Thursday, May 19, 2011

Those Places Thursday - 999 Crupper Avenue, Columbus, Ohio

999 Crupper Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43229

This building was constructed by an engineering firm, R. S. Fling & Partners, around 1975. I started working for R. S. Fling as a computer operator a few years after the building was built. This was the beginning of my career working in the computer industry. I'm not sure now exactly how many years I worked for this engineering firm, but I do know that I was employed at a local bank by the early 1980s. While I was working for R. S. Fling & Partners they expanded the building. Today it appears that the newer part of the building has a different address and entrance. This part of the building sits behind the part shown in the above photo.

969 Crupper Avenue
Columbus, Ohio 43229

The engineering firm folded sometime after I left. I do remember it had a lot of problems and there were several law suits against the firm.

The strangest thing about this building is that part of it has been leased for many years by the company from which I retired in 1999. Though I did not work again in this building, that connection is a weird coincidence.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph Sedgwick Porter and Nancy Jane Kemp

Joseph Sedgwick Porter 
1849 - 1922
Nancy Jane Kemp Porter
1849 - 1921
St. John's Cemetery, Pleasant Township, Knox, Ohio

Joseph S. Porter was the first-born son of William Lee Porter (Jr.) and Martha Wallace. He was born 11 Feb 1849 in Knox County, Ohio, and died 19 Jun 1922 in Clinton Township, Knox, Ohio. He married first Mary Elizabeth Sharp 28 Feb 1875 in Knox County, Ohio. This marriage produced at least seven children, but ended in divorce sometime between 1900 and 1909. He married second Elizabeth Jane Rideout Scammell on 25 Jan 1910 in St. Clairsville, Belmont, Ohio. Elizabeth was born 30 Jun 1849 in England, and died 19 Aug 1912 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio. Joseph next married Nancy Jane Kemp Butler Singer on 8 Aug 1913 in Knox County, Ohio. This ended in divorce, but the couple remarried 5 Mar 1918 in Knox County, Ohio. Nancy Jane Kemp was born 18 Sep 1850 in Guernsey County, Ohio, and died 6 Feb 1921 in Mount Vernon, Knox, Ohio.

Joseph S. Porter is my half 1st cousin twice removed.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Weekly Roundup 13 May 2011

Being that it's gardening season and we have had the most wonderful weather this past week, not much was done in my family history research. But that's OK...just gives me more incentive to write more about what I did do!

I did receive two pension files. One was for my GG Grandma Catherine Porter, who filed on the service of one of her sons, William H. H. Davis. I blogged about one of the supporting documents included with the pension application earlier this week. From what I've found so far, Catherine had 4 sons with her first husband. Two of those were the famous dwarfs, Hiram and Barney Davis, otherwise known as "The Wild Men of Borneo". The other two, Esquire and William H. H. Davis, died in the Civil War. This William H. H. Davis was basically unknown to me until I found what appeared to be Catherine's name listed in the book "Index to Ohio pensioners of 1883" by W. Louis Phillips, which I obtained via interlibrary loan from The Ohio Genealogical Society. This listing stated that she had filed as a mother of a soldier. I already had the pension file for her son, Esquire Davis, so I knew that it wasn't that one. I then did a search of the pension file index on Ancestry and found one that appeared to be a match: Catherine Porter, mother of William H. H. Davis. William H. H. Davis is apparently the child living with William and Catherine in both the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses. In 1850 he is listed as David M. H. H. Porter, age 9, born in Ohio. In 1860 he is listed as Henry H. Porter, age 16, born in Ohio. All of the Davis boys were listed with the surname Porter in the census records in which they appeared. It's my feeling that William H. H. Davis was born about 1841, probably just before or after his father died. Maybe he took on the name William later as William Porter was the only father he had known? The other thing that was unexpected was the name of Catherine's first husband, the father of six of her children. In all documentation to date I had seen that his name was David Davis. In this pension application his name is given as Harrison Davis. Good to know when starting my research into the date and place of Catherine and his marriage. When mentioning Catherine's recently deceased husband, GG Grandpa William, it states in a couple places in the pension files that his name was William Lee Porter. So is the William Lee Porter, born 1821 in New York a Junior? Quite possibly, but more research is required for this.

The other pension file I received was for William Lee Porter, William Porter's 1st born son. I have not had a chance to look at this pension file so will blog about it next week.

I spent some time researching Truman Porter, a possible relative of GG Grandpa William. He appears to be found in the 1840 federal census living in Jefferson Township, Knox County, Ohio. But he disappears from Knox County after that. I found one Truman Porter living in Wood County, Ohio. I have sent for copies of obituaries for a Truman Porter, Sarah Porter, and Nelson Porter from the Wood County Genealogical Society. Hopefully that will help to determine if this is my Truman Porter.

Using the Newbury Library's "Atlas of Historical County Boundaries" which I found by reading Randy Seaver's post dated 10 May 2011, I printed out maps of New York counties for the years 1794, 1800, 1810, 1820, and 1830. I also started a couple spreadsheets to keep track of my research into GG Grandpa William Porter's place of birth. I've only used the census records for 1790, 1800, and 1810 so far, and am using a select portion of NY counties during my first sweep through the census records. What I'm tracking are families with surname Porter and who have a male child of the age of William. I'm not being too picky in this first sweep, but also am not using every family I come across with a child in the correct age range. Gut feeling tells me William is not the oldest male child so most families that have no other male children other than the one in William's age range have not been included at this stage in the research.

Edited 6/16/2011: Changed relationship of Truman Porter to possible relative, not son of William Porter.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Those Places Thursday - 2124 Indiana Avenue

I really wanted to have a picture of this residence as it was when we lived there.  I also wanted to be able to give precise dates for when my family lived at 2124 Indiana Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. But instead, after thinking about this place, I'm left feeling rather melancholy. First I am aware of no photos of this place while we lived there. I know a camera was not an item that our family possessed until I bought a cheap one as a teenager. However, it still seems strange that there are no photos. Second, I cannot remember how long we lived at this address. I know we moved from 1435 N. 4th Street to this address in the summer of 1956, and I know that before 1962 we had moved again. But exactly how many years we actually lived at 2124 Indiana Avenue escapes me. The melancholy sets in because I am the only one left in my family that lived in that place, I'm the only one whose memories are of this place, yet those memories have faded. Both my parents and older brother have passed, and they were the only ones that would have shared those memories with me.

So it's with an unknown year that I can report that many years after we moved, this house burned to the ground, killing at least two young people. This home was part of a half-double, consisting of 2124 and 2126 Indiana Avenue. This area of Columbus is very close to The Ohio State University, so eventually this half-double housed OSU students. The fire started on our side, 2124, and was attributed to a candle left burning. I remember the news story stating that those killed were in the bedroom above the living room, which is where the candle was left burning. The upstairs collapsed onto the lower level. It was many years after we had moved from the place. I do remember driving past what remained of the house quite a few years after the fire. Nothing had been rebuilt on the site.

Today a new building stands in its place, and it appears to be a half-double, though the layout is very different. The information taken from the Columbus Ohio Auditor's website, states that this new building was built in 2000. This picture was taken from the Columbus Auditor's webpage:

The only thing that is the same is the tree on the right, which was there when we lived there. The older building had front doors that were on the outside of each side, not both in the center as it exists now, and each unit had it's own stairs to the sidewalk. Each unit had an attic with a small window. It does not appear to have attic windows in the new building. The porches were like those on the house to the left in the picture.

I do remember when we first moved to this house that it had a coal furnace. The coal was delivered through a window on the side of the house. I remember the big floor grates and how it was nice to stand on top of them during the winter. Dad somehow always knew when to put in the coal, as I never remember being cold in this house. We still lived there when our landlord converted the coal furnace to a gas one. I liked the attic in this place. It was big enough to be a third floor. Although there was a bed in a small room created by a three-sided wall in the attic, I don't remember anyone sleeping in it. My brother Pat and I would play in the attic, but it was used primarily for storage.

I remember the first year we lived here, Pat and I continued to attend Sacred Heart School even though we were now in Holy Name parish. I think Dad did not register us early enough to attend Holy Name that first year. Pat and I would catch the bus at the corner of Summit and Lane Avenue. At that time Summit was a two-way street so we would get off the bus on Summit Street close to Lane Avenue when coming home. The next year we did attend Holy Name, which was within easy walking distance from our home.

I now feel a need to lookup this address in Columbus' city directories. Hopefully that will give me a better idea of how many years we lived at 2124 Indiana Avenue.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Catherine Porter pension application

Amanuensis Monday - An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some we never met - others we see a time in their life before we knew them.

Today I an transcribing a page from the pension files I received for my 2nd Great Grandmother's application based upon her son, William H. H. Davis' service in the Civil War.

"State of Ohio, Knox County, ss;

     Before me the undersigned authority in and for the county aforesaid personally came John Hunter of lawful age who being sworn according to law upon his oath says that he has been acquainted with Mrs. Catherine Porter and family for seventeen years last past; that William Porter the husband of the said Catherine Porter died in the Spring of 1862 near Mount Vernon, Ohio; that at the time of his death the said Porter was a poor man, the entire property belonging to the said Porter consisted of thirty acres of poor land worth not over twenty dollars per acre; that there was no buildings on said premises save an old log cabin; that he did not own at the time of his death either a cow, horse or any other animal, but that his entire property consisted of said thirty acres of land and a few articles of cheap furniture, Affiant says that he is also well acquainted with William H. Davis the son of the said Catherine Porter; that ever since the death of the said William Porter the husband, the support of the said Catherine Porter fell upon her said son William H. Davis and he was her only support from the time of the death of said William Porter until he the said Davis departed this life in the month of February 1865. Affiant says that the said William H. Davis worked the said thirty acres of land during the season of 1863; and that the whole profits of said labor went to the support of his mother the said Catherine Porter and that he worked for other parties and took the proceeds of said labor home to his mother the Catherine Porter, that he bought flour, meat and groceries and took them home to his mother for her to live on; affiant says that after the said Davis entered the service he sent his mother money which money was used by his said mother to live on. Affiant says that it was well known and understood by all the neighbors that the said William H. Davis was the sole and entire support of his mother the said Catherine Porter from the date of the death of William Porter the husband until he the said Davis departed this life in February 1865. Affiant says that he knows the above statements to be true as he lived a near neighbor to the said Catherine Porter and had the means of knowing them, that he was often at the house of the said Catherine Porter and has heard the said Mrs. Porter talk and tell about the said Davis being the support, and has seen the said Davis buy and take home provisions to his mother for her support. He further certifies that he has no interest in the prosecution of this claim direct or indirect and that his Post Office address is Mount Vernon Ohio [signed] John Hunter

Sworn to before me and subscribed in my presence by John Hunter this 12th day of February A. D. 1870, and I further certify that I have no interest in the prosecution of this claim for pension. [signed] Joseph Watson
Notary Public, K. C. O."

The words that stand out to me are the ones describing William Porter as a poor man, owning nothing more than 30 acres of poor land, an old log cabin, and some cheap furniture. William is mentioned in some of the writings on his two step-sons, Hiram and Barney Davis, who were better known as P.T. Barnum's Wild Men of Borneo. He is always referred to as "Mr. Porter" and a man of dire straits in these writings. Even though I know that a lot of people during this age were not wealthy, it still saddens me to think of what life must have been like for William and his family. No wonder they accepted money for Hiram and Barney from Lyman Warner so he could take the boys on the dime museum circuit. It's my feeling that this is how William was able to afford the 30 acres of land mentioned in the pension application. The deed was issued in 1850 and this is the time frame always given for the 'purchase' of the boys.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Weekly Roundup 6 May 2011

Completed monthly backup of all important data.

I ordered the pension file for James Babcock. He is Phebe Rosella Munson Babcock's husband. Phebe had applied for a widow's pension. I'm hoping I will obtain the date of their marriage and the names of their children.

I also ordered the compiled service record for an Alfred Porter, who is a person of interest. This file should confirm whether this is my Alfred Porter, a son of William Porter.

I received a photo of the Joseph R. Porter family from another researcher of this family. It was taken at a family reunion during the early 1920s. Identification was included so this was a very nice gift. Also received a gedcom for the Nancy Porter Pratt family from blogger Tom Pratt. Haven't had a chance to really look at the information, but is on my To-Do list for the upcoming week.

Transcribed William Porter's 1850 deed, and entered it as an event in my database for William.

I started adding source citation to the metadata of each saved census file image. (I'll be doing this for all images I collect). I also started a new naming convention for census records. In the past I had stored all census images in one large folder, sorted by a File ID. I now will be storing them within the 'Surname' folders. The File ID will no longer be a part of the filename, and will be entered now only in the Tag metadata. The filename will still reflect the year and place of the census, but will now also include the name of the primary person included. Primary person is identified as one that is blood-related to me. In the future I will be moving all census images to the appropriate 'Surname' folders.

I read an article by Steve Morse on DNA which appeared in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, March 2009. From this article I was able to determine that if my Great Grandmother, Mary Hontoon, was Native American, an autosomal DNA test should return 12.5% Native American for me.

I had a dream last night where I had my research plan mapped out for finding William Porter's place of birth and parents. The dream was very detailed and upon analyzing it I think it is a valid plan. Weird but I like it!

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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Amanuensis Monday

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

John Newmark on his blog TransylvanianDutch has a weekly series each Monday called Amanuensis Monday. We are asked to post transcriptions of documents with the purpose of preserving their contents.

The following is the deed that was issued when my 2nd great grandfather, William Porter, bought 30 acres in Knox County:

Nelson M. Pond  
DEED ----- to
William Porter
Recd Oct 28, 1851.

This indenture made this 18th day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty between Nelson M. Pond & Hannah B. Pond his wife of the county of Knox and state of Ohio of the first part, & William Porter of the county of Knox and state of Ohio of the second part, witnesseth, that the said first party for and in consideration of the sum of four hundred dollars to them in hand well and truly paid by the said second party the receipt wherof is hereby acknowledged do by these presents give grant bargain sell alien convey and confirm to the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns forever all that lot or parcel of land lying and being in the county of Knox and state of Ohio, and more particularly described as follows, to wit; part of the second quarter of the sixth township and twelfth range, beginning at the corner of the Robb and Evans tracts are the east line of said quarter running thence north are the said east line of said quarter forty eight rods, to the corner of the 20 acre tract heretofore sold & conveyed to Robert Crawford thence westward parallel with the south boundary of said Robb tract, which is the north boundary of the said Evans tract one hundred rods thence south parallel with the said east line of said second quarter forty eight rods to the said south boundary of said Robb tract: thence eastward on said Robb & Evans boundary one hundred rods to the place of beginning, containing thirty acres, to have and to hold the premises hereby conveyed with all the privileges and appurtenances therewito belonging unto the said party of the second part his heirs and assigns forever, and the said Nelson M. Pond & Hannah B. Pond his wife heirs executors and administrators do covenant to and with the party of the second part, his heirs and assigns that they are well seized of the premises hereby granted and have good right and lawful authority to sell and convey the same in manner[?] and form aforesaid, and that the same are free and clear of all incumbrances, except a mortgage to B. C. Hurd, Trustee of A. B. Norton to secure the payment of two hundred dollars, and that they will forever warrant and defend the said premises with the appurtenances unto the said party of the second part, his heirs and assigns against the lawful claims or demands of all persons whomsoever except the mortgage aforesaid, In witness whereof the said party of the first part have hereunto set their hands and seals the day and year above written.
signed sealed acknowledged              [signed] Nelson M. Pond [initials] J.S.
and delivered in the presence of       [signed] Hannah B. Pond [initials] J.S.
Wm Sanderson; J. S. Davis,
State of Ohio Knox county ? on the 18th day of March A. D. 1850 before the undersigned a Justice of the peace within and for said county personally appeared the above named grantors who signed & sealed the foregoing deed, and acknowledged the signing and sealing thereof to be his voluntary act and deed, and the said Hannah B. Pond wife of the said Nelson M. Pond being by me examined separate and apart from her said husband and the contents of said deed being fully made known to her according to law, did declare that she did voluntarily sign seal and acknowledge the same, and that she is still satisfied therewith, Given under my hand and seal the day and year aforesaid  [signed] J. S. Davis, J.P.