Friday, December 25, 2009

A Public Radio Christmas

As a single woman, I find the holiday season to be rather lonely. National Public Radio (NPR) definitely cheers the season up for me.

Today I caught the last part of Jonathan Winter's reading of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol.

Accompanying me down the road to my mother's place was Jay Ungar and Molly Mason presenting The Pleasures of Winter. I greaty enjoyed hearing unfamiliar Christmas music, French Canadian and Appalachian shape note singing. You can go to PRX to listen to it or purchase the album recorded live in Poughkeepsie.

On the way from my mother's I was sorry to hear I missed part of A Car Talk Christmas Carol with the Magliozzi Brothers having irreverent fun with the holiday. You can go to their web site to hear the fun you missed.

After that I learned how the Christmas Price Index issued by PNC Wealth Management changed from Marketplace. Find out for yourself if it's still affordable here.

NPR also reports that some homeowners are giving up paying their mortgages because the value of their homes have plummeted. The mortality rate for the H1N1 virus among American Indians and Alaskan Natives is four times higher than for the rest of the American population.

We need some holiday cheer wherever we can find it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Beman Brick Wall

Every person researching his or her family eventually does what we call hitting a brick wall. S/he finds a person for whom s/he can’t find information on parents or family. It’s not uncommon to have several brick walls. One of mine has been Lydia, the wife of Isaac Beman. Isaac was born 7 January 1755 in the Town of Kent, Litchfield County, Connecticut. His parents were Thomas Beman and Bethia Tracy. It is documented that his wife’s first name was Lydia, but I’ve been unable to find more information on their marriage or Lydia’s family.

This was a time when researching more than one family was helpful. I found my way to a genealogy board on Northeastern Native American genealogy that no longer exists and information on Zephaniah Wix and his family. I found some interesting coincidences.

Isaac Beman’s hometown of Kent, Conn., bordered on the west the Town of Cornwall, where the Wixes lived. Isaac first enlisted to fight on the Patriot side of the American Revolution in 1775 from the Town of Warren. Lydia’s brother Uriah, two years older than Isaac, also served. He first enlisted 12 June 1776. At one time he served under Captain Eli Catlin, the father of artist George Catlin. For almost a year Isaac and Uriah were stationed at the same place at the same time, including summer months in Berkshire County, just over the border from Northwest Connecticut. It seems reasonable since there was no fighting in the area that both men would take advantage and go home to let their families know they were all right. Later in 1777 both men participated in the defense of Philadelphia. After Zephaniah died by 24 January 1777 the family moved to the Town of Warren where Isaac already had contacts.

Isaac and Lydia settled in the Town of Chatham, Columbia County, N.Y. Isaac became active in the North Chatham Baptist Church. They had ten children:

Lydia Beman was born in 1780.
Jacob Beman, born 10 Mar 1780; married Achsah Conger, 7 Dec 1814; died 15 Feb 1868, Bennington, Bennington Co., VT.
Deborah Beman, born 1782; married Joseph Hicks Rider, 1799, Chatham, Columbia Co., NY, USA; died 1818.
Abigail Beman was born in 1784.
Elizabeth Beman was born in 1786.
Delilah Beman, born 18 May 1790; married Abraham Ashley, 1810; died 7 Dec 1853, Chatham, Columbia Co., NY.
Isaac Beman was born on 11 Mar 1792.
Esther Beman was born in 1794.
Melinda Beman was born in 1796.
Alexis Beman, born Jun 1804, , , CT, USA; married Mary Modher, abt 1825, Oakland, , MI, USA; died 1856, Highland Township, , MI, USA.

I have a feeling that my ancestors traveled a lot more than we think. I don’t know how my ancestor John L. Winchell who was born in northwestern Connecticut and lived in Dutchess County and Berkshire County met and married a Quaker woman from the Town of Chatham.

A few years ago I bought a portrait in a local consignment shop because the woman in it looked so much like my paternal grandfather. I wish the owner had a provenance for it, but I have the feeling it is my great-great-grandmother Winifred Olivia Ashley. Whoever she is, her features say she had Indian ancestry. I include a photo of the portrait and a photo of my paternal grandfather Earl Winchell with his daughter-in-law Cathy Collier Winchell.

Winifred was the daughter of Delilah Beman and Abraham Ashley Sr. My Aunt Kate said she was told that the Indian in the family was Pequot. I’ve found Mohican and Wappinger in the family so far, not Pequot. There’s also the possibility it was Paugusett since there were Paugusett people documented in the area and the first chief of the Schaghticokes in Kent was actually from that group. In addition last year I had my MtDNA tested by the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. I found it was very close to that of the Wix family. I don’t understand how the testing works, but that was the result I found.

I think I have good circumstantial evidence that Isaac Beman’s wife was Lydia Wix from the Town of Cornwall, CT. I hope sometime in the future to find evidence that will prove this.