I’M A SLAVE TO YOUR NEUROSIS (opinion)

•May 11, 2016 • Comments Off on I’M A SLAVE TO YOUR NEUROSIS (opinion)

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SHE’LL BE COMIN’ AROUND THE MOUNTAIN BUT MIGHT NEVER COMPLETE THE TRIP (THE PAGE FAMILY) PART II

I invite readers who are interested in the family of Google founder Larry Page to read the next two columns.  The facts are correct.  The sources I used are impeccable.

It’s not defamation if it’s true.

Allow me to present a hypothetical:

When you are in business (or politics), you want to know everything you can about a competitor.  Competition is fierce.  Anything that might give you an edge is important.  So Company A has a complete work-up on Company B and the people running Company B.  Company A will fact check anything they have on Company B to make sure it’s true.  Because if it isn’t true it would be embarrassing.  And that could be very costly.  So whatever there is to know about Company B, Company A has in a file somewhere.

Like:

The Donald has a file on The Hill, and The Hill has a file on The Donald.  The Donald wants to know everything there is to know about The Hill, and vice versa.

And probably some religious organizations do it, too.

You just want to know who you’re dealing with.  Makes sense.  Right?

It isn’t illegal.  It’s prudent.

Frankly, I’d be happy to have Bettie Page in my family.  She was creative.  I’ve seen stuff far more graphic in music videos on YouTube.

Lawcie (Chipman) Mason’s Epistle to a Niece / THE TENNESSEE ANCESTRY OF GOOGLE FOUNDER LARRY PAGE AND HIS KINSHIP WITH PIN-UP ICON BETTIE PAGE (with charts & photos) / The Email Trail (looking for an image)

•May 15, 2016 • Comments Off on Lawcie (Chipman) Mason’s Epistle to a Niece / THE TENNESSEE ANCESTRY OF GOOGLE FOUNDER LARRY PAGE AND HIS KINSHIP WITH PIN-UP ICON BETTIE PAGE (with charts & photos) / The Email Trail (looking for an image)

(Left to Right:  Lawcie Idella Chipman, Beecher Edgar Chipman, Jewell Vester Chipman; ca. 1909.)

Revised Mar. 23, 2016

Fine, Sidney.  (1969).  Sit-Down The General Motors Strike of 1936–1937.  Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Sidney Fine was Professor of History at the University of Michigan.  He was also the author of a book about the Detroit riots of 1967.

While going through my files, I found something of which I was unaware:  a copy of a letter from Lawcie Idella (Chipman) Mason to Beverly Ann Page, written ca. 1983.  It gives information on branches of the family on which I have nothing, so I transcribed part of it, with notes and corrections:

“Allie Oxley—James Edward Chipman

5 children were born

3 boys and two girls

Jewel [sic] Vester Chipman married Ruby Bohannon — 2 daughters (a) were born.  Ruby died and he married again.

(Jewell Vester Chipman, 2 Jul 1988, Paragould, AR.)

Beecher Edgar Chipman married Winfred Bailey — one son, Ralph (b).  Then he married Essie Hyde (c) and I don’t know much about how many children were born to them (d) — Beecher is deceased.

(Beecher Edgar Chipman, 1931.)

(Essie Lee Hyatt, ca. 1931.)

(Joyce Elaine Chipman, ca. 1948.)

(Dixie Lee Chipman, 1942.)

Winford Chipman (e) married Ada Hill and had to [sic] sons, Carl & David.  Ada is deceased too.

[Here’s a rare photo.  Left to Right:  Jewell Vester Chipman, Lawcie Idella (Chipman) Mason, Pauline Aquilla (Chipman) Page Moffitt, Winford William Chipman.  Pauline died in 1983, so this must date to the late 1970s or early 1980s.  Beecher was unavoidably detained elsewhere in the Cosmos.]

Lawcie Chipman married Arvil Mason and had seven children, one girl who died at age 16 months.

1.  James Lee Mason [&] Ester Boyd } 2 sons and 3 grandchildren

2.  Harold Mason [&] Jo Metheny } 3 children

3.  Paul Mason [&] Berneita Neely } 3 children and 3 grandchildren

4.  Don Mason — never married

5.  Virginia Nell Mason [&] Joe Mabry } 2 sons and 2 grandchildren

6.  Shirley Mason [&] Jake Manley — divorced about 17 or 18 years go — has 3 children and four grandchildren.

and then your Mother.” (f)

NOTES:

(a)  Jean and June.

(b)  Another son named Donald died in infancy.

(c)  Essie’s maiden name was actually Hyatt.

(d)  Two daughters:  Joyce and Dixie.

(e) This is one of the few photos I have of Winford William “Winnie” Chipman (1910–1999).  He m. Ada Hill on 1 Jan 1933 in Greene Co., AR.

(f)  Pauline Aquilla Chipman (1916–1983), m. (1) 20 Mar 1936 Carl Davis Page, b. 13 Apr 1905, d. 8 Aug 1963, two children:  Carl Victor Page, Beverly Ann Page; m. (2) 24 May 1968 James Moffitt, no issue.  (See article next.)

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Charts Illustrating The Relationship Between Lawrence Edward Page And Bettie Mae Page

I.

(1) Reputed father of Henry Horace Page.  Larry Page and I share a common ancestor in James Edward Chipman.

II.

(2) Reputed father of Walter Roy Page.

Larry Page and Bettie Page are 2nd cousins once-removed because they are of unequal generations from their common ancestors Jefferson Davis Pardue and Mary Elizabeth McCaig.  I haven’t examined the ancestry of Gloria Weinstein and Edna Mae Pirtle.

[Mary Elizabeth McCaig (1849–1926), wife of Jefferson Davis Pardue and common ancestor of Larry Page and Bettie Page, holding grandson Carl Davis Page.  Notes made by Beverly Ann Page.  Software effected little improvement.  Photo sourced from the Ancestry.com website.]

Above: This photo, of the Page Family reunion held at Union City, Obion Co., TN ca. 1909, and the accompanying notes, were also sourced from Ancestry.com.  In the 3rd row R, the boy standing up is Carl Davis Page.  To the L in the dark suit and light tie is his father, Henry Horace Page.  The woman holding a baby next to Henry Horace Page is Emily Corilla (Pardue) Page, mother of Walter Roy Page.  Walter Roy Page, father of Bettie Page,  is at the other end of the 3rd row, standing to the L of the man in the dark suit and dark tie.  In the 2nd row in front of Henry Horace Page is his wife, the mother of Carl Davis Page, Ann Drucilla (Pardue) Page, who’s holding Mary Emma Page.  Toward the center, in a dark skirt and black choker, with her hand resting on a child, is Mary Elizabeth (McCaig) (Pardue) Winston. 

Identifications of subjects made from the above notes.  Notes were referenced from perspective of subjects.  What the notes indicate as L–R is actually R–L from the perspective of the viewer of the photo. So from the corrected perspective of one looking at the photo, L to R, the notes should read:

1st Row: Raymond Coates, J.D. (held by his mother Pearl Coates), Leona Coates, Harold (Corilla’s son accidentally killed by Vernon Page), Marian (held by her mother, Idella), Mary Emma Page (on her mother’s lap), Luther Page, Norman Page

2nd Row: Cecil Coates, Pearl Coates, Mary Coates (Pearl’s oldest), Mary Elizabeth McCaig Pardue Winston, Inez Coates, Idella –, Drucilla Page, Henry Ellis Page, Vernon Page

3rd Row: Roy Page, Ed Coates, Artie Pardue, Mary Pardue (holding Albert Buster Pardue), Corilla Page (holding ?), Henry Horace Page, and Carl Davis Page.

  (Whew! Click on images to enlarge.)

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THE TENNESSEE ANCESTRY OF GOOGLE FOUNDER LARRY PAGE

We begin this column with the marriage license of Carl Davis Page and Pauline Aquilla Chipman, of Flint, MI, solemnized on 21 Mar 1936—the grandparents of Google Founder Larry Page (Lawrence Edward Page).  The clerk who typed the license had a problem with the name of Carl’s mother, calling her “Drucilla Prucilo.”  The clerk may have thought Carl’s mother was Italian.  My grandfather Beecher Chipman was a witness.  The marriage was also witnessed by Mrs. C.K. (Jessie) Williams, in whose home Beecher Edgar Chipman and Carl Davis Page had been boarders.   At the time of her marriage, Pauline was living with Beecher on E. Foss Ave.  As the nuptials approached, the void her departure would create must have weighed upon Beecher.  Nonetheless, having (carefully) pointed out her many good qualities to Carl, when love bloomed, as a gentleman Beecher stepped aside and welcomed Carl into the family.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

(Resistance is futile:  Pauline Aquilla Chipman with creepy doll, ca. 1918.)

(Pauline Aquilla Chipman, ca. 1920.)

(Pauline Aquilla Chipman, ca. 1931.)

image0

(Senath High School record, Pauline Aquilla Chipman.  Click on image to enlarge.)

(Detail of 1930 Genesee Co., MI Federal Census, Flint City, ED 25-39, SD 10, Sheet 22B.  3rd from top is Aileen Page, sister of Carl Davis Page.  Carl Davis Page is 5th from top.  6th from top is Carl’s brother Luther Page, who’s followed by Beecher Edgar Chipman.  This is the first record I have for Carl Davis Page in Flint.  The residence was a boarding house on Glenwood Ave.  Click on image to enlarge.)

[Detail from 1940 Flint, MI Federal Census, Ward 8, p. 7B, Carl Davis Page family.  Carl V. Page (Carl Victor Page) age 1 is the father of Larry Page.  Click on image to enlarge.]

The following series of R.L. Polk Flint city directory entries for Carl Davis Page give some insight into factory jobs in the auto industry.  The entries carry different job titles which appear to be lateral positions.

ScreenHunter_126 Feb. 14 13.12

(1937: 611 Atwood.  Inspector, Chevrolet.)

(1941:  719 Bryan Place.  Machine operator, Chevrolet.)

ScreenHunter_127 Feb. 14 13.13

(1942:  1024 W. Parkwood Ave.  Factory worker, Buick.)

Note that in 1937, 1941, and 1942 Carl Davis Page resided at different addresses.  Workers living in GM owned housing were shuffled from building to building.  Individuals known to be working for GM can be absent from city directories as sometimes families didn’t reside within Flint city limits.  Clio, a suburb of Flint, also attracted autoworkers.

“Flint grew like a mining camp, without design, without planning….  The incoming thousands overtaxed Flint’s limited housing supply, and some workers were compelled to live for a time in tar-paper shacks, tents, and even railroad cars.  The same lodging rooms were rented to night-shift workers for the day and to day-shift workers for the night.  GM felt constrained to enter the home construction business in 1919, and through the Modern Housing Corporation it had built thirty-two hundred homes for its Flint workers by 1933.

“[The] city ‘never provided’ enough personnel, funds, or services to meet its health problems.  Among twenty-two cities of from 100,000 to 250,000 population in 1934 Flint ranked nineteenth in the infant death rate and the death of children from diarrhea and enteritis, seventeenth in maternal deaths, in a tie for thirteenth and fourteenth place in typhoid-fever death rate, thirteenth in the diptheria death rate, and tenth in the tuberculosis death rate.

“A large proportion of the workers who were lured to the city by automobile jobs and the high wages that GM paid were from rural backgrounds, and many of them reacted unfavorably to the industrial discipline imposed by the factory.

“Of Flint’s 128,617 native-born whites in 1930, 64.8 percent (83,290) had been born in Michigan and only about 30 percent in Flint itself….  The overwhelming proportion of Flint’s Southerners were drawn from the Central South, from Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee:  about 10 percent (12,818) of Flint’s native-born white population derived from these four states, and sections of the city had come to be known as ‘Little Missouri.'”

[Fine (1969), pp. 102–103.]

My grandmother Jewel Winifred (Bailey) Chipman and her first son Donald both died in Flint in 1929.  The close proximity of families to one another facilitated the spread of disease.  The Baileys must have harbored some bitterness against my grandfather Beecher Edgar Chipman for taking her to such an inhospitable place.

(Delayed Birth Certificate of Carl Davis Page, listing his parents as Henry Horace Page and Drucilla Pardue.  Her name is also spelled “Perdue.”  I’ll use the spelling “Pardue” throughout.  Delayed Birth Certificates were filed so that those who were born prior to the legal requirement for Birth Certificates could register for Social Security.  Like many people in the South, Carl’s mother was known by her middle name, in this instance “Drucilla.”  Her first name was “Annie.”  Click on image to enlarge.)

[Parents of Henry Horace Page and his brothers John Benton Page and James H. Page:  detail above is from the 1880 Hickman Co., KY Federal Census, Moscow, District 5, p. 3, SD 1, ED 114.  J.D. (John) Page and wife Emily C. have been confused with their son John Benton Page and wife Emily Corilla Pardue.  John D. Page was a shoemaker whose parents were born in VA.  This is as far back as I’ll document this pedigree.]

(Marriage record dated 8 Jul 1872 in Obion Co., TN for John D. Page and Emily C. Sullivan.  Click on image to enlarge.)

 (Henry Horace Page and wife Annie Drucilla Pardue are buried at Cotton Grove Baptist church cemetery in Madison Co., TN.)

[Death Certificate filed in TN for Henry Horace Page.  Informant was Emily Corilla (Pardue) Page, sister-in-law of Henry Horace Page.  The 1920 and 1930 Federal Census for Madison Co., TN shows Henry Horace Page was renting a farm.  Here we have an odd situation, and it’s not the only one for this Page family:  according to his tombstone and Death Certificate, Henry Horace Page was b. in 1871, yet his parents wed on 8 Jul 1872.  On his Death Certificate his mother is listed as Emily Sullivan.  She was. b. May 1834.  Emily’s last child was James H. Page, b. Mar 1878, when Emily was aged 44.  Biologically there’s no problem with Emily as the mother of Henry Horace Page, John Benton Page, and James H. Page.  John D. Page and Emily C. Sullivan had married after the birth of Henry Horace Page, but any explanation is speculation.  In this case, and in the case of John Benton Page and Emily Corilla Pardue (below), the men accepted these children as their own.  Click on image to enlarge.]

[Death Certificate filed in TN for Annie Drucilla (Pardue) Page.  Informant was Luther J. Page, brother of Carl Davis Page.  She was b. 5 Dec 1876 at Madison Co., TN, d. 17 Feb 1948 at Jackson, Madison Co., TN.  Spouse listed as Henry Horace Page.  Parents are Jeff Pardue and Bettie Mccaig.  Henry Horace Page m. Annie Drucilla Pardue on 10 Apr 1898 in Obion Co., TN.  Click on image to enlarge.]

[Tombstone of Emily Corilla (Pardue) Page, twin sister of Annie Drucilla (Pardue) Page.  Emily is also buried at Cotton Grove Baptist church cemetery.  She m. John Benton Page, brother of Henry Horace Page, on 10 Dec 1898 in Obion Co., TN.  According to her death certificate filed in TN, Emily C. (Pardue) Page was b. 5 Dec 1876 at Madison Co., TN, d. 23 Dec 1948 at Nashville, Davidson Co. TN.  Parents are listed as J.F. Pardue and Elizabeth.  The family of J.D. (Jefferson Davis) Pardue (age 31) is found in the 1880 Madison Co., TN Federal Census on pp. 2–3, SD5, ED 98 with wife Mary E. (age 31), and children Otis R. (age 6), Bessie P. (age 5), Emily C. (age 4), Ann D. (age 4), and George (age 7 months).  Wife “Mary .E.” stands for “Mary Elizabeth.”  Entry is found on bottom of one page and top of next.  Carl Davis Page inherited his middle name from his maternal grandfather Jefferson Davis Pardue.]

(Marriage record dated 19 Dec 1872 in Madison Co., TN for Jefferson Davis Pardue and Mary Elizabeth “Bettie” McCaig.  Click on image to enlarge.)

[Death certificate of Mary Elizabeth (McCaig) (Pardue) Winston, daughter of Daniel McCaig and Eliza Raid.  Her second husband was James M. Winston.  Click on image to enlarge.]

Larry Page and pin-up icon Bettie Page share common ancestors in Jefferson Davis Pardue and wife Betty McCaig, who were Larry Page’s 2nd great-grandparents and Bettie Page’s great-grandparents, making Larry Page and Bettie Page 2nd Cousins-Once Removed.

[Detail of 1900 Obion Co., TN, Union City Federal Census, District 13, SD 9, ED 109, Sheet 10.  Family of John Benton Page with wife Emily Corilla Pardue and sons Walter and Aubon.  Living next door is Emily C. (Sullivan) Page, John’s mother, and his brother James.]

(WWI Draft Registration Card for John Benton Page.  On 12 Sep 1918 the Registrar reported that Page had blue eyes, light hair, and his right eye was out.  The birth date of 20 Sep is the same on the Registration Card and the death certificate, but the birth year is 1874 on the Registration Card and 1875 on the death certificate.)

JOHN BENTON PAGE DEATH CERT

 [According to his death certificate filed in TN, “Jno. Page” (John Benton Page) was b. 20 Sep 1875 in TN, and d. 23 Oct 1918 at Union City, Obion Co., TN. Parents listed as Jno. D. Page and Emily Sullivan.  John Benton Page’s occupation was “Painter & Paper Hanger.”  Informant was Henry Horace Page, then residing at Union City, TN, brother of John Benton Page.  John Benton Page survived a little over 5 weeks after he registered for the draft and was buried at East View cemetery in Union City, TN.  Cemetery is still in existence.  Click on image to enlarge.]

[Death Certificate filed in TN for Emily Corilla (Pardue) Page.  Informant was Walter Roy Page.  Click on image to enlarge.]

(Tombstone of Walter Roy Page, 19 Apr 1896—20 Jan 1964, WWI veteran, located at Nashville National Cemetery in Nashville, Davidson Co., TN.)

My goal here is to situate Bettie Mae Page, known professionally as Bettie Page, within her family context.  Her father Walter Roy Page was b. on 19 Apr 1896, more than two years prior to the marriage of his alleged father John Benton Page and his biological mother Emily Corilla Pardue, who, as noted above, were m. on 10 Dec 1898 in Obion Co., TN. In that era being born out of wedlock carried stigma, and his instability as an adult may be partly attributed to the circumstances of his birth. In the complete 1900 census record I viewed, John and Emily claimed to have been married for 5 years, Emily said she was the mother of 2 children, both living, and John said both Walter and Aubon were his sons. 

Walter Roy Page enlisted in the Army on 22 Jan 1917.  On 22 Jan 1920 he was a Private stationed at Camp Travis, Bexar Co., TX, and was released on 5 Jul 1920.  On 17 Oct 1920 in Madison Co., TN he m. Edna Pirtle.  Walter Roy Page’s stormy marriage to Edna Mae Pirtle was exacerbated by poverty which led to his incarceration in Georgia for the theft of a police car.  In the 1938 Nashville, TN city directory, Edna Page was living at 436 6th Ave N, and reported herself as the widow of Roy, who actually died in 1964.  The Social Security Death Index indicates at some point he was assigned SSN # 410-22-9956.

(Photo of Walter Roy Page, father of Bettie Page.  His service in WWI was the high point of his troubled life.)

(Obituary of Walter Roy Page from “The Tennessean,” Nashville, TN, of Tuesday, 21 Jan 1964, p. 19, which confirms his birth date as prior to the marriage of John Benton Page and Emily Corilla Pardue.)

(To solve the mystery of Walter Roy Page, I consulted the 1910 Obion Co., TN Federal Census, Union City, 13th District, SD 9, ED 125, Sheet 9B. The two brothers Henry Horace Page and John Benton Page are living next door to one another.  Carl Davis Page is Henry and Drucilla’s third child.  Henry was working in a stable, taking care of horses parked there when their owners visited Union City.  John Benton Page and wife Corilla have changed their story: they now say they’ve been married 11 years, so the marriage date of 10 Dec 1898 is correct.  John and Corilla lied about having wed in 1895 to make it appear they were married when Walter Roy Page was born.  “Aubon” the son has become “Mary” the daughter.  Corilla stated she was the mother of 4 children, all of whom were living.  John said all of them are his.  As noted above, the explanation for this discrepancy is unclear.  But even if Walter Roy Page was not the son of John Benton Page, but only the son of Emily Corilla Pardue, Larry Page would still be a 2nd Cousin-Once Removed with Bettie Page, and he does share a common descent with the other children of John Benton Page through Emily C. Sullivan.)

[Snapshot of a celebrity:  detail above from the 1940 Nashville, Davidson Co., TN Federal Census, SD 5, ED 99–186, Sheet 10B.  “Betty Mai Page” is third from top, shown here with her mother Edna Mae (Pirtle) Page.  Click on image to enlarge.]

(Pin-Ups like this one made Bettie Page a household name.  Bettie Page posed for “Playboy” in the January 1955 issue.  And she could have taught Christian Grey a thing or two.  She remained soft-core, preferring to work clothed in her more “out there” films and photos.)

 (Although her personal life had its ups and downs, Bettie Page was very intelligent and earned a B.A. from George Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) in 1944.  Her style remains influential today.  Bettie Page is tied with Steve McQueen at Number 9 on the Forbes 2014 Top Earning Dead Celebrities list.  She’s buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery in Los Angeles, CA.  The pennies on her grave marker are left by visitors as tokens of remembrance and respect.)

Beverly Ann (Page) Budzynski sent me the following newspaper clipping.  Carl Victor Page [cot] and Beverly Ann Page [inset] were stricken with polio during a visit to Tennessee.   The children and their mother, Pauline Aquilla (Chipman) Page [R], were flown back to Flint, Michigan where they were met by their father, Carl Davis Page [L].  Carl Victor Page went on to be professor of Computer Science at Michigan State University, and by his (then) wife Gloria Weinstein was the father of Larry Page.  

(“The Flint Journal,” Flint, MI.)

(Obituary of Carl Davis Page, apparently from “The Jackson Sun” newspaper of Jackson, Madison Co., TN.  Since he died on Thursday 8 Aug 1963, the funeral was held on Monday 12 Aug 1963.  The obituary states he was an inspector at Chevrolet, probably a non-management Quality Control position.)

(Hollywood Cemetery, Jackson, TN.)

(Obituary of Carl Victor Page, “The State News,” Michigan State University newspaper.  The article notes that Carl Victor Page “was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college.”  This remark applies to the Page family, as Pauline did attend all four years of high school.  In the 1940 Federal Census for Carl D. Page cited above, under the column “Highest grade of school completed,” Carl Davis Page indicated the 8th grade.  Material was composed by the family of Carl Victor Page.  At this point Google didn’t exist.)

[Note from Jean (Chipman) Crom, daughter of Jewel Vester Chipman, re: funeral of Carl Victor Page.]

Larry Page established the Carl Victor Page Memorial Foundation of Palo Alto, CA in honor of his father.  The foundation doesn’t have a website.  According to “Inside Philanthropy”:

“Page sits on the boards of several nonprofits, but his personal philanthropy seems to be channeled through Google. Most of his giving is directed toward technological advancement, particularly in the clean energy sector. His own foundation, the Carl Victor Page Memorial Fund, had assets of over a billion dollars at the end of 2013, though most of its giving goes through donor advised funds such as the Vanguard Charitable Endowment, making it virtually impossible to see where Page’s money is actually going, if it’s going anywhere at all.”

In this set of Emails beginning on 23 Oct 2006, I was contacted by an individual claiming to be Donald Gudehus, husband of Larry Page’s mother Gloria.  I found it odd because I had exchanged a number of letters with Larry Page’s aunt Beverly, and ordinarily she would have been the person to contact me, rather than a stranger.  Beverly must have a large photo collection.  The phrase: “I have been handling the genealogy of our various families for some time” sounds like:  “You have to go through me.”  I don’t have to go through anyone.  Perhaps it was merely inappropriate wording.  I did Email whoever it was a copy of a letter I had received from Carl Victor Page and one of Beverly’s letters.  I then let the exchange fizzle.  That proved to be a wise decision.

The following set of Emails I received in 2014 are from my first cousin David Alton Dodd, who lives in Tijuana, Mexico (Click on images to enlarge).

I didn’t know Jesus had returned.

I don’t quite know what to say about this.  Thanks to Larry Page, every author on the planet wants to sue Google.

Finally, there’s this item, which will leave all but a very few readers nonplussed.  How can you be in two places at once when you’re not anywhere at all?  And I think that about covers it.

Pauline Aquilla (Chipman) Page Moffitt was a farmer’s daughter.  She was also a descendant of one of the most important monarchs in English history, as revered in the UK as Washington and Lincoln are in the United States.  Some people are timeless—and Alfred the Great is one of those very few.  And among her ancestors were Mayflower passengers and soldiers and patriots of the Revolutionary War.

Of Carl Davis Page we can say his ethnic composition was primarily Scots-Irish.  The Scots-Irish were a very important genetic stream in the United States well into the Civil War era.  Carl didn’t pursue an education beyond the 8th grade because he was expected to work and help support his family.  But in that era having an 8th grade education was common—many managed with just a 6th grade education.  Carl left Jackson, TN lured by reports of the good wages paid by GM in Flint, MI.  There he became friends with my grandfather Beecher Chipman, who introduced him to his eventual wife Pauline.  Carl was an unsung hero among unsung heroes, who endured the grime and squalor of Flint to build a better life for his family—and he succeeded.  The story of Carl Davis Page and others like him faded when GM left Flint, but they shouldn’t be forgotten.  The struggle to unionize GM was a pivotal episode in American labor history.

The building blocks of this line are already on the Internet:

http://www.geni.com/people/Carl-Page/6000000028998162758

I had nothing to do with this website, but obviously someone familiar with the family supplied the information.  You can find an extended pedigree on Ancestry.com.  I haven’t documented this family beyond what’s in this column.

Regardless of the biological paternity of Henry Horace Page and Walter Roy Page, uterine relationships exist between Google Founder Larry Page and Bettie Page, who share common ancestors in Jefferson Davis Pardue and his wife Mary Elizabeth McCaig, making Larry Page and Bettie Page 2nd Cousins-Once Removed. 

It’s confusing:  if Henry Horace Page was not the biological son of John D. Page, but only of Emily C. Sullivan, and Walter Roy Page was not the biological son of John Benton Page, but only of Emily Corilla Pardue, then Henry Horace Page and Walter Roy Page weren’t related through the Page family and didn’t share Emily C. Sullivan as a common ancestor.  DNA tests should resolve the biological paternity of Henry Horace Page and Walter Roy Page as these are male line descents.

Call it a True Hollywood Story.

DEATH IN DUNKLIN COUNTY: THE ODELL GENTRY SHOOTING

•May 14, 2016 • Comments Off on DEATH IN DUNKLIN COUNTY: THE ODELL GENTRY SHOOTING

As a genealogist, I always prefer to work from records rather than family stories.  But here are two seemingly unconnected records that don’t tell the whole story.

The first is the marriage record of my great-grandfather, James Edward Chipman, to Minnie Harmon.  The marriage took place 20 Feb 1939 in Hollywood, Missouri:

The second record is the death certificate of one Odell Gentry dated 21 Sep 1954. Printable copies of Missouri death certificates filed from 1910 to 1963 are available online at the Missouri Secretary of State’s website.  Here the cause of death is “Homicide by Gunshot Wound.”

What’s the connection?

Odell Gentry was the son of Minnie Harmon.  She’s listed as Minnie Lee Thomas on his death certificate.  And James Edward Chipman shot and killed Odell Gentry.

James Edward Chipman was then 74 years old.  Minnie Harmon was his third wife.  His second wife was Myrtle Williams, who he divorced.  The book on Myrtle was she was more souse than spouse.  His first wife was Allie May Oxley, and Allie, the mother of his five children, was the glue that held the family together.  Allie died from complications stemming from an automobile accident.  James Edward was never the same.

Allie’s mother, Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley, was a successful businesswoman in Dunklin County, Missouri.  She was the family’s matriarch, as often found in the Southern tradition, the daughter of John Franklin Riddle and Joellan Beckwith.  About 1900, James Edward Chipman and his cousin Charles Monroe Chipman left Lauderdale County, Tennessee and settled in Dunklin County.  But Mariah and Allie, whose families had resided in the Missouri bootheel section for decades prior to the arrival of James Edward Chipman, were the family’s real support.

[Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley (1857–1934), detail from a family group photo, ca. 1929. ]

[Tombstone of Aquilla Voin Oxley, born Dec. 5, 1847, died Nov. 18, 1887, father of Allie May (Oxley) Chipman, at Rocky Hill Cemetary near Campbell, Dunklin Co., MO.]

On 5 Nov 2010 I spoke with Tony Byrd, a member of the Dunklin County Genealogical Society, about obtaining a copy of the Coroner’s Inquest.  I was told if a person caused the death of another, but wasn’t charged with a crime, the records are permanently sealed.  He called again on 6 Nov 2010 and said he’d located an extensive newspaper account of the Odell Gentry inquest, and would mail it to me.

The following account is taken directly from the Dunklin Democrat published on 23 Sep 1954, two days after the shooting:

“A coroner’s jury at Senath yesterday [22 Sep 1954] cleared Ed Chipman, 74, in the slaying of his step-son, Odell Gentry, 38, at the family home a mile south of Senath.

“The jury after 15 minutes deliberation brought in a verdict that Chipman had shot Gentry in self defense.

“Chipman had told the inquest that he fired one shot from ‘a 22-caliber, single shot rifle at Gentry as the younger man advanced on him with a knife.’

“Chipman said that Gentry was intoxicated when he came to the Chipman home with Lester Pruett, 29.  Pruett, who is the grandson of Chipman’s wife, was wounded in the left arm by the bullet which killed Gentry.”

The account then states Lester Pruett was treated at Presnell hospital, but the bullet could not be immediately removed and was still in Pruett’s arm when he testified at the inquest.  Pruett gave an account of his and Gentry’s movements prior to the shooting. They arrived at the Chipman home between 3:00 and 4:00 PM Tuesday afternoon.  Pruett claimed Gentry was drunk and Pruett was trying to get him out of the house.

Let’s pick it up at James Edward Chipman’s testimony:

“Chipman Tells Story  Although he was not required to testify, Chipman decided to tell the inquest jury his story of the shooting.

“The elderly man, who is known around Senath as ‘Uncle Ed,’ said he was lying on a day bed in the living room of his home when Gentry and Pruett arrived.  He said both men appeared to have been drinking.

“Chipman said that when Gentry came into the living room he told Chipman to ‘get up and go to work.’  Chipman said that he answered, ‘Now, Odell, don’t bother me.  I’m a sick man.’

“Chipman said that Gentry started toward him but that Pruett grappled with Gentry, trying to get him out of the house.  Chipman told the inquest that he got up from the day bed and went to a bedroom where he got the rifle.

“He said that he then returned to the dining room which is connected to the living room by a wide door.  Chipman said he told his step-son, ‘Now, Odell, I’ve asked you to not come home when you’re drinking and mistreat us.’

“The elderly man said Gentry pulled a knife from his pocket and started advancing on him.

“‘I told him twice to put the knife down,’ Chipman related to the jurymen.  ‘He didn’t do it and I put up the .22 (rifle) and let him have it,’ Chipman said.

“Gentry fell immediately in the middle of the living room floor.

“Chipman said that he then went out to the kitchen door, reloaded the rifle and walked to the front yard where he sat down in a chair.  Later, when neighbors arrived at the house he gave the rifle to one of them.

“Mrs. Chipman [Odell’s mother] was in the house during part of the disturbance leading up to the shooting.  However, she was confined to the home Wednesday morning and did not testify at the inquest.”

The account continues with the testimony of Ed Aumon of the Howard funeral service, who was called to the Chipman home.  Aumon picked up Senath police officer Rushie Marlin en route, but had to return to Senath for a gun as Marlin was not then armed.

“When they [Aumon and Marlin] returned, Chipman gave up the loaded rifle to one of the men who arrived about the time they did, Aumon said.  He told the jury that Gentry was lying dead in the middle of the living room floor.

“Aumon testified that the bullet had entered Gentry’s chest about three inches below the left nipple.  It had come out the right side of the body.”

The shooting was ruled self defense and no charges were filed.  From the account, it was justifiable homicide.  Clearly, Odell Gentry intended to harm, if not kill, James Edward Chipman, who acted out of fear for his life.  Velma Southard, who was the informant on Gentry’s death certificate, was Gentry’s sister.

My father attended the inquest.  His account, which provides a little background to the above, was that Odell Gentry lived in a ramshackle house on James Edward’s property. Evidently Odell had been beating up the old man and stealing his money.  James Edward let it be known that if Odell did it one more time, he was going to shoot him.  And the next time Odell showed up and demanded money, James Edward shot him with a rifle.

It’s straight out of a William Faulkner novel.  (One of Allie May Oxley’s ancestors was a William Faulkner.  Faulkner’s daughter Annaretta married Allie’s grandfather James Oxley.  I’ve often wondered if the two William Faulkners were related.)

Minnie got a divorce.  James Edward went into rapid decline, and in November of the following year, was admitted to a hospital to be treated for TB.  There he died, on 31 Jan 1956, of “Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease.”

Maybe it was a broken heart.

______________________________________________

I’ve been researching family history since 1987, and I’ve seen most situations more than once.  There aren’t many “Eureka!” moments anymore.  But this was one of them.

It began when I decided to investigate the Odell Gentry shooting, in which my great-grandfather James Edward Chipman shot to death his step-son. Anytime someone is killed outside of a theatre of war, it’s disturbing.  Was the old man really justified?  What actually happened?

I made several phone calls to Kennett, the county seat of Dunklin County, Missouri, to track down the records of the Odell Gentry inquest.  One of those calls was to the public library in Kennett, which I knew to be a great resource for those researching Dunklin County families.  I gave my name and number to a librarian who said she’d pass it on to a member of the Dunklin County Genealogical Society.

Tony Byrd called.  He was familiar with the case.  He told me the inquest records would be permanently sealed.  And one thing he said threw me:  Odell Gentry had not come to the Chipman home alone.  There was an accomplice, who had suffered a non-life threatening wound.  So I reviewed my notes on the matter.

The next day Tony called, and said he’d located a comprehensive account of the Gentry shooting in the Dunklin Democrat, and would send it to me.  We talked for awhile, and agreed that the shooting had drained the life out of James Edward.  The shooting was quite a sensation, front page news and common knowledge in Dunklin County.  Tony’s connection to the Chipman family is that his wife was related to Myrtle Williams, James Edward Chipman’s second wife.

The headline in the Dunklin Democrat read:

“SENATH MAN CLEARED BY INQUEST JURY OF STEP-SON’S SLAYING Verdict of Self Defense Is Returned”

[Clicking on the photo will enlarge it.]


I want to thank Tony Byrd for taking the time to locate this material.  During my 23 years of research, it’s been my good fortune to encounter people who have helped me answer difficult questions, and Tony Byrd is one of those people.  My collection of family records would be a fraction of what it is without them.

O Canada! Paul Huffman & Rebecca Crawford of Halton Co., Ontario / Loyalists Face a Disunited Empire / David Huffman & The Great Dunbar Nebraska Train Wreck of 1887 / Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman is Right On

•May 10, 2016 • Comments Off on O Canada! Paul Huffman & Rebecca Crawford of Halton Co., Ontario / Loyalists Face a Disunited Empire / David Huffman & The Great Dunbar Nebraska Train Wreck of 1887 / Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman is Right On

Revised May 24, 2016

Here’s the solution to a family mystery that’s baffled everyone for decades:

Tyler Huffman, Federal Civil War veteran, was the son of Paul Huffman and Rebecca Crawford. They were my third great-grandparents.  Rebecca is said to have died giving birth to Tyler.

It’s known that Paul Huffman was born in Canada on 4 Aug 1817, and died on 25 Jun 1892 in Rome, Henry Co., Iowa.  In 1850 Paul Huffman was living in White Co., Indiana with his second wife, Azubah Washburn, whom he had married on 8 Apr 1841 in Fulton Co., Indiana.

But who were Paul and Rebecca (Crawford) Huffman?  Where did they come from?

Paul Huffman married Rebecca Crawford in Halton Co., Ontario on 2 Feb 1837.  The marriage bond is dated 25 Jan 1837.  Paul Huffman was of Trafalgar Township and Rebecca Crawford is listed as of Esquesing Township.  The marriage bond is found in “Upper and Lower Canada Marriage Bonds” at the Library and Archives Canada (Microfilm reel no. C-6786 Bond # 5791).  Halton Co. is in southern Ontario.

This information enabled me to document the ancestry of Paul Huffman.  Of Rebecca Crawford’s ancestry at present I have no information, but the name is Scottish.

Christopher Huffman, a loyalist of  German descent, whose family had emigrated to NJ in the mid-18th century, initially settled in Sussex Co., NJ.  Christopher Huffman married Anne Smith, daughter of Jacob Smith (UEL) and wife Elizabeth Lewis. He enlisted in the New Jersey (Loyalist) Volunteers on 26 Jan 1777 at Mansfield Township, Sussex Co. (now Warren Co.), seeing action as far south as South Carolina.  In 1788 he removed to Canada, ultimately obtaining a land grant in Glanford Township, which is now in Wentworth Co., Ontario.  Wentworth Co. is adjacent to Halton Co.

Christopher and Anne (Smith) Huffman had 6 children:  Henry 2nd (1781–1862) m. Catherine — (1785–1858); Jacob (Jan 1786–4 May 1851) m. Elizabeth Finch (1786–1871); Elizabeth m. James Choat;  Paul (ca. 1791–25 Jun 1869) m. Phoebe — (liv. 1851); Godfrey m. Eliza A. —; and Ann m. Elisha Bingham.

In the 1851 Halton Co. census, Christopher Huffman’s sons Henry Huffman and Paul Huffman were residing in Trafalgar Township.  Henry was Episcopalian and Paul was Wesleyan Methodist.  Their brother Jacob Huffman served as a private in the War of 1812, and also moved to Trafalgar Township where he assembled substantial holdings.

Wading through the offspring of the four sons of Christopher Huffman, and eliminating Godfrey as too young to have a son b. 1817, it became clear that the parents of Paul Huffman (1817–1892) of Henry Co., IA were Jacob and Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman. Jacob Huffman had a large family of 11 children and is credited with a son “Paul Godfrey Huffman.” Descendants of Paul Huffman of Henry Co., IA identify him as “Paul Godfrey Huffman.” Jacob Huffman’s large family explains why Paul Huffman left Canada in search of land on which to raise his own family.

Paul Huffman (1817–1892) was probably born in Glanford Township, Wentworth Co., Ontario.  Upon relocating to the United States ca. 1838, he would have thought it politic not to mention his Loyalist ancestry.  The Revolution had ended only 55 years earlier, and British outrages during the War of 1812 were still in the popular memory.  The perception that the British favored the South during the Civil War, though in the event they remained neutral, did nothing to rehabilitate their reputation.

[Paul Huffman (4 Aug 1817—25 Jun 1892).  Tombstone at White Oak Cemetery near Trenton, Henry Co., IA.]

Paul Huffman’s son Tyler was named after prominent politician John Tyler (below), nominated in 1839 as the Whig Party candidate for Vice President.  Tyler became President on the untimely death of William Henry Harrison in 1841.  “Tippicanoe and Tyler Too” was a popular jingle of the day.  This suggests that Paul Huffman moved to the United States not long after his marriage.

(Detail of 1850 White Co., IN Federal Census, District No. 130, p. 798.  Here Paul Huffman correctly gives his birthplace as Canada, but in other enumerations he claimed to be born in PA.  Click on image to enlarge.)

The early 1850s found Paul Huffman living in Crawford Township, Washington Co., IA.

(Detail of 1854 Iowa State Census Roll IA-122 Line 17 showing Paul Huffman living in Crawford Township, Washington Co., IA, with 2 males and 4 females in household.)

I found this material on Crawford Township in an 1880 history of Washington Co.

___________________________________

DAVID HUFFMAN & THE GREAT DUNBAR NEBRASKA TRAIN WRECK OF 1887

Here’s a truly obscure item.  Paul Huffman briefly left IA and in 1885 was located in Delaware Precinct, Otoe Co., Nebraska (NE).  Otoe Co. is in the eastern part of NE adjacent to the IA border.

(Detail of 1885 Otoe Co., NE State Census, ED 567, Page 8. David Huffman is “head of household” and the stated relationships are to him.  William Casey is his nephew.  Click on image to enlarge.)

The above record, of Paul Huffman the father, and David Huffman the son, recalls a family tale so tragic it must have broke Paul Huffman’s heart.  It’s a case of reality eclipsing a Hollywood western.  Paul Huffman left NE for Decatur Co., KS, and ultimately returned to Henry Co., IA.

What follows are published accounts of David Huffman and The Great Dunbar Nebraska Train Wreck of 1887. The case attracted national attention in newspapers from San Francisco to Chicago to New York City.  I’ve separated the items to make following the coverage easier.  The newspapers spelled the family name as “Hoffman,” although it was actually “Huffman.”

*1*

[(1888).  Defenders And Offenders.  New York: D. Buchner & Co.]

*2*

We begin our narrative with this piece in The New York Times of 13 Jan 1887:

(The Kankakee wreck was not connected to the wreck at Dunbar, Nebraska.)

(Photograph of the train wreck sent to me by Tim Dempsey.  Although it’s low-res, it’s possible to make out the general scene.  It’s winter, and snow is on the ground.  It appears the track was laid at the top of an embankment at far right.  In the right center the locomotive, with its cowcatcher, is resting on its side.  Above the locomotive is a car also resting on its side.  In the left center is another car resting on its side.  A large group of people are viewing the wreck.  It’s amazing more people weren’t killed.)

(Missouri Pacific Locomotive No. 152.  The locomotive in the Dunbar wreck must have resembled this.  Missouri State Archives.)

(Forepaugh’s Circus was a major attraction. The poster illustrates why Paul Huffman fibbed about his background.  In fashionable Manhattan a British aristocrat might be patent medicine for feelings of social inferiority, but in “real” America, patrons of a Forepaugh show expected to see the British rudely humiliated.)

*3*

The Perrysburg Journal, Wood Co., Ohio on Friday 21 Jan 1887 published a story adding some details to The New York Times account.  Friends of the engineer Dewitt blamed the wreck on labor unrest, but that proved to be untrue:

“S.D.  Wilson, conductor of the wrecked train, says that fifty-two passengers were aboard of the train, and that their escape from death was almost miraculous.  The engine landed fifty feet from the track, and the baggage-car, strangely, was carried as far beyond the engine.  The throttle lever was forced through Dewitt’s right lung, and his face was scalded black.  The express messenger  is frightfully wounded.  His skull is badly fractured and every bone in his face broken.  A dispatch from Nebraska City to the Times advances the theory that the motive of the crime was robbery, there being $17,000 worth of bullion on the train.  This theory is discredited here, however.  An official of the road at this point says there is no evidence that the work was instigated by any Knights of Labor organization, but that the animosity of the ex-strikers toward Dewitt was well known.  A special from Wyandotte, Kan., the home of the dead engineer, says Dewitt’s friends openly charge his death to the Knights of Labor.  It appears that he was a delegate to a convention held at St. Louis last spring during the great Southwestern strike to determine whether the engineers should go out or support the strikers.  Dewitt represented two districts, and cast two votes against the strikers. If he had voted for them it would have turned the scale.  Subsequently he received several warnings not to run his engine, but he disregarded them. “

*4*

In what must seem like a 19th century version of CSI, The Omaha Daily Bee of Saturday Morning 23 Jul 1887 recapped the evidence that condemned David Huffman:

“THE NEWS OF THE DISASTER next morning sent a thrill of horror through this and neighboring states and prompt and energetic measures were taken to hunt down the perpetrators.  Superintendent Dalby and Sheriff McCallum made an examination of the track and discovered clews that eventually led to the arrest of David Hoffman and James Bell.  The spikes and fishplates of the rail had been drawn and the rail pushed in so that the flange of the wheels must strike it and throw it out of place.  A crowbar was found near the track and a broken tool house some distance away furnished convincing proof that the disaster was deliberately planned and executed.

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SNOW lead directly to the house of John Hoffman, a few hundred yards from the track.  Coroner Brauer, Sheriff McCallum, Thomas Hanion, Thomas Dunbar and others traced these footprints from the tool house to the wreck, thence through a corn field to Hoffman’s house.  David Hoffman and Bell were found in the house and subjected to a rigid questioning about the wreck.  Their stories were so conflicting and palpably false that they were placed under arrest.  Their footgear was then fitted to the tracks in the snow, and found to be an exact imprint—even to the patch on Hoffman’s rubber boot.”

To wreck the train, Huffman and Bell removed the spikes and fishplates.  A fishplate (below) is a metal bar bolted to the rails to join the track together.

Once the spikes and fishplates were removed, the track was bent inward so when the flange of the locomotive’s wheels struck the damaged portion the locomotive would be thrown from the track.  There’s no doubt the crime was premeditated as Huffman and Bell fully understood the consequences of tampering with the track.  Judging by the photograph of the wreck, the engine struck the sabotaged track and was thrown, skidding down the embankment on its side to the engineer’s right, with the cars, which were lighter than the engine, being thrown behind it.

The Gazette: Fort Worth, Texas on Friday 14 Jan 1887 carried an account of the arrests:

“Two Arrests Made.

Nebraska City, Neb., Jan. 13.–David W. Hoffman of Dunbar and James W. Bell of Unadilla, Neb., were arrested at Dunbar yesterday afternoon, charged with having caused the wreck Tuesday night.  Hoffman was recently a brake-man of the Burlington and Missouri road, while little is known of Bell.  Both have been idling about for some time.  Neither one is a member of the local Knights of Labor.  Both were somewhat intoxicated when arrested, and Hoffman was badly frightened.  The coroner’s jury returned a verdict this morning to the effect that the wreck was caused by Hoffman, Bell and others.”

*5*

According to the Sedalia Weekly Bazoo, Tuesday 18 Jan 1887, published at Sedalia, Missouri, the Dunbar train wreck had incited a mob:

“MOB ORGANIZED.

It is learned that a body of men had organized at an early hour this morning to break the jail at Nebraska City and lynch the villains. Public sentiment was very much wrought up, and if reports are true, the necessity and cost of a trial will be dispensed with

The gentleman who participated in exacting the confessions from the accused, describes the mob as one that was worked up to such a pitch of fury that if they had caught sight of the prisoners, they would have made short work of them.  The mob gathered around the jail and furiously demanded the surrender of the self-confessed villains, and threatened, in case of refusal, to break and burn the jail.  The sheriff appeared in front of the jail and attempted to mitigate the rage of the mob, but his words only increased their fury.  He was met with jeers and curses and missiles were thrown at him.  In the meantime the prisoners had been removed and taken in a sleigh to Nebraska City.  It is not improbable, however, that the transfer may result only in changing the locality of, and not prevent, the lynching, as the feeling of the people of Nebraska City is at fever heat.”

David Huffman and James Bell were removed from the jail at Nebraska City and taken to an undisclosed location elsewhere in the town.

*6*

Justice in Nebraska took no liberties with time.  The Omaha Daily World for Thursday Evening, 7 Apr 1887 ran this:

“A Forced Confession.

Train Wrecker Hoffman Claims He ‘Fessed’ Only at the Point of a Revolver.

Nebraska City, April 7.–The trial of David Hoffman, one of the two Missouri Pacific train wreckers of Dunbar, began yesterday before Judge Chapman.  Attorneys A.S. Cole and C.W. Seymour are defending and John C. Watson prosecuting.  Hoffman’s counsel created a sensation by producing an affidavit signed by Hoffman, in which he claims that the so-called confession was forced from him in the Grand Pacific Hotel in this city at night by Missouri Pacific Detective Tutt and his associate; that Sheriff McCollum and his deputy, Joseph Huberle, took him to the Grand Pacific Hotel at night, where there were two or three strange men supposed to be Missouri Pacific detectives; that one of them held a cocked revolver to his head, a watch in his hand, saying that he would give him (Hoffman) just two minutes to tell about how the trains were wrecked at Dunbar; that all of the time the Sheriff and deputy were present and did not attempt to stop these men in any manner …; this ground the attorneys asked the judge to discharge the jury, as it had been drawn by a prejudiced Sheriff.  The motion was overruled.  They then asked for a separate trial, which was granted, and David Hoffman was put on trial. A jury was secured at 6 o’clock last night.”

*7*

This item from the Omaha Daily World for Saturday Evening, 9 Apr 1887 relates some testimony in the case:

“TURNED AGAINST HIM.

Hoffman’s Brother Does Not Shield the Train Wrecker—Startling Testimony.

Nebraska City, April 9—The sensation of the trial of David Hoffman, the Dunbar train wrecker yesterday, was the testifying of his accomplice Bell, who, as predicted, turned state’s evidence. He testified that he was in Dunbar the day of the wreck on business; got drunk, was arrested, and fined; he appealed to Hoffman, who was present, to pay the fine; Hoffman said he did not have any money, but would have enough the next day; Bell put up his team as security for the fine, and followed Hoffman around the town.  He drank considerable, but Hoffman did not; Hoffman asked witness to go along down the railroad track; Hoffman broke open the Burlington & Missouri tool house and secured a crowbar and wrenches; both men proceeded up the Missouri Pacific track; when they arrived at the place where the wreck subsequently occurred,  Bell sat down on the track and Hoffman proceeded to remove the rails; witness asked him what he was doing, and he replied that he was going to wreck the train and rob the express car; Bell remonstrated, and said that many people would get killed.  Hoffman said he didn’t give a d–n, he had made up his mind and would carry it out; Hoffman removed the spikes and rail; saw the train approaching, when Hoffman pulled him down in the ravine; when the train jumped the track both ran.

The counsel for the defense endeavored unsuccessfully to break down Bell’s testimony. John Hoffman, a brother of David, testified that when he ran to the wreck he saw a man jump out of a ravine west of the track and run, he could not tell who it was, but it looked like Dave Hoffman’s form. The Missouri Pacific detectives testified that Hoffman made a voluntary confession to them without inducement, threats or force.

The citizens of Dunbar testified that Hoffman promised them that he would pay money due them next day; this on the day of the wreck.  Hoffman was cool and unconcerned until Bell testified, and then uneasy.”

*8*

The Newark Daily Advocate of Newark, Ohio for Tuesday, 12 Apr 1887 printed this:

“Train Wrecker to Hang.

Nebraska City, Neb., April 12.–The case of the state against David Hoffman for wrecking the Missouri Pacific passenger train at Dunbar, in January last, closed Saturday in the district court. The jury found a verdict of murder in the first degree, and Hoffman will swing about July 20.  Bell, his partner, turned states evidence, and made a clean confession of the whole affair.  Robbery was the motive.  Bell will get a life sentence.”

James Bell actually received a 10 year sentence. 

*9*

The Omaha Daily World for Tuesday Evening, 12 Apr 1887 carried this brief notice:

“Hoffman Hangs July 22

NEBRASKA CITY, April 12.–David Hoffman, the Missouri Pacific train wrecker, has been sentenced to hang on July 22, for the murder of Engineer DeWitt.  Hoffman, who has appeared somewhat indifferent during the trial, broke down when sentenced was passed, and wept like a child.  The Sheriff and deputy were obliged to support him to his cell.”

*10*

Efforts to persuade the governor of Nebraska to spare David Hoffman were fruitless.  The following story ran in The Omaha Daily Bee of Saturday Morning 23 Jul 1887:

“One sister, Mrs. Mattie Fitch of Elmwood, Neb., has been most untiring in her efforts in his behalf. She circulated a petition, to which she got a large number of signatures, asking the commutation of his sentence to imprisonment for life, which she presented to Governor Thayer with her prayers, but her efforts were in vain.  Aside from this one sister, none of his relatives seemed to concern themselves in the least about his fate, and apparently he had not a friend on earth.”

*11*

The Chicago Tribune of Saturday 23 Jul 1887 had this to say about David Huffman’s final moments:

“He passed a comfortable night, retiring about 10:30 and sleeping soundly until 6:30.  His breakfast was of fruit, of which he ate sparingly.  Then he smoked a cigar, and was still smoking unmoved while the death warrant was read to him a short time afterwards.  He had never shown any weakness, and was perfectly composed until he was led out to the scaffold at 10:21, when he became weak in the knees and had to be supported, but his step was more firm as he ascended the scaffold.

When he stepped upon the platform his face wore a pitiful and haggard expression, and when he cast a look at the rope dangling near his right shoulder his body shook.  A short prayer was offered by the Rev. R. Pierson, when he was asked if he had anything to say.  He cast his eyes upward, then over the crowd of spectators around the scaffold, and then they wandered to the trap-door beneath his feet, when he burst into tears and sobbed like a child.  By a strong effort he regained his composure, and replied that he had nothing to say.  His legs and arms were quickly bound, the noose adjusted, the black cap drawn, and the trap was sprung.”

*12*

The public’s fascination with David Huffman is illustrated by this headline from The Boston Daily Globe of Saturday, 23 Jul 1887:

According to the St. Paul Daily Globe of St. Paul, Minn., on Saturday Morning, 23 Jul 1887:

“THE GALLOWS.

Execution of a Train Wrecker at Nebraska City.

Nebraska City, Neb., July 22.–David Hoffman was hanged here to-day for wrecking a Missouri Pacific passenger train on the night of the 11th of January last, at Dunbar, a small station on the Missouri Pacific, ten miles west of this place.  At the time of the wreck Engineer Dewitt was instantly killed, and a number of passengers were seriously injured.  Hoffman ascended the scaffold with a firm tread.  He made an effort to say something, but broke down.  The trap was sprung at 10:24, and he was strangled to death in eight minutes.  His body was cut down and turned over to the county coroner.  His confederate in the train wrecking is serving a ten years’ sentence in the penitentiary, having turned state’s evidence.  The militia company was called out to keep order, but everything passed off quietly.”

(The Chicago Tribune account above added: “The body was exposed to the public for one hour, after which it was turned over to relatives.”)

In a truly bizarre twist to this story, the Butler [MO] Weekly Times of Wednesday, July 27, 1887 contributed this item:

“David Hoffman, the Nebraska train wrecker, was hung at Nebraska City last Friday.  Just before the execution took place he handed the Kansas City Times correspondent the following note which should be read and carefully heeded by our young men: ‘A warning of the first Glass, warning to all young men:—I write these few lines; hoping that some young man, whom I have played with may read them and a warning take from me and never tip the poison bowl to your lips.  Young man, when you fill the first glass set it down and think—O! think deep in your hearts how many graves it has filled.  O! how many children’s fathers it has torn from them and how many poor wives are left alone in sorrow, grief for the loss of their dear, beloved husbands, how many poor mother’s hearts it has broken.  O! young men; turn from that broad and sinful path.  O! stop and think of one who was free and happy, whose heart is overflowed with sorrow and grief—almost laid in his lonely grave—all for that miserable liquor.  O! young men, take warning from them before it is too late is my prayer.’

David Hoffman”

The note appears to place responsibility for David Huffman’s plight on John Barleycorn, but is probably a pious fraud as he was said to be illiterate.

This terse account from The Railroad Gazette of 5 Aug 1887 makes Huffman and Bell’s motive even more sinister:

Although train robbers did relieve passengers of their valuables, The Railroad Gazette is in error regarding Huffman and Bell’s intentions, as neither was reported to be armed.  In fact, the whole enterprise was incompetently planned, for they had no means of transporting such a large amount of silver bullion, had they managed to get their hands on it.  The copious amount of alcohol they had imbibed both defeated their inhibitions and dulled what intelligence they ordinarily possessed, which seems minimal.

“According to reports, the National Guard was called upon to keep order among the several thousand persons who gathered outside of the jail area. Estimates of those who were actual witnesses to the hanging were 50 by one news account and 200 by another. The body was taken down by coroner Brauer and turned over to the family. A funeral procession consisting of several buggies headed for Unadilla, 13 miles west of Dunbar, where Hoffman was buried.

Authorities worked quickly to remove the scaffold and perimeter fencing.” (Dempsey, p. 73.)

Undoubtedly one of the buggies in the funeral procession was that of his sister, Mattie (Huffman) Fitch.

The Omaha Daily Bee of Saturday Morning, 23 Jul 1887 added this:

“His [David Huffman] pulse ceased to beat at 10:33, and his body was cut down and turned over to Coroner Brauer, who left with it this afternoon overland for Unadilla for burial.”

According to Barbara Boardman Wilhelm of the Otoe County Genealogical Society, David Huffman was probably buried in the “Potter’s Field” section at the north end of Unadilla cemetery.

That Coroner Brauer accompanied the body gives a clue as to what may have happened: that David Huffman’s family refused to pay for the burial, and he was buried at county expense, but not at Nebraska City, for fear the grave would be vandalized.  It’s unlikely there was ever a grave marker.

*13*

In its coverage of David Huffman’s hanging, the Omaha Daily World of 22 Jul 1887 gave an account of his family:

“David Hoffman was born near Trenton, Henry county, Ia., on April 8, 1864.  He resided on a farm with his parents until he was thirteen years of age, when he went to Fremont county, Ia., and worked for a farmer near  Randolph for some time. He was in Fremont county off and on for nearly five years.  After remaining in Fremont for about a year and a half he went to Phillips county, Kan., where he and one of his brothers farmed some, but most of the two years that he was there he worked for other farmers in Phillips and Decatur counties.  He went from there to York and Filmore counties, Nebraska, where he and his brother John Hoffman farmed for nearly two years.  Tiring of farming he drifted westward as far as Denver, where he worked one winter for a horse trainer named Hurne.  Here is a period of his life he fails to fully detail …. [Huffman was thought to be implicated in cattle rustling.]  After tiring of Denver he went back to Randolph where he remained until three years ago, when he came to Dunbar, Neb., and rented a farm with his brother John, and remained nearly two years.  He went back last spring to Creston. Ia., and, with the aid of two brothers who were working on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, secured a position as brakeman on that road, which he retained but a short time.  He then went to Taylor Station, eighteen miles east of Council Bluffs, Ia., where he clerked in a store and also worked on a farm about two months.  On July 8, 1886, he came to Unadilla, this county, and began work on a farm with his brother-in-law, Taylor Fitch, near that place, where he remained until he went to Dunbar the day that the train was wrecked.  His father and mother reside in Decatur county, Kansas. He has four brothers and four sisters living.  Paul and Thomas Jefferson Hoffman are employees of the C. B. & Q. at Creston, Ia., and are highly esteemed by all who know them.  Tyler Hoffman resides on the old homestead in Henry county, Ia., while John Hoffman, near whose house the wreck occurred at Dunbar, is now residing on farm in Nelson county, Neb.  His sisters are Mrs. Mattie Fitch, Elmwood, Neb.; Mrs. Rachel Norton, Randolph county, Ia.; Mrs. Mary Corney, Decatur Co., Kan., and Mrs. Rebecca Messer, Henry county, Ia.

His father wrote him shortly after his sentence that he would much prefer to see him hung than have him go to jail for ten years like his partner, James Bell.  Hoffman claimed to have a sweetheart residing at Hamburg, but she never visited him or wrote him letters….  He stoutly denied that he was guilty of the crime for which he was punished, and said that Bell was the one who removed the rail while he stood by and watched him, and that he was innocent of any wrong, but was too drunk at the time to take any part or fully realize what was being done.”

David Huffman’s claim “to have a sweetheart residing at Hamburg” is quite possibly true.  Hamburg is in Fremont Co., IA, which borders MO to the south and NE to the west.

I suppose Paul Huffman’s words that “he would much prefer to see [David]  hung than have him go to jail for ten years like his partner, James Bell,” is both a comment on what the father thought was David’s debt to society, and the evil of James Bell, whose role in the crime was greater than he admitted.

*14*

This article from the San Francisco Chronicle of Saturday 23 Jul 1887 fills in some details about David Huffman’s previous criminal activity:

“About five years ago Hoffman was in the cattle-stealing business near Ayer, Neb., in the Republican valley, and is credited with being one of a gang who drove off an entire herd, for which a mob lynched an old man named Weatherdyke.  He is also said to have been mixed up in a number of other horse and cattle thefts in Northern Nebraska and Eastern Colorado.”

*15*

And what of James Bell?

The Omaha Daily World of Thursday Evening 14 Apr 1887 ran this item:

“Bell Gets Ten Years.

Nebraska City, April 13.–James Bell, the accomplice of David Hoffman, pleaded guilty yesterday to train-wrecking at Dunbar and was sentenced to ten years in the Penitentiary. Bell seemed relieved when sentence was passed, particularly as Hoffman is sentenced to be hanged.  The popular feeling was such that the Sheriff took him at once to Lincoln without trying to keep him over night.”

The Penitentiary at Lincoln was until after WWI the only adult correctional facility in Nebraska.  In 1889, it housed about 400 inmates, of whom James Bell was Prisoner No. 1203.  The Nebraska State Historical Society has a copy of his “Descriptive Record.”

“James Bell, Hoffman’s accomplice, was released from the Nebraska Penitentiary in May of 1894 after serving 7 years.”  (Dempsey, p. 73.) 

*16*

And to refute the twin misconceptions that the English ignore we colonials and nothing exciting ever happens in my family, there’s this from the Yorkshire Gazette of York, England, dated Saturday, 13 Aug 1887:

“At Nebraska city, Neb., the other day, it took eight minutes to ‘strangle to death’ David Hoffman, who had wrecked a passenger train, with fatal results.  In the matter of executions, therefore, the Americans are fearfully slow.  Had Berry, of Bradford, been commissioned to deal with Mr Hoffman, he would have effectually completed his ghastly task in about eight seconds.  The execution of Hoffman reminds one of the scenes which took place on Knavesmire and Clifton Ings a couple of centuries ago, when criminals led to execution were strangled to death.  Thousands of persons object to capital punishment—Mr Lockwood, Q.C., M.P., however, is one of those who consider that it acts as a check on crime—but they must at any rate be gratified to know that our wretched culprits are sent out of this world in the most humane way yet known to science.”

The article refers to “Berry of Bradford.”  James Berry (1852–1913) was Public Executioner in Britain, author of My Experiences as an Executioner.  He’s best known  for refining the “long drop” method of hanging.  The English are better than we are at everything.  One wonders if Rumpole would have shared Mr. Lockwood’s opinion.

*17*

Dempsey, Tim.  (2014).  Well I’ll Be Hanged Early Capital Punishment In Nebraska. Mechanicsburg, PA: Sunbury Press, Inc.  (Chapter VI, pp. 67–78 “David Hoffman A Real Train Wreck” is an account of the Dunbar, NE train wreck and its aftermath.  On p. 76 is a photograph of the wreck, which is seen above.)

This all sounds quite lurid, but it was the era before radio and TV.  To visualize the crime, imagine yourself riding a skateboard down an incline and tied to your skateboard is a string of tin cans.  You wipe out and the cans are flying everywhere.  Train wrecking was a common method of robbing a train, and in this case it proved deadly for both the engineer and the robber.

The railroads were lifelines for a community. In addition to anger about the crime, concern for the economic health of the area undoubtedly played a role in the fury vented upon David Huffman.

_______________________________________

The following biographical sketch of Elisha B. Huffman, son of Jacob and Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman, gives a detailed family history of the descendants of Jacob and Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman (click on images to enlarge).  Homer, MN is in the far southeast of the state, on the bank of the Mississippi River.

(1895).  Portrait And Biographical Record Of Winona County, Minnesota Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County, Together with Biographies and Portraits of all the Presidents of the United States.  Lake City Publishing Co.  Chicago:  Chapman Publishing Company, Printers And Binders.  pp. 294–295

There is, in connection with Jacob Huffman, a lawsuit which provides contemporary evidence concerning his family, in:

Jones Esq., Edward C.  (1853).  Reports Of Cases Decided In The Court Of Common Pleas of Upper Canada; From Trinity Term 15 Victoria, To Trinity Term 16 Victoria Volume II. Toronto:  Henry Rowsell, King-Street, pp.423–430.

It was a messy affair: Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman, widow of Jacob, asserted her dower rights to a property then occupied by James Finch, which property had been acquired during her marriage to Jacob Huffman.  The property was extensive, consisting of a large tract of land and improvements, in Trafalgar, Halton Co., Ontario.  For his part, Finch claimed to have had a deed dated 28 Apr 1815 from Jacob Huffman, now lost, in which Elizabeth duly relinquished her dower.  The court ruled for Elizabeth as Finch could produce no evidence. There’s nothing stating the relationship of Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman to James Finch, but surely they were related.  It’s a case with implications on both sides of the Canada/USA border, because it illustrates what could happen when a wife didn’t legally alienate her dower.  In this instance, James Finch had to satisfy Elizabeth (Finch) Huffman’s dower portion.

This passage, found on p. 425, proves the identity of Jacob Huffman, and his real date of death:

JACOB HUFFMAN LAWSUIT

There are discrepancies in the available information regarding the descendants of Christopher Huffman.  The broader outline seems correct, while some details are conflicting.  Some of the dates in the Elisha B. Huffman sketch don’t match other data. One can only work with the facts at hand while being careful to correct the record with more accurate material as it’s unearthed. However, Elisha B. Huffman can be expected to have intimate knowledge of his parents and siblings.

As I examined the lives of Christopher Huffman and his family in Halton Co., Ontario, I realized how closely they resembled pioneers in the United States.  These were the people who were the backbone of nations, who cleared the land, built roads, established courts of justice, and erected houses to their faith.  In this there was more that bound together Christopher Huffman and Virginia pioneers like Abraham Fulkerson than set them apart.

The following marriages are also found in Halton Co, Ontario:

Charlotte Huffman to Alexander McKenzie, both of Trafalgar Township, 26 Dec 1835 (Charlotte was the dau. of Henry Huffman)

Susan Crawford to Charles Coote, both of Esquessing Township, 23 Mar 1831

Patrick Crawford to Elizabeth Madden, both of Trafalgar Township, 5 Apr 1833

Thomas Crawford (carpenter), of Trafalgar Township, to Barbara Watkins, of Esquessing Township, 1 Nov 1837 (Barbara was the dau. of Samuel Watkins)

To celebrate my Canadian heritage, these are the lyrics to the Canadian national anthem:

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

____________________________

Newspapers can be crucial in reconstructing family history.  “Chronicling America” is a free newspaper database operated by the Library of Congress.  Check their website first before subscribing to a paid service.

http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/search/titles/

An excellent resource for Canadian genealogical research is Library and Archives Canada website:

http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng

Another useful website is United Empire Loyalists:

http://www.uelac.org/

Pedigree of Sancha de Ayala wife of Sir Walter Blount, Ancestors to George Washington & Hillary Lillian Vaughan, wife of Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff of Mount Pleasant, IA and Cheyenne, WY: CASTLLIAN (via Various Noble Houses of Castille) / ETHIOPIAN (via Melendo St. Peter with proof “Lampader” means “St. Peter”) / JEWISH (via Rabbi Solomon et al) / VISIGOTHIC (via Peoples Indigenous to Spain prior to the Berber Invasion) / Sir Henry Skipwith II dies bankrupt in India / with Notes on Blount, Somerville & Griffith

•May 5, 2016 • Comments Off on Pedigree of Sancha de Ayala wife of Sir Walter Blount, Ancestors to George Washington & Hillary Lillian Vaughan, wife of Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff of Mount Pleasant, IA and Cheyenne, WY: CASTLLIAN (via Various Noble Houses of Castille) / ETHIOPIAN (via Melendo St. Peter with proof “Lampader” means “St. Peter”) / JEWISH (via Rabbi Solomon et al) / VISIGOTHIC (via Peoples Indigenous to Spain prior to the Berber Invasion) / Sir Henry Skipwith II dies bankrupt in India / with Notes on Blount, Somerville & Griffith

Revised Apr. 24, 2016

According to a “New York Times” article of 4 Dec 2008 by Nicholas Wade, DNA studies by Mark Jobling of the University of Leicester in England and Francesc Calafell of Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain have found that of the population of the Iberian Peninsula (which includes the countries of Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and the British dependency of Gibraltar), about 20% have Jewish ancestry and 11% have Moorish ancestry.  Says Wade: “Spain and Portugal have a history of fervent Catholicism, but almost a third of the population have a non-Christian genetic heritage.” 

This is the story of one such line, and its survival into the modern era.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Archaeologia Cambrensis The Journal Of The Cambrian Archaeological Association Fourth Series Vol. X No. 37 January 1879.  London: J. Parker, 377, Strand, London.

A very useful resource for Welsh history and genealogy.  pp. 71-72 mentions Lampeter in Cardiganshire in connection with a detailed account of the Griffith family of Wichenor in Staffordshire.  Issues from 1846–1899 plus index may be read online at:

http://europeana-journals.llgc.org.uk/browse/listissues/llgc-id:2919943

*

Boulger, Demetrius, ed.  (1888).  The Asiatic Quarterly Review Volume VI July–October 1888 July 1888.  London: T. Fisher Unwin, 26 Paternoster Square.

Demetrius Charles Boulger (1853–1928) was a prolific British historian and a member of the Royal Asiatic Society.  Available as free download from HathiTrust Digital Library.  Search under “Demetrius Boulger.”  Subject “Asia.”  Death of Sir Henry Skipwith II: see pp. 391–393.

*

Bridgeman, M.A., Rev. The Hon. George T.O.  (1876).  History Of The Princes Of South Wales.  Millgate, Wigan.: Thomas Birch

Available as free download from Google Books.  George Thomas Orlando Bridgeman (1823–1895), educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, was the 2nd son of the 2nd Earl of Bradford.  He was a member of a family long associated with the Church of England, and became a prominent cleric in his own right.

*

Croke, Sir Alexander; of Studley Priory, Oxfordshire.  (1823).  The Genealogical History Of The Croke Family Originally Named Le Blount Vol. II.  Oxford: W. Baxter for John Murray, Albemarle Street, London; and Joseph Parker, Oxford.

Available as free download from Internet Archive.  Sir Alexander Croke graduated Doctor of Civil Law from Oriel College, Oxford.  Chapter III of Vol. II contains extensive material on the family of Sancha de Ayala.  It would be pointless to address the errors, chief among them the purported de Ayala descent from Urraca, daughter of “Alonso,” king of Leon.  Ironically, the Croke family didn’t descend from the Blounts.

*

Farmerie, Todd A.; Taylor, Nathaniel L.  (1998).  NOTES ON THE ANCESTRY OF SANCHA DE AYALA.  Prepublication MS of article subsequently published (with minor emendations) in the New England Historical and Genealogical Register 103 (1998), 36–48.

Todd A. Farmerie and Nathaniel L. Taylor are co-owners of Internet message board “soc.genealogy.medieval.” Farmerie is Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University (Pullman).  Taylor, of Barrington, Rhode Island, holds a PhD in Medieval History from Harvard, and is a professional genealogist and Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists.   Article is available on the Internet under the above title.  Some references cited are in Spanish.  The article refutes three claims of royal ancestry and  two claims of descent from Muslim princesses.  The article doesn’t present Sancha de Ayala’s actual ancestry, leaving the reader with the impression there’s little of interest in her pedigree.  Farmerie and Taylor claim “Sancha is also an ancestress of Queen Elizabeth II,” without giving the descent; and acknowledge George Washington’s family as among Sancha’s descendants.  Unfortunately, genealogy being the rather dry subject it often is, linking Medieval lines to more recent historical figures has become a shameless method of promoting the author’s work.  Article can be viewed at:

http://nltaylor.net/pdfs/a_SanchaNotes.pdf

*

Fletcher, Richard.  (2006).  Moorish Spain.  Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Richard Fletcher was Professor of Medieval History at University of York, UK.

*

Fletcher, Richard.  (1990).  The Quest for El Cid.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.

Same author bio as above.

*

G.E.C.  (1900).  Complete Baronetage Volume I 1611–1625.  Exeter: William Pollard & Co., Ltd. 39 & 40 North Street.

Available as free download from Internet Archive.  Series consists of 5 volumes with a 6th volume as an index.  George Edward Cokayne was Clarenceux King of Arms Herald at the College of Arms, London.

*

Goodman, Anthony.  (1992).  John of Gaunt The Exercise of Princely Power in Fourteenth-Century Europe.  Burnt Mill, Harlow, Essex: Longman Group UK Limited.

Anthony Goodman is English Professor Emeritus of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

*

Henze, Paul B.  (2000).  Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia.  New York: Palgrave.

Paul B. Henze was a former CIA and National Security Council specialist.  After leaving government service he became a consultant for the RAND Corp.  Henze devotes little of his text to slavery, but notes it had ancient origins in Ethiopia, which he identifies as probably part of the Land of Punt.

*

Hitchcock, Richard.  (2008).  Mozarabs in Medieval and Early Modern Spain Identities and Influences.  Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Company. 

Richard Hitchcock is Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter, UK.

*

Howard, L.L.D., F.S.A., Joseph Jackson; ed.  (1868).  Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica Vol. I.  London: Hamilton, Adams, And Co.

Available as free download from Google Books.  Joseph Jackson Howard (1827–1902), British attorney, started the periodical Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica in 1866 and was a founder of the Harleian Society.  An extremely valuable resource for British genealogy.

*

Keay, John.  (1991).  The Honourable Company A History of the English East India Company.  New York: Macmillan Publishing Company.

John Keay is a British author specializing in Asia, exploration, and Scotland.

*

Marotti, Arthur F.  (1995).  Manuscript, Print, and the English Renaissance Lyric.  Ithaca, NY and London: Cornell University Press.

Arthur F. Marotti is professor of English at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.  pp. 41 & 196–199 discuss the poetry of William, Henry, and Thomas Skipwith.

*

Richardson, Douglas; Everingham, Kimball G., ed.  (2013).  Royal Ancestry A Study In Colonial And Medieval Families Volume V.  Salt Lake City, Utah: The Author.

Douglas Richardson was educated at University of California (Santa Barbara) and University of Wisconsin (Madison).  Richardson is a professional genealogist and author based in Salt Lake City.  His “Royal Ancestry Series”, though not without error, comprise the best books of their type.  Volume V pp. 321–323 contains extensive notes on George Washington’s ancestors, including the descent from Constance Blount and the Lawrence Washington/Margaret Butler marriage.

*

Roberts, Gary Boyd.  (2012 reprint).  Ancestors of American Presidents 2009 Edition compiled by Gary Boyd Roberts with charts prepared in part by Christopher Challendar Child from originals by Julie Helen Otto.  Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Gary Boyd Roberts is Senior Research Scholar Emeritus at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  pp. 659-664 show descents from Sancha de Ayala for these Presidents of the United States: William Henry Harrison, Benjamin Harrison, George Herbert Walker Bush, George Walker Bush, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, George Washington (two lines), Grover Cleveland, Herbert Clark Hoover, and Gerald Rudolph Ford.  I’m not fond of omnibus volumes like this one.  Anything here should be independently verified.

*

Roth, Norman.  (2002).  Conversos, Inquisition, and the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain With a new afterword.  Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press. 

Norman Roth is Professor Emeritus of Hebrew and Semitic Studies at University of Wisconsin–Madison.

*

The Publications Of The Surtees Society Established In The Year M.DCCC.XXXIV Vol. XLV.  For The Year M.DCCC.LXIV.  (1865).  Testamenta Eboracensia.  A Selection Of Wills From The Registry At York.  Vol. III.  Durham: Andrews And Co.; etc.

The Surtees Society, founded in 1834, is dedicated to publishing manuscripts illustrative of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria.  For the will of Sir Walter Griffith see pp. 269–270.

*

Wrottesley, Major-General The Hon. G.  (1905).  Pedigrees From The Plea Rolls, Collected From The Pleadings In The Various Courts Of Law A.D. 1200 To 1500, From The Original Rolls In The Public Record Office.  Pub: The Author.

Available as free download from Internet Archive and as reprint from Nabu.  George Wrottesley (1827–1909), 3rd son of John Wrottesley, 2nd Baron Wrottesley, was a prominent English army officer and an avid genealogist specializing in Staffordshire.  He was a founder of The William Salt Archaeological Society which was devoted to the history of Staffordshire.  In 1936 the Society became the Staffordshire Record Society.

__________________________________________

LINE

1. Sancha de Ayala m. Sir Walter Blount 2. Anne Blount m. Thomas Griffith 3. Sir John Griffith m. Katherine Tyrwhit 4. Rhys (Richard) Griffith m. Margaret — 5. Joan (Jane) Griffith m. (his 1st) Sir Lionel Dymoke 6. Alice Dymoke m. (his 2nd) Sir William Skipwith 7. Henry Skipwith m. Jane Hall 8. Sir William Skipwith m. (1st) Margaret Cave 9. Sir Henry Skipwith, Bart. m. (1st) Amy (“Tresham”) Kempe 10. Diana Skipwith m. (his 2nd) Edward Dale 11. Elizabeth Dale m. (his 1st) William Rogers 12. Hannah (Rogers) Mitchell m. (2nd) Edward Blackmore 13. Joseph Blakemore m. Anne Sanders 14. Hannah Blakemore m. (1st) William Duncan 15. Joseph Duncan m. Elizabeth Peters 16. Minerva Jane Duncan m. Peyton Milton Wilcox 17. Nancy Theodocia Wilcox m. (2nd) Thomas Calvin McMillen 18. Nora Ann McMillen m. (1st) Eric Lyman Vaughan 19. Hillary Lillian Vaughan m. Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff  20. Valerie Berniece Jeffery Scarff m. Ralph Vernon Chipman.

SKIPWITH EXCURSUS.

(G.E.C., pp. 214-215.)

Above:  This pedigree from The Visitation of Herefordshire 1569 purports to show the descent of William Cecil Lord Burleigh, Queen Elizabeth I’s most trusted advisor, and brother to Margaret Cecil, from Turberville, Lord of Coytiffe and Kyrikvoell.  The Tudor era saw the rise of families of Welsh descent.  The accuracy of the earlier portions of the pedigree is questionable; having been raised to the dignity of a baron Cecil felt an ancient tree must grow within it.

The children of Sir Henry Skipwith, Bart., and wife Amy Kempe were, in order of birth: William (died before father); Henry, 2nd Bart.; Elizabeth; Thomas (evidently died before his brother Henry); Diana; Grey, 3rd Bart.; Anne.

Blandina Acton, 2nd wife of Sir Henry Skipwith, was the daughter of John Penvin of Badgworth, Somerset, and widow of John Acton, a prominent London goldsmith. 

A Gentleman of the Privy Chamber attended to the king in the king’s private apartment within a royal residence.  This office, dating to the reign of King Henry VII, was a plum as it gave the holder considerable influence with the king.  This explains why Sir Henry Skipwith entertained King Charles I at Cotes, as the two were friends of some standing.  However, when King Charles II ascended the throne, the Skipwith family was unable to recover any property sold to pay the fine imposed by Parliament during the interregnum.  Most such transactions were left intact by the new king who didn’t wish to unnecessarily antagonize his former enemies.  He contented himself with hunting down and executing those who played the most prominent roles in the beheading of his father.  The Skipwith family’s loyalty to the elder Charles counted for little with the son—hardly a singular tale—proving politics can be as murderous as the block.

So Grey Skipwith and his sister Diana, lacking any prospects in post-Restoration Britain, remained in the wilderness of Virginia—which had become their home in the mid-17th century.  The following, abstracted by Fleet from Lancaster Co., VA Record Book No. 2, 1654–1666, p. 345, testifies to that relationship.  Though Diana Skipwith belonged to a prominent family, she wasn’t a prominent member of that family, but settling in early VA as a single woman showed no lack of courage.

Sir Henry Skipwith was a poet of some reputation who composed “An Elegie on the Death of my never enough Lamented Master King Charles the first”: “Weepe, weepe even mankinde weepe, soe much is dead,” etc.  He should have wept over his lack of business acumen—after years of contracting debt, the Parliamentary fine was sufficient to push him into insolvency.

In remembrance of ancestors who were poets, I’m inspired to contribute these verses, entitled The State of the Cavalier:

The king has lost his head

And is consequently dead.

Happy cavaliers

Just pickin’ and grinnin’.

Virginny ain’t such a bad place to be

But you might get scalped when you go out to pee.

Happy cavaliers

Just pickin’ and grinnin’.

We’ll all wind up in an unmarked grave.

There’s nothing left to save.

Happy cavaliers

Just pickin’ and grinnin’.

This next item, from the records of the East India Company, illustrates the large sums Sir Henry Skipwith risked, using land as collateral.  The Parliamentary fine of 1,114 pounds, stiff though it was, should not of its own bankrupted him.

Richardson reports Sir Henry Skipwith was buried on 7 Nov 1655 at Stapleford in Leicestershire (during the 2nd year of The Protectorate), the actual source being a parish register; presumably he means the old church of St. Mary Magdalen, which was rebuilt in 1783 and now only used for civic functions.  It’s said most of the family memorials were moved to the new church, but I have found no reference to Sir Henry Skipwith, so perhaps his was not. 

(Flag of East India Company.  Founded under royal charter, the Company was also favored by Oliver Cromwell.  Lost ships were part of the cost of doing business.  The Company sought to discourage private trading, claiming its charter gave it exclusive right to trade between India and Great Britain.)

G.E.C.’s statement that Sir Henry Skipwith “d. about 1658” is due to confusing Sir Henry Skipwith, the 1st Baronet, with his son, the 2nd Baronet.  The 2nd Baronet died unmarried in India ca. 1657, where he had traveled to repair the family fortune, but met a tragic end.  See “The Asiatic Quarterly Review” of Jul 1888:

Sir Henry Skipwith II had friends at the East India Company.  The next letter dated 27 Feb 1657/8 from the same issue of “The Asiatic Quarterly Review” proves he was indigent.  He was deceased by the time the letter arrived.  In the days of sailing ships the voyage from England to India via the Cape of Good Hope could take 6 months, not including overland travel.  The cycle of writing a letter and receiving a reply might take 18 months.

The last record concerning Sir Henry Skipwith II is from a “soc.genealogy.medieval” thread containing remarks made by MichaelAnne Guido, which I’ll cite verbatim.

I cannot locate “The Wynter Family.”  However, Masulipatim where Sir Henry Skipwith II died is in the lower 3rd of India on its east coast.  It was a major trading hub.  Sir Henry Skipwith II had ventured deep into Asia.  Across the Bay of Bengal lay Burma and Thailand.

The Act of Administration record gives Sir Henry Skipwith II’s death as 1656.  The “Cholmondely” letter places the death in the summer of 1657.  In any event, due to the lag in communications with India, his estate wasn’t entered until much later.

At his death Henry was living with Edward Winter (b. ca. 1622, d. 2 Mar 1686).  Winter’s ship “The Tiger” was evidently named for a semi-mythical contest between Winter and a tiger, in which he drowned the beast.  In 1657, “The Tiger” was leaving Masulipatim for a trading voyage to Burma when she capsized, with a loss of all of her passengers and freight.  The “Masulipatim Roads” means “shipping lanes.”  The loss was valued at 20,000 pounds, a very large sum for the day.  This gives an idea of the scale of investment in the India trade.  It was a high-stakes game and Henry was in over his head.  The name of the ship and the exact date it was lost doesn’t alter the fact that Henry couldn’t absorb the loss and died a pauper.  The entry of his estate in England was a formality.  There was nothing to distribute to anyone, regardless of where his relatives might be found.  Had Henry merely wanted to escape Cromwell, Virginia was much closer than India, but Virginia was a step down in class for Henry and his friends.  Henry wasn’t a 2nd or 3rd son.

What became of the remains of Sir Henry Skipwith II?  It’s very unlikely the body was shipped back to England.  The East India Company had religious facilities and cemeteries for Europeans.  His remains could have been deposited in the Winter property or at Fort St. George at Madras.  Regardless, the cemetery probably no longer exists, being a reminder of British colonialism. 

There were 3 Skipwith baronetcies, that of Metheringham, extinct 4 Jun 1756, Newbold Hall, extinct 28 Jan 1790, and Prestwould, which has survived.  Sir Thomas George Skipwith (ca. 1735–1790), 4th Baronet of Newbold Hall, having no children, left his estates to Sir Grey Skipwith, 8th Baronet of Prestwould.  The present Baronet of Prestwould, 12th in succession, is Sir Patrick Alexander d’Estoteville Skipwith, a lineal descendant of Diana Skipwith’s brother Grey.

(For descendants see column “Family Of Hillary Lillian Vaughan.”)

___________________________

TO THE STORY PROPER: HAVING SEEN THE END WE INQUIRE AS TO THE BEGINNING.

Sancha de Ayala (ca. 1360–1418) m. Sir Walter4 Blount (John3, Walter2, William1), and is one of my ancestors through the Griffith family. She came to England in the household of Constance of Castile, 2nd wife of John of Gaunt. Sir Walter Blount was a close associate of Gaunt, and it was through Gaunt that he met Sancha.  In 1381 Sir Walter Blount purchased the manor of Barton in Derbyshire, part of which was settled on Sancha as her dower lands.

Gaunt “had a soft spot for Sancha Garcia [de Ayala], who married his knight Walter Blount, and to whom he gave a New Year’s present in 1380.”  Goodman (1992), pp. 135-136.

Sancha was a member of a highly evolved and sophisticated culture in Toledo, Spain. The area became part of the kingdom of Castile on 25 May 1085 when Alfonso VI, king of Castile and Leon, ejected the Moors.  The Moors had ruled Toledo since the early 8th century.

The following charts are from an article published in 2000 (in Spanish) by Balbina M. Caviro (Balbina Caviro Martinez) of the Complutense University of Madrid illustrating some maternal and paternal ancestry of Sancha de Ayala.  These form a general outline of her ancestry and don’t show all of her family connections.  [See Todd A. Farmarie and Nathaniel L. Taylor (1998) for information on other families.]  Sancha appears in the first chart as wife of “Guater Blont.”  Even without knowledge of Spanish one can comprehend the relationships.  In medieval Spain people might use the surname of either parent.  In Sancha’s case, she used the surname of her mother’s family because it was more prominent than her father’s.  “Arbol” is Spanish for “tree,” so the charts are “Genealogical tree of,” etc.  Click on images to read them.

In the next chart, “Melendo aben Lampadero Abdelaziz b. Lampader” was Mozarab, which will be discussed at length below.  The chart indicates Melendo’s grandson Pedro Suarez as “primero en usar el escudo del castillo,” which I loosely translate as “first to wear the coat of arms or shield of Castille,” indicating he was the first of his family to be armigerous.  It marks the acceptance of the family by the Castilian authorities, and the point at which we can consider them assimilated.  We are not given the name of the wife of Pedro Suarez, but his son Gomez Perez [I] de Toledo married Orabuena Gutierez, daughter of Gutierez Armildez.  Among the children of this couple was Archbishop Gutierre Gomez.

How did Sancha come to the attention of Constance, a daughter of Pedro I “The Cruel”, king of Castile?  The short version is Sancha’s sister Teresa was a mistress of Pedro I, and allegedly had a daughter by him, listed as “Maria de Ayala o Castilla” (Maria de Ayala of Castile) in the chart of Ines de Ayala.

Sancha left Castile, where her family had resided for many centuries, because her parents Diego and Inez, though they had powerful connections, were not wealthy or prominent enough to secure an advantageous marriage for her—or her sister Teresa, who drifted into an illicit affair with Pedro I.  In that era it was the custom with high born women like Constance of Castile to take into their household women of good family to wait in attendance upon them (hence the term “lady in waiting”).  We romanticize figures like Sancha de Ayala, and in her case it’s justified.  She was an ordinary woman possessed of a fascinating gene pool who found herself at the crossroads of history.

 

(Constance of Castile, 2nd wife of John of Gaunt and a daughter of Pedro I “The Cruel,” king of Castile and Leon.  John of Gaunt claimed the throne of Castile and Leon in right of Constance his wife, but was denied it.  Constance was the daughter of Pedro I by Maria de Padilla, whom Pedro I had secretly married, but was forced to repudiate and retain as his mistress.  Constance’s murky origin hampered Gaunt’s campaign.)

Pedro I’s chaotic personal life, and his failure to produce an acceptable heir, eventually led to his murder on 14 Mar 1369 at the hands of his illegitimate half-brother Henry of Trastamara.  Henry exploited animosity toward the Jews to secure powerful allies against Pedro I.  Henry said Pedro I was too pro-Jewish. 

The struggle between Pedro I and Henry was the seed of the dreaded Spanish Inquisition.  Henry was a usurper and weak, which suited the nobility who didn’t want a strong monarch.  The Catholic church stepped in to fill the power vacuum.  Anti-Jewish riots erupted.  The Inquisition peaked during the reign of the “Catholic Monarchs” Ferdinand and Isabella—the Ferdinand and Isabella who financed Christopher Columbus.

Of Sir Walter Blount, grandfather of Walter Blount, 1st Lord Mountjoy, The Complete Peerage Vol. IX, sub Mountjoy, pp. 331–333, has this:

Sir Walter Blount is a character in Shakespeare’s “I Henry IV.”  His mutterings are unremarkable.  Nonetheless, in battle Blount pretends to be the king, and is slain.  That earned him accolades for gallantry, but he was deaf in the grave.

Sancha de Ayala isn’t a genealogical curiosity.  She has thousands of descendants—including George Washington—but has never received commensurate treatment.  According to Sir Walter Blount’s biography in The History of Parliament online, the couple had 5 sons and 2 daughters.

George Washington’s lines from Sancha de Ayala [as reported by Roberts (2009)]:

LINE 1:

Sancha de Ayala m. Sir Walter Blount

Sir Thomas Blount m. Margaret Gresley

Sir Thomas Blount m. Catherine Clifton

Richard Blount m. Dorothy de la Ford

Elizabeth Blount m. Thomas Woodford

Ursula Woodford m. Thomas Light

Elizabeth Light m. Robert Washington

Lawrence Washington m. Margaret Butler

Lawrence Washington m. Amphylis Twigden

John Washington m. Anne Pope

Lawrence Washington m. Mildred Warner

Augustine Washington m. Mary Ball

George Washington

LINE 2:

Sancha de Ayala m. Sir Walter Blount

Constance Blount m. Sir John Sutton

John Sutton m. Elizabeth Berkeley

Sir Edmund Sutton m. Joyce Tiptoft

Sir John Sutton m. Anne Clarell

Margaret Sutton m. John Butler

William Butler m. Margaret Greeke

Margaret Butler m. Lawrence Washington

etc.

[see also Richardson (2013) pp. 321–323]

Croke, Vol. II (1823), p. 189, abstracts Sir Walter Blount’s will, and I think Croke may be trusted here:

“The will of Sir Walter Blount is dated at Lyverpole, the 16th of December, 1401.  He directs his body to be buried in the church of Saint Mary of Newerk, at Leicester.  He mentions his wife Sanchia as living, his sons John, Thomas, and James; his daughters Constantia, Baroness of Dudley, and Anna Griffith.  The Executor is John Blount, his brother, and he appointed as Supervisors of his Will, his cousin, Thomas Foljambe, and Thomas Langley, Keeper of the King’s Privy Seal.  It was proved the 1st of August, 1403.”

As The Complete Peerage notes, Sir Walter Blount and Sancha de Ayala were buried at St. Mary’s, the Newark, Leicester.  Leicester is the county seat of Leicestershire.  One of the more endearing customs of the English are place names of great antiquity which confuse those of us expecting street signs everywhere.  According to an old history of Leicester, the liberty of the Newarke was a small rectangular district lying on the east bank of the River Soar (a tributary of the River Trent), to the south of the old walled area of the borough and at the edge of the gravel terrace on which Leicester is built.  The name “Newarke” means “New Work,” to distinguish it from the older part of the city.  In 1330 the area was possessed by Henry, Earl of Lancaster.  Of the nearby 12th century castle only traces remain.  Earl Henry founded a hospital to the south of the castle, which his son Henry of Grosmont, the 1st Duke of Lancaster, enlarged.  The duke also founded a chantry college known as St. Mary’s of the Newarke.  The chantry employed a priest to say masses for the benefit of the dead who were thought to be working their way through Purgatory.  Sir Walter Blount’s choice of final resting place was in keeping with his devotion to the House of Lancaster.

The Harleian Society, Vol. 28, The Visitation of Shropshire 1623, pp. 50–57 contains extensive material on the Blount family.  On p. 55, “Ann ux….. Griffith de Wichenor in com. Staff.” is shown as a daughter of “Walterus Blount miles = Sanchia de Ayala Hispana.” who appear on p. 54.

[In this context “miles.” (Latin) means “knight.”  “Hispana” in Latin and Spanish is “feminine singular pertaining to Spain”, so what is meant here is simply “Spanish woman.”]

[“ux.” (Latin) is the abbreviation for “uxor” which means “wife.”]

Below:  Family records kept by Sir Walter Griffith II, son of Sir Walter Griffith I and 2nd wife Agnes Constable.  The heading indicates Sir Walter Griffith II provided this list of ancestor obituaries on 26 Sep 1511.  In latin.  The 5th obituary, for Thomas Griffith, correctly identifies the wife of Thomas as “Anna,” but makes her the daughter of Thomas Blount, who was actually her brother.  The will of Sir Walter Blount and The Visitation of Shropshire make it clear “Anna Griffith” was Sir Walter Blount’s daughter.  The 8th obituary is for Agnes (Constable) (Griffith) Clifton, mother of Sir Walter Griffith II.)

(Howard, 1868, p. 64.  Click on image to enlarge.)

Wichenor, the seat of the Griffith family, is 5 1/2 miles NE of Lichfield near the River Trent.  Domesday Book records that Robert of Stafford held 2 hides in Wychnor in Seisdon Hundred, and Robert held it of him, and formerly 4 thegns held it; and it consisted of land for 4 ploughs, and in demesne was 1 plough, 4 villans and 2 bordars.  There was a mill, 20 acres of meadow, and woodland half a league long and 5 furlongs wide.  In modern terms, the woodland alone of this estate was approximately 1 1/2 miles long and 3,300 feet wide.  In all, a very substantial country manor.

But not all was bucolic at Wichenor, as the following incident attests.  It probably occurred toward the end of the Chancellorship of John Stafford, Bishop of Bath and Wells, perhaps ca. 1440–1443:

Thomas  Nevowe was evidently harvesting peas for a religious house and the king when he was set upon by Walter Griffith, son of Sir John Griffith, and a large party of thugs from the Griffith estates.  Nevowe, fearing a beating or even murder, fled the scene and was too frightened to return to his home.  The cause of the attack is not stated.  In the absence of an effective police force violence was common.

This rather lengthy account of the Griffith family of Wichenor, which mentions Lampeter in Cardiganshire, is from Archaeologia Cambrensis, January 1879, pp. 71-72.  I have not investigated a possible link of the Griffiths to Princes of South Wales.  The reference “(Shaw says daughter of Sir Walter Blount in his History of Staffordshire.)” is to The history and antiquities of Staffordshire by the Rev. Stebbing Shaw, pub. in 2 volumes (1798, 1801).  (Click on pages to enlarge.)

This, from Knights of Edward I Volume 4, p. 259, amplifies what is said above regarding Sir Philip de Somerville:

An Inquisitions Post Mortem taken at Bolyngbrok in Lincolnshire dated 3 April, 11 Edward III, for Roger de Somervill or de Somervyle, states that his next heir is Philip de Somervyle, aged 40 years and more, brother of Roger.

Below: The descent of Sir John Griffith, father of Sir Walter Griffith and Rhys (Richard) Griffith, from the Somervilles to the Griffiths, is shown in this lawsuit. The Griffith family were major land owners.  The date of this lawsuit—1440—was yet to presage the contest of Lancaster and York.

(Wrottesley, 1905, pp. 369-370.)

The Griffiths of Wichenor and Burton Agnes, like many Medieval gentry families, can confound even experienced genealogists.  Gen. No. 4 of the line above given, Rhys (Richard) Griffith, was the brother of Walter Griffith (d. 9 Aug 1481), as Peter Sutton notes in a lengthy GEN-MEDIEVAL-L Archives post dated 29 Oct 2005 entitled “The 3 Walter Griffiths of Burton Agnes, East Riding of Yorkshire.”  Sutton lists 3 Walter Griffiths (A), (B), and (C).  The problem is the 3 Walters are confused.  Walters (A) and (B) are in fact the same person: this Walter m. 1st Jane Neville, by whom he had no surviving children; m. 2nd Agnes Constable, by whom he produced his heir, another Walter Griffith (C).  Agnes (Constable) Griffith took as her 2nd husband Gervase Clifton.

The proof that Walter Griffith who m. Jane Neville and Walter Griffith who m. Agnes Constable are the same individual is in this old chart I received from the Society of Antiquaries of London.  (Click on image to enlarge.)

Under the heading “This stately tombe” we find Sir Walter Griffith interred with his first wife, Jane Neville.  The girl and boy flanking Jane and Walter are their daughter and son who died young.  To the right of the tomb in the circles are Walter’s parents Sir John Griffith and Katherine Tyrwhitt.  From them is a line down to “F,” where Sir Walter Griffith is shown with his first wife Jane Neville to his left, and his second wife Agnes Constable to his right.  The legend in Walter’s circle states he died in 1481.  Walter chose to be buried with his first wife, a common practice. 

The identity of Jane Neville (who was also called “Joan”) is confusing:  She was the daughter of Sir Ralph Neville, son of Ralph Neville 1st Earl of Westmorland by the earl’s 1st wife Margaret Stafford; and Mary Ferrers, daughter of Robert Ferrers, first husband of Joan Beaufort, alleged illegitimate daughter of John of Gaunt.  Jane Neville’s father Sir Ralph Neville is sometimes incorrectly termed the 2nd Earl of Westmorland.  After the  death of Margaret Stafford, Joan Beaufort became the 2nd wife of Ralph Neville 1st Earl of Westmorland.  [For Ferrers see The Complete Peerage Volume II, p. 232 IV Elizabeth Baroness le Botiller and footnote (d), and p. 233 footnote (a).]

“This stately tombe” is still in existence in St. Martin’s church at Burton Agnes, East Riding of Yorkshire.

The will of Sir Walter Griffith I of Burton-Agnes was dated 8 Jul 1481 and probated at York.  The will is in latin.  The 8th line of this text mentions items stored at Whichnore.  Lines 23 and 24 mention “Ricardo Griffith, fratri meo,” which means “my brother.”  There’s no doubt as to the identity of these people.

[Surtees (1865), pp. 269-270.]

It should be noted Douglas Richardson has published the correct account of this Sir Walter Griffith.

At Wichenor in Staffordshire was a strange marriage custom, dating to the reign of King Edward III, and perhaps followed by Ann Blount and Thomas Griffith, in which this oath was sworn on a side of bacon: 

“Hear ye, Sir Philip de Somerville, Lord of Wichenour, maintainer and giver of this Bacon, that I [husband], since I wedded my wife, and since I had her in my keeping, and at my will by a year and a day after our marriage, I would not have changed for none other, fairer nor fouler; richer nor poorer; nor for none other descended of greater lineage; sleeping nor waking at no time; and if the said wife were single and I were single I would take her to be my wife before all the women of the world, of what conditions soever they be, good or evil, as help me God and his saints, and this flesh and all flesh.”

The origin of this custom is quite confused, some suggesting it was entailed in a charter from John of Gaunt.  Another account stated the custom was also a physical ordeal and only three couples ever walked off with the bacon.  However, it was in connection with my research of this obscure practice that I solved the odd mystery of the name of a Mozarab inhabitant of 12th century Toledo, Spain, Abdul Aziz bin Lampader (see below).

(Neo-Moorish architecture:  Castello di Sammezzano, Tuscany, Italy.)

In 712 a Berber army under Arab command defeated the Visigothic King Roderic of Spain and within a few years wrested control of the Iberian peninsula.  The Arab elite regarded the Berbers as inferior: “Berber” meant “barbarian.”  The Berbers rebelled against their Arab leaders in North Africa in 739 and in 740 the rebellion spread to al-Andalus (Islamic controlled Spanish territory). 

Though the Moors remained for centuries masters of a large part of Spain, getting a straight answer as to their ethnic composition was difficult.  “Moor” is slang for “Moroccan.”  The Moors ranged from fair skinned blonde to dark skinned Ethiopian.  The best description I can assemble is that they were initially (mostly) Berber tribesmen from Algeria and Morocco with some Arab component, but during the period of their domination assimilated black Africans from Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia, most of whom were soldiers and slaves. 

(Garima Gospels, Ethiopia, ca. 4th to 7th century.  Despite its Christian heritage, Ethiopia was notorious for its slave trade.)

Slave merchants took Ethiopians by caravan to lucrative slave markets like Tangier in Morocco and Tunis in Tunisia.  Ethiopia also furnished soldiers.  Tangier was a trans-shipping point for slaves.  At its shortest extent, Tangier is only about 20 miles from Spain across the Straits of Gibraltar.  Even if slaves were shipped farther up Spain’s east coast, it’s a sea journey of about 100 miles.  My hypothesis is that most soldiers and slaves from Ethiopia who entered service under the Moors converted to Islam, while Ethiopian slaves purchased by Christians were assimilated into communities known as Mozarabs (see below).  Muslims were adamantly opposed to Muslims becoming Christians.  Assimilating Christian Ethiopian slaves would not have drawn the ire of Moorish authorities. This explains why Moors and Mozarabs shared African ancestry.   The British journal The Tatler for 14 Nov 1710, No. 250,  contains the sentence:  “The first place of the bench I give to an old Tangerine captain with a wooden leg.”  This indicates the word “Tangerine” was applied to natives of  Tangier, but this usage probably came after the end of Moorish occupation of Spain.

So the Moors are a mixed race people, the individuals of which could vary in appearance.  They were not a distinct race of their own, but a shared culture.  The Moors were sometimes called “Arabs” in the generic sense, as “Muslims,” in the same way the term “Saracen” came to be applied to Islamic peoples during the Crusades.

(Astrolabe made at Toledo in 1068.)

Historian Richard Fletcher (2006) p. 10, wrote:

“The language of common speech in al-Andalus, for Christians and Jews as well as Muslims, was Arabic; but to speak as some have done of ‘Arabic’ Spain is to give the impression that the land had been colonised by the Arabs, whereas the number of Arabs who settled there was very small.  ‘Moorish’ Spain does at least have the merit of reminding us that the bulk of the invaders and settlers were Moors, i.e., Berbers from northwest Africa.  But we shall need to bear in mind that they overlay a population of mixed descent—Hispano-Romans, Basques, Sueves, Visigoths, Jews and others.”

The Moorish scholar Abu Muhammad Ali ibn Sa id ibn Hazm (994–1064), son of Ahmad, advisor to the Umayyad Caliph Hisham II, described the Moors:

“All the Caliphs of the Banu Marwan (God have mercy on their souls!), and especially the sons of al-Nasir, were without variation or exception disposed by nature to prefer blondes.  I have myself seen them, and known others who had seen their forebears, from the days of al-Nasir’s reign down to the present day; every one of them has been fair-haired, taking after their mothers, so that this has become a hereditary trait with them; all but Sulaiman al-Zafir (God have mercy on him!), whom I remember to have had black ringlets and a black beard.  As for al-Nasir and al-Hakam al-Mustansir (may God be pleased with them!), I have been informed by my late father, the vizier, as well as by others, that both of them were blond and blue-eyed.  The same is true of Hisham al-Mu’aiyad, Muhammad al-Mahdi, and Abd al-Rahman al-Murtada (may God be merciful to them all!); I saw them myself many times, and had the honour of being received by them, and I remarked that they all had fair hair and blue eyes.”

The above passage is in ibn Hazm’s The Ring of the Dove, in the chapter “Of Falling In Love With A Quality And Thereafter Not Approving Any Other Different” [Arthur John Arberry (1905–1969), trans.; Fellow Pembroke College, Cambridge].  ibn Hazm, as the son of a highly placed court official, is impeccable evidence, drawing upon his own observation, or the personal observation of his “late father, the vizier, as well as by others….”  Few in the West outside of academia are familiar with ibn Hazm, but he is a very important source for this period.

Note ibn Hazm says the “blonde” trait of these caliphs was from “taking after their mothers” and became hereditary through them.  Obviously the Moors had taken women indigenous to the area as wives or concubines, but this practice was not universal, as in the case of Sulaiman al-Zafir.  Sulaiman’s “black ringlets” refer not to jewellery, but to his naturally curled hair.  So some Moors were engaged in what can only be termed “selective breeding,” but why?  Why did not Sulaiman al-Zafir? 

Perhaps Sulaiman al-Zafir found all the respect he needed at the point of his sword, although many he put to the sword could not defend themselves:

“During this period the Berbers rampaged uncontrollably over the southeastern parts of Spain, living off the land and extorting protection money from the cities, doing untold damage by their depredations.  Meanwhile, the situation of the Cordobans became very wretched.  The city was  crowded with refugees from the surrounding countryside. A wet spring in 1011 brought serious flooding of the Guadalquivir.  An outbreak of plague occurred.  The government was so hard up that it was driven to the expedient of selling off some of al-Hakem’s splendid library.  In May 1013 Cordoba surrendered.  Sulayman’s Berber followers, who had already wrecked the palace at Madinat az-Zahra, sacked and plundered the city.  What remained of the caliphal library was dispersed.  Enormous numbers of the citizens were massacred. The great scholar-to-be, Ibn Hazm, then aged about nineteen, witnessed the slaughter and later named over sixty distinguished scholars who met their deaths.  One of them, the biographer Ibn al-Faradi, lay unburied where he had been cut down for three days.  The caliph Hisham II disappears from view, presumed murdered.”  So ibn Hazm had personal knowledge of Sulaiman-al Zafir, who presided as caliph in Cordoba until 1016, when one of his generals deposed and executed him.  Fletcher (2006), pp. 80–81.

“Selective breeding” among elites was hardly new with the Moors.  The most extreme example are the Ptolemaic pharaohs of Egypt, who married their own sisters because no other women were fit for a king.  The wives of two of the sons of King Edward III of England—John of Gaunt and Edmund of Langley—were cousins of Gaunt and Langley, and both were daughters of Pedro I.  It all smacks of the Nazi attempt to create a super-race, but the caliphs were not engaged in a program of racial extermination.  ibn Hazm says “all but Sulaiman al-Zafir” did this; thus it’s reasonable to conclude the average Moor resembled Sulaiman al-Zafir.  Or is it?

An ancient mystery: is ibn Hazm’s tale of the blonde caliph true?

“‘Abd al-Rahman III’s father Muhammad was born of the union between the amir ‘Abd Allah [d. 912] and the Christian princess Onneca or Iniga, the daughter of a king of Navarre who had been sent to Cordoba as a hostage in the 860s.  ‘Abd al-Rahman himself was the child of a union between his father Muhammad and a slave-concubine, a Christian captive possibly from the same Pyrenean region, named Muzna (perhaps originally Maria?).  In his immediate ancestry, therefore, the new ruler was three-quarters Spanish, or perhaps more accurately Hispano-Basque, and only one-quarter Arab.  He had blue eyes, a light skin and reddish hair.  We are told that he used to dye his hair black to make himself look more like an Arab.  This was only one of several ways in which ‘Abd al-Rahman was skilled at the business of what today we would call projecting an image of himself.”  Fletcher (2006), p. 53.

The king of Navarre for this period is Garcia Iniguez (r. 851–882).  Due to military instability in the region the story of ‘Abd Allah receiving a hostage from a king of Navarre is plausible.  She may have been illegitimate.  Regardless of her actual paternity, and the uncertainty of her name, the notion she would ever have been set free by ‘Abd Allah to marry another is impossible.

Thus, the tale is true; only in this instance the caliph had reddish hair—but there were many women should he desire his son to be blonde.  What lay behind this practice?  The motive appears to be a desire to copy their white European counterparts, rather than a means to separate elites from their subjects.  We tend to think of Moorish Spain as insular, but there was constant contact with Christian states, in matters of trade, diplomacy, and warfare.

What more can we say of Sulaiman al-Zafir?  As  Fletcher (2006), p. 80 remarks:  “The Berber generals chose another descendant of ‘Abd al-Rahman III, Sulayman, as a rival caliph.  Sulayman appealed for military aid to the count of Castile, Sancho Garcia, who responded positively.  The two men, Christian and Muslim, joined forces, marched on Cordoba and defeated Muhammad II in November 1109.  Sulayman was proclaimed caliph.”   This initial usurpation lasted until May 1010 when another combination of Christian and Muslim allies ousted Sulaiman. 

We may therefore conclude that even Sulaiman al-Zafir’s appearance, with his black beard and ringlets, was to some extent the result of “selective breeding,” and the Berbers who elevated him were basically black.  This resemblance to his Berber troops may have helped in winning them over, but as we have seen, it ended badly for him.  ‘Abd al-Rahman III would have kept a well-stocked harem, and it appears Sulaiman al-Zafir’s ancestry was not of Hispano-Basque women.

My theory is that ‘Abd al-Rahman III’s successors ran through these Hispano-Basque slave-concubines, but for political purposes he also had children by dark-skinned women, and Sulaiman al-Zafir was a descendant of one of those unions.  My intent here is to reconcile the historical facts.  As seen above, al-Rahman III felt he could not alienate his subjects by affecting a completely “white-European” appearance, so he dyed his hair black.  For the chronology so essential to genealogists I should mention ‘Abd al-Rahman III succeeded his grandfather ‘Abd Allah in 912 and reigned until his death in 961.  Fletcher (2006), p. 53.  Sulaiman al-Zafir was a grandson or great-grandson of ‘Abd al-Rahman III.

ibn Hazm died a mere 21 years before Alfonso VI overwhelmed Toledo.  This is as contemporary a description of the Moors as we are likely to find.

The larger caliphates disintegrated:

‘[S]tatelets emerged which were run by civil administrators who had achieved prominence under the regime of Almanzor and his son.  These men were often technically slaves, or freedmen, and sometimes not of peninsular origin but drawn from the vast hordes of slaves imported into al-Andalus in the tenth century.”  Slaves could be of disparate ethnic backgrounds, in civil or military service, and sometimes emerged as rulers.  Fletcher (2006), pp. 83–84.

 

[Illustration: “Chess Problem No. 25 Five Moors, one playing harp.”  Harp music set the mood for this most competitive of board games.  From the Libro de los Juegos (Book of Games) of Alfonso X, king of Castile, Leon, and Galicia (1221–1284).  King Edward I of England married as his first queen Eleanor of Castile, half-sister of Alfonso X.  Alfonso X had the text translated from Arabic into Castlilian and added illustrations, the book being completed in 1283. During the Middle Ages, wealthy patrons commissioned illuminated manuscripts like the Book of Games.  Undoubtedly the king was personally familiar with the physical appearance of a Moor.  Note that on the left the servant holding a flask and dish has somewhat lighter skin than the others.  From this we can deduce that to a greater or lesser degree the individual Moor possessed black ancestry.]

[Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), “Four studies of the head of a Moore.” In the collection of Musees Royaux des Beaux Arts, Musee Old Masters Museum (inv. 3176), Brussels, Belgium.]

[Alfonso VI (1040–1109), king of Castile and Leon.]

The ruler of Toledo, Al-Qadir, was a hated puppet installed by Alfonso VI.  Alfonso VI had been bleeding Toledo dry with demands for tribute.  “Toledo also contained large communities of Jews and Mozarabic Christians.  It is inaccurate to regard the Christians as some sort of ‘fifth column’ working for Alfonso VI.  Nevertheless it was bound to have been the case that to be ruled by a Christian was perceived as preferable to be being ruled by a Muslim.  As for the Jews of Toledo, they were probably encouraged to look favourably upon the Christian king by an episode that occurred in 1082.  Alfonso had sent a Jewish ambassador to Seville to collect the tribute.  A dispute took place: the Castilian delegation complained the tribute was being paid in debased coin and accompanied their complaint with insults.  [The ruler] Al-Mu’tamid had the Jewish ambassador crucified.  Alfonso VI was livid with rage and mounted a punitive raid to avenge his envoy’s death.”  Fletcher (1990), p. 141.

Even after the liberation of Toledo, the area continued to be a center of Muslim and Jewish learning.  It would be very surprising if Sancha de Ayala, who was born centuries after the expulsion of the Moors, had no Jewish ancestry.

Above: Stained glass of Coat of Arms of Castile and Leon, Alcazar (Castle) at Segovia, Spain, the arms being a “castle” for Castile and a “lion” for Leon.  Principal residence of Alfonso VIII, king of Castile and Toledo, and his queen Eleanor, daughter of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine.  On 16 Jul 1212, Alfonso VIII and a coalition of Christian forces crushed the Muslim Almohads at the Battle of Navas de Tolosa in Southern Spain.  Some knights disagreed with Alfonso VIII’s lenient treatment of defeated Jews and Muslims from earlier battles.  When the Christian forces had previously gathered at Toledo there had been assaults and murders of Jews in the Jewish quarter.

Here’s a mega–pill:  Blanche of Castile (1188–1252), daughter of Alfonso VIII and Eleanor of England.  Blanche became Queen of France as consort to Louis VIII, king of France.  Her hovering suffocating supervision of her son, the future King Louis IX of France, drilled into his brain-pan the austerity and prudery for which he was known.  In 1243 in Paris, at the urging of Pope Gregory IX, Louis IX burned manuscript copies of the Jewish Talmud.  The incident was part of a wave of anti-Semitism that swept Europe in the 13th century.  Fortunately Pope Innocent IV rescinded the edict against the Talmud.  (Click to enlarge.)

King Louis IX indulged in self-scourging (flagellation), believing that inflicting pain upon himself helped atone for his exaggerated sense of sin.  Overwrought individuals like Louis IX had difficulty placing an appropriate value on “natural” and “supernatural.”  Their lives were a religious drama supported by the church.  While Louis’ behavior was excessive, in the Medieval era morbidly intense religious devotion was common.  Flagellation is still occasionally employed today—Pope John Paul II was a devotee of flagellation, a fact that emerged during testimony for his canonization.  According to published reports, Pope Francis is a flagellant.  Elements within the Catholic church accuse opponents of flagellation as having lost the sense of the enormity of sin: for them, when you sin, you’re rejecting Christ, and must be reconciled.  From this we can get a glimpse of the mentality of Medieval Catholics.

Below: King Louis IX also allowed himself to be whipped in penance.

Sancha’s claim to aristocracy came through her mother Ines de Ayala, whose family was more important than that of her father Diego Gomez.  Sancha’s uncle Pero Lopez de Ayala (1332–1407), for many years a player in Castilian politics, became Grand Chancellor of The Realm of Castile under King Henry III of Castile.  Ines de Ayala was also distantly related by blood to Roman Catholic Cardinal Pedro Gomez Barroso (d. 1348).

(Tomb effigy of Pero Lopez de Ayala in the Monastery of Quejana, near Bilbao, Spain.  In addition to holding high political office, he was also a renowned poet.)

Todd Farmerie, in a thread on “soc.genealogy.medieval,” dated 24 Jul 2007, entitled “Converso ancestors of Sancha de Ayala” said:

So what made Farmerie apoplectic?  The assertion that some of Sancha de Ayala’s ancestors were converted Jews—or “conversos.”  As Nathaniel Lane Taylor points out, the term “converso” is properly applied only to Jews who converted to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition.  But in actual practice, “converso” is often applied in a broader sense to Jews who converted at any point in the Medieval period.  And during the 15th century it could apply to Moorish converts as well.

My response to Farmerie is that your ancestors do not lose their identity over time.  If you have a Jew or African in your pedigree, THEY are a Jew and African forever, regardless of the era in which they lived.  Their contribution to YOU as an organism varies over time, but you’re the sum of all of your forebears.  I was unfamiliar with the phrase “turning something on its head.”  Farmarie is saying: “Even if there is a Jew somewhere in the pedigree, after 25 generations it’s a misinterpretation of the pure blood standard to say such a person is a Jew.”  So if the Jew is a remote ancestor, the Jewish genetic contribution to your pedigree is diluted to the point that it doesn’t matter.  That’s not genealogy.

The “pure blood standard” was called “limpieza de sangre,” and was first introduced into Spain in 1414 by the archbishop of Seville, in connection with the foundation of the Colegio de San Bartolome of Salamanca.  No one with any Jewish ancestor, regardless of how remote, could be admitted to the college.  Jewish blood was “tainted.” 

The practical application of the doctrine was in the event political.  Because so many people in Medieval Spain, including the very prominent, did have Jewish ancestors, the application of the “purity of blood” standard depended partly upon who you were.  If you were powerful (meaning you could marshal military force), your background wasn’t scrutinized as closely as someone further down the food chain. 

The doctrine was based upon the concept that though everyone was equal in Christ, Jews were held to be biologically “inferior.”  Thus was established institutionalized racism with various equations of who could do what with who: in some instances one could not have had a Jew in the family for 100 years, and in others, for 4 generations.  Dispensations could be granted. The more lenient definitions of “pure blood” prevailed, and that is what Farmarie appears to be advocating.  Students of history will recognize these regulations as precursors to the infamous Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany.  The Nuremberg Laws also extended to blacks and gypsies.

Farmerie has some support from across the pond. In an article in “The Guardian” dated 11 Mar 2009, British celebrity biographer Hugo Vickers was asked for his reaction to reports that King George III’s consort Queen Charlotte had black ancestry:

[Would] our royal family be threatened if it were shown they had African forebears? “I don’t think so at all. There would be no shame attached to it all,” says the royal historian Hugo Vickers. “The theory does not impress me, but even if it were true, the whole thing would have been so diluted by this stage that it couldn’t matter less to our royal family. It certainly wouldn’t show that they are significantly black.”

Stiff upper lip and carry on.

In the same thread, Taylor says: “Sancha de Ayala’s father’s ancestors in Toledo were a mixed bag of Toledan families. Some were most likely Mozarabic families—Christians who had been living under Muslim rule before the annexation of Toledo by Alfonso VI.  An example is Abdul Aziz bin Lampader, surely Sancha’s ancestor, who was alcalde [assistant judge] of the city in 1125.  There is a possibility that some of these families may have been Jewish…. The bottom line is that it is conventional to say all the apparently native urban [Toledo] families who bore Muslim names in the time of Alfonso VI [1040–1109] were Mozarabic Christians, but some of them may have been Jews. But in this early era (11th–early 12th c) there was no organized persecution or forced conversion….”

The position of Jews under the Cordoban caliphate had been favorable:

“Ibn Shaprut was a figure of eminence in the international Jewish community at large.  He was the patron of Jewish-Andalusi poets such as Dunash Ha-Levi, the benefactor of the Talmudic academies of Mesopotamia, the author of a letter to the ruler of the ‘Thirteenth Tribe,” the Jewish Khazars of south Russia.  He occupied an important position in al-Andalus as a trusted advisor as well as doctor to the caliph.  For his services he seems to have been rewarded with some lucrative sinecure from the tolls and customs paid by merchants.  Hasday ibn Shaprut is a remarkable testimony to the cosmopolitan character of the court of al-Andalus under ‘Abd al-Rahman III, and to the heights to which Jews could rise in service to it.”  Fletcher (2006), p. 70.

“It is difficult to know what the day-to-day relations of Christians and Muslims may have been like in the cities of al-Andalus.  They lived side by side.  In some cities the Mozarabs inhabited distinct Christian quarters of the town, in others they seem to have lived intermingled with their Muslim neighbors.”  Fletcher (2006), p. 94.

In the discussion of Abdul Aziz bin Lampader that follows, I’m going to rely on Hitchcock (2008)—this area of investigation was his specialty.  Comments in italics mine.

First, what was a “Mozarab”?  It means: “‘to make oneself similar to the Arabs,’ … ‘having assimilated Arabic customs’, or, most specifically designated someone who had the appearance of an Arab, was indistinguishable from Arabs, and would not stand out in a crowd of Arabs.” (p. ix)  “Mozarab” doesn’t just signify a Christian living under Muslim rule.  As Hitchcock states in his afterword, Mozarab “cannot, in my view, be a word employed to signify Christians who lived in al-Andalus,” which of course is at complete variance with the above comment by Nathaniel L. Taylor, but Taylor admits the possibility that “some of these families may have been Jewish.”

So the key here is primarily appearance and outward conformity, although in religion the Mozarab was mainly Christian and occasionally Jewish.  The term “Mozarab” was not uniformly applied as to religion, but does mean non-Muslim and could be pejorative.  The Moors and Mozarabs were related peoples, sharing a common black ancestry.  Mozarabs looked like Arabs but weren’t “real” Arabs because they weren’t Muslim—but if they didn’t rock the boat, were tolerated.

Above: Mozarabs in a mid-10th century Christian religious text.  A blue cross is in the center.  Note the vertical beam of the cross doesn’t extend upward from the horizontal beam.  The illustration depicts a Mozarab in the role of John of the Apocalypse measuring the temple with a measuring rod given him by angels (Revelations 11:1–3).  The Mozarabs have brown skin and all of their hair outside of their caps is black, indicating black ancestry. Hitchcock 2008 (jacket).

“In Toledo after 1085 AD, and the surrounding areas for a further century and a half, ‘Mozarab’ was an internally applied term.  Christians used it to define other, Arabicized, Christians, and amongst the communities of the latter were those who had ‘Mozarab’ or a recognizable form of the word, as a surname.’  (p. 76)  These were people who were in Toledo before Alfonso VI took it; a community he recognized as an asset in stabilizing his regime.

“In the first generation after the conquest of Toledo, there is a majority of names entirely in Arabic (59 per cent), whilst in the twenty-year period 1110–1130, this figure has reduced to 45 per cent.  Between 1150 and 1170, it has dropped to 5 per cent.  During the same period (1130–1170), hybrid names, of the type Abi al-Hasan b. Mika il, retain their popularity, representing over 40 percent of the instances….  By 1118, and throughout the following two centuries, being Mozarab meant, first and foremost, being Arabicized members of a Castilian community.”  (pp. 86–87)  In this example “Mika il” is the hybrid portion of the name.

“It would be fair to say that the Mozarabs flourished in the city of Toledo in the twelfth century.  They still had their own mayor in 1178, Melendo Lampader, who died in 1181, and relations with the Castlian community in the city seemed positive.  This same Melendo married a daughter of the Castilian alcaide, and the line was perpetuated well into the thirteenth century.  The maintenance of two separate mayors, responsible for their own communities, one hundred years after the capture of the city by Alfonso VI, is an indication of the success of this king’s initial policies.  Arabophone Christian communities, however they came into existence, could prosper independently within Christian territories.”  (p. 96)  The term “Arabophone” means the individual’s native language was Arabic.  Note that Hitchcock uses the phrase “Arabophone Christian communities, however they came into existence….”  So Melendo Lampader was himself recorded as a Mozarab.  As of 1178, the Lampader family had not been assimilated, but about the mid-13th century it was granted a coat of arms.

Abdul Aziz bin Lampader was an Arabicized Christian who in appearance resembled his Muslim counterpart—the Moors.  As I discuss above, what made an individual a Moor cannot be unequivocally stated, but by general agreement it was a person of mixed race, incorporating mainly Berber and African elements.  The bin Lampader family was a mixture of Visigothic and black African ancestry sharing the Christian religion.  Ethiopia had converted to Christianity in the 4th century.  Slaves and soldiers entering Moorish Spain brought their religion with them.  However, it would have been far more common (and safer) for a Christian to convert to Islam than a Muslim become a Christian.

Mozarab families resembled their Muslim neighbors because they both had black ancestry, from the same section of Africa.

(A view of Toledo, which barely looks more modernized than it did in the day of Sancha de Ayala.  Toledo had been the capital city of Visigothic Spain in the 6th and 7th centuries.  Click on image to enlarge.)

“Abdul Aziz” is a Muslim name still in use today: “Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud” was the name of the late king of Saudi Arabia, which means “Abdullah son of Abdul Aziz of the family Saud.”

One researcher claimed Abdul Aziz bin Lampader was actually Abdelacis ben Lampader, suggesting a Jewish form.  In Muslim use  “Abdul Aziz bin Lampader” means “Abdul Aziz son of Lampader” without a family name appended, but this was in an early age. I couldn’t locate “Lampader” anywhere in lists of Hebrew names, or in Hebrew dictionaries, or in Latin, or in Spanish, that would give a clue to the name the family held under the Moorish regime.  It may have been quasi-official.  A corollary is the English family of Despenser, whose name was derived from “Dispensator”—they had been stewards of the Earls of Chester or the Lacy family, Constables of Chester.  Abdul Aziz and his son Melendo held public office in Toledo.  Apparently this family was resident in Toledo when it capitulated to Alfonso VI, and the king took advantage of their continued service.

According to Fletcher (1990), p. 60: “Settlers also came [to Castile] from the South, Mozarabic Christians who left al-Andalus [Muslim controlled Spain] to live among their fellow Christians in the north.  They can be recognized by their Arabised names which evidently caused difficulties for Castilian scribes and produced such bizarre formations as the Abolgomar who lived near Cardena about the year 900 and the Abogaleb who was a monk at Berlangas in about 950.”

Having considered these possibilities and all but abandoning the search, the solution to the meaning of “Lampader” came from Wales: in Cardiganshire there is an ancient town called Lampeter, which means “St. Peter.”  This area was associated with Sir Rhys ap Griffith, grandfather of Thomas Griffith (see above), who married Joan de Somerville, heiress of Wichenor.  We may never know the name by which Abdul Aziz was known to the Moorish authorities, but his new name was entered by Castilian officials, probably as Alfonso VI tightened his grip on Toledo.  It reminds one of the creative work by the clerks at Ellis Island.  When Abdul Aziz presented himself, his actual name was probably replaced with the name “Lampader,” which meant “St. Peter;” and thus we have Abdul Aziz “son of St. Peter,” a “son” in the spiritual sense, like a “disciple” or “servant” of St. Peter.  This interpretation is validated by the third word of the initial name given in the Diego Gomez chart:  “Melendo aben Lampadero.”  We may substitute “Lampedro” for “Lampadero;”  “Pedro” being Spanish for “Peter.”  This signifies the Lampader family was definitely Christian, as were most Mozarabs.

(Click on image to enlarge.)

The entire article on Lampeter may be seen at:

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/wales/pp459-473

There are many Lampeter(s), this one from Theophilus Jones’s A History of the County of Brecknock, Vol. II, Part II.

(Church of St. Peter, Painscastle.)

And even a Lampeter in Pennsylvania (Zip Code 17537), named after Lampeter in Wales, undoubtedly the result of Welsh settlement in the area.

This interpretation is completely vindicated by the following items from Archaeologia Cambrensis of October 1878, p. 293, in an article “Notes On Records Relating To Lampeter And Cardiganshire”, which clearly demonstrate that “Lampeter” and “Lampader” are the same:

The documents referenced here are entries in a Charter Roll dating to 1284 and in a Patent Roll dating to 1330.  These are official government documents.  The Charter Roll of King Edward I authorizes Rhys ap Meredith to host a market at his manor of Lampeter every Thursday of the week, a lucrative privilege.  The king also granted Rhys ap Meredith the right to hold a fair from October 8 to October 10.  Patent Rolls were rolls of parchment in which letters written in the name of the king were recorded, in this instance King Edward III.  The phrase “the town of ‘Lampader calaponte Stevene,’ in South Wales” means “the town of St. Peter at the castle of Stephen’s bridge in South Wales,” a typical English way of describing a place.  “Pont” is Latin for “bridge.”  The castle had probably been erected during King Stephen’s interminable civil war with the Empress Matilda, mother of King Henry II of England.  The castle was a landmark, destroyed later in the 12th century, but ruins remained, and that’s how the town was known.

As further proof that the names “Lampeter” and “Lampader” were interchangeable, Bridgeman (1876) pp. 162–163 provides this passage which references King Edward I in the year 1280.  A castle at Lampader was in use during the king’s military operations in Wales.  It was probably a crude affair, not to be confused with the gigantic structures of his reign.

In England the “mark” was not a coin, but a monetary convention equal to about 2/3 of a pound.

Names incorporating a religious motif were in use at this time:  the name of  Gospatric I, Earl of Northumberland and Dunbar (d. ca. 1074/5)  meant “servant of Patrick.”

The line connects to Sancha de Ayala through her father Diego Gomez through Suarez.

[Shakespeare’s immortal Moor Othello, portrayed by American/British actor Ira Aldridge (1807–1867).  In 1833 Aldridge became the first black actor to play Othello on the London stage.  Othello is one of Shakespeare’s greatest roles which has inspired both black and white actors—like Laurence Fishburne and Laurence Olivier. Olivier played the role in black makeup.  Today we conceive of the Moors as black, and that was true in most cases.  The character Othello, if played as historically accurate, would be one of the Berber generals mentioned in connection with Sulaiman al-Zafir.  As ibn Hazm remarked, the mixed racial composition of the Moors covered a wider spectrum.  That challenges our assumptions about race: what does “race” really mean?]

Another character who weaves in and out of this tale is Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, or El Cid (ca. 1043–1099).  Although Spain’s National Hero, El Cid was a gun-for-hire or mercenary, with his own private army, fighting for Christians or Muslims as the fortunes of war dictated.  One of his clients was Alfonso VI, King of Castile and Leon.  El Cid’s passion was an independent principality in Valencia, which became reality, if only for awhile.  After  his death, his widow Ximena ruled until 1102, when she was advised by Alfonso VI that Valencia was indefensible.  The city was abandoned and burned to the ground.  The Arabic writer Ibn Bassam said of El Cid: “this man, the scourge of his time, by his appetite for glory, by the prudent steadfastness of his character, and by his heroic bravery, was one of the miracles of God.”  Fletcher (1990) p. 185.

Blanche of Artois, a descendant of El Cid’s daughter Christina, seems to have been the uterine crossroads of Medieval Europe.  Blanche married Edmund “Crouchback,” Earl of Lancaster and Leicester, bringing El Cid’s bloodline to England.

(Original tomb of El Cid and his wife Ximena at the monastery of San Pedro de Cardena.  El Cid’s horse Babieca was buried in the graveyard.  Babieca stayed put, but El Cid wandered around until finally re-interred at the Catedral de Santa Maria de Burgos.  Fletcher (1990), p. 123 says El Cid and Ximena were married in the summer of 1074 or 1075, and certainly by May 1076.  The parentage of El Cid and Ximena is disputed, although Ximena was of a noble Asturian family.)

[1864 painting by Marcos Giraldez de Acosta depicting Alfonso VI, king of Castile and Leon (in red cape) swearing on the bible that he had no complicity in the murder of his brother Sancho II.  Alfonso VI is looking at El Cid.  Sancho II was murdered, allegedly by a sword-thrust to the back, at Zamora on 6 Oct 1072.  If the tale is true, the unhappy Sancho II could not have known his killer.  Suspicion of responsibility for the murder must fall on Sancho II’s sister Urraca, whose city he was besieging, but the principal beneficiary was Alfonso VI.  At the time El Cid was employed by Sancho II, but was not implicated in the murder.  Paintings such as this one, made centuries after the fact, are intended to dramatize events and are not literal accounts.  Click on image to enlarge it.]

Returning to the focus of this piece, Todd A. Farmarie and Nathaniel L. Taylor (1998) seems to be the latest formal genealogical investigation of Sancha de Ayala. The authors examine three possible, but as they acknowledge, unproved royal descents—one from Alfonso VI of Castile, and two from Alfonso IX of Leon—all of which have problematic illegitimate generations even if “proved.”  They discount two claims of Muslim descents. Otherwise, they leave Sancha’s ethnicity a blank.

The above “soc.genealogy.medieval” thread was kicked off by references to Norman Roth’s (2002) book in a Wikipedia article.  Wikipedia, while useful as a jumping off point, is of itself an unacceptable source.  I obtained a copy of the book to examine it myself.

Let’s look at Sancha de Ayala and see what we can learn about her family. We begin with her maternal ancestors, the Ayala family:

Roth does not say in the text that Sancha’s uncle Pero Lopez de Ayala was of converso stock.  However, in “Appendix C Major Converso Families,” Ayala is among the “Converso Families Named by Lope de Barrientos and Fernan Diaz de Toledo.”  Lope de Barrientos (1395–1469) was Dominican master and bishop of Segovia, Avila, and Cuenca.  Barrientos was not unsympathetic to conversos, and I see no reason he would have concocted the list.  Barrientos stated that all of the Mendozas and Ayalas descended from a certain Rabbi Solomon and his son Isaque de Valladolid.  As Barrientos was writing after the death of Pero Lopez de Ayala, uncle of Sancha de Ayala, this comment must include him, and thus also Sancha’s grandfather Fernan Perez de Ayala.  Of interest is the inclusion of the Sotomayor family in the list, as Cardinal Pedro Gomez Barroso’s mother was Mencia Garcia de Sotomayor, a great-grandmother of Ines de Ayala.  Another interesting name in the list is Osorio, as Sancha’s 2nd great-grandmother was Elvira Alvarez de Osorio.  Carrillo is also a converso name appearing among Sancha de Ayala’s maternal forebears.

Turning to her father’s family, that of Diego Gomez:

Roth (2002) p. 94 identifies the wife of her 2nd-great-grandfather, Gome Perez, Aguacil Mayor (Chief Justice) of Toledo, as Horabuena, and states there is little doubt of her Jewish background.  On p. 378, he lists among the “Most Frequent Converso Names in Toledo” Garcia, Gomes, de Toledo, and Vasques, all names that figure in Sancha de Ayala’s paternal pedigree.

This is the complete list in Roth (2002), pp. 377–378:

“Appendix C Major Converso Families Converso Families Named by Lope de Barrientos and Fernan Diaz de Toledo [caps are mine]

ALARCON, ALBARES, ANAYA, ARAUJO (ARROYO? cf. also ARUQUE in Toledo; same?), AYALA, BARRIONUEVO, BERNALDEZ (BERNALDES), CARRILLO, CERVANTES, CUELLAR, FERNANDEZ (family of DIEGO FERNANDEZ DE CORDOBA, mariscal of JUAN II of CASTILE), FERNANDEZ MARMOLEJO, HURTADO DE MENDOZA (not the sons of INIGO LOPEZ DE MENDOZA, DIEGO HURTADO and HURTADO DE MENDOZE, but probably the family of JUAN HURTADO DE MENDOZA, connected with the DE LUNA family, who was the mayordomo mayor of JUAN II), LUNA (the CASTILE branch), LUYAN, MANRIQUE, MENDOZA (the MENDOZAS and AYALAS all descended from a certain “RABBI SOLOMON” and his son DON ISAQUE DE VALLADOLID, according to Lope de Barrientos), MIRANDA, MONROY, MOTICON, OCAMPO, OSORIO (OSSORIO), PENA LOZA, PESTIN, PIMENTEL, PORRA, ROJA, SANDOBAL, SANTI-ESTEBAN, SARABIA, SAUCEDOS (SALCEDOS), SOLI, SOTOMAYOR, VALDEZ.

Most Frequent Converso Names in Toledo

ALCOCER, ALONSO, ALVARES, DE AVILA, DEL CASTILLO, DE CORDOBA, COTA, CUELLAR, DE CUENCA, DIAS, DUENAS, FARO (or HARO), FERRANDES, DE LA FUENTE, FUNESALIDA, GARCIA, GOMES, GONCALES (GONZALEZ), HUSILLO, DE ILLESCAS, JARADA, DE LEON, LOPES, MONTALVAN, NUNES, DE OCANA, ORTIS, DE LA PENA, PRADO, PULGAR, RODRIGUES, DE LA RUA, SANCHES, SAN PEDRO, DE SEGOVIA, SERRANO, DE SEVILLA, SORGE (SORJE), DE TOLEDO, DE LA TORRE, TORRIJOS, DE UBEDA, VASQUES (VAZQUEZ), DE VILLA REAL, DE LA XARA (JARA).”

What happened to the Jewish names of these people?  When families converted to Catholicism, they changed their name, and their “Christian” name might bear no resemblance to their Jewish name.

The Spanish Inquisition is one of the most lurid episodes in Catholic history. It’s difficult to estimate the numbers of those condemned or imprisoned—but the number is in the thousands, not tens of thousands.  That doesn’t take into account those who fled, or had their property confiscated.   An apt comparison are the Salem Witch Trials on a much larger scale.

The following should convey the gravity of the situation, for even death might not spare one from the Inquisition:

“Also, the Inquisition proceeded against those already dead, ‘because it happened that some of these in their lives had incurred this sin of heresy and apostasy’; their bones were dug up and publicly burned and their property and the inheritances of their descendants were seized by the Crown.”  Roth (2002), p. 227.

Due to the seriousness of the situation, I have to accept Lope de Barrientos and Fernan Diaz de Toledo as accurate.  Unlike de Barrientos, Fernan Diaz de Toledo was a Converso.  He served as secretary to Juan II, king of Castile.  Lope de Barrientos and Fernan Diaz de Toledo were very important men in Castile.

As Roth (2002), p. 95 remarks:

“Even though a certain amount of bragging and self-aggrandizement is evident in all this, he [Fernan Diaz] would not dare make such statements (nor would the more renowned and sober Barrientos repeat them) were they not true.  As relator and secretary to the king, Fernan Diaz was ‘always with him,’ as Barrientos says in his Cronica, and personally knew all the nobility.”

One of the difficulties here is the perception that only Jews who had converted to Catholicism and subsequently returned to Judaism were subjected to persecution; but as seen below, there was a separate, older stream of persecution aimed at Jews generally.  So it’s true families named in the lists are indeed Jewish, but some members had converted at an earlier date.  The trunk of the family tree was Jewish, but not all of its branches converted at the same time.

“Although there did exist some country-dwellers among the Jews of al-Andalus, the vast majority of them lived in the cities.  These urban Jewish communities could be sizeable: there were at least twelve synagogues in Toledo.”  Fletcher (2006), p. 95.

The tendency of Jews to reside in urban areas made repression relatively easy and effective.

Catholic apologists blame the persecution on evil men.  But the popes encouraged and supported the process.  By the 13th century papal bulls were reserved for formal or solemn communications from the pope.  The “bull” was so named for the pope’s lead seal that authenticated the document.  The popes vacillated in their Jewish policy, at times pleading for better treatment of Jews.  It’s fair to say papal instructions for sanctions against them resulted in sustained suffering, but the impact was not always uniform, as witnessed by the necessity for repeated orders by various pontiffs.  Though technically not forcible conversion, nonetheless these measures should be construed as intimidation to exert pressure on Jews to convert.

In 1205 Pope Innocent III issued Esti Judaeos which allowed Jews their houses of worship but prohibited them from eating with Christians and owning Christian slaves.

In 1207 Innocent III ordered Jews of Spain to pay tithes on possessions obtained from Christians.

In 1218 Pope Honorius III issued In generali concilio, to the archbishop of Toledo, ordering Jews to wear clothing to distinguish themselves from Christians, and that they must pay tithe to local churches.  The requirement stemmed from the 4th Lateran Council of 1215.

The 1239 bull Si vera sunt of Pope Gregory IX, addressed to kings and prelates of France and Spain, ordered seizure of the Talmud and all other Jewish books suspected of blaspheming Jesus.  Renewed in 1264 by Pope Clement IV.

In the bull Turbato Corde (1267), addressed to inquisitors of heresy, Clement IV fulminated against wickedness:  “With a troubled heart we relate what we have heard, that [several reprobate Christians] have abandoned the true faith and have wickedly transferred themselves to the rite of the Jews…. Against Jews whom you may find guilty of having induced Christians of either sex to join their execrable rite, or whom you may find doing so in the future, you shall impose fitting punishment.  By means of appropriate ecclesiastical censure you shall silence all who oppose you.  If necessary you may call on the secular arm.”

(My point here is by the early 13th century the Catholic church began to place restrictions on the activities of Jews.  It could not have been a secret that the church was moving into a more confrontational policy regarding Jews, so some families of Jewish descent probably began to conceal their ancestry prior to this time.  Only an idiot would put a Jewish ancestor in their family history.

Given the corruption of the age, bribing officials must have been common.  Today we call it “protection money.”  The late 14th century “de Ayala” family history, portions of which are known to be wrong, should not be taken at face value.)

Rather than offer another estimate of Inquisition victims, let’s view the matter from the vantage point of a Catholic archivist who witnessed the proceedings:

“10 June 1491.  Some 126 burned.”

On one day.  In Barcelona.  A little hazy on the exact number.  The flames washed it all away.

[Puerta de Bisagra Antigua (gate to the city of Toledo), 10th century.]

The Inquisition has never entirely disappeared.  Today it’s known as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Norman Roth’s book is required reading for those with ancestors in this time and place.

To sum up: much of Sancha de Ayala’s ancestry on both sides of her family was Sephardic Jewish in origin, and she had at least one known Mozarab ancestor.  She was a connection to a tolerant polity in Toledo which had enjoyed a relatively stable multi-cultural and multi-racial environment.  That environment began to deteriorate in the early 13th century, and in the second half of the 14th century succumbed to political strife and religious agitation.

Studying these historical streams from their different perspectives challenges our assumptions of how the modern world was created.

dawn of the dead: hitler murders the mentally ill

•April 28, 2016 • Comments Off on dawn of the dead: hitler murders the mentally ill

While looking into the infamous Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany, I unearthed this gem, known as “Action T4.”  Dated 1 Sep 1939, and signed at Berlin by Adolf Hitler, it authorized the euthanasia of those with incurable medical conditions—mainly the mentally ill.

“Reich Leader Bouhler and Dr. med. Brandt are entrusted with the responsibility of extending the authority of physicians, designated by name, so that patients who, on the basis of human judgment [menschlichem Ermessen], are considered incurable, can be granted mercy death [Gnadentod] after a definitive diagnosis.”

Philipp Bouhler was Hitler’s Chief of Chancellery and an SS officer.  He was captured after the war and committed suicide by cyanide pill on 19 May 1945 while in a U.S. internment camp in Austria.

(Bouhler)

His colleague Dr. Karl Brandt, a surgeon and SS officer, was tried by a U.S. military tribunal and hanged on 2 Jun 1948 at Landsberg Prison in Bavaria.

(Brandt)

Estimates of those euthanized under the program, officially or in secret, range up to 200,000.  The method of death was Carbon Monoxide gas or lethal injection.  Hitler personally approved the use of gas as Brandt suggested it was the most “humane” method of extermination.

The Nazis isolated the mentally ill.  Patients were transported to gassing sites in buses with windows painted black.

At Hartheim Euthanasia Centre near Linz in Austria, one of six gassing sites, at least 18,269 patients had been euthanized by Aug 1941, using a gas chamber disguised as a shower with a capacity of 150 persons.  The bodies were cremated and the ashes scattered in the confluence of the rivers Danube and Traun at Linz.

(View of Danube River at Linz.  A postcard backdrop for murder.)

“Action T4” was part of an overall “racial hygiene” program intended to purge Aryan society of the weak and undesirable.  The Nazis feared the public would react negatively and deliberately selected the disabled and mentally ill to inaugurate the program as their unsuitability for life was easily depicted in propaganda.

(Nazi propaganda slide containing photographs of mentally ill and developmentally disabled patients, part of a campaign to prepare the public for the euthanasia program.  The patient at the top is wearing a straitjacket with his arms tied to the bench.  Undoubtedly such shots were staged to make the subjects appear as cretinous as possible.  “Idioten!” is German for “Idiot!”)

According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website:

The physically and mentally handicapped were viewed as “useless” to society, a threat to Aryan genetic purity, and, ultimately, unworthy of life. At the beginning of World War II, individuals who were mentally retarded, physically handicapped, or mentally ill were targeted for murder in what the Nazis called the “T-4,” or “euthanasia,” program.

The Nazis used these unfortunate people as guinea pigs: the knowledge gained in killing them was later applied in the death camps.

8 Million murders later, on 30 Apr 1945, Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun committed suicide in their private apartment in a Berlin bunker.  The Russians claimed to have recovered the cremated remains.  Like most of his victims, Hitler has no grave.

(Memorial dedicated on 2 Sep 2014 in Berlin for the victims of the Action T4 program.  The memorial features a wall of blue glass which is “an abstract, yet vivid way of showing visitors just how easily a group of fellow humans and even neighbours could be separated and isolated, just like those living a ‘life unworthy of life’ were isolated and killed during the Nazi dictatorship.  Architect Ursula Wilms has said that the blue glass wall symbolises the sky and stands for the victims of the extermination programme.”  The glass wall allows us to see one another when previously we were hidden.)

Revised May 27, 2016

tombstone blues (riddle hill is leveled but gets back on its feet)

•April 25, 2016 • Comments Off on tombstone blues (riddle hill is leveled but gets back on its feet)

Revised Apr. 29, 2016

It’s always nice to find a story with a positive outcome.  The following is the text of a memorial plaque placed at Riddle Hill Cemetery:

“RIDDLE HILL GETS ITS NAME FROM THE EXTENDED FAMILY OF GEORGE AND SARAH RIDDLE , NATIVES OF EASTERN AND WESTERN-MOST PARTS OF KY AND VA, WHO MOVED WEST IN SEARCH OF A NEW AND BETTER PLACE TO RAISE THEIR FAMILY.  THEY CAME DOWN THE OHIO, CROSSED THE  MISSISSIPPI, AND SETTLED ON THE HIGH GROUND OF CROWLEY’S RIDGE.  THEY FARMED AND OPERATED A GRIST MILL IN THE BETHANY COMMUNITY ABOUT FOUR MILES NORTH OF THIS SPOT.

ONE OF THEIR SONS, JOHN RIDDLE, WAS BORN IN PADUCAH, KENTUCKY ON MARCH 2, 1828, ACCOMPANIED HIS PARENTS AND SIBLINGS TO THE NEW HOME SITE, AND BECAME ONE OF THE FOUNDERS AND ELDERS OF NEARBY BETHANY CHURCH.  IN 1854 JOHN MARRIED JOELLA BECKWITH, A MEMBER OF A PROMINENT AREA FAMILY, PURCHASED THIS LAND AND HEWED A FARM FROM THE WILDERNESS ON THIS SCENIC HIGH POINT.  HERE THEY PROSPERED AND RAISED A LARGE FAMILY.

THE RIDDLE FAMILY CEMETERY WAS LOCATED NORTH AND EAST OF THIS SPOT.  IN THE 1970’S THE TOMBSTONES FROM THAT CEMETERY WERE PUSHED INTO THE NEARBY RAVINE. THESE WERE RECOVERED AND PLACED HERE BY MR. VERYL RIDDLE, A DIRECT DESCENDANT.”

Veryl Riddle collected the surviving Riddle Hill Cemetery tombstones, cleaned them, and erected them within an iron fence enclosure.  There were nine surviving tombstones: James A. Riddle, Joellan (Beckwith) Riddle, John Riddle, Joseph F. Riddle, Luther Riddle, Press Riddle, Robert R. Riddle, Sophronia Jane (Tompkins) Riddle, and Dixie (Snedacor) Riddle.  

All descendants of this Riddle family are deeply indebted to Veryl Riddle.

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The remainder of this column describes the conditions at (Old) Riddle Hill Cemetery as my parents found them:

This tombstone belongs to Joellan (Beckwith) Riddle, wife of John Franklin Riddle.  Joellan was the daughter of Joseph and Eliza J. (Creath) Beckwith of Stoddard Co., MO, and grandmother of Allie May (Oxley) Chipman, wife of James Edward Chipman.

These photos were taken by Ralph Vernon Chipman at Riddle Hill Cemetery in northern Dunklin Co., MO.  Joellan (Beckwith) Riddle’s tombstone was found in a thicket.  Evidently a developer had bulldozed the tombstones off the graves, and they were tossed into a wooded area.

The next tombstone is that of Robert R. Riddle, son of John Franklin Riddle and Joellan Beckwith.  Robert R. Riddle married Safronia Jane Tomkins.  Ralph Vernon Chipman read Robert R. Riddle’s death date as “April 6, 1895,” but my notes indicate he died on 6 Apr 1896.  However, it does appear that the tombstone says “1895.”

This tombstone belongs to Luther Riddle, a grandson of John Franklin Riddle and Joellan Beckwith.  Luther Riddle’s father was George R. Riddle, who married a woman with the initials “M.C.,” but I know nothing further of her.  Luther Riddle’s tombstone is quite ornate.  He was 9 years old when he died.

I can’t comprehend how someone could desecrate a cemetery.  Scattered around the property there must have been more tombstones of John Franklin Riddle and Joellan Beckwith’s children and grandchildren and various spouses.  We are fortunate to have preserved these three tombstones in photographs.  Considering the difficult conditions, the photos are remarkably clear.

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Ralph Vernon Chipman’s account of the circumstances under which the above photos were taken, from a letter dated 4 Jul 1988:

On June 29, 1988 we were fortunate to have assistance in locating  the gravestones of the Riddle family.  The graveyard is obliterated.  The gravestones are at the rear of a vacant lot:  the lot is immediately east of the brick residence of George Hampton Sr., RFD 2, Malden [Dunklin Co.], Mo.  telephone [*].  It is on blacktop road J about 4 miles west of Malden.  The vacant lot is overgrown with grass and weeds some two foot high, and the lot is about 200 X 200 foot in size.  The stones are at the top of a ravine, or hill, at the rear (north side) of the lot, back among thorn trees, vines, poison ivy/oak, brush, and evidently copperhead snakes (poisonous variety).  It is not known when the stones were moved from the gravesites, or who moved them.  There are approximately 6–7 stones, and bases, piled into a heap, that I saw at the top of the ravine, and of these only three inscriptions could be read.  The others weighed 200–400 pounds each so they were too heavy for one sixty year old, and a boy, to lift or roll over.  Also, it was raining steadily at the time making everything wet, slick and muddy, including George Hampton Jr. (a young fellow 16–17 years old who guided me to the stones, or I would never have found them), and me.  George Jr. thought there were additional stones at the ravine bottom, under brush, grass, and weeds, but we did not attempt to find them.  The inscriptions I copied carefully, and photographed, were:

1.  “Joellan, wife of John Riddle, born Nov. 20, 1831, died Aug. 6, 1896”  It was translucent marble, obelisk, some 4 feet high, plus base, with perfect cut letters, not weathered at all.

2.  “Robert Riddle, born July 28, 1855, died April 6, 1895”

3.  “Luther, son of G.R. & M.C. Riddle, born Feb. 25, 1894, died Jan. 8, 1904”

* Telephone number has been omitted.

 
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