My great great grandfather John Cain moved to Wisconsin when he was a young boy. He lived with his mother’s parents Winifred and Denis Conely in Chilton for a few years, but, by the time he was about 17 years old he was on his own, employed with a logging mill in Oconto.
He spent most of his life working as a river driver, also known as a “river pig,” one of the men who worked the cut logs down the river.
Then one day, while going about his job something unexpected happened.
Lois & the kids are undoubtedly on their way home by now. I just want to thank you for having them up. From what they wrote, I know they all enjoyed it.
Work has been pretty heavy again. I let up on the office work for the last part of July and did nothing but fly. When my jet training was finished & had to go back to the office. So Im about caught up now. Ill be flying part the time & pushing a pencil the rest. Id rather fly now.
By the news, Canada is the place to spend summer. The heat has certainly been terrific hasn’t it?
We have had it cool – only the last month it has been raining very heavy. – 6 inches in 5 hours several times.
There isnt very much news. I just wanted to write to let you know I was around. –
Its only about 6 months until I start home. Cant get finished soon enough to suit me, but I cant complain – I picked this business.
Being assaulted, in the news, by the constant, disgusting, goings on in Washington these days has gotten my revolutionary dander up. I won’t be taking up arms, like some wackos, but I will be armed, with a pen, at the voting booth.
All this dissent and conflict brings to mind my ancestors who fought a war in this country to rid themselves of a King. In fact, did you know — nah, you probably didn’t — that on the John side of our family, all, but one, of the our direct male ancestors living in America, of the Revolutionary War generation, fought in the American Revolution. The ‘one’ was actually a Loyalist, who, surprisingly, didn’t flee to Canada.
Abraham Rosa — From his pension record: …entered the service of the US in the Army of the Revolution under the following named officers and served as herein stated. That on the first day of February 1778 he was draughted for the term of nine months, under Captain Bogert of Albany, New York. He was draughted in the Town of Coxsackie, Greene County, New York Colonel Harper commanded the regiment….from Coxsackie he went to Albany, from Albany to Schoharie, where he was stationed at Twoman/Freeman[?] Fort and Beekers Fort. He was out on scouting parties after Indians some of the time...he was honorably discharged at Freeman Fort in Schoharrie by Colonel Harper…after serving 9 months…
15 May 1779 at Coxackie he volunteered for the term of 5 months in NY militia under Captain Philip Conine…he went from Coxsackie to Kiskadamnatia[?not on any map] 20 miles from Coxsackie where he was stationed most of the time, he went with scouts to Dices Mannor and Schoharie Kill after Indians some of the time…he was honorably discharged after serving…
2 June 1780 he volunteered again for the term of 4 months … under Captain Benjamin Dubois…he went to Catskill from there he went aboard a sloop and went by water to Fishkill in the north…from there to Thirt Point by canal…eventually crossed into New Jersey going to the town of Hackensack …in a company commanded by Captain Austin of the Light Infantry. Colonel Fancortland[?] Commanded the regiment, General Lafayette commanded the Brigade…He was drilled by Barron Steuben…he was honorably discharged 2 October…
He also went with a team 4 months in 1777 –he drew Battery and Cannon from Fort Edward to Lake George, baggage and commissaries stores, from Albany to Buman’s[?] Hights, soldiers that were wounded in the action with General Burgoyne to the hospital at Burmas’s[?] Heights, and foraged for our army from there, he carried baggage for Colonel Morgans regiment of riflemen to Geshin[?] in Orange County, NY where he was discharged the last of October…
The same year he went in the month of June before Captain Hermanes from Redhook commanded the party…1
Joseph Cross — From his pension record: …enlisted in the month of April in the year 1777 in the town of New London, Connecticut as a private in a company commanded by Captain Jonathan Parker in the regiment commanded by Colonel Charles Webb…served until April 1780 when he was discharged…he was in the battles of White Marsh, Monmouth…2
Jeremiah Peter Smith/Schmidt — From his pension record: … He was called or drafted into service in the fall, but does not remember the year, in Claverack, Albany County [now Columbia County], New York in the company commanded by Captain Jeremiah Miller in the regiment commanded by Colonel Robert Van Rensselaer for an indefinite amount of time. Immediately the company was called into service and marched to Schoharie, Schoharie County where they were stationed to guard against the British and the Indians. They stayed into late fall. The company was discharged by Capt. Miller and the commanding officer.
Then he was called out or drafted into service in the late summer, he does not remember the exact date or length of service, in Claverack in the company militia commanded by Captain Peter Bartle and Lieutenant Jeremiah Miller. They marched to Fort Edward on the Hudson River in New York and stayed there for two months, after which they marched to Lake George to meet with another part of the American Army which was stationed in a fort on the banks of the lake. During the march they met another part of the Army heading south at which time they returned to Fort Edwards staying there another month.They were discharged in the late fall.
He was called out another time in late spring of the next year or early summer, again he does not remember the exact date or length of service, in Claverack under Lt. Miller commanded by Van Rensselaer. The company marched to Albany and was stationed there with a few other companies to guard against attacks. They were there about a month then discharged again.3
Johannes Houghtaling — Loyalist. He is on a list of persons living “west of Stissing Mountain” (a hill 1 1/2 miles west of Pine Plains, in New York), who refused to sign the Articles of Association. Johannes didn’t fight for either side, but we don’t know his reasons. Those who made the choice not to fight English rule, did so out of a great variety of reasons: economics, loyalty, fear, desire for peace. We can only guess at Johannes’.
There are more soldiers on this side of the family, but they are uncles and cousin. And on mother’s side of the family there are too many to count; plus one Scot who was sent to America as a British prisoner of war, having been captured at the Battle of Preston, during the Jacobite Rebellion.
So what does this all mean? It means that my ancestors had a history of rising up against repression and corruption,( including fighting for the Union during the Civil War). I mean to continue in the same tradition, because I am mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore. So, I invite you to participate in the revolution. Get out–join, organize, VOTE!
NOTE: Most of the names of places and forts in Abraham Rosa’s pension are difficult to transcribe as they are hard to read. From what I have gleaned so far, few of the names as currently transcribed show up as actual places. A work in progress I guess.
Abraham Rosa, complete pension file #S.14381, Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900, NARA, Record Group: 15, Roll: 2083.
Joseph and Serviah Cross, complete pension file #W16940, Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900. NARA M804, Record Group: 15, Roll: 0699.
Jeremiah Smith and Sophia Smith, complete military pension file #W19378, Case Files of Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, compiled ca. 1800 – ca. 1912, documenting the period ca. 1775 – ca. 1900. NARA Record Group: 15, Roll: 2218
You wouldnt know a week ended. We are working right on, as it looks as if the weather would be good. Good flying weather is scarce in Korea during July & August, so we must make the best of it.
Lois writes me that she expects to start up about the 25th of this month. I hope they all have a good time.
Wish I could taste some of the lake trout now. Perhaps next year I can.
Getting a lot of flying time now. Will get about 25 jet hours & 10 conventional this month. Like the jets best. They sure fly easy.
Down to weight now and have stopped dieting — Im at 180# now and so help me Ill try not to get any heavier. Feel so much better when Im not fat.
Kenny — have you been catching any fish? And how about wild game? Is there any around? It has been so long since Ive been up there I have forgotten how it looks. Why dont you take some pictures?
You know I bought a .35mm projector the other day. It is a TDC with automatic slide changing – a beauty. So we dont have to borrow any more.
No real news so Ill close the letter. Wish you all good health and good fishing.
The ‘never seems to be ending’ project of scanning my Shepard grandparent’s old family pictures has been fun and interesting, although admittedly sometimes a bit tedious*. But, I am really getting a chance to look them over and put together a picture timeline of their life, and even get ideas for future blog posts. Or, just remember the places that they lived and my own visits there. Some of the pictures are also triggering my research itch, because of questions I have about the time, or place, or who is in them.
I recently scanned more Canada pics from Dick and Dad’s part of the collection, a couple of them, thankfully, have been labeled ‘Cummings Lake.’ If I had the grandparents around to ask, I could find out exactly where this cottage was, (although I do enjoy putting the clues together, and solving the mystery myself). So the location has been narrowed down to Cummings Lake in Thessalon, Canada. Now the question is– where on the lake, exactly. Having the photograph below helps to narrow it down some more:
I can narrow the location down because I found the following picture at the Grand Falls Camp website when searching online for information on Cummings Lake:
The cliff face in the background matches exactly the cliff in the first picture. This location is stated by the website as being between Lakes Tunnel and Cummings. When using Google map’s street view, I find this exact spot on Hwy 129 going North. It is facing Lake Cummings. Which means that the cottage was in the area on the topographic map below. It is difficult to tell where exactly, or even generally, from this view though.
Looking at a larger overview of the area, I’m thinking that the cottage was, or is, if it is still there, on the big bump out of land above the falls area.
We have lots of photos of the cottage and the area around the lake, so I created an album of just those pictures at my flickr site (well I hope they are all from the cottage and lake area). Seeing the pictures and writing about this topic has given me an urge to drive up there next summer and visit. It is only a 7-8 hour drive, and I have my passport now!
My grandfather, Bill Shepard, wrote lots of letters mentioning his parents cottage. They usually talked about how envious he was, because he never got to go up and enjoy all that fishing everyone was always going on about. I know an uncle went there at one point when he was a kid. Other than Herman and Ruth, who else made the trip?
*I won’t complain too much about all that scanning, as we are fortunate to have so many family pictures that that been passed down. Some folks aren’t so lucky.
Very happy to hear from you. and also happy to hear that you are all well and having a good time.
Yes-I received the box of candy and thank you very much. It was sure tasty. [Hey Gramps aren’t you on a diet?]
By the time you get this – I will have about 7 more months to go. That isnt so long is it? Time is going by so fast now that I’m busy. I have all this office work I can do and I am learning jet fighters in my spare ? time. Should get 20 hours flying time in jets this month. Still instructing in the C-47 too so it keeps me humping.
You tell Kenny that he had better take time out to write me a good letter because Im his old man and I said for him to do it!
That cartoon of the boat reminds me of our little 12 footer & the 25
horsepower Johnson. The time has come to go to bed so Ill have to close. Have fun.
Another recent scouring of Oconto newspapers brought this interesting tidbit to my attention just in time for mid-term elections:
So what was the Hayes and Wheeler Club and why was gramps John Cain a member?
From what little I have been able to find about this club, it looks like it was patriotic in nature and organized in many states across the country, for the purpose of “securing re-nomination and re- election of President Rutherford B. Hayes.”
John appears to have been republican in beliefs, and was enthusiastic enough for Hayes to be elected that he joined the club to help rouse the populace to vote for his favorite ticket.
Here is a small bit of biography on Hayes from his Wikipedia entry:
Hayes was a lawyer and staunch abolitionist who defended refugee slaves in court proceedings in the antebellum years.
He was nominated as the Republican candidate for the presidency in 1876 and elected through the Compromise of 1877 that officially ended the Reconstruction Era by leaving the South to govern itself. In office he withdrew military troops from the South, ending Army support for Republican state governments in the South and the efforts of African-American freedmen to establish their families as free citizens. He promoted civil service reform, and attempted to reconcile the divisions left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction.
John did not enlist in the Civil War. Having been born in 1852, he was too young to have enlisted. (I am very thankful he was too young, because he might have died and I wouldn’t be here now talking about him.) Even though he was not in the war, he was a peripheral part of it, and was affected by the aftermath, as was the whole nation. His support for Hayes gives me a sense of his political leanings and beliefs, something he left no clue about to his descendants, until this article was found.
I’ll end this post with a friendly reminder. VOTE!
Sources: Oconto County Reporter, 1876-07-22; v5issue38p3col4 Oconto County Reporter, 1876-08-19; v5issue42p3col4 Oconto County Reporter, 1876-09-02; v5issue44
When you get this you will have had time to get settled. How have you found everything at the cottage? I suppose that you are eating some nice golden brown lake trout by now. What I wouldnt give for some right now.
Work is heavy here. Im trying to do my regular work, and get my jet schooling in too. Start flying them next week. Im happy about it because they are easier to fly, and faster too.
I have been watching my weight lately with the help of the Flight surgeon and weigh less than anytime since OCS in 1942. Im at 184 now, and have 6 more pounds to be to my proper weight of 178#. It feels so good to be where I should be.
Kenny dont you make the mistake I did and eat that little bit too much of fat & fried food I never watched it and was always about 30 pounds overweight. The Doc says a person is healthier when
they stay slim, and who wants to be unhealthy when they dont have to be?
I know I dont have to tell you to enjoy Canada, but dont overwork up there.
Ill try to write next week. Cant before then as I will be in an air-ground school which teaches us how to support the troops with our F-86’s. Ill be with the army for the next few days. (roughing it.) Well goodbye for now.
When many of my ancestors came to this country in the 1600s, their prime motivation in coming was to have the freedom to practice their own version of religion, without fear for their lives. So they came, and settled.
Then, they started to send their gaze out to the wilds of this new world that they were now inhabiting. It frightened them. A lot. The people that were living in this world when they arrived were these strange, incomprehensible ‘savages’. They dressed very differently, spoke bizarre languages, practiced scary religions that were nothing like their own.
Of course the first thought that pops into some of their tiny, closed minds is that these folk needed to be ‘civilized’. And by civilized, they meant converted over to their beliefs, their own system of values, way of dressing, language, rules of law. They needed to convert these ‘savages’ to make themselves feel more comfortable, self-satisfied, safe. They also needed everyone to believe in their version of God. They wanted to save them.
Sorry to say, one of those religious zealots is mine.
William French was born in England, some histories say about 1603, in Halsted, Essex County. He married there, and had four children with his wife Elizabeth. In the summer of 1635 William and his family boarded the ship Defense, along with the Rev. Thomas Shepard, and left England in order to practice, in freedom, their own interpretation of the christian religion.
William settled his family first in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They moved again in 1652, being one of the original proprietors, and earliest settlers of Billerica, Massachusetts.
He was very involved in his community, as were many of the early settlers. (Well, the male ones, of course. The women just had to stay home and mind the household, not worry their pretty little heads with men’s business.) He was a Lieutenant of the militia, and later a Captain. Was chosen “to sit in the Deacons seat” and as Commissioner to establish the county rates, [whatever that is]. Served nine years as a selectman starting in 1660. And he was also on the committee to examine children and servants in “reading, religion and the catechism.”
In 1652 the following volume was published in London:
This was a publication of several volumes consisting of testimonials, in the form of letters, sent to the Pastor Mr. Henry Whitfield.1
The introduction to the Reader is as follows:
These ensuing Letters doe represent unto thee, and to the Churches, the outgoings of Christ, as a Light to the Gentiles, that the grace which brings salvation hath appeared unto them also in the furtheset parts of the Earth, for the accomplishment of that ancient and glorious Promise; “I will give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou may’st be my Salvation to the Ends of the Earth”…The People of God have been greatly affected with the appearances of Christ, when he hath rode forth upon a red Horse to the destruction of his Enemies; for he “is glorious in his apparell, even when his garments are dipt in bloud”, but much more when he rides forth upon a white Horse, for the Conversion of Soules, and goes on “Conquering and to Conquer”.
It continues along this theme. The summary of which is that they were printing these volumes to show how they are enlarging the “Kingdome of Christ” making sure to spread the word of their God from sea to shining sea. “Hereby the soules of men are rescued out of the snare of the Devill.”
This particular volume was number V and included a letter from William French. I have included the pages from the volume below. Is this a true letter of a conversion, or merely an anecdote? The subject of the ‘conversion’ is not named or personalized in anyway, so it is hard to tell.
It starts out — The best news I can write you from New England is, the Lord is indeed converting the Indians, and for the refreshing of your heart, and the hearts of all the godly with you; I have sent you the relation of one Indian of two yeares profession, I that took from his owne mouth by an Interpreter, because he cannot speak or understand one word of English.
William’s first wife Elizabeth died in 1668 and he married his second wife Mary Lathrop (my 9x great grandmother up the Brooks/Hatch line). Mary was the granddaughter of John Lathrop, a famous religious martyr, who was imprisoned in England, and eventually released, with the promise he would leave the country and never come back.2
I am sure that William wasn’t the only one in my tree that pushed to convert others to their faith. He is just one we can point to, because he made his work known with this publication.
“Strength Out of Weakness” afterwards republished in the Massachusetts Historical Society Collection 3d S. Vol. 4, pages 149, 196.
[I believe that Gramps is in Korea at the time he is writing these letters.]
27 May 1954
Dear Dick & Dad,
Received your letter of the 17th a few days ago. Im not much at writing outside the family. When I write Lois and each of the kids once in a while Im wrote out!
It sounds like everything will be going North in June, so this is the last letter Ill write to you at Park St. The address is Route 3, Thessalon Ont., isnt it?
I have been receiving the Sunday papers and they are sure welcome. I read every want add!
Had a touch of the flu for several days, but it is all cleared up by now. The next time I get to Tokyo I want to get some things and send them home. Ill send your present at that time. Ill try to get you something to wear but keep your fingers crossed.
The rain, real hard rain hasnt started yet. It is suppose to about now. Everything is green, the rice is about knee high. I have
a lot of pictures on the way home now, so when they get there you can see how some of the things look.
If Kenny goes north with you, he will have a good time, I know. I wish that there was a way for me to spend a little time up there. Just doesnt seem to work out.
Take care of yourselves. Ill write you in Canada.
P.S. The fudge was good, in case I didnt tell you- Everyone in the barracks liked it too (too much)