Remembering Our Ancestors: William Andrews

William came with the company of Rev. Thomas Hooker to the colonies in 1624 and started the Andrews family of (what was to become) Hartford, CT.

1595 and London, England:  That should bring at least two things to mind, Shakespeare and the Black Death.  I guess some people think London was plagued by both – not I!

Regardless, our ancestors where there, in and around London during Shakespeare’s time, and surely they were bothered by the plague, among them our 12th and 13th great-grandfather William Andrews who was born in that year, 1595.  19 years later, however, we find our dear William quite far away from London, in the company of Thomas Hooker (as depicted in Frederic Edwin Church’s painting that you see featured, slightly cropped) in the colonies far west of England, and on their way to what would become Hartford, Connecticut.  William Andrews was one of the founders of that town.

founders monument
Founder’s Monument Ancient Cemetery Hartford, Ct

William married in the New World, as far as we know, and sources differ whether he was married once or twice.  It is pretty sure that he married Abigail Graves in 1632, the year our 11th and 12th great-grandfather John Andrews was born also.  Some sources say William also married Mary Savage (which would have been in the old world) and there is conflicting information because they, too, had a son called John, albeit born a good bit before ‘our’ John.  Chances are more than one William Andrews lived in London at the time, and possibly even made it to the colonies before 1700.

Our William and Abigail had eight children together, if we are correctly informed, firmly establishing the Andrews clan in the Hartford area where they stayed for many generations, until the early 19th century.  We have already portrayed several members of this branch of the family; they must have been an interesting and rather hardy bunch.  Eventually, the Andrews branch of our family tree joins the Christman branch with our (2nd) great-grandparents Dallas Christman and Alice Andrews.

William Andrews passed on at the age of 64, on 3 August 1659, this past week 361 years ago.  His wife Abigail lived on for 22 more years, and as far as we know, she married again, one Nathaniel Bearding.

Requiescat in Pace, Great-Grandpa Andrews.  We do not know where exactly they have laid you to rest, but it is believed than you lie in the Ancient Cemetery in Hartford where the above monument bears your name along with those of other founders.

founders bridge plaque
THE FOUNDERS BRIDGE: This plaque and a second one commemorate the men and women who traveled there in 1636 with the Rev. Thomas Hooker to found the City of Hartford.

Cultured Wednesday: Joshua Reynolds’ Little Girl

This painting became popularly known as “The Age of Innocence”.

Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723 – 1792) was an English portrait painter, one of the major European painters of the 18th century, some say.  “Grande Style” was his cup of tea, and hence, his portraits would smooth out imperfections in his models to present the ideal rather than reality.  In fact, it appears that he often had others paint the clothing of his models for him, and that the actual model would not have to sit on those occasions: Someone else would wear the clothing that was to be in the painting.

Regardless, consider this beautiful portrait.

The Age of Innocence Reynolds
Joshua Reynolds: A Little Girl, later renamed “The Age of Innocence”, c. 1788

While there surely was a model who sat for this painting, it is rather a character study than “just” a portrait.  In the eighteenth century, they would have referred to it as a “fancy picture”.  It became immensely popular in its time, and does this surprise you much?

If you happen to be in or around London, you can see this portrait at the Tate (Tate Britain, that is), where it has been on display since 1951.

Incidentally, Reynolds also painted a portrait of Edward Cornwallis.

Remembering Our Ancestors: John Wise

Great-Grandpa Wise would have been 361 years old this week!

Today we remember our 9th (and 10th) great-grandfather John Wise, one of our ancestors who lived in what is today the UK.  This year on the equinox, he would have been 361 years old!

John Wise was born on 20 March 1658, somewhere in England, most probably in the south-east.  He married Eliza Drigee and they had at least one daughter together, Susanna.  John died in 1718 in Bix, Oxfordshire, England, at the age of 60.

leaf and snow 4 insta.jpg

John’s daughter Susanna Wise was born in September 1700 in London, England.  She married Andrew Speer, who was also born in 1700 in Middlesex, which today belongs to Greater London, and they both immigrated to the colonies in America at some time before 1730, to what is today Surry county in North Carolina.  There, their daughter Elizabeth Wise Speer was born in 1731.  She, in turn, married Job Felton on September 15, 1786, and their daughter Sally Wise Felton was born there as well in 1751.  She married Azariah Denny in 1776 in her hometown.  The Denny’s had lived on Pilot Creek under Pilot Mountain for a while, and Azariah and Sally are buried there as well, while some of their sons moved further west into Ohio and Indiana.

The interesting thing about this branch of the Denney-line is that the surnames “Wise” and “Felton” remained in the family as middle names for several generations, not only in the daughters mentioned above, but also in several descendants of Sally and Azariah, boys and girls alike.

up the brook insta.jpg

Remembering Our Ancestors: Jupp Kappius

Today we remember my father, Josef Kappius, who was known to everyone only as Jupp. 

Today we remember my father, Josef Kappius, who was known to everyone only as Jupp.  For those who know a bit about Germany it might be obvious that my father was a child of the Ruhrgebiet where Josefs tend to be called “Jupp”, and indeed, he was born in Bochum on 7 November 1907.  The original farm homestead of the family was in nearby Haaren (today technically a part of Bad Wuennenberg), but Jupp’s grandparents had already settled in Grumme (now part of Bochum) before their children were born, and so my father was not a child of the country, but of the city.

Grummer Strasse 26 in Bochum: the house in which my father was born.

There is much to say about him and we actually maintain a website where we do just that, but the long and short is that he lived to see both world wars, the first as a pre-pubescent child, the second as an active participant.  He worked in the steel industry before WWII, and after the war made a livelihood from being a representative of his political party in the local government of Dortmund.  He died there, in Dortmund, at the age of 60, on 30 Dec 1967.

Not sure when or where this was taken, but probably in the 1950s and on vacation.

My father was married twice.  His first wife Aenne was his companion from the early 1930s all through WWII and into the mid-1950s, and the two were childless.  Purposefully so, one has to add, because they had been active in the socialist workers youth of their day and quickly evolved into full-fledged enemies of the state when the Hitler was elected as chancellor in 1933.  All members of their political group, the ISK, vowed to be vegetarians, teetotalers, and childless.  Jupp and Aenne fled in 1933 when a GESTAPO arrest was imminent, and while she ended up in Switzerland where she stayed until the end of the war, for the most part, Jupp went to England, from where he, together with other enemy aliens, was deported to Australia in June of 1940.  For over two years he sat there waiting for his chance to do his bit in the war.  October 1942 found him back in London, England, and on 1 September 1944 at midnight, he returned to Germany via parachute with the objective to undermine Nazi Germany as best as possible, and strengthen the resistance in the Ruhr area.  The OSS was involved as well as British Intelligence, but he was only trained by them, not paid.

Don;t know when or where this was, but it sure looks like May 1st to me.

After the war he was reunited with his wife and they did their best to help shape the new Germany that was emerging out of the ashes of the war.  For Aenne, it was too late to have children anymore by that time, and she died in 1956.  She was strong of will and conviction, but her (physical) heart was weak.

Aenne Kappius, nee Ebbert. I grew up with a lot of her relatives, with her sister, her nieces and nephews, and their children.

Just shy of 10 years later, and after some dark and lonely years, my father married again, this time a much younger lady – my mom – with whom he had two children, one boy and one girl, before he died.  Can you imagine what it must have meant for him?  But his newfound joy did not last very long in this world:  My brother was about 20 months old when our father died, and I only 8 weeks.

Christmas 1966

For the longest time, I only knew very basic things about my father.  He was of a different generation than my mother and the parents of my friends, and history teachers in school would call me a liar when I said anything about my father actively participating in WWII.  Later, during my years at the university in Germany, I met someone who was working on a documentary (“Deckname Downend”, in German) about my father’s involvement in the German resistance movement, and I learned something new then.  Again a few years later, I started looking into all that a lot more seriously, reading through my father’s internment diaries and studying other material about the groups he was involved in at the time, and that’s when I really “met” my father for the first time.  As a child and teenager I had met some of his “old” friends in person; now I learned about the things they had done together back in the day, and he became very much alive for me.  Fascinating!


If you are interested in reading a bit more or watching the documentary (it’s in German, though, no subtitles (yet)), head over to his site:


For today, we remember the day he passed on, this coming Sunday, 51 years ago.  He lived in England long enough to cherish one English (or should I say, Scottish?) tradition in particular, that is, to sing Auld Lang Syne together on New Year’s Eve.  It’s almost New Year’s Eve, so go ahead, turn it up and sing along…

Robert Burns – Auld Lang Syne, as sung by Dougie MacLean on the album “Tribute”

Cultured Wednesday: John Atkinson Grimshaw

Eerie and inviting at the same time: John Atkinson Grimshaw’s cityscapes.

Here we have an artist who wasn’t devoted to the vastness of the American wilderness, but to the cityscapes of the Old World, the UK in particular.  John Atkinson Grimshaw, who lived during the reign of Queen Victoria, is considered one of the most renowned painters of that era, as well as one of the best night- and townscape artists of all time, and we happen to agree.

JAG Reflections on the Thames 1880
Reflections on the Thames, Westminster, 1880

John Atkinson Grimshaw was born on September 6th, 1836, in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England.  In 1856, he married, and the couple had 15 children, all of whom were named after fictional characters in Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.  Nine of their children died before reaching adulthood, but of the remaining six, four became painters as well.

JAG On Hampstead Hill
On Hampstead Hill

The landscapes John Atkinson Grimshaw created were realistic, as in, of accurate color and lighting, and vivid detail.  Most famous are his moonlit views of city and suburban streets and of the docks in London, Hull, Liverpool and Glasgow.  The scenes he painted are eerie, and you expect Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson to appear any minute now, but at the same time the light pouring out of windows onto the wet cobblestones invites you in, and speaks of warmth and comfort.

The moods of the different season also feature prominently in John Atkinson Grimshaw’s paintings.  The one below captures beautifully the late afternoon light of mid-fall, around the time when heading home begins to sound like a wonderful idea.

Late October, 1882

John Atkinson Grimshaw died on October 13th, 1893, and is buried in Leeds General Cemetery, having lived in the Leeds area basically all his life.  As a last example of his marvelous paintings, we leave you with this less real, but no less realistic one of the Spirit of the Night.

JAG Spirit of the Night 1879
Spirit of the Night, 1879

Featured: Shipping on the Clyde, 1881


The Quintessential…

On this day in 1995, Peter Jeremy William Huggins died.

On this day in 1995, Peter Jeremy William Huggins died.  You probably know him better as Jeremy Brett, and best as the quintessential Sherlock Homes.


Immortality has many faces.  Surely he will have welcomed some rest after his tumultuous life.

Classical Sunday: Music from Shakespeare’s Time

Have you ever been to Shakespeare’s Globe (Theater) in London?  This is the kind of music you are likely to hear there.

English Renaissance Music

Have you ever been to Shakespeare’s Globe (Theater) in London?  This is the kind of music you are likely to hear there…  Enjoy!


01.What If I Never Speed?
02.Weep You No More Sad Fountains
03.Can She Excuse My Wrongs
04.Come Heavy Sleep
05.Pavan XI
06.Fine Knacks For Ladies
07.Go Crystal Tears 08.If my complaints
09.Come again
10.A shepherd in a shade
11.Rest awhile you cruel cares
13.Clear or cloudy
15.Shall I strive with words to move
16.Praise blindness, eyes
17.Dear, if you change
18.Sleep wayward thoughts
19.The lowest trees have tops
20.Unquiet thoughts
21.My heart and tongue were twins
22.Now O now I Needs Must Part
23.Flow my tears
24.In this trembling shadow
25.Queen Elizabeth’s Galliard
26.Captain Dignore’s Piper
28.Feigh on This Failing
29.Time Stands Still
30.Pavan XXI
31.Melancholy Galliard

%d bloggers like this: