Monday, April 27, 2015

2015 April 27:-Amanuensis Monday: J.P.McPherson's Diary, May 21, 1850, through June, 30, 1850

J.P. McPherson's Diary, P.2
Courtesy of the Margaret B. Burmeister
Family Archives
     James Peter McPherson's diary entries for May 21, 1850, through June 30, 1850, provide us with a view of those first few weeks in Verona (where John Stewart's log cabin was located) and Springdale (where J.P. would build his home).  The McPherson's new home included  a strong Scots community, called Scots Lane,  or sometimes, Scots Hamlet), which included the Stewarts, John Gow (John Stewart's father-in-law),  Beats, Browns, McDonalds, Leslies, Dunlops and others, as we will later read about. Their community was also peopled by neighbors, such as the Miles, Rutherfords, Urlichs, Gardiners, and Thornsons.  We will continue to meet these folks in the pages of J.P.'s diary.

     The diary also chronicles the work, tailoring and other work,  that J.P. provided to his new neighbors; as well as the generous help that they provided to the McPherson family.  It is clear that J.P. skills as a tailor, which were honed during his years in New York City,  were readily utilized by his new friends and neighbors.

     Another facet of the diary is J.P.'s careful recording of letters that he sent and received.  The first letter that he posted was to his brother-in-law (his wife Mary's brother) Jabez Burns, who was in New York City.  He also posted a letter to Anne Adamson, married to Tom Adamson.  I am sure that Anne was related to James Peter McPherson, but exactly how, I have yet to determine.  However, J.P. often refers to her husband Tom Adamson as Uncle.  J.P. will post many letters to Anne Adamson, until she and her husband Tom move to Dane County, Wisconsin.  He also posted a letter to James Westwood, but I have no idea as to why he would write to this person.

    I hope that you, the reader, will come to feel, as I have, like you are a part of this community and the village of Springdale, Dane County, Wisconsin.  Enjoy.

May  21st   Tuesday   Moved into Mr. John Stewarts log house beside the new frame store. Wednesday and Thursday fixing about the house – gathering rails and fencing garden.

     "    23rd   Thursday  Mr. John Beat ploughed up my garden

     "    24th   Friday   Commenced to plant potatoes and continued at Plant & working about the house on the 25th, 27th, 28th, 29th , 30th, and 31st Making pants and vests for John Stewart.

June   1st    Saturday  Making pants for John Beat

  "     3rd   Monday    Working about the house and garden.

  "   4th    Tuesday   At raising of Alex Brown's house. Commenced to make John Gows pants

May 31st                  Posted letter to Jabez Burns.

June   3rd               Posted letter to James Westwood and Ann Adamson.

  "     4th   Tuesday The weather up to this point has been very dry causing fears for the oat and corn crop. This afternoon a thunder storm came up from the North W and heavy rain fell for a short time which has raised the hopes of the farmers.

  "     5th   Wednsday  Finished John Gows pants and took them home. Got another two pair to make. This afternoon had another slight thunder shower.

  "    6    Thursday   Cut and commenced to sew Meyers, Stewart and Gows pants.

  "    7    Friday     Worked at Tailoring.

  "    8    Saturday      DO(Abbreviation for  "Ditto".//JGH)   Took home Meyers, Stewart and Gows pants.

  "    9    Sunday   Called at Mr. Mitchells. Went to Springdale with Mssers Rutherford, Brown and Mitchell. Had tea in Rutherfords.

  "   10   Monday   Took splinter out of Isabella McDonald's foot. Measured John & D McDonald for pants. Went to the mill for flour.

  "   11   Tuesday   Made a vest for John Beat.

  "   12  Wednesday Worked at Tailoring.

  "   13 Thursday  Out land hunting with Messers Beat & Urlich. Mr. Beat showed me two 40s beside Mr. Miles which I think of settling on.

  "   14   Friday   Cut Pants for D. Gardner. Worked at Tailoring. Posted letter (Name not clear due to tattered page//JGH)

  "  15  Saturday Working at tailoring. Took home McDonald's pants.

  "  16  Sunday   Went with Mssers Mitchell & Brown to land beside Mr Miles.

  "  17  Monday  Working about the house & garden.

  "  18  Tuesday  Made a vest for Mr. Dunlop. Sowed onions.

  "  19  Wednesday Out with the County Surveyor on Mr Miles and Leslie's land

  "  20  Thursday                  DO 

  "  21  Friday                     DO

  "  22  Saturday               DO til noon.    Hoe'd my potatoes.

  "  23  Sunday   Went with wife and children to see the land in Springdale upon which we are going to live.

  "  24  Monday  At home doing little or nothing.

  "  25  Tuesday  In the forepart of the day wrought upon the roads in Springdale for Mr. Miles; in the afternoon Mr. M went with me to my land. And we commenced to cut logs for my house.

  "  26  Wednesday Cutting house logs til about 2 o'clock, at that time a thunder storm commenced and continued with little interruption until night.

  "  27  Thursday  Heavy rain in the morning – Went to the Post Office, expecting a letter from J. Burns. Did not receive one. Hoed potatoes, and reset part of garden fence.

  "  28  Friday   Made a waggon cover for Dan. Gardner.

  "  29  Saturday  At raising of Widow Thornson's log house

  "  30  Sunday    At home all day.

(Note:  Yellow high-lighted items indicate transcriptions as "the best guess," given handwriting, word useage, and condition of the diary.//JGH
  ~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Friday, April 24, 2015

2015 April 24: James P. McPherson Family's Journey from New York City to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1850

Mary Burns McPherson and James Peter McPherson,
Springdale,Wisconsin, circa 1860
Courtesy of the Margaret Burmeister Family Archives
Great-great-great grandfather James Peter McPherson has a special place in this genealogist's heart, a place reserved for those ancestors who left wonderful written records.  Unfortunately this special place is not highly populated, and in some instances, even that chronicler of my ancestors, James P. McPherson, was not always forthcoming with the written records.  For instance, not much is known about their lives in New York City, 1842 to 1850.

James and Mary's voyage to America was documented by the ship list (below) for the Medora, which, on July 16, 1842, sailed out of Dundee, Scotland, Captained by George Lunt.  According to the Registers of Vessels Arriving at the Port of New York from Foreign Ports, 1789-1919, National Arhcives, Washington D.C., the Medora arrived at the Port of New York on September 13, 1842.

Ship List for the Medora, Captain George Lunt,
departed on July 16, 1842 from Dundee, Scotland,
bound for New York, New York.(p.1)
Courtesy of the Margaret B.Burmeister Family Archives
Ship List for the Medora, Captain George Lunt,
departed on July 16, 1842 from Dundee, Scotland,
bound for New York, New York.(p.2)
Courtesy of the Margaret B.Burmeister Family Archives

Ship List for the Medora, Captain George Lunt,
departed on July 16, 1842 from Dundee, Scotland,
bound for New York, New York.(p.3)
Courtesy of the Margaret B.Burmeister Family Archives

Ship List for the Medora, Captain George Lunt,
departed on July 16, 1842 from Dundee, Scotland,
bound for New York, New York.(p.4)
Courtesy of the Margaret B.Burmeister Family Archives

Unfortunately their arrival in New York did not coincide with a federal census, and their travel  from New York City to the "West," i.e., Wisconsin, in 1850, precluded inclusion in the 1850 Federal Census report.  However, we do know that during the nearly eight years the McPherson family lived in New York, they had four children:  William Burns McPherson (April 24, 1843); James Burns McPherson (March 17, 1845); Jabez Burns McPherson (August 12, 1847); and Ann Adamson McPherson (January 31, 1850).  Family stories document that he worked as a tailor and was a member of the Caledonia Division #31 of the Sons of Temperance, a "secret society"  of the temperance movement of the era (CLICK HERE for post on the Sons of Temperance).

 J.P.'s diary provided a great word picture of their trek from New York,  up the Hudson River by steam boat, then across the 362 miles of the Eire Canal (also known as Clinton's Ditch) by canal boat. Then to travel by the steam boat "Globe" from Buffalo to Milwaukee.  Below are some of the items, sights and scenes that the McPherson family might have encountered on the trek from New York to Milwaukee:
1850 Battery Park, New York City, to the west is
the Hudson River, from where J.P. and family would
have boarded the steam boat, "Buffalo."

An advertisement for passage
on a steam ship from New York
 City to Albany, New York

The steam boat "Reindeer" plied the Hudson River in the mid 1800's
Public Domain: artist, James Beard
1850 lithograph of Albany, New York, where J. P. and family transferred to
the Eire Canal boat "T.J. Dudley."
Public Domain; author, John Wm. Hill

"Erie Canal Packet Boats"  Advertisement
American Traveller, Boston, May 30, 1828
 Fort Hunter - “Canal-Town, U.S.A.,”  by David H. Veeder.
Fort Hunter, N.Y. : Fort Hunter Canal Society ; The Noteworthy Co., Amsterdam, N.Y., c1968
J.P. and family probably wished they had been on a canal boat such as the above!
Cheryl Harness's painting from her book The Amazing, Impossible Erie Canal
(New York : Macmillan Books for Young Readers, c1995)

Steamboat Michigan. Built at Detroit, Mich., in 1833
"American Steam Vessels" Copyright 1895,  Smith & Stanton
Courtesy of History of the Great Lakes, www.maritimehistoryofthegreatlakes.ca

 The "Globe" was the Great Lakes steamboat that carried J.P and his family from Bufflo, New York, to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Although this photo was part of the header for a WEB article on the last voyage of the steamboat "Indiana," it was just too much to resist this bit of history.  So here is the "Globe"

The Steamboat Indiana's Last Voyage

This concludes my visual addition to my great-great-great grandfather's remarks on their journey from New York City to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

  ~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 April 20-Amanuensis Monday: J.P.McPherson's Diary.

The Cover of the Diary of
James Peter McPherson,

      In the past, I have written several posts about this diary of my great-great-great grandfather, James Peter McPherson.  Now, instead of excerpts or even just diary entries, my plan is to use J.P.'s diary to tell the stories of the the McPherson family, as well as the stories of the friends and neighbors, when they lived in the village of Springdale, Wisconsin, in the last half of the nineteenth century.

     A quick note about the transcription,  I have tried to be faithful to J.P.'s words and spelling.  That said, even though my 3x great grandfather wrote with a beautiful flowing cursive handwriting, there were some words that were, in my mind, questionable transcriptions.  These are highlighted in yellow.

     It appears that the first entry, which told about the trip from New York City to Verona, Wisconsin,  was written on or about May 20, 1850.  The next entry (dated May 21, 1850) described events of that day.  So let's sit back, have a cup of tea, and join J.P as he tells of their travel to the "West."   In a subsequent post, I will show some of the sights and scenes of the trip from New York City to Albany by steamer, and then from Albany to Buffalo on the Erie Canal.


I James P. McPherson left New York City on April 30, 1850 for the west Per Steamer Buffalo from Albany. Fare for wife and Self, 30 cents for berth & Children $1.12.
Left Albany for Buffalo, Thursday, May 2nd, per canal boat “T.J. Dudley”, Cabin fare $3 each, children reckoned as one – luggage allowed each person 50 lbs., extra luggage 70 cents per 100 lbs. = expenses.

The Canal boat was overcrowded, and having cold wet weather the passage was very uncomfortable

Arrived in Buffalo early in the morning of Saturday, May 11th.

Left Buffalo for Milwaukee, Sunday, May 12th at 10 o'clock morning, Per Steamer “Globe,” steerage cabin fare $3 each, children reckoned 1½ – paid for luggage $11.50 Total.

Called in at Grand River, Cleveland, Detroit (lay in Detroit from 9 o'clock evening till 2 o'clock morning), Mackinaw and Sheboygan and arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday May 16 between 1 and 3 o”clock afternoon. Was accompanied by Mr & Mrs. Hofer from New York to Milwaukee where we parted – Mr H going to his Father-in-laws in Washinton County.

Left Milwaukee for Madison, Friday May 17th per waggon – Fare $16.50 to be paid equally by Mr. Benton & self but Mr. B ran short of funds on the way and I advanced him $2.50 which made my expenses for waggon hire amount to S10.75.

Arrived in Madison in the evening of Sunday, May 19th. Left Madison for Verona Monday May 20th. Wagon Hire ------- -------- ------- (JP's dashes//JGH) Reckoned fare from New York to Verona inclusive $36.00. Other expenses – for cart hire, Dock dues and Food & lodging by the night amounted to ------ from New York to Albany.
(The bottom of the page is very faded and tattered, to the point of being undecipherable.//JGH)

  ~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Sepia Saturday 275: 2015 April 18 -- Frank and Clemmon Sigford Standing on A Huge Log

   The Sepia Saturday 275 tour of the photographic archives participating in the Flickr Commons project reaches the Tasmanian Archives and Heritage Office and, in particular, this image entitled "Hydro Electric Commission (H.E.C.) linemen maintaining electrical services, corner Bathurst and Barrack Streets (c1969)". The theme image might bring all sorts of things to mind - wires, cables, ladders, sky - or you might just want to post an image with a long and complicated title.   Although I found long and complicated titles intriguing,  this photo of my grandfather and uncle kept flickering in my mind's eye,

 Frank and Clemmon Sigford Standing on a Huge Log

Clemmon and Frank Sigford near Quincy, CA
circa 1936

This photograph suffered light leakage when taken, and then the ravages of time took a toll.  Nevertheless, it remains one of my favorites.  My uncle, Clemmon Russell Sigford, was a strapping 22-year old when left Klamath County to work in the logging camps around Quincy, California.  Work was hard to come by during the Great Depression, and even after for my 60 year-old grandfather, Frank Clemmon Sigford.   My uncle Clem traveled back to Klamath Falls with news that he could "get Dad (my grandfather) on with the logging crew."  So, Grandpa packed his gear, bid his wife and youngest daughter, Gail, goodbye, and then climbed in Clem's Model A, headed for the big trees.  Clem made a promise to his mother and youngest sister that he would come back for then as soon as Gail finished school in the spring  -- which he did, but that is another story.

Grandpa worked in the California woods until he was eligible for Social Security benefits.  I don't thin that it was a hardship for him, as he had worked in the woods and mills for much of his life and  liked the camaraderie of woods folk.  He was a gregarious guy, especially with a few drinks under his belt, known to be a bit of a brawler even though he was skinny and wiry.  I think he probably missed that life when he retired to a little farm near Puyallup, Washington, and under the watchful eye of his teatotaler wife.

Don't forget to check out the images and stories left by fellow Sepians.

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 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sepia Saturday 267, 2015 February 21 - Good Trade? Hotwater heater for Model T?

The thematic photograph for this week is this
 1937 photograph from the archives of the Finnish Radio Company , which shows engineers on the roof of an outside broadcast van. For those looking for a theme there is radio, broadcasting, roofs, people doing unusual things on motor vehicles, or run with the little and large comparison..  My choice for this week is loosely aligned with folks doing unusual things and vehicles. 


     According to my grandmother's album, the above photograph was taken in 1943 and shows her son-in-law, Leland Enos, trying to move the Model T that he had just traded for a hot water heater.  I recognize the location as the Enos ranch outside of Red Bluff, California.  The fellow on the other side of the car could be Leland's father Pete Enos.  I have often wondered what kind of a water heater was traded for the car  -- and who made the better deal.  I am betting that it was my Uncle Leland.

     Leland Enos married Zelma Elizabeth (Betty) McPherson, the next to the youngest child of my grandparent's, Jabez B. and Elizabeth (Foss) McPherson.  They were married on 20 November 1941 in Reno, Nevada.  The couple spent most of their married life on the Enos ranch.  However, my aunt Betty seemed quite happy to live in the town of Red Bluff in their later years. 

     The following photo was taken at the same time as the photo above.  As you can see, Leland was tinkering with his vehicle, a sign of the times.  A hard working, capable man, who loved  a good party and almost always sported a smile which accentuated his good looks.   He died on 21 March 1988 at the age of 66.

Ramble on over to see what follow Sepians have shared.

                                                                                  ~ ~ ~
 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Geneabloggers Wedding Wednesday, 2015 February 18 - Gertrude Ruttgers and Charles Foss Wedding Picture

Wedding Photograph of Gertrude and Charles Foss
April 12, 1900
Courtesy of Joan Hill, Roots N Leaves Archives
     The above photograph came to me via an album of my grandmother Elizabeth Alfreda (Foss) McPherson.  She had labelled the photo, "Charlie and Gert."  Charles Foss married Gertrude Ruttgers on April 12, 1900.  They had three children, Mary R. (born about 1902), Elizabeth R. (born about 1906 and William F. (born about 1907).  The couple were married for 54 years, when Otto passed away in 1954.  Gertrude lived for another 11 years, and died in 1965.

     Charles was my grandmother's oldest brother.  He and his younger brother Otto were brought to America from Pomerania in about 1882.  My Grandmother Elizabeth Foss was born in Vermont on December 17, 1883.  By about 1885, Ferdinand and Adeline Foss moved baby Elizabeth and sons, Charles and Otto, from Vermont to Madison, Wisconsin.  Ferdinand, Adeline, Charles and Otto would live their lives in and around Madison.

     I am always looking for information about my Foss family, so please share if you know this family and any family stories.

                                                                          ~ ~ 

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Sepia Saturday 266, 2015 February 14 -- Last Valentine

Sepia Saturday 266 just happens to coincide with Valentine's Day so our theme image this week is a Valentine's Card which dates back to the 1940s and comes from the Flickr Commons collection of the Deseronto Archives (and as we have not visited these archives before on our tour of Flickr Commons participants, we can now tick them off).  My offering this week dates back just two years,  but in ways just as corny, but love was still in the air.

Follow the trail of hearts, flowers, zuchini, and corny cards left by besotted Sepians.

                                                                     ~ ~ 

 © Joan G. Hill, Roots'n'Leaves Publications