Uncle Dave's book

Sunday, October 26, 2014

52 Ancestors #45: Sussanah Brigham Hudson

     Sussanah Brigham was born on 12 Apr 1755 in Marlborough, Massachusetts, the daughter of Dr. Samuel Brigham and Anna Gott. I have already written about her mother's father, Dr. Benjamin Gott and her mother's grandfather, Rev. Robert Breck so we know she was descended from important families on her mother's side. On her father's side, the Brighams were one of the most key families in Marlborough, Mass. In fact, in his History of Marlborough, Charles Hudson (also one of her descendants) devotes an entire chapter  to "The Brighams of Marlborough".  Her great great grandfather, Thomas Brigham, came to Massachusetts from Yorkshire, England in 1635 and settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After his death the family moved to Marlborough. Her father, Dr. Samuel Brigham, was a well known doctor and active in the town government. In 1756 he went to the West Indies as an Army Surgeon and contracted yellow fever and died. Sussanah would've been only about a year old.  Her younger brother, Samuel, was born after his father's death. Her mother re-married Capt. Stephen Maynard in 1757.

     When she was only 15, on 4 Oct 1770, Sussanah married Elisha Hudson.  Their first son, William was born five months later. (As a note, in her pension application she says they were married in September 1769 but the official town record says 4 Oct 1770.) Elisha had been a soldier with his father in the French and Indian Wars at ages 12, 14 and 16, the last in 1760, so I think he would have been a rather dashing and exciting young man. She was from a family of famous scholars (Rev. Breck and Dr. Gott) and he was a man of action. Sussanah and Elisha had a total of eight children, six boys and two girls. They moved around quite a bit with children born in Marlborough, Bolton, Worcester, Hudson, Northborough and Halifax, Vermont. Elisha was also recorded as being in Wilton, New Hampshire in 1776.

     Elisha fought in the Revolutionary War.  According to the pension application that she made, he fought in the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Bunker's Hill. Elisha's father and eight brothers also fought in the War.  The Brigham family was also very active in the Revolutionary War. Her brother, Samuel, and eighteen of her cousins or other Brigham relatives also fought. Sixteen of them fought at Lexington and Concord. So we can assume that she herself was devoted to the American cause.

     In 1790, Elisha Hudson and family are to be found in Northborough, Massachusetts.  In 1800 they are in Halifax, Vermont. At some point after that they moved to Newport , Quebec, Canada.  This is near Eaton south of the St. Lawrence River.  Elisha died on 17 April 1815, presumably in Newport. He and Susannah's daughter, Eliza, married at Eaton in 1818. Susannah is noted in the Canadian Genealogy index as living in Markham, York, Ontario, Canada in 1819, while Eliza mentions living in Port Hope, Ontario at some point as well.  Her son, Charles is in the town of Phelps, Ontario, New York in the 1820 Census and in Arcadia, Wayne, New York in 1830-1850. Sussanah appears in the 1840 Census in Arcadia. Exactly when she came back to New York I do not know but on 4 Jul 1836 she petitioned for a pension based on Elisha's war service while residing in Arcadia. The petition was denied due to the inability of the officials to find the proper records.  But her pension request does give us some of the data on Elisha's war record.  Her daughter, Eliza and son, Charles continued to try to secure the pension after her death in May 1840.

     We know nothing of her personality, just the above facts. Her husband, brother and cousins fought in the Revolutionary War, then she ended up in Canada where her son, Robert Brick, fought for Canada (and the British!) in the War of 1812! Then back to the U.S. in the end. She followed her husband and then she followed her son.  She has many descendants in both Canada and the U.S.A. and I think she is a woman to be proud of!

52 Ancestors # 44: William Rockefeller, Revolutionary Soldier

     William Rockefeller was the grandson of Johann Peter Rockefeller who came to New York in 1710 with the German Palatines. They lived in what was called East Camp along the Hudson River which later became Germantown, New York. William was born in 1750 in Copper Hill, Huntingdon, New Jersey, the son of Johann Peter Rockefeller (Jr.) and Mary Bellis.

     According to the Rockefeller Association, the Rockefeller family name was originally French, Roquefeuille (roughly translated as Chateau leaf).  They escaped from the Hugenot (French Protestant) persecution in France by going to Germany. In Germany they changed the name to Rockefeller. Per the Rockefeller Association publication this was perhaps because the French name was hard for the Germans to pronounce. They settled in the town of Rockenfeld (now known as Reckenfeld), so perhaps they simply took the name of the town. That name means "rock field", The name probably was Rockenfelder, meaning someone from Rockenfeld. In America you see it spelled Rockenfeller, Rockenfellow as well as the current spelling.

     William married Christina Rockefeller on 3 Jun 1772 in Germantown, New York, when he was 22 years old. They were distant cousins, his third great grandfather and her fourth great grandfather was the same man, Goddard Rockefeller of Rockenfeld, Germany. William and Christina had 12 children, the fifth child and second was Hannah who married Henry Avery and was our ancestress. Their 7th child and fifth son was Godfrey Rockefeller who's grandson was John D. Rockefeller of oil baron fame.

     William fought in the Revolutionary War.  He fought in the 4th New York Regiment, Livingston's Regiment, under his father-in-law's father's command, Diel Rockefeller. A number of other family members also fought in the War. William would have fought at Fort Schuyler in the Mohawk Valley as part of his service.

     William lived in Germantown until 1783 when his son, William Diel is recorded as born in Livingston. William is counted in the 1790 Census as living in Germantown but recorded as having died in Livingston in 1793.  These towns were both incorporated in 1788, being cut out of the Livingston Manor. So perhaps his house was on the border of the two.

     It was a matter of family legend that my grandfather, Lucas Kells, was a "42nd" cousin to the Rockefellers. So I was happy to find that there is indeed a connection. John D. Rockefeller actually was Luke's 2nd cousin once removed and was my second cousin 3Xs removed. Around 1967 my father, John Peterson, went to work for Winthrop Rockefeller, John D.'s grandson. Winthrop and I were second cousins 5Xs removed. We used to joke with my Dad about it but we never brought it up, especially since at the time it was just a family story!

     So there is our Rockefeller connection and another Revolutionary War soldier in the family!


Sunday, October 19, 2014

52 Ancestors #43: Dr. Benjamin Gott

     Benjamin Gott was the great grandson of Charles Gott who came to America in 1628 on the ship, Abigail.  He was one of the founders of Wenham, Massachusetts where Benjamin was born on 13 Mar 1705. The name Gott is of Old English origin, meaning a waterway or water course and is seen in the derivation of our words gutter and gut. Benjamin was the son of John Gott and Rebecca Tarbox. When he was about 13 is father apprenticed him to Dr. Samuel Wallis of Ipswich, Massachusetts, to learn "the art and mysteries" of the physician's trade.  He was well learned but never attended college, apprenticeship was the way one became a Doctor in those days. His father died while Benjamin was still mid his apprenticeship and left instructions in his will that all necessary steps were to be taken to see that Benjamin could complete it.

     By about 1727, he had completed hi

s apprenticeship and moved west to Marlborough, Massachusetts.  Here he married Sarah Breck, daughter of Rev. Robert Breck(see my earlier post), a very popular minister of the day.  They had four daughters and two sons and one or more apprentices. Sarah died in 1740 and Benjamin remarried Lydia Ward.  They had a daughter. Lydia died in 1745 leaving him with all the children. He died in 1751 at the age of 46.

     He was a very popular Doctor and man in his town of Marlborough.  He left a host of mourning friends, some of whom testified to their sorrow by the following quaint obituary notice, published in the Boston News-Letter of August 1, 1751 : Marlborough, July 27. 1751 "On the 25th deceased, and this Day was decently interr'd, Dr. Ben- jamin Gott, a learned and useful Physician and Surgeon : The Loss of this Gentleman is the more bewail'd in these Parts, as he was not only a Lover of Learning and learned Men, and very hospitable and generous ; but as he was peculiarly faithful to his Patients, moderate in his Demands, and charitable to the Poor ; a Character very imitable by all in the Fac- ulty; and was taken off in the very Meridian of Life, being but in the 46th Year of his Age. It seems Marlboro had indeed lost a faithful citizen and a good man. 

     He was a man of considerable property. When he died he left personal property of 1445 pounds and real property of 2060.  But the most fascinating thing is that the inventory of his library still exists.  This includes about 123 books, many are medical, herb lore, and religious but there are also many Latin classics such as Ovid and Horace, a History of the World and even Aesop's Fables. It was said that he read from the Bible to the family in Latin. He was a man of learning, of liberal culture and a lover of books.  It was said that he also was a kind father and a good citizen. An ancestor to be proud of!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

52 Ancestors #42: Eloise Margaret Knock

     Eloise Margaret Knock was born on 23 May 1916 in Iowa City, Iowa.  Her parents, Carl John Knock and Hannah Theodora Mallgren were both the children of Swedish immigrants. Eloise was very proud of her Swedish heritage.  She was the one who told me that the name Knock was assumed by her grandfather, Carl G. Knock,  and his brother when they came to America. Without this data I would've had a tough time finding them in the Swedish records! Carl John Knock was a Music Professor and the College Choir leader at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.  Hannah was the College librarian, thus they met. They were married in about 1915.

     Eloise was born in Iowa City in 1916, by September 1918 they were living in Holland, Michigan where he was a professor at Hope College. In the 1920 Census they were living in Saunders, Nebraska where he was the Principal, Normal Department, at Luther College. Unfortunately, on 28 Jan 1923, Carl died of pneumonia.  Eloise was only 4 1/2 years old. Her mother must have had a rough time having become a widow with a young child. By the time Eloise was 8 or 9 her mother had a nervous breakdown. She died in Mounds Park Sanitarium in St. Paul, Minnesota on 1 Feb 1929. Eloise was about 12 1/2 year old.

     At this point Eloise had the good fortune to be taken in by her mother's brother, William Mallgren.  The oldest son of John Mallgren who immigrated from Ryda, Skaraborg, Sweden, William was ten years older than Hulda. He was married with seven children of his own, the youngest of whom was one year older than Eloise.  Eloise loved her Uncle Bill and always spoke very highly of him. One can tell that he treated her well and as one of his own.  Eloise hinted that his wife was not quite so happy about having an extra child around. But Eloise loved her cousins and kept in touch with them the rest of her life. Her family was always very important to her and she loved to talk about them, visit them, etc.

     Eloise went to college and nursing school in Saint Peter and became an RN by 1940.  One of the first things she did was accept a job in Hawaii. Through the Passenger Lists on Ancestry we find her leaving Los Angeles in Oct 1940 and arriving in Honolulu 30 Oct 1940. She seems to have stayed there until February 1941 when we find her departing Honolulu and arriving in Los Angeles.  I think it is admirable that she had the adventurousness to travel to Hawaii on her own. Apparently she liked Los Angeles, because she got a job working for Dr. James C. Negley, a urologist living in Glendale. She soon met and fell in love with his son, James C. Negley, Jr. They were married on 12 Sep 1942. Jim was in the Coast Guard and not long after their marriage, Jim left for the Pacific theater.  In 1944 Eloise is listed in the California's Voters Registration record as living in Glendale at 315 Loma Prieta Ave., a registered nurse.  In 1946 she is again listed but so is Jim at the same address so he was back from the war by then.

     After the War, Jim went to Oregon State University in Corvallis to study forestry.  Here James Patrick was born on 12 Mar 1946.  The family moved to McMinnville where Jim worked in the Oregon State Patrol and Dennis was born on 20 August 1948.  Jim obtained his degree in Forestry and the family moved to Reno, Nevada where Jim worked as a Game Warden for the state. Kathleen "Kasey" was born there in 1954.  Jim ran into a little trouble when he cited people from the Las Vegas gambling casinos for hunting and fishing violations. When a restructuring of the Game Service occurred the opportunity was taken to let him go. In the meantime he had gone back to University and gotten his Master's Degree. So he soon got a position in Modesto, California and the family moved there. Jim worked in the Modesto Police Department and then helped found the Police Science Program at Modesto Junior College. Eloise continued working as a nurse.

     Then , on a duck hunting trip in 1963, Jim was injured in an automobile accident and became seriously paralyzed. He spent over a year in hospitals and was a quadraplegic for the rest of his life. This must have been extremely stressful for Eloise who was his main caretaker. He returned to teaching for awhile but then health issues made this impossible. To compound the stress, finally it was too much for him and Jim took his own life on 27 Jun 1971. Pat by this time was married and starting on his own career, Dennis had just finished college and Kasey was still at home in High School. Eloise managed to carry on with her own life and keep the family going. She retired not long after.

     During her retirement, Eloise did quite a bit of travelling. She took the train across Canada, She went to Vegas and Reno. She went to Hawaii. She took an Alaskan cruise and a Caribbean one.  She toured China. She went to Europe. She visited Ireland with her sister-in-law, Barbara, and visited Jim's mother's family. One of her favorite trips was her visit to Sweden including visits to Varmland and Skaraborg where her father's and mother's ancestors were from. She even went to Egypt and rode a camel. She loved to travel and see new places. She was active in her Lutheran Church.  She had a regular Bridge Club. She visited her various Knock and Mallgren cousins. She always had Thanksgiving and Christmas at her house with her children and spouses in attendance. They often came for Easter, Mother's Day and the Fourth of July as well. She loved to have her children come and she really loved to see her grandchildren! She had three, Pat's son, Michael and Dennis' two, Sean and Devin(her only granddaughter). She loved them, bought them many gifts and generally spoiled them as a grandmother should.

     In September 1987 she took a trip to Australia with one of her cousins.  She had complained a little on the trip of not feeling well but nothing apparently wrong. The day after they returned from the trip she had a heart attack and died immediately. It turned out that she had atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) for years and had never told the family. She didn't want to be considered "ill" or told no to be active so she hid it. At her house after the funeral I recall one of her Bridge Club friends telling me how she always talked about her granddaughter, "who talks almost as much as I do!".  She was a good woman with two major tragedies in her life but she managed to move on from those and take care of her family.  She was able to do the travelling that she really enjoyed and saw quite a bit of the world and she died having just done something she loved..

Saturday, October 11, 2014

52 Ancestors # 41: Calvin Gray Cookson, Soldier and Lumberman

    My father was named for his great grandfather, John Marshall Cookson, my son now is too, as he was named for my father. The family knew quite a bit about John Marshall Cookson as he was well loved by his granddaughters. However, the only datum known about his father, Calvin Gray Cookson, was his name. That and the story that when John was a little boy his father went out hunting and never came home. So, who was Calvin Gray? It has been one of my great pleasures to answer that question, although there are still questions not answered!

     Calvin Gray Cookson was born in Oct 1820 in Belmont, Waldo, Maine. He was the son of      Daniel Noyes Cookson and Lucy Gifford. I know his parents from a book by James Savage (4 volumes!) that gives the ancestry of numerous people in New England. This is a famous book but as much for its inaccuracies as its scope. I have yet to find any document that shows that these are his parents. I know it was Belmont from his military enlistment papers(more about this later). Belmont is in southern Waldo County in South Central Maine.  It was originally called Greene Plantation and in the first decade of the 1800's many people settled there illegally," squatters" as it were.  In order to avoid the agents of the actual owners they would dress up as Indians when they came by. In 1814 the residents successfully petitioned the State of Massachusetts to become incorporated into a town called Belmont.  One of the prominent men at this time was named Calvin Gray.  I believe that our Calvin was named after him, perhaps he was a friend of his father's.

    By 1839, Calvin and his family were living in Linneus in Aroostook County. This is right on the border with New Brunswick, Canada. In fact the border went back and forth a bit so that by 1839 people were a little heated over whose land was whose. It actually led to war, the Aroostook War. Calvin enlisted in the U.S. Army in the town of Houlton, very near home. His enlistment papers tell us that he was 19, with blue eyes, light hair, fair complexion and 5'10" tall. He enlisted for 5 years and was discharged on 15 Apr 1844 at Fort Adams, Rhode Island. Now the Aroostook War didn't last very long and was mostly fought by diplomats.  There were no casualties except a cow! But Calvin had signed up for 5 years so he served the last three of them in Rhode Island. During this time he married Mary Ann Dow, the girl next door, as her family also lived in Linneus. Their daughter, Georgiana, was born 27 Aug 1842, followed by Calvin Wilbert on 8 Sep 1845 and John Marshall on 2 Feb 1848.

    Whether Calvin tried farming after he left the Army in 1844 or went into lumber (the main industry of the area) I don't know.  But on 25 Jun 1846 he enlisted in the Army again, this time to take part in the Mexican War.  According to the enlistment record he was now 25, 6'1", light complexion, light hair and occupation, "soldier". He enlisted in the First Regiment,Col John McCluskey's Company, Co. F. Unfortunately(or not, depending on your viewpoint), it doesn't look like he ever went into the war.  All the references I've seen state that Maine didn't send any troops into the Mexican War. There were Maine men who fought but they fought in other regiments. I think he must have been frustrated because he wanted to fight and now he'd joined the Army twice with no fighting! He had three small children and he didn't want to farm apparently(he never farmed that I can see in his life). So he went hunting and didn't return.  I don't know where he was, I can't find him in the 1850 Census or in the 1851 Census of Canada. But in those northern woods it would be easy for a man to escape the Census takers.

     The next time we hear of him is 20 Nov 1851 in Bangor, Maine when he marries Sarah F. Rich. I can only assume that he returned home only to find that his wife had died, his brother moved and his children were put in an orphanage, location unknown. If he sought his children, I don't know, but he didn't find them at that time. Calvin and Sarah had three children, Isabella, Fernando and Lucy Jane but by 1857 they had moved to Vienna, Elgin, Ontario, Canada where their fourth child, Emily, was born. In Vienna, Calvin was a lumber dealer and general merchant and he seems to have been fairly successful. The home he had was next door to that of Thomas Edison's family, which one can visit today.

     About 1867, his son, John Marshall Cookson showed up at his door. After the Civil War John had found his sister and brother and located their father and brought them all together in Vienna. They are all there in the 1871 Census.  Not long after, though, John moved to Au Gres, Michigan on Saginaw Bay, and they all followed him except for Calvin Wilbert who stayed in Canada. John's son, Henry John, was born in Au Gres in 1873. At that the lumber industry was waning in Canada and booming in the Saginaw area, so they followed the lumber. Calvin died in Au Gres on 9 Jun 1878 of Consumption. He was 58 years old.

     He had the last laugh after he died and  finally came recognition as a soldier. He received a headstone "provided for Union Civil War Veterans" and is listed as a Sgt Co F First Regiment. I think they mixed him up with his son, Calvin Wilbert, who fought in the Civil War but the regiment and company is his from the Mexican War. So he was recognized a soldier as he had always wanted to be!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

52 Ancestors #40: John Lawton, Dragoon and Cabinet Maker

   John Lawton was born in about 1722.  I have not found his birth for certain but my best guess is that he was the son of Thomas Lawton and Ann Glasbrook born 20 Sep 1722 in Warrington, Lancaster, England. This town is now part of Greater Manchester. The name Lawton comes from the Anglo-Saxon Law, meaning a small hill or burial mound and ton, meaning a town. It comes from the town of Church Lawton, where the church is built on a small hill said to have been an ancient burial mound. this land was owned by the Lawton family who took their name from the place.

     Nothing is known of John's early life until November 1748 when he was dismissed from the Third Regiment of  Dragoon Guards, having served 13 months. It seems that they were simply cutting down and John left in good graces.  We have a copy of his discharge and of a receipt for his clothing, pay and horse. These are dated 16 and 17 November 1748 and state that he is going to Manchester. The 3rd Regiment of Royal Guards was a light cavalry regiment. It has quite a history before and after John's service but as far as I can see, during the 13 months he was in it the Regiment saw no battles.

     John returned to Manchester in November 1748.  Three months he married Martha Hatton. He was 26 and she was 33. He was a cabinet maker and is listed as such in the Manchester Directory of 1772. John and Martha had several children.  The family Bible has been handed down and is in the possession of Sarah Murphy.  The pages show a sad history.  Their first child, Elizabeth, was born 28 January 1750.  She died 18 October 1752.  Not long after this their second daughter, also Elizabeth was born on 17 July 1753 and their son, Thomas, was born on 7 September 1755 followed by john on 26 March 1757 and Mary 26 March 1758. But John died 18 Sep 1758 so then the next son, John was born 7 March 1761. But then Elizabeth died November 1763 and John died 23 Aug 1766. Thus only two children, Thomas and Mary lived to adulthood.  Finally the Bible tells us, "Note my wife Martha Lawton died Febr the 10 in the year of our Lord 1780 15 minutes past one clock Thursday after noon in the 63 year of er age" and "Note my father John Lawton died Decembr 17 about 4 clock on Sunday afternoon in the year of our Lord 1780 in the 59 year of is age."

     In 1790 in the Manchester Tax records, Thomas Lawton is listed as living next door to John Caldwell who had married his sister, Mary.  John and Mary's daughter, Hannah, married William Lane who came with his family to America in 1849.  Thus the Bible and discharge papers have come down to us. One last piece of John's history has come to us, the bill for his burial at St. Mary's Cathedral in Manchester. The total bill?

17 shillings and 10 pence.