Butternut Ridge Cemetery

Butternut Ridge Cemetery
Butternut Ridge Cemetery First Burial 1821

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Year end Ramblings and Thoughts

Some yearend ramblings and thoughts:
 We have been working in the Olmsted Historical Society archives. The object is to prepare the archives for scanning. We now have scanning capabilities up to 11 X 17.  We have hundreds of old pictures, the main problem with a high percentage of them is no names for the people in them or the are marked with “Uncle Charley” or “Aunt Millie”. Please if you have family pictures mark the backs with the full names and dates if known. Pictures of houses show the location and date of the house street address, city and state. Talk with your grandparents about their memories, where possible record them so that your children or grandchildren can see them and hear them.  It might not seem important now but when you reach your “golden” years you probably feel different about it.

You know you are a history geek when you down load the digital book Plymouth Plantation. By William Bradford second Governor. And it gives you a fuzzy feeling because the translation is done in the original old English. Never saw so many ye’s. He was very much the leader in the puritan beliefs. At my age it is hard to wrap my brain around converting the book to modern English. In the book it talks about the 1599 Geneva version of the bible. During the reign and aftermath of Mary Queen of Scots, it was written by the Scholars that went in to exile in Switzerland rather than be killed.  Recognizing that the Geneva Bible and its notes were undermining the authority of the monarchy, King James I of England commissioned the "Authorized Version," commonly known as the King James Bible, as its replacement. The King James Version did not include any of the inflammatory footnotes, of course, but it also altered key translations to make them seem more favorable to episcopal and monarchial forms of government. But the people were not fooled. The Pilgrims and Puritans preferred the Geneva Bible over the King James Bible, not trusting the king's purported good faith. The pilgrims left England and fled to Holland they were not accepted very well and had to learn a new language.  The Geneva Bible was brought over on the Mayflower, and it is not an exaggeration to say that the Geneva translation and footnotes were the biblical foundation for the American Republic. The Geneva bible was still the largest selling bible for more than forty years after the King James Version. The Massachusetts Historical Society found the original manuscript in in Fulham England. This is the note of proof was found with the document.
“This book was rit by goefner William Bradford, and gifen to his son mager William Bradford and by him to his son mager John Bradford, rit by me”
Samuel Bradford

Mach 20, 1705 

My primary genealogy program is Ancestry.com.  The made a new face for it this spring. It is much easier to work with.  Ancestry has a couple of pitfalls, I shut off recommendations from others family trees.  Also don’t use Family Data Collections, they are computer compilations of public family trees do not meet Genealogical Proof Standards.  GPS recognizes government documents and family bible entries. I also use familysearch.org it is a good one to work with and the best thing it is free. They do ask you to set up an account that is the only thing they need they leave you alone after that. There are many early family history books available for free on line Google books and Archive.org has most books published before 1915 available in PDF form. We have over 50 Genealogy digital books in the OHS archives. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Wife of D.J. Stearns

Working in cemeteries for the past few years, we have noticed that the headstones it lists the husband and then "Polly wife of D.J. Stearns". Ever wonder who this wife and mother were?  

In this bicentennial year much has been written about the Stearns family and David Johnson Stearns, but who was Mary “Polly” Barnum Stearns.

Polly was the daughter of Captain John and Sally Parish Barnum of Ridgeville Ohio. John received his commission in the Revolutionary War. She had six siblings; Zenus, Heman, Sally, Betsy, Henry F, John. 
The Barnum family descends from the Old English aristocracy. The name has been spelled: Barnam; Barnham; Burnham; Burnam in the early English History.  
“Thomas Barnam, Immigrant ancestor was one of the first eight settlers of the town of Danbury Connecticut.”1

The name of Thomas’s first wife is unknown, second he married Sarah Thompson Hurd. They had seven children. The two that we are noting are First Thomas II the great grandfather of, Phineas Taylor (PT) Barnum, and Second Ebenezer Sr.  Ebenezer was born in 1862 in Danbury Connecticut and married Abigail Skeels in 1710. They had six children. The oldest of them was Ebenezer II who married Elizabeth Skiffe and are the parents of Captain John Barnum.

In the Stearns and the Barnum families there are many members that have served in the military and public service to build this country.

Happy Bicentennial North Olmsted

1Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut  

William Richard Cutter A.M Editor

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Grandma Thompson and the Silver Spoons

First we start out with Clara Fitch Snow ,the daughter of James White and Lucretia Stearns Fitch. Clara was born in 1856 and died in 1949.  She has three of the first families in her tree.  She did something invaluable for our history. She wrote a letter when she was about 70 years telling her grandchildren of their heritage.  The story about grandma’s spoons was part of the story. The Clara Snow letter is in the Olmsted Historical Society archives.

The Thompson Family
      “Jonathan Thompson Jr. the son of Jonathan and Jemima Baxter Thompson.  Thompson was born Jan. 8, 1768. He married Priscilla daughter of Betsey Sears,(I do not know her father’s Christian name,)  “  Skip

“ Before her marriage, Grandma Thompson worked for twelve weeks and earned twelve silver dollars. She gave six of these to a jeweler to pay him to make six spoons from the other six. Some of these spoons are still in the possession of some of her descendants.”
“When she was seventy-eight a great-grandchild was born who was named Priscilla Stearns Fitch. The Christian names were in honor of her grandmother who had died a few months before, and was Grandma Thompson’s daughter. It was March a south wind was fast melting the winter snow.  Vespasian Stearns, the little Priscilla’s grandfather, was going was going to give her a sheep for her name.  Great-Grandma reasoned thus; the best way to take that sheep over is on a sled. Pash will probably go over in the morning before the snow is gone.  It is a good sigh to have the first present of silver. “I must get there with one of my spoons before he gets there with his sheep”.  Now Great-Grandma Thompson lived about five minute walk from Grandpa Stearns’. To go by the road she must pass his house.  It was a long mile and a half to the little baby’s home.  She rose early and walked through the woodsin the slush so that he should not see her and insist on her riding.  There was a creek which she could ordinarily cross on a fallen log.  The creek was now swollen by the spring freshet that the log had been washed away.
Nothing daunted, she found a long pole and selecting a narrow place, vaulted over the swiftly flowing current and proceeded on her way.  She reached the baby’s home with wet feet, skirts drabbled to the knees, and very much out of breath.  Throwing the spoon, which she had earned before her marriage, into the baby’s cradle she said “There, I did get here before Pash did anyway.”  Grandpa Stearns arrived soon after with the sheep.  Of course they rode home together, after Grandma’s clothes were dry.

Ed Note: Priscilla Sears parents were William and Betsey Wood Sears.

Ed Note:  Grandma Thompson lived east of the School.  Pash lived north of the school, and James W Fitch live about 1 mile south on Fitch Rd.

Today a friend of OHS, Jeff Blazak who does historical treasure hunting did a part search of the Thompson house property in areas that had a high potential of finding things.  He came in with what he had found so far. The surprising item was a coin silver spoon with the date of 1832 on it. It lends a bit of credence to the above

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Amazing "Pop" Adam W Wershing

Adam Wershing was born on Spencer Rd. (Now W 220th St) in what was then Rockport. He was born in 1875 and died in North Olmsted in 1968.  As a young boy he read a book on the art of dowsing or divining for water. He soon found he had this ability. From that time, until his death, he located many wells in this area.  His ability to find water had about a 90% accuracy rate. Many articles were written about his abilities. Most notably a front page article in the Wall Street Journal. He was also on a half-hour television program demonstrating his ability. Get a peach branch crotch and see if you can do it. 

My parents were friends of the  Roy A. Wershing family. My brother and Adam's grandson, Roy E. "Scotty" Wershing were friends. I use to see Pop driving around North Olmsted in his Model A Ford in the 1950 and 60"s. He was the building inspector for North Olmsted for about twelve years. Scotty was a well driller and his grandfather taught him the art of divining rod. As kids he would let us try our hands at it. We would walk across a known well with a peach crotch, we cut ourselves, held as he showed us. Never worked for me except when he placed his hands on mine and the pointer dropped, no matter how hard I tried to keep it from going down.        

This is Pop in 1961. 

Article about his 90th birthday

The birthday article is from the Post Herald 9 December 1965.  The article and picture are from Archives of the Olmsted Historical Society 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Quick Road Story

In 1816 David J Stearns and Calvin Greer built a road between their two houses It basically followed old Indian trails.  First from the Greer house it followed the river down to the first ridge that went west. At the same time Stearns started at his house in the top of that ridge toward the river. If you go by the oral history they met up with each other at end of that day.  That section on top of the ridge was called Butternut Ridge road it was later continued  on by other settlers all the way to Elyria. When Ashur Miller Coe Sr. came to settle in what was Dover Township at the time. He went to church that was on bend of Butternut Ridge road.  So Mr. Coe made a road from his house to the church.  That road was called Coe Ridge Rd. Understand that at this time the roads wide enough for a buggy or ox cart. Greer's road continued to follow the edge of the valley. It then turned south and went to Mr. Coe's House over the years it was called, on the south end, Coe Road or Bush Road at various times. At the intersection of Coe Ridge and Butternut was a path that went toward Dover This became Porter Rd as on the northern part of the road lived the Porter families,  Stearns and Fitch roads came about in the same way. In about he 1890's Lorain Road in Cleveland, which was the main road to the Central Market, became the Lorain Rd as we know it now. It replaced Coe Ridge Road and the western part of Butternut Ridge Rd in Cuyahoga County. In Lorain county it is still called Butternut Ridge Rd. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Ox Cart Library did its Job

Here is a excerpt from Book II of the History of the Fitch Family Pages 183 -188 Proof that you can do it.

"GEORGE KENYON FITCH (1802 - 1869) second son of Sanford  Fitch, was born in Fredonia, Chatauqua County, New York, March 2, 1826 and spent his early years on his father's farm at Olmsted Ohio.  His schooling during this period of his life comprised of about three months each winter and summer, in the District School.  The Olmsted Library was a mine of wealth for young George, whose thought before he had reached the age of ten turned to books.  A considerable part of his education was thus gained from the Olmsted Library, and he often said that up to the age of seventeen, he had read more books than he ever found  time to read  in all of the subsequent years  of his busy life. the Library contained the Life of Benjamin Franklin , who became the ideal of the boy, who soon resolved to be a printer.   With the consent of his parents he was taken on as an apprentice in the office of the Ohio Atlas of Elyria, where he served for eighteen months, finishing his apprenticeship in the office of the Daily Herald of Cleveland.  in this office, under the guidance  of the editor, Josiah Harris, he laid the foundation of his future career as a journalist. "

This is the book display an the North Olmsted branch of CCPL It is really beautiful  display and mural. They have a handout with the list of books in it. This was an amazing collection of books to be in the wilds of Olmsted during the mid 1800's

After a couple of other moves and trips, including a  trip across the Isthmus of Panama, he arrived in San Francisco California in 1849 at the age of twenty-three. That was the start of a very notable journalistic carrier.  He built a very successful publishing carrier of 45 years before he retired.

" He was known as editor of the Bulletin in the columns of which he expressed himself on current topics for nearly thirty-five.  In politics, his support was always thrown to the side of good government, and as he never compromised his independence by personally participating in party affairs, in the course of time his counsel came to exercise powerful influence upon the action of all political organizations.  In San Francisco for many years no party could succeed if opposed by the Bulletin."

" Under Fitch's management, the Bulletin supported the Union and President Lincoln during the Rebellion, and on the eve of the war, was vigilant in discouraging any manifestation of Southern men favoring secession."

During these eventful years, two great monuments were erected to the fame of Mr. Fitch as a journalist.  It was chiefly through the Bulletin's influence that one thousand acres of Pueblo lands were set apart for the preserve known as the Golden Gate Park, and to the same paper, may be given the principal credit for the defeat of what was known about 1859 - 1860 as the "Bulkhead Scheme."   This was a proposition to grant by Legislative Charter, the control of the water front of San Francisco , to a private corporation."  He founded or bought over ten news publications.

All of this started with his visits to our Ox Cart Library. It is amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.
This Information comes from the Archives of the Olmsted Historical Society and the NOPL

More pictures of the display:

Monday, October 12, 2015

SITES and Butternut Ridge Cemetery

At the Landmarks tour I asked Jeff Zullo send me information on the S.I.T.E.S program. at the end of his answer I will tell you how it relates:

Here is that synopsis of the SITES Program that we talked about yesterday:

SITES stands for Social Involvement Through Education and Service, and it is a senior level elective program that offers an alternative to the traditional school day.  SITES includes senior level English, History, and an elective credit of service-learning.  SITES offers a differentiated approach to learning, offering an environment of mixed learning between Honors and Generals.

SITES is blocked three periods a day.  Three days a week, students attend class to engage in a multi-disciplinary approach to learning.  Two days a week, students are released from class, and they go into the community and perform their service learning.  What makes this concept even more unusual and fulfilling is its structured learning component.  The students participate in reflective seminars, offer oral presentations, conduct research, write papers, and read selected materials and literature that focus on the universal themes of man in his social context and the specific study of contemporary global and social issues.  This, in turn, affords the students the opportunity to integrate their community experiences into their English and Social Studies curricula.

This Program has created a link or "bridge" between the school and the community and places the students and the city of North Olmsted itself in both resource and beneficiary roles.  Data indicates that young people who perform voluntary service within an educational framework gain heightened self-esteem, sensitivity to others, social responsibility, civic participation, and "real world" experience.  Conversely, the young, elderly, ill, disadvantaged, and handicapped of North Olmsted and surrounding communities benefit from the thousands of hours of service the SITES Program provides to the area each year.

When I first started working on Butternut Ridge Cemetery to digitize the records I kept hearing about a SITES student the city had ,the previous year, that had been working with them on a study of the two city owned cemeteries. The students name was Phil Tomko.  He did a lot of work with and for the Cemetery Committee that was appointed by the city.  My coming to the city as a volunteer fell right into place with part of what was planned. Jeff did a lot of ground work on getting Butternut and Coe cemeteries preserved. At about the same time, I joined the Olmsted Historical Society who, I found out later, had a Cemetery fund started. OHS has been getting more donations to help preserve the cemeteries and we now have an active committee. This is also when Sandi's project was started to have a spokes person for the cemeteries. She represents all the little children in our cemeteries.  I still am working on the cemetery database it is a much bigger project than we ever thought. 

If anyone ever wonders about the good that the SITES Program does you can point to what Phil Tomko started.   At Frostville we have always appreciated what has been done for us.



John Ames Hearse and the Barn

Some times you get a good feeling and more respect for the volunteers at Frostville Museum. Earlier this summer the hearse barn was moved to its new home along side the church.  The guys (Bill , Bob, Larry and Jim) from the workshop started in to make a silk purse out of a sows ear.  The barn had been used for many years as a garden and storage shed. I was quite beat up it also sat a little crooked thanks to the groundhogs. Bees built a nest on it and mice moved into some of the cabinet drawers.  The building was straightened and braced inside to bring it back to a sound structure. It now has a full foundation under it so the groundhogs can't undermine it again. The outside holes and gaps filled, repainted and all the new interior bracing lumber was stained so that it matched the old wood.

It will now last another 175 years. 

The barn was originally at the end of the east drive in Butternut Ridge Cemetery. It was built by John Ames in about 1830. It  is of Post and Beam construction with wide vertical board siding and smaller joint lap boards. Picture below from about 1920

The hearse was dug out of the display barn They ended up taking the front bumper off the pumper fire truck to extricate it from the building. It was taken to the workshop for some of Bills magic.  He cleaned it up with 409 and washed the windows inside (fearing someone would come up and lock him in) and out. He repaired a couple of the floorboards. It was then wiped down with linseed oil. The finish on it we believe is original. 

The sign on the front of the hearse reads as follows:

The following was written by L. M Ames Grandson of John Ames

The body of the hearse was built by John Ames a carpenter and cabinet maker who lived oat the east end of Butternut Ridge Cemetery. It was a community hearse. John Ames was the only undertaker of that time making all coffins by hand on order after the death occurred.  They were made of walnut, cherry or whitewood.   Prices ranged from two to ten dollars, The order for a coffin was a coffin stick the length of the body with a notch cut for the width of the shoulders as the coffins had bent sides and a narrow at foot. As he would often be away all week, when he came home Saturday night he would find a coffin stick behind the door and would work all Saturday night so they could have a funeral on Sunday. I heard my Grandmother say at one time there was a coffin stick waiting nine successive Saturday nights.  The bier was used to support the body during the funeral to carry it from house to hearse and the hearse to the grave as most coffins of that date had no handles. About 1850 there was a $2.00 service charge for laying out, and for use of a horse to haul the hearse Mr. Ames charged  75 cents per day for his labor
OHS had a been given couple of old headstones, that had been replaced by new ones at Butternut. We hung tools on the walls that would be used during that period. 


To top it off Bill made a replica wooden coffin for the inside.

Priscilla Sears Thompson born Rochester Mass September 21 1771 died Olmsted Ohio February 11 1859.  Known by every one as Grandma Thompson

Here is an excerpt from the Snow letter to her grandchildren.  The letter is in the OHS archives:
One day in the autumn after Grandma Thompsons eighty seventh birthday, she stopped at Uncle Daniels on the way to John Ames’s.  Uncle Daniel lived about half way between Mr. Ames and Grandma’s home and a good half mile from either.  He wanted her to let him hitch up a horse and let him take her there, but she insisted upon going afoot and alone. A few weeks later, she again stopped at his home on her way to the same place.  This time she was prevailed upon to drive his horse but still insisted upon going alone. 

In February she was taken sick and no one realized better than she that the end was near.  Two granddaughters waited on her the last night.  After repeated suggestions that she go to bed, she said “I won’t go to bed.  I have never turned my back to an enemy in my life, and I will meet death face to face.” Next day, she sat up in bed supported by one of her sons, “Alden” she said, “would you be scart if I should die here in your arms”? “No, Mother. He said.  “Alright then.“ She said.
Then she requested Rev Dimick who was present to lead a prayer, after which she asked all to sing “Rock of Ages”, and, with her feeble voice, she joined in  the entire hymn.  “Now lay me down” She said.

Uncle Alden gently laid her back on the pillow. She folded her arms acrossher breast and fell asleep
John Ames was the local undertaker and maker of burial cases. He did not keep a supply on hand but he made them to measure as they were wanted.  After Grandma died they sent for him to come and measure her for a coffin.  He said “Her coffin is made She came down here last fall and ordered it and gave directions as to how it should be made --- not too small, and with a down pillow  --- She came again when it was done and lay down in it to see if it was the right size, She pronounced it satisfactory and paid for it”

They found her burial clothes, made by her own hands, and laid away for the final need.
At the time of her death she had 110 living descendants. Some still lived in Olmsted

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Mystery of Rienzi Austin

Rienzi Willard Austin was born on the 28th day of April 1841 in Dover, Cuyahoga, Ohio.  He was a son of Nathaniel H. Austin and Luciena Coe Austin. Luciena is the daughter of Ashur Miller Coe. Rienzi married Matilda Glendenning on the 4th day of April 1868.  Rienzi and his older brother, Bertrand Coe Austin, both served in the Civil war. Bertrand died from his war wounds in April of 1863.  Rienze named his son after his older brother. Rienzi died 4 November 1887 and is buried in Coe Ridge Cemetery

This gives you some of the genealogy of Rienzi now for the Mystery.

We have been sorting and scanning the archives of Olmsted Historical Society in Frostville. In an 1800's scrapbook was the following:

"Andrew M. Higgins the alleged murderer of his brother-in-law Rienzi Austin, was released today from the county jail Tuesday on $5,000 bail. His wife, George E Higgins, his brother, and John Hill of Willoughby signed his bond."   

There is no modern day Death certificate to get information from or any records from any of the online sources to find out what happened. It is back to looking through old newspapers on microfilm at the Fairview Branch of the CCPL. I will add to this post as things are found or not found.

My first 2 hours in the library yielded the following article from the November 5 1887 issue of the Cleveland Press.


   A telegraphic message was received at The Press office late Friday afternoon stating that the wound received by Dan Austin at the hands of his brother-in-law Murray Higgins at Dover, Thursday night had proved to be a fatal one, and that Austin had passed away.  The wound was in the right side of the abdomen, about two and one half inches long and penetrated Austin's stomach ,causing an internal hemorrhage, and death.
   Further partiularsof the tragedy learned were as follows: Higgins had been to Olmsted Falls for some doors and cement to be used in a house which he was building.  When he returned it was nearly 12 o'clock and he found his wife gone.  He was somewhat under the influence of liquor, and his wife's absence angered him.  When she returned he followed her into her room and began to threaten her and held a knife over her head.  She became frightened and ran out of her room and out of her room and out of the house followed by her husband, closly followed by Higgins, who soon overtook her and threw her to the ground,  her cries attracted the attention of both her brothers. Edward and Dan, who rushed to her help, then it was that the stabbing occurred . Austin was a man 48 years of age and leaves a wife and 3 children. Higgins is a year his senior. After Austins death Higgins was arrested and placed in a room in the hotel under guard. The funeral will be held at 1 o'clock Sunday afternoon."

Even in the early days the press messed up names. these are the same people Dan is Rienzi and Edward is his brother Edwin. I just found out that Rienzi did go by Daniel and Charles M Went by Murray. Don't these people like their given names!

This has turned into a Genealogist's nightmare. Here is what we have figured out so far:

Rienzi's sister Clarissa Imogene Austin for some reason started using the name "Jennie" She first married William Crawford in October of 1868 and had two children. In 1880 Jennie Crawford married Andrew Murray Higgins who went by Murray most of the time. In the 1880 Census we find Jenny,  Murray and the Crawford children in Wickliffe Ohio.  We still have not found the disposition of the case but, we do know that Murray died in 1916 in Lake County Ohio. Jennie died in North Olmsted in April of 1906 and is buried in Coe Ridge Cemetery with the 2 Crawford children Clvie died at 18yrs and Leon lived to be 80 yrs. 

We will still be searching the Press for comments on the case, now looking in December of 1887. Fairview Park CCPL has new computerized readers for their microfilm records Took a while to get familiar with them but they are "neat" you can print to Thumb drive. 

Murray and  Jennie

I tried something different today and started looking at the Plain Dealer. I started with November 5 and found a big article on the killing:
Cleveland Plain Dealer Pg. 1 Nov 5 1887


Daniel Austin of Dover Killed by His Brother-In-Law

While attempting to shield his sister from her husband’s Murderous Assault --- A Terrible Ending of a Drunken Spree --- The life of a Good Man Taken

A good man of Dover township yielded up his life yesterday to save his sister from the murderous hand of her frenzied husband.  A drunken spree ended in blood and gloom, and desolation was cast over a household which but a few hours before was a bright and happy home.  Murray Higgins, who lives on the Coe ridge in Dover township, plunged a knife deep in the bowels of his Brother-In-Law, Daniel Austin an old and highly respected farmer of that place.  Higgins would have killed his wife had not her brother, Mr. Austin, sacrificed his own for her sake.  They lived together on the Coe ridge, about 3 miles east of Dover Center.  Higgins rented a house from Mr. Austin and worked for his victim’s brother, E. M. Austin, for whoom he was building a home nearby. The families were thus close together and    


until the calamity which suddenly cast sorrow not alone over the family but over the entire neighborhood. Higgins was a good-hearted man and was well liked when he was sober, but he had a very bad habit of getting on a spree occasionally, when his disposition would be entirely different. His last spree had a terrible termination.

Higgins drove to Olmsted Falls Thursday night for some doors and cement for the house he was building for E. M. Austin.  After he had been gone for a short time Daniel Austin proposed that they all go to an oyster supper that was served at Odell Stern’s about 2 miles away.  Accordingly a team was harnessed up and the two Messrs.’ Austin and their wives prepared to go, Daniel Austin thought of his sister and of her being alone that evening, and he asked her to go with them, which she readily consented to do. The whole made


and they had a happy time, returning about 12 o’clock, Higgins had arrived a short time before.  He was intoxicated.  He found his wife away and did not like it.  The man considered the he should also have been asked to go, and he became angry.  The more he thought about it the madder he got.  The liquor he had drank made a demon of him. It spurred him on, so that when his wife reached home he was like a madman.  He upbraided her for going away to enjoy herself and not asking him to go, too.  He became excited and her pleadings and entreaties only tended to make him worse. He completely lost control of himself.  He was a perfect madman and rushed upon his wife with the


He was determined to kill her.  He grabbed her and doubtless would have ended her existence, but she broke away from him and ran screaming at the top of her voice along a well beaten path to her brother’s home.  The brother and his wife were sitting before the cheerful fire talking of the pleasures of the evening when the piercing and pleading cries of the sister rang out in the midnight air.  Mr. Austin jumped to his feet and rushed to the door. The other brother was on his way home when sister cried for help, and he too rushed to her assistance.  When Mrs. Higgins broke away from her infuriated husband and ran for her life, he followed, flourishing his open jackknife in the air and threatening to have her hearts blood. Mrs. Higgins ran as fast as she would, but was soon overtaken and knocked to the ground. Her screams were pitiful and froze the blood in the veins of her brothers. E. M. Austin stopped before he reached the prostrate form of his sister.  He saw something in his brother-in-law’s hand which he thought was a revolver. He attracted th attention of man for a moment but Daniel came rushing up and grabbed for the man’s throat and shook him off, but the knife which had been flourished over his sister’s head was buried in Daniel’s bowels making


Mr. Austin did not cry out with pain and his brother did not know what happened.  “I’ll get my gun and shoot you if you don’t let that woman alone,” said he to Higgins “No you won’t Dan” said his brother. “Yes I will, too.”  But Higgins fury seemed to have been spent and he returned home. The two brothers and their sister went toward the other home.


the brother and sister were shocked to hear it.  Mr. Austin began to grow weak. He was led home and put upon a bed in the front room.  Dr. Lathrop of Dover Center was immediately summoned.  He found an ugly wound two inches and a half long on the right side of the abdomen near the navel.  The blade of the knife had pierced the stomach.  The injured man suffered terribly but was put under the influence of anesthetica.  There was internal hemorrhage and the doctor could see that there was very little chance for his patient’s life.  Dr. Allen and Dr. Hobson were called and the three physicians held a consultation, but it was all in vain. The man’s life was fast ebbing away.  He had been a warm-hearted man all his life.  He had been a kind son, husband and father.  His aged mother, his beloved wife and children and his brother and sister gathered around his bedside and his bark sailed peacefully out upon the unknown sea. 
Before he died the injured man, with no enmity in his heart toward the man who had killed him, in the spirit of
said in his feeble voice: “Don’t punish him,  he wouldn’t have done it if he had been sober.” The man who thus gave up his life that his sister might live was an honest, whole-souled farmer, who was always happy in doing good for others.  He lived in the same place all his life, where his father lived and died.  He had a pleasant home, a neat white house a story and a half high. His aged mother lived with him, but the terrible calamity which has befallen her son will undoubtedly hasten her steps toward the grave. There are three children Burt, aged 18; Mary, aged 10 and Len who is a little over 3 years old.  He was about 48 years old, tall and powerfully built.  He served his country years during the war in company E of Garfield’s Regiment.
is a year or two older than his victim.  He formerly kept a saloon in Willoughby, but he went to Dover several months ago and has worked at his trade as a carpenter since then.  Mrs. Higgins is his second wife and he is her second husband.  They have been married about seven years.  One child from his first wife died a short time ago, and recently the only child of the present union, a boy 4 years old, was taken away.  Higgins felt this loss deeply and some of the neighbors say: he has not acted like himself since. Higgins was arrested about 9 o’clock in the morning and taken in front of Justice Guyler who released him on $500 bail.  When Mr. Austin died, however, he was
He pleaded guilty to the justice and was bound over to the common pleas court.  The man was kept under guard at the tavern in Dover last night and will be brought in to the county jail this morning.  His wife, faithful even under such circumstances remained with her husband last night at the tavern.  The man is deeply grieved at the fearful thing he has done.  The family seems to pity rather than to blame him, and not a word of reproach was uttered against him.  “Murray is very sorry, indeed,” said Mr. Austin and when the subject of allowing him to remain at the hotel all night instead of prison was broached he said: “Why the man wouldn’t go away.  They could leave him alone and he would remain and take the consequences.  The murdered man had many friends throughout this county.  He was a relative of County Surveyor Varney and of Mr. L. D. Benedict of the probate office.  Undertaker James Pease was called to prepare the remains for burial.  The funeral will be held tomorrow afternoon at 1 o’clock  
 I made a trip to the Cuyahoga County Archives on Franklin Blvd. They have the Court of Common Pleas records.  Here is what I found so far. On the 30th day of November 1887 the Jurors of the County Grand Jury issued a Bill of Indictment for Andrew M Higgins for Murder in the Second Degree.   On the 13th day of December he was formally indicted in the Court of Common Pleas and released on a bond of $5000.  We find him again on the 27 day of December 1887 and his trial set for the first session of the court in 1888.  The county records do not show outcome of the trials so we are back to the Plain Dealer starting in January of 1888. 

To use Paul Harvey's  line " and here's the rest of the story"  February of 1888 Andrew M Higgins pled guilty to 1st degree Manslaughter and was sntenced to a maximum of 10 years in the Penitentiary He was divorced and living in Willoughby as a farmer in the 1900 Census.  He died on the 16th of March 1916 in Willoughby Lake County Ohio. We do not know where he is buried

Clarissa Imogene Austin died on the 23rd of April 1906 in North Olmsted and is buried in Coe Ridge Cemetery as Jennie Crawford (her First Husband) We do not know where he is buried, Their Sons Cluie (Died Young) And Leon and wife Harriet along with "Little Murray" Andrew's son that lived for only 4 years, and died a month before Andrew stabbed Renzie. 

I guess we found most of it.                 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Mayflower interred in Butternut Ridge Cemetery

       To follow up on my first Mayflower post about Cynthia Fitch Adams, this one is on Priscilla Sears Thompson. The Thompsons lived on Butternut Ridge Road. We have already posted about them. Now we will trace Priscilla Sears or Sares as it was sometimes listed. I had traced her back to Plymouth already I just needed some additional background on the family. It was off to Fairview Park branch of CCPL. They have an awesome collection of New England and Mayflower/Plymouth Colony Research books. Plus research materials on everything else pertaining to Genealogical/Historical research. The staff there is very helpful. 

     Now to the rest of the story. Priscilla was born on 31 September 1771 in Rochester  MA , the oldest daughter of William and Betsey Wood Sears.  Betsey was the second wife of William and bore him three of his seven children 
Priscilla died on the 11th of February 1859 and is buried in Butternut Ridge Cemetery

William Sears was born in Rochester  MA on the 14th of January 1726 second of the seven children of Paul Jr. and Charity Whittredge Sears. William first married Patience Parker in 1753 they had four children She died in 1768. He then married Betsey Wood in 1770. William died in Windham VT in about 1790.  Paul Sears Jr. was born on the 21st of September 1695 in Yarmouth  MA second of the twelve children of Paul and Mercy Freeman Sears. He married Charity in 1721 in Yarmouth. Paul Jr. died in Rochester  MA in 1770. We will now follow the lineage of Mercy Freeman.

Mercy Freeman was born in Eastham MA on the 30th of October 1655. Mercy was the oldest of the ten children of Deacon Thomas and Rebecca Sparrow Freeman. Mercy married Paul Sears in 1693 She died in 1747 in Brewster  MA. Deacon Thomas was the first Deacon of the church in Harwich  MA  He was very involved in Plymouth government. Thomas was the oldest of nine children born to Major John and Mercy Prence Freeman Thomas was born on the 16th of September 1653 in Eastham MA. Thomas married Rebecca in 1673 Thomas died in 1715 in Eastham MA We will now follow Mercy Prence.

Mercy Prence was born in Plymouth MA in 1631 the third of four children of Gov. Thomas and Patience Brewster Pence. Mercy and Maj. John were married in Eastham MA in 1649. They had eleven children. Mercy died in 1711 in Eastham MA 

Patience Brewster was a daughter of Elder William and Mary Wentworth Brewster Elder Brewster was the religious leader of the Plymouth Colonies. He arrived on the first Mayflower landing


Thursday, August 27, 2015

A warm and fuzzy feeling

This is not the reason I do what I do, but it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when I get an email like this:
This is a post I posted on three different Find A Grave Facebook pages, I wanted to send this to you and personally thank you Gary Porter if it wasn't for you and your knowledge of the cemetery this might not have ever happened for me, I received my Deed for the grave today which will allow me to buried with the Todd family, Thank You Again Gary.
The Daley Family - is there a graph of their graves or a layout of their graves you might have for them - 4 family members Louise, Hezekiah and 2 children.
This is the post:
I have been doing this for a short time. I find it to be a wonderful way to learn not just my family but all the history behind it, 
nothing different than anyone else right, but I learned this that I thought I would pass along to you, learning of my great grandparents and the time they lived in the family after someone passed-away they would buy a burial plot large enough for the whole family, you just never knew who or when someone would pass,
but not everyone was buried there because one would get married and move on to other places, my point being is most plots were for a family of let's say 6, and lets say 5 were buried there leaving 1 empty grave, 
it just so happen my mother had the original deed of the plot of 6 graves, my mother already had a plot for her and my father in another cemetery so I had my mother claim the empty grave for me seeing she was the last of the family line before it falls on me and my siblings, but it's my mom who had to claim it because of course she is still alive, 
So me and my mom hand delivered a certified letter and any info of the family line to the city in which the grave was located asking for it to be claimed/transferred to me, 
Yes it's nice it was free and a families right to have, but more to me, comforting knowing I'll be buried with my 2x Great Grandparents and 2x great Uncle and Aunts in a historical cemetery is so cool, 
I'm sure others out there have the same situation, claim those empty graves and be interned there, be with the family and show the connection you have with them, 
 The deed is not necessary as long as you prove who you are, it's you as a family has that right I just wasn't sure if anyone else thought of or has done this, I hope I helped in any way to enlighten someone to look into their family to help claim any empty graves they might have.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Trials of a Pioneer

Some of the most interesting stories are found in unusual places. Like the August 3, 1882 Berea Advertiser Obituary of John Adams Jr.  John Jr. was a son of John and Cynthia Fitch Adams.  His parents were the subject of an earlier blog post as Cynthia was a direct descendant of Gov. William Bradford of the Plymouth Colonies.
 Here is the obituary:           
        OBITUARY. In the death of Mr. John ADAMS which occurred on the 15th of June, at West View, another of that little band of pioneers that settled northern Ohio has passed away. Another one of the Adams brothers is gone, only one of that family of seven --- who so narrowly escaped from the waters of Lake Erie in 1810 --- Ransom Adams of Olmsted Falls, now remains to tell of that terrible ordeal; and of the hardships and privations of pioneer life of that family.

       John ADAMS was born in Waterbury, Conn., Aug 19, 1799, and in 1810 his father John ADAMS Sen., emigrated with his family to northern Ohio.  When leaving Waterbury his family consisted of his wife and six children, five sons and one daughter, his oldest son Benoni, having preceded him, and one daughter Sally, remained in Ct. A young man by the name of Marshall BRONSON also accompanied them.  But in the disaster at lake Erie his daughter Hannah was drowned , an account of which was published in the Advertiser in April of 1877.   

       After a Long and tedious journey of about eight weeks, filled with painful events, they reached Euclid sometime in Dec., where they remained until spring, when they removed to Columbia and settled on a farm near the south part of the township, then owned by Benoni.  Here, in addition in addition to the many privations incident to a life in almost trackless forest, after the commencement of the war of 1812, they suffered much through fear of Indian assassins, whose treacherous designs were culminated by the influence of foreign foe, and whose hostility the defenseless pioneer was constantly in dread of.  One incident as related by Mr. ADAMS of his own experience, may not be out of place here.  One night when in his wakefulness from the excitement of the times, he was startled by the barking of a dog, and instead of savage whoop that he momentarily expected to hear, the sound of a well known neighbor's voice rang out through the forest in unmistakable accents --- turn out! turn out! the British and Indians are upon us.  The whole family at once rallied and the work of decision as to their course was quickly accomplished.  Which as to get together as soon as possible, the few families of the neighborhood, and go to  some more thickly settled place.  The journey was to be made with oxen, as this was the only team they had, and those were away in the woods, and where they knew not.  But there was no time to be lost and as quickly as possible in darkness of the hour, for it was long after midnight, they scoured the woods and found the oxen, and hastily gathered together such necessaries as they could carry, and after concealing the remainder of their household effects, they formed a band and started for Hudson. But their progress was slow as the sun had advanced by some hours ere they started, they had gone but a few miles when, night over took them and arrangements were made for encampment.  But the following day brought news of the cause of the alarm, which was only the landing of the prisoners at Cleveland at the time of Hull's surrender.  The fugitives then returned to their homes with the exception of one or two families who proceeded to Hudson for safety.   

        Mr. ADAMS was raised a farmer and always followed that vocation, often working from the rising of the sun till the setting of same, and sometimes later. He was well acquainted with the hardships and privations in the life of the early settlers of the Western Reserve, and which the boys and girls of to-day are strangers to. He experienced religion when about twenty years of age, soon after united with the M. E. church remaining with them until 1844 when he withdrew and joined the Wesleyan Methodist church, with which connection he remained until his death.

       He married on the 8th of March, 1820 to Miss Maria HOADLEY of Olmsted, a daughter of Maj. Lemuel HOADLEY, who was also one of the first settlers of Columbia and came from Plymouth, Ct., in 1807.    

       Mr. and Mrs. ADAMS had eight children and with the exception of one that died in infancy all are now living, six daughters and one son. They celebrated their golden wedding in 1870, and at the time of his death they had lived together for over 62 years. Of his virtues and good qualities it becomes us not to speak, nor is it necessary; no eulogy is more befitting than the memories left in the hearts of his friends and those who knew him best, and yet it is but justice to give credit where it is due in the mention of a few characteristics.  In his habits he was steady and industrious, his manners quiet and retiring, and yet against that which he looked as wrong he was wont to speak in earnest terms,  He was anti-slavery in the fullest sense and with him the use of tobacco and intoxicating drinks found no favor.  He was greatly attached to his home not caring to seek society or recreation, and with the exception of attending church and the prayer meetings, or when he could be persuaded to go out for a visit occasionally, spent his evenings and leisure hours by his own fireside. His home after marriage (with exception of about 4 years), was in Olmsted, in which township he has been the owner of four different farms, and on one of which the last of forty years of his life was spent. Near the spot where he first settled after marriage, and on a part of the first farm he ever owned, is built the silent city --- that city of marble and granite, of flowers and shrubbery; whose turf has been so often watered with tears of sorrow, and where rest the remains of the  sacred dead.  Here is where rest the remains of his father and mother and two brothers, their wives and children; where an infant daughter and five grandchildren sleep their last sleep, and where now, he too, has been laid in his last resting place, and where after so many months of suffering he sleeps peacefully and rest is undisturbed.


In 1836 John sold his first farm (30 acres) to Charles Olmsted, for 600 dollars, who in turn sold the south east 1/2 acre to the Olmsted trustees for 1 dollar to be only used as a cemetery. This became part 1 of the 5 parts that make up Butternut Ridge Cemetery.  
John and Maria are buried in Lot 194