Wednesday, August 31, 2016

History Everywhere! Finding a Confederate Spy

I recently had to get an oversized document scanned. So I went to the closest copy center which had a scanner big enough, which was in the Worldgate Centre, a shopping, office and hotel plaza in Herndon, Virginia. As I was leaving I remembered the grave of a famous Confederate spy was supposed to be somewhere on the grounds of the plaza.

And sure enough, just across the parking lot from the hotel entrance I spotted a historical marker and small fenced graveyard in the middle of a grove of large holly trees.

Laura Ratcliffe historical marker at Worldgate Centre, Herndon, Virginia;
personal collection
Grave of Laura Ratcliffe; personal collection

Laura Ratcliffe was known as a local beauty. Among her many admirers was J.E.B. Stuart, a Confederate States Army officer during the Civil War.

Laura Ratcliffe; courtesy of the Stuart-Mosby Historical Society

Laura was born on 28 May 1836 in Fairfax City, Virginia, to Frances Fitzhugh Ratcliffe and Amy McCarty Lee. She was a 6th cousin of General Robert E. Lee. After her father died, her mother and two sisters moved to Frying Pan (which is now part of the Town of Herndon).

Merrybrook, home of Laura Ratcliffe during the Civil War. The home is one
the grounds of Arrowbrook Park but is privately owned and currently occupied;
personal collection

Laura met James Ewell Brown (JEB) Stuart when she and her sister were nurses in at his winter camp in 1861. She is also said to have saved the live of Colonel John Singleton Mosby, leader of Mosby Rangers and known as the Gray Ghost. He stayed at the Ratcliffe home whenever he was in the area.

Mosby Rangers fought a guerrilla war with small detachments attacking the enemy behind their lines and then disappearing into the country side. They also disrupted communications and transportation. Laura would learn about Union military activity in her area and leave Mosby messages under a rock on Squirrel Hill, a part of the Ratcliffe's property. She saved his life when she communicated to him that the Union Army were planning on setting a trap for him near her home. A Union Army officer described her as a "as a very active and cunning rebel, who is known to our men, and is at least suspected of assisting Mosby not a little in his movements."

After the war Laura married a Union veteran, Milton Hanna. During her lifetime, Laura never received recognition for her role as a Confederate spy. She died on 8 August 1923 at Merrybrook, her home (photo above). Among her personal effects an album of poems was found. There was an inscription which was signed by JEB Stuart and several of his officers, which read:

"Presented to Miss Laura Ratcliffe by her soldier-friend as a token of his high appreciation of her patriotism, admiration of her virtues, and pledge of his lasting esteem."

Map of the Centerville Road-Dulles Access/Toll Road interchange in Herndon,
Virginia; Google maps modified using Microsoft Powerpoint

Civil War Guerrilla Partisans: Mosby's Rangers

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Rice Family: Lost at Sea

A couple of my DNA matches confirmed that Rev. David Rice (1733-1816) was my six times great grandfather. He was a prominent man in the Virginia colony, the nascent state of Kentucky, and the Presbyterian Church. He was also an early, strident abolitionist and he was often called the "Apostle of Kentucky." He was written about often and I have collected digital copies of several books which include biographical sketches, his involvement in education and religion or his family's history in the colonies. Those books indicated a Thomas Rice, Rev. Rice's grandfather, was born in England but was an "early adventurer into Virginia." But I had never researched the generations which preceded Rev. Rice.

Interestingly enough, my brothers did not share any DNA matches with Rev. Rice as the common shared ancestor. When my 89-year-old uncle's test results were available, that changed. My uncle currently has 11,800 DNA match results. As a comparison, I have 6,600. Nearly 150 of my uncle's matches include the surname Rice in their family tree. Not only did he share most of the matches I had, he also had several where the common shared ancestor was Rev. Rice's grandfather, Thomas Rice.

So it was time to see what information I had already collected about the early Rice line and develop a research plan for Thomas. I am still working on that plan, but I wanted to share with you a brief sketch of his family history, which I discovered in A History of St. Mark's Parish, Culpeper County, Virginia, by Rev. Philip Slaughter, which was published in 1877. That book contained a direct quote from memoirs written by Rev. David Rice.[1]

Title page of A History of St. Mark's Parish, Culpeper County, Virginia by Rev. Philip
Slaughter, and published in 1877; courtesy of Internet Archive

"Thomas Rice was an Englishman by birth, of Welsh extraction. He was an early adventurer into Virginia; where he spent the first part of his life is not certainly known. In the latter part of his life he owned a small plantation in the lower part of what is now (1824) called Hanover county. Here he left his wife, with nine sons and three daughters, and went to England to receive a considerable estate which had been left him, but returned no more. The sailors reported that he died at sea. It is supposed that he was assassinated. No return was ever made of the property after which he had gone, and his family were left destitute in a strange land.

The family being left without an earthly father, were distressed, but they were, in the good providence of God, provided for. The greater part moved about thirty miles farther up the country, where they procured a small plantation, on which they raised numerous families; four or five of them became professors of religion, and were succeeded in their religious profession by a considerable number of their children."

[1] I have purchased but not yet received A History of the Church in Kentucky for Forty Years, Containing the Memoirs of Rev. David Rice by Robert H. Bishop, published in 1824.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Confusion Reigns!

Some days my ancestors cause me to tear out my hair. In fact, I think when Dora Pierce Marshall, my third cousin three times removed, thought about who to marry, she decided to be a little bit naughty, willfully causing future family genealogists to go crazy. I'm almost positive she smiled a secret smile as she said her vows.

I know she had a good laugh about it years later.

Dora Pierce (Marshall) Marshall and her husband; courtesy of member cgraham206

Let's back up a bit, shall we?

Dora was born on 10 May 1881 in Carroll County, Virginia. Her parents were Asa Howard Marshall and Nancy Virginia Mitchell, the great granddaughter of my five times great grandfather Robert Mitchell (1714-1799). Asa Howard Marshall was the son of Abraham Marshall and Mary "Polly" Bonds. He had an older brother named Alvers S. Marshall. Both brothers farmed in the Pine Creek district of Carroll County.

When Dora decided to marry, she chose her first cousin, a son of her uncle Alvers S. Marshall and his first wife, Pauline (or Perlina) Gallimore. And what do you think her future husband's name was?

It was Asa Howard Marshall! Sound familiar?

Alvers named his first born son after his brother, who happened to be Dora's father. So she married a man with the same name as her father.

Dora so confused me, I had to draw an illustration to sort out the familial relationships.

Relationships between Dora Pierce Marshall and her husband, father and
uncle; created using Microsoft Powerpoint

Dora's husband, Asa Howard Marshall, was born on 9 September 1881in Carroll County. Like his father and uncle, he farmed in the county of his birth his entire working life. He and Dora had 10 children. Asa died 31 August 1950 of acute pulmonary edema. Cora died on 19 January 1958 generalized arteriosclerosis, from which she had suffered for 20 years. They were interred at Top of the Mountain Cemetery in Sylvatus, Virginia.

To be entirely fair to Dora, I have no idea whether she gave future genealogists a thought when she married her cousin and her father's namesake. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Crossing "the Pond" with Edward Shippen (1639-1712)

My six times great uncle, Rev. Samuel Blair, Jr., was a very accomplished man for his time. He attended what is now Princeton University, had been an assistant pastor at the Old South Church in Boston, served as a chaplain during the Revolutionary War, and was the second chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He married Susan, or Susannah, Shippen, a great granddaughter, of Edward Shippen, who was born in England, came to Boston in 1668, later removed to Philadelphia at the urging of William Penn, and was named the first mayor of Philadelphia under the 1701 Charter of Privileges promulgated by William Penn.

Shippen genealogy from Genealogy of the Roberdeau Family by General Daniel Roberdeau
published in 1876 and available on

In 1911 the Historical Society of Pennsylvania compiled a multi-volume work entitled Colonial and Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania. Beginning on page 96 is a profile of Edward Shippen which includes several generations of descendants. Below is an excerpt of his profile.

Edward Shippen as drawn from an original painting;
courtesy of Find A Grave

"...Edward Shippen born in Methley, Yorkshire, not far from Leeds, to William Shippen and Mary Nunnes, whose father was a yeoman. Edward was baptized in the parish church on 5 March 1639. He came to the American colonies in 1668. There he engaged in mercantile pursuits with much success. In 1669 he was a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, showing that he was still at that time a member of the Protestant Church of England. Two years later he married Elizabeth Lybrand, a Quakeress; this marriage led him to become a Quaker. Owing to his new religion, he was subjected to severe persecution, and in 1677, was twice "publickly whipped." In various ways he was subjected to great annoyance, until finally, about 1693-4, he decided to take refuge in Pennsylvania.

It would seem to have taken him about a year to perfect the disposal of his estate in Boston and transfer it to Philadelphia. In this latter city his wealth, his fine personal appearance, his house on Second Street[1], styled a "princely mansion," his talents and his high character, speedily obtained for him such position and influence that on 9 July 1695, he was elected Speaker of the Assembly; in 1699 he was made Chief-Justice, and on 25 October 1701, William Penn named him in the charter as Mayor of the City of Philadelphia...In Edward Shippen he found a man of courage, energy, integrity, intelligence, and sagacity; whose unspotted moral character was ample earnest to the citizens that the executive power would be exercised with the strictest justices and fidelity; whose active business habits and bravery equally assured them of the chief magistrate's resolution and promptness, whilst his high social position gave dignity to the office.

From 1702 to 1704 Edward Shippen was President of the Governor's Council, and for six months, when there was no Governor in the Province, he was acting Governor. In 1706 he contracted his third marriage, which led to his separation from the Society of Friends. After that, apparently, he retired from public life, except that he continued to advise upon public affairs...Edward Shippen died at Philadelphia, 2 October 1712...

U.S. Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935; courtesy of

Edward Shippen married (first) Elizabeth Lybrand of Boston; they had eight children, from whom are descended the Shippen family in America. She having died 25 October 1688, he married Rebecca, widow of Francis Richardson, of New York, and daughter of John Howard (Haywood) of Yorkshire...Edward Shippen took up his residence in a fine mansion on the west side of Second Street, north of Spruce, and had a fine, "country house" at Broad and South Streets, his property extending along the south side of the old city as far west as Sixteen Street and east to Front Street. William Penn spent much of his time at Shippen's house on Second Street, on the occasion of his second visit to Pennsylvania. His spacious lawn extending down to Dock Creek, on which he maintained a herd of deer, and his orchard of choice fruits were famous in their day...

Mr. Shippen's second wife, Rebecca (Howard) Richardson, died in Philadelphia, 26 February 1705, and in 1706 he married Elizabeth/Esther, widow of Thomas (or Philip) James, from Bristol, England, daughter of John Wilcox. This marriage separated him from the Society of Friends, and about this time he retired from public affairs. Edward Shippen died in Philadelphia 2 October 1712. His third wife survived him, dying in Philadelphia, 7 August 1724."

Vital Record of Rhode Island, 1636-1850 edited by James N. Arnold and
published in 1895; courtesy of

One of Shippen's grandsons was Continental Congressman William Shippen. A granddaughter was the wife of Philadelphia Mayor Charles Willing. Another grandson, Edward Shippen, III, was also a mayor of Philadelphia. Shippen's great granddaughter, Susan, married into the prominent Presbyterian Blair family, and a great great granddaughter was Peggy Shippen, wife of Benedict Arnold..."

As I researched the life of Edward Shippen, the issues I could find in the above biographical profile were minor. 1) I believe his third wife, Elizabeth or Esther (Wilcox) James was also a Quaker and he was not separated from the Society of Friends as a result of that marriage. He was buried at the Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church Cemetery. So more research is definitely required. 2) There are also conflicting sources about his place of birth, which could be Hillham, Cheshire, England. However, his father married in Methley and by 1642 (3 years after Edward was baptized) was overseer of the poor. He did die in Cheshire. So I am unsure. 

And may I say how much I enjoyed Colonial era records from Boston and Philadelphia. What a difference to what is available for Virginia during the same period!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Author of Five Books in One Volume

William B. Walter was born on 25 March 1815 in Emmitsburg, Maryland, to John William Walter and his first wife, Catherine (Dechart) Walter. He was their third child and a half brother of Aloysius Walter, Aunt Katherine's great grandfather. He was educated at Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg.

William moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1844 at the age of 29. He married Euphemia C. Nettlehorst, daughter of Christian Carl and Helena (Schulte) Nettlehorst, on 5 March 1848. She had been born in the Kingdom of Hanover and immigrated to the U.S. shortly before her marriage. The couple had three known children.

In 1860 the family lived in Fort Wayne, where William taught school. His real estate was valued at $10,500 and his personal property at $1,500. By 1870 William was an attorney and his real estate was valued at $15,000 and his personal property at $5,000. He was a prominent citizen of Fort Wayne. In 1880 he worked as a real estate agent and his son, Charles was an attorney.

In 1894, William wrote a book entitled, Five Books in One Volumewhich was published by R. C. F. Rayhouser. In it William pontificated about 5 questions:
  1. The "great" school question: as intimately blended with that of Christian education, religion, and the safety of nations
  2. Political questions: Loss of patriotism, our elective franchise, corrupt and unwise legislation, party strife and party spite
  3. The direful liquor question: and the denominating influence of the liquor traffic as a source of corruption in political affairs as well as ruin to the bodies and souls of men
  4. The great labor question: idleness and prodigality the of "hard times," economy and thrift unknown, and extravagance everywhere and in all things
  5. Miscellaneous: embracing a wide range of subjects not treated under the foregoing heads.

The book contained a brief passage about William's ancestry:

"He is of German ancestry, his great great grandfather having been a Dutch Baron who emigrated to this county with Lord Baltimore and is said to have built the first house where Baltimore now stands. The old gentleman seems also to have owned lands at that place and leased them for ninety-nine years, as was the custom. There is said to be a fortune connected with these lands, but none of the heirs have avarice enough in their hearts to undertake the task of ousting the present occupants."

William B. Walter died on 15 December 1897 in Fort Wayne. He had outlived all of his children and was interred in the Catholic Cemetery in the same city. His wife died in 1903 and was interred in the same cemetery.

Children of William B. Walter and Euphemia C. Nettlehorst:
  1. Elizabeth Agnes Walter born 13 February 1849 in Indiana; never married; died 2 October 1883; interred at the Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne.
  2. Mary Josephine Walter born January 1851 in Indiana; never married; died 14 February 1868; interred at the Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne.
  3. Charles W. Walter born 11 July 1856 in Fort Wayne; never May A. Doyle on 18 October 1882 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, one son; died 27 February 1887; interred at the Catholic Cemetery in Fort Wayne

Friday, August 19, 2016

Slave Name Roll Project: Releasing Nancy

Lawrence Van Hook was my 1st cousin seven times removed and the great grandson of Arent Van Hoeck, who came to the Dutch New Amsterdam colony with his second wife on 19 April 1655 aboard the De Bonte Koe. Lawrence's grandfather, Laurens Van Hook was a lawyer and a judge in Freehold, New Jersey, dying 50 years before the Revolutionary War. Lawrence's father, Aaron Van Hook, moved his family to Orange County, North Carolina before he wrote his will in 1760.

Lawrence, who was born in 1723 in the city of New York made the move to North Carolina with his father. He married Bridget Loyd in 1787 in Caswell County, North Carolina, and remained in that county until his death in 1801.

Caswell County, North Carolina, slave quarters; courtesy of NSCU Libraries

Another Ancestry member found and transcribed Lawrence's will, which was written on 6 April 1797.

The will was interesting in that he left a fairly extensive estate and appeared to have disinherited one of his daughters. Only one slave was listed by name in the will, though there are references to others:

3rd Item -- I appoint that in case Zachariah Jones and his wife Elizabeth die without issue either begotten by the two above mentioned, or by death and after intermarriage none begotten, then in that case a certain negroe woman named NANCY which I lent to said Zachariah and Elizabeth shall return and belong to my five children, or successors...

Slave Name Roll Project

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Daniel Oscar Jennings, Are You Related to Benjamin?

One of the Jennings researchers who corresponded with my father about the descendants of Benjamin Jennings (c1740-1815) of Powhatan County, Virginia thought Daniel Oscar Jennings was the son of Daniel Jennings and Martha Watkins. Daniel (Daniel-Dad) was a son of Benjamin Jennings, my four times great grandfather. I had a large print-out of that research and entered Daniel Oscar in my tree. I meant to go back and look for documents which supported the previous research, but suffer from Genealogical Attention Deficit Disorder (GADD) so I never did.

Snippet of page from another Jennings researcher's large print out, which Dad
kept in a big notebook; personal collection

Daniel (Daniel-Son) was born on 10 September 1806 in either Fluvanna or Goochland County, Virginia. (The records provide conflicting information.) He married Susan A. Bowles on 27 July 1837 in Powhatan County, Virginia. Daniel and his family were enumerated in the 1850 and 1860 census as residents of Powhatan County and he died there on 17 March 1861.

Several years ago I was contacted by a descendant of Daniel-Son's and she did not believe his was a son of Daniel-Dad Jennings. And if I would have been researching as I was entering the information from the notebook into my tree, I would have known that. Both his marriage record and his death and burial record indicated his parents were John and Lucy (maiden name unknown) Jennings.

So I unattached Daniel Oscar Jennings from Daniel-Dad Jennings and Martha Watkins and added his correct parents. My questions now:
  • Are John Jennings and Benjamin Jennings related?
  • Why did Daniel Oscar Jennings migrate to Powhatan County where Benjamin Jennings first appeared in the documents in 1783 and remained until his death in 1815? Random coincidence or familial connection?
Benjamin Jennings was my four times great grandfather and my brick wall. Perhaps, being able to determine who his brothers were could help break through it. So I am off to research John and Lucy Jennings.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Death and Kidnapping

Zollie Monroe Britt had some terrible luck with wives. He married Mamie Lee Hale, daughter John Henry Hale and his second wife Sarah Jane Williams, on 21 October 1923 in Bibb County, Georgia. Mamie was my sister-in-law's great great aunt. Zollie and Mamie had their only child, John Madison Britt the following year.

Two short months after their 10th wedding anniversary Zollie's wife, Mamie, died, leaving him with his 9-year-old son. Six months after his wife's death, he married Emily B. (Wilson) Moore on 19 June 1934. She was a young divorcee with a daughter the same age as Zollie's son. The couple planned to make their home in Macon, Georgia, where Zollie was involved with government work.

28 June 1934 edition of The Macon Telegraph;
courtesy of the Macon Historical Society

About a week after their marriage Emily came down with pneumonia and was hospitalized on 25 June 1934. Her prognosis was grim. On the evening of 27 June 1934 her former husband came to Emily's hospital room where he saw his daughter, Mary Elizabeth. He asked Emily if he could take the child home and she consented. Zollie and one of Emily's sisters objected and a shouting match ensued with John Moore threatening to "break every bone in his body." Zollie and his sister-in-law went to the police and filed a complaint. Later that night the police arrested John on a kidnapping warrant. He was later released. Mary Elizabeth, it was reported, was content with her father, telling the deputies her aunt was not giving her enough to eat.

29 Jun 1934 edition of The Macon Telegraph; courtesy of the Macon
Historical Society

The next day The Macon Telegraph reported that not only had John H. Moore been released from police custody, the kidnapping charges had been dropped. The police held out the possibility that they may press contempt of court charges in the future. The same article went on to relate Emily B. (Wilson) Moore Britt had died in the hospital at 8:00 a.m. on 28 June -- the morning after the confrontation between her current and former husbands.

1 July 1934 edition of The Macon Telegraph; courtesy of
the Macon Historical Society

The funeral for Emily was held on 30 June, which her daughter attended. Police and juvenile court officials decided to take custody of Mary Elizabeth Moore until an investigation could be completed and the court could decide where she should live.

That was the last article I could find about the event. So in less than six months time Zollie had been widowed twice. He married Mary Elizabeth (Folds) Elliott some time before the 1940 census was enumerated. She was a native of Putnam County, Georgia, and had lost her first husband in 1929. She had at least three children from her first marriage. Zollie and Mary lived in Macon for the remainder of their lives. He died in 1962 and she died in 1970. They were both interred at Riverside Cemetery in Macon.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Germantown, Pennsylvania

Germantown is now a neighborhood in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, part of which is included in the Germantown Historic District. It was originally established by German Quaker and Mennonite families on 6 October 1683. The borough was absorbed into the city in 1854. Germantown is located about 6 miles from the city center. Today, German-American Day is celebrated on the same day as Germantown's founding.

The abolitionist movement began in Germantown in 1688 when four men met and wrote a two-page condemnation of slavery, which they sent to their Quaker governing body. It was not until 1770 that Pennsylvania passed the first Abolition Act in the British American colonies.

During the British occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, they housed some of their troops in Germantown. The Continental Army attacked on 4 October 1777. Citizens joined the fighting by firing on British troops as well. In the confusion caused by the battle American troops began firing on themselves and quickly retreated. The battle was initially considered a loss for the American side, but news soon arrived that British General Burgoyne had been defeated at Saratoga with the French recognizing the United States soon thereafter. The loss at Germantown was quickly forgotten.

Engraving of the Battle of Germantown by Christian Schussele; courtesy of

My six times great uncle, Rev. Samuel Blair lived in Germantown with his wife, Susan (Shippen) Blair and their children during the Battle of Germantown. In fact, one of their daughters, Frances Van Hook Blair, named for her father's mother, was born seven short months before the battle. And president George Washington stayed at the Deshler-Morris House during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1793. The house is now part of the Germantown White House National Park.

Shippen-Blair House
Pray Together, Stay Together
Revolutionary War Chaplain, Rev. Samuel Blair (Jr.)
British Surrender at Saratoga
1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Cozy" Tucker Marriages

My sister-in-law's pedigree chart has deep Georgia roots.

My sister-in-law's pedigree chart by place of birth; created using Microsoft

I first researched her Tucker family several years ago and have written about them before, even the mistakes I made and have since corrected. My sister-in-law recently took a DNA test so I have been using her matches to prove her pedigree chart. I was also able to add to the chart and correct a mistake. I had previously believed Anna Stella May was her two times great grandmother. But that was not true. Emma W. Fowler was John Irwin Tompkins first wife and mother of his children. Anna Stella May was his second wife.

The DNA test results also gave me a chance to go back and refresh and extend my previous Tucker research. My sister-in-law's father, a Tucker, died when she was 12 years old, and she lost touch with his family. DNA testing has brought her back in contact with a first cousin once removed, the daughter of her grandfather, Isiah Tucker's brother.

There are so many new sources available online now than when I first did my Tucker research. So I have been retracing the descendants of Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr., my sister-in-law's five times great grandfather and the Tucker who first came to Georgia sometime before 1790. I've traced his Georgia migrations, written of the debate about his wife, and begun working through his descendants.

While researching Henry, Sr.'s children, I've learned about first cousins once removed marrying and widowed sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws marrying. I feel like I'm back home in Virginia with my deeply rooted Colonial-era Jennings ancestors!

Marriages between Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr.' descendants; created using
Microsoft Powerpoint

John Tucker was Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr.'s eldest child; brother Elijah Tucker was his youngest. John Tucker's grandson, Jesse Tucker, married Elijah Tucker's daughter, Mary Ann Z. Tucker after her first husband died. She was 17 years older than her second husband, who was only 36 when she died.[1] Jesse then married Julia A. (Martin) Martin, who was the widow of Robert C. Martin. Robert's first wife, was also a daughter of Elijah Tucker. Are you confused yet?

The tangled roots on our extended family tree continue to weave together in the most interesting ways!

[1] The records have conflicting years of birth for Jesse/Jessie Tucker from 1840 to 1849; 1849 is the year of birth on his headstone.

Henry Crawford Tucker's Georgia Migrations
Confusing Tuckers of Wiregrass Georgia

Monday, August 8, 2016

Preparing for the Revolutionary War

In about 1772 Britain decided to have the salaries of its royal governors and judges be paid by the crown rather than the colonies. Control of those salaries was one of the major ways in which the colonies could control their local British rulers. Within months over 100 Massachusetts towns had created committees to correspond with one another to keep all of the apprised of their activities in response to the British action. Samuel Adams led the colonies' main Committee of Correspondence.

Committee of Correspondence meeting about the militia; purchased from
Historical Image Bank for non-commercial reuse

Soon thereafter the Speaker of the Massachusetts assembly corresponded with Richard Henry Lee of Virginia regarding the purpose of the colony's newly formed committees. Either Dabney Carr or Lee proposed Virginia create similar committees. The resolution was quickly adopted and 11 prominent men were appointed. The preamble read as follows:

"This House, being deeply impressed with the Apprehension of the great Dangers to be derived to British America from the hostile invasion of the City of Boston, in our Sister Colony of Massachusetts Bay, whose commerce and Harbour are, on the first Day of June next, to be stopped by an armed Force, deem it highly necessary that the said first Day of June be set apart, by the Members of this House, as a Day of Fasting, Humilation, and Prayer, devoutly to implore the Devine Interposition, for averting the heavy Calamity which threatens Destruction to our civil Rights, and the Evils of Civil War, to give us one Heart and one Mind, firmly to oppose, by all just and proper Means, every Injury to American Rights; and that the Minds of his Majesty, and his Parliament, may be inspired from above with Wisdom, Moderation, and Justice, to remove from the loyal People of America all Cause of Danger from a continued Pursuit of Measures, pregnant with their Ruin."[1]

Three days later 89 late members of the Virginia House of Burgesses retired to the Apollo room at the Raleigh Tavern and crafted and signed a resolution with 14 articles. Article 11 created what came to be known as Committees of Safety in every county, city and town of the colony. The purpose was basically to observe their fellow citizens in order to ferret out people with Royalist tendencies.

Engraving of the Apollo Room; courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg

"That a Committee be chosen in every County, City, and Town, by those who are qualified to vote for Representatives in the Legislature, whose business it shall be attentively to observe the Conduct of all Persons touching this Association; and when it shall be made to appear, to the Satisfaction of the Majority of any such Committee, that any Person within the Limits of their Appointment has violated this Association, that such Majority do forthwith cause the Truth of the Case to be published in the Gazette, to the End that all such Foes of the Rights of British America may be publickly known, and universally condemned as Enemies of American Liberty; and thenceforth we, respectively, will break off all dealings with him or her."

These committees eventually became shadow governments, usurping power from increasingly helpless Royal officials.

On 23 May 1775 Bedford County, Virginia, chose the members of their Committee of Safety and among those members was my six times great grandfather, Rev. David Rice.

William & Mary Quarterly, First Series, Volume 5, page 253; courtesy of
Google Books

David Rice was my five times great greandfather, a Presbyterian minister and the grandson of Thomas Rice, who was an Englishman by birth of Welsh extraction and "an early adventurer into Virginia."[2]

[1] Transcription available on USGenWeb Archives by Kathy Merrill
[2] Quote from A History of St. Mark's Parish, Culpeper, Virginia, by Rev. Philip Slaughter

I have not yet thoroughly researched the Rice family beyond Rev. David Rice. However, my paternal uncle's DNA test results have many matches in which the common shared ancestor will be Thomas Rice (died 1711).

Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Henry Crawford Tucker's Georgia Migrations

Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr. was my sister-in-law's five times great grandfather.  There is a passionate debate about this family, which I blogged about previously. If you believe as I do, Henry, Sr., was from Southampton, Virginia, and the son of Benjamin Tucker (1704-1778). After his father died, Henry and his brothers sold the Southampton plantation. The brothers removed to North Carolina where Henry met married Sarah "Sallie" Hunter in Chatham County sometime before moving to Georgia, where their eldest son was born in 1790. Georgia was offering land grants to Revolutionary War veterans in an effort to attract more people to the former British colony.

Burke County, Georgia; courtesy of Rootsweb

Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr., was listed on the Burke County tax list in 1790. Five years later, he lived in Montgomery County, which had been created from Washington County and before that was Creek Indian land. In 1805, Henry, Sr., participated in a land lottery and was awarded 202-1/2 acres in recently formed Wilkinson County. In 1826, Henry, Sr. moved south again to newly formed Lowndes County. He and his wife, Sarah, were founding members of Bethel Primitive Baptist Church.

Bethel Primitive Baptist Church Historical marker (now in Brooks County);
courtesy of the Georgia Historical Society

Bethel Primitive Baptist Church
Bethel Primitive Baptis Church, the second Baptist Church to be organized in the area of old Lowndes County, was constituted September 2, 1826. The organizing Presbytery were Elders: Benjamin Manning, Matthew Albritton and Henry Melton, with Deacon William A. Knight. Charters members of Bethel Church were: Elder Melus Thigpen and his wife, Sarah; Archibald Strickland and his wife, Luander; Henry C. Tucker and his wife, Sarah.
Elder Thigpen served as supply pastor until 1828, when the Rev. Matthew Albritton was called to the charge of Bethel Church.

Georgia migrations of Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr.; map courtesy of Rootsweb

Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr., died sometime after 1832 when he submitted an affidavit in a Leon County, Florida, court to support a Revolutionary War pension application, which was rejected by the federal government. It is not known when or where he died, but he may have been interred at Bridge Creek Cemetery in Colquitt County, which was formed from Lowndes County in 1856. If so, the grave is unmarked. There is also a headstone in the Purvis Family Cemetery in Berrien County, Georgia, where Henry's son Richard M. Tucker was interred, which listed Richard's brothers as: John (1785-1853), Davis (1798-post 1880), Thomas (1803-post 1880), Henry Crafford, Jr. (1805-1886), Elisha (1808-post 1880), and Elijah (1809-1858).  I believe he also had two sisters: Nancy and Barbara -- all children of Henry Crawford Tucker, Sr. and Sarah "Sallie" Hunter.

Confusing Tuckers of Wiregrass Georgia

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness: Saved from Goodwill

At last summer's Lange Cousins Reunion, my 94-year-old Aunt Katherine (Walter) Lange asked me to "look into" her father's family. She knew his name and the name of his father, but that was pretty much it. The Walter family was extremely interesting to research and I was able to trace the family back to Nicola Walter (c1720-1804). He immigrated to Philadelphia with his wife and children in 1751 aboard the Rotterdam from the Rheinland-Pfalz area of what is now Germany. I was even able to locate a book entitled Nicola Walter and His Descendants by Helen B. Walter and Robert J. Walker. A wonderful fellow member sent me a digitized copy.[1] I was able to send Aunt Katherine a copy of that book, a report about the Walter family from my database, and several blog posts I wrote about interesting family events.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by another member. She had found a photograph at Goodwill in Oregon, which she purchased. She did her research and discovered I had Ethel Marie (Callan) Andrews and her daughter, Betty Jane, in my family tree. She messaged me and asked if I would be interested in the photograph. Of course I would! And several days later the photograph arrived in my mailbox.

Ethel Marie's parents were William J. Callan and Mabel E. Spencer. Mabel's parents were James D. Callan and Virginia Marie Walter, who was a great granddaughter of Nicola Walter, making her daughter, Ethel, my aunt's 2nd cousin once removed.

Photograph of Ethel Marie (Callan) Andrews and her daughter, Betty Jane Andrews

Typed on a sticker affixed to the back of the photograph:
February 1930 - Ethel Marie Andrews holding daugher, Betty Jane - 10 mos. old,
Shore Rd., Brooklyn, NY

Ethel Marie Callan was born on 10 December 1905 in Washington, District of Columbia. Sometime before 1930 she married Byron Franklin Andrews and they lived in Brooklyn, New York, when the 1930 census was enumerated. Byron worked as an accountant. In 1940 their family moved to Queens. Byron Andrews died on 31 January 1989 in Loudoun County, Virginia. Ethel Marie (Callan) Andrews died on 12 January 1999 in the same county. They had two children:
  1. Betty Jane Andrews born about 1929 in New York
  2. Byron Franklin Andrews born 12 April 1933, died 28 October 2004
While I am thrilled this lovely photograph was saved from Goodwill, if a closer relative of Betty Jane Andrews (maiden name) would like the photograph, I am more than happy to send it. It is framed. I have also digitized it and added it to my online family tree.

The full text of the book has also been microfilmed by the Family History Center and the microfilm may be ordered and sent to your local center.

Monday, August 1, 2016

New Wells/Murphy Family Tree Branch

Sarah Caroline (Wells) Murphy is a newly discovered three times great aunt, who I learned about when I found the probate records for my three times great grandfather, James M. Wells. On that document, she was listed only by the name of Caroline. When her mother's will was probated in 1883, I learned her married name.

Snippet of petition to probate; courtesy of

Sarah was born on 5 November 1939 in Illinois, likely in Madison County, to James M. Wells and Mary Hearelson. She was their second eldest child. On 4 November 1855 John Henderson Murphy, son of Hugh P. and Annie Murphy, and Sarah applied for a marriage license in Madison County. She and her husband owned a farm valued at $8,680 and personal property valued at $300 dollars. Within the first five years of their marriage, they had three children.

When the 1870 census was enumerated their farm was valued at $3,000 and their personal property at $1,500. One more child had been born between 1860 and 1870. Some time between 1875 and 1880 the family moved to Minneha, Kansas, where John farmed and his two oldest sons helped out as farm hands. Three more children were born between 1870 and 1880, with the youngest the only child born in Kansas.

Township map of Sedgwick County Kansas; courtesy of Wikipedia

Sarah's husband, John, died in 1892 in Wichita, Kansas, and was interred at the Seitzer Cemetery in Wichita. In 1900, Sarah continued to live on the family farm in Minneha. Two children still lived with her and her son worked the farm.

By 1906 Sarah had moved to Witchita where she lived until her death on 29 Jun 1924. She was also interred at the Seitzer Cemetery in the of her death.

Headstone of John Henderson and Sarah Caroline (Wells) Murphy; courtesy of
Find A Grave volunteer Mike Maxton

Children of John Henderson Murphy and Sarah Caroline Wells:
  1. James Edward Murphy, born 13 May in Madison County, Illinois; died 11 November 1906 in Witchita, Kansas; married Catherine Rose Gasser, who had been married twice previously
  2. Henry Tyler Murphy, born 30 April 1859 in Madison County; died 11 November 1903 in Wichita
  3. Mary Elizabeth Murphy, born 1 September 1861 in Madison County; died 17 April 1928 in Wichita; married George William Corn
  4. Alice Julia Murphy, born 17 March 1868 in Madison County; died 6 January 1923; married Henry C. Roof
  5. Cora Belle Murphy, born 1 June 1872 in Madison County; died 23 January 1949 in Anthony, Kansas; married Charles Reeves
  6. Lillie Emma Murphy, born 12 February 1875; died 7 October 1950 in Wichita; married William A. Howard
  7. Stephen Walter Murphy, born 30 January 1880 in Sedgwick County, Kansas; died 31 March 1964 in Wichita.

It should be noted that the 1900 indicated Sarah had 8 children and 7 were still living. However, the 1910 census indicated she had 7 children born alive with 4 still living, which does not make sense as only James and Henry had died by 1910. So there may be another child who died young that I do now know about.