20 May 2013

In Memoriam

                      Walter LeRoy Grimes
                                            19 June 1931-21 March 2012

This is one of my favorite photographs of my grandfather, Walter.  The little girl he is holding is my mother.  The photo was taken in October of 1953 which would have made my mother a little over a year old at the time.  My grandfather was a police officer for many years and was the deputy sheriff of Harrisonville, MO when a shooting spree took place on the square there.  He was a mild spoken man but boy could he talk.  You could get him going on any number of subjects.  It really didn't matter what it was.  He just liked to talk. 

Here's a link to a news article on the shootings on the Harrisonville, Mo square:


12 April 2013

In Memoriam......

                                                 In Loving Memory
                  Richard Lawrence Wimsatt
                 20 April 1928-12 April 2012

Richard Lawrence Wimsatt
This is my favorite photograph of my grandfather, Richard Lawrence Wimsatt, who we lost one year ago today.  He went to town to sell some chickens so he could get the money to buy this bike.  It's my favorite because of the story behind it and it shows what a great personality he had.  Ornery.  Boy was he ornery.  I miss him every day.

24 March 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Today I'm sharing a picture that belongs to my great great uncle, Jesse Grimes.  This photo was taken in front of the Gen. Rufus Putnam house located in Marietta, OH.  The house is now housed in the Campus Martius Museum also located in Marieatta, OH.  Standing outside of the house is Lucy Cox (VanZandt) JonesShe's the woman standing in front of the doorway on the right.  Next to her is her granddaughter, Betty Jane Miller, an unknown woman in black and her daughter, Helen (Jones) Miller.  Lucy (VanZandt) Jones was the sister of my 3rd great grandfather, William Eldon Van Sant.  They were descendants of Gen. Rufus Putnam through their mother, Pheobe (Merriam) VanZandt.  It's a pretty cool picture in and of itself.  It's the reverse side of the picture that revealed a clue to some unknown information. 

The sentence "the old block house where grandma Merriam was born",  is the one that stuck out to me.  This could only refer to the birthplace of Catherine Huldah (Tupper) Merriam who was indeed the grandmother to William and Lucy.  Catherine (Tupper) Merriam was the daughter of Col. Benjamin and Martha "Patty" (Putnam) Tupper. Martha (Putnam) Tupper was the daughter of Gen. Rufus Putnam and Persis Rice.  So, due to the inscription on the back of the photo,  I have a pretty good idea where Catherine was born.  Even better,  I can still visit the house to this day!

18 March 2013

A Quest

In researching the role that my ancestor, Cyrus Merriam, played as a conductor on the Underground Railroad in Ohio, I came across an account given by Thomas Gray.  The account was found in Wilbur Siebert papers that are held by the Ohio Historical Society.  In the account, Thomas Gray gives the names of two slaves that he was helping find their way to freedom, Isaac and Anderson.  He also mentions that Isaac and Anderson belonged to a Mary Ann McDonald of Virginia.  

Now for my quest.  I would like to see if I can possibly track Isaac or Anderson to see if they did find their way to freedom.  There isn't much to go on.  Just two names and the name of the owner.  I just feel this need to know.  If I can find the information that I seek, that will be fantastic.  If not, I've gained some knowledge in how to track African-American lineages, something that I have no experience with.  So I see it as a win-win situation either way!

17 March 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

The William Eldon VanSant Family ca. 1920.

Today's offering is a photograph of the the William and Julia (Baldwin) VanSant family.  This photograph would have been taken sometime around 1920.  I'm basing this on the fact that my great grandfather Merlin, who was born in 1909,  seems to be about 8 or 9 years old in the photo.  The photo was most likely taken on Williams farm near Spruce, Bates, MO.  Below is a key which identifies everyone.  


10 March 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Funeral Card for Joshua Lawrence Dickerson
Today I'm sharing another funeral home card.  This is for Joshua Lawrence Dickerson.  He was born on 3 June 1828 in Kentucky to William and Esther (Rice) Dickerson.  He married Catherine Cynthia Ann Collins on 23 November 1854 in Macon County, IL.  

The Joshua and Cynthia (Collins) Dickerson Family.  Standing left to right;  Alice Arabella, Lawrence Leander, Charles Richard and Mary Ellen.  Seated left to right:  Margaret Leolla, Joshua Lawrence, Catherine Cynthia Ann and Rosa Dickerson.

 Joshua and Cynthia had three other children who were not included in this picture.  Andrew Jackson, Thomas Hamilton, and John W Dickerson.  

 Joshua passed away on 2 Feb 1912 in Charlotte Township, Bates County, MO.  He is buried in Virginia Cemetery in rural Bates County, MO.  

The Dickerson headstone located at Virginia Cemetery.

08 March 2013

Funeral Card Friday

This is actually the funeral home card for 4th great-grandfather Nicholas Adams.  It actually contains a lot of information.  Besides when and where he was born, it also lists the exact time of death.  The funeral was held on 26 January 1904 at 3PM at his residence in Charlotte Township, MO.  

Nicholas Adams

03 March 2013

Scrap Day Sunday: Grandma Rosie's Stories

Anna Rose (Lincet) Ayres with daughter Pearl.

Anna Rose (Lincet) Ayres, my great-great grandmother, is by far one of the most fascinating ancestors that I have.  At least to me she is.  I never knew Anna or Grandma Rosie as everyone called her.  She died several years before I was born.  Even after researching her line, I'm no closer to knowing much about her.  What I know I have gleaned from older relatives and a few scant records that I have come across.  So her aura of mystery remains for me.  

Anna was born in the year 1879 in Clear Lake, Cerro Gordo, Iowa to Christ and Lena Lincet.  Her parents were of Norwegian descent.  Anna married Robert Buenos Ayres on 23 September 1899 in Jackson County, MO.  On her marriage certificate to Buenos her maiden name is listed as Lane not Lincet(a source of many a headache).   Anna and Buenos had 6 children before Buenos died in 1916.  This left Anna to raise 6 children on her own and times were not always easy.  

Grandma Rosie was a bit of a bohemian type.  She liked to paint and would paint on whatever she could find to paint on.  She would also tell your fortune by reading cards or reading the tea leaves. She also liked to write stories.  I recently came across some of these stories in my grandmother's things.  They are short stories and seemed to be geared toward children.  Many of them are not complete.  So here is the first page from "For I Need You" by Anna Rose Ayres.  I think she would be thrilled to know that her stories were floating around in cyberspace!

"For I Need You" by Anna Rose Ayres, page 1.

01 March 2013

Funeral Card Friday

 Today's funeral card is that of my great grandmother Ruby Collins (Dickerson) Grimes.  She was the daughter of Lawrence Leander and Lillie May (Vermillion) Dickerson.  She so detested her middle name that she used the letter "D" instead of Collins.  Collins was her paternal grandmother's last name.  Why she hated it, I don't know. 

Ruby Collins (Dickerson) Grimes as a young girl.

28 February 2013

Rant of the Day

One of my biggest pet peeves has to be the all-knowing genealogist.  We've all experienced them at one point or another.  The ones that offer "constructive criticism" tinged with an air of superiority.  Your research and analysis is wrong but theirs is infallible.  THOSE genealogists.  

Now, I am all for constructive criticism.  Heck, I'm happy if you can prove my research is flawed.  I would much rather have an accurate understanding of my family history than to have it full of mistakes and flaws.  That being said, there are those who get down right nasty when you present a counter-argument to their "infallible" research.   They are more than happy to prove you wrong, but will not see the flaws in their own research.  Quite frankly, I have no use for you.  Don't even bother contacting me.  You will be ignored.  

For the most part, I have had nothing but wonderful experiences with the genealogical community.  It is a diverse community that ranges from the beginner to the long-time professionals.  It is a community of sharing and generosity.  It is filled with wonderful people who share the need to know their heritage. So, to all my genealogical friends out there, thank you, for all your help and encouragement.   It is noted and appreciated.  Whew!  I feel better!

24 February 2013

Scrap Day Sunday


 Today's "scrap" is a permission note written by Ezra Liston to the county clerk of Cass County, Missouri in which he certifies that his daughter is over the age of eighteen and that he consents to her marriage to W. H. Foust.  The note reads;

                                                                           June 30th 1886 

To the county clerk of Cass Co. Mo. this is to certify that my daughter Ella F. Liston is past the age of eighteen years and that I give my consent to her marriage to W. H. Foust.

Please issue marriage license to them, and oblige.

                                                                          Ezra Liston 

William Henry Foust married Ella Francina Liston on that very day 30 June 1886 in Harrisonville, Cass, MO.  They went on to have eight children including my great grandmother, Amelia Mae (Foust) Wimsatt. 

The William Henry and Ella Foust Family.  My great grandmother Amelia is in the back row holding my infant grandfather Richard.  Ella and William are seated holding a photograph of their daughter Viola, who died while giving birth to a daughter.


18 February 2013

Random Picture Day

Phebe Foster (Merriam) Van Zandt with her sons, Theodore, William Eldon, Cyrus and Edward.

Today I'm sharing a random picture featuring Phebe Foster (Merriam) Van Zandt and her sons.  Phebe was the daughter of Cyrus Merriam who was a conductor on the Underground Railroad.  She married William Denison VanZandt and had eleven children.  The first born child, Thomas Cox Van Zandt passed away at the age of five while staying with his grandfather Cyrus.  Phebe and William were in Farina at the time of Thomas' death which is where this photo was taken.  William passed away in 1875 at the age of fifty.  Phebe lived to be the ripe, old age of ninety, passing away in 1918.

17 February 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Paul V Dickerson
For this week's Scrap Day Sunday, I'm sharing a check that I found in a box after my grandfather's death.  The check is made out to my great grandmother and is written by her brother Paul. It is dated 17 March 1928. and is from the Farmer's Bank of Spruce in Spruce, MO.  I for one can't believe there was ever a bank in Spruce.  When you travel through the area now, nothing is left of the little communtiy except a cemetery.  On the back of the check my great grandmother wrote, " a free heart but no money". Her brother Paul later died of wounds he suffered while serving his country in WWII.  

Ruby Dickerson  date unknown

14 February 2013

A Hidden Cache

The Grimes Family: Evelyn, Robert, Walter and Janet.
I just came across an envelope full of pictures that I didn't know I had or I forgot I had.  The latter statement is probably closer to the truth.  This photo features my grandparents Walter and Evelyn (Ayres) Grimes with my mother  and my uncle.  It is by far my favorite family photo that I have of my grandparents and their family.

13 February 2013

The Rebel and the Love Poem

My ancestor, Capt. George Denison, wrote this poem to his first wife, Bridget. Bridget was the daughter of John and Alice (Freeman) Thompson.  My descent in through his second wife, Anne Borodell, daughter of John Borodell.  I'm also a descendant of John and Alice Thompson through Bridget's sister, Dorothy (Thompson), Parke.  Happy Valentine's Day!

"It is an ordinance, my dear divine
Which God unto the sons of men makes shine.
Even marriage is that whereof I speak
And unto you my mind therein I beak.
In Paradise, of Adam, God did tell
To be alone, for man, would not be well.
He in His wisdom thought it right
To bring a woman into Adam's sight.
A helper that for him might be most meet
And comfort him by her doing discreet.
I of that stock am sprung, I mean from him
And also of that tree I am a limb
A branch though young, yet do I think it good
That God's great vows by man be not withstood.
Alone I am, a helper I would find
Which might give satisfaction to my mind.
The party that doth satisfy the same
Is Mistress Bridget Thompson by her name.
God having drawn my affections unto thee
My Heart's desire is thine may be to me.
Thus with my blottings though I trouble you
Yet pass these by cause I know not how
Though they at this time should much better be
For love it is the first have been to thee
And I wish that they much better were.
Therefore I pray accept them as they are
So hoping my desire I shall obtain.
Your own true lover, I, George Denison by name.
From my father's house in Roxbury
To Miss Bridget Thompson, 1640."
DENISON NEWSLETTER (July 1985), No.77, p.4 


10 February 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Family Record found in the front cover of the Ingraham/Wardwell bible.  Courtesy of the Bates County Museum.
Well it's Scrap Day Sunday again.  This week I'm featuring the family record for Thomas and Peggy (Wardwell) Ingraham found in the front of the Ingraham/Wardwell bible. The record was written on a piece of paper and pasted in the front of the bible. It had been folded at one time and is written in a different hand than what is found in the family record in the middle of the bible. It is not known who wrote out this family record.

03 February 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Today I'm going to share the funeral bill for my 3rd great grandfather Sameul Braucht.  Samuel died 7 October 1912.  The casket, embalming, flowers and hearse all came to a total of $108. 

27 January 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

The $148 Appendectomy
For this week's Scrapday Sunday I'm going to share an article that ran in the local newspaper.  It discusses an itemized bill that my great grandmother, Ruby Collins (Dickerson) Grimes, came across for an appendectomy that my great grandfather had in 1944.  The whole thing cost them $148!  My great grandmother Grimes was a nurse for many years for the Dr. Luter mentioned in the article. 

Merlin Ellsworth Grimes
Merlin and Ruby (Dickerson) Grimes

25 January 2013

A Wonderful Surprise

Among some old books I found a miniature Bible printed in1834. In it it faintly has Thomas's name....it is a very old book...and a small obit for little Thomas. Says he was at his grandfather's, Cyprus Meriam, in Springfield township, and that his parents, Wm. And Phebe, were away when he died.
Thought there could be a connection.

The bible that belonged to Thomas C. Vansant.  Thomas died when he was 5 years old.

I received this email from a woman named Lisa today.  I didn't recognize the sender, but I opened it anyway.  Boy am I glad I did!  She tracked me down through a Find A Grave memorial I created for my 3rd great grandfather William Eldon VanSant.   Thomas C. VanSant was William's older brother who died at about the age of 5.  He was staying at the home of his grandfather, Cyrus Merriam (Good Old Cyrus again) when he passed away. It seems his parents William Denison and Phebe (Merriam) VanZandt were away when he passed.  Now it's time to research exactly what happened to Thomas.   It pays to contribute to the genealogical community!

21 January 2013

A Follow Up

Courtesy of the PURE Center Zanesville, OH
In a follow up to my post Cyrus Merriam's Secret, I came across this map posted by the PURE Center of Zanesville, OH on the American Experience website.  It shows the stops on the Underground Railroad between Deavertown and Putnam, OH. Cyrus' house was the last stop before Putnam.  I'm hoping to contact the PURE Center in Zanesville, OH this week in hopes of getting some further information on Cyrus and his role in the abolitionist movement.



20 January 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Abigail (DeWolf) Ingraham Mourning Dress Fabric.

This weeks scrap is yet another scrap of fabric.  This is a black piece of silk found in the Ingraham/Wardwell bible.  After close inspection, this piece seems to match a swatch found in the collection of the Bates County Museum.   The piece in the museum collection contained this note:

  " This satin in a dress, was trimmed  with crape & worn for mourning for Capt. Jeremiah Ingraham 1807.  Presented By Mrs. Abigail Ingraham, of Bristol, R.I. to her namesake then 14 years of age,Sept. 1818. Presented by Miss Abigail R Ingraham, of Amenia, N.Y.  to her namesake 14 years of age, of Manchester Mich. Sept. 1852."

Note describing the mourning fabric. Courtesy of the Bates County Museum
Judging by the wording of the note, the swatch of fabric came from a dress worn by Abigail (DeWolf/e) Ingraham, the widow of Capt. Jeremiah Ingraham.  Abigail was the daughter of Marc Anthony and Abigail (Potter) DeWolfe and the second wife of Capt. Jeremiah.  His first wife was Rebecca Munro who died in 1789. My descent is through Rebecca and Capt. Jeremiah.  Capt. Jeremiah Ingraham was lost at sea. 


17 January 2013

Thou Shalt Not Suffer A Witch To Live

Salem Village 1692 by W.P. Upham

My interest in genealogy started at an early age.  My mother had a group of typed pages that she had copied from some pages that my great great grandmother had kept in a trunk.  Granny gave her exactly 24 hours to have those pages copied and back to her.  This was before copiers and scanners.  When Granny said 24 hours, she meant 24 hours.  Mom spent all night typing up those pages.  So those pages sparked an interest in where I came from.

Several years later, I was a freshman in college and taking a prerequisite history course.  That day's topic was the Salem Witch Trials.  I was half paying attention when the TA started writing names on the chalkboardIsrael Porter, John Putnam, Thomas Putnam, etc.  Hold on a minute.  One of those ring a bell.  After class was over, I went back to the dorm and called my mother.  I asked her to find Granny's stack of papers and look for the name Putnam.  Sure enough, there it was.  Thomas Putnam.  After some checking of names, dates, children, etc. , it was clear that Thomas Putnam of Salem Village and the Thomas Putnam in Granny's papers were one in the same.  This further stoked my interest in my family history, but I was young, so I just noted it and went on with college life. Then about ten years ago, the genealogy bug came back and bit me in a big way.  I wanted to know everything about every one of my ancestors.  Naturally, an ancestor that was involved in the Salem Witch Trials was a good place to start.  Little did I know how involved my ancestors would be.

The required reading for the course was Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft by Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissembaum.  This is where my education began. I'm not going to go into detail on the Putnam family of Salem Village or present day Danvers, MAThe family is well documented and information is easy to find concerning the family and it's origins.  My descent comes down through two of the children of Thomas Putnam Sr. and Anne Holyoketheir daughter Ann who married William Trask(e) and their son Edward who married Mary Hale.  The Putnams were a prominent family in Salem Village who were land owners and members of the church as well as involved in village politics.  

Then the madness began.  When it ended, my ancestor Deacon Edward Putnam had participated in thirteen cases and the family had participated in no fewer than 46 cases.  Edward had given testimony against Rebecca (Towne) Nurse, George Burroughs, Martha Corey, Mary (Towne) Easty, and Sarah (Solart) Good, all of which were found guilty and executed.  So my 9th great grandfather had the blood of at least five people on his hands.  Now, that's a skeleton in the family closet!

Edward Putnam v. Martha Corey

That's when the inner conflict began.  When I first learned that my ancestors were involved in the Salem Witch Trial, that pivotal moment in American History, I was excited.   My ancestors made history!  Here I am reading about them in a college history course 300 years later!  Then to learn that they were actually instrumental in the loss of innocent lives, was to say the least, devastating.  I can't help but feel the guilt for the acts that happened over 300 years ago.  I had absolutely nothing to do with this and yet, I feel the guilt.  

Since that first introduction into the Salem Witch Trial, I have read all that I can on the subject hoping to get some insight to what drove my ancestors to believe what they did.  The theories as to the cause of the hysteria are numerous.  Boyer and Nissembaum believe it arose from a power struggle between the two prominent families of Salem Village, the Porters and the Putnams.  (Interestingly, Granny's sister and Putnam descendant, Katie Coretta VanSant married a Porter.)  Recently Katherine Howe, an author and historian,  put forth the theory that the Rev. Samuel Parris was to blame for the trials in Salem: Unmasking the Devil on the National Geographic Channel.  Historian Mary Beth Norton believes it was due to tension with the Native Americans at the time.  Ergot poisioning, meningitis, the list goes on and on.   None of these really told me why Edward and his family did what they did.  The truth is, I will never know nor will anyone else for that matter.  He could have been acting as his conscience dictated.  Maybe he really believed the girls were afflicted.  Then again, maybe it was done out of spite and vengeance towards the Porters and the anti-Parris faction.  Maybe it was a combination of both of these or some completely different reason.  I just find it fascinating that the guilt can be there 300 plus years later.  Perhaps I over think it.  Perhaps it's because I love genealogy and want to really know my ancestors that the guilt is there. I suppose I will just chalk it up to human nature.