Friday, July 29, 2016

Barlow Sanitarium

My third cousin twice removed, Florence C. (Garrison) English, descended from Rev. James Mitchell (1747-1841), as do I. The reverend was my four times great grandfather. Florence was born on 17 May 1917 in Warren County, Kentucky, to Frank Young Garrison and Lelah (or Lelia) Collins. Florence died on 27 April 1997. When the 1940 census was enumerated, she was a patient at the Barlow Sanitarium in Los Angeles. It was a tuberculosis hospital.

Barlow Sanitarium campus circa 1907; courtesy of the Barlow Foundation

Barlow Sanitarium was founded by Dr. Walter Jarvis Barlow, a doctor from New York, who was forced to move west in search of a warm, sunny, dry climate after contracting tuberculosis in 1895. It was built on a 25-acre property next door to Elysian Park on Chavez Ravine Road. He founded the facility two years before the National Association for the Study and Prevention of Tuberculosis was created. By 1944 effective treatments for tuberculosis had been developed, which was lucky for Florence Garrison as she went on to live for over 50 beyond her stay at the sanitarium.

During Dr. Barlow's lifetime the patients's care was governed by strict guidelines. One such document read as follows:

"Patients must not expectorate anywhere except in cups provided for that purpose. Cloths are to be used as handkerchiefs and burned morning and evening. Patients must not discuss their ailments or make unnecessary noise. Patients must not put anything hot on glass tables. Lights out by 9 p.m. Cold plunge every morning; hot baths Tuesday and Saturday. Patients are forbidden to throw water or refuse of any kind on the ground. When doctors think them able, every patient must do some work about the Sanatorium or go away. Patients disobeying these rules will be dismissed."

Barlow Respiratory Hospital; courtesy Wikipedia

Barlow still exists today on its 25-acre campus as the Barlow Respiratory Hospital.

Tuberculosis: Greatest Killer in History

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Creoles: A Social Experiment

Minerva B. Hansen married my first cousin twice removed, Alexander Eugene Muir, sometime before the 1940 census was enumerated. Her race on that census was listed as "white." However, she was born in Chignik, Alaska in 1916 and had been enumerated in two previous decennial census. In those census, which were taken in Alaska, her race was listed as "mixed." I discovered her father had immigrated to Alaska from Norway and her mother was the product of a white man from Oregon and an Aleut woman. I learned mixed race people in Alaska were historically referred to as Creole and they had quite and interesting social history.

Russians began exploring Alaska during the reign of Peter I "the Great." Soon after they established trading posts in order to acquire furs from the Native Alaskan people. Eventually, the Russian-American Company was established to maximize the economic potential of Alaska for the benefit of Russia. As a result most of the Russians, who came to Alaska, were men. Michele Morseth explains the Creole Estate in her book, Puyulek Pu'irtuq! The People of the Volcanoes:

"As the number of persons of mixed ancestry...with some education provided through the efforts of their fathers and grandfathers grew, the company established guidelines for a social experiment -- creation of a social stratum with loyalties both to Alaska and to the Russian culture and state. Thus, the Creole estate was officially established...The company recognized that children of Russian males and aboriginal females would create unbreakable bonds between the new colony and the old country. In 1816 the main office of the Russian-American Company explained the program:

'From a political point of view, the ties of the Russians with the Aleuts are nearly essential, both for exposing hostile schemes, and for permanent ties, for the resultant offspring willy-nilly join those Aleuts who are related to the Russians and the children, being christened, will be Russians, and not Aleuts, and so the new generation is permanently Russian...The lack of Russian people in the colonies can be compensated for...Creoles, brought up and educated at the Company's cost and effort, thereafter employed in the various capacities, or carrying on its business, can obtain food and livelihood.

Native Alaskans and Creoles arriving at the cannery in Chignik; courtesy of
the Alaska State Library

The Creoles comprise a particular class and enjoy all the privileges of the lower middle class accorded by Russian law. There is this difference -- they do not pay taxes and are not attached to the government by any formal tie; when they have been educated by the company, they must serve it for a period of ten years. The company has undertaken the education of this class with praiseworthy energy; many Creoles have studied at higher institutions of learning in St. Petersburg or have been instructed in various branches of the arts and sciences. Many have received their education in the colonies and are considered to be almost the equal of the Russians. Most of the Creoles hold responsible positions, among them, for example, are the post of bookkeeper, warehouse overseer, captain's assistant and the position of captain itself, church officials, etc. All Creoles are conversant in Russian, but not with the Aleut nor the Kodiak languages. Their way of life is the same as that of the Russians'."

Native Alaskan family at Chignik; courtesy of the Alaska
State Library

In reality the Creoles of Alaska were in a somewhat ambiguous position. Native Alaskans showed them disrespect as they were products of illegal unions with the natives. Toward the end of the Russian rule, they reversed their Creole policy and encouraged most Creoles to live a native lifestyle.

After the United States purchased Alaska in 1867, most Russian-born men returned home. Some Creoles joined them, but it is believed most stayed in Alaska. Soon after the transfer of Alaska to the United States, scientist, William Dall, referred to Creoles as "half breeds," saying they were "unfit to exercise franchise as American citizens." He failed to realize they were educated and had filled many important positions within the Russian-American Company.

Morseth, Michele. Puyulek Pu'irtuq! The People of the Volcanoes, (Hong Kong: National Park Service, 1998), pages 1-207

Cignik Bay, Alaska

Monday, July 25, 2016

Worldwide Genealogy: Incorporating and Integrating Evernote into My Research Process

I contribute a blog post once every other month on the 25th to Worldwide Genealogy -- A Genealogical Collaboration. I've begun incorporating Evernote into my research process due to my dissatisfaction with how the transcription of a document displays using "new"

This is a source citation I created from a document I found on ScotlandsPeople. When I click the source link from the Sources column on the facts tab, the text is all jumbled and difficult to read:

Citation details of Robert Orr Muir's 1917 death registration; citation created by
me; image courtesy of

This is not the entire Evernote "note" but it should give you an idea of how much better the display of the transcription information is than the two options provides.

My Evernote public note about the death of Robert Orr Muir; image
courtesy of Evernote

I know I'm late to the Evernote party, but I would very much like to know how are you integrating Evernote with your your family tree software? I hope you will click over to my post for more details.

Incorporating Evernote into My Research Process

Friday, July 22, 2016

Robert Mitchell, the Elder

Robert "the Elder" Mitchell was my five times great grandfather. He immigrated from Londonderry, Ireland, with his parents as a boy or young man, lived with them in Pequea, Pennsylvania, then migrated to Bedford County, Virginia. When I first took over our family's genealogy research from my father in 2012, I had no idea the Mitchell surname was in my family tree. Dad had just learned the surname of his grandmother was Beard and had not been able to do much with it.

Effie Beard's mother was Barbara Ann Mitchell, the daughter of Daniel Mitchell and Sarah "Sally" Wood. As I researched the Beard family, I saved researching Barbara Ann Mitchell for another time. Then I received a message from a person who administered DNA test for his cousins. My name was in their list of matches and he believed the connection was likely to be in Bedford County, Virginia. As I looked through his family tree, I felt the connection had to be with great great grandmother, Barbara Ann Mitchell. I spent the next several days researching the Mitchell family and found the connection.

The DNA match identified our common shared ancestor after I traced my
Barbara Ann Mitchell back to her great grandfather; courtesy of

Though the Mitchell family emigrated from Ireland, they were Scots "planted" in northern Ireland by the English sometime in the 1600s. They followed the Scottish naming convention religiously and in my new Mitchell line, I had a sea of men named Robert and Daniel Mitchell. Wills, deeds, tax lists, chancery court cases, and other Mitchell researchers helped me straighten out my tree, which I believe is mostly correct now.

Snippet of page 134 of Rev. William Foote's Sketches of Virginia; personal

In a biographical sketch about Rev. James Mitchell in Rev. William Foote's Sketches of Virginia, I found a description of my five times great grandfather, Robert Mitchell, who lived from 1714 until 1799:

"The Rev. Jacob D. Mitchell, says under date -- Lynchburg, Nov. 1st 1854: Robert Mitchell, was born in the north of Ireland, but emigrated to America while yet a youth. He is reputed to have been a man of vigorous intellect and devoted piety, well instructed in religion, and a devoted and thorough Presbyterian. His wife, whose maiden name was Mary Enos, was, it seems, of Welsh extraction. She, like her husband, was an eminently pious Presbyterian. This excellent pair resided in Bedford County, for many years, and were members, the husband being ruling elder, of the Church, of which their son was pastor. They both lived to a good old age. He lived to be 85; of her age I am not informed. They had 13 children, of whom not one died less than 70 years old. The Mitchel family seems to have been remarkable in former times for piety and longevity. Robert Mitchel it seems was converted while yet a boy. The immediate means of his awakening was the fact of overhearing his great grandmother, at her secret devotions praying for him. She was then more than 100 years old; she lived to the age 112.

Rev. Foote went on to say "Robert Mitchel, tradition says, very fond of music, and did much to promote singing in the congregation. He talked much of Derry and the affairs of that noted town, and the sufferings of the Mitchel family in that famous siege.[1] The peculiar dialect of his countrymen was marked in his speech. As an elder he was worth of double honor."

Snippet of page 135 of Rev. William Foote's Sketches of Virginia; personal

Robert Mitchell's parents were Robert Mitchell and Mary Innes. Because of the similarity between the surname Innes and Enos, many family trees have combined the two women and turned the father and son into one person. This is not correct.

In order to keep the two men straight, I have given them nicknames: Robert "the Immigrant" Mitchell was born well before 1689 in Ireland and Mary Innes was said to be from Edinburgh. They had at least two sons, Daniel and Robert "the Elder" Mitchell. It was Robert "the Elder" Mitchell who married Mary Enos and removed to Bedford County, Virginia.

At least two DNA-related mysteries remain about Robert "the Elder" Mitchell. Tradition and secondary sources indicated he and his wife had 13 children and they all lived to adulthood. I have 15 in my tree:
  1. David Mitchell (1737-1817); removed to Ohio
  2. Frances Mitchell (c1742-unknown)
  3. *#Susannah Mitchell (1744-1813); married Josiah Campbell
  4. Enos Mitchell (c1744-unknown)
  5. #@James Mitchell (1747-1841); married Frances Blair Rice
  6. *#Stephen Mitchell (1749-1806); Ketturah "Kitty" Wade
  7. *^Robert Harvey Mitchell (1752-1818); married Mary Witt
  8. +#@Mary Mitchell (c1755-1843); married Samuel Beard
  9. *#Samuel Mitchell (c1758-1835); married 1) Siner Pullen and 2) Margaret "Peggy" Claytor
  10. Sarah "Sally" Mitchell (1756-unknown)
  11. John Mitchell (1760-1839); married Elizabeth Hardwick
  12. #Margaret Mitchell (1762-unknown); married Adam Beard
  13. Andrew Mitchell (1764-1834)
  14. #Martha Ann Mitchell (1767-unknown); married Samuel Claytor
  15. *#Daniel Mitchell (unknown-1821); married Margaret (maiden name unknown)
Update 24 July 2016: I reviewed my Robert Mitchell (1714-1799) DNA circle today and one DNA match to the circle (but not with me) descends through Child No. 7, Robert Harvey Mitchell (1752-1818). 
* Mentioned in will of Robert "the Elder" Mitchell
+ Father paid surety for marriage bond
# Relationship in multiple primary and secondary sources and proved through DNA
^ Relationship in multiple primary and secondary sources and in a Robert Mitchell DNA Cirle
@ Direct ancestor

[1]The Siege of Derry (or Londonderry) occurred in 1689.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Confusing Tuckers of Wiregrass Georgia

One of my sister-in-law's 5 times great grandfather's was Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr. born about 1750 and died after 1832. He was born in Southampton County, Virginia, and was the son of Elizabeth Crawford (Crofford/Crowford) and Benjamin Tucker. At one time he was a recognized patriot by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

Snippet from the DAR Genealogical Research System about Henry Crawford
Tucker; courtesy of DAR

Of the three issues the organization has with continued recognition of Henry's patriot status, the fact that his pension application was rejected is perhaps the most compelling. The other two issues are matters of genealogy. My sister-in-law recently took a DNA test and her results which include Henry as the shared common ancestor bring those genealogical disagreements to light.

If you believe Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr. married Sallie Hunter, daughter of Elisha Hunter of Chatham County, North Carolina, then my sister-in-law's match results look like this:

Common shared ancestor from DNA match results; courtesy of

If, however, you believe what Judge Folks Huxford wrote in his multi-volume work, Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, then Henry's son Elisha married Sallie Hunter and was the father of Henry Crawford Tucker, Jr. who had 32 children. The DNA match with my sister-in-law looks like this:

Common shared ancestor from DNA match results; courtesy of

It's a debate that has raged for years and it is a passionate one as based on previous comments on this blog.

Sallie Hunter did have the following children:
  1. John (born 1785)
  2. Nancy (born 1796)
  3. Davis (born 1798)
  4. Barbara (born 1800)
  5. Richard M (born 1801)
  6. Thomas (born 1803)
  7. Henry C, Jr. (born 1805)
  8. Elisha (born 1808) -- this son now questioned by DAR, but is listed on a marker in Purvis Cemetery as being a brother of Richard M Tucker
  9. Elijah (born 1809)
Judge Huxford work was breath-taking in its scope, but he admitted that a great deal of his compilation originated from the memories of the people interviewed. His work was first published in 1951 so the oldest people from whom he collected information would have been the great grandchildren of the first south Georgia settlers. Later volumes of his work included extensive corrections.

When I first started working on the Tucker line, I couldn't make the information included in the records I was finding fit with Judge Huxford's genealogy. I could not find an Elisha Tucker in Southampton County, Virginia, or North Carolina, who could have possibly been a son of Benjamin Tucker.[1]

Then I found The Descendants of William Tucker of Throwleigh, Devon by Robert Dennard Tucker, another long-time Tucker genealogist[2]. He believed that Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr., was the husband of Sallie Hunter and that she was Elisha Tucker's mother not his wife. This made perfect sense to me based on the documentation I collected.

Books mentioned in this blog post; personal collection

I will excerpt some of the points Robert Dennard Tucker made to refute Judge Huxford:
  1. There is no evidence that any Elisha Tucker related to Henry C. Tucker, Sr. lived between 1770 and 1825 other than the Elisha who was born in 1808.
  2. The Revolutionary War pension application, the 1782 and 1783 tax records of Southampton County, and the 1783 deed to John Wilkerson[3] confirm Henry was a Virginia resident and not a resident of North Carolina as the Elisha Tucker who married Sallie Hunter was purported to have been.
  3. Sons Davis and Henry C. Tucker, Jr. state in the 1880 census their father was from Virginia.
  4. The state historical marker in front of the Bethel Church, as well as original church minutes, clearly includes Henry C. Tucker, Sr. and his wife Sarah as founding members in 1826.
In addition, there are many deeds that include Sarah as the wife of Henry C. Tucker, Sr. 

So after a reasonably exhaustive search for an Elisha Tucker who lived during the proper time frame, would have met Sallie Hunter and removed to Georgia, I could not find such a person. Coupled with the strong evidence that Henry C. Tucker, Sr. did marry Sallie Hunter, I believe he is the father of the children listed above.

[1] Benjamin Tucker's will was written in 1778 and probated in 1779. The children named in the will were: Benjamin, Elizabeth, Henry, John, Phebe, William, and Winfred.
[2] The relationship Mr. Tucker outlined in his book between Benjamin Tucker of Southampton County, Virginia, and the Tucker family of England and Bermuda has been disproved by DNA. However, his work on the Georgia Tuckers from Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr., remains quite strong.
[3] Benjamin Tucker's sons sold his plantation to John Wilkerson after Benjamin's death.

Monday, July 18, 2016

German Baptists in Poland

When my maternal grandmother's parents immigrated to Canada from what is now Ukraine in 1893, they did so with many others in their German Baptist church congregation. The group settled in Leduc, just south of Edmonton, Alberta, homesteaded land, built a church, and raised their families.

Photograh taken in 1903 in front of the First Baptist Church in Fredericksheim.
My great grandfather helped build the church; courtesy of Lucille Effa Fillenberg

What exactly were German Baptists and why did they leave their farms in eastern Europe?

Though no one has been able to discover from where in Germany the Schalin family originated, they may have come from Prussia. We know that the family lived in Maliniec, which was in South Prussia, the part of Poland, Prussia partitioned in 1793. Prussia encouraged its citizens to settle in its new territory. And sometime during their lives in Maliniec, they had become German Baptist.

The religion was considered a separatist cult by Lutheran church leaders and Baptist ministers were persecuted. As I read more about the German Baptist faith, I learned its flowering in the various partitions of the country that was once Poland was down to one man: Gottfried Friedrich Alf, a school teacher.

Alf was a pious man concerned about his spiritual condition. By prayer and supplication he believed he found inner peace and forgiveness of his sins by trusting Christ. About 1853 Alf began preaching to his students about his religious experiences. This sparked a religious awakening for some parents and adults in the village.  Alf was soon consoling and praying with people almost every day. When the parish pastor heard about Alf's activities, he forbade him to continue. But Alf didn't stop. The parish pastor escalated Alf's "corrupting" actions to church authorities. The Lutheran Consistory dismissed Alf from his teaching position and banished him from his home.

But the genie was out of the bottle, so to speak. Alf was invited by many communities to lead religious revivals. He traveled constantly and was detained and imprisoned many times. Finally, Alf decided to leave the Lutheran church.

Gottfried F. Alf (1831-1898); photograph courtesy
of Donald N. Miller's "The German Baptist Movement
in Volhynia"

A neighbor, Heinrich Assman, told Alf about Baptists he had encountered. He talked about their church organization, discipline, and holy living, as well as their beliefs about baptism by immersion. These beliefs aligned with Alf's thoughts on religion and he decided to become a Baptist.  He traveled to Hamburg in 1859 to study and was ordained there.

After returning home he continue traveling and preaching and awakening others to his new faith. He became the chief Baptist revivalist in Poland. Alf believed the German Baptist faith appealed to the consciences of people to recognize they were sinners and needed to repent and look to Christ for salvation. Only then could they be baptized.

So knowing the history of the German Baptist faith where my ancestors lived, has enabled me to draw some conclusions about the family's timeline. I believe they converted to the German Baptist faith not long before they moved to Russia (near now Tuchyn, Volyn, Ukraine) sometime between 1861 and 1863 and they likely moved for religious, as well as economic reasons.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Slave Name Roll Project: Releasing Milla

My three times great grandmother was Anna Mariah (Waldron/Walrond), married John W. Jennings, Sr. The Waldron/Walrond family can be confusing. There were three men named Benjamin Walrond living in Virginia in 1810. Two of them were father and son and third married John W. Jennings' sister, Elizabeth. In the course of trying to untangle these three men, a long-time Walrond family researcher sent me the following transcription of a Pittyslvania County, Virginia, deed.

Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Deed Dated: 30 January 1797
Deed Recorded: 19 June 1797
Book 11, page 97

Grantor: Benjamin Walrond [NOTE: He was born before 1765 and died before 1820; married to 1) Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) and 2) Lucy Ellington.]

Grantee: Beloved children, Polly and Sally Walrond for the price of love and affection and good will.

Item Deeded: one negro girl named MILLA about 13 years old and her increase, and whatever property may hereafter be lotted to me of the estate of Jeremiah Ellington, deceased, be the same land or other property.

Witness: Thomas Tanner, Jesse Bupray, and David Ellington

Signed: Benjamin Walrond

[Jeremiah Ellington was the father of Benjamin's second wife, Lucy (Ellington) Walrond]

Did John W. Jennings (c1777-1858) Marry His Niece?

Slave Name Roll Project

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Squabbling Siblings

Mary (Hearelson) Wells died on 12 December 1882 in Troy, Illinois. She was the widow of James M. Wells and mother of nine children, seven of which were still living at the time of her death. She died intestate and the court appointed Frank A. Sabin as the administrator of her estate. Her estate was not completely closed until 26 July 1884.

Mr. Sabin filed the paperwork to probate her estate on 11 January 1882. Included in one of the initial filings was an affidavit from Mary's son, Daniel Boone Wells, which provided the death date and location; an estimate of the value of her estate, which was $500; a list of heirs; and a request to immediately probate the estate. The heirs were:
  • Henry Wells, son
  • Alexander Wells, son
  • Thomas Wells, son
  • George Wells, son
  • Daniel Wells, son
  • Caroline Murphy, daughter
  • Clementine Riggin, daughter
  • Addie Wells, granddaughter
  • Frank Wells, grandson
Addie and Frank Wells were the children of Mary's son Madison Frank Wells and Sarah Smith. Madison died about a dozen years before his mother. Son, Perry Wells, was also deceased but left no children.

Mr. Sabin filed a bond of administration then hired three appraisers to assess the value of Mary's personal property. The appraisal was filed in February. Her personal property was valued at $521 against liabilities of $790. Mr. Sabin informed the court that the estate's personal property and chattel would not cover the liabilities and the real estate must be sold. He told the court that Clementine Riggin and her brother Daniel Wells lived in the deceased mother's home.

It should be noted that Clementine Riggin's husband died sometime in 1881 and she had six children 10 years old or younger. Daniel Wells was also married and had one infant son at the time.

Exceptions to allowance of award, courtesy of

The first hint of trouble came after the appraisal was filed with the court. On 14 March 1883 attorneys for Daniel Wells filed an exception to the allowance of award. Three reasons were listed in the exception:
  1. No child lived with his mother at the time of her death; therefore no allowance should be paid to any of his siblings.
  2. The amount of the allowance was excessive in view of the estimated value of the estate
  3. Other good reasons
Because Clementine lived with their mother at the time of her death in order to care for her, she was entitled to an extra allowance over and above their portion of the estate. Daniel was objecting to the amount his sister received.

Thomas Wells and his wife, Mary; Henry Louis Wells and his wife, Alice; and George Washington Wells and his wife, Ella, agreed with the administrator of their mother's estate should sell the one-acre lot and house in Troy. Alexander Wells and his wife, Eliza; and Sara Caroline Murphy and her husband, John Henderson Murphy, lived out of state and apparently never responded to the court. However, Daniel Wells; the widow of Madison Frank Wells, Sarah (Smith) Wells; and her children, Addie and Frank, had issues with the proposed sale and joined Daniel in his protest.

First page of defendants' response to petition to sell the estate's property;
courtesy of

The joint and several answer of Daniel Wells, Sarah Wells, Addie Wells, and Frank Wells, defendants in the above cause, to the petition filed therein; these defendants for answer therein to say they admit the petitioner was appointed administrator of said estate, that an inventory and appraisement bill have been returned, but deny any sale bill has been filed.

They also deny that a just and true account of the personal estate and debt of said deceased has been rendered to said court by said petitioner, and these defendants allege that more than the sum of five hundred dollars can be realized out of the personal assets of the estate. They also deny that the just debts and demands against the estate amount to seven hundred and ninety dollars as alleged by said petition; that said sum is made up, in part, of the sum of six hundred and fifty dollars which was allowed to a co-defendant, Clementine Riggin, a daughter of the deceased Mary Wells, as an award.

And these defendants aver that the said Clementine Riggin was married fifteen years before the death of said Mary Wells, and she and her husband lived together in their home separate from the said Mary Wells, and so continued to live up to the time of the said husband's death which occurred about one year prior to that of said Mary Wells. That after the death of her husband the said Clementine Riggin lived and kept home with her children at her own home until about two months prior to the death of the said Mary Wells when she and her family moved to the house of the said Mary Wells, taking all of her household goods with her at the request of her mother and for the purpose of keeping house for her and taking care of her. And these defendants aver that the said Clementine Riggin was not residing with said Mary Wells at the time of her death in any such sense as would entitle her in law to an award as a child of the said Mary Wells.

These defendants therefore deny that there is any deficiency of personal estate to pay the debts against said estate, but in the contrary that a just and proper settlement of said estate then would be personal estate to distribute among the heirs.

That said the real estate should not be sold and that the petitioner is not entitled to any of the relief prayed for in said petition and that said petition should be dismissed.


The court responded by denying the petition filed by attorneys for Daniel Wells and ordered Mr. Sabin, the estate administrator, to publicly advertise a public auction of the real estate held by the estate of Mary Wells.

About two years after the death of Mary (Hearelson) Wells, Mr. Sabin filed a final accounting with the court.

Final accounting of the estate of Mary Wells; courtesy of

No money was left for the heirs and only Clementine Riggin, my great great grandmother, received any money from her mother's estate because she supposedly lived with and cared for her mother during the final few months of her life. How the siblings got along after this is unknown.

In a final twist, Theodore Augustus Riggin, brother-in-law of Clementine Riggin, bought her mother's house and one-acre lot in Troy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Transcription Tuesday: Will of Benjamin Tucker (1704-1778)

In the name of God Amen. I Benjamin Tucker of the county of Southampton being of purfect sience and memory doe this thirtieth day of January one thousand seven and seventy eight make public this my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say Viz.

Impremise, I do give and bequeath to my son William one hundred and thirty three acres land being the part whereon he has improved to him and his heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my son John one hundred and seventy five acres land being that part whereon I live also my bay horse, bridle and saddle and a steal plated Croseus and hand saws and grinestone to him and his heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my son Henry one hundred and seventy six acres land being the residue and remainder of the tract I live on also a mare and colt and whipsaw, one folding table, one bed and furniture to him and his heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my son Benjamin ten pounds Virginia money, one iron pot to him and his heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Phebe a bed and furniture and two ews and lambs to her and her heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Winfred a bed and furniture and one ewe and lamb to her and her heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Elizabeth a bed and furniture, one ewe and lamb and one flax wheel to her and her heirs forever.

Item, I desire all the residue and remainder of my estate to be equally divided between John and Henry and my three daughters except one cabinet to my son John to the discretion of my executors hereafter mentioned to them and their heirs forever.

Item, I do make ordain constitute and appoint my sons John and Henry my whole and sole executors of this my last will and testament. In witness where of I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this day and year first above written.

Signed sealed and pronouced in presents of: Henry Tucker, Pricila Gurley and Sarah Edwards.

Benjamin Tucker's Southampton County Homestead; photograph from The
Descendants of William Tucker of Throwleigh, Devon
 by Robert Dennard Tucker

This will was probated 14 Feb 1779 as presented to the County Clerk, Samuel Kello, by Henry Tucker and proven by the oaths of Pricilla Gurley and Sarah Edwards. Recorded in Will Book III, page 248, Southampton County, Courtland, Virginia. Henry Tucker with Nathan Bryant and John Wilkinson, his security for one hundred pounds, entered into and acknowledged their bond for the faithful administration of the will. John Pitman, Lazarus Cook, Henry Taylor, and John Newsom were selected appraisors for the slaves and personal estate of Benjamin Tucker.

Benjamin Tucker (1704-1778) was a captain, surveyor, and planter of Southampton County, Virginia. He married Elizabeth Crofford (Crafford/Crawford) also of Southampton County. Benjamin Tucker was my sister-in-law's 6 times great grandfather. He is also my Tucker brick wall.

Spelling as found in the original document.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Wells Spinsters

Amy Florence and Carrie E. Wells were the third and fourth children of Alexander and Eliza (Fooshee) Wells. They were born in Illinois in 1867 and 1869, respectively. As small girls they lived in Morgan County, Illinois, where their father managed a store and farmed.

In the early 1880s Amy and Carrie's parents moved the family to Nebraska City, Nebraska. Their older siblings married in Nebraska and started families. By 1894 the Alexander, Eliza and their younger children moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where they lived at 1613 Vine Street. Alexander died in 1898 and his widow, and unmarried daughters daughters remained in Kansas City until their deaths.

In 1900 the younger boys, Henry and Frank had not yet married. Everyone lived at 414 East 31st Street. During the first decade of the 20th century, Amy, Carrie and their mother lived in a succession of rented homes at 209 Woodworth Street, which no longer exists, 4417 Forest Avenue, and finally to 4921 Park Avenue, which Eliza (Fooshee) Wells owned free and clear with no mortgage. None of the women worked, except Carrie who was occasionally listed on census forms and in city directories as a dressmaker.

4921 Park Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri; courtesy Google Maps

Amy and Carrie's mother died on 12 June 1915 of acute nephritis, which are severely inflamed kidneys. If untreated the kidneys stop functioning. The unmarried daughters remained in the house on Park Avenue for the rest of their lives.

Carrie E. Wells died on 1 March 1939 at the Kansas City General Hospital of hypertension, arthritis and cancer. Her older sister, Amy Florence Wells, died on 16 December 1956 at the same hospital of generalized arteriosclerosis. The sisters, along with their mother, are buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City with their father.

In the decades in which Amy and Carrie lived in Kansas City, they saw many changes. The sisters lived through the Prohibition era. Kansas City may have been the only city in the U.S. that never charged anyone with a felony related to the ban on alcohol.  I wonder what Wells sisters thought about it all and what they type of personalities they had.

Friday, July 8, 2016

New Wells Family Tree Branch

The recently discovered probate records for my three times great grandfather, James M. Wells, revealed two children I hadn't known about before and confirmed the seven people in his household when the 1860 census was enumerated were the children of James M. and Mary (Hearelson) Wells. The two new children were Alexander born in 1834 in Tennessee and Caroline Wells. I have made no progress learning more about Caroline yet, but have learned quite about about Alexander Wells -- a new branch on my tree.

Snippet from James Wells' probate record with his 9 children listed; courtesy

The birthplace of Alexander Wells confirms that like my Riggin ancestors, the Wells family migrated first to Tennessee from either Virginia or North Carolina before eventually settling southern Illinois. Alexander married Eliza Fooshee on 16 October 1856 in Scott County, Illinois. She was the daughter of John Augustus Fooshee and Melinda Cooper. In 1860 the couple boarded with Louis and Lena Shepman in Edwardsville, Illinois, which was not too far from Alexander's parents. He worked as a machinist and valued his personal property at $100.

In 1863 Alexander's name appeared on a list of Scott County men subject to military duty, and several men named Alexander Wells served with various Illinois infantry units, but I have not yet narrowed down which, if any, was "my" Alexander.

During the next decade the couple had four of their six known children:
  • Charles Louis Wells, born in October 1860 in Illinois
  • Mary Laura Wells, born about 1865 in Illinois
  • Amy Florence Wells, born on 24 April 1867 in Galesburg, Illinois
  • Carrie E. Wells, born on 9 June 1869 in Illinois
In 1870 Alexander worked in a retail shop and lived in Jacksonville, Illinois. He owned no real estate. Two more children were born between 1870 and 1880:
  • Henry Lorin Wells, born on 2 December 1874 in Waverly, Illinois
  • Francis "Frank" E. Wells, born 24 February 1879 in Illinois
In 1880 the family was still in Waverly, Illinois, where Alexander worked as a farmer. His eldest son, Charles, helped out on the family farm. I thought perhaps the family had settled on the farm, but that was not the case. In 1885 Alexander and his family lived in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where he worked as a tinner, which is a catch-all phrase for anyone working in the tin trade. Alexander could have mined tin, extracted it in an above-ground operation using the power of water, or worked in a refinery.

Son, Charles, also lived in Nebraska City but had married Mary Ann Emerick on 17 October 1883 and Charles worked as a farmer. By 1885 Charles and Mary Ann had an 8-month son named Clyde Emerick Wells. Daughter, Mary Laura, attended college. The nearest school operating at the time was the Nebraska State Normal School in Peru, which is now Peru State College. It primarily trained men and women who planned to teach. Daughters, Amy, Carrie, and son, Lorin, attended school. Also, living with them was Alexander's brother, Robert Wells[1], 35, who worked as a laborer, and their youngest son, Frank. Since Robert was not listed as one of James Wells' children in his probate records, I am currently clueless about his identity unless he is a brother of Eliza (Fooshee) Wells -- something I have yet to investigate.

By 1894 the family had moved once more to Kansas City, Missouri. Alexander Wells died in 1898 and was interred in Forest Hill Cemetery in Kansas City.  His wife, Eliza (Fooshee) Wells remained in Kansas City until she died on 12 June 1915. She was interred with her husband.

Headstone of Alexander and Eliza (Fooshee) Wells; courtesy of Find
A Grave volunteer Steve McCray

Charles Louis Wells and his his family moved from Nebraska City to Mason County, Washington, where they remained.

Mary Laura Wells disappeared from the records after 1885.

Amy Florence and Carrie E. Wells never married and lived together until their deaths in Kansas City.

Henry Lorin Wells married sometime after 1900 and moved to Los Angeles County, California, where he died in 1952.

Francis "Frank" E. Wells married in Missouri and moved to Seattle by 1920. In 1929 he was in Los Angeles County and married again. He died in 1972 in Ventura County, California.

[1]Robert Wells was not listed in his father's will or in any census record I have found which included the parents. So he is still a mystery.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Homesteader Recipes: Rabbit Stew and Dumplings

When my great grandfather, Wilhelm Schalin, immigrated with his wife and children to Alberta, Canada, from Russia (now Ukraine), they came with several other members of their church and settled south of Edmonton in a place they named Fredericksheim. An Indian reservation had been cleared and land was available to homestead. The Canadian Pacific railroad only went as far west as Winnipeg so they had to travel another 800 miles by horse and wagon.

Once they settled on the land they homesteaded, they had to clear it, survive the coming winter, and begin farming the next spring. During the winter, the families survived on rabbits they trapped and flour sent by the government from Winnipeg. The following recipe for rabbit stew and dumplings is a typical recipe from Fredericksheim's pioneer past.

Rabbit Stew and Dumplings

1 rabbit
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
1/4 pound salt pork
1 large onion
1/2 medium turnip, sliced
3 carrots, quartered
3 potatoes, quartered
salt and pepper to taste
dumplings (see page 94)

Soak rabbit overnight in cold water. In the morning dry meat well. Cut into serving pieces. Dredge in flour; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cut pork and fry in skillet. When pork is nicely browned, remove pieces to stew pot, leaving fat in skillet. Put the pieces of rabbit in hot fat and brown on both sides. Remove to stew pot with enough water to cover meat. Simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until tender. Add vegetables and simmer until done.

15 minutes before vegetables are tender, drop in the dumplings, cover tightly. Cook for 20 more minutes.

Feather Dumplings

2 cups flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, well beaten
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup milk

Sift dry ingredients. Add egg, melted butter and enough milk to make moist, stiff batter. Drop by teaspoon in to hot water or simmering stew. Cover tightly and cook 20 minutes.

These recipes are from the book, From Pioneer Kitchens: 100th Anniversary, which was collected and published by Southern Alberta Pioneers and Their Descendants.

Book has been digitized by the Alberta HeritageDigitization Project

Monday, July 4, 2016

Revisiting Daniel Mitchell, Patriot

On 4 July 2015 I wrote a post entitled Daniel Mitchell, Patriot. Thanks to a comment from a reader on that post, I learned much of the information I had was incorrect and since then I have learned much more about the Daniel Mitchell who served in the Revolutionary War on the side of his nascent country. Though I added a lengthy update to the original post, I would like to set the record straight on the day that honors our independence from Great Britain.

Daniel Mitchell (c1750-c1822) was the grandson of Robert "the Immigrant" Mitchell and Mary Innes, who immigrated to Philadelphia sometime in the 1730s. The Mitchell family was of Scottish origin but lived in Londonderry, Ireland. They originally settled in Pequea, Pennsylvania, which is in Lancaster County on the banks of the Susquehanna River. At least two sons -- Daniel and Robert -- came to the colonies with their parents. For several generations the Mitchell family followed the Scottish naming convention, spawning a slew of men named Robert and Daniel Mitchell.

Scottish naming convention; created using Microsoft Excel

Another point of confusion was the name of son Robert Mitchell's wife, which was Mary Enos. Many have combined Mary Innes, mother of Robert, and Mary Enos, wife of Robert into one person; therefore, also combining two men named Robert Mitchell into one person when they are actually father and son.

Three generations of men named Daniel and Robert Mitchell; created using
Microsoft Powerpoint

As young men, the sons of Robert "the Immigrant" Mitchell and Mary Innes migrated south and west from Lancaster County to Bedford County, Virginia, where several generations of descendants remained.

Daniel's son, also named Daniel Mitchell (I call him the Traveler), served as an Ensign in the Bedford County Militia in 1779. This was typically the lowest rank of commissioned office in a milita. If you are familiar with the officer ranks in the modern army, an ensign's responsibilities would be similar to those of a 2nd lieutenant.

At the time of the Revolutionary War, Bedford County was considered a frontier county, an area with scattered log cabins and primitive farming and industry. The greatest danger was from Indians which the British used against civilians. Defending the county was difficult as it was so sparsely populated. According to David Bushnell, Jr., in his The Virginia Frontier in History, "The winter of 1777-1778 was one of the darkest periods in the history of the western frontier of Virginia and Pennsylvania." It was the responsibility to the Bedford Militia to defend their county.

The county became very involved in the war in 1779, the year Daniel Mitchell served. An important lead mine was located in the county and it became a target for direct military action by the British. It was also a staging area for treks to the Far West, which at the time was Illinois country. So the county militia was likely very active conducting marches, skirmishes, and establishing fortifications.

Daniel and Robert Mitchell, the sons of Daniel "the Elder" Mitchell, eventually removed to Kentucky shortly after the Revolutionary War. During the trip the party was attacked by Indians and Naomi (Shipley) Mitchell died and her daughter was kidnapped.

NOTE: I should mention that the nicknames "the Immigrant" and "the Elder" where not used at the time these men lived. They have been created in order to distinguish between men with the same names.

Kidnapped by Indians
Daniel Mitchell, Patriot