Saturday, April 5, 2014

Preaching to the Enemy

Thomas Mann was the brother of my gg grandmother Sarah Mann Adams. He was born September 4, 1811 and lived in what is now Newport, North Carolina. At the time it was called Shepherdsville, which is an appropriate name for his story. He was listed as a Farmer and Turpentine Maker on the census records but made his reputation by being a Preacher.

In fact during the Civil War he preached to the Union troops who were occupying Carteret County and the locals didn't like that at all. He was taken prisoner by Confederate troops who thought he shouldn't be preaching to the enemy.

The Union troops retaliated, taking several hostages until Thomas Mann was released. He died sometime before 1870 and this memorial plaque was later placed in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Newport.







Saturday, March 29, 2014

Perfect Apples

My niece's husband grows apples and many other crops on a 4th generation family farm in Delaware. When we visited them last year he told us a little about how most apples are grown and then stored in warehouses for months. They only sell them fresh from his farm, which means they are better quality but they don't have them year round.


I'll have to ask him what he thinks about this article I found about my great uncle, Stephen Fulford, who lived in New Bern, North Carolina.


The Charlotte Democrat wrote about him on June 7, 1895, saying one of his trees was growing three perfect apples on the trunk, not on a branch. I've never grown apples and actually never had much luck with other fruit trees either. I tried to grow peaches when we lived in Jacksonville, Florida but my crops hardly ever had three peaches total! I'm glad to know my distant relatives had better luck.


Charlotte Democrat June 7, 1895

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kalmar Nyckel

My family, having lived on the coast of Florida and North Carolina for over 300 years, can claim a diverse maritime history. There are many ship captains, fishermen and boat builders in the family tree.


Kalmar Nyckel
It is my wife though who's mother grew up in dry, desolate Texas that has the 300 year old ocean crossing story that comes with a ship that you can still sail. 

Her grandmother's maiden name was Longacre. The first Longacre in her family arrived in the fall of 1639 aboard the Kalmar Nyckel.

Peter Andersson (Longacre) came with other Swedes to what they called New Sweden in the Delaware Valley.

The Kalmar Nyckel was a armed warship, converted into a merchant ship, that between 1637 and 1644 made four runs to the new county with Swedish immigrants.

A reproduction of the ship was built in 1995 and today from April to October you can find it at the home port in Wilmington, Delaware and go for a sail. It is also in Philadelphia during the summer on certain weekends. This will be on our list when we visit our daughter this summer.


Peter Andersson was born about 1620 and after coming to America went back to Sweden in 1654, married Gunnilla Andersson and brought her back the next year.

Peter died about 1678 and he was probably buried at the old Swedish log church at Wicaco, site of present day Gloria Dei church across from the Philadelphia harbor. It was built in 1700. The oldest part of the church cemetery was covered over to build raised platforms for I-95. They didn't move the old graves when the interstate was built over them but the State added these Swedish seals to mark the location.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Three Point Play

We're starting March Madness so I thought I needed  to add some basketball to this story.

Every couple months some distant relative contacts me about family history and I have to go pull out the paper files I've accumulated over 30 years to see if I have the answer. The oldest paper in my family folders are photocopies of Florida census records my wife made in 1982. They are those old style paper copies that feel like the print will rub off if you aren't careful. She worked at the State Library of Florida at the time and brought home things that she found about my family.

This week I was looking for proof that would help a distant relative gain membership into the Huguenot Society. His great great grandfather Mathew Calvin Blanchard was the brother of my great great grandmother Elizabeth Blanchard Hogan. The Blanchard family from Duplin County North Carolina settled there in the 1700s but had left France as part of the Protestant Reformation.
1839 Militia Minutes




He submitted an application to the Society but they rejected it for of lack of proof that Mathew Blanchard was the son of Benjamin Blanchard from Duplin County NC. Benjamin Blanchard died at the end of 1839 or beginning of 1840 so there is no census record with him as head of the house, listing his children. That wasn't done in the U.S. until 1850.


The 1840 census showed Holly Blanchard as the head of the house with the number and sex of the children and the 1850 census showed their names. So we had proof that Mathew and Elizabeth Blanchard were Holly's children but no proof from the Census that Benjamin Blanchard was their father. He was listed as the head of the house on the 1830 census but like the 1840 record it only showed the number of children and ages, no names. There is no record of a Will for Benjamin's estate which isn't unusual for that period.

1822 Deed
I knew I had some documentation but had to read through my files to find it.

What I found was a copy of the October 25,1839 minutes from the Duplin County NC Militia where Benjamin was excused from duty. It didn't say the reason, only that he had some affliction. I figure it was a serious illness since he died soon after this. This is why he was not on the 1840 census.


But what was even better was the February 22, 1832 Deed where Benjamin and Holly Blanchard sold a tract of land that Holly had received from her fathers' estate. This proved Holly was Benjamin's wife.


The third proof was a page from my great grandmother Rebecca Green's bible stating Holly Ezell Blanchard her grandmother.



Rebecca Green's Bible

Benjamin Blanchard was born about 1790 and died about 1840 in Duplin County North Carolina. Holly Ezell Blanchard was born May 31, 1797 and died in October 1884 in Taylor County Florida. I am not certain where either were buried but think Holly was buried in the New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery in Taylor County.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Death of an Old Lady

I came across the story last weekend of the fire on March 1, 2014 that destroyed the 130 year old Mentone Springs Hotel in Mentone, Alabama.
Mentone Springs Hotel -2006

We were there eight years ago on a Spring Break trip. It was a time to get out of town for a while, stay in a B&B and also do some genealogy research.

Mentone is close to Fort Payne, Alabama where the Cherokees were held in a prison camp before they were forced to walk the "Trail of Tears" to Oklahoma. My wife's Lawrence family had stories of Cherokee connections and being related to Cherokee Chief John Ross who lived in the area in the early 1800s. 

We didn't find anything new about her Lawrence family but did locate the graves of her 3rd Great Grandparents, Thomas and Judith Longacre from the Glenn side of her family. They died in Jackson County, Alabama about 20 miles north of Mentone in the mid 1800s and were buried on their farm.

Thomas and Judith Longacre
Their graves have since been surrounded by a community cemetery and we were probably the first family members to visit in over a hundred years.

Uncle Sam @ Mentone Springs Hotel
The Mentone Springs Hotel had a collection of antique quilts hanging on the walls, some attributed to the slaves who lived on plantations in the area.


My wife made a copy this "Uncle Sam" quilt just using the pictures we brought home and it is one of my favorites in her collection.


The hotel changed owners a couple times since we visited so hopefully the old quilts were not inside during the fire.

They are saying the fire was caused by old electrical wiring. We stayed there during a cold spring and I remember the only heat in the room was from the fireplace. It was a fun visit and we had planned to go back but I thought at the time a fireplace in guest rooms of an old wooden hotel wasn't a good idea.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sixty Four K

According to Google statistics the page views on this blog have now reached 64,000. That is almost the same number of people in the database I use for my genealogy research.


I started the database thirty years ago. It was originally on paper. It went digital with a computer that required a boot disk and had 256 K of memory.


I've used a lot of different software programs and a succession of newer and faster computers. It's now backed up to a cloud server so I can access it anywhere with a web browser.


The blog started in 2008 so it has gotten to 64 K much faster. My daughter who publishes books in Philly has signed several popular bloggers to big dollar book contracts. So far she hasn't offered me one and I'm not sure why. If she doesn't move soon I may end up with one of her competitors.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Box of Senators

My dad had this old Muriel Senators cigar box for many years that he kept mementos in. Many of the items were from his early days in the Army and Air Force.

One of the more interesting was a telegram he received 76 years ago today.


It is dated February 21, 1938 and was sent to him at the U.S. Army base, Randolph Field in San Antonio, Texas by the U.S. Senator from Florida, Claude Pepper.


He knew Claude Pepper from his days in Taylor County, Florida where my dad was born.

Pepper was born in Alabama in 1900 but moved to Perry, Florida in the 1920s after graduating from Harvard Law School. He opened a law practice and in 1936 was elected to the U.S. Senate. They were only 12 years apart in age but when he sent this telegram he and my dad were at opposite ends of influence.

My dad had been in the U.S. Army for only two years, while Pepper was near the height of his power. He was a close friend and ally of FDR and known as one of the most liberal members of Congress.

That came to hurt him a few years later when he was voted out of the Senate after his opponents accused him of being a Communist. Both he and my dad had the nickname "Red," for different reasons. Pepper made a comeback in 1963 and served in the US House of Representatives for 26 years.


Telegram from Senator Pepper
The telegram says Pepper had contacted Brigadier General James Chaney who at the time was the Assistant Chief of the U.S. Army Air Corps. My dad had called Pepper to ask his help so that he could stay in in the U.S Army Flight School. He had been told they were washing him out so he did what he could to try and stay in. It didn't work and the local Colonel introduced him to a shovel for going outside the chain of command.

Dad had learned to fly several years earlier. He had to drop out of college because he ran out of money. Starting college in 1930 was bad timing considering the depression that was just getting underway.


Daddy at Randolph Field 1938
He got a job delivering bread to grocery stores in Florida and met Harvey Dobbs, a competitor from another bread company. They became a life long friends. Harvey's father had a plane in Miami and took Daddy up several to teach him to fly. Trying to get into Flight School was one of the reasons he joined the U.S. Army in 1936. Again, timing worked against him as the standards for pilots in 1938 were very high since there were not many planes and those they had were WW I leftovers.

If he had been born a few years later when they were trying to fill the cockpits of all the new planes being built to send to WW II battle areas, he no doubt would have made it without any problem.