Thursday, September 18, 2008

Benjamin Gorton and Daughters of American Revolution, 2008

18 Sept, 2008
Well, hello my dear Markle and Gates family (and extended family) members and interested visitors-
It is with great pride that I can announce to you that, based on our Patriot ancestor, Capt. Benjamin Gorton, our family line has been accepted into the Daughters of the American Revolution!
This means that the records tracing our line from me, to my grandmother, Frances Lenore Myers to Mary Augusta Gorton, to William Benjamin Gorton, to Benjamin Burroughs Gorton, to John Gorton and finally to Capt. Benjamin Gorton will be housed in the D.A.R. library in Washington, D.C. for perpetuity. [Photo 1: 2008 D.A.R. Pin.]
In this world, I’m not too sure what “perpetuity” means, but assuming libraries continue to exist, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren will always be able to trace their Gorton family line back to our Patriot.
"Captain" Benjamin Gorton, 1725-1814, born in Massachusetts, and served in Rhode Island, was in the military during the years from 1762-1792.See his bio on the family tree website that I finally have up and running.
Check it out and tell me what you think: Gorton.html

[Photo2: antique D.A.R. pin from eBay.]
In 1952, a previous applicant from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, had done the hardest part of the research which is proving that our ancestor actually served in some capacity during the American Revolution. "...Any woman is eligible for membership...who is lineally descended from a man or woman who, with unfailing loyalty to the cause of American Independence, served as a sailor, or as a soldier or civil officer...or as a recognized patriot, or rendered material aid thereto..."
It's very difficult to find facts from 1775 and when you do find a fact, often there are several men with the same name and you have to somehow distinguish between them! D.A.R. accepted a family history book listing the first four generations (Adelos Gorton's book, Life and Times of Samuel Gorton, 1907) but I still had to provide copies of the births, marriages and deaths of :
Mary Augusta Gorton,
Frances Lenore Myers,
my parents,
the birth, marriages (and divorces!) of me,
the births (and death) of my husbands
and the births of my children.

Not so easy a task, if you start to think about it. Do you know where your birth certificate is?

But it was a a fun challenge. The hardest document to find was Mary Augusta Gorton's death because I didn't know when she died or where she died. To find a record you need a name, a place and a date. All I had was her name, Ohio (possibly Lima, Ohio) and "died about age 63." There were many Mary A. Myers, in many places in Ohio in many years! I finally had to write to the Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima, Ohio, guessing they might have a death record...which they did! Then with the actual death date, I could write for her death certificate. To get a record costs about $20, so you have to be pretty sure you're sending for the right one before you stick the stamp on the envelope.
If anyone wants to join D.A.R. in the future, most of the work is done. All you have to do is document your own records and your parents.
And pay to join.
And men, don't feel left out. You can join the S.A.R., Sons of the American Revolution.
D.A.R. wasn't formed until 1890, in Washington, D.C. and I read one account that said it was formed in response to women not being allowed to join the all-male descendants of patriots group that existed in their day. The first feminists!
Lots more coming soon.
Cousin Jan

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Emaline (Hotchkiss) Roberts died 1890, Lima, OH

30 July 2008

Well, hello my dear Gates cousins-

Did you think you had heard the last of me? Never!
I planned to be writing more often but I got sidetracked figuring out how to put the family tree online for everyone, which is coming along and should be up one of these days…(why doesn't someone harass me to get it finished?)

I am writing this to share with you an interesting experience, sort of Twilight Zone-ish, that happened late Monday night, the 28 of July, really the 29, since it was just after midnight. I was doing some research online, looking at some old newspaper archives. (For some reason, this is what I was doing at midnight on a Monday night.)

I was explaining to someone else how to use it. “Here’s how you do it,” I said. “You just type in the surname, let’s say Gorton.” I was thinking of W.B. Gorton, Nana’s grandfather. I was hoping to find his obituary in an old newspaper.

I went on, “…You pick the newspaper, let’s say the Lima Daily Times…”(since the Gortons lived in Lima, Ohio) “…and then you just click on one of these links and see what it says…”

I clicked the third “Gorton” link down and the following news clip came up.

The headline on the far right (click on image to enlarge or see readable excerpt below) said :
“Death’s demands. Two Octagenarians pass away at almost the same hour."
The next words said “Mrs. Emaline Roberts…” What luck! That was Nana’s great grandmother!

Apparently two women in their 80’s died within an hour of each other in Lima, Ohio, which is odd and discovering that one of them was Nana’s great grandmother was also odd. But finding her, so unexpectedly, was not the strangest part.

It helps to have the context of this story. You, of course, remember, that Lima, Ohio, is where your grandmother, Frances Lenore Myers, was born.

I was completely surprised to see Nana’s great grandmother Emaline dying in Lima, Ohio, because, according to my research, Emaline had lived her later years in Cleveland, Ohio. She was born in Connecticut in 1805 and married John Roberts, also from Connecticut, in Gustavus, Trumbull County, Ohio in 1822. They lived in Warren and Mecca, Trumbull County, before they moved to Cleveland in 1870, living there until 1890. John was a machinist and worked at a steam saw mill to support his family of 6 children. What was she doing in Lima, Ohio in 1890?

In calculating her age, I realized, she was 80 years old when she came to Lima, so she had probably left Cleveland because of advancing age (her husband, John Roberts, had died long before her, in about 1871) and came to be cared for by her daughters, Frances Lucinda Gorton, who was 64 at the time, and Ella A. Kennedy, who was 43.

Let me paint a brief picture of this large family. It was 1890. Nana is just 3 years old, with three older brothers, ages 18, 14 and 9 (younger brother Ralph isn’t born until 1892), living with their mother Mary Augusta Gorton and father, George W. Myers.

Mary’s father, “W. B.,” (William Benjamin) Gorton, (Nana’s grandfather) had just died five years ago “of heart problems,” at age 60, after having founded Christ Church in Lima and having created a best-selling flour at his mill called "Lilly White Flour."

The matriarch, Emaline, (maiden name, Hotchkiss) Roberts, Mary's grandmother, is coming home to her family of two daughters, both widows, their children and grandchildren. Emaline's younger daughter, Ella A. Kennedy, has a 15 year old son, Harry. Emaline’s oldest daughter, Frances Lucinda Gorton, has two adult married daughters.

One of the married daughters is Mary, Nana’s mother. Frances' other married daughter is another Ella, who in 1890 is married to Eugene MacKenzie and has two children, ages 9 and 6. (Eugene was the son of Judge James Mackenzie, of Lima, and grandson of William Lyon MacKenzie, member of Parliament, first Mayor of Toronto and leader of the Great Reform Party in Canada, both originally from Scotland.)

The married daughters’ husbands, George Myers and Eugene MacKenzie had taken over the Gorton family business, Ottawa Mills (flour), a few years before W.B. Gorton, (Frances’ husband) died in 1885, George quitting his job as a railway express agent and Eugene quitting his job as a town clerk.

It is to this extended family that Emaline is returning.

Seeing things from the genealogical sky, I know that this mill burns down two short years from then and George goes back to working as a railway express agent and Eugene goes into the coal business. Harry dies in 5 years, age 20, (of what I haven’t discovered yet), his mother remarries and moves to California. Nana’s brother Albert dies in 1905, and brother Ralph in 1910, and their mother, Mary A. in 1917, all of TB, and George follows shortly afterwards in 1920 of "gall bladder rupture," age 74. Frances Lucinda Gorton lives to 86, dying in 1912 and her daughter, Ella Mackenzie, lives to be 85, and dies 4 months before I was born, in 1946. Frances Lenore Myers, of course, marries AJ Gates and rises out of Lima and moves to Hartwell, Ohio to begin her family with baby Constance in 1912.

The significance is that this chance news story caused me to look at a family, going through all the strife and problems of life, much like what we are going through, and not knowing how it is all going to turn out. That is one of the great rewards of genealogy- you get to see things from a much larger perspective than just one lifetime. It allows you to think about why you are here and causes you to value the moment you are given.

But the unusual thing, the twilight zone thing, is that after I had reviewed all those who were in the family, their lives and their deaths, building a picture of their world, I looked closely at the news story and read the date of Emaline’s death:

30 July 1890!

I realized that date was... tomorrow! and now as you read this, it is today! She died 118 year ago today! What are the chances that you would discover a death date exactly 118 years later, on that date? I say "on the date" because she probably knew I needed a day to write this.

So give a thought to Nana's great grandmother, your great, great, great grandmother- without her we all wouldn't be here.

Hope you are all well. If you have a response you can post it here.

Your cousin,

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Who are the people in these photos?

Hello dear cousins,
From our dear Aunt Pat, via Ryn and via Barb, have come some new family photos. Knowing that on the back of them there are no names, I find myself thinking there should be a law that requires people to write a caption in pencil on the back (lightly on the edge...) for every photo taken.

But since there were no captions, I have been trying to figure out who these people are. Would you be interested in my conclusions?

It's amazing what you can deduce from a photo without knowing anything about it, just by studying it for a long time. Little details that you don't notice at first begin to come into your awareness after you stare at the photo for a while.

The first lady with the black hat? I think this is Barbara Hemerling (Elizabeth LaSalle's mother. Elizabeth LaSalle was the mother of our grandfather, A.J.Gates.) The lady in the photo looks about 60 or 70 (note the gray hair) in the photo. It looks to be an 1890-1900 photo (from the style of the dress and hat) so she would have to be born about 1830 to be 70. Barbara was born in1829. Barbara came from the Alsace-Lorraine part of Germany and Austria (Vienna, said my mother). Doesn't this lady have that proud Austrian look? (Am I making this up?)

Skip the following genealogical analysis unless you want to know the convoluted kind of thinking people who attempt genealogy must endure:
[There are only a few women on the family tree who were alive in 1880-1900, the time of this photo. The lady in the photo is too old to be Mary Augusta Gorton, Grandmother's mother. (Mary Augusta was 40 in 1890, not 70). The lady in the photo has a thin face so she can't be Francis Lucinda Roberts, who has a very round face. (See photo in Geneablog #1).
She looks a bit too young to be John Charles Gates' mother, Sibylla Steffler Goetz, who was born abt 1814, and would be about 76 in 1890.

That she has glasses on makes me think of Mary Augusta Gorton and her mother, Frances Lucinda Roberts, who both wore glasses, and since eyesight is often hereditary, maybe this is Emaline Hotchkiss, (Frances Lucinda's mother...)? But Emaline was born in 1805 and she died in 1890 at age 85 So it's probably not her.

George W. Myers wore glasses so maybe it's his mother, Catherine Myers? George W. Myers' mother was born in 1808, so if she lived to 1890 for this photo, she'd also be 82 which is much older than this lady. So I'm back to Barbara.]

Barbara Hemerling was alive in 1900 (was on the 1900 census) and she was about 70 years old then. She and her second husband, Andrew Meyers, lived with her daughter, Elizabeth, and with Elizabeth's husband, John Charles Gates and their 8 children, second youngest being Augustus Joseph Francis Gates. Because Barbara lived with Elizabeth, Barbara's photo would have likely been passed down to her daughter, Elizabeth, and then to her daughter's children, A.J. Gates being one and then it went to Aunt Pat, the youngest in the family.

Who is the baby? The photo is around 1880-1890. If you study the baby's face, you may be reminded of someone else who has very petite lips and who tilts her head for all her photos. I'm fairly sure that this photo is of Grandmother, Frances Lenore Myers, around 1889, about age 2. The first clue is that in the front right-hand corner of the photo, it says "Lima, Ohio." (I didn't see that until I had studied the photo several different times.) Lima is where Grandmother was born. The caption of the second photo, also with "Lima, Ohio" printed on the front, says, "My little girl at six months," in handwriting "that looks like grandmother's," says Ryn and Barb. Grandmother is the only girl in the family of Myers children born in Lima, Ohio. I have seen Mary Augusta's handwriting in inscriptions in books given to Grandmother, and their handwriting is almost exactly the same.(And like my mother's). So the 6 month-old baby must be Grandmother herself again.

And who are these lovely ladies below?

The first tinted image is Elizabeth LaSalle at about age 16-20, in abt. 1865 to 1869. (I know this from a captioned! photo that Connie gave to all her children.) Barb said the original photo was on a piece of porcelain. Elizabeth has on her best New Orleans style dress, reminiscent of the Civil war styles(1865), like in Gone with the Wind. Could this be her coming out party at age 16? Perhaps her wedding? It seems to be more of a ball gown than a wedding dress to me. She gets married to John Charles Gates at age 20, in 1870. Does she look 16? or 20? I think 16.

Next, who is the lady in black on a tintype? Tintypes were invented in 1856 and in mass use by 1870 or earlier. I think she looks like Elizabeth LaSalle again, more around the age of 20 or so. She's got that same hair style, parted in the middle with a similar little curl coming down on the forehead and she seems to have the same nose. What do you think?

Uncle Bill, do you have any memory of the first photo at the top being referred to as Grandma Gates' mother, Barbara Hemerling?
Maybe you remember one of those sessions where the older people take out the photos and spread them out on the table and point out who was who and the younger people look at the photos on the table and say, "who is that again?" If only they had written something, anything, on the back of the photos.

So, cousins, remember, if you don't want your grandchildren to be wondering whether to throw those pictures out or not, write captions on your photos!
Thanks Ryn and Barb (and Aunt Pat) for the pictures.
your cousin,


Here you'll find: information that usually goes out to the Gates Cousins email list, biographies of special characters as they are discovered and added to the family tree, research histories of select cases, questions and wonderings about hard-to-solve
searches and other miscellaneous thoughts about genealogy and its mysterious ability to transcend time, changing us hundreds of years after the changing event occurred.