Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan). Archives, Labels (tags), and other links appear at the bottom of the page.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Elijah Sedgwick Jr. and the Anti-Masonic Scandal of 1826

I've been poking around in Google Books, looking for whatever might be found pertaining to my fourth great-grandfather, Elijah Sedgwick. I believe what I found this morning, however, pertains not to him but to his second-born child, Elijah Sedgwick, Jr., who lived for a time at Victor, Ontario County, New York. First, here's why I think so.

Elijah Sedgwick, Jr., graduated in 1826 from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of the Western District at Fairfield, New York, and filed a copy of his diploma with the Ontario County clerk. [See Hoolihan, Christopher. An Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine and Health Reform. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2001.]

Later, his name appeared in a list published in History of Ontario County, New York. Papers of the Ontario County Medical Society dating from their organization in 1806 until 1842 were destroyed by fire, and the list was described this way: "...a stray leaf from an old record is found, from which we learn the names of the early physicians of the county, but there is nothing by which can be determined the date of the entry." The name Elijah Sedgwick appears in the list, and this was certainly Elijah Jr., as there is no evidence that Elijah Sr. was ever a doctor.

According to information posted at Sedgwick.org, Elijah Jr. and his wife, Esther P. Bement, were known to have lived in Victor, and Esther is said to have died there in 1842. I don't have any evidence that Elijah Sr. ever lived in Victor.

Thus I'm convinced that it's Elijah Jr. whose name appears with others from Victor as one of several locality-based committees which together formed a larger committee whose anti-Masonic activities were a response to the disappearance and possible murder of William Morgan by Freemasons.

The Wikipedia summary of the William Morgan story will surely whet your appetite for more on this interesting case, which is still unsolved. Much has been written about it by both sides. I've collected some resources on the subject at my companion blog, My Ancestors in Books. Included there are the two books in which Elijah Sedgwick's name appears, followed by seven other books which are, in whole or in part, about Freemasonry and the William Morgan affair.

Considering the widespread upheaval and political ramifications that followed the disappearance of Morgan, I'm surprised I'd never heard of this before. No wonder I thought high school history was dull. They left out the really interesting stuff. William Morgan is not so much as a leaf on my family tree, but his events of 1826 were surely a topic of conversation among my kin--so much so that at least one of them, Elijah Sedgwick, Jr., took an anti-Masonic stand.

In another branch of the family, a son born in 1832 was named after Andrew Jackson, a Mason. Previously I thought this name was simply a statement of support for a president and his party, but considering the timing in conjunction with the controversy stirred up by the Morgan affair, I have to wonder whether it may have been a pro-Masonic statement as well.

Putting a Spin on It, 19th Century Style

One more thing before you go off to read about Morgan. It seems to me there are two kinds of books about this subject: those written by Masonic authors and those written by anti-Masonic authors. You'll notice the difference yourself, even in the pictures.

William Morgan
The portrait above appears in the first of the books you'll find at My Ancestors in Books, Bernard's anti-Masonic Light on Masonry, where it's identified as William Morgan. The Historical Association of Lewiston uses a very different portrait in their informative one-page PDF about William Morgan. At the website of the Masonic Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon, a page entitled William Morgan notes displays the latter image and, in note number 20, has this to say about the two portraits:
"A posthumous portrait of Morgan first appeared as a frontispiece to David Bernard’s Light on Masonry, printed by William Williams, Utica. Claiming to be from a painting by A. Cooley, the caption gives credit to V. Balch as sculptor, original copyright by Cooley in New York, April 1829. With this picture and a meticulously worded legal description, artist Noel Holmes was directed by William G. Vorpe, one of the editors of The Cleveland Plain Dealer, to draw the picture of Morgan found at the top left of this page."
A third portrait, clearly based on the Holmes portrait, appeared in an 1883 book by Robert Morris (included in the post at My Ancestors in Books):

Labeled as "Fictitious Portrait No. 1," it was followed by "Fictitious Portrait No. 2," a crude copy of the one which appeared in Bernard's book.

Indeed!

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Rude Copy of Verses on the History of Woburne Towne

Records for the Towne of Woburne
ffrom the year 1640 the 8 day of th 10 month

Paulisper Fui

In peniles age I woburne Towne began
Charls Towne first moved the Court my lins to span
To vewe my land place compild body Reare
Nowell Sims Sedgwick thes my paterons were
Sum fearing He grow great upon these grownds
Poor I wase putt to nurs among the Clownes
Who being taken with such mighty things
As had bin work of Noble Qeeins and Kings
Till Babe gan crye and great disturbance make
Nurses Repent they did har undertake
One leaves her quite an other hee doth hie
To foren lands free from the Babys Crye
To more of seaven seing nursing provd soe thwarte
Thought it more ease in following of the Carte.
A naighbour by hopeing the Babe wold bee
A pritty Girle to Rocking har went hee
Too nurses less undanted then the rest
ffirst howses ffinish thus the Girle gane drest
Its Rare to see how this poore Towne did rise
By weakest means two weake in great ons eys
And sure it is that mettells cleere exstraction
Had never share in this Poore Towns erextion
Without which metall and sum fresh suplys
Patrons conclud she never upp wold rise
If ever she mongst ladys have a station
Say twas ffrom Parentes not har education
And now conclud the lords owne hand it wase
That with weak means did bring this work to pass
Not only Towne but Sistor church to ade
Which out of dust and Ashes now is had
Then all Inhabit woburne Towne stay make
The lord not means of all you undertake
The verse above was handwritten into the first record book of Woburn not by the author, Captain Edward Johnson, but by his son, Major William Johnson. (Click on the image above to enlarge it.) It's about the difficulties encountered by Captain Johnson and his fellow Commissioners for the Settlement of Woburn. Major Johnson didn't waste any ink on punctuation--you probably noticed!--as if the spelling and syntax weren't going to be challenging enough for some of us who might be reading it four centuries later.

See what you can make of this punctuated version:
Paulisper Fui

In peniles age I woburne Towne began;
Charls Towne first moved the Court my lins to span.
To vewe my land place, compild body Reare,
Nowell, Sims, Sedgwick, thes my paterons were.
Sum fearing He grow great upon these grownds,
Poor I wase putt to nurs among the Clownes,
Who being taken with such mighty things
As had bin work of Noble Qeeins and Kings,
Till Babe gan crye and great disturbance make;
Nurses Repent they did har undertake.
One leaves her quite; an other hee doth hie
To foren lands, free from the Babys Crye;
To [two] more of seaven, seing nursing provd soe thwarte,
Thought it more ease in following of the Carte.
A naighbour by, hopeing the Babe wold bee
A pritty Girle, to Rocking har went hee.
Too [two] nurses less undanted [danted ?] then [than] the rest,
ffirst howses ffinish; thus the Girle gane drest.
Its Rare to see how this poore Towne did rise
By weakest means, two [too] weake in great ons [ones'] eys.
And sure it is that mettells cleere exstraction
Had never share in this Poore Towns erextion;
Without which metall and sum fresh suplys
Patrons conclud she never upp wold rise.
If ever she mongst ladys have a station,
Say twas ffrom Parentes, not har education,
And now conclud the lords owne hand it wase
That with weak means did bring this work to pass,
Not only Towne but Sistor church to ade
Which out of dust and Ashes now is had.
Then all Inhabit woburne Towne, stay make
The lord, not means, of all you undertake.
Call me a sissy if you will, but I think it's still pretty beastly. Fortunately, between 1640 and now, there've been others who foresaw the potential for "Huh?" and offered some explication and modernization. So, while the purist in me feels the need to honor the original, the sissy is pleased to have found the modernized version below:
Paulisper Fui

In penniless age, I, Woburn town, began;
Charlestown first moved the Court my lines to span.
To view my land place, compiled body rear,
Nowell, Symmes, Sedgwick, these my patrons were.
Some fearing I'll grow great upon these grounds,
Poor, I was put to nurse among the clowns,
Who being taken with such mighty things
As had been work of noble queens and kings--
Till babe 'gan cry and great disturbance make--
Nurses repent they did her undertake.
One leaves her quite; another he doth hie
To foreign lands, free from the baby's cry;
Two more of seven, seeing nursing proved so thwart,
Thought it more ease in following of the cart.
A neighbor by, hoping the babe would be
A pretty girl, to rocking her went he.
Two nurses less undaunted than the rest,
First houses finish; thus the girl 'gan dressed.
It's rare to see how this poor town did rise
By weakest means; --too weak in great ones' eyes.
And sure it is, that metal's clear extraction
Had never share in this poor town's erection;
Without which metal, and some fresh supplies
Patrons conclude she never up would rise.
If ever she 'mongst ladies have a station,
Say 'twas from parents, not her education.
And now conclude the Lord's own hand it was
That with weak means did bring this work to pass.
Not only town but sister church too add
Which out of dust and ashes now is had.
Then all inhabit Woburn town, stay, make
The Lord, not means, of all you undertake.
That's better, eh? But if you're anything like me, you're still mumbling something about not "getting it." As the saying goes, you had to have been there, and we weren't. In the interest of resolving some of the remaining befuddlement, I've annotated this one with whatever explanatory material I've found. See if this helps:

In penniless age, I, Woburn town, began;
Dear reader, it is the town of Woburn, Massachusetts, that speaks to us from the dais of this verse.
Charlestown first moved the Court my lines to span.
The General Court, May 13, 1640, on the petition of Charlestown, made a grant of two square miles of land on Charlestown's head line for a new town, later enlarging the tract to four miles square. Prior to its incorporation, it was called Charlestown Village.
To view my land place, compiled body rear,
Frothingham interprets the phrase "compild body reare" as meaning "my compact body to rear." To me, that doesn't make a lot of sense. In fact, I'm not even sure the added punctuation is right. Could place be a verb? What about compild? My dictionary offers 1) gathered together, or 2) put together out of existing material, either of which makes more sense to me than compact. I'm no scholar, but consider this possibility:
To view my land, a gathered group of settlers followed
Nowell, Symmes, Sedgwick. These my patrons were.
Nowell, Symmes, Sedgwick, these my patrons were.
Within a few days after the court granted the land, "Mr. Increase Nowell [magistrate], Mr. Zachariah Sims [minister], Edward Johnson, Edward Conuars, Ezekill Richison, Samuwel Richison, and Robert Halle, together with Mr. Hubard, artist, searched the land lying within the two miles square." Captain Robert Sedgwick was a friend and neighbor of Captain Johnson, a member of Charlestown's committee for the survey and, like Nowell and Symmes, had invested in the creation of the new town. It was named Woburn in compliment to him, as he'd been born in Woburn, Bedfordshire, England. (Later, Sedgwick would rise in rank, eventually to that of major-general under Cromwell. And much, much later, he would become my ninth great-grandfather, which is why we are here today beating this verse to a pulp.)
Some fearing I'll grow great upon these grounds,
Actually, it seems quite a few were worried about the growth of Woburn. First there was the issue of the boundary between Woburn and Linne Village. This interesting story was noted by Johnson: "Noble Captain Sedgwicke, Ensigne Palmer, Thomas Lins, Edward Johnson, Edward Conuars, John Mousall, and others, went to view the bounds between Linne Village and this town, like Jacobites, laying them down to rest when night drew on, now preserved by the good hand of God with cheerful spirits, though the heavens poured down rain all night incessantly. One remarkable Providence, never to be forgotten. Some of the company lay under the body of a great tree, it lying some distance from the earth. When the daylight appeared, no sooner was the last man come from under it, but it fell down to their amazement, [they] being forced to dig out their food that was caught under it, it being so ponderous that all the strength they had could not remove it." A few weeks later, "the parties aforesaid met at Linne, and lay there all night. Next day, drew Linne men to the confines of their bounds, endeavoring to point the divisional line between their new town and this." Later, the Church of Charlestown met "to consider of those that should go up to this town [Woburn]; and, seeing many appear, fearing the depopulation of Charlestown, from that day forward had a suspicious eye over them."
Poor, I was put to nurse among the clowns,
"Clowns" refers to the ordinary people who actually settled the town, as opposed to the investors ("patrons").
Who being taken with such mighty things
As had been work of noble queens and kings--
Till babe 'gan cry and great disturbance make--
Woburn herself is the "babe." All that crying and disturbance refers to the many problems that were encountered in trying to raise her.
Nurses repent they did her undertake.
Jameson suggests that the designation of "nurses" is an allusion to the seven members of the managing committee: Edward Convers, Edward Johnson, Ezekiel Richardson, John Mousall, Thomas Graves, Samuel Richardson, and Thomas Richardson. Because Robert Sedgwick is not among that particular seven, Jameson's suggestion doesn't quite jibe with Poole's explanation of the following two lines.
One leaves her quite; another he doth hie
To foreign lands, free from the baby's cry;
Poole says, "It is a noticeable coincidence that the two most eminent and active associates of Captain Johnson in the early proceedings for the settlement of the Town of Woburn — General Sedgwick and Rear-Admiral Thomas Graves — left the enterprise before its consummation; and, returning to England, were appointed to high military and naval positions in the forces of Cromwell. Perhaps Captain Johnson alludes to them" in these lines.
Two more of seven, seeing nursing proved so thwart,
Thought it more ease in following of the cart.
Hurd suggests these two were the brothers Samuel and Thomas Richardson. He also suggests the one who "left her quite" in the previous couplet was a reference to Ezekiel Richardson, rather than Sedgwick.
A neighbor by, hoping the babe would be
A pretty girl, to rocking her went he.
The neighbor, says Hurd, was Edward Johnson himself.
Two nurses less undaunted than the rest,
Johnson clearly meant "daunted" here, not "undaunted."
First houses finish; thus the girl 'gan dressed.
The first house finished was that of Edward Convers, the next that of John Mousall.
It's rare to see how this poor town did rise
By weakest means; --too weak in great ones' eyes.
From the humblest circumstances imaginable.
And sure it is, that metal's clear extraction
Hurd says that metal refers to gold or silver money. Robert Sedgwick, however, was one of the proprietors of Lynn Iron Works. His financial backing for the founding of Woburn might well have come from that enterprise. See Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, p. 160+, for more about Sedgwick. Also see Comments below.
Had never share in this poor town's erection;
Without which metal, and some fresh supplies
Patrons conclude she never up would rise.
Some of the source materials listed below have the chronology of events in the formation of Woburn. It's interesting to read about the many problems that arose. For awhile there, it didn't look too promising.
If ever she 'mongst ladies have a station,
Say 'twas from parents, not her education.
Round explains that Johnson wants to emphasize the work of Woburn's inhabitants (her parents) rather than the money and fresh supplies of patronage (her education).
And now conclude the Lord's own hand it was
That with weak means did bring this work to pass.
Not only town but sister church too add
Which out of dust and ashes now is had.
Then all inhabit Woburn town, stay, make
The Lord, not means, of all you undertake.
The meaning is, "Then all who inhabit Woburn town, make the Lord, not the mere means or instrumentalities, the chief stay of all that you undertake."
As for the title, the literal translation of the Latin phrase paulisper fui is "for a little while I have existed." Google it and you will quickly find these lines from Pseudolus, a comedy by the Roman playwright Plautus (ca. 254BC-184BC):
Quasi solstitialis herba paulisper fui:
Repente exortus sum, repentino occidi.

Like a summer plant, I lived a short time:
I sprang up suddenly, and suddenly fell.
This same thought can be found in the Bible--see Psalms 90:5-6, Psalms 103:15-16, Job 14:2--and other literature as well.

Interestingly, Paulisper Fui is included in the 584-page An Anthology of American Humor by Brom Weber (New York: Crowell, 1962), and I had to be bopped on the head with that bit of info before I realized that Johnson probably had a merry old time writing it. So next time you read it, remember to have a lot more fun!

------------

Source materials are listed below. I've collected them in a post entitled Paulisper Fui at my companion blog, My Ancestors in Books.

Johnson, Edward, and William Frederick Poole. Wonder-Working Providence of Sions Saviour in New England. Andover [Mass.]: W.F. Draper, 1867.

Hurd, D. Hamilton. History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men. Philadelphia: J. W. Lewis & Co., 1890.

Johnson, Edward; J. Franklin Jameson, ed. Johnson's Wonder-Working Providence, 1628-1651. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1910.

Sewall, Samuel, Charles Chauncy Sewall, and Samuel Thompson. The History of Woburn, Middlesex County, Mass. from the Grant of Its Territory to Charlestown, in 1640, to the Year 1860. Boston: Wiggin and Lunt, 1868.

Colonial Society of Massachusetts. Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts. Boston: The Society, 1895.

Converse, Charles Allen. Some of the Ancestors and Descendants of Samuel Converse, Jr., Of Thompson Parish, Killingly, Conn.; Major James Convers, of Woburn, Mass.; Hon. Heman Allen, M. C., of Milton and Burlington, Vermont; Captain Jonathan Bixby, Sr. of Killingly, Conn. Boston, Mass: E. Putnam, 1905.

Newhall, Charles Lyman. The Record of My Ancestry. Southbridge: Herald power print, 1899.

Round, Phillip H. By Nature and by Custom Cursed: Transatlantic Civil Discourse and New England Cultural Production, 1620-1660. Civil society (Hanover, N.H.). Hanover, N.H.: Tufts University published by University Press of New England, 1999.

Lewis, Charlton Thomas. A Latin Dictionary for Schools. New York: American Book Company, 1916.

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Bill West, of West in New England, has posted Waxing Poetic About Genealogy: The Great American Local Poem Genealogy Challenge, a blog carnival which has resulted in an anthology of poetry of special interest to geneabloggers. I've read several of the entries already, and am really enjoying the amazing variety of poems that were chosen. Don't miss it!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Smokin' Anecdote from the 1600s

In England in 1630, it seems a Spiritual Court found Thomas Hooker guilty of nonconformity with the Church of England, and so forbade him to practice his ministry. As he continued to engage in prayer and religious conference with other ministers in Chelmsford, a fifty-pound bond was added to the injunction, and Hooker was ordered to appear before the Court of High Commission. Instead, he... well, I guess you could say he jumped bail, and went to Holland.

Three years later, as his Puritan friends prepared to leave England for New England, they contacted him and asked that he join them as their spiritual guide. Since Mr. Hooker was not conforming comfortably with the churches of Holland either, he was pleased to do so. In preparation for the long journey by sea, he snuck back into England, and was laying low at the home of his friend Rev. Samuel Stone, my ninth great-grandfather, who was also preparing for the trip.

Hooker was still being pursued by the authorities, and they soon came looking for him at Stone's house. The story of what happened next was preserved by Cotton Mather:
"Mr. Stone was at that instant" (when the pursuivants knocked at the door of the very chamber in which Mr. Hooker was engaged in conversation,) "smoking of tobacco; for which Mr. Hooker had been reproving him, as being then used by few persons of sobriety. Being also of a sudden and pleasant wit, he (Mr. Stone) stepped to the door, with his pipe in his mouth, and such an air of speech and look as gave him some credit with the officer. The officer demanded whether Mr. Hooker was not there. Mr. Stone replied with a braving sort of confidence, 'What Hooker? Do you mean Hooker that lived once at Chelmsford?' The officer answered, 'Yes, he.' Mr. Stone, with a diversion like that which once helped Athanasius, made this true answer: 'If it be he you look for, I saw him about an hour ago at such a house in the town; you had best hasten thither after him.' The officer took this for a sufficient account and went his way."
Hooker continued to avoid appearing in public until he and Rev. Stone were well out to sea aboard the Griffin, on their way to New England, where they would become keystones of Connecticut colonization.

------------

Having collected so golden a nugget of family history, I feel like I've just time-traveled back 400 years to spend a moment with my grandfather Stone, although he was not exactly grandfatherly in that summer of 1633, being just 31 years old. I learned a lot about him in that moment. He was bold, and quick-witted! And... he smoked!

A decade later, in mid-1640s Connecticut, I wonder what he thought about this new law:
TOBACKO.

Fforasmuch as it is observed, that many abuses are crept in, and comitted, by frequent taking of tobacko:

It is ordered by the authority of this Courte, That no person under the age of twenty one years, nor any other, that hath not already accustomed himselfe to the use thereof, shall take any tobacko, untill hee hath brought a certificate under the hands of some who are approved for knowledge and skill in phisick, that it is usefull for him, and allso, that hee hath received a lycense from the courte, for the same.—And for the regulating of those, who either by theire former taking it, have, to theire owne apprehensions, made it necessary to them, or uppon due advice, are persuaded to the use thereof:

It is ordered, That no man within this colonye, after the publication hereof, shall take any tobacko, publiquely, in the streett, highwayes, or any barne yardes, or uppon training dayes, in any open places, under the penalty of six-pence for each offence against this order, in any the perticulars thereof, to bee paid without gainesaying, uppon conviction, by the testimony of one witness, that is without just exception, before any one magistrate. And the constables in the severall townes, are required to make presentment to each perticular courte, of such as they doe understand, and can evict to bee transgressors of this order.
The controversy about smoking has gone on for more than 400 years. I don't know why this would surprise to me, but it does.

This year the Great American Smokeout takes place November 19th. Best wishes to all who participate. I won't be--I smoked my last cigarette in 1988, two years after I moved to Oregon. I'm not proud, I'm grateful. Smoking was less prevalent there than here in the midwest. It was a great help to be able to go to smoke-free restaurants (thank you, Davidson's Casual Dining, for being smoke-free even before it became the law there, as it is now) and to be in a social environment where good health habits were more favored than bad ones.

I appreciated any and every law that was passed to discourage smoking. I viewed it as moral support. My mother, on the other hand, was outraged when anything threatened to impede her smoking habit. She smoked until she was so dependent on her oxygen tank that she could no longer abandon it for the few minutes it took to sneak off to her bedroom for a Parliament. In other words, when she was weakest and least able to face the challenge, she ultimately was forced to endure the quitting anyway. She died a long and miserable death in 2005 from emphysema and COPD. (But if she could hack my blog, she'd be inserting her defense of smoking right here!)

I wonder if Hooker ever convinced Samuel Stone to give up his tobacco habit.

------------

Sprague, William Buell. Annals of the American Pulpit, or, Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations: From the Early Settlement of the Country to the Close of the Year Eighteen Hundred and Fifty-Five : with Historical Introductions. New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1857. (Vol. I, p. 33)

Barber, John Warner. Connecticut Historical Collections, Containing a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &C., Relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Connecticut, with Geographical Descriptions. New Haven: J.W. Barber: Hartford, A. Willard, 1836. (p. 17-18)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A Poem, a Pear Tree, and My Eastham Ancestors


In 1644, some of the most respectable inhabitants of Plymouth became the first settlers of what would become Eastham, Massachusetts. The group included two of my ninth great-grandfathers, Richard Higgins and Josias Cook. Others included John Doane, Nicholas Snow, John Smalley, Edward Bangs, and Thomas Prince.

At his home in Eastham, Prince planted a pear tree that had been brought from England. Two centuries later Heman Doane, a descendant of John Doane, addressed the tree in verse:
Two hundred years have, on the wings of time,
Passed, with their joys and woes, since thou, Old Tree!
Put forth thy first leaves in this foreign clime,
Transplanted from the soil beyond the sea.
Whence did our pious Pilgrim Fathers come,
To found an empire in this western land.
Where they and theirs might find a peaceful home —
A safe retreat from persecution's hand.
That exiled band long since have passed away,
And still, Old Tree, thou standest in the place
Where Prince's hand did plant thee in his day —
An undesigned memorial of his race
And time — of those, our honored fathers, when
They came from Plymouth o'er and settled here —
Doane, Higgins, Snow, and other worthy men,
Whose names their sons remember to revere.
Full many a summer breeze and wintry blast
Through those majestic boughs have waved and sighed
While centuries with their burdens by have passed,
And generations have been born and died.
And many a sister tree has had its birth.
Performed its labors, and fulfilled its day;
And mighty kings and kingdoms of the earth
Have lived and flourished, died and passed away.
There didst thou stand in times of bloody strife.
The youthful days of Boston's famous tree, —
And when our patriot fathers sold their lives
To buy their country's glorious liberty!
Old time has thinned thy boughs, Old Pilgrim Tree!
And bowed thee with the weight of many years;
Yet, mid the frosts of age, thy bloom we see.
And yearly still thy mellow fruit appears.
Venerable emblem of our sires of yore!
Like them thou hast performed life's labors well;
And when, like them, thy days are passed and o'er,
These lines may help thy lengthened stories tell.
Henry David Thoreau quoted part of this poem in Cape Cod, but deigned to use all of it. Some lines, he felt, were not worth quoting. You can read Thoreau's comments and more about the ancient pear tree in Eastham at My Ancestors in Books.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Did your ancestor study at University of Michigan?

In the University of Michigan's General Catalog of Officers and Students 1837-1911, published in 1912, I found Samuel Hopkins Sedgwick and Theron Emmons Sedgwick at the top of p. 865:



Although these two brothers did not graduate from U of M, they both attended law school there in 1871-1872.

A search for "Sedgwick" turns up several other instances of that name.

If any of your ancestors are listed, you'll find some helpful explanatory material here:
  • p. iii - preface, followed by table of contents
  • p. 597 - see footnote at the bottom of the page
  • p. 967 - key to italic abbreviations
University of Michigan. General Catalogue of Officers and Students, 1837-1911. Ann Arbor, Mich: The University, 1912.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

On Lion Gardiner and Reverend Samuel Stone

Yesterday at Tombstone Territory, Stonewalker posted a photo of Lion Gardiner's elegant tomb in East Hampton, New York. Having seen the name recently, I looked up Lion Gardiner in Wikipedia. Mention of the Pequot War led me quickly to my Google Books library, where I found this story about Gardiner and my ninth great-grandfather, Rev. Samuel Stone:
[In 1634] war was declared against the Pequots, Capt. John Mason commanding the little army of ninety men, and Mr. Stone went with the men as their Chaplain. Capt. Mason, in reporting his victory, says:
"It may not be amiss here also to remember Mr. Stone (the famous Teacher of the Church of Hartford), who was sent to preach and pray with those who went out in those Engagements against the Pequots. He lent his best Assistance and Counsel in the Management of those Designs, and the night in which the Engagement was, (in the morning of it), I say that Night he was with the Lord alone, wrestling with Him by Faith and Prayer, and surely his Prayers prevailed for a blessing; and in the very Time when our Israel was ingaging with the bloud-thirsty Pequots, he was in the Top of the Mount, and so held up his Hand, that Israel prevailed."
It seems that when Mason's little army reached Saybrook, Lion Gardiner and Capt. John Underhill, who commanded a detachment of twenty men that the English company had caused to be sent from the Massachusetts colony for the defence and protection of the Saybrook settlement, both opposed the expedition. Each one had seen military service in the Netherlands, and looked upon an attack on the most warlike tribe in New England as a very hazardous undertaking for so small a band. Capt. Mason finally turned to Mr. Stone "and desired him that he would that Night commend their Case and Difficultyes to the Lord." The chaplain did so, and in the morning told Mason "that though he had formerly been against sailing to Naraganset and landing there, yet now he was fully satisfied to attend to it." This appears to have decided the matter, as "they agreed all with one accord" to go on.

Booth, Charles Edwin. One Branch of the Booth Family: Showing the Lines of Connection with One Hundred Massachusetts Bay Colonists. New York: Private Printing, 1910. (p. 215)

You can read detailed contemporary narratives about the Pequot war at my companion blog, My Ancestors in Books.

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Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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