Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday/ Warner & Greenway from Packwood England

     James Warner and Ann Greenway were my 3rd great-grandparents on my Father's side.  They were born in Warwickshire, England and came to America in 1870.  They died within three months of each other in upstate New York.  Both are buried in Brookside Cemetery in Shortsville, New York.  Ann went first, below is her obituary:

     “Mrs. James Warner departed this life at 11 pm on Friday February 3rd after an illness of a little over one week with pneumonia, the result of la grippe.  The funeral was held from her late home one mile north of the village on Monday.

      A large concourse of people gathered to pay their last tribute to a kind neighbor and friend. Twenty-eight years ago the deceased left her native country, (England), and came across the broad Atlantic to live in America.  Two of her sons preceded her to Manchester.  James Warner and family came at once to this village where their two sons had a home prepared for their arrival.  After about two years of village life they purchased the farm opposite their present home, and have since resided there.  The faithful labors of Mrs. Warner were a great help to her companion in securing so pleasant a home.

     She is survived by a husband, who is very sick with pneumonia, and six sons with their wives and fifteen grandchildren.  Her age was seventy six years and two months.  She was a very devoted wife and mother, and greatly endeared to her six sons, who were bearers for their sainted mother.  The floral tributes were very beautiful for this season of the year.  She was a mother in whom can be truthfully be said; her children rise up and call her blessed.

     Her husband's obit was quite a bit shorter:

      James Warner Sr. died at the home of his son James north of the village on Wednesday afternoon, his death resulting from complications of diseases.  Deceased was aged 79 years, and is survived by six sons: John, Thomas, William, Joseph, James and George.  Mr. Warner was born in England, and came to this country in 1870, taking up his residence near this village where he has ever since resided.  The funeral will be held from his late home this (Saturday) afternoon at 2 o'clock, Rev. M. W. Covell, pastor of the Baptist Church officiating.  The interment will be in Brookside Cemetery.

     Tomorrow I will tell you more of their story.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Friday's Photo/ Pieter Mol and Cornelia VanOeveren

Pieter Mol and wife Cornelia VanOeveren

     This photo was given to me by my mother-in law, and is of my late husband's great grandparents who  came to America from Zeeland in the Netherlands.  They and their five youngest children boarded the ship Obdam in Rotterdam, sailed to Boulogne, France, then down the English Channel into the Atlantic, arriving in New York on May 25, 1893. The manifest says they were headed for Falmouth, but somehow they ended up in Williamson, New York where Pieter purchased a farm.  He passed away there in 1905 at the age of 72.  Cornelia outlived her husband by ten years dying in 1915.  Both are buried in Ridge Chapel Cemetery in Williamson.

   The photo at right was taken around 1910 and shows the widow Cornelia seated in front of her daughter Maria Izabella, who was herself  a widow by then. The boys are Maria's children, Harold Smith on the left and on the right Edwin Smith, my husband's grandfather.  The name "Moll" still appears in the phone book for Williamson and the surrounding areas, no doubt some or all of them are descendants of Pieter and Cornelia.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Irish Folklore Website

Peig Sayers, famous storyteller and Gaelic speaker.

     The fighting was over when the Folklore of Ireland Society was formed in 1927.  The bloody Irish War of Independence, notable for the number of civilians targeted by British forces, and the heartbreaking Irish Civil War that followed on it's heels were finally finished, though recent enough to still traumatize.  The newly founded Irish Free State and it's citizens were eager to move forward in establishing their national identity and part of that was to preserve their precious heritage.  Interest in the Irish language, which most of them could not understand, let alone speak, was growing along with the desire to pass down to future generations the stories and legends of old Ireland.  The Irish Folklore Institute was founded in 1930 with a government grant, and commenced collecting material, it's members traveling all over the country to do so, specifically to outlying areas where the Gaelic language and folk stories were likely to be found.  The older Folklore of Ireland Society also continued it's work, producing a journal called Bealoideas that is still published today.

     Being a country with an extensive oral tradition, from the seanchai of ancient times, who kept the tales and histories of their tribe, (and were the first genealogists in Ireland), to the traveling seanchai, who took to the roads after the old way of life was destroyed by the foreigners and kept the knowledge alive, Ireland must have been particularly well suited for this sort of endeavor.  In 1935, with another government grant, the Irish Folklore Commission was founded, continuing the work of collecting Ireland's folk history.  Among it's projects, was a collaboration with the National Schools from 1937 to 1938, that involved asking schoolchildren to document local history and folklore as well as songs, beliefs, proverbs, food, crafts and other information from their home areas. The result was half a million pages of invaluable cultural history, much of it told to the students by grandparents and elderly neighbors, and painstakingly written out by the children.

     A project is currently underway to digitize the collection and can be found here.  While you may get lucky and find an ancestor here, it's real value is as a window into the cultural history of Ireland.  One child wrote of his great-grandfather, a hedge school teacher who had to flee to America after two of his students were overheard speaking Gaelic and authorities demanded to know who had taught them the language.

     When you arrive at the site, you have the option of doing a search or clicking the red "start exploring" bar.  If you choose the latter, a page appears with a box on the left to select a county.  Only four are currently available, Dublin, Donegal, Mayo, and Waterford, but more are on the way.  Once you've chosen a county, you can choose from a list of schools and locations.  Having selected one of those, you can opt for more details by clicking the red bar on the right, and the page below will come up:

      From this you can select a title to view, or choose by people, (the author or his source).  Alternately, you can do a standard search for people or places from the home page.

     Oh, and the picture of Peig at the top of this page?  I hope you will seek out some of her stories, they are simple, but moving and I think you will enjoy them as I did.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Mill On The Mud

     I promise I will find another blog topic after this one about Milo, you must be getting a wee bit tired of hearing about him.  I've been reading about his business transactions and wondering just where his grist mill in Arcadia, NY may have been situated.  After studying land records, it became clear the mill sat on Mud Creek, also known as Ganargua Creek.  The deeds I found mentioned the mill and included the lot number of 46.  They also gave the location as the south bank of the creek.  I found an ownership map circa 1874 on Ancestry and located lot 46.  Lo and behold there was, "J D Reeves & Co. G. Mill".  Could this have once been Milo's mill?  The map looks as though this mill was on the north bank, but I've seen lots of old maps that put the owner's name anywhere they have room, it's the dots that count and there isn't one on the north bank.  I initially thought I saw one, but it was part of the letter J.  Below the red X marking the mill, you can see lot number 46.

     I did a search on the Reeves Mill, and was disappointed to find it was begun in 1803 by Paul Reeves the great-grandfather of JD.  It would appear the mill had been in the Reeves family since it was built.  Milo purchased his mill in 1834, so it couldn't be this one...or could it?  I next did a search for Paul Reeves, and it turns out he sold his mill in 1814 and moved to another town!  It didn't become the property of his great-grandson JD until 1873, well after Milo's death in 1857, and looking at the description of the property in JD's deed, it's nearly identical to the one in Milo's deed.

     Naturally I wondered if anything remained of the mill.  Perhaps the foundation or traces of the mill pond were still there?  My next search was for the words--Arcadia NY Mud Creek mill.  I kept getting hits for a property for sale at 6417 Mud Mills Road in Arcadia, which was beginning to annoy me greatly until for the heck of it I clicked on one of the links and this came up, "Very unique property, 3 buildings on 1+ acre lot bordering Ganargua Creek...Building #3 is a 3 story historic former grist mill...  Holy Moses!  It was the mill and it was still standing!  And there were pictures!

     I know you know what's coming next, I will have to visit this mill-- Uncle Milo's mill.  And I promise I won't blog about it.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Friday's Photo/Tis Milo Himself!

Milo Galloway 1800-1857

     I found this photo in the files of the Wayne County Historian in Lyons, New York.  Since Milo died at age 57, I think this must have been taken not too long before his death.  An out of state descendant of Milo's who wrote to the historian seeking information about him sent this photo and some research notes along with his request.  The notes were rather old and so was the researcher apparently, I looked for him online and found he died ten years ago at age 90.  I learned nothing new from his notes, in fact some of the data was wrong, but finding this image of Milo was worth the drive to Lyons.  It's not the best picture in the world, just copied onto regular paper, but I was excited to find it, and it gives a good view of what Milo looked like.

     I've always suspected the Galloways were dark complected with dark hair and eyes.  Old military records describe them as such, and my Mother, who is my Galloway connection, had the same coloring; the opposite of my light Irish hair and skin that comes from my Father's side.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Workday Wednesday/Of Land Deals and Canals

     I've been blogging quite a bit lately about Milo Galloway, brother of my great-great-grandfather Russell.  You may wonder why I devote so much research time to Milo since he's not a direct ancestor.  I have wondered that myself at times, although Milo's data is of course relevant to his brother Russell.  But it's also because Milo was just so fascinating.  He was one of those larger than life characters that one occasionally comes across sifting through family history. 

     Born in 1800, Milo came of age during a remarkable period in New York history.  A time when land speculation and construction of the great Erie Canal, (begun in 1817 and completed eight years later), were both important, much debated topics.  Large sums of money were available for building and maintaining the canal, and Milo took full advantage of both the profits to be made in that undertaking and in the land speculation surrounding it.  Whereas, Grandfather Russell, being seven years younger than his brother Milo, was a mere child of ten when the building of the canal commenced.

     I've already blogged about his land deals, then a few days ago,  while doing some Google searches for Milo, a hit came up linking to the manuscript collection of the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU.  There was a brief description of the library's holding, (see below), and Milo's misspelled name was mentioned, but there was no picture.
"Collection of 39 partly-printed New York State receipt forms, to verify payment of laborers and suppliers contracted to repair the Erie Canal in or near Palmyra. Each receipt is signed by the person who was paid. Each form itemizes the work or products supplied by the payee, with a total, plus the place (Palmyra, New York) and the date (January-February, 1830)."

     Of course, getting a copy of that receipt suddenly became the most important task I could imagine!  He had signed it!  I wrote to the library, noting as I did so, a fee schedule posted on their site.  Darn, I was gonna have to pay for this.  So I was surprised to find in my mail box the next afternoon, a copy of the receipt!

To "Milow" Galloway, $62.50 for 10,000 feet of timber for spiling.
     It exemplifies how involved Milo was with the canal, not just as a boat captain, which he was in his younger days, but also in the actual maintenance of the waterway even after he married and became a lumber mill owner.  The document was proof of payment for a load of timber, no doubt from his mill, to be used in spiling the canal.  There are several definitions, but from what I can gather, in this case spiling was used as a sort of retaining wall for the canal.

     Check back for this week's Friday's Photo blog when I reveal the recently discovered photo of the man himself!

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Lengths I'll Go To/In Which I Ruin My Manicure

     Yesterday was the day!  Off to Newark Cemetery to find Uncle Milo.  The village of Newark sent me directions along with a list of nearby graves, so I counted the twelve rows from the fence and found...not much.  Most of the people in row twelve had no markers!  Then I spotted the stone of the woman the list said was buried right next to Milo, and there next to hers was a barely visible stone lying mostly underground.  You can see in the picture-- the whiter part was all that could be seen.  The two stones standing on the other side, supposedly Milo's children, were completely unreadable I'm sorry to say.

    The photo of the Galloway graves I recently came across at the Palmyra library showed a large upright stone and two smaller ones, but who knows how long ago that photo was taken?  This was when I got down on all fours and began tearing at the decades long build up of turf that obscured the tombstone.  After a few minutes the letters "GALLO" became visible, I had found him!  I don't know why, but it never occurred to me the stone might need to be excavated so I was unprepared.

      I continued ripping at the tangled mat of grass and roots lying over the grave, and inch by inch, the stone was revealed.  At one point my husband went back to the car to look for something to cut the grass with but all he could find was my old windshield scraper, it's now in three pieces.  Then he helpfully began taking pictures of me digging at the grave with my bare hands, like one of my terriers.  Most likely so he would have photographic proof in case no one believed him.  But ya know what?  I didn't go all the way to Newark to be defeated by some grass, I was going to see that stone.

     It took about half an hour with no tools, but I got it uncovered.  It's pretty well preserved, much more so than his children's stones, probably because most of it was underground.  You can see next to me in the picture the sizable mound of debris I created, and I felt bad about that but there were no receptacles handy and I couldn't very well throw it in my car.  I did pile it neatly in one spot for ease of removal by the groundskeepers.

     So am I satisfied?  I can't really imagine how I could be; I can't read the other two stones. I must return with a few gallons of water and a very soft toothbrush to remove the lichen, then I'll be satisfied...probably.