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.