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Jonathan Alton Woodington

Today is the birthday of Jonathan Alton Woodington, my 2nd great grand uncle on my mother’s side of the family. Jonathan was the youngest child of Jonathan and Sarah Ann (Wayman? Clark?) Woodington. He was born 16 Dec. 1842 in Pennsylvania. By the time of the 1860 U.S. Census, he was living in Cassville, Grant County, Wisconsin with his brother JAWoodington gravestoneand sister-in-law, Moses and Henrietta Woodington.

Jonathan and Moses registered for the draft midway through the Civil War and both enlisted on 30 Jan 1865. The brothers served together and mustered out on 15 Nov 1865.

Jonathan is believed to have married Sarah Ann Hughbanks in 1861 so two of their children were born before he began his service during the Civil War. They had seven more children when he arrived home. All nine children were girls: Vernelia, Mariah, Alice, Clara, Emma, Eva Lena, Sarah, Settie, and Selina.

Jonathan lived out his life in Cassville, Grant County, Wisconsin. He is buried in the Cassville Cemetery with a military gravestone.

The Death of Freeman Munson

Freeman Munson, one of my maternal 4th great grandfathers, was born in 1786 in Waterbury, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He was the eighth of twelve children born to Revolutionary War veteran Samuel Munson and his wife, Susannah Tyler.

By 1808, Freeman was living in Ohio where he and his wife, Margaret Gregory gave birth to their first child, my 3rd great grandfather, Amos Munson.

According to The Munson Record, Vol 1, p 264, Henrietta, Miles, Marietta, and Clarissa were born after that. I have found no other information abut Henrietta, but all three of the younger children lived out their lives in Trumbull County, Ohio. (Amos was the only one known to leave Ohio, moving to Grant County, Wisconsin and then Tama and Fayette Counties in Iowa.)

One piece of written legacy about Freeman is of his enlistment into the US Army during the War of 1812.  According to his enlistment statistics, he was 25 years old when he enlisted, was 5’11”, had blue eyes and fair hair and complexion.

He deserted soon after that and disappears from records until 1830 when he is found in the US Census living in Brookfield, Trumbull County, Ohio, USA. He continued to live in Trumbull County, registering for the US Census in 1840, 1850, 1860, and 1870.

It is believed Freeman Munson died on 7 Nov 1878, still in Trumbull County, Ohio.

Celebrating the Life of Susannah Williams Blue

Born on 2 November 1754, today is the 260th birthday of Susannah Williams, wife of Uriah Blue ( in the Blue Family genealogy). The couple married ca. 1770 when Susanna was 16 years old and lived in Hampshire County, Virginia in was what known as the “Lower Rocks.” She gave birth to six known children, five sons and a daughter.

When Susannah was only a year old, she and her father, Richard Williams, were captured by Indians. According to the Blue Family website,

Her father escaped, but Susannah was held captive for 13 years. She was released in an exchange of prisoners and identified by a birthmark on her arm. Her scalp-lock had been taken and she was said to have worn a little cap all the rest of her life.

It is interesting to imagine what Susanna might have experienced during her childhood as a captive of the native people, but those stories remain unknown.

The Birth of Michael Hope

Michael Hope, my second great grandfather, was born on this day, 18 July, in 1816. He was the son of Michael Hope, Sr. and Margaret Foster Errington and was born in Tynemouth, Northumberland, England.

Michael married Elizabeth “Bessie” Foster in July 1838 in Houghton-le-Spring, Durham, England. They had three children while they still lived in England. The young family immigrated with his parents to Grant County, Wisconsin, USA in 1846 where they made their home. In Grant County, Michael and Bessie had four more children. The couple supported their family  by farming. He lived 69 years before he died on 05 December, 1885.

Monroe Blue Dies at the Battle of Piedmont

Today, June 5, 2014 is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Piedmont in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia. This is where Lt. Monroe Blue, a Confederate soldier (and my very distant cousin–a 4th cousin, 5x removed according to my family tree) died in battle. Up front, I want to thank Jim Ballard from Houston, Texas, with whom I have been in email conversation about this battle. Jim is finishing a biography of CSA Brigadier General William Edmondson “Grumble” Jones who died soon after Monroe Blue in this same battle and who is mentioned in the story below.

I wrote of Lt. Monroe Blue earlier describing a bit of his experience as a prisoner of war in the same camp as his cousin, John Blue. I also wrote briefly of his death at the Battle of Piedmont and am expanding that story today on the anniversary of the battle.

Scott C. Patchan has written of this battle in his book, The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton. He describes many of the details of this battle that took place in the Shenandoah Valley. In Chapter 6, as the battle took a turn for the Northern troops:

Campbell’s detachment quickly turned toward the Tennesseans and Virginians in front of Wells [Colonel George Wells of the  34th Massachusetts] and ripped a searing volley into their flank. At the same time, Wells steadied his left wing and directed its fire at [Confederate Colonel Kenton] Harper’s Reserves, while the rest of his regiment volleyed into Confederates  behind the fence. The pressure on the Confederates became too great, and their line began to crumble.  [Confederate General “Grumble”] Jones rode into the the midst of a group of leaderless troops and called for an officer to assume command and retake the lost ground. At first no one came forward, but a moment later, Lieutenant Monroe Blue, commanding Company K of Harper’s regiment, leapt from his horse, waving his sword in the air, and shouted, “General, I will lead them, boys follow me and we will soon have them on the run.” Blue placed his cap on his sword, raised it into the air and led the troops in a a hopeless counter charge.

"The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter's Raid on Staunton" by Scott Patchan

“The Battle of Piedmont and Hunter’s Raid on Staunton” by Scott Patchan

Campbell’s wing of the 54th Pennsylvania fired into Blue’s troops and quickly shattered what little formation they had. Blue attempted to rally them, shouting, “New Market! New Market! Remember New Market!” A captain from the 54th Pennsylvania saw the Confederates assembling around Blue and cried out, “Boys shoot that officer before he starts a rally!” A Pennsylvanian later recalled, “Several of us cut loose at him and he spun around, dropped his sword, and fell to the ground.” Blue died instantly, and those Confederates who had been gathering near him quickly vanished from the scene.

 . . . As the last vestige of Confederate  resistance evaporated, Grumble Jones succumbed to his combative nature and galloped among the fugitives in a last-grasp attempt to salvage the victory that had seemed almost certain a short time earlier. With his hat in his hand, he cheered the men and urged them to rally and hold their ground. The volume of rifle firing coming from the Federals was tremendous, and Jones soon fell, “stricken dead by loyal vengeance.” . . . Upon Jones’ death, the Confederate resistance in the immediate vicinity completely dissolved (Patchan, 109 – 110).

Private Thomas Evans of the 54th Pennsylvania made the claim of shooting the fatal shot in Monroe’s Blue’s neck. As the battle wore on, Private Evans:

 . . . suddenly found himself face to face with the 45th Virginia’s color-bearer, who at that moment seemed “about as big as a full grown grizzly bear.” For the first time in his military service, Evans suddenly found a good use for his bayonet other than as a candle holder. He whacked the flag staff so hard that it “really stung that Johnny’s hands.” When he reflexively lowered the flag, Evans grabbed it and pulled, yelling, “Let go Reb!” The two men pulled back and forth and spun around in a circle, struggling for possession of the battle flag. Their melee ended when Evans raised his rifle with one arm and commanded, “Drop that there flag or I will pin you to a tree!” The Virginian promptly surrendered the flag and Evans turned it over to an officer and sent the prisoner to the rear. The  Pennsylvanian received the Medal of Honor later that year for his capture of the flag. (Patchan, p. 112)

I learned from Jim Ballard’s research (mentioned in the first paragraph above) that, after the battle when they were cleaning up the grounds,  Private Evans went to Monroe Blue’s body in hopes of retrieving Blue’s sword as a souvenir. When he got to the body of the fallen Lieutenant, the sword had already been taken by someone else. More surprising, the private also saw his own regimental commander, Colonel Jacob Campbell, grieving over Monroe’s body. The Colonel from Pennsylvania had gotten to know the Blue family while he was stationed in Hampshire County, Virginia and was distraught at Monroe’s death.

Most of the Confederate troops who died at the Battle of Piedmont were buried on that ground. Because Colonel Campbell knew Monroe Blue, he was able to put a name on the young Lieutenant’s grave.

Two years later, in 1866, many of the bodies from the Battle of Piedmont (and several other battlegrounds) were transferred to a newly expanded Confederate soldiers section of the Thornrose Cemetery in nearby Staunton, Virginia. (My gratitude goes to Scott Patchan who emailed me this information. He wrote: The Staunton Vindicator [the local newspaper] reported in late 1866 that Lt. Blue was among a large number of Confederate dead moved from Piedmont to Thornrose Cemetery. All but six were unknown. Blue’s identity was known because Col. Jake Campbell of the 54th PA knew the family and had it marked after the battle ended.)

The monument in Thornrose Cemetery commemorating the fallen Confederate soldiers buried there.

The monument in Thornrose Cemetery commemorating the fallen Confederate soldiers buried there.

The Valley Virginian of 05 December 1866 wrote it this way:

Removal of Our Dead From Piedmont
(Column 03)

Summary: The paper reports on the removal of the bodies of Confederate soldiers to cemeteries in Staunton.
(Names in announcement: H. A.Lane, Capt.J. M.Welch, ThomasLegion, W. L.Moorehead, M.Blue, Sergt.D. W.Suttle, A. E.Tinsley, A. H.Siddlington, Marshall, DanielOwens, Samuel JohnsonGardener)

Full Text of Article:

About forty of our dead from Piedmont have been brought to the Cemetery here, among them H. A. Lane, 27th Va., Battalion, Capt. J. M. Welch, 6th N. C., Regiment, Thomas Legion, W. L. Moorehead, Co. B. 30th Va., Infantry, Lt. M. Blue, Hampshire County, Va., Sergt. D. W. Suttle, Co. E 60 Va., Infantry, Capt. J. P. B., Co. G, 30th Tenn., Regiment. The rest are unknown. The Ladies desire to thank the people of that portion of the county for the aid given by them, especially the soldiers of our Army. They desire to acknowledge the receipt of $5, from Mrs. A. E. Tinsley; $2, from A. H. Siddlington; $12,50 from Mrs. Marshall, who has so patriotically collected so much for the cause; $2 from Mr. Daniel Owens, of Baltimore. Mr. Samuel Johnson Gardener at the Western Lunatic Asylum, has agreed to plant out the trees in the Cemetery free of charge. Rich earth is needed, and our farmers should send it in at once. It is surely little to give–a cart load of earth they died for. Who can refuse the request? [Note: Remember this was Virginia, a Confederate state, still very early in its recovery from the war. It is a great experience to read the rest of the paper as it has been transmitted to us online.]

Lt. Monroe Blue was only 23 years old when he died at the Battle of Piedmont in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia 150 years ago today. There is no record of him ever marrying or having children. Yet, in his brief life he lived passionately, took great risks, and left a significant legacy associated with his name.



The Brief Lives of Jeremiah and Jerome Fralick

Jeremy Fralick was born on this day, May 24, in 1850. He was the fourth of ten children of Henry and Martha (Scott) Fralick, born in Bloomington, Grant County, Wisconsin.  As the older brother of my great grandmother, Mary Ellen Fralick, Jeremy was my great grand uncle. Regrettably, young Jeremy died when he was  just 3-1/2 years old, on 27 December 1853.

Jeremy’s older brother, Jerome, died two weeks after that on 11 January 1854. Jerome was the second oldest of the Fralick children, having been born 25 January, 1848 in Bloomington. (The township at that point was actually called “Tafton” but soon after was changed to Bloomington.) At the time of his death, Jerome was exactly two weeks short of his sixth birthday.

The close proximity of the time of their deaths suggested the possibility of a disease that cost both boys their lives. I have not yet found a document listing an official cause of death, but did discover there was a cholera epidemic in Wisconsin from 1849 – 1854. Maybe that was the culprit, maybe something else. Whatever the cause, both boys missed out on the opportunity to grow up and their family missed the opportunity to share long lives with them.

Birthday of Adam Börner

Today, May 21, is the birthday of Adamus “Adam” Börner. He was born in Gaulsheim, Germany in 1823, and was, I believe,  the son of Henrici Josephi Boerner and Katharinae Erschfeld. Adam married Anna Maria Jenz and they lived their lives in Gaulsheim. They were written about in an earlier post.

This picture of their gravestone was sent to me by Christa, one of my Boerner cousins in Gaulsheim. I am grateful for her research, her willingness to share it, and for the gift of the Internet opening up such great relationships!



Gravestone of the Börner family in Gaulsheim.

Gravestone of the Börner family in Gaulsheim.

The Birth of a Thomas Munson

On March 12, 1670, Thomas Munson, the grandson of Captain Thomas Munson, was born in the town of New Haven in what had become the colony of Connecticut (New Haven Colony existed independently from 1638 – 1662). He was the grandson of Captain Thomas Munson and the son of Samuell and Martha (Bradley) Munson. Thomas’ older brother, Samuel 2nd, is my 7th great grandfather; Thomas is my 7th great grand uncle.

Gravestone for Thomas Munson (1670 - 1746).

Gravestone for Thomas Munson (1670 – 1746).

Thomas married Mary Wilcoxson on 15 September 1694. Mary had been born 11 December of 1676 and died 28 November 1755. They had at least one child according to Find a Grave, a son named Ebenezer (1717 – 1792). Thomas died in New Haven County, in the town of Cheshire and is buried there in the Hillside Cemetery.

The Marriage of Christian Adermann and Fredericka Bergemann

aderman crestOn March 2, 1857, Christian Adermann, age 40, married Fredericka Louise Bergemann, age 24, in the Evangelische Kirche in Bietkow, Kries Prenzlau, Brandenburg, Prussia.* Christian was recorded as being “Cabinet maker journeyman in Beitikow.” His father had died prior to the wedding, so his mother signed on her son’s behalf. Fredericka was the daughter of Joachim Bergemann and Sophia Danoff, both of whom were still alive in 1857. Her father signed that she was eligible to get married and that he approved. Rev. Jaeckel presided at the ceremony.

Christian and Fredericka became the parents of Ferdinand Adermann (b. 11 Feb 1859). Christian is presumed to have died sometime in the years 1858 – 1860, because Fredericka married William Adermann in about 1860 as has been estimated by other family records.

*Source: Beitikow Lutheran Church Records. See also Our Family Genealogies.

Contemporary Events in the Life of Thomas Munson

Captain Thomas Munson, my 9th great grandfather and a founder of the New Haven Colony, lived from 1612 to 1685. He was born in Rattlesden, England and died in New Haven, in what is now the state of Connecticut, USA. In The Munson Record, Vol 1, on page 60, the author closed the chapter on Thomas Munson with a review of contemporary events which happened in our ancestor’s life–events we now consider important historical events. Consider the following events which happened in Thomas Munson’s life.

When Thomas Munson was 4 years old, Shakespere died; when 5 yrs. of age, Lord Bacon became chancellor of England; at 6, Sir Walter Raleigh beheaded, –Thirty Years War (between Romish and Protestant princes of Germany) began; at 7, circulation of the blood discovered by Harvey; at 8, the Pilgrims landed from the Mayflower upon Plymouth Rock; at 11, the settlement of Manhattan island, now the City of New York, was begun; at 13, Charles I became king of England; at 18, the settlement of Boston was commenced; at 20, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden defeated Wallenstein and was killed at Lutzen; at 23, Hartford began existence; at 25, the Pequot War occurred; at 26, the settlers of New Haven spent their first Sabbath, Apr. 15, worshiping under an oak which stood at the northeast corner of George and College streets, –and Harvard College was founded; at 27, the New Haven Colony adopted a constitution, which T.M. signed; at 28, the Flemish painter Rubens died; at 30, the Italian philosopher Galileo died; at 31, Louis XIV succeeded his father as king of France; at 34, the Apostle Eliot began his labors among the Indians; at 37, Charles I beheaded; at 41, Cromwell became Lord Protector of England; at 45, the Half-way Covenant appeared in New England churches; at 48, Charles II crowned; at 49, Whalley and Goffe arrived in New Haven; at 50, New Haven Colony refused to be united by royal charter with Connecticut Colony; at 53, N.H.C. was united with CC (in May); at 55, Sir Isaac Newton conceived the theory of gravitation, and Jeremy Taylor died; at 63, King Philip’s War broke out; at 64, Milton and the Dutch painter Rembrandt died; at 73, the Spanish painter Murillo died, and James II was crowned.

Remembering “Aunt Hilda”

On the 19th of January, 1982, Hildegarde Boerner died in the town of Sheboygan, in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, USA. She was 87 years old at the time of her death, having been born on 29 August 1894. Hilda was the second child and oldest daughter of Johann (1861 -1941) and Margarete Boerner (1864 – 1941) of Gaulsheim, Germany. When she was still 17 years old,  in 1912, she immigrated to the United States on board the Kroonland.  John Boerner had immigrated with his family earlier and then he returned to Gaulsheim to get Hilda so they could marry and live in Wisconsin. My newly-found cousin in Gaulsheim told me they were married on the ship on their way to the USA. I have not found their marriage record yet, but continue to look.

When the young couple arrived in Wisconsin, they lived in the town of Niagara for some years. It was during this time that John’s mother, Catherine, died from a surgeon’s slip of the scalpel, leaving young children still at home. Aunt Hilda graciously stepped in and helped raise the youngest children, including my grandmother Anna Maria. My uncle, Hilda’s nephew, remembers her as a kind, good-natured, gentle woman with a great laugh. She also had learned English but spoke it with a significant German accent. Recently my uncle told me about when she would see her nephews and exclaim, “My! How you boys have crowed!”, commenting on how they had grown. Because of the way she helped raise Martin’s children after Catherine died and because of her kind heart, she was very dear to my grandmother, who thought of her very much like a mother, and to grandma’s sons (my father and uncles).

Their first son, Martin, was born in Niagara on May 1913, just a year after they arrived in Wisconsin. Jacob was born in 1919, Margret in 1921, Elizabeth “Betty” Rose in 1922, and John J. “Johnny” in 1929. In May of 1929, John and Hilda had moved to Kohler, Sheboygan County, Wisconsin, where they were active members of the community and the Roman Catholic Church. One of the tragedies the family suffered was when Elizabeth “Betty” Rose died of leukemia in 1945. Betty had celebrated her 23rd birthday on 24 July, 1945, then was diagnosed with leukemia in early August; she died just three weeks later on 29 August, 1945.

Hildegard lived a good long life and she lived it well. Today we celebrate her adventuresome spirit, her love for her family, and her willingness to serve people joyfully and lovingly.

The Marriage of Agnes Berg and Joannes Baum

Today is the remembrance of the marriage of my 6th great grandparents, Agnes Berg and Joannes Baum in the Roman Catholic Church in Liersberg, Rheinland, Prussia on 16 January, 1719. Not much is known about the couple. According to their parish marriage record, Joannes was the son of Petri Baum and Agnes was the daughter of Henrici Berg.

Agnes and Joannes had six known daughters born to them between the years of 1720 and 1738. Maria Anastasiae Baum, their first born and my 5th great grandmother was christened on 10 December 1720. Margaretha (c. 9 March 1724), Anna Gertrudis (c. 23 October 1725), Maria Barbara (c. 24 November 1729), Maria Catharina (c. 22 April 1732), and Veronica Catharina (c. 18 September 1738) finished out the known children in the family. That we know their christening dates (all found on Family Search) suggests the girls may well have been born on that day or just a day or two earlier. In an era of high infant mortality, parents did not usually wait long to have their children baptized.

Their daughter, Maria Anastasiae Baum, married Joannes Barthen who was from Lieser, Germany. She moved to Lieser and their descendents continued living there for several generations. Their great granddaughter, Barbara Clara Barton, who was born in Lieser, Germany and immigrated to the USA as a young woman was written about earlier.

Liersberg, the home of Agnes Berg and Joannes Baum, is on the western border of modern day Germany, very near the French border. It is not a large town, and appears to be surrounded by rich farmland. I have not discovered much about the town, but appreciate its long history and it being the home to so many generations of my ancestors.

Liersberg on the western border of modern day Germany.

Liersberg on the western border of modern day Germany.

Liersberg today (from a Google Earth view).

Liersberg today (from a Google Earth view).

A closer view of Liersberg, Germany now (from Google Earth).

A closer view of Liersberg, Germany now (from Google Earth).

Catharina (Storch) Boerner’s Birthday

My great grandmother, Catharina Storch was born on this day, 12 January 1871 in Gaulsheim, Germany. She was the daughter of Jacobus and Sybilae “Sybil” (Wilhelm) Storch, also of Gaulsheim. Four days later, on 16 January 1871, Catharina was baptized at the Roemish-Katholische Church in Gaulsheim.

According to the 1900 U.S. Census, Catharina married Martin Boerner in about 1888. Their firstborn son, John, was born the next year, in 1889, followed by Jacob in 1891. Son Karl was born in 1894. Martin immigrated to the United States first in 1897 and got established in Niagara, WI before sending for Catharina and their three sons a year and a half later. Karl died when they arrived in the USA but the older two boys joined their parents in Niagara, Wisconsin.

Katharina and Martin had four more children in Niagara: Mary, Martin, Margret, and Anna (my grandmother). Tragically, Katharina died at the young age of 45 when she was in surgery for appendicitis. The surgeon’s scalpel slipped and sliced her liver; she bled to death on the operating table. Anna was 6 years old when her mother died, Catherine was 10, Martin was 12, and Mary was 17. Martin, Sr. never remarried and got help raising the younger children from the older siblings and his daughter-in-law, Hildegard.

The Birthday of Minna (Grube) Boerner

Today, 6 Jan 1856, is the birthday* of Minna Grube, the wife of my great uncle. Bartle Boerner. Bartle had immigrated from Gaulsheim, Germany in September of 1884, and moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Minna, his future wife, was born in Milwaukee of German immigrant parents, Wilhelm and Caroline (Schurmann) Grube.

Milwaukee was a popular city for German immigrants and the young Bartle apparently met Minna fairly soon after his arrival. The couple married on 14 January, 1886**, just days after her 30th birthday. They had three known children: William Peter (1886 – 1949), Anna (1888 – 1962) and Arthur Fredrick (1895 – 1963).

The first two children, William and Anna, were born in Milwaukee; by the time Arthur was born, the family had moved further north in Wisconsin to the Kaukauna/Appleton area in Outagamie County where Bartle and Minna lived the rest of their lives. Minna died on 12 October, 1945.

*Source: Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index, 1826-1908 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data:

“Wisconsin Births and Christenings, 1826–1926.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2009, 2010. Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

**Source: Wisconsin Marriages, pre-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Wisconsin Vital Record Index, pre-1907. Madison, WI, USA: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services Vital Records Division.

Remembering Elizabeth (Sparke) Munson

Elizabeth Sparke, my 10th great grandmother, was born ca. 1575 in Rattlesden, Suffolk, England, the daughter of William and Elizabeth Sparke. At the approximate age of 16, in 1591, she married John Munson (1571 – 1650) in Rattlesden. The couple had four known children: Elizabeth (1595 – 1635), Judith (1606 – 1638), Mary (1609 – 1648), and Thomas (1612 – 1685). Her son, Thomas, immigrated to the New World, and became Captain Thomas Munson of the New Haven Colony.

Elizabeth is thought to have died (or maybe was buried) on 3 January, 1634 having spent her entire life in Rattlesden.

Source: Find A Grave

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