.

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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Are Williamsons from Wales? A Quandry.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
Warm and cloudless at the Fortress this evening. I enjoyed my walk home from the Space Education Center. I’ll confess I did something which for me was daring. I wanted to leave the paved road and walk a section of the way home along the government canal, which is marked “No Trespassing” at regular intervals. Walking the canal wasn’t the daring thing. Everyone walks the canal, ignoring the warning not to trespass. I believe, along with so many other canal walkers, that the warning is for vehicles - not pedestrians. Besides, no one patrols the canal anyway.

Back to my story. To get onto the canal from where I was required a walk up someone’s very long private driveway. I walked up to the start of the drive and strained to see if anyone was lurking about, someone like the owner perhaps. The drive ends at a large, French Louis XIV style home. Now, if it were some aluminum sided bungalow then I wouldn’t have been so apprehensive, thinking common folk understand common folk. This chateau intimidated me. I had visions of me breaching the compound, triggering alarms, and moments later running for my life from a platoon of the French Foreign Legion.

I hesitated to move forward and hesitated to retreat and walk the rest of the way home on the public road. It was the school teacher in me that reminded me that rules are to be obeyed. Let’s face it, I’m well known in Pleasant Grove. My guilt ridden imagination gave me a vision of the headline the town’s local fish wrapper newspaper would print if I was apprehended: “Well Known, Yet Eccentric Pleasant Grove Teacher, Arrested for Trespassing onto Federal Government Property through a Neighborhood Driveway - Intentions Unknown!”

The debate raged internally for ten seconds or so before I decided to ‘Man Up‘ and live daring. I stepped forward into the breech and moved as quickly as I could (without breaking into what I perceived would be interrupted as a guilty jog) up the driveway - my eyes never veering from the chain link gate and the yellow triangle reading “No Trespassing - US Govt. Property”.

There was no horn or alarm. Not even a dog’s bark broke the still of the afternoon. A moment later I was safely onto the canal and freedom. I’d done it! I trespassed and felt so alive. I’ll confess I’m feeling pretty invincible right now and about thirty years younger. Wow, I need to do this more often. Come to think of it, there is a Army Reserve Compound near the high school. That might make for an interesting next challenging moment. I’ll keep you informed.

Tonight we take a moment to discuss one of the possibilities for the Williamson name in America. As many of you know that have been regular readers of this blog, the first Williamson ancestor of ours to cross the Atlantic pond for America still eludes me. The furthest back any of us have traced the family line is the father of George Matthew Williamson, my Great Great Grandfather. We know his father was Matthew Williamson and the family lived near Lynchburg Virginia around 1830. From the research I’ve done I’m settling on one of two theories for the orgin of our family. I’d like to take the next two posts and discuss them. Tonight I’ll start with the Wales Theory.

Are the Williamsons from Wales?

Well, are we? That I don’t know. I’ve heard it said that someone in the family remembers someone saying that they heard from someone else that our Williamson family originated from Wales. Is this true? Does anyone have information to shed on that? If so please share.

OK, If we are descended from a family of Williamsons that came from Wales then our Atlantic crossing Williamson Great Grandparent might be Hugh Williamson, who came from Wales about 1720's and first settled in New Kent County, Virginia., and then moved with the tide of emigration to Western Pennsylvania. Various deed books give Hugh’s descendants owning land in Pike, Floyd, Johnson, and Martin counties. Floyd County is where our family of Williamson’s seems to be at that time.

Hugh Williamson was born about 1710 in Wales and died around 1813. He immigrated to America around 1724. He had one son named Alden Williamson, born around 1750.

Once again, Does anyone in the family ever recall anyone mentioning a Welsh origin to our family name?

More to come.

Simply,
Victor

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Early Photographs from Great Grandmother Ida Mattson's Photo Album



Relationship Chart for the People in the photographs below. Remember, Albert and Josephine were brother and sister, both immigrated from Sweden.



Ed Lidman, son of Josephine Mattson Lidman and Charles Lidman. Josephine was Great Grandpa Albert Mattson's sister, thus making her our Great Great Aunt, making her Walter's aunt. She came to America before Albert. Ed was Josephine's only child.

This is a picture of Charles Lidman, husband to Josephine Mattson Lidman. This picture was taken in Lead, South Dakota.

In this photo taken about 1913 we have Great Grandmother Ida holding her only child, Walter (Grandpa Mattson). Grandpa Mattson was born in 1912. We don't know who the other woman and child are.

This is another picture of Josephine Mattson Lidman sitting on the porch of her home in Lead.

This is a picture of Rose Lidman, the wife of Ed Lidman. Ed was a first cousin to Grandpa Walter.
This is a family picture of the Lidman's. From left to right. Josephine Mattson Lidman, Rose (her daughter in law), Charles Lidman - Josephine's husband, Albert Mattson, and seated - Ida Tornberg Mattson.
Josephine Mattson Lidman standing with her daughter in law, Rose.

Ida Tornberg Mattson came to the United States to work as a domestic in Michigan (see earlier posts on her crossing and dates). She came to the country with friends from Sweden. Great Grandmother Ida is on the right.

This is a picture of Josephine Lidman. She is the daughter of Ed and Rose Lidman. Luella knew Josephine. She was buried in Hermosa, South Dakota Cemetery. Little Josephine took care of her father Ed for years and years, remaining unmarried. When Ed died Josephine married in her later years having no children.

Josephine Mattson Lidman in her later years.
Josephine Mattson Lidman sitting with her husband Charles.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our Grandfather, the Saviour of Christian France and Europe

The Battle of Tours and the Salvation of a Christian Europe

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we learn about my 41st and 46th Great Grandfather, Charles Martel. 41st on the Williamson Line and 46th on the Mattson / Pierce line.

I saw his name on the family tree and failed to stop long enough to learn his story. Then last week I watched a special on the Dark Ages (History Channel). A section of the documentary was devoted to Charles Martel, a French General who defeated the invading Muslim army in 732 A.D.

This general saved Christianity in Europe and ushered in the Dark Ages. He stopped the spread of Islam in West. The documentary said that he was the grandfather of Charlemagne. That's when the light came on and I knew we were related on both sides of our family.

Today then, may I introduce you to a famous grandfather in history and Christendom.

Charles Martel (ca. 688 – 22 October 741), Charles Martel, literally Charles the Hammer, was a Frankish military and political leader, who served as Mayor of the Palace under the Merovingian kings and ruled de facto during an interregnum (737–43) at the end of his life, using the title Duke and Prince of the Franks. In 739 he was offered the title of Consul by the Pope, but he refused.He is remembered for winning the Battle of Tours in 732, in which he defeated an invading Muslim army and halted northward Islamic expansion in western Europe.

A brilliant general, he lost only one battle in his career (the Battle of Cologne). He is a founding figure of the Middle Ages, often credited with a seminal role in the development of feudalism and knighthood, and laying the groundwork for the Carolingian Empire. He was also the grandfather of Charlemagne.

The Tomb of Charles Martel in France

Martel was born in Heristal (Herstal in present-day Belgium), the illegitimate son of the mayor, duke Pepin II and his concubine Alpaida.

The following tale is told of Charles and the origins of his name: in 676, Pepin and his wife Plectrude were talking together in private when they were intruded upon by a messenger, bringing news that the Mayor's mistress, Alpaida, had given birth to a son at Herstal. The messenger, fearful of arousing the wrath of Plectrude, decided not to announce the news directly. Instead, he said: "Long live the king, it is a carl" ('man'). Pepin, equally cautious of his wife, dismissed the messenger as follows: "A carl, is it? Then let him be called that." This was done, and, so legend claims, the child was named "Carl". In German-speaking countries he is known as Karl Martell. Alpaida also bore Pepin another son, Childebrand.

The Defeat of the Muslims and the Saviour of a Christian Europe

The Battle of Tours earned Charles the cognomen "Martel" ('Hammer'), for the merciless way he hammered his enemies. Many historians, including Sir Edward Creasy, believe that had he failed at Tours, Islam would probably have overrun Gaul, and perhaps the remainder of Western Europe. Gibbon made clear his belief that the Umayyad armies would have conquered from Rome to the Rhine, and even England, having the English Channel for protection, with ease, had Martel not prevailed. Creasy said "the great victory won by Charles Martel ... gave a decisive check to the career of Arab conquest in Western Europe, rescued Christendom from Islam, [and] preserved the relics of ancient and the germs of modern civilization" (bearing in mind that Arab-Islamic invaders had already forcibly converted most of the population of North Africa and the Middle East, which had been the cradle of Christianity, almost completely eliminated the Zoroastrians from Persia and destroyed the Royal Zoroastrian libraries, and that Muslim invaders would later demolish or destroy thousands of Buddhist and Hindu places of worship and learning within the Indian subcontinent). Gibbon's belief that the fate of Christianity hinged on this battle is echoed by other historians including John B. Bury, and was very popular for most of modern historiography. It fell somewhat out of style in the twentieth century, when historians such as Bernard Lewis contended that Arabs had little intention of occupying northern France. More recently, however, many historians have tended once again to view the Battle of Tours as a very significant event in the history of Europe and Christianity. Equally, many, such as William Watson, still believe this battle was one of macrohistorical world-changing importance, if they do not go so far as Gibbon does rhetorically.

In the modern era, Matthew Bennett and his co-authors of "Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World", published in 2005, argue that "few battles are remembered 1,000 years after they are fought ... but the Battle of Poitiers, (Tours) is an exception ... Charles Martel turned back a Muslim raid that had it been allowed to continue, might have conquered Gaul." Michael Grant, author of "History of Rome", grants the Battle of Tours such importance that he lists it in the macrohistorical dates of the Roman era.

Contemporary historians believe that a failure by Martel at Tours could have been a disaster, destroying what would become Western civilization after the Renaissance. Certainly all historians agree that no power would have remained in Europe able to halt Islamic expansion had the Franks failed. William E. Watson, one of the most respected historians of this era, strongly supports Tours as a macrohistorical event

Relationship Chart for the Williamson and

Mattson / Pierce Lines

41st Great Grandfather

Charles Martel married Rotrude of Treves

to

Pepin, King of France married Berthe Countess of Laon
to
Charlemagne, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire married Hildegard
to
Louis I Holy Roman Emperor married Emengarde Princess of Hesbave
to
Louis II Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire married Engelberga, Empress of Germany
to
Emengarde Princess of the HRE. married Dux Boso de Provence
to
Kunigunde, Princess of Provence married Sigebert De Verdun
to
Wigerich Count of Trier and Ardennes married Kunigunde, Countess.
to
Ralph Comte de Bayeux married Hedwig Von Nordgau
to
Frederic I, Count of Luxemburg married Miss Gleiberg
to
Ogive of Luxembourg married Baldwin IV Count of Flanders
to
Baudouin V Count of Flanders married Adaele Princess of France
to
Matilda married to William the Conqueror of England
to
Henry I King of England married Sibylia Corbet
to
Princess of England Elizabeth Beauclerc married Lord Fergus Galloway
to
Uchtred of Galloway married Gunhild De Dunbar
to
Alan Lord of Galloway married Helen de I’Lsle
to
Helen McDonald of Galloway married Roger de Quincy
to
Elizabeth de Quincy married Alexander Comyn, Earl of Bucan
to
Elizabeth Comyn married G Umfreville Earl of Angus
to
Robert De Umfreville married Lucy De Kyme
to
Eleanor De Umfaville married Gilbert Boroughdon
to
Baroness Eleanor Boroughdon married Henry Talboys
to
Sir Wlater Talboys, Sheriff of Lincolnshire married Margaret Deincourt
to
Lord Waiter Tailboys married Alice Stafford
to
Dorothy Tailboys married Sir Hugh Tylney
to

Anges, Duchess of Norfolk married Sir Thomas Howard
to
Dorothy Howard married Edward Stanley, Earl of Derby
to
Jane Stanley married Edward Sutton, Baron of Dudley
to
Edward Sutton married Elizabeth Tomlinson
to
Ann Sutton married John Bagley
to
Edward Bagley married Ann Gregorie
to
Ann Bagley married William Brinton
to
John Willis married Ester Brinton
to
Henry Willis married Mary Rachel Underwood
to
John Willis - Phebe Bennett
to
Bennett Willis - Katherine Nosseman
to
Jonathan Willis - Anabella Phlegar
to
Margaret Ann Willis - George Matthew Williamson
to
William J. Williamson - Effie Helen Victor
to
Vennie, Ima Della, Inez, Lillie Ethel, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles, Maurice.
to
Charles Williamson married Luella Mattson
to

Me

_______________________________________________

Relationship Chart (Mattson Line)

46th Great Grandfather
Charles Martel married Rotrude of Treves

to

Pepin, King of France married Berthe Countess of Laon

to
Canbert Lyon married Bertrada de Austrasia
to
Berthe Countess of Laon married Pepin, King of France
to
Charlemagne Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire
to
Pepin King of Italy
to
Benard King of Italy and Lombardy
to
Pbepin li Quentin Count
to
Herbert I Count of Vermandois
to
Herbert II Count of Vermandoie
to
Robert De Vermandois Count of Vermandois
to
Adelaid De Vermandos
to
Comte Hugues I d’Autun Bishop of Auxerre Ct of Chalon
to
Ementrude Chalons Countess
to
King Alfonso VI “The Valiant” de Castile y Leon King
to
Urraca Alfonsez Queen of Castile
to
Alfonso VII King of Castille
to
Alfonso VIII King of Castille
to
Blanca A De Castile
to
Philip “The Bold” III King of France
to
England, Marguerite Princess of France
to
Thomas Earl of Brotherton
to
Sir Edward Woodhouse
to
John Wodehouse
to
John Wodehouse
to
John De Wodehouse
to
Sir Edward Woodhouse
to
Thomas Woodhouse
to
Ann Woodhouse
to
Robert Coke or Cooke
to
Alice Cook
to
William Sr. Pond
to
Robert Pond Sr.
to
William Pond
to
Abigail Pond
to
Abigail Clapp
to
William Clapp
to
Elizabeth Clapp
to
Joseph Blake
to
Zipporah Blake
to
Nathaniel Evans
to
Nathaniel Evans Jr.
to
Hannah Betsy Evans
to
Joseph E. McCrillis
to
Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrillies
to
Vesta Althea Dennis
to
Violet Mae Pierce
to
Luella, John, Linda, Marvin
to
Me

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Two Items from Elda Vercellino's School Days.

Today we look at a few items from Grandma Elda's childhood in Lead, South Dakota. Elda Vercellino loved poetry. I learned that after looking through her things after her death. Grandma Elda cut poems out of the newspapers and copied many by hand. This love of poetry started at a young age as we see in this paper from school. The year is difficult to read but I'm guessing it is Christmas 1918 and she is in the 6th grade. (Click to enlarge).




The second item to look at is a souvenir given to her by her third grade teacher dated 1915. This is something quite nice. I'm sure it was expensive to have these printed. Elda was in the third grade. The world was one year into World War I. The Titanic sank three years earlier.

The Front (Click to Enlarge)

The Inside (Click to Enlarge). Notice Elda's name was misspelled and hand corrected.
I'm sure she hated that!

The Back with the Teacher's Own Handwriting.


Relationship Chart

Elda Vercellino married Charles Williamson
to
Charles Ray Williamson married Luella Mattson
to
Kim, Victor, Kevin, Janice, Jon, Jilane, Lisa and Annette

More on our McCrillis Family History. (Mattson - McCrillis Line).

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I'm doing battle with the mother of all colds today. I carry a snot rag with me everywhere I go. I think I might just tie a towel around my neck and let my nose drip to its heart's content. The towel will catch the discharge, sparing my shirt. It started with a nasty sore throat and developed quickly into something that caught my attention. I survived the night thanks to NyQuil. The downside to guzzling NyQuil is the hangover in the morning. I felt like I had Vaseline spread over my glasses for the first few hours I was awake. My hips are bruised from stumbling around WynCo. I might have knocked over a display of Generic Ravioli but I can't be sure.

Today we're going to take a moment to learn more about our McCrillis ancestry.

Once upon a time there lived a gentleman named......

RELATIONSHIP CHART

John McCrellis. b. 1670/75. Northern Ireland. married. Margaret Burnside b. 1675. Londonderry, N. Ireland.
to
Daniel McCleres b. 1707. Londonderry, N. Ireland married Elizabeth Thompson b. Bellewoolen
to
Robert McCrellis. b. 1740 Lebanon, Maine. married Mary Kenney b. 1753 Lebanon Maine.
to
John K. McCrillis b. 1775. married Hannah (Betsy) Evans. b. 14 Oct. 1784.
to
Joseph E. McCrillis b. 20 March 1808. Orange, Vermont. married Almira Swift. b. 6 Jan. 1809 Corrinth Vermont
to
Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrilles. b. 1851 Topsham, Vermont. married Hohn Mayberry
to
Vesta Althea Dennis b. 1892. Hot Springs, South Dakota. married Walter Edwin Pierce. b. 23 Aug. 1885, Cascade Springs, South Dakota
to
Violet May Pierce married Walter Albert Matson
to
Luella, Linda, John and Marvin Mattson
to
US. The Mattson Cousins

John McCrillis was of Scotch ancestry, who emigrated from Scotland to North Ireland about the middle of the seventeenth century (that's the 1600's for those of you that struggle with your years and centuries). He married in Londonderry, Ire., about 1700 to a beautiful (my guess) Margaret Burnside, also of Scotch descent, and settled in Aghadowey near Londonderry.

After all his children were born. His wife Margaret died around 1726. Around the middle of the 1700's he came to America, bringing five of his children leaving behind a daughter, Jean.

Mr. McCrillis sailed from Port Rush, Ireland on 7 Aug., 1726, and arrived at Boston 8 Oct. Imagine spending two months tossing and heaving this way and that on the Atlantic! John moved to Haverhill on 26 Oct. 1726 where he stayed until 19 April, 1727. After that day he moved to Derry.

Later John bought lands in Nottingham, "two home lots" from George St. for £100, on which he settled as early as 1734. Unlike most of the Scotch- Irish emigrants who remained faithful to the Catholic Church, John was a member of the Church of England. The rector of the Episcopal Church in Portsmouth went to Nottingham to baptize his grandchildren. Other Scotch-Irish families such as the McClarys, Harveys, Kelseys and Simpsons came in the same ship with them, all of whom settled in Nottingham. These families did not intermarry with the Irish.

As you well remember from another post some months back in the blog we discussed our 5th Great Grandfather Robert McCrillis, son of Daniel and Elizabeth McCrillis of Lebanon. His father, Daniel McCrillis, the original McCrillis to settle in town was the son of the Scotch-
Irish emigrant John McCrillis who came to Lebanon from the north of Ireland soon after 1745.

This family was probably living in Lebanon before 1750, for on 30 July, 1749, the Rev. Amos Main entered upon the records of the First Parish of Rochester, N. H., the following
"Also Baptized
Robert McCrelis."
At that time the Rochester church was located about four miles from where the McCrillises lived.

Robert McCrillis was a private in Capt. David Place's Company, stationed on Seavey's Island, being named on a return dated 5 Nov. 1775.

On 14 July, 1776, the Rev. Isaac Hasey of the First Parish of Lebanon recorded in his diary as follows : "Bill up by Rob't McCrellis for himself bound into ye Army." His name occurs on a roll dated at Charlestown 27 July, 1776, in Capt. John Drew's Co. raised for Canada out of Col. Evans's and Col. Badger's Reg'ts.

Origin of our Family Name McCrillis
By,O. Jay McCrillis.

Undoubtedly the "Land of Heather" is the birthplace of the name of McCrillis, or of the name from which it has been derived, and the home of those who first bore it. Diligent search has, however, so far failed to reveal the origin of the name and the clan with which the family affiliated.

Little is known of this family prior to the immigration to America, except as they shared the common lot with many others of the same race. The latest investigation indicates that somewhere in the region near Glasgow lived the first who bore the name. It is true that at least one branch of the family, living in America during the last fifty years, traces its ancestry to Scotland by one direct immigration. As many of the Scottish names were materially changed, often for the purpose of concealing identity, it seems probable that this was true of the name McCrillis, and thus the evidence by which the family's history could be traced is lost. The spelling believed to be most ancient is Maccrellish or Maccrillish. The former style of the name is now borne by persons in America, and it is reported that it also appears in Ireland and Scotland. Other spellings now used by different branches are: McCrellis, McCrellias, McGrillis, and McCrillis, of which the last is most common.

The evidence of general history and the traditions of older members of the family, make it certain that, like the ancestors of very many of the best people of our land, those of most of the McCrillis family of this country made two journeys in coming to America. The first was the emigration from Scotland to County Antrim, in the north of Ireland, which is thought to have been about 1680, and the second —that of probably a generation or two later—from Ireland to America.

The first of the name, of whom a record exists in America, is John McCrillis, who sailed with five and perhaps six of his children as a part of a company from Port Rush, near Giant's Causeway, in Ireland, Aug. 7, 1726, and arrived in Boston, Oct. 8, following. He was the progenitor of the New Hampshire and also the Maine and Vermont branches of the McCrillis family in America. The next known authentic records locate another John McCrillis at Coleraine, Mass., in 1747; William McCrillis at Boston in 1740; and Daniel McCleres (known to be a mis-spelling of McCrillis) in Portsmouth, N. H., in 1740. It is now settled that Daniel, the progenitor of the Vermont branch, was one of the sons of the John McCrillis first spoken of. Without doubt, relationship existed between the first John and the two Coleraine settlers—John and William—but just what it was has never been ascertained. Two daughters of John McCrillis, of New Hampshire—Martha and Mary—married Coleraine men. It is believed that the John and William who settled in Coleraine were related as uncle and nephew. William married in Boston, in 1740, and reared a family there during the next eight years, as shown by the records of the old Federal Street (or Long Lane) Presbyterian church. He appears in Coleraine in 1749, buying land. John McCrilis, supposed to have been the uncle of William, must have preceded him to Cole. raine, as he is mentioned there in 1747.

It is very possible that ' these four—the two Johns, Daniel and William—came in 1726, or at different times very near that date, and lived in Boston for some years. There is a persistent tradition in the family that they landed and lived at "Noodle Island," which is now East Boston. The records that most concern this ancestry show definitely that the uncle and nephew, as it is supposed—John and William McCrillis—joined, sometime after 1740, a company of their countrymen who were developing a new town called Coleraine, perhaps from the old city of the name so near their former home in Ireland. The first deed for a lot of land in the town was dated January, 1738, and the first town meeting was held in January, 1741. John "McCrilis," as the name is spelled in his will, and who was evidently the elder of the two of that name, was the first ancestor in America of O. Jay McCrillis.

He was probably born in County Antrim, Ireland, in one of the small towns in the valley of the Bann river, about 1700. His parentage is unknown, as is also the exact date of his arrival in America. As one of the early settlers of Coleraine, he acquired a lot of land in the southeasterly part of the new township, not far from the Green river. There he built a house and reared a family, some of the children of which must have been well grown when they came to live in Coleraine. John McCrilis is said to have been prominent in the town affairs. McClellan's historical address on Coleraine mentions him as a member of a military company, under Lieut. Daniel Severance, which was stationed in Coleraine in 1747 and 1748, during the French and Indian war, to fight the Indians.

The same address also mentions that John McCrilis and others protested against having the master or mistress of the school, which, on March 5, 1753, the town voted to hold, paid by lots, but by the scholars that attended the school. John McCrilis mentions his wife in his will, but her maiden surname is unknown. Their children were as follows: Margaret McCrilis, who married Lieut. Samuel Wells, of Greenfield, Nov. 11, 1751.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More on Henry Willis and Mary Pease. Williamson / Willis Line

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I'm taking a moment during this weekend's Space Camp to post something we may have discussed in the past. The following is an article published in the Quaker Magazine "The Friend". This article is a biography of our Great Grandfather Henry Willis (Along the Williamson line then to the Willis line). Please take a moment and read about these devoutly religious ancestors.

Simply,
Victor




Relationship Chart

Henry Willis and Mary Pease my 9th Great Grandparents.
to
John Willis
to
John Willis
to
John Willis
to
John Willis
to
Bennett Willis
to
Jonathan Willis
to
Margaret Ann Willis - George Matthew Williamson
to
William J. Williamson
to
The Nine Williamson Children (our parents and grandparents)
to
Charles Williamson
to
Me.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES,

Of Ministers and Elders, and other concerned members of the Yearly Meeting of Philadelphia. (Continued from page 300.)

HENRY WILLIS.

Henry Willis was born at Westbury, Wiltshire, in Old England, on the 14th of the Seventh month, 1628. We find no account of the character of his parents, nor what religious restraints he was subjected to in youth; but he himself in early manhood had evidently submitted to the cross of Christ. In 1654, he married Mary Pease, a religious young woman, and they both were soon convinced of the Truth as professed by the people called Quakers. In 1660, Henry Willis, going to Salisbury prison to visit some of his fellow professors, who were confined there for their christian testimonies, was arrested and carried before the mayor of that town. He was charged with no breach of the laws, but the oath of allegiance was tendered to him, and as he could not swear for conscience' sake, he was committed to prison.

In the year 1670, he removed with his family to America, and purchasing a body of land on Long Island, he called it Westbury, after the name of the place of his nativity. But persecution was not confined to England, as Henry Willis and his fellow professors on Long Island, found. About the beginning of the year 1680, Henry Willis and John Bowne had each of them a daughter married according to Friends' order. They were probably Henry's eldest daughter Mary, and John's daugh ter Elizabeth. Magistrates and priests were all displeased at the manner of those marriages, inasmuch as they received no fees. This caused them to bring Henry and John before a court of sessions, who fined them each £10. They could not conscientiously pay the fines, and so suffered distraints, as the following petition from them sets forth :—

To the Governor and his Council at New York. The address of Henry Willis and John Bowne concerning the proceedings of a court of sessions against us, who said they fined us £10 apiece, for suffering our daughters to marry contrary to their law. This proceeding, we arc satisfied, is without precedent, and we count it no less, but either a istake or hasty oversight. Though we have enloured for its removal, yet execution is issued and Joseph Lee, under-sheriff, hath seized

equity, where the witness of God may arise m every conscience to testify, whether if such things should go on and be proceeded in, it would not be the ruinating of families, and to the kindling of God's anger against the place or people. This we truly desire may be prevented, by taking away the occasion. Wherefore we make our address to the chief in authority, knowing that the magistrate's authority is to preserve men's persons and estates, but the prerogative of the conscience belongs to God, and we dare not but yield obedience thereunto, as God hath persuaded our hearts, and we do not act, as sometimes resented, in stubbornness, obstinacy, or contempt of authority; but in simplicity, having God's fear in our hearts that we may keep our consciences clear before him, from whom we receive strength to uphold us in trials and exercises. AVe earnestly desire the Lord may persuade your hearts, that ye may remove the cause of this our address, and open that eye in you that can see us as we are, who can pray for those in authority, that under them we may live a peaceable, holy and godlike life.

Henry Willis,
Joun Bowne.

4th of Seventh month, 1680.

We know not whether the fine in the case was remitted or not, but we know that Henry Willis continued to suffer for his testimonies against war, and against hireling ministry. The distraints made on his property for his not training, induced him to address the governor and council, Twelfth month 24th, 1680. The last instance of pecuniary suffering inflicted on him by the magistrates, which I have met with, was a fine of £4 10*. in 1687, for not contributing towards a dwelling-house for the priest.

Henry Willis, pretty early in his religious life, came forth as a minister. We find him in the year 1681, at the first Yearly Meeting held at Burlington, in company with his friend and fellow sufferer, John Bowne. They were appointed by that Yearly Meeting, to request of the Friends on Long Island, that the members of Shrewsbury meeting might in future belong to Burlington YearlyMeeting. He and J. Bowne appear to have generally attended the Yearly Meeting at Burlington and Philadelphia, in the early day. They both signed in 1692 the testimony of the meeting of ministers against George Keith.

About the end of 1699, Henry Willis felt a concern to remove to Philadelphia. His eight children were all grown up, and principally settled, so that it appears he brought none of them with him. His daughter Elizabeth, however, in 1696, had

married William Rakestraw, and resided in Philadelphia.* The certificate granted by Flushing Monthly Meeting for him and his wife Mary, is dated Third mo. 26th, 1700. It certifies of him as " our ancient and dear Friend," and says he had " constantly sought the honour of God and his truth."

Henry Willis was growing in years, yet he appears to have been much dedicated .in visiting neighbouring meetings, and was employed in the business of the Monthly Meeting. In 1702, he

* Elizabeth lived but a few years after her marriage.

Yearly Meeting at Long Island. The record of his visits to meetings within a few miles of Philadelphia, continue abundant through every year until 1708. Early in that year, he requested a certificate for himself and wife, intending to remove to reside with their daughter at Newtown, West Jersey. Before the close of the year, they had removed from Newtown, it is believed, to Long Island, where amid their children and children's children, they might find comfortable and loving attention, during the few days of their earthly pilgrimage yet allotted them.

Here, our trace of this industrious minister of the gospel and labourer in the Lord's earthly harvest field ends. The period of his release from his earthly service was probably not long delayed. He was over 80 years of age, when he last changed, his place of abode. If, in the hour of death, he felt the testimony of the Lord's Holy Spirit, bearing witness in accordance with the declaration of his friends, that he had constantly sought the honour of God and his truth, to the end, he needed nothing more. This was sufficient to sweeten every bitter cup, even the final parting with his long united and tenderly beloved Mary.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September on the Montana Mattson Ranch

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

The colors are changing on the mountainsides above the Fortress. The various shades of green
have surrendered to bright oranges and reds. It is the best time of year.

Today I have a treat for all. Two weeks ago Luella discovered Grandma Ida's (Walter Mattson's mother) photo album amongst her positions. I've decided to post its pictures for the next several days. Today we begin with family pictures on the first page.
This is Great Grandpa Albert (Walter's father) and Great Grandmother Ida (Walter's mother) sitting on a cot outside the ranch house. Three year old Luella is sitting between them. These two pictures were taken in September 1942.
Notice that Great Grandmother Ida is wearing an apron. Luella said that Ida always wore an apron and tan stockings. She always wore a dress. Luella never remembers Ida wearing a pair of pants. They were a loving couple. Albert was an outstanding worker with huge hands. Ida was an excellent housekeeper.

Grandpa Walter in the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corp). This picture was taken in the late 1930's. He left the CCC's and married Violet in 1938.

Another picture of Grandpa Walter while in the CCC's. On the back of this picture he wrote:
I'm just as fat as I look. Do you see green grass? Is it pretty? Your Son Walter.

Luella at about 18 months standing by the barn. The posts are holding up the barn wall. Luella's knees are dirty. She'd been out playing. Notice that Luella had blond hair. Luella says that she prayed her blond hair would turn dark like her mother's. It did and she believed her prayer had been answered.

This is a picture of Luella at 2 or 3 years old (1941). It's Easter and she's holding her Easter present. She's sitting on the chair Great Grandmother Ida gave her. She's sitting under a cherry tree.

This is Helen Lidman Rosencranz. Her father was Grandpa Albert's nephew. Albert's sister Josephine Mattson Lidman was Helen's sister. She loved to come visit the ranch. Helen is alive today living on a ranch between Alzada and Ekalaka Montana.

Simply,
Victor

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Vercellino Family, Way Back Then and Not So Far Back Then.



From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Family,
Today we visit the Vercellino side of our family with pictures. Let's begin with a photo of a Vercellino family gathering at the end of World War 1. After that, pictures of a Vercellino family gathering, compliments of Theran Peterson (Karen Vercellino's son).

The Vercellino's of Deadwood / Lead South Dakota.
Taken in 1917/18 where Lead High School sits.
Click to Enlarge

Persons in this Vercellino Family Reunion.
1. Elda Vercellino (Mother of Charles Ray Williamson. Partially cut off)
2. Edith Giachetto
3. ? 4. ? 5. ?
6. Ed Vercellino (Elda's Youngest Brother. Stricken with Polio. Elda was 18 months older.)
7. Marie Vercellino (Viano) Elda's Mother.
8. Theodore Configliocco (Cousin to Elda)
9. ?
10. Louise Vercellino (Fred Vercellino's Wife. Fred was Elda's Uncle).
11. Danny Vercellino (Fred Vercellino's Son. Elda's first cousin).
12. Giovani Vercellino (far right edge of picture cut off. Elda's father)
13. Sanders Family Friend
14. Minnie Navoros. (family friend)
15 - 18. ?
19. Helen Vercellino (Elda's cousin. Fred's daughter)
20. Helen Lauriten (family friend)

The following pictures were went by Karen Vercellino's son. Thank you.
He also wrote:
After trying to find more about Fidele's family: Catherine & Dan died infancy. Helen had no children. Don't know about Daniel. Mabel has a son Bob Hastie in California, he has 3 children Diane Louise Hoover (b. 25 Feb 1949 in Dallas), David John (b. 05 Nov 1951 in Dallas) & Suzanne Stahlbuhk (b. 05 Nov 1951 in Dallas). Fred had 2 daughters Joyce & Eloise, both deceased. Eloise has 2 daughters Jane Loretta (b. 15 Dec 1950 in Kellogg, ID) & Karen Lee (b. 19 Jun 1952 in Wallace, ID), Eloise Zabel died in Spokane. Joyce Bigley died in Portland, don't know anything about children.
The only one I ever heard tell stories was Evelyn Configliacco. It is fun to listen to her stories because she actually lived in the neighborhood of our relatives. One I remember was that 2 of our family members used a third grade reader to learn English. they were trying to say 30. One said dirty and one said turdy. Evelyn always said "I think I would rather be dirty, then turdy"

Theran Peterson (? on the spelling)

Maria Viano Vercellino (Elda Vercellino's mother). Not Sure about the date of the Picture, But I am assuming it was taken in Cuorgne on a return visit, because she looks older then 14 (age at marriage)


Funeral Card for John Vercellino (Elda Vercellino's father. Charles Williamson's grandfather)

A Small Vercellino Family Gathering with the Configliocco's at Sundance, Wyoming. Relationship Chart for the people in the pictures below (Click to Enlarge).


  • A note, the children of Giovanni Vercellino and Catterina Gianelto were all born in Salto, Piedmont, Torino, Italy. Many immigrated to the United States and settled in Lead. From family records we know that Antonio (Tony) Vercellino, born July 23, 1863 married Guglielma Vidano (first) and secondly married Teresa di Michele Brogatti in 1925 and remained in Italy. He is buried in the Vercellino family crypt in Salto Italy.

Charles and Luella Williamson with daughters Lisa and Annette about 1981.

Leslie and Evelyn Configliacco (Brother and Sister)
Grandma Elda with Leiss

Ed Vercellino, Elda and Leiss

Ray Configliacco, Leiss, and Luella Williamson
Daniel Vercellino (Ed's son), Elda, Helen Vercellino Walters (Fred's Daugther)
Ray, Elda, and Lakota Zink Vercellino (Ray's wife). Ray's has scarlet fever when he was 16 years old. His hair turned white after recovering. Ray lived to be 90, Ed lived to be 96 and Elda lived to be 90.

A small family gathering in Bismarck for Karen (Ed and Iris' daughter) and Martin's first anniversary. May 31, 1967 (Iris Vercellino's 58) birthday. Elda, Ed, Martin & Karen Peterson (Ed's Daughter, Leiss' mother, Iris Vercellino, Thelma Vantine, (Leiss' sister) and Bruce Vantine (Thelma's son).

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gerald R. Ford. Our 8th Cousin twice Removed


From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons,
Just a quick post to just make your day and make you feel somewhat special (with a real stretch of the imagination).
Did you know you were related to Gerald R. Ford? Yes the former President of the United States.
He is our 8th Cousin twice removed (my generation of Williamsons). The relationship line is as follows:

There, now I'm off to a family Labor Day picnic. We'll eat and talk and then eat some more and talk more then eat once again and, to top off the night, eat once more.

Simply,
Victor

Sunday, September 5, 2010

George Williamson's Homestead Patent

The Family of George and Margaret Williamson.
Our Great Grandfather William is the first on the back row (L to R).

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons!
Today at the Fortress we're going to look at copies of documents graciously sent by cousin Carol Good Stephenson. In the letter accompanying the documents Carol wrote:
A couple of years ago I requested the file for George Williamson's Dakota Territory Homestead Patent from the National Archives. I had taken a class at our community college which showed me how to do that. I thought you might like to read the pages too.
The Homestead Patent is below. Please remember to click on the documents to enlarge. We begin with the announcement in the newspaper. Notice it says "Dakota Territory". South Dakota was made a State in 1889. Williamsons have therefore been a part of South Dakota's history since before Statehood.

And now the Patent. This document was written in George Matthew Williamson's own hand. As a teacher let me say that I'm impressed with his penmanship.




I'd like to thank Carol for sending the this document of family history. If you have photographs or documents relating to family history please send me copies for posting (or have someone that knows computers scan the documents and send the files).

Simply,
Victor