Social History 101 – the blog


Too Much Loss

Filed under: Harris and Bent — Tags: — socialhistory101 @ 10:28 pm

One of the grandchildren of Josiah Harris (1783-1868) (see post about Josiah dated 2011/06/26) was Brougham E Harris (1838-1907), son of newspaperman Josiah Albert Harris. Brougham was a Cleveland undertaker.

He and his wife, Martha E Wall, had four children:

Edward, who died in 1872 at age 6.
Mattie, who died in 1877 at age 6.
Fannie, who died in 1883 of typhoid fever at 15.

The only child who lived to reach her majority was their eldest, “Lizzie”, Eliza E Harris.

Lizzie married Richard Newell, Jr, son of a sea captain, on 4 Mar 1891 and 9 months later (almost to the day) they welcomed their son, Harlan Harris. Fifteen months after that, in May 1893, they had a daughter, who they called Natalie.

And the spate of deaths began again.

The family had gone out west for Richard’s work as chief engineer with the Midland Terminal Railway. While there Lizzie died on 20 Nov 1894, and her body was brought back to Cleveland for burial. Richard and their children would have likely traveled with Lizzie’s body. Newspaper accounts of what shortly transpired indicate that Richard returned to Colorado about 2 weeks after his wife died.

On Dec 20th, exactly one month after his wife’s death, Richard was killed. He was at Cripple Creek, CO, dealing with a conflict over the railroad’s right-of-way by attempting to evict a miner from his cabin. The miner shot him & he died about six minutes later.

Harlan, age 3, and Natalie, age 1, were now orphans. Five days later, on Dec 24th, they were officially entrusted to the care of their maternal grandfather, Brougham E Harris.

Sometime in 1896 Harlan & Natalie became co-owners (with 3 others) of 50 acres in Teller county, Colorado, the county where their father was killed. (This information is on a website called Who Owns the West? I’ve yet to determine if the land is still in their names. They may have simply inherited as their parents’ sole heirs…..)

On 9 May 1903, one week before her 10th birthday, Natalie died. I’ve not been able to learn the cause of her death.

In mid-July Brougham and Martha took 12-year-old Harlan abroad.

On 31 Oct 1907 Harlan’s guardian died. Still a minor at age 15, he needed a new guardian.  By the end of November his maternal grandmother, Martha, was so appointed.


Erroneous accounts abound.

Filed under: Genealogy — Tags: , , — socialhistory101 @ 1:29 pm

The theatrical Coghlan family (Charles, his sisters Rose & Eily, his daughter Gertrude, his niece Rosalind and his nephew Charles II) is peripherally related to a branch of my husband’s family.  I got sucked into their vortex after we visited the vault resting place in Hollywood of Philo Judson Beveridge, the one who was part of the family.  Being peripherally related to the Coghlans was not his doing.  Years after divorcing his first wife, their daughter Kuhne, then 18,  surreptitiously married 52-year-old Charles, attended by news reports excitedly exposing the scandal. It was this brief marriage that started the insanity.  I call it insanity because I devoted two months, nearly full-time, researching Philo’s precocious daughters (Kuhne and Ray) and their mother (Ella H Rutzer Beveridge, later known as Baroness Von Wrede), and their brief relationship to the mysterious, elusive Coghlan family before I hung it up.  I could not help myself.  They never failed to delight, surprise or shock me.  I fell under their collective spell. Just now, these last few days, I’ve been attempting to finish posting my research on Ancestry dot com but there are so many erroneous statements and stories written about them and so much slight of hand that they masterminded it may be impossible to tease it apart to get to the truth. Below is just one account of the life of Charles Frances Coghlan, with my comments written on the right.  (If the graphic doesn’t show itself, click in the space where it *would* show and the .jpg will appear.)

I have corrections to make the Charles’ entry on Wikipedia. Someday I hope to write a paper about all these talented, wacky people.  They’re colorful and tragic, fascinating and confounding.


Do you know these people?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — socialhistory101 @ 12:13 pm

I’ve just started a non-genealogy (for me) website specifically for posting photos of people who are not related to Mark’s family (as far as we know).  I’m posting the photos that I receive from others, most of them are identified on the back of the photo, so that someone looking for that person may find the image and download it.  I also plan on adding photos from other sources like books.  I’ll be listing their names here, updating the list as I add photos.

This first album was owned by a young woman born in Galena, IL in 1870, died there in 1906, and who had friends in Iowa.

Miss Martha Sippel, Charles City IA

Ella Prentice, Anamosa IA

Miss Lizzie Haser and Miss Ida Fisher (city unidentified)

Posted here:


Another ordinary celebrity – Josiah Harris

Filed under: Celebrity, Harris and Bent — Tags: , , , — socialhistory101 @ 10:13 pm

Recounting the development of new territories includes the life stories of all types of people, including the rare few who possess a winning combination of foresight, passion, brains, talent and character that lead to a highly successful life.  Josiah Harris appears to have been one of those blessed few.

from: A Standard History of Lorain county Ohio

Josiah was born 30 Nov 1783 in Becket, Berkshire, MA, son of James Harris (a veteran of the Revolutionary War) and Martha Parke.  On 30 Mar 1807 he married Charity Messenger, daughter of Hiram Messenger and Lydia Shapley.

He traveled on foot to Ohio in 1814 and 1815 (a distance of nearly 600 miles) to scout around and to purchase land.  The young family, including their first three children, moved in 1818 with ox and horse teams, arriving on July 2nd. Their fourth child was born in their new home.  Charity passed away in March 1837.  Josiah’s second wife was Anna Groves Moore of Thetford, Vermont; they had two daughters.

Whether by calculated design or social intelligence, starting a tavern soon after arriving in a new location was a brilliant move.  Taverns were for men and men ran everything.  The tavern keeper set a tone for his business, a tone which would be felt by all its clients.  Just so happens that Josiah’s temperament was even, fair and benevolent.  When it came time to form any and all aspects of the township and the county,  Josiah’s hand seems to have been in it.

At various times during the 50 years that Josiah and his family lived in Lorain county he:

  • started a tavern and a mill
  • was elected County Sheriff, State Senator and State Representative, clerk of Amherst, and Justice of the Peace  (36 years)
  • was appointed Associate Judge of the Court of Common Pleas and Postmaster (41 years until his death)
  • contributed land for the Congregationalist church and a school-house

His obituary noted that “he so faithfully discharged the duties of his office [Justice of the Peace], that only five appeals were ever taken from his decision, and only one of them ever came to trial in the Common Pleas; and in that case the decision of the justice was sustained.”

One of the most famous quotations of Ralph Waldo Emerson goes like this:

“To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

in Amherst, Lorain, OH

By those measures,  Josiah Harris was a wildly successful man.  The final paragraph of his obituary sums it up:

“Judge Harris was ever a lover of good deeds, and the poor, the unfortunate, the widow and the orphan, ever found a true friend in him, and his house was the hospitable home of the early ministers and missionaries of every denomination.  Schools and school children were his great delight; and the people of the village which has grown up under his eye and liberality, and of the region round about, loved and revered him as a Patriarch Father.  He lived and died without an enemy.”

Josiah and both wives are buried at Cleveland Street Cemetery in Amherst Township.



References used:

  • Harris family from A.D. 1630 in two lines by Dwight J Harris; Norman D Harris (1909)
  • Vital Records of Becket, Massachusetts to 1850 (1903)
  • History of Lorain county Ohio by W W Williams (1879)
  • A standard history of Lorain county, Ohio; Volume: 1 by G Frederick Wright (1916)
  • Bench and bar of northern Ohio by William B. Neff (1921)
  • The Sandusky Clarion, 19 May 1824, , Sandusky, Ohio
  • Elyria Independent Democrat, 1 Apr 1868, Elyria, Ohio
  • The Grindstone – The Amherst Historical Society Newsletter – Jul/Aug 2007
  • Cemetery Inscriptions of Lorain County, Ohio 1980by volunteer, Jean Diedrick as it appears on this site:
  • Josiah Harris Elementary School in Amherst, Lorain, OH  < >


Deep roots in Galena

Filed under: Genealogy, Harris and Bent — Tags: , — socialhistory101 @ 6:10 pm

Galena, Illinois was the home of many family members by way of Frances Rawlins Moulton.  For the last couple of months I’ve been having email (and mail) correspondence with Sally McCormick and her mother Lola Jean Rawlins McCormick.  Lola Jean’s father was Herman Dawson Rawlins, one of Frances’ nephews.  As a result of our communication I’ve deepened my research into ancestral tendrils and strengthened my desire to make a pilgrimage to Galena and surrounding towns.

Capt Harris Guest House

Yesterday whilst researching Galena history I considered joining (and likely will join) the Galena Historical Society.  I clicked on the MEMBERSHIP link and, within it, saw a link for MEMBER BUSINESSES.  I clicked on it and, among the businesses, noticed CAPTAIN HARRIS GUEST HOUSE.  My curiosity was piqued.  Long story short….. our Harris ancestors have a presence in Galena.

Daniel Smith Harris and Robert Scribe Harris moved to Galena with their parents, James and Abigail Harris in 1823, four years before our Monnier/Rindisbacher family and four years before James Dawson Rawlins.

  • James Harris’s parents were Daniel Harris and Dorothy Rude.
  • Daniel was 2nd cousin to Daniel Harris who married Lucy Fox (NW’s great-grandparents).
  • His wife Dorothy was sister of Susanna Rude who married Nathan Harris (parents of Daniel Harris who married Lucy Fox)
  • James himself was a 3rd cousin to Nathan who married Huldah Broga (NW’s grandparents).

Daniel and Robert, who went by their middle names, were smelters and steamboat captains.  Scribe was engineer and Smith was pilot.  Together they built the first steamboat built on the Galena River (then called the Fever River) named the “Jo Daviess”. **

I’ve noticed that there’s more written about Smith, as he was highly competitive and noted as fastest captain on the Upper Mississippi.

My webpage about Galena Historic Homes of familial origins or ownership has been updated to include Captain Harris Guest House and 305 North Inn (former residence of a grocer in the family).


**  There were two other brothers, Martin Keeler & Jackson, who were steamboat captains, much less successful and well-known.  A fifth brother, James Meeker, conducted a boat store in Galena from 1845 – 1861.


Names that give pause – to be periodically updated

Filed under: Genealogy — socialhistory101 @ 11:23 pm


  • Euphemia – Moulton Tree
  • Erpercia – Robert Harris Moulton Tree
  • Waitstill – Harris tree
  • Clever – Moulton tree
  • Submit  – Harris tree
  • Aurilla – Moulton tree
  • Tryphena & Tryphosa – Moulton tree


  • Karl Barre Lamb, son of Charles Rollinson Lamb.  Charles’ maternal grandmother was Maria Barrea Stymets, her mother being Ann Barrea.
  • Karl married Clara Sophia Mateos, daughter of Antonio Mateos y Barea
  • Karl & Clara’s son, Charles Anthony Lamb, married Beverly Jean Barrie, daughter of Allan Ashley and Bernice Barrie.


  • Peregrine – Apsey tree.  Peregrine White was born 20 Nov 1620 on board the Mayflower between Plymouth and Provincetown harbor. Although most of us know that Peregrine is a species of falcon, the adjective means 1. Foreign; alien.  2. Roving or wandering; migratory.
  • Sheshbazzar – Apsey tree.  Sheshbazzar Bentley Worth, father of the founders of Worth Steel (1881).  I’ve read that it was the name of Prince of Judah, at the head of the first Jews that returned to Jerusalem after the Exile (539-538 B.C.).


  • William Centennial Eustice  – Moulton Tree.  Born on the 4 Jul 1876
  • Carroll Christmas Moulton – Moulton Tree.  A boy, born on 25 Dec 1906 .
  • Vern Valentine Moulton – Moulton Tree.  Born on 14 Feb 1880.


  • Theophilus Cherry Hyman – Harris tree ( His mother’s maiden name was Cherry.)
  • Return Messenger – Harris tree
  • Noah Flood – Harris tree
  • Hatevil Nutter – Harris and Apsey trees (ancestor of  the Wingates)
  • Civility America Hancock – none of our trees **
  • Enoch Rising – Moulton tree.
  • the marriage of Carl M Redick to Mattie Z Glasscock – Galveston, TX 1981 – Harris tree (both were in their 70s)
  • Rose Earwaker (servant in the home of Mark & Kitty Levy – Harris tree)
  • Jewell Costley (wife of Edgar Blaine Lovelace – Moulton tree)
  • Flamen Ball (law partner of Salmon P Chase)
  • Peter Dickman (62 year old new husband of 16 year old Margaret Robison – Moulton tree)
  • Emergency Rounds (wife of Jonathan Walker – Harris tree)

**  oh, this one is just too hard to believe.  She’s in the Tucker family tree and, because her name was so unusual I did a Google search and found this  Civility America Hancock had a niece named “Civil” who was the daughter of Harden Hancock.


A quick recap of a very successful pilgrimage

Filed under: Uncategorized — socialhistory101 @ 2:01 pm

This pilgrimage really took it out of us.  After food poisoning and two tenacious colds, we limped home again, and it has taken weeks to recover.  My husband still has a cold!

But, we did it!  We stuck to the schedule but trimmed our expectations.  We visited 13 (rather than 21) cemeteries and two of the three sites.  Both the Flower Library and Greenwood Gardens far exceeded our expectations; more about both of them in future posts.  And the only thing that would have improved our cemetery tromping is a golf cart.  Multiple sclerosis is a bit of a deterrent to rambling, hilly old cemeteries.  And a golf cart could have shielded me from direct sunlight, allowing my energy to hang in there.  (If we purchased a golf cart for this purpose, we’d have to figure out how to get it across the country.)

We took lots of gravestone photos, including some that we thought may be related….. and some of them are!  While posting photos (to our trees on Ancestry dot com and to FindAGrave dot com) I do more research, all of it rewarding but, as you can imagine, it slows the process.  I’m still only half-way through posting the gravestone photos and am enjoying every bit of it!


Ramping up for another pilgrimage

Filed under: Pilgrimages, Whittingham and Stabler — Tags: , , , , — socialhistory101 @ 9:41 pm

There are moments, some of them very long, when I feel crazy for trying this again.

After failing to execute the Michigan pilgrimage in May, here I am again, knocking myself out preparing and planning. And this one, rather than being four very quick days, is sixteen days long, involves four states and 21 cemeteries.  Seven nights we’re staying with family & friends and eight nights in hotels.

BUT, I’m very excited about this trek.  In addition to cemeteries we’re visiting The Roswell P Flower Memorial Library in Watertown, New York, Sage Chapel at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Greenwood Gardens in Millburn, New Jersey.

Flowers Rotunda by Frederick Stymetz Lamb


Through Mark’s 5x great-grandfather William Rollinson, the family is connected to Joseph & Richard Lamb who began J & R Lamb Studios in 1857.  They were known as church decorators, or ecclesiastical interior artists, but their specialty was, and remains, stained glass.   Joseph’s sons, Charles Rollinson Lamb and Frederick Stymetz Lamb, along with Charles’ wife Ella Condie Lamb, were responsible for a great deal of the interior of this Library, completed in 1904.  Photos cannot possibly do it justice; we want to see this work in person.

SAGE CHAPEL at Cornell University

The mosaic decoration of the apse at the east end of Sage Chapel was created by J & R Lamb Studios.  As it was being completed in 1900 it was considered “the largest series of figure mosaics ever executed in America”. *


There are so many angles from which Mark is connected to William Whetten Renwick.  The simplest is that he was Mark’s grandmother’s uncle.  At any rate, WWR was an architect and artist whose self-designed estate, Vine Clad, was a showcase for his highly creative mind.  In 1906 his neighbor, Joseph P Day, commissioned WWR to work his magic designing Day’s estate.  The result was Pleasant Days, a 28-acre wonderland.  Through financial decline the property changed hands and was parceled out.  Greenwood Gardens was created from the remaining grounds, including the main house and several out-buildings; in 2003 it  became a nonprofit and has been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as significant for its history, design & beautiful execution.

How fortunate are we that we get to visit these amazing works of art?


J & R Lamb Studios:
Roswell P Flower Memorial Library:
Sage Chapel:
Greenwood Gardens:

The images are from:


Gathering family together

Filed under: Ruminations — Tags: — socialhistory101 @ 11:10 pm

I’ve been working pretty intensely lately on pulling together burial information for Mark’s family members.  I don’t know exactly when I started attempting to log known burials on a spreadsheet.  It started before I began contributing to FindAGrave, which was ….. 9 months and 13 days ago.

At any rate, several weeks ago I began in earnest to reconcile the burials I had recorded in the family trees on Ancestry dot com with memorials recorded on FindAGrave, and in the process I learn of more burials.  Today in the mail came the medical death certificate for a formerly lost cousin, someone whose life story has meaning for me, and with its arrival I learned where she was buried.

Over the last several days I’ve been feeling an increasing sense of bringing everyone home, that somehow knowing and making known their final resting places makes them be safely at home, tucked in their beds (but we’ll leave the sugarplums out if it).

I know that these people are not my family, they’re Mark’s family, but I’ve spent so much time and energy learning about his ancestors that they’ve become part of me.  They’re in Mark’s blood but they live in my heart.


Westfall – Van Akin and Charlotte Jane Chase

Filed under: Charts, Moulton and Rawlins — Tags: , , , , — socialhistory101 @ 2:01 am

I find myself writing again in relation to Othelbert Philip Smith’s first wife, by the name of Charlotte Jane Chase.

When Othelbert & Charlotte married in August of 1875, she had been widowed for 3-1/2 years.  Her husband, Charles G Westfall, had been murdered  by two Indians for something they thought he had done but, after the trial, the real transgressor was ascertained.  Charlotte was left with a 3-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter.

Othelbert & Charlotte’s marriage lasted only four years, their divorce being final in August 1879.

In 1884 Charlotte married Alonzo Van Akin, himself a widow for about two years; they were married until his death in 1896.

Rae Petersen’s website,, states that :

Charles [her first husband] and Alonzo [her third husband] were at least third cousins, fourth cousins once removed, fifth cousins once removed and sixth cousins, “this is caused by the intermingling of Westfalls and Van Akins over 200 years.”

I finally got good and curious and, for my own sense of completion, wanted to get to the bottom of this tangle .  So, here ‘s what I’ve found so far:

  • Alonzo’s paternal grandmother was Margaret Westfall.
  • Margaret’s parents were 3rd cousins (Simon Westfall and Sarah Cole)
  • Margaret herself was 3rd cousin to James Westfall, who was Charles’ father
  • Alonzo’s paternal grandfather was John Van Aken.
  • John’s grandfather was Cornelius Van Aken, whose sister Anna/Annetje, married Ben Westfall, who was Charles’ great-grandfather.

There very well may exist all the connections that Rae mentioned, but I haven’t found them yet.  Here’s a chart of what I’ve got so far:

Charles Westfall and Alonzo Van Akin

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