Putting the Wright Name with Faces

I have many – mostly small – family photographs that are unlabelled, and beyond that, not even associated with a particular side of the family. I’ve already commented on my “provenance” challenges. But the pictures of this couple were di…

I have many – mostly small – family photographs that are unlabeled, and beyond that, not even associated with a particular side of the family.  I’ve already commented on my “provenance” challenges.  But the pictures of this couple were different — fairly new reproductions on Kodak paper sitting among tintypes and daguerreotypes.  But I still didn’t know who they were.

Joseph_wrightRachel_hamilton_wright

 

I wasn’t even looking for them when I took aim at one of the holes on my pedigree chart.  Cora Walling’s mother was named Louisa and most of  what I knew about her was uncovered by Elise when she interviewed Mom while working on a 5th grade school project.  Continue reading “Putting the Wright Name with Faces”

Finding James Offutt (and much much more)

One of the first posts in Family Epic was about my visit to Darnestown Presbyterian Church and Cemetery – many Offutts are there, the family of our father’s mother. But the patriarch, James Offutt (1803-1857), is not among them. Resources consulte…

One of the first posts in Family Epic was about my visit to Darnestown Presbyterian Church and Cemetery – many Offutts are there, the family of our father’s mother. But the patriarch, James Offutt (1803-1857), is not among them.  Resources consulted at the Montgomery County Historical Society and online identified the location of his grave and those of two young daughters at a private home nearby. (1)  James’ son from his first marriage and half-brother to Lemuel,  James Howard Offutt (our 2nd great uncle), lived on the property until his death in 1935 – a span of over 90 years of Offutt ownership. I contacted the current owners by letter and asked if I could come for a visit – and was rewarded by a most welcoming and generous phone call. Continue reading “Finding James Offutt (and much much more)”

Cora (Walling) Baker Walling, The Conclusion (for now)

In a previous post, I shared pictures of the Baker family that our great grandmother, Cora (Walling) Baker Walling, kept for the rest of her life – even though her marriage to Jesse W. Baker ended with his death within three years. There’s another…

In a previous post, I shared pictures of the Baker family that our great grandmother, Cora (Walling) Baker Walling, kept for the rest of her life – even though her marriage to Jesse W. Baker ended with his death within three years.

There’s another piece of physical evidence — an ivory diary typical of the period. Among many early mistakes I made in family history endeavors was not keeping track of provenance, which is just a fancy way of recording who-in-the-heck-gave-me-this.  But my sense was always that that the diary and the Baker family pictures were a package. Unfortunately, there’s no one left now to verify that. [Let that be a lesson to you all.]   There are several pictures of the diary below – one closed and one open.  There is also a picture of young Cora – about the time her courtship began. Continue reading “Cora (Walling) Baker Walling, The Conclusion (for now)”

A Tale of Two Farmers — and then there’s Texas….

In a previous post, I compared the relative 1860 fortunes of two ancestral farmers in Indiana County, Pennsylvania – Edward Haney Ruffner and Robert Garrett Stephens. Their offspring, James and Hulda, respectively, married in 1870. On Thursday, I …

In a previous post, I compared the relative 1860 fortunes of two ancestral farmers in Indiana County, Pennsylvania – Edward Haney Ruffner and Robert Garrett Stephens.  Their offspring, James and Hulda, respectively, married in 1870.  On Thursday, I took a look at the 1870 agricultural schedules and the values were relatively unchanged. Ruffner still owned more property but Stephens valued his at a higher dollar figure. Stephens had more livestock and grew more wheat but Ruffner grew more oats, produced more butter and more wool. (1)

But a dramatic contrast is revealed when the lens moves south.  On the Texas side of the family, our great grandmother, Cora Walling married into the Baker family in the early 1870s but was widowed within just a few years.  Jack, and his older brother, Jesse, Cora’s future husband, were living in the same household in 1870, both farming land owned by Jack. (2) But the Bakers were more than just farmers.  Isaac Baker, born in Alabama and the father of both Jack and Jesse, was one of the earliest settlers of what was later to be named Plantersville in Grimes County, Texas.  He began building a 2,840 acre plantation named Cedars in 1843 and opened the first general store with his sons in the 1850s. (3)  I decided to return to 1860 and gather data for the Bakers.  Continue reading “A Tale of Two Farmers — and then there’s Texas….”

Cora (Walling) Baker Walling, Part I

We always knew that our grandmother’s mother, Cora Walling, married young to a “much older man” named Baker and was widowed before she married her cousin, James A. Walling. Cora and James had a family of four girls, the youngest of whom was our gr…

We always knew that our grandmother’s mother, Cora Walling, married young to a “much older man” named Baker and was widowed before she married her cousin, James A. Walling.  Cora and James had a family of four girls, the youngest of whom was our grandmother Amy.  The family group photograph is wonderful (see below.)   Cora died in 1912 – when Amy was only 14 – and James later remarried. (1) 

For some reason, I thought of the marriage to Mr. Baker as an unpleasant period of Cora’s life, and her later marriage to James as her happily- ever-after life.  However, the physical evidence suggests a more complicated interpretation. Continue reading “Cora (Walling) Baker Walling, Part I”

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…

Thomas_odel_signature_sm

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…

Margaret_dukes_guardianship_bo

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”