Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thomas Brackett Reed, Speaker of the House of Representatives

My husband had been listening to a program that talked about a very powerful Speaker of the House that almost no one knew, Thomas Brackett Reed. Mr. Reed was the Speaker of the House from 1889 to 1891 and then again from 1895 to 1899. He was a Republican.

As my husband was reading me information about Mr. Reed, I realized that Thomas Reed was politically active when a distant cousin of mine switched political parties. Henry Moore Teller was one of the two Senators elected when in 1876 Colorado achieved statehood. Henry Teller became the leader of the Silver Republican Party. But switched parties in 1896 when the Republicans would not support a bi-metal currency standard.

Being a history junkie, I wanted to learn more about Mr. Reed as he was also politically active during the time that another cousin, Theodore Roosevelt, was actively involved in politics. Thomas Reed was facing many of the stalling tactics that I witnessed over the years by the political party not in the majority at any given time.

The Democrat House members who were in the minority at the time were able to make the House of Representatives ineffectual by using loop holes in the rules of the House. Thomas Reed stood up against the the errant Democrats and created rules of procedure that became known as the Reed's Rules.

What really surpised me was the Democratic Party viewed themselves as against big government. Speaker Reed was able to give the Speaker of the House far greater powers than any of his predecessors held. Later he rued the fact that he had contributed to the expanse of government control.

When I was in high school, I thought that the message that the Republican Party promoted was small government. Something seems to have changed with the Republican Party. The party is looking much like it did a little over 100 years ago.

It is sad to see the fragmentation of the Republican Party. But this may be meant to be another chapter in the evolution of the Whigs, Republicans, et. al.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The German Palatines and Kocherthal's Golden Book

As I was writing my post of February 17, 2011, I thought for my next post I would write something about the German Palatine settlements in New York and Pennsylvania. But this "Golden Book" that was mentioned in the Who Do You Think You Are? episode has troubled me. So instead I took some time to learn more about the Golden Book.

I came across a book published in 2004 entitled "Becoming German: The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York' by Philip Otterness, published in 2004. As I read the book, I was troubled by some of the passages concerning Rev. Joshua Kocherthal and the assertion that he was the author of the Golden Book and its various editions. So many things simply do not make sense to me.

To get to the bottom of things, I read everything that I could find on the Palatine region during the time of this exodus. I also looked for information regarding the Carolina and Pennsylvania Colonies and about Queen Anne and the political and economic climate during her reign. As I began to put the pieces of the puzzle together, I realized that Rev. Kocherthal's original booklet was a pawn in a much bigger game.

In several instances I read that Rev. Kocherthal had never been to British America. However, in 1706, he authored a brochure entitled, "Ausführlich-und umständlicher Bericht von der berühmten landschafft Carolina in dem engelländischen America gelegen." This roughly translate to "a detailed and complete report concerning land in Carolina in English America." In it he described the Province of Carolina in glowing terms. Since he'd never been to the Carolinas, I assumed that he must have encountered someone who had been there or read a description of the place.

In 1681, William Penn was granted a royal charter of his Pennsylvania Colony. Prior to 1681, Penn had visited the Rhine region several times. In that same year, Penn wrote and published in England "Some account of the Province of Pennsylvania in America" in which he offered to sell 100 acres for two English pounds and a low yearly rental. Before the close of 1681, the book was translated in Amsterdam and distributed in the upper Rhine region. William Penn advertised his colony repeatedly. He published books that were distributed in Germany in 1700, 1702 and 1704.

The Library of Congress has a collection called the John Archdale Papers 1690-1706. John Archdale was one of the Lord Proprietors of Carolina. The collection includes several letters to and from Mr. Archdale. One such letter informed John Archdale that map maker, Richard Blome's book "English America" by 1697 had been translated into German.

In 1705, John  Archdale was arranging for the Carolina settlement by the High German Company of Thuringia. The company proposed that the Lord Proprietors bring a first group of settlers to Carolina and after this group was safely settled, publish a description of the conveniences and advantageous conditions that these settlers enjoyed. The company also suggested that the Lord Proprietors provide transportation to Carolina from England. The settler would have to repay the company.

At this same time Queen Anne of England championed Protestantism. She married Prince Georg of Denmark, a Lutheran with German ancestry. She was open to receiving persecuted Protestants. The more that I read, the more convinced am I that Rev. Kocherthal's brochure was written based on stories or things that he read from the advertisements printed in German by William Penn, the Lord Proprietors of Carolina and their representatives. Combined with Queen Anne's reputation for helping persecuted Protestants, I saw Rev. Kocherthal's brochure as a proposal to his flock as to how they might remove themselves from hardship.

Queen Anne as well as rulers in Europe believed that enlarging one's population meant wealth and security. So when Kocherthal and his followers applied to Mr. Davenant, a British representative in Frankfort, for passes to England, Mr. Davenant denied the request. He then asked for guidance in the matter from England. As this would be a delicate diplomatic issue, he was told that the queen's desire to help the poor people and settling them in the plantations would be for the public good, but she could not endorse any encouragement given to the people to leave nor give passes without the Elector's (of the Palatinate) consent.

Rev. Kocherthal and his followers did end up in London by 1708. He was able to convince Queen Anne to send him and his followers to America, grant them land and provide a stipend to help them settle. Only she planned to send them to the West Indies. She changed her mind at Kockerthal's objection that the West Indies was too hot. They were sent to New York and not to the Carolina colony. By the time that they sailed, it was approaching winter. In 1709, Kocherthal returned to London to appeal to the queen for more money.

It was at this point that I grew suspicious that Kocherthal had published in Germany a book with Queen Anne's picture and with gold letters on the title page. He did not end up in the Carolina Colony. His people were running out of money because they arrived in winter and had no opportunity to plant crops for the next season. So it made no sense to me that he would publish such a book.

Kocherthal came to London in 1709 to find thousands of immigrants. The first of the immigrants appear to have come from the area near which Kocherthal and his followers left. I am not surprised as I am certain that the story of Kocherthal and his followers sent to America and given land by Queen Anne was told. Also on March 3, 1709, the English passed a bill to naturalize foreign Protestants. The English had established charities to help persecuted Protestants.

A large number of Germans arrived in England between May and November in 1709 causing a strain on the England and it's economy. The English poor were angry that these poor Germans were being supported. On January 15, 1710, a inquiry committee was appointed to investigate who was encouraging Germans to come to England. On April 14, 1711, the committee submitted a report that said that the Golden Book enticed many of the Palatines interviewed because of the ravages of the land caused by the French and the harsh winter of 1708-1709.

Some day, we may learn who published that Golden Book that enticed so many German Palatines to England. But I do not believe that Rev. Kocherthal had anything to do with the Golden Book with an image of Queen Anne and gold leaf on the cover.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Researching Ones Family Can Reveal Some Surprises

More and more information is becoming available on the Internet that can you in your family history or family tree project. There are times that the information that you think is accurate conflicts with something that you may find on the Internet.

Often the conflict arises from misinformation that you have or that someone else has posted. However, at times the conflict arises for other reasons.

I subscribe to several online services that give me access to images of birth, marriage and death records, censuses, tax rolls, directories, plat maps, etc. I recently came across an entry in a Philadelphia city directory that didn't fit with what I thought that I knew about this individual.

In the 1885 Philadelphia directory, I found a listing for an Angeline Stotenbur. She was identified as the widow of Abram and was a boarder. I was confused because according to cemetery records, she was buried with Abram. She died in 1888 and he died in 1891.

I could not find Abram (or Abraham) and Angeline together in any census after 1860. Then, I accidently found an entry at for Susan Tallman wife of a gentleman named Abraham Stotenbur of Schuyler County, New York. Susan was buried near her father in Chautauqua County, New York after she died in 1895.

As far as I can tell, Abram/Abraham never left the Town of Montour in Schuyler County, New York. I found him referenced many times over his lifetime in a book entitled, "Early History &c. Village of Havana, N. Y." In this same book I found a reference to Susan Stotenbur.

Based with this information, I was able to find Abraham in the 1870 census in Havana, NY. He was living with a female named Susy Stotenbur.

Angeline was enumerated in Schuyler County, NY with her husband Abraham Stotenbur in the 1860 census. However ten years later, Abraham Stotenbur was enumerated with Susy.

When Angeline died, she was buried in the Montour Cemetery in Havana, Schuyler County, New York. Susan Tallman and Abram/Abraham Stotenbur had no children together. Since he was buried near his first wife and Susan was buried with her family, I suspect that decision as to where to bury Angeline Baker and her husband Abraham Stotenbur was made by his children and not by his 2nd wife.

It would seem that Angeline never married again and that she refered to herself as a widow rather than as divorced. I may have found her in the 1870 census using her maiden name but still identified as a widow. Since I am not convinced that I found her,  I am still looking for her in the 1870 and also in 1880 census.