Archive for the ‘History & Genealogy’ Category

Amanuensis Monday – Snow Day Happy Dance – Ancestor Thomas Hurlbut

On Thursday, February 21st, 2013, South Central Kansas had a blizzard! Wichita, Kansas had in excess of 14″. My little town, just south of Wichita, received somewhere around 6″ plus.

But it was just enough to declare a “snow day” holiday!  The school kids were all out building snowmen, so I dumped the income tax I’d been working on and hit the Internet beginning with FindaGrave.com looking for ancestors.

I hit pay dirt!

I located one Stocking ancestor’s Memorial after another, (thank you, Find A Grave  and Find a Grave volunteers!!) and then lo and behold, someone had posted some information on my ancestress Deborah Hurlbut Stocking’s Find a Grave memorial, (her info to come on a later post!) along with the source, which led me to a Google search, and a Google book, “The Hurlbut Genealogy,” and that book detailed Deborah’s ancestry, along with her immigrant ancestor, Thomas, who was wounded with a Pequot arrow (see below!).

Do I know that every name and date is correct in Deborah’s ancestry?

No, I don’t. But now I have a new road map of names to hunt up/hunt down and verify! And new family stories to enjoy!

Below is Thomas Hurlbut’s info, Deborah’s ancestor!

“The Hurlbut Genealogy:
Record of the Descendants of Thomas Hurlbut
by Henry H. Hurlbut
Joel, Munsell’s Sons, Publishers, 1888
p. 15 – 18

Thomas Hurlbut (ref # 001) came across the Atlantic, it is supposed, in the year 1635, for he was a soldier under Lion Gardiner, who built and had command of the fort at Saybrook, Connecticut.

Lion Gardiner, it is said, was an Englishman, and by profession an engineer, and had been in Holland in the service of the Prince of Orange, but was engaged by the proprietors of the Connecticut Patent, issued by Charles II to Lord Say and Seal, Lord Brooks and others, granting a large tract of territory on the banks of the Connecticut river, to erect a fortification at its mouth.

Gardiner, said Judge Savage, embarked at London in the Bachilor, of only 25 tons, 11 August, 1635, with his wife and female servant, and eleven male passengers, and after a long and tempestuous voyage, arrived at Boston 28 of following November. It is believed, however, that Gov. Winthrop told that Gardiner sailed in a Norsey barque (a fishing vessel of the coast of Norway), 10 July 1635.

It is supposed that Thomas Hurlbut was one of the 11 passengers above referred to; but who his parents were or when or where he was born, we have not been able to learn. We may yet pretty confidently believe that his birth occurred as early as the year 1610, and I am more inclined to believe that he was a native of Scotland than I am able, perhaps, to show satisfactory evidence for such belief.

Mr. Hurlbut while at Saybrook, in an encounter with the Pequot Indians in 1637, was wounded by an arrow. This appears in a letter of Lion Gardiner, written in June, 1660, some 23 years after the skirmish with the Indians, addressed to Robert Chapman and Thomas Hurlbut, detailing incidents regarding the Pequot war, as far as came within his personal knowledge.

Captain Gardiner, as the communication named, says that Mr. Robert Chapman, Thomas Hurlbut and Major Mason urged him to do it, “and (P. 16) having rumaged and found some old papers then written, it was a great help to my memory.”

The document laid in manuscript until 1833 (173 years) when it was printed in Volume 3, 3rd Ser. of Mass. Historical Soc colls.

The following is an extract (from the manuscript):

“In the 22nd of February, I went out with ten men and three dogs, half a mile from the house (fort) to burn the Weeds, Leaves and Reeds upon the Neck of Land, because we had felled twenty timber trees which we were to roll to the Waterside to bring home, every Man carrying a length of Match with some Brimstone-matches with him to kindle the Fire withal.

But when we came to the small of the Neck, the Weeds burning, I having before this set two Sentinels on the small of the Neck, I called to the Men that were burning the Reeds to come away, but they would not until they had burnt up the rest of their Matches.

Presently there starts up four Indians out of the fiery Reeds, but they ran away, I calling to the rest of our Men to come away out of the Marsh. Then Robert Chapman and Thomas Hurlbut, being Sentinels, called to me saying there came a Number of Indians out of the other side of the Marsh.

Then I went to stop them, that they should not get the Woodland; but Thomas Hurlbut cried out to me that some of the Men did not follow me, for Thomas Rumble and Arthur Branch threw down their two Guns and ran away; then the Indians shot two of them that were in the Reeds, and sought to get between us and Home, but durst not come before us, but kept us in a Half moon, we retreating and exchanging many a Shot, so that Thomas Hurlbut was shot almost through the Thigh, John Spencer in the back into his Kidneys, myself into the Thigh, two more shot dead.

But in our Retreat, I kept Hurlbut and Spencer still before us, we defending ourselves with our naked Swords, or else they had taken us all alive, so that the two sore wounded Men, by our slow Retreat, (p. 17) got home with their Guns, when our two sound Men ran away and left their Guns behind them.”

Gardiner does not mention his estimate of the number of the assailants, but Underwood, in his History, says there were “a hundred or more.”

Mr. Hurlbut was by Trade a Blacksmith…

Mr. Hurlbut was by trade a blacksmith, and after the war with the Pequots, he located and established himself in business at Wethersfield, Ct., and was one of the early settlers of that place, as well as first blacksmith. A single extract from the Colonial Records would seem to indicate that he was a good workman and charged a good price for his work: “March 2, 1642. Thomas Hallibut was fined 40 shillings for encouraging others in taking excessive rates for work and ware.”

But this fine appears to have been “respited” Feb 5, 1643, upon Peter Bassaker’s tryal to make “nayles” with less loss and cheaper rates.He seems to have been a man of good standing in the place; he was Clerk of the “Train Band” in 1640, Deputy to the General court, Grand Juror and also constable in 1644.

It appears on the records that he received various tracts of land in the several divisions of the town, which were recorded together in 1647. In 1660 the Town of Wethersfield granted Thomas Hurlbut Lot 39, one of the “four score acre lots” (in Naubec, east side of the river), which he afterward sold to Thomas Hollister. For his services in the Indian wars, the Assembly voted him a grant of 120 acres of land Oct. 12, 1671.

It is supposed that Mr. Hurlbut died soon after the last named date, as no evidence appears that the land was set off to him during his life. In that early day of the Colony, land was plenty and cheap, and no attempt appears to have been made to avail himself of the bounty, nor even by his sons; it was not until 1694, on the petition of John Hurlbut, Jr. of Middletown, a grandson of the settler and soldier, that it was set off.(p. 18) It is told, and the tradition is not an unreasonable one to credit, that the house in Wethersfield, CT, where Miss Harriet Mitchell resides in 1888, stands upon the site of the dwelling of the first Hurlbut who lived in the settlement. (Miss M. is said to be of the 6th generation from her ancestor Thomas Hurlbut.)

That house of the early settler, as tradition gives, had peculiar attractions for the Indians, whether with the purpose to inspect the architecture of the edifice, or else to get a view of the proprietor of the mansion, for he had been an Indian fighter formerly, I cannot say; but often, when in the village, they were to be seen looking curiously in at the windows.

The Christian name of the wife of Mr. Hurlbut was Sarah, but nothing further is known; no date of birth, marriage, nor death. The dates of birth of five of their six sons are missing; whether there were any daughters or not, is not known.

During the contention that existed in the Church of Wethersfield, the early records of both the Town and Church, it is understood, disappeared.

Thomas and Sarah’s Children:

2. Thomas, Jr. +
3. John, b. 8 Mar 1642
4. Samuel. +
5. Joseph +
6. Stephen +
7. Cornelius

Thomas’ son, John Hurlbut:  http://www.familytreewriter.com/2013/03/amanuensis-monday-john-hurlbut/

The Hurlbut Genealogy: The Descendants of Thomas Hurlbut

We are the Result of Generations of Decisions….

I love this blog post by Billy Coffey.  He says he’s not a genealogist, but in this post, he’s captured the essence of why many of us do this, search for this person, and then that one, hunt for this fact, or that, and try to find out who these ancestors of our truly are, and if we can, what they were like.

Billy Coffey captures most of the reasons why I do genealogy, and he says it better than I ever could.

Like Billy, I’m not looking for the rich and famous.  (I would enjoy finding just one, but I don’t think I will.)

Most of my recent ancestors were farmers, and my distant ancestors, on two sides, were people who left their home country in search of a place where they had the freedom of worship.  It is these everyday people, these people who climbed on a ship in search of freedom, these homesteaders, and farmers and farm wives, who bravely faced everyday hardships that I search for!

I don’t think anyone could say it better than Billy said in his blog post at BillyCoffey.com:

“Because I am the result of many moments and many decisions that mattered to people with whom I share a common bond. And those who come after me, my children and their children and theirs, will be the results of my own moments and decisions.”

I appreciated Billy putting into words at how I feel about my ancestors.

It reminded me that we’re all a part of the tapestry of history, the tapestry that living our everyday ‘nobody’ lives weaves each and every day.

Thank you, Billy.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – A Day Without Blogging

by Sherry Stocking Kline
Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Recently, bloggers using Blogger found themselves unable to blog, and also found some of their blog posts had disappeared, and this blogging challenge from Randy Seaver comes from that 20 hour stint of not being able to blog!

Hey genea-philes – it’s Saturday Night – time for lots more Genealogy Fun!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  We all know that Blogger (www.blogspot.com) was down for 20 hours from Thursday afternoon to Friday morning.  What did you do with yourself during that time period?

2)  If we lost our blogging platforms for awhile (but not the Internet as a whole), what would you do with your genealogy time?  What projects would you start, continue working on, or try to finish instead of blogging?

3)  Tell us in a blog post of your own, in a comment on this post, or in a status thread on Facebook.

I don’t blog on the Sumner County Historical & Genealogical Society blogsite at http://www.ks-schgs.blogspot.com everyday, so I didn’t know that Blogger was ‘down’ for 20 hours and created lots of problems for Blogger bloggers and giving everyone serious blogging withdrawal!

So, what would I do if my self-hosted WordPress went down for 20 hours? 

Panic.

  Then spend time trying to find out what went wrong and what I needed to do to fix it. 

 Then once I learned that the glitch wasn’t up to me and was out of my control, I’d ‘play hookey.’ 

Which is what I did today!   I played ‘hookey’. 

I had ‘stuff’ that needed doing, but the little ‘bug’ that landed in our house this week wasn’t helping me feel like getting things done around the house, and so for a few hours I played hookey.

I went to the Illinois State Genealogical Society, and began searching for the two surnames that I knew came from Illinois to Kansas, McGinnis and Corson

And Voila! 

There they were, my great-great grandparents, Richard S. Corson and Mary Corson, buried in the Bethel Cemetery in Sangamon County, Illinois.  I knew it to be them, because I had some of their information already, but I did not know where they were buried. 

And now, I do.

And that reminded me that I might just be lucky enough that some kind soul had posted their tombstone photo on Find-A-Grave.com.  

Once again, luck was with me and Richard’s and Mary’s tombstone photo was online and may be found right here.   The contributor was listed as “anonymous,” and I just want to say “thank you” to the anonymous contributor who put their tombstone photo on the website. 

I’ve Done Very Little Research on the Corson’s…

I have done very little research on the Corson line as I’ve been focusing in other areas, but as I said, I was playing ‘hookey’ today, and simply out searching to see what fun thing I might find, so I headed on over to Ancestry.com  and then to FamilySearch.org  to try to find them on as many census and other records as were possible.

I was able to locate the Corson family on three different census records, and have to admit that I now have a new puzzle.  On three different census records 1870, 1880, and 1900, there is a person with a different name with the same birth year.

In 1870, there is a 13 yr old male, Francis E, born it appears in 1857.

In 1880, there is a 23 yr old female named Emma, born it appears in 1857.

In 1900, there is a 43 year old female daughter named Fannie and a granddaughter named Fannie (they have different initials).  Fannie would have been born in 1857. 

So, was Francis and Fannie twins?  If so, where was she in 1870? 

My guess is, and it is nothing but a guess, that the Francis E listed in 1870 should have been Frances Emma or Emmaline, and listed as a female. Then it would be sensible for her to be there at the age of 23 listed as Emma, and back home at 43 listed as Fannie, and with a daughter named Fannie also, who was born in California.

I’m Done Playing Hookey for Today…

But, without further research I won’t know the answer to those questions, and since I’m done playing hookey for today, those questions will have to wait.  But the cool thing is, I now know the names of a few of my Great-grandmother Margaret Corson McGinnis’ siblings!

And maybe, just maybe, I will be very, very lucky, and one of my great-grandmother Maggie’s siblings will find this blog, and write me a note that explains this mystery!!

Related Links:

Margaret “Maggie” (Corson) McGinnis Dies at Age 101

Margaret “Maggie” (Corson) McGinnis Sang for Abraham Lincoln

Gr-Grandmother Maggie (Corson) McGinnis & Maud McGinnis Stocking Scrapbook page

Thomas J. McGinnis Obituary

The Corson Family Association

Book: “Three Hundred Years with the Corson Family” by Orville Corson

Wordless Wednesday – Mayfield, Kansas’ Blacksmith Shop & Otto Breneman

by Sherry Stocking Kline
7 May 2010

Mayfield, Kansas Blacksmith Shop - Otto Breneman Blacksmith

The Mayfield Blacksmith Shop…

This is a photograph of Otto Breneman and his father, Constantine Breneman, standing in front of Otto’s blacksmith shop.  The blacksmith shop was located  in Mayfield, Kansas (about 10 miles west of Wellington, Kansas) till at least sometime in the 1930′s when Otto passed away.

Otto’s mother was Salinda Breneman, and he was married to Nancy Virginia Hoyt, daughter of Joseph and Wilhemina (Dewein) Hoyt, and they had a daughter, Bernice Breneman.

According to information in the book “Mayfield: Then & Now”, Otto  served as mayor of Mayfield from 1927 to 1929.

Otto was my great uncle, and he passed away before I was born, (his Tombstone photo can be found here).  If the shop or the home was there when I was small I don’t recall it.  I wish I had taken an “after” photograph so you could see what it looks like today, but there is a nice white ranch style home there, with a large grassy area in front of it.

This photograph comes from Otto’s daughter, Bernice Breneman Thomas’ collection of photographs, now in her son’s, Orlan Thomas’ collection, and can also be found on Page 71 of the “Mayfield: Then & Now” book.  Orlan and his wife recently came to visit and loaned me his genealogy and photograph collection to scan, and nearly 200 scans later, I have many more photographs that he is allowing me to share digitally with other family members.

Ask a Lot of Different Questions…

Looking at this photograph reminds me that until I began working with a friend on the book “Mayfield: Then & Now” and began asking questions of everyone, including my mom and other family members I had no idea that some of our Breneman family lived in the Mayfield area, let alone owned a blacksmith shop.

According to a cousin that I visited with recently, her father told her that Constantine served as a blacksmith in the Union Army when he was a soldier in the Civil War.  So, if there is a moral to this story, ask your older generation (as many as possible) and even your siblings and your cousins, a lot of different questions a lot of different ways…

Other Related Posts:

Tombstone Tuesday: Otto and Nancy Breneman

Constantine Breneman and His Buggy Horse Photograph of Ott’s father, Constantine driving a buggy with his beautiful buggy horse.

Constantine Breneman’s Buggy Horse - Photograph of Constantine’s Buggy Horse

My Poem to My Ancestors

Salinda E. (Rose) Breneman - Photograph of Ott’s mother,  Salinda, and her tombstone. Ott’s parent’s, Salinda and Constantine, divorced in later life.

Too Young to Die – Photo of  Ott Breneman and his siblings, and a photograph of Albert’s tombstone. Albert was killed in a Motorcycle Accident.

Photograph of May Breneman Jones Willey - Sister of Ott Breneman.

Amanuensis Monday – Thomas J. McGinnis Obituary

by Sherry Stocking Kline
26 April 2010

Last week I wrote the exciting news that during a short conversation with my dad’s sister I learned that my great-grandfather had not died in Sumner County as I believed, but in Emporia, Lyon County, Kansas.  A quick call to the Emporia State Library, Emporia, Kansas on Saturday and and early Monday morning e-mail to the genealogy librarian and by mid-afternoon, the scanned image of my Great-Grandfather Thomas J. (I think it stands for Jefferson, but I haven’t seen that on official documents yet!) McGinnis’ obituary, and burial info was in my e-mail inbox!

Thank you, Ms. Sundberg!

Woo Hoo!  Monday Happy Dances are always awesome!  I learned a lot of great info, but the one thing I wanted to learn wasn’t in his obituary.

Who Were His Parents?

I did learn the exact address of where he lived when he passed, that his funeral was in his home rather than the church, even though the obituary mentioned him being a faithful worker in the Methodist Church, and I learned that his body was brought by Santa Fe Train No. 13 to Sumner County, where he was buried in the Osborn Cemetery, Mayfield, Sumner County, Kansas. (I did know where he was buried, and have photographs of his stone.) But the obituary did not mention Thomas’ parents. So far, no death records have been located, and Thomas passed away TWO months before Kansas’ State-wide death records were mandatory.

Here is Thomas J. McGinnis Obituary Transcript – Emporia Gazette May 12, 1911

T. J. McGinnis Dead

T. J. McGinnis died this morning at 5:45 at the family home, 1309 State Street.  He had been sick with a complication of diseases since last July.  He was born in Westville, Ohio, August 17, 1842, where he grew to manhood and taught in country schools for a few years before going to Illinois, where he continued to teach school.

He was married near Springfield, Ill to Miss Maggie E. Carson (my note: should be Corson), and lived there until 1886, when the family moved to Kansas, locating first in Barbour County. (this may actually be Bourbon County)

He taught in several of the high schools in the southern part of Kansas before coming to Morris County, from which place the family moved to Emporia four years ago.  Mr. McGinnis’s failing health preventing from further work.

He was a man of exceptionally strong personality, and many lives have been made stronger by his uplighting influence in the class room.  As a young man he served a short time in the Civil War before leaving his native state.  He was a member of the Masonic lodge and of the A.O.U.W., and was for years as active and efficient worker in the Methodist Church.

Besides his wife he leaves five children.  They are Charles E. McGinnis, an attorney to Pueblo, Colo..   Eugene McGinnis of Ford County, Kansas; Virgil McGinnis, of Pueblo, Colo; Mrs. Maud Stocking, of Mayfield, Kan.; and Miss Ethel, who lives at home.
No definite arrangements have been made for the funeral, but the body will be taken to Mayfield for interment.  The funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Notes:

Maud Stocking was my grandmother, and she used to tell me wonderful stories about my father’s childhood.  I wish someone had told me that by the time I was thirty, those memories would fade like a quilt beyond repair…

Miss Ethel a.k.a. Myrta Ethel, became Dr. Myrta Ethel McGinnis, and taught at Ft. Hays University in Western Kansas, and later at a small college in Pennsylvania.
I don’t recall meeting Gene, Charles, or Virgil.

Thomas J. McGinnis Funeral Information Transcription
13 May 1911 Emporia Gazette

The McGinnis Funeral Tomorrow

The funeral services of T. J. McGinnis will be held at the home, 1809 State Street, at 10 o’clock, sharp, tomorrow morning.  The services will be conducted by Rev. H. W. Hargett, of the First Methodist Church.

Thomas J. McGinnis
15 May 1911 Emporia Gazette

The McGinnis Funeral

The funeral of  T. J. McGinnis was held yesterday morning at 10 o’clock from the home on State Street.  The services were conducted by Reverend Henry W. Hargett, of the First Methodist Church, of which church Mr. McGinnis was a most faithful member.  The floral offerings were abundant and showed the wide circle of friends Mr. McGinnis had made during his few years of residence in Emporia.  The pall-bearers were D. A. Dryer, H. A. Tibbals, J. W. Shawgo, Newberry, William Jay and T. O. Stephenson. 

The body was taken on Santa Fe train No. 13 to Mayfield, Kansas, where the interment was made today.

18 May 1911 – Emporia Weekly Gazette

The funeral of T. J. McGinnis was held yesterday morning at 10 o’clock from the home on State Street.  The services were conducted by Reverend Henry W. Hargett, of the First Methodist Church, of which church Mr. McGinnis was a most faithful member.  The floral offereings were abundant and showed the wide circle of friends Mr. McGinnis had made during his few years of residence in Emporia.  The pall-bearers were D. A. Dryer, H. A. Tibbals, J. W. Shawgo, Newberry, William Jay and T. O. Stephenson. 

The body was taken on Santa Fe train No. 13 to Mayfield, Kansas, where the interment was made today.

Related Posts:

52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy – Letter to the Emporia State Library, Emporia, Kansas

Margaret (Corson) McGinnis (Thomas’ widow) on Her 100th Birthday!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!

by Sherry Stocking Kline
10 April 2010

Here is this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun Challenge from Randy Seaver!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Tell us: Which ancestor or relative do you readily identify with? Which one do you admire? Which one are you most like, or wish that you were most like? Which one would you really like to sit down and have a heart-to-heart conversation with?

2) Write your response in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or response to this post, or in a comment on this post.

Oh my, which ancestor or relative do I most identify with?  I think my ancestors, especially the women, were brave and courageous, so in some ways I wish I were more like them.  My great-grandmother Frances Hitchcock Stocking picked up her life, packed up their belongings, and followed the man she loved, Roderick Remine Stocking, here to Kansas, a flat prairie with tall grass and no trees for firewood (read they used buffalo chips to heat their homestead with) or they drove their wagon about 15 miles south into Oklahoma’s Indian Territory (which was illegal, mind you) to pick up firewood.  They also lived within a few miles of the Chisholm Trail, and those who still traveled up and down it, even after the cattle drives ended.

And then there is my other great-grandmother on my mother’s side, Salinda Rose Breneman, who lived out on the prairie in Nebraska, where Indians might (and did) poke their heads in the window wanting food.  And Indians wouldn’t have been their only danger.  They would have lived in fear of prairie fires as well as rattle snakes, and her children, even at a young age, were sent out on horseback, sometimes with their lunch in a pail to herd the cattle, often being out of site of the homestead for the whole day.

Could I do what they did?  I don’t think so.

Who would I most want to sit down with?  My great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Laird Jones Crabb!

I would ask her what her first husband’s name was and thereby break down that brick wall!  I would learn first-hand from her what her husband died from (or if they were divorced!) and I would ask her what brought them here to Kansas, and did they miss their home state of Kentucky and their daughter who stayed there?

And maybe I would just ask them how they ‘managed?’  How did they cope with the hardships, water that came from a well and wasn’t the clear liquid that we’re used to today, growing and canning and preserving much of their food, and sewing many of their clothes?

And particularly, where did they find the courage to go on when they had to bury their young children because their lives were cut short from disease and farm accidents?

So many questions that I would ask these courageous women!

NASA Launch Video on ABC News – Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger

by Sherry Stocking Kline
06 April 2010

Thanks to so many who have sent e-mails and left comments.  I hadn’t thought to keep updating this site on Dottie, but I thank you for those suggestions, and I will do that!

It is amazing to think that as I tuck into bed with night-time prayers, sit here at the computer, do everyday stuff, that Dottie and her fellow astronauts are far above the earth circling us and working.  Hard to imagine!

Here is a link to a nice article from ABC News about Dottie, “Discovery Teacher Breaks the Mold” and a short lift-off video that they call “the picture perfect” lift off!  For those of us who remember when  the lift off ended quickly with an explosion, “picture perfect” are great words!

You can see the latest news about the STS-131 mission here at the NASA.gov website, as well as an awesome lift-off photograph taken by NASA personnel.

And you can see more great STS-131 Mission Photographs here!

Here you can see a great photograph of the space station, and read about what the mission will be doing, how many space walks it will do, etc.  Dottie told me what her job will be, and you can read about that in my first post here.

God Bless, Dottie!

Other Related Posts:

Follow the STS-131 Astronauts on Facebook

What’s Going Up in Space with Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger

Astronaut Cousin Makes History Today!

Transcribing 1849 Gold Rush Migration Letters

by Sherry Stocking Kline
24 March 2010

Last week when I volunteered to index some of the Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society Center’s files and records, I had no idea what kind of historic treasures and glimpses into people’s lives I was going to find!

I brought home the Pioneer Settler “A”  files, sat down at my computer, and began to open up the files expecting to find simple papers documenting our early settler’s ancestry.

What I quickly found were stories, the first being of a wife and children kidnapped by the Indians during the massacre of rural families in the Saline Valley in Kansas, (about 2 1/2 hours north of us here) and the treasure I’m transcribing now, copies of an Illinois man, John Arnspiger’s letters back home to his wife, Mary, his grown son Henry, his little children, Lukey and Rebecca Ellin, and unnamed grandchildren as he travels to the California Gold Rush, certain that he will soon better his life for his family.

The letters document the group’s troubles traveling up river to get to St. Joe, Missouri, his fears of the cholera epidemic that was there and the many deaths, the Indians that they meet along the way, both friendly and not, the buffalo and other game that they eat on the way, and his fears that he may never see his family again.

Unfortunately, after I read ahead, his last letter ends with the writer ill, lying in a wagon in California, a week away from the Gold Fields at Sutter’s and me with so many unanswered questions!

Did he die? Did he get to Sutter’s and simply get busy? How did his family come to be in Sumner County, Kansas, where his son Henry and his wife and children later settled?  When I can, I will find these answers to add to this Pioneer Settlers’ files, and share!

29 April 2010 Update: Now you can read Part One of the Gold Rush Letters Transcription Here: http://www.ks-schgs.blogspot.com/

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