Category Archives: Home

This Old House #4 ~ Captain Robert Cleveland

Once again I was searching through my family trees and I noticed that there were quite a few photos of the homes that my ancestors had lived in. Some of them were built way back in the early 1600s. They varied in size, style, and construction material. They are all as equally unique as each of my ancestors!


Original House

Restored House

Robert Cleveland was born on January 8, 1744, on his fathers Plantation in Orange County, Virginia. He, along with several of his siblings migrated to western North Carolina sometime around 1769 when he was 25 years old. He settled near the Yadkin River on a tract of land that had been granted to him. About 1779, Robert Cleveland built his house on the Parsonville Road in western Wilkes County. Here he farmed and made whiskey. He had 13 children by his first wife, Alice ‘Aley’ Mathis. He died April 26, 1812. Hundreds of descendants have visited the house of their ancestors. For many years the house stood vacant, slowly decaying, a refuge for an occasional stray animal. In 1987, the house was purchased by Old Wilkes, taken apart and brought downtown to Wilkesboro, where the task of reassembling began. The original logs were used with only a few having to be replaced, and the mountain rocks that mad the chimneys were washed, stacked and reused in the two large chimneys and fireplaces. All the original beams are exposed; however, the floors and rafters had to be replaced. The rafters were cut from the Cleveland land and are held together with wooden pegs, which was the way it was originally constructed. It is believed to be the oldest house in Wilkes County.

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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This Old House ~ Edward Morgan 1660-1736

Once again I was searching through my family trees and I noticed that there were quite a few photos of the homes that my ancestors had lived in. Some of them were built way back in the early 1600s. They varied in size, style, and construction material. They are all as equally unique as each of my ancestors!

The land upon which the Morgan Log House stands in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, was deeded to the Commissioners of William Penn. It was granted as part of a 600 acre patent to a merchant named Griffith Jones on February 12, 1702. Six year later, on February 26, 1708, a Welshman named Edward Morgan, my 8th Great Grandfather, purchased 309 acres of land from Mr. Jones. In this transaction an existing “dwelling house” is recorded. Edward was a tailor by trade and was advanced in age. On August 23, 1723, Edward Morgan deeded 104 acres to his son John Morgan, my 7th Great Grandfather. This 104 acre tract included the land that contained the house.

This 1695 medieval, 2 1/2-story log house, the only one of its kind still surviving in America, was built by grandparents of Daniel Boone, the frontiersman, and forebears of General Daniel Morgan famed Revolutionary War “raider.”

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 ~ Roxbury, Suffolk County, Massachusetts

The early settlers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony established a series of seven villages in 1630. Roxbury was located about three miles south of Boston, which at the time was a peninsula, and was connected to the mainland by a narrow neck of land, “Roxbury Neck”. This led to Roxbury becoming an important town as all land traffic to Boston had to pass through it. The town was home to a number of early leaders of the colony, including colonial governors Thomas Dudley, William Shirley, and Increase Sumner. The Shirley-Eustis House, located in Roxbury remains as one of only four remaining Royal Colonial Governor’s mansions in the United States.


Shirley-Eustis House

The settlers of Roxbury originally made up the congregation of the First Church Roxbury, established in 1630. The congregation had no time to raise a meeting house the first winter and so met with the neighboring congregation in Dorchester. The first meeting house was built in 1632, and the fifth meeting house is still standing and it is the oldest such wood-frame building in Boston. In the 1600s Roxbury held many of the resources that the Colonists prized: potentially suitable land for farming, timber, and a brook (source of water and water power), and stone for building. That particular stone exists only in the Boston basin; it is visible on stony outcroppings and used in buildings such as the Warren House, and it proved to be a valuable asset to the community that led to early prosperity. The village of Roxbury was originally called “Rocksberry” for the rocks in its soil that made early farming a challenge.


First Church Roxbury

The Roxbury congregation, still in existence as a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, lays claim to several things of note in American history:

*Establishment of the first church school in the British colonies.
*The founding (along with 5 other local congregations, i.e. Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown and Dorchester) of Harvard College.
*The first book published in the British Colonies (1640).
*The first Bible published in the British Colonies (1663). It was a translation into the Massachusett language by the congregation’s minister and teaching elder, John Eliot who was known as “The Apostle to the Indians”.
*First Church Roxbury was the starting point for William Dawes’ “Midnight Ride”, April 18, 1775. He went off in a different direction than Paul Revere to warn Lexington and Concord of the British raids.

James Morgan Jr, my 8th great-grandfather, was born in Roxbury on March 3, 1644. He was the second of six children born to James Morgan Sr (1607-1685) and Margery Hill (1611-1690). He lived in Roxbury until about 1665 when he was 21 years old. He then moved to Groton, New London, Connecticut. Here he married Mary Vine (1641-1689) in November 1666. They had 6 children, 2 sons, and 4 daughters.

James was a very prosperous farmer, and he was chosen as Captain of the first “train band” in 1692, under an order of the Governor and Council, authorizing a military company to be formed there. He continued as the commander of the “dragoon” force of New London County, under a special commission from the General Court.

He died on December 8, 1711, in Groton at the age of 67.

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 ~ Scituate, Plymouth County, Massachusetts

Sailing up from Plymouth, shortly after it was settled, came the Men of Kent. They discovered this harbor and realized its future possibilities of farming and trade. The first plantations of “Satuit” were laid out by the Men of Kent before 1623 on Third Cliff and here the first windmills merged with the soft sounds of the breezes which turned their great sails.

The name Scituate is derived from an Indian word which the early settlers understood as “Satuit”, which means “Cold Brook”, and referred to the small stream flowing into the harbor. In some part of the years 1627 or 1628 a group from Plymouth increased the population of this area by bringing new arrivals from the County of Kent in England, and they formed the first permanent settlement. They laid out their village a mile or so back from the coast behind one of the cliffs, established a main street, which they named Kent Street, and assigned spaces on this street to the various householders forming the Company. They were of course under the jurisdiction of the General Court at Plymouth, and it was not until 1636 when the population had increased that permission was given to elect certain officers and to some extent carry on their own affairs. They referred to this act as the incorporation of the Town, and its boundaries were established at this time.

No other part of our country was more difficult to clear for planting than this dense New England jungle with its horse briers, elderberry, sumac and other dense undergrowth throughout which is strewed with granite rocks and stones. To clear the undergrowth, fell the trees and clear land of rocks and stumps would have been an unpleasant task, and without horses and oxen would have been almost impossible. But meantime, horses, oxen and cows had to be fed, and it was the marshlands that, in the interim, produced this feed. The hay of the marshlands of Scituate harbor and its North River was its fundamental economic factor. Corn was the only major crop grown in the area, but beans, pumpkins, rye and squash were also grown in limited quantities. The settlers learned how to grow the crops thanks to the Wampanoag Indians who lived in the area.

The Men of Kent Cemetery is a historic cemetery on Meetinghouse Lane in Scituate. The cemetery dates from the earliest days of of the settlement, estimated to have been established in 1628. It is the town’s oldest cemetery, containing the graves of some of its original settlers. The 0.75 acres cemetery is also the site where the town’s first meeting house was built in 1636.

The Williams-Barker House, which still remains near the harbor, was built in 1634 making it is one of the oldest buildings in Massachusetts. The house is believed to have served as a garrison during King Philip’s War when it was owned by Captain John Williams and the walls were reinforced with bricks. The thick wooden walls and beams were “once pierced for portholes.” The Williams and Barker families occupied the house for seven generations.

John Otis Sr, my 9th Great Grandfather, was born in 1581 in Barnstaple, Devon County, England. He married Margaret (unknown) in 1603. They had 9 children, 3 sons, and 6 daughters. In 1631, John and his family left England for the Plymouth Colony and arrived in Hingham, Plymouth Colony aboard the Ambrose. They quickly made their way to Scituate. During the division of lands in that town, a lot of 5 acres were granted to John and it bears the date, June 1, 1631. It was located in the meadow called the Home Meadow next to the cove. Here he built his home on the side of a hill.

John took the oath and was made a freeman of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay on March 3, 1635. On March 15, 1646, his house was burned to the ground, but it was soon rebuilt, and he continued to live here until his death. His wife, Margaret died on June 28, 1653. John married a widow by the name of Elizabeth Whitman Stream that same year. He died on May 31, 1657, in Scituate, at the age of 76. He was buried in “The Men of Kent” Cemetery just outside the town limit, however there is no headstone remaining.

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 ~ 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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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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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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Hometown Tuesday ~ Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

hometown tuesdayLancaster is one of the oldest inland cities in the United States. It is 71 miles west of Philadelphia and is snuggled along the north and west by the mighty Susquehanna River. German immigrants, known as Pennsylvania Dutch, were the first to settle in the area in 1709. At that time it was known as “Hickory Town”. The Honorable James Hamilton laid it out in building lots and out lots, and on May 10, 1729, it became the county seat. John Wright, a prominent citizen, gave it the name “Lancaster” after Lancaster, England where he formerly lived. The city is known as the “Red Rose City” due to its link to the one in England. Lancaster became a borough in 1742.

Lancaster was one of seventeen original townships in Lancaster County. It was the smallest of the townships with its boundaries defined by the Conestoga River, Manor Township, the Little Conestoga Creek, (East) Hempfield Township, and Manheim Township. A two-mile square was later cut out of the northern part of Lancaster Township to create the county seat and Lancaster City. Early settlers started moving to the area in 1717 following the “new surveys.” With the establishment of the county seat came an influx of merchants, physicians, and lawyers and the Township’s population grew to approximately 200 people. The development of the Township was strongly influenced by the growth of Lancaster City.

history-of-lancaster-county-000aBetween 1730 and 1742 the major tracts of land were almost all laid out in residential lots, each with their own street patterns. In 1744, Lancaster served as the meeting place of the treaty-making sessions among the Six Nations of Indians and the colonies of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Visitors to the area were greatly impressed by the sophistication of this town in the wilderness. By 1760 Lancaster had become a borough of major importance in colonial America, economically, politically, and socially. A large number of skilled artisans and mechanics moved to the area, who, coupled with established industries and experienced merchants, thrust Lancaster into the role of making and supplying goods for the French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, and the subsequent westward expansion.

The area that became Lancaster County was part of William Penn’s Bishop Hans Herr1681 charter. John Kennerly received the first recorded deed from Penn in 1691. Although Matthias Kreider was said to have been in the area as early as 1691, there is no evidence that any Europeans settled in Lancaster County before 1710. The oldest surviving dwelling of European settlers in the county is that of Mennonite Bishop Hans Herr, built in 1719.

Sarah Dyer, my 5th Great Grandmother, was born in Lancaster, Sarah DyerPennsylvania on June 1, 1716. She is the only proven child of John Dyer (1687-1761) and Hannah Green (1701-1780). She married George Hayes (1714-1747) on June 1, 1730, when she was 14 years old and George was 16. They had 6 children, 4 sons, and 2 daughters. I descend from two of their children, Thomas (1740-1829) and Molly (1742-1829). The family moved to Virginia sometime before 1742. Her husband died in 1747, leaving Sarah to raise the children, ranging in age between 3 and 13 years old, by herself. She passed away on June 1, 1800, at the age of 84.

 

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 ~ Glassy Mountain, Greenville County, South Carolina

hometown tuesdayGlassy Mountain, located in Greenville County at the edge of the Blue Ridge mountains. It has an elevation of 2760 feet above sea level. It got the name from the water that flows down the large granite face of the mountain that often freezes. The icy rock face reflects the sunlight as if it were made of glass. Glassy Mountain is considered the “heart” of the Dark Corner of Greenville County. The mountainous region, originally populated by Cherokee Indians, was and is home to an independent and hardy collection of people.

Thousands of years ago, this was the domain of the Cherokees. As firstGlassy mtn river white hunters, then traders, and later settlers entered the area, interactions occurred between the two peoples. What began as mutually beneficial trade led to confrontations as the white people wanted more and more land and the Indians were willing to give up less and less of it.

Glassy MountainAs late as 1776, the Cherokees controlled most of the South Carolina Piedmont as a tribal hunting ground. But in the Treaty of DeWitt’s Corner that year, they ceded all but the northernmost parts of Oconee, Pickens, Anderson, and Greenville counties. The whites immediately moved into the newly gained territory and built fortifications. They erected a blockhouse near the modern town of Tryon, N.C., and built forts near the modern towns of Gowensville (Fort Gowens) and Duncan and Landrum (Fort Prince). These fortifications stood on the Cherokee boundary and approximated what is now the dividing line between the two counties.

After the Americans won their independence and established a government, they began to emphasize internal improvements. By 1820, the state of South Carolina had begun construction on a toll road from Charleston, S.C., to Asheville, N.C. The plan included a magnificently designed, stone-arched bridge, called the Poinsett Bridge, in the heart of the Dark Corner. The bridge still stands today, a short distance from Highway 414, although it is no longer used for traffic.
In the early 1830s, however, the attention of the people of South signCarolina was not on scenic parks. The Andrew Jackson administration imposed a higher tariff that was especially harmful to the primarily agricultural South. South Carolinian’s, led by Jackson’s own vice president, John C. Calhoun, led the opposition to the tariff. Despite those efforts, the tariff passed Congress and Jackson signed it into law. But the South Carolina legislature voted to nullify the law, essentially declaring that it did not apply in South Carolina.

Not everyone in South Carolina, however, favored nullification. Opposition to it was strong in the Upstate, especially in northern Greenville County. A government official sought to convince the people of the folly of opposing nullification. Standing in a wagon so that all could see and hear him, he waxed eloquent on the righteousness of standing against the national government on the issue. At some point in his speech, he hit a raw nerve, and some of his listeners overturned the wagon and spilled him unceremoniously in the dirt. Forced to end his speech, he dusted himself off, declaring that “the light of nullification will never come to this dark corner of the state.”

greenville-county-dark-corner-mapThe notoriety of the Dark Corner only increased during the Civil War. The residents of the area were divided over slavery; therefore, a constant struggle raged between Unionists and Confederates. The whole southern Appalachian range, including the Glassy Mountain area, became a haven for deserters and draft dodgers of both the Union and the Confederacy. It also once again became bloody ground as soldiers from both sides sought to capture the deserters, draft the dodgers, and punish their abettors. As enforcement of conscription laws tightened, resistance to them increased proportionally. And gangs of fugitives preyed upon the residents of the land for survival. In many instances, long-standing feuds were settled behind the convenient guise of civil war. In some instances, animosities continued beyond the war itself.

The area was also populated by fiercely independent Irish and Scottish immigrants who took a dim view of authority. Many grumbled about rich men buying their way out of the service. Many men joined the battle not for any political point of view, but because of a desire to defend their homes. One of the common expressions among the common soldiers was ‘rich man’s war, poor man’s fight.’ There was some bitterness in the fact that ordinary people were dragged into this, not because of any feeling about state’s rights or that they were defending anything except … defending their homes.

During the war and the economically sparse times of Reconstruction, stillthe mountain farmers had a hard time making a living. No matter how efficiently they produced corn and other grains, they could not survive on what little cash that crop produced. Corn sold for only about 50 cents a bushel. Farmers discovered, however, that if they used the grains to make alcohol—moonshine—they could make much more cash. A bushel of corn yielded about two and a half gallons of whiskey, and whiskey sold for about a dollar a gallon. A farmer operating a 50-gallon still could make 10 or 11 gallons of whiskey a day. The math was simple.

So moonshining became a common business enterprise in the rugged mountainous expanse. The problem was that the national government wanted to tax liquor. To make alcoholic beverages without paying a tax was illegal. But the mountaineers who ran the stills didn’t want to pay taxes. So a battle of wits and weapons erupted. The mountain people could trust no stranger; he might be a “revenoor.” Friends and family members of the moonshiners refused to help the government agents. If the residents suspected that a government agent was in the area, the moonshiners conveniently disappeared into the surrounding gaps and hollows. If agents discovered a still, they destroyed it. When the competing interests collided, shots were often exchanged. The conflict continued well into the 1960s. Some people say that it is still a problem today.

My 4th great-aunt, Celia Divine was born 1784, in South Carolina. She was the 2nd of 7 children born to Thomas Divine Jr. (1748-1840) and Jemima Dill (1755-1748). In 1813 she married John A. Butler (1773-1839) and they moved to Glassy Mountian, South Carolina. They had 6 sons and  6 daughters. John was a farmer but it is not known if he was one of local moonshiners. Celia died on  July 4, 1857, at her home in Glassy Mountain at the age of 73.

 

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 ~ Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts

hometown tuesdayThe Town of Northampton (originally the town of Nonotuck meaning “the midst of the river”, named by its original Pocumtuc inhabitants.) was granted its Charter in 1654. Northampton’s founders, though strongly Puritan in conviction, were drawn to the area more by accounts of abundant tillable land and ease of trade with the Indians than by the religious concerns that characterized their brethren in eastern Massachusetts. In May 1653, 24 persons petitioned the General Court for permission to “plant, possess and inhabit Northampton MANonotuck.” Northampton was settled in 1654 on a low rise above the rich meadowlands by the Connecticut River. Relations between settlers and Native Americans, though initially cooperative, became increasingly strained, culminating in King Philip’s War in 1675, when Chief Metacomet’s uprising was put down by the English.

800px-Northampton_(Massachusetts)_(NYPL_b12610608-421421)Though Northampton grew as a trade and marketing center in the 18th century, religious fervor was quickened by the ministry of the congregational preacher, theologian, and philosopher Jonathan Edwards. He was a leading figure in a 1734 Christian revival in Northampton. In the winter of 1734 and the following spring, it reached such intensity that it threatened the town’s businesses. In the spring of 1735, the movement began to subside and a reaction set in. But the relapse was brief, and the Northampton revival, which had spread through the Connecticut River Valley and whose fame had reached England and Scotland, was followed in 1739–1740 by the Great Awakening, under the leadership of Edwards. For this achievement, Edwards is considered one of the founders of evangelical Christianity. He is also credited with being one of the primary inspirations for transcendentalism.

Northampton hosted its own witch trials in the 1700s, although no newenglandmathersalleged witches were executed. Mary Bliss Parsons (circa 1628-1711/12) of Northampton was the subject of accusations and charges of witchcraft resulting in at least two legal trials. To head off the allegations, Joseph Parsons initiated a slander case in 1656, which he won. But eighteen years later, Mary was officially accused of and tried for witchcraft in 1674. She was eventually acquitted, but it seemed that the residents of Northampton, despite any court decrees, were convinced that Mary was a witch.

 
Rachel Celeste Moon, my 7th great-grandmother, was born in Northampton on August 13, 1703, the daughter of Joseph and Sarah Moon. When Rachel was 16 years old her family moved to Frederick County, Virginia and here she married Joseph Elijah Lindsey on March 12, 1719. They had 2 known children, Elijah Jr, and my 6th great-grandfather Thomas. Rachel died on February 5, 1768, in Frederick County, at the age of 64.

 

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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