17 October 2016

I Finally Got One - A Black Sheep Ancestor!



For years I have been reading genealogy blogs and shared in the excitement when the author discovered a famous or infamous ancestor.  For years I have had a bad case of ancestor envy.  Well last night I was cured when I discovered the reason for the early death of my 2nd great grandmother's brother.

My 2nd great grandmother is Laura Cordelia Robinson, the daughter of David Robinson and Margaret Dilks.  David and Margaret had met and were married in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.  After the birth of Laura, the Robinson's moved to Dodgeville, Franklin Township, Des Moines County, Iowa.  David was a blacksmith and established his own business soon after they arrived.  The Robinson family grew to include 9 children  by 1882.

This story is about the 5th child, the exact middle child - George Robinson.  George was born 19 January 1871.  What prompted my interest in this sibling of my 2nd great grandmother was the fact that he had married in April 1907 and died in September the same year at the age of 36.

In small communities when a person dies before their time it usually makes the newspapers.  I started hoping for an explanation.
At the age of 24 George's father David Robinson died.   It is just a few years after that George starts to go astray:

April 1896 - The post office in Dodgeville is robbed of $50 in stamps.  The postmaster is John Beckman.  Under suspicion is George Robinson who lived with his family less than a mile away.  Because the business was a post office, a reward of $100 was offered by the federal government for any information about the incident.

29 April 1898 - After a long investigation by officials,  an indictment by the federal grand jury was brought against George Robinson for the 1896 post office robbery.  George Robinson cannot be found.

25 June 1898 - John T. Beckman of Dodgeville was beaten and robbed of $50 and his pocket watch just as he was closing his business for the evening. Beckman gives a description of the suspects.

19 November 1898 - E.W. Johnson of West Burlington noticed a stranger loafing around the place at 6:30 pm.  Upon closer inspection, Mr. Johnson recognized the man as George Robinson and knew of his reputation and assumed that he was up to no good.  Mr. Johnson called the police who stopped and searched George Robinson because they had a tip that he was one of the men who had beaten and robbed John Beckman in Dodgeville last June.  They knew that Robinson's family lived in Dodgeville and that he had disappeared right after the assault on Beckman.  Brought in for questioning about the Beckman robbery, George was searched and a the list of items found with him are:
Colt 38 caliber revolver
1/4 pint of nitro-glycerine
box of dynamite caps
fuses
1/4 pint black powder
soap, candles & rosin
5 drills
skeleton keys
key nippers

In order to keep George in custody until Mr. Beckman could arrive to identify the suspect and further investigations made, George was charged with vagrancy and given 30 days in jail.

10 January 1899 -  George Robinson is taken from the Burlington jail in Des Moines County and brought to Keokuk in Mills County and held to the federal court.  Bail was set at $500 and friends of George Robinson paid the bond and he was released the same day. The next day a man named Jud Minard, who was a very important witness in the case against George Robinson, was found dead - a victim of poisoning.

11 January 1899 - In Hastings, Mills County, Iowa Mr. & Mrs. Clark and their farm hand were victims of a home invasion by four men.  The robbers got $4.30 in cash and a silver pocket watch that belonged to Mr. Clark.  Mrs. Clark had purchased it only a month before as a Christmas present.  After the robbers tied up the residents of the house, they went to the kitchen and made themselves at home cooking a meal.  About 1:00 am the robbers hopped a train.  They were seen by freight men who recognized the robbers from wanted posters.  George Robinson was captured when the train made the next stop.  A silver pocket watch was found on him that matched the number and description of the watch on the books of the jeweler who sold the watch to Mrs. Clark.



9 March 1899 -  George Robinson is sentenced to 17 years at the penitentiary at Fort Madison.  His cohorts also received the same sentence.  The judge said that the men were the worst desperados ever captured in the county and he was making an example of them by handing out the maximum sentence.  Of Robinson, the judge said he was "a bad man whose petty thieving and desperate character made him a terror to law abiding citizens."



1907 - September - After serving only half of his sentence, George Robinson was released from prison for time served and good behaviour.  On Labor Day evening in Burlington a safe in a saloon was blown open and $150 in cash taken.  A few days later the Miller Meat Market was robbed.  A week later the Middletown Bank was broke into.  Robbers attempted to blow the safe but were unsuccessful.  Police are almost certain it is the work of the gang that George Robinson is a part of



14 September 1907  - Three men were discovered in the act of blowing the safe in the office of the Leisy Brewing Company Burlington, Iowa.  All four got away but not before one of them was shot by police. The next day a doctor was called to a house to tend to a man who had been seriously hurt.  Seeing it was a gunshot wound, the man was brought to the hospital and the doctor immediately reported it to the police.  The injured man was George Robinson and the police knew him well.  Surgery was performed and the bullet removed which matched the calibre of bullet fired from the police officer's gun.  George Robinson died a few hours after surgery.



17 December 1907 - The other two members of the gang - Eddie Stoops aka Teddy O'Brian and Jack Nolan are captured in Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa.



24 June 1908 - Eddie Stoops and Jack Nolan had warrants out for their arrest before the safe blowing in September 1907.  In Greenville, Texas the two had broken out of jail, held up a farmer and nearly killed a deputy sheriff.  After being arrested in December 1907 in Ottumwa, Iowa they were transported back to Texas.  It was there that the two men received money from friends in California.  With this money they hired a leading criminal attorney named Adams who forced an early trial before authorities could secure the presence of the farmer and the deputy sheriff.  The two witnesses disappeared shortly after Stoops and Nolan received the large amount of money.  So Stoops and Nolan each got 3 months in the county jail instead of a life sentence in prison.

4 September 1908 - Almost year since the shooting death of George Robinson and one of his brothers - Frank Robinson - is found dead in the park apparently he committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid.  In one of his pockets was a scribbled note:  "My wife says there were others better than me."  The newspaper commented: "Its a rather queer coincidence that the brother should end his life do near the anniversary of his brother's violent end."



Ingesting carbolic acid, an antiseptic, was a common method for suicide in the early 1900s.  


16 September 2016

Get Your Chuckles Here



There are over 3000 genealogy blogs out there today.  Most of them are very good - a few are exceptional.  They all are trying to tell a story.  

There are a few bloggers out there that have the ability to tell a story and make you laugh until you cry or snort your morning coffee out your nose.

Today I am going to gift you with the names of a few of these bloggers and my favorite posts they wrote. You are welcome.

The We Tree Genealogy Blog is written by Amy Lenertz.  She was Amy Coffin back in 2011 when she wrote the post "If Genealogists Ran Hollywood."  Today she is the author of another very funny blog called "Amy Dorene Writes Stuff"  and on the more serious side she is the owner of Raincross Information Services.

Chris Dunham is another very funny guy.  I am still in mourning because his last post to The Genealogue was back in December 2012.  Chris describes himself as "the descendant of a surprisingly large number of ancestors. Turn-ons: transcribing, cemetery-hopping, and girls with big GEDCOMs. Turn-offs: stingy town clerks, open graves, and girls who don't give sources."  One of my favorite posts is "A Contrary Code of Conduct."  And you won't want to miss reading his famous "Top Ten Lists."  I did find out that Chris is the author of four genealogy blogs about the state of Maine: Maine Genealogy, All Things Maine, Maine Genealogy Archives and Oxford County Genealogy Notebook and one about New Hampshire - New Hampshire Genealogy Archives.

Everyone knows about Thomas MacEntee the genealogy ninja.  But did you know that he really is a very funny guy?  Back in February 2010 on his blog "Destination: Austin Family" he wrote a post called "Failed Genealogy Television Shows" that will have you rolling on the floor.

That same month and year, my good friend Donna Pointkouski, the author of "What's Past Is Prologue" wrote the article that inspired Thomas to write his - "If Genealogists Ruled The Television Networks."

Although not a genealogist, Kate Theimer is as funny as an archivist can be.  On her blog - "ArchivesNext" she wrote a post about a collection of Twitter comments called "The OverlyHonestArchivists Tweets"

Kerry Scott is the Queen of Wit.  Her blog - "Clue Wagon" is one of my favorites and a few of the best posts (in my opinion) are:  "Words Are For Chumps. Winky Face." and "In Which I Piss Off Pretty Much The Entire Genealogical Community." 

So there you have it.  I am certain that I have missed some Lulus.  Do you have a favorite to share with the rest of us?  





25 August 2016

Libraries On My Bucket List


I Love Libraries.  I love the feel of a book in my hands.  I love the new discoveries I always find in libraries.

For some reason, I have been writing bucket lists of many different things: places to go, people to see, etc.  Today I thought I'd share some of the libraries located in the United States that are on my bucket list of libraries.  These libraries made my list not only because of their holdings that are of interest to me but because of the buildings themselves.  In no particular order:



Located in Baltimore, Maryland the library opened in 1878.  It has five tiers of ornamental cast-iron balconies, which rise dramatically to the skylight 61 feet above the floor.



An eight story, concrete structure located at the head of a canyon near the center of the campus. The lower two stories form a pedestal for the six story, stepped tower.


I Love, Love, Love this library!





I have been a member of DAR since 2007 and have never been to our library.  Heck I have never been to Washington, DC!




Now this is the kind of study environment I can learn to love!


I know I am missing some great libraries out there.  Which ones are on your bucket list?

17 August 2016

Academia vs. Genealogy

Sheri Fenley
Homework for 17 August 2016

Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 18: Genealogy? In the Academic World?” Seriously? Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation and Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-18-genealogy-academic-world-seriously : accessed 14 August 2016).
For this assignment, I decided to cruise the internet to see who else had something to say on the subject of Academia vs. Genealogy Research.  I found  this topic is nothing new.  In addition to the many articles published by Elizabeth Shown Mills in many different publications, others have voiced their opinions including some other well known genealogists.  While their voices are being heard, there still is a long way to go before historians, archivists and other academia can co-exist with genealogists without the “us vs. them” mentality.
In October 1949, Milton Rubincam published an article in “The American Archivist” entitled “What the Genealogists Expect of an Archival Agency or Historical Society.”  You can find the article here:
In the article Mr. Rubincam says:
"Genealogy is a very serious business, not only for those professional genealogists who earn their livelihood by its means, but also for those avocational genealogists who seek to show the influence families have exerted on the course of local, national, or even international history."
Genealogy as an Academic Discipline by Jill Morelli. Ms. Morelli asks some very important questions that we need to seriously consider.
A very well written and interesting article by H. Daniel Wagner in the AVOTAYNU Journal (The International Review of Jewish Genealogy) entitled “Genealogy as an Academic Discipline” can be found here:
There is one paragraph in the lengthy article that stood out to me.  It suggests taxonomy (the branch of science concerned with classification) for genealogy:
“The various problems and methods of modern genealogy lend themselves to an incorporation in a classification of subfields within the following double framework: The first subfield of modern genealogy, termed macrogenealogy, or global genealogy, involves issues and tools relevant to genealogy as a whole, such as the development of improved mathematical models for the study of human migration or of backward or forward population growth, generic tools to facilitate merging and comparing databases, or genetic research techniques designed to trace the ancestors of homo sapiens. The second subfield, microgenealogy, may be subdivided into two areas of investigation: (1) confined microgenealogy, the genealogical investigation of a specific surname or family, the local history of a town, and so on, and (2) unconfined microgenealogy, a broader genealogical research field focused on a wider area, people or phenomenon (for example, 19th-century Irish migrations, Sephardic genealogy, stability of Chinese surnames through time) on the effects of specific large-scale historical events (the Holocaust), on genealogical myths (do European royal families descend from King David? Do specific families from Alsace descend from Charlemagne?). Such classification is far from being strict, however, since some issues have a mixed character: Generic research tools, such as mitochondrial DNA, that "belong" to the field of macrogenealogy may be used to investigate microgenealogical problems such as the ancestry of Kohanim. This categorization of genealogy into subfields could possibly serve as a rough guide in future teaching curricula and genealogy textbooks.”
Susan Tucker is an archivist at the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women at Tulane University.  She created a webpage entitled “Archivists and Genealogical Researchers: A Bibliography” and you can find it here:
Ms. Tucker defines the wepage for us:
“This bibliography is an ongoing project centered around ICA's Committee on Outreach and User Services. Special attention is paid to genealogical researchers, who -- worldwide -- make up a consistently large proportion of the users of most archives. Abstracts have been added for selected articles, those that deal specifically with family history or those that are insightful to the study of archival attitudes towards genealogy.”
I found two articles that discuss the issue at hand at jstor.org.  You must have a subscription to access the articles which I have.  For those that don't have access to the site, I included a short abstract of each one.
Duff Wendy M. and Catherine A. Johnson.  "Where is the List with All the Names? Information-Seeking Behavior of Genealogists." The American Archivist 66, 1(Spring/Summer 2003): 79-95.
ABSTRACT: Until the 1990s, archivists gave very little attention to studying the results of the user studies that have been conducted in the last decade. Genealogists are one of the most frequent users of archives. This paper involves in-depth interviews with ten genealogists. The findings stages of genealogical research, how genealogists search for their use, the knowledge required, and the barriers they face.
Redmann, Gail R.  "Archivists and Genealogists: The Trend Toward Peaceful Coexistence." Archival Issues 18, no.2 (1993): 121-132.
ABSTRACT: Throughout history, genealogy has often been maligned, misused, and misunderstood. However, over the past twenty years, practitioners of both genealogy and history have shifted their focus and have adopted similar methods of study. These changes have altered the traditionally negative view of archivists toward genealogists, with many in the profession not only accommodating genealogists but actually welcoming them to their institutions.
There was one article I was unable to read because I don't have access to the New England Historical Genealogical Register, but I will be going to the library to hunt it down:
Macy, Jr., Harry. "Recognizing Scholarly Genealogy and Its Importance to Genealogists and Historians." NEHGR 150 (January 1996)
The last item of interest I found is a website that encompasses both worlds:
Family Genealogy and History Internet Education Directory ---- Wiki
Professional, worldwide humanities and social sciences mega portal, connected directly to numerously related sub-sets having billions of primary and secondary database resources; information that provides family history and genealogy records. This website is educationally constructed to reflect the process used when actually doing practical genealogy and family history research. It is the generational historian's approach to the study of the history of families worldwide, establishing comprehensive evidence based family studies within and about the lines of descent from the researched ancestry.

25 June 2016

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Where Was My Family in 1866?


Randy Seaver over at GeneaMusings is the place to be for genealogy fun on a Saturday night.  This week the challenge is to locate where all of your family was living in 1866.

I haven't played along since well . . .since forever!  This looked like fun so here is where my family was in 1866.

2nd great grandparents Gerhard Befort & Anna Maria Stecklein were living in Obermonjou, Samara Volga, Russia.

2nd great grandparents Johann Adam Ernst & Anna Maria Kemper were living in Marienthal, Saratov Volga, Russia.

2nd great grandfather John Fred Borgstadter was living in Hitzhausen, Germany.

2nd great grandmother Mary Elizabeth Hobrock was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents), Henry Hobrock & Mary Erk and her 2 sets of grandparents (my 2 sets of 4th great grandparents) Christian Hobrock & Gertrude Erk and Valentine Thron & Margaret Beier all in Beardsville, Cass County, Illinois.

2nd great grandfather Louis Ernst Besson was living in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany.

2nd great grandmother Sarah Jane Solomon was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) James Arthur Solomon & Angeline Fulton in Moultrie County, Illinois.  Her grandfather (my 4th great grandfather) Peter Solomon was living in Clark County, Illinois.

2nd great grandfather Joseph Payne Skillman was living with his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Josiah Payne Skillman & Lavinia Thomas Wilson in Pleasant Hill, Cass County, Missouri.

2nd great grandmother Sallie Davis Wilson was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Berry Wilson & Catherine Elizabeth Rees and her grandmother (my 4th great grandmother) Mariah Fristoe Rees in Georgetown, Pettis County, Missouri.

2nd great grandfather Earnest Francis Sheern was living with his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) James Sheern & Ann Emily Leseure in Allamakee County, Iowa.

2nd great grandmother Jennie Delaney was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Daniel Derondo Delaney & Ellen Collins in Waterville, Marshall County, Kansas.

2nd great grandfather George Wesley Harris was living his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) H.A.T. Harris & M.A.F. Bess, his grandparents (my 4th great grandparents) Peter Bess & Sarah Beam, his great grandfather (my 5th great grandfather) Boston Bess and his great grandmother (my 5th great grandmother) Mary Ann Wacaster Beam all in Lincoln County, North Carolina.  His grandmother (my 4th great grandmother) Mildred Naylor Harris was living in Surry County, North Carolina.

2nd great grandmother Minda Ellen Wallace was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) Samuel Wallace & Nancy Brown in Yadkin County, North Carolina.

2nd great grandfather William Campbell Berry II was living with his parents (my 3rd great grandparents) William Campbell Berry I & Mary Ping and his grandparents (my 4th great grandparents)  Bolen Green Ping & Sophia Barnes all in Des Moines County, Iowa.  His grandfather (my 4th great grandfather) John P. Berry was living in Mahaska County, Iowa.

2nd great grandmother Laura Cordelia Robinson was living with her parents (my 3rd great grandparents) David Robinson & Margaret Bowman in Des Moines County, Iowa. 

21 June 2016

Communicating With Hand Fans



Besides being an important woman's fashion accessories, hand fans help to regulated air temperature, concealed flirtatious blushes, and protected a woman from insects and nature’s harsh elements.

They were also a most important courtship tool.  A common fan language, known to both women and men, developed from what seemed  to be innocent fan fluttering. Fan movements became a way to convey messages about emotions and love based on well-known etiquette rules. 



The more common fan movements and their meanings included:


  • A rested fan on the right check meant “yes” and on the left “no.”
  • Placing the handle of a fan to a woman’s lips or pressing a half-opened fan to the lips indicated a kiss was allowed.
  • A twirled fan in the right hand meant “I love another” but twirled in the left indicated “we are being watched.”
  • Shutting a fan fully and opening it slowly was a promise of marriage. 
  • A shut fan held to a woman’s heart meant the man had won her heart.
  • Fanning quickly meant a woman was engaged or in love.
  • Fanning slowly meant a woman was married

I am guessing that this woman and her fans had no problem communicating her intentions.


The kind of fan a woman owned was based on her social status ranging from one bought by street vendors or given away as advertisments


to those that were almost works of art - hand painted, mother of pearl, gold, precious jewels.



To educate yourself on the history of fans here are a few items to help you out:

The 18th Century: The Language of the Fans

Download for free a 311 page book "History of the Fan" by George Woolliscroft Rhead.

Article by Louisa Parr - "The Fan"
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 79, June to November 1889, pp 399-409

"The Fan Book" by Martin Percival

The History of the Fan

The Hand Fan Museum located in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California


All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.


23 May 2016

DAR Guidelines For Use of DNA in Applications For Membership

During the last panel discussion of Dear Myrtle's ESM QuickLessons Study Group there was mention of DNA and the DAR acceptance of using it in applications for membership.

I am totally clueless when it comes to DNA.  While for some genealogists it is a passion and has become their niche in the professional world, for others - not so much.  I think I have most of the basics down and have done tests for mtdna and autosomal, but that is as far as I have gone.

I felt bad, not being able to describe succinctly, DAR's position on the subject. So to redeem myself, here are the guidelines that DAR has in place for use of DNA in applications for membership straight from their public website :

Due to the 150-200 year time frame (approximately 6-8 generations) at which the most recent common ancestor can be statistically identified, DNA evidence can, in most cases, only be used as proof of the link from the Revolutionary War ancestor to his son.

Because the study of DNA for genealogy purposes is based on the interpretation of test results within the confines of the available traditional genealogy sources, DNA is considered to be indirect evidence of lineage. As with any other type of indirect evidence, DNA will only be considered as proof of lineage when direct evidence is not available. DNA evidence must also be supported by sufficient indirect evidence to conclusively identify the most recent common ancestor. An explanation detailing the efforts undertaken to locate direct evidence of the relationship must be included as part of the DNA submission. This explanation must also describe the indirect evidence that was located to support the identification of the most recent common ancestor.

Because Y-DNA is passed only through the male line, it’s important to note that only lineages that descend through the unbroken male line can be used as part of this process. The use of any DNA (including Y-DNA) for genealogical purpose requires the comparison of test results from multiple individuals representing multiple lineages. In order for this comparison process to work within the confines of current DAR standards for proof of lineage, at least two individuals must be tested: one to prove the new male line of descent from the patriot through which the applicant descends and one who descends through a male line of descent that has been previously established by the DAR through traditional, direct genealogical evidence. This process cannot currently be used as proof for recent generations (ie: the applicant’s father, grandfather or great-grandfather) or to establish a new patriot ancestor for whom no previous lineage as been established for comparison.

All submissions of DNA evidence must include DNA test results for at least two males that meet very specific criteria. The first male to be tested must be a close relative of the applicant who descends through the same unbroken male line from the Revolutionary War patriot. This male must share the applicant’s maiden name or her mother’s maiden name. Potential candidates for a lineage through the applicant’s maiden name could include her brother, father, father’s brother, paternal grandfather, and paternal grandfather’s brother; or for a lineage through the mother’s maiden name, her mother’s father, her mother’s brother, her mother’s brother’s son, etc.

The second male tested must be a descendant of the same Revolutionary War ancestor through a different, unbroken male lineage that has been previously proven on a DAR application or supplemental (ie: the father, brother or nephew (brother’s son) of a DAR member). The previously verified DAR application to which this second test subject connects must meet current DAR standards for proof of dates, places and relationships. If the previously verified application is deficient in any of these standards, additional documentation may be required.

Because the foundation of the use of Y-DNA as proof for lineage on a DAR application is the currently available statistical analysis of such test results, the DAR will only accept Y-DNA results that meet specific criteria for both the nature of the test and the results of the test. The DAR will only accept lineages for which a specific set of 37 markers have been tested and for which the results show an exact match between the two tested males on all 37 of those markers. In addition, the outlined lineages from both tested individuals must demonstrate that the most recent common ancestor was born within 150-200 years of the births of the tested individuals.

In addition to the DNA test results and supporting indirect evidence that meet the previously outlined criteria, the applicant must also submit the documentation to establish the complete lineage from herself to the patriot. All relationships, apart from the one link for which DNA is being submitted as proof, must be proven through direct evidence. No other analyses may be submitted as proof for any other relationship on the application form.  The applicant must then provide direct evidence of her relationship with the tested male in her lineage.

The applicant must also provide direct evidence of the relationship between the second tested male and the member for whom the other lineage from the Revolutionary War patriot has been previously verified. If the previously verified lineage does not meet current DAR standards for proof of dates, places or relationships, the applicant must submit the documentation required to fulfill those requirements.

In order to justify the statistical analysis concerning the relationships between these individuals, and to identify the most recent common ancestor, the dates (exact or estimated) and places of birth of both sons of the patriot must be documented using acceptable sources.

20 May 2016

A Most Unusual Genealogical Record


How many of you have family history recorded by an ancestor on a piece of furniture?  

I can cross this off my bucket list of "great records that only OTHER people seem to find."

The photo is of the bottom of a dresser drawer that my paternal grandmother - Myrtle Mae Borgstadter Beffort - wrote on to record the provenance of the dresser.  It also relates a bit of my lineage from my 3rd great grandparents to my great grandmother.

The photo above is the James and Angeline Solomon family.  They are shown seated on the porch.  Angeline is holding the youngest of their 12 children on her lap.  All of the children in the photo are theirs with the exception of the man standing on the far left.  He is a nephew of James and Angeline.  The woman standing between James and Angeline is Sarah Jane Solomon, my 2nd great grandmother.  

My grandmother wrote on the drawer that the family moved about the time of the Civil War.  Actually the family moved from Moultrie County, Illinois to Tescott, Ottawa County, Kansas about 1883.  The family group photo was taken on the front porch of their home in Tescott in 1884.

If the family knew what laid in store for them when they moved to Kansas, they might have never left Illinois.  James Solomon died one year after their arrival, just a month after this photo was taken.

In February 1885, the 13 year old daughter of James and Angeline died.

James' brother John Solomon had moved his wife and 10 children at the same time from Illinois to Kansas.  John's youngest son died in September 1885, his oldest son in November 1885 and then  John himself died a month later in December 1885.

A month later in January 1886, the oldest son of James Solomon died.

1887 there was one more death - my 3rd great grandmother Angeline Fulton Solomon.

All of these deaths were attributed to cholera.

In 1895, the home of my 2nd great grandparents Louis Besson and Sarah Solomon burned to the ground and their 5 year old son lost his life in that incident.

In 1896,  the two families went through another epidemic losing 7 family members to to cholera.  My 2nd great grandmother was one of those dying at the very young age of 27.

In the family photo above, they all appear to be well fed, well clothed and happy.  I find it so very tragic that these two families managed to raise almost all their children to young adults without incident.  Until they decided to move West for a better life.

15 May 2016

Family Lore - Are The Stories True?



I am a panelist in the ESM QuickLessons study group.  We are now at lesson #7.  All of my homework for the previous sessions are on Google Docs.  I decided to start posting my homework here on my blog so everyone has access to it and hopefully learn a thing or two.

I invite everyone to watch the weekly sessions that are the creation of Dear Myrtle who also moderates the discussions.  To watch archived videos of past sessions click HERE.  To watch the sessions live - Wednesdays at 9:00 am Pacific time - click HERE.

Sheri Fenley
Homework for 18 May 2016


Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 7: Family Lore and Indian Princesses,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-7-family-lore-and-indian-princesses : accessed 1 May 2016).



I have always wished for an ancestor that was famous or had been a part of an important historical event. I have come across many collateral relatives that had some great moments in time, but not my direct blood line – until I found a wonderful story about my 5th great grandfather Richard Thomas III.



The story told was that Richard was a minister of the Rockbridge Baptist Church in Bourbon County, Kentucky. The church was organized in 1793 and was one of the early “Primitive Baptist” churches of the Kentucky frontier. While out on a walk one day he came across the bones of Edward Boone, the brother of Daniel Boone. Apparently the spot was on a river bank and water had washed the soil away. Rev. Thomas took the remains and re-interred them in his church's cemetery.

That is a story that is so weird it might possibly be true. I thought it was worth the research time to find out.

After days of searching, I ended up in a maze of manuscripts called the Draper Collection. Here I found several references to the story:

Letter from Sarah Boone Hunter to Lyman Draper, October 6, 1855, Draper Mss 22C54-55

Nathan Boone, son of Daniel, reported on Edward’s death to Draper, Mss. 31C100-101

Letter to Lyman Draper from John Scholl, grandson of Edward and son of Peter Scholl and Mary Boone, daughter of Edward. Draper Mss. 22S269 & 270.

Daniel Bryan, son of William Bryan and Mary Boone, Draper Mss.31C101-102

Joshua Pennington, son of Edward’ sister Hannah, 1854 Draper Mss. 23C43

Information from the above tells this story:

The date is 6 October 1780, Daniel Boone and his brother Edward were returning from a hunting and salt making trip in the Blue Licks when they stopped at a creek to let their horses cool and graze. Daniel decided to go off and hunt while Edward stayed with the horses.

As Edward sat alone beneath a buckeye tree, a group of Shawnee warriors sneaked up and shot him. Hearing the shots, Daniel looked back in horror and saw the Indians standing over Edward’s dead body. Spotting Daniel off in the distance, the Indians released their dog. Daniel brought down the animal with a shot from his rifle and managed to escape back to Boone Station.

Edward’s daughter, Sarah Boone Hunter, in a letter to Lyman Draper, said:

"My father was killed 40 miles from the Station. He was stabbed in 7 places; his fingers were horribly cut with the Indian’s knife. He was scalped and part of his clothing were taken off. I think his coat and pantaloons."

In a newspaper article - "Circumstances Surrounding The Death And Burial Of Edward Boone, Brother Of Famed Frontier Explorer", by Edna Talbott Whitley, The Kentuckian-Citizen, December 12, 1958 - it tells us of over 30 men who went with Daniel Boone the day after his brother's death to bury his body on the site he was killed. Several of these men gave depositions to attest to this fact and can be found in the Draper Manuscripts.

But, the primary source document for Edward Boone’s reburial in the Rockbridge Graveyard is a written account taken by Lyman Draper himself. In an interview, held about 1851 in Columbia, Missouri, William T. Wilson, native of Bourbon County, Kentucky and son of Capt. Henry Wilson (my 5th great grandfather), described the event to Draper.

Wilson, according to Draper, was "long familiar" with the Boone Creek area. Wilson was in a position to know about Elder Thomas reburying Edward Boone. Wilson's brother, Lewis Wilson, married Elder Richard Thomas’s daughter, Sarah A. Thomas (Lewis Wilson and Sarah Anderson Thomas are my 4th great grandparents). This makes William T. Wilson either a primary source (an eye witness to the event) or a very credible secondary source.

In the interview, Wilson draws a plat locating the Rockbridge Baptist Church in relation to Boone Creek and described what happened:

"Millersburg, Ky is some 8 miles below the mouth of Boone’s Creek – a half mile yet higher up the creek to the spring where Edward Boone was buried. The Upper Blue Licks are about 15 miles from Boone’s Lick & the Lower Blue Licks about 20 miles distant. About 1827, the bones of Edward Boone became exposed to view where they were buried, in the road, by the washing of water, near the bank of the creek & close to the spring, & the Rev. Richard Thomas had them removed and re-interred a mile off in the Rockbridge Baptist Church Yard."



So the story is true, right? At the time, when I did the above research, I felt it was true.

Just a couple of months ago, I came across a couple of newspaper articles that now make me question my original thoughts. The first is an article entitled “Pioneer Grave” from the Bourbon News [Bourbon County, Kentucky] dated Tuesday June 29, 1897, page 4, column 3.



After reading this, and noticing that it makes no mention of the re-internment of the remains by Richard Thomas, I am not so sure about the story.

Then I come across this fairly recent article entitled “Descendants want to know where Ned Boone is buried” from the Corbin Times-Tribune [Knox County, Kentucky] dated Thursday November 25, 2004, page 6A, column 1.



It seems that the Boone Society thinks the story is true. I am guessing that they did research in the Draper Manuscripts like I did and came to the same conclusion – that the story is most likely true.

Richard Thomas III is my 5th great grandfather. I am very proud of this particular ancestor. Richard served in the Revolutionary War as a private in Captain Lytle's Company in Colonel William Taylor's North Carolina Regiment. He was discharged in June, 1778, at Valley Forge, after having served General George Washington himself. Richard's brother, General Philemon Thomas, was the commanding general who took Baton Rouge in the War of 1812.

Richard Thomas was born 19 October 1758 in Orange County, North Carolina to Richard Thomas II and Frances Hawkins. On 19 November 1794, Richard married Elizabeth Bowles, the daughter of Jesse Bowles and Hannah Perkins. I descend through their daughter Sarah Anderson Thomas who married Lewis Wilson.

Richard wrote an article for the "Western Citizen" on 30 April 1825 at the height of the controversy between the Old and New Court of Appeals.

Some Reflections of Affairs on the Present State of Government
by an Old Soldier of the Revolutionary War of 1776

I served four campaigns in that war, am now in the 66th year of my age and have nothing to fear on my own account - yet my sympathies are engaged for my children, my brethren, and my country. Every energy of my mind runs out in desire that minorities and majorities shall possess equal rights, that no power shall rest in the hands of a majority to trample on the rights of any. That power lodged anywhere to trample the rights of others is tyranny. I have conscientiously expressed my belief as to where the master spirits of the store are endeavoring to bring us in the following sheets: To establish Tyranny among us and destroy our present Republican Government and believing that there are thousands now led astray, who are honest and firm republicans in heart I entreat you for your own sakes, and that of your children, reflect before it is too late. With the warmest feelings and sincere wishes for the prosperity of my country I remain a sincere friend to equal liberty and rights.

The Draper Manuscripts are a 491 volume collection of letters, genealogical and historical notes, land records, newspaper clippings, and interview notes pertaining to the frontier history and settlement of the old Northwest and Southwest Territories of the United States from the 1740s to 1830.

491 volumes divided into 50 series of varying lengths. Each series is titled by a geographic area, by a subject, or by the name of a prominent frontier leader:

A George Bedinger Papers Vo. 1
B Draper's Life of Boone Vol. 1-5, 7-9
C Boone Papers Vol. 1-6, 10-33
D Border Forays Vol. 1-5
E Brady and Wetzel Papers Vol. 1-16
F Joseph Brant papers Vol. 1-22
G Brant Miscellanies Vol. 1-3
H Daniel Broadhead Papers Vol. 1-3
J George Rogers Clark Papers Vol. 1-64
K George Rogers Clark Misc….. Vol. 1-5
L Jonathan Clark Papers Vol. 1-2
M William Clark Papers Vol. 1-6
N William Croghan Papers Vol. 1-3
O Daniel Drake Paper Vol. 1-2
P Draper's Biographical Sketches Vol. 1-3
Q Draper's Historical Misc… Vol. 1-8
R Draper's Memoranda Books Vol. 1-3
S Draper's Notes Vol. 1-33
T Thomas Forsyth Papers Vol. 1-9
U Frontier Wars Papers Vol. 1-24
V Georgia, Alabama & So. Carolina Papers Vol. 1
W Josiah Harmar Papers Vol. 1-2
X William Henry Harrison Vol. 1-5
Y Thomas S. Hinde Papers Vol. 1-41
Z Illinois Papers Vol. 1
AA William Irving Papers Vol. 1-2
BB Simon Kenton Papers Vol. 1-13
CC Kentucky Papers Vol. 1-36
DD Kings Mountain Papers Vol. 1-18
EE London Documents At Albany Vol. 1
FF Mecklenburg Declaration, By Draper Vol. 1-3
GG Mecklenburg Declaration Papers Vol. 1-3
HH Mecklenburg Declaration Misc….. Vol. 1-2
JJ Newspaper Extracts Vol. 1-4
KK North Carolina Papers Vol. 1
LL Paris Documents at Albany Vol. 1
MM Robert Paterson Papers Vol. 1-3
NN Pittsburg and Northwest Virginia Papers Vol. 1-10
OO Pension Statements Vol. 1
PP Potter Papers Vol. 1
QQ William Preston Papers Vol. 1-6
RR Rudolph-Noy Papers Vol. 1-10
SS David Shepherd Papers Vol. 1-5
TT South Carolina Papers Vol. 1
UU South Carolina In The Revolution Misc…… Vol. 1-2
VV Thomas Sumter Papers Vol. 1-24
WW John Cleves Symmes Papers Vol. 1-4
XX Tennessee Papers Vol. 1-7
YY Tecumseh Papers Vol. 1-13
ZZ Virginia Papers Vol. 1-16


For further information on the Draper Manuscript Collection, the following links are ones I found to be very useful:





At Internet Archive - www.archive.org - there are 51 books (some are indexes of some of the volumes) about the Draper Manuscripts.