Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Post on the Williamson Family Reunion 2010?

A Real Time snapshot from the deck of the Fortress. A Storm is Looming.
I Must Type Fast.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
My parents and sister tell me the Williamson family reunion was delightful. Sadly I wasn't able to attend. As I keep reminding my family "Some of us have to work for a living" (Said with tongue in cheek). I was neck deep in Space Campers between the ages of 10 and 14, not to mention a staff of teens and young adults - all needing attention and direction.

That is all done. The Center is closed until August 20th. I have three blessed weeks of vacation. I don't want to hear space, talk space, think space, eat space, or breath space during this time (yes, even if it were discovered a large asteroid was hurtling toward Earth capable of wiping out all mankind and we had two weeks to live. Even then, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW).

I'm hoping someone out there took pictures at the reunion and is willing to share them with us. I asked my parents, but trusting either of them to master the art of click and shoot would be too much to ask. You must understand that they both suffer from technophobia and find anything with a blinking light terrifying. You should see the way Luella controls her digital TV and Dish Network Satellite Receiver. She understands "On" and "Off". She comprehends "Volume" and the "Up and Down Channel Arrows". She is clueless about everything else and relies on multiple phone calls and visits to fix her reception when she accidentally pushes one of the other 100 buttons on the remote and suddenly finds herself watching the Chinese Broadcasting Network instead of her beloved CSPAN.

In addition to the pictures I'm hoping someone would be willing to write something postable about the gathering for the rest of the family to enjoy. Remember this blog is rated PG so leave out the pictures of Charles flipping the bird in two photo shoots. God bless him - he is in his 70's you know and has trouble remembering the difference between flipping someone off and giving someone the Thumbs Up!

Wow, close lightening strike. Wait for it......... YES, the thunder rattled the windows. I'd better seek shelter indoors. Standby.......

OK safe and secure inside the Fortress.

Also, it was mentioned at the reunion that many are enjoying the blog. I'm grateful for your kind words and encouragement. It was also mentioned that many Williamson's (me included) have an interest in the family's current events. Granted what happened 1000 years ago may be interesting but learning how our little cousin saved the life of his Grandma was awesome. I'm wanting to post current family news. That's where YOU COME IN. I need at least one person from each branch of the family to send me your current family news: Weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, arrests, trials, graduations, honor rolls, and other items of general interest. I've asked for family trivia in the past and got nothing but an empty email box.

So, I'm asking once again. Please send current family news. Let's keep in touch with each other so when we have our next gathering we won't all be such strangers to each other.

I'll sleep tonight knowing that you'll have something waiting for me in my email IN box in the morning :)


The Tornberg Family and the Sami, the People of the North

The Sami, People of the North
(Lapland. Great Grandmother Ida's Home)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we spend more time with our Great Grandmother, Ida Tornberg. You remember that Ida was the wife of John Albert Mattson. Walter Mattson was their only child. In the previous post a few days ago we found her hometown in Sweden. Today have more information on her family thanks to cousin Angie Mattson Berntsen.

After several hours of research, Angie located the Swedish Census of 1900. I have the translated pages below:

This entry is for Ida's father Isak. (Click to Enlarge)

This entry is for Ida's Mother Maria (Click to Enlarge)

This Entry is for Ida's Brother Levi (Click to Enlarge)

This Entry is for Ida

This Entry is for Ida's Sister Anna

The picture above (Click to Enlarge) is the application Ida made for life insurance in 1926. In it we learn more about her family.
  • She was a store clerk in Sweden before coming to America.
  • She lists delivering Grandpa Walter Mattson as her only disease :) and that it occurred 16 years ago. She goes on to say that it took 10 days to recover.
  • Her health was perfect. She said she hadn't been to a doctor in the previous 5 years.
  • She says she has not used any form of wine or spirits. In other words, according to this document Ida never used liquor.
  • She lists her father deceased due to an accident.
  • She lists her brother Levi deceased due to accidental drowning when he was 18 years old.
  • She lists her mother alive and 70 years old and in good health.
  • She lists her sister in good health and 30 years old.

Great Grandma Ida holding Luella (Summer 1940)
Great Grandma Vesta (Violet's mother) is on the right. Ida loved the name Christina
and called Luella "Stina" for a nickname.

Roxie Jacobson, Luella, and Great Grandmother Ida. Roxie was once a neighbor of the Mattsons in Montana. She moved to Belle Fourche and ran a boarding house. The Mattson family were regular visitors.

I asked Luella for one story about Great Grandma Ida to accompany this post.
Grandma Ida was the one that always called us in for supper and bed when we were children on the ranch. Our fist stop was the wash basin that sat on top of the buffet (a piece of furniture that held the fine dishes, linens and silverware) . I remember a picture of the gleaners hanging over the buffet the whole time we lived on the ranch.

Grandma Ida had us wash our hands and faces before we ate or went to bed. I remember that while we washed Grandma would lean on the buffet, resting her head on her right hand. She always had her eyes closed. I thought she closed her eyes because she was so tired. She worked from the moment she was up until she went to bed.

After she died I remember telling Grandpa about her leaning on the buffet with her eyes closed while we washed. He told me that she wasn't resting when she had her eyes closed. She used that moment every day to pray for each of her grandchildren individually.
And, to finish this post:
  • Two pieces of traditional music from Lapland - Ida's home in Sweden, taken from the film "Pathfinder", a story told by the people of the north for over 1000 years.
  • And the Flag of the Sami (Lapland).

From the film's opening credits. The Music of the North

This is the Sami Flag (Flag of the Association of the Sami People). The Sami (also called Lapps, although they consider this word derogatory) inhabit Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula of Russia but also the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway.

And again, from the film's closing credits. The hauntingly beautiful music of the Sami.


General Henry Dearborn, Our 6th Great Uncle and United States Secretary of War

General Henry Dearborn. Painted When He Served as
United States Secretary of War (Today's Defense Secretary)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Dear Clan,
This evening I’m delighted to introduce you to our 6th Great Uncle, Henry Dearborn (February 23, 1751 – June 6, 1829), a prominent man in American history. First, the Relationship Chart (Click to enlarge).

Trying to encapsulate the life of this great American in prose would take volumns. Instead, I’ve decided to list the main points of his life in a way easy to read. Here we go:
  • Henry Dearborn was a doctor.
  • He was a veteran of the Revolutionary War
  • He was a veteran of the War of 1812.
  • He organized a local militia troop of 60 men and fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill as a Captain.
  • He volunteered to serve under the traitor Benedict Arnold during the American Expedition to Quebec.
  • He was captured on Dec. 31, 1775 during the Battle of Quebec
  • He joined George Washington at Valley Forge as a Lt. Colonel.
  • He fought at the battles of Monmouth.
  • He was on the Sullivan Expedition against the Iroquois.
  • He joined Gen. George Washington’s Staff in 1781 as Deputy Quartermaster General with the rank of colonel.
  • He was present when the British Gen. Cornwallis surrendered after the Battle of Yorktown and the Revolutionary War ended.
  • He worked as a U.S. Marshal for Maine.
  • He was elected to Congress (1793-97)
  • In 1801 President Thomas Jefferson appointed him to his Cabinet as Secretary of War. He held this job for eight years. During this time he helped plan the removal of Indians beyond the Mississippi River.
  • He was appointed collector of the port of Boston by Pres. James Madison.
  • He was appointed senior Major General in the U.S. Army in command of the Northeast Sector from the Niagara River to the New England Coast.
  • During the war of 1812 he prepared plans for the attacks on Montreal, Kingston and Detroit.
  • President James Madison nominated Dearborn for reappointment as Secretary of War but the Senate rejected the nomination.
  • He was later appointed Ambassador to Portugal by Pres. James Monroe
Lewis and Clark named the Dearborn River in west central Montana after our uncle. Dearborn County Indiana, Dearborn Michigan and Dearborn Missouri were also named for him as was Fort Dearborn in Chicago. His son was a congressman in 1831-33.


Friday, July 30, 2010

A Video Tour of Great Grandmother Ida's Home of Haparanda, Sweden (On the Border with Finland)

Hello All,
A short video showing the village of Haparanda, Sweden - the hometown of our Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg (mother of Grandpa Walter Mattson).


The Life of our 3rd Great Grandmother, Almira McCrillis (Grandma Violet's Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Everyone,
The long arduous march of summer space camps is behind me. The season started the first week of June and ended on July 29th. I’ve averaged 100 hours per week and today find myself enjoying nearly three restful, peaceful weeks of vacation before the start of the 2010-2011 school year.

Perhaps with extra time on my hands I’ll be able to write a bit more and continue sleuthing our family history.

Today I’d like to share the obituary of our Great Great Great Grandmother, Almira McCrillis taken from The Hot Springs Star on April 3, 1903. She was born Almira Swift on January 6, 1809 in Corinth, Vermont, the daughter of Phinas Swift and Deborah Dearborn.
Peacefully on the morning of March 16, 1903, Grandma McCrillis sank into her last sleep - asleep in Jesus with the bright hope of a part in the first resurrection. Words of comfort were spoken at the home by Mr. Fassett from Psalms 91.

Ninety-five long years had she lived and weary with age she welcomed the rest that awaits us all.

The British Uniforms during the War of 1812

The Vermont Militia's Uniforms of 1812

Grandma was born in Corrinth, Vermont, January 6, 1809. Her father, Captain Phineas Swift, fought in the War of 1812. Grandma remembered quite distinctly seeing the British soldiers as they endeavoured to drive cattle across the line and our soldiers standing ready to turn them back.

Grandma was one of the passengers on board the first railroad train making its first trip between Boston and Providence RI. The train consisted of an engine and three crude coaches made after the fashion of our stage coaches of today.

I have listened many times to the interesting remembrances of those days which Grandma could remember and relate so well.

In 1837 she was married in Providence, R.I. to Joseph E. McCrillis. To them were born two sons and three daughters. When the youngest child was three years of age, the father decided to try the west, and they moved from old New England to the wilds of Wisconsin. One by one the children grew to manhood and womanhood and were scattered to homes of their own.

In 1888 the two daughters, Mrs. J.M. Dennis and Mrs. H.E. Whaley of Hot Springs, S.D. were rejoiced to have the dear father and mother with them again to feel the old home ties renewed.

In 1890 the dear old father died, leaving Grandma to silently mourn his going and long for the time when the Master would permit her to join the companion with whom she had spent over fifty happy years.

For the last several years, Grandma has resided in the home of her daughter, Mrs. Whaley, of Cascade Springs, where she received loving care and gave in return only smiles and cheery words leavened with manifest acts of kindness.

She leaves two sons and two daughters to mourn her departure, also many grand children, great grandchildren and a host of friends.
Relationship Chart

Phinas Swift and Deborah Dearborn
3rd Great Grandparents, Almira Swift and Joseph E. McCrillis
Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrilles and John Mayberry Dennis
Vesta Althea Dennis and Walter Edwin Pierce
Violet Mae Pierce and Walter Albert Mattson
Luella, Linda, John and Marvin

Additional Information.
Phineas Swift, our 4th Great Grandfather and father of Almira, was a captain in the Vermont Militia in the war of 1812. His wife, Deborah Dearborn, was a niece of the Secretary of War, Henry Dearborn.

Vermonters reluctantly supported the War of 1812. The federal trade embargoes stopped all legal trade with Canada, stunting Vermont’s commerce. War with Great Britain made Vermont a battle zone, with the Champlain Valley a familiar battlefield. Political parties again were split, with Jeffersonian Republicans in favor of war, and Federalists in opposition.
Vermont’s governor, Federalist Martin Chittenden, Thomas’s son, caused a stir when he recalled the Vermont militia from New York in 1813, where it was supporting federal troops. He believed the militia was needed in Vermont. The militia officers refused Chittenden’s order to return immediately, stating that they were needed to defend the Union, and criticized Chittenden for playing politics. The Vermont militia returned to New York in 1814 and played a key role in America’s victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh. Chittenden lost his bid for reelection.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Finnish and Lapland Family Ties. Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg, Walter Mattson's Mother

The Tornberg Family Coat of Arms

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Family,
Do you remember Mom (Luella) telling us we had family that originated in the very north of Sweden? We’re talking Lapland here. Today I wanted to track that down and discover for myself if her memory was correct. This post is the result of several hours searching (most of Sunday to be exact). Remember, most records are in Swedish. Thank goodness Google offers a web page translation system or we’d all be up the frozen Swedish creek!

First, I know that the Mattson family came from the south of Sweden, across the straits from Denmark. That branch of our family couldn’t be the ones telling the tale of the far north.

That left Luella’s Grandmother Ida Josefina Tornberg. Her records show that she was born on January 1, 1886 in Karl Gustafs, Norrbotten, Sweden.

Great Grandmother Ida Tornberg (seated) holding her son, Walter Mattson.

That place was problematic. Only after an hour or so of searching did I realize that she was actually born in the Karl Gustafs Parish in the County of Norrbotten Sweden. With that understanding I was able to proceed.

The Karl Gustafs Church in Haparanda, Sweden

Church of Karl Gustav

The Parish of Karl Gustav was founded in 1782. Until that it had been Alatornio Parish Chapel. The church was taken into use in 1796. There is a recorded guidance in Swedish, Finnish, English and German in the church.

Karungi, Haparanda.
Tel. +46 (0)922 292 90

Haparanda, Sweden

Haparanda Sweden sits opposite the city of Tornio, Finland with the Tornio River flowing between them. The Tornio River is the border between Sweden and Finland.

When Sweden lost Finland in 1809, the border was drawn along the Rivers Tornio and Muonio. The town of Tornio, located on the island Suensaari in the river delta became part of the Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian Empire as czar Alexander I insisted. (Finland declared independence in 1917).

At that time the town of Tornio was dominated by Swedish-speaking merchants and crafters, forming a linguistic island surrounded by Finns on the country side. After the war many of the Swedes started to develop the small village Haaparanta across the border instead, eventually leaving Tornio unilingually Finnish. Haparanda was made a market town (köping) in 1821 and received its city charter in 1842.

The Location of our Great Grandmothers Birth

Norrbotten County, Sweden (the most northern of Sweden's counties).
Haparanda is the County Seat and Home to Karl Gustaf Parish
So now we come to the question of Lapland. Did Great Grandmother Ida come from the region called Lapland? Well, let's let the map below answer that for us.

You see, the answer is yes. Great Grandmother Ida lived in the very most southern point of the regions commonly referred to as Lapland.

Another document of interest. This is the certificate awarded to Great Grandmother Ida from an agricultual school in Sweden. Of course, I can't read Swedish. Google Translation helped with some of it but the handwriting is difficult to read.

Update (August 4, 2010) A possible family contact in Sweden / Finland responded to an email and was kind enough to offer a translation of the above document.

Examination Certificate

For dairy student of state Ida Josefina Tornberg who has partaken of a year long education under rules for governmental dairy stations at Vojakala dairy station and an additional year here at the local dairy station.

The student who born on January 2nd 1886 in Karunki village in Lower Tornio municipality in Norrbotten province has at completion of the study course achieved the following marks in:

universal base of dairy economy accepted
accounting honorably accepted
preparing butter with satisfaction accepted
fat rich cheese accepted
half fat cheese accepted

skimmed milk cheese with satisfaction accepted
ability to estimate milk, cream and butter with satisfaction accepted
ability to take care of separator honorably accepted
to take care of steam engine with satisfaction accepted

And while staying at the dairy station, Ida Josefina Tornberg has fulfilled all working activities properly and with good cleanliness and diligence and has behaved very well, so she has proved her suitability for her future profession.

Antnäs on Oct. 12th.1906

N. E. Nilsson
Director of the station

Certified by
Anna Gustafsson

In the dairies of the station, the following operations have been executed:
Milk has been skimmed by separator and (ice method?)
Cream has been churned (???)
Following cheese sorts have been prepared: 1/1 fat (??? Ireland method?), 1/2 fat (mansion method?), as well as cheese of skimmed milk.

The Translation was provided by

Pertti Ervasti
Thank you!

The Tornberg Family Association

In 2005 the Tornberg Family Association held a family reunion in Finland. Family members from many locations gathered. Many in attendance were from Haparanda, birthplace of our Great Grandmother. In fact, if you visit the reunions web site below, you'll see many pictures from the reunion. If you read the picture's captions you'll see Tornbergs from Haparanda.


Considering Haparanda has a population of 4,778 inhabitants (2005) then I must assume we are related to this branch of the Tornberg family.

Well, enough for today. We will continue this search in a future post.


Cultural Post. Scotland (Mattson - McCrillis Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Scotland is the home to many of our ancestors on Grandmother Violet's line through the McCrillis family. This line takes us directly into the heart of Scotland.

Today we listen to a more contempory song about Somerled, a Scot King that fought to free Scotland from the Norsemen. I believe this song carries the spirit of the land and its people.

Through an age of fighting men
When sword was mightier than pen
There lived a clansman bold and true
The very one our name came through
Born of blood line dating from
The hundred battles warrior Conn
Gaelic viking in his veins
Testify his battle fame
For three hundred and fifty years
The western highlands lived in fear
Fighting to regain the Isles
Down to Islay and Argyle
From the Dalriadan line
Through the centuries there we find
A Scotsman born with Viking name Born to rule through love and pain
Hail to ye sons of Somerled Hail to ye sons of Somerled
Ruling from the Isle of Man
lslay was the place they'd ...make their stand
After almost twenty years
He rid the Isles of Norsemen
..then and there
Hail to ye sons of Somerled
Hail to ye sons of Somerled
Through the timeless history,
Fighting for their destiny
Images fly through my head,
Images of Somerled... chorus
The warrior kings lived by the sword
From hill to loch and dark fjord
Battling 'til his life he shed
Leaving the throne
To the sons of Somerled

Friday, July 23, 2010

Our 8th Great Grandparents. Rebels with a Cause! (Williamson Side)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
Many of you remember me saying at our last family get together at Kim's home in Highland, that many of our ancestors seemed to be very stubborn, pig headed and down right rebellious when it came to religion and authority. We laughed as we talked, realizing that those same traits of stubbornness seasoned with a healthy dose of pig headedness seemed to have travelled through the gene pool and across generations into many of us!

Tonight, in our digital family reunion, we take a moment to once again talk about our 8th Great Grandparents, Henry Willis and Mary Pease. Let us begin with the all too familiar Relationship Chart.

Henry Willis and Mary Pease
John Willis and Ester Brinton
Henry Willis and Mary Rachel Underwood
John Willis and Phebe Bennett
Bennett Willis and Katherine Nosseman
Jonathan Willis and Anabella Phlegar
Margaret Ann Willis and George Matthew Williamson
William J. Williamson and Effie Helen Victor
Vennie, Ima Della, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles, Maurice.
Charles Williamson and Luella Mattson
Kim, Victor, Kevin, Janice, Jon, Jilane, Lisa and Annette

The following information was taken Information taken from Friends Intelligencer. March 2, 1872. Please remember that Quakers refer to themselves as Friends.

In my research I learned that the earliest mention of Quaker meetings in Westbury, New York (sometimes called Woodedge and Plainedge) was March 23, 1671. Friends (Quakers) met at the houses of Henry Willis and Edmund Titus, two prominent Friends who “soon felt the strong arm of the law”. On August 15, 1678, George Masters, a tailor from New York became engaged to marry Mary Willis. Their plans were brought to the Friends meeting. The Friends appointed Samuel Spicer, John Tilton, Mary Willis and Martha Titus to “inquire of their clearness of all other persons”.

On September 9, 1678 Mary Willis and George Masters were married in the home of Henry Willis during the Quaker meeting. This action was in violation of the law. The Court of Sessions fined Henry Willis 10 pounds. Henry Willis refused to pay. The Court demanded an “execution issued forth” and Joseph Lee, under sheriff, seized Henry’s barn of corn.

Henry Willis appealed to the Governor on May 4, 1680 for redress.

In 1687 a new Presbyterian minister, Jeremiah Hobart, was appointed for the village of Hempstead. According to the law, the villagers were required to ‘provide’ for the new minister. It appears Henry Willis, along with other Quakers, refused. There are records that the constables demanded Henry pay 34 shillings toward the building of the priest’s home. Upon his refusal one cow worth 4 pounds 10 shillings was taken.

On December 30th of the same year the constables demanded Henry pay 2 pounds 17 shillings for the priest’s wages. Henry refused, upon which eight sheep worth 4 pounds 14 shillings were taken.

On November 29, 1687 Henry Willis and Edmund Titus petitioned the Governor for relief saying,
“They have already suffered in the spoil of their goods for the setting up and upholding a worship in the town of Hempstead, which in their conscience they believe to be not the true worship of God; and are again threatened to have a part of their effects taken from them toward the maintenance of Jeremiah Hobart whom in conscience they cannot maintain, knowing him to be no minister of Christ; and so are no way concerned with any agreement made with him. The taking of our goods is contrary to the laws which give liberty of conscience to all persuasions.”
It appears the minister was at last forced to leave by reason of numbers of his congregation turning Quakers and many others being so irreligious that they wouldn’t contribute to the support of the church.

Quaker records report that on November 7, 1714 Henry Willis, aged 86 died.
“He received the Truth [ joined the Quakers ] soon after its breaking forth in these latter days, and in very early life suffered much mocking, stoning, beating, bruising and imprisoning in old England.”
As you can see, life in pre Constitutional America was quite different. In these posts we are beginning to sense the growing frustrations in the colonists for basic rights, such as the freedom of religion.

As they say in Australia
"Good On Ya Gramps!"

And Now, A Side Note

Before closing this reunion, I'd like to show you two Willis properties that are on the National Historic Register. Both were built by William Willis, our first cousin 7 times removed. William was the Great Grandson of Henry Willis.

The Willis House (135 Willis Road) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.
The William Willis House built by William Willis in 1762 is significant for its associations with the early brick industry and the English Quaker Willis family who was influential in 18th and 19th century York.

The York Quaker Meetinghouse was originally constructed in 1766 as a one and one-half story brick building, two bays in width, with a gable roof and side chimney.
The York Meetinghouse, originally constructed in 1766, is the oldest religious building in the City of York. The York Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, once one of the largest religious bodies in the city, still holds weekly worship services for its nine members.

William Willis completed the masonry work in 1766. He was also one of the major financial contributors for buying the land and erecting the meetinghouse. Betty Willis was buried in the meeting's graveyard in 1769. William Willis was appointed overseer of the York meeting in 1768 and was listed as an elder when he died in 1801, at age seventy-four.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Deep Memory of Our Past.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

We start this bonny July morning with another one of this blog's cultural posts. This music by Enya, sung in Gaelic, evokes such a powerful sense of elder times and powerful wistfulness for the land of our Celtic ancestors. Relax, enjoy a morning cup of tea in the true British sense and listen as Enya pulls from you an inherited memory of this land and people from whom we've descended.

And, in my opinion, Enya is magic embodied.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Our 3rd Great Grandfather and Grandmother, Elijah and Unicy Victor.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello to All,
Once again I'm at the computer and happy to introduce you to more of our ancestors. Tonight's information for our digital reunion comes from Brent Heeren of Toledo, Iowa, a cousin on the Victor side of our family. Brent and I have been in contact as we both try to push the boundary and learn more about the Victor family. Brent received the information below from another cousin, Rob Livingston. This information presented tonight comes from the the Bible of Elijah Victor Sr. The rest of the information came from census records and the death index. Thanks to both gentlemen.

First, the Relationship Chart.
We begin tonight by meeting our 4th Great Grandfather, Magor Victor. I'm amused by his first name. Have you ever heard of anyone named Magor? Perhaps you'd like to name a member of your family after him. Yes, I doubt that will happen. You know, odd names like Magor can help in the search for family, so it has its advantages.

According the Victor family bible, our 3rd Great Grandfather, Elijah Victor was born to Magor and his wife on January 6, 1785. Elijah had the following brothers and sisters:
  • September 6, 1789, William G. Victor son of Magor is born. William married Marth(a) February 15, 1835. William died July 8, 1841.
  • September 17, 1787, Henry Victor, son of Magor is born. Henry died April 8, 1808.
  • March 22, 1791, Sarah Victor daughter of Magor is born. Sarah died February 27, (1811?), From the Holy Bible of Elijah Sr.: Sarah Victor married John Grure April 30, 1846.
  • April 18, 1820 Magor died at age 64
The following information concerns our 3rd Great Grandfather Elijah.
In the 1820 Census: Elijah Victor lived at the following location:
Township: North West Fork Hundred, County: Sussex, State: Delaware.
  • January 6, 1785, Elijah Victor, son of Magor is born.
  • February 21, 1811, Elijah Victor married Unicy.
  • July 30, 1812, Nancy Victor daughter of Elijah and Unicy is born. Nancy died July 21 1820.
  • July 29, 1814, Daniel Victor is born, Daniel died: November 5, 1815.
  • February 6, 1817, Mary Victor is born. Mary married Peter Snider December 17, 1835. Mary died April 5, 1852.
  • February 18, 1819, Whitty Victor is born. Whitty was married November 6, 1845. Married Nancy Morris November 6, 1846.
  • October 8, 1821, William Victor is born. William married Sila Jones July 14, 1847.
  • July 6, 1823, Elvara Victor is born. Elvara married William Brown September 2, 1845.
  • June 5, 1825, Unicy Victor is born. Unicy died November 25, 1826.
  • February 24, 1826, Marriage of Elijah Victor to Elizabeth Hollis (Elijah’s second wife) in Sussex, Delaware.
Note that our 2nd Great Grandfather, Whitty (Whitley) was Elijah and Unicy's fourth child. Whitty married our Great Grandmother Nancy Morris on November 6, 1846.

According to the Family History Library, microfilm reference number: 0006422.
Elizabeth Hollis married Elijah Victor a carpenter and widower who then took the family to Shelby, Indiana. Elizabeth’s previous husband, Eli Hollis of Sussex County, Delaware, died in some mishap with his son, possibly killed by Indians. Elizabeth died in Shelby County and Elijah remarried to Mary Young, his third wife. This date is in question with the following date taken from the Victor Family Bible: Elijah Victor and Eliza (Elizabeth), his second wife, married February 24, 1828. Now there is a bit of a problem with the information given. According to the records, Elijah married Elizabeth while Unicy was alive. Unicy Victor died on 22 October 1827. This is after Elijay marries his second wife Elizabeth.

In the 1830 Census we find Elizah “Elijah” Victor living in Township: Sugar Creek, County: Shelby, State: Indiana.

Now, more dates of interest. Elizabeth (Elijah's second wife) died on April 23, 1836

April 27, 1837, Elijah Victor married Mary Young (Elijah’s third wife), in Johnson County. Their Marriage ended in divorce in 1846. Mary might have died in 1858. Our 3rd Great Grandfather Elijah married for the forth time to Sarah Newton in 1859.

It appears the divorce was not a good one. In a court document dated February 23, 1846, Filed, with the State of Indiana we have a suit (The State of Indiana v. Elijah Victor). According to the documents, Elijah Victor late of Hendricks Township has deserted, abandoned, and separated himself from Mary Victor. In doing so, she has been left in a destitute situation and without the means of Support and & maintenance.

In the 1850 Census we find Elijah Victor, Age: 65 living in Shelbyville, Shelby, Indiana.

It appears Grandpa Elijah was a fit man. On August 10, 1854 there is a report that
Elijah Victor of Shelbyville was involved in an altercation with three Germans at a brickyard east of town in which one German was killed and one wounded.” *Note: Elijah would have been 69 years old at the time.
November 10, 1859, Elijah Victor married Sarah Newton (Elijah’s fourth wife) in Shelby County, Indiana *Indiana Marriage Collection 1800-1941. Notes: He is listed as age 75, and is living with his fourth wife, Sarah, in Shelbyville on the 1860 census.

And that's it for tonight. I'd love to learn more about that altercation with three Germans in the brickyard. There is a story there. Perhaps it may be found in a newspaper from that time. I'll keep looking.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Join Me in Welcoming the Newest Member of our Extended Family!

Canon Doxey

Son of Amber and Brock, Grandson of Kim and John, Great Grandson of Charles and Luella, Great Great Grandson of Charles and Elda Williamson and Violet and Walter Mattson.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Everyone,
Actually I'm writing this from my desk at the Space Education Center. We are in the throws of a 3 day Space Camp. I've got students in all five of our simulators. The action and EdVenture can get noisy so I do my work wearing noise cancelling headphones.

They really help 'cancel' the hussle of 24 employees and volunteers running this way and that around my desk (my desk sits right at the crossroads of everything - a nice way to monitor the Center. Down side is the noise).

Tonight I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our extended family. Yes, this post is a birth announcment introducing newborn Canon Doxey to his cousins from coast to coast. Canon was born at 2:00 A.M. on July 13 in the American Fork, Utah Hospital. He weighed 6 pounds 12 ounces. Mother and baby are doing fine.

Amber and Brock

Canon is the fourth child of Amber and Brock Doxey. Amber is the eldest daughter of Kim and John Delgrosso. Canon is the 16th Great Grandchild of Charles and Luella Williamson.

Relationship Chart
Welcome to our family Canon. You have a proud heritage and and are now the newest member of our American Dynasty.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Our 6th Great Grandparents Cross the Atlantic. This is Their Story. (Williamson Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
Tonight we learn more about our German Goodykoontz (Goodykunzt) family. This is something you must find the time to read. Pick a time when you have no distractions and learn about the Atlantic crossing our 6th Great Grandparents endured.
First, the family relationship chart.

Click to Enlarge

Emigration from Germany

Emigration from Germany started as early as the mid 1700s. As mentioned above we find Gutekunsts as early as 1750 in Pennsylvania.

Hans Georg Gutekunst arrived in America (Pennsylvania) on Sept. 29, 1750, having boarded the ship "Osgood" in Rotterdam that sailed to the New World under Captain William Wilkie. With him are Barbara (Braun) his wife, Phillipp Jacob age 20, Barbara age 19, and Paul age 17.
Probably in order to have his name not mispronounced or misspelled all the time, he changed the "Gutekunst" - which would be pronouced "Gutikanst" in American English - into "Goodykoontz" which is exactly how the name was pronounced in his native tongue of the Swabian Black Forest region.

This branch of the Gutekunst family comes from the village of Haiterbach, Germany where the Gutekunsts constituted the largest family through all ages. In the transcribed church records that list all individuals born, baptized, married and burried in the city from the late 1500s to 1900, the family covers 20 pages (pp. 69-88). For Gutekunsts originating from Haiterbach these church book transcripts are a Gold Mine. Since all individuals are linked with page references, it is so easy to establish a family tree with all branches way back to 1550.

Tonight we have a real treat. What you are about to read is a vivid first hand account of the Atlantic crossing our great grandparents made on the ship Osgood. The account was written by fellow passenger and immigrant Gottlieb Mittelberger. The Osgood left the Netherlands and arrived in Philadelphia in 1750. The passenger list includes the names of our ancestors shown below.

And now, the Journal writings of Gottlieb Mittelberger about the Osgood’s Crossing that September in 1750.

"Both in Rotterdam and in Amsterdam the people are packed densely, like herrings so to say, in the large sea-vessels. One person receives a place of scarcely 2 feet width and 6 feet length in the bedstead, while many a ship carries four to six hundred souls; not to mention the innumerable implements, tools, provisions, water-barrels and other things which likewise occupy such space.
On account of contrary winds it takes the ships sometimes 2, 3, and 4 weeks to make the trip from Holland to . . England. But when the wind is good, they get there in 8 days or even sooner. Everything is examined there and the custom-duties paid, whence it comes that the ships ride there 8, 10 or 14 days and even longer at anchor, till they have taken in their full cargoes. During that time every one is compelled to spend his last remaining money and to consume his little stock of provisions which had been reserved for the sea; so that most passengers, finding themselves on the ocean where they would be in greater need of them, must greatly suffer from hunger and want. Many suffer want already on the water between Holland and Old England.
When the ships have for the last time weighed their anchors near the city of Kaupp [Cowes] in Old England, the real misery begins with the long voyage. For from there the ships, unless they have good wind, must often sail 8, 9, 10 to 12 weeks before they reach Philadelphia. But even with the best wind the voyage lasts 7 weeks.
But during the voyage there is on board these ships terrible misery, stench, fumes, horror, vomiting, many kinds of sea-sickness, fever, dysentery, headache, heat, constipation, boils, scurvy, cancer, mouth rot, and the like, all of which come from old and sharply salted food and meat, also from very bad and foul water, so that many die miserably.
Add to this want of provisions, hunger, thirst, frost, heat, dampness, anxiety, want, afflictions and lamentations, together with other trouble, as . . . the lice abound so frightfully, especially on sick people, that they can be scraped off the body. The misery reaches the climax when a gale rages for 2 or 3 nights and days, so that every one believes that the ship will go to the bottom with all human beings on board. In such a visitation the people cry and pray most piteously. Children from 1 to 7 years rarely survive the voyage. I witnessed . . . misery in no less than 32 children in our ship, all of whom were thrown into the sea. The parents grieve all the more since their children find no resting-place in the earth, but are devoured by the monsters of the sea.
That most of the people get sick is not surprising, because, in addition to all other trials and hardships, warm food is served only three times a week, the rations being very poor and very little. Such meals can hardly be eaten, on account of being so unclean. The water which is served out of the ships is often very black, thick and full of worms, so that one cannot drink it without loathing, even with the greatest thirst. Toward the end we were compelled to eat the ship's biscuit which had been spoiled long ago; though in a whole biscuit there was scarcely a piece the size of a dollar that had not been full of red worms and spiders' nests. . .

At length, when, after a long and tedious voyage, the ships come in sight of land, so that the promontories can be seen, which the people were so eager and anxious to see, all creep from below on deck to see the land from afar, and they weep for joy, and pray and sing, thanking and praising God. The sight of the land makes the people on board the ship, especially the sick and the half dead, alive again, so that their hearts leap within them; they shout and rejoice, and are content to bear their misery in patience, in the hope that they may soon reach the land in safety. But alas!
When the ships have landed at Philadelphia after their long voyage, no one is permitted to leave them except those who pay for their passage or can give good security; the others, who cannot pay, must remain on board the ships till they are purchased, and are released from the ships by their purchasers. The sick always fare the worst, for the healthy are naturally preferred and purchased first; and so the sick and wretched must often remain on board in front of the city for 2 or 3 weeks, and frequently die, whereas many a one, if he could pay his debt and were permitted to leave the ship immediately, might recover and remain alive.
The sale of human beings in the market on board the ship is carried out thus: Every day Englishmen, Dutchmen and High-German people come from the city of Philadelphia and other places, in part from a great distance, say 20, 30, or 40 hours away, and go on board the newly arrived ship that has brought and offers for sale passengers from Europe, and select among the healthy persons such as they deem suitable for their business, and bargain with them how long they will serve for their passage money, which most of them are still in debt for. When they have come to an agreement, it happens that adult persons bind themselves in writing to serve 3, 4, 5 or 6 years for the amount due by them, according to their age and strength. But very young people, from 10 to 15 years, must serve till they are 21 years old.
Many parents must sell and trade away their children like so many head of cattle; for if their children take the debt upon themselves, the parents can leave the ship free and unrestrained; but as the parents often do not know where and to what people their children are going, it often happens that such parents and children, after leaving the ship, do not see each other again for many years, perhaps no more in all their lives. . . .
It often happens that whole families, husband, wife and children, are separated by being sold to different purchasers, especially when they have not paid any part of their passage money. When a husband or wife has died a sea, when the ship has made more than half of her trip, the survivor must pay or serve not only for himself or herself but also for the deceased. When both parents have died over half-way at sea, their children, especially when they are young and have nothing to pawn or pay, must stand for their own and their parents' passage, and serve till they are 21 years old. When one has served his or her term, he or she is entitled to a new suit of clothes at parting; and if it has been so stipulated, a man gets in addition a horse, a woman, a cow. When a serf has an opportunity to marry in this country, he or she must pay for each year which he or she would have yet to serve, 5 or 6 pounds.}

From Gottlieb Mittleberger, Journey to Pennsylvania in the Year 1750 and Return to Germany in the Year 1754, trans. Carl Theo Eben (Philadelphia: John Jos. McVey, n.d.).



Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our 37th Great Grandfather, Louis the Pious (Williamson Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we take a moment to learn about our 37th Great Grandfather Louis I. Let's begin with the relationship chart.


37th Great Grandparent, Louis I Holy Roman Emperor married Emengarde Princess of Hesbave
Louis II Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire married Engelberga, Empress of Germany
Emengarde Princess of the HRE. married Dux Boso de Provence
Kunigunde, Princess of Provence married Sigebert De Verdun
Wigerich Count of Trier and Ardennes married Kunigunde, Countess.
Ralph Comte de Bayeux married Hedwig Von Nordgau
Frederic I, Count of Luxemburg married Miss Gleiberg
Ogive of Luxembourg married Baldwin IV Count of Flanders
Baudouin V Count of Flanders married Adaele Princess of France
Matilda married to William the Conqueror of England
Henry I King of England married Sibylia Corbet
Princess of England Elizabeth Beauclerc married Lord Fergus Galloway
Uchtred of Galloway married Gunhild De Dunbar
Alan Lord of Galloway married Helen de I’Lsle
Helen McDonald of Galloway married Roger de Quincy
Elizabeth de Quincy married Alexander Comyn, Earl of Bucan
Elizabeth Comyn married G Umfreville Earl of Angus
Robert De Umfreville married Lucy De Kyme
Eleanor De Umfaville married Gilbert Boroughdon
Baroness Eleanor Boroughdon married Henry Talboys
Sir Wlater Talboys, Sheriff of Lincolnshire married Margaret Deincourt
Lord Waiter Tailboys married Alice Stafford
Dorothy Tailboys married Sir Hugh Tylney
Anges, Duchess of Norfolk married Sir Thomas Howard
Dorothy Howard married Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby
Jane Stanley married Edward Sutton, Baron of Dudley
Edward Sutton married Elizabeth Tomlinson
Ann Sutton married John Bagley
Edward Bagley married Ann Gregorie
Ann Bagley married William Brinton
John Willis married Ester Brinton
Henry Willis married Mary Rachel Underwood
John Willis - Phebe Bennett
Bennett Willis - Katherine Nosseman
Jonathan Willis - Anabella Phlegar
Margaret Ann Willis - George Matthew Williamson
William J. Williamson - Effie Helen Victor
Vennie, Ima Della, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles, Maurice.
Charles Married Luella to Kim, Victor, Kevin, Janice, Jon, Jilane, Lisa and Annette

Known as Louis the Pious or Louis the Debonair (in French, Louis le Pieux, or Louis le Débonnaire; in German, Ludwig der Fromme; known to contemporaries by the Latin Hludovicus or Chlodovicus), Louis was the son of Charlemagne, and the only designated heir to survive his father.

Charlemagne crowning Louis as co-emperor.

In 781 Louis was appointed king of Aquitaine, one of the "sub-kingdoms" of the Carolingian Empire, and though he was only three years old at the time he would acquire great experience managing the kingdom as he matured. In 813 he became co-emperor with his father, then, when Charlemagne died a year later, he inherited the empire -- though not the title Roman Emperor.

The empire was a conglomerate of several different ethnic groups, including Franks, Saxons, Lombards, Jews, Byzantines and many others across a great span of territory. Charlemagne had handled the many differences and the large size of his realm by dividing it up into "sub-kingdoms," but Louis represented himself not as a ruler of different ethnic groups, but as a leader of Christians in a unified land.

Our 37th Great Grandfather's face on a coin of the period.

As emperor, Louis initiated reforms and redefined the relationship between the Frankish empire and the papacy. He carefully structured a system whereby various territories could be assigned to his three grown sons while the empire remained intact. He took swift action in quashing challenges to his authority and even sent his half-brothers into monasteries to prevent any future dynastic conflicts. Louis also performed voluntary penance for his sins, a display that deeply impressed contemporary chroniclers.

Louis performing penance for his sins

The birth of a fourth son (Charles) in 823 to Louis and his second wife, Judith, triggered a dynastic crisis. Louis's elder sons, Pippin, Lothair and Louis the German, had maintained a delicate if uneasy balance, and when Louis attempted to reorganize the empire to include little Charles, resentment raised its ugly head. There was a palace revolt in 830, and in 833 when Louis agreed to meet Lothair to settle their differences (at what became known as the "Field of Lies," in Alsace), he was instead confronted by all his sons and a coalition of their supporters, who forced him to abdicate.

But within a year Louis had been released from confinement and was back in power. He continued to rule energetically and decisively until his death in 840.


Scenes from the Mattson Ranch

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we spend some time on the Mattson Ranch in Montana.

This is the old Mattson Ranch House seen from the side. The front door faced the small grove of willow trees. The old garage sits closest to us. You can see the front gate. The family well sat in the grove of trees. Yes, I said a well. The Mattson home didn't have indoor plumbing. They used an outhouse and fetched water from the well. It is hard to believe isn't it. It was the 1940's and people in the United States still lived without electricity or indoor plumbing.

The water well was the only well that didn't go dry during the dust bowl and drought of the 30' and 40's. Luella remembers the neighbors coming to the house to draw water from their well.

Grandma Mattson was a fan of the willow trees. They supplied the switches she used to spank the Mattson children when then were naughty. Of course she'd make them fetch their own willow switch for their spanking. How very kind of her.

Luella remembers one year they had a bull snake living under their front porch. They didn't bother it because it had its use. The snake was good for killing mice. One day though the snake got into one of the trees in the front yard. It was after the eggs in the bird's nests.
"We heard the birds going crazy in the trees," Luella remembered. "We ran outside with Grandpa (John Albert Mattson) to see what was wrong. We saw the bull snake was in the branches after the eggs. Grandpa got the can of DDT and sprayed the tree to try to get the snake to come down. Can you believe it. We all stood under the tree letting the DDT rain down on top of us!" Luella remembered.

"My grandparents were the hardest working people I've ever known," Luella said. "They worked from sun up to sun down. Even at night they had something in their hands they were working on. Grandma Ida said the mark of a lazy woman was a woman sitting with nothing in her hands. If you had time to sit you had time to sew, or mend, or clean the kerosene lamps."
Great Grandpa John Albert could repair just about anything. Luella said he fixed all their shoes from his work bench. "He loved to work," she said.

John Albert and Ida spoke Swedish to each other and broken English when the rest of the family was around.

Luella was three or four year old when this picture was taken. She is showing off her new robe given to her on her birthday. Luella had many dolls because, as she says, she was adored by everyone and always was given gifts. She told me that everyone adored her - her parents, grandparents and neighbors. "They adored me because I always acted like a grown up. I never gave anyone trouble."
Luella at two years old in the front yard of the ranch house. She is wearing her dad's cowboy hat. Luella's mother Violet and grandmother (Ida) made the pants. Luella refused to wear the pants for quiet awhile. Her reasoning made sense. Her grandmother Ida never wore pants, no not once. And if Grandmother didn't wear pants then why should Luella? Eventually Luella was talked into putting them on (as seen in the photo above).

Luella remembers being a picky dresser. She once refused to wear a nice new nightgown sewn by her mother and grandmother because she thought it had a stain on the front. The stain was actullay an iron on transfer of a little Dutch Girl.

Luella was born with dark hair that turned blond. She remembers wanting blue black hair like her mother's. She would pray at night for her hair to change color to match her mother'. Her prayers were answered when her hair started to change color as she grew older.

Luella (born in 1939) and her younger sister Linda (born in 1941). Linda had a rough start in life. For some reason Grandma Mattson couldn't nurse her so they tried to give her cow's milk. The milk upset her stomach, causing her to scream for her first year. Grandpa Mattson (Walter) was the only one that could put Linda to sleep at night. He'd lay her on his chest to calm her down. Today, Linda says she'd like to be buried over her dad because of the close bond they had with each other. Her illness was eventually cured when the family bought a goat and gave her goat's milk instead.

Linda was the first baby born after baby Walter Albert died, Walter and Violet's second born child right after Luella. She came out a fighter and tough cookie and remains one to this day.
Branding time on the Ranch. Alec, the hired hand, is the one branding. Walter Mattson is holding down the calf. The neighbors always came to help on branding day (Densen's, Rosencraz's and the Cambells). The men branding the cows and the women worked in the house preparing a large meal for everyone. It was like a community barn raising. Everyone pitched in and helped. There was a real spirit of community in Easter Montana.