Unusual request?

My great great grandfather’s uncle, Asa Lyon Hatch, was one of the men in the boating incident I posted a few weeks earlier. As mentioned he survived that accident, with possibly just the loss of his dignity, and went on to live a few more decades. Sadly, due to bad luck, or crappy karma, neither of his two wives, or only child, survived him when he died in 1895.

I don’t know why, maybe it was just a slow day, but for no particular reason I started to do a very cursory background check on Asa. In the process of this search I learned that Asa was a very well-to-do merchant, who had lived in Rhode Island, Vermont, New York City, Kentucky, and who knows where else.

And then I found his will which he made in 1892, and I’m not really sure why, but I started reading it.

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Found at FindaGrave. The text is extremely difficult to almost impossible to read.

Estate of Asa Lyon Hatch
My Last Will!

In the name of God! Spirit of all things I Asa Lyon Hatch do make and declare this to be my last Will and Testament.

First. After my Spirit has passed to the World of Spirits, I request that my body be clothed in garments of pure white, as I have heretofore stated.

I wish my remains to be placed in a casket of clear white; not expensive.

Second. I desire my body placed in my grounds in the Cemetery in the Town of Grand Isle, State of Vermont. Have the grave dug North and South with the head to the north with the foot of my wife’s Elizabeth grave, on the west, and that of my wife’s Frances, on the North.

I desire to have placed at the head of my grave, a White Marble Head Stone similar to those placed at the head of my two wife’s, with the following words plainly and clearly cut on the same, with the name, cut in a square, raised letter the same as those of my two Wives

“I am the last of those called Mine:
“My resurrection morn; was, when spirit and body parted;
“I have left to join my Loved Ones;
“To spend with them – a Life Eternal!
“Earth Fare The Well!
         Asa Lyon Hatch

Third. I would name and appoint my brothers Henry R. Hatch and Arthur E. Hatch, both residents of Cleveland, of the State of Ohio, to be my Executors. And request that no bonds be required, of them.

It is my wish, that my friends Aldridge B. Gardiner of Providence, Rhode Island may carry out my wishes, as to the distribution of the small effect that I have left in the City of Providence, R.I.; a memorandum of which, I have left with this will.

Fourth. I give and bequeath, all my Real Estate and personal property, not designated in above memorandum to my two brothers Henry R. Hatch and Arthur E. Hatch; Share and share alike.

Fifth. I request that my Executors, shall set aside the sum of Five Hundred Dollars in cash, to be invested in the Bonds of the Town of Grand Isle Vermont; or of those of the County of Grand Isle; or of the State of Vermont; which shall be perfectly safe, praying an income that shall prove requisitor to carry out my wishes, as herein expressed.

Sixth. It is my wish that the sum of Five Hundred Dollars, may never be allowed to fall below the amount specified, and the income from which shall be used, to keep my grounds, or burial plat clean and free from grass or weeds; also the Marble Coping and Head Stones in place and in order.

Should any of the income remain after being as above applied I request that such of the remainder be used, as may be deemed necessary to keep clean and free from grass, the graves of my Father, my Mother and those of my Brothers and Sisters, as well as those of my Grandfather and GrandMother Lyon, and that of my Uncle Sewell [sic, should be Newell] Lyon.

Seventh. I have made and signed an order or Draft to the order of Mrs. Emma Hewett Taft, now of Providence, R.I for the sum of Five Hundred Dollars, to be paid to her to compensate her for the care and kindness shown me whilst sick, and feeble and I request that my executors have that order or draft honored and protected out of my estate.

Eighth. I request that my executors will see that my funeral expenses are paid as soon as after my decease as possible out of my estate.

In testimony whereof. I the said Asa Lyon Hatch, have to this my last will and testament contained on one sheet of paper, subscribed my name and affixed my seal this ninth day of April Eighteen hundred and ninety two.

Asa Lyon Hatch L.S. [seal]

He actually added a codicil in 1895 giving his caretaker Mrs. Taft another $1000. Only two of his siblings were still alive when he died, the two brother’s mentioned in the will.

I found the will amusing and sad at the same time. Sad because he had no one left to survive him other than his brothers. But then I had to laugh because he was so very particular about his pure white clothes, pure white casket (apparently he was also cheap), pure white headstone, and the placement of his remains.

Thinking about all that white has images of Col. Sanders constantly popping into my head. Maybe he thought that all that white would better grease the hinges of those pearly gates.

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This is the plot he is buried in with his two wives, Elizabeth and Frances, and only child, daughter Lizzie. Grand Isle, Vermont.

There are no descendants to share his life, show off pictures, or brag about his accomplishments. This will is the only thing of his I have found that gives me a sense of his personality. I know thinking about it in the future will make me smile, maybe you will too. That’s something anyway.

 


Source:
1. Rhode Island, Wills and Probate Records, 1582-1932 for Asa Lyon Hatch; Providence Probate Inventories of Estates, Vol 38-39 pages 12-16, 1894-1896 Ancestry.com image 324-326 of 586.

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A Patriot speaks…

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Dillon Franklin Hatch, probably about the age he wrote his speech. His parents are in the next photo.

In 1867 at the age of 18 Dillon F. Hatch, my g-g-grandfather, wrote a patriotic speech which he possibly gave for a class. We are lucky enough that one of our Shaw cousins has this speech and made copies for others to enjoy. So, I thought that this would be a most appropriate post for the upcoming 4th of July celebration.

3395701408_c579d5e35e_oFirst a little background on Dillon. He was born in Grand Isle County, Vermont in 1849 to Oscar Hatch and Olive Robinson. His parents were decently well off members of society, so he received a very modern, thorough, education. He even kept a diary for a short time and practiced his writing in it, something for which he received high marks in school.

He probably apprenticed as a carpenter in his younger years, as he eventually went into the furniture making business. His repertoire included windows, and doors (one of his patented designs was in a previous post on my blog). Sometime in the 1880s he moved his wife, Almira (Brooks) and their children to Ohio, where Dillon managed a large furniture factory until he retired.

He never fought in any wars himself, his age, (too young, too old),  would always get in the way of any patriotic fervor he might have had.

The speech that we have here was written in honor of the soldiers who fought in two wars: the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War, which had just ended two years earlier.

I am including a .pdf file of the complete speech in his own handwriting (albeit a photocopy). But below, for easier reading, I am giving you the transcribed version. He had many misspellings and poor punctuation, I tried to keep those errors in the transcription, however, sometimes autocorrect fixes those things, so I can’t guarantee the accuracy of the ‘errors’. Note: because of the time period in which he is writing this speech he does use the term ‘Negro’ when discussing the Civil War, I did not change it to a more appropriate or politically correct term, as that would be presumptive and just plain bad history. Just know that he is not using the term in a derogatory manner and is a reflection of the time period .

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Dillon F. Hatch Oration, Delivered at Williston[?] May 9th, 1867 by Dillon F. Hatch

The Soldiers of the Republic
The present generation owes a debt of gratitude to all who have preceded us, but none, a greater debt than to the Soldiers of the Republic, those who fought and bled for their county’s cause who willingly sacrificed their lives in its defense. This of what our fathers endured to build up this great Republic when they were weighed down by the power of a tyrant whom they so bravely resisted and whose power they threw off , and thus became an independent nation. how staring are those memories of the Revolution, how precious the names of the actors on the theater of war, in the times that tried mans souls. With pride and gratitude we think of Warren, who, when offered the command of different parts of the field at the battle of Bunker Hill, refused, saying that he came out to fight as a common soldier, and not to command, and fighting as such he nobly fell. Warren Putmann, Pomeroy, Stark, glorious names that were not born to die. There were instances in our late war of the Rebellion of unselfish devotion to country such as is seldom seen. Such was the devotion of Ellsworth, assassinated in the very act of raising the Stars and Stripes and of trailing the Rebel flag in the dust.

We honor such as the true, noble, soldier of the Republic. But what do we owe to them. There are very few who really understand and appreciate this.

Look and behold the bright and peaceful homes scattered throughout the land, for their preservation the soldier willingly shed his blood on the field of battle. But let us compare our soldiers with those of other nations. When war was declared between Great Briton and the colonies the nations look upon it as merely an out-break of some inferior power and not requiring much force to put it down, but they are mistaken, they found a nation of soldiers though not, perhaps, as well drilled as some pf the old soldiers of the European armies but they are men that were used to hardships, and toil, and they fought fearless of danger, in defense of home and country, which they loved as life its self. In this they differed greatly from those of other nations. I do not mean to say that the people of other nations do not have this love for their county, for I do not think a nation could long exist were it not for that. But the great difference is this; our soldiers come from the people to defend their homes, instead of being those who fight for pay.

How the nation was moved by the fall of Fort Sumpter. The nation as one man, rose demanding retribution for the act, and they sought it by hurling thousands of men down upon them which crushed them out in a few year’s of war. But it was love of freedom that helped to do this more than any thing else, freedom that great boon which all men seem striving to attain. There is nothing like ones fighting for freedom and home, to bring out all the bravery and courage of the soul. A man hitherto thought to be very timid, will sometimes under the circumstances perform deed’s which seem almost incredible. No love is stronger than that for home and father-land, and it was because of this love of home that our citizen’s rose up in such numbers to defend heir altairs and their homes. (Switzerland in this respect, is most like our own nation. It stands surrounded by Empires and Kingdoms as a monument to freedom it cannot be conquered, nor can or own.) The American nation is alive at the heart and could not be destroyed by a war of centuries. The Rebell’s were actuated[sic] by an impulse to save their homes from destruction, they thought our northern soldiers would bring upon them. The lower class supposed for a time that our soldiers were bands of lawless robbers and murders, but they found their mistake after our army had passed through the country.

We have an illustration showing how love of freedom nerves the arm of the soldier in battle, in the use of negroes as soldiers in the late war. When they were first used by Fremont in Missoura, nearly all of the citizens of that state and of the other states answered him severly, because of it, and even the President refused to let him use them as such, but it was not long before they found that it was a very great mistake. Negroes became after a while some of the best and bravest soldiers in our army. The Rebells soon learned this and tried the same thing, but it did not succeed as well with them as with us, for the reason that they were fighting for their freedom when fighting with us, but when they were on the other side they were only fighting in defense of slavery that great evil they were trying to escape, and thus they fought with us for freedom and found it.

Honor to the soldier. Let his name be cherished let his children be nourished by the Republic let his lonely widow have no occasion to call in question the gratitude of the nation, let the sod  be green over his grave, and let the marble colum and granite shaft rise all over the land to perpetuate the name and the noble deed’s of the American Soldier.

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1867 American Flag

Have a great 4th OF JULY!!

 

Who says Lyons can’t swim?

The Lyons of Vermont apparently didn’t know how to lead boring lives as can be seen in these two 1851 newspaper articles:

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This article is from “The Vermont Journal”, March 1851.
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This article is from “The Boston Daily Atlas” on the same date as above.

Newell my 5xgreat Uncle survived this harrowing adventure as did his wife Arrietta (Tiknor) and their two children, Asa N. and Edward, (who were about 2 and 1 years old respectively). We know this for several reasons, the most important being the 1860 census which shows everyone alive and well in Burlington, along with several other children that had been added to the family nest.

I can find nothing else out about the incident in the papers, possibly because the issues that are relevant to the story haven’t been digitized yet. The servant mentioned in the article could be one of two women who are found in the 1850 census record living with the family: Electa Stevens, a 20 year old Canadian; or Mary Sullivan, age 23, from Ireland.

Newell died in 1868. He was 62. Like his mother he suffered from some form of insanity, possibly alzheimers, as he died in an asylum. He had been a respected lawyer in Burlington until he, apparently, lost his mind. His wife Arrietta married again and died many years later in Florida. Their only surviving heir was Asa N. who died childless, but married, in St. Louis.

Asa’s great heist…

Asa Newell Lyon, the only surviving child of Newell and his wife Arrietta, was born in 1848 in Burlington, Vermont. When I was researching his background, in an effort to find out more about Esther, I found that he was living in St. Louis, Missouri by 1870 working in an advertising agency, at the age of 21, and in later years he was working in a tailor shop, always as a clerk. He spent the rest of his life in St. Louis eventually marrying and dying there.

I was curious about why he might have moved all that way from home, when I ran into an article in the New York Herald from September of 1874.

Court of General Sessions.
Larcenies.

Asa N. Lyon, who was indicted for stealing, on the 10th of July, four coats, worth $80, the property of the Wilde Brothers, No. 452 Broadway, pleaded guilty to an attempt at grand larceny. In consequence of the previous good character and the respectable connections of the prisoner His Honor sent him to the Penitentiary for six months instead of to the State Prison.

Asa, grandson of Asa Lyon, a former representative of Vermont, found out that having well known and ‘rich’ relatives sure helps grease the wheels of justice in your favor. HIs father had died in 1868, and his mother remarried to Ardin Styles. I am sure that his incarceration was an embarrassment for him, and the family, as he high-tailed it back to a far away city, where no one knew his family or his “respectable connections.”

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New York Herald, September 30, 1874 vol.XXXIX, Issue 273, page 5.

More about crazy Esther and the Lyons…

One of my goals on my trip to Salt Lake City the week before last, was to see if I could find more out about my crazy 5x great grandmother Esther (Newell) Lyon.

My belief was that because I could not find a death record for her in Vermont, maybe there is something in Asa Lyon’s probate records that could help answer the question. The assumption being that if she wasn’t mentioned in his probate records she had probably died.

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A page from Asa Lyon’s probate records of Chittenden County, Vermont.

I am happy to say that she was.

For those who don’t remember – Esther was born in 1761 in Goshen, Litchfield County, Connecticut eldest daughter of the Rev. Abel Newell and his wife Abigail Smith. She married Rev. Asa Lyon, who was two years younger than her, in 1796 when she was 34 years old. They lived in Grand Isle County, Vermont for most of their married life and had three known children together: Abigail, who married Abijah Hatch, Esther, who married Daniel Brown, and Newell, who married Arrietta unknown.

Asa Lyon, the patriarch of the family, died in 1841, and thankfully he left us probate records regarding his estate. In these estate papers I learned several interesting things, the most important was that Esther, his wife, was still alive at the time of his death. However, it was also learned that his daughter Esther had died. She had lived long enough to marry, but it is doubtful she had any children as they are not mentioned in the probate record. The only two children inheriting any part of the estate were Abigail and her brother Newell.

When Asa died he owned close to 1500 acres of land in Vermont, the largest tract being about 300 acres. not all together, but in various places in the state. Its total worth was about $29,000 (that would be about $830,000 in 2015 dollars). So needless to say the Lyons were a family of means and property. I guess it helps if you are a bit of a skinflint, as Asa was known to be.

Abigail’s husband Abijah had been named as Esther’s guardian:

On Application of Abijah B. Hatch guardian of Esther Lyon, widow of Asa Lyon, late of Grand Isle, deceased, an insane person.

and one of the responsibilities of probate court was to make sure that Esther’s needs were going to be taken care of, as seen in this entry:

The said Abijah & Abigail agree to maintain and support the widow of the said Asa Lyon during the residue of her natural life free of any charges upon the said Newell or upon that part of the estate of the said Asa Lyon which shall in the distribution thereof be set to him by procuring for her suitable apartments in the house in which she now resides, and such meats and drinks medicines, bedding, attendance and other accommodations as shall render her as comfortable and happy as in her circumstances she can be made during her life, and inter her remains and lay her coffin beside that of her husband Asa Lyon.

The court even makes sure that her body is properly ‘placed’ when she does pass out of this world.

The probate case file continues until 1843, at no time during this period is it indicated that Esther has died, but, she is not listed in the 1850 census as living with her daughter Abigail. So I can only assume that sometime between 1843 and 1850 Esther died.

This was more than I knew before, so even if I don’t have an exact date I am very pleased.

Their son Newell married and had 6 children with his wife Arrietta. Only his eldest, Asa N. Lyon, survived to adulthood. But Asa married very late in life and never had any children of his own, so, it was up to my 4x great grandmother Abigail to keep the family line going, which she did with great gusto as she had 11 children with Abijah, (that we know of). Her son Oscar Ebenezer Hatch is my ancestor.