Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

#153--Abiathar Richards--That is a Great Beard






Beards are back in vogue and they are this week’s theme.  When I saw that theme, I immediately knew who I was going to blog about—my great grandfather, Abiathar Richards.  I have a wonderful picture of him which is the centerpiece of my gallery wall.

About thirty years ago, when my great aunt, Henrietta Richards, died, her family called my father and asked if he would like the picture of Abiathar Richards that they had.  My father said yes, thinking that it would be a rather small picture.  Imagine his surprise, when they dropped off a portrait that is about 3 feet tall, and 2 and a half feet wide.

To me he looks like a typical gentleman of the late 1800’s—dress coat, high collar, and tie.  However, his most distinguishing feature is his elegant mustache and beard.

I  knew that I had blogged about Abiathar Richards before, and was interested to see that he was the subject of my first genealogy blog, so if you would like more information about him, click here:  Abiathar Richards. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

#152--A Scary Place



Halloween is this week and our genealogy theme is scary.  So what is more scary than a graveyard.  I have visited the graves of lots of my ancestors so I decided to use some of the pictures I had taken there.

Several years ago I visited Paris Illinois in Edgar County and went to the Hannah plot.  In the plot, I found the graves of my great great grandfather, James M. Hannah, and three of his daughters, Albertine, Mary Sayres, and Catherine.   The oblelisk is for James, and the three smaller headstones are for the daughters.  Albertine Hannah left money in her will for the plot, obelisk and headstones.






The Village Cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts contains lots graves as well as some very old graves that are not marked.  The first picture is of the very old gravestones—the names on them are very hard to read.  The Richards graves tend to be located close to each other.
Old Gravestones 
Abiathar and Elizabeth Richards









In the row of gravestones to the right, my great great grandparents, Abiathar and Elizabeth Richards have the second and third stones.



Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is a very large historic cemetery, in fact it is on the list of historic place.  My family actually has three plots in Greenwood—the Cochrane plot, the Hannah plot and the Richards plot.  My grandparents and parents are buried in that lot.  When I was growing up we lived fairly close to the cemetery, so we used to visit often.  We usually visited the Hannah plot first as it is very close to the entrance.  My grandparents and parents are buried in that lot.




















Then we might drive over to see the Richards Lot, my great grand parents, Abiathar and Emma (Merrett) Richards are buried there along with my great uncles and their wives.


















Until several years ago, I did not know where the Cochrane lot was, but with the help of a very good map of the cemetery, I was able to find it in an older section of the cemetery.  My great grandparents, William and Emma (Merrett) Cochrane as well as several of their children are buried there.  The two little headstones in the front say Father and Mother.  I really like that lot, it is off the beaten path and in a very quiet spot.


I do not necessarily  find cemeteries scary, I just find them very interesting. I wonder about the lives of the people who are buried there, who they were, and what they would think of the world today.  .



Friday, October 26, 2018

#151--James Willey--A Cold and Lonely Death





Most people die of an illness, usually at home or in the hospital.  So when someone dies in a different way that that kind of stands out.  That was the case with my great, great uncle, James Willey, at least that was the way he was in the census records when he was a child.  It seems that after serving the in Civil War, James changed his name to Signoir Montanio and became involved in the circus.  According to the newspaper articles, James or Sig. Montanio performed as an acrobat, trapeze artist and high wire walker.  And from looking at the newspaper articles, he was very good.  Performing was a family affair.  His wife had a musical act and played the banjo while his two sons also performed, sometimes as clowns and other times as acrobats.  It appears that James and his family were involved in the circus world until 1898. The 1900 census lists him as living in Graham, Arizona Territory and working as a painter.  However, by 1910 James was living in Crook National Forest, Gila, Arizona and working as a ranch hand.

James died on November 8, 1918 in Pinal County, Arizona.  According to the local newspaper, he was camping, became sick and froze to death while returning to town, probably to seek treatment for his illness.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

#150--Conflict in the Goose Saloon






The theme this week is conflict.  I immediately decided that I would blog about my great aunt’s husband, Harlan Turner.  He was involved in a gun fight and that certainly fit the definition of a conflict.  Harlan was born Morgan County, Kentucky on February 27, 1857 to James and Elizabeth (Trimble) Turner. The 1860 and 1870 census describe him as living at home with his parents in Kentucky.  In 1880 Harlan is living in Valley, Linn, Kansas.  He is described as a farmer and a partner in the farm. When he arrived in Butler, Missouri is a mystery to me.  He married my Aunt Gert Hannah in Butler, Missouri on April 4, 1890.   Then they divorced 9 years later.

I had had great success in learning about my relatives who lived in Butler, by reading the Butler newspapers on the Chronicling America website.  So I decided that I would see what I could learn about Harlan. Imagine my surprise to read that he was involved in a gun fight in a saloon in Butler.

 From the article, this is what seems to have happened.  Harlan Turner and his friend, J. W. McVeigh had spent most of the day from noon to early evening drinking in the Goose Saloon.  About 7 o’clock they began to hit each other over the head and in the face with their hats.  To avoid further trouble, the bartender closed the bar, and Turner and McVeight left, and went their separate ways.



Later in the evening they both returned and their gun fight ensured.  The bartender, Robert Plummer,
described the incident as follows:




Harlan Turner was tried in Circuit Court in Butler .  A variety of witness testified as to what they had seen and Turner testified indicating that he shot McVeigh in self-defense. After describing a verbal interaction with McVeigh, Turner said the following:



After defense rested, the jury began its deliberations about 8 o'clock in the evening and returned a verdict of not guilty 15 minutes later.







Saturday, October 13, 2018

#149 Sports




Sports--I was really pleased to see that this week's theme was sports.  I come from a family that is pretty athletic and was involved in lots of different sports--golf, swimming, tennis, sailing, basketball, etc.  So it was a little hard for me to figure out how I was going to tackle this theme.  Remember, that I come from a family that does not throw out things that have sentimental value and sitting right in my family room was my father's lacrosse stick.  What a great thing to write about.
Lacrosse Stick





In high school, my father played both lacrosse and hockey.  When he went to college he focused on lacrosse.  Lacrosse was originally played by Native Americans.  The game involves ten players whose goal is to put a small rubber ball in their opponents net by using a long handled stick with a pocket at the end.  No hands are allowed to touch the ball.








Freshmen Lacrosse Team--Yale




My father was captain of his freshmen lacrosse team.  In this picture, he is the one in the middle holding the lacrosse stick.







After his freshman year, he played on the varsity lacrosse team.  In 1926, he was elected to the third All American Lacrosse Team.
All American Lacrosse Yale in the 1920's


























I wish I had asked more questions about his playing lacrosse--who they played, were his friends of the team, how often did they win.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

#148 Ten--Tenth Place to Live







This week’s challenge was to blog about ten—ten of anything.  I had a couple of ideas—families who had ten children, the tenth person on the tenth page of my list of ancestors, etc.  Family Tree Maker can generate a list of where people lived so I decided that I would blog about the tenth address on that list.

That turned out to be 206 Gennessee Street, Auburn, New York, the home of my great uncle and aunt, Charles Walton and and Anne (Hannah) Ross and their daughter, Gertrude, and son, Charles. Jr.  
On January 6, 1895 Charles Ross and Anne Hannah were married in Butler, Missouri.  They moved to Auburn, New York by 1900.  According to the 1900 census, they had been joined by Anne’s brother, William D. Hannah, and her sisters, Cora and Marinda as well as Anne’s divorced sister, Gertrude Hannah Turner and her son, William Turner.  Both Charles Ross and William D. Hannah were traveling shoe salesmen.  By 1910, the Hannahs had moved to various places, but the Rosses remained in the same house.  However, in 1920, the Rosses had purchased a house on South Street.  
206 Gennessee Street

According to several realty sites, 206 Gennessee Street was built in 1900.  It is described as a multifamily or single family home with 6 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.  The house contains 3006 square feet and sits on a lot of .29 acres.








Thursday, September 20, 2018

#147--Abiathar Richards, Farming in Dedham, MA.



When I saw the theme for this week’s genealogy blog was farm, I thought “Oh no.”  I have written about a number of farms and farmers in my family:  George Newell, John Hannah, Sarah Hannah.  They were all farming in the mid 1800’s in the Midwest and the Agricultural Census gave me lots of information about them.  However, I also had farmers in my Richards line whose farms were in Dedham, Massachusetts from the mid 1600’s to the 1800’s.  So I decided that I would see what I could gather about one of them.

I looked though what I had and discovered that I had some interesting diary entries and newspaper clippings about my great great great grandfather, Abiathar Richards, Jr.  Abiathar was born in April 7, 1754 to Abiathar and Elizabeth (Richards) Richards.  He married Elizabeth Smith on April 12, 1782.  They had  eleven children.

According to various records, Abiathar Richards was a farmer. . Nathaniel Ames was a physician in Dedham and Ames’s diary contains several references related to farming and cattle. “ May, 14, 1814…Ab’r Richards to Calf to sell..(P 1017)”; “June 13, 1816 Ab Richards calf w 23lb” ; “November 22, 1816 Calf 7 w old Ab Richards good Veal 16 lb. hind qrs sold At 10 cents Lb (p. 1068).  Dr. Ames also indicates that he was paid by Abiathar in produce or livestock for treating various illnesses.


In the local Dedham newspapers I found several ads from Abiathar related to lost or found livestock. On November 4, 1797, Abiathar advertised that he had five stray cattle and that if the owner could identify them and pay Abiathar for taking care of them, he could have them back.  Somehow, Abiathar lost 23 sheep and a 3 year old mare colt who wandered off.











In 1824, Abiathar advertised to sell his farm.  From the ad, it appears that Abiathar primary focus was raising, selling and slaughtering cattle.  It is not clear what he raised in the orchard.

















I have several questions for Abiathar.  Where was the farm?  How big was it?  Did you grown crops and if so, what:  Why did you decide to sell it?