All content on this blog is copyright by Marci Andrews Wahlquist as of its date of publication.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Locked in the Cemetery

On a Sunday evening in late August years ago the sun broke through the thunderclouds after a day of storm just prior to setting. Karen and I decided the day wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t take my camera and go to the cemetery. Her roommates called us ghouls, but we wasted no time heading into Salt Lake City, about 20 or 25 minutes from Karen’s home in Murray. I drove, having been given Marj’s car while Marj was in England.

In the cemetery we strolled about, keeping our backs to the wind and our faces to the Salt Lake Valley stretching below us. The sun had just set, and another thunder and lightning storm approached on the wind. We discussed the murder mystery Karen was writing, with me as the heroine and herself as the victim before the book even opens. What a perfect mood, we agreed her opening, eerie chapter had set up. Speaking of eerie, the graveyard was getting to be just that. We came up over a rise, and suddenly silhouetted against the valley was a life-size crucifix with a body hanging on it. Lightning stabbed at the city behind it, throwing it into even blacker relief. We grabbed each other’s arms, at the same time realizing we were in the Catholic section.

The talk turned to Life and what it was we’d prepared for, planned for, made promises about—knowing we’d forget—hoping we’d succeed in everything important; and here we were in it; would we, when we were like all these (beneath tombstones) have done everything we were supposed to have? 

The storm approached; the wind moaned in the fir trees. I suggested we get back to the car: we did not want to be out under the trees when the lightning came striking this part of the city.

Accordingly, we faced the wind and let it try to beat us back from reaching the car. When we reached it and got in, I drove to the gate we’d come in. It was locked. No matter, said Karen, when the next gate over was found to be also locked. The sexton had once told her that the southwest corner gate was always left open. We drove down there. It was locked. The padlock stood out in the glare of the headlights.

“Try the next gate over,” suggested Karen. I drove over there. It was locked. Maybe the one on the other side of the one that’s supposed to be open. It was locked. All right, we’ll just go all the way around and try every gate. They must be locking up now. I wondered briefly who was locking up—a legitimate cemetery worker, or the Unknown, who knew two young women would be trapped alone? Vampires came to mind. But I shifted mental gears as I drove around to each gate, finding them all locked. This was getting ridiculous—this couldn’t really be. At the south end we found a gate open: Ah ha! But Karen cried, “Wait!” and jumped out to look. Sure enough, the gate was at the top of a wide but steep flight of stone steps. We sat back in the car, staring at the open gate in the headlights, blackness beyond.

Action! “Maybe they’re back at the truck yard,” I said, shifting into reverse and backing up the dirt lane, almost running into a tree in the darkness. We got over to the group of buildings where trucks and tools are kept, and where it appeared that the sexton had a house. A light glowed from somewhere inside the house, but not near one of the outside windows, and no lights were on outside, except over in the truck yard.

Should I honk or go in? Better go in, I decided. Karen said, “I don’t know whether to stay here or come with you.”

“You’re coming with me,” I said. “If you think I’m going alone, you’re crazy.”

When we got out of the car, we could hear the wind shrieking through the trees, and every little while lightning flashed, lighting up the tombstones weirdly, while thunder cracked around us.

“What if Boris Karloff answers the door?” Karen asked.

“Shut up!” I answered.

We stood on the front walk of the big stone house, looking up at the black shadows of the porch, which could have hidden any number of monsters.

“This is a perfect B movie script,” said Karen, “and I might scream at any moment.”

“But Karen, you never scream.”

“I’ll faint then.”

“No you won’t. Come on.”

We felt our way up the first six steps, , turned right to go up four more, and then left up two more. The wind groaned, the lightning and thunder crashed, black shadows moved and swayed—we froze.

The wind. The bushes were moving in the wind. We breathed again. I felt for the doorbell on the wall.

Chimes rang hollowly, echoing inside.

“Trick or treat?” I whispered to Karen, trying to laugh and squeaking instead. We waited, for anything, hoping for nothing. Nothing. I realized that little as I wanted to face something coming to the door with that dimly frosted pane, still less did I want to remain locked in the cemetery!

I rang again. The chimes echoed horribly.

“What if creeps are in here with us?” Karen voiced both our fears. “Vampires or something!”

“Shut up!” I said, scared. “We have to be the heroines of this, whatever happens,” saying whatever I could to get some courage back. “So no matter what, be cool. We have to be cool.” I only half convinced myself.

We practically ran to the car. “Check the back seat!” I yelled as I unlocked my side. Empty. We jumped in. Maybe there was a body in the trunk. No, couldn’t be.

“Karen, we are locked in this graveyard.” The wind howled around the car. “Where is a policeman when you want one? Don’t they patrol this area for vandals? Can’t they see there is a car in the cemetery that should not be here?”

“There’s only one thing to do,” said Karen. “We have to leave the car, climb out over the fence, and go call from a house.” She sounded confident, but I was too panicked to understand the plan.

“Call who?”

“The police. Or the sexton.”

“But I can’t leave Marj’s car here! What if something happens to it? I’d have no legal claim to it, and its owner is in England until December!”

But we had no other choice.

As we crossed the street after locking and leaving the car at that gate that should have been open, I asked Karen if she’d considered whether this house we were approaching was owned by creeps. “What if the Hell’s Angels or somebody lives here?”

“Marci. Shut up.” She was in no mood for such speculations. “And be ready to run,” she added as she pushed the doorbell from an arm’s length away, her fingertips barely touching it.

My curiosity and a good story were ruined when the huge door was opened by a young woman of about our age and appearance, who thought the whole story was the funniest she’d heard, and it turned out she had gone to school with one of the guys I was teaching with.

Karen’s roommates came to our rescue after the police had just laughed at us on the phone without being of any more help than to promise to be aware of the car being left in the cemetery overnight.

We always planned to use this story in a murder mystery, of course, but it still remains to be written.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Memoirs of Mirinda Piper Andrews: Married Life 1858 - 1872

Mirinda Piper married John Andrews on September 21, 1858 in Lincoln, Logan County, Illinois. Her father was Beverly Bradley Piper and her mother Delia Deborah Norton Piper. Mirinda was their oldest living child; she had younger siblings Asa Almon Piper, Charles Beverly Piper, and Anne Eliza Piper. Her husband was also the oldest living child in his family; his siblings were Harriet and Seth. Previous chapters of Mirinda’s memoirs have been published on this blog; this one comprises the period of her marriage through the early 1870s.

In June John Andrews came again, and on the 21st of September we were married. The ceremony was performed by Mr. Moore, an old Baptist preacher long since dead. We went to live at the old Andrews place with John’s mother and brother Seth. Grandpa Norton was visiting at Father’s at the same time and left when we did; he was to stop at Vincennes, Indiana, but concluded to go on to Evansville with us. It was the last time I saw him; he died the next year at the age of 78. We spent one day at Vincennes, arrived at Farmersville in the night and were met by Seth and James and Harriet Hinkley (they had been married two years before). They brought carriages to take us home in, so the next morning we started for a twenty-mile ride. The day was pleasant and everything lovely. We arrived in time for dinner.

Mother Andrews
The Andrews family consisted of Mother, Seth, and an adopted daughter named Ellen Hall, who was a very pretty young girl about 14 years old. Also there was a cousin of John’s, a maiden lady named Sophronia Phillips staying with the family temporarily[i]. (Old Mr. Andrews had died in 1854).

From this time on, my life was entirely changed, and my memories will be more of the Andrews family than the Pipers. I met a few of my old acquaintances, but not many, as I was too happy at home to go around much, and the family I had married into were a hard-working, quiet, stay-at-home people, and I did as near like them as I could.

In October Mother Andrews and Seth went to Genesee, Wisconsin, to visit some relatives, and they were so delighted with the place that they bought a farm with the intention of going there to reside in the spring. Miss Phillips stayed with us through the winter. James and Harriet lived on an adjoining farm. They had a year-old son named Anson. During the winter John sold their old home to a Mr. Bois (I think his name was but I am not certain). Seth was very anxious to sell in order to move to Wisconsin. John did not want to sell, but as his Mother sided with Seth he could not resist the pressure. It was an epoch in their lives, as they had always lived there, and all the children were born in the same house.

We had agreed to give possession March 1st. In February Mother Andrews and Ellen Hall were both taken very sick with typhoid fever. There was to be a sale, and they were removed to Harriet’s, and by the 1st of March [they] were able to sit up. As soon as the sale was over and things were straightened out, John and I left for a visit to Father’s, who still lived near Lincoln, Illinois. Two years before this, James Hinkley and John Andrews bought in partnership a farm of 160 acres in Washington County, Illinois, on the Illinois Central Railroad, and planted it out with apple trees. They had a tenant on the place, and we went around that way to see how things were getting along. We went down the Ohio River in a steamboat to Cairo, Illinois. We had a very rough trip; the wind blew so hard that the boat had to anchor for twelve hours. Some of the passengers, myself among the rest, were quite sea-sick, or river sick. We spent one night in Cairo, then went up the Illinois Central Railroad to Dubois, the station near our orchard, took dinner with the tenant, and arrived at Father’s the next evening. Found them all well and delighted to see us.
We had decided to live at the orchard a year or two before we settled down for good, so John stayed one week at Father’s and then went back to build us a house. Harriet and James were to live there, too. I was dreadfully unhappy to have him leave me, and although my relatives were so kind grew worse. I was to stay ‘til he finished the house, but at the end of three weeks was too homesick [and] would not stay any longer. Father was very much put out about it, and he said I had lived with them 18 years and got along very well but now could not stay six weeks. But he went to Bloomington with me, and John met me at Centralia, so I did not have to change cars alone. We had to board two weeks with Mrs. Finch, our tenant’s wife, but I did not care, I was with my husband and that was all I wanted.

As soon as the new house was fit to move into, James and Harriet came and they had two rooms and we had two. How I enjoyed my new home. There is nothing quite so delightful to a young married woman as her first housekeeping experience. My housework was light, and I did not get tired or lonesome. Sometime that summer James and Harriet went back to their old home in Indiana and were gone two weeks. When they came back they brought James’ niece Eliza Oatsman with them, a sixteen-year-old young lady who lived with them ‘til she married.

I wanted Mother to come and visit us that summer, but she wrote she could not leave her family but we had better come to Lincoln, which we did about the 2nd of August, and stayed about five weeks. The 8th of September our little boy was born. We named him Charles Norton. Is there anything sweeter than the first baby? He was the first grandchild too in the Piper family. How they all did dote on him and hated to have us take him away, but when he was three weeks old we went home to Dubois. (This month Grandpa Norton died, aged about 78.)

James and Harriet met us at the depot and were glad to have us home again. Mother Andrews and Seth came down from Wisconsin and stayed a few weeks with us. We had quite an influx of visitors that fall. Clark Butler came, but I did not see him as he was there while we were at Lincoln. Anson Osborn and wife came from Indiana. There was an old Uncle and Aunt of John’s made us a short visit from Ohio, but I have forgotten their names, they died a few years after. The winter passed quickly and happily, my baby was very good and to my eyes beautiful. My housework was light, as there were only three of us in the family and two rooms to keep clean.

This is an historical year, but there are plenty of accounts of it, so I won’t make the attempt. In March John, Baby and I went to Lincoln for a visit; we stayed at Father’s two weeks, then went up to Wisconsin to visit Mother Andrews. We had a very pleasant time as the neighbors invited us out to dinners and teas, so that we were going or entertaining company during our two weeks stay. Among others we met Miss Sylvia Van Camp, whom Seth married the next June. The 16 of May Harriet’s second child was born, George. The same day Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president by the Republicans.

The summer was very hot and we had a big crop of watermelons. The men used to stop work for two hours during the middle of the day and lie around and eat watermelons. Otis Hinkley spent a few weeks with his brother during the heated term, and he was then in college. Of course there were a great many political meetings held in the county, bur I did not attend but one, that was at Samarco, Perry County, and heard Richard Yates speak, who was afterwards Governor. After Seth and Miss Van Camp were married, Ellen Hall came to live with us and remained with us ‘til she was married nine years after. James’ family, with Eliza and Ellen, went over to Indiana in July for a visit of two weeks. Then I was lonesome, having been used to having so many in the house; it seemed dreary enough as John was out in the field at work early and late.

After they came home James went up to the north part of the state to look for a place to settle down, and he decided on Rockford and bought ten acres of land, made arrangements with a carpenter to build him a house, then came back and made preparations to leave Dubois with his family. They went in October. Mother Andrews came down to spend the winter with us and we had a hired man named Tom Brown. Ellen and I had plenty to do and were not lonesome.

In November Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Then there was mutterings of the great storm which broke on us the next April, but I did not heed it, there never had been a war since my recollection in this country, and I did not think there would be; it seemed impossible that Americans would begin to shoot each other, but you see they did.

About the middle of the month Father wrote me that Mother’s health was very poor, and he did not think she would live long, and they were very anxious that I should come and visit her. Oh how I dreaded to go, but I got ready and started in two days. I hated to leave my husband, dreaded the trip, and feared to find Mother sinking. It was a very miserable journey. I arrived at the station in Lincoln at three in the morning. Of course, there was no one to meet me as they did not know I was coming. I sat in the waiting room ‘til daylight, then took my fifteen-months-old boy in my arms and walked to an old acquaintances about a quarter of a mile away. Stayed there to breakfast, then they took me in a buggy out to Father’s. Much to my delight, I found Mother much better. Stayed two weeks and went home on Thanksgiving day. John met me at Centralia, and my troubles were over for that time.

In January Mother’s health failed rapidly, and she died the 24th. I received two letters from Father, one stating that she was worse, and one with the sad news of her death. They both came by the same mail. I was glad I had visited her so lately, even if it was a hard trip. Father urged us to come and spend the summer with him as he had no housekeeper, and sister Anne was only twelve years old. I disliked exceedingly the idea of going there to stay with my family, and the result proved that my intuitions were correct. But as we were unsettled we concluded to go.

Mother Andrews went to Seth’s. The orchard was rented to James Longfellow. In March Nellie Hall, baby Charlie and I went to Lincoln. John came several weeks later. May 30th my second child came, we named him Henry Butler, but his name was soon abbreviated to Harry and remained that ever after. My Aunt Mirinda Parker was with me for several weeks. After that summer I never saw her again. There was a great deal of hard feeling that summer between friends on account of different views of the war, and our family was not exempt. It was the most exciting period the United States ever knew and came very near being the Disunited States.

In July John went up to Rockford to visit James and Harriet Hinkley. While there he bought seven acres of land adjoining James’ piece, located on School Street, and engaged a carpenter to build us a house. He came back to Lincoln, stayed a few days, then went down to Indiana, his old home, to settle up some business affairs. I was 21 the 25th of this month.

In August Father was married again, to Miss Elizabeth K. Landis, a lady we all liked very much, but, of course, we were sorry to have him bring any one to take Mother’s place. But it gave John and me a good excuse to go to Rockford, which we did, starting September 1st or 2nd. While in Indiana John had bought a nice horse and top buggy, so shipping our things by railroad, we drove up to Rockford, about 200 miles. The weather was fine, but the first day or two was quite tiresome, as I had to hold my three months old Harry in my arms all the way. We started Monday after dinner and arrived at Rockford Friday morning at 9 o’clock. The Hinkley family seemed very glad to see us, and we were delighted to get there, especially as we were to have a settled home at last. I remember that was the most pleasant idea of the whole trip, we would have a home of our own. But we had to board with the Hinkley family for three months, as our house was not ready to go into ‘til the last of November. From this time on my home has been Rockford, and we could not have struck a more beautiful or satisfactory place in the state.

In October Harriet was sent for to go to Genessee, as Seth’s wife had died and left a three months old babe. She took her two little boys, Anson and George, and left me with the care of the house. I got along very well as Ellen and Eliza helped me mornings and evenings, they both went to school. Harriet was gone a week, and when she came home she brought Mother Andrews and the little babe Sylvia. About that time James’ sister, Ellen Hinkley, came up from New Harmony, Indiana, to spend the winter, so we were pretty thick in the house, but we got along very well and had no quarrels. There were six rooms in the house, and twelve people including the babies. We were glad to get moved into our new house although it was not nearly finished.

Mother Andrews spent part of the time with us.

In January Father’s wife Lizzie died, and he sold his farm and broke up housekeeping and the family boarded. My life ran along in a quiet manner, there was always plenty to do. Ellen Hall quit school and helped me with the housework. We did all our own sewing, without a machine, baked our bread, made butter, did the washing and ironing, and took care of the children. There was not time to be lonesome, although we were strangers here; the Hinkley family was all the company we seemed to need.

In September Father visited us, bringing a young gentleman friend of his. It was Fair time, and they stayed a few days. There were four regiments of soldiers in camp on the river, which were expecting marching orders at any time. While Father was here he united in marriage Edward Maynard and Eliza Oatsman. Edward belonged to the 74th Illinois Volunteers and wanted to be married before he left Rockford[ii]. The newspapers were full of war news, and it was a general topic of conversation everywhere.

In October the soldiers left. I went to the depot to see them start, they marched through the streets with bands, but it was a sad sight to see them part with their friends, and when they boarded the cars, poor fellows, many of them never came home.

December 18th Harriet’s baby Arthur came. Seth was visiting here that winter, but I do not remember whether he stayed all winter or not. Mother Andrews spent the winter with us.

Ellen Hall visited a few weeks in Wisconsin during the early part of the year. In March brother Asa and sister Annie came; he stayed two weeks, but she remained with us and commenced going to school in the city.

On June 27, my last child was born. We named him Ernest John. I wanted the latter name for fear his father would go to war and be killed. All that summer there was a haunting fear of the war in my mind, as things began to look very serious, and it seemed like all the able-bodied men in the country would be called on. Edward Maynard was paroled on account of sickness.

In October we went up to Seth’s on a visit. Mother Andrews was keeping house for him. We had a pleasant time socially, but the weather was cold and stormy part of the time.

While we were away James had received a letter from the tenant at Dubois saying he had left the place. Someone had to go down there immediately. We packed up and went November 10. When we started the weather was cold and dreary, and we wore our winter wraps, but when we arrived at Dubois the sun was shining warmly, and it was a lovely Indian summer day. There had been a terrible drought that summer and the fields and orchards were as bare as the dead of winter. I was lonesome there, and our nearest neighbor was a quarter of a mile away, and political feeling ran high on account of the war, more than half of the people down there sympathized with the South. I was uneasy whenever John was away from home.

Our cousin, Miss B. Phillips[iii], came to make us a visit in December, and because the weather was quite stormy she stayed much longer than she first intended.

January 1st there came the worst storm I had ever seen up to that time, but I have witnessed as bad since then. There was a blizzard and such a snow storm. John went to the post office a mile away. I was very uneasy fearing he would not find his way home. The next day was very cold and continued so for several days. All the peach trees in the state were killed.

In February I took a severe cold which settled on my lungs. I had worked too hard and had not taken proper care of my health, and now it failed me. All the work for five in the family I had done and had not been accustomed to work so hard. My baby Ernest was sick considerable during the spring months and I felt rather blue.

We took a tri-weekly Chicago paper and an old gentleman neighbor used to come over to get me to read the war news to him, his eyesight was poor. I do not think he could read very well either. He had two sons in the army, and took great interest in all the war news.

One of the pleasant things of my life down there were my letters from Rockford. Sister Annie was boarding with the Hinkleys, Ellen Hall was living there too, and they all wrote me such delightful letters, mail day was anxiously looked for.

The three little Andrews boys: Charles Norton, Harry Butler, and Ernest John, about 1864.
July 3 I started home to Rockford with my three children. John remained to take care of the place during the summer, for we had found a family to move into the house and board the hands. The Democratic presidential convention was in session in Chicago. Father, brother Asa, and Uncle Louis Norton were there. Asa was attending a law school there, and had a room. He met us at the depot and took us to his boarding house, where we spent a very pleasant day with my relatives. I also visited a physician in the city, who told me my lungs were somewhat affected, and gave me some medicine.

The Democrats nominated George B. McClellan for president, and George H. Pendleton for vice president. But the Republicans were successful and elected Abraham Lincoln for president and Andrew Johnson for vice president.

How delighted I was to get back to my Rockford home. My health improved some by the change of climate. Annie had gone to Goshen, Indiana, to live with Uncle Almon Norton. Mother Andrews came to live with us and also Nellie Hall. John remained at Dubois until October.

In November cousin Harriet Osborn came from Brooklyn, New York, to spend the winter with the Hinkley family. We had a jol1y winter, spending about three evenings a week together, playing Huggins, or Old Maid with cards, as Miss Osborn had scruples about playing Euchre, our favorite game. But what I enjoyed most was the grand talks we had; she was very intelligent and interesting and having spent most of her life in a city, opened up a new world to my mind.

We spent Thanksgiving day at our house and Christmas at the Hinkleys. Miss Osborn stayed ‘til May.

In April the war came to an end, much to my delight. I had been in better health and was much more cheerful and hopeful than I had been the spring and summer before. How well I remember one April evening (though I have forgotten the date) we were all over at Harriet’s, when the church bell began to ring out rapidly and joyously. There someone exclaimed, “Lee has surrendered, the war is over!” We had been expecting it, and we all jumped up and commenced shaking hands, and I am sure that one of us at least cried for joy. A few days later we heard the dreadful news of Lincoln’s assassination which cast a damper on our spirits for a time, but nothing could undo the grand fact that the cruel war was over.

In June Ella Hinkley was born, and we were all much pleased. As I had three boys and Harriet had three, we thought there ought to be more of the girl element in the neighborhood.

Everything passed quietly during the summer; we took no trips and had no visitors from a distance that I remember. In the fall our tenant at Dubois wanted to leave, and James Hinkley decided to take his family down there.

Seth, his Mother, and Sibbie [little Sylvia Andrews] moved into their Rockford house. Before that, there had been built a house on the west end of James’ land for Mother Andrews to live in, and she had resided there for some time.

Our little Charlie was now six and we started him to school, but he did not go all winter. I taught him at home; he was reading in a second reader.

This spring Miss Zillah Douglas on Avon Street started a private school for primary scholars, in one room of the Douglas house. Charlie and Sibbie Andrews attended. This was a memorable summer to me. I was in a low nervous state of health and under a doctor’s care but able to work and be around all the time. In June I became terribly excited about religious matters, found that I had drifted away from the faith of my fathers, and had nothing to hold on to. But after a few months my mind grew clearer, and I realized that although the Bible contains truth it does not contain all truth, and what is set down as doctrine is merely the belief of the writer of the book. And a more extended knowledge of history and the sciences confirms me in the opinion.

Fortunately for me we were growing berries, and much of my time was spent out picking the fruit. The fresh air was good for me, and the constant communing with nature was still better. Nature said to me, God is good and merciful, creeds and dogmas to the contrary notwithstanding, I prayed constantly, and my prayer was “I can’t believe (the orthodox faith) God help my unbelief.” My prayer was answered, and I was led to see that God is the Father and Maker of us all. Or as Isaiah says “I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil, I the Lord do all things.” I became satisfied that God was all and the devil was a myth, imagined by priests to frighten their congregations into obedience. A good and merciful Father would never allow any of His creatures to be tortured through all eternity. I read a great deal of Whittier, that grand religious poet. How often I quoted

            I know not where his islands lift
            Their fronded palms in air,
            I only know I cannot drift
            Beyond his love and care.

George McDonald’s books helped me, as did Robert Falconer and others. I thought at that time that I was entirely alone in my struggle, that no one else had suffered in the same way, but years afterward I learned that many others had, notably Dr. [John H.] Kerr, and the author of Robert Elsmere [Mrs. Humphrey Ward, published 1888]. For no one could have written the vivid picture of his (Elsmere’s) mind without it being a personal matter.

In July Ebenezer Ellis, his wife, and Mrs. Van Camp, Sibbie’s Grandmother, visited us from Genesee, Wisconsin. They staid several days, part of the time they were at Seth’s. In August the children and I went on a visit to Father’s who had married a widow lady[iv] and was living a few miles from Mattoon. I did not wish to go, but John thought it would be good for me to have a change, and father’s folks were so urgent for me to come. Seth was going to be married, so I had his company through Chicago. We stayed two weeks, and my little three-year-old Ernie was very sick while there and had ague for several weeks after our return. Harry also. I was delighted to get home though they had been so glad to see me and kind while there. Some way the greatest pleasure I ever had visiting was the delight of getting home in those days.

Seth was married to Miss Flora Phillips in September; they spent a few days at our home and then went to Genesee, Wisconsin to live on his farm, and they took Sibbie with them. The fall was a very sad one to all of us. The children and I were sick for some time. In November my brother Asa died near Mattoon. In December little George Hinkley died, he had been sick all summer with malarial fever at Dubois, it was a terrible blow to his parents. He was six years old. Mother Andrews came down there with them, and after the funeral she came up to our house. She took cold on the trip which resulted in pneumonia and she died one week later. The old saying came true with us that “misfortunes never come singly.”

March 1st James’ family came back to Rockford; it was a very sad homecoming for Harriet, as she had left one of her little ones behind her. Mrs. Alehin on Peoatonica Street started a private school and Charlie and Harry went. In June Anne came from Goshen, Indiana, to live with us. Cousin Howard Norton came with her and remained a few days. Anne had taken a severe cold and her health was poor, but she seemed to improve after she came to us. My stepmother had died during the winter, and Father spent the time traveling among his Baptist friends. I did not see him this year.

My health was improving. John was working hard farming our eighty acre piece and raising berries on our seven acre Rockford place.

In April, Harriet had another baby, a boy whom she named Hargrove Otis, who in a measure filled the place of George that she lost. This month Annie’s health failed visibly. The Doctor said one lung was hepatized and we saw that she was going with consumption. I took the best care of her that I could, and as Nellie Hall was with me could devote most of my time to her, especially as there was plenty of sewing and mending to do and could work in her room. She was very patient and gentle, and gave as little trouble as possible. Father came in September, he had been talking of taking her to Kentucky for the winter, but when he saw her concluded it would do her more harm than good, as she was so far gone. She passed away October 13. She had suffered so much I could not grieve for her, but I grieved for myself. I missed her so, always, very near and dear to me being my only sister, she had grown doubly so during the many months I had cared for and waited on her. Sometime this fall Father went to Logan County, Kentucky, to live, and I never saw him afterwards. In a year or two he married a Kentucky lady[v], and lived on her farm the rest of his life. He died in September 1880.

This was a very quiet uneventful year to us; nothing happened of any moment ‘til September when Nellie Hall, who had lived with us nine years, was united in marriage to Henry Joslin[vi]. For the first time in nine years we were alone with our little family. It seemed so good. Of course I had more work to do, but by hiring the washing, as my health improved, I really enjoyed my work. Harriet’s baby Ralph was born December 14, her last child.

I remember nothing particular about this year ‘til August when Harriet, baby Ralph, and I went to visit Seth’s family. They were now living at Lodi, Wisconsin. We had a delightful trip to Madison on the cars. Seth and a neighbor, Mr. Hall, met us with a two-seated carriage, and I don’t think I ever had a more delightful drive. It was twenty miles to Lodi and we arrived tired and hungry and found a good supper awaiting us. We had a pleasant visit of a week. They all seemed glad to see us.

In September John took the children and me on a visit to Nellie Joslin in Durand. We went one day and came home the next. October 13, Eliza Maynard died with consumption, just two years after Annie’s death. James Hinkley’s two sisters, Miss Lydia Hinkley and Mrs. Ellen Brown, spent most of the summer with relatives here. They were from California.

Nothing of importance happened, we went nowhere away from Rockford. We had no sickness, no deaths, or marriages in the family.


This spring John rented the farm and went down to Dubois to take care of the orchard. There was a promise of a large crop of apples and peaches. In July he wrote for Charlie to come down, and as it was the long vacation, he was delighted to go. I was almost afraid to have him go alone on the cars, but he arrived safely. In a few weeks he was taken sick with malarial fever and I took the other children and went down to take care of him. Found him very sick but he soon grew better. We had a great many peaches on the place, and if he had not been sick we would have had a fine time. We only stayed two weeks as Harry was taken sick and I thought we would all be down and hurried home with my children. John remained ‘til October. After our return Charlie had a relapse and I feared he would die. He recovered but was delicate all winter, did not attend school till the spring term. This fall we bought our first coal stove; before we had always burned wood and allowed the fire to go out of nights, so I did not keep house plants.


[i] We have not been able to trace the Phillips relationship. Perhaps this was a relative of Anson Seeley Andrews’ mother, Elizabeth Butler, who had a sister named Sophronia. There was a Daphne Butler who married a Samuel Phillips and had a daughter Sophronia in 1823, and Elizabeth Butler did have an older sister Daphne born in 1782, but no connection has been proven.
[ii] Edward C. Maynard enlisted August 7, 1862 as a member of Company D, 74th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He was mustered August 28, 1862 and the Infantry began leaving Rockford September 4, 1862, so he must have been married within a few days. He was discharged with a disability May 20, 1863. (Brigadier General J. N. Reece, Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Illinois, Vol VII, p. 586; online at After the war he became a policeman in Rockford. Sadly, Eliza and all three of their children died of consumption over the next twenty years. Edward married again and had a daughter who lived into old age.
[iii] We have not been able to trace what cousin this is. Perhaps she was a sibling of Sophronia Phillips.
[iv] Beverly Bradley Piper’s third wife was Mrs. Lucy W. Jones. They were married 2 November 1865 in Coles County, Illinois. She died in 1867.
[v] B.B. Piper’s fourth wife was Isabella Herndon. They were married 31 August 1870 and had a son, Robert Beverly Piper, in 1871; and a daughter, Ellen C. Piper, in 1873. Isabella died in 1914. Both Robert and Ellen married and had children.
[vi] Although we have been unable to trace Ellen Hall’s parents, her marriage was on 15 September 1869. She died 26 April 1879, and Henry Joslin married again. There were no children.
Other Posts about Mirinda:

One-Room Schools, a Romance, an Earthquake

Mirinda and Slavery

The Further Adventures of Mirinda Piper (first part)

The Further Adventures of Mirinda Piper (second part)

Mirinda Piper's Adventures as a Young Lady of the 1850s

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Fiends of the Forest

Betsey DeKalb, a distant cousin of mine who lived two hundred years ago, used to regale her nieces and nephews with this story about her grandfather, who was born in a German duchy around 1740 and ended up in America by the time he was around 30. Although some parts of it are improbable and others are inconsistent, it’s a great start to the Halloween season!

John and another boy started for America by the way of France. As they were traveling one night in a forest near the border of France and Germany, they saw a light ahead, and going near, found a small log house. In answer to their knock, an old woman came to the door; they asked to stay all night and she said that she would keep them. As she was preparing some supper for them, she told them that her husband had gone to a distant village but would be back soon. While the boys were eating, one of them found in a piece of mince pie a human fingernail. This naturally aroused their suspicion.

“You have a fingernail in your pie too? Do you think
it means anything?”  “No John, we’re imagining wild
things.”  “No doubt you are right. We’re surely safe
here in this lonely cabin in the forest with these two
possible cannibals.”
Soon the old man came in and began to question them as to who they were, where they were going, and how much money they had. After a while they were shown up to the loft to bed.  After the trap door was shut upon them, they examined the room and were horrified to find under the bed the corpse of a murdered man, not yet cold! The bedding was covered with blood.

Here was a dilemma. The trap door was fastened on the underside; there was only one small window in the end of the room, and they had no arms with which to defend themselves. What to do they did not know. As they lay on the bed and pretended to sleep, they heard the man and woman whispering and sharpening their knives. Soon the man came up the ladder, carefully raised the trap and looked in. The boys stirred; so, thinking that they were not sound asleep, he backed down to wait a little.

Now was their time, and throwing their packs out and squeezing themselves through the window, they dropped lightly to the ground. Running as fast as they could in the darkness, they soon came to a small village, and telling the people their story, they finally got a party to follow them to the place to arrest the old man and woman.

They found in the garden portions of bodies of other victims that had been buried there. The old people were taken back to town and tried; the boys were held as witnesses; the man and woman both confessed that they had murdered and robbed a large number of people. They were executed and the boys allowed to go on their way unmolested. Soon they arrived in France after which John came to this country.
Betsey was my great-great grandmother Julia Palmer’s first cousin once removed, and they were very close friends. Julia’s grandfather Zephaniah Platt Palmer and Betsey’s mother, Lydia Palmer DeKalb, were siblings, so I’m sorry to see that I am not related to the John Kalb who escaped the robbing, murdering, maybe cannibalistic fiends of the forests of Germany! 

Painting: “Before the Inn” by George Morland, 1792.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Twenty-Five Days Later

This is a record of two walks around Salt Lake Community College Taylorsville campus. How a month in autumn makes the scenery change!

In late September, the trees are still mostly green.

In October they wear their autumn dress and the leaves are flying everywhere.

On Bruin Blvd near the north east bus stop

This hill looked very inviting on a hot day the first week of autumn.

It no longer invites me as much as it used to do.

The appeal of the fountain, however, does not change with the seasons. It is delightful with every variety of background scenery.

On a day with an impossibly blue sky, these trees showed signs of autumn coming.

Twenty-five days later, the sky is full of storm clouds all around, and the trees are showing clearly which one will make it through the winter and which one will not.

In September I found the most autumn-looking trees to lie under on the hillside while cooling off and waiting for my student to get out of class.

Twenty-five days later the trees in the original photo had no leaves left at all, so I lay on the hill in a different spot.

My student appears. And how the colors have changed!

In another twenty-five days I may update this little photo show, but you already know just about what things will look like then.

The winter is coming.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Search for Seba: a Cautionary Tale of Genealogical Research

My great-grandfather Ernest John Andrews was, as he put it, bitten by the genealogical bug in the late 1890s when he was in his 30s. He spent the next forty years of his life researching and writing about his ancestors. This article is his delightfully candid expression of what happens when one is happily researching, still inexperienced, and prone to jump to conclusions in advance of the facts (as Sherlock Holmes would have put it). It is also an eye-opening look into the difficulties of genealogical research before the Internet, before microfilm even, when writing letters, going to libraries, and traveling were the only ways to gather information, and when having contacts in Washington D.C. was nearly essential for the researcher of early New England ancestry. He wrote this probably in the 1920s.

My Search for Seba
by Ernest John Andrews

Seba Norton was not one of my ancestors, but I thought he was. I am writing this for the good of others who may be searching for ancestors. I did not know that his name was Seba, nor even that there was such a name. I knew that my mother’s grandfathers were Asa Piper and Asa Norton, but I knew nothing of their parents until I was stung by the genealogical bee. I then began my search, not for Seba, but for the parents of the Asas. In time I found the parents of Asa Piper; but the search for the Norton parents was more interesting and instructive.

Asa Norton in 1851 at the age of 70
My mother knew that Asa Norton spent most of his life in Crawford County, Illinois, at Heathville, near the county seat Robinson, and was in the early days a county judge and a state legislator. She knew that he came from Norwich, New York, where he was married about 1804 to Mary Bell [the name turned out to be Belknap, but throughout this article he uses Bell. —MAW] who was from Vermont.

I searched many biographical books, such as The Members of the Bar of Illinois, for Asa Norton’s name and ancestry. But evidently he was not sufficiently famous, or his descendants hadn’t offered sufficient inducement, to get his name in the books.

I also tried the other end and looked up the Norton genealogies. They ran back to William the Conqueror; but I wasn’t interested in him—I wasn’t interested in any Englishman as it was highly improbable that Asa’s parents came from England and settled away off in central New York during the end of the 18th century. So I turned to the early settlers in New York. I found many lines of Nortons but no Asas. I couldn’t search for Seba then; I could search only for Asa Norton of Norwich who married Mary Bell about 1804. It was a losing search at the beginning.

I turned to Norwich. I wrote for a copy of the town records relating to the Nortons about 1800. But it turned out there were no records existing of that time, nor until many years after. I wrote to the Clerk of the Surrogate Court for a copy of any Norton wills from 1790 to 1840. The clerk replied that there was only one will recorded during that time, that of Cyrus Norton who had died in 1807. Cyrus then must be my man; my search was ended. This was but a few years before Asa and his brother and sisters went west. Probably the mother had died soon after the father; the property was disposed of and the children went west. My mother knew that two brothers and two sisters, besides Asa, came west.

I looked over my tables of Nortons and found no Cyrus. I went to the library and looked up the printed records of the United States Census of 1790. The census of 1790, unfortunately, is the only census printed. But what a joy these books are to the genealogist! The first census of the United States, and all easily available except New Jersey, which was destroyed before printing. I found that Cyrus of Waterbury, Connecticut then had a wife, four boys under 16, and two girls. Yes, this was the family: six children. I knew of five—one probably died. But I sent for a copy of the will; even though I felt I had reached the end of the search, I would play fair and send the money to the clerk; besides, it was only a dollar, and there might be data in the will worth the money. It is sometimes easy to play fair.

Asa’s brothers and sisters I knew to be Lydia, Benjamin, Theodore, and Sarah. The will came: Cyrus’ wife was Catherine; his children were Ambrose, Amzi, Milton, Ariel, Leman Green, and Jabis Simon.

So I took up the search again. I had cards printed asking for information in reference to the parents of Asa Norton and mailed one to each Norton listed in the Chicago Telephone Directory.

I had been very successful at this with relation to the other Asa ancestor, Asa Piper. I knew he had married Margaret Ficklin and that she had a brother named Joseph. Ficklin was an uncommon name. I looked in the Chicago Telephone Directory and found Joseph C. Ficklin’s office. This was surely a descendant of Margaret’s brother. I wrote and asked for information in reference to the family of Margaret Ficklin of Virginia who married Asa Piper. He sent me the Ficklin genealogy, referred to page 40, and there it was. It is easy to make a bull’s-eye shot, however, if the target is all eye. There had been only one other Ficklin in the directory, and that was Joseph C.’s wife.

There were over a hundred Nortons, and no Asas, nor Theodores, nor Benjamins. So I sent a card to every Norton in the book. There were three times as many in the Chicago City Directory, so I thought I would send a broadside to the houses rather than to individuals; besides, those having telephones somehow seemed more likely to have ancestors.

I got a few replies, but nobody seemed to know anything of value. One professional genealogist called. He wasn’t a Norton, but one of my cards had been referred to him. He offered some suggestions; I looked on him with suspicion. I knew professional lawyers and had some reason to be suspicious of professionals [Note: Ernest John Andrews was himself an attorney]. But this, like much else, depends upon the man and not the class. He suggested that the census of 1850 gave the state in which each person was born. It might help to know where Asa was born. I finally asked him to look up a trifling matter for me. He came into the office about three months later and began to tell about the trouble he had had in looking for my information. Cold chills ran up my back. I thought of lawyers’ fees. I would not pay him. I had not told him to go to all that trouble. But I said nothing. He concluded by saying that his charge was fifty cents. Silence is sometimes golden. He would never know that I had expected him to ask for ten dollars!

He has since done other work for me; and for genuine efficiency in genealogical work I now always recommend a good professional genealogist unless one’s time is entirely valueless.

I had my lawyer associate in Washington D.C. look up the census. The government will not allow any employee to do this, but any good lawyer or genealogist will do it effectively and cheaply. I found by the census of 1850 that Asa was born in New York State in 1781.

In the meantime I had collected a large amount of data relating to the early New England Nortons. I had finally obtained access to a manuscript genealogy of the family made by Lewis Mills Norton of Goshen, Connecticut, a copy of which was owned by Norman C. Thompson of Rockford, Illinois. I carefully examined this data after putting it in systematic form, and from this drew certain conclusions as to Asa’s ancestors, which were expressed at the time in the following article.

Asa Norton, Husband of Mary Bell
     Asa Norton was perhaps the son of Jabez Norton and of his second wife Sarah Buell. This is evidenced by the following facts.

  •        Out of some 300 Nortons, constituting most of the Nortons living prior to Asa Norton’s birth, I find but one Asa, a doctor. He was born some fifty years prior to our Asa, and the evidence is much stronger that our Asa was a son of Jabez than that he was a descendant of Dr. Asa. There is nothing to raise a presumption that Jabez had a son Asa other than that the most probable father of Asa is Jabez.
  •         Jabez had a daughter Sarah born in 1772, and Asa had a sister Sarah. But Asa was born in 1781 and was older than his sister Sarah.
  •        Jabez and Asa each had a sister Lydia.
  •        Jabez had a second cousin named Theodore born ten years before Asa’s brother Theodore, and there is no other Theodore known in the Norton family.
  •       Jabez had a second cousin named Benjamin and Asa had a brother Benjamin, and there is no other known Benjamin in the Norton family, except cousin Benjamin’s son.
  •        Jabez had a cousin named Deborah and a third cousin named Deborah, and Asa had a daughter named Deborah.
  •        Jabez had a niece named Miranda, and Asa had a daughter and a granddaughter named Mirinda. There is no other known Miranda or Mirinda in the family. The granddaughter Mirinda was named after the daughter, and it was her understanding that there was a mistake made in the original spelling of the name and that it should have been Miranda.
  •        Jabez was just about the right age to be Asa’s father.
  •         In 1790 Jabez was living in New York State and had three boys younger than 16 and one daughter at that time. Asa was 9 years old and Theodore five, and he had a brother Benjamin younger than 16, but no known sister at that time. Asa and Theodore were born in New York and were living there at least some ten years later.
  •        Asa had a son named Wellington B. This B may have stood for Bell, his mother’s maiden name, or it may have stood for Buell, the maiden name of Jabez’ wife Sarah. (Later it was found that it stood for Bertolf.)
  •       Jabez was born in Goshen, Connecticut, and while living there married Margaret Beach who lived in Winchester, some eight miles away. Presumably she died and he married Sarah Buell. Apparently he went up to New York and settled in Hillsdale and had three sons under 16 and one daughter in 1790. Now, Asa married Mary Bell of Vermont about 1803, and the Vermont state line is only about 40 miles away from Hillsdale. Jabez had a brother Abijah, who lived in Ballstown, Albany County, New York in 1790, and that is but a few miles from Vermont. Abijah then had four girls, so Asa might have stopped at his uncle’s on his way to Vermont, or he may have met Mary at his uncle’s. When Asa married Mary, they went still farther into New York and for some years were in Norwich, and then they went still farther into the wilds and landed in Crawford County, Illinois. There were also a good many Bell families in New York in the neighborhood of Hillsdale.
  •       It might be added that in the Buell families, the names of Deborah, Lydia, and Sarah appear often.
  •        Asa is said to have had a very straight, soldierly bearing. Jabez was in the Revolutionary War for five years, and Asa was also a soldier though not until he was 30 years of age.
     We may next consider other possible candidates.

     The descendants of John Norton of Farmington show two Sarahs; but so far as I know, no other name appears in his line which is the same as those known to have been in our Asa’s family. Hence, as Sarah is such a common name, this line may safely be eliminated.

     Among the descendants of George Norton of Salem are several candidates:
  •        First is Dr. Asa, who died at Newtown, Connecticut. We may reasonably assume that our Asa and his brothers were born between 1780 and 1790. This Asa was born in 1729 and could possibly have been our Asa’s father at the age of 52 or so; one of Asa’s brothers was born about 1785 when Dr. Asa would have been about 56, and sister Sarah was born about 1800 when Dr. Asa would have been 71, so on the whole it is unlikely. Dr. Asa had sons Nathaniel and Pilo; Nathaniel was born in 1766. Asa had no such named brothers, so far as is known. Dr. Asa had a sister named Sarah, but none of the other names associated with our Asa appear in Dr. Asa’s family. Hence, it is improbable that Dr. Asa was our Asa’s father.
  •        Dr. Asa had a brother named Elijah born in 1741; hence, so far as age is concerned, he is more probable as our Asa’s father. He had a brother named Asa and a sister named Sarah. But he named his son Elijah, while our Asa had no such named brother that is known. In the 1790 Census, either Elijah the father was not living, or he had no sons living with him. Even though he apparently went to New York, he could hardly have been Asa’s father.
  •       Dr. Asa’s brother Aphia is a possible candidate, but there is no Aphia in the 1790 census.

  •       Dr. Asa’s brother Daniel is also a candidate. He was born in 1751, just the right age, and he was probably in New York in 1790. Ancestor Asa was born there in 1781. One Daniel in New York had no children with him in 1790, so we can eliminate him; but the other, in Stillwater, Albany County, New York, had three boys and two girls, which was just right for our ancestor’s family. 
                     As the children of the other relatives of Dr. Asa are known and do not contain an Asa, and as there is no other Asa known in the line, it is probably safe to eliminate this entire line. It is possible that some one of these descendants may be the desired ancestors, but it is hardly probable.

     The most probable members of the descendants of Thomas Norton of Guilford, collateral to Jabez, are the sons of Isaac and Mary (Rockwell) Norton of Durham and Bristol. These have sisters Lydia and Deborah, and a second cousin Benjamin. The candidates are as follows.

  •       Sylvanus, born in 1742, is of the right age and may be the man, but he does not appear in New York.
  •       Aaron is similar: he was born in 1749.
  •       Isaac was born in 1747, and there was apparently an Isaac in New York during the War, and there were two Isaacs in the 1790 census in New York. But he had only two sons, one named Isaac after him. Asa had two brothers certainly.
  •      Joel, the last son of Isaac and Mary, was in New York in 1790, but he had no sons then.
  •       Of Jabez’s brothers, Samuel’s children are known; Abijah had no sons in 1790; and Levi was not the head of a family in 1790.
So far as the records at hand show, there is no other Norton who even approaches Jabez in the probability of being Asa’s father.

Job Norton (possibly Jabez) was in East Harford in 1764 and 1775. He was among those who marched from Hartford for the relief of Boston in the Lexington alarm of April 19, 1775. He was in Hartford in 1792 but not in 1790.

In 1818 Jabez was granted a pension as a private then residing in New York. Pensions were first granted in 1818.

A Jabez Norton is recorded as having married Ruth Davis in New York on July 29, 1781.

In the 1790 Census for New York, Jabez is reported as being the head of a family in Hillsdale, Columbia County, and apparently has three boys under 16, a daughter, and a wife.

The Hillsdale History (F851.363-18) gives no Nortons nor Davises residing there in 1780–1781, and a complete list of inhabitants is given of that date.

I cannot account for the marriage with Ruth Davis. This may have been another Jabez Norton. There is no evidence that our Jabez resided in Hartford during the latter half of the war, but undoubtedly Colonel Webb’s regiment was in New York more or less of the time. In 1781 General Washington was in Hartford and then moved all of his own forces down through New York into Virginia, leaving the 6000 French soldiers under Rochambeau in Hartford until July.

It is supposed that Jabez resided at Norwich, New York, about the beginning of the 19th century. Asa the son was born in 1781. He married Mary Bell, was a probate judge and farmer in Crawford County, Illinois. Asa’s brothers and sisters were:
  •       Theodore, born in 1785, became a doctor and farmer and lived in Crawford County, Illinois, married Lucinda who was born in Connecticut in 1793, and had sons Ira and George.
  •        Benjamin, lived in Vincennes, Indiana, and married before 1800.
  •       Lydia, younger than Asa, born in 1797, married a Goodrich in New York and a Grimes in Illinois.
  •       Sarah, born about 1800, married a Tobey, was said to be much younger than Asa.
They were all full brothers and sisters. Although the children all came west, the parents apparently remained in New York.

Jabez’ known children were:
  •           Margaret, married a Stannard.
  •           Ashbel, born 1768.
  •           Noah, born 1769, married Margaret Patterson.
  •           Sarah, born 1772, probably the daughter of Sarah Buell the second wife.
  •           Jabez, an infant, died in 1777.
These children may have all been born in Connecticut, and those born in New York were perhaps not known and may have been the brothers and sisters of Asa given above. The record of Jabez and his known children was taken from the Goshen History. He left Goshen as early as 1778 and went to Hartford, Connecticut. He was in East Hartford in 1783 when it separated from Hartford, and our ancestor Asa was born in New York in 1781.

The only Norton heads of families in New York in 1790 that have a possible right number of children are:
  •           Caleb               Northeast Dutchess Co.                     2-5-5
  •           Daniel             Stillwater, Albany Co.                        1-3-3
  •           Brion               Brockhaven, Suffolk Co.                     1-2-3
  •           Jabez               Hillsdale, Columbia Co.                     1-3-2
  •           James              Saratoga, Saratoga Co.                        1-5-5
  •           Sarah               Saratoga, Albany Co.                          1-5-5
  •           George            Brookhaven, Suffolk Co.                    2-2-3
  •           Thetomattry    Brookhaven, Suffolk Co.                    1-2-4
  •           George            Huntingdon, Suffolk Co.                    2-2-2
  •           Samuel            Saratoga, Saratoga Co.                        1-2-5
  •           Jonathan         Pittstown, Albany Co.                        1-2-4
  •           Nathaniel        Southold, Suffolk Co.                         1-2-5
  •           William           Harrison, Westchester Co.                 3-5-2
Although many doubts are raised in this article, many of them were injected after the original was written. At the time the article was first written I had no doubt that Jabez was my Seba. But alas, I learned at last that Jabez had died about 1777 or 1778, several years before Asa was born. Jabez had to be abandoned.

I then sent to Washington D.C. for the Norwich census returns of 1800 and obtained the following data:

 Sebe or Thebe Norton                                               
1 male under 10 years
1 male 10 – 15 years
1 male 26 – 44 years
2 females under 10 years
1 female 10 – 15 years
1 female 26 – 44 years

This was the family: I had found Seba. There were Sebe and wife between 26 and 45, Benjamin, Thoda, Sarah, and Lydia, some strange girl, and only Asa missing. Asa was then 19 and no doubt was away when the census was taken. I looked over my data and found a “Leba” Norton of Suffield, son of Abel. The L no doubt should have been read as an S. In fact, this proved true as I gathered a large amount of information then relating to Seba.

But finally I obtained the names of Seba’s children, and alas! not one of them corresponds to Asa or his brothers’ or sisters’ names.

In 1790 the father of Asa Norton should have had in his family 1-3-1, as then neither Lydia nor Sarah was born, and Benjamin was no doubt under 16. [It would not be long before EJA realized the Naughtons of New York were a variant spelling of the Nortons and held the key to finding the right ancestors. —MAW]

And so Seba was not Asa’s father after all.