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.






13 January 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Courtesy of the Bates County Museum
Today's scrap is an actual scrap.  It's a large scrap of silk brocade  with a note sewn on it that reads;

 " This Silk was purchased in England in 1744 for a travelling dress."
 Mrs. S. Baldwin
Blue Springs

Mrs. S. Baldwin was Mary (Ingraham) Baldwin who was living in Blue Springs, Gage, NE at the time.  

This scrap of fabric was donated to the Bates County Museum, along with the silk bag that I featured in an earlier post, by my great great grandmother Maud (VanSant) Grimes.  We all just called her "Granny" and still do to this day.  Granny loved to quilt.  When she wasn't helping on the farm or raising her eight children, she was piecing quilts.  So it makes sense that she would have held on to this piece of fabric.  But who was the travelling dress made for?

The note on the fabric was written by Mary (Ingraham) Baldwin so I started there.  It would have either came down through her or her husband, Samuel Baldwin.  I had done extensive research on Mary's line as it is my Mayflower line and the wording of the note struck a bell.  After some digging (ok, a lot of digging) through my notes I came upon some photocopied pages of a book entitled Puritans, Pioneers & Planters An Ingraham-Abbott-Wardwell-Culver-Burbank Genealogy written by Norma Quarles Hare.  In the preface of the book, Mrs. Hare describes her and her mother going through a box of possessions that belonged to her great grandmother, Delia Balis (Ingraham) Blakemore.  In this box they found a scrap of red, silk brocade fabric that matched a square in a crazy quilt that Delia had made and stitched the year 1744 into.    Attached to this fabric was a note in her great grandmother's handwriting that read:

  "This silk was purchased in England for a travelling dress for Mrs. Wardwell, nee Swan".  

Bingo!  What are the chances of two scraps of fabric owned by two Ingraham descendants each of which contains a note with almost identical wording not being from the same dress?  I'm pretty sure I have located the original owner of the dress from whence the fabric came.  Wait for it........ Hannah (Swan) Wardwell daughter of Ebenezer and Margaret (Woodbury) Swan and wife of  Capt. John Wardwell all of Bristol, RI.  Capt. John Wardwell was the son of John and Phebe (Howland) Wardwell.  I do not believe however that the fabric was bought in 1744 as my 4th great grandmother stated in the note.  The year 1744 is actually the date of Hannah's birth.  So I'm thinking that there was a little mix-up along the way and the year 1744 was incorrectly listed as the date of the purchase of the fabric instead of the date of Hannah's births.


10 January 2013

Brick Wall #1

Up until this point, I have focused most of my posts on my maternal line.  There is a reason for that.  There is much more known about my mother's side than my father's.  My maternal line is made up of well-documented old New England families for the most part.  That's not to say there isn't any brick walls on her side.  There just seems to be more on my father's side.  So today I'm going to focus on my paternal line. My Wimsatt line. Otherwise known as the line that makes me bang my head on the desk and conceive of various new ways to use every curse word known to man!

  I can make it back five generations on my Wimsatt line.  Me, my father, my grandfather(Richard L Wimsatt), great grandfather(John Collins Wimsatt), great great grandfather( Arland Wimsatt) and great great great grandfather (George Will Wimsatt).  To put it bluntly, George Will is a pain in my....well, you get the point.  So here is what is known about good ol' George:

George Will Wimsatt was born on 4 July 1820 in Nelson County, KY.

 He married Sarah A Wright on 12 December 1842 in Nelson County, KY. 

He's found in the 1850 US Census living in Ohio, KY with his wife Sarah, three children, Mary, Lorenzo and Goldena, James Wright (brother-in-law) and Ignatius, his brother.

He's found in the 1860 US Census living in Campbell, Warrick Co., IN with wife Sarah, kids Mary, Lorenzo, Goldena, Rawlin [Roland], Wayne, Arlin [Arland], and Willis.  Brother-in-law James is still with him along with James Nicholson, a farm laborer.  I believe James belonged to James and Margaret A Nicholson, the neighbors of George and Sarah's.

He's found in the 1870 US Census living in Upper Town, Henderson Co., KY with wife Sarah, kids, Lorenzo, Goldena, Roland, Wayne, Orland[Arland], William , James, Wheeler,  and Lucretia and a Valson Wimsatt who I believe was a son of Lorenzo.

He found in the 1880 US Census living in Blue, Jackson Co., MO with wife Sarah, and kids Roland, Wayan [Wayne], Ailand[Arland], James, George W [Wheeler] and Lucretia.

George Will Wimsatt died on 6 June 1890 in Jackson County. MO.  He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence, Jackson Co., MO.  Wife Sarah died on 7 November 1910 in Kaw Township, Jackson County, Mo.  Joseph Wright is listed as her father on the death certificate.  The informant was L. Zumwalt or Lucretia (Wimsatt) Zumwalt, her daughter.  Sarah is also buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence, MO.

There were some Wimsatts that migrated from England to St. Mary's County, Maryland and then to Nelson Co., KY.  These Wimsatts were Catholic and had fled England due to the Church of England.  I have found one baptismal record for George and Sarah's daughter Mary Ellen who was baptized in St. Catherine's Church in New Haven, Nelson Co., KY.  So this leads me to believe that my Wimsatt line was at one time practicing Catholics. 

There is some speculation that George Will and Ignatius were the sons of  Ignatius and Nancy (Thompson) Wimsatt.  Ignatius and Nancy Thompson's marriage bond was dated 24 April 1818 and the surety is John Ballard.  Ignatius filed for divorce on 15 May 1840 stating that they had been together for  "10 or 12 years" but that she had "left his bed and board".  It is strange that he couldn't remember how long they had been married which at this time would have been over 20 years, if you consider the date of the marriage bond.  Of course we don't know when she exactly left.  If it was after 10 years of marriage, I find it hard to believe that there wasn't children conceived.  There is an estate settlement dated 12 December 1840 for Ignatius and the Administrator was James Ballard.  On another estate settlement there is a Linus Wimsatt listed as plaintiff.  He states that he "holds a note under seal on the defendant, James Ballard, Administrator of Ingnatius Wimsatt, dec. in substance as follows, to wit, Twelve months after date I promise to pay Linus Wimsatt one hundred and twenty-five dollars fifty cents. As witness my hand attest this 4th of September 1839. [note signed by] George and Ignatius Wimsatt.   Are these the brothers George and Ignatius? 

I have been unable to find what happened to Nancy (Thompson) Wimsatt after her divorce.  Nor have I found her parents.  And this is pretty much all the information I have on this line.    There are subtle clues to the parentage of George Will and Ignatius Wimsatt but nothing concrete.  Maybe it's time for that DNA test I've been wanting to get?

08 January 2013

A Bag and Three Abigails!

The Abigail (Dewolf) Ingraham Bag. Courtesy of the Bates County Museum.

Today I'm going to share yet another find from the Bates County Museum.  Being a volunteer there does have it's perks!  Pictured here is a small silk bag that was once owned by Mrs. Abigail (DeWolf) Ingraham, the second wife of Capt. Jeremiah Ingraham.  Abigail (DeWolf Ingraham presented this bag to her grandaughter Abigail Rebecca Ingraham in 1818.  Abigail Rebecca Ingraham was the daughter of Thomas and Peggy (Wardwell) Ingraham.  Abigail Rebecca then presented this bag to her niece, yet another Abigail Rebecca Ingraham in 1852.  This Abigail was the daughter of Thomas Swan and Julia (Balis) Ingraham.  After Rebecca (as the last Abigail Rebecca was known) passed away in 1856 at the age of 18, it then passed to her sister, Mrs. Mary (Baldwin) Ingraham and then filtered down to my great great grandmother Maud (VanSant) Grimes who then donated it to the museum.  

The bag is is remarkable condition considering it's almost 200 years old!  

Julia (Balis) Ingraham with daughter Rebecca.  Rebecca was the last Abigail Rebecca to own the bag.

07 January 2013

Paying It Forward

If there is one thing I have learned in all the years I've been doing genealogy it's this:  it's all about sharing.  I can't count the number of times that some generous soul has furthered my research with a look-up, or a scanned document, or just an email saying I have the same ancestor, so let's share information!  Genealogists are generous souls.  They love to share their knowledge and pass it along.

That being said,  credit should be given when using another's work.  If you want to use something that I have created, send me an email and ask my permission.  More than likely I will give you that permission as long as you agree to give me credit for my work.  If I happen to post a photo of an ancestor that also happens to be your ancestor, send me an email and ask me for a scan.  I understand the excitement of coming across an unknown photograph of an ancestor you may never have seen before.  I have felt that same excitement.  Asking before you use it just builds goodwill.  I have come across a number of trees on Ancestry that have included pictures that I posted on FindaGrave. Actually they were screenshots of the whole page.  Not once have a I received an email from any of these people asking for permission or even for more information, although my email address is provided. This is just laziness and poor research coupled with bad morality.  

Since the title of my post is Paying It Forward , I guess I meant that to have a dual meaning.  Give credit where it's due and I'm more than happy to help you in your research.  Take my information without asking, and you can pretty much forget my help with anything.  Use my intellectual property as your own on a continual basis, and I will take action.  That is my rant for the day.  

06 January 2013

Scrap Day Sunday

Here is a scrap of paper I found in the pages of the Ingraham/Wardwell bible.  It's a little note that read;

"you can talk with Ferd about Franks coming out here if you dont if you can make a bargain with him all right. he may be there this week or next."

Note from Ingraham/Wardwell Bible

Now, I have absolutley no idea what this note means.  Ferd is a name I have never come across before so I'm thinking it might be a nickname.  Frank may refer to Francis Baldwin, brother to my 3rd great grandmother, Julia Ingraham (Baldwin) VanSant.  I do have a letter written by Frank to Julia that discusses him going away.  Why he went away, I don't know.  Frank is a mystery that I will get into at a later date.

04 January 2013

One of My Favorites

Grimes 4 generation
Standing; L-R Stephen Decatur Grimes and Merlin Ellsworth Grimes. Seated Jesse D Grimes holding Walter L. Grimes

This is one of my favorite photos.  It is a four generation photo showing my grandfather, Walter L Grimes, great grandfather, Merlin Ellsworth Grimes, great great grandfather Jesse D Grimes and my great great great grandfather Stephen Decatur Grimes.  I just wish it would have scanned better. 

03 January 2013

Relative Stranger Thursday

Here's yet another unknown couple.  This one is courtesy of my paternal side.  The possible surnames for this couple could be Gillis, Strange, Braucht, or Wilson.   I'm thinking it may be Seneca McNeal Gillis and his wife Eleanor but that isn't 100 percent. 

01 January 2013

A Conundrum of Sorts

For the past two years I have been working tirelessly to complete my application to The General Society of Mayflower DescendantsI filled out the preliminary application.  I got a positive answer from the State Historian who informed me of the application process and the types of documentation that would be needed.  Generation one (John Howland) through generation seven (Thomas Swan Ingraham) had already been accepted by the Society. That left generations 8-14 for me to prove.  I was off and running!  It was that generation 8 that was giving me problems.  Mary (Ingraham) Baldwin, daughter of Thomas Swan and Julia (Balis) Ingraham.  I just wasn't having any luck finding the primary (or secondary for that matter) documents that I needed.    I sent off for death certificates.  I searched high and low for a missing family bible.  I found the bloody thing too, I might add! I sent out emails to the four corners of the world.  I virtually stalked anyone that could help me with my search.  And now it has all come together.  I can prove my case.  I am a descendant of four passenger of the Mayflower. John Howland and his wife Elizabeth Tilley and Elizabeth's parents John and Joan (Hurst) Tilley. 

So what's my conundrum you ask?  Well, now that I have pulled all this information together and put in all the hours of research, I don't really know that I want to finalize my application.  I don't need a certificate to tell me my heritage.  Sure, it would make it official, but do I really need a society to tell me who I am?  Joining would also preserve my research for posterity and make it easier for my descendants to join.  But then again, it's my research.  I've tracked down the original documents and done the legwork.  If  I join, am I robbing future generations of the joy of tracking down who they are? 

 I still haven't decided one way or the other.  I might make it official or I might not.  That's my prerogative.  For me it was all the thrill of the hunt. All that time digging and analyzing and creeping around in dark, dank basements made it worth it.  Not to mention all the wonderful people I have met along the way!  I will let my nieces and nephew know their ties to the beginning of this country.  I want them to own their heritage.  I'm just not sure if I want to hand them the proof.  I think they can become little researchers themselves.