A Saucer holds a Cup In sordid human Life But in a Squirrel’s estimate A Saucer holds a Loaf —
A Table of a Tree Demands the little King And every Breeze that run along His Dining Room do swing —
His Cutlery — he keeps Within his Russet Lips — To see it flashing when he dines Do Birmingham eclipse —
Convicted — could we be Of our Minutiae The smallest Citizen that flies Is heartier than we —
~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1407)
It had been a couple of years since I’ve visited Bluff Point, but Tim hadn’t been here in ten years! There was still plenty of fall colors to enjoy.
The first time we came here was about forty years ago. I was very pregnant with our daughter and our sons were three and five years old. We walked all the way to the point, about a mile and a half, I think, maybe two, but on the way back the boys were too tired to walk any more. So Tim put the five-year-old on his shoulders and carried the three-year-old facing forward in front of him. The memory of his feat still amazes me to this day.
Ten years ago, when Tim’s cousin and her three children were visiting us for a weekend, we took them here for a long cold winter walk. Those children are grown up and on their own now, too.
We didn’t go all the way to the point this day, Tim’s hip started acting up about half an hour in. The path is pretty flat, which probably worked against him, as we learned this spring he does much better on uneven terrain. On the way back, we got off the path and wandered along the Poquonnock River bank back to the parking lot.
How different things are these days. That young couple with so much energy has vanished out of the scene. An older couple remains, strolling along, one of them stopping frequently to settle his bones while the other flutters around him, taking pictures of this and that with her camera. He’s still my best companion.
There were more people in the park than I thought there would be for a week day. Most had masks on and all were respectful of social distancing. Two squirrels were near the entrance, nibbling on something someone may have left for them earlier.
Once we encountered two women with masks on, walking down the wide path six feet apart from each other, but having a lively conversation. I guessed they might be friends meeting up for a visit. It made me start wondering if it would be safe for me to do something like that, too. Or would I be too nervous about inadvertently getting too close?
I have a feeling the pandemic will be over before I find a good way to make these decisions. For now, we’ll stay the course. This was a very refreshing walk.
This sketch of Salisbury is perforce an epitome; a catacomb of facts, tedious in the extreme, unless viewed sympathetically. The statistician’s only hope lies in the imagination of the reader. Then be a lithe hunter in the trackless wilds, a shrewd and cautious Hollander, a spare, twang-tongued New Englander, a Whig, a Tory, what you will, for there is no limit to your fictitious past. Leave for an hour the world of 1900 and these dry bones will be re-animated and invested with the charm of life in other days. The scene is set; you must be the player. ~ Malcolm Day Rudd (An Historical Sketch of Salisbury, Connecticut, July 18, 1899)
The above note “to the reader” made me smile. While I find family history endlessly engrossing, most people I know find it “tedious in the extreme,” or at least, not viewed very “sympathetically.” It would seem to be the same for this writer 120 years ago!
But I have found an ancestral line I’ve been researching forever. My poor mother spent the last couple years of her life searching, too, mostly in person, traveling to town halls, county courthouses and historical societies with my father’s devoted assistance. I recently found some notes he took for her and added them to Ancestry.com. It didn’t take too long for “hints” to start popping up. Some didn’t fit, but some did.
My grandfather, John Everett White, had been told he descended from William White, the Mayflower passenger. They say most family legends have a grain of truth in them. As it turns out, his 5th-great-grandfather was a William White, but not that William White!
The line I had went back only 4 generations…
John Everett White 1905-2001 (my grandfather) Samuel Minor White 1873-1949 William Martin White 1836-1925 Austin White 1806-1882 Oliver White 1764-1822
William Martin, Austin and Oliver all lived here in southeastern Connecticut and lie buried in Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic. But where Oliver came from remained a stubborn mystery. My parents spent a lot of time trying to connect him to the Whites living in Rhode Island, many of them descendants of the Mayflower‘s William White. (I was interested, but very busy raising children.) Apparently not long before my mother died in 1991, they had set their sights on Salisbury, way up in the opposite (northwestern) corner of Connecticut. There a Lawrence White had a son named Oliver who was born the same year as our Oliver.
My father’s handwritten notes state this information was found in the Historical Collections of the Salisbury Association, Inc., Vol. II, p. 119. Whether they actually traveled to Salisbury or not is unclear to me. They might have found the book on one of their visits to the Connecticut Historical Society Museum & Library in Hartford.
After adding this information to Ancestry and piecing together the resulting hints, the line now goes back 3 more generations to an English ancestor, who arrived in America 59 years after the Mayflower!
Oliver White 1764-1822 Lawrence White 1732-1812 George White 1694-1776 William White 1664-1750 (my 7th-great-grandfather)
I found the following paragraph about William in An Historical Sketch of Salisbury, Connecticut (1899) by Malcolm Day Rudd. When this pandemic is over I see a day trip to Salisbury in the works, health permitting.
William White, an Englishman, who died Jan. 5, 1750-51, in his 85th year, had long been a resident of the Dutch settlements, married a Dutch wife and was a sergeant in the Manor Company of 1715.
William was born about 1664 in Brading (Isle of Wight) England and died in Salisbury (Litchfield) Connecticut. He arrived in America in 1679, when he was about 15 years old. He apparently married Mary (Meales) Hayes, a young widow, about 1690. They were the parents of eight children.
Williams’s sons, George (my 6th-great-grandfather), Joshua and Benjamin are on the list of original proprietors of Salisbury, when the new township was publicly auctioned at Hartford in May 1738. The town was incorporated in October of 1741.
The humidity lowered just a tad on Tuesday morning so we snuck down to the beach for an early morning walk. The only gull out and about was on the rocks, a ring-billed one with his bright yellow legs. He wanted to be friends and walk along with us.
When we went down on the sand he decided to come, too, and lead the way.
Then Tim spotted a butterfly flitting about on the wrack line!
When it moved to the sand I tried to get a shot of it with its wings open.
Yet there are other windows through which we humans can look out into the world around us, windows through which the mystics and the holy men of the East, and the founders of the great world religions, have gazed as they searched for the meaning and purpose of our life on earth, not only in the wondrous beauty of the world, but also in its darkness and ugliness. And those Masters contemplated the truths that they saw, not with their minds only but with their hearts and souls too. From those revelations came the spiritual essence of the great scripitures, the holy books, and the most beautiful mystic poems and writings. That afternoon, it had been as though an unseen hand had drawn back a curtain and, for the briefest moment, I had seen through such a window. In a flash of “outsight” I had known timelessness and quiet ecstasy, sensed a truth of which mainstream science is merely a small fraction. And I knew that the revelation would be with me for the rest of my life, imperfectly remembered yet always within. A source of strength on which I could draw when life seemed harsh or cruel or desperate. ~ Jane Goodall (Reason for Hope: A Spiritual Journey)
I’d sit on logs like pulpits listen to the sermon of sparrows and find god in Simplicity, there amongst the dandelion and thorn ~ Jewel (A Night Without Armor)
We now have 144 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. Our county (New London) has 1,345 confirmed cases. Of those 4 are still in the hospital and 102 have lost their lives. I fret over the figures coming out of North Carolina and Georgia, where my children live. Stay safe and take care…
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.
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!
Eastern Europe & Russia 43% England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 28% Germanic Europe 20% Ireland & Scotland 3% Baltics 3% Norway 2% Italy 1%
We recently added more ethnicity populations and communities. Based on this update, you might see changes to your results. ~ Ancestry.com
England, Wales & Northwestern Europe 71% Ireland & Scotland 21% Germanic Europe 6% Norway 2%
The last time we examined our DNA results was in 2014, about 5 years ago. (penetrating the past) We both have some interesting changes in our results!
For me, the Italian connection all but disappeared, which seems about right because I could never find one on the paper trail. Norway shows up solidly in about the right amount for my 3rd-great-grandfather, and Ireland as well, for his wife, my 3rd-great-grandmother. My father’s Slavic (Ukrainian) origins gained a larger percentage in my DNA. I’m intrigued with a new category, 3% Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania).
Interestingly, Tim also seems to be 2% Norway. But he’s a whopping 92% England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Northwestern Europe. And this analysis turns up absolutley no European Jewish ancestry, in spite of having a Jewish maternal grandfather. Still a mystery.
So, on Christmas Eve, we were sitting around our table working on a jigsaw puzzle and listening to holiday music with my sister and brother-in-law. I had made the shuffling playlist for my iPod years ago and had included tunes from many traditions. When the Dreidel Song came on my sister asked Tim if his family had celebrated Hanukkah when he was a child. The answer was no, although his stepgrandmother often brought Jewish foods to the house during the holidays. And then, much to my astonishment, he mentioned that his maternal grandfather had converted to Judaism. What!?!
This definitely would explain the lack of European Jewish ancestry for Tim!
It never ceases to amaze me how memories are stirred up in the oddest ways. And how a non-genealogical question lead to a spontaneous answer containing an important clue, which led to the solving of a genetic conundrum.
It will be fun to see any future changes in our DNA analyses as the scientists fine-tune the estimates as their population samples continue to grow.
Another one of Tim’s grandmother’s lines goes back to Scotland. A perfect excuse to spend a lovely autumn afternoon with Tim’s aunt in New Hampshire, locating the gravestones of their ancestors, while enjoying the gorgeous fall colors en route.
Allegra Estelle Hamilton 1900-1992 Gertrude Mabel “Gertie” Hubbard 1874-1965 Delorma Brown “DB” Hubbard 1842-1915 Lydia P. Randolph 1807-1901 Jane Koyl 1779-1870 Ephraim Koyl 1753-1838 Dea. John Kyle c. 1722-1769 Dea. John Kyle c. 1682-1762
Fortunately the Find A Grave website provided some older and much clearer photographs of these tombstones and I was able to identify them by matching up the markings that could be made out. And thankfully, the original epitaphs were recorded there, as well.
HERE LYES THE BODY OF MR. JOHN KYLE HE DIED MAY 12th 1762 AGED 80 YEARS
Here lies the Body of Mrs. Mary Kyle, Wife of Deacon John Kyle Who Died January ye 8th 1778 Aged – 84 years –
The following is from The History of Windham in New Hampshire by Leonard Allison Morrison, (Boston, Massachusetts: Cupples, Upham & Co., 1883), 68, 615, 616
John Kyle, of Scotch race, was a settler here previous to 1740, and lived near J.-L. Cottle’s. He m. Mary —, who d. Jan. 8, 1778, æ. 84 yrs.; he d. May 12, 1762, æ. 80 yrs. Child:—
Dea. John, who succeeded him on the farm; m. Agnes —; made an elder during the pastorate of Rev. William Johnston; date of death not known; was taxed as late as 1780.
Children, b. Windham: — Ephraim2, b. July 1, 1753. (See Revolutionary history, p. 68.) William2, b. Aug. 8, 1755. Mary2, insane, and provided for by the town. Janet2, insane, and provided for by the town.
WINDHAM MEN IN THE BATTLE OF BUNKER HILL
Capt. Elisha Woodbury’s company, Colonel Stark’s regiment CASUALTIES AND LOSSES Ephraim Kyle, 1 gun and bayonet, £2, 2s.
Tim’s 7th-great-grandfather, John Kyle was born about 1682 in the small village of Lochgilphead, Scotland and was an original settler of Windham, New Hampshire.
John Kyle’s grandson, Tim’s 5th-great-grandfather, Ephraim Koyl, son of John and Agnes (—) Kyle, was born 1 July 1753 in Windham (Rockingham) New Hampshire, and died 25 August 1838 in Kitley, Johnson District, Upper Canada [now Elizabethtown-Kitley Twp. (Leeds) Ontario]. He married in Londonderry (Rockingham) New Hampshire (as his first wife and as her second husband), Abigail (Reading) Kincaid, who was born 17 February 1753 in Portsmouth (Rockingham) New Hampshire, and died 11 April 1810 in Kitley, daughter of John and Mary (—) Redding.
Abigail had married (as her first husband) John M. Kincaid, who died in the 16 August 1777 (Revolutionary War) Battle of Bennington while serving with Ephraim. The Americans successfully defended colonial military stores against a British raiding party. After Abigail married Ephraim they moved to Canada about 1792, and had settled on Irish Creek, near a place called Koyl’s Bridge, in Kitley by 1803. After Abigail died, Ephraim married a second, unidentified wife, who died in Kitley, 6 September 1844.
Private Ephraim fought in the Battle of Bunker’s Hill near the beginning of the Revolutionary War. He was wounded by a musket ball which entered his jaw and lodged in his neck, and was later removed, leaving a scar. As he was being carried off the battlefield his gun and bayonet were taken from him, for which he was later given some monetary compensation. Promoted to sergeant, Ephraim went on to fight in the Battle of Bennington two years later.
Apparently the name Kyle was used in the United States, but changed to Koyl when the family moved to Canada. Ephraim is listed under both spellings in his Revolutionary War pension files. It’s puzzling why Ephraim decided to move to Canada after fighting on the American side of the Revolution.
Ephraim & Abigail were the parents of seven children:
i. Jane Koyl (Tim’s 4th-great-grandmother), born 4 April 1779 in Manchester (Bennington) Vermont, died 19 October 1870 in Albion (Orleans) New York. She married (as her first husband), 15 January 1797, Abram Randolph, who was born 24 October 1767 in Vermont, and died 18 November 1824 in Albion, son of Benjamin and Jane (Long) Randolph. Jane & Abram were the parents of eleven children. Jane married (as her second husband), 25 February 1847, David Coombs. Jane & David had no children.
ii. Ephraim Koyl, born 9 November 1781 in Manchester, died 26 October 1864 in Kitley. He married July 1805 in (Leeds) Ontario, Elizabeth “Betsey” Lillie.
iii. William Peter Koyl, born 11 March 1783 in Manchester, died 15 December 1870 in Springfield (Elgin) Ontario. He married Mary “Polly” Lyman, who was born in 15 June 1788, and died 24 December 1860 in Springfield, daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Temple) Lyman.
iv. Peter Koyl, born 26 March 1785 in Manchester, died 25 August 1871 in South Dorchester (Elgin) Ontario. He married Julia (—).
v. Anna Koyl, born 10 December 1786.
vi. Sarah “Sally” Koyl, born 10 December 1788 in New York. She married Peter Wells, who was born 16 August 1787, and died 18 July 1854, son of Peter and Laura (Louis) Wells. Sarah & Peter were the parents of four children.
vii. Abigail Koyl, born 1789 in Manchester, died in 1882. She married Rhodes Streeter, who was born in 1788, and died in 1842. Abigail & Rhodes were the parents of a son.
Exciting day at the Rodgers home! I’ve been trying to trace Tim’s grandmother’s Hamilton ancestors back to Scotland for as long as we’ve been married, almost 44 years. Taking notes from her father’s autobiography and her mother’s research, the line went back only 4 generations.
Allegra Estelle Hamilton 1900-1992 Charles Amos Hamilton 1866-1943 Charles Munson Hamilton 1815-1891 Benjamin Hamilton 1792-1880 William Hamilton 1756-1824
All we knew of Benjamin was that he came from New Jersey and settled in New York, and that his father, William, fought in the Revolutionary War. Charles Amos became a member of the Sons of the American Revolution as a great-grandson of William, on 4 January 1924.
William participated in the battles of the Narrows on the Susquehanna River and at Tioga Point. He was a member of Capt. Morrison’s Co. 1 Battalion.
No one seemed to know the name of William’s father but it was thought that he was born in Scotland. However, it seems he was actually born in New Jersey. As I was browsing Ancestry.com this morning I stumbled across a picture of a page entitled The Hamilton Family, pg. 291. It’s from the book by J. Percy Crayon, Rockaway Records of Morris County, N. J. Families, (Rockaway, N.J., Rockaway Publishing Co., 1902).
But, much to my delight, one of the Benjamins on the page matched up with Tim’s Benjamin Hamilton. And at long last the mystery is solved! William’s second wife, Nellie Hurd, is the name of Benjamin’s previously unidentified mother. And the line now goes back 3 more generations to the Scottish ancestor.
William Hamilton 1756-1824 (Revolutionary War) Stephen Hamilton ?-1759 (died in the Battle of Ticonderoga, French & Indian War) John Hamilton c.1681-1747 Gov. Andrew Hamilton ?-1703 (Governor of colonial New Jersey, Tim’s 7th-great-grandfather)
This afternoon I found the following account of Andrew’s life in Appletons’ Cyclopædia of American Biography (1900) edited by James Grant Wilson & John Fiske. It was all one paragraph but I’m breaking it up to make it easier to read. Enjoy!
HAMILTON, Andrew, governor of New Jersey, b. in Scotland; d. probably in Burlington, N. J., 20 April, 1703. He was engaged in business as a merchant in Edinburgh, and was sent to East Jersey as a special agent for the proprietaries. Having discharged that mission satisfactorily, he was recommended as a man of intelligence and judgment to Lord Neil Campbell, who was sent to that province in 1686 as deputy-governor for two years. He was made a member of the council in consequence, and in March, 1687, became acting governor on the departure of Lord Neil for England, who was called there on business and did not return.
In 1688, East and West Jersey having surrendered their patents, those provinces came under the control of Gov. Edmund Andros, and were annexed to New York and New England. Andros, then residing in Boston, visited New York and the Jerseys, continuing all officers in their places, and making but slight changes in the government. In consequence of the revolution of 1688 in England, Gov. Hamilton visited the mayor of New York as the representative of Andros, that official having been seized by the New-Englanders in April, 1689. He finally sailed for England, in order to consult with the proprietaries, but was captured by the French, and did not reach London until May, 1690. He was still residing there in March, 1692, when he was appointed governor of East Jersey, and also given charge of West Jersey.
Although he administered the affairs of the province to the satisfaction of both the colonists and the proprietaries, he was deposed in 1697, “much against the inclination” of the latter, in obedience to an act of parliament which provided that “no other than a natural-born subject of England could serve in any public post of trust or profit.” Hamilton returned to England in 1698, but so great was the disorder and maladministration under his successor, Jeremiah Basse, that he was reappointed, 19 Aug., 1699. He could not, however, right the wrong that had been already done, or repair the abuses that had crept in. Officers were insulted in the discharge of their duties, and the growth of the province was seriously interfered with.
In 1701 he was appointed by William Penn deputy-governor of Pennsylvania, the latter having been called to England to oppose the machinations of those who were plotting to deprive him of his American possessions. On Penn’s arrival in London everything was done to harass him, factious opposition being made to the confirmation of Gov. Hamilton, who was wrongfully charged with having been engaged in illicit trade. The appointment finally received the royal sanction. In the session of the provincial assembly in Oct., 1702, the representatives of the territories refused to meet those of the province, claiming the privilege of separation under a new charter, and expressing their firm determination to remain apart.
Hamilton strongly urged the advantages of union, and used all his influence to secure this result, but without effect. He also made preparations for the defence of the colony by organizing a military force. He died while on a visit to his family in New Jersey the year following. It was to Andrew Hamilton that the colonies were indebted for the first organization of a postal service, he having obtained a patent from the crown for the purpose in 1694. —
His son, John, acting governor of New Jersey, d. in Perth Amboy, N. J.. in 1746. It is not known whether he was born in East Jersey or in Scotland. He is first heard of in public life as a member of Gov. Hunter’s council in 1713. He retained his seat under Gov. Burnet, Gov. Montgomerie, and Gov. Cosby. In 1735 he was appointed associate judge of the provincial supreme court, but probably did not serve, as he became acting governor on the death of Gov. Cosby, only three weeks after the latter’s accession to office, 31 March, 1736. He continued at the head of affairs until the summer of 1738, when Lewis Morris was appointed governor of New Jersey, “apart from New York.”
Hamilton again became acting governor on the death of the latter in 1746, but he was then quite infirm and died a few months afterward. He is usually credited with having established the first colonial postal service, but the weight of authority seems to favor the belief that it was his father who obtained the patent.
As a scientist I am indeed only an ant, insufficient and anonymous, but I am stronger than I look and part of something that is much bigger than I am. Together we are building something that will fill our grandchildren’s grandchildren with awe, and while building we consult daily the crude instructions provided by our grandfathers’ grandfathers. As a tiny, living part of the scientific collective, I’ve sat alone countless nights in the dark, burning my metal candle and watching a foreign world with an aching heart. Like anyone else who harbors precious secrets wrought from years of searching, I have longed for someone to tell.
~ Hope Jahren
Reading Lab Girl by Hope Jahren was eye-opening for me. My father was a scientist and, like many children, I didn’t have much of a grasp on what he did all day. I knew he was researching chicken viruses in a lab at the university. Sometimes he would take my sister and me to work and I noticed all sorts of lab equipment, especially a special light he used to examine chicken embryos in their shells. I knew every couple of years he would be stressing about whether he would get funding for another couple of years. (He always did.) Once I tried to read his PhD thesis, but it was like trying to read a foreign language.
In this book Jahren, who studies plants, introduced me to the concept of curiosity-driven research. The scientist sets up and runs experiments to investigate whatever she happens to be wondering about. Any “real-world” applications of the results are not immediately apparent or sought. Collecting data is pure joy for her. She adds to the volume of scientific knowledge and leaves information for future scientists to make use of in their own research.
Now I get what my father was doing all those years! He may not have made any dazzling discoveries but he was an important ‘part of something that is much bigger than he was.’ Hope Jahren gives a very enlightening look into the everyday world of scientists, in words all of us will understand.
My cousin sent me a little puzzle I enjoyed solving. He is also going through boxes from the grandparents! Along with the front and back of this postcard he sent a question, “My middle name is Weekes and I saw this post card from Weekes to Swift… may be of interest to you and also I don’t know who the kid is on the photograph, might you?” It took me a couple of hours, going over my data stored away at Ancestry, to find someone who fit.
So finally I could write back:
My best guess for the identity of the little fellow in the picture would be Albert E. Weekes (1907-1991). He is our 2nd cousin, 3 times removed. The postcard was sent in July 1911, when he was 3 years 9 months old, and the message says the picture was taken when he was 2 years 9 months old, which Albert was in July of 1910. He was 10 years younger than his next older sibling, his sister Bertha.
The post card is from his parents, Mr. & Mrs. G. A. Weekes, George Albert Weekes (1849-1917) & Mary J. (Hilliard) Weekes (1867-1952).
The post card was sent to George’s first cousin, Mrs. Edward E. Swift, Susan Flora (Freeman) Swift (1864-1963). She is our 3rd-great-aunt, Aunt Flora, of Woods Hole.
Our ancestors in common are my 4th-great-grandparents, Isaac Weekes (1780-1841) & Elisabeth (Allen) Weekes, profiled here. The cousins, Mr. Weekes and Mrs. Swift, were their grandchildren. They have many descendants and I haven’t found all of them yet, I’m sure!