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), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Bouton Papers on the Anti-Rent War

Last week I wrote about The Anti-Rent War on Blenheim Hill. Although no Efner was mentioned in the book, I thought that event might have had an impact on my ancestors and might have precipitated my third-great-grandpa Ezekiel T. Efner's move from New York to Wisconsin.

This week I've had the opportunity to read several pages of the Euguene Bouton Papers (Efner file), and my suspicions were confirmed. The Efner family, although not mentioned by name in Mayham's book, was surely affected by, if not actively involved in, the Anti-Rent War. Today's post is about the relationships that lead me to think so.

I made the chart above primarily to help illustrate how a number of surnames mentioned in Mayham's book are connected to Efner family members. The chart is neither comprehensive nor documented; it is simply a way to visualize what I'm going to point out.

(If I told you how long it took me to make the chart, I'm pretty sure you'd have a good case for getting me institutionalized. I began the project thinking I would use it to learn how to use FreeMind mind-mapping software--I happen to have version 0.8 but had never tried using it. After a frustrating hour or so, I was ready to admit I'm not that smart, so I bailed out and put my comfortable old Paint Shop Pro skills to work instead. After that, it took... oh yeah, I wasn't going to tell you that, was I?)

According to Bouton, there exists an old Efner Bible which, at the time of his research, was in the possession of Helen B. Easton of Peoria, Illinois. (Where, oh, where is this Bible now? I would happily cross a few state lines to get a look at it! Reader, if you can help me out, please click on this Contact link and let me know how to reach you.)

In the Bible, there are listed eleven children of Valentine Efner and his wife, Elizabeth Martin, my fourth great-grandparents, who are represented at the top center of the chart above. I've surrounded them with only five of their children (aqua ovals) for the purpose of this discussion. Each of the five ovals is overlapped with a brown rectangle showing the name of that person's spouse.

At the center, I've listed all the children of Margaret Efner and her husband, Dr. John Cornell. With the exception of Dr. Cornell's sister Elizabeth and Eugene Bouton, all remaining names are spouses of the Cornell children.

The Cornell surname appears 17 times in The Anti-Rent War on Blenheim Hill. The first mention is of Henry, but later references to "Dr. Cornell" refer to Margaret Efner's husband. On page 50, Dr. John Cornell is named specifically as one of the three men wanted by the sheriff for being the most active among the anti-renters. On page 59, there's a reference to "two of his little children, John and Bettie," and a bit of dialogue in which Mrs. Cornell speaks to another son, addressing him as "Sime." (That chapter begins on page 58, and you might as well start there, because Margaret has quite an entertaining part in this scene!)

In the Efner file, Bouton wrote, "Dr. Cornell's children are named in the old Wood School District as Ezekiel, Valentine, Simon, Margaret, John Tuttle, and Betsey." I've shamelessly added the others to my chart from WorldConnect with no intention of verifying the research; it serves my purpose here well enough as it stands. Take it for what it is--a small part of this discussion.

Bouton says this about Dr. Cornell (and my comments follow below the line):
He was a well known and highly respected physician and leading citizen in the northern part of Gilboa, which was taken from Blenheim in 1848. He was active in the Anti-Rent movement in the 1840's. He lived on the road leading from Cornell Hollow to the Blenheim Hill Methodist Church. At Sage place 1858 [*see note below] a camp meeting was held in the grove on the west side of the road opposite the Cornell home on the east. A lumber wagon with boards around the sides of the box for seats conveyed a company from Jefferson village to the meeting.
After the adoption at an Anti-Rent meeting of a resolution calling for "such laws as will enable the tenants to purchase the land of the Patroons at a fair consideration," Dr. Cornell announced, "I want to make a motion that will carry here tonight. I move that at our next meeting we get together in the afternoon and have a pole raising. I want to see a flag floating here bearing the words, 'Down with the Rent.'"

[*The phrase "At Sage place 1858" appears to be a type-over. Underneath, it appears to have said "At Sage place" without the year. I can't begin to guess the who or why of this change, and I'm confused because 1858 was well after the Anti-Rent War, which seems to be the subject immediately before and after the two sentences introduced by this phrase. Therefore I'm not sure whether the sentences actually are about a camp meeting in 1858, or alternatively about one of the meetings of the anti-renters which occurred during the timeframe covered in Mayham's book. The last three lines above (i.e., what Dr. Cornell is quoted as saying) appear verbatim in Mayham's book, but they were said to have been spoken in a meeting at the Brimstone church, not at the Sage place. The Sage surname, by the way, appears in Mayham's book a dozen times; they were anti-renters.]
Dr. Cornell's sister Elizabeth married Milo Wood in 1824, according to Bouton. Milo's name appears twice in Mayham's book.

The Mayham surname appears in the book 22 times, including the authorship references. According to the Bouton Papers, Dr. Cornell's daughter Ellen was first married to Isaac Mayham, a brother of Stephen L. Mayham (who is named in the book along with another brother, John). Ellen's second husband, Elijah Danforth, had been married first to Hannah Maria Bouton, an older half-sister of Eugene Bouton. The Bouton Papers also say that my grandfather Ezekiel lived on the Charles Mayham farm, although no timeframe is given.

Dr. Cornell's son Ezekiel would have reached marrying age during the later years of the Anti-Rent War. He married Rosetta Fidelia Decker. I haven't been able to discover whether she was related to Christopher Decker or two other Deckers who were anti-renters, but I'd be surprised if she wasn't.

Dr. Cornell's daughter Elizabeth (Bettie in Mayham's book, Betsey in Bouton's Efner file) was married, years after the Anti-Rent War, to Isaac Peaslee, one of the cradled babies I met on the first page of Chapter I in Mayham's book!

By hokey nettie! Now that I know who all these people are, I want to read that book again!


The Bouton Papers are a compilation of genealogical research material related to some 100 families who lived in the Town of Jefferson, Schoharie County, New York, from its settlement in 1794 to the mid-1900s. Click to read more about Eugene Bouton and His Papers.

Mayham, Albert Champlin. The Anti-Rent War on Blenheim Hill: An Episode of the 40's : a History of the Struggle between Landlord and Tenant Growing Out of the Patroon System in the Eastern Part of New York. Jefferson, N.Y.: F.L. Frazee, 1906.

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Blog Archive


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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