Tuesday, October 22, 2019

deep in the middle of the seventeen hundreds, it's all i can do to get up and do some of the carpentry work i've been trying to accomplish around here. today i put plastic on a screen, sheltering my shed from the winter, and i think it works pretty well, although it may not hold up all winter. i may put plastic on the inside of the screen as well as outside, and i'm working on ceilings, and insulation, and walls, trying to get it ready for winter. but also trying to use up, and get out of there, all the scraps of insulation and wood that have been hanging around. it's my pride, really, that i do the whole thing with scraps, but it's also because i'm not so good at it, so i learn as i go, and i won't waste my poor skills on brand new lumber.

deep in the seventeen hundreds you have this guy riverus, or riverius, depending on whom you ask, and this guy's mother was supposedly a leverett. he lived in new haven, but she was from boston, and everyone was pretty sure she was born in 1736, even had a date, though i forget which one. born in 1736 in boston, in the family of knight the metalsmith, and died 1756, in woodbridge connecticut, home of the sperry farms. well the sperry farms were used to hide out some regicides, two guys that were guilty of killing king charles I, so that adds a little bit of intrigue to the story. and this guy, nicholas sperry russell junior, apparently married mary ann leverett, and had riverus/riverius before she died. riverius by the way named one of his boys leverett russell, so that adds a little weight to the fact that she at least existed. but, as it turns out, lots of people in connecticut were naming their sons leverett, for whatever reason. i haven't found the reason.

the thing is, you tend to look for reasons. people name people for reasons, but they also leave town for reasons. why would this mary ann leave boston, and go and have a baby, and die in the process, out there in the part of new haven connecticut that would one day become woodbridge connecticut? it could be that this nicholas dude just breezed through boston and won her heart and took her out there, ok. but she could also be a missing link in the sense that if she felt she had to leave town, there might have been a reason. if she had a baby in about 1652, at the age of 16, they would have every reason to kind of forget about her and she might have snuck out of town in order to start over again.

now the thing is i have use for someone who had a baby in about 1652, namely a john w who would become known as a half brother, or actually to be more exact he would be a cousin to the people whose family he apparently was raised in. if he was truly born in 1652 or thereabouts, he would have to have gone to the house of colonel john, who was twenty five, or thomas, who was twenty-two, but neither of these were married. perhaps he grew up in knight's house, though knight died right then in the 1750's sometime. when colonel john married mary, and had john esquire in 1758, perhaps john w was already six, and just started going by the name william. as a half brother he would actually just be a kid that the family raised, knowing that his true mother wasn't able to do it, as she had left for connecticut and died.

just fishing here. i have to come up with a reasonable explanation, somehow, of how two johns came around to having two williams, and the thing is, the second of those williams wasn't born until 1773, and the first one, the grandfather of our joseph, was born in boston, yet died in needham in 1792. he would be the guy who gave up the city and became a farmer. if the father was born in 1773, the grandfather had to be born before 1757, I figure, to be sixteen when he had his son william. but i haven't worked out where that william could have come from.

out in the shed i construct walls, ceilings, plastic on doors, that kind of stuff. it gets cold. i need to prepare for winter. winter, here in the mountains, is no small shakes. i'm hoping we'll be ok. we've kind of been beating the cars to death.

kind of like a connecticut winter, i figure.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

the early seventeen hundreds was a rowdy era in boston; out in the hinterlands, jonathan edwards was just getting started, and andrew jackson would get elected and set the pioneer settlements abuzz with all his antics. but in boston, it was the time when cotton mather argued that people's learning how to read songs and sing them was a good method of devotion, and psalms should be printed into music to make worship more devout. the pure calvinists thought that any form of ritual was bad, kind of like the modern quakers, who feel that the rote repeating of verse out of a presbyterian program is not really authentic.

but cotton mather had other problems on his mind. the solid framework of puritan culture was beginning to crumble, and it was partly his own fault: by getting drawn in to the salem witch trials, and thus being responsible for the deaths of so many so-called "witches," he had made puritan culture look a little too stern and vindictive, harsh, cruel, violent, all of that. his reputation was tarnished. people were finding other ways to worship.

we had a relative, mary leverett, who i call ipswich mary. that's because i found a mary leverett who got married up around ipswich in 1715, to a guy who already had three children. it was common for second-time-arounders to remarry, because gender roles were so divided that, while a man could still raise money after his wife died, he badly needed help with the children at home, and similarly, for the women, if their husband died, they could take care of the kids, but had much more trouble raising the money. they tended to find each other and band together. so my feeling is that it's very possible that ipswich mary was carrying around our missing ancestor, and i've been working on that possibility.

but a little later in the century, we had another mysterious woman. this is a woman named mary ann, who has been attributed to knight the metalsmith's family in the early 1700's. she was to go on and marry a nicholas russell in new haven, connecticut, and die in childbirth. this, too, was not uncommon. somehow people attributed her to knight the metalsmith's family. knight already had four, and two more who died young, but it was believable enough that he could have had a mary ann. for one thing, there were very few other known leveretts in all of new england. < genealogists interested in their child, riverus russell, wrote in wondering if we could verify the birth of mary ann in the family of knight the metalsmith. problem is, we can't, not that i know of. and, mary ann is a kind of unusual name. you find these southern leveretts, they often have two names, or, at least a name and an initial. in the north, it's one only, generally, and even one like mary ann is very uncommon. you don't see them throwing around that middle name, although usually they have one.

so i'm looking around for this mary ann woman, just like ipswich mary. there aren't many clues. if you marry, they write your name down in the local records place. somebody gets on to your marriage and they write it down. this goes for births and deaths too. they end up being our connection to reality.

the web, on the other hand, is home of theories and misplaced conjecture. anyone can create a profile of mary ann on geni.com, or ancestry.com, and claim that she was a daughter of knight the metalsmith. and who knows? maybe she was. putting it in writing makes it a step more real, though. to me, sitting here googling my name over and over, it's a kind of numbers game. if enough people say she was born into knight's family, i begin to believe it. i only dive into those birth records once in a while.

and then, it brings the question, how does a single girl get from boston to new haven, back in puritan boston of the early 1700's? presumably this nicholas guy blew through town, asked for her hand, and took her home with him. that's a very sexist, kind of traditional way of looking at it, but there are actually several possibilities. and, remember, i really believe she came up from the south. mary ann? where would knight the metalsmith get that name?

Friday, October 04, 2019

it's definitely a rainy spell here, second or third full day of steady rain, and this is october, when the monsoons are supposed to be well over. generally new mexicans never complain about the rain; we feel we've been shorted over the years, maybe, and every little bit helps. but there is a point where things flood. down in the valleys, they don't really have dirt, since they've had so little rain over the years, so things flood pretty quickly; they flooded yesterday or the day before in artesia, dexter, and roswell, and it was looking pretty bad in alamogordo. up here in the mountains, we have grass, trees, things to hold the rain, and what we don't want, the washes just carry down the mountain.

so i was driving up from alamogordo, which is down in the desert, but was flooding, and i was glad to be on the mountain where i knew all the water would just shoot on down below me. a policeman sped by me going up the hill, and sure enough, partway up, an enormous boulder had fallen onto the westbound lane. the boulder was the same size as the lane itself. traffic was slowed down in order to crawl around it. keep driving, nothing to look at here.

deep into the stories of my ancestors in the 1700's, i've reached the point where i want to find some reasonable explanation and settle on it. my book is almost written. i've laid out who the characters are, and, in order to make it work, one just about has to speculate about some kind of irregularity that genealogists just didn't catch over the years. somebody had some child at some point, and the birth records just didn't catch it. it could be, that as we go along toward the revolution, some of them are actually going to england, and people are getting lost, or we are losing track of them. once the revolution starts, it's the "times of suffering" in boston, and who knows about that? it seems it changed things. the city itself took a beating. there were more soldiers than people, for a while there.

back here in new mexico, i'm kind of absorbed in using the web to find out whatever i can. there are two different lines, and they seem to come together, or have common people in them; and, they certainly have common places in them, besides boston itself. one is a farm in needham, which is out there in the western suburbs. another is cornhill, an old neighborhood of boston. i go in, and one place i get tied up is the mid-1800's, where they tend to write flowery prose but miss a few crucial facts. some of these people were simply unknown to them, and they wrote grand-style pronouncements about the ones they knew. they kind of messed it up a little too, for example, calling john the governor a knight. he wasn't, as far as i can tell, a knight.

kids are at school, and the rain keeps coming. there could be floods, even up here on the mountain. we check the news regularly, but, truthfully, i'm more concerned about the impeachment, than about the rain. i kind of take it for granted, that nature is unraveling, the world is falling apart, and there's not much we can do about it except get the president out of there. so hurry up about it, ok, and let's get on, and try to pull this earth thing back together.