My childhood was full of music. My mom would break out into song whenever the mood struck her - Broadway classics, movie tunes, church songs, traditional ballads - she had a song in her pocket for nearly every occasion. Her mother, Marjorie Skeen Russell, was also very musical. We loved to listen to her sing early 20th Century songs, as she played the piano or the organ, and couldn't wait for our turn to try them out. Sadly, I never learned to read or play music, but I have always enjoyed listening to it, and have encouraged music lessons for my kids.
When my son was a newborn, and I was in a sleepless fog, I struggled to remember the words to the songs that my mom would sing to me. Eventually they came (after I looked up the lyrics, or more often, just made up new words), and now I am the mom who has a song in my pocket. I remember groaning as my mom would get the words wrong, but now the roles have reversed, and I am the one filling in the words, as my own children roll their eyes. I hope they, too, will learn one day that it doesn't matter who is listening, or if you miss a note, or change the lyrics... singing brings joy, and a connection to everyone who has sung before you.
I grew up on the road - most of my early memories involve some version of piling into our family van and staring out the window for hours, watching the landscape slowly evolve. I've had the privilege of passing through nearly all of the states, and have visited Mexico, Canada, and several European countries. I'm always thinking of the next place we will go (which usually includes a family visit, or more often now, a graveyard visit!), and have raised my kids with the expectation that we will travel whenever we can swing it.
That said, the concept of traveling for pleasure is still fairly new in the history of my family. Even my grandparents, who had the means to travel, usually went on trips to visit their far-flung children and other relatives, not on pleasure cruises or to explore the world, just for the thrill of it. Beyond that, nearly all of the travel stories throughout my ancestry are the stories of immigrants - they tended to book one-way tickets.
Because I come entirely from Mormon pioneers, most of their stories have a similar pattern: Living in another State/Country, Religious Conversion, Preparing to Leave, Meeting in the Middle (Ohio/Missouri/Illinois/Nebraska, arriving by boat or wagon), Traveling West (by wagon/handcart, and later, by train), and Arriving in Utah. The majority arrived in the 1850s, and all of my family was in Utah by 1874.
Most of these stories include some element of danger, such as illness, accidental death, animal-related adventures, encounters with Native Americans, and so forth, but others are a little more light-hearted. I shared one of my favorite immigration stories earlier - remember my ancestor who traveled with a goat? I thought I'd share another favorite story here:
My great-great-great-grandmother, Helen (AKA Ellen) Blackwood Russell, traveled with her family (which included her husband, John, and nine of their eleven children), from Scotland, arriving in New York City on the S.S. City of Manchester, on 13 June 1862. The story goes that she suffered from sea-sickness, and was not feeling well throughout the long journey. After the ship landed, her husband went off to find some fresh food to assist in her recovery. He came back with a nice, red apple for her to eat. After one bite, she handed it right back to her husband and told him to throw it away, stating "That apple's been poisoned!" The "apple," they learned later, was not an apple after all, but, in fact, a tomato - they had never encountered one during their time Scotland!
One of the things I love most about traveling is discovering things which seem mundane to the people living there, but are very new to me. I'm not sure that Helen felt the same way?!? But seriously, the poor woman! She went on to help deliver the babies of sixteen women during their trek West, without any training as a midwife. I can't help but think how brave she must have been to leave her homeland, to raise all those children (and losing a couple to accident and disease), to travel into the untamed West, and to create a new life in a strange land. Even now, with all of our modern luxuries, it certainly takes a fair amount of courage to embark on a path to new places, regardless of whether you are holding a one-way ticket, or plan to return to the safety of your home two weeks later. So here's to Great-great-great-grandmother Helen - I think of her whenever I bite into an apple!
1. "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 July 2018), entry for Hellen Russell, aboard S.S. City of Manchester (Liverpool to New York), arriving 13 June 1862; citing National Archives microfilm serial: M237, Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897, roll: 220, line: 44, list number: 549; Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36, National Archives at Washington, D.C.
2. "Catherine Russell Hinchcliff," by Winnifred Riley Lamb, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/2688858 : accessed 14 July 2018); citing an earlier version written by Hattie Hinchcliff Riley and submitted to Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 1926.
3. "Catherine Russell Hinchcliff," by Winnifred Riley Lamb.
Well, I have to admit, my research for last week's "Black Sheep" post revealed a much larger story than expected, so I am still working on it. I hope to post it soon! In the meantime, I hope you will appreciate the following information:
I hope you all enjoyed celebrating the 4th of July this week! I grew up loving this day - my town always made it a highly-anticipated, day-long affair. That said, I have often stated that, while I might have Patriots in my line, I had not yet verified a connection to them. As I have mentioned before, I have Loyalist ancestors - John Ogilvie and father/son duo James Lake, Jr. & Sr. - and so have been more aware of their stories of leaving land in the former colonies, and settling in Nova Scotia and Ontario. I believe that this has made me a little more sympathetic to the Loyalist cause than the average American, particularly since I have been lacking in stories about brave, revolutionary colonists to balance the narrative.
After hearing myself joke about having more Loyalists in my tree than Patriots this past week, I decided to it was time to dedicate myself (and this post), to learning more about the Patriots in my line. I sat down and made a list of each of my great-grandparents' families, pulled up my tree on FamilySearch, and systematically identified any possible lines which might have had an ancestor who was in the right place, and of the right age, to have participated in the Revolutionary War. Once identified, I then checked their names on the online databases for both the United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada (UELAC), and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
The results were very surprising to me! Honestly, I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I had not done this before. I now have a list of SIX identified ancestors who are in the DAR's ANSWER database, as well as at least three more possible ancestors who were in the right place at the right time. I also found a potential listing for yet ANOTHER Loyalist in my family, as well as two other ancestors who seem to have followed a Loyalist migration pattern. Wow!
I will add the caveat here that I based my search on what others have entered into my shared family tree on FamilySearch. I still need to follow and evaluate the evidence for each line, in order to verify what others have put forward. (This reminds me of the time I thought I might have a Mayflower ancestor, but once I looked into it, I quickly determined that it was a big mistake - don't believe everything that others put out as fact!) This is enough work to keep me busy for several months, and probably part of what kept me from looking into this for so long in the first place... wish me luck - ha!
While I still plan to do more reading and data-gathering, I do feel fairly confident about being related to three Patriots through my Farnsworth line. My great-great grandmother was Cosmelia E. Farnsworth Ogilvie. It is through her grandparents, Reuben Farnsworth III and Lucinda Kent, that I am connected to DAR Patriots Reuben Farnsworth, Jr. (#A038756), and Cephas Kent, Jr. & Sr. (#A064988 & #A064970). Here is a lovely blog post written about the younger Cephas Kent, by Mary Mettler: http://blog.californiaancestors.org/2008/09/tuesday-tales-from-road-dorset-vermont.html. I can't tell you how exciting it has been just to scratch the surface of information for these ancestors of mine, and how inspired I am to start learning more!
"Vermont Society of Colonial Dames, Historic Marker, Site of Cephas Kent's Dwelling, Adjacent the Cephas Kent Inn, Where The First Convention of the New Hampshire Grants Was Held in 1776, The Dorset Conventions... July 24-26 1776, Voted to Defend the Cause of the United American States, Erected 1912" Source: Wikipedia: Kent Neighborhood Historic District 
If you are interested in finding out about the roles your ancestors may have played in revolutionary times, follow the steps I've outlined above, and then start verifying the information you've found with original documents. If you are on Ancestry, you can view past applications to the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), in this collection: "U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970." You might even find that one of the applications was written in the handwriting of one of your own ancestors!
I am, despite my proud Loyalist heritage, wishing a very happy Independence Day to you all with new-found confidence!
1. Photo of Cosmelia Ellen Farnsworth, circa 1880, digital image,
FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/5038880 : accessed 8 July 2018).
2. Image of Stephen Martindale Farnsworth, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Frank Esshom, Utah Pioneers Book Publishing Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1913, pg 285; viewed at Google Books (https://books.google.com : accessed 8 July 2018). Note: variations of this image have been distributed widely on FamilySearch and Ancestry.
3. "Dorset VT Kent Corner Dorset Convention Marker," digital image, Wikipedia: Kent Neighborhood Historic District (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Neighborhood_Historic_District : accessed 8 July 2018), photo credit: MagicPiano, CC BY-SA 4.0.