Monday, April 21, 2014

52 Ancestors - #16 Fidelia N. Riggs – What in the World does the N Stand For?

Fidelia N. Riggs was born in Woodbridge, Connecticut on April 21, 1812. She was the daughter of James Riggs and Pamelia Carrington, and had the following brothers and sisters: Julius, Edwin, Lafayette, Dennis, Daniel, Anna Eliza, Sarah, Helen, Frances, Cynthia, and Martha. Fidelia is my great great great grandmother. 

Fidelia married my great great great grandfather Thomas Tubbs Grave (born June 14, 1808) in 1830 in Dexter, Jefferson County, New York. A story that has been passed down from one generation to another is about how Thomas and Fidelia met. Fidelia was a noticeably pretty girl and as a young lady she went visiting in Herkimer, New York. One Sunday she went to church there wearing a "scoop bonnet" with the entire front filled with roses. Thomas Graves was also there that morning and upon seeing Fidelia among those pink roses, he was so smitten by her beauty that he never looked at another woman. 

Thomas and Fidelia’s first child Henrietta M. was born in January 17, 1831 in New York. Their second Pamelia Fidelia was born January 1833 also in New York State along with Cynthia Elizabeth in 1835, Lydia I. in March 1837, Lafayette William on April 21, 1839, Sarah Frances in 1841, Thomas Jefferson in 1843, Anne Eliza on April 10, 1847 and my great great grandfather James born January 2, 1850. 

Sometime in 1850, Thomas and Fidelia went west, traveling through the Great Lakes to Horicon, Dodge County, Wisconsin.  By August 2, 1850 they were living in Hubbard. They bought a farm near Oak Grove, Dodge County, near where Morrison Barott later settled. (Their daughter, Cynthia later married Alfred Barott, son on Morrison and Diana Barott). Thomas and Fidelia built a beautiful, brick house there that still stands.

Thomas and Fidelia’s daughter Pamelia Graves married Burness Crawford; Henrietta married Mortimer Sayles; Sarah Frances married Henry Duboise; Lydia married first Hugh Devlin and then upon his death his brother Robert; Lafayette William married Emily Stratton; and my great great grandfather James married Effie Beaubier. Thomas Jefferson Graves never married and died in the Civil War. My great grandfather Jefferson Thomas was named for him.

Thomas Tubbs Graves died December 11, 1867 In Oak Grove Township, Horicon County, Wisconsin. In the 1870 census Fidelia is 56 years old and living alone with one of her grandchildren – six year old Cora Sayles.

Fidelia died on August 21, 1871 in Horicon, Dodge County, Wisconsin and is buried at Wruke Cemetery in Horicon with her husband. In May 2001 Thomas and Fidelia’s descendants erected a new tombstone for their grave.

Some things we may never know and I think what the N stands for is one of them. I didn’t find any Carrington or Riggs relatives that had names beginning with N. None of the records that I have found ever had anything more than just the initial.

(Some of the information here was provided by the great granddaughter of Cynthia Elizabeth Graves Barott – Viola Cayo Schnake Walden. I would like to thank previous generations again for writing it down and passing information along.)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Organizing 38 Years of Paper

For a couple of months I have been organizing all the genealogy paperwork that I have collected over the past 38 years. It is a slow process. I thought that I had better get this done before I start taking my genealogy class.
It has all been sorted by family group and each surname has its own color of folder. I have scanned most of the documents on my mother's side and the digital copies go into file folders grouped by family name and then by individuals.

The first of Mom's family groups that I have filed the paper copies on is the Tuckers - I went through and for those directly related or those that I want to do more research on I have filled out the research log below from

Then I went on to and started proofing the family tree my son filled out using records he found online and my paper files. I then decided that while it was still fresh in my mind I would add citations to what I brought over from my cousin Carole's data in my genealogy program which is The Master Genealogist. It took me awhile to figure out the nuances between citations, sources, and repositories - probably way too long. I have almost all the sources set up for John Tucker - just a couple more to do - and a number of them I can use for his children. The next step will be doing the citations and correcting some of the importing errors with the data. Once I get old John done - the rest of his family should fall into line and go much faster. It would probably be going faster if I didn't stop and research my son-in-law's Bryant family tree.

If I had but one wish it would be family from New England - but I don't. The family on his father's side is from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts - and it looks like several branches may have come over on the Mayflower (which is what he was told.) I am beginning to think that most of the early settlers from the Mayflower and other ships must have been civil servants in England. They have been registering a lot of the births, marriages, and deaths in those states since 1657!! We are lucky in Washington State to find a birth registered before 1907 - 250 years later! I also have a lot of family from the south and a lot of those courthouses were burned during the Civil War.

I can tell you now that it won't be done before September, but it is going to be in a lot better condition. I should have all the paper sorted and in the individual person files by September, but I won't have and The Master Genealogist done by then. I have told myself no more Bryants etc until I am done with the Tuckers.

Monday, April 14, 2014

52 Ancestors – #15 Eunice Pitzer – Sifting Through Family Information and the Records

Eunice Pitzer was born August 29, 1813 in Ohio. She is my great great great grandmother.

On August 29, 1836 in Ohio she married (Dr.) William C. Bishop (born January 24, 1816.) They moved from Ohio to Payson, Illinois year unknown. On December 25, 1847, Catharine Lea Bishop, my great great grandmother who married Isaac Harry was born at Payson, Adams County, Illinois.  

On October 8, 1856, Eunice and William moved from Payson, Illinois to North Missouri. William died near Hedge City, Missouri with heart dropsy, October 10, 1877. Eunice died, March 22, 1886, near Edina, Missouri at the home of her daughter Rachel Bishop Griggs, and the family being conscious of her impending death for some time, her burial clothes had all been made by hand by her daughter (Catherine Lea Harry) and sent from Licking, Missouri before her death. Both are buried in the Bishop Cemetery.

The above is from the information that my paternal great aunts gave me on their mother’s side (Effie Harry Mitchell daughter of Catharine and Isaac Harry.) 

My research shows a marriage record that indicates that they were married in Illinois not Ohio. Census records uniformly list William as a farmer so I am not sure where the Doctor came from. Other records indicate that Eunice and William were both buried at the Bee Ridge Cemetery, Edina, Knox County, Missouri – not at Bishop Cemetery – though there are a couple dozen Bishops buried there.

An 1850 census (taken on November 18, 1850) shows us that William and Eunice’s eldest son Anthony was 13 and born in about 1837 in Ohio, George was 12 and born around 1838 in Illinois, John was 10 and born around 1840 in Illinois, Rachel was 7 and born around 1843 in Illinois, Elizabeth was 5 and born around 1845 in Illinois, Catharine was 3, and William born around 1850 (a later census says August 1850.) This tells us that they probably moved from Ohio to Illinois between 1837 and 1838.

The 1860 census shows the Eunice is 46 years old and insane and cannot read or write. She is keeping house in the 1870 census. I am not sure what to make of that.

Other family trees indicate that Eunice was born in Hogs Run, Licking County, Ohio and that her parents were Eunice Ball (born 1775 Virginia) and Major Anthony Pitzer Sr. (born 1771 Virginia) and her siblings were Elizabeth, Mary, John, Anthony, Sarah Ann, Rachel, Richard and James. Eunice was the youngest with her mother dying in 1813 the year she was born. The names of these sibling fit with what Eunice named her own children.

Some of the other trees show that Eunice’s paternal grandparents were John Pitzer (born 1746 Virginia) and Elizabeth Kistner (born 1740 Virginia.) Her maternal grandparents were Mathew Ball (born 1748 New Jersey) and Mary Osborne (born 1740 New Jersey). Her maternal great grandparents were Caleb Ball Jr. (born 1665 New Jersey) and Sarah Wallace (born 1728 New Jersey.) We shall see, but at least the other trees give me places to look for records. 

I find it sad that I don’t know much about Eunice other than a few facts and a few family stories. I know that Catharine when she left Knox County to move to Licking County was very sad to leave her ailing mother (who died less than two years later) and as the wagon pulled out she looked back as long as anything was in sight. Catharine also made her mother’s funeral clothes since she couldn't be there to help.  This leads me to believe that Eunice was loved.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Going Gray Gracefully


On February 12th I got my long hair cut short and my hair lightened to blend in the white (not really gray in front or on top but white, white.) My hair grows at the rate of at least one quarter of an inch a week so I was having to touch up my roots every three weeks. In back it might be only 20% white but the red was getting very dark. After Katie was done it was the color it was when I was kid.

Fast forward seven weeks I had about 3 inches of white on the front, top and sides.I felt like a bald guy doing a comb-over trying to cover the white insides with the red ends. (Katie was amazed at how much it had grown.) So I decided to go lighter and whiter on April 2nd.

At first is was very white with red ends so Katie decided to try and put some ash blond on it and to lighten the ends. I had two of them working on it - Katie putting on the color and her co-worker spraying it with water so it wouldn't get too dark. The back and sides are reddish tint - so I guess that makes me a strawberry blond who is going very white now.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

52 Ancestors - #14 Mary Jane Wilson The Relative I Forgot that I Had

Recently, I was contacted by someone on whose DNA test showed that we were 4th cousins. I had posted a picture of my grandfather Roscoe Mitchell with a Frank Wilson – they both appeared to be about 16 years old. She asked if I was related to any Wilson’s and I said no, not that I knew.  I then was looking at my family files on my computer and noticed that I had one labeled Wilson at the bottom. I had never actually looked at this family line before but my grandmother Ruby Burris who later married Roscoe had a great grandmother Jane Wilson. Roscoe and Frank Wilson must have been friends – I know that Ruby at that age had her picture taken with friends – maybe that is what kids did before they had malls to go to.

Frank Wilson - Roscoe Mitchell on the right

My family line goes: Me – Lionell Mitchell – Ruby Burris – Rosetta George – Bryant George - Jane Wilson. If we were straight 4th Cousins we would both descend from Jane but as her last name was Wilson - perhaps she descends from Jane’s brother. I had explored Haziah George and Jane’s children a few years ago but I had never looked at anything about her. 

I then decided to see what I could find out about Jane from the census and from a number of biographical sketches on family members. Her name was Mary Jane (Jennie) Wilson born October 24, 1818. Her parents were Gholson Wilson and Mary Jane Wooldridge.  She had an older sister Mary and a younger sister Cynthia, and two younger brothers – Spencer and Gholson who may have been twins.

On September 10, 1834 six weeks before her 16th birthday, she married Haziah (Hezikiah) George in Russell County, Kentucky and the marriage was performed by J. Ballinger, Justice of the Peace.  Jane and Haziah had ten children – Carlton (1835), Jordan (1837), Rosa Jane (1840), Haziah (1841), Gholson (1843), Bryant S. (1847), Mary (1849), Polly Ann (1850), Sabra Ann (1852), and July Ann (1854).  

In the spring of 1842 Haziah and Jane moved from Russell County, Kentucky to Miller County, Missouri. In the fall of 1854 they moved to Camden County, Missouri. Haziah George died in March 1855 at the age of 47.

On January 25, 1860 at age 41 Jane married William Alonzo Bradshaw in Camden County, Missouri. They made their home in Jackson, Camden County, Missouri. William had seven children of his own still at home and Jane had five children.

Jane died on November 18, 1895 in Toronto, Miller County, Missouri. She was 77 years old. She outlived her siblings and both of her husbands. She is buried in the Warren Cemetery in Miller County, Missouri.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

52 Ancestors - #13 Martha Matilda (Mattie) Riches - She Loved a Nice Car

Martha Matilda’s father George Riches immigrated to the United States from England in 1844 when he 9 years old.  Her mother Jane Wilkens was born in New York State in April 1838; Jane’s parents had also emigrated from England. My mother said that her grandmother always said they were of Scots descent - not Scotch - that was the liquor.

Mattie, as she was known, was born in New York State on February 17, 1863. She had two older sisters, Elizabeth born in 1857 and Anna Jane born July 9, 1861.

Sometime after 1863, the Riches family moved from New York and was living in Waterville, Pepin, Wisconsin where sister Olive was born in 1867/68. Edward Thomas Riches was born July 28, 1872. There was also another brother George Bell born in 1875 who died just before he was three years old.

Mattie married H. (Henry) Pember Taylor on February 13, 1879 in Pierce County, Wisconsin when she was just 16 years old and he was 26. Pember was very well to do and owned a number of Gay 90’s type bars and gambling establishments. Their son Louis Pember Taylor was born in late December 1879. Their second child LaVina died when she was just two years old. Mattie wore fabulous gowns and furs – and danced (which she remembered in her later, religious years with dismay.) In 1880 they were living in Maiden Rock, Pierce, Wisconsin.

Mattie found out that Pember was sleeping with the dance hall girls, something she would not tolerate, so she took their son Louis and left filing for divorce. She received a settlement and opened up a dressmaking shop.

Mattie then met Jefferson Thomas Graves who was five years younger than she.

On December 12, 1895 in Eau Claire, Wisconsin she married Jefferson Thomas Graves, the eldest son of James Americ Graves and Effa Beaubier. JT was very kind and gentle (and someone she could boss!) Mattie made the money decisions and ran everything – she definitely ruled the roost. They had two children - Effa Belle Graves born December 25, 1896 and James Vernon Graves born May 27, 1899. 

Martha Matilda and Jefferson Thomas

JT and Mattie followed his father James out to Washington State and settled in the Jackson Prairie/Mary’s Corner area of Lewis County on a farm in 1903. James helped them clear the land and build their house.

The Riches family also moved to Washington State from Wisconsin. Edward settled in Everett, Washington while her sister Olive’s family and her sister Anna Jane’s and family settled in Elma, Washington.  

Mattie’s sister Olive died after the birth of her third child, daughter Ada Patton and then sadly, Ada Patton Temple died after the birth of her first child, daughter Erma (later spelled Irma) in 1910. JT and Mattie took Erma and raised her for her father Veness Lewis Temple.

Erma and Effa

 November 28, 1911
Louie and Fern

In 1912 Louis moved from Wisconsin to Saskatchewan to farm with his wife Fern and their three children.

JT- Mattie-Effa

Fall of 1927 after Effa moved back home after the death of her husband Alva
Rosalie, Mattie with Vina, Effa, Stella, and Arnold

JT never learned to drive, but Mattie did (which was unusual for the time) and she liked having a car. My Aunt Stella remembered her grandmother deciding it was time for a new car (sometime between 1922 and 1928) so she went to the dealership, found a brand new Durant Star she liked and pulled out cash from her money belt on her waist (she didn’t trust banks) and paid for it in full. She was the only woman to have a car in the area and the only one to drive.  

Stella also related a story to me about Mattie getting stuck on the railroad tracks with a train coming and all of the kids were screaming (Stella, Arnold, Rosalie, and Vina.) JT just quietly said, “Now listen kids, quiet down, your grandma always knows what she is doing.” Grandma Mattie was praying loudly, the car started and the train barely missed them.  Her daughter Effa was very upset and declared that, “They were never riding with Grandma again!”
In spite of being somewhat indifferent to her own daughter Effa (Mattie definitely favored Vern and Irma), Mattie gave her two oldest granddaughters all the love that was missing from their mother. Along with their brother Arnold, they adored their grandmother even though she could be strict and stern. They all had very fond memories of her.
You have to expect the unexpected when doing genealogy research and that is what I found. I did a search in and found something in the October 10, 1930 issue of the local paper that I don’t think that my aunt Stella who was almost 14 at the time, my uncle Arnold who was almost 12 or my mother Rosalie who was 8 knew about. It appears that my great grandfather had a filed for separation from Mattie. According to the separation filing in the article I found, that “the defendant (Mattie) has lost all love for him, has treated him in a cruel and abusive manner, and that when angry with him Mattie struck him with an ‘ax, crowbar, clubs, dishes and other instruments.’” (So now I know why when my grandmother Effa would get mad – she would start throwing the dishes – she learned it from her mother.)
JT also stated that “a few year ago defendant joined a religious organization with which she had since been prominent, and has pronounced him ‘unfit and unclean and filled with evil spirits’, and refused to cook his meals or take care of his clothing; that he is 62 years of age and is compelled to work away from his farm to get necessities for himself.  The defendant had for the past 10 or 15 years banked the receipts from milk and eggs, which he thinks is now about $4000, but she will not tell him how much, nor give him access to any of it.” I imagine that things were quite chilly in the Graves household for some time after that but they did remain married.

It took me awhile to determine that there were two Mattie Graves in Lewis County born at about the same time – my Mattie M. Graves who lived at Jackson Prairie/South Chehalis area and Mattie N. Graves who lived in Centralia and had been born in Oregon.  Some things just didn’t add up so I just keep looking as many places as I could. It didn’t help that newspapers are notoriously inaccurate at times with names and sometimes it was Mattie K., Mattie V., or Mattie X.

I believe that my Mattie may have also been involved in the W.C.T.U. (the Women’s Christian Temperance Union) from the comment made in JT’s separation filing and because she had seen the evils of drink – up close - during her first marriage and she worried about her baby brother’s soul because he drank wine. She was very, very religious in her later years.

July 27, 1934 at Mt Rainier
Duke La Mere (Irma's 2nd husband), Mattie, Vina, JT

A holiday favorite was an old family recipe for an English Pudding. Unfortunately, Mattie and Effa did not share the recipe and it was lost when they died. There was another family recipe that was shared – The Family Fudge recipe. It is different than any other fudge that I have every tried and it remains a favorite treat when the cousins get together. All the daughters made it for their families when we were growing up. (And my cousin is making it for me Sunday afternoon when I go to her house for dinner and genealogy!)

3 cups sugar
3 heaping tablespoons of cocoa
½ cube of butter
¼ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups milk
½ cup corn syrup

Cook until a soft ball – at a nice full boil (that can be stirred down).

Remove from heat.  Add:
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cube butter
1 tablespoon of peanut butter (if desired)

Let cool for 10 minutes, then beat it (with mixer) until it starts turning dull.  Then beat by hand a few minutes as it starts to set. Pour onto a large buttered plate.

 Mattie and JT approximately 1936

The Homestead at Jackson Prairie
May 23, 1937

 JT and Mattie Graves 1939

Mattie died on Thursday, March 21, 1940 at 9:15 am of cardiac failure at age 77. She had been in horrible, horrible pain from the severe arthritis that she suffered from for a number of years. She was buried in Chehalis, Washington at the Claquato Cemetery on Saturday, March 23rd.