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