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07 November 2014

#32--52ancestors -- Mayflower Links

Dear Grandsons,
Yes, you have ancestors who came over on the famous Mayflower in 1620 and celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621. No, their names were not Gormley. However, they are your 10th-great-grandparents — John Alden and Priscilla Mullins (also spelled Mullens).

George H. Boughton (1833-1905) painted the famous Pilgrims Going to Church (1867, originally "The Early Puritans of New England Going to Church"), a scene he interpreted from a quote in W. H. Bartlett's The Pilgrim Fathers (London:1853, p. 237).
They have become a famous pair — thanks in part to an 1858 narrative poem by the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who also was a descendant of John and Priscilla. You have many cousins thanks to your connection to John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. The poem focused on a love triangle between three Pilgrims: Miles Standish, Priscilla Mullens, and John Alden. Longfellow claimed the story was true, but the historical evidence is inconclusive. Nevertheless, the ballad was exceedingly popular in 19th-century America and immortalized the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Miles Standish and John Alden purportedly vied for the affections of Priscilla Mullins, who utters, according to Longfellow, one of the most famous retorts ever: "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?"

John Alden married Priscilla Mullins on May 12, 1622. She was the only survivor of the Mayflower Mullins family. They had 10 children and built a home in what is now Duxbury, Massachusetts on the north side of the village, on a farm, which is still in possession of their descendants of the seventh generation. John Alden's House, now a National Historic Landmark, was built ca 1653 and is open to the public as a museum. It is run by the Alden Kindred of America (http://www.alden.org/) an organization that provides historical information about him and his home, including genealogical records of his descendants.

 

 
Alden House in Duxbury
 
Priscilla died in Duxbury between 1651 and her husband's death in 1687. Both were buried in the Myles Standish Burial Ground in Duxbury, Massachusetts.
 
John and Priscilla had the following children who survived to adulthood:

1. Elizabeth was born about 1624 and died in Little Compton, Rhode Island on May 31, 1717. She married William Peabody on December 26, 1644, and had 13 children.
2. John was born about 1626 and died in Boston on March 14, 1701/2. He married Elizabeth (Phillips) Everill on April 1, 1660, and had 14 children.
3. Joseph was born about 1628 and died in Bridgewater, Massachusetts on February 8, 1696/7. He married Mary Simmons about 1660 and had seven children.
4. Priscilla was born about 1630. She was alive and unmarried in 1688.
5. Jonathan was born about 1632 and died in Duxbury on February 14, 1697. He married Abigail Hallett on December 10, 1672, and had six children.
6. Sarah was born about 1634 and died before the settlement of her father's estate in 1688. She married Alexander Standish about 1660 and had eight children.
7. Ruth was born about 1636 and died in Braintree on October 12, 1674. She married John Bass in Braintree on February 3, 1657/8, and had seven children.
8. Mary was born about 1638. She was still alive and unmarried in 1688.
9. Rebecca was born about 1640 and died between June 12, 1696, and October 5, 1722. She married Thomas Delano in 1667 and had nine children.
10. David was born about 1642 and died in Duxbury between July 2, 1718, and April 1, 1719. He married Mary Southworth by 1674 and had six children.

You descend from their third child, Joseph Alden (1628-1696/7) who married Mary Simmons; they had a son, Isaac Alden (1666-1727) who married Mehitable Allen. They had a son, Captain Ebenezer Alden (1693-1776) who married Anna Keith. They had a daughter, Abigail Alden  (1721-1762) who married Ebenzer Byram Jr. They had a daughter, Mary Byram (1755-1819) who married Silas Ayres. They had a daughter, Hannah Ayres (1781-1832) who married Isaac Pierson. They had a son, Byram Ayres Pierson (1801-1886) who married thirdly, Catherine Hosslich. They had a son, Isaac Pierson (1847-1911) who married Katherine Maybee. They had a son, Claude Vernon Pierson (1886-1942) who took the Gormley surname of his adoptive parents who took him to rear when his mother died when he was a baby.  He was your great-grandfather. See my blog about him.
http://www.shakingfamilytrees.blogspot.com/2014/03/9-52-ancestors-blended-families.html#links

Your family tree names start with Alden and Mullins and then zigzag to Byram, Ayres, Pierson and finally to Gormley. Happy Thanksgiving and remember your heritage.

The sentimental postcard (above) was drawn by prolific card illustrator, Ellen H. Clapsaddle (1863-1934), who also did many other Thanksgiving cards.

04 November 2014

#31-52ancestors--Treasures in Old Letters

“Taken me a woman . . .”

Letter dated: 25 January 1885
Jasper, Newton County, Arkansas
Addressed to: E. C. and Nancy Anderson and family
(in Laurel County, Kentucky)
From: J. F. Kelley and Wm. C. and M. E. (Kelley) Vanderpool,
Newton County, Arkansas
[note: J. F. Kelley is the father of M. E. (Kelley) Vanderpool


J. F. Kelley writes:
“Dear Brother and Sister. I seat myself to write to you in answer to your letter that I received and was glad to hear from you and that you was all well and doing well. This leaves us all doing well. As for news I hant [sic] any more than times is hard and money is scarce. Corn is from 40 to 70 cents a bushel. Pork is 4 cts. per pound, wheat is $1.00 per bushel. Flour is $2.25 cts. per hundred. Horses is high and cattle is low. Store goods is reduced in prices in this country. So that will do on that.

“We have had some winter here for some time but I think we will have some milder weather in a few days. Well, I would like to see you the very best in the world, but as old age and time and distance will not admit [sic] just now. I can't tell when the opportunity will roll round but I would like for you all to come over and see me and look at the country. I will try to furnish you some to eat."



[The following evidently penned by either M.E. (Kelley) Vanderpool or her husband, W. C. Vanderpool]:
“Uncle Clayton, you spoke in your letter that your children was good scholars. I am glad to hear it, but not boasting at all but I think that we have got two children that learns invariably fast. John, our oldest can spell anywhere in the Blue Back Speller by heart. He and Elbert is [sic] going to school four miles from home. His studies is the speller, fifth reader and third part arithmetic, and our Nancy is a spelling near the back of (the) speller and can read in the second reader.

“Aunt Nan, I will tell you about Henry's folks. They are as well as common. They have three children. They have a pair of twins. They are both girls. They are one week old. The oldest one is just eleven months old. So enough on that. My baby is ten months old and is as smart as a cricket.

“Aunt Nan, I would love to see you all the best in the world. I wish that you and Uncle Clayton was out here to go to meeting with us next Sunday. We live in one mile of the church house. Aunt Nan, I want you to tell Aunt Jane that I hant forgot her that I would love to see her and I want her to write to me.

“As we haven’t said anything about corn crops, I will state to you that has been good corn crops in this country this year. Pap says that he has raised more corn and better this year than he ever did. Aunt Nan, I will send you one of Pap's pictures in this letter. So I will come to a close for this time hoping to hear from you all soon."

[Thanks to my cousin, Shirley Martin Chandler, who found the letters in her granny’s attic, transcribed and provided me with a copy.].



The family links:
“Aunt Nan” was Nancy (née Jones, 1847-1918), the wife of E. C. (Ephraim Clayton) Anderson. They married 1868 in Clay County, Kentucky and at the time this letter was written, they were living in Laurel County, Kentucky.

The family connection between J. F. (John Farmer) Kelley and E. C. Anderson was actually between Sarah (née Anderson), the wife of J. F. Kelley, and E. C. Anderson. They were sister and brother (children of Joseph Anderson and Mary McElroy). Sarah died sometime between 1870 and 1880 in Arkansas. J. F. Kelley calls them brother and sister although technically, E. C. Anderson is his brother-in-law, and Nancy is E.C.’s wife.

The second part of the letter, evidently by (or for) Mary Elizabeth (née Kelley) Vanderpool contains some genealogical jewels. She mentions her children, John Vanderpool (my paternal grandfather) and Nancy Vanderpool (apparently the namesake of “Aunt Nan” as there are no other Nancys in these families. The Elbert mentioned is probably Mary Elizabeth’s youngest brother — Elbert Kelley. John Vanderpool was about nine years old and his sister, Nancy was seven. Elbert Kelley would have been a teenager, about 16 or 17 years old.

At first I thought it odd that Elbert would still be in school, but have discovered that children who lived in rural areas often went to school only when the crops and farm chores permitted—usually in the winter — and may have attended school only a few months each year. The four-mile jaunt to school postulates that they were indeed tough in the “good old days.” Walking eight miles a day provided plenty of exercise for those kids. They probably had chores after school, too.

In another part of the letter, Mary Elizabeth (my great-grandmother) records the only evidence we have about her “smart as a cricket” child who was born in March 1884 (and thus was 10 months old in January 1885). This child (sex unknown) died before 1900 and no other record has been found about him or her.

While the information about the price of crops, horses, store goods and the weather is of some interest, Mary Elizabeth, also gives us the exact birthdate of her brother Henry Kelley’s twin daughters — Dora and Cora —  and confirms that they are only 11 months younger than their big brother, Will Kelley.

Henry Kelley was born in 1857 in Clay County, Kentucky. He married 4 Feb. 1883 in Newton County, Arkansas to Mary Jane Henderson (1866-1920). Thanks to a letter that Henry wrote to this same uncle (E. C. Anderson) on 21 July 1883, we know more than just marriage facts. In it, Henry wrote:

“Uncle Clayton, I have taken me a woman. I was married the 4th of last February. My wife is 16 years old and she is black eyed, black hair and the same size of Sister Mary [who was my great-granny, Mary Elizabeth (née Kelley) Vanderpool, who my dad said was a "tiny thing"] and the prettiest girl you ever saw.”

Ephraim Clayton Anderson (1847-1918) married Nancy Trosper Jones (1839-1917) in Clay County, Kentucky. She was the daughter of Even Jones and Mary B. Weaver. They lived most of their lives in Laurel County, Kentucky. He was a surveyor, farmer and justice of the peace. They had six children, including a set of twins, but only three children survived childhood.

The “Aunt Jane” referred to apparently is a sister of E. C. Anderson and Sarah (nee Anderson) Kelley. If so, she is believed to have married a Sampson Wilder as his second wife.

Thanks to the family letter writers and those who preserve and share these treasures.