Category Archives: History

Sunday’s Salute #35 ~ John Ennis Jr. ~ Revolutionary War

John Ennis Jr, my 5th Great Grandfather, was born in 1736 in Albemarle County, Virginia. His father, John Ennis Sr. emigrated from Athlone, Westmeath County, Ireland, when he was 6 years old arriving in Boston in 1716. They settled in Virginia. John Jr married Mary Ann Whitlock (1740-1827) in 1763 in Albemarle County. They had 5 children, 2 sons, and 3 daughters. John was a man of prominence in Virginia having inherited a sizable estate from his parents.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, John mustered in as a Private to the 4th Virginia Regiment on December 28, 1775, at the Suffolk County Courthouse in Virginia. He served in this regiment until 1783. He participated in 6 major battles over that time, with the last one being the Siege of Charleston in North Carolina.

The siege of Charleston was a major engagement and major British victory, fought between March 29 to May 12, 1780, during the American Revolutionary War. The British, following the collapse of their northern strategy in late 1777, and their withdrawal from Philadelphia in 1778, shifted their focus to the American Southern Colonies.

After approximately six weeks of siege, Major General Benjamin Lincoln, commanding the Charleston garrison, surrendered his forces to the British. It was one of the worst American defeats of the war. The British captured some 5,266 prisoners, 311 artillery pieces, 9,178 artillery rounds, 5,916 muskets, 33,000 rounds of ammunition, 15 Regimental colors, 49 ships and 120 boats, plus 376 barrels of flour, and a large storehouse of rum, rice and indigo. Following the surrender, the captured soldiers were brought to a powder storehouse. A Hessian officer warned that some of the guns might still be loaded, but he was ignored. One prematurely fired, detonating 180 barrels of powder, further discharging 5,000 muskets in the storehouse. The accident killed approximately 200 people and destroyed six houses. The prisoners of the siege were diverted to multiple locations, including prison shops, the old barracks where the College of Charleston is today, and the Old Exchange and Provost “Dungeon”. Prison hulks awaited the majority of the 2,571 Continental prisoners, while parole was granted to the militia and civilians who promised not to take up arms. This ended the power of an American army in the South.

John and a few of his fellow soldiers were able to escape. They had been starved and treated horribly however, when they returned home he rejoined the fight. He mustered out on January 1, 1783.

Around 1805, John and most of his grown children trekked to Warren County, Kentucky from Amherst County, Virginia. There they bought several adjoining properties and began farming. John died in Warren County on January 15, 1829, at the age of 89.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, John Ennis Jr, Kentucky, Military Service, Revolutionary War, Sunday Salute, Uncategorized, Virginia

Hometown Tuesday ~ 1816 ~ East Coast of the United States

This Hometown Tuesday blog will be a little different. Have you ever wondered why your ancestor left their home along the east Coast and moved inward into the Midwest? I have many who were farmers who just seemed, for no reason, to just pack up their families and make the long trek to western Tennessee or into Missouri. I always thought they did this because they were adventurous. Then I discovered an interesting article. It was too long to post, so I will recap it.
In the spring and summer of 1816, a persistent “dry fog” was covering parts of the eastern United States. The fog reddened and dimmed the sunlight. Nothing, not even rain or wind dispersed the “fog”. It has been characterized as a “stratospheric sulfate aerosol veil”.
The weather was not in itself a difficult for those who were used to long winters. The real problem was the weather’s effect on crops and as a result, on the supply of food and firewood. At higher elevations, where farming was a problem even in good years, the cooler climate was horrible for agriculture. The cause of all this bad weather was the eruption on Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa, Indonesia, between April 5-15, 1815. The eruption had a volcanic explosivity index (VEI) ranking of 7. It was the world’s largest since the eruption of Paektu Mountain in 946 AD. In May 1816, frost killed off most crops in the higher elevations of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as upstate New York.
On June 6, snow fell in Albany, New York, and Dennysville, Maine. In Cape May, New Jersey, frost was reported five nights in a row in late June, causing extensive crop damage. New England also experienced major consequences from the eruption of Tambora. Though fruits and vegetable crops survived, corn was reported to have ripened so poorly that no more than a quarter of it was usable for food. This moldy and unripe harvest wasn’t even fit to feed the animals. The crop failures that ran the length of the Eastern seaboard caused the price of many staples to rise sharply.

In July and August, lake and river ice was found as far south as northwestern Pennsylvania. Frost had extended as far south as Virginia on August 20 and 21. Rapid, dramatic temperature swings were common, with temperatures sometimes going from normal or above-normal summer temperatures as high as 95 °F to near-freezing within hours.
A Norfolk, Virginia newspaper reported:
“It is now the middle of July, and we have not yet had what could properly be called summer. Easterly winds have prevailed for nearly three months past … the sun during that time has generally been obscured and the sky overcast with clouds; the air has been damp and uncomfortable, and frequently so chilling as to render the fireside a desirable retreat.”
Regional farmers were able to bring some crops to maturity, but corn and other grain prices rose dramatically. The price of oats, for example, rose from 12¢ per bushel in 1815, which is equal to $1.68 today to 92¢ per bushel in 1816 which would be $13.86 today. There was also no transportation network established in this area so it was impossible to bring any crops that had survived in other areas to this region.
High levels of tephra, which are ash particles that get ejected by a volcanic eruption, caused the atmosphere to have a haze hang over the sky for a few years after the eruption. It continued to lessen the ability of the sun to shine through this haze. With no guarantee that this disaster would quickly come to an end, thousands of people migrated west over the Appalachian Mountains into other States and/or territories. My ancestors gave up their current homes to venture out and find a new Hometown where they could prosper.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, East Coast, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, History, Home, Home Town Tuesday, Hometown Tuesday, Missouri, Tennessee, The Year Without a Summer, Uncategorized

On The Map ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #38

A couple of months ago as I was researching an ancestor for the 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks prompt, I discovered that I may be related to one of my favorite explorers. So, I went to work researching this new possible connection. You can imagine my excitement when I found that I was indeed related to him. He definitely put a lot of America on the map!
Meriwether Lewis, my 3rd cousin 7 times removed, was born on August 18, 1774, in Albemarle County, Virginia. At an early age his family moved to Georgia. He had no formal education until he was 13 years of age, but during his time in Georgia he enhanced his skills as a hunter and outdoors man. He would often venture out in the middle of the night in the dead of winter with only his dog to go hunting. Even at an early age, he was interested in natural history, which would develop into a lifelong passion. His mother taught him how to gather wild herbs for medicinal purposes.
In 1801, at the age of 27, Thomas Jefferson recruited Lewis as his Secretary, and he resided in the presidential mansion, and frequently conversed with various prominent figures in politics, the arts and other circles. He soon became involved in the planning of the Corps of Discovery expedition across the Louisiana Purchase.
In 1803 Congress appropriated funds for the Expedition, and Lewis was commissioned its leader. With Jefferson’s consent, Lewis offered the post of co-captain of the expedition to William Clark. The expedition took almost three years and solidified the United States’ claims to land across the continent, and acquainted the world with new species, new people and new territory.
They returned home with an immense amount of information about the region as well as numerous plant and animal specimens. Upon the Corps’ successful return, Jefferson appointed Lewis governor of the Louisiana Territory and granted him a reward of 1500 acres.
Because of this expedition, the territory beginning in my home town of Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri going Northwest through the Dakota’s, Montana, and into Oregon was mapped for future reference. Meriwether Lewis died on October 11,1809, at the Grinder House , near Nashville, Tennessee. At the age of 35, it was determined that he had committed suicide.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under #52ancestors, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Lewis and CLark, Meriwether Lewis, On the Map, Tennessee, Uncategorized, Virginia

Hometown Tuesday ~ Charlestown, West Virginia

In 1780 Charles Washington, George Washington’s youngest brother, left his home in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and moved to the Lower Shenandoah Valley. Charles had inherited land in what was then Berkeley County, Virginia, from his older half-brother Lawrence. Upon arrival he began construction of his home, Happy Retreat, located on a rise overlooking Evitts Marsh. This area is surrounded by the rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
In 1786 Charles petitioned the Virginia General Assembly for permission to incorporate a town. The petition was granted and Charlestown, Virginia was founded. In addition to naming the corporation for himself, Charles memorialized the Washington family by the naming of the town’s streets. The main street, running east to west is named Washington Street. Cross streets are named for family members with the Town Square named in honor of his brother George, the streets to the east named for his brother Samuel and wife Mildred, and the streets to the west named for himself and his brother Lawrence. In a show of patriotism the streets parallel to Washington are named Congress and Liberty.
At the time of Charles’ death in September 1799, Charlestown was still located in Berkeley County. In his will, Charles indicated that Berkeley County should be divided and Charlestown named the county seat of a new county. He desired that the town lots on the Town Square, formed by George and Washington Streets, be used for public buildings.
Jefferson County was formed from Berkeley in 1801 and Charlestown became the new county seat. As the executor of his father’s estate, Samuel Washington acceded to his father’s wishes and deeded the Town Square to be used for public buildings.

In 1803 the Jefferson County Courthouse became the first public building to occupy the Town Square. This smaller brick structure was replaced by a larger courthouse in 1836. The 1836 courthouse was the setting for the trials of abolitionist John Brown and six of his followers. In October 1863, during the Civil War, the courthouse was heavily damaged by artillery fire rendering it unusable.
The Jefferson County jail was the second public building to occupy the Town Square. Completed in 1806, perhaps its most famous occupants were abolitionist John Brown and six of his raiders. The seven men were housed in the Jefferson County jail from the time of their capture in October 1859 until they were executed.

My 6th Great Grandfather John Strother, was born on November 18, 1782, in Charlestown, Virginia. He fought in the War of 1812 as a private in Captain Jesse Naples regiment of the Virginia Militia. On November 1, 1814, he married Elizabeth Hunter Pendleton. They had 8 children with 5 dying in childhood. John was a farmer. He died in Charlestown on January 16, 1852, at the age of 79.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Charlestown, Virginia, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Home, Home Town Tuesday, Hometown Tuesday, John Strother, Uncategorized, Virginia, War of 1812

Freaky Friday’s ~ My Other Outlaw Cousin

In a previous blog I wrote about my outlaw cousin, John Wesley Hardin. Last week while researching an indirect line of my Hardin family, I discovered another cousin who became an outlaw.
Joseph “Joe” Hardin Clements, my 2nd cousin 3 times removed, was born December 1, 1849, in Gonzalez, Texas. He was named for Colonel Joseph Hardin (1734-1801), great grandfather of John Wesley Hardin. Hardin’s father’s sister, Martha (1817-1867) married Emmanuel Clements, and the Hardin and Clements cousins were close.
Joe enlisted in Company H of the 12th Texas Cavalry, (Parson’s Mounted Volunteers, Fourth Dragoons) CSA and served from 1861 to 1863. He was captured and sent to the Military Prison in Virginia, where he was exchanged back to the Confederacy. There is no further record for him after 1863. After the Civil War, he came back to Gonzales County, Texas where he married Sarah Jane Tennille (1856-1934) on August 5, 1870. They had one son, and one daughter. The family then moved to the Kimble County, Texas area. The marriage and the move did not deter Joe from his outlaw ways.
Little is known about Joe’s early years, but in 1871, he and his brothers Emmanuel and John “Gip” convinced John Wesley to accompany them on a cattle drive to Abilene, KS. Hardin admits to killing several men on that drive, and Emmanuel killed two of the Clements’ cowboys, for which he was arrested. Hardin had become acquainted with Wild Bill Hickok in Abilene, Texas, and he made arrangements with Wild Bill to let Emmanuel escape. John Wesley and Emmanuel often rode together, piling up indictments wherever they appeared. One or more of the other Clements boys occasionally joined the “party,” so much so that the individual activities are not clear. Joe seemed to have been part of the general mayhem perpetrated by the Clements clan for the next 25 years.
The Clement/Hardin cousins all fought on the Taylor side of the famed Taylor-Sutton feud. The Sutton–Taylor feud began as a county law enforcement issue between relatives of Texas Ranger, Creed Taylor, and a local law enforcement officer, William Sutton, in DeWitt County, Texas. The feud cost at least 35 lives and eventually included the outlaws John Wesley Hardin and Joseph Hardin Clements as two of its participants. It started in March 1868, not reaching its conclusion until the Texas Rangers put a stop to the fighting in December 1876.
In 1899, he moved to Hope, south of Roswell, New Mexico. By the 1920s he was a successful sheep rancher. He owned the Penasco River Ranch that sits between Hope, NM and Mayhill, NM, From there, he and his family moved to New Mexico, settling in the Lincoln and Chaves County areas where he became a prominent rancher. Joseph wanted his ranch to sit in Chaves County because that is where he did his business. Joe died on March 16, 1927, in Roswell, at the age of 77.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Freaky, Freaky Friday's, Genealogy, Hardin Family, History, Outlaw, Texas, Uncategorized

Here’s Your Sign #15 ~ Corotoman

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

John Carter obtained Patents for a large Grant here before 1654. But the place is better known as the home of his son, Robert “King” Carter. In April 1814, The British raiding in the Chesapeake region, pillaged the Plantation.

John Carter is my 10th Great Grandfather. He was born on June 7, 1613, in Edmonton, Middlesex, England. He came to the British Colonies aboard the ship “Safety” in 1635, arriving in Virginia. He married Sarah Ludlow in 1662, and they had one son. John served seven terms in the House of Burgess and also on the Governor’s Council. He patented 6,160 acres of land in Lancaster County Virginia and here he established Corotoman Plantation. He then served as Justice in the county and as Vestryman at the Christ Church Parish from 1661-1669. He was the principal builder and overseer of the first Christ Church which was completed six months after his death on January 10, 1669, at the age of 55.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Hometown Tuesday ~ Hopewell, Fredrick County, Virginia

City Point, the oldest part of Hopewell, was founded in 1613 by Sir Thomas Dale. City Point’s location on a bluff overlooking the James and Appomattox Rivers in Virginia, has been an important factor in Hopewell’s history for almost four centuries.The City of Hopewell had about 119 settlers by 1700. Their main agriculture crop was tobacco which was shipped back to England.
Hopewell Friends Meeting was named “Opeckan”, after nearby Opequon Creek, when it was set off from the Concord Pennsylvania Quarterly Meeting in 1734. It is the oldest Quaker meeting in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The original group of settlers came from the Monocacy valley in Frederick County, Maryland. Initially, this meeting was a member of the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting. At that time, the settlement included about 100 families. Initially, a log meeting house was built on lands originally granted by Lt. Gov. William Gooch of Virginia to two Ulster Scots with roots in Northern Ireland, a Quaker named Alexander Ross (in 1730) and Morgan Bryan (in 1732).
The government would issue grants and patents over the following two years to the 100 families which Bryan and Ross believed they could attract. Some families arrived before 1732, but the project failed to meet the 2-year deadline, and grants were not issued until November 1735. Prominent London Quaker John Fothergill (1712-1780) visited this meeting in 1736. In 1757, the 1734 meeting house burned. In addition to losing its place of worship, the congregation also almost lost all its early records in a 1759 house fire.
Richard Harrold, my 7th Great Grandfather, was born on August 14, 1680, in Barwell, Leicestershire, England and came to America from London in 1681 on the ship Henry and Ann with his parents. He settled in Pennsylvania. He married Mary Beals (1692-1740) in 1710, in the Concord Monthly Friends Meeting in Chester County, PA. In 1716, Richard and Mary removed to the Hopewell Friends Meeting in Fredrick County, Virginia. In 1711, their daughter Rebecca was born and their son William was born in 1719. Richard died in 1730, at the age of 50.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Colonial Virginia, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Home, Home Town Tuesday, Hometown Tuesday, Quakers, Richard Harrold, Uncategorized, Virginia

Sunday’s Salute ~ William Owen Medlin ~ Civil War Prisoner

William Owen Medlin, my 1st cousin 4 times removed, was born in Cole County, Missouri on August 31, 1838. He was the 6th of 15 children born to Charles Simpson Medlin (1807-1864) and Matilda A. Allen (1812-1863). The family moved to Denton County Texas in 1847. William grew up on the family farm.
On February 18, 1862, at the age of 24, William enlisted in the Confederate Army for a term of twelve months as a private. He mustered in on March 15, 1862, with Captain Felix McKittrick’s Company. He presented himself for service riding a horse worth one hundred twenty-five dollars and with equipment worth twenty-five dollars. This company eventually became Company G, 18th Texas Cavalry, and was sometimes known as Darnell’s Texas Cavalry. With most of his regiment he was captured at the fall of Fort Hindman, at Arkansas Post, Arkansas on January 11, 1863.
He was imprisoned at Camp Douglas, Illinois by February 8, 1863. He remained there until he was paroled on April 2, 1863, and sent to City Point, Virginia for a prisoner exchange. He arrived there on April 10, 1863. Camp Douglas has been called one of the worse and most savage prisoner of war camps during the Civil War. Over 6000 Southern Soldiers died here in the span of 3 years.
After being duly exchanged, he rejoined his regiment and was again captured near Atlanta, Georgia on July 22, 1864. Two days later began his trip north as a prisoner toward Louisville, Kentucky, via Nashville, Tennessee. He arrived at Louisville, Kentucky on July 30, and on that same day was forwarded to Camp Chase, Ohio. He arrived at the Camp on August 1. He remained at Camp Chase until he was transferred to City Point, Virginia on March 2, 1865, for another prisoner exchange.
After he returned home from the War, William married Amanda Elizabeth White (1844-1932) on July 20, 1865. Amanda was a daughter of German native and Mexican War veteran John White and his wife, Nancy Jane Gibson. William and Amanda had 11 children, 4 sons and 8 daughters. They acquired a large plot of land and began to farm. It was successful enough that by 1880 that they employed 4 farm hands to help with their farm.
In 1898 the surviving soldiers from McKittrick’s Company held a reunion in Dallas, Texas. From left to right are (first row) Capt. R. H. Hopkins, Lt. W. B. Brown, Pvt. A. Williams, and Pvt. Spencer Graham; (second row) Pvt. John Marlin, Pvt. William Owen Medlin, and Pvt. Boone Daugherty. Each man wore two ribbons. One says “Pioneers of Denton County” and the other has the abbreviation U.C.V. (United Confederate Veterans) the organization that hosted the reunion they attended and it appears the word Reunion is on the ribbon.

William died on February 28, 1900, on his farm in Elizabethtown, Denton County, Texas at the age of 62.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Civil War, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Military Service, Sunday Salute, Texas, Uncategorized

Here’s Your Sign #14 ~ Chippokes Plantation

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

 

Capt William Powell Sign

 

Captain William Powell, my 9th Great Grandfather, was born in 1577, in Wales. He was described as a gentleman and he arrived in America on the Third Supply mission of nine ships, which brought additional settlers and some supplies to the surviving colonists at Jamestown Virginia in 1609. Deputy Governor Samuel Argall appointed William Powell as Captain, responsible for the Jamestown defenses and its blockhouses, and further appointed him lieutenant governor in 1617. Powell was a member of the first Virginia House of Burgesses in 1619, representing James City County, Virginia. Powell lived on the “Surry side” of James City County, on the south side of the James River from Jamestown, Virginia.

William Powell was killed leading a party of militia against the Indians. The militias were seeking revenge for the March 22, 1622, massacre. Captain William Powell, as he is identified in the list of Burgesses, may have died in late 1622 or possibly in January 1623.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Captain William Powell, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Here's Your Sign, History, Jamestown Colony, Uncategorized, Virginia

Here’s Your Sign #13 ~ Old Deerfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

 

Sarah Allen
Edward Allen Jr, my 8th Great Uncle, was born May 1, 1663, in Ipswich, Massachusetts. He was the 3rd of 13 children born to Edward Allen Sr. (1630-1696) and Sarah Kimball (1635-1690). Edward Jr married Mercy Painter (1664-1740) on November 24, 1683. In 1686 he moved his family to Suffield, Connecticut with his parents and several siblings. In 1686 he was granted 40 acres of land on the Green River in Deerfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony. He moved here along with 6 of his siblings. He became the town clerk between 1704 and 1712 and he was the moderator of the town meetings twice between 1727 and 1731. He was also the selectman eight times between 1694 and 1716. Edward and Mercy had 9 children, 3 sons, and 6 daughters. He died February 10, 1740, in Deerfield, at the age of 77. During the attacks from the French and Indians in 1704, Edward’s oldest brother John (1659-1704) and his wife Elizabeth Pritchard (1660-1704) were among the 47 that were killed.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Deerfield, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Edward Allen Jr, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Here's Your Sign, History, Massachuettes, Uncategorized