Tag: history

Kiss your Irish Heritage

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day

The Global celebration of St. Patrick’s Day is March 17.  It is a day of remembrance of St. Patrick, one of Ireland’s patron saints, who ministered Christianity in Ireland in the fifth century and has become a global celebration for any one with Irish decent.  

Saint Patrick is the most well-known of all of Ireland’s patron saints, but guess what!?, he wasn’t Irish. He was actually born in Great Britain,and was kidnapped from his home by pirates at the age of 16.  He was forced into slavery in Ireland, where he looked after animals. At the age of 22, Saint Patrick was able to escape and return to his home in Great Britain. He decided to become a cleric and then eventually a bishop.

While still  in Great Britain, Saint Patrick claimed to have had a vision of the people of Ireland calling out to him in one unified voice, “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.” At this time, the Irish people were polytheistic pagans, meaning they worshiped more than one different Gods and deities. Inspired by his vision, Saint Patrick returned to Ireland with the goal  to bring Christianity to the people.

One of the most popular legends involving Saint Patrick involves him driving all of the snakes out of Ireland. However, Ireland is surrounded by icy waters which would make it impossible for snakes to migrate to the Emerald Isle in the first place. It’s far more likely that the snakes in the legend refer to the paganism that Saint Patrick set out to change. The Christian faith often used snakes or serpents as symbols for evil.

St. Patrick’s Day first started to honor Saint Patrick on the anniversary of his death. The Christian people held a great feast for which Lenten food and alcohol restrictions were temporarily removed, which is why drinking has become synonymous with the holiday. Today, that tradition remains, as some Catholic people choose to cast aside Lent restrictions just for St. Patrick’s Day.

Throughout the years  St. Patrick’s Day became less about the man and more about general Irish traditions, culture and history. In the 1840s, the tradition reached America when thousands upon thousands of Irish people who had emigrated to America to escape the potato famine of the time held a massive St. Patrick’s Day parade. Since then, the American people have embraced the holiday, continuing to add their own  ever-evolving traditions.

GET YOUR GREEN ON

If you attend any St. Patrick’s Day celebration, you can expect to see the majority of revelers decked out in their finest green outfits. While some may think the green is simply a reference to Ireland’s famous rolling green hills, the color actually stems from another iconic St. Patrick’s Day symbol—the shamrock. According to legend, Saint Patrick used three-leaf clovers as a teaching tool to illustrate Christianity’s Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Celebrators would wear shamrocks on their clothing in honor of Saint Patrick, and eventually that tradition evolved into wearing green as well.

DON’T FORGET TO KISS THE BLARNEY STONE!

What is the Blarney stone?

The Blarney Stone is a block of Carboniferous limestone. Carboniferous being a geologic period and system that spans 600 million years from the end of the Devonian Period 358 million years ago to the beginning of the Permian Period.  This limestone is  built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney, about 8 kilometres from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of eloquence or as we might say today the gift of  gab. The definition of eloquence means that the speaker is able to express themselves clearly and powerfully and though it generally describes oral speech it can also be used to describe powerful writing. Basically, it means being able to use words well, with smooth clear, powerful and interesting speaking, The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446.

For over 200 years, world statesmen, literary giants, and legends of the silver screen have joined the millions of pilgrims climbing the steps to kiss the Blarney Stone and gain the gift of eloquence. Its powers are unquestioned but its story still creates debate.

Traditionally, one was to be held upside down by their ankles and lowered head first over the battlements to kiss the Blarney stone in order to receive the “blessing”.  Today, due to caution and safety there is an iron railing to assist the visitors. The Stone itself is still set in the wall below the battlements. To kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk. The prize is a real one as once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.

What are battlements you ask? Battlements is the wall or the “fort” as we call it that surrounds the castle. They were built chest or head high with with rectangular cut outs at intervals so stones or arrows could be launched in the need of defense. Basically it was a wall to hide behind for protection in case of an attack.

Some say the Blarney stone was Jacob’s Pillow, brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah. Here it became the Lia Fail or ‘Fatal Stone’, used as an oracular throne of Irish kings – a kind of Harry Potter-like ‘sorting hat’ for kings. It was also said to be the deathbed pillow of St Columba on the island of Iona. Legend says it was then removed to mainland Scotland, where it served as the prophetic power of royal succession, the Stone of Destiny.

When Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster, sent five thousand men to support Robert the Bruce in his defeat of the English at Bannockburn in 1314, a portion of the historic Stone was given by the Scots in gratitude – and it was returned to Ireland.

Others say it may be a stone brought back to Ireland from the Crusades – the ‘Stone of Ezel’ behind which David hid on Jonathan’s advice when he fled from his enemy, Saul. A few claim it was the stone that gushed water when struck by Moses.

Whatever the truth of its origin, we believe a witch saved from drowning revealed its power to the MacCarthys.

WATCH OUT FOR LEPRECHAUNS

According to folklore, you get pinched on StPatrick’s day for not wearing green because green makes you invisible to leprechauns, and leprechauns like to pinch people (because they can!) The tradition is tied to folklore that says wearing green makes you invisible to leprechauns, which like to pinch anyone they can see. Some people also think sporting the color will bring good luck, and others wear it to honor their Irish ancestry.

According to Irish legends, people lucky enough to find a leprechaun and capture him (or, in some stories, steal his magical ring, coin or amulet) can barter his freedom for his treasure. Leprechauns are usually said to be able to grant the person three wishes. But dealing with leprechauns can be a tricky proposition.

St. Patrick’s Day is an opportunity to spend time having some fun with the people in your life you care about most and make some memories that you won’t forget.

 

HAPPY ST. PATTY’S DAY!

HAPPY HUNTING

THE PIERCE FAMILY HISTORIAN

 

**NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED.

Johanna Nutsch

 

 

Johanna and Frank Sohofsky

 

Once Gottfried Nutsch  made his way to Washington county and got settled nicely his family begin to follow him over. The next Nutsch sibling to come to Kansas was his sister Johanna and her husband Frank Sohofsky. Johanna’s family must have kept to themselves a bit more than the others and I have had to do quite a bit of searching in order to find the little information that I have found on her, but none the less…this is a link to our tree.  Johanna and Frank Sohofsky  make their way from Prussia to Kansas, and reunited with her brother Gottfried June 1884 .

Prussia History Lesson

To properly direct any genealogical information, you must know more about the country and specific location your ancestors came from. Prussia includes much of a large mass of the territory on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea. Between 1668 and 1817 the country that is now called Germany was more than 300 independent states, city states, bishoprics, duchies, and more, some are very small regions with the exceptions in size, places like Bavaria.

There was no central government. Residents “belonged” to their little countries, which in some cases had two or more areas separated by other “countries”. They received orders to populate an area and were sent to start new towns, usually along a border, to ward off invasions. Much like the colonies when they were first started here in the United States.

To support the governments of such small properties, the merchants had to pay taxes in every little independent country they went through, whether by land or river, while traveling across the land to deliver goods, making goods almost impossible to afford.

Religion of an area was often designated by the royal leader of the time, and changed as leaders did. Churches were the primary keepers of family and individual information starting in the 1500’s. Most people worked in agriculture, for larger land owners as tenants. The lucky ones had small private farms that would barely  sustain a family , and at the age of 10 years, children began to work alongside their parents to supplement family income.

Napoleon’s invasion ca. 1805 resulted in a reduction of the number of independent Germanic “nations” to 36. This remained the status until Prussia “united” those states and today’s Germany was formed in 1871.

Prussia, also “Preussen” and “Borussia” in old records, also claimed parts of Poland, Romania, Ruthvenia, and other formerly independent countries. Today, there is no Prussia on maps. Prussia is a name that has been applied to almost 60% of the German Empire at one time or another. Prussia includes much of a large mass of the territory on the southeast coast of the Baltic Sea from approximately 1850 to World War I.

From 1701, the Kingdom was ruled by the Hohenzollerns and Berlin was the capitol. There were more than three dozen duchy’s under Germanic control, including the following: Brandenburg Electoral Hesse Hesse-Nassau Mecklenburg Poland–portions of Pomerania Posen Rhineland–portions of Saxony Schleswig-Holstein Silesia Thuringia Westphalia and the Duchies of Burg, Cleve, Crossen, Engern, Geldern, Juelich, Magdeburg, Stettin and Wenden and Cassubia and others that were smaller in size.

Smaller than a Duchy are the church district, which often encompassed several villages. It is helpful to become familiar with German terms like state church, serf and elector, perhaps more. A German dictionary and/or the German language list in the LDS Guide to German Research are important tools. Church district is Kirchenkreis. Stadt, means town, as in BrombergStadt, the city, in the County of Bromberg and the administrative district of Bromberg, similar to the Posen, Posen, Posen. The kirchenkreis (commonly mis-named “Kreis-Stadt”) was the most important because that is how records were kept in the early 1800s. 1817 was the year that Friedrich Wilhelm III combined the Lutheran and Reformed denominations into Evangelisch.

It helps when doing German research to have an understanding of Prussian history, and what was happening during the critical emigration years of 1850-75, and that Prussia only officially controlled western Germany after 1871 as the First Reich. Those emigrating before 1850 had mostly two motivations: economic disaster as the Irish Potato famine spread, and religious freedom issues, the Prussian Union church vs the several centuries-old state supported “Old Lutherans” (Evangelische), and the conservative factions squeezed by the mandated mergers of the current kaiser.

Brandenburg was ruled by the Hohenzollern family in the Teutonic knights since after the crusades, although they also held smaller ancestral territories in West Germany. At the invitation of Polish knights they helped to subdue “native peoples” of Latvian type called Prussi, and were given control over that land. They built castles and colonized the land. Unrest led to expulsion of the Teutons, but a treaty in 1460 left them with what is called East Prussia, thus Brandenburg-Prussia was born. It evolved into a Duchy under Albert of Hohenzollern who also disbanded the knights who became the land holders in both areas.

Albert of Hohenzollern also declared Brandenburg-Prussia to be Lutheran, since the head of state designated a state church. That didn’t please the Catholics. John Sigismund, a Hohenzollern and good administrator came to power in 1618, and his grandson Frederick William, elector of Brandenburg, secured ducal Prussia’s independence of Poland in 1660. By this time there was a system of seven “electors”, a higher title than duke but short of “king” who were responsible for naming the “Holy Roman Emperor” to whom all were to be militarily supportive. Frederick-I enticed the Pope to agree to his being called King in Prussia in 1701, and he shortly changed that to King “of” Prussia. That was another “milestone” of the rise of Prussia as a military power. Creation of the Prussian Union church from the previous Reformed (which the kaiser was) and the “Old Lutherans” (which his wife was) became a religious freedom and doctrinal issue that resulted in emigration of many “Old Lutherans” in the 1830-40s. Prussia’s state church had been “Old Lutheran” since the reformation, but the heads of state had turned Reformed. This mandated consolidation into the Prussian Union that forced emigration was a major factor in creation of the two most conservative Lutheran groups in America, the Missouri synod and Wisconsin synods. All because he wanted to go to communion with his “Old Lutheran” wife in her church and the “Old Lutherans” refused it.

They didn’t practice altar and pulpit fellowship with the Reformed or anyone else, including the kaiser if he didn’t qualify. It didn’t help that the Kaiser enforced the merger by force of police, something his successor backed away from, but it was too late then. The timing coincided with the opening of America where the kaiser didn’t tell you how to worship and you could buy as much land as you could afford, a huge step forward from being able to even buy a little land at all. So the “Old Lutherans” gave him a salute and many left.

Wisconsin immigrants prior to 1860 numbered many “Old Lutherans” among them, and they were responsible for organizing the eastern Marquette County axis of Lutheran churches besides filling in from Milwaukee northward. Prussia was also exceedingly militaristic, from their Crusader roots, from about 1250 AD onward.

It took about 600 years to achieve control of the German states–Denmark in 1864 to secure two NW provinces, Austria in 1866, France in 1870, all of those to demonstrate to the other states that Prussia was ‘the best leader’. The frequent wars that were part of Prussia’s rise to prominence over the previous 200 years, andthe taxes that were enforced, were another major cause of emigration. Germans had formerly sought “Lebensraum” (living space) by Germans moving into Poland and Russia for more room, but the system of war and taxes to pay for the military unceasing and ever increasing. By 1850 emigration was beginning to replace the colonization of the former years.

Our ancestors chose to leave everything familiar and to come to America for a variety of reasons, the most common being a combination of over-crowding, high taxes, nearly continual war, some crop failures and the potato famine spreading through Europe, religious matters, and to allow their children to avoid the new compulsory military service. We are told that the most compelling reason for our Nutsch family to leave was to get away from the military and to find a more stable way of life.

 

 

 

Johanna the oldest child of Johann Nutsch

Some of the information provided here  comes from the book “Reedy, Schuessler, Nutsch, and Koch of Washington, Kansas”  by Phyllis Reedy James 1993 and I have added what I have found along the way.

 

Johanna Nutsch, oldest child  of Johann I and Marie (Mueller) Nutsch, was born 1840 in Ohlau, Schlesien, Prussia and married in Prussia, to Frank Sohofsky who was born 7 Oct 1833 in Prussia.  Johanna died 1920 in KS and was buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Washington Co., Ks.  Frank died 27 Oct 1893 just south of the Nebraska line in Ks and was buried in St. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Washington Co., Kansas.

Johanna and Frank spent the first years of their married life in Germany and all their children were born there.  The family, Johanna, Frank, August, Paul and Bertha, came to America on the ship Lessing sailed by  Captian Voss.  They departed Hamburg, Germany 22 June 1884 and arrived in New York, 7 July 1884.  Their twin boys were 19 and their daughter Bertha was 16. After their arrival in New York they ventured on to Washington Co., Kansas probably by train.  It is believed they lived with Johann’as brother Gottfried, until they could find a place of their own.

 

The farm where Johanna and Frank made their home was in Lowe Township, Washington Co., Kansas which was then located on what is now HWY 15 just south of Fairbury, Nebraska.  Their house was constructed of limestone, which was a major construction material for most of the settlers and quarried locally.  Frank died a shortly after arriving in America.   Johanna  and her two sons were left to continue farming their homestead . .  Some records show Frank died 27 Oct 1883. St. Peter and Paul Cemetery records show his death as 2 Oct 1898.

Life was not easy for Johanna she struggled the many hardships of the time.  She farmed the next few years with a team of oxen with the help of her two sons and daughter.  She had no automobile, as some families did, and she would haul all her supplies by wagon, however this was the norm at that time so my guess is she barely thought much about it.  It was no simple chore since the family lived several miles from the nearest town.  Some relatives remember the family raising 800 lb. hogs. I don’t recall Grandpa speaking much of Johanna so it could be that they did not spend as much time with the family as the others but we do know that she was a member of the St. Peter and Paul church as were all the other Nutsches so they probably gathered there to socialize. Realizing that her husband died shortly after arriving in America, you know that life had to be extremely hard for her and I’m sure there were times that she felt overwhelmed.  However, her children were adults so she very possibly had their help to keep things going on the farm.

Paul and August Sohofsky

Fourteen years after Frank died, a tragedy struck  when  Johanna’s son, August, was mowing, and his horses became frightened.  During the runaway, August was thrown into the mower and both legs were severely damaged.  Though the doctors did everything that was possible at the time, his one leg had to be amputated and August died a short time later, July 20, 1907.

News of accident
Frank

Paul and August twins born 1 Sep. 1864 in Germany never married. I found census records  that states that Paul was living with his sister Bertha in Lincoln County at the time of his death August 4, 1941.

In 1908 he transferred land to Frank Koch (a brother to our great grandmother Creszencia and our great uncle.)

Bertha “Beillia” Sahofsky

Bertha was born in Prussia 19 August 1876 and came to America with her parents. The 1910 census shows her as widowed and living with her brother in law and his family, August May, and the occupation listed is “servant”.  She secondly married Andrew J Hahn and they had one daughter, Anastasia (Anna) Hahn.  The 1930 census shows her living Nowell, Lincoln, Nebraska, with Anna and is widowed and occupation listed as “farmerette” . The 1940 Census also shows her as widowed and living with Anna Hahn , and Sahofsky Hahn. Sahofsky is listed as her brother. This could possibly be Paul.  To this point I have been unable to find any other information on her. She is listed on Find a grave as having died 25 December 1959 and is buried in North Platte, Lincoln County, Nebraska.

 

Anastasia Anna Hahn

Anastasia the only daughter of Andrew and Bertha Hahn was born 9 Oct 1915 in Hershey, Lincoln, Nebraska and died 30 June 1990, North Platte, Lincoln,Nebraska.

She married Carl Thompson and they had three daughters , Loretta, Kathleen, and Anita. Kathleen and Anita are said to have died young. I’m still searching for more information on them  and have found little on Loretta. Loretta was born 1945 in Nebraska.
If you have any information on this family that you would be willing to share I’d love to hear from you.
Until next time! Happy Hunting.
Your Family Historian

Louisville Nebraska and Recollections of Lawrence Duerr

Louisville, Nebraska was founded by Captain J T A Hoover in 1857. Our Blum Family settled in and around the Louisville area so I think it only fitting that I give a little insight on the area. Lawrence Duerr shared his recollections of early Louisville and much of what I share here is from his memories. He was 80 years old when he wrote down his memories and shared them with family.

A Bit of the Family Tree

Lawrence Duerr was the grandson of Christian Duerr and Mary Ann Huber. His grandmother Mary Ann was the daughter of Jacob Huber , and the sister of George John Huber the husband of Great Aunt Minnie Moessinger, our great grandmother Louise’s sister. George and Mary Ann Huber were children of Jacob  and Mary M Huber.

Christian Duerr was born May 7, 1841 in Wittenburg, Germany and came to America October 12, 1864. From there he went to Dayton, Ohio where his brother Gottleib lived.  Mary Ann was born Feb 2, 1846 in Greenville, Ohio and she married Christian in 1866. They migrated to Nebraska in 1869 arriving at Plattsmouth April 9, 1869. They settled a mile south of where the town of Louisville is situated. It was in the vicinity of where our Blum family eventually settled. As a mater of fact, Aunt Minnie was the one that told Grandpa Andrew about the land he eventually bought and settled on.  Next door lived Mary Ann’s uncle Captain J T A Hoover. Captain Hoover moved from Ohio to Nebraska around 1857 with an account of $325.

Jacob Huber and Captain Hoover were brothers, Jacob keeping the German spelling and Captain Hoover taking on the English spelling. Jacob and Captian Hoover owned the land where Louisville now sits. Captain Hoover played an instrumental role in bringing the B &O Railroad to the area and they gave the railroad 1/3 of the town lots to lay out a town and establish a station there. Captain Hoover built the first house in the city of Louisville, Nebraska.

Jacob Huber’s family consisted of two sons, George and Phillip, and four daughters, Mary Ann, Kate, Caroline, and Christina.

Christian and Mary Ann had four children, George born in Ohio, Philip, Lucy, and Anna, the latter three born in Louisville, Nebraska.

Philip married Anna Bell Leddy of South Bend. they had three children, John, Stella, and Charles.

Anna Duerr married John Leddy also of South Bend and they had one daughter, Della. They later divorced.

Lucy married Martin Zaar of South Bend and they had one adopted daughter, Florence. Florence was the first wife of our Great Uncle Martin Blum (grandmother Marie’s brother).

George Duerr married Rosanna Hartman of Chapman, Nebraska and they had two children, Lawrence and Ruth.

Lawrence Duerr first married Elsie Stulken of Selby, South Dakota. Elsie Frances Stulken (2nd cousin 1x removed)  was born Feb 2, 1911 in Gleichen, Alberta, Canada to Henry and Anna Marie Huber (1st cousin 2x removed) . Anna Marie was the daughter of our Great Aunt Minnie Moesinger and husband George Huber. ( Are you confused yet? ) After Elsie’s death Lawrence married Elda Thieman (1st cousin  1x removed.) Elda was the daughter of  Ida Blum (sister to Grandmother Marie)  and Herman Thieman.

Lawrence and Elsie had three children (third cousins), Marie Anne, Marlene, and Gail.

MEMORIES of LAWRENCE DUERR

BIRTH 15 OCT 1910  Louisville, Cass, Nebraska, United States

DEATH 16 JUL 1997  Riverview Cemetery, Cass Co, Louisville, NE

written in 1991

Elda and Lawrence Duerr
Elda and Lawrence Duerr

“My early recollections of Louisville are pretty fair, but not guaranteed one hundred percent.  On the East side of Main Street, the Drake Hotel, the Currier Newspaper print shop, Wm Keecklow’s Blacksmith Shop, next- a small building (probably a cream station). Ben Hoover’s Jewelry and Watch Repair. Another building housed a shoe repair shop, a restaurant, Wm. Dier’s General Store and Blake’s Drugstore. Across the street going North was Kraft’s Store, a Saloon, Pankonin’s Implement Store, Edgar Pankonin’s Repair Shop, another building that housed a sort of variety store, Frank Buckman’s Bakery and Bob McCarty’s home.

The West side of Main Street going South isn’t as clear. One building called the Ontario House, must have been a boarding house. It stood where the Laundromat stands today. There were 2 more building that I don’t know what was in them. The the old Joyland Theater, then a row of small frame building. Next a building that housed the Post Office after 1914, next was Ossenkop’s General Store and then the Bank of Commerce. Across the street North was a hardware store ran by a man named Dorsey. He also was Postmaster in 1913 and maybe 1914. Next was Stander and Stander Hardware and Furniture Store. Frank Nichol’s General Store, Frank Johnson’s Restaurant, Bob McCarty’s Saloon, Ed Twiss’ Meat Market, and the telephone office, and  Metz Saloon. I have no recollection of the next 2 building, Dr. Worthman’s office was on the corner. Across the street south was the Star Livery Barn.

Stander and Stander sold gasoline. It first was kept in a barrel in the back yard. It was carried out and poured in your car from a can and funnel. Later they installed the first gas pump in town. A bowser ratchet pump that put out a gallon at a stroke. Gas pumped increased fast in town. At one time there were 8 pumps in town. There were 7 left in 1950, now I guess one can’t even get a tire repaired in town.

The folks would go to town about once a week to get the mail and some groceries, such as flour , sugar, coffee, etc. At those times a farm was almost self sufficient. They produced their own meat, canned vegetable, fruit, milk and butter.

Louisville at that time had 3 general merchandise stores that sold groceries and dry goods and clothing. There was a meat market also, that sold meat and meat products. In those times, many people in town kept a mild cow. Some boys had the chore of taking the cows to pasture every morning and bringing them in again at night. More affluent fold kept a driving horse and buggy. Sometimes father and mother would go to Omaha to shop. We would drive the horse and buggy to the livery barn where they would take care of the horse, and take us to the train depot. When the train came back in late afternoon, the livery rig would be there to pick us up. When we got up town, the horse was hitched up and ready to go- all for about a dollar and sometimes less. A livery right could also be rented by the hour or day.

Life was simpler in those times. Everyone wasn’t running madly hither and yon. Oh yes, there were busy times, like harvest time, when getting the harvest done, like getting wheat and other small grain in the shock and then threshing time were a a few hectic days; but people helped one another, if it took a day or so longer at one place, the crew finished it up- no one thought of overtime or extra pay!

The farm ladies of the neighborhood all tried to out do one another feeding the crew. The usual crew was 15 or 20 men. As soon as I was big enough to spit over my bib, it seems I had my little chores to do, such as feeding and watering chickens and bring in corn cobs and wood for Mom’s cook stove. Didn’t seem to hurt me. At that time we were to start to school at seven years, but we had whooping cough that summer and the school board decided I was to stay home as I might give it to the other kids. Father bought me some books. Although I was already able to read and write, on stormy days my father would come in the house and he and mom would talk and I listened. He got a slate and pencil and taught me arithmetic and writing so by the time I was five years old, I could read and write. The first year I went to school, I took 3 grades and I took the 5th and 6th grades in one year- so I didn’t spend a lot of time in school- 8 grades in 5 years. In those days a high school education wasn’t considered necessary to farm, but who in the hell said I wanted to farm! That’s all water over the dam now. I fooled them all- I think that I got myself a fair education.

I have lived in a time of great change. I remember when an automobile was considered to be a well, to do man’s toy. There were few roads fit to drive them on and the fabric tires of that time were not too good. A thousand miles was considered good. After WWI they started to improve the roads and the cord tire appeared. Also anti freeze was unknown before 1927. the first gravel was put on the roads in this area in 1924. I can remember the special election to vote on Bonds to gravel the road out each way from Louisville, to the precinct line. A hue and cry went up it wouldn’t work and wasn’t worth the price. The bond issue carried and it wasn’t so bad after all, and more roads were graded and graveled. By 1932 or 1933 most main roads were graveled. Before 1914 not everyone had a telephone. It took years to get lines extended. The first electric lights appeared in Louisville in 1915. Before that, kerosene lamps were the source of light, except for a few gasoline lighting systems and a few carbide gas plants- really they were acetylene gas lights. By 1920, gasoline engine powered generators were beginning to appear. The generators kept a bank of large batteries charged, usually 32 volts. They furnished electricity for lights and motors to run washers and pump water. We even had a 32 volt iron. We would charge batteries at least once a week. I acquired a plant about 1937 and used it until the High Line came about, thanks to R.E.A.

Radio came into general use in the 1920’s. Some of the first ones were crystal sets. We listened with ear phones and had one that worked real well. They cost nothing to operate. By 1926 I had a 5 tube super- hetrodyne set with a loud speaker.  Television became the thing in the 1950’s. The early sets were quite cantankerous. Horse and mule power powered agriculture until the late thirties when the row crop tractors attained a degree of efficiency. For cultivating row crops, up until the 1920’s- steam traction engines were used mostly for powering threshers, corn sheller, etc. They were too ungainly for most field work. The first gas and oil burning tractors were awkward but they were improved rapidly, lighter and faster. I had a 1924 McCormick Deering 15-30 and a three bottom plow. I plowed several thousand acres with it as there weren’t any around. With a team and one row cultivator, one could cultivate 5 or 6 acres of corn a day. With the farm all row crop and 2 row cultivator, one could cultivate 20 or more acres a day.

When I got to be 21 years old, I got elected to the Dist. 86 School Board and served continuous for 21 years.Then in 1946 I was elected Justice of the Peace for 1 term. That’s where the nickname “Judge” came from.  My father told of the grasshopper plague of the 1880’s when they came it was like a cloud. When they left, they had eaten everything that was green and how everything had to be hauled from Plattsmouth before the railroad was built. When they got the first reaper, then they could raise more than 5 acres of grain. Before that, it was cut with a cradle. I don’t remember how long it took to cut an acre of grain with a cradle, but I bet it took more than one day. After the reaper came the binder that tied the grain into bundles with twine.  The first ones gave a lot of trouble. My father made an improvement on the Knotter that hasn’t been changed today. Knotters are still used on hay balers.  International Harvester paid him $25 for the idea. The corn was picked by hand and a good husker could pick 100 bushels a day and some could pick more. But I couldn’t do it. Seventy five bushels was my limit. As the corn picker was developed, a tractor mounted picker could pick 600 bushels an hour. However, they grind up the corn cobs.

Back to myself again…by and large, I had an enjoyable childhood. Even dangerous sometimes…for instance when when I was 6 1/2 years old I poured kerosene on a bed of live coals and blew up the stove and got fried GOOD! I out grew 995 of the scars but I still have a few. My father had a box of about a dozen new door locks. I got into them and took them apart…of course..I couldn’t put them back together again. Father told mother “that kid is like a grasshopper-into everything!”

I was always a curious brat, very few things escaped my attention. Like all boys, I wanted a gun, but no dice. Finally when I was old enough, father said ‘there’s the shot gun, go hunting”. I shot once, it kicked like a mule, I went back home and never took it again!

When I was 3 years old, my father bought a Model T Ford car. It was some treat to ride in an automobile. That one, like most cars of it’s time, had acetylene gas head lamps. Two carriage style lamps mounted on the cowl burned kerosene as did the tail lamp. When winter came, autos of that era were usually jacked up, partly because to drive in the cold weather boiling water was poured into the radiator to help in starting. On arrival of where ever you were going, the water was drained until you were ready to go home. Anti Freeze didn’t come on the market until the late twenties and that was alcohol based that evaporated badly. Some tried glycerin in the radiators before but it would seep out and also turn the consistency of spaghetti.  Father kept that car until 1922-an old gentleman, Noah Stafford always wanted to buy it. He finally must have mad an offer that Pop couldn’t turn down, as the man’s son-in-law came home from town with us and took the car back. By that time we had a telephone and father called the Ford dealer at Weeping Water and told him to bring a new car over. Needless to say, he was there in less than an hour. It was possibly one of the easiest sales ever made. That was a good car and an uptown job-electric lights, electric starter, demountable rims and a spare tire.

In 1913 Father also traded his Edison Cylinder Record Phonograph on a new new Victrola. I still have it and it plays as good as ever. Seventy seven years is a long time for something like that to la

st.

We had an eight acre orchard. Mostly summer apples. Once in a while father would ship a carload, but usually there wasn’t too much a market for summer apples. Wind falls that fell in deep grass were given away and picked off the tree, 10 cents per bushel. We had a large cider mill. People would come and make cider by the jug full. One neighbor would come every summer with the whole family and make 2 barrels of cider for vinegar. As I got older, I wondered at the amount of vinegar they used. I imagine some of it ended up as Hard Cider with a kick like a mule.

When I got big enough to run a walking plow, Pop didn’t hire a man for fall plowing. I thought, O Boy, I’m a man now! Running a walking plow isn’t hard work. Just walking and having a hold on the handles. We had 60 acres or so to plow every fall. With 2, 16 inch plows! In later years I figured how far one walks to plow 1 acres with a 16 inc plow-about 7 1/2 miles! To give the horses a rest, we would stop and put up prairie hay, fill the hay mow in the barn and make a couple of big stacks outside. Then came wheat seeding time and then corn picking. I never had to pick much corn. Everyone tried to get through by Thanksgiving. Also when I went to school, all of the big boys and some girls got at least 2 weeks off to pick corn. Wouldn’t that cause a consternation now!!

At Thanksgiving time a program of music, song and mabe a stage play ws put on at the school house. In those days the school house was more or less the center of social activity for the neighborhood. Sometimes we had a box supper at the school house. Ladies and girls would fix up a pretty box with lunch for two and they were auctioned off. Some of the fellow would pay a good price to get to eat with his girl. Then there were house parties once in a while, or maybe a dance. I played for dances but never learned to dance. Life was simpler then and entertainment was a lot cheaper too.

The late teens and early twenties was and era of good times. Sporty roadsters with rumble seats, girls bobbed their hair, put on lots of make up and work short skirts – it was called the Flapper Era. The general conduct was called scandalous by the more prim members of society – but everyone seemed to survive and most turned out as pretty good people.

 

On September 23, 1923, a flood hit Louisville and drowned 13 people.  One was never found. Water was counter deep in the stores, damage was extensive.  Surprisingly, a few people seemed to know about it.  I have a set of pictures of the flood.
October 1929 herald the start of the Great Depression.  Panic on Wall Street, bank failures, millions were out of work, farm prices dropped and in 1930 and 31, the depression deepened.  Some turned their pockets inside out and called them Hoover flags.  To make matters worse, the drought of the 1930’s set in- with dust storms-sometimes we lit lamps at noon.  The sky was dark with dust.  In 1932, Franklin Roosevelt was elected President.  he instituted some reforms – WPA, to make work.  The pay wasn’t much but it helped people to retain some dignity.  Prices remained low on what crops escaped the drought.  The Kellogg Co. was offering 13 cents a bushel for corn.  Hogs sold for as little as 2 cents per pound.  I sold 400 pound hogs for eight dollars each.  Twenty five dollars would buy a good milk cow, if you had twenty five dollars.  After 1936 it started raining again and conditions got better.  Corn got to 45 cents then WWII came along and there were plenty of things to fret about-food and gasoline rationing along with tire rationing!  They imposed a 35 MPH speed limit.  It was enforced.  If you were caught speeding you could lose your 3 gallon per week, gas or your tires, or both!  The war put thousands back to work making planes and munitions.  Of course, after the war, there was great demand for goods of all kinds.
By 1947, i was repairing things for others anyway, so went at it full time and stayed at it for 40 years.  I worked for Pankonin’s Implement Co. for five years and worked nights and weekends at home.  I still do some, but prefer wood work.
Just for old times sake, I have a Grocery ad of June 10, 1939.
Sugar 10# cloth bag………..49 cents
Four 49# bag………………..98 cents
peaches 2 1/2# can..two for 25 cents
corn flakes ..2 large boxes ..19 cents
pork chops ……………………10 cents per #
Candy bars…………………3 for 10 cents
Coffee………………………..17 cents
About that time we would take a case of eggs to town–12 cents a dozen.  Another thing I forgot to mention was early refrigerators and the winter ice harvest.  Jim Hoover had an ice house that supposedly held 100 tons.  He would peddle ice in town all summer.  father made an ice house and put up ice.  It usually lasted most of the summer.  An ice box as they were called, didn’t keep it too cold; about 40 degrees at best.  Folks that had a dug well would hang cream and butter down in the well.  Then there were ice-less coolers for sale.  A hole was dug 8 to 10 feet deep and this metal tube was set in it.  Containers were lowered into it with a rope on a crank.  We had a large refrigerator that held 100 pounds of ice and had a water cooler built in.
To beat the summer heat, some folks built summer kitchens to cook in and then carried the food into the house.
Those were the good old days that are talked about!  Some were not so good but people survived.  The only thing that can be said for them is that life was a lot simpler and probably people were just as happy then as they are now.  Would I live them over?  Sure thing, only I would want a few changes; although I can’t think of what they would be.  I have enjoyed life immensely.  While I am at it, I might as well mention that I did go to music school.  That is the only thing that I have the papers to prove that I learned!”
Lawrence Duerr
Special thank you to Lawrence for keeping us informed on what “history” really was.  I hope you enjoyed todays read and if so, please leave me a comment at the bottom of the page. If you have memories you would like to share…I’d love to hear it.
No copyright infringement intended.
Happy Hunting
The Pierce Family Historian

OUR HERITAGE; THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY VALUES

 

If you’ve been following along,  by now you can see that our eighth, ninth and tenth great ancestors played a fundamental role in the development of our first colonies in the United States. Some came from Royalty if the lines are  followed back far enough, and yet they were men and women of strength and perseverance, to flee the persecution in their homelands, and to suffer the religious wars of the time.  This group of friends worked together and shared each others hardships and trials and together not only built a legacy for their descendants, built  homes and businesses from little and became the leaders of the communities and states.  These are the men and women from which our DNA has been pasted down for generations, and of that we have much to be proud of. The importance of family values in their daily living is proved to us time and time again as we learn more and more about their lives.

They, being fishermen, farmers, religious advocates, politicians, having little of the means needed to do such, they still persevered.

One can only  imagine, the fatigue and desperation they felt at times. The put their heads together and  they pooled their resources and trudged on. Which reminds me of Grandpa Blum’s theology “ALWAYS FORWARD”. They leaned on each other for answers and though there were disagreements that arose among st them, when push came to shove they stood strong together and stood for what they believed.

Their children grew up in tight knit communities, living, playing, celebrating and worshiping and eventually marrying and prospering.

When new opportunities arose such as the settling of new territories, they moved together. Eventually they migrated from coast to coast leaving behind them a trail of prosperity for all of us to follow.

Together they buried their babies, and loved ones, and endured  hardships that we have never had to know. They truly showed us the value of family, community and friendship.

At one time it was said that of the five thousand  inhabitants of Nantucket, all of them were cousins.

The more searching and information I gain in my research it is reasonable to assume that we are kin to ALL of Smyth Co., West Virginia, Guilford Co., North Carolina, St. Clair., Missouri, and Atchinson Co., Missouri. Heck, I’m starting to think all of Missouri is our KIN! Along the way they dropped off KIN in Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, and from there every which way to the west coast.

Our ancestors being the first to homestead, clear the land, and plow the ground all a crossed this great country. Somewhere, I read that 60% of our ancestors became farmers. Many well to do and prestigious men took to farming. Much of that of course was out of necessity. It was popular for them to gather as much land as possible. Many of them owning thousands of acres at the end of their lives.

Aside from that they built schools, railroads, roads, and cities for those that laid down roots.  It’s hard to fathom the strength it took these individuals, both emotionally and physically,  to leave behind what they had built..and many times their family and friends…and wander out into the wilderness to break new ground.

Providing for their families was always the highest on the list of priorities and to leave them with something better first and foremost.  There were times when doing just that was next to impossible, yet they struggled forward. Among them were warriors, doctors, lawyers, politicians, plantation owners, slave owner, carpenters merchants, brewers, etc. Trades were past down to new generations as well as large acreages of land..eventually divided into parcels to be left to their heirs.

It’s from all of these we must succumb…as we have so very much reason to hold our head high when we proclaim our Heritage.

I am proud to state…

“I AM A PIERCE”

Happy Hunting!

The Pierce Family Historian

As always,  thanks for stopping by and if you like what your reading, let me know by leaving a message in the comments. If there is anything about the family that you would like to know about, let me know that also. I love being able to share with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edward Starbuck a founding father of Nantucket

Edward Starbuck 

Edward, our 9th great grandfather, came with Thomas Macy,   and James Coffin, in a small boat from Salsibury, England  in 1635 during the early settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colonies and was among the founding fathers of  Nantucket Island.

Born in 16 Feb 1604 in Leicester, Derbyshire, England, the son of Edward and Ann Starbuck,  he was a young man when he set sail with other men for the new world landing on the shores of New Hampshire with his wife Katherine Eunice Reynolds of Wales, daughter of Robert.

STARBUCK THE NAME

They settled in Dover, New Hampshire which was probably still Massachusetts at that time and it was he that brought the surname Starbuck to the United States. . This rare name is locational and derives from the Village of Starbeck, near Harrogate in Yorkshire, originally spelled  ‘Starbok’. This original spelling which appears in the 1086 Domesday Book, indicates a Norse-Viking pre 9th Century origin ‘Stor-Bokki’, literally ‘Great River’. The name “Starbuck” is of Scandinavian decent and it’s possible that the family was of Danish origin that settled in England during the Viking invasions.

THE BEGINNINGS

Edward is first found in the records as receiving a land grant in 1643 for 40 acres of land on each side of the Eresh River at Cutchechoe, and a platt of Marsh above Cutchechoe where the brook runs out of the river, discovered by Richard Walderne, Edward Colcord,, Edward Starbuck, and William Furber. This definitely suggest that he was a man of exploration and adventure,

From 1643 to 1650 there are records of his many other grants of land.

In 1643, he was chosen as the first Representative from Dover to the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and served again in 1647. (This was before New Hampshire existed as a separate colony.)

He and two others were appointed “wearesmen” or official river fishermen for Dover for life and were required to supple the town and the church from their catch.

In 1647 and 1650 he was granted the right to erect a sawmill and went into the timber business with Rich Waldron, and in 1652 he was granted the right to the use of  certain lands.

He sold half of his timber and water rights to Peter Coffin who was his son in law, in 1653.

Edward served on a six man committee to settle a boundary dispute between Dover and Kitter in 1654, and was one of the commoners chosen to lay out the boundary between the towns.

Edward was prosecuted for taking on Baptist beliefs and pronouncing the concept that baptism should not take place until a child was old enough to decide for themselves.  His religious views were disturbing to the colony, though he was a Quaker his religious views were not acceptable to his fellow townsmen.

In ” Provincial Papers of New Hampsbire,” we find the following:

” Oct. 18, 1648. — The Court being informed of great misdemeanor Committed by Edward Starbuck of Dover with profession of Anabaptism for which he is to be proceeded against at the next Court of Assistants if evidence can be prepared by that time & it being very farre for witnesses to travill to Boston at that season of the year, It is therefore ordered by this Court that the Secretary shall give Commission to Capt. Thomas Wiggan & Mr Edw. Smyth to send for such persons as they shall have notice of which are able to testify in the sd. cause & to take their testimony uppon oath & certifie the same to the secretary so soon as may be, that further proceedings may be therein, if the cause shall so require.”

As a result he was heavily fined. There was no separation for church and state then and the puritans who ran the colony were intolerant of people like the Anabaptists.

In 1658 the Congregational minister swore out a peace bod against him due to his religious beliefs. His last official duty in Dover was serving on a coroner’s jury that investigated the accidental death of a man on Nov. 11, 1659.

REMOVAL TO NANTUCKET

Edward could have possibly lived quite comfortably in Dover had it not been for the religious conditions of the colonies.  The strong persecution of religious beliefs was most likely the reason that Edward decided to go to Nantucket. At the age of 55,  Edward, James Coffin and Isaac Coleman arrived on Nantucket Island with Thomas Macy and stayed throughout the winter. They returned to Massachusetts the next spring, and returned in 1660 with his wife and children, except for daughters Sarah and Abigail, and ten other families. More settlers arrived the following year.  Sarah who had married

The white settlers found Nantucket inhabited by about 1600 Wampanoag Indians who were farmers and fisherman and hunters. The arrival of the white man brought disease, alcohol, and debt servitude to the island which  cause a cruel toll on the peaceful people over the next 100 years. By 1763 only 358 Indians survived and that number was reduced later that year when more than 222 died of the plague.

It is not to be wondered at that Edward Starbuck was quite ready to leave Dover under existing conditions. He was fifty-five years of age when he joined Thomas Macy in his voyage from Salisbury to Nantucket; he spent the winter there and in the spring returned to Dover for his family, who accompanied him to the island excepting his daughters Sarah (Aus- tin) and Abigail (Coffin), who had married and settled in Dover.

” Dover lost a good citizen ” and Nantucket gained a much respected one ; ” he was a leading man on the Island and at one time a Magistrate; ”  he is described as ” courageous and persevering.”

EDWARD THE PEACE KEEPER

Edward had great repose among the Indians and was often called upon to settle disputes that came up with the natives in Dover and Nantucket. A deed of land to him from the Indians in 1660 is the oldest original Nantucket document in existence and his name appears on many other documents until his death.

During the 35 years of his life on the Island of Nantucket he was Representative in the General court, and Elder in the Church, and in 1669 he and Peter Coffin were appointed by the town meeting to manage the government among the Indians. Four year later He was chosen one of the town’s five selectmen, was one of the highest ranking government officers.

As a clergyman it is said that Edward was the one that read from the Bible at the funeral of his dear friend Tristram Coffin.

Edward was instrumental in the development of the land and began the development of the whaling company.

It is said that at the time of his death he was the wealthiest man in Nantucket owning a third of the Island in land. He left most of his property to his only living son Nathaniel, as was the tradition at that time.

Nathaniel Starbuck

Nathaniel and Mary Starbuck

Nathaniel went with his father to Nantucket and married Mary there in 1662, the daughter of Tristram Coffin (Edward and Tristram being our 9th Great grandparents making Nathaniel and Mary our 8th)  Their marriage was the first on the Island, and their daughter, Mary was the first white child born there.

The Nantucket Quakers became influential in every area of life including social behaviors, lifestyles, business, and politics and Nathaniel was highly involved in the lucrative whaling industry.

Quakerisn began to take hold in Nantucket  largely due to the influence of Mary Coffin Starbuck, following her conversion to the faith in 1701. Mary (the Great) who eventually became a Quaker preacher, and her husband Nathaniel, led the Quaker movement and the first meetings were held in their home until a meeting house was built in 1711.  Mary “esteemed is judge among them” was the moving force in establishing the Society of Friends, (Quakers) on Island.

Nathaniel was one of the strong men among the Nantucket settlers, and would have received more credit but for the superior intellect of his wife. He is said to have been a man of no mean abilities, but was outshone by the superior capacity of his wife, a woman of uncommon powers of mind.

Great Mary Starbuck

He ran a trading post, where Indians swapped codfish and feathers (used in mattresses) for cloth, hooks, buttons, etc. When Ichabod Paddack of Cape Cod introduced whaling to Nantucket, it was Nathaniel who financed the venture. Due to Nathaniel’s whaling interests, land holdings and store profits, he became one of the wealthiest men–if not the wealthiest man on the Island. So much public business was conducted at this home that it became known as “Parliament House”. It was also there that Quakerism took root on Nantucket thanks mostly to the leadership of his wife, whose importance and fame quite outshone his own not inconsiderable accomplishments. (From James Carlton Starbuck’s book “Starbucks All” published in 1984)

His house was erected near his house lot, but on a spot a short distance southeast which was afterwards set off to him. It was a large house of a capacity sufficient for meetings, both religious and municipal, and was called “Parliament House.” It was located a few feet west of the present Cornish Barn and was placed near the spring. His house lot was on the northwest of the swamp, bounded north by that of James Coffin and south by the swamp and southwest by the lot of Thomas Mayhew. By purchase from Greenleaf and others and by set off, he acquired a large tract around the north head of Hummock Pond. It later was comprised in the Cambridge farm.

Nathaniel and Mary had 10 known children and spread their descendants throughout the US.

Will

He made his will on 14 June 1716 in Sherbourne, Nantucket, Massachusetts. It was probated on 29 August 1719.  The will was written while his wife Mary was still alive; codicil was dated 20 November 1717 after her death. Pecuniary legacies given to daughters Eunice Gardner, Priscilla Coleman, Hepsibah Hathaway, and the children of two deceased daughters, Mary Gardner and Elizabeth Barnard. His real estate was given to his sons Barnabas, Nathaniel and Jethro. Witnesses: Thomas Macy, Thomas Clark, William Stratton, John Macy.

The codicil was written shortly after his wife died and devised the household goods to Barnabase, Eunice, and Hephzibah. The three sons were made joint executors.

At the time of his death, he was one of the wealthiest men (if not individually the wealthiest) on Nantucket. He owned three full shares of land, having purchased a share of Stephen Greenleaf.

THE MOST ASK QUESTION

Are we related to the Starbuck coffee people? That is the most commonly asked question and the answer is no.

Actually the coffee company was not named after anyone. When they were searching for a name for the company they just started throwing out names when someone blurted out the name Starbuck. The name appealed to the literary trio and since characters in Moby Dick and the Rainmaker shared it, and it had a strong ring to it, it was chosen.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, if so please leave a comment in the section below and let me know!

Until next time!

The Pierce Family Historian






Nantucket Island and our Quaker Ancestors

As discussed in my last post of our Quaker Ancestors…researching them has been made simple by the wonderful records that were kept, and stretching far back in our history we will find much written of their lives and travels. Following our lineage from the early days in the America’s can sometimes be confusing due to the many uses of like names and the tangling of our ancestors as they traveled together and intermarriage amongst each other. One will find that our lines cross over and over again down through the years.When trying to decipher the DNA matches you will find it difficult to find that common match due to the criss-cross in the lines. Our history from Nantucket Island and our Quaker Ancestors is proof of this for sure.

NANTUCKET ISLAND

In 1659 it is recorded of Thomas Mayhew that the land in Nantucket was sold to nine men namely

Tristen Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Ilussey, Richard Swain, Thomas Bernard, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greeleaf, John Swain, and William Pike.

Still suffering persecution in Massachuttes Thomas Macy and Tristen Coffin, set out to find a place of peace among them. They purchased the land from William Mayhew for 30 pounds and two Beaver Hats, one for William, and one for his wife. Seeing the promise of their plans William Mayhew chose to become a partner in the land also, and bought in his share. By the deed recorded it is observed that a share of the island was retained by Thomas Mayhew and in this way he became one of the proprietors who are said in all histories of the place to have founded the settlement.

Among these men I will discuss in detail those of our direct ancestors in the next few post, though for years the families of these mentioned intermarried and we will find that . we are descended in one way or another by the 16 earliest settlers of the Nantucket area. Just as in researching those Quaker ancestors that migrated to the Sugar Grove, Virginia area it seems we have relations to almost all in the area. You will find that within the migration areas (Gilford, N Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and on westward) there are so many times intermingled relationships. Down through the years and a crossed the United States they traveled in families and groups together and married within these groups.

Pay close attention to the names mentioned within the posts, as they will come to play amongst each other.

Until the nineteenth century when more new people begin to come to the island, the very close-knit community was almost all related in one way or another. It is hard to separate the relationships among the early settlers as they each come together at some point.

Among these were men of varied experience and marked executive ability. Men who embraced every opportunity for the advancement of the settlement, and the establishment of an interesting society upon the island.

THOMAS MACY

(EIGHT GREAT GRANDFATHER)

In the Parish of Chilmark, near the town of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, Thomas Macy resided before his removal for America around 1635. We do not know the name of the ship that brought him to America but he arrived here no later than 1639. He was among the original settlers of the Salisbury, Massachusetts area and is in “The first or Original list of Englishmen of Salisbury” book of records.

It has been recorded that Thomas was “a merchant, a juryman, a preacher and one of the select men of the town. ”

Several people were prosecuted for violating the law of 1637 which prohibited entertaining Quakers. Among these was Thomas Macy, who was fined thirty shilling, and ordered an apology, and it was ordered he be admonished by the governor. It was recorded that he had sheltered Edward Warton, William Robinson, a merchant of London, and Marmaduke Stephenson, of Yorkshire, England. Of those the last two named were hanged in Boston the 27th of October in 1659.

His letter to the Court went like this:

“On a rainy morning there came to my house Edward Warton and three men more, the said Wharton spoke to me saying that they were traveling eastward and desired me to direct them in the way to Hampton, and asked me how far it was to Casco Bay, I never saw any of the men afore, except Wharton neither did I require their names, or who they were, but by their carriage I thought they might be Quakers and told them so, and therefore desired them to pass on their way, saying to them I might possibly give offense in entertaining them, and as soon as the violence of the rain ceased (for it rained very hard) they went away and I never saw them since. The time they stayed in the house was about three quarters of an hour, but I can safely affirm that it was not and hour.”

“They spake not many words in the time, neither was I at leisure to talk with them, for I came home wet to the skin, immediately afore they come to the house and I found my wife sick in bed. If this satisfy not the honored Court I shall be subject to their sentence. ”

“I have not willingly offended. I am ready to serve and obey you in the Lord.”

Thos. Macy

Thomas Macy was a Baptist, and on the Sabbath frequently exhorted (Exhort is a 15th-century coinage. It derives from the Latin verb hortari, meaning “to incite,” and it often implies the ardent urging or admonishing of an orator or preacher.) the people which was also in violation of the Massachusetts Law which prohibited all but the regularly ordained from service.

Tradition says that immediately after his sentence, Thomas Macy, left for Nantucket.

The Macy Genealogy relates that in 1659, Thomas embarked at Salisbury in a small boat with his wife and children and such household goods as he could conveniently carry, and in company with Isaac Coleman and Edward Starbuck, and set sail for Nantucket. ( James Coffin, son of Tristram is said to have accompanied him also).

Thomas basically, had had it with the authority over him, and could no longer submit to the ” tyranny of the clergy and those in authority.”

Having satisfied the requirement of the law, and paid his fine, he undoubtedly felt he could lead a more peaceful and independent life in Nantucket, and voluntarily exiled to the Island.

BEFORE HIS REMOVAL

Before his removal to Nantucket Thomas was commissioner, and representative to the General Court of Salisbury, and the citizens of that testified of their sympathy with him by electing his friend and defender, Robert Pike as his successor.

Apparently, according to records he returned to Salisbury and again at a later date removed to Nantucket which is evident from old records, in which it is found that on October 1, 1675, he was commission chief magistrate of the town.

Thomas was the first recorder appointed on the island, and a portion of the first Book of Records in the office at Nantucket was mostly written by him.

He died April 19, 1682, at the age of 74. His wife, Sarah Hopcott, who had accompanied him from Chilmark, survived for nearly a quarter of a century after.

 

Thanks for stopping by. If you have enjoyed this bit of history or are related in anyway please leave a comment in the box below.

Happy Hunting

The Pierce Family Historian

Research the Origin of your Surname

When  you first begin your family genealogy you might find it extremely helpful along the way if you first do a quick research for the origin of your surname. In your search you will be starting with yourself and working backwards and in doing so you will gain surnames for each generation as you go back, so having a little knowledge of surname origins can and will be a big help in your research.

Your last name is commonly referred to as your SURNAME. Your first name is referenced as your GIVEN name, and of course you have your MIDDLE name.  You will gain a surname for your mother’s maiden name, your grandmother’s maiden name and so on. A quick research of the origin of that name can tell you where you evolved from in a sense.

     Family tree research is one giant step backwards and one giant step forward—usually at the same time.

My maiden name is PIERCE.  Pierce is an English surname from  the established name Peter, which in medieval England was found as PIERS. Peter come from the Greek word “PETRO” which means “rock”. PIERS is the French version brought by the Normans in 1066 at the time of the Conquest.

From this bit of information I know that the name originated in England. Are all PIERCE’s English. NO! But it is a good assumption, and as to how far back one might have to go to get there is unknown to me at this point.  I merely had to go back to the 1600’s to find my George PIERCE that was born in England. I haven’t gone farther back than that to find if they had been somewhere else first. Family says there was some Irish in there somewhere.

There are as many as 16 versions of the PIERCE name,

PIERCE   PEARCE  PIERS  PEERS  PERES  PERSE  PEERZ                         

just to name a few.  Being able to recognize the variances you will more likely be able to spot a record that you might bypass otherwise, as in many census and military records you will find  have variations in spellings. There are several reasons for this.

  1. your ancestor may not have been able to read or write.
  2.  the census taker spelled it to their interpretation.
  3. the transcriber may not have been able to make out the name and took a wild guess.
  4.  generations back people weren’t as particular about a spelling as we are today. (probably because of the reasons mentioned above.)
  5. Immigrants often times changed the spelling or shortened their names in order to become more “American”.
  6. Many times immigrants did not know the English version and the immigration officer would record it incorrectly.
  7. It could be that the person giving the information didn’t know the correct spelling.
  8. Many of the records are sent over seas to India and such to be transcribed and it could just be a failure on their part to get it correct.

We are human. We make mistakes.

       “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.” —Mark Twain

Only four generations back in the PIERCE family tree we find that one half of the family changed their name to the spelling PEIRCE. We believe because the father, MOSES had two families and the second family wanted to associate separately from the first, but that is just and assumption.

While searching for my fourth great grandfather, Adam SHAVER I found several instances where variant spellings came to play. SHAFFER and SHAVEN just to name a couple.  So in searching records don’t overlook the possibility of finding lots of differences.

Surnames became necessary in the 13th century when governments introduced  personal taxation. They originated to help identify people. Centuries ago when the world was less populated people would be referred to has John, or Fredrick. Everyone knew their neighbors and friends, and where they lived, what their occupations were, etc., people did not so readily move, and families lived in close proximity to each other. Therefore, for example, if John had a son down the lane, he might be referred to as Johnson. This would be considered a patronymic name. In most regions and time periods, surnames were assumed based on descent from your male ancestor (generally the father). A matronymic surname would be that deriving from the mother. Use of the mother’s surname is usually due to some circumstance such as  illegitimacy,  inheritance etc., though in some regions culture dictated the use of the mother’s surname. Or perhaps, Joe made pottery. He could have earned the name Joe Potter. They call this an occupational name. I have lot’s of Miller’s in my family. A Miller was someone who ground grain, this is Mueller in German, therefore we also have Mueller’s in the family.  Get the picture?

  • “Genealogy: An account of one’s descent from an ancestor who did not particularly care to trace his own.” —Ambrose Bierce

In many countries, the use of hereditary surnames began with the nobility who often called themselves after their ancestral seats. It wasn’t until the 1500s that surnames became widely inherited and no longer referred to a person’s appearance, job, or place of residence. Perhaps the caveman method would have made it easier for us as genealogist had we had something to go by.  When searching for William Robert GREEN, it would sure be nice to have an occupation or dwelling to go off of if you have no other information. Believe me, I KNOW!

In conclusion, I highly recommend with each new surname you start with a little research.  A few moments to do a little study on the name and it’s origin and the different derivatives of the names and variations of spelling could save you a lot of time and headache down the road as you search. You will come across records that will make you shake your head in wonder.  A little more research and  you might just also learn a good little bit about that special ancestor before you even start your search. Knowing the origin of your name puts you just a little bit closer to who you are and where you came from and what has gone before you.

It’s a feeling only another family historian could explain.

Happy Hunting!

 

 

 

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The Pierce Family Historian