George Washington Verplanck & Ermina Huntley

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather, George Washington Verplanck, son of Henry Abraham and Catherine Ann (McMullen) Verplanck, was born 25 March 1852 in (Eaton) Michigan, and died 28 February 1930 in Hanover (Jackson) Michigan. He married 20 July 1873 in Summit (Jackson) Michigan, Ermina “Mina” Huntley, who was born 4 November 1855 in Michigan, and died 30 December 1917 in Jackson (Jackson) Michigan, daughter of Loren Grant and Mary Jane (Fowler) Huntley.

George was a farmer, mason and bricklayer. Mina was a homemaker.

On 7 December 1903, after 30 years of marriage, Mina filed an application for divorce on the grounds of extreme cruelty. The case was not contested but was quickly withdrawn on 15 December 1903.

Mina died from acute gastritis and acute angina pectoris. George died from burns when his clothing accidently caught fire while he was lighting a fire in a coal range.

photo by Deb Hayes-Wolfe (Ancestry.com)

Ermina & George lie buried in Woodland Cemetery in Jackson, Michigan. They were the parents of seven children:

i. William “Willie” Verplanck, born 20 November 1874 in Michigan, died 1 July 1908 in Blackman (Jackson) Michigan, age 33, of tuberculosis.

ii. Inez Verplanck, born 25 December 1876 in Tekonsha (Calhoun) Michigan, died 2 August 1944 in LaGrange (Cook) Illinois. She married 14 April 1920 in Chicago (Cook) Illinois, Henry P. Halsted, who was born 20 March 1868 in Chicago, and died there 28 October 1926, son of Henry Smith and Anna (—) Halsted. Inez & Henry had no children.

iii. Martha Janet “Mattie” Verplanck, born 13 January 1880 in Hanover, died in 1951. She married 31 December 1902 in Jackson, Charles John Myers, who was born 15 August 1879 in Grass Lake (Jackson) Michigan. Martha & Charles had no children.

iv. George Ola Verplanck, born 10 May 1882 in Hanover, died in 1954. He married 15 April 1903 in Jackson, Beulah Wilson, who was born in August 1881 in Michigan, and died in 1967, daughter of James and Cora (—) Wilson. George & Beulah were the parents of four children.

v. Catherine Alta Verplanck (Tim’s great-grandmother), born 2 May 1885 in Hanover, died there 27 July 1941. She married (as her first husband) 20 June 1906 in Hanover, Marion Case Raven, who was born 18 October 1883 in Cambridge (Lenawee) Michigan, and died 4 December 1926 in Jackson, son of William Franklin and Elona Naomi (Case) Raven. Catherine & Marion were the parents of three children. Catherine married (as her second husband and as his second wife) 14 October 1931 in Jackson, Earl Edward Jewell, who was born 28 January 1893 in Three Rivers (St. Joseph) Michigan, and died there 6 June 1974, son of Elmer W. and Emilie Auguste (Hochstaedt) Jewell. Catherine & Earl had no children.

vi. Ola M. Verplanck, (daughter) born 23 May 1888 in Hanover, died 23 July 1909 in Jackson, age 21.

vii. Eldridge Verplanck, born 7 October 1890 in Jackson, 16 November 1918 in Quantico (Prince William) Virginia, age 28. Eldridge was a private in the US Marine Corps and died of influenza in the barracks during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.

Last Revised: 14 March 2022

Elijah Rodgers & Zipporah Ann Horton

Elijah Rodgers (1834-1925) & Zipporah Ann Horton (1838-1920)
of Guysborough, Nova Scotia & Provincetown, Massachusetts

Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather, Elijah Rodgers, son of Jacob and Mahala (Bedford) Rodgers, was born 4 October 1834 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 19 June 1925 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts. He married 15 December 1863 in Toby Cove (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, Zipporah Ann Horton, who was born 22 February 1838 in Cook’s Cove (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 6 March 1920 in Provincetown, daughter of Charles and Eliza (—) Horton.

Elijah was a fisherman and Zipporah was a homemaker. In the spring of 1873 Elijah may have been part of the rescue efforts to assist the passengers of the shipwrecked RMS Atlantic, which ran onto rocks off the coast of Nova Scotia.

Quite remarkably, Zipporah was 50 years old when she gave birth to her last child. A couple of years later, about 1891, the couple and their younger children emigrated from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod, joining Elijah’s younger brother Neadom, who had arrived in Provincetown many years earlier, in 1858, and their oldest son George, who had joined his uncle Neadom in 1883. Elijah & Zipporah resided at 72B Commercial Street in Provincetown.

In the summer of 1911, Elijah & Zipporah survived a deadly heatwave that killed more than 2,000 people in the northeastern states.

Elijah & Zipporah lie buried together, along with their son Charles, and with their daughter-in-law Adelaide (Williams) Rodgers, wife of their son Neadom, in Gifford Cemetery in Provincetown. Elijah died of heart disease.

Gifford Cemetery, Provincetown, Massachusetts

Elijah & Zipporah were the parents of eight children, all born in Guysborough:

1. Alice Rodgers, born about 1864, died 2 July 1870, age 6. Buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Guysborough, next to her grandmother, Mahala (Bedford) Rodgers.

2. George Lincoln Rodgers (Tim’s great-grandfather), born 1 January 1865, died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts. He married (as his first wife) 18 February 1891 in Provincetown, his first cousin, Mary Jane Rodgers, who was born 7 June 1867 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 10 July 1916 in Somerville (Middlesex) Massachusetts, daughter of Neadom and Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers. George & Mary Jane were the parents of a son. George married (as his second wife) about 1918, Mary Etta (Cushing) Simmons, who was born about 1867, and died 21 January 1938, daughter of John Walter and Deborah (Sampson) Cushing and widow of Mark L. Simmons. George lies buried with his second wife and her first husband in Mayflower Cemetery in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

3. Harvey Rodgers, born 24 November 1872, died 16 November 1952 in Port Madison (Kitsap) Washington. He married 24 November 1914 in Seattle (King) Washington, Bertha Nyman, who was born in 1874 in California, and died 31 May 1945 in Seabold (Kitsap) Washington, daughter of Frank and Elizabeth (O’Rourke) Nyman. Harvey & Bertha had no children.

4. Charles Edward Rodgers, born 12 November 1873, died 6 May 1893 in Provincetown, age 19.

5. Neadom Oscar Rodgers, born 20 January 1876, died in 1953 in Provincetown. He married (as his first wife) 8 October 1908 in Provincetown, Adelaide Williams, who was born there 20 September 1875, and died there 24 October 1918, daughter of John and Marian (Campbell) Williams. Addie died of pneumonia, probably a victim of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. Neadom & Addie were the parents of a son. Neadom married (as his second wife and as her second husband) 11 December 1923 in Wellfleet (Barnstable) Massachusetts, his brother’s widow, Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers, who was born 23 January 1885 in Grand Manan (Charlotte) New Brunswick, and died 18 September 1979 in Provincetown, daughter of Job and Catherine (—) Stanley, and widow of William Rodgers. Neadom & Lil had no children.

6. William Rodgers, born in December 1878, died 13 January 1920 in Provincetown. He married (as his first wife) 24 January 1900 in Provincetown, Lizzie Ellsworth Newcomb, who was born there 5 November 1883, and died before 1906, daughter of John O. and Christina (McKinnon) Newcomb. William & Lizzie were the parents of a son. William married (as his second wife and as her first husband) Lillian Udavilla (Stanley) Rodgers, who was born 23 January 1885 in Grand Manan (Charlotte) New Brunswick, and died 18 September 1979 in Provincetown, daughter of Job and Catherine (—) Stanley. William & Lil were the parents of two daughters.

7. Edna Elizabeth Rodgers, born 5 November 1884, died 15 October 1967 in Provincetown. She married 22 November 1904 in Provincetown, Samuel Thomas Rich, who was born there 6 September 1882, and died 2 August 1979 in Hyannis (Barnstable) Massachusetts, son of Caleb and Julia Ann (Freeman) Rich. Edna & Samuel had no children.

8. Osela Charles Rodgers, born 20 June 1888, died 20 June 1968 in Philadelphia (Philadelphia) Pennsylvania. He married 22 August 1917 in Portland (Cumberland) Maine, Sylvia Frymire, who was born 8 July 1894 in Williamsport (Lycoming) Pennsylvania, and died in January 1983 in Bethlehem (Northampton) Pennsylvania. Osela & Sylvia were the parents of a son.

sobering numbers

“Window” by Zinaida Serebriakova

Latest statistics: New London County now has 16,753 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Of those, 80 people are currently in the hospital and 364 have lost their lives. That’s 10,105 new cases since December 6 when I last reported. I’m kind of surprised that I haven’t thought of updating the statistics for almost 2 months.

Connecticut’s positive test rate is now 3.64%. 9% of Connecticut’s residents have had their first dose of vaccine. I’m getting antsy. So far individuals over the age of 75 can make appointments to receive their vaccinations. Waiting impatiently for it to be 65+ for Tim and who-knows-when for me (being only 64)…

Connecticut has had 7,020 deaths since the pandemic began. We lost 8,500 in the 1918 Influenza Pandemic. I hope we don’t match or go past that number before this is over. 😟

I’ve been having trouble with one of my eyes. I had a flasher episode for several days late in December and when I got a clear bubble shaped floater a few days later I decided to put my fear of COVID-19 aside and headed to the ophthalmologist. I went back for a one month check on Thursday and everything is looking okay so far. The doctor said the month and the year following a flasher episode is the danger zone for damage to retina. So I have to go back in three months for another check. In the meantime, the floater looks less like a bubble and more like a blob of diffused light. She says the floater is actually shaped like a horseshoe.

Tim says his floaters are dark specks. I mentioned this to the doctor and she said the clear ones are more serious. But she’s cautiously optimistic that the situation has resolved itself.

At first I was finding the floater too distracting to do any reading but my brain seems to be getting used to the mysterious blob and sometimes now I don’t even see it. So I started reading a wonderful story, The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, which my daughter and son-in-law gave me for Christmas. It’s been a long time since I’ve read any fiction and this reminds me of Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, but set in medieval Russia rather than medieval Norway. I’m loving it so much!!! It’s a wonderful distraction from the pandemic and the weather.

throwback thursday

1971-2 ~ Barbara, 9th grade

Adolescent angst captured in a sketch by my art teacher, whose name I have long forgotten… Still sorting through the boxes of stuff from my parents and grandparents…

Do you have any memories of the 1968 flu pandemic?

I have finished reading a book on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and was surprised to learn that there have been two flu pandemics since 1918 and both of them were in my lifetime. The 1918 flu was caused by the H1N1 virus. Another pandemic in 1957, the year I was born, was caused by the H2N2 virus. And in 1968, what we called the Hong Kong flu at the time, H3N2, happened when I was 11 years old.

The 1968 pandemic killed an estimated one to four million people worldwide. I had no idea! We haven’t got to one million deaths from COVID-19 yet, though it seems likely we will soon. Did my parents protect me from this news as it was happening? They weren’t shielding me from news about the Vietnam War…

It was the “Hong Kong” flu, though, because that’s what everyone was saying we had. For Christmas vacation in 1968 we (parents, sister and I) drove from Connecticut to Florida, picking up a couple of widowed aunts along the way, to spend the holidays with another aunt and uncle at their mobile home in Fort Myers, Florida. (I think some more relatives might have been staying in nearby motels. Not sure that all of us could have slept in a two bedroom mobile home.) But that is where and when we all came down with it.

All of us, except one, a 26-year-old cousin who kept harping on the “fact” that he wasn’t sick because he took lots of vitamin C. My sickbed was an air mattress in the living room so I wasn’t spared his endless crowing and the groaning, moaning, miserable grown-ups telling him over and over again to shut up. And that is my only memory of that Christmas and that pandemic.

I wonder how terrified I might have been had I known so many were dying.

Tomorrow we break out of our bubble to get our yearly flu shots. It seems worth the risk. Instead of wandering into CVS and waiting around, we had to make appointments and have been instructed to wait in the car until we are called in for our turns. Feeling jittery.

science is uncertainty

a man wearing a mask in 1918
image credit: Western Neighborhoods Project/OpenSFHistory

We all want answers today, and science is not going to give them. Science is uncertainty. And the pace of uncertainty reduction in science is way slower than the pace of a pandemic.
~ Brian Nosek
(The Washington Post, May 26, 2020)

I’ve been thinking about scientists a lot lately, beacuse of the pandemic, so when I read the above quote in the newspaper about “the pace of uncertainty reduction in science” it caught my attention. I remember my father teaching me that whenever science finds an “answer” it only brings more questions into focus. The more scientists learn, the more they appreciate how much they still don’t know.

Experiment, observe and gather data. Make educated guesses and investigate some more. My father spent his entire research career studying chicken viruses. It’s kind of astonishing that there could be so much to learn about just one kind of virus. Years and years of probing and analysis.

My father at work at the University of Connecticut,
sometime in the 1960s
~ photo by Thommie White, my grandmother

As far as I can tell, the scientists studying the coronavirus pandemic have been very candid about what they still don’t know. Yet, their best guess is that wearing a mask makes sense because it will likely protect other people from you if you happen to have the virus (with no symptoms) and are spreading it without realizing it. Combined with social distancing and frequent hand-washing, this is our best strategy for slowing down the spread of COVID-19 for now. Rest assured scientists are still searching for answers, hoping to reduce the uncertainty as soon as humanly possible!

tip of the iceberg

“A Late Riser’s Miserable Breakfast” by Carl Larsson

This is one of my favorite Carl Larsson paintings. I think it’s a combination of the appealing colors and the gentle reminder that some days just seem to start off on the wrong foot. For kids and adults!

There are 68 detected cases of COVID-19 in Connecticut now, all of them west of the Connecticut River in the western four counties, bordering New York. So far the eastern four counties, including our New London County, have no detected cases. But our state epidemiologist estimates there are 100 undetected cases for every detected case, so we are seeing just the tip of the iceberg. The suspense is getting to me. How bad will it get?

It was different in the last pandemic. The 1918 Influenza Pandemic entered Connecticut through New London.

In Connecticut, the state’s busy ports, and particularly New London’s Navy base, provided an easy point of entry for the disease. The state’s first recorded case of influenza appeared among Navy personnel in New London on September 11, 1918. By October 25, the State Public Health Service reported 180,000 cases. It appears the outbreak, after originating in New London County, moved to Windham and Tolland Counties and then continued on south and west to New Haven, Hartford, Fairfield, and Litchfield Counties. Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Waterbury recorded the most flu fatalities in the state, but smaller towns like Derby and Windham were also hard hit by the disease, with even higher death rates per thousand than in the larger cities. The war ended in November 1918, but the flu epidemic raged on.

By February 1919, the flu had finally subsided, leaving 8,500 dead in Connecticut.

~ Tasha Caswell
(Eighty-Five Hundred Souls: the 1918-1919 Flu Epidemic in Connecticut ~ ConnecticutHistory.org)

Reading used to be my favorite occupation but in recent years I haven’t been able to do much of it because it would put me to sleep, even in the daytime. It’s been very puzzling to me why this would be so. But I think I might have finally figured it out. I keep losing my place when I finish one line of text and try to move down to the next. It was exhausting trying to focus and find the next line. Yesterday I tried holding a bookmark under the line I was reading and then moving it down to the next one. It worked! I read a whole chapter with ease! Looks like I can add reading back to my list of self-quarantine activities.

So now I am reading These Fevered Days: Ten Pivotal Moments in the Making of Emily Dickinson by Martha Ackmann. It’s nice to escape from today’s reality, even if for a few hours at a time.