30 March 2011

"Spider-web" Genealogy

From The History of Hartford, Vermont July 4, 1761 - April 4, 1889 by William Howard Tucker (Burlington, VT: Free Press Association, 1889) --
No longer than sixty years ago there was in one school district in Hartford six families whose total membership, parents and children, was ninety-nine persons, viz :—
David Newton and wife, and 16 children ;
Sylvanus Smith and wife, and 20 children ;
Samuel Dutton and wife, and 16 children ;
Philip Sprague and wife, and 12 children ;
Harvey Gibbs and wife, and 10 children ;
Daniel Benedict Dutton and wife, and 13 children :
number of children, 87. The number of other children in the same district at that time swelled the aggregate to nearly 120.
-- And then they all grew up and got married.  And then their children got married to what are effectively their cousins.  And then again to their second cousins.  And of course you must name some of the kids after yourselves, and their grandparents, and their aunts and uncles!  And if you tragically had a Rachel die while a toddler, well, no problem, you just named the next girl "Rachel."  Your husband die?  Well of course you married his brother, who was named after his father.  And if your wife dies, why of course you married her niece who was named after your sister in law, and whom you named two of your daughters after!

Then some day, over a hundred years later, a descendant like me comes along and must try to sort it all out.  I am sure it all made perfect sense to them back them, but for a researcher it is terribly confusing.  I haven't actually started the hard slosh, because I have done a cursory look ahead, and I dread it.  Mind you this is just a cursory look, but I note I am descended from three of the above families, and Sylvanus Smith at least twice.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

29 March 2011

My Dutton Family of Connecticut and Vermont

From The History of Hartford, Vermont July 4, 1761 - April 4, 1889 by William Howard Tucker (Burlington, VT: Free Press Association, 1889) --

The Duttons in America are of Saxon nativity. The ancient family of Duttons assumed their surname from the place of their residence--Duntune—now contracted to Dutton, a township lying about five miles east of Frodsham, on the river Wever, in Cheshire. The Duttons in Vermont are descendants of the Duttons who emigrated to New England about 1630, many of whose descendants settled in Connecticut. The Duttons in Hartford are lineal descendants of Thos. Dutton of Wallingford, Ct.

1. THOMAS DUTTON, of Wallingford, Ct., was b. March 1, 1707; was m. May 6. 1799 [transcriber's note: this must be a typo, as children were born to this couple from 1730 to 1753], to Abigail Merriam, b. 1708, died April 6, 1799, in Wallingford; he d. in Royalton, Vt., in 1802. Their children were:
John, b. Feb. 6, 1730, d. 1842;
Abigail, b. July 8, 1732;
Thomas, b. Jan. 31, 1735, m. Mar. 1756, Anna Rice, d. Jan. 20, 1806;
Samuel, b. Feb. 3, 1737;
Lois, b. Nov. 8, 1738, m. Dec. 17, 1759, a Mostly, and settled in Poultney, Vt.;
Matthew, b. Nov. 11, 1740, d. young;
John, b. April 14, 1743;
Amasa, b. July 31, 1745;
Nathaniel, b. June 5, 1747;
Phebe, b. Oct. 11, 1749, d. 1825;
Asahel, b. Feb. 2, 1753;

2. SAMUEL, son of Thomas (1), b. in Washington, Ct. ; m. Dec. 6, 1754, Joanna Root, b. Jan. 1, 1737, d. in Woodstock, Vt., 1772; he m. 2d, Oct. 7, 1772, Rachel Benedict, b. April 14, 1751, d. in Hartford, July 21, 1828; he d. in Hartford, Feb. 22, 1813. Mr. Dutton moved from Woodbury, Ct., to Woodstock, Vt., in 1778, and there bought the home farm of Abraham Powers, which he occupied until 1796, when he removed to Royalton, Vt., where his brother Amasa had already settled. Mr. Dutton was a carpenter and house-joiner by trade. While in Woodstock he carried on farming, and was quite prominent in town affairs. March 28, 1782, he was chosen to be a deacon of the First Congregational church, then called "Mr. Hutchinson's Church." On the 6th of April, 1802, Mr. Dutton bought a 100-acre lot of land in Hartford, of Elias Lawrence, and moved into this town prior to April, 1803. A portion of the land he then bought is now occupied by David D. Hazen. Mr. Dutton died in Hartford, July 21, 1828.
His children by his first wife (all born in Connecticut) were :
Olive, b. Aug. 17, 1761, m. about 1780, Seth Fuller of Hartford, d. Aug. 17, 1828;
Abigail, b. Aug. 30, 1763, m. June 7, 1779, Thomas Hazen 4, (See Hazen family);
Lois, b. Aug. 18, 1765, d. Jan. 7, 1772;
David, b. Aug. 17, 1767, d. Feb. 26, 1813.
Joanna, b. 1769, (further history not recorded);
Samuel, b. June 1, 1771.
The children by his second wife were:
Daniel Benedict, b. Aug. 22, 1773;
Thaddeus, b. Nov. 3, 1775, d. Feb. 18, 1813;
Hannah his wife, d. Feb. 24, 1813, aged 37;
Matthew, b. April 5, 1778;
Esther, b. July 24, 1770, m. Oct. 9, 1814, Joseph Savage, b. Oct. 15, 1780, (son of Lt. Seth and Rhoda (Bacon) Savage), d. March 14, 1857;
Rachel, b. Oct. 17, 1782, d. Sept. 30, 1783;
Rachel, b. June 30, 1784, d. June 3, 1795;
Reuben, b. July 24, 1786, d. Sept. 28, 1815;
Asa, b. Dec. 22, 1789, d. Oct. 29, 1790;
Chloe, b. Sept. 29, 1793, d. same day.

4. DANIEL BENEDICT, son of Samuel (2), b. 1773, m. Dec. 5, 1796, Lorana Smith, b. Feb. 15, 1779, (dau. of Sylvanus and Dina (Fisk) Smith); he d. Sept. 1, 1849, in Norwich, Vt. ; she d. in Norwich, Sept. 15, 1857.
Their children were :
Matthew, b. July 16, 1798, d. Nov. 17, 1820;
Marvin, b. Nov. 30, 1799, m. 1st, April 5, 1826, Ruliana Barrows, 2nd, June 10, 1830, Eunice Hazen, b. Jan. 10, 1799, (dau. of Philemon and Eunice (Marsh) Hazen of Hartford), he d.. April 11, 1872;
Rachel, b. Oct. 7, 1801, m. Dec. 5, 1822, Moses Thompson, died July 21, 1861;
Louisa, b. May 12, 1802, d. Sept. 6, 1820;
Aaron, b. Aug. 4, 1804, m. Phebe Tracy;
Samuel, b. Sept. 6, 1806, m. Nancy Smith;
Olive, b. April 8, 1808, m. Dec. 31, 1838, a King, d. Jan., 1877;
Norman, b. Feb. 14, 1810, m. widow of his brother Samuel;
Esther, b. Jan. 15, 1812, m. Jan. 31, 1837 Morgan. L. Crosby, d. March 27, 1878;
Thaddeus, b. Nov. 23, 1814, m. March 31, 1840, Emily Sprague, b. Dec. 13, 1813, (dau. of Philo and Laura (Hazen) Sprague), he d. Dec. 19, 1874, she d. Aug. 2, 1878, children three;
Daniel B. Jr., b. Aug. 30, 1816, m: Cornelia Howland;
John, known as Dea. John, b. Aug. 23, 1818, m. Harriet Lord;
Louisa A., b. Feb. 8, 1820, d. Oct. 31, 1851.
Samuel and Nancy (Smith) Dutton were my g-g-g-grandparents.  They had two children together, one being  my g-g-grandmother Louisa Dutton, who of course married my g-g-grandfather Henry Martin Walker, Sr., who died in the tragic railroad accident while serving in the Civil War.  Samuel died prematurely, and  Nancy remarried to Samuel's younger brother Norman (see above) to whom she also gave two children.  Nancy died, and Norman remarried.

When Henry Sr. died during the Civil War, his family was completely broken up with each member going to live with a different relative.  Louisa remarried twice, and spent much of her elderly years living with her daughter Letta and son-in-law.  Henry Jr., my g-grandfather and who was to become known as a pariah, grew up with his step-grandfather Norman as his legal guardian.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

28 March 2011

Amanuensis Monday: 8/15/1900 Penitentiary Letter from Henry M. Walker

Having a genealogy blog pays off once again!  A nice couple from Kansas were going through the estate papers of one of their g-grandfathers and found a letter written to their ancestor on Nebraska State Penitentiary letterhead.  Out of curiosity they Googled the name of the author of the letter and found him, my g-grandfather Henry Martin Walker, and his story on my blog!  Then out of the goodness of their hearts they emailed me to make contact and then sent the original letter to me.  Two strangers richly blessed me -- I pray God blesses them!

The letter is dated three months before Henry's early release on good behavior from a four-year sentence for "shooting to wound" his wife.  According to my new friends, their ancestor the recipient was an attorney and a banker.

Handwritten on Nebraska State Penitentiary letterhead, dated August 15, 1900, from Henry M. Walker, prisoner #3033, to Mr. H.H. Andrews of Callaway, Nebraska.  Transcribed with all spelling and grammar errors as original --
Dear Sir,
It has been along time since I heard from you or anyone there I have heard at last what the news papers said was the cause of my trouble and it has explaned a good deal to me but it is strange that Mr Holladay or any one else neather told me or shode me a copy of it especly when they beleived it as much as it appears every one did but of corse the facts were brought out at my trial, Well that is all past and my turm nearly expired and I hope that I will not find any one that will care any more about taking care of me than I care to have them I expect to see Mr B. in Lincoln and find out how we stand financly.  Will you please write to me soon and tell me whether Milldale P.O. is discontinued or is the same P.O. Mistress of it now that was four years ago?  or have you heard how my boys are geting a long and the rest of the family?  How are the crops?  and oblige,
Please excuse mistakes and poor writing.
I remain as ever your friend Henry M. Walker No. 3033
--  1) It is a strange feeling to read that and know one of his "boys" he is inquiring about is my grandfather. 2) Milldale was a small but thriving community in Custer County, Nebraska.  At least it was until the railroad decided to bypass it, now it is nothing more than a bunch of crumbling foundations hidden under the wild prairie grasses. 3) The newspapers account of when Henry shot Lucy was quite dramatic, and it seemed ludicrous to us who read it that he was only charged with "shooting to wound," when the newspapers made it clearly out to be attempted murder.  So here Henry is claiming the true account is not in the newspapers but in the trial transcripts.  I have a cousin in Custer County who hopes to get a copy of the trial transcripts at the courthouse this coming week, if they still exist.  The courthouse burned to the ground on January 13, 1910.

UPDATE: ANOTHER LETTER FOUND!  My new friends in Kansas found another letter from Henry to their ancestor H.H. Andrews, and are putting it in the mail to me.  I will post that one here too.  It is dated shortly after he started his prison sentence and they tell me that it seems to indicate that the two of them were in business together.  All records point to Henry being a farmer.  Perhaps Mr. Andrews was part owner of the land and crops?  I have asked my new friends to also keep an eye out on Mr. Andrews business papers, perhaps they will find details.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

24 March 2011

Capt. David Cochran and the War of 1812

From The History of Clinton and Franklin Counties, New York (Philadelphia: J.W. Lewis & Co., 1880) --
Nearly every one who could shoulder a musket took part in the war. Some of those who responded to the requisition made upon the militia by the officer in command at Plattsburgh were David Cochran, captain; Elisha Button, lieutenant; Lucius Elderkin, orderly sergeant; Peter Haff, Abraham Haff, Elvey Ketchum, Isaac Ketchum, Ezra Stewart, Solomon Stewart, Allen Everest, Zelotis Bemas, Brinton Anson, Amos Anson, Jeremiah Hays, Asa Cochran, Nathaniel Cochran, Gardner Button, and others.
Capt. Cochran, with his men, was among the first to report to Gen. Macomb at Plattsburgh for duty, in September, 1814, when that place was threatened by a superior force of well-trained soldiery. On Tuesday, September 6th, his company, with others, was ordered out on the Beckmantown road to tear up the bridges and render the approach to Plattsburgh in that direction as difficult as possible. At a stream about four miles from Plattsburgh, while busy tearing up a bridge, nearly all of his men having their arms stacked, they were suddenly fired upon by a large body of troops, under the command of Gen. Willington, who came through the woods and around a bend in the road just beyond them. With great presence of mind, Capt. Cochran ordered his men to form into line of battle and return the fire of the enemy. It was at this point that the fight began for the defense of Plattsburgh, and the troops from Peru have the honor of having first met the foe. Not one of them was killed or wounded, and after having given battle an orderly retreat was commenced towards Plattsburgh, the men loading and firing on the march as Willington followed with his detachment of Sir John Prevost's army, numbering 6000 men. The company continued to perform patriotic and useful service during the war, and were not formally discharged until 1815.
Captain David Cochran (1765-1836) was my g-g-g-g-grandfather.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

22 March 2011

States My Direct Ancestors Lived In (Map)

States My Direct Ancestors Lived In
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com
Make yours @ BigHugeLabs.com

Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Vermont.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

17 March 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day for Real

I am over fifty years old, and thanks to genealogy this is the first St. Patrick's Day that I know uncategorically I have some Irish ancestry.  The same is true for my wife.  For her, the link to the green is through her Baggotts.  For me it is through both my Porters and Cochrans.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

16 March 2011

Genealogy Quote

"[Her spouse's] ancestry may not be my ancestry, but it is my kid's ancestry, and that matters a lot to me."                                                                                                 -- Lisa Louise Cook

I feel the same exact way.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

15 March 2011

Norman Dutton (1810-1889) and the Underground Railroad

From the Early History of Washington, Illinois and Vicinity (Tazewell County Reporter: Washington, IL  1922) --
The early settlers of this county, although mainly from
the southern or slave states, entertained a deep-seated prejudice
against the Negro, for which it is hard for us to account
at the present day.
The depot masters and conductors on the "under ground
railroad" from Elm Grove to Crow Creek were Josiah
Matthews, Lawyer Briggs, Absalom Dillon, Johnson Sommers,
William Woodrow, Anthony Field, Deacon and Willard
Gray, Uriah H. Crosby, Daniel Roberts and sons John M.,
Ambrose, Darius and Walter, Seth, Billings and Elijah Lewis,
George, Channey and Charles Crandle; Orin M. Bartlett,
James Patterson and J. Randolph Scott, Parker, Mark and
Levi Morse; George Kern and sons John, George and Andrew;
Norman Dutton, the Work brothers and Wilham Lewis.
Nathaniel Smith and Moses Pettingill of Peoria proved their
faith by their works.
-- This is just one of several citations I have ran into so far documenting Norman Dutton's activity in the "Underground Railroad."  More to come, especially about this astounding man.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

10 March 2011

A Brief Rant on Ancestry.Com Family Trees

While researching "Cyrus D. Ward" on Ancestry.com last night, I discovered something completely disturbing.  EVERY record said he was born in New Jersey.  Every census, every military record, every record.  BUT, nine out of ten family trees said he was born in Pennsylvania!  My gawd!!!

I am a huge fan of "the more people researching their family tree the better!"  More people is a good thing.  The more people, the more money, the more time invested in the hobby, the more responsive companies and bureaucracies are going to be to our wants and needs.

However there are responsibilities inherent to our research endeavors.  Responsibilities to our ancestors, to our descendants, and to ourselves, to get it right.  Just because someone says something is true does not mean it is.  Treat it as a clue or a hint, not as a fact.  Prove it to be true or false BEFORE you pass it along to others.  That is how you serve your ancestors, your descendants, and your own integrity.

Here is a simple little dictum to begin with "Someone else's unsourced family tree is not a source!" 

And to my beloved Ancestry.Com, you could help the cause by stopping telling your subscribers that they are.  I love them shaking leaves, and you properly describe them as "hints."  But then when the subscriber saves the "hint" to his/her family tree you then qualify it as a "source" when it is not.  The act of saving a hint does not in any way change it qualitatively or quantitatively, it is still a "hint."  Keep hints as hints, and sources for facts.

End of rant.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

Cyrus D. Ward (1788-1873) War of 1812 Record

"Record of Cyrus Ward" from  U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 --
No.: 550
Name: Ward Cyrus
Rank: Pvt 
Regiment: 17 USI ["U.S. Infantry"]
Company Commander: Capt. Bradford
Height: 5'8"
Eyes: Blue black
Hair: dark brown
Age: 24/25
Complexion: dark
Occupation: farmer
Where Born: Chatham, Morris, New Jersey
Enlistment When: March 24, 1813
Enlistment Where: [blank]
Enlistment By Whom: [illegible]
Enlistment Period: 5 years
Remarks: [Identical to Below]
From Records of Officers and Men of New Jersey in Wars, 1791-1815 --
Ward, Cyrus -- Private, Capt. Benjamin Watson's Company; enlisted, March 24, '13, for five years; promoted Sergt., Feb. 28, '15; transferred with Capt. Benjamin Watson's Company to 6th Infantry, Aug. 31, '15; reduced to private, March 9, '17; promoted Sergt., Dec. 11, '17; discharged at Plattsburgh, N.Y., March 24, '18, expiration of service.
Cyrus D. Ward was my g-g-g-grandfather by way of my g-grandmother Lucy (Chesley) Walker and her mother Phoebe (Ward) Chesley.

I was finding it brutal to get info on Cyrus Ward and his family.  But the above disclosed his birthplace which should help tremendously.

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

09 March 2011

Rev. Samuel Porter (1760-1825)

From the Stewart Family History, a personal family history written by William Flennikan Stewart, circa 1900 --
Samuel Porter b. 1760 Ireland. He came to the U.S. Samuel was a minister of the Gospel and did a good deal of pioneer work in Washington Co. Pa. His studies were under the direction of Mr. Smith & Dr. McMillen, the latter making no charge for board or tuition, while a friend provided for his family in the meantime. He was licenced Nov 12, 1789. In the following year he became pastor of the congregation of Poke Run & congruity. Of the former he was pastor until 1789, of the latter until his death Sept 23, 1825 in the 66th year of his age. He was a very able man. The above churches were in Washington Co. Pa.
 From History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania by John Boucher (Lewis Publishing Co., New York :1906).
Rev. Samuel Porter was an Irishman, born in 1760. He studied Greek and Latin and theology under Rev. McAlillen, and boarded with his family while doing so, all free of charge. He was licensed to preach in 1789, and the year following began preaching at Polk Run and Congruity. He died September 23, 1825, while pastor in charge of the latter congregation. . . .
The first pastor, Rev. Samuel Porter, was born in Ireland, June 11, 1760, and was of Covenanter parentage. He came to America in 1783, and spent some time in Mercersburg. In 1784 he went to Washington county, where he taught school. There he came under the notice of some of the renowned men of the Presbyterian Church, and he was induced to enter upon a course of study preparatory to entering the ministry. He studied under James Hughes, John Brice and Joseph Patterson and others. After three years he was licensed by the Red Stone Presbytery on November 12, 1789, and in April of the following year began his work at Congruity and Poke Run. The region embraced by his congregation was little less than a backwoods or frontier settlement at that time. Many of the people were as wild and uncultivated as the country in which they lived, and they were greatly in need of the refining influences of the gospel. It is said that on one occasion when Rev. Porter was preaching in the weeds, two young men withdrew from the congregation and ran a foot race in full view of the preacher and his hearers. Under his faithful work the congregation increased very rapidly, and in eight years they felt themselves able to support a pastor alone, so Poke Run was taken from Congruity in 1798. This was due in part to the fact that Mr. Porter did not regard himself as physically able to attend to the wants of both people. Congruity congregation promised him a salary of "one hundred and twenty pounds per year, to be paid one-half in merchantable wheat at five shillings per bushel, and the remainder in cash." To this Mr. Porter agreed, and continued his pastoral relations in that church until his death, September 10, 1825, in all a period of thirty-five years.

While Mr. Porter was pastor there, a new stone tavern was built on the pike, scarcely a mile from the church, and was opened by the owner, a very clever and ingenious landlord, who invited the young folks to have a housewarming and dance in his new tavern. Tickets were distributed and guests invited, many of whom were members of Congruity Church. On the Sunday previous to the intended ball, Mr. Porter, after preaching one of his customary eloquent sermons, before dismissing the congregation, said that the Presbytery would meet the following Tuesday in Greensburg, and also said that on Thursday evening at early candle-light a ball would be held about three-fourths of a mile from that place. He said it was to be hoped that all polite young ladies and gentlemen would attend, for it was a place where politeness and manners could be learned and cultivated, and that many other things could be said in favor of such places which it was not necessary for him to mention at the time. For his own part, if he did not attend, the young' folks, he hoped, would excuse him, as it was likely he might be detained by the Presbytery, but if he should return in time and nothing else prevented him, he would be present and would open the exercises of the night by reading a text of scripture, singing a psalm, etc. Then, with full and solemn voice and in his most impressive manner, he read the 9th verse of the 11th chapter of Ecclesiastes; next he announced and read the 73rd Psalm, and then offered prayer. He prayed for the thoughtless and gay, and asked the Great Spirit to guard them from the vices which might lead the youthful minds astray, after which, with a most solemn benediction, he dismissed his congregation. The evening set for the ball arrived and passed away, but no ball was held, the whole community having been awakened by the venerable pastor's words. During his last years he was enfeebled and unable to stand, and therefore preached while sitting in a split-bottom chair which stood in the pulpit.
From Banners in the Wilderness: Early Years of Washington and Jefferson College by Helen Turnbull Waite Coleman (University of Pittsburgh, 1956) --
Samuel Porter (1760-1825) had come from Ireland in his twenties with a wife, and with his trade as a weaver. McMillan gave him free board and instruction; a neighbor (possibly John McDowell) provided for his family. He spent his subsequent life in the expanding border country; as did also John Brice (1754-1811), William Swan (1764-1827), Thomas Marquis (1757-1827), and John McPherrin (1757-1822), whose ministerial studies were directed by John Clark.
Every one of them, except McGready, participated in the local schools which grew into W. and J. Swan succeeded James Rossas assistant to McMillan in his log cabin school; Patterson and Marquis served as trustees of Canonsburg Academy and Jefferson College; Hughes, Swan, Porter, and McPherrin as trustees of Jefferson College; Patterson and Brice as trustees of Washington College.
There were other contemporary ministers and teachers who came a little later and therefore are not named by McMillan among this second set.
Reverend Samuel Porter was my g-g-g-g-granduncle, through my great-grandmother Camilla (Porter) Needham.   

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker

01 March 2011

Signature of Henry M. Walker, Sr. (1829-1865)

As I already documented here my g-g-grandfather died in a tragic railroad accident while serving in the Civil War.  One of my seemingly endless quests is to try and find his grave.  This week I acquired from the National Archives a copy of his Civil War record including his "Final Statement."  Unfortunately it did not offer the information I sought but it did provide a lot of other neat material for future posts, so keep this blog bookmarked.

In the meantime here is an image of his signature taken from his enlistment papers.  I find it very well done, especially considering he gave his occupation as "farmer" --

Copyright © 2011 by Kevin W. Walker