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Moving On

The horizon from where I landed.

Over eight years ago, I wrote the first post on this site. It began as a way of updating and correcting information in an ancestral book I wrote for my family. Over those years, I dug deep into family history, traveled to old homelands, met some wonderful people, and had some amazing experiences. I, likewise, wrote The Maggie Chronicles, four books loosely based on some of those people and experiences, both present and past.

But all good things must end, and with the coming of April, this site will be no more. So, if there is anything here that, for any reason, you would like to keep, be sure to copy it into your records now. And if you do, please remember—verify, verify, verify.

I’ve had some interesting comments from people over the years. I went on a nostalgic tour of them today. Most were from people researching their family history and wondering about any common connections. Interestingly, very few came from my grandmother’s line of Ison and Morris(s), who came out of Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. A few comments had to do with the Payne family out of Connecticut and Vermont. The majority of the comments came from those researching the Huston, Oswalt, and Croy families, who came together in Londonderry (originally Cumberland Valley) Township in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Then, of course, there is Ohio, a state now dear to my heart, where most of the Bedford crew (along with the Paynes) congregated.

While some few lingered where they landed, most set their sights on other horizons. The story of these families, I discovered, was a story of change, of new adventures, of moving on. And so it is with me. I thank everyone who joined me on this venture, piqued my interest, and led me to consider other ways of seeing. My new horizon is a quiet one, walking a singular path, enjoying my place and my family, face-to-face. And as I move on, I wish you each a new year and life to match the horizons you set. 

The Maggie Chronicles are Complete

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Ah, the best of plans: not something I’m used to any more—plans, I mean. Who plans right now? Except to get “The Jab,” which I have, thank goodness—being old and all.

One year ago, I was preparing to launch of the third book of The Maggie Chronicles: the library date was booked, the presentation complete, the books purchased, the cupcakes readied.

Then the world and life slammed to a halt. So, it seems fitting that I should publish the last installment of the series, book four, The Illusion of Loss, on the pandemic’s one-year anniversary. And here it is.

Available, as are all The Maggie Chronicles, HERE!

If you have followed my site for long, you’ve read about the Croy and Payne Family, especially their time in Western Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Ohio. This book is the culmination of my fictional accounting of those families, in which they finally meet up, in Coshocton County, Ohio, during the years leading up to the Civil War. 

Likewise, as a recipient of my posts, you may recall my travel tales, as I researched in those places. I’ve dedicated this book to my dear friends Ben and Phyllis Harstine, who opened their home—and my 3X great-grandfather’s one-time home in Ohio—to me. While there, they taught me how to make maple syrup, an important thread in The Illusion of Loss. 

Phyllis and I, boiling down the sugar water and getting ready to skim off
the impurities.

During our short friendship, Phyllis contracted bone cancer. Hoping to out flank death, I sent her a draft version of the book. She printed it out, but the pages got jumbled, so she enlisted her cousin’s help getting the book into a binder with pages in order. Phyllis died before she was able to read the draft version I sent her, but her cousin said that, “The day before she passed, her sister held the phone up to her (Phyllis) ear, and I told her that her book was all in order in the binder, just as she wanted it.” It was that important to her. 

It isn’t often that two hearts can touch the way ours did, and THAT is what The Illusion of Loss is all about. Even when your story is finished, your imprint lingers on. Hope you enjoy the read, Phyllis. Much love, Donna

I’m My Own Grandpa

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marriage of E Croy and J HustonA helpful reminder right up front: When researching women who seem to fall off the edge of the world, always check for marriages using their married name. Most often subsequent marriages after a spouse’s death are recorded under the woman’s married name, not her maiden name.

Because my fiction series, The Maggie Chronicles, is lifted, much altered, from my genealogy research, I find I often dig deep and discover details that help break down a brick wall or two. Such was the case as I research the fourth of my Maggie Chronicles (number three—The Legacy of Payne—comes out next year).

The ancestor in question is Duncan Croy, first-born son of Andrew Croy and Susannah Oswalt Croy—birth year approximately 1804.[i] He is brother to Jacob Croy, my great-great-grandfather. Until recently, I knew only that he married in 1827[ii]to Sally Morrison, had a boy and girl under five by 1830,[iii] was living in 1840 with Andrew Croy in White Eyes Township, Coshocton County, Ohio.[iv] From this information, I reasoned that Sally Morrison had died. The fact that he remarried in 1840 to Elizabeth Chipliver[v] confirmed this assumption.

But by 1850, Duncan Croy had disappeared, as had Elizabeth. Andrew and Susannah had two young children living with them, Susannah, age 11, and Margaret, age 5. David Croy, Duncan’s brother, had a boy named Andrew residing with him, age 19, too old to be one of David’s children. It seemed likely Duncan had died. Yet, looking back on the 1830 and 1840 census, these records account for only some of his children. What happened to the rest? And what happened to Elizabeth, his second wife.

Remember the hint at the beginning of the blog? I applied it and looked for Elizabeth CROY. Sure enough, a marriage record showed up. And what a surprise! Hence, the title of this blog: I’m My Own Grandpa. It was one of my father’s favorite songs. After a convoluted and humorous explanation, it concludes: “It seems funny I know, but it really is so, I’m my own Grandpa.”

So follow along—and I won’t try to confuse this with references, all of which can be found on Ancestry. Duncan’s mother was Susannah OSWALT before marrying Andrew Croy; Susannah’s mother was Sarah HUSTON who had a brother David HUSTON who married Susannah’s sister Rebecca OSWALT; David and Rebecca had, among other children, a son named John HUSTON. Elizabeth Chipliver Croy married him after Duncan died. The 1850 census for Elizabeth and John lists more of Duncan’s children by her and Sally. Look below for an accounting.[vi] I’ll update the family sheet later.

Hang in there—because I’m not done yet. Elizabeth died before 1860 and who should John marry?[vii] Susannah Croy, Duncan’s child by Sally Morrison, who cared for the children John had with Elizabeth, along with four more of her own. In other words, John married his nephew’s daughter, taking after his father, who had married his niece.

I’ve often mentioned the close connections between the Croy, Oswalt, and Huston families. They were very close! As an aside, I discovered the name of another of Duncan’s children by Sally: the older boy, Samuel. And he married David Huston’s daughter Margaret.

I will confuse no further. I’ve delved deeper into each of Duncan’s children and those of John Huston. If you are interested, I’d love to hear from you.

A graphic for your pleasure:Alexander Huston Mary Ann Johnson

[i]based on the Federal Census for 1830, Rose Township, Carroll County, Ohio, marriage certificate, Carroll County, and Federal Census for 1840, White Eyes, Coshocton County, Ohio including that of mother, Susannah’s birth date
[ii]14 September 1827 based on Carroll County, Ohio marriage records,
[iii]Federal Census 1830, Rose Township, Stark County, Ohio for Duncan Croy
[iv]Federal Census 1840, White Eyes Township, Coshocton, Ohio—also, through deduction, I determined a boy, born 1830-1835, and two girls, born 1835-1840.
[v]18 October 1840, based on Coshocton County, Ohio marriage records,
[vi]Children of Duncan (about 1804-1845) and Sally Morrison(about 1807-1839): Unknown female, Samuel, Andrew, Susannah
Children of Duncan and Elizabeth Chipliver (about 1812-1857): Eliza, Catherine, Margaret.
[vii]17 June 1858 based on Coshocton County, Ohio marriage records,

Missouri Bound Part Four: The Tschudi/Judy Family

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United States 1819

The United States in about 1819, the same time Mary Judy and Isaac Ely moved from Kentucky to Missouri Territory.

In the last three posts, I discussed the lineage of Gillian Virginia Morris(s), my Great-great-grandmother on my grandmother’s side, including the migration of that lineage from Virginia and Kentucky to Missouri. Her parents, grandparents, and her great-grandparents on her mother’s side would call Missouri home.


As review:

In Part I. I provided extensive information on the Salling (Sally, Salley) family who settled in Rockbridge County, Virginia. I included evidence to support the correction of an error in the parentage of Malinda Salling, mother to Peter Philander Morris, Gillian’s father.

Part II. I detailed my attempt to determine the parentage of Thomas H. Morris(s), Gilllian’s grandfather, who also lived in Rockbridge County, Virginia. The results were inconclusive. His parentage remains a brick-wall.

Part III. I documented the Ely family who came to America in the 1700’s and settled along the Cacapehon River in what would be Hampshire County, West Virginia. I provided evidence of the movement of son of Isaac Ely, Sr., Benjamin Ely, and his family, to Clark County, Kentucky, as well as proof of the Clark County marriage of his son Isaac Ely and Mary Judy. They were Gillian’s great-grandparents.

Now, what about the Judy family?

The surname “Judy” is of Swiss origin and was originally spelled Tschudi (Tschudy). The spelling morphed into “Judy” and “Judah” soon after the family arrived in America. Four men with the Tschudi name came to Philadelphia between 1740 and 1770. They included: Mardin Tschudi in 1738; Martin Tschudi in 1749, settling in Hampshire County, WV; Weinbert Tschudi in 1752.[i]

Then, my ancestor, Martin Tschudi, in the company of a Martin Nicholas Tschudi and Johann Tschudi, sailed from Rotterdam on The Sally and, after a stop in Cowes, England, disembarked on November 10, 1767.[ii] It is possible all four Tschudi’s were related. They all came from the Canton of Basel in Switzerland and many given names were the same.[iii]

According to the Lists of Swiss Emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to the American Colonies, he arrived with wife Anna Boni and children, Johannes, Martin, Elisabeth, and Anna.[iv] A son, Jacob Judy, was born September 18, 1767, this according to information in Find-a-Grave, which would indicate he was born on the ship. Afterward, Martin and Anna had three more known children: Winepark (Weinbert), David, and Samuel.[v] Some say there was one more daughter, a Nancy but the evidence is, so far, scant.

While numerous records for a Martin Tschudi exist, there is no clear evidence of where the family resided before 1791 in Bourbon County, Kentucky.[vi] The name was common and there were at least six of that name in America in those early years. Family lore abounds regarding the “Trek” to Kentucky, but I have found little definitive evidence to support it.

The 1800, Clark County, Kentucky tax list includes Martin Sr. and his sons David, John J, Martin Jr., Samuel, and Winepack (Weinbert).[vii] So between 1767 and 1800, the family, excluding John,[viii] had settled in Clark County, Kentucky. By then Martin Jr., Mary Judy’s father, had married Elizabeth Judy. While proven in a probate record,[ix] I’ve found no marriage record.

Family Lore says she was Martin’s first cousin, but I’ve found no proof. Of various suppositions I’ve found, the most likely candidate for Elizabeth’s father is Weinbert Tschudi who arrived in Pennsylvania fifteen years before Martin., or could be the Johann Tschudi who arrived with Martin. Some have linked her to a Johannes (John) and Maria Shaffner Judy from Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania, but Lancaster, PA, Mennonite Vital Records for a couple with the same names show them married in 1808, much too late to be Elizabeth’s parents. Some family historians indicate the father of Martin Sr. in Switzerland was the one who married a cousin. I mention all this speculation because it is floating out there as fact, so I wanted the reader to be aware of it. If anyone has validating information I would love to see it!

Regardless, Martin Jr. and Elizabeth Judy had a daughter, Mary (Polly) Judy. She married Isaac Ely, in 1798, and by 1820, they had moved to Missouri.

Like an extended Abbott and Costello skit, let’s play the game of Who’s On First, only our game is Who’s in Missouri.

  • Mary (Polly) Judy and Isaac Ely arrived in Ralls County, Missouri by 1824, more likely by 1819 when Isaac’s father Benjamin is recorded as arriving.[x]
  • Malinda Salling and Thomas H. Morris(s) are in Chariton County, Missouri, by 1849.[xi]

Now for one more piece of the Who’s in Missouri puzzle: Part Five of the Missouri posts—The Utterback Family.

 Map courtesy of Library of Congress; A new and elegent general atlas, containing maps of each of the United States; Baltimore : Fielding Lucas, [1817?]
[i] Strassburger; Pennsylvania German Pioneers, Vol 1, 1727-1775; Genealogical Publishing Company; Find My Past; pages 249, 391, 507
[ii] Ibid. pg. 738
[iii] Faust, A.B. & Brumbaugh, Gaiius. Lists of Swiss emigrants in the Eighteenth Century to the American Colonies, Vol. 2. Washington, D.C.: the National Genealogical Society, 1925. Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing co., Baltimore, 1976.
[iv] Ibid. pg. 243
[v] Various Find-a-grave resources for cemeteries in Clark County, Kentucky
[vi] Kentucky, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1810-1890 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1999. Original data: Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. Kentucky Census, 1810-1890. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.
[vii] Kentucky, Tax Lists, 1799-1801, original from: Clift, G. Glenn. Second Census of Kentucky, 1800. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co.
[viii] No definitive record until 1820 census and Find-a-grave Greene County, Ohio
[ix] Heirs of Martin Judy; Ralls county Court House, pg. 537-538; probate 15 May 1838; transcribed by N.L. Moore.
[x] Documentation to come soon, in a separate post.
[xi] Documentation provided in Part II of the Missouri posts

Missouri Bound Part 2: Thomas Morris of Rockbridge County, Virginia

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morris-marriageOver the last two weeks, I watched the mailbox, expecting for an envelope from Rockbridge Circuit Court containing the marriage bond records of Thomas H. Morris and Malinda Salling Morris. I knew they held the name of Malinda’s father, Peter Salling (see previous posting), but I hoped it would provide me with the identity of Thomas H. Morris’s parents. The Virginia marriage bonds often are a family affair. The envelope came. No luck.

Next step, analyze all the information I have collected to see what it revealed. I had two goals: determine the parentage and pinpoint the date Thomas H. and Malinda moved to Missouri. Here is what I did.

  1. Organize all marriage information into a table.
  2. Organize census information by year for Rockbridge County, VA, Ralls and Chariton (Howard) County, MO 1810-1840
  3. Compare it with miscellaneous information gathered from written histories and Chancery documents.

What did I discover?

  1. As yet, the parentage of Thomas H. Morris is unknown, but I suspect it is John Morris, likely son of Thomas Morris and Elizabeth. My rational: 3 1810 records show a male of Thomas’s age (about 12). Two of those men were children of Mark Morris: William and David. (Note: there are other scenarios, based on naming patterns. I do not know who Mark’s parents were, though likely Thomas and Elizabeth.
  2. They moved to Missouri between 1841 and October 1849.Thomas H. appears on the 1850 census for Howard County, Missouri. A careful reading of the 1841 Chancery records for Malinda’s father Peter shows he was present at the proceedings while Malinda’s brother, John Adam was not there. Lucinda Morris, daughter of Thomas H. and Malinda, married Congrave Warden in Howard County, 1849.

In 1778, when Rockbridge County formed, two families of note owned tithable land in the county, both near the Rock Bridge formation that gave the county its name. George Salling (Salley, Sally) owned two plots and Thomas Morris owned one. These pioneers and their wives populated the county with many children. I focused on George in the last post. Now let’s look at Thomas.

Thomas Morris, from an analysis of marriage bonds and Chancery records, had eleven children: Benjamin, John, Joseph, George, Margaret (Peggy), Agatha, Nancy Elizabeth, Mary, Sarah, and Elijah. Mark may also be one of their children. Oddly, I found no Thomas of the appropriate age. It is from this family, somehow, that Thomas H. sprung.

A glutton for detail? Find my analysis here.morris-analysis

Cleaning Up The New England Paynes, Grimes, Carnes, and Williams Families


Nehemiah Smedley House, Williamstown, MA “…whence on one occasion they adjourned to the house of Nehemiah Smedley…were..John Smedley, Ephraim Selye, Samuel Payn” The place of founder’s meetings from 1763 (then West Hoosac) when voting on the necessities of bridges, the outline of lots, and, of course, money to “Sport the Gospel”. (From Origins of Williamstown Pg 464)

This week I’ve focused on the cleanup and reorganization of the family sheets for the ancestors who lived in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. This includes family names Payne, Little, Grimes, Carnes, and Williams. The New England reward for family historians is the wealth of church and town records; the draw back is the dearth of tax and land records. Most of what appears in these sheets is based on church and town records. Find them here. new-haven-family-sheets-2017 And if the Payne family descendants interest you, check out more posts by hitting the link to the Payne family found to the left of the post on my website.

As always, the impact of place intrigues me, so I put together a brief outline of the migratory pattern (or lack thereof) of these families. I found it particularly interesting because some of these people are the fictitious characters for my just finished book and the one percolating in my mind.

  • 1635-1785 New Haven Colony/Connecticut was home to the William Payne, Richard Little/Joan Walker, Thomas Carnes, John Payne/Mary Little, and William Payne/Ester Carnes families
  • 1645-1712 Hartford, Wethersfield, Connecticut was home to the Henry Grimes, Josheph Grimes, Abraham William/Eunice Boardman Families
  • Before 1739 Goshen, Connecticut became the first major migration destination when Christoper Grimes/Abigail Williams move northwest from Wethersfield, CT
  • The two families centered in New Haven and Wethersfield joined when Samuel Payne of New Haven and Abigail Grimes born in Wethersfield, now living in Goshen married. They moved often:
    • 1758 “the nine partners” in Dutchess County, New York just west of Goshen, CT
    • 1761 back to New Haven for the birth of a child while Samuel negotiated a purchase in
    • June, 1761 in Williamstown, Massachusetts
    • Between 1773 and 1778 moved to Bennington County, Vermont (then disputed country)
    • 1790-1800 lived in Panton, Addison County, Vermont
    • After 1810 likely moved to Ohio with sons Zerah and Amasa

I always considered the moves of Christoper Grimes’s family to Goshen, CT. I was wrong. Christoper brought his family to Goshen at its formation by 1739 and according to the History of the Town of Goshen, 1897 by Rev. Hubbard, “…there was no road open either north or west in in 1745; but all was forest…” (Pg 57)

Samuel Payne’s moves to Williamstown and Bennington County were equally adventuresome. The map below shows the country at the time of Lt. General Burgoyne’s campaign in the country during his Revolutionary War campaign of 1777, the time of the Battle of Bennington.(From the Library of Congress by William Faden pub. 1780. It would not allow me to crop but look closely and find Williamstown and Bennington near the bottom left of the map.)vt_1780_military_burgoyne_web

Cleaning Up Wills Creek


View near Wills Creek

As my New Year’s Resolution promised, I am working to Be open to what I don’t know, accept when I don’t know it, and make sure I admit it, because what I don’t know opens me to discovery and growth.” I’ve gone through my Wills Creek, Pennsylvania ancestry and updated my tree and family sheets for that section only. It includes family of patriarchs and matriarchs Alexander Huston, Mary and Sarah Huston. Jacob Croy, Jacob Oswalt Sr and Jr, and Susanna Oswalt and Andrew Croy. You can find them here.western-pa-family-sheet-2017

I’ve been pointed in my level of confidence, I hope. If I have no documentation for a relationship, I indicate “Unknown.”If I calculated dates based on tax records, I say so. Any dates derived from census information either are noted as “about” with a ~ or “between” using <>. After applying for the First Ohio Families and Civil War Families, and having some very astute individuals asking for documentation that I couldn’t produce, I am VERY cautious. Of course there is always doubt…ie “My best conclusion with evidence at hand.” History is always a little uncertain. This is my best attempt.

Some new information surfaced and old information came into focus during the process. I found the gravesite of Rebecca Johnson, Clark County, Ohio daughter of Jacob and Mary Huston. file:///Users/user/Desktop/Rebecca%20Johnston%20(1773%20-%201841)%20-%20Find%20A%20Grave%20Memorial.webarchive Also found the newspaper article in the Glenville Democrat path finder about Peter Waggoner and Sarah Oswalt of Jacob Oswalt, Jr.  A great resource for that family, found in I also reworked all my information on the HUSTON family in Wills Creek. You can access that spreadsheet here.the-huston-family-in-western-pennsylvania

As I redo family sheets, I am eliminating my old family book narrative as it holds errors, and I plan to redo it—someday. Meanwhile my goal is to go through every set of family sheets and reorganize the pages to make room for a page devoted to my historical fiction where facts are a springboard into imaginary worlds.

Two Croy Daughters and Two Russel Men

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STLRrussAfter welcoming six boys into their family, Andrew and Susannah (Oswalt) Croy (my 3x great grandparents) finally held a girl child. Mary Croy (named for her grandmother, Mary Huston Croy) was born sometime in 1813 in Carroll County, Ohio.[i] She married Robert Russell of Monroe Township on 20 January 1835.[ii] His father owned a farm near DellRoy, Ohio (spelled variously Del Roy and DelRoy, in records) from about 1812.[iii] Mary joined Robert in Monroe Township and they farmed next door to his brother Matthew until their deaths, Mary on 11 June 1871 and Robert on 29 March 1890.[iv] His obituary appears here.[v]

6 Robert obit

An April 2 entry in the same paper indicated he died of “La grippe”

Matthew Russell married Mary’s sister Margaret, the only other daughter of Andrew and Susannah. He followed her to White Eyes Township in Coshocton County after Andrew took his family there in 1839. He married her in that county on 18 August 1840.[vi] She returned with him to live next to her sister on Matthew and Robert’s family farm. They lived on the farm until their deaths, she on 29 November 1895[vii] and he on 29 August 1881.[viii] 8 matthew russel obitWhen he died he left a probate record, transcribed in part here.

“I give and bequeath to Margaret Russel my beloved wife all my property personal and Real Estate to have and hold during her natural life time including all notes and claims with privaledge [sic]to sell od said stock and grain from time to time as she may decide best to do and apply the money to pay the Debts as they become due and to keeping the farms in repair paying the taxes that may become due from time to time and all other claims…When my wife Margaret Russel has become deceased Then all of said property Real and personal that Remains to be Sold and divided…sealed this 23rd day of August A.D. 1884 Matthew [his mark] Russel”

The will detailed how moneys would be divided amongst his children based on moneys already lent. The children listed, all of Dell Roy included Jackson Russell, Mary Dutenhaver, Amanda J Trushel, Susan Allen, John Russell, and William Russell whom he requested continue to live with Margaret to assist in the maintenance of the farm.[ix] Andrew and Susannah turned to these two families in their final years, moving to live with them after 1856.[x]

[i] Russell, Mary, Record of Deaths, Probate Court, in and for Carroll County, State of Ohio, 1872; housed in Carroll County Genealogical Society, PO Box 36, Carrollton, OH, pg 36, #98.7. (Note: the only official document I have found that lists Andrew and Susannah as the parents of any of their children.) and Russell Gravestones, St. Luke Cemetery, Monroe Township, DelRoy, Ohio; Row 4 #27 (Note: Often a gravestone in this cemetery is sited as that of Mary Russel of Matthew Russel. It is not. The gravestone marks an infant death of Mary and Robert’s child.)
[ii] Robert Russell/Mary Croy, Marriage record v 1 July 1833- Aug 1849 LP 343, housed in Carroll County Genealogical Society, PO Box 36, Carrollton, OH pg 38
[iii] Matthew Russell obituary, Carroll Chronicle, 2 September 1881; housed in Carroll County Genealogical Society, PO Box 36, Carrollton, OH, Pg 35.
[iv] See i
[v] Robert Russell obituary, Carroll Chronicle, 9 April 1890; housed in Carroll County Genealogical Society, PO Box 36, Carrollton, OH.
[vi] See iii and “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 July 2014), Coshocton > Marriage licenses 1837-1854 > image 27 of 71; county courthouses, Ohio.
[vii] Russell Gravestones, St. Luke Cemetery, Monroe Township, DelRoy, Ohio; Row 4 #27
[viii] Ibid and Russell, Matthew, Record of Deaths, Probate Court, in and for Carroll County, State of Ohio, 1872; housed in Carroll County Genealogical Society, PO Box 36, Carrollton, OH, pg 98, #131.
[ix] Matthew Russell, recorded 24 September 1881, Carroll county, Ohio Wills and Estates, Probate Record G pg 120 Packet 3252.
[x] Deed: Andrew Croy to David Reed; Coshocton County Deed Book, V 31, Pg 754; Coshocton County Records Office, Coshocton, OH.

ON THE ROAD (Part 3) The Kindness of Strangers–Not so strange in Ohio

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barn without manAs I prepare for the last leg of my Ohio travels, down to the banks of the Ohio in Washington County, one truth holds. Like an invisible fifth sense or a magnetic force, my desire to connect to family, place and history has rendered a wealth of now-time, and very human, connections. Ohio abounds with warm, generous people who love their history and work to preserve it. I have attracted them to me with uncanny genealogical serendipity.

When I attended the banquet where I was inducted into the Society of Civil War Families of Ohio, what uncanny coincidence made me sit next to a woman who had an ancestor who both served in the 36th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was wounded at the Battle of Cedar Creek and transferred to the same hospital in Baltimore, Maryland as mine? At the same banquet, after the induction ceremony, a second woman came up to me and said, “We need to talk.” Deb Root Shell, a generous, friendly example of Ohio hospitality, had Washington County, Ohio ancestors and, over a week of e-mails, provided invaluable suggestions, encouragement, and shared knowledge. (She is a writer and amazing researcher in her own right, with an important book and transcription project in the works. More on that, and maybe a guest blog later.) Sure, those connections are logical. I was at a Genealogy conference focusing on Ohio. But how about this.

After a hilarious interaction at Canal Lewisville, where I took pictures at the cemetery, and photographed the lots where my grandfather’s paternal grandparents lived, only to have a man run out shirtless in his pajama bottoms because he thought I was taking pictures for a foreclosure (long story…yes I got permission but from the wrong person), I drove, with a little zigging and zagging, to Oak Grove Cemetery, located on a backroad in White Eyes Township.

I was a little wary due to my previous encounter. It was right on someone’s farm. Music from a radio drifted out of a large work shed, so I walked up and peeked in. No one was there, not that I could see, and a big “No Trespassing” sign was stuck to the window, so I went back to take pictures. When a tall, lanky man ambled over, I worried. But, no need. We talked for a good 40 minutes about the history of the area. He loved his farm and the history of the place, and maintained the small cemetery, even apologizing for the condition of the well-maintained little place. (More on that when I get back and write out the details of what I found.)

Finally, the amazing story of the picture at the top of the page. I next set out to find the actual site of the saw and gristmill of Andrew Croy, my 3x great-grandfather. I knew the section, range, and township. I also knew it was a mile beyond Fresno, Ohio. (Yes, for my local followers, they have a Fresno. But it is a quaint little burg, not a city like ours.) I drove the back, winding, and undulating road to where I thought it was. Then, unsure, I pulled off…lost? A man pulled up next to me in a pickup truck. I felt more confident after my last experience, that is if it is possible feel confidently lost. I got out of the car and went up to explain. As I did a look came over him. He turned his head to the side.

“Follow me to my house,” he said. It turns out he owned the property on which the mill of Andrew Croy had stood. He invited me in. We shared. His wife had passed from cancer two years before, and he lived alone. We got in his “buggy,” a 4 x 4 Kubota, and he took me to the site he suspected the mill had been, now confirmed by my information. He showed me the barn, built in 1872. He had moved it from the road and renewed the foundation, saving out and including the old foundation date markers. It would have cost him less to just tear it down and build another, but… The Amish quilt marker on the barn was a duplicate of one of his ancestor’s quilts. Then he sent me off with a pint of his home rendered maple syrup. I don’t know how I will get it home, but I will. And I will write. Because now is as important as then.

ON THE ROAD (Part 2) Coshocton County

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DSCN0203I stand at the remnants of the Ohio-Erie Canal in Coshocton County, Ohio near the restored old Roscoe Village, a dogwood and redbud dotted treasure through which the Walhonding and Tuscarawas rivers flow and join to become the Muskingum. Coshocton County was home, at one time or another between the 1820’s and 1880’s, to my great grandfather and his parents and grandparents, my great grandmother and her parents and grandparents, AND my great grandmother’s husband’s family. Wow!

So yesterday I spent the day at the Coshocton County Library in Coshocton, Ohio. The library spawned library-envy in me, as it would in all my Friends of the Auberry Library family. A long span of oak pillared, carved oak trimmed alcoves with a naturally lit reading corner at one end and a great family history collection at the other greeted me, as did a fabulous staff.

After seven hours, I had found clues to a brick wall (begging research when I return), excellent books for each township mapping the graveyards, and a reminder of how much I dislike microfilm. But in one of the graveyard books someone threw in a treasure.[i] Here is an excerpt, and there is more…this is just a piece.

“The first [mill] was located on the Ed Steiner farm, one mile north of Avondale, now Fresno. It was built in 1832 by Thomas Diehl and had an undershot wheel sixteen (16) feet in diameter and about three (3) feet wide… Its two stories towered above the wooded slopes of historic White Eyes creek and stood on a foundation 32 x 40 feet…The mill was purchased by Andy Croy, father of the late David Croy in 1839 and operated by him for 16 years.”

My finds will require some contemplation and additional research, but I will write about them when I can find time for both. Meanwhile, after a last bit of Coshocton grave and land hopping, I take what I’ve learned and drive back in time to Stark and Carroll County where the first known Jacob Croy and his wife, Mary Huston Croy arrived, probably by 1798.

[i] White Eyes Township, Coshocton County: Cemeteries…, Coshocton County Chapter, OGS, P.O. Box 128, Coshocton, Ohio, Pg 174: housed at the Coshocton County Library, Family History Collection.