Otakon 2016

Welcome to Wonderland

In one way or another, I have kept a journal since age 12. I've kept an online journal called Musings since late 2002. My topics range from things that happen in my daily life to my thoughts on pop culture to my ponderings about everything from dreams to the secret thoughts of pets. In November 2007, I began mirroring it here, although I often included extras to this version, such as memes and quizzes. In February 2010, I stopped updating the original journal on my home page and instead started a writing journal there.


For some insight into who I am, read Intro to Alyce. For a guide to the many nicknames I use in my online journal, check out Who's Who in Musings.


The beautiful, sweet dog in one of my icons is Una, my best friend and nurse dog for nearly 11 years, who passed away on October 22, 2010. She was my inspiration, and she taught me how to be a better friend and mother; a better person. My son, Kung Fu Panda (KFP for short), benefits from all the caregiving skills I learned in those 11 years. My husband, The Gryphon, probably does, as well!


The goals I established when I first begin an online journal remain the same: this is a way to explore the tangential, the seemingly accidental observations many of us overlook but which may, ultimately, be where all life and all mystery hinges.

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Week 8: Passing

This is my entry for LJ Idol Survivor,. This week's topic is "Touchy Subjects."

In my hometown, you learn what not to say, especially when you're a chubby, glasses-wearing girl geek. I had enough going against me. No need to voice an unpopular opinion; make myself a more prominent target.

So I stayed quiet when I was the only one who voted for Jimmy Carter over Ronald Reagan in the mock presidential election. On the playground, they took their aggression out on the class scapegoat instead: the small kid with out-of-date clothes. I knew I should speak out, or tell a teacher, but I was afraid they'd turn on me next.

I stayed quiet when I witnessed behavior I knew would make my Sunday School teacher frown. I should have ratted out the bullies, but I worried. I should have spoken up when people told off-color jokes with racial slurs, or homosexual insults, for punchlines. Instead, I stopped hanging around such people. I walked away from the haters before "cancel culture" had been invented.

Even being quiet didn't always work. Some perceived my silence as arrogance. If I stuck my nose in a book between classes, it must be because I looked down on everyone. But that's not true. In those days, like any kid, even from behind an Emily Dickinson book, I wanted to belong. One day in junior high school, I learned that would not be my destiny.

In the mid-Eighties, when Day-Glo colors reigned, I talked my mom into buying me a bright orange sweatshirt, which I paired with electric blue faux parachute pants, in a cotton material with zippers on the thighs.

All day long, my classmates let me know how ridiculous they thought I looked, though my outfit was tame compared to the eye-bruising color combinations routinely seen in our halls. That's when I realized I'd never fit in by trying to do what was popular. So, I figured, I might as well be myself.

When most of the other girls went with big hairstyles, I asked my hair stylist to give me the shortest look possible, then had him add a "tail" in the back. (For those born after 1985, that was a hunk of hair that hung down lower than the rest of the haircut and was typically worn in a little braid. Honest, it was kind of a trend.) My favorite shirt was a mint-green one-sleeved top that looked exactly like a normal shirt with one sleeve removed. I loved how wrong it was.

In high school, I wore a man's knit fedora all winter long, Boy George style, and practically wore out a blue flannel shirt long before the grunge movement made flannel cool. I wore a giant silver peace sign necklace, the heavy weight of it making me feel grounded, so often that when I graduated, the "Remember when" page included the snarky remark, "Alice Wilson's peace movement." (They managed to hide it from me, even though I was yearbook co-editor.)

Fashion became my superficial shield: a distraction from the differences that mattered. In those days, I didn't always speak up when I should. I didn't call out prejudices, or defend the weak. I did, however, try to be kind. And when the class scapegoat, hiding behind his own shield of long bangs, discovered Prince's music, I talked to him before class about our favorite songs. I raved over the artwork he produced for his art electives, and I took proud photos of him for the school paper.

At the newspaper, I finally found a niche. Our phenomenal high school journalism teacher taught us more than how to write articles and design pages. She taught us how to use our voices, and how to listen to the voices of others. I'd write my questions, steel my nerve, and approach the people who had cowed me for years. Through telling their stories, I learned more about them. I learned who they wanted to be, how they wanted to be seen. And I helped convey that to the rest of the school.

Turns out we all have insecurities. For many of us, it's taken years to admit to things we'd never have confessed in school, from who we love to what we believe. I'm proud to say that the people I shyly approached back then, so many of them, have turned out to be greater and braver than I ever could have imagined.

One of them, our class president, spoke out during the 2020 presidential election. As former chairman of the county Republican Party, he spoke out in several newspaper editorials as well as on local talk radio, urging his fellow Republicans to take a stand against the unprincipled, dangerous, autocratic-leaning incumbent president. That could not have been easy. Among his supporters: my beloved journalism teacher, along with two of my fellow high school newspaper alumni.

The artist formerly known as the class scapegoat has publicly expressed support for his gay son, not long after his son revealed his truth. I told him how wonderful that was of him to do, since my own mother struggled with being out in an area that, while there is a strong gay community, also harbors a lot of small-mindedness.

Another classmate speaks out forcefully against racial injustice and corruption, going toe-to-toe with her own family members when they try to trot out conspiracy theories or rave against mask wearing to prevent COVID-19. I cheer her on, even if I still choose my battles and walk away from those who are hopelessly brainwashed.

Who would have thought, all those years ago, that my thoughts were not so different from many of my classmates? Imagine what would happen if we all spoke up?

Alyce-cake
Me in the one-sleeved shirt; sadly the one sleeve is hidden by the cake



Alyce-senior-pic2
My senior photo, short hair, blue silk shirt and pink Venetian blinds. Wish this were in color!

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LJ Idol Survivor: Voting for Week 7

The voting link is up for LJ Idol Survivor, which is on Dreamwidth this season. My entries have been crossposted here, but the voting link is only on Dreamwidth. Remember, you can log in with your Livejournal account using the "OpenID" option.

https://therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1085345.html

There's some really great pieces this week, so I highly encourage you to read and vote!
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Week 7: Can You Dig It?

This is my entry for Week 7 of LJ Idol Survivor. This week's prompt was "Dig It."

Can You Dig It?

Mustard kitchen counters outlasted
all my mom's 1970s design choices.
Long after the carrot-and-lemon flowers
had been replaced with rose and baby-blue blooms,
and the bold brown, yellow and white stripes
had succumbed to subdued slate and coral,
the yellow counters abided. As steadfast
as her love for us, born in that splashy decade.

Childhood boo-boos, teenage broken hearts,
adult worries, all discussed around that
gold Formica, as Mom cooked goulash
or tuna casserole or, in later years, vegetarian
nut cake or low-fat chicken stew. Always
leaning elbows on her most permanent
choice, as she bit her lip and read the recipe.

At times, I still visit the house
she vacated with her ghostly baggage
five years ago. Even in dreams,
I know I am an interloper. Somehow,
still possessing a key. Or maybe
I just let myself in through the sliding
glass doors, like always. So much
has changed. I barely recognize the place,
fresh with white paint. But there,
in the middle of new cabinets,
the counter presides, speaking to me
of endurance, or that butterfly hope
trapped in the rib cage of memory.


- January 5, 2021

For those who like, you can see and hear me read it here. Please ignore my bedhead. I've been sick with the stomach flu today.

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Week 6 - Writer's Envy

This is my entry for LJ Idol (http://therealljidol.dreamwidth.org) for this week. The topic is "When It Rains, It Pours."

My car started it. A few days ago, I had bundled up and headed out to run errands, my head full of mist. Grabbing my scraper out of the back seat, I begrudgingly slid on the gloves I keep in my coat pockets. Before I could start with the back window, though, I noticed that my car, Photon, a.k.a. Ford Vader, had gifted me with a work of art.

Delicate arches scalloped Ford Vader's roof, as if someone had taken a palette knife and created a layered texture of silver rainbows. I stood and appreciated it for a moment before clearing off the windows.

Frost Art by Ford Vader
Silvery frost arches on Ford Vader's roof



Next to jump in the game was my Christmas tree: specifically, one of the Martha Stewart ornaments we'd bought when we moved into our apartment a few years ago. It had been our first year with enough room to display a tree, and apart from scattered ornaments I'd received as gifts over the years, we had nothing to hang. This set of classic balls with gold glitter reminded me of the glass bulbs my mom had when I was growing up. She insisted we hang them at the top of the tree so that errant cats wouldn't get curious, bat at them, and break them.

I was in the middle of my exercise routine, jumping in time to the music, when I saw the tree twinkling to the beat. Did I have my own personal light show? After a moment, I figured out the clever game. The ornament swung back and forth as my feet hit the floor, obscuring and then displaying the light behind it. Hence, the strobe light. Well played, ornament. Subtle but evocative.

Flickering Art by Ornament
My tree in between light shows



Then my dish washer found its voice, playing a little musique mechanique as it did its work. Along with the steady, circular whooshing rhythm rang a leit motif of tingling sounds. If you could play the glass organ and combine it with the comforting sounds of the womb, you'd create the sort of music my dishwasher casually tossed into the apartment. Another masterpiece.

I wish I had a recording, but you can get a good approximation of the performance by combining the following videos:

A Street Performer Plays Harry Potter's Theme on Glass Harp

Dishwasher Sounds like Womb

As if this wasn't enough, then I was completely outdone, in my own chosen medium, no less. That is to say that Google Home wrote me a poem.

Yesterday, I was putting together a shopping list for my weekly outing to the grocery store, nearly the only place I go these days. I added "candy canes," but then I continued talking to my son, telling him why I was getting candy canes to go with the hot chocolate. Because you can use them to stir the hot, delicious drink, I told him, and it adds just a little bit of mint. Or, you can hang them over the side of your cup and let them slowly melt into the chocolate. Mmm.

Google Home was still listening. "OK, I've added those four things," it announced.

What?

I checked my shopping list, only to laugh out loud with delight at the brilliant poem Google Home had composed from my mutterings.

the edge of your of your cup
then you can
stir your hot chocolate
thin as a little man
candy canes
hot chocolate

Poem by Google Home
Google Home's shopping list poem



Finally, I threw up my hands in exasperation. Are you all completely done now? How is it fair that all of you have creative ideas to share, and I have absolutely none? Fine. You can write my entry.




The title "Musique Mechanique" was borrowed from the Carla Bley Band track of the same name, which doesn't sound at all like my dishwasher's music, but can be found here: "Music Mechanique" by Carla Bley Band

ETA: Finally got a recording of the dishwasher music! Dishwasher music
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Week 5 - Luzon - Caught Between Decks

ETA: The voting page is now up! My fellow Luzon team mates are: bleodswean, bsgsix, murielle and n3m3sis42.

https://therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1081213.html




Darkness. Days of darkness. A cough rattles in a curtained corner. From her nearby cot, Mary grabs my hand. Her skin is cold. I shiver.

"I want Mama," she cries.

I squeeze her hand tight and lie, again. "Mama will come for us after we land."

In murky blackness, I can just make out her face. She frowns. The fib no longer fools her. Perhaps she can tell I no longer believe it myself.

Down here, we roll with the wind. I can hear it, angry like a hungry dog, yowling above. The windowless outer walls, frosty and damp. The crew call this place "between decks." Stuffed in, we are, like fish at the market. Below us, the cargo hold, above us the deck where we may not go. If we do, we could be swept overboard like John Howland. The crew caught him before he drowned, but they say no more going up for the rest of us.

Days without windows. Without sun.

~~~



Mary may not remember, but I do. Before being "between decks," we lived between houses. Moved one night, while Mama slept, to live with strangers.

I heard the pounding on the rough wooden door. Mama's voice howling, like a wounded wolf, "Let me have my children! I do not know what he paid you, but I can pay you back with tears and blood. Wretched monsters!"

Sounds of flesh hitting flesh. The man we lived with ducked inside, slammed the door shut. His shirt hung off his back, torn asunder.

~~~



In dim morning, while Mary sleeps, I tell Master William how she wept all night when she thought I had fallen asleep.

"What can we do?" he says. "The truth is harsh sometimes but better than falsehood."

I nod. "Mama will not be joining us later, will she?"

Sadly, he shakes his head, places his soft hand on my shoulder. "No, Richard."

I call him "master" because I have been told that is his role. Not father. Not uncle. My master until I am old enough to be alone, he says.

Though my nose burns with the cold, I can smell the sickness that surrounds us. I think of the rock-hard biscuits, the salty meat, the crying and the constant coughing.

I have only one word for it all: "Why?"

"Someday," he says.

~~~



Whether or not Mary remembers, I remember the yelling. Mama and our father, who said he was not our father. "I will not raise bastards!" he screamed, the day he shut her out of the house.

That time, she came back in. But not for long.

None of us were long together.

~~~



Some day, William will tell me what he knows. But for now, I am just Richard, son of no one. Chilled in the darkness. But far from alone.

~~~



According to FamilySearch.org, Richard More was my first cousin, 11 times removed. My direct ancestor, Maria More/Moore, was sister to Richard's mother, Catherine. Catherine was forced into an arranged marriage with her cousin, Samuel More, when her brothers died, leaving no male heirs to inherit the estate. This ensured the lands both stayed in the family, and with Catherine. But Catherine, according to court documents filed at the time of their separation, continued a relationship with her prior fiance, Jacob Blakeway, a tenant on her family's land.

Her husband, Samuel, believed that the children Catherine had during the marriage were not his but Jacob's, and according to Samuel, the children bore a great resemblance to Jacob. After accusing Catherine of adultery, Samuel removed the children from the home and placed them with tenants in Linley. During that time, Catherine went to the tenants' dwellings and fought with them to try to get her children back, with witnesses stating she, "in a hail of murderous oaths, did teare the cloathes from their backes." Sadly, she was unsuccessful in reclaiming her children.

Finally, Samuel invested 100 pounds -- an extraordinary sum in those days -- with the Virginia Company, putting the More children on the Mayflower, originally destined for Virginia, where the children were to be used as laborers. Bad weather, however, resulted in the Pilgrims and "strangers" (non-Pilgrims and tradesmen) being pushed extravagantly off-course and landing in Massachusetts, instead.

Before they boarded the ship, Samuel More entrusted the children with some shady characters, including two men who would eventually become a smuggler and an enemy of the Crown. Then, two Puritans who planned to make the journey, John Carver and Robert Cushman, took it upon themselves to find the children guardians among the Mayflower passengers. Elinor, 8, was assigned servant to Edward Winslow and died soon after arrival in Cape Cod. Jasper, 7, was a servant of John Carver. He died of an infection aboard the Mayflower while the ship was docked in Cape Cod harbor. Mary, 4, was a servant of William Brewster and died in the winter of 1620-21. Of the four children, Richard, who was 6 and assigned as a servant of William Brewster, was the only one to survive into adulthood.

In Brewster, Richard most likely had a father figure. The only university-educated passenger, Brewster was a senior elder of the colony and religious leader. He was described as "tenderhearted and compassionate" by William Bradford, whose accounts of the passage and the colony's early history provide many of the known details about those days.

Richard stayed with the Brewsters until mid-1627, when his indentureship expired. By 1628, Richard was employed in trans-Atlantic trading, settling in Salem. He married Christian Hunter in Plymouth in 1636, and the two had seven children.

Perhaps paying forward Brewster's kindness, Richard was the mariner who rescued colonists from the newly-established colony at Cape Fear in 1665, where they were dying of starvation after a supply ship failed to arrive. In addition, Richard later took on responsibility for the three children of a sailing friend who was murdered. Not a surprise, perhaps, that a man who had essentially been made an orphan would take pity on them.

An old gravestone in the Salem burial ground gives his death date of 1692, an extraordinarily long life for someone who lived through such a harsh childhood.


My husband, incidentally, is descended from 6 different Mayflower passengers, as well as having another ancestor with a non-biological parental connection to 3 others. One of his Mayflower ancestors, Giles Hopkins, was a half-brother of Oceanus, born during the passage.

Details about my husband's Mayflower connections can be found here:

https://alycewilson.dreamwidth.org/5583.html


Historical information about conditions aboard the Mayflower:

https://www.history.com/news/mayflower-journey-pilgrims-america

More on Richard More:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_More_(Mayflower_passenger)

More on William Brewster:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Brewster_(Mayflower_passenger)
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My Husband's Mayflower Ancestors

I prepared this for my husband's family back in May, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Mayflower landing. I'm sharing it here to help other genealogists and for those who are interested in American history.




According to my genealogical research, the descendants of Margaret Waterman can trace roots back to at least six Mayflower passengers who were biologically related, and three through non-biological parental links, all through the Wilcox line. In this document, I’ll provide details about those ancestors and their connection to the family.

Alden and Mullins Family

(1) William Mullins (1572-1620) m. (2) Alice (unknown)

William Mullins was born in about 1572 in Dorking, County Surrey, England, the son of John and Joan (Bridger) Mullins. He married Alice, whose surname is unknown, in about 1600, most likely in Surrey. They had four children: William, Sarah, Priscilla and Joseph. The two youngest children accompanied them on the journey to the New World.

The Mullins family home in Dorking, Surrey, England, still exists today. It is a four-unit building with four street-front shops and residences above.

William was a shoemaker, and in addition to his wife and two younger children, Priscilla and Joseph, he brought 250 shoes and 13 pairs on boots on the voyage.

William had the misfortune to die in the first harsh winter onboard the Mayflower, where the passengers endured illness and disease in Plymouth Harbor, before any shelters had been built on land. His original will has survived, written down on the day of his death by John Carver. In it, he mentions his wife Alice, children Priscilla and Joseph, and his children back in Dorking, William Mullins and Sarah Blunden.

Sadly, in addition to William, his wife Alice, as well as their son, Joseph, died during that first winter in Plymouth Colony, leaving Priscilla the only surviving member of the family in the New World.

Priscilla-John_Alden

One of many paintings of John & Priscilla Alden
(not painted during their lifetimes)



(3) John Alden (1598-1687) m. (4) Priscilla Mullins (Abt. 1602 - Abt. 1685)

John Alden was born in about 1598, and he was hired as a cooper at Southampton, though that does not necessarily mean he was a resident. There are two leading theories of his parentage. One is that he came from an Alden family living in Harwich in Essex, which was the home port of the ship Mayflower and home of its captain, Christopher Jones. Another theory involves a John Alden of Southampton who was the son of a fletcher, George Alden, who died in 1620, leaving John free to pursue employment overseas. A tax list from Southampton in 1602 lists George Alden and John’s future father-in-law, William Mullins. This theory goes further to suppose that the romance of the couple may have started in their home town of Southampton, if that is, indeed, where John was born. Neither theory has been decisively proven, however.

John was one of the signers of the Mayflower Compact, which governed the colony. When he died in 1687, he was the last surviving signer. In 1632, he was elected Governor’s Assistant (one of a small council of advisors to the governor), and he was regularly reelected to that office until 1640 and then again from 1650 to 1686. He also served as Deputy Governor on two occasions in the absence of the governor in 1665 and 1677. For three years, he also served as Treasurer of the colony, as well as on the Council of War, a committee determining matters relating to defense.

John was buried in the Myles Standish Burial Ground, and the approximate location of his and Priscilla's graves was marked with a memorial stone in 1930. The Alden house in Duxbury is preserved as an historical building.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote “The Courtship of Miles Standish” in 1858, a fictional tale some say is loosely based on family oral history. In the poem, John agrees to act as a go-between for Miles Standish, as Miles was attempting to win Priscilla’s hand, but then John is prompted by Priscilla to speak for himself instead.

The couple had the following children: Elizabeth (see below), John Alden Jr. (Abt. 1626-1701/02, Joseph (Abt. 1628-1696/7), Priscilla (1630 - After 1688), Jonathan (1632-1697), Sarah (1634 - Bef. 1688), Ruth (Abt. 1636-1674), Mary (1638 - After 1688), Rebecca (Abt. 1640- Abt. 1722), David (1642 to Abt. 1719).

John Alden Jr. was a survivor of the Salem Witch Trials and wrote an account of them. Essentially, he was accused as a witch but then broke out of jail and fled on horseback. He was later cleared by proclamation.


Elizabeth-Alden-Pabodie

A portrait of Elizabeth Alden Pabodie


Elizabeth Alden (1624-1717) m. William Pabodie (1620-1707)

Born in 1623, Elizabeth was the firstborn child of John and Priscilla Alden and allegedly the first female of European descent born in New England. She married William Pabodie (Peabody), a leader of Duxbury, Massachusetts, on December 26, 1644. They had all 13 of their children in that settlement, but Elizabeth moved to Little Compton, Rhode Island, in the 1680s. William served as town clerk there, succeeding Alexander Standish, and held other jobs at various times, as well, including yeoman, boatman, planter, and surveyor. When he became Duxbury town clerk, the town records having been destroyed in a fire, he very carefully recorded his own marriage and the births and marriages of his thirteen children. On May 31, 1717, Elizabeth died in Little Compton and is buried on Little Compton Common, which is officially called the Old Commons Burial Ground.

The couple had the following children: John (1645-1669), Elizabeth (1647-1677), Mary (1648-1727), Mercy (1649-1728), Martha (see below), Priscilla (1652-1653), Priscilla (1654-1724), Sarah (1656-1740), Ruth (1658-1725), Rebekah (1660-1702), William (1664-1744) and Lydia (1667-1747).


Martha Pabodie (1650-1712) m. Lt. William Fobes (1649-1712)

Martha Pabodie was born February 24, 1650 in Duxbury, Massachusetts and married, first, Samuel Seabury on November 10, 1660. With him, she had three children: Joseph (1678-1755), Martha (1679-1747), and a stillborn infant, possibly named Mark, before Samuel died on August 5, 1867.

Her second husband, Lt. William Fobes, had also been married previously, to Elizabeth Southworth, whose father opposed the match. With Elizabeth, William had two children: Phebe and Martha. Phebe would end up marrying Martha’s son Joseph from her first marriage. They were not, after all, biologically related.

According to the book “Elizabeth (Alden) Pabodie and Descendants” by Mary Langford (Taylor) Alden, William “was a man prominent in war and in peace, wealthy, of excellent standing in the community.”

Shockingly, among the items listed in the inventory of William’s estate were “an Negro woman and child,” and “two Indian boys with their clothing.” Those individuals were not mentioned in his will, as republished in Mary Alden’s book, so either she edited them out or they were not included. It’s possible they were indentured servants, not slaves, as indentured servitude was a common practice in colonial New England. Or there might be some other reason for those individuals being in the home, but the fact that they were listed in the inventory is concerning. However, it should be noted that the inventory of his daughter, Elizabeth (Fobes) Briggs does not include anything similar, so it does not seem to have been a practice handed down to his descendants.

Martha died on January 25, 1712 in Little Compton, Rhode Island, while William died later that year, on November 6, after losing their daughter Mary on February 14 and and Mercy on July 29. Upon noticing that both Martha and William, as well as two of their children, died in 1712, I did some historical research and discovered that in early 1712, there were 700 deaths in nearby Connecticut due to a “malignant distemper,” which included the deaths of 24 members of the General Assembly, according to an article by Ernest Caulfield, “The Pursuit of a Pestilence,” that appeared in “American Aquarian.” Without conclusive evidence, I can’t say for certain that these members of the Fobes family fell victim to that epidemic, but it is possible.

Martha and William had the following children: Elizabeth (see below), Constant (b. 1686), Mary (1689-1712) and Mercy (1694-1712).


Elizabeth Fobes (1683-1737) m. William Briggs (1671-1751)

Born in 1683 in Duxbury, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Fobes married William Briggs on June 10, 1708 in Little Compton, Rhode Island. Her husband, William, was the son of William and Elizabeth (Cooke) Briggs of Little Compton, Rhode Island. This Elizabeth Cooke was not descended from the Cookes who came over on the Mayflower but was a granddaughter of John Cooke, who was born in 1630 in Kent, England and came to Rhode Island before 1652.

Upon his death, William left his homestead to his eldest son William and divided up his farm between his younger children Mary and Lovet, and Fobes contested the will.

The couple had the following children: Judith (see below), Lovet (1712-1713), Elizabeth (1713-1753), William (1715-1769), Catherine (1717-1753), Sarah (1719-1750), Phebe (1721-1786), Mary (1723-1797), Fobes (1725-1753) and Lovel/Lovet (1727 - Aft. 1790).


Judith Briggs (1710-1765) m. Jeremiah Wilcox (1683-1768)

The individual who connected the Alden family to a major line of the Waterman family is Judith Briggs, who was born on May 7, 1710 in Little Compton, Rhode Island, and married Jeremiah Wilcox of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, on February 11, 1738.

This was Jeremiah’s second marriage, as he first married a Mary and had two daughters: Mary (1709-1757) and Sarah (1734-1752), both of whom are mentioned in his will.

Judith and Jeremiah had the following children: Samuel (1739-1805), William (1741-1794) and Benjamin (see below).


Benjamin Wilcox (1747-1816) m. Patience Tucker (1746-1816)

Benjamin Wilcox, born on September 24, 1747 in Westport, Massachusetts, lived in Dartmouth, Massachusetts and was a Captain in the Massachusetts militia, also known as the Minutemen, during the Revolutionary War, from 1776-77. He fought under Col. John Daggett and Col. Nathaniel Freeman, commanding a company that turned out at the Rhode Island Alarms.

On March 22, 1770, he married Patience Tucker, daughter of Henry and Elizabeth (Ricketson) Tucker. They had the following children: Jeremiah (1770-1853), Phebe (1771-1852), Willard (1773-1841), Patience (1776-1847) and Benjamin (see below).

As I mentioned in my previous write-up about the family, there is some conjecture over how many wives Benjamin had, due to confusion with another Benjamin Wilcox. Some sources say he had a second wife, Jeanna Galletin (1764-1845), whom he married in 1795. However, that information is based on the assumption that he then moved to Sparta, New York, with that family and was buried there. According to Benjamin’s death records, he died in Dartmouth, Massachusetts on March 1, 1816, just three months after his wife Patience, who died on January 13. In addition, his will confirms that his wife at the time he wrote the will, in 1816, was Patience. She apparently did not survive him for long, also dying in 1816.


Benjamin Wilcox (1785-1857) m. Patty Brownell (1794-1855)

Benjamin Jr. lived in the south part of Westport, Massachusetts, where he operated a homestead farm given to him by his father. He was a successful man and well-known citizen, living to 72, which was long-lived for the time.

His first wife was Sarah “Sally” Taber (1790-1820), with whom he had four children: Willard (1805-1871), Jeremiah (1809-1871), Patience T. (1811-1885) and Henry Tucker (1814-1887).

His second wife, Patty Brownell, was the daughter of Josiah and Deborah (Howland) Brownell. Patty was not descended from Mayflower passenger John Howland but, instead, from Henry Howland (1604-1671) of Fen Stanton, Huntingdonshire, England, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1632 with his family.

Benjamin and Patty had the following children: Thomas Brownell (see below), Sarah (1825-1916) and Hodijah Baylies (1832-1913).

Thomas-Brownell-Wilcox-portrait

A photo of Thomas Brownell Wilcox


Thomas Brownell Wilcox (1821-1908) m. Jerusha Ryder Smith (1827-1904)

Born in Westport, Massachusetts, on November 12, 1821, Thomas Brownell Wilcox grew up working on the family farm. On September 4, 1849, he married Jerusha Ryder Smith, daughter of David and Jerusha (Ryder) Smith. Thomas entered business as a grocery clerk, later becoming a director of the Edison Electric Light Company, then the treasurer and director of the New Bedford Glass Company, keeping that position when it merged into the Mount Washington Glass Company. He was also a director of the Globe Street Railway Company and of several other companies. In addition, he was a well-respected philanthropist.

The couple had the following children: Sarah (see below), Susan Amelia (1852-1940), Mary Louisa (1854-1855), Thomas Brownell Jr. (1857-1925), Benjamin (1859-1917), Martha “Patty” (1864-1945) and Frank Stuart (1868-1942).


Sarah Wilcox (1850-1940) m. William Henry Waterman (1845-1925)

Sarah Wilcox was born on June 3, 1850 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She married William Henry Waterman, son of Nehemiah and Rhoda Howland (Akin) Waterman, who was born December 16, 1845, also in New Bedford. The two were married on September 29, 1871 in Boston. Rhoda, like Patty Brownell, was descended from the same Henry Howland who came to Massachusetts from England in 1632, not from the Mayflower passenger John Howland. She and Patty were therefore distant cousins.

Paraphrasing from “Descendants of Robert Waterman of Marshfield, Massachusetts, Through Seven Generations” by D.L. Jacobus, William took the academic course of three years at Highland Military Academy, Worcester, Massachusetts, graduating July 13, 1866 with the rank of First Sergeant. He took a Select Course (Chemistry) at Brown University from September 1867 to the Spring of 1869. He was a salesman and later retail dealer in carpets, oil cloths, dry goods and small wares, retiring in 1886. He was an amateur geologist and mineralogist. In addition, Henry served on the Grand Jury (Clerk), 1896; Traverse Jury, March 1904 to May 1912; and candidate for the Common Council (Ward Four) for 1903, not elected, running as a Republican. He was active in many clubs and committees. He died on April 7, 1925 in Acushnet, Massachusetts.

The couple had the following child: Henry W. Waterman (see below).


Henry W. Waterman (1872-1932) m. Helen Clare Blake (1883-1963)


Henry was born May 2, 1872 in New Bedford, Massachusetts and on September 17, 1913, married Helen Clare Blake, daughter of Chauncey E. and Julia (Hand) Blake. According to “Descendants of Robert Waterman,” Henry graduated at East Greenwich (R.I.) Academy and (L.L.B.) at Boston University, but never practiced law. He lived in Boston, Provincetown and Hyannis, Massachusetts, and was a writer and newspaper man. He was employed by Boston's “Home Journal” from 1899 to 1903; “Boston Globe”; and “Cape Code Syndicate.” He was also the secretary of the Hyannis Board of Trade for two years; the secretary-treasurer of Republican Town Committee of Barnstable from 1924-26; and a charter member of the Boston Veteran Journalists Benevolent Association Inc. Henry died on February 28, 1932 in Barnstable, Massachusetts, outlived by 30 years by Helen, who died in 1963, also in Barnstable.

The couple had the following children: Margaret Waterman (1914-1962) and Sarah (1917-1955).


Cooke Family

Francis Cooke-portrait-face

A portrait of Francis Cooke


(5) Francis Cooke (1583-1663) m. Hester le Mahieu (1585-1666)


The following information is paraphrased from MayflowerHistory.com: Francis Cooke was born in about 1583, probably in England, perhaps from the Canterbury or Norwich areas. He married Hester le Mahieu on July 20, 1603 in Leiden, Holland. She was a French Walloon whose parents had initially fled to Canterbury, England. She left for Leiden sometime before 1603. Francis and Hester married in Leiden six years before the Pilgrim church made its move there. In 1606, the Cookes left Leiden and went to Norwich, County Norfolk, England for a while for unknown reasons. They returned to have their son, John, baptized at the French church in Leiden, somewhere between January and March 1607. In Holland, Cooke held the profession of wool-comber.

Francis and his eldest son, John, came on the Mayflower to Plymouth in 1620. He left behind Hester and his other children: Jane, Jacob, Elizabeth and Hester. After the colony was founded and better established, he sent for his wife and children, and they came to Plymouth on 1623 aboard the ship Anne.

A signer of the Mayflower Compact, the governing document of the colony, Francis lived out his life in Plymouth, keeping a fairly low profile until his death on April 7, 1663. He did serve on a number of minor committees, such as the committee to lay out the highways, and received some minor appointments to survey land. He also served on the jury on a number of occasions.

The couple had the following children: John (see below), Elizabeth (1611- Bef. 1627), Jane (1613-1666), Jacob (Abt. 1618-1675), Hester (1618-?) and Mary (1624-1714).


(6) John Cooke (1608-1695) m. Sarah Warren (1614-1696)

John Cooke, born in 1608 in Holland, came over on the Mayflower with his father Francis. On April 7, 1634, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, he married Sarah Warren, who was the daughter of another Mayflower passenger, (7) Richard Warren. Sarah’s parents, Richard and Elizabeth (Juatt or Jewett) Warren, had married before 1611. Elizabeth and Sarah did not come over on the Mayflower but joined Richard later. Richard died in Plymouth in 1628, while his wife outlived him by 50 years, dying in Plymouth on October 12, 1673.

John was Deputy to the General Court from 1638-1656 from Plymouth and then from Dartmouth in 1666, 1675, 1679, 1682 and 1686. He was also a military man and volunteered in 1637 for the Pequot War and became a captain.

At some point in the 1640s, John “fell into the error of Anabaptistry” and was cast out of the Plymouth Church. The Church record states, “This John Cooke although a shallow man became a cause of trouble and dissension in our Church and gave just occasion of their casting him out; so that Solomon’s words proved true in him that one sinner destroyeth much good.” He took up residence, then, in Dartmouth.

John died on November 23, 1695 in Dartmouth. Sarah died sometime after July 25, 1696, which is the last time she appears in a document, where she was called a “very ancient woman.”

The couple had the following children: Sarah (1635 - Aft. 1710), Elizabeth (see below), John (b. 1636, died young), Elizabeth (1638-1715), Hester (1650-?), Mary (1652-1693) and Mercy (1654-1733).


Elizabeth Cooke (1645-1715) m. Daniel Wilcox (Abt. 1634-1702)

Elizabeth was born on December 6, 1645 in Plymouth and married Daniel Wilcox on November 28, 1661. Daniel, whose family originally lived in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, relocated this line of the family to Tiverton, Rhode Island.

According to an article in “American Genealogist” (Vol. 19, 1942, p. 23-31), Daniel had an active and stormy career. Without an education, he signed his name with a mark, but because of his abilities, managed to acquire quite a large landed estate in eastern Rhode Island and southwest Massachusetts. This was in addition to inheriting his father’s land, Edward Wilcox. He was also on good terms with the local native people, the Pocasset. Benjamin Church, in his “History of the Indian Wars,” calls Daniel a man who “well understood the Indian language.”

Tiverton at the time was part of Massachusetts but had been founded mostly by Rhode Island men. Daniel led an opposition who were opposed to paying tithes to the Congregational minister in the town. There are also numerous records of him opposing the Massachusetts authority. This opposition verged on an armed opposition: he planted a cannon at his house, gathered his friends and defied the troop of horse, which was sent from Boston to restore order. For this, he was charged with a high misdemeanor and sentenced to pay a fine of 150 pounds.

Daniel predeceased Elizabeth, dying on July 2, 1702 in Tiverton. Elizabeth died on her birthday, December 6, 1715, also in Tiverton.

Most sources state that Margaret Waterman's ancestor, Samuel, and his older brother Daniel Jr. were actually the sons of Daniel’s first wife, whose name is unknown. However, the two boys were undoubtedly raised by Elizabeth Cooke and considered her to be their mother, so while there may not be a biological connection to Francis and John Cooke, there is a strong family connection. They would also have had a good chance to know John Cooke, whom they almost certainly considered a grandfather.

Children of Daniel and unknown first wife: Daniel Jr. (1656-1702) and Samuel (see below).

Children of Daniel and Elizabeth: Mary (1661/2-1735), Sarah (d. 1751), Stephen (Abt. 1668-1736), John (1670-1717), Thomas (1672-1712), Edward (1675-1718), Lydia (d. Aft. 1744), Susannah (Abt. 1680-1748).


Samuel Wilcox (1659- Bef. 1697) m. Mary Wood (1664-1721)

Samuel Wilcox was born in 1659 in Tiverton, Rhode Island, and in 1683 married Mary Wood, daughter of William and Martha (Earle) Wood of Dartmouth, who was born in about 1682. He died sometime before 1697.

After his death, Mary remarried twice: first to Thomas Mallett by 1697 and then to John Sanford. She died on December 15, 1721 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Children: Jeremiah (see below), William (1685-1705) and Mary (1688-1723).


Jeremiah Wilcox (1683-1768) m. Judith Briggs (1710-1763)

This Jeremiah and Judith are the same couple named above, in the write-up on the Alden-Mullins Family, with Judith Briggs a descendent of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. So, as it turns out, both husband and wife were Mayflower descendants, albeit Jeremiah’s connection was not biological.

Hopkins Family

Stephen-Hopkins

A portrait of Stephen Hopkins


(8) Stephen Hopkins (1581-1644) m. Mary Kent


Stephen Hopkins made the journey with his second wife, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Fisher. His first wife, Mary, possibly the daughter of Robert and Joan (Machell) Kent of Hursley, county Hampshire, was the mother of (9) Giles Hopkins (see below). Elizabeth gave birth to a son, Oceanus, during the voyage to Massachusetts.

Born April 30, 1581 in Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England, Stephen was the son of John and Elizabeth (Williams) Hopkins. He married his first wife, Mary, prior to 1604, and his second wife, Elizabeth Fisher, on February 19, 1617 at St. Mary Matfellon, Whitechapel, Middlesex, England.

According to MayflowerHistory.com, the trip on the Mayflower was actually Stephen's second visit to the New World. He traveled on the ship Sea Venture on a voyage to Jamestown, Virginia, in 1609 as a minister’s clerk, but the ship wrecked in the “Isle of Devils” (Bermuda). Stranded on the island for ten months, the passengers and crew survived on turtles, birds and wild pigs. Six months into the castaway, Stephen and several others organized a mutiny against the current governor. The mutiny was discovered, and he was sentenced to death. However, he pleaded with sorrow and tears, especially about the fate of his wife and children, should he be executed, and was so convincing that he managed to get his sentence commuted.

The castaways finally built a small ship and sailed to Jamestown. While he was there, his wife Mary died and was buried in Hursley on May 9, 1613.

Stephen returned to England by 1617, when he married Elizabeth Fisher. Their first child was born in about 1618. In 1620, he brought his wife and his children Constance, Giles and Damaris on the Mayflower. As the only person who had previous experience in the New World, Stephen was invaluable with exploring missions and was used as an expert in contacts with the native people, even offering his house as a place to stay for Samoset when he walked into Plymouth to welcome the English. He served as an ambassador on many missions to meet with various native groups in the region.

In addition, Stephen was assistant to the governor through 1636. He volunteered for the Pequot War of 1637 but was never called to serve. By the late 1630s, he had run afoul of the Plymouth authorities by opening a shop where he served alcohol. Numerous instances are recorded of him being fined for selling alcohol and other alcohol-related offenses. His wife, Elizabeth, died on February 4, 1639. When Stephen died in 1644, he left a will asking to be buried next to his wife and naming his surviving children.

Children with Mary: Elizabeth (Abt. 1605 - Bef. 1620), Constance (Abt. 1606-1677) and Giles (see below).

Children with Elizabeth: Damaris (b. Abt. 1618 - Bef. 1627), Oceanus (1620- Bef. 1627), Caleb (Abt. 1622 - Bef. 1651), Elizabeth (Abt. 1624 - 1674), Damaris (Abt. 1627-1669), Deborah (Abt. 1628-1669) and Ruth (1630-1644).


(9) Giles Hopkins (1608-1677) m. Catherine Wheldon (1620-1689)


Margaret Waterman's final Mayflower ancestor (unless I come across some more) is Giles Hopkins, son of Stephen Hopkins and his first wife, Mary. Giles was baptized on January 30, 1607/08 in Hurley, Hampshire, England. He traveled on the Mayflower with his father, sister and stepmother, and his half-brother Oceanus was born aboard the ship during the crossing. On October 9, 1639, at Plymouth, he married Catherine (or Catorne) Whelden, daughter of Gabriel and Jane Whelden of Northampton, Massachusetts.

According to MayflowerHistory.com, by 1637, Giles volunteered to go with his father and brother Caleb to fight against the Pequot. By early 1639, he had moved from Plymouth to Yarmouth on Cape Cod. He and Catherine lived in the first house built by the English on Cape Cod south of Sandwich. Giles was made a surveyor of highways in 1643. He moved to Eastham on the Cape in 1644, where he also served as highway surveyor.

He died in 1690, not long after his wife Catherine, who died in 1689.

The couple had the following children: Mary (see below), Stephen (1642-1718), John (1643, died at 3 months old), Abigail (1644-1691), Deborah (1648-1727), Caleb (1650/51-1728), Ruth (1653-1738), Joshua (1657-1738), William (1660-1718) and Elizabeth (1664, died at 1 month old).


Mary Hopkins (1640-1700) m. Samuel Smith (1641-1696)

Mary Hopkins was born on November 5, 1640 in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. In January, 1664/5 she married Samuel Smith, who was born in 1641 in Hingham, Massachusetts. Samuel was a merchant who died in Eastham on March 20, 1696.

According to a write-up by another researcher at Ancestry.com, early in life, Samuel engaged in the whale and mackerel fishery business and was successful. Later, he was a trader and inn keeper in Eastham. At one time, he owned more than 1,000 acres of land, 400 acres being in the south side of Eastham and was known for many years afterwards as the Smith Purchase. He also bought two farms in Chatham, Massachusetts, one at Tom’s Neck, comprising a considerable part of the present village of Chatham. He held various local offices in Eastham and was described as a “resolute and determined man.”

The couple had the following children: a child born and died in 1667, Samuel (1668-1692), Mary (1669-1708), Joseph (1671-1692), John (see below), Grace (1676-1691), Deborah (1678-1691) and her twin Rebecca (1678- Bef. 1697).


John Smith (1673-1717) m. Bethiah Hopkins Snow (1672-1734)

John Smith was born May 26, 1673 and married Bethiah Hopkins Snow, the daughter of Stephen and Susanna (Dean) Snow, who was born on July 1, 1672 in Eastham. Stephen Snow’s mother was Constance (Hopkins) Snow, making Bethiah and John second cousins, sharing a great-grandfather in Stephen Hopkins.

John died before 1717, while Bethiah outlived him by nearly two decades, dying on July 31, 1734.

The couple had the following children: Samuel (see below), James (1695-1696), Deane (1698-1729), Mercy (1700 - Aft. 1748), Mary (Abt. 1702-1767), John (1703-1767), Stephen (Abt. 1706-1766), Bethia (Abt. 1708-?), David (1711-1734) and Seth (1713-1787).


Samuel Smith (1689-1773) m. Mercy Baker (1692-1769)

Samuel was born in about 1689 in Eastham, Massachusetts and died sometime after 1773. On February 17, 1713, he married Mercy Baker, who was born on January 4, 1692 in Yarmouth, the daughter of William and Mercy or Marcy (Lawrence) Baker. Samuel's wife, Mercy, died on September 10, 1769.

Researching Samuel’s family was made more difficult by the fact that another Samuel Smith lived in Barnstable County at the same time. The other Samuel Smith married an Abigail and then a Sarah. Some researchers have confused the two. I’ve included only the children who are linked to this Samuel and his wife Mercy through either records or written histories. There may have been others.

The couple had the following children: Jane (1713 - Bef. 1768), Samuel (1718 - Abt. 1793), Charles (Abt. 1720- Abt. 1770), William (see below), Isaac (1724 - Aft. 1742) and Thankful (1727-1769).

William Smith (1722-1773) m. Anna O’Kelley (1720 - Aft. 1773)

Born on January 1, 1722 in Yarmouth, Massachusetts, William married Anna O’Killey/O’Kelley on January 29, 1742. Anna was born April 28, 1720 in Yarmouth, the daughter of Joseph and Tabitha (Baker) O’Kelley. Anna’s mother, Tabitha, was a cousin of William’s mother Mercy Baker, meaning that William and Anna shared great-grandparents Francis and Isabel (Twining) Baker, making them second cousins.
In his will, William divided his estate equally between his sons Obed Edom and Samuel, as well as all of his wearing apparel. He also mentioned his wife Anna, but the version I saw of the will was missing a page, and considering it was scanned into the Ancestry database directly from the Massachusetts probate records, it may no longer exist. It does, however, show that at the time he wrote the will, in 1773, she was alive.

The couple had the following children: Jane “Jenny” (Abt. 1744-1830), Tabitha Doane (1747-?), Sara Ryder (1749-1809), Elizabeth (1751-1830), Obed Edom (see below), Samuel (Abt. 1761-1834), and Mercy (Abt. 1765-1793).


Obed Edom Smith (1755-1842) m. Abigail Paine (1754-1842)

Obed Edom Smith was born on August 30, 1755 in Harwich, Massachusetts. On December 11, 1777, he married Abigail Paine, who was born January 16, 1754, also in Harwich, the daughter of Ebenezer and Mary (Allen) Paine. He died in 1842, and Abigail died on December 6 the same year.

The couple had the following children: William (1779-1823), Allen (1782-1836), Rebecca (1782 - Aft. 1855), Obed (1787-1851), David (see below), Ebenezer (1791-1874), Warren (1795-1855), Freeman (1797-1838) and Polly (1801 - Aft. 1855).


David Smith (1788-1873) m. Jerusha Ryder (1794-1867)

Like generations of his family, David Smith was born in Harwich, Massachusetts, on December 17, 1788. He married Jerusha Ryder on December 6, 1812 in Chatham, Barnstable County, Massachusetts. She was born January 9, 1794 in Chatham, the daughter of Stephen and Bathsheba (Nickerson) Ryder. According to the 1860 census, David was a laborer, but in the 1870 census, he’s listed as a farmer, so it’s possible that he was doing labor on a family member’s farm, if not his own. According to census data, many nearby neighbors were either his children’s families or those of his cousins.

Jerusha died on August 10, 1867 in Harwich, while David outlived her and died on December 11, 1873, also in Harwich.

The couple had the following children: Bathsheba (1814-1900), Nehemiah (1817-1892), David (1819 - Aft. 1865), Stephen (1821-1864), Deborah Downes (1824-1921), Jerusha Ryder (see below) and James R. (1830-1910).


Jerusha Ryder Smith (1827-1904) m. Thomas Brownell Wilcox (1821-1908)

Jerusha and Thomas are the same couple listed above, under the John Alden and Priscilla Mullins line of descent.



As I mentioned at the beginning, all of Margaret Waterman's Mayflower ancestors come through the Wilcox line. My reckoning, as of now, is that she had six biological ancestors aboard the Mayflower (John Alden; William and Alice Mullins; Priscilla Mullins; and Stephen and Giles Hopkins) and three who were strongly connected to the family through a non-biological parental relationship (Francis and John Cooke; and Richard Warren). If I discover any more, I will include it in a future document.

Given how closely intertwined many of these Massachusetts families were in colonial days, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more, or if there is more than one path to the ancestors I’ve listed above.


- May 4, 2020
Carousel 2019

LJ Idol Survivor: Voting for Week 4

The poll is up for week 4 of LJ Idol Survivor.

https://therealljidol.dreamwidth.org/1079426.html

As before, our votes are being averaged with the other members of our tribe to determine which tribe is safe. If you're interested, I'm alycewilson (of course), and my fellow tribe members are:

bleodswean
bsgsix
murielle
n3m3sis43 (She didn't post an entry, so I don't believe that votes for her will count towards the total).

You can log in with a LiveJournal account by using the OpenID option. You can also log in from some other blogging platforms, or you can start a free Dreamwidth account.

There aren't many entries to read, so it can be a fun way to occupy yourself this evening. Read and vote!
Carousel 2019

Week 4 - Luzon - Bridge to the Past

You always knew what role I would play in our family's history. Finally, I'm doing what you asked me to do, so long ago in the nursing home. "Maybe you could write about our family," you'd said. I'd shrugged with the indifference of youth. Though it took me decades to get to this point, you always trusted I would become our griot, our troubadour-historian, turning your genealogical notes, documents and scribblings into a tangible narrative. As I relax in this overstuffed, ivory chair, surrounded by shelves of carefully-curated porcelain cups and glassware, I wait for you to arrive, again, the way you used to.

For years after you died, Grandma Heritage, I visited your dream apartment often. We would sip tea from fragile cups, as I updated you on on our family. Dad is doing well, I'd reassure you, and you would exhale with relief. But then again, you should have known that he would, after you spent so many years teaching him how to function in the world. You understood his strengths and weaknesses: how well he grasped the factual world and how poorly he fathomed emotions. I can see how much you taught him, by rote, in those days before the spectrum was anything besides the term for a rainbow.

So much has become clearer to me, these thirty years. I finally understand why you always deferred when I asked how much you'd found about the Wilson line. At the Virginia Scottish Games, when I asked you which tartan was our family's, you pointed me towards the Buchanan tartan's bright interlocking lines of yellow, red, green and blue; not to the orange, green and blue Wilson pattern. At the time, I thought the Wilsons didn't have a tartan of their own.

I understand now why Dad always cautioned me that if I met anyone named Wilson, there was a high probability I was not related to them. Here, I just thought he said that because Wilson was a common surname.

Do you know that Dad didn't tell me about his father's true paternity until my Mom died six years ago? It's true. Mom never knew, writing "William Stuart Wilson" on my baby book's truncated family tree, in her loopy, beautiful handwriting.

I didn't know until that Thanksgiving, the first without Mom, when Dad delivered the news, all of us a glass or two into the holiday wine. "Technically," he said, "we're not actually Wilsons."

"Oh?" I responded, with an eyebrow raise, imagining he was going to tell us the name had been changed in primitive days from something more Gaelic.

"No, we're Eutslers," he said simply.

You can imagine, Grandma, how surprised my siblings and I were. Of course, you wouldn't be surprised at all, because you were the one who'd told Dad the truth.

Dad relayed the story of how he'd been tasked with a family history project in college, and how he'd wanted to talk about his father's family. That's when you set him straight, told him about the impossibility of him carrying any Wilson blood, his father having been born three years after his nominal father, William S. Wilson, had died.

No, Dad told us, his father's actual father had been a logger named Eutsler, who went on to run a mill in Grottoes, Virginia, where my grandfather grew up. This mysterious Eutsler had offered to marry my great-grandmother, but she had declined, saying she was "not worthy."

My brother, full of Thanksgiving mirth and the sort of ironic good humor that arises when you find out juicy family dirt, quipped, "Maybe she just didn't want to be a Eutsler."

Meantime, I nodded sagely, full of wine and myself. "A distinctive surname in a very small town, with a specific profession? I can find him," I mused.

By now, you know, Grandma, that I did. As our family historian, I know you must have found ways to network in the afterlife, as well, and keep tabs on all of us. You know that I've identified the logger as George W. Eutsler, co-founder of Eutsler Brothers, who never married and died of liver disease shortly before my grandfather, John Omer Wilson, moved away from town, to Washington, D.C. That was where my grandfather met you, fell in love with you, married you, and, at some point, told you his story.

For more than a year, I thought that I'd done something you couldn't have done, having only found one folder of yours labeled "Eutsler," which contained a page from a 1940s Grottoes phone directory, the Eutslers all circled, as well as a few cribbed notes from census records. I patted myself on the back for my research skills, my ability to use modern methods, including DNA, to narrow down the possibilities and arrive with near 100 percent certainty at my conclusion.

And then, this past February, my Dad gave me a manila envelope he'd discovered amongst your papers. Somehow, it had escaped being placed in the large box of your genealogical materials I'd already taken home with me, in the years since Mom died, to assist with my family research.

Inside that envelope was a photograph of George's uncle, along with a copy of a deed George himself signed when he left the Eutsler Brothers business to his brother. On a sheet of familiar-looking yellow legal paper, you had summed it all up in pencil, with a tiny little chart, so much smaller than the others you'd developed but one of the most important. "George W. Eutsler" at the top, with a line leading downwards to his only descendant, "John O. Wilson."

Oh, Grandma, I've been waiting patiently for you. I've wanted so much to talk to you, to sip tea like we used to, amongst your bird-covered teacups. Around us, pristine shelves of delicate china bells (now gathering dust in Dad's living room). I got your notes, all of them. I'm following through on your unfinished business, checking out the question marks you left in your charts. As you long ago predicted, I'm carrying on your work: making sense of what you've left behind, putting all these stories into words, even the connections long unspoken.




Grandma Heritage is my paternal grandmother, Miriam Marshall Wilson Heritage. Her very appropriate surname came from marrying my step-grandfather, David Heritage, when I was a very little girl.

Our connection to the Buchanan line came from my great-grandmother, Fannie V. (Weaver) Wilson, who was John O. Wilson's mother. Fannie's mother was a Buchanan.


1935-John-O-Wilson_Miriam-Marshall-back-from-honeymoon
My grandfather and grandmother on their honeymoon in 1935



Susan "Fannie" (Weaver) Wilson
Susan Frances Virginia "Fannie" (Weaver) Wilson, John Omer Wilson's mother,
in February 1921 in Grottoes, Virginia.



Eutslers-Sarah-Byerly-center
Family photo of George Washington Eutsler's children, with mother Sarah (Byerly) Eutsler in the center. Eugene is to her left, but the other siblings, including George W. Eutsler, are not identified in this photo obtained from a Eutsler cousin.