Remembering Our Ancestors: Anthony Needham I

Our 11th (and 12th) great-grandfather Anthony Needham I passed on this week 373 years ago.

Anthony Brian Needham I was born in 1602 in Winster, Derbyshire, England, to William Needham and Prudence Peck.  Some sources say he was born in Youlgreave, but since it’s only about four miles from one to the other and both are in the Peak District, it might be either one and would not make that much of a difference in the larger scope of things.  The featured image shows a view of Winster village.

Anthony lost both his parents relatively early.  His mother died when Anthony was 14, and his father followed her five years later, in 1621.

In 1622, Anthony married Lady Jane More, quite possibly in Winster.  They had a son, Anthony Brian II, in 1628, who went on to immigrate to the New World in 1651 and there marry Ann Potter, a young orphaned woman living there with her aunt.

But back to Anthony Brian I.  He stayed in England and died on 27 March 1647 in Youlgreave (or Winster, depending on your sources) at the age of 45, and was buried there.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandfather Anthony.  You rest in an area that became the first national park in the United Kingdom in 1951.

Old postcard of Youlgrave, Derbyshire, UK

Happy Birthday, Willi!

Today we remember Willi Wagener, who passed on in 1986.

My Stepdad would have been 87 this day, and he loved Mario Lanza’s songs.  Here’s to you, Willi.

He loved fishing, photography, travelling and history, both ancient and more recent.

This picture was taken in the Buergerpark in Bremen, Germany, in 1975 or thereabouts. Used to go there of a Sunday to play put-put golf, visit the animals in the small zoo and go row-boating.


Cultured Wednesday: Gifford’s Kauterskill Falls

This painting is a good example of Luminism, an offshoot of the Hudson River School.

My, what scenery:

Kauterskill Falls.jpg

Sanford Robinson Gifford (10 July 1823 – 29 August 1880) was an American landscape painter and one of the leading members of the Hudson River School.  His landscapes are known for their emphasis on light and soft atmospheric effects.  The above painting – can you spot the hiker? – was painted in 1862.

Gifford loved to travel, and hike.  After extended travels abroad – anywhere between Alaska and the Nile – he returned to paint his native scene with freshened interest.  He would go off on his woodland expeditions to the Catskills or wherever, knapsack on his back, leaving his studio door unlocked.   In 1862, after his second European trip, he painted the Kauterskill Falls, a favorite subject of Hudson River School artists, veiled in a translucent, radiant mist of atmospheric color.

Wouldn’t you want to sit right there on that little natural platform under the tree after climbing up the steep cliff, and enjoy the wonderful view?  I sure would.

Classical Sunday: Smetana’s Moldau

Surely a melody you are familiar with.

This video is barely a quarter of an hour long, so close you eyes and enjoy.  Let the music take you down the river from its origin to the river Elbe to which it is a tributary.  The description of the different movements (see below) I found in the comment section of the YouTube video, and edited only slightly.  Might make sense to read it first and then listen.

Bedřich Smetana ~ The Moldau (Vltava)

The piece describes the course of the Vltava (Moldau is the German word for Vltava) throughout Bohemia:

0:00 Springs of Vltava – The spring of water gushes from the earth.  The two flutes symbolize two streams, which comprise early part of the river.
1:07 Vltava’s theme – The two streams meet and the river starts.
3:11 Forest theme – The river snakes through the forests of Šumava.  You can hear hunters calling a hunt on a horn.
4:20 Wedding scene – Polka symbolizes a wedding in the fields that the river is a witness of.
5:34 Night scene – Night falls.  In a forest glade, fairies dance in the moonlight.  On nearby rocky hills sit old castles and ruins.
8:51 Vltava’s theme
9:50 St. John’s Rapids
11:08 Vltava’s theme
11:37 Vyšehrad castle – The river passes through Prague, already big and strong (picture in the video).  Here we can hear another part of Smetana’s piece “Vyšehrad”.
12:30 Vltava is slowing – The Vltava river ends by flowing into the Elbe river.

Link: Planet Line-Up; and Last Pictures

Want to welcome 2019 in grand style?

Will you be up until late tonight, or up early tomorrow morning?  The latter might be more rewarding…


Want to welcome 2019 in grand style? So happens, the year begins with an eye-catching celestial alignment that will light up the eastern sky at the first dawn of 2019. Watch the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mercury line up—and connect the dots! Here are Bob’s viewing tips.

Three planets and the crescent Moon will create a string of pearls early New Year’s morning. Maybe it’ll be easy to see, if your New Year’s Eve celebration runs very late.

Back home, this is what things look like on the last days of the old year.  Thanks one and all for joining us off and on on our journey through 2018; hope to see y’all in 2019!

Looking up the hill facing north-west
We found a something-something stuck to the underside of an oak leaf. It’s got holes in it, as you can see… Have no idea which critter might have produced this, but it looks like it’s going to be new life in the spring.
Looking down the brook
In the water

And one last picture:

Peek-a-Boo! I see you!

Happy New Year!


Monsters of the World: Behemoth

Mightiest of all: The Behemoth!

According to Dr. Ernest Drake, the mighty behemoth is found only in the remote northen parts of Siberia, Canada, and Greenland.  This oversized mammoth is so huge that it must hide itself behind mountains instead of tall trees.

A behemoth looks much like a elefant.


Remembering Our Ancestors: Lion Gardiner, 1st Lord of the Manor

Here’s a noteworthy fellow…

Lion Gardiner was a man of sterling qualities, and acquired the esteem of all with whom he came in contact.  In the autumn of 1886 a recumbent effigy was erected to his memory, and his grave was opened.  In it his skeleton was found to be intact.  It was that of a man over six feet in height, with a broad forehead and strong jaws.  (from: Appletons’ Cyclopedia of American Biography, 1600-1889; Vol II: Crane – Grimshaw, p. 595)

Doesn’t that sound like an ancestor to be proud of?  Lion Gardiner (1599–1663) was our 10th great-grandfather: His grand-daughter Mary, daughter of his daughter Mary and Jeremiah Conkling Sr., married Thomas Mulford, and their line produced our great-grandma Mattie Mulford, wife of Steward Leslie Denney.  The Conklings and Mulfords are formidable first-settler families of Long Island, New York in their own right, but for today, we will concentrate of Lion Gardiner.

Lion Gardiner is honored with a 1930 statue created by sculptor William Ordway Partridge.  A dedication on the front (south) face of the monument’s pedestal reads, “In memory of Lion Gardiner, builder and commander of Saybrook Fort, 1635 – 1639.” – Fort Saybrook Monument Park

And what better time to remember our ancestors who were settlers on this continent rather than an immigrants, with Thanksgiving coming up and our thoughts going back to the brave souls that came here in those early days?

The Gardiner Recumbent Effigy, i.e. “reclining figure”, at South End Cemetery in East Hampton, Suffolk County, L. I., New York.

But let’s begin at the beginning.  Much of what you can read below is based on an article titled America’s Aristocrats: Gardiner’s Island, written by Trey Garrison and
published in November 2007, and I added more information, dates and details from numerous other sources all over the internet, among them Find-A-Grave, Ancestry, Wiki-Tree, Rootsweb and a number of books about North American families and early migration, all readily available online.

Lion Gardiner was born on 3 December 1599 in London, Middlesex, England.  It appears as though he had red hair!  He married Marrigje Willemson Deurcant, a lady of Dutch descent, in 1624, and on 11 Aug, 1635, he and  his wife (then still childless), together with a single female servant and eleven other male passengers, embarked at London in a small vessel, the Bachelor, on their three-and-a-half months voyage, reaching Boston on 28 Nov that same year.  Lion had been a decorated military engineer in the English army who had served in the Netherlands with great distinction during the war of liberation against Spain, a war during which, incidentally, the home of Marrigje‘s grandfather at Zalt-Bommel had been confiscated.

According to Appleton’s Cyclopedia of American Biography, Lion was persuaded by Hugh Peters and other Englishmen to enter the service of the company of the Lords Say and Brooks and other gentlemen that was colonizing an American settlement for the Puritans.  After his arrival in the New World, he took command of 300 soldiers and workers, drawing up and executing plans for towns and forts, among them Saybrook Fort, which he named after the Lords Say and Brooks.  Lion’s son David and his daughter Mary were born there in 1636 and 1638 respectively, David being the first white child to be born in what was to become Connecticut.  After Saybrook Fort was completed, the Pequot Indians declared war on their new neighbors.

Gardiner-pequot painting
Lion Gardiner in the Pequot War, by Charles Stanley Reinhart (painted circa 1890)

The clothing you can see in the picture is pretty much what Lion Gardiner eventually was buried in: an English red uniform and metal armor as shown, with a splendid sword by his side.  The sculpture of a reclining knight on his tomb wears armor somewhat like that, apart from helmet.

During the two-year war with the Pequot, Lion commanded Saybrook.  Here is Lion’s own account of the events: Relation of the Pequot Warres (1660).

At the same time, on the eastern half of Long Island, Chief Wyandanch led the Montaukett tribe and watched the war between the English and the Pequot with great interest.  He soon recognized the superior firepower of the English, repudiated his Pequot kin and formed an alliance with the Lion Gardiner.  According to Faren Siminoff’s Crossing the Sound: The Rise of Atlantic American Communities in Seventeenth-Century Eastern Long Island, such a repudiation was fully within the bounds of traditional native culture.  Wyandanch made sure to negotiate the terms of the alliance according to Indian standards, and he insisted on a client-patron relationship rather than complete subordination.

In turn, Lion was offered the island that now bears his name, and he reportedly bought it for a large black dog, some powder and shot, and a few Dutch blankets.  And this is how the Isle of Wight, or Manchonake, as the Indians called it, became Gardiner’s Island, private property of the Gardiner family.

aerial view island
Aerial view of Gardiner’s Island

So Lion moved his family from Fort Saybrook to Gardiner’s Island, where his daughter Elizabeth was born in 1641, the first white child to be born in New York.  Eventually, in 1653, ten years before he died, Lion Gardiner moved to East Hampton, where his daughter Elizabeth died in 1658 and where the Mulford’s lived into which family his daughter Mary would marry in that same year, 1658.  On 5 October 1663 he died in East Hampton and was buried there.

There are thousands of descendants of his this day, many notable ones among the lot, and there are lots of stories to tell about them and Gardiner’s Island, one involving the infamous pirate Captain Kyd, but we only want to relate one story here, one in which Lion himself was still involved:

Lion’s daughter Elizabeth is said to have played a key role in the colonial witch hunts as the accuser in one of the earliest witch trials of the New World, a short version of which we will recount here.  In New England, The Great Migration and The Great Migration Begins, 1620-1635; Great Migration, Vol 3, G-H, p. 12, it says that Lion

“became entangled in the witchcraft case against Elizabeth, the wife of Joshua Garlick.  The Gardiners and the Garlicks had had problems in the past.”

Joshua Garlick had been a worker on the Gardiner’s estate.

In any case, we thought Lion’s involvement in the affair, which actually led to the accused lady being declared not guilty, most noteworthy.

Elizabeth, possibly maiden name Blanchard, was married to Joshua Garlick, a farmer who had once worked for Lion Gardiner, the most prominent citizen of East Hampton, Long Island.  As the “Goodwife” Garlick, Elizabeth, then in her 50’s, was tried, in February, 1658, at East Hampton for witchcraft, but was fortunate enough to escape with her life.  She was charged with bewitching Elizabeth, wife of Arthur Howell and daughter of Lion Gardiner, who had died in a state of hysteria.  The case, including depositions, takes up several pages in the printed records of East Hampton.

The case began on a Friday in early February when 16-year-old Elizabeth Howell became delirious with fever and raved that she saw “a black thing at the bed’s feet,” and cried out, “A witch!  A witch!  Now you are come to torture me because I spoke two or three words against you.  In the morning you will come fawning….”  By Sunday evening, the young woman lay dead and Goody Garlick found herself accused of causing this death by witchcraft.


While the father of Elizabeth Howell, Lion Gardiner himself did not testify, his word carried weight and “it is creditably reported by a local Authority, that Mrs. Garlick had been employed in the Family of Capt. Lyon Gardiner, and that another Woman in the same Employ had accused Mrs. Garlick of causing the Death of her Child; while, according to Capt. Gardiner, the Woman who had been a Witness against Mrs. Garlick, had taken an Indian Child to nurse, and starved her own Child to Death for the Sake of the Pay she was to receive for supporting the Indian Child.”

Quoted after the Witches page on, more specifically “Elizabeth Blachard Garlick“).

We will finish this rather lengthy brag with a historic picture of the Gardiner Manor on Gardiner’s Island.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

manor house built in 1947
The Gardiner’s Island Manor House built in 1947

Cultured Wednesday: Pretty Pilot Mountain

Pilot Mountain in Surry County, NC, has special significance in our family history.

Today, we would like to introduce a mountain that has been featured in many paintings and which probably looks familiar to many of you.  It has special significance in our family history as well:  Pilot Mountain in Surry County, North Carolina.

Note: The paintings that follow we found online, and if they are for sale in some way, shape or form, we added links to the respective sites.

pm by diane
The Pilot – Pilot Mountain, by L. Diane Johnson

Pilot Mountain is often considered North Carolina’s natural wonder because it is so unique.  Being a remnant of the ancient Sauratown Mountains, Pilot Mountain is a quartzite monadnock, that is, a mountain that stands way above the surrounding area.  To the native “Saura” Indians, Pilot Mountain was known as Jomeokee, the “Great Guide” or “Pilot” as it guided both Native Americans and early European hunters along a north-south path through the area.  The summit area is off limits to the general public these days, the top being only physically accessible via rock climbing.  The highest point people can get to in Pilot Mountain State Park is the Little Pinnacle, a false summit.

Pilot Mountain by Bernie Rosage Jr
“Pilot Mountain” by Bernie Rosage Jr

Fast forward to the 1960s, and you have a happy little TV sitcom set more or less at the foot of this beautiful rock: The Andy Griffith Show.  And somewhere in between the two, our family history becomes connected to the area, and Denney bones still rest there.

Pilot Mountain In NC by Jason Zhang
“Pilot Mountain in NC” by Jason Zhang

Our first sure Denney ancestor in the United States was Samuel Denney (1635-1710), who came to America from the south-western England, settling first in Tidewater, VA.  One of his great-grandsons, who was born 1715 or 1722, was named after him.  He, in turn, had several sons with whom he came to Surry County, NC “some time before the war”, and settled on “the Hill Farm” on the Ararat River near the mouth of Pilot Creek, just west of Pilot Rock.  This Samuel Denney remained there until he lost his wife Sarah, whose remains now lie under a rock pile on the south side of Pilot Creek, near the mouth, at the foot of the hill.  If you look at a map where Pilot Creek meets the Ararat River, you can see quite well where that would have been.  After his wife’s death, old man Samuel went west with some of his sons and grandsons and died in Gallia County, Ohio, where they had then settled.

pm and stream
Pilot Mountain, NC, and Stream; by Richard Benson

Samuel’s son Azariah (1750 – 1830), the next ancestor in our line, married and settled on the Martin Flinchum farm on Pilot Creek, where he raised twelve children, six boys and six girls.  His son James (1777 – 1860), our 5th great-grandfather, was among the family members that later left the area (between 1812 and 1816) to settle in Gallia County, Ohio, as mentioned above, while old man Azariah lived with his son Jordan on the farm on Pilot Creek until he died.  See why the painting that featured a stream spoke to us especially?

Lastly, one more picture of Pilot Mountain, a photo this time that shows the view so many people are familiar with:  Pilot Mountain from the south on U.S. Route 52.  Got to go visit there one of these days!



Beautiful Harz Mountains: Quedlinburg

Enjoy a few pictures of one of Northern Germany many picturesque towns: Quedlinburg in the East-Harz, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Harz mountains, an odd little outcropping of hills in otherwise rather flat Northern Germany, has a lot in common with Appalachia, though not its size.  It is a beautiful, relatively small region with an interesting history, and my ancestors on my maternal grandmother’s side come from this area.  Have a look at a few pictures of one of its many picturesque towns: Quedlinburg, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, i.e. in the East-Harz.

Little canals like this one are found in many Harz villages, Goslar in the West-Harz among them.  In fact, this is how local rivers are led through town.


The famous Burg.  From the Wiki:

The Quedlinburg castle complex, founded by King Henry I and built up by Emperor Otto I in 936, was an imperial Pfalz of the Saxon emperors. The Pfalz, including the male convent, was in the valley, where today the Roman Catholic Church of St. Wiperti is situated, while the women’s convent was located on the castle hill.


Here is a view of the market square of Quedlinburg.

view from hotel1

Quedlingburg, too, much like Bremen, Germany, has a Roland, but a slightly smaller one.

Roland von Quedlingburg

Pretty Fachwerk, timber framing, can be seen everywhere in this little town.  The Wiki says:

During Quedlinburg’s Communist era, restoration specialists from Poland were called in during the 1980s to carry out repairs on the old architecture. Today, Quedlinburg is a center of restoration of Fachwerk houses.


And now:  Goodnight, Quedlingburg!

summer eve in Quedlinburg

All images courtesy of my Mother Dear.

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