Mother’s day (redux)

Re-posting a post I did a couple of years ago.

I am lucky to have these photos and drawings of the mothers who came before me.

Hannah Shepard Merrill
Lorinda Hubbard Walbridge
Sarah Ann Walbridge Merrill
Frankie Davis Merrill
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb

Caroline Daignault Tourville
Nancy Tourville LaStraw
Felicite Jodoin Barcomb
Rose Lastraw Barcomb

Mary Holt Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb
Iris Smith Barcomb

Week 12 – Popular

It’s been almost two years since I found the time to write here. Well, it really isn’t about time; it’s inclination to write something. I have been doing the research, working hard at my job, and keeping up with some hobbies.

The impetus for writing this was “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” which is now in it’s third year. My plan will be to complete some of the weeks I missed but now I have three prompts to choose from.

So for week 12 which I skipped over, my options are:

  • Week 12 (Mar. 19-25, 2018): Misfortune
  • Week 12 (Mar. 18-24, 2019): 12
  • Week 12 (Mar. 18-24, 2020): Popular

So my thought is to figure out the most popular name in my family tree which currently has about 5000 names. How might I do that? I synced my tree with Family Tree Maker and put the names in alphabetical order by first name. I started to list any name that had 10 or more hits but it didn’t take too long to figure out that was way too many names so I changed it to 20 or more.

There are:

  • 24 Albert, 1 Alberta, 2 Albertus, & 6 Bert
  • 27 Alice
  • 32 Ann, Anne, Annie, or Anna
  • 25 Bertha
  • 32 Carol, Carolyn or Caroline, or Carrie
  • 23 Catherine or Cathy
  • 58 Charles or Charlie
  • 37 David
  • 29 Donald
  • 22 Doris
  • 26 Dorothy
  • 20 Earl
  • 31 Edward
  • 55 Eliza or Elizabeth
  • 26 Ella
  • 24 Florence
  • 21 Frances
  • 52 Francis, Francois, or Frank
  • 39 Fred or Frederick
  • 83 George
  • 20 Grace
  • 30 Hannah
  • 40 Harold or Harry
  • 32 Helen
  • 38 Henry
  • 85 James
  • 23 Jane
  • 24 Jennie
  • 148 John
  • 62 Joseph
  • 25 Katherine or Kate
  • 21 Kenneth
  • 22 Lewis or Louis
  • 25 Lucy
  • 47 Margaret & 3 Peggy
  • 133 Mary (even more if I count Marie)
  • 21 Mildred
  • 25 Paul
  • 24 Raymond
  • 35 Richard
  • 73 Robert
  • 20 Ruth
  • 42 Sarah
  • 34 Susan, Susanna, Susie
  • 44 Thomas
  • 20 Walter
  • 117 William

And the winner is!: John with 148, followed closely by Mary with 133 and William with 117.


Week 17 : Cemetery

I was in the play “Our Town” in high school. When I go by the Hutchins Cemetery on the Smith Road, I always picture the “greats,” like the dead people in the play, in rocking chairs watching the cars go by and I wave to them.

I remember going to the cemeteries on Memorial Day and putting lilacs near the stones of my grandparents. George and Sadie Smith at the Riverside Cemetery at the Center and Pete and Rose Barcomb at St Edmunds “new” Cemetery near the Depot.

For many years the Hutchins Cemetery was overgrown with trees and used as a cow pasture. I don’t remember what year the trees were cut down but I am very thankful so much of my family history was revealed.

My mother told me that her father had seen the poor condition of the stones of his grandparents and had gone to  the cemetery and reset them in cement. William and Mary (Holt) Smith along with their 7-year old daughter, Josephine and their son, George Washington Smith.

We found that my great grandmother, Adaline Kent Davis was buried at the cemetery on West Hill. Her stone was broken.

I somehow talked Cy and Danny into helping me fix it. About 1o years ago, we moved the broken stone from the cemetery to Alison’s garage and added (if I remember right) re-rod and then glued the pieces back together with a glue especially for stone. After drying a couple of days, we moved the stone back to the cemetery.

It says “Adaline, wife of Ira S Davis DIED Feb 9, 1874 AE. 29 Ys 10 M’s”

and under that, “Ada, died February 9, 1874, AE. 13 days.”

The small stone to the right says, “Dau of I. S. & A Davis died Oct. 16, 1873 AE. 2 y’s 2 mo’s”

The back of  that stone says Jennie.

Week 19: Mother’s Day

I skipped some of the prompts which haven’t led me to a story I wanted to tell. I may come back but more than likely not…


Week 12 (March 19-25): Misfortune
Week 14 (April 2-8): The Maiden Aunt
Week 15 (April 9-15): Taxes
Week 16 (April 16-22): Storms
Week 18 (April 30-May 6): Close Up

I am lucky to have these photos and drawings of the mothers who came before me.

Hannah Shepard Merrill
Lorinda Hubbard Walbridge
Sarah Ann Walbridge Merrill
Frankie Davis Merrill
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb

Caroline Daignault Tourville
Nancy Tourville LaStraw
Felicite Jodoin Barcomb
Rose Lastraw Barcomb

Mary Holt Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Josephine Ayer Smith
Sadie Merrill Smith
Iris Smith Barcomb
Iris Smith Barcomb

Week 13 : The Old Homestead


Painting of the Old Homestead as remembered by Elton Fay (my mother’s cousin). This house was torn down about 1919.
William J Smith with his wife Josie and father William Smith. My grandfather George’s wagon is in the pic so taken sometime between 1884 and 1890.
The original square part of the house was built about 1919. My grandparents (George and Sadie) lived in the garage/barn across the road from here while the house was being built. The garage on  the front was built during  the early ’60s and the kitchen addition built about 1968. There had been a summer kitchen and woodshed where that is now.
From my grandmother Sadie’s album.
after many additions, picture taken in ’70s. It’s not in this pic but the hay mow in previous pic is still there.
from Beers Atlas, Clinton County  1869
A close-up from above map. The original home of William and Mary Smith in Ellenburg was near Graves Brook. This is where their daughter, Charlotte, fell and injured her back. Next door to them was Mrs J Morehead. I believe she was William Smith’s sister. District 13 school was in the same area. The road is where the current Smith Road goes out to meet the Plank Road.
Ellenburg Color map
About in the center of this map you can see sections 30 & 31. At the bottom of section 31 is a small road at an angle with the number 260 under it. This is the Hinds Road (name changed to Barcomb Road with 911). The middle dot there was the Benjamin Hinds place that eventually became the Barcomb Farm. School # 2 is where my mother attended elementary school in the 1920s. To the north of that in section 10 on the border of section 9 is the Hutchins Cemetery where William and Mary Smith are buried (and many other relatives.)
Google Map Ellenburg
Current Google Map of the area. Amazing that the roads are the same after nearly 150 years.




Researching Asahel Allen

I have very few facts on this man. He is listed in the 1850 Madrid NY census with parents Abel and Jane Allen and siblings:

  • Abel Allen           44
  • Jane Allen           30
  • Amos Allen         10
  • Asahal Allen       8
  • Albert Allen        6
  • Alferd Allen        4
  • Alvan Allen         2

According to this he was born about 1842.

Here is the info from U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865:

Name: Asahel Allen
Birth Year:           abt 1840
Place of Birth:    New York
Age on 1 July 1863:          23
Race:     White
Marital Status:   Unmarried (Single)
Residence:          Brandon, New York
Congressional District:   17th
Class:     1

He claimed to be 23 in 1863, making his DoB about 1840.

From Iowa Deaths and Burials”

Name: Asahel Allen
Gender: Male
Burial Date: 02 Nov 1908
Death Date: 31 Oct 1908
Death Place: Weldon, Iowa
Age: 65
Birth Date: 21 Dec 1842
Birthplace: New York
Occupation: Hotel Keeper
Marital Status: Married
Father’s Name: Able Allen
Father’s Birthplace: Vermont

May 29, 1919 The Leon Journal-Reporter from Leon, Iowa states “There are 105 soldiers buried in the Leon cemetery, who were participants in four wars, the Civil War, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, and the great World Wide War with Germany, which has terminated in victory.” One of those soldiers is Asahel Allen, Co. I, 91st N. Y. Inf.

Doing additional research on the National Park Service page Soldiers and Sailors Database I find that Asahel has been transcribed as “Allen, Aratel.”

Side: Union
Location: New York
Battle Unit:91st Regiment, New York Infantry
Function: Infantry
Alternate Name: Asahel/Allen

In census records, I find Asel Allen in 1900 in Stanberry, MO as a landlord with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Mabel (Mina King is listed as daughter but actually she is step-daughter.) This makes sense as his occupation in the Iowa Death Record was Hotel Keeper.  This led me back to 1880 in Lindley, MO where Ashel Allen was living with his in-laws Eli and Mary Grandstaff and his wife’s three children, Ernest, Mina, and James King.
None of these are absolute proof that Asahel Allen is the same person in all these cases.

But everything fits and it is my best guess that this is his life story so far as my research leads. With more research, if I find info to support or refute this, I will add it to here.


Strong Woman ~ Week 10

Week 10: Strong Woman
March is Women’s History Month, so what better way to start than with the prompt of “Strong Woman.” What female in your family tree has shown remarkable strength (either physical or emotional)? Tell her story.

I have fallen behind on the original goal of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. I now have updated my goal to write “something” as often as I can. I really struggle with some of the prompts.

I believe that every woman has remarkable strength in  her own way so it’s difficult to pick out a specific one. Many times, I can’t find newspaper data on a specific woman because women’s names aren’t used. “Mrs. Allen is feeling sickly.” “Mrs. Smith died last week.” Obituaries often listed survivors as (for example) “a daughter and a son out west”  with no mention of names.

And for many of them, I don’t have a story, only more questions. What happened between Richard Farley and  Mary Jane Smith Farley that caused them to seek a divorce in the early 1900s after 52 years of marriage?

Mary Jane’s sister, Charlotte, fell in Graves Brook as a teen and used crutches or a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She lived on her own and became a successful business woman. How did she do that?

A lot of the women moved with their husbands to new places to start new lives. It could be the next town over or across the country. Hannah Shepard moved with Paul Merrill from New Hampshire to New York in the early 1800s. What could she bring with her? Would she ever again see the people she left behind?  How difficult was it to leave what they knew to move to a new place whatever the reasons?

There are people like Adaline Kent Davis who lost a child in the fall of 1873 and then an infant in February 1874 on the same day she also died. What epidemic swept through the community?

Felicite Jodwin married a man who already had several children and then raised ten more of her own. What challenges did she face?

Many family trees show children born every couple of years. It saddens me when I see that a woman has given birth to 6 or 8 or 10 children but there are only 1 or 2 who live to adulthood. How does a woman survive that and keep going?

I think the fact that these women survived whatever was thrown at them is the point of this. Their sons went to war; some never returned. They worked with their husbands on farms or kept a home going and raised children.

Whatever the case, I am glad for these women who came before me. Their strengths may or may not be genetic but their stories inspire me.