throwback thursday

5.24.23 ~ Tim on the Charles W. Morgan
Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut

A year ago we were busy packing up to move to North Carolina and visiting as many of our favorite places in Connecticut as we could get to before we had to leave. This post was meant to be about the last one of those visits, but I ran out of time to get it written and posted. Mystic Seaport is an amazing living history maritime museum and it was also the venue for many special exhibits, performances and festivals that we enjoyed over the years.

stern of the Charles W. Morgan

The Charles W. Morgan is the main attraction, the last wooden whaleship in the world, and a National Historic Landmark. (more information here) It was a 15-minute drive from our home and we were long-time members of the Seaport. In fact, my parents were members and brought me here often when I was growing up, when we lived an hour away.

deck prism lying flush in the deck,
it refracts and disperses natural light into the space below deck
harpoons tucked under a ceiling
ship’s wheel
luxury for the captain
captain’s quarters
first and second mates’ shared quarters

Life onboard consisted of long periods of boredom; for weeks, even months, no whales would be seen. The crew would repair gear, write letters, play games and music, and carve scrimshaw — pieces of whale bone or tooth — to pass the time.
~ New Bedford Whaling website

Whaling voyages lasted about three years. I was watching Space: The Longest Goodbye on PBS’s Independent Lens the other night. NASA is concerned about the mental health of astronauts being separated from their families for a three-year mission to Mars. The space explorers are not going to able to communicate with loved ones in real time! As if families have never had to do this before… Many of my ancestors did.

crew’s quarters
deck prism bringing in light below deck
whale blubber was cooked in big iron pots above deck,
the extracted oil was stored in casks below deck
port side of the Charles W. Morgan

Every year on July 31-August 1 there is an overnight event on the Morgan, a marathon reading aloud of Moby Dick by Herman Melville. I regret we never managed to participate! In the Seaport Village, Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern was named for the one found in the classic American novel.

many pleasant summer evenings we spent outside dining and listening
to live acoustic musicians performing outside at Spouter Tavern

Our final visit to the Seaport would not be complete without a visit to the Small Boats building.

spritsail boat built by my 2nd-great-granduncle,
Edward Ellsworth Swift (1861-1964)

I was 7 years old when Uncle Ed died at the age of 102. My grandparents, the late Mr. & Mrs. John E. White mentioned above, took care of Uncle Ed & Aunt Flora in their old age. My grandparents were also caring for my great-grandparents at the same time and I well remember our countless visits to the six of them at the house on School Street in Woods Hole on Cape Cod.

I will miss my visits to the little boat my grandparents donated to the Seaport, which connects me across time to my ancestors.

So many memories: live music performances we attended, the visits of the Íslendingur (2000) and the Draken Harald Hårfagre (2016) Viking ships and how excited we were when the Draken decided to stay, the yearly By Land & By Sea Antique Vehicle Show, the exciting Viking Days encampment, the restorations of the Mayflower II and the Amistad, making and printing our own Christmas cards at the village Print Shop, watching costumed historians cooking on open hearths, blacksmiths at work in the forge, and so many more. The Sargent, Whistler, & Venetian Glass: American Artists & The Magic of Murano special exhibit we saw in February 2023 was unforgettable!

image credit: Ukrainian Dancers USA ~ 8.20.22

An extra special memory is an Arts on the Quad evening, when we took Katherine to see Ukrainian dancers at Mystic Seaport, seen above performing on the porch of the Thompson Exhibition Building. We were so very lucky to live so close to this treasure trove of history and culture. It is deeply missed.

ancestral remembrance

The Artist’s Parents by Felix Vallotton

We achieve some measure of adulthood when we recognize our parents as they really were, without sentimentalizing or mythologizing, but also without blaming them unfairly for our imperfections. Maturity entails a readiness, painful and wrenching though it may be, to look squarely into the long dark places, into the fearsome shadows. In this act of ancestral remembrance and acceptance may be found a light by which to see our children safely home.
~ Carl Sagan & Ann Druyan
(Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors)

the light-footed goats

Addie, shedding her winter coat while eating some brush

One last visit with Julie’s goats… Another lovely, sunny, spring day.

an iris coming soon…
the goats have some gnomes in their yard

The goats were busy grazing and browsing, as goats do, and they were fun to watch. Brie even put on a little show. Julie though she might be pretending to be a dog…

Brie
being silly
“Whatcha doing, Brie?”

Some of my readers may remember Betsy, the little goat who had a rough start in her life. (see here for the story) I’m happy to report she has thrived with her new family and weighs as much, if not more, than she should now.

Betsy

I want to go about like the light-footed goats.
~ Johanna Spyri
(Heidi)

Crackers (hoping for a cracker!)

My apologies to Chai because I don’t seem to have gotten a picture of her! 🐐

Such a pleasant midday visit with the charming goat gals and then a great family history chat with Julie afterwards. I was delighted to see that Julie has a loose leaf ring binder system for storing her genealogy records that is similar to mine. I think she is the only person I know who loves collecting ancestors as much as I do.

first nor’easter of the season

3.12.23 ~ Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center

How very strange to go through December, January and February without a single nor’easter! And to finally get one in March. Who knows? This may be the last one I had a chance to anticipate before the move. I’ve always enjoyed the drama and excitement these storms bring with them.

A Nor’easter is a storm along the East Coast of North America, so called because the winds over the coastal area are typically from the northeast. These storms may occur at any time of year but are most frequent and most violent between September and April. … Nor’easters usually develop in the latitudes between Georgia and New Jersey, within 100 miles east or west of the East Coast. These storms progress generally northeastward and typically attain maximum intensity near New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. They nearly always bring precipitation in the form of heavy rain or snow, as well as winds of gale force, rough seas, and, occasionally, coastal flooding to the affected regions.
~ National Weather Service website

the Canada goose couple, back to claim their nesting island in the pond

We took a nice long walk at the nature center the day before this nor’easter arrived. So delighted to see mama and papa goose swimming around the pond together. We first saw mama sitting on her island nest on the last day of March last spring. We kept checking back and got to see her little goslings exploring the world near the end of April. Maybe we’ll get to do it again this year.

reindeer lichen clinging to branches reaching out over the pond
catkins and reindeer lichen

Our ancestors spoke to storms with magical words, prayed to them, cursed them, and danced for them, dancing to the very edge of what is alien and powerful — the cold power of ocean currents, chaotic winds beyond control and understanding. We may have lost the dances, but we carry with us a need to approach the power of the universe, if only to touch it and race away.
~ Kathleen Dean Moore
(Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World)

daffodils across the street
back in the woods

But, as it turned out, there wasn’t much to get excited about this time — for us. It started raining Monday afternoon and rained and rained. The wind blew and blew. Tuesday evening there were a few snowflakes in the mix but nothing to stick. We didn’t even get the coating to 3 inches of snow predicted for the coastline here. But I see things are much different inland…

Pridmore Orphans

siblings (l-r) George Pridmore, Emma Pridmore Hubbard,
Reuben Pridmore and Eliza Pridmore Ford
3 July 1911, photo by William Holmes Ford, son of Eliza

Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather, William Pridmore, son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Bramston) Pridmore, was baptized 23 April 1815 in Thorpe Satchville (Leicestershire) England, at St. Michael’s Church, and died 3 September 1852 in Wisconsin. He married (as his second wife) 16 August 1838 at St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby (Leicestershire) England, Anna Sturgess, who was born about 1814 in Gaddesby, and died 5 November 1853, daughter of William and Ann (—) Sturgess.

William had married (as his first wife) 13 October 1835 in St. Luke’s Church, Gaddesby, Mary Anne Smith, who was born in Gaddesby, and probably died there before William married Anna.

All of William’s children were born in England. He was a blacksmith, like his father. At the time of her marriage, Anna was employed as a servant.

According to their granddaughter, Gertrude Mabel (Hubbard) Hamilton (1874-1965), who wrote, after she went to England on a research trip: “William left Great Dalby May 12, 1852. Stayed at Syston until Friday May 14. Went to Liverpool and on board the ship May 15. Sailed Tuesday the 18th.” Sadly, by September of the same year he was in Wisconsin where he died of cholera, age 38. According to Gertrude, William was “Buried at Milwaukee Sept. 4 in Chestnut St. Burying Ground.” A little over a year later, in November of 1853, Anna died, age 38, too. It’s not indicated in Gertrude’s research notes where Anna was when she died.

There was a family story that said William went on a trip and never returned. So perhaps Anna and the children were not with him when he got sick and died, so far from home.

This sad turn of events left their children orphaned. Abraham was 15, Eliza, 14, Emma, 9, Reuben, 7, and George, 5. It’s unknown who looked after them but William had brothers living in New York and Indiana, where the children still lived as adults.

William & Mary were the parents of a son:

1. Abraham Pridmore, born before 20 May 1837 in Great Dalby (Leicestershire) England, died 8 January 1914 in Buffalo (Erie) New York. He married Hannah Cullen, who was born 1833 in England and died September 1902 in Rochester (Monroe) New York. Abraham & Hannah were the parents of three daughters.

William & Anna were the parents of six children:

1. Eliza Pridmore, born 6 June 1839 in Great Dalby, died 29 December 1914 in Rochester (Monroe) New York. She married John Stephen Ford, who was born about 1833 in England and died 5 June 1899 in Rochester. Eliza & John were the parents of four children.

2. Emma Pridmore (Tim’s 2nd-great-grandmother), born 11 January 1844 in Great Dalby, died 7 April 1917 in Batavia (Genesee) New York. She married 6 February 1866 in Marion (Wayne) New York, Delorma Brown Hubbard, who was born 8 May 1842 in Albion (Orleans) New York, and died there 21 March 1915, son of John and Lydia P. (Randolph) Hubbard. Emma & Delorma were the parents of three children.

3. Reuben Pridmore, born 6 April 1846 in Dalby Magna (Leicestershire) England, died 2 November 1928 in Albion. Reuben died unmarried.

4. George Pridmore, born 10 December 1847 in Great Dalby, died 14 March 1930 in South Bend (St. Joseph) Indiana. He married 20 December 1876 in Niles (Berrien) Michigan, Emma Sudreth, who was born 11 April 1853 in Bristol (Elkhart) Indiana, and died 2 June 1942 in South Bend, daughter of Thomas and Mary (—) Sudreth. George & Emma were the parents of three children.

5. Charlotte Pridmore, born 6 April 1849 in Dalby Magna, died there 22 June 1849, age 2 months.

6. Thomas Sturgess Pridmore, born 6 March 1852 in Dalby Magna. No further record.

projects and memories

Long time readers of this blog may remember me complaining about the ancestral “stuff” we have accumulated over the years. For instance, here is part of my 15 July 2018 post:

You might guess from my recent choice of reading material that I’m still struggling with the objects and possessions I inherited from our ancestors. Things started piling up around 2008. Hard to believe it’s been 10 years! I have managed to dispose of a lot of stuff but cannot rest on my laurels. What’s left is stacked halfway to the ceiling in a corner of what is supposed to be the genealogy/guest room. The corner takes up almost half the room. … Trouble is, life (births, illnesses, travels, weddings, visitors, deaths) keeps happening and I need a good chunk of uninterrupted time to roll up my sleeves and dig in.

Four years after writing that, nothing had changed. More illness and then a pandemic… Well, I finally measured the pile of boxes. 6′ x 5′ x 4′. I’m terrible with numbers but I believe that was 120 cubic feet of stuff! And I finally realized that a good chunk of uninterrupted time was never going to come my way. I was going to have to seize it for myself. Walks, yoga, blogging, housework, puzzles, reading and family history research were all abandoned for the project.

I rolled up my sleeves and dug in. Much of it was disposed of. There were countless trips to the dumpster, the Book Barn, Goodwill and the Give & Take Shed at the transfer station. It took me a little over a month to make that pile disappear.

There were many treasures in there and these were roughly sorted and then stored where I can get my hands on them and organize them. (Soon, I hope!) At first I was trying to file important papers, like birth, marriage and death records, into the loose-leaf notebooks I created back in the 1990s. But it quickly became apparent that these would have to be reorganized to accommodate the volume of paperwork and photographs I was finding. These are the old notebooks:

There is room for expansion on the shelf below now. All the paperwork is put into acid-free sleeve protectors and kept in these notebooks. I need more! The first one was for us and our parents and the rest were for our eight grandparents and their ancestors. But I’ve had to start new notebooks for our parents and change the size for some of the grandparents. I can’t believe how many citizenship papers and wills and property deeds I found. Not to mention photographs.

One thing taking up a lot of space was my grandmother’s and my mother’s slides. My sister has made a start on digitizing them. Sadly, some are badly deteriorated.

There was about a decade in the 1990s I think of now as my genealogy heydays. My children were in their teens so I had more time on my hands. My mother had died of cancer in 1991 and my father decided to spend some of his time helping me with research. We took a day-long local family history class together with the Connecticut Society of Genealogists in East Hartford. He also came with me to a national genealogy conference in Hartford one summer where we bought a map of the Austrian Empire in 1875, as it was laid out when his parents were born there, in what is now Ukraine. I found the map and got it hung up again.

In 1993 I started a correspondence course with the National Genealogical Society.

My father and I also made many trips to Cape Cod during that decade. My late mother’s beloved parents were still alive and we visited them about once a month, sometimes making a side trip to a cemetery to locate an ancestor’s resting place. Grandfather finally had to put Grandmother in a nursing home when she kept falling and her dementia was too difficult for him to cope with. I am so grateful for my father’s companionship during those years. It was on these visits that Grandfather told me stories about his parents and grandparents, and I wrote them down. I did find many of my notes and corralled them into one place.

Grandmother died in 1996. After her funeral Grandfather took me and my sister and my cousin and my children to two of the cemeteries where Grandmother’s parents and grandparents were buried.

After a few pauses and restarts, I finally completed my course in 1998.

I wish that my mother had lived long enough to enjoy that decade with us. She became interested in family history toward the end of her life and my father used to help her visit town halls and genealogical libraries. She was just getting started with genealogy chat rooms online. She would have loved using the resources, like Ancestry.com, that I take for granted now. Once in the 1980s, before she got too sick, Tim had a work conference in Boston so he took Mom and me up there with him and dropped us off at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. We spent a memorable day in their library doing research. Went out for lunch in the city. It was a fun day, a rare mother-daughter outing. I can’t even remember who was watching the kids — was it my father?

Time marches on. Papa fell in 2000, breaking his femur, and began his slow decline. Beverly & John moved back from New Mexico to stay with him. Grandfather died in 2001. Auntie Lil needed ever more help and finally moved from elderly housing into my father’s house. Children went to college, got married and moved away. The 2000s are a blur of eldercare to me now. Tim had a major heart attack and almost died in 2007. Tim’s grandparents’ home in Provincetown was sold in 2009 and the Dennis Port home of my grandparents was sold in 2010, if I remember correctly. We wound up with lots of stuff we couldn’t handle or absorb. Papa, and Tim’s brother Toby, who lived out his last eight months with us, both died in 2013. Auntie died in 2016, at the great old age of 101. In 2017 Tim had major surgery, a sigmoid colon resection, and later that same year I was diagnosed with cancer and had a hysterectomy. So this is all why there was such a huge, untouched pile of stuff!

It’s such a relief to have it finally done. There are some loose ends to work on but these can be handled a little at a time. I’m looking forward to making new covers for my notebooks and reorganizing the insides. That’s fun work. It was so nice being able to set up air mattresses for our grandchildren to sleep on in the space formerly occupied by that awful pile of stuff!

Aaron Newton Case & Laura Amanda Roberts

Tim’s 4th-great-grandfather, Aaron Newton Case, son of Aaron and Margaret (Meacham) Case, was born 24 January 1788 in Simsbury (Hartford) Connecticut, and died 14 February 1870 in Cambridge Junction (Lenawee) Michigan. He married, 26 November 1812 in Windsor (Hartford) Connecticut, Laura Amanda Roberts, who was born 17 November 1792 in Bloomfield (Hartford) Connecticut, and died there 15 November 1829, daughter of Lemuel and Roxey (Gillett) Roberts.

Aaron owned a farm in Simsbury [Bloomfield] until 1832, when he was about 44, and after Laura’s death, he moved to Windsor, Ohio where he purchased a new farm. The 1850 census has him living in Windsor with two of his grandsons, William N., age 3, and Martin E., age 0, and a 16-year-old named Robert Adkins. In 1860 he was living there with his son, Galusha, daughter-in-law, and their six sons. He lived there until 1867, when he was about 79, and then moved to Cambridge Township, Michigan. Apparently Aaron remained a widower for 40 years until his death. He lies buried in Cambridge Junction Cemetery. Laura lies buried in Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church Cemetery in Bloomfield, Connecticut.


image credit: P Welch at Find a Grave
*
In
memory of
LAURA A, wife of
Aaron N. Case,
who died
Nov. 15, 1829
aged 38

Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church Cemetery
Bloomfield, Connecticut


image credit: Jeannieology at Find a Grave
*
AARON N. CASE
DIED
FEB. 14, 1870
AGED 82 YRS.

Cambridge Junction Cemetery
Cambridge Township, Michigan


Aaron & Laura were the parents of five children:

1. Luarana Amanda Case, born 9 February 1814 in Bloomfield, died 23 April 1883 in Glenville (Cuyahoga) Ohio. She married 16 July 1836, in Ashtabula (Ashtabula) Ohio, Pharis Wells Cook, who was born 8 March 1813 in East Granby (Hartford) Connecticut, and died 2 July 1882 in Glenville, son of Jesse and Chloë (Phelps) Cook. Laurana & Pharis were the parents of three children.

2. Galusha Aaron Case, born 24 November 1815 in Simsbury, died 29 June 1886 in Detroit (Wayne) Michigan. He married Susan Adeline Bedell, who was born c. 1822 in Schuyler (Herkimer) New York, and died 1 January 1897 in Detroit, daughter of William and Margaretha (Lepper) Bedell. Galusha & Susan were the parents of six sons.

3. Capt. Hermon Roberts Case (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandfather), born 10 April 1818 in Simsbury, died 17 February 1890 in (Lenawee) Michigan. He married (as his first wife) 28 December 1841, Mary Doty, who was born about 1820 in Euclid (Cuyahoga) Ohio, and died 16 March 1845 in East Cleveland (Cuyahoga) Ohio, daughter of Asa Doty. Hermon & Mary were the parents of a daughter. Hermon married (as his second wife), 5 March 1848, Paulina Elizabeth Minor (Tim’s 3rd-great-grandmother), who was born 2 April 1822 in Mendon (Monroe) New York, and died 9 March 1898 in Cambridge (Lenawee) Michigan, daughter of William and Naomi (Reniff) Minor. Hermon & Paulina were the parents of four children.

4. Hiram Newton Case, born 13 October 1822 in Connecticut, died 17 July 1901 in Orwell (Ashtabula) Ohio. He married 12 February 1846 in Ashtabula, Mary Amidon, who was born 12 March 1822 in Ashford (Windham) Connecticut, and died 23 February 1901 in Orwell, daughter of Henry and Clarissa (Roberts) Amidon. Hiram & Mary were the parents of four children.

5. Lemuel Hurley Case, born 4 July 1824 in Connecticut, died 1896. He married 19 November 1850 in (Ashtabula) Ohio, Mary Nye, who was born about 1823 in New York, and died 23 January 1909 in (Cook) Illinois, daughter of Abel and Mary (Stoyell) Nye. Lemuel & Mary were the parents of three children.

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:

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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

7. 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

invasion

Way before dawn this morning my sister and I found ourselves sitting together in the living room, shedding tears for Ukraine. Our father was the son of Ukrainian immigrants. We both have memories of him telling us about how Ukraine has been invaded over and over again throughout its history. Being little children most of what he was talking about didn’t mean much to us, but we often heard about Vikings, Mongols, Cossacks and Tatars, the Austro-Hungarian Army and Russia, Hitler and Stalin. His sense of ill-fated tragedy made a deep impression on us.

My grandfather left his pregnant wife and young daughter (Mary) in Luzhek Verkhniy, Ukraine to come to America in 1909. My grandmother left their daughter in Ukraine to be raised by Mary’s grandparents and came to America with her five-month-old son in 1910. They had six more children born in this country. Our aunt Mary finally came to America to live with her parents in 1926, at the age of 18. Most of her aunts and uncles who she grew up with came over at various times, too. Except for one who was “killed by Stalin,” presumably because he stayed.

Our hearts feel very heavy. I wonder if some sort of genetic memory is at work here. Took a peek at CNN and saw some people in Ukraine kneeling in a city square, praying. I had to turn it off. If you have any comments, please don’t make them political. My thoughts and prayers are for the Ukrainian people.