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Thread: Genealogical Stories

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    Genealogical Stories

    Post the family lore here.

    Here's some from my folks:


    Paternal stories:

    The kin while in Yorkshire migrated frequently between the East and West Riding's, we were typical farmers with the occasional churchwarden popping up.

    Our kin started off big in Virginia with 448 acres of farming land but after the death of the head of house the land was divided up among the descendants, strange activity for a patrilineal group but nonetheless it happened. This resulted in our kin participating in the infamous Cohee migration which consisted of families typically of Northern English and Scots ancestry who were either disinherited or did not inherit the full wealth of their more wealthy planter forefathers. This migration went into the Appalachian mountains, most settling in North Carolina and the parts of North Carolina that became Tennessee.

    We were among the first settlers in what would become Overton County, Tennessee. Most of the early settling families of this county intermarried so there are a lot of cousins, numbering in the thousands, just in one county alone. Possibly inspiration for that whole "hillbilly cousin marriage" thing.

    Our family was peculiar for Appalachians, early on we had a thing for marrying descendants of Huguenot's of planter stock, most folks in the region were marrying Scots and Germans. We eventually hopped on that bandwagon by the 19th Century.

    In terms of dramatic history the most dramatic thing that's occurred in my paternal ancestry is the abduction of a wife by local Natives, the unfortunate woman having her infant son murdered while she was left to fend for herself in the wild for weeks living off of raw rabbits and local fauna.

    By the time she made it back home her husband had remarried, disgruntled her husband divorced his new wife and took back his previous one. Of course things were never the same again in that household. This is a very strange scenario as the Nettle Carriers were typically friendly towards White settlers which leads me to believe that the abductors were from another tribe.

    The Civil War Era was typical for my folks, the stereotypical familial divide between CSA vs. Union supporters. My folks fought on both sides with more sympathy for the CSA once the fight began to ravage Tennessee.

    My one ancestor Starling Neal served the CSA at the age of 51! As such he was discharged after two years service due to his age.

    My ancestor Jesse E. Reed had fought in the War of 1812 surviving the Battle of Horseshoe Bend where he and his fellow soldiers were successful in thwarting the Creek menace. Supposedly Andrew Jackson had prolonged visits with Jesse while he was campaigning for office. After the War of 1812 Jesse had began trading up the Cumberland River when not managing his property, we have a blueprint of Jesse's homestead including the slave quarters. His property is now incorporated into Standing Stone Park, the cabins there bear striking resemblance to Jesse's own homestead.

    66 families had to surrender their land in the 1930's to the Federal Government so this park could be built.

    Maternal Stories:


    This story pertains to my maternal great grandmother's maternal family, her paternal family are immigrants from County, Tyrone in Northern Ireland, her ma's kin are all Yanks from Massachusetts and Maine that went into New Brunswick Canada, when they came back down to the states they mixed with the Deitsch. The Estabrook's themselves go back to Enfield, Middlesex, England, there are some Yorkshire and Norfolk folk mixed in as well.

    Elijah Estabrooks II married, at Haverhill, Mass., Nov. 14, 1750, Mary, daughter of Ebenezer and Hannah (Ring) Hackett, of Salisbury. Mass. The marriage ceremony was at Haverhill but is recorded in the Second Congregational Church at Salisbury. She was born in Salisbury Aug. 1, 1728. Her family were ship builders.

    Elijah and Mary (Hackett) Estabrooks apparently lived in East Haverhill from 1750 to 1757 for the baptisms of their first three children are recorded there in the Fourth Congregational Church. They probably moved to Boxford, Mass., about 1757 where the baptisms of two children are recorded in the Second Congregational Church.

    El ijah Estabrooks II was in the army in l758 and was discharged Nov. 7 of that year. He re-enlisted April 6, 1759, and was sent to Halifax, N.S., where he remained until Dec. 2, 1760. During his years in the army, 1758-1760, he kept a diary which is still extant. It may be seen among the Estabrooks-Palmer records in the Archives Department of the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, N.B.

    The last entry in the diary records his departure from Halifax. "Nov. the 25th day, 1760: We embarked on board the ship and the 27th day we went out to sea and about noon we had like to be cast away and we put into Halifax again and laid there until the second of December, and we then put to sea again and the l3th day we got into Boston and the l5th day I got home to my family."

    During the next two and one-half years Elijah Estabrooks II made preparations to remove his family to the Saint John River. Early in 1763 he moved them to Halifax, then to Cornwallis near Digby, N.S., intending to leave them there until he had made arrangements for their settlement at Maugerville in Sunbury County. He crossed the Bay of Fundy and joined Israel Perley's party which was going up the river to occupy their lands. It is said he took his son, Elijah III, a boy of seven years, with him to see the country.

    W hen he reached the township at Maugerville he found his lot was under water. He decided not to use it and returned to Cornwallis. During the next two years he was apparently exploring the possibilities of the new land. Tradition says he paid a visit to Sackville, N.B., where Valentine Estabrooks had settled. However, he was apparently set on the river, and on Oct. 18, 1765, he entered the employ of Simonds and White at Portland Point (Saint John, N.B.). In 1773 he made an agreement with William Hazen and James Simonds to settle in the township of Conway near the mouth of the river, Hazen and Simonds guaranteeing him 250 acres of land. An old census return dated August 1, 1775, shows that he had cleared and improved seven acres of land and built a log house by that time.

    The American Revolutionary War first made itself felt on the Saint John in Aug. 1773 when a party from Machias, Maine, entered the harbor in a sloop, burned Fort Frederick on the Conway side and captured a brig loaded with provisions for the British troops in Boston. The inhabitants of Conway took to the woods to avoid the depredations of the marauders. And the experience was repeated several times as the war progressed.

    In 1777, Elijah Estabrooks II, and those of his family who were still living at home, removed from the mouth of the river to land which was part of the Spry grant at Gagetown, on Grimross Neck. The following year, 1778, Mary (Hackett) Estabrooks died and was probably buried in the old Garrison graveyard on the Jemseg opposite Gagetown. He then married, Dec. 17, 1778, Sarah, widow of James Oakes and daughter of Philip Hammond of Marblehead, Mass., who was living at Cornwallis.

    When the Loyalists arrived in N.B. in 1783 some of them were determined to dispossess the pre-Loyalists and occupy their land. Elijah Estabrooks II and his family at Grimross Neck found themselves harassed by the Loyalists and decided to remove to the Jemseg. He applied for and received one-half of lots 25 and 26 in Cambridge Parish, Queens County. His sons Ebenezer and Joseph received the other halves of the two lots. His son Elijah III was granted one-half of lot 3 at Jemseg, and lot 32 on the intervale.

    The lots in Cambridge were beautifully situated on a ridge overlooking the Jemseg River near Grand Lake. The Garrison graveyard was just over the fence on a slope stretching down to a creek. Elijah II and two married sons, Ebenezer and Joseph, moved to their two lots in 1787. He became active in the Baptist Church in Cambridge and is mentioned several times in a book published by Rev. Walter R. Greenwood, M.A., Th.D., in 1941 entitled "The Early Baptists of Cambridge Parish, Queens County, New Brunswick." The children of Elijah and Mary (Hackett) Estabrooks were: Hannah (m. Zebedee Ring); Mary (m. Samuel Hartt); an infant which died five days after birth; Elijah III (m. Mary Whittemore); Samuel (died young); Ebenezer (m. lst, Maria Fletcher, 2nd, Charlotte Lounsbury); Joseph (m. 1st, Miss Clinch, 2nd, Lucretia Handy); Sarah (m. John L. Marsh); Abigail (m. William Harper); John (m. Catherine Ebbett); and Deborah Estabrooks (m. Moses Clark). By his second marriage to Sarah (Hammond) Oakes, Elijah Estabrooks II had two children: Elizabeth (m. Martin Holts); and Hammond Estabrooks (m. Rebecca Glazier).

    Elijah Estabrooks II is said to have remained hale and hearty to the last. He spent his latter years with his son John at Swan Creek on the west side of the Saint John near Upper Gagetown. It is said there were two things he used to pray for. One was that he should never be sick and the other that he should die at his work. He used to pound grain for the chickens in a mortar. One summer afternoon in 1796 after working for a while he lay back in his chair and covered his face with his hat. His grandchildren, who were playing around, thought he was asleep but when they went to waken him for supper they found that he was dead. He was buried in the Garrison graveyard at Jemseg, N.B.


    The above Estabrook is a great great grandchild of Rev. Joseph Estabrook, he was born in Enfield, Middlesex, England:

    The pioneer Estabrooks were Puritans, and with his brother, Thomas, came to America in 1660. It is said that there was another brother with Joseph and Thomas Estabrook who settled in Connecticut.
    After receiving a preparatory education for College Joseph Estabrook entered Harvard and graduated 1664. In 1667 he was ordained as colleague of the Rev. Edward Bulkley, minister of the church in Concord, at whose decease he became pastor of the church and continued in that office until his death, for which he was eminently fitted as his preaching was plain, practical and persuasive. His appearance carried so much patriotic dignity that people were induced to love him as a friend and reverence him as a father. These traits in his character obtained for him the name of "The Apostle." He was made freeman, Cambridge, Mass., May 3, 1663.
    Jarvis* RING1350,1554 was born in Feb 1657.1351 He died on 1 Dec 1727.1538 Of Salisbury, MA. Free in 1690. He was a witness in the Susanna Martin trial of 1692 in Salem. She was accused of being a witch and acted the part. She was hung on 19 July of that year with Rebecca Nurse, Sarah Good, Elizabeth How and Sarah Wilds. He and his wife signed the petition in favor of Mrs. Mary Bradbury in 1692 with his wife and a hundred other people on 22 July 1692. They claimed that she was a 'diligent attender upon God's ordinances' and that she never had a falling out with any of her neighbors, but was 'always willing to do for them what lay in her power night and day, though with hazard of her health.' Though she was accused repeatedly in Salem and was supposed to have turned into a 'blue boar' one time, she did escape execution. Soldier in 1698 and 1702.

    "JARVIS RING v. SUSANNA MARTIN

    Javis Ring of Salisbury maketh oath as followeth, That about seven or eight years ago he had
    been several times afflicted in the night time by somebody or something coming up upon him
    when he was in bed and did sorely afflict by laying upon him and he could neither move nor
    speak while it was upon him, but sometimes made a kind of noise that folks did hear him and
    come up to him and as soon as anybody came, it would be gone. This it did for a long time before and since but he did never see anybody clearly, but one time in the night it came upon me as at othr times and I did then see the person of Susanna Martin of Amesbury. This deponent did perfectly see her and she came to this deponent and took him by the hand and bit him by the finger by force and then came and lay upon him awhile as formerly, and after a while went away. The print of the bite is yet to be seen on the little finger of his right hand for it was hard to heal (he further saith). That several times he was alseep when it came, but at that time when bit his finger he was as fairly awake as ever he was and plainly saw her shape and felt her tooth as aforesaid.

    Sworn by Jarvis Ring abovesaid May the 13th 1692
    Before Me
    Robt. Pike Assit. at Salisbury
    One story that is floating around pertains to a branch in my mothers family, the Cleveland's, through which we are relatives to former U.S. President Grover Cleveland. Supposedly this Cleveland lineage goes back to an early medieval chieftan by the name of Thorkil Kleiveland, I don't know if such a man actually existed and if he did what the chances are that we actually descend from him.

    I can only trace the Cleveland's to Suffolk, England. Supposedly Thorkil descends from the Vikings who sacked Whitby Abbey and had noble rights in York around where Skelton Castle was built, by the time of William the Conqueror the lineage was displaced to Suffolk, England.

    Within our Cleveland family relations we descend from a lineage which contains descendants of Edward Herbert 1st Baron Herbert of Cherbury. The descendants I descend from came to Salem, Massachusetts, I'm finding a lot of Salem connections in my mother's family, some of which were involved in the Salem Witch Trials as I have previously mentioned.

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    Cleveland is also an area that was in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Now it is kind of a seperate county. (You probably have found this out in your searching)

    Apparently it means cliff land, but I am going by an unsourced wikipedia page here, so vikings may have taken their surname from this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland,_England


    I wish I had some more detailed stories from my relatives. I only have vague stories from around the 30s and 40s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deifr View Post
    Cleveland is also an area that was in the North Riding of Yorkshire. Now it is kind of a seperate county. (You probably have found this out in your searching)

    Apparently it means cliff land, but I am going by an unsourced wikipedia page here, so vikings may have taken their surname from this.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland,_England


    I wish I had some more detailed stories from my relatives. I only have vague stories from around the 30s and 40s.
    Yep, the lore states that he took his name from the cliffs. Supposedly there to this date is a Norwegian variant of the name. His first name Thorkil is derived from "Thorpe", not Thor as some had thought.

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    I have an update on my paternal family, some of the information has been revised based on new found sources, etc....

    The following information was compiled from information obtained from Federal United States Census records, England Births and Christenings 1538-1975, and my cousin (name edited out) who had obtained more detailed information about the Reader/Reeder family while they still lived in England via manor court rolls, parish registers, correspondence with cousin branches of our family who are still in England.

    The first of our direct branch of the Reeder family to live in Overton County, Tennessee was William Reeder/Reader. William was born in 1804 in Virginia to parents Thomas Reader and Lucy Mullins. William arrived in Overton County and settled in the 7th District sometime in the 1840’s following in the footsteps of his Uncle Robert Reader IV who was born in 1768 in Blacktoft, Yorkshire, England. Robert IV had been living in Overton County as early as 1820. Robert’s parents, thus William’s grandparents, were Robert Reader III of Whitgift, Yorkshire, England and Grace Brigham of Blacktoft, Yorkshire, England migrants to Mecklenburg County, Virginia.

    Robert III was clerk for his father Robert II, who was a churchwarden. Robert II’s father Robert Reader I was a yeoman farmer who was appointed as overseer of a manor in Hatfield, Yorkshire, England his duties entailing management of land rented to tenants, Robert I was also recorded on numerous juries involved in settling property disputes.

    Robert III with wife Grace Brigham and afore mentioned eldest son Robert IV came to Mecklenburg County, Virginia sometime shortly after the birth of Robert IV. It is believed that Robert III left England due to a dispute with his father Robert II over religion and inheritance, Robert II being a Church of England supporter while Robert III supported the Baptists. Robert III had stolen 500 pounds from his father and once in Virginia Robert III had purchased 40 pounds worth of land. Robert III was accused of harboring his brother in law Stephen Clarke, a tailor from Yorkshire, who was an indentured servant to Sir Peyton Skipwith of the Prestwould Plantation.


    The afore mentioned William Reeder in 1850 was constable for Overton County and held $300 worth of land while in 1860 his land holdings were valued at $1,000 with his other personal property valued at $400, in 1870 his land holdings were valued at $800 with other personal property owned being valued at $500.

    Two of William’s sons, Thomas Reeder and Andrew Jackson Reeder, enlisted in the Confederate Army’s 25th Tennessee Infantry Company H on August 5th, 1861, their younger brother, my 3rd great grandfather, James Buchanon Reeder was too young to fight in that war.
    Lineage migration - Hatfield, Yorkshire, England ->Stainforth, Yorkshire, England ->Whitgift, Yorkshire, England->Blacktoft, Yorkshire, England->Mecklenburg County, Virginia ->Rutherford County, North Carolina ->Overton County, Tennessee.

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    I actually have written a genealogical story, a page in length, which I included in a personal family tree book which includes information of the family lineage going back to the 1600's as well as snapshots of old church records that I gave to my mother for Christmas.

    Here is the story

    Your great grandfather Heinrich Wessels was born on the seventh of February in 1842 at 4 AM just outside of Bocholt, Germany, the middle son of Johann Wessels, a farmer from Crommert which is a small community just outside of Rhede, and Maria Adelheid Böcker from Hoxfeld, just outside of the city Borken. His mother died when he was 8 years old, then his father remarried in1852.

    Heinrich decided in the year 1871, that life in Germany was not going well, and he wrote a two page note in the old German script to his brothers explaining his reasons two years before his departure from Germany through the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands on the third of May in 1873, and finally arrived at his destination a port on the east coast of the United States on the twenty seventh of May he would begin a new life in a new country completely unseen by his forebears before him. He went westward to look for farmland in the Midwestern part of the new country, where immigrants of a similar blood have settled and found farmland. He found a job working for a farmer in Iowa, who may have payed his way over here.

    There is a family legend that he knew two other individuals when he lived in Germany, they are Bernard Rolfing, who is his third or fourth cousin and a farmer from Rhede, and Gertrude Heynck. Gertrude Heynck was born 15 Mar 1847 in Bocholt, the middle daughter of Hermann Bernard Anton Heynck, and Maria Elisabeth Leyen. At the age of 20 on 5 March 1867 she ended up marrying Bernard Rolfing. The marriage took place at the St. Georg Catholic church in Bocholt and two weeks after their marriage they departed for the United States and began a new life in Minnesota and had three children, born on American soil with German blood.

    Bernard Rolfing died on the second of May in 1874 and was buried in the cemetery of the Wilson church in Winona county Minnesota. Then four months later, in September the young widow married Heinrich Wessels. They probably found each other based on former relationships in Germany. As they both come from a background of German, Catholic, farming people the marriage seemed right. They had 6 children, and one was your grandfather. Heinrich died 19 Jun in 1901 and Gertrude passed away on 2 March 1928.

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