Saturday, January 28, 2017

Will and Westminster College

William R. Harshaw graduated from Westminister college. For some reason I have operated with the belief that it was located south and west of Pittsburgh, but not so.  It's a few miles west of Grove City, which is the general area where Will's grandmother Sarah and sons Andrew, William, and David settled upon emigrating from Ireland.   One branch of Sarah's descendants moved into Grove City and lived there until recently.  The Grove City Bank is where cousin Marjorie found the Harshaw Diaries.

There are gaps in our knowledge of Will's early life.  He started writing his memoirs but stopped.  He was born in 1855, presumably started college in 1878, which would have been at age 23.  His father died in 1874. The census shows him in Cutler in 1880.  From somewhere I've the impression that he, or older brother Andrew, went to high school in Sparta.  That would make sense as it was large enough to support such a school, which almost certainly was not a public school.  Was money tight in the early 70's, was Michael sick before his death?  I don't know when Michael and Margaret became real estate developers--early 70's when the railroad came through--and they probably didn't get much money for the lots they sold or the land the railroad got.  I vaguely recall a reference to their "giving the land" for the town of Cutler but I think there were sales.

Andrew is 7 years older than Will.  He graduates from Westminster in 1874 when he is 26, perhaps meaning he started college at 22.  He remains for one year as an instructor at Westminster.  So he's free of the farm before his father dies but for some reason Will has to remain on the farm until 1878 or 9. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ada and Monmouth College

One mystery of Ada Rippey's life is how and why she attended Monmouth College.  It's reasonable enough that she attended the Geneseo Normal School which was about 3.7 miles away from her parents home, so presumably she lived at home.


But after Geneseo she went to Monmouth, Illinois to attend the college there.  That's about 800 miles away. Monmouth was Presbyterian and an early co-ed college.  But there were closer alternatives: Elmira College which her daughter Helen would attend, and Cornell, which two grandchildren would attend. Elmira, at least, was both associated with the Presbyterian church and only for women. But it seems to have had some controversies in the 1870's which might have told against it.  My guess is that one or more graduates of Monmouth College were involved in the founding or running of Geneseo, and recommended Ada to the college and the college to Ada.

One excerpt from the Monmouth College history:

"Greek Life firsts
In the college’s early years, college women enjoyed equal footing with their male counterparts — unusual for that time. This sense of equality helped inspire the birth of the sorority movement at Monmouth. When veterans returning to the college from the Civil War decided to form fraternities, a group of women was determined not to be outdone. In 1867 they established the first fraternity for women, known today as Pi Beta Phi. Three years later, another famous women’s fraternity, Kappa Kappa Gamma, was founded at Monmouth.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Second Go on Photos

[I'm going to cross-reference the originals of the photos, which Marjorie will receive shortly, to this post, adding data and thoughts as available.]
I've included the restored versions of the photos from the previous post, plus the two photos of Michael Harshaw we have. [Updated--since I'm going to link back to this post, there's liable to be further updates.]

This, I believe, is a tintype taken around 1882 showing William R. Harshaw (Will) and part of his graduating class from Westminster College, PA. Note the presence of women--the college was founded as a co-ed institution.


This, I believe, is a tintype taken on the same day as the first photo, with just the three men. Note the clothes are the same.

This is labeled as "W.R.Harshaw", possibly in Helen Gold's handwriting. This would be about 1860 when Will was 5 years old.

This is a daguerreotype in Marjorie's possession, which she believes was taken on the occasion of the wedding of Will and Margaret. This was Dec. 27, 1842. I've reservations, given that daguerreotypes were introduced to the U.S. just 3 years before but it's possible the Harshaw family went to Pittsburgh to be photographed around the time of Will and Margaret's wedding.


Is the man in this daguerrotype the same as in the picture above? Marjorie says "yes"--the nose, ears and hairline look the same. Perhaps it was taken also at the time of the wedding?


Who is this man? Perhaps Michael's brother, also taken at the time of the wedding.


And this couple? The man looks to have a family resemblance with the previous men in the photos

This is a late photograph of Michael Harshaw, in possession of Marjorie.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Help Wanted--Identify Photos

Haven't blogged here in a while.  My sister Jean died in the spring, leaving a bunch of family stuff to sort through.  Gradually making some progress.  There are some tintypes/daguerrotypes I'll put up here, with the information I have about them, the guesses I've made, and the questions I have.[Updated 11/1/16 with Marjorie's input.]


This seems to be William R. Harshaw (center) with two fellow classmates from Westminster college around 1880.  (See below.)

I'm not sure who this couple is--nor am I sure of the time frame--perhaps 1860 and this is a daguerrotype? Could be Rev. John Rippey and Elizabeth Black Rippey,[Marjorie suggests possibly one of William's sisters and husband.]


Don't know who the two pictures above are--is there a family resemblance?[Marjorie suggests this is Michael Harshaw]

This is labeled as "Wm R. Harshaw"--may have been Helen Gold's writing.

I think this picture is likely of the Westminster College graduating class of abt 1880--note the overlap with the first picture.

If you've any ideas as to identity, please comment.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Return of the McIntires

Thanks to a message from Lorrie Graham in Ancestry on the background of the McIntires I took another look at the mess.  Nine years ago I wrote we had to bid goodbye to them because of a newspaper article saying that Elizabeth Smith was the sister of Capt. William Smith when she married Joseph Rippey.  This, added to her DOB of 1798, meant that she could not be the daughter of William and Isabella McIntire.

But since 2007 Find-a-Grave has done great work.  Their entry for the tombstone of Elizabeth McIntire Smith reads: 42 years, dau of William and Isabella McIntire.  The "42 years" means she was born in 1777.  That fits nicely with the new evidence on the marriage of the McIntires--August 4, 1774. 

So the bottom line now is, assuming the accuracy of the Find-a-Grave data, we must assume either the newspaper article was in error in referring to "brother" rather than "father" William Smith, or that she had a brother William who hasn't shown up in other records.  Either way we can return the McIntires to the ancestry of the Rippeys.  More to follow.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Typing Love Letters

"After their invention in the 1860s, typewriters quickly became indispensable tools for practically all writing other than personal correspondence."  That's from wikipedia.

Shows how much they know.  Among the family heirlooms my sister had were some love letters from my grandfather to my grandmother Ada, typed in 1884.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Monday, August 24, 2015

Rev. John Rippey, Entrepreneur?

From a Google search, a link to the 1884 report by the state geologist, which includes a report on the results of a well near Cuylverville, apparently testing the availability of a strata of rock salt. The geologist credits Rev. John as the President of the Cuylerville Salt and Mining Company as the source of the information.

I find this current news item on Livingston county salt mining:
American Rock Salt Co., which owns the largest salt mine in the country, will invest $4 million into its Livingston County facility to extend its current rail siding and relocate its ice melting packaging company,  [The company is shown on Google maps about 4 miles north (near Retsof) and south of Cuylerville.
And I find a wikipedia item on Retsof, NY, site of the largest salt mine in the US until a big collapse in 1994.  Retsof is 4.5 miles north of Cuylerville.

From the American Rock Salt website:

By the late 1800’s, many companies were drilling for salt throughout the world. Between 1878 and 1895, over 35 mining companies were formed in New York’s Wyoming and Livingston Counties alone. In 1884, the first shaft salt mine was constructed in Livingston County at a cost of $600,000. Previously, all other facilities in the area were wells that extracted brine, which was then evaporated to obtain the salt. The shaft salt mine increased production capacity and efficiency.
The extraction of salt in Western New York covers a vast geographic region. Mine shafts that were formerly operating in the hamlets of Retsof, Greigsville, and Cuylerville were eventually all connected underground, comprising an area even larger than the island of Manhattan. In 1994, due to a flooding of this network, the Retsof mine was closed and salt mining was no longer an industry in the region.
That changed in 1997, when the American Rock Salt Company was established with the vision of creating a new mine and tapping into the underground salt reserves that had been left undisturbed. After securing the required permits and purchasing 10,000 acres of mineral rights and 200 acres of surface property, American Rock Salt broke ground in 1998 for a new mine, ten miles away from all previous mining sites. Construction of the mine at Hampton Corners took more than three years. American Rock Salt built the mine using traditional techniques that have proven over time to be the best approach for safety and success.



Also through a Google search, in 1990 Rev. John is on the board of the Allegheny Theological Seminary.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Captain John's Father--Interpreting the Evidence

I'm using my blog to lay out my logic for naming Mathew Rippey as John Rippey's father (though really I think I can credit my sister Jean for most of the material).

When one searches Ancestry family trees for Captain John Rippey, born 1749, most of the trees name Samuel Rippey and Rachel Armstrong as his parents.  Some of the trees use Mathew as the father, and there's a mixture of other theories, or possibly errors. I'll consider only the Samuel theory as an alternative to Mathew.

What do I know for sure:
  1. There's no primary source giving John's father
  2. There's are secondary sources giving John's father as Samuel, but I'm not aware of that linkage being based on a primary source. 
What do I think I know:

Geography: Two censuses are relevant, the Federal census of 1790 and the Pennslyvania septennial censuses of 1786 and 1793. The 1786 census shows Hugh and Mathew in Dromore, Lancaster county; John in Chaunceford, York county, and William and Samuel in Southampton, Franklin County. The 1790 Federal census shows William, Samuel and Mathew in the same places, no John, a Richard Rippey in "Mixed township", York county (not seen since), and an Elijah in Franklin, plus a couple new Rippeys in Philadelphia.

We know John and Mary were in Chaunceford township before moving to Ontario county, NY.  Geographically it makes more sense for John to be the son of Mathew than of William or Samuel.  Why? Because the Scots-Irish tended to move to the west and south for land.  It's less likely that John would move east from his fathers farm than west.

Lack of Support for Samuel

The Biographical Annals of Franklin County is provided as one source for the Samuel/Rachel parentage.  Here's a link to the relevant entry for them.
According to this, they had 8 children, with child no. 6 a son John. But all it says for him is "6. John C became a physician."  That doesn't fit with our Captain John.

This is another early genealogical history .It lists only four children for Samuel and Rachel, none of them John.  (Samuel Rippey Jr had a son, John, known as "Col. John" according to this, but no dates given and they'd be too late for our Captain John.

 Support for Mathew/Hugh

The best support for Mathew as John's father goes back to Jean's researches, which I got into Google documents years ago but haven't managed to get them public. (Sheer inertia.)  To save redoing previous work, I'll provide these links:
The bottom line for the documents is that a John Rippey appears twice in the documents and the ages fit.  That's not conclusive evidence but it seems the most probable conclusion based on the evidence I know of.

[Updated}
Naming Pattern
As cousin Marjorie first observed,the naming pattern of Capt. John's sons fits with Mathew being his father, not Samuel.  John named his oldest son Mathew (his father), his second son George Orson (wife's father) . He never named a son "Samuel".

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Marjorie's New Blog

At this blog Marjorie is posting stories on ancestors of the Robie (her husband) and Harshaw families.  The first one was published this morning.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Short Tale of Turkeys

Thanksgiving is over, but it's not too late to dredge up a memory of my uncle Mac.  Or rather, it's not a memory of my uncle, whom I only saw a handful of times, but rather one of the few times I remember his older brother, my father, talking about him.

As described in other posts, Mac had gotten his PhD in animal nutrition.  He taught for a year in Tennessee, then moved east in 1930 to take a job with the Agricultural Research Service, at the Beltsville MD research center.  He stayed there for 13 or so years, before moving to Massachusetts to become director of research for the Webster feed company.  I remember Dad had some small items, pencils, pocket calendar, that sort of stuff, all with the Webster name on them.

Anyhow, Dad said that Mac had worked on the Beltsville turkey.  Finally got around to researching that and here's what the ARS site says (pdf).  The gist is in the wikipedia site:
The Beltsville Small White was developed beginning in 1934 in response to market research that said consumers wanted a turkey of small to medium size with no dark pinfeathers. In a breeding program at the Beltsville Center that lasted from 1934 to 1941, the USDA used White Holland, White Austrian, Narragansett, Bronze, and Wild Turkey genetics. The breed was used commercially in the 1940s, and was recognized officially by the American Poultry Association in 1951.[2]
As a result of being developed specifically for smaller, urban households, the breed never had the size to satisfy the demands of restaurants. By the 1970s, it had nearly disappeared, and the Broad Breasted White had come into prominence. It is still extremely rare today, and is listed as Critical by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.[2] It retains interest primarily among breed enthusiasts and those interested in a heritage turkey breed.
To be honest, I've not seen a document linking Mac to the turkey, but then I've not specifically searched for one.  He's certainly there at the right time and might well have focused on the nutrition of the new breed, among his other duties.  But since Mac and John almost never wrote, dad would not have not detailed knowledge of his work.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ministers in Hague, NY for Summer

This piece from the Ticonderoga paper of Aug 18, 1898, reports that William and Ada were in Hague and W.R. preached a sermon at the W.M Church.  The writer expressed the hope they'd build a cottage there before another year. Hague is a town on Lake George.  From the other notes, it looks as if it was a popular summer resort for ministers.

The Harshaws were visiting "Capt. Mrs. Robinson".  Whether she was a relative, friend, or just the hostess of the summer resort I don't know.