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, Wyoming, 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.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Constantly Surprising Me, From California to Massachusetts

Signature of  Charles H. Poole
See enlarged below.
Half of my information about my great-great grandfather was found the usual way...I found vital records, city directories, the cemetery stone, will and probate records. I didn't find his entire life history online, but pretty much everything I needed, except where he was married on March 26, 1850. Charles H. Poole with his facts of life, now surprises me in three ways.

First amazing thing was my discovery eight years ago of the family genealogy manuscript he wrote, now located at the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) in Boston. Because it is 257 fragile legal-sized pages, I wasn't allowed to copy it. Two weeks ago, I began taking photos with my iPad, and sending pages to a cousin who offered to type them. Fortunately, the manuscript is typewritten, which makes it easy to read, and comes complete with a huge genealogy and transcripts of wills and deeds.

Second, I've been rather excited upon learning that he surveyed parts of San Diego, California. A google search brought up The History of San Diego, which said about him, "An engineer, Charles H. Poole, was hired and he surveyed a 200-mile railroad route to Yuma that followed the bed of the San Diego River, climbing 1087 feet gradually in thirty-nine miles through Mission Gorge, Santee, Lakeside, and Capitan Gorge and northeast through the steep-walled canyon to the base of Eagle Peak. From there the grade became increasingly steep for the next seven and a half miles, climbing 1255 feet out of the can­yon to the floor of Santa Ysabel Valley, near where Coleman Creek flows into the San Diego River. The last mile and a half from the canyon to the southern edge of the valley floor was to be a climb of 452.7 feet per mile through what Poole called Santa Ysabel Gulch. But the grade was more than 8.5 per cent, virtually impassable. From Santa Ysabel, the route was to follow the wagon route to Warner's and down San Felipe Pass. Other surveys were to be made and many arguments advanced, and the hopes of San Diego lingered on until buried by the Civil War."  I also learned he was the Surveyor for San Diego County, then for other areas in California, and wrote with several others, a book, Reports of Explorations and Surveys, To Ascertain the Most Practicable and Economic Route for a Railroad from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. Made Under the Direction of the Secretary of War, In 1853-6, According to Acts of Congress of March 3" by Parke, John G.; Albert H. Campbell and Charles H. Poole.


Third, I now learn he is back in Massachusetts, near where he was born, about 34 miles from me. This was my huge surprise last week. For somebody who had children born in San Diego, northern California and Mobile, Alabama, I now find him in Roxbury, Massachusetts, per the city directory for 1852! Still in Roxbury in 1856, he  drew a "Foldout map of City of Roxbury (Boston), 1856: by Charles H. Poole, engraved by E.A. Teulon. Book contains many pages of advertisements in front section, along with lunar tables, calendar, a fold out map, and city directory with Last name, First name and street address location." See Northwest Press Books for photo of the directory, description and sale price. The dealer just gave me permission to show the book, so thanks to Eric Brown. (See Below.)

"Charles H. Poole was born in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1825, and while receiving his education at West Point, became a civil engineer and passed his entire life in the service of the United States government. His duties called him much of the time to Washington, D. C, where he passed away in the year 1880. His wife bore the maiden name of Mary A. Daniels and they were residents of Benicia, California, at the time of the birth of Charles Clarence Poole on the 27th of November, 1856." This short bio was from Chicago: its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth, Volume 5  By Josiah Seymour Currey.

If I had not done google searches on his name, I would not have known about his surveying career, nor known that he was sent to Massachusetts for a short period, before settling long-term at the Interior Dept. in Washington, D.C., where he worked and died. So, don't stop with the basic information, but dig deeper, and use combinations of keywords on Google.

Two mysteries are now solved because of what I discovered about him last week. First, he did maps, okay that was new to me, and it is probably why my father had a large map collection. Some were framed, most were flat in a map drawer. Dad must have inherited them, and I've got one hanging on my wall. Second, I believe he began the Poole manuscript while he was working in the Boston area (Roxbury), and I wouldn't be surprised if he wasn't one of the earliest members of NEHGS, he had ties with the Society, his death notice was in the Register and he made sure his manuscript was donated there.

15 comments:

Carol said...

Fabulous. What an interesting man. Really enjoyed this post Barbara. I need to get back to some research. This may spur me on! Thanks.

Barbara Poole said...

Thanks Carol. You're on your trip, so I think those posts are more important. But, I know what you mean abt. getting back to research. I hope my post wasn't too wordy, believe it or not, I cut it in half!

Celia Lewis said...

Very much enjoyed reading about your Poole ancestor - and how lovely to enjoy some of his work, which was clearly his passion as well (the maps). I don't think your post is too wordy at all... then again, I'm a bit wordy myself. I enjoyed reading every bit of it, Barbara!

Heather Rojo said...

I've found some gems in the NEHGS manuscript collection including bibles, papers and notes. I've also found a few membership applications from ancestors and cousins, including one of the first women allowed to be a member! Some of the applications have family trees, and some don't. Oh, well!

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you Celia for such kind words. I have Google to thank for my recent findings, esp. that he surveyed a town not too far from me. Heather, NEHGS also has other things from my family...probably anybody with NE ancestry has an item there, we are all very lucky.

my Heritage Happens said...

How exciting to find this information so recently! We never stop learning about our families do we? Your grandfather was a very busy man! Congrats on the new news!

Diane B said...

Barbara you have inspired me to try more searches, especially among NEHGS items. I've only ever found one thing there, but you never know. Interesting story, and how amazing to discover a genealogical manuscript.

Thomas Larry McGrail said...

What a wonderful find. That's so exciting and good to know. Way to go Barbara.

(I hope my comment only appears once. I entered it twice. The first time I wrote the comment and pressed Publish ... Then had to log on and enter my comment a second time and press Publish a second time.)

Gini said...

Wow, your great great grandfather surveyed right in my backyard Barbara! Mission Gorge is right behind me and Santee is just down the hill!

That part of the river is right across from us and in a protected area called "Mission Trails!" Small world! What great information to find. Congrats!

Lisa Wallen Logsdon said...

What a great bunch of finds Barbara! Very interesting stuff too. Congrats!

Barbara Poole said...

My friends, you've blown me away with your nice comments, thank you so much. Just shows after many years of research, new material can be found. Gini, I'm posting your comment to my fb posting, that it way interesting, love it.

Cynthia Shenette said...

Barbara - You have blown me away with this post. Not wordy at all. What an accomplished man your great-great grandfather was! It's amazing to think about the kind of travelling he did back when he did it. Now when I go to San Diego I won't be able to help but think of your awesome ancestor!

Barbara Poole said...

Thank you Cindy for your kind words. I agree, it was an amazing career, and more interesting that he had 4 children all born in different states...the poor wife!

Nancy said...

Wow! What amazing information to find. It's interesting that you can tie your father's interest in maps maps and your participation in NEHGS back to him.

I think it's easier (or at least more common) to find "famous" ancestors on google but gosh, I'll try anything for some of my ancestors. Maybe I'll be writing a post like this in a few weeks, Barbara. Congratulations!

SearchShack said...

What a great description of your ancestor's adventures. I also have an ancestor who was a surveyor and am really looking forward to that day I get to NH and get to take a look at his diaries! Thanks for sharing - am looking forward to reading more.
Joanne Shackford Parkes
www.shackfordgenealogy.weebly.com