Monday, May 31, 2010

My parents, WWII Veterans

On this Memorial Day, I would like to honor the memory of my parents, Alice & Bill Huber, who were both veterans of WWII.

My father Bill Huber was living in Iowa when he enlisted in the US Navy.  I was told by a relative that he served on the USS Maryland, but I have not been able to find records to verifiy it. Bill also served in the Navy during the Korean war, but I don't know what ship(s) he served on. 

My mother Alice was living in San Francisco at the beginning of WWII and enlisted in the US Coast Guard, attaining the rank of  Radioman 1st class in the SPARS. I believe serving in the military was the thing that she was most proud of in her life (besides having & adopting her children, that is). 

Alice was stationed in Port Angeles and Seattle WA.  She met my father in 1945 while they were both stationed in Seattle; they got married in that same year in San Francisco, California, where Alice's parents were still living at the time.

Have a happy Memorial Day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Sunday, May 30, 2010

James Jay Huber 1952-1973 Viet Nam Veteran

Today I would like to remember my adopted brother, James Jay Huber, who was a Viet Nam Veteran.  He left no wife and  no children to honor his memory. In fact, there is likely no one left alive to remember Jim and his service to  the United States, except for the scant remnants of his American family.

His name was Kim Kuan.  He was born July 19, 1952 in Seoul, Korea, the son of a Korean woman and an American GI. For some unknown reason, his birth mother placed him in an orphanage in Seoul when he was six or seven years old.  Looking back now--as an adult, and an elementary school teacher--that seems particularly horrifying to me.  I don't know why his birth mother was compelled to give him up-- and at an age where he would understand that he was being abandoned. I don't know whether her parents forced  her, or a prospective husband who would not accept an illegitimate  son of mixed parentage. I can only imagine that it was a searing heartbreak to everyone involved.
In 1960, my parents adopted Kim Kuan.  He was eight years old.  While some might think it foolhardy to adopt an older child, my ever-optimistic parents were willing to take the chance. They had taken in many foster children, before starting their own family;  they believed they could not have any more children, and they wanted a son.  

I was six years old and my adopted sister was seven years old when Kim Kuan joined our family.  He was a bright, sweet-natured, happy boy who loved clowning around and making people laugh.  When he arrived, he spoke absolutely no English.  Even at age six, I was amazed at how quickly he learned a new language and how he fit comfortably right into our family. I now believe that is a testament to the loving, generous people that my parents were at that time. 

Kim Kuan was re-christened  James Jay Huber. He liked to be called Jim, Jimmy J, or Sunny Jim. 

There were a few cultural differences that needed to be addressed, at first.  In Korea, as in many Asian countries, boys have more status within the family, and in general their needs and wants come first before the girls  (or at least that was the case in traditional Korean families in the 1950s-1960s). It took a long time for my parents to convince Jim that my sister and I were his equals in every regard!  

Jim in his Cub Scout uniform, 1961

Life rarely proceeds on a straight course,  and our family changed dramatically in just two short years.  My parents had another baby of their own--a son.  We sold everything and moved to a huge alfalfa farm in Eastern Washington.  But there was some kind of legal irregularity with the purchase of the farm (I was six, so I really didn't understand the circumstances).  After only nine months, my parents were forced to relinquish the property to its previous owners, and lost all the money that they had invested in it. It was a devastating turn of events.

There is no way that my mother could have foreseen that just a few years after adopting Jim, she would be raising her four children alone. I doubt that kind of scenario had ever crossed her mind--never in her wildest dreams.  Unfortunately, there was nothing in her upbringing that prepared her for dealing with that contingency.  For nearly ten years, we barely survived.  The words "abject poverty" come to mind, when I think of those years. We learned what it was like to go without  both the necessities and comforts that others take for granted. 

Me and my siblings, in more prosperous times.

But life goes on.  Circumstances change. Children grow up, and begin to make decisions on their own.  And so,  just a few months before his seventeenth birthday,  my adopted brother  Jim convinced my mother to allow him to join the Army.  She signed the papers giving permission, and he was out the door, starting his own life.   

This was in 1969.  Right after boot camp, Jim was sent directly to Viet Nam.  He worked mainly in supply depots, and did the usual two year tour of duty.  To my knowledge, he did not ever see combat, which is a blessing. The only other bright spot in this story is that with the Army's help,  Jim was able to visit his birth mother in Seoul. But he never spoke about the experience, at least not to me. 

I saw Jim a couple of times in the months after he returned from Viet Nam.  He was his usual sunny, good-natured self, and I always enjoyed seeing him.  But truth to tell, he had bonded more with my sister, who was also adopted, and preferred to spend more time with her.

And then I was off on my own, living in another city, working my way through college. So we drifted apart.

In 1972, a rather spectacular car crash put Jim in the hospital, and there it was discovered that he  had a particularly aggressive form of cancer. Within a matter of months, he was diagnosed as terminally ill.

James Jay Huber, my adopted brother and Viet Nam veteran, died on March 10, 1973, four months before his twenty-first birthday. Right after his death, Jim's CO tried to convince my mother that she should demand an autopsy, and that Agent Orange might have been the cause of his death. But in her grief, she just couldn't face it.

Jim lived with us for only thirteen years.  He gave his life-- not in battle-- but likely as a direct result of his service to the United States.


© Betty Tartas  2010

Saturday, May 29, 2010

James Whitecotton, Revolutionary War Veteran

Lebanon National Cemetery, Lebanon, KY
Source: Find-a-Grave website

I have a great number of ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War, but JAMES WHITECOTTON is one of my favorites.

He was born March 14, 1750 in Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA, the son of GEORGE WHITECOTTON II & MARY HARRIS

JAMES  fought in the Revolutionary War, enlisting 1776 in the 2nd VA Regiment, Capt. William Fountain's company, which marched to Charlottesville VA to join the Regiment commanded by Col Woodford & Lt Col Charles Scott. This unit marched to Williamsburg VA and to "Long Bridge" where the regiment met & defeated the British in one of the first battles of the Revolution in Dec 1775, this according to JAMES WHITECOTTON's Revolutionary War Pension Application and several other sources.

Apparently he also re-enlisted in 1778, when he served under Col George Rogers Clark in Kaskaskia Illinois to help defend settlers against the Indians. He apparently was enlisted in Illinois from 1778 until about 1782, according to several books & documents.  At one point his Captain was Abraham Chapline, who became a lifelong friend.

According to a letter on the life of Abraham Chapline written by W B Harrison in 1884:

"Having been a Captain in the Revolutionary War, after its conclusion,  he (Abraham Chapline) was sent with a company of men to Kaskaskia in what is now the state of Illinois to operate as a check upon the Indians. While therein a fortification consisting of a number of cabins called block-houses, he gave some order to which JAMES WHITECOTTON, one of his men, took exception, and said to some of the men, if he was on equal terms with his Captain, he would whip him for certain for that order. The Captain (Abraham Chapline) having learned that Whitecotton was chafing under the supposed injury, called his men up and said to Whitecotton--I learn that you take exception to my order and resent that you are not on equal term with me so as to obtain satisfaction; now if the men of this company will pledge their honor to keep the matter a perfect secret until we shall be mustered out of the service, I will cheerfully lay down my commission long enough to give you the desired satisfaction--.

"Of course the promise of secrecy was quickly given, and the two men weighing each about 145 pounds went easily into the settlement with their fists. Finally the Captain threw Whitecotton, who finding he was overpowered spoke the word "enough" and the affair was ended. From that time forth so long as those men lived, they were the most devoted friends.

"WHITECOTTON was a poor thriftless man, and I knew him to be over 99 years of age. He and his Captain resided more that 30 miles apart, but once a year Whitecotton walked that distance to spend a week or two with his former Captain who was always glad to see him."(letter of W B Harrison, 1884)

After his service in the Army, JAMES WHITECOTTON moved to Hampshire Co VA by 1782, and was there in the 1782, 1784 and 1790 census. After that he moved his family to Washington Co KY, where they lived from 1790s-1830. He eventually moved to Mercer Co KY in the 1830s, where he applied for his Rev War pension, and where his friend Abraham Chapline lived. By the 1840 census JAMES was living in Marion Co KY. JAMES died at the age of 99 years on June 7, 1849 at Pleasant Run, Marion Co KY (gravestone death date is incorrect).

For more information on JAMES WHITECOTTON, see my Rootsweb family tree "Southern Ancestors of Minttie Mae Bruton"

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Follow Friday: Memorial Day Special

In honor of the Memorial Day holiday this weekend, I am listing here a number of links honoring veterans. Some are from my own website, and others are outside links.

Betty's Veterans of US Wars from Betty's Boneyard Genealogy website: Revolutionary War to present.

Transcribed Rev War Pension Records of ISAAC THOMPSON and Civil War Pension Records of ISAAC AVERY THOMPSON from Betty's Boneyard Genealogy website.

Transcribed Civil War Letters Miller, Williams, Moseley & Wilson Family of Spring Hill Livingston Co Missouri.

History of the US--Mexican War 1846-1848  (gg grandfather JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON)

Southern Campaign: Transcribed Rev War Pension Records for VA & NC

Civil War Soldiers & Sailors Database from the National Park Service

Civil War Roster  For every state--great website!

Civil War Indiana Excellent website

First World War A Multimedia History of WWI

American's Greatest Generation Stories from WWII--in their own words.

Have a great day--and a great holiday weekend!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Corporal James R Ramsey WWI Veteran

This is a WWI  photo postcard of Corporal JAMES R RAMSEY,  b abt 1897 Hanover twp, Columbiana Co OH. 

He is not my ancestor.  Several years ago I found this postcard, which has his name & other information written on the back side. I posted his information on several genealogy forums, but so far, no one has ever responded.  

JAMES R RAMSEY was the son of WILSON S RAMSEY and his 2nd wife LAURA (Wilson Ramsey was previously married to Susan Frantz, but she died in 1883).  The family, with JAMES and siblings,  can be found in the 1900 and 1910 census in Hanover twp, Columbiana Co OH

In 1917 JAMES R RAMSEY enlisted in the US Army to fight in WWI.  He was stationed first at Camp Willis in Columbus, OH. He apparently did survive the war, as he was honorably discharged in 1919.  

I am hoping to find his descendants, so that they can see this photo.  

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: John F Martine, Civil War Veteran

My great great grandfather, JOHN F MARTINE, is buried at the Old Soldier's Cemetery in Orting, Pierce Co WA.  He was a veteran of the Civil War.

JOHN began his life on June 15, 1831 in Spencerport, Monroe Co NY.  He was the son of ALBERT MARTINE born Dec 28, 1800 Clarkstown, Rockland Co NY, and MARY born  abt 1800 NY, possibly daughter of JOHN EDSON of Genessee Co NY.  His grandparents were ISAAC MARTINE born Aug 26, 1766 Clarkstown, Rockland Co NY and GEERTJE "CHARITY" CAMPBELL born Jan 17, 1776 Clarkstown, Rockland Co NY.

ALBERT & MARY MARTINE had three children:  ISAAC MARTINE born 1824; MARIA B MARTINE b 1829 who married GEORGE TARBOX and died before 1860; and JOHN F MARTINE. Another daughter, RACHEL MARTINE born 1820, may have been the child of ALBERT's first marriage.

JOHN's father ALBERT MARTINE and grandfather ISAAC MARTINE both passed away before the  1840 Spencerport, Monroe Co NY census, leaving his grandmother CHARITY MARTINE as head of household, with another younger woman (MARY) and two children (MARIA & JOHN) living there. The eldest sibling ISAAC MARTINE b 1824 may have already moved to Racine Co Wisconsin with his first wife AMY CLOSE.

In around 1850, JOHN left Spencerport NY and  went to Yorkville, Racine Co Wisconsin to join his brother and sister-in-law, ISAAC & AMY (CLOSE) MARTINE.  A year later, JOHN  married MARY ANN SCOFIELD on April 21, 1851 at Yorkville.

On Dec 17, 1861 JOHN F. MARTINE joined the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry, company G, as Corporal. His brother ISAAC MARTINE also joined the Union Army at nearly the same time.  ISAAC served in the 2nd WI Volunteer Infantry, company F, rank of Sergeant, and was at the Battle of Bull Run. He suffered a gunshot wound to his arm while on guard duty, and received a medal for valor.
While in the 2nd WI Cavalry, JOHN became physically ill, was deemed disabled and was discharged May 1862 in Jefferson City MO. Pension records note that he was 5 feet 8 inches tall with blue eyes and light hair and complexion.
When JOHN returned to Yorkville, WI,  he was no longer physically able to work on his farm.  By 1864 the family was living in Rochester MN and JOHN was working as a salesman. By 1870 the family was living in Hardin Co Iowa, near the town of Eldora (where my father's family, the Hubers and Fraziers lived). JOHN F MARTINE was incorrectly listed as "Morten" in the census, and his occupation was listed as drayman. CHARLES ALBERT MARTINE, his son, and my great grandfather, was 16 and working as a laborer.
Sometime between 1870 and 1880,  JOHN and his family moved to Chillicothe, Livingston Co MO. They were there for the 1880 census, and JOHN was working as a grocer with his son-in-law JAMES A. MYERS who married daughter IDA MARTINE. The two families lived next door to each other. Son CHARLES A and new wife ALICE MILLER MARTINE lived in a different part of town, but I suspect that Charles worked in the family grocery business as he is also listed as a grocer.
When JOHN first applied for his pension in 1890, the family was living in Independence, Jackson Co MO. Seven years later in 1897 the family was living in Kansas City, Jackson Co MO, and JOHN applied for his pension again. Around 1899 he was working as a traveling salesman for Swain, Earle & Co in Kansas City, MO. 
John F Martine, abt 1890s

According to an application for the Old Soldier's home in Orting WA, JOHN F. MARTINE and wife MARY ANN left Missouri and came to WA state in 1899. They apparently lived at Everson, Whatcom Co WA, probably with their youngest son JOHN EDSON MARTINE or daughter MINNIE MARTINE RAINFORD. 
JOHN  first made application to the Old Soldier's home in Orting, Pierce Co WA on Dec 1905, and was admitted on Dec 26, 1905. He was released from the home Jan 27, 1906 so only stayed one month.
According to discharge papers from the old Soldier's home, JOHN F & MARY ANN MARTINE moved to 1309 Bay St,  Bellingham, Whatcom Co WA (A strange coincidence: During my college years, I lived at 1316 Bay street , which was right across the street from 1309--however, that building had been gone for years and today there is just a parking lot. And of course at that time I did not even know my gg grandfather's name--much less that he ever lived in Bellingham!).
JOHN F. MARTINE re-entered the Old Soldier's home in Orting, Pierce Co  WA four months later on May 15, 1906 because of complete debility, including paralysis of the right side of the body (stroke?). His reason, in his own words, was sadly " I am not well and have no money." He died January 30, 1907. 

Isaac Martine, John's brother, taken before his death in 1897,  Sleepy Eye, Brown Co MN

 Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Surname Saturday: WHITECOTTON Origins, Part Two

To continue on with the colonial WHITECOTTON origins:

1) GEORGE WHITECOTTON Sr, born about 1707-1710 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA, married BRIDGET sometime before 1730.  They had  at least two children and possibly as many as four children (unverified by me). They were:

--JOHN JAMES WHITECOTTON born about 1735 (unverified by me)

--ELIZABETH WHITECOTTON born 1730s (unverified by me)

--MARY WHITECOTTON born Jan 20, 1739 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA as per parish records

--GEORGE WHITECOTTON II born 1730s died aft 1775 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA (my ancestor)

GEORGE WHITECOTTON Sr died March 23, 1744 in Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA. While no actual will seems to exist (he may have died suddenly), there is an estate inventory:

 April 10, 1744 Obedience to this order of Court: A true Inventory of the Estate:
6 head of hoggs, 1 cow and yearling 4.0.0
1 cow and yearling, 1 steer and heifer 4.5.0
1 cow and calf, 1 young horse 6.0.0
1 saddle and bridle and bell 0.12.6
1 feather bed and furniture 4.0.0
1 bed and furniture 1.10.0
1 pair of shoes and knee buckles 0.1.3
1 small trunk and chest 0.6.0
2 old hats, 3 old shirts, 1 pair breeches 0.8.0
1 gunpowder cotton charge boc and 2 sides leather 0.10.0
2 slater hides, 1 wheel and cards 0.10.10
1 stool of old iron, harness and traces 0.7.0
Cash 1/3, a pair of studs 1/9 0.3.0
1 pale and piggin, 1cyder cask and tar tubb 0.10.0
2 old dishes, 3 basons, 19 spoons 0.12,.6
8 knives, 10 forks, frying pan, 2 sifters 0.5.0
2 milkspans, 2 bottles, 1 jug 0.2.0
1 pot and skillet, some old cloathes, shoes and stockings 1.3.0
1 meal bag, 1 plow 0.5.0
1 young mare1.6/, cash 17/6 2.3.6
To 1127 lb tobacco 27.13.9

GEORGE WHITECOTTON's widow, Bridgett Whitecotton, signed for the estate on April 9, 1745. 

According to parish records, BRIDGET remarried 2nd) to WILLIAM McCONCHIE, and 3rd) to STEPHEN PILCHER. She had children with all three men;  in 1775, at the time of the death of her 3rd husband STEPHEN PILCHER, she was "with child".  Because of this, I suspect that BRIDGET must have been considerably younger than her first husband GEORGE WHITECOTTON Sr. I have never been able to find her maiden name in records.

2) GEORGE WHITECOTTON II born 1730s Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA, married MARY HARRIS.  Her maiden name is unverified by me, but seems likely--although I have not been able to trace her origins.  GEORGE WHITECOTTON II fought in French & Indian War,  serving in Capt Harry Woodard's company of VA Militia; his name can be found on a  list dated July 13, 1756, and on a on payroll list Aug 1756. He  ranked 4th in the company. The children of GEORGE WHITECOTTON II and MARY HARRIS were:

--AXTON WHITECOTTON b Feb 3, 1742 Stafford Co VA, died 1833 Henry Co VA; Rev War Pensioner; not sure if this is a son or brother of GEORGE WHITECOTTON II

--JAMES WHITECOTTON b March 14, 1750 Stafford Co VA; died June 7, 1849 Pleasant Run, Marion Co KY; married 1st) UNKNOWN 1st wife who died before 1795, 2nd) RUTH NEWTON HUDSPETH who in her 1840 deposition Marion Co Kentucky for the Rev War Pension application of MARY MILES, wife of MICHAEL MILES, stated she was 75 years old and came to Kentucky in 1780 with her father's family (her family did not live in Hampshire/Hardy Co Virginia, and was much younger than JAMES, so could not have been mother of his children born before 1795); Rev War Pensioner (my ancestor)

--MEALEY WHITECOTTON b abt 1752 Stafford Co VA (unverified by me)

--ELIZABETH WHITECOTTON b abt 1755 Stafford Co VA, married ROBERT ELLIS


--HARRIS WHITECOTTON b abt 1769 Stafford Co VA, died abt 1815 Fayette Co PA; married MARGARET "PEGGY" SHUMATE

--NANCY WHITECOTTON born about 1770 Stafford Co VA, died bf 1820 Mason Co KY; married THOMAS PAYTON

JAMES WHITECOTTON born March 14, 1750 fought in the Revolutionary War.  I will be writing more about him next week, as I explore many of the veterans in my family tree in honor of Memorial Day.

For more information on my Whitecotton family, please see my Rootsweb Family tree, "Southern Ancestors of Minttie Mae Bruton". 

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Follow Friday: Betty's Online Source of the Week: North Carolina State Archives Records Service

I have used the North Carolina State Archives records service several times with good results.  For those living outside NC, there is a $20 search & copy fee. Contact information, query guidelines and application information on the website are all very clear and easy to understand. And the records I requested arrived in a timely manner. This is a very helpful service!

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

African American Slave Names in the Estate Papers of THOMAS MILLER of Goochland Co VA

The house at LaVallee plantation, Goochland Co VA, where Thomas Miller lived. 
Source: "Goochland Yesterday & Today" by Cece Bullard

According to the Library of Virginia Website, my ancestor THOMAS MILLER (b March 20, 1754 Goochland Co VA, married CONSTANCE MASSIE) was a prominent figure in Goochland Co VA. He was an attorney, deputy sheriff, and sheriff of Goochland, as well as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Apparently there is a large file of THOMAS MILLER's papers available at the Library of Virginia, including his estate records and large amounts of correspondence and financial records.

As I do not live on the east coast, I have never had the opportunity to look at this file. However, a couple of years ago, a fellow researcher, Max Miller,  sent me copies of THOMAS MILLER's original will and estate papers. The writing was extremely tiny, but I managed to decipher and transcribe the will. I put the estate inventory away, however, because it was a daunting 20 pages long and the tiny print barely legible. I did note that in the 1810 census there were at least 44 slaves living at LaVallee.

Recently I pulled out the estate inventory, and using a scanner, enlarged the writing enough to transcribe the estate inventory. I was shocked to find that THOMAS MILLER, at the end of his life in 1819, owned seven different large plantations in Goochland, Spotsylvania and King William County, Virginia--and that over a hundred slaves are named in the estate inventory.

The plantations were: LaVallee (where THOMAS MILLER lived), Woodville, Slab City (?) and Byrd, all in Goochland; Wormley House and Manskin (Manakin?) Lodge in King William County, and Prospect Hill in Spotsylvania County.

Names of Slaves Who Were Living at LaVallee Plantation, Goochland Co VA June 1819

Sally HOLMAN & her five children: Major, Sam, Agnes (?), Malinda, Julius

Betsey COOPER & her four children: Albert, Arnold, Mahalah, Ned (?)

Judith & her two children: Minerva and Ann



Leatt (?) and her child Livinia


Matilda & her child Mercy (? Mary?)





Mary & her three children: Eliza, Martha and Phill

Lucy & her child Nancy






Emanuel (with illegible notation)




Marcillus (?)








Sam the Waggoner


Phebe & her two children Letty and Ansy

Solande (? Rolande?)

one Negro man Randolph

one Negro man George

Names of Slaves Who Were Living at Woodville Plantation, Goochland Co VA June 1819







Daniel (?) BENTLEY








Letty & her two children: Rachel and Joshua

Bitty & her two children Agnes and Payton

Mourning and her four children: Pammy, Isaac, Dupree (?) and William

Betsey HAWES

Names of Slaves Who Were Living at Slab City (?)

Goochland Co VA June 1819





Old Billy


Sumas (? Somes?)



Lendley (? Candley?) & her two children Lucinda and Mary

Aggie and Phebe, two small girls

Linney and her child Linney

Kano and her children (illegible)


Old Aggy

Names of Slaves Who Were Living at Byrd Plantation, Goochland Co VA June 1819



Charles HAWES




Harry WOOD


Suckey & her four children: Ciller, Charlotte, Lucy and Nancy

Easter and her child William

Names of Slaves Who Were Living at Wormley House and Manskin Lodge, King William Co VA June 1819

Davey, an old Negro man

Jenney, an old Negro woman



Turner (? Pearson?)






Bevins (?)



Bob the carter

Suckey and her three children: Spottswood, George and Mary



Lewis the carpenter









Isaac POOR



Old Easter



Franky, an old woman

Old Dick

Names of Slaves Who Were Living at Prospect Hill Plantation, Spotsylvania Co VA June 1819

Richard DOON




Harry--now run away
Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010, 2014

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Ruby Bolton Brown and R B "Rolla" Martine 1914

My maternal grandparents, Ruby Bolton Brown and R. B. "Rolla" Martine in 1914, about the time of their wedding. Location unknown; possibly CA or MO. Source: copies of originals, my collection

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brave New World: Genetic Genealogy and Me

Last Friday I received the results of my DNA test through the company  23andme .  I was lucky enough to get in on the "DNA Day" sale on April 25, thanks to a tip from fellow Geneablogger Barbara Poole from Life at the Roots .

 I was astounded at how quickly 23andme was able to get the  results back to me, considering they had predicted 6-8 weeks.  My results were ready in less than two weeks!  Kudos to 23andme for being so efficient when they must have had an enormous response to their sale!

The very first item I looked at on the results was ethnic make-up, or Ancestry Painting, as they call it on the 23andme website.   I was a bit shocked to find out that my ancestry is 100% European.  This is contrary to all the many long-lived stories from the my paternal grandmother's family that she, Minttie Mae Bruton, and her mother, Siloama Whitecotton were part Native American (see my previous April 5 2010 blogpost "They Believed They Were Cherokee" ).

So the question remains: Where did all the brown-to-olive skin and black hair in my father's family REALLY come from?

The second part I looked at was the  medical risk portion of the DNA test. It was extremely interesting and edifiying--and can be very reassuring if you are concerned about some genetic condition that runs in your family (or worrisome, if you end up being at risk for it).

Overall, I believe the 23and me DNA test was very accurate in my case, as they were able to correctly predict my eye color, blood type and my unusually high tolerance for pain (just ask my physical therapist).

The third part of the website I explored was their Relative Finder page. So far, there are 296 clients of 23andme with a DNA connection to me.  I have attempted to contact several from the first page, especially those with the highest percentage of shared DNA.

So far, I have  been contacted by only three people through this website, and have spent the last few days trying to track down our ancestors-in-common.  So far, I have been contacted by:

--an individual who shares 60% of my DNA; it appears we have a great number of shared ancestors who settled in and around Stamford, Fairfield Co CT (ancestry of my maternal grandfather R B MARTINE).

--a man from Newfoundland, Canada whose mother shares DNA with me.  We were unable to find any specific ancestor-in-common in Canada, but I suspect there may be one further back, in England, Ireland or Scotland (likely from the ancestry of my maternal grandmother Ruby Bolton BROWN)

--an African American woman whose mother is from Virginia, and who shares European DNA with me. This has been the most interesting and the most challenging, as I have many different English & French ancestors who were plantation owners in the lineage of my maternal grandfather R B Martine, and a few from the lineage of my maternal grandmother Minttie Mae Bruton.  Fortunately, the location of this woman's ancestors in VA and NC has provided some very interesting clues. We may be connected through the surname WALDEN, a mulatto family of Surry Co VA and Northampton Co NC who were not slaves--they were "free persons of color" -- from the mid-1700s onward. At the very least our ancestors  lived in the same communities at the same time--and likely were well-acquainted with each other, according to several  records that I found.

While all this is genetic genealogy sharing is extremely interesting, it is also extremely frustrating.   I now know I share DNA with these people. But unless we both have done extensive genealogical research, it's darn near impossible to say exactly HOW we are related.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Surname Saturday: WHITECOTTON Origins, Part One

Of all the surnames that I have ever researched in my family tree, WHITECOTTON has been the most problematic.  It is the most prone to misinformation, misspelling, and errors in transcription in records.   And, for such an unusual surname and such a relatively small US family,  it has the most murky origins.

The WHITECOTTON surname has a kind of "creation myth", a family legend  that is so constantly referred to that it has taken on a life of its own. Some descendants feel extremely passionate about its veracity.

The story is that a young female indentured servant from England, ANNE WHITE,  married a man named JOHN COTTON in the 1600s  in the Virginia Colony (supposedly at Jamestown). They had one son (and apparently only one) named WILLIAM WHITE-COTTON, who used a hyphenated surname.

WILLIAM in turn supposedly had one son (and apparently only one) named ISHAM or ISOM WHITECOTTON who married the widow ANNE (AXTON) SMITH, the daughter of JOHN AXTON, an indentured servant from England who eventually became a landowner in Stafford Co VA

ANNE AXTON and her second husband ISHAM WHITECOTTON  supposedly had only one son, MEALY or MEALEY WHITECOTTON born about 1688 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA, died abt 1733 same place.  MEALEY can be found in  parish, court &  tax records in Stafford Co VA, so it is certain that he did exist.

Now let me back up here and talk a bit about this persistent "creation myth" concerning ANNE WHITE & JOHN COTTON. I have a big, big problem with this legend.  After ten years of researching hundreds of families in colonial Virginia,  I have never been able to find any record of this couple's existence.  This couple was NOT at Jamestown. And likewise, I have not been able to find records in Virginia for WILLIAM WHITE-COTTON, with a hyphenated surname, or without.    If anyone has solid documentation, I have yet to see it.

The first mention of the WHITECOTTON surname in Virginia records, as far as I have been able to find (i.e. real documentation),  are the court records concerning a dispute over  Stafford Co VA land owned by JOHN AXTON,  which he bequeathed to his daughter ANNE AXTON & her then husband JOHN SMITH. After SMITH's death in about 1688, ANNE apparently married ISHAM WHITECOTTON.

(One aside here:  many Whitecotton researchers have claimed that ANNE's father JOHN AXTON married MARY MANSELL BLAGRAVE, original owner of the Stafford Co VA land in dispute,  and widow of HENRY BLAGRAVE I.  That is utterly and completely false. In the actual court records MARY is referred to as the current wife of a Mr HEARD. She was never, ever referred to as JOHN AXTON's wife in the actual court records!  In 1686 MARY MANSELL BLAGRAVE with her "sonne-in-law" conspired to sell the land that JOHN AXTON and partner EDWARD CARY (deceased by 1686) had legally purchased from HENRY BLAGRAVE I in 1660. Apparently the land in question had been originally bequeathed to MARY from her father, CAPT DAVID MANSELL.   But MARY and her "sonne-in-law" were well aware that AXTON & CARY were now the legal owners, according to the depositions of other citizens living in the area at the time. The  lawsuit by JOHN AXTON against MARY MANSELL BLAGRAVE and her "sonne-in-law" went on for several years from 1686 until at least 1688, possibly longer.  Eventually,  the court ruled in favor of JOHN AXTON and his heirs. The court case, which is transcribed on my website, is quite interesting to read!).

But back to ANNE (AXTON) (SMITH) WHITECOTTON. She bequeathed the land won in the AXTON/BLAGRAVE lawsuit to her son, MEALEY WHITECOTTON.  This is noted in the Stafford Co VA court records; in 1707 MEALEY WHITECOTTON, heir & son of ANNE AXTON (SMITH) WHITECOTTON,  sold some of the land that had been in dispute. The court records do not mention the name of ANNE's unknown WHITECOTTON husband. Once again, the name ISHAM WHITECOTTON has been passed down, with no reference of any kind to records.  If anyone has solid documentation, I have yet to see it.

MEALEY WHITECOTTON married SARAH FOOTE (although I have never been able to find a marriage record for this couple....), and had three children.  It was likely SARAH's second marriage. The children were:

1) GEORGE I WHITECOTTON b abt 1707-1710 died March 23, 1744 Overwharton Parish, Stafford Co VA; married BRIDGET unknown; she married 2nd) WILLIAM McCONCHIE and 3rd) STEPHEN PILCHER III. All of these individuals can be traced in Stafford Co VA records. My line is through his son (by BRIDGET),  GEORGE II WHITECOTTON.

2) HUSBAND FOOTE WHITECOTTON b abt 1710 died abt 1769 Stafford Co VA;  married MARY unknown; one son, AXTON WHITECOTTON, as per Stafford Co VA records.

3) MEALEY WHITECOTTON II b abt  1710-1715 died abt 1762 Stafford Co VA; married SARAH unknown; several children born in the 1740s as per Stafford Co VA records

It should be noted here that ISHAM, HUSBAND, FOOTE & MEALEY are all surnames, and may provide clues for further research.  MEALEY is a variation of MALLEY, MALEY or O'MALLEY, suggesting a possible Irish connection in this family.

I owe a great deal to the fine research of Rosalie Nadler, Gary & Mary Moyers, and Greg Branum on these early Whitecottons.  But I believe there is much more still to be discovered. I would love to trace the WHITECOTTON family's beginnings in this country, and beyond.

For more information on my WHITECOTTON family please see my Rootsweb database, "Southern Ancestors of Minttie Mae Bruton".

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

Follow Friday: Betty's Online Source of the Week: Find-a-Grave

If you haven't already searched on Find-a-Grave , now's the time to check it out!

Find-a-Grave consists of a search engine and user submitted photos of tombstones and graveyards, often with additional information and memorials. The website's header indicates that users  have submitted millions of cemetery records and memorials.

In a few short searches, I was able to find tombstone photos for about a dozen ancestors all across the US.  I had never seen the photos before.  In one or two cases, I had no idea when or where the individual had died!

There is an edit function on each memorial if you need to contact the submitter to make corrections, etc.  I was able to connect with two submitters who are distantly related to me, and one has shared really fabulous information with me on my grandfather's sister and her family!

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The 100 Best Genealogy Websites of 2010 Award!

I was absolutely stunned (and then very pleased) to find out yesterday that I had been  included on the list of "100 Best Genealogy Websites of 2010" from!  What an unexpected surprise!

Thanks to and all my cousins, friends, followers and fellow bloggers who have been so supportive of my research and my writing.

I especially want to thank Barbara Poole from Life From the Roots who sent me an early-bird email yesterday morning notifying me of the award!

I have not yet had a time to look at each of the 100 blogs, but I'm looking forward to visiting each one.  Many of the blogs on the list are already my favorites, such as:

Barb at Life From the Roots

Heather at Nutfield Genealogy

TK at Before My Time

Wendy at New England Genealogy

Apple at Apple's Tree

and Dr Bill Tells Ancestor Stories, to just mention a few.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2010

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Ruby Bolton Brown Goes to the Grand Canyon 1914, Part Two

Grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN and her father (my great grandfather) FRANK RICARD BROWN view the raging Colorado River on their trip to the Grand Canyon, 1914.

Grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN in camp at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, 1914; the two other men are are not identified.  Source: copies of originals, my collection.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: SPAKE of Dewey Co OK, and WREN of Woodward Co OK

One of my paternal grandfather's sisters was ARETTA MAY HUBER b July 13, 1873 Montgomery Co IN? Marshall Co IA? who married JEFFERSON M "JEFF" SPAKE b  Jan 27, 1871 Hardin Co Iowa. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to Oklahoma and raised a large family there. They are buried at the Riley Cemetery, Lenora, Dewey Co OK. I found this photo on the website Find-a-Grave,  submitted by Roger Pffifner.

JEFF & ARETTA (HUBER) SPAKE had a daughter WILDA SPAKE born Aug 23, 1895 prob Marshall Co IA; she married CLARENCE MARSHALL WREN born Jan 18, 1883 Linn Co MO.  WILDA died at age 32, leaving only one son, LELAND STANFORD WREN born 1919 OK. He married JANE WOOD, and died 1951 in CA.  Oddly enough, LELAND was my second cousin, even though he passed away before I was born. His mother WILDA was my father's first cousin, even though she died when he was just five years old!

CLARENCE MARSHALL & WILDA (SPAKE) WREN are buried in the South Persimmon Cemetery, Sharon, Woodward Co, OK. Several other members of the WREN family are also buried at this cemetery. These photos also came from the website Find-a-Grave website, and were submitted by Mary Lambert.

Have a great day!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Madness Monday: A Rose By Any Other Name....

Last night I received an email from an irate individual, who was royally ticked off at me because I had impugned one of his ancestors on my genealogy website.

He was ticked off because I had said on my website that his ancestor SARAH WHITECOTTON (of Marshall Co AL) was somehow involved in a court case in Bradley Co TN, and that somehow his SARAH WHITECOTTON was inexplicably connected to some THOMPSON family in Bradley Co TN, etc, etc. My research was wrong, wrong, WRONG, he said. And he had the bible records, and family stories to prove it!!!!!

I wrote back a lengthy reply. What happened here was that this individual was confusing two people with the same name--although in one case, it was a married name.  But the kicker was that the two people were born thirteen years apart, and lived in completely different areas.

It's difficult sometimes when ancestors you are researching have the same name.  But it's really important to pay close attention to the details, and not jump to conclusions.

Here is what I wrote back to the irate individual:

"I can see the basis of your confusion.  You are referrring to TWO DIFFERENT people here:   

1) My gg grandmother SARAH THOMPSON b abt 1825 NC, died 1889 Christian Co MO,  who married JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON b 1825 Alabama, d aft 1900 Jackson Co AL;  

and 2) your ancestor SARAH WHITECOTTON b 1812 prob KY, died aft 1860 Marshall Co AL, who married TILGHMAN HARDY BURNS and JAMES N DAVIS.
My gg grandmother 1) SARAH (THOMPSON) WHITECOTTON was from a family that lived from 1839 until 1858  in Bradley Co TN; she herself can be found in  Alabama for the 1850 census in Morgan Co AL, Decatur twp, with her husband & two children (one of which was my great grandmother).  In 1860 my SARAH lived with her sister MARY (THOMPSON) GOODWIN & family in Hamilton Co TN, and from 1870 until her death in 1889 she lived with her second husband NATHAN GRIFFIN and her extended Thompson family in Christian, Taney & Douglas Co MO.  

Your ancestor 2) SARAH WHITECOTTON was born abt 1812 in prob KY, and died sometime after 1860, likely in Marshall Co AL. She lived only in Marshall Co AL, according to census records.  And she was the aunt of my gg grandfather JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON who was born about 1825 AL. 

The court case I refer to on my webpage involved my great grandparents 1) SARAH THOMPSON who married JAMES MONROE WHITECOTTON,  and not your ancestor 2) SARAH WHITECOTTON who married T H BURNS and JAMES N DAVIS. Your SARAH likely never set foot in Bradley Co TN. 

It's really easy to get confused when several ancestors have the very same name.  It pays to look carefully at the birth & death dates.  I have been researching the Whitecottons for ten years and so far I have found at least five with the name SARAH WHITECOTTON!! And there may be more."

Can't get much clearer than that, eh? Plus I sent him a link to all the documentation that I have on both families, which is substantial. 

But sadly, this morning, I received another reply from this individual, still ranting & persisting that I was WRONG about his ancestor SARAH WHITECOTTON of Marshall Co AL-- and he could prove it!!! 

Will I return a reply? Absolutely not.  Either this person is cognitively impaired, or mentally unstable. In either case, it doesn't pay to engage someone who is so far off track.


Oh well. Have a great day!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sentimental Sunday: Happy Mother's Day

All the girls together: Grandma Ruby, Me, Mom, Debbie, 1957 Maple Valley WA

Our last Mother's Day together, May 2003, Lopez Island, WA

Happy Mother's Day!


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Surname Saturday: Smith, Jones...and BROWN

Ah.... Smith & Jones, the genealogist's nightmare.

Luckily I have (so far) found & verified only two SMITH lines  in my family tree, those being:

 DR HENRY SMITH born abt 1615 England, who died July 4, 1667 Stamford, Fairfield Co CT; I am descended through his son DANIEL SMITH b abt 1650 Stamford, Fairfield Co CT who married HANNAH KNAPP.

The second Smith line is that of SUSANNAH SMITH who married 1st) SIMON HOYT and 2nd) ROBERT BATES (I am a descendant of both men). Updated Feb 2015; she was apparently not the daughter of RICHARD SMITH & REBECCA BUSWELL of Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, England, and Wethersfield, Connecticut.

JONES, on the other hand, is another story.  I am researching several different JONES families, many of them from Virginia. But that is a topic for another day.

By far the most common name in all branches of my family tree is BROWN. I am researching at least four different BROWN families, spread out across both my maternal and paternal lines.

1) I am a direct descendent of DEACON HENRY BROWN b abt 1615 Salisbury, Wiltshire, England; married ABIGAIL unknown, and died aft 1658 Salisbury, Essex Co MA.  My line of descent:

Abraham Brown b Nov 1, 1649 Salisbury, Essex Co MA m Elizabeth SHEPHERD on June 15, 1671
Samuel Brown b Nov 16, 1649 Salisbury, Essex Co MA m Mary MORRILL on June 29 1719
Abraham Brown b Oct 10, 1725 Salisbury Essex Co MA m Hannah OSGOOD on Nov 30 1743 died in NH
Abraham Brown II REV WAR b. 1753 Nottingham, Rockingham Co NH m. Mary BUTLER, daughter of Rev. Benjamin Butler (Harvard Grad) & Dorcas Abbott of Andover, Essex Co MA. Abraham helped defend West Point under Capt Daniel Gordon in 1780 during Revolutionary War (Source: DAR records, & book "History of Northfield NH").
Benjamin Butler Brown b abt 1800 Sanbornton , Belknap Co NH m Phebe GALE, occupation was shoemaker.
Henry "New Hampshire" Brown b Sept 21, 1825 Sanbornton Belknap Co NH d 1897 Sacramento, CA m. a widow, Mrs Cordelia (RICKARD) MYERS in Sacramento CA on June 1, 1857. Henry studied medicine with his uncle in NH until the 1849 California Gold Rush, at which time he sailed around Cape Horn to California with his brother Stephen Gale Brown, who died a few months after arriving at Ft Coloma. Henry remained in California for the rest of his life, living at Salmon Falls, Folsom, Lundy and Sacramento; for a short time he also lived in Cornucopia, Elko Co NV; his occupation was miner, store clerk/owner, and Wells Fargo agent. At one point he was employed by D. C. Stanford. He was a Freemason and was secretary of the Natoma Lodge in Folsom in the 1860s. Usually signed his name "H N H Brown". He picked up the nickname "New Hampshire" in California.
Frank Ricard Brown b Feb 1858 Sacramento CA; lived Bodie CA and Unga Island AK; m Mary Etta KENNEDY on July 2, 1878 in Aurora, Esmerelda Co NV; Frank d 1939, of tuberculosis, in San Francisco CA, at the home of his daughter Ruby. Occupation was miner, assayer and manager of the Apollo Mine in Unga AK, and he lived there from 1880s until just before his death in 1939.
Ruby Bolton Brown b July 17, 1893 San Francisco, CA, raised Unga Island AK m Randolph Benjamin "Rolla" MARTINE, my grandparents.

2) The second BROWN family I am descended from  is that of the Quaker WILLIAM BROWN Sr  b March 29, 1658 Puddington, Northhamptonshire, England, d Aug 23, 1746 W. Nottingham, Chester Co PA; he married four times, my lineage through his wife CATHERINE/KATHERINE WILLIAMS. Other wives were DOROTHY PRESNELL/ PRESLAND, ANN MERCER, and MARY MATTHEWS. Apparently he had children with each wife (unverified by me). WILLIAM BROWN was the son of RICHARD BROWN/BROWNE & MARY who became Quakers and attended Wellingborough Monthly Meeting in Northamptonshire, England. They never emigrated to Pennsylvania. WILLIAM emigrated either with or shortly after his brother JAMES BROWN who married HONOR CLAYTON, daughter of WILLIAM CLAYTON & PRUDENCE LANKFORD. JAMES and WILLIAM were both apparently  Quaker ministers. WILLIAM BROWN accompanied William Penn to PA and was one of the first settlers at "Nottingham Lots".

My line of descent is through MARY BROWN b April 29, 1706 Chester Co PA (the daughter of WILLIAM BROWN Sr & CATHERINE/KATHERINE WILLIAMS), who married WILLIAM REYNOLDS Sr. (Ancestry of Alonzo Cox Huber, my paternal grandfather)

3) The third BROWN family I am descended from is that of JAMES BROWN b abt 1699-1700, who moved from Fairfield Co CT to Pound Ridge, Westchester Co NY. He may have been the son of Rev JAMES BROWN Sr & REBECCA RUSCOE, but I am still researching this and have yet to find proof.

JAMES BROWN b abt 1699-1700 England? Norwalk, Fairfield Co CT? ; may have married in 1714 Joanna WHITEHEAD, daughter of Samuel WHITEHEAD of Elizabethtown, Essex Co NJ, who also lived for a time in New Haven CT. James Brown according to several accounts moved to Pound Ridge, Westchester Co New York, in about 1741, with several others from Fairfield Co CT. Some but not all of his children accompanied him.
Solomon Brown b abt 1746 Pound Ridge Westchester Co NY m Sarah SLASON Rev War DAR Patriot Index
Samuel Brown b abt 1773 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co NY died Oct 5, 1866 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co NY m Rheua / Ruhamah UNKNOWN b April 1777 CT. In census 1850 & 1860 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co NY. Both buried at Long Ridge Union Cemetery, Stamford Fairfield Co CT.
Mary Polly Brown b abt 1797 Pound Ridge, Westchester Co NY; died Feb 5, 1873 Pound Ridge, Westchester co NY m Simeon DIBBLE; their house still stands and is a historical landmark in Westchester Co NY. Both buried at Long Ridge Union Cemetery, Stamford Fairfield Co CT.
Sally Ann Hoyt Dibble m Charles SCOFIELD (my ggg grandparents); moved to Yorkville, Racine Co WI in the 1840s (Ancestry of R B Martine, my maternal grandfather)

4) The fourth BROWN family I am descended from was that of JOHN BROWNE or BROWN b abt 1588 Barton Regis, Gloucestershire, England; died abt 1670? 1689? New Harbor, Pemaquid, ME; m Margaret HAYWARD. I am a descendant of their daughter EME/EMMA BROWN/BROWNE who married NICHOLAS DENNING and died Gloucester, Essex Co MA.

--JOHN BROWN of Pemaquid, New Harbor, Damariscotta and Woolwich, now in Maine, is distinguished only as having been the recipient of what is considered to be the first Indian deed on record. He was the son of RICHARD BROWN of Barton Regis, Gloucestershire, Eng., and married MARGARET, daughter of FRANCIS HAYWARD, of Bristol, Eng. He is supposed to have come from Bristol to Pemaquid (now Bristol, Me.), as early as 1623. On July 15, 1625, JOHN BROWN, then of New Harbor, purchased of the Sagamores, Capt. John Samoset and Unongoit, for fifty skins, a tract of land described as follows: Beginning at Pemaquid Falls, and so running a direct course to the head of New Harbor, from thence to the south end of Muscongus Island; taking in the Island, and so running five and twenty miles into the country north and by east, and thence eight miles northwest and by west to Pemaquid, where it first began. This deed was acknowledged at Pemaquid before Abraham Shurt, July 24, 1626, and is supposed to be the earliest Indian deed on record.
SOURCE:  "The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record Vol 51" by Green, Stiles, Dwight, et al.; and the book "Elwell Family in America" by Jacob Thomas Elwell

Eme or Emma Browne b 1620s-1630s possibly New Harbor, Pemaquid, ME; d 1697 Gloucester, Essex Co MA; m Nicholas DENNING (Ancestry of Ruby Bolton Brown, my maternal grandmother).

Have a great day!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Follow Friday: Part Two, a thank you to Mountain Genealogist

Thanks to the Mountain Genealogist for making me the subject of her Follow Friday blogpost! I appreciate it very much!

Turns out, I am a regular follower of her blog, also.  If you haven't seen it yet, it's well worth checking out.  And I especially love the photo at the top of the her blog's webpage.  Beautiful green rolling hills of West Virginia. Stirs up some kind of deep ancestral longing in several of my ancestors lived in West Virginia.

Have a great day!

Follow Friday: Betty's Online Source of the Week: Library of Virginia digitized collection

The Library of Virginia website  is an excellent resource for anyone researching ancestors in Virginia. On the website it is possible to search for wills, land grants, military records and more. Some of the digitized information is in index form, and others are actual documents. The website also has a digitized photograph collection.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Ruby Bolton Brown Goes to the Grand Canyon 1914

Maternal grandmother RUBY BOLTON BROWN rides a mule down the trail to the bottom of the Grand Canyon circa 1914.  This was just prior to her marrige to my grandfather. RUBY was accompanied by her father FRANK RICARD BROWN, who took this photograph.  Others in the photo are unknown.  Copy of original, my collection.

Have a great day!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Reynolds Finch Scofield, Oak Grove Cemetery, Raymond, Racine Co WI

This is a photo of the grave of my great X 4 grandfather, REYNOLDS FINCH SCOFIELD at the Oak Grove Cemetery, Raymond, Racine Co WI.  I found this photograph on the Find-a-Grave website, submitted by a user. My thanks to that user for posting the photo!

REYNOLDS FINCH SCOFIELD was born Oct 23, 1783 in Darien, Fairfield Co CT, the son of JONATHAN SCOFIELD II and JEMIMA FINCH.

R.F. married ANN/ANNA PALMER on Sept 30, 1805 in Greenwich, Fairfield Co CT.  They had several children all born in CT:  GEORGE SCOFIELD, CHARLES SCOFIELD, Dr. JOHN LOZIER SCOFIELD, CATHERINE SCOFIELD (died 1848) and HESTER ANN SCOFIELD (who married Hiram Gilmore).

Around 1840 R.F. SCOFIELD and his entire family moved to what would become Racine Co in what was then the Wisconsin Territory.  R.F. died there Jan 6, 1858.

Here is the grave of R.F. SCOFIELD's wife ANN/ANNA (PALMER) SCOFIELD, also at Oak Grove Cemetery, Raymond, Racine Co WI.  After her husband's death, she lived with her son (my great x3 grandfather) CHARLES SCOFIELD from 1858 until her death Dec 4th, 1886.

CHARLES SCOFIELD's daughter MARY ANN SCOFIELD b 1835 NY was my gg grandmother.  She married gg grandfather JOHN F. MARTINE  April 12, 1851 in Yorkville, Racine Co WI.

Have a great day!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Update: Our Little House, the FERI family, and Orcas Island

Well.  I was able to find out a great deal more about the FERI family who were the likely builders of our little house, and the first family to live here. There are some  "anomalies" in the records found that make me think there is a very interesting story here.

The first thing I discovered through records was that the wife of JACK FERI b abt 1899 Italy was FLORENCE GRAY, born about 1874 probably on Orcas Island, WA.  She was the daughter of JOHN W. GRAY b 1832 KY and LUCY unknown, either a Native American from Alaska or First Nations member from British Columbia, Canada. JOHN W. GRAY can be found in the 1870 WA Territorial census, single man, a logger  from KY, living in Samish twp, Whatcom Co WA (very near here). From 1880 until 1900, JOHN, his wife LUCY and children including FLORENCE lived on Orcas Island WA.

In 1910 census, FLORENCE GRAY had already married THOMAS J BRYAN and had two young children, ELSE age 2 and THOMAS J BRYAN Jr age 3.  The family was living on Orcas Island.

Now comes the interesting part.  The eldest son of FLORENCE GRAY & JACK FERI was WARREN ROSCOE FERI, who is listed as ROSCOE on the 1930 Anacortes, Skagit Co WA census. WARREN was born in 1912, just two years after the 1910 census.  What happened to the first husband and two children?  They are not in subsequent census records, and so far I haven't found them in Washington State at all.

The next item I found was a 1917 WWI draft registration for JACK FERI from San Juan Co WA. All the information matches up, and on the registration JACK indicated he had a wife and child.  However--and this is extremely curious--the person who was the registrar disputed that this was true. I don't know what the reason for this might be.  I am not sure what the legalities were concerning inter-racial marriage at that time and in that place, but it was not uncommon, I think. The town in San Juan County where JACK was living looks like "Alya" on the document, but I believe it was the village of Olga on Orcas Island.  There were very few people living in Olga at that time, and everyone knew everyone. Why the county draft registrar should dispute JACK's claim of a wife  & child is beyond me!

I found several WA state birth records for JACK FERI and FLORENCE GRAY, indicating children born in Pierce County, WA.  Pierce County is a couple hundred miles south of Orcas Island. Why Pierce County and not San Juan County?

And finally, there's that 1930 census record, which has some weird stuff in it. First off, the children listed on the census were indeed the children of JACK FERI and FLORENCE GRAY, and not hers from a previous marriage. The census taker crossed out "Italy" as their father's place of origin and scrawled in something that appears to look like "mixed blood" or "negro blood".  I can't get a close enough magnification to really read it. And I have to say, I've never seen anything similar on any other  WA census record.

Also, there were three children, not two.  I missed one lurking on the following page (Fie, Fie, bad sloppy genealogist!)

The three children of JACK & FLORENCE (GRAY) FERI were

WARREN ROSCOE FERI b 1912 WA; died Medford, Jackson Co OR
EDWIN GRAY FERI b 1919 WA died 2001 Orcas Island WA

The next record I found was from the San Juan Journal newspaper in 1942:

1/22/1942---ORCAS BOYS ENLIST IN U.S. MARINES The Journal is informed that Maurice G. Rodenberger, son of Mr. and Mrs. Glen Rodenberger; and EDWIN FERI, son of Mr. and Mrs. JACK FERI, both of Olga, have enlisted in the U.S. Marines and have been sent to San Diego for training.

FLORENCE N. (GRAY) FERI died in 1945 in San Juan County, WA, according to WA state death records. 

And last of all, I found the obituary of EDWIN G. FERI's wife DONNA from 2006:

DONNA MAY FERI, 78, of Eastsound, Orcas Island, Washington died unexpectedly on January 17, 2006 at her home. She was born February 4, 1927, the daughter of Paul and Edith (Swardthout) Alexander in Seattle, WA. At the age of 15, her parents moved to Orcas Island and for over 60 years she has lived and loved Orcas, and is considered an island pioneer.
In 1949, she married EDWIN G. FERI and together they owned and operated the West Sound Store from 1968 – 1976. Donna worked for the San Juan Sanitation Department handling the books and administrative duties for Orcas Island.
She loved to watch, study and feed birds in and around her house, especially looking forward to the humming birds. Donna enjoyed reading, fishing, gardening and tending to her flowers.
In Lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Donna’s name to your favorite charity. She is preceded in death by her parents and her husband Ed in 2001. Donna is survived by her son, Mike Feri of Bellingham, WA.

I am very happy to have found all this information, as it shows that this was a family that lived for a long time on Orcas Island, a very small community.  There is likely to be some historical record of the Feri family there.

My next step is to visit our local library and museum, where there may be some record of when the family built our house and how long they lived in it!

If anyone reading this has any further information, please contact me.

Have a great day!