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Scholefield Family Tree

I located one obit for Alonzo. There are likely more out there because this was one picked up by a nearby paper in a different county. The moral of this story is that you might find a news item about your family in an unexpected paper. Nearby papers would reprint news from the surrounding areas — especially if they wanted to cover a large area and thereby increase their subscriber base. Papers from a place where a person was a previous resident would carry an obit — like Susan Miller’s Amsterdam obit. And if it was sensational, sometimes the story would make national news. Really, this is not too different from nowadays! Of course, the more a story was reprinted, the more likely there is to be an error.

blockquoteAMSTERDAM, Sept 21.–[Special,]–
Captain Alonzo H, DeGraff, 48 years of age, died here to-day after a long illness of Bright’s disease. Captain DeGraff had been superintendent of the water works ever since its construction, about twelve years ago. He went to the front at the breaking out of the civil war as a drummer boy, being scarcely 14 years of age. He soon afterward shouldered the musket and carried it thro’out the struggle, winning honors several times. He bas been a prominent G. A. R. man. He was a staunch republican, but never took an active part in politics. A widow, three sons and two daughters survive.1

And just as fun to find are articles printed years after an event. Papers regularly published bits about what had been in the paper 25, 50, or even 100 years before. Many times, they would even pull information from the society pages, which are the best place to learn about the day to day goings on of those who were fashionable. Here are some excerpts from an article entitled “How Many Remember? Old Resident Inquires.”

blockquoteHow many Amsterdaminans can remember:

When 40 couples attended a ball given at Pythian Temple in honor of college boys who, having passed a pleasant Summer vacation at their homes, were about to return to their studies? . . .

When the Merchants and the Bankers played baseball for the benefit of the City Hospital on the Y. M. C. A. grounds in the West End? The Merchants won by a score of 14 to 12. . . .

When Miss Mary Jane Doak, daughter of Supervisor James Doak, was struck by lightning while attending to her household duties? She was confined to her bed for two days but recovered rapidly.

When Captain Alonzo H. DeGraff, superintendent of the city waterworks system and one of Amsterdam’s best known and most popular citizens, died at his home on West Spring Street? Captain DeGraff was born December 12, 1845, in the old DeGraff homestead, about a half mile east of the city boundary line, on the Cranesville road. The war of the Rebellion broke out while Alonzo waa attending school. In 1862, leaving the old Amsterdam Academy on East Main Street, he enlisted in the Twenty-Fifth Albany Regiment. After three months’ service as a private at Suffolk. Va., he re-enlisted at Utica in the Fourteenth New York Heavy Artillery, with which he remailed until September, 1865. He was promoted in succession to sergeant, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and then captain. He participated in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania Court House, Cold Harbor, Bethesda Church, North Ann River and Petersburg. On June 17, 1864, he was wounded in the right hip in a charge on the enemy’s works in front of Petersburg. Captain DeGraff was one of the leading spirits of post E. S. Young, G. A. R. A. H. DeGraff Camp, Sons of Veterans, was named after him. In 1875 Captain DeGraff married Miss Mary M. Smith of Fish House. A man of strict integrity, his death brought deep grief to a large circle of friends.2

The second type of article is harder to find than the first. Articles printed years after an event are best located through a service like the Fulton History site or GenealogyBank.com where every word of every page has been digitized and made searchable. (Remember there are errors so something still may be “impossible” to locate, but at least you have a chance!)

To find the first type of article, look at areas surrounding the location of interest and at papers in towns that a person lived in during their life. In New York, you can consult the New York State Newspaper Project to find the names of papers held on microfilm in various repositories. If you can examine a sample of the paper, you will quickly notice if it contains a section for area news. Then check for the news for about a week after the event date — the further away from the event location, the further the date of publication of an article will be from the event date.

1. “Montgomery County: Amsterdam,” Utica Weekly Herald, 26 Sep 1893, p. 12, col. 4; digital images, Fulton History (http://www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 31 Dec 2009), Utica NY Weekly Herald 1889 – 1892 – 1061.pdf.
2. Frank B. Engel, “How Many Remember? Old Resident Inquires,” Amsterdam Evening Recorder and Daily Democrat, 12 Apr 1945, p. 8, col. 4-5; digital images, Fulton History (http://www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 31 Dec 2009), Amsterdam NY Daily Democrat and Recorder 1945 Feb-Jun Grayscale – 0603.pdf.


Scholefield Family Tree

I seem to be stonewalled on exactly which Harmonus is the correct man. Therefore, I am going to take one step back. Instead of trying to step push to locate the next DeGraff generation, I will be stepping back and looking at the children again. It is possible that something about Harmonus’s kids will reveal another avenue of investigation.

What we know: Harmonus married Susannah Thomas.1 One of their children was Helen Marr DeGraff Scholefield. There were two others: Alonzo H. DeGraff and Susan DeGraff Miller.

As stated earlier, my goals for this project include locating the “vitals” for siblings of the direct ancestral lines of the Scholefields I chose randomly, but also the birth information for each of their children. To that end, I returned to the Fulton History site to search through more old newspapers. And I found an obit for Susan DeGraff Miller which will help me to fill in quite a bit about her!

blockquoteMrs. Susan DeGraff Miller.

As already stated in The Recorder, word has been received in this city of the death of Susan DeGraff Miller, at her home in San Diego, Cal., October 18. Mrs. Miller was born at the DeGraff homestead, east of this city, and was about 65 years old. She was a sister of the late Capt. Alonzo H. DeGraff, who was superintendant of the water department of the city of Amsterdam for a number of years. Her early live was passed on the farm east of the city, and she was one of the pupils at the Amsterdam academy. She had many friends among the older residents of this city. A number of years ago she was united in marriage to Fred C. Miller, of Jackson, Mich., who died last fall.

Mrs. Miller resided in San Diego for twenty years. Many years ago she was attached rheumatism and for the last 25 years of her life was unable to walk, moving about the house in a wheel chair. Since the first of July she has been confined to her bed and had suffered a great deal. Hers was a cheerful disposition and despite her affliction she had a kind word for all. She was an extensive reader. Amsterdam, and the friends of her girlhood days, occupied a place in her heart that distance could not erase and she kept fully informed of the happenings in and about Amsterdam and the doings of her old schoolmates. Her cheery ways endeared her to the residents of San Diego, the people of that city speaking of her as “The Sunny Face at the Window.” Her last visit to Amsterdam was made thirty years ago. Besides nephews and nieces in this city, she is survived by a sister, Mrs. H. M. Scholefield, of New York, and a daughter, Mrs. Ford Barnes, of San Diego. Mrs Barnes says: “Even in her suffering she was the same bright, patient mother we have always known, interested in all our joys and sorrows, and the affairs of the city, country and the world.”2

Research Plan:

  1. Check for an obituary for Alonzo DeGraff.
  2. Investigate the Miller family. What was Susan’s date of birth? What was her daughter’s first name?

1. See post dated 5 Sep 2009.
2. “Obituary: Mrs. Susan DeGraff Miller,” Amsterdam Evening Recorder and Daily Democrat, 30 Oct 1915, p. 3, col. 4; digital images, Fulton History (http://www.fultonhistory.com : accessed 30 Dec 2009), Amsterdam NY Daily Democrat and Recorder 1915 Oct-1916 Feb Grayscale – 0215.pdf.


Scholefield Family Tree

Remember to keep reading articles which are returned when you search. You might find a gem like this one:

blockquoteColumnist Has Personal Interest
In Amsterdam Widow Susan Road

A bit of Amsterdam area history was included in yesterday’s issue of the Yonkers Herald Statesman where the column, “First Person Singular,” attracts attention with the headline: “There’s a Widow Susan Road Upstate Named for My Mother’s Grandmother.”

Identifying himself with the DeGraff family, Columnist George S. McMillan, begins the reflections with “My mother’s mother was a DeGraff.”

“The family originally came from Holland. Cornelius DeGraff was burgomaster of Amsterdam in 1656. His son, Claas, came to America about 1679 and settled near what is now Amsterdam, N.Y. When I was a boy, there was a station on the New York Central there named DeGraff.

“In any event, my mother, as a little girl, used to spend many of her summers with her beloved grandmother, Susan DeGraff, on her farm on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

“As she told it to me, her grandmother was a pretty wonderful person. Her husband died a fairly young man, and she ran the farm as women did in those days before luncheon bridges and cocktail parties. She was known far and wide in that section of the country as ‘the Widow Susan.’

“Years later, after my brother, my sister and I came along, our family would periodically visit Amsterdam to call on our cousins and second cousins named DeGraff.

“Sometimes we would drive up a country road east of the city, and Mother would point out to us the Widow Susan’s farm, which had long since passed out of the family’s hands.

“But today, if you will drive slowly and watch closely as you approach Amsterdam from the east on Route 5, you will see a road, now paved with many, many houses replacing the open fields of long ago. And, if you look sharply, you will see a street
marker at the intersection which reads, ‘Widow Susan Rd.’

“I don’t suppose any traveler passing it—or, indeed, many of those who live on it—know who the Widow Susan was, but I do, and I’m glad her memory is marked, at least to that extent,” Columnist McMillan concludes.1

We have encountered this Columnist before! He is the nephew of the George Scholefield who was the beginning point of our search.2

Additionally, this story gives weight to the fact that we are on the right track in investigating Harmonus DeGraff and Susan Thomas as the parents of Helen Marr Degraff — even though Helen’s son George’s biography said that her father’s name was Emanuel DeGraff.

1. “Columnist Has Personal Interest In Amsterdam Widow Susan Road,” Amsterdam Evening Recorder and Daily Democrat, 26 Apr 1963, p. 12, col. 4-5; digital images, Fulton History (http://www.fultonhistory.com/fulton.html : accessed 19 Sep 2009), Amsterdam NY Daily Democrat and Recorder 1963 Mar-Apr Grayscale – 0807.pdf.
2. See post dated 24 Oct 2008.


Scholefield Family Tree

Occasionally, I find something new. (Yeah, it can be a rare occurrence that I don’t know about something.) This time I found it by scanning Dick Eastman’s newsletter. One of his posts was about the Fulton History website which features millions of scanned pages of old New York newspapers.

The OCR software they used had quite a hard time reading the name Scholefield on some scans, but the “fuzzy” search capability means that I don’t have to try misspellings — it will try them for me. A higher number on the fuzzy search will return the weirdest combinations, but I found that a number around 2 was sufficient when searching for exact names (just the surname will return too many hits). Therefore, all I have to try are different combinations of first names and initials. Still, there were some events (obituaries) that didn’t pop up so the site also features a browse capability where you can hunt and find a paper with the correct date to read for yourself (really only usable if you have an exact date for something or if you are just generally interested in reading the news). Be aware that the pages can take quite a while to load!

Anyway — onto the findings for George’s mother Helen Marr DeGraff Scholefield…

Most interesting to genealogists is the obituary. An obituary in a person’s hometown newspaper is a possibility one should not forget. In Helen’s case, a simple death announcement ran in New York City where she died, but an obituary with family and biographical data ran both in Utica, New York, a place where she had been a longtime resident, and was republished in Amsterdam, New York, where she was born and had lived with her parents.

blockquoteMrs. Helen M. Scholefield.

The Utica Press says: There are very many people still residing in this city and our ancient suburb who remember Major Charles M. Scholefield and wife who lived many years ago at Yorkville. They were very prominent and popular people in their time and had a very large circle of friends and acquaintances.

Major Scholefield was a more than ordinarily acceptable public speaker and was much in demand as a temperance lecturer. Mrs. Scholefield will be remembered as a charming and attractive woman who did much to make the home a social center and who was held in high esteem by all who knew her. Major Scholefield died many years ago.

Mrs. Helen M. Scholefield, his widow, died in New York city Saturday in her 79th year. She was born in Amsterdam, being descended from the earliest Dutch settlers of the Mohawk valley. In 1859, she married Mr. Scholefield. During the Civil war, she lived in Washington, her husband and brother being officers in the army, and each day ministered to the sick and wounded in the hospital at a time when there were no trained nurses and very little knowledge of anesthetics. At the close of the war, they returned to Yorkville, but spent much time in Albany, as Major Scholefield was a member of the legislature and a preminent lawyer, editor and public speaker.

Upon the death of her husband, the family moved to Utica and Mrs. Scholefield opened a kindergarten, being a pioneer in that form of education, now a part of the public school system. She was a member of Westminster church and active in its work as well as the literary and social life of Utica.

In recent years she had made her home with her daughters, Mrs. Mae Edwards, of Nutley, N. J., until her death three years ago; with Mrs. Florence DeGraff in New York, where she died, and with Mrs. Virginia S. McMillan, during the summers at her country home, Spencertown. Besides her daughters, she leaves a son, George P. Scholefield, of Vail, Arizona.

The interment was made at Spencertown, Monday.1

From this obituary, we can calculate an exact death date of 18 Dec 1920. The married name of Helen’s daughter Florence is missing: Shaw. This could be because the name was not reported correctly, or it could have gone missing in the resetting of the article in the second newspaper. Also, Mae’s name should be Edwords, but no one seems to get that one right.

In addition to the obituary, the same paper also ran a funeral notice (so don’t forget to check for both possibilities). (more…)


The Whittle Family Tree

As I mentioned previously, I received some information from Ruth the day after I drafted the Doubting Thomas post. I had also done a little more research and was trying to decide how to incorporate it into the post when the package from Ruth arrived. Finally, I decided to just handle the information in the next couple of posts. This post will deal with all the vital statistic things concerning Thomas and Sarah’s family, and the next post will deal with the family story of Thomas’ leaving and his military service.

Ruth Brooks has been researching the Whittle Family for years and Thomas is her husband’s great grandfather. She told me that she no longer actively researches and has been wonderful in sharing her research with me in hopes that putting it out here may lead us to some answers. She was quick to tell me that she is an amateur, but I will tell you that there is nothing amateur about her skills and her accomplishment in tracking down paperwork on this family is outstanding. Ruth is an accomplished genealogist and family historian, and I am grateful for all her help.

In the package Ruth sent me there were a couple of really important things that apply to the last post. First up is the marriage of Thomas Whittle and Sarah Flayhart in 1842. Ruth provided the following information. A marriage license was granted in Baltimore County 15 Oct 1842, and they were married at the 1st Methodist Episcopal Church on Light Street near Redwood by Isaac P. Cook, a prominent local Methodist preacher, on 20 Oct 1842.1 The online date is off by a couple of months.

Also in question was the date of death of Thomas and Sarah’s son Robert, shown on line with the unsourced date of 23 Apr 1864. Ruth offered this documentation from the Baltimore County Advocate dated 23 Apr 1864:2

In Towsontown, on the 29th ult. Robert Spencer Vinton Whittle died, 3 years, 11 months & 8 days old.

So the unsourced date is in error as it used the date of the article. The correct date of death for young Robert is actually 29 March 1864. Using the Tombstone Birthday Calculator we find his actual date of birth is 21 Apr 1860.

Ruth had told me that she had a news article about Sarah’s passing that gave a lot more information. The package included a copy of that uncredited and undated news article which provided some interesting family data.3

blockquoteDeath of a Former Resident of Towsontown. – Mrs. Sarah Whittle died at the residence of her daughter, in Baltimore, on Saturday evening last after a long illness in her 68th year of age. She was the eldest daughter of the late John Flayhart and sister of Mr. Edward Flayhart, of Towsontown. She was born in a house that formerly stood on the hill just below the residence of Judge M. C. Burke, and lived here until about twenty years ago, when she removed to Baltimore. Her husband was the late Thomas Whittle, who was a brother of Jeremiah Whittle of Long Green Valley. In the early part of the late war he left Towsontown for Pittsburg and the last heard of him was that he had left that city and had enlisted in a Kentucky regiment of the Federal Army and took part in the battle of Shiloh. A letter afterwards received from his captain stated that he was seen before entering the battle, but that his regiment had met with great loss and it was not known whether Mr. Whittle was killed, captured, or had deserted. As nothing more was ever heard of him there is no doubt that he was among the unknown dead. The deceased [unreadable] three children – E. Dorsey, Joshua T. and Mrs. William H Hoffman. Joshua T. Whittle is the well known ice-cream manufacturer in Glyndon. W.M.R.R.”

The article appears to have been published within a couple weeks of her 24 May 1890 death and is probably from a newspaper from Towsontown, based on the statement “…and lived here until about twenty years ….”.

I searched GenealogyBank and found this from The Sun, dated 15 Mar 1873, a news Article on Local Matters, page 1:4

Property Sale – Mrs. Sarah Whittle has sold her stone house and lot, 49 feet front, with a depth of 210 feet, in Towsontown, to Mr. Alfred Phipps, for $1,100 cash.

Using the article that Ruth sent we now have confirmed Sarah’s maiden name is Flayhart, daughter of John, and her brother Edward Flayhart is still alive in Towsontown. She was born in 1822 in Towsontown and the house is no longer standing. Thomas and Jeremiah of Long Green Valley are brothers. Three of her six children are deceased by 1890. Andrew Jamison Whittle, Robert Spencer Vinton died 1864, and Sarah.

Ruth’s documentation also provided the following information on Andrew Jamison Whittle. From the Batimore County Advocate dated 10 Apr 1852:5

In Towsontown, on the 29th, Andrew Jamison Whittle died in the 8th year of his age.

With that information I was able to locate this from The Sun, dated 2 Apr 1852, which specifically links this Andrew to Thomas and Sarah:6

At Towsontown, on the 29th ultimo, ANDREW JAMESON, in the 8th year of his age, eldest child of Thomas and Sarah Whittle.

In looking for Sarah, I started trying to track down Sarah R. Hunt (the name from the 1870 census), but there were at least two on the 1880 census that could have fit. Flipping through the information from Ruth, I found that she had Sarah married to William H. Greenfield, but she had no death date. I went back to genealogybank with the new information and brought up the following obituary in The Sun from 22 Jan 1880, Mortuary Notice, pg 2:7

GREENFIELD – On January 21, after a long and painful illnesss, SARAH REBECCA, aged 30 years, 6 months and 12 days, beloved wife of Wm. H. Greenfiled, and eldest daughter of Thos. and Sarah Whittle.

Above the blest and pearly gates,
Where Jesus, loving Saviou, waits;
Where all is peaceful, bright and fair,
My home is there, my home is there,

Heaven retaineth now our treasure,
Earth the lonely casket keeps;
And the sunbeams love to linger
Where our living Sallie sleeps.

Her funeral will take place from her late residence, No. 403 McHenry street, on to-morrow (Friday) afternoon, at three o’clock. Relatives and friends are invited to attend.

So we now have the last child missing from Sarah Flayhart Whittle’s news article; Sarah Rebecca Whittle Greenfield, born 9 Jul 1849 in Towsontown, Baltimore, Maryland, died 21 Jan 1880, Baltimore City, Maryland. I have not figured out when she was married or the confusion of the 1870 census where she is listed as Sarah R. Hunt. Obviously, I won’t find an 1880 census as she died in January, but we have the basics for now and can move on.

1. Marriage Record Information of Thomas Whittle; privately held by Ruth Brooks Wilmington, Delaware.
2. “Mortuary Notice,” (Baltimore) The Baltimore County Advocate, 23 Apr 1864.
3. News Article – Sarah Flayhart Whittle; privately held by Ruth Brooks Wilmington, Delaware.
4. “Local Matters,” The Sun, 15 Mar 1873, p. 1; digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 12 Dec 2008), Historical Papers.
5. “Mortuary Notice,” (Baltimore) The Baltimore County Advocate, 10 Apr 1852.
6. “Mortuary Notice,” The Sun, 2 Apr 1852, p. 2; digital images, Genealogybank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 12 Dec 2008), Historical Papers.
7. “Mortuary Notice,” The Sun, 22 Jan 1880, p. 2; digital images, GenealogyBank (www.genealogybank.com : accessed 12 Dec 2008), Historical Newspapers.


The Whittle Family Tree

I wrote this post and it has set in draft for a couple of weeks while I tried to decide if I wanted to approach the documentation of the search in this manner. It’s a lot of information and this post is what I had on 1 Dec 2008. On 2 Dec 2008 I received a package from Ruth with more information and that’s why I stopped this draft. I’ve decided to let this post stand and cover the information provided by the family in the next post.

The Whittles remain a family that have many more questions than answers and such is the case with Thomas Whittle, born about 1820 in Baltimore County, Maryland. Thomas appears to have married Sarah Flayhart of Towsontown, Maryland in 1842. There is at least one family tree on line with a marriage date of 20 Dec 1842, but I have not seen the documentation to confirm that. Thomas and Sarah first appeared together by name on the 1850 census in Towsontown, Baltimore, Maryland.1

Information previously supplied by Ruth in an email indicates the family is in possession of paperwork showing that in 1853 a piece of property in Towson was put in the name of Mary Flayhart in trust for her daughter Sarah Whittle. In Sept. 1856 The Baltimore County Advocate reported that a small dwelling was in the course of erection by Thomas Whittle in the northeastern part of the village of Towson. The small news piece was picked up by The Sun.2 The Thomas Whittle family appears together again on the 1860 Census just before the Civil War.3 The family consists of Thomas 39, Sarah 37, and their six children; Edward 13, Sarah R. 10, Ann E. 8, Joshua T. 4, and Robert aged 2 months (born May 1860).

The family story (as supplied by Ruth) is that Thomas Whittle left Towson for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and eventually went to Kentucky. This is where he enlisted as a Private in Co. F, 18th Regiment, Kentucky Infantry, in February 1862, when he would have been about 42 yrs. old, leaving a wife and 6 children. The family story also says that he had been killed either at the battle of Shiloh or Gettysburg. When Ruth sent for his military records, she found that the records of Thomas Whittle of the 18th Regiment Kentucky Infantry listed him as deserted in 1863.

In 1870 Sarah and five children (Edward, Sarah R. Hunt, Ann Hoffman, Alice, and Joshua) are still together in Towsontown, but son Robert, born May 1860 and husband Thomas Whittle are missing from this census.4 One tree posted online has young Robert Whittle with a death date of 23 Apr 1864. His absence from the 1870 census leads to the probability that he is deceased. Also in 1870, it appears that Anne and Sarah R. have married, but their men are missing from this record– big shock – they are after all Whittle women!!!

By 1880 however, Sarah is living with her daughter Annie and her husband William Hoffman.5 This is also the first census that documents a social status and Sarah is enumerated as a widow, which is an answer of sorts about Thomas.

There is a public tree up on Ancestry with a copy of Sarah Whittle’s death certificate. Her date of death is 24 May 1890 and lists her cause of death as Cancer Uteri with a secondary cause as Exhaustion, and her place of Burial as Mount Olivet on 27 May 1890.6 This record does not however, list her maiden name or relationship to any family member, but it does list her as a widow. There is a short obituary in The Sun which supports this death certificate as being our Sarah Whittle:7

blockquoteWHITTLE – On the evening of May 24, SARAH WHITTLE, widow of the late Thomas Whittle, formerly of Towsontown. (Towsontown papers please copy.) Her funeral will take place Tuesday afternoon at two o’clock, from the residence of her daughter, No 1811 Wilhelm Street, near Fulton street.

There are many questions to be answered:
  • How does the family know he went to Pittsburgh?
  • What was he doing in Pittsburgh?
  • Why would he go all the way to Kentucky (via Pittsburgh) to enlist in the Union army when his cousins were enlisting in the Maryland units?
  • How do they know this Kentucky Thomas Whittle is the right Thomas Whittle?

1. 1850 U.S. census, Baltimore, Maryland, population schedule, District 2, p. 66, dwelling 880, family 887, Thomas Whittle Household; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 29 Nov 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 279.
2. “Things in Baltimore County,” The Sun, 13 Sep 1856, p. 2; digital images.
3. 1860 U.S. census, Baltimore, Maryland, population schedule, District 9, dwelling 444, family 437, Thomas Whittle Household; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Nov 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll 468.
4. 1870 U.S. census, Baltimore County, Maryland, population schedule, District 9, p. 455, dwelling 115, family 115, Sarah Whittle Household; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 29 Nov 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll 570.
5. 1880 U.S. census, Baltimore County, Maryland, population schedule, Baltimore, enumeration district (ED) 176, p. 586, dwelling 188, family 226, Sarah Whittle in Household of William Hoffman; digital image, Ancestry (http://www.Ancestry.com : accessed 29 Nov 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 504.
6. Baltimore City, Maryland, death certificate no. 27261 (1890), Sarah Whittle; digital image, “Ancestry Public Member Photos,” Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Nov 2008).
7. “Mortuary Notice,” The Sun, 26 May 1890, p. 2; digital images, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 29 Nov 2008), Historical Newspapers.


Govans Cemetery Project

The Whittle Plot

My primary function was to find out who is in the Whittle plot at Govans Presbyterian Cemetery and be able to positively tie those people to the plot itself. I received the final piece of information to do that job from family member Ruth via mail. Ruth was kind enough to go to her local library and get the obituary for Clara May Whittle. As Clara May died in 1946, her obituary is not available through my usual websites. Clara May Whittle obituary from the Baltimore Sun, Tuesday, 11 Dec 1946.1

blockquoteWHITTLE – On December 10, 1946, at 33 Alleghany Avenue, Towson, CLARA MAY, beloved daughter of the late Samuel N. and Georgianna Higle Whittle.
Services at the Burns Funeral Home, 610 York Road, Towson, on Thursday at 2:30 P.M. Interment in Govans Presbyterian Cemetery.

I can now positively supply the cemetery with five names and dates of people that are buried in the Samuel N. Whittle plot and when they were buried there. I will also supply them the sixth name of Georgianna, wife of Samuel, based on the probability that she is the first occupant of the plot – although I have not completed an exhaustive search of every other possibility.

Samuel N. Whittle, 2nd Lt USA
Born about 1843, Died 7 Oct 1892, Buried 10 Oct 1892
Accidental Death in a fall from a window in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania.

Georgianna Higle Whittle, wife of Samuel N.
Born about 1846, Died between 1874 and 1876
Died of Consumption

Clara May Whittle, daughter of Samuel N.
Born June 1866, Died 10 Dec 1946, Buried 12 Dec 1946
Cause of Death Unknown, age 80.

Margaret (Maggie) Sevilla Whittle, daughter of Samuel N.
Born 1869, Died 3 Oct 1897, Buried 5 Oct 1897
Died of Consumption

Eliza Whittle, mother of Samuel N.
Born about 1815, Died 11 Sep 1896, Buried 13 Sep 1896
Cause of Death Unknown, age 80

Elizabeth Whittle, grandmother of Samuel N.
Born 12 Oct 1785, Died 19 Jun 1877, Buried 21 Jun 1877
Cause of Death Unknown, age 91

One of the things that hopefully occurs when you work a family is that you begin to wonder about their lives. What is it with the Whittle family and missing men – is it just bad luck? Even though I now know that Elizabeth was married to Jeremiah Whittle, I still don’t know the name of Eliza’s husband. Somewhere in a dusty pile of paper there is something with his name on it. I hate that his identity is currently lost to time.

Why does one branch of a family tree come to a complete stop? Samuel goes to war, returns home, marries and starts a family. He has a wife and two daughters and appears to have a successful business. Georgianna dies young, his grandmother dies shortly thereafter, and Samuel’s mother Eliza lives with him and helps raise the girls. Their life appears to be quiet for about 15 years and then Samuel dies in the fall from the window and everything changes. Within five short years of Samuel’s death, Eliza dies and young Maggie dies at the home of her father’s brother Charles Nicholas. Clara never marries and remains with her unmarried cousins on her mother’s side of the family until her death in 1946.

So at this point I will wrap up the Govans Cemetery Project concerning the Whittle Plot, but I am hardly done with the Whittle family. As happens in genealogy and family history, you become attached to families and you form a connection with the people that are researching them. Ruth and I have shared quite a bit of correspondence and I have a lot of documentation that I would still like to do with the Whittle family. There is a lot of research left to be done and I’ll keep working on it, but without the Govans Cemetery Project tag. There are other names in the cemetery to work and I’ll have to get started on them while I continue with the Whittles.

1. “Death Notices,” The Sun, 11 Dec 1946


Govanstown Cemetery Project

The Whittle Plot

I have left Elizabeth Whittle, grandmother of Samuel N., alone until now. Women born prior to 1850 are usually the most difficult to research. We are going to work back from the known and see if we can discover anything about Elizabeth Whittle that will help us resolve her identity.

Our first mention of Elizabeth was in my 6 Oct 2008 post when she appears living with Samuel and family on the 1870 census. We found her again with Eliza on the 1860 census and followed her back to the 1850 census. I found her obituary from 21 Jun 1877:1

blockquoteWHITTLE – At her residence, Towsontown, Md. June 19th, 1877, MRS. ELIZABETH WHITTLE, aged 91 years, 8 months and 9 days. She was a native of Lancaster county Pennsylvania, but for the last 73 years a resident of Towsontown.

Her funeral will take place from her late residence, today, Thursday 21st at 2 o’clock P.M. – Remains interred at Govanstown Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Her friends are respectfully invited to attend.

The best part of this obituary is the information concerning her age – 91 years, 8 month and 9 days. I bounced over to the Tombstone Birthday Calculator and entered the information and out popped a birth date of 12 Oct 1785. We’ll go with this date in the absence of any other information at this time. However, you should remember that the age at death was provided by someone that wasn’t there when she was born. The age would have come from a family member and could be in error. How many times when upset by a situation have you confused your own date of birth, much less that of another family member?

The other important piece of information is the Lancaster County birth location. How did she wind up in Baltimore? Did her family move to Baltimore with her? A good piece of information always leads to more questions!

When Ruth contacted me she supplied the information that Elizabeth’s husband was Jeremiah Whittle and they were married in 1818 in Baltimore by Minister Nathan Greenfield. Her name is listed in that record as Eyle, however, on her son’s death certificate her name is listed as Hall. I went to Ancestry and found her marriage to Jeremiah from 5 Dec 1818. If we use the birth date determined by her death date then she would have been 33 years old at the time of her marriage – not exactly a young bride. Is it possible that she was married before? Perhaps her maiden name is Hall and her widowed name is Eyle? It’s also possible that the information on the death certificate of Hall was supplied by someone that couldn’t remember her name and thought it might be Hall. Every piece of information raises more questions!

A search of the census records from 1790, 1800, and 1810 shows no one with the name of Eyles, Iles, or Ayles in Pennsylvania or Maryland. There are multiple candidates for the name of Hall with females of the right age in the household for 1790 and 1800, but no way to narrow it down. It’s terribly unfair that you just can’t click on a great name like Eyle and have it all laid out for you. I would like, just once, to have a theory and be able to with one click find a convenient marriage record, death record, or a nice obituary. At this point I have a theory and nothing to go with it.

1. “Mortuary Notices,” The Sun, 21 Jun 1877, p. 2; digital images, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 27 Sep 2008), Historic Newspapers.


Govanstown Cemetery Project

The Whittle Plot

So what about Samuel N. Whittle’s older daughter Clara May Whittle? According to Ruth, Clara died 10 Dec 1946 and is buried in the family plot in Govans. She was interred there 12 Dec 1946. The interment records for this time period exist, so we have no doubt on this information. Ruth is going to look for an obituary for us.

On the 1900 Census, Clara was residing as a niece in the household of Joseph and Margaret Hampson in Baltimore City. I almost dismissed this record as they have her listed as age 83, however, the image reveals a birth date of Jun 1866 with an age of 33. Margaret (Higle) Hampson was the older sister of Georgeanna Higle. The household as indexed is:1
Joseph Hampson, age 70, head
Margaret, age 69, wife,
William W., age 35, son
Edward S., age 33, son
Emma B., age 32, son
Oliva S., age 29, son
Clara Whittle, age 83 [33], niece

In 1910 she is still living with the Hampson family and the household consists of:2
Margaret L. Hampson, age 79
Emma B., age 40
Olivia S., age 38
William W., age 38
Clara Whittle, age 35
The ages are not of any real issue – this is obviously the same family. Clara is listed has having her “Own income” under occupation.

In 1920 she is with her cousins and the household consists of:3
Emma Hampson, age 60
Olivia, age 57
Clara Whitte, age 56 [the image is Whittle]

In 1930, on the last available census, she is with her last cousin and the household consists of:4
Olivia S. Hampson, age 70
Clara M. Whittle, age 63

From The Sun 23 Sep 1896 on page 7 is a news item about the will of her grandmother Mrs. Eliza Whittle:

blockquoteThe will of Mrs. Eliza Whittle was admitted to probate yesteray. All her property is given to her granddaughters, Clara May Whittle and Maggie Savilla Whittle, who are named executors and have taken out lets testamentary.

Also in The Sun, there are several mentions of Clara in connection with the surname name of Ruby. These appear in the Society or News About Town sections.
16 Jul 1898 Clara was at the Descendents of Joseph and Henry Ruby Reunion. P.L. Ruby, wife and daughter were also present.
16 Dec 1903 Clara is the guest of Mrs. P. L. Ruby
At this point it is just information with no context, but we might eventually find a connection.

1. 1900 U.S. census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, Ward 15, enumeration district (ED) 191, sheet 4B, p., dwelling 67, family 69, Clara Whittle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http//:www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 Oct 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 614.
2. 1910 U.S. census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, Ward 13, enumeration district (ED) 198, sheet 4A, dwelling 60, family 63, Clara Whittle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 Oct 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll 557.
3. 1920 U.S. census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, Ward 13, enumeration district (ED) 202, sheet 10A, dwelling 143, family 211, Clara Whittle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 Oct 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 658.
4. 1930 U.S. census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, Ward 13, enumeration district (ED) 192, sheet 5B, dwelling 53, family 66, Clara Whittle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 Oct 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 856.
5. “Will of Mrs. Eliza Whittle,” The Sun, 23 Sep 1896, p. 7; digital images, GenealogyBank (http://GenealogyBank.com : accessed 18 Oct 2008), Historic Newspapers.


Govanstown Cemetery Project

The Whittle Plot

When you feel like you want to scream after a day of asking Ancestry to “Bring Out Your Dead!”– it’s time to go Google for Dead People! As I had already searched the newspaper subsciptions for further mention of Samuel’s fall, I thought it would be a good idea to Google Samuel.

“samuel whittle” Baltimore – brought up 7 responses – a couple were about my Samuel. The first was my posts on this site and the second was an item from New River Notes with a transcription of the 1878 Baltimore County, Maryland Directory. Under the section of Towsontown is a listing for Plasterers and there is Sam’l Whittle. 1

Farther down the page was a Baltobits v-z entry. These are from contributed obituaries that appear as a rootsweb entry.2

WHITTLE Maggie S. 3 Oct 1897 9 Oct 1897 WHITTLE, Maggie S. On Sunday, October 3d, 1897, at 3:30 P.M., at the residence of her uncle, 1130 Forest Place, Baltimore, MAGGIE S., daughter of the late Samuel F. Whittle, of Towson.
Death Of Miss Maggie Whittle. – Miss Maggie Whittle, youngest daughter of the late Samuel N. Whittle, of Towson, died on Sunday last, at 3:30 P.M., at the home of her uncle, Nicholas Whittle, 1130 Forrest Place, Baltimore, from consumption. Miss Whittle was about 20 years of age. Up to a year ago she was in apparent
robust health. About that time she began to show signs of the work of the loathsome disease which caused her death and which she inherited from her mother, who also died with it. The deceased was born and raised in Towson, leaving here several years ago, after the death of her father. Since then she has resided at the home of her uncle, where she died. She leaves one sister, Miss Clara, who also resides in Baltimore. The funeral took place Tuesday from her late home, at 3:30 P.M. Interment was in the family lot at Govanstown. Balto. County Democrat

Maggie S. Whittle as stated is the youngest daughter of our Samuel Whittle. As we now know she died fairly young and is also in the plot at Govanstown. She died on 3 Oct 1897 and was interred 5 Oct 1897 and the obituary appeared 9 Oct 1897. A quick check of GenealogyBank showed a basic funeral notice for Maggie S. Whittle from the home of her uncle, with no name only the address, and no cemetery name. The Baltimore County Democrat is not part of the resources offered by Genealogy Bank. To whoever posted this obit to Rootsweb – Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!!!

The obit itself leaves us with a few questions. Who is Nicholas Whittle? Could Charles N. Whittle have the middle name of Nicholas? Is there another brother that we don’t know about? Where is Clara living? I haven’t done any work on Samuel’s daughters yet, but now I will have to. More questions than answers as usual.

Also on that page were three other obits from the Baltimore area. Mrs. Elizabeth Whittle, which is the one we already know about, Mrs. Caroline Whittle, died 6 Sep 1909, and Mrs. Honora Whittle died 21 June 1870. New names, that may or may not be related and neither Caroline nor Honora’ obituary mention one of my known family members or Govanstown Cemetery. I created a favorites folder for Whittle and saved the site for future use. Maybe I will find a family connection later, but I have to stay focused on who might be in my Whittle plot.

1. Jeffrey C. Weaver, New River Notes (http://www.newrivernotes.com/md/bco1878.htm : accessed 12 Oct 2008), 1878 Baltimore County Directory.
2. Maryland GenWeb, Extracts & Copies Of Death Notices & Obituaries From Baltimore Area Newspapers (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mdbaltim/obits/obits.htm : accessed 12 Oct 2008), Maggie S. Whittle Obituary.


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