Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Witch Trial Connections Don't End

I thought I'd found all the connections to the Salem Witch Trials of 1691-92 but I hadn't.

William Dounton, father of Thomas Flint's wife Mary, was the Salem jailer during the trials. He is our 9th great-grandfather.

Then there is Joseph Herrick (1645-1718) was constable in Salem during the period of the trials. He is our 8th great-grandfather. Henry Hericke, progenitor of most of the Herricks in America, migrated to Salem in 1629 as a member of Higginson's fleet. Joseph, Henry's 4th son, was married to Sarah, the daughter of Richard Leach, on February 7, 1667. He was referred to as Governor, which means he had probably been at in command of a military district at some point, or perhaps he had been the magistrate of a West Indies colony. His descendants were large in number, and have held many important positions.

Joseph Herrick was a soldier during King Philip's War. In 1692, at age forty-seven, he was a corporal in the village militia. He was the constable of Salem, and, as such, central to the proceedings in the witchcraft trials. At the beginning he was persuaded by the accusers; but by the end he had become a skeptic. In one of the cases, he became an advocate for an accused person, which was probably quite dangerous; and in the end he was a leader in the opposition movement. His parents are mentioned in a court record to have been fined "for aiding and comforting an excommunicated person, contrary to order."

Joseph had brothers Ephraim, Zachariah, Henry, and George (who was constable of Essex county). Ephraim had a son John (1662-1729). John Herrick's wife Bethia Solart was Sarah Good's sister. Sarah Good was one of the executed witches. Her full name was Sarah Solart Poole Good.

11th Great-grandfather Samuel Appleton (1586-1670) had a son (our 10th grand-uncle), also Samuel (1626-1696) who was a Major (later Colonel) in the militia and a member of the Court of Assistants which tried the first accused but he had no part in the Comission of Oyer and Terminer which condemned so many and he had no further involvement with the whole sad episode.

Mary Leach Ireson was an 8th great-grand aunt, daughter of Richard & Sarah Ann Fuller Leach 9th great-grandparents. Mary Ireson became involved in the Salem witch trials when a complaint was sworn out against her on 4 June 1692 by Edward Putnam and Thomas Rayment, alleging that Mary had afflicted Mary Warren, Susanna Sheldon and Mary Walcott. She was arrested and examined on 6th June. As soon as she entered the room, several of the "afflicted girls" fell into fits. Susanna Sheldon testified that Mary's specter had brought her the Devil's book and if she didn't sign it would tear her throat out. No further information is known beyond the initial examination.

No doubt there will be more connections discovered as I continue my research and I'll note them here.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

More "Witches" in the Family

Lydia (MNU) Dustin/Dastin (1626?-1693) - Accused as a witch during the Salem hysteria, Lydia was found not guilty, but, died in prison before she could be released. Thought to have been born about 1626, little is known of Lydia Dustin, but, at the time that she was arrested she was a widow, her husband, Josiah, having died in 1671. Though her husband had been one of the founders and leading land owners of Reading, a complaint was filed by Captain Jonathan Walcott and Thomas Putnam alleging that she had afflicted Mary Walcott, Ann Putnam, Mercy Lewis, and Abigail Williams. She was arrested in Reading, Massachusetts on April 30, 1892, and examined on May 2nd by magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne. She was then sent to Boston's jail. Later, her daughters, Sarah Dustin and Mary Colson were also arrested. Though a warrant was issued for her granddaughter, Elizabeth Colson, she had fled and couldn't be found. It is unknown why Lydia was not immediately tried; but, she remained in prison throughout the year. Both Lydia and her daughter, Sarah, were later found not guilty by the Superior Court of Judicature in January, 1693. However, they could not be released until they paid jail fees. Unable to pay the fees, Lydia died in jail on March 10, 1693.

Lydia is my 9th great-grandmother on the Flint side of the family. Her daughters, Mary is my 8th great-grandmother, were also accused.

Mary Dustin Colson (1650-??) - Accused of witchcraft, Mary Colson was the last in her family to be examined. Her mother, Lydia Dustin and sister, Sarah Dustin, were both sitting in jail awaiting trials. An arrest warrant had been issued for her daughter Elizabeth Colson, who had escaped. Mary was brought in and examined before the justices on September 5, 1692. She was accused of afflicting Mary Swayne Marshall, who would say that Mary Colson had afflicted her ever since her mother, Lydia Dustin had been imprisoned. She was also accused by Elizabeth Booth and Alice Booth and it was insinuated that she may have had a hand in the deaths of William Hooper and Ed Marshal. Mary Colson was one of the lucky ones. Though she was accused, she was not indicted and was later released. Nothing more is known of her.

Sarah Dustin/Dastin - The unmarried daughter of Lydia Dustin, Sarah was arrested shortly after her mother. Her father was Joshia Dustin, who had been one of the founders and leading land owners of Reading, Massachusetts. She was arrested for witchcraft shortly after her mother (who was arrested on April 30, 1892). She was accused of afflicting Elizabeth Weston, the daughter of John Weston of Reading. Neither Sarah or her mother were immediately tried, and both remained in prison throughout the year. In January, 1693, they were found not guilty. Her mother died in jail, unable to pay the prison fees. However, Sarah, must have found a way to pay and was released. Nothing more is known of her.

Elizabeth Colson was Mary's daughter. Elizabeth Colson of Reading (Redding), was accused by spectral evidence; her specter supposedly visited "Mary Walcott Mercy Lewis and others," according to the May 14 arrest warrant signed by John Hathorne and Jonathan Corwin. She was accused by Malden resident Mary Swayne Marshall and charged with witchcraft against Susannah Sheldon. But a May 16 statement by Redding constable John Parker stated that Elizabeth Colson had escaped and was likely in Boston preparing to leave the country. Two more warrants were issued, the last on September 10; sources disagree as to whether she was ever captured.

Then there was John Durrant. John is my 5th great-grandfather in the Thayer branch of the family. John Durrant (1650-1692) - Though no legal documents remain for Mr. Durrant, he was known to have lived in Billerica at the time of the witchcraft trials and died in the Cambridge prison on October 27, 1692. On November 16, 1670, John Durrant married his neighbor, Susanna Dutton, the daughter of Thomas Dutton. Just months after his wife, Susannah, died on August 27, 1684, he married a widow named Ruth Hooper on November 10, 1684. Ruth's step-daughter was Sarah Hooper Hawkes Wardwell, of Andover, who was accused of witchcraft in August, 1692. Sarah's husband was Samuel Wardwell, Sr., who was hanged for witchcraft on September 22, 1692. Sarah and Samuel's daughter, Mercy Wardwell was also accused of witchcraft. Because of the timing and family ties to other alleged "witches", historians believe that John Durrant was imprisoned for the charge of witchcraft.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Mary Gye - 10x Great-Grandmother

Mary Gye is an interesting woman. She is one of my 10th great-grandmothers, an ancestor of several famous Americans (and at least one President) and descendent of European Royalty. At first I doubted that last as I do not yet know who has done the research, how careful they were, whether or not there was some hidden agenda in finding the various ancestral links, or what the researchers' sources are/were. However, just for the sake of argument, let's go with it and accept that multiple people believe that she was indeed (as were her brothers and sisters) descended from royalty/rulers going back to before 677 or more than 1300 years. As follows:

Warinus Count; brother to Saint Léger, Bishop of Autun ( - 677)

Saint Liéven Bishop of Trèves 685-704 ( - 713) son of Warinus Count; brother to Saint Léger, Bishop of Autun

Routrou de Trèves daughter of Saint Liéven Bishop of Trèves 685-704

Pepin "The Short" (714 - 768) son of Routrou

Charlemagne King of France, 768-814; Holy Roman Emperor (747 - 813) son of Pepin "The Short"

Pepin King of Italy, 781-810; Consecrated King of Lombardy on 15 April 781) ( - 810) son of Charlemagne King of France, 768-814; Holy Roman Emperor

Bernard King of Italy, 813-December 817 (797 - 818) son of Pepin King of Italy, 781-810; Consecrated King of Lombardy on 15 April 781)

Pepin Count of Senlis,Peronne & St. Quentin (817 - 840) son of Bernard King of Italy, 813-December 817

Herbert I de Vermandois Count de Vermandois; Seigneur of Senlis, Peronne & St. Quentin (840 - 902) son of Pepin Count of Senlis,Peronne & St. Quentin

Herbert II de Vermandois Count de Vermandois & Troyes (890 - 943) son of Herbert I de Vermandois Count de Vermandois; Seigneur of Senlis, Peronne & St. Quentin

Albert I "The Pious" Count de Vermandois (920 - 987) son of Herbert II de Vermandois Count de Vermandois & Troyes

Herbert III, Count de Vermandois (955 - 1000) son of Albert I "The Pious" Count de Vermandois

Otho/Eudes/Otto Count de Vermandois (1000 - 1045) son of Herbert III, Count de Vermandois

Herbert IV, Count de Vermandois (1032 - 1080) son of Otho/Eudes/Otto Count de Vermandois

Adelaide de Vermandois Countess of Vermandois & Valois ( - 1120) daughter of Herbert IV, Count de Vermandois

Isabel de Vermandois Countess of Leicester ( - 1131) daughter of Adelaide de Vermandois Countess of Vermandois & Valois

Waleran de Beaumont Count de Meulan; Earl of Worcester (1104 - 1166) son of Isabel de Vermandois Countess of Leicester

Robert de Beaumont Sir, Count de Meulan ( - 1207) son of Waleran de Beaumont Count de Meulan; Earl of Worcester

Maud/Mabel/Mabirie de Beaumont daughter of Robert de Beaumont Sir, Count de Meulan

Mary Riverson de Vernon daughter of Maud/Mabel/Mabirie de Beaumont

William Prowse son of Mary Riverson de Vernon

William Prowse son of William Prowse

William Prowse son of William Prowse

William Prowse Sir ( - 1270) son of William Prowse

William Prowse Sir (1245 - 1316) son of William Prowse Sir

William Prowse son of William Prowse Sir

John Prowse son of William Prowse

Roger Prowse son of John Prowse

Nicholas Prowse son of Roger Prowse

Thomas Prowse son of Nicholas Prowse

Mary Prowse daughter of Thomas Prowse

Robert Gye (1540 - 1605) son of Mary Prowse

Mary Gye (1580 - 1666) daughter of Robert Gye

and also she is supposed to be descended from Henry III thusly:

Henry Plantagenet III, King of England

Edmund Plantagenet 1st Earl of Lancaster son of Henry Plantagenet III, King of England

Henry Plantagenet 3rd Earl of Lancaster son of Edmund Plantagenet 1st Earl of Lancaster

Eleanor Plantagenet daughter of Henry Plantagenet 3rd Earl of Lancaster

John FitzAlan 1st Baron Arundel son of Eleanor Plantagenet

Joan FitzAlan daughter of John FitzAlan 1st Baron Arundel

Joan Echyngham daughter of Joan FitzAlan

Henry Baynton son of Joan Echyngham

Joan Baynton daughter of Henry Baynton

Mary Prowse daughter of Joan Baynton

Robert Gye (1540 - 1605) son of Mary Prowse

Mary Gye (1580 - 1666) daughter of Robert Gye

It isn't all that much to get excited about. Reportedly, 20% of western Europeans are descended from Charlemagne. That's one of every 5. It is far less likely that I would be a Mayflower descendent even though, of the current US population approximately 2.5 million are Mayflower descendents. What we also see with Mary is a willingness, at that time, for some rather older people to make the trip from England to the New World for any number of reasons, with any sort of background despite the dangers of the trip and once one was living here.

Mary's husband, the Reverend John Maverick was born to Rev. Peter Maverick, a vicar in Awliscombe, Devon in 1578. In 1595, Maverick enrolled in University of Oxford. Five years later, in 1600, he married Mary Gye. Two of their sons, Samuel and Moses, are notable people in early Massachusetts history. In 1603, Maverick received his MA from Oxford. He was the curate for his uncle, Rev. Radford Maverick, from 1606-1614 (Radford was Mary's guardian after the death of her mother and arranged for John and Mary's marriage). Afterwards, he was rector of a church in Beaworthy, Devon until 1629.

Maverick became a Puritan before migrating to the Massachusetts Bay Colony at Dorchester, Massachusetts on 30 May 1630, where he served as the first minister of the First Parish Church of Dorchester with Rev. John Warham. He became a freeman in 1631 and helped establish the government in Dorchester. He died February 3, 1636. His eulogy was by Cotton Mather and Governor John Winthrop (12 Jan 1587 26 Mar 1649, a wealthy English Puritan lawyer, and one of the leading figures in the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony) who said, “...near sixty, a man of very humble spirit and faithful in furthering the work of the Lord here, both in church and in civil state.” The Maverick family was one of prominence in colonial days, and noted for hospitality, religious tolerance, and active philanthropy.

We are descended from their son Elias.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sarah Clark Davis my 9X Great-Grandmother and the Salem Witch Trials

Sarah Clark Davis Rice (1620-1698) - Sarah was born to William and Elizabeth Quicke Clark in 1620. She grew up to marry George Davis, who died at sea in July, 1667. Later she married Nicholas Rice of Reading, Massachusetts. On May 18, 1692 a warrant was issued for her arrest for having committed witchcraft on Mary Walcott, Abigail Williams, and others. She was ordered to be brought to the house of Lieutenant Nathaniel Ingersoll in Salem Village for examination on May 31st. Constable John Parker of Reading complied and delivered her to the examination. She was jailed in Boston and was still there in October when her husband wrote a petition for her release. It doesn't appear that she was ever tried. She died on May 3, 1698 in Reading.

Her daughter, from whom we are not descended, Sarah Davis Cole was also accused. Sarah was born to George and Sarah Clark Davis on October 1, 1651 in Reading, Massachusetts. She went on to marry Abraham Cole, a tailor of Salem and the couple would have seven children. During the witch hysteria, a warrant was issued for Sarah's arrest, as well as Hannah Carroll, on September 10, 1692. Both were accused of having afflicted torture and torment of William Brage, the son of Henry Brage. She was indicted and imprisoned. Her husband was able to bail her out on January 14, 1693 and on February 1, 1693, she was acquitted of all charges. She probably died in Salem, Massachusetts.

Mary Marshall was Sarah Clark Davis Rice's step-niece. On May 28th, an arrest warrant was issued for Sarah, and she was arrested on May 31, 1692. On October 19, 1692 her then husband, Nicholas Rist made a petition to the court for her release. In the petition, he indicates that she has been held at Boston "gaol" since her arrest for witchcraft and that in all that time, nothing has appeared for which she deserved imprisonment or death, and that he has never had reason to accuse of her of any impiety or witchcraft, but to the contrary she lived with him as a good faithful dutiful wife and always had respect for the ordinances of God while her strength remained, and he is concerned for her health stating that "it is deplorable that in old age the poor decrepit woman should lie under confinement for so long in a "stinching gaol" when her circumstances require that a nurse attend her." She died not long after her release.

From the notes of Donald Erlenkotter: Sarah (Clark) Davis Rist (or Rice), was accused, arrested, and imprisoned in the famous Salem witchcraft delusion of 1692 [Eat]. The following warrant for her arrest was issued on 28 May 1692 [Witch]:

Warrant v. Sarah Rice.

To the Constables in Reding.


You are in theire Majesties names hereby required to apprehend and bring before us, Sarah Rist the wife of Nicholas Rist of Reding on Tuesday next being the 31st day of this Instant moneth at the house of Lt. Nathan'l Ingersalls at Salem Village aboute ten of the Clock in the forenoon, who stand charged with having Committed sundry acts of witchcraft on ye Bodys of Mary Walcott and Abigail Williams & others to theire great hurte &c, in order to her Examination Relateing to ye premises abovesaid faile not. Dated Salem May 28th 1692.

P vs. J. Hathorne } Assists.

Jonathan Corwin}


In obediance to this warant I have brought the Body of Sarah Rist the wife of Nicholas Rist of Redding to the house of Leut. Nathanial Ingersons in Salem Viledg the 31 of this instant: May 1692:


Attest John Parker Constable fo Redding.

Abigail Williams, age 11, along with the slave Tituba, lived at Salem Village (now Danvers) in the household of her uncle, Rev. Samuel Parris. The accuser, Mary Walcott, was 16 years old. Lt. Nathaniel Ingersoll was a deacon in the church at Salem Village and keeper of the town's ordinary. John Hathorne, ancestor of Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Jonathan Corwin were members of the General Court and magistrates at Salem Town who conducted hearings in the witchcraft cases [Devil].

Sarah was immediately dispatched from Salem to prison in Boston, according to the following order [Witch]:


To Mr. John Arnold, Keeper of the Prison in Boston, in the County of Suffolk.

Whereas Captain John Aldin (Alden) of Boston, Marriner, and Sarah Rice, Wife of Nicholas Rist of Reding, Husbandman, have been this day brought before us, Joh Hathorn and Jonathan Curwin, Esquires; being accused and suspected of perpetrating divers acts of Witchcraft, contrary to the form of the Statute, in that Case made and provided: These are therefore in Their Majesties, King William and Quen Marys Names, to Will and require you, to take into your Custody, the bodies of the said John Alden, and Sarah Rist, and them safely keep, until they shall thence be delivered by due course of Law; Given under our hands at Salem Village, the 31st of May, in the Fourth Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord and Lady, William and Mary, now King and Quen over England, etc., Anno Dom. 1692.

John Hathorn, } Assistants.

Jonathan Curwin, }


Captain John Alden, Jr., was the son of John Alden of the Mayflower. He escaped after having been imprisoned for fifteen weeks, and then was returned and cleared by proclamation in the Superior Court of Boston on the last Tuesday in April 1693.

The final hanging of accused witches took place on 22 Sep 1692. After accusation against his wife, Gov. Phips forbade further commitments on the grounds of witchcraft. By 12 Oct 1692 petitions were being received for the release of those who had been accused but not tried [Devil]. Sarah's husband, Nicholas Rist (or Rice), submitted the following petition to the General Court for her release [Eat]:

"The humble petition of of Nicholas Rist of Reading she weth, that whereas Sarah Rist, wife of the petitioner, was taken into custody, the first day of June last, and hath since lain in Boston Jail for witchcraft, though in all that time nothing has been made to appear, for which she deserved imprisonment or death. The petitioner has been a husband to the said woman above twenty years, in all which time, he had never reason to accuse her of any impietie or witchcraft; but the contrary, she lived with him as a good, faithful, dutiful wife, and always had respect to the ordinances of God, while her strength remained; and the petitioner on that consideration, is obliged in conscience and justice to use all lawful means for the support and preservation of her life; and it is deplorable, that in old age, the poor decrepid woman should lye under confinement in a stinking jail, when her circumstances rather require a Nurse to attend her. May it therefore please your Honors to take this matter into your present consideration, and direct some speedy method, whereby this ancient and decrepid person may not forever lye in such misery, wherein her life is made more afflictive to her than death. And the petitioner shall, as in duty bound, ever pray.

Nicholas Rice


Reading, Oct. 19, 1692"

Soon after, Sarah was discharged from prison. Probably she was charged for the costs of her imprisonment, since this was the practice at the time even for those found to be innocent or or pardoned. She died at Reading on 3 May 1698. In her will, dated 20 Sep 1697 and proved in the court at Charlestown on 16 May 1698, Sarah Rist of Reading mentioned husband Nicholas Rist and referred to bequests given to her by former husband George Davis and son Benjamin Davis. She left five shillings to daughter Hannah Boutell [Clark; Middlesex County Probate Vol. 9, pp 398-399]."

So, we are descended from accused witches, accusers of witches and jurors in the witch trials.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Stonewall Rifle and Pistol Club vs. Shenandale Gun Club

Our two clubs had our "joint shoot" today in which we compete for a cup by having participating members shoot 2-rounds each of trap and skeet. The trap is shot at our range and we shoot the skeet portion next at the Shenandale facilities.

For what it is worth the Shenandale facilities, skeet and sporting clays, are PLUSH as in posh, nice, even luxurious. The grounds and club house are immaculate. The trap houses on the skeet ranges are mini-log buildings and it is all very nice.

I hadn't shot skeet since 1980 and trap since about 1982 or 1983 and that was the ONE round I ever shot. I took Dad's Winchester 101 12 ga. skeet gun (yes, I shot the trap and skeet with the same gun and loads) and a case (I didn't really know what to expect until I got there) of Federal's T118 7.5 load, 1-1/8 oz of 7-1/2 shot at 1230 fps. I used my old vest because I couldn't find my belt bag. That was funny because the last time I wore that vest was about 1973 and, no surprise, it no longer wraps all the way around my middle. I think I need to get a new vest.

I did alright for a 30-something year lay-off, especially using the gun/load combo for the whole deal. I shot 38 of 50 at trap and a 32 of 50 at skeet. I actually did better than a couple of people at skeet, which surprised me. I was only one target short of a fellow who had an actual trap gun.

This about wore me out. Dad's gun has no recoil pad, it is a 12 ga. and 100 rounds started to get a real run at me. My right jaw swelled right up, got stiff and sore. Lack of experience, i.e. practice, means that I was doing lots of things wrong and how I held the gun was one. I was constantly raising my head and stopping my swing. This really told on the skeet range. I only got a couple of doubles and missed enough singles and other doubles to make up for it.

Was the weather beautiful? Yes. Did I have a good time? Yes. Did everyone else have a good time? I think so. Did it make a little money for both clubs? I think so. That makes it a great day.

PS - We lost by 14 birds.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Salem Witch Trials and Thomas Flint

In working my way back to the earliest ancestors of my Grandfather Charles Frederick Flint I was somewhat surprised to find that Bathsheba/Bethsua Folger Pope (whose sister Abiah was Benjamin Franklin's mother) was one of the women "afflicted" and thus a witness at the Salem Witch Trials (hereafter simply referred to as "the trials"). Quite obviously, there were other members of the family, i.e. ancestors, present in the colony at that time. Sure enough, others were also involved.

The first of those I came to was Captain Thomas Flint, my 8x great-grandfather, he was born to Thomas Flint and Ann (maiden name unknown) in 1645 and died in Salem (now Danvers), Massachusetts on 24 May 1721. He married first Hannah Moulton (b. 22 May 1646 -d. 20 Mar 1673) and second Mary Dounton (b. 1655-d. 1721).

Thomas and Hannah married on 21 May 1666 (although the date is given also as 22 May 1666 and there may be confusion somehow with their wedding date and her birthdate so both must be suspect). Their children known to me at this time are Abigail (b. 1668-d. 1758) and George (b. 1672-d. 1749). Hannah died a little less than a year after George was born. Widowed with at least two children it was Thomas' responsibility to find another wife and mother for those children.

It seems that Thomas and Mary declared their intention to marry in Sep 1674 and actually married 15 Nov 1674 in Salem. I should note that Captain Thomas Flint was the son of the Honorable Thomas Flint and that some people have apparently confused the two and incorrectly attributed children to one or the other or both. At this time I am fairly certain that these children are correct, Ebenezer (b. 1683-d. 1767 and my 7x great-grandfather), William (b. 1685-d. 1736), Elizabeth (b. 1687-d. 1687), Samuel (b. 1693-d. 1767), Jonathan (b. -d. )and Lydia (b. 1695-d. ?). There are children born, likely in 18-24 month intervals, from 1675-1683 but I haven't winkled them out yet, at least not to MY satisfaction and I intend to correct them here as I go.

Thomas Flint's birth year is estimated as no record of his birth has been found. He is mentioned as the elder son in his father's will. He was probably born a couple of years before his sister Elizabeth.

Thomas Flint was known as a Captain. He was a farmer and carpenter and lived on the homestead at Salem Village. A "mechanic" (engineer and builder buildings within the cities of the day), and appears to have possessed considerable skill, from the fact that he was selected by the inhabitants of Salem Village to build the first meeting-house in that place. It seems that he was much respected by friends and neighbors in the village and to have been influential. He attempted to establish the village church and was deeply interested in the movement and was prominent in the endeavors to bring the matter of building a new church to a successful issue. He, with others, prepared a petition to the church in Salem, enjoining, among other reasons why their requests should be granted, that if they remained any longer without the privileges of religion, "they would become worse than the Heathens around them".

He was a large land-holder, owning real estate in the counties of Essex and Middlesex, a large portion of which was in the latter county, in the town of Reading Mass. These purchases were made at different periods, from 1664 to 1702, and amounted in the aggregate to more than nine hundred acres of land. One of these lots, in Reading, purchased 29 Dec 1701, of Ephriam Savage, of Boston, for a consideration of 60 pounds, is described as being upland and containing one hundred acres, and called "Saddler's Neck" and was bounded on the east by Adam Hart, on the north by Ipswich River and the meadows, south by Bear Meadow, and west by common land. From these lands he gave farms, by deed or gift, to three of his sons: Ebenezer, William, and Jonathan. Between 1664 and 1692 he bought the house owned by father-in-law William Dounton (jailor during the witch trials) for 100 pounds. After neighbor Giles Cory's death, Captain Thomas Flint bought his property to add to his estate. This house was located in the triangle west of the West Peabody Station and north of Pine St. The 1692 map shows the Giles Cory property was located across the the road from the Thomas Flint property. City planner Judy Otto researched the history of Crystal Lake, She does not think the Pope sawmill was a haunted mill. She wrote, at the head of Crystal Lake at Goodale Street, on the west side, lived Captain Thomas Flint. The house was contained on the farm of Giles Corey, according to boundaries shown on the map. Giles himself lived further away on the other side of the property, on what is now Johnson Street, near Oak Grove cemetery. These two buildings, the Flint and Pope buildings, were the only dwellings shown in the vicinity of Crystal Lake. Flint's mill was built after the Pope mill by Thomas Flint on the opposite side of Lowell Street and close to the pond. The mill existed until the 20th century and was the mill some believe to be the haunted mill pictured in the black-and-white post card that was printed by Peabody Historical Society in 1905. Interestingly, Joseph Pope Jr.'s sister Gertrude married Ebenezer (or Eben) Flint, a son of Thomas Flint."


Thomas served during King Phillips War and was wounded in the great swamp fight 19 Dec 1675. The attack took place at "hideous swamp" near present South Kingston, Rhode Island. There, the army of 1,000 men met 3,000 Indians who were well entrenched behind a triple palisade of block houses. Murderous fire met the English, but they pressed on and about two-thirds of the enemy were either killed or burned to death. The English finally retired with their wounded and marched back to the Bay, having marched 36 miles and fought savagely for three hours in that single day. It was a tough battle, not excepting Bunker Hill, ever fought on New England soil, says Samuel Elliot Morrison, historian and author of "The Oxford History of the American People". Eighty were killed, many wounded (including Thomas Flint) and eight out of fourteen company commanders were killed including Captain Gardner, Thomas's commander. "Due to a break down in supply," Morrison say, "the survivors spent a regular Valley Forge winter at Wickford, Rhode Island". The Great Swamp Fight broke the power of the Naraganssetts at the Aporadicraids until the next spring.

In February 1692 we see the beginning of the Salem Witch hysteria. This is where Bathsheba Folger Pope was purportedly a victim of and an accuser of Rebecca Nurse as a witch. Thomas, living in Salem, was also involved. Thomas Flint served as juror in the examination of George Jacobs Jr and George Burroughs, both accused of witchcraft in the Salem Witch Trials. He also served as juror looking into the suspicious death of Daniel Wilkins: Note (physical examinations of George Burroughs and George Jacobs, Jr) from trial: "Wee whoes names are under written having received an order from the wife for to search the bodyes of George Burroughs and George Jackobs., wee find nothing upon the body of the above sayd Burroughs but w'tis naturall: but upon the body of George Jacobs wee find three tetts (warts) w'chacording to the best of our Judgements wee think is not naturall for wee run a pinn through two of them and he was not sinceible of it: one of them being within his mouth and the other on the inside of his right shoulder blade and the third upon his right hipp. Ed. Weld , sworne, Will Gill, sworne, Tom Flint, Jurat, Tom West, Sworne.

Further information is provided in this excerpt some from the Cory Flint Family history:

In July of 1678, Giles Cory was the subject of a court action per "The History of Salem" vol. III, pages 118 and 119:

"A small house belonging to John Procter, which stood on the northerly side of Lowell Street, about one hundred and fifty rods easterly from the Georgetown branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad, was partially burned in July 1678. The roof and that part of the walls above two feet upward from the upper floor was burned away. This occurred about two hours before day, and but for the timely appearance and strenuous efforts of John Phelps and Thomas Fuller, who passing, it would have been wholly destroyed. Procter suspected that Giles Corey set the fire. A warrant was issued on the 24th for his appearance in court, as he had done so many ill things to his neighbors...threatened and suggested fires, etc. He proved that he was at home and abed all the night of the fire, and was discharged. On 37 Aug 1684, his second wife Mary, died at the age of 63 (as is marked on her grave stone). He married for a third time 27 April 1690 to Martha Penoyer. Martha was admitted to the church of Salem Village, now Danvers, where Giles lived. In "Mayflower Families", vol. III, page 134,it mentions that Martha Penoyer married Henry Rich at Stanford in Dec 1680 and later married Giles Cory of Salem. Between 1664 and 1692 Giles Cory witnessed the recording of a deed when a neighbor, Capt. Thomas Flint, bought the house owned by William Dounton for 100 pounds. William Dounton was Thomas Flint's father-in-law. Both Giles and Martha were victims of the Salem witchcraft trials. Martha was convicted and hanged for witchcraft 22 Sept 1692. Giles Cory was pressed to death for refusing to plead on 19 Sept 1692. Giles Cory's will stated that he gave to his sons-in-laws all his property, real and personal, including stock, lands and meadow, house, bedding, money, and all movable estate. After Giles Cory's death, Capt. Thomas Flint bought his property to add to his estate. This house was located "in the triangle west of the Peabody Station and north of Pine St." The 1692 Salem map shows the Giles Cory property was located across the road from the Thomas Flint property.

CAPT THOMAS FLINT'S WILL

In the name of God Amen this 11th day of February 1721 I Thomas Flint Son of Salem Village in the county of Essex husbandman being often sick and weak of body but of sound mind and memory blessed be God for it and calling to mind the mortality of the body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die do make this my last will and testament And first of all and principally I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God through Jesus Christ my Redeemer with whom I hope to live ever And for my body I commit to the earth to be buried in a Christian and decent manner at the discretion of my executor hereafter named nothing doubting but at the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God And as touching such worldly estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me in this life I dispose of it in manner and form as follows

Item I give and bequeath to my son George Flint to him and to his heirs of his body lawfully begotten that land on which his house standeth being bounded as followeth easterly with the land of John Moulton southerly with the land of James Gould and southwesterly with Humphrey's farm and northwesterly with the land of Capt Gardner And I give to my son George the four pounds of money that Timothy Perkins owes me that by virtue of his bond given to me Further my will is that if my son George die without lawful issue then his land shall be equally given by me by virtue of this will to my two sons namely Thomas and Samuel equally between them both according to quantity and quality

Item I give and bequeath to my two sons Thomas and Samuel Flint to them their heirs and assigns forever all my homestead of land whereon my house and barn standeth Thomas to have the house and barn where he now dwells and Samuel to have this where I now dwell and all those parcels of land hereafter mentioned that is to say all my land at Bald hill and all my meadow ground adjoining to Bald hill and all my pasture behind Bald hill that I bought of H Conant And all my land on the north side of Ipswich river whereon my saw mill stands together with my saw mill which said land adjoins to John Phelps land also that piece of land I bought of my father in law William Doughton lying in the town of Salem also that piece of meadow I bought of Lieut Thomas Fuller lying in the township of Reading and containing by estimation about seven or eight acres as per bill of sale to me may appear and all these lands so given as abovesaid together with my homestead farm land and meadow shall be equally divided between my two sons as abovesaid according to quantity and quality

Also I give to my son Thomas to him and his heirs and assigns forever ten acres of river meadow lying on the north side of Ipswich River which I bought of Capt Savage Thomas shall have the upper end of it

Also I give to my son Thomas one part in Brook meadow and Samuel two when Jonathan has taken his three acres

Also I give and bequeath to my son Samuel five acres of the river meadow land adjoining to his brother Thomas's meadow and the rest of the river meadow I give to my two sons named William and Jonathan

Item I give and bequeath to my son Ebenezer Flint to him his heirs and assigns forever

Item I give and bequeath to my son William Flint to him his heirs and assigns forever

Item I give and bequeath to my son Jonathan Flint to him his heirs and assigns forever all of my share of land and meadow that adjoins to their own land that I gave upon their deeds of gift the land to be equally divided between them three according to quantity and quality only the meadow Ebenezer shall have two thirds and William and Jonathan one third between them

Item whereas I have abovesaid given my son Ebenezer two thirds of said meadow yet my will is that my son Jonathan and my son Ebenezer shall have the whole meadow between them and my son William shall have no part in said Bare meadow so called

Item I give and bequeath to my sons Ebenezer William and Jonathan their heirs and assigns four poles of land lying in Salem near John Cook's adjoining to Thomas Sheef

Item I give to my three sons Ebenezer William and Jonathan my meadow called by the name of Fools meadow being in the town of Reading equally to be divided between them three

Item I give to my son Samuel my meadow called by the name of Wilson's meadow lying within the township of Lynn

Item I give and bequeath to my daughter Abigail Holton forty pounds in money to be paid to her in money by her brother Thomas Nichols by virtue of a bond given to me by him for said money and to be paid to her according to said bond

tem I give to my daughter Elizabeth Nichols forty pounds in money and land which she hath already had besides what I gave her upon her marriage so that there now remains but five shillings due to her to make up her portion

Item I give to my daughter Anne forty pounds in land by deed of gift which she already hath besides what I gave her upon her marriage so that there remains but five shillings to make up her portion

Item I give to my daughter Lydia forty three acres of land lying in the township of Reading in the county of Middlesex being part of that four hundred acres that the town of Reading gave to the minister Mr Rev Haven being bounded as followeth wholly with the land given to Ebenezer Nichols and westerly with the land of said Ebenezer Nichols and northerly with my own land and easterly with the land of George Flint which land so given to make up her portion besides what I gave her upon her marriage

Item I give to my grandson Jonathan Howyard forty pounds in money to be paid to him by his uncle Thomas Nichols of Reading by virtue of a bond given to me by him for said money but if it shall please God to take him away by death before he shall come to the age of twenty one years then my will is my daughters then surviving shall have the money equally between them

Item I give to my granddaughter Mary Flint thirty pounds to be paid to her by my executors when she shall be twenty one years of age and if married before then to be paid by her I mean my son Thomas Flint's daughter

Item notwithstanding I have given to my son Samuel this my dwelling house yet my will is that my wife shall have west end of it for her to dwell in even from the lower room to the garret whilst she remains my widow and what of my garden she may see cause to use

Item my will further is that my two sons Thomas and Samuel shall suitable provide for their mother things convenient for her comfortable support while she remains my widow they shall provide and bring in those things in due season hereafter named and that yearly They shall provide suitable firewood for her and bring it to her house They shall provide and bring her in ten bushels of Indian corn and two bushels of English meal and four bushels of ground malt 120 Ibs good pork four barrels cider and apples what she pleaseth They shall keep her two cows both summer and winter My will is that my son Samuel shall provide two thirds of the provisions above named and my son Thomas one third And my son Thomas shall provide and give to his mother six pounds sheep's wool yearly and my son Samuel shall provide for his mother six pounds of good flax well combed fit to spin Also my three sons named Ebenezer William and Jonathan shall pay to their mother ten shillings apiece in money yearly and all to be done for her in due season as abovesaid while she remains my widow

Item I give to my son Samuel my negro man named Cuttee

Item I give and bequeath to my well beloved wife all my movable estate within doors to be at her disposal after my decease and if she dispose not of them while she lives then my daughters surviving shall come and divide them equally among themselves

Item I give and bequeath to my two sons Thomas and Samuel whom I make executors of this my last will and testament all my movable estate without doors equally to be divided between them They shall equally pay my debts and equally divide my credits And now to conclude my will I nominate and appoint my two sons Thomas and Samuel Flint to be my sole Executors of this my last will and testament In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 13 day of Feb y 1721

Signed sealed and decl d in presence of us.

EDWARD PUTNAM THOMAS FLINT seal
WILLIAM CURTISS
ANNA CURTISS
MARY DELUDE

Links:
- Genealogical Register of the Descendants of Thomas Flint of Salem

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bethsua/Bathsheba Folger Pope, 8x great-grandmother

And it turns out, she was an accuser of witches in the hysteria at the time of the Salem witch trials. For a Quaker, she did a pretty good job of seeing violence visited on the innocent.

Interestingly, her sister Abiah married Josiah Franklin and their children were James and Benjamin Franklin. Yes, THAT Benjamin Franklin. Ben is my first cousin nine-times removed.

Of course, we can't have a photo of any of these people but we do have a photo of their famous chest which sold for $2,442,500.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just order some new arrows!

I am really excited. Got motivated and ordered a dozen fletched 2117 gamegetters from 3 Rivers Archery. About time. I need to get back out there. Now to sharpen some broadheads. Maybe Mike and Dad will be out there with me...

UPDATE - the arrows were delivered within the week and perfect. 3 Rivers Archery is a great place with which to do business.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Sig-Sauer P938-22

I had high hopes for the Sig-Sauer P938-22. A parallel development of the P938 9mm subcompact pistol, it was reportedly intended to first be a conversion kit for the 9mm pistol but was actually introduced prior to the conversion. I suppose that Sig-Sauer rightly saw that the market for dedicated .22 Longrifle pistols was larger than the market for conversions. With all the lip-service given to the idea of training with the .22 rimfire that duplicates the full-caliber gun most owners of these guns devote minimal time (and ammunition) to practice and many simply load and carry the guns right out of the box. Certainly not wise but it is the likely reality.

I had been pondering the little P938 but couldn't bring myself to "drop the hammer" on one. However, when given the opportunity to purchase a P938-22 pistol at a good price I impulsively leaped at the opportunity. I should have given it more thought.

The P938-22 arrived at my dealer and I completed the transfer. I took the pistol home. It sat in the box, in the safe, for two weeks. I then had an opportunity to shoot the gun. I pulled some ammo that was available and loaded the single magazine that came with the gun with the first ammo to be tried. That was the old CIL .22 LRN which must have come from the early 1960's that is it is now 40-50 years old and has been stored in unknown conditions. Every round went downrange and produced a group at 33 feet (10 yards) of about 4-5 inches centered about 3 inches to the left of target center. Ok, so the ammo works fine in 3 rifles and 2 other pistols/revolvers producing squirrel killing usable groups but maybe this ammo just doesn't go with this ammo. Well neither did R-50, 30-year old (and carefully stored, tried and true) Winchester 40 gr LRN High-velocity, or Winchester Power Points. Nor did the point of impact change much, if at all. I thought that this would be the time to adjust the "adjustable" sights.

I suppose that age hasn't lessened my naivete. I fully expected the adjustable sights to adjust. No go. Neither right nor left more than one "click". That is, the sight would adjust one click right from the original setting and then one click left from that. Not much adjustment when you need to move it about 3-inches at 10 yards. Nor could I decrease or increase elevation, not at all and I mean, not at all. The elevation screw refused to turn. There are no locking screws, just the elevation screw dead center top of the sight and a windage screw on the right of the leaf. I must be missing something... UPDATE: I finally got the sights to adjust. I am still not certain why the sight's adjustment screws resisted adjustment but after soaking several weeks in Kroil something broke loose and they now seem to work properly.

Ok, when all else fails, read the instructions. Another fail. The instruction manual is not for the P938-22 but for the 9mm version, the P938. Oh, but there's a P938-22 card insert! All is well, right? No. The card insert is concerned with the peculiarities, compared to the parent P938, of dis-assembly and assembly. No help with the sights.

I mentioned that I loaded the one magazine. That's all they ship with this .22 pistol. That's all they ship with all their pistols. Pistols are around because the advantage they have over revolvers is that one can rapidly reload via the box magazine so it would seem apropos that the pistol would come with at least 2. No. Sig-Sauer apparently can't clear enough profit unless they charge you a minimum of $38 and change (plus shipping because no firearms distributor has these in stock) per plastic magazine. Irritating but it seems to be an industry standard as Browning ships the 1911-22 with just one lonely magazine as well as do other manufacturers. As things stand now, I'm not all that sure I want to invest in my usual minimum of 6 magazines per pistol.

This is a good time to note that you might need more magazines than usual. The pistol slide does remain open on an empty magazine, but only because the bottom of the slide is stopped by the follower. The follower does not push the slide lock/slide release up as the slide lock/slide release's "tab" is made for the 9mm magazines and too short to reach the .22 follower which is in the middle of the magazine and magazine well. Indeed, the wall of the magazine would prevent even a lengthened tab from touching the magazine follower as they are made now. This has to accelerate wear on the follower. However, further wear is caused if one simply removes an empty magazine as the rear of the follower then drags across the bottom of the slide face until there is insufficient contact to retain the slide and it slides forward to close.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Benchrest .22 LR

The "saga" of the BR50 .22 continues. I was really pleased with my shooting today. Despite gusty conditions, I shot a 425. That placed me third of 14, 5 of 20 including the unlimited shooters and I tied with the national 13th seed shooter. The winning unlimited gun shot 465, there were 2 445s (a 9x and a 6x) in the factory class, an a 440 in the unlimited. This shooting a stock 52C, Weaver T36 and SK Standard Plus ammo. I could have done better as I made some form faults and was consistent behind the gun, but I am really pleased. Much better consistency today.

We would have had greater differences between shooters if we scored the targets for this unsanctioned match as they are "supposed' to be scored. I ought to take the time to "correctly" score my targets. That should prove interesting! I went back and re-scored the targets correctly, i.e. by the intended method, and scored 3685 9X. That was a 1760-2 on the first target and 1925-7 on the second target. OFFICIALLY, I think they are only supposed to shoot ONE 25 target sheet/stage. Now I'm interested in how much actual improvement I've made. So I scored my first target and I've had about a 20% improvement. I shot a 1450-2 and a 1535-0 for 2985-2 for that match. I take it that is really not so good but I am just starting. I am betting that my buddy's target would have scored much better than mine. He's shot several/many 50 of 50 at matches. I'm not there yet. But I do love this rifle... We have a 100 yard shoot this Sunday.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014



There are many who have served. Many bear scars or rest forever in foreign soil as a result of their service. Many families are forever changed by the loss of these men and women. It is for these cherished national heroes that we take time this day to mark their graves and remember their names.

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Those who have been lost in the Global War on Terror.

In remembrance of my grandfathers and father who have served...

PVTJohn BalchEllis' Co., 3d New HampshireAmerican Revolution
PVTJohan Joost BeckerSchoharie Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
CPTJonathan BixbyConnecticut ContinentalsAmerican Revolution
Smith & FarrierFrancis Boole17th Light Dragoons (GB)American Revolution
CPTOrrin Lawrence BrodieWWI, WWII
LT & PVTArchibald CampbellCOL Gage & 1st and 16th Regts Albany Cty MilitiaF&I and American Revolution
PVTCharles Henry FlintCompany H 194th NYVICivil War
CPTThomas FlintMilitiaKing Philip's war
CPLDaniel Ford16th New Hampshire Regiment of MilitiaAmerican Revolution
MAJJohn FreemanEastham Company and 3rd Regiment (Mass)King Philip's War
PVTCharles GliddenExeter GarrisonAug-Sep 1696
CPTRichard GliddenNew Hampshire Militia1688 & 1696
PVTRichard GliddenCPT Sommersbee's Company New Hampshirre MilitiaFrench & Indian War
PVTRobert GliddenCPT Gilman's Company New Hampshire MilitiaFrench & Indian War (Apr-Oct 1858)
Horatio GrantUS Army, FT Jay, NY1823
Jacob HeensAmerican Revolution
LTNathaniel HerrickFrye's RegimentAmerican Revolution
MAJEphraim HildrethChelmsford County MilitiaAmerican Revolution
PVTAbraham Jaquith II*CPT Wheeler's MilitiaKing Philip's War
PVTJacob Kendall5th Regt New Hampshire MilitiaAmerican Revolution
SGTBarent Keyser2nd Regt Tyron Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
PVTHiram H. Kimball10th Hvy Arty & E/69th NYSVCivil War
SGTJohn LeavittMassachusetts MilitiaKing Philip's War
LTSamuel LeavittNew Hampshire MilitiaKing Philip's War
PVTBenjamin Lewis JrColonel Nichols' regiment New Hampshire militiaAmerican Revolution
1LTBarney Alonzo ParslowCompany D 134th NYVICivil War
SGTDonald Fancher Parslow16th IN 1st IDWWII, Korea
PVT/DrummerHenry Parslow1st and 3rd Regts, COLs Snyder,PawlingAmerican Revolution
PVTHenry Parslow*15th Regt NY Militia1812
QM SGTHenry Parslow2nd NY Hvy ArtilleryCivil War
GENFreegift PatchinConnecticut & New York MilitiasAmerican Revolution
SGTJoab PondCPT Oliver Pond's Co. Massachusetts MilitiaAmerican Revolution
CPTJonathan PooleReading Co. Massachusetts MilitiaKing Philip's War
LTJohn PooleReading Co. Massachusetts MilitiaKing Philip's War
ArtificerPeter V. Race15th & 50th New York EngineersCivil War
CPTGeorge Richtmeyer3rd Co. 15th Regt. Albany Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
PVTJacob Schaeffer15th Regt Albany Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution
MatrossKoert Van SchaickCPT Barnes ArtilleryAmerican Revolution
SGTAaron ThayerWorcester County MilitiaFrench and Indian War, American Revolution
LTPelitiah ThayerMendon County MilitiaAmerican Revolution
1LTWilliam Hathaway Van Cott102nd Regt US VolunteersCivil War
PVTJacob Van DykeCTP Struback's CompanyAmerican Revolution
PVTJohan Joost Warner Jr15th Regt Albany Cty MilitiaAmerican Revolution

* - died in service


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Winchester Model 52C

Introduced in 1920, the Model 52 was considered by many to be the first reliable .22 RF bolt-action repeater built for accuracy. Beginning in 1918, the Winchester company put Thomas Crossley Johnson and Frank Burton to the task of designing the new match rifle. Intended to replace the 1885 single-shot and appeal to the army and returning doughboys for use in target matches (and hopefully, military training), the gun went into production in April of 1920. The gun was produced on machinery originally used to build 1917 rifles for the army.

The 52 action is a rear locking, non-rotating bolt in a cylindrical receiver which is machined from a forged billet. It has dual opposing spring claw extractors which also provide controlled cartridge feeding. There is a fixed, blade type, ejector.

In 1935 the single-shot adapter was introduced. This is a dummy magazine with a shaped top, to facilitate manual loading. My rifle came with one of these as well as 2 standard magazines and a body for another single-shot adapter. In 1951 Harry Sefried's two-lever Micro-Motion trigger was introduced. Adjustable for pull-weight between 2.5 and 6 lbs, and travel between .030 and an almost imperceptible .003 inches, the Micro-Motion was an instant success, and considered the new state of the art in match rifle trigger locks. The Marksman stock, a heavy Laudensack-designed match stock with high comb and full beavertail forearm was introduced in 1936. It outsold the Standard Target Stock, which it eventually replaced. Instead of the standard stock's external barrel band, the Marksman used a light band fixed inside the squared-off fore-end; this would be replaced by a pillar mount after the war (Marksman 1A). There were two slightly different versions: the Marksman 1 for telescopic or high scope-level sights, and the Marksman 2 (1938) for standard-height sights.

I was very fortunate to purchase my rifle from a consignment at the shop. Manufactured in 1955 it came with the scope blocks and Olympic sights. I ordered a Weaver T-36 scope with 1/8-minute dot reticule and a Ken Viani mount.

View of the mount from the left...
The Viani mount utilizes the same threaded holes as the Redfield aperture sight for mounting. I was fortunate in that I got a single-shot adapter and two magazines with the rifle. The Ken Viani mount is a neat piece of work. Very well made it fits as it should and finished as it should be. I am very pleased.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Staff Sergeant James Russell Van Fossen - Staunton, Virginia and Company L, 116th Infantry Regiment

It seems appropriate on this Memorial Day weekend to remember a soldier from our area who served 70 years ago but is hardly remembered today. He might be better remembered, but I believe that his story has been obscured by the incorrect recording of his name.

70-years ago, Bill Shadel reported in an article recently republished by The American Rifleman about the exploits of a Technical Sergeant James R. Foffen of Staunton, VA. There is no such person mentioned/listed in either the Staunton area or in service records in any source that I have researched but there was a TSGT or SSG James R Van Fossen from Staunton. Van Fossen enlisted 3 Feb 1941 and was a member of Company L, 116th Infantry. A diligent search reveals that James Russell Van Fossen was born 13 Sep 1921 to Grover Cleveland Tucker and Georgia (Anthony) Van Fossen in the Pastures district of Augusta County in Virginia (outside of Staunton) and died 31 Oct 1969. He is buried in West Augusta cemetery with his wife, Helen M (Smith) Van Fossen. It is very common for both the "Van" to be omitted from family names which use it and for hand scribbled "s"s to be misread as "f". Put the two errors together and you have "Foffen".

From Mr. Shadel's report:
Technical Sergeant James R. Foffen, of Staunton, Va., was working along a hedgerow as a scout, in one of the larger fields. He spotted three Germans moving out ahead, trying to sneak along to a safer position behind the next hedgerow. Setting his sights at an estimated range of 400 yds., Foffen fired and knocked one down. The other two stopped to pick up the wounded Jerry and Foffen got in another shot. There were now two wounded Jerries, one evidently able to get away under his own power, the other, by this time, dragged to quickk cover by the third German. When our advance caught up, the man first wounded was still there.

This wasn't the only report about TSGT Foffen/Van Fossen. This report was from 29th Division - 116th Regiment - 3rd Battalion - L Company- Group Critique Notes. This critique was held at Brest, France, on 20 Sept. 44. The chief witnesses were Captain McGrath, who was not with L at that time, but witnessed the Company movements, Sgt John W. White, Sgt Herman E. Rowe, Pfc Goodwin P. Dallas, Pfc Tony J. Sokolowski, Pvt Willie J. Ortego, Sgt Joseph R. Daya and Pfc J. O. Davies. All these men were NCOs in the higher brackets by the time of the interview. They were in agreement as to facts.
A BAR man, Pfc Elwood J. Watts, in endeavoring to work up to high ground ahead of the Company, got into the road and drew direct fire. He went on frd, made a brief recon, then rtd to the Company position and told Lieutenant Ira C. Nelson that he thought he had lacated one source of fire. He then went frd again, and was shot through the knees in crossing the road. Nelson, S/Sgt James R. Van Fossen, and two riflemen went on up to him and got him frd to the high ground. There, they got a line on the enemy fire coming from an emplacement at the RJ just short of Les Moulins. They engaged, and remained there all afternoon, directing what fire they had against the enemy. The fire in the meantime had cut across their rear and they became isolated. Boat team N° 4 tried to advance around one flank toward the enemy position, but the attack wilted under heavy fire. N° 1 tried it around the other flank and was driven back. Late in the afternoon, Nelson got back to the Co line; the others remained frd, covering Watts.

I am convinced that Staff or Technical Sergeant James Russell Van Fossen was the person mentioned in both incidents. I think that he should be so remembered and honored for his service.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Snakes

Snakes do not scare me but they have my undying respect!

When I was a kid I was told this story (the teller of this tale was well regarded and later died when he canoe went over a dam and he was trapped underwater at the base of the dam and drowned). ---- He was fly fishing down a stream in WV and came upon a young boy (about 8-9 as I remember it) also fishing. He noted that the boy was fishing worms and asked how he was doing. The boy said he was doing ok (I guess he showed him his fish) but that the worms were biting something fierce. He was 100 yards further when it dawned on him what the boy had told him and he headed back to help the boy. Unfortunately the boy died. These were reputedly baby copperheads.

When I was a kid about 4 years old maybe a bit younger, I do not recall my sister being there, my parents and I were hiking up near Dolly Sods in WV. I was running ahead down the road and seeing something in the road jumped over it. Curled in the middle of the road, the snake promptly rattled after I landed on the other side. I remember Mom and Dad hurrying up the road to keep me away from it (they had seen me jump it).

We saw many snakes in the woods but because it was ingrained in us to look before we stepped or put our hands someplace we were never really in danger.

One time at FT A. P. Hill we were doing a training exercise and as I moved back along one of my squads to enforce the movement interval I noticed a snake stretched out parallel with the trail alongside the squad. They were a bit bunched up but the tail was at one end of the second fire team and the head at the other end. I had a couple of guys in the squad who were deathly afraid of snakes and we did NOT investigate to discover what sort of snake it was. I just hustled them on down the trail. Later that second team leader told me that he'd seen the snake but had the same thought I'd had about our two fellas with the snake phobia and kept quiet. He got an ice cold Coke at the break (I tried to keep a couple in my ruck to reward the soldiers).

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Neighborhood "secrets"...

New neighbors running the re-opened Thornrose House at Gypsy Hill at 531 Thornrose Avenue caused me to recall what I'd been told of the history of the neighborhood. I have seen one photo of the land before these houses were built across the street from Gypsy Hill Park (at 531, 543, 549 and 561 Thornrose Avenue) but no others. If any exist I certainly would like to see and scan them! Anyway, something was not right about those stories. I had researched the family who built our house and so knew some of the background which didn't jive with the supposed background of the builders.

After visiting the re-decorated B and B next door, I was moved to do some investigative work on the neighborhood and specifically, 531 Thornrose Avenue. This is what I have discovered so far.

531 was apparently built in 1911/1912 by Powell Goodman Stratton whose family were wholesale grocers in Staunton. Powell and his brother Richard Haygood Stratton, apparently took over the grocery business from their father. They were quite well-to-do for the time. Richard moved into 561 Thornrose at about the same time that Powell built 531. Of course, when Powell built the house the address was given as "Thornrose Ave near city water works". Not very precise and probably not needed due to the limited number of dwellings out here. The city water works was, at that time, right across the street about 100 yards from the house. Later the address was given as 523 in 1914 and then, finally, as 531.

So, by the late 1920s all four of these houses had been built and were occupied by Powell Stratton (531), Emmett Frank Fishburne (543 built in 1926), Sidney Erastus Matthews (549 built in 1925), and Richard Stratton (561). All were very well to do and with the elegant park just across the street this was an "upscale" neighborhood. That was quite a change from the industrial feel of the area which had been (after being a farm) home to a tannery and the water works. The value of 531 in 1930 was given as $20,000 or about $284,000 in 2014 dollars. The other homes were valued at $13,000 ($185,000), $10,000 ($142,000) and $18,000 ($256,000). In 1926 the Robert E. Lee High School was built facing Churchville Avenue next door to 561 Thornrose (on the other side of DuPont).

In 1936 Powell died and his widow, Irma Lang Stratton (daughter of Henry Lang, the jeweler), apparently sold the home and moved to 522 Frederic Street and went to work as a bookkeeper. The new owner was George Herbert Spalding.

George had immigrated from England, been a baker in Beckley and was a naturalized citizen. He was married to his second wife Julia and they lived there with their daughter Ethel Louise. However, it seems the house didn't suit because, although they were there in 1940, they were living in Norfolk by 1944. In as much as George was retired by that time I don't know why they moved. George listed an income of $6,000 a year for 1939 (about $102,000) but no job/business/work. That was very good for the times as there were many in Staunton who show no more than $300 income for all of 1939.

So who bought it after the Spaldings? I don't know, yet.

Apparently Powell's death affected his brother's fortunes as well as he and his family moved to a much less expensive house at 307 Glenn Avenue where they lived in 1940. Their former home at 561 was then occupied by John and Maud Snyder, both age 54. John apparently had a hardware store and his recorded income for 1939 was $5000. John and Maud moved to 561 from Fayette Street and were still living there in 1942 when John registered for the draft. John died in 1947, Maud in 1955.

Except for the two Stratton brothers, none of these people were closely related which is at odds with the stories I'd been told about the neighborhood. At least some of the story is now right. More would take a look at the courthouse records. We'll see.

Another interesting thing, several of the daughters of the residents of these 4 houses served in WWII. Margaret Wheeler Stratton (later Conway) was a communications yeoman in the US Navy. Ethel Louise Spalding trained in the Cadet Nursing Corps as did Sue Barret Stratton (daughter of Richard Haygood Stratton at 561 Thornrose). This is not without precedent in the family though as Richard Stratton served in the Navy as a storekeeper in BOTH WWI and WWII.