Week 4: Curious

I am curious about my 3rd great-grandmother, Melinda Cody Deuel. She moved around a lot during her life, and I am curious about why she made these moves.

Let me tell you Melinda’s story.

She was born in 1803 on land that her grandmother, Mary Parmenter Cody, had claimed as a Revolutionary War land bounty in 1794, after the death of her husband, Joseph Cody.  Joseph had served in the Revolution – responding to the Lexington Alarm in April 1775, most notably – and died in 1787, leaving Mary with a young family.  Mary moved with nine of her children from Middlesex County, Massachusetts to the village of Marcellus in Onondaga County, New York (near Syracuse).  Mary’s second-youngest son, Daniel, was 17 years old when the family moved, and Daniel married Hannah Manley in Onondaga County in 1798.  Hannah’s family had also moved to the area because of a Revolutionary war land bounty.

Daniel and Hannah had 12 children, including Melinda, who was their third child.  Melinda married Joseph Putney Deuel in Onondaga County in 1821; Joseph’s family was also in the area due to a land bounty. 

Within a year, Melinda and Joseph had moved to Almond, New York, about 120 miles southwest of Onondaga.  I haven’t been able to figure out why they made this move; this part of New York was still very much on the frontier, and travel wasn’t easy.  Nonetheless, they were living in Almond by 1822, when their first child was born.  They added four more children to their family before they moved once again – this time to Ashtabula, Ohio, about 180 miles further west, on the shores of Lake Erie.  They had one child there before moving again, this time to Erie County, Pennsylvania.  This was a short move – only 30 miles or so.  After having two more children in Pennsylvania, they made their way back to Ashtabula, where they had three more children by 1840.

I am able to track their movements because they had children everywhere they lived, so far as I can tell.

But they weren’t finished yet.  Sometime between 1840 and 1845 they moved to Columbiana, Ohio – about 100 miles south, on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh – where they had their 12th child – my 2nd great-grandmother, Lydia Deuel. 

The year 1849 finds this family in Ionia, Michigan – about 350 miles northwest of Columbiana, in the middle of Michigan.  And as hard as it is to believe, they had two more children in Ionia – for a total of 15 children (including two sets of twins).

By this time their oldest children were old enough to marry and have families of their own, so the extended family was spread out from New York through Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Two of their sons served in the Civil War from Michigan.

But by 1870 Melinda and Joseph were on their way again – this time to Jackson, Iowa, about 650 miles away in the western part of the state.  At this point, I have no idea what they’re doing.  Of course, they soon moved again – this time a little bit east to the middle of Iowa, to a town called Sheridan.  This is where Joseph died in 1873 – and Melinda set out again.  She retraced her steps – to Ionia, Michigan, for a few years, where she lived with one of her sons. Then she moved again, back to Columbiana, Ohio, where she lived with her son-in-law and some of her grandchildren (her daughter had died in the 1850s).  She died in Columbiana in 1888, after a life well-traveled.

As Alice commented about Wonderland, this is all “curiouser and curiouser.”

This map shows Mary’s travels

Week 3: My Favorite Photo

It’s not easy to choose my favorite photo.  When I was growing up, we didn’t take pictures all the time like people do today.  But I still have a lot of photos – of my mother’s and father’s families, and my parents, siblings, and myself.  I like some of them a lot, because they recall times and events that I treasure.

So, how can I pick a favorite photo?  What does “favorite” even mean in this situation?

I decided to select a photo that most clearly evokes a pivotal moment in my family’s history – it’s a certificate that identifies me as a member of American Airline’s “Sky Cradle Club.”  My mother, older brother, and I had flown from Washington, DC, to Tucson, Arizona, in 1948, when I was just shy of a year old. This certificate was signed by the captain, first officer, and two of the stewardesses on the plane.

This photo makes me think of a very hard time in my family’s history.  My parents had been married for just under a year when Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7, 1941.  My father had experienced a bout with pleurisy in 1939, so he was not eligible for the draft until five years had elapsed.  He took a job in the VA hospital in Tucson, where both of their families had moved during the 1930s.  In 1943, he was offered a better job – but it was with the VA in Washington, DC.  I never talked to them about why this position was so attractive that they would both move across the country, leaving all of their other family members behind.  But that’s what they did, moving into government housing in Northern Virginia.

The first half of 1944 was very eventful for them.  In February, my father’s draft exemption expired.  In March, my brother Ken was born.  In April, my father was drafted.  In May, my mother’s mother traveled from Tucson to Washington to pick up my mother and brother and travel with them back to Tucson, where they all decided it was better for her to wait out the war.  They traveled by train, changing trains in Chicago in a trip that took more than 24 hours.

But 1944 wasn’t finished with them yet.  In August, my grandmother was diagnosed with cervical cancer, and her doctors decided that she needed to have surgery.  The conventional wisdom in those days was that post-operative patients needed to stay in bed, so she stayed in the hospital for 10 days before she was allowed to go home.  On the morning that the family was planning to go pick her up, they got a call from the hospital telling them that she had developed a blood clot and had died.

Things quickly fell apart.  My grandfather fell into a deep depression, and spent a lot of time out of the house, drinking himself into a stupor.  My mother’s younger siblings – a 16-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy – were paralyzed with their own grief.  My mother found herself the woman of the house – at the age of 23, she was suddenly responsible for the care and feeding of a grieving household, along with her infant son.  My mother said that she thinks it was the presence of my brother – my grandfather’s only grandchild at this point – that kept my grandfather alive.  My brother was the only person who could make my grandfather smile.  This was going on while my mother also constantly worried about what was happening to my father, who was in the Pacific during the final campaigns of the war in that theater.

When my father was released from the service in 1946, the only place the Navy would guarantee him a job was in the Washington area, since that’s where he had been drafted from.  So they made the difficult decision to move back to Northern Virginia.  My mother talked about how hard it was to watch her grieving family through the rear-view mirror as they drove away.  She says she cried all the way to the Mississippi River.

Anyway.  They returned to Northern Virginia, where I was born a year or so later, in March of 1947.  My three-year-old brother and I were sick a lot in the winter of 1947-48, so my parents decided that my mother should take us back to Tucson, where the winters were mild, for all of us to recover our health. 

My mother never talked much about this trip, but I think there were other factors that led to their decision for her to make this visit.  Things in my mother’s family had only gotten worse since 1946 – my grandfather had entered into a very bad marriage to a woman he met in a bar that he frequented.  He was drinking a lot, and fighting with his son whenever he was home.  My aunt, who was 18 at this time, spent many nights sleeping outside behind the shed because she feared the violence that went on in the house.  Later that year, in fact, things had gotten so bad at home that my uncle eloped with his girlfriend and moved out.

I think my mother felt as if her family needed her.  She willingly made what had to be a very difficult trip – taking a three-year-old and an infant on a plane, to willingly re-insert herself into a family drama from which she had escaped only two years earlier.  I don’t know how long we all stayed in Tucson – my sense is that it was a few months – and then my father came to retrieve us all and bring us back to Northern Virginia, while I lived until I went to college.  I still live in Virginia.

Week 2: Favorite Find

When I began my genealogy research journey eight years ago or so, I didn’t really know anything about my family’s history, except for the Workman Family History book I wrote about in week one.  So everything I’ve come across has been new and interesting, but if I had to pick one “favorite find,” it would have to be my Pease ancestors, who settled in Martha’s Vineyard in the 1630s. They provided me with the first indication that my family’s history went back deep into the earliest years of the history of America, and their large family provided me with connections with other settlers of early Massachusetts – including many participants in the Puritan Great Migration and to one passenger on the MayflowerWilliam Brewster IV. William Brewster’s 9th great-granddaughter, Vandia Orilla Brown, married John Pease’s 5th great-grandson, Miles Arnold, in Appleton, Maine, in 1817.

Here’s the story of the Pease family.

The Pease family, from Great Baddow, Essex County, England, is my “anchor” family in Martha’s Vineyard. The immigrant in this family line was my 9th great-grandfather John Pease (1608-1677), who came to Massachusetts on the ship Francis in 1634 with his brother Robert Pease (1604-1644) and Robert’s 3-year-old son, also named Robert. By 1637 both brothers appear in the land records of Salem, Massachusetts, where John was granted 10 acres of land and Robert was granted 20 acres. In 1639, their mother, Margaret King Pease (1574-1644), joined them in Salem; her husband and their father, also named Robert Pease, had died in England in 1623. Margaret died in 1644, shortly after her son Robert.

As a side note – one problem I have with this family is that they had lots of children, and every family apparently was required to have at least one John and one Robert. The records of these Peases have become very confused over the years.

John Pease is identified one of the first five settlers on Martha’s Vineyard who received a land grant from Thomas Mayhew in 1643. He and his brother Robert settled in what would become the town of Edgartown.

John had married Lucy Weston in 1637 in Salem, and they had two children before Lucy died in 1641. John then married Mary Browning (1625-1695) in 1648. John and Mary had eight children, including my 8th great-grandfather David Pease (1651-1689).  John and his family spent several years in Connecticut in the early 1650s. Records suggest that John’s son – also named John(told ya) – remained in Connecticut after John 1608 returned to Martha’s Vineyard by 1653. John Jr. is identified as the founder of the Connecticut line of the Pease family.

The only thing I know about David Pease is that he stayed on Martha’s Vineyard and had a son named Benjamin Pease (1676-1747); David must have been married but I don’t know the name of his wife.

My 7th great-grandfather Benjamin Pease married Jean Arey (1679-1726) in Edgartown in 1697. Benjamin and Jean had 12 children, including my 6th great-grandfather John Pease (1707-1786) before Jean died in 1726; Benjamin married a second time, to Abiah Vincent ( 1692-1771) in 1727, and they had five more children. My 6th great-grandfather John Pease 1707 married Hepsibah Ripley (1712-1765) in Edgartown in 1728, and they had nine children, including my 5th great-grandfather Prince Pease (1729-1820), who was their first child.

Prince Pease married Martha Marchant (1732-1771) in Edgartown in 1750; they had eight children, including my 4th great-grandfather Zebediah Pease (1767-1842), who was their seventh child. Zebediah married Sarah Meservey (1770-1814) in Maine in 1790. By this time, many members of the Pease family had relocated to Maine and were no longer connected to Martha’s Vineyard.

Zebediah and Sarah married in Lincoln County, Maine, in 1790, and went on to have 12 children, including my 3rd great-grandmother, MarthaMartha married Spencer Arnold in Maine in 1817; my maiden name was Arnold, so I have a particular fondness for Martha and Spencer.

This family caught my attention particularly because of the large number of children born to successive generations.  John had 10 children with two wives; David had only one child, so far as I can tell; Benjamin had 17 children with two wives; John 1707 had nine children; Prince had eight children; and Zebediah had 12 children.  There were LOTS of Peases in New England in the 18th century.

One of the best-known roads in Edgartown is Pease Point Way, which connects the original Pease land grant to the center of Edgartown.

Week 1: Foundations

When I think about what a foundation means,  I think of two things – the physical bedrock that supports a structure, and the metaphorical bedrock that supports a set of ideas.

For my genealogical research, the metaphorical bedrock is the Workman family – and specifically, my 8th great-grandfather, Dirck Janse Woertman (1631-1708).  He’s foundational in two ways – the history of the Woertman (later Workman) family provided my first exposure to genealogical research, and  he was the earliest immigrant on my mother’s family line.

Let me explain.

While I was growing up, this book was on a bookshelf in my house. This book was a novelty because it contained the names of me and my close family members, and if you looked back at the beginning you could see names of people born in the 1500s and even the 1400s. I couldn’t imagine how the research to write such a book had been conducted, and although I marveled at the book I never anticipated doing anything like what Miss Anderson had done.  

My mother’s copy of this book is sitting on my bookshelf as I write this. However, I also have enormous on-line resources at my fingertips to help with the tasks of genealogical research, and I marvel at the work done by Miss Anderson. I have done a little research on her, and have discovered that she was born in 1915, was descended from one of my Workman relatives, and took over this research project from her mother, who pursued the story of the Workman family with a passion. I’m not going to go into detail on her work in this essay, but the introduction to her books explains her research and is an invaluable aid to understanding the Workman family. Her book contains errors that later researchers have commented on and corrected; but the existence of these errors does not degrade the value of her research. I stand on her shoulders as I try to understand this family.

Before I dig in, I want to add a word about the Dutch patronymic naming system. Prior to 1664, when the British forced the Dutch settlers in the newly named New York colony to adopt fixed surnames, the Dutch had used a patronymic naming system. This means that the children’s second name was derived from their father’s name. For example, if a father named Pieter named his son Jan, then the son’s full name would be Jan Pieterse – Jan, the son of Pieter. If Jan went on to have a son named Dirck, then the son’s full name would be Dirck Janse – Dirck, son of Jan. And so on.

This naming system can have genealogy benefits – if you know a person’s first name and his patronymic, then there’s a good chance you know his father’s name. This was useful to me as I tried to untangle these Dutch names that were quite unfamiliar to me. When the Dutch settlers adopted fixed surnames under British rule, that process sent the genealogical records into turmoil; the surnames chosen by the Dutch settlers were sometimes arbitrary, and the settlers were slow to adapt to this change. The records show some back formation (surnames that were adopted only after 1664 added to records created before that date), and a lot of inconsistent spellings.

Dircke Janse Woertman came to New Amsterdam with his mother, Hannah  Harmtje, in 1647, when he was 16 years old.  His father had died in Amsterdam in that year, and his death almost certainly led his wife to emigrate with her three children – Dirck and his two sisters.

Mostly because of the foundation laid by Miss Anderson, Dirck’s life is thoroughly documented. He married Marrietje Teunis Denyse (1644-1691) in 1660, and they were admitted to membership in the Brooklyn Reformed Dutch Church the following year. He served as a town officer, owned property in Brooklyn, and took the oath of allegiance there in 1687. Some records suggest that he operated the ferry between Brooklyn and Manhattan, but I’m not sure about that.

His wife’s family background is interesting. She was the daughter of Teunice Nyssen (1613-1663) and Femmetje Seals (1626-1666). Femmetje’s father, identified as Jan Seals (1590-1645) in the records of New Amsterdam, had come to Charlestown, Massachusetts, as part of the Puritan Great Migration in 1632, where court records identify him as “John Sayles.” These same records note that he was “the first known thief that was notoriously observed in the country,” and that he “stole corn from many people in this scarce time.” These records go on to say that he was “removed to New Amsterdam” with his daughter Femmetje in 1638. Apparently his behavior in New Amsterdam was no better than his behavior in Massachusetts. He was convicted of various offenses such as “damaging hogs” in 1638 and “chasing and wounding cattle” in 1643. I have a hard time envisioning what this meant.

Dirck and Marrietje had 13 children, including my 7th great-grandfather Jan Dircksen Woertman (1665-1712). (See how the patronymic naming system works?). Jan married Anna Maria Andriessen (1670-1712) in Brooklyn in 1690. Anna’s ancestors also go back two generations in Brooklyn; both of her grandfathers, Juriaen Andriessen (1607-1654) and Pierre Prat (1620-1663), were in New Amsterdam by the middle of the 17th century.

Juriaen had married Jannetje Jans Bout (1614-1682) and they lived Manhattan, where they had four children, including my 8th great-grandfather, Andries Juriaenszen (1649-1681). Andries married Annetje Pieterse Prat (1652-1698), who was the daughter of Anna’s other grandfather, Pierre Prat (1620-1663). Pierre and his wife, Marie Philippe (1624-1658), were French Huguenots who fled first to Leyden, Holland, where they had six children before coming to New Amsterdam in 1659. Pierre’s name began to appear as Pieter, and his daughter Annetje carries the patronymic Pieterse in acknowledgement of this change.

Jan and Anna moved their family from Brooklyn to New Jersey in 1699; their fifth child, Elizabeth, was christened in Somerville.

My Workman family connection with New Amsterdam does not end here, however. Jan and Anna’s son, my 6th great-grandfather Abraham Workman (1709-1749), married Annetje Smith (1706-1782) in New Jersey in 1723. Her father was Abel Smith (1684-1715), and I have discovered that the only thing more difficult than penetrating the Dutch names in this family tree is documenting someone with the last name of Smith. So I’m not even going to try.

Anna’s mother was Tryntye Wybrantz (1684-1716), whose lineage takes us right back into New Amsterdam. I don’t know much about this family, however. Tryntye’s grandfather, Abraham Wybrant, seems to have come to New Amsterdam by way of Curacao, in the Netherlands Antilles off the coast of South America. I don’t know much about the Dutch settlement of Curacao, but Dutch activities in the 17th century North Atlantic make it easy to imagine how Abraham might have made his way from Curacao to New Amsterdam.

The Way-Back Machine: Introduction

Immigration is a foundation of America. No other nation has as large an immigrant population as does the United States. With the important exception of those descended from Native peoples and/or enslaved Africans, few people in this country cannot trace at least part of their ancestry to an immigrant—either recently or centuries ago.

Brookings Institution, 2021

No serious study of American history can be undertaken without acknowledging the role played by immigrants.  As the introduction quotation acknowledges, America is founded on the immigrant experience.  Americans are all either indigenous or descended from immigrants – either voluntary or involuntary.  Modern discussions or immigration are frequently bound up in the legal language surrounding immigration – whether someone is “documented” or not, or whether someone followed the rules surrounding immigration.

In this book, I want to tell the story of the immigrants who came before the modern era – even before the great waves of immigrants who built our cities, farmed our land, and fueled the economic growth that created the dominant world power of the second half of the twentieth century.  Most of my immigrant ancestors came to America in the 17th century, before there was anything called America.   My previous research has focused on the lives of them and their descendants in America – what their lives were like, when and why they moved around, and how they intersected the “big history” of their times. 

However, this project focuses on their lives before they came to America – mostly in England, but some in Germany, France, and the Netherlands as well.  This involves accessing and assessing new sources of information about events further removed from me in both time and space.  I had to enter a world I knew little about – a world of pre-industrial (in some ways barely post-medieval) Europe, where the language and customs were very different from my own.  I had to learn a new geography, history, and sensibility.

In his seminal book Albion’s Seed, historian David Hackett Fischer provides a template for analyzing lives so removed from my own.  He identified migration patterns that seems to fit the lives of immigrant ancestors I am trying to write about, and he taught me to ask some important questions about their lives in Europe and their decisions to emigrate.

My first pass at focusing on who to write about identified over 200 ancestors about whom I had at least a little information regarding their European roots.  A second cut at the information pared that number down to more than 100.  I have sorted these immigrant ancestors by location, and have come up with a schedule that will allow me to complete this project by the end of his year.

Progress Report: Adna Arnold, January 4-10

[This is a report on the research I did during the first week of work on my 2021 genealogy project Descendants of Spencer and Martha Pease Arnold. I’ll move on to work on his brother Joseph during the second week of January 2021, his brother Miles during the third week of January, and his sister Rosetta during the fourth week of January. I’ll be back to Adna the first week of February.]

Adna Arnold (1823-1898) is my 2nd great-uncle, younger brother to my 2nd great-grandfather Miles Arnold.  He was born in Maine and moved to Ohio with his parents and siblings in 1930 or so.

Adna Arnold (1823-1898) married three time.

With his first wife, Rebecca Hamilton (1831-1921) he had six children – Martha “Mattie” Arnold (1848-1932), Rosaltha Jane (Rosa) Arnold 1851-1919), Thomas Jefferson (Tommy) Arnold (1853-1925, Mary Arnold (1856-1909), Lilly Arnold (1858-1862), and James Lewis Arnold (1858-1911).

His children were all born before we signed up to serve in the Civil War, where he served along with Miles in the 76th Ohio regiment.

Adna and Rebecca divorced in 1877.  I don’t know why.

Adna remarried in 1879, to Hannah Hoskins.  Her first husband, James K. Wood, had died in 1870, leaving her with a large number of small children.  The 1880 census shows Adna living with Hannah and her three youngest sons, age 16, 12, and 10.

Adna and Hannah divorced in 1892.  The newspaper article about their divorce gives “willful absence” as the cause.  Adna married a third time later in 1892, to a woman named Helen Parsons.  Adna died in 1898.

Here’s what I know about his children:

  • Mattie (1848-1932) and her husband Thomas Greenwood had 5 children between 1869 and 1882:  Lillie, Thomas, Rosa, Alpha, and Robert.  They moved to Iowa.
    • I don’t know anything about Lillie’s marriage or family.
    • Thomas married Elizabeth Sorenson and they had  8 children between 1891 and 1910.  They moved to Iowa.
    • Rosa married Bert Bryant and they had 8 children between 1895 and 1917.  They moved to Iowa.
    • Alpha married Lodella Ellen Barrick and they had 2 children in 1905 and 1912.  They moved to Iowa.
    • Robert married Louella Myers and they had three children between 1907 and 1913.  They moved to Mississippi.
  • Tommy (1853-1925) and his wife Frances Ella George had four children between 1891 and 1905:  Walter, Frank, Charles, and Sarah.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Walter married Mary Beeman and they had one child, Francis Joseph in 1917.  They stayed in Ohio. 
    • Frank married Eda Budd and they had 7 children between 1921 and 1931.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Charles died at the age of 13
    • Sarah married Ennice Howard Shepard and they had 2 children between 1925 and 1929.  They stayed in Ohio.
  • Rosa (1851-1919) married Timothy Jewette Clayton and they had 10 children between 1871 and 1896:  Allena, Virgil, Bergey, Emery, Ethel, Otis, Laverne, Florence, Josie, and William.  They lived their entire lives in Licking County, Ohio.
    • Allena married William Parker and they had 2 children in 1894 and 1896.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Virgil married Nellie Viola Longshore and they had seven children.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Bergey died at the age of 5
    • Emery married Bessie Mae Cantleberry and they had six children between 1904 and 1911.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Ethel died young
    • Otis married Bertha Frances Cantelberry (Bessie Mae’s sister?) and they had five children between 1915 and 19. They stayed in Ohio
    • Laverne apparently died young. 
    • Florence married Jacob Chase and they had 13 children.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Josie married Verne Grandstaff and they did not have children.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • William married Eulalia Margaret Ross and they had two children in 1920 and 1922.  They stayed in Ohio.
  • Mary married Charles Bell and they had three children between 1876 and 1883:  Charles, Arthur, and Asa.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Charles married Gertrude Wooles and they had one child in 1899.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Arthur died when he was 1 month old
    • Asa married twice.  I don’t know much about him.
  • James Lewis (I think he went by Lewis) married Mary Bowers and they had four children between 1883 and 1889 :  Calvin, Hattie, Wilbur, and Otto.  Then he married Rebecca Perkins and they had five children between 1891 and 1907:  Daisy, John, Beatrice, Clyde, and Forrest.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Calvin married Minnie May Messick and they had four children between 1909 and1916.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Hattie married three times:  to H. J. Bell, William E. Priest, and Judd Bending.  I don’t think she had any children, although Judd had a child whom she raised as a stepchild.  I think.   She died in Michigan, although I’m not sure how long she lived there.
    • Wilbur married Bertha (or Beatrice) Knapp and they had two children in 1914 and 1916.  He stayed in Ohio.
    • Otto married Bernadine Noffs and they had four children between 1917 and 1925.  This family lived in Michigan.
    • Daisy married Jesse James Cole and they had four children between 1910 and 1918.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • John died at the age of 21.
    • Beatrice married William R. McMurtry and they had two children in 1918 and 1923.  They stayed in Ohio.
    • Clyde married twice – to Bertha Stevens and Alice Fraley.  They did not have any children.  They stayed in Ohio
    • Forrest married Laura Walters and they had one child in 1928.

To sum up: 

    • He had six children, five of whom lived to adulthood.
    • Four of his adult children spent their entire lives in Ohio; one relocated to Iowa. These are my great-grandfather’s first cousins (descendants of their common ancestor, their grandfather Spencer Arnold), making them my 1st cousins 3x removed.
    • His 26 grandchildren were born between 1869 and 1905.  Two of them relocated to Iowa and two to Michigan.  One went to Mississippi. The rest stayed in Ohio. These are my grandfather’s second cousins (descendants of their common ancestor, their great-grandfather Spencer Arnold), making them my 2nd cousins 2x removed.
    • His 86 great-grandchildren were born between 1891 and 1932. These are my fathers’ third cousins (descendants of their common ancestor, their 2nd great-grandfather Spencer Arnold), making them my 3rd cousins 1x removed. I haven’t documented their marriages, children, or locations yet.

Next steps:

  • Clean up hints on what you have so far
  • Documents marriages, children, and locations of great-grandchildren.

Plan of Work

As I began to work on this project, the first step in the process was to build out the list of the descendants of Spencer and Martha, so that I could get an idea of what I was going to have to do in the next year.  To accomplish this step, I simply utilized the family tree hints on Ancestry to quickly generate lists of children for each descendant I came across.  I know that I would build in errors by doing this, but I was willing to deal with that later in exchange for getting a quick feel for how big this was going to be I quickly realized that it was going to be a big project.  I had created a new tree on Ancestry just for the descendants of Spencer and Martha, so it wasn’t hard to figure out what I was going to be facing.  My initial tree contained over 750 direct descendants.  I realized that organization was an immediate and pressing need.

Here’s what I decided to do.

Spencer and Martha had four children who had children  – Adna, Joseph, Miles, and Rosetta.  Their youngest daughter, Matilda, married but did not have children before she died at age 35.  Using this as a basis, I began to fiddle with ways of organizing my research, and I decided to spend one week at a time on each of Spencer’s children.  Adna gets the first week of each month, Joseph the second, Miles the third, and Rosetta the fourth.  I’ll spend any leftover days any way I wanted.  My thinking went this way:  by spending an uninterrupted week on each of Spencer’s children, I’ll be able to dig into the “shape” of the family – where they lived, how many children they had, what resources I could access – without getting bored.  By the time I circle back to that set of descendants four weeks later, I’ll be in a position to look at then with fresh eyes.  So here’s what this plan look like:

With this schedule in place, I can begin to work on this project now – in the last week of December – by continuing to scope out the work, identify resources, and so forth.

I’m not sure what the product of this research will look like.  Right now, I’m thinking of an annotated Anhentafel (ancestor table).  I can create this table through the Family Tree Maker software by uploading my GEDCOM and asking the program to create the descendants table.  It downloads it as a PDF, but I can export the PDF to Microsoft Word to make it editable. 

Here’s how this will work.  What follows is a part of the 32-page Ahnentafel generated by Family Tree Maker, focusing on my 2nd great-grandfather Miles Arnold (2812-1899). I want you to note — I didn’t have to type any of this. It was created by FTM and all I did was export it to Word.

Miles Arnold was born in 1821 in Thomaston, Knox, Maine, USA and died in 1899 in Ferris, Hancock, Illinois. He married Vandia Orilla Brown on Mar. 21, 1844 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA. Vandia Orilla was born in 1825 in Fredonia, Licking County, Ohio, United States of America and died in 1900 in Ferris, Hancock, Illinois, USA.  
Children of Miles Arnold and Vandia Orilla Brown
8.             Oscar Eugene Arnold was born on Oct. 16, 1845 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Jul. 26, 1847 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
9.             Elizabeth Victory Arnold was born on Jul. 22, 1847 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Nov. 17, 1847 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
10.          Joseph Spencer Arnold was born on Jul. 8, 1849 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, United States and died on Jun. 30, 1903 in Hamilton, Hancock, Illinois, United States.
11.          Roseanna Jane Arnold was born on Apr. 5, 1851 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on May 17, 1936 in Summitville, Lee, Iowa, USA.
12.          George Washington Arnold was born on Mar. 14, 1854 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Sep. 10, 1855 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
13.          Warner Lismond Arnold was born on Mar. 22, 1856 in McKean, Licking, Ohio, United States and died on Jun. 29, 1938 in Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois, USA.
14.          Nelson Franklin Arnold was born on Jan. 8, 1859 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Feb. 10, 1888 in Quincy, Adams, Illinois, USA.
15.          Miles Arnold was born on Jun. 8, 1861 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, United States and died on Aug. 10, 1934 in Keokuk Township, Wapello, Iowa, USA.
16.          Charles Miller Arnold was born on Aug. 23, 1864 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Sep. 17, 1865 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
17.          Lucy Gilman Arnold was born on Aug. 4, 1866 in Bloomington, McLean, Illinois, USA and died on Mar. 13, 1930 in Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA.
18.          Emma Violette Arnold was born on Nov. 4, 1869 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died in 1969 in La Harpe, Hancock, Illinois, USA.  

One thing I know about Miles which is not captured in this table is his experience in the Civil War.  I can edit the Ahnentafel to include this.  It looks like this once it’s edited.  I added the part in italics, based on what I have learned from researching this family.

Miles Arnold was born in 1821 in Thomaston, Knox, Maine, USA and died in 1899 in Ferris, Hancock, Illinois. He married Vandia Orilla Brown on Mar. 21, 1844 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA. Vandia Orilla was born in 1825 in Fredonia, Licking County, Ohio, United States of America and died in 1900 in Ferris, Hancock, Illinois, USA.
Miles and his brother Adna served in the 76th Ohio Regiment, which participated in engagements across the South, culminating in the Battle of Atlanta in April 1864.  Miles was wounded and left for dead on the battlefield, but he was retrieved the following day and patched up sufficiently to go home to Ohio.  He and Rilla had three more children after his Civil War service.  Over the next ten years they moved around a lot – from Ohio, to Illinois, back to Ohio, to Kansas, and then finally to Hancock County, Illinois, where they settled and lived the rest of their lives. I am descended from their 6th child (only the 3rd child to live past infancy) Warner Lismond Arnold, #13 on the list below.
Children of Miles Arnold and Vandia Orilla Brown
8.             Oscar Eugene Arnold was born on Oct. 16, 1845 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Jul. 26, 1847 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
9.             Elizabeth Victory Arnold was born on Jul. 22, 1847 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Nov. 17, 1847 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
10.          Joseph Spencer Arnold was born on Jul. 8, 1849 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, United States and died on Jun. 30, 1903 in Hamilton, Hancock, Illinois, United States.
11.          Roseanna Jane Arnold was born on Apr. 5, 1851 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on May 17, 1936 in Summitville, Lee, Iowa, USA.
12.          George Washington Arnold was born on Mar. 14, 1854 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Sep. 10, 1855 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
13.          Warner Lismond Arnold was born on Mar. 22, 1856 in McKean, Licking, Ohio, United States and died on Jun. 29, 1938 in Jacksonville, Morgan, Illinois, USA.
14.          Nelson Franklin Arnold was born on Jan. 8, 1859 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Feb. 10, 1888 in Quincy, Adams, Illinois, USA.
15.          Miles Arnold was born on Jun. 8, 1861 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, United States and died on Aug. 10, 1934 in Keokuk Township, Wapello, Iowa, USA.
16.          Charles Miller Arnold was born on Aug. 23, 1864 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died on Sep. 17, 1865 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA.
17.          Lucy Gilman Arnold was born on Aug. 4, 1866 in Bloomington, McLean, Illinois, USA and died on Mar. 13, 1930 in Keokuk, Lee, Iowa, USA.
18.          Emma Violette Arnold was born on Nov. 4, 1869 in Fredonia, Licking, Ohio, USA and died in 1969 in La Harpe, Hancock, Illinois, USA.  

I intend to use the Ahnentafel this way, adding to and supplementing the information as I find it.  Each descendant has his or her own entry in the Ahnentafel, with space to add information I have found.  I can’t add everything I have been able to find out about each of these descendants of Spencer and Martha, but I can add interesting bits – who served in wars, the jobs or public positions people held, anecdotes about their lives. 

I’m looking forward to seeing how this works.

The Gift of New Family Members

As I was researching a project in 2017, I began to plan a genealogy research trip to the locations where my grandparents lived in 1900.  I was stimulated to undertake this project by Ian Frazier’s book Family, which was a wonderful story of his family in the American Midwest at the turn of the 20th century.  Here’s how he introduced his book:

“The twentieth century began on a Tuesday.  On that day, all of my great-grandparents but one were living in Ohio or Indiana.  Mr. and Mrs. Harry E. Frazier and their four children lived in Indianapolis, in a neighborhood of many vacant lots and telephone poles.  Mr. and Mrs. Louis W. Wickham and their three children and hired girl lived at 237 Benedict Avenue, Norwalk, Ohio.  The Reverend John Bachman and his wife and two daughters lived in New Knoxville, Ohio, where he was the pastor of the First German Reformed Church.  Mrs. Elizabeth C. Hursh and her three grown daughters and one son lived at 86 Greenfield Street, Tiffin, Ohio; her husband, Professor O.A.S. Hursh, lay in a nearby cemetery, beneath a $200 monument inscribed with a Latin quotation and the years, months, and days of his life.”

I bet I can write this, I said to myself.  So I did:

The twentieth century began on a Tuesday.  On that day, all of my great-grandparents but one were living in Illinois, Oklahoma, or Texas.  Mr. and Mrs. Warner Lismond Arnold and their eight children (including their youngest son, my grandfather John Cecil Arnold) lived in Montebello Township, Hancock County, Illinois.  Mr. and Mrs. Howard P. Ellefritz and their two children (including their oldest daughter, my grandmother Orpha Lydia Ellefritz) (they would go on to have eight more children) lived just a few miles away, in Pilot Grove Township, Hancock County, Illinois. Mrs. Franklin Anthis (Mattie) lived with her ten children (including her two-year-old daughter, my grandmother Susan Vernon Anthis) in Justice Precinct 7, Lee County, Texas; her husband Frank, who had been dead for just a little over a year, lay in Forest Grove Cemetery in Milam County, Texas, a few miles from their home.  Mattie would join him 32 years later. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Calvin Workman, Sr., and their 11 children (including their youngest son, my grandfather Thomas Calvin Workman, Jr.), lived on the homestead in Bear Creek Township, Logan County, Oklahoma, that Tom had claimed in the Oklahoma Land Run a decade earlier.

And so this project began.  As I researched it, I began to feel the pull to visit these locations.  My family had moved around a lot – not my immediate family, as I have lived my whole life in Virginia.  But my ancestors never stayed put for every long.  My parents met and married in Arizona; my mothers family had moved there from Texas in the 1931, and my fathers family had moved there from Illinois in 1936.  World War II brought them to the east coast, where they lived the rest of their lives and where my siblings and I have lived and raised our families.

But because earlier generations had moved so much, I knew nothing about family members who stayed behind – in Illinois and Texas, but also in Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, and points east. But I wasn’t necessarily thinking about this as I planned my trip. After much planning, I took a 12-day solo research trip in January of 2018. It was fabulous.

One of the things I did in preparation for my trip was to write up posts for Facebook pages for genealogy groups in the areas I was visiting.  My posts generally said something along the lines of “I’m visiting your area in January 2018 and want to know the best sources for information, since my time there will be limited.”  Then I put in the surnames I was researching, not expecting much in return but thinking that maybe the names would strike a chord with someone.  My maternal surnames were Workman and Anthis, and my paternal surnames were Arnold and Ellefritz.

In October of 2017, probably a month or two after I put up these original posts, I got a comment from a woman in central Oklahoma.  The surname I was researching there was my mother’s maiden name, Workman, and the woman’s comment was simply “I have Workmans in central Oklahoma.”  Within a couple of hours we had identified that our grandparents were siblings, and that time and family migration had separated these parts of the family.  I had discovered my second cousin Susan, and soon became acquainted with her sister and brothers as well.

Her grandmother Tina Workman was my grandfather Tom Workman’s older sister.  The family had pulled up stakes in central Oklahoma and moved to Texas in 1915, at which point Tina was an adult and engaged to be married, so she stayed in Oklahoma.  Tom was 16 years old, so he moved with the family.  Tina never left central Oklahoma, and that’s where Susan and her extended family are  still living.  Tom moved to Texas and then on to Arizona, and my parents came to Virginia, as I mentioned earlier. 

Susan and I had never known of each other’s existence.  The family separation was almost total, although it does not appear to have been hostile..  Susan did have one anecdote that referenced my mother, although she didn’t realize it at the time.  Her uncle (our parents’ generation) talked once about his cousin “whose name was a beautiful as her eyes.”  That was a reference to my mother, Violet Workman.  Susan and I both teared up when she told me that story.

Oh yes, and she did tell me that story in person – when we met for lunch in Oklahoma City in January of 2018, when I was on my research trip.  We both brought photos, and concluded that her grandmother looked a lot like my grandfather – not surprising for siblings!

Susan and I are in touch on Facebook now, along with her sister Liz.  Susan is creative and crafty – the pictures she posts of the quilts she sews and the clothing she makes for her grandchildren are wonderful.  Liz is a writer.  She write fantasy fiction, and is as dedicated to her craft as Susan is to hers.  Liz and I talk about writing, a lot.  My brother, who passed away in 2014, was a writer of plays and poetry, and he and Liz would have had a lot to talk about.  My writing is not creative in the same way as Liz’s is, but our shared passion for the written words ties us together.

So my “gift of genealogy” was the revelation of new family members.  When the pandemic ends, we have plans to meet in the middle somewhere – I’m in Williamsburg, Virginia, so we may meeting somewhere in Tennessee to get to know each other better.  Without genealogy, I would never have known anything about this part of my family.

My Gifts of Family History

For the last five years I have been writing my family history as a way of figuring out what I know – and, probably more importantly, what I don’t know.  By trying to string a set of facts together in a narrative, I find it easy to figure out what pieces are missing or what doesn’t make sense.

I have also found that I can improve the focus of my research and feel more productive if I am attempting to answer specific questions.  It’s only by writing these questions down, and keeping them in mind as I’m researching, that I can keep from going down the rabbit holes that attract us every day.

I have self-published a dozen or so books about my family history.  I publish them through Lulu.com, which I have found to be very simple and extremely inexpensive.  I started with examining what I knew (or thought I knew) about each of my family lines, winding my way back into American history.  I discovered that I had ancestors in 11 of the 13 colonies before the Revolution, and that none of my direct ancestors were still living east of the Appalachian Mountains by 1840 or so.  There were clearly stories to be told.

  1. I wrote about my four grandparental lines – my paternal Arnold and Ellefritz lines and my maternal Anthis and Workman lines. 
  2. Then I wrote several books that cut across my ancestral lines – one about my 15 or so Patriot ancestors who fought in the American Revolution, and one about women in my family tree who interested me. 
  3. Then I embarked on a 2-year project to write about my ancestors on their birthdates – sometimes revisiting ancestors I had already written about and adding new information as my research skills improved. 
  4. Next, I picked a year and tried to write about what was going on with my family during that year.  I picked 1900, which was a time when my great-grandparents were all young adults with young families, and their parents were still around (for the most part).  This took me to three parts of the country – western Illinois, southeast Texas, and central Oklahoma – as I delved into the broad sweep of history as well as the family decisions that had put them in these places at this time.  The project literally took me to these location – in January 2018 I visited each of these locations, walking main streets and cemeteries and haunting libraries and courthouse basements in search of information.
  5. Most recently, I embarked on a 52 Locations in 52 Weeks project – taking another sweep through the family lines that I had already worked on, increasing both the breadth and depth of my knowledge as I tried to place my ancestors in context.

And in case you were wondering – here comes the gift part.  Each time I wrote a book, I ordered enough copies of it to send it to my sister, my aunt, several of my cousins, and my children.  My aunt and cousins were generally appreciative of what I had written; my sister and my children, not so much, although my daughter has become interested enough in the stories I tell to make a couple of forays into the locations where our ancestors lived.

I plan to donate copies of the books I’ve written to a local genealogy library where I volunteer (or at least where I volunteered before COVID shut us all down).  I am content with the knowledge that when I’m gone, the research and the stories will survive me.  That is a gift to myself.

Week 51: December 18, 2020 York County, Pennsylvania

Source of map: Wikipedia

York County, Pennsylvania, is located in the southeast portion of Pennsylvania, on the border with Maryland.  It was formed from neighboring Lancaster County in 1749.

This map shows the townships in York County.  My ancestors were mostly in Dover, although some are identified in Conewago after that township was formed in 1818. Source of map: US Genweb Archives http://usgwarchives.net/maps/pa/county/york/usgs/
I like this map because it shows how the Great Appalachian Valley extends from the Canadian border into Alabama.  York County, PA, is about where the numeral “7” appears on the map.  This explains the migration patterns of people from Pennsylvania through Maryland and into Virginia and points further south.  (Source of map:  Wikipedia)

Changing Boundaries of York County

As the population of states grows, the organization of local government changes.  York County was established primarily because immigrants – mostly German – came into the port of Philadelphia and then moved west to take advantage of the fertile farmland in the Great Appalachian Valley shown on the earlier map.  All of these maps are taken from https://www.mapofus.org.

The land that would become Pennsylvania was contested between the English, Dutch, and Swedish through most of the 17th century.  In 1673, the Dutch established three county courts, which went on to become original counties in present-day Delaware and Pennsylvania (Upland County was the one later transferred to Pennsylvania. Today, Upland is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania) 
In 1681, King Charles II granted a land charter to William Penn to repay a debt of 16,000 pounds owed to William’s father, Admiral William Penn.
In 1681, three counties were created as original counties in the colony of Pennsylvania
In 1729, population pressures in Chester County led to the creation of Lancaster County as the first “western” county in the colony
Continuing population pressures led the local court to approve new townships to the west; by 1749, the process of carving up Lancaster County into new counties had begun, beginning with York County
In 1800, Adams County was carved from York County.  No further significant changes have been made to York County

A (Very) Little History

The township of Dover, where my ancestors lived, was founded as part of Lancaster County before the establishment of York County.  The earliest settlers – almost all German immigrants – moved there in 1736, the year of the oldest land warrants in the area.  German was the primary language of this community even into the 19th century.  This was a small community; in 1783, one year for which I have found records, the population of the village totaled 81.  Everyone knew everyone else in the village.  The township of Conewago, formed  out of Newberry and Dover in 1818, was the home of some of my other ancestors.

The history of this part of Pennsylvania is caught up in the contest between the Penns (of the Pennsylvania Colony) and Lord Baltimore (of the Maryland Colony). Establishing the boundary line between the provinces was harder than it had to be, I think, because of the different assumptions and conditions under which the various proprietary land grants were given.  It was not until the boundary line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon that the border dispute was resolved by the drawing of what came to be known as the Mason-Dixon line.

The location of York County made it inevitable that the county would be at the crossroads of activity as the population of the country grew and moved around.  As the earlier map illustrated, York County’s position in the extended Great Valley region, east of the Appalachian mountains, meant that it was on the pathway of migration and commerce that extended into the American heartland during the 18th century. 

It also meant that the region did not escape the American Revolution, although no significant battles were fought there.  York County was, however, the site of the Continental Congress’s temporary relocation from Philadelphia, and was thus the place where the Articles of Confederation were drafted and adopted.  In addition, York County raised several corps of militia in 1774 and 1775 in preparation for the coming fight.  The first company that marched from Pennsylvania to the battlefield was a company of riflemen from the town of York in July of 1775.  York County sent our more soldiers the revolution than any one of her neighboring counties.

Although my ancestors were no longer living in York County by the time of the Civil War, it is worth noting that the first Civil War battle on Pennsylvania soil was fought at Hanover (in the far western portion of the county) on June 30th, 1863. Because of this engagement, Confederate General J.E.B Stuart and his much-heralded cavalry forces were unable to join General Robert E. Lee’s armies at Gettysburg until after the decisive battles had been fought. This delay in Hanover played an important part in the Union victory at Gettysburg, which is considered to be the turning point in the Civil War. The passing of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train through York County marked a somber close to this period. A large part of the local population was at the railroad station to pay tribute to the martyred president on April 21, 1865, as his funeral train passed through York.

My Ancestors in York County

This pedigree chart shows the small stub of ancestors I have in York County.  They are part of my Ellefritz line.  As I have worked on my genealogy research, I have generally organized my work by my grandparents’ surnames – the maternal names Workman and Anthis and the paternal names Arnold and Ellefritz

My paternal 2nd great-grandfather Solomon Ellefritz (1825-1894) provides my link to my ancestors in York County.  My grandmother Orpha Lydia Ellefritz (1896-1986) was his granddaughter.

            My paternal 2nd great-grandfather wasn’t born in York County, but I wanted to put him here on this chart so it’s easier to see the connection to my immediate family.  My grandmother’s maiden name was Ellefritz, so this chart shows when this important surname became connected to my family tree.  One thing I have come to realize is that this part of my family tree moves in important direction at the level of my  great-grandparents and 2nd great-grandparents.  Through Solomon’s wife Mary Ann Botts, I am connected to a vast array of ancestors in colonial Virginia.  I’ve told the sequential story of the Botts family in my week 45 essay on Stafford County, Virginia, my Week 5 essay on Boone County, Kentucky, and my Week 19 essay on Hancock County, Illinois.  Through May Wilson, the wife of Solomon and Mary Ann’s son Howard Ellefritz (1875-1930), I am connected to a whole host of New England ancestors, including two Mayflower passengers.

Solomon’s great-grandfather Johann Georg Ilgenfritz (1702-1749) came to Pennsylvania in 1737 on the ship Charming Nancy, along with his wife Maria Appolonia (1705-1784) and their son Johannes George Ilgenfritz (1728-1810).  The trip from Rotterdam to Philadelphia lasted 81 days, from June 29 until September 18, including a 10-day delay in Portsmouth, England, due to customs inspections and unfavorable winds.  Once in Philadelphia, the passengers were quarantined until they were given a clean bill of health, on October 8.  At that point, the men were taken to city hall where they had to swear allegiance to King George II.

I need to warn you, however; this was a difficult tree to trace because for the first three generations, all of my direct male ancestors were named, with some variation, Johannes Georg Iglenfritz.  The first one, born in Germany in 1702, appears to have used the first name of Hans almost exclusively, although in records he appears as both Hans and Johannes.  The second one, born in Germany in 1728, appears to have used Johannes and George interchangeably, appearing in records under both names.  The third one, born in 1750 in Pennsylvania, appears to have been known as both Johannes and John.  So in this essay, Johannes Georg 1702 will be called Johannes; Johannes George 1728 will be called George; and Johannes Georg 1750 will be called John.

The family thrived in York County.  When Johannes 1702 died in 1749, he left his widow and children in pretty good shape.  He and Maria had two more children after they settled in York County – a son named Christian (1740-1810) and a daughter named Anna (742-1800).  George 1728 had married Margaretha Mohr (1731-1769) in 1748, and the young man rapidly assumed the position of head of the family.  He owned over 300 acres of land, served as constable for Dover Township in the county in 1753, and was named road supervisor in 756 and 1758.  He also owned a woolen mill.  In addition, the 1968 book Conestoga Wagon, by George Shumway, lists George Elefritz of York County as one of many who furnished a Conestoga wagon and teams for the ill-fated expedition of General Braddock against Fort Duquesne in 1755 during the French and Indian war. Benjamin Franklin had made a plea for the voluntary furnishing of the wagons as an alternative to requisitioning by the British army, Daniel Boone was listed among the wagoneers, and George Washington led the militia. The map I showed earlier in this essay illustrates that Dover’s location along the Great Valley route from eastern Pennsylvania through the Shenandoah makes this a logical place for someone to produce wagons.

Before I go any further, I want to talk about minute about the parents of Margaretha Mohr, the wife of George 1728.  Her father Peter Mohr (1703-1740) and her mother Catherine Matthias (1700-1761) came to Pennsylvania with their 10 children in 1740 on the ship Loyal Judith.  Margaretha was their sixth child.  Peter and Catherine lived in nearby Lancaster County, where Peter shows up on the 1769 property rolls as the owner of 100 acres of land.

George 1728 and Margaretha had 16 children in York County, including my 3rd great-grandfather Johannes George Ilgenfritz III (1750-1831).  This is the man I am calling “John.”  One interesting side note about George 1728; the militia muster rolls for York County how the name of George Ilgenfritz.  Although George 1728 was almost 50 years old at the time of the Revolution, his son named George was only born in 1766, so is unlikely to be the person on the muster rolls.  One suggestion about this family’s service is that, as German speakers, they helped communicate with the Hessian soldiers who had been captured after the Battle of Trenton and spent the rest of the war years working on farms in Lancaster County.

Margaretha died in 1769, the same year that records indicate she gave birth to a stillborn child.  It is not a stretch to imagine that she died of complications from this event.  George 1728 remarried in 1770, to a woman named Maria Dorr who was the widow with two children at the time they married.  George 1728 and Maria went on to have three more children.

John 1750 married three times.  With his first wife, Margaret Mummert, he had six children; with his second wife, Keturah Clark, he 11 children; and with his third wife, Permilia “Milly” Jarvis (1796-1860), he had five children, including my second great-grandfather Solomon A. Ellefritz (1825-1894)Solomon was born when his father was 74 years old (his mother was only 29 at the time), and his father died when Solomon was only six years old.

According  to one source, there was some sort of feud among the descendants of George Ilgenfritz 1728.  As the story goes, Eleanora (Ellen) Ilgenfritz (George’s great-granddaughter through his son Samuel) journeyed to Baltimore to visit her uncle John Ilgenfritz in 1836, and while there she met her distant cousin, Jacob Ilgenfritz, Jr., (George’s great-grandson through his son John 1750 and his second wife) and the young people fell in love.  Her parents opposed the marriage, and his mother Susan Lau was also furious (his father had died in 1828).  She forbade Jacob from seeing Eleanor.  So they eloped to Philadelphia and were married. 

Jacob began looking for work as a printer, but his mother hounded him and got him discharged from every position he got.  He tried for work of any kind, but it was winter, and there was no work to be found.  He and Ellen were expecting a baby, and still he could find no work.  He caught a cold, it developed into pneumonia, and he died from lack of medical attention and malnutrition. 

Ellen’s parents, hearing of her plight, went to Philadelphia and took her back to York with them, where her baby was born about three months later. Jacob’s mother, Susan (Lau) Ilgenfritz  refused to acknowledge the baby, and never helped Ellen and the baby in any way.  It is thought that she had a lot of property, as the Laus were wealthy farmers of Manchester Twp., York Co., and she had inherited much wealth.  Just to complete the story — Eleanora (Ellen) Ilgenfritz married Abraham Gartman in 1849 and lived in York, Pa., until 1905, when she went out to the state of Washington with her daughter, Fanny Spangenberg, to live with her granddaughter, Eleanora (Nelly) and her husband Frank Dice, on a large farm near Present day Walla Walla Washington where she died on Jan 19, 1911, 10 days shy of her 97th birthday.

I want to note how prolific the Ilgenfritz/Ellefritz family was, and how that complicates the process of researching them.  Johannes 1702 and his wife had only three children, but subsequent generations could have populated entire towns.  George 1728 had 16 children with his first wife and three with his second wife.  His son John 1750 had a total of 22 children, as I noted earlier.  His other children had varying number of children:  his five sons had 11, 10, 12, 10, and 10 children.  This meant there were a lot of people named Ilgenfritz/Ellefritz in York County at the end of the 18th century.  It appears that many of the boys were named some variant of Johannes or George, and many of the girls were named variants of Anna, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Catherine.  This makes it difficult to untangle the various family threads.

I picked up the story of the Ellefritz family as they moved west in my Week 19 essay on Hancock County, Illinois.

Johannes Georg Ilgenfritz, along with wife Margaretha Mohr Ilgenfritz were moved from another cemetery and re-interred at Prospect Hill Cemetery in York, PA.    When the stones were moved over to Prospect Hill, they were installed lying flat upon the ground, instead of vertically, and over time have become mostly illegible