Inconsistencies

Chicago in 1930 (photo from http://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com, click for more details).

Chicago in 1930 (photo from http://chuckmanchicagonostalgia.wordpress.com, click image for more details).

You don’t have to do genealogy very long before you run into one of the genealogist’s greatest bugaboos–an inconsistency.

Records from the distant past are notorious for being wrong.  People made mistakes as they recorded a name or a date or a location, and in that split-second lapse they create a huge problem for future historians.  Their momentary mistake hides forever the true fact and propagates a false one.

I’m not sure which is worse:  to find only one record substantiating a fact (in which case we have to trust the fact-recorder) or to find multiple records that don’t line up (in which case we have to figure out which fact-recorder to trust).

My most recent struggle with inconsistent records of the past involves my great-grandfather’s cousins, Marie and Percy Shaw, who lived in Chicago in the early 1900s.

Marie and Percy were brother and sister.  They lived together with their parents all the way up until their mother’s death (their father had died earlier).  Then, just a few months after their mother’s death in 1929, they both died.

Marie, who was 47, died of a brain tumor at Swedish Covenant Hospital in Chicago on October 22, 1930 according to her death certificate.  Percy, who was 45, died of a carcinoma of the sinuses at the Cook County Institution’s Infirmary in Bremen Township (just south of Chicago) on October 21, 1930 according to his death certificate.

Their joint funeral was held in Chicago on the afternoon of October 24, 1930 according to the Chicago Daily Tribune.

The oddity of their dying a day apart of apparently unrelated diseases seemed striking to me.  I did a little more digging and found the cemetery records for their burial in a family plot in Cincinnati, Ohio on October 27, 1930 at 10:30am.  What I found there confused me further.

percyThe cemetery records indicate that both Percy and Marie died of an auto accident on October 22, 1930.  Their death by auto accident would explain why they died one day apart.  However, it still leaves many questions:

  • Why do their death certificates list other causes of death and not mention the car accident?
  • Why does Percy’s death certificate and the newspaper say he died on October 21?
  • Why did Percy die at an institution for the poor and mentally ill while Marie died miles away (and closer to their home) in a private hospital?
  • Who arranged for their funeral and the final disposition of their earthly goods (their parents had died as had their mother’s parents, in whose family plot they were buried)?

marieAuto accidents were a common occurrence in Chicago in 1930.  It was also the period of speakeasies, mobsters and a very dark nightlife in Chicago.

I would love to know more about these cousins and what their lives were like in 1920s Chicago.  And, of course, I’d love to know how exactly they died a day apart in 1930.

If anyone has any suggestions on where I might look or who I might ask to find out more information about this piece of my family history, I’m open to ideas.  You can email me at kevhar72 @ gmail.com or leave a comment on this post.

Thanks!

— — —

To read my previous post about Percy and Marie Shaw, with a few more details about their lives, see A startling coincidence or something else.

To read about the Cook County Institution where Percy died see Oak Forest Hospital of Cook County and Cook County almshouses.

To read about Swedish Covenant Hospital where Marie died see Swedish Covenant Hospital.

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5 Tips to Boost a Genealogy Blog

By:  Sarah Brooks

OK. You’ve got a genealogy blog. Either you’ve been at it for a while or just started blogging, but either way you enjoy what you’re doing. You love personal stories, family history, research, documentation, learning of communities and how they evolve, or a combination of these things. You spend some time thinking about your blog, writing, and editing your blog daily or weekly.

If you are like many of the other bloggers in this field, though, the only thing you might need help with is gaining followers. This is something that many genealogy bloggers struggle with, but it is possible to get engaged, returning readers that want to hear what you’ve got to say. Consider these steps to increase traffic to your blog.

Create Strong Content

The best way to draw people in to your blog is to create strong content. While you can do anything and everything under the sun to get your blog on as many screens as possible, your readers won’t read—or at least stay engaged—unless the content is strong. When you talk about a specific topic, get quotes from professionals on the subject or other authoritative voices involved with the topic to add to your blog. Perhaps you can get some information on a specific community from a local historian or a quote from the family member you are talking about in your post.

You might also be able to pull in some court documents, immigration papers, or other relevant sources to quote from. Primary source material, as well as great secondary sources, makes for excellent content builders. Finally, fine tune your strong content by making sure your grammar and spelling are correct.

Make Your Blog More Multimedia-Based

In addition to making sure your writing is filled with strong content, compliment that content with good videos, pictures, charts, images of key documents and anything else that can make the blog more multimedia—in short, studies have shown that multimedia makes for stronger, more interesting blogs. And remember, genealogy—and the history associated with it—is a very multi-faceted, multi-layered study that crosses communities, continents, and cultures—take advantage of that with your blog and various media. As a way to connect back to your content, try linking to other relevant sites as well—people want to know where to look next to keep the conversation going.

Get a Strong Focus to Your Blog

It’s easy to take the topic of genealogy and just run with it; after all, there really are so many interesting and worthwhile avenues to pursue. But to have a successful blog, you should ask yourself what it is that you have to say with your blog, what it is that you have to say that will add to the genealogy conversation. In other words, what will your topics be and where will your focus lie?

If your blog doesn’t have a focal point within the genealogy spectrum, consider taking one. Are you more interested in personal family history, how to conduct family or community research, documentation methods, or another specific area? If you can, take a definite, more “limited” focus with your blog. You might be able to branch out after you’ve been blogging for a minute, but start with a focus and get readers from there.

Use Social Media to Your Benefit

After you’ve written your blog, post a link to or an enticing quote from your blog on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or any other relevant social media site where you might have friends, family, and other contacts. Comment on other genealogy blogs to interact with their authors—they can come to your blog in return. Finally, you might also consider starting an email newsletter that people can sign up for or simply creating a link to the article in your email signature. In other words, reach people in the places they are with your blog. In time, then, with strong content, you can get them to come to you.

Join Genealogy Groups

There are several excellent genealogy groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Ancestry.com, or other sites that you can really benefit from. You might also find some great groups that meet in person in your community or larger metro area that you can join. Not only will you have a platform to share your blog with these groups, you can also get expert opinions, different viewpoints, or even valuable proofreaders that can help you with your blog.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from Freepeoplesearch.org. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com

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Enjoying political work, from the nature of it

ImageIt’s hard for me to imagine that some people actually enjoy politics.  Nevertheless, many of my ancestors have served in political capacities, from school boards to city councils to even state legislatures.  Many of them remained in politics for years, effectively leading their communities and making important changes in laws and public works.  My great-great grand uncle William T. Cammack was one of these.  His story is told in the Biographical Memoirs of Grant County, Indiana (1901):

WILLIAM T. CAMMACK

The present efficient and popular Clerk of the Courts of Grant county is one of the most prominent of the younger generation of the citizens of the county.  He is truly a representative of the best interests of its citizens, being himself native to the soil, as he was born in Liberty township on the 17th of November, 1868.  Further and distinct mention is made of his parents, Willis and Sarah (Jay) Cammack, in another part of this volume.

The boyhood of William was passed on the Liberty township farm, receiving such education as the home schools afforded.  When he had attained the age of twenty he became associated with his brother, Bayard T., in the conduct of a general grocery store in South Marion, and so continued until the connection was broken by the death of his brother in August, 1892, after about four years of successful business.  Disposing of the business, he became a traveling salesman for the firm of Smith & Weaver, and later for Houck & Shields, and covered the territory in which they operated in Indiana.

In the fall of 1894 he was given a position as deputy by Wilson Addington, the then incumbent of the office of Clerk of Courts, remaining withe him during the remainder of his term of office.  Evan H. Ferree, successor of Mr. Addington, retained him in the same capacity, and by the expiration of the service of Mr. Ferree he had become so familiar with all the office details and had so impressed his party with his efficiency and obligin nature that he was made the nominee of the party for the position, his election following with a majority that spoke the popular sentiment.  The convention in which he was nominated was the largest ever held in the county, numbering 776 delegates and indicating the popular will with as close accuracy as might be possible in a representative body.

From boyhood Mr. Cammack has taken keen interest in the workings of party politics, early identifying himself with the Republican organization, and soon being called upon to represent the party in its various conventions and as a member of administrative committees.  While never an aspirant for forensic honors, the work done by him as a political counselor has been fully as efficient and beneficial to party success as of those whose efforts have brought them more prominently before the public as orators or writers.  Of rather a retiring nature, it has never been his inclination to make much noise; but, enjoying, like Senator Platt, the political work from the nature of it, he has taken a quiet course, his most effective efforts being in the retreat of his own office, by the fireside or at the club.  Possessing to a degree those excellent traits of character and good fellowship that draw men to him, and with a freedom of ostentation or offensive egotism that so often distinguishes the man given honors by his fellows, Mr. Cammack has the happy faculty of making friends even among the opposition, it being no strentch of the imagination to say that no more popular man, among Democrats, lives within the confines of Grant county.  His conduct of the duties of the office has tended to cement the wide circle of friends he already enjoyed.  His choice of assistants has been an equally fortunate one, John D. Ferree, John Duffey and Miss Eva Neal being among the most popular and obliging of the many deputies in the service of the county.

Being one of the popular drug firm of Evans & Cammack, he is identified with the business interests of Marion, and is found true to her interests, whatever the occasion or however the levy upon his own purse or time.  The late and successful carnival and street fair held under the auspices and patronage of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks found in Mr. Cammack one of its most enthusiastic supporters, the benefits derived to the city being incalculable.

In all of these organizations of which he is a member, such as the Elks, Knights of Pythias, Junior Order of American Mechanics, etc., he is found at the front in the advancement of the society, being often a leader in all those efforts tending to the greater extension and popularizing of the society.

It is said that all enthusiastic members of the Elks are “sports,” and the truth of the assertion is not diminished by the fact of Mr. Cammack’s relation thereto; his proclivities in that line are mainly confined to the game of base-ball, of which he is a devoted lover, or to the driving of a choice specimen of horse-flesh, finding no greater pleasure than when, by the side of his wife, he pulls the lines over a handsome beast, though it can not be claimed for him that he is a “crank” as a turfman.

Mr. Cammack was united in matrimony on his twenty-first birthday to Emeline M. Cox, daughter of William and Elizabeth Cox, of Liberty township; and from this union two children have issued: J. Ward, aged nine and Hazel C.

After a most pleasant companionship of a little more than ten years, the touch of an invisible and ruling hand was laid upon his associate, the response to which carried her beyond the spheres of earth, passing with a resignation and Christian fortitude to “the land beyond the waveless sea,” on the 24th of June, 1900.  She possessed a lovely character, the impress of which was stamped with an almost unconscious effort upon those with whom she had been in contact.  Devoted to her family and her church, she cared little for the praise of general society, rather being found in doing something for the alleviation of humanity or the advancement of the cause of the Master.

Posted in Cammack family, Ferree family | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Friends and Neighbors

Micajah C. Henley

Micajah C. Henley
“The Roller Skate King”

Every street has a multitude of stories.  As you drive through old neighborhoods you can feel the history, the countless moments that have occurred in the homes that line the streets.  Many of these stories are long forgotten, but some leave hints behind and beg retelling.

North 14th Street in Richmond, Indiana is a rather unassuming street.  Today, many of its homes are dilapidated and the neighborhood doesn’t have much to say for itself.  But in the late 1800s, it was part of a bustling neighborhood full of energy, invention and excitement.

In the 1880s and 1890s, Micajah C. Henley lived at 201 North 14th.  It was probably in the backyard of this home, or perhaps an earlier one he lived in on North 13th, that Micajah developed several improvements to the roller skate.  His improved roller skates helped fuel the roller skating craze that took over the nation in the 1890s.  Micajah and his brother opened a factory on North 16th that produced roller skates–over 2,000 pairs a day at its peak–as well as bicycles, scooters and other various manufactured items.  Micajah became known as “The Roller Skate King.”

Sometime around 1881, Micajah sold a bicycle to a neighborhood boy named Wilbur Wright.  The Wright brothers lived at 309 North 12th and 211 North 14th between 1881 and 1884.  Wilbur and his brother Orville would later move to Dayton, Ohio, open a bicycle shop–taking advantage of another craze of the 1890s–and eventually become the first to successfully build and fly an airplane.  While they lived on North 14th, they tinkered with toy helicopters, a backyard lathe of their own invention and many other creative endeavors.  While their success came in Dayton, their start happened on North 14th.

Robert Balser Fetzer

Robert Balser Fetzer (1846-1919), my great-great grandfather

In 1883, my great-great grandfather Robert Balser Fetzer, lived with his wife and mother-in-law at 419 North 14th.  Within a year or two, they moved to 313 North 14th, a home the family would occupy for many decades.  They lived just a few houses down from Micajah Henley.  Robert was an engineer and probably rather inventive himself.  He made tools; in fact, our family still has a level he made in 1896 with his initials stamped on it.  But instead of starting his own business, Robert chose to work for the Richmond City Mill Works for many years.  He was a valued employee and was known for never missing work.

In the 1880s, another great-great grandfather of mine, Lewis Kinsey Harris, lived a few blocks away at 300 North 19th.  By 1893, he had moved into a beautiful 3,600 square foot home at 116 North 14th that would remain in the family for many years.  L.K., as he was known, was a blacksmith who often owned his own shop.  He also engaged in business with others from time to time, making agricultural implements and other necessities.  In addition to his blacksmithing business and other entrepeneurial activities, L.K. also served on the Richmond City Council from 1880-1885 and 1889-1894.  While serving as a councilman, L.K. often brought matters before the city council for his friend and neighbor, Micajah C. Henley.

Edward Shaw

My 3rd great grandfather, Edward Shaw

L.K. Harris’ father-in-law, Edward Shaw, lived around the corner at 312 North 15th in 1893.  He had moved around in the same neighborhood for many years.  Edward was well known as the manufacturer of Shaw’s Railroad Liniment, “a botanic preparation which is a speedy cure for rheumatism, neuralgia, burns, bruises, headaches, etc., and taken internally is a valuable remedy for neuralgia of the stomach, cholera morbus, etc.”  It became very popular and widely distributed in eastern Indiana and western Ohio.  Even today, many old Shaw’s Railroad Liniment bottles turn up at antique dealers and on Ebay.

These are just a few stories from an old neighborhood in a small town on the border of Indiana and Ohio.  These few hints remain of an exciting time in our nation’s history as the collective endeavors of small businessmen across the land began to turn America into the world power it was to become.

— — —

You can read more about Micajah Henley at the Waynet website and on Dan Tate’s blog, which contains wonderful pictures and details about his life and work.

Edward Shaw, L.K. Harris and Robert Balser Fetzer are all mentioned in other posts on this blog and can be found by using the search function at the top of the page.

As always, if you have any questions or any further info I would love to hear from you by your comments below or by emails sent to kevhar72@gmail.com

Posted in Fetzer family, Harris family, Shaw family, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Ruining of a Reputation

Badge of the First Division, Eleventh Corps, Army of the Potomac.

Badge of the First Division, Eleventh Corps, Army of the Potomac.

In the Civil War, as in any war, reputations were made and destroyed. Not only did certain individuals rise to prominence or fall to ruin, but so did entire groups of people–sometimes justly, sometimes unjustly.

The Eleventh Corps was one of those groups. After falling apart under the crushing flanking attack of Stonewall Jackson at Chancellorsville, the Eleventh were forever tagged as those “Damn Dutch” (referring to the fact that many of the men in the unit were first generation German immigrants). They were also called “Howard’s cowards” and “the flying Dutchmen.”  They became the scapegoat for the Union loss at Chancellorsville, even though many said that the men in the ranks had performed admirably. One author claimed that “in reconnaissance they had been vigilant; in combat, brave; and in defeat, persistent.”

Thomas and Wilson Pottenger were privates in the Eleventh. They served in the 75th Ohio Infantry and came from Preble County, Ohio, an area that had its share of Germans. But the Pottengers were from some of the oldest of colonial families. A great-great grandfather of theirs had died in the Revolutionary War. Other ancestors had even served as soldiers in the King’s service prior to the Revolution.

On May 3rd at Chancellorsville, the day after Stonewall Jackson’s stunning flanking movement and subsequent wounding by his own troops, Wilson Pottenger was taken prisoner. He was sent from Chancellorsville to Richmond, Virginia to Camp Parole in Annapolis, Maryland. He stayed there with many of his fellow Union soldiers until he was exchanged on October 3rd and sent back to fight.

Meanwhile, after the battle of Chancellorsville, Wilson’s brother Thomas marched to Gettysburg with those of the Eleventh Corps who hadn’t been killed or captured in the battle. The derision with which the soldiers of the Eleventh were treated did nothing for morale. The mocking left the men downcast and defeated as they headed toward Gettysburg.

One officer remembered “I recrossed [The Rappahannock River] with a heavy heart…and I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. I was ashamed of this battle, and deplored the sad experience of the Eleventh Corps.” Officers talked of resigning, and “a spirit of depression and lack of confidence” permeated the Eleventh as they left Chancellorsville.

On the first day of Gettysburg, the Eleventh again found itself right in the middle of a huge fight.  When battle broke out between the Confederates and the Federal First Corps, the Eleventh was ordered to march the last 5 miles to Gettysburg on the double-quick.  As they arrived, they hurried through town and were quickly put into formation northwest of Gettysburg facing a large force of Confederates.

General Francis Barlow

General Francis Barlow

The second and third divisions of the Eleventh arrived on the field before the first.  The first division–led by General Francis Barlow–had been caught behind the wagon train of the First Corps and then had to slog through mud that was four inches deep to get to the front lines.  By the time they arrived they were exhausted from double-quicking it through some nasty conditions.  But as they came through town, they found some relief as the women of Gettysburg emerged from their homes and “stood along the sidewalks with buckets of water…doing all they could for the men.”

General Barlow pushed his division forward past where the third division was fighting.  He went farther than his superiors had hoped or planned and tried to take Blocher’s knoll, which he perceived to be the “high ground.”  Unfortunately, by pushing so far, he put his troops in an indefensible position.

As elements of the division came under fierce attack, one of Barlow’s brigade commanders, Adelbert Ames, ordered the 75th Ohio forward to hold the position.  Colonel Andrew Harris, commanding officer of the 75th, was told to fix bayonets and advance.  Later Harris would describe that moment as “perilous in the extreme” as they made “a fearful advance…at a dreadful cost of life.”

Four of the 75th’s twelve officers and one-fourth of the men who made the advance lay dead or dying. A full fifty-percent of the remaining officers and men were wounded, with many laying on the ground bleeding.

I don’t know for sure if this is the moment that Thomas Pottenger died, but it’s quite likely that it is.  The records merely indicate he died on July 1, 1863 at Gettysburg, killed in action.

Several months after the battle–just over 150 years ago–President Lincoln came to Gettysburg to give a speech at the dedication of the new National Cemetery there.  When he spoke of “the brave men” who “struggled here” and “the dead” who “shall not have died in vain,” he referred to men like Thomas.  thomasp

Over 1,000 of the more than 6,000 who were killed outright during the battle were interred at Gettysburg.  Thomas was not one of them.  His body was taken back to Preble County, Ohio where it was laid to rest next to his little brother who had died as a young child several years before.

For a nation that had to wait two more years and witness the expending of many thousands more lives to experience its “new birth of freedom,” the death of Thomas was merely a statistic.  But for a mother and a father who had already buried one son, the loss of yet another was probably heart-wrenching.

— — —

Thomas and Wilson Pottenger were my first cousins, five times removed.  They were my fifth great-grandparents’ grandsons, my fourth great-grandmother’s nephews, my third great-grandmother’s cousins.  As far as I know Thomas was my closest relative to fight at Gettysburg;  and as of now, he is the only relative I have found who was killed in action in the Civil War.

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Back when they knew how to write an obituary

A cousin’s obituary from the June 29, 1886 Kokomo (Indiana) Gazette:whblog

Daniel Harris was born at Hagerstown, Wayne county, Ind., July 21, 1831, where he grew to manhood, and died of dropsy, in Kokomo, June 24, 1886, aged fifty-five years. At the age of nineteen he was united in marriage to Miss Lucinda Galoway; six children blessed their union, four of whom are still living, two sons and two daughters; two sons preceeded their father to the tomb in early childhood. Soon after they were married Mr. Harris moved from Hagerstown to Noblesville, where he resided until 1853, when he removed to this city where he has lived ever since. Mr. Harris opened the first drug store ever established in Kokomo thirty years ago in a small frame building where Harbster & Cole’s store now stands.  He was one of Howard county’s most highly respected pioneers. His life has been identified with the history of Kokomo from the time it was a cluster of log cabins in a howling wilderness until the present time. He watched its steady growth until it has developed into a city teeming with industry. Always quiet and unassuming he was loved and honored by all who knew him. At the breaking out of the rebellion he obeyed his country’s call and enlisted in Company D, 89th Indiana Regiment, and went through the storm of shot and shell until the white wings of peace were spread over the country. The writer remembers only a few months ago during a cold stormy day, of going on the sad mission of collecting notes for the obituary of Mrs. Orsemus Richmond, who was Mr. Harris’s only sister, meeting him at the gate; while giving the notes and history of the family, with his great heart filled with sorrow he burst into tears, stating that the greatest sorrow of his life had cast its pall of gloom athwart his horizon and that he was now the only one left in the family. As we walked down the street he little dreamed of being called so soon to follow and participate in a reuniting of kindred ties on the golden shores of a blest immortality, and as little did the writer dream that so soon it would be his sad duty to chronicle the sad parting of a devoted father and loving husband and the breaking of the tendrels of affection that for years have woven their silver cords around the hearts of those who compose this now broken family circle. In times like these science and philosophy fail to sooth the aching heart, and words fail to assuage the grief that comes to the soul. But so far as words of cheer and the consolation of friendship can go the bereft family have the hearty sympathy of all in this the saddest hour of their lives. The funeral services were conducted at the Christian church on Sunday afternoon at 3 o’clock by Rev. McCune. The interment took place in Crown Point cemetery, conducted by the I.O.O.F. and G.A.R. Post, of which orders he was an honored member.

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Jonathan Wright

The signature of Jonathan Wright from an 1820 letter.

The signature of Jonathan Wright from an 1820 letter.

Jonathan Wright, son of John and Elizabeth Wright, was born probably in Castleshane, Ireland, where it is known his sister Rachel was born.  He was brought to America as a small child by his parents and grew up near Menallen Meeting, York County, Pennsylvania.  On May 16, 1770, he married Susanna Griffith also of Menallen.

In 1771 the minutes of Warrington Monthly Meeting record that Jonathan and his wife request a certificate to Fairfax M.M., Virginia.  From there they went to Pipe Creek, Maryland, and there three children, Thomas, Rachel and Phebe, were probably born.  In 1777 the little family returned to York County, as recorded in the Warrington records and settled on a farm in the vicinity where they also ran a tanyard.  Here the remaining children were born.  In 1797, the entire family, now consisting of parents and nine children returned to Maryland and settled within the verge of Gunpowder M.M., just 14 miles outside of Baltimore.  Here they lived until 1805, the father running a small farm, grist mill, saw mill, oil mill, and limkiln.

In 1795, Jonathan Wright is mentioned in the proceedings of the Baltimore Committee of the Yearly Meeting on Indian Matters, as being a member of the first committee on Indian Affairs.  This is the first indication we have of the interest of this family in the Indians, and the date indicates that Jonathan attended Baltimore Yearly Meetings while living at Menallen.

In 1801, while her family lived at Gunpowder, the daughter, Elizabeth attended Westtown Boarding School.

When the westward migration of Quakers was at its height, the Wright family en masse removed to the Miami or Western Country.  This was in the year 1805, and the departure is graphically told by the daughter, Rebecca, who was twelve years old at the time:  “We left our former home on the 10th of the 12th month 1805, and proceeded to a wood, through which we had been accustomed to walk to meeting, where (it being about noon) we found baskets of provisions, brought by our neighbors and friends who had spread cloths on the grass and leaves, and laid out refreshments.  We sat down and partook of a parting meal.  It was to us a solemn passover of which we never partook again in mutability–many tears were shed and that spot was long rendered memorable.  We bade a long farewell to our dear friends, and proceeded 40 miles to Pipe Creek to the residence of our brother-in-law, Benjamin Farquahar.  We were here joined by his family, making in all 21 in number.”

The little band crossed the mountains safely, the mother, Susanna, riding all the way on a gentle pony, purchased especially for the journey.  The eldest son was left behind in Maryland, and was never seen again by his family, for he died in Mississippi while filling the government post of Agent to the Chickasaw Indians in 1808.  He had spent two years there, accepting the appointment in 1806.

After two months of travel, the Wrights reached Green County, Ohio, and there renting a cabin for the winter, set about selecting a spot for a home.  It was decided that they settle between the two Miamies, on Todds Fork, where there was water power for the grist and saw mill which later were erected.  The farm contained 300 acres of rich land, five of which were cleared of timber where a one room cabin had been built.  It was on this property that the first saw and flouring mill were built in Clinton, Ohio.  The property was near Center Meeting which the family attended.

After ten years, Jonathan and his wife moved with the unmarried children to Cincinnati, and after a few years traded the house and lot they owned on 4th Street for 160 acres in Fayette County, Indiana.  Here they established a meeting called Poplar Ridge, and here it was they passed their last days, Jonathan dying at 81, and Susanna at 78.  Both are buried in Poplar Ridge burial ground.

Rebecca writes of her father’s character:  “My father was a man of good understanding in things natural and religious.  His judgment was sound and discriminating; his deportment grave, affable, and hospitable — to those particularly who were drawn to visit us in gospel love, his heart and house were ever open and his sympathies enlisted to afford them all the aid in his power — He was for many years Elder in our Society, and peculiarly qualified for the exercise of its discipline.

In the government of his family there was a firmness and dignity that insured obedience, and his steady, upright walk was an example worthy of imitation.  He departed this life in his 81st year with a short but severe illness which he bore with great fortitude and resignation, not having been heard to utter a groan, or complaint of any kind.”

— — —

This short biography of my fifth great grandfather, Jonathan Wright (1748-1827), was among our family papers.  It was likely written by either my third great grandfather Edward Shaw or his granddaughter Cornelia.  

To see more about Westtown Boarding School (which was founded in 1799 and is still in operation) see www.westtown.edu

To read more about him, see my blog posts Hospitality and A Father’s Concern for His Daughter

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