Learning from the past, living in the moment, and leaving footprints for the future. Stories of lov

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Slave Named Sambo

In 1755 there were 12 slaves in the town of Middleboro, MA. Rev. Peter Thatcher owned a slave by the name of Sambo who was imported from Africa.

A story is told of Sambo entering the home to see a fire in the oven. It scared him and he ran away. He was found later cold, tired and hungry and fearful of the wild animals that just might eat him. Sambo told the Rev. that in Africa when they got hungry they would kill a slave and cook him and eat him. Sambo said "I thought now my time."

Sambo went to church every Sunday and one day in church he was so moved by the sermon that he sobbed quite loudly disrupting the entire congregation.

(Story found in the records of NEHGS in Boston)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Meeting Grandpa

Kathy meets her grandfather for the first time

If she looks angry, she is.  Just as she was asking her grandfather silently in thought, "Why didn't you care", totally oblivious to her surroundings, her husband snapped this picture .

Through my research, I learned he did care, very much.  This knowledge made me and my mother less critical of him.

No, he wasn't perfect and he made personal mistakes, but then again no one is perfect.  But a hard life during the depression does have a profound impact on people. Feelings of hopelessness, frustrations and failures I now know he endured.

Genealogy has a way of discovery that can and do heal wounds of the heart. Happy that I could bring some peace and understanding to my mother, allowing her to better understand her father.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Black Sheep Sunday - Murder Intent

It all started in Grant County, Wisconsin, when James read a newspaper story of a 14-year-old boy in a double slaying murdered a man and his wife. The story led him to set a plan in motion.

Sixteen-year-old James hid in the shadows as his father, Glen, age 46, a part-time County Deputy Sheriff was putting the family car in the garage.  His mother sat in the passenger seat. James pulled the trigger on a .22 caliber riffle shooting his father in the back of the head.  The slug fracturing his jaw. His mother suffered shock and was hospitalized with a nervous breakdown.

James was charged with intent to murder in the impulse shooting of his father and was held on a $15,000 bond.  His plea was innocent by reason of insanity in connection to the ambush.  Authorities planned to take him to the Mendota State Hospital for a mental evaluation.  He was found to be sane at the time of the shooting.  James then changed his plea to guilty.

James was sentenced to a term not to exceed six years.

Glen survived this brutal attack by his son and lived to the ripe old age of 93.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Lockhard Story

A brief history:

In early times this name was spelt "Locard" or Lokart." Like so many Scottish families, the Locards came from England there they were among those dispossed of lands by William the Conqueror. There were lands of Lockards (note name) near Penrith in the 12th century and later in Annandale, where the town of Lockerbie is said to be named after them. The family finally settled in Ayrshire and Lanarkshire, where they have held land for over 700 years.

The earliest paper in the family archives is a Charter of 1313. By this, Sir Symon Locard bound himself and his heirs to pay out of the lands of Lee and Cartland an annual rent of (franc) 10. Stephen Locard, grandfather of Sir Symon, founded the village of Stevenston in Ayrshire. His son, Symon, acquired lands in Lanarkshire and, like his father, called a village which he founded Symons Toun (today Symington) after himself. Symon, the 2nd of Lee won fame for himself and his family fighting alongside Robert the Bruce in the struggle for Scottish Independence. He was knighted for his loyal service. Sir Symon was among the knights, led by Sir James Douglas, who took Bruces heart on crusade in 1329 to atone for his murder of John Comyn in the church of Grefairs in 1306. The crusade was ended prematurely when Douglas was killed fighting the Moors in Spain, but to Commemorate the adventure and the honour done to the family, their name was changed from Locard to Lockheart, which afterwards became Lochhart. The heart within the fetterlock was from then on included in the arms of the family, and the dead is also commerated in the moto.

As well as a new name, the family gained a precious heirloom on the Crusade: the mysterious charm known as the Lee Penny. Sir Walter Scott used the story of its acquisition by the family as a basis for his novel, The Talisman. Sir Symon captured a Moorish Amir in battle in Spain and received from the man's mother as part of his ransom, an amulet or stone with healing powers. The Amir's mother told Sir Symon that the stone was a remedy against bleeding, fever, the bites of mad dogs and the sicknesses of horses and cattle. The amulet was later set in a silver coin which has been identified as a four penny piece of the reign of Edward IV. The coin is kept in a good snuffbox which was a gift from Maria Theresa, Empress of Austria, to her general, Count James Lockhart. Such was the believe in the amulet's powers that a descendant of Sir Symon, Sir James Lockhart of Lee, was charged with sorcery, an offense which could carry the death penalty. After examining the accused, the Synod of the Church of Scotland dismissed the case, because 'the custom in only to case a stone in some water and give densest cattle thereof to drink and the same is done without using any words such as charmers use in the unlawful practices and considering that in nature there are many things seem to work strange effects whereof no human wit can give reason it having pleast God to give the stones and herbs a special virtue for healing of many infirmities in man and beast.'

Alan Lockhart of Lee was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in 1547. Sir James Lockhart of Lee, born in 1596, was appointed a gentleman of the Privy Chamber of Charles I and was knighted. In 1646 he was appointed to the Supreme Court Bench, taking the title of 'Lord Lee.' A zealous royalist, he was captured at Alyth in 1651 and conveyed to the Tower of London.

His son, Sir William, who inherited the estates in 1777, also saw service on the Continent where he rose to be a county of the Holy Roman Empire, A Knight of the Order of Maria Theresa and a general of that empresses' imperial forces. The title Count became extinct when James's only son, Charles, died without issue (male child).

Although the family seat, Lee Castle, has been sold, the estates are still owned and managed by the present head of the family, Angus Lockhart of the Lee.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Gang of Thiefs

In 1934 a child of age seven listens to adults talking, "He's nothing but a horse thief". What does that mean?  Fast forward to 2017. This child, my mother, is approaching 90 years of age. We had spoken many times over the years and yet  I couldn't find anything on this story.  I just came to conclusion it meant something like he was a bum, and forgot about it.

The "Horse Thief" was married to one of my great grandmother's sisters.  But which one could it be, Ada or Cora?  I knew the name of Cora's husband but had no idea who Ada had married.  That is until a few months ago when I was contacted by a person who claimed to be related to this family.  (Met another cousin)

I asked her about the rumor of a horse thief.  She quickly replied, no rumor, it's true, and she forwarded the newspaper articles, prison records and obits.

Ada "Addie" Eldridge, (1859-1934) my great aunt, married John J. Milliman, (1856-1935) a farmer and horse trader. They were from New York.

Here is that story:
May 24, 1879, Nunda News, Nunda, Allegany, NY

A Gang of Thief's Have Infested the Neighboring Towns. 

William Dunigan, Breman Cutler, John Dunigan and John Mess were arrested on the charge of larceny.  On the examination of the prisoners, evidence was brought out implicating the Milliman Brothers. John, Jim and Myron of Loon Lake. They were arrested and taken to jail.

The first men arrested turned states evidence, naming John Milliman, the leader of the gang. John was charged with grand larceny, found guilty and sentenced to three years to Auburn prison.

Myron Milliman was sentenced to Buffalo work-house for seven months and fined $150. His brother Jim was fined $50 and four months in the same place.

The article ended saying:  It is to be devoutly hoped that the bringing of the outlaws to justice will break up the gang which has for years been a terror to the law abiding citizens of this and neighboring counties.

Note:  Through all this, Ada stayed true to John.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Surname Saturday - Remembering Babunia

Antonia  Chicanowicz, a Polish woman, was born in Vilna, Russia in 1894.  From 1795 to 1918 the area was under the Imperial Russian Rule and it had a strong grip on the Polish people.  They were not allowed to speak Polish on the streets and the stores could only post signs in the Russian language. 

Russia during this time was made up of Lithuanians, Jews and Pols.  All three were striving for cultural domination. The languages spoken were Yiddish, Polish, and Lithuanian.  The man she would eventually marry, John Kopcych, was also born in Vilna, Russia in 1892 and immigrated to America in 1910, at the age of 18, due to the strong hand of Russian rule and cultural unrest and most assuredly searching for a better life.

At the start of WWI in 1914, at the age of 20, Antonia immigrated to America.  It was here that she married John Kopcych and together purchased land on Hayward Place, in Bridgewater, Massachusetts and began a life of farming.  Their first child was a daughter, Stella born in 1916 followed by another daughter, Mary Rose born in 1917.  A son Anthony was born in 1919 known to me as Uncle Tony for he married my father's sister, Bertha. Their fourth and last child, a son was named Joseph after John’s father.

I came to know Antonia, a widow, at this time, now living next door to my parents. Her home was built on land owned by her son Anthony. We called her Babunia, which is grandma in Polish. She made great cookies.  I remember sneaking one from her kitchen as a child.

She loved her booze and did imbibe a little too much at times.  I remember her picking up about a two foot long log from her wood pile that she kept for her wood stove and then would carry it out to the edge of the street and set it on end. Being a stout woman, she would firmly plant herself down with feet apart on the ground for balance and yell “hey” as she waved to the cars as they drove by. A practice we saw more than once, that we found somewhat humorous.

It is believed that a wood stove caused her home to catch fire.  Her son, my Uncle Tony, lived on the other side of our house. 

In the middle of the night, my father's cousin, Eddie, who lived two houses down, woke my parents by banging on their bedroom window.  My mother was startled and screamed for the reflection from the fire made it look like our house was on fire. 

Her son, Tony, who lived in the house between us an Eddie, ran to his mother's home. In an attempt to save her he broke the glass in the window to get to her. He believes he heard her yell for help. It was a valiant effort in futility for the house was totally engulfed and the flames too hot.  Tony cut his hand on the windowpane and was bleeding heavily.  Knowing he was not able to save his mother, he walked over to our house leaving a trail of blood though the snow.  My mother while sitting on the back steps wrapped his hand in a towel to stop the bleeding as the fire trucks and police arrived.

Sadly, Antonia died in that fire in 1955, most likely from smoke inhalation as she slept.  I was eleven years old as I looked out our living room window at all the activity and the night air red with fire.  I watched as she was taken away in a black body bag. 

Only the foundation of her home remained.  It stayed that way for decades as weeds and trees grew hiding the caving cement walls before the land was sold and a new home was built.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


DNA has become the hot topic of conversation these days. You see it advertised on television just about every day where people express being surprised to find they were part Native American.  Still another was surprised to find out they weren't German after all but actually Irish. 

I decided that I don't need to do my DNA.  I'd been doing genealogy and researching my lineage for so many years that I was sure I knew exactly who I was.  My maternal side led me to Germany, Scotland, Ireland with a little bit of Spanish thrown in there. Dad's side took me to England over to the Netherlands and the Mayflower brought me to the new land called Plymouth.  Have Irish on dad's side too. I also found some French and few other European countries. Seems that people crossed the border to find their spouse, what a surprise.  So why spend money doing my DNA when I already knew all the answers?

Should I be so cocky as to think I know it all?  What if I am missing something?  The advertising pressure had become just to tempting and bringing some doubt to mind.  So what do I do?  I broke out my piggy bank and ordered a DNA kit through Ancestry; on sale of course.

It arrived fairly quickly.  I opened the small box, read and followed the instructions to the letter. Thank goodness I didn't have to pee in a bottle.  I mailed it in the next day and was told to expect an answer in about six weeks. Now I had more time than I cared to, to wonder and worry about what I might find out about me.  Has anyone ever been shocked or disappointed about what they learned I wondered. 

To my surprise the results returned in about two weeks.  Oh boy, here we go as I nervously began reading the results.   And guess what?  I really did know who I was. I am 100% European.  The only new information I found enlightening were the percentages.

The great part of this whole story is that for nine days this past early summer I was privileged to go on an Avalon Cruise down the Rhine River.  This nine day journey took me back to where 47% of my western European roots began, Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands.  In Germany I came to within 150 miles from where my 3rd gr grandfather, Mathias Roesch, lived along the foothills of the Black Forest. I fell in love with beautiful Germany.  A journal was my constant companion writing diligently every day and took over 200 pictures to make sure I would remember it all.  It was the most meaningful, wonderful, fulfilling and heartwarming journey of my life.

So go ahead, take the DNA leap, you may be surprised by what you learn.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Drawing Parallel Lines

 “Necessity is the mother of invention”, meaning, when the need for something becomes imperative.  That quote, author unknown, has guided men and women thoughout history mostly for good, but sometimes for the bad.
Our Ancestors occupation depended upon where they lived, the era in which they were born and the services that the community they lived in needed. Some communities like Potosi, Wisconsin was a lead mining town and that ended when the gold rush began in California and men everywhere, including Potosi, left to seek their fortune.
To say the least, convenient grocery stores weren’t available; so people depended on the many who were cattle farmers who raised beef and produced milk, and the vegetable farmers for their successful crops. Some immigrants from countries who suffered and starved during the potato famine became just that, potato farmers, for this was their main staple.  
The only transportation at one time was the horse or horse and buggy.  So you had the blacksmith shops. Not only did they shoe horses, they forged tools, made agricultural implements, complex weapons and armor to simple things like nails.
Life hasn’t been easy over the generations.  Always you have the good and the bad affecting individuals. All it took was severe weather such as a drought, or hurricane and the farmer lost everything. That in turn effected the citizens.
In building new communities it was a necessity to hold more than one job, such as my own great grandfather.  His occupations included, citrus farming, Mayor, Postmaster, Volunteer fireman, owner of a newspaper, and the Tiger fence Company.
World wars took our men away and women had to step in to fill the gap doing so called man’s work. As we became more advanced we became less self-sufficient.  Political and financial factions affected our lives.  Just as the fall of Wall Street put thousands out of work and the era of depression began.

The government started the WPA, Works Progress Administration to provide employment, working on our roads and highways, and we saw soup lines to feed the hungry. In 1935 the Economic Security Act was proposed and then before being enacted, Congress changed the name to the Social Security.
So as you go through history you can draw a parallel line of opposites, one for the bad, and one for the good that came out of changes through time, but sometimes how what was meant to be good such as nuclear power can turn bad because it can be used as a weapon.  Now mark the events in history where Necessity became the mother of invention”, in your family tree.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wherefore Art Thou Joseph - Found

Joseph H Smith, my great grandfather decided that he would leave Bridgewater, Massachusetts and move back to Maine, the state of his birth.  He asked his wife to go with him, but all her children and grandchildren were here, so her answer was no.  He told his wife Eunice, kiss baby Genie (his granddaughter) goodbye for me.  And so, in 1930,he left, never to be heard from again.

I had heard that his wife was a difficult woman.  Perhaps he had enough and that is why he left. The ironic thing is that years later, their son Forrest did the same thing.  He left was never heard from again.  (Read story Wherefore Art Thou Forrest) Thankful Thursday, Forrest Has Been Found   I finally found him after seven years of research.

Now I have found Joseph, after eight years of research.  The only thing I have not found for father and or son, is their burial site.

Puzzle solved re: Joseph H Smith and where he went when he left his wife Laura Eunice Jones in Mass and moved to Maine. I last saw Joseph living in Portland, Maine with Gardner and his wife Sarah Lovejoy. See if you can follow this winding trail. It just might give you a headache.  I find it amazing that I found this at all. Do you know how many Joseph Smith's there are?!

William G Smith, my great great grandfather had a sister Hulda who married a James Tarbox. It was, I believe, their grandson, Arnold Tarbox who married Sara Lovejoy. So Sarah married into the Smith family. (Later she married into the Jones family. (Wm G Smith son Joseph H Smith married Laura Eunice Jones. Explanation below)

Taxbox children were the children of Sarah Lovejoy Tarbox born 25th of Nov 1884, Augusta, Maine. She was married to Arnold Tarbox a farmer from Westport, Maine. She was 19 he was 31 when they married. This was Arnold's 2nd marriage, first one ended in divorce. Sarah's father was Frank Lovejoy, farmer from Augusta, Maine. Her mother was Josephine Marr of Washington, Maine. The Tarbox children all born in Maine: Edna, at age one was living with her mother and Grandfather, Frank in Salem, Mass. Sarah was 25 at that time listed as married, but Arnold was not listed in that 1920 census. Sarah and her brother Franklin who was also living in Salem was 22 years old, single living in same household 1920. Next child Arthur, two years young than Edna died in 1981 in Farmingdale, Maine. Then Mildred Marie was one year younger than Arthur. she died 2001 in Fort Fairfield, Maine.
Joseph H. Smith and the Tarbox children and a Doris Jones child were living 2 Park Street, Augusta, Maine. .

Sarah Lovejoy married Arnold Tarbox. When Arnold died she married a widower, Gardner Robinson Jones. He was the son of Warren A Jones brother-in-law to Joseph. Warren was a brother to Joseph's estranged wife, Laura Eunice Jones whom he left in Massachusetts. Therefore, Joseph was a cousin to Gardner. So Joseph moved in with his cousins wife, Sarah. Gardner had been married before to a Cora. So the child, Doris Jones was Gardner's by his first marriage.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Faces From The Past - Place of Honor

Some ancestor pictures cry out to be placed in a frame and hung in a place of honor. It was difficult to choose which ancestor picture to use, I could easily wallpaper the entire room. This  project was just completed.  I personally know them all, it certainly feels that way.  It's as if I actually met them when they walked the earth.  Research has taught me much about these wonderful people, who they were and what they did. Their personalities speak so loudly you can almost hear their voices.

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