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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

#42 William Avery--Blacksmith, Physician and Bookseller

Everyone has a hobby or two that they like.  Aside from genealogy, books are another of my  ways to spent time.  I sort books for my local library’s book sale, am a member of two books groups, and always have at least one book that I am reading.  So you can imagine my delight to find out that one of my grandfathers, William Avery, was a bookseller in Boston.

William Avery was born in 1622, in Barkham, Berkshire, England, the son of Christopher and Margery (Stephens), Avery.  William married Margaret Allright.  They, together with their three children:  Mary, William, and Robert, came in 1650 to the Massachusetts Colony and settled in Dedham, Massachusetts.   He and his wife were admitted to the church on February 16, 1650.  He was a sergeant in the Dedham militia as well as the Deputy to the General Court.  He was a member of the Ancient Artillery Company.

 In the Dedham Town records, William’s was granted land to open his forge as a blacksmith; however, later he is referred to as Dr. Avery.  How one goes from being a blacksmith to a physician
to me is a mystery.  However, I think that his description as a physician is correct.  In 1853, Dr. Ebenezer Alden, who was them the President of the Norfolk District Medical Society said “Dr. William Avery was the earliest educated physician, who is known to have taken up his residence in Dedham. “  Further on in the town records, his son, William Avery, Jr. is also described as a blacksmith.  I think that he was a physician who started a blacksmith shop with the intent of turning it over to his son.

Margaret Avery died on September 28, 1678.  Shortly thereafter, William moved to Boston.  Despite his move, in 1680 the Dedham Town Records state  that “Capt. Daniel Fisher and Ensign Fuller report that Dr. William Avery, now of Boston, but formerly of the Dedham Church, out of entire love of  his Church and Town, freely give into their hands, sixty  pounds, for a Latin school, to be ordered by the Selectmen and elders. “

So how did William Avery become a book seller?  Shortly after moving to Boston, William married Maria (Woodmansey) Tappin, whose son was running a bookstore.  William took over the store and added an apothecary department to it.  In 1679 in the History of Printing, the store is described as being near sign of the Blue Anchor.

William died on the 18th of March 1686.  He is buried in the burial ground of King’s Chapel in Boston.  Several years ago I was in Boston, so of course I had to go and visit his grave.  A very helpful Park Ranger (King’s Chapel is a national park) showed me a map of the graves and noted that the headstones had been moved at some point so while he is buried there, he probably is not buried beneath his gravestone.  I had no trouble find the site as it is directly to the right to the gate to the graveyard.

His gravestone reads: 

Here lyeth Bvried
the body of
aged abovt 65 years
died Mearch the 18th
1 6 8 6

Friday, December 12, 2014

#41--John Wesley Hannah--Applying for a Pension

This is the last installment in my entries about John Wesley Hannah and his service in the Civil War.  After John‘s resignation in 1865 as Captain of Company D of the Illinois 62,  he returned home  to Edgar County, Illinois to take care of his business.  I am not sure when he moved, but by the following year, he was in Butler Missouri.  There, he married Jennie Willie( # 20 Romance in Real Life--Jennie Sophia Willey and John Wesley Hannah), and raised five children.  John built and was the proprietor of the Palace Hotel (# 5—Build Me a Palace—John Wesley Hannah)

Since he was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Butler, I assumed that he lived there until his death.  However, once I received his application for a pension, I discovered that that assumption was not true. His pension request was filed in November of 1897 in St. Sterling, Kentucky where he was living with his oldest daughter, Gertrude Hannah Turner.  On his application, he said that he suffered from rheumatism, heart trouble, paralysis, and general disability.  Those conditions were confirmed, under oath, by his son-in-law and the individual who was taking care of him.  Both individuals indicated that these difficulties were not due to "vicious living."

Initially, the Bureau of Pensions ordered John to appear for a physical exam in Butler, Missouri. That order was appealed because Butler was no longer his home.  Hence, he was examined by three physicians in St. Sterling who concluded that he was “permanently disabled in a degree requiring the regular aid and attention of another attention and is entitled to a pension of $72 a month.”  Further, they concluded that his illness during the Civil War was the cause of his present illnesses.  John lived several more months and died on March 10, 1898 in Mt Sterling.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

#40--John Hannah--Civil War Soldier--Serving in the Trans-Mississippi Theater

When I think about the Civil War and the battles, I think about battles in Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.  However, as I followed John Wesley Hannah as a soldier, I found a different part of the war—one that was played out in the west and is known as the Trans-Mississippi Theater.  That theater consisted of the area west of the Mississippi River, including the states of
Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, and part of Louisiana as well as Indiana Territory (Oklahoma).  That is the place that John Wesley Hannah and the Illinois 62 spent two years. 
The 62nd remained at LaGrange, Tennessee until August 19.  However, on July 18, John applied for a 20 day leave because of his health.  His application was approved by the camp surgeon, Dr. Cameron, who stated that John has had “bilious remitting fever” for the last four weeks, had to stay in his room, and would benefit from a different environment.  I had no idea what “bilious remitting fever” was, but from several online sources about diseases during the Civil War I learned that it was relapsing fever characterized by vomiting bile and diarrhea.
From August 19 to the 28th, 1863 the 62nd was involved in General Steele’s Campaign against Little Rock, moving first to Memphis, Tennessee, then to Helena, Arkansas, which was held by Union forces.   Believing that attacking Helena would take pressure off Vicksburg, Confederate General Holmes and his troops attacked that town on July 4, 1863.  While the Confederates had more troops and took some fortification, they were repelled by the Union forces, which remained in control of Helena.  This is an important battle in the War, one which I had never heard of, probably because it occurred on the same day as the battle at Gettysburg. 
The 62nd was next involved in the battle of Little Rock.   According to the National Park Service Battlefield Protection Program:
 On September 10, 1863, Maj. Gen. Fred Steele, Army of Arkansas commander, sent Brig. Gen. John W. Davidson’s cavalry division across the Arkansas River to move on Little Rock, while he took other troops to attack Confederates entrenched on the north side. In his thrust toward Little Rock, Davidson ran into Confederate troops at Bayou Fourche. Aided by Union artillery fire from the north side of the river, Davidson forced them out of their position and sent them fleeing back to Little Rock, which fell to Union troops that evening. Bayou Fourche sealed Little Rock’s fate. The fall of Little Rock further helped to contain the Confederate Trans-Mississippi theater, isolating it from the rest of the South. (http://www.nps.gov/abpp/battles/ar010a.htm)
The 62nd remained at Little Rock.  From his muster roll, it appears that John was the commanding officer of Company K from October 22 to December 22 as he was he entitled extra pay for those duties.  On January 9, 1864 John along with the other soldiers re-enlisted as a veteran organization.  On April 25, 1964, the 62nd moved to Pine Bluff Arkansas.  On August 31, 1864, John Wesley mustered out as a 1st Lieutenant, was promoted to Captain and became commander of Company K.  On August 12, 1864, John along with the other veteran soldiers returned to Illinois for a veteran furlough.  The furlough lasted until November 25, 1864, when he returned to Pine Bluff.
On February 5, 1865, John was detached from duty to serve as the Provost Marshall in Pine Bluff.  I was not sure what exact a provost marshal did, but the following explanation from Family Search (https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Union_Provost_Marshals%27_File) was extremely helpful: 

The provost marshals who served in territorial commands, armies, and Army corps were the military police. They sought out and arrested deserters, Confederate spies, and civilians suspected of disloyalty. They also investigated the theft of Government property, controlled the passage of civilians in military zones and those using Government transportation, confined prisoners and maintained records of paroles and oaths allegiance,

John continued as Provost Marfshall through June of 1865.

In April, 1865, the men who were not veterans were ordered back to Illinois for mustering out.  Those that remained were consolidated into seven companies.  John Wesley became to Captain of the new Company D and also continued as Provost Marshall.  On July 8, 1865 the 62nd became part of Brigadier General Bussey’s command at Fort Gibson, Cherokee Nation in Indian Territory.
On September 14, 1865 John Wesley resigned as Captain of Company D, 62nd Illinois.  He gave two reasons:  one that he has served for four years in the regiment, and second that his business at home required his immediate attention.  He also indicated he had been paid through April 30, 1865, had returned all the property owned by the government, and that he did not owe the Government any money.  He also stated that at the time of his resignation the company consisted of the following:  3 Commissioned Officers and 88 enlisted men.

I am not sure exactly why John resigned.  Since he referred to personal business, I am assuming he is referring to his father’s death which occurred in 1865.  Therefore, he needed to return to his home in Edgar County, Illinois to deal with his father’s affairs and the farm.  

Friday, November 28, 2014

#39--John Hannah-Civil War Veteran, Serving in the the Western Theater

Flag carried by the 62nd Illinois
This is the second part of my blog on John Wesley Hannah and his service in the Civil War.  Since I have a good deal of information about him and not a lot of time right now, I decided that breaking this up into three entries would be appropriate.

While John returned to his home in Edgar County after his 3 month enlistment, he continued to be involved in the war efforts.  According to his biography in the History of Bates County, John was instrumental in organizing Company K of the 62 Infantry.  On December 9, 1861, John joined the Illinois 62 in Coles County, Illinois.  On April 10, 1962 John Wesley Hannah was mustered in as a2nd lieutenant for 3 years, receiving $105.50 for each month of service.  Twelve days later, on April 22, 1862, the company moved to Cairo, Illinois, then to Paducah, Ky., May 7 and to Columbus, Ky., June 7, 1862.  The 62nd then moved to Crockett Station, Tennessee, where its task was to guard the tracks of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.  A little research about railroads during the Civil War, and I found that troops and supplies were moved by rail.  To keep the enemy from destroying the tracks, they were guarded by troops.  

The 62nd stayed in Tennessee through the Fall of 1862. On December 3, the 62nd moved to Jackson Tennessee, and then on to Grand Junction.  In December of 1862 the 62nd was involved in the raid by General Grant on Holly Springs.   After Holly Springs had been captured on December 13, 1862 General Grant left about 200 men there and returned to Jackson, Tennessee and then on to Grand Junction.  A week later on December Van Dorn for the Confederates retook Holly Springs, and paroled 170 men, including the Major and 3 Lieutenants, from the 62nd.  Van Dorn also destroyed all the regimental equipment, supplies, and papers.  I do not know whether or not John was one of the lieutenants that were captured and paroled.

Harper’s Weekly described the events at Holly Springs as follows:

WE publish …illustrations of HOLLY SPRINGS, Mississippi, lately occupied by our troops. This little town, one of the prettiest and most salubrious in the State of Mississippi, was for a long time occupied by the rebel army of the Southwest. They were driven out of it early last month by General Grant, who pushed through it and on to Oxford. Since then the rebels, or rather some guerrilla band claiming to act on behalf of the rebels, fell upon a couple of companies of infantry whom General Grant had left at Holly Springs, captured and paroled them; so that, to the best of our knowledge, at present Holly Springs is in the hands of the insurgents. It is situate on the line of the Mobile and Ohio railway, and is about twenty miles south of Grand Junction, and twenty-eight miles north of Oxford.

Railroad Depot
Rebel Armory

Holly Springs

After their defeat at Holly Springs, the 62nd remained at Grand Junction until April 18 when it moved to LaGrange, Tennessee.  From January 5 until February 28, 1863, John was on detached service as Field Officer of the Day at Jackson, Tennessee.  On June 7, 1863, John was promoted to a 1st Lieutenant.  He also was due extra pay as the Company’s Bounty Officer.  During the Civil War, money (bounty) was paid to men who enlisted and I assume John was the person who recruited for Company K, Illinois 62 and paid the bounty to them.

To be continued

Thursday, November 20, 2014

#38--John Wesley Hannah --Civil War Veteran, Serving in Illinois

Since Veterans’ Day was last week, I thought I would blog about one of my veteran ancestors—John Wesley Hannah.  I knew that my great grandfather, John Wesley Hannah (1838-1899) had fought in the Civil War.  So when I wanted to know more about what he did and where he went, I did two things:  I got his records from the National Archive and also began to research the history of his units.  There is an incredible about of information on the Civil War on the internet, but I primarily used Ancestry.com and the sites that focused on units on Illinois that I found on the internet.   By putting the sources of information together, I have some idea of where he and his company were, and what he was doing.  So my blog focuses on John Wesley in the Civil War.  Because I have a great deal of information about John and his service, I plan on using two to three postings to cover it.

But first, a little background information.  John Wesley Hannah was born in Prairie Township, Edgar County, Illinois, near the current town of Chrisman on February 9, 1838.  He was the youngest son of John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah.  In about 1830 his parents moved to Edgar County from Brown County, Ohio.  In 1850, he was living with his two older brothers (George Newell and Oliver) and three sisters (Albertine , Mary Sayres, and Catherine), his mother having died in 1842, when he was four years old.  His three sisters, Elizabeth, Sarah Ann, and Nancy, had married and were living in Edgar County.  In 1860, John was living with his father, his sister, Albertine and his niece, Charity Conrey, whose parents had died .    His sister, Mary Sayres,  had also died.   It is presumed that as a child John helped on his father’s farm, attended school in Prairie Township, and then school in Bloomington, Illinois.  According to the 1860 Census, John was a student of medicine. 

Abraham Lincolcn
On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln issued a proclamation asking each state to raise their militia to defeat the states that were trying to succeed from the United States.   Therefore, Governor Yates convened the Illinois legislature to organizing the militia.  Since it was believed that the war was not going to last too long, men were asked to enlist for a period of 3 months.

 John W. Hannah joined the 12th Infantry Illinois at Paris, Illinois for a term of 3 months on April 18, 1861.  He was mustered in at Springfield, Illinois on May 2, 1861.  At the time of his enlistment, he was described as 5 feet 8 ½ inches tall with dark hair and grey eyes.  His occupation was a farmer.  

Ship at Warf at Cairo
The 12th was moved to Cairo, Illinois where it performed garrison duties until the soldiers were mustered out on August 1, 1861. I thought Cairo was a strange place to spend three months as a soldier, but I found that the city sits where that the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers converge.  Controlling that spot mean that whoever held it would be able to control traffic, and hence move troops and supplies, on the river.  On August 1, 1861, John mustered out and returned to Edgar County.  For his service, John received $13.00 per month.

To be continued next week--

Thursday, November 6, 2014

#37--Michael Metcalf--Have a seat

Time for a little some thing different—a piece of furniture.  Several  years ago, I was in Dedham, Massachusetts at the Dedham Historical Society, where I was able to see the Metcalf chair.  Michael Metcalf, the owner of the chair,  was my 8th great grandfather.  I thought it was a pretty impressive and attractive antique chair.  However, when I searched for information about it, I learned a great deal more. According to The American Promise (2012), the carvings on the back of the chair are like those on a gravestone—wings symbolizing the soul’s ascent into heaven, Michael Metcalf’s initials and the date.  In addition, there is a storage compartment under the seat of the chair, presumably for the storage of books and the sides of the chair are solid, which makes the chair warmer than if the sides were open.  Something that would be important in New England winters.

So just who was Michael Metcalf?  A little online research gave me a great deal of information about him.  He was born in Tatterford, England about 1590.  In 1616 he married Sarah Elwyn and together they had  11 children.  Michael was a successful  dormix (damask cloth)  weaver, employing over 100 people.  More importantly, he was a Puritan and was persecuted for his beliefs by Bishop Wren, who took away his property  and charged him with treason.

In his own words:

"To all the true professors of Christ’s Gospel within the city of Norwich:

. . . I was persecuted in the land of my father’s sepulchres, for not bowing at the name of Jesus, and observing other ceremonies in religion, forced upon me, at the instance of Bishop Wren, of Norwich, and his chancellor Dr. Corbet, whose violent measures troubled me in the Bishop’s Court, and returned me into the High Commissioner’s Court. Suffering many times for the cause of religion, I was forced, for the sake of the liberty of my conscience, to flee from my wife and children, to go into New England; taking ship for the voyage at London, the 17th of Sepr 1636; being by tempests tossed up and down the seas till the Christmas following, then veering about to Plymouth in Old England, in which time I met with many sore afflictions."

"Leaving the ship, I went down to Yarmouth, in Norfolk county, whence I shipped myself and family, to come to New England; sailed 15th April, 1637, and arrived three days before midsummer, with my wife, nine children and a servant."

"…my enemies conspired against me to take my life, and, sometimes, to avoid their hands, my wife did hide me in the roof of the house, covering me over with straw."

Michael Metcalf and his family made their home in Dedham, Massachusetts.  He signed the Dedham Covenant, was made a freeman, and was elected a selectman.  Between 1656 and 1661, he was the town school teachers.  Michael Metcalf died on December 1664.

If I were able to talk to Michael Metcalf, I would have several questions for him.  Who made the chair?  Where did you get it and how much did you pay for it?  I also would like to know what he kept in the compartment of the chair and if they were books, which books they were.  I also would like to know his experiences as a teacher in Dedham.

The American Promise, Volume A: A History of the United States: To 1800
 By James L. Roark, Michael P. Johnson, Patricia Cline Cohen, Sarah Stage, Susan M. Hartmann

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#36--Charles Minarcik--Fighting with General Custer or Not?

Several years ago I found a picture of my great grandfather, Charles Minarcik, in an old photo album.  He was in his army uniform and I had heard that he had fought with General Custer.  I found that puzzling as I thought that Custer and all his soldiers died in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.   Searching for information about him using Ancestry and Google, I I cleared up the confusions over his service in the army.  So today, he is the focus of my blog.

One of the problems of having an unusual name is that is can be spelled in several ways as I blogged about (Joseph Minarzick—How Do You Spell that Name).  Fortunately Charles had better luck in getting his last name spelled fairly consistently and that made my life easier.

In the 1870 census Charles is listed as living in Manhanttan, New York, the oldest son of Joseph Minarzick and Regina Wendel along with their 8 other children.  By the 1880 census, Charles is listed as the head of the family, which consisted of him and 4 of his younger siblings.  Their grandparents—the Wendels-- were living in the same building.  Presumably both his parents died, although I can find no record of their deaths, and his other siblings either died or married.  On May 15, 1872, Charles enlisted in the2nd Regiment Calvary for 5 years.   I think that is a strange choice for someone who lived in New York City, and makes me wonder how and when he learned to ride a horse.

According to the news article about his death, while in the army, he was involved in the first survey of Yellowstone Park.  That park is one of my favorite national parks and I am delighted that he had a part in its exploration.   Charles was also involved in engagements with the Sioux Indians and Cheyenne Indians under General George Crook.  However, Charles did not fight with General Custer at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  Rather he was in the company of soldiers who were to join Custer’s forces.  However, they were delayed and unfortunately, when they arrived at the Little Big Horn, they found that Custer and his men had been killed.
Their only task was to bury the dead.  Charles was promoted to a first sergeant and received a metal for distinguished service.

After his enlistment in the army ended, Charles returned to New York, where he worked as a furniture carver.  In 1883, he married Elizabeth Lang and with her had four children:  Christina, Edward, Charles, and Regina.  Charles died in 1923 and is buried in Evergreens Cemetery in Queens, New York.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

#35--Chester Ingersoll Richards and William Fisher Richards--Where Did You Get Those Middle Names?

This week I am focusing my blog on something I found interesting about two of my great uncles:  Chester Ingersoll Richards and William Fisher Richards.  I wondered about  their middle names.  As far as I knew, we had no close relatives with those names.  I wondered where those names came from.

To help me figure out what was going on. I decided to research middle names and their history.  From what I read, middles names were not used in the United States until after the Revolutionary War.   At that point wealthy families began to give their children middle names.  By the time of the Civil War, middle names were common.

Parents pick middles names for their children in a variety of different ways.  Some use a family name like the mother’s maiden name or the names of the father and mother’s parents.  Others use a name that they like, but would not make a good first name.  Another choice is to pick the first or last name of an individual they would like to honor.

So what about my two uncles and their middle names?  Two of my blog entries shed some light on where those names came from.  While working on the blog about my grandmother’s wedding (#17—Gertrude Richards—Saying I Do?), I found the announcement in the newspaper and among the guests were several Fishers—“Mr. and Mrs. Irving Fisher, Dr. Fisher, Mr. and Mrs. Nathaniel Fisher.”  With a little more research, I found that the Richards and Fishers were cousins and that they were both in the same business—shoes.    Hence William Richards’s middle name came from a relative, and one that coincidently, was in the same business.

I really stumbled upon the source of Chester Richards middle name.  I was working on my entry about my great grandfather, Abiathar Richards and his shoe business (i#29  Abiathar Richards --Do You Have a Glass Slipper?), when I found an article that talked about his very early years in the shoe business.  It appears that J. D. Ingersoll was one of the first people he worked for in the shoe business and I assume that Chester’s middle name was chosen to honor him.

So it appears that William’s middle name came from a relative, and William’s from a business associate.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

#34--John Richards—Continuing a Family Tradition of Service

Last week, I blogged about Edward Richards, one of my emigrant ancestors, who came to Massachusetts in 1632.  This week I thought I would continue that line and blog about his oldest son, John, who was born to Edward Richards and Susanna Hunting on May 1, 1641.  On August 1, 1672 at the age of 31, he married Mary Colburn, daughter of Nathaniel and Priscilla (Clark) Colburn.  John and Mary had five children:  John, Jr., born July 20, 1673; Mary, born June 23, 1675; Deborah, born, Jun 1, 1679, Joanna, born, 1681; and Hannah, born March 3, 1684.  Mary Colburn, died on December 17, 1685.  John then married Mary Fuller, and they had Samuel, born January 1686.

John became a freeman on May 31 and was active in the Dedham community.
He was appointed to view fences.  Since his father was also a viewer of fence, I was interested in finding out exactly what this job involved.  After a quick search of the web, I learned that fence viewer is one of the oldest appointed positions in New England.  The viewer’s job was to make sure that fences were maintained properly and to settle disputes over property lines when a person believed that his neighbor’s fence was on his property.  John was also elected constable and collected taxes from the town’s property owners.  John and his brother, Nathaniel, lent the town money.  According to the Dedham Town Records, Vol. IV, p.190 “A bill is given to Deacon Aldis of ten shillings of jams Sharp constable in may to pay part of five pouds which was Borrowed of John and Nath Richards.”

New England towns had an interesting way of dealing with young single men to ensure that they behaved appropriately and did not cause any trouble—the town required that they live with established and respected families.  On two occasions young men were sent to live with John and his family.

John died on December 21, 1688 at the age of 48.  His wife was appointed the administratrix of his estate which was valued at €327.  I tried to find out how much that would be worth in today’s dollars and several web sites, including one from Colonial Williamsburg, indicated that given the complexities of economics today and in colonial times, such a value would be meaningless.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

#33--Edward Richards--Making a Good Life in a New Land

One of my previous blogs (#23—Edward and Nathaniel Richards—Brothers or Not) focused on Edward Richards, my emigrant ancestor and whether or not he and Nathaniel Richards were brothers. This week I thought I would blog about Edward Richards and his life in Dedham, Massachusetts.  Compared to his ancestors in England, it has been much easier to gather information about this Edward.  The records of Dedham are excellent--it appears that all the town meetings were recorded as were births and deaths.  They make for interesting reading, which gives you a real feel for life in Dedham in the 1600's as the town established itself.

Edward came to Massachusetts in 1632.  He married Susan Hunting, sister of Elder John Hunting on September 10, 1638.  They had five children:  Mary, born September 29, 1639; John, born July 1, 1641; Dorcas, born September 24, 1643; Nathaniel, born November 25, 1648; and Sary (Sarah);  born January 25, 1648/49.

Edward moved to Dedham in 1636 and was the 62nd signed of the Dedham covenant.  In 1640, he was admitted to the church, and a year later took the freeman’s oath.  Susan Hunting Richards was admitted to the church in 1644.

Edward was granted Thomas Feakes town lot and later bought Thomas Hastings lot.  In Dedham, land was granted based on the number of people in the family and the value of the head of the family’s estate.  Edward received land on 14 separate occasions.  Typically he was granted more land than the vast majority of other residents of Dedham.  In addition, Edward Richards also bought “Mr. Cook’s Farm,” on which he built Broad Oaks, which remained in the Richards’s family until 1838.  Given his purchase of Broad Oaks and the number of land grants he received, Edward was one of the larger land holders in Dedham.

Like all the inhabitants of Dedham, Edward was required to donate several days a month to work for the community.  He was assigned to maintain fences, survey land, mend bridges and set out meadows.  Edward seems to have been a well-respected member of the community.  He served nine terms as selectman.  He was appointed constable, viewer of fences, and deputized to represent the town in determining the boundary lines between Dedham and Medfield and between Dedham and Roxbury.  In addition, he and Timothy Dwight were deputized to go to Boston and to represent the town in their dispute with the Natick Indians.

Edward died on May 25, 1684 shortly after making his will but before signing it.  Susan Hunting died several months after her husband on September 7, 1684.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

#32 Edward Richards of Yaverland--Had Any Strange Dreams Lately?

Last week my blog was about German Richards, the earliest ancestor I can identify in my Richards line.  This week I decided to continue that line and blog about  one of his descendents.  The problems with documentation continue, and I have continued to rely on the same three sources for documentation as I used last week.

 I decided to focus on Edward Richards, one of Germain and Alyc (Rice) Richards’s sons, who is my 10th great uncle.  Edward was born about 1568 and lived at Yaverland, which was purchased by his father.  According to the Visitation of Hampshire, Edward married Bridget Mitchell and with her had three sons:    Sir John Richards of Yaverland;  German Richards of Portsmouth; and Edward.  Edward Richards, Sr.  was High Sherriff of Southampton in 1606.

Sir John Oglander relates the following incident in his notebook under the heading “A Strange Illness:”

"Old Mr, Richards of Yaverland, having been long sick, fell into a trance, in which he continued 2 days and nights without speaking or taking any sustenance.  They all expected every hour when he would depart out of this world.  Doctor Lewkenor, his physician, left him as a dead man, came to me told me he was past hope of recovering.   Three of his children, with divers others to the number 0f 10 persons, continued in his chamber, expecting when it would please God to call him, and they put all things in order for his burial, for he had been long sick before he fell into the trance.  But , at the end of the 2 nights and days, he awakened and roused himself up in his bed.  They demanded of him how he did.  He replied “Reasonable well,” “ and told them that he had either seen a vision or one had told him, being in the trance, of divers things:  amongst other things, that he should recover out of this, his long sickness, and should live , (he being then aged three scores  years) and see all those in the buried before him, which fell out accordingly.  His 2 sons, John and German, were the last:  German died at Portsmouth  suddenly, being well and dead in 2 days.  Sir John died some 3 months after, and the old man some 6 months after.  Althogh I give small credit to dreams, yet thus it fell out unhappily."

As usual, I would have some questions for Edward.  I would like to know what else he saw in his vision and if he was surprised when his two sons died as predicted or did he expect that to happen.  I would like to know if he had other children, and if so what were their names.

# 31--German Richards—Putting the Puzzle Pieces Togeather

                Lately I have been blogging about ancestors who lived within the last couple of hundred years or so and in the United States.  So I decided to go back as far as I can in my Richards line and pull some of my information together.  Since we are dealing with people who lived in the 1500’s, documentation is sparse.   To make matters more interesting, I found that Richards had other spellings such as Rychards and Richardes .  I have relied heavily on the Visitation of Hampshire, Burke’s General Armory, and The Diary of Sir John Oglander.  Putting together this part of my Richards tree is rather like putting together a jigsaw puzzle when you do not have the whole picture and when other people are doing the same puzzle, but making it look different from yours. 

In the 1500’s in Great Britain, the Richards’s families were living in Kent, Devon, Gloucester, Hampshire, Shropshire, and Wales.  My branch is believed to be descended from the Richards in Hampshire  (however, Burke’s says Kent).  The earliest ancestor I can identify is German (Germain, Germaine) Richards, born about 1510 and who was a retainer of the Earl of Lincoln.  At the end of his service, the Earl appointed him Vice Admiral of the Isle of Wight.  German  moved to the Isle and married Alice (Alyc) Rice, the window of Henry Squire.  They lived in a house next to the church in Brading and Germain Richards sold beer to the sailors in  a nearby  seaport. 

German became a wealthy and bought Yaverland, a large estate from Richard Conigsby.  Germain Richards and Alice Rice had 3 sons:  Edward, John, and Germain, and 4 daughters:  Maria, Barbara and two I still I trying to identify (I think one may be Ann and the other Joan, but I cannot find documentation.).  German died in 1567 and was buried on the north side of the church in Brading.

St. Marys Brading

German Richards ‘s will is on line at Ancestry. 
However, my mastery of old handwriting is less than good.  Fortunately, the  will has been abstracted as follows: 
5 August 1567
“1) To be buried on North side of Chancel of Brading church
2) To Alice my wife, the desmesnes (land)  of the Manor of Yaverland as well that is purchases as what I hold during her widowhood. (as widow of Henry Squire), with 500 weather sheep and 200 ewes, 17 kine and bull, 16 oxen and 2 carts to have utter (Mother) Rowborough to summer her young cattel and oxen.
3) To every one of my daughters, £60 over and above their grandfathers (Thomas Rice) his legacies.
4) To Richard and John my sons, 20 nobles
5) To my brother Morgan's wife, a ring
6) To my brother George shall have a lease made to him for 40 years for so much of the parsonage at Brading as he now occupieth, for my part paying the accustomed rent as he did before.
7) Edward my son, sole executrix.”
Wills are often a treasure trove of information and that is true in this case.  The will adds information as to his family members  that is not available from other sources:  two sons:  Richard and John; and two brothers:  Morgan and George.  So now there are other people for me to explore.

I have lots of questions to ask German, if only I could.  I would like to know who his parents were and where he was from.  What were his daughters names?  Also, what he did as a retainer for the Earl of Lincoln.  How much did he pay for Yaverland?  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

#30--Nathaniel Fisher--Do You Know What Time It Is?

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about Abiathar Richards and his shoe company and in another blog about my grandmother’s and grandfather’s wedding.  In gathering information for both those blogs, the name Fisher came  up.  That got me interested in the Fishers, particularly who they were and how they fit into my family.  I knew that The Fishers, like the Richards, were an old Dedham Massachusetts family.  Further, Nathaniel Fisher was described as a cousin of Abiathar Richards.    Looking at my Richards’s tree, I discovered Abiathar Richards’s  father, Ebenezer Richards, and Nathaniel Fisher’s mother, Lavinia Richards Fisher,  were brother and sister.  In 1803 Lavinia married  Paul  Fisher.  Among their three children was Nathaniel Fisher, born in 1818.  Nathaniel married Mary Ann Woodruff in 1845 and with her had nine children.

Now that I had the relationships, it was time to find out more about Nathaniel Fisher and his family.  Ancestry.com and several web pages provided just what I wanted to know.  As I pulled the information together, this is what I learned. 

Nathaniel  Fisher  left Dedham,  moved to Buffalo, New York and worked for John W. Ayes in the shoe business.  In 1837 he started working in New York City, on Pearl Street in the shoe business of L. S. Bouton & Company as a junior partner.   Nathaniel then went into partnership with Baldwin and Studwell .  In 1869, his two partners left the business and Nathaniel C. Fisher & Company was formed. 

The company manufactured and sold ladies’ and misses’ boots and shoes.  Prior to Nathaniel Fisher’s death on December 9, 1880, he was joined in his company by two of his sons----Irving  Requa Fisher and Nathaniel Campbell Fisher. 

For many years the company was located at 146 Duane Street in New York.  Even though the building was badly damaged by fire in 1864, the iron façade  survived and the building was renovated. 

  While the façade is notable for its arches, its most striking feature is the large ornate clock.  I understand that in the Victorian era, such clocks were a common form of advertising.  If you look carefully at the clock, you can see the Nathl   Fisher & Co,  engraved on it.   

Nathaniel Campbell Fisher died in 1923 and his brother, Irving Requa Fisher, in 1925.  Despite their deaths, the firm continued doing business at the same location until 1953.

The 1865 Nathaniel Fisher & Co. Bldg. -- No. 146 Duane Street                                                                 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

#29 Abiathar Richards --Do You Have a Glass Slipper?

Last week I was trying to learn a little more about my great uncle, William Fisher Richards (Uncle Bill).  I had previously downloaded his mother’s, Mary Jane Richards, will from familysearch.org and thought I might some useful information in it.  In that will, his mother left her shares in the A. Richards & Company to her two sons.  I had never heard of that company.  I was now off on what my friend Deb calls “Over there is something shinny—follow it” to describe going off and exploring something that you did not intent to explore when you started out.

I knew that Abiathar Richards (See #1—Abiathar Richards), Mary Jane’s husband, was in the shoe business and the census of different years lists his occupation as either shoes or auctioneer. I did not know how those two things fit together, but when I googled “A. Richards & Company,” I found several articles about the company.

As I put them together, the following history of that company emerged.  Abiathar’s older brother, Abner moved from Dedham, Massachusetts to New York City in 1840 and worked as a clerk in his cousin’s, Nathaniel Fisher’s shoe company.  In 1845, Abner began working for J. D. Ingersoll.  When Ingersoll retired in 1853, the company name was changed to Richards and Whiting.  In 1863 Abiathar Richards joined the firm and the name was changed to A. S. Richards Shoe Company.  When Abner died in 1887, the name of the company became the A. Richards & Company with Abiathar as the president.

The company was located at 59 and 61 Reade Street, New York, New York.  Shoes were sold directly to dealers nationwide with specific men being in charge of certain areas of the company.  In addition, the company also held shoe auctions every Wednesday and Friday.  The following article clears up whether or not Abiathar was an auctioneer or a shoe merchant.

Evidently he was both.

After Abiathar Richard’s death in 1905, the company was run by his two sons, Chester Richards and William Richards.  The last mention of the company that I can find was in 1919.

Of  course, I have some questions that I would like to ask Abiathar.  I would like to know whether or not he moved specifically to New York to work for his brother in the shoe business, where he got the shoes that he sold, and which he enjoyed more:  being an auctioneer or a shoe merchant.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

#28 James Hannah—Many Questions and Few Answers

James Hannah is my fourth great grandfather and one of my immigrant ancestors.  Most of the information I have has come to me from other relatives with little in the way of documentation.  I do have two letters that were written to my grandfather in the early 1900’s talking about the family.  However, finding documentation to support those recollections has been a challenge.

James is said to have been born in Ireland, in either Deery or Downs, and I did find a James Hanna, who was born in Newry, Down about 1772.  Evidently Newry is on the border of the two counties so the location may be correct.  The name and the date would fit, but I have no idea that this James is the one I am looking for.  However, in those records, he is the only James Hannah.  This at least is a beginning.  One of the letters does refer to the fact that two of the writer;s cousins went to Ireland and met some of the Hannahs.  Unfortunately it does not give a place except for the statement that they owned “Hannah’s Bleaching Green.”

The first firm reference to James is in his father-in-law’s (Andrew McKee) application for a Revolution War pension.  It describes Andrew’s daughter, Nancy as marrying James Hanna in Pennsylvania, probably in Chester County, which is in eastern Pennsylvania.

James and Nancy had 12 children:  James, William, John M., Andrew, Henry, Elizabeth, Mary, Nancy, Jane (known as Virginia), Rebecca, and India Ann.  The first, James, was born about 1795.

Around 1800 James and his family moved to western Pennsylvania, first in Washington and then in Armstrong County.  In each location, James farmed.  Prior to 1830, he moved his family to Ohio.  According to a letter I have from a cousin, the family came down the Ohio River on a flatboat.
His sons settled in Brown County, near Georgetown and Ripley while he and his wife settled in Hamilton County.  I have not been able to locate where they lived.  James died 1828 and is buried somewhere within that county.  His wife, Nancy, returned to Brown County and lived in Lewis Township, near her sons.

Any ideas you have of how I could proceed, would be welcome.

If I could talk to James I would ask him questions that would fill in the blank spots.  Where were you born?  Who were your parents?  Why did you come to the United States? When did you and Nancy McKee marry?  Where are your buried?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

#27 Jonathan Fairbanks—Building His Family a House

Any time I have an opportunity to visit a place that is in my genealogy, I try to do that.  So several years ago, when I was in Boston, I went out to Dedham on the MTA and bus to see the Fairbanks House.  The house is timber-framed and is the oldest such structure in the United States.   I wanted to see the house because Jonathan Fairbanks  (Fairebanke; Fayrbanks), the builder of the original structure,  is my  8th  great grandfather and one of my immigrant ancestors.

Jonathan was born in Sowerby in Yorkshire, England and came to Boston Massachusetts in 1633, probably in the Speedwell.  Accompanying him were his wife, Grace Smith (last name sometimes given as Lee) and their six children.  Until 1636 they lived in Boston, then they moved to Dedham.  In 1637 Jonathan signed the Dedham Covenant, was granted a house lot, and became a freeman on March 23, 1637.   In addition to his house lot, Jonathan was  granted land on many other occasions.

The house as it stands today was constructed over a long period of time to meet the changing needs of the family.  Sometime between 1636 and 1641 the first part of the house was built, probably on his original house lot.  This part of the house consisted of four rooms:  a great hall (kitchen) and a parlor on the first floor and two bedrooms on the second floor with storage space above.  The house was heated by three fireplaces, one of which was on the second floor.  While by out standards, the house sounds small for eight people, for its time, it would have been considered quite comfortable.  Supposedly an addition on the west end of the house was added sometime in the early 1650’s for John Fairbanks and his new bride.  Other additions to the east and west ends of the house were made in the late 1700’s.

From the time it was first built until 1904, the house was passed down from generation to generation of Fairbanks.  So, it was continuously occupied by one of the Fairbanks for 268 years.  In 1904 the Fairbanks Family in America began to operate the house as a museum.

I had a wonderful tour of the house. My guide was extremely knowledgeable and able to explain the various parts of the house and the ways in which family members used them.  I had plenty of time to look at the different rooms and their furnishings.  Since the interior is rather dark and it was not a particularly sunny day, my guide used a flashlight to show me the darker corners.  You are not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but I was able to get a lot of shots of the exterior.   If you are in the Boston area, I highly recommend seeing the Fairbanks House; it will give you a real feel for the ways in which our ancestors lived.

I wonder what Jonathan Fairbanks would think about the house today and the fact that it has become a museum.  Of course, if I could, I would ask him.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

#26 Albertine Hannah--Unique in Many Ways



         I am always interested in the females in my family tree, particularly if there is something rather unusual about them.  My great, great aunt, Albertine Hannah, falls into that category.  First of all, she has by today’s standards, a very, very unique name.   I do not know any one named Albertine, and I would bet that you do not, too.  A quick Google search indicated that Albertine means noble or bright, is the female form for Albert, and was a very popular in the mid to late 1800’s when Queen Victoria of England married Prince Albert.
Some of what I know about my great great aunt,  Albertine, comes from census date.  I know she was born in 1834 in Edgar County Illinois, near where Chrisman is today, was the seventh child of John M.  and Charity (Mears) Hannah, and lived on her father’s farm.  Her mother died in 1842 when Albertine was 8 years old.  In 1850 she was living with her father, her three brothers, and two sisters.  In 1860 Albertine was living with her father, and her niece, Charity Conrey, the daughter of her deceased sister, Nancy.  When the Civil War began, both her father and her brother, John Wesley, enlisted.  Her father fought for about three months, and then returned home, due to illness.  He died in 1865.
Several  years ago I went to Edgar County and did some research on The Hannah’s.  In the land records, I found several references to Albertine.  On March 12, 1856 for $1.00 her father sold Albertine 80 acres of land in Ross Township.  In addition, by a mortgage on December 14, 1861 her father also sold Albertine an undescribed piece of land.  What I find most interesting is that here is a woman in the mid 1800’s who owned land.  But she also sold some of her land.  In February of 1861, for $700 Albertine sold James R. Watson a portion of the land that she had bought from her father in 1856.
I also was able to obtain Albertine’s will.  Most notable is her request that her real estate be sold and that $1200 of the proceeds be used to purchase a lot in the cemetery in Paris Illinois and to erect a monument for her father, mother, sister Mary, and herself.  The remainder of the money from her real estate and her personal property was to be divided between her brothers and sisters as well as her niece, Charity Conrey.            
Albertine died in 1867.  Her wishes were carried out.  There is indeed a Hannah plot in the cemetery in Paris, Illinois.  There is a large obelisk with her father’s name on the bottom, and headstones for Albertine, her sister Mary, and her sister Catherine Hannah O’Hair.  For reasons that I do not know, the headstone for her mother is in the McKee cemetery.
I would love to be able to have a conversation with Albertine.  I would like to know what she did with the land she owned.  Did she rent it out for farming?  Did she hire people to farm it?  Did she just keep it?  Why did she sell it?  I also would like to know why she remained single.  Did she, like many women of that time, have a man she loved who was killed in the Civil War?  Also during the Civil War, who ran the farm while her father was at war?  Did she?  Did her brother, George, or her brothers-in-law help out?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#25 Gertrude Richards-- Growing up in Pictures

If you have been following this blog, you know that I have a collection of old pictures.  I really enjoy looking at them and since I am pressed for time, I though I would post a couple of my grandmother, Gertrude Richards (See #17--Gertrude Richards Saying I Do).

Here she is at about the age of 4.  I think her purse is a wonderful addition to her outfit.

This one shows her, I think, as a young teenager.  The pink in her hair is a great addition.

Now she is a young woman.  I really like the fringe on the arm of the chair that she is sitting in and her hat.

If you have old pictures of your family, get them out and enjoy them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#24 William Cochrane—Finding a New Home

My blog this week is about William Cochrane, my great-great grandfather.  I do not know a great deal about him and what I have has pretty much been gathered from various sources on the web.  I do have his picture, which was sent to me by my cousin, Mary.  While I wish the picture was clearer, he reminds me in some ways of my father.

William  was born on October 18, 1810 in London England to The Honorable Andrew James Cochrane and Ann Morgan.  Andrew had two brothers, Andrew George Cobbitt (See Blog #3) and George, and one sister, Anna Maria, all born in London.   In 1830 on January 19, he married Emma Merrett at St. Andrews of the Wardrobe.  William and Emma had six children:  Mary Jane (1836—1920), George Augustus (1838--??), Emily (1840-1911), Walter (1843-1891), Emma (1846—1931), and Evalina (1853—1920).

In the mid 1830’s William and Emma migrated to the United States and settled in Buffalo, New York.  At that time, his brother, Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane also lived in Buffalo.  I do not know whether the two brothers and their families came together or separately. However, in 1835, he filed a declaration to become a citizen of the United States.  By 1840 William had moved to Rochester, New York, where his occupation was listed as an upholsterer in both the 1840 and 1850 Census.  In 1860 and 1870 he and his family were living at 124 Fort Greene Place, Brooklyn, New York.  His occupation was now listed as a bookkeeper at Journey Burnham, a department store. By 1870, Mary Jane had married Abiathar Richards and they along with their two sons, Chester and William were living with her parents.  Also living there were Emily, Emma, and Evalina.  Both George and Walter had married and started their own households.
William died on July 20, 1873, while Emma died on September 1, 1882.  Both are buried in Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

Were I able to talk to William, I would ask about why and when he came to the United States as well as why he eventually settled in Brooklyn, New York.  His mother, Ann Morgan, is one of my brick walls.  So I would like him to tell me about her and who her parents were.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

#23 RICHARDS Edward and Nathaniel Richards--Brothers or Not

Edward Richards is my 8th great grandfather, and the immigrant ancestor for my Richards Line.  He was probably born in Southampton, England in the early 1600’s to Edward and Barbara (Warden or Worsley) Richards.  He is believed to have come to the Massachusetts  Bay Colony in 1632 on the ship Lyon with this brother, Nathaniel.

Abner Morese (1861) in A Genealogical Register of the Descendants of Several Ancient Puritans, V. 3: The Richards Family, writes” Edward Richards is presumed to have been the nephew of Thomas, Sr., and the brother of Nathaniel and Thomas, Jr., and the cousin or brother of William and John of Plymouth. He probably came with Nathaniel in the LYON, in 1632, and resided with him at Cambridge until 1636.”  In 1636, Edward moved to Dedham, and Nathaniel moved to Hartford.

The relationship between Edward and Nathaniel has been one of my biggest brick walls.  I have spent a lot of time trying to establish a relationship between Edward and Nathaniel without much luck.  Parish records from England do not yield baptismal records of both an Edward and Nathaniel with the same parents or even in the same location.  While there are Richards in the Visitation of Hampshire and in the Visitation of Somerset, neither contains pertinent information.  The only evidence is from Morse. I checked his statement about where he got his information and it basically is recollections of people who were alive in the mid-1800’s.  I know that Morse was wrong on several occasions about Edward.  First, he states that Edward moved to Dedham to marry Susan Hunting.   I do not believe Edward moved to Dedham to marry Susan Hunting. The Hunting genealogy in the Dedham Historical Register states Huntings came in 1638 and moved directly to Dedham. Edward was in Dedham by 1636. Second, Morse states that Edward did not have a house lot in Dedham. That is also incorrect.  When the town would not let him buy the house lot from Robert Feakes; the town gave it to Edward (Dedham Vital Records). Also he did not buy  his farm from Mr. Cook. Volume 4 of the Town Records indicates that Mr. Cook's Farm was sold by the attorney for the estate to Fisher and Lusher. Edward then bought it from them. Anyway, my point is that perhaps Morse is wrong about Edward and Nathaniel being brothers.  However, Edward did name one of his sons Nathaniel, which would point to a relationship.

This brick wall is hard and high.  If anyone has an idea of how I could proceed, please leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

#22 Just Who Were the Rogers Girls?

        A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about some pictures of my grandmother, Gertrude Richards, with her friends (#19 Gertrude Richards—Who Are These People).  One of the frustrating things about those pictures was that none of the other girls were identified.  Who they are remains a mystery.  However, there was one picture was labeled—“Rogers Girls with Gertie Richards and Sally Morse.”  I cannot tell where the picture was taken, but I am pretty sure it was not in New York City.  Now I know that Sally Morse and my grandmother were life- long friends.  In fact, I remember Aunt Sally from when I was a young girl. However, who the Rogers Girls were was a mystery, just waiting to be solved.

  Remember, I come from a family that does not throw out things that have sentimental value.  When my grandmother was married, she kept a little book listing the present she received, the giver and the address.  I thought that if the Rogers were good friends, they may have given my grandmother a wedding present.  I check the book and sure enough, she received a gift from them.  Their address was listed on Beacon Street, Brookline, Massachusetts.  That address was about all I needed.  Putting what information I had into Ancestry, gave me several census listings.  I started with the 1900 census because if my grandmother got married in 1902, the Rogers probably were living in Brookline in 1900.  Looking at several listing, I found Alice and Ethel Rogers living with their parents, George R. and Jennie M. on Beacon Street.   Using the census, I was able to trace both Alice and Ethel in Brookline through 1940.  Neither sister married.  According to Billion Graves, Alice died in 1958 and Ethel, in 1959.

One mystery remains?  How did my grandmother who lived in New York City become friends with The Rogers  in Brookline.  My best guess is that they may have been cousins.  My great grandfather, Abiathar Richards, was from Dedham so it makes some sense that my grandmother may have been related to them.  However, I have yet to be able to prove that.  If I could talk to my grandmother, I would want to know how she knew the Rogers and where the picture was taken.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

#21—Ebenezer Richards—A Family Changing with the Times

Ebenezer Richards, my great, great grandfather, was born on July 27, 1799, in Dedham, Massachusetts  to Abiathar and Elizabeth Richards.  On September 19, 1822 he married Catherine Newell, daughter of Reuben and Abigail (Smith) Newell.  Ebenezer and Catherine had six children:  Nancy, born February 23, 1824; Charles born August 10, 1827; Abner, born August 3, 1830, Abiathar, born October 25, 1837, Rueul, born March 18, 1840, and George Fisher, born September 7, 1842. 

Unlike many of my grandfathers, I have not found much information about Ebenezer.   Both the 1850 and 1860 census give his occupation as a farmer as does his death record.  I have not been able to find him or his wife in the 1870 census.  However, the 1880 census lists his occupation as a cabinet maker.  One of the most interesting things about him and his family is that several of his children relocated from Dedham.  Abner and Abiathar moved to New York City, Charles went to Chicago, Abigail married August Spaulding and moved to Ashford, Connecticut, while her brother Rueul went to Tolland, Connecticut.  Nancy married Jesse Morse and remained in Dedham as did her brother George Fisher.  That movement fits well with the changing of Dedham from a farming community to one focused more on industry.

Ebenezer died on October 2, 1882.  His wife, Catherine died on February 1872.  They are buried in the Village Cemetery in Dedham.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

# 20 Romance in Real Life--Jennie Sophia Willey and John Wesley Hannah

John Wesley and Jennie Sophia (Willey) Hannah and their children

If you just looked at the marriage record from Missouri for my great grandparents, John Wesley Hannah, (See blog # 5--Build Me a Palace) and Jennie Sophia Willey, you would see that they were married on December 18, 1866 in Butler Missouri by George W. Chandler, a minister from Rich Hill.  However, if you read the account of their wedding in the Butler Daily Democrat, you would see that this was not a routine marriage.  In fact the headline is “Romance in Real Life."

Jennie Sophia Willey had come to Butler in 1866 to visit her brother and was courted by John Hannah. However, on December 17, she was to return to Indiana under the supervision of Captain E. P., the land agent and a resident of Butler.  As luck would have it, the stage did not arrive.  

     I seriously thought about writing my own account of their marriage based on the article.  However, after some thought, I came to the conclusion that a great many of the details and nuiances would be lost.  Hence I scanned the article and here it is:

Jennie and John Wesley Hannah were married for 26 years and raised five children. I would really like to be able to talk to them about their wedding.  I would like to know how much of the article is true, how the families reacted when they heard about the wedding, and, if  Captain E. P. had not offered Jennie the land, would they have married anyway that night.  Also, I would like to know what Jennie did with that land?

What would you like to know?  Put your questions in the comments section.

DeArmond, J. K. (1990)   Mike's Story. n,p.

Since I did this blog I found the following article in the Butler Missouri paper about their 25th anniversary party:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

#19 Gertrude Richards--Who Are These People?

I love to look at old pictures, which is a good thing because over the years I have acquired a lot of them.  One group of pictures that I like is of my grandmother, Gertrude Richards.  I remember her as an adult and I have pictures of her then, but my favorites are of those when she was much younger.  So I thought this week I would use some of them for my blog.

 I do not know when or where this picture was taken.  I am not even really sure which one is my grandmother or who the other girls are The picture is posed and they seemed to be dressed up.  I love their hats and coats.  Some are wearing long skirts, but the little girl in the first row on the far right has a shorter skirt paired with stockings.  Given how the styles have changed it is hard to imagine, wearing all that clothing.

Here is another group photograph. It is posed in front of a painted backdrop.  I am not sure how many of these young woman were in the first picture, but this group looks more like teenagers.  This time they have two adult women with them.  That makes me wonder if the girls were off on some kind of excursion.  Again they all have hats.  This time I can identify my grandmother, she is the first one of the left in the first row.  She seems to be the youngest one there.

This picture was taken much later and again is another posed group picture. In this one my grandmother is the second one from the right. Again I do not know where it was taken—they are grouped on the steps of a porch.  Since my grandmother lived in the city, I suspect this may have been taken on a trip.  What I like best are their hats—kind of like flying saucers decorated with flowers.

If I could talk to my grandmother, I would ask for each picture where and when it was taken and who the people were in the pictures.  One thing I have learned and try to do with the pictures I take of people is to label them.