‘et by sharks…

Shortly after settling on the Connecticut river in the latter part of the 1600s, William Shepard was out on a boat in Boston Harbor with William Lee.

“He was shortly after overset in a boat…and while swimming by the side of William, had his thigh bitten in two by a shark, and was pulled under the water. He arose and said he was dead man, for a shark had bitten off his thigh. Lee heard the shark give one more snap and saw him no more.”

I will assume this is why none of our Shepards are sailors.

Some say this story is pure fabrication, who knows. It certainly makes for a more interesting story than the fact that his wife divorced him for desertion and that’s why he wasn’t around.

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Witches and Garlick…

Time for a little more Halloween wackiness.

There is a famous witch trial in old New England, known as the case of Goodwife Garlick, who lived in Long Island, along with our ancestor Jeremiah Vail.

The big rich guy on the island was Lion Gardiner,and our ancestor Jeremiah, and Katherine, his wife, worked as servants in this guys household. Lion had a 16 year old married daughter who had just birthed a child. The birthing didn’t go well, as both the child and the daughter, Elizabeth, died. But not before Elizabeth was able to make all kinds of crazed accusations against Goodwife Garlick, saying that she had bewitched and be-spelled her and her child.

Elizabeth’s mother, in her grief, continued the accusations after her daughter died. All these persistent accusations eventually ended up in a trial, to which our ancestor was called to testify.

According to the book Witchcraft Trials of Connecticut: The First Comprehensive, Documented …,  By R. G. Tomlinson, Jeremiah and his wife Katherine contradicted Goody Davis’ statements regarding the death of her own child by Garlick’s bewitchment by testifying that:

“Goody Davis spoke as if her child were bewitched…(but) Goody Davis took an Indian child to nurse and for lucre of a little wampum…let her child starve.”

The trial was eventually send to the higher court in Connecticut. All ended well for Goodwife Garlick for the court found her not guilty and she was let go. Goodwife Garlick and her husband continued to live on in Long Island until their deaths with no apparent harm.

McDonnell update…

I just received Annie’s death registration from Rhode Island. Her death at 54 was caused by cardiac disease.

This makes the third Cain sibling to die from cardiac issues. So it is definitely a genetic trait on the Cain side of the family, or possibly the Connelly’s. Either way for all the descendants of this line, watch those fats and carbs and sugars.

So no trick-or-treating!

A Death in Rhode Island…

Well if you stretch it, this post could be considered very Halloweenie, it is about a death.

On the 10th of March in 1914 at the age of 54, Annie Laura Cain McDonnell passed away. She was John and Dennis Cain’s sister. It doesn’t seem as though the Cains were very long lived as a clan. But I was happy to see that this obituary confirmed what I pretty much already knew, she was one of Martin and Winifred Cain’s children.

Here is her short obit:

From a Rhode Island paper of unknown origin.

Back in Norway again…

Well it has been a few weeks since I found out the origins of half of my Norwegian side. (The jury is still out on Amund Amundson.) So I thought I would give an update.

The Norwegian digitalarkkivet site has greatly improved since I visited it 10 or so years ago. I am not sure how much is not on their site, but they do have church book records, censuses and emigrant lists. I have found many actual digitized church records for Jorgina’s family and a few census records from 1801 and 1865. The church records for Drangedal go back to the late 1600s and if one has the patience to read them you can find loads of data.

Having been aware of a series of books called Bygebøker that are specific to Norwegian research, and the history of particular farms/areas of Norway, I checked to see if there is one for Aase or Drangedal. Thankfully there is, so I interlibrary loaned Drangedal med Tørdal Bygdebøk. I have spent the last 3 weeks going “googly-eyed” from using Google translate and my Bygdebøk, typing in paragraphs of Norwegian text trying to figure out who, what and where.

I am happy to say that I finished with the book this last weekend, and I am now more cognizant of Norwegian. Although not conversant. Now, the books themselves are notorious for having errors, I found many in the dates, by comparing with actual records, when I found them, but on the whole they are very informative resources for this type of research. I still plan on trying to find original source material to co-oberate the data I have found, but that is for the future. Right now I have a family tree for Jorgina that goes back, in a few cases, to the later part of the 1500s. In the case of one family we are directly descended from three siblings.

I am still waiting for an English version of the book so I can acquire the specifics, some of the information in the book contains a few very intriguing stories about some of our relatives that need a true translation to better understand.

So I am including a chart, for your amusement, of the family so far, although it is unreadable on this blog at least you can see the trees size. Jorgina and her siblings are the last line on the bottom. At least three came to the US in 1869, Gunlech, Anne Karine and Jorgina, along with their parents. I know that the eldest son Stian inherited the farm and stayed in Norway. He had several daughters all of whom stayed in Norway, so we could still have cousins there.


Skeleton found…

A little while ago I mentioned that I had probably found Almyra Johnson’s brother Samuel Johnson and his family had moved to West Springfield. Well this is Almyra’s nephew. Samuel Johnson, Junior. I think the articles below tell the story. He doesn’t appear to have been murdered, just died by misadventure. I have entered the newspaper articles in order of publication, which is in November of 1909.

MAY BE BONES OF LOCAL MAN
No this isn’t the actual skeleton, just a pic of one to enhance the mood.

Hanged till thou be Dead..

It is again my favorite month of the year, and not just because I was born on All Hallows Eve. This month I have decided to focus on the more macabre of our family stories. Today’s is all about murder and ‘justice’.

The first major war to occur in the New World involving the European’s was King Philip’s War of 1675-1678. It was named after the American Indian Metacomet, who was also known as King Philip. I won’t go into the details of the war, those can be read in any history book. Let’s just say relations between the New Englanders and the local tribes had gotten bad and war was the result.

The war had a devastating effect on New England colonies many towns were completely destroyed, the  economy was in ruin, a large percentage of the population had been killed. Over half of the towns that had been established had been affected in some way by the attacking American Indian warriors. No doubt all of this contributed to the actions described below:

About the 9th of August [1676] there happened a very sad accident, relating to the poor christian indians, viz. a horrid murder committed by some Englishmen upon two squaws, wives to two of our Indian soldiers…and one young woman, and three children, whereof one was a nursing infant…
These two squaws and their company aforementioned, being allowed (in this time of their straits for food) by the English authority, went forth to gather hurtleberries, as a place called Hurtleberry Hill, about four miles from Watertown Mill, within the bounds of that town; were the English, who were about eleven or twelve in number, and were on horseback, first met those indians. There was one Indian man with them called John Stoolemester, one that had been bred with the English; they disarmed him of a carbine belonging to the county, for he was newly come in from the army, and had not been delivered his arms. After they had disarmed this fellow, they threatened to kill him; but he, speaking english interceded strongly for his life, and so they dismissed him, and he came home; but the squaws being among the bushes not far off, he left them there; the english came to them and sat down, and smok’d[sp] it where they were, and exchanged with them bread and cheese for some hurtleberries; and then the English left the squaws and children, but being not gone a mile, four of the English left their company and went back to the squaws, and drove them before them unto the north end of the hill, into a secret place, and there murdered them all, and stript[sp] such as had coats on. Having committed the murder, these men went to their habitations.
The next day after the squaws were missing, and came not home to their wigwams, Capt. Pitimee, being then at home, came to Major Gookin at Cambridge and acquainted him with his fears, that some evil had befallen his wife, sister and their company, and desired an order and some help of Englishmen, two or three as least, to go and search for them; which being so reasonable a request, it was granted. So he went forth and searched a day or two, but could not find them; as last, having procured about fifteen or sixteen Indians, and two english, they made a more strict search, and at last found the dead bodies, not far from one another, cruelly murdered, some shot through, others their brains beat out with hatchets; to be short, this murder was afterward discovered, and the four murders seized, tried, and condemned, and two of the four executed, and the other two pardoned by the General Court. This murder was very much decried by all good men, and it was some satisfaction that some of them were make examples. I know the murderers pretended a law to warrant the act, but the juries and judge were not of their mind in the matter. I know, also, there are some among the English that have a very ill conceit of all the Indians, and will not admit them so much charity, as to think that any of them are sober or honest.
An Historical Account of the Doings and Sufferings of the Christian Indians in New England, In the Years, 1675, 1676, 1677, by Daniel Gookin; page 513, 514

Wartime situations can bring out the best and worse in humans beings. In this case I believe the worst showed its face in actions of one of my ancestors as two of the four men were relatives of mine. Daniel and Stephen Goble of Concord, Middlesex County, Massachusetts were two of the perpetrators of this atrocity. Daniel is my 8xgreat grandfather. Stephen was his nephew.

What makes things even worse for them is the fact that the war was over. King Philip had been killed. People had no more patience for these kinds of acts and so it was decided that these men were to be made an example of. The communities reaction was most likely a political ploy for the sake of peace. An act meant to prove to the Indians that any Whites committing such acts were treated as harshly as Indians. So the four men were promptly arrested, tried, and found guilty. The Reverend Mr. Rowlandson attended them in jail, wrote and witnessed their wills. Daniel’s nephew Stephen was the first to hang on a dreary and cold day in September. From all accounts it appeared that the whole of Boston had turned out to see the show including a Samuel Sewell who wrote the following:

“Mr. Mighil prayed. Four others sat on the gallows, two men and two impudent women, one of which as least, laughed on the gallows.” She was there to be whipped for adultery. The Hangman read the record which was the same for all four men, except for their names.: Stephen Goble of Concord thou art indicted by the name of Steven Goble for not having the fear of God before thy eyes and being instigated by the Devil and thy Accomplices at or on the seventh of August at or near Hurtleberry Hill in the woods in the vicinity of Concord or near thereabouts did murder and kill three Indian women and three Indian children contrary to the grace of our sovereign Lord thy king his crown and signity the law of land and of this Jurisdiction. After the libel testimony in the Case provided wear Read Comitted to the Jury and are remaining on file w/ the records of this Court the Jury brought in their verdict & the found him Guilty, Accordingly the sentence of Death pronounced upon him that he should Goe from hence to the place from whence he Came & thence to the Gallows and there be hanged till thou be Dead.”

A week later Daniel, too ill to walk, was drawn upon a cart to the place of execution and hanged in the company of five Indians.

During the trial of the four men, two of them got off because their families had money and influence. Our ancestral relatives were not so blessed. I have to say that I can not be sorry that they were punished for their actions. They committed murder and should have been punished for it. What is unfortunate is that the other two got away.

Daniel’s son Daniel, jr inherited land his father was awarded for his service in the war. He sold it off. His mother Hannah had married again so forfeited her inheritance of the property. She moved to Lancaster Massachusetts. In an unfortunate twist of fate, Hannah and her second husband Ephraim Roper were killed by Indians about 20 years later.

Good things come to those who wait

I just realized this morning that I am researching two different Johnson families, one on both sides of the family tree. Totally unrelated of course. Hmmm, or are they?

Well back to the good things. During my recent research binge on Carrie Amundson’s mother’s side of the family, I saw a database of Minnesota County marriages listed at the FHL site of online digital images, and decided to check it out. In a shoulder shrugging ‘what the heck’ moment I decided to type in Amund Amundson and Kari Jorgina Johnsons names. I had already contacted the Goodhue County register of deeds office years ago for a record and they told me there wasn’t one.

Imagine my shock when there it, was for all the world to see. A marriage record in Goodhue County for  Ammund Amunndson and Kari Jorgina Johnson.

Married January 2, 1874 in Lyon, Goodhue County, Minnesota. No parents names listed of course. That would make things too easy.

I will place no blame, nor make no accusations. I am just happy to have found it.

Norway I hardly know you

It all started with a gentleman from Australia, or I should say it all started with an email from a gentleman from Australia. He was contacting me regarding a mtDNA match with one of my mtDNA accounts at FamilyTreeDNA, and as I have many accounts with FamilyTreeDNA I first had to find out which one he was matching. So I responded. A day later he informed me the match was with Victor John’s maternal line, this would be Myrtle Hamm. The match is only in Region 1 which means our common ancestress would be very far back in time. His mother’s line is English so any connection would probably have to do with the Nordic folks invading England, because Myrtle’s maternal line is 100% Norwegian.

I have to confess I haven’t done as much Norwegian research as I should have because well, the records that are available are in Norwegian, the websites that have the records are in Norwegian, and having no experience with Norwegian in any way, shape, or form, I’m afraid I felt a bit intimidated by the research. But that’s ended now. I decided I needed to buckle down and try again. Maybe things have changed in last few years. 

From past experience I am familiar with two sources for Norwegian research. One is the FHL, the other is http://arkivverket.no/Digitalarkivet, a Norwegian website that I have tried in the past.  So I started with the FHL. They have very few online digital records for Norway, but the ones that they do have include births, christenings, marriages, deaths. So I started with births hoping to find Kari Jorgina Johnson’s birth record. 

From the many census records I have found for Kari I knew the month she was born and the year. I also know her parents names from her death record at the asylum. Although we couldn’t quite read the father’s surname. We came up with John Staneson.

I found a record for a Kari Jorgina Johnsdtr born May 31, 1838 and baptized June, 1838. Her parents names were John Stianson and Kari Gunlichsdtr.

Kari Jorgina Johnsdtr baptismal record. Click on images for larger size to see details.

Kari’s death information indicated her mother’s name was Kari Johnson. It is quite possible that information is incorrect. So if I have indeed found her baptismal record, further research on her parents has taken me in to the 1760s with her parents, parents births, marriages, etc. I have even found family in the 1801 and 1865 Norwegian census.

I am inclined to believe that the above baptismal record is true. Here’s why. In looking for all the siblings for Kari, I found a brother named Gunlech. He is said, by another researcher of this same family, to have emigrated to Minnesota in 1869, in fact I believe I found him in a census record in the same county Kari shows up in, in 1875, married to Amund, with their daughter Amelia Christine. In fact I think I even found her parents in 1875. There is also a cemetery index record for Gunlech that includes the information that he emigrated in 1869 from Aase, Tordal, Drangedal, Telemark, Norway. By the way, that is where the family is from.

John Stianson and Kari were using the farm name of Aase as their surname in the census record.

So you can see my hesitation in doing Norwegian research, all those name changes with each generation, using farm names, not using farm names. It can lead to much hair pulling and teeth nashing.

Here is a map found at Wikipedia of the area of Drangedal where Tordal, Aase is located in Telemark. Click on images for larger size to see details.

The evidence appears to be pretty convincing. I am hoping now to find a ship record for the members of the family. That might help to make the connection. I also need to look at church records in Goodhue County, Minnesota again, now that I have a better idea of what I am looking for.

This is all very exciting for me. Now I am getting all nostalgic for Norway. If only I could get the same break on Amund. Guess I will have to keep digging.

A picture in Tordal, to get a general idea of the landscape.


Upgrade…

I mentioned a few months ago that I was doing an upgrade to Dad’s DNA tests, as FamilyTreeDNA was having a sale. Well I finally got the results last weekend. I waited until Labor Day weekend to share them with Dad as we were going to be there for a visit.

The upgraded tests were for his mtDNA, being Myrtle’s female line, and the Family Finder test. The Family Finder test finds cousins in the FamilyTreeDNA database and your percentage of ethnicity. In mine and grandpa Shepard’s Family Finder results we carry the DNA that shows us to be 100% European. Imagine my surprise, when Dad’s showed up with 5% Palestinian, Jewish, Druze, and Bedouin. I should correct that to be surprised, but not surprised. I imagine that the JOHN DNA is what carries these characteristics, as the ancient  JOHN yDNA has its origins in the Middle East glancing into Asia.

The reason none of this DNA showed up in me is all about chaos. My burning question now is which side do I choose?