Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - July 28,2010

 John Crites is my GGGGGrandfather. He was born in Pennsylvania  on January 6, 1797.  The Crites Family including Jacob, John's father, became some of the earliest settlers in the Dover, Ohio area some time prior to the 1820 death of Jacob Crites.  John was the 10th child of 11 children born to Jacob and Elizabeth Crites. John was a very prominent farmer in Tuscarawas County, Ohio.  In his later years he became very good at working with wood.  He made and sold many fine pieces of furniture and cabinets.  He married Mary Walters on March 19, 1822. John and Mary would also have 10 children.  He died on September 6, 1859. He is buried in Crooked Run Cemetery with his father, Jacob, who is my relative which connects me to the DAR organization.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Trying to wrap my mind around it….

I just spent the last couple of hours watching the Deadliest Catch. It was the second to the last Episode for this season and a special show highlighting the life of Phil Harris. Watching TV is not unusual for most people but for me it is. I watch very little TV. An occasional “good” movie or a true story /Discovery channel or Learning channel program is about all I watch. I just can’t sit still that long not doing something…but I did tonight. I had seen an episode or two of the Deadliest Catch a few years back and I really liked it. Then we changed from satellite to cable trying to save some money after I got laid off and we did not seem to have it anymore on. But I did see bits and pieces of information about it on the internet and I had heard about Phil Harris.  He was the captain of the Cornelia Marie, a crab fishing vessel which operated out of the Bering Sea. He died on February 9, 2010 after having a stroke on January 29, 2010.

As I watched it tonight, there were a few things that I had trouble wrapping my mind around…He was born in 1956…I was born in 1955. He was younger than me. He was pretty hard on himself. He smoked a lot…I am so glad I conquered that habit. There was a time when I smoked too much too. Makes me wonder why some people can conquer it and others can not. It sounds like he had a lot of fun when he was young, so did I. One day I woke up and said, “We can’t do this anymore, it is going to kill me!” Well, it killed my first marriage but I got my act together in hopes that it was not too late for me. Why was my brain wire to make that connection? I have lost close friends from that time period who simply never woke up. Makes you wonder how people think and why. Is the brain prewired? Is it in your genes or the way you were raised or the life experiences you have?

I could not help but think of my Mom’s Dad, Andrew Anderson. Grandpa Anderson lost his Mom when he was eight years old too. His Dad, my Great Grandfather, Hans was a Norwegian fisherman who spend 8 months or more at sea. Hans fished the same sea that Captain Phil fished but more than 100 years before him. The ships were different, the tools of the trade were different but the sea was not. The sea was just as furious and deadly 100 years ago for a fisherman. I can not wrap my brain around having to face 30, 40 or 50 foot waves today in large steel highly powered fishing vessels. What must it have been like over 100 years ago?

When my Great Grandmother died Hans remarried soon after her death. I believe that it was very soon after she died. The youngest son, Hoakan was just three when she died. A fisherman can not work, no let’s make this very clear, he can not be a fisherman and take care of a three year old child much less two who are 6 and 8 years old. So he had to find someone who could care for his boys and he had to do it in a hurry. He did just that but for the two older boys, no one could replace their dear Mother. Two or three short years later, Andrew made a life altering decision. He left the relative safety of a warm home with food on the table and a warm bed and a woman who was not his mother and became a deck hand at 11 years old. He passed himself off as much older than he was and took to the ocean. Now imagine, an 11 years old boy working on a ship in the ocean 106 years ago. I simply can not wrap my mind around it!

How does a young boy at age 11 make such a decision?  Or did he make it and find that there was no turning back once he was in the middle of the ocean.  He must have liked it or after his first trip you would think that he would have just gone home.  Was his life so adversely changed with the death of his mother that he was compelled to make this decision?  I wish I could ask him these questions.

 Andrew never returned to his home land once he came to the US.  He had planned to but first it was a matter of money and children, eight of them to be exact.  Then when the children were all grown and gone, there was World War II and Norway was occupied by Germany.  Then shortly after the end of the War, Hans, Andrew's father died at the age of 87.  With the death of his father came the demise of Andrew's desire to retuen to Norway.  When anyone asked him why he never returned his reply was always the same, " Why would I go there, my home is here now."  What gives people the courage to make a life altering decisions like Andrew did?  I may never know....

(An update to the story to preserve it's accuracy.  I have learned through a relative that there are records to indicate that Grandfather did not leave Norway until after his school was completed in 1898.  That would have made hom 15 years old when he left Norwy. He is listed as a family member in the 1900 Census but his home is listed as London. Thanks Inger for the records!)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer heat and humidity....

It’s summer and it’s hot. The humidity is up and we are wishing for rain…but there does not seem to be any insight. So I am sitting in front of my computer. I have had quite a bit of contact in recent weeks with several other Smith researchers from Darke County. Was looking for information about…you guessed it…my Smith’s. Found a nice lady who works at the Garst Museum Library in Darke County. Her name is Nancy Stump. She has worked on researching the Smith families for her step-sister Pat for years. Pat descends from Joseph Smith who is the son of John Smith who is the son of William Smith. William Smith from Delaware, served in the Revolutionary War and was registered by someone to DAR. I really have been trying to find information about him for some time so this was a break through!

A researcher, named Nancy Stump, sent me a handful of documents about his family. Most of the document pertained to John Smith and his wife Laurana. John is the son of William Smith. There apparently was no will for William Smith. I am hoping she can find a will for Nancy, William's Wife. Am wondering if a trip to the National Achieves in Chicago might get me what I am looking for. 

Nancy sent me a petition presented to the Ohio Supreme Court by William Smith requesting compensation consideration from the government of the United States for time served in the Revolutionary War. William is 68 years old. He served in the 1st Delaware Regiment under Jonathan Caldwell and the 2nd Delaware Regiment. (did not state who the commander of this regiment was) He talks about a land certificate but the certificate number is not legible. He further state that he was a resident of the United Stated on the 18th day of March 1818. He state that he has not gifted, sale or disposed of the property granted to him. He goes on to describe what he currently owns and lists it as a schedule of property; One horse, one cow, two pots, one kettle, one chest . He further states that his occupation is as a farmer and that he is infirmed and unable to perform any work. He states that his wife Nancy lives with him and is about 67 years old and is not able to work either. William signed the document and the court certified that he presented it. It was sign by Eastin M. Clark. (Is what it looks like) The document is hand written and must be viewed with a magnifying glass…

Later looking on Ancestry.com, I was able to find a filing record # S40460 which states that there are 17 pages in the filed record. I hope that I can obtain them at the National Archive. I can not be sure if we are related to this man but I can not be sure that we are not either so…I continue to hunt.

Next I need to see when the National Archieve in Chicago is open and take time to visit it withe the information that I now have.  Happy family history hunting!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - July 20, 2010

It has been a busy summer so I got a bit off track but I will try to get going again. I have made new contacts with the Darke County Smiths so maybe we will get this untangled yet! I received this Photo from a fellow Smith researcher. It is of William Smith’s tombstone. She had taken this photo some time ago. When I visited Smith Cemetery in May of 2010, I did not see this tombstone. It may be broken off or hidden in tall grass along the fence line. I will look again when I return later this summer or in early fall. I now have many other graves that I will be looking for in this cemetery.

This is William Smith he died Dec 26, 1842. He is one of the three Smith brothers who came to the area in 1836. James Smith, his brother, died shortly after their arrival in 1836 and is the first person buried in this cemetery.

I find Catherine Smith at 78 years old  living with he daughter and  son-in-law, Elizabeth and Daniel Crawn in Japser County, Indiana in the 1850 Federal Census.  If my James Smith is related to this family, I think this would most likely be his parents.  I do not have the supporting documents to support this assumption so I continue to search.  I will be looking for a will for Catherine.This stone is Catharine's stone which from the Photo is hard to read.  I will verify that she is the same Catherine and should find that she died between the 1850 census and the 1860 census where I no longer find her.