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!

 

 

Eugene Tompkins

Well, it took three weeks but I finally got Research Scope Creep.  You know what I mean.  That moment when you completely ignore the #52Ancestors project criteria (find one new thing on one person on your family tree) and gleefully go down the rabbit hole, gathering bits and pieces as you go.  Three hours later, you are banging your head against the desk and crying “I know I found three new census records, his marriage record and four city directory entries, but I WANT his obituary!”

It wasn’t pretty folks, but I pulled back, hunkered down and entered what I had into RootsMagic and called “time.”  So here goes:

Tompkins_Eugene_portrait2Eugene Tompkins was born in 1855 to Abraham Van Wangenin and Caroline Brown Tompkins.  Abraham and Caroline lived in Dutchess County, New York, on a farm outside of Hyde Park.  This family is another source of genealogical frustration for me as the Tompkins are rife in Dutchess County and the surrounding area and each generation named their children after their favorite siblings, creating confusing swirls of Michaels, Rachels, James, Anns, Gilberts and Johns.  To make it even more frustrating, Abraham dies at a relatively early age in 1869, and his children are dispersed throughout the Tompkins clan.  So I found Eugene easily enough in the 1860 and 1870 Census but I had let the search drop several years ago in the face of easier quarry.

My initial task for the #52Ancestors challenge was to find Eugene Tompkins in the 1880 Census.  I re-searched on Dutchess County with no luck.  I then broadened the search to include surrounding counties.  After weeding out all the wrong Eugenes, I was left with the question “did the census taker really get his information that wrong, or is he just not in New York?”  I went back to the sibling list and followed his oldest brother, my great, great grandfather Samuel Dusenbury Tompkins, to New Jersey.  At the time of the 1880 Census, Samuel is living in Jersey City, NJ with his wife and three children and his youngest brother James Tompkins.  But no Eugene.  So I followed one of Amy Johnson Crow’s “5 Online Search Strategies…” and searched on Eugene Tompkins, born NY in 1855, living anywhere and BINGO.  Top of the list is a guy living in Colorado.  Who knew?

Well, it turns out that several of Abraham’s sons went west to Colorado, but that is a story for another day and another blog.  This story is going to wrap up what I now know about Eugene.  Which is not everything I want to know but THAT IS NOT THE EXERCISE.

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I found Eugene living in Denver in the 1900 Census with his wife Arizona.  They have two children, Mabel and Percy both of whom are born in Colorado.  And potentially, they appear to be living with Arizona’s parents.  Mabel E. Tompkins was born in August of 1883, so I looked for a marriage in 1882 and found an entry in an index for 1882.  Eugene is employed as a shipping clerk, which was probably a good job to have on the frontier, as Denver still was in 1900.

By 1910, the family has added some new strings for me to follow up on:  Eugene is the  manager of a wholesale fruit company, Arizona and Percy are at home, Mabel has married and buried a husband named Warhurst and Arizona’s mother has moved in with them.  Ancestry coerced me into clicking on one of their leaves and I found a potential death date through a Find A Grave entry and most interesting of all, a city directory listing for Eugene and Mary A. Tompkins as President and vice president of a brokerage firm “Tompkins Brokerage Co.”

The Denver Public Library has an awesome newspaper obituary index up on their page and through this I was able to glean obituary information on Eugene.  He died at home on 26 October 1927 and is buried at Crown Hill Cemetery.  Interestingly, Mabel is listed as Mabel E. Stewart, so perhaps another husband?

So many links and possibilities.  But time has been called.  I did not find Eugene in the 1880 Census.  I have some really good leads on where to go next and maybe next year I will do #52Ancestorfollowups but this year I am stopping now.  Happy Birthday, Eugene Tompkins!

Happy-Birthday-Write-On-Ballon-Graphic