Category Archives: United States
I have always been fascinated by the carved images found on early American gravestones. Imagine how thrilling it was to discover that this kind of tombstone marked the final resting place of one of my colonial New England ancestors in Westfield, Massachusetts. I found it when I visited Westfield’s Old Burying Ground a few years ago, en route to the New England Regional Genealogical Conference which was being held in nearby Springfield.
Westfield was founded in 1669. The oldest known gravestone in the burying ground is that of Abigail Noble, who died in 1683. Childbirth, consumption, dysentery, smallpox and accidents were common causes of death, but a surprisingly large number of those interred here lived to more than 80 years of age.
Among the more than 1100 gravestones and several hundred more unmarked graves in this cemetery, I was looking for the resting places of three of my direct ancestors: my six-times great-grandfather Daniel Bagg, his father-in-law, Isaac Phelps, and his son’s father-in-law, Consider Moseley. I found them in the southeast section of the cemetery where many of the oldest plots are located.1
My first stop was the Athenaeum (the public library) to pick up the key to the cemetery. From there, it was a short walk to what is known as the Mechanic Street Cemetery. Set back from street between two houses, the wrought iron gate was a bit hard to find, but once I entered the cemetery, I was amazed at how large it is, and how well cared for. This old burying ground, which is included in the U.S. National List of Historic Places, was carefully weeded and mowed, protected by a fence and shaded by mature trees. The historic tombstones have been cleaned over the years, and local citizens are trying to find the funds to better preserve them..2
The grave of Captain Isaac Phelps (1638-1725) was easiest to find because there was a small American flag next to it. Carved in capital letters on his gravestone are, the words, “Capt. Isaac Phelps Anno 1725 age 87 year.” Westfield lay at the western edge of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the tiny settlement was vulnerable to attack from American Indians, so Isaac probably played a role in protecting the community, and a military title to acknowledge that contribution.
Born in Windsor, Connecticut to George Phelps and Philura Randall, Isaac Phelps married Ann Gaylord around 1663 and moved his family to Westfield around 1670. Isaac carried out many civic duties in Westfield over the years: he was town clerk, assessor, surveyor, town treasurer and schoolmaster.3
Isaac and Ann had 11 children, four of whom died young.4 He and Ann were my seven-times times great-grandparents through daughter Hannah, who married Daniel Bagg (1668-1738).
Lieut. Consider Moseley’s red sandstone tombstone, with a carved face, crown and wings symbolizing everlasting life, was close to Isaac’s.5 Consider (1675-1755) was the fifth of 10 children of John Maudsley (the name was spelled various ways) and Mary Newberry. The Maudsley/Moseley family moved from Windsor to Westfield around the time of Consider’s birth. In 1709, when Consider was 34 years old, he married Elizabeth Bancroft. They had eight children, including twins Elizabeth and Daniel, born in 1714. After his first wife died, Consider married widow Rebecca Dewey. His daughter Elizabeth married David Bagg, the son of Daniel Bagg and Hannah Phelps, in 1739.
According to a history of Westfield, Lieut. Consider Moseley was “one of the wealthiest and most influential men of the town,” however, I have found few details of his life.6 He died on Sept. 12, 1755, age 80.
The grave of Daniel Bagg was more difficult to identify. The stone that I suspect marks his grave is almost illegible. The other problem is that there are three individuals named Daniel Bagg buried in this cemetery. The Daniel Bagg I was seeking was the son of John Bagg and Hannah Burt of Springfield. Many of Springfield’s younger residents moved to Westfield. Daniel became a farmer in the Little River area of Westfield. He and his wife Hannah Phelps had 10 children, and their son David and his wife Elizabeth Moseley were my direct ancestors.
Ann Gaylord, Elizabeth Bancroft, Hannah Phelps and Elizabeth Moseley are also likely buried in the Old Burying Ground, but their graves are not marked.
All photos by Janice Hamilton
This article is also posted on https://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca
- Old Burying Ground Mechanic Street Cemetery. http://www.cityofwestfield.org/DocumentCenter/View/419a, accessed March 11, 2018. (The name Bagg is misspelled Back in this 1995 inventory.)
- Dan Warner. “After 350 Years, Old Burying Ground in need to a fix-up in Westfield.” Masslive.com, June 27, 2014, http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/06/after_350_years_old_burying_gr.html, accessed March 11, 2018.
- Oliver Seymour Phelps and Andrew T. Servin, compilers. The Phelps Family of America and their English Ancestors, with copies of wills, deeds, letters and other interesting papers, coats of arms and valuable records. Vol. II, Pittsfield, MA: Eagle Publishing Company, 1899, p. 1269.
- Henry R. Stiles. The History of Ancient Windsor, Vol. II, a facsimile of the 1892 edition, Somersworth: New Hampshire Publishing Co., 1976. p. 509.
- Bob Clark, Stories Carved in Stone: Westfield, Massachusetts, West Springfield, Dog Pond Press, 2008.
- Rev. John H. Lockwood. Westfield and its Historic Influences, 1669-1919: the life of an early town. Springfield, MA, printed and sold by the author, 1922, p. 384. https://archive.org/stream/westfieldandits00lockgoog#page/n413/mode/2up, accessed March 23, 2018.
Ismael Bruneau wanted a biblical family, one child for each of the 12 tribes of Israel. His wife Ida didn’t share that ambition, but still, they had 10. When one of her daughters was getting married she asked her mother what she could do to prevent the arrival of so many children and Ida answered, “If I knew, do you think I would have had all of you?”
Ida herself came from a very large family. She was born in 1862 in Les Convers, Switzerland, to Gustave Girod and Sophie Balmer, the sixth of 16 children. Her favourite aunt, Celine Balmer was teaching at a private girl’s school in Baltimore, Maryland and arranged a job for Ida at the same school. In 1882 Ida sailed to the United States for the teaching position.
After a particularly bad year, with many deaths in the family, her parents decided to emigrate to America. Another son tragically died on the voyage and was buried at sea. The Girods were farmers and settled in the French community of Kankakee, Illinois. When Ida went to visit, she met the Minister, Ismael Bruneau. He was taken with her and they were soon married.
Ismael and Ida then lived in Green Bay Wisconsin where their first three children, Edgar, Beatrice and Hermonie were born. A French Protestant minister moved frequently and the next charge was in Holyoke Massachusetts, where Helvetia was born. Next was a move back to Canada. Sydney, Fernand, and Edmee were born in Quebec City and Renee, Herbert and Gerald in Montreal. All the children survived except Fernand. My Grandmother Beatrice said it was his name that killed him but we didn’t understand why as we thought the other siblings had stranger names. They played funeral with him and pulled him around in a wagon covered with flowers.
Although a minister’s salary was meagre the family survived and flourished. The first two sons went to McGill. One became a doctor and the other a lawyer. All the girls finished high school, went to Normal school and became teachers except Renee who attended Business school. The two youngest boys were still at home when their father died. There wasn’t the money to send them to university but they both became successful businessmen.
Ismael’s death was a shock to Ida. He had preached at an earlier service in Portneuf and ran uphill from the station in Quebec City, as the train was 50 minutes late. He arrived at the end of the service and died of a heart attack. Her heart was broken, “ I must realize that my dear husband of nearly 32 years has left me forever.” She moved to her daughter Helvetia’s home in Lachute, a town Ismael had felt would be a good place to retire. She went back to Switzerland because her aunt Celine had returned, but Celine was suffering from dementia and with all other friends and family gone Ida decided her life was in Canada.
One of her husband’s brothers-in-law, Emilien Frechette, whose wife Emilina Marie Bruneau had died, proposed that as they were both alone they get married. He had built himself a large house in Iberville south of Montreal and wanted company. My Aunt Aline remembered hating her mother’s visits to Iberville because she would come back with large baskets of gooseberries, red and black currents, which had to be cleaned for jam and pies. Aline’s other memory of her grandmother Ida was teaching her to play rummy and seven up. Aline said, “ She liked the little games they played and thought the ‘Devil’s plaything’ was a misnomer.” It was fine to play cards, just not on Sunday.
Ida developed cancer and spent her last days in the Montreal General Hospital. She was buried in Mount Royal Cemetery in the Frechette plot with Emilien’s first wife Marie. After Ida’s death in 1927, he married Emilie Beauchamp Bruneau, the widow of Napoleon Bruneau, Ismael’s brother. Emilien certainly looked after the women in the Bruneau family. My mother remembered him as a nice old man. She didn’t remember her grandmother who died when she was five but she did remember visiting Monsieur Frechette in Iberville, going to the toilet and thinking, “My grandmother sat here!”
Bruneau, Ida. A Short History of the Bruneau – Girod Families. 1993.
Bruneau, Ida. letter to Mes Frere et Soeur. February 5, 1918. Quebec City, Quebec. A copy in the author’s possession.
Aline Raguin Allchurch. Letter to Mary Sutherland. 2002. Author’s possession.
Dorothy Raguin Sutherland’s Stories. Personal interview. 1998.
Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008. Original data: Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.
The Webster dictionary gives the following definitions of sauna: A Finnish steam bath is a room in which steam is provided by water thrown on hot stones. The sauna is a small room or hut heated to around 80 degrees Celsius. It is used for bathing as well as for mental and physical relaxation.
There was a time, in the not too distant past when there were more saunas in Finland than there were cars.
On a bright sunny morning in southern California, the week before Christmas 1967 at the age of eighty-one, Ida Susanna decided to enjoy what had long ago become a ritual. The sauna had been heated. It was ready. She and several family members were enjoying the heat, steam, warmth and comfort of the sauna when suddenly Ida began feeling uneasy and within a short time she succumbed on the spot, right then and there. Her last breath was in her beloved sauna, a Finnish tradition she had enjoyed throughout her life. Now, she had come full circle.
Ida Susanna Karhu drew her first breath and saw the light of day in a sauna on a cold morning in the dead of winter, March 12, 1886, in the rural village of Isokyro, on the banks of the River Kyro, in Western Finland, the Ostrobothnia Region, where St. Laurence Church built in 1304 still stands to this day, twenty minutes from Vaasa, Finland near the Gulf of Bothnia.
As a youngster, she played with friends and watched her younger brother and sister. She went to school and dreamed of a new life in a far-away country where her father was waiting for the family. Johan had left for America several months earlier. At that time the United States was actively recruiting immigrants. He was up to the challenge.
The time had finally come for the family to be reunited. In early spring of 1896 Ida, her mother, Sanna, 42, her brother Jakko and sister Lisa Whilemena, had taken all the necessary steps toward making their way to ‘Amerika’. The Finnish passport containing all four names was in order, having undergone rigorous scrutiny prior to being issued. Four tickets were purchased at the cost of FIM 138 per passenger. The date for departure had been set for May 16, 1896.
It must have been a harrowing thirteen-day voyage for Sanna, with the responsibility of three young children although Ida was able to help with the little ones. They made their way to Hango, Finland on to Hull, England, aboard the SS Urania, then by train to Liverpool, England. The travellers then boarded the SS Lucania, a Cunard Liner, destination New York City with two thousand eager passengers. Some were either homesick or seasick or both.
They passed the Statue of Liberty as they approached Ellis Island on May 29, 1896, where the lengthy registration process began before they could go down the ‘stairway to freedom’.
There were new horizons for the ten year Ida, and her family as they made their way to Ashtabula, Ohio. She went to school, was a diligent student who learned to read and write in English while maintaining her Finnish language and heritage.*
In 1903 at the age of sixteen, she married a fellow Finn, nine years her senior, had nine children. Johan (John) provided for the family for forty years until he was fatally struck in the spring of 1943 by a young fellow driving a forklift. After his passing Ida had several suitors. She remarried, however, her new husband, Herman Haapala died within the year.
Ida Susanna was a lady with sisu*, a Finnish word for perseverance, courage and determination. She married for the third time to a gentleman named Gust Gustafson and enjoyed several years living on a large farm in Cook, Minnesota. For almost ten years they travelled., One summer they visited her son in Canada, and wintered in Florida. However, he too passed away.
Getting on in years and not wanting to endure the harsh winters in the east, she made her way to southern California where she spent her remaining years close to several of her children and their families.
She lived life to the fullest throughout those many years in “Amerika” her adopted country and is buried beside her first love, her husband of forty years, Johan Hjalmar Lindell, in Edgewood Cemetery in Ashtabula, Ohio.
*Sisu is a Finnish term and when loosely translated into English signifies strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity. However, the word is widely considered to lack a proper translation into any other language. Sisu has been described as being integral to understanding Finnish culture. The literal meaning is equivalent in English to “having guts”, and the word derives from sisus, which means something inner or interior. However sisu is defined by a long-term element in it; it is not momentary courage, but the ability to sustain an action against the odds. Deciding on a course of action and then sticking to that decision against repeated failures is sisu.
The fur trade was a key part of Canada’s history and hundreds of people were involved in it from the late 1600s to the early 1800s. One way to research an ancestor who was a fur trader is to find the contracts he signed, contracts thwere generally prepared by notaries in Montreal, Quebec or Trois-Rivières.
The notaries who handled fur trade contracts in the 18th and 19th centuries were:
Louis Chaboillez – Montréal 1787-1813 – 9,346 bibliographical records
John Gerbrand Beek – Montréal 1781-1822 – 5,277 records
Jonathan Abraham Gray – Montréal 1796-1812 – 3,258 records
Jean-Baptiste Adhémar– Montréal 1714-1754 – 3,151 records
Louis-Claude Danré de Branzy – Montréal 1738-1760 – 2,784 records
François Simmonet – Montréal – 1737-1778 – 2,139 records
Joseph Desautels – Montréal 1810-1820 – 1,638 records
Antoine Foucher – Montréal – 1746-1800 – 1,056 records
Henry Griffin – Montréal 1812-1847 – 952 records
Pierre Panet de Méru – Montréal 1755-1778 – 824 records
François Leguay – Montréal 1770-1789 – 814 records
Nicolas Benjamin Doucet – Montréal 1804-1855 – 609 records
Henry Crebassa – Sorel 1795-1843 – 555 records
Joseph Cadet – Québec 1784-1800 – 276 records
Charles Claude Pratte – Trois-Rivières 1801-1817 – 236 records
Louis-Joseph Soupras – Montréal – 1762-1792 & 1809-1832 – 150 records
Pierre Ritchot – Montréal 1821-1831- 117 records
Joseph Gabrion – Montréal 1780-1804 – 54 records
Jean-Baptiste Desève – Montréal 1785-1805 – 15 records
One of the busiest of these notaries was Louis Chaboillez, who practiced in Montreal. Summaries of the more than 9000 fur trade contracts he handled can be found online on the website of the Societe historique de Saint-Boniface (SHSB) at http://archivesshsb.mb.ca/fr/list?q=Louis+Chaboillez&p=1&ps=20
The SHSB in Winnipeg has a special interest in the history of the fur trade and the people who were involved. You can learn more about the SHSB heritage center at http://shsb.mb.ca/en/about_us. This society can also help with genealogy research, especially if you have Metis ancestry. See http://shsb.mb.ca/en/Collections_and_Research.
Diane Wolford Sheppard of the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan has done extensive research on the fur trade during the French Regime, especially in the Detroit region of Michigan, the Mississipi River in Illinois and the Green Bay region of Wisconsin. This includes Fort Michilimackinac (Mackinac Island & Mackinak County, Michigan) 1683-1754; Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit – Fort Détroit (Detroit, Michigan) 1701-1760; Fort de Chartres (Mississipi River in Illinois) 1718-1731; Bay of Sauks (Ouisconsin) — Fort Winnebago; (Green Bay, Wisconsin) 1640s-1763.
The notaries in New France who handled fur trade contracts for destinations in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin were:
Antoine Adhémar – Montréal 1668-1714 – Trois-Rivières 1668-1714
Claude Mauque – Québec 1674-1682 – Montréal 1677-1696
Hilaire Bourgine – Montréal 1685-1690
Pierre Raimbault – Montréal 1697-1727
Michel Lepailleur de Laferté – Québec 1700-1715 & Montréal 1701-1732
Jean-Baptiste Adhémar – Montréal 1714-1754
Henri Hiché – Québec – 1725-1736
François Simmonet – Montréal – 1737-1778
http://www.habitantheritage.org/french-canadian_resources/the_fur_trade This article on the website of the French-Canadian Heritage Society of Michigan links to a variety of resources about the fur trade in the 17th century.
http://habitantheritage.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Women_and_Their_World_-_for_website.275153906.pdf This article by Diane Wolford Sheppard lists some women who were involved in the fur trade or liquor trade in the 17th century.
http://habitantheritage.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Outdoor_Activities.27051652.pdf This article mentions the names of some of the men who were present in Detroit around 1715.
If you had an ancestor who worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company, take a look at this article from the Alberta Family History Society on researching family history at the archives of the HBC: http://afhs.ab.ca/aids/talks/notes_mar98.html. The Hudson’s Bay Company records are at the Manitoba Archives, https://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/.
Library and Archives Canada has many records of people who worked in the fur trade; for example, http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/discover/genealogy/topics/employment/Pages/fur-trade.aspx
The McCord Museum in Montreal has records of the North West Company, one of the major players in the later years of the fur trade. Some of its photos and documents have been digitized; see http://collections.musee-mccord.qc.ca/scripts/search_results.php?keywords=North+West+Company&Lang=1
Notarial records including fur trade contracts from prior to 1800 can be found on the Parchemin database; see https://genealogyensemble.com/2017/01/01/finding-quebecs-early-notarial-records/
The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) is slowly digitizing its collection of notarial documents, but most can be consulted on microfilm at the archives in Montreal and other branches across Quebec.
The Société de généalogie de Longueuil (http://www.sglongueuil.org/), just south of Montreal, also has an extensive collection of notarial records on microfilm; see http://www.sglongueuil.org/cadres/texte/greffes.html.
Young Elizabeth Hardy Fair of Virginia. Daughter of Elizabeth Hardy, who was sister to Mary ‘Pinky’ Hardy, United States General Douglas MacArthur’s mother.
As a schoolgirl back in the 1960’s before Expo 67 opened in Montreal, the only works of art I would have recognized were the Mona Lisa and the Venus de Milo. I would have seen them, you see, on TV caricatured in advertisements for toothpaste or gloves, or on sophisticated Saturday morning cartoons like the Bugs Bunny Show.
Today, when I think of the Venus de Milo, I think of my husband’s Great Aunt Elizabeth.
In 1910 Elizabeth Hardy Fair,a single society girl from Warrenton, Virginia, USA, was visiting the Continent for the first time. She was in her mid twenties.
The aging ingénue kept a written record in diary form and I have it. This European diary reveals that she started her trip in London (hated it, too gloomy) and then went on to Paris, (loved it, so pretty).
Sorry to say, that’s about as deep as she gets.
Still, Elizabeth penned this one rather intriguing phrase from a visit to the Louvre: “Saw Gaylord Clarke coming out of the Venus de Milo Room. Second time we have met since abroad.”
Now, if this were a scene from an E.M. Forster novel, and Miss Elizabeth Fair were a luminous young woman of head-strong character, this ‘chance meeting’ at the Louvre would have been, no doubt, a significant turning point in the trajectory of Miss Elizabeth’s life.
Just think of it. In 1910, women such as Elizabeth covered themselves, neck to toes, in starchy shirtwaists and princess skirts.
Now contemplate the Venus de Milo with her sumptuous drapery dipping below the upper curve of her perfect buttocks, and then figure what it must have felt to be a young man coming out of the Venus de Milo room in that era–before the age of California beach volleyball. And then imagine what an opportune moment it was for the very eligible Miss Elizabeth Hardy Fair of Warrenton, Virginia.
As it is, this Mr. Clarke left for England the next day. End of their story.
Elizabeth soon returned to Warrenton, still very much single. Eight years later she would travel to Montreal (to visit her older sister, Mae) and find a husband in the form of one Frank Tofield, banker.
She would live out her life in the posh Linton apartments on Sherbrooke Street West in ‘uptown’ Montreal, impressing her great nephews and nieces at every Sunday dinner with the button on the floor under the dining room table that she used to summon the staff with her foot.
Now, as someone who likes to write about ancestors, I like to think that everyone who ever lived is worthy of at least one book, or at least a good short story, but my husband’s Great Aunt Elizabeth may be an exception.
Elizabeth and Frank had no children and all she left behind to her nephew is a tattered scrapbook with a few yellowed clippings like this one from a 1904 St. Louis Social Notes page: .
Miss Elizabeth Fair of Warrenton VA is the guest of Dr. and Mrs. John O’Fallon and is a beautiful girl who has been a great deal feted and admired around St. Louis. The 1904 World’s Fair!
The year before, in 1903, she attended her soon-to-be famous first cousin, Douglas MacArthur’s, West Point graduation. She glued the dance card into her scrapbook. Mae had the first dance, a waltz; she had the third, a gavotte.
And then there’s this diary, this pedestrian record of her 1910 European experience visiting all the usual landmarks, Hyde Park, Les Champs Elysees and Le Bon Marche where she bought handkerchiefs and gloves. It is a diary exposing no wicked sense of humour, sharing no penetrating insights, and including not even one memorable phrase like, say, “I shall return.”
Well, she did mention seeing suffragettes on the march in London.
Oh, she does pencil in this candid opinion on Da Vinci’s most famous work.
Went to the Louvre in the morning. Pictures most interesting. Mona Lisa was carefully inspected but it does not appeal to me in the least. After lunch, shopped and then drove through Parc Mont Claire. This park is lovely, abloom with flowers, statuary and strollers galore. Great place for lovers and babies… So, no surprise, in 1910, Elizabeth, had love and babies on the mind.
I wonder what was wrong, then, with this mysterious Mr. Clarke? If things had gone well, it might have been a very good thing for one Frank Tofield. Family legend has it the well-to-do couple argued incessantly over the decades over her spendthrift ways.
(I found Frank’s signed Bible and it was filled with dozens of brittle, faded four leaf clovers.)
So, no book about Great Aunt Elizabeth Hardy Fair, by all definitions a most ordinary Southern Belle and first cousin to a genuine history-book legend. No short story either.
Just this short blog post.
Below: Elizabeth at her wedding: lavish tastes
Amidst the many tombstones in a shady corner of Edgewood Cemetery in Ashtabula, Ohio is a very simple thick slab of granite, about the size of one of those washboards our mothers and grandmothers used to hand wash items before washing machines were invented. Inscribed on this granite in very large letters, as simple as the stone itself is the word “AITI”. which means mother in Finnish. It is the resting place of my great grandmother1, Susanna Karhu (Klemola) who had immigrated to the United States in 1896.
Susanna was born in Waara, Finland in 1854. In their home country in 1876 at the age of twenty-two Sanna married Johan Karhu. Over time they raised a family of eight children.
In 1893 Johan seized the opportunity to immigrate to the United States. He left his family in Finland and made his way to Ashtabula, Ohio, a port city on Lake Erie, where he worked on the docks and lived in the area of Ashtabula Harbor. At that time the port was thriving with constant activity. Large flat boats and barges loaded with coal and iron ore were sailing up and down the Great Lakes. These were prosperous times. New immigrants were eager to earn a decent wage.
Once settled, Johan sent for his family. In 1896 Susanna ( Sanna), at the age of forty-two along with her three youngest children, Ida, Jaako, and Lisa set sail by way of Hanko, Finland.2. They boarded the S.S. Cunard ship ‘Lucania’ in Liverpool, England en route to America. Ellis Island was their port of destination in America arriving there on the 30th of May 1896, and continuing on to Ohio.
Very little is known about Sanna. We do know that her two oldest children chose to remain in Finland. It must have been heart wrenching to know that she would be leaving behind these children and two of her babies’ graves.
She was a housewife and at the time of her death August 18th 1929. She was 75 years old and among the oldest of the Finnish residents of Ashtabula Harbor having lived there over 30 years. Johan died in 1948. Where he is buried is still a mystery?
Sanna, Ida Susanna, Johan, Jaako and Lisa. Photograph taken several years
after arriving in the United States. Ida, my grandmother appears to be about fifteen or sixteen.
In a photograph taken during a family gathering in 1919 Sanna and Johan
are surrounded by their children, grandchildren and great-grand children.
- 1. “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images,FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X8PB-TC9 : 8 December 2014), Sanna Karhu, 18 Aug 1929; citing Ashtabula, Ashtabula, Ohio, reference fn 50528; FHL microfilm 1,991,908.
- 2. Finnish Institute of Migration
Panting with the effort the young man hurried through the night. Under one arm he carried his bundle of belongings and in his other arm, his three year old son Thomas. Samuel OBray had left Bootle, Liverpool in great haste and was headed to the Liverpool Docks with his precious bundles to board the Ellen Maria (1) sailing soon for New Orleans USA for a new life in America.
Samuel was a shipwright. He joined the Church of Latter Day Saints (or Mormons) on the 6th February, 1846, before his first marriage to Margret Harris in November 1846 in Pembroke Dock, Wales. Samuel and Margret had two sons, Thomas and John. Margret had never agreed with his religious beliefs so unbeknownst to her, Samuel had booked passage for himself and his eldest son, Thomas to New Orleans Louisiana later, to join the rest of the ‘Mormon Saints’ in Utah or Zion as they called it. Samuel left behind him, his wife Margret and their youngest son John.
The ship was due to leave port on 29th January 1851 but had been anchored in the River Mersey for two days due to storms until it was deemed safe enough to set sail. Whilst on board, Samuel had befriended other Mormon Saints on the ship, particularly a family named Bainbridge. They were a family of six. Three sons and three daughters. Eleanor was the second daughter and she and Samuel struck up a friendship.
According to the ‘Biography of Samuel William OBray and Eleanor Bainbridge OBray’ (2) there are two versions of what happened when Margret realised what Samuel had done.
In the first family legend, she reported it to the authorities who headed to the Docks and searched the ship but could not discover Thomas. During the search of the ship Samuel had persuaded the Bainbridge family to claim Thomas as their own. Whilst the authorities were looking for a small boy Thomas had been dressed as a little girl and integrated into the Bainbridge family.
In the second version Samuel was able to steal the oldest boy from his mother and took him on board the ship Ellen Maria just prior to its departure. The boy had red hair and Samuel was able to place him with a family of red-headed children so that when the police came aboard they could not find him. The boys name was Thomas William, age three.
Poor Margret never did find her son. Was she on the dock when the ship sailed from Liverpool on the 2nd February 1851? If so, how must she have felt as she watched the ship sail away? It can only be imagined.
Upon arrival in New Orleans, The OBray and Bainbridge families were not able financially to continue their journey to Utah so they stayed and worked until they were able to continue. Whilst in New Orleans Samuel and Eleanor married and their first child, Ellen Jane was born. (3) They went on to have eight more children and Samuel took a third plural wife, but there were no children from this union. However, according to his obituary (4) as it appeared in “The Journal” 11 June 1910:
“His descendants number about 176, as follows: 10 children 87 grandchildren 75 great-grandchildren and four great-great grandchildren”
Samuel William OBray was my second great grand uncle.
Samuel OBray and Eleanor Bainbridge OBray
3 ‘The New World having Become Attractive To Thomas Sharratt, he came to America and Settled” Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia Vol. 3 p 514
Lucie Bagg, half-sister to my three-times great grandfather Stanley Bagg, has represented a brick wall for me ever since I started genealogy five years ago. I had never heard of her, or of her two half-sisters, before I started to research the Bagg family. I found a record of her baptism in La Prairie, Lower Canada (now Quebec),1 but that was it.
Gradually, clues emerged. Lucie was mentioned as a beneficiary in the will that her half-sister Sophia Bagg, veuve (widow) Gabriel Roy, wrote in 18562, so I realized she must have lived to adulthood. Then I ran across an 1816 marriage record for Lucy Baggs and William Kaene in Buffalo and Vicinity, Erie County, New York.3 It was easy to imagine that she had moved to Buffalo since her family was originally from the United States. I found the Kaene family on several public members’ trees on Ancestry, but I wanted evidence that the Lucy I had found was the Lucie I was looking for. Finally, I found it: the 1860 U.S. Federal Census listed Lucy Kaene, born Lower Canada.4
Now I can tell her story:
Lucie Bagg was born on 11 Jan. 1789 in La Prairie, Lower Canada to American-born, Protestant parents, but since there was no Protestant church in the town, she was baptized in the local Catholic church. The priest who recorded her baptism was French-speaking and he used the French spelling of Lucy in the register. Lucie lived much of her life in the United States and appears in census records as Lucy, but to her family in Canada, she remained Lucie.
Lucie’s father, innkeeper Phineas Bagg (c. 1750-1823), had moved to La Prairie, on the banks of the St. Lawrence River near Montreal, from Pittsfield, Massachusetts with his four children by his now- deceased first wife and with Lucie’s mother, who was probably Ruth Langworthy.5 He had fallen into debt in Pittsfield and lost his farm to repay his creditors, so he had come to Canada to start a new life.6 La Prairie was then a prosperous town on the route between Montreal and New England, and a number of Americans lived there.
By 1810, Lucie’s half-siblings were beginning to launch their careers and marry. Phineas and son Stanley moved onto the island of Montreal and opened the Mile End Tavern at a crossroads about a mile north of the city.7 The Mile End property was a farm as well as a tavern, and perhaps Lucie helped feed the animals or serve the tavern guests.
In 1816, when she was 18, she married William Kaene, a 19-year-old Pennsylvania-born farmer, somewhere in or near Buffalo. At that time, Buffalo was a village on the eastern shore of Lake Erie. Several years earlier, during the War of 1812, British troops had burned it.
In 1825, the Erie Canal linking Lake Erie with Albany and the Hudson River was completed. Perhaps Lucie attended the canal’s opening ceremonies in Buffalo, the waterway’s western terminus.8 The canal gave a big boost to Buffalo’s economy as the town became a transfer point for both passengers and goods.
In an 1832 city directory, William was listed as “grocer, main Street, dwelling public square”.9 A directory published in 1836 indicated the couple lived a short distance northwest of the town, at the corner of Pennsylvania and Tenth streets, and identified William as a farmer.10
Lucie and William had at least three children: Louise Sophia (1817-1911), Julia Elizabeth (1829-1910) and Ella (1836- ).11 There are big gaps between the girls’ ages, so Lucie may have had other children who died young.12
Julia married John Alexander Brewster in 1858, moved to California and had three children.13 Louise married Harrison Otis Cowing in 1839 and had nine children, two of whom may have died young. 14
Harrison Cowing was a grocer and merchant in Buffalo and became the official head of the household. In 1850, the Cowing family, Lucie and William and their unmarried daughters were living in the brick family home at Pennsylvania and Tenth.15, 16 At that time, William’s occupation was land dealer. He died two years later.17
Lucie was still living with the Cowing family at the time of the 1860 federal census and of the 1865 state census.18 After the Civil War, several of the Cowing children moved to the Midwest, and it appears Lucie joined them. She died in Lafayette, Indiana on February 2, 1874.19
“Opening of the Erie Canal” engraving of a print by Howard Pyle (1853-1911), from The Evolution of New York: by Thomas A. Janvier. www.eriecanal.org, accessed Feb. 28, 2016.
Commercial Advertiser Directory for the City of Buffalo, embellished with a new and correct map. Jewett, Thomas & Co., publishers, 1850. p. 5. babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015049262119;view=1up;seq=29
This article is also posted on Writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca
Notes and footnotes
- “Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968” [database on-line]. Ancestry.com, (www.ancestry.ca, accessed 27 Feb. 2016), Gabriel Drouin, comp. Drouin Collection. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.
- Labadie, Joseph-Augustin, # 14278, 18 Mai 1856. Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
- “Early Settlers of New York State, Their Ancestors and Descendants”, extracts from Vol. 2, No. 12 (June 1936) Akron, NY: Thomas Foley. Genealogical Research Library, comp. New York City, Marriages, 1600s-1800s [database on-line] (www.Ancestry.ca, accessed Feb. 27, 2016).
4. 1860, Buffalo Ward 10, Erie, New York; Roll: M653_748; Page: 729; Image: 157; Family History Library Film: 803748. Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
There are two errors in Ancestry.com’s transcription of this census entry: Lucy’s last name was transcribed Kene instead of Kaene, and her age was copied as 68 rather than 62 as the census taker had written it. The original census entry reads, Lucy Kaene, age 62, born Lower Canada.
- It is not clear whether Lucie’s mother’s name was Ruth or Lucy. I will write about her soon in another post on writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca.
- Janice Hamilton, An Economic Emigrant, Writing Up the Ancestors, Oct. 16, 2013, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2013/10/an-economic-emigrant.html
- Janice Hamilton, The Mile End Tavern, Writing Up the Ancestors, Oct. 21, 2013, http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2013/10/the-mile-end-tavern.html
- The History of Buffalo, New York, Index, http://www.buffaloah.com/h/histindex.html links to a variety of articles and images about individuals, businesses, politicians, the arts, the military and the Erie Canal. Buffalo Research.com, http://www.buffaloresearch.com/onlinedirectories.html, links to online city directories from 1828 to 1941. See also the virtual exhibit focusing on Buffalo in the year 1832: Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society. 175 Years Celebrating the Incorporation of the City of Buffalo. http://www.buffalohistory.org/Explore/Exhibits/virtual_exhibits/buffalo_anniversary/175th/index.htm
- 9. A Directory for the City of Buffalo containing the names and residence of heads of families and householders of the said city on the first of July, 1832. Buffalo: L.P. Chary. p. 84. http://nyheritage.nnyln.net/cdm/pageflip/collection/VHB011/id/5034/type/compoundobject/show/4911/cpdtype/document/pftype/image#page/1/mode/2up
- 1836-1837 Crary’s Buffalo City Directory, p. 94. http://nyheritage.nnyln.net/cdm/pageflip/collection/VHB011/id/8820/type/compoundobject/show/8679/cpdtype/document/pftype/image#page/74/mode/2up
- Ella was born Nov 19, 1836 according to her 1865 christening record: “New York Births and Christenings, 1640-1962,” [database] FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FDLB-NYM (accessed 27 February 2016), Ella La Fontaine, 19 Nov 1836; citing reference 2:112NCB1; FHL microfilm 1,378,628.
Ella was 29 years old in 1865 when she was christened at Grace Episcopal Church, Buffalo. Ella was not listed on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, but she did appear with the rest of the family on the 1860 U.S. Federal Census and the 1865 State Census. Perhaps she was adopted.
- The 1850 census mentioned a daughter Johanna but I have not found any other mention of her. Also, the transcription of the 1850 census on Ancestry.ca incorrectly lists two other family members, Catherine and Fred. The census gatherer did not write down last names for these people, so they can be mistaken for family, however, Fred was identified as a labourer born in Ireland, while Catherine was born in Germany and may have been a domestic servant.
- “Public Member Trees,” [database] http://www.Ancestry.ca, Adams Family Tree, Stuart Lauters compiler (accessed 28 Feb. 2016), http://person.ancestry.ca/tree/16093254/person/341207597/facts. This is a well-sourced public member tree on Ancestry.ca for Lucie Bagg and her family.
- “John Cowing Revolutionary War Soldier” provided by Joe W. Cowing, 2002, submitted by Dolores Davidson, www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~nychauta/Families/Jcowing.htm (accessed 1 March, 2016). Harrison Otis Cowing (1814-1839) is part of generation 7 in this family tree. His son Stanley Bagge Cowing, born 1844, may have been named after Lucie’s brother Stanley Bagg.
- Commercial Advertiser Directory for the City of Buffalo, embellished with a new and correct map. Jewett, Thomas & Co., publishers, 1850, p. 118. http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015049262119;view=1up;seq=174
16. 1850, Buffalo Ward 5, Erie, New York; Roll: M432_502; p. 491B; Image: 486. Entry for William Kaene; digital image. Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.ca; accessed 28 Feb. 2016), 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.
There is a transcription error on Ancestry: the family is indexed as Rane, rather than Kaene.
- “Public Member Trees,” [database] http://www.Ancestry.ca, Adams Family Tree, Stuart Lauters compiler (accessed 28 Feb. 2016), http://person.ancestry.ca/tree/16093254/person/762097336/facts.
18 New York, State Census, 1865 [database on-line]. Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.ca, accessed 28 Feb. 2016), Census of the state of New York, for 1865. Microfilm. New York State Archives, Albany, New York.
Note the census-taker erroneously spelled the family name Kane.
19 “Public Member Trees,” [database] http://www.Ancestry.ca, Adams Family Tree, Stuart Lauters compiler (accessed 28 Feb. 2016), http://person.ancestry.ca/tree/16093254/person/1077026843/facts.
The American Revolution was time of flux for many citizens who were loyal to the British. These Loyalists sought refuge in towns north of the border in an area known as the Eastern Townships. They settled and formed communities and built their churches
In this database you will find the locations of births, marriages and deaths of these early settlers.
Right Click the title below to open the database in a new window: