Monday, November 23, 2015

Dear Grandparents,
In the ongoing discussions about refugees, it seems common to attribute one's birth in the United States as merely the result of luck. Somehow that seems to negate your efforts to find safe havens for your families, a place to practice your religion freely, and a place where the ownership of land and a better life was possible. These desires were probably as universal among those early immigrants leaving war, religious persecution and societal restrictions behind as they are today.  In the case of our 17th century English immigrant ancestors, they had endured more than 100 years of religious chaos as England vacillated between the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England. As we ready ourselves to celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to thank all of you for your courage and commitment. We, your descendants, continue to benefit from your efforts.

Thanksgiving traditions in the United States have roots in the settlement of the Pilgrims in Plymouth. We have several ancestors who were part of the Mayflower community: William Brewster and his wife Mary, William Bradford and his wife Dorothy (May), Stephen Hopkins and son Giles, and Edward Doty who was indentured to Stephen. I thought I would share what I have learned about these brave people beginning with William Brewster.

William Brewster is presumed to have been born in or near Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England in 1566 or 1567.  The exact date of his birth has not been discovered but according to the affidavit made at Leyden, June 25, 1609, in which "he, his wife Mary and son Jonathan declare their ages to be respectively 42, 40 and 16 years."[1]  He is the son of William Brewster who was appointed bailiff and postmaster at the manor house in Scrooby that belonged to the Archbishop of York.

It is not known how long William studied at Peterhouse College at Cambridge University. He matriculated there December 3, 1580 and studied Latin and Greek but there is no record of his receiving his degree, so it assumed that he left before graduating. After leaving, he became an assistant to William Davison, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth I. He accompanied Secretary Davison on his posting to the Netherlands in 1585 and served him until Davison's downfall in 1587 after which he returned to Scrooby.

William's father died in 1590 and he took his place as postmaster, an office he held until 1607, and lived at the manor house in Scrooby. He opened his home to the other members of the Pilgrim congregation for their weekly Sunday meeting. These meetings were eventually discovered and to escape prosecution the Brewsters and several other members of the congregation fled first to Amsterdam in 1608 and then to Leiden in 1609. It was probably more difficult for Brewster to support his family in Holland as he had been a government official in England and not a tradesman. He eventually found work tutoring students at the University of Leiden in English and Latin.

Map of Scrooby with inset to show location in England[2]

William also joined with other members of their sect in publishing books and pamphlets supporting the separatist religious movement which were then secreted into England. When these were traced back to William, the English pressured the Dutch government to stop their export. With authorities of two countries breathing down their necks, the congregation decided to establish a colony in Virginia where they could pursue their religion without fear of reprisal.

Pamplet published by William Brewster in Leiden
As the second ranking member of the congregation, behind pastor John Robinson, Elder William Brewster was urged to make the trip across the ocean on the Mayflower. He and his wife Mary decided to take their two youngest children, Love and Wrestling, with them. My 10th great grandmother, Patience, stayed behind arriving on the Anne in late July 1623.[3]

William Brewster continued to minister to the Plymouth congregation for the rest of his life but he also worked in the fields and participated in the colony's militia. William Bradford writes in his History of Plymouth Plantation, Elder Brewster "was in no way unwilling to take his part and bear his burden with the rest." John Abbott Goodwin writes in Pilgrim Republic "The good Elder fights as he prays, though he would far rather convert an enemy than hurt him, he would not dream of letting him first fire."[4]

Elder Brewster died at Plymouth, 10 April 1644. He had not made a will however the careful inventories prepared by William Bradford, Thomas Prence, Capt. Miles Standish and Mr. Reynor leave us a complete knowledge of the contents of his home and library. These list can be found in The Brewster Genealogy at the  following

My descent from William and Mary (unknown) Brewster is listed below. I am using the standard genealogical format which numbers the immigrant generation as 1. Changes in surname occur when the descent is on the female side. I hope this is an easier format to understand. Also, not surprisingly, my descent comes from two of William's granddaughters. Hannah and Mercy Prence are both daughters of Thomas and Patience (Brewster) Prence.

Cecily14, Charles13, Charles12, Frederick11, William10 Cone, Joanna9 Warner, Rhoda8 , Elisha7 ,  Nathaiel6 Hopkins, Mercy5 Mayo, Hannah4 Freeman,  Mercy3 Prence,  Patience2, William¹ "the Pilgrim" Brewster

Cecily15, Charles14, Charles13, Frederick12, William11 Cone, Joanna10Warner, Rhoda9 , Elisha8 Hopkins,  Abigail7 Merrick, Lydia6, Thomas5, Nathaniel4Mayo, Hannah3 Prence, Patience2 William1   

Thank you for your bravery and determination, Generations of your descendants have benefited from your efforts.


[1] Jones, Emma, The Brewster Genealogy 1566-1907, New York, The Grafton Press, 1908, 1: 3-4
[2] Contains Ordnance Survey data
[3] Michael Tepper, editor, New World Immigrants; The Mayflower Series of Papers"5-Immgrants on the Pilgrim Ship, p 11.
[4] The Brewster Genealogy, p. lix

Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 21st, 2015 the 395th anniversary of the Mayflower Compact.

Dear Grandparents,
Thought I would up date this blog post that I originally wrote in 2013. Today, November 21st, 2015 is the 395th anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact. It was among the first written documents establishing the fundamentals of democratic government in the colonies.

As we begin to prepare for our annual commemoration of Thanksgiving, my mind has been turning to those of you who made Mayflower's historic voyage from England to Massachusetts. What courage it must have required to board that tiny ship leaving every place you had ever known behind! I hope I would have had the courage to join you.

We often focus today on the feast of Thanksgiving you hosted with the Indians and many forget some of the other contributions made by the settlers at Plymouth. We've read about the religious congregation from Leiden and probably most of us think of you as one group. I wonder if you realize that you are often referred to as the "Saints" and "Strangers." I think the implication being that the "Saints" were members of the Leiden congregation and the "Strangers" were the other English families who were hoping for more opportunities in a new land.

What foresight it took to understand that you needed some rules to govern the expectations and behaviors of the community before it was established ashore. I wonder how many of us would have come to that realization.

Mayflower Compact 1620

IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, bu the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honour of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politck, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Futherance of the Ends aforesaid; And by Virtue hereof do enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal Laws, Ordinances, Acts, Constitutions, and Officers, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general Good of the Colony; unto which we promise all due Submission and Obedience.

IN WITNESS whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names at Cape-Cod the eleventh of November, in the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth, Anno Domini; 1620.

Mr. John Carver, John Billington, Thomas Williams, John Ridgdale, Mr. William Bradford,        Moses Fletcher, Gilbert Winslow, Edward Fuller, Mr. Edward Winslow, John Goodman,                Edmund Margesson, Richard Clark, Mr. William Brewster,  Mr. Samuel Fuller,                             Peter Brown, Richard Gardiner, Isaac Allerton, Mr. Christopher Martin, Richard Britteridge,          Mr. John Allerton, Myles Standish, Mr. William Mullins, George Soule, Thomas English,             John Alden,  Mr. William White, Edward Tilly, Edward Doten, John Turner, Mr. Richard Warren, John Tilly, Edward Liester, Francis Eaton, John Howland, Francis Cooke, James Chilton,                    Mr. Steven Hopkins, Thomas Rogers, John Craxton, Digery Priest, Thomas Tinker*

*I have bolded the names of my ancestors who signed the compact.

There were women on board the Mayflower though they were not included in the affirmation of the compact they were certainly expected to live up to its requirements.

The transcription of the Mayflower Compact 1620, as well as the signatories, comes from the General Society of Mayflower Descendants Website. Commonly referred to as the Mayflower Society, it is an organization of those who prove their descent from one or more Pilgrims. It is estimated that there may be as many as twenty million descendants of the 102 hardy souls who sailed on the ship including nine American Presidents. My Great Grandfather Frederick Naaman Cone was a member of the Society, as was his son William Laurence Cone.

For family members, we can trace our linage to William Bradford, William Brewster, Steven Hopkins and his son Giles Hopkins, and Edward Doty (who's name was written at Doten on the compact).

Thank you for your bravery, foresight and spirit. I want to tell more of your stories before Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Could this be their wedding photograph?

Dear Cecil and Hoo Hoo,
Peg recently came across a photograph of the two of you in some of Mom's things that we never remember seeing before. We are all wondering, could this be your wedding photograph?

Cecil Oscar and Ada Grace (Colby) Werst
circa 1924 probably Spokane, Washington.
From personal collection of their granddaughter
Leslie M. Cone
You do look dressed for a special occasion. The weight of your clothing and the leaves behind seem to support that it was summer. Your marriage certificate does not list the time of day you were married.

Certificate of Marriage dated 8 August 1924
Spokane, Washington
H. F. Lange, Minister officiated.
We do not know why you decided to get married in Spokane that August. Perhaps you did not have enough time off from your positions with the Royal Silk Hosiery Company to travel to Pendleton to include the bride's sister Madge and the groom's brother Clem. We know that Grace was estranged from her father because of her stepmother's intolerance for her presence so Grace's home of Newberg was not an option.  Since your first child was born 22 months after your wedding, that does not seem to have been the issue.

Wedding photograph or not, it is very nice to see you as a happy couple.


Updating this post from Veteran's Day 2013 - Thank you for Your Service and Sacrifice

Dear Grandparents,
Each year on November 11th, we honor our country's men and women who have served in our armed forces in both peace and war. This November is the first since 1971 where the family has no one currently serving on active duty. In the honor of those who served, I am endeavoring to put together a list by name, rank and service. These are the family members who have served in the 20th and 21st centuries, I'll cover the 18th and 19th centuries in another post. If you have additions or corrections please leave me a comment.

LCdr, Raul Dominguez, U. S. Navy 2002-2013
Maj. Amanda M. Kelly, U. S. Air Force (ret) 2002-2012
Lt. Kristen Cone, U. S. Navy 2005-2009
Cpl. Agye Danso, U. S. Marine Corps 2003-2007
Maj. Roger Moore, U. S. Army National Guard
Capt. Edward W. Kelly, U. S. Navy (ret) 1971-2001
PH2 Ronald A. Pearce, U. S. Navy 1972-1982
Lt. Charles "Rusty" N. Cone, III U. S. Navy, 1978-1983
Lt. Frederick Allen Cone, JAG, USNR 1957-1960
Sn. Dana A. Pearce, U. S. Navy 1954-1956
1st Lt. Hugo Riecken, U. S. Army 1954-1957
Capt. Charles N. Cone, Jr, U. S. Navy, 1944-1984
PFC Phelps Wilson Long, Jr,  U. S. Marine Corps, Killed in Action Dec. 16, 1943 Bougainville, Solomon Islands
Pvt. Kenneth M. Branchflower, U. S Army, 1936-7; 1944-1946
Sn. Charles Robert Brim, U. S. Navy, 1942-1945
Cpl. Josephine Mary Brim, U. S. Marine Corps, 1943-1945
CM1 Charles C. Black, U. S. Navy 1942-1945
Pvt. Edward Ebert Kelly,  U. S. Army, 1944-1946
Pvt. William Joseph Kelly, U.S. Army, 1942-1945
PO1 Donald Edward Haas, U. S. Navy, U. S. Coast Guard, 1943-1963
Pvt. John Joseph Beaumont, Jr., U. S. Army, 1942-1945
Sn. Richard Hans, U. S. Navy, 1940-1946
Pvt. Daniel Joseph Foley, U. S. Army, 1942-1945
PFC James R. Caldwell, U. S. Army, 1944-1947
Sn David Earl Propes, U. S. Navy, 1944-1945
Pvt. Vern B. Werst, U. S. Army, 1942-1946
Pvt. Emerald J. Caldwell, U. S. Army, 1918-1919
Pvt. Charles N. Cone, U. S. Army, 1918-1918
Pvt. Charles Richard Brim, U. S. Army, 1918-1919
Sgt. William Laurance Cone, U. S. Army, 1917-1919
Cpt. Chester D. Allen, U. S. Army Medical Corps, 1917-1923

Their contributions represent over 100 years of service to our country.

Our family has been blessed that only one member was killed in action. Phelps Wilson Long, Jr. was the daughter of my Grandmother Hazel Bynon Allen Cone's sister Martha Marinda Allen Long. Phelps was my Dad's first cousin. He enlisted in the United State Marine Corps shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and was trained at New River, North Carolina. He was part of  Company I, 21st MAR, 3rd Marine Division.

He was killed in action at Bouganville, Solomon Islands on December 16, 1943 and posthumously award the Silver Star for Conspicuous Gallantry and Intrepidity Against Enemy Japanese Forces in the Cape Torokina Area. I do not know if his body was returned to the family for burial in Florida or if they erected the marker just in remembrance. Once while visiting Oahu, My mother, Ed and I paid our respects at the Punch Bowl National Cemetery in Honolulu. My mother had been under the impression that Phelps was buried there but we did not find him.

My Grandmother said her sister never recovered from Phelps' loss. She died five years later at age 48.

Thank you all for your service. For the time you spent away from spouses, children and homes which did not come without sacrifice on both your part and that of your families.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

In honor of nonagenarians C. Robert (C. Bob) Brim and Josephine (Jo) (Brim) Ayers: The story of another James Clark of Lebanon, Connecticut 1730-1826

Dear Grandparents,
One of my cousins, Helen Peterson, posted a photograph of two of our family nonagenarians celebrating first cousin once removed C. Bob's 97th birthday with his younger sister Jo who is 94 in Seattle. In their honor, I thought I would write about one of our ancestors who also lived well into his 90s, James Clark of Lebanon, Connecticut.

Josephine Brim Ayers and brother, C. Bob Brim (photo courtesy of cousin Helen Peterson).
James Clark3 (Moses2, Daniel1, DanielA, SabbathB), sixth and youngest child of Moses and Elizabeth (Huntington) Clark, was born 15 September, 1730 in the family home which had been built by Moses about 1709. The house still stands today and is said to be the oldest structure in the community of Lebanon.

The Moses Clark house circa 1729 as it looked 28 September 2015.
The home is privately owned but still a treasure.
Image from author's personal collection 28 September 2015
James married on 20 January 1757 to Ann Gray, probably the daughter of Simeon and Ann (Hyde) Gray. She was born in Lebanon 29 July 1732.  They are said to have been the parents of two children James Junior and Ann. Some records include two other sons, Moses and Jacob. Ann Gray Clark died sometime between the birth of her daughter Ann in 1767 and James' remarriage to Keziah (surname unknown) about 1768. With Keziah, James had three children, Wealthy (1769-1775), Earnest (1772-1775) and Augustus (1773-1781). Of James' five children, only James Junior lived to adulthood and he died at age 32. Many researchers report that James Junior had no children but they have neglected to look at Leonard Labaree's, "Public Records of the State of Connecticut", Connecticut, 1948; VII:293, "Upon the Memorial of Anne Lyman Clark Widow and Relict of James Clark Junr late of Lebanon in the County of Windham Deceased and Administratrix of his Estate.... rendering said House Habitable for herself and two Young Children as per Memorial on file."

A paper written by Miss Mary Clarke Huntington of Lebanon and delivered to the New London County Historical Society 15 January 1902 by Colin S. Buell provides more information about James Clark and his roles in Lebanon and the Revolution. "His name appears upon the town records in various land grants while he was yet a young man, and he was given several town offices, being a Grand Juror in 1772. When in 1775, came the Lexington Alarm, he mustered a company of a hundred men and marched to the scene of the action. He took part in the battle of Bunker Hill 17 June 1775, and over and over told the story of that great battle to his great grandchildren, of whom my father was one, as they clustered about him before the open fire in "grandfather's room" at the old Clark homestead."

She then quoted "a bit of the old soldier's talk as it was given to me, a little child, sitting upon my father's knee, as he so many years before sat upon the knee of the old soldier." Jame Clark described the battle as follows, "Yes,yes, my boys and girls, it was a wonderful fight! The hundred men who with me had made the march from Lebanon to Charleston Neck in three days were brave fellows, every one. We were sent to help hold the Hill, but the men in the redoubt were so nearly out of powder that we could only cover their retreat. We kept back the redcoats, though. And everywhere at once was General Putnam, shouting and swearing through the smoke and noise urging ... to hold their ground so long as possible. He was a little man but a big soldier. Yes, yes, my boy and girls, it was a wonderful fight. Not one step did we retreat until our ammunition was gone."

Perhaps Miss Huntington's report of her second great grandfather's tale was embellished, but James' role at the Battle of Bunker Hill is well documented. It is because of his participation in that battle and his long life that we have his portrait.  The Marquis De Lafayette, who was on a tour of the United States, presided at the ceremony laying the cornerstone for a monument to the Battle of Bunker Hill 17 June 1825. Nearly 95 year old, James Clark was the oldest veteran who attended the ceremony having been carried by litter from his home in Lebanon.

Original is captioned "Col. James Clark
of Lebanon Conn. Aged 95
Thee oldest Survivor of the Battle of Bunker Hill, was present at the laying of the cornerstone
of the monument, June 17th, 1825."
From the collection of the Lebanon Historical Society, lithograph made by
T. Badger of Pendleton.
According to his headstone in the Old Cemetery in Lebanon, James lived to 96 years and 5 months. James also saw service in New York, at the Battles of White Plains and Harlem Heights. Miss Huntington reports that he was promoted to Major in December of 1776 and to honor his bravery he "came home a Major changed to Colonel-- an honorary title bestowed upon him at the expiration of his term of service, and as Colonel he was know to all his townsfolk afterward." His headstone reads:

To the Memory of
Who died on the 29th of Dec. 1826
Aged 96 years & 5 mos.
He was a soldier of the Revolution and 
dared to lead where any dared to follow.
The Battles of Bunker Hill, Harlem Heights and White Plains
witnessed his personal bravery, and his devotion to the cause of his
country. He here in death rests from his labors.
Col. James Clarke Headstone, Old Cemetery, Lebanon.
Image from authors personal collection 28 September 2015
My husband, daughter, Amanda, and I were able to visit Lebanon last month and received wonderful assistance from Donna at the Lebanon Historical Society with our research. None of James Clark's descendants have proven their linage so he is not a patriot recognized by Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution. I hope to take care of this situation.

Happy Birthday Cousin C. Bob! Hope you enjoy this story of your 5th great grandfather.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

New record found for Cecil Oscar Werst

Dear Grandfather Cecil,
Today you remain an enigma to most of your descendants who now number 22. Are you surprised at that number? Not bad for dying at age 27. As far as we know, there is no living person remaining who met you. You are so much a part of our genetic make-up but we really do not know you very well. We always thought your daughter Betty looked like you. Your grandson, Ron Pearce, plays banjo like you did. I'm named for you. Still we would like to know more about you.

Cecil Oscar Werst
b. 16 March 1900 Valley Falls, Kansas
d. 24 October 1927 Spokane, Washington
We generally feel that we have found every record that mentions you, census records, marriage record, death record... including the 1900 census where you are listed as a two month old girl living in Rock Creek Township, Jefferson County, Kansas.

Lines 55-64 Family of Louis Werst including
Cecil O, daughter, white, female, born Mar 1900.
"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 July 2015), Kansas > Jefferson > ED 78 Rock Creek Township Meriden city > image 12 of 35; citing NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
In the 1910 census, you are living with your parents and six siblings in the Belma District of Yakima County Washington. Your father and three older brothers are working building houses, your Dad is the contractor and the others carpenters. You are among the youngest of three who are still in school.

Life changed dramatically for your family with your father's death 23 November 1916. Suddenly, school days were over and you had to support your mother and younger brother Alvin. Your older brothers were either married and supporting their own families or would soon be serving in the Army. I'm sure those were difficult days for you.

Luckily for us, they led to my sister Peg's latest find... an employment application for the Northern Pacific Railway Company in Pasco, Washington. Many thanks to for including the U. S., Northern Pacific Railway Company Personnel Files, 1890-1963 records in their online collections. Their shaking leaves pointed the way. We would have never thought to look for you in these records.

You were just 18 when you filled out the application, listing your birthplace as Kansas City, Kansas and back dating your birth to March 1899.The application includes your signature and describes you as being 5' 8" in height, weighing 140 pounds with 'MB' hair presumably medium brown and blue eyes. A comment is written on the margin that you are "under draft age."

Cecil holding baby daughter Betty circa July 1926
probably Spokane, Washington
The only other document that provides a physical description is your World War I draft registration card. The signature is recognizably the same as on the employment application. However, the description lists you as stout, with light gray eyes and light brown hair. The only photograph we have that shows a nearly full torso does not give the impression you were stout but I suppose those details were subjective to the registrar.

This latest record gives us hope that there will still be other parts of your life revealed to us. Hats off to Peg and for this latest find.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Dear Grandmother Newton,
Another of your great great granddaughters, Flora Dunlap Long, wondered about the origin of the Brown in your daughter, Helen Brown Newton's name. We, of course, wish we could ask you. Barring that, I will share my supposition.

Mary "Molly" Elizabeth (Clarke) Newton
b. 24 January 1847 White Lake, Michigan
d. 29 January 1929 Salem, Oregon
I believe that our great grandmother, Helen Brown (Newton) Cone, was named for your first cousin, Helen Marcia Hart, daughter of your maternal Aunt, Mary Crosby (Hornell) Hart. Helen, because of her marriage to Frank A. Brown, would have been known as Helen Brown when your daughter was born October 1, 1870.

Helen Brown (Newton) Cone
b. 1 October 1870 White Lake, Michigan
d. 20 January 1950 Coulee Dam, Washington
Your mother, Lydia (Hornell) (Ford) Clarke, and Mary Crosby (Hornell) Hart were among the five known children born to George and Sarah (Thacher) Hornell. Their brothers, George Thompson Hornell, William Duncan Hornell and Hastings Hornell, all died before they were 30 leaving no known descendants. The sisters were close though separated by distance.

Lydia (Hornell) (Ford) Clarke
b. 4 November 1819 Hornellsville, New York
d. 1 February 1893 Worthington, Minnesota
Mary Crosby (Hornell) Hart
b. 4 April 1824 perhaps Hornellsville, New York
d. 10 November 1875 Cleveland, Ohio
As the oldest child of Albert and Mary Hart, Helen was very aware of what was happening when her father went to serve as a surgeon with the 41st Ohio Infantry. In less than six months, half of the regiment was killed or wounded at the Battle of Shiloh. The letters Albert wrote home must have been filled with the gruesome details. Today, we can read about Helen's feelings during courtship, her early marriage, her relationship with her mother and news from the Civil War as her diary was donated to the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe College presumably by her brother, Albert Bushnell Hart, long time Professor of History at Harvard. I haven't yet read her entries but several authors have quoted from them in their own books.

Helen Marcia (Hart) (Brown) Wright
b. 28 September Clarksville, Pennsylvania
d. before Jul 1887 Hillsdale, Michigan
drawing form Hart, Albert Bushnell and Elizabeth Stevens.
The Romance of the Civil War. New York. Macmillan, 1914, p. 4.
She was used to epitomize the 'Northern Belle."
Helen married Frank A. Brown 17 November 1864 in Cleveland. Her father had completed his service with the 41st Ohio on November 9th but it is not known if he was home in time to give the bride away. She was widowed in 1867. I have not discovered the exact circumstances of the death of her husband but did find an item in the 15 November 1867 Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting on the shooting death of a Frank Brown in Nilea, Michigan. Perhaps, one of the cousins reading this blog will know the story of his death. 

So in 1870, it must have seemed natural to honor your cousin by naming your daughter for her. Sure wish you could tell me if my supposition is correct.


P. S.  Love that each of the women is this story is sporting the same center part hair style.

P.P. S. Helen Marcia Hart was not widowed long. She married Rev. Walter Eugene C. Wright
4 April 1872 in Cleveland, Ohio and they went on to have four children: Clara, Mary, Hornell and Albert.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Longest Marriage in my family Tree

Dear Grandparents,
Last week a friend posted a photograph of her parents who celebrated the 50th anniversary of their wedding last Saturday. That kicked off a discussion of which of my ancestors had the longest marriage.

The first couple that came to mind, was my paternal grandparents, Charles Newton and Hazel Bynon (Allen) Cone. They were married 4 September 1926 in Memphis, Tennessee and she died 18 July 1980 for just under 53 years of marriage.

Copy of  Marriage License for Charles N. Cone and Hazel Allen issued 31 August 1927
Memphis, Tennessee from the author's collection.
My paternal great grandparents beat that record. Frederick Naaman and Helen Brown (Newton) Cone were married 29 May 1889 in Worthington, Minnesota. She died 20 January 1950 so they were married just under 61 years.

Certificate of Marriage for Frederick N. Cone and Helen B. Newton
dated 29 May 1889. The marriage was performed by Franklin L. Fisk, Pastor of the Congregational Church
Worthington, Minnesota. Original in author's possession.

A maternal first cousin once removed, Juanita Werst, and her husband, Ralph Silver, were married 12 September 1936 in Wallowa, Oregon. Their marriage lasted until her death 17 September 2001, a total of 64 years, 11 months and 19 days. Information about their marriage comes from her obituary which was published in the LaGrande (Oregon) Observer and is posted on Find A Grave Memorial #80539585.

My son-in-law Chris' 3rd great grandparents, Thomas Crammore and Sarah Caroline (Dismukes) Phillips, seemed to take the record. They were married 30 October 1851 in Meriweather, Georgia and their marriage lasted until his death 4 May 1921 in Henderson, Texas. They were married 69 years, 5 months and 15 days. (, Georgia, Marriage Records From Select Counties, 1828-1978, 2013.) An index listing this marriage is also posted under Meriwether County, Georgia Marriage by Groom 1851-1875.

These are all envious records and all involved dates into the 20th century so I certainly did not expect to find the marriage of longest duration in my family tree beginning in the 17th century. After all, life expectancy had increased dramatically, right? Yet the longest lasting marriage among my ancestors began with the uniting of Ebenezer and Hannah (Ayer) Belknap 25 February 1690 in Haverhill, Massachusetts. The marriage lasted until his death 17 November 1761, an astounding 71 years, 8 months and 2 days.

I know, you are skeptical! There really are several sources of documentation.

David Webster Hoyt provided the lineage of the Ayer family in his "The Old Families of Salisbury and Amesbury, Massachusetts" published by the Genealogical Publishing Company in 1897. He lists on page 39 the descendants of Nathaniel Ayer including: 52 Hannah, "b. Dec. 19, 1672 [Hv]; ;m. Feb. 25, 1690-1 [Hv], Ebenezer Belknap. She d. Nov., 1779, almost 107 years old. [Hv]"

Under a chapter entitled Remarkable inftances of Longevity in "The History of New Hampshire: Comprehending The Events of one complete Century and seventy-five years from the discovery of the River Pascataqua to the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety" written by Jeremy Belknap, D.D. published in Boston, 1813, one finds, "In Atkinson, Ebenezer Belknap died at the age of 95, and his wife at the age of 107 (page 190).

The exact years, months and days of marriages provided are part of the genealogy software I use, Legacy Family Tree 8.0. There are a series of statistical reports that list, among others, "Longest Marriages by Century." It is a great tool (but I can always use your help!).


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Betty Lorraine Werst Cone would be 89 today.

Dear Mom,
Happy Birthday! Before the last five years of your life, I think we all expected you to be here celebrating this day that would have been your 89th birthday. Unfortunately, dementia robbed us and you of this celebration. It's been two years since you left us and slowly, very slowly, I am beginning to recapture the loving and supportive mother of my childhood. At the same time, letting go of seeing you in such a debilitated state.

For most of the nearly nine decades of your life, you were so vibrant.

Betty Lorraine Werst on left with mother Grace (Colby) Werst and sister Helen Werst
circa 1928 either Spokane or Pendleton, from author's private collection.

With her Grandfather William Wallace Colby at Pine Lawn Farm, Newberg, Oregon
circa 1935 from author's private collection.
As a coed at Oregon State College, Corvallis circa 1948
You were justly proud of being the first person in your family to graduate from college. Earning your degree in Home Economics with a major in Clothing and Textile Design and a minor in child development. That minor was put to good use during the 1950s when you and Dad welcomed four children to your family in six years.

Cone Family in LaHabra, California circa November 1956
from left back row Cecily, Chuck holding Trude, Betty holding Rusty and Peg in front
The sixties brought big changes for our west coast family. Moving to Willingboro, New Jersey was completely out of everyone's comfort zone. But you took it in stride, joining PTA, Community Concerts, the Home Economics Council and herding your four children to adulthood.

Cone Family in Willingboro circa 1963
From back left Betty, Chuck, Cecily, in front Rusty, Trude, Peggy
The seventies were busy, graduations, weddings and a move to Charlotte, North Carolina. The south.... another completly different climate and culture for a girl from the Pacific Northwest. Once again you bloomed where you were planted.

Wedding reception for Ed and Cecily United States Naval Academy Alumni House June 11, 1971
Proud Mom at Rusty's Naval Academy Graduation
Annapolis, Maryland June 1978
Wedding of Trude and Kees Schipper Willingboro December 1978
From left Chuck, Ed, Cecily, Trude, Kees and Betty.
Cone-Gorman Wedding June 28, 1979 Medford, New Jersey
From left Peggy, Trude, Betty, Chuck, Patty, Rusty, Cecily and Ed.

Betty at home in Charlotte 
The eighties brought the arrival of grandchildren, four in three years, and the dawn of Betty Cone's World Wide Moving and Health Care Services. Your children all benefited from your help with new babies, drives across country, packing and much more.

Grandchildren Kristen and Bobby Cone with Betty in Allen, Texas
Betty with granddaughters Colby and Amanda Kelly in Charlotte, North Carolina
The loss of Dad in October 1992, was a blow I can only imagine but you found a way to go on with life, have fun and still be there for friends and family. Keeping track of a family spread from Europe to California was no easy task. You visited all of us, found a new love at home and welcomed another grandchild.

At Peg's and Hugh's wedding in Roswell, New Mexico 1993
from left Betty, Cecily, Trude, Peg, Hugh, Paul, and Rusty
Trude, Rein and Mom in Amsterdam 1994

Doing Tai Chi in her seventies.

The last time with all four kids.
Back from left Peggy, Hugh, Trude, in front Cecily, Betty and Rusty
Golden, Colorado circa 2012
As much as we miss you, we are also relieved that you are no longer suffering.
Happy Birthday Mom!


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Trude

Dear Grandparents,
Lots of things have happened in our family on June 16th. My 9th great grandmother, Alice (Richards) Bradford, was born in 1627;  9th great grandfather, Thomas Orton, married Margaret (perhaps Pell) in Windsor, Connecticut in 1641; and widowed 7th great grandmother, Elizabeth Janse (Douwz) Van Eps, married Teunis Pieterse Viele in 1693 in Albany, New York.

Image from U.S Dutch Reformed Church Records from Selected States 1660-1926

The family event that I remember most was the birth of my little sister, Trude Lorraine Cone. My family was renting a house in Los Nietos, a little town south of Whittier, California when my mother was expecting. Both my sister Leslie and I had been delivered by family friend Dr. Walter Brodie at Emanuel Maternity Hospital in Portland. Both sets of grandparents were in Oregon and our Dad was spending quite a bit of time at sea with the U. S. Navy. It was decided to take the family back to Oregon to await the delivery. Dad took leave and accompanied us north. I do not remember if he drove us (mother did not yet have a driver's license) or if we flew.

Dad had hoped that Trude would arrive before his leave was up and he had to return to the ship. As we all know, babies arrive on their own schedules and Trude had her own schedule from the beginning. Dad had to leave before she arrived on June 16th weighing 8 pounds 14 ounces.

Trude in her Mother's arms circa June 1954, Newberg, Oregon
Her red hair made an immediate statement and she has been making unique statements ever since.

Trude circa 1955 LaHabra, California
From left sisters Leslie "Peggy", Trude and Cecily at home in LaHabra circa 1959
Trude fell in love with dance and as a graduate of The Julliard School has pursued dance and the study of movement in a very successful career, Her sisters were not similarly talented and pursued their careers in other fields.

Celebrating her 18th birthday at home in Willingboro, N.J.
A much loved daughter, sister, wife, aunt and mother, Trude has conquered living in another culture, becoming fluent in Dutch, having a successful career in Holland, having a special needs son, Rein, and being widowed and finding another love. She has remained close to her siblings and nieces and nephews. An unabashed free spirit, she remains a delight in our lives. Happy Birthday!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Celebrating Anniversaries

Dear Mom, Dad and Ed,

Happy Anniversary! We share June 11th as our wedding anniversary. I do not know exactly you selected the eleventh as the date for your wedding, except that it was a Saturday. I do know part of the motivation. It never seemed to bother Dad that Mom was almost a year older, but it did bother Mom. Each year from June 8th (Dad's birthday) until June 23rd (Mom's birthday) you were the same age.
Charles Newton "Chuck" Cone, Jr. and Betty Lorraine (Werst) Cone
St. Stephen's Cathedral, Portland, Oregon
June 11, 1949
Photograph from author's private collection

Ed's and my motivation for selecting the 11th was much simpler. We were joining perhaps seventy-five U. S. Naval Academy Class of 1971 graduates who would marry in the two weeks following their graduation June 9, 1971. A lottery was held among the classmates and date and time were selected based on what was left when it was your turn. Wedding ceremonies began at 1:00 pm on Wednesday the 9th and continued on the hour in the main chapel and on the half hour in the smaller chapel downstairs. Ed selected 1:00 pm on Friday the 11th. It was an added bonus that it was also my parents wedding anniversary.

From left: Chuck and Betty Cone, Cecily (Cone) Kelly, Edward Kelly, Pauline (Haas) Della Penna and Carmen Della Penna
U. S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland
June 11, 1971
Photograph from author's private collection
June 11th turned out to be an auspicious day to marry. Mom and Dad were married for more that 43 years before his death in 1992. This year Ed and I are celebrating our 44th anniversary.

A very special day for us, after 44 years, 2 children, 2 grandchildren, 8 dogs, 24 moves, living on 3 continents, we are still in love and looking forward to many more anniversaries.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day 2015: Remembering Theodore W. Clarke and Phelps W. Long, Jr. Family members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Dear Grandparents,
These days Memorial Day is not just a day but a three day weekend and the start of the summer season. Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in the 1970s. I like BBQs, pool parties and picnics as much as the next person, but I also do not want to loose sight of what Memorial Day was meant to honor.

Postcard of first official Memorial Day held at Arlington National Cemetery 1868
Image from the Library of Congress Chronicling America Collection.

The tradition of service runs deep in our family. My daughter, niece, husband, brother, father, uncles and grandfathers all served. These lines can be traced back to the Revolutionary War and beyond to the French and Indian War, King Phillip's War etc. Two of these family members made the ultimate sacrifice; Theodore William Clarke and Phelps Wilson Long, Junior.

Fifer Theodore Clarke of the First Nebraska Infantry, Company C
Image is reverse of tintype in author's possession.
Theodore enlisted in the First Nebraska Infantry June 6, 1862. His letters to his mother and sister explain that he felt strongly about two things, preserving the Union and ending slavery. He lived through two of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War; Fort Donelson and Shiloh, only to die, probably of pneumonia, January 7th, 1863. Theodore's younger sister, Mary Elizabeth (Clarke) Newton, is my 2nd great grandmother.

PFC Phelps Wilson Long, Junior, US Marine Corps
Image from collection shared with author by his sister, Shirley Long Collins.
Phelps had graduated from High School in Tallahassee Class of 1941 and enrolled at the University of Florida at Gainesville. He joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity and seemed destined for a normal college experience. All of that ended December 7, 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Phelps enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and fought at Guadalcanal and then Bougainville with the Third Marine Division. He was killed in action on Bougainville, Solomon Islands, December 16, 1943. He is the son of my paternal Grandmother's sister Martha Marinda (Allen) Long.

Both of these family members had their lives ended far too soon. They did not get to experience the joys of marriage, parenthood and growing older. They left behind families who were devastated by their loss. Tomorrow on Memorial Day, let us remember them and their sacrifices. They should not be forgotten.


Monday, April 20, 2015

The "shot heard round the world" responding to the Battles of Lexington and Concord: James Clark

Dear Grandparents,
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts celebrates Patriots' Day annually on April 19th, honoring those who fought and gave their lives at the Battles of Lexington and Concord, deemed to be the beginning of the Revolutionary War. Many of us learned as school children Ralph Waldo Emerson's tribute to these patriots written to celebrate Independence Day in Concord, 4 July 1837.
The first stanza is inscribed on this Concord Monument 
The Concord Hymn

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April's breeze unfurled,
Here the once embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe in long since silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

After the battles, word of the British attack and the subsequent casualties spread through out the colonies. Israel Bissell, a post rider from Massachusetts, was charged with the effort to carry the news as far south as Philadelphia. He rode through towns, villages and hamlets shouting, "The war has begun." He reached Norwich, Connecticut by 4 pm on April 20th. Soon 4,000 Connecticut men were assembling ready to march to the relief of Boston and Massachusetts. Among them, my sixth great grandfather, James Clark of Lebanon.

Acting as Captain of a company of militia raised from Lebanon, he marched with them to the relief of Boston arriving in time to participate in the Battle of Breed's Hill, once known as the Battle of Bunker Hill. He went on to participzate in the Battles for Harlem Heights and White Plains in New York. 

Long after the war, it was decided to erect a monument to those who fought at the battle. The cornerstone for the monument was laid 17 June 1825 in a ceremony conducted by the Marquis De Lafayette. According to Emma Lee Walton, writing in The Clark Genealogy: Some descendants of Daniel Clark of Windsor; 1639-1913 published in 1913, "When he was 95, a special escort was sent from Boston to Lebanon to bring him. He was a distinguished guest and was kissed on both cheeks by General Lafayette, who said, 'You were made of good stuff '."

James Clark (Moses 3, Daniel 2, Daniel 1) was born 15 September 1730 in Lebanon, the son of Moses and Elizabeth (Huntington) Clarke. He married Ann Gray 20 January 1757 and together they were the parents of five children, Jacob, Malinda, James, Jr., Moses and Anna. After Ann's death in 1767, he married a woman named Keziah and with her had three additional children, Wealthy, Earnest and Augustus. Keziah's children died in childhood, including Augustus who died while his father was away fighting. James died 29 December 1826 in Lebanon and is buried in the Old Cemetery.

I know many others of you were involved in our struggle to win independence from the British. I hope to discover and write your stories also.


P. S. for family members Cecily Cone 11 (Charles 10, Helen Newton 9, Mary Elizabeth Clarke 8, John 7, James Augustus 6, James Jr. 5, James 4, Moses 3, Daniel 2, Daniel 1).