In my court records research regarding the John family in Oconto County, Wisconsin, I found an interesting case. It was Alfred C. John (my gg Uncle) vs. Calvin John (my 1st cousin, 2x removed).
Alfred is Calvin’s father. The case was a criminal case where Alfred was accusing Calvin of assault:
That on, to-wit, the 31st day of August, A. D. 1916, at the premises of the defendant [Calvin’s home], in Oconto County, Wisconsin, the defendant assaulted, beat, bruised and wounded the plaintiff by violently striking him in the abdomen.
According to Alfred, his son beat him so bad he became sick, sore and was permanently disabled, and continued in such a condition, so he wanted renumeration. In fact he wanted $5000 in damages. Ouch!
Cavin’s response to this allegation was that he was merely defending himself from assault by his father.
There is no testimony to the case because it never went to jury, Alfred never showed up on the day the jury trial was to start, so the case was dismissed.
I was unable to find anything in the local papers regarding this matter either, other than the notifications of court dates, which is a bummer. Maybe Alfred got a little snockered one weekend, the hooch made him ornery, so he started a fight with the closest person at hand, who happened to be Calvin. Or maybe he was just hard to get along with.
The original complaint was filed in 1916 and the trial was to start in 1920. That is a few years of bad blood between relatives. I have no idea how well Calvin and his father got along, but considering the fact that Calvin was the tallest guy in town, I don’t think it was a fight Alfred was going to win anyway.
August 15, 56 Worthington Ohio 11:30AM PLEASE NOTE
Dear Dad, Dick & Gang:-
Well don’t think we’re crazy, but that Station Wagon just flew after we left the Straits, so we just turned it loose and it came on home just like an old horse. We planned on staying in Flint, as you remember, but after eating our supper in Flint, I decided to give up the wheat cakes and drive a while longer as it was only about 7:20PM. The farther we
[page 2] drove the easier it looked to come on home. We were home in 17 hrs and 50 minutes after leaving Jacks.
The fish and butter keep just fine, & we appreciated getting the butter from Jack as that saved us some time. We ate our dinner at Christopher’s in Indian River at about 1:30PM, arrive in Flint at 6:35PM. We got our cheese at Pinche’s and some melons just out of Bay City. From Toledo on in, we kept the trucks
[page 3] company, as there were very few cars on the road. I belive it will be easy to drive up there with out an overnite stop after the bridge is completed. I didn’t get a bit speepy and I feel fine this AM. I believe the car makes the difference as it rides and drives so easy. I’m just taking the day today living up the last few hours of my vacation. It sure was different here this morning from your cabin, dogs barking, kids screaming etc. back to the old grind.
[page 4] We surely enjoyed our vacation. It’s a durn shame we have to be spoiled by being up there away from it all. That “stinken” Dick Sheridian called me up this morning and reminded me that my time was just about up and that I had “had it” also that the shop was still at the same address and the hours were still the same.
My pen just went on the “blink” so I’ll finish with a pencil. Ruth called Doch and Burch is getting along OK.
[page 5] She is not feeling to good. She and Charlie Hogue was about the same as of last week.
That about winds up the news so I’ll close for this time, hope this finds you all enjoying all the benefits of Canada, etc.
Love to all Ruth & H. O.
P.S. Ruth was able to get 6 loaves of bread at the Thessalon Bakery.
My 3x great grandmother Janett (aka Jennie) Smith Rosa left Michigan, sometime in the early to mid 1860s, with her two daughters Carrie and Ida, and moved to Wisconsin, without her husband Abram. Abram testified in his pension application that she had left him while he was away during the Civil War. I believe it was possibly while he was incarcerated at the Fort Tortuga in 1865ish.
As to the reason why she left him? We will most likely never know the answer to that question. We can speculate that: Abram was abusive, lazy, or a crappy farmer, (his family did not have the best reputation around town); Jennie could have been scared of him, bored and went to try her luck somewhere else, unhappy with her choice, or shamed at his incarceration. It could be his fault. It could be her fault. It could be the fault of both of them. Either way, neither one of them are talking now. Their daughter Carrie told her own children that her father, Abram, had died in the Civil War, so who knows what Jennie had told Carrie, and her sister Ida. This same story was passed down to later generations as fact–now debunked. (NOTE: We have to remember though that Jennie was only 14 1/2 years old when she married Abram in February of 1854, Abram was 20.)
So Abram finally gets back from the war probably early in 1866. His wife and daughters are gone. Everyone tells him they took off for Wisconsin and won’t be coming back. Apparently, he didn’t care enough to try to get them back either.
In 1868, three years after the war was finally over, Janett married Fred Lavelly, in Oconto County, Wisconsin. About a year later, in 1869, Abram married Harriet Emerson in Berrien County, Michigan.
So, okay, this all sounds pretty straight-forward right? They have both moved on with their lives.
But the sticker is–I can find no divorce record for either of them. Not in Berrien County, Michigan. Not in Oconto County, Wisconsin. So that begs the question, were they both bigamists? It is quite possible they were.
Divorce at this time was a very expensive, and nasty, business. Neither one of them had much money to speak of, so the cost of court and lawyers would have been much on both of their minds. As they both lived in different states, maybe they decided that what no one knows, can’t hurt them. Which is probably why the story that Abram was killed during the war came to be part of the family lore. Abram could honestly say his wife deserted him, so in fact his marriage was over.
If indeed these two never divorced, it is the first known case of bigamy on either side of our family.
Happy Valentines Day!
P.S. Maybe there is a divorce case in Brown County, Wisconsin. I’m on it!
I just arrived home from work 2:10pm and found your card “the hot mama” Ruth went up to the harbor this morning with Ralph, Lucile and the kids and I’m going up this afternoon after I eat a bite and do a little yard work. Seems like there is not enough hours in a day for me to get all my work done. I sold our 51 Chevrolet and hope to have a new one I’m trying to get a station wagon as I’ve always wanted one.
They’re pretty hard to get, everyone would get in is sold to
someone else. Of course by me getting the discount I just have to wait. I sold the 51 about a week ago and have been driving a company car since then.
We haven’t been up to Westerville yet, hope to make it this week. What have you guys been doing to pass the time? Hope you don’t catch all the fish. Fishing hasn’t been any good at Lake Erie so far this year. We covered about 75 miles of water last Sunday and didn’t catch anything only a few little perch–
down at Marblehead. We were on the North Bass reef, Gull Reef, and Kelly Reef all we got was a lot of boat riding and sun.
Everything is about as usual here nothing new or exciting, nobody had any babies etc. We have had a lot of rain and the weather has been on the cool side about 60° at night and 75° – 80° in the daytime, hope you’re having nice weather.
Ralph had good luck fishing where they go close to Parry Sound lots of bass and pickerel
[Page 4] Well I finished my snack and have run out of news so guess I better get to work or get to the Harbor tonight.
Give our regards to the Becker’s and ask Ruth if there’s anything she would like for us to get for her if so write and let us know.
It won’t be long ’til August 2 so until then lots of love
Worthington Ohio Jan 16th 1956 Temp. 25º and snowing
Dear Dick and Dad:-
Well here tis Sunday night, we just got home from out Gahanna way, we came home early tonight as the roads are a little on the slippery side. It started snowing this morning after we came home from church and has been snowing ever since, about 3 inches up to now.
Ma Kring is getting along very nicely and should be back to normal in about two more weeks. Dad Bring says he knows she is better because she has begun to fire orders and is getting more bossy all the time. They have moved the bed room down stairs for good, as the Doctor said she could not go up and down the stairs anymore.
They intend to make a half bath
[page 2] off the south side of their kitchen, which will work out nicely as they have more space down stairs than they need.
We also stopped in to see Unk & Elsie about our trip down to Florida and as of this time it looks as though they are going along. We wanted to fly down, but if they go along, we will drive. I will take a few extra days off to make up for the lost time driving. Barring any unforeseen circumstances and weather conditions we still plan on leaving here Jan 24th and hope to make it in 2 days. Ralph has some friends he would like to see, one at Pompano Beach a garage man and another at Homestead, so maybe we can all make the trip together.
[page 3] We can make our plans after we get down there as anything could happen between now and then. I would like to spend another day at Cypress Gardens and hope the sun is shining. I would also like to go to St. Augustine to get some pictures at Marineland. Maybe we could plan a route and our time so we could make both of those places on the same trip. Ralph has been reading a lot of Florida items and says he is ready to buy a lot if it is to his liking.
Ruth said to tell you we have 3 grape fruit, 4 tangerines and 9 oranges left. The fruit was really good (Time out) Jan 8 11:30pm
I suppose you wonder what happened to Jan 7. Well that is a
[page 4] different story which Ruth will have to explain when we see you. In the mean time all the tangerines are gone, 1 grapefruit left which I will eat in the morning and 3 oranges.
Don’t bother to send any more fruit as it would probably arrive about the time we leave here.
You can add about 5 more inches of snow to the 3 we had Sunday night. Believe it or not the neighbors are coasting down Wilson Hill Drive tonight. You don’t have to be crazy to live here but it helps, especially me. HardyHarHar
Your old gas box is working just fine (refrigerator)
[page 5] Bill Dennis left for a tour of Florida last Sunday morning. I hope they started early enough to miss the snow. I’m certainly glad he is making the trip maybe he will understand why I’m so crazy about the state. He is due back to work Monday the 21st which will leave us get away on the 24th “I hope”.
How are you getting along in the new house? We are anxious to see it. From the picture it appears that you have a good site lot and some nice trees. Which is the front of the house?– over
[page 6] I better bring this to a close, with Ruths letter I’ll have to sent it in another envelope. I’ll write again to keep you posted on our time of departure etc. Love H. O.
p.s. Lydia is doing very nicely and has got the Florida Fever Bad p.s.s. I got the new boat fever. ps.s.s. I got the Florida fever, I’ll need a new boat there more than here.
Ill answer your letter because soon at Craig, Ill be too busy – and I do want to thank you for sending on the Guns.- We received the next letter too – telling about disregarding the telephone bill.
I called Herman the other evening to tell him to bring me a new 25 H.P. Our Johnson is running fine but remote controls dont work so well on it. And the whole family has been water skiing. It takes a real good motor.
I suppose that you have finished fixing the boat by now,
page 2 and are ready to go north. I think Herman & Ruth are coming down in June. It will be hot, but not so much as July & August.
Went fishing today I we caught a flounder & a sea bass – had them for dinner tonite and they were good. We also caught about 20 hard tails – a fish like a mackerel. Only the fight harder than a bass. They weigh about 1 1/2 pounds.
When you come down this fall it will be fine weather and good fishing too. Well, Ill close now.- See you later
A couple of years ago I found the coolest newspaper article when researching William Shepard of Westfield, Massachusetts. It has always been in the back of my mind, waiting, I guess, for me to finally say “Hey, I need to blog about this.”
So, finally, here I am blogging about this.
On and off for about 15 years, William tried his hand at politics by running for the office of Representative, or Lieutenant Governor, from 1789-1804. It took nine tries before he was finally elected as Representative of Massachusetts, Western District, in 1796 (and again in 1797, 1798, his last win was in 1800).
In May of 1797 he apparently stood up in session and made reply to a speech given by President John Adams a few short weeks earlier. His words were sent to the newspaper by ‘A Customer.’ (Maybe this was done by William himself, to help sway the voters back home in his favor for the next election.) By the way, he was a Federalist.2
…The observations of the Hon. William Shepherd in the House of Representatives, May 27, on the reported answer to the President’s Speech…
Mr. Shepherd did not rise from his seat with an expectation of throwing much light on the subject under debate; but being a new member, he conveyed it his duty to come forward and announce his political principles to his constituents and to the world, and to make some remarks and observations on the subject under consideration that he might be able to justify his own conduct for thus doing,
“Sir, said he, I do not come forward with an intention to criminate the government of the United States, for in general I believe it has been wisely conducted and well administered. I do not come forward to make researchers into the police of the government of Great Britain, neither do I come forward prejudiced against the republic of France, nor do I come forward with any prepossessed prejudiced against any of the members of this House, for they are the greater part of them entire strangers to me; but Sir, the President of the United States in his speech has informed us that there is an unhappy dispute existing between the republic of France and the United States1, and on that account there is a report Sir, on your honor’s table, which was designed for an answer to his speech, but objection has been made, and an amendment is proposed by the honorable member from Virginia—the question is before your committee, whether we shall admit of the amendment, first; Sir, I will take a retrospective review of the conduct of both nations and remark how France first came to be connected with the United States—because it has been hinted by some gentlemen, that France had no motives to induce her to take an active part with us—but pure benevolence and gratitude to help the poor Americans in their helpless and forlorn situation; but Sir, did we hear any thing from France in ’75, even in ’76 when we wre obliged to fly in every direction before the forces of Great Britain asked and barefooted—so, they did not come to our assistance. In ’77 we were more successful, the face of our affairs was materially changed, we had the good fortune to take and capture a whole British army, but as yet Sir, we received no assistance from France. In ’78 in the opening of the campaign we saw no French to assist us—what did we do at the action at Monmouth, we kept our ground as least in spite of all the force of Great Britain—By this time France had come into an alliance with us, but Sir, let us make a little pause here and enquire whether France had not some motive besides mere goodness to the Americans.
Was it no inducement to France to lop off so considerable a branch of the British government as the United States were —and weaken that government—had ever a nation a stronger motive to induce them to step into our succor.
I will only say, that in the year ’78 Count d’Estaing, planned with others an expedition against Rhode Island. In the operation of which the fleet under his command, was unsuccessful, and he was obliged to quit the harbor, and left the army of the United States on the Island, in a dangerous situation.
I mean not—by making these observations to criminate any one, for I will admit that it was all owing to misfortune, and the fate of war; I shall make no observations until the year ’81, here I acknowledge that the French army and navy of France was of great and essential service to us in the capture of Cornwallis, and I am willing to acknowledge that I felt thankfulness and the deepest gratitude towards that nation of any in the world, from their first alliance with us, to the close of the war with Great Britain. I shall now observe the conduct of France in their own nation—soon after they left America they began a reform in their own government—no man on earth rejoiced more than myself while they were struggling for their just right against the nations of Europe. I rejoiced at every victory they gained and mourned at their defeats; but sir, if they had closed here, I should have rejoiced with them to this moment; happy of us had they stopped here and all Europe besides. I will now observe and make one or two remarks on the conduct of Great Britain towards America at this time—Great Britain complained of our conduct towards them—at the same time they were committing depredations and spoliations on our navigation—and what was the cry of many of the people of this country at that time—join France and go to war with them, how can you bear to have the American flag insulted and degraded; but what was the measure taken by the Executive? why he sent an Envoy Extraordinary and made a treaty with Great Britain—and agreed on the friendly principles on which we should settle all our differences, this however gives uneasiness to France, and it will be well to make some enquiry what are the substantial reasons for this uneasiness, are they not because we did not enter into war with Great Britain , here the executive part of government is called into question for their conduct; will it not be reasonable and just that we should find them guilty of a breach of their trust before we condemn them.
Has any one been able to pint out and show wherein they have gone beyond their powers which the constitution clothes them with. I have heard of none:
But Sir, what measure had been taken by the Executive to remove the complaints of France, have we not pursued the same course which was taken with England, have we not sent a minister to them in order to remove their complaints and settle with them on the most amicable terms. But how has he been replied? why, rejected with insult and they would not even listen to the voice of accommodation.
Several gentlemen have reproached us with ingratitude and speak of it as the most heinous sin a man can commit, I admit it to be one of the greatest sins, but where have we been guilty, have we taken away their property, have we unsubtle them in the person of their minister. Then why are we to be drawn to a confession of guilt when we know we are innocent—again let me ask where is our courage, our magnanimity, our confidence, if we dare not say of them what we know to be the truth; shall we not say they are wrong when we know they are wrong.”
Some gentlemen have said that the speech is a declaration of war, it does not read so to me, that it is sounding the war whoop, I have heard no war whoop, I have heard nothing hostile but against our own government, and gentlemen who have endeavored to criminate the Executive have proved their incompetence, they have not been able to produce evidence of a single fault, they are driven to act like the men who were brought as witnesses to condemn our favor, their testimony is nought and they are driven to make any outcry of crucify him, crucify him, and take his blood on their own heads, in order to get him given up into their own power. Are we in doing this, acting either wisely or prudently? I think we are doing neither.
He expressed the degree of satisfaction it would give him to find a more general unanimity in the house, but he despaired of seeing it, on this account he would prefer the report, to the amendment, not but what he was willing for the sake of conciliation to alter some things in the address. He hoped they would agree to put the country in a state of defense as the best best of avoiding hostility, this was an old adage, but it was as true as it was old. There was nothing he dreaded so much as going to war either with Great Britain or France. He knew his constituents were to a man opposed to war, he knew they would relinquish every thing but one in order to preserve peace—that is their independence. That would eternally disgrace them, and they were determined never to be disgraced—He knew his constituents would never be induced to quarrel with the government, and he was certain they were pleased with its administration—he could also assure the committee they would concur very readily in any measures Congress might adopt on this trying occasion.
William Shepard – speech
The most likely reason that it took so long for William to win an election, or even get votes (in several earlier runnings he had only 1 vote), was because of his being instumental in the defeat of Shay’s Rebellion. The people of Massachusetts had long memories, and vindictive feelings about his role in the event. In fact anonymous neighbors, and bullies, threatened and assaulted himself and his family for years afterward:
excited against me the keenest Resentments of the disappointed Insurgents, manifested in the most pointed Injurys, such as burning my Fences, injuring my Woodlands, by Fire, beyond a Recovery for many Years – wantonly & cruelly butchering two valuable Horses, whose ears were cut off and Eyes bored out before they were killed ~ insulting me personally with the vile Epithet of the Murderer of my Brethren, and, through anonimous Letters, repeated by threatening me with the Destruction of my House and Family by Fire.- which kind of Injuries I occasionally experience even to this day.
There were others though that respected his willingness to serve his community, in many local offices, and defend the state of Massachusetts “at all hazards.” They understood that you don’t give in to terrorists, which is exactly what the Shay’s Rebellion participants were.
One of these men recalled his presence and military bearing at militia exercises and drills, which inspired admiration and respect:
When I recall his large, imposing figure, bedecked with his trusty sword and crimson sash…and heard the whispers ‘there’s the general,’ I remember the awe, notwithstanding his genial face, with which he inspired me.3
The haters were in the minority long enough for him to be elected four times as a representative of Massachusetts.
Suppose you are back from West Virginia by now-Hope you had a nice visit.
We are all around the dining rm. table – Sue doing homework Bill working on a gun, Kenny Kibitzing & me trying to write.
Bill finally go his boat trailor etc. all assembled & we’ve had a couple of rides in it. It certainly does go & we think will be very satisfactory for our purpose. We watched a water ski show Easter Sunday & it was quite interesting and looked like lots of fun. So we are all anxious to get started. Probably break our
page 2 necks – but we’ll try anyway We are still shifting things around in the house – Not much storage space & no garage – there is one but they won’t let us use it! – So we had to pile a bunch of boxes & trunks in one corner of the large bedroom. – There is space for it but doesn’t look very good that way-
Bill hopes to go fishing tomorrow – He hasn’t done any as yet. Been too much to do- Tho we don’t think the fishing will be as good as Biloxi – Maybe he’ll find places where it is good after he’s been here a while –
David & Alan dont have any playmates there age
page3 around here so they have leaned to play togeher much better – We decided not to send Dave to Kindergarten for that reason. Alan would really be lost – –
You know the story…poor man or woman comes to America and through sheer perseverance, sweat, and smarts, gets rich. Well, Franz Pietersen Clauw decided to buck that tradition. In fact, he came to this country poor and fate decided to pretty much keep him that way.
So why is this interesting, and why am I mentioning it? (Because, we have lots of ancestors who came to America poor, and stayed that way.)
Well, according to the local lore, Franz came from lots of money, but when he arrived in Beverwyck, he had nothing. Did his family back home disinherit him? Did he make bad investments? Did he drink, or gamble it away? Was it lost because of war? Unfortunately, the how if it never comes to light. But everyone in the area knew of his background, in fact his neighbors nicknamed him ‘Kind van Weelde’ or “Child of Wealth/Luxury.” Of course, it could have just been a story he told to make himself sound more interesting.
Franz arrived in Beverwyck by 1654, which we know because he shows up in local records regarding a court appearance. In his testimony Franz stated that he had been in Esopus for the fall harvest in 1654, so it is possible he arrived in that year.
Where he came from is mere speculation. Some say Holland, some say Brazil, but there is zero proof either way, at this time. The only thing we know for sure about him is that his father’s name was Peter, and he married Elsie, (origins and background also unknown).
The Clauws had two known children Jurrian and Hendrik. We descend from Jurrian (which is George in English), whose daughter Rachel, married Nicholas van Loon.
There are several references to Franz and his nickname in local histories, and in a journal kept by Jasper Danckaerts. The parts referring to Franz are entered below.
May 1st , Wednesday. We began early to load, but as it had to come from some distance in the country, and we had to wait, we stepped ashore to amuse ourselves. We came to a creek where, near the river, lives the man whom they usually call the Child of Luxury, [Frans Pieterse Clauw] because he formerly had been such a one, but who now was not far from being the ‘Child of Poverty’, for he was situated poorly enough.
He had a saw-mill on the creek, on a water-fall, which is a singular one, for it is true that all falls have something special, and so had this one, which was not less rare and pleasant than others. The water fell quite steep, on one body, but it came down in steps, with a broad rest sometimes between them. These steps were sixty feet or more high, and were formed out of a single rock which is unusual. I reached this spot alone through the woods, and while I was sitting on the mill, my comrade came up with the ‘Child of Luxury’, who, after he had shown us the mill and falls, took us down a little to the right of the mill, under a rock, on the margin of the creek, where we could behold … crystal lying in layers between the rocks, and when we rolled away a piece of the rock, there was, at least on two sides of it, a crust or bark, about as thick as the breadth of a straw, of a sparkling or glassy substance, which looked like alabaster, and this crust was full of points or gems, which were truly gems of crystal, or like substance. They sparkled brightly, and were as clear as water, and so close together that you could obtain hundreds of them from one piece of the crust. We broke some pieces off, and brought them away with us as curiosities. (The rock was calcite, and of very little value.)
–Jasper Danckaerts Journal
Franz made his living as a carpenter and ran a saw mill. It appears that he made enough to feed and clothe his family. Whatever money he had before he came to America stayed gone for the rest of his life. Maybe, he became a better person because of it.
NOTE: The thousands of sawmills in New England for about 200 years beginning in the 1630s used essentially a single technology—a wooden waterwheel with a crank connected by the ‘pitman’ arm to a wooden sash (frame) in which was mounted a straight saw blade. The reciprocating motion of the vertically mounted saw results in the characteristic straight “up and down” saw marks on boards and timbers cut on these sash-type saws. [http://www.ledyardsawmill.org/history/early-sawmills-in-new-england]