Thursday, April 16, 2020

Our Ancestors Knew Each Other

Dear Grandparents,
This will come as no surprise to you but we do not often think that our friends and relations may have known each other. One of my volunteer positions is as Registrar for my National Society Daughters of the American Revolution Chapter. I'm sure my grandmother, Grace Colby Werst Branchflower, has been very pleased that I've proved our ancestry to her Patriot Evert Van Epps (and I have supplemental applications pending on many of the rest of you). As Registrar, I help others research their ancestors and submit their applications.

This week I've been helping one of our new members, Kay Pontious, delve further into her Patriot Jonathan Taylor's role in the American Revolution. He's one of the Patriots who applied for and received a pension and after his death his widow was also granted a pension. His is an interesting case. He enlisted in the 3rd Regiment of Light Dragoons, Virginia Line in Cumberland, Virginia.
He fought in New Jersey. He settled in the Edgefield District in South Carolina and then his widow and family moved on to Walton County, Georgia.

Now Jonathan Taylor's story is not really mine to tell but in reading the pages of his and his wife's pensions over the phone to Kay, I came across a name that is in our family tree. Robert Milner Echol's is my son-in-law Chris' 4th great grandfather.

Robert Milner Echols
18 Mar 1798 - 3 Dec 1847
Photo from add by Terry Echols.
Robert Milner Echols was born in Wilkes County, Georgia but soon settled in Walton, County not far from Monroe. He served in the Georgia General Assembly and also the Georgia Senate where he was three times elected president of that body. He also served as a judge in Walton County. It is in his capacity as judge that I found his name in Jonathan Taylor's pension.

Document from the Pension file for Jonathan Taylor of Virginia
The best thing about finding this signature is that on a following page in the document, Jesse Mitchell, Clerk of the Inferior Court, attests to the signatures. So, we know that Chris' family and Kay's family had contact with each other. Small world isn't it.


For family members: The descent from Robert Milner Echols
Robert Milner Echols married Mary "Polly" Melton (her brother Eliel Melton died at the Alamo)
Mary Ann Tabitha Echols married James Troup Scott
France Ella "Fannie" Scott married George Washington Outlaw
Bertha Outlaw married George William Cunningham
Geraldine Louise Cunningham married Charlie Campbell Black - Chris' Grandparents
Which makes makes Robert Echols my grandchildrens' fifth great-grtandfather.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Joseph Platt's Baptism Day

Dear Grandfather Joseph,
Usually people identify most with the ethnicity of their birth surname. Mine is Cone, which was shortened according to family legend from MacCough, and is clearly of Scottish origin. If the truth be told, I have many more English than Scottish ancestors. I use a genealogy software program called Legacy Family Tree. It has a wonderful report format that reports births, marriages, and deaths from my family tree by date. There are no fewer than 25 people in my tree that have significant events on April 1st. I decided to write about you today because, quite frankly, your surname is one that I had forgotten was in my family tree.

Though April 1st may also be your birthday, documentation shows it to be the day of your baptism in Milford, Connecticut. Your parents are Richard and Mary (Wood) Platt. Richard was baptized in Ware, Hertford, England May 6, 1604. He married at Roydon, Essex, England Mary Wood, daughter of John and Jane Wood, January 26, 1628/9.
St. Peter's Church Roydon - the only building in Roydon that dates from before their marriage.
Photo By Robert Edwards, CC BY-SA 2.0,
Ware, a market town, is about 5 miles from Roydon. It was known as a hotbed for Puritanism. Rev. Charles Chauncey, who went on to become the President of Harvard, was vicar from 1627 to 1633.
He immigrated to New England about 1638 and Richard and Mary followed not long after as he was admitted to the church at New Haven January 29, 1639 (Connecticut Vital Records [The Barbour Collection]1630-1870, vol. Milford p. 128.). Richard was one of the original Proprietors of Milford, Connecticut. In 1643, he received an allotment of 4-1/2 houselot, 27-1/2 upland and 13 meadow acres. He held the houselot, 6-3/4 in East Field, another 20-3/4 in East Field, 4-1/2 in The Meadow and 1 acre in Harbour Meadow.

Milford must have been an interesting place. For all the strictness for which the Puritans were known, evidently there was still time for mischief. According to court records, you were part of a 'silly prank' when you and several friends snuck out in the dead of night and destroyed a Wepawaug Indian fort which was unoccupied at the time. Your motives were not disclosed and it is unclear if the group was fined 10 pounds or if each member was fined 10 pounds. You also had to rebuild the fort.

You had settled down by the time you married Mary Kellogg on May 5, 1680 and went on to a steady career which included being Lieutenant of the Train Band (militia) in 1698 and Deputy from Milford to the Connecticut General Assembly in May 1700.
One of the oldest building in Milford dates from circa 1700 and would have been recognized by Joseph.
By Sgt. R.K. Blue - Own work, CC BY 3.0,
There is some question about your death date but an inventory was taken of your estate March 21, 1703/4. Of your children, only my ancestor Mary was of age.

I'm glad your baptism date popped up on my calendar today. It's always fun to know that not all my Puritan ancestors were staid, sticks-in-the-mud.


For Family members: our descent from Joseph is as follows
Joseph Platt and wife Mary Kellogg
John Woodruff and wife Mary Platt
John Woodruff and wife Hannah Andrew
Samuel Woodruff and wife Anne Nettleton
Andrew Woodruff and wife Mirand Orton
Stephen Sanford and wife Olive Woodruff
Reuben Newton and Caroline Beckworth Sanford
Charles Shepard Newton and wife Mary Elizabeth Clarke
Frederick Naaman Cone and wife Helen Brown Newton
Charles Newton Cone and wife Hazel Bynon Allen
Charles Newton Cone,Jr. and wife Betty Lorraine Cone - my parents.