Aug 132013
 
Chateau-St-Jean

(Is a Goff family ghost still there?)

On a trip to California in June, we visited the Chateau St. Jean Vineyards in quiet, scenic Kenwood, located in the Sonoma valley.  While we are familiar with some of their wines, we wanted to see Chateau St. Jean because of its history.   The winery is built around the summer home of Ernest Abner Goff, who was a second cousin of my grandmother.   I had also heard a story from a distant cousin about Ernest Goff’s daughter, Camilla, who sadly died as a teenager.   Some legends say that her spirit still visits the old family home.

Chateau St Jean-2

Summer Home of Ernest Abner Goff (1872-1957) in Kenwood, Sonoma, California. Now part of the special tasting rooms at the Chateau St Jean winery.
(Click on image for larger view)

Ernest Abner Goff was born 24 March 1872 in Michigan, son of Gilbert B Goff and Emily Marsh.  Ernest’s paternal grandfather was Rev. Abner Goff (1782-1857).   While my branch of the family stayed in Ohio and remained poor farmers for another couple of generations,  Gilbert B Goff moved to the wilderness of Michigan and became successful in lumber.   Ernest followed in this tradition, also developing interests in mining and more lumber in the Pacific northwest.   He bought this property in Kenwood and built the home which his family occupied in 1920.   It remained in the family until the 1970’s.  Camilla died on 27 Sep 1928 at the age of 18 at the family home in Michigan.

While we visited the winery we asked a couple of the staff about the rumors that the ghost of Camilla Goff was still present in the home.   Several acknowledged the stories.  One, whose office is now located in what was Camilla’s bedroom, told me that she will come back to her office to find her chair moved.  She also described how a wine glass mysteriously moved during a tasting.  Camilla, it seems, has a reputation as a trickster.

Chateau St Jean

Ernest Abner Goff and family 1919
(click on picture for larger view)

 

Obituary for Ernest Abner Goff – see page 6 – in the “North Pacific Union Gleaner” – a publication of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 27 Jan 1958

 

 

Aug 052013
 
Nantucket2

 

We revisited Nantucket in 2009 to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.    While there we also had the opportunity to enjoy not only the beauty of the island, but to also explore some of its rich history.

Nantucket Harbor- 2009

Nantucket Harbor- 2009

Ruth’s grandmother Susan Hervey Wales (1889-1989) great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Easton (1779-1838) was the last person in her line born in Nantucket.

Among Mary Easton’s Nantucket roots:

  • 3 of the original purchasers of Nantucket ((Tristram Coffin, Christopher Hussey and Thomas Macy) along with other early settlers, Nathaniel Starbuck and John Gardner.    
  • Her family lived in the oldest house on Nantucket (the Jethro Coffin House)
  • Several of her ancestors had active roles in Nantucket’s Whaling activities.
  • Many were part of the active Quaker community, including Mary Coffin Starbuck.
Jul 192013
 
Goff Abner Reprobate 1

In the mail today I received  the will of Abner Goff  (1782-1857).  For more than three decades Abner Goff was  a Methodist Circuit Rider, serving churches in central and north central Ohio.

For me three things about the experience of discovering this will are worth noting.  First, I discovered its existence by examining the Ohio Probate Records (1789-1996), a group of 7 million un-indexed probate records added to the FamilySearch.org website in April.   Heretofore I have shied away from un-indexed records.  How could I find needle in such a large haystack?  However, in exploring this record set I discovered that they are organized by county.   And within each county there is a listing of records that have been digitized.   One set of images was titled “Administration and Executor Index – 1875-1915; worth a look for some of my collateral lines’ research, but not for Abner, since he died in 1857.  I also knew that a fire at the Licking County Courthouse on 2 April 1875 had destroyed most of the records.

Examining the index I discovered references to several Goff’s, including one for an Abner as well as one for Abner W (his grandson.)   Using the volume and page number  I went to the appropriate set of images,  and in a few minutes found a reference to a court hearing in 1891 at which__ Vance brought a certified copy of Abner Goff’s will, which had been probated on  3 July 1857, and asked the court to place the will into the court record, which the Judge ordered.  Thus my second surprise:  finding an official copy of a record which had been destroyed by a courthouse fire.

I could not find a digitized copy of the volume of wills in which Abner’s will was recorded.   Thanks to the Licking County Genealogical Society I was able to order the copy for $5.00.

The third surprise is what I found (and didn’t find) in the will.   The will mentions Abner’s wife, Patty, and one daughter, Sarah.   This is the first proof that I found that Sarah was a daughter.  Abner and Patty moved to Licking County in 1813, purchasing land with his father, Daniel.   Abner and Patty’s four children, Mira, Shadrack, Delano and Varnum, all born in Clarendon, VT, came with them.   There is no mention in the will of these four children, just Sarah.   The four older children had married at least 25 years previously.  Sarah, born in 1823 (according to the 1850 census) was still at home.

For more research:

  • Abner Goff owned a farm at the time of his will, written in 1852, five years before his death.  A further search of real estate records may shed some light on more of Patty and Sarah’s stories.
  • Who was Mr. Vance?   Why did he bring the will to court when he did?   What was going on in 1891?
  • Did Sarah ever marry?

Since this discovery I have found at least a dozen other important documents using un-indexed records on FamilySearch.org.   Since they are releasing millions of new images monthly, I am looking forward to many more discoveries in the months ahead!

Mar 022013
 
Gilbert Goff

For the last several years part of my research has focused on Licking County, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Columbus.  There my 3rd Great Grandfather, Abner Goff and his father, Daniel purchased 200 acres for $1,000 in 1813 after moving from Clarendon, Rutland, Vermont.  In a search for “Abner Goff” in Google Books I discovered several references to an Ohio Appeals Court Case which addressed a dispute over land where an individual died intestate.

The subject Abner Goff (grandson of my Abner and cousin to my great grandfather) died in 1896 without a will and with no children.  According to Ohio law his 162 acres passed to his widow, Martha. Martha died with a will, but the will did not address the disposition of the land, only granting a life estate to Martha’s brother, Ensley Finney Hass.    The dispute arose at death of Mr. Haas as to the proper distribution of the property.  The Goff family claimed that under Ohio law they were entitled to one half of the land.  Mr. Hass’s heirs disputed this.  Hence this court case.

What makes this case interesting to me is not the details of the argument from a court case more than a century ago, but what I found when I visited the Recorder’s Office in Licking County a few years ago.  As a young person Abner’s brother, Gilbert B. Goff, moved from Licking County, Ohio to Michigan and had great success in lumber and other businesses.   In 1911 as this dispute was headed to court, Gilbert Goff executed a quit claim relinquishing his claims to this property and giving it to the heirs of his brother, Zara Goff and their sister, Mary Goff Lampson.   What’s interesting is that he lists fourteen of his known nieces (with their married names) and nephews as we see in a transcription of the document below. Continue reading »

Sep 162012
 
WM Sears Will

On our recent visit to the Moosehead Lake area of Maine, I located the will of William Sears, father of Emily Sears Templeton, and my wife’s great-great grandfather.  The  will was executed in 1885, about three years before his death.   William left eight of his nine surviving children one dollar each.  The tenth child, Melinda, died in 1882.   The remainder of his estate he left to son, Charles H Sears in trust for his wife Edith.   Charles was also entrusted with the care of the two minor children, Allen and Hiram, until they reached the age of 21.  Charles died in 1890, providing some context for his mother’s marriage the following year to William Huff.

William died in 1888 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery, Willimantic, Piscataquis, Maine.   His tombstone gives his birth year as 1810, although his census records imply a birthdate in the 1820′s.   His census records along with those of many of his children list his birthplace as Maine.  However, some of his children’s later census records list his birthplace as Canada English.   I have not found any information about him prior to the 1860 census.

The most significant fact from this document for our family research is the listing of daughter, Emily Templeton, confirming that this is our Emily’s family and that she had not remarried as of 1885.

 

Sep 082012
 
Nana's Notes

Mabel Louise Hervey

We recently had the opportunity to look through a drawer of  ”memories” during a recent visit with Ruth’s uncle.   One of the treasures was a spiral notebook written by Ruth’s great grandmother, Mabel Louise Hervey (1863-1960), wife of George Rogers Wales and mother of Susan Hervey Wales Rollason.

The 30 plus pages of the spiral ring notebook start at her birth as Adelaide Francis Gifford, her adoptive family, Abraham and Elizabeth Boynton Hervey, her courtship and marriage to George and the birth of her children.    She remembers being stranded  in a snow storm on the train ride home from the Centennial celebration in Philadelphia in 1876, and much more.   Follow this link to read the Biographical Notes of Nana.

 Posted by at 10:48 pm  Tagged with:
Sep 072012
 

Click on image to open document

At the Registry of Deeds for Penobscot County, Maine I also found a deed dated 4 Nov 1854 by which Samuel Templeton transferred property to Eben W Robbins for $1.   This is the same 50 acres that Samuel purchased from his father, Adam for $400 18 years earlier.  From the deed we see that Ebenezer Robbins is living on the property in Kirkland (now Hudson) Penobscot, Maine.

What’s the story?   Eben W. Robbins married Samuel’s sister, Mary Ann Templeton.   It is very likely that Samuel and Mary Ann’s mother, Barbra (Barbary) Templeton was living with the Robbins, since there is a record of her death in Hudson in 1859.

Note, too, that an Amiel Robbins was a witness to this transaction.   Most likely this is the son of Amiel Robbins who died in this area in 1833.  The questions are:  Is Amiel Robbins the brother of Susannah Robbins, Samuel’s wife?   Is Eben a brother as well?    Food for thought and more analysis – a good subject for another post.

Sep 062012
 

Click on image to see document

In the records of the Probate Court of Penobscot County, Maine I found this inventory of the estate of Amiel Robbins, who died, as stated here, on 20 July 1833, in Milton, Penobscot County.  Why do I find this of interest?   Ruth’s 2nd great grandparents were Samuel Templeton and Susannah Robbins.    We know that Samuel was the son of Adam Templeton, but to this point the family has not been able to identify the parents of Susannah.   In the probate records Amiel Robbin’s wife’s name is listed as Susannah.   Also of note is that Samuel and Susannah Templeton named a son Amiel.

The Amiel Robbins family was listed in the 1830 census in Boydstown, Penobscot, Maine, a household of 7 members with the male head between the ages of 50 and 59.  Boydstown  is now Orneville Township, located just south of Milo, Piscataquis, ME.   This area of Penobscot County became part of the new Piscataquis County when it was created in 1838.

Sep 052012
 

Click image to open pdf of deed

Having just returned from a wonderful vacation to Greenville, ME , we delight in the time we were able to spend with Ruth’s mother in the town where she grew up.   I also had an opportunity to  visit the courthouses in Bangor, Penobscot County and Dover-Foxcroft, Piscataquis County.    Over the next several days I look forward to posting several of my discoveries, i.e. more pieces to the puzzle that makes the stories of our families.

At the Registry of Deeds in Bangor I found a deed from Adam Templeton to son Samuel dated 29 March 1836 for 50 acres of land in Kirkland (now Hudson), Penobscot, Maine.   We also discover several additional pieces of information in the details:

  • Adam Templeton acquired this property on 31 Jan 1831 from Richard Lancaster as “fulfillment of certain payment.”   This places Adam in the area by 1831.   Since he appeared in the census of Swanville, Waldo, Maine in 1830, we can pinpoint the time of migration to Kirkland.
  • The deed is also signed by “Barbra” – Adam’s wife.  Note:  in most other documents we find Barabee.
  • The deed is witnessed by Charlotte Templeton, their daughter.
  • Samuel paid his father $400 for the piece of property.
Dec 272011
 

Along a country road just a few files north of Sackville, New Brunswick, lies the Midgic Cemetery, the burial place for many members of the Estabrooks family, including Silas and Elizabeth.

Silas and Elizabeth Estabrooks, Midgic Cemetery, New Brunswick

Silas Estabrooks, a farmer, was born in this area in 1811 and died February 20, 1895.  His great grandfather, William Estabrooks, came to Canada from Rhode Island as a young boy with his mother and step father.

Elizabeth Trerice Estabrooks was born in 1817, daughter of Elisha Trerice and Anna. Elizabeth’s great-great grandparents, Samuel Porter and Remember Makepeace came to Nova Scotia from Lebanon, CT in 1761, part of the New England Planters (see description.)

Silas and Elizabeth’s daughter, Matilda Jane Estabrooks was the mother of Angie Stiles, Ruth’s grandmother.

Midgic Cemetery, north of Sackville in eastern New Brunswick

 Posted by at 3:47 am