31 December 2012

Ringing Out the Old and Bringing in the New

As the year 2012 draws to close, I wanted to pay tribute to two men that I lost this year. I lost both of my grandfathers in 2012. Both of them to cancer. They were both kind, generous men who enriched my life in numerous ways. I miss them everyday.  So today I'm sharing  photographs of my grandfathers with me.  Here's to a better 2013!

Richard L Wimsatt 20 April 1928-12 April 2012
Walter L Grimes 19 June 1931-21 May 2012

30 December 2012

Scrap Day Sunday

Okay not really scraps, but tidbits I've come across in my research


Courtesy of The Bates County Museum


 This summer I came across this piece of paper held by the Bates County Museum. It concerns my 4th great grandfather, Samuel I Baldwin, the son of Francis and Jane (Lee) Baldwin.  It is a piece of paper dated 5 Oct 1839 that exempts him from military duty due to him being near-sighted. At first I thought, " Ahhhhh.  So that's why that side of the family are blind as bats!  That explains it"!  Then I read the signature of the doctor who signed off on the document, William Root Surg. Mati.  Well, well, well.  Dr. Root just happened to be married to Samuel's sister Elinor!  So was he really blind or was he getting a little help from the brother-in-law?  I've chosen to believe it's a little bit of both.  Samuel died 18 Jan 1888 in Gage County, NE.1  I've have not been able to locate a burial site for him, so if anyone knows where Samuel is buried, shoot me an email!


Son of Francis and Jane Lee Balwin
Samuel I Baldwin




1. Kathie Horning, " A List of Deaths in Manchester, Michigan, 1833-1928" Family History Capers  Vol. 2, No. 2, (Fall 1987): 88.




29 December 2012

What a wonderful welcome!

This is just a quick post to thank everyone who has warmly welcomed me to the Geneabloggers community!  I can tell it's going to be a great community in which to interact with like-minded individuals.  I'm still new to this and I haven't quite found my blogging "voice" as of yet.  It's like genealogy itself, the more you practice, the easier it gets.  So thank you everyone who has commented or stopped by. Now, I have a lot of reading to do!

27 December 2012

Relative Stranger Thursday

                             Random photos of relatives whose identities are unknown. 


This photo was in a group that belongs to my grandmother.  They could be Ayres, Jennings, Hintons or some blokes off of the street.  One of my biggest pet peeves is an unidentified photograph.    So if anybody knows who these two brawlers are, please contact me!

26 December 2012

Cyrus Merriam's secret.

I have found that along with all the research and analysis that goes along with genealogy, there is a certain amount that is also owed to fate.  A chance meeting or a record that one just happens upon whilst looking for something completely different.  Case in point.  A little over a month ago, I was attending the dedication of the Island Mound State Historic Site located just outside of Butler, MO.  I was working the table for the Bates County Museum when I struck up a conversation with a woman who was wearing a National Parks jacket.  She explained that she was with the National Park Service and that she specifically worked with National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Then came my AHA moment!  I explained to her that I had once read a snippet that had said my ancestor, Cyrus Merriam, was part of the Underground Railroad in Ohio.  That was it.  It was just a little blurb stating that much.  She said she would look into it and get back to me if she found anything.

Cyrus Merriam was born in Rutland, VT on 14 July 1793  to David and Phoebe (Foster) Merriam.1 He settled near Putnam, OH around 1814 at the age of 21.2  He married Catherine Hulda Tupper on 24 Oct 18253 by which he had six children. Cyrus was by all means a prosperous man.  He owned land and bred sheep and cattle. By 1870 he had $30,000 worth of real estate and had hired a domestic servant by the name of Ellen Shipley.4 He and his wife belonged to the Putnam Presbyterian Church in which he was an incorporator5. The Putnam Presbyterian Church was incorporated in 1835 and it's first pastor was William Beecher who was the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe.6 The congregation of this church was highly involved in the abolitionist movement.  Frederick Douglas gave an anti-slavery speech here in 1852.  Here was a clue as to Cyrus' leaning in the abolitionist movement.
Cyrus's death is recorded in the death records held by the Putnam Presbyterian church.  He died  4 Nov. 1873 and was interred in  Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Muskingum Co., OH.7

So back to my story.  A few days after speaking with Deanda she sent me some information that she found in the Wilbur H Siebert Collection held by the Ohio State Historical Society.  In these papers, a Cyrus Mariam is listed as being a conductor on the Underground Railroad that ran from Putnam to Zanesville, Ohio.  She also sent me an excerpt of the reminiscences of Thomas L. Gray who was very involved in the Underground Railroad in Deavertown, OH. Gray's reminiscences first appeared in the Tribune published in New Lexington, Ohio beginning in 1885. In it he mentions helping a couple of slaves, Isaac and Anderson,  that once belonged to Mary Ann McDonald of Virginia to Cyrus Mariam's (sic) a distance of fourteen miles!  They eventually made it and Gray said, " I felt easy for their safety, for I know the man in whose care I had left them,"

   I've ofter wondered if Issac and Anderson made it to safety.  Did they leave descendants and if so would it be possible to track them down?  I would love to meet them and hear their stories.  I'm also left with a deep admiration for my ancestor and his family for the sacrifices that they made for what they believed was right.  Cyrus had a lot to lose.  A prosperous farm, good standing in the community, his freedom. Good on you Cyrus. Good on you!

Underground Railroad

Thomas H Gray page 1
Underground Railroad
Thomas H Gray page 2

A very special thank you to Deanda Johnson of the National Parks Service.  Her generosity and help will always be appreciated!

Network to Freedom:

Putnam, Ohio Historic District

1. "Vermont, Vital Records, 1760-1954," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XFKZ-8HH : accessed 25 Dec 2012), Cyrus Merriam, 1793.
2.  J. F. Everhart, A. A. Graham, History of Muskingum County Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of  Prominent Men and Pioneers (Columbus, OH,: J. F. Everhart & Co., 1882), 392
3. Charles Henry Pope, Merriam Genealogy in England and America including the "Genealogical Memoranda" of Charles Pierce Merriam, the Collections of James Sheldon Merriam, Etc., (Boston, MA, Charles H. Pope, 1906), 259
4.Cyrus Merriam household , 1870 U.S. census, Muskingum County, Ohio, population schedule, Springfield township,  Putnam post office, page 25, dwelling 192, family 202, NARA microfilm publication M593, FHL microfilm 552750.
5. Everhart, Graham, History of Muskingum County OH, 182
6. Everhart, Graham, History of Muskingum County, OH,  181
 7. Record of Deaths in Putnam Presbyterian Church online<http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohmuskin/muskfootprints/putnamch.html> Merriam data downloaded 24 December 2012

23 December 2012

My link with a Christmas classic.

Donna Reed, James Stewart, and Karolyn Grimes.
I think by this point everyone has seen the Christmas classic "It's a Wonderful Life" with James Stewart and Donna Reed.  Everyone except me that is.  I have just never sat down and watched it.  I should.  The actress that played Zuzu in the film, Karolyn Grimes, is my cousin.  She's my 2nd cousin, 3 times removed to be exact.  Judge Jasper Grimes( 1836-1905) of St. Clair and Bates Counties, MO is our common ancestor.  I've never had the chance to meet Karolyn but I hope I get the chance to do just that someday.  Until then, I vow this year to sit down and watch this movie!  I promise!!

Here's a link to Karolyn's website.

Judge Jasper Grimes

Happy Holidays everyone!

14 December 2012

A terrible day.

I just want to take a moment to express my condolences to the families that are affected by the shooting in Newtown, CT.  Such a senseless act defies explanation for adults let alone children.  I can't help thinking what if it had been one of nieces or my nephew?  If it can happen there, it can happen anywhere.  So hug your kids tonight.  Tell them you love them.  May it never happen again. 

09 December 2012

A chair and a bash for his 84th birthday!

    On the  26th of September 1903, in the town of Virginia, MO, a birthday bash was held for my 4th great grandfather, Nicholas Adams.  It was a gathering of over 150 people(which had to be the population of Virginia) who feasted and sang and celebrated the birth of "Uncle" Nicholas.  He even received a chair that he is seated in as a present!
  Nicholas Adams was born 26 October 1819 in Scott County, VA to Nathan and Esther (Darter) Adams.  On 30 April 1846 he married Caroline Davis, the daughter of Israel Davis, with whom he had 8 children.  Caroline (Davis) Adams passed away on 7 May 1886.  Nicholas then married Sarah L Stephens and had one daughter, Cora.    Nicholas passed away and 23 Jan 1904, almost 3 months to the day after his big birthday bash.  He and his first wife Caroline are buried Baker/Webb Cemetery in rural Bates County, MO.

Movember early 20th century style. My 3rd great grandfather Joshua Lawrence Dickerson on left with my 4th great grandfather Nicholas.  This picture was also taken at Nicholas' birthday feast.
A newspaper article describing the party.

04 December 2012

A Bible and locks of love.

I mentioned in my last post that Aunt Kate had also donated a bible to the Bates County museum along with the unidentified photographs.  This is the story of my hunt for that very bible.
  It all started about three years ago.  I was working on my Baldwin/Ingraham line and I had reached a dead end with one Peggy Wardell.  I searched and searched for any info relating to this Peggy Wardell but kept coming up empty handed.  A cousin of mine had done some research in the early 70's and it was his chart that I was working from.  On a hunch, I contacted his daughter to see if she had any other information that her dad had collected.  A few weeks later I received the same chart but with a few differences.  He had Peggy Wardell as Peggy Wardwell.  Ah ha!  I should have thought of that!  But more importantly he listed an Ingraham/Wardwell bible as his reference.  He also stated that the bible had been given to the Bates County Museum by Aunt Kate.  Hmmmm.   So where was the bible?
Fast forward three years later.  I now volunteer at the museum.  During a search for an object listed in  a script of an old walking tour, I come across a box of books.  There in the bottom of the box sat my bible!  The bible was printed circa 1825.  It has a family record that has been pasted inside the front cover.  It lists Thomas Ingraham b. 1773 and his wife Margaret "Peggy" (Wardwell) as well as their children.  Towards the middle of the bible is listed Thomas Swan Ingraham and his wife Julia (Balis) Ingraham and their children.  There in gorgeous handwriting was the info I had been looking for!  A primary source to help prove my Mayflower line. 

Ah but my ancestors had more in store for me!  Tucked between the pages of the bible were little clipping and scraps of fabric.  Some little notes that only make sense to those who wrote them and a book.  This book was handmade and just a few pages thick.  I opened the front cover and there inside was written "Mary I Baldwin", the name of my fourth great grandmother.  It was she that has caused me to pull my hair out due to the lack of documentation she left behind.  She was the weak link in my Mayflower line.  So, I turned the page and there they were!  My fourth great grandmother had made a small book of hair clippings.  The first page held three separate locks of hair, each neatly labelled.  Francis Baldwin. J. Baldwin and Samuel Baldwin.  The hair of her husband Samuel and his parents Francis and Jane (Lee) Baldwin.  The next page contained even more.  This page was dedicated to Mary's family,  Thomas Swan Ingraham, Julia (Balis) Ingraham and her siblings, Monroe, Major, her own, and her youngest sister Rebecca.  Rebecca's having been woven into a little hair wreath!

The bible was a find just from a primary source point of view.  The bible became a real treasure when I could look at these locks of hair and actually have a physical connection to the ancestors that up until this time, had just been a name and a date plugged into a family tree program.  This is why I love genealogy.  The little finds that remind us that there is a full history behind those names and dates.  Most of  whom had reddish-brown hair!

The Baldwin Family Locks
                                                                     The Ingraham Family Locks

02 December 2012

My first post! And a mystery...

Who am I?
I think my first post is going to be about the elation and subsequent let down that I recently suffered when I discovered this photo:

  This daguerreotype had been donated to the local museum by Mrs. Kate (VanSant) Porter.  Kate was the sister to my great great grandmother, Maud (VanSant) Grimes.  We had located the original donor record which listed the items that Aunt Kate had donated.  It listed three tintypes in cases, a tin cup, a 1773 bible, etc.  The prospect of finding photos of ancestors that I had never seen was exciting, to say the least.    After in exhaustive search, we finally came across the daguerreotype only to discover that there was NOTHING to identify the woman!  Really?  Really?
  So now my inner CSI has emerged and I have begun the process of trying to find out who she is using clues that I can gather from the photo itself.  I know that since the daguerreotype has a brass preserver, that it was made after 1846.  The matte that surrounds the photo also points to a late 1840's to early 1850's time frame.  I would judge the woman to be in her 40's or 50's.  That would put her date of birth in the late 1700's to early 1800's.  From there I have whittled down my options to four possibilities:  Elizabeth (Denison) Van Zandt b. 1797 wife of James Monroe Van Zandt,  Catherine Huldah (Tupper) Merriam b. 1803, wife of Cyrus Merriam, Julia (Balis) Ingraham b. 1803,  wife of Thomas Swan Ingraham and lastly, Jane (Lee) Baldwin b. 1794, wife of Francis Baldwin. 
  Since I'm not even remotely an expert on women's fashion of that period,  I can't use the dress or  headdress to help rule out any of the above.  I'm hoping that maybe the head scarf might have been worn for religious reasons and can help me to further shorten my list.  The quest continues!!