Friday, January 25, 2013

William Cook 1849-1908, Saskatchewan Pioneer

William Cook about 1906

I blogged early on about William’s wife, Emma Green Cook, my great great grandmother, and one of my favourite ancestors, but I had yet to give William Cook his own blogpost. This was partly because I felt that I needed a couple of more records about him. I was somewhat doubtful about what I had for his mother’s maiden name, and I also wanted to see if I could track down homestead records for him. I have now received his birth record from the General Register Office in England, and his homestead file from Saskatchewan.

William Cook (sometimes written “Cooke”), my maternal great great grandfather, was born on August 4, 1849 in Timberland, Lincolnshire, England. His parents were William Cook and Ann Squires. As it turned out, Ann’s family was already on my family tree--follow me now--as she was the half-sister of William senior’s brother Thomas’s wife, Elizabeth Squires. Discovering Ann’s maiden name this week has been wonderful, as it has led me back a few more generations on William’s tree. William senior first worked as an agricultural labourer, then as a “carrier”, i.e. transporting goods by horse and carriage, likely for the railroad, and then at the end of his life as a “coal higlar”, i.e. selling coal by horse and carriage. He lived in Timberland his whole life.

William junior was much more of a wanderer. He married Emma Green at St. Cuthbert’s, the Church of Wilton-in-Cleveland in Wilton, North Yorkshire, between the towns of Redcar and Eston, on January 10, 1871. She was also from Lincolnshire, so it is not known if they met in Lincolnshire or Yorkshire. They were born the same year, so they were both twenty-one when they got married. They resided in the nearby town of Lazenby, where he was a “labourer in the iron mines” and she was a “dressmaker”. (It helps that they got married in a census year, so this helps to expand the picture of what their life was like then). Their address was 8 North Street, Lazenby, Yorkshire. You can read my blogposts on Emma for the details of their lives in England and Canada, and for more family stories about William and his problem with alcohol. These can be viewed at: and

As I mentioned before, William came to Canada, with his brother Elijah, a year before his wife and family. The family lived in Ontario before homesteading in Assinaboia, later called Saskatchewan. Specifically, they lived in the Orangeville district of Moosomin. William himself states in his homestead record in 1899 that he received “entry” for the northwest quarter of Section 12, Township 15, Range 31, 1st Meridian in October 1893. He states that he built a house on the land in 1895 and began residence there in February 1896, staying there until September of that year. The house was a 16 by 20 foot log cabin with a shingle roof, worth three hundred dollars in 1899. He returned in April 1897, and was joined by his wife and nine children in October of 1897.  In a statement made in 1899, he revises the dates for residency and the construction of his house to be about a year earlier. This makes more sense, as his youngest son Alfred Godfrey Cook was born in Assinaboia East on March 3, 1995. I suppose his wife and children could also have been living in the area, but in other accommodations. In 1893, he “broke” five acres; in 1894 he cropped five acres and broke ten to eighteen more; in 1895 he cropped fifteen acres and broke another twenty-two; for a total of 95 acres broken by 1899. In 1894, he had three horses and two cattle, and by 1896 he had four horses and five cattle. Finally in 1899, he had six horses, three cattle and nine pigs. Also on his land was a 17 by 24 foot stable, and a 14 by 17 granary, both with sod roofs. He also had a pig pen and two wells. There is no mention of the specific grain crops that he cultivated.

In 1906, the family is still living on the farm, but the five oldest children have left home, and all of these are found in fairly nearby communities. By 1908, William and Emma are living at 144 Donald Street in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he is a “retired farmer”. He died there on January 14, 1908 of diabetes at the age of fifty-eight. He is considered to have been one of the original homesteaders in the Orangeville area of Moosamin, Saskatchewan, and in listed as such in Moosamin Century One: Town and Country:

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Harts and the Marlows in the 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta

I have just discovered that Ancestry considers it “fair use” to use some records, such as census pages, in blogs. I thought I would share today a discovery I made a while back when I was researching the Harts, i.e. the Melvin J. Hart family, the family of my great grandparents and my grandfather, George Hart. I was examining the index of 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, and could find Melvin and his family, but could not find the Joseph H. Marlow family, i.e. that of my other set of paternal great grandparents. When I went to the actual image of the census page with the Harts, I noticed familiar first names of the Marlows above, such as “Zella” and “Annabel”, and looking more closely, I could see that they were the Marlows. At that point, I had not yet realized that the Marlows and the Harts were neighbours. I was curious to find out why I could not find the Marlows on the index, and soon discovered that they had been mistranscribed as having the surname “Cardow”. This was so far from the correct surname that it would have been very difficult for anyone to find the family on a search. I submitted a correction to Ancestry, and received an email from them thanking me for this.

Here is a section of the 1916 Canada Census of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta showing the Marlow and the Hart families living next to each other near Lougheed, Alberta, Canada:

Courtesy of

(You can click on the image to view it larger). It is easy to see from the handwriting how the surname Marlow could have been mistaken, as the “m” does resemble a “c”, and the “l” like a “d”. You can see that four of the Marlow daughters are missing from the family. Lena Sarah, my grandmother, would have still been in Illinois with her husband George Smith and their family. They were not to come to Canada to stay until 1919. Maud and Dollie were both married with children and living in the area, and Winnifred had died two years earlier in 1914 of typhoid at the age of twenty-two, which is coincidentally the same age at which Dollie was to die in 1919, but from influenza. I am wondering if the Dollie’s death played into Lena Sarah and George’s decision to come to Canada.

It is interesting to note that Melvin Hart and his two sons, George and Alva, became naturalized Canadian citizens in 1908, only three years after coming to Canada from Iowa. This would have also been the same year that their homestead claim was “proven”. It appears that none of them had any intention of moving back to the States. Susan Hart, nee Monk, was born in Ontario so did not need to change citizenship. Their daughter Flora Jane Hart Jeffers was living in Edmonton in 1916 with her husband Roeberry Jeffers and their son Albert. Their other daughter, Lottie Hart Kells, had just married Robert Kells in March, and was living in the Lougheed area with her husband and her sister's son, Charles. I did not include the section about literacy in the image above, but it is also interesting to note that all of the adults were able to read and write except for Melvin Hart’s son Alva, who could neither read nor write. He was to die by a lightning strike in 1922. The farms of the Marlows and the Harts would have been quite different as the Harts were homesteaders, having cleared their own land and built their own homes and barns. The Marlows had purchased a ready-made C.P.R. farm with pre-planted crops. This does not mean that life would have been easy for them, as the C.P.R. houses were notoriously small and inadequate for the weather, and many of the pre-planted crops failed, including the Marlows’ potato crop the first year.

That the Harts and the Marlows were neighbours is significant in my own family history as my grandmother, Lena Sarah Marlow Smith, purchased the Marlow farm after the deaths of her father and husband, which made her the neighbour of my grandfather, George Leslie Hart. This would have brought them closer together, which led to their marriage in 1930, and the subsequent birth of my father.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Dollie Belle Marlow: May the Heavenly Winds Blow Softly

Dollie Belle Marlow about 1910
courtesy of Deb Ewanchuk

My great aunt, the lovely Dollie Belle Marlow, was born on July 6, 1896 in Carlinville, Illinois to Anna Belle and Joseph H. Marlow. She was the fifth eldest of nine children, including Lena Sarah, Winnifred Ann, Maud Elizabeth,  Joseph Robert “Tom”, William Benjamin, George Johnson, Charles Frederick, and Zella Melba. When she was sixteen years old, in November 1912, she came with her family to Lougheed, Alberta, Canada, where her father purchased a C.P.R. farm.

Three years later, in 1915, when she was about nineteen years old, she married Carl Max Klinger, known as Max, four years her senior, born in 1892 in Minnesota. He and his family had come to Canada in 1910. His parents having been born in Germany, Max spoke German as well as English. Both Max and Dollie could read and write. Max had his own farm, where he employed others. Their daughter, Ruby Belle Klinger, was born on January 9, 1916, and their son, Arnold Alvin Klinger was born January 23, 1919.

Sadly, Dollie Belle, aged twenty-two, died the same day she gave birth to Arnold, reportedly due to influenza, during the influenza epidemic of 1918/1919, rather than of complications of childbirth. She was buried in the Lougheed Cemetery, where the inscription on her headstone reads, “May the heavenly winds blow softly”. Ruth Peacock, her niece, described her many years later as “a gentle and sensitive lady”.

Presumably because Max was without a wife to care for his children, Ruby and Arnold were taken in by Dollie’s parents, Anna Belle and Joseph Marlow, when Arnold was just a few hours old. The children were legally adopted by their grandparents in 1923. Max married Kathleen Armstrong, the sister of Dollie’s sister-in-law Margaret, the wife of her brother, Tom Marlow, before 1923, when his son Lawrence Carl Klinger was born. I must say that I am curious as to why Ruby and Arnold were adopted by their grandparents rather than going to live with their father and his new wife. There are a few missing pieces to this story.

Ruby Belle Marlow died of tuberculosis at the age of eleven on October 13, 1927. She was buried in the Lougheed Cemetery with the name, “Ruby Belle Marlow” on her headstone, with the inscription, “Budded on earth to bloom in heaven”. Arnold Marlow died August 30, 1987, and is also buried in the Lougheed Cemetery.

(Many thanks to my cousin, Deb Ewanchuk, for the above photo of Dollie Belle. Receiving great photos of people is a definite incentive to research them further and to write about them. Hint, hint to all you gentle readers who may be in possession of such. Also my thanks go out again to Deb and Larry S. for their contribution of Marlow family history material, which has been incorporated into this blogpost).

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Marley’s Ghosts: The Marlow--or is it "Marley"?--Family

I was contemplating the next set of records I was going to send for from the General Registry Office in England, and I thought about obtaining my great grandfather Joseph Marlow’s birth record. I noticed that I did not have the reference for it yet, so I searched again on Ancestry and discovered (once again) that I could not find a “Joseph Marlow” who fit the data. I did find a “Joseph Marley”. I had to consider that this was possibly my guy. I went back and looked into his father, William Marlow, and discovered that he was married under the name “Marley”, although he was christened under “Marlow”.  Joseph’s siblings, Mary Jane, Benjamin, and Maria were registered under “Marlow” at birth, but Elizabeth, who was born after Mary Jane, was registered as “Marley”. The “Marley” clue was therefore relevant, and the Joseph Marley that I found was looking more likely to be my great grandfather.

I decided to go to Family Search to see if I could find a baptism record for Joseph under “Marley”. Sure enough, I found it. He was baptised in Whitby, Yorkshire on August 25, 1853 nine days after his birth. His parents are “William Marley” and “Elizabeth”, as expected. I then found baptism records for some of his siblings: Elizabeth was baptised under “Marley”, Mary Jane under “Marlow”, and Benjamin’s surname was transcribed as “Morley” on his baptism record. I could not find Maria’s record. I did, however, find another sibling who does not appear with the family on the census records I was able to find: “George Marley”, baptised on July 19, 1855. He is also registered under “Marley” on his birth registration. I could not find any other records which I could be sure applied to him.

It is interesting to note that the Haviland Marlow described in Ruth Peacock’s story, whom I mentioned in my posting about William Marlow, and who came to town resembling the Marlows to a striking degree, was taken aback when he saw and heard Joseph’s son George Marlow. He said that it was as if his uncle “George Marlow” had come back to life. Curiouser and curiouser. This is all very intriguing, and I hope to find more data about the Georges and Haviland as I go along.

The most exciting outcome of this investigation, was that when I looked for a baptism record for William’s father George under “Marley”, I found it, with of course the names of his parents! This meant that I was able to take the family back another generation, which is always a thrill when I am able to do this. George Marley, my three times great grandfather, was baptised on February 3, 1795 in Fylingdales, Yorkshire with the parents “George Marley” and “Mary”, my four times great grandparents. I have not yet been able to find a marriage record for the couple, which may have provided me with Mary’s maiden name. I was able to find three siblings for William's father George, who were Jane, Margaret and Mary, all baptised in Fylingdales with the same parents, in 1792, 1797, and 1799 respectively.

So far, it looks as if the family was using the names “Marlow” and “Marley” almost interchangeably, at least beginning with the George Marlow who was my three times great grandfather, as he was married under “Marlow”. “Morley” appears to be another name which could apply to this family, judging by Uncle Benjamin’s baptism record. Right now, it appears that the original family name could have been “Marley”. I will keep looking, and keep you, gentle reader, apprised. These additional surnames may help me find homesteading, passenger and naval records for Joseph. We shall see. My next step will be to order Joseph Marley's birth record.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Keeper Augustus T. Wright: First Prison Employee Killed in the Line of Duty in New York State

Augustus Tyrannus Wright, brother of Stephen S. Wright, and son of Tyrannus Augustus Wright, and my first cousin four times removed, was the first prison employee killed in the line of duty in the State of New York. He was a farmer in the town of Denmark, Lewis county, New York, and a prison guard at the Clinton State Prison in Dannemora. His wife’s name was Louisa, but I do not know her maiden name, and they apparently had no children at the time of Augustus’s murder. They had had a boy, Frank, who “died early”.

As I have mentioned previously, the first reference I encountered to Augustus was in Hough’s History of Lewis County, New York, with no reference to his parentage. His name made me suspect that he was likely a son of Tyrannus Augustus Wright. The following newspaper article in The New York Daily Reformer  dated July 10, 1861 offered a clue:

MURDER OF A PRISON KEEPER—Augustus T. Wright, Esq., late of Lewis County, brother-in-law of Addison M. Farwell of this village, and recently appointed keeper in the Clinton State Prison, was murdered yesterday by a convict. The full particulars of this horrid deed have not been received. Mr. Wright was most estimable man, and will be mourned by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

When I looked into Addison M. Farwell, I discovered that he was married to a Mary Irene Wright. I found a reference in The Farwell Family: a history of Henry Falwell and his wife Olive (Welby) Farwell, which stated that Addison M. Farwell was married to Mary Irene Wright, who was “the daughter of Tyrannus  and Mary (Fitch) Wright”. It also states that Mr. Farwell built the “public waterworks in Brooklyn, N.Y.” It appears that he was also a railroad contractor and bank president during his life. These two clues helped me to establish that Augustus was therefore the son of Tyrannus, and then later had this confirmed when I received a genealogy of the Wright family.

The complete story was told July 17, 1861 in the New York Herald:

The Convicts Escaped from Clinton State Prison. Murder of One of the Keepers. (From the Albany State Journal July 15.) On Friday last we received and published a dispatch from Plattsburg announcing the escape of six prisoners from Clinton Prison and the killing of Mr. Wright, one of the keepers. It appears that a few days previous to this an attempt to break out of prison by several of the inmates was frustrated by the repentance of one of the gang, divulged the secret. The discovery of the plot does not seem to have intimidated some of the desperate characters engaged in it, among them James Sewall, a convict sentenced from Troy for larceny and highway robbery; and on Thursday evening last they had so far reorganized to make a decided stand against the keepers, and by murdering one of them and knocking down a guard succeeded in escaping from the prison. The outbreak occurred at midnight--the men in the rolling mill working during the summer nights, instead of days. The keeper, Mr. Augustus S. Wright, of Watertown, Jefferson County, was struck a blow upon the head by a bar of iron, supposed to be in hands of Sewell, and was instantly killed. the guard, at the same time, was knocked down by another convict, and as he attempted to rise, a third was preparing to give him a fatal blow, but was prevented by a fourth convict, who told the keeper outside to go and give the alarm while he guarded the door to prevent escape. In a few minutes the officers of the prison arrived, and found that six had escaped and seven remained with the trusty convict, who had raised the dead body of Mr. Wright. The murderer of Mr. W. took his gold watch and revolver and escaped. The party consisted of Alexander Payouette, convicted in St. Lawrence county, April 3, 1861, of the crime of burglary and petit larceny, second offence; William Judd, convicted in Renssalaer county, January 13, 1860, of the crime of grand larceny; George Pettit, convicted in Albany county, June 24, 1861, of the crime of forgery, in passing counterfeit notes; James Sewall, convicted of robbery in Renssalaer county, June 2, 1859, and sentenced to Clinton Prison for the term of fifteen years; Patrick Brady, convicted of burglary in the third degree in Albany, September 28, 1859, and sentenced to Clinton Prison for the term of two years; Daniel L. Baker, convicted in Essex county, December 20, 1860, of the crime of burglary, and sentenced to Clinton Prison for the term of four years and six months. Pursuit was immediately given to the convicts who had escaped, and we learn that all of them have been recaptured. Sewall is a desperate character, and previous to his incarceration in Clinton, had been engaged in many outrageous proceedings in Troy. Mr. Wright, the murdered man, was about thirty-five years of age. He leaves a widow to mourn his untimely death. He was greatly esteemed in all the relations of life.

Sewall and two others were sentenced to death by hanging, but their sentences were commuted to life in prison due to New York repealing capital punishment. Sewall died in prison. Brady was set free nearly thirty years later due to executive clemency as it was argued that he had not directly participated in the killing of Wright.

Augustus T. Wright continues to be honoured on pages of corrections-oriented websites for his service and loss of life in the line of duty.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Stephen S. Wright and the Republic of Canada: The Battle of the Windmill

In the aftermath of the Upper Canada Rebellion, my ill-fated first cousin four times removed, and son of Tyrannus Wright, Stephen Smith “Sylvanus” Wright, became caught up in an American mission to free Canada from the despotic rule of Britain and its heinous leader, “Victoria Coburg”, and to establish the "Republic of Canada". In November 1838, he and his approximately 250 compatriots crossed the St. Lawrence River and invaded Canada, in what is called in the U.S. “the Patriot War”, and in Canada is called “the Battle of the Windmill”. They did not receive either the support of the local militia (in fact, quite the opposite), nor of the expected reinforcements from their own country. Abandoned by all, including their appointed leaders at the start, the band of brothers held out for a few days at the mill near Prescott against the British Army and the Canadian militia. As they were outnumbered and spent, their leader Colonel Von Schoultz, a Pole, and a former soldier under Napoleon, surrendered unconditionally. He and others were executed. Some were pardoned and allowed to return home, and many others were sentenced to transportation to Van Dieman’s Land, now known as Tasmania. This included Stephen Wright, who, was sentenced to transportation “down under”. Fortunately for posterity, including us, Stephen wrote an account of his travails.

I first encountered a reference to my cousin Stephen’s troubles in Hough’s A History of Lewis County, New York:

During the excitement throughout the Northern border, in 1837,-’38,-’39, incident to the “Patriot War,” (so called) in an attempt to invade Canada, “Hunter Lodges” were organized in many of our villages; funds were subscribed, and enlistments were made.

Among the volunteers in this wild campaign, was Sylvanus S. Wright, a son of Tyrannus A. Wright, of Denmark, who was captured at the “Windmill,” below Prescott, and sentenced to transportation for life to Van Dieman’s Land. When pardoned by the Queen he returned to his former home, and was welcomed at Copenhagen with great parade. His narrative of three years’ captivity, was written up by Caleb Lyon, of Lyonsdale; but having it libelled Preston King, of Ogdensburgh, by statements shown to be false, (but doubtless made from misinformation rather than malice,) the author was compelled to suppress the pamphlet, and to widely publish an acknowledgement to Mr. King.

Having read this, I wondered how I could ever find a copy of this work since it had been suppressed. I was later to find it on the internet in its entirety. It is called, Narrative and recollections of Van Dieman’s Land, during a three years’ captivity of Stephen S. Wright together with an account of the Battle of Prescott, in which he was taken prisoner, his imprisonment in Canada, trial, condemnation and transportation to Australia, his terrible sufferings in the British penal colony of Van Dieman’s Land and return to the United States: with a copious appendix embracing facts and documents relating to the patriot war, now first given to the public from the original notes and papers of Mr. Wright and other sources (1844). It can be accessed at: It is a gripping and woeful tale, and only about fifty pages, and  worth the read. It is true that Mr. King does not come off well in the story. In King’s defence, Stephen Wright was not aware that his party did not receive reinforcements partially because both the Canadian and U.S. governments were blocking anyone from crossing the river to aid them.

In this work, written as a first person narrative, Stephen also describes his lengthy return home, via England (he therefore had circled the globe in his travels). He reports that he had the opportunity while there to see Queen Victoria herself and her consort Prince Albert:

I saw Victoria Coburg, surrounded by her lords and ladies, whose dresses were of every texture in the world, glittering in jewels and gleaming in gold; and I thought of the starving masses, whose money and life had been crushed out of them to support this extravagance; and my heart was sick of that bitter satire to every honest Briton—“Hurrah for happy England!” If what I saw was happiness, what is misery? Who has the moral courage to see the smoking bread of a well filled bakery, and yet starve to death? yet many have so died in London; thousands, and yet the half is not told. And if one morsel of that bread is taken, when no work can be had, the doom is transportation for life; while Prince Albert, that pauper upon England’s bounty, riots upon thirty thousand pounds per annum. Many could have been employed to do the state the same service he does, at a much cheaper rate. I saw him with the field martials’ star upon his breast, and covered with gaudy finery. It added nothing to its beauty to know that it had been washed in the tears and blood of the poverty-stricken ones of England.

Notably, Stephen writes, regarding his return to North America, “I would here thank the generous-hearted William Lyon Mackenzie, whose gentlemanly sympathy and hospitality was extended to us while in the city”, the said Mackenzie presumably being the same one who was a leader in the Upper Canada Rebellion, and whose descendant, William Lyon MacKenzie King, was later to be the Prime Minister of Canada. The city referred to is likely New York, as Mackenzie was living there at the time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Rev. Tyrannus Augustus Wright 1779-1863

Despite his Caesar-like name, my three times great grand uncle, Tyrannus Augustus Wright, does not appear to have been any kind of a despot. He was the son of Captain Charles and Ruth Wright, and with his brother, Charles Jr., was the first of the family to go the Black River country of upstate New York to scout out a new lands to settle. He is significant to me in my genealogy research because his relationship with my three times great grandfather, Stephen Hart, in Pinckney, New York, described in History of Lewis County, New York by Hough, helped me to make the connection between the Wright family and the Harts. That is, this helped me to ascertain that it was his niece, Sally Wright Merriam, a.k.a. Sarah, who had married Stephen Hart’s son, John Hart. Tyrannus had his own “firsts” in Lewis County, and was also the father of a couple of sons who had claims to fame, albeit tragic ones. He was a pioneer, a teacher, a farmer, militia man, hotel proprietor, Justice of the Peace, Town Supervisor, and clergyman during his life.

Tyrannus Augustus Wright was born on February 6, 1779 in Winchester, Litchfield, Connecticut, the sixth child in a family of twelve. He was named after an older brother who had died in infancy. As mentioned previously, he came to what is now Lewis county with his brother in 1801, and then settled in the area with his extended family in 1802. He first lived in Denmark village with the rest of the family, and then in 1810 moved to the closeby town of Pinckney. He taught the first school in Copenhagen, New York around 1810, and was also a lieutenant in the local militia. He married Mary C. Fitch, likely after the move to New York state, and had probably eleven children: Amanda, Chester, Ella, Emeline, John, Lucius, Elijah Tracy, Stephen Smith “Sylvanus”, Mary Irene, Augustus Tyrannus, and Solon (not necessarily in this order). I originally could only identify two of Tyrannus’s children, Lucius and Sylvanus, and only by reading Hough’s book, as it was not until 1850 that family members were listed in the census, and I had no other source which included his children. I knew that he had several children, but was stymied in identifying them. The “Augustus Wright” mentioned by Hough, was a suspect due to his name, and I was able to confirm that he was a son of Tyrannus through connecting him with a sister, Mary Irene, in a newspaper account, and then connecting the sister with Tyrannus through the sister’s husband’s family genealogy. So, I now had four of his children. I was then fortunate enough to receive an article from the Lewis County Historical Society which listed most of Tyrannus’s children: Pinckney Corners--its Settlement, Settlers, Where They Made Their Homes—Recollections by L.F. Wright, in Copenhagen, New York: An American Bicentennial History, 1976.

In Pinckney, Tyrannus built a hotel with his “brother” (likely Nathan), which was the first in the town. He appears to have been a “private” in the militia in Carter’s regiment during the War of 1812. In 1813, he was appointed Justice of the Peace, along with his brother Charles Jr. and Stephen Hart. In 1816, he was elected Supervisor of the Town of Pinckney, and again in 1836, but was not permitted to serve this term due to “ordination”, which means that he became a minister of the church in the intervening time. His son Stephen (Sylvanus) refers to him as a “clergyman” in an account written in 1844 of his own captivity in Canada in 1838 after a failed invasion attempt. It appears that Rev. Tyrannus could be effective in his work:

About this time I received a visit from my dear father—he was the second person permitted to see the prisoners since our capture—and sweet was that interview. The sheriff refused my father the privilege of praying with any of the prisoners, and that (without regard to his age or occupation as a clergyman) in a most insulting manner; he however permitted him to leave me a New Testament. During his stay, he exhorted the Helper of the weak to look down in mercy upon us amid our sore afflictions; he told us of Paul and Silas in the cell at Philipi, and of Peter, whom the angel of the Lord liberated from prison; and though every description of persons were gathered together—the licentious, the profligate, the vile and the profane, all came around and listened to him as one from the dead, (for the world was in truth dead to us), and he was a messenger from the bright earth and blue sky, and our hearts were cheered in this dark hour of our affliction, expecting daily our trials and death, as we had no hope of any other fate reserved for us. And now he departed, and all was gloom and dark forebodings of the future. The interview seemed not over ten minutes, though it lasted a full hour, and we were many in our misery and desolation, incarcerated in the leprous dungeons of Fort Henry.

The Rev. Tyrannus Wright’s other accomplishments included being one of the commissioners for the completion of a state road in 1820; founding the first Methodist Episcopal Society in Pinckney along with Stephen Hart, Nathan Wright and others in 1831; and becoming a trustee of the Methodist Episcopal Society of Deer River in 1852. He died on July 21, 1863 in Denmark, New York. It is not known where he is buried.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Honorable Jabez Wright Part Two: the Underground Railroad

Around 1820, Judge Jabez Wright, son of Freedom Wright, became one of the first men in the Firelands of Ohio to take part in the Underground Railroad, helping fugitive slaves make their way to freedom in Canada. The large brick house he built had eight rooms and a basement with a trap door, from which a sixteen foot wide and a ninety foot long tunnel led to a “corn crib” one hundred feet from the lake shore. The fugitives who exited the tunnel would then be taken by row boats to vessels which would transport them to Canada across Lake Erie. His home became a regular stop on the Underground Railroad. Another blogger, Lisa Yako, has written a wonderful biography of Jabez Wright, including a photograph of the historical marker placed where his house used to be, in her blog, Historical Research Partners—Reflections on Historic Homes and Genealogy. The link is as follows:

The Honorable Rush R. Sloane, in a speech given to the Firelands Historical Society in 1888, said of Jabez Wright:

My father knew him well since 1815, when he first met him at court at Avery, the year my father came into the state. Judge Wright always had one or more fugitives upon his farm and lands. This statement I have confirmed by a lady of perfect reliability, Mrs. Henry F. Merry of Sandusky, now seventy-eight years of age, and the first white person born on the Firelands. She told me that early in the year 1824, she was living at Judge Wright’s, teacher of his children, and at that time a fugitive slave was in his employ who had been there several years, and this was the first black man she ever saw. The fugitive’s name was James, and in 1825 he was reclaimed by his master and taken away; but he escaped, returned and again lived at Judge Wright’s.

Judge Wright was elected for two terms in the Ohio State Senate, beginning in 1822. As you can imagine, he was taking a huge risk in his position as judge and State Senator in participating so repeatedly and, apparently, flagrantly, in the Underground Railroad. In doing so, he was violating both state and federal laws. It seems that after his death, his sons Douglass and Winthrop carried on his work aiding fugitive slaves.

The Honorable Jabez Wright died on December 16, 1840, upon hitting his head and falling down the embankment of the lake at his home. A newspaper account at the time, in the Huron (Ohio) Commercial Advertiser, dated January 14, 1841, described his life as follows:

Judge Wright was one of the first settlers in this country, by his industry and enterprise has accumulated a large property. He was one of the band of adventures who braved the dangers of the wilderness, in surveying and laying off the fireland tract. No man was more familiar than he, with the land titles and early history of this and Huron counties. He was repeatedly elected to both branches of the Ohio legislature, and was for a number of years associate judge of this county. As a representative and Senator, he discharged his duties with fidelity to his constituents and honor to himself. In the private walks of life he was universally esteemed. His funeral was attended last Friday by a large concours of citizens, anxious to pay the last tribute of respect to departed worth. Peace to his manes!

His wife, Tamar Wright, died on August 26, 1849 at the home of their son, Ruggles Wright. Both she and Jabez are buried in the Huron Village Cemetery in Huron, Ohio.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Honorable Jabez Wright Part One: the Firelands and a Cherry Festival

Jabez Wright, my first cousin five times removed, was the son of Captain Freedom Wright, my four times great grand uncle, and Freedom’s first wife, Anna Horton. I am writing about him today because he was a remarkable man in the history of America, and I think I may be one of the first to put the key parts of his biography together in one place. His accomplishments include being a militia captain, a merchant, one of the first surveyors in the firelands of Ohio, a pioneer, a land agent, a judge, a State Senator, and a participant in the Underground Railroad.

He was born on February 6, 1780, in Winchester, Connecticut, the second eldest of Freedom and Anna’s six children. He made the move with his family, including his father, some of his siblings, and his uncle Charles and his family, to the Black River country of upstate New York in 1802. He became the first merchant in the town of Denmark in 1805, and was also a militia captain there.

In 1808, Jabez moved to Ohio, and became the “first white man on the firelands” in the “old county of Huron” according to A standard history of Erie County, Ohio. The “firelands” were lands in what is now Ohio set aside for the residents of specific areas Connecticut who had suffered damage, including fire, to their property due to the actions of the British in the Revolutionary War. These lands were not accessed until many years later due to their being heavily forested and inhospitable. As a surveyor and a land agent for William Winthrop of New York City, who owned a large amount of land in the area, he along with Almon Ruggles were to survey several of the townships in the area, including Huron, Florence, and Oxford. Jabez was to be Winthrop’s agent, and that of his heir until he died, and named one of his sons after him. You can view Jabez's surveyor's compass at the following link:

On May 11, 1811, Jabez married Almon Ruggles’ daughter Tamar, likely in Huron. They had at least five children, Winthrop Horton, Douglass, Lucy, Abigail, and Ruggles. They lived on a farm on the west bank of the Huron River, about two and a half miles from the lake, known later as “Wright’s River Farm”, and later to be owned by his son, Winthrop. There is a charming story of a “sail and a cherry festival” in about 1814 told in A standard history of Erie County, Ohio:

About the year 1814, the pioneers of Huron concluded they would have a sail and a cherry festival. Cherries grew on the peninsula. They were to go on Abbot’s boat and started before daylight; among them were Major Underhill, Judge Everett, Lyman Farwell and others. Lucy Abbot, then a girl of nine years, accompanied her father. As they passed down the Huron River, they took on board Judges Wright and Ruggles with their wives; Messrs. C. Curtis and Daniels with their wives; some young people named Downing Smith, and several others, and started for “Gov.” Wolcott’s on the peninsula. On their arrival in the afternoon, a heavy rain had driven the water out so they could not land near Wolcott’s house. Get cherries they must, and dance they would, so each gallant gentleman took a lady upon his back and struck out into the water for the shore and “didn’t go home until morning”. After a supper of fish, shortcake and cherries, preparations were made for the dance. Tables, beds and chairs disappeared, music being furnished by the worthy host. Dancing was kept up until morning. As there was not room for all to dance at once or even for all to be in the house at the same time, part staid outdoors while part danced. After breakfast, they all went to picking cherries. Having obtained all they wanted, they set sail for the Huron River and arrived there about sunset.

They moved to the lake shore in about 1815, about one mile west of the mouth of the Huron River, where he built the first brick house in the township in 1822. They lived there for the rest of their lives. Also, in about 1815, Jabez was elected Justice of the Peace and a Judge of the Common Pleas Court. (More of his life in the next installment).

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Captain Freedom Wright and his Historic Inn

Captain Freedom Wright, my fourth great grand uncle, and brother to Captain Charles Wright, and ten years his junior, was born on July 3, 1749 in Goshen, Connecticut. His biographical details are very similar to those of Charles, as they seem to have done almost everything together. (See my last three blogposts about Charles for more detailed discussion of his life). They both moved with their father to Winsted, Connecticut in 1770, and both fought in the same battles of the Revolutionary War, as part of the Connecticut militia and as part of the Continental Army. He was initially a lieutenant in the the militia, whereas his older brother was a captain, and he was a private in the army while Charles was a sergeant. He was in the first battle of the war, Lexington, with his brother. He also went to Ticonderoga with Charles, their brother David, and their brother-in-law, Ebenezer Shepherd, who was married to their sister Mercy.

Freedom, who thereafter was a captain in the militia, married Anna Horton, on September 1, 1777 in Winchester. They had at least six children together, including Asa Douglas, Jabez, Lucy, Abigail, and two sons named Freedom who died in infancy. That year, as well as doing a tour of duty in the northern army, he became a landowner in Winsted, and kept a tavern in his house, which burned down years later, in the same neighbourhood as his father and brothers. Anna died on September 18, 1788, five days after giving birth to her son, Freedom, who died at birth. He married Phebe Turner on August 10, 1789 in Winsted, and had at least three children with her, Anna, another Freedom who died in infancy, and finally a Freedom who lived into adulthood. Freedom’s wife Phebe died in 1793. He then married Jerusha Sheldon on October 31 the same year. In History of the town of Goshen, Connecticut it is stated that he and Jerusha had a “large family” but does not give the names of the children. It says that he had two sons, Hiram and Sheldon, but that it is not clear who the mother was. I would venture to say that their mother was likely Jerusha since “Sheldon” was her maiden name. I have found two more of his children, “Jerusia” and Norman L. Wright. I have discovered a baptism record for a “Jerusia Wright” who was born “November 27, 1801” and who was baptised in 1809 in Fonda, Montgomery, New York in the Reformed Dutch Protestant Church of Caughnawaga, and whose parents were “Friedom Wright” and “Jerusia Sheldon”. Here is the link: Norman L. Wright was also baptised in 1809 in the same church, see with the same parents, having been born on June 4, 1808. Also it is stated in A standard history of Erie County, Ohio, page 488, “Norman L. Wright was a son of Freedom and Jerusha Wright, of New York State, where they lived and died as substantial farming people”.

In 1802, Freedom sold his farm in Winsted, and moved with his family, and his brother Charles and his family, to the Black River country of upstate New York, settling in the village of Denmark. Here he built the first framed house in the village, and became the first innkeeper and tavern owner there, resuming his former occupation while in Winsted. The building still stands to this day. The second part of the first town meeting was held in his house (tavern) in 1803, during which he and his brother Charles were appointed “Overseers of the poor”. A meeting was held at Freedom’s inn on January 3, 1804 to discuss the possible division of Oneida county. Then, historically, the meeting where it was decided to create Lewis and Jefferson counties was held there on November 20, 1804.

Freedom, like his brother Charles, was also involved in other civic and church matters. He, a Republican, was on the committee to elect Lewis Graves to the New York State Assembly in 1809, and was a founding trustee of the Denmark Ecclesiastical Society. He lived out the rest of his days in Denmark, and died  in 1824 or 1825 at the age of seventy-five or seventy-six. His wife, Jerusha, appears to have passed away in about 1840.

Other bloggers have written about Freedom Wright and his inn. These include the blogpost, Freedom Wright’s Wife and Her Spinning Wheel in the blog, One Hundred Acres:, where you can see a photograph of the spinning wheel she bought at Freedom’s inn, which was an antique store at the time. I believe the wheel in question was likely that of his first wife, Anna Horton Wright or his daughter Anna. In addition, in the blogpost, New York: Freedom Wright’s Inn, Denmark, in the blog a good Beer Blog,, there is a current picture of the inn.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Captain Charles Wright Part Three: The War of 1812

In 1807, at the age of sixty-eight, Charles and his brother Freedom were appointed overseers of the poor for the town of Harrisburg, of which the village of Denmark was a part at the time. This was decided at Freedom’s tavern where the second part of the town meeting was held. Freedom and his tavern will be addressed in a future blogpost.

Charles, in Ancestry, is listed as having been in the New York militia during the War of 1812, Carter’s regiment, the 101st,  despite his advanced age of seventy-three. His rank is that of a captain at the beginning and the end of his service. This could not have been his son, Charles Jr., as he was listed as being a private in the same regiment. However, Hough reports in History of Lewis County, New York: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers: “A company of Silver Greys or Exempts, was formed in this town, under Charles Wright, during the war. It never found occasion for service”. Silver Grey companies appear to have been formed of men who were exempt from service, usually due to their age, but who were deemed fit enough to serve. If Charles was also in the 101st under Colonel Zeboam Carter, then he did see service in the war. Hough describes their participation as follows:

A call en masse was made, and the militia of the county served in one regiment, under Colonel Carter, from July 30th to Aug. 22, 1814, at Sackett's Harbor. General Martin was on duty upon this occasion. The last call en masse was made Oct. 7, 1814, and the militia of Lewis county were comprised in four consolidated companies under Colonel Carter. They served at Sackett's Harbor till Nov. 11, 1814. 

He concludes his discussion of Lewis County’s participation in the War of 1812 with:

The above comprises the military service of the citizens of Lewis county during the war. The settlements were frequently alarmed by rumors of Indian invasions from Canada. The route through the county became a thoroughfare of armies, and every resource of the valley was called into use to supply the troops passing through, or the garrison on the frontier.

If he did not serve, but only was part of a Silver Grey company which did not see service, then at least several of his sons served in Carter’s 101st, including Charles Jr. (private), Stephen S. (musician, fifer), Tyrannus Augustus (private), Erastus (private), Chester (sergeant), and Nathan (corporal). (Matthew Miles Wright is not recorded as being part of this regiment, but may have served elsewhere). The sons of Charles’s brother Freedom who served in the same regiment include Asa Douglas (quarter master), and Freedom Jr. (private then sergeant).

(It is a somewhat odd feeling to be a Canadian and have so many relatives who fought against my country during the War of 1812, a war which is credited with helping to forge the nation of Canada. There was no one on any of my direct lines living in Canada at the time, however, to my knowledge).

Captain Charles Wright, one of favourite ancestors, died on July 13, 1820, likely in Copenhagen, Lewis, New York. I have not been able to ascertain where he is buried. He was a family man; a soldier; a military, civic and church leader; a patriot; a pioneer; and last, but not least, a songwriter. He must have had a wonderful sense of humour judging by the circumstances of the writing of The Keg and the Law, discussed in the previous blogpost. He sounds like he must have been “a man’s man”. He is probably among my five top ancestors whom I would like to have met--maybe in the next world.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Captain Charles Wright Part Two: The Keg and the Law

Before the whole family moved to the Black River Country of upstate New York in 1802, Captain Charles Wright’s sons, Charles Wright Jr. aged twenty-six, and Tryrannus Augustus Wright, aged twenty-two, went first the previous year, possibly to scout out a location for the family to live. In History of Lewis County, New York: with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers by Benjamin F. Hough 1883, page 209, it is stated:

Of these children, Charles Wright Jr., and Tyrannus A. came to the town of Denmark, Lewis County, in May, 1801, from Colebrook, Conn. They came down the Black river from the High falls on a raft, landing at the mouth of Deer river, then followed a line of marked trees through the wilderness to their future home, situated a mile west of what is now the village of Copenhagen. In the autumn of that year, they went back to Connecticut, and in the following spring, with their parents and all of their brothers and sisters, returned again to Denmark. They started from Colebrook about the first of March, making the entire journey in four weeks with a sled drawn by two ox teams. The entire family lived and died in the town of Denmark, with the exception of Chester, who moved to Ohio.

Also accompanying them was Captain Charles’s brother Freedom and many of his family members.

Captain Charles became part of the local militia in his new home. He, and probably some or all of his sons, became embroiled in some trouble with the military authorities. Hough, (pages 178 and 179), describes the situation as follows:

In 1806, most of a militia company at Copenhagen, failed to appear at a training, on account of some grievance at the change of their captain, and were accordingly summoned to a court martial, to be held at the inn of Andrew Mills, half a mile south of the village, in January following. Their numbers inspired confidence in the belief that the proceedings of the Court might be embarrassed or interrupted, and they agreed upon a course of proceeding, perhaps natural, under the circumstances of time and prevailing customs. Procuring a keg of spirits at a distillery, they marched to the court, and then went up for trial, assigned whimsical reasons for delinquency, alleging the want of decent clothing, short funds, the existence of various infirmities, and other frivolous causes, tending to throw ridicule upon the court, and rendering it necessary to order the arrest of the greater number of the party. The prisoners were confined in the room over that in which the court martial was held, and finally by their boisterous conduct, compelled an adjournment without trial.

 Hough continues:

The offending parties were indicted for riot, and their trial came off at Doty’s tavern, in Martinsburgh, but resulted in acquittal. The rioters had in the mean time prepared a song, The Keg and the Law, which recited minutely the transaction, and when the county court had adjourned, after the trial, this song was sung in the court room with great force and effect. The presiding judge is said to have jocosely remarked, that if this had been sung during the trial, witnesses would have been needless, as it embodied every fact in the case. One year after, the anniversary of their acquittal was celebrated, by an address, and the well remembered song was repeated. It was written by Charles Wright, and a friend has furnished us with a written copy, as taken down a half a century after, from the memory of one of the party. It consists of twenty-four stanzas, and is entirely destitute of rhyme, poetical measure or literary merit, although it might appear quite different in its appropriate tune, now forgotten, or so changed as not to be applicable to the subject.

Would that I had a copy of The Keg and the Law! I would like to be the judge of its “literary merit”. If you, gentle reader, have any idea if it is extant somewhere, I would be grateful for this information.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Captain Charles Wright: Revolutionary War Patriot, Part One

Charles Wright, my four times great grandfather on my father’s paternal line, was born September 7, 1739 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the son of Lieutenant John Wright and Prudence Deming. His father had earned the title “Lieutenant” in the French and Indian War, the main conflict in the colonies prior to the American Revolution. (Men in colonial times and early America tended to keep their military titles for the rest of their lives). 
Charles was the fourth of nine children, the others being Dorcas, Asaph, Jabez, John, David, Freedom, Mercy and Lucia. It appears that around 1740, the family moved from Wethersfield to Goshen, Connecticut. Charles married Ruth Smith here on November 11, 1767 when he was twenty-eight and she was seventeen. She was the daughter of John Smith, the first merchant in Goshen. John also kept a tavern, which prospered until he took to “intemperate” behaviour.

Charles and Ruth had twelve children: Tyrannus, Sarah, Lydia, Charles Jr., Stephen S., Tyrannus Augustus, Ruth, Erastus, Erastus, Chester, Nathan M., and Matthew Miles. At least two of their children died in infancy—the first Tyrannus and the first Erastus. The first two children were born when the couple was still living in Goshen, and the rest after they moved to Winsted, Connecticut in 1770. They lived and farmed there, close to Charles’s father, Lieutenant John, until after his death and their “removal” to the Black River country of upstate New York.

Around the time of his arrival in Goshen, Charles became a captain in the 26th Connecticut Militia. By 1775, he was in the Continental Army as a private in Captain Seth Smith’s Company. Charles, and his company, marched from New Hartford in April 1775 for the relief of Boston, in the “Lexington Alarm”, the first battle of the Revolutionary War. In June 1775, he was a sergeant in Captain John Sedgwick’s company in Colonel Hinman’s 4th Connecticut Continental Regiment, and went to Ticonderoga, Crown Point and other areas of conflict with them. He was accompanied in this by his brothers Freedom and David. The company suffered severely in their march through the wilderness to the point of being reduced to “roasting old shoes” to survive. It appears that David may have died in Massachusetts on this “march to the northern frontier”, or on another, of “camp distemper”, which appears to have been a violent form of dystentery. He was about twenty-nine years old and unmarried. Charles Wright may also have participated, as part of the Connecticut militia, in fighting against the British in “Tyron’s Invasion of Connecticut”, also known as “Tyron’s raid”.

Captain Charles also seems to have been very much involved in the civic and church life of Winsted. He was elected in 1781 as a town “Selectman” (one of the town’s board of officials). In this same year, he was one of the signers, along with his brothers Freedom and John, of a successful petition to reduce taxes. Also in 1781, he voted to procure soldiers for service in the Continental Army, as part of a committee to help fill the town’s deficiency of military men. In 1799, he “pitched a stake” for the building of a new church meeting house. Some of his sons were to follow in his footsteps in civic and church involvement after the move to upstate New York, such as Charles Jr. and Tyrannus Augustus.

In 1802 he sold his farm in Winsted in preparation for the move of his family, and that of his brother Freedom, to “The Black River Country” in New York State. More of this in the next installment.eHe

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Lydia Wright and William Merriam

At last, I get to talk about my favourite family on my tree so far, the Wrights. Sally Wright Merriam, about whom I have already written, was the mother of Melvin J. Hart, my civil war veteran paternal great grandfather. Her parents, and my three times great grandparents, were William Merriam and Lydia Wright.
William was born in Meriden, which was part of  Wallingford, Connecticut, on June 8, 1768, the son of William Merriam and Mary Austin.  He appears to have been the youngest of seven children, the others being Phoebe, Amasa, Asaph, Chloe, Esther and Joel. Lydia was daughter of Captain Charles Wright, who fought in the Revolutionary War, and Ruth Smith. Lydia was born on March 12, 1772  likely in Winsted, Connecticut, and was the third eldest in a family of twelve children, the others being Tyrannus, Sarah, Charles Jr., Stephen S., Tyrannus Augustus, Ruth, Erastus, Erastus, Chester, Nathan M., and Matthew Miles. (At least two of the children had died in infancy—the first Tyrannus and the first Erastus).
Lydia and William were married on August 8, 1793 in Winchester, Litchfield, Connecticut. William’s occupation was that of a joiner, and he purchased “the farm on Wallen’s Hill”, “near the schoolhouse”, in Winsted the year of their marriage, which he sold to Samuel and Moses Camp in 1797. William and Lydia continued to reside in Winsted, until they moved with Lydia’s extended family, including her father Charles, her uncle Freedom, and most of her siblings, to the “Black River Country” of upstate New York. They brought their first four children, William, Sally Wright, Sophronia and Lorenzo, ages two to eight, with them when they set out from Colebrook, Connecticut on March 1, 1802. It took the travellers four weeks to arrive at their destination with a sled drawn by two ox teams. Their last three children, Louisa, Lydia and Joel, were born in New York.
It appears that William died in 1834, and that Lydia passed away in August 1839. I have not been able to find a reference as to where they were buried. Next time, I will discuss Lydia’s father, Captain Charles Wright, one of my favourite ancestors.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! And a look ahead

Happy New Year, everyone! Today, I’d like to share what My Descent into Descent will bring in 2013.

First of all, there is the Wright family of Connecticut and New York on my father’s side. Boyd states in his Annals of Winchester, “The Wrights were a highly intelligent, studious family; supporters of religion and good order, and earnest patriots in the revolutionary struggle”. They also appear to have been descended from minor nobility in England. In the beginning of my research, I spent most of my time on my American lines, as I was not able to make very much progress on all the others. A great deal of American genealogy and history has been documented, so it was relatively easy to start by following the bread crumb trail left by others. This does not mean that the American side of my tree has not been a fascinating puzzle, because it has. I had to break new ground on the more recent generations on Melvin J. Hart’s lines, particularly as his father John Hart did not get as much “ink” as his forebears. In the process, I discovered the Wright family, my favourite family on my tree so far. They are Melvin’s mother’s mother’s family, and I hope to share more about them in the New Year. They participated in history, such as the first battle of the Revolutionary War and Ticonderoga, the creation of counties in New York, invading Canada and being transported to Australia for the trouble of it, being elected to a State legislature, general pioneering, and being part of the Underground Railroad. I am excited to tell their stories.

I also hope to share with you the process of exploring my German roots. As I have said before, other researchers have done much work on these lines before me, but I still need to sort out the data for myself and learn more about German genealogy. My Hessian soldier four times great grandfather awaits—Johannes Carl Muenck, also known as John Monk. I also hope to find out more about my Irish/Manx/Scottish folks. They are the most challenging people on my tree due to the apparent lack of data. I am also likely to share what I know and what I will find out about the French Huguenots on my mother’s side. My sisters and I have shared an interest in France and the French language, so it has been wonderful to confirm that we indeed have our own French lineage, as my grandfather William Sanderson always claimed. In fact, I have neglected his mother’s side so far, so maybe I will do some blogging about it soon.

I have several other items on my family history “to do list” for this year, and I hope to share the process of exploration with you more. For instance, I have got to get to the local cemeteries to take some pictures of grave sites. My initial few stabs at exploring the Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver has turned up nothing, so I am hoping to use the iPhone app to find those elusive graves. In addition, there may be a “family history road trip” or two in my future, and if there is, I intend to blog from the road. I am also in the midst of trying to prove my lineage from Jeremiah Hart, one of my Revolutionary War patriot ancestors, to the satisfaction of the Daughters of the American Revolution. This is proving more challenging than I expected, i.e. needing to find those primary documents. I hope to share the process of this with you, too.

I am sure many of the new records I obtain will find their way here. I do make small changes in my blogposts as new information comes to light, so it is worthwhile to re-read posts you like from the past. If a large amount of new data or something more significant comes my way, I am more likely to do a new posting on the subject. It pays to use the “search” feature to find material on subjects or people of interest. Remember, if you are interested in my sources, check out my public tree on Ancestry if you have subscription, or ask me for them. I feel that including extensive source citations would preclude me from writing an almost daily blog.

These are but some of the topics I hope to write about in the coming year. If you have a request, let me know. I have already made some decisions about the content of my blogposts based on the level of interest shown in this blog. I was very pleased to hear that some of my father’s mother’s descendants were enjoying what I was writing about their side of the family, and therefore I wrote more about it. I also included some of the material they provided. I hope to write more about the Marlows, Bosomworths, and Smiths due to the interest shown.

An important goal of mine is also to connect with more living relatives, near and far. If you are reading this, are related to me, and have not yet connected with me, please feel free to use the contact information provided, and I will be sure to reply. Maybe we can help with each other’s genealogical puzzles, share information, or just help each other to learn more. I would also love to hear from my non-related readers. Please email me or leave a comment if you would like.

All the best for accomplishing your own goals in 2013, and for a happy and prosperous New Year, as we step out beyond the end of Mayan Calendar!