Monday, August 3, 2020

Slave Owners in my Family Tree – Part 2

Recently I published a list of my Connecticut ancestors who owned slaves (*1). The source data for this information was the 1790 census. However, someone then posted a link to some information on this subject that is maintained by the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury (*2). This list contains a all the individuals who owned slaves in Waterbury in roughly the period from 1700 to 1800. There are bios for all those who lived in Waterbury. I am related to all 16 of these individuals. Those which are direct ancestors of mine are bolded in the lists below, the other are mainly uncles or relatively close cousins.

·       Dr. Isaac Baldwin – (son-in-law of Rev. Mark and Sarah Leavenworth)
·       Deacon Stephen Bronson – first cousin, 7 times removed, grandson of Rev. John Southmayd, in addition, his wife was the daughter of Caleb Humaston
·       Deacon Thomas Clark – first cousin, 10 times removed, through his mother, Hannah Strong
·       Thomas Clark, Jr. – (son of Deacon Thomas Clark)
·       Timothy Clark – (son of Deacon Thomas Clark)
·       Dr. Edward Field – (son-in-law of Dr. Isaac Baldwin, grandson of Rev. Mark and Sarah Leavenworth)
·       Joseph Hopkins, Esq. – (son-in-law of Deacon Thomas Clark)
·       Caleb Humaston – great*7 uncle, his wife was the daughter of Rev. Samuel Todd
·       Rev. Mark and Sarah Leavenworth – Sarah is second cousin, 6 times removed
·       Isaac Newton – third cousin, 4 times removed through Thomas Hooker
·       Miles Newton – fourth cousin, 5 times removed through Thomas Hooker
·       John Nichols – (father-in-law of Rev. James Scoville)
·       Harmon Payne – first cousin, 7 times removed
·       Dr. Preserved and Lydia Porter – Lydia is first cousin, 6 times removed
·       Rev. James Scoville – great*6 uncle
·       Rev. John Southmayd – great*7 grandfather

This website also lists a number of individuals who lives in Westbury (now Watertown) which was part of Waterbury back in the 1700s. However, there is no biographical information for most of these, just a name with no dates, etc. However, I was able to confirm the relationship of all those with bios and a few others, so there are 15 more individuals who are part of my ancestral tree.

·       Ashur Blakely – first cousin, 7 times removed
·       Young Love Cutler
·       James Doolittle
·       Abijah Garnsey – husband of third cousin, 7 times removed
·       Deacon Jonathan Garnsey – (brother of Abijah Garnsey)
·       Captain Samuel Hickcox – first cousin, 8 times removed
·       Deacon Samuel Hickcox – (son of Captain Samuel Hickox)
·       Captain William Hickcox – (son of Captain Samuel Hickox)
·       Titus Hotchkiss – great*7 uncle
·       Elnathan Judd – fifth cousin, 6 times removed
·       Stephen Judd – fifth cousin, 6 times removed
·       Joshua Morse
·       Solomon Morse
·       Joshua Moss
·       Susanna Nettleton – first cousin, 7 times removed
·       Capt. George Nichols – (father of John Nichols)
·       Jonathan Prindle – great*6 grandfather
·       Theophilus Ransom
·       Benjamin Richards, Jr. – first cousin, 7 times removed
·       Lieut. Thomas Richards – great*7 uncle
·       David Jonathan Scott
·       Capt. E Scovill
·       David Skilton
·       Oliver Soughton
·       Lieut. Stow
·       Josiah Stow
·       Richard Treat
·       Rev. John Trumbull – great-nephew of great*9 uncle
·       Elijah Woodard
·       Israel Woodruff
·       Joseph Allen Wright


Friday, July 31, 2020

Traveling to China in 1939

Helen Pierpont was a second cousin, once removed, of mine. She was born in Waterbury, CT, in 1905 and was a teacher in NJ. She didn’t marry until she was 40, but spent many years traveling the world in the 1930s. Her trips included: France in 1930, Cuba in 1933, Bermuda in 1935, Japan in 1937 and France in 1938.

On the cruise to Japan in 1937 she met another single lady, Ella Miller, a teacher from Syracuse, NY. Ella was 20 years older than Helen, but was a similar world traveler, having gone to England in 1925 and 1927, Turkey in 1930, Mexico in 1931, Germany in 1933 and 1934, Gibraltar in 1935, Japan in 1937, and France (with Helen) in 1938.

In 1939, they decided to take another trip together. They left New York City in July by train across the US to San Francisco, then by boat to Japan and thence to China. Being in China in the fall, and knowing that Christmas was approaching, they each wrote a letter to their friends back in the US. It appears from this letter that they may have been intending on continuing around the world together, although I have not been able to verify their itinerary. However, by the following April Helen was back home in New Jersey and Ella was back in Syracuse.

I recently came into possession of their letters written for that Christmas of 1939. Helen’s letter is in the form of a poem of her impressions, where Ella’s is a more thorough itinerary of what they had been doing.

XXXXXXXXXX Letter from Helen Pierpont XXXXXXXXXX

College of Chinese Studies
Peking, China
Christmas, 1939

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

            I’d like to see the hustle and bustle of Christmas at home, the gorgeous decorations, shops, Christmas trees, heaps of gifts, and everybody busier than at any other season. But here at the Antipodes filled with wonder at this great, strange, beautiful world. I’m very glad that the wars in 1939 have allowed us to come thus far, and hope that they won’t prevent our coming back home in 1940.
            Here is a thought about Peking that I have cudgelled from my brain:


We’re here in Cambulac (as Marco called Peking).
And we’re dazzled by the facets of its art and life.
Temple of Heaven, august and white, with blue sky canopy;
Hutung, pai lou, orange-robed lama priests;
Pomegranates, persimmons, Peking dates and ducks;
Lily feet, an occasional queue, babies swathed in Chinese red;
City gates securely locked at eight; walls to foil
Chinese guerrillas raiding from their mountain hideouts;
Jade Street, Lantern Street, Little Embroidery Street,
Treasures of emperors in finest craftsmanship,
Aladdin’s wondrous hoard of radiant jewels;
Rickshaw coolies running their lives away,
Peking carts, long-eared burrows, straining human horses,
Camels somber, aloof, treading in misanthropic dignity;
Flaming sunset sky above rich golden tiles
Of six hundred imperial roofs in the Forbidden City;
Street cries, musical and strange; tantalizing
Odors of roasting pork, hot chestnuts, sesame cakes; stalls
Spilling out chrysanthemums white, red, and gold;
Stories of evangelists, doctors, soil chemists,
Epidemiologists, refugees, and sinologues;
Turbaned Moslems, temples of chanting Buddhists,
Gregorian music sung in Chinese words,
Marco Polo’s Cambulac, gateway to Cathay.

                                    Helen Pierpont


College of Chinese Studies
Peking, China
Christmas, 1939

Dear Friends everywhere,

            Blessings on the ancient Chinese who first invented printing! There’s so much to see and hear and do in Peking that we begrudge every minute devoted to correspondence. Hence this Round Robin in lieu of person messages, a stream-lined account of our wanderings to date.

            On July 13, 1939, Helen Pierpont and I started westward round the world, leaving New York City on the All-American sleeper bus for San Francisco. We enjoyed every mile of the ride, realizing anew how vast and rich and beautiful our country is. The desert especially fascinated us with its every-changing, light-effects on cactus, yuccas and sage brush. One afternoon we even beheld a delectable mirage.

            The six-hour stop-over in Dallas passed all too quickly at the house of Helen’s friends, the Banks Upshaws. Our one day in Los Angeles was hectic. First we had dinner with “Cousin Carrie” at San Fernando; in the afternoon, thanks to the kindness of Lenore Llewellyn, we saw the high spots of Hollywood: Grau’s Chinese Theater, the Brown Derby, the Inn, the Bowl. After a visit to Aimee’s Four, Square Temple we “did” Mexican Olvera Street, mingling with the crowds, eating tamales, tacos, enchiladas, and at 10.45 P.M., attending the Puppet Show “For adults, Only.” Helen slept through the Strip Tease act.

            July 18-27. In San Francisco. Fortunately we got rooms in the steam-heated Sutter Street Y.W.C.A. San Francisco is incredibly cold, even in summer. But we put on all our woolies, sweaters, coats, and ferried to the Fair. Aside from the cold, we liked everything on Treasure Island, its location in that magnificent harbor; the architecture, ramparts, towers, castles right out of fairy land; the gorgeous flowers everywhere. Pacific House with the Covarrubias maps, the Palace of Fine Arts with Old Masters lent from all over the world, etc. etc.

            Reluctantly, we tore ourselves away from it all when our ship sailed at noon on the twenty-seventh. Nathalie Sacket and Helen’s friends, the Kwiciens, saw us off.

            July 27-August 10. On board the Tatuta Maru. Delightful southern crossing. Every morning we looked out of our port-hole and repeated, “Lo, here hath been dawning another blue day!” There were so few passengers that food and service in second class were deluxe. We had the run of the ship at all hours, the decks for promenading and games, the tiled swimming pool, the gymnasium, movies, dances, a show by the stewards, pottery painting. The suki-yaki dinner on deck was unusually jolly because of the spontaneous entertainment by passengers: Japanese folk dances, a Siamese love song, Aloha in Hawaiian, rollicking singing by a Mexican, recitation of the “One-Legged Duck” by our own Professor Cochran.

            The Cochrans, our table-companions, were planning to celebrate their wedding anniversary on the fifth, but they reckoned without the calendar – just then we crossed the International Date Line and lost that day. We went to sleep on the fourth and woke next morning on the sixth.

            We were disappointed because the United States Shipping Laws forbade passengers on foreign vessels to stop over in Hawaii. But we made the most of our few hours shore leave, shopping in the Kress Five-and-Ten, feasting on luscious pineapple, papayas and avocado and sipping cocktails on Waikiki Beach at the Royal Hawaiian. To insure our return to the balmy isles we threw overboard, on sailing, our fresh fragrant gardenia leis.

            August 10. We landed in Yokohama, minus our copy of “Inside Asia”, Bon Voyage gift from Libbis and Mary. The censor insisted that it was “no good for Japan”. Having suspected this we had Transferred to our heads most of its “dangerous thoughts” on shipboard. What did come as a shock, however, was the refusal of a landing-card to Mr. Lee, a United States citizen, from Hawaii. “You are an enemy. We don’t want you on shore.” His parents were Chinese. Asia makes short work of the American illusion that the state is anything but Naked power.

            August 11-27. In Tokyo, at the Imperial, the favorite meeting-place of Westerners in Japan. We chose this hotel because of its historical associations. Wright had designed it to be earthquake-and fire-proof. It stood through the holocaust of 23.

            With Dr. Austoni, Dr. Rojanavongse, and Mrs. Keck, friends from the boat, we had a round of theater and dinner parties, sampling Kabuki plays, Takarazuka opera, Osaka Puppets, tempura, sukiyaki, and grilled eels. Miss Ando and Miss Nakamichi, genial nurses just back from a year in America, generously served as our guides and interpreters.

            Meanwhile, there was difficulty getting passage to Peking. “Impossible,” said N.Y.K. officials, “there is a flood in Tientsin”. Nothing daunted we set sail for Kobe on the Hakozaki Maru, favored on the way with magnificent sunset and moonlight views of Mt. Fuji.

            At Kobe after much argument, we finally obtained reservations for the fourth, and went off to Koyasan to spend the intervening time. Our three days at Shojo-Shinn-in (Pure-hearted Temple) were an interlude in Never-Never-Land. The Buddhist monks served us vegetarian meals in our exquisitely-painted room which opened on a Japanese dream garden. We attended the sunrise service in the gold-and red-lacquered chapel, had Ceremonial Tea with our Japanese neighbors, and took long walks under the ancient cryptomerias. We’ve seen Nara and Nikko and Kyoto: Koyasan surpasses them all.

            On returning to Kobe we learned that Britain had declared war, and that “The military prohibits people from going to Peking by rail or water or air.” None the less, we sailed, on the fourth, on the Oryoku, for Dairen. Our Special Suite was so grand, and the voyage through the Inland Sea so delightful that even Helen, who’s none too fond of boats, was hoping something would happen to prolong the trip. But we docked at Dairen on schedule on September 7, visited Port Arthur by bus, and at 5 P.M. took the express for Peking, via Mukden.

            Towards noon on the eighth, we approached the flood area. Ours was the first train that went over the new bridges and the restored road bed, reinforced by millions of sandbags. For three hours we cautiously inched along through the waste of waters. Whole villages of mud houses had dissolved in the floods; countless coffins, washed out of the burial mounds in the fields, were bobbing up and down in the water; thousands of wretched refugees were clinging to existence on the few feet of land along the tracks. A never-to-be forgotten experience.

            At five we reached Peking, rickshawed with our baggage to the College of Chinese Studies, and snatched up the last available rooms! Dumb luck! For Peking is full of refugees these days – some from the flood, other driven from their missions by the Anti-British Campaign. And all of them, refugees, vacationists, students, vastly interesting, with stories of their experiences and observations.

            We are seeing Peking at an interesting time, the capital of a vast empire under the heel of the conqueror. Already a hundred thousand Japanese are in the city, soldiers with bared bayonets, officers in speeding limousines, camouflaged armored tanks rumbling down crowded thoroughfares, bombers roaring overhead. And the Chinese are going about their endless toil in seeming indifference. At first, Helen protested, “Something is wrong! In Japan we saw a nation of soldiers; here a city of ricksha coolies!” Just dumb cattle? Or are they wiser than the rest of us following sound instincts of survival? Time will tell.

            Meanwhile, the Chinese strike us as anything but decadent, and we like them, their frankness, their democratic spirit, their good nature, their never-failing humor.

            Thanks to the favorable exchange, 10 to 14 Chinese dollars for one of Uncle Sam’s, we afford all sorts of luxuries; stalls at the Chinese Opera, donkey rides over the Western Hills, Feasts of Peking Duck and Mongolian Mutton Grills, and best of all, day long ricksha rides through the kaleidoscopic city with its rhythmic medley of street cries.

            We like Peking and suggest that you all come to “look see” for yourselves. Meanwhile, Happy Holidays.

                                                Ella Miller

Monday, July 27, 2020

Genealogy Story – The William Russell Chest

In 1888, the family of William Russell donated his sea chest to the New Haven Historical Society, now the New Haven Museum. The below article appeared in the paper. They later donated a picture of William Huntington Russell as well.

[William Huntington Russell]

---- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

New Haven Daily Morning Journal and Courier
21 Apr 1888

An Old Chest of Colonial and Family Interest Loaned the Historical Society

A very ancient chest was loaned to the Historical society yesterday by Major George H. Larned which has a very interesting history, as shown by the following letter which accompanied the chest:

New Haven, Conn., April 19, 1888
Simson E. Baldwin, Esq., President New Haven Historical Society:

Dear Sir:
Will your society kindly accept, for safe keeping, an old chest which has a colonial as well as a family interest! It has been sacredly preserved in its original shape and color, and has the look, peculiar in its construction, which was on it when it came to this country, and such an one as is described in the story of Ginevra. The chest has been handed down from one generation to another and now leaves the family for the first time. It contained the effects of William Russell, who arrived in New Haven in the spring of 1638-39. The family tradition is that he was a passenger in “the first ship which ever cast anchor in New Haven harbor,” the St. John, 320 tons, Richard Russell master. He came with Rev. Henry Whitfield, George Fenwick and William Leet, a part of Mr. Davenport’s and Mr. Eaton’s company. William Russell signed “the covenant agreement” with the first settlers and “free planters of Quinnipiack,” June 4, 1641, and lived, for a time, on the southwest side of George street, above College, and next to what was then known as West creek; but was allowed to have “his land on the plain amongst the rest of his neighbors.” He died January 2, 1864-5, aged fifty-two years. Enclosed please find a statement showing how the chest came into my possession.
Very respectfully,
Geo. H. Larned

This chest was brought from England in 1638-9, by
            William Russell, who married Sarah Davis.
                        Their son,
            Noadiah Russell, married Mary Hamlin.
                        Their son,
            William Russell, married Mary Pierpont.
                        Their son,
            Noadiah Russell, married Esther Talcott.
                        Their son,
            Matthew Talcott Russell, married Mary Huntington.
                        Their son,
            William Huntington Russell, married Mary E. Hubbard.
                        Their son,
            Talcott Huntington Russell, now lives in New Haven.

            Esther Russell, daughter of the second Noadiah,
                        Took the chest when she married Thaddeus Larned.
                        Their son,
            George Larned, married Harriet Russell.

The son, George Huntington Larned, loans it on the 250th anniversary of its arrival in New Haven to the New Haven Colony Historical society. Ship chests, for the long voyages of that day, were made broad on the bottom and narrow at the top. They could then be stowed securely on deck, and yet passengers could use their keys to lock and unlock them at pleasure. The matter of storage and access made it necessary to have the owner’s name on the top instead of the end, as the custom of today.


Slave Owners in the Pierpont Family Tree

Recently, I investigated the slave owners in Connecticut who were part of my family tree – either by being my direct ancestors or uncles/cousins (*1). But as part of that I also found some who are in the tree of the New England Pierponts.

A genealogist friend of mine noted as a response to (*1), “Look for the doctors, lawyers and ministers. They often owned slaves.” This is certainly true with these cases as Pierpont Edwards was a lawyer and his father was a minister. And Noadiah Russell was also a minister.

The Edwards Family

[Pierpont Edwards]

One of the individuals who had slaves in the 1790 census was Pierpont Edwards (*2) (20>168a) (1750-1826), the youngest son of Jonathan Edwards and Sarah Pierpont (the daughter of Rev. James Pierpont). Pierpont Edwards had eleven children. In the 1790 census, he is shown in a family of 12 people – he and his wife, four boys under the age of 16, four daughters, and two slaves.

Pierpont’s father, Jonathan, owned slaves most of his adult life (*3) although he spoke against the practice in his later life. Another of Jonathan’s sons, also Jonathan (*4), supported abolition and he wrote a series of articles condemning the practice beginning in 1773. Nonetheless, Pierpont had two slaves in 1790, the year he was appointed the US Attorney for the state of Connecticut (*5).

Noadiah Russell

Along with the Rev. James Pierpont, one of the co-founders of Yale was the Rev. Noadiah Russell [herein called Noadiah1] from Middletown. He served as the pastor of the church in Middletown for 43 years. Two of James’ children married children of Noadiah1 – Mary Pierpont married Rev. William Russell who became the pastor after his father, serving for 46 years, and Joseph Pierpont married Hannah. Joseph and Hannah were my great*6 grandparents (*6), but this story is about the descendants of William and Mary [Pierpont] Russell.

In an article about slavery in the Hartford Courant, it noted that this included “good Yankee names like Alsop and Russell in Middletown.” This would have referred to the Rev. Noadiah1 (1659-1713) and Rev. William (1690-1761). But neither of these men were living when the 1790 census was taken. The Noadiah Russell in that census was one of the children of William and Mary.

One also needs to note that this family had been slave owners before. Noadiah1, in his will, left his “negro boy” to his son John. Similarly, William left three slaves, a woman and her two children, Lillian and Tom, in his will.

William and Mary had seven children including Noadiah (1730-1795) [herein called Noadiah2]. Noadiah2 got his education at Yale, married Esther Talcott in 1758, and was the pastor of the church in Thompson, CT, where he served from 1757 until his death in 1795. Grandfather, father, and son served for 43, 46, and 38 years respectively, each dying in office - an amazing heritage of service.

Noadiah2 and Esther also had six children – another Noadiah (*8) [herein called Noadiah3], Matthew Talcott, Esther, Sarah, Abigail, and Joseph. Noadiah2 died in Mendon, MA, while on a journey to Boston in 1795. Except for their son Noadiah3, their children all married and had large families, but none of these are listed in the official Pierpont genealogies. Below are the updates needed. Note that there are some interesting situations in this genealogical record – (1) marrying a first cousin, and (2) when your wife dies, marrying her older sister and having more children so that half-siblings are also first cousins of each other.

This substantial addition to the Pierpont Family genealogical record includes several well-known individuals, including William Huntington Russell (*9).

It is not known who the slave was that Noadiah2 owned, or why he/she was acquired. But since his father and grandfather had both owned slaves before him, it was not unexpected.


Current Pierpont Genealogy
20>1645 Noadiah Russell
_e Yale 1750
+m /1758 Esther Talcott (Thompson)
20>16451 Noadiah Russell dwi
20>16452 Mathew Talcott Russell ??-/1828
+m /???? Mary Huntington
20>16453 Esther Russell
20>16454 Sarah Russell
20>16455 Abigail Russell
20>16456 Joseph Russell

Revised Pierpont Genealogy
20>1645 Noadiah Russell 24ja1730(Middletown)-27oc1795(MendonMA)
_e Yale 1750
+m 14mr1758 Esther Talcott 24je1731(Hartford)-14oc1797(Thompson)
20>16451 Noadiah Russell 15je1759(Killingly)-30my1817(Thompson) dwi

20>16452 Matthew Talcott Russell 19mr1761(Killingly)-13no1828(Windsted)
+m 17se1797 Mary Huntington 28au1769(Middletown)-je1857
20>164521 Mary Huntington Russell 11no1798-1jl1859 unm
20>164522 George Huntington Russell 8ap1800-15de1803
20>164523 Harriet Russell 14ja1802-3ap1865
+m George Larned (20>164554)
_n Harriet married her first cousin!
20>1645231 Julia Russell Larned 24no1837-30oc1869(Thompson)
20>1645232 Robert Grosvenor Larned /1841-28apr1842(Thompson)
20>1645233 Maria Cornelia Larned 8ja1835-/1910
+m John Southmayd /1835-/1918(Durham)
20>16452331 Herbert L Southmayd /1860-/1935(Durham)
20>1645234 Catharine Dresser Larned 23no1843-19de1910(KingstonRI)
+m ___ Sisson
20>2645235 George Huntington Larned 313jl839-20fe1912
+m Josephine ___ 2se1854-17oc1926

20>164524 unnamed son 3se1803-3se1803
20>164525 Julia Anne Russell 8au1804-9ap1865 unm
20>164526 Charles Huntington Russell 25mr1806-/1807 unm
20>164527 Edward Russell 17fe1808-21jl1808

20>164528 William Huntington Russell 12au1809-19my1885(NewHaven)
+m Mary Elizabeth Hubbard 23my1816-11de1890
_n co-founder of Yale University Skull and Bones Society (Russell Trust Association)
20>1645281 Frances Harriet Russell 14au1839-29de1889(NewH)

20>1645282 Talcott Huntington Russell 14mr1847-18oc1917(NewH)
+m Geraldine Whittemore Low 9au1862-25je1939(NewH)
20>16452821 Philip Gray Russell 26se1891-21fe1971(DallasTX)
+m Ethel Hill Howland 23je1903-29je1992
20>16452822 William Low Russell 20de1897-17de1976
+m Leonore Kathryn Schuppert 30ap1901-21no1990

20>1645283 Thomas Hubbard Russell 14de1851-2fe1916
+m Mary Katie Munson 8de1856-25au1942
20>16452831 Edward Stanton Russell 18se1894-12je1953
+m Estelle M ____ 6jl1896(PA)-14ap1988(WoodbridgeCT)
20>164528311 Martha Jane Russell 10se1919-17oc2008(WoodbridgeCT)
+m Reverdy Robert Hald Whitlock 26my1913-8ap2011(WoodbridgeCT)
20>164528312 Edward Stanton Russell Jr 5fe1922(PA)-20au2000(Branford)
20>16452832 William Huntington Russell 20mr1888-28ja1943(NewH)

20>1645284 Philip Gray Russell 14fe1854-21jl1900(NewH)
+m Lilean Kendall 5oc18155-7no1886
20>1645285 Edward Hubbard Russell 27de1855-21no1928(NewH)
+m Frances Hill 23je1903-29je1992
20>1645286 Robert Gray Russell 17se1860-21au1881

20>164529 Abigail Talcott Russell 7oc1810-2ap1865 unm
20>164520 Frances Russell 5ap1812-
+m Peter Roosevelt Roach
20>16452a Henry Russell 19my1813-26my1814
20>16452b Sarah Esther 17no1814-
20>16452c unnamed dau 23au1816-23au1816

20>16453 Esther Russell 9au1762(Killingly)-16au1816
+m Thaddeus Larned 26oc1756-19ja1818(Thompson)
_n Thaddeus had first married Abigail Russell
_n when she died in 1797, he then married Esther (his sister-in-law)
_n thus their son Frederick was both a first cousin and a half-sibling to Abigail’s children
20>164531 Frederick Larned 4oc1802(Thompson)-20ja1884(Thompson)
+m Harriet Fisher 20my1805-14fe1878(Thompson)
20>1645311 Jane Elizabeth Larned 14fe1824-4mr1898(Thompson)
20>1645312 Emily D Larned /1828-30je1876(Thompson)
20>1645313 Harriet Fisher Larned 14ap1830-19mr1894(Thompson)
20>1645314 Abigail Larned /1832-18de1846
20>1645315 Hannah Danielson Larned /1835-4ap1854(Thompson)
20>1645316 Frances Helen Larned 13je1836-27jl1914(Thompson)
20>1645317 Martha Larned 24oc1838-27se1912(Thompson)
20>1645318 Sarah W Larned /1841-19oc1858(Thompson)

20>16454 Sarah Russell 6no1763(Killingly)-
20>16455 Abigail Russell 20jl1766(Thompson)-7mr1797(Thompson)
+m Thaddeus Larned 26oc1756-19ja1818(Thompson)
20>164551 Simon Larned 24no1787-21se1810(Thompson)
20>164552 Noadiah Larned 19fe1789-17de1860(Thompson) unm
20>164553 Abigail Larned 9se1790-2se1845(Thompson)
+m Jacob Dresser /-19ja1825(Thompson)
20>1645531 Jacob Dresser /-27fe1824(Thompson)
20>1645532 Esther Dresser /1816-8au1848(Thompson)
20>1645533 Catharine Dresser /1788-3my1844(Thompson)
20>1645534 Emily Dresser /1815-13my1823(Thompson)
20>164554 George Larned 15jl1792-11oc1874(Thompson)
+m Harriet Russell (20>164523)
20>16456 Joseph Russell 30ap1775(Thompson)-8ja1861(Ellington)
+m Hannah __ 21de1779-19mr1859(Hartford)

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Slave Owners in my Family Tree

There has been a lot of recent focus on Black Lives Matter in recent months. I had already examined my own family tree and knew that there were no “Black Lives” in it, and had confirmation from my DNA results. But there was a nagging thought in the back of my mind that I needed to do some further investigation.

Then a fellow genealogist (and a distant cousin of mine from my hometown of Wolcott, CT), Pauline Merrick, posted a link to an article in the Facebook group “Descendants of Connecticut Founding Families”. The article was from the Washington Post Magazine with the subtitle “I discovered that my ancestors had enslaved people. Would connecting with a descendant of those who were enslaved bring anyone healing?” (*1). The author had discovered that her Dutch ancestors in the Hudson River valley of NY owned slaves in the late 1700s. She noted that New York was one of the last Northern states to outlaw slavery, as “the state passed the Gradual Emancipation Act of 1799, which slow-rolled freedom over nearly 30 years.” She also found slave owners among many other Dutch families of that time.

My wife’s family name is VanDeCar and she has roots among this same group along the Hudson River. But her family line did not remain there, as her great*5 grandfather, Ruloffe VanDerKar, fought for the British in the Revolutionary War and when the war ended he had to flee to Canada, with his descendants remaining there until eventual repatriating to Michigan a century later. So, finding any slave owners in my wife’s family tree would mean a lot of exploration into family lines that I had not examined.

But Pauline, in posting to that Facebook group about Connecticut genealogy, also posted one more link, to material specifically about slavery in Connecticut (*2). This article contained a long list of articles and books about the subject. Here was the material I needed to continue my research.

Slavery in Connecticut

I had noted in an earlier posting (*3), “I grew up in CT where slaves were gradually emancipated, beginning with the blocking of importation of slaves in 1774, then the passage of the “Gradual Abolition Act” in 1784, proposed legislation in 1844, and finally the passage of “An Act to Prevent Slavery in 1848” (*4). But as another fellow Wolcott genealogist friend noted, “By 1800 there were 951 slaves in Connecticut. By 1820 there were fewer than 100. The 1848 legislation freed 6 slaves.” Most of these slaves were not like those on the cotton plantations of the south, but tended to be household slaves. Also, unlike the South, families did not have dozens of slaves with cruel overseers but tended to have only one or perhaps a few.

[Household Slave]

But where would I look to try and find any slave-owner connections among my ancestors? One of the references in the second link that Pauline had posted was to a PhD dissertation by Guocun Yang titled “From Slavery to Emancipation: The African Americans of Connecticut, 1650s – 1820s (*5).

One of the significant pieces of research that Yang had undertaken was a thorough examination of the 1790 census for Connecticut. This census was only taken a few years after the passage of the “Gradual Abolition Act” of 1784, so it would have captured a picture of the spread of slavery before it began to stop in Connecticut. Even more significantly, it was only three years after the federal government had mandated taking a census in 1787.

The results of Yang’s work was later published in 2002 in the Hartford (CT) Courant (*6). While the formatting of this article makes it difficult to use, this would become the basis for investigating my ancestors. The Courant also published a follow-up article in 2004 which is also useful (*7).

1790 Census

The mechanism and rationale for the census was established in Article 1, Section 2, of the US Constitution, which was written in 1787. This reads:

“Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

It's worth noting here that the indentured servants, like the Irish, were included in the “free persons” count, but the African American slaves were only counted as three fifths of a person so needed to be separately counted.

Unlike later federal censuses, there were no standardized forms that were printed to capture this first counting. The columns were standardized, but each census taker made up his own forms – some with column labels and some without, some with page-totals on the bottom, and others with just lines drawn down the page for the columns. There were six columns – the name of the head of household, free white persons – males sixteen and over, free white persons – males fifteen and under, free white persons – female, other free persons, and slaves. Some census takers added a column for the total of all the other columns.

My Results

Tying the census results from 1790 to specific individuals was not an easy task. Unlike the census records in 1850 and beyond, the only thing available was the name of the head of household and the town he/she lived in. There was no information about the age of the person, etc. If you were fortunate that an ancestor lived in a specific town for a long period of time (perhaps having been born there or being buried there), that would help. But if there were other individuals with that same name (and families of the period often reused names), then it would not be easy to assign particular results to particular individuals.

Fortunately, I have a very complete family tree along most of my family lines and a good knowledge of what families lived in what parts of the state, so I could identify the individuals likely to be related to me and then investigate how they might be connected.

I only found one of my direct ancestors in this list of slave owners – Samuel Canfield. But I also found several close relatives who owned one or more slaves. Here are the ones I found and their connection to me (if I was able to make a good determination). If the family owned more than one slave, that is indicated in parentheses. Since I was relying only on recognition of family names as being potentially related to me, there are probably others that I missed. But this is a good indication of how many slave owners there are who are related to me.

·       Rachel Starr (2), Danbury, first cousin via Josiah Starr
·       Ezra Starr (3), Danbury
·       Josiah Starr (2), Danbury, multiple individuals with that name
·       Eliakam Starr, Danbury
·       Thaddeus Disbrow (2), Fairfield, great*7 uncle
·       Asahel Disbrow, Fairfield, great*7 uncle
·       Ebenezer Merriman, Southbury
·       Judson Canfield, Litchfield, great*6 uncle
·       Sherman Boardman (3), New Milford, distant cousins of Canfields
·       Samuel Canfield (2), New Milford, great*6 grandfather
·       David Northrop (2), New Milford, third cousin through Joseph Northrop
·       Titus Hotchkiss, Watertown, fourth cousin through Samuel Hotchkiss
·       Thomas Canfield, Woodbury, third cousin
·       Bennan[?] Hotchkiss (3), Cheshire
·       Robert Hotchkiss (2), Cheshire, great*6 uncle
·       Enos Hemingway, New Haven, Hemingway family related through Pierpont family
·       John Hemmingway, New Haven, related through Pierpont family
·       Joseph Hemmingway, New Haven, related through Pierpont family
·       Samuel Hemmingway (4), New Haven, related through Pierpont family
·       Amos Hotchkiss, New Haven, fifth cousin through John Hotchkiss
·       Hezekiah Hotchkiss, New Haven, fifth cousin through John Hotchkiss
·       Perpont [Pierpont] Edwards (2), New Haven, first cousin through James Pierpont
·       Caleb Merriman, Wallingford, second cousin through Nathaniel Merriman
·       Isaac Baldwin, Waterbury
·       Noadiah Russell, Thompson, first cousin through James Pierpont

With over two dozen individuals in the above list, that’s certainly a longer list than I would have expected. I have a lot more connections to the institution of slavery than I believed. I don’t know the names of these enslaved individuals, nor how they were treated. But I certainly cannot just pass off the topic as something that only took place in the pre-Civil War south.


*5 – Yang, Guocun, From Slavery to Emancipation: The African Americans of Connecticut, 1650s – 1820s. Thesis (Ph.D.), University of Connecticut, 1999. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Dissertation Services, 2001.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Indian Connections

Indian Connections

[Note, that I will sometimes be using the term “Indian” in this paper rather than the current politically correct term of “Native American”. This is because I will be referring to a number of historical records where Indian was the term in use at the time.]

My wife and I became engaged in August 1970. At the time we were each the first in our respective families to do so. However, before we married in July 1971, there were other weddings in both our families – my sister Beth married Gerald Meskun on 10/24/1970, and Donna’s brother Charles married Sarah King on 5/29/1971. I was still in graduate school in Michigan in the fall of 1970 and so was not able to attend my sister’s wedding, but both Donna and I attended her brother’s wedding which was only 7 weeks before our own.

Sarah was a member of the Odawa tribe in northern Michigan. She had a son, Martin (Marty), from a previous relationship. Charles adopted Marty, giving him the new last name of VanDeCar. And she and Charles had two daughters in the next few years (1972 and 1974).

For the last fifty years, I have thought that Sarah (and Marty) were full-blooded Odawa. But I was recently doing some genealogical research in that part of my family tree and thought I would see what I could find regarding Sarah’s ancestry. This has led to some interesting discoveries which I will document here.

The Flinn Connection

My sister-in-law Sarah went to college and got her training as a nurse. Since she lived in Michigan and my wife and I lived first in Connecticut and then in Pennsylvania our interactions were limited to times that we went to Michigan to visit family and friends. She was a very loving and gracious person and we continued seeing her from time to time, even after she and Charles divorced. She passed away from liver cancer in 2013 and we all mourned her passing.

Tribal records are not available digitally in like records from European immigrants. So, I was not surprise that there were no hints available before the mid-1800s as I built out Sarah’s ancestral tree as Michigan only became a state in 1837. The few family names in Sarah’s tree were decidedly Odawa names such as Naganashe, Kenoshmeg, and Kosequat. Thus, I was surprised to see a “shaky leaf” hint pop up with the name Maria Flinn, a variant spelling of a decidedly European name, Flynn. What was going on?

Rather than blindly accept the suggestion from, I decided to look at any available documents that might reference this unexpected connection. There were two obvious ones – both on documents regarding the children of Maria and her husband, Joseph Kosequat.

The first was a death certificate for one of Maria and Joseph’s children, Lucy. In it were listed Lucy’s parents and birthplaces. The name of Lucy’s mother was clearly listed as Maria Flynn.

[Lucy death certificate]

The second was a record of the marriage of Peter Kosequat where his father was recorded as “Joe” and his mother as “Mary Ann Flinn”.

[Peter marriage record]

The minor misspellings of “Flynn” for “Flinn” and “Mary Ann” for “Maria” aside, having two such references to the name of Sarah’s great-grandmother being Maria Flinn was pretty convincing to me and I entered Maria into the family tree.

Was Maria an Indian?

Having confirmed that Maria Flinn was her maiden name, now the question is whether the name Flinn was truly European as I thought, or whether she was an Indian and the name was only coincidental. Maria was born in 1840 in Mullet Lake which is in the current Cheboygan county. In order to answer this question, let’s look at various documents for Maria as well as her parents and siblings.

I first looked at the 1850 census where Maria was listed with her parents and family. This confirmed her family, but there is no indication of race in the 1850 census. Beginning in 1860, the federal census forms recorded the race of each individual. Maria consistently listed herself, along with her husband and children, as “Ind” (Indian). But is that merely how she “identified”?

[William census 1850]

[Maria census 1860]

[Maria census 1870]

But in the 1860 census her father, William, was listed as white, her mother Harriett as Indian, and her siblings as “M” (Mulatto or mixed). This is the more accurate listing.

[William census 1860]

In later years, Maria’s brother Samuel was listed as “White” on his death certificate (although this was a reference to “color” and not “race”.

[Samuel death certificate]

And when Maria’s mother Harriett died, she was listed as “colored” and Harriett’s father was listed as being Indian, and specifically Chippewa.

[Harriett death certificate]

Thus, it is pretty clear that while Maria identified as being Indian, she was genetically mulatto with a Chippewa mother and a European father. But she then married into the Odawa tribe and lived her entire life in the Cheboygan area.

Tracing the Flinn family

Maria’s father, and Sarah’s great-great-grandfather, William Walter Flinn (1809-1863), had been born in New Hampshire. He came to the Midwest, probably sometime in the 1830s, married a Chippewa maiden, Harriett, and started a family with their second child being Maria. While records in New Hampshire are not as extensive as those found in the other New England states like Massachusetts and Connecticut, there are still a lot of records available. Thus, it was fairly easy to trace his family tree. Some branches were in Hillsborough county, New Hampshire, but others were in Essex county, Massachusetts, perhaps 25-30 miles to the southeast.

With over 150 years from William’s birth in 1809 back to some of the original settlers of Essex county during the Great Migration years of 1620-1640, there were six or seven generations to explore. Most of those family lines were well documented, but I was also looking specifically to see if there were any overlaps between William’s ancestors and the ancestors of either myself or my wife. So, it took many hours of going through the many branches of William’s ancestral tree, all the while checking for consistency and also continually cross checking for any which overlapped existing branches that I had already documented in my or my wife’s family tree.

There were lots of different family names in William’s ancestral tree – names like Pearson, Wilson, Boardman, Gould, and Dodson. I have not yet finished building out a complete family tree back to the list of original immigrants. However, I have thus far uncovered one ancestor who also appears in my wife’s lineage – William Towne (1598-1673). He is Sarah’s great*9 grandfather as well as the great*10 grandfather of my wife and her brother Charles.

Thus, in 1971 when Charles (with a decidedly Dutch last name of VanDeCar and who had no idea that his ancestral line included many links back to the English of colonial New England), married Sarah (who believed that she was 100% Native American), who would have suspected that he was marrying his 10th cousin, once removed? Certainly I didn’t until I ran across this “misplaced” surname of Flinn among Sarah’s ancestors. Sarah may only have been 1/16th English, but it is certainly more than I expected.