New Ancestors: Magdalena Whitehead, James Jones and Joanna Meeker

The beautiful thing about genealogy is that, aside from all the hard work and fun of following clues in the records, every once in a while the genealogy goddess looks down upon you and smiles. Or more precisely, some complete stranger contacts you out of the blue with some wonderful information that you didn’t have before that helps piece together the puzzle of ancestors’ lives lived so long ago.

You may have noticed in the comment section after my article “Caleb and Joanna (Wade) Lewis musings,” that suddenly last month, two such contacts happened back to back. Boy! was the goddess smiling on me!

I had earlier found Timothy Whitehead’s 1779 will that named his daughter Magdalena Wade and his son-in-law Daniel Wade. I had also seen Daniel’s 1793 will that named his wife Temperance. The Stuart C. Wade book on the Wade genealogy mentions only two wives for Daniel Wade:  Elizabeth, who died in 1758 and is buried at Connecticut Farms (Union), NJ, and Temperance. Nowhere does he mention the middle wife, Magdalena. As a result, dozens of Wade researchers online do not mention her and have posted Temperance as the mother of several of the Wade children.

Yet, my Jacob and Sarah (Jones) Wade named their first-born daughter Magdalena. David and Esther (Wade) Baker named one of their daughters Magdalena. Naming patterns offer important clues.

Then, miraculously, Cousin Travis Whitehead left a comment on my blog post saying that I was correct in assuming Daniel had married three times. Travis had access to a Whitehead diary listing the five children of Timothy Whitehead, along with their birth and death dates, including my Magdalena (Whitehead) Wade, who died in 1783! Yay!

So here’s the timeline:

Daniel married Elizabeth, and they had some children together. She died in 1758. The Wade children born before 1758 belong to Elizabeth.

Daniel married Magdalena Whitehead, and they had some children together. Magdalena is mentioned in her father’s 1779 will. She died in 1783 according to her nephew’s diary. The Wade children born between 1759 and 1783 belong to Magdalena.

Daniel married Temperance, and names her in his 1793 will. It’s most likely they did NOT have children together, as Temperance was at least 50 years old when they married sometime after 1783. She is buried in the First Presbyterian Church Yard, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey: Temperance Wade died 5 Feb 1818, aged 86 years and 13 days.

Daniel Wade died in 1793.

My next project is to follow up on all of Daniel’s children to see which ones were born to Elizabeth and which to Magdalena. Some are obvious because of the birthdates supplied in the Stuart Wade book, but others he named without dates of birth.

Then, the SECOND miracle happened. Cousin Jane Sullivan had read that same blog post and left a comment regarding my musings about Sarah (Jones) Wade. The fact that Jacob and Sarah (Jones) Wade named their first-born son James J. Wade made me suspect that Sarah’s father might be named James Jones…. you know, those all-important naming patterns again.

Jane confirmed my suspicion! She descends from Sarah’s sister Mary Jones who married Jabez Thompson, who served in the Revolutionary War and survived long enough afterwards to apply for a pension from the U.S. Government. After Jabez died, his widow Mary applied for widow’s benefits. Thank heaven we 21st century researchers have the good fortune of easy access to pension files through Mary’s widow’s pension application contains affidavits from her sisters: Rebecca (Jones) Wade, married to Jacob Wade’s brother Robert, declared that she was a sister of Mary Thompson, and that they were daughters of James Jones of Essex County, New Jersey. Sarah (Jones) Wade declared that she was a sister of Mary Thompson and that although she was unable to attend Jabez and Mary’s wedding, her husband Jacob went to fetch the minister and was present to see the marriage. Hallelujah! The affidavit goes on to give nice detail about how Jacob and Sarah moved to Oneida County, New York in the mid 1790s, but more on that in another post.

So now we have three sisters, Rebecca, Sarah and Mary Jones, all daughters of James Jones. We don’t know if they were the only children. We also don’t know their mother’s name. Or do we?

Cousin Jane put me onto two other fantastic records:


Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, page 270
Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Vol. VI, 1781-1785 

1773, March 6. Meeker, Jonathan, of Essex Co.; will of. Wife, Sarah, 1/3 of moveable estate, and use of 1/3 of my land. Daughter, Johanah, the present wife of James Jones, the house in which she lives, which I bought of John Jewell, and 4 acres of land that join the house. Daughter, Sarah, the present wife of Jonathan Congar, £9. Daughter, Rebekah, £100. Son, Jonathan, rest of my estate. Executors—son, Jonathan, and my brother, Isaac Meeker. Witnesses—William Meeker, Josiah Meeker, Alexander Vance. Proved Aug. 19, 1782.
Lib. 24, p.2


From “Genealogies of New Jersey Families: Families A-Z, pre-American notes on old New Netherland families,” page 665

Meeker Bible

The following records are contributed by Mr. C. L. Wallace, and are from a Bible printed in Edinburgh by Robert Freebairn, His Majesty’s Printer, in 1734, and now in possession of Miss Belle Meeker, 54 Wakeman Avenue, Newark. 

Jonathan Meeker was born Novem’r ye 8th 1712 and he expired the 5th day of October 1782.
Rebekah the wife of Jonathan Meeker was born 10th day of Novem’r 1722 and they were married the 3d Day of March 1740. She expired January ye 12th 1746.
Sarah the wife of Jonathan Meeker was born June 26th 1714. They were married the 27th of March 1748.

Our Children’s Ages had by my first wife
Joanna was born Decemb’r ye 13, 1740.
Jonathan was Born February 21, 1744 (N.S.).

Children Ages had by my 2d wife
Obadiah was Born 17th August 1749 and he expired Septem’er 1, 1750.
Sarah was born July 28th, 1751.
Rebekah was born 26th February, 1754, and she Expired the 24th of May, 1777.

William Meeker deceast December the XXI Day in the year 17XLIV and in the 67 year of his age.

There you have it. Sarah (Jones) Wade has been a dead end in our family my whole life. Beyond recent speculation that her father may have been named James, I have never had one morsel of information on Sarah and where she came from. Then within days, all that changed and now we have Sarah (Jones) Wade’s parents, James Jones and Joanna Meeker. Not only that, but we have Joanna (Meeker) Jones’ parents, Jonathan Meeker and Rebekah, his first wife. AND did you catch the final entry in the Bible record? That William Meeker is Jonathan’s father, William, who died 21 Dec 1744.

Posted in Jones, Meeker, Wade, Whitehead | 2 Comments

Wyoming, by Ralph S. Lewis

“Wyoming” is one of several biographical accounts written by my grandfather, Ralph Spencer Lewis, about his family and his growing-up years. What a treasure he left us!


In the year 1900, my father and a brother-in-law, Alvah Spencer, moved to Wyoming. They bought a small ranch near Moorcroft on the Belle Fourche River and went into the sheep business. I have no record of what month they went or returned but am quite certain of the year. Meanwhile Father had leased our ranch in northern Nebraska to Arthur Newman for five years.

In those days most of that part of Wyoming was open government land, where grazing was free. Anyone with cattle or sheep could use the pasture. Stillman and Alvah bought several thousand sheep and hired a dozen or so herders to take care of them. They gave each one a covered wagon to live in, two or three good sheep dogs, and a rifle to shoot coyotes with. They moved each herder with his wagon and band of sheep ten to twenty miles from the ranch. The herder had no horses, but about every two weeks a tender would come by and move the wagon two or three miles to fresh pasture, and always near a stream for water for the sheep. Also the tender brought him food and supplies. The herder would live this way until November when they would move the sheep to winter pasture near the ranch headquarters. It was a lonely life, but many men liked it. 

Wyoming sheep ranch, herder with wagon and sheep

Father knew something about the sheep business, for when he was 21 years old, he had left his father’s ranch and had gone to Oregon to herd sheep for two years.

Every spring a crew of about a dozen shearers would come to help shear the sheep. As there was no electricity, they used hand shears. A fast man could shear 80 to 90 sheep a day. They would get several tons of wool, which they packed into very large burlap sacks about seven feet tall.

Shearing sheep on the ranch

Our sister, Lillian, was born there on the ranch in September, 1902. In the summer of 1903, a friend of Mother’s came to visit us. She was a professional photographer and took many large pictures of the ranch and the sheep. I have about twenty of these and I prize them very much because they are the only records we have of our life in Wyoming.

Belle (Spencer) Lewis standing near sacks of wool, Lillian next to her, twins and Clare on top


In the fall of 1903, Mother took us three children by train to Ainsworth to live awhile with her folks. On January 1, 1904, our brother Howard was born there.

Father and Uncle Alvah stayed on the ranch and that winter tragedy struck them. Instead of the usual open winter, a foot of snow fell in January so the sheep could not get to the grass for food. Some days the snow would melt a little, then freeze at night to form an icy glaze over the ground. They had no hay for the sheep and, when spring came, nearly half of them had died. As wool had been at a good price, they about broke even after selling the rest of the sheep.

Twins Ruth and Ralph Lewis at the sheep ranch about 1903

Then Father returned to the ranch in Nebraska where he lived with the Newmans for a year, while the rest of us continued to live in Ainsworth.

In the spring of 1905, Father came for us with a team and wagon. I remember that forty mile ride to the ranch. There was some furniture in the back of the wagon, so Ruth and I rode on some blankets laid on that. The trip took all day. We returned to the ranch where Ruth and I were born in 1899, and continued to live there until 1914, when we moved to Dallas, South Dakota.

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Jane Reeves, lost sister found

I’m so excited, I couldn’t sleep! So I’m up early at the computer…. The detective work of genealogy is just so fun! Last night I “discovered” Jane Reeves. I mean, I didn’t really discover her, but she took on an identity and became real to me.

I had vaguely known about her since earlier this past fall when I ordered, viewed and transcribed microfilmed court records out of Scioto County, Ohio (Court of Common Pleas Journal, 1810-1851). In the Portsmouth August term of 1819, there was a lawsuit by siblings of George Feurt, deceased, against another of their brothers, Gabriel Feurt. The document listed George’s heirs, including the following siblings:

Benjamin Feurt
Thomas Feurt
Peter Noel and Susannah Noel his wife (Susannah Feurt Noel)
Philip Noel and Mafsey Noel his wife (Massey Feurt Noel)
[note two Feurt sisters married two Noel brothers]

Another sibling, Mary (Feurt) Reeves, had died earlier that same year, so her interests in the estate were conveyed to her children:

Joseph Reeves
Jane Reeves
Susannah Reeves
Elijah Reeves
Mary Reeves
by Thomas Reeves their Father and Natural Guardian

These were the complainants who were taking legal action against Gabriel Feurt, Defendant. This document provides beautiful proof that Mary Feurt is the first wife of Thomas Reeves and the mother of the children listed. I could tell from what I knew about the Reeves children and their approximate birthdates from census and cemetery records, that this list was probably in birth order.

The other, first important document that fleshed out the Reeves siblings was father Thomas’ probate abstract out of Washington County, Iowa, dated 1846 (page 145 Book B):

John Reeves
Margaret Reeves
“oldest son” Joseph Reeves
Elijah Reeves
Susannah F. Hodges
Mary M. Crowell (sic) should be Crouch, but the transcriber of the handwriting probably could not make it out. I am still trying to locate the original handwritten record.
Delilah Harman
Executors John S. and Margaret Reeves

From a biography about John S. Reeves in a Washington County, Iowa history book, I knew that Thomas Reeves had been married twice, and that John S. was born to his second marriage, to Mary Hoskinson. Margaret was also from this second marriage. The bio did not mention the name of Thomas’ first wife, so I am particularly happy to have found the Feurt lawsuit record to verify my line.

Thomas Reeves’ marriage to Mary (Polly) Hoskinson was found in the records of Scioto County, Ohio in 1822. Also in that county I found the marriage record of Delilah Reeves to Henry Harman in 1818. The fact that eldest sister Delilah was married prior to the 1819 lawsuit document is probably why the list of Reeves children did not include her as an heir.

I was so thrilled to see married names for sisters Susannah and Delilah in the Washington County, Iowa probate record, so that I could follow them in the census records to flesh out their lines somewhat. No daughter Jane was listed here, so she obviously did not survive long enough after the 1819 Feurt document to be listed in an 1846 probate record.

So now I come to why I was excited last night. In reading through my thick file on the Reeves family, I came across correspondence from 1996 with two other Reeves researchers. That was long before I knew anything about the parents and family of my Mary (Reeves) Crouch and I was following up on possible Reeves connections in the LDS IGI.

Although they could not help me place my Mary Reeves, one of them did suggest that since Mary married M. M. Crouch in Delaware County, Indiana in the 1830s, that other Reeves listed there might be siblings of hers. He gave me a list of four Reeves marriage records, including Elijah to Indiana Custer, Susannah to John Hodge, and Jane to Nicholas Friend. Back in 1996 I didn’t know anything about these people so this correspondence was filed away. Now, in re-reading this letter in 2011, I certainly recognize the names Elijah and Susannah, and now the name Jane fits in!

I immediately set about researching this Nicholas Friend on the internet. I found three different marriages for him, one to Mary Haines in 1822, one to Jane Reeves in 1832 and one to Naomi Wheatcraft in 1840. I followed him through the census records and found a photo of his headstone (Jasper County, Iowa) on Find-A-Grave. A Google search led me to the Delaware County Historical Society website and a query there which was full of information on Nicholas’ family. I also found transcripts of Deed Book A from Delaware County. Land sales include the wife’s name. Nicholas Friend and wife Jane sold land in 1837 and 1838. But in 1839, Nicholas sold land with no wife mentioned. In 1840, Nicholas Friend and wife Naomi sold a parcel of land. The 1838 sale said Nicholas and wife Jane were “of Jay County, Indiana,” but so far I have not found a death or cemetery record for Jane (Reeves) Friend in Delaware, Jay or Blackford County, Indiana. I will keep looking. If Jane died around 1839, she may well have had children during her short life. What became of them? Next mystery to solve!

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Will of Robert Stickland, Cattaraugus County, New York

The last Will and testament of Robert Stickland of the town of Lyndon in the County of Cattaraugus—

I Robert Stickland considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner and form following—that is to say—

First—I hereby constitute and appoint my wife Elizabeth Stickland— Executrix and my son Robert and John Wise of the town of Cuba in the county of Allegany—Executors of this my last will and testament—

Second—I hereby give and grant to my aforesaid Executrix and Executors all my Estate real and personal to have and to hold the same to them and to the survivor or survivors of them for and until my youngest child shall attain to and become of the age of twenty one years— and in trust to apply and appropriate the [ ] property and income of the same for the support and maintainance of my said wife and such of my children as may be under the age of twenty one years— each of my said children as they shall severally attain to that age to receive no further support from my said estate except as herein after provided—

Third—When my youngest child shall attain to and become of the age of twenty one years— then the Estate and interest created in the second clause of this my last will and testament shall cease and determine and I then give and devise my said estate both real and personal to be divided and distributed as follows—to wit one third thereof to my wife Elizabeth and the remaining two thirds thereof to be distributed amongst my children as follows—to wit—I give to each of my children except my daughter Hannah Otto an equal share of the said two thirds of my said estate so remaining— and to my said daughter Hannah Otto a share thereof equal to two thirds as much as either of my other children receive—any amount of money or property that may have been or may be advanced to any of my said children to be deducted out of his or her share and shall be reckoned against him or her as so much towards his or her share

Fourth—In case my said wife shall not live until my said youngest child shall attain to the age of twenty one years then and in such case: when my said child shall so attain to that age—then I give and bequeath the share of my said Estate before granted to her to be distributed amongst my children with & in the same proportions and shares as the rest of my estate—and in case either of my said children shall die before the time aforesaid and shall leave no heirs of their body then his or her share shall be distributed in like proportions and with the rest of my Estate—but in case of either of them so dying shall leave any heirs of his or her body then such heirs shall take the same share their parent or parents would take if living

Fifth—I will that all my just debts be paid out of my Estate—

In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this twentyeth day of July in the Year One Thousand Eight hundred and Thirty nine— 

                                                Robert Stickland

The above instrument consisting of one sheet was now here subscribed by Robert Strickland the testator in the presence of each of us—and was at the same time declared by him to be his last will and testament – and we at his request sign our names thereto as attesting witnesses
July 20th 1839—

Pardon T Jewell residing in Franklinville
John Wise residing in Franklinville
Chas M. Leuth residing in Franklinville

                                                                        Cattaraugus County

Cattaraugus County SS: Silas P. Otto being duly sworn says that Robert Strickland died in the town of Cuba, Allegany County, in the State of New York, in the month of February A.D. 1841 at the dwelling house of his wife Elizabeth Strickland, that he died of Consumption after being sick about two years, that he left a widow, Elizabeth Strickland, who resides in the town of Cuba, Allegany County and State of New York, and six children viz: Hannah Otto, wife of Silas P. Otto, both of whom reside in the town of Lyndon, County of Cattaraugus and State of New York, Tilden Strickland who resides in the town of Cuba, County of Allegany and State of New York, Edwin Strickland, Rosana Strickland, Margaret F. Strickland, and Eliza Ann Strickland, all of whom reside with this deponent, in the town of Lyndon, County of Cattaraugus, and State of New York all of the above named children are minors under 21 years age with the exception of Hannah Otto all of whom are heirs of said deceased and the only ones known of to this deponent. 

            That the said Robert Strickland died leaving an Instrument in writing purporting to be his last will and Testament, divesting Real Estate and bequeathing personal property in which John Wise, Robert Strickland Jr. are named as Executors and Elizabeth Strickland named as Executrix thereof and further that the said Robert Strickland deceased, at the time of his death was an inhabitant of the town of Lyndon County and State aforesaid.

Subscribed & Sworn
This 21st day of July
A.D. 1841 Before me                                                   S. P. Otto

                        Robert H. Thankland, Surrogate

 To the Surrogate of the Court of Cattaraugus

            The undersigned would respectfully represent that Robert Strickland died in the town of Cuba, County of Allegany, that he was a resident of Lyndon, County of Cattaraugus, that he left a certain Instrument in writing purporting to be his last will and Testament, in which Hannah Otto, the wife of your Petitioner is named as a Legatee,

            Your Petitioner would further represent that Robert Strickland Jr. one of the Executors named in said will has died since the Execution of said will, and that Elizabeth Strickland, Executrix also named in said will refuses to act as such Executrix and John Wise, another Executor named in said will refuses to act as such Executor. Your Petitioner would therefore request that Letters of Administration, with the will of the said Robert Strickland deceased annexed, be granted him in the right of his wife.

            Dated Dec. 30, 1841                            S. P. Otto

Cattaraugus County S.S.

            Silas P. Otto being duly sworn says that the facts set forth in the above Petition are in all respects substantially true and correct.

Subscribed & Sworn                                        S. P. Otto
the 30th of Dec. 1841
Before me
            Robert H. Thankland Surrogate

Cattaraugus County S.S.

                        Silas P. Otto being duly sworn says that Robert Strickland died in the month of February last past at the dwelling house of his wife while there on a visit in the town of Cuba, Allegany County, State of New York. That the said deceased at the time of his death was an Inhabitant of the town of Lyndon, in the County of Cattaraugus, that the said deceased left an Instrument in writing purporting to be his last will and Testament—That the said deceased left Goods, chattels and credits within this State the value of which according to the best information and belief of this deponent, amounts to about the Sum of Two hundred Dollars and does not exceed that sum. That this deponent is a Citizen of the United States and of the full age of twenty one years.

Subscribed & Sworn

this 30th Day of Dec. A. D. 1841                      S. P. Otto
Before me.

            Robt H. Thankland, Surrogate

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Caleb and Joanna (Wade) Lewis musings

Caleb Lewis (1790-1856) is one of our genealogical brick walls. While he left a nice paper trail during his life, we have yet to discover the names of his parents. He first appears in census records in 1820, living in Stafford, Genesee County, New York, with his wife Joanna (Wade) Lewis and two young sons. In 1822, he purchased land in Cattaraugus County from the Holland Land Company, and the Lewis family moved to Farmersville, along with Joanna’s parents, Jacob and Sarah (Jones) Wade. Jacob Wade comes from a widely documented family out of New Jersey. I wanted to dig around on them a bit to see if I could shed some light on their migration into New York and possibly find out how it was that Joanna’s family met up with young Mr. Caleb Lewis.

The home of Caleb and Joanna Lewis, Farmersville, Cattaraugus County, New York, ca. 1860s

Caleb and Joanna (Wade) Lewis had eleven children:

Jacob W. Lewis (what do you want to bet he was named for Joanna’s father, Jacob Wade?). He supposedly moved to Iowa and was possibly involved in the Civil War but we know nothing more of him…. yet.

Caleb Lewis, Jr., who married Elizabeth Ann Babcock and lived in the Genesee, Allegany County, NY area.

Lovisa Lewis, who married George W. Swift and lived in the Black Creek area of Allegany County, NY.

Oliver Lewis, who married Clarissa Norton, and resided in Centerville, Allegany County, NY. No doubt, Oliver was named for Joanna’s brother Oliver Wade.

Joanna Lewis, who married Ozro Wilson.

Eliza Ann Lewis, who married John Orestes Badger and moved to Chautauqua County, NY.

Mary Ann Lewis, who died as an infant.

Guy Carlton Lewis (it was fashionable to name children after an historic figure… I wonder how Caleb and Joanna felt about Guy Carlton of Revolutionary War fame?), who married Maria Sara Farrington and moved to Michigan and then Idaho.

Mary Ann Lewis, who married DeAlton Swift. The name must have been important enough for Caleb and Joanna to use it again after the death of the first child named Mary Ann.

Ralph Lewis, who married Emma Otto (they are my great-great-grandparents) and homesteaded in Keya Paha County, Nebraska in 1883.

Stillman Ennis Lewis, who married first Julia A. Huntley, and second Jennie M. Hastings. He was a dentist in Olean, NY and was a member of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) along with his brother Ralph, years after the two served in the Civil War. The name Stillman appears in areas where the Lewis family lived. There’s even a Stillman Ennis, but the exact connection hasn’t been determined yet.

Brothers Stillman E. Lewis and Ralph Lewis in their GAR uniforms, 1909

My father and I have fleshed out most of these branches of the family, at least somewhat, searching for clues to further our knowledge of Caleb Lewis and his background. An early resource for us was the Compendium of History, Reminiscence and Biography of Western Nebraska which contained a brief biography of Ralph Lewis and a sketch of his “Clover Leaf Farm” in Keya Paha County. His biography stated that Ralph’s father Caleb was “born in Rhode Island, and his family were all killed at the Wyoming massacre except his father and grandmother.” Research into the Wyoming Valley massacre of 1778 has not yet led to information on the parents of Caleb Lewis.

Going back to the clue about a Rhode Island birthplace, we found several men named Caleb Lewis who lived in Exeter, Rhode Island in the 1700s. We have followed some of them but to date have not found the evidence needed to show that our Caleb born in 1790 was a son to one of them. It is likely they are related, however, so that’s a start. Now that resources such as (now are online, it is much easier to pursue resources to flesh out “what if” lines. I spent hours this weekend reading Revolutionary War pension application files. So interesting!!

Headstone of Caleb and Joanna Lewis, Farmersville Center Cemetery

Joanna Wade<Jacob Wade<Daniel Wade<Robert Wade<Benjamin Wade

Colateral lines often yield clues. This weekend I gathered up my Wade data. Joanna’s parents were Jacob and Sarah (Jones) Wade. They named their first two children Magdalena and James J. Wade. Considering the importance of naming patterns in that era, I am willing to bet that Sarah Jones’ father was James Jones and that she named her first-born son after him. No proof yet. I did do some digging on Joanna’s brother James J. Wade, who lived in Gaines, Orleans County, NY. No document that I have found yet shows his middle name.

But I did find something interesting on Jacob Wade’s mother. All this time we had assumed her name was Temperance, based on the 1900 publication, the Wade Genealogy, compiled by Stuart Charles Wade. Now I have stumbled upon the wills of Robert Wade and one Timothy Whitehead, which indicate that Daniel Wade’s second wife, the mother of our Jacob, was named Magdalena (Whitehead) Wade. This makes sense, knowing that Jacob and Sarah named their first-born daughter Magdalena.

        WILL of ROBERT WADE, Elizabeth, Essex Co, NJ

Calendar of New Jersey wills, administrations, etc (Volume 4), New Jersey Historical Society

CALENDAR OF WILLS – 1761-1770, page 459

1760, Jan. 7. Wade, Robert, of Elizabeth Borough, Essex Co., yeoman; will of.
Wife, Sarah, use of 1/3 my land. Granddaughter, Sarah Cherry, £20. Granddaughter, Sarah Brown, £5, when 18. Son, Daniel, plantation where I live and the swamp on the other side of the way, joining land of John Wade, Jotham Clark and Benjamin Wade, which is 18 acres. Sons, Henry and Daniel, two lots of salt meadow, of 15 acres; also one joining to the Oyster Creek, of 6 acres. Son, Benjamin, salt meadow that joins Bound Creek, of 7 acres. My son, Daniel, and my daughter, Patiensce (sic), wife of Josiah Woodruff, moveable estate. Executors – friend, Timothy Whitehead, and my son, Daniel. Witnesses – Andrew Whitehead, Timothy Whitehead, Jr., Elias Whitehead. Proved Aug. 18, 1766.
1766, Aug. 21. Inventory, £53.0.7, made by Nathaniel Ball and Amos Day. Lib. I, p. 43.

        WILL of TIMOTHY WHITEHEAD, Elizabeth, Essex Co, NJ

Calendar of New Jersey wills, administrations, etc (Volume 5), New Jersey Historical Society

CALENDAR OF WILLS – 1771-1780, page 581

1779, July 26. Whitehead, Timothy, of Borough of Elizabeth, Essex Co.; will of.
Daughter, Prudence Bonnel, £700, for her and her children. To the children of my daughter, Magdelena Wade, £150. Son, Timothy, all my cooper’s tools, and to his children, £100. Grandson, Abner Whitehead, £150. To the children of my son, Andrew, deceased, £50, whose names are, Charlotte and Elizabeth Whitehead. Grandson, David Whitehead, £10, he being kin to his father’s estate. The rest of the money to be divided between the rest of my son Elias Whitehead’s children, James, Sarah, Lois, Prudence, Rachel and Alis, when they come of age. If my grandson, James Whitehead, should appear to be reformed, then he may have a double portion with the last named children. I give my Executors power to sell all my goods and land. Executors–son, Timothy, and my son-in-law, Daniel Wade. Witnesses–David Wade, Caleb Wade, Jr., David Wade, Jr. Proved Nov. 1, 1779.   Lib. 20, p. 354

Headstone of Jacob and Sarah Wade, Farmersville Center Cemetery

Hot off the press…

I had just blogged about the Wades yesterday, and then today I came across an abstract of Daniel Wade’s will, and it claims his wife was Temperance, at least at the time he wrote the will in 1793. Was he married three times? I need to flesh out the children of the family to determine birth order and follow up in other records to determine if there were three wives. See below.

        WILL of DANIEL WADE, Sr., Elizabeth, Essex County, NJ

Documents Relating to the Colonial, Revolutionary and Post-Revolutionary History of the State of New Jersey, First Series—Vol. XXXVII

Calendar of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, Etc., Vol. VIII—1791-1795, page 385

1793, Aug. 9. Wade, Daniel, Sr., of Elizabeth Twsp., Essex Co.; will of.
Wife, Temperance, 1 cow, choice of hogs, household furniture and privileges of house and garden, and provisions. Son, Amos, 5 shillings. Son, Benjamin, £8. Son, Daniel, ¼ of salt meadow, 1/5 of woodland, and 1 acre before his door adjoining the Parsonage land. Son, Timothy, 1 acre adjoining land sold to Charles Townley, and 1/5 of woodland back of the estate of David Meeker. Son, Jacob, ¼ of salt meadow and 1/5 of woodland. Son, Robert, piece of land opposite house of son Daniel, 1/5 of woodland and ¼ of meadow. Son, Moses, ¼ of meadow, land where my house stands and residue of movable estate; he giving son Timothy a deed for house and lot where he now lives, or to pay him £110. Daughters, Temperance, (wife of David Bonnell), and Esther, (wife of David Baker), each £10. Son, Jacob, £7, or title to land on the mountain known as the Mine Lot. Executors—friends—Jonas Wade and David Crane. Witnesses—Robert Wade, Benjamin Scudder, Noah Wade. Proved July 25, 1793.            Lib. 33, p. 191; File 7776-7781G.

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Roswell Parrish, my patriot ancestor (one of them, at least)

Just received my official notification from the D.A.R. (Daughters of the American Revolution). I’m in!

I am so happy that Roswell Parrish is now on the rolls of Patriot Ancestors for the D.A.R. With my application in July, I sent in proof of his existence, his service record, and my direct line back to him. It was a time-consuming but fun project to collect “proof” for every generational link. The bonus for me was that in the organization’s 120-year history, no one had ever entered the D.A.R. through his service.

Next, I’m going to gather my documents for proving my line back to Joseph Feurt. Joseph is already on the rolls, but only through two of his sons, not through his daughter Mary (Feurt) Reeves, which is my line. After that, I’m going for Alexander Eastlick. There are a few members in the D.A.R. through Alexander’s service, too, but not through his son Jacob yet. I like being the first! 

Posted in Eastlick, Feurt, Parrish | 1 Comment

Oro Fino Band, Siskiyou County, California

The Oro Fino Band (Siskiyou County, CA) ca. 1888

Members included siblings, cousins and spouses of the extended Eastlick family that came from Bureau County, IL and settled in Siskiyou County, CA 

Left to Right:
Frank Quigley (1867-1920), married Cassie (Eastlick) Quigley
Bill Lewis (1861-1931), married Lenna (Eastlick) Lewis
Wilsie Whipple (1865-1894), son of Helen (Eastlick) Whipple
Willard Eastlick (1859-1946), son of Lafayette Eastlick
Jim Whipple (1870-1890), son of Helen (Eastlick) Whipple
Frank Whipple (1867-1931), son of Helen (Eastlick) Whipple
Lafayette “Lafe” Eastlick (1834-1922)
Grant Lewis (1870-1960), brother of Bill Lewis
Ed Eastlick (1869-1917), son of William Wallace Eastlick
Edrick Eastlick (1868-1948), son of Lafayette Eastlick

Posted in Eastlick, Whipple | 1 Comment

Jacob Eastlick letter to sons Mahlon and Lafayette, 1869

Transcript of a Letter from Jacob Eastlick of Bureau Co, IL to sons Mahlon and Lafayette Eastlick in Siskiyou Co, CA. The original spelling and punctuation have been retained. Unreadable portions have been marked as [  ]. A big thank you to cousin Janet for sharing this wonderful family document!

Greenville January the 20 1869

Well Mahlon and Lafayette I will write a few lines to you to let you know that we are all well at present and hope these few lines may find you the same we received a letter from you dated in December and was glad to hear from you you stated that you would come home next summer and make us a viset but that will cost you quite a pile of money but do as you think best we would all like to see you verry much but you can see what it will cost you wether it will brake you up or not but if you are comming home this next summer let me know for certain if you are commen home I will stay at home this summer I taulk of going to minessorta this summer and stay with Alexander awhile and pay back a viset he [unreadable] Alexander [   ] here last march and worked my farm and raised good crops of wheat corn and oats and went back home in September I tryed to have him stay another year but he likes missota he sais [so] much better that I could not purswaid him to stay Wallace lives by me and will work my farm this summer I expect if nothing happens he is not verry rugged nor has not been sience he left the army but he will do all he can [unreadable] left here land is a high price from twenty five to fifty 50 per acor and taxes is high is from forty to fifty dollars a year and the way I have to rent I have hard work to make both ends meet your mother still dose her hose work but she is gitting ould as fast as I be She sais she would like to have you come home if it would not cost to much

A few to Lafayette Eastlick

Now a bout your cows that you left here I have them yet and their increas except two steers that I sole wich would leve ten four cows and two two year old and four one year old now if you are comming home this next summer I will keep them untell you come home but if you donot come this summer tell me what to doe with them your plow and harrow is about wore out but I are good for them tell Willard that he has some steers here and tell frances that she has got some heffers and that old prince can catch a rabbet yet that if he was here that he and I would go and cetch a rabbet or a possum now a bout peter Stryker he has sole out and went to minissota and bought a quirter section of land joining Alexander on the south and he thinks it is the best country that he has ever seen I want you to [  ] writing better for my eyes fails me so much that I cannot see the lines I will tell you about your brothers and sisters familys E.B. has got seven children and Sylvest. has eight Walles has two Mary Ann Sells has seven Lurinda has eight Cordelia has nine boys Mike and Hellen has seven Jane has four well I will leve of for this time and say to you to write as soon as you git this and let me know how you git along and wether you will come home this summer or not and write all the news that is going [  ] at present

Wallace will write some on the other side
Jacob Eastlick and
Hannah Eastlick

One page of Jacob Eastlick's letter, 1869


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Scott Valley Roots / Eastlick research in DC and England

From the April 1998 “Eastlick Roots and Branches” newsletter:

My mother’s an Eastlick, the youngest of three children in the family. Her parents, Lester and Irene (Bottoms) Eastlick of Greenview, Siskiyou County, CA are now deceased, and lay at rest in the cemetery outside Fort Jones, CA. I remember my first trip to the cemetery in 1973, the year I was first bitten by the “genealogy bug.” Up to that point I had been asking lots of questions, writing letters, and spending hours arranging the names of my ancestors on primitive butcher paper pedigree charts. This was long before the advent of personal home computers and the wonderful genealogy software products available for storing and arranging such data.

My grandparents, who were very much alive in 1973, drove my parents, my brother and me that October to the Fort Jones cemetery, and pointed out the headstones of various family members. I eagerly took notes, copied the inscriptions, and listened attentively as they reminisced about various relatives and events, spurred on by seeing familiar stones in a place they had both visited hundreds of times for funerals and Memorial Days. There are more of my direct-line ancestors buried in that one cemetery than anywhere else, with the possible exception of a little plot outside Palmyra, MO, that holds the remains of many of my grandmother’s people. Not only are Lester and Irene now buried in the Fort Jones cemetery, but also both sets of their parents, Willard and Creet (Conner) Eastlick and Obed and Eva (Crouch) Bottoms. Creet’s parents, Jacob and Constantia (Stephens) Conner are there as well, although Willard’s parents, Lafayette and Sarah (Preston) Eastlick are buried in the Yreka cemetery over the mountain from Scott Valley. Numerous aunts, uncles and cousins also have been buried in Fort Jones. The Eastlicks were a prolific bunch, and since so many came to Siskiyou County in the 1860s and had large families, almost everywhere you turn there’s a cousin.

I have drifted from my original point…my mother’s an Eastlick. She has had little interest in genealogy over the years, until a trip to Great Britain in 1995 with my dad on their 40th anniversary vacation. Dad’s a genealogy fanatic, just like me, even when it’s not his family. On one research stop in London, Dad discovered a pocket of Eastlicks in the Bodmin (Cornwall) records. This was significant to Mom because of her interest in the British Isles, intrigued that her family might have originated from this area she loved. She and Dad brought home pages of notes from their stops in Cornwall and had even called an Eastlick they found listed in a Plymouth telephone book, visiting him in his home for perhaps an hour. His sister came over as well. My folks got information from this Maurice about Dale Eastlick, then of Stockton IL, now of Belmont WI, and David Eastlick up north in England who had done some research. Dad spoke to David by phone and they later exchanged mail. Some months later, back in the U.S., thanks to the phone directory disks available at the public library, Dad was able to locate Dale within two calls, first calling Dale in Waco, getting referred to WI, and then connecting with Belmont by a random lucky guess.

When Mom and Dad were in Washington, D.C. in April 1996, Dad went to the National Archives and brought back pension application files of Cornelius Eastlick and his brother John Easlick, both of whom served in the War of 1812. These files contained lots of genealogical information and ignited my interest in the Eastlicks. Then contact with Dale led us to Ed Easlick of Richmond VA. Ed’s a descendant of John and Margaret (Hawkins) Easlick. He is a tireless researcher and lover of great genealogical detective work. Since then, he and I have enjoyed sharing our finds and filling in the details of the Eastlick/Easlick family.

In April of 1997, my parents once again took the annual trip to D.C. on business, and both spent a day or two at the Archives. This time I had a list of requests to send with them! They brought back excerpts from several pension application files. These were primarily Civil War era veterans’ files, loaded with family data.

Added Oct 2010:

Since then, I have accompanied my parents to Washington DC and have enjoyed the family research there with them, as well as in other locations including the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland in August of 2009. Mom and Dad have made numerous trips to England and have located interesting old Eastlick documents. Someday we hope to find a definite paper trail linking our Alexander Eastlick with his immigrant ancestors, which will likely lead us back to Cornwall.

So much genealogical garbage and hearsay is floating around the internet. People seem satisfied to simply “cut and paste” from other trees without concern for documentation. All I can say is… show me the proof! Every link must be documented!

Posted in Bottoms, Conner, Crouch, Easlick, Eastlick | 6 Comments

50th birthday road trip adventure, June-July 2009

When my brother turned 50 he had a big birthday bash at a Mexican restaurant with friends, family, food, drinks, and Karaoke. It was a lot of fun. Knowing I was the next in line, people began asking me what I was going to do for my 50th birthday. I had a year and a half to think about it. Instead of a party, I decided to take an extended road trip to research various lines of my family tree. Although my birthday is in April, I wanted to wait for the summer so that I could take plenty of time and spend at least four weeks on the road. That’s one of the perks of being a teacher! 

My Dad also loves genealogical research, and now that he was retired, he was able to take the time for a good road trip. We thought it would be fun if he came with me for part of my journey. Even Mom, who doesn’t especially enjoy road trips, made plans to meet us in Washington DC, one of her favorite cities. Pete stayed home to hold down the fort and look forward to our trip to England and Ireland after my return. 

I have taken wonderful genealogy trips in the past. In 1983, 1986, 1989 and 1992, Dad and I attended Johnson cousin reunions in Nebraska and South Dakota. In 1993 and 1997 and 2002 Pete and I covered hundreds of miles together stopping at various research stops back east, in the south and in the Midwest. In 2000 I took a solo road trip to attend an Eastlick/Easlick family reunion in Michigan. On each of these trips, we spent about three weeks traveling to as many research stops along the way as possible. 

By 2009 it had been seven years since the last major trip (not counting China in 2004 with the Washington Chorale, which was all about tourism and choral music, not genealogical research). My 50th birthday came and went in April, duly celebrated by friends and family at home. Then, when school and other obligations ended in June, I was out the door, bag and laptop in hand! 

Here are notes from my wonderful 50th birthday genealogy road trip of 2009: 

Tuesday, June 23. Starting at Mom and Dad’s in Seattle, after a few errands and repacking my gear, Mom drove Dad and me to SeaTac for our late afternoon flight to Chicago. We arrived before midnight, picked up the rental car and drove part way across Illinois to our first Super 8 on the road trip. Boy was I tired! It’s somewhat stressful driving strange roads at night, with construction and toll booths every few miles. But there was no sign of bed bugs so that was a good start! 

Wednesday, June 24. We drove on to Dubuque, Iowa. Cousin Bonnie Sue prepared us a great lunch and we toured the campus where she teaches, but had to get indoors as much as possible… it must’ve been about 95 degrees out. Whew! Hot, hot, hot! 

Thursday, June 25, took a day jaunt to Waukon, Iowa, about two hours north of Dubuque. That was AFTER we had to trade in our rental car for a different one because of a slow leak in one tire. This was a better car, anyway… I prefer a compact car rather than the larger SUV type they gave us at the airport. At the public library we found Goodykoontz land on township maps, and Oakland Cemetery records. Bonnie Sue put her research skills to work at the Allamakee County Genealogy Society in the (COOL) basement of the old courthouse, now museum. She found Goodykoontz obituaries on microfilm, Dad found Elisha K. Spencer probate records, including mention of his prized automobile, and I found records pertaining to Jacob Goodykoontz’ guardianship of the four Raymond kids after his marriage to second wife Sarah (Barnard) Raymond. Also, with help from the librarian, we saw the birth record of one of Wilson and Caroline’s children, Ruth Emma Spencer, born in 1880. 

At the cemetery, a man on a lawnmower loaned us the cemetery map so that we could locate Goodykoontz graves. Also found Raymonds and Barnards of Sarah’s family and the E. K. Spencers. He told us another caretaker has a record called “Goodykoontz Accounts” that shows burial locations in the oldest part of the cemetery. They used this information to relocate stones that were piled down by the creek, at least Simon and Mary’s. We couldn’t find a stone for Mary (Ward) Goodykoontz, although her name appears in the records. How is it that cemetery headstones can be taken from their original locations and piled somewhere? Don’t the families of the departed have some rights to a perpetual resting spot for their loved ones? I don’t get it. 

Friday, June 26. Said goodbye to Bonnie Sue this morning and headed to Bureau County, Illinois. First we went to the courthouse in Princeton to look up probate records for Jacob Eastlick, finding none. We did find a guardianship paper for the children of Mary Ann Sells, and stumbled upon Sylvester Eastlick’s divorce records, which were interesting.

We met up with a Lewis 2nd cousin, Alma and her hubby Richard for lunch at the Red Apple restaurant. Alma knew I was researching my maternal Eastlick family and gave me maps and an article about the school that Jacob Eastlick helped to start. She had an old property-owners’ map and a contemporary plat map marked with the route/road. We also picked up a contemporary tourism type booklet and map from the front counter at the restaurant. After saying our goodbyes to Alma and Richard, Dad and I were able to use the maps to drive right to the location of the Eastlick property. We drove past homes that were probably Eastlick-built and drove through a lovely, thick stand of trees marked “Eastlick Grove” on the old map. It took my breath away! Then we found the Bowen Cemetery where Jacob Eastlick is buried. Pete and I had completely missed these in 1997. Back then, we had wandered around on various roads in and out of New Bedford, and walked through a few cemeteries, but could not find Jacob’s headstone. We suspected it was long gone, but now I know we had been searching in the wrong cemeteries. Dad and I photographed Jacob’s headstone and those of other Whipple and Preston relatives. Delightful! 

That night Dad and I pulled in at a Super 8 in Rantoul, Illinois, just in time for a brief power outage. We walked over to a nearby Arby’s and brought our dinner back to the hotel. 

Saturday, June 27. Once we crossed into Indiana, we found our first Starbucks on this trip! Ah, vanilla latte, just like home! Then Dad and I spent a few hours at the public library in Anderson, Indiana, researching Goodykoontzes. Found some great land patent maps and obituaries, mug books, etc. It was a nice facility. The public library was bustling downstairs but the genealogy department upstairs was nice and quiet. Each heavy oak library table had a strip of electrical outlets to plug in laptops, a nice mix of old and new. 

One good find was the deed abstract book. Original deeds are no longer available due to early destruction by fire. Thank goodness someone had abstracted the information from the old deeds while they were still available. We found our Daniel Goodykoontz and his brother Jacob on the list with their land parcel desciptions and date of purchase. Some were filed under K, as in Goody  Koontz. You really do have to think outside the box! 

After dinner at the Olive Garden we went looking for West Maplewood Cemetery. We had to drive around quite a bit before we found the cemetery, and stopped for directions more than once. There are TWO Maplewood Cemeteries, which made it confusing. Finally a couple of joggers directed us to the correct one. We got there before sunset and took photos of Goodykoontz graves, and those of collateral relatives. 

That night we stayed at Greenfield, Indiana (outside Indianapolis) at the Super 8. 

Sunday, June 28, we drove to Cincinnati to see Cousin Linda and family. We had a wonderful visit in the afternoon, a BBQ dinner, and a neighborhood tour complete with Graeter’s ice cream in the evening. Enjoyed hearing Jeff play the piano. We looked at the stars through his big telescope lens that night. That stop was all visiting and no research. 

Monday, June 29, after a light breakfast we left Skip and Linda’s to head north to Logan County. Stopped further north for a late morning meal at a Bob Evans restaurant where Dad borrowed a phone to call Linda. He had left his cell phone at their house and she agreed to mail it ahead to one of our next stops. 

By mid-morning we arrived in Bellefontaine to do some Logan County research at the public library genealogy room, a locked back room with one table and only four chairs. The room was quickly over-crowded with more than four researchers, but we found some good cemetery info and biographical resources on the Wylie family. 

Then we went to the museum, having some trouble finding it from the librarian’s directions. Turns out the genealogy society part was closed but the museum files downstairs in the back of this beautiful historic home-turned-museum were open for our perusal. The one young man there actually left the room to us and two women we had met earlier at the library. I copied everything in the Young and Wylie files and Dad studied the Geneva Book (Geneva College) a Reformed Presbyterian Church college which our Wylies and related Pattersons were instrumental in founding. Years later the college closed and moved to Beaver County, Pennsylvania. 

Northwood Cemetery... Ann (Wylie) Young stone flat on the ground; John and Elizabeth Wylie stone (round) not far distant

Then Dad and I drove to Northwood Cemetery, where my direct-line ancestors are buried: John and Elizabeth Wylie and their daughter Anna (Wylie) Young. It was so great to find these graves, but also disappointing to find apparent vandalism throughout the cemetery. We took pictures of dozens of graves with the names Wylie, Young, Patterson. 

That night we stayed at Mansfield, Ohio after another busy, fruitful day of ancestor-chasing. Dinner was at a nearby Taco Bell. 

Tuesday, June 30 we headed to Beaver County, Pennsylvania, home of my Wylie and Young ancestors before they came to Ohio. This is also the home of Joseph Otto, Jr., brother of our Emma (Otto) Lewis. We were caught in a downpour as we entered scenic Beaver Falls, and ran inside to eat lunch at a dark tavern. Between the pitch-dark restroom and the man at the bar looking for trouble, I was glad to leave that establishment. Besides, I was eager to find my Wylies and Youngs! 

We re-parked the car and went to the genealogy society, upstairs above the library via the service elevator. This was a great stop! We spent a couple of hours retrieving good stuff. Dad found Otto obituaries (Joseph and son Homer). I first saw a deed abstracts book with early Wylie and Young records. Also there were property location maps, early tax records (1803 onwards) plus cemetery books, surname files, a great collection! The volunteers there were long-time genealogy library folks with lots of knowledge about their collections and were very helpful. 

Then, we cruised north to a couple Reformed Presbyterian Church cemeteries but did not find the right one with our Wylies and Youngs. We couldn’t spend long, as we had to hurry on to make our dinner date with Cousin Kim and family. 

When we found the appointed meeting place, we had a fun-filled dinner with several Lewis 4th cousins at a golf club restaurant outside Poland, Ohio (just south of Youngstown). Kim had found us in 1999 through genealogical sleuthing and we hit it off right away back then, enough for me to come visit her and Bob a year later and go on a jaunt to New York with her and another Lewis cousin, Diane. It was great to see Kim and Bob and meet other family members. There were fourteen of us all together. We stopped by Kim and Bob’s after to retrieve Dad’s cell phone, mailed by Linda. Thank goodness for helpful cousins!! 

Because they already had a houseful, we did not stay with the cousins but took a room at the local Red Roof Inn. 

Wednesday, July 1, we drove on to Crawford County, Pennsylvania. I’ve been to Meadville twice before with Pete, so we already had quite a bit of information on the Spencers and Eastlicks. In 1993 we researched Spencers at the historical library, before I even knew I had Eastlicks in that county. Then in 1997 I came away from the courthouse with several Eastlick wills and deeds. 

Since we had to wait for the historical society to open, Dad and I decided to first drive up to the Conneaut Cemetery. We walked around in the drizzle looking for the headstones of Richard Spencer and his mother Nancy (Carr) Spencer. Just as on the prior visit, we found nothing. The Spencer headstones are either unreadable or no longer there. I guess I was hoping that perhaps somehow before we had overlooked them. No chance. 

Next we stopped at a small library in Conneaut, which was closed, then headed back to Meadville. We spent some time at the Crawford County Historical Society library in Meadville, which was in a new location since my last visit. We found nothing new. The people there were not that helpful. They were more intrusive and offered irrelevant records. As a result, we sort of hurried out of there. I did photocopy some Beaver County, Pennsylvania maps (Wylie) and cemetery info (Spencers). 

So we drove on to McKean County and found a motel in Smethport, the second of only two in this small town. The first was a shabby looking place on the underside of a tavern, which was booked up. I was relieved that we found the more pleasant Smethport Motel. Modest but clean. Went for dinner at the Cottage House, where Pete and I had gone for dinner in 1993. 

Thursday, July 2. Stopped for a latte and rolls at a main street café, drove to the public library to find it closed for the day, then took photos around town. Such a beautiful place! We stopped at the McKean County courthouse for probate records and deeds. Got a lot of copies and notes and a terrific map showing Otto and related family parcels of land. Then while waiting for the genealogy library to open, took a jaunt out to the cemetery in Farmers Valley where our Ottos are buried. Stopped at a home (same one as in 1993) to ask permission to wander across their field to the cemetery, but the man told us there was now a road. So we drove through the high grass on this path to the cemetery, worried a bit that we might encounter mud or get high-centered somewhere. 

Les between Joseph Otto and Mary (Brown) Otto headstones, Farmers Valley Cemetery

Once parked, we had to slather ourselves with bug repellent as it was quite infested with mosquitoes, same as 1993! The cemetery was in better condition, however, as the American Legion folks had come in and cleaned it up quite a bit and put up a flag pole. Unfortunately Joseph Otto’s stone had been broken in half since my last visit there. It was fun seeing that place with Dad since he hadn’t been there before. 

Then we had a relaxing lunch back in Smethport at a restaurant across the street from the courthouse. Funny how a restaurant or hotel stop can feel like an oasis to recharge before the next adventure! 

The genealogy library in the historic jail was okay, but I was getting tired of genealogy volunteers who think they know everything and like to have control of the materials. While one older gentleman helped Dad with a big map, I looked through books I mostly had already seen. I was disappointed at the condition of the clipping files. But I remember how chaotic it had been before at the old location in the basement of the courthouse when Pete and I were there in 1993. Maybe I was just disappointed not to discover where our Ottos had come from. 

Then I went to another part of the building to view microfilm newspapers and struck pay dirt with Joseph Otto’s obituary right away, although I didn’t find any of the others I was seeking. 

Normally I would make reservations for our night’s lodging via my computer at a research stop that has an internet connection. Not having done that, we drove on without reservations and stopped at a Comfort Inn near Mansfield, Pennsylvania. I was tired enough and worried about whether we’d find any other hotel down the road that I was glad to stop. It was a more expensive hotel and nice, but once we checked in, we found out the internet and phone there did not work.  Dad asserted himself and bartered the price down for this reason. 

Friday, July 3, we headed to Bradford County, Pennsylvania. We had coffee and a sweet roll in a café on the main drag in Towanda, waiting for the courthouse to open, which it didn’t. The holiday weekend took a toll on our plans. Both the courthouse and genealogy society were closed, but we did get in some time at the public library searching for Prestons. I was disappointed not to find out the name of Joseph Preston’s wife and he did not appear in cemetery listings. I did discover that Joseph’s real name, according to one source, was Stephen Preston. Apparently when he first came to Bradford County people called him Joe and it stuck. Rather curious, as most of the records call him Joseph. But his son Ederick named his first son Stephen, so perhaps this is true. 

After our library stop we went back to the same café for lunch before heading south to Columbia County. In Bloomsburg we arrived only 15 minutes before the genealogy society closed. It was on the upper floor of the public library, so once it closed we just went downstairs to the library and were shown to a smaller, private research room to peruse the genealogy collection. No new breakthroughs here, but lots of details fleshing out collateral relatives. I copied records from a book with the Brown Cemetery. It was fun seeing the Beaver Book and Brown Book side-by-side on the shelf in our little private research room. These are two treasures that we have enjoyed over the years. 

Dad called Cousin Eloise to tell her we were in the area. She wasn’t home so he left a message, but did not leave a phone number or location. He had met her years earlier when he had come to Columbia County. 

We checked into our Super 8 in Mifflinville, Pennsylvania after a busy day of research in two counties. But before dinner, we we visited the Brown Cemetery. Dad had been there years before but couldn’t quite remember how to get there. After consulting our maps and stopping for directions, we finally found the enchanting hilltop cemetery with wispy, ghost-like blossoms growing amongst the historic headstones. John Brown, our ancestor, with his second wife, is buried there. I didn’t want to leave this beautiful spot. I love cemeteries anyway, but this one was extra-special. 

After the cemetery we had dinner at a spaghetti place in Mifflinville. 

Saturday, July 4. Bright and early, we woke up to a 6:50 a.m. phone call from Eloise. She had received Dad’s message from the day before and started calling around to hotels to find us. Fortunately Super 8 was the first one she tried, and she got us! We made arrangements to meet her across the street at McDonald’s for coffee. We checked out of the hotel, then ventured over across the street. Soon four Brown cousins arrived: Eloise and her son, and two of her sisters. We visited over coffee for about an hour. Eloise had brought notes, family papers and a rebound copy of the Brown book. She seemed surprised that we had seen that book before. It was great meeting these new cousins and they were so warm and gracious. How kind of them to take time out of their Fourth of July to meet us! 

Then after doing laundry en route at a truck stop, Dad and I made it to Washington DC to meet Mom and spend the Fourth of July! We met her at the Dupont Hotel off Dupont Circle. So good to see Mom and catch her up on our adventures. The city was beautful and Dupont Circle was a fun area with great shops and character. We had dinner at an Asian place across the street from the hotel and dessert at the bookstore nearby. As we headed back to the hotel, fireworks lit up the sky in our nation’s capitol. 

Sunday, July 5 was a relaxing “day off” from research. I phoned the DAR Library to find out their hours for the next day, only to hear that the library would be closed all week for their annual convention…. Murphy’s Law at work again!!! So Dad and I would go to the Library of Congress instead. 

Monday, July 6. After our morning Starbucks, Dad and I left Mom for the day and headed off on the Metro to the Library of Congress. I researched Moravian records for Ottos and Irish records for Wylie. That evening Mom, Dad, Aunt Kathy and I went to Carrie and Rich’s for dinner. Carrie had just arrived home from Baghdad that afternoon! We were so grateful she got home safe and sound. It was great getting caught up with the three of them…. AND getting a “cat fix” with Miley and Scribbles! 

Tuesday, July 7 was spent researching again at the Library of Congress. Then that evening Carrie took the Metro into Dupont Circle and joined us for dinner at a nearby Japanese restaurant and desserts after at Kramer Books. It was a beautiful night in DC! 

Wednesday, July 8. We left Mom to head south into Virginia and she would catch her flight back to Seattle later that day. Washington DC is amazing. Dad and I took a wrong turn leaving town and had another chance to swing by the mall and all those glorious monuments. Kind of makes you swell with patriotic pride! We enjoyed the beautiful drive from DC to SW Virginia. We first stopped at Roanoke and spent a few hours at the public library, which has a great collection. We sought Wards and Goodykoontzes and made lots of copies. The librarians there were friendly and helpful. We stayed at Salem, Virginia, midway between Roanoke and Floyd. The Super 8 was next to a Mexican Restaurant, where we ate a rather disappointing dinner. 

Thursday, July 9. Today we saw the Goodykoontz home in Floyd County, Virginia. The daughter-in-law of the homeowners met us there to let us in and look around. This home and property belonged to a brother of our Daniel Goodykoontz, and stayed in the family for a hundred years. The hilly countryside all around was beautiful and green. The home itself had seen better days. We went the nearby Goodykoontz Cemetery, in the midst of thick woods and difficult to access. Fortunately they had just cleaned out some of the overgrowth before our arrival. The stones were all mossy and hard to read. After that, Dad and I stopped briefly at the courthouse in Floyd but did not find anything helpful and it was all pretty overwhelming. We had lunch across the street in a little café to regroup. Then we visited the cemetery near the Zion Lutheran Church where Margaret Goodykoontz is buried. Her old headstone is gone and a more modern headstone marks her grave and lists all her children. We also stopped at the public library in Floyd. After that we visited the Kegley Memorial Library on the college campus at nearby Wytheville. The librarian there was very knowledgeable, and helped by supplying us with several record books in a short span of time. That evening we stayed at a Super 8 in Kingsport, Tennessee. 

Friday, July 10. After our continental breakfast, we drove to Jefferson County, Tennessee. We first stopped at the library in Jefferson City, where I copied cemetery inscriptions, maps and directions, which is always a good idea before heading to an unknown cemetery. Then we drove to New Market, where Jacob and Sarah Goodykoontz had relocated after leaving Iowa. They are buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery there. Dad found Jacob and Sarah Goodykoontz’ stones and I found the Raymond stones. 

View from cemetery at New Market

We both got emotional in that cemetery and at the church in New Market. Perhaps the emotion came from the thrill of discovery of our ancestor Jacob’s headstone on this our last stop of the journey, or from the beauty of that rural resting place, set quietly in the green countryside overlooking far off stretches of fields and hills in the late afternoon sun. Or perhaps we were emotional because our adventure together was coming to an end. 

We stopped for a snack at a fast food place, then I dropped Dad off at the airport in Knoxville. We said goodbye with hugs and tears. It’s been a trip with him I’ll always cherish. How special to share a love of adventure in seeking out our ancestors! Seeking the ancestral counties gave us the destinations; the best part was the shared journey together. 

Then it was solo from there on out. Instead of staying in Knoxville for the night, I decided I would drive on to Asheville NC. I had arranged to meet Cousin Ralph there the next day. What a BEAUTIFUL drive! Winding roads over mountainous terrain was like the Siskiyous in southern Oregon. I encountered occasional rain showers, but not the heavy downpours we had in northern Pennsylvania. 

Saturday, July 11, I met up with Cousin Ralph at an espresso shop and bookstore in Asheville. We took a trolley tour of the city and were amazed at how magnificent the buildings are. It was beautiful and very interesting. We agreed though, that we wouldn’t want to drive around in it every day because of the hills. For me it’s just too big a city, but I will enjoy bringing Pete back in the future to see it. It was great to see Ralph again after nine year since the Eastlick reunion in Michigan. 

Sunday, July 12. Cousin David drove all the way from Little Rock AR to meet me while I was on my road trip. We met in Nashville that Sunday after corresponding a couple years earlier by email regarding our Eastlick ancestry. It was fun meeting a new cousin! We had ribs for lunch, then took a tour of Nashville and talked about life and our ancestors before heading our own ways. David checked the weather report on the computer and noticed some bad storms up north, but I decided to head out anyway. 

If I had known what I was driving into, I would have waited in Nashville! The rain was so heavy my wipers couldn’t keep up. Visibility was impossible. I could barely see the taillights of the car ahead of me, only enough to see that a lot of people were pulling over to wait until they could see the road. Thunder and lightning were severe. It was a SCARY drive through a HUGE downpour with thunder and lightning! Cars were pulling over left and right, some continuing on with their flashers. I did a little of both, gripping the steering wheel and hoping I wouldn’t get struck by lightning! So tense! I finally arrived safely at my motel in Cadiz, Kentucky. Really needed that glass of wine! 

Monday, July 13. The next day’s drive was very pleasant in comparison with the storm the day before. I drove north and west to St. Louis and to the home of Cousin Cherie. She insisted I cancel my hotel reservation and stay with her in her home, so of course I didn’t argue! Cherie is a very persuasive cousin! It was so good to see her and visit again after nine years. We had a great time getting caught up. Can’t believe it’s been nine years since that Eastlick reunion in Bridgeport, Michigan. On the news was a report about the severe weather the day before, which I had experienced up close and personal! 

Cherie and I had dinner at a Chinese food buffet and had a great visit. 

Tuesday, July 14 After saying goodbye to Cherie, I drove north to Marion County, Missouri. I researched at public libraries in Hannibal, Missouri and Quincy, Illinois. Found a newspaper reference to John Crouch being brought back for burial in Warren MO after his death in Quincy. This varies slightly from other sources. No obituary, though. I stayed in Keokuk IA for the night. 

Carthage jail

Wednesday, July 15. Onward to Hancock County, Illinois, where I researched at the courthouse, library and genealogy society in Carthage, working on my Conner line. I also got to tour the historic Carthage jail where Mormon leaders Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed in 1844. My Conners lived in Hancock County for over 30 years until moving to Siskiyou Co CA in 1874. I often wondered if it was just coincidence that they were there when the Mormons arrived at Nauvoo. No evidence that they were Mormon, and in fact I did find reference to Constantia (Stephens) Conner switching from the Presbyterian to Congregational churches during the time before her marriage there. That night I stayed at the Super 8 in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 

Thursday, July 16. I drove on to Washington Co, Iowa to research my Crouch, Young, Leasure and Reeves families. Found land locations (their names on an 1859 atlas!) and deeds for Montgomery Crouch, Samuel R. Young and Denton Leasure. Our Ephraim Leasure was nowhere to be found. I LOVED the helpful ladies in the genealogy department at the public library. And even though the woman in the recording office at the courthouse was reluctant, I won her over and got my copies! 

Friday, July 17. I arrived safely back in Dubuque, having come full circle on this amazing trip. Bonnie Sue and I shopped for groceries, visited a bookstore and Starbucks, and she prepared dinner as we visited in her beautiful home. 

Saturday, July 18 was spent relaxing at Cousin Bonnie Sue’s. 

Sunday, July 19. Bonnie Sue had tickets for us to see “Little Shop of Horrors” at the Dubuque Opera House Sunday, which was great fun, especially since I had sung in that show years before. Dubuque is such a picturesque and historic city. 

Mulling over the research findings from my most recent stop in Washington County, I discovered I may have had a breakthrough. After 12 states and multiple courthouses, cemeteries, genealogy societies and libraries, I had been hoping for a new ancestor. Just when I thought I would return home without one, I went back to the Washington County deeds. Montgomery Crouch had purchased a parcel of land in 1849 from John S. Reeves. Montgomery’s wife, Mary Reeves had been a dead end for years. Now there’s this John S. Reeves in Washington County, who could be a relative of hers. I found a Washington County history book online, including a bio of John S. Reeves, naming his parents and where they came from. If he is Mary’s brother, I may have broken through another generation going back! 

Monday, July 20 I bid farewell to Dubuque and Cousin Bonnie Sue and drove on to Chicago. I arrived around 2:00 p.m., turned in my wonderful little rental car after about 4300 miles, and took the shuttle to my hotel. Finally got the internet to work (procedure varies at each stop), then had time to relax and read all afternoon and evening. It was hard to believe my amazing road trip was coming to an end. Sniff! 

Tuesday, July 21. I saw some awfully beautiful scenes back in the Midwest, but crossing above the Cascades as our flight descended into Seattle was spectacular. It’s great to be back in the Northwest! There’s nothing like it.

Posted in Beaver, Brown, Conner, Crouch, Easlick, Eastlick, Goodykoontz, Leasure, Lewis, Otto, Patterson, Preston, Reeves, Spencer, Ward, Whipple, Wylie, Young | Comments Off on 50th birthday road trip adventure, June-July 2009