Saturday, October 12, 2019

Joseph & Hannah Patterson and Chestnut Ridge Friends Meeting

Just a short comment on a new discovery....Joseph Patterson (1756-1816) and his wife, Hannah Merrimoon [perhaps even Marmon] (1753-1820) were members of the Quaker faith.  They were born in North Carolina and eventually migrated with many in their faith community to Belmont County, Ohio in the first decade of Ohio's statehood, settling south of Barnesville on "the Ridge."  They were probably members of the original Stillwater Friends Meeting, but later donated land on their property for what would become the Chestnut Ridge Friends Meeting.  While the original buildings do not exist, below is an image of the simple structure that continues as a Meeting House today.  Joseph and Hannah are reported to be buried in the cemetery, or more accurately burial ground, across the road from the Meeting House.

Looking forward to a future visit (its only an hour and half west of Pittsburgh) and a lot more research on this family line!

Chestnut Ridge Friends Meeting House

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Edward Slocum Burling in NYC (1792-1826)

I recently learned about the vast resources of the New York Public Library's Digital Collections through my friend and colleague Kristin.  With a day off from work and some time to focus on my own family research this week, I thought I might take a look and see if I could find anything related to my ancestors who lived in New York City....and Bingo! I did indeed.

Edward Slocum Burling (1741-1831)  and wife Kezia Hunt (1742-1804) (my 4x great-grandparents) lived in the city following the American Revolution.  They lived in various communities in Westchester County before residing in Manhattan.  Later they would return to Westchester.

During the American Revolution, we know that ESB was a member of the Westchester Militia under the command of Joseph Drake.  He was at Frog's Neck and West Farms during a portion of his 1776 enlistment.  This was a critical time, because the British forces occupied Manhattan, Long Island, and much of the surrounding area. (suggested reading of David McCullough's 1776) One of the only documents that confirms his service that has been found is a payroll log at the National Archives.  Even more intriguing is the fact that his brother-in-law, Charles Vincent, was providing information to the British, thus there is a loyalist in his family and probably someone we might label a "spy."  Ultimately Vincent and his wife, Hannah Burling would retreat with the British and settle in Nova Scotia. Need to do some more sleuthing on that story soon!

Immediately following the Revolution, ESB was able to purchase land that had previously been owned by Tory families that had fled. Evidence of his outlook on civic duty begins to emerge at this time as well.  He served as an assessor, elected as a supervisor and justice of the peace.  Prior to the creation of the U. S. Constitution, he would represent Westchester County in various state assemblies for New York.

Certificate, 31 May 1797, Thomas Addis Emmet Collection,
MssCol 927, Identifier: b11868616
From 1792 to 1826, ESB resided in New York City where he continued his public service.  He held the office of associate judge, customs inspector, and revenue officer.  However, it was in 1797 that we find the he was elected to represent the citizens of NYC on the City's Assembly.  A document found on the NYPL's digital collections site is basically a certification of his election, along with several other individuals.  But what I find fascinating is seeing the names of these others along side my ancestors name....including names like DeWitt Clinton and Aaron Burr.  Not to forget that the document was created and signed by then Mayor Richard Varick.  This just blows my mind to know that my ancestor would have known, worked with, and perhaps argued with these leaders that I have learned about throughout my education.  Just one more example of how family history and genealogical research can make our nations history come alive in very personal ways.

ESB and Kezia were the parents of eleven children:

-Gilead Burling (1762)
-Rebecca Burling Moriarty (1765)
-Ebenezer Burling (1766) (my direct line, whose son Henry Burling migrated to Michigan in the 1830s)
-Sarah Burling (1767)
-Jeremiah Burling (1767)
-Elizabeth Burling Waning (1769)
-Susannah Burling (1771-1778)
-Lydia Burling (1772)
-Thomas Burling (1775)
-Deborah Burling Bernard (1779)
-Anne T. Burling Bennett Pintard (1783)

Many thanks to Kristin Britanic for pointing me to the NYPL site and to Jane Thompson-Stahr for her excellently and professionally researched books entitled, The Burling Books: Ancestors and Descendants of Edward and Grace Burling, Quakers [1600-2000].

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Celebrating the life of Ida Jane Galusha Hagaman

Ida Jane Galusha Hagaman (Courtesy Margie Walz)
Ida Jane Galusha was born 16 October 1856 in the small community of Woodstock, Lenawee County, Michigan.  Her mother, Sarah Ann (Sweet) Galusha delivered Ida with the assistance of Dr. Root.  Ida's dad was Giles Galusha, a farmer who was assisting his father and brother raising livestock and tending fields of their 200 acre farm in near the county boarder with both Jackson and Hillsdale Counties in lower Michigan.  Today, this is area is know as the Artisian Wells at the intersection of US-127 and US-12 with a postal address of Cement City. Ida joined her older sister Marietta and the family of four would subsist with many aunts, uncles, and cousins all living as neighbors.

Soon, the Galusha's would move into Somerset Township, Hillsdale County, where Giles operate his own farm.  The family would continue to grow with the addition of son George in 1860.

The American Civil War would cause a major scar in this family.  Towards the end of this bloody conflict, Giles would volunteer for service in Company A of the 4th Michigan Infantry.  On 4 January 1865 he would died of some communicable disease in a makeshift army hospital in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  He would later be laid to rest in a "unknown" grave at the National Cemetery in Murfreesboro.  Giles death left his family of 4 without any means of support.  As soon as widow's were able to apply for a pension from the Federal Government, Sarah did so and it is through those documents that we know details of the births and marriages of this little family.

Within a few years, Ida would have a loving step-father come into her life in the person of Isaac Young, a veteran of the Civil War and a neighboring farmer.  Mr. Young would fill the void left by her father's death.

At an early age Ida learned to play the piano.  We know that after becoming a member of the little Methodist Episcopal congregation in the village of Somerset Center, she would play the piano in church regularly.  Probably playing many familiar hymn tunes that one might hear today in the United Methodist churches throughout lower Michigan.  Ida would pass her love of music and her talented musical abilities on to her many children.  Today, one of her great-granddaughters tenderly cares for and has preserved several instruments that were played by members of the family.

In the village of Somerset Center there was a store owned by Jacob Hagaman.  Hagaman was the father of four, one being Mr. George Henry Hagaman, who would marry Ida on 7 November 1875 at Liberty Mills, in Jackson County with the Rev. James H. Tanner of the Methodist Episcopal church officiating.  George's father had died the year prior to the marriage and the assets of the little store in Somerset Center were sold off.  But George would remain working the farm his father had purchase and continue to provide for his mother, siblings, and his new bride.

Soon, the Hagaman family would grow to include 4 daughter and 2 sons: Arminta (1876), Nina (1878), George "Dick" (1881), Verne (1888), Bertha (1891), and Hazel (1892).

By 1900, the Hagaman's had left their farm near Somerset Center and move near the communities of Leoni and Grass Lake in Jackson County.  We know that Ida had relatives in this vicinity and one could imagine that some great opportunity must have prompted them relocate closer to these relatives.

During this early period, Ida would become involved in the Leoni Methodist Episcopal church and become a leader in the Women's Suffrage movement in her community.  We know from a newspaper account that she was the Chairwomen for the suffrage organization for Leoni township. Wish we knew more about the activities of this part of her life...perhaps more will surface at a later date.

George and Ida would continue to live in the Grass Lake Area for several years, mostly on rented farms.  George would died 14 March 1934 at the age of 77 in Leoni Township from chronic kidney disease.  Ida would survive him for a few years, dying on 27 October 1939 at the age of 83 from arteriosclerosis. Her funeral services were held at the Methodist Church in Leoni and her nephew the Rev. Lynn Young, a famous radio and later television evangelist from Toledo, officiated.

The Hagaman's are laid to rest at the Grass Lake West (Maple Grove) Cemetery on Wolf Lake Road, next to many of their children, in unmarked graves.  But they have long been remembered by their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Burling Ancestry, Quaker Heritage, & Anti-Slavery Advocate!

Barking Abbey, Barking, Essex, England where the Burling family resided.

Several years ago I wrote about the discovery of Mary Elizabeth (BURLING) REAMS’ (b1845-d1918) ancestry.  It was a huge revelation because I had spent years working hard to discover the names of her parents, both of whom died while she was yet a baby.  At the time, I was so overwhelmed by the facts of so many new generations to record in my genealogical software that I could scarcely absorb the significant family history connected with Mary.  Mary’s BURLING ancestors were Quakers in England and in North America and they had strength of spirit.

Mary (BURLING) REAMS (1845-1918), daughter of:
Henry BURLING (1803-1848) and Charlotte Wilburgher WILSIE (1812-1845), he was the son of:
Ebenezer BURLING(1766-1824) and Eve BLOOMER (1765-1843), he was the son of:
Ebenezer Slocum BURLING (1741-1831) and Kezia HUNT (1742-1804), he was the son of:
Ebenezer BURLING (1717-1758) and Mary LAWRENCE (1718-aft 1776), he was the son of:
*William BURLING (1678-1743) and Rebecca SLOCUM (1682-1729), he was the son of:
*Edward BURLING (1638-1697) and *Grace NORINGTON (?-1715) , he was the son of:
Edward BURLING (c1613-1677) and Katherine BOWLER (?-1678) of Barking, Essex Co., England

*denotes the ancestors who emigrated from England to North America.

We learn from the amazing thorough and well sourced genealogy and family history by Jane Thompson-Stahr (The Burling Books, Vol, 1 & 2, 2001), that the first three generations of Burling’s were members of the Quaker faith and practiced it at a time of religious intolerance in England.  In fact, both generations of Edward BURLING’s were imprisoned for practicing their faith.  Neither of which would pay the fine, though they were presumably wealthy enough to do so, and be freed from their jail cells.  They stood on their principles in the Borough of Barking, which is now part of the City of London.  Clearly that principled streak was inherited by son and grandson William.  We have learned from no less than four sources on Quaker history that William BURLING of Flushing, NY was an early member of the Friends faith to embrace the view that slavery was a sin.  During much of the 17th and 18th century in Colonial America, Quakers were known to be slave holders and slave traders in New England and the Mid-Atlantic.  Many today find this surprising because of the popular notion that Quakers were some of the most outspoken advocates of abolitionism in the antebellum period; therefore it’s somewhat hard to believe that they were ever involved in the holding of others in bondage. But many did!

About 1718, William BURLING spoke out against the sin of slavery.  His words are somewhat difficult for our 21st century reading, but I have confirmed through multiple sources that indeed, William BURLING was talking about slavery when he wrote the following, which had reprinted in several book since 1734.

(William Burling’s Anti-slavery text, published in 1718 and quote in Benjamin Lay’s 1738 book.)

TITLE: “An Address to the Elders of the Church, upon the occasion of some Friends compelling certain Persons, and their posterity , to serve them continually and arbitrarily, without Regard to Equity or Right, not heeding whether they give them any thing near so much as their Labour deserveth.”

My Dearly Beloved Friends, and Elder Brethren, whom, as it behoves me, I would entreat as Fathers, a weighty Concern from the Lord, is and hath been at times for many Years on my spirit, in consideration of this unchristian Liberty, being indulged in the Church, for it is in itself none of the least of the World’s Corruptions, [ no, say I, but the greatest, that ever the Devil brought into the Church in America;] and indeed the Lord by his Spirit, manifested the Evil to me before I was 12 Years of Age, and since from time to time, I have had drawings in mind to reproved and testify against it,  nor have I been altogether silent, altho’ much discourag’d by reason of it’s being practiced by so many Friends, yea Elders too, and tho’ I have formerly thought it strange, that the Church did not exclude it, by her discipline, and fix the Judgment of Truth upon it, yet now I am sensible such a thing is not easily done or accomplished, there being so strong opposition in many, that it cannot be brought to the Test, and Judgment brought forth into Victory in the cause at present, without danger of much strife and disorder in the Church, which is generally hurtful where-ever it prevaileth; therefore to be carefully avoided; however I hope was are all unanimous in our judgement, that whatever Friend hath any thing from the movings of the Spirit of Truth to communicate to his Brethren, either by word or writing concerning this or any other matter, ought to be allowed and received in his Testimony, and borne with by his Brethren, so long as he keeps to the counsel and direction of the Holy Spirit, and therefore delivers nothing but what is according to Truth, altho’ it happens to be never so contrary to the interest or inclinations of the Readers or Hearers.
Now I would such Friends as Practice or Pleas for the abovesaid Sin, Evil or Liberty, to consider solidly what Hardship the impose on such as are concern’d to bear Testimony against it; for while so many Friends continues in said Practice, no one can reproved it, and give it that deserved Character, which is agreeable to it’s nature, without implicitly condemning many of his Brethren, [Ministers and all say I, for they are the worst Enemies in this case the Church has to War with, or that Hell itself, or Devil can procure in this case. (This is very pinching,  B. L.  canst thou prove thy Allegations?) if not, what will become of thee? Never fear, Friend; Fear suprises, thou knows who; but the Truth is stronger than all the Powers of Hell.  Blessed for ever is the God of Truth, the Truth of God, the Truth which is God: So be it, faith my Soul.

Brethren and Elder Brethren, as Transgressors in this Thing, which is very hard to do, yet if the Lord require such a Thing or Testimony of any Friend he is necessitated so to judge his Brethren, or quench the Spirit in its Motions, in his own Heart; for the case admits of no medium. Again I intreat those who slight and disregards the Testimony of any whom the Lord concerns to appear against this flebly Liberty, to consider whom they oppose, and withstand; and the inspired Apostle speaking concerning the Lord’s Instruments, whom he was pleased to make use of, faith I Thess. iv. 8. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not Men, but God, who hat also given unto us his Holy Spirit.  O! That I could prevail so far with all my dear Brethren, that none would any more plead for or endeavor to defend the aforesaid unjust Practice; neither endeavor to shield it from the judgment of Truth.  We may do well to remember, the Devil is the Author of all Sin, and Sin is the Transgression of the Law.

It gives me great pleasure to know that at least one of my ancestors was outspoken on such a moral and ethical issue, especially when it was not popular to hold such a position.  So, today in our world that is filled with much divisiveness over our national legacy concerning race relations, I draw on the strength of my ancestor, William Burling to help guide me.

-Drake, Thomas E. Quakers and Slavery in America, 1950, pp.36-37

-“Early Anti-Slavery Advocates --  William Burling.” The Friend: A Religious and Literary Journals, November 24, 1855, Volume 29, Number 11, page 85.

-Lay, Benjamin.  All Slave-keepers that keep the Innocent in Bondage… Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin, 1738, pp. 6-8.

-Maxwell, John Francis.  “The Charismatic Origins of the Christian Anti-Slavery Movement in North America, “ Quaker History, Volume 63, Number 2, Autumn 1974, pp. 108-116.

-Thompson-Stahr, Jane. The Burling Books, 2001

A popular 19th Century Anti-Slavery image.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

United Congregational Church of Little Compton

I recently purchased this watercolor by Julie A. Shoen of the United Congregational Church of Little
Compton, Rhode Island on Ebay.  The congregation was organized in 1704 and this building was constructed in 1832 and is situated on the southeast corner of the Commons.  My 6th Great Grandparents, Jonathan Grinnell and Abigail Ford Grinnell were members of the congregation in the 1740s.

This site is one of my favorite spots to visit when I travel to Little Compton.  Several years ago on one of those visits, the church was hosting an open house and I was able to view the interior which is spectacularly simple and beautiful.  There is a second level gallery, with access through narrow stairway, which the entire room can be in full view.

The burial ground outside of its walls are filled with the remains of so many early colonial settlers, including many Grinnell's.  It is one of only two "New England" styled towns which includes a commons in Rhode Island.  It is worthy of a visit.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sakonnet Point at Little Compton....

In line with my current reading habit of focusing on Little Compton, Newport County, Rhode Island, I just finished reading a charming little book entitled, Sakonnet Point Perspectives by James C. Gaman and Michelle G. Styer.  Sakonnet Point is the southern tip of the Town of Little Compton and extends out in between the Atlantic Ocean on the Sakonnet River estuary. In the several short trips that I have taken to Little Compton, only once have I had the fortune of seeing the Point.
This neighborhood or area of Little Compton has been the site of planning and commercial schemes for many generations.  The vast area was once dominated by the Sisson Farm, and today the only hotel in the vicinity is located in the Old Stone House, which was built by the Sissons, and is in close proximity to the Sakonnet Yacht Club and the Sakonnet Point Club.  But the history of this spot is complex.  Following the American Civil War and into the 1920s it was a resort community where people could escape the hot summer of the cities.  During Prohibition, the people of Little Compton had a great deal of financial success because it was a great place for "Rum Running" and few of these outlaws and their conspirators were ever caught. It was also the site of Fort Church, a US Army installation, during the World War II created to defend the Atlantic shoreline.  Fishing and lobstering have also dominated the location.  With public access to the water and public access to docks made it a great place for many small scale business ventures, equipped with a boat, fishing nets, and a crew, one could make a decent living--even today.

Just off shore from Sakonnet Point are East Island, West Island and the Sakonnet Lighthouse on Little Cormorant Rock.  All places with storied pasts, but help to keep to legends of Sakonnet Point to be more than just a memory.

This rugged point has seen a lot of destruction through the years and few buildings from the early days of Little Compton can be found there, unlike the area around the Commons, where 18th and 19th century buildings abound.  Sakonnet Point had virtually been whipped off the map during several hurricanes in the 20th century.  The first one of note, and the most destructive was in 1938.  It sounds as if only two structures really survived it---The Old Stone House and the Watch House (which would be demolished later).  Then there were hurricanes in 1954 and 1955.  So, needless to say, the Point was often being rebuilt.

There are two things about the Point that pique my interest as a Grinnell.  First is the fact that just west of the Long Pond is Grinnell Road.  This is clearly named for Benjamin Grinnell's farm from the mid-19th century.  Most likely he obtained this land through his wife's family the Church's.

The second area that is of interest is the Grinnell's Fishing shack, which was destroyed during the 1938 hurricane.  Who was the Grinnell?  Never named in any references yet.  There is a picture of the Point before the devastating storm and you see that the building was one of the largest buildings there and located in the vicinity where Sakonnet Point and Maryland Roads intersect.  We learn that the second floor of the "shack" is where many of the workers on the fishing boats lived during the season.  On the day of the storm, ten people were hunkered down in the building in hopes of riding out the storm, but the winds and the waves were too much for the wooden building.  It was blown off its foundation and into the river.  Of the ten, four of the occupants were lost and never to be found.  They were Al Sabin, Ebenezer Keith, and Mr. and Mrs. Vasco Souza.  This loss is considered the most tragic of the storm at the Point. (I need to know more about this place!!!!)

The book is filled with many first hand accounts of living, visiting, summering, partying, and working at Sakonnet Point.  Its a fast read but for those of us not familiar with the various names of Atlantic coast wildlife and fishing boat terms, keep Google handy.  The volume is richly illustrated and in particular the cover art is fascinating.  Both the front and back covers show a depiction of a the Point and  fishing vessels by a 19th century artist that was painted on the brick wall above a mantle piece in a home in Little Compton.  Simply beautiful!

Sakonnet Point Perspectives was produced as a joint project between the Friends of the Sakonnet Lighthouse, Little Compton Historical Society, and the Sakonnet Preservation Association in 2011.  I purchase my copy from the LCHS for $12.00.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Dave Johnson in the Great War, 1918-1919

Postcard from the Great War, owned by David B. Johnson

In a little over a week from now our nation will be commemorating the centennial of the US entering into the Great War, now known as the First World War.   While the war raged in Europe since 1914 the United States, led by President Woodrow Wilson remained in a neutral position for several years.  Following the German U-boats sinking of several American vessels in the Atlantic, neutrality was no longer possible and on April 2, 1917 Wilson addressed Congress and asked for a Declaration of War against Germany.  Upon the affirmative votes in the Senate followed by the House of Representatives, the United States went to war on April 6, 1917.  The war continued to rage until November 11, 1918, which was known as Armistice Day for generations and is now celebrated at Veteran’s Day here in the US.  Ultimately, 4.7 million American’s would serve in the Army and Navy during the war with approximately 120,000 killed in action. 
David B. Johnson, 1918 USS Georgia

Serving in the armed forces was a hard decision in many parts of the United States, given that there were large numbers of American’s of German descent living in both urban and rural communities, they often experienced divided loyalties.  The maternal side of my family lived in one of those communities where the German language was still being taught alongside English in many of the rural one-roomed school houses in northeastern Jackson County, Michigan.  However,  patriotism ran deep in the Johnson family and they would send two of their son’s off to fight for the US and the Allies.

Dave's New Testament
during his time in the Navy
David and Nina Johnson lived in Leoni Township and by time the US entered the war they had six children at home.  Two would go off to war.  First, their eldest son, John Vernon Johnson (1898-1970) would serve in Battery B of the 21st Field Artillery Unit, which had just recently been organized.  John would attain the rank of Sergeant by the time he was discharged and sent back home.  Then their second son David Benjamin Johnson (1900-1967) would volunteer.  Although Dave was only seventeen at the time, he lied about his age and stated that he was born a year earlier. David B. Johnson would enlist in the US Navy on 22 March 1918 for 4 years of service in Cincinnati, Ohio.  A description of him at the time indicates he was 5 foot 9 inches tall, weight 175 lbs., had blue eyes, brown hair, and a Rudy complexion.  He was then sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, located just north of Chicago and then to the Naval Operations Base at Norfolk, Virginia where on 24 May 1918 he was assigned about the USS Georgia, a Virginia-class battleship that was constructed at the Bath Iron Works in Maine.  The USS Georgia was commissioned in 1906.  During the war the Georgia would serve in the Atlantic Fleet mainly as a convoy escort for the many vessels that were transporting American Troops to France.  Dave would be ranked as a Firemen 2nd Class while on the Georgia.  
USS Georgia at Brest, France in June, 1919
Brest, France was one of the main ports of entries and exits for the American Troops.  We know that Dave was on the USS Georgia in Brest on at least two occasions, December, 1918 and June, 1919.  His assignment on the USS Georgia ended on June 28, 1919.  Following his service on the Georgia, he would be assigned to the USS Florida as his final vessel during his service, but this was a short 2 month assignment and it isn’t known to me what activity he may have been engaged during that time.  Ultimately, Dave was discharged from the US Navy on 7 August 1919 at the Naval Demobilization Center in Pittsburgh, PA, where he was given $16.55 for his transportation back home to Jackson, Michigan.
Souvenir post card from France, 1918

While no correspondence survives from the time Dave served in the Navy, we are fortunate that there are a number of photographs and official documents that he kept to from his war service and they help us peak into his world as a Navy man.  Once Dave returned home, we know that he went back to work as a farm hand and also worked for short periods of time on the Michigan Central Railroad.  But work was difficult to find following the war and by 1922, Dave re-enlisted in the service, this time into the U. S. Army, where he would be stationed at the Schofield Barracks in Hawaii for several years.

We here in the United States are very fortunate that our service members saw such a brief period of the Great War.  Other members of the Allies, and also those of the Central Powers, experienced huge loss of lives and many soldiers that did return home were diagnosed with "shell shock," what we know of today as "post traumatic stress syndrome." So many peoples lives were devastated during this conflict, both physically and emotionally.

 John and David Johnson were fortunate to be able to return home to their families and to adjust to life after war with few major problems.  We are all thankful because they both established new generations of our family.   Thank you for your willingness to serve and know that we remember!

David B. Johnson's Discharge Papers, 1919