I RESIGN FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

•January 2, 2018 • Comments Off on I RESIGN FROM THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

The following is the letter I received from the local Catholic bishop acknowledging my resignation from the church.  Note that he says: “I respect your decision.”  I trust the bishop is a man of his word.

It was a matter of ideological incompatibility.

The bishop’s letter was in response to my letter resigning from the church:

Every year millions of Americans change their religious affiliation or practice no religion.  It’s a right guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Had I known Catholic protocol required those resigning from membership submit a letter to the local bishop, I would have done so decades ago.  My decision is final.  Any assertion that I have been in talks with any official or member of the Catholic church regarding a return to the Catholic church or any other matter of any kind that creates a relationship with the Catholic church is false.

BLACKBALLED TO THE SIDE POCKET (turning Larry’s Pages)

•September 30, 2017 • Comments Off on BLACKBALLED TO THE SIDE POCKET (turning Larry’s Pages)

______________________________________________________

I cannot stress this enough: a genealogical source should be adequately cited so others can locate it.

Left: Jean (Chipman) Crom.  Right: Carl Victor Page.

Taken in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, probably early 1990’s.  They were first cousins.  My grandfather Beecher, who died in 1959, was their uncle.  Carl Victor Page, who died in 1996, was the father of Alphabet CEO Larry Page.  Alphabet is the holding company that owns Google. On his father’s side Carl Victor Page was the second cousin of pin-up icon Bettie Page.  Carl Victor Page’s grandmother was Annie Drucilla Pardue and Bettie Page’s grandmother was Emily Corilla Pardue; Annie Drucilla and Emily Corilla were twin sisters who usually went by their middle names.

The above article appeared in “The Flint Journal” of Flint, Michigan and chronicles Carl and Beverly’s contraction of polio.

Bettie Page, with her trademark black bangs.  Bettie Page achieved stardom in the 1950’s in pin-ups and films.  Since her death in 2008 she has maintained remarkable popularity.

Above: it was the custom in the WWI era to hold large family reunions and sit for a portrait by a professional photographer.  This portrait is of the Page family reunion held ca. 1909 at the home of Henry Horace Page and wife Annie Drucilla Pardue in Union City, Obion Co., Tennessee.  On the L in the middle row beneath the man with the dark coat and tie is Walter Roy Page, father of Bettie Page.  On the R in the back row is Carl Davis Page, grandfather of Larry Page.  To the L of Carl in the dark suit and light tie is Carl’s father Henry Horace Page, and beneath him is Carl’s mother Drucllia.  In the middle of the 2nd row flanked by 2 standing children is Mary Elizabeth (McCaig) (Pardue) Winston, mother of Drucilla and Corilla.  Corilla, mother of Walter Roy Page, is  in the top row to the left of Henry Horace Page holding a child.

Below: Obituary for Carl Victor Page in “The State News” of Michigan State University.  The obituary names his family members: parents Pauline Aquilla Chipman Page and Carl Davis Page; sons Carl Benjamin Page and Lawrence Edward Page; and sister Beverly Budzynski.

Above: the LDS church has made an enormous amount of genealogical information, such as this abstract, available online through its FamilySearch website.  An experienced genealogist can locate this sort of material easily.  Of interest here is some data on Carl Victor Page’s extended connections.  Joyce Chipman Barnett was my father’s half-sister.  [Click on image to enlarge.]

Below: photograph of Carl Davis Page with his grandmother Mary Elizabeth (McCaig) (Pardue) Winston.  Notes by Beverly Ann (Page) (Bertrand) Budzynski.

Next: photo, ca. 1930, Senath, Missouri, of Pauline Aquilla Chipman (eventual wife of Carl Davis Page) and her nephew Ralph Vernon Chipman.

Above: high school record for Pauline Aquilla Chipman, Senath High School, Senath, Missouri.

Following: I have a number of letters from Beverly Ann (Page) (Bertrand) Budzynski, aunt of Larry Page.  In the first she mentions her nephews Carl Benjamin Page and Lawrence Edward Page, and her uncle Jewell Vester Chipman.  Some of Beverly’s dates are a little off.  In the second letter she discusses the condition of a family cemetery in Tennessee and mentions her mother, her aunt Aileen, and her brother Carl.

Above: marriage record for Carl Davis Page and Pauline Aquilla Chipman.  At the time Pauline was living with her brother Beecher Edgar Chipman on Foss St. in Flint.

Following is a screenshot of the 1940 Flint, Genesee Co., Michigan federal census, ED 85-132, Sheet 7, showing the Carl Davis Page family:

Here we see Carl Davis Page and wife Aquilla P. (Pauline Aquilla Chipman) with their two children Carl V. (Carl Victor) and Beverly A.  (Beverly Ann).  The census gives Carl Davis Page’s occupation as “Material Loader/Auto Mfgr,” a floor labor position, which may have entailed loading upholstery fabric onto the assembly line.

Below: delayed birth certificate for Carl Davis Page naming his parents as Henry Horace Page and Drucilla Pardue. Delayed birth certificates were filed so that those born prior to their state’s requirement to register births could obtain Social Security benefits.

Next: grave site for Carl Davis Page and Pauline Aquilla Chipman in Hollywood cemetery, Jackson, Tennessee.

Below: grave marker for Henry Horace Page and Annie Drucilla Pardue Page, Cotton Grove cemetery, Madison Co., Tennessee.

Following: marriage record, Obion Co., Tennessee, dated April 10, 1898 for Henry Horace Page and Annie Drucilla Pardue.

Above: death certificate for Henry Horace Page, giving his age upon death on August 18, 1932 as 61; and therefore born in 1871, which agrees with his grave marker.  Parents are listed as “J.B. Page” (actually “John D. Page”) and Emily Sullivan.

Above: marriage record, Obion Co., Tennessee for John D. Page and Emily C. Sullivan.  Marriage was performed on July 8, 1872.

Below: death certificate for Annie Drucilla (Pardue) Page, wife of Henry Horace Page, listing  death as occurring on February 17, 1948.  Parents are “Jeff Perdue” (actually “Jefferson Davis Pardue”) and “Bettie McCaig” (“Mary Elizabeth McCaig”).  Drucilla was born on December 5, 1876.

Above: death certificate for Drucilla’s sister Emily Corilla (Pardue) Page, grandmother of Bettie Page, also born on December 5, 1876, and therefore Drucilla’s twin.  Informant was Walter Roy Page, father of pin-up queen Bettie Page.  Walter Roy Page was born April 19, 1896.

This Pardue family, under the spelling “Perdue,” is found in the 1880 Madison Co., Tennessee Federal census, Dist. 13, pp. 2–3, SD 5, ED 98.  The census shows “Ann D.” and “Emerly C.” as daughters, both aged 4.

Above: Emily Corilla (Pardue) Page’s grave marker at Cotton Grove cemetery in Madison Co., Tennessee.  She was the wife of John Benton Page.

Next: marriage record, Obion Co., Tennessee for John Benton Page and Emily Corilla Pardue, dated December 4, 1898.  John D. Page and his son John Benton Page were often confused.

THE WAY IT WAS IS THE WAY IT IS AND THE WAY IT WILL ALWAYS BE: WE RELATE IN ’58

I ran across this item from “The Burlington [Iowa] Hawk Eye Gazette” of Feb. 22, 1958, p. 6, while looking for a mention of the birth of my sister Mary.  It’s a snapshot of my family shortly before we moved to Illinois.

We ultimately moved to Downers Grove.  My father left the railroad and went to work for State Farm Insurance.

In genealogy, you can never have too much documentation.  I collected a lot of it.  My sister Debbie is also a collector, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale.  One day our collections will merge.

Newspapers are an under-utilized source of genealogical information.  They may contain information unavailable elsewhere.  An easy way to get started with newspapers is the website “Chronicling America,” a free database maintained by the Library of Congress.

BONA FIDE some records are vital / others aren’t, but might prove vital / a cavalcade of family photos

•September 23, 2017 • Comments Off on BONA FIDE some records are vital / others aren’t, but might prove vital / a cavalcade of family photos

Revised Jan 19, 2018

For genealogists, nothing is better than vital records:  records of birth, marriage, and death.  But any genealogist who’s sifted through vital records knows they aren’t always spot-on correct.

Let’s examine this birth certificate, which happens to be mine.  It was signed on 12 April 1956.  My parents obtained this copy for the the school district in Burlington, IA so I could attend kindergarten.  It’s a typewritten copy of the original. Photocopy machines didn’t exist in 1956. The Des Moines County, IA clerk embossed the birth certificate with his seal to indicate it’s a genuine copy.

But there are two problems.  My father’s middle name is shown as “Vermen.” His real middle name is “Vernon.”  And my mother’s first name is shown as “Valeria,” when it’s actually “Valerie.” Probably the clerk’s error, right?

Not exactly.  In 2004 I found my passport had expired, and to obtain a new one, I had to provide my birth certificate.  The above certificate would have sufficed, but I’d misplaced it, so I ordered another one from the State of IA.  That birth certificate was a photocopy of the handwritten original dated 2 August 1951,  and the original also gives my father’s middle name as “Vermen.”  In the case of my mother’s first name, it’s difficult to tell if the original says “Valeria” or “Valerie” because the letters “a” and “e” look similar.

So the clerk who typed up the 1956 copy made an accurate transcription of incorrect information regarding my father, and interpreted my mother’s first name as “Valeria.” The only additional information of interest to me on the original is that my father’s occupation is listed as “Telegraph Operator.”

It’s not quite the end of the story.  Several years ago I found a government agency had me in their database as born in “Burlington, Illinois.”  As you can see, I was born in “Burlington, Iowa.”  I had to produce a birth certificate so the agency could correct their records.

Vital records are important resources for genealogists.  Mine states that the original is recorded in Des Moines County, IA, Book 16, Page C-24.  If I drove to the county courthouse in Burlington, I could view the original.

(Jeff, age 5 months.  At this point you could say I was protoplasmic, blissfully unaware of the horror that surrounded me.  Soon, vague images of the environment began to form.  I desperately wanted answers, but being unable to speak, that would have to wait.)

[Jeff, Valerie Berniece Jeffery (Scarff) Chipman, and Diane.  Iowa, 19 Jan 1954.  Val used the additional surname “Jeffery” on her DAR certificate.]

Vital records aren’t the only records you generate as your life progresses.  There are other rites of passage.

(Oh yeah?  Already the BS Detector was set at Max.  Jeff, age 5, Perkins School, Burlington, IA.  A.M. Kindergarten, 1956–57, Reichert.)

We left IA for IL, relocating to Downers Grove, which at the time was not the Yuppie paradise it is today.

[“The Burlington (IA) Hawk Eye Gazette,” Sat., Feb. 22, 1958, p.6.]

I knew I had been baptized at the First Baptist Church of Downers Grove, IL, on 29 Mar 1964, but not having a written record, on 7 Mar 2016 I queried the church.  Darlene Watkins responded and confirmed the date of baptism, and then told me something I didn’t know: two of my sisters were baptized on the same date.  That would be Diane and Debbie.

The Baptists don’t practice infant baptism.  They baptize by full immersion.  Behind the pastor’s podium was a tank concealed by curtains.  You wore a robe, and when the curtains opened you were dunked.  A bit of stage management there, but the tank symbolized the river Jordan where, it is said, in ancient times John the Baptist baptized Christ.

In 1982 I converted to Catholicism but lapsed several years later.

(The rapid growth of Downers Grove necessitated the construction of a new high school on the south side of the village which opened in 1964.)

Below is part of my employment file kept by Illinois Bell Telephone.  I began working for them on 23 Sep 1974.  The photo on the right was my I.D. photo. (Click on image to enlarge.)

(It takes one to know one.  Mary Beth and Ralph, ca. 1980, Downers Grove, IL.)

Above: I finished my senior year of college at George Williams College in Downers Grove, IL.  It’s now part of Aurora University.

Below: Certificate of membership, The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution.  Three of the signatures are difficult to read because they were signed in gold ink.  New members are inducted through a state society, in this instance Illinois.  Members can also belong to a local chapter, but I don’t—I’m a member at large.  I later transferred my membership to Missouri.  Some people think organizations like SAR are irrelevant.  A lot has changed since 1776: Americans don’t look the same, and the challenges we face aren’t the same.  But despite a Civil War, the institutions created by the American Revolution have remained remarkably resilient.

(Jeff and Kar the Arabian, ca. 1989.  Kar belonged to a girlfriend who lived in Kane Co., IL.  Kane Co., which borders DuPage Co. on the west, has a large horse population.)

Anyone who’s worked for a large corporation will recognize the above as the sort of coma-inducing busy work keeping lower management on the payroll.

(The hunter/gatherer at work: Ralph bags a decent fish.)

[Ralph and his aunt Annie Belle (Bailey) Lamb, Senath, MO 1988.]

[Valerie Berniece Jeffery (Scarff) Chipman, Springfield, MO, 26 Jul 1999.  It was our family custom to assemble about the time of my birthday on 25 Jul, not out of respect for me, but because my birthday occurs at the height of summer.]

(Ralph Vernon Chipman, Springfield, MO, 26 Jul 1999.)

Above: this letter is why you shouldn’t throw important letters away, even if you think you’ll never need them.  The letter, dated 14 Dec 2006, from Alcatel-Lucent Corporate Counsel Eric S. Rosen, is proof that no contract exists between myself and my former employer.  Alcatel-Lucent has been acquired by Nokia of Finland.

Though most records generated over a lifetime aren’t “vital,” they document your life and should be preserved.  In my case, preservation of these records proved vital, not because of identity theft, but due to misrepresentation of my identity.

I have deep MO roots: my mother’s family lived in Miller Co., MO.  My maternal grandmother Hillary Lillian Vaughan was born in Tuscumbia.  My father’s family lived in Dunklin Co., MO.  My father was born in Senath.

Endless Knight: Henry Skipwith, son of Alice (Dymoke) Skipwithe & Alice’s will made June 29, 1549

•September 18, 2017 • Comments Off on Endless Knight: Henry Skipwith, son of Alice (Dymoke) Skipwithe & Alice’s will made June 29, 1549

Sir William Skipwith (d. July 7, 1547) married first ca. June 1, 1505, Elizabeth Tyrwhit, daughter of Sir William Tyrwit of Kettleby in Lincolnshire, by whom he had one son:

Sir William Skipwith, who also married an Elizabeth, as shown in this a2a abstract from the Lincolnshire Archives dated Nov. 12, 1564:

“Contents:

“(Counterpart)

“Sir William Skipwith kt. and Dame Elizabeth his wife to Sir Ralph Chamberlain, Sir John Tyrrell, Sir Edward Dymock Knights and Andrew Gedney, Esq.  Consideration:  marriage of Richard Skipwith son and heir of Sir William and Elizabeth and Mary Chamberlaine a daughter of Sir Ralph.  Property:  manors of Cawthorpe and Manby, Aswarby, settled in tail male on the heirs of Richard and Mary with remainder  to the male heirs of Sir William’s brothers (Lionel, John, George and Henry) in order of age.”

Douglas Richardson in Magna Carta Ancestry, pp. 752-753, gives this account of the children of Sir William Skipwith by Elizabeth Tyrwhit and Alice Dymoke:

[Sir William Skipwith] “married (1st) before 1510 Elizabeth Tyrwhit (or Tyrwhitt), daughter of William Tyrwhit, Knt., of Kettleby, Lincolnshire.  They had one son, William, Knt.  He married (2nd) Alice Dymoke, daughter and co-heiress of Lionel Dymoke, Knt., of Mareham-on-the-Hill, Lincolnshire, by his 1st wife, Joan, daughter of Rhys Griffith, Esq…. They had four sons, Lionel, John, Esq., George and Henry, Esq., and seven daughters, Jane (wife of Richard Bolle), Mary (wife of George Fitzwilliam), Dorothy (wife of Arthur Gedney), Elizabeth (wife of Thomas Clifford), Margaret (wife of George Tailboys, 2nd Lord Tailboys, Peter Carew, Knt., and John Clifton, Knt.), Anne (wife of William Hatcliffe), and Bridget (wife of — Cave).”

Richardson notes that Sir Lionel Dymoke and his widow Anne, who was not the mother of his children, left wills, but doesn’t quote the contents.  On p. 106 he states that Sir Lionel Dymoke’s surviving children were two daughters, Alice and Anne; Anne was the younger and married John Goodrick ca. 1518.

Where did Richardson get his list of children?

I don’t have the specific visitations of Yorkshire he cites.  I do have Lincolnshire Pedigrees, and here’s the chart contained therein, which I’ve adapted:

CP shows Sir William Skipwith’s daughter Margaret who married George Tailboys (b. ca. 1522) was a daughter of Alice Dymoke, so we might place her birth as ca. 1522, assuming she was born about the same time as her husband:

“George (Tailboys), Lord Tailboys… was b. about 1522…. m., between 26 Apr. and 15 May 1539, (h) Margaret, cousin to his guardian, William [Fitzwilliam], Earl of Southampton, niece of Sir Thomas Henneage, (l) and da. of Sir William Skipwith, of Ormsby, co. Lincoln, by his 2nd wife, Alice, da. and coh. of Sir Lionel Dymoke, of Mareham-on-the-Hill, co. Lincoln.”  {The Complete Peerage (1953) Vol. XII Pt. 1, pp. 603-604.}

Sir Thomas Heneage, d. 21 August 1553, m. Catharine Skipwith, dau. of John and Catharine (Fitzwilliam) Skipwith. 

Sir Lionel Dymoke left a will in 1519 (PCC Ayloffe), and his widow Anne in 1521 (PCC Maynmaryng).  Alice (Dymoke) Skipwith of Culverthorpe, Lincolnshire, widow of Sir William Skipwith, also left a will, dated June 29, 1549, and probated April 26, 1550 (PCC Coode PROB 11/33/176).  I downloaded all three wills from the UK The National Archives website.

The images are clear and of good quality, but the first page of Sir Lionel Dymoke’s will suffers from bleed-through.  Probate proceedings are in Latin.  The text of Sir Lionel Dymoke’s will was given in English and Latin; the text of the others in English only.  Lionel and Anne’s wills are short. 

I understand enough of the writing in Alice Skipwith’s will to determine it’s Sir William Skipwith’s widow.  We can place her death as ca. 1550.  It’s a lengthy affair–at the time it was written, her daughter Margaret (“my daughter Taylboys”) was still the wife of George Tailboys.  She mentions her children, including “henry Skipwith my sonne.” 

I’m no expert at deciphering 16th century English handwriting, so the wills of Sir Lionel Dymoke and his widow Anne, which predate Alice Skipwith’s will by about 30 years, are very difficult to read.  I can’t tell if either of them mention Sir Lionel Dymoke’s daughters.  Sir Lionel Dymoke mentions his father Thomas Dymok.  His bequests appear to be to friends and the church.

It wouldn’t be surprising if the wills of Lionel or Anne didn’t mention Lionel’s daughters.  Prior to the probate reform of 1540 important arrangements for a father’s children were made in other ways. 

*****

Henry Skipwith, son of Sir William Skipwith and Alice Dymoke, was ancestor to the Skipwiths of Virginia.

In connection with the marriage of Sir William Skipwith to Alice Dymoke, the a2a website has this abstract:

“These documents are held at Lincolnshire Archives [Paper, a single sheet.]

Contents:

“Of John Compton, collector of rents of Sir William Skipwith through the right of his wife Alice, daughter and coheir of Sir Lyon Dymoke in Maring cum aliis villatis (Mareham).  Michaelmas, 1538 to the same 1540.  [Horncastle, Upper Toynton, Haltham, Scrafield, Roughton and Claxby].”

Michaelmas is a day in the Christian calendar which falls on September 29th, and was one of the English, Welsh, and Irish quarter days when accounts had to be settled. 

*****

Alice Dymoke was a descendant of the Capetian kings of France through Edward I’s second queen Margaret (Marguerite), daughter of king Philip III.  The Dymoke and Welles arms are on the achievement* at the tomb of Alice’s grandson, Sir William Skipwith (d. 1610), in the church at Prestwould, and his right to display those arms are confirmed by Alice (Dymoke) Skipwith’s will.

INSCRIPTIONS

 

On the south wall of the chancel, in the year 1631, was erected a very fair monument of alabaster and touch, coloured and gilt, erected for Sir William Skipwith, of Cotes, knight, and Lady Jane his second wife, at the cost and expense of the said Lady Jane; where, under an arch, lie both their proportions, neatly cut and graven.  Sir William has a piked beard and hair, plated armor, trunk hose, sword by his side; a mattress under him.  At his feet his crest.  His lady had a ruff, and hood falling back; double falling ruffles, and mantle; her head on a cushion; Plate LII fig. i.

 

On the top of the arch standeth an old atchievement, in an oval frame, with these coats; fig. 2.

 

1.  Argent, three bars Gules, a greyhound in chief, courant Sable.  Skipwith.

2.  Quarterly, Sable and Argent, a bend Or.  Langton.

3.  Argent, three bars Azure, charged with as many cross crosslets Or.  Memthorpe.

4.  Azure, three crescents Argent.  Thorpe.

5.  Argent, on a cross engrailed Sable, five mascles Or.  Arches.

6.  Argent, a cross engrailed Gules.  De la Lind.

7.  Azure, a lion rampant Ermine.                        } Ormesby.

8.  Sable, three chessrooks Argent, a chief Or.     }

9.  Quarterly, Ermine and Vaire, Or and Azure.  Gibthorpe.

10. Or, a chevron Gules between three Fleurs de lis Vert.  Hiltoft.

11. Or, frette Azure, in a canton Gules, a cross Moline Argent.  Mumby or Willoughby.

12. Sable, a falcon sitting upon a trunk of a tree Or.  Le Muer.

13. Sable, a fess between three mullets Or.  Dimok.

14. Sable, two lions passant in pale Ermine, coronne Or.  Heronville.

15. Vaire, Argent and Azure, a fess Gules, frette Or.  Marmion.

16. Sable, a sword in pale, point towards the chief Argent, hilted Or.  Kilpeck.

17. Ermine, four fusils in fess Gules.  Hebden.

18. Or, a lion rampant queue fourche Sable.  Welles.

19. Gules, a fess dauncette between six cross crosslets crossed Or.  Engaine.

20. Barry of Six, Ermine and Gules;over all three crescents Sable.  The crest; a turnpike Gules, the foot Or.  Waterton.

 

 

In the spandrils of the arch are two less escutcheons:

 

Skipwith; impaling, Azure, fretty Argent, Cave.

Skipwith, impaling, Party per pale, Argent and Gules alion rampant Sable, Roberts; fig. 3,4.

 

Under the arch, on a table of touch, this epitaph:

 

To frame a man who in those guiftes excelles,

Which make the cuntry happy where hee dwelles,

We first conceive what names his line adorne:

It kindles Virtue to be nobly borne.

This picture of true Gentry must bee gracd

With glittering jewells round about him placd;

A comely body, and a beauteous mind;

A heart to love, a hand to give inclind;

A house as free and open as the ayre;

A tonge which joyes in language sweete and faire;

Yet can, when need requires, with courage bold

To publike eares his neighbors griefs unfold:

All these we never more shall find in one;

And yit all these are closd within this stone.

 

Below, on two smaller tablets of touch, thus written:

 

1.  HERE LYETH THE BODY OF SIR WILLIAM SKIPWITH, OF COOTES, KNIGHT, AND DAME JANE SKIPWITH, HIS LAST WIFE, BEING THE DAUGHTER AND HEIRE OF JOHN ROBERTES, OF WOLLASTONE, IN THE COUNTRY OF NORTHAMPTON, ESQ.  HE DEPARTED THIS LIFE ON THE 3RD DAY OF MAY, IN THE YEARE OF OUR LORD 1610; AND SHEE LIVED TWENTY YEARS AFTER HIM; AT WHOSE COST AND CHARDGES THIS MONUMENT WAS ERECTED, ANNO 1631.

 

2.  HIS FIRST WIFE WAS MARGARET CAVE, DAUGHTER OF ROGER CAVE, OF STANFORD, LEASTERSHIERE, ESQ.; BY WHOM HE HAD FOURE SONS AND FOURE DAUGHTERS:  THE ELDEST WHEREOF IS SR HENRY SKIPWITH, KNIGHT AND BARONETT.

 

[The History and Antiquities of the County of Leicester, by John Nichols, Vol. 3, Part 1 (London, 1800) pages 358-359 containing EAST GOSCOTE HUNDRED.  Monumental inscription in the Church of PRESTWOULD (dedicated to Saint ANDREW):  Page 357 of the above volume records that Dame Jane (JOANNA) Skipwith was buried in the church of PRESTWOULD on 4 Apr 1630 and that Amy (Kemp) SKIPWITH was buried on 7 Sep 1631.  Price, pp. 29-30.]

 

The description of the achievement refers to “Mumby or Willoughby.”  “Mumby” is not a family, but a well-traveled manor of that name in Lincolnshire, once held by Sir Lionel Dymoke, among others.  For the Willoughby family, see below.

*A heraldic assemblage of certain components, among them the arms the individual was entitled to display.

*****

I haven’t verified the marriage between Sir Thomas Skipwith and Margaret, allegedly daughter of John Lord Willoughby.   An a2a abstract dated June 6, 1422 shows that Robt. Lord Willoughby of Eresby, Robt. Hilton kt., et al. delivered seizin of properties in Lincolnshire to Margaret, widow of Thos. Skipwith, which they had of the gift of Thos. Skipwith.  The Robert Lord Willoughby mentioned must be the 6th Lord Willoughby (ca. 1385-1452); he had one child, a daughter, Joan, who married Richard de Welles. The title Lord Willoughby passed to the Welles family.

There were other Willoughbys in Lincolnshire who appear to be related to the lords Willoughby, and an a2a abstract dated June 3, 1417 shows Thos. son of William Willughby kt. and John Willughby son of Thos., et al. granting various advowsons in Lincolnshire to Thomas Skipwith esq. and Margaret his wife.

The Thos. Willughby mentioned in this latter abstract could be the younger brother of Robert 6th Lord Willoughby (and thus a son of William the 5th lord), but the chronology seems very tight.  This is still the period when marriages were contracted early.  Douglas Richardson’s Plantagenet Ancestry doesn’t mention an earlier marriage for William’s son Thomas.

Unfortunately, in his Magna Carta Ancestry pp. 886-888, Richardson contributes errors of his own, terming Robert 4th Lord Willoughby as the 3rd (the 2nd and 3rd were actually Johns).  According to CP 12 pt. 2 “Willoughby” and its associated chart, this individual was clearly the 4th.  Whether he was ever married to Alice, a daughter of Sir William de Skipwith, is moot.  Richardson shows that his son, William Willoughby the 5th lord, was issue of Margery la Zouche.  He then makes Thomas Skipwith’s wife a granddaughter of William 5th Lord Willoughby–but lists only William’s daughter Elizabeth who married Henry Beaumont as having a daughter named Margaret.  Perhaps Richardson meant to say Sir Thomas Skipwith’s wife was a granddaughter of Robert 4th Lord Willoughby, which is more plausible. 

According to CP, Robert 4th Lord Willoughby had a son John, of whom I know little (Bryan, b. ca. 1383, seems to have been the youngest son).  Robert’s son John never held the title, but was living Feb. 3, 1407 as shown by a grant with his brother William.  Obviously there’s confusion in the account of the Willoughby family.  I don’t know who Margaret Skipwith’s parents were, so I’m not going to fog it up further. 

This pedigree chart, adapted from Lincolnshire Pedigrees pp. 894-895, ties into the chart above.  Note that it claims Sir Thomas Skipwith’s wife Margaret to be a daughter of William 5th Lord Willoughby:

The individual who most interests me in the above chart is John Skipwith, d. 15 Jul 1415, buried in the parish church of Covenham, MP for Lincolnshire in 1406, 1407, and Apr 1414.  John Skipwith married by Jul 1397 Alice Tilney, daughter of Sir Frederick Tilney of Boston, Lincolnshire.  The Tilneys were a family of considerable influence and wealth in Lincolnshire.  Although a second son, due to untimely deaths John Skipwith eventually succeeded to the family estates.  Holder of many offices throughout his life,  according to History of Parliament Online, during his tenure as sheriff of Lincolnshire, “he and his henchmen appear to have inflicted a virtual reign of terror upon the county, and as a result of six separate petitions submitted to the chancellor by his victims he was summoned to appear before the justices of assize at Lincoln in August 1397 to face charges of robbery with violence, blackmail, extortion, false imprisonment and intimidation.  All these allegations were found to be true, although the court’s verdict had little effect upon his career….”  Of course, the backdrop here is the turmoil during the latter part of the reign of King Richard II, and the subsequent Lancastrian usurpation.

*****

It’s been alleged that Margaret Cave, wife of Sir William Skipwith (d. 1610), was connected to Cardinal Henry Beaufort.  Ignoring the dubious authenticity of any Henry Beaufort descent, the claim arose through confusion concerning members of the Danvers family and has no merit.

The UK National Archives has recently updated and improved its website.  a2a can now be accessed at this link:

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/a2a

Gutenberg’s children: a desolate English Skipwith begot a Virginia son / Fulwar Skipwith writes of a tree with 3 branches (Newbold, Metheringham, & Prestwould)

•September 17, 2017 • Comments Off on Gutenberg’s children: a desolate English Skipwith begot a Virginia son / Fulwar Skipwith writes of a tree with 3 branches (Newbold, Metheringham, & Prestwould)

THIS

PLUS

EQUALS

SKIPWITH ENGLAND 1

(Click on images to enlarge.)

While my family was eating rancid bacon and dodging rude missiles, one imagines these people in their London clubs and country manors, reading about recent archaeological discoveries and the births, marriages, and deaths of those of their class.  “Sylvanus Urban” was a pseudonym used by successive editors.

Such civilization!  And we a nation of salt and canteens.

Sir Grey Skipwith, 8th Baronet of Prestwould, was sent to England at age 13.  He was a descendant of Col. Robert and Anne (Stith) Bolling, whose progeny are sometimes erroneously thought to be descendants of the famous Native American princess Pocahontas.  Col. Robert Bolling’s first wife was Jane Rolfe, granddaughter of Pocahontas, hence the confusion.  However, members of the Skipwith family did marry into the bloodline of Pocahontas.

(Available as free download from Google Books; see pp. 40, 41, 54 &  55 for Skipwith.)

The reader will note that during the reign of King George I, Sir Fulwar Skipwith offered 80,000 pounds to John Montagu (1690–1749), 2nd Duke of Montagu, etc., for the large estate adjoining Newbold Hall.  The duke demanded 80,000 guineas, and the sale didn’t go through.  The guinea, minted from 1663–1814, was a gold coin initially equal to one pound sterling, or 20 shillings.  Over the years its value fluctuated, but was generally worth more than 20 shillings, so the duke’s price was significantly higher than the 80,000 pounds Sir Fulwar Skipwith had offered.

Periodicals and newspapers, wherever they may be found, are the most under-utilized genealogical materials.  They can contain a wealth of information not found elsewhere.

In the above account of the post-Virginia Skipwiths, there are some factual errors: there were three, not two, Skipwith baronetcies.  The Baronets of Metheringham are little remembered as there were only three of that line which became extinct in 1756.  The manor of Prestwould was sold by Sir Henry Skipwith I, not his son Grey.  The fourth Prestwould baronet was Grey’s son William who also resided in Middlesex Co., VA.

(A general genealogy of the Skipwith family is to be found in this volume, published in 1867.  Available as a download from Internet Archive.)

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

•August 22, 2017 • 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 September 12, 2017

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:

The Weekly Nebraska State Journal of Lincoln, Nebraska on Friday, 29 July 1887 described the scene at the hanging:

“The Hanging at Nebraska City – Thousands of People Gather to Witness the Execution – Only Two Hundred Admitted Within the Enclosure – The Prisoner Breaks Down Completely Before Being Led to the Scaffold – The Court House Guarded By Military – Scenes in the Condemned Man’s Cell – A History of the Crime and Sketch of Hoffman’s Life.

Nebraska City, Neb., July 22. – [Special]

Early this morning the city was crowded with strangers from all directions, all eager to witness the hanging of David W. Hoffman.  There was some talk in the early morning of tearing down the enclosure and having a public execution, but the appearance of Company C, Second Regiment, which arrived at the court house about 8 o’clock, quickly put down all such schemes.  About 8,000 people were around the court house square, but no one except those who had permits were allowed inside.  Tickets to the execution sold as high as $15.

At 9:30 a.m. the doors were opened and the fortunate ones were admitted.”

Authorities had erected an enclosure around the court house and gallows.  Some people wanted the enclosure removed so the entire crowd could witness the execution, but this was prevented by the militia company for fear it would precipitate a riot.  Entry into the enclosure required a ticket, of which only 200 were issued.  Scalpers sold tickets for as much as $15.00.

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.

“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.  In support of that assertion, I have the following provided in May 2017 by my mother Valerie Berniece Jeffery (Scarff) Chipman:

Grandpa Scarff’s story of motivation for David Huffman’s involvement in Nebraska train derailment as told to Valerie Chipman.

Great grandfather Tyler Huffman’s younger brother David was wild, and Tyler warned him that he would end up badly if he did not change his ways. David did not want to take advice from his brother and according to Tyler he was told to “paddle his own canoe.” Tyler also related that David was angry with the engineer of the train because he was seeing a girl that David was interested in.

(Transcription by Jeffrey Thomas Chipman.)

“Grandpa Scarff” is my grandfather Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff’s adoptive father John Scarff, who was married to David Huffman’s niece Emma Huffman.  “Great grandfather Tyler Huffman” is David’s half-brother.

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.

If the reader will indulge a moment of self-promotion, I think this story has a great deal to say to a modern audience.  David Huffman was the O.J. of 1887.  What is our morbid fascination with these characters?  As the Omaha Daily Bee of Saturday Morning 23 Jul 1887 wailed: “THE NEWS OF THE DISASTER next morning sent a thrill of horror through this and neighboring states….”

Why was the story all but forgotten?  David Huffman never married and has no descendants—but he does have numerous blood relatives (myself included), whose account of him consists of vague family tales.

Any film based upon this story will take some liberties with the truth, but as I see it, there are two main characters: Mattie (Huffman) Fitch, who in real life was married, but in my version would be widowed, and the male lead a reporter from St. Louis or Kansas City who filed his coverage via telegraph.  There is a romance (of course) between Mattie and the reporter, but in the end, this is what Mattie says to her lover:

“David was my little brother, stupid, yes, but not a monster.  Did you prey upon our relationship to flesh out your fictions?  For I think all of it is to sell newspapers to a nation whose sole interest is an account of his fall.”

David is the catalyst here, but not the male lead.  His inevitable execution brings the story to a “satisfying” conclusion which was denied the public in the Simpson and Anthony cases.

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 of 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

•August 20, 2017 • Comments Off on Pedigree of Sancha de Ayala wife of Sir Walter Blount: Ancestors of 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 Nov. 29, 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.

*

Burlington Fine Arts Club.  (1916).  Catalogue Of A Collection Of Objects Of British Heraldic Art To The End Of The Tudor Period.  London: Chiswick Press Charles Whittingham And Co.

The Burlington Fine Arts Club of London (1866–1952) was a gentleman’s club of amateur art enthusiasts which held exhibitions in its clubhouse.  See pp. 3–5 for Blount heraldry incorporating Ayala.

*

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 Alan Farmerie and Nathaniel Lane Taylor are co-owners of Internet message board “soc.genealogy.medieval.” Farmerie claims descent from Robert Abell, a descendant of Sancha de Ayala.  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.

*

Netanyahu, B.  (2001).  The Origins Of The Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain Second Edition.  New York: The New York Review of Books.

Benzion Netanyahu (1910–2012) was Professor Emeritus of History at Cornell University and the father of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  This massive volume is considered authoritative on Jews and the Inquisition.  Of interest is a discussion of the position of Jews under the Visigoths.  The background on the massacre of Jews in Toledo in 1109 following the death of Alfonso VI and the attendant conversions is especially germane to the Sancha de Ayala case study.

*

Pryce, Huw, ed.; Insley, Charles, asst. ed.  (2005).  The Acts Of Welsh Rulers 1120–1283 Published on behalf of the History and Law Committee of the University of Wales Board of Celtic Studies.  Cardiff: University Of Wales Press.

Huw Pryce was educated at Jesus College, Oxford, and is Professor of Welsh History at Bangor University.  Charles Insley is Senior Lecturer in Medieval History at The University of Manchester.  This volume is essential for genealogists working with Welsh royal lines.  pp. 165–166 document use of the name “Lampeter” in the reign of King Henry I of England.

*

Reinhardt, Nicole.  (2016).  Voices of Conscience Royal Confessors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France.  Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Nicole Reinhardt is Director of Postgraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer Early Modern European History in the Department of History at Durham University, UK.  pp. 12-13 discusses the mid-thirteenth-century Castilian law-code Siete Partidas (a seven-part legal code) which addresses the position of the royal chaplain, stressing the importance of employing a particularly sophisticated, learned, and loyal clergyman, possibly the most prestigious court prelate. Among the chaplain’s functions was to confess the king. There was an implication that politics were part of the confession.

*

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.

To banish any doubt regarding the Blount family’s descent from Sancha de Ayala, Burlington Fine Arts Club (1916), pp. 3-5 lists 40 shields of arms for William Blount Lord Mountjoy (d. 1534).  Ayala appears in numbers 19, 20, 21, 23, 28, 29, and 36.

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.”

(Account of the children of Sir Walter Blount and Sancha de Ayala from Croke Vol. II, Book III, p. 196.  John Sutton, husband of Constance Blount, wasn’t Baron Dudley; it was their son John Sutton who was the 1st Baron Dudley.  Wychnor, or Wichenor, is in Staffordshire, not Shropshire.)

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 as they continued to rule parts of Spain until 1492, so the illustration was taken from life.  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.]

[The surrender of Granada, the last Moorish outpost in the Iberian peninsula, in January 1492, by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz (1848–1921).  Upon ejecting the Moors from Granada, Ferdinand and Isabella ruled a united Spain.  Click on image to enlarge.]

[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.

Netanyahu (2001), pp. 255–257 & 296–297 provides essential background to the story of Toledo and the Jewish community: seeing for themselves favorable conditions under the lenient Alfonso VI, rather than leave the city, Jews “chose to move to it in growing numbers.  Soon Toledo gave signs of becoming the most important center of Spanish Jewry.”  However, their position soon became tenuous; in Aug 1109, following the death of Alfonso VI, the townspeople fell upon the Jews, killing many and forcing more to convert. 

Thus, after the liberation of Toledo, the area grew as a center of Jewish learning, but many Jews converted due to political pressure.  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.

This account, written by John Lord Joinville, a friend of Louis IX, demonstrates the tensions between Church, State, and Jews in the Medieval epoch.  (Click on image to enlarge.)

The knight chose to frame his question by referencing the Virgin Mary.  A philosopher might refute this Marian theology as follows: Since God is the Prime Mover, he is causeless and there is nothing about him which is caused; therefore, there is nothing which can be caused to appear, for there is nothing to initiate a chain of causation; and God’s interaction with humanity is solely by the grace and will of God, and not any external biological or formulaic mechanism.  Thus Mary can’t possibly be the Mother of God as her pregnancy couldn’t cause God to appear; for if so she would be an anterior cause.  This argument would get you burned at the stake.

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 K; for she wouling 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 actual identity of Mozarabs is discussed elsewhere; but Dr. Taylor’s last remark is wrong: anti-Jewish massacres in Toledo in Aug 1109, almost immediately following the death of Alfonso VI, brought many Jews to convert.

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 to 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.

That Mozarabs in Toledo were recognized as a separate community is indicated in a fuero (charter) cited by Netanyahu (2001), p. 1221, granted in 1101 to the Mozarabs by Alfonso VI, in which they were given special status, which did not extend to the killing or wounding of a Jew or Moor.

Hitchcock continues: “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.”  One tradition states the castle had been erected by King Stephen, probably during his interminable civil war with the Empress Matilda, mother of King Henry II of England; but as seen below, Pryce and Insley (2005) suggest otherwise.  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.

Pryce and Insley (2005) pp. 165–166 have this to say about “Lampeter” in discussing a charter relating to Totnes Priory:

“For a full discussion of this charter see Crouch, ‘Earliest original charter’, which locates the church of St Peter de Mabonio at Lampeter, cmt. Mebwynion.  Cadell captured the castle of Lampeter in 1146, but appears to have been incapacitated as ruler of Deheubarth after he was badly beaten by Norman knights near Tenby in 1151.  As Crouch argues, the ‘house’ of Cadell may well have been Lampeter castle.  The charter reveals that Totnes Priory had already held the church at Lampeter during the reign of Henry I (1100-35), and Crouch plausibly suggests that the original grantor was Stephen, constable of Cardigan.”

Stephen, Constable of Cardigan, m. (her 2nd) Nest, daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr, last king of South Wales.

According to Anglican church sources, there are written mentions of churches using Llanbedr, “Bedr” being Welsh for “Peter,” dating to the mid-11th century, and obviously the usage is much earlier.

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, and the personal confessor to King John (Juan) II of Castile, a highly influential position.  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 John (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 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.  The tolerant polity in Toledo established by King Alfonso VI of Castile began to deteriorate after his death in 1109, and in the second half of the 14th century succumbed to political strife and religious agitation, which culminated in the Spanish Inquisition.

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