Thursday, November 9, 2017

70 Years Ago Today!


Oliver Richard Tannahill
b. 27 Apr 1912 - Peru, Chautauqua Co., KS
d. 09 Nov 1947 - Near Webb Rd, Nez Perce Co., ID


I have been fairly fortunate in my life that I had my parents and most of my grandparents during my growing up years.  My Mom was not so lucky.  She lost her father when had just barely turned 6 years old.  The memories that she had of him were precious because they were so few.  I know that every years that she was alive, November 9th was a momentous date...because it was the day she lost her father.

My grandfather's name was Oliver Richard Tannahill.  I can make the assumption that he didn't really care for his first name as he never went by it.  Every document I have seen his signature on lists his name as O. Richard Tannahill...even his tombstone has that name.  I have always heard him referred to as Richard...so it was a bit of a surprise that his actual first name was Oliver.  Richard was twin and his sister's name was Olive Rachel Tannahill...she must not have liked the name either, because she went by Rachel.  My guess is that the Oliver/Olive name came from Richard's uncle, Samuel Oliver Tannahill.  Richard was born in Peru, Chautauqua Co., KS and spent some of his younger years in Pawhuska, OK and moved with his father to Idaho sometime around 1929.  I actually thought that date was much earlier, but that is time frame listed on his death certificate.  My grandmother was actually quite precise on the type of thing.  My mother grew up with a lot of questions in her mind.  Some she asked to her mother and step father (Grandpa Gwen was Richard's best friend), but there were always a lot of "what if's" in her mind.  Grandpa Gwen wasn't the easiest person to grow up with as a step father.  My mother loved him, but there was always her natural father out there to wonder about.  I don't think I have ever heard a negative word about Richard.  He was a hard worker, did everything well that he attempted, he was intelligent, and caring.  Richard was a good friend, son, brother, and uncle.  He was also a beloved husband and father.  My Mom used to say that he was the only one of his siblings who didn't swear, drink or smoke...so therefore he died at the youngest age. 
I hadn't seen the actual death certificate until recently.  I can see my grandmother's signature listed there as the informant...and it makes my heart ache for her.   Richard was the love of her life...I don't think she ever entirely recovered from his death.  She moved on because she had family to care for...her diaries really show her heartache.  I wrote a blog about Richard's death 5 years ago.  You can read it here:  Daddy's Gone!  Instead, I thought I would share some photos of Richard and his family!

This photo was actually two pieces that we put together.  It had been broken at some point.  I have no idea which one is Rachel or Richard.  Probably taken in 1913 in Kansas or Oklahoma.
My best guess is that this was taken around 1918 or so. This photo includes all of the children of John L Tannahill and Sarah Rachel Kelley. 
Top Left: John Theodore, William Sylvester, Samuel Ward, Earl Sylvanus 
Front Left:  Sarah holding Richard, George Carter, Elvina Amira, John Lyons hold Rachel.



Tannahill siblings at their father's funeral in 1945: 
Top Left:  John Theodore "Ted", William, Richard, & Sam 
Bottom Left:  Rachel, George, & Elvina "Viney"

A couple of views of the twins - I think the top one is around 1925 and the lower one is probably a few years earlier.


The two pictures below are the ones that I have seen my entire life on the wall in mother's bedroom.  These two were framed and in my mother's home while she was growing up and she got them from her mother in 1960.  They are still hanging in our today!




This might be one of my Mom's favorite pictures of her parents.  Probably because that was how she saw them day to day.  Her Daddy in his overalls and fedora and her Momma in her work dress.  This was probably taken not too long before Richard died in 1947.

One of the few complete family pictures.  This was taken in 1945 at John Lyons Tannahill's funeral.  My mother, Betty is the little girl standing while her older sister, Joan is sitting.

Sad to say that everyone has passed away who was in these pictures.  My grandmother died in 1985, my mother in 2005 and her sister, Joan in 2012.  That little family is all gone who were complete until they lost their father 70 years ago today!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ancestral Characters...

I enjoy watching programs like “Who Do You Think You Are” and Henry Louis Gates series “Finding Your Roots!”  I was bitten by the genealogy bug many years ago….probably even when I was a child because I loved listening to the stories of my grandparents and various other relatives.  The guests find that their family mysteries are seemingly solved with a short TV episode, although I must say they are missing out on all of the fun.

Genealogy is a journey!  There are a lot of interesting stops along the way, but always something new on the horizon.  There are even walls that may take years to tear down if ever.  Every few years there seems to be some new tools to add to the treasure chest.  Like those programs, I am picking and choosing some “interesting ancestors.”  My great great grandfather who had 17 children.  He was married to one sister, ran off with another sister and after she died, married a “widow” who turned out to be a divorcee.  In the early 1900’s, this was somewhat of a scandal.  Here are the blogs I wrote about George Christian Shawver:


My 10th great grandfather has all of the credentials of a hero and significant figure in history.  He was the first man to navigate Boston harbor.  That probably doesn’t sound all that important to today’s generations but to someone in 1630 it was significant.  Ships could navigate in a safe passage in and out of Boston, which could arguably be called one of the most important cities in Colonial America.  He really was one of the more important people of his generation.


I have Mayflower ancestors that came on that first ship. Elizabeth Tilley was a teenager whose parents died during that first winter and she ended up marrying one the two bachelors who made the trip, namely John Howland.  There are a lot descendants who can claim ancestry to John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley.  (Mayflower Ancestry - Part 1)

Then there is John Billington.  He was considered to be the troublemaker of the group causing constant tension among the passengers.  His two boys nearly blew up the ship during the journey playing with flint around gun powder.  John Billington also turned out to be the first man hung for murder in the new world.  (Mayflower Ancestry - Part 2)

William White was one of the nearly ⅓ of the passengers who died that first winter.  There is a lot to be admired anyone who undertook the journey on the Mayflower.  These people didn’t know what they would face and took the hazardous trip to be able to practice their religious beliefs without the interference of a government.  William White’s wife, Susanna ended up marrying the first governor of the colony, Edward Winslow..who turns out to be my 9th great grandfather’s older brother.  (Mayflower Ancestry - Part 3)  Kenelm was quite an interesting fellow as well…(Coffin Make in New England)

My father’s great grandfather (Washington Abraham Johnson) was a 1st cousin to Pres. Andrew Johnson which is interesting enough.  However, his younger brother Nicholas Johnson was interesting in his own way.  If you talk to his family members, Nicholas disappeared after the Civil War and ran off to California abandoning his wife and children as well as aged father.  I am not sure I will ever find what happened  to him. (Nicholas Johnson - Man of Mystery)

There are a lot more characters in my ancestry.  I had ancestors who were among the first settlers here and as far as I can find, I don’t have an ancestor who arrived any later than 1810.  I have been very lucky, I have known 3 great grandmothers, 2 grandmothers, 2 grandfathers, and a great grandfather.  Every one of these people have made me who I am.  I am not like most of those celebrities in those TV shows because I do know a lot about my history.  When I began doing research more formally, I did it with my mother. Mom was my best resource for stories about her family and many years ago she took the initiative on long ago conversation with her father in law to give us a great starting point on his family. We lost Mom back in 2005 - I know she is breaking down all those brick walls...sure wish she could tell me what she has learned. This is my favorite picture of my Mom...in her signature red, her favorite color.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

Goodbye Uncle Karl

It was just about a month ago I was thinking that I needed to have my uncle over for dinner.  My plan was to wait until it cooled off as we were in the middle of a heat wave.  Uncle Karl was very fond of my meatloaf and that seems like a meal for fall rather than the hot summer.  However, it looks like it was not to be as he passed away on Aug 14, 2017.  Life had been harder for Karl the past few years.  For 56 years of his life, he was half of a pair, and when his wife Shirley passed away 2 years ago on July 1, 2015, it seemed that the light when out of his life.

Karl grew up in Moscow, ID.  I don’t suppose life was all that different than any other kid who lives in a rural area.  His Dad worked at the University of Idaho in the farm area and Karl and his siblings played around the various farm animals.  His sister, Paula, relates how they ran around as kids wearing only cotton overalls, cowboy hats with cap guns in their holsters.  Playing around as if they were members of the Jesse James gang.  They moved to another house that had a creek running through it.  The kids enjoyed playing baseball in the cow pasture.  As Paula relates it, they used cow pies as bases so when the game was done at the end of the day, big brother Karl would strip them down and hose them off before they were allowed to go into the house.

I can honestly say that those stories don’t surprise me but they were nothing like the Karl I knew.  That is mostly because I didn’t really get to know Karl until I was an adult.  I didn’t have time for adults when my cousins were around to play with.  In fact, it is sometimes difficult to see an older member of the family has a child or a young man.  I can remember Karl relating a story of he, my Dad, and uncle Bill taking a trip down to Mackay Bar (remote area along Salmon River, Idaho) Evidently it was quite a narrow and treacherous road – if you asked my Dad, he would tell you it was a good road.  Anyway, the three guys, all in the 20’s, were three abreast in Dad’s car and one of them was holding a bag of potato chips.  My Dad (Gene) was driving and kept reaching across to grab some chips.  Karl had the opinion that Dad should keep his hands on the wheel!  It was funny listening to Karl, Bill and Dad squabble about the relative safety of that road trip 50 years after it had happened.  Parts of the story never changed – Karl’s opinion that Dad needed to keep his hands on the wheel and the problem they found at the bottom of the road.  Somehow, they were out of gas and the only gas available was some old airplane gas at the bottom of the hill. 

Left to Right - Anne Johnson Bell, Shirley & Karl & Eugene
Anne and Eugene are Shirley's siblings.
Karl married Shirley on January 24, 1959 and he became a part of the Johnson/Gage clan, whether he wanted to or not.  My Dad was always closer with his two older sisters and they were geographically closer together than his other two siblings.   It was Gene and Betty (my folks), Karl & Shirley and Bill & Anne.There were a lot of shared memories with my Dad (Shirley’s older brother) and Uncle Bill (married to Shirley’s younger sister, Anne).  Karl, Dad & Bill essentially became brothers.  So, the three couples joined together for a lot of dinners and visits. They hadn’t had much time after they had been married a while.  Between 1958 and 1967 there were 13 kids born between the three families. However, when the kids were all out of the house, the three couples had many dinners together.


Karl was always willing to lend a hand and when you thanked him, he would reply “This is what you do for family!”  There were a lot of occasions when Karl & Shirley showed up to help out with one project or another.  I especially saw this the last 20 years or so.  The Karl I knew had a gentle smile.  He was a bit on the crochety side occasionally, but that was something Shirley could usually charm out of him.  Karl and Shirley spent a lot of years as camp hosts up on the Lochsa.  It appealed to both of them – Shirley enjoyed the social side of it and Karl enjoyed the camping and spending time wandering around the land.  The two of them went on many adventures on the 6x6.  Those wonderful adventures ended much too soon as Shirley passed away rather quickly two years ago.  It was though the light went out of his eyes, and I wondered how long we would have Karl.  Life wasn’t much fun without his life partner.  However, Karl made an effort – mostly because he knew Shirley would want him to.  I remember when I had some medical issues last year, I picked up the phone and Karl was on the other end.  I assumed he was calling for Dad, but he stopped me and asked me how I was feeling.  Then he told me to let him know if there was any way he could help.  I suppose in the end that is the way I will think about Uncle Karl…offering his help if he was needed!  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Early Tannahills & Jones in Idaho - Sam Tannahill

Brothers - John Lyons Tannahill sitting and
Samuel Oliver Tannahill standing behind.
Taken about 1930
I have always been interested in local history.  I knew that my mother's family came to the Lewiston, ID area in the 1920's and my Dad's family was in the Princeton, ID area in 1935.  However, if I look a little deeper, I find that I actually have family on my mother's family that was here much earlier.  If you work on the premise that one of the reasons an individual or family moves to an area because they relatives already there, I suspect that it is a significant connection.

My grandfather, Oliver Richard Tannahill moved to Idaho with his father in the mid 1920's.  I suspect it was around 1926 or so.  Why did John Lyons Tannahill (my great grandfather) decide on Idaho instead of another location.  It turns out that he had two full brothers and two half brothers who lived in the area, one of those is Samuel Oliver Tannahill.  

Almira Jones m. John Tannahill & Sam Pennell
Sam's mother

Samuel Oliver Tannahill was the second child of Almira Jones and John Tannahill. His older brother died at birth, so in essence he was the oldest.  Sam was born 10 Aug 1868 in Elden Wapello Co., IA.  He had two younger brothers, George William Tannahill (1871-1917) and John Lyons Tannahill (1873-1945).  Sam's father died in 1873 just before John Lyons Tannahill was born. Almira remarried a few years later on 8 Jun 1875 in Montgomery, KS to Samuel Wesley Pennell.  By all accounts, Sam Pennell treated his step sons well, but they all left home fairly early to make their own way in the world. Almira and Sam Pennell also had four more sons (Robert, Charles, Grover "Pat", Thomas Franklin) and three daughters (Maude, Mollie & Celia).   


The first record that I find on Samuel Oliver Tannahill in the general was in 1889 in Garfield Co., WA (likely close to present day, Pomeroy, WA).  Sam married his first wife, Alice R Cox on 6 Oct 1897 in Nez Perce Co., ID.  According to his obituary he was "a leading citizen of Lewiston and prominent as an attorney in central Idaho since 1905, practicing most of the time since in Lewiston, democratic national committeeman from Idaho and well known all over the northwest." (Obit published Lewiston Morning Tribune 31 Dec 1935)  All I really knew about Sam Tannahill was that he had been an attorney and had been fairly prominent in the Democratic party in Idaho until his death.  His obituary explains that he was elected as assessor in Nez Perce Co., ID in 1894 as well as serving on the city council.  He also worked in a store in Ilo (present day Craigmont, ID) and also worked as an abstractor.  He saved enough money to go to Valparaiso, IN for Law School.  This is yet another example of going somewhere where family is or was located.  I know from my own research that Sam Tannahill likely had Harrington relatives who lived near Valparaiso.  His grandmother's family (Hulda Harrington) grandparents had died in Valparaiso, IN.  It may be an interesting coincidence, but then it may not be either.  Both Sam and his brother, George William Tannahill went to Valparaiso and returned to Idaho to practice law.  Sam ended up being the prosecuting attorney for Lewis Co., ID (Nezperce) for several terms.  He actually had been in partnership with his brother in Lewiston, ID as well.  After George died in a car accident in 1915, Sam returned to Lewiston permanently.  

Sam was involved in virtually every capacity within the Democratic party in early Idaho including be a representative to the national committee.  While I think Sam Tannahill's business life was very good and impressive...I am not sure the same can be said of his private life.  Sam was first married to Alice R Cox on 6 Oct 1897 in Nez Perce Co., ID.  He was still married to her in the 1910 census, but they must have divorced between 1910 and 1917, because Sam marries again on 11 Sept 1917 to Ella Patterson in Spokane, WA.  Alice has not died and in fact remarries to Harry Lydon, the county treasurer sometime before the 1920 census when they are recorded together.

Ella died on 15 Oct 1923.  According to her death record, Ella died at age 46 of an embolism.  Sam marries again on 6 May 1925 to Josephine Krier.  Sam died himself of a cerebral hemorrhage on 30 Dec 1935 in Lewiston, ID.

I don't know as much about Sam from family stories other than a few tidbits I picked up from my mother.  I think that my great grandfather (John Lyons Tannahill) brought his two youngest children when he moved to Idaho, probably sometime around 1926-1928. (Oliver Richard Tannahill & Olive Rachel Tannahill) I can only guess that the reason John Lyons Tannahill came to Idaho was because his only surviving full brother lived in Idaho.  My grandfather, O. Richard Tannahill finished high school in Lewiston, ID.  I have often wondered if Sam had some influence on my grandfather finishing high school and spending a short time in college.  In 1930, life had to be pretty difficult because of the depression.  For Grandpa Richard to have completed his education makes me believe that Sam possibly helped his brother's family financially.  I also know from what my mother said that Grandpa Richard was very fond of Sam and that both my grandparents were quite upset when he passed away.  

Most of my information about Samuel Oliver Tannahill comes from an obituary and a write-up on early Idaho history.  He was a significant enough figure, that there was quite a bit written in an early Idaho history that was published.  I know that he was an important attorney in the area having been the first prosecuting attorney for Lewis Co., ID and was appointed by the governor of Idaho at the time.   In addition, Sam was quite active in the Idaho politics until his death in 1935.  Beyond his personal acclaim as a lawyer and local citizen, I suspect that he must have had an important personal connection with my grandfather and perhaps gave him the type of guidance and support needed to become a good businessman.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

My Pennington Past - My PRA Membership

I began seriously researching my Pennington family 20 years ago and began that search by joining the Pennington Research Association.  It has been a very valuable contact for me and resource.  Today we would call it networking, but anyone who has done genealogy research has been doing networking for a long time.

Genealogy was a different hobby back then.  Email was available but  most correspondence was done by postal mail or snail mail as most would call it.  Joining a genealogy society or surname association was an important way to share information and gather data and resources.  Those early societies not only provided data via journals or newsletters, but they also provided contacts with other researchers who had similar interests.  It is invigorating to "meet" someone with similar research interests.

My grandmother's embroidered family tree.
As I said, email was available, just not that common.  I think my first email account was in the early 1990's which I still have, although it is not my main account...in fact, I don't even use it that often any more.  The first thing I tell anyone who is starting to do genealogy research is that whomever is beginning that journey needs to get what they know spelled out.  Whether they are using a genealogy program or a piece of paper, you need to spend time getting what you know recorded.  It is only then you can begin to add the various bits and pieces that help you learn more about those you search for.  I had what I knew written down.  It was really that much...I had a simple family tree that had been embroidered on material in a frame on the wall.  On that family tree, my great grandmother's grandmother was listed as Elizabeth Pennington.

Anyone who has spent much time doing genealogy research especially doing surname studies will find that there are certain names that are repeated quite often.  Not only will you find these common names, but you will also find a multitudes of names because they popular during that time period.  If you don't think this happens, ask any teacher what the popular names of the day are.  There are a multitude of Elizabeth's among the Penningtons.  The most important part of my initial contact with the PRA (Pennington Research Association) was the identification of who my 3rd great grandmother was and how she fit into the larger group of the Penningtons.  That information was provided to me by John French who was the Research Director at the time.  He had spent a lot of time building a data file about all the Penningtons that he had come across.  There were a lot mistakes as would be the case on any data file that includes information and theories mixed together.  A great deal of this information was traded back and forth through email which certainly introduced me to one of the best methods of contact for my own research.  John French passed away not too long after we had this contact.

Not everything that John French told me is correct according to my own research.  I have so much more available to me now in terms of data than I did 20 years ago.  I can access census records or death records at my fingerprints through the internet.  I can have instantaneous contact with a fellow research across the country.  Not only can I access the data but I can access digital copies and photos of what other researchers have done.

So, what is the point of being a member of a genealogical society or surname association...I believe an important aspect of that membership is networking.  Just like social networking today - it isn't a valuable tool unless you participate.  There is always new information to learn and perhaps new eyes can see or perceive information than those who have gone before.  It is an opportunity to add to what has been learned, but also help those just beginning their "journey" on their first steps.  There are so many who have done that for me...some that I still correspond and talk to quite frequently to this day.  I would suggest that if you are going to take up genealogy as a serious hobby, you consider joining or participating in some sort of group that can help you along the way.

I am and have been a member of news-lists communicating via email, surname association groups, county and state genealogy associations.  In addition, I run and am a member of Facebook groups, a participant in FindAGrave.com as well as communicating my research through my websites and my genealogy blog.  It is impossible to even  guess at how much assistance that has been given to me by others and the value of what I have been able to provide for others.  So you might consider joining a surname association like the PRA, and spend time to add to their library of research so you can build better information, make valuable genealogy contacts and perhaps help others as well.  You might find that in the end, you are the one who benefits the most.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Genealogy Pockets - Carter Co., TN

Whenever I really dive in and research a family...especially one that has been in the same region for a long time, I spend a little extra time on allied families.  More times than not, these allied families have showed up in interesting ways.  There are good reasons that I spend extra time on these families.  Of late, I have been spending some time on Carter Co., TN and the Johnson family.

My 3rd great grandfather was Moses Johnson b. abt 1788 in NC possibly Randolph Co., NC.  He married Nancy Mayfield on 6 May 1816 in Granville Co., NC.  They had 5 children:

Henderson William Johnson b. 2 May 1817 Greensboro, Guilford Co., NC d. 29 Dec 1883, Valeria, Jasper Co., IA m. 12 Dec 1844 to Jane Carmeline Humphreys

Washington Abraham Johnson b. 25 Oct 1819 Greensboro, Guilford Co., NC d. 14 Feb 1917 in Kirkman, Shelby Co., IA m. 20 Aug 1855 Jefferson Co., TN to Mary Ann Smith

Martha Ann Johnson b. abt 1823 Guilford Co., NC d. abt 1862 Carter Co., TN m. 1 Jun 1839 Guilford Co., NC to Grenville C Walker

Nancy Jane Emily Johnson b. 27 Aug 1827 Guilford Co., NC d. 1 Oct 1908 Elwood, Madison Co., IL m. 23 Feb 1836 Guilford Co., NC to James Franklin Ballard

Nicholas Moses Johnson b. abt 1828 d. Unknown m. 14 Nov 1854 Carter Co., TN to Mary Ann Jenkins

At some time between the census record in 1840 where Moses Johnson was recorded in Guilford Co., NC and 1844 when Henderson Johnson marries Jane Humphreys, the Johnson family moved from North Carolina to Carter Co., TN.  I have my own theories about why they left North Carolina.  I know that one of Moses Johnson's nephews was actually hung for murder and he had other family members who were in legal trouble.  Having said that, I can only guess because I know of no documentation to tell me otherwise.  When I first started piecing the family together, I spent a lot time looking at the family of Nicholas Johnson and I spent a lot time piecing information together on his descendants because they stayed in the Carter Co., TN area.  At the time, I thought he was the only one whose family stayed there.  Nicholas dissappears after the Civil War and no one knows exactly what happened to him.  ( See Nicholas Johnson - Man of Mystery. )  However, his family stayed in Carter Co., TN and after my visit there in 2003, my interest was piqued.  I met one of the descendants of Nicholas Moses Johnson and learned something about a lot of things that I had never heard.  There was nothing neat and tidy about the Nicholas Johnson family and there were ties to local families like:  Peters, Campbells, Olivers, Potters and Goodwins.  So, I spent time adding information gleaned from cemetery records, census records, marriage records and other peoples research about the families.  I made a few family contacts and learned a lot of information.  However, my focus was drawn to other families.

Since that time I have added info about Henderson and Nancy's descendants, but the Martha Johnson branch remained stubbornly elusive.  The only twig that I had some success with was Martha's son, Nicholas Walker who married his first cousin Laura Mayfield Johnson.  (See Nicholas Walker and Laura Mayfield Johnson) However, thanks to another researcher and descendant Brock McIntosh the floodgates have opened.

It turns out that part of Martha Johnson Walker's family stayed in Carter Co., TN.  It also turns out that many of the families that I had researched while pursuing Nicholas Moses Johnson's descendants showed up in Martha Johnson's descendants as well and perhaps a bit too closely.  Martha had a great grandson named John Alexander Potter b. 3 Jan 1882 Carter Co., TN d. 21 Jan 1973 Sullivan Co., TN who was married to Bonnie Johnson b. 26 Aug 1891 Hampton, Carter Co., TN d. 25 Aug 1939.  John was the son of Hester McIntosh (granddaughter of Martha) and William Potter.  Hester's father and William's mother were siblings.  Bonnie was the daughter of Daniel Oliver Johnson and Nancy Elizabeth Campbell and therefore the granddaughter of Nicholas Moses Johnson.

So...Bonnie married her 1st cousin, once removed and John Alexander Potter and Bonnie Johnson's children have in their lines many of the most well known families of Carter Co., TN.  Of course, I am a bit partial to the Johnson name (I am descended from Washington Abraham Johnson).  On that branch you will find Campbell, Goodwin, Jenkins, and Bradley.  On the Potter branch you will find McIntosh, Johnson, Walker, and Justice.

Now, you can't define a "genealogy pocket" group without a lot of research.  In my case, this doesn't only involve the Johnson/Walker line, but also involves multiple other family groups.  You only find these groups when you find the parents and siblings and multiple connections.  It takes a lot of time and research to figure out who these families are and where they have connections.  The families who are in my Carter Co., TN "genealogy pocket" are: Johnson, Walker, Campbell, Goodwin, Carden, Oliver, Potter, Peters, & McIntosh.  This means when I add a name and spouse - if they have a familiar last name, it is time to figure out where they fit in the Carter Co., puzzle!



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Convicted and Escaped

I am a student of history.  It was my favorite subject in school and it is what I got my college degree in - B. S. of History, English minor in 1989 at the University of Idaho.  Having said that, you could assume that I had some knowledge of the Salem Witch trials.  It was a surprise to me to find out that I had a distant relationship to one of the accused.

Lydia Perkins would be my 9th great grandmother.  She was born 3 June 1632 in Boston, MA and died 12 Jan 1707 in Ipswich, MA.  She was married to Henry Bennett (b. 1629 in London, England d. 3 Oct 1707 in Ipswich, MA).  Lydia was the daughter of John Perkins and Judith Gater and had a sister named Mary Perkins.  Mary was b. bef 3 Sep 1615 in Hillmorton, Warwickshire, England and d. 20 Dec 1700 in Ipswich, MA.  She married Thomas Bradbury in 1636.  During one of my genealogical wanderings, I came across a notation about Mary, my 10th great aunt, that she had been tried and convicted during the Salem Witch trials.  According to an article by Melisssa Berry in GenealogyMagazine.com - at http://www.genealogymagazine.com/witchcraft.html - Mary was the victim of numerous familial squabbles from the Carr family.   Melissa explains that it mainly started when Mary spurned an offer of marriage from George Carr and married Thomas Bradbury. Evidently Mary was so powerful that she caused the death of John Carr by "dethroning his reason" and leaving him "weakened by disease, with disordered fancies."  Read the entire article if you get a chance.  I had to use that phrase...it was too good not to quote. Mary had to be quite aged at the time of the accusations.  The trials occurred during 1692 and Mary was born in 1615 making her 77 years of age. Mary was actually sentenced to death to be hung.  Somehow she escaped that fate and died in 1700.

I have always found the Salem Witch trials an excellent example of what mass hysteria can and does do.  It seems like we never seem to learn "our" lesson, because it has happened time and time again. I can't imagine the helplessness that Mary's family had to feel from her husband and children to her siblings, because it seems that it is a very difficult thing to combat.  You can look at Mary's grave online which is located at Salisbury Colonial Burying Ground in Salisbury, MA - Go to FAG #38426363 . Her gravestone is essentially broken pieces in the photo, not an uncommon occurrence in a gravestone that is 300 years old.

I am related to Mary Bradbury through my 3rd great grandmother, Belinda Willey.  Here is my line starting with my grandparents.

Frank Stewart Johnson m. Helen Marian age
Shirlie Louisa Pope m. Ulpian Grey Johnson
Winslow Lonsdale Pope m. Nancy Ann Marie Lyons
Belinda Willey m. Francis Pope
Eber Willey m. Elizabeth McFarland
Abel Willey m. Mercy Fowler
Abel Willey m. Patience Beckwith
Rose Bennett m. Isaac Willey
Henry Bennett m. Sarah Champion
Henry Bennett m. Lydia Perkins
John Perkins m. Judith Gater (Parents of Mary Perkins Bradbury)

My Grandpa Frank used to think there wasn't a whole lot impressive about his family background!  I think he might have changed his mind with all the info that we have found through the years about his family!