Saturday, June 20, 2009

Clermont County Roots

For over a year I have had a copy of the deed to property William Wainright had in Clermont Co., Ohio. He purchased it in December 1819. I had always wanted to know where the land was located and what was on the land now. What a history lesson I got investigating this!

The first thing I learned was that all of Clermont County and 22 other Ohio counties were once part of the Virginia Military District. This was land set aside by the Commonwealth of Virginia to reward her Revolutionary War soldiers. Land was awarded on the basis of rank and length of service with bounties ranging from 100 to 15,000 acres. The veteran would be issued a certificate noting the amount of land to which he was entitled. The book Property Transfers for Clermont County, 1791-1830, the process of redemption is described in this way:
"Next, the soldier made an entry (a general description of the tract on which he was locating the warrant). This entry was numbered, dated, and recorded in a book in the Principal Surveyor's Office. He then had the tract dated, and recorded in a book in the Principal Surveyor's Office. He then had the tract surveyed by an authorized deputy surveyor. Following the acceptance of the survey by the Principal Surveyor, he sent the warrant and survey to the Federal government for a patent."

Alma Aicholtz Smith published a book in 1985. In many cases the veteran who qualified for the land as a reward for his service had no interest in relocating from Virginia to a wilderness area that still occasionally had to subdue the native Indians to stake their claim. They often sought to sell their claim.
It was necessary to acquire the services of a Deputy Surveyor. The surveyor in turn was responsible for hiring and maintaining his surveying crew, "consisting of two chain carriers, a marker man, a pack horse, a spy, and a hunter to supply food. Until the Indian Wars were concluded in 1795, stealth was necessary, and every man was armed with rifle, tomahawk, and scalping knife."

A surveyor by the name of John O'Bannon ran the first survey in what is now Clermont County in the year 1787. (He was also the surveyor for the land later purchased by William Wainright). In my posting for "William the Wanderer," I included a copy of the deed for the property. The deed included this description of the property: ". . . said half part of said original tract containing three hundred and sixty-nine acres of thirty-two perches be the same more or less, and was conveyed to said Kemp by Samuel McChesley of Lexington and conveyed to him by John Mc Dowell of the same place . . ." With this information I was able to track down the survey number pictured below.

After finding the information shown in the image above, I wanted to know where, in Clermont County, William Wainright's property was located. I knew from Alma's book that the Recorder's Office in Batavia had a book called the Clermont County Virginia Military Survey Book. Since I already had the survey number, it should have been easy to go to the Recorder's Office and get a copy of the original survey. It was not easy.
Initially they acted as if I didn't have sufficient information and referred me to the Tax Map Office in the same building. There I met Randy Jefferson and supplied him with all of the information I had. I had a map of Stonelick Township that cited the survey number and property for the property surveyed for McDowell.

Randy worked with their tax maps and tried to match up features of my map with those he had in his data base. I am grateful to him for the amount of time he was willing to give to me as the books he had only dated back to 1870. This land was purchased in 1819.
I returned to the Doris Wood Library in Batavia and tried to bring back additional clues. With this information, Randy located the approximate area of the plot. Most of the land is in a subdivision off of Route 131. He supplied me with both an outline map and a map of the surface features of the land as it exists now. 

I had so much information that I returned to the Recorder's side of the office. At this point, I was very specific about what I needed. Two of the employees again were very helpful. They located a very fragile copy of the Clermont County Virginia Military Survey Book and carefully made copies of the original survey. I know if you're not "into" this stuff, it's hard to understand how satisfied I was at the end of the day.

Before I complete this posting, I can't leave out what I know about William Lytle. William is known as the "Father of Clermont County."

William was one of the original surveyors of Clermont County. Deputy Surveyors typically made their living by accepting a portion of the lands surveyed as compensation. Surveyors typically charged between 1/4 and 1/2 of the land surveyed. Because of his extensive work as a surveyor, William Lytle owned thousands of acres of land and at one point owned the second-largest amount of land in the state. While surveying he was struck by the beauty and possibilities of land located in present-day Williamsburg. He started a town there originally called Lytle's Town. The town was about 30 miles east of Cincinnati and he helped establish a road linking Cincinnati, Williamsburg and Chillicothe.

In 1809 William Lytle built his home in Cincinnati near what is now Lytle Park. He is buried in Spring Grove Cemetery. One of the pieces of property purchased by William Wainright was originally surveyed by William Lytle.

I still have Clermont County questions, such as where the property purchased by William's brother, Daniel was located. Many of the Wainrights from Clermont County are children and grandchildren of Daniel and his wife, Nancy Hall. I'm amazed at how uncovering the origin of a piece of property could teach me so much about the county to the east.

The picture of William Lytle and information about Williamsburg came from a book called Olde Williamsburgh, 200 Years of History, a book put together to commemorate 200 years of history from 1796-1996. It can be found in the Doris Wood Branch of the Batavia Library.

P.S. I just spoke to Alma Aicholtz Smith to include the quotes, illustrations and pictures from her book. It was a delightful conversation. When I get back in town, we've agreed to get together so I can show her what a blog is. Permission granted.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wainwrights and the Revolutionary War

William's father, Vincent, fought in the Revolutionary War. Who knew? We could be Daughters/Sons of the American Revolution! In fact, some descendants of Vincent are members of the DAR.  Here are two descendants listed as members of the DAR:

"Vincent Wainwright served as a minute man in the Monmouth County New Jersey militia. He died 1782 at Colts Neck, N.J. Miss Emma T. Ferris. DAR ID Number: 45794 Born in Bordentown, N. J.Descendant of Vincent Wainwright, his wife.Daughter of Thomas Harvey and Lydia W. Wainwright, his wife. Granddaughter of Vincent Wainwright and Rebecca M. Potts, his wife. Gr-granddaughter of Vincent Wainwright and Elizabeth Williams, his wife. Vincent Wainwright served as a minute man in the Monmouth County New Jersey militia. He died 1782 at Colts Neck, N.J.
SOURCE: Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Volume 46 The National page 336"

"Mrs. Blanche Wainwright Rouse. DAR ID Number: 50220 Born in
Wilmington, Del.
Descendant of Vincent Wainwright, Samuel Force and John Edwards. Daughter of John Wainwright and Emma M. Edwards, his wife.Granddaughter of Samuel F. Wainwright and Maria Humphrey, his wife; Joshua Edwards and Eliza Woodward, his wife. [p.102] Gr-granddaughter of John Wainwright and Mary Force, his wife; John Edwards and Lydia Roberts, his wife. Gr-gr-granddaughter of Vincent Wainwright and Elizabeth Williams, his wife; Samuel Force and Sarah Bird, his wife.Vincent Wainwright served as a minute man in the Monmouth County, N. J., militia. He died, 1782, at Colts Neck, N. J."

SOURCE:The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Volume 51 page 102 " 

I found this listing of Wainwrights in the Revolutionary War in a book housed at the Main Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati. I find it interesting that Elizabeth, Joseph, and Thomas Wainwright are all listed as helping to "keep the poor".

Saturday, June 13, 2009

William the Wanderer

When you begin to research the Wainwright family, it becomes doubly difficult because they, like so many families of their time, named their children in honor of beloved brothers and sisters. Thus, certain family names are often repeated from generation to generation. As mentioned earlier, I found the information of Steve Wainwright of California and Rodney Wainwright of New York to be invaluable. Without their help, I could never had as much success as I did.

In speaking with Steve, he refers to "our" line as the "Daniel/Vincent Line" because those names are found in almost every generation. Thomas and William are also used quite frequently. The challenge then becomes that when you've found records for William Wain(w)right that you do everything you can to insure that it is the "correct" William Wain(w)right -- not the brother, father, or nephew.

In an earlier posting, I discussed the evidence for William in Cincinnati -- but he didn't seem to stay put. William was the son of Vincent Wainwright and Elizabeth Williams of Monmouth Co., New Jersey. We are fortunate that we are connected to the Wing Family through marriage and they have documented a lot of the Wainwright earlier history. Go to this link:

William did not stay put. He was born in Shrewsbury, Monmouth, New Jersey on February 26, 1780. He was the 8th of nine children born to Vincent Wainwright and Elizabeth Williams. His father died in 1783 of small pox leaving his widow with nine children with two of the boys ages three and under.

William married Ruth Wright and eventually relocated to New York, New York. One of his daughters, Ann Eliza, was born in New York in 1810. About 1819 the family relocated to Cincinnati, Ohio where Britton was born. He worked as a blacksmith. That same year William bought property in Clermont County, Ohio. Here is a copy of the deed. He did not move immediately as he is still listed in the Cincinnati City Directory as a blacksmith living on Broadway near 2nd Street in the year 1831. Two of his sons, William Jr. and Vincent are also listed as blacksmiths living on E. Front St.

William is also listed in the index for property transfers in Clermont County along with other Wainwrights. According to the Genealogy of the Family Line of Thomas Wainwright cited earlier, William's brother Daniel brought his large family to Clermont County in 1828. Many of the records in Clermont County are from Daniel's family. Hopefully, I'll be able to post the exact locations of these properties before too long.

Property Transfers in Clermont County, 1791-1830
Note that Daniel, Vincent and William all bought property in Clermont County between 1819 and 1826. William bought property first followed by Daniel and Vincent. I do not know if Daniel and Vincent are the sons of William or his brothers. Daniel bought property in 1825.

Somewhere around 1839, William moved his family back to Cincinnati where he again worked as a blacksmith. He is listed in the Shaffer's Advertising Directory for 1839-40:

Wainwright, Wm (N J) Blacksmith, res, E Front n Corp line

The Cist Cincinnati Directory for 1843 has the following listings:

Wainright J. & B. wagon makers and blacksmiths, cor Front and
Wainright John, (J. & B. W.) Front bet Washington & Collord
Wainright Britton, (J. & B. W.) boards Wm Wainright
Wainright William, blacksmith. Front bet Washington & Collord

I believe that "J. & B." stands for John and Britton, two of William's sons. I know that Britton got married in Cincinnati and was still here in 1850 as he appears with his family in the Census.

Before Britton got married, however, it appears as if the wanderlust had struck him, too. He purchased 40 acres of land in Gallatin Co., IL. Shortly before he married Mary Elizabeth Darby in Cincinnati, he sold the 40 acres of property to his father -- a recent finding.

This land purchase took place in 1846. William was listed as living in Gallatin Co. in the 1850 Census. It says in the Census that he was married, yet Ruth is not listed in the Census with him. I found Ruth living in Cincinnati with her daughter Rachel Lusk in 1850. Her last name is misspelled and listed as "Wenright" in Rachel's husband James' occupation is listed as a "ships carpenter".

This was not to be his last move, however, because as cited earlier, William died in Athens Co., Ohio and is buried in the family plot of his daughter, Ann Eliza Broadwell. At some point after 1850 the Lusks and Ruth (William's widow) moved to Newport, KY. Ruth was living in northern Kentucky when she died and was buried at the Evergreen Cemetery.

I do not know what motivated William to move so often, but I've been able to track him in the following locations: Born in New Jersey, one child (at least) born in New York, son born in Cincinnati in 1819, lived in Clermont Co. from at least 1820 - 1839, back to Cincinnati in 1839, bought property in Gallatin Co., IL in 1846 and was there for the 1850 Census, and died in Athens Co., Ohio. I'm glad for the information I have but wish I understood more about his willingness to move so often.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Rest of the Story

In the last two postings, I told you what the record from the National Archives uncovered about Britton. It had even more to say about the effect of his death on his surviving widow and three children. Following Britton's death, Mary Elizabeth moved the family back to Cincinnati. I've always speculated that this young widow returned to Cincinnati to get the support of other family members living here.

This was a time where there was no such thing as Social Security. When pensions became available for widows of Civil War fatalities, Mary Elizabeth's application was rejected. A local Cincinnati attorney, Herbert Jenney, became familiar with Mary Elizabeth's case while she was working as a nurse taking care of his wife. He took it upon himself to compile all of the documentation necessary to make a case for awarding her a pension. On January 25, 1875, a bill (H.R. 4489) was introduced by the local congressman, Mr. Banning, to grant a pension to Mary E. Wain(w)right.

In a letter addressed to the Honorable H. B. Banning, House of Representatives, Mr. Jenney stated:

"She (Mary E.) is a hard-working woman who has since her husband's death had a hard time of it to support her three children. They now assist some: the two girls by sewing and the boy earns a trifle as one of the messenger boys of the Telegraph Company. They have all they can do to get along. Mrs. Wainright is a professional nurse and while nursing my wife I became interested in her case. I will here state that I have taken hold of her case purely from a desire to help her and not as a matter of law -- all my services will be gratuitous. If you can obtain a pension for her, you will be doing a charitable act I can assure you."

In a second letter, Mr. Jenney wrote to General Burck, Chairman of the Committee on Invalid Pensions for the House of Representatives. Some of the facts listed above were restated. He also added this:

"Although her husband was not regularly enlisted at the time of his death and did not meet his death on the battle field, yet it was caused by his exertions to repel the raid of John Morgan and was a great an act of patriotism as if he had been a regularly enlisted man and met his death in any of the battles."

Until this article was published in The Prologue, a journal of the National Archives, I would have never known that such private claims and appeals could be made to Congress and that the accompanying paperwork could contain so many valuable clues for genealogists. In fact during the years of Reconstruction following the Civil War (1865-1877), 10,136 claims were submitted to the House of Representatives from the 39th to 44th Congresses. Almost half (4,259 claims, 42 percent) of the claims dealt with pensions for military service. "The vast majority of those claims, not surprisingly, related to service in the Civil War (2,995 claims, 70 percent). "

As I have a copy of the Pension Index, I know that Mary Elizabeth eventually did get a pension. It was for $8 a month. To think that $8 a month could make such a difference for a family of four. Once again I am impressed with the ability of my ancestors to survive in such stressful times. Every day I realize how blessed I am.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Britton Wainright - Part II

Genealogy is an interesting hobby. You always have loose ends. One of my loose ends was what exactly happened to Britton to cause his death. I knew from the pension file that he died of heatstroke. I imagined him building barricades in New Albany to protect the town from Morgan.

As I do periodically, I "googled" his unusual name and found it referenced in a journal published by the staff of the National Archives. Here is the link:

The author of the article, John Deeben, is a genealogy archives specialist in the Research Support Branch of the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. His article was written to encourage genealogists to consider the records they may have that could help provide information they are seeking. In the article was the following quote:

Personal and family records appear most prevalently in the pension-related claims because of the need for a widow and dependents to document their relationship to a deceased soldier. The claim of Mary E. Wainwright, whose husband Britton died while serving with Kunkle's Company, Seventh Indiana Legion (Home Guards) during the Civil War, included a notarized copy of their marriage record from the probate court of Hamilton County, Ohio. The record identified their wedding date (May 1, 1847), Mary's maiden name (Darby), and the name of the presiding minister (Rev. James H. Perkins).

At the end of the article, the following footnote appears: "Notarized copy of Wainwright marriage license, Jan. 10, 1866; Mary E. Wainwright File; Accompanying Papers [43A-D1]; Legislative Proceedings; 43rd Cong.; RG 233; NAB."

I contacted the author of the article and he pulled the file from the archives. He told me by phone that the file contained eye-witness testimony of commanding officers who were with Britton when he died. It also contained the appeal on behalf of Mary Elizabeth for a pension that she had previously been denied because Britton wasn't officially "mustered in" at the time of his death.

I ordered a copy. There are several affidavits from witnesses to Britton's death on a "forced march" from New Albany to Edwardsville, IN to head off Morgan's Raiders.

Sample quotes:
1) From James McCurdy - I was the Colonel and in the command of the 7th
Regiment of the Indiana Legion. That on said day in obedience to my orders as commander aforesaid, said regiment made a forced march from the city of New Albany to Edwardsville, Indiana to meet the rebels under John Morgan. That on said day and on said march, I saw Britton Wainright, who was a private in Capt. Thos. S. Kunkle's company of said regiment stricken down with a sun stroke while in the performances of his duties as a soldier. That I saw said Britton Wainright die in less than one hour after he was stricken down and from the effects of said sun stroke received while in the ranks of said company and while making said march.

2) John Stacy - First Lieutenant - . . . "That on said march I saw Britton Wainright, who was then a private on duty in my said company, stricken down while in the ranks of said company and in the performance of his duty as a private of said company , with a stroke of the sun and I saw him die in less than thirty minutes afterward, from the effects of said sun stroke."

3) Charles Bowman - physician and surgeon - I saw Britton Wainright . . . die from the effects of coup de soleil (sunstroke) received while on duty . . .

4) Captain Kunkle - Captain and commander of a company in the 7th Regiment of the Indiana Legion - "That Britton Wainright was a private in said co. That he was a healthy able-bodied man at the time he entered said service. That while he was engaged in the line of his duty in said service . . . to meet the rebels under John Morgan, he became overheated and fell in the ranks, and he died from said overheating about half an hour after he fell in the ranks on said day while in the line of his duty in said service. That he was a good man made a good soldier and did his duty well and cheerfully, and had nothing the matter with his health previous to said marching."

I finally knew how he died. It wasn't in battle, it wasn't building fortifications, it was on a march in very hot July weather as part of a group of home guards preparing to defend their town from Morgan's advances.

His death notice appeared in the New Albany Daily Ledger, July 10, 1863 on p.2.

There is an error in the notice as Britton left a wife and three children. So how was a widow with three children going to support herself? I'll answer that question in the next post.