Remembering Our Ancestors: Donald Eugene Denney

Time is an odd thing: Some things feel close and remote at the same time.

This week, we remember Donald Eugene Denney, our father and grandfather, who passed away 24 years ago, on 11 July 1996.  That sounds like a long time ago, just under a quarter of a century, and a lot has happened since then, but at the same time, it feels like it was only recently.

Donald Eugene Denney was born on 22 February 1934 in Fairfield County, OH, third child of Lorain and Irene Denney, and their first and only son.   He grew up on his father’s farm.  Below is a pictures of him in his 20s at National Guard Camp during the Korean War in the 1950s.  The photo was in the local newspaper in August of 1956; Donald E. can be seen on the right:

national guard newspaper clipping

Another somewhat public photo from the 1970 you can see below.  It was published by the Sixth Ave. United Methodist Church, one of the clients for whom he did janitorial work at the time.

Donald E Denney 1975
Donald E. Denney in 1975

Life didn’t always hand Donald Eugene lemons, but he surely didn’t have it easy either.  When the economy tanked in the 1980s, he lost his long-time job at Alten’s Foundary and never found a job that would last again.  Mind you, he never had a shortage of odd jobs, but the economic situation in the 1980s wasn’t a whole lot better than it is now and there were many like him who basically had to retire when they were in their 50s.

Donald E. died on 11 July 1996 at the age of 62, he was laid to rest in Saint Paul Lutheran Cemetery in North Berne, Ohio.  He was the first of his immediate family (not counting in-laws) to pass away, after a short and rare illness.  His father followed him about half a year later, his mother lived for another twelve years, and his three sisters are all still alive, as well as his wife Karen and their two sons.

Requiescat in Pace, Dad.  We think of you every day.

Donald E Denney 1990
Donald E. Denney all dressed up in 1990


Remembering Our Ancestors: Mary Gardiner

Mary Conkling, daughter of Lion Gardiner and our 9th and 10th great-grandmother, passed away this week 293 years ago.

Mary Gardiner, our 9th and 10th great-grandmother in the Mulford line, was born on 30 August 1638 in Old Saybrook, CT, to Lion Gardiner, 1st Lord of the Manor on Gardiner’s Island, and his wife Marielven Willemson Deurcant, quite obviously of Dutch descent.

It is safe to assume that Mary and her two siblings, her older brother David and her younger sister Elisabeth, grew up on Gardiner’s Island.  Lion Gardiner purchased the island the year after Mary’s birth, in 1639, and gained the “right to possess the land forever” from the King of England.

Mary was named after her mother, whose Dutch name quite plainly translates to ‘Mary’, and we do not know much about her life until in 1658.  In that year Mary’s sister Elizabeth died (in February), and Mary married Jeremiah Conkling, most likely in East Hampton on Long Island, NY, where they then lived and raised their family.

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Their first child was a daughter and they named her Mary Gardiner Conkling, thus giving her her mother’s maiden name as a middle name.  This was not altogether uncommon, it seems:  It happened in the same way to Elizabeth Wise Speer and Sally Wise Felton in the Denney line of our family tree.  Mary Gardiner Conkling went on to marry into the Mulford line, and there you have three prominent names of the 17th century Suffolk County together: Gardiner, Conkling, Mulford.

Altogether, Jeremiah and Mary had five or six children, accounts vary, and they appear to have stayed in East Hampton where Jeremiah was an upstanding member of the community.  He passed on 16 years before Mary, in 1711, and she followed him on 15 June 1727 when she was 88.  She was laid to rest with Jeremiah in South End Cemetery in East Hampton.  The inscription on her tombstone reads:

Mary Gardiner gravestone inscription - Edited
Here lyeth the body of Mary Conkling wife of Jeremiah Conkling who died June 15, 1727

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandma Conkling.  To have lived to the ripe old age of 88 in 17th and 18th century colonial America is quite the achievement!


Remembering Our Ancestors: Mrs. William Hall

This was one of the little genealogical surprises that you stumble upon every now and then in your researches.

susannah hall 86th birthdayMrs. William Hall – this is how she was called in a newspaper article about her 86th birthday which she celebrated on 12 September 1959.  Under the same name, we find her obituary:  On 11 June 1966, this week 54 years ago, Mrs. William Hall died at the age of 95.  Obviously, Mrs. William Hall’s birth date is not quite settled, at least not for the Lancaster Eagle Gazette where both articles appeared:  If Mrs. William Hall turned 86 in September of 1959, she was born in 1873.  In that case, however, she would only have been 93 by the time she passed away in June of 1966.

On her grave stone, the year 1870 for her birth has been chiseled.  According to some census data we have gathered, she was supposed to be 22 in 1900 (and already married for 11 years, so someone mistook a 7 for a 2 here, it seems), 37 in 1910, 47 in 1920, 57 in 1930, and 68 in 1940.  If her birthday was indeed in 1870, she was 18 when she married her first husband on 29 Mar 1889 in Clearport, Ohio, and not just 15.  Hence we will assume that her “86th” birthday was, in fact, her 89th!

So, who was Mrs. William Hall to us?  No other than (2nd) Great-Grandpa Harvey Hamilton Lindsey‘s wife Susannah Long!  Harvey Hamilton passed away 23 years before Susannah, so after having been a widow for 10 years, Susannah married again, this time William Hall who had himself been widowed twice by that time.

As you can see if you look at the names of the birthday guests, the last name Lindseyobit susannah long abounds, including of course our dear (Great-) Grandma Irene Denney.  But the second marriage lasted only for 6 years after which William died.  By the time Susannah celebrated her 86th birthday that was actually her 89th, she was already widowed a second time.

This week, we remember Susannah Long.  Her obituary also mentions her as Mrs. William Hall, but she lies buried with Harvey Hamilton, and they grave stone says Lindsey.  We assume her second husband was buried with his first or second wife.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandma Lindsey.


Remembering Our Ancestors: Relief Howe

Relief Howe Everton was our 4th and 5th great-grandmother in the Denney line.

Our great-grandma Relief Howe was born on 10 October 1764, in Dover, New Hampshire.  Apparently, her family called her Leafy.  I must say that “Relief” is a very interesting first name.  Why might parents name their daughter “Relief”?  In this case, she was named after her own mother, but the question remains.  Whatever the reasons, however, Relief was to name one of her own daughters Relief as well, so it can rightly be said that this first name, much like Polly, Sally, Molly and other more common names of that time, runs in the family.

Relief and her three siblings grew up in the very north of this country, in the area of New Hampshire and later Maine, just when Colonial America was turning into an independent state:  The Declaration of Independence was signed when Relief was 11, going on 12 years old.  How much of what was going on did she see or realize, one has to wonder, and was her father involved at all?

One day before her 20th birthday, on 9 October 1784, Relief married Thomas Everton Sr. in Maine.  In the next 20 years, Thomas and Relief had ten children together (naming one of their daughters “Relief”, as mentioned), but they apparently left Maine around 1787 and lived in New York State for a while before settling in Rutland, Meigs Co., Ohio around the turn of the century.  Her husband Thomas was known in the community there as “Deacon Everton”: They belonged to the Regular Baptist Church in town, according to the “Pioneer History of Meigs Co, OH” by Stillman Carter Larkin.

Their third daughter, Jane Howe, born in 1790 in Oneida, NY, in time became Harvey Hamilton Lindsey‘s grandmother, who in turn was our great-grandfather (and 2nd great-grandfather) via Grandma Irene.

Relief Everton née Howe died this week 179 years ago, on 1 June 1841 at the  age of 76.  We assume that she lies buried in Rutland, but we have no record of her burial place, or that of her husband.

Rest well, Great-Grandma Relief, wherever they laid you to rest.



Remembering Our Ancestors: Lady Anne Jernegan

Our 15th and 16th Great-Grandmother Harris, nee Jernegan, lived in 15th century England during the War of the Roses.

Lady Anne Jernegan was born in 1448 in Herefordshire, England, if the Find-a-Grave record is correct, to Sir John Gilberd Jernedan and his wife Lady Agnes Jane Darell.  Times were spicy in England then as the War of the Roses between the House of Lancaster and the House of York was soon to be in full swing, and would not be resolved still by the time little Lady Anne was grown, had married, had children and passed on.

It appears that Lady Anne grew up in Herefordshire which lies up against the Welsh border in the west of England.  There, she also met and married William John Harris, son of John Harris and Anne Hartford, in 1467 when she was 19 years old.  They had three children during their marriage, if we are correctly informed.  Their son John Arthur was our direct forefather through Arilla Harris, mother of Mattie Mulford who married Steward Leslie Denney.

St Marys Churchyard in Prittlewell
St Mary’s Churchyard in Prittlewell, Southend, Essex

While the English nobles continued their feud, Anne and William apparently moved from one side of the country to the other for by the time Anne died on 4 May 1480, we find them living in Prittlewell in Essex, that is, on the south-eastern side of the country.  Anne, who died when she was only 32 years old, lies buried there as well as William, who passed on almost 25 years after Anne in 1504, and their son John Arthur (1468 – 1520), all, it appears, in St. Mary’s Churchyard where the gravestones are in disarray by now as you can see in the featured image.

Rest in Peace, Great-Grandma Harris.  England was in turmoil during your life, but you still managed to grow up, marry, have children, and carry on the torch.

Harris Coat of Arms
Harris Coat of Arms

Remembering Our Ancestors: Two Birthdays and a Burial

So many of our family lines go back to the early days of European settlement in the New World.

When I first looked at our family tree today there seemed to be no-one new to portrait this week, but I was quite wrong.  Within the last 12 months, we actually added three great-grandparents to the tree that all either were born or died within this past week.

In the Denney line:
The oldest of today’s ancestors in terms of distance from us is Humphry Shinton, our 10th and 11th great-grandfather.  He was born on 19 April 1640, in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England, to Humphrey and Elizabeth (Love).  He married Anne Perry on 6 June 1663, in his hometown, and they had two children during their marriage as far as we know.  Their daughter Elizabeth married Richard Felton, and the two of them immigrated to the New World in or around the 1680s.  Their great-granddaughter was Sally Wise Felton, wife of Azariah Denney.  Humphry Shinton died in August 1681 in Wolverhampton at the age of 41, and was buried there on 29 Aug 1681 in the churchyard of St. Peter’s.

In the Lindsey line:
Mary Duset, our 5th and 6th great-grandmother, was born on 3 December 1742 in Milton, Norfolk, MA.  Her parents Peter and Ruth (Newcomb) had at least four more children, and it appears as though Mary’s forefathers and -mothers had already been living in the New World for four generations.  Mary married Benjamin Everenden (later Everton) on 2 December 1760 in Stoughton, Massachusetts.  They had seven children, and their son Thomas was (great-) Grandma Irene‘s great-great-grandfather.  Mary’s husband Benjamin died ten years before America’s independence from England in 1766 and did not even live to see the birth of his last son who was named Benjamin (in his honor without a doubt), but Mary lived to be 80 years old and thus saw a good bit of what went on in the early days of independent America.  She passed away in Dorchester, Suffolk, MA on 4 March 1823.

In the Mulford line:
Our 3rd and 4th great-grandfather William Henry Harris was born on 25 April 1825, only two years after Mary had died, in Mason, West Virginia, the first child of Henry and Jane (Summers).  Four more children were to follow.  At some point in his youth or early adulthood, William Henry crossed the nearby Ohio river and on 21 July 1853, he married Joanna Dianne Brown in Gallia County, OH, but apparently the couple did not stay long on the western side of the Ohio.  Instead, they settled back on the West Virginia side and raised their family there.  We know of only one child that the two had, Arilla Jane Harris, who was Mattie Mulford‘s mother and who in turn became the mother of (great-) Grandpa Lorain.  On 8 January 1886, William Henry died in Mason County, WV at the age of 60, and as far as we know, he lies buried there.

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Requiescat in Pace, Humphry, Mary and William.



Remembering Our Ancestors: Henry Harris

This week 146 years ago, our 4th and 5th grandfather on the Denney side passed away.

Henry Harris’ granddaughter Arilla was the grandmother of our (great-)grandfather Lorain Franklin Denney, and the mother of our (2nd) great-grandmother Mattie Mulford.

When Henry Harris was born in 1792 or 1793, his ancestors had been living in Virginia for well nigh 200 years, that is, since the pilgrim Capt. Thomas Harris, first Harris clan member in the New World, had settled on land that now belongs to Henrico County, VA, in 1611.  Henry was born in Bedford County, Virginia, and appears to have spent his childhood there.  According to our records, he fought in the war of 1812 when he was between 20 and 25, as his later widow received a military pension based on this fact.

Speaking of which:  Henry Harris married Jane W. Summers on 13 Jun 1824 in Mason County, West Virginia.  Apparently,  Henry had made his way further west, and it was Mason county from which our (great-)grandfather Lorain Franklin Denney set out in the 1920s to southern Ohio where the family then settled.

Henry and Jane had at least five children, four boys and one girl.  Their oldest son was our direct ancestor and father of Arilla Harris, who married into the Mulford family and whose daughter then married a Denney.

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By the time Henry was in his 80s, he was living in Buffalo in Putnam County, WV, just south of Mason county.  This week 146 years ago, on 15 April of 1874, Henry Harris died in his 83rd year, and as far as we know, he was laid to rest in Buffalo.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Harris.



Remembering Our Ancestors: Isaac E. Long

Ironically, the Long line is one of the shorter ones in our tree.

Our 2nd and 3rd great -grandfather Isaac Long passed away this week 110 years ago.  His grand-daughter Irene in time became our (great-)grandmother Denney.

Osaac Long headstone
Headstone of Isaac E. Long and his wife Anna Tatman at the United Brethern cemetery in Kosciusko County, IN

Isaac was born on the first day of 1828 in Hocking Co., Ohio.  As far as we know, his parents were Elder Daniel Long and Nancy Miller, who both were in their late 30s by that time.  We have record of two siblings of Isaac’s, an older brother and a younger sister.  While we are reasonably sure about Elder Daniel actually having been Isaac’s father, we have no sure data about Elder Daniel’s parents.

When Isaac was 30, he married Anna Tatman on 26 April 1858.  They were still living in Hocking County at that time, but relocated to Fairfield Co., OH in or around 1860.  Isaac and Anna had nine children together, two boys and seven girls.

Between 1862 and 1864, Isaac left his family for a while to fight in the Civil War on the Union side, mustering into “I” Co. 90th Ohio Infantry on 28 August 1862.  As far as we know, he came home again unharmed.

Although they had lived most of their respective lives in Ohio, Isaac E. lies buried in Indiana, and so does his wife Anna.  Quite possibly they went to live with one of their children in their later years, several of whom appear to have moved to Indiana around the turn of the century.

Isaac passed on this day, 20 March, in 1910, and together with his wife rests in the United Brethern cemetery in Warsaw, Kosciusko County, IN.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Isaac.

Remembering Our Ancestors: George Thomas Mulford

Our 2nd and 3rd great-grandfather George Mulford, who passed away today 95 years ago, lived close to the Ohio River, on the WV side.

The Mulfords had been living along the Ohio River for some time when George Thomas was born on 28 December 1849 to Abraham Mulford and Nancy Slack.  At the time, they were living in Wyoma, Mason County.  As far as we know, George Thomas was the youngest of three children; he had an older brother and an older sister.

On 7 Aug 1875 at the age of 25, George Thomas married Arilla Jane Harris.  The Harris family, too, had been in Mason County for the better part of a hundred years.  The two of them had ten children together, six boys and four girls.  One of their daughters was our (2nd) great-grandmother Mattie, who married Steward Leslie Denney.

George Thomas died on 12 March 1925 at the age of 75 and lies buried in De Linn Cemetery (Clendenin District), Gallipolis Ferry, Mason Co., WV.  It appears to be a very small cemetery over all, but his wife Arilla, who died later that same year, rests there as well.

I wish there were more that I could say about the life of our 2nd (and 3rd) great-grandparents.  But we have no pictures of them, nor do we know much about them other than names and what census data and Find-A-Grave provide.  They came from old families that had been prominent in their own way throughout the centuries, both on the Harris and on the Mulford side, and so there are some of their forefathers we know more about than about these rather close relatives.  It’s a shame, but there it is.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Mulford.

WV mason county

Remembering Our Ancestors: Six Grandfathers and Grandmothers

Between 1700 and 1900, one date shows up six times in our direct family lines.

February 13th is a big day in our family: No less than six of our grandfathers and grandmothers were either born or baptized, or died on this day in history.

Elizabeth Williams, 8th and 9th great-grandmother in the Andrews-line.
She was born on 13 February 1703 in Colchester, CT and married Nathaniel Kellogg on 1 July 1725.  Elizabeth passed away on 1 April 1762 in East Windsor, CT and thus lived to be 59 years old.

Abraham Vanderpool Sr., 7th and 8th great-grandfather in the Denney-line.
He was baptized on 13 February 1709 in Albany, NY and married Rebecca Isaacs around 1744.  Abraham Sr. passed away in 1778 in Washington, TN when he was 69 years old.

Eliphalet Chidester, 6th and 7th great-grandfather in the Snyder-line.
He was born on 12 January 1749 in Morris, NJ and married Mary Pence in Virginia. Eliphalet died on 13 February 1821 in Bruceton Mills, WV at the age of 72.

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Robert Andrews, 6th and 7th great-grandfather in the Andrews-line, obviously.
He was born 17 March 1759 in Coventry, CT, the son of Lt. Robert Andrews and Delight Kellogg, and married Eunice Needham on 18 April 1781 in Brimfield, MA.  Robert died on 13 February 1838, also in Brimfield, when he was 78 years old.

Catherine McFarland, 5th and 6th great-grandmother in the Fouts-line.
She was born on 13 February 1786 in Belmont, OH, the daughter of Irish immigrants, and married John Phillips on 12 September 1809.  Catherine died young, on 31 August 1824 at the age of 38, in Barnesville, OH.

Austin Calvin Andrews, 3rd and 4th great-grandfather in the Andrews-line, evidently.
He was born on 13 February 1839 in Ellington, CT, and married Susan C. Alderman on 5 May 1866 in Ohio.  Austin died on 28 September 1900 in Athens, OH, being then 61 years of age.

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