A to Z – I is for Ireland

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A to Z Blog Challenge

I is for Ireland

 

 

Over the years, I’ve trace a majority of my family from England, but I’ve found a few stuck in there from Ireland!

 

 

 

dublinMy 2nd great grandpa, John Francis Burke, according to family history, was from Dublin. He stowed away on an America-bound ship at the age of 15 in 1861. He was found en route and told by the captain they could not take him back. He said, “If I wanted to go back, I wouldn’t have stowed away.” They dropped him off in Florida – right at the beginning of the Civil War.

I’ve found Confederate records of three different men who could be him. I’m not sure which, if any, is him. He next shows up in the 1880 census married to Nancy Didama Spencer and living with her family in Mississippi.

Another 2nd great grandpa was Thomas Gilbert Lafayette Keene. He doesn’t have much of a history. Seems his parents died when he was young. Family rumor has it the Keene family also came from Dublin and were originally O’Keene.

tyrone

My 7th great grandpa James Rogers came from Tyrone County in Northern Ireland. Looks like a beautiful place! He was married to Mary McPherson. Go ahead, say that with an Irish accent!

 

 

I find it interesting that all these people came from another part of the world, joined in marriage and children, and the outcome was ME! We ancestry-type people spend so much time thinking of the past. I wonder if they did too. And, I wonder if they ever thought of the distant future. My mind doesn’t go much past children and grandchildren. What if seven generation from now, people we couldn’t even imagine are thinking about us?

 

A to Z – G is for GW Spencer

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G is for George Washington Spencer

GW was my 3rd great grandfather. He was a Confederate soldier in 1862, but in the 1860 census, he was listed as a school teacher.

He was born in June of 1829 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Rev. William Saladin Spencer and Martha Didama Gross. He was the 10th of 11 children, with only 1 girl in the bunch. His father died in 1841 when GW was only 12 years old.

geo wash spencerIn 1858, he married Nancy Virginia “Jenny” Holdcroft in Kemper, Mississippi, and the union produced 7 children, 5 girls and 2 boys. They made their home in Newton County, MS.

There was no organized education at the time, so communities usually gathered money and asked someone to educate their children. GW stepped up to the challenge for a moment.

When the war began, he enlisted 1 Mar 1862 with Co. B 35th MS Infantry. He was sick most of the war due to a leg infection and was medically discharged 10 Jan 1864. The family story is that his wife went by horse and wagon to pick him up from a Confederate hospital.

Following the war, he didn’t go back to teaching. He is listed on census records as a farmer until his death 22 Jul 1901. He is buried with his wife in unmarked graves at Hickory Cemetery in Newton County, Mississippi.

A to Z – F is for WT Fisher

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F is for WT Fisher

WT stands for William Thomas Fisher. He was my 3rd great grandpa. He was born 5 Jun 1819 in Alabama to Southy Fisher and Elizabeth Butler. It seems he was the only boy with three younger sisters. His sisters were all born in Mississippi quite a while after he was born, so there may have been some unrecorded children who died young in the family.

 

William T. and Ann Eliza (Butler) FisherIn 1846, WT was involved in a shoot out at the Brickyard, which was a mustering point for soldiers in the Mexican-American War. The owner of the Brickyard was a man named Shumate and his wife Muggie. There was a disagreement with WT’s dad, Southy, over the ownership of the Brickyard.

There were many incidences between the men at the Brickyard, but on this particular occasion, the Fisher boys came around armed and ready for a fight. It wouldn’t be a quick fight as each was armed with a Flintlock single-shot weapon that took time to load and fire.

When the Fishers made their presence known, Shumate and Muggie loaded their guns and came out of the house. Shumate had a single gun. Muggie had two.

Muggie was the first to fire and took down Southy. WT shot back and missed. Muggie tossed away her empty gun and fired at WT with her second gun, taking him down. Neither of the Fishers were dead, only injured. Shumate, frightened by the gunfire, dropped his weapon and ran. Muggie grabbed his discarded gun and fired at her coward husband, killing him instantly. This perhaps wasn’t the best move as Southy still had a loaded weapon. He fired at Muggie, killing her before she could reload.

Obviously, the Fisher clan wasn’t one to mess with.

1858 was a year of change. WT was 38 at the time. His mother died 19 April and his father died 24 July. I can’t imagine losing both parents so closely together. His father left everything to him in his will, only leaving the daughters $5 each, but leaving WT the farm, the animals, the numerous slaves, everything.

Shortly after the death of his parents, the family story is that he rode to North Carolina where his family was originally from, and he brought back a bride. Ann Eliza Butler rode back to MS with WT on horseback. She was 15 years his junior. Since his mother’s name was also Butler, I feel they may have been cousins or something, but I haven’t been able to make the connection.

I guess there wasn’t enough help at the farm and shortly after the marriage, WT went to Mobile to buy a slave to help Ann in the kitchen. While he was there, he noticed a small black boy with light patches of skin. He asked the slave traders what they were going to do with the boy, who was about 5 years old. The traders said they would throw him to the sharks on their way back. WT brought the boy home and raised him. The boy’s name was Charlie “Fisher” and he stayed at WT’s side even through the Civil War. Charlie drew a pension from the war until his death in 1928.

At the end of the Civil War, WT not only freed Charlie, but also gave him 80 acres of family land on Fisher Road in Zero, Lauderdale County, Mississippi, where Charlie’s descendants live to this day.

In 1860, before the war began, WT was imprisoned at Mississippi State Prison in Jackson, Mississippi for killing a man named McGinnis in his corn crib. The story is that McGinnis was caught stealing, but the belief is that it was a card game gone wrong and WT caught McGinnis cheating and shot him. WT was forced to sell off a lot of land to pay off the judge and lawyers to try and stay out of jail, but he served time anyway. When the war began, he was release to serve in the Confederate army and joined as a Captain.

During and following the war, WT and Ann had 11 children, 5 girls and 6 boys.

fisher william thomas headstone, callies fatherWT died at the age of 62 on 13 May 1882. He is buried in the family cemetery on Zero Rd.

His wife Ann died in 1910 at the age of 75 and is laid to rest next to her husband.

A to Z – D is for David Hopkins

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D is for David Hopkins

David is my 6th great uncle, brother of my 5th great grandmother Elizabeth Hopkins Rice. There were about eleven children in the Hopkins household born between 1760 and 1807. David was born in Nash County, North Carolina, though I’m not sure of the year. Some records say he was born in 1807, but his father’s will below seems a bit strange if that’s the case.

An abstract of his father’s will is as follows:

“Wake Co. NC Wills 1777-1848, page 44.”

219. PETER(x)HOPKINS 9 Nov 1807 Feb Ct 1808
I am sick and weak in body” 
Son JOHN HOPKINS – 250 acres in Wake Co. on Little River joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, Griffins Branch, Joseph Hopkins, negro girl Eady; etc.

Son JOSEPH HOPKINS – 250 acres in Wake Co. joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, JOHN HOPKINS, WILLIAM HOPKINS; boy Robert, etc.

Son WILEY HOPKINS – 568 acres in Wake Co. joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, JESSE BURN, ISRAEL PRIVETT, JOHN HOPKINS, etc.

Son WILLIAM HOPKINS – 300 acres in Wake Co. near Little River joining MATTHEW STRICKLAND, JOSEPH HOPKINS, GEORGE BELL; 300 acres in Nash Co. joining JOHN RICE, Jumping Branch, etc.

Son PETER HOPKINS – 200 acres in Wake Co. on Little River joining BURRELL FOWLER, GEORGE CRUDUP; boy Toney, etc.

Son DAVID HOPKINS – 400 acres in Nash & Jonson Co. on each side of Mocason Creek joining HARDY PRIGEON, BURRELL STRICKLAND; boys Haywood & Arthur, etc.

Daughter ELIZABETH RICE – boy York, etc.

Son ALSEY HOPKINS – man James, boy Jacob, etc.

Daughter MARY HOPKINS – woman Rachal, girl Cherry, etc.

Daughter SUSANNAH HOPKINS – woman Silvy, boy Jack, girl Clary, etc.

Wife WILMOTH (Fowler) HOPKINS – lend to her man Isaac, man Kit, woman Affey, girl Amey, boy Emsley; also lend to her 300 acres in Nash Co. including where I now live, etc.

Son CRAWFORD HOPKINS – properly lent to wife at her death.

Residue of estate to ALSEY & CRAWFORD HOPKINS
Ex. sons ALSEY & DAVID HOPKINS

 

David doesn’t show up in records again until his marriage. In 1835, David married Milbrey “Miley” Ferrel and immediately had a daughter, Susan. A few years later in 1841, he had his only son, Alsey.

I don’t know what prompted him to write his will at such a young age with children only twelve and six, but it was probated on 6 Mar 1847 in Nash, North Carolina. His will is in the North Carolina Wills and Probate Records 1665-1998 in Book 1, Vol 5, 1778-1897 and is as follows:

David Hopkins will

 

It appears his wife Miley died a short time later in 1855, leaving the children as orphans at the ages of 19 and 14.

Fortunately, Susan and Alsey didn’t take after their parents and grandparents dying at a young age. Susan died at the age of 85 and Alsey got married in 1860 and is the man seen below on the horse. (Photo courtesy of Mary Sue Lyon.) Alsey died in 1913 at the age of 71.

Alsey Hopkins

 

A to Z – C is for Captain Charles Windham

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A to Z

C is for Captain Charles Windham,

His Majesty’s Commander

 

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Seeman the younger, Enoch, c.1694-1745; Captain Charles Windham of Earsham (d.1747)Birth 1709 Virginia

Death 20 Aug 1771 South Carolina

My 6th great grandfather

Photo credit: National Trust

The Windham family is on my father’s side. A female Windham married a Mercer, and a granddaughter from that union married a Crane.

 

 

 

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wymondham signCharles’s Windham /Wymondham /Wyndham line is traced back to Sir John De Wymondham in 1320 Wymondham, Norfolk, England.

Three hundred years later, in the early 1600s, Charles’s great grandfather was also born in Norfolk. Apparently the family didn’t get around much. Grandpa  was a judge and military advisor. He migrated to America in 1634 on the ship “John and Dorothy.” After hundreds of years in the same town, I wonder what the family thought of him going to America. I would imagine they weren’t very pleased.

The family settled in Virginia for a couple generations, then Charles moved south to South Carolina. Charles married Mary around 1730 and had at least five children in South Carolina before her death around 1750, including my 5th great grandfather Major Amos Windham who served in the American Revolution in South Carolina.

From Virginia Colonial Records:

Public Record Office, London

Book of Letters Vol. 5

4 Feb 1737. Encloses report of threatened attack by Spanish on Georgia and South Carolina. Has asked Capt. Windham for help. Windham was send to Virginia.

29 Mar 1737. Capt. Windham has ordered Capt. Compton at Virginia to join him quickly.

In the early 1730s, King George II established Georgia as a colony. His main reasoning was to keep the Spanish who were occupying Florida and the Native Indians from attacking South Carolina. Georgia was nothing but a buffer, but King George dumped time, money, and settlers into the colony, helping it to grow and prosper. Wonder where he got the name from? 🙂

The best part of the story is while the King was sending over settlers to build up the colony and munitions to fight off invaders, the Princess of Wales gave birth to a son who would later become King George III. This is the same King the colonists would declare their independence from in 1776. They would never have been able to do so if George II hadn’t supplied them with weapons. Hmmm.

 

Dante Cicchetti 1924-2017

I usually write about my own blood family, but today is a special day. Today I am attending the memorial service of my husband’s grandfather.

dante cicchetti with great grandson alex jackDante Cicchetti (pronounced Seh-KEH-tee) was born 7 Dec 1920 in Italy. He was the third child of Nicholos Cicchetti and Maria Leonarda Scarlato. He had an older sister and an older brother. Following him was a girl born in June of 1924, and 11 Oct of the same year, the family landed on the shores of America in New York.

Through the early 1900s, many Italians were not treated well in Italy. I won’t go into the gory details, but they were used, starved, women were raped, men suffered, and most were desperate to escape. They did anything they could to scrape up enough money to book passage to America. America was in the middle of an industrial boom and needed laborers. Hardworking, desperate Italians fit this bill.

Not all were happy about the Italian boom. In the 1911 Dillingham report, propaganda reigned supreme, and most of the crime was blamed on Italians. This led to the Immigration Act of 1924 which barred most Italians from entering the country. I’m not sure how the Cicchetti family even got into the country, but standing by my husband’s side at his grandfather’s mass, I’m glad they did.

Following their arrival, the family found their way to Michigan and took up residence in the Detroit area. This is where Dante’s youngest sister was born in 1927.

In 1940, Dante served in the United States Navy as a Hospital Corpsman. He spent time in the Philippines and in Bermuda, among other places. I remember looking through the old photographs that line the walls at the Royal Naval Dockyard Museum in Bermuda, searching for his face, but I wouldn’t know a 20-year-old grandpa if I saw him.

bettylee joyce stewart and dante cicchettiDante married Bettylee Joyce Stewart 19 Sep 1942 and had five daughters and one son. The following decades saw his family expand to a host of in-laws, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Dante and Bettylee traveled the world, they wintered in Florida, and they were by each other’s side for 66 years.

 

In 2008, he lost his bride and he was never the same. He missed her deeply and kept himself busy taking care of his home. Until the last few months of his life, he lived alone in his house, shoveling his snow, tending his garden, cutting his grass, and cleaning his gutters. Imagine the frustration of family members arriving at his house and finding 92-year-old grandpa on the ladder again.

He was an entertaining gent with tons of stories of his Italian family, raising his children, and traveling around the world.

He died 31 Dec 2017 following complications of surgery while repairing his broken hip. I’m surprised he didn’t break it many times before while climbing ladders.

Rest in peace, Grandpa. We love you.

cicchetti dante dog tag usn

On This Day in 1852

A quiet life. An almost uneventful life. A nondescript life.

On this day in 1852, Martha Jane “Mattie” Mercer was born to Amos Windham Mercer and Amanda Sylvester. She was somewhere in the middle of a dozen kids, 8 boys and 4 girls. Her father was 52 years of age when she was born. Her mother was 23. Hmmm. The family made their home in Clarke County, Mississippi, and Mattie lived her entire life there.

At the age of 21, she married Andrew Jackson “Jack” Crane on 4 Dec 1873 and had three children: Ella Jane 1874, Minnie Lee 1878, and my great grandpa Amos Bolivar 1881.

There is nothing outstanding in the genealogy records – no loss of large numbers of family members due to war or disease, no records of still-born infants, no legal records of incarceration, no newspaper clippings, no higher education, nothing out of the ordinary. It seems she lived a quiet life in the same small town she was born into.

After 32 years of marriage, her husband died in 1905 at the age of 53. The subsequent census records show she lived with her daughter Ella, where she remained for the rest of her life. She never remarried. She died at the age of 93 on 28 Nov 1945.

She is laid to rest at McGowan Chapel Cemetery in Clarke County, Mississippi, just down the road from her home. Even her tombstone is nondescript, only referring to her at Mrs. A. J. Crane.

Rest in peace, Grandma Mattie.

mercer martha jane mattie mercer

This story brought to you by On This Day: A Perpetual Calendar for Family Genealogy