From Crowns to Coal Mines?

#52ancestors Week 3 – Long Line

This week the 52 ancestors in 52 weeks prompt is Long Line. For my ancestor this week I actually chose a branch of my family which has very long researched roots. This Claypoole branch has what is considered a gateway ancestor. Through him lineage has been tracked back to the Emperor Charlemagne.

The Virginia Branch

I have spent a lot of time lately working on some of my other family lines.  Recently I decided it was time to revisit some of my Shuck ancestors and see if I could get further with some of my loose ends.  I began working on the line of Malinda Claypoole.  Malinda was the wife of George Edgar Shuck and the mother of Perry Addison Shuck from which the P.A. Shuck Cemetery got its name.  That would make her my 4th Great Grandmother.

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Malinda was born in 1819 in Buchanan County, Virginia.  Her family had been in Virginia for generations.  Her Great Grandfather, James Claypoole, had come to Virginia from Delaware sometime prior to 1761.  He settled first in Augusta County and later Hardy County.

Malinda was the daughter of Ephraim Claypoole and Lucinda Arbaugh.  Ephraim (1763-1840) was the son of Joseph Claypoole and Abigail Osborn.  Joseph Claypoole (1735-1790) was the son of James Claypoole (1701-1789) and Jane Elizabeth.

The Three James

James, our Virginia settler was the 3rd of his line to carry the given name of James.  His father, James Claypoole II, was born in England about the year 1664.  James Claypoole II (1664-1706) came to the American colonies in 1683 aboard the ship Concord; also immigrating to the new world at the same time were his parents, James Claypoole I(1634-1687) and Hellena, and six of his siblings.  They were Quakers, and closely associated with William Penn.  James I was a successful merchant both in England and in the colonies.  The family made their home in Pennsylvania and Delaware region.

English Roots

As I started to research the origins of James Claypoole before he left England I quickly discovered that extensive research has already been done on the line from this point.  I’m still connecting all the dots but it gets interesting quickly.  It led to places I didn’t expect it to go.

James Claypoole was the son of John Claypoole and Marie Angell.  Sir John Claypoole (1595-1664), Knight of Latham, was a man of substantial means for his time.  During his lifetime he was both knighted and made a Baronet, he was a Member of Parliament, Justice of the Peace, and likely served as Sheriff for his county.  His family home was an estate called Northborough Manor which still stands today.

northborough-manor
Northborough Manor as it is today

John Claypoole was the son of Adam Claypoole and Dorothy Wingfield.  The Find a Grave memorial for Adam Claypoole (1595-1634) had an interesting fact that made me decide to work on the line of Dorothy Wingfield (1566-1619) first.  “Through her father’s lineage Dorothy was a direct descendant of King Edward I of England” the line reads.  Statements like that make me curious but I tend to take them with a huge grain of salt.  Mythology and genealogy can often be close friends.  Upon quick inspection it looks like the information could very well be legit but I’m reserving my grain of salt.

Chasing Royalty

Dorothy Wingfield was the daughter of Robert Wingfield and Elizabeth Cecil.  Robert Wingfield (1532 – 1580) was the son of Robert Winfield I and Margery Quarles.  Robert Wingfield I (1491 – 1576) was the son of Henry Wingfield and Elizabeth Rookes.  Each generation the ancestors appear to have managed at least a relative amount of success in life although nothing extraordinary.

Sir Henry Wingfield (1440 – 1494) seems to have lived a noteworthy life.  He was the youngest of 11 children born to Sir Robert Wingfield and Elizabeth Goushill.  Henry fought for the House of York in the War of the Roses and both Henry and his brother, Thomas, were knighted by King Edward IV at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.  At the end of his life Sir Henry served as Governor of Orford Castle.  Sir Henry and his wife were both buried in elaborate tombs that featured effigies.  The tomb and the effigies no longer exist.

At this point chasing the possibly royal link led me up the line of Sir Henry’s wife Elizabeth Goushill (1404 – 1466).  Elizabeth was the daughter of Sir Robert Goushill (1350 – 1403) and Elizabeth FitzAlan (1371 – 1425).  Sir Robert and Elizabeth FitzAlan, Duchess of Norfolk, were married about 1400.  Elizabeth was a widow and the couple married without license and as a result King Henry IV seized the lands belonging to Elizabeth.  Family connections helped smooth over the issue and the King granted them a pardon and restored her lands soon after.  Robert was knighted at the Battle of Shrewsbury by the king while still wounded on the battlefield.  According legend Sir Robert was murdered for his valuables on the same day her received his knighthood from the King.  He and Elizabeth had been married a few short years and only two daughters were born to the union.  Sir Robert and Elizabeth are buried in an elaborate tomb in St Michael’s Church in Nottinghamshire, England.

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Tomb of Sir Robert Goushill and Elizabeth FitzAlan in St Michael’s Church Nottinghamshire, England

Elizabeth FitzAlan was the daughter of Richard FitzAlan, Earl of Arundel (1346 – 1397), and Elizabeth de Bohun (1350 – 1385).  She is the connection of the Claypool family of West Virginia to the ancient Kings of England.  Through her father’s side she is the 3rd Great Granddaughter of King Henry the III of England.  Through her mother’s side she is the 2nd Great Granddaughter of King Edward I, known popularly as Longshanks, and the 3rd Great Granddaughter of King Henry the III of England once again as her parents were distant cousins.

Royalty Found

So it does indeed appear that the modern Shuck family and connected lines indeed carry the blood of Kings.  Upon further digging I have discovered that James Claypool of Pennsylvania is already listed as an descendant of Charlemagne through genealogical societies that trace royal descendants which means that cousins somewhere along the line have even proved the information as accurate.  This just goes to prove you truly never know what genealogical research will turn up.  I expect to dig much further into this fascinating family line.

For what it is worth on the topic of Charlemagne…here is a great article that tackles the topic of his descendants. So you’re related to Charlemagne

See inside Northborough Manor and further details on the estate here

The Most “Literary” Cemeteries in the World

I enjoy this “morbid” hobby.

I giggled a little bit when I read this line about it being morbid to visit cemeteries via The Most “Literay” Cemeteris in the World – irevuo

I suppose it could be considered morbid but to me cemeteries are nothing remotely spooky. To me, they are some of the most beautiful and peaceful places.

I have been known to travel far out of my way just for the opportunity to visit cemeteries of interest to me.

In the case of Marie Leveau, I waited years to visit that cemetery…only to have a seizure on the way there and get no farther than the road outside the entrance of the cemetery. I still intend to make it back to see the tomb of the famous voodoo queen.

I developed an interest in cemeteries as a child from visiting the graves of my ancestors.

As I grew older, I learned to appreciate old cemeteries in places that I traveled. Then it blossomed into an interest in the graves of historically noteworthy people.  

I started to make a short list of graves of interesting individuals I have visited over the years. Frequently, I scope out a cemetery in every new location I travel to.

No list would be proper if I didn’t start it with Arlington National Cemetery. I am a military granddaughter, wife, mother, and mother-in-law so Arlington is extra special. I couldn’t make a trip to Washington D.C. without taking the opportunity to see the Tomb of the Unknown soldier or the eternal flame burning in remembrance of JFK.


The second most interesting grave I have had the pleasure to visit is Buffalo Bill. This legendary show man of the wild west is buried in a breathtaking place on Lookout Mountain just outside Denver, Colorado. There is a great little museum to Buffalo Bill near his burial site.


On the same theme of western beauty, the resting place of legendary gunman Doc Holiday is perched high on a mountain in Glenwood Springs Cemetery. His exact resting place is lost to time, but a memorial stands in the cemetery to memorialize the notorious figure of the shootout at the O.K. Corral.


The year I traveled to Deadwood, South Dakota I got a two for one. Both Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickock are buried in the cemetery in Deadwood. Where else would Calamity Jane be buried besides near the rumored love of her life, Wild Bill Hickock?


Geronimo is another interesting grave I was able to visit on one of my travels. The old Native American warrior lived a very noteworthy life. His grave marker is one of the more unique but simple stones I have seen.

Finally, I have the oddest cemetery I ever went out of my way to see. The Mascot cemetery on Ft Sill, Oklahoma. If you have never heard of the mascot cemetery that probably makes you one of most. I noticed a sign for the cemetery by chance while visiting Ft Sill for a basic training graduation. It piqued my interest, so we went off down a trail to the middle of nowhere. Eventually we stumbled upon the Mascot Cemetery, but it was not exactly what I expected. I was assuming a cemetery for a family with the last name Mascot from long ago. Indeed, it is literally the base Mascots.

Do you enjoy visiting cemeteries? Tell me about your favorite cemetery!

Remembering the Korean War

It seems that after over sixty-fives years of war the Korean War may finally be ending.  Many of our combat veterans from the era of active fighting on the Korean peninsula have already passed away. My Grandfather was a Korea combat veteran. He died before they actually achieved peace.

At this momentous time in world history, it seems an appropriate moment to remember one of the Korean War dead from my own family tree.

My maternal grandfather’s family was from an isolated community in the mountains of West Virginia. Coal mining was the predominate form of employment of the region and many of his immediate family, including his father and older brothers, worked in the mines. Military service was the most common way young men avoided going into the mines. Statistically a man had greater odds of getting hurt in the coalmines than he did in the military even during World War II.

My Grandfather’s first cousin, Andrew Calvin Shuck, joined the military. He enlisted in the Army on 8 July 1948. He was twenty years old.

andrew c shuck kia korea service pic credit michael shuck
Photo Credit Michael Shuck

Andrew C. Shuck was born 12 Jan 1928 in Lawton, West Virginia. He was the son of Landon Lawson Shuck and Pina Propps. He was unmarried.  Andrew C. Shuck was assigned to Company F, 5th Calvary Regiment, 1st Calvary Division. When combat broke out on the Korean Peninsula, his unit was one of the early ones to see action.

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Photo Credit FAG

Andrew C. Shuck was also one of the first combat casualties of the Korea War. He was killed 25 July 1950. He recieved the Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Korean Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, United Nations Service Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, and Republic of Korea War Service Medal.

andrew c shuck obit killed in korea

It took over a year before Andrew C. Shuck was laid to rest in his home state of West Virginia. By the time they held his memorial in the At the End of the Trail Cemetery several of Andrew’s relatives had already signed up to go to Korea. My grandfather, his brothers, and cousins all flocked to sign up for duty.

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The Korean Armistice was signed on 27 July 1953 effectively ending active hostilities between North and South Korea in a stalemate. My Grandfather died in 2011 without even seeing an end to the conflict that resulted in his cousin’s death. I hope that in 2018, with the signing of the Panmunjom Declaration, peace can finally come between the two Korean nations.

By the numbers:

Active War: 25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953 (3 years, 1 month, and 2 days)

Total American Casualties of the Conflict: 36,516

Sources:

United States Military Casualties of War Wikipedia

Korean War

Andrew Calvin Shuck Find a Grave

 

 

North Brinton Cemetery

My love for genealogy was born in an old family cemetery so it seems only fitting that many of my blogs are about old cemeteries. Cemeteries are the one public place where I skip around like a kid in a candy store excited to see what is around the next bend. Even as a young kid, I was always quick to tag along while someone went to visit a loved one’s grave. I have climbed mountains, crossed the country, and trudged through snake-filled pastures to visit certain cemeteries. To me cemeteries are like a giant open-air genealogical archive.

During a trip to Michigan a couple years ago, I decided to visit the cemetery where my maternal Grandmother’s relatives are laid to rest. She grew up in a small village called Lake and she wanted to see the headstone of a brother that had died in recent years since she lost her mobility. I took my camera and headed off to get the next best thing to a visit…a photo of Uncle Russ’s headstone.

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I had never been to the North Brinton Cemetery in Coldwater Township of Isabella County, Michigan. Aside from a couple of my Grandmother’s brothers most of the relatives in the cemetery were either distant or passed away before I was born. Truth be told, until just a few years ago I had not spent much time researching her line and as I wandered stone to stone most of the names were unfamiliar. When she explained it was a family cemetery I assumed more in the aspect of it is where family was buried not that it was a literal family cemetery.

Fast forward a couple years. I have dedicated more time to researching the ancestors of my maternal Grandmother and some of the many collateral lines through the generations. I have a much better picture of how all those many surnames are all connected in one way or another and while the name is not “Spence Cemetery” it has at times been called that through the years in various obituaries published through the area. The actual history of the land and cemetery itself has kept popping up in my research so I decided it was time to give the history of the North Briton Cemetery a blog post of its own.

WHY BRINTON?

Brinton is the name of an unincorporated community in Coldwater Township of Isabella County, Michigan. The community was founded in 1862. Originally, it was known as Letson for a local storekeeper who was the first postmaster for the community. In 1886, the town was renamed for Oscar T. Brinton. Records show that James Spence arrived in Coldwater Township after 1890. A land transfer published in the 1893 Isabella County Enterprise show purchases for two sections of land. One of the plots of land James Spence purchased was from Oscar T. Brinton.

Land Transfer
Brinton to Spence 22 Dec 1893 land transfers Isabella County Enterprise pg 4

Further research shows that James Spence later donated the five acres on which the North Brinton Cemetery sits in 1905. The earliest dated grave in the cemetery is from 1905.

Land Transfer
Cemetery land transfer 17 Feb 1905 Isabella County Enterprise pg 2

Today the cemetery is still in use. James Spence was buried in the cemetery on the land he donated in 1940. There are several generations of Spence descendants in the cemetery. There are over 800 graves with countless stones dating over a century in age.

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Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coldwater_Township,_Isabella_County,_Michigan

http://www.usgwarchives.net/mi/tsphoto/isabella/northbrinton-h.htm

https://www.findagrave.com/cemetery/1206/north-brinton-cemetery

Jacob Sowle: Abandoned Cemeteries and Unmarked Graves – One of America’s Forgotten Civil War Soldiers

Between family events and trying to kick some version of the seasonal plague, I have struggled to get my next blog post done. With no further delay, I introduce Jacob Sowle.

I decided to feature Jacob Sowle recently upon discovering he was a Civil War soldier that rests in an unmarked grave in an abandoned family cemetery. He was my third great grandfather on my maternal grandmother’s side, a link in generation chain leading to George Soule, a passenger on the Mayflower.

Jacob Sowle was born on 10 August 1831 likely in the Montgomery or Fulton County area of New York. His parents were William Dickerson Sowle and his wife Susan. During his lifetime Jacob’s branch of the Sowle family would move west first to Ohio and then onto Michigan.

On 5 May 1852 in Trumbull County Ohio Jacob Sowle married for the first time to Mary Ann DeLong. The couple had four children over the next several years. During that time, the couple followed Jacob’s parents as they left Ohio to settle in Eaton County, Michigan.

jacob sowle mary delong marriage 5 may 1852 trumbull ohio
Marriage Record from 5 May 1852 for Jacob Sowle and Mary Ann DeLong Trumbull Ohio

The 1860 federal census shows Jacob and Mary Ann Sowle living in Brookfield, Eaton County, Michigan. In the household are two sons, William and Riley, and two daughters Susan and Mariley. Jacob lists his profession as carpenter.

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1860 Federal Census Image showing Sowle family

Tragedy struck the family not long after this census was taken. In 1863, Jacob signed up for the Civil War draft. He reported himself as single at the time. His wife Mary Ann died, cause of death and exact burial location are unknown, but it is likely she is likely buried in an unmarked grave in the abandoned Sowle family cemetery in Eaton County, Michigan.

Jacob Sowle draft registration July 17 1863
Jacob Sowle 1863 Draft Registration

Jacob was spared the worst of any of the Civil War but he was drafted into the Union Army in 1865. He would serve nine months and seventeen days in C Company 195 Ohio Infantry. His term of service started on 13 February 1865 and ended on 30 November 1865. His rank was private. Jacob farmed his children out to friends and relatives during his time in the service.

After Jacob’s service in the war, he returned to Michigan. In Michigan, he remarried and fathered five children with his second wife, Esther Loisa Gurnee. Domestic bliss was not in the cards however and by the 1880 census the couple was living apart. Jacob was living in Eaton County as a divorced father raising three of their children. Esther was living in a nearby town with the couples other two children.

Jacob married again for a third time on 15 March 1881 in Eaton County, Michigan to Catherine Ann Wixon. The two would remain married for the rest of Jacob’s life.

jacob sowle death cert
Jacob Sowle Death Certificate showing place of burial

Jacob died 21 August 1904 in Coldwater, Michigan. He was survived by 8 of his 9 children and his son William Sowle provided the information for his death certificate. Jacob Sowle is buried in the Sowle Family Cemetery in Eaton County, Michigan. The grave is unmarked and the cemetery is now abandoned.

Sources:
Title Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993 Author Ancestry.com Publisher Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Publisher Date 2016 uPublisher Location Lehi, UT, USA Repository Information Name Ancestry.com
Year: 1860; Census Place: Brookfield, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: M653_542; Page: 579; Image: 83; Family History Library Film: 803542
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marshall
https://www.fold3.com/page/635070477-jacob-sowle?xid=1945
Year: 1880; Census Place: Brookfield, Eaton, Michigan; Roll: 578; Family History Film: 1254578; Page: 305C; Enumeration District: 077; Image: 0377
Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952
Year: 1900; Census Place: Coldwater, Isabella, Michigan; Roll: 718; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0066; FHL microfilm: 1240718
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/53164249

Clio – Muse of History…And You Can Help

I am history geek who loves genealogy, or a genealogist who loves history. To me it makes no difference. I have always loved history and I have always loved learning about the part my own ancestors played in history.

Genealogy and history are two topics that go hand in hand. You cannot effectively research genealogy without a solid foundation of knowledge about historic events. Many times some of the best information about earlier generations will come from historic documents at a local level.

Today I saw a Facebook ad for a site called Clio. It claims to be an online tour guide to historical locations. Okay at pre 9 am hours that had me excited! Old cemeteries, historical buildings, and museums are some of my favorite places to visit. Every time I visit a new place, I struggle to discover the neat forgotten pieces of history tucked away. This site has potential.

What is Clio?

Named after the ancient Greek muse of history, Clio puts history at your fingertips. Similar to locator ‘apps’ that help you find a nearby restaurant or repair shop, Clio picks up your present location and guides you to landmarks, museums, and historic and cultural sites. It also acts as a virtual time machine, allowing a user to see images and videos and hear and read about historic events that happened around them. ”

The site uses volunteers and educators to help build a database of historic places. As of this blog, the site has over 29,000 entries. The entries are submitted, reviewed and listed in a searchable format both my name and by location. The list lets you see the results either on a map or in a list format. The user is able to restrict the search area to distance from a certain place or their current location.

As someone who enjoys traveling to new areas and seeing new places this site could be a great travel resource to locate historic locations while on the road. I look forward to adding a few of my favorite historic sites to the Clio database soon!

 

Featured Image:

Featured Image Source: Muse of History Nicolas Poussin

A Strange Tale in Ripley County, Missouri

Recently I stumbled upon an article about an odd double murder that happened nearly a 100 years ago which left me fascinated and delving deeper for more information.  The murders took place in Ripley County, Missouri during prohibition.

Ripley County was an area with a reputation for lawlessness.  Homemade corn liquor poured from stills long before the law forbidding alcohol in the country.  A lack of roads inhibited the law enforcement authorities from cracking down on unsavory types in a region where many of the locals traveled by the many waterways that snaked through the area.

The region was mostly poor; a majority of the population was illiterate.  Many of the people in the area had immigrated to the area during the lumber boom after 1880, most of them from Tennessee.  Small family farms and timber operations were the main industries of the area.

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Lillie Mae Weatherspoon

In 1920 the Bennett family lived on the South Branch of the Buffalo Creek in Pine Township in Ripley County.  The family is headed by 62 year old widow Celia Louisa “Lucy” Bennett.  Also living with her at the time was her 34 year old son, J.W. Bennett, and 17 year old Gertie Bennett, a granddaughter whose mother was deceased.  Lucy claimed to be a farmer and reported that she owned her land.  Living next door to Lucy in 1920 were her daughter Fanny, with her husband Willie Weatherspoon, and their children.  The family had resided on the same land for over 10 years.   My Great Grandmother, Lillie Mae Weatherspoon, was one of Willie and Fanny’s children.

A gruesome discovery rocked the region in June 1926 when the bodies of Ernest and Frank Van Patton were discovered.  The old men had been dead, exposed to the elements and animals, about a week prior to discovery.  The men were misers and local rumors indicated they had a hidden wealth of money which was never recovered.  Local authorities were unable to solve the strange demise of the Van Patton brothers for a year.

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The Springfield Leader Springfield, MO June 20, 1926 pg 1

A break came in the case when 17 year old Cecil Atchinson walked into the local police station and told Joe Cochran a strange tale which implicated his uncle J.W. Bennett and another man, George Williamson, in the murder of the Van Patton brothers by poison in an attempt to rob the men.  Cecil also confessed that he confessed the tale to his grandmother, Lucy Bennett, and the tale shocked her so bad she died.  He claimed that on her death bed she ordered him to turn his uncle in.  J.W. was also implicated in a murder attempt on George Williamson by placing dynamite in his stove causing an explosion which injured the intended victim.

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Simpson’s Leader-Times Kittanning, Pennsylvania May 16, 1927 pg 12

J.W Bennett was convicted of the double murder of the Van Patton brothers and the attempted murder of George Williamson.  He was sentenced to life in Missouri State Prison in November 1927.  J.W. was the only one to receive a murder conviction and he quickly appealed his case.

In May 1928 the Missouri Supreme Court amended the conviction against J.W. Bennett and ordered that he had to be given a new trial.  The Supreme Court found issue with both the confessions signed by illiterate men and by the lack of physical evidence in the case.  The condition of the bodies when discovered had made a cause of death impossible to determine.  J.W. was released and never retried for the crime as far as I have been able to determine.

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The Sedalia Democrat Sedalia, MO May 25, 1928 pg 8

Joe Cochran the man who cracked the Van Patton case went on to have a very successful career.  He made headlines in several big cases involving recovery of stolen Army equipment, the recovery of a stolen mill, stopping a crazed man armed with a gun, and breaking up a counterfeit coin ring.  He also survived at least one assassin attempt.  In 1933 he was elected Vice President of the newly formed Midwest Peace Officers Association which was created as a multi-state agency to fight the rampant crime in the region.  After the mid 1930’s he appears to have left law enforcement.

By 1952 Joe Cochran owned a tavern operating in Doniphan.  He was gunned down during broad daylight on Main Street by a man named Ace Robinson.  Another man was also injured in the shooting.  Ace Robinson was instantly arrested and claimed he killed Cochran in self defense after years of extortion attempts by Cochran.  Ace Robinson claimed Joe Cochran had recently began to make threats against his life and that he shot him when he thought he was going to shoot him.  Joe Cochran was buried in the Doniphan Oak Ridge Cemetery.

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St Louis Post-Dispatch St Louis, MO June 20, 1952

Ace Robinson was found innocent of murder in 1953.  It was decided that he shot Joe Cochran in self-defense.  Ace died in 1956 of natural causes.  He is buried in the same cemetery as Joe Cochran.

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Macon Chronicle-Herald Macon, MO Apr 29, 1953 pg 1

 

What a strange series of events.  More to come on this one…

Cover Photo:

Sterling, Illinois
Mon, Jun 21, 1926 – Page 1

Matriarch Monday: Cassandra Burnell Southwick Persecuted Quaker

Well it’s Monday so it must be time for a Matriarch Monday post.  I have been researching more into the lines of my paternal 3rd Great Grandmothers, sisters Harriet Cornell Eckler and Cornelia Cornell Ashley.

Cassandra Burnell Southwick

While researching their lines I discovered the tale of a woman by the name of Cassandra Burnell Southwick.  Cassandra Burnell Southwick was the 5th Great Grandmother of the Cornell sisters and my 10th Great Grandmother twice over.

Cassandra Burnell was born in England in 1598.  She married a man by the name of Lawrence Southwick and together with their children they immigrated to the American colonies in 1638.  They set up home in Salem, Massachusetts where Lawrence was one of the first glass makers in the new world.

A Dark Page in Salem History

Most people recognize the name Salem, Massachusetts for its dark history involving witch trials in the late 1600’s but Salem has a dark and tragic history of crazed persecution that dates back even farther than the witch trials.  Long before Rev Cotton Mather’s name became famous another dark man terrorized the people of Salem.  His name was John Endecott, he was the Governor of Massachusetts, and his victims were the Quakers.

The Puritans came to America to escape religious persecution but that did not create compassion for others suffering the same fate.  The Puritans were known for harsh treatment of anyone who did not follow the strict doctrine of their faith.  The Quakers were a frequent target of Puritan ire.

Quaker Persecution

During the year 1657 Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick were living in Salem and were found to be associating with Quaker preachers, a crime in Puritan Massachusetts.  Lawrence and Cassandra were both arrested.  Lawrence was released but Cassandra was imprisoned for 7 weeks and fined for possessing a paper written by the visitors, a heretical act under Puritan law.

In 1658 the Southwicks were once again found to be breaking Puritan law for being Quakers.  Lawrence, Cassandra, and adult son (my ancestor) Josiah were all arrested and sentenced to serve 20 weeks in jail.  The family’s personal property was confiscated to pay for the fines levied on them and their younger children still at home were left penniless with no livestock or goods to sustain them.

Sold into Slavery

The following year, 1659, the youngest children of Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick, a daughter named Provided and son Daniel, were ordered sold into slavery in Barbados to pay outstanding fines related to the families Quaker activities.   The children were hauled up to the auction block but no ship captain would agree to transport them forcing Gov. Endecott to rescind that part of his punishment.  The tale of Endecott attempting to sell the children into slavery led to the Ballad of Cassandra Southwick written by John Greenleaf Whittier which details the experience from the perspective of daughter Provided.

Exile

In 1660, Endecott managed to finally get rid of his problem with the Southwick family of Quakers.  After the failed attempt to sell the Southwick children into slavery he had the family banished.  Lawrence and Cassandra were both in their 60’s at the time and their physical condition was no doubt much deteriorated after their long ordeal which involved being whipped and starved during their imprisonment.  The family sought refuge on Shelter Island in New York where Lawrence and Cassandra died in the spring of 1660.

lawrencecassandrasouthwick

Inscription on the memorial placed in 1884 at the Sylvester Manor Burial Ground on Shelter Island, New York.

“LAWRENCE AND CASSANDRA SOUTHWICK
Despoiled, imprisoned, starved, whipped, banished,
Who fled here to die.”

The Ballad of Cassandra Southwick

                By John Greenleaf Whittier

To the God of all sure mercies let my blessing rise today,
From the scoffer and the cruel He hath plucked the spoil away;
Yes, he who cooled the furnace around the faithful three,
And tamed the Chaldean lions, hath set His handmaid free!

Last night I saw the sunset melt though my prison bars,
Last night across my damp earth-floor fell the pale gleam of stars;
In the coldness and the darkness all through the long night-time,
My grated casement whitened with autumn’s early rime.

Alone, in that dark sorrow, hour after hour crept by;
Star after star looked palely in and sank adown the sky;
No sound amid night’s stillness, save that which seemed to be
The dull and heavy beating of the pulses of the sea;

All night I sat unsleeping, for I knew that on the morrow
The ruler said the cruel priest would mock me in my sorrow,
Dragged to their place of market, and bargained for and sold,
Like a lamb before the shambles, like a heifer from the fold!

Oh, the weakness of the flesh was there¯the shrinking and the shame;
And the low voice of the Tempter like whispers to me came,
‘Why sit’st thou thus forlornly,’ the wicked murmur said,
‘Damp walls thy bower beauty, cold earth thy maiden bed?

‘Where be the smiling faces, and voices soft and sweet,
Seen in thy father’s dwelling, hoard in the pleasant street?
Where be the youths whose glances, the summer Sabbath through,
Turned tenderly and timidly unto thy father’s pew?

‘Why sit’st thou here, Cassandra? Bethink thee with what mirth
Thy happy schoolmates gather around the warm, dark hearth;
How the crimson shadows tremble on foreheads white and fair,
On eyes of merry girlhood, half hid in golden hair.

‘Not for thee the hearth-fire brightens, not for thee kind words are spoken,
Not for thee the nuts of Wenham woods by laughing boys are broken;
No first-fruits of the orchard within thy lap are laid,
For thee no flowers of autumn the youthful hunters braid.

‘O weak, deluded maiden!¯by crazy fancies led,
With wild and raving railers an evil path to tread;
To leave a wholesome worship, and teaching pure and sound,
And mate with maniac women, loose-haired and sackcloth-bound,

‘And scoffers of the priesthood, who mock at things divine,
Who rail against thy pulpit, and holy bread and wine;
Bore from their cart-tail scourgings, and from the pillory lame,
Rejoicing in their wretchedness, and glorying in their shame.

‘And what a fate awaits thee!¯a sadly toiling slave,
Dragging the slowly lengthening chain of bondage to the grave!
Think of thy woman’s nature, subdued in hopeless thrall,
The easy prey of any, the scoff and scorn of all!’

Oh, ever as the Tempter spoke, and feecle Nature’s fears
Wrung drop by drop the scalding flow of unavailing tears,
I wrestled down the evil thoughts, and strove in silent prayer
To feel, O Helper of the weak! that Thou indeed wert there!

I thought of Paul and Silas, within Philippi’s call,
And how from Peter’s sleeping limbs the prison shackles fell,
Till I seemed to hear the trailing of an Angel’s robe of white,
And to feel a blessed presence invisible to sight.

Bless the Lord for all his mercies!¯for the peace and love I felt,
Like the dew of Hermon’s holy hill, upon my spirit melt;
When ‘Get behind me, Satan! ‘ was the language of my heart,
And I felt the Evil Tempter with all his doubts depart.

Slow broke the gray cold morning; again the sunshine fell,
Flocked with the shade of bar and grate within my lonely cell;
The hoar-frost melted on the wall, and upward from the street
Came careless laugh and idle word, and tread of passing feet.

At length the heavy bolts fell back, my door was open cast,
And slowly at the sheriff’s side, up the long street I passed;
I heard the murmur round me, and felt, but dared not see,
How, from every door and window, the people gazed on me.

And doubt and fear fell on me, shame burned upon my cheek,
Swam earth and sky around me, my trembling limbs grew weak;
‘Oh Lord, support thy handmaid, and from her soul cast out
The fear of men, which brings a snare, the weakness and the doubt.

Then the dreary shadows scattered, like a cloud in morning’s breeze,
And a low deep voice within me seemed whispering words like these:
‘Though thy earth be as the iron, and thy heaven a brazen wall,
Trust still His loving-kindness whose power is over all.’

We paused at length, where at my feet the sunlit waters broke
On glaring roach of shining beach, and shingly wall of rock;
The merchant-ships lay idle there, in hard clear lines on high,
Treeing with rope and slender spar their network on the sky.

And there were ancient citizens, cloak-wrapped and grave and cold,
And grim and stout sea-captains with faces bronzed and old,
And on his horse, with Rawson, his cruel clerk at hand,
Sat dark and haughty Endicott, the ruler of the land.

And poisoning with his evil words the ruler’s ready ear,
The priest leaned over his saddle, with laugh and scoff and jeer;
It stirred my soul, and from my lips the soul of silence broke,
As if through woman’s weakness a warning spirit spoke.

I cried ‘The Lord rebuke thee, thou smiter of the meek,
Thou robber of the righteous, thou trampler of the weak!
Go light the cold, dark hearth-stones,¯go turn the prison lock
Of the poor hearts though hast hunted, thou wolf amid the flock!’

Dark lowered the brows of Endicott, and with a deeper red
O’er Rawson’s wine-empurpled cheek the flash of anger spread;
‘Good people, ‘ quoth the white-lipped priest, ‘heed not her words so wild,
Her Master speaks within her¯ the Devil owns his child!’

But gray heads shook, and young brows knit, the while the sheriff read
That law the wicked rulers against the poor have made,
Who to their house of Rimmon and idol priesthood bring
No bonded knee of worship, nor gainful offering.

Then to the stout sea-captains the sheriff, turning, said¯
‘Wish of ye, worthy seamen, will take this Quaker maid?
On the Isle of fair Barbados, or on Virginia’s shore
You may hold her at a higher price than Indian girl or Moor!’

Grim and silent stood the captains; and when again he cried,
‘Speak out my worthy seamen!’ no voice, no sign replied;
But I felt a hard hand press my own, and kind words met my ear,¯
‘God bless thee, and preserve thee, my gentle girl and dear!’

A weight seemed lifted from my heart, a pitying friend was nigh,
I felt it in his hard, rough hand, and saw it in his eye;
And when again the sheriff spoke, that voice, so kind to me,
Growled back its stormy answer like the roaring of the sea.

‘Pile my ship with bars of silver, pack with coins of Spanish gold
From keel-piece up to deck-plank, the roomage of her hold,
By the living God that made me! I would sooner in your bay
Sink ship and crew and cargo, than bear this child away!’

‘Well answered, worthy captain, shame on their cruel laws!’
Ran through the crowd in murmurs loud the people’s just applause.
‘Like the herdsmen of Tekoa, In Israel of old,
Shall we see the poor and righteous again for silver sold ?’

I looked on haughty Endicott; with weapon half-way drawn,
Swept around the throng his lion glare of bitter hate and scorn;
Fiercely he drew his bridle-rain, and turned in silence back,
And sneering priest and baffled clerk rode murmuring in his track.

Hard after them the sheriff looked, in bitterness of soul,
Thrice smote his staff upon the ground, and crushed his parchment-roll.
‘Good friends,’ he said, ‘since both have fled, the ruler and the priest
Judge ye, if from their further work I be not well released.’

Loud was the cheer which, full and clear, swept round the silent bay,
As, with kind words and kinder looks, he bade me go my way;
For he who turns the courses of the streamlet of the glen,
And the river of great waters, had turned the hearts of men.

Oh, at that hour the very earth seemed changed beneath my eye,
A holier wonder round no rose the blue walls of the sky,
A lovelier light on rock and hill and stream and woodland lay,
And softer lapsed on sunnier sands the waters of the bay.

Thanksgiving to the Lord of life! To him all praises be,
Who from the hands of evil men hath set his handmaid free;
All praise to Him before whose power the mighty are afraid,
Who take the crafty in the snare which for the poor is laid!

Sing, O my soul, rejoicingly, on evening’s twilight calm
Uplift the loud thanksgiving, pour forth the grateful psalm;
Let all dear hearts with me rejoice, as did the saints of old,
When of the Lord’s good angel the rescued Peter told.

And weep and howl, ye evil priests and mighty men of wrong,
The lord shall smite the proud, and lay His hand upon the strong.
Woe to the wicked rulers in his avenging hour!
Woe to the wolves who seek the flocks to raven and devour!

But let the humble ones arise, the poor in heart be glad,
And let the mourning ones again with robes of praise be clad,
For he who cooled the furnace, and smoothed the stormy wave,
And tamed the Chaldean lions, is mighty still to save!

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_and_Cassandra_Southwick

https://archive.org/stream/essexinstitutehiv16esse#page/2/mode/2up

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=6783049&PIpi=48313012

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ballad_of_Cassandra_Southwick_(poem)

I Visited Geronimo’s Grave…Maybe?

Cemetery Tourist

It seems as if frequently genealogy and a love of cemeteries go hand in hand.  Visiting old cemeteries seems to be a natural part of most genealogists’ hunt for old ancestors.  My own personal love of genealogy was born in an old family cemetery.

When I travel to new places I enjoy visiting historic buildings and old cemeteries.  Over the years I have visited such notable graves as Doc Holiday, Buffalo Bill, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane.  During my travels I have visited old Confederate cemeteries full of unknown dead soldiers and even a cemetery full of nothing but mules, donkeys, and goats who served as base mascots for Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

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Mascot Cemetery Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Recently one of the cemeteries I visited was the Fort Sill Indian Agency Cemetery in Oklahoma.  The cemetery, also called the Beef Creek Apache Cemetery, is noteworthy for containing the graves of Apache prisoners of war, including the grave of Geronimo and several of his family members who were held at Fort Sill.

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Beef Creek Apache Cemetery, Fort Sill, Oklahoma

Geronimo’s Grave

Geronimo has a large headstone easily spotted from the road of the cemetery.  It is in the shape of a pyramid with an eagle standing with spread wings on its top.  A closer inspection of the memorial reveals countless items left on and around it.  Feathers, coins, tobacco, all little pieces of tribute left for the great chief by visitors to his grave.  The large stately grave of Geronimo stands out among the sea of simple stones that fill the cemetery.  It seems like a peaceful final resting place.

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Tributes left at Geronimo’s Grave

More to the Story

There is more to the story of Geronimo that goes beyond the date of his death in 1909.  The grave of Geronimo has been the subject of more than one conspiracy story indicating all or part of his body has been removed from his Ft Sill grave.  During more recent times there have been fights to exhume his remains and remove them from the Army base by Native American groups looking to honor his final wishes.  Even in death it seems it’s hard for Geronimo to stay put.

Skull and Bones

The first and probably most well known story involving the removal of Geronimo’s remains involves a prestigious secret society at Yale, the Skull and Bones Club.  According to lore several club members, to include Prescott Bush, stole Geronimo’s skull as part of a club ritual during World War I.  This story has been disclaimed by both members of the club and officials at Fort Sill but still remains a source of mystery.

Elk Mountains

The second story is less known and has less evidence to support its credibility but still bears mentioning.  In 2009 a man from Wichita, Kansas told a story to a reporter, Amanda Warner, of the Times Record News that indicates the body of Geronimo may have never been there for the club to steal.  According to Gene Keeler, a Comanche descendant, the body of Geronimo was secretly moved by a group of men that included his Grandfather, Samuel Dave Cerday, shortly after his death.  According to details relayed to Keeler the body of Geronimo had been moved to the Elk Mountains near Indiahoma, Okalahoma to unmarked grave to remove him from Army control.

I Visited Geronimo’s Headstone

Does Geronimo truly rest under that elaborate stone?  We may never know.  So far efforts by his descendants to have his remains moved have been unsuccessful.  Short of actually exhuming the remains to see if some or any are contained in the grave there is little chance of finding out.  One thing is for certain even over a century after his death; the countless tributes left in his honor indicate he left a lasting mark on the world that lasts long beyond his life.

 

Sources:

http://www.timesrecordnews.com/news/comanche-descendant-geronimo-not-buried-at-fort-sill-ep-433460263-335546011.html

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=387