Monday, December 21, 2009
Grandpa's instrument was not a violin it was a fiddle. Fiddles he said were for playing lively fun music for family and friends not the chamber kind of music. We loved to hear him play and often asked him to play for us. We would gather around him and listen until grandma said, "Enough those children need to get to bed." Then we would ask him to just play one more song, of course he would play another one for us.
The music we grew up on was old fashion country music, ballads and hymns. When the family got together at grandma and grandpa's the old tattered hymnals would be gotten out of the bookcase and real singing would begin. They would sing songs that would make everyone smile and sing along. Grandpa would get out the fiddle and play along. Now they call it improvising, then we just called it fiddling.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The day seemed normal to everyone in the area. Everyone in the area was out working on their farm hoping to get crops in before it was too late.
Down the street from my grandparents lived my grandmother’s sister Mildred and her husband Louis. Louis was out visiting the neighbors down the street while she stayed inside talking to her daughter in law Judy who lived next door. Judy’s husband Kenneth was busy at work in the field.
All the peace was soon disturbed when Judy and Mildred soon saw a man pull up into Judy and Kenneth’s house next door and walk inside. As Kenneth saw this he hurried over to his house to see what was up. Worried for her husband Judy soon entered the house herself since she and Mildred noticed that he hadn’t come out yet. As she entered she saw her husband with a gun being held up to his head by the man who she had seen enter the house.
After receiving a call from his wife, Louis came back from the neighbors. He entered the back yard of his son’s house and released the dogs that were held in the back yard. The man with the gun saw his releasing the dogs, and he came running out and shoot Louis in the drive way killing him. The man then came back inside and then shot Kenneth. Judy then ran away. The man continued to chase her shooting her multiple times in the back, but she continued to run away. She made her way to the Bockey house across the street, and the man then tried to run her over with his car instead crashing into the Bockey’s house.
As he searched the house for Judy he found Mildred in hall way trying to get into a locked door up stairs. He asked her where the girl was. Instead of telling him where she was, Mildred acted as if she had no idea where Judy was even though she was right behind the locked door with Mrs. Bockey. The man then tried to shoot Mildred in the head. Out of bullets, the gun did nothing to her.
Outside my dad rode up in a bike that he had just bought hoping to visit his aunt and uncle. As he was riding up the street a sheriff drove up to him, and the cope told him to get out of there. My dad not sure what was going on continued to ride to his aunt’s and uncle’s. He was surprised to find his uncle Louis on the drive way dead. As he saw his uncle the ambulance came up. My dad identified the man on the ground as his uncle to the ambulance. He was also surprised to find that there was another person dead in the house. He knew right away that it was his cousin Kenneth.
Meanwhile, the man with the gun saw the sheriff outside of the house he was in. Thinking quickly he left the girl he was after and climbed out the window open to the back side of the house. He then ran out through the corn field that was in back.
The whole town was on watch for days. Everyone seemed afraid that they might be his next victim. My Grandparents, aunts, and my dad retreated to Van Wert afraid that he might have been hiding in their barn. “Being told that we had to leave our home and pack up and move out scared us all. We had lived in our house for years, and this was scary to all of to even think about what happened and what could happen if they didn’t catch him,” said my grandmother.
A couple of weeks after this incident the man was caught in Wisconsin for another crime. Police then identified the man who killed Louis and Kenneth as the murderer. He had committed other burglaries before the murder of Louis and Kenneth. One of his friends also later reported that he had mentioned that at the next house that he went to he was going to kill someone. He ended up keeping his word by killing Louis and Kenneth putting him in jail
“It was my first close experience with death and crime. I was quick to realize that crime like that can happen anywhere, and I was not as safe in that small town as I had thought,” said my dad later on.
“Even today, I still think about this incident every time I walk out to the barn on our farm,” stated my aunt Lois who now lives on my grandparent’s farm. “I always wonder now what could be hiding in the corn stocks that I don’t know is there.”
Journalism Final Family History Paper, by my daughter Jen
Saturday, December 5, 2009
The Noel's came for Thanksgiving. Their home was filled with joy.
December 1st was different. The youngest Noel didn't call. He didn't write.
The Noel's drove to see him. No one answered. No Noel.
25 days passed. No one baked the Christmas goodies. No one bought and wrapped the presents. Oneta Noel's health began to fail her. She was too weak to talk.
Oneta Noel lived on Christmas, but died December 26th with a broken heart.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Descendants of Champlain Cox
Generation No. 1
1. CHAMPLAIN1 COX He married ELLENDER BUNCH 01 Jan 1850 in Greene Co, Indiana.
Children of CHAMPLAIN COX and ELLENDER BUNCH are:
i. LUCRESAE2 COX, b. 1847; m. UNK, 20 Feb 1885, Greene Co, Indiana.
ii. JESSE R. COX, b. 1860; m. UNK, 08 Oct 1885, Greene Co, Indiana.
2. iii. EVAN COX, b. 19 Jun 1867; d. 01 Aug 1971, Greene County, Indiana.
Generation No. 2
2. EVAN2 COX (CHAMPLAIN1) was born 19 Jun 1867, and died 01 Aug 1971 in Greene County, Indiana. He married WINIFRED H. HUNTER 28 May 1893 in Greene County, Indiana, daughter of WILLIAM HUNTER and EMILY BUCKNER. She was born 25 Oct 1875 in Greene County, Indiana, and died 16 Feb 1962 in Greene County, Indiana.
Notes for EVAN COX:
His grave marker states that he lived to be 104 years old.
Notes for WINIFRED H. HUNTER:
Oneta Crites wrote: "Oh, how Winfred loved Winnie, she got pneumonia and he walked several miles to visit her; he took a cold that went into pneumonia and they both died about two weeks apart at 86 years of age.
Children of EVAN COX and WINIFRED HUNTER are:
i. CLAUDE3 COX, b. 19 Oct 1893, Greene County, Indiana; d. 16 Dec 1987, Greene County, Indiana; m. GRACE; b. 12 Aug 1901; d. 03 Sep 1981, Indiana.
ii. ELMA COX, b. 1896, Greene County, Indiana; d. 1992.
3. iii. ZELMA COX, b. 1896, Greene County, Indiana; d. 1989.
iv. BRONSO COX, b. 09 Feb 1899, Greene County, Indiana; d. 22 Oct 1984, Greene Co, Indiana; m. ROSALIE; b. 12 Mar 1905; d. 18 Dec 1969, Greene County, Indiana.
v. ELLA COX, b. 14 Aug 1901, Greene County, Indiana; d. 1901, Indiana; m. ALZA CLUMBOUGH, 09 Mar 1918, Greene Co, Indiana.
vi. DELMER COX, b. 1902, Greene Co, IN.
vii. ELMER COX, b. 1902, Greene County, Indiana; d. 1976, Bridgeport, Conn.; m. BELL.
viii. ESTAL COX, b. 08 Nov 1906, Greene County, Indiana; d. 09 Feb 1989, Greene County, Indiana; m. (1) MARIE JOSEPHINE MILLER; b. 27 Feb 1911; m. (2) WILMA JEAN MARTINDALE, Greene Co, Indiana.
ix. WILLIAM COX, b. 1909, Greene County, Indiana; d. 1973, Louisanna; m. JEAN.
x. DOVIE COX, b. 1911, Greene County, Indiana; m. LOUIS WEAKS.
xi. EVA COX, b. 1913, Greene County, Indiana; m. EARL PULSE.
4. xii. GENEVA COX, b. 1913, Greene County, Indiana; d. 1995.
xiii. MAC COX, b. 1915, Greene County, Indiana; d. 1988, Greene County, Indiana.
Generation No. 3
3. ZELMA3 COX (EVAN2, CHAMPLAIN1) was born 1896 in Greene County, Indiana, and died 1989. She married RAYMOND MCCELLAN PITTMAN.
Children of ZELMA COX and RAYMOND PITTMAN are:
i. LEONA4 PITTMAN, b. Abt. 1922.
ii. NAOMA PITTMAN, b. Abt. 1922.
4. GENEVA3 COX (EVAN2, CHAMPLAIN1) was born 1913 in Greene County, Indiana, and died 1995. She married ELMO SHIELDS. He was born 1910, and died 1977.
Child of GENEVA COX and ELMO SHIELDS is:
i. REX4 SHIELDS, b. 13 Mar 1932, Greene Co, IN.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Cherryteatime 2 shorten & condense genealogy. List the famous people in history that U R related 2. Mine R Daniel Boone & Geo Washington. #genealogy
Cherryteatime 2 shorten & condense genealogy. Give the list of family names that you are researching. #genealogy
Andrews, Baber, Benham, Bland, Buckner, Bogard, Bryan, Bryant, Buckner, Calvert, Clark, Crites, Gentry, Goodwin, Hamilton, Hobbs, Hodges, Huffman, Hunter, King, Lamb, Lanier, Lester, Long, McCain, McFarland, Owen, Pickard, Stalcup, Starks, Turley, Vandeventer, Washington.
Cherryteatime 2 shorten & condense genealogy. Give the number of people you have listed on your computer. #genealogy
7416 total number of individuals
2465 total number of marriages
22 total number of generations
1520 total number of surnames
Cherryteatime 2 shorten & condense genealogy. Use geography. Our family came from & moved across the pond, & settled in the state of... #genealogy
Our family were Ulster Scots that moved across the pond. The Calverts moved first to Virginia, and then to Indiana. The Hunters moved first to North Carolina, then to Greene County Indiana.
Cherryteatime 2 shorten & condense genealogy. As Gr Grandma said, "They were all good people." Or mention 1 person that stands out the most. #genealogy
Gr Grandma Hunter’s Mother in Law…
1. MICKEY ANN1 PICKARD (WILLIAMA, HENRYB PACKARD, WILLIAMC, WILLIAM HENRYD PICKARD, NICHOLASE, BARTHOLOMEWF, BARTHOLOMEWG, ROBERTH, JOHNI, ROBERTJ, JOHNK) was born 26 Mar 1850 in Greene County, Indiana, and died 19 Jan 1929 in Greene County, Indiana1. She was raised by her maternal grandparents the Hodges. She married three Civil War Vets, and then a German immigrant. She married (1) THOMAS CRITES 07 Mar 1867 in Greene County, Indiana, son of WILLIAM CRITES and MARY DORROUGH. He was born 15 Sep 1844 in Perry (or Wayne County), Ashland, Ohio2, and died 15 Jul 1876 in Greene County, Indiana. She married (2) SOLOMON IRWIN 23 Sep 1877 in Greene County, Indiana3. He was born 1810 in Kentucky, and died Aft. 1900. She married (3) JOHN J. CLIFFT 22 Oct 1893 in Greene County, Indiana4, son of THOMAS CLIFFT and MELINDA JONES. He was born 22 Feb 1837 in KY. She married (4) JOHN JENSON 04 Apr 1901 in Greene County, Indiana, son of DAVID JENSON and MARY JOHNSON. He was born 24 Aug 1851 in Germany.
Cherryteatime If U had 2 share your genealogy work in 2 minutes what would U say? Just try & tweet your genealogy story. It is difficult. #genealogy
Monday, September 7, 2009
Update from July is that I got a copy's of her death record and guardianship record. The question now is Goodwin or Goodman cemetery? One cemetery was lost to a strip mine.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The newspaper headlines in Fort Wayne Saturday, August 25, 1934, read “Minimizing the Glamour.” With human consideration for the wishes of the innocent survivors of the late Homer Van Meter, slain when he resisted arrest by police officers in St. Paul, MN, and with the purpose of minimizing the glamour which excessive publicity so easily confers upon enemies of society, the News-Sentinel will not “play up” or sensationalize accounts of the dead bandit’s funeral services and burial nor will we make any attempt to procure photos of the same.
Carey and Mary (Miller) Van Meter had three children: Harry, Homer, and baby sister Helen. They lived in the middle class Bloomingdale neighborhood, where the children went to school. Carey worked for the railroad, and Mary stayed home to care for their three children. Both Cary and Mary were dead when Homer started getting in trouble with the “law.”
Homer’s first crime was for “disorderly conduct,” in Aurora, IL in 1923. Later that same year he was convicted of vehicle theft in IL, and sentenced to 1 to 10 years in the Southern IL State Penitentiary. In 1925 he and Con Livingston held up passengers for several hundred dollars and jewelry. Con Livingston was killed by the police in South Bend, IN, and Homer Van Meter fled to Chicago, IL where the police caught up with Homer and he was arrested. Homer served time at the Lake County Reformatory, but was transferred to the IN State Prison. May 18, 1933 the parole board recommendation was to free Van Meter, because they “believed that he would make good in the future.”
There were times and occasions when Homer Van Meter tried to “make good in the future.” Homer would disappear, and the police wouldn’t “hear” from Homer for months at a time. One time he was believed to be living in New Orleans, LA. After Homer was on parole from the Indiana State Prison, he refused to take part in Indiana bank robberies. He did however participate in the IL, OH, and MI Dillinger gang bank robberies.
John Dillinger was released from prison June 1933, and then he was back in jail in Lima, OH. September 1933 there was a raid on the Lima, OH jail, and Dillinger was freed, and Homer Van Meter rejoined the Dillinger gang.
Relatives said that Homer was handsome. He had a strange twitch in his leg that caused his friends to call him “Shake Leg.” He could be quite charming when he wanted to be, which is why John Dillinger used Homer as the advance man. Homer was often sent into the banks ahead of the gang to scope things out. His good looks and personality made it easy for him to enter the bank and put on the charm to find out inside information.
The Dillinger gang often drove in stolen cars, and one time they were in a car with Michigan plates when a police car came upon them. John Dillinger was reported to have been ready for a shootout, when Homer stopped him, left the car, and went up to the police car. He told them that they were from Michigan, and they needed to know how to get back on the right road to Michigan. He then showed an interest in the squad car and their machine guns. Homer said, “It’s a wicked weapon and would end John Dillinger if you found him.” Homer cheerfully shouted, “Good Night.” As he went back to the stolen car and John Dillinger.
Homer didn’t write letters home, and his relatives said that they had nothing to do with him. One winter day his brother Harry went to his garage where his beat up old car was parked. When he entered the garage he saw a beautiful shiny new car with the keys and the title on the front seat. Harry had to go to court and prove that the car was a repayment for money that Homer owed Harry.
Information from The News-Sentinel, Fort Wayne, IN newspaper microfilm August 24 & 25, 1934, ACPL, Fort Wayne, IN.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Mickey Pickard (Crites Irwin Clifft) Jenson b. 26 Mar 1850 d. 19 Jan 1929.
Mickey has been a real puzzle. She was married four times, and out lived all four husbands. Her first husband Thomas Crites is buried in Tulip Cemetery, Greene County, IN. Her second husband Solomon Irwin (don't know where he is buried). Her third husband John Clifft is buried next to his first wife in Walnut Grove Cemetery, Greene County, IN. Her fourth husband John Jenson b. 24 Aug 1851 is buried by his first wife Margaret in Grandview Cemetery, Greene County, Indiana.
Is Mickey a nickname for Mary?
Where is Mickey buried?
Sunday, July 5, 2009
From the New York Evening Post, and published in the Cinncinnati Enquirer Newspaper, Saturday, December 8, 1883, Roll 86, page 10, Column 6, Allen County Public Library, microfilm newspaper collection, Fort Wayne, Indiana
“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?”
“Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.”
Two quotes from, "Ain't I a Woman?" Sojourner Truth speech at a women’s rights convention in Akron, Ohio, December 1851, from the webpage of Fordham: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/sojtruth-woman.html
Sojourner Truth's bust in Washington, DC
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Lucy MacLean was a daughter of an American Revolution Patriot, known as a belle and an authoress of some merit. This is her story as written in 1883.
Olean (N.Y.) Correspondence New York Tribune. Published in the Cinncinnati Enquirer Newspaper, Saturday, November 24, 1883, Roll 86, page 12, Column 7, Allen County Public Library, microfilm newspaper collection, Fort Wayne, Indiana
While in New York the other day a gentleman of this place noticed a gray-haired woman begging at one of the Park Row entrances to the Post-Office. He was informed that the woman’s name was Lucy E. MacLean, and that she was a person of literary tendencies. Residents of this place recognize the name as that of a singular and unhappy woman well known here; whose strange actions have caused much comment here. Her mania for bustles was a predominating characteristic. In summer and winter alike she wore a dark calico dress, with a long full skirt and a waist of a style in vogue twenty or twenty-five years ago. She is tall, and in other days was doubtless graceful.
She is the daughter of Captain MacLean, who served in the Revolutionary War, and who afterward moved with his family to Ohio, and from there to Springville, Erie County, and this state. Lucy Maclean and her sister Sarah moved from there about twenty-five years ago to this place. When the two girls were young Lucy was a great belle, was pretty, talented and gay; and her admirers were many. She also wrote poetry of some merit, and many of her productions found their way to the pages of Graham’s Godey’s and the Knickerbockers. One of their best pieces was a satire on a schoolmaster who had unintentionally, as it appeared afterward, given her offense. This had a great run in the newspapers of that day. She had an extensive correspondence with the literary men of the day, and among others with Mr. Longfellow. While yet in the bloom of her youth she became acquainted with Salmon P. Chase, with whom, it is said, she corresponded. It was not long after the correspondence was terminated that her friends notices that her actions were strange. She manifested more and more crazy impulses until finally she became hopelessly insane. For twenty years she has roamed about aimlessly, dependent upon the charity of her sister.
Some of Lucy’s habits are singular. For years she haunted the banks of the city, continually inquiring for remittances that never came. Finally she gave this up, and took to borrowing or trying to borrow, small sums of money. Her usual way was to enter a store when the proprietor was busily engaged, apologize for her intrusion in a lady-like manner, and asked for the loan of from twenty-five cents to $2- never more that that and never less. A refusal had no effect, as she would return the next day with an apology and like request. She has frequently been to New York, and several years ago she went to Washington to certain members of Congress about a subsidy she claimed she was entitled to as an authoress. It is a mystery how she traveled, as she had no money. Some say she did not use any money at all, but trusted to the gallantry of the conductors not to put her off their trains between stations. And when she had gone as far on one train as possible to wait patiently for the next Some of her bazarites are shown by an incident that happened here five or six years ago. Theodore Tilton was to lecture one evening, and she took a stand at the foot of the stairs, awaiting his coming. When he approached with two gentlemen she went toward him, touched him on the shoulders and said: “Mr. Tilton, I want you to pay me the money you own me.” Tilton was so astonished that for some time he was unable to say anything, but as length he asked here for what he was indebted to her. “You have been using my lecture long enough,” she said,” and now I want you to pay me for it.”
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
When I moved to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1985, I began my research of the Hunter family. I looked into the history of James Hunter, General of the Regulators. I found the Alamance Battleground historical site, which is a state park. There I found a statue dedicated to James Hunter, General of the Regulators. Being a northern Yankee, I was embarrassed and tread carefully into my research about the Regulators afraid what I might find out about the Hunters and the Ku Klux Klan.
I called the Alamance Battleground, Burlington, N.C., and identified myself as a Hunter relative. I asked a lot of questions about James Hunter and the Regulators. Feeling comfortable with the way our conversation was going I asked, “Was there a connection to the Ku Klux Klan?” I was told that there was not a connection to the Ku Klux Klan. In fact Mrs. Hunter had started a school for African American girls in her home. A school was later built by the Hunters, and this school was one of the first public schools in North Carolina.
Copies of this family letter have been passed around for years. I first read it around 1967. H.W. Hunter the writer was one of two Hunters: either Harold W. Hunter, b. 25 Feb 1903, d. 1979; or Harvey W. Hunter, b. 17 Sep 1874, d. 30 Jun 1944. Retyping "The Hunters," by H.W. Hunter, I have tried to keep it as close to the original as possible, making only minor changes as *noted.
The Hunters came from Scotland originally. Some of them lived for some time in North Ireland and were called Scotch-Irish, but most of them lived at a town still known as Hunters Town, just north of the border of England and Scotland.
There was almost continuous war between the two countries, lasting about one thousand years. The Scotch were vastly outnumbered and were killed and robbed or driven from homes on numerous occasions.
Some years before the emigration to America they were defeated and after the surrender the British lined them up and shot one out of twenty of them in all of the border towns. In 1739 there was trouble again and it looked like another war was starting. Some wealthy Scotchman had purchased a tract of land (100,000 acres) along the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. This was later increased to 500,000 acres and included a great deal of what is known as the Piedmont district in North Carolina. This was higher land. Ships were chartered and several thousand Scotch-Irish and Scotch people came to North Carolina. Four Hunter brothers and their families were on one boat. This was in 1739. They were William Hunter, James Hunter, Thomas Hunter and John Hunter. They settled along the Cape Fear River. James Hunter later had a large plantation on Sandy Creek in Alamana (*Alamance) County. The others lived near. The land was good and they were all prosperous. The produce was tobacco, tar, turpentine, cotton and grain. This was shipped down the Cape Fear River to Wilmington and then shipped to England and elsewhere. This trade kept up during the Revolutionary War and was prosperous until the Civil War when a blockage was effective. Prosperity does not always mean peace. The Scotch had hated the English for more than a thousand year, and the English were rulers here as well as at home. About the year 1765 Governor Tryon a tyrannical military man became Governor of North Carolina. He was a driver and ordered the settlers to do a lot of things to which they objected. He spent a lot of money needlessly. He built a state house costing $10, 000 (Don’t seem much now under Roosevelt)This aroused the ire of the Scotch and an organization was formed known as the Regulators, later known as White Caps and still later as K.K.K. (*This has been proven not to be true.)
James Hunter was Commander of this armed force and a battle was fought at Alaman Creek which was his home. About 200 were killed and wounded. The Regulators run out of ammunition as only one third of them were armed. There were about 2000 Regulators against 1100 British. The Regulators were desperate, 13 were captured, 1 was hanged, later six more were hanged and six were rescued by their friends breaking down the jail. William Hunter was among the rescued. James Hunter with other leaders fled to Pennsylvania. After about three years he returned to his family, who had been card for by his brothers. His home had been destroyed by Governor Tryon. He re-built his home and was never molested. About three years after this the Revolution broke out and the British left North Carolina. This was in 1776.
John Hunter (the brother of James Hunter, Thomas Hunter and possibly William Hunter) was the father of John Hunter ( the father of Daniel Hunter and four other boys, John, Andy, Sam and William also five girls, Lucinda, Mary, Susana, Cynthia and Margaret) who at (15 yrs) married Geo. Baber (40 yrs) and became the mother of Jack, Aden and As a Baber of Kansas, Ill. John Hunter was born in 1770 in North Carolina and came to Indiana in 1815 settled in Greene County in 1816. He died in 1863 at the age if 93 yrs. His wife long known as Grandmother Hunter was a medical advisor and lived until about 1861. All ten of their children lived until they were grown but were all outlived (except Daniel) by their parents, Daniel Hunter was born in 1798 and died in1864 of black measles which also killed his wife and two of the boys and 1 girl, the girl being Mary Anderson, age 83 and is now living near Solsberry, Indiana. Only part of two families of Hunters came from Scotland at this time, leaving hundreds of families there. I doubt whether it was a good move or not. Only one family moved to Indiana from North Carolina. I think this was a mistake. The bulk of our people are yet in the Carolinas or still back in Scotland and Ireland. Indiana is not so bad but I don’t see why John Hunter dragged (dragged is right) his family over 100 miles of good Hoosier land and settled them N. E. of Tulip on the first poor land that he found. He found a good spring.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
“Saybrook’s Quadrimillenial, Commemoration of the 250th Anniversary of the Settlement of Saybrook, November 27, 1885,” Hartford, Published by, Press of Clark & Smith, 1886. Pages 46 – 54.
The Rev. John Edward Bushnell, Pastor of the Congregational Church in Fairfield, Conn., also a native of Saybrook, then spoke on “Saybrook in the Revolution.”
The distinguished part borne by Connecticut in the Revolution needs no praise to-day. Her honors are safe, woven into the life of the nation’s history. Enough to say that it was hers to give a Governor, Trumbull, to Washington’s right hand- his “Brother Jonathan” – in counsel; that she advanced her millions for the “sinew” of that war, and sent with this sinew a soul to quicken it, in the persons of 32,000 out of her total 40,000 fighting men-sent out of her own borders, leaving her own precious homes defenseless, that they might of to the continental army. She was the first of the colonies to instruct delegates to the continental Congress to strike for liberty. Her sleepless devotion had ready at hand for the battle of Bunker Hill, 3,000 men, and of those whom Washington commanded at the beginning of the conflicts about New York, more than one-half were from her valiant yeomanry. While then Connecticut was a small star among those that shone upon the old flag that led the Revolutionary forces, she was light up- as it seems to her always modest children-with a luster that was shadowed by none.
My theme is Saybrook’s portion of her lion-share.
But that we wish to-day to honor the details of history, it would be safe and sufficient to say that she bore her share along with her sister towns in the patient, devoted service of that generation. In looking for eminent distinctions in her pages we do not find them. Never did I so earnestly crave a battle-field for the old town, with an honored list of killed or captured, and thrilling adventures by land and sea, and then to be able to take from their sacred resting-place the old war –scarred banners and wave them here, and say to the blooming generation of the present hour; “These are the standards that your fathers held when they drove the British invader from their gates.” And to think that if they had only been quick enough, they might have started the battle of Lexington among the reeds and bulrushes of our own fair streams!
We can wish all this, but it could not be. The war was not here. The plan of it was New York- north and south – cutting off New England from the rest of the continent on the one side and preventing such a division on the other. Except for excursions for booty or malice, there was no motive to bring the enemy to our towns. But while such was the plan and sphere of the war, there remained always the possibility of a change, and the consequent danger felt for Saybrook, so favorably situated for strategic purposes. The British boats hovered about Long Island and menaced coast and river. For their own reasons they did not attempt to possess the river. Perhaps they preferred to have us keep her bar. There is an abundant reason to believe that the people of Saybrook were thoroughly alive to the spirit of the Revolution; the constant view of British patrols passing up the Sound was a daily reminder, if they needed any.
In the record of the colony we find that among the companies which went to the relief of Boston during the Lexington alarms, April 1775, was one of fifty-nine men from Saybrook. In July of the same year the Point was further aroused by the entrance of a British sloop chasing a Colony schooner and examining her, while the militia, drawn by the excitement to the shore, made a few exchanges of shot with them-the first of those grim courtesies of the war.
In the following year, (1776), Gov. Trumbull issued proclamation requesting all persons who were exempt from active military service to organize companies to keep up the war spirit at home. Saybrook was one of the towns to respond heartily.
In August, 1776, a ship was built at Saybrook and passed over the bar; the largest with which this old Neptunian rib had ever had the honor of trying conclusions. In the same season, Saybrook with three other towns raised the seventh regiment for the continental army. In the May previous so zealous were they that an appeal was made to the Legislature, and granted, for building a fort on the site of the old one, to contain six carriage-guns for the defense of the town and river interests. To encourage them the more in this patriotic action, twenty men were sent to their assistance out of the regular army. Needless to say, this defensive enterprise took time, labor, and expense. It was watched with anxious interest by all the colony. With the work of ship-building and fort-raising, in addition to the sending of men away to the frontier lines of service, the eventful year of 1776 was filled for them with sacrifice and the true spirit of the Revolution. The State records are a sufficient witness to the fidelity of her citizens. She has her share of names in the roll of private soldiers who laid down their lives in battle, and of those who were discharged with honorable wounds. A just proportion of them, too, bore the title of Adjutant, Quartermaster, Ensign, Lieutenant, Captain, and if they failed to attain to a Generalship it was because the old wolf-hunter from Pomfret could not spare them from their trusty flint-locks for the idle business of wearing the gilt. We may add incidentally to our previous mention, that the building of the ship at Saybrook seems to have been made a matter of universal concern. Beginning with January, 1776, the records are replete with solicitude about that boat. Capt. X. is appointed to build it. At another date, Capt. Y. is sent to supervise and hasten him. Then follows frequent mention of acts about rigging and duck for that boat at Saybrook, not to speak of moneys sent to lubricate the machinery of progress still more. I am not sure but that it was the cackling of the whole roost full over that one egg which frightened the British fleet from our river. The trouble did not end till the “Oliver Cromwell” was safely over the bar, and certain of the builders were brought to trial for alleged abuse of the building money. Whether she, on the high seas, kept up the notoriety begun on the stays I cannot report, but as Azariah Whittlesey, of Saybrook, was her master, it is safe to say that she never ran from the enemy’s fire.
In the same month that this naval thunderer went out of the river, wafted on full sail by the acclamations of soldiers at the fort and the jubilees of her citizens along the shore, another of the town’s sea-princes, Capt. Seth Warner, received commission and money to raise a crew of 110 seamen for duty on the northern lakes. For the few months following, the life of the town is varied by excitements attending watch on British patrol-boats, the going and coming of companies, and the perfecting of the fort.
Letters of 1776 are in the possession of our townsmen, Mr. Tully, written by valiant soldiers of the place, far off in the Massachusetts camps, filled with the exciting news from the very front line of war. Her sons were not to be drawn into the war reluctantly; they were in an even line with the foremost on land and sea.
The year 1777 opened, as we may imagine, with increased fever in the veins of Revolution. In April, the town receives peculiar renown through the scientific genius of one of her sons, David Bushnell, who was born in the Westbrook parish. This man appears before Governor and Council to exhibit a torpedo arrangement for naval warfare. The acute minds of Brother Jonathan and Gen. Putnam were not slow to see the merits of his idea, and the furnished him with the requisite provision, that he might put it to an immediate trial. Making his headquarters at our ferry, then went to work to construct the famous” American Turtle,” by which one Yankee expected to sink the whole British navy. He inventor began with a in the alphabet of the science. His first labor was to prove that gunpowder would explode under water. Then he built the boat. It outwardly resembled tow tortoise shells in contact, seven and one-half feet long, with just room for the captain, who was also the crew in this case, and with air enough to last thirty minutes. Most of the ballast was attached to the keel and could be lowered to the bottom for anchorage. The boat was so arranged with a paddle system that it could be moved in either direction, the paddles being operated by the feet. He had a barometer in the boat by which he could estimate his distance from the surface, and also a compass by which to direct his course. He was especially troubled about the use of light. A flame would consume the air in a short time. A kind of wood was found that was suitable for his purpose except when it was injured by frost, and he wrote to Dr. Franklin to inquire about the use of phosphorus, which he was finally able to substitute.
Gen. Putnam himself was down to see the first experiment, which was unsuccessful, in not grappling the magazine to the enemy’s ship. Other attempts were made, but, alas for human hopes? The British tar still rode the main. The good frigate Cerverus came very near destruction off New London. The torpedo, however, was so stupid as to grapple an inoffensive Colony schooner near her, and demolished it instead. After this blunder “the Turtle” was excused and allowed to put its head within its shell, but not until it had succeeded in alarming the enemy and making them extremely cautious about their naval demonstrations. The inventor then used the same principle in the employment of kegs of powder, which were to explode by a system of machinery, on contact with the hostile ships. A fleet of them was set afloat on the Delaware River and commissioned to drift down the stream and destroy the enemy. But this time it was the ice, (was ever an inventor so beset as ours?) and the kegs, having just as much feeling against the ice as against the British fleet, went bravely to work and cleared the river of it, leaving the English-excepting one unfortunate vessel which went up with the ice-wondering what manner of country it could be where water, and ice, and sometimes schooners, floated up-hill. They were forthwith thrown into a panic, for they ranged the shores along, and fired mercilessly at the floating kegs till they were glad to hide their heads. To-day every American school-lad knows where the “Battle of the Kegs” was contested, when the valley of the Delaware was shadowed throughout by the grim visage of war. As showing the shamefacedness of the English over this event, it may be mentioned that they offered a reward for Bushnell, living or dead. But he escaped to serve his country to the end of the war. This submarine science thus begun, though not as apparently successful as it seemed to deserve, was the beginning of great things. It established forever the principle of submarine explosives and set a whole school of successors (notably Robert Fulton) at work on the same idea; and to-day our government with its thousands of miles of open sea-coast, and without a single ship for the defense of it, worthy of the flag it carries, is rendered almost impregnable against the costliest iron-clad fleets of modern Europe, by that deadly little scourge which works out of sight and brings death and destruction out of the depths of the sea. If then, as seems to be just, the greatest war-defense of our nation, the American torpedo, is the youngest child of the genius which had the “American Turtle” for its first-born, then to Yale College which schooled that genius, which eclipses every other in Revolutionary annals, for the science which was then rudely shapen, at present promises to change every principle of naval equipment and warfare for all nations. During the rest of the war as they began, the people of this town went on, doing their share of the work; sending out men; on guard at home.
Owing to the location of the town, there was frequent contact with that subtle kind of foe which works without sword, by stealth and in the darkness-the enemy within the gates. The British on the Sound were glad of the Tory aid which brought them contraband supplies from up the river. We are proud to learn that in their passage down the river, they found a sleepless watch at the Point. And this brings us to the only sanguinary battle of the Revolution fought on Saybrook soil. A mass of contraband articles had been taken from the Tories, and a young man- William Tully- was set to watch it, in the house formerly owned by Capt. John Whittlesey, still standing at the Point.
On a certain night eight Tories came to the house and demanded entrance. Tully begged to be excused from opening the door. They broke in without further parley and rushed forward. Tully’s flint was faithful to the trip of the hammer and struck fire. The musket ball passed through the first man, and to Tully’s surprise he still advanced, but the man directly back of him dropped dead. Tully then surrounded the other six men and would have incontinentally put them all to the bayonet (and did wound one of them), had they not contrived to escape by the windows. The first man whom Tully shot finally discovered that the ball had passed through him, and dropped dead with one hand on the window and the other grasping a chest of tea. The retreating forces left a quarter of their number dead on the field-or floor- and a quarter of the remaining were carried away wounded in their arms. It is, perhaps, noteworthy that the continental army did not lose a man.
About the same time a Mr. Charles Williams of the Point also constituted himself a continental army, and hearing one night the rubbing of boat-keels on the beach, ran out and cried to the passing winds; “Turn out, guards! Turn out!”and the enemy fled, pursued by imaginary legions of the adversary. This man’s name takes us gracefully over to Groton. His son, Daniel Williams, he allowed to go as substitute for another man at Fort Griswold, receiving in payment a hogshead of cider, the legal tender for debts in those days. Young Daniel reached the fort on the day before the massacre, and was killed while passing powder to the soldiers in the fort. He was the youngest member of the garrison. Of Saybrook men killed at Fort Griswold, there were in all five; several others were wounded. Among those taken prisoners was a Saybrook man, Lieutenant Jabez Stowe, who seems to have been a valiant soldier. The government afterward remunerated him for the losses and hardships endured by him in the service, and it was even proposed to give him a medal of honor.
It is, I may add, a tradition in my own family circle that there was also a brother of this Lieut. Stowe present at the attack on Fort Griswold, who escaped death by concealment among the bodies of the slain, and after the slaughter walked to this town, to his own home, bringing the first intelligence of the disaster.
Such are the fragments of history which make up the story of our town in the fevered days of the Revolution.
If that part were not a conspicuous one it was certainly a faithful: heroic, in that they did all that God or man could ask of them.
To know what the town was then, we must divest our fancies of those colorings which make it now to us the fairest corner of the globe. They fought for homes, humbler far than those which adorn its streets to-day, but they were homes as precious to them. Perhaps a dozen of the dwellings then standing are standing yet- those changed, and all else how changed! Suppose the homes that make the town for us all gone; remove both church edifices now standing; put the predecessor of this one, where we now are met, across the street on the public green; gather by fancy into that plain meeting-house for weekly devotion all the people of the town, and at the head of that Christian fold put that venerable and illustrious man, Rev William Hart, for fifty-two years the honored and honoring pastor, who through his long and useful ministry was known as one of the very foremost thinkers, scholars and debaters of his day; form our streets remove those stately trees which are now our pride; take the paint from most of the dwellings, and on the remaining substitute the plain, not costly, red of that day; destroy the fences and abridge the walks to narrow unkept paths; think of the men as walking about in homely garment, spun by the hands of their good wives and ruddy daughters, and earning their living by their own hard industrious tilling of the soil where God had ordered it; ascribe unto them the princely spirit of the sons and daughters of God, who scorned the fear of man, with whom liberty was synonymous with life, and who were willing to do and die for the sweet sake of that liberty; and we have Saybrook in the Revolution.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Harvest of Death
Terrible Boiler Explosion!
Greene County’s Horror!!
Fearful Loss of Life
Particulars, Incidents, & C., & C.
Never before has it been our duty as a newspaper reporter to chronicle a more sudden, brief, and terrible disaster, in which the elements of horror, pain and suffering were more closely interwoven, than in describing the awful death that befell almost a score of our fellow citizens on last Friday morning. While the storm clouds of Heaven were marshalling their forces for a terrific war of the elements, and a deep unnatural gloom was settling down upon the earth like a funeral pall, the boiler in the mill of Hunter Bros. Situated about nine miles northeast of this place, exploded, and carrying, in all its terrible force, death and destruction to many of our fellowmen.
During the past week some new grinding machinery had been placed in the mill, which was formerly a saw mill and a number of the neighbors gathered there on Friday morning to see the machinery work. The day was cold, disagreeable and rainy, and those who were present naturally gathered about the engine and boiler to warm, when without a moments warning the boiler exploded, wrecking the building completely and killing twelve persons, and wounding eight. The machinery was thrown in every direction and not a particle of the mill left standing. The cause of the awful accident was beyond question, a dry boiler, and someone one doubt connected with the mill discovering this, commenced pumping water into the empty boiler with the above fatal result. The following is complete list of those who were killed: Abner Vandeventer, aged 60 years cut in two; John Speltz, aged 75 years gash in the forehead; John Wilkie, aged 30 years crushed with a mill stone; James Hunter, aged 34 years cut in abdomen; Irwin B. Rea, aged 20, portion of the head severed from the body; John Hunter aged 20 years head blown away; Wash Bender, aged 13 years, leg blown off, John Hamilton, aged 15 years, head blown entirely away; Ed Hunter, aged 7 years, and Howard Hunter, aged 5 years, portions of their heads severed from their bodies; Owen Sarver, aged 14 years, head blown off; Jacob Brubaker, aged 14 terribly mutilated, died the next day. The wounded are Walter Hunter, aged 7 years right arm fractured and body badly scalded; John Bender, aged 11 years not seriously injured; Wm. Bland, aged 20 years, leg injured; Henry Bland scalded, Ahart Brubaker, leg scalded. Those who are wounded will probably recover, although some are seriously injured and may yet die.
This is beyond question the most horrible and fatal accident that ever occurred in Greene County, and has desolated many homes, and caused mourning in many hearts. Four of those who were killed were heads of families; the rest young men and boys.
No one in or about the mill escaped death or being wounded. A man, who was unloading corn at the time, was killed and his wagon torn to pieces, strange to say, his horses escaped without a scratch.
Three little boys were seated on a bench on top of the boiler warming themselves when it exploded. One was killed instantly, and the other two badly wounded and scalded. One boy was thrown into a tree and fell from there into a branch of water by the mill, and was one of the first to escaped and tell the story of the great horror.
The scene of the disaster was pitiable in the extreme. Pieces of men’s bodies, torn clothing and portions of the machinery were all thrown promiscuously together. The greater number of those killed were buried Sunday and a gloom sorrowful beyond expression seemed over the entire community. The wreck was visited by hundreds of people during Saturday and Sunday, and the sympathy of many hearts flowed out to the afflicted and bereft relations of those who had been so suddenly called away from earth. Death is terrible at any time, even when we watch at the bedside of those who we know are doomed to die. We feel that he is truly the “king of terrors,” but when our loved ones go from us in the morning well, happy, and the promise of long life before them, and before the noon are brought back mangled corpses, then and then only, can we measure the depth and extent of the suffering the stricken relatives of those who were killed in this disaster must experience.
It will long be remembered as a “black Friday” in the history of Greene County, and we indulge the hope that we may never again be called upon to write such a story of suffering and sorrow.
The above article copied word for word from a single column article that originally appeared in the publication “The Weekly Bloomfield Democrat,” the year 1877, day and month are unknown.
This copy transcribed by Benita Sheets Steyer, from copy obtained from Norma Purcell by Mable Crites Johnson in Greene County, Indiana May 2008.
The following lists the names of the deceased, approximate dates of birth and death, age at the time of the explosion, family relations, Civil War connections, and burial information:
(George)Wash (ington) Bender, b. 30 Sep 1864 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 13. Son of George W & S Bender. His father George Bender served with Co C 71st Regt Cav Civil War. Buried Tulip Cemetery, Bloomfield, Greene County, Indiana.
Jacob Brubaker, b. 1863 d. 17 Mar 1877 at age 14. Son of Jacob Brubaker.
John Hamilton, b. 1862 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 15. Son of John Hamilton & Mary Melissa Davis. John Hamilton served with the 97TH Regt Ind Vol Civil War. John’s sister Elvira Jane Hamilton married Isaac Hunter13 Nov 1878.
(Daniel) Edward Hunter, b. 1869 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 7. Son of David Lindley Hunter & Celestia A. (Roberts) Hunter. Edward’s father David Hunter served with Co I 146th Regt Ind Vol Civil War.
Howard Hunter, b. 1870 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 5. Son of David Lindley Hunter & Celestia A. (Roberts) Hunter. Howard’s father David Hunter served with Co I 146th Regt Ind Vol Civil War.
James Starks Hunter, b. 25 Mar 1826 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 34. James served with Co D 59th Regt Ind Inf Civil War. Son of Daniel Hunter & Lurania Starks Hunter. James S. Hunter served with Co D 59th Regt Ind Infin the Civil War. Buried Mt. Calvary/Hunter Cemetery, Highland Township, Greene County, Indiana.
John Elmer Hunter, b.1857 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 20. Son of William James Hunter & Emily Buckner. His father William James Hunter served with Co. C 59th Reg Ind Vol, Civil War. Buried Buckner Cemetery, Highland Township, Greene County, Indiana.
Walter Hunter, b. 6 Feb 1861 d. 20 Apr 1877 at age 16. Son of James Starks & Mary Ann (Clark) Hunter. Walter’s father James S. Hunter served with Co D 59th Regt Ind Infin Civil War. Buried Mt. Calvary/Hunter Cemetery, Highland Township, Greene County, Indiana.
Irwin (Irving) B. Rea, b. 1857 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 20. Son of George and Sarah Ann (Jewel) Rea.
(Oren)Owen Sarver, b. 1 Sep 1862 d. 16 Mar 1877 at age14. Son of Henry H & Chimera Sarver. Oren’s father Henry H Sarver served with Co I 146TH Regt Ind Vol Civil War. Buried Tulip Cemetery, Bloomfield, Greene County, Indiana.
John Speltz (Spelts), b. (2 Sep) 1802(1807) d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 75. John was born in Kentucky. Married to Elizabeth Harrison.
Abner (Absalom) Vandeventer, b. 13 Jul 1817, d. 16 Mar 1877 at age 60. Civil War Pension File #232.701326.294. Married to: 1. Susanna Coghill 2. Mary Ellen Elizabeth Huffman. Buried Mc Intosh/Light Cemetery Highland Twp., Greene, Indiana.
John Wilkie, b. 1847 d.16 Mar 1877 at age 30. John Wilkie served with Co E 59th Ind Inf Civil War. Buried Wilkie Cemetery, Greene County, Indiana. Son of William & Sarah Elizabeth (Buckner)Wilkie. Buried Wilkie Cemetery, Greene County, Indiana.
The Wounded included:
John Bender, b. 24 Nov 1864, d. 26 Jul 1946. He was 11 years of age when the explosion occurred. Married Lucy Jane Arthur Nov. 30, 1893 in Greene Co., Indiana. Buried Grandview Cemetery, Greene County, Indiana.
William Bland, b. 12 Nov 1856, d. 2 Jun 1910. He was 20 years of age when the explosion occurred. Son of Simon and Rachel (Mock) Bland. He married Elmira Goodwin, 2 Mar 1879. Buried Stalcup Cemetery, Greene County, Indiana.
The Hunter family were often told by Grandma Hunter that after the men had served in the Civil War they survived only to be killed in the explosion.
Daniel Washington & Lurana (Starks) Hunters had a family of thirteen children, twelve boys and one girl. Their sons; Afred, William James,Hiram, Columbus Jefferson, James Starks, George Washington, and David Lindley all served in the Civil War. Two other sons had died of measles brought home by two of their sons from the Army training camp at Gosport, Indiana.Almost all of the men and boys that died in the Hunter Mill explosion either served in the Civil War or their fathers served in the Civil War.