For now, no posts about art at Alchemy of Clay.
My own life and my opinions are shared at When I was 69.

REMEMBER: In North America, the month of September 1752 was exceptionally short, skipping 11 days, when the Gregorian Calendar was adapted from the old Julian one, which didn't have leap year days.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Life interrupts research

At least I am still alive. A week of continuing discomfort landed me in the hospital a week ago, and I received a stent on my artery right on the wall of the heart.

So I'm now slowly recovering. And not doing much else.

I'm thinking of those ancestors who still want their stories I'll be back.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Where Ruth Ann Swasey James' children were born

I hope to have a summary on each of her children's births.  I'll worry about where they lived later.

I have spent hours looking at census records for one daughter, who lived into her 90s...and everywhere confirmed she had been born in Iowa in 1857. Her mother, Ruth Ann Swasey, was born and died in Rhode Island, so that was a bit hard to believe.

Summarizing how these people are related to great times 3 grandfather Alexander G. Swasey  (1784-1861) had a son, Alexander G. Swasey, (sea Captain) (1812-1866), and a daughter Ruth Ann Swasey James (1828-1908).  Alexander ended up fighting for the Confederacy (as a ships captain) and Ruth Ann's husband William James fought for the Union during the Civil War.

I'm going to first list the 4 children that my cousin has on her James Family Tree. Then I'll try to figure out who the other 3 are who are on my tree. Lots of times grandchildren are put into the places of their parents, usually because of having the same name.  When a census says William D. -- lived someplace when he was 10 years old and he was really William A. -- then I go searching for someone with the correct initial who was old enough to be a head of household...and usually find a cousin, or uncle who was correct.

Ruth Ann Swasey James, b. 1 July 1829 Newport RI, d.11 Jan1908 Providence RI.

William Davenport James, b. 5 Aug 1827, New Bedford, Bristol, MA, d. 20 May 1910, Providence, RI

Lewellen Swasey James Nickerson b. 9 May 1852 New Bedford, Bristol, MA, d. 20 Apr 1928, Rhode Island

Clara D. James Dean, b. 8 Feb 1854, MA, d. 9 Aug 1944, Central Falls, Providence County, Rhode Island,

Alice Creighton James Smith, b. 23 Feb 1857, Lansing, Iowa, d. 8 Jan 1935, Providence, RI

William Alexander James, b. 11 Oct 1860, Mobile, Mobile AL, d. 19 May 1949, Kernville, Kern, CA buried in RI.

Also on my tree, just to list who isn't on the more official one, has the same parents listed, and still needing to be weeded out:

Augusta James, b. abt. 1853, place and death unknown.

Isabela James, b. abt. 1855, d. abt 1930, St. Louis MO.

Elizabeth R. James, b. abt. 1861 Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, US or England.

Well, it didn't take very long to find a census for father William D. James for 1855 in New York, and to find that this was another man completely...born in Ireland, married to Ann, also born in Ireland, who had children Augusta and Isabela. So now I can cross them off my tree completely.

But there's the weird Elizabeth R. born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire...maybe England or maybe US.  I'm going to just delete her from my tree as well. There. A bit rash, but the places she was born being so confused seems pretty safe, especially since she was pretty far removed from my ancestors.

Since my cousin is a California relative, I am interested in the fact that her gg grandfather William A. James had been born in Mobile AL, when most of the family were from New England (with the exception of the Iowa daughter.) And he had been born in 1860.

But it's also interesting to see that his father joined the US army in 1861 till 1865, for Massachusetts. So the family's stay in the south was brief.

So that's as much as I'll delve into today. Where do you think we should go tomorrow? I've just added some more ancestors of the James family, going back further in time. But I think I'd like to first come down to more recent times. They moved to California, after all!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Other family trees

I have my basic 3, my mother's family (The Booths); my father's dad's family (The Rogers); and my father's mom's family (The Swaseys.)

If I spent the rest of my life just filling in new information on those trees, (on Ancestry) I probably wouldn't get finished.

And then I started looking at the wives of my 3 that's 3 more families to see where they came from. Oh my, they are so interesting. I think only one daughter-in-law is doing her own research, and we got into a mess last week when we found both our trees had the same name. So that's been changed and we can now see the work of the other, and not lose it.

I also have 2 friends who were interested in seeing a bit of their trees, and I don't do much more with them...but trees over on Ancestry have a habit of growing when I'm not looking.

Oh, and I have a fourth cousin who does genealogy on the Swasey tree, she has the same great times three grandfather! I've never met her, and she lives about a thousand miles away in California.

I recently switched back to the Swasey Family Tree (father's mother's family) here on the blog. So I'll stay on that tree for a while. They mainly came from New England, so there are lots of good records available.

So I'm going to spend some time this week looking at my fourth cousin's family. She has some different children in the very first family, which I've been scratching my head about. Her James family started with Ruth A. Swasey who married William D. James. I've got 7 children from them, and she's got 4.

So I started with one of the unlikely ones, read through all the information on a woman who lived until her 90s, and she's definitely a Swasey James ancestor, even though she was born in Iowa in 1857. My question was (of course) how and why did my great times three grandmother who lived her whole life (I thought) in Providence RI, end up having a baby in Iowa?  I still think she might had been adopted.

But I'll give you more information, in a bit more coherent version, tomorrow!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Great great Aunt Mariann (Mamie) Swasey Gresham (1849-aft.1883)

I look through my more immediate family members on my Ancestry trees about once a month. There are sometimes new documents which have been added, and Ancestry gives me a little "hint" of a green leaf on their name in the tree. Sometimes the hints are way off base (actually most of them.) But this last week I found a couple of documents that made me sit up and take notice.

My great grandfather Alexander John Swasey (1853-1913) had 4 sisters born before he was. They were born when his parents lived in St. Augustine FL during the times it became the state of Florida. But just before G-Grandpa Alex was born, they apparently moved back to Charleston SC.  His mother had been born in Charleston, and there were other Zylstras living there (looking at census reports before and after the Civil War.)

So the new information last week was that his older sister Mariann (Mamie) Swasey Gresham (1849-aft.1883) had married, and had children.  I haven't been able to find any indication that his other 3 older sisters even lived past childhood.

Mamie Swasey was 17 when her father Captain Alexander Swasey (1812-1866) died in Charleston SC. He had spent virtually the whole of the Civil War in prison in Fort Warren in Boston Harbor, only to return home in 1865 and die of consumption in 1866.  His grave is somewhere with another family, unmarked. My cousin visited Charleston and tried to find it a few years ago.

Now I've recently learned of Great Great Aunt Mamie married in June of 1869 to Joseph Gresham (1844-1895).  But before she married, another document shows that she returned to the US from Panama on 15 Jun 1868 when she was 18. The manifest show another female listed just before her name, and I would think it unlikely that she would travel alone to Panama and back. I think her friend's name was Teresa J S Lindsey (27) and there was another female named Mary Lindsey (19) as well.  The ship Rising Star brought these passengers into New York. Perhaps there was some missionary work they were involved with...I'm open to suggestions.

GG Aunt Mamie married Joseph Gresham in Charleston SC.  But he was from Pontotoc, Mississippi, and they set up their home in State Line, George County (or Green County) MS. His family included at least one member who fought in the American Revolution, so there are DAR documents about them. The Daughters of the American Revolution are good at keeping records. 

State Line MS is on a railroad line, and GG Uncle Joseph Gresham in the 1870 census is listed as a clerk in a sawmill, which was probably owned by his father.  Joseph and Mary (Mamie) Gresham were living with his father, John Gresham at that census, and Mary must have been expecting their first son (Joseph Jr.) who was born in June 1870.

They had 7 children, one of whom died in infancy. There were 5 sons and 2 daughters in their family. And their son, George Leon, who became a physician, lived until 1962.

Joseph Gresham, Mobile AL (no date given)

In 1885 Joseph Gresham received forty acres of land from Pres. Grover Cleveland, in Washington County AL. I wonder what service he had provided to the US government. He was a CSA veteran, having enlisted in Company K, Mississippi 1st Cavalry Regiment as a private.

The 1880 Census for Washington County AL has his occupation listed as a merchant. At that census Mary Gresham was 30 years old, with her father having been born in Rhode Island. (Capt. Alexander G. Swasey.)

Mamie gave birth to her last son, Nov. 9, 1883. He lived till 1935, but we have no further records of Great Great Aunt Mamie Swasey Gresham. So we can only say she died after 1883.

Her husband, Joseph, died in 1895 in Pascagoula, Jackson County, Mississippi, and he was buried in State Line, MS. 

I am a big fan of another Grisham, namely the novelist John Grisham. A lot of his books are centered around Mississippi and Alabama, so I was thinking we might have distant cousin status. But it really doesn't matter, even though he grew up in that area. The Firm, and Pelican Brief are 2 of my favorites which were made into movies. 

Sharing on Sepia Saturday this week.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Finding a new great aunt...but first the back-story.

Originally posted Tuesday, May 20, 2014 - edited May 14 2020

Looking at my ancestors on my father's side of the tree.

Alexander John Swasey

Writing says "Alexander John Swasey, the father of Ada and Stella Swasey" Possibly photographed around 1890.
Born in 1853 in Charleston, South Carolina. His mother had Dutch roots, Anna J. (Fanny) Zylstra Swasey.  

His father, Captain Alexander Swasey was a Confederate Blockaid Runner.  His birthday link is HERE.

My father's mother's father, Alexander John Swasey (I'm calling him G-grandpa Alex) had 3 older sisters, born in 1840, 41, and 43, all born in Florida.  There isn't much information about any of them.

EDITORIAL NOTE: there's now another sister that I just discovered, and I'll be talking about soon.

He married Zulieka Granger Phillips in 1882 when he was 29.  She had been an orphan raised in the homes of her mother's sister's families in Galveston, Texas during the Civil War and following.  I don't know how G-Grandpa Aex got to Galveston, TX from Charleston, SC where he lived as an adult.  That's where his father died in 1866, following imprisonment during the war.  But the first verifiable record of G-Grandpa Alex being in Galveston is in 1884.

G-Grandpa Alex had various clerical and bookkeeping and sales jobs.  In 1884 he is listed as a Collector in the Rosenberg Bank in Galveston Texas city directory.  His wife's cousin Chauncey G. Sweet is listed with the same occupation, and their residence is listed as the same address at that time.  Many of my Swasey and Phillips and Sweet families apparently lived together around the corner from each other.

My grandmother, Ada Phillips Swasey Rogers (1886-1964) lived with her parents until her marriage to George Rogers in Galveston in 1905, a ceremony which was held in the Swasey home. She just had one sibling, a sister named Stella Zulieka Swasey Winslow (Aunt Jim) (1887-1960).

In 1907, G-Grandpa Alex and his wife, Zulieka Granger Phillips Swasey, (Dear Nan) moved to Houston TX  and he was a bookkeeper for Kirby Lumber. By 1910 he was listed as an accountant at that lumber company, with their home on Main Street.

They lived in an apartment called The Savoy in Houston in 1911, and he was a clerk for an oil company. They are listed in the Houston Directory at the same address until his death from heart failure in 1913.  His wife's cousin Chauncey Sweet took his remains back to Galveston to be buried.  Chauncey signed the death certificate Oct. 4, 1913, which lists his occupation as a salesman, to be buried on Oct. 5.

Unfortunately G-Uncle Chauncey was wrong about G-Grandpa Alex's mother. She was not named Tylstra, nor was she born in Tallahassee FL. The Florida part was true, but it was St. Augustine where she lived. And her name was misread when a "Z" looked like a "T" on a document.

Another repost about G-Grandpa Alex and the Swasey family.

Friday, March 2, 2018 EDITED

Alexander John Swasey

Was he known as Alex or John? I don't know for sure.


Birth MAY 20, 1853  Charleston, Charleston, South Carolina, 

Death OCT 4, 1913  Galveston, Texas

He was married to Zulieka Granger Phillips Swasey.  He was my grandmother Ada Phillips Swasey Rogers' father. 

He was a bookkeeper, and so was my grandfather, George Rogers. 

Alexander Swasey's mother was Anna J (Fanny Tylstra) Zylstra Swasey.  There was difficulty reading the census, and apparently even the family believed her name had been Fanny Tylstra.  But I saw the "Z" in longhand on a census report, and changed my Ancestry notation for her name, and found more of her family.  Unfortunately I've never found when or where she died.

She had lived in St. Augustine FL where her brother was the postmaster. (See this old post about them!) Alexander's father was Captain Alexander G. Swasey, a nautical man who spent most of the Civil War in prison in a fort in Boston Harbor.  He had been a blockade runner for a short time for the Confederacy.  He died shortly after the end of the war, when Alex John was just 12.

G-Grandpa Alex and G-Grandma "Dear Nan" lived in Houston until Alexander died in 1913.  His wife lived until 1935.  They are both buried in Lakeview Cemetery in Galveston TX

Tomorrow I'll introduce you to his sister, Marianne (Mamie) Swasey (1849-1883)

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Early Hill County Texas

The following was originally posted on Monday, March 2, 2015

Hill County Texas, the root country for Eugenia Witty Booth

I'll just share the photos I've found on line from Hill County, the area where lots of my roots were planted.

In Hill County Texas, there are several sites which factor into my ancestors' homes.
Hillsboro became the site of the Booth family home, but Woodbury was where the Witty's first settled and several are buried.

 Hill County.

Randle-Turner House, Itasca, Hill County, Texas

A later house in Hill County 

Laying of Corner Stone, City Hall Hillsboro, Texas

Hill County Courthouse, finished in 1890, rebuilt after an electrical fire in the 1990s with assistance from a concert by Willy Nelson (a Hill County native)

The Old Rock Saloon 1876, Hillsboro TX

WOODBURY, TEXAS. Woodbury is on Farm Road 309 twelve miles northwest of Hillsboro in north central Hill County. Anglo-American settlers began moving into the area about 1850, and the community was established in 1857, when Carrol Witty, William R. Nunn, and Rev. Thomas Newton McKee purchased property and offered it for sale. After the Civil War settlers began moving into the area. The first business, a dry goods store, opened in 1869. A general merchandise store opened the following year. A post office opened in Woodbury in 1871. In 1892 the town had a population of 200, two general stores, a drugstore, two blacksmith shops, and a steam-powered cotton gin and gristmill. By 1900 the school registered 114 students and employed three teachers. The town was bypassed by the rail lines, and by 1936 only 148 people and two business were in Woodbury. In 1946 it had forty people and one business. During the 1950s and 1960s the population was twenty. From the 1960s through 2000 the community reported a population of forty.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Susan E. Witty Moore (1856-1902)

And more about the Witty family, among many who were pioneers in Texas.

Originally posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Eugenia Witty Booth's youngest sister (Eugenia was my great great grandmother)

Susan E. Witty Moore was born Dec 28, 1856, in Marshall, Texas.  I believe by 1857 her father had started the Subdivision in Hill County that was to be named Woodbury, and in the cemetery many of the Witty family are buried, including Susan.  

By the 1860 census of the Witty family, she is listed (as of July 30 when the census was taken) as being four years old. There was one source (another census) which gave her age such that she would have been born in 1857, but I'm going with 1856 and have changed the Ancestry listing on my tree.

It is nice that the youngest of 9 children was named after her mother, Susan Hoke Witty.  

In the 1870 census her family says she is 13 (in agreement with having been born in 1856, because her birthday isn't until Dec. and the census was in July again...thus the question was answered, how old will she be in this year?

The wonderful census of 1900 tells how long people had been married, as well as listing their names and birthdates and the states in which they were born.

In 1877, Susan had married a farmer, James J. Moore, and they lived (in 1900) in Justice Precinct 2, Hill County, Texas with their 14 year old daughter, Edna.  James is listed as having been born in Alabama, as her parents were, though later records suggest he was born in Texas.  

Susan Witty Moore died Sept 10, 1902in Woodbury, Hill County, Texas, and has a nice big grave marker in the Old Woodbury Cemetery, where many other of the Witty family are buried.  

Susan E Witty Moore headstone
The "Texas Find A Grave" information gives this information about her:
Children: Edna Mae Moore (1885 - 1916)
Siblings: Martha E Witty Barnes (1846 - 1914) Mary Witty Hughes (1848 - 1876), Laura Dove Witty Patty (1854 - 1935)

Her daughter, Edna, died of tuberculosis in 1916, and her death certificate information was given by her father, J. J. Moore. So I know he lived until that year in June.  Unfortunately I am unable to find much information about James J. Moore.

She may have been only 46 when Susan E. Witty Moore died, but she outlived her sister, my great great grandmother who died at 23 in 1877.

In the 1880 census, Susan Witty Moore (actually 24, but listed as 20) was living with her parents in Hill County TX, as well as a niece, Freby Moore, age 21.  Susan Witty had married in 1877 to James Moore...but for some reason was living with her parents and using her maiden name.  And whoever Freby Moore was, the niece, she was born in Alabama.  Perhaps James' sister?   Susan and James Moore didn't have their daughter, Edna May More, until 1885.

But this Uncle James "J.J." Moore (b. 1856 Marshall TX) had a life which continued after his wife Susie died in 1902, and he remarried to have more children.  He also lived until 1932, and here's a great photo of him in his corn field in 1930.

Great times 3 Uncle James Joseph Moore 1854-1932