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, May 28, 2019

#182--King's Chapel Burial Ground and William Avery

Grave Yard--King's Chapel Boston

Several years ago, I was in Boston, which gave me the chance to go visit the grave of another of my ancestors, William Avery. William is my 5th great grandfather.

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.

Margaret Avery died on September 28, 1678.  Shortly thereafter, William moved to Boston and married Maria (Woodmansey) Tappin, who son ran a book shop.  William took over the  store and added an apothecary department to it. 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.
King's Chapel

William died on the 18th of March 1686.  He is buried in the burial ground of King’s Chapel in Boston.

I had no trouble finding the burial grounds as it is part of the Freedom Trial.  The burial ground was started in 1630 and was Boston’s first graveyard.  According to the National Park Service, there are 505 headstones, 78 tombs, and 59 footstones; however, more than 1000 people are buried there.   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 William Avery is buried there, he probably is not buried beneath his gravestone.  I had no trouble find William’s grave as it is directly to the right to the gate to the graveyard.

Gravestone of William Avery

His gravestone reads:

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

Friday, May 17, 2019

#181--Abiathar Richards, Jr.--Fighting for Freedom

Several years ago I blogged about  Abiathar Richards, Sr. and his role in the Revolutionary War.  However, he was not the only person in that household that fought for freedom.  His oldest son, Abiathar Richards, Jr. also served briefly.  Abiathar, Jr. is my 3nd great grandfather and the subject of this week’s blog. whose theme is military.

                Abiathar Richards, Jr. was born on April 7, 1754.  His parents were Abiathar Richards, Sr. and Elizabeth (Richards) Richards.  He married Elizabeth Smith on April 12, 1782.  Abiathar and Elizabeth had eleven children.

                I did not know much about Abiathar, Jr.’s service, but  found in the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors in the Revolutionary War,  that Abiathar Richards, Jr. was a Private in Captain Aaron Fuller’s 
Company, which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775.  The company was from Dedham, Massachusetts and served for 2 day.  That was helpful, but I still did not know that much about what that company actually did.  Fortunately, I was able to find a description of their involvement in Dedham, 1635-1890:  Examples of things past.

          “A little after 9:00 a.m. on the morning of April 19, a rider on an (inevitably) lathered horse galloped down Dedham High Street from the direction of Needham, and reined in at Samuel Dexter’s front gate.  Flinging himself off the horse and rushing up the walk, he met Dexter at his door, spouting forth his message of bloodshed and conflict at Lexington. ..As units or fragments of larger military contingents, Dedham men assembled and march for the scene of the engagement—89 men from the First Parish under Captain Aaron Fuller and George Gould….[At Menotony (now Arlington)] some of the men, joining with units from Needham and Lynn, ranged along a hill on the south side of the road, where they had a clear view of the approach from Lexington, and where they could expect a measure of protection from a stone wall that stretched uphill from the Jason Russell house.  A British flanking party surprised them and drove them back toward the house, trapping them between the flankers and the main body of troops in the road and virtually annihilated them.  Elias Haven of Captain Battle’s Company died there, along with nine men from other towns, (Hanson, p.155).

So now I know a little more about Abiathar, Jr.’s 2 days of service in the Revolutionary War.  Exactly where he was and what he did during the battle at Menotony I do not know.  So if I could talk to him, I would ask them those questions. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

#180--Jane Mears Calvin--Female Farmer

The theme for this week is nature.  I have many relatives who were farmers; the vast majority of them were men; however, a couple were women.  So my blog this week focuses on Jane Mears Calvin, who ran the family farm after her husband, David died. 

Jane Mears, my 3rd great aunt, was born on June 20, 1803, to Elizabeth and David Mears in Adams (now Brown) County, Ohio.  On June 20 1803.  When Jane was 17 years old, she married Jesse Stephenson in Brown, Ohio, on August 10, 1820.  Jane and Jesse had four children, three sons and one daughter.  Jesse died on February 1828 in Brown, Ohio.  About1830 Jane moved to Edgar County, Illinois. 

Jane then married David Calvin in Edgar, Illinois, on June 2, 1833. They had five children: one son and four daughters.  Her husband David passed away on October 4, 1845, in Edgar, Illinois, at the age of 44. Jane Mears Calvin died on October 29, 1878, in Edgar, Illinois, when she was 75 years old.

The Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales and the private land sales indicate that David bought land in 15 Township North, 11 Range West.  The map of Edgar County shows that the land would have been in Brouletts Creek.  I assume that was where they lived and farmed. 

The 1860 Agricultural Census Schedule lists Jane Calvin as the owner of a farm.  The farm consisted of 107 improved acres and 147 unimproved with a value of $3800.  $100 was the value of the machinery and farm implements. Jane had 9 horses, 6 milch cows, 7 other cattle, 25 sheep and 20 swine.  The livestock was valued at $1050.  The farm produced 48 bushels of wheat, 1000 bushels of Indian corn and 85 pounds of wool. The farm produced 30 bushels of potatoes, 200 pounds of butter, 5 tons of hay, and 75 gallons of molasses.  The animals that were slaughtered during the year were worth $50. When I looked at the other farms which were listed, Jane’s farm was pretty typical, not the largest, not the smallest, just kind of typical.

I would love to talk o Jane and find out how she ran the farm.  Did her children do most of the work?  Did she hire people to help her? How did she learn to manage the farm?  Did she make changes to the farm as time when on?  Her sister-in-law Sarah Ann Hannah Mitchell also ran the family farm after her husband died in 1857 (See blog on the right side of this page).  I am wondering since Jane had been running her farm for some time, she provided any advice to Sarah. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

#179--Baking with Nana

The genealogy theme for this week is nurture.  When I looked up the definition of nurture, I found things like to take care of, feed, or protect.  The word feed struck me and reminded me of my material grandmother (Nana), Regina Minarcik Eitelbach.  She was an amazing cook and often had her family for Sunday dinner.  That dinner might consist of a roasted chicken or pork loin, two vegetables, potatoes, and a cake and pie for dessert.

Nana was best known for her baking.  She could bake anything—all kinds of cakes and pies.  I remember her lemon meringue pie had a wonderful flaky crust, a nice lemony filling and a lot of meringue.  When I was little, sometimes I went to visit Nana.  We would go to the park, grocery shop, and visit a five and dime type place, called Lewis of Woodhaven. Sometimes she came to visit us.  Often, she and I would bake.  Usually we baked cupcakes.  My favorite part was to frost them in a rainbow of colors—pink, blue, green, yellow.

Unfortunately, Nana died before she could really teach me how to bake.  However, my mother had a notebook of Nana’s recipes, which I now have.  Some of the recipes are easy to follow and others are not.  I have no idea how much butter is the size of an egg or how much more flour to add to a cup so that it “feels right.”  Here is the recipe for those cupcakes which is pretty clear.

Nana’s Cupcakes
¼ pound of butter
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs
2 full cups of Presto flour
¼ cup milk
tsp of vanilla
Cream the butter and sugar
Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla
 and then slowly add the flour
Frost with confection sugar  and butter

There is no oven temperature listed, but I think 350 degrees for about 20 minutes would be good.

I really wish I could talk to Nana about baking.  How she learned, what her favorite recipes were, did she ever bake something that failed?