I was lucky to recently win an auction for an original document signed by my 4x great grandfather, Jeremiah Hutchings. On the surface it is fun to own a document that my ancestor actually held in his hand with an original signature. The document is a check.
It reads “Due William Frost, Esq. four shillings from me on Demand York Febry 6 1792” followed by a squiggle that I haven’t quite deciphered (if you have any ideas I’d love to hear them!). It is witnessed by Samuel Lunt and signed by Jeremiah. I decided to go beyond the document and asked myself, “Why would Jeremiah need to borrow money?”
I took a look at Jeremiah’s life. In February of 1792, Jeremiah was 21 years old. He had married at the age of 16, marrying an older woman, Sarah Littlefield – when she was 18. Jeremiah’s wife gave birth to their third child in February of 1792. Perhaps, the overwhelming responsibility of having a wife and three young children at the tender age of 21 drove Jeremiah to seek some help…
[William Frost was a Revolutionary War Veteran – his FindaGrave profile can be found here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/21282212/william-frost ]
Here’s the back story: I was recently contacted by the wife of a DNA match to my husband (got that?). She is in England but her husband (who sadly recently passed away) had a German mother. She had found a connection to one of my husband’s family names and the DNA showed a 4th-6th cousin match. It prompted me to work on my husband’s German family lines which I have long neglected.
My husband was born in Karlsruhe, Germany. His mother was German and his father was an American soldier (that’s ANOTHER story!).
My mother-in-law was a teenager in Karlsruhe, Germany during World War II and you can imagine the stories that she had to tell. One on my memories is her story about taking shelter across the street in a neighbor’s house during an enemy attack. (I can’t imagine!) Her aunt realized that she had left her purse behind. The aunt’s husband ran back to retrieve the purse. In the process, he was killed in the street by a strafer.
Fast forward to my research 94 years later. I am lucky that there are a lot of records online at Ancestry for Karlsruhe. Unfortunately, they are all in German. I know just enough German to understand that I’m looking at a birth, death or marriage record, the date and whether it’s a man or woman. The other details are lost to me. I found a number of family records for the time period, one of a family member in the military who died in Belgium and I spent some time on Google Translate to understand the details of that record. It was clear that he had died in the service of his country – noting what military unit he was in, etc. Then I found a death record for Anton Ostländer, my mother-in-law’s uncle.
It is easy enough to see that he died on 3 September 1942, lived at 27 Lamey Street but died at 2 Lamey Street at 6:50. He was 50 years old. We can see where and when he was born, the names of his parents (Vater and Mutter) and his wife’s name, Karoline with the maiden name Hauss. Below that is a line that roughly translates that written registration of the death was reported by “des Polizei-präsidenten in Karlsruhe” translating to “of the police president [chief] in Karlsruhe.” My final question on this record was the line “Tordesurfache” or “cause of death.” “Durch Feindeinwurkung” translates to “by enemy action.” I’m pretty sure that I found the Uncle who died because he went back to get his wife’s purse.
Family stories that are passed down can be a little skewed or outright embellished. I remember my father telling the story of his great-uncle Jock Tobias – brother to his paternal grandmother. He told me how Jock moved from Scotland to work in the diamond mines in South Africa and often brought back diamonds for my grandmother. I searched in vain for many years for Jock Tobias (and WHERE ARE THOSE DIAMONDS?).
Fast forward to my research and confirmation from my aunt. Jock Tobias was actually John Turbyne (although Jock may have been a nickname – we’ll probably never know). He and his wife did move to and live in South Africa. Every record that I could find says that John Turbyne was a woodworker or joiner. Perhaps he was employed in the diamond mines of South Africa – did they use woodworkers to shore up the ceilings as they dug? Perhaps.
John and his wife had no children. They visited his sister in New York several times traveling through Ellis Island. After a long career in South Africa, John and his wife Jessie boarded the Warwick Castle in Capetown South Africa headed to Southampton, England and retirement at 53 Princess Street, Dundee, Scotland. Seven days out from Southampton, John died on board the ship of congestive heart failure. His obituary states that he was buried at sea. He never made it home.
How about this little cutie? In excellent condition mounted in a protective folder, it is identified as Howard Benjamin Parshley at 8 months old.
The photo was taken in New Haven, Connecticut. Howard was born in West Haven, Connecticut on 5 April 1923 to Edward R. Parshley, who was a mechanical inspector for the railroad and his wife Laura (Newson) who was born in Prince Edward Island Canada – she was the youngest of 15 children. Howard died 6 February 2010 in Alabama and is buried in Dogwood Trails Memorial Gardens in Oxford, Alabama.
If you are close family and would like to have the photo sent to you at no charge, please contact me.
I rescued this photo from an antique shop. It is identified on the back as Alida Bisco. I set out to research Alida Bisco to see if I could get the photo returned to a family member. I found Alida, living in Dudley, Massachusetts, born in October of 1850 in Connecticut. Alida appears in every available census from 1860 through 1930 and then appears in the Massachusetts Death Index in 1938. It appears that Alida never married. The problem is that every record lists Alida as a woman. Do you think this is a picture of Alida? I think not. Perhaps it is her brother Alton Bisco, son of Jacob and Emeline Bisco, who was born in 1857. We may never know. I hope someone from the family discovers this post and can clear up this mystery.
This cabinet card, taken about 1891, is identified as Laura Barrett age 19. A little research uncovers that Laura was born in July 1872 in Ashford, Connecticut the daughter of George G. Barrett and Marilla Kidder.
She married Marvin W. Fisk on 5 November 1892 in Warrenville, Connecticut. He was born in Stafford Springs, CT in August 1867, the son of John M. Fisk and Jane Prouty.
The couple had two children neither of which lived to adulthood: Wilbur born July 1896 and Earl born Nov 1898. Sadly, Earl died on 8 December 1901 at age 3 of Diphtheria and paralysis of the heart. Wilbur died 28 February 1902 of Scarlet Fever and heart failure at the age of 5. It appears that the couple had no other children.
Perhaps her old photograph turned up in an antique shop in Townsend, Massachusetts, because she left no descendants. I hope a niece, nephew or cousin would like to have her photograph returned to the family. If so, please contact me!
Once again, I am participating in the Honor Roll Project to photograph local monuments honoring our veterans. Here is a link to the website where all of the blogs are posted and sorted by location: http://honorrollproject.weebly.com/massachusetts.html
Here is my project for Memorial Day 2017
Notice that the monument says “World War” not World War I.
The names of those who lost their lives listed on the monument:
Luigi K. Aquilio
Wilfred J. Brosseau
Antonio Del Bove
Henry A. Douglas
Charles E. Dubay
John J. Finn
Peter H. Flibbert
Harold K. Hodsden
John F. Hyland
Hermand J. Lauzon
Raymond I. Look
William H. Lynch
Donald M. Parker
Emery J. Pelkey
Harold I. Petts
Edward J. Regan
Maurice G. Smith
Exlone J. Snow
Sidney E. Taylor
John S. Theurer
Thank you for your sacrifice.
Considered to be one of the worst massacres of colonial times, The Candlemas Massacre, also known as the Raid on York, took place on 24 January 1692 during King William’s War. 325 years ago, in the early morning hours, 200-300 Abenaki Indians led by Chief Madockawando and the Catholic missionary Father Louis-Pierre Thury, raided and burned the settlement of York, Maine. By most accounts the majority of the houses were burned to the ground, leaving only four garrisons standing. Fifty to eighty residents were murdered and approximately another hundred were forced to march to Canada, on foot, a trek of over 300 miles. Many died along the way.
A number of my ancestors and relatives were among the dead or captured. My 9x great grandfather, Nathaniel Preble and 9x great grand uncle, John Preble were listed among the dead.
Taken captive were Mrs. Priscilla Preble (wife of Nathaniel), my 9x great grandmother, Obadiah and Benjamin Preble, both 8x great grand uncles, Mrs. Mary (Rishworth)(Sayward) Plaisted, my 9x great grandmother and two 8x great grand aunts, Mary and Esther Sayward.
Mrs. Priscilla Preble, now a widow, was redeemed from Canada in 1695, when she returned to York and married Joseph Carroll. No further record of her sons Obadiah and Benjamin have been found.
Warning: Graphic content ahead
Cotton Mather in his Magnalia Christi Americana or the Ecclesiastical History of New England, Volume II Book VII, “Decennium Lucuossum, or a History of Remarkable Occurances, in the War which New-England had with Indian Salvages [sic], from the year 1688 to the year 1698” wrote about the massacre:
“Mary Plaisted, the wife of Mr. James Plaisted, was made a captive by the Indians about three weeks after her delivery of a male child. They then took her, with her infant, off her bed, and forced her to travel in this her weakness the best part of a day, without any respect of pity. At night the cold ground in the open air was her lodging; and for many a day she had no nourishment, but a little water with a little bears-flesh; which rendred her so feeble, that she with her infant were not far from totally starved. Upon her cries to God, there was at length some supply sent in by her master’s taking a Moose, the broth whereof recovered her. But she must now travel many days thro’ woods, and swamps, and rocks, and over mountains, and frost and snow, until she could stir no farther. Sitting down to rest, she was not able to rise, until her diabolical master helped her up; which when he did, he took her child from her, and carried it unto a river, where, stripping it of the few rags it had, he took it by the heels, and against a tree dashed out his brains, and then flung it into the river. So he returned unto the miserable mother, telling her, “she was now eased of her burden, and must walk faster than she did before.”
Mary was taken to Montréal where she was baptized in the Catholic church. Her signature appears in the Baptismal Register. She was ransomed by Matthew Cary and returned home more than 3 years later in October 1695. Her daughters, Mary and Esther, did not return from Canada. Mary was placed in a Catholic Nunnery and resided at the Congregation Notre Dame and was known as “Sister des Anges.” She died in 1717 and was buried in Montreal. Esther remained in Canada, was naturalized in 1710 and in 1712 married Sieur Pierre de Lestage.
Years ago I ordered my grandfather’s World War I naval record from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis. I doubted that there would be much of interest except for perhaps a medical record and his rank and duties during the war (much of which I already knew). I was SO wrong. Right in the middle of the 50 page document were three progressively nasty letters from his soon to be ex-wife and a drama that unfolded page by page. The first was dated February 11, 1918 complaining that he had left her and had not given her any support since December of 1917.
On March 1st she sent another letter to the Secretary of War reporting that she had flags that her husband had taken off of one of the ships that he worked on and that he had come to retrieve them and she didn’t give them to him. [When the US entered the war in 1917 several German ocean liners were caught on this side of the Atlantic, commandeered and refitted as troop transport ships. My grandfather worked as an electrician to refit these German ships.] She said he threatened to make trouble for her and that he “forbid the Navy Department to give me my money.”
On March 4th she wrote another letter in response to the Navy’s letter requesting more information so that they could identify her husband, again asking what she should do with the German flags that he had taken off the “Aughtenfelt [Ockenfels] – the first boat he worked on.” She also mentions that he also took a “coniator [?] and a Broneator [perhaps brominator?].” It appears that she was slyly trying to make trouble for him.
By March 22nd the Navy had found my grandfather among the ranks of the ship USS America and sent a letter to him through his commander.
My grandfather’s reply (clearly written by a lawyer) was priceless.
And it was accompanied by a character reference from the local Deputy Sheriff.
The Navy, in their infinite wisdom, washed their hands of the matter.
Two morals to the story:
1. Run, don’t walk, to get your ancestor’s military record.
2. Don’t commit adultery.
My 8x great-grandfather was Henry Willard. He was the son of Simon Willard who emigrated from Horsmonden, Kent County, England. Born in Concord, Massachusetts in 1655, Henry built this home at Still River (Harvard), Massachusetts in 1687. The house still stands at 259 Still River Road, which is Route 110, in Still River, which is part of Harvard, Massachusetts.
This photo is taken from the book from the book “Heroic Willards of ’76; life and times of Captain Reuben Willard of Fitchburg, Mass., and his lineal descendants, from 1775 to date; profusely embellished with authentic portraits not heretofore available; register of Willards in the revolution, and other wars, chronology of the George Willards” by Phelps, James Andrew, b. 1835
My surprise in finding this photo? I grew up in Harvard, Massachusetts. How many times did I pass this house not knowing that it was built by my 8x great-grandfather?