Monday, March 23, 2020

Military Monday - Garrett Miller

One of the ancestors I've been working on recently is my 6th great-grandfather Garret Miller.

Prison Ship Martyrs Monument (wikimedia commons)

Garrett Miller was supposedly born in 1737 in Connecticut (per DAR records).
He married a woman named Patience (some say Griswold but I have not confirmed this).

On 4 January 1765, Garrett, Patience and 5 of their children were christened at the First Presbyterian Church in Morristown, NJ.  Children christened that day were: Mary Elizabeth, Sarah, Garrett, Absolom and Phebe.  This is from the church records (found on familysearch).  Another place in the church records states that Garrett, Patience, and their family were christened that day with the exception of the oldest child.  Son Samuel was christened a few months later, on 12 May 1765.
The family was formally admitted to membership on 6 January 1765, and the records note that they "moved away".

Sometime before 1775, the family moved to Cornwall, Orange County, NY.  This is about 50 miles north of Morristown on the west bank of the Hudson River. According to the "Outline History of Orange County, NY", in 1775 he signed the Association of Cornwall, embracing Cornwall, Bloominggrove and Monroe.  He also signed a pledge to support "rights and liberties of America" in Cornwall Precinct, 1775.

Garrett became a Captain in Upper Clove Company of Col. Woodhull's Regiment from Cornwall, NY in 1775.  He was captured and taken to a Provost (ie military) Prison, possibly one of the prison ships in New York.

According to a journal published in the book "American Prisoners of War in the Revolution" by Dandridge -
"[October] 5. Garret Miller, of Smith's Clove, signed his will in prison, in presence of Benjamin Goldsmith, Abr. Skinner, and myself. C. G. Miller died of small-pox —P. M. Buried."
"Feb. 4, 1778. I delivered to Mr. Pintard the wills of Garret Miller and Benjamin Goldsmith, to be for- warded to their respective families. Present E. Boudinot."  (note that Smith's Clove was part of BloomingGrove in Orange County, about 12 miles southwest of Cornwall)

That will was proven June 13, 1778:  Garrett Miller of Smiths Clove, Cornwall Pct., Orange Co., NY.  Names children: Joshua, Mary, Elizabeth, Garret, Nathan, Sarah, Samuel, Ann, Hampton and Jeremiah.  Wife is executrix.  Makes provisions if his widow remarried before the youngest child turns 21. Witnesses are Benjamin Goldsmith, Abram Skinner and John Fell.

On 25 Sept. 1786, administration is granted to Patience Fowler, formerly Patience Miller.

Patience Miller Fowler died in Monroe, Orange Co NY on 13 August 1808 and is buried in Monroe Cemetery.

The children of Garrett and Patience Miller were:
1. Mary Elizabeth Miller, born 20 December 1762.  On 5 Feb. 1785 she married her first cousin Peter Miller and died 31 December 1845 in Marion Co VA.
2. Elizabeth Miller, born ca 1754 and married Phillip Roblin.. One source says that they were loyalists who fled to Canada.
3. Garrett Miller born in 1758, married Mary Smith, and died in 1824.
4. Ann Miller, born in 1769 and married a Mr. Carpenter.
Joshua, Nathan, Sarah, Samuel, Hampton, Jeremiah, Absalom and Phoebe were additional children but I have no further information on them.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Society Saturday - In the footsteps of Alice Paul

Because this is the 100th Anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment giving women the right to vote, the National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots is focusing on Women's Suffrage this term.

The National President's project is to support the Turning Point Suffragist Memorial which is being built on the site of the Occoquan workhouse in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Along with that theme, I was in south New Jersey recently and the New Jersey DFPA chapter president and I toured several sites that were significant to Suffragist Alice Paul.

Alice Paul was born in 1885 at Paulsdale, the family home in Mt. Laurel, NJ.  She grew up there prior to attending college at Swarthmore, University of Pennsylvania and England.

Paulsdale (from
Because she grew up in a Quaker home, she believed in equality of the sexes.  While in England, she learned the more militant "Deeds Not Words" tactics of the British Suffragists.  Returning home, she
organized a national suffrage parade on March 3, 1913 – the day before Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration.    Wilson was on record as stating that women were unfit to vote because they had no understanding of politics and would let emotion rather than reason rule them. The parade was made up of over 8000 people who faced spectators who were grabbing them, throwing things, and yelling obscenities, thus ending with a mob action.

On January 11, 1917 she started the silent sentinel program with women picketing outside the White House every day for a year, rain or shine, except on Sunday.  This was the first organized protest outside the White House which prompted many of the arrests of the suffragists.

After the passage of nineteenth amendment, she continued to work for the National Women's Party and authored the original Equal Rights Amendment in 1923.  

While touring Paulsdale (now the Alice Paul Institute) we toasted Alice for all of her efforts in obtaining the women's vote.

NSDFPA National President Kimberly Nagy and NJ Chapter President Judy Dugan "toasting" Alice Paul

When she was in New Jersey, she worshiped at the Moorestown Friends Meeting.  We were welcomed there by a wonderful young woman who showed us around the meeting house which had been built in 1802.

We also saw the building that had been the nursing home where Alice spent her final years.  And of course, we paid respects at her grave at the Westfield Friends Cemetery in Cinnaminson, NJ.

Thank you Alice for all of your hard work for Women's Equality.

Wednesday, March 04, 2020

#52Ancestors - Strong Women

This week's post is about my great-grandmother Nancy Jane Wiley Hill Hacker Hill.  She has always been an inspiration to me because she didn't take any "crap" from anyone.

"Jane" was born in Casey, Clark, Illinois on 8 August 1875.  She was the sixth of ten children of George Wiley and Susan Mumford. 

Jane married Charles Taylor "C.T." Hill on 21 July 1895 in Clark Co, IL.  They lived in Casey where their 3 children were born. 

I grew up hearing family stories about their disagreements, especially political.  One was democrat, the other republican, and in the days before air conditioning their heated discussions could be heard through their open windows.

C.T. had quite the adventurous streak and he headed to Alaska in 1898 to seek his fortune mining for gold.  That didn't work out but in 1913 he moved to Arkansas to work in the Zinc mines.

Jane tired of raising her children by herself so she sued him for divorce because of desertion.

A few years later, she married William P. "Stanley" Hacker but that marriage lasted only a few years.

Since Jane was essentially a single mother, she worked as a laundress and a cook.  After her children were grown, she moved to St. Louis and worked as a cook at the Jefferson Barracks.  Later she moved to Toledo, Ohio where she ran a boarding house.  She died in Toledo on 31 October 1960.

A few of my favorite tidbits about my great-grandmother are:

She was one of the first in line at her precinct to vote in the 1920 Presidential election - remember, she had strong political opinions!

To help make ends meet during prohibition, she made her own bathtub gin which she sold from her back porch.  Allegedly one of her frequent customers was the local police chief!

And, finally, just a photo that I think demonstrates her independence - that's my great-grandmother in the middle with 2 of her friends.

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Tuesday's Tip - Expand your dates

When we are looking for records pertaining to an ancestor, we are tempted to start with his/her birthdate and end our search when he/she died.  If you stop there, you may be missing important clues.

As an example, I will use a land record filed in Fairfield County, Ohio in 1887 -

Fairfield County Ohio Deed book 60 p440-1 (from FamilySearch)

The story is this (all the below details can be found in this single land record) -

Esau Johnston (my 4th great-grandfather) purchased a tract of land from a John Davis on 1 May 1813.  This was a portion of land that had been patented to Mr. Davis in 1810 and was intended to be 80 acres of the Northwest 1/2 of the Southwest 1/4 of Section 2 Township 16 Range 17.  Instead it was misrecorded as the Southeast 1/2 of the southwest 1/4 of above section.

Esau and his family continued to live on this land until his death on 17 December 1852 when the land passed to his wife and surviving children in his will.

Those children are named as: John, William, Frederick, David, Edward, Samuel, George W., Hannah, Nancy married to Jesse Katon, Ann M. married to John Paden and Mary married to William T. Neely.

The son George W. Johnston died in Fairfield County on 24 March 1860 leaving his widowed mother Katy and brothers and sisters as his only heirs.

Katy died on 8 July 1861 in Fairfield County.

By 1862 the remaining children - Nancy Katon, Ann M. Paden, Mary Neely, David, Samuel, John, William, Frederick and Hannah Johnston all conveyed their interest in the land to their brother Edward Johnston.  

Each time the land was transferred the same erroneous description was entered.

The remaining landowner, Edward Johnston died in Fairfield County on 19 March 1886 leaving widow Matilda and children Henry E., Joseph J. and Sarah C.

The 1887 land record is essentially a quit claim from David Y. Davis (heir of John Davis) to Edward's widow Matilda Johnston and their children Henry (with wife Nancy), Joseph (with wife Margaret) and Sarah (wife of Charles Splice) to correct the erroneous entry made in 1813.

This record, made 35 years after my ancestor's death, contains a wealth of information about his children and some grandchildren including names of spouses and a few death dates.  If I had stopped my search in 1852, I may not have found these details.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Those Places Thursday - Clark County Illinois

I recently traveled downstate to Clark County Illinois for a little bit of research.  My dad grew up in that area and most of his ancestors lived there - some as early as 1836.

Clark County Courthouse

My first stop was at the Clark County courthouse in Marshall.  I had visited there over 40 years ago when I was a baby genealogist and had extracted most of the information that I needed.  I double-checked a couple things that I was missing.  Most of their information is online at FamilySearch so I didn't need to copy anything.  I asked about some unusual records (guardian, election, etc) but they didn't have anything else that was accessible.

Closeup of Courthouse with World's Largest Gavel

From there, I went across the street to the Marshall library.  They had a few books on local history but not very much because there was a more extensive collection at the Clark County Genealogical library.

The Clark County Genealogical library was on the other side of the courthouse.  They acutally have a very good collection of local history and genealogy.  There were shelves and shelves of donated family histories, several books with cemetery readings, funeral home records, church histories, and a large collection of local high school yearbooks.  I had the most luck with their collection of newspaper clippings - which were indexed!  The library itself  is only open 3 afternoons a week and is staffed by volunteers.  Dalanne was very helpful while I was there.  The only drawback is that their collections are primarily from the eastern half of the county and my ancestors were from the western half.

Casey township library with bookworm
I ended my day at the Casey township library in the town of Casey.  The librarian there was also very helpful.  They have a large collection that focuses on the western half of the county as well as some from surrounding counties.  I found several items relating to my family including the Casey high school yearbooks from the years that my dad attended.

I spent the night at a bed and breakfast in downtown Casey - the 1890 Sleepover.  I have stayed there several times - in a former storefront with a cute decor.  The town of Casey itself is worth a visit -- it is the home of "Big Things" - world record holding replicas of a rocking chair, a mailbox, and windchime to name a few..  They even provided the world's largest gavel for the county courthouse (see photo above).

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

#52Ancestors - So Far Away

This week I'm going to talk a little about one of my descendants for a change.

My older daughter Donna was married to Micah Simonson.  He was in the US Navy and was stationed in Guam from 2010 to 2013.  If you don't know where Guam is, it is in the middle of the western Pacific Ocean - four hours by plane from the nearest continent of Asia. 

One of Guam's sayings is "Where America's Day Begins" because it is the first US Territory west of the International Dateline.  It is 15 hours ahead of Central Time which meant we had to plan our skype times carefully.

View from the Naval Base in Guam - Donna Simonson, Kimberly Nagy, Amanda Nagy

My younger daughter Amanda and I visited Donna and Micah in December 2011.  While there, we toured the island and learned a lot about Chamorro culture.  Guam was invaded by the Japanese early in World War 2 and there are a lot of battle sites and museums there.  There is still a large Naval Base and Air Force base on the island to help protect our interests in the Pacific.

Guam is a tropical island - average temperature is 87 every day of the year, and it always seems to rain in the afternoon.  It felt similar to Hawaii - the beach is just a few minutes away.  In fact, just as we tend to view Hawaii as a honeymoon destination, Guam is the honeymoon destination for couples from China, Korea and Japan.

I was glad to have the opportunity to visit this tiny island on the other side of the world.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wisdom Wednesday - Attending #SLIGAcademy

To continue with my pursuit of genealogical learning, I decided to attend SLIG Academy this year.
SLIG is the Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy and is celebrating their 25th year of providing intensive one-week courses.  SLIG Academy is a second week devoted to professional genealogists.

The course I signed up for is "You're Invited: Public Speaking From Concept to Delivery" coordinated by D. Joshua Taylor.  Having heard him speak several times previously, as well as taking a course from him at GRIPitt last year, I knew it would be a great course.

The week opened with a welcome breakfast for attendees in all seven of the Academy Courses.  The entertainment at breakfast was provided by members of the Debra Bonner Unity Gospel Choir.

They provided a rousing start to the week along with celebrating the life of Martin Luther King Jr. on his holiday.  Everyone was moving and clapping along.

Then the coursework started.  Day one consisted of lectures on topic development, marketing, publicity and responding to call for proposals.  And homework....

On Tuesday we discussed preparing syllabi, negotiating contracts, and all aspects of copyright consideration.  Then there was a reception at the nearby Ancestry Progenealogists Office.

Today, we will learn about tailoring our presentations to different audiences, as well as different types of speaking engagements.

We will have opportunities to give a talk to the class - one with slides, and one without.

Later this week, we will work on building presentations and how to survive the inevitable disaster.