Lois Buttles Whitney

This week in #52Ancestors brings me to a westward migration story that made me rethink some of my historical assumptions.  For those of you that had always pictured the westward parade of settlers to be young men out to seek their fortune or newly weds looking for adventure, this family definitely bucks that trend.

Whitney_SamuelandLois_cemeterymonument_Lois Buttles was born on 17 March 1782 in Granby, Connecticut to Jonathan and Lois Viets Buttles.  Even in 2018, Granby is described as a rural town, located in the foothills of the Litchfield Hills of the Berkshires…and… the outskirts of town are filled with dense woods and rolling hills and mountains. Imagine it in the 1820’s.  Lois married Samuel Platt Whitney on 10 March 1799 in North Granby and they preceded to have 12 children, all but one living to adulthood.

  • Samuel Hart Whitney (1800-1874)
  • Lois Whitney (1802-1885)
  • Jonathan Rasselas Whitney (1804-1886)
  • Agnes Whitney (1806-1893)
  • Marcus Israel Whitney (1807-1893)
  • William Lewis Whitney (1809-1836)
  • Seth Whitney (1812-1875)
  • Nelson Whitney (1814-1836)
  • John Viets Whitney (1816-1888)
  • Lucy Susanna Whitney (1819-1828)
  • Harriet Atwood Whitney (1821-1894)
  • Lurena Whitney (1824-1909)

The family lived in East Granville, Massachusetts for most of their early marriage (the first 25 years), farming the land, attending church, and in the case of Samuel, voting in every election. Then, in 1834, they moved westward to Montville, Ohio to join Jonathan and Seth in what is now Geauga County .  This must have represented a huge upheaval for the family.  By 1834, seven of their children are over 21 years and at least four of them are married with families.  Of their children, six relocate to Ohio, and settle in or around Montville.  The 1840 Census shows Samuel’s family of four people: Samuel and Lois with one son between 20 and 29 years, and one daughter 10 to 14 years.  Seth Whitney and wife are listed on the same page and so are living nearby.   Jonathan R. Whitney is listed on the next page with six children.  Clearly moving to Montville agrees with this family.

Whitney_SilverWeddingAnniversary_Plain_Dealer_1870-04-14_2In 1870, they celebrated their silver wedding anniversary at the home of their son John Viets Whitney.  This story not only made the local Geauga press paper but also appears in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Lois survives her husband’s death in 1871 but dies just before son Seth on 19 August 1875.  She and her husband are buried in the Montville Cemetery.  Once again, I find myself discovering Ohio roots after living in that state for so many years.  I see a road trip in my future!

Happy Birthday, Lois Buttles Whitney!



Cornelius D. Vreeland

Where there’s a will there’s a way, right?  Well, this week’s #52Ancestors really was a slog through wills, the absence of wills, probate, estate records, land sales, etc.  But first, let’s start with the gentleman who inspired this blog: Cornelius Delos Vreeland.

Vreeland_CorneliusD_1882_cropCornelius D. Vreeland was born in Paterson, New Jersey on 4 March 1813.  At this time, Paterson was in Essex County but it eventually became Passaic County.  Young Cornelius was duly baptized at the First Reformed Church in Totowa, a small community just outside of Paterson.  On 29 September 1836 he married Rachel Beach and they settled on a farm in Wayne township. They six children: Josiah Pierson (1841-1895), Maria Mottear (1842-1844), Elizabeth Derrom (1846-1924), Adelia (1850-1893), Cornelius (1852-1854) and Jonathan Beach (1855-1911).

Cornelius D. dies at the Vreeland Homestead in Wayne on 6 July 1890, and is buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Caldwell.  This is all quite straightforward.  However, apparently Cornelius did not leave a will and this is where the search gets interesting.  By 1870, the homestead is valued at $20,000 and the personal property at $7,000.  Tax records will tell us more but all of this leads me to wonder, why no will?  Josiah and Adelia are still in the area, Elizabeth has married and is out in California setting up a vegetable farm and Beach, as he was called, is in Charlotte, North Carolina due to his wife’s poor health.

Vreeland_Cornelius_AppointmentAdmin_1892_cropInterestingly, Beach is left to file the articles of administration, which speak to the need for the estate to be inventoried.  Although Passaic County has an online index, the case files themselves have not been put online, so a request for a paper copy has been made.



Happy Birthday, Cornelius Delos Vreeland!  You helped me delve into some records I propably would have avoided, left to my own devices. And thank you, @amyjohnsoncrow for challenging me to dig a little deeper.