Preserving the Papers of Captain Richard Caldwell, Blooming Grove, NY

Part of the Caldwell papers in the collection of the Moffat Library.

In October 2016, I visited the Moffat Library for part of my genealogy course program to examine historic manuscripts. The Moffat Library had in their vaults a collection of letters from the Caldwell family of Salisbury Mills. Shockingly, these handwritten parchment letters were not properly preserved and were loosely stored in a damaged box. Despite their storage, the letters were in remarkable condition with minimal damage or fading.

I approached my DAR chapter about the state of the papers.  At our March 7, 2017, meeting the Quassaick Chapter, NSDAR, voted in favor of providing the Moffat Library with a grant that would provide for preservation materials and the digitization of the 4 handwritten letters.

Asbury Archer – Family History Writing Challenge, Day 2

columbia-hotel

Postcard of the Columbia Hotel where Asbury was proprietor in 1914.

Day 2 of the #30FHWChallenge is to think of your ancestor as a character in a novel, and describe him or her in a few short paragraphs.

My 3rd great uncle was Asbury Archer from Noble County, Ohio.  Asbury was a teacher and a writer, publishing several poems and articles through the years.  I shared his poem about the mailman earlier this year in a previous post.  That poem, like all his others, are gorgeously written, epic in nature and grand in scale, just sweeping you away to another time and place.

However, when I think of Asbury, I get a bit melancholy.  His life truly IS like a character out of a novel – tragic and poignant, filled with sadness and despair but he continually muddled on, looking for validation but never truly finding it. He was so talented but never found commercial success as a writer. He ran the hotel where his sister was murdered by her husband and afterwards, he wasn’t allowed to adopt his orphaned nephews since he was a single young man. Instead, he had to place them in the county children’s home where you can only imagine what life was like for them there during the Depression.  I can’t imagine the guilt he must of felt leaving them there.  He returned home to take care of his ailing mother and managed the farm after his father died but after his mother passed away, he just sort of flitted from town to town looking for jobs.  He never married and died alone in his home of gastric carcinoma and alcoholism in 1935.

Dear Esther – Family History Writing Challenge Day 1

stewartdeathpaper

The Cincinati Equirer, 24 Jan 1914, Page 3

As part of the #30DayFHWChallenge, I am writing this letter to my second great-grandmother who was murdered in 1914 by her husband, William, before he shot himself as well.  I’ve written about Esther and William’s sad story before and the tragic ending of their two orphaned boys who would go on to kill themselves when they were adults as well.

In my quest to understand what happened that horrible day, I’ve gobbled up every bit of information I can find regarding William and Esther looking for clues and signs to explain why this had to happen. Most people would probably just shake their head at the tragedy and move on, but as a victim of abuse myself in the past, I wonder if she knew it was escalating to that point of no return.  This is my letter to her….

I Added to History Today

DSC_0265Sometimes there are moments that really help solidify who you are, where you’re supposed to be and what you should be doing with your life.  Since moving to New York, I’ve had more of these types of serendipitous moments than ever before and most of those have had to do with genealogy (as in my Woodhull posts) and historical research.  Through those two avenues, I seem to have found the most wonderful, kindred souls right at the exact times I needed them and some even in the strangest, most random of circumstances.  No matter how odd, weird or inconsequential it may have seemed at the time, everything has since fallen into place like it was “meant to be.”

For this story, let me give a bit of backstory.  My DAR patriot was John Wickham and at one point, he was at Fort Montgomery.  On this past 4th of July, I decided after living in New York for 6 years, I’d like to go see the fort and learn more about where he had been stationed.  That, and they were letting off the cannon!

Captain, Oh Captain

EbeneezerWoodhull Jr headstone

Grave of Ebenezer Woodhull Jr, veteran of the War of 1812 • Copyright Jill Moore © 2016. All rights reserved.

In my previous Woodhull post, I had reported that I had found the Woodhull family plot here and it was in utter disrepair. I was so remiss that I couldn’t positively identify Captain Ebenezer Woodhull’s grave. Through the miracle of Photoshop, I was able to enhance some of the photographs from the family plot and to my surprise, I was able to make out his grave – if even barely! My heart skipped a beat!