Saturday, July 31, 2010
John Tukey arrived in 1744. By then, Falmouth was becoming a bustling port. In 1725 there were only 45 families in the town, living in log homes. Two years later there were 65 families and by 1730 there were over 100. There were 30 vessels in the harbor plus a number in dry dock. By the time John arrived, his services as a shipwright (wood worker on ships) would have been in high demand.
It is interesting to note that men were not admitted as inhabitants without paying 10 pounds to the town government. Residents were fined if they did not attend church. Problems with the Indians persisted until the Revolutionary War with whole families killed and most everyone staying close to the stockade. All in all, a difficult life.
As with much of North America, the land was covered in forests. Our pioneers were not allowed to cut large trees, suitable for ship masts, for their own use. Trees more than 24" 12" from the ground were the property of the king. Pioneers were employed to cut the trees, haul them to water with teams of 10-20 oxen, and send them down the waterways to the coast. These trees were so valuable that the cutters were expected to create a cushion of trees and branches for the pine to fall on to ensure it wouldn't crack.
So much for the history lesson. More grants and organizing genealogy tomorrow!
Friday, July 30, 2010
I grabbed Barbara's laundry facilities this morning, we downloaded photos to her computer and ran a few errands. By 12:30 we were off to Augusta to explore the Maine Archives. As with many of the research efforts, we are looking long enough ago that the records are not plentiful. Barbara and I wrestled with the microfilm machines. Hers seemed to be fine once loaded (however, that was an interesting effort). My machine had a mind of its own. The film moved back and forth through the rollers challenging my spatial efforts to center the film. The speed knob had three speeds only - fast forward, clunking glass plates on the film, and blurry one frame at a time. At times I resorted to moving the reels by hand - GRR. For all that effort you would think I would find something wonderful. NO.
Both of us found listings for Tukeys and Sweetsers in the Maine militia, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812. However, the Archives does not have the actually military records. Those are in Massachusetts since the federal government was fledgling as was Maine's. We at least have the regiments, companies, and volume numbers. I will add these to my to do list in Boston.
I then went down to the Maine State Library and looked at a two volume published genealogy on Seth Sweetser (Seth - Benjamin - Benjamin - Benjamin - Abigail who married John Tukey). The first 40 pages of this volume go into wonderful detail on the Sweetser family (and yes, it is with an "ser" since that is the way both Seth and Benjamin I both signed their wills). The book includes copies of the wills plus information on their lives and buriels.
Seth was born in Tring, England in 1606. He and his wife Bethia Cooke came to America (Charlestown, MA) by 1637. Both he and Benjamin were in the shoe business with Benjamin making heels and lasts. He later became a farmer. He also served in King Philip's War, one of the last efforts to clear the Indians from the northeast. Seth died in 1660 and his gravestone is in the Old Phipps Street Burying Grounds in Charlestown. Benjamin was 86 when he died in 1718. His grave is in the same cemetery but the stone has disappeared.
The family records provide little information on Benjamin Jr, other than indicate he had property in Mystic Side, provide his will, and note that he died at age 55 only 2 years after his father. He is buried in Bell Rock Cemetery. The research does confirm that there are 3 Benjamins. Many of the family trees on Ancestory.com combine Benjamin II and III into one person. Yes - the previous research done by our family members rules and matches the historical records!!
Benjamin III was born in 1695 and died in Falmouth (Portland), Maine in 1754. He was a bricklayer and mason by trade spending much of his youth in Massachusetts before moving to Maine. Much of the Sweetser "tracking" has been through community sales/job records and church affilitations. Benjamin's 5th child, Abigail, was born in 1730. Unfortunately, the book lists her spouse as John Tucker instead of Tukey. However, there is plenty of other evidence (including their grave sites and church records) that corrects this error.
At the end of the day, I made my way to the Falmouth Inn. It is a 2-star motel but has a bed, bath, and air conditioning. Just fine for the next few weeks. Grocery stores and restaurants are within walking distance and Portland is 15 minutes away. Tomorrow is a regular work day. I have 3 SBIR grants to finalize and upload early next week. I think my blog will be minimal tomorrow.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
A quick quiche lunch at Slades (yum) and we went back to the same facility which also houses the Maine Archives. I think this office will be key for locating and getting copies of records for the four Tukey sons who were in the Revolutionary War (as well as those for Sweetsers and Cushings).
Also housed in the building is the Maine Museum. This is a wonderful 4-story effort that covers every aspect of Maine life from the aboriginal Indians through 1950s America. Very well done and a most reasonable admission of $2. Can't beat it. By this time it was 5pm and Barbara whisked me off to see various spots in Augusta and along the way home - forts, stockades, old dams, old factories. The towns are working hard to refurbish buildings and create shops, condos, and outdoor spaces. It was also wonderful to see how clean the rivers were particularly after long time factory pollution from earlier in the century. Home finally about 7pm. We have taken care of housekeeping chores and are about to crash. More tomorrow!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The cemetery has no shade but after some lunch and lots of water we continued to central Portland where John and his children lived. Thanks to some records from Nathan Goold written in 1897 plus a translation of old street names to current names, we managed to locate 7 or 8 Tukey home sites and businesses. The Tukeys and Sweetsers lived on adjacent lots at Congress and Franklin Streets. Various Tukey children lived across the street or just a couple blocks over. Portland is built on hills that slope down to the harbor. Most houses were built on the hills while businesses were closer to the wharves. Lemuel Tukey who collected the tolls at Tukey's Bridge lived near the water (now a sewage treatment plant) before moving "up town." George had his blacksmith shop down near the harbor. John Tukey donated the land across the street from his home for what is now Lincoln Park. Of course, all the homes are long gone. Businesses, parking lots, and government buildings take up what were grassy knolls, common fields, and, in John's case, a two-story home for his wife and 13 children.
Barbara gave me a wonderful overview of Portland including the lighthouse and a tour of the Henry W Longfellow house (just next to the Maine Historical Society). We then mosied our way back towards Waterville, stopping for fresh seafood at a local bistro on the waterfront. A terrific day!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I arrived about 4:30 at my cousin Barbara Shea's home in Waterville, Maine. Barbara and husband Dave have a lovely two-story home with lots of storage, an en-suite bathroom for me, and four cats to keep us entertained. Dave went out and brought home lobster, corn on the cob and cole slaw - what a way to begin my east coast adventures. Yummy! I shared family information with Barbara and will download many of the photos from this trip. Tomorrow we are off to Portland to visit the Eastern Cemetery where John Tukey and Abigail Sweetser plus many progeny are buried. Can't wait to start my research here. Much more tomorrow night.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Had lunch with Anne and Maggie Desmond and Doug's daughter Caroline. I hadn't see her since 2002 (Tahoe reunion) so it was great to catch up. She looks good and is keeping busy. The afternoon was spent prepping for my research time in Maine. The libraries and genealogy centers won't allow you to take loose papers in, have pens, etc. So I needed to put some background Tukey research in the bound book in which I take notes. Had a nice dinner and long walk to wear off the piece of bread I ate. Off for Maine about 9 in the morning.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
We were home about 5pm and then went out to a local pizza place with Anne Desmond's family for dinner. Great salad and time to catch up. Anne and Mike are in the throes of a young family with kids 14, 12 and 8. The kids are all busy with track, swimming and overnights. They keep Anne and Mike in a constant balancing act between work and family.
Talked to Karl in NC where the heat index today was 109 and his car air conditioning consists of crank windows but he is doing well and enjoying his job. This morning he went to a local community center where an acquaintance provides music opportunities for kids. Karl plans to develop some classes for adults and spend his Saturday mornings immersed in teaching and community music. Way to go! Heard from mom that Ray and the girls were over at the house doing yard work and helping Liz move a TV etc. I so appreciate all their help. I have yet to talk with Ron but hope the newlyweds are having a great weekend.
Am going to spend another hour with Moses Sutton and family before bed. Sleep tight (from the era where bed springs were intersecting ropes and every morning you had to tighten the stretched ropes in order to get a decent night's sleep that evening).
Friday, July 23, 2010
The weather has been cool today with some rain. I left Kingston just after 7 and, per Lois' directions, made my way to Hudson, NY. This is the town where dad was born. I definitely found the correct road (Mt. Marino Road) and maybe even the correct house. If nothing else the views of the Hudson River were spectacular.
I then made may way towards Shelburne, VT. I met Hugh, Diane and their friend Bob at the Shelburne Museum. This is a spectacular acreage where furnishings, carriages, artisan craftware, and even a steamship have been collected and made available for viewing. We saw a Vermont pottery collection, quilts from the families of Alzheimer's patients, an Ansel Adams exhibit, the steamship Ticonderoga, and some lovely period room transplanted from the Webb family's NY apartment to a specially constructed home on the grounds.
Late in the afternoon we made our way to Hugh and Diane's house. Saw cousin Mike Desmond and the kids (Anne was out with the neighborhood women). We had a simple dinner and best of all, great conversation - an item sorely missing in the last two weeks!
On a family history note, the book I found in Ohio on the Sutton family and ordered from the 81 year old author in Pennsylvania was here when I arrived. Great late night reading!! Will let you know what I discover.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
From downtown Kingston, I drove to Hurley. Now Hurley is a tiny town. You wouldn't think it would take me 3 trips through the historic district to find the museum. I checked in there looking for genealogy/history information. They don't have their library available to the public but sent me to the gift shop for the name and phone number of the president of the genealogy society. I had emailed her but no response. I phoned from the car - no service. I made my way to the Dutch Reformed Church and found the church secretary (genealogy society is in the basement and open 3 half days per month). She tried the president's phone number and got through but no one was home. The secretary sent me down the hall just to see if anyone was in the genealogy office and sure enough - the lady I was seeking (80 if she is a day) was there stapling the newsletter. She gave me a copy of the Middaugh family genealogy book I had been searching for. Unfortunately, our portion of the family is listed in the back as a "shard." In other words, we definitely are part of the family but they don't know how we connect in to the major lines. GREAT - this is what I have been trying to figure out and I found all the information listed in this book last week in Tompkins County. Evidently the author is coming out with a new book. I will have to contact him and see if we have become a "real" part of the family pot or still relegated to the odds and ends pile. I also looked for Davenports as long as I was there. No luck; no new information.
I then went on to Marbletown and Bevier House a museum in a restored home from the 1700s with a research center. Wonderful small museum with fabulous furniture, clothing, guns, munitions, kitchen implements and more. I also got some time in their research center, but again, no luck.
Since I had exhausted all of the known local sources, I headed back to Kingston. I enjoyed a 2 hour boat cruise on the Hudson going as far south as Hyde Park and the Roosevelt estate. Upon return, I walked down the dock to the Hudson River Maritime Museum. I was interested in whether I could find a picture or recounting of the steamship Aremenia's race with the Henry Clay I found a book so will provide you a short account:
"In 1852, the steamship Henry Clay left Albany on July 28th in a race with another steamer called the Armenia. All through the early morning in the narrow channel of the upper Hudson they steamed along almost side by side. Once the actually came together with a crash. Passengers were frightened, and several women fainted. Men tried to get the officers of the Henry Clay to stop racing, but they paid no attention. At one point they even tried to push the Armenia into shallow water where she would run aground. Toward the middle of the afternoon when the Henry Clay, still going at top speed, was almost in sight of New York, fire broke out near the middle of the vessel. Fanned by a strong river breeze, the blaze gained headway fast. In a matter of minutes the whole midship section was a mass of flames. The pilot headed the Henry Clay for the east bank of the river, which she soon struck at full speed. Her bow went up against the bank while the stern still sat in deep water. Since most of the passengers, including many women and children, were on the after end of the steamer, they had a choice of jumping overboard and possible downing or burning to death. The vessel burned to the water's edge in a very short time and when it was all over more than 80 people had lost their lives." GG grandpa Mehrhof had a bet on the race and had agreed to name his first child after the winning boat. Which is how great grandma Armenia got her name.
A nice dinner salad at a restaurant on the dock completed the day.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
From downtown Albandy, I headed to a 1770 house on the waterfront that served as a military headquarters. Found the place only to encounter a sign on the door saying they were closed for a special tour from 1:30 - 4. Time when I arrived: 1:30. Obviously, I was suppose to go to Kingston.
Off down the highway I go. Kingston is GREAT. Small, easy to get around, friendly people, not scary, suggestions by the Visitor's Bureau volunteer on where to go look for Dutch records. I had contacted both the genealogy society and the historical society for some research time but no response so far. The volunteer suggested I a) go to the side entrance of the Old Dutch Reformed Church in Kingston and see if they didn't have some records I could look at and b) go to Hurley (location of the geneal. society) and just go to the church and see if someone would let me into the basement.
Off I went to the Dutch Reformed Church. Sure enough they had marriage and baptismal records I could look at. No luck finding Eliza Middaugh or Alanson Davenport. We are just missing that generation at the end of the 1700s that would definitely connect them to the proposed ancestory lineage. However, the pastor at the church pushed me to go to the church at Hurley, NY and check in with them on records. He said the Davenports were very established in that community - and also see if I could get access to the genealogy records in the basement. The pastor also knew about Davenports in New Jersey and gave me the phone number and name of the archivist at a main repository in New Brunswick, NJ.
Tomorrow I will head for Hurley and see if the people at the Reformed Church/geneal. society have more data. Will also go to Marbletown and check out the Historical Society. At some point I also want to do the walking tour of the Stockade section of Kingston (my morning constitutional). Will detour to see dad's birthplace in Hudson, NY on my way to Vermont on Friday.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
From there, it was on to Herkimer, NY to look for a birth record for Roxanna Peabody. Stopped at the town clerk again. They thought I was nuts even asking for an 1815 record. On to the Historical Society but no records for Peabodys - at least none that I recognized. Again, I think it is a matter of families moving through the area and a scarcity of records. I will keep searching.
By this time it was 1pm. I was going to head for Kingston but have not heard from the genealogy society there so my research opportunities may be limited. I decided to spend the night in Albany and go to the state Archives tomorrow morning to look for military land grants for Peabodys and Coats. Then I will go on to Kingston tomorrow afternoon and do some Middaugh research at the Historical Society which is only open on Thursays and Fridays.
I did get some time this afternoon to transcribe notes and try to sort through the tangled Coats-Peabody mess. Any interesting "A"H"A emerged. Remember that Eugene Davenport's wife was Emma Jane Coats. Her grandparents were Ezra Peabody Coats and Roxanna Peabody. There has always been some question as to whether this husband and wife were related. Question answered - YES. I found that Thomas Peabody (1727-1813) and his wife Ruth Burdick (1735-?) were Roxanna Peabody's ggrandparents and Ezra P Coats' grandparents. If I have calculated it correctly, this made Roxanna and Ezra first cousins once removed. We now have an easy explanation for any odd behavior - just blame it on the ancestors!
Monday, July 19, 2010
Tonight I thought I would treat myself and have dinner out. Usually, to stay on my diet and within my budget, I have a wrap or a salad for lunch and dinner at McDonalds or Subway. This let's me get by on ~ $10 per day for food. However, since I hadn't eaten out since Aunt Louise's I figuered I could splurge. I might also find another single person or traveler to talk to. So I hoofed it down the street a few blocks to a nice looking restaurant. Once seated, I realized what a creature of habit I am. I chose an Italian, family restaurant. Prices were reasonable, within walking distance but - you guessed it - everyone there was part of a family. Now the restaurant did have a bar but it seemed rather noisy and it Never occurred to me that perhaps I should ask to be seated in the bar if I wanted to meet someone else. But, I had a nice dinner. Didn't read my book. Looked around at the interesting decor - a spent a lot of time laughing at myself.
OK - genealogy. I found ggg grandparents Phillip and Catherina Mehrhof waiting for me in the St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery on Verona Mills Road. Didn't even take more than 5 minutes to locate their graves and several others - since they were right in front! The gravestone is a bit hard to read but here it is.
Phillip Mehrhof: b March 1803, d. 2 April 1869
Catharina D. Mehrhof: b 28 April 1798, d. 1 May 1870
Phillip arrived in the US in 1841, Catherine arrived in 1844 with sons Peter, Nicolas, and Phillip - b, 1836, 1830, 1839 in Germany). Armenia Mehrhof Tukey was the first child of Peter Mehrhof and Helen Christina Dick and was born in Higginsville, Verona Twnsp, NY.
There was also a John W? Mehrhof grave. I have never heard of him but he was a bit older than Phillip. (b. 1794, d. 1862). Maybe he was an older brother/cousin and perhaps this was a reason for Phillip moving to Oneida County after spending 15 years in the Croton-on-Hudson area. We have no information on this older generation that immigrated from Germany. More research to do!
Then it was back to the Oneida County Historical Society - housed in the basement of an old church. I combed through a lot of records but didn't find much on our Mehrhofs since they were in the area less than 10 years. However, I did find an 1859 an Oneida County directory for Higginsville, NY, Verona township. It lists Daniel Mehrhof (age 65-born in 1804) - another brother or cousin? He was living on lot 120 and was a farmer. Nicolas Mehrhof age 74 (another brother or cousin? - b. 1795) was living on lot 118 and was a boatman and farmer. Phillip Mehrhof (our ggg grandfather) was age 63, a farmer, and living on lot 119. The archivist had an old county map (6 ft and 8 ft) that had to be unrolled and handled with white gloves. Using a magnifying glass, sure enough, here were each of these individuals with their names attached to the lot numbers. There was also a store listed in Higginsville - C. Snyder and Mehrhof - right at the edge of Daniel M's property. Made a copy of that section of the map!
I also did some looking for the "Dick" family (Armenia's mother). We have no informationn on them. However, there is a Heinrich Dick (age 38 in 1852) who applied for and received his naturalization papers in 1837 in Oneida County which would make him about the right age (30) to be Helen Christina's father. LOTS more research to do. No opportunity to go back to Verona to search out a birth record for Armenia. However, I have the clerk's name and address so will write her for that information as well as researching marriage information for Peter and Helen Christina and a birth record for Helen C.
Tomorrow - Herkimer, NY to research/find the birth record for Roxanna Peabody - Ezra Coats' wife then on to Kingston (on the Hudson near the Catskills).
Sunday, July 18, 2010
So - I made my way to Rome, NY. There I went to the Ft. Stanwyx National Monument. This reconstructed fort from the 1750s and 1770s is smack in the middle of the city. They did a wonderful job of re-creating this star-shaped fort that was home to 500 men who defended the Mohawk Valley. Based on the various rooms in the fort, the men were much shorter, quarters were cramped, winter must have been miserable, summer hot in the wool uniform, and the mice must have had a field day. There is a great visitor center and plent of rangers to answer a multitude of questions - and the whole facility is FREE!
From Rome, I made my way to Utica. Not too impressed with this city. Very industrial although the surrounding countryside is lovely and the area is rife with waterways. I spent this evening sorting through research. I found St. Peter's cemetery - it is in Verona but on a different road. Evidently, the congregation demolished the old church (which was next to the cemetery) and built a new church at the location I found this morning. So - tomorrow I will make my way back to Verona before spending the afternoon at the Oneida County Historical Society. The Mehrhofs were only here for 8-9 years. I would like to find some information on Armenia's birth (the remaining children were born in Croton-on-Hudons or New Jersey) and about the farm Philip Mehrhof developed.
Hope everyone had an equally relaxing day.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Today was spent in Tioga County. Nice people but not much verification on Eliza Middaugh. I found her husband Alanson Davenport's father and brother but just not a lot on Eliza and Alanson. I have posted a query on a Middaugh bulletin board. Maybe this will guide my next steps. Meanwhile, I will be looking at Mehrhof's in Oneida County outside Utica and in Herkimer County.
Thunder and lightning are rampant. So I am signing off - don't need to nuke my machine. Good thing (?) it was a slow day.
Friday, July 16, 2010
It was mostly a day of detective work. I am still trying to firmly tie Ezra to the John Coats in Pharsalia. The story goes that his first wife was Rebeckah Brown. She died and John went back to Stonington to find a wife and married Lucy Peabody in CT before bringing her back to Pharsalia. There they lived for 50 years. GG Davenport had son Ezra born in Chenango County. However, Lucy must have gone home to CT for some reason, because Ezra was born in Stonington.
I combed the vital records. A history of Chenango County lists John Coates and about a dozen other men all moving to the area from Stonington, CT around 1800. However, there are no further mentions of John in any of the town/area records. No vital records (death, marriage). No land records yet. No will. No records of Ezra except as mentioned in his brother Alfred's will in 1889. This document confirms the list of brothers and sisters I have and matches the list of children of John Coats. In addition, Ezra's sister-in-law (Alfred's wife) names her remaining children when applying for a Civil War pension based on son Charles' service. One of these children is Ezra Peabody - probably named for his uncle. No school records for our Ezra either.
The census records from 1810, 1820, 1830 only list head of household with remaining family members grouped by age and gender. In the 1820 and 1830 censuses there is a John Coats with of the right age and the right number of children. In the 1855 census, John is listed as age 84 (correct), born in CT and his wife Lucy is 76 (correct), also born in CT. So - I am reasonably certain this is the right group. I would just like a document that is a firmer link than the Michigan death certificate I have. I hope to find more when I get to CT.
Some inferences can be made from the lack of information and from documentation on Alfred's family (Ezra's brother). I think the family was desperately poor. I doubt they ever owned land. Ezra probably got little schooling. Alfred's family moved to Iowa and similarly struggled. the family relied almost solely on their son's wages and earnings in the military particularly after Alfred was injured in 1858. Although various family records question whether the Peabodys on the Coats and Peabody lines were related prior to Ezra and Roxanna marrying, I believe they were. I think it highly likely that Lucy contacted cousins in Springwater (e.g. William or one of his relations) and sent Ezra to board/apprentice/indenture with them. There he met and married Roxanna. I see no other way they would have met since there are no Peabodys listed in the Chenango County area in the 1800 - 1840 time period. I also think this sets precedent for George Washington Coats being raised by his maternal grandparents (William and Roxanna Peabody. We know from gg Davenport that he lived with them not at home). Ezra worked for William and Sheffield Peabody during much of the 1840s and 1850s. The fire that destroyed his home I am sure set him back. Various census records even in Michigan have him residing away from the family doing farm labor. Just guesses on my part - we shall see. Hopefully we will find concrete information to fill in the blanks.
I did go to Central Cemetery in Pharsalia. I found John's first wife Rebeckah in the "Brown" section - which makes sense after I realized her maiden name was Brown. Don't know if she was born in Stonington, CT (probably) or here in NY but she is (for us) just a side note. John and Lucy are supposed to be buried in this cemetery as well but I combed the hillsides for 2 hours with no luck. There are many gravestone that are buried, crumbled, broken or unreadable. John and Lucy's graves are listed in S1W1, 4 A & B but their stones are among the missing. Too bad.
Tomorrow - off to Oswego in Tioga County for a look at early Middaugh/Davenport records - better connecting them to our line before I get to Ulster Co. next week.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
WRONG assumption. There are HUNDREDS of Middaughs in the area. Much of the Albany and Ulster County areas were settled by Dutch in the 1600s. Many of them made their way to the Tompkins/Tioga County areas in the late 1700s after the federal government negotiated a treaty with the Indians. About the fifth piece of paper I picked up listed the lineage for Eliza Middaugh immediately pushing the line back to 1700 and adding three more generations. I have yet to find definitive birth records or land records. Records are scarce before 1820 which is the timeframe I am searching. I will go to Tioga County on Saturday since that was the predecessor county and see what they have. Meanwhile, I think instead of Albany late next week, I will detour further south and hit Kingston in Ulster County. The Ulster County Genalogical Society has a whole book on Middaugh genealogy so I am hoping that fills in some blanks. Meanwhile - here are the graves for gggg grandmother and grandfather Middaugh - great grandpa Davenport's great grandparents. (Found them at the Dutch Reformed Church cemetery in Slaterville.)
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
After breakfast and a bit of work, I headed for Springwater, NY about 1.5 hours west and south of here. Once again Fiona the GPS guru was at her finest. Although I was looking for Coatses, I found the Peabodys.
The trip to Springwater led away from the lake district into the folded, timbered hills of the west. How anyone decided to make their way here and farm is still a mystery. The hillsides are steep with much of the current farming along the tops of ridges. There are larger farms in some valleys that were scraped wider by the glaciers. The Springwater area was surveyed by Col. Maxwell. The township survey begins "Began the north line of the town August 25, 1789 between lot 7 and 8 in the fifth range at the small mountain oak, which is the east line running west, the first mile is 160 rods, down a steep hill. The growth is mountain and black oak and chestnut. The soil is hard and dry. 126 rods on a better soil, the growth black and white oak, chestnut, maple and basswood and others to a handsome brook running northward the rest of the mile is good; -------the rest of the description is three times longer and just as interesting, although the town would be impossible to find by this description in current times.
The town of Springwater is home to about 2,000 residents and was the birthplace of George Washington Coats (remember Michigan?) in 1838. His parents, Ezra P. Coats and Roxanna Peabody have always represented the end of that line on our genealogy sheet so I came to find them. I had discovered just before leaving home, that Ezra was born in Connecticut not New York. This enabled me to hook up with several generations from his family. But I could never figure out why/how he met up with the Peabodys and went from NY to Michigan. The people in Springwater were very nice but I struck out finding a birth certificate for GW Coats. However, the city clerk is going to keep looking and will call if she finds something.
From there it was on to Mt. Morris, the county seat for Livingston County. As I followed the directions to the top of a wooded hill about 20 miles from Springwater, I came to this incredible campus of buildings. A dozen large edifices of brick with white wood trim. I was sure I had stumbled onto the campus of some college, but no - each building had a different set of county offices. Building 5 was home to the county historian. Turns out the facility was a tuberculosis sanitorium in a previous life. I'm not sure I would ever want to get well and go home. It is gorgeous.
In building 5, I hit pay dirt. I turns out that Sheffield Winslow Peabody (1830 - 1914) kept diaires. He wrote a line or two each day from 1849-1914. A descendent, bless her forever, had typed up all the entries and indexed them - it must have been a mammoth job because the result is four large binders plus three smaller ones. And lo and behold, we find Roxanna and Ezra, and George, Miner and David - the children. It turns out our Roxanna was Sheffield's sister.
In the diaries Sheffield sketches the genealogy of the Peabody family back 7 generations. We have had a list of the generations before but only the male lines, so I had no idea where Roxanna fit. We now know her parents are William Peabody and Roxanna Burdick, her grandparents were William P. and one of his 3 wives, and back to John who came to Plymouth, MA by 1636. His son William married Elizabeth, daughter of John and Priscilla (Mullens) Alden. Both Roxanna's father and grandfather are buried in the Springwater area but there is no master list of graves so finding the gravesites will be difficult and left for another time.
The diaries of SWP are a wonderful look at farm life over more than 60 years. The parents of SWP and Roxanna lived in the area as did many other family members (there were 8 children in that generation). Roxanna and Ezra seemed to have struggled to make a go of it but are mentioned regularly in the diaries. A fire May 3, 1851 burned Roxanna and Ezra's home to the ground and the family got out with just the clothes on their backs. On May 5th, Ezra took a wagon and picked up donations from various neighbors to help restart their home. On the 8th, SWP and Ezra scored timber for the new house which was then erected on the 9th by a "bee" (house raising). Can you imagine losing your house and rebuilding it within a week? We couldn't do it today. Ezra often worked for SWP and on Oct. 13, 1857, SWP helped pack up the family goods for their move to Michigan. The party going to Michigan included Elvina and Marella Stiles (cousins), Roxanna, Miner and David Coats. George W. goes seperately with his cousin Millard Stiles. I don't know where Ezra was in all this. He may have gone ahead or come to Michigan later. SWP lists him in 1885 as living with GW in Coats Grove. There were other Peabody relatives already in Michigan in 1857 so this may have been a motivation for moving.
Coming out of the history center, I had to wade through a downpour. I was wet from my belt to my underwear but that couldn't dampen my excitement about what I discovered. All in all, a great day.
That's all for tonight. On to Geneva tomorrow for a look see.
Monday, July 12, 2010
The other visitors are quiet and calm. Although there are a few with less gray in their hair than me they all act old. There is one Korean lady from Florida who knows how to smile. Too bad we can't have a conversation. She is thin as a rail but eats 2 or 3 helpings of everything. Ah, to have such a metabolism. It is a good thing I usually sit at a table along because, good heathen that I am, I usually forget to say grace until I have eaten 2 bites. Mea culpa. Tonight, they played a CD of hymns during dinner. They were immediately cheering because they were all the Protestant tunes from my childhood!
Most of my day was spent working for clients. I finished and uploaded one grant. Emailed draft three of another. I will finish and upload another in the morning, then I am off to Springwater (apologies Lois, I told you Slaterville - that is for Thursday or Friday while I am near Ithaca). Springwater is the furthest western point in this med-New York exploration. GW Coats was born in this small burg and lived there until age 19 with his grandparents. He then moved to Jamestown, Michigan with his cousin and his dog. We have few records of their time in NY so I will see what I can discover at the county sea in Mt. Morris or the county clerk's office in Geneseo.
Included next is just some interesting information by James Bradford Tukey about his parents. It was written in tiny handwriting on the back of this photo. (I don't know why the photos flip when I upload them)
"Four generations Milburn, IL, 1898. George C. Dodge farm house. Sitting is George Crie Dodge holding Marion G. Tukey of Berwyn, IL. on his knee. Aunt Judith Dodge sitting to right, Harold Bradford Tukey standing in front and his father James Bradford Tukey standing back of his Uncle George C. Dodge and Aunt Judith dodge. This notation made 7/17/1946 at Pearl River, NY by J.B. Tukey born 1864 May 7th in NY City, NY after moving from Nov 3, 1937 resided in St. Petersburg, Florida there to return Sept. via P.C.A. Airlines. This road running west past the farm of James M Dodge where at 4 years of age my mother Julia Crie Dodge was taken from Salem, Mass. by her father James M. Dode in Pioneer Days settling. She living until 19 years of age when my father Stephen H. Tukey did court and marry mother, going to NYC residing in Dominick Street where I was born May 7 1864. Later moving to 234 changed to 264 York Street, Jersey City, NJ then attending grammar school and at about 15 years age later by my parent paying $200 to my Uncle Edward and Aunt Ruby Dodge on old Dodge homestead for 8 years then to Desmet, S. Dakota, W. B. D. Gray and 60 acre farm, 18 or 19 Oberlin (College), Ohio, next Ridgefield Park, NJ 1888.
The text is a bit wordy and disjointed but you get the drift of what they were doing in the 1800s.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
You need to know that this has been a nonstop effort for days. Louise and I worked from 3pm until 11pm going looking at, notating and shooting photographs of all the old memorabilia. (Thus my late blog posting.) We must be very grateful to gg Davenport, gg Tukey and the rest of the descendents for saving so much material.
The highlights from the day must include the stash of tintypes and daguerreotypes found in an old tin box of the Sutton and Davenport families. Below is Alanson Davenport and his wife Eliza Middaugh – both born in the late 1700s.
In contrast to this book, was Levi R. Sutton’s New Testament. Bound in
Friday, July 9, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I had a great send-off from John, Muriel and David this morning and made my way north. Fiona the GPS routed me through the hills and back country giving me a wonderful view of forests and streams. Although not virgin timber, many areas had large, old hardwoods that kept the forest floor clear of undergrowth - much like our ancestors must have experienced. Along the way I met several Amish women in their buggies with highly motivated, high stepping horses. I was impressed - the horses moved along with little direction from the women who were talking up a storm, looking at each other and not the road. Maybe it is good they don't have cars. :-)
I have noticed that Pennsylvania is much rockier than Ohio which may have been some of the motivation for our farmer ancestors to move from western PA to the more verdant floodplains of the Ohio. I will have to investigate further.
Once in State College, Louise's good directions took me straight to her house. It looks much the same as I remember from my visit in the 1950s, although the trees are much larger. We spent the afternoon looking at Davenport and Tukey photos. Many were similar to those found at U of I or with Lois and Ann. But Louise had some great photos of dad as a child and of Hudson, NY. (I would add them here but am using Louise's computer - hopefully tomorrow I will upload photos.) Thanks to stories from Lois and Ann plus research I had done, we were able to label some of Louise's photos, sorting out some mysteries. Tomorrow - on to the next 10 boxes and lots of surprises, I know.
On our way to dinner Louise showed me the AAUW used book center she has created to sort, store, and price the 4,000 boxes of books they sell at the annual sale. This is a 2 day a week effort for the entire year and this year's sale netted $134,000. More impressive - this is Louise's 49th year as head of the sale. Give this lady a medal for tenacity!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Evidently, as early as 1864 both southerners and northerners recognized Gettysburg as a pivotal battle, and came to create special buriel areas and markers. It is amazing the number of troops involved and from every area of the nation (at that time). The day was a wonderful experience and the heat gave us a window into how hot it must have been July 1-3 150 years ago - a we didn't have stinky wool uniforms on.
Tomorrow it is on to Aunt Louise's in State College and her wealth of Tukey background. Back to work for me. I hope to make lots of progress!
Monday, July 5, 2010
John, not to be left out, is tackling finding the original John Tukey's parents in England. There is great controversy about whether John Tukey came to the US in 1744 or whether he was born in Massachusetts and came to Maine in 1744. The jury is out, no own seems to have absolute proof. It is one of the "brick walls" to tackle in Maine. Meanwhile, John has emailed the church where one potential set of parents for John Tukey were married in 1716, Staffordshire, England.
In the middle of all this, Rick Kimble arrived. He is a cousin on my mother's side and temporarily living in the Philadelphia area. He drove to Chambersburg, arriving in time for lunch and more genealogy stories. After lunch, we had a great tour of the new Wilson College Science building. What a great facility and John's office is neater than I ever remember dad's.
Today's accomplishment - 20+ more names in the database and 3 more people infected with the genealogy bug. At this rate we will have a whole army of family history investigators. An empire!!!!!
On my way south to Chambersburg, I realized Fayette County, birthplace of the Suttons is just west of John. I may have to conscript him to do some local research. Arrived at John and Muriel's just after 5pm. We joined some neighbors for a picnic supper and lively talk. When it was finally dark - we enjoyed sparklers with David and some noisy poppers.
FYI - several of you have said you want to comment on the blogs. I appreciate it that you are reading them! I think you go to the end of the blog and hit the word comment (where it says Comment 0), a text box should come up that you can type in, then hit post. Let's see if this works! Hope everyone had a super 4th.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
This afternoon has been spent transcribing notes and labeling photos. I thought I would copy here some information from Catherine Kile Sutton's biography in the Fire Lands Pioneer journal. It provides an interesting glimpse into pioneer life.
"Mrs. Sutton is noticeable as having spent a large part of her early life on the frontier or in the wilderness. She kept house for her brother four years and was then married to Levi R Sutton. In some of his hunting excursions Sutton found a good location on the banks of the Huron river, near some good springs, in Peru township. Here he concluded to settle down, and proceeded to clear away the underbrush, girdle or deaden the larger trees, and fence and sow a small piece of wheat. During the winter he built a cabin and moved into it April 1, 1817. Proceeded with his clearing, and in due time was able to plant a patch of corn. Aunt Katie (Catherine Sutton) dug up the ground and planted a patch of vegetables, also a patch of flax, from which she manufacured clothing for her family. Thus they lived until the fall of 1818, not knowing who, if any body, owned the land; when the owner of the land came on. They bought 50 acres at $5 per acre to be paid for in work and at market price - 50 cents a day for chopping and 50 cents per hundred for making rails. Mr. and Mrs. Sutton considered themselves lucky and went to work, he with his ax and she with her hoe and wheel. He chopped the fire wood as near the house as he could find suitable trees. She carried it to the house as it was needed while he was off earning his 50 cents per day and tended to the house and gardens.
When the land was paid for they thought they needed wool (to manufacture clothes). As soon as they had a field large enough to hold them, they obtained a few sheep. Then commenced a perpetual fight between Aunt Katie and the wolves. She could scarcely turst the sheep out of her sight. Every night, summer and winter, they had to be housed. Twice their last hog was carried off by bears. Three difference times their last and only cow died of murrain. Shehad full charge of housekeeping for seventy-two years and was the mother of seven children."
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
What struck me as I drove the winding roads was how long even that journey must have taken. Assuming there were trails, assuming you could go in a reasonably straight line, assuming you could make 20 miles a day it would take 1 day from Jonestown/Moscow to Battle Creek, 1 day to Hastings then 1 day to Jamestown. With wagon and oxen it would take at least a week. Imaging wandering through virgin forests filled with indians for week while you try and head for a new home because the one you originally chose wasn't working.
From Jonestown, I made my way south and east to Ohio. The numbr and variety of vintage farms throughout Michigan and Ohio is staggering. MANY of the homes range from 50 - 125 years old. A great variety in styles but overall they are well maintained and obviously the center of productive farm life.
I was going to spend the night in Perrysburg but decided to continue east to Norwalk. The Firelands Museum is here and I think it is my best bet for genealogy. It should be open both tomorrow and Saturday so I am keeping my fingers crossed. This area of Huron County (Peru, Norwalk, Monroeville) was home to the Suttons and Davenports in the second quarter of the 1800s. It is here that the Suttons had their weaving business and where George Martin Davenport met and married Esther Sutton. A good night's sleep and hopefully a productive day tomorrow.