Tuesday, January 27, 2015

52 Ancestors: Plowing Through

Week 5, Plowing through — We will likely be plowing through a lot of snow by this time. What ancestor had a lot of struggles to plow through? Or take it more literally… It’s up to you (No Story Too Small)

This week I decided to highlight a set of ancestors who plowed through a number of struggles, including a Wyoming blizzard. I've already mentioned John S. Haslam in a previous post but now instead of concentrating on his parentage, I'd like to share a particular episode in his life. With him were two other ancestors, his wife Martha (Hamer) Haslam and his widowed mother-in-law Jane (Thornley) Hamer, as well as his three eldest children, Jane Ellen (age 5), John Joseph (age 3), and baby Samuel Hamer Haslam, and a number of brothers- and sisters-in-law.

John S. Haslam, Martha (Hamer) Haslam, and child

Let me back up and give you a little background on the family. John was the son of a servant Betsy Haslam and allegedly King William IV of England (see my post from earlier this month on William IV). At the age of nine, his mother died and he was raised by his uncle and aunt, John and Jane (Haslam) Hardman. He remained close to the cousins with whom he was raised.

William IV died when John was 14. If he was the his son, he was not widely acknowledged and any support would have ended with the king's death. Indeed, locals noted that the Hardmans seemed to have a little more "substance and means behind the Hardman family." But John did, at some point in his childhood, have to work carrying coal in baskets in the mines. About the time of William's death, John was bound over to learn the blacksmith trade. However, Aunt Jane died in 1838 and a year later, John left home to join the British Navy.

Wood burned with John's brand

John was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the age of 19. The son of John's cousin Job Openshaw reported, "...When John Haslam joined the LDS Church, my father went to his abode to show him the grievous error he had made by joining the very dangerous False Prophet Apostles Organization, the Mormon Church. At this time, very much opposition had arrayed itself against the Church and they were evil spoken against everywhere…But, instead of my father convincing cousin John of his error, cousin John convinced father that perhaps he was mistaken and he began to see the new light...just previous to Cousin John’s departure for America, John Haslam baptized my father and mother into the church in the town of Bolton, Lancashire, England." Soon after he left for America on the ship carrying Elder Orson Hyde, returning from the Holy Land.

John became close to the Hamers, a family from John's native Lancashire. John began to work with the father, Samuel, a blacksmith. Samuel died of malaria in 1843 but John's connection to the family continued and in 1845, he married one of the daughters, Martha.

Jane (Thornley) Hamer

They lived in Nauvoo, near the home of Eliza Granger Kimball, the woman who was inspired to organize a women's charitable group that Joseph Smith organized into the Relief Society. John spent part of his time working on the temple and while I don't know if he could have been one of the men who Sister Kimball saw heading to the temple in threadbare shirts, hearing the history of the Relief Society makes me smile. Perhaps my own family were among the first to benefit from the compassionate service of the Relief Society.

The site of the Hamers' land in Nauvoo

With the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and the increasing hostility towards Mormons, the Haslams and Hamers found themselves in a difficult and dangerous situation. They were among the last to leave Nauvoo and were forced from their homes by a mob.

Eventually, they made their way to Winter Quarters. "John’s services as a blacksmith were greatly needed help make wagons for the Saint’s westward trek. Brigham Young asked him to stay at the Saint’s outfitting point." (from http://www.boydhouse.com/alice/Haslam/haslam05johnshaslam.htm) They worked ferrying pioneers across the river, as well as blacksmithing at Winter Quarters, then in Iowa.

One important point related to the blizzard is this: "As John S. Haslem was making wagons for the immigrants, there came a party of trappers that could go no farther with their full wagon as they went off the main roads in their trapping business. So John S. Haslem made a tongue to go in the rear axle of their wagon and a box to put their stuff in so they could ride on top, or in other words, a two-wheeled cart that was high so it would go over the stumps and high roads. These trappers were so pleased they gave him twenty dollars, and about the only money he had seen for a long time, and twenty dollars was a lot in those times. They were starting on their trip at 3 p.m., so John S. told them they had better wait until next morning and sleep in the shop where it was dry, as it was storming. So when the trappers went for their horses at daybreak next morning one had died, and they didn't have enough money, if it was available, so John S. felt so bad for them he asked them how long they expected to be gone. They thought one year at the most, and maybe six months if they got a load of furs that soon. So John S. told them to take one of his horses, as he thought he wouldn't need his team which, by the way, was a good team. So they did and left John S. with one horse." (from account by John's grandson John Henry Haslem)

Martha's brother Samuel was the model for
the Trapper statue on the Brigham Young
Monument at Salt Lake City's Temple Square.
The sculptor, Cyrus E. Dallin, the artist
that also sculpted the Salt Lake Temple's
Angel Moroni, was Martha's nephew.

In 1851, the Haslam-Hamers left for the Salt Lake Valley. The lack of a team must have seemed a great trial. John Henry Haslem continues, "But when he decided to start to Utah, he had only one horse and no money to buy a good one, and horses were very scarce. People used mostly oxen these days at this place, so John S. bought a little Indian pony for three dollars and put it with his big horse, and made the big horse pull most of the wagon, which was OK until they hit muddy roads. Then they had to discard most of the load, as the horses could not pull it."

And this brings us to the Wyoming blizzard. Here is John Henry Haslem's account: "If my memory serves me right, Granddad’s (John S.) wagon was the only one in the company. All the rest were handcarts. So the wagon was mostly full of ill people and small children too small to walk. So they plodded on as best they could, until their horses gave out, and they could only make a few miles a day. So the rest of the company could go faster, they went on and said they would send someone back to rescue them. They expected to find help at Ft. Bridger, Wyoming, but no one was there to send back. Because of such slow travel they were getting short of food, and lived on nothing but the wild game they would shoot. But about now they ran out of ammunition so they couldn't get what few rabbits and deer were there. So for many days all they had to eat was the old bones the coyotes had left. They would mash them and crush them with the back of an ax, and boil the marrow out of the center in a big thirty-gallon iron pot. As long as they could see one bead of grease on the soup they ate it, and it saved them from starving for many days (and that was a testimony to them that the Lord put something in the soup to keep them well). But with that diet they soon got so weak they could go no farther.

They came to an old trapper's cabin built of just logs with nothing in the cracks. But it had a fireplace in the end, so they filled the cracks as best they could with cedar bark, and moved their bedding and grub boxes in— which was all they had room for, by the time twenty or more people got in. They all had to sleep in one bed on the floor, while one sat up all night to keep a big fire to help keep warm, as it was one of those Wyoming blizzards that are so common at that time of year. By now they had lost their hope of being rescued, as they had prayed for so many days, and the hunger pains were so bad. They decided this was the end. But they would be in the cabin with a little protection from the weather and their corpses would be found. But this night they prayed extra long, then all went to bed, except the oldest woman was to sit up and keep the fire going. As she was watching the fire she heard something behind her, and there was a big white rabbit she said was nearly as big as a sheep, standing on its hind legs, on the foot of the bed where the boys were sleeping. He stood there while she woke the boy to grab him, and she was so sure he would get away. As she woke the boy, he grabbed it, and it didn't get away, so they cleaned it and put it in their thirty gallon pot that was already hot on the fire. They started to eat the soup almost before it boiled. They said that was the best meal either of them had ever tasted, even though it was only rabbit. He lasted them two days. The storm quit and here came the trappers with John S.'s horse and quite a little surplus corn they had traded for from the Indians. That lasted until one of Brigham Young's rescue wagons came with food to last the remainder of their journey."

The Haslam-Hamers settled in Salt Lake City, where John worked for the Church balcksmith shop and the family owned land. After Martha's death in 1867 and John's marriage to Mary Ann Kay, John and his brother-in-law Samuel were called to settle in Panaca, Nevada ("the Muddy Mission") with their families. They lived there until circumstances were such that the settlers had to return. John served as an usher in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.

John S. Haslam
Martha Hamer (left) and Mary Ann Kay (right)

A few things that stand out about John and Martha and Jane's lives are:
1) A sister in Relief Society this Sunday said that sometimes we serve and sometimes we are the service project and that's alright. The Haslams and Hamers may have benefited from the early efforts of the Relief Society. They had to rely on the mercy of the Lord to find sustenance and strength to endure on the trail. John served the trappers by loaning a horse and later had the kindness returned to him when he really needed it. They needed the charity of the rescue wagon drivers. Their need for charity doesn't lessen the Haslams and Hamers but attests to their faith and to their ability to recognize the tender mercies in their lives. I recently had the opportunity to help a homeless person by letting Mom know that there was a camp near home. We threw two bags with food and other useful items over the fence. Later, we returned and saw that the items were being used. It was a lifting experience to know that someone had food, clean socks, a warm hat, and so on because I chose to do something simple. On the other hand, I remember a time when I was about to be laid off and fearful, I started eating less and less. Sometimes I went to sleep with my stomach growling. Eventually, my mother found out my situation and came to my aid but before that I was given service. Some of the brothers from church showed up on my doorstep with a big bowl full of fresh fruit and candy, foods that I craved but couldn't buy. I still remember clearly eating a banana first and how I realized that I had never fully appreciated how wonderful that fruit smells and tastes. Having to be served didn't degrade me but lifted me because I have used that experience to learn and grow in gratitude and humility.

2) John and his family suffered from the lack of a horse. Did John ever regret his charity towards the trappers? What must he have felt when the very trappers who took the horse that they had needed were the ones that bridged that gap between the time that they ran out of rabbit soup and the time the rescue wagons appeared? It strikes me that John's kindness was returned in such a startling and vital way.

3) The Lord provided in His own way and His own time. The Haslams and Hamers did not escape hunger and despair and cold. They suffered it and it ultimately made them stronger and more grateful when they were rescued. However, the tender mercies did come. They came in the form of the ability to keep going on so little, a cabin where they could at least be warm, a very large rabbit when they were preparing to die, trappers with a favor to return and a surplus of corn, and finally the rescue wagons that they had looked for and despaired of ever finding.

Next week's challenge is: "Week 6 (Feb 5-11) – So Far Away. Which ancestor is the farthest from you, either in distance or in time/generations? Which ancestor have you had to go the farthest away to research?" (No Story Too Small) I'm excited! The next post will take us to Russia and Germany and to a family history experience I had just this last year. See you soon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

52 Ancestors: Closest to My Birthday

Week 4, Closest to your birthday — Not too much to think about here. What ancestor has the birthday closest to yours? (I mean in terms of month and day, not the year) (No Story Too Small)

For this one, I decided to only review the past five generations of my family tree to see who had the closest birthday. And that ancestor turned out to be Katherine Hoffman Knoll.

Katherine came from the village of Graf (or Krutoyarovka) on the steppes near the Volga River in Russia but she herself, like the other residents of Graf were not Russian. Katherine's ancestors came from Germany, including Saarland, Baden-Wuerttemburg, and Rhineland Palatinate, as well as probably Lorraine, France. They lived at a time when the rulers of what is now Germany could require the residents of their lands to fight for them, even if it meant being sent to fight as a mercenary in other lands (such as the Hessians who fought in the American Revolution). When Catherine the Great, daughter of a German prince and tzarina of Russia, invited Germans to settle in Russia, she also granted the settlers certain freedoms, including that of religion and exemption from military service. Katherine's family were probably eager for these rights and they were among the first settlers of Graf in 1766.

One hundred years later, Katherine was born on 26 March 1866. 

Katherine Hoffman and her husband, John Peter Knoll

The Germans of Graf and the other German-Russian villages had preserved their customs, including their language and clothing, and for the most part, stayed separate from the Russians and others around them. But Russia was changing and so too were the relations between the Russian government and the German settlers. The Germans were under scrutiny and eventually the rights granted to them by Catherine were threatened. The settlers began to look to other countries, including the United States for a better life. America was especially promising--there was great interest in attracting people to settle along the newly-built railroad lines and land could be gained for little to no money.

Katherine was just a teenager when she came to America by herself. She naturally chose to live in Victoria, Ellis, Kansas where other German Russians had settled. There, in 1887, she married another German Russian, John Peter Knoll of Herzog (Susly), Russia. They moved to St. Peter, Graham, Kansas ten years later with his parents. Originally, they lived in a sod house just outside town but John Peter became a prosperous and prominent farmer. So, in 1903, they replaced the old sod house with a frame home.

Katherine with her husband, John Peter Knoll,
and son Michael (who died young)

Katherine died 8 October 1924 in Hays, St. Peter, Graham, Kansas and was buried 11 Oct at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in St. Peter. She had had eight children with John Peter: Michael (died young), John Peter, Anna Barbra, Michael J., Anna Katherine, Andrew (died young), Adam J. P., and Rose Catherine (my great-grandmother).

Site of the Knoll farm
(this and the following photos were taken in the 1980s)

Grandma (Florence Mahler Boyd) at the Knoll farm

Details of the remains of the cellar at the Knoll farm

Grandma looking into the cellar

I have not yet added the page on my website for Katherine and John Peter but click here for information I've posted on Katherine's ancestors.

Next week's challenge from No Story Too Small: "Week 5, Plowing through — We will likely be plowing through a lot of snow by this time. What ancestor had a lot of struggles to plow through? Or take it more literally… It’s up to you"

Sunday, January 11, 2015

52 Ancestors: The Tough Woman

"Week 3, Tough woman — Who is a tough, strong woman in your family tree? Or what woman has been tough to research?" (No Story Too Small)

This one was easy for me. While I have other woman who were strong and endured well, one ancestress came to mind immediately. For this challenge, I've chosen Catherine Cameron Southam.

Catherine Cameron Southam

Born in Scotland in 1847, she immigrated to America at the age of one with her parents John and Margaret (Fairgrieve) Cameron, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). They lived first in Patterson, New Jersey, then in St. Louis, Missouri, all the while hoping to one day be able to afford the journey across the plains to Utah.

Little Catherine had to get used to illness and death. Her mother died when Catherine was eight. Her father remarried but her stepmother Mary died when Catherine was ten and two of her young half-sisters Mary and Margaret also died. This seems to have made an impact on her. "When she was a small girl she always pretended her dolls were sick so she could nurse them better. Her father told her that she should become a nurse when she grew up."

At the age of fourteen, in 1861, Catherine, her father John, her stepmother Alice, and her brother James, her half-brothers Robert and John, and Alice's young nephew William Parkinson had their opportunity to cross the plains. Alice gave birth to a daughter Jannette in a covered wagon in Nebraska. And then not far into the journey, something happened that endangered the family's dream--father John became ill with mountain fever. Would they have to drop out?

"Catherine was only fourteen years old, but she drove her father's oxen with Oscar Young's help. It was a very heavy load for Catherine to care for her sick parents, and the smaller children, and to take the responsibility of driving the wagon, but she did it. Catherine drove the oxen most of the way. Their company of Saints traveled throughout the hot summer over the prairies and mountains to the Salt Lake Valley, and arrived there in late October 1861."

Catherine and Jannette

She later became the plural wife of George Southam. George, a native of Oxfordshire, England, was "a kind and devoted father, and also a faithful Latter Day Saint." During their life together, Catherine was called upon to again be strong. "At one time, George Southam was called to go on a mission 'without purse or scrip'. Catherine was in bed with a new baby. They were poor, having no food stored and no one big enough to care for the money and children and home. But such was their faith that he went, leaving his wife and little ones in care of the Lord and the Saints. (Catherine C. Southam testified later in life that the Lord did provide and raise up friends in their time of need and she got along better than if her husband had been home.)"

George and Catherine

There was illness in her family and in the community and her brothers Robert and John and some of her children died. These trials made her stronger--she developed an interest in medicine. "As early as 1871, Catherine began to work with the sick, and seemed to be a natural-born nurse...she started helping the sick, and they appreciated it so much — her kindness, they never forgot her kindness."

Then, in 1885, she was widowed. George was driving his team across the Bear River on Christmas Eve before joining the family at a party. The ice broke and he was killed. For four days, his family couldn't find him. 


Then, her thirteen-year-old daughter Alice (my great-great-grandmother) came to her and let her know that she had been shown where his body was in a vision. "Alice told her mother about the visitation and said, 'We will find Papa's body tomorrow.' It happened like it had been shown to Alice in the night."

Daughter Alice Southam Haslam

As strong as she had been, she struggled to keep going. Her grandson John H. Haslem relates, "Before this move to Ashley Valley she was helping her father do the work for their dead the year the Salt Lake Temple opened. She told her father she would have to give up helping the sick, as she felt it was more than she could do while caring for her young family. Her father said, 'Catherine, you are all that your mother has to represent her here on earth, and you are only fulfilling your Patriarchal Blessing where it says you will be as a Well of Living Water in a desert, and people shall flow to you, and call you blessed.'"

The Salt Lake Temple, where Catherine found strength
after the death of her husband

"While in the temple some of the sisters told her it had been made known to them that she was to be called and set apart to take care of the sick in Uintah Stake, as there was only one doctor, and very little help there for sick people. She was set apart by the President of the Church, and he told her if she would go to Ashley Valley, and honor her calling, he would promise her that her wheat bin would never be empty (which was a great promise in those days when wheat was so valuable, and her large family to feed). I, her grandson John H. Haslem, can testify that her children never went hungry or cold. They lived as well, or better than most other families in the valley. Everyone was poor out there those days, and all the neighbors wondered how she provided so well for her family. The Lord surely helped her.By 1911, she had assisted in over 1,000 births and had come to the aid of many of the ill.

Her grandson continued, "She had such a desire to help others her spirit wouldn't give up. As she grew older she did more genealogy and temple work, and left a nice book of names of her ancestors, for others to do the temple work. What more could the Lord ask of one of his humble daughters. If all of her posterity can only follow in her footsteps, I am sure we will be OK in the next world, and live much happier here also."

At the end of her life, she suffered from skin cancer on her face. It was painful and fatal but she faced the end of her life with courage, faith, and a positive attitude. Her granddaughter Katie Horrocks said, “Sometimes in the summer while she lived here my mother would have me go and stay with her to help care for her and I loved this opportunity, as she was always so cheerful and considerate...We grandchildren loved her very much. I can see her now rocking in her chair, humming a tune and piecing quilt blocks."

I come from a wonderful line of strong women who have been great examples in my life. As a teen, I remember recalling the story of a teenage Catherine driving the wagon across the plain and wondering at what she must have felt. I had been asked to do something difficult and I told myself, "You are a daughter of Catherine Cameron. You have her blood in your veins. You can do this." I have had many other opportunities to tell myself that since then and I have tried my best to develop that same strength that she showed throughout her life. Her example has lent me the will to carry on many times.

For more information on Catherine Cameron Southam, see my mother's website: http://www.boydhouse.com/alice/Cameron/cameron02catherinecameron.htm

Next week's challenge from No Story Too Small: "Week 4, Closest to your birthday — Not too much to think about here. What ancestor has the birthday closest to yours? (I mean in terms of month and day, not the year)."

In Memory of 
Jean (Green) Irwin
Lawana (Green) Toombs
My great-aunts
Beulah (Green) Carey
 All great-granddaughters of Catherine

Saturday, January 10, 2015

52 Ancestors: The Fresh Start and The King

So, I've decided that I wanted to start out this blog by doing the 52 Ancestors Challenge. However, I'm a little behind and for that reason, I'm doing two entries in one.

Challenge One: The Fresh Start
"Week 1, Fresh start — Seems appropriate for the beginning of the year. What ancestor had a fresh start? What ancestor has been so confusing to research that you’d like to have a fresh start?" (No Story Too Small)

For this challenge, I've chosen Jacques Caudebec.

Jacques and his family were Huguenots, members of the Protestant Reformed Church in France. He lived in the town of Bolbec in Normandy and attended church at the Protestant "temple" in Lintot.

Modern-day Bolbec (photo taken by me, 2010)

The Lintot Temple, where Jacques Caudebec was christened 
(photo taken by me, 2010) 
The church was confiscated by the state after the revocation of the 
Edict of Nantes and is now a private residence. 

The original door and windows of the church 
were bricked over but can still be seen. 
(photo taken by me, 2010)

In 1685, Jacques' world was shattered. King Louis XIV issued the Edict of Fontainebleau, which revoked the earlier Edict of Nantes. The Edict of Nantes had protected the Huguenots since 1598, although over time, especially during the reign of Louis XIV, it wasn't enforced and was often even ignored. But now, with the revocation, Protestants were forced to "convert" to Catholicism and punished for worshiping as they believed. Huguenot immigration was also now illegal.

Twenty-one-year-old Jacques was faced with a tough choice: stay and face forced conversion, stay and face severe punishment, or take his life into his hands and flee somewhere where he could live true to his faith. He chose the last.

The plan was to flee to England and await his sisters Noemi and Marie. They were to bring money that would allow them to set up a business. Jacques was prepared to make a fresh start there...but that was not to be. Another forced fresh start awaited him an ocean away.

Noemi and Marie didn't arrive (as it turns out, they did eventually arrive, though a little too late to meet their brother, and settled in London, where one married and both became involved in the weaving trade.). When Jacques gave up hope in meeting them, he and his fellow refugee Pierre Guimar left for Maryland, exhausting their funds.

Somehow, they carried on through their want and made it to New York. Here, Jacques and Pierre (called Jacob Cuddeback and Peter Gumaer in the New World) found wives and went on to become some of the settlers of the Peenpack Patent.

One story about him that I like was told by his great-grandson: "At a certain time two of his daughters told him that certain persons had made a scandalous report respecting them. He asked if it was true what they had said. They replied no, it was all lies. 'Well,' said he, 'maintain good characters and let them talk; they will get ashamed of their lies.'" 

Jacques, to me, is a great example of character and integrity, determined to live according to his convictions, even when it meant leaving behind everything, risking his life, and somehow finding a way to start fresh. 

For more of my notes on Jacques and his family, see my website: http://oliveandeliza.com/ennis/caudebec/jacquesandmargretta.html

The Huguenot Cross (courtesy: Nyo, Wikipedia)

Challenge Two: The King
"Week 2, King — January 8 is Elvis’ birthday. January 15 is the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Do either of these “Kings” remind you of an ancestor? Or, taken another way, do you have a connection to royalty? Did you ancestor flee from an oppressive king?" (No Story Too Small)

For this challenge, I've chosen King William IV of the United Kingdom.

Yep, an actual king, and not one born all the way back in the Middle Ages either. I think I'd better explain...

My third-great-grandpa John S Haslam was the illegitimate son of Betsey Haslam, "a lady worker and teacher at the Duke of Bridgewater’s estate at Worsley." Because illegitimacy was at the time seen as something that not only reflected poorly upon the parents but also upon the child, John's father's identity was "kept strictly confidential in the family over the years." 

John S Haslam (photo courtesy of Marilyn Groneman)

In 1958, his daughter Annie Isabel divulged the secret - John was the son of King William IV! 

King William IV by Sir Martin Archer Shee

Since then, his descendants have tried to confirm or disprove this statement. From what I know of John and Annie Isabel, I trust that, at the very least, John believed that King William was his father. Evidence that William is the father is circumstantial but in no way conclusive. Perhaps one day, we will have the opportunity to use DNA to learn more. Currently, because of William's lack of confirmed direct male descendants, such testing would be tricky.

For more information on the supposed connection to the king and about John's own life, see my mother's page: http://www.boydhouse.com/alice/Haslam/haslam05johnshaslam.htm

Now before I wrap up, I'd like to point out one thing that occurred to me awhile ago:

King William's father is King George III. For Americans, the name should be familiar- he was the king during the Revolution. 

King George III by Allan Ramsay

If John Haslam is indeed the son of King William, then my mother's ancestor and some of my father's family were not exactly on speaking terms. My paternal grandfather's family tree full of revolutionary soldiers. 

And then there's Cousin Ben... My ancestors Joanna (Folger) Coleman and Experience (Folger) Swain were the maternal aunts of Benjamin Franklin. In other words, Cousin Ben was among those who sent a very special letter to Grandpa George, which was not at all to the taste of the latter. If I could have a family reunion that included my late ancestors, it could get, um, interesting.

An idealized depiction of Franklin, Adams, and 
Jefferson with the Declaration of Independence 
by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris

Stay tuned for more! Next week's challenge is: "Week 3, Tough woman — Who is a tough, strong woman in your family tree? Or what woman has been tough to research?" (No Story Too SmallI have someone awesome already in mind!