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, October 6, 2015

#73--Happy Birthday, Silvanus Richards

Blogging about someone whose birthday is in October was the task for this week.  So the first thing I had to do was figure out who had October birthdays.  The second person I looked at was born in that month.  That worked for me so  I am blogging about Silvanus Richards, who is one of my great-great uncles.

Silvanus was born on October 16, 1765, in Dedham, Massachusetts to Abiathar and Elizabeth (Richards) Richards.   He married Lucy Richardson on November 13, 1788, in Newport, Massachusetts.  Their first son, Leonard, was born in 1789; in 1792 their son, Seth, was born, with Abiathar born four years later in 1796 and Silvanus in 1811. Shortly after 1800, the family moved from Dedham to Newport.  At that time, Newport was part of Massachusetts, but later became part of New Hampshire.

I was able to find a biography of Silvanus in The Sketches of Successful New Hampshire Men edited by John Badger Clark.  So I learned that Silvanus lived in the western part of the town on a large farm.  In addition to farming, he also ran tavern or wayside inn.  In about 1812 he moved Newport Village and ran the tavern, The Rising Sun, which previously had been run by Gordon Buell.

In 1816 Silvanus was involved in the establishment of the Coranthian Lode, No 28.  In addition, during an epidemic he served on the Board of Health to establish sanitary measures and make sure that those who were sick were taken care of.

Silvanus Richards died on March 5, 1837, when he was 71 years old and is buried in the North Newport Cemetery.

Researching Silvanus opened up a part of my Richards line that I had not explored before.  I now want to research his sons so stayed tuned for more information.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

#72--Dedham, Massachusetts--Visiting A Favorite Place

What is your favorite place to research and who was from there is the theme for this week's blog.  A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about one of my favorite places--Butler, Missouri and John W. Hannah so I needed to pick another place.  After some thought, I decided that Dedham, Massachusetts would be a good choice.  I have visited Dedham, done a considerable amout of research about it, and have many ties to that area.  My immigrant ancestor, Edward Richards, was from Dedham and arrived there in 1636.  My Richards line remained in Dedham from then until about 1890.  Not only am I related to the Richards, I also have ties to the Newells, Huntings, Metcalfs, Fairbanks, Smiths, Fullers, and Fishers and several other families,  I discovered that it is a pleasure to research my Dedham ancestors as the town records are fairly complete and readily available.  As I have said to other genealogists, ""Those Puritans wrote everything down."  So I know that Edward Richards was a selectman and picked to represent the town in Court, but also fined for not inspecting the fences.

Dedham was established in 1636 when the citizens of both Cambridge and Watertown, Massachusetts decided to establish two other plantations, one in Dedham, the other in Hartford, Connecticut.  The General Court granted the original petitioners of Dedham 200 square miles of land south and west of Boston.  The intent of these Puritans was to establish a Christian community, where its citizens would live by the Golden Rule, where differences between people would be settled by mediation, where citizens would donate time to maintain the community, and where town rules and policies would be followed.  Their intention were contained in a document known as the Dedham Covenant.  Those desiring to settle in Dedham need to be acceptable to the prior signers of the Covenant and were required to sign the covenant.

Over the years, Dedham went from a town of about 200 in 1640 to 24,729 at the 2010 census.  In addition, due to increases in population, other towns-- Medfield (1651), Wrentham (1673), Needham (1711), Walpole (1724), Dover (1784), Norwood (1872), and Westwood (1897)were established from the land which had been granted to Dedham.

Twice I was able to visit Dedham.  So here are some of the highlights of those trips.

The bus left me off on High Street, which is the town's main street.

HIgh Street
I quickly walked down the street to the Dedham Historical Society and Museum.    While I was there, I did some research on my Richards ancestors, looked at the exhibit of Dedham Pottery, and visited the Museum.
Dedham Historical Society and Museum

I also saw the Allin Congregational Church, which was established in 1637.

Allin Congregational Church

Many of my ancestors are buried in The Village Cemetery.  So I had to go there.  I spent time looking at the Richards headstones and taking pictures of them.  

Village Cemetery

About 10 minutes from the town center is the Fairbanks House.  My 8th great grandfather, Jonathan Fairbanks  built this house in 1637.  It is the oldest standing timber –frame house in North America. I walked over to it and had a wonderful tour.   For more information about the house see #27--Jonathan Fairbanks--Building his Family a House

Jonathan Fairbanks House

One of these days, I hope to go back to Dedham.  I would like to spend more time at the Historical Society, visit some of the other nearby towns, and see some of the other cemeteries in the area.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

#71—NEWELL--Ebenezer Newell—A Baker’s Dozen of Children

Our theme for this week is an ancestor who had a large family or who was a member of a large family.  So I decided to blog about Ebenezer Newell, my fourth great grandfather.  He had 13 children and in my book that certainly qualified as a large family.

Ebenezer Newell, was born on January 4, 1712, in Needham, Massachusetts to Ebenezer and Hannah (Fisher) Newell.  He married Elizabeth Bullard on October 7, 1735, in Needham, Massachusetts.  They had three children:  Ebenezer Newell, Jr. (1736–1797), Hannah Newell (1740–1775) and Theodore Newell(1744–1817).  Elizabeth Bullard Newell died in 1752.  A year later on April 24,1753, Ebenezer married Elizabeth Allen, daughter of Hezekiah and Mary (Draper) Allen.  They had  ten children:  Elizabeth (1754-1844), Susanna (1755-), Mehitabel (1757-), Reuben  (1760-1825), Mary (1762-), Abigail (1764-1849), Olive (1766-1837), Lois (1770-), Rebecca (1773-1856), and Hannah (1776–).

Ebenezer lived in Dover, Massachusetts and was active in the community and the church.  He served as one of the town wardens and selectmen, was on the committee on inspection and safety during the Revolutionary War (See #8 What Do You Mean, I Cannot Have a Cup of Tea?  Ebenezer Newel
l) and in 1773 was the sealer of the bread in 1773, making sure that the bread met certain standards.  He was a deacon of the church and charged with taking care of the town meeting house.  For that work, he received 12 shillings a year.  While Ebenezer farmed, at times he engaged in other additional occupations.  He was a cooper and at one time, he also ran a tavern.

Ebenezer died on  January 8, 1798 at the age of 87 and is buried in Needham Cemetery.  If I were able to talk to him, I would ask him what it was like to have 13 children, if he had any advice for how to successfully raise children, if any of his children caused him problems, and if he was especially proud of any of them and their accomplishments.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

#70--EITELBACH Henrich and Christina Eitelbach--Returning to the Past

I came across a new presentation program called Sway, which is part of Microsoft. I thought it might have some use in my blog and for this week I have tried it out.  Here is the link:  Returning to the Past.   Please let me know what you think of this format.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

#69--George Newell Hannah--Farming in Three States

Everyone is pretty familiar with the census schedules that deal with people and describe their characteristics, but there are other schedules-- agriculture, industry, manufactures, or 1890 Union veterans. The Agricultural Schedule describes the farms and their products.   I like the agricultural schedules as they give you a picture of how the person made a living.

Previously, I blogged about Sarah Hannah and her farm (#18—Sarah Hannah—Farming on her Own and #12 John M. Hannah—The Farmer not in the Dell, but in Illinois).  So this week I am blogging about George Newell Hannah and the 1860 Agriculture Census Schedule.

George Newell Hannah is my great, great uncle.  He was born in Brown County, Ohio in June 27, 1828 to John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah.  Along with his parents, he moved to Edgar County, Illinois about 1830.  On March 18, 1855, he married Mary Jane Markley.  By 1860, they had two children:  Susanna born in 1857 and Cassius born in 1859.  Six other children would be born between 1861 and 1875.

I found George Newell Hannah in the 1860 Agricultural Census in Prairie Township in Edgar County, Illinois.  According to the Schedule, he owned 180 improved acres of land and 7 unimproved, with a value of $1700.  The equipment needed to run the farm was worth $50.  In terms of livestock, George owned 2 horses, 2 mulch cows, 45 other cattle, and 301 sheep.  The farm produced 3000 bushels of wheat, 100 bushels of rye, and a ton of hay.  Also produced was 100 pounds of butter, 60 gallons of molasses, and $50 worth of slaughtered animals.

Unfortunately, The Agricultural schedules for 1870 and 1880 are not available for George.  However, it appears that George farmed his entire life.  The 1870 census lists him in Edgar County with farmer as his occupation while the 1880 census has George as a farmer, but now living in Bates County, Missouri where his brother, John Wesley lived and ran the Palace Hotel.  By 1900 he was living in Hampden, Coffey, Kansas.

If I were able to talk to George, I would like to know how much more land he acquired in Edgar County and what crops he grew.  I also would like to know why he moved to Bates County and then to Hampden Kansas.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#68--Charlotta Ludlow "Lottie" Willey--What Happened to You?

The theme for this week is to blog about someone who is on the 1880 Census Schedule of Defective, Dependent or Delinquent Individuals.  I do not have anyone on that Schedule, but that reminded me of my great, great aunt, Charlotta Ludlow Willey.  Had her problems occurred earlier, she might have been on that Schedule.

Lottie, as she was known, was the sister of my great, great grandmother, Jennie Sophia Willey.   Lottie was born in 1852 in Kankakee, Kankakee, Illinois to Samuel G. and Ann (Reed) Willey.  Her sister married John Wesley Hannah in 1866.   Sometime before 1870 Lottie moved to Butler, Missouri and lived with her sister and her brother-in-law.  She continued to live with them as she is listed with them not only in the 1870 census, but also in the 1880 census.

It appears that Lottie was an accepted resident of the town of Butler.  The Library of Congress Historic Newspaper Collection, which is on line, has the newspaper for Butler.  I searched it for Lottie and found three articles. I was interested to see that they spelled her last name as Willie, rather than Willey.  The first article from 1881 indicates that Lottie will be with her sister in Butler for the winter.  I was interested in the statement about her accomplishments and would love to know what they were.

The second  article simply mentions Lottie as a guest at a wedding along with her sister and brother-in-law.

The last one is from 1889, when Lottie has taken her two nieces, Tim and Toots Hannah, to visit relatives in Illinois.  What I find interesting is that her sister, Jennie died in 1887.  That makes me wonder if Lottie remained in Butler to help her brother-in-law raise his children.

So far, Lottie is looking like a stable, healthy person who is part of a family and accepted in her local community.  When I tried to find her in the 1900 census, she was not with her nieces and nephews, who had moved to Auburn, New York, after the death of their father.  Rather, she was now a resident
State Hospital #3
of Nevada State Hospital #3 Washington Township, Vernon County, Missouri.  According to the Vernon County U.S. Genweb, “The Hospital, which was sometimes referred to as the Lunatic Asylum, in Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri, treated a wide variety of illnesses and conditions over the years it was in operation:  mental disease, tuberculosis, syphilis, senility, epilepsy, etc.”

Unfortunately, neither the census records, her death certificate nor her medical records indicate why Lottie was hospitalized.  However, her medical records do indicate that she was committed to the hospital on July 7, 1891 by her brother-in-law, John Wesley Hannah.  Lottie remained in that hospital until her death on August 26, 1926.  Lottie is buried in the Hannah plot in Oak Hill Cemetery in Butler, Missouri.
I have lots of questions for Lottie, if I were able to talk to her.  I would ask: Why she moved to Butler to live with her sister?  If after her sister died, did she stayed to take care of her sister’s family?  Why was she hospitalized?  What was her life like in the hospital? I would also like to know who paid for her burial?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#67--Abigail Smith--Many Questions, Few Answers

The theme for this week is to blog about one of our 32 third great grandparents.  So the first thing I had to do is figure out was who fell into that category.  That group goes back 5 generations in a family tree.

Since I like to keep my lines in separate files, it took some time to figure out who I was going to blog about.  I first settled on David Mears.  I have previously blogged about his wife, Elizabeth (#2—Elizbeth Mears) . So I thought that if I blogged about him, I would have completed that pair.  However, I quickly realized that what I would write about David Mears, I had already written about his wife Elizabeth.

So it was back to the drawing board.  After scouting around some, I decided that I would blog about Abigail Smith.  She is one of my 16 great great great grandmothers and I know little about her.
According to the Vital Records of Roxbury, Massachusetts, Abigail was born to Luke and Abigail (Bellows) Smith on June 25, 1768.  Her brother, Solomon, was born on October 25, 1766 and Thomas, on November 28, 1770.

On September 3, 1796, Abigail married Timothy Fuller, who was a physician in Dedham, the town next to Roxbury.  Three years later, on January 12, 1799 Timothy died.  Abigail then married Reuben Newell on January 3 1801.  Reuben had previously been married to Sally Battle, who died in 1795, leaving four children.  In 1803, Catherine, their only child was born to Abigail and Reuben.  According to the Columbian Centinel of February 1832, the local Dedham newspaper, Abigail
 died in Dedham, Massachusetts in that year, while her husband died in 1825.

I always find it somewhat frustrating to research female ancestors. Unless they have done something that is in some way really spectacular, there is no information about them.  That leaves lots of unanswered questions.  So if I had the opportunity, I would have a number of questions for Abigail.  I would like to know how her first husband, Timothy Fuller died and how she managed for the three years that she was his widow.  Did she return home and live with her parents?  One of her brothers?  How did her meet Reuben?  She became a step mother to four children.  What was that like?  Where did she live after her husband died.  I cannot find her in any of the census.  Way too many questions, so few answers.