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 The case was not contested but was quickly withdrawn on 15 December 1903.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.
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.
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.
This was my first visit to this 140-acre park in our town, but Tim hiked here many years ago with one of his friends. The Pequots were the first people living here before the English colonized what is now the town of Groton and the village of Mystic.
The infamous Pequot Massacre occurred near here on May 26, 1637.
Capt. John Mason led English, Mohegan, and Narragansett warriors in an attack on the main fortified Pequot village on the site of modern-day Mystic, Connecticut. The Pequot were surprised but quickly mounted a spirited defense that almost led to an English defeat. Realizing that he could not defeat the Pequot in the close quarters of the palisade, Mason ordered their wigwams set afire; some 400 Pequot men, women, and children were burned alive or slaughtered when they tried to escape. ~ Encyclopædia Britannica
There have been archaeological digs conducted in this park, unearthing musket balls and arrowheads. But there are no memorials here to tell the terrible story.
After the English took over, this land was cleared for farming, and today there are plenty of stone walls remaining from those days, before farms were abandoned and many people went out west. The woods came back. Now we have hiking trails, wildlife viewing and an abandoned farm pond.
We gauge what we think is possible by what we know from experience, and our acceptance of scientific insights, in particular, is incremental, gained one experience at a time. ~ Bernd Heinrich (Winter World: The Ingenuity of Animal Survival)
It was a partly cloudy day, very cold, 41°F/5°C, with a feels-like temperature of 33°F/1°C, due to a moderate wind from the northwest. We had a nice conversation about cameras with the man in the next picture. He was trying to get a picture of the mallards, too, and wondered about my telescopic lens. His mother has a camera like mine and he’s considering getting one, too.
As far as coronavirus pandemic statistics go, I’ve decided to chronicle Connecticut’s positivity rate to make my tracking simpler. Looks like we’re headed into yet another surge. On the day of this walk our positivity rate jumped to 6.32%, the highest it’s been since last January.
After our walk and leaf peeping last Friday we stopped at one of Tim’s (and son Nate’s!) favorite places for some freshly pressed apple cider. I can’t believe I’ve never created a post about this local treasure. Maybe because it’s so popular and crowded on the weekends but now that we’re retired we have the luxury of visiting during the week when there are fewer people around and a better chance to get unobstructed photos.
Family-owned and operated since 1881, B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is a piece of living history. Every September 1st, we open our doors and sell sweet cider, hard cider, wine, cider donuts, and many local goods. We craft our sweet cider and hard ciders the same way that generations before us perfected. Enjoy cider-making demonstrations, wine and hard cider tastings, and our renowned cider donuts while making your own new traditions ~ B. F. Clyde’s Cider Mill website
Although cider was produced on individual farms for private use, the centrally located mill became popular for farmers who would sell surplus apples to the mill and bring back the juice to ferment into hard cider. In 1881 Benjamin Clyde began pressing his apples at local mills and soon rented his own press. In 1897 he purchased the mill and installed the screw press (No. 2) from Boomer & Boschert of Syracuse. Boomer and Boschert also supplied the apple grater, apple elevator, and cider pump, as well as the plans for the building. ~ American Society of Mechanical Engineers website
Although cider making has changed little over the centuries, this mill featured a sophisticated method of grinding and a press capable of applying pressure at three speeds. Using all steel construction, it was considered the finest screw cider press ever made. The cider mill at B.F. Clyde’s also represents one of the final screw presses. In the 20th century, the hydraulic press came into widespread use. ~ American Society of Mechanical Engineers website
We went down another scenic road on our way home and enjoyed many more fall colors. We happened to notice a cemetery with open gates and drove in, finding some spectacular views of the Mystic River. We’ll have to go back some day to explore. But I was getting hungry and ready to go home. Before we left I spotted a squirrel eating on top of a headstone. A perfect ending to a great outing.
One of the first ancestors my grandmother ever told me about was my 10th-great-grandfather, Stephen Hopkins, who came here from England on the Mayflower. But my grandmother didn’t tell me that it wasn’t his first trip across the Atlantic Ocean. Or about the troubles he got into. Recently I started reading (listening to) a book about him, Here Shall I Die Ashore: Stephen Hopkins: Bermuda Castaway, Jamestown Survivor & Mayflower Pilgrim by Caleb Johnson. What an adventurous life he led!
My 10th-great-grandfather, Stephen Hopkins, son of John and Elizabeth (Williams) Hopkins, was baptized 30 April 1581 at Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England, and died at Plymouth Colony, before 17 July 1644, when his will was proved. He married (as his first wife) about 1603, Mary (—), who died before 9 May 1613, when she was buried in Hursley, Hampshire, England.
Stephen married (as his second wife) 19 February 1618 in Whitechapel, London, England, Elizabeth Fisher. Stephen and his pregnant wife Elizabeth came here together on the Mayflower in 1620, with their daughter and two children from his first marriage. Elizabeth gave birth to their son, Oceanus, on board the ship during the voyage. My grandmother delighted me with that tidbit of information!
There is a great biographical sketch of Stephen’s life on Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History website: Stephen Hopkins
Mary & Stephen were the parents of three children, all baptized in Hursley:
1. Elizabeth Hopkins, born before 13 March 1604, died young.
2. Constance Hopkins (my 10th-great-grandmother), born before 11 May 1606, died in October 1677 in Eastham (Barnstable) Massachusetts. Constance was 14 when she came over on the Mayflower. She married about 1627 in Plymouth, Nicholas Snow, who was born about 1600, and died 15 November 1676 in Eastham. Constance & Nicholas were the parents of twelve children. They lie buried in Cove Burying Ground in Eastham.
3. Giles Hopkins (my 9th-great-grandfather), born before 30 January 1608, died before 16 April 1690, when his will was proved. Giles was 12 when he came over on the Mayflower. He married 9 October 1639 in Plymouth, Catherine Whelden, who was baptized 6 March 1617 in Basford, Nottinghamshire, England, arrived in Plymouth with her parents in 1638, and probably died shortly after her husband, daughter of Gabriel and Jane (—) Whelden. Giles & Catherine were the parents of ten children.
Elizabeth & Stephen were the parents of seven children:
1. Damaris Hopkins, born about 1619 in England, probably died young. Damaris was probably a baby when she came over on the Mayflower.
2. Oceanus Hopkins, born at sea before 11 November 1620, probably died before 1623.
3. Caleb Hopkins, born about 1622 in Plymouth, died before 3 April 1651 in Barbados. He was a seaman.
4. Deborah Hopkins, born about 1624 in Plymouth, died there before 1674. She married (as his first wife) about 1645, Andrew Ring, who was born about 1618 in Leiden (South Holland) Netherlands, and died 4 March 1694 in Plymouth, son of William and Mary (Durrant) Ring. Deborah & Andrew were the parents of six children.
5. Damaris Hopkins, born about 1628 in Plymouth, died there before 18 November 1669. She married there (as his first wife) after 10 June 1646, Jacob Cook, who was born 20 May 1618 in Leiden, and died 11 December 1675 in Plymouth, son of Francis and Hester (Mahieu) Cook. Damaris & Jacob were the parents of seven children.
6. Ruth Hopkins, born about 1630 in Plymouth, died there before 3 April 1651.
7. Elizabeth Hopkins, born about 1632 in Plymouth, disappeared and presumed dead by 5 October 1659.
This is the line of descent my grandmother gave me. Marriages noted are between Hopkins cousins…
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Giles Hopkins (1608-1690) Joshua Hopkins (1657-1738) Joshua Hopkins (1698-1780) Joshua Hopkins (1725-1775) Abigail Hopkins (1764-1829) m. John Freeman (1761-1817) ~ 3rd cousins, once removed Thomas Freeman (1787-1864) Warren Freeman (1814-1894) m. Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Over the years I have discovered three more lines from Stephen to my grandmother:
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Giles Hopkins (1608-1690) Stephen Hopkins (1642-1718) Stephen Hopkins (1670-1733) Thankful Hopkins (1700-1753) Thankful Linnell (1732-1810) John Freeman (1761-1817) m. Abigail Hopkins (1764-1829) ~ 3rd cousins, once removed Thomas Freeman (1787-1864) Warren Freeman (1814-1894) m. Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Giles Hopkins (1608-1690) Joshua Hopkins (1657-1738) Hannah Hopkins (1700-1793) m. Capt. Ebenezer Paine (1692-1734) ~ 2nd cousins, once removed Hannah Paine (1732-1808) Seth Allen (1755-1838) Elisabeth Allen (1784-1868) Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) m. Warren Freeman (1814-1894) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) Constance Hopkins (1606-1677) Mary Snow (1630-1704) Lt. Samuel Paine (1652-1712) Capt. Ebenezer Paine (1692-1734) m. Hannah Hopkins (1700-1793) ~ 2nd cousins, once removed Hannah Paine (1732-1808) Seth Allen (1755-1838) Elisabeth Allen (1784-1868) Elisabeth Weekes (1822-1908) m. Warren Freeman (1814-1894) ~ 4th cousins Elisabeth Emma Freeman (1851-1876) Capt. Martin Freeman Thompson (1875-1965) Emma Freeman Thompson (my grandmother)
Tim’s great-grandfather, George Lincoln Rodgers, son of Elijah and Zipporah Ann (Horton) Rodgers, was born 1 January 1865 in Guysborough (Guysborough) Nova Scotia, and died 16 July 1939 in Fall River (Bristol) Massachusetts. He married (as his first wife) on 18 February 1891 in Provincetown (Barnstable) Massachusetts, his first cousin, Mary Jane “Jenny” Rodgers, who was born 7 June 1867 in Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts and died in 1917, daughter of Neadom and Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers.
George was a fisherman and Mary Jane was a homemaker. According to the 1910 census, he arrived in America in 1883, when he was 18 years old. His uncle Neadom had come in 1858 and his parents followed him in 1891.
Three years before their marriage, George & Mary Jane lived through The Great Blizzard of 1888 that killed more than 400 people along the eastern seaboard.
George & Mary Jane were married by Ezra J. Riggins, Clergyman. They resided at 4 West Vine St. in Provincetown. They were first cousins; their fathers were brothers.
George Lincoln Rodgers became an American citizen on 1 April 1897.
Sometime after Mary Jane’s death in 1917, George married (as his second wife and as her second husband) 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. In 1920 George and his second wife, Mary Etta, were residents of Somerville. George died soon after Mary Etta, of colon cancer. George lies buried with his second wife and her first husband in Mayflower Cemetery, Duxbury, Massachusetts. Mary Jane lies buried with her parents, brother and sister-in-law in Gifford Cemetery, in Provincetown.
George & Mary Jane were the parents of a son:
1. Karl Freeman Rodgers (Tim’s grandfather), born 22 October 1895 in Provincetown, died 27 March 1971 in Boston. He married (as her first husband) 18 September 1928 in Batavia (Genesee) New York, Allegra Estelle Hamilton, who was born 17 August 1900 in Newark (Wayne) New York, died 16 January 1992 in Keene (Cheshire) New Hampshire, daughter of Charles Amos and Gertrude Mabel (Hubbard) Hamilton. Karl & Allegra were the parents of two children.
Mary Jane (Rodgers) Rodgers lies buried with her parents, Neadom & Hanorah (O’Brien) Rodgers, and her brother and sister-in-law, Elijah & Clara (Bangs) Rodgers.
George Lincoln Rodgers lies buried with his second wife, Mary Etta (Cushing) (Simmons) Rodgers, and her first husband, Mark L. Simmons.
After a bitter cold snap we managed to get out for a good walk on Wednesday. Another new place for us. This time I brought my father’s cane to use as a walking stick so I wouldn’t have to find one in the woods. It fit perfectly and had a good energy! Papa was very fond of his cane because his father had carved it and used it. (A couple of pictures of him with it here.)
Our daughter-in-law mailed us our old camera a couple of weeks ago so I could see how it compares to the one I’ve been using for several years now. But so far I haven’t felt inclined to pick it up so Tim took it along on this outing. It was fun with both of us having a good camera.
We were looking for the remains of a famous huge oak tree in the woods here. Before long we spotted the sign and were saddened to see just how very little was left of it.
During the summer of 1969, the gypsy moth defoliated an estimated 260,000 acres of trees in northeastern woodlands — more than triple the defoliated acreage of 1968. ~ Ralph L. Snodsmith (The New York Times, April 19, 1970)
The famous oak didn’t survive the gypsy moth assault in 1969. Fifty-one years later this is all that is left of it:
My feet will tread soft as a deer in the forest. My mind will be clear as water from the sacred well. My heart will be strong as a great oak. My spirit will spread an eagle’s wings, and fly forth. ~ Juliet Marillier (Daughter of the Forest)
We continued walking and found a historical cemetery.
Within this park are more trails and the Nathan Lester House & Farm Tool Museum, presumably the home of the chickens. We will have to wait to explore when the pandemic is over.
Tim’s 2nd-great-grandfather, Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard, son of John and Lydia (Randolph) Hubbard, was born 8 May 1842 in Albion (Orleans) New York, and died there 21 March 1915. He married in 1866, Emma Pridmore, who was born 11 January 1844 in Great Dalby (Leicestershire) England, and died 7 April 1917 in Batavia (Genesee) New York, daughter of William and Ann (Sturgess) Pridmore.
The following is from the Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, New York, 22 March 1915, page 9:
Albion, March 21.—The death of Delorma B. Hubbard, a retired business man, occured this morning in his home, West Bank and Liberty streets, aged 72 years. He was born in Albion May 8, 1842, and had always lived here. Mr. Hubbard was an expert accountant. He was engaged for some time in the grocery business with Robert Wilkins. Later he engaged in the wholesale produce business with Charles Vandekar, and continued later with the late mayor, Eugene English.
Mr. Hubbard bore a striking likeness to the portraits of “Uncle Sam” and on several occasions participated in large parades representing that distinguished character. He has lived a retired life in recent years. He leaves his wife, Mrs. Emma Pridmore Hubbard, and one daughter, Mrs. Charles Hamilton, both of Batavia: also one sister, Mrs. Starkweather, who lives in the eastern part of the state. The funeral will be held from Mount Albion chapel Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock, Rev. W. J. Ford, pastor of the Albion Baptist Church, officiating. Burial will be in Mount Albion cemetery.
According to his son-in-law, Charles A. Hamilton:
The following is from Charles Amos Hamilton, An Autobiography, “The Memory of the Just is Blessed”, (Batavia, New York: Privately printed, 1941)
My father-in-law [Delorma] was a great believer in Luck. He would quote instance after instance of young men of his acquaintance who had gotten their start in a successful career through marriage with a rich man’s daughter, through inheritance of an established business, through association with some prominent man, etc.
According to his great-granddaughter and namesake, Delorma (Rodgers) Morton, Delorma disliked the feminine sound of his name, and so always went by his initials, DB.
DB & Emma married the year after the end of the American Civil War (1861-1865).
Emma was a homemaker. She came to America in 1857 with her father, when she was about 16 years old, but it is not known if her mother died in England, or perhaps at sea, as no death record has been found for her thus far on either side of the Atlantic. According to her son-in-law, Charles A. Hamilton:
Mother [Emma] made her home with us, where she was supremely welcome. She was the only real mother that I ever had, and we loved each other devotedly.
The following is from The Buffalo Times, Buffalo, New York, 9 April 1917, page 6:
BATAVIA, April 9—Mrs. Emma P. Hubbard, aged 73 years, died at the New York State Institute for the Blind on Saturday, following a long illness. She is survived by a daughter, Mrs. Gertrude M. Hamilton, wife of the superintendent of the State school, and two brothers, Reuben Pridmore of Albion and George Pridmore of South Bend, Ind. Burial will take place at Mt. Albion cemetery, Albion.
Emma died of cancer and is buried with DB at Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York. [The stone in the center of this plot has four surnames: HUBBARD, HAMILTON, PRIDMORE, RODGERS. The adjoining plot has a center stone with one surname, STARKWEATHER, a family DB’s sister married into.]
Delorma & Emma were the parents of three children, all born in Albion. Sadly, the two older children predeceased their parents:
1. John Delorma Hubbard, born 16 July 1867, died 25 July 1883, age 16. John is buried with his parents at Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York.
2. Mary Estelle “Mamie” Hubbard, born 13 March 1869, died 22 May 1892 in Rochester (Monroe) New York, age 23, of Bright’s disease. Mamie was engaged to Charles Hamilton when she died, and he later married her younger sister. Mamie is buried with her parents at Lot #955, Clematis Path, Mt. Albion Cemetery, Albion, New York. Mamie’s niece Allegra Estelle (Hamilton) (Rodgers) Lloyd, was named in her honor.
The following are from undated newspaper clippings:
Miss Mamie Estelle Hubbard, daughter of DB Hubbard, a popular teacher in the Grammar school, died in Rochester Sunday evening last, after an illness of several months, aged twenty-three years. The funeral services took place at the Baptist church, of which deceased was a member, yesterday afternoon. ?Animean may 26 1892?
A Loved One Gone: The hearts of very many in Albion were saddened when the news reached this village of the death of Mamie Estelle Hubbard, which occurred in Rochester Sunday last, May 22d.
For some time past Miss Hubbard had been in poor health, and was in Rochester undergoing medical treatment, but it was only a few days before her death that the seriousness of her case was realized. The tenderest care and highest medical skill could do naught to prolong her life, and she passed away surrounded by those who were dear and near to her.
She was the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. DB Hubbard, of this village, being twenty-three years of age. She graduated from the Albion High School in 1886, being the youngest member of the class, and she is the first one to pass away. For four years she has been engaged as a teacher in the schools of our village.
Since the early age of eleven years she has been a member of the Baptist church and has been faithful in attendance and participation in its services; also exemplifying in her daily life the teachings of Him whom she had chosen to follow.
The funeral services were held at the Baptist church Wednesday at 2 pm, conducted by Rev AC Barrell, assisted by Rev EH Rudd. The public schools were all closed and the teachers attended in a body. A large delegation of the members of the Albion Lodge of the Ancient Order of United Workmen attended, and acted as escort, thus showing, in a marked manner, the high respect in which the daughter of an honored member of the Order was held. The high esteem in which the deceased was held was testified to by the profusion of flowers with which the casket and pulpit were decked, which had been presented by her former teachers, schoolmates, pupils and friends.
By the death of Miss Hubbard the community loses one of its loveliest and purest characters. All who knew her, even slightly, were impressed with her sunny disposition and equanimity of temperament, and those who, bound to her in the dearest relationships of life, have felt the inspiration and sympathy of her presence, and the grand wealth of her affection, while deeply mourning her loss, feel that, in respect to her, ”Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.’
Her influence for good will long be felt in the character and habits of those under her instruction, and all her companions will be elevated and purified by the remembrance and example of her upright Christian life.
Thrice blest whose lives are faithful prayer, Whose loves in Higher love endure, What souls possess themselves so pure, Or is there blessedness like theirs?
3. Gertrude Mabel Hubbard (Tim’s great-grandmother), born 9 December 1874, died 31 May 1965 in Marlboro (Monmouth) New Jersey. She married 30 June 1897 in Albion, Charles Amos Hamilton, who was born 19 March 1866 in Hinsdale (Cattaraugus) New York, and died 28 October 1943 in Batavia, son of Charles Munson and Eliza Ann (Devoe) Hamilton. Gertrude & Charles were the parents of a daughter.
Near the end of December we found the graves of a couple of Revolutionary War soldiers on a walk in Stoddard Hill State Park. Debbie, one of my readers, mentioned that they don’t have graves that old where she lives in Illinois. So, although I much prefer nature walks, I decided we could change things up a bit and take a history walk. Because of Debbie’s comment I have a new appreciation for the historic Battle of Groton Heights that took place right here in my town. (Link is for history buffs.)
This is the historic site where, on September 6, 1781, British Forces, commanded by the infamous Benedict Arnold, captured the Fort and massacred 88 of the 165 defenders stationed there. The Ebenezer Avery House which sheltered the wounded after the battle has been restored on the grounds. A Revolutionary War museum also depicts the era. Fort Griswold was designated as a state park in 1953. ~ Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park website
There is some doubt about the details of this story. The shirt and vest Col. Ledyard was wearing when he was killed had tears in the side, suggesting a bayonet wound is what caused his death, not his own sword in the hands of a British officer.
Critical acumen is exerted in vain to uncover the past; the past cannot be presented; we cannot know what we are not. But one veil hangs over past, present, and future, and it is the province of the historian to find out, not what was, but what is. Where a battle has been fought, you will find nothing but the bones of men and beasts; where a battle is being fought, there are hearts beating. ~ Henry David Thoreau (A Week on the Concord & Merrimack Rivers)
The 295-foot Barque Eagle is the flagship of the U.S. Coast Guard. She serves as a training vessel for cadets at the Coast Guard Academy and candidates from the Officer Candidate School. The Eagle is the only active-duty sailing vessel in America’s military, and one of only two commissioned sailing vessels, along with the USS Constitution. ~ US Coast Guard Academy website
From the tunnel we followed a trench down the hill. The trench hid the soldiers from enemy fire as they moved between the fort and the lower battery.
Off to the side on the lower battery is the restored Ebenezer Avery house. It was moved to this location from a nearby street in 1971.
In the old times, women did not get their lives written, though I don’t doubt many of them were much better worth writing than the men’s. ~ Harriet Beecher Stowe (The Pearl of Orr’s Island: A Story of the Coast of Maine)
Sometimes I think that historical houses should be named after the wives and daughters who lived in them, to honor them, as they very likely spent more time working there than the men who were out and about in the world.
But on a plaque outside this house I found a picture of Anna Warner Bailey (1758-1851) and the note that she was one of the first women to tend to the wounded after the battle. When I got home I found this online: Our Petticoat Heroine by Carol Kimball
We’ll have to wait until the pandemic is over before we can tour the house. I discovered a bit of synchronicity, we happened to be visiting this place on the 170th anniversary of Anna Warner “Mother” Bailey’s death. And there is a house named for her close by, where she had lived.
The Groton Monument was built between 1826 and 1830, and is the oldest monument of its type in the country. Built of granite quarried locally, the Monument stands 135 feet tall with 166 steps. ~ Fort Griswold Battlefield website
We will also have to wait until the pandemic is over before we can tour the monument and small museum.
When I was preparing this post I noticed I already had a category for Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park. With another nod to synchronicity, it turns out Tim & I visited the fort nine years ago, almost to the day! The trench looks a little different nine years later. We had climbed up on the fort wall, which is no longer allowed. They have installed a viewing platform on the wall sometime in the past nine years. My, how things keep changing… The views of the river and city below are amazing. My old post: Fort Griswold Battlefield