Hitting the Pause Button

I’ve brought us through 121 years of Mehn/Main/Mayne ancestors, from the immigrant ship Harle, through Maryland, over to DC, and finally to Springfield, Ohio.  Before I move into another war era (The War Between the States) I have to take care of a few other things.

As I studied the Revolutionary War, its conscription process, its battles, I searched the muster rolls of  every Regiment of Maryland looking for my John Main ancestor.  While scrolling through, I came across the Maryland 4th Regiment and the name William Eaton…

I had hit a brick wall researching my Eaton family with a William born in Frederick, MD in 1777.   Could this be that William’s father?

The Maryland 4th was also known as the “Maryland and Virginia Rifle Regiment”. I need to look into this while Revolutionary War history is still fresh in my mind.  I will get back to the Maynes later, hopefully able to bring the Eatons to antebellum days, and see if we are all on the same side.

In addition to that diversion, Tomorrow begins Birthday Week..!  I share a birthday with my youngest grand-daughter. Not exactly, but she will turn 4 next Friday and I will turn 66 on Saturday.  A while back I sold her on the idea of having a party for “our birthday” and I need to prepare!  Birthday Rumpus will be covered by the intrepid reporter, Me, at The News from Sonnystone Acres.  I’m declaring a Jubilee Year, come join in!

This “Rawlings Regiment” opened up a whole new frontier on the my study of the Revolutionary War.  I’m excited to see  what I can learn…

Stay tuned…

 

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Adam Mayne and the Ohio homestead

I have to back up for a second.  I got so windy about Adam Mayne and the War of 1812 that I had to stop and breathe…

Here’s where we are today:  Adam Mayne, my great-great-great-great grandfather, born 1783 and raised on the family farm near Catoctin Mt. Maryland, married Catherine Kemp in 1804, moved to Georgetown DC sometime around 1810, served in the 2nd Regiment Cavalry DC Militia during the War of 1812.

Adam Mayne, his wife, Catherine and their 6 children were still living in Georgetown DC in 1820, according to the census of that year. They added 3 more children to the brood, but one little boy died when he was a year old.  They joined with the Dumbarton Street Methodist Episcopal Church while they lived there.  Most likely this was a “conversion” since they were raised German Reformed. Methodists were considered counter-cultural and fanatical at the time, with their anti-slavery and anti-elitist attitudes.

…I am going crazzzy trying to come up with a plausible occupation for him while he lived in Georgetown.  His father and grandfather had made their wealth from the farms that they shared with their children, yet Adam left to go to the city, and not just any city, but the capital of the United States.  Georgetown has always had a reputation as the fashionable quarter of the Capital. He couldn’t have been farming in Georgetown DC…What was his profession????

…back to what I know…

Despite the family story that they arrived in 1818, I believe that it was 1825 when Adam  bought land just southwest of Springfield Ohio near Mad River, moved his family there and farmed. (He was a farmer!)  In 1835, he donated and dedicated part of his land to build a Chapel, known locally as “Mayne’s Meeting House”,. that was the first Methodist Episcopal Church in the area.

This is an article from the Springfield Ohio Historical Society archives.

.Here’s a picture of the plaque at Emery Chapel.with the dates our family stories gave, which I think are suspicious.  I would like to visit someday and take a better picture–this one’s from Ancestrydotcom..

I inherited some records of the 32 years that he lived there.  This picture,  which was in my Dad’s collection, is of Adam Mayne in his Ohio Days… It seems to have been passed around to many of my collateral relatives and can be accessed on Ancestry.

This print of the Mayne Family Homestead that I inherited is something I’ve not seen anywhere else. I remember it being prominently displayed at my great-grandfather’s house when I was young and I’m so proud to take care of it.

He seems like a real stand-up fellow, don’t you think?  He probably was very content, feeling that he had provided for his family very well.  But his sons were like him and left the Homestead.  The oldest, Emanuel, moved to Missouri; he died in the Civil War Battle of Kirksville in 1862, a hometown hero.  Joel and Gideon moved to Iowa, and they were an editor and a judge, respectively.  Benjamin bought land in Illinois and moved his family there around 1845 to farm.  Both daughters were married, one living in Indiana and the other in nearby Springfield.

Adam Mayne died in 1857 and was buried in the Emery Chapel graveyard he had donated.  His wife, Catherine, survived him.  She was an invalid, blind for the last 10 years of her life, so  Benjamin moved his family back to Ohio and remained until after his mother died in 1869.  I have a copy of the probate filed after Adam’s death, which is almost illegible to me, but it says Benjamin is the executor and something about $10,000…See if you can read it…

Benjamin Franklin Mayne was my great-great-great grandfather.  His story isn’t as long as Adam’s,  but keeping track of his wives has become a challenge…

Stay tuned…

Adam Mayne and the War of 1812

Adam is my great-great-great-great grandfather.  Born in Frederick County, Md in 1783, he was the 3rd of Johann Mehn’s seven children, third generation in the USA.

Adam married Catherine Kemp at the family church, German Reformed in Frederick, in 1804.  They popped babies out like clockwork every couple of years: Emanuel 1805; Lydia 1807; Elizabeth 1809; Benjamin Franklin 1811; Gideon 1814; Joel 1816; Tobias 1819; Catherine 1822; Washington 1825.

Around 1810 Adam moved his family to Georgetown, District of Columbia, about 53 miles away.  I mentioned at the end of my last post that Adam was not included when his father divided up the Main Property.  I can’t know if Johann had helped Adam and his family purchase some property when they moved, or if there was some sort of falling out.  I like to think the former since Adam did very well for himself, but I have no idea what his occupation was.

The story in our family was that Adam had been the personal bodyguard for President James Madison when the British burned the White House in the War of 1812.. Sometimes it was told that he had been the personal bodyguard of First Lady Dolley.  It was also said that Catherine Mayne, his wife, was a personal friend of Dolley Madison’s.  From what I’ve read about Dolley, she had a lot of friends.   .

So, how true is the story?  I have found records on Ancestry that prove that Adam Mayne was in the 2nd Regiment Cavalry (Tayloe’s) DC Militia during the War of 1812.  The DC Militia was charged with guarding the White House.  That puts him in the right place.

Adam Mayne, 2nd Regiment Cavalry would have worn a uniform like this…

Red River Books

So where was President Madison when Washington burned on August 24, 1814..?  He got the hell out of Dodge.

According to the White House Historical Society and Dolley’s personal letters, President James Madison had left the White House on August 22 to meet with his generals on the battlefield, just as British troops threatened to enter the capitol. Before leaving, he asked his wife Dolley if she had the “courage or firmness” to wait for his intended return the next day. He asked her to gather important state papers and be prepared to abandon the White House at any moment.

President James Madison first went to Virginia, but then turned north. He arrived in Rockville on August 24, 1814, expecting to find General William H. Winder and his troops. They already proceeded on towards Baltimore.[13] Madison continued on eastward and arrived in Brookeville MD on horseback. Madison reportedly carried with him a strongbox, which contained the entire U.S. treasury.[12] On the night of August 25, he stayed in the home of Caleb Bentley, whose wife Henrietta Thomas was close friends with Dolley Madison. (wasn’t everybody?)

According to historians, Madison stayed up all night, dispatching orders, while soldiers remained on guard outside. It is very plausible that one of those soldiers was Adam Mayne.

When the British kicked our butts at the Battle of Bladensburg on August 24 near Baltimore, the President sent a letter to his wife, still at the White House, urging her to gather up as many state papers as she could and flee Washington City.  Maybe Adam was sent to escort First Lady Dolley Madison safely out?

The First Lady stayed at the White House, still waiting for her husband to return, until she received the letter.  Legends have grown up about her saving the portrait of George Washington, but seriously, the slaves did all the work for her.  (I hate that so many of our “founding fathers” were slaveowners.).  They packed a carriage full of state papers and some personal property and just before the Brits arrived, she fled. .  Dolley left lots of letters and she tells her story quite dramatically, and with some embellishment, through them.

The family history goes on to state that during the Capitol fire, and fright, Catherine fled with her 3-year-old son, Benjamin F,  from Georgetown across the Potomac to Virginia.  Interestingly, when Dolley finally left the White House she went to a friend’s house in Georgetown and then crossed the Potomac to Virginia the next day. (I didn’t know that the British also burned the Madison home, Montpelier.  That wasn’t very nice)

It is clear that Adam had direct involvement with protecting President and Mrs. Madison when the British burned the White House…..”personal bodyguard” might be pushing it, but he Certainly knew them and was one of their “guards”.  Family history correct!

The British paid little attention to what we call the War of 1812, as it was just a part of the greater Napoleonic wars they were conducting.  The War ended with no geographical changes to the USA, but with their “honor” saved.  I guess.  That’s how historians figure it anyway. The British had never planned to take over the country anyway…  During the war, a total of 2,260 American soldiers and sailors were killed. The war cost the United States about $200 million. Neither the United States nor Great Britain gained any military advantage.

I’m proud of my ancestor’s contribution to the effort, but I just don’t think war is ever a good idea…

After the conflict, Adam and his family returned to Georgetown and continued to have more babies.  Did he stay in the military?  He could have.  The commander of the DC Militia was John Tayhoe, who was the richest man in America at the time.  The President and First Lady moved into his house in Georgetown (The Octagon House, very interesting place) when they returned to Washington.  Could Adam have continued to work with him?  Some day I’ll dig a little more deeply.

In 1818  Adam bought land in Clark County, Ohio and in 1825 he moved his family along the Old National Road and established a homestead in Springfield (Ohio). .  That deserves its own post, so

Stay tuned…

 

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Johann Mehn

To bring you up to date, Johann Mehn is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather,  He was the youngest son of Georg Mehn who you can read about Here...

Johann was born in 1756. Right away, I asked myself, did he serve in the Revolutionary War?  I searched Maryland military records and found a few maybes, but nothing certain.  There are some Daughters of the American Revolution documents that are for Johann’s brother, Georg Adam, but those are not helpful to me.

The Revolutionary War (The War of Independence if you want to get flowery) was fought from 1775-1783.  As I studied up on it, it was a dismal affair and I’m not really sure how we won.  The Continental Army was formed in 1775 and had 80,000 troops at its peak.  How did they get those men?

Revolutionary American military forces drafted men throughout the conflict. At the most elementary level, state militias divided their contingent into classes of from fifteen to twenty men, then called out (drafted) one or several of a county’s classes for service ranging from weeks to months. Having served the allotted time, the men returned to their homes. They could then be conscripted again, but the draft has never been popular.

It seems logical that Johann served in the military at some point.  He would have worn a uniform like this…those are buckskin breeches…

Johann married Susanna Fiester in the German Reformed Church at Frederick, Maryland in 1777.  The had 7 children…Elizabeth (1778); Johann, Jr. (1780); Adam (1782); Johann George (1787); Susanna (1790); Johann Jacob (1794); David (1796).

Finally they are beginning to move away from the old German habit of putting the Johann or George in front of the name that they actually use.  For instance, Johann Jacob was called Jacob.  This is so annoying when you’re trying to keep straight who is who, especially since Johann himself had 3 brothers named Johann, one of whom married a Susanna. They are also using the spelling “Main”.  But there is no doubt that Johann spoke primarily German.

Johann had been set up with about 150 acres of farmland by his father.  In 1824 he sold his land to two of his sons, George and David as tenants in common, for $1000 plus other considerations.  George and David were to pay off of their father’s debts and to “maintain, support and comfort the said Johann Mehn, Sr. during his natural life with suitable, competent and proper board, meat, drink, bread, clothing, bedding and house room, firewood, fire and all the necessaries of life.”  If the two sons “neglect or in any manner refuse” to provide their father with this care during his lifetime, then the deed was to become null and void.  In addition, George and David had to pay his their Sister $200 6 years later, then brother Jr $200 the next year, then finally Jacob $200 in 1733.

Johann died in 1832 and was buried from the German Reformed church, probably resting in the Main Family Cemetery.  I guess they took care of him!

That land document establishes the identity of all of Johann’s surviving children…except one…

What happened to Adam?  Well, Adam is my great-great-great-great grandfather.  I heard stories about Adam at my daddy’s knee.  Given Daddy’s veracity record, I didn’t know how much would be true.  But Adam definitely lives up to the hype…

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

First Arrival: Georg Mehn

I confess to ignorance of World History. It was required curriculum when I was in the 9th grade and I remember reading parts of the textbook.  Mostly, though, I recall my teacher spent a lot of time smoking cigarettes in the teachers lounge…

So I started from scratch researching the 30-years-War that went on in central Europe between the years of 1618 and 1648. It started as a battle among the Catholic and Protestant states that formed the Holy Roman Empire. However, as the Thirty Years’ War evolved, it became less about religion and more about money and power…no surprise there.

One region that was particularly devastated by this war was the Palatinate region, now part of Germany.

The Palatinate had lost 457,000 out of 500,000 people during the Thirty Years’ War as Spanish, Italian, Hungarian, Dutch and Swedish soldiers burned hundreds of cities and villages throughout German realms. The country was a wasteland of human misery. Then, King Louis XIV of France ordered his generals to destroy what little remained and they devastated the whole Rhineland.

The immigrants poured out of the area, at first going to England, where Queen Anne had pity on them and in 1709 sent about 3,000 to Ireland to homestead.  That group assimilated well, but most didn’t  The number of people was overwhelming, and there was disease, starvation, crowding at all of England’s port cities. They were not popular and it seemed like a good idea to ship them off to the colonies…

According to a lecture by Dr. George Schweitzer, a highly regarded genealogical researcher, ship owners were very actively recruiting German settlers to the colonies at this time. England was bringing large quantities of cargo back from the colonies and to make the process more profitable they needed cargo for the western-bound journey also. They weren’t as concerned about bringing in money from this human cargo as they were about the weight and ballast they could provide to “speed up” the sailings. The faster they could make the return voyage, the more profits they could realize.

The port of Philadelphia showed the impact of the German recruitment. In 1735 there were 268 German immigrants who arrived in the port. In 1736 it was 736, and it rose to 1528 in 1737. Expectations were for 1738 to see even larger numbers of emigrants. But even those high expectations were shattered by the huge numbers.

And so the Ship Harle sailed from Rotterdam…

“At the Courthouse of Philadelphia, September 1st, 1736. One hundred fifty one Foreigners from the Palatinate & other Places, who, with their Families, making in all three hundred eighty eight Persons, were imported here in the Ship Harle, of London, Ralph Harle, Master, from Rotterdam, but last from Cowes, as by Clearance thence, were this day qualified as usual.” From the Minutes of the Provincial Council, printer in “Colonial Records,” Vol. IV, p.58f.

On board this ship was 16-year-old Georg Mehn., my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather.  He had no family with him, but two other names on the passenger list are mentioned later on in his records.

I don’t know if he stayed on in Philadelphia for a while or if he came straight on down to Frederick, Maryland, but that’s where he was in 1741 when he married Elizabetha Winters.  They had six children:  Magdalena, born 1742; Johann George 1744; George Adam, 1746; George Frederick, 1754: Johann 1756; and Anna Maragretha Rosina, 1759.  He was naturalized during the April 1764 session of the Provincial Court of Maryland in Annapolis.

According to “A Mayne is a Main is a Mehn” , Helen Winters Seubold, 1980, Copy Shop, Rockville, MD:  “In 1760, a warrant was granted out of His Lordship’s Land Office for 24 acres “beginning at a bounded black oak on the east side of a hill near a run” ..  Here George built his first home, having probably lived with his in-laws until then. For the next years he continued to buy adjacent land at the base of Catoctin Mountain. . By 1771 he had acquired four more parcels of land totaling 327 acres.   He patented the farms as Empty Bottle, Half-Bottle, Full Bottle, and All Bottles Full.

Taken from the highest point in Gambrill Park, this shot looks west over Middletown Valley which held Georg’s farms…

Most likely Georg derived his wealth from making whiskey,  hence the name Bottle theme. Rye whiskey was one of the staple productions of Frederick County and the timing was good.   Because of that little Revolutionary War thing, and those nasty naval battles, liquor just wasn’t  finding its way to America.  That left a void in the spirit world (haha) and Grandaddy’s Rye came to the rescue…

Elizabetha died sometime before 1777.  By then, the older children were already married and he had grandchidren.   In 1778 he began to “sell” the farms for a pittance of the value to his sons.   He retained possession of his home and his original tract until 1782 when he sold it to his youngest son, Johann.

He is most likely buried in the Main Family Cemetery in Big Springs, MD.

From Ancestry.com : Main Family Cemetery Big Springs, MD

It would be a great camper trip to the area to try and find it.  The Catoctin Mountain is part of the Blue Ridge Mountains and home to Camp David, the presidential getaway.  It looks like a beautiful place.

So That’s our First Arrival.  Not a bad start here in America.

His youngest son, Johann (just plain John is so confusing after all those others,but that’s his name) is my great-great-great-great-great grandfather.  Wonder what he was up to?

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Family Stories

I had to pull my mind off the grandparents for a while and do my taxes, watch the Super Bowl, and get my husband started on a new project.  Taking advantage of some sunny weather, I backed off of the computer and went outside..!

Out of the blue, I got a phone call from my Aunt Shirley.  Shirley Ilene Eaton Compton was born in 1935 and is the youngest of my Mom’s siblings.  She and my Uncle Jr  (Clarence Nicholas b. 1929) are the only ones still living from the original 9 kids in Clarence and Flo Eaton’s brood. Uncle Jr. has dementia and lives in a nursing home  where I visit periodically.  He is not able to tell me about much except the time he spent in Germany right after the war…

Aunt Shirley is not a reliable historian, either.  She has been able to fill me in on all the scandal of her siblings, but wasn’t old enough to know the Eaton grandparents. Not knowing something has never stopped Aunt Shirley from expounding on it, though.  When her phone conversation began to veer off into parroting fox news, which is on her TV 24/7 like big brother,  I steered her over to discuss the family tree.

She listened as I took the Eaton line back to Maryland, but as soon as I stopped, she started a story about my grandpa’s brother.  She said he had a brother that went out west and got burned and was in a hospital out there…  I know this is not true.  I said, no, here’s what actually happened and told her how I follow William Eaton through the censuses, to his death certificate in Perry County, Indiana.  No, she said, she knew he had this brother that, well, she couldn’t remember, seemed like he got burned or something and was in a mental hospital and her dad just wouldn’t talk about it    Undaunted by the truth, she carried on and on…

So I let her ramble, but later  checked back on William, grandpa’s brother.  Other than seeing that he was still on the farm with his mother and his late sister’s daughter in 1910, I hadn’t paid much attention.  well…

There was a small kernel of truth in her story:  .William married a lady named Hannah around 1912, when he was 36 and she was 22,. and they had 2 daughters. I find them in the 1920 census still in Crawford County.  In 1930 William is working “on his own account” on a farm in Oil, Perry County, Indiana, with  his mother Amanda, and his 16-year-old daughter Goldie.

His wife Hannah is counted in the 1930 census, too, but as a patient in a mental hospital, right here in my hometown, Evansville IN.

These were poor, uneducated, hillbilly folk and you’d have to be pretty much frothing at the mouth (or murderous) before they’d go so far as to commit you to an insane asylum back then!   I wonder what the problem was?  Then I noticed that three months after the census was taken, in September, 1930, grandpa’s brother William died on the farm in Perry County. Death certificate says he died of tuberculosis.   Hannah didn’t die until 1984 and I wonder what happened to her, but this was already much farther down that line than I planned on going, thank-you-very-much-Aunt-Shirley!!

That’s just one of the Rabbit Holes I’ve fallen into…

There are so many great bloggers out there, writing real good for free, and I have spent hours reading their stuff.  There is so much to learn…

Not only the cruel minions, but research of the times and context of my family takes me far away from “how far we go back” to “this is how we lived”.  I love it!

Pulling it all together in blog posts that are interesting to anyone but myself?  Well, I don’t know, but I’ll try.

We will be traveling in March and I can only commit to this for another couple of weeks, though!  I’m working to put together a schedule of coherent blogs with the Overwhelming amount of information I want to share…

Stay tuned…

Peace

Prologue

My Dad was interested in his family tree and shared that with me. . He had worked together with some collateral relatives over 50 years ago, gathering written histories and letters from folks who remembered my 3rd and 4th great-grandfathers.  I’m so grateful to have those stories, as well as family pictures, and so I wanted to follow the line farther back.    .

Much later,  Mom and her sisters visited English, IN, where their parents started out, but didn’t get any farther than their grandpa, my great, though they had a lot of fun visiting the cemeteries.

I started out at our local Willard Library, a wonderful place filled with archives and references from Eville.  I spent many a Sunday afternoon poking through old books and looking at microfilms, but my families came from other places — my kids’ generation is the first to be born here — so I didn’t get too far.

Enter the internet, and I started to check out the LDS website and found out a few things.  Willard got the library version of My Heritage and I visited there a few times, but recently they started letting you use the free version at home and I started moving along…

I was able to go beyond what Mom and her sisters had uncovered, but not much. It verified what I already knew about the Maynes — it was weird to see my great-great-great-great-grandfather Adam Mayne’s picture, one that I also own, on a family tree. However,  I learned next-to-nothing about my paternal grandmother’s grandparents, and just a little about my great-grandmothers families.

A couple of months ago, my brother sent me a note that one of our cousins had linked Mom’s family to the Eatons who came over on the Mayflower.  I always knew that there had been an Eaton on board, 3 to be exact. Unable to  trace past my great-grandfather on that side, I was a little jealous that she could have made such a quick check of it all…

So it was that I went ahead and subscribed to Ancestry dot com, the premier DNA and genealogy site.  I went a little crazy at first and ran out my whole tree at once,  some farther than others and none as far as the Eatons. Within hours, I had traced my grandpa Eaton’s family back to 11th century Great Britain…but not to the Mayflower.

This made for a very jumbled way of researching, so I settled down and started over with the Eatons as a separate tree.

By now I had found my cousin’s tree and, sure enough, she had concluded that we are descended from Francis Eaton, the Mayflower carpenter who landed at Plymouth Rock with his wife, Sarah, and “suckling” baby, Samuel, in 1620. We know from Massachusetts records kept by William Bradford this history:  Sarah had died that first year in Plymouth and Francis immediately married another lady, Dorothy no-last-name. .  She died, too, and he then married Christian Penn, who had come over on the Anne in 1623..  Christian and Francis had 3 children, Rachel, Benjamin, and a child registered as an “ideote”, un-named, (our ancestor?).  It was Benjamin, however, who my cousin credited with being our link to the Puritans.

I checked over my original tree and it seemed just a sound as hers, but we branched away from each other at an ancestor born around 1728.  That same person, name and birthdate same,  is on 3 different trees, but with different parents.

How can this be?  The way the platform works is by giving you hints.  Many of the hints are from other people’s trees. Instead of  citing real sources  such as censuses, birth or marriage certificates, land and probate records, some just use the info from another member’s tree.  Other hints are the real sources.  By looking more closely at the sources in the trees, I have come across a lot of error.  The farther back you go, the more work you have to do to uncover an actual record, of course, and it’s easy to get lost, or to simply choose the ancestor that sounds best…would that we could…

So I’ve learned my lesson early and I’m going to start all over with separate trees for Mom & Dad.. .and take my time.

If I use my first tree, I am descended from the Vicar of Budworth, brother of Lord Henry Eaton,  descended from the Eytons in the 1086  Domesday Book…

I like that ending (or is it beginning) sooo much more than old Puritan Francis, but I will try to stay objective…

Peace