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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

1822 :: Elisha Roberts in Texas

On this date in our family history . . . the 29th day of April . . . in the year 1822 . . . a letter of reference is drawn up in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana for our Elisha Roberts (c.1774-1844) in preparation for his planned trip into the area we now know as East Texas . . . 

Page 1 of a scan of a 3-page letter of reference for Elisha Roberts of St Tammany Parish, Louisiana, dated 29 April 1822. Contributed by Diane Baldwin.

This Elisha is a 4th great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history timeline . . . click > HERE < to view a scan of the three-page letter of reference which was shared by our cousin, Diane Baldwin . . .

1802 :: Birth of P J Kirtley

Photo of Paschal J. Kirtley tombstone originally shared by stevewoodsjr at in the Woods Beedle Tisdale McKeaig Mattingly Hepner Basye Nesselrodt family tree.
On the 29th day of April . . . in the year 1802 . . . Paschal Jefferson Kirtley is born in Warren County, Kentucky . . . this P J Kirtley is a 3rd great-grand-uncle to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . in January of 1826, he marries Mary Ella McDaniel (1809-1873) . . . and in November of 1826, following the deaths of both of his parents, he is made legal guardian of his three younger sisters . . . about 1827, his wife gave birth to the first of at least ten children.

I first met this man and his family back in the 1990s while searching census records at a local library . . . I was looking for some clue as to the parentage of my 2nd great-grandpa, William Paschal Henry (1836-1912) . . . whose remains reside in the Murray Cemetery in Milam County, Texas . . . and I found a 14-year-old William P. Henry enumerated in the Paschal J. Kirtley household on the 1850 Census for Barren County, Kentucky . . . my first feeble attempts at establishing a connection between the Henry and Kirtley families were unsuccessful . . . but once I began conducting genealogy searches online, I was able to locate a few Kentucky marriages between Kirtley women and Henry men . . . including an 1835 Barren County, Kentucky marriage record for a Thomas Henry and a Mary Kirtley (one of the orphaned sisters) . . . and they wound up being the 3rd great-grandparents I was looking for! So . . .

Thank you, Uncle P.J., for watching out for your little sister (my 3rd great-grandma), Mary, and for helping take care of her son, William P., after his father died.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Margaret de Clare weds Hugh de Audley

On this date in our family history . . . the 28th day of April . . . in the year 1317 . . . Margaret de Clare (widow of Piers de Gaveston) becomes the bride of Hugh de Audley at Windsor Castle in England . . . this Margaret and Hugh are believed to be 20th great-grandparents of our Josephine . . . who is a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog. 

Complete peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, extant, extinct, or dormant By George Edward Cokayne: "Text not available"
In Archaeologia Cambrensis (1883), John Skinner, Cambrian Archaeological Association, says that . . . 

Hugh de Audley, whom Margaret next married, was son of Hugh, a cadet of the Barons Audley, of Heleigh Castle. She was then styled widow of Piers Gaveston, and having become a coheiress, she had by partition, llth Edward II, the castle and tower of Newport, the manors of Stowe, Rempney, Dyneley, and Maghay, the hamlet of Frenebothe (Ebbw), and the commote of Wentloog. Thornbury also came to her, and Tonbridge Castle, and much English property. Thus the Monmouthshire portion of the lordship was cut off from the Glamorgan part. 15th Edward II, Audley was in arms for Thomas of Lancaster, and was taken at Boroughbridge, but pardoned owing to his wife's interest.

For further information, see also . . .

Monday, April 27, 2009

1752 :: Samuel Brackett

On this date in our family history . . . the 27th day of April . . . in the year 1752 . . . 80-year-old Samuel Brackett dies in Berwick, York County, Maine . . . this Samuel is a 4th great-grandpa to Jerusha Marilla Smith nee Barker (1841-1899) . . . who is paternal grandma to Elizabeth Marilla Henry nee Smith (1912-1932) . . . who is the maternal grandma of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . and this Samuel Brackett is also a 1st cousin three times removed to Peter Brackett (1838-1927) . . . who is the adoptive father of Eva May Smith (1874-1936) . . . who is the mother of the above mentioned Elizabeth . . .

Old Kittery and her families
By Everett Schermerhorn Stackpole
"Text not available"

In the book, Old Church Lore by William Andrews (1891), the author states that . . .
In America, the Puritans made some very curious Sunday laws. Walking, riding, cooking, and many other natural needs of life were forbidden. Sports and recreations were punished by a fine of forty shillings and a public whipping. In New England, a mother might not kiss her child on a Sunday. . . . the captain of a ship, who, on his return from a long voyage, met his wife in the street, and kissed her, and for the offence had to pay ten shillings. Another Boston man was fined the same amount for kissing his wife in his own garden. The culprit refused to pay the money and had to endure twenty lashes. . . . In past ages, attending church was not a matter of choice, but one of obligation. . . .

See also . . . Early days of church and state in Maine (1910) by Robert Hale (1889-1976) . . .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

1287 :: Sir Roger de Mortimer

On this date in our family history . . . the 25th day of April . . . in the year 1287 . . . Roger de Mortimer is born at Wigmore Castle in Herefordshire, England . . . this English nobleman is currently believed to be an 18th great-grandpa to our Josephine (1842-1899) . . . who is a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . .
Lady D. over at has put together a wonderful three-part series on our Sir Roger de Mortimer (meaning that Sir Roger is "ours" as one of only 65,536 18th great-grandpas of our Josephine) . . . y'all go take a look at Lady D's info . . . it's enjoyable reading . . . IF you like "Medieval bad boys" (Lady D's words) . . . 

P.S. . . . the link to the photo referred to in the in the comments has been removed because the image was no longer appearing at that link . . .

Friday, April 24, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

In the brief time period of 06 June 1876 thru 26 April 1877, one of my 2nd great-grand-uncles -- Dr. Milton Antony, Jr. (1824-1885) -- was the 2nd Postmaster in the new (1874) little "town" of Rockdale, Milam County, Texas.

A little over a century later, my father, Forrest Lee Pounders (1927-1996), retired from the same Post Office. And my sister now carries the very route our Dad walked for so many years. Needless to say, in this family there are more than a few "mail" collections.

I found this photo several years ago in an antique shop in Ellis County, Texas. I just could not leave this unidentified couple and their homemade mailbox sitting there in that basket -- I felt compelled to take them home with me. And today -- Postcard Friendship Friday -- they are stepping out into the light of day here in rural Texas to say, "Howdy, y'all!" and "Have a nice day!"

Waiting for the mail . . . 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

1014 :: Brian Boru dies at Battle of Clontarf

On or about this date in our family history . . . the 23rd day of April . . . in the year 1014 . . . the aging Irish King, Brian Boru, is attacked and killed on Good Friday while alone in his tent following the Battle of Clontarf near the present Dublin, Ireland . . . this King of Ireland is currently believed to be a 28th great-grandpa of our Josephine (1842-1899) . . . who is a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

The Charm of Ireland
By Burton Egbert Stevenson:

"Text not available"
"Text not available"

St. George's Day

Great Hall at Kenilworth Castle
Originally uploaded by Damek

On the afternoon before St. George's Day, 1376, April bloomed in Warwickshire. The young lambs bleated from the pastures beyond the mere, while a hazy gold light turned the sandstone of the battlements to the color of a robin's breast. All Kenilworth Castle, cleansed & garlanded for the festivities, waited for the Duke to come again. Katherine sat on a sunny stone bench in the Inner Court near the old keep . . .

Katherine . . . that's the name of the historical novel the above excerpt is from . . . written by Anya Seton (1916-1990) . . . and published in 1954 . . . Katherine is still read and enjoyed and discussed by many . . . and according to current research, it does appear that this same Katherine is a 16th great-grandma to our Josephine . . . who is a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . .

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In God We Trust

Salmon Portland Chase and an 1864 two-cent piece On this date in our extended family history . . . the 22nd day of April . . . in the year 1864 . . . thanks to the efforts of U.S. Treasury Secretary, Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873) . . . the motto "In God We Trust" is approved for US coinage (Coinage Act of 1864). 

The first coin actually minted to have the "In God We Trust" motto was the 1864 two-penny piece. 

This Salmon P. Chase is a 4th great-grandson of Aquila Chase (1618-1670) and Anne Wheeler (1627-1687) . . . who are 6th great-grandparents of our Phoebe . . . who is a 2nd great-grandma of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mark Twain and Halley's Comet

On this date in our extended family history . . . the 21st day of April . . . in the year 1910 . . . Samuel Langhorne Clemens dies at his home in Connecticut . . . this Samuel, aka Mark Twain, is a 4th cousin to our Josephine . . . who is a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . .

This image of Mark Twain is from the Dave Thomson collection. Click here to read about Dave.
Image from the Dave Thomson collection

An interview with Twain was published in 1881 which was entitled, Mark Twain's Preparations for a Possible Encounter With the Comet . . . and he is often quoted as making the following statement sometime in 1909 . . .

I came in with Halley's Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year (1910), and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don't go out with Halley's Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: "Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together. says that, "The visibility of Halley's Comet at the birth and death of Mark Twain is an exaggeration," and then makes reference to an essay by Louis J. Budd entitled Overbooking Halley's Comet . . . the link they provided is no longer working, but I was able to find the following text at the website . . .

Hagiographers of Mark Twain like to have Halley's Comet streaking across the sky when Samuel Langhome Clemens was born and then again when he died. This conjunction especially impresses people with a weakness for astrology. But Twainians should give that comet a rest (or stifle it with some stock‑phrase that better fits such a fast‑moving object).

Already warned about the pains in his chest, Twain himself helped start the gaping by declaring in 1909—according to A.B. Paine—that "I came in" with Halley's Comet and "I expect to go out with it." He did so only if we arrange the facts loosely.

Crucial to those facts is: what dates the coming and going of that comet? The sun is its hub; as Twain might say, it hardly suspects our earth of being in the universe at all. Astronomers use perihelion as one of the pivotal (no pun) dates of its schedule. That's when its orbit comes closest to the sun.

However, rubberneck fans of the comet date its fly‑bys by its visibility without a telescope. In Twainian circles that usually means, furthermore, visibility from our northern hemisphere.

In 1835 such visibility began in very late September, peaked on 9 October in England, and faded out before the end of that month. (Track "Comet" through the precisely indexed London Times.) An astronomer in New England calculated that visibility would peak there on 16 October. (Scan the New York Herald, available on microfilm, for the low level of interest in the United States.) Perihelion occurred on 15 November, and the next Clemens baby arrived on the 30th.

In 1910 the earliest, dim sighting without telescope was claimed for 29 April. Visibility in New York City—at a commuting distance from Redding, Connecticut—peaked on 18 May. Twain had died on 21 April, the day after perihelion. To book Twain for a round trip by the criterion of the comet's closest approach to the earth, equal opportunity would have to include anybody born in the northern hemisphere up to at least six weeks before or after mid‑October 1835 and dying within the month before or after 18 May 1910. We don't need demographies to suggest that many women and men would have qualified for boarding‑passes. (As for how many when the best telescope was used—sheesh!) Halley's Comet was not Twain's unearthly Air Force One. There's enough that is unique and even uncanny about Twain without our hyping the facts. In sober truth he had—to bowdlerize Twain—a "quadrilateral astronomical incandescent" career.

The reunion of tomorrow . . .

1950 :: Death of Mary Susan Pounders

Grave marker of James M. and Mary Susan Pounders in the Hugh Wilson Cemetery in Tanglewood, Lee County, Texas On this date in our family history . . . the 21st day of April . . . in the year 1950 . . . Mary Susan Pounders dies in Houston, Harris County, Texas . . . this Mary Susan is the mother of Jacob Edmund Forrest Pounders (1902-1957) . . . aka Pa Jake . . . who is the paternal grandpa of the Keeper of this family history blog . . . 

It is said that Mary Susan was born the 30th of September 1873 in Franklin County, Alabama . . . and Isaac Cosby Cain is said to be her father . . . 

However! . . . 

Based on information in her mother's (Sushannah Holland Cain) application for a confederate pension, it was reported that Isaac Cain died in 1863 at Vicksburg . . . more than 10 years before Mary Susan was supposedly born . . . 

  • 1850 Census :: Eight-year-old Susan Holland (Mary Susan's mother) is enumerated with her parents and siblings in Franklin County, Alabama. I have not found Isaac Cain in 1850 -- unless he is the 17-year-old living in Pontotoc County, Mississippi? 
  • 1860 Census :: I find Isaac and Susan (Holland) Cain in 1860 living in Marion County, Alabama.
  • 1870 Census :: I have not yet been able to find Mary Susan's mother on the 1870 Census. As a matter of fact, several members of the Holland family are MIA for this census. I did find a Thomas Cain of the right age -- living in 1870 in Tishomingo County, Mississippi (next door to Franklin County, Alabama) with the head-of-household named James Turner. Is this Susan and Isaac's son?
  • 1880 Census :: On the 1880 Alabama Census Mary Susan appears in Alabama as a 7-year-old (born 1873) living in Franklin County with her 18-year-old brother, Thomas . . . and their widowed mother, Susan Cain, is head-of-household.
  • 1900 Census :: Mary Susan is married and living in Texas with her husband and children. 

It is said that Mary Susan's mother, Sushannah, came to Texas with them when they left Alabama about 1896 . . . but I have not been able to find Sushannah on the 1900 or 1910 or 1920 census records . . . she does appear as Susin Cain on the 1930 census in Lee County, Texas, living with her daughter and her family . . . please do let me know if you have any suggestions or input on this family . . .

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mollie's Rememberings

Mary Annie (Mollie) West Nettles (1852-1939) and her great-granddaughter, Mary Beth (daughter of Miss Ruby), ca. 1938

Thirty-three years ago today . . . on the 19th day of April . . . in the year 1979 . . . a family history article written by Ruby (Nettles) Vance (1910-2003) appeared in The Giddings Times & News in Lee County, Texas . . . the article was written for the occasion of the 14th annual Lexington Homecoming . . . this Miss Ruby was a granddaughter of the subject of the story -- Mollie (West) Nettles (1852-1939) -- and she introduced the story by saying . . .

One afternoon in the summer of 1932 this writer visited her aging grandmother for the purpose of taking notes on some of the Civil War stories she had heard her tell all her life. . . .

This Mollie is a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . . and the entire text of that 1979 article about those rememberings (plus a few notes from me) can be found > HERE < . . . meanwhile . . . later that day in 1932, probably weary from relating her "rememberings," Mollie told her granddaughter that . . .

There were twenty-one families of relatives and friends who finally in 1869 had finalized plans to come to Texas where it was hoped it would be easier to start over. So we made the long trek from northern Mississippi and that in itself is a long tale. This afternoon is about spent and I have chores to do. Come again and I'll tell you of the trip and our early years in Texas.

Miss Ruby later stated that . . .

Regretfully, this writer never did go back, except on briefer visits, to pick up where we left off that day. However, we do remember some of the things she told at times about that trip. . . . My grandmother never knew what it was to have an easy life, but she knew how to make the best of what she had. She told this writer one time, "You take the good and the bad as they come. But if you look at things the right way, the good always comes out ahead."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Begotten & never forgotten

Go to to create your own Wordle similar to this one

I hear the voices of my grandmas
Calling out from a distant past
"Please do not let us be forgot.
Record our stories that we may last."

Tell the children of our wanderings
Let the kinfolk hear the tales
How we braved the new horizons
How we blazed the olden trails.

How we buried too many babies
How we struggled to keep them fed
How we caressed the hands of our loved ones
As they lay dying on their beds.

How we endured many a hardship
With an eye to the future goal
To create a more promising future
And to keep our family whole.

They were as different from each other
As the scraps in a crazy quilt
Yet once the pieces were sewn together
Another generation they had built

I can sense them calling out to me
From the gloaming of my past
"Please do not let us be forgot.
Record our stories that we may last."

Begotten . . .
and may they never be forgotten . . .
Remembering . . . 
Berta Mary Sharp
and her mother, Nellie Lemaire

Elizabeth Marilla Smith
and her mother, Eva May Brackett

Ima Lois Muston
and her mother, Emma Patience Nettles

Jerusha Marilla Barker
and her mother, Jerusha Lakin Hobbs

Josephine Wingfield Davis
and her mother, America James Fears

Mahala Lee Roberts
and her mother, Patsy Gill

Mary Alexandrien Lemaire
and her mother, Elizabeth Waring

Mary Annie West
and her mother, Sarah Mildred Carter

Mary Olive
and her mother, Clementine Jordan
Nancy Virilla Quinn
and her mother, Sushannah

Phoebe Merrill
and her mother, Olive Jane Goodwin

The above family poem was composed by me in response to a challenge posted at Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Poetry and Genealogy . . . and the Wordle (name cloud) was created at . . .

Picking up pawpaws

Picking up pawpaws puttin ‘em in your pocket Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch

Little Zelma D. Nield was born on the 2nd day of April in the year 1910, barely in time to be included on the 1910 census with her parents when they were enumerated two weeks later -- on the 18th day of April -- in Biddeford, Maine. 

On the same day and in the same neighborhood, Thomas W. A. Smith & Eva M. Smith are enumerated as living at 23 Prospect Street in Biddeford. Included in their household is their 5-year-old son, Thomas. Thomas' little sister, Elizabeth -- maternal grandma of the Keeper of this website -- would not arrive until October of 1912. Thomas and Eva are both listed as "florists." 

Ten years later, on the 1920 census, Zelma D. Nield is enumerated on the 9th day of January as 9-year-old Dianthe Z. Nield. Elizabeth M. Smith appears as a 7-year-old living with her parents, her brother Thomas, and her maternal grandpa, Peter Brackett. Elizabeth's father is shown as having no occupation -- he has been in failing health, and is unable to work. 

One month later, on the 12th day of February, little Elizabeth's father "asphyxiated himself with gas at his home . . . His lifeless body was found by his wife, sitting in a large easy chair, with gas escaping from a rubber tube, which was connected with the gas range in the kitchen and held close to his mouth. The end of the rubber tubing had been tied by Mr. Smith on his breast with the end about half an inch from his mouth. The end attached to the gas range had also been tied on, as Mr. Smith, who had made two other attempts to end his life, it is claimed, evidently wanted to make sure he would succeed this time." 

Diantha's mother died not long after, and in the days and weeks and years that followed, Diantha and the slightly younger Elizabeth began to "chum together." One of their pastymes was the seasonal gathering of pawpaws. According to Diantha, that's exactly what they were doing (autumn of 1927 or 1928) when they struck up a conversation with two handsome young men on leave from the Navy -- Win Hooper (from Maine) and Robert Henry (from Texas).

Click > HERE < to read more, including Diantha's written memories of Elizabeth.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

William X, Duke of Aquitaine

On this date in our family history . . . the 9th day of April . . . in the year 1137 . . . Duke / Count William X of Aquitaine dies while on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela . . . on his deathbed, he expresses his wish to see King Louis VI of France as protector of his fifteen-year-old daughter Eleanor . . . and to find her a suitable husband . . . Louis VI accepts this guardianship . . . and marries the heiress of Aquitaine to his own son, Louis VII . . . this William is believed to be a 23rd (et al) great-grandpa (via Eleanor) to our Josephine . . . 

A short course of history Second Series ... 
IV. Greeks and Mahomentans. 
V. History of the Middle Ages ... 
By Havilland Le Mesurier Chepmell:
 "Text not available"

Happy Birthday, Cousin Esther

Esther and the Keeper of this family history blog both descend from Mahala Lee Sharp Hall nee Roberts . . . Vickie from Mahala's 1st marriage . . . and Esther from Mahala's 2nd marriage . . . and today, the 9th day of April, is cousin Esther's birthday . . . in Esther's own words (from another genealogy site), here's a little info about the birthday girl . . .

I was born in the Baptist Memorial Hospital on Lamar Street in Houston, Texas. I grew up in the historic Houston Heights. As a young child, I would go to town on a street car. My father Horace Edwin Hall worked downtown in a large furniture store. My mother had been a teacher before she married my Dad. I have her to thank for always teaching me. She read me a Bible story each night, and I would have to tell the story back to her. From this training, I became a good story teller which has blessed me all these years. My years of growing up were in the depression years. From this background, I learned the value of a dollar which has been another blessing for me. I attended jr. and senior high during World War II. May 1945, I graduated from John H. Reagan. I attended the University of Houston and got a degree in education. I taught school in Houston and married John Biggers in 1950. We had four children and they are all grown with each having many college degrees. I taught school for 34 years mostly here in Lake Jackson . . . first and second grades. I play the piano, sing in the choir, I am a clown, a Sunday School teacher, and member of four genealogical groups -- the DAR, DRT, 1812 and UDC. I have a strong loving faith in my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He keeps me and guides me each day.

Most of what I know about Mahala and all of her kith 'n kin is because of cousin Esther . . . she is the one who introduced me to James Madison Hall (1819-1866) and his Journal . . . and there is a whole passel of us kinfolk who are most grateful for the time and effort she put into her research . . . and her extensive knowledge of our family history . . . and her willingness to share what she worked so hard to find . . .

Hope you're having a wonderful day,
cousin Esther!
Luv ya bunches . . .
. . . 
In loving memory of
Esther Marjorie "Margie" Biggers nee Hall
09 April 1928 ~ 15 October 2015 

Springtime in Appomattox

On this date . . . the 9th day of April . . . in the year 1865 . . . at Appomattox Court House in Virginia . . . Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia to Ulysses S. Grant . . . this General Lee is said to be a 5th cousin 8 times removed to President Obama . . . and a 3rd cousin twice removed to Cole Younger . . . and a 3rd cousin 4 x removed to President Kennedy . . . and he is possibly a 4th cousin twice removed to William Paschal Henry (1832-1912) . . . who is a 2nd great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history blog. Upon Lee’s death five years later, the New York Herald wrote the following obituary . . .

On a quiet autumn morning, in the land which he loved so well and served so faithfully, the spirit of Robert Edward Lee left the clay which it had so much ennobled and traveled out of this world into the great and mysterious land. Here in the North, forgetting that the time was when the sword of Robert Edward Lee was drawn against us -- forgetting and forgiving all the years of bloodshed and agony -- we have long since ceased to look upon him as the Confederate leader, but have claimed him as one of ourselves; have cherished and felt proud of his military genius; have recounted and recorded his triumphs as our own; have extolled his virtue as reflecting upon us -- for Robert Edward Lee was an American, and the great nation which gave him birth would be today unworthy of such a son if she regarded him lightly. . . .

And then, fifty years after Appomattox . . .

The New York Times
April 9, 1915

Fifty years ago today, with the surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, of General Lee to General Grant, the hearts of a great people were cheered by the promise of peace after a struggle of four years. "The Republic," as Henry J. Raymond wrote in an editorial article printed in The New York Time April 11, 1865, "rested again, and upon foundations as eternal as the hills." Few of us can recall the feelings of the people of the North on that day, after a victory that had been postponed for so many weary months, which are so vividly expressed in the article which is reprinted on this page today. In the South, too, the prospect of peace after the unequal struggle was welcome. It is all in the dim past now. There is no North, there is no South We do not recall Appomattox as a triumph of arms, but as the beginning of the complete restoration of that union which shall never again be severed.

Further reading . . .

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Wordless Wednesday :: Easter Sunday ca. 1960

Wordless Wednesday :: Easter 1986

1152 :: Aquitaine Sundial Ring

Aquitaine's Ring
Originally uploaded by

In our family history . . . in the spring of the year 1152 . . . the 15-year marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine to King Louis of France is annulled at Beaugency . . . famous for her beauty and wit, this Eleanor is believed to be a multiple great-grandma to our Josephine . . .

And in the spring of the year 1152, it is said that the 30-year-old Eleanor gave to a 20-year-old Henry Plantagenet (King Henry II) of England, a special "portable" sundial . . . known as an Aquitaine Sundial or Aquitaine Ring . . . supposedly because when he was out hunting (which he frequently did) he tended to forget about scheduled appointments, and was frequently late for their "dates." Apparently the "pocket watch" helped, because negotiations continued between Eleanor and Henry of Anjou . . . and soon Eleanor marries Henry II at Poitiers . . . the story told in "A Lion in Winter" is a part of the tale of this Eleanor and Henry . . .

ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE, queen of France and afterward of England: b. 1122; d. Fontevrault, France, 1 April 1204 . . . married to Louis VII. She was gay, frivolous, a lover of poetry and art . . . accompanied him on the second crusade to the Holy Land in 1147 . . . they were divorced 18 March 1152. A short time afterward she bestowed her hand upon Henry Plantagenet, the future Henry II of England. . . . She bore him many children, but his infidelities and neglect changed her love into hatred. She incited her sons Geoffrey and Richard Cœur de Lion to rebel against their father, was imprisoned in 1174, and remained in confinement until after Henry's death in 1189, when she was released by his successor, Richard I, who placed her at the head of the government on his departure for the Holy Land. She negotiated his marriage with the daughter of the king of Navarre, and went to Germany with his ransom from captivity. She afterward retired to the abbey of Fontevrault and surviving Richard, lived to see him succeeded by one of her other sons, John Lackland, the signer of Magna Charta. She was a favorite personage with the troubadour poets of the day and appears in a very different light in their works from that in which she is represented by French and Norman chroniclers. Consult Adams, "History of England, 1066-1216" (London 1905). Google Books. The Encyclopedia Americana: a library of universal knowledge, Published by Encyclopedia Americana Corp., 1918

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

1775 :: Lucy Fenderson and Thomas Thurston

On this date in our family history . . . the 7th day of April . . . in the year 1775 . . . Lucy Fenderson becomes the bride of Thomas Thurston . . . this Lucy and Thomas are maternal grandparents of William Thurston Merrill (1816-1898) . . . who is a 3rd great-grandpa to the Keeper of this family history blog . . .

THOMAS THURSTON (Abner, Abner, James, Daniel), son of Abner and Martha (Piper) Thurston of Exeter, N.H.; born there Jan. 19, 1752; married, April 7, 1775, LUCY FENDERSON, born Dec. 17, 1751. He died in 1830, and was buried on his farm; she died in 1832. Mr. Thurston purchased a tract of land in Parsonsfield, Me., improved it a little, sold and went to Scarboro, Me., and bought land, on which he lived and died. He built a little house on what is called the "ash swamp road," about two miles from Dunstan Corner, in which his wife lived while he was in the revolutionary war. The wolves were numerous then, and used to make night hideous with their howling. After the war he built the old homestead on the "broad turn road," about the same distance from Dunstan. This house was replaced by another, and within a few years a more modern one still has been built in its place. He was also an itinerant shoemaker, as was the custom in newly settled places in those days. . . . Thurston genealogies By Brown Thurston

1927 :: Peter Brackett

On this date in our family history . . . the 7th day of April . . . in the year 1927 . . . Peter Brackett is laid to rest at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco, Maine . . . his wife, Lizzie, is also listed on their double tombstone . . . and just to the right of the large double marker one can see a smaller marker, commemorating the short life of a Helen Brackett (1896-1906) who is enumerated on the 1900 Census as the 3-year-old "daughter" of a 59-year-old Lizzie and a 62-year-old Peter . . .

Father - Mother
Peter Brackett
Co. B 5 ME Regt. & Co. B 1 ME Vets
Mar. 4, 1833 - Apr. 4, 1927
Lizzie J. his wife
Mar. 20, 1841 - July 25, 1911
Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Helen F.
Dau. of Peter &
Lizzie J. Brackett
Nov 18, 1896
May 31, 1906
Darling, we miss you

Both of the above photos . . . one with snow . . . one without snow . . . were actually taken on the same day . . . in March of 1998 . . .

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Whales of August

On this date in our extended family history . . . the 5th day of April . . . in the year 1908 . . . future actress, Bette Davis, is born in Lowell, Massachusetts . . . Bette is said to be a 23rd great-granddaughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine . . . who is thought to be a 22nd great-grandma of our Josephine (1842-1899) . . . who is definitely a 2nd great-grandma to the Keeper of this family history blog . . .

My favorite Bette Davis movie happens to be one of the last ones she was in -- The Whales of August -- which was filmed on location in Casco Bay off the shore of Portland, Maine . . . the film was shot a few miles down Casco Bay from the site of David Berry's family cottage on Peaks Island, from where, in fact, the characters and story were drawn when Berry wrote the original play that was the basis for this movie . . .

We have photos of my maternal grandma -- Elizabeth Marilla Henry nee Smith (1912-1932) -- on holiday on Peaks Island . . . said Island was once owned by one of our Elizabeth's 8th great-grandpas -- Michael Mitton (c.1617 - c.1661) . . .

Peaks Island
Photos by Roberta

. . . Peak's Island in Casco Bay is just two miles from downtown Portland. It once was owned by Michael Mitton, son-in-law of Portland's first settler, George Cleeve. According to legend, Michael was out alone fishing in his dory when a triton swam up to his boat. Michael tried to fend off the monster with an oar, but the triton grasped hold of the side of the dory. Afraid that the triton could capsize the little boat, Michael seized a hatchet and, with one mighty blow, severed both hands of this son of Poseidon. To his horror, Michael Mitton saw that the monster's hands remained fastened to his boat. He could not pry them loose. It was then that Mike heard the haunting sound of the triton's conch, and at the sound, the severed hands gave one mighty effort at rocking his boat, finally flipping him into the water and swamping the dory. Michael drowned that day. . . . from Haunted Maine by Charles A. Stansfield, Jr.

Truth or fiction?!? 

The ancestry part . . . believed to be true . . . 

The death scene . . . 

Saturday, April 04, 2009

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