Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trip to Washington and Freemasons

I spent several days in Washington, D. C., last week and visited war monuments and museums. The first war monument that I visited was the World War II Memorial because my father was a proud veteran of that war. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see the memorial come to reality. As I walked around the memorial, I encountered a few veterans that were visiting the memorial in wheelchairs. They were there because of the Honor Flight Network.

There was a small monument dedicated to the residents of Washington DC who lost their life in World War I. It had inscribed the names of every Washington DC resident who died in that war.

Then, I came across the Korean War monument. I was captivated by this monument. Unlike the other monuments, this monument was full of statues of men who looked as if they were in the middle of a march. I felt that a monument like this would have been a better monument to honor the military men of World War II.

The last war monument that I visited was the Vietnam veterans' memorial. Like the Washington DC WWI memorial to its dead, recorded the names of all of its dead. Although I am glad that there is a monument to those who died in the Vietnam war, I would have like it to be like the Korean War memorial. I found the name of one of my classmates on that wall. I found myself choked with emotion.

The next day, I went to the Portrait Gallery and the Holocaust Museum. As I viewed the portraits of our presidents. I found myself looking at their eyes. I have blue eyes but had learned at some time that blue eyes are recessive. As I looked at these portraits, I was struck by the number of blue eyed presidents. The majority of our presidents had blue, gray-blue, gray and hazel eyes.

Then, I visited the Holocaust Museum. I had no idea that Hitler also targeted freemasons. Fourteen of our presidents were freemasons and 14 of our vice presidents were freemasons. Our founding father, George Washington, was a freemason. But the most chilling moment that I took away from my visit was how much our president's rhetoric sounds like Adolph Hitler.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Britton or Button

My great-great grandfather was William B. Stoutenburg. I did not know what the initial B represented. Then about 20 years ago, I came across family trees on the Internet that gave William B. a middle name. That name was Britton.

As the years passed and I continued my research, I began to think that Britton made no sense to me. It wasn't Britain to honor the British colony in which Luke Stoutenburgh and Elizabeth Case settled about 1800.

So who was Britton? After perusing over many records, I could find no connection, strong or loose, to someone named Britton.

William's uncle Martin was married to Sarah Elizabeth Button. She was the daughter of Major John Button, the founder of Buttonville, York County, Ontario, Canada.

John Button and his wife married in Dutchess County, New York and moved to Canada in 1799. Button's wife was a Quaker. Such a coincidence! Luke Stoutenburg's wife, Elizabeth Case, was also a Quaker living in Dutchess County and moving to Ontario about that same time.

John Button and his family lived in Markham Township at the same time that Luke Stoutenburg and his family were living there. John Button was a war hero in Upper Canada (Ontario Province). As I pieced these events and dates together, I was convinced that William B. Stoutenburg was not William Britton Stoutenburg but William Button Stoutenburg.

I had not found any record in which William B. Stoutenburg's full name was recorded. That is until now. William Button Stoutenburg applied for a land grant in Alberta, Canada. His son, Dill Stoutenburg, applied for a delayed birth certificate in which he named his father, William Button Stoutenburg.

As an aside Dill was born James Scott Stoutenburg. James at some point decided to be known as Dill James Stoutenburg.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Money Never Came - A Scam from 1907

Scams and swindles are nothing new. They have been around as long as mankind has existed. I came across an article that was printed on July 31, 1907 in the Detroit Free Press. The article appeared on Page 6 and was titled, “MAY INHERIT $15,000,000.”

Per the article, “Hiram Stoutenberg” received a letter from a New York lawyer, “Walter G. Elliott,” indicating that he and his siblings may equally share in millions of dollars. I would love to see what that letter said because I found several the statements in the article to be untrue.

Walter Graeme Elliot was the husband of Maud Stoutenburgh, a descendant of Jacobus Stoutenburgh. She also was one of the founders of The Stoutenburgh-Teller Family Association, Inc., established in 1942. Maud’s direct ancestors remained in or near the Hyde Park area while Hiram Stoutenburg’s ancestors left Dutchess County, New York about 1800 and settled in Canada near Toronto.

Walter Elliot, on behalf of his wife, drafted the Stoutenburg Circles (descendants of Pieter Stoutenburg) that was published in 1916. He was an engineer and not a lawyer. I found it curious that the article reported that it was a letter from Walter. I don’t know precisely when the project to find the descendants of Pieter Stoutenburg was initiated, but it was at a time when letter was the most frequently method of communicating with distant places.

Hiram may have received a letter from Walter Elliot, but it would not have been to inform him that he was an heir to millions of dollars because the property was leased to the Frederick Vanderbilt many years ago. The article does not indicate why Hiram and his siblings might be heirs to the Hyde Park property. It does not say that the alleged lease has expired.

But that is immaterial because Frederick Vanderbilt purchased the property in Hyde Park on which he built his mansion in 1895. He did not lease the property. The property on which the Vanderbilt estate was built was owned by Samuel Bard by 1799. Jacobus Stoutenburgh did own a large tract of land in Dutchess County in which the downtown area of Hyde Park would have been located. However, he divided his property among his children.

One last point, Hiram’s great-great grandfather, Jacobus Stoutenburgh, did not settle in New York when it was known as Amsterdam. The Dutch colony was New Netherland and on the island of Manhattan was New Amsterdam. By the fall of 1664, the English had taken control of the Dutch colony and called it the Province of New York and New Amsterdam, New York City. Jacobus Stoutenburgh was born in New York city in the Province of New York. He had settled at Dutchess County about 1742.

Hiram was probably very disappointed to learn that he would not be receiving a windfall. The text of the article follows:
Eight Michigan Persons Heirs to Supposed New York Estate.
Port Huron, Mich., July 30.—Shades of Aladdin’s lamp! Just imagine being one of eight heirs to an estate of $15,000,000. Hiram Stoutenberg (sic), farm hand and machine shop employe, declares he has received a letter from Walter G. Elliott (sic), a prominent New York lawyer, informing him that such a windfall may come his way. The lawyer says the property was leased to the Vanderbilts many years ago by Jacobus Stoutenberg, Hiram’s great-great-grandfather settled in New York when it was known as Amsterdam and bought up 1,500 acres of land, part of which comprises the vast estate to which he may be an heir. Most of the property is in the downtown section and is extremely valuable.

If the fortune proves a reality the following eight Michigan persons will benefit equally: Hiram, (sic) Stoutenberg, of Port Huron; John, of Port Sanilac; James, of Cedardale; Albert, of Augres; Jacob, of Prescott; Mrs. Melinda English, of Forestville; Mrs. Mary Ann Ernest, of Applegate, and Mrs. Elizabeth Hyman, of Port Sanilac.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

It is a small world!

Many years ago, I had a roommate when I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley. She was born in Switzerland to Chinese parents. Her father was with the UN and held a position as a professor of agriculture at the University of Liberia in Monrovia, Liberia. We lost touch with one another after I moved to Los Angeles and was a student at UCLA.

I shared a studio apartment in a cottage of two units. The cottage was one of three cottages on a narrow pathway in the middle of Fraternity Row at UCLA. My roommate was a young woman from Memphis, Tennessee. She was an only child. I was the eldest in a large family.

UCLA is situated in the middle of a very wealthy area of Los Angeles. Westwood Village had a number of exclusive shops that were frequented at that time by Hollywood celebrities. My roommate's parents provided her with an allowance that allowed her to shop in these shops. She purchased a dress with a very distinct and vibrant pattern.

One day, as I was sweeping the steps to our studio, a black man passed by on his way to the cottage that housed the men that we called the Black Power People. He had a shirt with the exact pattern in my roommate's dress. I stopped him and told him that my roommate had a dress made of the same fabric. He told me that his mother made him the shirt from fabric that she made.

When he spoke to me, I could tell that he was not a native American. His English sounded more like he had learned English in another English speaking country. He was a graduate student at UCLA who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Liberia. On a hunch, I told him that a former roommate's father was a professor of agriculture at the University of Liberia. It was much further into our conversation that it was apparent that Dr. Ma was this man's thesis adviser when he was working on his masters degree.

That was many years ago. Recently, I had an online experience that was similar. At the beginning of this year, I happened to see a death notice of a Pam O'Hare. Something about the notice caused me to look at my family tree of my relatives... distance and close.

Her husband was Dennis O'Hare who is a high school classmate. We were in high school in Orange County, California. Dennis moved to the Bay Area at sometime after he graduated from high school. Apparently, it was there that he met my 7th cousin.

Dennis' wife was Pamela Lynn Little. Pamela was the daughter of Charles Little and Julia Hurtado. It was through her mother that we are connected. Julia Hurtado was the daughter of Leon Hurtado, Jr. and the granddaughter of Leon Hurtado. Leon Hurtado was born in Poughkeepsie, New York. Leon was the son of Pedro Hurtado and Julia A. Stoutenburg.

Pedro Hurtado died in Cuba. He had moved his family to Cuba. Some ended up back in the Poughkeepsie area but Leon Hurtado settled in America Samoa for a time. He returned to the US mainland. His daughter, Julia, settled in California.

I wonder if Pamela Little realized that she was descended from William Stoutenburgh, whose home is the oldest home in Hyde Park. New York.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Juan Linn, A Street in Victoria, Texas

A distant relative, John Howland Wood, went to Texas from New York in 1836 to fight on behalf of the residents of Texas who were seeking independence from Mexico. Instead of returning to New York, he remained in Texas and married Nancy Clark, a woman of Irish descent.

John H. Wood's mother was Reformed Dutch and his father was born of Quaker parents. The couple were married by an Episcopalian minister. John was raised in a Protestant community. However, Nancy Clark was Catholic. They were married by a Catholic priest in Texas. His offspring were active in the Catholic church to the point that two of his daughters became nuns.

I periodically came across a record in which one of John H. Wood's descendants was living on Juan Linn Street in Victoria, Texas. The first time I saw Juan Linn, I thought it was an odd name for a street. Juan is a name in Spanish and Linn is, it seems, an Irish name. I wondered how a street got such a name.

John H. Wood's children married people with surnames like Sullivan, Mahon, McCurdy, etc., mostly Irish surnames. A little research revealed that Mexico actively recruited the Catholic Irish in the early 1800s. I suspect that the Mexican government was concerned after the United States acquired the Louisiana Purchase from Catholic France, a concern that Britain had after the American Revolution when the United States was moving its citizens into the lands to the west acquired by the 1783 Treaty of Paris.

Britain had been persecuting the Irish Catholics but also the Irish Episcopalians. At that time the Church of England and the Episcopal Church were not the same. After the close of the American Revolution, the Church of England in the United States and the Episcopal Church were one and the same.

John H. Wood must have felt a bit like an outsider as he was settling into his new life.

I happened to come across a booklet about the Irish in early Texas and, in particular, a chapter entitled, "The Irish of Victoria." On Page 91, it stated that John J. Linn was one of the most prominent Irishmen in Victoria. He apparently was looked upon in favor by the Mexicans and that did not surprise me as I read the booklet. However, the one item that struck me in the booklet was that he was the son of a college professor who was involved in an Irish uprising and fled to the United States. His father settled at Poughkeepsie, New York, obtaining a teaching position by 1800. In 1822, John J. Linn move to New Orleans, then later to Victoria, Texas.

There was no indication the John Linn's father moved to Texas, so I assume that his father remained in Poughkeepsie during John Howland Wood's formative years. I have no way of knowing if John H. Wood had any association with John Linn's father or other of his family members that might have had an influence on John Howland Wood's desire to fight in the Texas-Mexican War.

According to the Texas State Historical Association, John Joseph Linn was called Juan Linn by the Mexicans. Because he was fluent in Spanish and could communicate between the Mexicans and the Irish settlers, he served a valuable function to the Mexican government.

So a this point, Juan Linn Street doesn't sound so strange to me.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lena Hull Stoutenburg AKA Helena Hull

As I identify people who are related to me, I try to determine who are the parents of a person who became a relative through marriage. One such person is John M. Stoutenburg who was born in New York in 1833. In 1850, John is living with his parents in the Town of Hurley, New York. By 1860, John is head of his own household in Hurley and is married to "Lany".

According to the 1860 Census, "Lany" was born in New York. However, the 1870 Census records her place of birth as Ohio and she is identified as Lena. John and Lena are also found in Hurley in 1880. The 1880 Census indicates that John's parents were born in New York and that Lena's father was born in Ohio, as was she, and that her mother was born in New York.

According to John's obituary, he married Lena Hull in 1856 Although I learned of her maiden name through John Stoutenburg's obituary, I had no idea who her parents were. The first clue was in her obituary. Her parents were not identified other than they were native of New York and that her mother died when she was five years old, about 1843 or 1844.

Lena's obituary stated that she was born December 30, 1838 in Ohio and that her parents returned to New York with her when she was about two years old. It also claimed she was brought up by her grandfather, Conrad Elmendorf. Further, the obituary indicated that she spent the early part of her life in Olive Branch, New York.

The first US census that listed all members of a household was taken in 1850. Since Lena would be about 12 years old in 1850, I assumed that she would be living in Ulster County with her grandfather who allegedly raised her. I did find Conrad J. Elmendorf, age 68, residing in the Town of Olive along with his 71-year-old wife, Sally. The household consisted of just the two. The next household in the enumeration was that of Elias Elmendorf and his family. Elias is 42 years old and appears to be a close relative of Conrad Elmendorf. However, Lena was not enumerated in that household either.

Next I looked for any male with the surname Hull living in Ulster County who was born in New York about 1810 plus or minus 2 years. I found a 38-year-old Samuel Hull living in the Town of Hurley. The family consisted of 27-year-old Mary, his wife, and six children ranging in age from 3 to 19 years. The oldest four children could not be the children of Mary Hull as she was only eight when the eldest of the four was born and 15 when the youngest of the four was born. So it would appear that Mary Hull was not Samuel Hull's first wife.

Since Conrad Elmendorf was the name of Lena's grandfather, I found it significant that there was a 17-year-old male, Coenradt, included in the household. Further the family included a 12-year-old girl, Hellen. Lena was often a shortened version of Helena or Magdalena. But according to the census record, Hellen was born in New York.

I then found Samuel Hull and his family living in Olive, Ulster County in the 1855 New York State Census. The three older children in the 1850 Census were not included in the household but Hellen was. She appears as the eldest child in the family. Her name is recorded as Helena, age 16 born in Ohio. Both Helena and Samuel had resided in the community for 15 years.

In 1856, Lena Hull and John Stoutenburg were married. I found the couple in Hurley, Ulster County, New York in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 US Census. In 1900, Lena and John were living in Sioux Valley Township in Union County, South Dakota. Based on her obituaries and the various censuses in which I found Lena and John, she was born in Ohio.

Given the information from the 1850 and 1855 censuses of the Samuel Hull household, I believe that Samuel Hull is Lena's father and that her birth name was Helena Hull. The next step was to identify her mother's given name. I did come across a couple of family trees that included a Mary Elmendorf who was born in 1811 in Kingston, Ulster County, died in 1843 in Hurley and was married to Samuel Bostick Hull. The trees indicate that she was baptized in 1811 at the Shokan Reformed Church in Olive.

Lena and her parents moved to Ulster County from Ohio about 1840. I found a Samuel Hull in the 1840 Census in Olive. The household consisted of two adults, Samuel as head, a male between 20 and 29 (1811-1820), a female between 20 and 29, presumably Mary Elmendorf Hull. There were 4 children; a male between 5 and 9 (1831-1835), a female between 5 and 9 and two females under 5 (1836-1840). The age ranges of the children correspond to Conraedt (about 1833), Catherine (about 1831), Matilda (about 1835) and Helena (1838).

In 1850, John Hull was 8-years-old and a member of the Samuel Hull household. Mary Hull could have been his mother as she was about 19 when John was born. But, in the 1855 Census, Mary Hull resided in the community for 9 years whereas 12-year-old John Hull resided in the community 12 years, meaning he was born between 1841 and 1842. Since Lena's mother died between 1843 and 1844 when Lena was five, John Hull's mother and Lena's mother was one and the same person. Samuel Hull married his second wife a year or so after his first wife's death.

Lena's obituary says that she was raised by her maternal grandfather, Conrad Elmendorf. That details outlined about does not provide any evidence that Lena Hull was living with her grandfather.
Locating a copy of the Arthur Kelly book of baptisms at the Shokan church is the next step to connect Mary Elmendorf to both Samuel Hull and Conrad Elmendorf.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Parke Davis Biological Farm

I was looking for information about Morgan J. Smead, who according to one family tree, died in 1913. Instead of finding evidence of his death having occurred in 1913, I found evidence that he was very much alive as late as 1942. Many of his records indicate that he was involved for many years with the Parke Davis Biological Farm in Oakland County, Michigan.

Morgan Smead was born in Pavilion Township, Genesee County, New York. His parents and siblings seem to have remained in New York. However, Morgan studied veterinary medicine at Toronto and then settled in Michigan. He married Alice Elizabeth Stevens, the daughter of John Brown Stevens and Angeline Elizabeth Stoutenburg, in Port Huron, Michigan in 1909.

Veterinarian Morgan and his wife, Alice, were living with her parents in Yale, Michigan in 1910. Morgan's father-in-law was a veterinarian. Alice's older brother, Chauncey was not a member of household in 1910. I have not located his whereabouts in 1910 but by 1918 he was working as a veterinarian in Michigan. As it turns out, Chauncey graduated in 1902 from Ontario Veterinary College, Toronto, Canada. (The Journal of Comparative Medicine and Veterinary Archives Vol. XXIII June 1902 No. 6 Edited by W. Horace Hoskins. Philadelphia: Office of Publication, 1902. Page 381}

Alice's younger brother, Walker, was enumerated with her parents, her husband and herself in 1910. Walker was a student. He apparently was a student in Toronto studying veterinary medicine in Toronto as his obituary claimed that he was the last surviving member of the Class of 1911 of the Ontario Veterinary College in Toronto.

Alice and Morgan met due to the fact that her brothers were veterinarians who studied at the same school as had Morgan.

Intrigued that someone would think that Morgan Smead had died in 1913 yet there was much evidence that he was living as late as 1942, I tried to come up with an answer. I discovered that Alice and Morgan has a daughter who was born in 1913 and lived only 5 days. The death certificate names her as "infant M J Smead" and says that she died of "fevers Parthenia following a difficult birth." For whatever reason, Morgan and Alice had no children after the death of that 5-day-old daughter.

As I looked at records concerning Morgan, it was clear that he had a long relationship with the Parke Davis Biological Farm, where he was employed for many years starting only a few years after the farm was established.

The Parke Davis Biological Farm was established in 1908 near Rochester, Michigan. According to page 416 History of Oakland County Michigan by Thaddeus D. Seeley, the farm consisted of 340 acres adjacent to the village of Rochester to the east. The Clinton River crossed the farm from the west and the Stony Creek crossed the farm from the north. Stony Creek joined the Clinton River on the farm proper. Morgan and Alice resided on Parkdale Road in Avon Township.

Looking at a 2015 map of Rochester, Michigan, I believe that a portion Bloomer Park is located at the site of the Parke Davis farm. Parkdale Road runs along the northern edge of the park and Stony Creek joins the Clinton River within the bounds of the park. Parke Davis added another 160 acres along the Michigan Central Raiload line to the farm. The site of the JHP Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing off of Parkdale Road is what remains of the Parke Davis Biological Farm.

I looked at Plat Maps of Avon Township for the years, 1872, 1896, 1925 and 1947. The Parke Davis farm appears in the 1925 and 1947 Plat Maps. In 1872, a C. Parker owned 340 acres at the approximate location of the Parke Davis farm. However, by 1896, the Parker farm was divided and sold to others. The History of Oakland County Michigan suggests that Parke Davis & Company purchased a 340-acre farm, not several farms that together formed 340 acres.

I was able to identify C. Parker. as Calvin Parker who was born in New York about 1820. He was living in Avon Township by 1850 when he and his wife, Mary, were enumerated in the census of that year. They owned a farm valued at $2350, which was valued about twice as much as his neighbor's farms. I found Calvin Parker in the 1860, 1870 and 1880 censuses in Avon Township, Oakland County, Michigan. In 1870, his farm was valued at $19,000. So it would seem that Calvin Parker owned a large farm.

He died on May 12, 1888 in Avon Township, according a Michigan Death Index. It is likely that his heirs sold the property between 1888 and 1896. In 1925, Parke Davis & Company owned 458 acres in the SE quarter of Section 11 and S half of Section 12.

In 1947, Parke Davis owned about 540 acres in Sections 11-14 with the largest portions in Sections 11 and 12. Bloomer State Park No. 2 was shown on the 1947 Plat Map. The company at some time between 1925 and 1947 acquired 160 acres along the Michigan Central Railroad line. Although I am speculating, it would seem that Parke Davis Company and Bloomer family jointly donated property or the Parke Davis sold land to the Bloomer family to form the Bloomer State Park.

Now back to Morgan J. Smead...

He was a Masonic Grand Master from 1950 to 1951 in Michigan. He died in 1962 in Rochester, Michigan.