OLD PHOTOGRAPHS SERENDIPITY & COUSIN CONNECTIONS – The First CHARLES KNERR NICHOLS

Nichols family photos and documents.

Nichols family photos and documents.

Piecing together the Puzzle of the Nichols-Carney Photograph Collection

Six months ago I received a package that included 16 photographs plus assorted land documents for the ancestors and descendants of Charles Knerr Nichols (1865-1951) and his wife Elizabeth Bell Carney(1865-1955). Since only three of the pictures have names written on the backside, the puzzle is to piece together the bits of information I know and share it.  My previous blog I began with the easiest piece of the family puzzle, a photograph of Thomas Ackley Nichols. His name is written on the back and it  matched copies of two more pictures.

Sticking with the obvious choice of the second labeled photograph, let me introduce the first Charles Knerr Nichols. (Yes, there are three men with the same name, three different generations, all related but not direct descent from the first one. The name undergoes a slight variation over time. Can you detect it?)

 

                                 Lines of Descent from Thomas A. NICHOLS & Helena KNERR
John Mathews NICHOLS                                                                1. Charles KNERR NICHOLS
Frederick Mathew NICHOLS                                                          Helena NICHOLS
2.Charles KNERR NICHOLS
3.Charles KNEER NICHOLS (my second cousin 1x removed)

Charles Knerr Nichols, circa 1900-1903, Trenton, New Jersey, Holyer Photographers. Matted photograph 7 3/4″ x 6″.

The photograph of the first Charles Knerr Nichols depicts a very handsome man stylishly dressed in a double-breasted wool suit. He sports a patterned bow tie and crisp white shirt with a stand-up collar. His dark wavy hair is neatly combed and his full mustache well-groomed. The photographer of this image, Mr. Holyer,  operated a studio in Trenton, New Jersey. I found an online article detailing the Holyer family history. It noted that Albert and John Holyer owned the studio between 1900-1910.[1] I believe that this photograph of Charles dates to about 1903-1905.

Although a third image is not labeled, the resemblance to Charles is strong enough that I am certain it is a photograph taken when he was a few years younger. The image is a cabinet card with all the edges trimmed.  Was it cut to fit in a picture frame?  Again, Charles wears a double-breasted wool suit but the material is not as refined as in the first photo. His ready-to-wear suit covers all but the stiff white-collar of his shirt and the top of his patterned necktie. Although he still sports a mustache, it is thinner and his wavy hair is shorter. A hint of a smile plays on his lips. Fortunately the backside of the image states the date of delivery, May 24, 1892. I had difficulty deciphering the photographer’s name on the back of the image; the location is easy to read, Pittsburgh. Using the blog, Cabinet Card Gallery, I searched for photographers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and found the one I sought, Joseph G. Morris. Located at 16 Sixth Street, Joseph Morris and his father, David, worked as photographic agents from about 1880-1910 in Pittsburgh.[2]

Charles Knerr Nichols, 1892, Pittsburgh, PA. Cabinet Card Photograph -trimmed - original probably 4.5"x6". Joseph Morris Photographer.

Charles Knerr Nichols, 1892, Pittsburgh, PA. Cabinet Card Photograph -trimmed – original probably 4.5″x6″. Joseph Morris Photographer.

 

 

Morris Photographer, No. 16, Sixth Street, Pittsburgh. Delivered May 24, 1892.

Morris Photographer, No. 16, Sixth Street, Pittsburgh. Delivered May 24, 1892.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHARLES KNERR NICHOLS – Early Years

By combining research from census records, church records, and newspaper articles, I constructed a basic biography for my 3x great-uncle. Charles Knerr Nichols was born 3 March 1865 in St. Clair, Pennsylvania to Thomas Ackley Nichols,(age 40) and Helena Knerr Nichols (age 33). Charles, the third child, joined his 8-year-old brother, John Mathews Nichols (my 2x great-grandfather), and 3-year-old Bertha Virginia Nichols. He arrived three months before his father’s discharge from the Union Army. His mother, Helena, stayed at home with the three children and Thomas resumed work as a clerk at a nearby coal mine.

1870 U.S. Census, St. Clair, Schuylkill, PA, Middle Ward,,p 658B; dwelling 237, family 232, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1870 U.S. Census, St. Clair, Schuylkill, PA, Middle Ward,,p 658B; dwelling 237, family 232, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

The family dynamics changed in 1875 when Helena died of unknown causes at age 43.  How this affected ten-year-old Charles is unknown but later in life he named his only child after his mother. In the 1880 census 15-year-old Charles lived at home with his father Thomas, a clerk at a coal mine, and his sister, 18-year-old Bertha.

1880 U.S. Census, Shuylkill Co, PA,Saint Clair, p. 75C, dwelling 33, family 33, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1880 U.S. Census, Shuylkill Co, PA,Saint Clair, p. 75C, dwelling 33, family 33, Thomas Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

His elder brother John moved to Omaha, NE to seek work in the expanding railroads.[3] In December of 1880 the Nichols family of three expanded when 55-year-old Thomas remarried the much-younger 26-year-old Lillian Watson Bull.[4] Within three years Charles had three younger half-siblings, Mary, Florence, and Howard.

Father and sons -L-R - John Nichols (24), Thomas Nichols (40), Charles Nichols (abt 37).

Father and sons -L-R – John Nichols (24), Thomas Nichols (40), Charles Nichols (abt 37).

What physical resemblances do you see between the father and two sons?

Marriage and Family

What did Charles do between 1880-1890?  Although I can’t be certain, I believe that he moved to the Pittsburgh area and began working in the expanding steel industry.  During this period he met and courted his prospective bride.  On July 29, 1890 Charles Knerr Nichols (25) married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Bell Carney (25) at the home of her sister in Hazelton, Pennsylvania.[5] The bride and her parents, Phillip Carney and Lucinda Jane Fiscus Carney, resided in Apollo, a former coal-mining region located 35 miles NE of Pittsburgh.

Marriage Notice Luzerne County, PA, July 28, 1890, Charles Nichols and Lizzie Carney. Familysearch.com

Marriage Notice Luzerne County, PA, July 28, 1890, Charles Nichols and Lizzie Carney. Familysearch.com

Life Changing Events

Two major events occurred in the Nichols family in 1895. One involved the passing of life and the second focused on new life. On February 15, 1895 Thomas Ackley Nichols died; he left three orphans who needed a home. A maternal aunt and uncle took in 13 year old Mary. The two remaining siblings, 11-year-old Florence and 10-year-old Howard, presumably went to live with Charles and Lizzie. The Orphans Court named Charles the guardian in October 1895.[6] He probably felt a great deal of sympathy for his younger brother and sister knowing what it felt like to lose a parent so early in life.

Guardianship granted to Charles Nichols for his younger siblings. Compiled Service Record, Thomas A. Nichols, Lt, 9th Regiment, Co. K, PA Cavalry (92nd Volunteers); Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1780’s-1917, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Guardianship granted to Charles Nichols for his younger siblings. Compiled Service Record, Thomas A. Nichols, Lt, 9th Regiment, Co. K, PA Cavalry (92nd Volunteers); Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1780’s-1917, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Three months after his father’s death, the Nichols family  celebrated new life.  At age 30 Charles became a father when Helena May Nichols arrived on 25 May 1895 in Apollo, PA. Her name combined her maternal grandmother’s name with her birth month.

The 1900 census showed Charles listed as a Roller at a steel mill while Lizzie tended the home. They owned their own house on Lafayette Street in Allegheny Township, part of Vandergrift Borough, on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.[7]

1900 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop. schu, Westmoreland, ED 0075,p.6B, dwelling 104, family 117, Charles Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1900 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop. schu, Westmoreland, ED 0075,p.6B, dwelling 104, family 117, Charles Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com.

Located nearby was the West Penn Steel Company. The works produced about 20,000 tons of steel annually and presented job opportunities for men who were willing to work hard, such as Charles Nichols. Fifteen-year-old Howard, Charles’s younger brother, lived at the Soldier’s Orphans Industrial School in Scotland, PA.[8] Florence, age 16, moved to Trenton, New Jersey where her older half-sister, Bertha Nichols Donaldson, lived. I believe Charles visited Bertha in Trenton about 1903 and had his photograph taken at Holyer photography studio.

The next record I found demonstrates Charles and Lizzie’s religious convictions. On 1 April 1900 a young evangelizing minister from the First United Church in Vandergrift, PA, William Wallace Youngson,  baptized 4-year-old Helena May Nichols.[9] She was one of two children baptized that day. Three months later, 8 July 1900, Charles and Lizzie became baptized members of the congregation along with 31 other adults and children.[10]

“Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for William Wallace Youngson, Pastoral and Statistical Records First United Methodist Church 1898 & 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”

“Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for William Wallace Youngson, Pastoral and Statistical Records First United Methodist Church 1898 & 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”

I found it interesting to examine the Pennsylvania church records on ancestry.com and then find newspaper articles about the growing church movement in the community. In 1898 the First United Methodist Church had 189 full members, 25 children baptized and 14 adults. In 1900 there were 404 full members, 29 children baptized and 23 adults.[11] A gospel temperance rally held in July 1898 by the Methodist Episcopal Church offered meetings featuring sermons on the work of the Holy Spirit and other religious topics. Reverand William W. Youngson himself converted at the meeting held in 1898.[12]

During the next decade, Charles gradually climbed the ladder in the steel industry. In 1909 West Penn Steel built a new plant in the growing community of Tarentum, PA, located 15 miles from Vandergrift. The plant estimated to cost about $500,000 could employ 1000 men in the beginning.[13] Charles must have been part of this expansion. In the 1910 census Charles and his family lived on Second Avenue in Tarentum and rented a home. Charles worked as a Manager at a Steelworks. In addition to Lizzie and Helena,  a 24-year-old mine engineer, Henry L Vane, lodged with the family.[14]

1910 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop sch., Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 0246, p. 10B, dwelling 200, family 214, & dwelling 209, Charles Nichols & Howard Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com

1910 U.S. census, Allegheny co, PA, pop sch., Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 0246, p. 10B, dwelling 200, family 214, & dwelling 209, Charles Nichols & Howard Nichols; digital images, Ancestry.com

It was only as I wrote this article and re-examined the 1910 census record that I realized Charles’s younger brother, Howard, lived just a few houses down the street. Lesson learned, check records several times for clues.

Charles Nichols, 1914, Tarentum, Pennsylvania; VP of Brackenridge Country Club.

Charles Nichols, 1914, Tarentum, Pennsylvania; VP of Brackenridge Country Club.

Interested in his community, Charles became a founding member and Vice-President of the Brackenridge Country Club. A 1914 newspaper article I found provided a picture of the mature Charles. He still has thick dark hair and a well-groomed appearance but no longer wears a mustache. Active in business and civic affairs, Charles also served as president of the First National Bank of Tarentum.

 

 

 

 

As General Superintendent of the West Penn Steel plant, Charles handled the 1915 employee strikes that resulted in a slight increase in pay. Again in 1919 Charles agreed to the justice of the worker’s demands. They received the eight hour work day they desired.[15] How many hours were they working before the strike? Did Charles feel  sympathy for the workers since he understood the plight of the common man?

Successful at his job, Charles owned his own home in the 1920 census and served as the Assistant Manager at a Steel Mill at age 54. The household members included Charles, Lizzie, 24-year old Helena and the retired brother of Lizzie, Adam L. Carney.[16]

1920 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch. Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 831, p.5A, dwelling 85, family 103, Nichols, Charles K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1920 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch. Ward 2, Tarentum, ED 831, p.5A, dwelling 85, family 103, Nichols, Charles K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

After ten years as general superintendent, Charles received a promotion in February 1921. The new vice president and general manager was noted in the Pittsburgh Press as “prominent in  independent steel circles.”[17]

The year 1925 was an eventful year for Charles. He retired from the Steel Mill at age 60 with a successful career behind him. A 1925 newspaper article listed Pittsburg residents who paid more than $500 in Federal income tax, most of the people paid between $1000-$3000 in Federal Taxes; Charles paid $10, 398.94.

Another notable event for Charles in 1925 was the marriage of his only daughter, Helena, to Charles Lefkowitz. Born in Sedlossk, Czecho Slovak, Kalman Leokovics, emigrated to the U.S. in 1908. He Americanized his name and became a pharmacist. Did Helena meet him through friends or while picking up a prescription?  Unfortunately, I could not find any articles with details about the wedding. Although initially  the families had separate households, they would later share one home.

I am always curious about contact between family members when they live far apart from one another. Even there are no letters saved from the Nichols family, I did find evidence that the siblings maintained some contact with one another. Charles assisted his extended family a couple of times. I found his name and address listed as a reference on a passport application for his nephew’s wife in June 1919. Charles sister,Bertha, married Warren Donaldson and settled in New Jersey. Their only son,  Lt. Warren Donaldson, married Marie Heinen from Luxemburg on June 16, 1919.[18]

“U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Feb 2017), entry for Marie H. Donaldson, Volume 169: Paris, France, citing National Archives.

“U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Feb 2017), entry for Marie H. Donaldson, Volume 169: Paris, France, citing National Archives.

In the 1930 census Charles and Lizzie had settled in Natrona Heights, a township not far from Tarentum. They shared their $30,000  home with Charles’s nephew, John Lee Nichols (1890-1967), the youngest son of John Mathews Nichols. Thirty-nine-year-old John Lee, a WWI Veteran, must have sought help from his uncle who had connections.

1930 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch.,Harrison, ED 0622, p.g10B, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Chas. K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

1930 U.S. census, Allegheny co., PA, pop sch.,Harrison, ED 0622, p.g10B, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Chas. K; digital images, Ancestry.com.

John found a job as a yardmaster at a Steel Mill. How long he stayed with his uncle is unknown. Charles and Lizzie also opened their home  during 1930 to her 76-year-old brother, John Carney.[19]

I found a second link between the two brothers, Charles Knerr Nichols and John Mathews Nichols and their families. This one would please my mother.  She grew up knowing very little about the Nichols family and often wondered if they lost contact with one another. My mother only recalls  frequent visits to her grandmother, Mabel Nichols Hyde (1888-1954), and Mabel’s younger brother, John Lee Nichols (Uncle Johnnie). Did Mabel ever visit her Uncle Charles, or did he visit his brother and family in Omaha? When Mabel’s only son, John F. Hyde Jr. married Anna Jane Beaton in June 1935, Charles and Lizzie Nichols must have received an invitation to the wedding. I can say this with certainty because my grandmother, Anna Jane, noted a generous gift from Charles and Lizzie in her wedding gift registry.

Wedding gift registry for Anna Jane Beaton and John F. Hyde from Charles and Lizzie Nichols.

Mr. and Mrs Chas. Nichols 927 Freeport Rd, Tarentum Penns. – 50 pieces of Franciscan china July 20, 1935. Wedding gift registry for Anna Jane Beaton and John F. Hyde Jr.

 

 

franciscan_china_yellow

They sent a 50-piece set of Franciscan ware. I wonder if this is the colorful Franciscan china that I remember Grams setting on her table when I visited her? As I wrote this article it occurred to me that I have 7 pieces of brightly colored Franciscan ware I inherited from Grams.  It would be rather fitting if these are the same pieces Charles and Lizzie gave to my grandparents. ceramic-mugs

 

 

 

nichols_helena_pa_addressbk_2

Reviewing all of the documents I received I recalled an address book that belonged to Helena May Nichols. She started writing in the book prior to her marriage as it lists her maiden name.

 

 

 

 

Addresses: Fred [Nichols] 5417 N. 16th [Omaha, NE]; John [ Mathew Nichols] 1402 Jaynes St. Hyde [Dr. John F and Mabel Nichols Hyde] 3227 Lafayette [Omaha, NE]

Addresses: Fred [Nichols] 5417 N. 16th [Omaha, NE];
John [ Mathew Nichols] 1402 Jaynes St.
Hyde [Dr. John F and Mabel Nichols Hyde] 3227 Lafayette [Omaha, NE]

Helena noted the address for her Uncle John Nichols, his son Fred, and for Mabel Nichols and Dr. John F. Hyde. The address for Mabel and John matches the U.S. 1920 census record.

 

 

 

The Later Years

In 1940 Charles and Lizzie no longer lived in their own home.  They moved in with their son-in-law Charles Lefkowitz, daughter Helena Nichols Lefkowitz,  three grandchildren, and two maids, at 927 Freeport Road in Harrison, PA.[20] The entire family moved again in 1949 to nearby New Kensington. Perhaps they required a larger house?

1940 U.S. census, Allegheny Co., PA, pop sch. Harrison, ED 2-216, p 5A, house 927, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com

1940 U.S. census, Allegheny Co., PA, pop sch. Harrison, ED 2-216, p 5A, house 927, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com

One of the newspaper articles I received in the package of photos described Charles’s and Lizzie’s 60th wedding anniversary in 1950. The couple celebrated at the home of their daughter Helena.  One-hundred-twenty-five guests from Ohio and Pennsylvania joined the couple for their Diamond anniversary.[21] I wish I had a list of all the guests who attended.

“Mr. and Mrs. C.K. Nichols Diamond Wedding,” (Pittsburgh) The Pittsburgh Press, 2 Aug 1950, p14.

“Mr. and Mrs. C.K. Nichols Diamond Wedding,” (Pittsburgh) The Pittsburgh Press, 2 Aug 1950, p14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, three months after the celebration Charles died from a heart attack on October 30, 1951 at age 86.[22] Lizzie passed away three years after Charles in July 1955, also due to heart problems.[23] They are both buried at Mount Airy Cemetery in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.

Did you notice how many times the #3 appeared in Charles’s life?

As I continue to post pictures from this family I hope that a reader will recognize some of the unidentified faces. Fortunately, I have one more labeled picture to present in the next article and speculation about two other images.


[1] Walker, Peter. “George Holyer (1810‐c1890).”  pdf (2011): n. pag. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.
[2] “Cute Young Woman Wearing a Plume Hat in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” The  Cabinet Card Gallery. https://cabinetcardgallery.wordpress.com,  13 December 2016.
[3] 1880 U.S. census, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Saint Clair, Enumeration District 204, p. 75C, dwelling 33, family 33, Nichols, Thomas A; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com: accessed 22 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication  1255192, roll 1192.
[4] First United Church (formerly First Methodist Episcopal Church) (Pottsville, Pennsylvnaia). Marriage Book. Parish Rectory, Pottsville.
[5] “Married.” The Plain Speaker [Hazleton, Pennsylvania]. 4 July 1890. Newspapers.com. Web. 15 Feb. 2017. http://www.newspapers.com.
[6]Compiled Service Record, Thomas A. Nichols, Lt, 9th  Regiment, Co. K,  PA Cavalry (92nd Volunteers); Carded Records, Volunteer Organizations, Civil War; Records of the Adjutant General’s Office 1780’s-1917, National Archives, Washinton, D.C.
[7] 1900 U.S. census, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Allegheny, Enumeration District 75,p. 6B, dwelling 104, family 112, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 17 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication 1241496, roll 1496.
[8] 1900 U.S. census, Franklin County, PA, population schedule, Greene Township, Enumeration District 42, p13B, line 86, Nichols, Howard R; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com : accessed 17 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication 1241412, roll 1412.
[9] “Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for Helena Nichols, Baptism, First United Methodist Church, 1 April 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”
[10] “Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for Charles and Lizzie Nichols, Baptism,First United Methodit Church, 8 July 1900, citing “Historical Society of PA; Philadelphia.”
[11] “Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017, entry for William Wallace Youngson, Pastoral
[12] “Termperance At Valley Camp.” The Pittsburgh Press [Pennsylvania]. 22 Jul 1898. Newspapers.com. Web. 16 Feb 2017. (http://www.newspapers.com)
[13] “To Build $500,00 Plant West Penn Steel Will Let Contracts Tomorrow.” The Philadelphia Inquirer.[Pennsylvania]. 17 Jan 1909. Newspapers.com. Web. 16 Feb 2017. (http://www.newspapers.com)
[14] 1910 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tarentum, Enumeration District 0246, p10B, dwelling 200, family 214, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives microfilm publication 1375310, oll T624_1297.
[15] “Employees in Allegheny Steel Plant Against Strike.” Pittsburgh Daily Post [Pennsylvania]. 21 Sep 1919. Newspapers.com. Web. 15 Feb 2017.(http://www.newspapers.com)
[16] 1920 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tarentum, Enumeration District 0831, p5A, dwelling 85, family 103, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives, roll T625_1529.
[17] “Steel Man Promoted.” The Pittsburgh Press {Pennsylvania]. 11 Feb 1921. Page 9. Newspapers.com. Web. 15 Feb 2017. (http://www.newspapers.com)
[18] “U.S. Passport Applications 1795-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 5 Feb 2017), entry for Marie H. Donaldson, Volume 169: Paris, France, citing National Archives.
[19] 1930 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Harrison, Enumeration District 0622, p10B, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives,microfilm 2341698 .
[20] 1940 census, Alegheny County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Harrison, Enumeration District 2-216, p5A, dwelling 220, family 228, Nichols, Charles; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Feb 2017); from National Archives,roll T627_3405.
[21] “Mr. and Mrs. C.K. Nichols Diamond Wedding,” (Pittsburgh) The Pittsburgh Press, 2 Aug 1950, p14.
[22] “Pennsylvania Death Certificates 1906-1964.” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Feb 1017), entry for Charles K Nichols, Certificate Number Range: 087751-090300, citing Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission;PA, USA.
[23] “Pennsylvania Death Certificates 1906-1964.” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 Feb 1017), entry for Elizabeth B Nichols, Certificate Number Range: 087751-090300, citing Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission;PA, USA.

 

THOMAS ACKLEY NICHOLS
Name: Thomas Ackley Nichols
Parents: Matthias Nichols and
Sarah [Ackley?]
Spouse: wife #1 Helena Knerr, wife #2 Lillian Bull
Children: #1 John Mathews Nichols m. Mary Nelson;   Bertha Virginia Nichols m. Warren Gore Donaldson; Charles Knerr Nichols m. Elizabeth Bell Carney                                                                                                                                                                  #2Mary Watson Nichols Dietsche[later Ditchey], Florence Ackley Nichols Snyder, Howard Ransloe Nichols
Relationship to Kendra: 3x Great-grandfather

  1. Thomas Ackley Nichols
  2. John Mathews Nichols
  3. Mabel Elvina Nichols Hyde
  4. John Fay Hyde
  5. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  6. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

 

Posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

OLD PHOTOGRAPHS SERENDIPITY & COUSIN CONNECTIONS

nichols_photos_mixed4

Nichols family photos and documents.

Old photographs with unnamed faces gaze at me asking to be identified and treasured. Labeled photographs ask for their story to be revealed and shared. I’m fortunate that several of my ancestors saved and passed on so many pictures. However, there are other family lines with gaping holes where there should be smiling faces. What happened to their family photos? According to Maureen Taylor, The Photo Detective,“Photos aren’t inherited in a direct line, most times they pass to a relative interested in preserving them. When that doesn’t happen pictures go missing, get destroyed or are sold.”[1]

Using serendipity, cousin connections, and blogging, I’ve managed to fill in some of the missing faces. Taking inspiration from Cathy Meder-Dempsey’s blog, Opening Doors in Brick Walls, and her articles about Old Photographs Saved From Trash Can, I decided to write a series of posts about discovered photographs.

THE FIRST BIG DISCOVERY

His pale somber eyes gaze at me from the computer screen. Unruly dark hair pokes out behind his pronounced ear lobes. A full mustache drapes over his lips and a slightly graying goatee hides his chin. Although the photograph depicts only a head and shoulder view, he appears slender.  So, this is what you look like Thomas Ackley Nichols? I’d scoured the internet for months looking for his portrait. Serendipity struck on the day I published my first blog about Thomas A. Nichols when I found his photograph on a “defunct” website. You can read more about his story here.

nichols_thomas_3photos

Adjutant Thomas Ackley Nichols, 9th PA Cavalry photos taken about 1864

Cousin connections and blogging led me to two additional photographs of Thomas.  I think the original photograph is the center image and the two identical photographs are copies and reverse images. Although Thomas is not wearing a hat nor can we see a belt buckle, his buttons on the first and last photo are reversed.

  1.  A third cousin read my blog and shared the  photograph of Thomas on the left.  He also emailed me images of Thomas’s second wife (Lillian Bull) and their three children.
  2.  A distant collateral cousin connected with me through ancestry.com; we share a 7x great-grandfather. She generously sent me a collection of Nichols’s family photographs, including the photograph of Thomas on the right.

Some of the photographs in the Nichols collection are labeled, unfortunately, others are not. Prior to receiving the images,  I had very few photos of Thomas and his extended family. He had two wives, six children, and fifteen grandchildren, so my hope is that someone among his descendants is interested in family history and can identify the mystery pictures. I look forward to introducing additional members of the Nichols family and comparing family resemblances.


 

Genealogy Sketch

THOMAS ACKLEY NICHOLS
Name: Thomas Ackley Nichols
Parents: Matthias Nichols and
Sarah [Ackley?]
Spouse: wife #1 Helena Knerr, wife #2 Lillian Bull
Children: #1 John Mathews Nichols, Bertha Virginia Nichols Donaldson, Charles Knerr Nichols                                                                                                                                                            #2 Mary Watson Nichols Dietsche[later Ditchey], Florence Ackley Nichols Snyder, Howard Ransloe Nichols
Relationship to Kendra: 3x Great-grandfather

  1. Thomas Ackley Nichols
  2. John Mathews Nichols
  3. Mabel Elvina Nichols Hyde
  4. John Fay Hyde
  5. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  6. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

[1] Taylor, Maureen, “A Mystery Photo from the Big Easy,” The Client Files (https://maureentaylor.com/mystery-photo-big-easy/?mc_cid=f8a8de703d&mc_eid=670c5a87f4 : accessed 10 February 2017.

Posted in My Family Ancestry, Photographs | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

REVOLUTIONARY WAR PATRIOTS- HYDE ANCESTORS- STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – PART IV

Spirit of "76 By Archibald Willard, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=499045

Spirit of “76 By Archibald Willard, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=499045

The life given us, by nature is short; but the memory of a well-spent life is eternal.”  – Marcus Tullius Cicero

What an ideal way to learn Revolutionary War American history! First you locate the pension file for your ancestor and read his handwritten account of his experiences. Second, you travel to the locations where he served while listening to the audiobook  “1776” by David McCullough.

Although my initial research focused just on my 4th great-grandfather, Joshua Hyde, it soon expanded to include his father and three brothers. Like many New England farming villages during the Revolutionary War the able-bodied men of Sturbridge, Massachusetts dutifully defended their liberty by joining the local militia. My 5x great-grandfather, Benjamin Hyde, and four of his sons served for intermittent periods between 1775-1783. They marched from Massachusetts to Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York and Canada.  Significant battles and events they witnessed include: the Battle of Bunker Hill; Battle of Trenton; Battle of Ticonderoga; surrender of General Burgoyne; the defection of Benedict Arnold. During the seven years the Hyde men served only one lost his life and only one suffered a musket ball wound.

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War the colonies relied on the militia as a significant part of their defense. The militia had a long-standing tradition in the colonies as a safeguard to hostile threats. “The first militia units can be traced to Salem, Massachusetts in 1630.”[1] Males between sixteen and sixty, except for clergy, college students and slaves, were required to serve. Most of these men were farmers like the Hyde family or tradesmen and general laborers. They supported the rebellion but weren’t willing to leave their farms and professions for long periods of time.[2] Ten o’clock a.m. on the first Monday morning of December 1774, the  “Alarm Men” of Sturbridge gathered on the Common.  Almost every man over the age of sixteen, some 60 and some more than 70 years old, marched in military form into the Church. There were 103 men ready to defend their freedom. Every man needed to be accounted for and informed that if they were able to furnish themselves with arms and ammunition they should be prepared for action.[3] By the end of the war, 239 men from Sturbridge fought in the Revolutionary War.[4]

The militia was citizen soldiers with minimal training and limited equipment. When the Hydes showed up for duty they wore their own clothes; the militia did not receive uniforms. Perhaps the Hydes wore the typical “American hunting shirt”, made famous in the Revolutionary War. “It was generally made of homespun linen and cut in a long overshirt or wraparound style. It had rows of fringe around the edges and fit loosely so the wearer could move easily….Aside from hunting shirts, the militia usually wore homespun wool coats in a variety of colors and patterns, waistcoats, breeches, and stockings.” [5]

Soldiers in Uniform, Verger, Jean Baptiste Antoine de (creator). Prints,Drawings, and Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown Digital Repository. Original Watercolor of African American Soldier of the Rhode Island Regiment, and three other soldiers in American Uniform.

Soldiers in Uniform, Verger, Jean Baptiste Antoine de (creator). Prints,Drawings, and Watercolors from the Anne S.K. Brown Military Collection, Brown Digital Repository. Original Watercolor of African-American Soldier of the Rhode Island Regiment, and three other soldiers in American Uniform.

The militia supplied themselves with  “enough ammunition, food, water, and other items of comfort (blanket, extra clothing etc.) for at least one day’s service.”[6]  Based on the Revolutionary War Muster Rolls for Massachusetts, the Hyde men always served for periods longer than one day.

Soldiers were officially authorized to receive daily rations to include bread (often hardtack), dry beans, meat, peas, and a “gill of rum or beer” (gill of rum is a half a pint).  Militia supplied their own food. Supplies often ran short so soldiers and militia relied on food brought from home, wild foods they gathered, hunted game, or ‘liberated food’. “One sergeant recorded that when his patrol happened upon a sheep and two large turkeys ‘not being able to give the Countersign,’ they were ‘tryd by fire and executed by the Whole Division of the free Booters.”[7] Although the militia had the reputation of not being as prepared as the continental soldiers, nor as disciplined, and prone to a “fondness for plunder”,[8] I prefer to think the Hyde men showed more restraint.

COLONIAL MILITIAMAN EQUIPMENT[9]

Colonial Militiamen, image courtesy of National Park Service, U.S. Dept of Interior, Minute Man National Park, Concord, MA.

Colonial Militiamen, image courtesy of National Park Service, U.S. Dept of Interior, Minute Man National Park, Concord, MA.

  • KNAPSACK: 20 lbs –Knapsack usually made from linen or canvas. It contained food, clothing, blanket.
  • MUSKET: 10 lbs – A trained soldier can load and fire three times per minute
  • CARTRIDGE BOX: 10 lbs – ammunition
  • SOCKET BAYONET: 1 lb – “A special blade that fits onto the end of the musket for hand-to-hand combat.Because of the socket’s design, the musket can still be fired when the bayonet is “fixed”.”
  • CANTEEN: 2 lbs – water
  • ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT: “A militia rifleman carried his rifle, knife, tomahawk a light ax, water bottle, a powderhorn for his black powder, and a hunting pouch that held other shooting supplies. Sometimes a patch knife, used to cut a patch of cloth, and a loading block, which held patched bullets enabling the rifleman to load quicker, were attached to the strap of the hunting pouch. In addition, a charger measured the amount of powder to put into the rifle when loading.”[10]
  • An essential piece of equipment, a blanket, served multiple purposes. It provided comfort and warmth from the elements. It functioned as an overcoat or a tent if the soldier lacked one.  Soldiers usually received blankets as part of their kit, the militia provided their own.[11]

HYDE MILITIAMEN AND SOLDIERS

JOHN HYDE [b. July 12 1750 – d. April 10, 1808]

The first Hyde family member enlisted in April 1775. Twenty-four-year-old John, the eldest living son, served as a private for eight months in Captain Adam Martin’s Company, Colonel Ebenezer Learned’s Massachusetts Regiment which participated in the Battle of Bunker Hill. In 1776 he re-enlisted again in the Massachusetts militia and served as a sergeant for one year under Major Sprout and fought in the Battle of Trenton. Early in 1777 John enlisted as a private in Captain Timothy Newell’s Massachusetts Company and was at the Battle of Saratoga where  the Colonialists captured British General Burgoyne. During the battle John suffered a musket ball wound to the head. He recovered and re-enlisted in 1778 and served five months at Whitehall, New York.

A testimonial to John’s service written in 1838 by his daughter Betsy Hyde Mason briefly describes his assignments and injury.

“…heard the said Hyde sundry times relate the tours of service performed by him in the Revolutionary War and I distinctly recollect hearing him say that he performed four tours of duty as a soldier in said war – to wit – a tour in 1775 at Roxbury, a tour in 1776 at and near New York of one year, a tour at the North in 1777 at the capture of Burgoyne and also a tour at Whitehall in 1778 of five months, and I have also heard the said Hyde say that in some of the earlier tours he was a Sergeant in the army and performed that duty and some of the later tours was  a commissioned officer and particularly that at Whitehall he was a Lieut. And I recollect that during his life time I saw his commission as Lieut. I also remember his saying that while in said service he was offered a Captain Commission but refused it. I have heard him converse with some of the soldiers who were out with him in the service & particularly a Mr. Capen who then resided in Belchertown Mass & was formerly of Sturbridge.  They conversed together respecting the Battle at the taking of Burgoyne. They were both in the battle in the same company, my father was wounded in that battle a musket ball struck the side of his head taking off the skin from his temple. The scar of it always remained there till his death. I heard Mr Capen say in those conversations that he saw my father fall when the ball struck him & thought he was dead…My father said he served at one time under Col Seabbard and that in some of his tours under Capt Lyman and that he was in thirteen engagements. ”[12]
Surrender of General Burgoyne courtesy of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Surrender_of_General_Burgoyne

Surrender of General Burgoyne courtesy wikipedia.

Joshua Hyde also wrote a testimony for John’s pension application which provides more details.

“I Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge in the county of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts aged seventy six years testify and say that my brother John Hyde who was ten years older than myself in the month of April in the year seventeen hundred seventy five while living with me in my fathers family in said Sturbridge entered the service of the Revolutionary War for the term of eight months as a private and a volunteer in a militia company commanded by Capt Allen Martin and Lieut Benjamin Felton both of said Sturbridge in a Regiment commanded by Col Samuel of Oxford in said Worcester County, and marched with said company to Roxbury and Boston where he served out said tour of duty. And at the expiration of said term of service he enlisted for one year and served as a sergeant as I understood in a regiment of which Major Sprout was Major. The other officers I do not recollect. He marched with said regiment from Boston to New York and performed said term of one year in said regiment in the continental service in the States of New York, New Jersey. He was I have often heard him tell at Trenton at the capture of the Missions on the twenty fifth day of December in the year seventeen hundred & seventy six Christmas Day.”

[The Battle of Trenton was a small but pivotal battle during the American Revolutionary War which took place on the morning of December 26, 1776, in Trenton, New Jersey. After General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton the previous night, Washington led the main body of the Continental Army against Hessian soldiers garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle, nearly the entire Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle significantly boosted the Continental Army’s flagging morale, and inspired re-enlistments.][13]
Battle of Trenton Published by U.S. Government Printing Office; painting by Hugh Charles McBarron, Jr. (1902-1992) - U.S. Army Center of Military History (Original uploaded on en.wikipedia (transferred to commons by Matanya), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14583328

Battle of Trenton Published by U.S. Government Printing Office; painting by Hugh Charles McBarron, Jr. (1902-1992) – U.S. Army Center of Military History (Original uploaded on en.wikipedia (transferred to commons by Matanya), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14583328

“While I was at work with my said brother in said Sturbridge getting hay for my father in the year seventeen hundred seventy seven Capt Timothy Newell of said Sturbridge who commanded a Militia company sent to my said brother to notify him that he was drafted to go into the service in Revolutionary War and for the term of three months to the northward and was at the taking of Burgoyne as I have after heard him say. And at the expiration of said term of three months he returned home with the said company & came to my fathers house. “[14]

After the war John returned to Sturbridge, Massachusetts. He married Miss Olive Bascomb of Stafford, Connecticut, on December 16, 1779. All eight of their children were born in Sturbridge and eventually the Hyde’s relocated to Belchertown, MA.  John died in 1808 at age 57. He is buried in Abington Cemetery, CT.

Service Record

  • Rank: Private –  Enlisted April 1775- August 1, 1775 – served eight months
  • Served under Captain Adam Martin’s Company, Continental Fourth Regiment of Foot, commanded by Col. Ebenezer Learned. Was in the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  • Rank- Sergeant – 1776 – served one year with MA troops under Major Sprout. Was in the Battle of Trenton.
  • Rank – Sergeant – Aug 16, 1777- Nov 30, 1777 – Company drafted to serve with the Northern army until Nov 30, 1777. Served 3 months  Captain Timothy Newell’s MA company and was at the capture of Burgoyne where he was struck by a musket ball in the temple and wounded.
  • Rank – Lieutenant – Enlisted 1778 and served 5 months and was at Whitehall.[15]

ABIJAH HYDE [b. June 8, 1754 – d. About 1788 in Canada]

The second son to heed the call to arms, Abijah, enlisted at age 20 on May 1, 1775. He served under Captain Sylvanus Walker’s company and Captain Coburn’s company.  His first assignment was to Colonel Timothy Danielson’s 8th Massachusetts Regiment which was later consolidated with Colonel Ebenezer Learned’s Regiment in December 1775. Two and half years after he joined, Abijah died of smallpox in Canada. His exact death date and burial site are unknown. [16]

Abijah "Hide" Hyde - Muster Roll MA, Captain Sylvanus Walker's Co. 1775 - courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

Abijah “Hide” Hyde – Muster Roll MA, Captain Sylvanus Walker’s Co. 1775 – courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

  • Service Record
  • Rank:  Private – Enlisted May 1, 1775
  • Served under Captain Sylvanus Walker’s Company and Captain Coburn’s company, Col. Timothy Danielson’s Regt. Served two and a half years. Died of Small Pox in Canada.[17]

BENJAMIN HYDE  [b.April 11, 1723- d. November 28, 1797]

On September 4, 1776, fifty-three-year-old Benjamin Hyde joined his sons, neighbors and friends and began his first stint in the Massachusetts Militia. He first marched from Sturbridge, MA to Dorchester Heights and Boston, a total of 72 miles.  By the end of November 1776, Benjamin returned to the farm; the militia allowed him 4 days travel, which indicates he walked about 18 miles per day.[18] At the beginning of July 1777 the militia called him out again. When harvest season arrived in September Benjamin returned home for three months and his youngest son, 16-year-old Joshua, served as his substitute.[19]


In a statement made for the pension file of Jacob Allen, Joshua testifies serving as a substitute for his father.

“I Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge in said County do testify and say that I served in the Massachusetts Militia, in 1777. My father Benjamin Hyde enlisted for 6 months under Capt Cheney and was in Capt Joseph Sibley’s company. After he had served from two to three months my father returned and I took his place and served from three to four months.”[20]

Benjamin "Hide" Hyde - Muster roll - Nov 1776 - marched 72 miles to Dorchester Heights. Courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

Benjamin “Hide” Hyde – Muster roll – Nov 1776 – marched 72 miles to Dorchester Heights. Courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

On December 1,  1777, Benjamin rejoined the ranks as a private and marched to Providence, Rhode Island where he remained until January 3, 1778. His next assignment closer to home didn’t include any travel time. He guarded the stores and magazines in nearby Springfield and Brookfield, MA from January-July 1778.[21] It appears that Benjamin had a respite from the militia for one year; no records show that he served in 1779. On July 22, 1780 Benjamin heeded the call to arms and returned to the militia. He marched 80 miles to Tiverton,Rhode Island. According to Google maps the route would take 22 hours on foot. Using the muster rolls for the Hyde men, they averaged about 18 miles/day.

Fort Barton, Tiverton,R.I.By Marcbela - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4439719

Fort Barton, Tiverton,R.I.By Marcbela – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4439719

Benjamin’s next tour of duty, from August-November 1781, took him the farthest from Sturbridge; Benjamin walked 140 miles to West Point, New York.[22]  Detailed on August 18, 1781, the soldiers were given 7 days travel; however, they didn’t arrive at West Point until August 31st. [23]

Sketch of West Point 1783, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Sketch of West Point 1783, courtesy of Library of Congress.

Assigned to Colonel Luke Drury’s regiment, Benjamin and his comrades guarded the garrison at West Point, a critical site on the Hudson River.  The Americans feared the British might seize the strategic area to separate New England from the rest of the colonies. While researching Colonel Drury’s regiment I found a website that lists historical documents for sale.  The Weekly Return for Colonel Drury’s Regiment for November 15, 1781 included the following tasks:

“Constant Fatigue at Gallows Hollow,” 16 on “Constitution Island,” 9 “Repairing Hut at New Windsor & Diging wells” 7 “Artifices Constantly Employed in Garison,” 4 “in the Sloop,” 3 “on Forage Guard,” 7 “Making Shingles,” 16 “In the Boats Service,” 3 “Station Guard East Side of the River,” 4 at “Robersons Farm,” 5 “chain fatigue” (i.e. the chain across the river from Constitution Island to West Point), and 14 “Constant Fatigue at the General.” [24]

Fatigue duty referred to military duty that did not require the use of arms; the militia may have been “…employed at work on fortifications, in surveys, in cutting roads.”[25]

Benjamin died in 1797 at age 74, “killed by a fall in his barn.”[26] He and his wife,Dorcas Dyer Hyde, are interred at the Old Burial Ground in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The cemetery which dates to circa 1740  has many graves of Revolutionary War veterans.

Service Record

  • Rank: Private
  • Sept 4, 1776– November 28, 1776 Sturbridge, MA to Dorchester Heights, Boston, MA; Captain Benjamin Richardson’s Co. Col. Nicolas Pike’s Regt.
  • July 1, 1777 – December 8, 1777 Sturbridge, MA to Providence, R.I. Stationed at North Kingston.
  • December 29,  1777- January 3, 1778 Sturbridge, MA to Providence, R.I; Captain Joseph Sibley’s Co. Col. Danforth Keye’s Regt.
  • January 3, 1778 – July 1, 1778 Captain John Morgan’s Co, guard stores and magazines at Springfield and Brookfield.
  • July 22, 1780 – August 8, 1780 Sturbridge MA to Tiverton, R.I., Captain Abel Mason, Col Jacob Davis’s Regt.
  • August 18, 1781 – November 9, 1781 Sturbridge MA to West Point, N.Y. Captain Rueben Davis’ Co., Col. Luke Drury’s Regiment.  Detailed Aug 18 and arrived West Point August 31, 1781. [27]

OTHNIEL [b. July 12, 1752 – d. August 26, 1832]

The fourth Hyde, twenty-four-year-old Othniel, joined one month after his father but served for only two months, December 1776-January 1777.  Assigned to Captain Abel Mason’s Company, Colonel Jonathan Holman’s Regt, Othniel marched 52 miles in 3 days to Providence, R.I. and back home again.[28]

Othniel Hyde - MA Muster Roll Revolutionary War, December 1776-January 1777, Stationed Providence, RI. courtesy of www.familysearch.org.

Othniel Hyde – MA Muster Roll Revolutionary War, December 1776-January 1777, Stationed Providence, RI. courtesy of http://www.familysearch.org.

In 1779 Othniel married Rachel Streeter Rood. They settled in Brookfield, Massachusetts where Othniel farmed.  The couple named their first son after Othniel’s brother Abijah who died during the war. Othniel died in 1832, 4 years after his wife. His grave site in Vermont is unknown.

  • Service Record
  • Rank: Private  – December 10, 1776-January 20, 1777
  • Served under Captain Abel Mason’s Company, Colonel Jonathan Holman’s Regt. [29]

JOSHUA HYDE [b. December 12, 1762 – d. September 8, 1838]

In September 1777, the youngest Hyde joined the militia. Sixteen-year-old  Joshua traded his farm tools for a musket and served as a substitute for his 54-year-old father, Benjamin Hyde.  Perhaps Benjamin felt a need to return and supervise the fall harvest, or perhaps Joshua eagerly sought his turn to serve. His pension record recounts his experiences; I have added historical details to enhance his story. For more information about Joshua’s family and his life see earlier postings Part I, Part II, and Part III

I was born in the town of Sturbridge aforesaid on the twelfth day of December AD 1761. There is a register of my name in the town records of Sturbridge aforesaid. I was a resident of Sturbridge aforesaid at the time I was called into service, and except at short intervals to the present times. In the later part of Sept AD 1777 I went as a substitute for my father Benjamin Hyde of Sturbridge aforesaid to Rhode Island. I went from Sturbridge through Woodstock, Killingly, and East Greenwich and joined the army at North Kingston at Bissell’s Mills. Col Danforth Keyes Regt, Capt Joseph Sibley, Lieut Joseph Cheney. I went down to Point Judith to guard the shipping.”


[“During the American Revolution, the British controlled Narragansett Bay and raided and burned the farms on Point Judith and the surround areas in the late 1770s under Captain Wallace.”][30]

“I then returned to Providence the later part of November, staid [sic] from four to six weeks and was dismissed January 11, 1778. I performed about three months of service at above stated in General Spencer’s Expedition in the Massachusetts militia as a substitute for my father Benjamin Hyde. The second time that I was in the service I was in the guards at Brookfield Massachusetts. I enlisted the third or fourth day of January AD 1778 for the term of six months in the Massachusetts Militia. The Continental stores were deposited in a school house half a mile south of Chicopee River in Brookfield near Upham’s Mills. Captain [Gilbert] Speakman was Commissary agent, Solomon Barrister and Joshua Abbot were Sergeants. I was employed part of the time in picketing [standing duty at night] in the school house, the rest of the time on guard. I performed six months duty and was dismissed July 2nd 1778 the day that Mrs Spooner was hung at Worcester.”

[Who was Mrs. Spooner and what crime did she commit that warranted hanging?] Not long after I posted this on FB Genealogy Blogger, a fellow blogger informed me of the story about Mrs. Spooner. Bathsheba Ruggles Spooner was the first woman to be executed in the United States following the Declaration of Independence. The daughter of a prominent Colonial American Lawyer, justice, and military officer, Bathsheba Ruggles had an arranged marriage to a wealthy farmer, Joshua Spooner. She then became lovers with a young soldier from the Continental Army, Ezra Ross, and became pregnant. She enlisted the assistance of Ross and two others [British soldiers] to murder her husband. On the night of March 1, 1778, one of them beat Joshua Spooner to death and they put his body in the Spooner well. Bathsheba Spooner and the three men were soon arrested, tried for and convicted of Spooner’s murder and sentenced to death…After the four were executed, a post-mortem examination revealed that she was five months pregnant. Historians have pointed out that the trial and execution may have been hastened by Anti-loyalist sentiment.”[30a] 

Joshua remembered the day of the hanging fifty-four years later and even included it in his pension affidavit. His hometown of Sturbridge is located just nine miles from Brookfield where Mrs. Spooner and the three men committed the crime.

[While on duty protecting the Continental Stores, Joshua helped rescue a man who fell into the mill-pond. Daniel Upham, a fellow soldier, described the incident. “The public stores were kept within a few rods of my Father’s house. I remember that Joshua Hyde was there and did duty on guard, how long I do not know. I recollect that one Perkins got into the mill pond, and that Joshua Hyde swam into the mill pond and with the assistance of other got him out.” ][31]

“I enlisted in June 1778 to go to Rhode Island. I left Sturbridge on the sixth day of July marched through Oxford, Sutton, then to Providence and joined Col. Wade’s Regiment of Massachusetts Militia at Providence. Lt Col. Wood, Nelson was Major, Capt Samual Hammond’s company.

Marched to Barrington, Bristol, and again joined the Reg at Ticonderoga, crossed once on to Rhode Island about the first of Aug. The next day a storm commenced and lasted three days and three nights, the worst I ever knew. I was then at Butt’s fort, then went about 7 miles South to Old Dominion fort to blockade the British in that fort, staid there about 10 or 15 days while LaFayette was endeavoring to get the French to help us, but they not coming. Retreated to Butt’s Fort, and the British followed. I was in the Battle of Aquidneck with the Black Regt commanded by Col Greene.”

Fort Ticonderoga, View from South.

Fort Ticonderoga, View from South.

[In February 1778 the Governor of Rhode Island authorized and recruited black freemen, slaves, and mulattos as regular soldiers in the Continental Army.  Slaves were promised their freedom at war’s end.] [32]

“That night I march off the island [Aquidneck] to Tivertown[sic]. I was one of the last that march off and it was about day break when I got over.”

[‘On August 28, 1778, the American Forces began an orderly retreat but were soon pursued by the British. During the Battle of Rhode Island, the largest military engagement of the war within the former colony, Butts Hill Fort served as the American Headquarters. In the early morning hours of August 31, the last members of the American army left Aquidneck Island.’][33]

Battle of Rhode Island, Library of Congress Photographs and Prints

Battle of Rhode Island, Library of Congress Photographs and Prints

“Then march over Bristol Ferry to East Greenwich in the night. I was dismissed at Providence or East Greenwich on a furlough on account of sickness about a fortnight or three weeks before my time was out. I was not able to return but was paid to the end of the month of December 1778 making a term of six months.”

[Although Joshua didn’t elaborate in his pension record the complete story of the retreat,  George Davis describes it in “An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge”. “He [Joshua] was in the service during the most critical period of the Revolutionary contest. He was one of the corps commanded by Gen.Sullivan, who gained such distinguished credit in his masterly retreat in Rhode-Island, August 1778. Gifted with a very retentive memory, it may not be out of place to sketch some important particulars related by him [Joshua] with lively interest, and which are in accordance with historic facts. The retreat was under the cover of night, conducted with the utmost caution and stillness and effected by the break of day. This adroit movement was no less memorable than a signal victory. The object of Sullivan’s expedition was to expel the British from Rhode Island. The expected co-operation of the French troops failed. In consequence of this failure, it would have been rashness in the extreme, for Sullivan to have hazarded an engagement. Finding themselves in this perilous condition, many of Sullivan’s troops deserted. Desertion, of this sort, of inexperienced troops, was one of the severe trials to be encountered. The subject of our sketch [Joshua] was not composed of such materials….Mr Hyde was at West Point, at the defection of [Benedict] Arnold.][34]

“I enlisted again for a term of three months, at Sturbridge aforesaid in the Massachusetts Militia to go to Canada. I was mustered at Sturbridge, Mass. Capt Samuel Hammond’s Company, Lieut Corbin of Dudley and Lieut Sibley of Sutton. Marched through Springfield & Greenbush to Albany. I was on guard of about seven hundred Indians in a fort in Albany. Staid at Albany a few weeks and went to the flatts up on the Mohawk or North River. Here and in the vicinity I was on guard five or six weeks and was discharged one week before our time was out at the flatts or at Albany. I was on a detachment party most of the time and was not much of the time with any company or regiment. I served three months lacking one week. Silas Dunton of Sturbridge was in the same company and was warden to Capt Hammond.

Again in 1782 I marched to East Point as a substitute for Samuel Pike of Sturbridge but said Pike had lived most of the time in Brookfield in the county of Worcester aforesaid. I went away the later part of October or the first part of November, joined the Army at York Butts above [MS illegible] about the first of Nov. 1782. Col John Brooks Reg (7th Mass Reg), Maj Lemuel Prescot, Capt. Thorpe’s com, Lt. Lemuel Bussing. I helped build the York butts. Went down to White Plains to Pine Bridge some time in February 1783 and staid one fortnight. I here had my ankle put out and remained 10 or 15 days after my ankle was put out. Said Pike’s furlough was only for three months but he staid four months and being an orderly sergeant he was reduced to the ranks. I continued under the care of doctors till about the first of April and then being [MS illegible] I returned home. I had a discharge under the hand of Gen Lemuel Prescott about the last of March or the first of April, but I have lost it. While I was home Col [William] Stacy of New Salem having been a prisoner for years returned to camp and was Lt Col of our regt and was entitled to Rank. Col Brooks he did not take his rank and had returned home. Benjamin Jennings of Brookfield was a soldier in Col Jackson’s reg and I frequently saw him while at York Butt, and Joseph Fethergill a Corporal was of the same company and same [MS illegible]. Said Fethergill is now a resident of Pittsfield Mass.

Rev Michal Stone and Simon Draper Esq

I hereby relinquish any claim whatsoever to a pension or annuity except the present and declare that my name is not on the pension call of the agency of the state.

Sworn and subscribed the day and year aforesaid  Nathaniel Paine Probate for the county of Worcester                         [Signed] Joshua Hyde

Signature of Joshua Hyde on his pension statement dated August 28,1832. Image courtesy of www.fold3.com

Signature of Joshua Hyde on his pension statement dated August 28,1832. Image courtesy of http://www.fold3.com

Sworn and subscribed to the twenty eight day of August AD 1832 Before me Herman Stebbins Justice Peace”[35]

 

  • Service Record
  • Rank: Private – September 1777 substituted for his father Benjamin
  • Enlisted June 26, 1778- January 1, 1779 -Rhode Island
  • January 1778-July 2, 1778 – Brookfield, Massachusetts; Captain, Samuel Lamb’s Co, Col Nathanial Wade; served on guard duty.
  • June 1778 – December 1778 – Providence, Rhode Island
  • September 1779 – November 1779- Albany, New York.
  • October 22, 1779-November 23, 1779, Regiment raised for 3 months service at Claverack N.Y; transferred to Continental Army. Distance 160 miles, 8 days home travel included.
  • November 1782- April 1783 – New York
  • Captain Hammond’s Company, Captain Samuel Lamb’s Company[36]

Joshua continued to serve in the Massachusetts Militia until the end of April 1783. Although the British surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia in October 1781, the war continued for another 18 months until the signing of the Treaty of Paris signed September 3, 1783.[37]  After his return to Sturbridge, Joshua became a successful farmer (see Joshua Hyde Part I), married and raised his family.   He died at age 75, cause unknown, and is buried in the North Cemetery in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.


REVOLUTIONARY WAR PENSIONS

After the Revolutionary War pensions were awarded based on participation in the conflict. The first pension legislation occurred on August 26, 1776 to provide half-pay for officers and enlisted men who were disabled in the service and unable to earn a living. On May 15, 1778 another resolution benefited military officers who remained in the Continental service to the end of the war. Additional resolutions in 1789 and 1818 resulted in benefits for invalids and veterans. “The last and most liberal of the service-pension acts benefiting Revolutionary War veterans was passed on June 7, 1832. The act provided that every officer or enlisted man who had served at least 2 years in the Continental line or State troops, volunteers or militia, was eligible for a pension of full pay for life.”[38] Nearly three months after the resolution passed, Joshua Hyde filed his pension application.

The application process varied dependent upon the act under which the would-be pensioner applied. The process required the applicant to appear before a court of justice in the State of his or her residence and describe under oath a record of their service. A widow of a veteran had to provide information to include a marriage date and location. Supporting documentation might include property schedules, marriage records, and affidavits of witnesses. The local court certified these documents and forwarded them to the Secretary of War or the Commissioner of Pensions. The applicant later received notification if his request had been approved, rejected, or was pending. Semiannual payments were made through pension agents of the Federal Government in the States.[39]

During the months of July and August 1832, Joshua located six fellow militiamen with whom he’d served and sought their affidavits. He wrote affidavits for five men.  On September 7, 1832, the County Court of Worcester submitted his application. The certificate of pension approved on May 16, 1833 provided Joshua $72.56 annually.[40] Upon his death in 1838 the payments ceased. When Congress approved on July 29, 1848, “ An Act for the Relief of certain surviving Widows of Officers and Soldiers of the Revolutionary Army,” Joshua’s widow, Sally, applied for benefits.

Pension grant for Sally Fay Hyde, widow of Joshua Hyde, granted July 3, 1840. Image courtesy of www.fold3.com

Pension grant for Sally Fay Hyde, widow of Joshua Hyde, granted July 3, 1840. Image courtesy of http://www.fold3.com

In August 1848 she submitted her application assisted by her son, Benjamin Dwight Hyde, an attorney.  They waited almost a year in vain for approval or rejection. After no response they wrote another letter to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts seeking resolution.  Due to “age and bodily infirmity the seventy-four-year-old widow could not personally appear before the court, so a concession was made to allow for “taking said Declaration out of Court.[41]  Approval granted on July 3, 1840 authorized Sally to receive $72.56 annually, the same amount her husband had received. For nine months Sally reaped the benefits. She died on June 15, 1850, her cause of death pleurisy (lung inflammation). [42] Sally lies next to Joshua in the North Cemetery in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Unlike Joshua, his brother John did not personally benefit from a pension. However, John’s widow received compensation. An Act of Congress in July 1836 provided that a widow of any veteran who fulfilled the requirements of the act of June 7, 1832 could apply for a pension if she had married the veteran before the last period of his service. [43] Unfortunately for John widow, Olive Bascom Hyde,  his last period of service in 1778 occurred before their marriage. Olive could not receive benefits from the act of 1836.An additional act of Congress on July 7, 1838 granted 5-year pensions to widows whose marriages took place before January 1, 1794.[44]  John and Olive married October 25, 1779, thus Olive qualified; she promptly applied for a pension in August 1838.

Olive Hyde, widow of John Hyde, pension grant. Note death date for John is incorrect. Image courtesy of www.fold3.com.

Olive Hyde, widow of John Hyde, pension grant. Note death date for John is incorrect. Image courtesy of http://www.fold3.com.

More than a year later in October 1839, the “gravely ill” widow of 83 still awaited confirmation of her pension. Finally on May 7, 1840 Olive received an annual pension of $26.66. She received $119.99 in arrears issued on May 7, 1840.[45] Three months later Olive died.  She is buried near her husband John in Abington Cemetery, Connecticut.

Coincidentally,when I began writing this article I received the journal from an aunt who attended a workshop on the American Revolution in July 1991.  Aimee Thompson cultivated her passion for learning,  history, and travel into a successful teaching career both stateside and abroad. She expresses quite eloquently the sentiments I embrace regarding my Revolutionary War ancestors.

“As I write this final entry at the conclusion of my week-long journey back into the past, I shall leave Valley Forge tomorrow with head held high, increased pride in my heart to be an American, and a deepened gratitude to those highly dedicated, self-sacrificing,, and determined Patriots who forged the United States of America from thirteen original British Colonies.”[46]

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
Parents: Benjamin Hyde 1723-1797 and
Dorcas Dyer 1726-1787
Spouse: Sarah “Sally” Fay Hyde 1775-1850
Children:

  1. Augusta Hyde, b. 31 Oct 1795, Sturbridge, MA, d. 17 Sep 1872, Sturbridge, MA.
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde, b. 28 Mar 1798, d. 1880, Sturbridge, MA.
  3. Charlotte Hyde, b. 26 Sep 1800, Sturbridge, MA, d. 16 Mar 1870, Brookfield, MA
  4. Benjamin Dwight Hyde, b. 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 2 Nov 1869, Sturbridge, MA
  5. Emory Hyde, b. 21 Feb 1805, Sturbridge, MA, d. 31 Oct 1830, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Frederick Baxter Hyde, b. 15 Jul 1808, Sturbridge, MA, d. 25 Feb 1852, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio
  7. George Baxter Hyde, b. 20 Mar 1811, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Jul 1889, Boston, MA
  8. Fitz Henry Hyde, b. 2 Jun 1814, Sturbridge, MA, d. 23 Oct 1833, Sturbridge, MA
  9. John Fay Hyde, b. 5, Aug 1817, Sturbridge, MA, d. 3 Sep 1889, Buda, Bureau, IL

Relationship to Kendra: 4th great-grandfather

  1. Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
  2. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889
  3. Frederick Albert Hyde 1851-1926
  4. John Fay Hyde 1885-1950
  5. John Frederick Hyde 1911-1980
  6. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  7. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

 

© 2017 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.


[1] Ronald L. Boucher. “The Colonial Militia as a Social Institution.” Anthology by the editors of Military affairs. Military Analysis of the Revolutionary War.  New York: KTO Press, 1977. p. 35, quoted in Larry Hart, “The Colonial Militia during the Revolutionary War”, digital images. (http://hartnation.com/the-colonial-militia-during-the-revolutionary-war/#_ftn19 : accessed 8 January 2017).
[2] Gerald Horton. “The Militia A Very Condensed Overview”, digital images. (https://www.hortonssarticles.org : accessed 8 November 2016).
[3]  Joseph S. Clark. “An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge, Massachusetts from Its Settlement to the Present Time“. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: E. and L. Merriam, Printers 1838),  16; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 9 November 2016).
[4] Ibid, p.20.
[5] “Outfitting an American Revolutionary Soldier.”digital images, NCPedia (www.ncpedia.org : accessed 12 December 2016). Used with permission from Tar Heel Junior Historian 32, no. 1 (Fall 1992): 28–34, copyright NC Museum of History.
[6]Just the Essentials: Clothing and Equipment of Revolutionary War Soldiers.” Minute Man National Historical Park. National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. 2009. http://www.nps.gov/mima/forteachers/upload/essentials.pdf(accessed November 29, 2016).
[7]Kyle R. Weaver, Diane B. Reed, Fred Lauver (Eds). 2004“Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook,” PA: Stackpole Books and Pennsylvana Historical and Museum Commission, quoted in “Feeding Revolutionary War Soldiers”, digital images. (https://pafoodways.omeka.net/exhibits/show/table/articles/feeding-revolutionary-war-sold : acessed 8 January 2017).
[8] Fleming, Thomas. “Militia and Continentals.” Journal of the American Revolution. N.p., 28 Aug. 2016. Web. 08 Jan. 2017.
[9] “Just the Essentials: Clothing and Equipment of Revolutionary War Soldiers.” Minute Man National Historical Park. National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. 2009. http://www.nps.gov/mima/forteachers/upload/essentials.pdf(accessed November 29, 2016).
[10] “Outfitting an American Revolutionary Soldier.”digital images, NCPedia (www.ncpedia.org : accessed 12 December 2016). Used with permission from Tar Heel Junior Historian 32, no. 1 (Fall 1992): 28–34, copyright NC Museum of History.
[11] Ibid
[12] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1387.
[13] Wikipedia Contributors. “Battle of Trenton.” Wikipeida, The Free Encyclopedia. 6 Jan. 2017. Web. 6 Jan. 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Trenton
[14] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1387.
[15]  “Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M881, Roll 0470.
[16] George Davis. “Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge“. West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co, 1856), 88; digital images, (https://www.archive.org : accessed 8 November 2016).
[17] Ibid
[18] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSQZ-C33F-H?cc=2548057&wc=QZZQ-MQW%3A1589088627 : 25 November 2015), > image 1612 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[19] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[20] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 5 January 2017), entry for Jacob Allen; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 0037.
[21] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-57909-94326-31?cc=2548057 : 25 November 2015), Herskill, Andrew – Hill, Amos > image 1622 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[22] “Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War”. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Poetter Printing CO, 1900), 830; digital images, (https://wwwarchive.org : accessed 8 November 2016.)
[23] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-57909-94326-31?cc=2548057 : 25 November 2015), Herskill, Andrew – Hill, Amos > image 1622 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[24] “A Month After Yorktown, Colonel Drury’s Weekly Return for His Regiment at West Point Notes “Chain Fatigue”, http://www.abebooks.com (https://www.abebooks.com/servlet?BookDetailsPL?bi+10723273999 : accessed 10 January 2017).
[25] Wikipedia Contributors. “Fatigue duty.” Wikipeida, The Free Encyclopedia. 7 Jan. 2017. Web. 7 Jan. 2017. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatigue_duty).
[26] “Massachusetts, Town Vital Collections, 1620-1988,”digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 January 2017), entry for Benjamin Hyde, Death Date 23 Nov 1797 Death Place, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
[27] Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Potter Printing CO, 1900), 830; digital images, (https://www.archive.org : accessed 8 November 2016.)
[28] “Massachusetts, Revolutionary War, Index Cards to Muster Rolls, 1775-1783,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-57909-88947-0?cc=2548057 : 25 November 2015), Herskill, Andrew – Hill, Amos > image 1724 of 2755; citing Massachusetts Archives, Boston.
[29] Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War. Boston, Massachusetts: Wright & Poetter Printing CO, 1900), 834; digital images, (https://wwwarchive.org : accessed 8 November 2016.)
[30] Wikipedia Contributors. “Point Judith, Rhode Island.” Wikipeida, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Jan. 2017. Web. 5 Jan. 2017. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Judith,_Rhode_Island
[30a]Wikipedia Contributors. “Bathsheba Spooner.” Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia; accessed 13 Jan 2017.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathsheba_Spooner
[31] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[32] “The 1st Rhode Island Regiment of the Continental Line.” www.americanrevolution.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2017.
[33] Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project, D. K. Abbass, Ph.D., “Butts Hill Fort, Portsmouth,” Rhode Tour, accessed January 8, 2017, http://rhodetour.org/items/show/50.
[34] George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co, 1856), 93-94; digital images, (https://www.archive.org : accessed 8 November 2016).
[35] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[36]“Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1388.
[37] Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Washington’s Headquarters. New York: Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, 1987.
[38] “Pensions Enacted by Congress for American Revolutionary War Veterans”, digital images. (https://www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com : accessed 8 November 2016).
[39] “Pensions Enacted by Congress for American Revolutionary War Veterans”, digital images. (https://www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com : accessed 8 November 2016).
[40] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[41] “Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files,”digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), p.25  entry for Joshua Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication Case Files of Pension andBounty-Land Warrant Applications Based on Revolutionary War Service, M804, Roll 1388.
[42] “Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 January 2017), entry for Sarah Hyde, 15 June 1850, Sturbridge, MA.
[43] Pensions Enacted by Congress for American Revolutionary War Veterans”, digital images. (https://www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com : accessed 8 November 2016).
[44] “Just the Essentials: Clothing and Equipment of Revolutionary War Soldiers.” Minute Man National Historical Park. National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. 2009. http://www.nps.gov/mima/forteachers/upload/essentials.pdf(accessed November 29, 2016).
[45]“Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War,” digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com : accessed 8 November 2016), entry for John Hyde; citing NARA microfilm publication compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutinoary War, M804, Roll 1388.
[46] Aimee Thompson, Mobile, Alabama, Journal 1 July 1991, Research Journal, 1991; Thompson Family, Schmidt Research Files; privately held by Kendra Schmidt, Vienna, Austria.

 

Posted in Biographies, Military Service, My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Birthday Celebration – Anna Jane Beaton Hyde

Anna Jane Beaton, 1926, Omaha, NE. Photo entered in National Photo Competition.

Anna Jane Beaton, 1926, Omaha, NE.

June 21st celebrates the summer solstice and the birth date of my grandmother, Anna Jane Beaton Hyde. She was born 109 years ago in 1907 in Omaha, Nebraska.  It was a notable year for celebrity births, such as Katherine Hepburn, Laurence Olivier, John Wayne, and Frida Kahlo, to name just a few.  However, no star could ever outshine the grace, beauty, spunk,  and wisdom of Grams.

From an early age she inspired me with stories of her travels and adventures. She shared scrapbooks filled with newspaper clippings  and photos documenting her life as well as her ancestors. My intention to write a more complete biography for my grandmother’s birthday failed. It is an ongoing project. However, thanks to Amy Johnson Crow and her suggestion to create videos using the free adobe spark program, I  compiled a brief video tribute to my grandmother, Anna Jane Beaton Hyde.  You can view it by clicking on the following link : https://spark.adobe.com/video/ByNz8InE

Genealogy Sketch

Anna Jane BEATON
Name: Anna Jane BEATON 1907-1998
Parents: Alfred James BEATON and
Edith Marion ORCUTT
Spouse: John Frederick HYDE Jr.
Children: Jean Ann Marie HYDE
Relationship to Kendra: Grandmother

  1. Anna Jane Beaton Hyde
  2. Jean Ann Marie Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  3. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

 

Posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

JOSHUA HYDE LIBRARY – THE RICH REWARDS OF PROBATE RECORDS- PART III

Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Reading a tantalizing tale takes the imagination and catapults it into other worlds.  As a grade school child I scoured the Scholastic catalog eagerly checking off each book I desperately wanted. What a thrill to order new books and dive into reading them! With four siblings competing to buy books, I had limited options.  Checking out books from the school library or the public library ensured an endless stream of reading material. I lived in the country on a farm so a trip to the library in Longmont, Colorado was an adventure. I always checked out the maximum number of books allowed. The genres changed through the years from the adventures of “Little House on the Prairie,” to Nancy Drew mysteries, and later travel and history. Every time I move I still explore the local public library and acquire a lending card.

Imagine my delight when several years ago, I learned that my 4x great-grandfather, Joshua Hyde, had a library named after him in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, the Joshua Hyde Public Library. My first genealogy road trip included a visit to this library. Like a novice family historian I hastily gathered the information I thought I needed and neglected to note sources and take sufficient photos. Imagine my dismay when I realized I couldn’t publish this blog because I realized I lacked photos of the library interior and source citations. I promptly sent out a message on www.genlighten.com, a genealogy website, to find a researcher.  David J. McTigue, who specializes in New England research, obtained the documents and photos I requested.

JOSHUA HYDE LIBRARY DEDICATION

On July 22, 1897, the Sturbridge community gathered precisely at half-past one o’clock at the Congregational Church. Despite the pouring rain they packed the pews to listen to Dr.Professor George H. Haynes speak. The crowd responded with thunderous applause to his last statement.

Joshua Hyde Public Library, A Centennial Celebration 1897-1997. Image courtesy of Joshua Hyde Public Library.

Joshua Hyde Public Library, A Centennial Celebration 1897-1997. Image courtesy of Joshua Hyde Public Library.

“A living memorial…opening its door of opportunity ever wider…through the distant, the unimagined future.”

What occasion prompted such an outpouring of community spirit? The town rejoiced at the dedication of the Joshua Hyde Library, “the grandest in Sturbridge…one of the finest structures in the Commonwealth.”[1] In 1897,  Sturbridge was not an affluent society. People worked hard and money was scarce. The completion of the new community library called for a celebration.

The Worcester Evening Gazette published an article on July 22 with a vivid description of the new library.[2]

Joshua Hyde Library 1900. Image courtesy www.digitalcommonwealth.org.

Joshua Hyde Library 1900. Image courtesy www.digitalcommonwealth.org.

“The Library building is situated on the brow of the steep hill which bounds Sturbridge Common on the west. It is of Colonial Architecture, one story high, of cream-colored brick with marble trimmings. The most striking features of the building are the entrance, with its massive white pillars, and the dome, of old design, surmounting the steep, slanted roof. To the right and left respectively, as one enters, are small cloak and toilet rooms, while a few feet further on, and nearly in the center of the room, is the librarian’s desk which faces south. The interior of the building, with the exception of the toile and cloak department, is all one large room, whose length and breadth overall are approximately those of the entire building, 50 and 23 feet respectively.”

“The southerly half, or that portion of the room to the right of the entrance, is for the accommodation of the patrons of the library and the general public; while the northerly portion, or that division in the rear of the librarian’s desk, serves as the stack room. Running entirely around the northerly division is a gallery, most of which is provided with shelving for books. The gallery is reached by stairs which rise from the librarian’s desk.”

Joshua Hyde Library, image courtesy of Joshua Hyde Library, "A Centennial Celebration."

Joshua Hyde Library, image courtesy of Joshua Hyde Library, “A Centennial Celebration.”

“Perhaps the most cosy spot in the room is the brick fireplace directly opposite the entrance on the further side of the room and beneath the end of the gallery.” [Alas, the fireplace is gone, the victim of a later expansion.] “On one side of the fireplace and in the shape of a right angle is a broad settee-like seat which forms a most comfortable nook wherin to rest and read, as it confined in a sort of recess, which reaches slightly from the main room. Running around the southerly portion of the room, beneath the windows, are beautiful panels of oak; while the walls are finished in a clouded brownish effect around which is a narrow stenciling. The stack department, in the other half of the room, including the shelving in the gallery, has a capacity for 10,000 volumes.”

Joshua Hyde Library, interior photos taken April 2016.

Joshua Hyde Library, interior photos taken April 2016.

Where did the funds come from to build the fabulous new library? The benefactor was the philanthropist George Baxter Hyde, the 7th child of Joshua and Sally Hyde.

George Baxter Hyde, portrait in the Joshua Hyde Library.

George Baxter Hyde, portrait in the Joshua Hyde Library.

From an early age,  books captivated George and he embarked on a life of learning and teaching. Born in 1811 in Sturbridge, his early education began in Sturbridge and expanded to academies in Dudley, Leicester, Amherst and Andover.  George began his teaching career in 1830 as a teacher at Walpole, MA. His career spanned 50 years of dedicated service, primarily in Boston. The last 18 years of his career George served as the headmaster at the Everett girls school. Upon his retirement in June 1878, George commented: “There has been my paradise; that is the place where I have enjoyed most; that is the place where the kindest reception was given me….Whatever I may be, and whatever faults I may have, I am a better man than I should have been if I had not had those pupils to teach.”[3] 

After retirement,  George was elected to the Boston School Committee for seven years.  When George died July 8, 1889 in Boston, he left  his property to his wife, Mary, during her lifetime. The couple had no children. When Mary died in July 1894, George’s estate benefited the local community as well as the city of Boston.[4]

GEORGE BAXTER HYDE’S WILL

1.      $2000 to the town of Sturbridge for the care of the cemeteries where his parents and grandparents are buried (The North Cemetery and the Old Burial Ground). The funds were also to provide watering places by the roadside and shade trees along the public highway.

The Old Burial Ground and The North Cemetery, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

The Old Burial Ground and The North Cemetery, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

2.      $14,000 for a statue of Rufus Choate, a noted Massachusetts attorney and statesman. The sculptor,  Daniel Chester French, also sculpted the Abraham Lincoln memorial statue in Washington D.C.

Rufus Choate Statue, image courtesy of www.wikipedia.com.

Rufus Choate Statue, image courtesy of www.wikipedia.com.

3.       $40,000 to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

4.      $20,000 to the Town of Sturbridge for a library to be named after his father, Joshua Hyde. Half of the funds were designated for the land and the building.  The remainder was  for books and the upkeep of the library.

Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

5.      George donated all of his personal books, bookcases, pictures and engravings, his field and marine glass, his degree from Harvard College, and his best eight-day clock.

Sturbridge_library_clock_1

Eight-day clock donated by George Baxter Hyde to the Joshua Hyde Library. George’s portrait is to the left of the clock.

 

Thank you George Baxter Hyde for honoring the memory of your father, Joshua Hyde, who died 178 years ago.  The Joshua Hyde Public Library is 119 years old and continues to serve Sturbridge community.  The young visit the library to borrow books,  hear stories in the company of a therapy dog and librarian, or to create crafts. Teens and adults enjoy lectures and book club events. The Joshua Hyde Public Library is a small library in a small town but its contribution perpetuates learning and reading.  Joshua, a modest man, might not have cared if anyone knew who he was, but it mattered to his son George who fondly remembered the father who inspired him. How many residents of Sturbridge ask, “Who was Joshua Hyde?” I would enjoy seeing a brief history section added to the library website describing Joshua Hyde as a typical American patriot.

Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Joshua reflects the American spirit and independence. Dedicated to his family and country, he marched to war at age 16 and served for periods of time from 1777-1783. His personal account of his experiences unfolds in the next article as I examine his pension record.


[1] Burns, Charles E. Joshua Hyde Public Library, A Centennial Celebration. Sturbridge: Joshua Hyde Library, 1997. Print. “Hyde Memorial.” Worcester Evening Gazette [Sturbridge] 22 July 1897:  Print.
[2] Ibid
[3] Dean, John Ward. The New England Genealogical Register Vol XLVI. Boston: NEHGS, 1892. Archive.org. Web. 8 Apr 2016. http://www.archive.org, 409-410.
[4] Burns, Charles E. Joshua Hyde Public Library, A Centennial Celebration. Sturbridge: Joshua Hyde Library, 1997. Print.

 

© 2016 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
Parents: Benjamin Hyde 1723-1797 and
Dorcas Dyer 1726-1787
Spouse: Sarah “Sally” Fay Hyde 1775-1850
Children:

  1. Augusta Hyde, b. 31 Oct 1795, Sturbridge, MA, d. 17 Sep 1872, Sturbridge, MA.
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde, b. 28 Mar 1798, d. 1880, Sturbridge, MA.
  3. Charlotte Hyde, b. 26 Sep 1800, Sturbridge, MA, d. 16 Mar 1870, Brookfield, MA
  4. Benjamin Dwight Hyde, b. 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 2 Nov 1869, Sturbridge, MA
  5. Emory Hyde, b. 21 Feb 1805, Sturbridge, MA, d. 31 Oct 1830, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Frederick Baxter Hyde, b. 15 Jul 1808, Sturbridge, MA, d. 25 Feb 1852, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio
  7. George Baxter Hyde, b. 20 Mar 1811, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Jul 1889, Boston, MA
  8. Fitz Henry Hyde, b. 2 Jun 1814, Sturbridge, MA, d. 23 Oct 1833, Sturbridge, MA
  9. John Fay Hyde, b. 5, Aug 1817, Sturbridge, MA, d. 3 Sep 1889, Buda, Bureau, IL

Relationship to Kendra: 4th great-grandfather

  1. Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
  2. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889
  3. Frederick Albert Hyde 1851-1926
  4. John Fay Hyde 1885-1950
  5. John Frederick Hyde 1911-1980
  6. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  7. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

 

Posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

THE RICH REWARDS OF PROBATE RECORDS – JOSHUA HYDE- STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – PART II

The Common or green, used for livestock and training the local milita. Image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village,

The Common or green, used for livestock and training the local milita. Image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village,

 

A journey through the archives opens doors to the past. Step back 177 years to the rural village of Sturbridge, Massachusetts discussed in Part I.  Take a tour of Joshua and Sally Hyde’s farm and home and meet my 4th great-grandfather.

ESTATE FILE FOR JOSHUA HYDE

 Less than two months  after Joshua’s death in September 1838, three duly sworn men, arrived to take an inventory of the possessions to make a fair and lawful settlement of the estate.[1] The men looked over the property and buildings. They carefully examined the household items, opened up cupboards, listed the items, valued them, and presented their findings to the local probate court. The three men included two men from Sturbridge, Edward Phillips and Abijah Prouty, and one man from nearby Southbridge, Jedidiah Marcy.[2] The inventory was compiled and probably listed in the order in which the men went through the house, room by room. It would seem from the inventory that Joshua and Sally owned a modest two or three room  home. It likely included a kitchen, living area, and possibly one bedroom.

The most valuable part of the inventory is listed first, real estate. It included meadow land, mowing land, farm land, and a wood lot. Joshua owned a total of 601.5 acres of land.[3] Since a “middling farm” consisted of about 100 acres, Joshua’s farm could be considered quite prosperous. To accurately measure the land he bought, Joshua possessed  “1  pair of Chain-$2.50, and  2 chains -$2.25” (Chain- a measuring line of 100 links used in surveying.”[4])

REAL ESTATE

  • The homestead of said deceased situated in said Sturbridge containing by estimation 130 acres with the Buildings on the same appraised at                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         2800.00
  • The Boyden & Lancaster farm so called by estimation 177 Acres with the building there  on in Sturbridge aforesaid                                         3800.00
  • The Stowell farm situated partly in Sturbridge & partly in Brookfield containing by estimation 77 Acres with a Barn thereon            1400.00
  • The Epraim Rice Lot situated in Brookfield 80 Acres                  1500.00
  • The Freeman farm situated in Brookfield containing by estimation including the Jos. Rice lot and wolf swamp 88 Acres with the Building thereon appraised at                                                                           1800.00
  • The last mentioned farm is however subject to the widow Betsy Freemans right of Dower which was not estimated by us or taken into account in the appraisal.
  • A lot of mowing Land in Brookfield called the Homan lot containing 3 Acres                                                                                                                       400.00
  • The Old Meadow in Brookfield  5 acres                                               60.00
  • The Bridges Meadow in &a 2 ½ acres                                                 18.00
  • The Johnson Wood lot in Sturbridge by estimate 10 acres         250.00
  • The Clark Lot in Sturbridge &a  &a 10 Acres                                       60.00
  • One undivided half of 19 Acres of Land in Sturbridge called the Barns lot                                                                                                                                100.00
  • One Pew in the Congregational Meetinghouse in Sturbridge           20.00
  •                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Total of Real Estate $12208.00[5]

 

The first property listed was the Hyde homestead which consisted of 130 acres and some buildings.  Joshua’s home likely reflected a typical New England dwelling for the late 18th–century and early 19th-century. It may have been a one story timber-framed dwelling with a chimney at the center, consisting of two or three rooms. Many New England dwellings faced south, “for warmth and light for their primary living spaces, and turned their kitchens to the north.”[6]As their family grew, the Hydes likely added a bedroom to the house.

Cisco House, "The Hundredth Town," by Forbes hariette Merrifield (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1889). p 181. http://resources.osv.org : accessed 4 March 2016.

Cisco House, “The Hundredth Town,” by Forbes hariette Merrifield (Boston: Rockwell and Churchill, 1889). p 181. http://resources.osv.org : accessed 4 March 2016.

The last item listed under real estate is  “One Pew in the Congregational Meetinghouse in Sturbridge – $20.00.”[7] The purchase of a church pew helped fund construction of the local church. It also ensured that the owner could occupy it during his lifetime and his widow would enjoy the same privilege.[8] Joshua stipulated the following of his son and executor,  John Fay Hyde,  “for my beloved wife to provide her whenever she wishes a suitable mode of conveyance to go to meeting & wherever she may wish to go.”  Church attendance provided spiritual sustenance as well as social contact, both important in a small community and more so for a widow.

PERSONAL ESTATE – INVENTORY

Besides real estate, Joshua had a diverse and large personal estate. It included livestock, stored grain, hay, food products, wood, tools,  equipment, and household items. Understanding the social context was a critical factor when I evaluated Joshua’s personal estate. I relied on two books in particular in the process:”The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840” by Jack Larkin, and “Estate Inventories How to Use Them” by Kenneth L. Smith.

Personal Estate (vis)

  • 1 yoke of 4 years old Oxen————————————————————————75.00
  • 1 “  3 years old Oxen———————————————————————            65.00
  • 1 pair of Bulls—————————————————————————————40.00
  • 5 Yearling Steers & Heifers———————————————————————-75.00
  • 1 Two yr old Heifer——————————————————————————-16.00
  • 1 Cow at the new Barn————————————————————————–30.00
  • 1 three yr old Colt——————————————————————————- 50.00
  • All the Hay and fodder at the new Barn————————————————–105.00
  • 2 ploughs & 1 Harrow at the Barn——————————————————–       9.00
  • 104 bushels of Corn @ 6/per Bushel—————————————————— 104.00
  • 1 Chain 2 Forks. 2 Dungforks at new Barn———————————————–    11.75
  • 2 ox yokes & horse Traces &a————————————————————-       1.00
  • 2 shovels & 2 Iron Bars————————————————————————– 2.25
  • 1 Cart Boddy————————————————————————————     1.00
  • 8 Cows at home Barn———————————————————————–   200.00
  • 5 Calves at &a———————————————————————————-   31.00
  • 32 Sheep &a————————————————————————————  60.00
  • 1 Horse &a————————————————————————————— 65.00
  • 5 Store Pigs————————————————————————————– 22.00
  • 3 Fat Hogs————————————————————————————— 75.00
  • 1 Farrow Cow & Calf at Wm Richards—————————————————- 26.00
  • All the Hay & fodder in home Barn—————————————————— 150.00
  • 1 Ox waggon & 2 Waggon bodies——————————————————— 25.00
  • 2 chains——————————————————————————————- 2.25
  • A lot 4 feet wood beside the road———————————————————10.00
  • 1 Old ox waggon & cart body—————————————————————-10.00
  • 1 Cow at the Freeman farm————————————————————————30.00
  • 1 Horse waggon harness & Buffalo———————————————————–27.00
  • 1 Old horse waggon——————————————————————————-2.00
  • 1 Sleigh———————————————————————————————–4.00
  • 1 Horse Collar—————————————————————————————-.75
  • 2 Ox yokes——————————————————————————————-1.00
  • 2 Ploughs——————————————————————————————–9.00
  • 1 ox scraper—————————————————————————————–2.00
  • 1 horse Plough & Traces————————————————————————- 2.00
  • 2 Draft Chains & 1 pair of Chain—————————————————————- 2.50
  • 1 Grind Stone & Crank—————————————————————————–1.00
  • A lot of Sycthe sneaths Cradles & old scythes————————————————4.00
  • 2 Saws 1 Broad Axe 1 Adze & Augers ———————————————————-3.00
  • 1 Rope & Cheese press—————————————————————————–1.25
  • 4 Hoes————————————————————————————————–.75
  • 4 Axes————————————————————————————————2.00
  • 20 Bushels of Wheat—————————————————————————–40.00
  • 2 Bushel of Winter Rye—————————————————————————-2.50
  • 130 Bushels of Oats @ 48 cents—————————————————————-62.40
  • 2 Sides of harness Leather———————————————————————–9.00
  • A lot of Dry Casks———————————————————————————-1.00
  • 3 sickles————————————————————————————————.50
  • 10 Bushels of Salt———————————————————————————-9.00
  • A lot of White Beans——————————————————————————-2.00
  • A lot of Meal Bags——————————————– ————————————-1.50
  • 130 lb of Wool @ 42 cents——————————————————————      -54.60
  • 1 Side Saddle—————————————————————————————-3.00
  • 39 Barrels of Cider with the casks——————————————————– —52.00
  • 125 Bushels of Potatos @ 2/3 per Bush.—————————————————–46.87
  • A Lot of Meat Casks——————————————————————————-1.00
  • 7 kegs of Butter 350.b @ 20 cents————————————————————-70.00
  • 2.50 lbs of Cheese @ 6 cents——————————————————————–15.00
  • 5 Beds Bedsteads Cords & Bedding———————————————————–60.00
  • 1 Wood Clock & Case——————————————————————————1.00
  • 4 Tables & 1 Light stand————————————————————————–4.00
  • 1 Bureau 1 Desk & 2 pine Chests————————————————————–10.00
  • 2 Looking Glasses @ 6/—————————————————————————2.00
  • A lot of chairs—————————————————————————————2.50
  • A lot of Crockery & glass ware—————————————————————–5.00
  • A lot of Pewter dishes plates——————————————————————–5.00
  • A lot of Tin pans & other tin ware————————————————————–3.00
  • A lot of Iron Hollow ware———————————————————————–3.00
  • 2 Flat Irons—————————————————————————————– 2.00
  • 3 Pairs Iron Dogs & shovel & tongs————————————————————2.00
  • 2 Brass Kettles————————————————————————————–3.50
  • A lot Brown Earthen & Stone pots————————————————————–1.00
  • 1 Old Loom——————————————————————————————–.25
  • 1 Cheese Tub—————————————————————————————–1.00
  • Lot of Tubs, Pails & Wooden ware————————————————————-3.50
  • 1 Steel yard——————————————————————————————–.25
  • 1 Set of Measures————————————————————————————.50
  • Lot of Knives & Forks—————————————————————————–1.50
  • 2 Glass Lanterns————————————————————————————-.25
  • 1 ox sled————————————————————————————————.50
  • 3376 Feet of Pine Boards———————————————————————–33.76
  • 800 Feet of 1 ¼ pine Boards——————————————————————–5.75
  • 6 Silver Tea Spoons & other pewter spoons————————————————–2.00
  • 1 Silver Watch————————————————————————————–6.00
  • 1 Cow at Charles Richardsons—————————————————————–20.00
  • All the Hay & Fodder in Stowell Barn——————————————————-80.00
  •                                                                                                                                             TOTAL:  $ 1817.87

Viewing Joshua’s personal estate inventory I learned what “conveyance” Sally and her family used to get around Sturbridge. Joshua owned “1 Old horse waggon, 1 Horse waggon harness & Buffalo,1 sleigh, 1 Horse,1 three yr old Colt,1 Horse Collar and 1 Side Saddle.”[9]

Lightweight road wagon c 1840, 1 horse hay wagon, upholstered seat sleigh c 1820, two passenger one horse sleigh c. 1801, side saddle c 1790-1810. All images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org

Lightweight road wagon c 1840, 1 horse hay wagon, upholstered seat sleigh c 1820, two passenger one horse sleigh c. 1801, side saddle c 1790-1810. All images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, http://www.osv.org

Sally likely confined her travel to the local neighborhood to visit friends, family, and the meeting-house. Most of the year she would have walked, ridden side-saddle, or used the farm wagon drawn by a horse.  In the early 19th-century “owning a farm wagon and horse was the mark of middling economic status”.  The Hyde’s didn’t own a “pleasure vehicle”, a comfortable carriage,  as only the very rich could afford one.[10] Some farm wagons had removable seats but improvisation saved money. One method involved placing two chairs side by side for the parents while the children sat in the back on straw.  During the winter months the Hydes used their sleigh to glide quickly across the snow-covered ground. The buffalo hide served as a lap robe to provide warmth and protection from cold and wet weather.

FURNITURE

The list of household items provides a glimpse into Joshua and Sally’s sparsely furnished home.Eating, working, and socializing spaces were shared since most early American families lived in close quarters. They gathered around the hearth to share light and warmth in the evenings. Even in the “rigorous climate of inland Massachusetts” families rarely had more than two sets of fireplace andirons in a house.[11] Joshua’s inventory lists “3 Pairs of Iron Dogs [andirons] & shovel & tongs” valued at $2.00.[12] He must have had three hearths and a warmer house than many of his neighbors.

Wrought Andirons c. 1780, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Wrought Andirons c. 1780, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Sharing a bed also provided warmth for cold winter nights and siblings often slept together. Joshua owned “5 Beds Bedsteads Cords & Bedding” valued at $60.00. Since upholstered furniture didn’t become available until about 1830, beds served as cushioned seating in a family room.  The number of beds and grading of the bedding indicated status. Since Joshua owned five beds, it is more than likely that the bedding consisted of down feathers, not itchy straw ticking. [13]

Joshua and Sally owned utilitarian furniture, no extravagances. Besides the five beds, they had four tables, and one light stand, two glass lanterns, one bureau, one desk, and two pine chests, two mirrors, one wood clock and case, and a “lot of chairs[14].( The word “lot” in estate inventories  refers to “a number of associated things taken collectively; not used to mean ‘a large number of.”)[15] The pine chests were a “box-like piece of furniture with a hinged lid.[16] and probably served as storage for extra bedding and clothing. I can imagine Joshua seated at the desk on one of his simple wooden chairs, the lantern casting a dim light as he tallied his account books. Sally sat nearby doing needlework and discussed mundane family matters with him.

Farmers account book Old Sturbridge Village.

Farmers account book Old Sturbridge Village.

At the turn of the century, most households had enough chairs for family members to sit down to meals as well as for guests. Most families had nine or more chairs. Listed on Joshua’s inventory are “A Lot of Chairs” valued at  $2.50. Mass produced chairs were manufactured by the thousands by 1820 and cost between thirty and seventy-five cents, so Joshua likely had  seven or eight chairs. I imagine he bought cheaper chairs to save money because they served the purpose well enough. Expensive chairs were an extravagance.

Images obtained from "Furniture of Rural new England" (New York, American Art Assoc, 1929), digital images : https:archive.org accessed 4 March 2016).

Images obtained from “Furniture of Rural New England” (New York, American Art Assoc, 1929), digital images : https:archive.org accessed 4 March 2016).

By 1830, half of the New England farmers had clocks in their homes. Mass produced clocks with inexpensive wooden works made them accessible to average families. Owning an inexpensive clock indicated “time consciousness.” The Hydes were punctual people. Joshua owned “1 Wood Clock & Case” valued at $1.00. He also owned “A Silver Watch” valued at $6.00, perhaps he carried it on special occasions, such as attending services at the Meeting House. The only other silver items on his inventory are the “6 Silver Tea Spoons” discussed in a previous blog.

Rural Massachusetts families in the early 1800s rarely had wall paintings or images on the wall. “Only looking glasses, or framed mirrors, broke the empty expanse of walls and most houses had no more than one or two.”[17] Joshua and Sally had “2 looking glasses” valued at $2.00. They served two purposes. They reflected dim candlelight and were used for grooming. They probably hung in the main room of the home where more family members had access to them. Sally and her two daughters could primp at one mirror before they went to church on Sunday; the boys could dash by the second mirror, quickly pat down their hair, and dash out the door to join their family.

I’ve listed all the furniture in the Hyde household. Did you notice that no window or floor coverings are listed? Carpets and curtains became more common among the more affluent after the 1830s. Rural families used woven “rag carpet” as a substitute for the more expensive parlor rug, or “even painted their parlor floors with carpet stripes.”[18] Did Joshua and Sally paint a substitute rug?

KITCHEN AND FOOD

The kitchen, Sally’s domain, listed items  you wouldn’t find in my cupboards. Using Kenneth Smith’s book, Estate Inventories How to Use Them, and the Old Sturbridge Village website http://www.osv.org, my admiration for Sally’s cooking challenges grew. She cooked over the kitchen hearth as no stove is listed on the  inventory.

  • A lot of Crockery & glass ware
  • A lot of Pewter dishes plates
  • A lot of Tin pans & other tinware
  • A lot of Iron Hollow ware [“A generic term for cast-iron vessels; e.g. pots, pans, skillets][19]
  • 2 Brass Kettles
  • A lot of Brown Earthen & Stone pots
  • Lot of Tubs, Pails & Wooden ware
  • 1 Steel yard [“A type of scale with a moveable weight and calibrated arm”][20]
  • 1 set of Measures
  • Lot of Knives & Forks
  • 1 Cheese Tub
  • 1 Rope & Cheese Press
Glass pitcher, tinware, iron holloware, Stone preserve pot, wooden ware, images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Glass pitcher, tinware, iron holloware, Stone preserve pot, wooden ware, images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

The Hydes ate common New England fare that consisted of salt pork and beef, dried beans, squash, onions, turnips, cabbages, potatoes, bread, milk, cheese, and butter. Meals depended on the seasons with more produce in the summer and fall and provisions stored in casks and barrels for the winter months. To store the food the family possessed: “A lot of Dry Casks-$.50, A lot of Meal Bags-$1.50, and  A lot of Meat Casks-$1.00”.

“As the heavy labors of the harvest season start to wane, the attention of the nineteenth-century family turns to filling the house to the rafters with foodstuffs. The yearly food preserves must be carefully tended now that the harvest is almost complete. Root vegetables are neatly buried in bins of sand in the cellar. Nearby are barrels of meat covered with brine, in readiness for use in the coming year. Crocks of pickled cucumbers and cabbage line the shelves. The cheese made last summer is now ripe and the excess will soon be sold off. The fall egg production has been preserved by wiping each egg with lard and packing them all in finely sifted ashes. The hope is that enough eggs have been preserved to last the family until the chickens begin to lay again in the spring. Firkins of salted butter have been set aside for winter use. From garret to cellar, the fruits of the family’s toil fill every nook of the house and allow them to look with anticipation toward a season in which more leisure time and an abundance of food will be enjoyed.”[21]

Preparing the winter reserves required the entire family to help but certain tasks fell to the women and girls. American farm women learned to make butter and cheese from their mothers. It required “skills of a high order, ‘dexterity as well as strength.’After milking and putting the milk into shallow pans to separate the cream, dairywomen would churn it vigorously – usually for an hour or so for each churnful – to ‘bring the butter.’ They then ‘worked’ the butter, kneading and pressing it into a solid consistency; some used their hands, wetting them to keep the butter cool and clean while others worked with wooden paddles.”[22] A skilled dairywoman became an economic asset to her family because the butter could be sold or bartered. Sally’s ability to make butter is clear as the inventory listed  “7 kegs of butter”  valued at $70.00.

Dasher Butter Churn, early 19th c. wood pine. Early 19th century lever type cheese press, images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Dasher Butter Churn, early 19th c. wood pine. Early 19th century lever type cheese press, images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, http://www.osv.org.

She used her “cheese tub” and “cheese press” to prepare the“2.5 pounds of cheese” listed. Although a small amount, it required more ability to make. “Much of the skill of the process resided in the proper preservation of the ‘rennet’ a piece of the lining of a young calf’s stomach, which contained the digestive enzyme that solidified the milk into curds.”[23] Cheese provided a source of protein and it was a valuable exchange commodity.

Another source of protein for the long cold winter months were beans. They were a basic staple of the New England diet. Joshua’s inventory listed “A lot of White Bean-$2.00.”

Potatoes were an alternative to bread and added another staple to the basic diet helping stretch the meat supply through the winter months. Did Joshua and his family consume all “125 bushels of Potatos- $48.87” ?

LIVESTOCK AND CROPS

Rural America relied on trade and bartering. “…so farmers and most artisans kept account books that gave each of their transactions a monetary value. They settled accounts most often in March or April, at the beginning of the agricultural year, but often let them run for two years or even more.”[24]  Based on the large quantities of produce listed, Joshua sold or bartered a variety of goods such as butter, cider, potatoes, grain, meat, wool and timber. Using the surplus from his farm he could buy tea, coffee, salt, sugar, and cotton cloth at the local store.

Joshua’s livestock included:

  •  4 oxen, 11 cows, 5 calves, 6 heifers and steers,  2 bulls
  •  1 horse, 1 three-year-old colt
  • 32 sheep and 8 pigs
"Different Breeds of Sheep & Hogs" by Solon Robinson. (New York: A.J. Johnson publisher, 1866), digitall image http://resources.osv.org : accessed 4 March 2016.

“Different Breeds of Sheep & Hogs” by Solon Robinson. (New York: A.J. Johnson publisher, 1866), digitall image http://resources.osv.org : accessed 4 March 2016.

According to historians at Old Sturbridge Village, “a middling farm…might typically have a horse, a team of oxen, 4 to 7 cows, 3 or 4 young cattle, a couple of pigs, between 6 and 20 sheep, a dozen or more chickens, and frequently a dog or cat. A more prosperous farmer might have 3 horses, 2 or 3 teams of oxen, 10 to 20 cows, 10 young cattle, 3 or 4 swine, 20 to 60 heads of sheep, and sundry pets and poultry.”[25] Yet again, more evidence that Joshua prospered as a farmer.

New Englanders worked their land primarily with oxen. They were sure-footed, cheaper to feed than horses, and eventually consumable. Farmers began slaughtering animals in November and filled their meat barrels by early winter with pork, beef, or oxen. To store the meat Joshua used “meat casks”. The meat was preserved in a brine solution. Listed in the inventory are “10 Bushels of Salt- $9.00” that were used to preserve the meat,as well as the butter and cheese.

A common sight on a New England farm was the pig sty. Pigs were traditionally fattened on the “dairy waste- the leavings of cheese and butter making.”[26] Joshua owned “5 Store Pigs – $22.00 and 3 Fat Hogs-$$75.00.”  According to the inventory, an additional fat hog had been butchered and sold for $30.00 just before the appraisal so perhaps the same fate awaited the other “3 fat hogs.”. A “store pig” is a pig that has not yet been weaned and is to be fattened up for the market.

CULTIVATION, TOOLS, AND ANIMALS

Old Sturbridge Village was an invaluable website. Caitlyn Emery, the Curatorial Director, granted me permission to use images for non-commercial purposes. To gain an appreciation for farming techniques Joshua used, watch the following video on YouTube showing how to plow a field with oxen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xuytRXRfyeI

  • 1 yoke of 4 years old Oxen – $75.00
  • 1 yoke of 3 years old Oxen – $65.00
  • 1 Ox waggon & 2 Waggon bodies – $25.00
  • 1 Old ox waggon & Cart body -$10.00
  • 1 Cart boddy- $1.00
  • 2 ox yokes & horse traces-$1.00,
  • 1 Old Horse waggon – $4.00
  • 1 Horse $65.00
  • 1 horse Plough & Traces – $2.00
  • 2 sides of harness Leather- $9.00 [“the components of standard harness include: reins, overcheck rein, checkhook, terret, crownpiece, front, blind, facepiece, cheekpiece, throatlatch, neck strap, breast band/collar, saddle, bellyband, breeching, crupper, hip strap, trace, billet, hame, chokestrap, neck yoke, breeching stay, lazy strap. Not every harness rig contains all of the above.”[27]]
  • Wooden Dutch plow early 19th c., Shod Shovel c. 1798, Curved Scythe Snath used for cutting hay. All images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

    Wooden Hay Rake late 18th c.., Shod Shovel c. 1798, Curved Scythe Snath used for cutting hay. All images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

    4 ploughs & 1 Harrow – $18.00

  • A lot of Sycthe sneaths Cradles & old scythes-$4.00[“snead – the handle for a scythe”[28]
  • 2 saws 1 Broad Axe 1 Adze & Augers-$3.00 [Adze-an edged tool with the blade at a right angle to the handle; used for achieving a flat or hollowed surface on wood.”[29] “Auger- a tool for boring holes in wood; some types were intended to make holes in the ground.”[30]]
Wooden Dutch plow, early 19th, c., Harrow to break up clumbs and level the ground, Large Ox Cart, late 18th c.. All images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Wooden Dutch plow, early 19th, c., Harrow to break up clumbs and level the ground, Large Ox Cart, late 18th c.. All images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

  • 4 Hoes
  • 4 Axes
  • 3 sickles [“a tool like a curved knife for cutting grasses”[31]]
  • 2 shovels & 2 Iron Bars-$2.25
  • 1 chain 2 Forks. 2 Dungforks -$11.75 [“Dung Fork- a tined tool used for moving manure or working it into the soil”[32]
Ox Cart, farmer using dung fork to spread manure. Image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village. www.osv.org.

Ox Cart, farmer using dung fork to spread manure. Image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village. www.osv.org.

Since Joshua died in early September many of his crops had already been harvested and stored. When the appraisers walked around his property they found his barns stocked with winter supplies, enough for his family with extra he could sell.

  • Hay and Fodder at the Stowell Barn – $80.00 and at the New Barn $105.00
  • Joshua stored his hay and fodder for livestock in a barn on one of his properties, the Stowell Barn. Livestock provided meat, labor, dairy products, and hides and was one of the most important components of a New England farm. Farmers devoted a large part of their acreage to grass. It provided feed during the summer and hay during the winter. If Joshua followed the typical Sturbridge pattern, 1/3 of his property was pastureland, 1/5 hay fields, and 1/15 tillage (land under cultivation). Only about 6 to 12 acres on a farm were devoted to grain crops such as wheat, rye, oats and corn. The grass harvest usually occurred during late June or early July. It meant long days cutting the hay with scythes and gathering it before a summer shower could spoil it.The day began early as the grass cut better early in the morning when it was still wet. During the afternoon heat the men turned the grass, spread it out,  and “made hay.”[33] Joshua probably did not need to hire extra help as he had six strapping sons to help him. The work was hot and tiring; for refreshment they quenched their thirst with cider, rum, or a mixed beverage called switchel.[34]
Harvesting grain, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Harvesting grain, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, http://www.osv.org.

  • 20 bushel of Wheat – $40.00

Wheat was a difficult crop to grow in New England but still desirable for making flour. In 1838, Massachusetts began offering farmers a bounty for farmers to plant it. The same year the highest yield of wheat/acre in Worcester County was 15 6/7 bushels, the lowest 10 1/5 hence Joshua probably had about two acres of wheat planted that year.  Spring wheat was preferred over winter wheat. It was planted in April and harvested in July or August. Joshua may have already sold some of his harvested crops. He used a sickle to cut the wheat, and then bound the dried shocks in bundles, called sheaves. Later during the winter he threshed the wheat and other grains in the barn.

2 Bushel of Winter Rye – $2.50

Rye became a significant cash crop in early  New England. Combined with corn it served as a replacement for wheat to make bread. It was also a favored crop sown in large quantities to sell to local distilleries. After 1825 sales declined when the Erie Canal opened because wheat could be imported from nearby states. The temperance movement also adversely affected sales about 1830. Rye straw was highly prized for animal bedding. Given the small amount Joshua planted, he probably used the straw for his livestock and the grain for baking brown bread.

130 Bushels of Oats- $62.40

Described in the 1824 Farmers Guide, “The oat is, among grain, what the ass is among animals –very   little respected, but very employed.”[35] Agricultural literature of early nineteenth-century New England devoted most of its focus to wheat and other grain crops and very little on oats. Although used as a substitute for wheat in bread making, oats were invaluable as grain for horses. Nearly every farm had one or two horses, and livery stables, and stage lines required the grains to supplement hay. They were grown primarily for local use. An average yield was between twenty and forty bushels of grain, so Joshua’s yield of 130 bushels indicates he planted about four acres of land in oats. To prepare the soil Joshua plowed and then harrowed the fields. Each acre of oats produced between one half-ton to a ton of straw. [36] Using a scythe to harvest the oats made it easier for the farmer to cut the straw very low and avoid any waste of fodder.[37] Joshua had fodder stored in two barns for the winter.

104 bushels of Corn – $104.00

The most common grain grown in the 1830s in New England was corn.The average yield per acre was 40 bushels so Joshua probably had 2-3 acres planted in corn. There are seven types of corn and open pollination led to many varieties.  To prepare the soil Joshua cross plowed, harrowed and then furrowed the fields. Having kept the best seeds from the previous harvest, he planted 4 or 5 kernels in small hills spaced about 3-4 feet apart. He may have followed the local Indian practice of planting pumpkins in between to prevent weeds.[38] Joshua was likely one of the wise farmers who rotated his crops and traded seeds with neighbors to improve his yield

There were two common methods of harvest in the fall. The farmer could cut the stalks close to the ground and bring the corn to the barn to husk; the saved seeds provided winter cattle feed. The corn could also be husked in the field and the cattle allowed to browse among the stalks. Dried corn kernels, if kept dry, could be stored indefinitely.

Human consumption of corn required milling it into a meal and used in such foods as hasty pudding or “Rye’Injun” bread. Animals were fed the plant stalks as well as coarsely ground corn.

39 Barrels of Cider with the casks-$52.00

Most New England farmers had apple orchards for personal use and sold the extra cider produced. Joshua had 39 barrels of cider. He didn’t consume all of it himself, at least I hope not, so he sold some of it for profit.

Apples for making cider, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Apples for making cider, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, http://www.osv.org.

Cider was a common table beverage and “all ages drank it freely. ‘Dramming’ – taking a fortifying glass in the forenoon and again in the afternoon- was part of the daily regimen of men. Clergymen took sustaining libations between services, lawyers before going to court and physicians at their patients’ bedsides. To raise a barn or get through a long day’s haying without fortifying drink was thought a virtual impossibility.”[39]

There was a special art to creating cider. Few farmers had a cider press, rather four or five farmers in a town would take the time and investment to build and maintain a local cider mill. Since Joshua’s inventory doesn’t list any cider making equipment, he took his apples to the local cider press where “the pomace was pressed.” The process included “bruising” the apples, leaving them exposed to air for a certain time, then pressing them. “A mash was made into pomace or ‘cheese,’ then carefully placed between straw mats so the juice could be pressed out.”[40] The fermentation of the apples provided the 4% to 8% alcohol needed to preserve the cider. An average family might store eight or ten barrels of cider.[41] “If you were a farmer you would bring your apples and barrels and straw down to the mill and run it yourself. Usually the owner of the mill allowed anyone to use it as long as they paid a fee.”

American Farmers Almanac 1837, Cider Press, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village

The villagers near a cider mill would have recognized the sounds and smells of harvest time. “When the mill was in use children would very often come down to sip some of the fresh apple juice or must as it ran from the cheese. Sometimes children would be brought to the mill to help in the process. There would be a need for someone to poke at the apples to keep them from jamming in the nuts or prod the horse to keep the mill turning.”[42] If you’ve ever visited a New England cider mill you can conjure up the sights, sounds, and aromas associated with it. I have vivid memories of a cider mill near New London, CT and the taste of freshly pressed cider, what sweet nectar.

Two more profit-making items on Joshua’s inventory are wool and lumber. Joshua owned “32 Sheep-$60.00.” It was quite common to see flocks of sheep on the hillsides in the Sturbridge area in the 1830s.[43]  There were two basic types of sheep found in Massachusetts in the early 19th century- natives and Merinos. The animals provided mutton and a coarse wool.  Shearing took place in June and in September when he died, Joshua’s inventory included “130 lb of Wool – $54.60.” Had he already sold a portion? Nearby Southbridge had manufacturing companies that purchased locally grown fleeces which are likely where Joshua brought it.

Carding Mill c. 1840. Farm families brought sheared, sorted and cleaned wool to the mill for processing. Image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

Carding Mill c. 1840. Farm families brought sheared, sorted and cleaned wool to the mill for processing. Image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village, www.osv.org.

The inventory also mentions “1 Old Loom – $.25.” In the early years Sally wove her own cloth, a time-consuming task. “But by 1830s there were hundreds of water-powered factories, large and small, that performed the tasks of picking and carding, spinning and weaving, on a vastly larger scale and far more swiftly.”[44] She would have been grateful to be spared the laborious and time-consuming task.

Besides the wool, Joshua had a supply of lumber. It may have been harvested from the land he cleared for farming. Proximity to water-driven saw mills in the area ensured a means to quickly process the lumber. His inventory included,  “3376 Feet of Pine Boards – $33.75, 800 Feet of 1 ¼ Pine Boards – $5.75” likely used to build new barns. The inventory noted “one cow at the new barn” indicative of new construction. Any excess lumber Joshua owned could be sold or bartered.

JOSHUA HYDE- DESCRIPTION

A vital aspect remained absent – a picture. No portraits exist and photography wasn’t developed until 1839, so I based my vision of Joshua Hyde by combining two elements.  First, I examined portraits of three of his sons, who bear a striking resemblance to one another.  Each of them was probably just under six feet in height, typical for men in New England around the turn of the 18th-century.[45] They share much in common besides their evident girth. Their heavy jowls and ponderous noses are topped by a rounded balding dome. Benjamin and George have intelligent, steady, blue eyes in their portraits. John’s eye color isn’t visible in the black and white photo.  Although two of the brothers sported beards, Joshua would have been clean-shaven in 1830 with simply cut short hair, unless his hairline had receded.  I picture Joshua with the same heavy features of his sons. Did he also have the Hyde beautiful blue eyes that my mother, grandfather, and great-grandfather inherited?

Benjamin Dwight Hyde 1803-1869, George Baxter Hyde 1811-1889, portrait is in the Joshua Hyde Library; John Fay Hyde 1817-1889, photograph taken in Buda, IL c. 1890, in personal possession of author.

Benjamin Dwight Hyde 1803-1869, George Baxter Hyde 1811-1889, portrait is in the Joshua Hyde Library; John Fay Hyde 1817-1889, photograph taken in Buda, IL c. 1890, in personal possession of author.

The three sons pose in groomed business attire, starched white shirts, dark vests and jackets. All became successful businessmen; Benjamin a lawyer, George an educator, and John eventually a banker. They owe their education to their industrious father, a farmer. Joshua would have dressed very plainly, in contrast to his sons. In the early 1800’s farmers generally wore home-spun clothing made from home-produced linen, wool, or a combination of the two.   “A man whose clothes were made at home,could be easily distinguished at a hundred yards’ distance by his slouchy and baggy outlines, and the home-dyed colors and coarser textures of his cloth.”[46] The few clothes Joshua owned probably consisted of “butter-nut colored” trousers, shirt and vest. Atop his head he likely wore a tall “stove pipe” hat with a narrow brim. The Old Sturbridge Village image provides an example of period clothing.

Farmer plowing a field in Old Sturbridge Village dressed in period clothing. Image courtesy of www.osv.org.

Farmer plowing a field in Old Sturbridge Village dressed in period clothing. Image courtesy of www.osv.org.

I combined images of Joshua’s three sons in my mind, dressed him  in period clothing, and then I incorporated a description of a rural Yankee farmer to complete my vision. ”New Englanders moved heavily. The great physical demands of unmechanized agriculture gave men a distinctively ponderous gait and posture. Despite their strength and endurance, farmers were ‘heavy, awkward, and slouching in movement,’ and walked with a ‘slow inclination from side to side.”[47] When two farmers greeted one another, their expressions “might seem to a stranger gruff or surly, since the facial muscles were so inexpressive, while in fact, they were on excellent terms.”[48] They spoke with a drawl, “giving their vowels a long and painful drawing-out”, according to the British.[49] Joshua likely appeared gruff dressed in homespun clothing, spoke with a drawl, and moved with a slow deliberate gait as he made the rounds on his busy farm. He was a product of his cultural inheritance, as well as the Puritan gene pool that settled in New England in the 17th-century.

Joshua’s  inventory compelled me to research social context to understand his day-to-day existence during the early 1800’s in rural New England. I can now picture his farm; the sheep grazing in the meadow; the oxen pulling the plow  Joshua steers from behind; the grain harvested in the fall and stored in the barn.  I see his strong countenance and physique as he presses fresh apple cider and takes a swig on a hot day while cutting hay. Joshua Hyde worked hard but readily shared with his neighbors when they needed assistance. He was a man of strong values who sought to establish an inheritance for his children on earth, but more importantly guided them in their journey of faith.

Joshua Hyde 1836, Sturbridge, MA, signature on his will.

Joshua Hyde 1836, Sturbridge, MA, signature on his will.

Part III will cover the history behind the Joshua Hyde Library of Sturbridge, MA.

© 2016 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
Parents: Benjamin Hyde 1723-1797 and
Dorcas Dyer 1726-1787
Spouse: Sarah “Sally” Fay Hyde 1775-1850
Children:

  1. Augusta Hyde, b. 31 Oct 1795, Sturbridge, MA, d. 17 Sep 1872, Sturbridge, MA.
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde, b. 28 Mar 1798, d. 1880, Sturbridge, MA.
  3. Charlotte Hyde, b. 26 Sep 1800, Sturbridge, MA, d. 16 Mar 1870, Brookfield, MA
  4. Benjamin Dwight Hyde, b. 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 2 Nov 1869, Sturbridge, MA
  5. Emory Hyde, b. 21 Feb 1805, Sturbridge, MA, d. 31 Oct 1830, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Frederick Baxter Hyde, b. 15 Jul 1808, Sturbridge, MA, d. 25 Feb 1852, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio
  7. George Baxter Hyde, b. 20 Mar 1811, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Jul 1889, Boston, MA
  8. Fitz Henry Hyde, b. 2 Jun 1814, Sturbridge, MA, d. 23 Oct 1833, Sturbridge, MA
  9. John Fay Hyde, b. 5, Aug 1817, Sturbridge, MA, d. 3 Sep 1889, Buda, Bureau, IL

Relationship to Kendra: 4th great-grandfather

  1. Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
  2. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889
  3. Frederick Albert Hyde 1851-1926
  4. John Fay Hyde 1885-1950
  5. John Frederick Hyde 1911-1980
  6. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  7. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

 

[[1] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),134.
2] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-24108-25?cc=2102083 : accessed 23 February 2016), Worcester > Case no 32638-32724, Hutchins, Joshua-Ide, Patience, 1731-1881 > image 907 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

 

[3] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),899.

 

[4] Kennth L Smith. “Estate Inventories How to Use Them”. (Pennsylvania: Masthof Press, 2000), 74.

 

[5] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-23914-99?cc=2102083 : accessed 23 February 2016), Worcester > Case no 32638-32724, Hutchins, Joshua-Ide, Patience, 1731-1881 > image 899 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

 

[6]Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),117.

 

[7] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” digital images, Family search, (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-23886-0?cc=2102083 : accessed 18 December 2015), Worcester; Case no 32638-32724, Joshua Hyde, 1731-1881; image 899 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

 

[8] Joseph S. Clark. An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge, Massachusetts from Its Settlement to the Present Time. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: E. and L. Merriam, Printers 1838),  33; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).

 

[9] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-23916-13?cc=2102083 : accessed 22 February 2016), Worcester > Case no 32638-32724, Hutchins, Joshua-Ide, Patience, 1731-1881 > image 900 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.
[10] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988)216.
[11] Ibid, 135.
[12] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-24111-20?cc=2102083 : accessed 22 February 2016), Worcester > Case no 32638-32724, Hutchins, Joshua-Ide, Patience, 1731-1881 > image 901 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.
[13] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988)138.
[14] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-24111-20?cc=2102083 : accessed 22 February 2016), Worcester > Case no 32638-32724, Hutchins, Joshua-Ide, Patience, 1731-1881 > image 901 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.
[15] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988)101.
[16] Kenneth L. Smith, Estate Inventories How to Use Them”, (Morgantown, PA: Mastof Press, 2008), 76.
[17] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),137.
[18] Ibid, 135.
[19] Kennth L Smith. “Estate Inventories How to Use Them”. (Pennsylvania: Masthof Press, 2000), 95.
[20] Ibid, 123.
[21] Debra Friedman. “OSV Documents – Harvest Labors Produce Seasonal Bounty.”Article. Old Sturbridge Village. (http: http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=654 : accessed 18 February 2016.)
[22] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),117.
[22] Ibid, 27.
[23] Ibid, 28.
[24] Jack Larkin, From “Country Mediocrity” to “Rural Improvement”: Transforming the Slovenly Countryside in Central Massachusetts, 1775-1840, Catherine E. Hutchins, ed., Everyday Life in the Early Republic, (Delaware: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1994), 37.
[25]Tom Kelleher. “OSV Documents- Agricultural Interpretation at Old Sturbridge village, 2002, Summary.” Article. Old Sturbridge Village. (http:// http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=1949 : accessed 12 February 2016.)
[26] [26] Andrew Baker. “OSV Documents- Managing the Flock: Historical Sheep Raising at Old Sturbridge Village., 1984.” Article. Old Sturbridge Village. http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=892 : accessed 22 February, 2016.)
[27] Kennth L Smith. “Estate Inventories How to Use Them”. (Pennsylvania: Masthof Press, 2000), 94.
[28] Ibid, 121.
[29] Ibid, 62.
[30] Ibid, 64.
[31] Ibid, 120
[32] Ibid, 84
[33] Tom Kelleher. “OSV Documents- Agricultural Interpretation at Old Sturbridge village, 2002, Summary.” Article. Old Sturbridge Village. (http:// http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=1949 : accessed 3 March 2016.)
[34] Ibid
[35] Darwin P Kelsey. “OSV Research Paper-Early new England Farm Crops:Small Grains- Barley, Rye, Oats, Buckwheat and Wheat, 1980.” Article. Old Sturbridge Village.  (http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=779 : accessed 22 February, 201.)
[36] Ibid
[37] Ibid
[38] Tom Kelleher. “OSV Documents- Agricultural Interpretation at Old Sturbridge village, 2002, Summary.” Article. Old Sturbridge Village. (http:// http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=1949 : accessed 3 March 2016.)
[39] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),117.
[39] Ibid, 285.
[40] Eric Sloane. A Museum of Early American Tools. (New York : Funk & Wagnalls Press, 1992), 46.
[41] Darwin P Kelsey. “OSV Research Paper-Early new England Farm Crops:Small Grains- Barley, Rye, Oats, Buckwheat and Wheat, 1980.” Article. Old Sturbridge Village.  (http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=779 : accessed 22 February, 201.)
[41] Ibid
[42] Ibid
[43] Andrew Baker. “OSV Documents- Managing the Flock: Historical Sheep Raising at Old Sturbridge Village., 1984.” Article. Old Sturbridge Village. http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=892 : accessed 22 February, 2016.)
[44] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),55.
[44] Ibid, 285.
[45] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),169.
[46] Ibid, 185.
[47] Ibid, 150.
[48] Bid, 149.
[49] Ibid, 153.

 

Posted in Biographies, My Family Ancestry | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

THE RICH REWARDS OF PROBATE RECORDS – JOSHUA HYDE- STURBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – PART 1

Sturbridge, Massachusetts, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Sturbridge, Massachusetts, image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museumhttps://www.osv.org/artifacts/historic-buildings

How many of us would eagerly jump into a time machine and transport ourselves back  to visit an ancestor? I would have to make several trips to accomplish everything. Since this isn’t possible I use historical research to time travel. Personal correspondence and diaries provide glimpses of the day-to-day lives of our ancestors if we are fortunate enough to find them.   Another resource, which is often overlooked, are estate inventories. They tell us much more than how many pigs and cows great-grandpa owned. Viewing an estate inventory is a bit like peeking into your ancestor’s bathroom closet according to Ivor Noël Hume, a noted Williamsburg, Virginia, archeologist.[1] The items tell us what a person owned, how he lived, and what conveniences and luxuries he enjoyed. It is an indicator of what he valued. Consider an inventory of your personal possessions; what could be determined about your interests, likes, and dislikes, based on this list? You can do the same with your ancestors, get to know them better through their estate records.

In 2009, my husband and I  visited Sturbridge, Worcester County, Massachusetts to research my 4x great-grandfather, Joshua Hyde, and his family. After arriving in the small agricultural town, population about 9,200, we headed promptly to the Joshua Hyde Library, named after my ancestor.

Joshua Hyde Library- Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Joshua Hyde Library- Sturbridge, Massachusetts

 

It included two important research objects. First I copied the Joshua Hyde Bible because it listed family members and birth dates.[2]

Joshua Hyde Bible- Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of Joshua Hyde LIbrary.

Joshua Hyde Bible- Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of Joshua Hyde LIbrary.

Second I searched local history books for information about Joshua Hyde.  A Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge included an article that provided a brief description. The door opened just enough that I could see him but I wanted to reach out and touch him.

“…He was in the service during the most critical period of the Revolutionary contest….The hardships, incident to this period of Mr.Hyde’s life, without doubt, gave him more vigor of character, and firmness of physical constitution, and better prepared him for the active services of a long life. Not favored with the advantages of even a common education, he cheerfully bestowed them upon his children, and as cheerfully aided in the education of the rising generation, and also in the support of religious worship. His attendance at church on the Sabbath, was uniform. He expressed to the writer his firm belief in the necessity of religion. He was plain in his manners, economical in his habits, and judicious in his calculations. He read very little; but a good share of common sense, and keen observation, enabled him to judge, with a good degree of accuracy, of public men and measures. He left for his widow and children, a very handsome estate, which was the fruit of his own industry and perseverance.”[3]

 Joshua, the man, the soldier, the husband, and father waited to be revealed. When I combined the character description, pension, tax, land, and probate records with social history, I gradually became acquainted with my 4x great-grandfather, a solid Yankee farmer and patriot.

STURBRIDGE, WORCESTER COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS

Situated about fifty-eight miles southwest of Boston and bordering the northern edge of Connecticut, Sturbridge lies in a valley between two hills.[4]The Quinebaug River meanders through the town dotted with meadows and five ponds formed by lead mining.[5]

Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Sturbridge, Massachusetts, image courtesy of Boston Public Library.

First settled in 1729 by forty-two citizens from nearby Medfield, the town was officially incorporated in 1738 and was named after Stourbridge, England. The fertile soil drew farmers who lacked land and the river offered possibilities for grist and saw mills.[6] Although primarily an agricultural community, by 1837 the population of  Sturbridge grew to  2004 and developed successful small manufacturing companies. There were three Cotton Mills, three Cotton Batting Mills, one Pistol Manufacturer, three Grist-Mills, and nine Saw-Mills.[7] Joshua used the mills to expand his wealth and property.

Grist Mill at Old Sturbridge Village reproduced on the original site.

Grist Mill at Old Sturbridge Village reproduced on the original site.

 HYDE FAMILY ORIGINS – BENJAMIN HYDE AND DORCAS DYER

Joshua Hyde descended from early Dyer and Hyde families to Massachusetts. His father, Benjamin Hyde (b. Apr 11, 1723), married Dorcas Dyer (b. June 17, 1726) on November 21, 1745. Benjamin moved from nearby settled Medfield to the new community of Sturbridge to buy land. His 200 acres was part of the local patchwork of family farms. A “great farmer” cultivated from two hundred to one thousand acres. A “common farmer”, cultivated from fifty to one hundred acres.[8]  Benjamin’s small farm put him just beyond a “common farmer.”

Benjamin and Dorcas had eleven children between 1746 and 1771. Joshua Hyde, the ninth child, was born December 12, 1762.[9]

Dec 12 Joshua Hyde son to Benj & Dorcas Hyde. Image courtesy of ancestry.com.

Joshua Hyde birth 12 December 1762. Image courtesy of ancestry.com.

From an early age, he became acquainted with regular chores, taking care of a younger sibling, fetching and assisting the family. By the age of seven or eight, his tasks grew as did his responsibilities. He may have endlessly weeded the corn and potato crops or thrown rocks at crows and squirrels to keep them from the plants. By age twelve Joshua may have guided the oxen in the fields, wielded a sickle to gather the wheat, split rails and built fences. During wheat harvest perhaps he bound handfuls of the cut wheat or carried the sheaves.

Wheat Harvest, Plowing, Sawing wood - images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Wheat Harvest, Plowing, Sawing wood – images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

The seasons defined the work in the fields, barnyard, garden and household. “Almost everything fell to human effort – felling trees, hauling wood and water, digging stones, hoeing weeds, picking cotton, mowing hay, harvesting grain, husking corn, churning butter, or pressing cheese.”[10]  Men’s and women’s chores were intertwined “but in space, time, and tools they were distinct.” Women’s chores revolved around the hearth, kitchen, house, farmyard and garden. Their tools were washtubs, baskets, butter churns, needles, and thread. [11]

Girls and women's chores - image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum.

Girls and women’s chores – image courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum.

Men worked in the fields, pastures, and woodlands. Their work involved heavy implements such as plows, axes, saws, and scythes, and vehicles such as ox carts and wagons.[12]

Men's work- images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Men’s work- images courtesy of Old Sturbridge Village Museum

Dorcas and her two daughters tended to the women’s chores while Benjamin and his eight sons worked the fields. Children learned adult skills by imitating their parents .[13]

Children of Benjamin and Dorcas (Dyer) Hyde:

  1. Benjamin Hyde, b. 16 Aug 1746, Sturbridge, MA
  2. Dyer Hyde, b. 24 Dec 1747, Sturbridge, MA
  3. Christopher Hyde, b. 3 Jul 1749, d. 12 Jul 1750 Sturbridge, MA
  4. John Hyde, b. 12 Jul 1750, d. 10 Apr 1808, Pomfret, Windham, CT
  5. Othniel Hyde, b. 12 Jul 1752, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Abijah Hyde, b. 8 Jun 1754, Sturbridge, MA, d. Abt 1788 in Canada, smallpox, while serving in the Revolutionary War.
  7. Lemuel Hyde, b. 12 Apr 1757, Sturbridge, MA
  8. Josiah Hyde, b. 25 Dec 1759, Sturbridge, MA
  9. Joshua Hyde, 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Sep 1838, Sturbridge, MA
  10. Dorcas Hyde, b. 23 Feb 1764, Sturbridge, MA
  11. Thankfull Hyde, b. 13 Jun 1771, d. 21 Apr 1834, Hampshire, MA

EDUCATION

Most American families valued formal education but they limited their expectations. Parents wanted their children to learn the basics, reading, writing and math, enough to read the Bible, or an almanac, and understand a property deed, or “reckon an account.[14] New England paid for school houses through local taxes and was often called “the land of schools.” The schools were spread across the countryside but attendance was not compulsory. Since children assisted their families on the farm, some attended school only a few weeks to a few months during the year.

Described as “Not favored with the advantages of even a common education”, Joshua nonetheless, learned to read, write and “reckon accounts.” At the time of his death, his estate value was $19,966.90[15], today about  $525,000.[16]

Value of estate for Joshua Hyde, Sturbridge, MA. image courtesy of familysearch.org

Value of estate for Joshua Hyde, Sturbridge, MA. image courtesy of familysearch.org

CHURCH

The Congregational Meeting House, built in 1785, was a focal point for the community.[17] Set on Fisk Hill in the center of the village the church offered a view where “the eye can survey a bold and beautiful landscape.”[18]

Sturbridge Village, image courtesy of www.archive.org.

Sturbridge Village, image courtesy of www.archive.org.

Sabbath attendance, strictly observed in the early years in Sturbridge, influenced the habits and customs of the townspeople.

Sunday service was the weeks “crucial event, the hub on which the world turned.Once inside worshipers prepared for a lengthy encounter with the word of God: a morning service that lasted up to three hours, and usually a second in the afternoon. Congregations stood or knelt through prayers that might be half an hour long, and were accustomed to sit through one or even two turns of the preacher’s hourglass.”[19]

Benjamin, Dorcas, and their children attended Sunday service. Family pets accompanied them, dogs often darted in and out during services. Parishioners brought nuts and fruit to sustain themselves during long services. Going to the “meeting house” often required walking one to five miles regardless of the weather. After walking in the freezing snow, villagers did not expect a warm structure to thaw tired and cold limbs.  There were no fires in the church to warm them except for a foot stove for the infirm.[20] Although the Hyde family lived in Sturbridge, the distance to the meeting-house required a long walk or a wagon ride.

THE HYDE FAMILY DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR

The Revolutionary War interrupted all aspects of life throughout Colonial New England. Benjamin Hyde and four of his sons served in the war. In 1777, at age sixteen,  Joshua marched off to war. He fought and served for intermittent periods until 1783 when he suffered an injury. I will explore this topic in greater detail in a future article.

Joshua Hyde Revolutionary War Pension Record, ancestry.com.

Joshua Hyde Revolutionary War Pension Record, ancestry.com.

HYDE FAMILY – JOSHUA AND SARAH “SALLY” FAY

In 1783, at age twenty-one, Joshua returned from the war to Sturbridge. He joined his father farming for the next eleven years. In New England, young people established themselves first before marriage. Young men needed time to build a profession, accumulate land, or learn a trade. From the time they married most young couples had independent households. By 1820, most men married for the first time between the ages of 24 and 30, while women usually married for the first time between the ages of 20 and 27. Very young marriages were rare.

Young couples spent time courting attending “dances, sleighing parties, huskings, quiltings, apple parings and extended visiting…Although advice literature and conventional wisdom stressed the importance of seeking a mate who would not prove to be a disappointment in the role of husband or wife, love—physical attraction, in addition to emotional and, for some couples, spiritual compatibility—was at the center of early nineteenth-century marriage and courtship. Men and women were urged to choose prudently but never to ignore the feelings of their hearts.”[21]

Joshua took his time courting and wooing the right woman.  At age thirty-one he married nineteen-year-old Sarah Fay, known as Sally, on December 11, 1794. Their engagement became  public on October 12, 1794.

Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge to Miss Sally Fay of Brookfield Oct 12, 1794. Image courtesy of ancestry.com

Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge to Miss Sally Fay of Brookfield Oct 12, 1794. Image courtesy of ancestry.com

New Englanders followed patterns established by their ancestors in the seventeenth century. They chose to marry either in the early spring months or in the after-harvest months. Early December was the New England Festival, “which was a Puritan day of prayer and an ancient harvest celebration.”[22]Marriages were  attended by “kin and neighbors,  the guests crowded into the farmhouse parlor, some perched on benches, others sitting on chairs as if they were pinned to the wall.” The bride and groom sat facing the minister, accompanied by the bridesmaid and groomsman. After a brief exchange of vows, the simple ceremony concluded.According to tradition, the bride’s family invited the neighborhood to festivities that included dancing and feasting for hours..[23]

Sarah “Sally” Fay 

Sally bears the distinction being the twenty-fourth and next to the last child of her sixty-nine-year-old father, Samuel Fay. Sally’s mother, Elizabeth Hastings Fay, was the second wife of Samuel and bore him fourteen children.

Sarah Fay daughter of Samuell Fay and Elisabeth his wife was born Febr 12th 1775, image courtesy of ancestry.com

Sarah Fay daughter of Samuell Fay and Elisabeth his wife was born Febr 12th 1775, image courtesy of ancestry.com

It’s possible that Sally and Joshua were distant cousins.  Sally’s maternal great-grandmother, Mary Hyde, descends from Samuel Hyde, who immigrated to Massachusetts in 1639. I’m not certain if Joshua also descends from Samuel Hyde. It’s another mystery I intend to solve.

In October 1795, Sally gave birth to her first child, a daughter, Augusta. Over the next twenty-two years, Joshua and Sally added eight more children to the family. In the early nineteenth century, American birth rates were high, “children were everywhere.[24] The Hydes were fortunate, all their children survived infancy and childhood. “One white child out of every four or five would not survive from birth to maturity.” [25]

Joshua Hyde Bible records listing names and births- courtesy of Joshua Hyde Library.

Joshua Hyde Bible records listing names and births- courtesy of Joshua Hyde Library.

In 1830, Joshua and Sally lost their twenty-five-year-old son, Emory. Described as an enterprising young man “possessed of a vigorous constitution and good health” his death came unexpectedly. Emory worked as a “mechanic” in the nearby village of Monson. He likely did manual labor as a trade at one of the textile mills. On Saturday, October 30th, 1830 he complained of a “pain in the head”, yet he didn’t leave work. On Sunday morning, he was found dead.[26]  Six years later another son, Fitz Henry died at age twenty-two. His cause of death is unknown.

Customary to the times, funerals were simple.  Death was commonplace in the nineteenth century and the news spread quickly in a village. When someone died the Sexton rang the bells at the meeting house in “well-understood codes. He rang out the sex – in many communities there were nine strokes for a man, six for a woman and three for a child – and the age of the deceased.” [27] In a small community, the neighbors could quickly determine who had died.  Friends and family assisted “laying out the body”, washing, shaving, and trimming the hair of the men. Wrapped in a long white linen or cotton garment, and placed in a simple pine coffin, they were laid out in the family home where neighbors and friends gathered to hear a prayer. They formed a procession and accompanied the bodies to the their final resting place.  Emory and  Fitz Henry were buried in The North Cemetery in Sturbridge.[28]

The North Cemetery - gravestones for Emory and Fitz Henry Hyde.

The North Cemetery – gravestones for Emory and Fitz Henry Hyde.

Children of Joshua and Sally Fay Hyde

Daughters:

  1. Augusta Hyde 1795-1872- married 1. Isaac Gay 2. Horatio Walker, remained in Sturbridge
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde 1798-1880- married Chester Freeman, remained in Sturbridge
  3. Charlotte Hyde 1800-1870 married Zebediah Allen moved to nearby Brookfield MA

Sons:

  1. Benjamin Dwight Hyde 1803-1869- married Evelina Wight became a lawyer and practiced in Sturbridge
  2. Emory Hyde 1805-1830 – died at age 25
  3. Frederick Baxter Hyde 1808-1852 – married Mary C., became a millwright, moved to Ohio
  4. George Baxter Hyde 1811-1889 –married Mary Clapp became a headmaster and teacher in Boston
  5. Fitz Henry Hyde 1814-1836 – died at age 22
  6. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889 – married 4x – moved to Buda, Il where he died- future article to follow.

LAND PURCHASES AND SALES

In 1797 Joshua inherited 100 acres when his father, Benjamin, accidentally died from a fall in a barn.  Also, he acquired half of his father’s living stock and all of his husbandry tools.[29]  The land, animals, and tools provided a basic start for Joshua.  An “industrious man”, he continued to expand his farm and property. In 1798, The Federal Direct Tax List noted the value of his home at $150.[30]

Joshua Hyde 1798 Federal property tax - Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of www.americanancestors.org.

Joshua Hyde 1798 Federal land tax – Sturbridge, MA. Image courtesy of http://www.americanancestors.org.

The first Federal property tax listed every free family’s dwelling house, including the number of stories and the type of construction.”…two-thirds of the houses in Worcester County, Massachusetts, were of a single story. One Worcester County house in four was valued at under $100.[31] Unfortunately, the assessor for Sturbridge only included the value of the home, not the square feet, the number of windows, number of stories, and construction.  Joshua was not a wealthy man in 1798 but fared better than many of his neighbors.

In December 1803, Joshua began buying land. His first purchase was small,  17 acres for $120.00. Ten years later he bought  150 acres of adjoining property  for $978.61. Every couple of years Joshua added to his farm. Over the course of twenty-four years he bought twenty-four parcels of land of varying sizes and uses. All of the  records are available on familysearch.org, a valuable resource for deeds. The final property Joshua acquired in 1837, one year before his death, twenty acres for $350.00

As noted above, Joshua “ was plain in his manners, economic in his habits, and judicious in his calculations.”  He didn’t make rash decisions, but slowly and gradually developed his holdings. He valued the well-being of his family and sought to ensure their financial stability during his lifetime and after his death.

THE WILL – JOSHUA HYDE

In January 1836, at age seventy-three, Joshua wrote his will. He had a “handsome estate” and he wanted to designate his beneficiaries. Although he lived another two years, he wanted to ensure that his beloved wife, Sally, would be taken care of by his two youngest sons, John Fay and Fitz Henry.

 “,…hereby directing my said two sons, Fitz Henry & John to provide every thing necessary for the support, comfort & convenience of my beloved wife, to provide her whenever she wishes a suitable mode of conveyance to go to meeting & wherever she may wish to go and to do all things in health & sickness, she may desire for her comfort & convenience. As my beloved wife her desire is I should make provision for her support in this way.”

For Sally to receive any part of the inheritance Joshua’s will had to stipulate what she would receive.

 “Under the common law that governed marriage and property throughout the English-speaking world, whatever property a woman had at the time of her marriage passed immediately into the ownership and control of her husband. Also under the common law, a man’s property ordinarily passed at death directly to his heirs – children, or other blood relatives if there were no children. A widow did not inherit unless it was so specified in her husband’s will. However, she was entitled to the use and control of one-third of his estate during their lifetime – often called “the widow’s thirds” or “dower rights. After her death, the property reverted to her husband’s heirs.”[32]

 Sally agreed to sell her “right of dower” in April 1826 when Joshua sold 80 acres of land to Moses Howard. Sally was illiterate so she made her mark, an “X”.[33]

Sally Hyde's mark "X" for land sale April 19, 1828 to Moses Howard - 80 acres of land in Brookfield. Image courtesy of familysearch.org.

Sally Hyde’s mark “X” for land sale April 19, 1828 to Moses Howard – 80 acres of land in Brookfield. Image courtesy of familysearch.org.

Joshua left bequests for all eight of his children when he wrote his will in January 1836. He did not amend his will when Fitz Henry predeceased him by two years.

JOSHUA HYDE’S WILL- JANUARY 1836

Be it remembered that I Joshua Hyde of Sturbridge in the County of Worcester & Commonwealth of Massachusetts, being in good health & perfect memory do this twenty eighth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred thirty six – make & publish this my last Will & Testament in manner & form following that is to say I give & bequeath to my three daughters, Augusta Gay, Betsy Freeman, & Charlotte Allen, my farm called the Oliver Rice farm, together with about four acres of meadow adjoining Preston Howe’s land and about seven acres of upland lying by the side of the road, east of said Howe’s dwelling house to have & to hold to them their heirs assign for ever. Also one hundred dollars each to be paid in three years after my decease. Also I give & bequeath to my son Benjamin D. Hyde, thirty acres of wood land being the south part of the Boyden farm, so called beginning at the road & running easterly in a straight line to the mountain to him his heirs & assign forever- also four hundred dollars in money in two years after my decease. also I direct that all notes and accounts I may hold against him at my decease to be discharged, should the said Benjamin have any claims against my estate, it is to be understood they are to off against the demands I hold against him. I give & bequeath to my son Frederick B. Hyde a piece of wood land about seven or eight acres. bounded south on the Lower farm, West on Dea [Deacon] J Plimpton, North & East over the road. Also five hundred dollars in money to be paid in one year after my decease to him with assigns forever. Also all notes and accounts that I hold against him at my decease are to be given after to the said Frederick. Also I give & bequeath to my son George B. Hyde, All the farm called the Boyden & Lancaster farm, being about two hundred acres with the buildings thereon – bounded on land of P. Walker  D Nichols  H Phetteplan & the pond –  to him his heirs & assigns forever. As this is more than the said George’s share I hereby direct him to pay the four hundred dollars I give to my son Benjamin & that his title to the land is not be complete till this sum is paid to the said Benjamin.

I also give & bequeath to my two sons Fitz Henry Hyde & John F. Hyde all the residue & remainder of my estate, both real & personal of every description & wherever situated- hereby directing my said two sons, Fitz Henry & John to provide every thing necessary for the support, comfort & convenience of my beloved wife, to provide her whenever she wishes a suitable mode of conveyance to go to meeting & wherever she may wish to go and to do all things in health & sickness, she may desire for her comfort & convenience. As my beloved wife her desire is I should make provision for her support in this way. Should any said sons Fitz Henry & John neglect to provide for their mother as I have pointed out, I hereby give her the use & improvement of all the real estate I give to them as aforesaid during her natural life. Said real estate to be theirs & then heirs assigns forever after the decease of my said wife- and it understood they are to have the improvement of the same during the life of my said wife if they provide for her as above dictated.

And lastly I do constitute & ordain my two said sons Fitz Henry & John executors of this my last will & Testament hereby directing them to pay all my debts & legicies [sic] not otherwise provided for in this will. In testimony whereof I do hereunto set my hand & seal the day & year above written-

And now to all my dear children both sons & daughters let me earnestly entreat you in the name of God that you fall not out by the way .    Joshua Hyde”[34]

His beneficiaries included his living children and his wife:

  1. Daughters: Augusta Hyde Gay, Betsy Hyde Freeman, Charlotte Hyde Allen – Oliver Rice farm, four acres meadow, seven acres of upland, $100 each to be paid three years after Joshua’s death.
  2. Benjamin Dwight Hyde – thirty acres of woodland, $400.00 to be paid two years after Joshua’s death. Benjamin was responsible for paying off any debts owed by his father.
  3. Frederick Baxter Hyde – seven acres of woodland, $500.00 to be paid one year after Joshua’s death. Any debts Frederick owed his father were to be returned to him.
  4. George Baxter Hyde – Boyden and Lancaster farms about 200 acres. Since this was a larger inheritance George was to pay Benjamin the $400.00.
  5. John Fay Hyde and Fitz Henry were to receive the rest of the estate with the understanding they would care for their mother. Fitz Henry predeceased Joshua, Did John inherit everything that remained?

It took time to settle the estate and determine if Joshua had any outstanding debts or if anyone owed him; therefore  the funds due to the children could not be paid for one to three years. Joshua had no outstanding debts.  However, he generously loaned money or bartered with many neighbors, friends, and family. Joshua’s ability “to reckon” is clear based on the detailed accounting listed by the estate appraisers.  Fifty-six debts were outstanding.  The oldest debt from 1822 was for $25. The most recent was in August 1838, one month before Joshua died, for $85.00. The largest sum owed by one person was $243.18 and the least amount .75 cents.  Even the Prudential Committee of the Congregational Church of Sturbridge owed Joshua $200.00 they borrowed in 1835.

"fistus Wight & others The Prudential Committee of the Congregational County in Sturbridge Dec 21 1835 $200 Int 36.00. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

“fistus Wight & others The Prudential Committee of the Congregational County in Sturbridge Dec 21 1835 $200 Int 36.00. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

The total outstanding amount that could be collected was $2,396.09. An additional twelve individuals owed Joshua a total of $2,065.16. However, the appraisers wrote, “The following Notes are by the Administrator considered as doubtfull as to their true value. we have set them down a the face of them suposing there will be a loss on them or a part of them.” [viz]

Debts owed to Joshua Hyde totaling $2065.16. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

Debts owed to Joshua Hyde totaling $2065.16. Image courtesy of familysearch.org

The appraisers sought to ensure that Joshua’s heirs received just compensation and achieved  this except for a few outstanding debts.

At the end of his will Joshua requested of his children that they stay steadfast in their faith. He supported his children and family financially but wrote his last words for their spiritual well-being.

"And now to all my dear children both sons & daughters, let me earnestly entreat you in the name of God that you fall not out by the way - Joshua Hyde" image courtesy of familysearch.org

“And now to all my dear children both sons & daughters, let me earnestly entreat you in the name of God that you fall not out by the way – Joshua Hyde” image courtesy of familysearch.org

Joshua’s estate records are a window into his past. They show not only his material possessions, but also demonstrate his values. He is not just asking his children to abide by their faith, he is entreating them. You can glean so many facts analyzing probate records. The next post I’ll examine more of Joshua’s inventory and what it reveals about the man, his  lifestyle, and his home.


 

[1] Ivor Noël Hume, A guide to Artifacts of Colonial America, (N.Y.: Alfred A. Knoft, Inc., 1969).29.
[2]Joshua Hyde, Family Bible Records, 1762-1838. The Holy Bible. Held by Joshua Hyde Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
[3 George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co. 1856),  94; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[4] Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. New York: D.S Stone, 1835. Digital image. David Rumsey Map Collection. http://www.davidrumsey.com :  2016.
[5] John Waner Barber. Historical Collections, being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c. relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Massachusetts, with Geographical Descriptions. (Worcester: Warren Lazzell 1844), 608; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[6] John Waner Barber. Historical Collections, being a General Collection of Interesting Facts, Traditions, Biographical Sketches, Anecdotes, &c. relating to the History and Antiquities of Every Town in Massachusetts, with Geographical Descriptions. (Worcester: Warren Lazzell 1844), 608; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[7]  Joseph S. Clark. An Historical Sketch of Sturbridge, Massachusetts from Its Settlement to the Present Time. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: E. and L. Merriam, Printers 1838),  25; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[8] Old Sturbridge Village, editor. “OSV Documents- Farm Management Advice” Article. Old Sturbridge Village (http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=1161 : accessed 4 February 2016.)
[9] “ Massachusetts, Town and vital Records, 1620-1988” (Sturbridge, Massachusetts), Births, Marriages and Deaths; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 07 January 2016). Entry for Joshua Hyde, birth date 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
[10] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988), 16.
[11] Ibid, page 17
[12] Ibid, page 17
[13] Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989), 34
[14] Ibid
[15] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” digital images, Family search, (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-23886-0?cc=2102083 : accessed 18 December 2015), Worcester; Case no 32638-32724, Joshua Hyde, 1731-1881; image 904 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.
[16] MeasuringWorth, (http://measuringworth.com: accessed 21 December 2015).
[17] George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co. 1856),  40; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[18] Ibid, 41.
[19] Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989), 276.
[20]  George Davis. Historical Sketch of Sturbridge and Southbridge. (West Brookfield, Massachusetts: Power Press of O.S. Cooke and Co. 1856),  172; digital images, (http://www.archive.org : accessed 07 January 2016).
[21] Historical Background on Courtship and Marriage. Article. Old Sturbridge Village.  (http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=2039 : accessed 8 Februray 2016.
[22 Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989),65.
[23] Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (NY, Harper & Row, 1989), 63.
[24] Ibid, 10.
[25] Ibid, 75.
[26] “Died.” Masschusetts Spy, 1 December 183. Online archives. http:// http://www.genealogybank.com/doc/newspapers/image/v2%3A10284A66F6BC7768%40GB3NEWS-131EFE45C7E96BD0%402389788-131EED1E4DB53B48%402-138533FFE1AB8D59%40No%2BHeadline?search_terms=hyde%7Cemory  : accessed 10 February 2016.
[27] Jack Larkin. The Reshaping of Everyday Life 1790-1840. (New York: Harper and Row, 1988),98.
[28] The North Cemetery (Sturbridge, Worceser County, Massachusetts, Emery and Fitz Henry Hyde. Grave Markers.
[29] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” digital images, Family search, (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-46816-23886-0?cc=2102083 : accessed 18 December 2015), Worcester; Case no 32638-32724, Benjamin Hyde, 1731-1881; image 518 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.
[30] Massachusetts and Maine 1798 Direct Tax. (Online database. AmericanAncestors.org, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2003.) Original manuscript: Direct tax list of 1798 for Massachusetts and Maine, 1798. R. Stanton Avery Special Collections, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, MA. digital images : accessed 9 February 2016.
[31] Jack Larkin, From “Country Mediocrity” to “Rural Improvement”: Transforming the Slovenly Countryside in Central Massachusetts, 1775-1840, Catherine E. Hutchins, ed., Everyday Life in the Early Republic, (Delaware: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1994), 34.
[32] Old Sturbridge Village, editor. “OSV Documents- A 19th Century Prenuptial Agreement, Public Record”, Article. Old Sturbridge Village. (http:// http://resources.osv.org/explore_learn/document_viewer.php?DocID=1144 : accessed 10 February, 2016.)
[33] “Massachusetts Land Records, 1620-1986,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-36263-3840-95?cc=2106411 : accessed 11 February 2016), Worcester > Deeds 1825-1826 vol 248-249 > image 569 of 725; county courthouses and offices, Massachusetts.
[34] “Massachusetts, Worcester County, Probate Files, 1731-1925,” digital images, Family Search, (http:// https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89GM-NRXC?mode=g&i=912&wc=9BXP-BZ9%3A1055512501%2C1292501801%3Fcc%3D2102083&cc=2102083: accessed 10 February 2016), Worcester; Case no 32638-32724, Joshua Hyde, 1731-1888; image 913 of 1184; Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Boston.

© 2016 copyright Kendra Hopp Schmidt. All rights reserved.

Genealogy Sketch

Name: Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
Parents: Benjamin Hyde 1723-1797 and
Dorcas Dyer 1726-1787
Spouse: Sarah “Sally” Fay Hyde 1775-1850
Children:

  1. Augusta Hyde, b. 31 Oct 1795, Sturbridge, MA, d. 17 Sep 1872, Sturbridge, MA.
  2. Betsy Hastings Hyde, b. 28 Mar 1798, d. 1880, Sturbridge, MA.
  3. Charlotte Hyde, b. 26 Sep 1800, Sturbridge, MA, d. 16 Mar 1870, Brookfield, MA
  4. Benjamin Dwight Hyde, b. 12 Dec 1762, Sturbridge, MA, d. 2 Nov 1869, Sturbridge, MA
  5. Emory Hyde, b. 21 Feb 1805, Sturbridge, MA, d. 31 Oct 1830, Sturbridge, MA
  6. Frederick Baxter Hyde, b. 15 Jul 1808, Sturbridge, MA, d. 25 Feb 1852, Norwalk, Huron, Ohio
  7. George Baxter Hyde, b. 20 Mar 1811, Sturbridge, MA, d. 8 Jul 1889, Boston, MA
  8. Fitz Henry Hyde, b. 2 Jun 1814, Sturbridge, MA, d. 23 Oct 1833, Sturbridge, MA
  9. John Fay Hyde, b. 5, Aug 1817, Sturbridge, MA, d. 3 Sep 1889, Buda, Bureau, IL

Relationship to Kendra: 4th great-grandfather

  1. Joshua Hyde 1762-1838
  2. John Fay Hyde 1817-1889
  3. Frederick Albert Hyde 1851-1926
  4. John Fay Hyde 1885-1950
  5. John Frederick Hyde 1911-1980
  6. Jean Hyde Hopp Eichorn
  7. Kendra Hopp Schmidt

 

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