Monday, December 24, 2007

Mills in York County

Here's a blog from York and a post providing background on the mills operative at the time of the Orsons and Rippeys. Remember Jonas Lighty was a millwright.


I've now published the writeup on what we know and can deduce about the Orsons who were Mary Orson's ancestors.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Marjorie's New Blog

Marjorie has been galvanized by the Presidential primaries into setting up a new blog.,
which I've now added to our list of blogs.

The URL is "letters to Kaitlin", who is her 18-year old red-headed granddaughter.


Started doing a little writing on the Orsons last night. Trying to come up with a document to weave together the map data and the extracts of wills and other data Jean did.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Google Maps and USGS Topographic Maps

Having fun trying to work between Google Maps and USGS Topographic maps. It had been a while since I visited the USGS site and I was pleased to find that you can now do a free download of the detailed topographic maps and see them in PDF format (with an added plugin.) Start here.

Google maps has also been improved, with a "terrain" tab, as well as the old road map and satellite tabs.

I set up a York area map, trying to nail down the sites of interest to descendants of Mary Orson and John Rippey. (See below.) The basic map is Google, with the placemarks. But I identified the lower Chanceford church location from the Topo map, as well as the "Orson run" id. Ideally I"d have links from the placemarks to the documents Jean extracted for the various tracts of land. Maybe next year.

View Larger Map

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

John Hall, On Presbyterianism

Cornell U. has the North American Review on line and searchable here. It was probably the leading magazine of intellectuals in the 19th century.

Rev. William R Harshaw mentions Rev. Hall, pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian if I remember correctly. For a taste of what late 19th century Presbyterianism was like, here's a link to his: Why I Am a Presbyterian. And the Rev. Charles A Briggs was involved in a famous trial in NYC when Rev. William was there--here's a link to his discussion of the future of the Presbyterian church.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Recent Lucas Updates

Marjorie found an obituary for a great aunt (I think)--Marjorie Lucas at the Edenprairie website. I used the information to add or edit entries on for her, her brothers, and some of their descendants. Marjorie is bound for Minneapolis tomorrow to talk about John Martin et. al and hoped to find some cousins there.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Seneca #9 Presbyterian Church

Found the church web site (it's linked with the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Bellonna), Rev. Ellen Johnson, pastor.

Seneca No. 9 Presbyterian Church

Received an email from the Rev. Ellen Johnson yesterday. She's the minister at the Seneca No. 9 Presbyterian Church where the Rippeys and others worshipped. Said she'd heard from a number of descendants of early church members because they'd just celebrated their bicentennial on Oct 21.

According to Rodney Lightfoote's history of the church, the raising of the original building was accompanied by the drinking of some gallons of whiskey. [shock, shock]. He notes the controversies through the years.

While I'm thinking of it, let me note my vague memories of a story that my sister heard from someone--someone in authority during the mid 1800's said there was no way that an organ would ever cross the church threshold. So the pro-organ party managed to get it in through a window!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Photos

I got copies of several photos from Bobbie Ernst:

Margaret Ellen Rippey
Elizabeth Rippey
James Raymond Turner holding Raymond Weld Turner, with George Rippey Turner
Elizabeth (Rippey) and James Turner, perhaps an engagement photo from 1856 or so.
Paired photos of Elizabeth (taken in Geneva, NY) and James (taken in Ft. Wayne) perhaps in 1880 or so.

I've uploaded them to a Picasa Photo Album under the title "Rippey Line Material" and shared them with Jean, Marjorie, and Bobbie. It's a public album, so let me know if there's any problems.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bobbie Ernst's Line

Finally got caught up enough to record Bobbie Ernst's lineage in the tree. (Her brother was born on Pearl Harbor day.) I'll get to the other information.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back Home

Last Friday Lisa and I returned home from a trip on which we visited Marjorie Harshaw Robie and family in Ipswich. Enjoyable, but I returned to find a contribution from Bobbie Ernst of several pictures and notably the genealogical table compiled by Dr. John Newton Rippey. Then Ed Cole emailed material on the Boyd family, who appear to have intermarried with Harshaws. On top of that, I took lots of pictures on the trip and I'm still dealing with my new laptop and trying to integrate it into my routine. So I'm feeling pressed to catch up.

Marjorie's going to speak in Boston and then in Minneapolis. Haven't seen her speech, but it's on the divisions in Ireland in the context of James Harshaw and John Martin. See her book available at (She's hard at work on the second volume.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Jonas Lighty's Will

This is an image in Picasa of Jonas Lighty's will. The transcript is in the Susquehanna Saga.

[Updated--corrected name to "lighty"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Aaron Black

Marjorie this morning asked me what had been done on the Blacks. That stirred me to run through Jean's extracts of Aaron Black's will and the various deeds that his name appears on and then to publish it (linked through "Family Records) or here.

I rushed, but it's interesting to note that the 1804 documents show John Rippey, James Barnes, and Samuel McIntire as witnesses. It seems to have been a close knit community?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Rev. John Newton Rippey, MD

Bobbie Ernst had mentioned him, and I vaguely remembered stumbling across his name a time or two. So I finally did a Google on him. He turns up as an Episcopalian minister in at a convention in Michigan in 1898. But this site has an interesting mention of him.

The Crawfords

Spent some time this week covering the Crawfords--Ada Rippey's sister married Fredrick Swartz Crawford and had four children. He was a Presbyterian minister appearing in the 1898 directory of ministers. Mary was, I fervently hope, "Mary E Rippey" born in 1858, not the Mary Rippey born to George Orson Rippey in 1859.

Ada went to Monmouth College in Illinois. I wonder if and whether Mary went to college. Her first child, Ada Vere, is born in Ohio, indicating maybe that Crawford had a post there.

A sidenote--it seems the norm that when the husband died, the wife lived with a daughter or stayed on the farm with the son who was farming it. But in the case of Elizabeth Black, it seems neither happened. First there was no farm to inherit. (I write that then wonder--couldn't he have been farming as well as preaching, but I don't think that's reflected in the census data.) Joseph was moving in this time period, from NY to PA by way of Nebraska. Mary had her two sons in 93 and 94, right when Rev. John died. And Ada was in New York City, probably not an environment Elizabeth would like.

So the best I can tell, with the possibility of confusion over the Blacks, Elizabeth headed back to the family farm with her maiden sisters (3) and bachelor brother.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

James Smith--A Near Miss?

One of the mysteries in my genealogy is William Smith. We aren't sure where he came from--was it from New England which was the source of most of the settlers of upstate New York, or from Pennsylvania, where most of my ancestors came from.

I bought a history of the First Presbyterian Church of York, PA off E-bay (please use the site, I own stock in the company ;-) ). Not from any real likelihood of finding something, but York's just north of the area Capt John Rippey and Mary Orson lived (about 20 miles according to Google Maps) and there's not likely to be a history of the Lower Chanceford Presbyterian Church available. The history is really short (the history of No. 9 church is longer and more detailed). [tongue in cheek on] But it did mention a "James Smith", both as being prominent in the church and, by the way, a Signer!!

Signer of what, you ask?? Of the Declaration of Independence, of course, you ignoramus! So today I did some googling. Alas and alack, I'm not an heir. [tongue in cheek off] Smith was from Ireland, emigrating with his father, being trained as a lawyer and practicing first in Shippensburg, PA and then in York. He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and an early organizer of the militia in York. Rather interesting guy, if rather different from the usual stereotype of the dour Presbyterian. This was the most complete bio I found (which is downloadable if you have broadband).

So I can say that Capt. John Rippey would have met James Smith, but that's it. But, given the concept of 6 degrees of separation, there's now 6 degrees of historical separation between me and George Washington. (me to grandfather William to Rev. John to Joseph to Capt John to James Smith to George Washington).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Connecting Up Herald and William Harrison

I've written somewhere, perhaps in comments on, about trying to find the "county agent" that was painted by Norman Rockwell, and hooking him up with common ancestors. I thought I had succeeded, but yesterday found a correction.

The county agent was "Herald Rippey", painted while he was an Extension agent in Indiana. His parents, George C. and Hattie, moved around, as Herald was born in Indiana but was living in Washington state at the age of 6. George C. was born in Michigan in 1882, the son of William Culbert Rippey. William Culbert was the son of William Rippey, born in 1814 in Ontario County.

The problem, which I thought I'd worked out, was: William must have been a son of a son of Capt John Rippey (the only Rippeys in NY in 1820 were Capt John's sons), but which son. I thought Hugh was the most logical--the census showed the most sons of the right age range.

But it turns out William was Mathew's son, at least according to a message posted on a message board. I finally got around to clicking on the "ancestry community" tab in, which took me to message boards and the Rippey board contained a thread where the writer connected Mathew and William. (She was showing that two cousins had married.)

Who's William Harrison Rippey? He's a family genealogist mentioned by Donald MacKay Rippey in his "Susquehanna Saga" and, apparently, another son of William Culbert.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Contacting Others has the facilities for one to contact other researchers. I've not done that yet. Partly because I'm uncomfortable with the quality of what I've done (I tend to be an intellectual snob, more comfortable with critiquing others than putting my self forward). Partly because there's enough else to do.

But this weekend got emails through ancestry from two people, both asking about the Anderson Tree I'd done for Marjorie. I doubt either will gain from it, but I'm reminded I should be contacting others. Just looking up family trees on has identified several trees incorporating some of the ancestors. Given my ambition to cover the collateral branches that's rewarding. And once or twice I've been able to fill in the gaps from a tree. (Of course, I've mostly not documented the source. :-( )

This ties in somehow with Marjorie's news this morning of the mail she found waiting for her return from the west coast. Hopefully she'll post a description of the White linkage.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Recent Changes

While Marjorie has been visiting her family on the west coast, I've been playing in Donald MacKay Rippey (Sr.) wrote "Susquehanna Saga", an account of Captain John Rippey and his wife, Mary Orson, and their thirteen children (2 sets of twins), as well as a visit he and his family made to Lower Chanceford Township, York County, PA and to No. 9 Church in Ontario County, NY. While I've put it on Google Docs, I haven't "published" it because I was hoping to contact his descendants for their permission first.

So this week I tried tracing that family forward and back, using the info Donald put in the Saga. I also tried filling out some of the other lines--Ann and Margaret, the older twins, married Thomas McCauley and James Stewart. The McCauley's moved with the Rippeys, but the Stewarts stayed in York. The Stewarts in York may exceed the Smiths in Ontario in numbers, so I don't have a sense of completion. But then, expecting completion in a work of genealogy is fatuous.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Farewell the McIntires?

It seems we may bid a fond goodbye to the McIntires (McIntyres, McIntairs), no longer to be deemed ancestors. Whereas the tree has Elizabeth McIntire marrying William Smith, who dies in 1831, and mothering Elizabeth Smith, who marries Joseph Rippey, Marjorie found this:

"11 May 1825

MARRIED - In Seneca, on Thursday last, by the Rev. Mr. Nisbet, Mr. Joseph Rippey to Miss Elizabeth Smith, sister of Capt. William Smith."

The key word is "sister", not daughter. Marjorie asserts, and I have to agree, that if Elizabeth's father were still living, he'd be mentioned, not her brother. That tends to screw up the previous theory and perhaps excludes the McIntires from the honor of being our ancestors.

More to follow

Monday, August 27, 2007

Elizabeth McIntire Smith Problems (Again)

The listing of Old Number 9 Cemetery gravestones shows Elizabeth as wife of William:

For the Smiths:

Amy, wife of Leonard; died Feb 23 1819; ae 38-4-11;
Elizabeth, wife of Capt. William Smith and dau of Samuel & Isabella McIntire; died Aug 3 1820; in her 22nd yr;
William; died June 29 1831; ae 68 yrs;
Josiah; died Jan 25 1847; ae 77 yrs.
Ann H, dau of P. W. & S. A. Smith; born May 7 1849; died Sep 6 1852;

Observations: Elizabeth is too young to be the mother of Elizabeth Smith Rippey (1805-1838).

If the dates are right, William really robbed the cradle, being 40 odd years older than his wife. One possibility is the transcription is mistaken--a "52" would fit pretty well. Otherwise we've a problem. So, because I'm totally frustrated (I keep getting the Elizabeths mixed up), I'm going to assume the error.

That only leaves the issue that her offspring are forgotten in the Hugh McIntire suit.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

McIntires and Other Progress(?)

The McIntires are a frustrating group as well. As a matter of fact, many of my ancestors seem deliberately to frustrate a poor, aging, descendant who's easily confused. I think I've published the McIntire papers that Jean extracted. [Turns out I lied--so I just posted them under "family records"] William, the patriarch in PA, gives strict orders about cutting out his son-in-law, James McCay. (I was thinking it must have been McKay, but there are McCay's around.) He has extensive property.

Samuel moves to Ontario county with his brood and starts buying.. Apparently around 1819 he runs into trouble, because there is a sheriffs sale and he sells land to some sons. In 1855 his descendants, (son Hugh and other children and grandchildren) tell the court that Samuel had land in PA and he died intestate. Conveniently the suit lists the descendants. Disconcertingly, it doesn't list Elizabeth McIntire who is supposed to be the wife of William Smith and mother of Elizabeth Smith, wife of Joseph Rippey.

Discussing problems with Jean, she suggested that her linking of McIntire and Smith came from a headstone. That caused me to go back today to the Ontario County historians site (which I should have done before this) and the rootsweb site.

Based on information there, I've added some stuff, corrected some stuff, and probably screwed up some stuff on the Harshaw Family site. Hopefully progress is being made.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Those Darn Smiths

One of the blocks in the Rippey lineage is the Smiths. Elizabeth Smith was the wife of Joseph Rippey and thus my great, great grandmother. But she was born in 1805 and died in 1838 so we can't use any census data to get at her. William Smith was her father and Leonard Smith may have been her brother. William was an early settler in Ontario county, showing up in the early 1790's. How to trace him?

I can't report much progress, but I did go back to the Milliken history of Ontario County found that "William Smith, Jr." was there in 1793 in Seneca township. So now I can guess (and it's not much more) that William Smith's father was also William Smith, who I've added to the tree.

The census report for 1800 shows 4 Smiths, one group of William, Leonard and Josiah (that is, on adjacent lines) and a separate entry for another William Smith. Interpreting the entries is hard, because they don't seem to relate to the printed form.

Anyhow, I've added the excerpts for the early settling of Seneca and the forming of the No. 9 church (so called, because it was located in township no. 9, of the first range of the Phelps/Gorham tract) to the website and I've added Jean's extract of the William Smith will and the purchase of land from James Latta in 1791.

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Family Trees"

Looking at the printing function of, it says something to the effect: "every family tree either starts with a person or ends with a person".

Well, no. That's an organizational convenience--you either start with yourself, being as ego-centric as anyone else, and trace back all the ancestors who contributed their mite to building your effulgence.

Or, you start with some heroic figure in the past, a king or president, and trace out all the ways in which his descendants diminished his glory.

But, at least for me, the reality is this mixture of people--I'm almost as curious about Othniel Brown, born in 1759 in Providence, RI as I am about my lost first cousins, once removed.

Anyhow, I want a new metaphor, no more "trees", and software that can handle it.

Updates of Harshaw Family Tree

I've been adding to the Harshaw Family Tree on, picking up collateral lines, like Ralph Gold's ancestors (old New Englanders, perhaps even with a poor relation of the Brown Brothers of Providence, RI (or maybe just run of the mill Browns), Goulds, Lovejoys, and what all.

A couple of tidbits--Ada went back to her mother to have her first child--Helen was born in Cuylersville. On my mothers side I've about filled in all the first cousins, to the extent I can.

Of course, when I say "filled in", I don't necessarily mean anything more than hitting the census records and maybe the SSDI death index.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kellswater to Abbeville to Sparta to Margaret McCloskey

Remember the baseball doubleplay combination: Tinkers to Evers to Chance. No? Neither do I. Remember who did the comedy routine: Who's on first? I don't though I remember the routine.

Anyway, in our chat this morning Marjorie came up with a new combination: Kellswater to Abbeville to Sparta to Margaret McCloskey. Though it's really more of a fugue, coming back to the beginning. Anyhow it's based on the page about Carol Pirtle's book from August 10 (see previous post).

Marjorie points out (and correct me if I'm wrong) Marjorie McCloskey, Michael Harshaw's wife and our great great grandmother, was baptised in the Kellswater church in Ireland. (Note to self, that's something I've got to link to on the site.) In 1772 there was a large migration from Kellswater to the Abbeville, South Carolina area. Subsequently, as reported by Ms. Pirtle and others, people migrated from there to Randolph County, Illinois. They formed the Bethel church in the Reformed Presbyterian denomination. And that was where Michael was ordained. The fact that Margaret may well have had connections to people in the area, perhaps through the Rosboroughs, may have played a role in where they settled.

(Note: I thought I had written documentation of the "ordained" bit, but if I did, I lost it. Being scandalously uninformed about matters Presbyterian, I googled the question: "who can ordain a Presbyterian minister." The answer is the "Presbytery". As the partial obit of Michael says, he was "called" by the "Six Mile Prairie" congregation but it's unclear what ceremonies might have occurred, but as Rev. Sam Wylie was the senior minister in the area, it's reasonable to assume that he was there at the installation.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Michael's environment

Here's a link to a summary of research, mostly conducted by Carol Pirtle. I'm linking to it here because I find it doesn't really fit into the overall structure. So maybe the structure needs to be changed. Anyhow, Pirtle's book, Escape Betwixt Two Suns, provides a different take on the Randolph/Perry County area at the time when Michael arrived to take up his duties.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

On Names

One point that's interesting to me--the variability of names. (Maybe I've already mentioned this, if so I apologize.) Obviously, I assume that the Platonic "ideal" of my family name is "Harshaw". Anything else must be a deviation. But when you search, you find lots of "Harshas"--obviously a branch of the family that got a little lazy, dropping the superfluous "w". But there's also a "Harshe" recorded in the census--what's that about--some census taker who couldn't really spell? And "Harshy"--did people mispronounce the true name all those years ago?

And a "Hershey". Now we're really getting into trouble--is it possible that we're really the unrecognized heirs of the founder of the Hershey chocolates and Hershey, PA? And what does this do to the search? Do you try to follow all the variants down all the rabbit holes? uses the "Soundex" system in searching (I think--Soundex being a formula that converts variant spellings into one set of sounds) and therefore turns up a lot of "Harrises". Do you seriously consider the possibility one or more of those results is the misrecorded offspring of a "true" Harshaw?

And all this is without getting into other sources--like Germany for "Harshas".

Monday, August 6, 2007

What's Up

Been working on the Washington County, NY Harshas (see this link for the progenitor). As I've told Marjorie, I've found James and some of his children, and a bunch of people from 1840 on, but the pieces I can identify in-between don't link up well. There's a John born 1784 who is claimed as the father of a Daniel, born 1796! (I know Harshaws are precocious, but I'm not convinced of that.) Unfortunately, there's lots of Johns and James and Davids around and because the census shows only the household head's name before 1850, it's hard to link them together.

What's interesting is the more you search, the better you can become at it. I'm finding the searches to be helpful--most people seem to track just their line back. If you're lucky you can get 2 or 3 lines meeting at one ancestor.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Welcome Adrian, and Other Updates

Note that Adrian Murdock has signed the guestbook--the first non-editor to do so. Wish we had a prize to reward him. Instead, go to his website (under Favorite Sites).

Tweaking the maps a bit--discovered that you can vary the "placemark" symbol.

Doing some work on the migration from the Cahans to Stillwater, NY which included a "Harshaw", who dropped the "w" along with accepting some other variant spellings. It will be a while before it's ready for any presentation. Lots of assumptions involved in the early years. However, one William Harsha was, for a while, associated with a Presbyterian seminary in Omaha, perhaps a bit early for grandfather William to have known him.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

Changes July 23

I found two places in Ulster possibley related to the Sparta Rosboroughs and added them to the Irish map.

Went back to the Robert Anderson family tree on, downloaded the Gedcom to my PC, imported the file into Legacy, created a descendant tree from Legacy, uploaded it to Google Docs & Spreadsheets, and then published it, after linking to "Branches". We'll see if the process works.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Genes for Harry Potter

Inquiring minds want to know--what are the odds that two Harshaw descendants, Jean Louise Harshaw and Marjorie Harshaw Robie, are both reading the last Harry Potter this weekend?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Changes and Projects

Making some progress--yesterday we got a "guestbook" running (under the related pages--at the right of the table) and I started a Google Map for Ulster--finding Ringbane Road. It's under "maps". Marjorie is trying her best to get me to Ireland, but until she succeeds anyone who has a better understanding of the area can and should take a crack at putting placemarks on the map.

I also published Jean's extracts of the material on Sarah Harshaw (Michael's mother) and his brother David's will.

Marjorie has asked that I try researching the South Carolina Harshaws, which is looking complicated.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Mac and Photos

I've added a picture of Harold McCloskey Harshaw to the Picasa photo album (I'm afraid I still don't fully understand Picasa--he ended up in a separate "album". I like the picture, a little bit more of his personality seems to come through than is often the case with photographs 80+ years old.

I also added Jean Harshaw's extracts of Michael Harshaw's land transactions to the "Family Records" page. I think now each of the "related records" pages has some content.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


My father, Harold McCloskey Harshaw, was the youngest son of William R. Harshaw and his wife Ada Rippey. No one ever called him Harold that I know of. He was always "Mac." He was born in New York City and spent his earliest years in what is now Harlem. Despite his city birth, he was a country boy at heart. The Harshaw farming heritage burned deep in him, and he wished to spend his life farming as well.

Like his father before him, he had a great interest in guns. When I was a child, we lived in a house surrounded by woods, not on a farm. Still, he seemed content to substitute flower gardens for fields of hay. Small creatures who lived in our woods seemed to find our garden quite tasty. This was all the justification that father needed for acquiring something most farmers owned. He bought a shot gun which he put out of reach on the wall above his work bench in our basement.

I was very curious about the gun, but my father would never let me touch it. And I certainly knew better than to defy my father.

One hot summer afternoon, I was trying to keep cool on the screened porch at the back of our house when father came rushing onto the porch and disappeared into the house. He was back quickly, this time with his gun at the ready.

He left the porch very quietly making sure the screened door didn't slam behind him as it usually did. Silently he walked down the stairs, using the tulip tree at the bottom for cover. He was clearly stalking something I couldn't see. He moved a bit closer to the garden and then raised the gun into shooting position. Though I could clearly see what he was doing, the sound of the gun actually firing startled me.

I looked to see what he was shooting at. To my great horror, there was a small rabbit flopping about on the grass, blood visible on his white belly. Father hurried up to him and fired again. The flapping stopped. For a few moments, I stared at the dead rabbit, unable to get my feet moving. Finally, I was able to turn around and flee to the sanctuary of my room.

Never again did I have the slightest interest in that gun or any other.



I was always somewhat different as a child. Painful shyness, a vivid imagination, a strange ability to analyze situations, combined with odd deep-set eyes and a very square jawline are not attributes of anyone who would be either popular or successful. Still there was much to learn about life in the small town just outside Washington DC where I spent much of my childhood.

When I was 13 my family moved to Andover MA, and my life has been focused in Massachusetts most of the time ever since. It was there I met my husband, and began a very ordinary life as wife, parent and teacher.

It was only after this part of my life was complete that my life got strange. A very new adventure resulted from a growing interest in family history, generated by a TV program, the monumental series Roots. First I began a search for my family history. It turned out that my strange last name was Irish. I had never liked my name, as I was endlessly required to spell it for people. Now I'm very happy my mother told me to keep it as part of my name. I also discovered that I had many interesting and important relatives in Ireland, a search that resulted in a book on Irish history. I'm sure my parents would find this turn of events almost as unbelievable as I do myself.

The story of the Harshaw family is the story of America. For most Americans, our ancestors arrived with a sad heritage of loss, as most immigrants left home and family forever. But these incomers changed our country. I am very proud that members of the Harshaw family and the families with whom they married share this record of accomplishment .

Bill and I intend this blog to be a place for various branches of our family to come together, and document the contribution of Irish immigrants to our country. We hope you find your visits both informative and enjoyable.

Marjorie Harshaw Robie

Friday, July 13, 2007

Today's Progress

When I first got involved in web sites, a convention was to note the recent changes in the site. A blog, being organized by time, doesn't need that. But because this blog is the front end for the related pages, it may make sense to something similar here:
As a record of the changes made in the site, and related sites:
  • I got information from Ed Cole of Indiana relating to the early Harshaws which I've added to the Ancestry Tree for the Harshaw family. (I hope shortly to link from the related pages to that site.)
  • Modified and updated the "branches" page to allow a column for the townland in Ireland where the branch came from--Marjorie says that's key in Irish genealogy.
Planning tomorrow to open the blog to the public (unless Marjorie objects).

Sunday, July 8, 2007

What I Am Doing Here?

That always struck me as a good question to ask, even when Ross Perot's running mate was ridiculed for asking it.

My profile gives a bit of my background, but to amplify: I'm the son of John Rippey Harshaw, grandson of William Roseborough Harshaw, cousin of Marjorie Harshaw Robie. What my profile doesn't say is I originally hoped to be a historian, but dropped out of the University of Rochester. Since retiring from USDA I've found some pleasure in researching my ancestors--seeing in their varied histories reflections of the larger history of the U.S.

Marjorie is the storyteller, I'm the faux historian. Or maybe I'm the antiquarian, because I like to collect bits and pieces but have problems in organizing them into the larger picture. Anyway, I hope this blog, and the associated web pages, help to organize the materials we've collected for whatever benefit others may find in them.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

New York Adventure

This passage is copied from a partial autobiography that William wrote after he retired from active ministry.

"One rather notable incident took place during my pastorate in the First Union Church. One Saturday afternoon, a negro man came to see me in the church office. He explained that he came from Tuskeegee Institute. He had come north in the attempt to introduce Booker T. Washington to the Presbyterian churches of New York City, along with a negro quartet which he was beginning to train. He had tramped all over New York, interviewing pastors and attempting to interest them in his protegee. Every body had some excuse and no one had encouraged. He was just about worn out in the attempt and he looked very tired and dusty. I knew nothing about the Institute and nothing about its head, Booker T. Washington. He interested me and I was sympathetic with him because of the experience he had had. I finally agreed to arrange a meeting for the quartet and he in our chapel on a Wednesday. When the evening came it was raining as if the clouds had burst. Nevertheless a full chapel greeted the singers and the speaker. And that was the first introduction of Washington to a New York City audience and the beginning of his work in the Institute and in New York, which lead to fame and fortune."

(Picture is of William during his pastorate in New York.)