My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Looking Back

There is good news and not so good.  First, The Happy 101 Award was given to me by the following six people. Thank you to each of you.  Please visit these blogs and then follow them, if you don't already. Each are among the very best.

Bill West at West in New England
Dr. Bill Smith at Dr. Bill Tells Ancestor Stories
Amanda Acquard at A Tale of Two Ancestors
Jenna Mills at Desperately Seeking Surnames
Heather Rojo at  Nutfield Genealogy
Travis LeMaster at TJLGenes: Preserving Our Family History

When Randy Seaver mentioned John Newmark's blog at Transylvanian Dutch on January 15th, I decided to read a few of his blogs before deciding to follow him.  In one post, he had a newspaper article from St. Louis dated 1917.  That is the same city and year that my great-grandfather, Yates Adams was either murdered or committed suicide of which I wrote about in the Monday Madness- A Suicide or a Murder blog.  Right after I posted my blog, Apple of Apple's Tree wrote a comment, "I would look to see if there are any St Louis papers you can access online. An account written where the death occurred may have more information."  Well, it took 11 years for me to try and solve this, so I got the nerve to write John Newmark personally and inquired if he had any suggestions for me.  (Ha, did he ever.) I told him about my ancestor's death in 1917 in St. Louis, exactly the same location and year that his blog pertained to. After hitting send, I went and got a drink, came back and there was a pdf of a newspaper article about my great-grandfather's death.  11 years vs. 17 minutes, what can I say?  But...that information contained some differing information from my original newspaper article.  Now I am trying to find yet a third newspaper article from Battle Creek, Michigan.  Thanks Apple for your comment and John for the newspaper article.

Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy and I are  distant cousins through the Balch line. Also, Midge Frazel at Granite in my Blood and I seem to share quite a few surnames from Connecticut.

Bill West of West in New England and Gini Webb of Ginisology  spent quite a bit of time helping me with two different problems.  Bill tried to find the book, The Culture Club, about the Boston Athenaeum. We couldn't find it around here, so Bill, I finally ordered it from Amazon. Gini helped me for a long time assisting me in trying to post my blog to fb.  I still haven't been able to do it.  But on Jan. 29th, David Allen Lambert of NEHGS posted one for me, and I was pretty happy and very surprised.  That was the day before the big story about the relationship between President Obama and Scott Brown (new MA senator) appeared in the news, of which David was one of the two researchers.

I was in a genealogy mode this past week.  Went to the New England Historic Genealogical Society Library (NEHGS) this week and had a nice long talk with David Dearborn, librarian and then I called Eric Grundset, librarian at the DAR in Washington.  Neither blogs or are on face book.  And, both men were at the same ALA meeting this month as our own Amanda Acquard, of A Tale of Two Ancestors!

Thanks go to Apple for mentioning my blog articles about Cemetery Research in her Weekly Rewind post. It was nice being listed with Steve Danko's blog, as he is a pal of four years.

Now the sad news.  Another suggestion from Apple at Apple's Tree pertained to a November blog in which I mentioned I had donated a very large DAR membership certificate belonging to my ancestor, dated 1901. She suggested I contact the DAR. At long last, I made the call and spoke with the archivist, and we corresponded 10 times!  One of the last things she wrote was, "The other certificate from you that I came across in the accession records was number 90-275, a certificate given to those who attended the NSDAR Centennial dinner." At least I now is missing!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Amazing Eliza Bishop -- Surname Saturday

 Eliza Bishop was a young single woman who died at the age of 36, and buried in a cemetery plot all alone, all relatives in another state. She made a large contribution to society, so there is a fair amount of information about her. And locating her cemetery and grave were easy, as there are three different books and a town produced sheet that listed her burial site and death information (listed below). You can get very, very lucky sometimes. If you search and search, you can often find many sources with the information you are looking for. Always a good thing, until they conflict.

The small book, Memoir of Miss Eliza Bishop (listed in was published after her death. I grabbed the little leather bound book after my grandfather's death, and was always interested in this young woman. Not until I got into genealogy did I try to place her in the family, visited her grave and donated my book (see photo) to the Westfield Library, in Westfield, Massachusetts. Her parents and other family members are buried in Connecticut, see I Did Everything Right, but Couldn't Take a Photo!

Eliza's name appears in the below books and a pamphlet:

1.  Tombstone Inscriptions of the Older Cemeteries of Westfield, Massachusetts (Mass. DAR, 1946)  (Inscription given.)

2.  A List of Gravestones in the Mechanic Street Cemetery, Westfield, Massachusetts (Westfield Athenaeum, 1939)  (Inscription given.)

3.  Mechanic Street Cemetery, Alphabetical List by Family (Walter Ayers, Dir. of Parks, 1995) A detailed map with block number by all names, made it easy to find the monument.

4.  Bridgman, Thomas, transcribed by, Inscriptions of the Grave Stones in the Grave Yards of Northampton, and of Other Towns in the Valley, (Northampton, Mass., Pub. by Hopkins, Bridgman & Co. : 1850). Pg. 152. (See below.)

Eliza was my first cousin, 4 times removed.  And no, I don't have a photo.  My husband remembers I ran out of film.

 Last chapter


Many books have been published just with cemetery information, not just the names, and Lot number, but dates and inscriptions.  Examples of some books I've used are below.  And some don't even have the word "cemetery" in the title  So if you do a google search, also try a variant of that word, like Burial, Inscriptions and Tombstones.

Whitcomb, Esther K., Inscriptions from Burial Grounds of the Nashaway Towns: Lancaster, Harvard, (+6 more towns), (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, 1989).

Dunkle, Robert J., and Ann S. Lainhart, Inscriptions and Records of The Old Cemeteries of Boston, (NEHGS, Boston: 2000).

Derby, Perly, Inscriptions from the Charter Street Burial Ground, Salem, MA, (Essex Institute of Historical Collections, Vol. 13, 1877).

District of Columbia Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, Inscriptions from Tombstones in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C.

N.S.D.A.R., Cemetery Records and Tombstone Inscriptions, Kalamazoo Co., Michigan, (1959).

Friday, January 29, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #4 Inter-Library Loan

My local library is shown at the left and you can read about it in  Challenge #1. In Challenge #4 our assignment is to, "Learn about your local public library’s inter-library loan (ILL) policy. Pick a genealogy-related book that you want to read that is not in your library’s collection. Ask the librarian how to request the book from another library. Find the different library systems from which you can request books through your own library, as this can dramatically increase the number of genealogy books to which you have access. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experience with requesting items through your library’s ILL service."

I don't want to be fired because I didn't follow Amy's instructions exactly.  However, there just isn't time or the need for me to get a genealogy book, just for the sake of this challenge.  It is mid-winter which means snow, ice and cold in Massachusetts.  In addition, I have been told processing inter-library loans (ILL) is a very expensive process to deal with; a lot of wrapping, packing and mailing is involved.  Fortunately, they haven't begun to charge patrons, but it may be a reality some day, I heard $5 per request.

Our library belongs to the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium. along with quite a few other libraries (my guess is 30 towns).  That means, if I want a book that isn't in my library but is in one of the other libraries, I can get it rather quickly if it isn't checked out, otherwise, I am on a waiting list.  First, before I even think about ordering a book through ILL, I always check to see what libraries have it.  Sometimes, you may determine it might not even be available to your library or it just isn't worth the time and effort, if the book is across the country.

In June of 2009, I did a guest blog for Cheryl Palmer Cutting Back on Spending, in which I discuss inter-library loans and Worldcat.

At my library, the inter-library loan requests are processed differently. The order request is sent to another library, where all the requests from the entire consortium are processed. In the past, I have ordered and received two books using this method. One book had to be used at the library under our librarian's eyes. The other I was able to check out.

The books I got were:
1. The Van den Berghs in America by Stockman, R. Grunwell and B. Grunwell, (Lynchburg, VA: Pub. Robert L. Grunwell, 1994) from the Jones Library, Lynchburg, VA and,
2.  Molson, The Birth of a Business Empire by Hunter, Douglas, (Canada: Penguin Books, 2001) it came from Univ. of Maine.

Cemeteries And More #2

Part two of my cemetery series covers more ideas about contacting a cemetery or Historical Society, and then a section about maps. If you live a distance from the cemetery, you want to be armed with the most information available prior to the trek. I like to know some of the history and the exact entrance to the grounds as well as the hours.

Not all cemeteries are privately run, some are abandoned, some are run by the town, some by the government.  Each has their own set of rules and what they share with the public.  Many will freely provide all their records on your ancestor, others charge a steep fee (like Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC).  Often you can find a volunteer to do some of the leg work for you.  In the past, if I received something from them, I always wrote a thank-you and enclosed a small token of $10. Always pay them in some way, either dollars or stamps, because you never know if you will need their service again, and they will remember you.  If their work is exceptional and they are employed, write a thank you letter, so it can go in the employee's human resources file (I did that once and even brought the administrative assistant a box of chocolates.)

The next time I need information; I will either call or email a request.  Personally, I like calling best.  Do it mid day, never just before closing.  I'll explain exactly what I am looking for, get right to the point.  Sometimes I'll have a check-list, so I don't forget to ask something.  Often on the phone, I get a little nervous or side tracked, then the call isn't completed in full. I would still do that, especially if it is a Historical Society (those people can be so nice)

A great source for locating historical societies is the book, The Genealogist's Address Book by Elizabeth P. Bentley.  The new 6th edition was published in 2009 and has 809 pages.  I used to own a copy, and referred to it frequently, mine didn't even have email addresses, it was that old.  A page snippet from the new book is below.

I was very lucky when I wrote to the Colchester Historical Society in Connecticut, because a volunteer drew up a perfect map showing where my ancestors were buried. This map is something I have been wanting to share for a long time.  What I received was 14" x 17" in size!

Sometimes a larger cemetery will have a pamphlet with a map inside. What a blessing, when I discovered my ancestor listed on the map! Locating him could not have been easier.
My ancestor is # 59
Example of a pamphlet.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cemeteries And More #1

Several months ago I posted my Cemetery List in a Google Spreadsheet and explained I was going to enter all the names and photos into the Find-A-Grave database.  As I began going through the huge pile of 10 year old photos (none digital), I realized there were some tidbits I could share regarding cemetery research.  The photo at the left was taken last month in the main reading room of the Boston Public Library.  I went there to get the correct title of a cemetery book, listed below.

Before going to any cemetery, especially if it involves some travel, you should do your homework first.  There are several ways.  The most important thing is, you need to is there a cemetery in the area you are interested in.  Of course if you have the name and phone number, call the cemetery to determine what records they have, if there is a flyer or leaflet of their cemetery and if there is a map. (Part 2 will cover this.)  Ok, how does somebody find out their address, phone number and what cemeteries may be in the ancestor's town?  Here are my methods; use the internet and use books.

One of the quickest and least expensive way to get a listing of burials is by using the internet.  A simple google search using key words such as Cemetery + name of town.  You do not even need to know the name of the cemetery.  An example is using the words "cemetery" + "Enosburgh Falls"  A great listing of all those buried there appears in the Main Street Cemetery.  I have used this list many times since 2004.

Those using the internet, you can locate cemeteries, and photos from the last three sources:
Cyndi's List  Cyndislist
The popular FindAGrave (begun in 1995)  41 million records now online.
I also like A Very Grave Matter (since before 2003)
For Quebec, Canada and the United States I like  (begun in 1998)

There are some excellent books that list cemeteries. The ones I especially like are:
1.  Cemeteries of the U.S. : a guide to contact information for U.S. cemeteries and their records is a wonderful resource, as it lists more than 22,600 currently operating or inactive cemeteries in the United States and its territories, and major military cemeteries in foreign countries. Provides the cemetery's address, contact information, former names, years of operation, affiliation, records location, historical notes, and references to publications concerning that cemetery.  There are more than 1,000 pages and it is quite heavy.  When I first found out about it, it was only available in my area at the Boston Public Library.  I made many copies of various cemetery locations (copy below gives you an idea of what is on a page).  It has been a good eight years since I last used the book.  So, on December 29th when I went to the Library to get the correct title, and other information, there it was, right where it had been 10 years before, like it was waiting for me.  It was sharing a low shelf with three other over-sized books.  Glad some things never change.

If you want to locate the above book through you have two options, when the title appears, you can select either the editor Deborah M. Burek or the publisher, Gale Research.  Check out both to see where the nearest library is to you.  This appears to be a case in which the librarians didn't know how to categorize it.
Example page for Vermont

2.  A Guide to Massachusetts Cemeteries by David Allen Lambert, published 2002 by the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  Since I have many Massachusetts ancestors, I use this book a lot.  David signed my copy, and I have #98 from his first printing, so it is already nine years old.  There is a nice index included in the 272 pages.  There is now a revised edition.

3.  A Guide to Cemeteries in Essex County Massachusetts by the Essex Society of Genealogists.  The book has 136 pages, a map for each town with cemetery markers and information about the cemetery.  This is a must for those with ancestors in Essex County.  This guide can be ordered from the Society Form for Cemetery Book.

In closing, try to do as much homework before you go to a cemetery, especially if you are going to travel a distance.  What a nice feeling to easily locate the cemetery and then walk directly to the grave.  Tomorrow I will continue with Part 2.

Leaving the Boston Public Library.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Stephen Daniels

Stephen Daniels
Born:  Abt. 1798, (bp. Oct. 17, 1798), Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts
Died: August 06, 1872, Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts

Stephen and his wife, Abigail Floyd were my 3rd great-grandparents.
Abigail Floyd
Born: June 16, 1798, Danvers, Essex Co., Massachusetts
Died: July 03, 1854, Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts
They are buried at Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem, Massachusetts.
Note:  The top photo was entered into Find-A-Grave and there are now 41 million entries on the site!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Madness - Blogging and Google Alerts - A Great Combination?

Can't have it both ways.  That is what I am finding out.  I love blogging and Google Alerts, but on some days I just don't.

I use Google Alerts for several surnames, with the word obituary, as well as certain town names.  In addition, I use my name + blog.  As a result, just about every day there is a listing of alerts with my name.  Often it is for my blog, but sometimes for another blog owned by another Barbara Poole.  So far, I have determined there are three other Barbara Pooles with blogs.  I decided to list them below, and maybe some day down the road, I will write each of them to see if they are interested in the Poole genealogy, as in my genealogy.  Quite possibly they are using their husband's surname, but maybe they are like me, in that I don't use my husband's name.  Barbara Poole blogs I've discovered are: (Boston artist who lives in my area.) Lots about is her business.

Readers have also contacted me, perhaps because of Google Alerts. In my Can't Get to a Conference? blog, I received a very nice comment from a well-known Certified Genealogist, actually the one mentioned in the article (I am not mentioning her name again, because I don't want this to show up in Google Alerts on her computer).  If you go to the link, you will see her comment.  Another instance, my blog showed up because of their Google Alert when I posted 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy Challenge #1 a blog about my local library, the reference librarian wrote me.

Now the madness.  It isn't that I don't like Google Alerts, I do, as a matter of fact I love them.  What I don't like are the fact that often my comments show up.  I am still a little naive in that I think a comment to so and so, is pretty much private, except other bloggers can view them.  But the whole world, that I don't want.  I've been pretty careful about what I write recently.  When I first discovered this happens was about four years ago, when I was commenting a lot on Steve Danko's site.  I had him remove my last name.  Later I changed my mind, now I am rethinking that again.

An example is what I replied to Earline Hines Bradt of Ancestral Notes on November 16, 2009, my comment to her showed up in a Google search with my name + blog.  "Earline, Congratulations, I read your blog every time you write, and you deserve the award. Also, .............."

Nope, I don't like that, that the world can see my comments.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Six Lines of Stephen Daniels in Massachusetts

Stephen Daniels seems to be everywhere in my family...for six (6) straight generations.  The name applies to all my direct lines and they are from the same area in Massachusetts.  Fortunately, for me, Essex County has excellent records, plus I have visited two cemeteries where they are buried.  There is a Stephen Daniels House, now a bed and breakfast located at 1 Daniels Street in Salem. A reviewer wrote, "This lovely 300-year-old captain's house is one of the few three-story homes of this vintage still intact. Two large walk-in fireplaces grace the common rooms, and each guest room includes antique furnishings, a canopy bed and a wood-burning fireplace." I have been by it, but not in it.

My six-generation genealogy for Stephen will open to a Google doc in pdf format.

The vital records from which I obtained my birth, marriage and death records are in the six volume set for Salem, Massachusetts, sometimes known as the tan books.  Although if you look at the picture at the left, taken at my local library, you can see that many are now being rebound in orange.

Last week, I posted a cemetery stone photo of my first Steven Daniel, who died February 14, 1686/87.  This coming Tuesday there will be another cemetery stone photo for my 6th Steven Daniels.  I know where three others are buried, because of records, but haven't been able to locate their stones.  And for one, I have no idea where he is buried.

From Google books, I'm displaying a page from one of the Vital Record books for Salem, showing several  Stephen Daniel names spelled various ways, such as Steephen, and Daniell and Daniels.
Another great online source, The History of Salem, Massachusetts by Sidney Perley has a nice genealogy. Images below.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cemeteries - Check for Footstones

Sometimes, a footstone is far easier to read than a headstone. It usually contains just the first and last names. These small stones are in addition to the headstones. Most times, when I roam a cemetery, I tend to run all around looking at the large stones. Two of the photos show perfectly engraved footstones. Not that the headstones were damaged, they were just in the shade, so my camera shot didn't capture what was written. I do know that their headstones could be read, because a quick peak at Find-A-Grave showed great pictures taken by somebody else.  That being said, many times old headstones are in very bad shape, either broken, inscription worn due to weather or completely missing.

Often if you just take a photo head on, to get the inscription, you might not even be aware that there is a footstone. Always look behind the headstone, about 5' or so to see if there is a footstone.

Early New England cemeteries have a lot of footstones, so we are quite lucky.  These footstone illustrations are located at Cambridge, MA, across the street from Harvard University.

The photo below give you an idea of what a headstone and footstone look like taken together.  It was posted on Tuesday, for my Steven Daniel.  There is a separate photo of the footstone, but I was wondering if everybody knew what it was.  (The headstone is in the front middle, and the small footstone is behind.)  And a perfect example of a headstone that was damaged.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Steven Daniel (Massachusetts)

Steven Daniel buried at Charter Street Cemetery, Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts

Born:  Abt. 1632
Died:  February 14, 1686/87 at Salem, Essex Co., Massachusetts

Steven Daniel and his wife, Mary Prince were my 8th great-grandparents

Footstone for Steven Daniel

The lower middle part of this photo shows the tombstone and foot stone.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Cemeteries in Crisis"

It is hard to believe that this family cemetery of mine (on the left), The Ten Eyck Cemetery, couldn't be located until recently.  I took this photo in 1999, and it is located in an apple orchard, on private land (once belonged to my ancestors of over 200 years ago).

The cemetery is located in an area called The Eastern Townships in Quebec, just over the Vermont border.  My ancestors all spoke English and now, both English and French is spoken.

There has been quite a bit of correspondence the past few days between me and both the archivist and curator of  the The Missisquoi Musuem and Historical Society.  Last week, I posted an article about my ancestor's Revolutionary War Redcoat and then about the new Canadian stamp.  In an email, Heather, the curator wrote me stating, "There has been some good news on the Ten Eyck site as we have actually found it again. The fact still remains however that it is an abandoned site and at the moment as far as I know, it has no caretaker or funds to maintain it. Judy (the archivist) and I plan to go into it this summer and photograph each stone and update the information we have that was recorded in the 1970s. The Ten Eyck site is just a classic example of what is happening all over the Townships. At least it has be re-discovered and will be marked on our maps."

Since I took individual photos, and had them enlarged to the 8" x 10" size, I wrote back stating that I would be sending them to her.  I have to wonder, if I am the only one to have ever taken photos there.

Heather wrote an article on January 18, 2009, how appropriate, a year ago today Missisquoi: Cemeteries in Crisis.  I am so fortunate to have seen her article the other day.  All of us who love cemeteries know about these problems.  Since the article is rather long, I've decided to select several paragraphs to share.

For a number of years, the Missisquoi Historical Society in Stanbridge East has been looking after a number of “orphaned cemeteries” in what was once known as Missisquoi County. The society has provided basic maintenance – essentially regular grass mowing -- at no fewer than seventeen pioneer burial grounds. Most of these sites date back to the early 1800s when the first settlers were arriving in this part of Quebec. A number of these sites suffered neglect over the years before being taken under our wing. Some of them are on private property; title to others is sketchy at best.

Quite a few sites were located on private land. Here again, some landowners were willing to give us permission to visit the site, while others could not be reached. Of course, the fact that a cemetery is located on private land does not mean that it is looked after. The Wing burial ground, which is found in an apple orchard, is ignored by the landowner. The Ten Eyck site, in another orchard, has likely been destroyed."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - A Very Belated Tribute

My mother told me about 20 years ago, that Margaret, my 1st cousin once removed, was very involved in our family genealogy.  The letter shown, was from Margaret to me at the time I was beginning to do research on my Canadian line. What a sweet letter and I received a nice packet of information.  But..I never wrote back!  (I believe her writing is quite readable, so I am not transcribing it.)

It wasn't until the early winter of 1998 that I contacted her by phone, only to hear her tell me that she was moving into a retirement home soon, and had donated all her genealogy material and old family possessions to the Missisquoi Historical Society (Quebec, Canada).  I was pretty upset with myself for not keeping up with the correspondence and also for not visiting her.  Winter came and went, then in the summer, a friend from my genealogy club went to Brome, Sutton, Canada to visit her, on my behalf.  Several months later, my husband and I made the trip and by then, it wasn't the time to discuss genealogy!  She passed a way 1 1/2 yrs. after my visit.  This was a valuable lesson to learn.  Don't wait, don't put off and any of those other don'ts when it comes to people.  I can't wait to chat with her when I get to heaven; I think we will be best buddies.

From The Loyalist Gazette, "At this meeting a memorial tribute was paid to the late Margaret Doherty Ellis, a founding member of our Branch, who passed away on 11 March 2001. She was a descendant of Loyalist Andrew Ten Eyck, one of the original land grantees in the Township of Dunham, the first township to be granted in the Eastern Townships of Quebec in 1796. She will be greatly missed and always remembered by our Branch."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Surname Saturday - CROSS (Erastus was Murdered)

Erastus CROSS was discussed a bit in Tuesday's blog and images of his two tombstones were shown.

From the St. Albans Daily Messenger newspaper dated June 19, 1856 is the following:

"Melancholy Affair
A sad affair occurred in Franklin on Monday last which resulted in the death of Mr. Erastus Cross. It appears that Mr. Cross, while milking, was accosted by a Frenchman (the name we have been unable to learn) with whom he had an unsettled account, who demanded an instant settlement. Mr. Cross refused to settle then, and after some words had passed between them told the Frenchman to be off or he would throw the milking stool at him. The Frenchman immediately seized a club and dealt Mr. Cross a violent blow on the head which caused his death almost instantly. When the Frenchman saw what he had done, he manifested much sorrow, declaring that he did not intend to kill Mr. Cross. He gave himself up without resistance, and is lodged in jail."

Erastus CROSS was born abt. August 02, 1804 in Windham, Windham Co., Connecticut, married Louisa Maria LAMKIN on October 14, 1827 at Highgate, Franklin Co., Vermont.  They had nine children.  My interest in him stems from the fact that he was a sibling of my direct line, Lucy.  Lucy CROSS married William JAQUAYS, and he is one of my "brick walls."  Erastus Cross was my 4th great-uncle.

One hundred years after the below letter was written, there were three women named Barbara who found each other online because we were working on the same line, the CROSS line, at the same time.  There were also two Martha's interested and adding all that they could.  Barbara R. has the original letter, and we all got copies to transcribe. Whenever we emailed one another, we always had to use our last initial, it was hectic trying to remember who wrote what.

Transcribing this letter and trying to figure out who the people were was one of my top ten highlights in my genealogy research capers.  The women mentioned in the below letter lived in Canada, and were on a mission to confront the man who killed Erastus CROSS.  I love the last line in the letter, where Stella wrote, "Burn up this letter."  So glad nobody listened.  (Note:  The all caps were put in by us, as a way to catch the names, so I decided to leave them in.)
Letter from Stella Cross RILEY to her brother, Herbert Nelson CROSS, October 30, 1899.

"Dear brother,
Mother said you wanted me to write about grandfather death etc. I could not write any sooner as mother has had a severe cold and been quite sick. She calls it the grip and I guess it is. She has not been able to do much, consequently I have had it to do. I was sick in bed two days myself and between us we have had a miserable time. I’ve had a glorious time dewey day and we have had to pay for it. I knew better than to do what I did but the rest danced around in such an excited state that I caught the fever. It was funny to see Aunt HELEN. Every one gathered there and she informed each one that she was afraid her food would not last but it did. KATE told me that her mother was certainly crazy and Aunt HELEN says KATE is. I suppose mother told you all about it, so I won’t repeat. I had a very pleasant time while I was in Enosburg [Vermont] only the weather was very unpleasant, only a few pleasant days. LUCY and I went to Franklin [Vermont]one day, visited a Mrs. HILL (own cousin to father) and called on a Mrs. SOULES another cousin. Mrs. HILL is a nice appearing woman of about sixty I should say. Her mother and our grandfather were brother and sister. She told me grandfather (ERASTUS) was as handsome man as she ever see. Tall, well built, and dignified in appearance. From her I also learned that they were “well to do” the first years of their married life but after that law suit grandfather got in to (you remember father telling about it, he lost all the money he had saved,) he was discontented and moved from place to place in hopes to get rich too fast. She said he was respected wherever he lived but just as soon as he got to doing well would go somewhere else. While in Franklin I went to the house where they lived a long time, a pretty brick house. I also visited the Academy where father went to school. We stayed with Mrs. HILL all night and the next day after we had made many arrangements for the recital we started for home, stopping en route to the place where grandfather was killed. The woman living there allowed us to go over the house and we went in to the room where he was laid out. It is a pretty farm and a large one, it is about five miles from Enosburg on the road to Franklin. We next drove a short distance to where NELSON MARCO lived but did not find him at home. However I was determined to see him, so for days we planned to go again but every day it was rainy and cloudy. LUCY went all over town to get some one had a camera to go with me so we could take his picture and finally we got a young fellow and the day before I started for home we drove out there and was fortunate enough to find him out in the yard. We stopped and asked him to direct us to Franklin. He did not look at all as I expected he would, I had an idea he looked ugly, but on the contrary he was a pleasant looking well preserved old man. I should say he was past 75. After a few minutes conversation, in which he was all smiles, I asked him pointing to the farm where grandfather was killed, who lived there, he told us, then I said “who owns the place? he replied, “Mr. BEATTY old Mr. BEATTY, he owns lots of farms or he did once. I hear he giveim all to he boys.” I looked at him closely and in awful tones (so Lucy said) remarked. Then that is the place where ERASTUS CROSS was killed! The smiles died away from his face and in their place was such a frightened look wild expression that LUCY gave me a warning look. He stammered tried make an attempt to speak three times and finally succeeded in saying, “Mr. BEATHE, he owns that farm, you know Mr. BEATHE, he lives in Enosburg, he lived over there a good many years ago, he” “Seeing you lived here so long, I interrupted you must of know Mr. Cross, the man who was murdered over there, didn’t you? A[h] that he muttered something but we could not understand what it was but that he was greatly distressed, was very evident. he was slowly backing to the house so I continued. My name is CROSS and I am ERASTUS CROSS’S granddaughter. With out any exaggeration he turned as pale as death, his hands moved from his face to the fence where he was leaning in a painfully nervous manner as he gasped out. You must mean a great granddaughter. “No.” I said, granddaughter. He again moved toward his house stopped and said, “seeing you been so bold?” to ask me questions I going to ask you if you know what has become of ALBERT CROSS.” Of course I told him he was dead and that I was his daughter. I also told him that grandmother was queer after she see her husband killed and finally went crazy and died. We thought we would make it as interesting for him as we could. I was going to tell him we knew who he was, but the old man looked so I hadn’t the courage so I just said that we are going down to the place of the murder and find out all we can and drove away.

LUCY didn’t say a word. Said she didn’t dare to. The fellow took a snap shot of him but LUCY has not written me whether it was a success or not. He also took a picture of the house (grandfather’s) and I don’t see why she hasn’t sent it. The house where MARCO lives (all alone) is very small, poor house. We took down some of his conversation. But he talked broken, same thing as Greenwood does only not as much so. They say is afraid of strangers and that he won’t go out the BEATTY farm after dark. He has a daughter living in St. Albans, she married a Mr. WOOD. He, MARCO, is spoken of as a man with an ugly temper.

We had a pleasant call on Mr. BEATTY and he seemed glad to have met me. I took down his story and send to you, also a copy of the life of E. CROSS and I want you to return them. I am going to write them over again when I get time. This Mr. BEATTY is rich and respected. He does not seem to want to say much about the trial, but he did say that DAN WHITE was paid quite a sum of money to testify as he did. You see the body was removed before the coroner got there, so he could tell what he pleased. SANFORD HALL said his father was paid for testifying that grandfather was a quarrelsome man, and hard to get along with. That law suit he got in to was brought up against him. I also learned that the State Attorney did not seem to take very much interest in the case. Father was the only child who was there at the time (except Nelson, who was a very young boy) who could be of any assistance and for some reason he didn’t do anything about it. There were witnesses who testified that MARCO said he would “kill CROSS if he asked him for his pay.” You know he owed grandfather, Aunt ELIZA said that he drawed his wood for him to keep him from freezing the winter before and was mad because grandfather wanted his pay. Here is another story I heard. There were two rich farmers in the vicinity, a Mr. HAMMOND and this Mr. BEATTY, the former did not like Mr. B. and tried all he could to hurt him. He advised grandfather not to go on his farm, said he would get into trouble if he did, etc., etc. After he did take the farm, he done everything he could to bother him. Aunt H. said all of them had lived there a year. Mr. HAMMOND came over one night and asked for g.father if he was going to stay another year. G. father told him that he was, that he liked Mr. B. and that he had treated him square.” “Well,” said H. “if you stay here you will be sorry.” A. HALL heard this conversation. MARCO lived on this man farm and he, MARCO had told that Mr. H. had told him not to pay CROSS. Not to work for him. The people up there seem to think that the murder was the result of this enmity between HAMMOND & BEATTY. It seems that H. was greatly rejoiced when “Mr. B [‘s] word about the position of the body“ did not go with the jury. To sum it all up, DAN WHITE swore that he heard the quarrel, see grandfather take up the milking stool run after MARCO and just as he was going to strike him, he took up the sledge stake and struck the fatal blow. Mr. BEATTY told that WHITE had told him the same night of the murder that M. hit him as he turned leave him and that the position of the body as he found it confirmed this. Grandfather had been sick for a week or more and had not been able to do much work. Grandmother tried not to have him milk that night and he said he would just milk the kicking cow because WHALE? couldn’t and then come in and go to bed. The day I was to give my recital Aunt ELIZA went with me and we stayed with Mrs. HILL and Mrs. SOULS three days. One afternoon Mrs. SOULS’ son drove me to Pigeon Hill and I visited grandfather’s grave. He is buried in his sister’s lot. They have a good monument. One thing seems strange to me, grandfather was a Mason and they were going to bury him, pay all expenses and had even got the grave dug in Franklin when father and MRS. WELLS, grandfather’s sister, objected and insisted that he be buried in Pigeon Hill. Father would not let the Masons bury him because of something had had to do with the lawsuit years before. Mrs. SOULS said you promised to send her one of your pictures when you was there and that she wanted you to send one now. I am going up to Enosburg in Jan. if nothing happens to get up a entertainment and give a recital for the Ladies Improvement Society. If you want one of MARCO pictures let me know.

I am getting subscriptions for a paper (will send Francis a copy and if I can get 33 names, I can get a bed. Mother is all excited and she is going to ask a few to take it. The relatives are responding and I guess we can get the required number of names. Would you just as soon ask the man in the office if he will take it for his wife. Some are going to give us two subscriptions. You must take it. It is only 25 a year. You can tell the man that the club is being raised by a friend. I intended to have copied this letter, but I haven’t got the time. I guess it is rather mixed for I have been writing it for the last three days. The children have been here and all has bothered, Mother is quite a little better tonight. She is greatly interested in this Vanderbilt will. One would think to hear her ask me question that I was a second Depew in the family. I forgot to say that grandmother has got a pretty monument Uncle JUDSON, NELSON and grandfather names are on it. At Mrs. SOULS I see a brass candle stick that JOSEPH CROSS’ g.father used to have, also a chair he used to have. Mrs. S. says when she is dead I can have the candlestick. It is bed time. Mother is reading David Harum and hasn’t been to sleep this eve. Guess she is not going to live?? Lovingly, STELLA
Burn up this letter.
[Sunday?] I heard just now that David Anderson was just alive."

Note:  I realize the letter is hard to follow (and it is long, 10 pages), but since it gave me much pleasure transcribing it and placing the people, I wanted to share it.  And, maybe somebody else in blog land shares this ancestry.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

My Favorite Historical Society is on a Stamp!

After posting my blog about the Revolutionary War Red Coat worn by my ancestor recently, I received an email from a Canadian friend and this wonderful photo of a brand new Canadian stamp, issued January 11th.  It is a picture of the Missisquoi Historical Society, in Stanbridge East, Quebec, Canada.  She knew I would be thrilled.  Additional photos of the stamp are at their site  (scroll down).  Since this is a new web page, it wasn't up the day I posted my above blog  yesterday...things move fast.

I love this Society for three reasons:

First, it houses collections of my ancestors, not only for display but in research material. It is where I went to get help from the wonderful archivist, Judy Antle one day.  Second, it is so beautiful an area, you want to move there immediately, especially if you have ancestors from that area.  Third, the staff is very friendly and helpful, and the ones who were there in 1999 are still there.  Anybody who has ancestors in The Eastern Townships will want to visit this Museum and spend time in the Archives.  This area is just over the Vermont border, and fortunately, I can get there in about six hours.  My grandmother grew up there, so my mother visited often as a child to see her grandparents.  I in turn went up as a child to visit my great aunts, and other relatives.

Not wanting to leave out my first cousin, once removed, who was the archivist at the above Society for a number of years.  She wrote many articles, and some about our ancestors.  She deserves an entire blog dedicated to her.

After the visit to the Archives, my husband and I were armed with maps indicating cemeteries.  This may be hard to believe, but I found all 22 cemetery stones of my direct ancestors!

Additional information.  In January 2013, CBS did a news segment on our 21st President Chester Alan Arthur and obtained proof that he was indeed born in the Bedford, Missisquoi, Quebec. Both the curator, Heather Darch, and archivist, Judy Antle*) were shown in the clip as well as the storage area of the Missisquoi Museum! You may view that show HERE. (

Photo of Judy Antle prior to her March 2015 death.

The United States is south of the the Google name.T


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Revolutionary War Red Coat worn by my Ancestor

This coat was worn by my Loyalist ancestor, is on display at
Photo courtesy of the Missisquoi Historical Society

UPDATE: May 28, 2016. The coat is off-site being repaired. Please read this post as it pertains to more recent information about the coat, see HERE.
Charles Ten Eyck, my great-grandfather, wearing the coat.
He died August 26, 1909  in Dunham, Missisquoi Co., Quebec, Canada.