Friday, September 5, 2014

Chudleigh and the Sealy Family

Chudleigh is a small town in Devon, England, located between the towns of Newton Abbott and about 10 miles from Exeter, which is noted for its cathedrals and its rich history. At the end of the Teign valley and at the foot of the Haldon hills, it is very close to the edge of Dartmoor with its many acres of untamed countryside. It is also a comfortable drive to the coast and is on the main road from Exeter to Plymouth. This makes it a good place to stay while visiting in Devon! Ah, another place to visit!

Ciedda's leah was a small, agricultural village, and already 300-400 years old when it became the property of the Church after the Norman Conquest. The first parish church was dedicated in 1259 and Edward the Second granted a Charter for markets and livestock fairs, in 1309, and Chudleigh became a wool market town.

Being an ancient place, it is easy to imagine a quaint and historic village filled with charming cottages and medieval architecture. In 1807, which was a year of drought, the town suffered from a devastating fire that began in a bakery and was carried everywhere by the wind. Since most of the town had thatched roofs, when the fire finished its work there was just a church and seven houses left standing. Sarah Sealy, who was born on 5 September 1800, would have been six years old at the time. Imagine the panic that must have ensued as people struggled to save their belongings, and to keep the fire from spreading. It was a tragedy for everyone that changed the face of Chudleigh forever. There is still St. Martin's church from the 14th century, and an old grammar school next to it. You can click here to see a drawing of an 18th century street in Chudleigh.

This house, which dates back to the 1600's, must be one of the homes that made it through the fire. It looks like a totally charming place to stay while visiting! The Devon Guide has a nice map, pictures, and a good description of things to see nearby.

Getting back to Sarah Sealy,on 14 September 1800, she was christened at Chudleigh. Her parents were Joseph and Elizabeth Sealy. He was born in Chudleigh, as were his parents, and Elizabeth was from Hennock, 4 1/2 miles west, and in today's Dartmoor National Park. More photos here.

Sarah married William Bolt. Their children were John Sealy, Mary Jane, and William. Our ancestor is Mary Jane. They were listed on the 1851 census as follows--

Joseph Sealey, head, married, 73, Chelsea pensioner, born Chudleigh, Devon; Elizabeth, wife, age 79, born at Hennock; William Bolt, son-in-law, age 52, house servant, born Powderham; Sarah Bolt, daughter, age 51, dressmaker, born Chudleigh; John Sealy Bolt, grandson, unmarried, age 25, journeyman carpenter, born Chudleigh; Mary Ann Bolt, granddaughter, unmarried, age 16, at home, born Chudleigh; William Bolt, grandson, age 11, scholar, born Chudleigh.

Their address was 15 Culver Street and you can read about how Culver Street was affected by the fire of 1807 at that link. From this census entry we can know that Sarah's parents lived to be elderly and had the comfort of having their daughter and grandchildren with them in their home, at least for a time. If we wanted to know more about it, we could check another census or two!

Monday, September 1, 2014

William F. Locke

William F. Locke was born in North Carolina, probably in Guilford County. Census records put the year at 1829, although his daughter, in a biography in E. Tucker's book, The History of Randolph County, Indiana, sets his birth at 1 September 1820. According to his death certificate, his parents were Joel Locke and his wife, Jane or Jensy May, who were married in Rockingham County, North Carolina on 14 February 1822. They had a large family of seven, possibly eight, sons and a daughter. William married Mary Jane Robbins on 19 August 1847, in Randolph County, Indiana.

William F. served in the Civil War for the Union Army, and was a Private in Company C, 8th Indiana Infantry. His company left Indianapolis on 10 September 10 1861. He was discharged 29 April 1863 with wounds. He was a corporal in Company E of the 69th Indiana Infantry at the time.

He was a wagonmaker and blacksmith by trade. The famous poem by Longfellow is indicative of the type of work and effort required. The blacksmith was a necessary part of any community and performed an important task.

The Village Blacksmith
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.

His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.

Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.

He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,

It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.

Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.

Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.

While living in Washington, Randolph, Indiana, William and Mary Jane had the following children-- Margaret A., Sarah Caroline, Alvis M., Joel Joseph, Charles L., William F., Sherman, and Minna. They were enumerated on the census for Washington in 1850, 1860 and 1870. Wouldn't we just love to know what those middle initials stand for, particularly for William, whose middle initial was always present with his name in the records. This was probably to distinguish him from his uncle, also a William.

It appears that Mary Jane was deceased by 1873, since William then married Margaret Heaston on 31 January 1873, in Randolph County. According to Quaker records, William was disfellowshipped shortly after that, "William F. Lock complained of for refusing to fulfill a marriage contract and leaving the country without settling his outward affairs. "Disowned" on 13 January 1875. This is an interesting development, and obviously something was wrong with his marriage to Margaret Heaston and when the church attempted to discipline him, he left the county. In Tucker's book, Lockes are listed as "religious people." Many of the people who settled in Randolph County were Quakers, and many of them came from North Carolina to escape the slave situation there.

He then married Barthena Bright on 28 March 1875 in Randolph County. She was the sister of a fellow soldier in the Civil War, James N. Bright. On the 1880 Census, he and Barthena were living in Perry, Clay, Indiana. Only Minna was still living at home. He and Barthena had two children together, Luella and Benjamin. The census is confusing in that some of the information is inaccurate. William was admitted as a member of Nelson Trusler Post, No. 60, G.A.R., at Winchester, Randolph, Indiana on 21June 1882. Apparently he solved whatever difficulties he had when he left Randolph County.

By 1900, Barthena was living with her daughter at White River, Randolph, Indiana, and listed her status as "widow," William having died on 19 February 1893.

A Randolph County obituary-
LOCKE William F. - An old soldier d. at his home 5 mi. N.W. of Winch. last Sun., Feb. 19, 1893, ae 72y, bur New Liberty Cem. near Lynn. He m. Mary Jane Robbins Apr. 19, 1847 and 2nd. Margaret Heaston Jan. 31, 1873. He had a family. Note: His military Rec. lists Wm. F. enlisted Apr. 24, 1861 and July 8, 1862. He was a blacksmith by trade. He was in the 8 Ind. Reg. 69th Vol. lnf.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Olette Vignes

Recently, I received some new information about Olette Vignes. It was exciting to find some of the missing pieces to what we already had, and because of that, I retired her old birthday post and am adding this new one.

Olette Olsdatter Vingnaes or Vignes, as it was spelled on her death certificate, was born on 26 August 1863 at Ostre-Toten (East-Toten), Oppland, Norway. Her parents were Ole Jensen and Elene Marie Olsdatter, who were married at Ostre-Toten on 25 April 1848. She had three brothers who were Ole, Nils and Bernt. This family is listed on the 1865 census for Ostre Toten. As you may guess, they lived at the farm called Vingnaes.

There is also a record of their emigration on 26 June 1881. On the 1900 census for Holt, Marshall, Minnesota she indicated that she immigrated in 1881 and spoke and wrote in English. The 1881 immigration date is just one year too late for the 1880 census, and since the 1890 census was destroyed by a fire, the 1900 census is the first opportunity to locate her in a family setting.

On 27 May 1885, she married Thore O. Dovre in Minneota, Cottonwood, Minnesota, a poetic sounding place. As it says on Google, "Minneota, Minnesota, it's the place I want to go tah." They didn't stay, although their first son, Oscar Alfred, was born there. They returned to Holt in Marshall County, Minnesota. Their family was a large family of ten children. They were Oscar, Ole Hjalmer, Ella Magdalene, John Edwin, Marie Alvidia, Alma Ovidia, Selma Juline, Nora Augusta, Theodore, and Harold.

By the time of the 1910 census they had been married for 24 years. Their oldest son, Oscar Alfred had died in 1894, so there were nine living children. Two local school teachers boarded with them. Thore was a farmer. They were still dry farming in Holt on the 1920 census. Ella, who was 31 and not married, lived with them along with the younger children; Nora, Theodore, and Harald.

Olette died on 8 June 1922 at Holt, leaving her husband, Thore, a widower. She is the last of the August Norwegian birthdays.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Ole Hjalmer Dovre, Traveling Man

Ole Hjalmer Dovre was born on 24 August 1887 at Crystal, Pembina, North Dakota, which is located in the most NE corner of North Dakota, adjacent to Minnesota. His parents were Thore O. Dovre and Olette Wigness. He was born just two days before his mother's 24th birthday. He had one older brother, Oscar Alfred, who was not yet two years old. The family continued to grow until there were ten children. In 1894, when there were just five children in the family his older brother died, and he became the oldest child.

On the 1900 census the family was living at Holt, Marshall, Minnesota. He was enumerated with his father as Hjalmer O., age 12, and born in August 1887 in North Dakota. His parents were both born in Norway.

Then on 29 December 1909, Ole married Gunda Baashus at Fordville, Grand Forks, North Dakota. Theodore Leonard, their first child, was born at Fordville. George, Gladys and Hillard were born at Holt. Their last daughter, Donna, was born nearby at Middle River. On the 1920 census the family was living at Holt, where Ole rented and did farming.

According to Dolores Dovre, Ole worked on the Alaska Highway, which was completed in 1943. The Highway ran between Dawson Creek, British Columbia and Delta Junction, Alaska. When he came home there wasn't any work in Minnesota. Then he went to Hawaii for 18 months to work. During these times Gunda and Donna stayed in Thief River Falls. Ole was in Hawaii when Gale Dovre was born in 1945. During that time, he saved enough money to buy a service station in Snohomish, Washington. Ole and Gunda moved to Snohomish, Snohomish, Washington where they lived until Ole's death on 23 June 1964.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Randi Knudsdatter

Randi was born on 15 August 1839 at Fale,Sunndal, Møre-Romsdal, Norway. She was the daughter of Knud Andersen Gravem and Marit Jorgensdatter Toske. She was christened on September 8th of the same year at Sunndal. Her parents were not married. She was her father's third illegitimate child and her mother's second with the same father. A record of their later marriage has not been found.

Møre-Romsdal is a county in the northernmost part of Western Norway that borders Oppland and other counties. Sunndal is the largest community in Møre-Romsdal, stretching from the fjord into the Dovre Mountains. It is an area of dramatic beauty as shown by this photo of Vinnufossen. Interestingly, Sunndal's police department has a sister-city in the USA, which is Issaquah, Washington!

On 21 May 1865, Randi married Halvor Thorsen Ottem at Sunndal. Halvor did not own the Ottem farm himself, but lived at a place called Ottem-lokken, which belonged to Ottem, and is sometimes called Aakerlokken. He was a "husmand" or a cottager. All of their children were born at the Ottem farm. They raised a large family of twelve, several of whom immigrated to America. When they arrived, this family used the farm name of Ottem as their surname. It may be that they hoped to improve their situation by coming to America.

Sometime before 1900, Halvor died. On the 1900 census Randi was a widow and her son, Martinus was living at home with her in Sunndal. He was a tailor. Another son, Lars was also living at home. So while we do not have death dates for Halvor or Randi, we know that he died before 1900 and she died after that time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Anne Bendixdatter

Anne Bendixdatter was born on 9 August 1772 at Skrautval, Nord Aurdal, Oppland, Norway. Her father was Bendix Olsen and her mother was Astrid Knudsdatter. She was the oldest in a family of seven children. On 14 October 1790, she married Knut Knutsen Gigstad. Together they farmed the Gigstad Farm in Skrautval from 1822 until 1848. They had a large family of eleven children, our ancestor being their daughter, Siri.

McCabe and Moloy

The McCabe name first appears in Ireland in reference to soldiers of Hebridean origin in about 1358. These men came into Ireland from Scotland, having a Scandinavian heritage of Norse connections. The usage of the battle-axe, the characteristic galloglach weapon until the sixteenth century was a result of their Scandinavian background. They were galloglasses or mercenaries.

Caba is an Irish word for cap, hood, or helmet, and the name McCabe or MacCabe means the son of the helmeted one. The motto on the earliest coat of arms which has been attributed to the MacCabe family is "aut vincere aut mori" which means "either conquer or die." People who have the surname McCabe or MacCabe are descended from the galloglas soldiers mentioned above. Since these galloglas were "the son of the helmeted one" it is likely that all McCabes are not necessarily related to one another. (Taken from The Descendants of James McCabe and Ann Pettigrew, by Allen E. Marble, Past President and Fellow of the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society. Published in Bostom in 1986 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Copied from the book at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 2005.)

Our earliest known McCabe ancestor, Francis McCabe, was born in Longford County, Ireland in 1826. His wife Mary Moloy, was born in County Leitrim in about 1825 at Carrigallen. Longford and Leitrim counties share a common border at the south end of Leitrim, and the north of Longford. The north and west parts of Leitrim were once part of the old Gaelic kingdom of Breifne, which was ruled by the O'Rourkes who were mentioned in Mr. Marble's account as being the employers of the galloglasses who came to be known by the McCabe surname and became their own sept in the area.

Francis and Mary married there, and had their first two children there. Mary Ann was born in 1848, and Elizabeth in 1850. Then in about 1851, they moved their little family to Yorkshire in England. Both of these Irish counties were badly affected by the potato famine or "Great Famine" of 1845-1847. Many people died, and many others emigrated to other places. According to statistics, these two counties, whose populations were both well over 100,000 before the famine, now contain only about 30,000 people each.

A search of the Index to Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland 1848-1864 was performed at the Family History Library in June 2005. The McCabes seemed to live almost exclusively in these two counties of Longford and Leitrim. Certain parishes had many McCabes. Of note, were Francis McCabe of Cloone and Mohill and Francis McCabe Jr. of Cloone, both places located in Leitrim and on the border with Longford. Since our ancestor was also named Francis, it is possible that they were related, or that the younger Francis was actually our ancestor, living in Leitrim prior to his move to England.

We first find Francis and Mary living in Doncaster, York, England on the 1861 census. They were living at Milner’s Yard and Francis was a laborer. They remained at that residence for twenty years, being listed there on the 1871 and 1881 census enumerations also. It was not until the 1881 census that Francis and Mary listed their counties of birth in Ireland. In 1881, Francis and his son Francis, both agricultural laborers, were out of work.

Their son, John, was born in 1852 at Bentley, York, England. The others were all born at Doncaster. They were Catherine in 1856, Ann in 1857, Margaret in 1860, and Francis, a son, in 1863.

On 11 May 1865, Mary Ann married Henry Procter at Doncaster. Elizabeth married Alexander King on 16 November 1866 at Bo’Ness, West Lothian, Scotland, where they made their home. John also married about that time to a girl named Mary and settled in Doncaster. The marriages of the other children are not known.

Francis, who went by Frank, died sometime between April and June, 1891 at Doncaster. On the 1891 census Mary is 67 years old and living at 13 Milner’s Yard. She is listed as the head of her household. Two year later, Mary died between January and March of 1893.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

August is for Norwegians

In August we celebrate a number of birthdays of our Norwegian ancestors. Lars Olsen Baashus is the first. In Norway, children took their father's name as their surname. The farm name was added to show where they resided. When they came to America, some of them retained their father's name as their surname, and some used the farm name.

Lars Olsen Baashus (pronounced Baa-soo-s) was born 7 August 1855 in Ringsaker, Hedmark, Norway. Ringsaker, named for an old farm, is a farming area, containing the largest and oldest farms in Norway.It is situated on the east side of the lake Mjøsa, which is Norway's largest lake, and one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Ringsaker was first mentioned in written records in about 882 and has an interesting history.

Lars' father was Ole Guldbransen Riser, and his mother was Pernille Olsdatter Prastqvarn. We don't know about his childhood or his family because it has not been researched. We do know that he married Gina Matiasen on 7 November 1879 in Ringsaker. They were the parents of eleven children. Our ancestor, Gunda, was the sixth in the family and the only one of her siblings who made the trip to America. The family corresponded with her through letters and Gunda made at least one visit back to Norway.

Ringsaker Kirke was constructed before 1150, and was dedicated to St. Olav (king of Norway from 1015-1028). It was enlarged in the mid-1200's to its present size. There are several local churches, so we cannot know whether this was the church used by this family, but it is the oldest in the area.

Lars died on 20 August 1931 at Hamar, Hedmark, Norway, which is just south of Ringsaker, also on the shores of lake Mjøsa. The distance between Ringsaker and Hamar is 29 miles. It's always interesting to see just how far people travel in their lives.

View Larger Map

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Randi "Rose" Ottem

Randi Ottem was born Randi Halvorsdatter at Sunndal, Møre og Romsdal, Norway. Sunndal stretches all the way from the fjord into the Dovre Mountains. Its beautiful scenery includes Innerdal, Norway's loveliest mountain valley, and Åmoten, a gorge where several waterfalls meet. Mountain valleys are the home to wild reindeer and musk oxen. The Old Norse form of the name was Sunndalr. The first element is sunnr which means "southern" and the last element is dalr which means "valley" or "dale". Before 1870, the name was written Sunddalen; during the period from 1870-1917, it was spelled Sundalen; and since 1918, it has been spelled Sunndal.

Randi's father was Halvor Thoreson, and her mother's name was Randi Knudsdatter. Randi was born at the Ottem farm, from which the family surname of Ottem was derived when the family came to America. She was born on 26 July 1869, and christened on 22 August 1869. Randi was the fifth child in a very large family of twelve. Many of them left Norway to make homes in the United States. Her youngest daughter, Dolores, said,

She just talked about life. It was hard because they didn’t have anything. In the spring she went out into the mountains in Norway with the cattle and spent her summer there. They made cheese. I don’t know how they did it. Her oldest brother came to this country and settled in Grand Forks, North Dakota. And when he saved enough money, he sent for her. She was nineteen. She came for a better life, like they all did. She came to Grand Forks. She was three weeks crossing the ocean, and seasick all the way. She crossed the North Sea, and her parents were with her until she got on the boat, because her mother said, “I’d rather follow you to your grave.” That was an awful send off. She never went back to Norway. When she died in 1953, there weren’t too many people who were flying back and forth. She didn’t know anyone on the ship. They came into Ellis Island and then took the train to Grand Forks. And she had those old Norwegian clothes. She said her brother took her down all the railroad tracks and back alleys until he could get her some decent clothes. They told her oranges were supposed to be healthful, so she had a big bag of oranges on the ship. As long as she lived, she wouldn’t taste an orange on a bet. Then, I don’t know what she did. She went to work in a hotel as a maid of some kind. Then she got a job at the University of North Dakota. She was a dining room gal. I suppose she had friends. Then she met Dad. She came in 1888 and Clarence was born in 1892, so somewhere along the line, she must have been here a couple year years before she met Dad.

On 10 December 1891, Randi married Ole Christenson at Grand Forks, Grand Forks, North Dakota. At that point, her life was entwined with his as they raised their large family of ten children, and made their home in Minnesota at Holt. More can be learned about Randi by reading "From Norway to Minnesota" which was posted just before her own post, on 11 August. Her wedding picture is posted there.

Of her life after Ole died, her youngest daughter, Dolores said,
We moved to the little house at Johnson’s place in about 1937. I finished attending school when I was 13. I would have had to board and room somewhere, and there wasn’t any money in those days. So, I left the farm when I was twenty, when the boys got married and Mom and I moved into our new little house. It was a little north of Holt. When Lawrence and Rudy got married, we had to do something. Mabel insisted that they were going to build a house for Mom on their farm and she was going to take care of Mom. She was very adamant about that. We built a little house and I went to work in town. Mom kept house and cooked; and of course, we were right by Carl and Mabel. But Mabel died when Jim was five days old.
Jim, Dolores' son, was born in 1941. I remember Dolores saying that Grandma Randi turned her grief over daughter Mabel's death toward Jim, who she rocked and held for the first months of his life. Jim always told a story about pouring buttermilk on his breakfast cereal by mistake and not wanting to eat it. Grandma ate that cereal rather than see it be wasted.

Dolores also remembered when Grandma Randi came to live with them.
She came to live with us in 1950 and lived with use for three years. She had continued living in that small house. The girls, Mabel’s girls, were all married and gone and it was just Carl and Forest, and they were out in the fields all the time, and she was so alone there. She was about 82. Actually, the house was mine. It was my money that I got from the sale of the cattle when we left the farm that bought the house, so we sold the house and she moved in with us. It was fun having her live with us. It was fun. She and George (Dolores' husband) got along so well. I think he thought more of her than he did his own Mom. And of course, the kids enjoyed her. She liked Jim and Gale, so it wasn’t a problem. It was a happy time. She was a very Christian lady, quiet, and she didn’t interfere with anybody else, and did her own thing. She liked to have flowers. She used to work in the yard, even at our place. She helped with all the work, even at our place, because she was well until the last few months she lived.

Randi died on 13 May 1953 at Thief River Falls, Pennington, Minnesota. She was loved and cherished by her family, which is a tribute to her gentle, sweet nature.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tore Olsen of Ranum and Dovre

Thore or Tore was christened on 18 July 1790 at Nord Aurdal, Oppland, Norway. His parents were Ole Olsen Ranum and Ane Toresdatter. He was their third child. On 16 November 1817 he married Siri Knudsdatter Gigstad, the widow of Knut Gulbrandson, who farmed the Dovre farm. Along with the farm, Siri brought a year old son to the marriage.

Archives reports state that Tore fought in the war against Sweden in 1814. It also notes that Siri died sometime between 1850-1851, leaving Tore with nine children. The oldest son, Ole, who is our ancestor, had by that time, taken over the gaard. The other five boys and two of the girls went to America to secure a better future. At least one of them took the surname Thorson in the United States.

Friday, July 11, 2014

From Norway to Minnesota

Mo i Rana is located at the head of Ranifjord, just south of the Arctic circle on the southern side of the Saltfjellet mountains with the Svartisen glacier, Norway's second largest glacier. The river Ranelva meets the Ranifjord in Mo i Rana. Mo is so close to the Arctic circle that parts of the sun can be seen on the horizon from early June to early July, and there is no darkness from mid-May to the beginning of August. The climate is moderated by the Gulf Stream, which follows the coast of Norway north. The name Mo comes from an old farm and is taken from the Norse Móar which means sand or grass lowland. Rana is probably also Norse, meaning quick or fast, and refers to the fast water flow in the fjord nearby. The town was an old trade center in Helgeland and farmers have lived in the area since the Iron Age.

Ole Andreas Christenson was the eleventh child of twelve in his family. He was born 11 July 1857 at his father's farm, Reginaardsli, Mo i Rana, Nordland, Norway. His parents were Christen Nilsen and Hendricha Eliasdatter.

Ole was christened on 27 September 1857. This little kirke is the oldest building in Mo. It was built in 1734. Like many younger sons of large families, Ole immigrated to America to make his fortune. His declaration of intention to become a citizen of the United States was dated 2 November 1886.

Ole married Randi Ottem on 10 December 1891 at Grand Forks, Grand Forks, North Dakota. They both listed Grand Forks as their place of residence. She listed her name as Rosie Ottem. Witnesses were Asa Erickson and Angus Jakobson. Clarence, their first child, was born at Grand Forks.

Sometime after that, the family moved to Marshall County, Minnesota. Family information says they lived at Holt, where all of the children were born. He listed Newfolden as his residence on his Naturalization papers. The two places are very near to one another. Their second child, Reuben, was born 16 January 1894 and died 27 October 1895. He died just after his sister Reubena was born on 22 October 1895. She lived until 7 September 1896. Seven other children were born to them, making a total of ten.

On the 1900 census, the family was living in Holt. Ole and Rose had been married for nine years and had three children, with two deceased. Clarence was eight, Nora two, and Mabel was eight months old. Ole's occupation was a carpenter and he was employed the entire census year. Both Ole and Randi could read, write and speak English. They owned their own home and it was free of a mortgage at the time. It would appear that Ole was successful in bettering his lot in life by coming to America.

Ole's Petition for Naturalization was filed in Marshall County, Minnesota on 1 February 1910, 26 years after his original declaration. It said, "My full name is Ole Andreas Christenson. My place of residence is Newfolden, Marshall, Minnesota. My occupation is carpenter. I was born on the 11th day of July 1858 at Moe, Norway. I emigrated to the United States from Chrstiania, Norway, on or about the 25th day of May 1881 and arrived at the port of Baltimore, in the United States on the vessel not known. I declared my intention to become a citizen of the United States on the 22nd day of November 1886 in Crookston, Minnesota, Polk County. I am married. My wife's name is Randine Christenson (ne Ottem). She was born in Sundal, Norway, and now resides at Newfolden, Marshall, Minnesota. I have seven children, as follows- Clarence Helmer, May 11, 1892, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Nora Adelia, July 7, 1897, Marshall, Minnesota; Mabel Ruth, September 30, 1899, Marshall, Minnesota; Oscar Arthur, October 27, 1901, Marshall, Minnesota; Rudi Melvin, October 22, 1903, Marshall, Minnesota; Mortel Gea, April 20, 1908, Marshall, Minnesota. All reside with parents at Newfolden, Marshall, Minnesota." Ole neglected to list another child, Lawrence Palmer, who was born 20 January 1906. Dolores Irene, the youngest, was not born until 4 December 1916. Ole took his Oath of Allegiance on 28 June 1910 and the family became citizens of the United States of America.

Ole's daughter Dolores said of his death, "I remember it very vividly because he died at home. He had asthma and heart trouble. That was back in 1929. It was way out in the country and you didn’t see the doctor very often. He was very ill one whole winter and then when summer came he was able to get out of bed and he was up for the summer. And then when fall came, of course, it took over again. I remember, and I think about it now, sitting on his bed in the evening. He always wanted me to sing, “Nearer My God to Thee.” And I did it. I remember well, the afternoon he died. It was such a blizzard. It was the 11th of January, and they couldn’t come and get him until the next day, so we kept him in the bedroom overnight. I have a lot of good memories of my father because we were very, very close. I was probably closer to my Dad because my Mom worked outside on the farm so much, and Dad was not well so he was with me. I remember all the little old Norwegian songs he taught me. He never really talked about his childhood, not like Mom did. They spoke broken English, and we always talked Norwegian at home. I sing those crazy songs to myself every once in a while. He called me Tula. "

Ole died on 11 January 1929. He did not have a Social Security number. His parents' names were not known to his informant. His death certificate lists his place of death as East Valley Township, and his usual residence as Holt.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Siri Knutsdatter Gigstad

Siri Knutsdatter was christened on 5 July 1795 at Nord-Aurdal, Oppland, Norway which is a part of the traditional district of Valdres in central, southern Norway. Oppland is one of two fylke that does not border the sea. It is an area of mountains with two valleys, one of them being Valdres. Nord-Aurdal is in the western part of Oppland county. Their primary occupation is raising cattle and sheep.

Siri's parents were Knut Knutsen and Anne Bendixdatter. She was born on the Gigstad farm, as was her father. On 28 October 1815, she married her husband, Knut, who died a year later, leaving her a widow at the young age of 21, and with a young son, also named Knut. She married again on 16 Nov 1817, to Tore Olsen and they took over the Dovre property. There they raised a large family of nine children. Siri died in about 1850.

William Bolt, Father and Son

William Bolt, the father, was baptized on 5 July 1772, and William Bolt, the son, was baptized on 28 July 1799, when his father was 27 years old. Both were born at Powderham, Devonshire, England. The most notable characteristic of Powderham is a castle, appropriately called Powderham Castle. It was built between 1390 and 1420 by Sir Philip Courtenay. The site of the castle is an ancient deer park beside Exe Estuary (photo compliments of Exe Estuary Management Partnership). It is one of those places a person must see if visiting Devonshire, and is part of the greater Exeter area. Exeter is the capitol of Devon, has its own cathedral, and is historically ancient, predating the Romans.

As for the William Bolts, we don't know a lot about them. The father was the son of Anne Bolt. His baptism record notes, "William Bolt, base son of Ann Bolt, baptized." In other words, his mother was unmarried. Anne married Edward West on 30 Jan 1775, when William was two and a half years old and provided him with a large family of ten brothers and sisters. He married Mary Northam Potbury on 4 October 1797 at Powderham. They had four known children named William, Thomas, Ann, and Martha.

William, the son, married Sarah Sealy in about 1825. Since Sarah was from Chudleigh, they were probably married there. Their known children are John Sealy, Mary Jane, and William. They were all born at Chudleigh. Chudleigh is a staggering 9.5 miles inland from Powderham.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Short Life of John S. Duffy

John S. Duffy was born in Luzerne, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, in July of 1843, the son of Peter F. and Bridget Duffy, who were from Ireland. He had a brother named Andrew who was born in 1841. Since Andrew was born in Ireland, and John was born in Pensylvania, it appears that the family left Ireland for the United States sometime between 1841 and 1843.

The Duffy family was enumerated on the 1850-1860 census for Luzerne County, which is located in NE Pennsylvania. Then sometime between the 1860 census and 1862, they moved to Minnesota, where John's father gave permission for his marriage to Alice Louise Madden since John was not 21. They were married on 17 March 1862 at Lakeville, Dakota, Minnesota. He listed his place of residence as Rosemount and hers was Burnsville. They were married by James Peet, a Minister of the Gospel.

There is a map of the area where they lived in the May posting, "From Ireland to Minnesota" which is about John's wife's family. Lakeville Township was organized in 1858 and named for its proximity to Prairie Lake (now Lake Marion), one of the largest lakes in Dakota County. These small communities were within ten miles of each other, and were relatively new at the time.

John was a soldier in Company G, Second Regiment of the Minnesota Calvary during the Civil War. His pension papers state that he was 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a fair complexion, gray eyes and black hair. He enlisted on 2 November 1863 and was discharged on 29 December 1865. He held the rank of sergeant. Since there is no picture of John, it's nice to have this brief description of him.

John and Alice had three children- Mittie Alice was born 19 February 1864 at Fort Snelling, Hennepin, Minnesota. Horace J. was born in 1868. And the youngest, Gertrude Susan was born on 12 November 1870 at Hastings, Dakota, Minnesota.

John was killed while working on a train run between Hastings and St. Paul, Minnesota on 22 March 1872. An obituary was published on 30 January 1873 in the Farmington Press. It said, "HORRIBLE ACCIDENT.--The Gazette says that J. S. Duffy, of Hastings, who has been for some time employed as a brakeman on the Lake Superior R. R., fell from the train near St. Paul on Thursday and was cut to pieces in the most horrible manner, the remains being strewed along the track for nearly half a mile. He was a steady, industrious man, about thirty years of age, and leaves a wife and three children in needy circumstances." Did they have to be so graphic? What a tragedy for Alice and their children. To find out more, visit the 14 May posting, "From Ireland to Minnesota."

Visit the Lake Superior Railroad Museum here--

Monday, June 30, 2014

Esther E. Thornton

Esther was born 30 Jun 1858 at Licking, Texas, Missouri. Her parents were William and Lucy Thornton. She was a year old on the 1860 census, and by the 1870 census, her father was dead and she was living with her mother and her brother, John. In October of 1870 her mother married John Gray. Esther married John L. Murray on 10 August 1878 in Dent County, Missouri.

Her oldest son, William, did not survive. He is listed on the 1880 census as being a year old. Leta Lavina was born in 1881 in Salem, Missouri. Lota Esther was born in 1885 in Fort Worth, Texas. Nelle Agness was born in 1887 in Alvarado, Texas. Johnnie was born in 1890 in Willow Springs, Missouri. Sometime in between these births another child was born who did not survive. Nelle wrote that her name was Mollie. I have placed her in the family with a birth estimated as 1883.

Esther is buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery in Willow Springs with her son Johnnie next to her. Johnnie was born 11 February 1890. Esther's tombstone lists her birthdate and her age as 32 years 7 months and 18 days. If that is correct, she died on 17 February 1891. Lota's Bible lists her death as 18 February 1890. Leta always said she died on Valentine's Day. The girls were very young when their mother passed away. Whatever the date of her death, she was mourned for and missed.

Friday, June 13, 2014

J. L. Murray, 1854-1951

One of the things John Lewis Murray will be remembered for is a long life. He was born in Fredricktown, Madison, Missouri on 13 June 1854. He was the oldest son of the seven sons of Bennett and Olive Wood Murray. On 10 August 1878 he married Esther E. Thornton in Dent County, Missouri.
Of her grandfather, Betty Locke said, "Grandpa in his early years had a trait that some of the Murrays I later knew also had. They loved to trade. To buy and sell was all right, but nothing was quite as good as making a trade. I suppose always trying to get the best of the deal was a challenge." Needless to say, the family moved around as he bought and sold homes and businesses. Given his many pursuits, he must have been resourceful and versatile, with a sense of adventure and an innate optimism that allowed him to continue to plan and dream.

Betty said, "In Missouri, Grandpa owned a livery stable. He was never a farmer, always a business man. When he bought the livery stable, that was the end of his buying and selling. Once on the way home from traveling, Mother (Leta) stopped off in Willow Springs to visit old friends. She said as the train was coming to town, it passed an old building being torn down. It had been attached to another old building. On the outside wall of the standing building, in very faded painted letters were the words J. L. Murray, Livery Stable."

John and Esther had three daughters who survived to adulthood--Leta, born in 1881 in Salem, Dent, Missouri; Lota, born in 1885 in Fort Worth, Tarrant, Texas; and Nelle, born in 1887 in Alvarado, Johnson, Texas. Three other children did not live past childhood. William, the boy on the 1880 census, was nicknamed Willie according to his sister, Nelle. Mollie does not show on a public record, but was mentioned by Nelle, who thought she was buried next to her mother, Esther in Willow Springs, Howell, Missouri. There is no stone there for her, but Jonnie is buried there. His stone is broken and lying on the ground (2014). In February of 1890, with the birth of Jonnie, Esther also died. John, a father of three little girls, then married America Lovan on June 25th of the same year at Willow Springs. Mec, as she was called, belonged to a large Willow Springs family. Leta always said she was good to the three girls and saw they had the things girls want and need. In 1901 they adopted Fred, who was born in Willow Springs that same year.

Leta remembered going with her father on one of his ventures. He was restoring a house, and her job was to cook for him. He had biscuits and gravy every morning, and she hated making the biscuits. She said she would go to the market and get a pinch of beef and a pinch of sausage to make the gravy. She also remembered being in the back of a wagon when she was small and watching him talk to the others while they were traveling to Texas on a wagon train. Most of the time the family lived in Willow Springs, but Lota and Nelle were both born in Texas.

On the 1900 census, the family was living in Douglas County, Missouri, and John was trying his hand at farming. His brother, Ora, was living with them at the time. By 1906, John L. and America had made the move to Tacoma, Pierce, Washington; where his daughter, Leta lived with her family. He ran a real estate and employment office for a time. At Tacoma, on 6 December 1909, John and America had a baby boy who was stillborn. Harold Lewis Murray, John's last and America's only biological child was born on 30 January 1911 in Tacoma. The family is listed in Tacoma, Pierce, Washington on the 1910 census. He listed his occupation as being a carpenter for the railway. Fred and Harold were both living at home with them.

John L. owned a drayage business for a time. According to Dale Boucher, it was the Northern Pacific Transfer and Livery Stable, and it was located in downtown Everett across the street from the city hall, and next door to the fire department. Dale remembered that the fire engines were pulled by horses and he and his brother Russell "got quite a kick out of watching the horses exercise. They were all big dappled grey percherons and they were turned out to exercise twice a day. They were just turned loose by themselves and would make a trip around the block and back to the fire hall. They had a small dog who went with them and rode on the big rump of one of the horses. Granddad's livery drays would meet the passenger boats down at the public dock to pick up freight." He was in Everett on the 1920 census, and listed his occupation as carpenter for the railway.

Betty remembered, "I don't think Grandpa and Grandma lived in Tacoma very long. They moved on to Seattle and Grandpa bought a grocery store. He made a comfortable living, but then was talked into selling the store and putting the money into an old apartment house. At that time he must have been almost seventy and would take advice from no one. He bought it; or rather put all of his money into the apartment house. Grandpa didn't have it very long until he was swindled out of everything. I remember that apartment house well. I must have been about four years old. We were living in Spokane and had gone to Seattle to visit. Grandpa and Grandma had a small apartment and so our family slept in one of the vacant apartments. Mother and I were together. During the night something kept bothering us. Finally Mother turned on the lights to see what was wrong. The bed was alive with little bed bugs. They scurried in all directions. I don't think I will ever forget it. We immediately packed and left for home.” 

Betty continued, "After Grandpa lost everything, Mother went to Seattle and moved them to Spokane where we were living. She found them a place to live near us. I always knew him as an old, old man." In 1930, Fred was a widower with a one year old child, and he was living at home with his parents. They probably helped him with baby Fred. By 1940, it was just John and America in the home. John Lewis Murray died at the age of ninety-six years, nine months, and four days on 17 March 1951. America married a second time to Harry Allen. She died shortly after, on 14 May 1954. Both are buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Spokane, Spokane, Washington.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Emily Gourd Procter

The last time I saw my great-grandmother, Emily Procter, she was living in a little apartment in Portland, Oregon. Her daughter, my father's Aunt Gert, took good care of her. She had that charming English accent that I love and was just a tiny little woman. This picture is the last time we visited her sometime in 1967, which the year she died on December 9th. She was 95 years old in this picture, and still doing very well. My brother, Richard, was home visiting from the Navy. I am standing behind him next to my mother, Betty, and Aunt Gert. My father, Ray, is sitting just behind her. The thing I remember most about that visit is that she spoke of her husband with tears in her eyes and said, "I miss him so much!"

This was taken when Emily was younger. She married John Procter on 19 January 1890 at Doncaster. She was the mother of eight children. Six of them were born in England, one in Vancouver, British Columbia, and her last daughter in Portland, Oregon in 1915.

Here is a good picture of Emily with her daughters, Dorothy (my grandmother), Gert, and Berniece, who we all called Aunt Lou. The last daughter, Evelyn, died when she was just seven years old. The boys were Walter, Percy, Cecil, and Douglas. Aren't those good English names! She lost Walter during World War I (1915), when he was killed in Turkey. Walter's full name was Walter William Gourd Procter, so he was named for Emily's father.

And finally, Emily's birth information--She was born on 6 June 1872 in Balby, which is very near Doncaster, York, England (see previous post). Her parents William Soper Gourd and Mary Jane Bolt Gourd, were from Devonshire, but since he worked for the railroad, they moved north to Doncaster. She was the youngest of their three surviving children. Having moved north, and since her father worked for the railroad, they no doubt made visits south to Devonshire to visit family there. I don't really know very much about her childhood, but have good memories of visiting her home as a child myself, and sitting on her porch on her large porch swing while the adults talked and visited.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

John Procter's Small World

1819 was the year the first bicycles appeared on the streets of New York City, the first steam propelled vessel crossed the Atlantic Ocean, Thomas Blanchard patented the lathe, and the first whaling ship arrived in Hawaii. On May 27th, in Campsall, York, England, John Procter was christened. He was born at nearby Norton, also his father’s birthplace. On August 1st of that same year, it appears that he was also christened in Knottingly, which was his mother, Martha’s birthplace. The distance between Campsall (A) and Knottingly (B) is about ten miles. Although the world was expanding, John’s life was lived within a twenty mile radius of his birthplace.

John’s mother’s maiden name was Collins, which may not endear her to some of the Jane Austen fans in our family. John was the oldest of eight children. His siblings were George and William, christened at Owston (C); Ann and Mary, christened at Ferry Fryston (D); and David and Sarah, christened at Doncaster (E). Once the family settled in Doncaster, they were there to stay.

On 6 September 1841, John married Sarah Pinder, the daughter of John Pinder and Jane Butler, his wife. They married at Rotherham (F), located about thirteen miles SW of Doncaster. That would have been a big trip for them. Their first son, Henry, was born in 1842 at Cantley (G), which is about three miles east of Doncaster (E). John is our grandfather, six generations back for my children. Their other children were born at Doncaster, where they made their home for the rest of their lives. Their five girls were Martha, Jane, Mary Ann, Lucy, and Ellen. Their last child was John, born in 1859, which is about the time Sarah died, perhaps in childbirth.

John worked first as a hat maker, then as a drayman, eventually settling on the lumber business. On 14 November 1865 at Doncaster, John married again, to Jane Adams and gained two step-children, William and Elizabeth. He remained a resident of Doncaster until his death in 1883.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sampson Gourd, Gardener of Liskeard

Sampson Gourd was the sixth child of John Gourd and his wife, Radigan Pearce. They may have lived at Linkinhorne, Cornwall, England; or at Liskeard, 8 miles south, where he was christened on 20 May 1722. In fact, all of their big events occurred at Liskeard, which is situated at the head of the Looe Valley and south of the Bodmin Moor area. It has a history as a market town and was one of the four original Stannary towns. The market charter was granted by Richard, Earl of Cornwall (brother of Henry III) in 1240.

On 11 November 1746, Sampson married Martha Batten. They had four children together; and Martha died just after the birth of their last child, Sarah, and was buried on 4 February 1754. In October of that same year, he married Jane Calloway, who was born in about 1733. Nothing is known of her parents at this time. They added four more children to the family, the youngest being Matthew, our ancestor.

Sampson worked as a gardener. In 1753, his father, John, also a gardener, filed a complaint against Sampson and his brother. Apparently he needed financial help from them. Looking at Sampson's marriage dates, and his first wife's death in 1754, this may have been a difficult time for Sampson.

Complaint by John Gourd of Liskeard, gardener, being poor, old, blind and impotent and unable to work, that his sons John of Helston and Sampson of Liskeard, gardeners, do not contribute to his relief ordered that John contributes 1s. 6d. and Sampson 6d., weekly, to their father's relief and maintenance.

The Cornwall Poll Books list Sampson Gourd in 1774 and he was the only Gourd listed. These Poll books recorded the names of everyone in Cornwall who voted at Parliamentary elections. The qualifying criteria for the right to vote were based on the value of ones holdings, but as the century progressed this was relaxed to include leaseholds etc. Another limiting factor was the distance that had to be traveled to the appointed place for recording ones vote. Sampson's land was listed as being in Linkinhorne.

Sampson was buried on 8 May 1777, having lived in and around Liskeard all his life. Three years later, his wife, Jane was buried on 19 January 1780.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Gourds--William Soper and Mary Jane Bolt

William Soper Gourd, the son of John Parker Gourd and his wife, Anne Pyne, was born on 15 May 1831 at Chudleigh, Devon, England, a small town located between the larger towns of Newton Abbott and Exeter. William was the youngest of seven children, the last five having been born at Chudleigh. On the 1841 census for Chudleigh, William was ten years old and living with his parents. His father was a blacksmith. Ten years later, William also listed his occupation as "smith" and he was still living with his father at Chudleigh.

On 4 February 1856 William married Mary Jane Bolt, the daughter of William and Sarah Sealy Bolt. Mary Jane was also Chudleigh-born in about 1835. They were married at Newton Abbott, about seven miles S of Chudleigh. Their married life can be followed through census records and railway destinations. Great Western Railways chose Newton Abbot as the location for its locomotive and carriage repairs in the mid 1800's.

On the 1861 census they were living in St. Davids Exeter, 11.5 miles N of Chudleigh, at 3 Bystock Cottage. They had two children, Mary Ann, and their second daughter, Louisa Jane. William was working as an engine hand. This painting, by William Spreat, depicts the Exeter St. Davids station built in 1844. By 1860, there was a central railway station and several different rail companies in Exeter. Since William chose a career with the railway, it was a good place to work. He had an opportunity to move from time to time, and by 1871, they were living in Nottingham at East Retford, which is about 20 miles from Doncaster, in Yorkshire.

Doncaster is 263 miles N of Chudleigh, and that was a big move for them because it took them away from family and their ties in Devonshire. By that time their children Louisa Jane, twins William Henry and Ernest Albert, and John Parker, had all been born and died. It is possible that their decision to move involved a new start away from so many sorrowful memories in Devonshire. Being with the railway, it could also have just been work-related. Doncaster was a large industrial area, and the Great Northern Railway Locomotive and Carriage Building Works moved there in 1853 and was its largest employer at the time. It was a natural place to find work with the railways.

Emma was born in Doncaster in 1868 and died that same year. Then, Emily was born on 6 June 1872, and she survived. On the 1881 census, William and Mary Jane were living in Doncaster, and he was an engine driver. That same year, their older daughter, Mary Ann, married John Naylor. Mary Jane lived to see Emily marry John Procter on 9 January 1890, but died later that year, leaving William a widower. Still an engine driver on the 1891 census, William was 59 years old and living alone.

By 1901, William had moved to the village of Huntington, about 45 miles N of Doncaster, near the city of York. York was also a railway center and is the home of the National Railway Museum. William lived until 21 March 1917. He is buried at All Saints Churchyard in Huntington, Yorkshire, England, which is where he died. William's move from the south of England in Devonshire, to the north of England in Yorkshire, made it possible for our southern Gourd ancestors to meet our northern Procter ancestors. And we can thank our cousin, Linda Nelson, who still lives in Huntington, for these wonderful photos.

Monday, May 12, 2014

From Ireland to Minnesota

Mary Comerfoot Madden and her daughter Alice Louise Madden Duffy Brown were both born in May. Their story begins in Ireland and is the story of a family leaving its homeland to make a new life in America, as did many others.

According to her death certificate, Mary was born on 12 May 1814 in Ireland to Edward Comerfoot and his wife Mary Lanigan. There she married Walter Madden, and had her first child, Richard. As far as we can tell, Mary was about five years older than her husband, Walter. We don’t know where in Ireland they lived; but we do know that they came to America on the Junius, which left from Liverpool and docked in New York. Passenger lists tell us that Walter was 30 years old, Mary was 25, and Richard was five years old. Alice Louise, their daughter, made a statement regarding her birth and said that she was “born on the high seas en route from Ireland.” According to her notarized statement, she was born on 19 May 1843. Since the ship record date is 1 June 1846, and Alice is listed as an “infant” on the rosters, there is a bit of a discrepancy between what Alice stated and the original records. But we can still safely say that she was just a baby at the time.

If they were typical Irish immigrants, they were like the millions of others who left Ireland due to the potato famine that decimated that country between 1845 and 1850. They were fortunate to leave before things got worse in Ireland, and were thus spared some of the suffering that occurred. Many left Ireland starving and penniless. Their steerage tickets would have been considerable for a small family such as theirs; but even so, they were together and able to make the trip. Conditions for many Irish immigrants arriving in U. S. at the time weren’t much better than what they had in Ireland. They endured crowded shanty towns and discrimination. Employers often used “No Irish Need Apply” signs. Women could work as domestics, stereotyped as “Biddies,” short for Bridget. Men could work as servants or unskilled laborers. Harper’s Weekly, the most popular magazine of the day, ran cartoons lampooning the Irish, and conveying how just unwelcome the Irish were. They were blamed for crime and immorality.

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It does not appear that the Maddens endured many of these difficulties themselves. After arriving in America, the family moved around a bit. If they spent time in New York City(A), they didn’t stay there long. They were fortunate to have the means to move away from the crowded conditions and limited work opportunities immigrants faced in a large city. Ellen and Mary were born in Connecticut. Then the family settled in Blackstone, Worcester, Massachusetts (B), incorporated in 1845, where they were listed on the 1850 census. It is located approximately 40 miles southwest of Boston, just north of the Rhode Island border and situated in the Blackstone River Valley. The town became an important transportation center with the 1828 opening of the Blackstone Canal, and later served as an important railroad hub connecting Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Current residents describe it as “quaint, friendly and historical.” Walter found work as a gigger. Bridget and James were born during their time in Massachusetts.

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By 1861, the family had moved again; this time to Minnesota, where Elisy, Thomas, and William were born. On the 1870 census, they could be found in what would be their permanent home in Glendale, Scott, Minnesota where Walter was a farmer. Glendale, now a part of Savage (A), is located on the south bank of the Minnesota River, and is about 15 miles S-SE of downtown Minneapolis. Once again the family chose to avoid a large city environment in favor of a smaller, more rural community. It says something about them and their success in their new country that they were able to travel to a more comfortable, rural environment. This particular area was a gathering place for Irish immigrants, and it was where they chose to own land and make a life for themselves. They would have found friendship and people like themselves there.

Soon after their move to Minnesota, Alice married John S. Duffy on 17 March 1862, at Lakeville, Dakota, Minnesota(C). He listed his place of residence as being Rosemount (named after a village in Ireland)(D), and she listed hers as Burnsville (an Irish farming community)(B). They were married by James Peet, a Minister of the Gospel. Since John was not twenty-one, his father, Peter Duffy, gave verbal permission for him to marry. The map provides a good look at how close these little towns were to each other. Lakeville, Burnsville, and Rosemount are all about ten miles apart. The distance between Savage and Hastings is about 40 miles.

John was a soldier with the Minnesota Calvary during the Civil War. He enlisted on 2 November 1863 and was discharged on 29 December 1865. He held the rank of sergeant. Alice and John had three children--Mittie Alice, their first child and our grandmother, was born during their time at Ft. Snelling, Hennepin, Minnesota. Her birthdate was 19 February 1864. Their second child was Horace J., was born in 1868. Gertrude Susan was the last child born to this family on 12 November 1870 at Hastings, Dakota, Minnesota (E).

Unfortunately, John was killed while operating a Northern Pacific train between Hastings and St. Paul, Minnesota on 24 January 1873. This was a terrible tragedy for the little family, and Alice only 29 years old. The Farmington Press reported it as follows,

HORRIBLE ACCIDENT--The Gazette says that J. S. Duffy, of Hastings, who has been for some time employed as a brakeman on the Lake Superior R. R., fell from the train near St. Paul on Thursday and was cut to pieces in the most horrible manner, the remains being strewed along the track for nearly half a mile. He was a steady, industrious man, about thirty years of age, and leaves a wife and three children in needy circumstances.

Alice remarried quickly, to Thomas G. Brown on 12 June 1873 in Faribault, Rice, Minnesota. They were married by a Catholic priest. He brought two sons to the marriage, John and Thomas. They had one daughter together, Mary A., who was born 17 April 1874 at Northfield, Rice, Minnesota. On the 1880 census, the family was living in Minneapolis where Mr. Brown was a carpenter and builder. A year later, Alice’s father, Walter Madden, died; leaving Alice’s mother Mary, a widow. She remained in Glendale, living with a son and later, his widow. Mary died on 12 Jul 1905 in Glendale. She and Walter were buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Credit River, Scott, Minnesota. On the 1900 census Alice and her family were living in St. Louis Park in Hennepin County, so she was still within traveling distance of the family home in Glendale.

In their old age, Alice and her husband lived with her daughter, Gertie and her husband Henry Scheyer in Puyallup, Pierce, Washington. He died on 7 January 1918, leaving Alice a widow for the second time. She lived until 3 February 1924. They were buried in the Sumner Cemetery in Sumner, Pierce, Washington.

Friday, April 25, 2014

John and Radigan Gourd of Cornwall

Radigan Pearce married John Gourd on 25 April 1711 in Liskeard, Cornwall, England. She and John had six children, all in Liskeard, so she spent her entire married life there. She was buried on 28 October 1750, also in Liskeard, at the age of about 70. John was a gardener, who on 9 Jan 1753, filed a complaint against two of his sons as follows, “Complaint by John Gourd of Liskeard, gardener, being poor, old, blind and impotent and unable to work; that his sons John of Helston and Sampson of Liskeard, gardeners, do not contribute to his relief ordered that John contributes 1s. 6d. and Sampson 6d., weekly, to their father's relief and maintenance.” From this we know that one of his sons lived in Helston, which is near Stithians. These two places are about 50 miles from Liskeard, but the Helston reference ties Radigan to both places through her son. In Stithians, there is a christening on 4 May 1688 for a Radigan Pearce. The parents were Nicholas and Katherine and they had a large family. If our Radigan is their daughter, she was the youngest and eighth child. John didn't die until after his complaint of 1753, so he outlived his wife. We really don't know anything of his birth or his parents.

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By looking at the map we can see the locations of the three places mentioned; Liskeard, Stithians, and Helston.

Liskeard, the farthest north and the place Radigan spent her married life, is an ancient stannary and market town located in SE Cornwall, near the resort towns of Looe and Polperro. It lies above the Looe river valley and about 14 miles W of the River Tamar, with the Cornish coast to the south, and Bodmin Moor to the north. Liskeard has original Victorian shop fronts, a Guild Hall, a Clock Tower and a Town Hall. Stuart House, another old building, was named after Charles I who spent six nights there in 1644 during the Civil War.

The church, St. Martin’s, is the second largest in Cornwall, and is built on the site of the former Norman church, the oldest parts dating back to the 15th century. Always an important market town and originally called Liscarret, Liskeard was one of the holdings of the Count of Mortain when recorded in the Domesday Book. At that time it consisted of a market, a mill, and 250 sheep. It received its first charter in 1240 from Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who was the brother of Henry III and held Launceston Castle at the time. There are lovely photographs of the area. See

Stithians (also known as St Stythians) is a small village and civil parish in the Kerrier district of Cornwall. It lies in the center of the triangle bounded by Redruth, Helston, and Falmouth. Its population (2001) is 2,004. The parish is mainly agricultural, located south of the Gwennap mining area and north of the quarrying areas of Rame and Longdowns. The River Kennall runs through the parish and in the 19th century, this river worked a number of flour mills, machinery at a foundry, and a paper mill.

There is a parish church dedicated to St. Stythian (a saint of uncertain origins), and there are references to the parish in the 13th and 14th centuries. There has been a church on the site since the 6th century but the oldest part of the current church is 14th century, with the tower being added in the 15th century. John Wesley visited Stithians in 1744-50 and brought Methodism to the parish. To read the entire description, please see

Nearby is Helston, referred to as the residence of John Gourd, the son, in his father’s complaint. In 2001 the town celebrated the 800th anniversary of the granting of its Charter, making it the second oldest town in Cornwall. King John granted the charter in 1201, making it a free borough town having certain privileges such as the right to its own court. In the Domesday Book it is referred to as Henliston. Its name is derived from hen lis, which means “old court” in Cornish, denoting it as a Saxon manor. Helston has always been associated with mining, and was a coinage town during the reign of Edward I.

It is famous for the annual Furry Dance or Flora Dance, said to originate from the medieval period. For more information, go to

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Samuel White Boucher

Samuel White Boucher was the youngest of four children born to Elisha and Hester McClanahan Boucher. He was born in Meigs County, Tennessee on 22 April 1854. He is listed with his parents on the 1860 Limestone, Meigs, Tennessee census. His siblings were Anna Jane who was born on 23 August 1846, William Robert, born 21 February 1848; and Amanda Malvina, who was born on 20 August 1852.

In 1870, Elisha and Hester moved to Missouri. Samuel’s sisters, Anna Jane and Amanda, were married by that time. Since Samuel was just 16, he made the move with his parents. His brother William, who was 22, did not move until later. His father told of the trip to Missouri in a letter written to Anna Jane which is included in his history.

When they arrived in Missouri, the family settled in Texas county. All of Samuel's siblings also relocated so that the family could be together, as his parents had wished. On the 1876 census for Texas County, they are shown as follows- William K. Boucher, G. W. Whitlock, Rose & Purley Wellington, Hester & Sam Boucher, Haisen & Amanda Hickman w/children, William, Elish, George W. (all under 10). By this time, Samuel's father had passed away and he and his mother were living together. As can be seen, George W. Whitlock and his family were also living in Texas County at the time, as was George's daughter Rossea, listed as Rose Wellington on the census, with her daughter, Pearl. Rossea was divorced from her first husband, Horatio. On 27 May 1877. Rossea and Samuel were married in Texas County, Missouri. She was 13 years older than Samuel.

Sam and Rossie had three sons. Luther was born on 22 April 1878 in Clear Springs, Texas, Missouri. Arthur was born on 12 February 1880, also in Clear Springs. On the 1880 census the family lived in Pierce, Texas, Missouri next door to Rossea's father George and his second wife, Catherine Whitlock; and also Sam's brother, William R. Boucher. Edward, their youngest, was born 26 March 1882 and died 30 October 1885. By the time of his death, the family had moved to Hutton Valley, Howell, Missouri.

At some point in their marriage, Samuel went out west. He died in 1897 at the home of a cousin in Chelsa, Rogers, Oklahoma. It was called Indian Lands at the time. He was only 43 years old when he died.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20th Is a Special Day

It is the day my mother was born, in 1921. It is also the day she married my father, in 1941. She has been gone for one year now, and today I am remembering her.

Betty lived in Spokane until she was about ten when the family moved to Tacoma. The move was difficult for her because she was a quiet girl. Her parents bought a home at 43rd and Bell Street in Tacoma, and she attended Stewart Junior High School. In 1938 she graduated from Lincoln High School. She was very active in Rainbow and loved to dance.

She spent a year studying at Pacific Lutheran College before deciding that it wasn't what she wanted. She attended business school and began her long business career where she was very successful for a woman of her generation. As she said, she worked when all the other mothers were at home.

During World War II, she worked in Tacoma, as did her friends. They got a half day off on Saturday. While the men were away, they saved their money and purchased crystal, china and other items. They also spent a lot of time taking photos to send overseas to their husbands, so we have a lot of nice pictures of her. By the time my father returned from the war, Mom had purchased the home next door to her parents on Bell Street. After that, her brother bought a new home on 84th and B Street. She and Ray bought the home next to them, and my grandparents built their retirement home. And that's where we lived for the first fifteen years of my life.

I remember, as a little girl, Dad driving her to work when it was still dark. My brother and I dozed during these rides. I always loved driving by the statues at Wright Park. I remember listening to the radio play "Teddy Bear's Picnic" and "Mr. Sandman" during those rides. She worked for Flett Dairy at that time. From there, she went on to have a long career in retailing as an office manager. In my youthful eyes, she always looked perfect. When I think of her, I see a woman wearing a charcoal wool dress with pretty jewelry, hair in place and make-up immaculate. That was my mother most of the time.

At home, my father was sometimes with us since he worked different shifts at the Post Office. He was a good cook and did a lot of the cooking. When they were both gone, Grandma was always next door. Her kitchen window faced our house, and all I had to do was knock on the window and she would come over. After school, I spent many happy hours visiting with her while she sat in her rocking chair (it now sits in my house) and crocheted or did embroidery. Grandpa always sat in his big rocker and listened to baseball and news and smoked his pipe.

At the end of her career, Mom worked for a mobile home company. She was able to purchase a very nice mobile home complete with all new furniture for cost. This opportunity corresponded with my father's heart problems, so they sold their home and moved into a senior park where she made friends and enjoyed walking her dog and visiting. She retired and spent many years enjoying her retirement. Eventually they sold out and rented because they didn't want to maintain a home. They moved to Puyallup and lived near me. This picture was taken when they had been married for fifty years.

Dad died in 1995, which means that Mom was a widow for fifteen years. She spent most of that time living with us in a little apartment we finished for her in our downstairs area. Now it is my little apartment. Mom always had a fear of being alone in her old age. Being with us provided her with that comfort of knowing she was not alone. She loved her grandchildren and told everyone she met about them. She baked the birthday cakes, because she wanted to be remembered. She was sometimes called the "candy Grandma" because she had so much candy sitting around. It was a trial for the moms who brought their children to visit (my daughters) because she provided the children with little bags and a scoop to scoop up candy to take home. She also bought soda pop if she knew someone had a particular flavor in mind.

Being something of a recluse, she didn't go out a lot, and seemed content to be home with her routine. It made it difficult as she grew older. When anyone offered to do something for her, her standard response was, "Judie will do it." After she gave up her car because she was "starting to make mistakes," I spent many years driving her to her errands and doctor appointments. She could fill a week better than anyone I know. When we would get to the end and I thought I might be finished, she would start telling me what she wanted to do "next time."

Her two years on Hospice were difficult for her because her world was shrinking; and for me, because I had to shoulder whatever she gave up. Eventually we moved her upstairs where she could see the coming and going of the household and visit with her Hospice "friends" who were a wonderful blessing to us.

Mom was deaf, which was difficult for her. She had some paralysis from a stroke. She could not walk and spent her life in a bed. In spite of those things, she had no pain, and was comfortable physically. At the end of her life, she was still ordering me around, talking a mile a minute with her visitors, and waiting to be ninety. Today she is ninety. I picture her visiting with her loved ones, laughing and happy as she was when she was young and beautiful.