Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Why Am I Here?

In yesterday's post Amanuensis Monday,  I transcribed the initial land record that was found for 2nd Great Grandfather, William Porter. It was only after his death, and because of this purchase of land that I was able to put together a more-complete view of his family. Seven children became know to me, two more were confirmed as his children.

This initial purchase of land most likely came about due to receiving money from Lyman Warner, who had approached William and Catherine about taking Catherine's two sons, Hiram and Barney Davis, on the dime museum circuit. He supposedly offered money which was accepted by the Porters. All documentation points to a time period of 1850 for this to have happened. This is when William bought the land.

For some reason this again brings me back to the thoughts of what had to have happened in my ancestors lives for me to be here today. I put together this Wordle which includes some of the words that occur to me when thinking of this ...

Grandpa William for some reason moved to Chautauqua County, New York sometime before 1820. He either was already married, or married while there, and had at least nine children. None of these children were my ancestors. My story would have been a non-story if William had not moved from Chautauqua County to Coshocton County, Ohio sometime between 1836 and 1840. Somehow because of his arrival in Coshocton County, Ohio he met and married the widow Catherine Davis who had migrated with her family from Long Island, New York to Coshocton County, Ohio. William had already moved to Knox County, Ohio by the time he and Catherine married, and it is unknown whether he had met her prior to his move to Knox County, or if she moved to Knox County after the death of her first husband. Nonetheless they met and were able to marry due to Catherine being a widow, and to William either being a widower or divorced. There's a story behind why Catherine and her first husband moved from New York to Ohio also. Their move and William's move had to have happened for my story to begin.

What prompted William to move from Chautauqua County NY? Did he even own the land on which he lived for 20 or more years? I do know that in the area in which he lived a large amount of land had been purchased from the Holland Land Company by the Prendergast family. It's possible that he leased the land from them. A search of deeds in Chautauqua County is needed to determine if William owned land there. The Holland Land Company played a prominent part in the settling of Chautauqua County NY. It wasn't always a happy relationship between the Company and the settlers. In 1830 the settlers even burned the local agent's building in Mayville, NY. The Company eventually sold its remaining lands to local real estate groups. Was it somehow a result of this unrest that William decided to pack his belongings and head to Ohio? Did his decision only rest on the issue of land? Or was it more domestic? Did his wife die, leaving him with many young children, and the desire to start a new life?

Most likely William was not born in Chautauqua County, NY. What prompted him to move from his place of birth? During this time period a male usually moved to another location because he was a younger male child in a family and would not inherit land. Moving to a place where land was readily available and possibly cheaper was a very good option.

Though not in the scope of this blog, my paternal grandmother's grandparents, Matthew and Jane Carlin, immigrated from Ireland during the potato famine. If they had not done that, again my story could not have been told. Going further back it's possible that some of my ancestors came to America for religious reasons.

My own father had been married before his marriage to my mother. If they had not divorced I would not be here.

All these variables and each one is why I am here to write this story.

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