Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message

Sunday, March 20, 2016

California Gold Rush 1848-1851 and the Hazeltons

I watched a documentary on television recently that sparked my interest in travel to and from the gold fields in California. Those miners could travel overland, sail around South America or cross the Isthmus of Panama. Thomas Hazelton stated that his father, Royal H Hazelton had died aboard a steamship at Baton Rouge in June 1851.
There is an account of Thomas and Royal Hazelton traveling to the goldfields of California in a Greene County, Missouri history book. 

My curiosity was sparked to learn more about the events that took place for the Hazelton men during this time period.  I searched on and found one passenger list with two Hazelton men aboard, R H age 18 and A age 35. They were traveling from Chagres to New Orleans in March 1851 aboard the Brig Roselin.

This page doesn't state the date, the previous image in the set is dated March 7, 1851.  The National Archives website states that record group M259 is a chronological set of records. So we assume the date is close to March 7, 1851.  The Royal H Hazelton who died at Baton Rouge would have been 65.  His sons, Royal H and Alpheus are most likely the men on this passenger list.  

Chagres was the river they traveled on to cross the Isthmus of Panama.  Once they reached the Pacific Ocean they would have traveled North to San Francisco.  A google search returned this result:  with transcriptions of news paper articles that are quite revealing!  

I hope to find more records in Louisiana, Panama, and California to reveal more about my Hazelton ancestors during the California Gold Rush.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Proving Catharine Cushing Merritt and her daughter Catharine Merritt

Catharine Merritt inherited from her grandfather, Stephen Cushing as her mother, Catherine Merritt, had died. I found the marriage record abstract showing Catharine Cushing married a Daniel Merritt in Sherman, CT on 26 May 1816. I have the Bible record showing Catharine Cushing Merritt died 7 April 1821. Stephen Cushing died 16 October 1825. In Stephen's will he bequeaths $1,000 dollars to his granddaughter, Catherine Merritt, "heir of my daughter Catharine Merritt deceased." Hmmm. It doesn't say anything about the granddaughter being a minor child.  Interestingly, I found a Catharine Merritt in the 1820 US Federal Census in Beekman, Dutchess County, New York.
Catharine Merritt is head of household, but is she 16 to 18 or 26 to 45? Catherine Cushing Merritt would have been around 27 years of age in 1820. Would she have had a 16 year old daughter? Or is Catharine Merritt the daughter of her husband Daniel Merritt? The will doesn't say and no mention is made of Daniel either. There are two men by the name of Daniel Merritt buried in the Quaker Burial Ground in Dutchess County, NY. 

Neither of their death dates match up with the Catharine in this census. On Find-A-Grave their memorials don't mention the name Catharine. 

They Were Married Where? Why You Need To Know Your Geography.

Stephen Cushing married Rachel Foster on the 12th day of July in 1773 in Tisbury, Massachusetts. Stephen served in the American Revolution then moved to Dutchess County, New York. In looking for the marriages of their daughter, Catharine, I came across an entry in the North Congregational Church Record Abstracts from Sherman, CT. Not only was Catharine married here but three of their other daughters as well: Elizabeth, Jemima and Rachel!

I pulled up maps on Google and searched for Sherman, CT. It is just across the state line from Dutchess County, New York.
This is why it is important to know the geography for the location you are researching.  I have always loved maps and I save all of them I find of the areas where my ancestors resided. Looking at the map it makes perfect sense now. 

Bible Records of Jane Cushing Hoag

My previous post was my transcription of Stephen Cushing's will. I discovered I had omitted Catharine Cushing as a child of Stephen Cushing and Rachel Foster in my PAF file. Today I pulled out the storage tote that holds the binder for the Hoag genealogy that I have compiled. Flipping through the pages of photocopies I found the copies of the Family Record pages from a Bible. My aunt sent these to me many years ago when I became interested in genealogy.  I believe she is in possession of the original. The odd thing about these pages is that there is type faced (stamped) entries along with handwritten ones. Jane Cushing was born on 18 May 1776 and according to the handwritten entry under Deaths "Jane Hoag Wife of Solomon Died June the 30.. Monday 12 o'clock at night aged 80 years one month 13 days." That would make it 31 June 1826. She and Solomon were married 9 June 1789. This entry is partially type faced (stamped) and handwritten just like most of the other entries. By the spacing, I believe the same person completed all of the entries. Perhaps there wasn't enough space to stamp the entire entry so some of the data was handwritten. Someone continued the same style after Jane's death of stamping and handwritten entries. Take a look at the Marriages page to see entries made after Jane's death. It still remains a mystery for who completed the entries into the Family Record.

The interesting thing to note is the entry in Deaths for Catharine Merritt. In my transcription of Stephen Cushing's will, I read it as Catharine Merrill. I don't know who the original owner of the Bible is. William Cushing Hoag would have had it in his possession at some point and passed it down to his son Jared, my great grandfather.

Now I will see if I can find the surname Merritt in the records of Pawling, Dutchess County, New York!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Last Will and Testament of Stephen Cushing

The last will and testament of Stephen Cushing of the Town of Pawling and County of Dutchess and State of New York-
I Stephen Cushing considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory (Blessed be Almighty God for the same) Do make and publish this my last will and testament in manner following that is to say First I given and bequeath to my son William Cushing the sum of one thousand and five hundred dollars- Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Jane Hoag the sum of one thousand five hundred dollars. Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Jemima Green in lands as follows namely all that piece or those pieces of land now in my possession situate south of the road leading from where I now live to Quaker Hill and joining lands or possessions as follows vis on the north it joins land belonging to the estate of Merrick Green deceased which land I sold to said Merrick while living- on the west it joins Archibald Campbell, on the south leased land now in possession of Charles Hurd and on the East Archibald Campbell junior.  Item, I also give and bequeath to her the said Jemima a northern piece of land lying north of the aforesaid road & bounded on the north and east by Archibald Campbell Junior on the south by a piece of land which I sold to David Camp Hatch and on the west by the principal road leading through this place to New York. I also give and bequeath to her the said Jemima the house in which I now liven and which I sold to David Camp Hatch on the East by Archibald Campbell Junior on the south and west by the road together with barn, out houses and whatever stands therein or appertains thinks all which at her deceased ill fall to her present heirs to be equally divided. Item, I give and bequeath to my daughter Deborah Scofield the sum of one thousand dollars. Item, I give and bequeath to my grandson Milton F Cushing the sum of one thousand dollars and which I write to be applied by my Executor Ebenezer Stevens according to his discretion in giving sd Milton a liberal education, and he is to have no more than the above named sum-
Item, I give and bequeath to my grandson Stiles or Stephen Cushing the sum of eight hundred dollars and no more to be disposed of at the discretion of my executor Ebenezer  Stevens in giving said grandson an education- Item, I give to my grandchildren the children of my daughter Rachel Arnold deceased to be equally distributed among them the sum of one thousand dollars to be paid each of them severally when he or she shall have arrived at the age on twenty one years and shall apply to my executor hereinafter mentioned for the same. Item, I give and bequeath to my grand daughter Catharine Merrill the heir of my daughter Catharine Merrill deceased the sum of one hundred dollars. Item, I give to my grand son Theron Green the sum of four hundred dollars- Item, I give and bequeath to my grandson Cushing Green the sum of one hundred dollars - Item, I give and bequeath to my grandson Stephen Cushing son of William Cushing the sum of two hundred dollars- Item, the residue & remainder of my real estate not herein mentioned I give and bequeath to my daughter Betsey Stevens as also my clock and the apparatus belonging to it- Item, I give and bequeath my one horse wagon & harness as also one bed & bedding to my daughter Jane Hoag, Item, I give and bequeath to my grandson Stephen Hoag the sum of two hundred dollars- Item the household furniture that I bought of James Grant & Ebenezer Stevens which is now in possession of Jemima Green, I give and bequeath to her the sd Jemima-Item, The residue of my household furniture I give and bequeath to my granddaughters Laura Green, Rachael Green and Jane Green to be equally divided and also my farming utensils to Theron Green- Item the residue and remainder of my personal property If there be any I will & order to be equally divided among my children hereinafter named (vis) William Cushing Jane Hoag Betsey Stevens and Jemima Green and them only- And further I do hereby appoint my son in law Ebenezer Stevens and my truly friend John Grant executor together my last will and testament hereby revoking all wills by me made- provide always and I do hereby order and declare that of my executor Ebenezer Stevens or any of my legatees herein mentioned shall be lawfully indebted to my estate by note or otherwise at my decease such debts shall be paid in to my estate or go towards so much of the legacy or share of the legatee so indebted-In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this eight day September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred twenty four
Signed – publish and declare by the above named Stephen Cushing to be his last will & testament in the presence of – who hereunto subscribe or named as witness in present of the testator-
Curtiss Prentice, David C Hatch, Daniel B Calhoun,
Dutchess County:
Be it remembered that on the nineteenth day of October in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five personally appeared before me James Hawks Surrogate of the count of Dutchess aforesaid Curtiss Prentice, David C Hatch Daniel B Calhoun the subscribing witness to the will of Stephen Cushing late of the town of Pawling in the said county deceased who being duly sworn declare that they dud see the said Stephen Cushing deceased seal and execute the instrument here unto annexed purporting to be the last will and testament of the said Stephen Cushing deceased bearing date the Eighth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five; that they heard him the said Stephen Cushing publish  and declare the same as and for his last will and testament; that at the time thereof he they said Stephen Cushing was of sound disposing mind and memory to the best of the knowledge and belief of the deponents and that they the deponents did formally subscribe their names to said will as witnesses hereto in the presence of the testator-
In his testimony whereof the said surrogate hath hereunto set his hand and affixed his seal of office this nineteenth day of October in the year of our Lord on thousand eight hundred and twenty five.
James Hooks Surrogate-
Dutchess County: Be it also remembered that on the nineteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five before me the said surrogate personally appeared James Grant & Ebenezer Stevens Executors in the aforesaid will named and were duly sworn to the faithful performance and execution thereof by taking the usual oath in the case provided-
James Hookes Surrogate
The People of the State of New York by the grace of God shall come or may concern send greeting:
Know ye that at Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County on the nineteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred twenty five before James Hookes Esquire Surrogate from said county, the last will and testament of Stephen Cushing late of Pawling in Dutchess County deceased (a copy thereof is hereunto annexed) was proved and is now approved and allowed of by us and the said deceased having whilst he lived & at the time of his death goods chattels or ----- within the State by means whereof the proving and executing the said will and the granting administration of all and singular the said goods chattels and credits and also the auditing allowing and find discharging the account thereof doth belong unto  us, the administration of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased and any way concerning his will is granted unto James Grand & Ebenezer Stevens Executors in the said will named they being first duly sworn well and faithfully to administer the same and to make and exhibit a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the said goods chattels and credits and also to render a just and true account thereof when thereunto required-
In testimony whereof we have carved the seal of office of our said surrogate to be hereunto affixed, witness James Hookes, Esquire Surrogate of the said county at Poughkeepsie the nineteenth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty five and of our Independence the fiftieth-
James Hookes Surrogate
Dutchess County: Recorded the preceding will of Stephen Cushing deceased with the certificate of the ---thereof the qualification of James Grant & Ebenezer Stevens Executors with the letter testamentary this nineteenth day of October one thousand eight hundred & twenty five.
James Hooker Surrogate
Dutchess: Delivered the original will of Stephen Cushing Dc’d with the probate thereof to James Grand one of the Executors this 10th day of Oct 1825.

James Hookes Surrogate.

More research on the other descendants of Stephen Cushing.  I have the following children as listed in the family Bible:

William b. 30 Apr 1774 (listed in the 1800 census in Pawling, Dutchess, NY with three females under 10 years of age and two females 16-25)
Jane Cushing b. 18 May 1776 (my ancestor) m. Solomon Hoag
Stephen Cushing b. 3 May 1778 d. 19 Nov 1794
Milton Foster Cusing b. 3 Dec 1781 d. 4 May 1787
Elizabeth Cushing b.4 Oct 1782 wife of Ebeneezer Stevens both named in the will.
Jemima Cushing b.1 Jun 1784 widow of Merrick Green
Thomas Cushing b. 15 Dec 1785, Christened Mar 1786 in Rochester, Plymouth, Mass. Died in 1789 in Pawling, Dutchess, New York.
Milton Foster Cushing b. 7 Sep 1787 d. 19 Nov 1811
Deborah Cushing b. 15 Nov 1789
Rachel Cushing b. 25 April 1791

I don't see a Catharine listed in the Bible. 

These children were most likely born in Massachusetts.  Stephen was a soldier in the American Revolution serving from Massachusetts. Some of the family are buried in the Cushing Burial Ground on the Green farm near Hurd's corner in Dutchess County, New York.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Mystery Guardianship

I visited the Midwest Genealogy Library in Independence, MO in early September. I was  looking for more information on my husband's grandfather, Leonard L. Gregory.  Leonard was  born in Bates County, MO.  I don't know if the family was staying with relatives at this time or if they resided there.  In 1884 his father, Lewis L. Gregory, was residing at 1729 Grand in Kansas City, MO. This was the same year he met and married Mary Belle Havens in Kansas City.

Leonard, b. 1896, was separated from his family following his mother's death in Kansas City, MO in 1904. He lived with his maternal aunt and uncle in Maine. He returned to Kansas City, but no one seemed to know exactly when. His father and eldest brother had left Kansas City; I found them in the census records living in Topeka, KS.  I haven't been able to determine who took the sisters, Pansy b. 1888 and Ida b. 1894. in to their home following the death of their mother. 

One item I really wanted to find was his probate.  Leonard died in 1965 having out lived his wife, Ethel, by four years. In the index was a probate case for Leonard L. Gregory but not in 1965 or any where near that year. It was filed in 1913 in Jackson County, MO. This was the first time I found evidence of his return to Kansas City prior to his first marriage in 1916. This "probate" turned out to be a guardianship.

Card file
We knew Leonard was in the Army prior to WWI and served in the Cavalry guarding the border with Mexico, according to family tradition.  No records are available to corroborate. See previous post on his military service.

I learned three things: he was back in KC by 1913, he found his sister Pansy (now Branscum) and he was under age when he joined the Army and needed parental permission.  We also now know that he did not reunite with his father until perhaps after his service.  

I was able to track Leonard and his family through the City Directories housed by the Midwest Genealogy Library following his military career. Beginning in 1915 he resided at 923 E. 9th in Kansas City, MO.  Living with him is his father, Lewis L. Gregory.  Leonard was a cook and Lewis a plasterer.  Lewis was always a plasterer from what I have found in the census records and city directories. Leonard wasn't married at this time, no female is listed in the directory. He married Ethel in 1916. Leonard stayed in Kansas City, MO the rest of his life. I have tracked his siblings through the Jackson County Marriage records and the Federal Census records. 

If you have family from the KC area, I recommend stopping in to do some research at the Midwest Genealogy Library.  You never know what surprises you might find!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

There Are Holes

I have been researching my husband's mother's line ever since I learned they settled in Cole County, Missouri. No one knew and I accidentally discovered this fact one day while researching on line. Her family lived in Anderson County, Kansas for over 100 years and she wasn't aware they first settled in Missouri. Her family came over on the Ship Rebecca coming into port at New Orleans in 1846. I have visited the community in which they settled along with many other families from the same area in Germany.  Taos is a small community that has a wonderful museum dedicated to Father Helias. The museum has photos of the ship and all the families who came over together including the Rackers, Rockers, Schnieders, Moellers, Walken, Talken, etc. The cemetery is full of these surnames. There is the original cemetery with its stones stacked under a tree. St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church museum committee is still researching the burials here. My mother-in-law was a Rockers and we visited with a member of the Rackers family. Interesting that there well may be a connection.
My original research online led me to discover the Emslanders website. Wow, this was quite a find. One day my husband and I visited the Anderson County Courthouse whose records are microfilmed and available in the lobby to peruse on a computer.  When you find the record of interest you are able to print it, for a fee. We found the guardianship of his great grandfather which mentioned he inherited from John G Moller. This is where the gaping hole is found.
A subsequent visit to the Missouri State Archives in Jefferson City, led me to the estate settlement.  John didn't leave a will, a man was appointed to administer the estate.  The heirs are listed but gives no indication as to their relationship to John G. Moller.  The marriage record of Herman Henry Rockers to Anna Margaret Mueller found at the aforementioned Catholic church lists the witnesses as Gerard Mueller and Maria Sandt/Landt. It could be Gerard and John G. are the same person. I have never found him in any census record.  His estate was completely settled by 1869.
My plan to fill in the holes is reading the microfilmed newspapers of Cole County for this time period. I am going to start with the Missouri River Regional Library in Jefferson City in hopes that they have older newspapers in-house.  Otherwise, I will need to travel to the library on the campus of the University of Missouri which hosts the Historical Society of Missouri's collections.  Since class is about to begin on campus, I am not reluctant to visit at this time.  Parking is limited and I am unfamiliar with the campus and the city of Columbia.
I know I will find my answer in the microfilms either in the newspaper or in more documents at the archives. On my last visit they were rearranging the microfilm room so I wasn't able to pull them to do my research. They do have quite a few published works so I spent my time looking through them and jotting notes to follow up on. Other peoples' works are appreciated but I like to find the original documents when ever possible. Missouri does quite a wonderful job in granting access to some digital records on line as well as a catalog of microfilm to make research planning much easier. I have visited the Midwest Genealogy Library in Independence but without much success do to poor pre-planning.  I have a trip coming up and will be more prepared and hopefully find more answers. They charge for a library card so I cannot look up anything prior to my arrival. I will need to use my research log to assist me when I arrive to know which type of records I want to access. Unfamiliarity is a big hindrance in a successful outcome. Nothing to me is worse than being unprepared. I have a lot to do before my research trips!