I think this is Mary Boothby in about 1917

I think this is Mary Boothby

The evidence is amassing that Elizabeth M. Hockman/Earhart was not born to John Earhart and Margaret Shotwell.  Here is what I have found so far.

1.  Elizabeth Hockman, age 4, was enumerated with the John Arehart household in the 1860 census (taken 6/28/1860, which according to her daughter on the death cert would have been 11 days after her 5th birthday but if the census taker was sticking to 1 June as the date of record then 4 is accurate).  Also in the household were Margaret Arehart, Tillford Arehart, William Arehart (later AKA Samuel), and Ruth Shotwell, Domestic.

2.  Elizabeth M. Earhart was also enumerated with the John Earhart household on the 1870 census (15 years old, listed as helps mother) along with William S. Earhart (age 18, works out, Farm), and John C. (age 6, attends school).  It seems likely that Elizabeth/Mary lived with the Earharts until she married at 18 in 1873.  This was a very rural area, and the Earharts lived on a farm described as a mile or so off the main road, so I haven’t figured out what other records might show her presence at the Earharts between the two census points.  It seems unlikely that there is a city directory that would include the household.

3.  Tilford Earhart lived at home in 1860 and up to the time he enlisted in the Army in the Civil War in August 1862.  He died at home in 1866.  In 1888, Margaret made an application for a mother’s pension based on the death of her son due to his military service.  In 1892 there was a special hearing on this application and statements were again taken.

4. In her application for the pension, Margaret Shotwell Earhart did not ever mention a daughter.  She said in her sworn statements that she had borne two sons, one of them Tilford E. Earhart who had served in the Civil War and the other John Charles who was born during that War.  She clearly described the family as consisting of her husband, herself and the 2 sons.

5. John Earhart’s statement in the pension application  process also did not mention Elizabeth (or any daughter) but did also mention his sons.

6. The affidavits of 2 other individuals mentioned a nephew (and one named him as Samuel) who lived with John and Margaret and helped on the farm.  Margaret herself described her nephew Samuel as having stayed on and helped them around the farm until he was a young man although he had no legal obligation to do so.

7. At least one of the affidavits mentioned that Margaret had required “girl help” over the years (perhaps due to ill-health) but at times not had it (couldn’t afford it).  I’m guessing that “girl help” meant help with the work on the farm usually done by Margaret or any woman.

8.  In no description in the pension application of either Tilford’s death or the circumstances the family was in at that time was Elizabeth mentioned.  She would have been 9-10 years old at the time of his death in 1866.

In the early 1850s Ohio law directed that township trustees were responsible for the care of impoverished and destitute children and orphans.  Such children were placed in either institutions for the poor or with individual families to whom they were indentured.  Based on abstracts of the indentures of Green Creek Township, Sandusky County (found on the R.B. Hayes site) , children as young as 4 weeks old were legally indentured often to the age of 18.  Thus it is possible that Elizabeth might have been placed with the Earharts if she were orphaned or her parents were unable financially to take care of her.

9.  In registering the birth of their son M. K. Boothby in 1879, the parents were listed as Alexander Boothby and E.M. Hockman.  Their other children that I have found registrations for are all listed with her name as Earhart, although I have not found all of the children and the ones found were the later-born ones.  She was also married giving her name as Earhart.

10.  Confusingly there is a Hockman family in the same close area with a daughter named Elizabeth who was born about the same time as my ancestor.  Luckily, the 1870 federal census sheet shows both the John Earhart and the Delitha Hockman households within a few families of each other.  Thus I am pretty sure that there were in fact 2 different Elizabeth Hockmans.

11.  The only Hockman household to show up on the 1850 censuses in either Brown County or neighboring Clermont County Ohio besides the David Hockman family later the Delitha Hockman family, was a William  (age 21) and Cynthia A. Hockman (age 18).  I have not yet found them in the 1860 census nor subsequent ones.

12.  I have not found any record of the birth of a female  born to a Hockman  in Ohio in 1855, although there was not state-wide mandated reporting of births until the early 1900s.  Brown County did not register births until 1867, and although Clermont County registered some births from 1856 on, there is no Hockman birth found by search on familysearch.org.  No luck finding a Boothby family Bible which might have included Mary’s birth information.

I conclude at this point that Mary Elizabeth (or Elizabeth Mary) was born to a Hockman, taken in at an early age by John and Margaret Earhart and that she took their name whether there was any formal or legal relationship with them.  Still to be searched: court records, will/probate records, school records if they exist, church records if they exist.  My quest is not over, but some progress has been made.

 

 

 

2014-01-31 17.02

Research
* I am pulling together my Earhart/Hockman information.  I will write a post for this blog about what I know and what I don’t know.

* Carry on correspondence with my Denman cousins and continue to try to figure out exactly how we are related.  It appears that there is at least one Denman family line in the United States that is probably related but not from my emigrant ancestor’s direct descendants.  There is also another Denman line that emigrated earlier than my line.  This one isn’t clearly related to my family.  Although I don’t want to start a new project this month, I may decide to do a Denman name study to try to sort this all out.

Organization

* Digital organization continues to be my goal.  And although I worked consistently on it, I didn’t accomplish my goal last month.  It turns out that I have pieces of information collected as early as 2008 that have just been sitting in my files not being entered in the database and not providing documentation for events.  Shame on me!  (It also turns out that this is a time-consuming process for me, even just adding the note for the right individual in the database.  I hope I can finish the Boothbys in April – fingers crossed!)

*  As I organize my digital files, I will get a better idea of what basic events I have documented for my direct ancestors.  I already can see that I don’t have sources for some of the “information” I have tended to accept as fact.

Education

* Watch at least one webinar.

* I watched the webinar by Lisa Louise Cooke on “Using Google Earth for Genealogy” that was free in the archives at the Family Legacy site.  I have watched other presentations she has done on this particular topic and I always think it looks like a useful and interesting thing to do.  It also looks like it would take a fair amount ot learning to use the application, so I haven’t really tried it out yet.  I also watched “Discover Family History Through Gravestones” sponsored by MyHeritage about using BillionGraves and picked up a few more ideas about Jewish graves in particular.

       root of bitterness

     Root of Bitterness (1) is a fascinating compilation of primary source material about the lives of American women.  Most of these short accounts are written or spoken by the women themselves.  Together they span the time period from the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to the turn of the twentieth century.

      Nancy Cott and her coeditors have divided the book into eight sections in roughly chronological order. In each section we hear a diverse group of women speak about their lives.  A short paragraph at the beginning of each selection tells us something about the woman whose voice we are about to hear. 

      This is a fascinating book for any family historian.  Each of you will find a piece that adds to your knowledge of a woman in your personal history.  In addition you will learn about the lives of women of different races, social class or ethnicity, enabling you to place your ancestor within the greater context of American women of the time.

    Two areas were particularly interesting to me, the testimonies of women speaking about gender roles and their place in life and the first hand accounts of African-American and Native-American women.

     There are many examples of women voicing opinions about a woman’s place in society, sometimes to relatives or friends and sometimes to a wider audience.

      Here are a few samples.

      In 1800 17 year old Eliza Southgate, a privileged young woman being educated in a fine private school suitable for women of he class, wrote to her seventeen year old cousin, Moses Porter.

      “Do you suppose the mind of woman the only work of God that was ‘made in vain’. The cultivation of the powers we possess, I have ever thought a privilege (or I may say a duty) that belonged to the human species, and not man’s exclusive prerogative.” (2)

       And when her cousin objected to the subject of her letter, this:

     “You undoubtedly think I am acting out of my sphere in my intention to discuss this subject, and my presumption probably gave rise to that idea, which you expressed in your last, that however unqualified a woman might be she is always equipt for the discussion of any subject and overwhelmed her hearers with her ‘clack’.  On what subjects shall I write you?  I shall either fatigue and disgust you with female trifles or shock you by stepping beyond the limits you have prescribed.” (3)

      Sarah Grimke was a well-known women’s rights activists and, in my opinion, a visionary.  In 1837 she wrote,

        “In those employments that are peculiar to women, their time is estimated at only half the value of that of men. A woman who goes out to wash works as hard in proportion as a wood sawyer or a coal heaver, but she is not generally able to make more than half a day by a day’s work.”  (4)

     Over 150 years later this from the national Committee on Pay Equity,

 “In May of 1998, 115 clerical workers in the Sachem School District in New York — also known as the Sachem Suffragettes — celebrate their new contract, which includes the first steps to achieving pay equity with custodial workers.” (5)

 In 2014 a woman earns $0.77 cents for every $1.00 a man earns. In January 2013 Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced HR 438, the Fair Pay Act of 2013.  It seeks to end wage discrimination against those who work in female-dominated or minority-dominated jobs by establishing equal pay for equivalent work. For example, within individual companies, employers could not pay jobs that are held predominately by women less than jobs held predominately by men if those jobs are equivalent in value to the employer.

 The bill was referred to the Workforce Protections Subcommittee of the Education and the Workforce Committee.  It hasn’t been heard of since.  It is considered to have a 4% chance of making it out of the committee and a 1% chance of being passed by the House of Representatives.

   First person records are African-American and Native American women are very scarce.  The editors have collected a series of powerful memoirs from these women. These stories remind us that every piece of land in this country is soaked in someone’s blood.

 This from a 1926 interview with Iron Teeth, a Cheyenne woman who survived the forced removal of Cheyenne from the northern pains in 1878.

 “I was afraid of all white men soldiers.  It seemed to me they represented the most extreme cruelty.  They had just killed my husband and burned our whole village.  There was in my mind a clear recollection of a time, 12 years before this, when they had killed and scalped many of our women and children in a peaceable camp near Mexico.  At that time, I had seen a friend of mine, a woman, crawling along on the ground, shot, scalped, crazy, but not yet dead.  After that I always thought of her when I saw white men soldiers.” (6)

   And this from a set of stories collected by Benjamin Drew in 1855 from refugees in Canada.  Mrs. John Little speaks here,

 “There was one weakly woman named Susan, who could not stand the work, and she was sold to Mississippi, away from her husband and son.  That’s one way of taking care of the sick and the weak.  That’s the way the planters do with a weakly, sickly ‘nigger.’—they say, ‘he’s a dead expense to ‘em and put him off as soon as they can.  After Susan was carried off, her husband went to see her: when he came back he received two hundred blows with the paddle.” (7)

  could go on quoting these pieces forever and I have already gone on too long.  Borrow this book from your library, or if you can, buy a copy, put it on your nightstand and read a piece or two each night. It will be money well spent.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

1. Cott, Nancy F., etal.,  Root of Bitterness: Documents of the Social History of American Women. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1996

2 Ibid., p.101

3. Ibid.,p.102

4. Ibid., p.125

5. http://www.pay-equity.org/info-history.html

6. Cott, p. 226

7. Cott, p. 256

I’m supposed to say that I have no financial interest in this book.  This is true.  I bought my copy used for about $10.00.  I do think you should buy a copy too.  I saw used copies listed on the site of a major online operation for $3.42 plus shipping.

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

I’ve had a hard time getting around to posting Part II of William and Rosa’s story.  It turns out that putting myself in their place and trying to tell their story without veering in to fiction is harder than I thought it would be.  Nonetheless here is Part II. This is the story of William and Rosa Martin’s years together.  You can read Part I here.

      Following financial reversals in Michigan William Martin moved his family to Dayton, Oregon. I have no idea why he chose Dayton, but he did, and moved the family to a small house there.  Soon William bought a 15 acre plot of land east of Dayton on the Yamhill River.

Rosa Blood martin in the early years of her marriage

Rosa Blood martin in the early years of her marriage

    What did Rosa think about living in this isolated place?  All we have to go on is Amy’s memoir.

      She describes the land as “back of another farm, but my father had purchased a right of way out by way of a gulley.  The struggle to make a living in those days of not much market was hard and we never had money for building that road out so followed a path along the riverbank along the edge of the other farm to get out.  Some of the families on that farm were nice about it, but one was downright mean.    

      We always had something to eat but no dietician of this state would have approved of it at times.  If our cow went dry we had to go without butter.  We raised some meat and salted it away.  There was very little money and we had no fruit jars, or not enough to can many vegetables or fruits, so my mother dried as many berries and other kinds of fruit as possible.  Often we had no sugar and tried to eat the stewed fruit without it.

      Clothes were a problem.  My brother and I went barefoot every summer and sometimes had to go to school that way.  It hurt our pride more than our health.””

      Rosa was sufficiently discouraged with life on the farm that she moved to Portland hoping to earn money by taking in borders.  When this didn’t work she moved back to the property near Dayton. All of Rosa’s daughters received teaching certificates and began teaching by the age of twenty.  This helped the family finances, but they still lost the 15 acre homestead.

      By 1900  Rosa was living with her children in Dayton, William was not with them and was presumably somewhere in Oregon.  In 1900 Rosa came into some money left to her by her father, Francis Blood. The story of what became of this money is a bit odd.  Again, I quote Amy,  “Then it was that Grandfather Blood passed away and Mother came into some money.  In the meantime, J. and Rosa had kept up the interest on the loan we had from a woman teacher who was money mad.  So, having heard that some money was coming to mother, she appeared with a shyster lawyer even before we had not yet received anything from my grandfather’s estate.  She signed a document and my sister Rosa witnessed it.  This was sent back to Michigan and the lawyer there discovered it had been tampered with so wrote to mother about it.  This rascal had raised the amount, but Michigan being so far away it was going to cost us more to fight it than to pay it. The “teacher” would do nothing about it ether.”

     So Rosa and her children continued to support themselves by teaching and struggled along with very little money.

    William Martin died in Yamhill County, Oregon in 1904.  He had $50 and owned 160  acres of land in an isolated spot. I don’t know how he came into possession of that land.  I do have his probate papers.  William died intestate.  His daughter, Jessie, claimed $500 for “money advanced for incidental expenses and support of family.”  Jessie then purchased the acreage for $550.  I assume that no money changed hands and that she received the land to settle the debt she claimed. 

      By 1905 Rosa and her children had moved to Salem Oregon where Rosa and her daughters taught.

      By the time the 1910census was taken  Rosa was retired and was living with and supported by her daughters, Amy and Jessie.  Her daughter Rosa and her son Francis had married and were starting their own families.

The house on Lee Street

The house on Lee Street

Rosa died in 1920.  Her two daughters continued to live in the house on Lee Street until they were no longer able to care for themselves.

      Perhaps if there had been more opportunities for women to work and support themselves Rosa and William’s story would have been different.  We say that money can’t buy happiness and that may be true, but lack of money certainly brought this family buckets of sadness.  Not all stories have happy endings.

 

 

coverThe Family.  Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century.  By David Laskin.  Published by Viking Adult.  2013.  400 pages.

This is the story of three branches of one Russian Jewish family, the author’s maternal grandfather’s family.  Although we often think that such family lines cannot be traced back into the “old country”,  Mr. Laskin was able to track many of the individuals in this family back to early in the 1800s, to his great great grandparents Shimon Dov HaKohen and Beyle Botwinik HaKohen.  From a variety of sources which included much help from a couple of cousins, interviews with various family members, transcriptions of old letters, and the historical timeline, Mr. Laskin has pieced together the story of his mother’s father’s family.  With a family tree laid out for the reader right after the table of contents, how could a genealogist resist?

David Laskin started where many family historians begin: with some memories from his childhood, some few pieces of information, and a family rumor.  Although he grew up in a Jewish family, and knew his older relatives were immigrants, he knew little more.  As he described:  “I grew up hearing stories that my immigrant Jewish grandparents told about the “old country” (Russia) that they left at the turn of the last century. When I was a teenager, my mother’s parents began making yearly trips to visit our relatives in Israel, and stories about the Israeli family sifted down to me as well. What I never heard growing up was that a third branch of the family had remained behind in the old country – and that all of them perished in the Holocaust.“

One piece of information and one family rumor seem to have started Mr. Laskin on the road to tracing his family story.  The information was that an great aunt, Itel or Ida Rosenthal, had been instrumental in starting and developing the Maidenform company.  The rumor was that Lazar Kaganovich, the “wolf of the Kremlin”, was a relative.  In trying to track the truth of the rumor, Mr. Laskin re-connected with an Israeli cousin who was the family historian.  The cousin was able to say definitely that Lazar Kaganovich was not part of the family.  However, this left the question for the author of who was part of the family.

Mr. Laskin’s great great grandfather, Shimon Dov Hakohen,  was a Torah scribe as was his father before him.  His family lived in the Pale of Settlement which was on the western edge of the Russian Empire in the early 1800s, in a town between Minsk and Vilna.  The town was known for its yeshiva, institute of Talmudic study, and Shimon Dov’s sons were educated there.  For at least several generations the town was a center of Jewish life, religion and scholarship.  However, no one was exempt from the forces that shaped modern history.  Shimon Dov and Beyle and all their children felt the changes around them and responded in different ways according to their personalities and ages.  When the Tsar, Alexander II, was assassinated in 1881 it led to a round of ethnic cleansing against the Jews.  This in turn led some of the Jewish youth in the country to social activism and to join with others in the Bund.  By 1901 family members, led by Itel and her husband William Rosenthal, began migrating to the US.  The unrest in the Russian Empire, culminating in the 1905 revolution convinced more of the family to leave.   Oldest son, Abraham and his sons followed Itel to the US.  Two young cousins, instead of going to the US went to Palestine (or the Land as Mr. Laskin termed it) to help build a home for the Jews.  And the rest of the family stayed in place fighting for their freedom and lives in Russia.

This is not an uncommon family trajectory or story among many Jewish families, however, Mr. Laskin’s ability to piece together the various lines is less usual.  Using all the resources at his disposal and historical storytelling he was able to link the social forces to individual people and families.  His family’s story might have been my husband’s.

Disclaimer: I am not connected with the author or the publisher in any way.  I discovered this book via something online (a blog probably, but I can’t remember whose) and was intrigued enough to get my library to find it for me.  I learned many things about modern history and the Jewish experience from reading it.

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