Among all the news about Covid 19 and the recent developments in Italy, the tidbit that struck me the most was that having to stay home purportedly took the joy right out of life for many Italians.
It makes me wonder. How common is it that people do not actually like to be home? Do people not like their families, significant others or pets, for that matter, well enough to actually spend time with them? What’s wrong with staying home that it would deprive people of what makes life worth living?
I guess the thrust of my health-considerations for today is clear by now: How healthy can it be to call a place ‘home’ that you don’t actually like to be at? Where do people prefer to spend their time that being home is experienced as such a burden?
Here is something to consider: Many people even of our grandparent’s generation still spent most of their life living in the same area, and most of their days in or around the house or homestead. In fact, for by far the larger chunk of human history, spending time with your family or clan was the normal, traditional way of life. Neither extensive circles of friends, nor many hours spent shopping or being entertained otherwise, nor extensive travel were part of people’s lives, surely not on a regular basis. Consequently, people were a lot less concerned about other people’s business and a lot more concerned with their own, and put a good bit of effort into making their living place a home indeed.
Every crisis is also an opportunity. Maybe we can use this pandemic to reconsider our lifestyles and turn our houses into homes again, places where we love to spend time rather than places that we flee. It’s the way our ancestors lived.
Home is where the heart is. If you do not have a home, where, pray tell, is your heart?
The Vanderpool’s are another early settler family from our family tree who settled this continent in the 17th century.
The Vanderpool’s and the Denney’s joined forces in 1796, when Rebecca Vanderpool, grand-daughter of Abraham Vanderpool Sr. whom we wish to remember today, married James Denney, son of Azariah Denny and Sally Wise Felton, in Surry County, NC. James Denney was among several sons of Azariah Denny that moved with their families to Ohio, and henceforth the Denny’s that stayed in North Carolina spelled their name with only one “e”, but the newly founded Ohio branch added the second “e” to their name and thus we, too, spell our name “Denney”.
But back to the Vanderpool’s. Abraham Vanderpool Sr., our 7th (and 8th) great-grandfather, was baptized on February 13, 1709, in Albany, New York, that is to say, this week 310 years ago. His father was Wynant Melgertse Vanderpool, and his mother Catherine DeHooges. Abraham Sr. was already a 4th-generation American-born settler. The pioneer member of that line, Wynant Gerritse van der Poel, came to the colonies with his wife and at least four children between 1652 and 1654. He had been born in 1617 a little place in the Dutch province of Drenthe in a village called Meppel, about an hour’s drive straight west from the eastern border of northern Germany. The spelling of their last name was Americanized within two generations to “Vanderpool”.
Abraham Sr., who made a living as a miner and had lost one of his brothers in a mining accident in 1743, married twice, first Jannetje Weibling, then Rebecca Isaacs. By the time he married Rebecca, probably around 1748, Abraham Sr. had moved quite a bit south from New York, probably following mining opportunities. He had settled in Augusta County, VA, where he lived through 1751 on the South Branch of the Potomac River (now part of counties in West Virginia). This is where a son named Abraham Jr. was born to him and Rebecca, who was to become our 6th (and 7th) great-grandfather.
Abraham Sr.’s whereabouts between the years 1751 and 1756 is uncertain, but it is believed he was in the Greenbrier River area (Augusta Co., VA, now in counties of West Virginia) in 1756 or earlier. This area is not far from Vanderpool Gap, discovered by John Vanderpool, assumed brother of Abraham. Here is a photo of Vanderpool Gap. If you click the (slightly cropped) picture, it will take you to the blog post where I found it.
Present day Vanderpool in Highland County, Virginia is also quite close by.
After a series of attacks by the Shawnee Indians along the Greenbrier, Abraham Sr.’s family retreated to safer locations. By 1757, Abraham Sr.’s family had moved to Orange County, North Carolina. Then their whereabouts for about ten years is uncertain.
But some families, including Abraham’s oldest living daughter Catherine, her husband Frederick See and their children, returned and settled again along the Greenbrier, believing that the Indians and their leader Chief Cornstalk were friends now. They were wrong. On 16 July 1763, several Dutch settlers were killed, especially men and older boys, in what came to be known as the bloody Muddy Creek Massacre. Among the victims was Abraham Sr.’s son-in-law Frederick. Catherine and her children were captured along with other women and children and taken across the Ohio River into what is now Ross County, Ohio. About a year later, in November of 1764, a treaty with Cornstalk and the Shawnee was made and an exchange of prisoners was agreed upon, and so Catherine, who had proved herself to be undaunted by the horrors she had seen, having been called a “fighting squaw” by the Indians, and most of her children were released. If you are interested in the whole story, follow the Muddy Creek Massacre link above. It’s heart-wrenching.
By 1767, Abraham Sr. was established in Rowan County, NC. The area of Rowan County they lived in became part of Wilkes Co. in 1777. They appear in a tax list through Jun 12, 1778.
Abraham Vanderpool Sr. probably died on a date between Jun 12, 1778 and May 12 1779. His wife, Rebecca signed her will May 12, 1779 in Washington County, North Carolina (later Tennessee), where Abraham probably died as well, and where they are both buried.
Rest in Peace, Great-Grandpa Abraham.
Featured is a painting of historical Albany, NY, Abraham Vanderpool Sr.’s birthplace: North Pearl Street from Maiden Lane North, by James Eights, circa 1805.
Today we remember an early New England settler who happens to be our 8th great-grandfather.
Here lyes Buried the Body of Mr. Thomas Mulford, Dec’d Nov. Ye 2d, 1732, in Ye 77th Year of his Age.
So says the grave marker of our 8th (and 9th) great-grandfather Thomas Mulford of East Hampton, Suffolk Co., NY, laid to rest there in South End Cemetery. The Mulfords were among the early European settlers of Long Island, along with the Hedges, Gardiners, Conklings and other illustrious names of the time. In fact, East Hampton was the first European settlement on Long Island, which had hitherto been inhabited by Native American tribes.
Thomas Mulford, born this day 364 years ago, on 8 Feb 1655, was one of two (known and attested) sons of William Mulford and Sarah Akers. William Mulford and his brother John had come to Salem, MA, and thence to East Hampton, in 1643 from Devonshire, England. William and Sarah had three sons and two daughters, with Thomas, our direct ancestor, being the oldest son. Sarah Akers had also been born in Devonshire, England and immigrated before 1648, when she married William. William took to farming as soon as he had settled in East Hampton, while his brother John was more interested with the political affairs of the new settlement and later became a judge.
When he was 26 years old, Thomas Mulford married a young lady by the name of Mary Gardiner Conkling, daughter of Jeremiah Conkling and Mary Gardiner and thus the grand-daughter of Lion Gardiner. The two lived all their life in East Hampton and had many children together, ten or maybe even twelve, before Thomas died on 2 Nov 1732. Mary outlived him by ten years. Both are buried in East Hampton.
If you go to East Hampton today, you will find there the old Mulford farmhouse, which overlooks the Village Green. It is one of the oldest in the county of Suffolk, and one of the nation’s most significant, intact English colonial farmsteads. Together with the barn, it is now operated as a living museum.
The farmhouse was built in 1680, not by the Mulfords, but for Josiah Hobart, another prominent early settler of East Hampton. Thomas Mulford’s cousin Samuel Mulford bought the farm in 1712 when the first owner died. Along with the wonderfully well preserved 17th-century English colonial house, the Mulford Barn, which dates to 1721, is also still standing. In fact, the Mulford Barn is one of the most intact early 18thcentury English-plan barn forms in New York State and is recognized as an outstanding example of early 18thcentury construction methods and materials. The location of the barn also provides insight into the history of settlement patterns in this region of New York. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Viewed as an artifact which has been shaped to fit the needs and desires of those who have lived in it, the house itself has much to tell about the origins of colonial New England society. The survival of this house is remarkable since it has been left largely unchanged since 1750. The majority of the framing and wood members have been left undisturbed, enabling scholars to tell the story of the successive changes over time. In addition to the house’s architectural significance, the home has remained in Mulford hands for the majority of its existence, so the lives and spirit of this family still echo throughout the house, if you know how to listen. When the house was restored to make it a museum, period appropriate furnishings and authentic decorative arts were used.
The museum is located at 10 James Lane, off Montauk Highway, East Hampton, NY. It is open from Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend. Worth a visit, IMHO!
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!
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.
You really cannot portray the Hudson River School painters and leave out this gentleman, can you now?
You really cannot portray the Hudson River School painters and leave out this gentleman, can you now? So today, we shall have a closer look at Frederic Edwin Church, who was a central figure in the Hudson River School and is best known for painting large landscapes of mountains, waterfalls and sunsets, as well as his rather interesting estate Olana which I won’t mention a whole lot because it would take a separate post to do it justice. As with all the Hudson River School painters, Church put an emphasis on realistic detail, dramatic light, and panoramic views, which is just what we like.
Before we continue with some biographic notes on Church, we want to mention a somewhat personal relation with this particular painter because in a way, our families are connected: One of our 12th great-grandfathers, William Andrews by name, was among the founders of Hartford, CT. He came with Thomas Hooker, who led the original journey through the wilderness from Massachusetts to what would later become Hartford, and so did Richard Church, one of Frederic Edwin Church’s direct ancestors. It stands to reason, therefore, that we put his depiction of said journey first:
Frederic Edwin Church was born almost 200 years after that journey on May 4, 1826 in Hartford, CT, into a wealthy family. Early on he was introduced to Thomas Cole and became his student, travelling a lot during that time. Thomas Cole praised him for having “the finest eye for drawing in the world”. By the mid-19th century, Church had settled in New York, where he raised his family before they all moved to Greenport, NY, into what is today the Olana State Historic Site, an eclectic villa which overlooks parkland and a working farm designed by the artist. Like his wife barely a year before him, he died in New York City on April 7, 1900, and they are both buried in the family plot at Spring Grove Cemetery, Hartford, CT.
Here is another one of Church’s New England scenes. It’s not an actual landscape he depicts in it, but what is called a “composite landscape” because he used sketches from various locations for this one.
Here is one more from the northern parts of the country:
As you can probably tell already, Church liked majestic nature, the mountains, the waterfalls, and also icebergs. The broken mast at the bottom of the painting should not be overlooked as it highlights man’s frailty in the face of nature’s grandeur.
Church had a special liking for skies. Here is a particularly impressive example of how he combined minute details (the foliage) with the grandeur of the vast wilderness the pioneers faced on their journey ever further west (the perspective focusing on the sunset behind the mountain range), and the big skies they would have witnessed (self-evident).
Church’s paintings, they say, were more confident and on a grander scale than those of his contemporaries. They “uniquely captured the spirit of an optimistic American people” who associated the landscape of the New World with their own Promised Land in the west. I think that sums it up pretty nicely.
Here once more the featured image in all its beauty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
“They came with nothing, and for a complicated set of reasons, many of them still have nothing. The slurs stick to me, standing on these graves. Rednecks . Trailer-park trash. Racists. Cannon fodder. My ancestors. My people. Me.”
~James Webb, Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America
Here’s a brief 2:50 film promoting travel to Northern Ireland to rediscover your Scots-Irish roots.