Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Native American Mystery

     I have a copy of a tintype photo of a Native American man.  Who was this somber looking man?  Where was he from?  I have no idea.  I know nothing about this man.
     This photo was one of many old photos belonging to my maternal grandmother.  I used to love sitting next to MaMa on the couch looking at all her old black/white photos and listening to the stories behind each photo.  Many of these photos had belonged to my great-grandmother then were passed down to my grandmother.  I don't remember if it was after my grandmother died or it might have been years later when my grandfather died that the photos were in my aunt's possession.  I don't think my mother had any of those photos.  My aunt had them all.  I loved those photos.  One year as a birthday gift I gave my aunt a photo album to store our family's precious photos.  I offered to put the photos in the album for her.  There were a lot of photos of my mother and aunt as young girls spending the summer upstate in the 'country'.  This album took a long time to put together or at least it seemed like it took forever.  I had all the photos spread out on the floor then I grouped them together by event or scene.  I put all the bar scenes together, summers spent in Rifton, Christmases, weddings, etc...  I studied backgrounds and faces then finally put them all in the album.  The miscellaneous photos were placed in the back.  I gave the completed photo album to my aunt who told me to keep it.  Really?  Yeah !!!  The photos are Mine!!
     Well, now, getting back to the subject of today's blog post...
     My grandmother used to tell me that we had an American Indian in our family.  She had shown me his photo many times and I was always fascinated.  I wondered what tribe he was from.  I don't think MaMa knew much about him, just that he was one of her great grandfathers.
     I hope to discover the identity of this grandfather and solve my Native American mystery.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friend or Foe?

     In my last blog post I wrote about the Davis-Decker feud which I had read about on a genealogy message board.  I wish I could remember where I read about this feud.  It was a few years ago while I was on maternity leave and not getting much sleep.  I had put my genealogical research on hold many times over the years.  I currently have a subscription to Ancestry.com but didn't at the time of my son's birth and wasn't doing much research back then.
     The 1930 census shows my son's great-grandfather living in Marlborough, NY but the censuses before that show the Deckers in Newburgh and Plattekill.  The Davises were in Marlborough as of the 1850 census. The head of household for that census, Charles Davis was born in NY in 1800 but I don't know where.  I checked the 1850 and 1860 censuses for Deckers in Marlborough and found quite a few.  Are these my Deckers?  Are these Deckers the ancestors of my son's father?

     The Davises and the Deckers.  Were they friends or really foes?  Were they feuding neighbors?  I'd like to know.     

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ulster County

     I have the Davis and Devine families who I am researching in the southeast part of Ulster county, NY which is located on the west side of the Hudson River.  If I include my son's father's family then there are the Deckers as well.
     The Davises are my maternal grandmother, Eleanor's father's side of the family and the Devines are her mother's side.  MaMa's great-grandfather, William Davis was born in Milton, NY and his wife Emily Martin was born in nearby Lloyd which is about five miles away in a northwest direction.  I don't know where William and Emily met and married but they relocated south a short distance to Marlborough where they lived with their large family.
     MaMa's father, Samuel Davis married Josephine Duper.  Josie was born in Rosendale,NY which is about 24 miles from Marlborough, in a northwest direction.  Josie's cousin, Anna Devine was a teacher in a one room schoolhouse in Rifton which is about five miles east of Rosendale.  Anna is buried in St Peter's Cemetery in Rosendale.  Josie's mother, Teresa Devine, my great-great-grandmother, was born further north on the east side of the Hudson River in Stuyvesant Falls, NY which is located in Columbia county.  Her mother Emily moved down to Esopus in Ulster county, about 9 1/2 miles east of her granddaughter Josephine's birthplace of Rosendale.  The 1900 U.S. Federal Census shows Emily Devine living in Esopus with her son.  I'm sure that this is my Emily.  There is a plot for Emily, her husband Patrick and their son William in St Peter's Cemetery in Rosendale but according to the cemetery records, only William is buried there.  I don't know where Patrick and Emily are.  Josie and Teresa eventually moved down to Brooklyn, NY.  Maybe Emily moved there as well?  I'm sure that she isn't buried with Patrick because the 1900 census shows that she's divorced.  I guess I'll have to check the records for Brooklyn.
     The Deckers are a large family.  They had lived mostly in Plattekill, NY but some of them had relocated west to Marlborough and south to Newburgh in Orange county.  There are many Deckers buried in Friends Cemetery in Plattekill.

     There were Deckers who lived in Marlborough as well as the Davises.   hmmm...  were they neighbors?  were they friends?

     I checked my tree on Ancestry.com to see when both families (Davises and Deckers) lived in Marlborough.  I found that the Davises were living in Marlborough from 1850 (if not earlier) to early 1900's but the Deckers weren't there until approx 1930 (according to census records). I was a little disappointed that they weren't living in the same town at the same time.
     Why was I disappointed?  What did it matter where these families lived?  What's so special about these people?


      and now comes the interesting part...

     While on maternity leave about 4 1/2 years ago, instead of sleeping when Gregory slept, I surfed the internet.  I established my tree on Ancestry.com and read the queries on the genealogy message boards.  Imagine my surprise when I read about the Davis-Decker feud.  I don't remember where I read that and had never written it down because I was tired.  Greg's father likes to tell me that there was no feud.  He tells me that I had 'baby brain'.  Hmmmm.....
     I had put my genealogy on hold over the years but now I'm back to seriously researching my roots.  I've been searching and searching but can't find any information about this feud.  Did my lack of sleep back then have me reading something that wasn't there?
     Well, I'm sure I know what I read and I will find the details.  Move over Hatfields and McCoys, we've got the Davises and the Deckers.

     To be continued...

                I hope.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What's Ailing You?

     The last time I wrote was approximately two and a half weeks ago.  I was busy cleaning and decorating for Christmas.  My son and his daddy spent the week of Thanksgiving down in South Carolina where my parents relocated after their retirement.  I'm still here in the cold northern state of New York.  I couldn't enjoy the holiday with my family because I had to work.  I guess I should be 'thankful' to have a job.  I had a headache most of Thanksgiving week and the week after (which was last week).  I went to the doctor last week and was told that I had a migraine.  I didn't think I did.  Maybe I'll visit another doctor for a second opinion because I still have pain.  Although I like my doctor, I was not happy with my visit that day.  While I was telling the doctor where exactly the pain was, she was typing what I was saying into a laptop computer.  She was not looking at me as I was speaking.  She gave me a prescription for expensive migraine medicine.  I'm glad that I have insurance.
     Flashback about 150 years to the days of house calls and life in the 19th century.  My research has taken me back to 1800, the year of birth for Charles Davis, my 4th great-grandfather. That is 'if' I have the right man.  I don't have much information on him.  I found him in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census with his wife Susan and their children.  Charles and Susan's son William was my 3rd great-grandfather.  I've been researching the Davises of the 1800's and wondered how they treated their headaches.
     I searched the internet for old fashioned remedies.  I learned that in the 1800's, headaches were primarily treated with laudanum, an extremely addictive opiate.  The American Frugal Housewife was a book written by Lydia Maria Child and published in 1829.  A person suffering from head pain who sought advice from that book might talk a half a spoonful of citric acid in half a tumbler of water.
    I've decided to try herbal remedies and aromatherapy for my headaches.  Ancient healers treated headaches with herbs like Feverfew and Chamomile.  I have a copy of a tintype photo of a Native American man who I had been told by my maternal grandmother was a great-grandfather.  I don't remember if MaMa ever told me how many 'greats' this grandfather was because she died when I was only 13.  My Native American grandfather was on MaMa's father's side (the Davises).  He couldn't have been on her mother's side because that side was Irish and Austrian.
     I wonder how my Native American ancestors cured their headaches?

"Nearly all men die of their remedies and not of their illness"  -Moliere, french playwright, Jean Baptiste Poquelin  1622-1673

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