Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Honoring the College and University Level Teachers in Our Family, Past and Present

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Teachers teach all other professions

During the months of September and October, 2015, we’ve been honoring and recognizing the Educators in our Family Tree, past and present. I am presenting quite a few educators in today’s blog post. I am sure that there are many more whom I either have not identified, or did not know. Please feel free to comment and tell me about those I have missed so that I can either include them here with a correction or write an addendum.

It just so happens that I had the blessing in my life to teach children with behavioral and emotional issues in first  through sixth grade right out of college. After being at that level for three years, I moved to the Junior High level where I taught students aged 12-16, they would be classified middle and high schoolers today.  When we first moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1980, I had the opportunity to teach Interpersonal Communication at North Carolina State University for 3 years as a “Visiting Lecturer”. Most of you know, with my BA from Greensboro College and my MA in Clinical Psychology from Chapman College,  I went on to become an individual and family therapist for twenty years after that.  My point is to say, having taught at the different levels, and known so many teachers over the years, I can say that teaching is challenging at all levels! The challenges are different for sure, but the ultimate goal  is to educate, and every single level is needed to create success at the next level! We cannot skip any level of development and learning and expect to have a well-educated person! As the saying above aptly states, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions!”  Nothing could be more true! Why then don’t we make the salary of our CEO’s!  I’d vote for that!  It’s past time the importance and value of our teachers be more highly recognized by our States and National Government budget makers!

We have amazing people in our family–I hope you will enjoy “meeting” these people  and knowing just a bit about what they do and where they teach, if you want to be in touch with any of them, let me know and I will ask them to get in touch. I am presenting them in alphabetical order by first name, we are family after all!

Carol E. Winters, 2013Carol E. Winters, PhD, RN, CNE (Doctorate, Registered Nurse, Certified Nursing Educator) my cousin through the Scottish Hogue family, is currently a Professor of Nursing at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  She is the Director of the MSN Nursing Education Concentration–she teaches Graduate level nurses to be Nursing Educators! Carol served as the Dean of the School of Nursing at Hawaii Pacific University in Hawaii for 16 years before returning home to North Carolina.  Carol has a BA in Christian Education from Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC, then an M.S. in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.  Not only has she these teaching , leadership accomplishments, but so much more! She is a published author, has been a hands-on nurse of obstetrics, and since 2009, has been a Faculty Advisor for the NFLA, Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, a national organization sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society jointly with the Elsevier Foundation. There is so much more I could tell you about this dynamic woman who happened to be my college roommate and friend of almost 50 years! We only discovered our cousinship last year through my genealogical research!  She has three children, five grandchildren, and has done vast amounts of volunteer work in her communities, and served and led many committees.

 October 1, 2015,–Carol Emerson Winters was honored as the 2015 Nurse Educator of the Year by the NCNA, the North Carolina Nursing Association! CONGRATULATIONS! AN HONOR WELL DESERVED! congratulations in gold

My Hogue cousin, Dee Horn, has tutored College level     Dee Horn also   English at two  different colleges over the years. I have known many college level tutors. When I was at NC State University I quickly learned how invaluable they were to many students–like those who had learning disabilities, some who were blind, and  even some who were valuable sports team members who needed extra help to keep up with academics during their physically demanding playing and practice seasons. We take our hats off to one on one teachers! 

Donna Miller 3Another Hogue cousin  Donna Miller earned her degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and taught Business Education  at the High School level, in Business Schools, and at Community Colleges.  Life, marriage, and children took her from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and Rhode Island.  In Norwich, Connecticut, for 23 years, she taught at a business school and served as an Academic Dean!  After retirement, she worked  part-time at Three Rivers Community College.  

When I asked Donna about some memories, she  said several things which I wanted to share.  One was a simple teaching technique but fun: “I liked making the students think about what they were doing. Sometimes I would purposely make a spelling or grammatical error on a test and then tell the students that they would get extra points if they found it.” That’s the kind of thing that adds an extra challenge and a bit of fun for students!   She went on to say: “It’s the one profession where students have actually come back and said, ‘Thank you for believing in me,’ or ‘pushing me,’ or ‘making me realize that I can do . . . .’  When you are finished teaching, you know that despite some of the negatives (there were stressors), you feel that you have done something positive with your life.”  Oh yes! I know a lot of the educators we have profiled feel this way, and it is why we admire and love them so!  When a teacher’s philosophies so resonate with you, you know you’d love to have that teacher for yourself, or for your children, and you know with certainty that they are a GREAT teacher! 

My first cousin James Goodell, great-great grandson of Goodell, James McClainJ.Steptoe Langhorne, has taught computer sciences for many years at Menlo College in Atherton, California. He studied at the University of Freiburg located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  He currently serves as President of the Goodell Corporation, a family real estate school and business his father founded.

Youngblood, LarryLarry Youngblood is one of our multi-leveled/multi-talented teachers as well! For years he has home schooled his grandchildren through all the levels of education!  Having studied at Texas A&M University Larry  has taught at Private Catholic Schools, Business Schools and Universities.  For several years now, Larry has been the Administrator of the International Youngblood DNA Project researching the  different family lines of Youngbloods evidenced by their dna.  He is currently writing a book about the Youngblood/Jungblut/Jungbloedt families. Thank you Larry! 

Pat Spangler, PhD, my second cousin, son of Charles Langhorne Spangler and Kittie Cockram Spangler, grandson of  Fanny Langhorne, and Great Grandson Spangler, Pat, PhD 2014of J.Steptoe Langhorne is a geophysicist in a family with three close cousins who are/were geophysicists! What honor he and they bring to our family!  You can read a previous blog post featuring them  at  Buck, Spangler and Houchins, Three Cousins Who are Geophysicists as Well!   Pat Spangler, PhD, is retired from the University of Florida, and thus his title is now Associate Professor Emeritus of Geology. Pat has published extensively and is highly respected in the academic community as well as in his family community.

Rick White, PhD, Donald Richard White, Professor, 3x gr grandson of James Steptoe LanghorneI am thrilled to introduce to many of you, our cousin Dr. Rick White, PhD, Chemist. Rick is the second great-grandchild of James Steptoe and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne, same as James Goodell, Roger Buck IV, PhD and I are. Pat Spangler above is their great-grandson. Rick is a Professor of Chemistry at St. John’s River State College in Jacksonville, Florida after a twenty plus year career in industry. He has also taught at Florida Southern College, and at the University of Tampa. He earned his PhD at the University of Florida and did post doctoral studies at King’s College in London. (At the time of his post doctoral work, the school was called Queen Elizabeth College, but Margaret Thatcher consolidated the colleges in the mid-1980’s and it became King’s) Rick has three sisters by the way, more cousins for us to enjoy. Another extremely accomplished professional, Rick has over 25 peer-reviewed publications, and over 200 internal company reports from his time with industry.

Rick worked for over twenty years for Procter and Gamble. Twelve of those years were spent in their Food and Beverage business before moving to their Health Care business where he worked for another ten years! He was an analytical chemist, supporting all aspects of product development, from inception to launch. Some of the products he worked with included brands you will recognize like Folger’s Coffee, Pringles Potato Chips, Citrus Hill Orange Juice, Pepto-Bismol, Metamucil, Crest Toothpaste, and Vick’s cough and cold remedies! Just think, from now on when you pick up one of those products, you will know that our DNA is part of the brain that helped develop them! We are very proud to be related to you Dr. Rick White!

Voorus House, Dorothy Pearl

Voorus Home in PA

Robert Voorus, 1891-1985, my cousin through the Spangler and Hogue families, had brothers and sisters  who were featured in the earlier educator posts. Robert worked in the Library of Congress as a young man. When he moved back to Pleasantville, Pennsylvania he taught at a Business School in Oil City, Pennsylvania. He is remembered by family as an excellent educator. 

Roger Buck,III was a master’s level Marine Biologist. He spent Buck, Walter Roger Buck, IIImost of his professional life researching for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, which is now part of William and Mary College for their Oceanography Concentration.  Roger not only researched heavily, but he taught at William and Mary College and earlier at Duke University. With all of his major accomplishments, Roger, my Uncle by marriage to Katherine Langhorne Kerse, was a kind and genteel man who raised a son and a daughter who both earned their  PhD.  His son, W. Roger Buck IV,  became an educator and research scientist as well, while his daughter Tyler Buck is a financial analyst and advisor with her own company.

Roger Buck, IV,PhD, my first cousin through the Kerse, buck, Walter roger Buck IVHouchins, Langhorne families, is a Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University in New York. His speciality is earthquakes and he researches through Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.  He has traveled the world lecturing and researching as he says, from “collecting rock samples for radiometric dating in Egypt, and in the Mojave Desert, to diving on the Reykjanes Mid-Ocean Ridge in a Russian submersible, and helping with GPS surveys on Iceland.” What amazing adventures this cousin has experienced!

I just want to make a couple observations regarding our families. The Langhornes were a wealthy family from England. But James Steptoe Langhorne became blind, several of his children, grandchildren and more, were blinded by the same inherited disease, his only natural son drowned at age 16, and after the Civil War, he was land poor and devastated!  Wouldn’t he be amazed and gratified that his grandchildren and greats would grow to be such good and educated people, and educators! He and his wife Elizabeth started a school and a Sunday School in Meadows of Dan, Virginia both of which were very important to them. We have carried on that philosophy–because it is imbedded in our DNA?  It is interesting!

The Hogues emigrated from Scotland, the Youngbloods from Germany, while the Voorhees originated in the Netherlands.  They fought in our Revolutionary War and our Civil War and many others. They were honorable people who supported their new country, but most of all, the Voorhees and  Hogues were Presbyterian Ministers and educators. It is amazing to me to see the traditions and/or the DNA at work in such a continuing fashion.

 What accomplishments for all of us to be proud of, and thankful for! Thank you our family members who educate all of us– for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your hard work! We honor all of you as you have honored us!

Teaching quote, wisest-mind-george-quote

This gallery contains 14 photos

Honoring the Teachers in Our Family

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School is starting again this week for millions of children around the USA and the world. What a perfect time for me to tell you about some of the teachers in our family tree. I can count almost forty teachers in just a couple of generations!  What a legacy they are leaving, what an example they are and have set! I am so proud of each of these educators, and so pleased to be counted among them and related to them!

Teachers are so important, how is it that we, as a society forget that, or neglect them sometimes?  All it takes is to send your 5 year-old child or grandchild off to school under someone else’s control, influence, and guidance all day, to realize just how important they are! As the years progress, not only do we count on teachers to socialize our children, we count on them, depend on them to actually educate them! We want our children not only to read, write and do math, but to learn to think critically and solve life’s problems well! We might also hope they learn a sport and sportsmanship. What about a foreign language? Art, music, theatre, calculus, geometry, history? Yes, we want it all–and we don’t want our teachers to complain that they are poor or to act out in any way!  Wow! Tall order!  I am proud to say many men and women in our family have chosen this noble profession!  

This post will highlight family members who have chosen Special Education and Elementary School Teaching for their career.  The next couple of posts will  feature Middle and/or Junior High School teachers then climb the ladder through High School, and meet the Principals are in our family tree! There are also family members who’ve taught in our business schools, community colleges, and Universities as well! All of these educators represent a  great deal of brain power! 

Special Education Teachers are teachers who teach children with cognitive and/or developmental impairments, learning disabilities, and behavioral  and emotional difficulties that impede learing. They are courageous and magical! 

Kerse, Janey Bell

Janey Bell Kerse Sommers

Previously I wrote a blog post about my Mother’s sister, my Aunt Janey Bell Kerse Sommers! She was a teacher of students with behavioral and learning problems. She spent over twenty years dedicated to helping them do the best they could do, then became the Special Education Supervisor for all of Forsyth County Public Schools, Forsyth County, N.C.,  mentoring other teachers along the way. You can see her story “Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, 1923-2002, Brilliance and Joyfulness Dimmed by Alzheimer‘s” by clicking on the title.

Helen Y. Holshouser, about 48 years old

Helen Y. Holshouser in 1997

  What is amazing to me, is that even though Janey Bell Somers had no children of her own, she inspired several generations of young people to teach and to learn. She motivated me to teach students with special needs–in learning, in behavior, which I did for seven years before I became a family therapist. I taught children in elementary school at first, then I moved to a Junior High where I had children ages 12-16 in my classroom . Their academic skills ranged from about 3rd grade to 9th grade, and I prepared individualized plans for each student at their level in each subject!  Every day we worked on social and behavioral skills and goals as well. One student got angry while in time out, and set our classroom which was in a mobile unit (trailer) behind the school, on fire! Another time a student attacked me physically and took me backwards, over the sofa where I was seated, onto the floor! One student hot-wired and stole my car! (He brought it back after a brief joy ride!) LOL, no wonder I had a heart attack at age 50!  I was challenged everyday with these students, and cared for them deeply. 

Youngblood Kerr, Susan

Susan Youngblood Kerr

One of my younger cousins is still teaching Special Education– Severe Behavioral Needs Children, now in her 33rd year! Susan Youngblood Kerr who lives in Missouri with her husband and three children,  has two Master’s Degrees, one in Special Education and one in Educational Leadership. She served as a Language Arts teacher to General Education students for several years and worked for others at the Middle School level. Susan was honored when one of her former students got in touch with her recently with a heartwarming message: (This from a student she had in 1985. He was from the projects–no dad–she never met his mom.)

“Hi Young lady well so nice to hear from you. I was unforgettable– I hope that’s a good thing. how’s your family doing? fine I hope. they have the greatest mom in the world but you already know that. well I’m doing great myself –just retired last year from the Navy after 20 years of service. I live in Japan with my lovely wife and 3 beautiful kids. yes who would ever think me a husband and a father! well for what it is worth I’ve always known that you cared about us kids even then. when I think about any teacher that cared and made a difference in my life, you are #1 on my list and I mean that from the bottom of my heart!  so you see you did make a change in a little boy’s life, but now I’m a man. thanks and God bless.” 

Wow! The above brings tears to my eyes–what a great tribute! 

 

Nichols, JonathanRemarkably, we have another young cousin, also through the Langhorne line, who taught students with behavioral and emotional difficulties!  Jonathan Daniel Nichols is my second cousin, and he taught in Maryland. He is smart, caring and well-respected.  He continued a family tradition he didn’t even know existed when called to teach the most challenging students.  We especially need men to serve as role models for this population of students. I am so proud of him.

Special Education seems to be a calling for many in our family,Houchins, Mrs. John L. Josephine Ellis Bell as we had a Great Aunt Josephine Bell Houchins who taught deaf students at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, Virginia for many years. I remember how interesting it was to go and visit her and her husband my Great Uncle John Langhorne Houchins, and see her talking with the students in sign language. During breaks I was mesmerized to watch the students gather with their friends and engage in animated sign language chatting just like we did between classes at school, only they were quieter but more expressive.  

Jamie Beck SkinnerAnother Youngblood cousin, my second, once removed, Jamie Beck Skinner is a Special Education Paraeducator at Abingdon Elementary School in Abingdon, Maryland. While the teacher leads a group activity, Jamie might be giving another student private reading lessons. She is truly a para–beside–educator who teaches where and when the teacher cannot. It makes it possible to reach some students, to prevent melt-downs, to teach to certain strengths and weaknesses not possible with only one teacher in the room! What a blessing a paraeducator in the classroom is! 

Goodell, Mary, edited from weddingIt’s hard to believe, but in our immediate family system, I have another cousin who is a Special Education Supervisor! She serves the people of New Hampshire!  Mary Casey Goodell is a dynamic, dedicated educator who has been mentoring other Special Education teachers for many years now!  So, two supervisors of Special Education, and eight special education teachers in one family, pretty amazing!  I wonder if there is a call to serve others embedded in our dna?

Elementary School Teachers

Those who teach kindergarten through fifth grade work with children as they meet a great number of their developmental milestones, socially, physically, and intellectually.  Teachers and parents are the ones who help mold and shape us at these formative ages. My sister Anne Youngblood Prince Anne Y. Prince, 2015has retired now after teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth grades in both public and private schools for over 36 years!  She earned her Master’s Degree in Reading at the University of Richmond (Virginia).  Most of her teaching career was spent guiding fourth graders at St. Christopher’s School, a private Episcopal school for boys in Richmond, Virginia. Anne was highly dedicated to her students and was an excellent teacher who was always thinking about, training for, or putting into practice her myriad skills to give her students the best education possible. You couldn’t ask for a kinder, smarter, more successful teacher. She taught long enough to teach the children of some of her students who were so proud to have their children in her care. 

Youngbloods, Liz, and her children, Mary taylor, Susan, and Lewis IIIOne of Anne’s mentors was Elizabeth Walker Youngblood, wife of Lewis Jr. and mother of  Mary, Lewis III, and Susan. As described above, Susan is now teaching for her 33rd year! What a great influence Liz was for her children and many others.  Liz and Anne, my sister,  taught fifth grade at L.L. Beasley Elementary School in Prince George County, Virginia at the same time, and my sister remembers her as creative, skilled and highly motivated to do an excellent job.   I remember Liz also as a wonderful, firm, kind, and very intelligent woman.  Unfortunately, she is the second teacher in our family taken ill by that crushing disease Alzheimer’s! Liz also served as an assistant principal  as well in a school in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

My sister Anne tells an interesting story about how she first met Elizabeth Walker Youngblood in 1952.  Anne was in fourth grade at Bon Air Elementary School, and was her classroom’s representative to the Red Cross School Committee. Elizabeth was the Red Cross School Coordinator for all the schools in Chesterfield County,Virginia.  Liz sat right down beside Anne and introduced herself as the fiancée of her cousin!  (Her husband Lewis Jr. was our father’s first cousin.)  “Let me show you my ring. I just got engaged to your cousin!” Elizabeth was so kind to ten-year old Anne, that they became friends for life and then coworkers.

My first cousin once removed, Susan Youngblood Rawls, Youngblood, Susan Rawlstaught fifth grade for ten years at Crestwood Elementary School in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  She is now the Director of a preschool. Energetic, enthusiastic, and smart as a whip, she is quite amazing! How lucky are all the little children, all the families who enter her school! She will help get them started in the right direction, will help lay the ground work for their happiness and their learning the rest of their lives!  That is one tall order and a major accomplishment! 

Lauren Ruby editedLauren Ruby, daughter of Jamie Beck Skinner and another Youngblood cousin, teaches Kindergarten at Taneytown Elementary school in Carroll County, Maryland. Do you remember the poem by Robert Fulghum that reminds us what we need to succeed in life we learned in kindergarten? Well, that’s Lauren– preparing her students to succeed in life and in school! A tall order that she handles with aplomb! 

Kindergarten all I ever needed to learn

Maryrose Youngblood, my first cousin once removed in my wonderful family tree, taught fourth grade like my sister for many years in Highland County, Virginia. These Youngblood women– we are hard workers, and we are directors at heart and by dna!  Kind, efficient, smart…Maryrose was an outstanding  teacher. 

Youngblood, Marshall daughter kathy Lee Pack 2015Kathy Lee Pack, daughter of Marshall Youngblood Lee and Robert Lee, has been teaching at the elementary school level in Florida for 31 years this year!  All of those years were as a 4th grade teacher until the last two when she changed to second grade! Kathy has four adult children and grandchildren to keep her busy. She is my second cousin once removed, and a Youngblood woman through and through. By that I mean she can handle a room full of 30 restless 6 year olds and make them feel good about themselves because they chose to complete their math assignment while she was reading with a small group! 

A cousin through the Voorus, Hogue, and Spangler family lines, Vorus, BessieBesse B. Voorus was born December 12, 1893.  Miss Voorus was graduated from Pleasantville High School and received her bachelor of arts degree from Slippery Rock Normal School. She was an elementary school teacher for over 43 years, teaching in both the Oil City and Meadville School Districts in Pennsylvania.  One of her great nieces remembers her mother talking about having Bessie as a teacher and her encouraging them to learn about Geography especially.  Wouldn’t it have been a surprise to realize a little girl you taught in elementary school would grow up to marry your nephew and her children would be your great nieces and nephews! 

Besse taught for forty-three years  and died in 1992 at 98 years old! Can you imagine what she witnessed in her lifetime!? The things she witnessed and was able to teach her students–she lived through horse and buggy days to automobiles and rockets to the moon! She saw cooking with wood to gas, electricity and even microwaves! Television didn’t exist in her childhood, but later became a huge part of our lives! Talk about having to be adaptable! Just to live successfully she had to be willing to change, grow, and adapt–weren’t her students lucky to have such an experienced teacher and a versatile one! 

Vorus, Dorothy Pearl VorusBessie’s sister, Dorothy Pearl Voorus Hogg was a teacher also, teaching in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Her husband was also a teacher who will be featured as well.  Dorothy and Calvin had six children of their own, can you imagine how busy this lady was day in and day out! . She began teaching in a one-room school-house with all grades together, and taught long enough to enter a modern elementary school building in the 1950’s and into the early ’70s! This kind of longevity always inspires me. 

Lena Voorus is the third sister to teach in the Elementary Voorus, Lena had a stroke, very sweetSchools of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania! Born in 1889, Lena died in 1978 all in Venango County, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, Lena had a stroke and became wheelchair bound. Her sisters took care of her and stayed supportive of each other. Her great nieces and nephews remember her as sweet and kind, a great tribute. What’s amazing to me, is that these women, born in the late 1800’s, at a time when women didn’t generally work outside the home, went out and got their education, and worked at a profession. That takes a lot of courage and fortitude, good for them! 

Julia Houchins Patterson

Julia in the 1940’s

My Great-Aunt Julia Houchins Nichols became an attorney. However, she was only 15 in 1900 when her mother died. Her father soon deserted his six children and moved out-of-state. Thank heavens the children did have a guardian angel and grandparents nearby. Nonetheless, never one to let grass grow under her feet, Julia went out and got a job teaching.  The story goes that Julia, only a teen still, went to apply for a teaching job in the mountains of southwest Virginia in Patrick County, where she lived.  The person interviewing her asked her what she could tell him that would impress him and make him think she was smart enough to teach. She told him she could tell him exactly how many boards for lumber he could get from any sized tree.  She had caught his attention, and he pointed to a tree outside the window and said “Okay, tell me how many boards could you get from that tree? Julia solved the problem aloud, and her reasoning and math skills so impressed the man, he hired her on the spot! Later she told family that she was so thankful that her family member, I’m not sure who, had worked in a sawmill, so that she had learned this skill. I’m sure she was an excellent teacher, she had four younger brothers to wrangle with after her mother died, children didn’t scare her! Julia lived from 1885 to 1969, another witness to travel by horse to travel by rockets to the moon! She served as the very first female Assistant District Attorney in the State of Virginia. Julia was a force to be reckoned with, and was highly loved by her family and still is today by grandchildren who are now grandparents themselves! 

Eight Special Education teachers, and ten Elementary Education teachers–what a group to be proud of, but they are not all of the educators in our family!  In the next post I will tell you about our Middle and High School teachers as well as our  Principals, and College Professors! What a legacy they are creating or have left for our family.

 It’s Fall– “time to go back to school”– it seems that teachers  hear this call in their souls!  

Teacher , Thank-a-Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Meadows of Dan Baptist Church Burns Down!

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Meadows of Dan is a small town on top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Patrick County, Virginia. It sits at the mouth of the Dan River which runs down through North Carolina. My great, great-grandfather, James Steptoe Langhorne (called Steptoe) is credited with naming this town when he took up residence there about 1840. He and his wife, my Great-Great-Grandmother, Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro inherited a 13,000 acre plantation! They had slaves to help them run the house and the agricultural part of the plantation. They built a grist mill, started a school, and taught Sunday school from their own home. I descend from their daughter Evelyn, one of Steptoe’s eight children. Unfortunately, Steptoe was blind, inflicted with retinitis pigmentosa, the hereditary disease that stole the sight of his mother, several of his siblings, children, grandchildren, and continues in the family today.

Steptoe’s daughter Frances, called Fannie married Wallace Wolford Spangler and they raised their six children right there in the Meadows of Dan while most of the other grandchildren went elsewhere. When we had a Langhorne family reunion last year, it was the Spanglers who gave the tours and led the singing since they were the accomplished musicians from years gone by ! (If you check the right column of categories, you can find many stories and music videos about the Langhornes and the Spanglers.) While all of the grandchildren are gone, many of Steptoe’s Great-Grandchildren, Great-Greats and more still live in the area. 

During the Langhorne reunion last year, several of the family attended church services at the Meadows of Dan Baptist Church. We all went to the church cemetery where Steptoe and Elizabeth are buried, as well as Evelyn, Fannie and some others, including Evelyn’s child Virginia. This beautiful church and cemetery rests on land that once belonged to the Langhorne’s, Steptoe and his brother William who donated the land for the church, and even built the first log church there. When you walk in the cemetery and into the church, you can feel a sense of roots–this is  where our family lived, this is where they walked, 175 years ago! 

Also in this same church cemetery, are the graves of the Langhorne slaves. Yes, they are segregated, but they are present in the same church cemetery which lends credence to the stories of the Langhornes being kind to their slaves and treating them humanely. I am working on another post about the slaves, gathering their names for the National Slave Name Roll Project which was recently started by Schalene Jennings Dagutis. Over the years, there have been some controversies surrounding the “slave meadow” as their area has come to be called, started by an article of that name that can by found in the online mountain journal by Bob Heafner entitled The Mountain Laurel. I discuss this in more detail in the next post. 

Over 100 years ago, the members of the Meadows of Dan Baptist Church built a new church–the lovely white one seen in the pictures above. Last night that church burned down!  Thank heavens, no one was hurt.  Apparently the fire was caused by the furnace malfunctioning. Already the minister of the church is reminding the public that the church is the community, not the building. They will rebuild and be stronger than ever. 

When I learned that the church was on fire– I was shocked, even moved to tears! Then I was surprised that I had such strong feelings for a church just barely known to me really, as family history. However, I realized that I had gotten to know many people, many cousins,  in that community in the last couple years–I knew it would be painful to them, and part of what I was feeling was sympathy, empathy, the desire to go and be with them, to comfort them. I have to admit, being steeped just now in slave research, I wondered if there was malice involved, or anything to do with the controversies of the slave meadow. As it turns out that was all fantasy on my part, it reflects what I was studying in another era, arson is NOT suspected in this situation, but a wiring or other electrical problem unfortunately. The blessing comes in that no one was hurt by such a huge fire!  If you look at the very last photograph above (click to enlarge), you will see that three crosses appeared in the fire. A citizen of the community took this picture, Angela Grubb. What does it mean? Was it real?  What do you think, I’d really like to know. 

What a heart breaking event for many, many people, members of the church, and others with ties to the community.   I am praying that from the ashes something better will arise, with God’s help. Amen. 

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Jamestowne Colony Ancestors–20 Grandparents ! — 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, #52

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Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, we lived only a couple of hours from Jamestown! We went there often in my childhood, to Yorktown and Williamsburg as well. My mother was very interested in history, and wanted to be sure her children understood their Virginia history! She was also very interested in family history, but as far as I know, she had no idea that she had grandparents who had lived in Jamestown! Oh my gracious, she would have been so excited to know all this I’m sure! I am excited as well! As my genealogical research progressed, I began to realize we had some lines of ancestors that extended back to that time frame. However, I had not investigated particularly if we had ancestors who were on the “approved” lists from the Jamestown Society indicating that you did indeed have ancestors from Jamestown. As I approached the end of this 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge, I decided to write about some of our first ancestors–the Huguenots, Pilgrims on the Mayflower, and Jamestown Settlers. I gathered all the lists I could find, and started searching! Some were easy as I readily recognized the names!  Several were amazing to me, because I had perhaps stopped at a daughter or son, never dreaming that including one more generation would take me to Jamestown! Wow! Altogether, as of this writing, I have identified twenty grandparents who were present in Jamestown, and therefore would make my siblings and I , and many of my cousins eligible for membership in the Jamestowne Society. That is simply amazing to me!

I am going to list all twenty of our grandparents here, and highlight the ones I’ve already blogged about–so that you can simply click on them and see their story. At the end of this post, just for information’s sake, I will list their relationship trees. Therefore cousins can tell who comes through the Houchins, the Langhornes, the Omohundros, etc. and see their own relationships.

The very first discovery I made that I’d not known of before, just blew me away! I was looking at the lines, and noticed a Mirian Newport married to a William Hatcher. It was the Newport name that caught my attention. I knew I had seen that name on the lists.  I thought I’d extend her line a bit, and who turned out to be her father? Oh my gracious, none other than Captain Christopher Newport, Captain of the Susan Constant and in charge of all three ships that sailed to Jamestown! I had no idea, and was so excited! He is our/my ninth great- grandfather! His daughter Marian is my eighth great-grandmother and is a qualifying ancestor in her own right! Her husband William Hatcher, my eight great-grandfather is identified as well!  William Hatcher served for many years in the House of Burgesses. 

The following story, originally shared to his family tree on ancestry, by Theodore Walker27, by an unknown author, can be found on ancestry, and is very interesting about the Susan Constant and Captain Newport:

“The Susan Constant, captained by Christopher Newport, was the largest of three ships of the English Virginia Company (the others being the Discovery and the Godspeed) on the 1606-1607 voyage that resulted in the founding of Jamestown in the new Colony of Virginia. Susan Constant was rated at 120 tons. Her keel length is estimated at 55.2 feet (16.8 meters). Her overall length from tip to stern is estimated at 116 feet. On the 1606-1607 voyage, she carried 105 colonists, all male.  She returned to England in May 1607. She served as a merchant ship through at least 1615. Her fate is not known. The alternative name Sarah Constant has been cited, and is shown as being the name noted on the earliest document, leading to a belief that Samuel Purchas had the name wrong in his Pilgrims book.  There is growing support for the name Sarah Constant. The article that cites the Sarah Constant is as follows:  He tolde me of three barques on route to the New Worlde, thouse whose names are, as he tolde me thereon, be consysted of “Godspeed”, “Discoverie” or “Discovery”, and one whose name splyte twice, I think ´was “Sarah Constant”.- presumably written by Sir Walter Raleigh. December 20, 1606, 150 passengers left Blackwall, London, England in three London (Virginia) Company ships, Susan Constant with Master Christopher Newport and 71 passengers, Godspeed with Capt. Bartholomew Gosnold and 52 passengers and the Discovery under Capt. John Ratcliffe, carrying 21 persons. They headed for the New World.  After 18 weeks, the ships landed in Cape Henry, Virginia. 105 survivors established the town of Jamestown. April 30, 1607: The ships arrive at Cape Comfort, a vanguard boat stopped at Kecoughtan where the natives welcomed the English Settlers”

If you like interactive websites, and if you’d like to know more about the women in Jamestown, there is a wonderful website titled the National Women’s History Museum.  There we learn that the  Englishmen named the river that flows into the Chesapeake Bay the James River and named their settlement Jamestown, both to honor their King, James I. The settlers of Virginia were looking for gold especially, but none was to be found!

In this same website we finally learn about the women in Jamestown!  ” For over a year after the founding of Jamestown, no English women lived in the colony. Then in October of 1608, two women arrived with the “Second Supply” of men and provisions. Thomas Forrest, listed as a gentleman in the supply lists, brought his wife, Anne Forrest, and her maid, Anne Buras. Buras was about fourteen years old when she arrived. She married the carpenter John Layton within a year, an event that Captain John Smith described as the first wedding held in Virginia. Anne Layton later gave birth to a daughter, named Virginia. While the Laytons are not mentioned again in later records, their arrival represents the beginning of families in Jamestown.

In August of 1609, about twenty women arrived on ships sent by the Virginia Company of London. One hundred more women arrived a few months later. Many of the female passengers on the first ships were traveling with their husbands and families. All were recruited by the Virginia Company, a land-development, stock-issuing corporation based in London.  For the most part these women’s names are lost, but a few survive in the record.”

Lo and behold,  listed on this website, is Jane/Joan Pierce, my grandmother!  Until this very moment I didn’t know she and her daughter existed, only men are usually discussed! “Joan Pierce sailed with her husband William and daughter Jane. By all accounts, Joan was a dauntless woman and enjoyed the challenges of living in Virginia. During a visit to England in 1629, she was described as “an honest and industrious woman [who] hath been [in Virginia] nearly 20 years.” She apparently considered the new colony rich in resources; she was quoted as saying that “she can keep a better house in Virginia . . . than in London.” Many women were in the same situation: while their men took off for the New World, women supported their families and managed the finances. Before leaving England to join their husbands, these women made the decisions about selling property and planning for the long voyage.” 

“Her daughter, Jane Pierce, married John Rolfe, the widower of Pocahontas. Pocahontas had been the favored daughter of Chief Powhatan, and her marriage to Rolfe in 1614 brought over eight years of peace between the settlers and Native Americans, during which the colony was able to produce profitable tobacco. Pocahontas died in England in 1617, and Rolfe returned to Jamestown. He became active in colonial politics and married Jane Pierce later that year. They had one daughter, Elizabeth, also named for the powerful Virgin Queen.”National Women’s History Museum.   Jane Pierce was my 10th great Aunt, with her sister Edith being my 10th great-grandmother!  Edith Pierce married Jerimiah Clements, my 10th great-grandfather. It is so amazing to me, that I happen to share the Pierces and the Clements with other genealogical researchers–making us cousins now as well as friends! 

Our ancestors:

  1. Nicholas Martiau, see blog
  2. Lady Jane Berkeley, wife of Nicholas Martiau
  3. Christopher Newport
  4. Daughter Marian Newport
  5. William Hatcher, Marian’s husband
  6. Jerimiah Clement
  7. Edith Pierce, wife of Jerimiah, daughter of Capt. Wm.Pierce, my 10th
  8. William Pierce
  9. William Pierce, son of above
  10. Jane or Joan Phippen Pierce, wife of the Capt. above
  11. John Pinkard
  12. John Browning
  13. Robert Beverly
  14. Peter Beverly
  15. Francis Fairfax
  16. Myles Cary
  17. Henry Cary
  18. John Carter, 1613
  19. John Langhorne
  20. wife Rebecca Carter

From Jamestown Rediscovery we learn that the “Recent discovery of the exact location of the first settlement and its fort indicates that the actual settlement site was in a more secure place, away from the channel, where Spanish ships could not fire point-blank into the fort. Almost immediately after landing, the colonists were under attack from what amounted to the on-again off-again enemy, the Algonquian natives. As a result, in a little over a month’s time, the newcomers managed to “beare and plant palisades” enough to build a wooden fort. Three contemporary accounts and as ketch of the fort agree that its wooden palisaded walls formed a triangle around a storehouse, church, and a number of houses. It is amazing to realize that my own 9th great-grandfather Nicholas Martiau, a Huguenot, French Engineer, helped design and build the  improved palisades around the Jamestown Fort in 1620, allowing for the survival of some of the settlers  during the 1622 Indian Massacre. 

While disease, famine, and continuing attacks of neighboring Algonquins took a tremendous toll on the population, there were times when the Powhatan Indian trade revived the colony with food in exchange for glass beads, copper, and iron implements. It appears that eventual structured leadership of Captain John Smith kept the colony from dissolving. The “Starving Time” winter followed Smith’s departure in 1609 during which only 60 of the original 214 settlers at Jamestown survived. That June, the survivors decided to bury cannon and armor and abandon the town. It was only the arrival of the new governor, Lord De La Ware, and his supply ships that brought the colonists back to the fort and the colony back on its feet. Although the suffering did not totally end at Jamestown for decades, some years of peace and prosperity followed the wedding of Pocahontas, the favored daughter of the Algonquian chief Powhatan, to tobacco entrepreneur John Rolfe.

The first representative assembly in the New World convened in the Jamestown church on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly met in response to orders from the Virginia Company “to establish one equal and uniform government over all Virginia” which would provide “just laws for the happy guiding and governing of the people there inhabiting.” The other crucial event that would play a role in the development of America was the arrival of Africans to Jamestown. A Dutch slave trader exchanged his cargo of Africans for food in 1619. The Africans became indentured servants, similar in legal position to many poor Englishmen who traded several years of labor in exchange for passage to America. The popular conception of a race-based slave system did not fully develop until the 1680s.”

The Algonquian eventually became disenchanted and, in 1622, attacked the out plantations killing over 300 of the settlers. Even though a last-minute warning spared Jamestown, the attack on the colony and mismanagement of the Virginia Company at home convinced the King that he should revoke the Virginia Company Charter; Virginia became a crown colony in 1624.

The fort seems to have existed into the middle of the 1620s, but as Jamestown grew into a “New Town” to the east, written reference to the original fort disappear. Jamestown remained the capital of Virginia until its major statehouse, located on the western end of Preservation Virginia property, burned in 1698. The capital was moved to Williamsburg that year and Jamestown began to slowly disappear above ground. By the 1750s the land was owned and heavily cultivated, primarily by the Travis and Ambler families.

You can read or listen to the history of Jamestown in so many places, I have not tried to tell you even half of the history here. I have included a video which is very instructive in the history. I am going to list some of the websites I utilized as well, especially the ones with the lists of settlers, much more than the beginning ones listed here: From the website Historic Jamestown, , Understanding America’s Birthplace, we find this list of the very first settlers and their occupations!

 

 Original Settlers–Spring, 1607

Name Occupation
  • Master Edward Maria Wingfield
  • Captaine Bartholomew Gosnoll
  • Captaine John Smyth
  • Captaine John Ratliffe
  • Captaine John Martin
  • Captaine George Kendall
Councell
  • Master Robert Hunt
Preacher
  • Master George Percie
  • Anthony Gosnoll
  • Captaine Gabriell Archer
  • Robert Ford
  • William Bruster
  • Dru Pickhouse
  • John Brookes
  • Thomas Sands
  • John Robinson
  • Ustis Clovill
  • Kellam Throgmorton
  • Nathaniell Powell
  • Robert Behethland
  • Jeremy Alicock
  • Thomas Studley
  • Richard Crofts
  • Nicholas Houlgrave
  • Thomas Webbe
  • John Waler
  • William Tanker
  • Francis Snarsbrough
  • Edward Brookes
  • Richard Dixon
  • John Martin
  • George Martin
  • Anthony Gosnold
  • Thomas Wotton, Surgeon
  • Thomas Gore
  • Francis Midwinter
Gentlemen
  • William Laxon/Laxton
  • Edward Pising
  • Thomas Emry
  • Robert Small
  • Anas Todkill
  • John Capper
Carpenters

First Supply, January 1608

Name Occupation
  • Matthew Scrivner
appointed to be of the Councell
  • Michaell Phetyplace
  • William Phetyplace
  • Ralfe Morton
  • William Cantrill
  • Richard Wyffin
  • Robert Barnes
  • George Hill
  • George Pretty
  • John Taverner
  • Robert Cutler
  • Michaell Sickelmore
  • Thomas Coo
  • Peter Pory
  • Richard Killingbeck
  • William Causey
  • Doctor Russell
  • Richard Worley
  • Richard Prodger
  • William Bayley
  • Richard Molynex
  • Richard Pots
  • Jefrey Abots
  • John Harper
  • Timothy Leds
  • Edward Gurganay
  • George Forest
  • John Nickoles
  • William Gryvill
Gentlemen
  • Daniell Stalling
Jeweller
  • William Dawson
  • Abraham Ransacke
Refiners
  • William Johnson
  • Richard Belfield
Refiners
  • Peter Keffer
A Gunner
  • Robert Alberton
A Perfumer
  • Raymond Goodyson
  • John Speareman
  • William Spence
  • Richard Brislow
  • William Simons
  • John Bouth
  • William Burket
  • Nicholas Ven
  • William Perce
  • Francis Perkins
  • Francis Perkins
  • William Bentley
  • Richard Gradon
  • Rowland Nelstrop
  • Richard Salvage
  • Thomas Salvage
  • Richard Miler
  • William May
  • Vere
  • Michaell
  • Bishop Wyles
Labourers
  • John Powell
  • Thomas Hope
  • William Beckwith
  • William Yonge
  • Laurence Towtales
  • William Ward
Tailers
  • Christopher Rodes
  • James Watkings
  • Richard Fetherstone
  • James Burne
  • Thomas Feld
  • John Harford
Apothecaries
  • Post Gittnat
A Surgeon
  • John Lewes
A Couper
  • Robert Cotton
A Tobacco-pipe-maker
  • Richard Dole
A Blackesmith
  • With divers others

                                                                  Second Supply, Fall 1608

Name Occupation
  • Captaine Peter Winne
  • Captaine Richard Waldo
Were appointed to bee of the Councell
  • Master Francis West
  • Thomas Graves
  • Rawley Chroshaw
  • Gabriell Bedle
  • John Russell
  • John Bedle
  • William Russell
  • John Gudderington
  • William Sambage
  • Henry Collings
  • Henry Ley
  • Harmon Haryson
  • Daniell Tucker
  • Hugh Wollystone
  • John Hoult
  • Thomas Norton
  • George Yarington
  • George Burton
  • Henry Philpot
  • Thomas Maxes
  • Michaell Lowicke
  • Master Hunt
  • Thomas Forest
  • William Dowman
  • John Dauxe
  • Thomas Abbey
Gentlemen
  • Thomas Phelps
  • John Prat
  • John Clarke
  • Jefry Shortridge
  • Dionis Oconor
  • Hugh Wynne
  • David ap Hugh
  • Thomas Bradley
  • John Burras
  • Thomas Lavander
  • Henry Bell
  • Master Powell
  • David Ellys
  • Thomas Gipson
Tradesmen
  • Thomas Dowse
  • Thomas Mallard
  • William Taler
  • Thomas Fox
  • Nicholas Hancock
  • Walker
  • Williams
  • Morrell
  • Rose
  • Scot
  • Hardwin
Laborers
  • Milman
  • Hellyard
Boyes
  • Mistresse Forrest, and Anne Burras her maide
  • eight Dutch men and Poles, with some others

Relationship Charts for Ancestors in Jamestown,

Capt. Christopher Newport (1563 –  1616) is your 9th great grandfather

 Marian Newporte (1615 – 1646)

daughter of Capt. Christopher Newport

Susannah Hatcher (1646 – 1699)

daughter of Marian Newporte

 Anne Burton (1670 – 1736)

daughter of Susannah Hatcher

 George Stovall (1705 – 1786)

son of Anne Burton

 Rachel Stovall (1760 – 1850)

daughter of George Stovall

 Mary Dillon Polly Turner (1796 – 1879)

daughter of Rachel Stovall

 Elizabeth Rachael Omohundro (1825 – 1915) daughter of Mary Dillon Turner

 Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daugh of Elizabeth Rachael Omohundro

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943) daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

Daugh. of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

 Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

 ____________________________________________

William Hatcher (1613 – 1680)

is your 8th great grandfather

Susannah Hatcher (1646 – 1699)

daughter of William Hatcher

Anne Burton (1670 – 1736)

daughter of Susannah Hatcher

George Stovall (1705 – 1786)

son of Anne Burton

Rachel Stovall (1760 – 1850)

daughter of George Stovall

Mary Dillon Polly Turner (1796 – 1879)

daughter of Rachel Stovall

Elizabeth Rachael Omohundro (1825 – 1915)

daughter of Mary Dillon Polly Turner

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of Elizabeth Rachael Omohundro

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse 

 _________________________________________________

Nicholas Martiau (1591 – 1657)                        

is your 9th great grandfather

Mary Jane Martiau (1631 – 1678)

daughter of Nicholas Martiau

John Scarsbrook (1676 – 1704)

son of Mary Jane Martiau

Col. Henry Scarsbrook (1700 – 1773)

son of John Scarsbrook

Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook (1721 – 1802)

daughter of Col. Henry Scarsbrook

Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1760 – 1797)

son of Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)

son of Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse 

————————————————-

 John Pinkard (1647 – 1690)

is your 7th great grandfather

Elizabeth Sarah (widow Eustice) Pinkard (1667 – 1719)

daughter of John Pinkard

Col. James Steptoe Sr., M.D. (1710 – 1778)

son of Elizabeth Sarah (widow Eustice) Pinkard

James Steptoe Jr. (1750 – 1826)

son of Col. James Steptoe Sr., M.D.

Frances Callaway (blind) Steptoe (1798 – 1832)

daughter of James Steptoe Jr.

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Frances Callaway (blind) Steptoe

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse 

 ___________________________________________________

Jerimiah Clements (1607 – 1657)

is your 10th great grandfather

Capt. John Clements (1631 – 1710)

son of Jerimiah Clements

John Clements (1669 – 1704)

son of Capt. John Clements

Stephen Clements (1692 – 1746)

son of John Clements

Joyce Clements (1739 – 1821)

daughter of Stephen Clements

Edward Houchins (1760 – 1846)

son of Joyce Clements

BENNETT HOUCHINS (1780 – 1815)

son of Edward Houchins

William Houchins (1807 – 1860)

son of BENNETT HOUCHINS

Nancy J Houchins (1833 – )

daughter of William Houchins

Walter Houchins (1854 – 1937)

son of Nancy J Houchins

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Walter Houchins

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse 

 _____________________________________________________

Capt. William Pierce (1560 – 1622)

is your 11th great grandfather

Edith Pierce (1607 – 1644)

daughter of Capt. William Pierce

Capt. John Clements (1631 – 1710)

son of Edith Pierce

John Clements (1669 – 1704)

son of Capt. John Clements

Stephen Clements (1692 – 1746)

son of John Clements

Joyce Clements (1739 – 1821)

daughter of Stephen Clements

Edward Houchins (1760 – 1846)

son of Joyce Clements

BENNETT HOUCHINS (1780 – 1815)

son of Edward Houchins

William Houchins (1807 – 1860)

son of BENNETT HOUCHINS

Nancy J Houchins (1833 – )

daughter of William Houchins

Walter Houchins (1854 – 1937)

son of Nancy J Houchins

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Walter Houchins

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse – 

___________________________________________________

Capt. John Browning (1588 – 1646)

is your 10th great grandfather

Thomas Browning (1620 – 1679)

son of Capt. John Browning

John BROWNING (1640 – 1690)

son of Thomas Browning

Thomas Browning (1660 – 1725)

son of John BROWNING

Mary Browning (1685 – 1739)

daughter of Thomas Browning

Richard Omohundro III (1709 – 1754)

son of Mary Browning

Richard Omohundro IV (1740 – 1811)

son of Richard Omohundro III

Ellis Putney Omohundro (1790 – 1852)

son of Richard Omohundro IV

Elizabeth Rachael Omohundro (1825 – 1915)

daughter of Ellis Putney Omohundro

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of Elizabeth Rachael Omohundro

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

______________________________________________

Frances Fairfax (1580 – )

is your 9th great grandmother

Peter Beverley (1610 – 1650)

son of Frances Fairfax

Maj. Robert Beverley Sr. (1641 – 1687)

son of Peter Beverley

Mary Beverley (1678 – )

daughter of Maj. Robert Beverley Sr.

Maurice Langhorne (1719 – 1791)

son of Mary Beverley

Elizabeth Langhorne (1758 – 1818)

daughter of Maurice Langhorne

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)

son of Elizabeth Langhorne

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse 

___________________________________________________

Robert Beverley (1577 – 1613)

is your 9th great grandfather

Peter Beverley (1610 – 1650)

son of Robert Beverley

Maj. Robert Beverley Sr. (1641 – 1687)

son of Peter Beverley

Mary Beverley (1678 – )

daughter of Maj. Robert Beverley Sr.

Maurice Langhorne (1719 – 1791)

son of Mary Beverley

Elizabeth Langhorne (1758 – 1818)

daughter of Maurice Langhorne

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)

son of Elizabeth Langhorne

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

_____________________________________________

Col. John Carter (1613 – 1669)

is your 8th great grandfather

Mary Margaret Carter (1637 – 1678)

daughter of Col. John Carter

Mary Beverley (1678 – )

daughter of Mary Margaret Carter

Maurice Langhorne (1719 – 1791)

son of Mary Beverley

Elizabeth Langhorne (1758 – 1818)

daughter of Maurice Langhorne

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)

son of Elizabeth Langhorne

jnJames Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

__________________________________________

Miles Cary (1622 – 1667)

is your 9th great grandfather

Henry Cary (1650 – 1720)

son of Miles Cary

Elizabeth Cary (1678 – 1691)

daughter of Henry Cary

Col. Henry Scarsbrook (1700 – 1773)

son of Elizabeth Cary

Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook (1721 – 1802)

daughter of Col. Henry Scarsbrook

Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne (1760 – 1797)

son of Elizabeth Cary Scarsbrook

Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne (1790 – 1854)

son of Maj. John Scarsbrook Langhorne

James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne (1822 – 1905)

son of Henry Scarsbrook Langhorne

Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne (1866 – 1900)

daughter of James Steptoe (blind) Langhorne

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Evaline (going blind when died young)) Langhorne

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse

_____________________________________________

This is IT! I did it! I completed writing about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks! Actually, more than that as many posts dealt with multiple ancestors like this one! What a difference a year makes! Fifteen years ago, I was told I would only live five years or so, now this year, my fifteenth year of survival with severe heart disease, I have accomplished this challenge, and I have written a novel! Amazing!Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for issuing and maintaining the challenge, and thanks to all the other authors who’ve shared their techniques and their family stories! I could not have done all of this without the support of my family and friends who have encouraged me every step of the way! Thank you so very much! It has been a wonderful experience! 

  

Fireworks!

 

 Sugggested reading and reference:

–Jamestowne Society, Richmond, Virginia, http://www.jamestowne.org/  (includes list of approved ancestors)

–National Park Service, Historic Jamestowne,    http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/index.htm

–National Women’s History Museum, https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/jamestownwomen/index.htm

–Historic Jamestown, http://www.historicjamestowne.org/history/

–Jamestown Settlement and Yorktown Victory Center,  http://www.historyisfun.org/jamestown-settlement/jamestown-ships/?

–Jamestowne Rediscovery, http://apva.org/rediscovery/page.php?page_id=6

–History of Jamestown, Virginia (1607–99), Wikipedia Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Jamestown,_Virginia_(1607%E2%80%9399)

 –Washington and Northern Virginia Company Jamestowne Society ,  http://www.jamestowne-wash-nova.org/index.htm

  –Our Ancestors in Jamestown Virginia, http://www.genealogical-gleanings.com/Jamestown.htm

 –Author: Virginia Lee Hutchenson Davis. Commemoration of the 400th Aniversity of the Landing at James Towne, 1607-2007

 Jamestown Book

 

 

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Mayflower Ancestors! Thomas Rogers, John Alden, William Mullins & Allied–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, # 51

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Mayflower leaving England's shores, Mike@Mike HaywoodArt.co.uk copyrighted, used by permission

Mayflower leaving England’s shores, “A Prosperous Wind” by Mike Haywood , ©2002, Mike@Mike HaywoodArt.co.uk used by permission

 

As I worked further and further back in time in our family tree, I was amazed to realize that my family had ancestors who arrived on the Mayflower! Some people know that their whole lives, they wear it like a badge of honor–“My family arrived on the Mayflower!” As a Southerner, I never even thought about that being part of our family history. Of course, as I’ve learned, my family hails from all over the United States as well as the British Isles and Europe.  I may identify with the Southern United States, but that is only part of our rich family history! It’s so exciting! The Mayflower, Plymouth Rock! The Colony was settled mostly by  people who wanted the freedom to worship as they chose.  They were members of the English Separatist Church and felt persecuted by the Church of England. Ten years earlier a group of Separatists  had left England for Leiden, Holland, in search of religious freedom. It was William Bradford who was their leader and helped them decide to travel to Virginia where the colony of Jamestown had been settled in 1607.  At that time, Virginia reached almost all the way to the Hudson River. Some of the settlers signed  the Mayflower Compact which was an agreement that bound the signers  into  a  governing  body, establishing constitutional law and the rule by majority–an important step towards democracy. We came to call these settlers Pilgrims. They were helped to succeed in establishing their colony by a Native American of the Patuxet people named Squanto. He helped them establish a treaty with Chief Massasoit. Our tradition of celebrating a day for Thanksgiving started in Plymouth.  As I understand it, both as a way to thank the Native Americans for helping them, and as a way of setting aside a day to thank God for their very lives.

Mayflower by Mike Haywood, The Seas Were So High

“Seas So High” by Mike Haywood, ©2002, used by permission, available at Mike@MikeHaywoodArt.co.uk

Just look at this painting! Can you imagine traveling for two months with 102 other people and livestock in this 90 foot long ship! No wonder they were in such bad shape that most of them died the very first year that they lived in America. Can you imagine the courage, the commitment, the beliefs you would have to have to take such a journey to a strange and unsettled land! Now I know three of my grandparents, some cousins, and many people related to my family through marriage did exactly that! What a legacy! Their blood runs in my veins, in the veins of many of you who are reading this article, and to me that is amazing! 1620-2014, 394 years ago–do you think they dreamed their lives would undergo such scrutiny!?

Mayflower, Pilgrim's Landing, by Mike Haywood, Mike@MikeHaywoodArt.co.uk   ©2002 by permission

“Pilgrim’s Landing”, by Mike Haywood, Mike@MikeHaywoodArt.co.uk ©2002 by permission

Another reason I want you to look at these paintings closely, is that these beautiful works of art are displayed here with permission from the artist, Mike Haywood! It helps us understand the journey so strongly I believe! He sells lithographs and canvas prints on his website, I hope to get one soon. In a discussion forum in which I participate, Mike posted this comment: “Help….. I painted this canvas in 2005 as one of my series portraying the dramatic voyage of the Mayflower. Normally I keep my paintings but this one was purchased by a descendant. Because of a computer malfunction, I have lost the name and address of the purchaser, who I would now like to contact. Can any group member shed some light? It is my personal favourite of all my Mayflower paintings. The title of the canvas is “Seas so high”, a phrase extracted from William Bradford’s contemporary account of the voyage……”In many of these storms the winds were so fierce, and the seas so high, as they could not bear a knot of sail, but were forced to heave to for many days together. ……………..Conditions below decks on that cockleshell of a boat would have been ghastly for the passengers.”

If any of you know this information for Mike, please contact him directly at Mike@MikeHaywoodArt.com.uk. –or leave a message here in comments and I will be sure to get the information to him.

I’ve learned that many on that boat were related to my family, or related to us by marriage! I am still amazed.  According to the Mayflower Society,  these are the names of the passengers and crew who were on the Mayflower:

Mayflower (1620)

View the original list of passengers (PDF, 2.6Mb) from the handwritten manuscript of Gov. William Bradford, written up about 1651 (file link is to the State Library of Massachusetts).  Below is a complete list of all Mayflower passengers, along with a link to each for further information.

–source: Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History

http://mayflowerhistory.com/mayflower-passenger-list/

As you see, Thomas Rogers and his son Joseph are listed among the passengers. Thomas is my 10th great grandfather on my mother’s side, and is my husband’s 11th great grandfather through his Mother! I had no idea my husband and I were cousins until I learned this bit of information! That makes our children and grands double descendants of Thomas Rogers. I have discovered that this is not uncommon for the Mayflower passengers! This is the way our lines look:     

Thomas, Mayflower, Rogers (1572 – 1621)

is your 11th great-grandfather

James Rogers (1615 – 1687)

son of Thomas, Mayflower, Rogers

Thomas Rogers (1639 – 1719)

son of James Rogers

James Rogers II (1668 – 1719)

son of Thomas Rogers

James Capt. Rogers III (1685 – 1755)

son of James Rogers II

James Rev. Rogers IV (1720 – 1775)

son of James Capt. Rogers III

James Rogers V (1746 – 1796)

son of James Rev. Rogers IV

John Rogers (1775 – 1846)

son of James Rogers V

John M. Rogers (1812 – 1847)

son of John Rogers

James H. Rogers (1834 – 1863)

son of John M. Rogers

Reuben Alexander Rogers (1857 – 1935)

son of James H. Rogers

Mary Lou Rogers (1880 – 1947)

daughter of Reuben Alexander Rogers

Helen Marie Wagner (1919 – 1989)

daughter of Mary Lou Rogers

Max Alexander Holshouser

You are the son of Helen Marie Wagner 

*******************************************

 

Thomas “The Pilgrim” Rogers (1572 – 1621)

is your 10th great-grandfather

John Rogers (1609 – 1630)

son of Thomas “The Pilgrim” Rogers

John Rogers (1640 – 1730)

son of John Rogers

Ann Rogers (1680 – 1705)

daughter of John Rogers

Sarah Witt (1695 – 1777)

daughter of Ann Rogers

Abner Harbour (1730 – 1778)

son of Sarah Witt

Moses Harbour (1755 – 1835)

son of Abner Harbour

Joyce Harbour (1805 – 1888)

daughter of Moses Harbour

Nancy J Houchins (1833 – )

daughter of Joyce Harbour

Walter Houchins (1854 – 1937)

son of Nancy J Houchins

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Walter Houchins

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse 

*********************************************

 

John Alden (1599 – 1687)

is your 10th great-grandfather

Elizabeth Alden (1624 – 1717)

daughter of John Alden

Elizabeth Pabodie (1647 – 1730)

daughter of Elizabeth AldenM

Ann Rogers (1680 – 1705)

daughter of Elizabeth Pabodie

Sarah Witt (1695 – 1777)

daughter of Ann Rogers

Abner Harbour (1730 – 1778)

son of Sarah Witt

Moses Harbour (1755 – 1835)

son of Abner Harbour

Joyce Harbour (1805 – 1888)

daughter of Moses Harbour

Nancy J Houchins (1833 – )

daughter of Joyce Harbour

Walter Houchins (1854 – 1937)

son of Nancy J Houchins

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Walter Houchins

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse –

***********************************************

William Mullins (1568 – 1621)

is your 11th great-grandfather

Priscilla Molens Mullins (1602 – 1687)

daughter of William Mullins

Elizabeth Alden (1624 – 1717)

daughter of Priscilla Molens Mullins

Elizabeth Pabodie (1647 – 1730)

daughter of Elizabeth Alden

Ann Rogers (1680 – 1705)

daughter of Elizabeth Pabodie

Sarah Witt (1695 – 1777)

daughter of Ann Rogers

Abner Harbour (1730 – 1778)

son of Sarah Witt

Moses Harbour (1755 – 1835)

son of Abner Harbour

Joyce Harbour (1805 – 1888)

daughter of Moses Harbour

Nancy J Houchins (1833 – )

daughter of Joyce Harbour

Walter Houchins (1854 – 1937)

son of Nancy J Houchins

Katherine Steptoe Houchins (1883 – 1943)

daughter of Walter Houchins

Margaret Steptoe Kerse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Helen Spear Youngblood

You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse 

 

While Thomas’s eldest son Joseph came over with him on the Mayflower, his son John, whom I descend from, and his son James, whom Max descends from came over later and became landowners in Plymouth Colony also. There is so much I’d like to tell you about the Rogers family and their rich, rich history! I think however, it will have to wait for a separate blog post. I do want to remind you that  these relationships are based on my own research, which is always a process, and have not been proven by any of the governing bodies or societies. 

Because they are ancestors of our ancestors, we are also kin to John Alden, Priscilla Mullins and her father William Mullins.  My daughters would have loved their 12th great- grandfather, William Mullins, because he was apparently a shoemaker, who reportedly took over 250 pairs of shoes and boots with him on the Mayflower! The colonists didn’t go barefooted!

John Alden and Priscilla Mullins would have made a romantic pair on the voyage as well, they apparently fell in love during the arduous trip!  From John Alden & Priscilla Mullins Biography from the website: Alden Kindred of America, we learn that: “Priscilla Mullins was the daughter of William Mullins, also a passenger on the Mayflower with his wife Alice and son Joseph.  William, Alice and Joseph all died in the terrible sickness and deprivation of the first winter in Plymouth.  Priscilla, who as probably still too young to be married, was orphaned, her only surviving kin her brother and sister in England.  Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow celebrated the story of how Priscilla attracted the attentions of the newly widowed Captain Myles Standish, who asked his friend John Alden to propose on his behalf only to have Priscilla ask, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”  Most of the world draws its image of the Pilgrim story from Longfellow’s epic narrative poem, The Courtship of Myles Standish. The basic story was apparently handed down in the Alden family and published by John and Priscilla’s great-great-grandson, Rev. Timothy Alden, in his Collection of American Epitaphs and Inscriptions in 1814 (264-271).”  The picture below of John Alden and Priscilla was found on ancestry with no reference to artist, and is part of the public domain. 

John Alden and wife Priscilla Mullins, Mayflower pilgrims,

We are kin, as cousins to John and Edward Tilley and therefore to their families who came with them aboard the Mayflower as well. John came with his wife Joan Hurst Tilley and their daughter Elizabeth who married John Howland in Plymouth. Edward’s wife, Agnes Cooper might be kin to us separately as well, only more research will tell. Their niece and nephew who came on the Mayflower with them, Humility Cooper and Henry Sampson are also connected to the family.   Because he is my cousin’s grandfather, I am kin to Edward Fuller and his son Samuel, through marriage, thanks to Kay Youngblood Fuller and her husband Jim Fuller. We have a family connection to the Hopkins as well that may turn into direct kinship once thoroughly researched. That is at least 18 of the 102 people aboard the Mayflower that we are related to or connected to by family! That is hard for me to believe, and quite eye-opening! Sometimes I just stand awestruck by history and finally the understanding that historical events were about family, not just events! Those were our ancestors being tossed around on those waves, and our ancestors putting their pen to paper to agree to make their own laws! Good for independent spirits, I’m so proud to be related!

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Houchins, Stoops, and Cheely—Is the Mystery Solved? Is the Brick Wall Smashed?–52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, # 49

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A couple of weeks ago, the folks at Ancestry.com decided to change the way they presented our dna results to us. They cut my dna matches from 6000 to 2500, and cut some of my favorite matches, some I had “proved” with historical research! I’ve been meaning to ask if they will be adding more as they move forward, I assume they will, just like they did before. They have also given us circles of relatives now. I have eight circles!

 From Ancestry we learn:

“Finding evidence that you’re a descendant of a particular ancestor is one of the powerful applications of DNA testing. AncestryDNA allows you to leverage all the information gleaned from your matches to show genetic evidence for the ancestors in your family tree. Some people advocate manually comparing segments of shared DNA to allow two or more people to infer whether DNA has been passed down by a common ancestor. Instead, AncestryDNA has created DNA Circles to leverage a massive collection of family trees and the DNA of thousands of AncestryDNA members. DNA Circles can provide you with more evidence to accomplish what chromosome browsers can do, but more effectively.

How do DNA Circles work?

A chromosome browser may help you start to find evidence about whether you and another person are descendants of a particular ancestor; however, it might not give you all the evidence you need. Because of its limitations, it’s almost impossible for you to find enough matching segments with other users to have confidence that you have a common ancestor. To solve this problem, we created DNA Circles, where we collect evidence across millions of trees and DNA from all AncestryDNA members. Because of this power of numbers, the evidence that you really did inherit DNA from the same ancestor as everyone else in the circle can increase. DNA Circles also have some added benefits.

We use DNA matches and indirect connections

We create DNA Circles around a particular ancestor, rather than around matching segments of DNA. This is what allows us to achieve the power of numbers.

Each DNA Circle has people who all have an ancestor in their trees and who share DNA anywhere in the genome with someone else in the circle. If one of your DNA matches shares DNA with other people who seem to be descendants of an ancestor, the evidence that they are descendants of the ancestor increases—and so does yours.”

 

Back towards the beginning of this genealogical journey, I reported that while I knew that my great-grandfather, Walter Thomas Houchins, was married to Evaline/Evelyn Langhorne, and I knew that his mother was Nancy J. Houchins, a single mother shown in the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses of Patrick County, Virginia. I could not determine his paternity.  He listed a father on his marriage certificate as you can see in this blog post I wrote about him earlier.  We have proved him wrong. A father is listed on his death certificate, again wrong.

When all data was collected and given to a professional genealogist, she said she couldn’t be 100 % sure, but she suspected Walter Houchin’s father might be William W. Stoops who lived on the farm next to hers, who also worked for the postal service as she did, and where we find my grandfather living when he is 16!

As it turns out, Nancy J. Houchins married William W. Stoops in 1880, when my great-grandfather Walter was 26 years old! William W. Stoops mother had died in 1850, before the Civil War in which William fought.  His father died in 1878, then he married in 1880, did that have anything to do with their not marrying? Nancy’s mother was still living in 1880 but her father had died twenty years earlier!  There were many variables that might have affected their choices.

I continued to search for clues always, as I’ve worked on my genealogy all this time, then lo and behold….here comes DNA circles, and I have a Cheely Family Circle! I had never even heard of the name Cheely! But surely enough, ancestry says my dna matches that of Cuthbert Cheely from two other sources and three family trees! They say, Cuthbert Cheely is my 4th great grandfather, that his daughter Elizabeth Cheely is my third great grandmother, and that William W. Stoops is her son and my 2nd great grandfather, the father of Walter  Houchins! I was incredulous! Could it be that easy? Had ancestry just broken through a brick wall for me? Wow! But I am/was skeptical. So I investigated.

It said I matched one person who’s name was given as HesterBros14K.  This was our shared ancestral line: (quoted from ancestry)

Cuthbert Cheely
(from Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser’s family tree)

Elizabeth Cheely

3rd Great-Grandmother

William W. Stoops

2nd Great-Grandfather

Walter Houchins

Great-Grandfather

Katherine Steptoe Houchins

Grandmother

Margaret Steptoe Kerse

Mother

Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser

 ___________________________________________________________________________

Cuthbert Cheely
(from HesterBros14K’s family tree)

Sarah Cheely

Great-Grandmother

Charles Tilman (Cheely) Pullen

Grandfather

Mattie Corine Pullen

Mother

HesterBros14K

_____________________________________________________

Cuthbert Cheely
(from B.C.’s family tree)

William Cheely

Great-Grandfather

James Eleaney Cheely

Grandfather

Burl Rex Cheely

Father

B.C.

_________________________________________________________

I went hunting for the trees from my two matches. Neither tree had any Stoops in them, what?!

So I entered Stoops in my dna surname matches search engine, and I got a match! I had done this before, with no matches found! But now I had a match, one S. A. Stoops! His Stoops matched the Stoops who lived next door to my grandfather, Walter Houchins, so he was definitely a match. The next thing I did was check my brother’s ydna matches on FTDNA, and yes, he matched one Stoops also. Unfortunately, I could not trace that Stoops at all. It was another brick wall, but certainly a viable hint!

With ancestry.com producing a dna circle linking my dna to William W. Stoops, the Houchins, and Elizabeth Cheely, William’s mother, I don’t see how we can deny that William W. Stoops is indeed the father of Walter Houchins, our great-grandfather. Considering that my brother’s ydna also matches a Stoops, any Stoops lends weight to the match by surname and dna.  I feel about 92% confident that William W. Stoops, a Cival War veteran, is our 2nd great-grandfather making Elizabeth Cheely his mother our third great-grandmother.  If they feel reciprocal, it will be very nice to add new cousins from the Stoops and Cheely families! 

 

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R.J.Reynolds—52 Ancestors in 52 Week #46

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Richard Joshua, Sr. Abram, and Harbour.  standing, from left...Walter and Will .about 1915 From the Patrick Reynolds Collection; no copyright.abt.1915

The Reynolds Brothers abt. 1915: Standing from left: Walter and Will Neal; Sitting from left: R.J.–Richard Joshua, Major Abram,, and Harbour. From the Patrick Reynolds Collection, no copyright

 

How is it that we can go all our lives knowing all about someone, even visiting their historic homes and learning about them, and not know we are related to them? That has happened to me several times now in my genealogical journey. I am always very surprised to find certain paths to kinship, and I always wish my mother were still alive to share my discoveries. She knew a lot about the family, and she had a love of and zest for history. She would have practically swooned at some of the people I have learned we’re kin to–especially the ones like Henry Cary who designed the Colonial Capital Building in Williamsburg, or Nicholas Martiau, or Peyton Randolph! They give our family tree a luster, a breadth and depth we didn’t know existed!
This week, one of my cousins, Betty Spangler Smith, contacted me with a consultation about our Virginia Harbour family. They are a family that I’ve only gotten to know on paper, but I knew that they took us back to Wales. Betty and I put our heads together and dusted off some of our knowledge of this family.
Reviewing the Harbour family yesterday led me to a discovery that I had “flirted” with before, but had just never taken the time to explore in detail. That discovery was that my 5th great-grandfather, Abner Harbour, 1730-1778, was also the 2nd great-grandfather of Richard Joshua Reynolds, the magnate and founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, making R.J. and me third cousins!
Now, a lot of you are possibly wondering why this is such a big deal to me. Tobacco isn’t even a product considered healthy anymore, certainly not important in our society these days. But I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, my maternal grandmother was from Patrick County, Virginia, and I had an Aunt who lived in Winston Salem, North Carolina, so I grew up touring the magnificent Tanglewood Park and the Reynolds’ estates when open to the public. I even spent most of a week exploring inside what is now Graylyn International Conference Center when I was about eleven years old! Neither I nor my Aunt who took me there had any idea there was a family connection!

Growing up in Richmond, Virginia, the Reynolds Tobacco Company and American Tobacco Companies were arch rivals, but tobacco still accounted for huge parts of our economy. As a child, all I knew was that my Dad smoked all the time, as did most people I knew, and that tobacco had been important since the white man’s arrival in America. Every single year, my family packed a basket with sandwiches for supper, and sat on the curb of a huge boulevard in downtown Richmond, to watch the Grand Illuminated Tobacco Parade, the largest parade and only nighttime parade in the Southeast at the time! It was the kick-off to the amazing Tobacco Festival which took over the city like Mardi Gras does New Orleans. What a rush it was to a young child! The lights, the noise, the music, the balloons, the clowns and of course..Joe Camel of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and the most thrilling to me, little Johnny Philip Morris, whom I now know as an adult actor with dwarfism whose real name, was John Louis Roventini. He became the famous voice of Philip Morris Tobacco, and was known as a “living trademark”. Less than four feet tall, maybe that’s why I loved him, he was my size as a child. Yet he strode confidently down the avenue always in tune with his perfect B-flat toned chant: “Call for Philip Morrrrriss!” I can hear it now! Those were exciting times, about 1952-9, the war was over, and we baby boomers were everywhere having fun! We didn’t know tobacco killed.

 


R. J. Reynolds left his father’s tobacco farm and factory in Patrick County, Virginia, and set up his own company in the nearest town with a railroad connection. That happened to be Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he bought his first building from the Moravian Church. He soon bought out any competitors and produced 150,000 pounds of tobacco in his first year! (Source of this history: R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Wikipedia,)
“The company produced 25% of America’s chewing tobacco. 1907’s Prince Albert smoking tobacco became the company’s national showcase product, which led to high-profile advertising in New York City’s Union Square.  The Camel cigarette became the most popular cigarette in the country. The Reynolds company imported so much French cigarette paper and Turkish tobacco for Camel cigarettes that Winston-Salem was designated by the United States federal government as an official port of entry for the United States, despite the city being 200 miles (320 km) inland.  Winston-Salem was the eighth-largest port of entry in the United States by 1916.”
“At the time Reynolds died in 1918 (of pancreatic cancer), his company owned 121 buildings in Winston-Salem.  He was so integral to company operations that executives did not hang another chief executive’s portrait next to Reynolds’ in the company board room until 41 years later.  Reynolds’ brother William Neal Reynolds took over following Reynolds’ death, and six years later Bowman Gray became the chief executive. By that time, Reynolds Co. was the top taxpayer in the state of North Carolina, paying $1 out of every $2.50 paid in income taxes in the state, and was one of the most profitable corporations in the world. It made two-thirds of the cigarettes in the state.”
I knew Reynolds tobacco was big, but this history still astounds me, and helps me understand why Winston-Salem businesses like their banking company of Wachovia, and their lawyers became some of the biggest in the country.
William Neal Reynolds, brother of R.J., had taken over the company after his brother died from Pancreatic cancer.
In 1924 he turned the presidency over to Bowman Gray.
It’s hard to believe that this one family, one small farm in the mountains of southwest Virginia, in Patrick County, Virginia, could parent two of the largest companies in the United States, but R. J. Reynold’s nephew, the son of Major Abraham David Reynolds, Richard Samuel Reynolds founded the Reynolds Metals Company in Louisville, Kentucky!  By 1938, they were headquartered in Richmond, Virginia, and interacting with members of my family in business and education, without knowing that we were family.
Back to Winston-Salem and RJ Reynolds and the tobacco company, I want to show you some pictures and tell you about an interesting personal experience on my part.


R.J. Reynolds and his wife Katherine built an estate in Winston-Salem, NC,  that is now a museum of American art called the Reynolda House. I hope you will think about taking a trip to see this beautiful sight, with its exquisite pieces of American art and time period furniture. You will be so glad that you did! 

Nearby you can explore the beautiful Tanglewood Park, with its action-packed activities for the family! You can fish in two stocked lakes, ride the paddle boats, play on tennis courts, swim in the Aquatic Center, hike trails, ride horses, golf, tour gardens, and picnic in the shelters! I have been there several times over the years, and it is beautiful! Tanglewood was the estate of R.J. Reynolds’s brother, William Neal (also our 3rd cousin) and his wife Katherine Reynolds.


There is another historic estate connected to the Reynolds, known currently as Graylyn International Conference Center in Winston Salem. They also host weddings and special events. “The mansion was built in 1927, and is a large and rambling Norman Revival style mansion. It is 2 1/2 stories and is faced with yellow Randolph County stone. It features an irregular slate covered a hipped roof pierced by roundheaded dormers and ornamented brick chimneys with multiple flues. It is set on grounds designed by noted landscape architect Thomas Warren Sears. Associated with the house are a number of contributing outbuildings including a garage-guest house and “farm” complex. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.”
I love this stone mansion! Here’s some more history you might enjoy, I cannot tell it better! “In 1912, Gray moved his family to Winston to take up his new position of vice president and director of R. J. Reynolds, picked by Reynolds himself to head the company’s finance division. In 1924, he was promoted to president of the company to succeed William Neal Reynolds, and in 1932 he became the chairman of the board of directors. Gray’s brother James Gray, Jr. would also become president of R.J. Reynolds.
Between 1927 and 1932, he and his wife oversaw the construction of Graylyn, their 87-acre (350,000 m2) estate in the countryside surrounding Winston, across from R.J. Reynolds’ estate Reynolda House. In 1932 when they moved into Graylyn, Gray and his wife donated their former house for use as a church.[1] Two years after moving to Graylyn, Gray died of a heart attack while vacationing with his family aboard a ship off the coast of Norway. He was buried at sea.
At the time of his death in 1935, he left $750,000 worth of stock in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to be used for a cause beneficial to the community. His brother, wife and two sons would eventually decide to donate it to a medical school willing to relocate to Winston-Salem. Wake Forest College, then located in Wake Forest, N.C., eventually agreed to move its two-year medical school and expand it to a four-year curriculum, partnering with N.C. Baptist Hospital. Bowman Gray School of Medicine opened in 1941.  

 The move of the medical school later inspired members of the Reynolds family to lead efforts to bring the rest of Wake Forest College to Winston-Salem, which occurred in 1956. Today, Wake Forest University, Wake Forest School of Medicine and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are key drivers of the region’s economy and have national reputations.

Years after Gray’s death, Graylyn the home, was donated to the Bowman Gray School of Medicine, where it served as an academic psychiatric hospital facility until 1959. In the 1970s, parts of Graylyn were used as off-campus student housing. In 1979, the main house hosted the Wake Forest University “German House.” There is an underground tunnel connecting the main house to the large guest house (the “French House”). It was not until 1980, after a fire burned the top floor of the estate, that the president of the university announced the property would be restored to its original condition and used as a conference center.”
This is all so very interesting to me, because I live very close to Wake Forest, NC, and of course have friends and relatives who live in Winston-Salem. I have friends who work in the Baptist Hospital there and some who’ve attended the esteemed Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
Even more interesting to me, is that I know Graylyn mansion very well! When I was a girl of eleven, all full of Nancy Drew courage, I had the opportunity to be at Graylyn everyday for a full week! I was free as a bird to wander the halls and look in the nooks and crannies. This would have been the summer of 1960, so just after they stopped housing psychiatric patients there. That summer they were having some model classrooms for teacher training purposes. My aunt, Mrs. Janey Bell Kerse Sommers (see blog post) taught children then called Emotionally Disturbed. They were generally children with family problems who were average or above average in intelligence, but who weren’t succeeding in school, weren’t learning because their behavior was so poor, they were often suspended, sitting in the Principal’s office, or in time-out. Temper tantrums led the list of manipulative behaviors. Many also had learning disabilities, therefore they needed a special teacher to unlock their learning abilities and teach them to read and do math so they could function in the world. My aunt taught these children. Later she became the supervisor of all Special Education Classes in Forsyth County Public School System in Forsyth County, NC. That summer I was visiting when it was arranged she would teach the model class of these students, some of her own from the school year. I was actually thrilled to get to observe, and she gave me the run of that incredible mansion, because there was hardly another soul around.
I would like to share with you as well, that I admired my aunt’s work so much, that I ended up teaching Emotionally Disturbed children also! I got my education, but I never forgot the techniques and amazing ways my aunt worked with her students as long as I taught. But look at that house–Graylyn Mansion, and oh, can you imagine being eleven and having the chance to explore it. I was sure it was haunted! I would stealthily creep up the stairs, half afraid I’d hear or see something, and half disappointed that I did not! LOL That experience shaped my life in so many ways, now I might just take the time to go back and stay there as an adult. Wish you and I could go together and explore Graylyn the way I did as a child, wouldn’t that be fun!
It was so much fun to discover my kinship to R.J. Reynolds and his family.
LOL, thanks for sticking with me, and if you are family, tell me how you like being kin to the Reynolds or share any ol’ little thing you’re little heart desires. (in a Southern mood, LOL) Until next week!

Richard Joshua Reynolds (1850 – 1918)
is your 3rd cousin 3x removed
father of Richard Joshua Reynolds
mother of Hardin William Reynolds
father of Mary Polly Harbour
father of David Harbour
son of Abner Harbour
daughter of Moses Harbour
daughter of Joyce Harbour
son of Nancy J Houchins
daughter of Walter Thomas Houchins
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse –

 

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