The Will of Robert G. Stephens, Drawn 1879, Probated 1881

I mentioned in an earlier post that Robert G. Stephens may not have held his son-in-law, J. A. C. Ruffner, in the highest regard. Now you can judge the evidence for yourself. Shortly after Robert’s death in early 1881, James and Hulda (nee Stephen…

I mentioned in an earlier post that Robert G. Stephens may not have held his son-in-law, J. A. C. Ruffner, in the highest regard.  Now you can judge the evidence for yourself.

Shortly after Robert’s death in early 1881, James and Hulda (nee Stephens) Ruffner filed an objection to Robert’s will, alleging that he was under undue unfluence and duress when he signed it in 1879.  They requested a court trial to determine the facts. Six months later, they withdrew their objection, in consideration of valuable (unspecified) consideration paid by the named executors, and the will was probated. (1)  Next research step – check the court records in Indiana County to determine if a trial, in fact, took place. Continue reading “The Will of Robert G. Stephens, Drawn 1879, Probated 1881”

To the Other Side –> The 1779 Will of Thomas Odel

This is the earliest document located so far on the Odell side of the tree. And, look, only one “L”! Imagine having to say that’s “small “d”, no apostrophe and only one “L”….Of course, correct spelling was not emphasized in those days, when many…

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This is the earliest document located so far on the Odell side of the tree.  And, look, only one “L”!  Imagine having to say that’s “small “d”, no apostrophe and only one “L”….Of course, correct spelling was not emphasized in those days, when many could not read or write.  Obviously, Thomas could read and write.  That’s an image of his signature above.

A resident of Stratham, Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Thomas also owned property in five other towns.  He died in 1781. Continue reading “To the Other Side –> The 1779 Will of Thomas Odel”

You might find a chart helpful

This pedigree chart (and by that, I don’t mean “high- falutin’ “) may make the posts easier to follow….. If anyone would like a copy of their own chart — as it stands now – let me know!

Mr_pedigree_chart

This pedigree chart (and by that, I don’t mean “high- falutin’ “) may make the posts easier to follow…..

If anyone would like a copy of their own chart — as it stands now – let me know!

 

April 6, 1852

Today was Day 2 of the 6th Annual Genealogy Fair at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. I decided at the last minute to attend yesterday and had such a great time that I decided to return today. One reason was that, between attending topical…

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Today was Day 2 of  the 6th Annual Genealogy Fair at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  I decided at the last minute to attend yesterday and had such a great time that I decided to return today.  One reason was that, between attending topical sessions, I had a chance to confer again with the two archivists most familiar with Record Group 21 – the records of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Last fall and then again in January, I had reviewed some of the probate records for Levin Dukes, Sarah Dukes’  father, who died without a will in Georgetown in 1866.  I looked at inventories, vouchers, accounts, advertisements for property sales  as I tried to piece together the story of Sarah and her siblings’ guardians, first, their stepmother, and  then a neighbor from Georgetown. More on that later. 

Continue reading “April 6, 1852”

A Tale of Two Farmers in 1860

Robert Garrett Stephens (1804-1881) and Edward Haney Ruffner (1820-1908) were both farmers in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. On August 8, 1871, Robert’s youngest offspring of twelve, Hulda Stephens, married Edward’s oldest offspring, James Alexande…

Robert Garrett Stephens (1804-1881) and Edward Haney Ruffner (1820-1908) were both farmers in Indiana County, Pennsylvania.  On August 8, 1871, Robert’s youngest offspring of twelve, Hulda Stephens, married Edward’s oldest offspring, James Alexander Chapman Ruffner, linking the two families. (1)  We get some hint from Robert’s will probated in 1881 that he did not regard Hulda’s husband James as positively as his other sons-in-law. (2)  And later events will justify his trepidation. [No footnote here; that story stands on its own!] 

We have a comparative snapshot of the two future in-laws in 1860, thanks to Non-population Census Schedules, in this case the Agricultural Schedules. (3) The next research step will be to obtain the 1870 values and see how their relative fortunes unfolded in the decade that led up to the marriage of Hulda and James. Continue reading “A Tale of Two Farmers in 1860”

Rev. Hezekiah Best Quilt

Rev. Hezekiah Best served as chaplain of the interdenominational Seaman’s Bethel Union Church in Baltimore from 1844 until 1847. (1) When he left, he was presented with a Baltimore album quilt stitched by members of the congregation. Baltimore alb…

Rev. Hezekiah Best served as chaplain of the interdenominational Seaman’s Bethel Union Church in Baltimore from 1844 until 1847. (1)  When he left, he was presented with a Baltimore album quilt stitched by members of the congregation. 

Baltimore album quilts were unique to Maryland and made between the mid 1840s and mid 1860s.  The permanent home of this quilt is Lovely Lane Museum & Archives but it was included in an exhibit at the Maryland Historical Society in 2004.  You can visit the online exhibit here:

http://www.mdhs.org/QuiltPrj/quilthom.html

Where’s the story, you ask? 

On January 19th, 1847, Rev. Hezekiah Best married sea captain Levin Dukes and Susan Tagret/Taggart, parents of Sarah Dukes, most likely in the recently completed structure on Aliceanna Street in Fells Point. (2)  One of the squares of the quilt depicts the facade of the church building.  That’s as close as we are going to get to a picture of the church where our ancestors got married in the very same year that they married.

That’s the story.  And here’s the square and the entire quilt, as well.  The images are from a set of notecards being sold at Lovely Lane.  Let me know if you want a set!  Or contact Lovely Lane directly by emailing  lovlnmus@cavtel.net.

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(1)  Schell, Edwin. “Preacher’s Collection.” Card File. Lovely Lane Museum & Archives (Baltimore, Maryland).

(2) “Married,” The (Baltimore) Sun, 23 January 1847, p. 2, col. 4.

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Darnestown Presbyterian Church

Darnestown Presbyterian Church, founded in 1855, in Montgomery County, Maryland, is where I reckon Lemuel Offutt (great grandfather) met Sarah Dukes (great grandmother.) Their names are only a few pages apart in the church records; he was baptized…

Darnestown Presbyterian Church, founded in 1855, in Montgomery County, Maryland, is where I reckon Lemuel Offutt (great grandfather) met Sarah Dukes (great grandmother.) Their names are only a few pages apart in the church records; he was baptized as an adult on January 1, 1871 and she joined the church on June 7, 1873.(1)

In the cemetery are many Offutts, as well as J. T. Kelley,  guardian to Sarah and her siblings after their father’s death, and Andrew Small,  a Scottish immigrant, who founded an academy that Lemuel attended and where he may have taught school for a while before studying medicine.

I’ve posted a few of the photos I took – the markers for Lemuel’s mother Mary, and his sisters Ella and Rose, one of the old church building and “Offutt Row.”  Rose died at the age of 19 in 1870; she was Lemuel’s older sister by only a year.  It may have been right after her death that that he took up his medical studies.  And of course he named his first daughter Mary Ella. Big name recyclers – those Offutts.

Here’s a link to the church website.  Click on About, then Our History to learn more:

http://www.darnestownpc.org/

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(1) Darnestown Presbyterian Church (Darnestown, Maryland). Register of Pastors, Members, Baptisms and Marriages, Book 1. Montgomery County Historical Society (Rockville, Maryland) Manuscript Collection, Folder 1. Photocopy.

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