The Short Life of Joseph Haines

Joseph Haines/Hains, my 3rd great uncle, was the elder brother of my 3rd g-grandfather, William John “John” Haines.  He was likely born in Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada, 22 June 1849 to John Hains and Alice Edith Childs, the eldest of seven, a family of five boys and two girls.

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Joseph’s mother died in 1859, when he was ten years old. His father’s widowed sister, Patience, joined the family, likely to help raise the children.

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As depicted in his sister Mary’s diary, they were a close knit happy family, until their father remarried in 1865 (to Jane Clare) when Joseph was about sixteen. The couple added four children to the family, all girls.

Letters imply their step-mother was not well liked. In a letter to his sister Mary (original here), Joseph writes in part:

Now Mary, you know as well as I can tell you that your step-mother doesn’t like you or me either and no wonder when I threatened to throw her out of the window as she told you and you know that is too strong a language for the laws of any country. Not only that, but before you went home last year to see father you knew very well that you could not meet Jane, as you call her, on any friendly terms whatever . Now tell me what was the use of your going home when you wanted nothing from them. You have a good name, good wages, good head….

Probably the reason Joseph left home and became a ship’s mate.  Although no record of Joseph’s voyages have been located in Ancestry.com’s database, Seafarers of the Atlantic Provinces, 1789-1935 (brothers John and George are named in this database).

Despite a disdain of their step-mother, the elder children did seem to have a relationship with their younger sisters, based on their exchange of letters (Mary’s descendants hold letters from three of her four younger sisters).

When Joseph became ill, on 7 May 1879, he was admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in London, County of Surrey, sub district Lambeth Church.  After a lengthy illness, he died in his 32nd year, on 24 Jan 1881, and is buried at Norwood Cemetery, London. Cause of death was: “aneurysm of the thoracic aorta” [an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel. A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in the part of the body’s largest artery, the aorta, that passes through the chest].

Joseph death

In October of 1880, Joseph wrote to his sister Mary that his artery is getting hard or consolidated, he is likely to choke at any time while he is coughing, thus he can eat nothing hard like potatoes or apples.  The nurses make him soup, so he needs only to have it reheated at dinnertime.

He tells her that the doctor says that there is a 1 in 10 chance that he would go home.  He hasn’t been allowed out of bed for 6 months (although he did walk a bit without the nurse and the doctor would be angry if he knew as his pulse raised to 100).

He says he will never get better and will not be able to work. He tries to explain his illness – the artery is so large in his chest that it blocks other arteries so the blood doesn’t circulate as it should. Joseph includes a hand drawn picture:

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Joseph has found religion and Jesus a comfort and writes lengthy letters to Mary quoting the bible. He says that his life is in God’s hands.

He asks on a few occasions that she not mention girl’s names in her letters.  The nurse gets his letters downstairs and very often he lets her read them. He has had to burn a few so that she would not read them.

He speaks of receiving occasional letters from his father, sister Lizzie and brother Alex.  His writes of his brother “Johnie” (William John Haines, my 3rd g-grandfather) who is admittedly in a 5-year “wild and reckless” phase (read here):

April 1880…Johnie came twice with someone half drunk, he spent all his pay day in rum without buying any clothes for himself, so I could not help him when he went away as I had not a cent too much for myself….

Sept 1880…you grumble about Johnie being exposed by the family, but you screen him too much. That is really too bad that he has never went home, as he promised me when he left the hospital; the nurse gave him a Bible and I gave him a large quantity of books, some bought and some were presents to me, so that [is] the last I have heard of him, but still I am trying to make myself believe that he is short of funds and that he is working somewhere until he gets on his feet, so as he may go home respectable.

Joseph’s last days are captured in his sister Mary Ann “Alice” (Haines) Stevens’s diary:

1 Jan 1880:  This past year has been a very sad one for me.  My dearest brother Joseph entered the St. Thomas Hospital, London as a patient May 7, 1879. May 22nd I received a letter from him telling me all about himself. I shall never forget how I felt on reading his letter, and then to think he will never be the same active brother again. Today I am very dull and lonely for we were all seven children at home with my father, how many happy days we had together and this is one of the days we all loved so well.  Today I am in the crowded city of Boston far from home and the brothers I loved so well.

Mary writes of receiving letters from Joseph every two weeks.  He seems to be improving and expects to be home by Christmas.  She records his birthday on 22 June.

1 Nov 1880: Received a letter from my dear brother, and photos of his nurses. He is still improving. He has charged me to keep Miss Corrie Rice’s [his nurse] photo for him. I have promised to do this and have given it a place in my album which was mine along side of his.

On 7 Dec 1880, Mary receives what will be Joseph’s final letter to her.  Over the next few months, she wonders why no others have come and prays that he is headed home.

5 Feb 1881: …My God, the sad, sad hour has come for me.  A letter this morning from dear Miss Rice informing me of the death of my dear, dear brother Joseph. He breathed his last on her own dear arm he loved so well, twenty five to five Monday morning, January 24, 1881.  She states that to the last, he said, “don’t weep for me dears, I am only going to Jesus”. Then he said goodbye, left his last message to me with her, for me, and his dying gift. Then he raised his dear hands as if to meet the Lord, and said come Lord Jesus and take me for I am waiting for you.  And his dear true spirit returned to God who gave it.

Mary continues:

He was a good kind true brother, always pleasant, always full of fun. He was tall and handsome. Had beautiful form, quick step, and just as light as it was quick. He had beautiful (neither light nor dark) curly brown hair when he let it grow, but he frequently kept it short. He had hazel blue eyes, red cheeks, his complexion fair. Wore his beard French style. His features were very even. In fact his face and form were handsome. He was very affectionate and generous. Always happy himself and liked to see everyone the same. If he had anything to divide, always gave the largest and best half away. I have lost dear friends but have never experienced anything like this…I miss his dear letters and his kind words of love and advice. All the pet names we called each other are fresh in my mind.

Many friends sent poems offering their condolences.  Mary mourned. She received a second letter from Miss Rice saying that she followed Joseph’s remains to his resting place on 31 Jan and saw them lay peacefully in the grave.

Mary speaks of reading Joseph’s dying gift to her, a book.

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She describes a letter from Miss Rice filled with yellow buttercups and daisy’s from Joseph’s grave and tells how Miss Rice planted the forget-me-not seeds which Mary had sent to England.

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Mary reminisced of Joseph frequently:

16 May 1881: Five years ago today my dear brother Joseph came home from sea.  I shall never forget how happy I was to see him.  How I bounded to the door to meet him.  Little did I think then it was the last time I would meet him there, or welcome him home.

12 July 1881: This is one of the days we all looked forward to with so much pleasure at home, the Orange parade**.  Seven years ago today I went to the grand parade with dear brother Joseph. What a lovely time we had.

**July 12 is the date that commemorates the Battle of the Boyne, and the victory in 1690 of a Protestant army led by William of Orange over A Roman Catholic one led by James II, the deposed English king….the Orange Lodge, an extreme anti-Catholic organization rooted among the Scots-Irish, Protestant culture of Northern Ireland wielded considerable and often provocative power. Scots-Irish immigrants to English Canada brought their Orange loyalties, and anti-Catholic attitudes with them. The Orange Parade would have been put on by the Orange Lodge, which was an association of Northern Irish Protestants, The Orange Lodge became politically powerful, well into the 20th Century it was virtually impossible for anyone who wasn’t a member of the Orange Lodge to get elected to city council. The annual Orange Day parade was one of the biggest public events in the predominantly “white, Anglo-Saxon, Protestant (WASP)” city of the time.

23 Aug 1881: Five years ago today I spent the day mending dear brother Joseph’s clothes…Then I packed his trunk, putting in all the little surprises, presents that he was to find when at sea.  Oh dear, how lonely I felt as I sat down and looked at all the things all packed up and ready to start.  When just then I heard on the stairs, the well known proud step of my brother, and as quick as I could, I brushed away my tears and tried to smile. But he saw me and said, now Mary, why can’t you be like other sisters and let me go away in peace, and not act as if I were never coming back again.  You know seafaring men can’t all stay at home and as long as my heart is on the sea then I must work.  And you know Mary I have the same God on the sea as on land and he will take care of me, and I will always write to you, and I will come home before long, and we can have another good time…..

Mary, cousin Jenny and Joseph then went for a walk.  Mary recalls:

I will never forget how particular he was about my dress saying, now it may be some time before you have the pleasure of walking with as fine a looking man as me. So go take off that horrid looking dress and put on the one I like best to see you wear.  So I did, and as I came downstairs again he met me at the foot of the stairs, and in his own mischievous way he offered me his arm.  And said he only wished I was his bride and showed how he would walk with me if I were.

All hands laughed, and although I was not in the mood for laughter, I had to laugh. So we three walked on together little dreaming it was our last walk forever on earth, and so it proved to be. We talked over all our childish days, things we used to do and say, and had many good laughs. It was the last time I ever heard him speak of dear mother and he turned to cousin Janet and said “Mother laid the cornerstone of my heart”.

This day was spent very pleasantly. Joseph stayed most of the day upstairs where I was spinning and told sea stories. This was the last day we were together and in the evening his friend Robert Morton and he went to make a few calls.

The sun rose bright and clear (25 Aug 1876) I rose early and went to my brother’s room to have the last conversation with him. I tapped on his door and there was no answer, so I walked in. He was still sleeping. I sat down on the bedside and he woke up saying “darn glad you came, for I want to talk with you”. I put my arms around his neck and kissed him. He kissed me for the last time.

I never shall forget all this kind advice, and all the kind words he said. I went to the kitchen, got his breakfast ready, and he was soon ready to start on the train. Well 6 o’clock came at last, and when I got him seated at the breakfast table, I asked him if there was anything more for me to do. No dear, he said, looking up at me, unless you wash and mend my cap. And I had to laugh for he was so comical. Then I stole upstairs and gave that to my tears.

But I was not there long when I heard the sweet voice of my brother calling. He and all the family but me had gathered in the front entry. Through my tears I called one goodbye, God bless you, and a safe passage across. I look from my window and they’re on the front doorstep he stood. I shall never forget how handsome he looked, even more beautiful than ever as he tripped off up the road leading to the station where he was to take the train.

The last words ever I heard him say were, “goodbye Mary”, and never since his death have I ever been called by the name Mary but I think of him dear boy for that is the last remembrance I have of him. And to be called by that name always sends a pang to my heart to think of him [in her younger years Mary was called Alice or Allie, her middle name]. I sat for a little while, then I went to the room that he occupied when home but everything was gone belonging to him. I did not sit there long till the train on which he was to go came along, and there on the platform stood my dear brother Joseph waving goodbye to all. I waved my handkerchief till he was out of sight and the train entered the big cutting [she later says that this event took place at her Aunt Mary (Childs) Morton’s home in Restigouche].

Mary later (in 1882) travels to Europe as a nursemaid for Henry Longworth Longfellow’s grandchildren and has the opportunity to visit Joseph’s grave twice in Norwood Cemetery and to make aquaintence with his nurses at the hospital near the Westminster Bridge. They point out Joseph’s former bed, #28, in Sister George’s ward.

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Mary did try to reach another of her brother’s nurse decades later at an address in Ireland, however the letter was returned as undeliverable.

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A Letter from John Hains to his daughter Mary

I have encountered many a genealogist who document only their direct line. Many times, in documenting the lives of your collateral relatives (aka siblings of your direct ancestors) you will find that your distant cousins hold documents or photos that offer glimpses into the lives of your direct ancestors or help to break down brick walls.

For hundreds of years, people who wished to stay in touch with others had only one way to do it, they wrote letters, the only means of long-distance communication.  Today I share one such letter written by my 3rd great grandfather John Hains to his daughter Mary in which he names a number of his children, including my 2nd g-grandfather William John  (who was working as a chemist for Cabot in Chelsea, Massachusetts).

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John Hains was likely born 5 Mar 1824 in Fredericton, York, New Brunswick, Canada to Joseph Hains III and Nancy Ann Boone (see post here).  By 1848 he had moved to Richibucto, Kent, New Brunswick where on 17 Mar 1849 according to church records (1848 according to the family bible) he married Alice/Alise Edith Childs, daughter of Joseph Childs and Jannet Dunn.

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The couple had seven children: Joseph, Alexander, George, James, Mary Alice, William John and Elizabeth (aka Lizzie). Alice died in 1859.  John married second Jane Clare, daughter of James Clare and Elizabeth Langen.  They had four daughters, Alice, Annie,  Caroline “Carrie” and Christina.  John later resided in Derby and owned a farm in Miramichi.  He spent some winters in Boston, Massachusetts near (or with) a few of his children, who resided there.  John died 20 April 1901 in Derby, New Brunswick.

Censuses:

1851 – likely Richibucto (Kent County census records have not survived)
1861 – resides in Richibucto, age 37, native NB, G. Laborer, Episcopalian
1871 – resides in Richibucto, age 47, English origin, Laborer, Church of England
1881 – resides in Parish of Derby, age 57, English origin, Carpenter, Church of England
1891 – resides in Parish of Derby, age 66, born NB, parents born England, Mechanic/Bridge Builder, Church of England
1901 – resides in Parish of Derby, age 76, born 5 April 1824, born NB of Dutch origin, Farmer, Church of England/Episcopalian

**The original letter is held by Mary’s g-granddaughter who is one of our DNA matches! She shares 29.0 centimorgans across 3 DNA segments with my uncle, her third cousin, and 45 centimorgans across 4 DNA segments with me, her third cousin once removed.**

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Lower Derby

15 Jan 1896

Dear Daughter,

I received your kind and welcome letter which I read with much pleasure I also received your present which I much prised and for which I return many thanks I crave —- your indulgence for delaying so long in my answer one thing is my eyesight is getting so bad that I can only manage to write in clear weather besides I have had poor health since the winter set in but we have a fine winter so far.

As snow is concerned we have very little snow but cold weather. I had a letter from George a few days ago, he was in San Diego, he still has a notion of me going to San Diego, he thinks it would be better for my health, but I think I am too old and feeble to go so far. I also had a letter from John [William John] with my allotment in he has his land paid for he is thinking of leaving Calbot [Cabot] soon as Calbot [Cabot] is not doing with him as he promised. He wrote me that Alex was to see him lately about going into business, he was on his way to Portland to buy another Vessel that he was selling the old one. John says Alex is doing well at the fishing. Annie says she received your letter she has neglected to write but she will write soon. Carrie has another young son making three in all. So no more at present I remain your affectionate father

John Hains

My Acadian DNA

My Aunt’s DNA finally finished processing on Ancestry and all of a sudden I am in 28 DNA circles! I know it’s beta (and only good as Ancestry trees are accurate), but cool (previously I had only one circle!). It will be interesting to see if we get any more once her brother and their first cousin’s tests are done processing!!

The trees begin with my mother’s maternal grandparents, and a red star indicates we have a DNA circle (each circle includes between 5 and 40 folks who match DNA with my Aunt and I, who also have those people in their tree).

My Aunt (as of today) has 1748 Shared Ancestor Hints & 5,847 4th cousins or closer.  Crazy!!  It will take years to go through all of them!!  Just for comparison, my non-Acadian Uncle has only 52 Shared Ancestor Hints & 236 4th cousins or closer.

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Another “Oops” In My Tree, Learn from my Mistake!

Many years ago, as I built my husband’s tree, I puzzled over his grandmother Dorothy (LeBlanc/White) Little.

You see, in 1920 and 1930 Dorothy was living with Herbert and Annie White in Lynn, Massachusetts and listed as “daughter”. By 1940, she  resided at the same address as Herbert and Annie, and was listed as “wife” to David Little. Dorothy’s first three children, also enumerated, were named David, Dorothy and Herbert, and in all three censuses, Dorothy’s birthplace was listed as Massachusetts.

Herbert White’s Naturalization papers name a daughter Dorothy, born 12 June 1912.  naturalization

Yet, I couldn’t locate Dorothy’s birth in the Massachusetts indexes or vital record collections on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org or AmericanAncestors.org. Frustrated, I wrote to the Lynn Town Clerk.  Within a week, I had a transcription of Dorothy’s birth record.  The transcription offered the same birth date, named her father Herbert LeBlanc (note that White is a common Americanized version of LeBlanc) and mother Annie Brown.

Hmmmm, I thought, “the birth  must be misindexed in every online database”.

I couldn’t find a marriage record for Herbert and Annie under White or LeBlanc between Herbert’s 1908 arrival from Canada and Dorothy’s 1912 birth. Perhaps they returned to Canada (where Herbert was born), married and had the baby there? Or was that misindexed too! Sigh.

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Although I had plans to visit the Massachusetts Vital Records office in Dorchester to view Dorothy’s marriage and death records, it just hasn’t happened.  I built out my husband’s tree and have Herbert Leblanc descending from Daniel LeBlanc who died in Acadia about 1695. Ironically, my mother also descends from this family, thus I am Herbert’s 6th cousin 3x removed.  My husband and I are cousins!

I did make it to the Essex County Courthouse.  Dorothy died about 10 years before her father; she left six children and those children received not a penny when Herbert died in 1974!  His sister Agnes’s five children were named as sole heirs to his $19,000 estate.  He must have disowned Dorothy’s children (I blogged about it here)! This came as no surprise.  I won’t go into detail, but my husband’s father (now deceased) was a despicable human being who literally should have spent his life in prison.

I haven’t looked at this line in about four years. This morning, I tracked down a number of Agnes’ grandchildren on Facebook, introduced myself as a cousin and asked if they knew why Herbert might have disowned his grandchildren.  The response?  SHOCKING!

It went something like:

Here is a picture of Herbert and his wife Annie. But, as far as we know, Herbert didn’t have children or grandchildren.

He married a woman named Annie who already had a baby named Dorothy.  He helped raise her, but it wasn’t his baby.

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WHAT? But I have a Naturalization and birth certificate that name him as her father!!! She named a child after him!

Then, I took another look at the Lynn birth records for 12 June 1912.

There it was…

….a female…

…”Chambers”, born to Frank Chambers and Annie Brown in Lynn, Massachusetts.

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Then, in the 1910 census…. a Frank Chambers was enumerated as a boarder in the home of Annie Brown, in Lynn (http://tinyurl.com/jz5daj3).

Next, a marriage on 20 Aug 1911 between Frank Chambers and Annie Brown in Lynn.

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And last, (double sigh)…a marriage dated 12 June 1916 in Lynn between a Hubert LeBlanc and a divorced Annie Chambers, daughter of William Brown.

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Oops, I did it again!

I explained away inconsistencies by making them fit my story.

I did not do an exhaustive search. I still don’t have Dorothy’s marriage and death records (perhaps they do name Chambers as her father). I did not look for Herbert and Annie’s marriage after Dorothy’s date of birth.

I trusted that the birth transcription from Lynn was accurate.  I did not carefully look at all the births registered in Lynn on that date (there were only three).

I do have another case where my g-grandmother named her step-father as her father (first when she married and then when she applied for social security), I’ve been through this, yet clearly I missed the lesson!

So my husband has a new tree and we are not cousins (at least through this line).  Annie Little was born Annie Chambers and her father of Irish descent, not French Canadian. But…I am thrilled to have a photo of Herbert and Annie. And although Herbert will always be part of our story having raised Dorothy and being my distant cousin, I am glad to have been able to correct the error vs. passing it to future generations.

And the new tree looks something like this:

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UPDATE: I contacted the Lynn Town clerk and they seem reluctant to send me a photo of the original birth record.  They claim there are no anomalies (i.e. erasures, margin notes or the entry being written years after the birth) and could not explain the discrepancy between their entry and the state record, but offered to call vital records and will get back to me…..

Meanwhile, one of Herbert’s nieces, who I met on Facebook, has DNA tested with Ancestry.com.  The niece’s matches are with Acadians (many in common with my 50% Acadian/50% Lithuanian mom), many of them LeBlanc.

The niece uploaded her results to GEDMATCH for me (since hubby tested on 23andme) and my husband matches 56 cMs on 21 segments with the largest being just 5.2cM’s.  Certainly not indicative of a 2nd cousin once removed (who should share on average 106.25 cM’s – see the ISOGG Wiki – here). Lots of smaller segments likely indicate that they have many distant Acadian matches (my husband is perhaps Acadian through his maternal brick walled LeBlanc line – he, my mother and the niece have a few hundred common matches in “People who match both kits”).

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The divorce paperwork arrived.  The Annie M. Chambers who married Samuel F. Chambers on 20 Aug 1911, filed for divorce on the grounds of abuse, 30 March 1915.  She asks for custody of the 2 year, 9 month old minor child, Dorothy E. Chambers, who was “born of the said marriage”.

 

Peter Penno of Norton, House Fire 1806

The Norton Historical Society in Norton, Bristol County, Massachusetts has a gold mine of unpublished documents dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Unfortunately many of the documents were damaged by water.  An outside vendor was able to preserve much of the collection, however they were returned in random order.  The documents now sit in boxes at the society .  No one has time to sort through and organize them (if only I lived closer!).

While there last month, I was able to go through one of the boxes, and photographed a few documents of interest, even though there seemed to be no link to my family.

One such document was a signed by the mark of Peter Penno, 26 January 1806. Peter lost his home, possessions, clothes and provisions in a house fire, causing his family, which included young children, to be separated.  He asked for assistance, during this “inclement season”:

 To the Church of Christ and Society in the Town of Norton – Greeting,

The Petition of Peter Penno of said Norton Humbly shows and would beg leave to represent that on the 21st day of January instant while his family were at Dinner his house suddenly took fire and baffled every exertion of the family to stop its progress, in a few moments that, together with most part of their furniture, Beds, some Cloaths and their whole stock of Corn and provisions were wraped in, and consumed by that all devouring element fire, whereby himself, Wife and Children (and some of them quite small), are bereft of their little ___ and turned out of Doors at this Inclement season without Cloaths, Provisions, or Furniture, and his family are now Separated and must remain so unless relieved by the Charitable assistance of the Benevolent and can not we say with good old God? who can withstand Gods mighty cold? Soft eyed pity is the Child of Goodness and is the native inmate of every virtuous mind, and he that puts forth his hand to the relief of the distressed, and to save the wrathed from perishing we are to Sin the sacred Volume, are lending to the Lord, and will assuredly receive their reward by Contributing a  small portion from your abundance, to the relief of a Poor, but really Industrious family, you will raise them from Wretchedness and  Wants, and this Cumforth into their almost disponding minds.

Norton January 26, 1806

History of the town of Norton,  details “dwelling houses burned” and mentions Peter Penno’s house burned midday, 21 January 1806 :

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Who was Peter Penno?

Peter Penno was born about 1756.  He married Elizabeth Munro, 15 Apr 1779, at Providence, Rhode Island.

In 1790, Peter was enumerated in Providence; his household included six members: one free white male over 16; two free white males under sixteen and three free white females.

In 1794, when Peter signed a petition against Bristol Rhodes, he was residing in Providence in the neighborhood near the Congregational Church.

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By 1800, the family had relocated to Norton, Bristol, Massachusetts and was enumerated with eleven household members:

Free White Persons – Males – Under 10 2
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25 3
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over 1
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10 2
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15 1
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25 1
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over 1
Number of Household Members Under 16 5
Number of Household Members Over 25 2
Number of Household Members 11

Thus, the Penno family likely included nine children at the time of the fire, four of them under the age of ten!  Online unsourced trees include only John, Hannah (Woodcock), Nathaniel, Benjamin, William and Jeremiah.

Although additional research is needed, there are a number of marriages that were recorded in Norton that have potential to be some of Peter Penno’s children:

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Providence, Rhode Island vital records point to additional candidates:

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In 1810, Peter was enumerated in Norton, a neighbor of my 5th g-grandmother Abiah (Crossman) Hall and her sons, Silas and my 4th g-grandfather Brian Hall. John Penno resided nearby (perhaps Peter’s son).

Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 2
Free White Persons – Males – 45 and over: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1
Number of Household Members Under 16: 2
Number of Household Members Over 25: 2
Number of Household Members: 6

1810

Land Deeds

Land deeds mention the fire and my ancestors.

In a deed filed March 1812, Nathaniel Munro transferred land to Peter Penno (Bristol, book 95, page 448).  It reads in part:

….A lot of land being in Norton and on the southerly side of the road that leads from Brian Hall’s to George Leonard’s Esq. bounded as follows…..

…..Land that I purchased of Brian Hall and Silas Hall by deed, January 15, 1794, and the same land I gave to Penno’s wife, a deed of which they say is burnt, whereon a house has been lately burnt and if said deed is found, this deed to be void….in witness whereof I, the said Nathaniel with my wife Nancy… this 27th day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and six….

Brian and Sally Hall sign as witnesses.

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My family was likely present the day of the fire!  Perhaps they assisted in extinguishing the flames and took in a few of the children. I like to think they would have come to the aid of their neighbors.

Peter later coveyed this land to Nathaniel Penno [his son] of Cranston, Rhode Island, June 11, 1813 (Bristol, book 95, page 448/9).

In 1818, Nathaniel Penno of Providence, leased this same land to his parents, the deed reads in part (Bristol, book 106, page 63):

I,  Nathaniel Penno of Providence…for love and affection I have for my honorable father Peter Penno and my affectionate mother Elizabeth Penno, the wife of my father, both of said Norton….

….A lot of land being in Norton and on the southerly side of the road that leads from Brian Hall’s to George Leonard’s Esq. bounded as follows…..the same lot that I purchased of my said father by deed, be it the same more or less together with a dwelling house and barn….also 10 acres of land adjoining land of Josiah Hodges and Nathanial Munro that I purchase of John Penno by deed….

Nathaniel and wife Phebe [Dyer] sign…..

Brian Hall signs as a witness.

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Pension file

The fire was mentioned in Peter’s pension file. In 1818, he was awarded a Revolutionary War pension of $8 a month. In an affidavit, he states:

  • he was nearly 62 years old and a current resident of Providence;
  • he participated in the Revolution as a “gunner’s mate” aboard the “Picket Galley”;
  • his discharge papers were consumed, along with his house, by fire.

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Probate

After Peter died (intestate),  my 4th g-grandfather, Brian Hall, esquire, along with Peter’s widow Elizabeth and John Munro, yeoman, on 4 July 1820, appeared in probate court, Bristol County, and posted bond. Elizabeth was named Administrix. The deceased was said to be of Norton.

Silas Hall, Elisha Crossman and John Munroe Jr., were assigned to take an inventory, as the Penno estate was more than ten miles from the Judge of Probate’s home.  Brian Hall signed the authorization as Justice of the Peace. The estate was valued at $184.41.

Peter was not found as a head of household in the 1820 census. He was likely deceased (the census was conducted 7 August 1820).   Elizabeth Pennos whereabouts are unknown. She is later found, as a widow, in the 1830 Providence city directory, residing at 13 Pawtuxet.  She is not found in the 1930 Federal Census, and the city directory gives no insight as to with whom she was residing (Brian Hall had also relocated to Providence, and was residing on Hope). Record of Elizabeth’s death has not been located.

 

Side note for future research:

Brian and Silas Hall had a sister Nancy (aka Anna) Hall who married Nathaniel Munro[e] at Norton, 29 Mar 1786.  In 1790 Munro was recorded in the census next to Nancy’s mother Abiah Hall, brother Brian/Bryant Hall and Benjamin Stanley [Stanley was related to Silas Hall’s wife Nancy Stanley].

Nathaniel was perhaps related to Elizabeth (Munro) Penno.  Recall that Nathaniel and his wife Nancy were the ones who sold land “to the wife of Peter Penno” (Bristol, book 95, page 448).

Nathaniel’s parents have not been identified.

In Nathaniel’s will (admitted to probate April 1844), he mentions his wife Nancy, his children (1) Betsey Munroe, wife of John Munroe, (2) Nancy, wife of Crocker Babbitt,  (3) Nathanial and (4) William, and his granddaughter Nancy Chace, wife of Buffington Chace. His sons Nathanial and William are deceased and their unnamed heirs are awarded real estate.

Moral

The moral? Record the names of all the folks who were associated with your ancestors and keep an eye out for them as you research! The FAN Club (friends, associates and neighbors] will mention your ancestors and give you insights to their lives.

A Sailor’s Story; the sinking of the Ticonderoga

In an undated letter, my gg-grandfather, William John “John” Haines writes to his sister Mary (Haines) Stevens:

Dear Sis,

….my son went down with the transport that was torpedoed, I regret that they didn’t have a fighting chance but were brutally murdered…..

Your brother John.

Letter to Mary from John

I have written of this son, my gg-uncle, Alexander “Alex” Haines, who died when the Ticonderoga was attacked in World War I: story here

ticonderoga photo

In that post, I quote my uncle, who surmises:

…There is no way of knowing exactly what happened to Alex.  My guess is that he was every bit as scared as we would have been but still did what he was supposed to do and probably a little more….

A few weeks ago I attended the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed), a one week program offering in-depth study of material held by the National Archives in Washington, D.C. and College Park, Maryland.  This led me to Record Group (RG) 45, US Naval Vessels, entry 520, box 1391 and 1392 where I learned more of that grievous day.

 

A short history of the Ticonderoga quotes several survivors:

While stories differ slightly, a manuscript gives a complete account: “A Sailor’s Story, Comprising the Log of the U.S.S. Ticonderoga and an American Officers Experience Aboard the German Submarine U.K.-152)“, written 1 December 1920, by Frank L. Muller, Lieutenant Commander, U.S.N.R.F., Manuscript courtesy of Rev. Albert Muller O.P.  (a brother of Frank Muller) Dominican House of Studies, 467 Michigan Ave., Washington, D.C.

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Frank Muller writes:

Nearly the whole of the “TICONDEROGA’S” story is from memory as both the ship’s and my personal log is buried in the Deep…. [he continues, saying he was able to retain notes to aid in documenting the later part of his story].

…We arrived in Newport News about September 12, 1918, completing the third voyage of the U.S.S. TICONDEROGA.  One hundred fifteen artillerymen under the command of Lieutenant Frost, U.S.A., marched over the gangway.  The  TICONDEROGA cast off her lines, about to depart on her fourth voyage over there. We went from Newport News to New York to join our East-bound convoy.  Our convoy, consisting of twenty four ships and one cruiser escort, sailed from New York September 22. On September 28, six of the ships had been detached from the main convoy.  They were bound further to the Northward. The night of September 29, the last night in this world for ninety percent of the TICONDEROGA’s complement, was unusually dark.  The sky was over-cast, obscuring even the starlight.

With the first hint of day on September 30, 1918, the TICONDEROGA was found to be in the rear of the convoy, approximately four miles.

In his report, Captain Madison elaborates. He claims the Ticonderoga could not hold it’s speed the evening prior to the attack (which he attributed to a bad batch of coal).  The convoy pulled ahead, the night was dark and misty and by 2:30AM they were no longer visible.

Report of Captain Madison to the District Supervisor, New York, 24 October 1918:

Muller’s story continues:

However, not much time for an exact determination of the distance remained just then, for the moment after the shapes of the convoy ahead were made out, another gray shape, very low on the surface of the water, was sighted by Ensign Stafford, the Navigating Officer. Ensign Stafford immediately reported it to Captain Madison, who had been on the bridge the entire previous night. Captain Madison recognized it as an enemy submarine.  He ordered the rudder to put “hard a left” in a vain attempt to ram the submarine.  The bow of the TICONDEROGA missed the submarine by a bare ten feet.  With the very missiles of his gun against our port side, he fired the first volley from his two 6-inch guns.  Both shots stuck the bridge, reduced it to wreck, killed Quartermaster Hudson, who had the wheel, and the two seamen on lookout.  The submarine was then on our starboard bow.  About forty-five seconds later, it fired two more shots, which destroyed the 3-inch gun forward and killed all the gun crew.

Captain Madison put the wheel “hard a right” in another attempt to ram the enemy, but their third volley struck the bridge, destroyed this structure absolutely and wounded Captain Madison very severely; so he did not succeed in either attempt to ram the enemy. Owing to the steering gear having been shot away, we had lost ship control. The submarine was speeding away from the ship and also keeping a hail of shrapnel bursting over our decks.  For the next fifteen minutes, he had us at his mercy.  Our remaining gun, the 6-inch aft, could not be trained forward of the beam, owing to the superstructure and Sampson posts forward of it.  At last our ship had drifted around with the action of the sea and we commenced firing our 6-inch gun. The submarine was about two miles off.  About twenty five shots had been fired by the enemy, every one of which had taken a large toll in lives.

The shots from our 6-inch gun were striking all within a few feet of the U-boat, which was increasing the distance between us every moment.  The tenth shot fired apparently struck the submarine and he submerged immediately.  We ceased firing after dropping two shots at the point where he submerged.

Only one of the dangers had been temporarily removed when the U-boat submerged, for our ship was a mass of flames, fore and aft. All the wooden upper superstructure had been set afire by the enemy’s shrapnel. Besides, fully fifty percent of all on board had been killed or wounded in that first engagement of one-half hour.  It was about 5:40 a.m., when the enemy was sighted and about 6:10 a.m. when we forced him to submerge.

However, not a moment was lost.  One party of sailors and soldiers, under the direction of Ensign Stafford was detailed to clear away the wreckage of the life boats that had been destroyed by shell fire and prepare the remaining ones for use; another party, under the direction of Ensign Gately, was detailed as fire brigade to get under control the fire, which at the moment threatened to drive us from the ship; Ensign Riengleman, and his 6-inch gun crew stood by their gun, waiting for the Hun to appear above water. I, personally took charge of a repair party for the purpose of rigging up the auxiliary steering gear. Paymaster S.S. Magruder had established a first-aid station amid-ships during the first part of the engagement and was doing his best to relieve the shrapnel-torn youngsters of some of their pain.

Captain Jimmy Madison, whose master spirit had saved his ship and the lives of his crew six months before, was still the directing mind. Although severely wounded and covered with blood, he carried on. Never were men confronted with so many disadvantages and never was the spirit of “carry on” so well personified as it was during the last hours of the TICONDEROGA.

Captain Madison had ordered the wells sounded and it was found that we were yet in a floating condition. The pumps were started, both for the purpose of pumping the water out of the holds and putting out the deck fires.

About 6:25 the auxiliary steering gear was in order.  Captain Madison ordered the ship put on a West course. The West course would take us in the general direction of America, as it would have been useless to continue onto France in that condition. Besides, the West course aided greatly in getting the fire under control, because it prevented the fire from spreading amidships.

At 6:30 Ensign Gately and his tireless fire party had gotten the fire under control. Although all our wooden deck houses were burned to the level of the main deck, the fire was prevented from spreading to the lower holds and magazines.

About forty-five men were aboard the ship after the three remaining lifeboats had been launched. For these forty-five to abandon ship, there remained but one life-raft, and one small, wooden boat termed a “wherry”.  Both the life-raft and wherry were in a very un-seaworthy condition, owing to the effects of the shrapnel fire. The life-raft was secured to the center of the upper boat deck. In order to launch it over the side, it was necessary for the seventeen officers and men to drag it twenty five feet to the ship’s side. The upper boat deck was forty five feet from the water, so they waited until the ship had sunk low enough to decrease this distance in order to avoid wrecking the raft.

The wherry presented the same problem. It had never been used as a lifeboat and had been secured to the center of No.6 hatch aft, on the quarter-deck, for three trips. It could not be dragged to the side, owing to ventilators and other obstructions. Our only means of launching it was to wait for the quarterdeck to become awash; then it would float. The quarterdeck was but ten feet from the water, so we would not have long to wait. Still, it was a long chance to take; for the ship might have sunk before the quarterdeck became submerged.

As I mentioned before, seventeen were gathered around the life-raft amidships. The remaining twenty eight were with me on the quarterdeck. We were busy collecting wooden hatches, boat spars, etc., for those whom the wherry couldn’t accommodate – the wherry could carry but twenty persons at the very most – when a shrapnel shell burst over the quarterdeck. About fifteen were killed outright and a number of the remaining twelve wounded.  This must have been about 7:35. For the third time, at least, and in two particular instances, which I will briefly describe, I miraculously escaped death.

Muller explains he was in his room early morning, just beneath the bridge, when the first explosion occurred. He was impacted by the shell gas, but able to flee, only to find himself surrounded by fire.  He jumped eighteen feet to the forward well deck, escaping with a few scrapes and bruises. His story continues:

About the same instant, the shell exploded among us, a torpedo struck us amidships [the submarine log book has no record of a torpedo, see reference below]. The ship commenced settling rapidly after that. During the next few minutes, the quarterdeck became submerged and the wherry floated clear of the ship’s side. We had placed seaman J.L. Davis who had had his foot shot off, and two wounded soldiers in the boat. The remaining six clung to the sides of the wherry as it floated clear. The wherry filled with water far quicker than it could be bailed out. Even the three wounded man were forced to hang to the side with the other six of us. How their wounds must have smarted! But there was never a murmur from them. Davis in particular must have suffered terribly, but to all appearances, he was one of the coolest of the nine.

Our position at that time was a most dangerous one. The TICONDEROGA was rising and plunging heavily and with every swell, sinking lower in the water. As every plunge threatened to be her last, we prayed for our waterlogged craft to drift clear of the deriliot [?]. Our prayers were answered and we succeeded in placing one hundred yards between our wherry and the ship before she sank. Davis was facing the ship while I faced him across the four feet breadth of the wherry. He called my attention to the final plunge of the TICONDEROGA with the following words, “there she goes Mr. Muller, there goes the old “TICON” our home for the past nine months”. I turned my head to watch her sinking and answered, “Yes, Dave, she was a good home, too, and probably the last we shall have in this world.” Even as I finish speaking, the TICONDEROGA had disappeared beneath the surface of the Atlantic. She sank stern first, her bow high in the air and pointing toward the zenith. It is a solemn sight to witness the sinking of a great ship far out to sea, especially when she has been your little world for nine months. The only effect we felt of the TICONDEROGA sinking was a larger swell than usual. Apparently, there was no suction, for we did not notice any. All that remained of what had been a 6,000 ton ship, was wreckage, with men clinging to some of it. When we were elevated above the level on the crest of a swell, the life-raft could be seen, approximately two hundred yards away. It appeared to be crowded with men. We could not see the submarine.

With chattering teeth, we discussed the possibilities of our being picked up, fifteen hundred miles from both America and France, in the very heart of a great ocean, our chances were very slight, but the hope of a breathing human is always evident no matter how faint it may be at times. So we reasoned that the water would close the torn seams of our boat very soon, then we could hope to bail it out and put it in shape for our accommodation. The wherry had been turning over and over with the action of the swells. At times, it would be upside down, with the keel showing just above the water. When it would capsize in this manner, of course, we were forced to release our hold from the gunwales and scramble for a new grip on the keel until it would again return to the upright position. We had gone through this procedure about four times and was back to our original positions about the gunwales when we drifted among a great number of floating potatoes–we kept our potatoes on deck on the TICONDEROGA and when the ship sank, they floated off.

These potatoes were a great boon to us, for they would furnish both food and drink. Everyone seized a potato and commenced chewing on it. Then we decided upon a scheme for reserving potatoes for future use. As all the soldiers had four pockets in their coats we decided to fill their pockets with raw potatoes. I was busily engaged reaching out for potatoes with my right hand while I held onto the gunwale with my left. The first sergeant of the troops, who was next to me on the wherry side was stowing them in his pockets as I handed them to him. I was reaching several that were just beyond arm’s length, facing away from the wherry, when an extra-large swell capsized the wherry on top of me.

Muller describes his terror as he tries to escape, while his life preserver holds him captive and unable to swim under the boat to freedom.  After a few minutes, the boat rolled again, releasing him, but he lost consciousness.

The events which led to the sinking of the Ticonderoga end here.  We don’t know if Alex made it to one of the lifeboats, the wherry or lost his life from shrapnel or fire.

Details of the submarine’s log is included in “The Submarine Warfare, 1914-1918” by Vice Admiral Andreas Michelson:

The log did not note the torpedo shot which the survivors thought to have seen, so that the action was a pure military engagement. This occurred in latitude 43 5′ N and longitude 38 34′ W; the submarine firing 83 shells, 35 in the first phase before diving and 48 in the second.

Muller’s story continues.

At about 3:30 PM that same day he awakened, finding that had been taken hostage by the German submarine.  He describes the U-boat and the men he encountered. He was seen by the doctor, given whiskey and dry clothes and told to rest. They offered food, but he was feverish and too sick to eat.

For several days, the Captain, a man called Franz and others interrogated him asking of his background, the origins of the ship and the convoy’s destination.  Muller claimed to know nothing.  The ship surgeon continued to treated him and soon he felt better and hungry. His last meal had been aboard the Ticonderoga when Mcgruder’s men had given all hands a cup of coffee and a corned bill sandwich [Alex worked in the ship’s kitchen as a baker].

Muller later names and describes his thoughts of other crew members, including the Executive of the U-boat, Von Werm; Navigator and Diving Control Officer, Wille (who he dubs “a real gentleman”);  the Chief Engineer, Heine; the Surgeon, Fuelcher;  the Communications Officer, Swartz; and Ordinance and Gunnery Officer, Franke.

He describes Captain Franz as a 33 year old nervous man with a violent temper, with bravery approaching recklessness (having witnessed him attacking a group of three armed vessels on October 17) , Franz had been in the German Navy nearly fourteen years and had an evil side. He killed harmless enemies and subjected the crew to violent verbal abuse.

Despite this, Muller was treated well, perhaps because he confessed his father was a German who had come to America 50 years earlier.  On 3 October, the Captain invited him to eat at his table, a meal of canned brown bread, marmalade, butter and very good coffee, offered with white sugar and canned sweet milk.  His dry clothes were returned. He was given a dozen thin cigarettes and permission to venture to the outside deck.  Here he interacted with the scraggly looking, dirty crew, several of whom spoke English and had visited America, including his hometown of Oakland, California. He observed that most of the ship’s company, about 80 of them, were boys between the ages of sixteen and twenty.

The crew explained, after the Ticonderoga sunk, they were searching the loose parts floating in the water.  They saw what appeared to be a dead body, had roped it and brought it aboard thinking it was the ship’s captain.  The doctor pronounced the person “alive” and the crew proceeded to resuscitate him [in a New York Tribune interview, published 18 December 1918, Muller reports that he was ordered aboard “at the muzzle of the German captain’s revolver].  They confessed they had seen men anxiously clinging to debris and were sorry they were not allowed to save others.  Franz had ordered them to fire upon the Ticonderoga life boats; two with wounded men sunk.  Five shots were fired at the remaining life boat, however the 22 aboard survived.

The following day, the Captain informed Muller that Lieutenant Fulcher, the Assistant Engineering Officer, had been rescued from a life-raft;   The Captain indicated he would have rescued more souls, but had no room on the ship.

In a conversation with Fulcher, Muller learned that the submarine had submerged because the Ticonderoga shots had taken out a Gun Captain and carried away part of the rail on the forward deck.  Franz had assumed they were using shrapnel.  A vessel in the convoy had also fired shots, which came 1,500 yards short.  Franz’s intent was to capture the Ticonderoga’s Captain and Gunnery Officer as evidence to his German leaders they had “strafed” an American ship.

Muller wrote of the men’s work on the ship, them mending torn clothes, playing cards and checkers and of a five member orchestra which played German tunes as the men sang along while the officers “drank as much booze as they could put away”.  The U-boat made daily practice dives and on several occasions unsuccessfully chased and fired upon other vessels.  Meanwhile Muller and Fulcher played cribbage a few hours each day and lived for the days when the sea was calm so they could breathe fresh air and gaze at the night sky.

On October 10th it seemed as something strange was going on.  All 80 men were permitted on deck and the wireless officer carried frequent messages to the Captain.  At lunch the next day, the Captain informed Frank that all U-boats had been given the order to cease operations on the American coast.  They were 370 miles from New York.  Apparently the German government was proposing peace, on the terms of President Wilson’s New York speech.

On October 12, the men washed their clothes, took baths, and gave themselves “a general overhauling”.  The boat stopped, a smaller boat launched with the Captain and several others, who paddled along taking photos; several of which included Muller and Fulcher.

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The next day, the wireless man told Muller in confidence that the German Army was suffering a number of reverses on the Western Front.  The British had retaken Cambrai and the Allies were making successful advances.

On October 13, the submarine overtook a sailing vessel; a Norwegian ship which they looted and then sunk after ordering its crew to the boats, who sailed toward Newfoundland (1,000 miles away).  Among the articles were a belt and life ring with the name Steifinder.

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The submarine secured canvases, ropes, sails, flour and all kinds of provisions including 3 live pigs, a stout sow and two small sucklings. The cook killed the pigs immediately and served fresh meat for three days (the only time in their 57 days of captivity). From the haul, Muller was given a cap, pair of slippers and American newspapers and magazines (he had been bare-footed and bare-headed since arrival on the ship). Fulcher was given underwear and socks. The haul would allow them plentiful amounts of fresh bread and potatoes, for the remainder of the voyage.

On October 15th, the submarine went after an unarmed English steamer and was attacked by destroyers responding to their SOS.  They survived nine violent explosions.

On October 20th, the Captain announced that they were to cease war on all merchant vessels and return to Kiel as quickly as possible. They were only to confront ships of war.  The crew erupted, shouting, singing and laughing.  The captain felt peace was imminent and invited Muller and Fulcher for a celebratory glass of Rhine wine. From this point forward, the crew was allowed beer and wine on Sundays and Wednesdays and each got a daily ration of a half bottle of Cognac.

On October 25th they learned Ludendorff had resigned; October 27th that Austria had sued for peace and October 30th that Turkey had been granted an Armistice.  The Allies continued a successful drive along the entire Western Front.

The submarine continued, avoiding destroyers and bombing planes by submerging.  On November 3rd news of the Kiel mutiny and surrender of Austria leaked to the crew. The Captain paced, muttering to himself.  There were endless messages from the wireless room to his cabin.

On November 7th, news was received of Bavaria having proclaimed herself a republic. On the 9th, news was received of the abdication of the Kaiser [Wilhelm II] and of the revolution in Berlin. On the 11th, the Captain officially informed Muller that an armistice had been agreed upon by all the powers, which would take effect at 1:00 AM. At that time he and Fulcher would cease to be prisoners of war. They would be his guests, until such time he could get them to Germany or a neutral country.  The captain went on to say:

Mr. Muller, the cause that Germany has fought for during these four years is lost.  Our Allies have all deserted us during these last fifteen days. There have been mutinies and revolutions all over Germany…..When the big ships were called upon to fight and make one last offensive at sea for the Fatherland, our crews mutinied and refused to go to sea. Then they started to revolt, which spread through my country….and even now they are killing men on submarines who did all the fighting.  My country is ruined.  My King is deposed.  I am a brokenhearted man.

The submarine continued toward Kiel, avoiding mine fields.  They came across another German submarine a U-53 commanded by Captain Von Schrader. The two captains exchanged war stories on the megaphone. Franz exclaimed in German: “We sank an American auxiliary cruiser in the Atlantic Ocean with 300 American soldiers aboard, they were all killed”. The U-53 led them through the final mine field, they anchored and several of their officers boarded where they spoke of the war.

The U-boat continued, anchoring a bit in Copenhagen, then resuming it’s trek to Kiel which was then delayed due to heavy fog. They encountered a U-B boat, a delegate of the Soldiers and Workmen’s Council boarded and assured them that the conditions were again normal in Kiel.  He informed Muller and Fulcher that they would be well cared for and would get home quickly.

Upon arrival, the crew was mustered and given passes.  Muller and Fulcher boarded the Prinz Heinrich, were given real beds with sheets and pillows, had a bath (the first in 45 days), were given four bottles of beer and a package of cigarettes.  The next day, they were given a pass to visit Kiel proper where they walked the main streets and entered some of the better cafes.  Everyone stared.  The streets were crowded and the police presence high.  There were plenty of souvenirs that could be bought, but no clothing. Shopkeepers told them the Soldiers and Workmen’s Council had requisitioned all clothing to provide for the soldiers returning from the front and the sailors discharged from the fleets.

The next morning, they had breakfast with the crew of the submarine.  They were told that the crew voted Franz, Von Wurn, Heins, Swartz and Franke off the ship and elected Wille as Captain.  The submarine was to be surrendered to England.

After a bit of red tape, Muller and Fulcher were slated to sail on the transport ship that would be accompanying the submarines.  The night prior to their departure, Captain Wille and the entire crew invited them to instead sail aboard the submarine on which they had been prisoners.  They gladly accepted this offer, which included a luxury state room and an abundance of food.  They were given discharge papers and set sail on November 20th, eager to get home.  Fulcher had a wife and child [Ruth] and Muller a father and six brothers, all of whom surely thought them dead.

discharge paper

Upon landing in England, a launch came alongside, the German crew boarded and were taken to the merchant vessel that would convey them back to Germany. As the launch left the U-boat’s side, the crew gave three cheers for their ex-prisoners.

A second launch arrived and took Muller and Fulcher to the vessel Maidenstone.  Here they were presented to Sir Eric Geddes [the First Lord of the Admiralty] who gave them a hardy hand and welcomed them back to their own people. From there they were sent by train to London where a government taxi was waiting to take them to the Washington Inn, St. James Square.  In Burberry’s the next day, they ordered new uniforms. They enjoyed a few days in London and set sail on December 7th on the S.S. Corona. [spelled Caronia on the ship manifest] 2:00 AM on December 17th.  Muller writes:

…the S.S. Corona dropped anchor in sight of the Green Goddess that guards the entrance to the City Wonderful, where more than fifty homeward bound Canadian and American officers raised a glass of champagne and drank to Her, the symbol of Liberty.

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Source Citation

Year: 1918; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 2614; Line:20; Page Number: 67

Source Information

Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

Original data:

Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Microfilm Publication M237, 675 rolls. NAI: 6256867. Records of the U.S. Customs Service, Record Group 36. National Archives at Washington, D.C.

photos

rescued

William Bell Clark, in his book, “When the U-boats came to America”, in the chapter “The Epic Of the Ticonderoga” offers yet another slant with a bit more detail.  Copy online – here  This version gives details of the men who were on the Norwegian, Steifinder.  After 15 days, one group was picked up and taken to New York.  The remaining men landed on November 5th at Turks Island,  British West Indies.

A slightly different version of Muller’s story was published in the New York Tribune:

New York Tribune

 

Coming soon… a version of the story from witnesses on the US cruiser Galveston and a court martial!

Epilogue:

Frances “Frank” Louis Muller, USN Reserve Force, was awarded the Navy Cross by The President of the United States of America, for distinguished and gallant service as an officer of the U.S.S. TICONDEROGA on the occasion of the engagement of that vessel with a submarine.

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According to city directories, in 1923, Frank, a Master Mariner, was residing with his wife Irene in Houston, Texas. By 1928, the pair had relocated to San Fernando, California (no occupation mentioned).

By 1930 they owned a home on Mountain View Street in San Fernando.  Frank is listed in the census with his wife Irene, who is said to be born about 1898, in North Carolina. His occupation is recorded as “none”.  The census enumerator notes that Muller’s father [Major Henry Muller] was born in Hesse Kassel, Germany.

Frank died 23 October 1932 in San Fernando, California and was buried in the San Francisco National Cemetery with full military honors. His cause of death was pulmonary tuberculosis, nephritis and parenchymatous which he contracted in 1924.  His obituary mentions he was a Captain in the Merchant Marine until he became ill and had to be hospitalized.

He was of a large well known military family. Survivors are named as his widow [likely Irene] and six brothers: George and Harry of the Army Transport Service, San Francisco;   Captain William, U.S.A. Wichita, Kansas; Lieutenant Walter, U.S.A. Gainsborough, Florida; Captain Charles, U.S.A. Fort Worth, Texas and Reverend Albert, Antioch, California.

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Junius Fulcher died 5 November 1967 in Norfolk, Virginia at the age of 91.

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His obituary reads:

Retired Navy Reserve Lt. Junius Harris Fulcher, 91, of Norfolk, Va., a veteran of 40 years with the U.S. Lighthouse Service, died Sunday [Nov. 5, 1967] at 11:25 a.m. in a hospital.

A native of Frisco he lived in Norfolk 58 years. He was the husband of Mrs. Grace (Talbot) Fulcher and a son of the Rev. George L. and Mrs. Cynthia Stowe Fulcher.

During World War I he was captured by a German submarine off the North Carolina Outer Banks and subsequently escaped.

Besides his widow surviving are a daughter, Mrs. Edwin Ricket of Rockville Centre, Long Island, N.Y.; a son, Junius Harris Fulcher, Jr. of Houston, Texas; a sister, Mrs. Anges Styron of Hatteras, N.C. and 6 grandchildren.

A funeral service was conducted Wednesday at 2 p.m. in Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home by the Rev. Ira Austin of Fist Methodist Church. Burial with Masonic rites was in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Fulcher’s daughter Ruth was a Genealogist.  Her obituary reads:

RUTH A. RICKERT–Ruth A., age 96, died February 24, 2014. Beloved wife of Edwin Rickert, mother of Jean, Wendy and Allen. Grandmother of Michael, Henry and Thomas. Born in Norfolk, VA, January 3, 1918, Daughter of Junius and Grace Fulcher. Ruth graduated from Sullins College, the Maryland Institute of Art and Teachers College at John Hopkins. She taught high school art in Maryland. She was a leader in Scouting, the PTA, and an active member of the United Church of Rockville Centre, NY. Her art was exhibited and she published several books on family genealogy. She was related to preachers, farmers, revolutionary and civil war veterans but her most sentimental heritage was of the generations of Cape Hatteras lighthouse keepers. She kept a light in her heart for everyone. She is survived by her children Jean and Allen. Donations may be made in Ruth’s name to the charity of your choice .
– See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?pid=169898459#sthash.5k3oulGD.dpuf

 

 

52 Ancestors, week #15 – Louis Napoleon Chalifour – UPDATE!!

No Story Too Small has issued a New Year’s Challenge: “Have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”  

My husband ran into a cousin, who mentioned her mom was interested in genealogy.  He returned home and asked “does the name Napoleon ring a bell?”  Yes, husband, we have talked extensively about Napoleon….he is your g-grandfather.   Husband says, “I thought the name sounded familiar, I can’t remember all these people!”

 

I took a French Genealogy class at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) years ago, and was able to trace Napoleon back to Mathurin Chalifour born abt 1593 in La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes, France.  My husband’s response when I shared the news: “You mean I am French?”…. “Yes, dear, where did you think the French Canadians came from? Australia?  🙂

Chalifour

Chalifour La Rochelle

Mathurin Chalifour’s son Paul Chalifour, the first in the line to immigrate to Quebec was 15 years old during the Siege of La Rochelle in 1627.  The Siege of La Rochelle (French: Le Siège de La Rochelle, or sometimes Le Grand Siège de La Rochelle) was a result of a war between the French royal forces of Louis XIII of France and the Huguenots of La Rochelle in 1627–28. The siege marked the apex of the tensions between the Catholics and the Protestants in France, and ended with a complete victory for King Louis XIII and the Catholics. During the siege, the population of La Rochelle decreased from 27,000 to 5,000 due to casualties, famine, and disease.

Paul Chalifour (master carpenter specializing in putting up timber-work) is the only child of Mathurin  who later appears in Canada (he married there in 1648).  We don’t know if he had siblings and what became of them and his parents.  He likely lost many relatives and friends in the siege

The remaining Protestants of La Rochelle suffered new persecutions, when 300 families were again expelled in November 1661, the year Louis XIV came to power. The reason for the expulsions was that Catholics deeply resented a degree of revival of Protestant ownership of property within the city.

The episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” featuring Tom Bergeron which first aired on 30 Aug 2015 recounts the horrific details of these ancestors who were subjected to starvation and religious persecution: http://www.tlc.com/tv-shows/who-do-you-think-you-are/videos/tom-bergeron/.

Louis Napoleon “Napoleon” Chalifour, a descendant of Mathurin and Paul is the subject of today’s sketch.  He was born to Jean Elie Chalifour and Helene Gagnon and baptized 29 January 1879, in Plessisville, Québec, Canada.

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Napoleon baptism

Napoleon has not yet been located in the 1881 and 1901 censuses.

In 1891, Napoleon, age twelve (placing his birth at about 1889), is found residing in Plessisville (also known as  the village of Somerset) with his widowed mother and a few siblings.  He was enumerated as Louis Chalifour.

He married, in Montreal, Marie Josephine Rose de Lima LeBlanc, daughter of Antoine LeBlanc and Herméline Thuot, on 5 Feb 1902, in Quebec (she was an Acadian who is the link between my husband and I – we are 7th, 8th & 9th cousins through multiple lines!).

The marriage record names Napoleon’s parents and indicates his father is deceased and his mother is of Saint Cecilia de Valleyfield (she likely moved to be near or with family; Napoleon’s sister Beatrice married two years earlier, in 1900, and at that point, their widowed mother was said to be of Plessisville).

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marriage

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Napoleon had four sons – Henry, Leon Pierre, Louis Albert and George between 1903 and 1907.  My husband descends from Albert.

In 1911, the family lived in Jacques-Cartier, Quebec.  They are Catholic, primary language is French, and Napoleon is in construction. Napoleon is listed as age 32 and his birth as January 1879.

Napoleon census 1911

Napoleon emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts (my husband’s birthplace) before May 1915 – the date when his family crossed the border, claiming they were to join him.

manifest

The family lived together on Foster Street in 1920. A 43 year old Napoleon, which places his birth at about 1878, was listed as a house carpenter who had applied for naturalization.  He is listed in the 1922, 1924 and 1926 city directories, as a carpenter, at this address.

Napoleon census

That’s where the trail ends. The 1927 and 1928 city directories are not available online.  In the 1929 & 1930 city directories and 1930 census, his wife is listed as a widow. The only Chalifour’s listed in the 1926 to 1930 Massachusetts death index are Alfred J A, Elie and James Henry all of Salem. A Declaration of Intent to become Naturalized has not been found.

Family lore says: “We do not know when Napoleon died as he went to Pennsylvania to find work, and no one ever heard from him after that.  He may have been killed in a log-jam as he was working there. ”

Napoleon was in Pennsylvania, years earlier, working as a Carpenter, in 1918, when he registered for the WWI draft.  He lists a birth date of 27 July 1870 and names Rose Chalifour of Salem, Massachusetts as his wife and nearest relative.  The birth year is a bit off (perhaps an error, or he was trying to make himself appear older to avoid military service).

WWI draft.png

So… Napoleon is on my “list” of folks to research this summer. Did he return to Pennsylvania? To date, I haven’t found any evidence to support this nor have I located a record of his death there (Pennsylvania death certificates are online at Ancestry.com).

UPDATE: 22 August 2016

A Napoleon Chalifour  registered for the draft in 1942 in Oklahoma.

This Napoleon is listed as 5’5″, 160 pounds with blue eyes, blonde hair and ruddy complexion.  The WWI draft card list’s my husband’s Napoleon as medium height, stout build with blue eyes and brown hair – not exactly a similar description….other than the blue eyes.

But, he claims a birth of 27 January 1878 in Plessisville, Canada. This birth day (January 27th) matches that of the WWI draft record.

All baptisms were examined in Plessisville and there was only one Napoleon listed in that parish in that time period. Yes, my husband’s “missing” g-grandfather, who was baptized 29 January 1879.

Napoleon draft card

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Further, there was only one other Chalifour family baptizing children in Plessisville in that time frame (records were examined from 1854 to 1885).  Hilaire Chalifour and his wife, Flavie Moreau baptized a son Georges in April of 1879, thus it is unlikely that they also had a son Napoleon that same year who’s baptism went unrecorded. Note that baptisms were recorded individually, implying the children were baptized soon after birth (vs. having to travel to a priest or wait until a traveling priest was in town to baptize multiple children at once).

Last, my husband has a 2nd-3rd cousin Autosomal DNA match on 23andme to another descendant of Jean Elie Chalifour and Helene Gagnon through their son Elie, so it is pretty likely hubby’s Napoleon is the one baptized in Plessisville and the one who appears later in Oklahoma.

In 1942, Napoleon’s close contact (at the same address) is Mary Chalifour.

The 1940 census lists Napoleon and Mary as husband and wife living in Crutcho, Oklahoma.  Napoleon’s occupation is “carpenter”.  The same occupation as my husband’s Napoleon.

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A Find-A-Grave entry lists  a Napoleon Chalifour buried at Fairlawn Cemetery, Oklahoma City

Birth: 1879 – Death: 1947
grave

A note on Mary’s record reads:

Birth:

1882 Toronto Ontario, Canada

Death:

Jun. 29, 1949 Oklahoma County Oklahoma, USA

Died of cancer at St Anthony Hospital. Lived in the United States about 30 years. No living relatives are known.

A social security death claim was made for Napoleon Chalifour in 1947:

Name:

Napoleon Chalifour

SSN:

444100923

Birth Date:

27 Jan 1876

Birth Place:

Verdun, France

Death Date:

1 Mar 1947

Claim Date:

11 Mar 1947

Type of Claim:

Death Claim

Notes:

10 Nov 1977: Name listed as NAPOLEON CHALIFOUR

Note that the birth year and place differ from the 1942 draft registration (but the date is again listed as 27 January).

Other records have not been located – I primarily searched for a marriage record to Mary, the 1930 census, his application for Naturalization, death certificate and obituary. I also searched for the Napoleon of Oklahoma in earlier records without success; this negative result is another indicator that Napoleon of Oklahoma and Napoleon of Salem are the same person.

A comparison of the 1918 and 1942 signatures are inconclusive.   It is interesting that both sign as Nap not Napoleon. The C in Chalifour is similar.

Np signature.png

I ordered Napoleon of Oklahoma’s SS-5 (social security application) to see who he named as parents and to match up the signature with that of the draft cards!  Note that social security numbers beginning with 444-10 were issued in Oklahoma from 1936-1950, so this neither supports or disproves the theory……  A copy of the application, completed by Napoleon, should arrive within 3 weeks  Stay tuned!

UPDATE 3 September 2016

The SS-5 has arrived!  Napoleon Chalifour of Oklahoma likely filled out the application, dated 17 July 1937, where he names his parents as Eli Chalifour and Helen Gagnon (a match to the man baptized in Plessisville, Canada and to the man who married Josephine Rose de Lima LeBlanc)  and a birthdate of 27 January 1876 (matching the birth month/day of the Napoleon of Salem; he perhaps added four years to his age to claim Social security benefits earlier?).

He does report a birth place of Verdun, France (perhaps he was fearful the government would identify him as the missing Salem man? or perhaps this fib makes it less likely they would have the ability to disprove the 1876 birth year).

However, the signature on the SS-5 and employer [Mack Denny/ MH Denney] matches that of the 1942 WWII draft card, where he reports a birth year of 1878 and place of Plessisvill[e], Canada

Despite a few inconsistencies, this further supports the theory that Napoleon of Salem and Napoleon of Oklahoma are the same man.

SS5 Napoleon.jpg

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