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

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mappy Monday - Spanish Land Grant

Spanish Land Grant to Spicer Christopher, my 4th gr grandfather,  for 100 acres on Talbot Island in 1807. (Courtesy Florida Memory Archives )

Spicer Christopher was the son of John and Martha Watson Christopher.  He married Mary Greenwood, daughter of William and Elizabeth Bryan of land in what is now Nassau County, including all of Talbot Island.  He had fine cattle, pedigreed mares, and raised horses.  He was a Protestant but under the Spanish rule had to swear allegiance to the Spanish Monarch, and turned Catholic. 

He died in 1811 and asked to be buried by the rites of the Church of England.  He left his wife half of his livestock, 29 slaves, and the right to live on any of his plantation for life. 

Son John Bluet Christopher got five slaves and the San Christobal Plantation on the St. Johns River. Son William Bluet Christopher got five slaves and the Old Town Homestead on the St. Marys.  Lewis got five slaves and the north half of Talbot Island called San Carlos.

Daughter Elizabeth who married John Houston 1st, my 3rd great grandparents, got the south half of Talbot Island called Santa Maria Plantation. 

All in all, Spicer owned and operated five plantations. "Old township" on the St. Mary's; Santa Maria at the mouth of Nassau River; Isabella Plantation, now known as Punta de Hazzard or Point Hazzard; San Carlos, North of and near St. John's River still called San Carlos.

Source: Helen B Hodges;Helen Jones Smotherman: June Elvington Smith in "Pioneers of Florida's First Coast" Vol I pg 118 compiled by The Southern Genealogist Exchange Society.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Travel Tuesday - Big Talbot Island

We took a little side trip to visit Big Talbot Island, Florida on our way to Cocoa where we stay for a month during the winter. The Island is located just north of Jacksonville, Florida. 

Today the island is a state park primarily a natural preserve providing a premier location for nature study, bird–watching, or photography. You can also go hiking, bicycling, fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and picnicking. There are even picnic pavilions, nature trails, a fishing pier, a boat ramp, bike trails and beaches.  So there is lots to do there including learning about history and visiting the historic sites.

John Carrol Houston, my 4th great grandfather, a Revolutionary War veteran of South Carolina, born about 1755, came to East Florida from Georgia about 1808. His wife was Jane Harvey, born about 1758 in Beaufort, South Carolina. They settled on Big Talbot Island, and at his death after Florida became a territory, and with his eldest son, John, had acquired several land grants.

The Houston's came to America from Ireland some years before the Revolutionary War.  General Samuel Houston of Texas fame is said to be a cousin of John Carrol Houston through a brother who went to Tennessee.
John Houston's grandson, John C Houston III, had a daughter Ada.  She married William Russell Roesch who became the first mayor of Eau Gallie, Florida. It is said that General Samuel Houston came to visit his cousin John Carrol Houston III in Eau Gallie.  So I take pride in saying that I am a cousin to General Houston.

On April 17, 2010, The Daughters of the American Revolution's local chapter dedicated a plaque to Revolutionary War Capt. John Carroll Houston at his family cemetery on Big Talbot Island. 

Houston served in the Revolutionary War with the South Carolina militia, listed as a rebel in the battles against the Spanish in Florida and one of the Founders of Duval County.  He was buried in the Houston family cemetery on Talbot Island, once part of the Christopher/Houston Plantation.  Five Civil War soldiers are also buried in the cemetery, which contains the oldest marked grave in Duval County. 

About 150 people attended the plaque dedication, including family members from as far away as Miami and Atlanta.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday's Child - Baby Richard

Richard Wyman Smith was the infant child of Malcolm and Mary Ann.  Little Richard was born on October 30, 1929 and left this earth due to pneumonia on August 26, 1930. 

My father, told me he was seven years old when his baby brother died.  He remembers going into the bedroom and kissing him good-bye.  He is buried next to his parents in Hillside Cemetery, Bridgewater, MA.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Church Record Sunday - Dr. Holmes

I went looking for Dr. George W. Holmes in a little town named City Point located just north of Cocoa, Florida. It was established shortly after the Civil War.

I had learned that my grandfather, William Phillip Roesch, had broken his leg when he was a young boy, while living in Eau Gallie, located south of Cocoa.  The only way to get word that medical treatment was needed was to tell the steamboat captain to please relay the information up river until it eventually reached Dr. Holmes.

This historic City Point Community Church sits on the beautiful Indian River shoreline. The church was used for Sunday service, town meetings, social gatherings, voting station and a school.  I discovered that not only did Dr. George W Holmes live here, he was also a member of the Board of Trustees that was formed to build this non-denominational church for whites and blacks in 1885.

He was the first physician to practice medicine in Brevard County.  He set  up his practice on the river so that he could quickly sail north or south to take care of his patients.  He charged $2 a call or $1 a mile.

Sunday's Obituary - Sarah Beebe & Son Arthur

Sarah Beebe, my 2nd great grandmother was born in Cuba, New York on Beebe Hill on July 4, 1845.  She was the daughter of Royal Beebe and Mary Ann Woodward.

She married Lewis Sterling on the 4th of July 1865 at Clarksville, New York.  Apparently it was a tradition for she was not the first Beebe to marry on this date. Other family celebrations occurred on this date as well.

You might like to read:  Wordless Wednesday - 4th of July Special for Cora Beebe

Her husband Lewis was a Sargent in the Civil War.  He served from 1861 to 1863, a period of two years.

Sarah died  on February 22 1917 at her daughter's, Ermina, home.  She was buried in Union Settlement Cemetery, Oswego County New York. 

It was in her obituary that I made the discovery of a son, Arthur Loomis Sterling, that our family was unaware of.  His brother Emond, my great grandfather never mentioned he had a brother.  After careful research and help from a Good Samaritan, this is what I found.

Taken from the Olean Times-Herald
March 25, 1933
For Accident Victim Held At Portville

March 25 —Funeral services for Arthur Sterling. Buffalo, who died Sunday in the Buffalo City Hospital from injuries received in an auto accident, were held this afternoon at two o'clock from the home of his sister, Mr. and Mrs. Everett Eldridge, Brooklyn Street. The Rev. George F. Loehr. pastor of the Presbyterian Church, officiated. Burial was in Main Settlement Cemetery.

Mrs. Sterling was also injured  in the accident which happened Thursday in Buffalo. She is a patient in the City Hospital. Surviving, besides his wife, are a daughter, Mildred Austin, of Eldred, Pa, sister, Mrs. Ermina Eldridge of Portville, NY, a brother, Emond Sterling, of Eau Gallie, Fla.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Friends of Friends Friday - A Slave Is Sent Back to Africa

In 1730, a slave was brought from Gambia in Africa to Maryland and given the name Job. Finding difficulty in performing the physical labor assigned to him by his master, he ran away, was captured, and put in jail. While in jail he was visited by Thomas Bluett, my 7th great grandfather, in 1731. Bluett, a Maryland resident, is shown in some old Maryland records as an attorney, some as a judge, some as a minister. Page 851 of Classified Digest of the Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, 1701 - 1892, lists him as one of the Society’s missionaries.
Bluett became impressed with Job, and through another slave acting as interpreter, wrote Job’s biography, “Some Memoirs of the Life of Job, the Son of Solomon, the High Priest of Boonda in Africa; Who was a Slave About Two Years in Maryland; and Afterwards Being Brought to England, was Set Free, and Sent to His Native Land in the Year 1734,” which gained considerable note at the time and still gets considerable mention today.

Bluett had Job write a letter to his father in Africa. The letter had to go through England and somehow ended up in the hands of James Oglethorpe, who at the time was Deputy Governor of the Royal African Company. Oglethorpe had the letter translated by Oxford University. Touched by Job's story, Oglethorpe not only ransomed Job, he invited him to England.  Accompanied by Bluett, Job arrived in England in the spring of 1733 while Oglethorpe was off founding the colony of Georgia.

After a year of being treated royally, Job got to meet the General when Oglethorpe returned to England for a brief visit in June 1734. A month later, Job was on his way back to Gambia, a journey made possible by two compassionate men: Thomas Bluett and James Oglethorpe. One of the sources for the above was taken from "Life of General Oglethorpe," published in 1890 by Henry Bruce.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Tom & Mary Eagan

Close friends of the family. They were from NY but had a winter home over on the Indian River Road in Cocoa Florida. I called them Aunt and Uncle. Aunt Mary was a school principal. She taught me how to use the words teach, learn and taught properly.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - 4 Ryder & 4 Pierce Siblings Wed

Remarkable when you find that four children of Arodi Pierce and his wife Jemima Caswell, married four children of Nathaniel Ryder and Patience Dunham, both my 4th gr grandparents. The two families lived in Rock Village, Middleboro, MA. I have found all their gravestones. The first three are buried in Rock Village, Middleboro, MA  and the fourth in Achushnet, MA.

Huldah & Standish

Huldah Pierce Married Standish Ryder
Roland Pierce married Sophia Rider    
Elisha Pierce married Mercy Rider       
Eli Pierce married Fidelia Rider            

Roland Pierce

Sophia Ryder
Elisha Pierce
Mercey Ryder

Captain Eli Pierce and Fidelia
My 3rd gr. grandparents

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Shopping Saturday - Honk! Taxi Is Here!

There is one particular shopping memory that always brings a silly grin to my lips.  My mother always loved to shop and so did her mother.  One summer when my grandmother came north from Florida to visit, the two were out shopping just about every day.  They always had the time of their lives and stopping for for a bite to eat was always part of the agenda.

My dad told them they needed to stop shopping and spending so much.  But that didn't stop them, oh no.  Finally, my dad took the car keys away.  Guess what?  That didn't stop them either.  Next thing my dad knew a taxi cab showed up in the driveway and off they took again shopping for the entire day.  All my dad did was laugh.

I also remember a clothing store downtown called Gotshalk's where my mother shopped on occasion.  The store owner offered a charge for their customers convenience, not a credit card by any means. I don't think they existed then.

Every saturday the owner of the store made house calls to collect a payment on account, usually $2.  Mr. Gotshalk would always take time to chat awhile before heading to the next house.

Sympathy Saturday - Susan Stewart - Babies Found

DEATH OF MRS. JOHN HOUSTON July 16, 1909 The Florida Star (Titusville)

On Wednesday morning at 9:45 Mrs. John Houston passed from this world for the home beyond. Mrs.Houston had been ill for over six months, having suffered much during these past few months of her life.  Her sweet Christian character was known and influenced by all.

She was confined to her bed for over a month surrounded by her loved ones and friends and everyone did all they could to make her last days a period of ease.

She was prepared to go and bade all those around her good bye.  She was glad to go and will be at the gate to welcome them to that city beyond when their life's work on earth has ended.  She loved everybody and all who came in contact with her life are better for having known such a Christian as she.

Her spirit has taken its flight and loved ones are left to mourn her presence in the house, but we know that she is safe with Jesus.

Miss Susan Stewart was born at Jasper, Fla., Oct 8th 1841.  She was married to Capt. John Houston at LaGrange, Fla., Sept. 5th 1860.  To them eight children were born, three of whom died in infancy.  She had four sisters and three brothers, all living except one brother and one sister.  She had thirteen grandchildren and two great grandchildren.  She lived on Indian River for forty-nine years. 

About two months ago all her living brothers and sisters ate dinner with her for the last time.

She leaves many loved one and friends behind, but some day all shall meet above where parting shall be no more.  Safe in the arm of Jesus her soul rests; let all who knew her try to meet her on that happy golden shore.

We wish to thank all who were so kind to us during the last illness and loss of our loved one.  Everyone did all that lay in their power, for which we do appreciate their kindness. 
John Houston and family

(Susan's obituary led me to the discovery of three infants buried in the Houston Family Cemetery in Eau Gallie, Florida.  The stones are missing, perhaps those taken and thrown into the Indian River when the graves were vandalized.   Susan's stone still exists with space beside her where most likely her three babies sleep.) 

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wedding Wednesday - Lake Roesch and Edna Thomas

June 6 1904
Potosi, Wisconsin

Lake's father was John Albert Roesch, who was
 the first born American citizen of Mathias and Magdalina
 who sailed to America from Germany in May of 1857
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