Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Warners of Packwood

St. Giles Church in Packwood, Warwickshire


     In the rolling west midlands of England, to the north of the River Avon, once laid an ancient wood known as the Forest of Arden.  Majestic oaks flourished there, squirrels and sparrows frolicking among the treetops.  Dappled sunlight filtered through the branches and glinted off small streams at their feet.  From April through May the forest floor was a beautiful sea of sweetly perfumed English bluebells. As the years passed, small hamlets grew up from clearings in this forest-- Knowle, Hampton in Arden and Packwood among others.  They were home to minor landowners and numerous landless cottagers.  

     It was there in Packwood, in 1754, that John Warner, the son of William and Elizabeth Doston Warner, married Mary Kirby.  John's son William Warner, named for his grandfather, was baptized there at St. Giles in 1763.  William became an agricultural laborer like his father, and later married Sarah Payne who gave birth to their eleven children!  The youngest child, born in 1820, was James, who came to America in 1870.  James, along with his wife Ann Greenway and their sons, was the only Warner who left England; you saw his tombstone in yesterday's blog.  Why did James choose to immigrate?  Why leave his remaining family, the grave of his only daughter Maria who died at age 14 of pneumonia, and all he knew to come to America?  Especially at his age--he was 50 years old when he immigrated.  Today that is not considered old, but in 1870 the average life expectancy was less than 50.

    After much research, I believe James really had no other choice.  During the mid to late nineteenth century, the structure of English agriculture was changing, to the detriment of laborers. Landowners were converting their fields from grain production to pasture for the raising of cattle which required fewer laborers, and the industrial revolution, which I'm sure you recall from high school, was having dramatic effects even in the farming community where mechanization was growing, again displacing workers. The result was unemployment, migration to towns and cities, and immigration to America.  James had seen the writing on the wall years earlier when he sent his two oldest sons ahead to facilitate the family's move to New York. 


     James' older siblings who never left England were likewise forced from the countryside, becoming factory laborers and one a baker in larger towns.  Not one of the eleven children of William Warner remained in Packwood.  Not one of them did as well as James either.  He purchased his own farm in New York and prospered, his sons did even better becoming quite well off.

     It never fails to amaze me how much can be learned today about individuals who lived well over 100 years ago.  We have the internet to thank for much of that.  It was there I discovered the existence of the book, "The Forest Of Arden", by John Hannett with it's detailed descriptions of Packwood through the years, and also found the bookstore in England that would mail a copy to me.  Online I found other descriptions of the area, and the catalog of the LDS library on their website leading me to the microfilmed records of St. Giles church.  How much longer would it have taken me to find this information if I found it at all?

     I often wonder what my ancestors thought of all the inventions of "modern" technology that came to pass in their lifetimes.  Did they soon take them for granted, or were they as blown away by those innovations as I still remain by the internet?  I sometimes think how much fun it would be to pack Great-Great-Grandma and Grandpa into the old horseless carriage, show them around our world, and watch their reactions.  Thanks to genealogy I feel that close to them, and would love to know what they would think of it all.
     

     

    

































 







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!