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.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

More From Grandma Violet's Photo Albums (Four Generations in One Post!)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today in our digital family reunion we peer through the blinds into the past using Grandma Violet's Photo Albums as our vehicle. Invite Grandma to have a seat beside you as you enjoy her photographs. She'd enjoy being remembered. Click on each picture to enlarge to full size.

These photographs span four generations and are in the same general order she had them in her albums (Grandma wasn't much for order in her old age).

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Deaver's Ranch around 1925. The Deaver's Ranch was next door to the Albert Mattson Ranch in Montana. Grandma Violet met Grandpa Walter at school in Pinele, Montana. In those days Pinele had a hotel and several stores. The town slowly disappeared when highway 212 bypassed the town. Luella remembers Pinele still had its hotel and general store when she was growing up.

"I remember the smell of the pickle barrel. The brine smell filled the store," she remembered.

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Violet Mattson (third from the left) in Montana as a young girl, mid 1920's.

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Written on the back of this photo, "Vesta, Violet and Walter taken down at our ranch this fall" Great Grandma Vesta divorced Violet and Walter's father around 1919 and a few years later married Jim Deaver. They moved from Rapid City to the Deaver Ranch in Montana. This picture would have been taken in the mid 1920's.

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Luella Mattson taken during her sophomore year at Spearfish High School (1953). Grandma Violet colored it herself (the picture was originally black and white).

"My parents gave me the necklace for Christmas that year," Luella remembered. "I hated Christmas. We didn't have a lot of money and I hated the thought that my parents would be spending what little money we had on gifts for me."

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Spearfish High School (mid 1950's). John Mattson's football team. John Mattson is kneeling on the far left.

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Written on the back of this photo: "Don't we look good? What a swell couple. No Kiddin." This is a picture of Great Grandmother Vesta and her last husband, Jim Logan. Vesta and Jim rode the bus from California to South Dakota for Luella's wedding in 1956. They are standing in front of the Mattson home in Spearfish.

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Written on he back of his photo: "Two Birds and a log." Grandma Violet with her step father Jim Logan taken along the Needles Highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota, summer of 1956.

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We jump ahead several years to another section of the photo album. Beverly Mattson (married John Mattson) and her brood (left to right... Gina, Kirk and Joseph. Angie is on Bev's lap). The picture was taken in Spearfish, South Dakota.

"I don't know who the man is in the chair," Luella said when I handed her the picture and asked her to identify the year it was taken. She lost her magnifying glass yet once again.

"The ancient Irish used drops of water to magnify their stitching," she said as she reached for her bottled water. I kept quiet while she tried to get the picture to focus through the water and plastic. Another Luella moment. Priceless.....

"That Bev," I corrected her.

"Oh, her hair is so short," Luella responded. "This doesn't work," she added putting the bottle back on her table of multiple treasures beside her recliner. I call it her table of treasures because she keeps nearly everything she owns on it.

"If its here I don't have to get up so often," she explains when anyone asks. Most people are too polite not to.

I'm sure her magnifying glass is buried in the pile somewhere. We'll find it when we work our way through her things after she's, well......... you know.

This picture accompanied the one of Bev and the kids. I'm thinking it could be Thanksgiving? Aunt Bev will know. I'll wait for her verdict. The candles confuse me. Williamsons and Mattsons believe candles are only good for power outages. Why would anyone want to eat by candle light? We like to see what we are eating.

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Lisa Williamson's third Halloween (1975). She's trick or treeting the Holtz family next door. Lisa was independent at a young age. You can tell she dressed herself. I believe she tried to dress up as a cat.

Lisa's surprised by my camera's flash. She escaped from our house while the rest of us ate our traditional Potato Soup (made of potatoes swimming in a sea of watered down condensed milk, a sneeze of onion and Scotch Brand margarine). She wanted to get an early start on the doors. Lisa learned not to go trick or treating with us from her second Halloween. That year her bag of goodies was as empty on her return as it was when she left :)

We convinced her the purpose of Halloween was to scare the people who answered the door. We knocked, the door opened. Lisa shouted "Boo!". We shouted "Trick or Treat!" Lisa laughed, we all got candy and walked away. It's what happened on the way down the sidewalk that convinced her not to go out with us again.

"Lisa, let me see what you got."

The next house.

"Lisa, let me see what you got."

The next house.

"Lisa, let me see what you got."

etc... You get the picture. Sorry Lisa. And no, you can't sue to get that candy back. There is a statute of limitations on stolen Halloween candy. All older brothers and sisters will agree.

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Written on the back of this photo in Luella's handwriting: "Family picture. February 1973. Dad's funeral".

Grandpa Walter died in California. His body was brought to Belle Fourche for burial. Here's a test, can you name everyone in the picture (at least everyone with a face. I wasn't the best photographer back then. You've got John and Bev's kids. The Williamsons, Marvin and Pam's kids, Linda's kids etc).

This post's Hair Do of the Week Award goes to Aunt Pam. The Undo Hair of the Week Award goes to Janice (blue shirt, vacant expression). Screams were common whenever Luella tired to run a brush through that mess.

Have a Great Week!


Our 10th Great Grandparents, Pilgrims and Founders of Wethersfield, Conn. (Williamson / Morris Line).

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons!
Our best wishes go to our family members on the Eastern Seaboard as they deal with the effects of Hurricane Irene. I was happy to hear the storm was downgraded to a Tropical Storm when it reached New York City.

Today in our digital family reunion we learn about our feisty 10th Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Deming, proof positive we descend from good puritan stock!

Great Grandmother Elizabeth was born about 1595 in Colchester, Essex, England. She died on July 28, 1683 in Wethersfield, Connecticut. She had seven children and was another of our first generation in America families.

Our 10th Great Grandfather, Nathaniel Foote was her first husband. She married Gov. Thomas Welles of the Connecticut Colony after Nathaniel died.

Elizabeth and Nathaniel Foote founded the village of Wethersfield in 1634 along with 9 other Puritan families hailing from Watertown, Massachusetts. The settlers were led by John Oldham and Nathaniel Foote. Wethersfield is the second-oldest town in Connecticut after Windsor. Along with Windsor and Hartford, Wethersfield is thought by some to be represented by one of the three grapevines on the Connecticut state flag signifying the state's three oldest settlements.

Let's begin with the Relationship Chart:

Relationship Chart

10th Great Grandparents. Nathaniel Foote and Elizabeth Deming
Elizabeth Deming Foote and John Crane
Sarah Rose Crane and Captain John Morris III
Daniel Morris and Mary Riggs
Daniel Morris and Hannah Armstrong
Isaac Morris and Rebecca M. Hathaway
Benjamin Morris and Mary Spinning
(?) Isaac Morris and Sarah
Nancy Morris and Whitty Victor
Effie Helen Victor and William Jonathan Williamson
Vennie, Ima, Inez, Lille, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles and Maurice

The following is an article on the Deming Family and Great Grandmother Elizabeth:
source:  http://www.footefamily.org/elizno1.htm
Very little is known of the Deming family before they left England. Since the first Puritans left England to secure a better place to practice their religion. It might be assumed that the Demings left England for similar reasons.

That they held strong religious convictions is evident in the records they left in Connecticut. Elizabeth was born in England in the last part of the 16th century. In January of the year 1616, a short time after he finished his apprenticeship training, she married Nathaniel Foote in Colchester, Essex, England.

After the birth of their sixth child Nathaniel decided to sell his grocery business in Colchester and immigrate to the New World. By some he is considered to be the first settler of Wethersfield.

Whether or not that is true we do not know. We do know he was one of ten men who settled along the bank of the Connecticut River and named their settlement, Wethersfield. They are know as the "Ten Adventurers"

Elizabeth was the sister of John Deeming, who was one of the first settlers of Wethersfield Conn. in the year of 1630. John Deeming was for many years one of the magistrates of the " Colony of the Connecticut " and one of the patentees named in it's charter.

Since Elizabeth Deming married Nathaniel Foote who spent his early life in Shalford, Colchester, England, it can be assumed that

(1.) John and Elizabeth lived in the same area of England.

(2) Elizabeth and Nathaniel were known to have been in the Colony of Massachusetts Bay and residing in Waterton when it is recorded Nathaniel took the oath of a freeman.

(3.) The Foote family must have joined with the Demings in feeling some dissatisfaction with the manner of life in Watertown and joined with others in making the 100 mile trek in 1635 through the forests of the New World until they arrived at Pyquag on the shores western shore of the beautiful Connecticut River.

Nathaniel Foote was one of those named in the charter of patentees of Wethersfield. The Foote family became one of the leading families of the little Connecticut Colony. He became a magistrate, a leading land owner, eventually owning more than 500 acres of land in Wethersfield, some of the great meadow, and his home on the south end of the green, next to the present Broad Street.

The family was saddened by Nathaniel's death at age 61. Elizabeth was so respected that she was allowed to be executor of his estate. Elizabeth was left a wealthy widow, but did not remain in that status for long. In 1646 she married Thomas Wells who was a widower with several children from his first marriage. Thomas Wells served as Governor of Connecticut Colony for two terms, 1655-1658. When he was not serving as governor he was a Deputy Governor. He died during his last years of being deputy governor, 14 January 1659/1660.

Elizabeth was again a widow, having two families instead of one. She was in control of a large estate from both husbands.

Elizabeth Welles was a tenacious and feisty old woman. She had not only survived a perilous voyage from England but while tending to six exuberant children and a husband, she had made a new life for herself and her family in a world they knew nothing about. This world was inhabited by Indians who were not always friendly with those pale face people. The rigors of life and managing a household did not daunt her.

Things went quite well through the intervening years since arriving on shores of the newly discovered continent, until she reached old age. In 1676 as she approached the age of 80 years, she ran into trouble with one of her step-grand children.

This was Robert Welles, a favorite of grandfather, Governor Thomas Welles when the governor was alive. Robert had arrived at the Governor's home, there to be taken care of and educated.

But now his grandfather was dead and Robert and his step-grandmother disagreed. Maybe she did not think him old enough to be married at age 24. Never-the-less it was 1676 when Elizabeth brought Robert Welles to court, because he "...hath dammyfield her Barne by Parting with the other part of the Barne that did adjoin to it."

Exactly what he did to her barn is not clear. The court's decision was clear. He was ordered to repair the barn and also to pay his step-grandmother rent for it. Elizabeth made sure the barn incident was not her last word.

Two years later, in 1678, she made sure all of the Welles were taken care of when she made her will. She left them nothing. She stated someone outside the family would be executor of her will. Everything she had she left to her own family. That is the family she and Nathaniel has raised and nurtured. The Welles family got nothing.

Elizabeth died in 1683, at the age of 88.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Williamson and Mattson Children. Rapid City and Spearfish.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Family,
Gather around and hush up, its time to get together in another virtual reunion to visit, ponder, reminisce and chuckle at a few treasures pulled from the yellowing, cracking pages of yet another of Grandma Violet's photo albums.

Scanning pictures from aging albums can be a tricky exercise, especially old albums with sticky pages covered by a sheet of clear plastic. Over the years the photos cement to the sticky pages. Surgery is the only way to separate them. Someday I'll post a picture of me in full surgical garb operating on one of these pages with scalpel and tweezers. If I'm not careful I can rip a picture with one tug, sending a beautiful pristine image to an early death.

Today we will walk down Memory's There and Back Again Lane to the late 1960's. The place, South Dakota (yes it was a part of the United States back then and no, contrary to what you may have heard, we lived in a real house with indoor plumbing and electricity). We will make two stops during our stay. 1. Rapid City and the home of the Williamsons at 2214 38th Street. and 2. Spearfish at the home of John and Beverly Mattson.

We start with the eldest of the six Williamson children in residence. Kim Williamson (now DelGrosso) was 12 years old when this picture was taken in September 1969. Notice how perfect. Notice the posture. Notice the smile. Notice the hair. Luella actually took her time with Kim's hair. The rest of us got the tale end of her patience on hair cuttin day, and believe me that is not where you wanted to be when Luella was holding sharp clippers.

Anyone passing the house on hair cuttin day would have heard lots of "Oops!" then screams then slaps on exposed thighs (her "giving us something to cry about") then more screams because she'd actually carried through with her threat and given us 'something to cry about', then the inevitable "Live with it," to shut down any further objections to the crop circle she'd executed on your scalp.

Did the Princess ever have to wear a cap for a month or so to hide the train wreck hidden underneath her cap? No.

I give you Princess Kim, the darling of the family, practically perfect in every way...........

Now guess, who was lucky enough to follow Madam Kim in the birthing order?

Me! This is Me in September 1969. I'm eleven years old. It seemed Fortuna, the Goddess of Fortune and Luck had it in for me from the moment I was born. Notice the glasses. I got them in 4th grade. Who gets glasses in the 4th grade!? Mind you, they are good lookin for 1969.

Aw, who am I kiddin. Let me tell you about those glasses. I got marched into Standard Optical in Rapid City and told to sit down while Luella surveyed the wall of frames for something she could afford.

"Got anything made of tin foil?" she asked the optician. The optician laughed.

"How about frames made of pipe cleaners?" he chimed in not realizing Luella wasn't joking about the tin foil.

"Good Grief," I sighed and sat under a table.

"These are all too expensive," she pronounced after a two minute ponder. "No glasses for you. Tell the teacher you need to sit in front of the chalkboard and stay in from recess so you don't get hit in the head with a ball."
She took my hand to leave. The optician stopped her.

"Lady, I've got some hand me down frames. Would you like to see them?" He pulled out a box of used glasses kept under the cash register. The box was labeled, "For the Unfortunate Dakota Children. Love, Your Friends in Africa". He handed me the pair you see in the picture above.

"Those glasses once belonged to a Swahili Chief," he said. "He was very brave. He killed many lions and tigers and bears."

"There are no bears in Africa," I replied.

"Well, Giraffes then." He was frustrated.

"If these were his glasses, then why do I have them? What happened to him?" I asked.

"A lion got him. Didn't see it coming, did he?"

"Good Grief," I said looking through the crooked glasses. I suddenly felt very much like Charlie Brown.

By the way, go back and look at what I'm wearing in the picture. That shirt is 100% polyester. It snagged every time someone sneezed within 4 feet of me.

Notice I'm a few pounds overweight? My five brothers and sisters were bone skinny. What happened to me?

I wasn't stupid. I knew we didn't have a lot of money. I knew every meal might be our last for several days. I was a survivalist. I realized eating a few extra calories when food was available might be the difference between living to the next meal or starving to death under a pile of clothes in the jungle we called The Utility Room. If it was in the cupboard and eatable, I ate it.
It was "Every Man for Himself!" at the dinner table in our family. I was not going to go hungry, especially if I was the only one who had to wear glasses, and that's for damn sure.

Kevin Williamson, 8 years old in September 1969

Kevin Williamson, 9 years old. September 1970

Kevin came next in the birth order. Notice he got school pictures two years in a row. What's up with that? I got a school picture in 1969 and another when I graduated from High School in 1976 (and I had to pay for that one myself!).

Notice his hair in both. Didn't I tell you Luella and clippers were a dangerous combination when her patience was "shot to hell". You could tell what kind of hair cut you were going to get on Hair Cuttin Day (which came the day before bath day) by looking into her eyes. If her eyes were normal, you might walk away with a hair cut that let you blend in with the other home hair cut kids who sat in the back of every classroom in the 1960's.

If Luella's eyes were partially blood shot then the sides might look OK but the top might come out lopsided (a sneeze of hair on one side of the head, and a mop on the other). This wasn't good for Kevin because he loved to run. A lopsided top meant extra hair on one side of his head. The extra weight caused him to run in large, wide circles. Very amusing to the rest of us, especially at supper time.

"Kevin, its supper time. We called you and you didn't come. There's hardly anything left!"
Imagine a kid with a lopsided hair cut, running in large circles trying to get into the house before all the food was gone? Ah, those were good times.

If Luella's eyes were completely blood shot then there was no hope. You either ran away as fast as your little legs could carry you our you resigned yourself to a fate worse than death.

In case you were wondering, boys buttoned their dress shirts all the way to the top back then. I don't know why, but we did.

Finally, notice the large gap between Kevin's teeth in the 8 year old picture? I thought I'd point that out.

This is 6 year old Janice Williamson (now Burrows), Canyon Lake Elementary's Little Miss Congeniality in 1969. She nearly drove the photographer to drink.

"Smile," he'd say. Janice sat motionless, staring blankly into the camera.
"Come on honey. Give us a smile."
"I am," Janice responded in a monotone voice.
"Think of something happy," Janice's teacher suggested hoping to get her off the stool so the line of waiting children would start moving.
"What have I got to be happy about?" Janice was our optimist. Never a dull moment around her.

I'd like to point out something interesting. If you look closely at Janice's picture (click on the picture to enlarge if you want) you'll notice the faintest sign of a smile on both corners of her mouth. In my humble opinion, this picture of our sister Janice was the photographer's Mona Lisa.

Look, the smile is the same! That vacant, "no one is home" look is THE SAME! This picture of Janice is pure gold. It needs to be properly framed and donated to a local museum so future generations can admire it's beauty and hidden, very hidden qualities.

By the way, Luella's eyes were completely blood shot on the day Janice got her 'Picture Takin Day' hair cut and bath. Janice survived the ordeal. Her secret was the dress. Notice the hypnotic pattern of geometric shapes and colors? The dress kept people's eyes away from her face and hair. The dress mesmerized them. She wore that dress off and on until her graduation from High School.

6 year old Jonathan Ray Williamson in 1969

7 year old Jonathan Ray Williamson in 1970

Janice's twin. Our brother Jonathan also got his picture taken two years in a row. Is it just me or does it look like Jon didn't age that year?

Jon and Janice were opposites. Janice made a great place holder if you ever needed someone to keep your place on the couch while you went to the bathroom. Jon was full of personality and cheer. He loved strangers and spoke to them whenever he had the chance.

"Where's Jonathan," mother would ask at 11:00 P.M.
"He's outside talking to another stranger," we'd reply, and he most likely was.

Strangers gave Jonathan the love and attention he didn't get from the rest of us, being the kid stuck in the middle of a large family of six children. Of course in those days strangers weren't as dangerous as they are today. Besides, we all carried pocket knifes and could kill, skin and cook a bear in one hour - no problem. Remember, we're talking about South Dakota. You never knew if an Indian would break into the house and try to get you to part with your scalp in the middle of the night. Everyone carried some kind of weapon (Dad had his 22 pistol. Luella had her clippers).

Jon usually fell asleep in front of the TV late at night. Waking him up for bed was the family's real entertainment for the night.

"Jon, get up!" He wouldn't move.
"Jon, wake up!" Jon would sit up and look blankly around the room. "It's time for church. Mom's waiting for you in the car. Hurry."

Jon did just what you told him to do. He went outside in the winter at 10:00 P.M, opened the door of the Rambler, got in and sat - waiting for mom to take him to church.

Life was good in those days.

Jilane Williamson (now Bodily) was the youngest in 1969. She was five in the picture above. She needed glasses because of her wandering eyes. I believe her glasses came from the Swahili Chief's wife.

Because of her wandering eyes, you never knew who she was looking at. One eye pointed north while the other pointed south. She made an excellent compass if you ever got lost in the woods. For many years Jilane thought our family was composed of twin dads, twin moms and 12 brothers and sisters. She thought she had a twin double because of the double reflection she saw whenever she looked into the mirror. She spoke to her twin for many years. The neighbors suggest we institutionalize her. She had surgery to correct her vision when she was young. She was traumatized by the loss of her double.

Poor Jilane, she was always the last to get her hair cut. She was young and it really didn't matter what she looked like.

We called her Tootie back then. UNDER PAIN OF DEATH AND DISMEMBERMENT DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, CALL HER TOOTIE TODAY. She will kill you, then hunt down your children, grand children and will stay alive out of sheer spite to get your great grandchildren.

I wish we would have kept those glasses. I'd pay real American money to get them back if they ever turned up on Ebay or something. Priceless, that's all I can say.


The following pictures were taken at the home of John and Beverly Mattson when they lived in Spearfish South Dakota. The home used to belong to Grandma and Grandpa Mattson.

Uncle John Mattson and 5 month old Gina.

2 year old Kirk Mattson entangled with 6 month old Gina.
Gina knew how to handle herself then and that hasn't changed one bit today.
To this day, Kirk still stays at least one arm's length away from Gina.
She never forgets a wrong done. Never.

Two year old Kirk and 6 month old Gina in their Spearfish home's kitchen.
I remember that kitchen well. Kim and I used to spend a week with Grandma and
Grandpa during the summers. I loved that kitchen. It had a real automatic dishwasher!

OK Folks. That's enough for today. Thanks for reading and spending some time down 'There and Back Again Lane'.


Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, Ambassador to Spain from the English Court

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove.

Hello Williamsons!
A short historical footnote about our 10th Great Grandfather Sir Thomas Chamberlayne. Sir Thomas was the English Ambassador to Spain during the reign of Henry VIII, his son King Edward and his half sister Queen Elizabeth. This put him squarely in play during the tulmulchious reign of Henry VIII as he quarrled with many of Europe's crowned heads and the Pope over border disputes and of course, marriage.

There is one letter from our 10th Great Grandfather that survives today. He wrote this letter to Henry VIII's son King Edward and the Privy Council (the King's Cabinet) in February 1553. The letter is diplomatic in nature and written in the English of the day. You'll find it difficult to read and understand, nevertheless an excellent document to have in our family history. The letter is below.


Relationship Chart

10th Great Grandfather
Sir Thomas Chamberlayne and Elizabeth Luddington
Edmund Chamberlayne adn Grace Strangeways
Edmund Chamberlayne and Eleanor Coles
Thomas Chamberlayne and Mary Wood
Rebecca Chamberlayne and John Williamson
Cuthbert Williamson and Elizabeth Allen
(?) Cuthbert Williamson and Susanne White
Matthew Williamson and Selina Dandridge Jeffries
George Matthew Williamson and Margaret Ann Willis
William Jonathan Williamson and Effie Helen Victor
Vennie, Ima, Inez, Lille, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles and Maurice


Please your most honourable Lordships to be advertised how that since the Emperor's arrival here hath occurred no matter of moment worthy to be certified, every man attending to hear wherefore the estates of these Low Countries were called; and on Tuesday last the same were assembled in Court, where the Emperor and his sister, the Lady Regent, were present. As I do learn, his Majesty, first of all, gave them all hearty thanks for the good towardness that he had always found in them to assist him in the defence of themselves and those countries, and so told them that he had no less confidence that at this time they would be as willing to give him aid in their defence against such an enemy as the French King is, who forced him to these wars when his Majesty least looked for the same; consequently, it is said that his Majesty's sister made a like demonstration, and, as it were, a declaration how obedient and willing subjects she had found them in his Majesty's absence; exhorting them so to continue.

Then, as it is told me, the President of the Estate made a certain rehearsal of the great charges the Emperor had been at in these Low Countries, giving to understand that such sums as had been levied were already consumed by the wars; reporting the same unto the Treasurer, then present, who affirmed the same, and, therewithal, the proportion for the purpose at this time, being put in writing, was by some of the Secretaries read unto the States there gathered, which, as I can learn, required for aid 6000 guilders of Brabant only, 9000 of Flanders, and 3000 of Holland, and of the other countries after like rate, whereupon the Commissioners of each country are departed home, for to make demonstration to the people, to see how the same may be levied, and so to make answer. The States of Brabant do remain here, setting about the levying of their part, which declares that the grant is made of the demand. The Spirituality, as I understand, must give the half of their revenues for this year, as they did the last; so that there is great likelihood that by this means, and by great loans made his Majesty of late in Antwerp, he shall want no money to make the French King a good war this summer to come, which the people do wish to be better than that is past hath proved.

I am informed that knowledge is come hither of certain conclusions lately taken by the Princes of the empire, at a diet by them holden; and amongst all other, it is said that the Count Palatine is appointed to come unto the Emperor for Commissary touching the same conclusions; and to require the Emperor, in the name of the rest, to be content (considering his present weakness, and lack of power to follow the wars himself) to allow the King of Bohemia for his coadjutor in the empire; and, upon that condition, they will be content to take the wars wholly upon them that way, and seek for to make the French King restore all that he hath wrongfully usurped since the beginning of these wars, belonging to the Empire; meaning that his Majesty should but defend these Low Countries, and keep the French King occupied this way, if he think good; and for this purpose it is said that the Count Palatine is looked for to be here very shortly.

A bruit goeth that the Emperor, by some intelligence out of Italy, is in great jealousy of the Venetians, who, as I am informed, have lately made the Duke of Ferrara their General; whereof I doubt not but Mr. Morysin, by his conferences, is able to certify your Lordships more than I can. The Emperor demands of these Estates payment of the one half at the end of this next month, and the rest within four months after, for which is great care taken, because there is so little money stirring. Somewhat like to part of the afore written, here is now a bruit spread that a son of the King of the Romans doth come shortly hitherwards. Which is the sura of our present occurrences; and, therefore, I will leave to be molestious unto your most honorable Lordships, beseeching Almighty God long to continue the same in health and honour. From Brussels, the 20th of February, 1553.

Your Lordships' most bounden at commandment,

T. Chamberlayne

Sir Thomas Chamberlayne, of Prestbury, in Gloucestershire, Knight; who, having served the late King in several foreign negociations, seems to have been now appointed to succeed Sir Richard Morysin as Ambassador-Leger at the Court of Brussels. In 1559—60 he was deputed to Spain by Elizabeth in the same capacity, but was revoked in October, 1561, after which time we have no intelligence of his public life.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our 8th Great Grandfather Samuel Sherburn. Tavern Owner. Casualty of the King William's War.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today we switch lines and revisit the ancestors of our Great Grandmother Vesta. Along these lines we meet our 8th Great Grandparents, Samuel Sherburn and Love Hutchins.

Our story today involves our Great Grandfather Samuel. The setting is New England, the time 1691.

We begin with the Relationship Chart.

Relationship Chart
8th Great Grandparents.
Samuel Sherburn (1638-1691) and Love Hutchins (1647 - 1739)

John Sherburn and Jane Drake
Margaret Sherburne and Henry Dearborn
Nathaniel Dearborn and Betsy Hill
Deborah Dearborn and Phineas Swift
Elmira Swift and Joseph McCrillis
Isabel Deanora Helgerson McCrilles and John Dennis
Vesta Althea Dennis and Walter Edwin Pierce
Violet Mae Pierce and Walter Albert Mattson
to their children
Luella, Linda, John, Marvin

Grandfather Samuel fought and died during the King William's War (1689-1697). This war was the first of the French and Indian Wars. This war was fought between England, France and their respective American Indian allies in the colonies of Canada (New France), Acadia and New England.

Below is an account of what happened to our Grandfather Samuel, a soldier and owner of the local tavern.

KING WILLIAM'S WAR and our 8th Great Grandfather Samuel , 1689-1698

The Eastern Indians generally appear to have observed the treaty made at Casco, in 1678, conducting themselves for several years peaceably towards the English settlers, who, in the meantime, had been gradually recovering from their losses in the late disastrous war; but, partly through fault of the English themselves, the peace was at length broken and ravages committed, beginning with several places in the province of Maine. The first sufferers in New Hampshire were in Dover, on the 28th of June, 1689, when the aged Major Waldron and more than a score of others were killed, and nearly thirty were taken captive. About a month later the savages fell upon the settlement at Oyster River also, and killed or carried off nearly twenty persons.

On the 8th of July the town of Hampton voted "that all those who were willing to make a forti fication about the Meeting House, to secure themselves and their families from the violence of the heathen, should have free liberty to do it." A fortification was accordingly built, which, about three years afterward, the town voted to enlarge so as to afford room "to build houses in it according to custom in other forts." How many houses were built is not known, but it was voted that a small house (14 by 16 feet) should be built there for the use of the minister, and when not occupied by him to serve as a schoolhouse.

From information derived from one who had been in captivity among the enemy, fears were entertained that an attempt would be made in the latter part of September to destroy the towns of Hampton, Exeter, Salisbury and Amesbury, and it was said that four hundred Indians were to be sent for this purpose. In confirmation of the report in circulation, Indians ("skulking rogues," as they were termed) were seen in these towns almost every day, sent, it was thought, to reconnoiter (scout).

Whether they found that their design had been discovered, and that the people were too much on their guard to be easily overcome, or whether the rumor of their intended attack was unfounded, is uncertain; but the month of September wore away, and the four towns still remained.

In March, 1690, the military officers in commission before Cranfield's administration, were restored to office. Those for Hampton were: Samuel Sherburne, Captain; Edward Gove, Lieutenant ; John Moulton, Ensign. During the month of July more than thirty persons were killed by the savages, in Exeter. Thus far no attack had been made upon any part of Hampton, but the people were living in constant dread. So secret and so sudden had been the movements of the enemy, that none knew where to expect their next assault. The men dared not go abroad to their ordinary labors without being armed. Their families were collected in the forts and in garrisoned houses, which were carefully guarded. On the Sabbath, indeed, they ventured to attend public worship, but, as we have seen, the meeting house was surrounded with a fortification, the men went armed, and sentinels were stationed to give an alarm if the enemy should appear during the services.

At a town meeting held the next winter, Mr. Henry Green, Capt. Samuel Sherburne and Henry Dow sent out two men, as scouts, to see what they could discover, so long as they could go upon the snow, or so long as the neighboring towns sent out; and so much of their wages as should not be paid by contribution, was to be paid out of the next town rate. The committee was also directed to keep an exact account of what the town or any of the inhabitants would spend in carrying on the war. This vote suggests what was then considered the most effectual method of preventing the Indians from committing depredations, viz.: the employment of scouts to be constantly scouring the woods, to discover them, if possible, in their lurking places.

Still, besides scouts, a large number of soldiers were employed on different occasions, and sometimes for several months in succession, under officers of skill and experience. But, notwithstanding the vigilance of the scouts, the Indians sometimes succeeded in finding hiding places, even in the immediate vicinity of a garrison, where they lay concealed, watching the movements of those belonging to the garrison, ready to seize the first opportunity t o kill or capture anyone who might happen to venture a little too far away.

An instance of this kind occurred in Salisbury, adjoining Hampton, on the 23d of June, 1691. About half an hour after sunset, one John Ring went out of Jacob Morrill's garrison, to drive in a cow, and was captured within a little more than twenty rods of the garrison. The next day a great many men of Salisbury and Hampton went into the woods to search for him, but, as some one wrote at the time, "with very little hope of recovering him." Justly did the same writer add: "The truth is, we are a distressed people." At the very time of this occurrence, a company of men, about thirty-four in number, under Capt. Stephen Greenleaf, of Newbury, was out in that vicinity searching for Indians. Ring was captured on Monday; Captain Greenleaf's company went to Haverhill on the Saturday previous, came to Hampton on Sunday, and went to Exeter on Monday, in the morning.

A little past midsummer a small army was sent out under the command of four captains, one of whom was Samuel Sherburne, of Hampton. The forces landed at Maquoit, near Casco, and marched up to Pechypscot (now Brunswick, Me.), but finding no signs of the enemy, returned to Maquoit, where they had left their boats. While the commanders were on the shore, waiting for the soldiers to get aboard, a great number of Indians suddenly poured in upon them, and they were obliged to retreat to their vessels; but this was a difficult matter, as the tide being down, the vessels were aground; and before it could be accomplished Captain Sherburne was slain. He had been a resident of Hampton ten or twelve years, and was well known as the keeper of the ordinary, or tavern. He was a captain in the militia; three years a selectman of the town; was once chosen to represent the town in the General Court; and in January next preceding his death, as has been stated, he was on the committee to employ and send out scouts, and to keep an account of the expenses incurred in the war.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Jacobus Schellinger, Our 9th Great Grandfather (Williamson Lines)

Pictures of New Amsterdam (Today's New York City)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello Williamsons!

Today in our digital gathering we will discuss another family link to the Netherlands and Belgium through the Schellinger family line. In paticiluar we want to learn about our 9th Great Grandparents, jacobus Schellinger and Cornelia Melyn.

Jacobus Schellinger
(son of Daniel Schellinks and Constantia van Rijssen) was born
Abt. 1625 in Amsterdam, Holland, and died June 17, 1693 in East Hampton, NY. He married Cornelia Melyn on April 07, 1653, daughter of Cornlis Melyn and Jannetje Van Myert.

Relationship Chart

9th Great Grandparents. Jacobus Schellinger and Cornelia Melyn
Catherine Schellinger and Nathaniel Baker
Mary Baker and Timothy Woodruff
Katherine Woodrull and Benjamin Haines
Hannah Haines and Mathias Spinning
Mary Spinning and Benjamin Morris
Isaac Morris and Sarah?
Nancy Morris and Whitty Victor
Effie Helen Victor and William Jonathan Williamson
Vennie, Ima, Inez, Lille, Josie, Emmett, Walt, Charles and Maurice

Notes for Jacobus Schellinger

Old East Hampton was almost purely an English settlement, but for three Holland Dutch names, Schellinger (spelled "Schellinx" or "Scallenger" etc. - thirty different versions have been found in old deeds), Loper and Van Scoy.

Jacobus Schellinger was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1625 of a family of wealth and position. He came to New Amsterdam (today's New York City) about 1652 as agent for his uncle, an Amsterdam merchant. In 1653 he married Cornelia, daughter of Cornelis Melyn, Patroon of Staten Island and at one time President of the Council of New Amsterdam, and widow of Captain Jacobus Loper. Their marriage was recorded at the Old Dutch Church on April 7, 1653.

Jacobus and Cornelia Schellinger continued to live in New Amsterdam or on Staten Island for twelve or thirteen years after their marriage. In March, 1653, he was assessed 200 guilders when the Dutch were preparing defense against the British; the money was used to construct earthworks topped by a palisade along the northerly side of what is now Wall Street in New York City, from the East River to the site of Trinity Church; it may be Schellingers were living on Staten Island when there were Indian troubles and their house was burned.

The conquest of the Dutch New Netherlands by the British in 1664 put an end to trade between Holland and its colony. Jacobus with his wife and children and step-son James Loper, moved to East Hampton, Long Island to retrieve his fortunes in whaling. His company was called "Whale designe." He arrived here probably 1664, and certainly before October 2, 1667, for he is mentioned in a deed of the latter date. His house lot was the original home lot of Andrew Miller. Through his granddaughter Rachel (daughter of Abraham) who married David Gardiner of Gardiner's Island on April 15, 1712/13, the property went into the Gardiner family and remained there until it was sold to Lawrence Baker in the 1940's.

Dutch Whaling in the 1600's

The "Whale Designe" prospered. Quoting from "Whale Off!" by Everett J. Edwards and Jeannette Edwards Rattray:
"The Dutch led the world in whaling in 1625; it was not until after 1750 that their supremacy began to wane and England took the upper hand. Young Loper (James) and his stepfather -- the only two Dutchman then in the English colony of East Hampton -- took to the whaling industry then flourishing there like ducks to water. They formed a whaling company, employing Indians and early Town records are full of their activities. Their fame spread - - - "
The book goes on to tell how James Loper, in 1672, was invited to settle in Nantucket and teach the Nantucketers how to whale. Loper did not settle there but research seems to indicate that he did go for a time. Jacobus Schellinger & Co. were given a permit to kill whales off East Hampton. By November 18, 1675; they had already been employing Indian crews for eight or nine years.

After the death of Jacobus Schellinger on June 17, 1693, letters were written to his widow in East Hampton regarding the settlement of the estate of his brother Daniel. The joint will of Daniel Schellinks and Constantia van Rijssen his wife, of Amsterdam, Holland, dated May 17, 1698 is in the New York State Library, also copies of three letters written 1704, 1705 and 1706 by an Amsterdam notary to Cornelia Melyn Loper Schellinger.

From another source we read:

Jacobus SCHELLINGER (aka Schellinks or Schellinx) was the second son of Laurens and Catalyntje Kousenaer SCHELLINKS of Amsterdam, Noord-Hollland, Netherlands. Jacobus' actual date of birth has never been recovered, however, records from the Oude Kerk of Amsterdam document that Jacobus SCHELLINKS (aka Schellinger) was baptized in that church on October 16th, 1625. Jacobus SCHELLINGER came to America from Amsterdam, prior to 1650, when he was a "young man of legal age," engaged in the mercantile business. The first notice of him being in New Amsterdam as a dealer in goods was February 24, 1653. He married Cornelia MELYN on April 7, 1653. She was the widow of Capt-LT Jacob LOPER (their marriage only lasted about 5 years) of Stockholm, Sweden. The marriage of Jacobus and Cornelia produced as least five sons and a daughter: William, Catalyntje, Abraham, Daniel, Jacob and Cornelius.

Jacobus SCHELLINGER's life in America was rife with unrest caused by conflict between the English and Dutch colonial powers and personal difficulty, primarily, as a result of the activities of his father-in-law, Cornelis MELYN of Antwerp, Belgium. As a result, Jacobus and his extended family were forced to flee the British military and the personal persecution created by the animus of Petrus Stuyvesant towards his father-in-law. The Melyn and Schellinger families were also forced from their Staten Island home in 1655 as a result of an Indian uprising, fleeing to Connecticut for relief. Jacobus and his wife and children eventually settled in East Hampton, Long Island, NY, ca. 1665, where he, along with others, established a successful on-shore whaling operation known as the Whale Design.

Jacobus died June 17, 1693 at the age of 67 in East Hampton, Long Island, NY. Documentation indicates that both he and his wife are supposed to have been buried in the "old churchyard of East Hampton." At the time of Jacobus' death, East Hampton only had one church, which was the Presbyterian Church of East Hampton. This church was formerly located on the eastern edge of what is now South End Cemetery. So, one would assume that they were both buried there. The East Hampton Presbyterian Church records document that Cornelia SCHELLINGER was, in fact, buried in this churchyard cemetery.

Jacobus SCHELLINGER is generally recognized as the first person to bring the Dutch-Schellinger family name to America; his American descendants (11th generation plus) survive today.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

From Grandma Violet Pierce Mattson's Photo Albums. 2

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
I'm posting more photographs from Grandma Violet's recently discovered photo albums. If anyone has memories of the events and would like to send a description they would be welcome.
I'll caption each photo with what I know. (Click on each picture to enlarge).

Relationship Chart

Walter Mattson and Violet Pierce
Luella, Linda, John, Marvin

Marvin and Pam
Shelley and Shane

Marvin and Cindy
Luke and Hallie

Aunt Pam and Uncle Marvin's Wedding. September 11, 1965 (?)

Pam and Marvin's wedding. Aunt Pam's sister Carole.

Pam and Marvin's children. Shane (left) and Shelley (Right. Taken in 1971.

Shane and Shelley. Spring 1971.

Shane Mattson. Date unknown.

Shelley Mattson

Hallie and Luke Mattson by Uncle Marvin's Second Wife, Aunt Cindy.

Hallie Mattson

Marvin and Cindy with children Hallie and Luke. Black Hawk, South Dakota

Thursday, August 11, 2011

From Grandma Violet Pierce Mattson's Photo Albums.

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,

In an earlier post I talked about cleaning out the master bedroom closet and finding Grandma Mattson's old photo albums in a box of her things not looked at since her death. I'm working my way through them, and sadly enough, there are pictures of people I don't know and neither does Luella. That is one of the reasons for this family history blog. I working on this to insure our family's old photos are properly recorded and identified (if possible) so the collection is available to everyone. You future generations of Williamsons and Mattsons can thank me by saying a few prayers in my behalf. Your prayers for my soul will (or so I'm told) shorten my sentence in Purgatory :)

And now, a rather random assortment from Grandma Violet's albums. Please click on each picture to enlarge them.

There are two identifiable people in the photograph above. Grandma Violet is the little girl on the far left. Her brother Walter is the fifth child to the right. The rest of the people are a mystery. This would have been taken in the mid 1920's.

Here is the same group with a better view of Grandma's face. She is looking toward the baby in the man's arms. Her brother Walter is standing beside her separated by a dog.

This is the best picture we have of Great Grandpa Walter Pierce. He was Grandma Violet's father. Their early life was a tragedy (as written about in many earlier posts). He divorced Violet and Walter's mother when Violet was a very young girl.

This is written on the back of Walter Pierce's picture.

A picture of Grandma Violet

A picture of Grandpa Walter Mattson

Grandma Violet had two copies of this photograph. In the picture you see
Grandpa and Grandma Mattson (Walter and Violet). On the left is
Linda. Luella is in the middle. John is being held by Grandma.

Two pictures taken in 1962. John Mattson was visiting his Grandmother Vesta (Violet's Mother) in California

A picture of Luella's brother John Mattson while serving an LDS mission in Southern California.
The photo was taken in June 1966.

A picture of Kirk Mattson, John and Beverly's oldest child, when he was 6 months old. This picture was taken in the Mattson home in Spearfish, South Dakota.

Kirk Mattson and his sister Gina. Gina was 2 weeks old. Taken at Spearfish S.D.

Kirk Mattson and his sister Gina. Gina was 8 weeks old. Taken at Spearfish S.D.

Grandma Violet spilled something on this photo of Gina. Gina is 8 months old.

Our final picture today. Kirk Mattson at 2 years old.