Thursday, October 23, 2008

Trip, Day 4 [Updated]

Was yesterday, Wednesday, but I was too pooped to post. Briefly we drove from outside Lexington directly to Cutler, changing our plans so we could catch Jackie Carrothers in the Cutler Library. (This was after realizing we gained an hour by moving to the CDT zone.) We ended with Erjuanna Hartman (cemetery) and her husband, Robert, Jackie's husband Melvin, Jim Richmond (descended from one of the original families of the area), and Pat, the treasurer. We shared information and good feelings, learned a bunch of things which we'll try to assimilate and disseminate, toured the Presbyterian church with Jim, ate lunch with Jim, then visited the cemetery and saw the family graves (and also the work Jim and Melvin are doing in fixing problems with the gravestones). Drove to Du Quoin to pick up information on data in the library for planning today's trip. Went on to Sparta for a 2-night stay.

Trip, Day 3 [Updated]

An all-driving day--leaving Breezewood in the morning (I'm sure someone has written extensively on Breezewood as a phenomena, I may return to it later), driving through Columbus, Cincinnati, and past Louisville, missing some turns (through failure to plan and organize sufficiently and senior lapses :-).

This is all McCain-Palin territory, as is most of the American landscape. A good reminder to us Eastern liberals of the extent of the country and its sentiments. "Hell is Real" as one sign read. And everyone said "hello", including the guy who noticed my VA plates and asked--which county--he was from Prince William.

We ended up just northwest of Louisville, KY where Marjorie had a long conversation with a woman who told her her life story.

(Since my photos for today ended up in the same slide show as tomorrow, see Day 4 for photos.)

DNA and Ancestry

Have I said I had my DNA tested, through (Not necessarily a plug for ancestry, by the way.) Anyhow, I did and the results came through just before Marjorie and I left for our trip.

Of course, the paternal DNA test would work to identify Harshaw males--the son, of a son of a son, etc. The maternal works the mother's side, so that's a Hoeppner. I'm still struggling with the Ancestry software on the DNA side, but I've made connections with a (third???) cousin in England, trying to figure out the intermediate linkages.

If any one is interested, here's the link for the discussion group on ancestry which contains our back and forth. Right now it's public, and hopefully can remain so.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trip, Day 1

Our trip starts with cousin Marjorie taking a Jet Blue flight from Boston to Dulles International. This is the first involvement with air travel I've had since retiring, over 10 years ago. Furthermore, hurricane Kyle has rushed north and is shown off the Massachusetts coast. So, to be sure I meet her timely, I log onto Jet Blue's website. I find not only does it show the status of the flight (on time), but after take-off it shows where in the air the flight is. She's shown over New York, which must be the result of the hurricane, because I'm sure the normal routing is straighter, down the coast.

I used to fly regularly out of Dulles, which is just a few miles west of Reston. But in the years since, they've spent billions on adding parking and parking garages, new concourses, extending the terminal. The terminal is one of my favorite buildings--"modern architecture" mostly doesn't have good connotations for me, but Saarinen's building is always a pleasure to look at. Today, though, I'm too panicked to enjoy the flight, trying to be sure I navigate the changes. The traffic layout is less changed than the building entrance, though, still the loop around the daily parking lot and the terminal building, but the entrance allows for an underground walkway to the baggage claim level. The weather's humid and threatening, but no rain at the moment.

Marjorie comes through (her trip was rerouted over Syracuse, she napped because it was cloudy all the way down), and it's back to Reston. I point out the skyline, Reston actually has a skyline, and we're back home to pick up Lisa. The three of us drive to a Panera, which we discover also has outlets in the Boston area, and have a light lunch. Lisa will stay on, meeting some fellow knitters for the afternoon while Marjorie and I start traveling back into the past. Lisa gives me strict orders on when to put the chicken in the over, which sets an outer limit on the extent of our travel.

[Preceding typed early 29th, rest in evening, at the end of a tiring day]
We go down the toll road, and around the Beltway (inside which all that's important happens), with me providing bits of information as we go. We find Marjorie's old home in University Park, and she gets to go inside and find out what happened there since she left 55 years ago. [Teaser:--much.]

Get back in car, find the old church, drive though Bladensburg (site of battle) and see Celtic cross, drive through DC and out TR bridge, onto Rte 66 and Dulles Toll road and so to home, pop chicken in over, pick up Lisa, she finishes preparing dinner, we talk, Marjorie describes her father's work on chicken (need to tie this into a post on food) and her honeymoon in Naples when no one knew where she was. After take her to her hotel , come back and pack.

[Updated--errors corrected]

Trip, Day 2

Woke early and couldn't get back to sleep, so started the Trip Day 1 post. Picked Marjorie up at 7:45, drove through rush hour traffic that was less bad than I expected, from DC to Baltimore to Havre de Grace (pronounced "Grah", BTW.) Then off I95 to PA route 222 to the site of the Robert Fulton birthplace. Hugh Rippey's land, to the best of my belief, lies just across the Conowingo Creek from the Fulton place. My preparations throughout the day were disappointingly incomplete, but a rescuer appeared.

Just as we'd found the Fulton house and parked, a man and a woman pulled in by us and stopped by the garden. As it turned out, they were planning to weed in the garden, but the woman was [?head} of the Southern Lancaster Historical Society, whose building was just across the highway from the Fulton house. She kindly let us in the building, showed us the files, gave dirctions, and generally was of immense help. Bottomlines:

  • although the Blacks were big in the area, the local researcher had been able to trace back to a Thomas Black and son Robert born in 1770. They didn't seem to tie to our Moses and Aaron Blacks, but we shall see.
  • Mary Rippey was buried in the Morrison cemetary--she's 1747-17??, so likely was Captain John's older sister. To be researched.
  • Also the McIntires in the cemetery, though we've still not clarified the interrelationships with Rippeys, etc.
We were successful in finding the Hugh Rippey farm, I'm confident (though I've been overly confident before) and possibly a house location. The current house, a very nice one, seems likely to have been built on the same site as a prior one--a sort of knoll over the lower creek valley (reminds me of the farm in North Fenton, which may be why I'm so convinced it's Hugh's--verrry logical.]

We came upon a good country restaurant on route 272, just northeast of the area, where we had a good, cheap lunch.

I'm sure I can blame the meal for interfering with good thinking, because after eating we started being less successful. We were not successful in finding the Morrison cemetery--it's off the road in a farmer's field and all we could see was corn. (Amazing to think of corn being grown on the land for 265 years, not to mention the years Native Americans may have grown corn there before.) We may have found the Mathew Rippey land site, more difficult because there are multiple tributaries of Fishing Creek that could qualify as the straight line.

We found the current Chestnut Level church (twice, actually, we got lost a bit and Someone may have tried to give us a Message). Then we crossed the Susquehanna into York County where our luck ran out and no rescuing angel appeared. We did find the Hively road and corner where I've noted that Captain John Rippey had land. I need to doublecheck the basis for that conclusion. The land near the river is very rugged and broken up, so it's difficult to see it as good farmland, though the Hively place was nice.

We found the current Chanceford Presbyterian church, and its graveyard, though I don't know of any ancestors who may be buried there (possibly Stewart cousins later). We missed the original Chanceford cemetery, so we agreed it was time to head west. I can revisit York and/or Lancaster as a day trip in the future, when I've got a better grasp on the materials, topography, and history.

So we traveled through York to the PA Turnpike and out to the Breezewood interchange, where we're spending the night.

[Note: editorial changes on Oct. 20, plus embedding slide show]

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trip, Day 9, to B'Ville [Revised]

Our Geneva stay was in a Ramada on the lake. Then off to the Geneva Historical society, where the archivist very kindly allowed us in, even thought the archives were officially closed. Marjorie found the microfilm of the No. 9 Session minutes fascinating and I had to bribe her away. (Capt John Rippey was the clerk of the session initially.) They had the record of William Smith's daughter marrying in 1825 from the Geneva Gazette. She recommended we go to the Ontario County Archives for further material. Unfortunately it meant going west and our stamina was flagging. So we headed east to the Seneca Falls National Women's Rights museum, which I had visited with my wife, but which Marjorie had never seen. Then on through Auburn (Seward mansion--who bought Alaska and gave us Sarah Palin, and Harriet Tubman's home, both closed on Oct. Mondays) and Skaneatles (the prettiest town on the Finger Lakes) and up to Baldwinsville where my sister Jean lives. Met her for supper. (See Day 10 report.)

Trip Day 10, B'ville [Revised]

Spent the day in Baldwinsville, NY, resting a bit and visiting with sister Jean, who last saw Marjorie in 1970 (or before). Lots of talk, reestablishing relationships over Monday evening and Tuesday. A sharing of trip results, prior researches, and heirlooms. Perhaps the most significant may be a big old photo album containing unknown people. We're guessing it might be from when Rev. John Rippey was pastor in Kortright, NY (mid 1850's), because some photos are from nearby towns. But the provenance is lost in the mists of the past, so we'll have to research it. But it might, repeat might, show Rippeys from about the time of the Civil War. Nothing much earlier, I'm afraid.

Much amusement over old photos of Marjorie and her sister, much analysis of photos of my baptism (the chauvinism of W.R. Harshaw is unmistakable), and a number of other artifacts and photographs. Will try to post separately on them as I'm trying to catch up on a number of fronts.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Home Again (Trip Days 11 and 12) [Revised]

Marjorie and I got back to Reston last night. We'd planned to stop in Greene, NY where our grandparents and my parents are buried, but decided to bypass it. Then I got so involved in talking that I missed the exit for West Pittston, where Rev. W.R. Harshaw was minister in the 1890's, so we skipped that as well.

Today is a day of recuperation, with a possible meeting with a Harshaw cousin tonight and a firm meeting with a Rippey (i.e., McCauley) cousin tomorrow.

I need to try to clean up my trip posts, and fill in the gap when the travel caught up to me. Then post some of the detailed stuff from our travels. (My New Year's resolution, I guess.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Trip, Day 8

Have about 2400 miles on the trip and both travelers are beat. But we end with a bang, traveling from Jamestown northeast (planning a surprise for one of Marjorie's sons but I'll let her tell him) and on to the grand finale of our genealogy--Seneca Presbyterian, or the Number 9 Church near Stanley, NY. Scads of John Rippeys (my father was John Rippey Harshaw) and other connections buried in the cemeteries, including the mother of us all, Mary Orson. Had a pleasant meeting with Bob Robson, a distant cousin descended from Isabella Rippey, and saw the church.

All in all, very good, though fatigue took the edge off for me.

Now we're in Geneva, NY for an early bedtime.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trip, Day 6

Friday. This was travel day, the longest one of the trip, from Sparta, IL to Brecksville, OH, where Marjorie's son lives. Except for the length, an easy trip.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Trip, Day 5, Perry County [Updated]

Thursday. Got a good night's sleep. Drove to Cutler and took pictures of land the Harshaws owned, including where we then thought the White house might have been. Then on to the Perry county government office and had my first lesson in researching deeds and related documents. We found Michael's heirs had had a number of real estate transactions after his death (Jean had gotten some, but ran out of time in 1978.) Basically they were selling land, mostly as building plots. After the original plat of Cutler in 1873, there were three "Harshaw Additions" platted, and then three "White Additions". The plats just recorded surveys of building plots, which then were sold individually (in some cases not sold).

Eventually we figured out the key transactions were the last, so Marjorie found the 1923 transaction in which Sarah, Howard, and Thresa White sold a plot in Cutler which we could identify on the map as the southeast corner of Erwin and Mills streets. Drove to Du Quoin and got some obits of Michael and W.T.White, but not the missing page 2 of the most impressive obituary. Drove back to Cutler and photographed the vacant lot (looking as if a house had burned) where the White house stood. Also found the derelict house Jean Salger had identified as possibly the Whites. Then on to the Sparta library.

We were excited, briefly, by seeing a large book with the typed label "Family Bible and History of Michael Harshaw". But the bible was published in the late 1870's and had no records of family history. It did contain a typed, briefer and early version of William's "Romance of Old Home Missions." So our guess is it was a family bible, later given to the library, and the library prepared the slightly misleading label. But, we did find more obits and funerary tributes in the Sparta Plaindealer of 1874.

Looking forward to turning east.