Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Rediscovered Raney & Dyson Family Photographs

Great-grandmother Louisa Petitjohn Smith and our darling grandmother, Mary Smith Raney, c 1907, probably at the boarding house they ran in Fredonia, Kansas. Note Mary with a root vegetable and knife in her hands.
You know how some familiar items become invisible? For years a red cookie tin sat on a desk in our bedroom.  Today it caught my eye and I thought, What's in it? I dusted it off and cracked it open. Inside was a piece of ivory satin from our grandmother's 1910 wedding gown that she later made into a coat for her little daughter Louise; also, a small stack of lavender-colored envelopes bearing my mother's handwriting, identifying each old photo within. She'd sent them to me some 20 years ago. I'll share with you these and a few other photos I've come into.

 In 1925 the Raney family attended the 2nd annual Rabbit Breeders' Picnic in Spokane. I guess our grandfather Frank was raising rabbits, although I've never heard about this enterprise. The photo of the picnic attendees is so sharp, I was able to edit out our family members and enlarge their images.
Mary Raney with baby Geneva on her lap and 4 yr-old Mary Agnes at her feet

Louise Raney, age 7

 Paul and Dennis Raney ages 12 and 10

Our grandfather Frank Raney nearly hidden
My mother Geneva "Jean" Raney (1925-2014) with her pet rabbit and hen. She always had pets, once even a white rat. Our grandmother fussed over her fly-away dandelion hair.
Our great-grandmother Louisa Petitjohn Smith (1849-1931)
I have a vague memory of Grandma having this small studio photograph of her mother Louisa framed and sitting on her dressing table. I have to think it was taken after our great-grandfather Eugene Smith's death in 1928. Otherwise, wouldn't there have been a photo of him, too? On the other hand, she doesn't look to be about 79 in the photo, so perhaps it was taken years earlier. I certainly see a lot of Grandma in her face.
Geneva Raney on a pony on Nora Street. The photographer came along and someone must have had 25 or 50 cents to purchase a photo. Mom looks to be about 11 years old, so c.1936

Christi Nail, a descendant of Whitman Hill Dyson, our 2nd great-grandfather, and father of Nancy Dyson Raney pictured below, sent me a group photo, which I edited for this close-up.
Our great-grandparents James and Nancy (Dyson) Raney, c. 1919, with Great-aunt Esther (I think) (b. 1902) and Esther's son Walther, who died from the painful trauma of being swung around and having his arms dislocated from his shoulders. Nancy didn't like to wear a bonnet while working outside, although she holds a straw hat in her lap.
Christi, our 1st cousin, 3 times removed (a 4th cousin, I think), who sent these photos, is the granddaughter of Whitman Dyson's second to youngest son,
John Whitman Dyson (1897-1971).  See my blog about Whitman and his three wives HERE. John and youngest brother, Leonard Dyson (1901-1977), which Whitman had with his 3rd wife Ella. aren't pictured in the photo below because they hadn't been born. Based on the ages of the three boys pictured, the photo  was taken about 1896, which places the large photograph of Whitman Dyson that hung in Grandpa's house to the same photo session
Willard Dyson (1879-1936), son of 2nd wife Sarah Jane, making him 3rd wife Ella's half-brother. Ella was Sarah Jane's deaf-mute daughter. Boy on left Joseph Alva Dyson (1891-1970), boy on right Grover Dyson (1890-1857). Sarah Ellen "Ella" Roy Dyson (1865-1934) and our 2nd great-grandfather, Whitman Hill Dyson (1836-1914)

Here's the same Dyson family at home in Pike County, Indiana, in 1897 when Ella was pregnant with John. Note that she hung her wash on the fence behind her.  Christi said the house was burned after the coal mining company purchased the land and the family moved on. The boys were our 2nd great-uncles.

I'll end with the group photograph from 1919, probably at James and Nancy Raney's house because they're in the middle. Most of these people are our relatives. Nancy had four older sisters; perhaps one or more are in the group. Ella, Whitman Dyson's widow, is sitting behind our pretty great-aunt Esther. Scroll to the right - the white-haired man with the hat on his lap might be Peter Dougan (1845-1922), James Raney's mother's brother. Whitman's son Christi's grandfather, John Whitman Dyson (1897-1971), and his first wife (the droopy girl), are in the middle in the back row; to their right with all the hair is Willard Dyson and probably his young blond wife.  The others, unidentified, are all gone now. Always put the names on the backs of photos.

I invite you to scan and email me old photos you have of our extended family and I will eventually post them on this blog.  Send them to You when young, your parents, your kids. Just make sure they're in focus so I can crop them for close-ups. We'll finish with the song "Picture on the Wall" HERE

Postscript: Cousin Pat tried to comment, but it appears the blog isn't currently allowing comments, so he emailed me. He wrote: 

Yes, they raised rabbits and chickens. Grandpa built the hutches and coops, but it seemed that Grandma, Paul (my dad) and Denny did the work. They did this twice at the rental houses in Yardley.  Dad related that he attended junior high in east Spokane, Chief Garry, and rode the trolley in to school.  But twice a week he dressed two rabbits, carefully wrapped them in freshly laundered cloths and placed them in his satchel.  He rode the trolley into the city and sold the rabbits to the head chef at the Davenport Hotel before returning to school.  This helped supplement the income of the family.

I have noticed how much your mother resembled a young Mary (grandma) and in the picture that you posted, the is a resemblance of my sister, Sandra.  In other views, I see a notion of my Dad’s face.  Genes run deep.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Rainey Ship "Friendship of Belfast" and the Pirates

Friendship of Belfast wasn't a large merchant ship - a 60 ton square-stern - but adequate enough to cross and recross the Atlantic from the British Isles to Virginia, delivering goods and returning with hogsheads of packed tobacco leaves. A consortium of owners, William Rainey, a Belfast merchant, John Rainey, William Pringle, Moses Jones, John Black, and John Eales (Eules), ordered it built in New England in 1698. Two extant Virginia inspection records for 1699 and 1700 describe it as "plantation built" and "New England built." Ship building north of Boston was a thriving concern, attracting British shipwrights and able to produce ships cheaper than those built in England. British merchants wanted them.

In 1699 co-owner William Pringle was the ship's master when it entered the lower district of the James River to dock at a tobacco warehouse at Jamestown.
James River watershed
In 1700 the Friendship sailed up the Rappahannock, most likely the 68 nautical miles from the river's mouth to Port Royal, where the river stretched a mile wide and was nearly 15 feet deep. By now, William Rainey, Jr. had been added to the list of the ship's owners. Hans Hamell (or Hamill) was its master.

Rappahannock River watershed
Loaded with hogsheads of tobacco, the Friendship sailed down the Rappahannock and into Chesapeake Bay. At the southern end of the bay, as it prepared to raise full sail, "out of the sea" came pirates who attacked the Friendship and killed its master Hans Hamell. Warm weather had drawn them from the Caribbean to prey on tobacco ships

I can't tell this story any better than an unknown author in an early Maryland Historical Society article, so here are excerpts with some typo corrections and illustration inserts:

. . A pirate ship, which had taken several vessels off the Capes, entered Lynnhaven Bay with several of her captures, intending to take in water and provisions, and fit out one or more of the captured vessels, as members of the pirate fleet, which then numbered four vessels, and of which the chief was La Paix, or "The Peace" as she is generally called in the papers relating to the event of her defeat and capture by H. M. ship Shoreham, [commanded by] Captain Passenger, after a battle which lasted ten hours, and was sustained on both sides with great courage and determination. It was not only by his decision and prompt action that Governor [Francis] Nicholson [formerly governor of Maryland Colony, now of Virginia Colony] aided in bringing about the result of this; for it was in a great measure owing to him, that there was a man-of-war stationed in the Chesapeake Bay.
Francis Nicholson (1655-1728)
From the time of his arrival in Maryland he urged on the authorities at home the importance of having one or more vessels of war stationed in the Chesapeake, for the protection of the inhabitants of Maryland and Virginia; and in accordance with his recommendation, men-of-war had been sent out. In the order providing for sending them, it was made a condition that they should be good sailers, and should be relieved every year.

The Shoreham had arrived some weeks before to relieve the Essex Prize which at the time of the fight was under repair, and being made ready for the voyage home, so that she was in no condition to take any part in a fight with a pirate.

The Essex Prize was a small vessel carrying only sixteen guns, so that it was perhaps well for the Colonies that she was relieved by a larger ship, which was able to cope with the "Peace," which carried twenty guns and had a crew of 140 men. The narrative of these events is drawn partly from a copy of the record of a case in the Court of Admiralty held in May, 1700 in Hampton Town, Virginia, one of the Rawlinson MSS. in the Bodleian Library, and partly from the letters of Governor Nicholson of Virginia, in the Public Record Office, London.

On the 17th of April, 1700, the pink Baltimore of Bristol, was captured by a pirate, who put sixteen of his own men on board the pink. One man was killed, and six men were taken on board the pirate, leaving six men (with the pirate crew) on the pink. The next day the same pirate took, in Lat. 36°, a sloop, the George, Capt. Joseph Forrest, of Pennsylvania, 25 Tons, and carried Capt. Forrest and some of his men on board their own ship, after plundering the George, taking with other things about £ 200. in gold and leaving six of their own men to take charge of the sloop.

A few days later, or on the 23 day of April, the ship Pennsylvania Merchant, of 80 tons, bound from London to Philadelphia, was nearing the Capes of the Delaware, when late in the day, a vessel was seen to be following her, and the next morning was found to be close to her. The pirate La Paix, for it was she, ran up "a blood-red flag" [the jolie rouge, interpreted in those days as 'no quarter given'], fired several guns at the Pennsylvania Merchant, and called on her " to heave-to," which order the Captain, Samuel Harrison, thought it best to obey.

The pirates then boarded her and made the ship's company and the passengers—thirty-one persons in all—go with them to their own ship, first taking from their prisoners everything of any value which they had about them, among other things, a "watch enameled green and gold," from one of the passengers, Thomas Murray of Pennsylvania.

They then proceeded to rifle the ship, taking from her provisions, sails, rigging, spars, etc., and then on the second day setting fire to and abandoning her. Samuel Harris testified, that having been sent on board the Pennsylvania Merchant "to fetch a hatt for some one in the boat," he "saw the Pilote, by name John Hougling, making a fire in the great Cabbin, and another person, the Carpenter, cutting a hole in the side, which persons came on board the boat and left said ship burning and sinking."

The pirates then stood in towards the land, and came to an anchor. They then announced their intention of going inside the Capes of the Chesapeake to take in water, after which they would
cruise outside until they should meet a pink which belonged to them and was to join them near the Capes.

This pirate ship was of 200 tons burthen, ninety feet long, carried twenty guns and one hundred and forty men, mostly Frenchmen or Dutchmen, and was commanded by Louis Guillar, a Frenchman. She was a formidable antagonist, and there were three other vessels, subject to the orders of Capt. Guillar, only one of which made its appearance on the coast, at the time of the capture of La Paix . . . La Paix lay at anchor all day Saturday, and during the night got under way, and early on Sunday morning a ship was seen coming out of the Chesapeake Bay. All the prisoners were ordered below into the hold, and ranging near the ship—which proved to be the Indian King bound for London—they fired on her and forced her to surrender. The captain—Edward Whitaker—was ordered to go on board La Paix, and when he reached her deck, he and his boat's crew were bound and detained as prisoners, the pirates taking his boat and boarding the Indian King, where they took prisoners Captain Baldwin Matthews, Mr. George Livingstone, a merchant of Philadelphia, and Samuel Crutchfield. These were bound, with their arms made fast behind them, their money and valuables were taken from them, and they were carried by the pirates to their own ship, which the crew of the Indian King were ordered to

Soon after, the Friendship of Belfast, bound for Liverpool, was seen a few miles outside the Capes, when the pirate bore down on her, fired several shot at her and commanded her master to come on board. One of the shot struck and killed the master, Hans Hamell, but the first mate, John Colwell, went on board with four of his men, who were all detained as prisoners . . .  [T]he boat, manned by some of the pirates, went back to the Friendship, [where] the crew and passengers were ordered into the forecastle, and the usual work of plundering went on, until the pirates thought they had all the more portable valuables in the ship . . . [T]hey returned to La Paix, first ordering the crew to make sail, and stand into Lynnhaven Bay, following the "man-of-war," as they called their own ship.

Lynnhaven Bay is above Virginia Beach near the bridge. The James River flows out between Hampton and Norfolk.
Before they anchored in Lynnhaven Bay, another ship was seen —the Nicholson, commanded by Robert Lurten or Lurting, bound for London. This ship was hailed and ordered to strike, the order being accompanied by several shot, which wounded some of the crew, and as usual produced a ready compliance with the orders issued from La Paix. Captain Lurten was ordered to come on board, and when he did so, he and his men were made prisoners and confined in the hold, while some of the pirates taking his boat, went on board the Nicholson, and forced the crew to help them in throwing overboard more than one hundred casks of tobacco, as well as a great deal in bulk. This was done to make room on the Nicholson for guns, ammunition, provisions, water, etc., as the pirates intended to fit her out in order that she might join them, she being a large vessel and a very good sailer.

Captain Guillar now anchored in Lynnhaven Bay with his captures, consisting of the ships Friendship, Indian King and Nicholson, the pink Baltimore, and the sloop George, and he began at once to take in water, and transfer provisions, sails, cordage, and whatever else he wanted, to his own ship, that she might be ready for another cruise.

While he was thus busily occupied, a vessel which had been lying in Lynnhaven Bay when he entered the Capes, was making her way to Kiquotan or Hampton, which place she reached on Sunday, about noon, when her master told Captain John Aldred, commander of H. M. ship Essex Prize [which was in dry dock, being repaired], that he had seen a fleet of pirates coming into Lynnhaven Bay.
Lynnhaven Bay
It so happened, that on that Sunday afternoon, there were gathered at the house of Col. Wm. Wilson, at Kiquotan [Hampton Town], the Governor, Col. Nicholson, Captain William Passenger, Commander of H. M. ship Shoreham, Joseph Mann, Esq., and some other gentlemen of the Colony, when Captain Aldred [of Essex Prize] made his appearance, and told them the report he had just heard of the arrival of a fleet of pirates in the Chesapeake Bay.

. . In a short time, in obedience to the orders of the Governor, Capt. Passenger was on his way to his ship to get everything ready for a start that evening . . . .

Governor Nicholas dispatched messages to the militias of nearby counties to warn ships in harbors of the pirates' threat and to offer reward for each pirate killed or captured.

Having thus made preparation to resist any descent by the pirates on the shores of the Bay, Governor Nicholson, accompanied by Capt. Aldred, Joseph Mann, Esq., and Peter Hayman, Esq.[customs collector in the lower district of James River], went on board the Shoreham, which was called in the Navy List a "Fifth Rate," and carried twenty-eight guns and about one hundred and twenty men, so that she was somewhat stronger than La Paix.

About sunrise on Monday morning, the Pirates saw the Shoreham coming out of James River, with the "King's Jack flag and ancient spread abroad," and at once a signal was made from La Paix, ordering all her men on board, an order which was promptly obeyed by all except two who were sound asleep on the Nicholson, and who were afterwards overpowered, and sent on board the Shoreham.

A report of the movements of the Shoreham was made by Captain Passenger in the following words, viz.:

On board his Majestys Ship the Shoreham.
On Sunday the 28th April about 3 in the even, I lay with his
Majesty's Ship Shoreham at Kiquotan a watering when there
came in a Merchant Ship that brought the news of a pirate in
Lynhaven bay that had taken some Virginia Men bound out of
the Capes. At which news I immediately called all my people
from the Shore that were filling water, and made a sign for all
the Masters of the Merchant Ships that Lay there bound out, to
take some men out of them by reason I wanted seven men of my
Complement. I took eight men out of their boats & weighed
anchor and turned down. The wind being contrary & night
coming on the pylot would venture no further.  So we came to
anchor about three Leagues short of the Pirate. About 10 at
night his Excellency Francis Nicholson esqr, Governour of Virginia,
came on board with Cap' Aldred of the Essex Prize and
Peter Hayman esqr [the customs inspector] who remained on board during the whole

At 3 in the morning being the 29th of April I weigh'd and at
4 made the pirate where he lay at anchor and we came within
half a mile. [H]e loosed his Topsails and got under Sail, with a
design as they have since told me, to get to windward and board
us, and said this is but a small fellow [and] we shall have him presently.
I guessed his Intentions and kept to windward, fired one shot
at him. He immediately hoysts a Jack Ensign with a broad
Pendent all Red, and return'd me thanks. So then the dispute
began being about 5 oclock in the morning and continued till 3 in
the afternoon, the major part of which time within pistoll shot
of one another. It was a fine top gallant gale of wind and I sailing
something better than the pirate so that he could not get the
wind of me to Lay me on board . . . Notwithstanding
he made several Trips, and when I gott just in his hause,
I went about likewise. So after we had shott all his masts, yards,
sails, Rigging all to shatters, unmounted several guns and [his] hull
almost beaten to pieces, and being very near the shore, he put his
helm a[t] Lee so the Ship came about, but he having no Braces,
bowlines, nor sheets to haul his Sails about, and we playing small
shott and partridge so fast that all his men run into the hold, so
the Ship drove on shore, with all her shatter'd sails aback. I
immediately Let go my anchor in 3 fathom water so he struck his
ensign [the blood-red flag]. I left off firing. They had laid a train to 30 barrels of
powder and threatened to blow the Ship up and they must all
perish. So the English prisoners that were on board interceded
for one to swim on board of me to acquaint me of his designs and
in the name of all the rest desire they might have some promise
of quarter.  Otherwise those resolute fellows would certainly blow
up the Ship, and they must all perish with those piratical villains.
And the Captain would have it from under hand in writing. His
Excellency the Governour being on board, in regard of so many
prisoners that were his Maj'ties subjects, thought fit to send them
word under his hand and Lesser Scale [perhaps a seal impressed by his signet ring], they should all be referr'd to the Kings mercy, with the proviso they would quietly yield
themselves up prisoners of war.

It has been said that the crew of La Paix was composed almost entirely of Frenchmen or Dutchmen, but that there were a few of other nationalities. Among the latter was one John Hoogley or Hoogling, who was born in New York of Dutch parents, was the Pilot of La Paix, one of the foremost in the plundering of the prisoners, and as many said was "held in much esteem by the Pirates." He spoke English very well, was about 30 years old, and a "thick sett fellow, with short curled hair, round face & a great thick neck." He made, during the fight, several visits to the prisoners in the hold, who numbered forty or fifty, and who were of course very anxious to know how the fight was going, and what was to be their own fate.

At his first visit, he told them " Oh! Damn her, she is a little thing and we will soon have her."  A few hours later, he said "he hoped in a short time to get to windward of them and have the dogs," and about 3 p. m. he announced that La Paix, having been forced into shallow water, where she was at the mercy of the Shoreham, they—the Pirates—had determined not to surrender, but to blow up their Ship with all on board.

As may be supposed, at hearing this the prisoners were alarmed for their own safety, and joined heartily in the suggestion that one of their number should swim to the Shoreham and inform the commanding officer of the resolution of the pirates, and the deplorable condition of the prisoners in their hands.

At the instance of Capt. Samuel Harrison of the Pennsylvania Merchant and others, permission was obtained for John Lumpany, a young man of 23 and one of the passengers on the Pennsylvania Merchant, to undertake this mission and thereby, as was hoped, save the lives of the prisoners.

That he was successful we have seen, and he returned with the following document given to him by Governor Nicholson, viz.:

Virginia ss
On board his Matys Ship Shoreham off Cape Henry this 29th
April 1700 betwixt four and five of the Clock post meridian.
Whereas Cap' Lewis Guillar Commander of the Laypasse [La Paix] hath
proffer'd to surrender himself men and Ship . . . provided he may have quarter, which I
grant him on the performance of the same and refer him and his
men to the mercy of my royal Master King William the third
whom God preserve.
Given under my hand and Lesser Scale at armes the day and
year above written.

About four o'clock the pirates hauled down their "blood red flag," hoisted a white flag and ceased firing, after a fight lasting ten hours, during which twenty-five or thirty of them were killed and many wounded, but of these there is no number given. Of the casualties on the Shoreham there is no mention except in one instance. Peter Hayman, Esq. [the customs collector], who went on board with Governor Nicholson, was killed by a shot from the pirate, while standing on the quarter deck by the side of the Governor.

The Shoreham, however, received much damage, had to have a new mainmast, and undergo many repairs before she was fit for another cruise. . . .

The damage done by La Paix and her consort was very great, and may be summed up as follows, viz. : one ship burned, another sunk, four captured, 110 casks of tobacco, a great deal in bulk, many goods from England thrown overboard, two brigantines captured and much damaged, one pink and one sloop captured, make a list, which, without taking into consideration the anxiety and suffering of forty or fifty prisoners held on La Paix, caused much alarm among the inhabitants of Maryland and Virginia.

The first pirate trial in America was then held in Hampton Town, the former Indian town of Kiquotan.

Present-day Hampton, Virginia
At a Court of Admiralty held at Hampton Town the "ship called the 'Peace' was forfeited with all her guns, ammunition, sails, furniture & apparel to be divided & apportioned accdg to rules & orders of the sea in such cases made & provided."

An inventory, which was taken after the captured goods had been returned to their owners, shows that La Paix carried on deck twenty iron guns with all things belonging to them, and that in addition there were in the hold 13 guns, of which 8 had carriages and 5 none. There were "30 fire arms," 2 barrels of pistol-shot, and 32 half and quarter barrels of gunpowder, but nothing is said of large shot of any kind, or of cutlasses, without which weapon one can hardly imagine a pirate. In the matter of provisions, there was one barrel of beef, 13 casks of bread, 19 barrels of flour (of which 2 were musty), 1 cask of oatmeal and 3 jars of oil, a small supply for 140 men; and it must have been a matter of congratulation among them when they saw themselves with such a supply of provisions as they found on the captured ships, congratulations which were however soon turned to curses on their ill fortune in venturing inside the Capes.

When the pirates surrendered, it was on the conditions set forth in Governor Nicholson's letter, viz.: Quarter to the captain and his men, and he refers them to the mercy of the King; so that it is not easy to understand why three of them were tried and condemned to death at Kiquotan, "pursuant to an Act of Assembly about pirates, the same as in Maryland." Such is the fact, and they were : John Hougling or Hoogley, of whom mention has been made several times, as one of the leading men on the pirate ship; Cornelius Franc, a Dutchman, and Francois Delanne, a Frenchman. . . . They were delivered to the Sheriff of Princess Anne County, and were executed according to the sentence pronounced by the Court.

Hougling had jumped overboard and attempted to escape by swimming ashore; Franc and Delanne were found asleep on one of the prizes. Thus, all three were exempt from Governor Nicholson's clemency. At his trial, Hougling was accused of firing the shot that killed Hans Hamell, master of Friendship of Belfast.

The others were sent home to England in irons, and all the blacksmiths in and near Kiquotan
were kept busy for several days making shackles for them. Twenty-five or thirty of the pirates were killed in the fight, eight died of their wounds, three were executed in Virginia and ninety-nine were sent to England by the first fleet, which sailed on the 9th June, 1700, and numbered 67 ships, convoyed by the Essex Prize [the smaller Royal Navy ship the Shoreham had relieved in the Chesapeake].  Two of the ships, the Indian King and the Nicholson, which had been in the hands of the pirates a short time before, now carried . . . [the Indian King five and the Nicholson three of the pirates] who were on their way to England, to learn what fate was to be awarded to them. [The pirate captain was a solitary passenger on one of the ships, none of his crew allowed near him.] What became of them, the writer has not been able to learn and with their departure from "Virginia must end the story of "A Pirate in the Chesapeake Bay."

Actually, their fate became known to Diane Tennant, who published her own account of this piracy in the Virginian-Pilot in 2006, including some transcriptions of the Virginia trial. The pirates and their captain did not receive the king's clemency and all were hanged. Her 13-part series is HERE, but since my reading it last year, the newspaper has covered part of each episode with subscription advertising, including that part regarding the boarding of the Friendship. 

Friendship of Belfast was afterward lost to maritime history, but for a particular voyage to Maryland sixteen years later. By then William Rainey, Jr., and possibly his brother John Rainey, were residents of Virginia Colony. Were they still part-owners of the Friendship or had it been sold? We don't know.

In 1715 Scottish Jacobite loyalists fought unsuccessfully to place the Stuarts back on the British throne (as they would in the doomed uprising in 1746).  On May 24, 1716, eighty of the rebels captured at the Battle of Preston in Lancashire were transported from Liverpool to Annapolis, Maryland, on Friendship of Belfast, Michael Mankin, Commander. Upon the Friendship's arrival on August 20th, each shackled Scottish prisoner was auctioned off on the dock to the highest bidder for seven years of "servitude" to work on a tobacco plantation. The list of rebels and the plantation owners who purchased them is HERE

We'll end with the song "Don't Forget Your Old Shipmates" HERE

 You'll have to wait through a short commercial.

Friday, January 26, 2018

. . . I Once Was Lost . . . But Now Am Found . . .

Beloved by its original Dougan family owners, this Holy Bible, nearly 200 hundred years old, tattered and water-stained, was published and leather-bound in 1823 in New York City, bundled with other Bibles and carted to the city's wharf, where it was loaded into the hold of a coastal packet ship bound for New Orleans. (Canals had yet to be dug to ease transportation to Pittsburgh and the midwest, and it was cheaper to transport goods by water.)

Packet ship
There the Bibles were unpacked, some sold locally, others placed in barrels, carted to a levee, and rolled up the gang-plank of a steamboat headed up the Mississippi. The side-wheeler entered the Ohio River and about twenty-five days out of New Orleans, arrived in Louisville, Kentucky.

Ohio River
Stacked with other Bibles on a table in a dry goods store, a few days later a God-fearing man of Presbyterian descent picked it up with reverence, carefully turned its pages until finding what he sought, and then counted out $3.75 in silver.  It was wrapped in brown paper and placed in a large hemp sack with other supplies that he tied to the saddle of a smart-looking horse. Man and horse ferried across the Ohio River on a flatboat to Jeffersonville in Clark County, Indiana. He owned a good-sized farm about twenty-five miles up county near New Washington. 
Clark County, Indiana, and New Washington as red insert
And so this Good Book became the Thomas Dougan Family Bible.
Warped page identifies owner Thomas Dougan
His young wife, Sarah "Sally Ann" Dougan, prepared the ink. Thomas picked up the new dip pen with a metal nib and, after practicing on the brown wrapping paper, wrote in a fine hand the names and birth dates of himself, his wife and their children. 

Born in New York State in 1804, Sally married Thomas in 1819 in Indiana when she was fifteen. Ten years older, Thomas was born a few months after his Revolutionary War hero father's death in 1795 in North Carolina. Thomas Senior's life is HERE. His mother Isabelle married the widower Jacob Fouts, but died in 1804 after producing a son. Jacob now had four Dougan daughters, 10-year-old Thomas, and his own children to rear. He and other Fouts men trekked their families up the Great Valley Road and then floated down the Ohio River, arriving in Clark County, Indiana Territory prior to 1810. Three of the Dougan sisters married Fouts men. Thomas Dougan was twenty-five and an established farmer when he married Sally Ann Roe.
List of Dougan children in Thomas Dougan's hand.

This Good Book came to life when opened, its words sparking Dougan souls and soothing Dougan minds during hard times. Their first child,William Dougan, was born in 1820. Eleanor was born in 1821, but died in 1828. Two months before Eleanor's death their fifth child, James Lowry was born, but died when he was fifteen in 1843. Thomas wrote down the births of nine children in the first column, each one slightly more compressed. When additional sons were born, Francis Marion and finally James Oliver in 1845, their names were entered in the 2nd column.
The page of deaths and dates

 After the last child's birth, it was Thomas' own death in 1853 at age fifty-eight that was next recorded. He'd made out his will two months before and its photostat on shows his signature in the same hand as the earlier Bible entries. Sally Ann, who remained on the farm with the three youngest children, passed on in 1876. Youngest daughter Sarah Elizabeth Dougan, born in 1836, continued to faithfully enter the Dougan family deaths. 

Hers must have been a difficult life. She remained on the farm to help her mother and younger brothers Francis and James, finally marrying in 1878 when she was forty-two. She had no children and there was a divorce. Quite a scandal in those days. Sarah took back her proud Scots-Irish name and in the 1900 census she owned her own home in New Washington and had an 82-year-old woman boarder. She now recorded family deaths in pencil. Still, this Bible must have given her many hours of solace. Perhaps there were nieces and nephews of her Dougan sisters living in Clark County, and of the oldest son, William, who died in 1872, but the other male Dougans had earlier gone west. When her brother Francis died in 1898, he was living in Kansas. John died in 1901 in Illinois and Thomas in 1905 in Missouri. Sarah was Thomas and Sally Ann Dougan's last child living.
Items found between leaves of the Bible
When she died alone in 1917 at age 80 of a heart attack, the informant giving the information for the death certificate was Charles Homer Jones (b. 1877), a barber. Was he a descendant of one of her aunts or was he a neighbor, promised her property if he would just look after her? Whatever his connection, he took possession of the Dougan Family Bible, entered Sarah's death, and then entered his own family's names.

And between the pages was slipped a photograph of a set of twins in cowboy boots taken sometime in the 1920s or '30s.

Perhaps it was the devastating Ohio River Flood of 1937 that damaged the Bible. The last entry is for Charles Daniel Jones, born in 1941. And then the Bible goes silent, not to be opened again for many years. 
Jeffersonville, Clark County, on banks of Ohio River
The last entry, Charles Daniel Jones, died in 2013, not in Clark County, but in California, his children living elsewhere. He did marry in Jeffersonville, Clark County, in 1963. This in itself wouldn't be important, except it was in Jeffersonville a few years back that a hospital surgical tech named Patriece attended an estate auction and purchased a box of items that included a large and soiled old Bible. 
Patriece possesses a moral compass. She believed that somewhere in America there was a person who was spiritually connected to the Dougan Family Bible, and she determined to track down that person. She contacted a Dougan she found on the Internet, but received no response. Some time later, she found my blog on Thomas Dougan, Sr. and contacted me.

Our family is not in a direct line from Thomas Dougan; our Dougan ancestors were his cousins, who moved to Indiana a few counties away and a couple of decades after he settled there. Patriece emailed me photos. Could I help? What to do? I emailed back that I would try to find a direct descendant on 
New Washington 1928 Graduation Program

While snow fell softly outside, I spent a cozy Sunday afternoon in my study searching out descendants of Thomas and Sally Ann Dougan. Oh, yes, plenty of direct descendants are out there, but I hoped for a direct male descendant.  I found Bruce Dougan who, having built a full tree on, was obviously fascinated by his genealogy. 

It is a wonderful feeling to connect two people, one who wants to bestow an important gift and the other who is thrilled to receive it. Bruce, who lives in Oregon, emailed in response to my query, "This would be of greatest interest to my family and others. I would be honored to receive it. This Thomas Dougan is my 3rd great-grandfather and we have wondered where this bible is forever."

And so Patriece mailed the Dougan Family Bible to Bruce and here he is holding it. A lovely conclusion to my tale. We'll end with Willie Nelson's Song "Family Bible," sung by Johnny Cash. HERE