Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Week in Connecticut: Summer 2000

My on-site New England research is lacking. In 2000 I flew to Hartford to spend a week in July visiting venues for information and checking out places where the ancestors lived. Stops: Hartford, New London and Stamford. Three cities in five days!

Hartford: The Connecticut state capital was a combination of research and sightseeing. The State Library was the research site. I was able to make copies of the court cases involving Hannah Wakeman Hackleton [see earlier posts on Hannah for details on her adventures] and gather bits and pieces on other families, such as the Olmsteads and St. Johns. I wandered the streets of Hartford to take in a few historic sites, including the Ancient Burial Ground, home to the Founders Monument [including John Olmstead], and the John Winthrop, Jr. Monument to name a few. Visiting the Winthrop statue was as close as I could come to thanking him for pardoning Hannah.

Stamford: Here I dug into the resources the research library had on the Lockwood and Webb families with success. My overnight stay in Stamford was curious at best. The night clerk apparently had inadvertently [I hope] fed a film he was watching to others rooms. Suffice to say it was not for family viewing!

New London: The NL County Historical Society houses a very nice research facility. I worked on my Douglas and Hazen families for the most part. [I was not yet armed with the correct Douglas lineage: William and Sarah. I was still working the William Sr. & Jr. angle.] I visited the Nathan Hale Schoolhouse and the "Antientest Burial Ground" where William Douglas was buried. It had to be interesting to passer-bys to see someone sprawled out on the ground to photograph tombstones.


top: The Connecticut State Library, Hartford;
bottom: Hartford Founders Monument

top: John Winthrop Jr. Monument;
bottom: Stamford Historical Society

top: New London's ancient burial ground;
bottom: Nathan Hale Schoolhouse

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Kentucky and Ohio: 1999

1998 included a Prall Reunion and week of research in Salt Lake. From there I flew to Boston for the 2nd leg of the Freedoms Foundation program: The Revolution in the North. Boston's Freedom Trail, Saratoga Battlefield, Forts Stanwix and Ticonderga, Oriskany, the Morristown Winter Encampment [NJ], Washington's HQ at Newburgh, NY & West Point were among the stops before wrapping up in Philly. I was going to lay over for 2-3 days of research, but was completely out of gas and went home.

1999 was my first Kentucky trip, with a day trip to Ohio. This, to the best of my recollection was the schedule:

Monday: Eastern Kentucky University [the library has a nice genealogy collection; vital records - especially marriages for Madison County - were the primary target] and the public library in Richmond.

Tuesday: Boonesboro and Fort Harrod.

Wednesday: The KY State Archives and Historical Society/Museum in Frankfort. [Gulley, Land and Cawby research], plus a couple of historical sites/memorials near the Archives.

Thursday: The Jessamine County Historical Society and court house in Nicholasville. I was able to make a copy of my first original marriage record! Martin Cawby Jr.'s first marriage in 1809. You know you're in trouble when an original record has the surname spelled three different ways!

Friday: A day trip to the local library and the Warren County Historical Society in Lebanon, Ohio to do research on my Faucett and Hurin families. Land records, newspaper articles and marriage records were searched and copied.

Saturday: Goofed off and compiled notes.

Sunday: Drove up to Cinergy Field to take in a Reds game.


top: Boonesboro; middle: Kentucky State Archives in the distance; bottom: Fort Harrod

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Maryland/Virginia and Indiana Trips and Research: 1996-1997

1996 took me to Maryland and Virginia. My first stop was pure research - the Maryland State Archives. There I did a bit of Prall research. Next was Harford Co., Maryland. I neglected to contact the Historical Society before I left, but lucked out a bit. The Historical Society then was open three days per week, one each for the genealogy library, local history, s and records departments. The staff allowed me to browse all three sections for Prall and Cunningham material. Since York Co., Pennsylvania was just across the state line, I ventured there to see what their Historical Society had on the Pralls. I also checked out the Fawn Grove Cemetery, where members of the family were buried. No luck, guess my line couldn't afford grave markers.

The rest of the trip was pure rest and relaxation. Jefferson's Monticello, Bush Gardens Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg.

1997: The first part of my trip was getting back in touch with my hometown and doing research. I visited the old neighborhoods, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and caught up with family and friends in Indianapolis.

I went to the Indiana State Library [mostly obituary research] and the State Archives [land and military records]. I drove up to Hamilton Co. to visit the well-hidden cemetery where Civil War ancestor Aaron Crail was buried.  I went to Danville to research my Faucett ancestors and visited Shiloh Cemetery where John and Eve [Fry] Faucett and Joseph and Rebecca [Hurin] Faucett were buried.

I had trouble locating Joseph and Rebecca. I had wandered the rows where the Faucetts were buried 3-4 times and was about to give up in frustration. As I moped along, the letters R-E-B caught my eye. Yep, there it was! Rebecca's marker. And next to it was that of Joseph. Sneaky ancestors!

From Indy, I settled in at French Lick. I used that southern Indiana town as a base of operations to visit historic Indiana: George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes, Spring Mill State Park, Gus Griisom Memorial, Corydon, and Squire Boone Caverns.

No pix today!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Covering the Mid-Atlantic States: I was much younger then

The 1990s were a time to cover a lot of territory I guess. After the trip "Out West" in 1991, the Prall Reunion in 1992, NJ & SI in 1993, wanderlust struck again and I  headed West again in '94. That brings us to the crazy summer of 1995.

I had learned of a summer "Revolutionary War" workshop sponsored by the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge. The weeklong event was for history teachers and offered college credit. The program was one of three, "The Revolution in the Delaware Valley," "The Revolution in the North" and "The Revolution in the South."

The Delaware Valley "campaign" would cover the Pennsylvania & New Jersey Rev War sites. We stayed on the Freedoms Foundation campus. Washington's Crossing, the Trenton Barracks, Princeton & Monmouth Battlefields, Princeton University [for a lecture & lunch], Paoli Massacre Monument, Brandywine Battlefield, Cliveden, Fort Mifflin, Valley Forge, Independence Historic Park in Philly, Ben Franklin sites, Landis Valley Farm Museum, Hopewell Furnace  Village, Peter Wentz Farmstead, Robert Morris House, & the Betsy Ross House among others. We also visited Lancaster, PA's Amish market.

It should be noted that I took this vacation during one of the hottest summers in recent Delaware Valley history. Temperatures in the low 90s marked a cold-snap! About half of the teachers were from California. They suffered mightily. I was used to the heat, being from Florida at the time.

Before the Freedoms Foundation workshop, I took on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hershey Park, Kingston &New Paltz, NY. Those were my primary research targets - excluding Hershey Park, of course.

In Philly, the Historical and Genealogical Societies were stops for Prall and Rittenhouse research. The libraryKingston and Huguenot Historical Society in New Paltz were for the Prall, DuBois and Whittaker families. The latter proved much more fruitful. 

I took in some of the sights in the Pocono Mountains and visited Hershey Park. Historic Rittenhouse Town, near Germantown, was also on my list since ancestor Wilhelm Rittenhouse built his paper mill there. My primary targets in New Paltz were the DuBois home and the Dutch Reformed Church.

Pictures: Top: Louis DuBois marker at the Huguenot Memorial Church [Louis' grave is now covered by the church!]; center: The DuBois Fort - Louis' home in New Paltz; bottom: the 1710 Rittenhouse homestead

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Prall Roots: Staten Island & Hunterdon Co., New Jersey

In 1992 I attended the Prall Family Reunion in Prallsville, Hunterdon Co., NJ, which included a side trip to Staten Island, NY. I followed that up with a return trip as part of my 1993 vacation. I combined the gathering with a stop at the Deats Library which houses the Historical Society collection.

There was not enough time to do proper research in '92, so I decided on the return trip in '93. I waded through the card files on the Pralls and other related families and examined books and other sources. I also stopped at the State Archives in Trenton. I also spent an afternoon at the Staten Island Historical Society at Historic Richmondtown. [The historic park has many colonial era, and later, buildings.]

Finding the State Archives was an adventure. I had a rough idea [street] on it's location, but wasn't having much luck. I finally pulled into a metered parking spot and asked a passerby for direction. The individual pointed to a tall building nearby and said, "That's it." I thanked him/her, grabbed my research materials, fed the meter and walked to the Archives.

The breakthroughs were numerous. I was able to expand  on the Prall line and add to several allied families, primarily from Staten Island. Thanks to a letter on file at the SIHS, I was able to make contact with Betty Harrell [now Gerlack] and shortly thereafter, Berniece Cowan. The ladies became my "research buddies" and together we unraveled the confusion over the lineage of Aaron Prall, his wife [Mary Whittaker] and children [James, Cornelius, Edward, Benjamin, Elizabeth & Jemima] over the next five years. The research to that time had been a mass of inaccuracies and misassumptions. With letters, on-site research, and phone calls we were able to sort it all out. [Internet was not yet an option.]

The sights to be seen? Prallsville Mills [different line], Woolverton Inn, [NJ] the Billiou-Perrine-Stillwell House, Historic Richmondtown, & Huguenot Memorial Church, [SI]


Top left: Christopher House [Hist. Rich.]; right: Prallsville Mills [Hunt. Co.]
Bottom: left: Huguent Memorial Church [S.I.]; right: Prallsville Mills plaque [Hunt. Co.]
Below: Billiou-Perrine-Stillwell House on Staten Island

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Trip to Scotland: 1990

When I first started to get curious about the Prall surname, I asked my father and his sister about it. Pop said that he'd heard something about the family being Scottish. Aunt Dorothy told me that her recollections were that we were Pennsylvania Dutch. Of course, as it turned out, both were correct. Although Prall appears to be of Dutch origin [or English], the Scots and "Pennsylvania Dutch" were in the mix. At the time I was looking for Prall, or some variation, as a Scots surname.

Early in 1990, I learned that the University of St. Andrews was offering a one week course in Scottish Genealogy. I signed up, applied for my passport and prepared for the trip. My first trip out of the US!

Miscommunication marked the beginning of the trip. I asked the attendant at the check-in at the Sarasota-Bradenton airport about my luggage. He told me it would go straight through to Edinburgh, even though there was a plane change in London. In London, I had only a short time to make the connecting flight. I was also informed that I had to retrieve my bags and check them through customs. OH! OH! No time to do it. No luggage.

I checked into an Edinburgh hotel, ate, did some sightseeing and grumbled. I spent most of the next morning at the airport. One bag showed up. The other had apparently decided to visit Hamburg, Germany. I took the train to Kirkcaldy and hired a cab to St. Andrews. I arrived in time for dinner. When I got back to my room, I nearly tripped over something. Bag #2 had returned from it's side trip! [I would still like to bag up that attendant and ship him somewhere!]

The week would include on campus lectures and research trips to the National Archives of Scotland and the General Register Office of Scotland. I was all but a newbie in genealogical research back then. Since Prall is not a Scottish surname, I was spinning my wheels at the NA and GRO. Today I could dig into MacCallum, Mahurin, Crail and Cunningham to see what was available.

In the evening there were a few pub visits and a performance of the play "When the Nightingale Sings" [the story of a family during the WWII years]. It was probably the best theatre production I've seen. Before dinner, I'd visit the shops in St. Andrews or walk part of the legendary Royal and Ancient golf course. [The British Open was held there in 1990.]

Side trips were quite an adventure. We toured St. Andrews - the castle and cathedral ruins, the harbor, cemetery and other sites. The fishing village of Crail was another stop. [Could this have been the ancestral home of my elusive Crail family?] There, we walked the town streets, saw the castle ruins, and the harbor. Anstruther, with the Scottish Fisheries Museum was another stop. Ceres' Folk Museum was also on the list. [The gentlemen partook of the local pub.] We also visited Earlshall Castle at Leuchers, with its wishing well, gardens, courtyard, and, of course, souvenir shop.

After the week in St. Andrews, I secured a room at a really nice B&B in Kirkcaldy the night before my flight was due to leave. While my room was being prepared, I toured the town. Unfortunately, the skies opened up and I nearly drowned before I could get to my room!

I returned safely to Florida and faced the reality of pre-school week for teachers. Argh!! All in all in was a wonderful trip!


St. Andrews from my dorm room

A view of St. Andrews from the beach

A view of the town from the Royal & Ancient


A view of the castle ruins at Crail

Another view of Crail

Earlshall Castle

Friday, April 24, 2015

Adventures in Genealogy: Combining Research with Sightseeing

Some time ago I started to do a series of posts on my "genealogy adventures" over the years. I decided fairly early on to mix genealogy with visiting historic sites and a few museums. A day or two of research, then a day or two of  sightseeing.

I would guess the only exceptions were when I lived in Florida and would drive up to Orlando, Tampa or Sarasota from Arcadia to do research at the public libraries in those cities. Tampa and Sarasota have nice collections. The Orlando/Orange Co. Library has a terrific genealogy division.
Most of my trips to Salt Lake have been exclusively for research. The Salt Lake Institute accounts for 15 of those trips, but I did make 3-4 trips during the 1990s.

I guess one trip counted as the research-sightseeing venture. I covered 14 states! Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. Most of the stops were for food and lodging. The drive through Kentucky was extremely brief. Research? Salt Lake. Sightseeing? The Alamo and John Wayne's movie set in Brackettville, a few Indian pueblos in NM, Monument Valley and Fort Bridger [WY].

The reason to combine research days with sightseeing or other activities? To keep yourself fresh! Too many days of library, court house, cemetery wandering can get to you. Mix in local sites that give you a flavor for your ancestors' home turf and you have a nice bonus. Also if you are traveling with family, it keeps them sane and you alive!

My adventure locales? Scotland, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Up first: my slightly misguided trip to Scotland. Check back tomorrow for details!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

William Wolary and his family

WOLARY: William Wolary was the middle of nine children born to Henry and Elizabeth [Rogers] Wolary and the last born in the Back Creek Valley of Virginia. He married Sarah Hubbard in Fayette Co., Ohio in 1841 and then settled in Clinton Co. The Wolarys moved to Grant Co., Indiana during the early 1850s.

Locating William in 1860 had been quite an adventure. I had checked just about every spelling variation of the surname that had been recorded: Wolary with two Os, two Ls, twin Os and Ls, E in place of A, etc. I neglected one variant - ULLERY. And that was the name under which William was enumerated. Some of Sarah's sisters and their families had migrated to the Grant County area, thus attracting the Wolary clan. Remember, check ALL of the possible spellings and follow the siblings!

Sometime between 1860 and 1863, Sarah Hubbard Wolary died. William took his brood of five children back to Ohio.

Sarah's half-sister, Sina, had fallen for Jacob Davis. Davis enlisted in the Union Army and was killed during the war. Sina was left with an infant son named Peter.

William and Sina married in January 1864. They added a son James to the mix. The family lived in Highland and Auglaize Counties through the 1870s. William moved them to Logan Co. by 1880. The family was in Shelby Co. when William died in 1894. Sina died in Logan Co. in 1904, but was buried in Hardin County.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Henry Wolary/Ullery of Virginia and Ohio

WOLARY/ULLERY: Henry Wolary/Ullery was born in 1788. He may have been born in Germany, Pennsylvania or Virginia. A Jacob Ullery married in Hampshire Co., [West] Virginia. He may have been Henry's father.

The name of Henry Wolary began appearing on Hampshire Co. tax list in 1795-96. This Henry was over 16, so was too old to be the subject of this post. He would have been born about 1779-80 at the latest. From 1800-1814, the name of Henry Wolary shows up on the Hampshire Co. tax lists. The earliest appearance for a young man born in 1788 would be 1804.

Henry married Elizabeth Rogers in 1811. She was the daughter of a Quaker, John Rogers, and a Lutheran, Mary Magdelene Rinker Allemong. They were married by a Methodist minister.

The Wolarys settled in Back Creek Valley, Frederick Co., Virginia. Their first five children were born there. In 1821, the family moved to the part of Allen Co., Ohio that became Auglaize County.

Henry may have served in the War of 1812. He was a trustee of the Unionopolis Methodist Church.

During the summer of 1849, Henry returned to Frederick Co., Virginia to visit with some of Elizabeth's family. He died at the home of brother-in-law, Evan Rogers, on 7 August. Henry was buried in the Quaker Graveyard at the Back Creek Meeting House near Gainsboro. Members of his wife's family were buried there as well.

Elizabeth Rogers Wolary died in Auglaize Co., Ohio in 1866.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Rhode Island Connections

VARIOUS FAMILIES: I have always been fascinated by how such a small colony/state could generate so many ancestral lines. I believe I have all of the families sorted that elected to follow Roger Williams or other religious dissenters into what would become Rhode Island.

Joanna Arnold m. Zachariah Rhodes [1645]               Elizabeth Collins m. Samuel Gorton [1695]
Mercy Williams m. Resolved Waterman [1659]         Mary Howland m. Henry Goddard [1693]
Catherine Holden m. John Rhodes [1714]                   Susanna Goddard m. William Wall [1721]
Catherine Greene m. Charles Holden [1688]               Patience Pierce m. John Wall [174?]
Annis Almy m. John Greene [1648]                            Frances Dungan m. Randall Holden [1648]
Mary Allen m. Thomas Remington [1679]                  Margaret Wheaton m. John Gorton [1675]

There you have it, 17 families that called Rhode Island home until Captain Zachariah Rhodes opted to make his home in Baltimore's Fell's Point neighborhood between 1800 and 1810. The couples listed above show when a new family was introduced, with the year they were married. After that families intermarried. The only family that I have without any information other than a name is that of Patience Pierce. Otherwise, some of the families date back 6-7 generations.

Families: Allen, Almy, Arnold, Collins, Dungan, Goddard, Gorton, Greene, Holden, Howland, Pierce, Remington, Rhodes, Wall, Waterman, Wheaton & Williams 

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Founder of Rhode Island: The Story of Roger Williams

WILLIAMS: Roger Williams was born in London between 1604 and 1606 to James and Alice [Pemberton] Williams. James was a "merchant Tailor", an importer and trader. Roger's grandparents were Mark and Agnes [Audley] Williams.

In his will, proved 19 November 1621, James Williams named his "loving wife" Alice, sons Sydrach, Roger, and Robert, and his daughter, Catherine. Alice's will was probated on 26 January 1634. In it she left the sum of £10 yearly for twenty years to son Roger, "now beyond the seas" and further stipulated that if Roger preceded her in death, the remaining money was to be paid to his wife and daughter.

Roger spent his youth in St. Sepulchere's Parish without Newgate, London. As a teenager, Williams came to the attention of Sir Edward Coke, lawyer and one-time Chief Justice of England. With Coke's assistance, he was enrolled at Sutton's Hospital on 25 June 1621, a part of Charter House, a school in London. Williams graduated from Pembroke College at Cambridge University in 7 July 1625, where he had been admitted 29 June 1623. He was one of eight granted scholarships to Pembroke based on excellence in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Williams also mastered French and Dutch.

After graduation Roger Williams became Chaplain to the family of Sir William Masham. He courted Jane Whalley, but the relationship was terminated by the disapproval of Jane's aunt Lady Barrington. Williams became ill with a fever and was nursed back to health by Mary Barnard, a member of Lady Masham's household. This relationship held and Roger married Mary Bernard at the Church of High Laver, Essex in 1629.

Roger Williams was already becoming a controversial figure because of his ideas on freedom of worship. In 1630 he made the decision to leave for America and secured passage for himself and Mary on the "Lyon". The ship departed England on 1 December 1630 arrived at Boston on 5 February 1631.

Williams preached at Salem, where he was chosen teacher in 1631. His separatist views forced his removal to Plymouth in 1632, where William Bradford made references to Williams' controversial views.

It was during his time at Plymouth that his respect for and fair dealings with the Native Americans were established. He also learned to farm there. In 1633 he returned to Salem and was appointed teacher again in 1635. Following the death of Reverend Samuel Skelton, he was chosen pastor. In both communities he was at odds with the Puritan leadership.

In 1635, Reverend Williams' outspoken views on dealing with the Indians and freedom of worship led the General Court of Massachusetts to banish him from the colony and threaten to have him deported back to England. He was given permission to remain in the Bay Colony until spring due to his wife's pregnancy, but continued to enrage the colonial leaders as his following grew and with his plans to establish a plantation at Narragansett Bay. John Winthrop warned him of the Court's deportation plans in January 1636 and Williams quickly fled Salem to the sanctuary of the Narragansett Indians.

Chiefs Massasoit and Canonicus welcomed Williams. Massasoit gave him a tract of land on the Seekonk River. Williams was advised by Governor Winslow that his grant was within the bounds of Plymouth Colony and left in the spring or early summer to meet with the Indian chiefs. His new settlement was on the Moshassuck River, which for the many "Providences of the Most Holy and Only Wise, I call Providence."

"Providence Plantation" would become the colony of Rhode Island, founded in the form of a pure democracy, and a haven for Quakers, Jews, and others persecuted for their beliefs. Williams joined the Baptist Church in 1639 and founded the first Baptist Church in America. He would later withdraw from the church and become a "Seeker." [Seekers considered all organized churches corrupt, and preferred to wait for God's revelation. The Seekers were considered forerunners of the Quakers. (from Wikipedia)]

In 1639, Roger Williams served as a mediator [at the request of Massachusetts] in preventing a coalition of the Pequots with the Narragansetts and Mohegans. He signed the compact for the government of Providence in 1640. Williams went to England in 1643 to obtain a charter uniting Providence with Warwick, Newport and Portsmouth. These settlements were coveted by Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth and Connecticut. On the voyage he wrote his "Key to Indian Languages." He would continue to mediate difficulties between the Indians and colonies. Williams also established a successful trading post near Wickford. He lived at the post for long periods, but maintained his residence at Providence.

It was necessary for Williams to return to England in 1651 to renew the 1644 charter. He sold the trading post to finance the voyage. He published "Experiments of Spiritual Life, and Health and Their Preservations" while in London. He wrote to his friends and neighbors on 1 April 1653 that, with the mediation of Sir Henry Vane, he was able to renew the charter. On the return voyage, he supported himself by teaching languages. He taught Dutch to the poet John Milton.

Reverend Williams became president of the colony from 1654 - 1658. He was made Freeman in 1655 and served as Commissioner in 1658, 1659, and 1661; Deputy in 1670, 1678, 1679 and 1680; and on the Town Council from 1675 - 1676.

Despite Williams' continued efforts to avoid warfare with the Indians, King Phillip's War erupted in 1676. For the first time, Providence was threatened with destruction. Williams met with the invaders to attempt to save his city, but although he was unharmed, Providence was burned on 26 March 1676.

Williams wrote Governor Bradstreet on 6 May 1682 referring to himself as "old and weak and bruised with rupture and colic and lameness on both my feet."

Death came to Roger Williams sometime between 16 January and 16 March 1683 [or 27 January and 15 March 1683]. He was buried in the orchard in the rear of his homestead lot. Many years later his remains were disinterred and placed in the tomb of a descendant in the North Burial Ground. The remains were sealed in a bronze container and set into the base of a monument erected to his memory on Prospect Terrace in 1936. There is also a memorial inscription to Roger Williams in the Chapel Cloister of Charter House in London.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Tumultuous Story of Edward Whittaker

WHITTAKER: Yesterday's post related the story of Hannah Wakeman and her 2nd husband, Edward Whittaker. Today, I'll include the rest of Edward's story. It is best told through the Kingston Court records, which provide most of the details.

Edward Whittaker came to New Netherlands as a soldier in Captain Daniel Broadhead's Company in the Duke of York's Regiment in 1664, most likely the unit that secured New Netherlands for England. He was assigned to the garrison at Wiltwyck on the Esopus Kill. His rank is unknown, but Whittaker's influence was such that he received a grant of land from the governor when the garrison was disbanded in 1669.

Edward Whittaker was a man of ill-temper with a marked tendency toward violent behavior. This behavior was directed at local citizens, neighbors, and even his future bride. It is primarily through the Kingston Dutch Court Records that the story of Edward Whittaker and his wife, Hannah, unfolds.

On 6 Jan. 1665, as a soldier in Kingston, Whittaker broke up a dispute between Walran Dumont and Arien Gerritsen.

On 18 May 1666, Eduard Wittiger and Joris Porter vs. Matteu Blanchan: Plaintiffs demand compensation from defendant as his cattle had damaged their Indian corn last summer. Blanchan answered that he drove the cattle into the woods and could not keep an eye on them and the plaintiffs are supposed to keep their fences in good repair, and that Thomas Chambers' gate was open and his cattle followed those of Chambers. The plaintiffs warned the defendant 3 or 4 times that their fences were in poor condition and were unaware of lawws ordering fences to be kept in good condition and inspected. The court orders two "good men" to be selected to by the parties to settle the dispute.

Whittaker settled at Hussey's Hill. In November of 1667 he went to New York City and met Hannah Hackleton who had just been forced to leave the city. The Mayor's Court, on the 19th, ruled that Hannah must leave the city within eight days since she failed to produce a license to "dwele within this Towne." Whittaker hired Hannah as a servant. With her came daughter Anna. Thus began the tumultuous relationship between Edward and Hannah. Edward had apparently sold his Hussey's Hill land and moved to Kingston by 1669.

On 13 February. 1669, the Wildwyck court heard evidence regarding a fight that had broken out earlier the same day between Kit Davits and Edward Whittiker, an English soldier. Whittiker was invited by Jan the Brabanter [Jan Jansen Van Oosterhout] into the latter's house for a drink, and found there Kit Davits and Jan Jansen Van Amersfoort. In the course of conversation, according to the complaint of Edward Whittiker, "Cit Davits said that I had his land, whereupon I answered what should I do with your land? The Governor-general has given it to me. Thereupon Davits answered ' The General is a fool for having given it to you, and all of you [English soldiers] are nothing but beggars who have come over, and as soon as you put your foot upon the land to plow, it will cost you your life!' " And more other words passed.

Thereupon, according to the testimony of Jan Jansen Van Amersfoort, "Whittikar drew his sword and hit Cit Davits in the shoulder, whereupon Davits took a sword blade and said, 'If I would I could [sic] thrust you through the body, but I will not,' and threw the same down." According to additional testimony, Jan the Brabanter picked up the sword blade and said to Whittiker, "Get out of my house!" and pursued him into the street, whereupon Whittaker replied by throwing stones. Kit Davits himself was not present at the court session. No action was taken against Davits or Whittaker, possibly because both were judged equally at fault. [Court case copied by Marc B. Fried]

The land referred to in the Davits case was probably the 36 morgans [72 acres] on the west side of Esopus Kill, north of Kingston, granted by the Dutch to Davits and sold by him to his friend Jan Jansen Stoll. Stoll was captured and killed by Indians in 1659. The land was legally transferred to his widow in 1661. She remarried later that year. If Stoll had no children, the land may have been confiscated by the English and granted to Edward.

The tract was described as follows: About a league inland from the North [Hudson] River and on the west side of the Great [Esopus] Kill opposite Thomas Chambers; to the north was Madam Ebbingh, widow of the Hon. Johan DeHulter, and to the south Jurian Westphael. [Captain Thomas Chambers, DeHulter, Westphalen, Davits, and Stoll were the first settlers in the area, having moved there from Rennselaerswyck [Albany] in the early 1650s.]

Edward first lived in the fortified village of Wiltwyck, established by Pieter Stuyvesant in 1661. The first settlers refused orders to build the fortification, but relinquished after the deaths of Stoll and others in 1659. The village [also known as Esopus] was renamed Kingston by the English in 1669. In 1671, Whittaker was among 15 inhabitants responsible for repairing the stockade. He repaired his allotted 15 rods and Jurian Westphall's 10 rods.

Prior to the incident with Davits, Whittaker had ventured to New York City back in 1667 and come in contact with a young woman named Hannah Hackleton. She had been warned by the New York Court to leave town or suffer the consequences [Hannah had not acquired the proper residency permit.] Whittaker decided to hire Hannah as a servant and take her and her daughter back to Kingston. Their relationship would prove tumultuous at best. Whittaker's violent temperament and Hannah's "adder-tongued" ways would lead to many difficulties over the years. It would also lead to marriage and two sons, James and Edward.

9 September 1669: The council at Esopus ordered the company of soldiers to be disbanded.

1670 [probably 9 July, but incident must have happened earlier in May based on case following.] Marretie Hansen vs Eduwardt Wittekar: Plaintiff complains that Eduward Wittikar beat her husband with a stick so that he is sick in bed. Defendant says that, having hired his horses, they drove them three times on a hot day around the village, on account whereof the horses may have been damaged. Defendant further says that, according to contract, the horses will have to be returned in the same condition as they were received, and claims damage for pain, doctor's fee and loss of time. The hon. court, having heard the cases of the parties, and having learned, in accordance with the produced testimony that Eduward Wittekar has assaulted on the Lord's streets the person of Jacob Jansen, and beaten him with a stick so that the person of Jacob Jansen has, on account of the same, been sick for some days, and neglected his work, therefore Eduward Wittekar is condemned in the damage for loss of time, pain, and also the doctor's fee, and further to expect the fine according to law and the officer's demand. The hon. court orders that immediately a pair of stocks be made. [Were these for Edward?]

5 April 1670, Edward Whittaker was the first soldier listed on the muster roll of the company at Marbletown. On the 6th Captain Pauling mustered the company and marched them to Marbletown for the purpose of drawing lots for land at the newly established community. Edward and five others did not with to draw for their 2½ acre lots, but did request their six months provisions.

On 31 May 1670, he was ordered to provide a replacement for Jansen at his job and to pay medical expenses.

On 10 May 1670: I the undersigned, Eduward Wittaker, declare having taken upon myself the condition of Robin Goulsberry, to pay Mr. Kip the amount of 380 guilders, to be paid in summer wheat, market price, as per condition, and discharge Pollus Poulussen and Jacob Jansen Van Etten as securities, this 10 May 1670.

4 June 1670: Hanna Hackelton appeared before the court to tell of affair with Edward. [see yesterday's post for the details] The hon. court orders Eduward Wittekar to take good care of Hanna Hackelton because he has brought her here, and has slept with her, and in the mean time will acquaint the governor with the case.

8 June 1670: Witteker agrees to exchange a cellar, lot and barn, plus 300 guilders, light money to be paid in grain, to Thoomas Hermansen for a house and lot besides a garden, outside the fort. Each shall "made a fence."

17 January 1671: The hon. Heer Beecqman vs Edward Wittekar: The hon. Heer Beecqman nomine Ex Officio says he and Michiel De Modt fought outside the gate, and demands the fine therefor in accordance with the laws.

Michiel DeModt says that Edward Wittekar challenged him upon the sword and came with a sword, and Michiel Modt also took a sword and went against him, and while they were engaged the hilt of his sword became detached, and three persons came separated them.

Claes Claesen says that Wittekar said the wife of Van der Coelen that he would kick her in her own house, whereupon Casper Cuyper said he would do the same to Edward Wittekar, and in this manner the Pole took part in the quarrel and said, "What is this fighting about?" and that Michiel Modt said he was an old soldier and not afraid. Thereupon Edward Wittekar fetched [haalde] his sword and challenged Michiel the Pole and went together before the door and began to fight. Then the button fell off the hilt, and they were immediately separated; which has been affirmed under oath by Claes Clasen, Casper Meeuwesen and Cornelia Woutersen.

Edward Wittekar says he had called him a tail [een staerdt.]

Dirck Keyser says that he was standing at Jan de Backer's door and saw Edward Wittekar go with a sword; thereupon the aforesaid Dirck said, "Ick moedt strucken raepen?" and went to Vander Coelen's house, and says not to know what had passed before that time. Then Edward Wittekar challenged the Pole and they engaged in a duel with a sword.

They were all questioned whether any one heard that Wittekar was called "a tail" or anything else? Answer, "No."

The hon. court orders Edward Wittekar to pay for his offence a fine of 60 guilders in behalf of the officer and Michiel Modt 24 guilders.

Monday, 23 October 1671: Anna Hackelton vs Edward Wittekar: Plaintiff complains that Wittikar maltreats her, beating and pushing her, often threatening to burn her, not withstanding she has faithfully served him for four years, and he intends to throw her and her child out of doors when the cold winter is approaching. Wittikar says having paid her 180 stivers for two years and during the balance of the time has suffered more losses by her than her service is worth, and that he has punished her for her evil tongue.

19 July 1672: Edward Wittikar accuses Adrian Gerritsen of the following proclamation: The Hollanders and the English had been fighting each other at sea and that the King of England could not get any others but poor people he presses, taking husbands from their wives and children, while the states of Holland gave the people money and beat the drum. How is it possible for such to stand against free people? When the King of England, and the English, what then they fight, they may fight shit. Wittikar responded that "The money, ships, and all can perish." Willem Montange said he did not hear Gerridt directly or indirectly speak of His Royal Majesty; Wallerund Dumon confirmed all Gerritsen said, but he was not sure about the "shit part" as he went outside several times and Gerritsen was drunk; Mr. Roelof says that Gerritsen said. "Did not the English get a licking?" Roelof replied that he knew nothing of it. Gerritsen said, "The English press and the Hollander pays money." He did not hear him speak against the King; Arendt the Wheelwright declared the same as Mr. Roelof. Gerritsen is ordered to give security for the purpose of having his case tried, or be arrested if he cannot do so. (Arendt the Wheelwright, who testified in this case, was  ancestor Arent Jansen Prall. Arent's great-grandson, Aaron Prall, married Edward Whittaker's great-granddaughter, Marytjen Whittaker in 1728.)
  October 1672: Whereas Eduward Wittkar has from time to time badly behaved against his wife, and she has made diverse complaints to the local court, as can generally be seen, he being on Oct. 26 at the house of Mr. George Hall, Mr. Hall spoke to Eduward Wittkar asking him why he treated his wife so badly, that he would ruin himself, whereupon Wittikar answered that he could do with his wife as he pleased, that nobody was to prescribe to him how to treat his wife, and thereupon George Hall said that some time or another he would kill her, and that the magistrates and officers would demand an account of her blood. Thereupon Wittikar answered that he cared nothing about magistrates or officers. And Mr. Hall what he did to the magistrates he did to the governor, and the Duke of York, and he answered, "I shall do what I please." Whereupon Mr. Hall asked him why he went armed, every evening. Thereupon Wittikar answered that he wanted to do so. "I shall tonight yet walk along the street with pistol and gun, and let anybody, if he dares, take them away." Thereupon he went home,and the same evening fired some shots.

18 February 1672-73: Whittaker admits to owing Tierck Classen 9 ankers of wine.

14 April 1673: Along with Thoomas Mattys, Whittaker purchased the farm Hendrick Hendricksen Van Wyen had bought from Maritje Hansen.

22 May 1673: NY Minutes 19 - The court recorded the account of a quarrel between Captain Pauling and Mr. Graveraat concerning a complaint of Captain Chambers against Edward Whittaker and his wife about a reputed witch. [The witch is not identified.]

11 December 1673: Aerdt Otterspoor, Pound Master vs Edward Whittaker: Plaintiff claims he impounded nine of the defendants horses. Defendant claims only five of the horses and claims Thomas Mattys knows whose fence the horses went through. Def. to pay for the five horses and make claims against the owner of the fence causing damage.

12 December 1673: Jan Willemsen requests to be furnished with a copy of what took place between his wife and Hannah Hackleton which is permitted him. [No record of the content of this case has been uncovered.]

15 January 1673/4: Court orders Edward Whittaker to pay schout fines to which he has been condemned by the court of sessions.

During the mid-1670s, Edward, along with Thomas Chambers, George Hall, Henry Hendricksen, Wessel Ten Brook and Dirck Schepmoes, was a signer of the peace treaty that was renewed with the Indians every few years until the 1680s.

July 1675: Willem Trophagen vs Eduward Wittikar: Plaintiff says he cut palisades for Def., which Wittaker was to plow. Instead of plowing he beat him with a cane. Wittaker said that he sold the land to Trophagen for 300 scheppels of wheat and that he was to cut 1000 palisades, and Trophagen said he was to receive a plow from the Manhattans for the purpose of plowing his land, whereupon Whittaker said, "When I have time, I intend to assist you for two or three days at plowing." Parties ordered to prove their assertions.

1676: Whittaker was among the citizens who signed a petition to Governor Andros requesting a minister for the community.

1681: Edward Whittaker was one of the Englishmen who signed the Indian Treaty.

23 August 1682: At an Ordinary Court held at Kingston, Frederick Hussy, Edward Wittaker, Jan Waerd, Michael Dumont request permission to buy of the savages the land from the boundaries of Beekman's land and so on along the river till the 'Kleyne Esoopus.' "The hon. court grants their petition, subject to the hon. Heer governor's approval."

23 May 1685: Edward Whittaker had 200 acres of land surveyed along North-side of Esopus Kill.

1688: Edward Whittaker gained title to land near Saugerties.

1 September 1689: Edward Whittaker gave oath of allegiance when William & Mary took throne of England.
 The Van Kleek and Burhans Genealogies related some details on our subject. Edward Whitaker came from England with his brother. Both were dealers in livestock and both were lost at sea while returning to England on a visit. Edward was a soldier in the Duke of York's Regiment. The name of his wife was Hannah.

The Whitaker family is of English origin and was founded in this country by two brothers who came to America from England in early colonial times. One resided in Ulster County, N.Y. and had a large family. Both brothers were dealers in livestock and were lost at sea while returning to England on a visit.

On August 25, 1681, Roelof Swarthout purchased of Edward Whitaker three Negresses that Whitaker had bought of a New York merchant named Minieville. The price to be paid for the Negresses amounted to 430 Scheppels of wheat, 400 of which were to go to Minieville and 30 to have been Whitaker's profit.

Capt. Edward Whitaker, English soldier of Capt. Broadhead's Regt.- who died Jan. 1695- settled on his land at Hussey Hill. In a few years, sold estate and then settled in Esopus Valley. He rescued Hannah Wakeman Hacklton [sic.] and her year old child and took her home to be a servant. She had married Francis Hacklton at Hogs Head, New England. She was arrested, received a one-year prison sentence and was made to stand on the gallows steps [Hartford]. After he had rescued her, she lived with Whitaker. Later she complained to the court of mistreatment, stating that he beat her and threatened to burn both her and her child, Anna, and threw them out in the cold. He was ordered to "take good care of her, as he had slept with her." Later they married. Some people called her a witch. They had two sons: James and Edward. Her daughter, Anna Hacklton, married John Wood.

Edward Whittaker's will, written 3 September 1694, names " dear wife" Hanna Wittaker, to whom he left 1/3 of his estate; son James to whom he left 1/3 of his estate and a gray horse; son Edward, to whom he left 1/3 of his estate and a gray colt; and his wife's daughter's children, to whom he left 20 pounds.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The Wakeman Family Chronicles III: The Hannah Wakeman Story- Part II

WAKEMAN: Hannah's trial, conviction and punishment ended in Hartford. She went to New York City and ran afoul of the "residency laws" there. The now 30 year old Hannah, with a young daughter and no prospects, came into contact with former British  soldier, Edward Whittaker. Whittaker hired Hannah as a servant. Edward took up residence on land in Kingston awarded him for military service.

The relationship between Whittaker and Hannah would be a rocky one at best. Hannah was known for her "sharp tongue" and Whittaker for his temper. Not a good mix. On at least one occasion, Edward threatened to kick Hannah and her daughter out during the dead of winter because Hannah's "evil tongue" was costing him business. On another, he threatened to kill her.

During the early summer of 1670, Hannah was called before the Kingston Court to testify about an incident with Edward Whittaker. The incident in question almost seemed to flash back to Hartford  six years earlier.

Hannah had became pregnant with Whittaker's child. After the child was born, it died from convulsions. This time, there were witnesses to the newborn's tragic demise. She related the Hartford incident to the court. Sympathy, this time, was with Hannah. Whittaker was ordered to care for her and, if he got her pregnant again, to marry her.

As early as 1672 Hannah and Edward were indeed recorded as husband and wife. Two sons were born to the couple, James, about 1675, and Edward, about 1678.

It would seem that around 1682 Hannah was battling what we would diagnose as depression today. She testified in a slander suit brought against Edward "that she had grown weary of life." A neighbor testified that Hannah told him that she felt her soul would be damned by the Lord.

Life had not been easy for Hannah Wakeman Hackleton Whittaker. The exact date of her death has not been recorded. Hannah outlived Edward Whittaker, who died in January 1694/5.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Wakeman Family Chronicles III: The Hannah Wakeman Hackleton Story, Part I

WAKEMAN: Hannah Wakeman proved to be one of my most intriguing ancestors. She was the focus of court trials in Connecticut and New York and the two topic of two periodical articles:
"Edward Whittaker's Wife: The Romance of a New England Girl in the Esopus", by Louise Hasbrouck Zimm [NYGB Record, April 1939] and "The Earlier Career of Hannah [Wakeman] Hackelton, Edward Whittaker's Wife in the Esopus", by Gale Ion Harris [NYGB Record, April 1996]

To say the least, Hannah led an adventurous and controversial life. She was born about 1638 in Hartford. Hannah's father was killed when she was about two years old. She grew up in the household of her stepfather, Nathaniel Willett. Hannah married Francis Hackleton in 1658. A son named William was born in 1658 and a daughter, Anna, was born in 1661.

While Hackleton was out of town in 1664, Hannah's misadventures began. She had an affair with a man by the name of Henry Frost or Frasser. Hannah became pregnant and tried to induce an abortion by taking saffron and cathartic. Hannah delivered the child, a boy, alone. He was extremely weak and Hannah was to weak to care for him. The child died two days after birth. Hannah regained enough strength to bury the child.

Hannah Hackleton was arrested and charged with adultery and murder. She made a few comments about God and the devil that led to an additional charge of blasphemy.

During the trial, Hannah claimed that a man named Mathias Dingle had stopped by her house and that she asked him for help. Dingle denied it. When Hackleton learned of the child, Hannah offered to abort the pregnancy. Hackleton left. She helped authorities try to locate the remains of the child at Oyster Bay to no avail.

In January 1665, Hannah pled guilty to the charge of adultery, but not guilty to blasphemy and murder. She was found guilty on two of the counts - adultery and blasphemy. A death sentence was commuted by Gov. John Winthrop Jr. one year later. She was to be "put in gaol [jail] and whipped 30 Stripes and made to stand on the gallows with a rope around her neck for one hour."

Upon being released from jail, Hannah left her son William with her mother, but kept Anna with her and left for New York City.

Hannah's first misadventure in New York City was discussed in yesterday's post. She would meet and go to work for one Edward Whittaker. That encounter would lead to the next chapter in her story.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Wakeman Family Chronicles II

WAKEMAN: Elizabeth Kelly, Samuel's granddaughter, and the daughter of John and Bethia Kelly [was this Samuel's daughter Grace, or had she died and John remarried?] was involved in the "witchcraft scare" in Connecticut. Her testimony is one of the most detailed on record. On Sunday, 23 March 1661,Elizabeth, aged 8, in a fit accused Goodwife Ayers of "tormenting her and pricking her with needles." She confronted the woman and begged her father to make the magistrates punish Ayers. Elizabeth died on Wednesday. Her last words were, "Goodwife Ayers chokes me!" Ayers and her husband avoided conviction by escaping to New York.

On 19 Nov. 1667, Joanna/Hannah Wakeman Hackleton [she had married Francis Hackleton in 1657] had at some point come in contact with a woman named Elizabeth Juwell and was residing in New York City. The two were brought before the court to explain why they were residing in the city without a proper license. Hannah claimed to have acquired the license, but did not have it in her possession and Elizabeth claimed she knew nothing of such orders. Both were ordered to leave within eight days or face a fine of five pounds Sterling and corporal punishment. [NYGB Record: April 1939]

This was a relatively tame incident in the life of Hannah Wakeman. Tomorrow's post will cover the 1st major scandal in the young woman's life. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Wakeman Family Chronicles I

WAKEMAN: The Wakeman family is one that deserves a few posts. Samuel Wakeman was a native of Bewdley, Worcestershire, England. He arrived at Nantasket Beach, Massachusetts Bay Colony in the fall of 1630 with his wife and child. The Wakemans settled first at Roxbury, then Cambridge. The family moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1636. Samuel was one of the original proprietors.

By 1641, Samuel and his wife, Elizabeth, had four children, Grace, Esburn, Joanna/Hannah and Elizabeth. That year Samuel sailed to the Bahamas with Captain Pierce to aid the English settlers being threatened by the Spanish. The ship was fired upon by the Spanish as it approached the fort at Providence. Pierce was killed and Wakeman mortally wounded. He died 10 days later.

Elizabeth married Nathaniel Willett in 1645. Samuel's estate was settled in December of that year. Esburn was to receive 40 pounds when he turned 21, the girls 20 pounds each when they turned 18.

The adventures were just beginning!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Dr. Peter Trisler: "An Old Rascal"

TRISLER: Peter Trisler [probably an Anglicized version of the German name, yet to be identified] was born in Wittenberg, Germany in 1745. He was educated at the University of Wittenberg, receiving his MD in 1767. He came to America aboard the "Royal Edith" [Robert Strong, master] which departed London and arrived in April of 1780. The ship probably landed at either the port of Baltimore or Philadelphia; with Havre de Grace, Maryland also a possibility. Also among the ship's passengers were Peter Frederick Horine [Peter's brother-in-law] and Barbara Horine [Peter's sister]. With him, Dr. Trisler brought several medical books and a Bible printed in Wittenberg in 1744.

The Trislers first settled in Hagerstown, Maryland and moved to land along Jessamine Creek in 1791 as the lands in Kentucky opened for settlement after the Revolutionary War. Trisler moved within the present boundaries of Jessamine County in 1794. Peter's sister and her family remained in Maryland.

The Rev. Jacob Rohrer was the founder of the first Moravian [United Brethren] church on Jessamine Creek. Among the early members of the church [of German parentage] were the Earthenhouses, Horines, Zikes, Trislers, and Cawbys.

On 4 September 1794, Peter Trisler wrote the following letter to Reverend David Zeisberger:

Dear David: I am exceedingly sorry that you did not come along with your father during his recent visit to this delightful country. The sun shines brighter in this country, and the skies are more blue, than the damp, moist atmosphere at the mouth of the Cuyahoga. A good school is needed among us, and I invite you once more to leave that inhospitable country of savages and cold winds.

In 1810, as executor to Thomas Bennett's estate, Dr. Trisler gained control of Bennett's 200 acres lying on the west side of Jessamine Creek. [Bennett was the father of Caty and Rosa Bennett. Their mother was Elizabeth Trisler.] In 1818, George Walker, attorney and state legislator, represented the Bennett girls in trying to get the estate as their rightful inheritance. Peter argued that there could be other "legal" heirs and that the girls could not inherit as they were not from a legal marriage. After gaining control of the land, Walker rented it back to Peter Trisler, Sr. and Peter, Jr. Jacob Overholzer, who had married Caty Bennett, was living on or trying to occupy the land in April 1820. Following Dr. Trisler's death in 1821, Moses Hoover took over the land as executor of Peter's estate.

In 1884*, John Cawby of Independence, Missouri wrote a letter to S.M. Duncan which included some details on Dr. Trisler:

"Before closing this long letter I will relate some of Dr. Trisler's strange performances. He would sometimes invite his neighbors to see him. He would then disappear in the very presence of the company, and none could tell what had become of him. He could stop the flow of blood from any wound by giving the initials of the proper name of any man or woman - this was all that was required. He could tell where stolen property was concealed. He could light a candle in a large room by rubbing his hands together. He could tell the exact number of pigs a sow would have at a litter. These are matters of fact and have been tested and are well know as facts, among the early settlers of Jessamine county. I remember, myself, there lived a man on the farm of Thomas Gordon, about one mile south of Nicholasville, who had a horse stolen. He came to see Dr. Trisler, three times before he would tell him where the horse was. On the third day Dr. Trisler met the owner of the stolen horse and told him to go to the town of Lancaster, in Garrard county, and near the county jail he would find the horse hitched to a fence; he added: "But the man that took the horse from your stable has been killed in a drunken frolic." This may appear unreasonable, but I know it to be true."
An ad found in the Kentucky Gazette on 5 June 1798 stated that Peter Trisler was living on the Main Fork of Jessamine Creek in Fayette County [now Jessamine County.]

As the above Cawby letter indicates, Dr. Trisler was a rather unique character. The following court actions show that the entire family was an interesting one.

July Court 1800 - July Court 1803: Peter Trisler vs. James Bates for the sum of £11 3 shillings 9 pence due Trisler for medical treatments of Bates' wife. The jury found in favor of the plaintiff for the sum of £ 8. [Kentucky State Archives: Jessamine Co. Court of Justice, Circuit Court Clerk, Decrees - Box 13]

29 July 1806: Adjournment in the case of Elizabeth Trisler vs. Peter Trisler. [Jessamine Co. Circuit Court, Kentucky - Order Books C & F, film # 990113, p. 117] [In the lawsuit, Elizabeth stated that Peter had a child under two years of age by the "younger" woman - possibly Elizabeth Brunner. The Reverend David Brunner, or someone in his family, claimed that he was the illegitimate son of a "Trisler man."] Elizabeth Trisler also stated that she had ten children by Doctor Trisler.

1809: Joseph Trisler, laborer [$40 bond], Peter Trisler, Sr., yeoman and Bartholomew Kindred [$20 bond each]. Keep the peace with all and especially Christian Coffman. [Jessamine Co. Criminal Cases Box 2]

1815: William Caseman states he is afraid that Dr. Peter Trisler, Henry Trisler, Peter Trisler, Jr., Christy Arnspiger, Christy Bruner, John Waggamon, John Earthenhouse 'will beat, wound, main, kill, or do him some bodily harm or destroy his property'. .....prayed surety of peace against each one at $40 each and two people stood bond for each [they for each other] at $20 each. [JCCC Box 6]

24 March 1819: A summons issued in the case of 'Dr. Peter Trisler vs. Abraham Howser and wife - Tresspass' provided the names of several members of Dr. Trisler's family: Abraham Howser's wife was Peter's daughter Mary Elizabeth, Peter Trisler, Jr. and wife Polly, and Elizabeth Trisler, Sr. - this, more than likely was Peter's wife [and the first clue to her name.] Another summons in the same case issued 1 October 1819 mentions Peter Trisler, Jr., Elizabeth Trisler, Sr., Susannah Canvy [Cawby], and John Trisler, Jr.

In an excerpt from the above mentioned case, Mary Howser speaks to her father, referring to him as "you are an old rascal" and stated that she could "penitentiary him for acts that he had been doing for these thirty years." She also stated "that he had been guilty of fornication in repeated instances." Trisler and Howser countered sued each other. No ruling was found in the case.

1820: Dr. Peter Trisler states that he is afraid of Henry Trisler. $40 bond with two people standing $20 each. [Box 9]

1820: Abraham Houser, Jr. afraid of Dr. Peter Trisler [Box 9]

1831: Jacob, Phillip, John, Henry & David Trisler [all laborers] charged with beating James Walker on Dec. 26, 1831 at midnight. Entered his house and beat him and his wife Elizabeth Walker and took his stud horse. All indicted for assault & battery. Jacob, John & David found guilty. David fined $5 and Jacob and John one cent each. Henry and Phillip found not guilty. [Box 17]

1832: David Trisler [late of Jessamine Co.] & Henry Trisler, laborer of Jessamine County. Jan. 22, 1832 about midnight entered and burglarized house of David Moore and his wife Nancy with intent to kill and murder. Indicted for burglary. April 1832 - August 1833: "Henry no inhabitant of this county." Summons to John Trisler, John L. Francis, Catherine Trisler, Elizabeth Trisler. Jacob Trisler & George Brown securities for David Trisler. [Box 17]

1838: Michael Arnsiger states he is afraid of John Trisler & Peter Howzer who have threatened to kill him. [Box 21]

1846: David Smith appointed to "take care & charge of Woodson Trisler" ... "found by inquisition to be an idiot". [Five year old orphan with no estate.]

Dr. Trisler provided quite a resume during his 75 years. German immigrant, husband, father, physician, Jessamine County pioneer, psychic, accused felon, adulterer, and, in the words of his own daughter, "an old rascal." The exact site of his burial is unknown.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Gamecock

SUMTER: Ancestor Anna Sumter, wife of Thomas Land, was the sister of one of South Carolina's most noted historical figures, General Thomas Sumter - known as the "Gamecock."

Born in Hanover Co., Virginia in 1734, Thomas Sumter became the most famous member of his family. Along with Francis Marion [the Swamp Fox] and Andrew Pickens, he raised havoc with the British troops in the Carolinas and Georgia.

Thomas Sumter was educated in common schools. He worked as a surveyor and in his father's mill. After his father died in 1752, Thomas cared for his mother's sheep and plowed a neighbor's fields.

Thomas served with the Virginia Militia during the French and Indian War. He served under Edward Braddock and John Forbes in their campaigns against Fort Duquesene in Pennsylvania. Sumter accompanied a delegation to London as interpreter for the Cherokee chiefs when they met with King George III. Returning to the colonies on 28 October 1762, he landed at Charleston and spent the winter with the Cherokees. During his stay with the Indians, Thomas single-handedly captured Baron Des Onnes, a French emissary sent to stir up trouble between the Cherokees and the British. Sumter returned briefly to Virginia. He was arrested for an old debt, escaped from Stanton Prison and fled to Eutaw Springs, South Carolina. He invested his savings in land and slaves, opened a crossroads store, and was made a justice of the peace in 1766. Sumter married widow Mary Cantey Jameson, seven years his senior, about 1767. The couple took up residence on the plantation in St. Mark's Parish left to Mary by her first husband. Their son, Thomas, Jr. was born 30 August 1768.

Sumter was an ardent supporter of the Patriot cause. Thomas Sumter was elected as a delegate to the Second Provincial Congress at Charles Town [Charleston] in 1775 and 1776. He was made a member of the Council of Safety. Thomas was a Captain in the Rangers sent to subdue the upcountry Tory forces in the "Snow Campaign" of December 1775. Thomas was made Lt. Colonel of the 2nd South Carolina Rifle Regiment in March 1776. The regiment was assigned to guard the frontier. He was engaged in the Battle of Sullivan's Island on 28 June 1776, Williamson's Campaign against the Cherokees in the fall of 1776, and the Georgia Campaign against Fraser's raid from St. Augustine. Sumter resigned his commission in 1778 and returned home.

After the fall of Charleston in 1780, Sumter came out of retirement to form a militia unit that would operate out of the swamps of the Santee River. Governor Rutledge had moved the South Carolina capitol to North Carolina leaving Sumter's militia as the "government" on the home front.

While recruiting in North Carolina at Gillespie's Settlement, Sumter stepped into the Gillespies' cockpit and called on the men to join him. The Gillespies were famous for their cock-fights and owned a blue hen of the game species. Impressed with Sumter, one of the Gillespie brothers proclaimed, "He is one of the Blue Hen's chickens!" The nickname of "The Gamecock" was born.

1780 was an active year for Sumter. His forces were repulsed in an attack on Tumball's camp at Rocky Mount on 30 July. They destroyed the Prince of Wales Regiment at Hanging Rock on 6 August. Colonel Banastre Tarleton's Legion was sent after Sumter and defeated his troops in a surprise night attack at Fishing Creek on 18 August. On 6 October, Governor Rutledge commissioned Sumter a Brigadier General in the service of the state. General Sumter defeated the British at Fish Dam Ford and captured the commander, Col. Wemyss on 9 November. Sumter next prepared to march on the British garrison at Ninety-Six; but changed plans when he heard that old nemesis Tarleton was on the way. The Gamecock met Tarleton at Blackstock's on 20 November and won the day. Sumter was wounded in the back and chest.

General Sumter was out of commission for several months. In early 1781 Sumter destroyed the munitions magazines at Fort Granby. The next day, his men ambushed a convoy of supply wagons enroute from Charleston to Camden. The British losses were 13 dead and 69 taken prisoner. British Major Fraser attacked Sumter near Camden, but left the field with 20 dead. General Nathanael Greene, now in command of the Continental forces in the South, sent a letter to Sumter requesting him to do everything in his power disrupt British communications. By that time, The Gamecock was in the field, sweeping through the countryside between the Broad, Saluda, and Wateree Rivers. On 10 May, Sumter's forces took the British garrison at Orangeburgh.

General Sumter became embroiled in a dispute with Col. Lee, and feeling that General Greene was unfairly partial to Lee, sent his commission to the general. This was neither the first, nor the last time that Greene would have to placate the vanity of Sumter. Greene returned the commission with expressions of kindness and compliments to his subordinate officer. The Gamecock once again resumed his duties. Fatigue and wounds shortly took their toll on Sumter, who took refuge in the mountains. When he was fit for duty, the war was drawing to a close.

After America had won her independence, Sumter continued to serve his state and country. He had been elected to the first General Assembly under the new Constitution in 1778. Thomas was elected to the South Carolina State Senate, which met at Johnsonburgh, in 1782. The Sumters moved from the Santee plantation to Stateburg in the Camden District. The Gamecock was elected to the Assembly which met at Charleston in 1785. He was re-elected and a member of the Assembly when the Proposed Constitutional Convention was received. His last session was 1789. After that he refused further nominations to the State Assembly.

Thomas Sumter was elected to the First U.S. Congress which met in New York City in 1789. He was re-elected to the Second Congress, but was defeated in the 1793 election. Sumter won the Congressional election again in 1796. Congress met for the first time in Washington City. He was the only member of the South Carolina delegation to vote for Jefferson over Burr when the election was thrown into Congress.

Sumter was elected to fill out the remainder of Charles Pinkney's unexpired term in 1801. Pinkney had been sent to the Court of Spain. The General was then elected to two full terms in the Senate. At 76, weary of public service and facing problems with his business interests, Sumter retired to his home at Statesburg. In 1832, he took a stand favoring the "States Rights" issue. The Gamecock died that same year at the age of 98.

General Sumter was both a blessing and a curse for the commander of the Southern Campaign, General Nathanael Greene. He was often at odds with Greene and frequently allowed his ego to get in the way. In his book, The Fighting Quaker:Nathanael Greene, [1972, American House Publishing, Mattituck, NY, p. 230] Elswyth Thane is quoted in his discussion of Greene's preparation for the Battle of Hobkirk's Hill: "The incorrigible Sumter was nowhere to be seen, as was his habit. He sent in some supplies to Greene's camp, but he could never bend his independent spirit to subordinate command under Greene and found many excuses not to join the main army. Greene was afraid to press him lest he take offense and resign altogether, and so left him to pursue his main usefulness, which was to encourage the spirit of resistance in the countryside and control roving bands of Tories who did violence to friend and foe alike."

Sunday, April 12, 2015

City Directories Solve a Mystery

CRAIL: Before continuing with the S families, I thought I'd go back and pick up a story that demonstrates the value of using city directories to solve brick wall research problems.

Harry Crail was my grandmother's brother. He was born in Miami Co., Indiana in 1885. Harry married three times. Pearl Malloy was the mother of his three children, Gilbert, Marcus and Helen.
His second wife, Lola Patterson, adopted a daughter, Mary Jane. Harry's third wife was Gertrude Kassenbrock.

I was told that Harry worked for Chevrolet in Muncie, Indiana at the time of his death. My uncle recalled being a pallbearer at Harry's funeral during the late 1930s, but before WWII. The cemetery, he thought was on Illinois Street in Indy.

Armed with that information, I headed for Muncie. The public library had a few city directories for the 1930s. I looked up Harry and found an entry for him in 1936 and 1937. 1938 showed "Gertrude Crail [wid. Harry]." Harry then died in 1937.

I ordered some other records concerning Harry from the library archives and walked over to the Health Department while those items were being retrieved. I gave the clerk the year of death and she copied the death record info for me.

Harry was buried at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Indianapolis. That threw me for a loop since the Crail's weren't Catholic! Gertrude was, so Harry was interred in the Kassenbrock plot at Holy Cross in an unmarked grave.

So there you have it, the city directories narrowed Harry's death to 1937. That led to acquiring his death record and learning his burial place.

Of note: Harry was a maintenance foreman for Chevy. His death resulted from a fall from a ladder during work. He died from a fractured skull the next day. According to family, the incident had happened during a strike. Harry, as management, had crossed the picket line to make repairs. The fall from the ladder was no accident. Harry's father had died in 1920 while inspecting a meat packing plant. He found violations and ordered the plant closed. He suffered a fatal heart attack and fell down the stairs. Again, according to family, James Crail's death was the result of his being roughed up by disgruntled workers and pushed down the stairs. The coroner's inquest ruled it an accident.

Note #2: One of my ongoing frustrations is that other Crail researchers have added Harry to the family of George Berry Crail. Harry's death certificate confirms his parents are Dr. James Crail and Mima Simmons. Census records agree.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Amos Singletary: Anti-Federalist

SINGLETARY: Amos Singletary was a native of Sutton, Massachusetts, born in 1721 to John and Mary [. Greele] Singletary. His parents saw to his basic educational needs. Amos' wife, Mary Curtis, was said to have been responsible for his conversion to Christianity.

Amos represented Massachusetts in the provincial congress for four years during the Revolutionary War. He went on to serve in the senate and house of representatives for the state of Massachusetts. Singletary also served as a justice of the peace.

His political views supported men like himself who lived off the land - Amos was a farmer and grist miller. Amos opposed the state's eastern trade and banking interests. He also opposed the ratification of the US Constitution in 1788, fearing that the eastern businessmen would gain too much power.

Amos Singletary died in 1806. Mary had preceded him in death in 1799.

Friday, April 10, 2015

When the Legend Becomes Fact.......

SIMMONS: My Mom and Uncle related the story of their grandmother "Mima" Simmons Crail's youngest brother, John W. to me several times. It was short and sweet. John served with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. He married a local girl and became police chief of Havana.

Neat story! But, was it true?

I could not find John listed with the Rough Riders. He was a Hoosier, they were predominately Westerners. John's father's 1909 obit named a son, J.W., P.I. P.I.? Two options - Private Investigator or Philippine Islands. I went with the latter.

My next step was the message boards at GenForum and Ancestry. GenForum was the jackpot. I received a reply from a young woman born in the Philippines telling me about her grandfather, John W. Simmons. Her cousin, also Philippine-born, would fill in more details later on. We were 3rd cousins. My Mima and their John W. were children of John T. and Edith [Crousore] Simmons.

John was born in Sharpsville, Tipton, Indiana in 1873. Ironically, he did go west before 1898. He was mustered in at Camp Rogers near Tacoma, Washington in May of that year. [Company C, 1st Washington Volunteers] John's company left San Francisco for Manila in October. The 1st Washington saw action in early 1899 and left for home in August.

John re-enlisted and was with the US Army Hospital Corps in June 1900. He was then sent back to the Philippines from November 1900 until 1903.

During his first tour of duty, John had indeed met a local girl - Antonina Del Rosario. They were reunited before war's end. John and Antonina were married in 1903. Already parents of twin sons, one of whom died at birth, they would have three more children. John died in September 1909, about a month after his father.

Antonina remarried and her 2nd husband brought the family to Nebraska. Her 2nd marriage failed and Antonina took the kids back to the Philippines. Part of the family would return to the States in 1977.

John W. Simmons Jr., youngest of the children, served with the Philippine resistance during World War II. He was killed by the Japanese invaders early in the war. His Anglo features made him a target of the enemy.

The Rough Riders and the gig as police chief went by the wayside, but the real story is every bit as interesting!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

..And Sometimes the Research Results Are Just Plain Weird!!

SIMMONS: Sylvanus Simmons was mentioned briefly in yesterday's post. He was the son of John William and Dolly [Jennison] Simmons. Nothing came easy in piecing together his story!

Birth: Years range from 1823 - 1829. His death in 1901 at 76 would agree with an 1823 birth.

Marriage: For some time I was unable to locate Sylvanus' marriage. Census records showed his wife's name as Herietta. The death certificate for his youngest daughter cleared, or muddled the issue.

Children: Two daughters: Henrietta [b. c1846] and Ada [b. c1848] - if indeed those were their names!

Death: For Mrs. Henrietta Simmons - 1881; for Sylvanus - 1901; for daughter Henrietta - probably between 1860 and 1870; daughter Ada - 1930.

Still with me? Here's where weird enters the picture!

Ada's death certificate gives her mother's name as "Kate van Loo." Sylvanus Simmons married Catherine van Liew in 1845 in Cincinnati. The couple had two daughters by 1850: Sarah A. [b. 1846] and Margaret J. [b. 1848].

By 1860, Catherrine had become Henrietta, Sarah was Henrietta and Margaret was Ada!

Mrs. Simmons' 1881 obit gives her first name as Henrietta. She died at the home of her son-in-law, whose surname was Bateman. Ada's husband was Edward Bateman.

So, Sylvanus married Catherine van Liew, who became Henrietta. The daughters, Sarah and Margaret became Henrietta and Ada. Apparently the names stuck until Ada's death, when Henrietta became Catherine again.

Could middle names come into play, you ask. Henrietta P. [Catherine], Henrietta [Sarah A.], Ada J. [Margaret J.] A glimmer of hope!

That's the story!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Generation Drawn to the River Trades

SIMMONS: Not much has been uncovered about John William Simmons. He was born in New York City in 1781. John married Dolly Jennison about 1803, probably in Chenango Co., NY. They had 12 children. John was a carpenter and farmer. His death is a bit of a mystery. One report has his death in Newport, Kentucky about 1857. The other has his death taking place in Wisconsin, while helping his son Daniel move.

Although the Ohio River did not seem to attract John, it did call most of his children.

Youngest son, Andrew J., was an engineer in Newport, Kentucky in 1850. He was either building or maintaining steamboats.

Sylvanus was also an engineer, working in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For a time, Sylvannus was a farmer and resided in Henry Co., Indiana in 1860.

Daniel G. may have been an exception. He worked as an iron moulder, but that's not to say his employer did not have ties to the steamboat industry while Daniel was in Newport, Kentucky.

David P. inherited the family wanderlust. He farmed in Indiana, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Oregon. Still, he was in Newport in 1850 and listed as a clerk. Was it for a steamboat company?

John J. was a ferry man and  an engineer in Kentucky and Indiana. He moved to Illinois and became a farmer.

James M. avoided the river. He was a farmer in Ohio and Indiana.

Of the daughters?
Maria married John Anspaugh, who was an engineer.

Caroline married engineer John Garrison.

Amelia married Richard Humphrey and resided on a farm in Cass Co., Indiana.

Information on Adelaide, Harriet and Samuel is lacking.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

From New York City to Wheeling: The Adventures of John Simmons Jr.

SIMMONS: John Simmons Jr. was born in New York City in 1761. Over the next 81 years, he would marry three times, father 18 children, and changed residence at least nine times in five states. John would serve as a soldier, farmer, land agent and tavern keeper.

John grew up in New York City, probably helping out around his father's tavern. When the Revolutionary War broke out, the Simmons family left the British-occupied city and moved to Orange County. There, John enlisted in the local militia and served for two years [1778-1780]. His company was assigned to guard duty along the Hudson River. John then served with the New York Levies in 1781-1782.

His first marriage, to Mary Nelson took place about 1780 in either Orange Co., New York or New Jersey. The couple had five children. Mary died in New York City about 1791.

John was in Philadelphia in 1792, when he married Lucy Morris Cunningham. Lucy was a widow with three minor children. Lucy's eldest son, David, was the father of Robert W. Cunningham, who died at the Alamo. Lucy died about 1822 in Indiana. With John, she had five more children.

John and Lucy settled in what later became Chenango Co., NY in 1793. John was there to act as sales agent for the nearly 5000 acres purchased by his father. John moved the family to Canonsburgh in western Pennsylvania in 1814.  The family moved to Dearborn Co., Indiana by 1820.

Simmons was back in Canonsburgh in late 1823, where he ran a public house on the road from Washington to Pittsburgh. John's third marriage came the next year in Wheeling, Virginia to Margaret Harbison. [Margaret's story will be told in a later post.] They would be parents to eight children.

John, Margaret and company moved to Monroe Co., Ohio during the early 1830s. John applied for his pension while living there in 1833. Apparently, Ohio did not suit him. John was living in Wheeling, Virginia by 1834.

John died in Wheeling in 1843. He received a military escort to his final resting place.

John's eldest child, John William was born in 1781. His youngest, Thomas, was born in 1838. 37 years separated the two boys. The youngest of John W.'s children was nearly 10 when Thomas was born.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Talee from the Gallows: Stephen Gifford Simmons

SIMMONS: Most of the Simmons children lived relatedly normal lives. There was one exception.
Stephen was the most tragic figure among children of John and Catherine. He was baptized in Philadelphia, but probably born in rural Burlington Co., New Jersey. He joined his brother, John Jr., as sales agent for the nearly 5000 acres in Montgomery Co., NY about 1794. [The area where the Simmons brothers settled became New Berlin, Chenango Co., NY]

Stephen served in the military for three years. According to the U.S. Army Register of Enlistments, he was a lieutenant of dragoons from 9 July - 4 Sept.1797. He then served as regimental paymaster in Tennessee until 13 November 1800, when he was arrested and tried at a General Courts Martial in Philadelphia. Stephen was then dismissed from service.

Stephen returned to New Berlin after his Courts Martial where he married Levana Elliot [?] in 1806. They had six children: Catherine, James, David, Ellen, Bathsheba and Lavina.

The family moved to Wayne Co., Michigan in 1825. There Stephen purchased a decrepit tavern in the forest along the main immigrant trail. He also farmed.

In June 1830 Stephen returned from a week-long trip to Detroit [attending a court case involving a contract dispute] and accused Levana of having an affair with a stagecoach driver. He subsequently got drunk and beat his wife to death. Stephen was tried for murder in Detroit and hanged on 24 September 1830. It was the first hanging in Detroit since 1821 and the last. Stephen and Levana were buried on the tavern property in unmarked graves. The children had left the Michigan Territory by 1834.