 1641, and finally to Fairfield, Connecticut.  There he married widow Elizabeth Thompson, who died by 1658, and later married Widow Mary Dickerson.  They had a son named Nathaniel.  Daniel died in Fairfield in March 1666/67, "aged about 81"

It looks like there needs to be more done on this Finch family.  My dates don't correspond with the dates I've used in this blog post.  Apparently I have one too many Finch generations, but I haven't figured out which one is incorrect.  I am going to put the line of descent as I have it in my tree, knowing it may be wrong and hoping a reader will be able to correct me, with documentation that seems to be lacking in what I've found so far.  I'm starting to wonder whether I see the hand of Gustave Anjou or one of his sort in this! 

The line of descent is (or might be)

Daniel Finch-first wife
Abraham Finch-Deborah Moulton
John Finch-Hannah Marsh
John Finch-Hester Davis
John Finch-Sarah
Nathaniel Finch-Hannah Scofield
Jesse Finch-Hannah
Hannah Finch-John Bell
Hannah Bell-Thomas Knott
John Wilson Knott-Harriet Starr
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants






Friday, April 21, 2017

Harshbarger line: Yost Gingrich, probably ours

I say probably because I'm not100% convinced that the Burkholder tree I've been working on is correct.  And Yost (Josef, Joseph) comes from that tree.  His daughter Maria or Mary married Adam Burkholder, and they had several children together.  Here's the problem:  Joseph Burkholder was born in 1783.  His father, Adam, who married Maria or Mary was born in about 1728.  I've seen all sorts of dates for Maria's but averaging them out, I'm guessing about 1745.  Now, it wouldn't be impossible for a woman of that age to have a son of Joseph's age (giving birth at somewhere around age 40), but there's another problem.  Joseph Burkholder doesn't seem to be mentioned in his supposed father's (1728-1800) will, unless I'm missing something.

There could be an explanation for the will omission, but since Joseph was only 17 at the time of Adam's death, I'm  wondering if we are actually missing a generation here, and it was one or another of Adam's sons who was actually Joseph's father.  Regardless, I'm going to post what little I've learned about Yost because I think that based on names and location, Yost is probably the great grandfather, if not the grandfather, of Joseph Burkholder.  Obviously, more work needs to be done on this line.

Yost Gingrich is variously reported as having been born in "Europe", "Germany" or "Bern Canton, Switzerland."  My guess is that if he wasn't from Switzerland, then his parents were, because there is every indication that this was a Mennonite family, and many if not most Mennonites can be traced back to Switzerland.  The specific locality in one tree is given as "Konsfinger, Bern, Switzerland" and he would have been born sometime about 1720 or so.  Apparently the actual record hasn't been located yet, or else his parents, Johannes and Anna Sherk Gingrich, were living under the radar of the state church, which is also possible. 

Yost is the only child I'm aware of.  He married Anna Huber, daughter of Jacob and Anna Leininger Huber, in about 1740 in Seftigen, Bern, Switzerland.  Again, documents seem to be lacking or at least not yet known to me.  We don't know for sure when Yost came to America because some trees show that his children were born in Germany (or Switzerland) and some show them as being born here.  He and Anna did have at least 8 children, though, with birth dates generally given in the 1740s and 1750s.

When Yost came to America, he apparently settled in that part of Lancaster County that would later become Amwell Township, Lebanon County, Pa.  He purchased land from and beside Michael Baughman, and by 1771 was taxed for 240 acres, a mill (probably a grist mill), four horses and four cows.  In roughly 25 years, he had done rather well for himself and his family.  He died on or shortly before March 5, 1776 and is probably buried on the family farm.  Maria outlived him by many years and died in 1813 in probably Franklin County, Pennsylvania. 

This isn't much to go on, especially since I'm not sure of the exact relationship between Joseph Burkholder and Yost Gingrich.  However, it is another tie in to Bern Canton, Switzerland, another story of Mennonite trials and blessings, and another reason to honor the efforts of these ancestors to come to America to build a new life.  I hope to update this post when I've figured out the correct relationship, so for now consider this a work in progress. 

The line of descent would be

Yost Gingrich-Anna Huber
Maria Gingrich-Adam Burkholder
possibly another Burkholder generation
Joseph Burkholder-Elizabeth Miller
Barbara Burkholder-Benjamin Buchtel
Fannie Buchtel-Adam Kemery
Della Kemery-William A Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Beeks line: "Uncle" George Botkin, Civil War veteran

I don't usually write about people who aren't direct ancestors, but I make an exception if I find a truly interesting story.  This one qualifies, in my opinion. 

George Botkin was born February 9, 1831 in Ohio, probably Shelby County although I haven't found records yet.  His parents were George and Elizabeth Featheringill Botkin.  He was the youngest of at least 10 children, and George Sr died in 1832, when George was just a baby.  He came with his mother and other Botkin family members (including his sister, Charity Botkin who married Jackson Wise) to southern Wabash county. 

In fact, George actually settled in Pleasant Township, Grant County, where he married Mary Jane McClure in 1858.  By the 1860 census, there were two children, George W, who was 3, and Robert, who was 1.There was also a person named Charly Winters, who was 22, a laborer, and apparently an Indian.  The census is very faint and hard to read for this township, but I think it says "Indian" in the "race" column; I could be wrong about that. 

George's life changed dramatically when the Civil War broke out.  He was one of those brave men who enlisted for duty..  On August 16, 1862 he enlisted in the 101st Indiana Infantry Regiment at Wabash, Indiana, and was assigned to company F.  This was part of the Army of the Ohio in 1862, but in 1863, it became attached to the Army of the Cumberland.  One of their first assignments was in the Defense of Cincinnati, when it appeared that there might be an invasion by the Confederates. 

It may have been about this time that George saw another, equally interesting, opportunity.  He transferred to a group known as the "Mississippi Marine Brigade", a unit of the army command operating under the direction of the U.S. Navy.  It consisted of artillery, cavalry, and infantry, and a fleet of boats for transportation.  This is a little known story of the Civil War, probably because few records have survived.  The brigade participated in the Vicksburg Campaign, reaching the area above Vicksburg on May 29, 1863.  Some of the unit engaged in various skirmishes while others built a fort directly across the Mississippi River from Vicksburg, and then occupied it.  They were instrumental in helping bring the siege, or campaign, to a  successful conclusion. 

I've not yet learned more of their history, or what they did during the next two years of the war.  Because this was a loose group and control shifted back and forth between the Navy and the Army, their records are poorly kept.  I've not yet found a discharge date for George, or whether or not he was wounded, or any hint of a pension record.  I have found someone by his name who ended up in a soldier's home in Ohio, but I'm not convinced this is our George.  There was another George in the Civil War from Ohio, and this is more likely to be the George referred to in the soldier's home.

The only record I've found of George for sure was in the 1880 census in Montgomery County, Kansas, where he is listed with Mary Jane, and Robert, a name undeciphered, and James.  There is also a comment that George W (son) is not living at home.  After that, I can find nothing. 

However, what we do know of George and his life is fascinating.  Who knew that a Beeks ancestor was involved in the Civil War, let alone part of such a unique unit?  I would love to hear his stories, and to find out what became of him.  He's another relative to honor for his service to our country, and it's neat to find him in the Beeks family line.

I certainly want to thank T.J. Hunnicutt at the Wabash Historical Museum, for sending me the clues that led me on a search of George's service, and of his life.  I would not have stumbled on this story without him!



Friday, April 14, 2017

Holbrook line: Francis Sprague, Immigrant of 1623

Goodness!  It's hard to imagine what the Saints, and even the Sinners, thought when Francis Sprague arrived at Plymouth Colony in 1623.  He and at least two of his family arrived on the ship Anne.  Francis was still a young man, having been born sometime in the 1590's, and he was evidently a free spirit.  Nevertheless, he probably had to sign something that said he would abide by the rules of the Colony, even though he was not of their (or, probably, any) religious persuasion.  Let's just say he was likely one of those people who thought the laws didn't apply to him  That makes him a fun ancestor to write about. 

We don't know much about his family, although his parents are frequently given as Edward Sprague and Christiana or Margaret Holland.  This couple was from Dorset, England but I am not aware of any documentation that shows Francis as a son of theirs.  Still, it may be true.

There is also considerable confusion about his first wife, and whether or not she accompanied him to New England.  Her name is now believed to be Lydia, possibly Archer, and she may have been an interesting person herself.  If she encouraged Francis to come to America, perhaps she lived to regret that encouragement, or perhaps life for the Spragues in England was so difficult that living on the frontier was not harder, just different.  Certainly the family had cause to wonder whether they had done the right thing when the left the ship "Anne" in 1623 and saw the condition of the settlers who had been at Plymouth Colony for two or three years.  However, they didn't return to the ship but stayed to make their new home in the New World.

Because Francis was here in 1623, he received land in the division of 1623 and was part of the next  division of land and cattle in 1627, receiving 15 acres of land plus cattle, sheep, and goats.  About this time he also made an agreement with William Bradford to become a recognized fur trader.  This job would not have been easy, as it meant going into lands occupied by the natives and taking pelts and animals that the natives had relied on for years.  It was what we would consider a high risk occupation. 

By 1637, a few years after his second marriage, Francis was ready to settle down a little more, and he was approved by the courts to become an innkeeper.  Innkeeper is really a misnomer, for the main attraction of his establishment seems to have been liquor, although "hard" liquor was not officially permitted. This was in Duxbury, a newer settlement of the Colony, .He joined the militia under Captain Myles Standish (another Holbrook ancestor) in 1638.  He was cited by the courts several times through the years for various infractions regarding dispensing of liquor, and appears to have had his license suspended for as long as 6 years, from 1640-1646. He was also made a freeman in 1637, and later was a constable for the town.

The tavern business was good to him for he was able to make other real estate investments, and was regarded as rather wealthy and somewhat respectable when he died in 1676.  By then, he had deeded much of his land to his son John.  Considering the hardships he faced and lived through, he had quite a long life.  He's an interesting addition to the family. 

The line of descent is:

Francis Sprague-Lydia
Mercy Sprague-William Tubbs
Samuel Tubbs-Mary Willey
Mercy Tubbs-John Crocker
Rachel Crocker-Kingland Comstock
Rachel Comstock-John Eames
John Eames-Elizabeth Longbottom
Hannah Eames-James Lamphire
Susan Lamphire-Joseph Eddy
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Allen line: Thomas Bird 1593-1662, Immigrant

The dates I've used in the title of this are not ones I necessarily put much credence in.  Most sources say Thomas was born about 1600 in England, and that he died in 1662 in Hartford, Connecticut.  I've been able to find a few bits and pieces of information about Thomas but not nearly as much as I'd like, and some of those bits and pieces don't necessarily belong to this man.  I've tried to weed out the obviously wrong ones. 

So, Thomas was born in England and died in Hartford, Connecticut.  There is a Thomas Bird who was baptized November 5, 1593 in St Andrew Parish, Enfield Borough, London, England. He was the child of Robert and (from a different, undocumented source) possibly Amy.  This may be our Thomas although 1593 is several years away from "about 1600".  The jury is still out, as far as I'm concerned, as other researchers feel strongly that he came from the area of Braintree, Essex. We don't have birth dates for the children (Hannah, James, Joseph, Mary) but based on their marriage dates, they were probably born in the 1620's, so Thomas's first marriage would have taken place there, too.  I've seen various names for this first wife put forth but they are all just speculation at this point.  We do know he married Mary Belden as a subsequent wife, about 1660, in Hartford, Ct.. 

Thomas and his family were in Hartford by 1639, when he was granted land there.  He also purchased land from Thomas Judd in 1644.  There is apparently no mention of him in church records, but it is likely he was a Puritan, one who possibly stayed out of trouble with both the church and the courts.  His name is notable more for the lack of records than for the records currently available. 

We don't know when his wife died, but Thomas remarried just about two years before his own death, which was probably in July of 1662.  His inventory was presented on August 10, 1662 and showed a total estate of 149 -05-10.  This was not a large estate but it wasn't poverty level.  I'm still looking to find more about the inventory.  Son Joseph was left the dwelling place and land, but I don't know if that was all of the land or just the land the dwelling was on.  I also don't know if there was more than one piece of land at the time of Thomas's death. 

As is often the case, there is much not known about this immigrant ancestor, who by most standards was not an "illustrious" man.  But he was here, he supported the culture of the area, he probably paid his taxes and tithes, and probably served in the military, and he supported his family.  Those were the things that the many "ordinary" men did, and we can be proud of each of his actions.  I'd certainly like to learn more about him!

The line of descent is:

Thomas Bird-unknown first wife
James Bird-Lydia Steele
Rebecca Bird-Samuel Lamb
Samuel Lamb-Martha Stebbins
Eunice Lamb-Martin Root
Martin Root Jr-Ruth Noble
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

Friday, April 7, 2017

Harshbarger line: Michael Birkle Immigrant, most likely

I know very little about Michael but he has a name and dates, and seems to have come to America so I'll write just a paragraph or two about him.  He is in the Harshbarger line and I'm coming to a close on Harshbarger ancestors unless I break down another brick wall at some point. 

Michael Birkle was born in 1676 in Hinterzarten, Breisgau-Hockschwarzwald, Baden, Germany.  This is in the southwest part of Germany, in what is known as the Black Forest, and is now an attraction for ski-jumpers.  In 1676, though, the thing that would be unusual in family history is that this was apparently a Catholic village, for Michael and his family were Catholics.  (Usually a village was either Catholic or Protestant, depending on the preference of the ruler of the time).  Michael's parents were Jacob and Maria Imberi Birkle. 

We know that on November 22, 1699, he married Anna Maria Willmann, daughter of Anton and Catharine Willmann.  They had about a dozen children: Franciska, Johan Jacob, Sgatha, Joseph, Catharina, Mathias, Gertrud, Christina, Maria Magdalena, Barbara, Michael, and possibly Maria (it's not clear whether Maria and Maria Magdalena could be the same person).  It looks like the last child was born in 1724, and so this would have been a busy household.  Records show that Michael Birkle came to the: New World, arriving on September 29, 1733 in Philadelphia aboard the ship "Mary". 

From there, it gets confusing.  Everyone agrees that he died on December 5, 1753 but some say he died in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania and some say he died in Hinterzarten.  So was it Michael the younger, born in 1702 who came to America, and not Michael Senior?  Or did our Michael come, and then return to his native village in his old age?  Were death records kept in both countries, with the record in Germany kept up by a priest even if the death occurred elsewhere?  I'm also showing that Maria Magdalena married in 1738 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and his wife Maria died in Lebanon County in 1760, which if true would tend to make me think Michael also died here..  Incidentally, the Lebanon County would be a modern term, for it wasn't formed until 1813.  Records of the time would all have shown Lancaster County as their residence.  Since Maria Magdalena arrived in 1733, presumably with her parents, I'm leaning more toward the "they never left" idea.

I'll keep looking for records in Pennsylvania that give evidence of Michael's life here, because there may be more to the story than I've been able to find so far.  In the meantime, we can think about the family religion and when it might have changed in the family.   

The line of descent is:

Michael Birkle-Anna Maria Willmann
Maria Magdalena Birkle-Andreas Kraemer
Daniel Kramer-Anna Maria Geise
Anna Maria Kramer-Andrew Kepler
Mary Kepler-George Harshbarger
Lewis Harshbarger-Catherine Mentzer
Emmanuel Harshbarger-Clara Ellen Harter
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants
 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Beeks line: Elizabeth Harshbarger Phillips Wise Williams

What's a Harshbarger name doing in the Beeks family tree, one might reasonably ask?  After all, this family (descendants of my husband and his siblings) already have a line that goes back to the late 15th century in Bern Canton, Switzerland.  Why would I write about a Harshbarger, under the Beeks heading?  It's simple, really.

Elizabeth Harshbarger was the wife of Jacob Wise, who was the father of Jackson Wise, so she belongs in the Beeks family.  Her family has been traced all the way back to Bern Canton, Switzerland, also, to some of the same villages as the Harshbarger line.  Here's the confusing thing.  So far, I have not been able to make a connection between the two lines.  Maybe the connection is far back in the murkiest of times, but surely there is a connection somewhere.  Those villages were quite small and the choice of spouses was just not that large!

What we know of Elizabeth is that she was one of those true pioneer women who helped the men build this country.  Elizabeth's life story is not as dramatic as some, but she had and apparently survived three husbands, so she had to make many adjustments in her life.  Also she lived in several different locations, from Virginia (now West Virginia) to two or three places in Ohio to possibly Indiana. 

Elizabeth was born in 1790 to Jacob and Mary Pence (Bentz) Harshbarger.  She had one brother, Henry, who was born about 1789.   Her mother apparently died early, although I have not yet searched for divorce records.  Jacob married again later to Mary Magdalene Koenig and later yet to Barbara Bushong.  There were several more children born but I'm not sure which children belonged to which mother.  Regardless, Elizabeth, as the oldest daughter, would have been expected to help care for the younger children, until she herself married at the age of 18, in Culpeper County, Virginia to George Phillips.  She and George had four children together. 

I'm not sure when the Phillips family moved to Ohio because the next we hear of Elizabeth she is a widow, with Jacob Wise being appointed the guardian for the children.  Jacob and Elizabeth were married July 29, 1817 in Montgomery County, Ohio. Jacob died about 1829, after apparently having only one child, Jackson.  Elizabeth is found in the 1830 census for Bath Township, Greene County, Ohio with just herself and a male aged 10-14 (probably Jackson).  I don't know what had happened to the Phillips children.

She remarried in 1832 to Thomas Williams, also in Bath township, Greene County, Ohio. 
I have no record that she had children with him, but she would have been 42 years old, so there may or may not have been children. 

After that, I lose track of Elizabeth.  There are several Thomas and Elizabeth Williams couples in the 1850 census but nothing that makes sense in term of ages and locations.  I need to keep searching to learn what happened to Elizabeth.  I have seen a report on an online tree that she died in 1866 in Lafayette Township, Allen County, Indiana but I have yet to follow up on that report.  I would certainly like to learn more about her later life.  If she did die in 1866 and it was in Allen County, Indiana then perhaps her son Jackson, in Wabash County, was able to see her in her last years.  It's nice to think that happened, but even if I locate death records for her, we're unlikely to know whether she and Jackson stayed in touch. 

I would love to write more about this woman but first I have to learn more.  For some reason, she's one of those who have captured my interest, and I want to learn more about her.  If someone out there knows more about Elizabeth, or can correct something I've written, I'd sure love to hear from you. 

The line of descent is:

Jacob Wise-Elizabeth Harshbarger
Jackson Wise-Charity Botkin
Mary Wise-William Beeks
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Friday, March 31, 2017

Holbrook Line: Richard Rockwood 1602-1660 Immigrant

Richard Rocket or Rockwood came to America in or before 1633, but Robert Charles Anderson has not included him as a featured immigrant in his Great Migration series.  I don't know why he has been missed, but fortunately there are other sources that help tell his story.  It's just that Anderson would have done a superb job, and he missed that opportunity. 

Richard was born in 1602 in Weymouth, Dorset, England.  His parents were Richard and Elizabeth (maiden name not known) Rockwood.  Weymouth is a town on the south coast of England, and has always had a port since is was founded in the middle of the 13th century.  So much of the townspeople would have either worked as merchants or in the maritime trade itself.  Probably there were fishing fleets that sailed from here as well.  Richard, therefore, would have lived in a town that was very different from the hometowns of some of our other ancestors, who either lived in a large city or in a small inland village. 

It's believed that Richard sailed to Massachusetts in 1633, when he was given land in Dorchester.  He first married an unknown wife in 1628, and then married Agnes Lovell, daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Dunckley Lovell in 1636/37.  She died in 1643, after giving birth to John Rockwood and possibly one other child.  Robert then married Ann as yet not identified, but they apparently had not children together. 

By 1641 it appears that the Richard and Agnes and their children were living in Braintree, where they lived out their lives.  Agnes died in 1643 in Braintree and Richard died July 6, 1660 in Dorchester,  with third wife Ann surviving. 

We don't know Richard's occupation, or his religion, and although there seems to be a will and an appraisal or inventory I have not yet located it. I do find notes that the estate was balued at slightly over 38 pounds, but I don't know whether or not that included his land, and I don't know how much land he owned when he died.  At one time, he had 40 acres in Dorchester. 

Richard is the ancestor of President James Garfield, so this President is also our distant cousin. 

The line of descent is:

Richard Rockwood-Agnes Lovell
John Rockwood-Joanna Ford
Joseph Rockwood-Mary Hayward
John Rockwood-Deborah Thayer
Joseph Rockwood-Alice Thompson
Levi Rockwood-Deborah Lazell
Susanna Rockwood-Nahum Holbrook
Joseph Rockwood Holbrook-Mary Elizabeth Whittemore
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Allen line: John Root 1608-1684, Immigrant

Although we know quite a bit about John Root, there are two big questions I have after going through all the material I can find about him.  The first is his origin.  His gravestone, which I think is old but probably not dating back to 1684, states that he was a "Descendant of the Huguenots Routtes who fled from France to England."  I've seen statements that this headstone was actually put up as late as 1880, and that the statement should be discounted because it was an American who had it installed. Being an American doesn't necessarily make it wrong, of course, and there is a Thomas Routte/Roote/Root who is accepted by the National Huguenot Society as being an ancestor.  I don't know how much credibility to apply to this statement except that it does seem likely that at some point the Routte family came to England.

The second mystery about John is his parents.  They are given everywhere as John Roote and Mary Ann Russell or Rushall.  However, we are also told that John was raised by a wealthy uncle, and looking at the family tree, it appears that this couple might fit that description.  I can't find documentation as to his birth or to the death of these "parents" so I'm not clear on exactly who John is.  However, he was born February 26,1608 in Badby, Northamptonshire, England.  Supposedly the uncle who raised him was pressing John to go into the Parliamentary Army under Cromwell, and our John was not willing to do that, so he came to America as a Puritan and settled in Farmington, Connecticut in 1640. 

He married Mary Kilbourne, most likely after arriving in Farmington but possibly in England.  Their first known child was born in 1642 in Farmington, so if they met soon after John's arrival, possibly in church, then a marriage perhaps in 1641 and a child born a year later would make sense. 

John was a weaver as well as a farmer.  We know that he and his wife were members of the church in Farmington, that John served on several juries at Hartford, and that he was apparently a respected man of his town.  We are fortunate that copies of his estate are still available.  At his death, it was valued at 819 pounds.  Interestingly, it includes a list of the 32 books in his library, most of which were religious.  There was one "law book" and it's not clear what a couple of the other books were, but most had titles like "Israel's Safety" or "door of Salvation."  His inventory also included a long gun, a musket, a carbine, a backsword and belt, and various equipment needed to support these weapons.  It is likely that he was part of the "military train" for much of his life, but since he lived until 1684, when he would have been 76 years old, he had probably been excused from military service some years earlier.  He was have been 67 or 68 when King Philip's War broke out, so likely stayed home to help guard the women and children when the men of the town were called out. 

John died in August of 1684 and his wife Mary died in 1697.  Among his descendants, so our cousins, are President Rutherford B. Hayes, Louisa May Alcott (yes!  I knew I liked her!), Nancy Davis Reagan, Bess Wallace Truman, and Clint Eastwood.  He contributed much to American's history, besides settling in Connecticut and helping make a town out of the wilderness.

Our line of descent is:

John Root-Mary Kilbourne
John Root Mary Ashley
Samuel Root-Mary Gunn
Martin Root-Eunice Lamb
Martin Root-Ruth Noble
Ruth Root-Samuel Falley
Clarissa Falley-John Havens Starr
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

A second line is the same for the first two generations, and then is:

John Root-Sarah Stebbins
Sarah Root-Thomas Noble
Stephen Noble-Ruth Church
Ruth Noble-Martin Root
and so on.  Ruth Noble and Martin Root were second cousins, if I have this figured right.  So we're doubly related to all those famous people I mentioned! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Harshbarger line: Jacob Kobel, 1682-1731 Immigrant

I'm once again coming to the end of known Harshbarger line immigrants to write about, so it was a thrill to find one who has a well-known history.  Actually, it's better known than I am going to write about, because there are some articles in genealogy journals that I've not yet been able to consult.  So this will be an incomplete sketch.  If the articles tell me more that I think the family would want to know about, I'll do an update.  But the story as I already know is one of courage and hard work and all the things we admire in our ancestors. 

Jacob Kobel was born in 1682 in Sinsheim, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, the son of Johann George and Eva Sonsst Kobel.  He had about 7 brothers and two half-brothers, so it was a large family.  He married Anna Maria Egli in 1708 in Hofferheim, Baden-Wuerttemburg, Germany.  Probably for economic reasons (his father had to provide a living for all those children!), Jacob and Maria left Germany when Queen Anne of England signaled her willingness to help the hopeful immigrants get to the New World, where they would work to build a colony.  Or did she?  Perhaps it was an offhand comment that somehow made it's way to Germany, but the arrivals in London thought they were on their way to the New World, where the queen was granting them free land.  Such was not the case. 

While the German immigrants arrived in greater and greater number, the English didn't know what to do with them.  Some found menial jobs, or joined the English army.  But most stayed on, jobless and without hope as they realized there was no free transportation or free land in their future. They were there for several months, if not longer, while funds were found to send them onward.  Meanwhile, these people lived in tents in a dismal part of London.  Even in summer, England is not always warm and they were there during the winter months, too, with little food or fuel to survive on.  I can't imagine spending a London winter living in a tent!  Finally, the group was so large that the Queen had to move them on, and the immigrants were sent to New York.

Most of them were indentured and worked around Schoharie, NY for the first years they were in America.  Once they had paid back their passage money by serving their indentureship, conditions didn't improve.  Their masters refused to free them, or to give them the money, tools, or clothes they were entitled to.  Finally, groups of Germans turned New Yorkers left the Schoharie area, fearing they were being followed all the way, and then those who survived the journey settled mostly in Tulpehocken, Berks County, Pennsylvania.

There, with the few things they had been able to bring with them, they settled, finally free.  It's not clear whether they were able to purchase land right away or whether they settled where they could and then paid for the land later, when crops and trapping allowed them to accumulate the funds to buy their own land.  Jacob was a miller, having built mills in the Schoharie area and also in the area of Womelsdorf, Pa., so he may have had a cash flow sooner than some of the other settlers.   

However, it was a hard life even after it got better, and Jacob lived only until 1731.  He and Maria had at least 8 children, with the first known child being born in 1713 and the last in 1726.  There may be other children, born before 1713 or after 1726, that we don't know of, perhaps because they didn't survive.  Maria, however, was a survivor and lived until 1774.  She had the misfortune to see her son Henry and most of his family massacred by Indians at the beginning of the French and Indian Wars, in 1755. (Although Jacob and Maria were Lutherans, Henry had married a Mennonite woman and they were pacifists who believed they were on good terms with the native Americans.  The surviving children became Lutherans as young adults.) 

We just can't begin to imagine everything that Jacob and Maria endured in their efforts to improve their lot and raise their family in America.  Take pride in this heritage!. 

I'm looking forward to finding the books and articles I have printed out for my next trip to the Allen County Public Library, and will do an update if I find more of interest. 

The line of descent is:

Jacob Kobel-Anna Maria Egli
Maria Barbara Kobel-Johann Jacob Schaeffer
Anna Maria Schaeffer-Jacob Whetstone
John Whetstone-Magdalena
Catherine Whetstone-Henry Cook or Koch
William Cook-Elizabeth Brown
Barbara Cook-William A Withers
William H Withers-Della Kemery
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beeks line: David Jones 1653-1707, Immigrant

It's possible that I should be writing about Samuel Jones, who may or may not be David's father, and who may or may not have emigrated from Wales to Pennsylvania.  However, I can find a bit of documentation for David and I find nothing for Samuel, so at this point we'll write what we can about David. 

David was born in 1653 in either Pembrokeshire or Carmarthenshire, Wales.  We know nothing at all of his early life until he shows up in 1682 in Langamin, Carmarthen(shire) Wales, marrying Susanna Howell at the Monthly Meeting of Pembroke.  This gives us our first clue-he was a Quaker, and so that may explain some of why he can't be found earlier.  Quakers left few footprints, unless they were jailed for their faith.  So far, records haven't been found that would indicate this.  So he probably lived a very quiet life, and either paid his taxes when due, as some Quakers did, or possibly owed no taxes. He married Susanna Howell, whose parents are believed to be Morgan Howell and Elizabeth Adams, on April 6, 1682.  There are 22 names signed as witnesses on the marriage record, including Saara Jones, who may be a relative, and three people with the last name of Howell. 

Soon after their marriage, David and Susanna came to America, arriving in Pennsylvania in 1682, so probably part of the William Penn group.  Here they found frontier territory to settle, and it appears that they settled in what became Chester County, in what was later termed the "Welsh Tracts".  He and Susanna had at least three children-Susanna, Elizabeth, and Alice.  That is all we know of him until his death 04 Eleventh, 1707 (Quaker usage), or January 4, 1707, as we would know it.  This is noted in the Chester Monthly meeting, and his religion is indicated as "Orthodox" which doesn't seem to have much meaning as applied to this time period in history. 

It appears that his wife Susanna died within just a couple of months of David's death.  Was there an epidemic, or were these two fifty somethings just worn out?  I've seen no hints that there were problems with the native Americans, as the early Quakers did all in their power to treat them peacefully. 

Of course there is so much more we'd like to know.  David undoubtedly did some farming, but was this his principal occupation?  Was he a fur trader, or a merchant of some kind?  With no known sons, it would have been hard to expand his landholdings, if he even owned land.  Did his daughters work for others in order to help support the family, or was David doing well enough by the time they were born that they didn't need to do that?  I'd like to know what land he held, if any, and of course I'd love to know about his life in Wales, and his family further back. 

The line of descent is:

David Jones-Susanna Howell
Elizabeth Jones-Isaac Malin
Isaac Malin-Lydia Booth
Sarah Malin-David Ruble
Hannah Ruble-Samuel Dunham
Jacob Dunham-Catherine Goodnight
Samuel G Dunham-Eliza Reese
Margaret Catherine Dunham-Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge-Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants


Friday, March 17, 2017

Holbrook line: William Hawkins 1609-1699 Immigrant

For a man who lived such a long life, he sure seems to have left few records behind.  Even his place of birth is something of a mystery.  It is listed as "Exon, Glouer, Devon, England" on several genealogy sites.  I think this comes from a passenger ship listing, and the "Glouer" should actually be read "glover", as his occupation, when he left England for New England in 1634. If this is true, then perhaps the birth year came from that same list, and may be off by a year or two. I've also seen one mention that he was of Exmouth, England, which is a very different place than the only Exon I've been able to find. So, he may have been born near the castle of Exon, or in the village of Exmouth, but I've not found real documentation for either location  Perhaps someone with knowledge of this will be able to enlighten me on this subject!

We do know that he and his future wife, Margaret Harwood, were on the same ship as they sailed from England to St Christophe in the Caribbean and then north to -where?  Most sites give Providence, Rhode Island but they must have been somewhere else first because Providence wasn't founded until 1635-36, when Roger Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  So they would have gone either to Connecticut or to Boston, most likely.  I'd sure like to know what they were doing for those three or four years before they showed up in Providence in 1638!  How did they meet or hear of Roger Williams? Why did they choose to join his settlement/colony?  Oh, the questions! 

William married Margaret Harwood, probably not long after their arrival in Providence, and he was granted land in December of 1638.  This appears to be in what later became Smithfield.  His name is on the list of those who signed a compact in 1640, agreeing on the basic rules of government, and he purchased more land in 1645.  Ten years later, he was made a freeman.  He was granted more land on the condition that he cut the meadow and build a house and live there within three years, which he did .  When the troubles came with King Philip's War, he was one of the few men who stayed in Rhode Island, not leaving for a safer place, although we are not told what his family did.  (Family included at least five children, born between 1641 and 1649).  Since that was the end of the child bearing, did Margaret die about this time?  I find no mention of her death.

He apparently wrote his will in 1699, at that time granting freedom to his slave Jack, but not for another 25 years.  Still, it was better treatment than most slaves received!  Some think a reference in 1702/03 to William Hawkins Sr. refers to this William.  It could just as well be his son William, who might now be a "Senior" as there were likely grandchildren of our William who were named after him.  In 1698, his rateable estate included 2 oxen, 4 steers, 6 cows, 3 heifers, a horse, 2 mares, 6 acres Indian corn, 3 acres rye, 10 acres meadow and 10 acres pasture, without mentioning his dwelling. 

I found no reference to his religion, to his occupation (glover? in the wilds of Rhode Island?), or to any role he might have played in government.  Those are questions I would like to answer, one way or another.  But I did find enough to show that he is another in a long line of extraordinary and normal folks, probably not far up the economic ladder, who came to America and made it what it is today.


Our line of descent is:

William Hawkins-Margaret Harwood
John Hawkins-Sarah Daniels
Mary Hawkins-Hosanna Brown
Othniel Brown-Deborah Brown
Sarah Brown-Enos Eddy
Enos Eddy-Deborah Paine
Joseph Brown Eddy-Susan Lamphire
Susan Eddy-Hiram Stanard
Louis Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Allen line: Thomas Starr 1565-1640 Immigrant

How hard can it be to write about the very first ancestor I ever heard about, back when I was a pre-teen or early teen-ager?  A family genealogist, unidentified, had researched the Starr family and an aunt gave us a copy of her discoveries as a Christmas gift.  (Although, now I wonder how much of it was her work and how much was a compilation; still, it was and is precious to us). 

But when I actually sat down to write about him, there is much less information than I expected to find, and some of it is contradictory, as is often the case.  His father was Thomas, his son was Thomas, and hehad grandsons named Thomas, so it's easy to see how facts could be a little confusing, and confused. 

Thomas Starr was born about 1565 in New Romney, Kent, England.  His father was Thomas Starr who served as mayor of New Romney for a short period of time, and it appears that his mother's name was Agnes.  Our Thomas was a mercer, a dealer in textile goods, generally silks, velvets, and fine materials.  He would have supplied the well-to-do of the towns of Cranbrook and Ashford, which are the two towns where most of his children were baptized.  It is likely that Thomas and his wife Susan or Susannah made the first move, from New Romeny to Cranbrook, because of economic reasons.  They may have moved a second time because they had become Puritans, and Ashford was a center for people with these beliefs.

Thomas and Susan gave names to their children that are on trivia games and lists of "amazing" names, but they surely didn't intend to give their children a fleeting moment of fame.  They were names chosen because they meant something to the family, even if we are a bit puzzled by some of them now.  Their children were Jehosaphet, Comfort, Nostrength, Moregift, William, Mercy, Suretrust, Standwell, Judith, Truth-Shall-Prevail, Joyfulle (also seen as Joyfoole), Constant, and Beloved.  I hope someone called them "Bub" or "Sis"!  It does give us a glimpse into the mindset of Thomas, though. 

His son Comfort, a surgeon, seems to have been the first of the family to make the trip to Massachusetts, in 1637, and his parents are believed to have come in 1637, although I've seen one guesstimate as 1633.  At any rate,  it was still early in the history of the colony.  Thomas would have been somewhere between 68 and 72 years of age, so perhaps he expected more of his family to come also, or maybe the religious pressures in England were just beginning to be more than he could deal with. 

We know little of his life in Boston except that he is believed to have died in Dorchester in late 1639 or early 1640.  His estate in New England was small, about 69 pounds, but he still owned lands and buildings in England which helped his family live more comfortably than some. 

We have two lines of descent from Thomas:

Thomas Starr-Agnes
Comfort Starr-Elizabeth Watts
Thomas Starr-Rachel Harris
Samuel Starr-Hannah Brewster
Thomas Starr-Mercy Morgan
Mary Starr-John Chester
Thomas Chester-Sarah Eldridge
Bathsheba Chester-Jonathan Havens
Betsy Havens-John Starr
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants

The second line is the same through Thomas Starr and Mary or Mercy Morgan.  Then it's
Thomas Starr-Jerusha Street
John Starr Mary Sharp
John Starr-Betsy Havens
and continues on from there.  So John and Betsy would have been distant cousins.







Friday, March 10, 2017

Harshbarger line: John Buchtel 1733-1809

We are fortunate to have a good amount of information about John.  He is also known as Johannes, but it seems that most of the records about him refer to him as John.  Henry Meyer in volume 8 of the Pennsylvania-German magazine does a wonderful job of telling John's story, making it easy for us to imagine him and proud for us to honor him.  I recommend that you get a copy of the magazine (it's on Google, at no cost) in order to get a full sense of the man and his family.  This is necessarily shortened. 

John was born in late 1732 or early 1733 in Linsenhofen, Wuerttemburg, Germany.  This alone makes him different from many of our ancestors, because he wasn't Swiss and may not have suffered religious persecution.  He and his family were Lutheran,  Well, actually he may have been a bit of a free thinker, but mostly he was Lutheran.  His family had lived in the little village for at least five generations, going back to Petrus Buchtel who was born there in 1610.  For references, it's near Stuttgart, Germany, and has a population of about 2500 people, but that's about all I've been able to find about it.  John's parents were Johannes and Lucia Ehhalt Buchtel, and he had a sister and quite probably other siblings.

John came to America in 1753, possibly because war seemed to be brewing at home.  He was single when he arrived here, and had little in the way of material goods.  He served an indentureship to pay off the cost of his passage, and married Catherine Seiler or Scheler, a neighbor who was also working to pay off her indenture.  They were married December23,1760 and first went to live in Snyder County.  Later they moved to Brush Valley, in what is now Centre county, and this is where they made their forever home. 

John and Catherine had at least 9 children, and all of the family members are considered to be pioneers of Centre County.  they had to clear their land while keeping an eye out for wolves, bears, and even panthers.  By 1792, the year they apparently moved to Brush Valley, the threat from the native Americans was pretty much over, but there were still many dangers to overcome.  John farmed and planted apple trees as well.  His grapevines were not as successful, and I don't understand the slang in the article that explains why.  It is apparent that the failure was not due to lack of work on John or the family's part.  John was also a cooper (made barrels, buckets, and pails) and a mechanic, and as the Valley filled up, or as travelers passed, his skills were much needed.  He seems to have been well educated, or self-educated, with particular interests in mathematics, astrology (common at this time period) and philosophy. As already stated, he was a Lutheran but not a regular church goer.  It is said that ministers went to him in order to learn. 

John several times mentioned that he would not die in his bed and that prediction came true one unnoted day in 1809.  He was standing in the doorway to his house, and fell down dead.  Some of the Buchtel children wanted to move on to Ohio, perhaps because they weren't given enough land to survive on in their father's will (that is just speculation on my past).  In 1812, all but two of the children, plus Catherine herself, set off for a new home near Uniontown, Stark County, Ohio, and Catherine died there in 1813.  The trip was probably quite difficult for her. 

There is a picture in the article of a home that Solomon Buchtel built in Brush Valley near Rebersburg.  It is probably not standing any longer, but it looks like it would have been a nice farm home at the time it was built. 

I admire John Buchtel and would like to learn more about him.  One thing I'm really curious about is where he got his education, and what his parents hoped that he would do with it.  Did they want him to become a pastor or a schoolteacher?  And what inspired him to continue his learning while he was so busy doing the back breaking work of farming and breaking in new land? 

The line of descent is:

John Buchtel-Catherine Seiler
Solomon Buchtel-Maria Margaretha Reber
Benjamin Buchtel-Barbara Burkholder Long
Fannie Buchtel-Adam Kemery
Della Kemery-William Withers
Goldie Withers-Grover Harshbarger
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks
Their descendants


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Beeks line: Jackson Wise 1817-1893

Jackson Wise may or may not be the biological ancestor of those in the Beeks family.  But he was certainly part of the family, known as Dad, Grandpa, and Uncle to the Beeks family, and they must have known his story at one time.  We don't know much of his story particularly after he came to Wabash County, but I'm learning more.  T.J. Hunnicutt, the archivist at the Wabash County Historical Museum, has been sending me copies of the "rather large file" about Jackson that he has there.  While I may or may not share all of it, one of the first items he sent me answers an important question:  How did Jackson Wise die?

This is from a typed copy of an article taken from the Wabash Daily Plain Dealer of Monday Evening, March 6, 1893, page 4 column 3. 

"Died From His Injuries"

"Jack Wise, a noted character living about two miles southwest of Lincolnville, died at his home Saturday from internal injuries sustained Thursday of last week while assisting a horse which had fallen in his stable to arise.  The horse was on his back and was wedged in the stall.  A rope was tied around the animal's neck in order to pull him around.  Mr. Wise was behind the horse and he kicked back with one foot striking him in the stomach with the above result.  Wise was picked up and assisted to his house where he lingered in great pain until death came to his relief.  the funeral occurred Sunday morning at 10o'clock. Burial in Center Grove Cemetery."

I'm looking forward to learning more about the reasons "Jack" was considered a "noted character", I think.  I'm also wondering why there would be a funeral at church service time on a Sunday morning.  Maybe that's when the family could be there, or the preacher was available because he didn't have services until a little later in the day.  I don't recall seeing many Sunday 10 a.m. funerals, though, even in that time period.  As often happens, answering one question generates more questions. 

The line of descent is:

Jackson Wise-Charity Botkin
Mary Wise-William Beeks
John Beeks-Elizabeth Wise
Wilbur Beeks-Cleo Aldridge
Mary Margaret Beeks-Cleveland Harshbarger
Their descendants

Friday, March 3, 2017

Holbrook line: Matthew Whipple 1588-1647

It's always fun to find an ancestor I've overlooked, and to find there is quite a bit of information about him, AND to find his will AND his inventory.  So it's been a fun morning. 

Matthew Whipple isn't a name that leaps to my mind when remembering my immigrant ancestors, but maybe now he will be.  There is a log of information about him on the Geni sight, and more on AmericanAncestors.  The will is found in Volume 1 of The Probate Records of Essex County, which means it's been transcribed and although I still struggle with archaic spellings and meanings and even vocabulary, at least I don't have to try to read ancient handwriting. 

Matthew was born, or christened, December 19,1588, in Bocking, Essex, England.  His parents were Matthew Whipple and Joan.  Matthew of England was a clothier, and based on his will, was apparently well off.  I'm not finding a lot of information about Bocking on line, but I did find St Mary's Church, which is where Matthew probably attended as a child, and where his father is buried (likely his mother, too)..  He had at least nine brothers and sisters, and Matthew was the fifth child born into the family. 

Matthew married Ann or Anne Hawkins on May 7, 1622, at St Mary's church in Bocking.  I haven't done any proof work to say whether I believe this or not, but Ann is supposed to be a granddaughter of the famous John Hawkins, merchant, slave trader, explorer, treasurer and controller of the English Navy.  (I am learning to be somewhat doubtful when I find a line tied to someone famous, since I've been burned a few times by published genealogies that turned out to be mistaken or in some cases just plain fraudulent.)

Matthew and Ann had at least 5 children and possibly more.  Apparently most were born in Bocking but the last one or two may have been born in Ipswich, Massachusetts Bay Colony.  The family immigrated apparently between 1636 and 1638.  He was a member of the church there and I believe that when I see the phrase "Deacon Whipple" it refers to our Matthew.  Ann died sometime before September 28, 1646, when Matthew married Rose Barker Chute, who outlived him. 

I've found that Matthew held many offices but I've not found a list other than that he was frequently a "clerke",  That indicates he could read and write, and that is supported by contents of his inventory which included 29 books.  He was one of the largest landowners in the area, along with his brother John.  From his inventory, we can see that he farmed, that he had several weapons, and that he had a large amount of linen goods as well as at least three wheels, two linen and one cotton.  It appears that his home had at least three  rooms as many objects, including 85 "peeces" of pewter were in the hall, and the linens and some clothes were in the parlor.  There was a chamber over the parlor which held miscellaneous items, and then there are a lot of tools that must have been kept in a barn.  He had a dwelling house with 4 acres of ground that included a "barne" and other out houses, a 6 acre lot, a four acre lot, six acres of marsh, and a farm containing 160 acres plus a meadow of 30 acres, and then another 20 acres of marsh and "wast" land.  We are surprised that his estate was valued at only a little over 287 pounds when we see the long list of his property. 

His will was written March 7, 1645 and then he added a codicil September 13, 1646 to provide for his new wife, Rose.  All of her items that she brought to the marriage were to remain hers, and she was given 10 pounds, besides.  William must have died within a year, because the will was proven July 28, 1647. 

I'd love to learn more about Matthew and his life in both Bocking and Ipswich.  It's been fun to learn this much but I always have more questions, it seems.  For now, we know of another immigrant to the New World, one who apparently did well for himself and his family.  It's a start.

The line of descent is:

Matthew Whipple-Ann Hawkins
Anna Whipple-John Annable
Elizabeth Annable-John Whittemore
John Whittemore-Elizabeth Lloyd
John Whittemore-Lydia Clough
Josiah Whittermore-Lucy Snow
Josiah Whittemore-Betsy Foster
Mary Elizabeth Whittemore-Joseph R Holbrook
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendants

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Allen line: Aaron Stark(e) 1608-1685

Oh, what a mess he was!  We don't know anything about his early life although it's believed he was of Scotch descent.  He seems to have been in the New World as early as 1627, when he is reported to have landed in Salem, Massachusetts.  This was the main port of Massachusetts Bay Colony at the time. We lose sight of him for about ten years, which may mean he stayed out of trouble, and it also probably means he stayed out of church.  He is not known to have been a Puritan, despite possible being associated with Rev. Hooker. 

During his early years in the colonies he is reported to have "misbehaved" with an animal  young men, and finally a girl.  For the girl, he was ordered to be branded and whipped, and when the girl was ready, to marry her.  Apparently the marriage didn't happen, and apparently there was some question about the virtue of the girl involved, as there was another court case involving her the next year . There is no evidence that Aaron and Mary Holt ever married.

It's believed that Aaron's wife was Sarah, possibly Lambert, with no real documentation for that last name.  So for now, we need to consider that as an open question.  From the ages of his children, it seems that he married late in life, perhaps around 1650 when he would have been in his early 40s.  It may have taken him this long to establish himself and rebuild his damaged reputation. 

There is an Aaron Stark from Windsor who participated in the Pequot War under Captain Mason, and it's believed this is our Aaron Stark since he was later awarded land based on his service during this conflict.  He is also reported to have participated in King Philip's War.  He had a son Aaron who would have been about 26 years old at the time of King Philip's War, and he seems to be a more likely candidate to fill the military mission.  It's possible that our Aaron was credited with military service, but was one of the "old men" who stayed behind to help protect the women and children while the men were out fighting native Americans.

Aaron's first known residence was in Stonington, Ct where he stayed for several years.  Finally, in 1666, he was made a freeman there.  Three years later, he was accepted as a freeman in New London  This means he was a respectable person who owned property, so he had indeed come up in the world.  It's nice to see that he was rehabilitated from the scandals of his early days.  Sarah may have settled him down.  There were at least 6 children born to Aaron and Sarah:  Aaron, Mehitable, John, Sarah, Elizabeth, and William.  Some lists also show a Margaret, but I think she was probably the daughter of the son Aaron Stark.  His final move seems to have been to Mystic, Ct and he seems to have died there in 1685. All of these locations were in close proximity so he may not have moved far, at all. 

That's what is known about Aaron Stark, in a nutshell.  He was a rehabbed citizen, a soldier of the early years of our county, and he came from nothing to owning his own land.  He may not be the first ancestor we think of when we think of those we are proud of, but I would like to hear his side of the story.  Perhaps the whipping/flogging he received gave him something to think about, and aided somehow in his reformation, or perhaps the early charges were greatly exaggerated.  We'll probably never know, now, but he lived with those charges every day for the rest of his life  That takes some kind of courage, and for Sarah, it took some sort of compassion.

The line of descent is:

Aaron Stark-Sarah
Sarah Stark-Samuel Fish
Abigail Fish-Daniel Eldridge
Sarah Eldridge-Thomas Chester
Bathsheba Chester-Jonathan Havens
Betsy Havens-John Starr
John Havens Starr-Clarissa Falley
Harriet Starr-John Wilson Knott
Edith Knott-Edward Allen
Richard Allen-Gladys Holbrook
Their descendants