EVERYTHING BECOMES NEWS EVENTUALLY (opinion)

•June 30, 2017 • Comments Off on EVERYTHING BECOMES NEWS EVENTUALLY (opinion)

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THE CHANGING OF THE MIND AND HEART

My ancestors came to this country seeking religious freedom.  Many died to establish and protect that freedom.

In America it’s very common to change one’s mind on religion.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s part of our culture.

I resigned from the Catholic church.  I felt I could not in conscience perform the responsibilities the church expects of its members.  My resignation was accepted by the local bishop, from whom I received this letter:

Note that the bishop says: “I respect your decision.”

This letter is part of the “Bona Fide” column below.

 

[Photo is of my sister Mary Beth which I took in Wheaton, Illinois.]

THOMAS SCOTT JR., FREEMASONRY, AND MILLER CO., MO POLITICS / RACHEL JANE COULDN’T MAKE THE PHOTO OP

•July 19, 2017 • Comments Off on THOMAS SCOTT JR., FREEMASONRY, AND MILLER CO., MO POLITICS / RACHEL JANE COULDN’T MAKE THE PHOTO OP

(1861).  Journal And Proceedings Of The Missouri State Convention Held At Jefferson City And St. Louis March, 1861.  St. Louis:  George Knapp & Co., Printers And Binders. 

Freemasons have a long and distinguished history in the United States.  My 3rd great-grandfather Thomas Scott Jr.  (1816–1897), son of Thomas and Sarah (Mahurin) Scott, was a player in Missouri politics.  Scott was a member of Flatwoods Baptist church, and a member of Miller Co., MO Masonic Lodges in Linn Creek (Nos. 66 & 152), Mt. Pleasant (No. 139), and Tuscumbia (Nos. 169 & 437).

Thomas Scott Jr. and America (Stillwell) Scott had migrated to Miller Co., MO from Dubois Co., IN.

(“Thomas Scott Jur” means Thomas Scott Jr.)

[Tombstone for Richard Stillwell, probable father of America (Stillwell) Scott, located at Simmons Family cemetery near Holland in Dubois Co., IN.  The tombstone is quite unusual in that it has no dates.  The 1830 Greene Co., IN Federal census lists Richard Stillwell as aged 60–70, and thus born ca. 1760–1770.  Although the tombstone claims Richard Stillwell was a Capt. in the PA militia during the Revolutionary War, according to DAR that service actually belongs to another Richard Stillwell.  In the 1880 Miller Co., MO Federal census America stated both of her parents were born in NC.  A search of NC troops showed no Richard Stillwell served there.  Richard Stillwell is said to have died in 1836.  This stone was probably erected at a much later date and is inaccurate.]

Thomas Scott Jr. was the son of Thomas Scott Sr. (“Thomas Scott Ser” means Thomas Scott Sr.) and wife Sarah Mahurin:

(Ancestry.com transcription of 1850 Miller Co., MO Census, District 13, p. 445a, Family 533.)

Miller County was in the 27th Senatorial District.  Thomas Scott Jr. served as a Resident State Senator from 1858 to 1862.  He was elected Justice of the Miller County Court on 2 Aug 1860, and also served as a Justice of the Peace for Equality Township.

Wilson Milton Vaughan family from a photo dated ca. 1895.  On 11 Mar 1875 in Miller Co., MO, Wilson married Rachel Jane Scott, daughter of Thomas Scott, Jr. and wife America Stilwell.  Rachel d. on 30 Mar 1894.  Left to Right / Bottom Row: Lafe Vaughan, Floyd Vaughan; 2nd Row: Eric Lyman Vaughan, Wilson Milton Vaughan, Everett Vaughan; Top Row: Ethel Vaughan, Theron Vaughan, Teresa Vaughan.  Wilson Milton Vaughan, my 2nd great-grandfather, was a well-known character in Tuscumbia, MO and lived to be nearly 100.  He was the son of Joshua Vaughan and wife Betsy Birdsong.

 

In 1861 Scott was a representative to the Missouri State Convention and voted to keep Missouri in the Union.  He’s listed in the official roster of the Convention (p. 7) as born in Kentucky, age 44, Farmer, of Tuscumbia (county seat of Miller Co.).  In 1862 he was elected State Representative from Miller County and is listed in the Missouri House Journal.  

Scott studied law and he and Jacob Gantt had a law office in Tuscumbia.

[Thomas Scott Jr., (1816–1897).]

Scott supported the Liberal Republican Party which in 1872 unsuccessfully opposed the reelection of President Ulysses S. Grant by nominating newspaperman Horace Greeley. Greeley, who is credited with coining the phrase “Go West, young man” (although he may not have used those exact words), died before the electoral votes were counted.

Scott tried his hand at gold mining in CA.  There’s confusion as to when and where he located in CA. “Scott, Thomas” age 63 and b. in KY is found in the 1880 Placer Co., CA Federal Census, p. 42, SD 42, ED 72, Butcher Ranch Precinct, Household 527/527, residing as a boarder in the house of William Bennett.  Placer Co. is in northern CA bordering NV.

I have the text of a letter Scott wrote from U.S. Ranch, Cal., to Wilson Milton and Rachel Jane (Scott) Vaughan, dated 11 Jan 1880, in which he said:

“We have had the hardest winter so far that has ever been known in the country.  Ice has frozen two inches thick something never known before.”

According to a letter of Scott’s grandson, Everett Vaughan, dated 2 May 1952:

“Grandfather Scott also went to California…. He apparently had some trouble with his family, especially the boys.  He deeded each of the boys a farm and left for California without telling anyone he was going.  I recall his return, about 1886.  He came to our place and stayed there for a few months.  He then moved to Uncle Newt’s, where he died.  Uncle Newt then lived on what later was known as the Fogleman place, where we lived for a while once.”

Since Scott’s wife, America (Stilwell) Scott was yet living, it’s inferred that the couple’s marriage had soured.  That may have been the motive for his sudden departure to CA. 

This symbol found on the $1.00 bill is a testament to the Founding Fathers’ association with Freemasonry.  The “Eye” symbol and motto “Annuit Coeptis” are loosely translated as “Providence Favors Our Undertakings.”  “Novus Ordo Seclorum” means “New Order of the Ages.”  The use of the mottos and symbol reflect the Founding Fathers’ confidence in the new United States. “MDCCLXXVI” are Roman Numerals for “1776.”

Revised Dec. 23, 2016

Some Harkey Family History (with notes on Rambo, Bankston, Slayden & Pugh) / A Royal Line in Wales / Harkey Tombstones in Liberty Cemetery at Caruth, Dunklin Co., MO

•July 15, 2017 • Comments Off on Some Harkey Family History (with notes on Rambo, Bankston, Slayden & Pugh) / A Royal Line in Wales / Harkey Tombstones in Liberty Cemetery at Caruth, Dunklin Co., MO

Revised Sep. 5, 2016

Mary Ann Cordelia (“Mollie”) Harkey, daughter of Newton O. Harkey and wife Amanda M. Kimbrow, married 8 Sep 1887 at Kennett, MO, Alvis Cowan Bailey, son of Meshach and Lucinda Bailey.  Mollie and Alvis were the parents of my paternal grandmother Jewel Winifred (Bailey) Chipman.

Mollie’s grandparents Daniel David Harkey and Mary Ann Bankston were married 17 Dec 1822 in Wilkes Co., GA.  Mary Ann (Bankston) Harkey was the daughter of Hiram and Susannah (Slayden) Bankston.  

Daniel David and Mary Ann (Bankston) Harkey left Wilkes Co., GA for Pike Co., GA, where Daniel David Harkey is recorded on Tax Lists for 1834, 1835, 1838, and 1848.  By 1850 the family is found in Pontotoc Co., MS, and then moved on to Dunklin Co., MO “in 1853 and located on Grand Prairie, where they resided until their death.  They were both charter members of the old Harkey’s chapel class of the M.E.C.S., helped to build the first house by that name, and were always among the church’s most consistent and powerful workers.” [Smyth-Davis, Mary F.  (1896).  History of Dunklin County, Mo., 1845–1895.  St. Louis: Nixon-Jones Printing Co.]

Susannah was the daughter of Arthur Slayden, who came to GA from VA.  An incredible amount of research into the Slayden family is to be found in:

Slaton, Arthur J.  (1974).  The Slaton Family Ab Antiquitas With Brief Notes On Some Allied Families Second edition with revisions and additions – 1974.  Whittier, CA:  The Author.

Since that volume research has continued, and the following item is from a family bible (click on images to enlarge them).  However, the last child, Samuel Slayden, is shown as born on 9 Apr 1788. Rosamond (Pugh) Slayden’s birth date is 17 Mar 1738, making her 50 years old at Samuel’s birth. While biologically possible, it’s quite unusual. 

There is, in connection with Lewis Pugh, grandfather of Rosamond (Pugh) Slayden, a strange story regarding an inheritance in  Wales.  On 1 Sep 1740 in Richmond Co., VA, Ann Pugh, widow of Lewis Pugh, made a sworn deposition in which she stated that about 1704 she married Lewis Pugh and had by him 7 children: John, David, Elizabeth, Henry, Willoughby, Ann, and Lewis.  About 1731 Lewis Pugh learned from his brother-in-law Benjamin Jones of North Wales and Elizabeth his wife, the sister of Lewis Pugh, that an estate in South Wales had descended to Lewis Pugh from his father David Pugh.  In Apr 1731 Lewis Pugh and his son John Pugh sailed out of the Rappahannock River in VA on board the Captain Loxam bound for Liverpoole.  Ann Pugh was advised that Lewis Pugh died in South Wales and she and five of her children empowered her son David Pugh to collect what was due them from Lewis Pugh’s estate.  She could give no further information.  NB: David Pugh never returned to VA.  The surname “Pugh” is derived from “ap Hugh,” which makes sense to me.

The best study of the Pugh family, which indicates extensive ancestry in Wales, is:

ProGenealogists Official Ancestry.com research firm.  (2012).  Pugh Family Lineage Book One Research Reports For Dr. V. Watson  Pugh Preface By Paul C. Reed FASG.

Available to download at:

http://lewispugh.weebly.com/pugh-family-research-book-i.html

On p. 24 there is a lengthy pedigree from Sitriuc (Sygtrygg “Silkenbeard”), King of Dublin, d. 1042, who m. Slani, daughter of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, to Lewis Pugh.  The 5th generation states that Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd, Prince of North Wales, m. Adles, daughter of Richard de Clare, and were the parents of Richert (Richard) ap Cadwaladr.  The Richard de Clare here referenced was 3rd Lord of Clare, d. 1136, son of Gilbert fitz Richard de Clare and Adeliza de Claremont.  He m. Adeliz, daughter of Ranulf, 4th Earl of Chester.

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.  (see pp. 329–331)

According to the above, there’s a problem with Cadwaladr’s marriage: Richard de Clare’s daughter Alice is said to have entered a convent upon the death in 1141 of her first husband, Aubrey de Vere II.  The editors propose an alternate solution: Cadwaladr’s wife was actually Adeliza of Chester, Richard de Clare’s widow.  In support of this they cite Welsh genealogical collections which name Cadwaladr’s wife as “Adles daughter of the earl of Chester,” who was the mother of 4 of his sons, including Rhicert (“Richard”—evidently the Viceroy of Dinllaen in Llyn, North Wales’ main port to Ireland), and Randlff (Ranulph).  This would place her as the daughter of Ranulph le Meschin, 4th Earl of Chester by Lucy, who, according to Keats-Rohan, was the daughter of Turold, sheriff of Lincoln by a daughter of William Malet.  Others are not quite so certain (see CP VII Appendix J).  Why does Lucy put me in mind of Oak Island?

The Complete Peerage, Vol. III, p. 243 calls her “Adeliz, sister of Ranulph ‘des Gernons,’ Earl of Chester,” and notes she “was rescued from the Welsh by Miles of Gloucester.”

Ancestral Roots Eighth Edition, Line 132D claims Adeliz’s second husband was Robert de Condet, d. 1141, son of Osbert de Condet, but neither The Complete Peerage nor J.R. Planche (1870) mention such a marriage.  Certainly marriage to a Welsh prince would be of considerably more prestige, and given the evidence above, I think Cadwaladr’s marriage to the widow of Richard de Clare is adequately supported, but more evidence is welcome.

Thus it appears that Lewis Pugh’s ancestry follows the family of the earls of Chester rather than the lords of Clare, and that is a more tortuous path.  Adeliz’s father Ranulph le Meschin, the 4th earl, was the son of Ranulph, Vicomte de Bayeaux by Margaret, sister of Hugh d’Avranches, the 2nd earl.  Richard, the 3rd earl, had drowned in the White Ship disaster which took the life of William, son of King Henry I of England.  David C. Douglas, the biographer of William the Conqueror, says Hugh’s mother Emma wasn’t the daughter of William the Conqueror’s mother Herleve, and therefore Hugh wasn’t William’s nephew.  So we are left with the conclusion that the meteoric rise of Hugh the 2nd earl was due to his support of William the Conqueror’s English venture and not any known family relationship.

Nonetheless, Lewis Pugh’s ancestry is interesting for its connection to royal figures in Wales and Ireland.  A fascinating account of Gruffudd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd (d. 1137), father of Cadwaladr, is found in:

Jones M.A., Arthur.  (1910).  The History Of Gruffydd ap Cynan The Welsh Text With Translation, Introduction, And Notes.  Manchester: The University Of Manchester Press.  (Free download from Internet Archive.)

The Bankstons were originally Swedish settlers along the Delaware River in PA, and descend from the famous Swedish pioneer Peter Gunnarson Rambo (ca. 1612–1698) through his daughter Gertrude who married Andrew Bankson (Anders Bengtsson).  

Soderlund, Jean R.  (2015).  Lenape Country Delaware Valley Society Before William Penn.  Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Soderlund’s study of the early Delaware Valley contains many references to the Rambo and Bengtsson families, with a backdrop of Lenape (Delaware Native American tribe) relations with waves of Swedish, Dutch, and English settlers.

For Rambo genealogy, see:

Rambo, Beverly Nelson; Beatty, Ronald S.  (2007).  The Rambo Family Tree 2ND Edition. July 2007 Descendants Of Peter Gunnarson Rambo Third Volume: Descendants Of His Daughter, Gertrude Rambo Bankson.  Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse.

A thorough study of the Bankston family is:

Haigler, Anne Martin.  (1998).  Bankston Cousins 1656–1996.  Florissant, MO: Hardbound, Inc.

Mary Ann (Bankston) Harkey’s 2nd great-grandmother Rebecca (Hendricks) Bankson was a descendant of PA pioneer Albertus Hendrickson who was of Dutch ancestry.

The principle treatise on the Hendricks family is:

Davenport, John Scott.  (1993).  The Frontier Hendricks Being A Quest to Identify and Define The Descendants of Albertus Hendrickson, Carpenter, A Dutch Emigrant To America Before 1670, Who Died in Chester County, Province of Pennsylvania, in 1716 Volume I, 1991–1993 Working Papers (Reports 1–12).  La Plata, MD:  The Frontier Hendricks Association.

[The Rambo Apple, introduced into the Colony of New Sweden (PA) by Peter Gunnarson Rambo and his family.]

Daniel and Mary left GA and settled in Pontotoc Co., MS, where they’re found in the 1850 Pontotoc Federal census on pp. 92B & 93.   Daniel D. Harkey, son of Daniel and Mary Ann, m. Nancy L. Hamlin on 25 Sep 1851 in Pontotoc Co.  The family moved on to Dunklin Co., MO.  Several of their sons became prominent in local affairs.

CENSUS YR: 1850
STATE: MS
COUNTY: PONTOTOC
REEL NO: M432-360 PAGE NO: 93 HOUSEHOLD: 535
REFERENCE: 23RD DAY OF SEPTEMBER 1850, ANDREW J. CLARK ASS’T MARSHAL
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HARKEY DANIEL 53 M FARMER 1,880 NC
HARKEY MA 48 F GA (1)
HARKEY DANIEL 9 M FARMER GA (2)
HARKEY HIRAM 15 M GA
HARKEY WELLBORNE 13 M GA
HARKEY NEWTON 12 M GA (3)
HARKEY NEWSOM 12 M GA (3)
HARKEY FRANCIS 8 M GA
HARKEY JASPER 7 M GA

(1) Mary Ann (Bankston) Harkey

(2) Daniel Harkey married in Pontotoc Co. in 1851, so he wasn’t 9 in 1850. This is probably an error in the transcription, and he was actually 19.

(3) Twins

(Detail of 1850 Pontotoc Co., MS Federal Census.)

[Detail from the 1860 Dunklin Co., MO Federal Census showing Mary Ann (Bankston) Harkey next door to her son Samuel Jones Harkey, a Methodist minister.  Also in his household is a school teacher.  Click on image to enlarge it.]

Daniel and Mary had nine sons:  Samuel Jones Harkey, Methodist minister; William M. Harkey, state legislator; Daniel D. Harkey; Hiram W. Harkey; Wilburn David Harkey (buried at Cude Cemetary, Senath, MO); Newsom A. Harkey; Newton O. Harkey (twin of Newsom A. Harkey); Francis M. “Nugg” Harkey, judge; and Jasper H. “Jap” Harkey (buried at Cude Cemetary, Senath, MO).  Wilburn David Harkey and Jasper H. Harkey were active Masons.

I shot this series of tombstone photos about 1990 at Liberty Cemetary near Caruth in Dunklin Co., MO.  The tombstones are in deplorable condition.  Those of Daniel David Harkey, Newton O. Harkey, and Amanda M. (Kimbrow) Harkey are cracked.  I was able to locate both pieces of Newton and Amanda’s tombstones, and put them back together to take photos.  Often tombstones that are difficult to photograph can be read in person.

(Click on images to enlarge them.)

(Daniel David Harkey, b. Mar. 25, 1797 in NC, d. Jun. 25, 1858 in Dunklin Co., MO.)

[Mary A. (Bankston) Harkey, wife of Daniel David Harkey, b. Sep. 25, 1801 in Wilkes Co., GA, d. Mar. 7, 1879 in Dunklin Co., MO.  This grave is unusual because there’s a footstone reading “Mary A.” (see below).]

[Newton O. Harkey, son of Daniel David and Mary A. (Bankston) Harkey, b. Nov. 22, 1838 in Pike Co., GA, d. Feb. 2, 1880 of malaria in Dunklin Co.]

[Amanda M. (Kimbrow) Harkey, wife of Newton O. Harkey, b. Dec. 26, 1843 in MO, d. Sep. 7, 1901 in Dunklin Co.  Amanda was the daughter of William and Annie Bradford (Branch) Kimbrow.  William Kimbrow was an early Dunklin Co. sheriff.]

[Hiram W. Harkey, son of Daniel David and Mary A. (Bankston) Harkey, b. 1835, d. Nov. 8, 1856.  Although the year of birth is plainly visible, the month and day of birth weren’t legible.]

DIRECTIONS TO LIBERTY CEMETERY NEAR CARUTH, MO:

From Kennett (county seat of Dunklin Co., MO), take HWY 412 S to HWY Y, at County Rd 549C turn right.  Cemetery can be seen from HWY Y before the turn off.  I don’t know if the tombstones I photographed remain in situ in recognizable condition.

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

•June 26, 2017 • Comments Off on BONA FIDE some records are vital / others aren’t, but might prove vital / a cavalcade of family photos

Revised June 5, 2016

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.)

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.

(My departure from the Catholic church was considerably less than dramatic.  We were ideologically incompatible.  I followed protocol: note that the bishop says “I respect your decision.”)

(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, or as I think of her, “Nora Jr.”  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.

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

•June 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 May 29, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

___________________________________

DAVID HUFFMAN & THE GREAT DUNBAR NEBRASKA TRAIN WRECK OF 1887

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

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

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

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

*1*

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

*2*

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

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

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

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

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

*3*

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

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

*4*

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Two Arrests Made.

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

*5*

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

“MOB ORGANIZED.

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

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

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

*6*

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

“A Forced Confession.

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

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

*7*

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

“TURNED AGAINST HIM.

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

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

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

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

*8*

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

“Train Wrecker to Hang.

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

James Bell actually received a 10 year sentence. 

*9*

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

“Hoffman Hangs July 22

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

*10*

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

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

*11*

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

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

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

*12*

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

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.

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/

Branching Howland (how Ralph met Val)

•June 19, 2017 • Comments Off on Branching Howland (how Ralph met Val)

This column was one of my Thanksgiving projects that had an unforeseen result.

My parents share common 17th century ancestors: Henry and Margaret Howland of Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England, parents of Plymouth Colony immigrants John Howland, Henry Howland, and Arthur Howland.  Henry and Margaret Howland are buried in the churchyard of the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fenstanton.

My father is a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland. My mother can trace her ancestry to John Howland’s brother Arthur Howland, who came to Plymouth Colony at a later date, first mentioned as a planter of Duxbury in 1640. He was a Quaker at a time when Quakers were subjected to much persecution.  Arthur Howland was buried at Marshfield on 30 Oct 1675.  His wife, Margaret Reid, a widow (maiden name unknown), was also buried at Marshfield, on 22 Jan 1683.  Arthur Howland is an ancestor of Winston Churchill.

My mother’s line from Arthur Howland is as follows, beginning with Henry and Margaret Howland:

(1) Henry & Margaret Howland (2) Arthur & Margaret Howland (3) Elizabeth Howland & John Low (4) Elizabeth Low & Walter Joyce (5) Bathsheba Joyce & Ebenezer Mahurin (6) Stephen Mahurin & Unknown (7) Samuel Mahurin & Unknown (8) Sarah Mahurin & Thomas Scott Sr. (9) Thomas Scott Jr. & America Stillwell (10) Rachel Jane Scott & Wilson Milton Vaughan (11) Eric Lyman Vaughan & Nora Ann McMillen (12) Hillary Lillian Vaughan & Jesse Otto Jeffery Scarff (13) Valerie Berniece Jeffery Scarff & Ralph Vernon Chipman.

Above:  Memorial plaque for Henry Howland, father of Mayflower passenger John Howland, in the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Fenstanton, Huntingdonshire, England.

Couple No. 13 are my parents.  Ebenezer Mahurin (d. 1755) was the son of Hugh Mahurin of Taunton, MA (d. 1718).  Hugh Mahurin’s only proven child is Ebenezer, but it’s known he had other children.  The Mahurins are presumed to be of Scots-Irish descent.

The most comprehensive study of the Mahurin family is “Hugh Mahurin Of Taunton, Massachusetts” by Francis H. Huron, in the January, April, and July issues of The New England Historical and Genealogical Register for 1982.  According to Walter E. Hazen, who summarized some points of the Huron article:

The earliest record of Hugh Mahurin that we have is in Taunton, Mass. March 1692/3. Possibly he initially came, or was brought, there to work in one of the forges or iron works.  This is conjecture, but his son Ebenezer was later called ‘collyer’ in New Jersey, a term applied to iron workers in that period. This also could explain why Hugh received a grant of land at Taunton half a century after the town was established (Taunton Proprietor’s Records, 4:296, Bristol County Registry of Deeds):

This 15th of March 1692/3 is voted and granted to Hugh Mehurin ten acres of land in the plain that lieth between Samuel Crossman’s and Hart’s meadow in a valley near Stage pond provided it be no way prejudicial to any highway or former grant.

On 26 July 1695 Charles Williams of Taunton “for and in consideration of five pounds in silver money to him in hand paid by Hugh Mahurin of Taunton” sold him two adjoining parcels of land, one of ten acres, the other of seven-and-one-half acres (Bristol County Deeds, 12:117). Hugh Mahurin’s land was in the northeasterly section of Taunton which in 1731 became the town of Raynham. He acquired additional small amounts, as evidenced in the follow extracts from a deed dated 19 March 1717/18 (ibid., 12:116), which also contains vital information concerning his family:

Know ye that I Hugh Mahurin of Taunton in the County of Bristol–for & in consideration of that Love and affection which I beare to my Eldest son Ebenezer Mahurin as also in Consideration of a bond given me by my said Son Ebenezer Mahurin for the payment of fifteen pounds to my other Children in manner as is Expressed in said bond–Have given granted–& confirm unto him said Ebenezer Mahurin Two parcels of land which lay adjoining together within the Limits and bounds of said Taunton on which my dwelling house stands which I bought of Charles Williams by deed dated the Twenty Sixth day of July one thousand Six Hundred and Ninety and five. The first parcel being Ten acres more or less–The second Parcel is seven acres and half more or less–Together with five acres of land granted by the Proprietors on January 8th 1695 to me said Hugh Mahurin to lay on the left hand of the way by my own land neare Titicut Pond & five acres on the Right hand of the way opposite to it Together with a Little Piece of land about one acre and half or two acres lying adjoining to my own land on the Easterly of the lay Rhoad granted on January 19th 1713/14–only my son Ebenezer may at Present Improve Two acres where his house now Stands and the whole after the decease of his Father, Excepting only that my present wife Mary if she survive me and while she Continues my Widow shall enjoyed my present dwelling house and half an acre of land where the house stands which runs towards my son Ebenezer’s Farm.
The deed was witnessed by Samuel Danforth and Ebenezer Campbel.

Hugh Mahurin died intestate. The inventory of his estate noted “A true Inventory of all and singular the goods & chattels and credits of Hugh Mahurin yeoman deceased seized at Taunton on the nineteenth day of May in the year 1718 & by John Leonard & Ebenezer Cambel & John King,” and itemized a list of household goods, farm tools, and livestock with a total value of LB45.17 (Bristol County Probates, 3:439). The account of Ebenezer Mahurin, administrator of the estate of his father Hugh Mahurin, dated 4 February 1722/3, listed additional receipts and the payment of a lengthy list of debts and disbursements (ibid., 4:110).

The above records prove Hugh Mahurin had more than one son, and at least three children.

The maiden name of Hugh Mahurin’s wife Mary is unknown, but may have been Campbell. She married second William Bassett 19 Feb 1719 in Bridgewater.

John Low, father of Elizabeth (Low) Joyce, has been alleged to be a son of Thomas Low by his second wife Susannah; the claim being Thomas Low had sons named John by both wives.  I queried Bingham J.F. Lowe, the expert on this family, and was informed that our John Low wasn’t a son of Thomas Low, as Thomas Low didn’t mention him in his bible. Therefore, John Low’s ancestry is unknown.  John Low died 26 Mar 1676 during an Indian ambush in King Philip’s War.

[p. 349 lists John Low of Marshfield as a member of Capt. Michael Peirse’s company.  On Sunday, 26 Mar 1676 Peirse was lured into an ambush on the bank of a river near Seekonk (evidently the Seekonk River) and surrounded by a large force of Indians.  Available as free download from Google Books.  Click on image to enlarge.]

It’s not always possible to identify wives of pioneers, but I did locate the marriage bond of Thomas Scott Sr. (son of Arthur Scott) and Sarah Mahurin (daughter of Samuel Mahurin) in Shelby County, KY:

Dr. George E. McCracken, FASG, wrote a brief article about Arthur Howland, including a transcription of his will and inventory.  Rather than re-invent the wheel, here it is:

Anthony Snow, an ancestor of my father’s, took the inventory.  Arthur Howland left my mother’s ancestress, Elizabeth Low, 10 pounds to be paid after the death of his wife.  Though McCracken gives the wife of Henry Howland of Fenstanton as “Ann,” Susan E. Roser and others call her “Margaret.”   You’ll note that McCracken complains about Franklyn Howland’s slipshod transcription.  I can sympathize—transcribing a document that old is hard work.

Revised Sep. 19, 2016

The Ancestry of Allie May (OXLEY) Chipman: 3 False Beckwith Royal Lines / Beckwith and Creath of Cape Girardeau Co., MO / Riddle of Stoddard Co., MO / Oxley and Faulkner of Lenoir Co., NC

•December 1, 2016 • Comments Off on The Ancestry of Allie May (OXLEY) Chipman: 3 False Beckwith Royal Lines / Beckwith and Creath of Cape Girardeau Co., MO / Riddle of Stoddard Co., MO / Oxley and Faulkner of Lenoir Co., NC

John Franklin Riddle (1828-1904) and Joellan Beckwith (1831-1896) were the grandparents of Allie May (Oxley) Chipman, wife of my great-grandfather James Edward Chipman.  It’s their families we’ll explore in this column.

[Death certificate for Allie May (Oxley) Chipman; date of death 27 Dec 1935; parents given as “Aquilia Oxley” and “Mary Caroline.”]

[Grave marker for James Edward and Allie May (Oxley) Chipman at Senath cemetery, Dunklin Co., MO.]

John Franklin Riddle’s father George Riddle had settled in Stoddard Co., MO.  John Franklin Riddle moved to Dunklin Co., MO, where on 1 Apr 1858 as “John Riddle, of Dunklin County, Missouri” he received land grant Certificate No. 24.703 for 40 acres.  (Bureau of Land Management records.)

Allie’s parents, Aquilla Voin Oxley and Mariah Caroline Riddle, were married on 2 Jul 1874 in Dunklin Co., MO.  Aquilla’s middle name was “Voin,” not “Vester,” as the marriage record proves (Dunklin Co., MO Marriage Book 1, p. 38).

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

On 5 Jan 1888, Mariah C. Oxley applied for Letters of Administration on her husband’s estate, and the application lists A.V. Oxley’s heirs as William V. Oxley, Ida Oxley, Jennie Oxley, and Allie Oxley:

[Death certificate for Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley, widow of Aquilla Voin Oxley; date of death 8 Nov 1934; parents are shown as “Jhon Riddle” and “Ella Beckwith.”  Her parents’ formal names were “John Franklin Riddle” and “Joellan Beckwith.”]

[One of my favorite family photos: Oxley family reunion ca. 1926 in Clay Co., AR.  In the 1st row Left in the black dress is Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley.  The ancient gentleman seated to the Right of her is her brother-in-law George Milton Oxley.  The young girl holding a baby at the end of the 1st row Right is Pauline Aquilla Chipman.  At the Left behind the woman in the patterned dress is Allie May (Oxley) Chipman, and next to her wearing a sweater vest is her son Winford William Chipman.  James Edward Chipman is in the far Right back row.]

[Service record for George Milton Oxley, CSA.  He was released by his Union Army captors on 6 Jun 1865 at Grand Ecore, LA.  Dunklin Co., MO, with its cotton operations, had sympathized with the Confederacy.  George Milton Oxley participated in Maj. Gen. Sterling Price’s Missouri raid of 1864, and received a Confederate Pension from the State of Arkansas (Application No. 15623).  He died in 1940.]

Above: George Milton Oxley grave marker, Gravel Hill Cemetery, St. Francis, Clay Co., AR.  The tombstone is wrong: George Milton Oxley was born in 1849, not 1847.  His brother Aquilla Voin Oxley was born in 1847.

Below: the question of George Milton Oxley’s birthdate is resolved by this detail from the 1900 Chalk Bluff, Clay Co., AR Federal Census, SD 1, ED 5, Sheet 5, which clearly shows his birthdate as Sep 1849.  In his pension he also gives his birthyear as 1847, which suggests he lied about his age when he enlisted with the CSA.  He was actually only 15 years old when he was paroled in Louisiana.

[Death certificate for William J. Oxley, another brother-in-law of Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley; date of death is 8 Nov 1913; parents listed as “James Oxley” and “Rillie Faulkner.”  His mother’s name was actually “Annaretta Faulkner.”]

The James Oxley family is found in the 1850 Haywood Co., TN Federal Census, District No. 12, pp. 40B–41, Household 525, as follows: James Oxley 51 b. NC, Ann Oxley 38 b. NC, Wm. Oxley 12 b. TN, John Oxley 10 b. TN, Clay Oxley 8 b. TN, Cintha Oxley 6 b. TN, Nancy Oxley 5 b. TN, Aquilla Oxley 3 b. TN, Milton Oxley 1 b. TN (The first son William was evidently named after Annaretta’s father William Faulkner, and the second son John probably named after James’ father John Oxley.)

Below: this article from a Clay Co., AR newspaper gives some general information regarding the Oxley family.  (Click on image to enlarge.)

What is known of the origins of John Franklin Riddle and Joellan Beckwith, the parents of Mariah Caroline (Riddle) Oxley?

Joellan Beckwith was the daughter of Joseph and Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith, who married on 20 Jan 1823 in Granville Co., NC.  Joseph Beckwith was born in CT, and thus presumably a descendant of Mathew Beckwith, of Lyme, CT.  Joseph Beckwith d. in 1847 in Stoddard Co., MO.

Mathew Beckwith was deceased by 6 Jun 1682, when his inventory was filed. He’s said to have died falling from a cliff.  He had four sons: Mathew, Joseph, Nathaniel, and John, and three daughters.

Three royal lines have been claimed for our Beckwith family, all of them false:

Beckwith, Paul.  (1891).  The Beckwiths.  Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s Sons.  (Book is available as a free download from Internet Archive and Google Books.)

I.  On pp. 17, 18, 27, 28, 73, 74, Paul Beckwith discusses Mathew Beckwith.  The Beckwiths is notorious in the genealogical community.  Paul Beckwith was one of the most practiced pedigree peddlers of his era.  To correct the incredible number of errors would require a book of its own. 

On p. 17 Paul Beckwith says:  “We must now return to Marmaduke Beckwith of Clint and Dacre, and find mention of Mathew Beckwith, who is possibly the Mathew Beckwith who is first recorded at Saybrook Point, Conn., in 1635, and the ancestor of by far the largest, numerically, of the American Beckwiths and whose descendants are to be found in every State of the Union, Canada and the Sandwich Islands.”  But on p. 27, the author claims without caveat that this Mathew Beckwith was the son of Marmaduke Beckwith and his wife Anne Dynly.  And p. 73 states Mathew Beckwith was born ca. 1610 in Ponteferact, Yorkshire, England.

Between 1899 and 1907, Albert C. Beckwith (later joined by Edward S. Beckwith) of Elkhorn, WI, published 6 Volumes of Beckwith Notes which cover the descendants of Mathew Beckwith.  The authors were highly critical of Paul Beckwith and corrected many errors in The Beckwiths, among them refuting the claim on chronological grounds that Marmaduke Beckwith and Anne Dynly were Mathew’s parents, as Anne Dynly would have been about 81 years old when Mathew was born (see No. One, pp. 6–7).

There appears to be confusion over the identity of this Marmaduke Beckwith.  The English Baronetage, Vol. III Part II (1741), p. 680, gives a different account, but shows the couple without a son Mathew (who according to most authors was b. ca. 1610):

II.  It’s also alleged that Mathew Beckwith’s wife was “Elizabeth Lynde” (sometimes called “Mary Lynde”), daughter of Enoch Lynde and wife Elizabeth Digby.  Douglas Richardson’s Plantagenet Ancestry (2004) p. 483 lists 5 sons and no daughters for Enoch Lynde and Elizabeth Digby.  Richardson’s Royal Ancestry (2013), Vol. III, p. 682 repeats the same information.  Since the line fails at “Elizabeth Lynde,” it’s unnecessary to examine the rest of the pedigree. 

Where did the tale of “Elizabeth Lynde” originate?  On p. 73 of The Beckwiths, Paul Beckwith states Mathew Beckwith “was left a legacy by Capt. Lyrado….”  In Beckwith Notes No. One, p. 9, the authors remark: “If Capt. ‘Lyrado’ (perhaps somebody’s misreading of ‘Lynde’) left to Matthew a legacy of mentionable value the legatee was very likely the testator’s son-in-law.  The earliest Lyndes were first of Boston and later of Saybrook.  Until proof or fair presumption of such a legacy can be shown the Beckwiths need not care how the Lyndes were descended from ancient kings and mediaeval nobles.”

We have already seen that the purported parents of “Elizabeth Lynde” (or “Mary Lynde”) had no such daughter.  From whom, if anyone, this supposed legacy was received has not been demonstrated.  The only reason “Lynde” had been suggested was familiarity with the name.  Clearly someone read Beckwith Notes No. One and decided to go forward with the tale without any documentation.  The motive was linkage to a known medieval pedigree.

So there’s no proof for any of it.  Nobody knows from whence Mathew Beckwith came, although it’s a safe assumption he emigrated to Connecticut from somewhere in England.  There’s no evidence he was born in Yorkshire as Paul Beckwith claimed.  The identity of his wife is unknown.  Mathew Beckwith is far more likely to have been the son of a tradesman than the scion of an illustrious house.

III.  John Beckwith’s son John m. Prudence Mainwaring, daughter of Oliver Mainwaring. The Mainwaring family has a valid royal line from King Edward I of England. Seth Beckwith, a Revolutionary War soldier and resident of Montville, CT, was a descendant of John and Prudence.  Seth Beckwith had a son Joseph who was b. 25 Jan 1785, but that Joseph d. 1820 in Montville.  Joseph and his brother Russell served in the War of 1812.  Joseph Beckwith of Stoddard Co., MO was just a contemporary of Seth Beckwith’s son Joseph.

[Beckwith, Albert C. & Edward S.  (1907).  Beckwith Notes Number Six.  Elkhorn, WI: The Authors. p. 41]

There are 3 main stemma of Beckwiths in the United States: descendants of Mathew Beckwith (CT); of George Beckwith (MD); and of Sir Marmaduke Beckwith (VA).  I have not seen evidence proving any of the 3 are actually biologically related.

The Beckwith stemma varied significantly in social class: Mathew Beckwith a yeoman; George Beckwith an indentured servant; and Sir Marmaduke Beckwith a baronet of distinguished ancestry.

[Record of creation of Beckwith baronetcy from Complete Baronetage by G.E.C., Vol. IV (1904).]

I received this from Beckwith expert Hubert S. Beckwith:

Families often left their home state in search of land to support their families.  They might stop somewhere for a few years before continuing on, and along the way, family members could die.  Finding the parents of Joseph Beckwith of Stoddard Co., MO could be difficult.

To illustrate the scope of the problem, by the 1800 Federal census there were 130 Beckwith households in the USA, with 111 of those reasonably attributable to descendants of Mathew Beckwith the immigrant.  78 of those households are found in CT alone, and a further 23 in NY, which was a popular migration point.  Some descendants of Mathew Beckwith are found in the 1800 NC census as well, although I haven’t been able to connect any of those NC Beckwiths to our Joseph Beckwith.  And those are just households listed under the name “Beckwith;” there were undoubtedly more Beckwiths in households enumerated under a different name, as in the case of Beckwith widows who remarried.  Her Beckwith children will be merely numbers in the household of her new husband.

Can we say anything about the birth date of Joseph Beckwith? There are only two extant census records for Joseph Beckwith, both in MO: in 1830 he’s listed in Cape Girardeau Co. (p. 454) as 30-40, and in 1840 in Stoddard Co. (p. 4) he’s 50-60. This gives a range of birth years of 1780-1800. A discrepancy like this can mean he was born in a census year. That would place his year of birth as ca. 1790.

The early probate records in Stoddard Co. are lost, but I located in the Stoddard Co. court record books sufficient proof of Joseph Beckwith’s heirs.  Joseph Beckwith was deceased by 5 Oct 1847 when his administrator, David Huddleston, was ordered to cover the estate’s debts.  By 3 Jul 1849, Joseph’s widow Eliza had become administratrix.  The court records listed the following heirs of Joseph Beckwith:  Franklin Beckwith a minor, Joanna (Joellan) Beckwith a minor, Amanda Beckwith a minor, and Laura M. Beckwith a minor.  Brumfield Beckwith wasn’t listed because he wasn’t a minor at the time.  Eliza posted a $400.00 bond. 

Three of Joseph Beckwith’s children had issue: Brumfield, Joellan, and Laura.  Franklin Beckwith d. childless on 18 Mar 1873.  An affidavit filed 31 Mar 1873 listed his heirs as Bromfield Beckwith, Joella Riddle, Lorah McWherter, Amanda Cosby, and Elizabeth Beckwith (Franklin’s wife; her first name was Mary):

On 18 Nov 1878, in Dunklin Co., MO, John Franklin Riddle, husband of Joellan (Beckwith) Riddle, was granted guardianship of “Amanda Crosby (insane).”  Amanda had married W.L. Cosby, a miller.  In the 1860 Federal census the couple was residing in New Madrid Co., MO, with three children:  Mary J., James, and Sarah M. Cosby.  It’s not clear if any of the children were Amanda’s.

Joellan (Beckwith) Riddle and Laura M. (Beckwith) McWherter have descendants.

Brumfield Beckwith, died 10 Jan 1877, has descendants in the male line.  I salvaged 14 pages from his probate file, which was in a deteriorated condition, and may have disintegrated by now.  On 5 Feb 1877, in Dunklin Co., administration of Brumfield Beckwith’s estate was granted to Jacob R. Beckwith and Nathaniel Payne.  Brumfield’s heirs were listed as Harriet A. Thompson, Jacob R. (Russell) Beckwith, and M.F. (Moses Franklin) Beckwith.

If we are to learn anything further of the origins of Joseph Beckwith, it will probably come from descendants of Brumfield Beckwith, of whom I compiled the following:

Above: detail from 1822 Islands Creek District, Granville Co., NC Tax List.  The sixth entry from the top reads “Beckwith, James,” followed by “Creath, John Sr.”  In my opinion the “Beckwith, James” entry is an error, and should have been “Beckwith, Joseph.”  I have never found a James Beckwith that had a demonstrable connection to Joseph Beckwith.  Errors do occur in official documents.  Why was Joseph Beckwith in Granville Co., NC?  Granville Co. is in central NC on the VA border, across from Mecklenburg Co., VA, where John Creath Sr. had relatives.  Click on image to enlarge.

A deed, made in Cape Girardeau Co., MO 11 Aug 1831, recorded 14 Sep 1831, from Joseph Beckwith and Eliza his wife, witnessed by Oliver Creath and Sarah M. Creath, to Franklin Cannon, for two lots in the town of Jackson, MO, might contain a clue to the ancestry of Joseph Beckwith.  Joseph and Eliza J. (Creath) Beckwith had a son named Franklin.  “Franklin” as a given name isn’t completely unknown during this period, but “Francis” is more common.  Onomastic evidence is sometimes very helpful , but it can be misleading.  Then as now, couples could use a name they liked, whether or not it belonged to a relative.  Joellan Beckwith married John Franklin Riddle, and there’s no known “Franklin” in his pedigree—“Franklin” may have been derived from a county in VA where his mother’s family, the Hales, had once resided.  Nonetheless, it’s a striking coincidence that Joseph and Eliza sold land to Franklin Cannon, and named a son Franklin.  “Cannon” isn’t a surname that shows up in the ancestry of Eliza J. (Creath) Beckwith.  It appears that Franklin Beckwith was named for Franklin Cannon.

There’s evidence that Joseph Beckwith wasn’t a good businessman: in 1831 he was sued in the Cape Girardeau Circuit Court by William Ranney and John Ranney over a debt of $67.00.  His wife Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith was involved in extensive litigation surrounding her husband’s estate that eventually wound up at the Missouri Supreme Court in 1853.

Eliza Jane Creath, b. ca. 1801, was the daughter of Samuel Creath (ca. 1773–1813) and wife Nancy Ragland, m. 14 Feb 1795 (Samuel Creath’s brother John Creath m. on 1 Jan 1794 Mary Irby).  Samuel Creath’s will dated 31 Aug 1812 in Warren Co., NC, probated Feb. Court 1813, leaves entire estate to wife Nancy for her lifetime, with reversion to his children. Nancy (Ragland) Creath was the daughter of William Ragland (DAR no. A0933397), whose will made 23 Oct 1823, probated Feb Court 1825 in Granville Co., NC, mentions his daughter Nancy Creath.  William Ragland’s ancestry is traced back several generations in the colonies, but connection to any family in England and Wales is unproved.

Joseph and Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith and Eliza’s relatives moved from Granville Co., NC to Cape Girardeau Co., MO.  John Creath on 24 Jan 1837 received 43.46 acres (Certificate No. 3302) and on 25 Jun 1841 received 40 acres (Certificate No. 6076). Nathaniel and William Creath on 6 Nov 1823 received 122.74 acres (Certificate No. 338). Harriet Creath on 17 Feb 1847 received 40 acres (Certificate No. 8091).  [Harriet (Webb) Creath was the wife of John Creath.]

John Creath also had a son named Franklin b. ca. 1838.  Franklin Beckwith was b. ca. 1829, so he wasn’t named for Franklin Creath.

The probate papers of Nathaniel Creath, who owned a saddlery shop in Jackson, MO, dated 23 Mar 1823, list his heirs as William Creath and Albert G. Creath (m. Elizabeth Juden) of Cape Girardeau Co., MO and Nancy and Jane Creath of Granville Co., NC. “Jane Creath” is Eliza Jane (Creath) Beckwith.  At the time Nathaniel Creath’s estate was probated, William Creath, his administrator, didn’t know that Eliza Jane Creath had m. Joseph Beckwith 2 months earlier in Granville Co., NC.  Nancy Creath is Nathaniel Creath’s mother, Nancy (Ragland) Creath, who was living when his estate was probated. As noted above, Nathaniel Creath and William Creath filed a land grant on 6 Nov 1823, but at that point Nathaniel Creath had been deceased for more than 7 months.

William Creath and Minor W. Whitney in Nov 1820 founded newspaper “Independent Patriot” at Jackson, MO.  William Creath was sheriff of Cape Girardeau Co., MO from 1822–1828.  Later he’s found in Wayne Co., MO where on 30 Dec 1835 he received 40 acres (Certificate No. 1601), on 17 Jan 1837 received 16.5 acres (Certificate No. 1822), and on 1 Aug 1842 24.4 acres (Certificate No. 2782).  William Creath, d. 1839, m. Martha Atkins, d. 1871.  They were the parents of 10 children.  In 1828 William Creath settled in Greenville, Wayne Co., and was a merchant.

An appeal to the Supreme Court of MO filed in 1853 in Wayne Co., MO, regarding the settlement of William Creath’s estate, lists the surviving heirs as: Albert Creath, George Creath, Joseph White, Samuel Creath, Martha Past, Sophia White, and John Past.

A Dunklin Co., MO resident with a connection to the Creath family of Granville Co., NC was Erby (Irby) Beckwith Creath (11 Sep 1855–18 Feb 1937), son of Oliver Creath.  On 26 Oct 1876 he married Susan Emily Elder, and is buried at Elder Cemetery at Campbell.  I believe this individual to be a descendant of Samuel Creath’s brother John Creath, and thus a relative of Eliza J. (Creath) Beckwith.

Deloris Williams, a family historian working with records of Granville and Warren Cos., NC cleared up a family mystery:  a close friend of the Samuel Creath family was Bromfield Ridley (ca. 1742–1796), who was also called “Broomfield.” Bromfield Ridley was the son of James and Mary (Bromfield) Ridley.  Brumfield (or “Broomfiled”)  Beckwith was evidently named after Bromfield Ridley.

I compiled these notes on the Creath family:

(The above notes refer to Samuel Creath and Peter Oliver as being “insane.”  At the time, the elderly who suffered from senile dementia were termed “insane.”  I’ve seen this before.  Having the elderly adjudged “insane” allowed the family to take control of their affairs.)

The following item corroborates the above notes:

___________________________________________

John Franklin Riddle was the son of George Riddle (or Ruddle), born ca. 1790 in VA, died ca. 1859 at Crowley’s Ridge in Stoddard Co., MO, and his wife Sarah Hale (liv. 1860).  George Riddle married Sarah Hale on 8 Nov 1818 in Floyd Co., KY.  The origin of George Riddle is unknown, but he named one of his sons Bird Riddle.

I urge readers to exercise care when researching the Riddle or Ruddle family—you’ll encounter contradictory statements.  The first assumption made in the literature is that John Ruddell Sr. and wife Mary Cook are the progenitors of the Ruddle family of VA.  There is no definite proof that any Riddle or Ruddle male married a Bird.  However, the following from John Ruddell of the Shenandoah Valley: His Children and Grandchildren by Harold Turk Smutz (June 1974) seems relevant to our Riddle family:

Smutz lists the following children for this George Ruddle:  John, Elizabeth, George, Andrew, Ingabo, William, Mary Ann, and Clare.  I have not personally verified this information.  I know of no will or estate for this individual, and this list of his children must be conjectural—but he seems a good candidate for the grandfather of George Riddle of Stoddard Co., MO.

So far we’ve extended the pedigree of Allie May (Oxley) Chipman into the mid to late 1700s, but there’s another ancestral line we should examine.  John Franklin Riddle’s mother, Sarah (Hale) Riddle, has some interesting VA ancestry.  She was the daughter of Peter and Sarah (Morris) Hale.  The following are notes I made concerning the Hale family:

Peter Hale was the son of Joseph Hale of Patrick Co., VA (will dated 8 Dec 1798), and there his pedigree ends, but Peter Hale’s wife Sarah Morris was the daughter of Ezekiel Morris, son of Daniel Morris, and Mary Thurmond (or Turman), daughter of Benjamin and Frances Turman. 

The next item is a letter I was fortunate to receive from Debbie Hudspeth of Louisville, KY.  Mrs. Hudspeth must be long departed, and though her disapproval of incompetent genealogists is obvious, I think I may now in the year 2011 share her research into the Hale family.  She was very thorough and I was unable to improve upon her work.

_____________________________________

The Oxley family had deep roots in the colonial NC.  A catastrophic courthouse fire in 1878 was thought to have destroyed all records in Lenoir Co., NC (formed 1791, county seat Kinston), from whence came her grandfather, James Monroe Oxley and his wife Annaretta Faulkner, daughter of William Faulkner.  In this instance, the citing of many notes will answer few questions.

The following from a history of Dunklin Co., MO, supplies all that is definitely known of Allie May Oxley’s family, except that Annaretta Faulkner was the daughter of William Faulkner. William J. Oxley was Allie’s uncle.

 

Certainly among the among the names below are the parents and relatives of James Monroe Oxley and William Faulkner.

The progenitor of the Oxley family in NC was John Oxley Sr., who was in Bertie Co., NC as early as 1738, and left a will dated 24 Feb 1767, naming the the following:

Sons, George and John Oxley; Son-in-law Isaiah Johnson and Mary his wife; Daughter, Olive Oxley; Son-in-law John Parrot and Elizabeth his wife; Son-in-law John Ray and Rachal his wife; Daughter, Martha Oxley; Son-in-law William Fleetwood; Son-in-law James Baker; Granddaughter, Susanna Fleetwood; Wife, Ollive Oxley; Friend, Joseph Parker.  Executors: George Oxley, Isaiah Johnson and John Crickett.  Proved March Court 1767.

As his will proves, John Oxley Sr. had only two sons:  George Oxley and John Oxley Jr.  The general structure of the Oxley family is that the Oxleys of Lenoir Co., NC were descended from George Oxley, who had moved to Dobbs Co., NC (which later became Lenoir Co.), while those of Bertie Co., NC were descended from John Oxley Jr.

George Oxley’s will is lost, but that of his brother, John Oxley Jr., made 8 Jan 1805, was recorded in Bertie Co., and names the following:

Wife, Elizabeth Oxley; Son, John Oxley; Son, Hardy Oxley; Daughter, Martha Henry; Daughter, Elizabeth Oxley; Daughter, Salley Reddy; Son-in-law George Ward and daughter Nansey Ward; Daughter, Charlotty Oxley; Son, Quilley Oxley; a tract of land purchased from his brother, George Oxley.  Executors:  William Copeland, Hardy Oxley, Geo. Ward.  Proved August Term 1805.

Elizabeth Oxley, daughter of John Oxley Jr., never married, and in her will dated 6 Mar 1839, proved November Term 1840 in Bertie Co., she left her estate (except for a cow bequeathed to her niece, Nancy Ward) to the daughters of her brother, Aquilla Oxley:  Elizabeth, Manday (Mandy), Anjackline, and Dicy.  The 1820 and 1830 census data indicates Aquilla Oxley had sons, but they received nothing from their aunt.

The will of Hardy Oxley, undated, was proved February Term 1836 in Bertie Co.  It names his wife Sary and mentions his children, but doesn’t give their names.  He nominated his “frend” Aquillah Oxley (actually his brother) as Executor.

However, in a rather strange turn of events, Hardy Oxley’s wife Sarah on 2 Jan 1830 made her own will, “in addition to my Husbands will,” proved February Term 1830, naming:  Son, William Oxley; Daughter, Sally Ann Oxley; and children Nancy Oxley, Elizabeth Oxley, John D. Oxley, and Jonathan H. Oxley.  Executors:  Jas. Mardre and Thos. J. Castellaw.

Thus, Hardy Oxley’s will was actually written before that of his wife, but he survived her—and he didn’t write a new will.  I have no will for John Oxley, brother of Hardy Oxley and Aquilla Oxley, who disappears from the scene after 1810.  Aquilla Oxley wasn’t old enough to have a son born ca. 1803.

In any event, these wills don’t show a son named James.  While technically James Monroe Oxley could have been a son of John Oxley Jr.’s son John, John isn’t present after 1810, so he’s not a very good candidate.  Since the Faulkners resided in Lenoir Co., it’s far more likely James Monroe Oxley was a grandson of John Oxley Jr.’s brother George Oxley of Lenoir Co., and that tracks with everything else we know about them.  

Obviously, George Oxley of Lenoir Co. did have descendants. This is a plausible reconstruction of the family of George Oxley Sr., died ca. 1798: Mary Oxley in the 1800 Lenoir Co. census was his widow (a 1774 deed recorded in Bertie Co. identifies her as his wife); and he had sons John, Jonas, and George.  Penelope Oxley must have been the widow of Jonas Oxley, as Jonas is absent in the 1820 Lenoir Co. census, while George Oxley and John Oxley are still living.

The James Oxley who appears in the 1820 Lenoir Co. census isn’t the same individual who appears in Pitt Co., NC in 1830; that James Oxley was b. ca. 1807, and was still residing in Pitt Co. in 1850, so he was not James Monroe Oxley, who was in Haywood Co., TN by 1838.  This 1820 Lenoir Co. James Oxley must be the son of John Oxley, living in his own household.

John Oxley was born ca. 1770-1780, and George Oxley was born ca. 1780-1790.  Because Jonas Oxley died before the 1830 census, placing him in the correct birth order is difficult.  In 1800, Jonas Oxley was in Craven Co., NC, unmarried, and born ca. 1755-1774.  Combining the data from the 1800 and 1810 censuses, he was born ca. 1765-1774, and may have been the oldest of George Oxley’s sons.  His wife Penelope was born ca. 1780-1790.  At least we can say that Jonas Oxley and John Oxley were older than George Oxley.

James Monroe Oxley is found in the 1840 Haywood Co., TN census, p. 416, as follows:  2 males under 5, 1 male 30-40, 1 female 10-15, 2 females 20-30.  At this point, we don’t have enough data to concretely identify the father of James Monroe Oxley, but we do know that his father was likely a son of John Oxley Sr.’s son George Oxley.  Given the chronology, my best guess is that his father was John Oxley rather than George Oxley, so as a hypothesis, our line looks like this:

Allie May Oxley 6, Aquilla Voin Oxley 5, James Monroe Oxley 4, John Oxley 3, George Oxley 2, John Oxley 1.

Given the loss of records in Lenoir Co., NC, proving the critical Generation 3 in this pedigree may be very difficult.  Although the Lenoir Co. deeds are lost, the Grantor Index for Deed Book 19 (1799-1801) pp. 246 & 249 shows George Oxley making two conveyances to John Oxley, probably his son.

Below: While previously I thought no NC Oxley had participated in the American Revolution, I found George Oxley listed as a private in the Dobbs Co., NC militia, established 9 Sep 1775.  This can only be James Monroe Oxley’s probable grandfather George Oxley.  Dobbs Co. was the precursor of Lenoir Co.  According to militia records, George Oxley (5th from bottom) served under Col. James Glasgow, and on 14 Jul 1780 received $150.00.

Annaretta (Faulkner) Oxley, daughter of William Faulkner ( ca. 1787-1870), and wife of James Monroe Oxley (b. ca. 1803), was born ca. 1813 in NC.  By 1838, James Monroe and Annaretta (Faulkner) Oxley were living in Haywood Co., TN.  They resided in Haywood Co. until 11 Jan 1860, when they sold their land and moved to Dunklin Co., MO.

William Faulkner (ca. 1787-1870) left a will dated 10 Oct 1870, recorded in Haywood Co., TN Will Book E, pp. 332–333.  It’s an interesting document.  In it he mentions the following:

To wife Harriet M. Faulkner (not the mother of his children), the household furnishings she possessed when she married him, plus $150.00 per year for life paid to her by his sons William and Murphy M. Faulkner in lieu of her dower interest in his lands; to daughter Annaretta Oxley $500.00; to daughter Teresa Sandlin $500.00; to daughter Talitha Jones $500.00; to daughter Jane Ward $500.00; to the children of his deceased son Jessee Faulkner $500.00 to be divided among them, but the youngest child Jessee Catharine to have $300.00 of it; to son Lafayette Faulkner return of a note for $100.00 which William Faulkner paid on his behalf to H.A. Partee, and that is all Lafayette is to have; the residue of his estate to sons William Faulkner Jr. and Murphy Moore Faulkner, who are enjoined to pay his wife the $150.00 per year as promised. 

The name of the mother of William Faulkner’s children is unknown.

Allie May (Oxley) Chipman is a respected figure in our family, and researching her ancestry has been a fascinating look at some genuine American pioneer families.  Some lines are proved and others conjectural.  This is the first time a comprehensive survey of her ancestry has been attempted.  These are yeoman families, the backbone of the pioneer class that carved out roads and built towns.  I see no royal or noble descents here.