A Surprise In the Mail: Abel Goss of Lower Waterford, Vermont published 2011

I have always loved surprises and this was a good one.  In the mail came a beautiful dark green bound book .  It smells wonderful it is so new and the pages of this book are shinny and crisp.  It was written by my half 8th cousin once removed, David Philip Goss. I am serious!  At least that is what my Legacy Database tells me about our connection? 

Our common ancestor is Philip Goss (I) of Roxbury who later migrated to Lancaster and is buried there in the Old Settler Burial Field in Lancaster (the one over the railroad tracks) with the date 1698 as his death.  This Philip married twice. first to Hannah Hopkins whom I descend from and second, he married Mary Prescott in 1690.  She was a granddaughter of John Prescott founder of Lancaster.  My half cousin descends from Philip and Mary’s son John Goss, a half brother to my Capt. Philip Goss who is buried in the Old Indian Cemetery in Brookfield with his wife Judith Hayward Goss.

The book is:  Abel Goss of Lower Waterford, by David Philip Goss, Otter Bay Books, 2011. 

This book is literally “hot off the press.” 

My half cousin found this blog and was very surprised to see his name and manuscript listed in the post dated Monday, April 25, 2011 – For Thursday, April 14, 2011 Winchester, New Hampshire.  I had yet to introduce myself and one day I got this wonderful email from a happy excited person.  So I guess we are now even for he has surprised me with this wonderful book which is an updated and expanded version of the PDF I mentioned in the Winchester post. 

This is exciting because David takes the descendancy of Philip Goss of Roxbury and Mary Prescott Goss down through their son John Goss and his wife Mary (Woods) Goss to their son Philip Goss who was the one that married Hannah Ball and tells the real story.  This family left Lancaster, Massachusetts and headed up to New Hampshire and settled there.  Meanwhile another Philip Goss, a cousin and a son of Philip Goss (III) of Brookfield and Keziah Cooley, headed to North Granby, Granville, Becket and then to the Wyoming Valley where the Susquehanna River flows.  Some of the descendants of that Philip stayed there in the Luzerne County, Pennsylvania area and others headed further west to Ohio. This is my line. 

Meanwhile, Philip and Hannah Gosses children headed to other parts of New Hampshire and Vermont and then they went west to places like Wisconsin, Colorado and Washington State! Here is a brief summary of the descendancy discussed in the book: 

Philip Goss of Roxbury and Lancaster marries a 2nd time to Mary Prescott
John Goss, their, son, marries Mary Woods and their son is named Philip Goss.
Philip Goss marries Hannah Ball and migrates to Winchester, NH and settled there.
Their son Abel Goss married Irene Sprague and they name a son Abel.
This Abel married Amanda Hebard of Waterford, Vermont
From there the line goes down to David the writer and compiler of this new book.

The book has an index, footnotes with abundant sources, great photographs and examples of documents.  David writes lots of narrative and explanations.  A job well done!

If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this book, please contact the writer of this blog or leave a comment and I will be happy to get you in touch with David.

Adventures in Carmel, CA – A Cousin’s 70th Wedding Anniversary

This blog has emphasized the Goss, Spracklin, Keller and Delano side of my father’s ancestry.  No sooner had I returned from D.C. then I was off again to Carmel, California.  I went to visit with and celebrate my dad’s McDonald/MacDonald side.

Actually the name of MacDonald can be spelled several ways: McDonald, McDonell, MacDonell, Macdonell or McDonnell, Macdonnell…My father spelled it “MacDonald.”  His siblings and father spelled it McDonald. 

My cousin Ruth and her husband John were celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.  Can you believe it?They are both over 90 years old.  Ruth is a descendant of Duncan McDonell brother to my Mary McDonell mother of Ronald and grandmother of my father Keith.  I refer you to another blog of mine:

The Man Who Lived Airplanes at: http://macdonellfamily.wordpress.com/  I have not discussed Duncan’s family yet, but will be doing so soon in future posts.

I learned of Ruth through my cousin Mary McDonell Louiseau who died a few years back.  She was niece to my grandfather Ronald.  I had the good fortune to visit Mary twice before she passed.  She was 87 when I first met her, tiny in stature, a little bent over but big in personality.  She told me about Ruth:  “I think Ruth is a cousin?” was her comment one day on the phone.  This was a year after I had visited her.  Keep asking questions and letting family know, you never know when they will remember or tell you something about family. 

So I immediately contacted Ruth and we have visited several times since.  They came to my home once years ago and about two years ago my husband and I visited them in Carmel.  http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/

The other part of this story is their daughter.  She went into the Carmelite Monastery 50 years ago and she was celebrating as well!!  She recently stepped down from being the Reverend Mother.  Ruth and John have two sons in addition.  She is known as Sister Teresita.  I had an opportunity to visit her that same trip.  http://www.carmelitesistersbythesea.net/homepage.htm  Under the section Community Life there is a photograph of the sisters and my cousin is the one with the glasses.

So this was a big celebration!  I left on Friday, June 10th and was at the Monterey Airport by 2:30 p.m.  I rented a car and headed out to the monastery to visit with Sister Teresita and scope out the place to see where to set up my video camera and make a movie. Much to my surprise Sister Teresita was out and about preparing for the next days events.  This is a cloistered monastery so having her physically in front of me where I could touch and look her in the eye was a treat.  We made plans for the video.  I was so proud that I remembered how to get there.  It is an amazing place and the gardens are lovely.

Carmelite Monastery, Carmel, California – Mass is held regularly in the chapel to the right!

The Pacific Ocean is right across Hwy 1.
The celebration on Saturday morning was beautiful.  There was beautiful music by a young violinist that Sister Teresita knew and had come from New York and his classes to just be there for her.  The bishop was also there with 11 other priests. The nuns are in the cloistered area to the right of the altar but you can hear their beautiful singing voices.  The Chapel was filled to the brim and it is not small.  There were people up in the balcony.  There were others outside who could not get in for the Chapel was full. 

The service continued with prayers and what is called the Homily followed by the Jubilee Blessing and Renewal of Religious Vows and the Renewal of John and Ruth’s marriage vows. 

After the ceremony there would be cake and a buffet.  Now this is a monastery and not really set up for a large number of people but somehow they managed to arrange things so that everyone was served.  Fortunately it did not rain but it was not sunny either and they had tables outside on the lawn.  The food was delicious and everyone seemed to be in good spirits and enjoying themselves. 

The whole weekend was filled with food, fun and sharing.  On Friday, the night before, we all gathered at a Bahama Billy’s restaurant to get to know each other.  After the celebration on Saturday about 5 pm family and out of town guests arrived at the Mission off Rio Drive to partake of more food and everyone taking turns to share.  It was a great day.

Sunday, I waited impatiently to visit with Sister Teresita my 3rd cousin and finally 2:30 pm came and I spent a lovely time chatting with her in the first Speak Room at the monastery where she is behind the bars. She reintroduced me to her dogs. You can touch and see her but she is separate.  She was wearing her garland of flowers.  She said that in the olden days back when she joined the order you were even more restricted so things have changed.  Her parents arrived as well as her brother John Jr. with his wife and we chatted till we headed out for dinner. 

On Monday I got another chance to visit with Sister Teresita and her parents when Ruth invited me to come to the monastery that morning.  I had said goodbye to them the day before but I didn’t hesitate to go.

It was a beautiful weekend and I was happy I went for I was the only McDonald to be there.  Most of the people attending were Flynn’s or friends of the family.  Of course, I listened to every word and as much as I could understand about John’s family history.  I did get his mother’s name: Hannah. 

My gift to Ruth was a booklet of her family history down from Duncan McDonell with pictures of my family so she could see how we all fit in.  Now her eye sight is not good so I hope she does take time to look a little bit at the booklet.  I am very glad I went to share this time with my cousin Ruth and her family.  She is a tiny person.  I figure she is probably the size of my Aunt Vivian, my father’s older sister who was 4 ft. 11 inches.  John is the sweetest man I have ever met.  His face just lighted up when people greeted him.  John and Ruth received a Papal blessing from the Pope as presented to them by the bishop.

Getting back home was a challenge.  San Francisco was socked in with fog and my plane was delayed till 4:41 from the 2:35 time.  I had to re ticket and get a later flight from San Francisco to Seattle.  Good thing I had my Nook Color fully charged and could read to my hearts content. 

I pondered the events of the weekend.  Two people in their 90’s still vibrant and as a healthy as possible and still loving each other and together at that advanced age. Wow!

My father didn’t know Ruth and John.  He did know Mary who was a daughter of Jack McDonald his uncle.  He was nine years older than Ruth and three years older than Mary.  He would be 101 years old so in reality he would not be alive now but if the heart attack had not taken back in 1970 he could have known them.  John and Ruth married the same year as my parents!  We traveled on vacation to California in the middle 1950’s and we could have visited if we had known them.  I wonder what my dad would have thought of all this??

June 4, 2011: Spracklins – Meeting a Half-Cousin

The Spracklin family married into the Goss family. Spracklins are from Somerset in England.  John Andrews Spracklin immigrated in 1817 with the Wine and Anne Rood family (his aunt) and settled in Washington Co., Ohio.  There John A. Spracklin met and married Lydia Goss, daughter of Solomon and Olive Scott Goss. John and Lydia had a son named Daniel D. Spracklin and he married Elizabeth Keller in Morrow Co., Ohio.  They had four children: Henry, Oliver, Mary and Amarilla.  Only Amarilla and Henry survived to adulthood.

Elizabeth Keller Spracklin, my great great grandmother, died in 1859 several months after the birth of Amarilla Spracklin (later Barclay) my great grandmother.  Daniel remarried to Sarah Blacketer Allgood in 1863 in Iowa where he had migrated to from Knox County, Ohio.  He and Sarah had 7 more children:  Lydia, Virda, Reed, Daniel, Peter George, Charles Edward, Alfred Marion.  Alfred died young.

On Saturday June 4, 2011 while still in the D.C. area I met with a descendant of Peter George Spracklin.  She is a perfect Half 3rd cousin.  Peter George is a 1/2 brother to my Amarilla.  I now know three cousins from this side of the family. 

So about 10 am on Saturday, I got into a taxi at the Gaylord National Hotel south of D.C. and headed into D.C.  We were scheduled to meet at 11 am. 

Well…everything went really well and I was looking forward to being dropped at the American History Museum on Constitution Avenue but….Guess what?  The National Mall was overwhelmed in PINK!!!

It was the RUN FOR THE CURE and streets were blocked off.  My taxi driver let me out at L’Enfant Metro and I had to walk.  Fortunately, it was not too hot or muggy…yet!

It was fun to walk along and observe ladies and men in different combinations of T-shirts in white with pink, pink with white and more.  Some had numbers on them.  Here I was in total black!!!  Hmmm…??? It was truly showing the power of women.  I was humbled.  My mother died of colon cancer that had decided to take over her liver back in 1984. She was 74 years old and had a good life but still! I now how terrible this disease can be. 

There were huge billboards with the map showing the route and water stations.  This photograph shows the participants heading for the finish line.

I walked quickly heading for the American History Museum entering into the cool foyer a pleasant place to wait for my cousin to arrive.  Would I recognize her?  Well, she beat me to it and saw me at once!

We sat on the soft bench and immediately started chatting about the family.  I showed her the family history reports that I had brought for her to study.  She is interested in genealogy but has not taken the plunge. It was too confusing for her and I understand that.  Having a database is vital because each generation explodes the family tree to even more great grandparents to try to learn about.  I use Legacy’s deluxe version. It is free for the standard version:  http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/

I gave her a descendants chart of our common ancestor Daniel D. Spracklin and a family group report of her great great grandfather Peter George.  We happily chatted away about genealogy. 

She had decided that it would be fun to go to Chinatown and I was willing.  So we figured out how to get a taxi on 7th and headed to the Ming Restaurant. It was very nice restaurant and we took a table by the window. 

I told her about my life and family first.  A lot of girl talk!  She told me about her family and of course I wrote it down.  Lunch was fun!  I am always blow away by the stories of another’s life and the similarities of experience but yet the different choices.  My cousin was being born when I was a silly teenager having Hawaiian luau parties in the 1960’s. 

After lunch we wandered past the Chinatown arch and found a Starbucks on the corner.  Just like home! We decided to get some coffees and I staked out some stools.  We spent the time lingering and talking some more about life and experiences.  We did some people watching as well for it was a busy street corner and a busy Starbucks. 

Now you are probably wondering if I had a list of questions to ask her and had prepared oral interview.  I had some ideas but I decided I wanted to just let the conversation flow. I think I made the correct decision.  Now I am not a big talker so these kinds of conversations are a bit challenging for me and take concentration.  Apparently my cousin was trying to absorb as well so it was good that the conversation just flowed for our first time together. 

It was about 4 pm and I had an idea that I could visit, at the very least, the Rotunda of the National Archives and view the Charters of Freedom before heading back to Gaylord National Hotel south of D.C. So we walked along 7th Avenue noticing the shops and architecture.  We parted at the line waiting to get into the National Archives with several hugs.

I told my cousin about a curious thing that happens when you get involved with the genealogy of your family.  It is the fact that you build new friendships when you reach out to your cousins. You rekindle relationships that are lost. I had not seen a McDonald cousin in 25 years but reconnecting with her has been priceless.  I had the good fortune to visit my 87 year old cousin and get to know her before she past.  You grieve with them when the loose someone dear to them.  You rejoice when you surprise a cousin who doesn’t know you yet by acknowledging their contribution and they didn’t even know they had touched your life. HA!

It was a lovely day.  I have the best cousins!!!

The DAR Library in Washington DC – Revisiting the First Visit!

Like I said, if you have any ancestor that could have been involved in the American Revolution you need to go and look at the DAR holdings either online at their website or go and visit.  I suggest both if you can!

www.dar.org

I have DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and Mayflower in my line but I have yet to apply.  I plan to do this in the next six months.  I am finally ready.  We all have to get to a certain place when we feel it is time.  Well the time has come, but first I want to travel to Ohio again and see if I cannot find out more on the Goss family.

My first experience with the DAR was back in 2000 when I was very green in genealogy.  I just sat there in awe the first time…all those books!  I dangled my feet off the chair and knew that I was on a path of learning all I could about my ancestors.  When I say I was green, well, I didn’t even know what the Patriot Index was? 

I was looking at the research of my Aunt Miriam and she suggested the following names:  Keller and Delano.  She did not include “Goss.”  I was too knew in the research to know anything about these other surnames names so I decided to look at the “Goss” name.  Well that was an historical day for me. 

The librarian explained to me about the DAR Patriot Index and of course I studied the names and decided on the Philip Goss file.  Well this librarian brought me the Philip Goss file and the Goss file. He handed it to me, this tall man, and said “You probably want to see this too.”  When my order came he had me move upfront to a table to look at the information. They now have a lot of information online at their website and in the Seimes Computer Lab at the DAR Library.

So I sat at the table and looked through the files and found all kinds of interesting documents and of course I copied just about everything.  I found documents from a Flora Montanye Osborn, someone named Wingert and a Paul H. Goss??? 

When I returned home I started to study these documents in detail and low and behold the connection to Mayflower was revealed to me in a manuscript written by Paul H. Goss. 

The connection was:  Judith Hayward Goss (wife of Philip Goss II) was the daughter of Anna Hayward who married John Hayward and was the daughter of Resolved White and Judith Vassall.  Resolved was the son of William White and Susanna of the Mayflower.  Remember I visited Philip Goss and Judith Goss’s graves in the Old Indian Cemetery in West Brookfield, MA in previous posts on this blog.

My Aunt Miriam and my father said there was Mayflower in the family line.  Since then I have been on this quest for more Goss family history using and collecting Paul’s manuscripts, Flora’s leads and other research leads. 

Philip Goss IV and his son Solomon Goss are in the DAR Patriot Index and I was able to pull some applications the last time I visited to see what  sources these individuals used.  I discovered that Flora came into DAR through her other family line and put her daughter through on the Goss line.

Now that I know more I can also study the Delano line which starts with Mary Delano Keller whose daughter Elizabeth married Daniel D. Spracklin.  Mary’s father was Stephen Delano and her mother was Lovina Smith.  Stephen’s father was Stephen Delano and he married Mary Shaw.  The last time I was at the DAR I was able to pull the only DAR application for Stephen Delano who married Mary Shaw.  This line goes back to Philippe Delano (de lay Noye) of the Fortune. 

The DAR Constitution Hall

Our Nations Capitol – Several years ago

The Keller line is still a mystery.  No one yet knows who the parents of John Keller, Mary Delano Kellers husband are.  Maybe when I visit Ohio in August, I can find a small tidbit that will open that door? 

Sunday, April 24, 2011: Granby and Salmon Brook

It was my last day on this trip and in New England.  Sigh!  I had really enjoyed myself.  I had a good trip with very few problems except for the holidays and a little blip at Bristol.  On the whole I had a good time!

The chore today was packing my suitcases.  Having several breakfasts and lots of coffee.  The packing went remarkably well.  I was done in no time.  The biggest chore was taking it all downstairs.  Fortunately I was now down to two suitcase, my computer case, and my photo bag.  A lot better than when I came in.  Checkout was easy and quick. 

It was sunny outside.  Can you believe it.  After all that rain the day before it was actually nice weather. So that means I can be outside without a problem.  Therefore, I will revisit the cemetery and the historical society.

I started taking my possessions down the stairs and the lady who I believe was the head host offered to help with the big suitcase.  She grabbed on end and walked it down.  They really don’t have valet service so you may have to ask for help?  No elevator.  She helped me check out.  I gave her a brochure of my trip.  My stay at the Simsbury 1820 House was very pleasant. 

There is a brochure:  Hopmeadow Walk.  Mine is from the last time I visited so you might have to check out the Town of Simsbury website and the Farmington Valley Tourism for additional information.

Off I went in my Aveo first to the historical society to revisit it.  I parked in the circular drive and studied the help center.  The tree had been removed.  I walked up and peered into the windows and it was certainly filled with boxes and things scattered everywhere and not ready for any visitors.  Definitely closed.  I could see damage on the gutter area and probably more inside on the roof. 

Simsbury Historical Society Center

So I decided to walk the historical building area.  I had not done that before.  There were quite a few buildings with signs on them explaining what they were.  I peered in a few windows and noticed carriages and other displays.  They are at the end of Railroad St. but watch out some of the streets are one way so you need to look for others to access this area. I turned onto Wilcox and drove a block.  That seemed to work. You do pass Plan B.  They have all their hardware stores in this area.

Historical Society buildings to the left of the center and up on the small hill

Off to the cemetery to see if this time with the weather being much nicer find the Viets individuals I was seeking. 

This cemetery photo was from Phelps St?  This is the Simsbury Cemetery.  Someone at Find A Grave had it under the title Hopmeadow Cemetery.

I entered again at the left side were the road was and parked the car.  I headed over to section B and started looking again.  I found them right there in about the 3-4 the row.  Silly me!

Dedication plaque

Another plaque



John Viets on the right and Catherine his wife on the left.

John Viets b. 1675 Germany, d. Nov. 18, 1723 Simsbury, CT. on the right, Dr. John Viets
Catherine Meyers Viets b. 1679 New York, d. Mar. 6, 1734 Simsbury, CT. Tombstone says Catron Vets.

Paul H. Goss and Edith Blake Bartlett Sumner got in a big controversy over the marriage of Philip Goss IV (1724 to 1778).  There was a Mary Viets who married a Goffe in the records.  The website I give as a highlight of John Viet’s name has for one of this couples children a Mary Viets.  If you click on it you see that this Mary Viets married an Ephraim Goff and the whole genealogy of this Mary goes in a totally different direction. Another source is the Genealogy of the Viets Family at Internet Archive and on page 20 it shows that Mary Viets married a Goff.  I found this absolutely fascinating!  Ms. Sumner apparently was reaching.

I drove up the hill at the cemetery and over to the street and low and behold I discovered another cemetery on the top of the hill.  The sign said Simsbury Cemetery.  So what was the name of the one near the main road?  

Simsbury Cemetery, top of the hill off Plank Hill Road

My next goal was to find Wolcott Street which was in the north area of Simsbury.  I did get curious when I saw a catholic church with people gathered.  It was Easter Day.

Sites of Simsbury, CT

Is this the town hall??

This building looks like a castle.  I could not tell if it was the town hall there was a sign for a school on it. There was a sign out front about governmental buildings.  According to Google Images it is!
Off I went on highway 202/10 north passed the Iron Horse Inn which was very modern looking. I passed the Tariffville road and came to Wolcott Rd. 

Was Simon Wolcott’s land nearby???

I traveled down the road a ways and pulled into an area called Wolcott Woods.  It was either apartments or condos.  I was trying to figure things out when a car came up behind so I took off to get out of the way.  I came to Hopmeadow and stopped and was carefully checking the road an not paying attention to the light.  I got honked at.  So I turned onto Hopmeadow and pulled over to let him buy.  He flipped the bird at me and honked.  I admit was in the wrong but this is stupid.  He was down the road in a second a good distance from me.  Scarry drivers!

If you keep going on Hwy 202/10 you eventually come into Granby and the road’s name changes to Salmon Brook St.  The Salmon Brook Historical Society is just past Elmwood Ct. and at the next turn called Meadow Gate Road.  You can’t miss it for there is an historical sign out front.  If you pass the entrance to Salmon Brook Park you have gone to far. 

Now I have visited the Salmon Brook Historical Society on my first trip to this area.  I had made an appointment with Carol Laun the curator.  When I arrived they were gathering volunteers to do clean up or other chores, so frankly I think she was diverted.  I did get some leads from her on church records which are at the Family History Library and she had missed other information in the film?  I did get idea from the deeds I had for Philip Goss where his land might be. There was another man there who was knowledgeable about the area.  He helped a lot with the deeds.  This was a situation in which you need to be really clear and specific about what you need.  I know there are more treasures in this archive.

I did purchase the new history book: Tempest in a Small Town and found the first part of the book interesting. 



Granby Sign!



Entrance to the research area unless it is now in the new red building?

This is their new archive building to house their treasures.

This time I was just going to enjoy the buildings and take some photographs.  I peered in the window of this one but didn’t see anything except for a meeting room.  Darn!  On their website they do have a list of genealogies. 

Now my next destination was North Granby.  I found this online Self Guided Tour done by the Salmon Brook Historical Society that is really cool.  It has a map and then it gives descriptions of the numbers on the map of historical sites in Granby, North Granby and West Granby plus other areas.  Doesn’t do East Granby. Don’t forget to get the map by clicking at the top.

As I was heading up Hwy 202/10 I came to the familiar intersection of 189/202/10 and 20.  I turned to the left and headed up Hwy 189 and immediately spotted the Granby Cemetery.  I just had to take a quick trip through.  It is out on the flat and open area.  There is a lovely chapel in the back.  The roads are gravel like but easy to drive on.  This cemetery is at Find A Grave and also in published book form through the Salmon Brook Historical Society.  No Goss are buried here!

I continued up Hwy 189 and began to realize that I had used this highway before.  I had driven down it from Granville, MA when I visited the area before.  The road becomes N. Granby Road.  Side streets read Mechanicsville Rd., Creamery Rd.

North Granby is an intersection at Mountain Road, Hwy 189 which is still the N. Granby Rd. but once it crosses Mountain Road is becomes the Granville Rd. On the other side of Mountain Rd is East St. If you drive it you come to Cooley Rd. on the left.  The highway sign reads Granville 6 miles. HA!

So if Philip Goss’s land was in this area west of Cragg Mount which is on the east of Hwy 189 and north of East St.  This is according to the descriptions in the Simsbury deeds that Paul H. Goss discusses in his manuscripts.  Now I need to get more specific but I wanted to get a general idea of the land in this area. 

The land next to Hwy 189 on the east side after Mountain/East Rd. is a ravine with a creek running through it.  I drove up to Silver St. and tried to get off the road and away for this truck but he turned right with me.  Darn!  There was a bridge and all of a sudden there was another car taking this road. 

These photos won’t mean much but I tried to get a little bit of what North Granby looks like. 

Frederick H. Cossitte Library, North Granby, recently remodeled on the southeast corner

A Farm on the northwest corner. I was parked in the post office parkign lot on the southwest corner

Looking north on Hwy 189 the Granville Road

Looking south on N. Granby Road

The intersection of Mt Rd, East, Hwy 189

The stream and the gorge along Cragg Mt.

In order to understand the area better I think we need to study Google Earth.  Give me a little time to do that. 

Now I can’t let this go but go to a map and study the location of Barkhamsted, North Granby, Granville and Becket and then you see that the Goss family was not that far from each other.  Add Otis and Peru and the geography gets interesting.  Now granted it took them longer to get to each other than a modern road and car?  Ponder, ponder! 

Time to head to the airport!

Saturday, April 23, 2011: Simsbury

The Simsbury 1820 House is very elegant.  Reminds me of the Inn at Biltmore in Asheville, NC but on a smaller scale.  Breakfast was delicious but more Continental style with cereal, bagels, pastries, some fruit, and coffee!!! It was from 7 to 10 am.  They do provided coffee on the first floor throughout the day and wine at the front desk.  These are small bottles of wine about 2 glasses.  They were not bad.

You descend the stairs and turn the corner and go down a hallway (there are signs) and down more stairs into the lower area of the Simsbury House.  There are tables with white table cloths and soft chairs.  Food is arranged on a bar area and table area.  Easy to pick and choose what you like.  The walls are brick and their is a fireplace.  Very intimidate area. 

It was pouring rain.  I could see the rain bouncing off the railing outside my window as I worked on my computer.  It was not letting up.  One of the hostess said it didn’t look good for the whole day!  Hmmm….?

So, I stayed in my room organizing my papers and getting my stuff ready to repack for my flight out the next day.  It took most of the morning.  Still it was raining.  So I had several breakfasts and lots of coffee. 

The Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library was just north of the hotel on the corner.  So I grabbed an umbrella that was complimentary in the lobby area and headed out.  I had tried to call them but I was not getting an answers.  I was happy to see that a car was parked in the parking lot.  The door opened and I was inside the familiar rooms.

There website has since improved from the last time I was there.  It has lots of great links and information so go explore and have fund.  They are also known as the Simsbury Free Library as opposed to the public library which is south of them in Simsbury.  I was impressed with the links which included the Simsbury Public Library http://www.simsburylibrary.info/ancestors.htm  You might be interested in the Simsbury Vital Records and Genealogy database.

Allison the director was sitting in her seat and I approached and chatted.  I reintroduced myself and she said she remembered me.  I was glad to see Allison.  Things had been a little uncertain and she was brand new the last time I had visited. 

I wandered around studying the titles of books, and remembering the layout which had not changed.  They have their book stacks and it is a nice collection. This is small library but they had a good mix of books, periodicals and even pamphlets of interest for the area.  They have titles for of course Simsbury, Granby and other towns in the area.  They have Connecticut titles, Massachusetts titles and other books even Ohio.  There is microfilm of the New York newspaper and Hartford papers.  They also have connection to the Internet and Allison can get you on to access various things that you have to be a library member in Connecticut to do so.  It was difficult not to dally on some of the book titles.

Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library

The interior is beautiful as you enter first a sort of museum area.  The library is in the back area.  Lovely building.  The other important fact is that it is right next door to the Simsbury Cemetery.  Go to there website that I gave above and take a look at the photos of the interior. 

They have a booklet about the Simsbury Cemetery Vol. I but it lists the interments and more.  So I studied that compilation very thoroughly.  I was looking for the Viets family. 

They have a very nice brochure that you can pick up “Simsbury Free Library.”  I found my copy at the CHS.

I found several interesting items:
First Church Records of Simsbury 1682-1930?, A Sense of Place, Thomas D. Ayres, Simsbury Historical Society, 2009.  I did not find any Haskell’s, Gibbons, Sewards or Goss listed. 

Connecticut Cemeteries Vols. 1-4 and 5-9, New York, 1914.  Mostly the eastern part of Connecticut. Some man in New York had done this burial listing of cemeteries. 

Back in my room, I did more organizing of my papers and decided that I needed to ship some books and brochures home.  Just no way I could stuff all this into my luggage without it weighing tons.  So I found a UPS store in south Simsbury and went off in search of it.  I always try to figure out the closest shipping source like Office Depot or something like that or UPS or a mailing center. 

I found the UPS at 542 Hopmeadow St. and it was open.  The nice man inside was chatty and we discussed the weather and cats!  He took my money and when I said that was a good price because it usually is not cheap, he jokingly said he had tried to charge me more but just couldn’t.  Books weigh a lot!  I could expect my treasures on Monday May 2, 2011.  Wow, May is almost here?

Next stop was the Simsbury Cemetery.  You can enter it from the Main St. in Simsbury for there is a paved road to the far left.  The big gate is in the middle and you might be able to drive through but it is soft grassy and it was very wet.  It is a big cemetery. 

Simsbury Cemetery, Simsbury, CT.

There are some awesome tombstones in this cemetery on the hill toward the back.  I drove around studying them.  There are at least 4-5 Crypts up at the back top of the hill. 

Usually you see one or two but 4-5 or more?

These two are amazing.  Like the spire!

I was looking for John Viets and Catherine Viets.  I had my page of information and walked Section B.  The book I looked at had maps of the cemetery.  No luck.  I had the row number, no luck.  It was raining and cold so I gave up for now.

Time for lunch/dinner.  I thought of Meto Bis sounded delicious.  However, I decided on Plan B Burger Bar on Railroad Street.  Now you are probably thinking it means an alternative plan for a restaurant but no it means Burgers, Beef and Beer! 

Plan B Burger Bar, Simsbury, CT

This place was hoping.  You enter and there is the bar ahead of you.  Downstairs is another restaurant but I was seated at a tall table and chair – I mean I climbed up.  There are booths and tables but I was on my own and it was very busy.  The bar is to the left and there were these big handle bars of different beers.  I liked my seat because I could see what was going on and do some serious people watching. 

The young man ahead of me at a similar table had a Tony the Tiger on his sweat shirt.  I noticed Tony was separating.  Now this is a major treasure this Tony emblem.  When he left I stopped him an inquired if he knew he had a problem and he did.  He told me he had been too busy to fix it.  A friend had made it for him years ago.  He assured me he would take care of it.  Touched my shoulder and thanked me for my concern.  He was probably late 20’s early 30’s. 

Now I was studying the decor and was puzzling over the lights which were hanging from a track.  I asked one of the waiters about them and he said they were ice hooks.  I had observed that they had twisted wires around them and these bare light bulbs were hanging from them in two pair or four pair.  Very clever! They were wonderful no glare. 

My hamburger was delicious and served on a rectangular white plate like a gourmet dinner? Sort of like Red Robin but actually better.  My waitress was friendly and pleasant.  They were playing old Beattle’s music.  So I felt right at home.  As I ate my dinner the place filled up even more.  Two men at the bar were playing with their fancy phones.  I am beginning to get jealous of these types of phones that you just take your finger and push the items along.  Being a visual person it is very enticing. 

A recent arrival came over to the bar and was intent on choosing the perfect beer to go with his dinner.  This was a fun place!  The food was very good. 

My goal this time was to go to the Simsbury Historical Society but a tree fell on them. There website has a picture of the tree on the center. Ouch!

Plan B was right next door so I just drove a little ways into the historical societies parking lot.  I had been here before but they had just moved into their visitor center and had not opened the archives yet.  So once again I was not going to be able to access this archive.  I am not really sure they have anything for me.  Still I am curious. 

Simsbury Historical Society Center. The tree is gone now!

It had stopped raining but it was cold and wet. When you enter the Simsbury House you come into the foyer and there is a real area like a old hotel were the receptionist sits behind working on their computer.  Makes you feel like an old hotel.  There is an entrance from the Main St. and a long drive through a grassy area up a incline to the parking lot.  This is the photo that you see on their website.  The Simsbury 1820 House is part of a group of hotels in the area.  There are other rooms on the main floor that you can explore a little. All lovely.

You enter through the area of the two columns up the steps through the porch into the foyer.  I had asked that the maid not clean my room because I had made a mess and put all my papers on the bed.  So I also told the main desk so she would not get into trouble.  She had not cleaned my room so I was pleased.

I was enjoying my room and I just relaxed for the night.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011: Bristol Town Hall and on to Hartford

I had a lovely room in the Chimney Crest Bed and Breakfast.  This is a mansion.  To the right is the living room and at the end is the sun room.  The hallway has rounded archways in the windows and the curtains are also rounded at the top.  To the left is the formal dinning area.  The hostess is very kind, friendly and helpful.

You almost feel like you have traveled back in time to another world.  This house is the Barnes house.  A prominent family in Bristol owned it.  My room was comfortable.  There was a desk and chair.  It was lovely.  The windows looked out on the circular driveway.  The house is a Tudor style.  It is along Woodland Drive in Bristol near Paige Park.  It is lovely.  Just look for the brick pillars before you go down the steep hill.

I told the hostess that I got up early and she provided a coffee maker with cream in the ice cooler with ice! Wow!  How thoughtful.

The breakfast was wonderful and the conversation with my host Cynthia was a joy. She asked me questions curious about my genealogy research.  Apparently this house was her father’s dream. It was a mess when he purchased it but it is lovely now!  She has taken on his legacy. This was truly happy experience.  Just lovely!

As usual I talked to much and had to head out on my quest for ancestors.  My goal the Bristol Town Hall.  Well I was told it was the white building but it was the building next to it!

Now for some reason my sense of direction was messed up in Bristol.  I was having a terrible time with were things were.  Hmmm….am I getting too tired?

Fortunately, I found the Bristol Town Hall.  I was seeking records on my Barclay family (See the Barclay’s of Pine River my blog on this line of my family.  It is listed on the right under blogs.)

The Town Hall is located on N. Main St. between Laurel and Center Street.  I parked on the street and I believe it is a 2 hour limit?

The sign out in front of the Town Hall, Bristol, CT
This is the Bristol Town Hall
The entrance to the Town Clerk office in the Bristol Town Hall

So far I have had no problems in Town Halls with security or restrictions.  I had good experiences at the Enfield and East Windsor Town Halls.  These two are in Connecticut and no problems in Massachusetts.  Friendly and helpful people in all.

Well…In relating this episode I do not want to reflect badly on Bristol.  It was a charming town and I enjoyed my stay there.  So far everyone had been friendly, pleasant and helpful.

I knew about the privacy issues and the rules of becoming a member of various authorized genealogical or historical organizations.  I investigated this before I came on the trip and decided I was within the law for the vital records and I would be okay. Well I was wrong!!!!!!  I did not take into consideration that the indexes went beyond the legal requirements for birth into earlier than 100 years.  I was going to look at births in the late 1800’s and deaths in the early 1900’s.  I also brought my birth certificate, my dad’s information and my Barclay’s vital records to show that I was an appropriate relative.

An assistant town clerk approached me and I explained carefully what I needed. I explained I wanted to see births in the 1850 to 1900 time frame.  Deaths in the 1915 to 1920 time frame. She asked if I had a card. I told her I was a professional genealogist but I was with the Association of Professional Genealogists.  I believe she showed me a list for Connecticut.  Of course APG is not on that list. I told her and showed her the papers I had brought about my appropriateness as a relative.  She refused to look.
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Somehow I did get lead into the vault area where they keep the land record books after signing a form and showing ID and she asked me about what I needed.  I started with the deaths and apparently that was okay for me to see.  Apparently she misunderstood and reversed them thinking I wanted birth in the 1900’s.  I repeated what I wanted.

I was brought an index and I found them in it.  I asked for the books and found the death certificates for Mary J. Ford and Jerome Ford in the death records. I requested copies and was told that they would have to be certified.  I told the clerk that I really didn’t need certified but that is apparently all they did and she said they “had to be certified” in a very strong tone.  I said that I was just asking because some places give you a choice?

I left to get some more money because it was $20.00 a copy for a each vital record. I had forgotten to do so prior. I also needed to get my computer to try to pin the information down on births so they, the clerks, would not have to work so hard.  The vital records are in the back area in another room locked away.  They can only retrieve so many at one time and it is a bit of a walk.

Now I usually go into a vital records office prepared.  I had my information on Mary J. Ford but not much on Jerome or their three girls.  Even the obituary had not given me much to go on.  It did reveal that the daughters had probably not been born in Bristol.

When I returned with my computer and money the books were gone.  The first clerk said not to worry and brought them back.  “We aren’t suppose to leave them out!”   Now when I left I did tell her I had to go out.  They had me wait for the certified copies before they came to help any further.

I then tried for birth records. Another clerk assisted me from in the other room “wondering what the controversy was about?” and pulled a index book and the first clerk yelled at me “I was not suppose to see them because I didn’t have a valid card!”  Then she grabbed the book from me before I had even opened it.  I was so perplexed I made a face and she threatened me with the Town Clerk saying “I can have the Town Clerk explain it to you!”

I took a deep breath and in as calm a voice as possible I explained that I didn’t live in Connecticut and didn’t know all the rules and was just trying to find out.  She seemed to be a little better.  I tried to remain calm and found it difficult.  She was “stomping” around and rushing around.  It was all very confusing.

Another clerk who was tall and very nice assisted me when the first clerk went on break and she was very  helpful.  I gave her my best guess on the births and she pulled an index.  I was not suppose to see this because it went beyond the time limit.  It had birth, marriage, and death and I found the marriage of one of the daughters Lizzie to a Frank E. Yale and asked for a copy.  Again I had to wait.

This same clerk went in the back area of the large vault room and looked for births for Lizzie (Melissa) and others but didn’t find anything and announced this.  I did not look at any books.

I decided that I had about all I could handle. I did get two death records and a marriage and eliminated many things.  I may have the maiden name of my great grandmother Margaret.  I knew so very little of her.  I also found where a sibling of great grandfather George A. Barclay was buried.

After I left the Town Clerk’s office I leaned against the wall in the hallway to get my whits about me.  I was still shaking when I returned to my car and it took a long time to calm down.  I was not angry just befuddled and frightened at the anger thrown at me and the hostility from this person.  The other two clerks were trying to help. When I was at the counter paying for the copies she asked me if I wanted a receipt and I said yes please.  She was helpful and pleasant.  The first clerk would not look at me at all.  Something was very wrong in this office and it is not the laws of Connecticut!

It is difficult to share this experience because it reflects badly on a town hall and Connecticut.  I have worked as a government employee and I know how hard it can be to work in this type of environment.  Still, this is unacceptable to me to be treated in this manner.

If you are planning on doing research in vital records in Connecticut learn from this experience.  Realize not all town halls will be like this, Enfield was wonderful.  I was looking at records in the middle 1800’s however.

Recommendation:  Join a Connecticut Society that is on their list that is acceptable no matter what and then you will not have this type of experience and if you do then you probably can really complain.  It might cost $35+ but it just might be worth it. Here is the explanation and an approved list of societies:  http://www.americanancestors.org/connecticut-vital-records/

While in the vault room of the Bristol Town Clerks office I found it to be a good sized room, very neat, orderly and clean.  It had along the walls these cabinets that held all these land record books with numbers on the side.  I wandered a round a little reading titles and was promptly asked by one of the researchers if he could help.  I said no I am just looking.  I did not pull anything I just observed.  It was a wonderful room but hardly any tables to work on.  There were several researchers who knew each other but didn’t even acknowledge me.  I was tempted to photograph the room but the other researchers would hear the click.  I didn’t wish at this time to push my luck or cause further trouble.  I believe there is a finding aid to the land records.

Bristol Historical Society
Amazing castle down the street from the society

On my way out of Bristol I was driving up Center Road and I spotted the Bristol Historical Society so I stopped and took some photos.  As I was walking around several people came out of the building and I asked when they were open and this nice lady approached and we started chatting.  We discussed my research about the Barclays and the Fords and she told me she would take a look.  I believe her name was Lillian and she was very nice.  She knew about the Chimney Crest Manor belonging to the Barnes.  It was a very nice exchange.

My very special goal was the Forestville Cemetery which was called the East Cemetery years ago.  I was warned it was a big cemetery and was a little worried as to how I would find them.

I was looking for Mary J. Barclay Ford and Jerome B. Ford and there three daughters.  I knew about Mary J. from the estate file of my great uncle Alexander Barclay.  Mary and Alexander were siblings of my great grandfather George A. Barclay.  I have been tracking her and it was exciting to know that I had an obituary for her and her husband.  I need to study it all and do a post on my Barclays of Pine River blog.  See link to the right of this blog under blog list.

Forestville Cemetery (formerly East Cemetery), Bristol, CT

The Forestville Cemetery is on Circle Street in Forestville.  I found it by going along W. Washington St. to Center and then to Circle.  It is a very well kept cemetery and easy to get around on the paved roads which are numbered 1-4.  The information I had obtained from the History room in the Bristol Library gave me other names on tombstones to use to try to identify my family.  They have a cemetery book with listings done by rows although the rows are not identified you can tell by the page number approximately where the graves might be.  You could call the Forestville Cemetery Association.  Most cemetery jobs are part time so you do have to be patient.  I didn’t do that but decided I could figure it out myself.

It took awhile but I did find them, actually I found first Frank Yale’s tombstone and Melisa M. Ford but she didn’t have a death date? A Tilton was buried with them?

Frank E. Yale Dec 7, 1862 to Sept. 18, 1916
Melisa M. Ford Jan 19, 1871 to ?
Alvah L. Tilton Aug. 17, 1884 to Aug. 27, 1924

Jerome Ford and Mary J. Barclay Ford were buried over by the fence and right of road #3.  It was good to see the graves.  Next to them was their daughter Rozelia who died at 18 years old?  In Mary’s obituary grandchildren are mentioned.  If you are out there I want to meet you!

Jerome B. Ford, Died July 5, 1817 Age 72 yrs.
Mary J. Barclay wife of Jerome B. Ford
Died Mar. 28, 1917 Age 75 yrs. 3 Mos.
Rozelia Daughter of Jerome B. & Mary J Ford
Died Feb 28, 1866 Age 18 yrs 8 mos.

I finally had a picnic in a cemetery.  The weather was okay, maybe a little misting?  I ate my sandwich and cookies.  My tenny runners were soaked and my socks were so wet it was difficult to remove them.  I was getting ready to drive to Hartford when Jack stopped in his truck and asked if I needed help.  That is when I proceeded to tell him about my problem with Melissa Ford and whether she was buried there.  He went back to the office (near the entrance) to check to see if she was buried there but it appears she isn’t and only two are buried in this plot.  I thanked Jack for caring about the records and the cemetery.  He said he was learning but he was enjoying it all and liking the challenge of figuring things out about the burials.

It was time to move on.  It took awhile to find my way.  Boy was my direction meter messed up.  Anyway I found Hwy 6 and headed East. HURRAH!  I had to take South Street to get to Hwy 4 because I missed my turn.  I was trying to get out of the way of a red car behind me on my bumper and almost hit another car on my right in my blind spot.  I felt bad.

What is it about Connecticut drivers??? Why do they hang on your bumper?  I did not have this problem in Massachusetts. AUGHH!

I headed up Hwy 4 and found Boulevard Drive.  It was lovely.  The houses were lined up on both sides and were large and beautiful.  All different designs. The road was smooth and pleasant to drive.  It was a kick looking at the all the beautiful homes. It calmed me down.  I was still pretty wired because of the day’s events.

This road became Capital Ave. and I was back in the center of Hartford and driving past the State Library and I remembered it all from my first trip years back.  The Capitol Dome is beautiful and gleams gold in the light.

Chester Bulkley House Bed and Breakfast

I was looking for Wethersfield  Steet but it was really Main St.  Turning south I ended up on Franklin but then I used Prospect to go to Wethersfield St. I was in South Hartford.  When I saw I was on Silas Dean Hwy I knew I was too far south but there was a sign to the historic district of Wethersfield and I took it. I think it was Wells Road and it became Main St in Wethersfield.  I headed north again and doubled back finding the Chester Bulkley Bed and Breakfast on the east side of the road south of the main area of Wethersfield.

This area of Wethersfield is very lovely.  It was like a little oasis near Hartford. I parked across from the Chester Bulkley B&B and rang the door bell.  No one answered.  It was about 4 pm so I was about 2 hours early.  I was thinking of going to the Hartford City Hall for vital records but my experience at Bristol had made me rethink that idea.  They had on their website that the records started in 1852 and that was really too late for my needs.  Not worth it.

I tried the doorbell again but no one answered.  So I wandered down the driveway on the south side and ran into puppy dogs and the owner who was surprised to see me.  The dogs were okay and she gathered them up.  She offered to call the B&B for me.  I turned around and wandered back to the front of the B&B and the door opened up.  I was greeted by the host and entered into the foyer.

He took me to my room, up some very steep stairs and down a hall way and up and over a small built up area with steps on both sides.  Oh dear this was going to be hard to negotiate.  The host did help me later after I had eaten.  However, my room was delightful and had a little sitting area out in the hallway.  Hmmm…no desk but there was Wifi.

My host told me that there were several restaurants north of the B&B just a few houses up and I could walk to them.  So I parked my car in the driveway in the back parking area.  I walked south first but I saw only shops and then turned north and over to some lovely Saltbox houses on the west side of the road.  I spotted other buildings that looked interesting.

Wethersfield’s Historical District is a step back in time. The Wethersfield Historical Society was across the street.  Silas Deane’s home was on the west side.  Silas Deane, why do I know that name?  I picked the Village Pizza Restaurant.  It was pleasant.  I spotted a cemetery in the distance?  My dinner was good and simple.  The teenagers behind me kept kicking their seats but finally settled down.  My tummy was happy!

My room in the Chester Bulkeley B&B is on the second floor and I have a little sitting area with a TV.  I miss my Dish!!!  My hubbie is probably having fun watching what he wants. I did find NCIS but it is not my favorite.  I found Criminal Minds.  So I am content.

Sitting room area 2nd floor

The sun finally came out and I could smell Spring in the air.  I have a window and I watched the sun go down in Wethersfield over the spires of the building north of the B&B.
So I was having trouble posting.

Note:  B logspot started to give me error messages and would not accept by edits.

April 19, 2011: Bristol, Connecticut – Barclays and Ford!

It was getting to late and I was going to miss the Bristol Public Library hours in the History Room if I didn’t get going.  So I flew through Thomaston and crossed the bridge onto Hwy 6 going east.  Originally I was going to stop at the Plymouth Town Hall and get the birth records for Ebenezer’s children but I was running out of time and somehow I missed it.  Well the Plymouth Town Hall is in Terryville on Hwy 6 just beyond the turn onto Hwy 72.  No wonder I missed it.  No matter how much planning you do there are always problems. 

As I was driving along I realized I was no longer going to be in the “country” and that I was headed to the more urban areas around Hartford. 

The research shifts to back to my Barclay family.  One of the Barclay siblings Mary married a Jerome Ford and settled in Bristol.  Last time I was in Connecticut I obtained her estate file at the Connecticut State Library.  What I wanted to find out this time was where she and Jerome were buried and if I couldn’t learn more about the mother Margaret wife of John Barclay my great grandparents.

I had learned that the Bristol Public Library had a History Room and the hours were 2-4 pm and it was getting late. The library is on High Street off Main St.  In Bristol there is N. Main and a Main St.  The Main Street sign is bent?  Yeah I know…tricky.  I arrived in the library parking lot about 3 pm so I didn’t have much time.  I lost a bit of time trying to figure out where I was in Bristol and my map was temporarily missing.  Ah HA! I finally found it and then I figured out I was over on Divinity and once I realized where I was okay!!!

Bristol Public Library, Connecticut – very nice!

I found the History Room in the back of the library and entered. Here is the link.  I recommend this source for Bristol.  Excellent archive.

http://www.bristollib.com/BristolHistory/BristolHistory.html

Bristol Public Library History Room

The librarian was very helpful.  I was required to fill out a form, present my driver’s license and then he could retrieve items from the locked vault area.  There were several people there doing research and it opened up a lively exchange and got me answers.  I had 45 minutes to figure out where Mary J. Ford and Jerome Ford were buried. 

Now I had tried to find the East Cemetery in Bristol online and kept ending up in Plainsville and that East Cemetery did not work at all.  Well the East Cemetery in Bristol is now the Forestville Cemetery. There were finding aids in the History Room that helped to pin this down.  Cemetery listings which revealed their names and more.  There was a card file of obituaries and I found them in that as well.  They also had the newspapers for Bristol on microfilm. The city directories I asked were retrieved and I looked through them.  I had Mary’s death but not Jerome.  Well it turned out she had died several months before him but both within a short time of each other.  Why he was not showing in probate I don’t know. 

The time slipped by and it was soon 4 pm and it appears that you can continue to work outside in the main library after the History Room closes.  They will retrieve films and other things for you.  Of course you will have to inquire.  I was looking up the obituary and had to get my things out of the History Room.  I like the librarian and I think his name was Terry?  He was very nice, helpful and interested.  The others in the room were also very helpful and gave me directions to the Forestville Cemetery.

Apparently Jerome and Mary Ford lived in an area called Edgewood a part of Bristol to the north.  It was a successful session and I had a street they lived on and the cemetery they were buried in.  All I needed was death and other vital records.  That would have to wait till tomorrow.

I choose the Chimney Crest Manor House to stay in in Bristol.  From the library I took High Street east and turned on Goodwin St, then turned onto Sterns St. and drove through some brick pillars and found the home and pulled into the circular drive.  It is not too hard to miss because it is a very large Tudor style home.

This manor house is like slipping back into the past.  I felt like I needed to have a stylish dress on and not my black cords and velour jacket.  I pushed the bell at the door and the hostess greeted me warmly.

The entrance to the Chimney Crest Manor

Push the doorbell!

Notice the beautiful edging around the arched wood door.

You enter this huge foyer and to the left is the formal dinning room and to the right is a rounded archway and the very large living area. 

My hostess was a delight.  Friendly, warm and very attentive.  We hit it off!  Business was quickly taken care of  and a quick tour of the rooms on the first floor.  WOW!  The living room was one of those rooms in which there are several sitting areas and a fireplace at both ends.  Wifi was available but probably not in my room but in the other areas of the house.  Up the stairs to the 2nd floor and there was a sitting area and down the hall to the right was my room. 

The Foyer

The beautiful hallway.  The curtains are also rounded at the top.

My room was a dream room large with a full bath.  It it had a desk!  A flat screen TV.  My hostess asked is I drank coffee and I said yes and that I usually was up early.  So she said she would bring me some items for that purpose? 

This home reminded me a little of Biltmore in Ashville, NC in some ways. 

My hostess tried to help me find dinner in Bristol but I was not prepared to a lot of driving.  I was hungry and tired and tried find the pub we thought might be good and ended up at Carmine’s on Farmington Ave. 

I don’t know what it is about Bristol but my sense of direction was all messed up.  I guess I am use to north/south not east/west or I was just very tired and starting to get over load?? Usually I find my way.  My hostest even noticed I was messed up on east and west. HA!

Carmine’s was pleasant and they had big picture windows so it was fun to see out and watch the city.  My dinner was just fine.

It was time for retiring, plenty of relaxing and getting ready for the next day.

April 19, 2011: From Litchfield to Thomaston – Ebenezer Goss Country

I love New England!  You can get someplace so quickly by car.  After Litchfield I headed east on Hwy 118 and turned south on to Hwy 254.  It would take me through Northfield into Thomaston, Connecticut.
There is a road named Blakeslee along Hwy 254 and I found it surrounded by large grassy fields.  It is very short.  Now is this were they had their land?  Hmmm….don’t really know.  It was very pretty.



Thomaston was part of Plymouth before it separated. I am heading into Ebenezer Goss and Blakeslee country.  Ebenezer Goss was the younger brother of Solomon Goss and son of Philip and Mary Goss. 

As I drove south from the Blakeslee Road sign I studied the area and saw large fields and then houses on both sides of the Hwy and as I entered Thomaston the houses increased.  I really didn’t know where exactly Ebenezer and Bede had lived but it was suppose to be 1.5 miles on the Hwy to Northfield from Thomaston.  This would be south of Northfield and a little ways after you get to the Knife Shop Road?  This is where they had their children Mary, 1782 to 1841, David 1786-1848, Carver 1791-1821 and Beder 1796-1879.  I kept on going.  The house was still standing in the 1930’s?

Ebenezer married Bede Blakeslee a daughter of David and Abigail Blakeslee.  Some records refer to her as Obedience.  Married 18 May 1752.  Ebenezer packed up the family left Plymouth (Thomaston) about 1804 and headed to Ohio.  The history books for Portage County describe the journey. 

This is a link to a Family Tree online titled “My Goss Family” compiled by Claudette M. Beerman-Rogers.  My cousin Ken Goss has mentioned her several times and visited with her when she lived in Portage County, Ohio.  She has since migrated and moved away but she still has this tree posted about the Goss Family and it has some interesting tidbits on the Goss family and on Ebenezer Goss’s line. 

The town hall for Thomaston was built on land that use to be the old cemetery.  The burials were removed to the Hillside Cemetery in what is called the Ancient Cemetery a part of the larger cemetery.

Find A Grave has a memorial and picture of the David Blakeslee tombstones.  There are lots of Blakeslees in this cemetery and a lot more exploring that could be done. 

Finding the Hilltop Cemetery is very interesting.  I came into Thomaston on Hwy 254 going south and it is basically through a valley and then you come to the stoplight and the main street which runs parallel to the Naugatuck River.  I turned right onto S. Main St. and started to head for Waterbury.  This was tempting but going to Waterbury was a trip in itself.  Digging into the Scott Family was a tall order and I just didn’t have the time this time. So I turned around and looked up to the left trying to spot the cemetery on the hill and there it was among the trees.  I turned onto Center and then onto Marine St. and there was the entrance.

Hilltop is truly on a hill.  Driving around is an interesting experience there are levels that go higher.  This cemetery is huge and not for trying to find graves without some help.  I suggest the cemetery office and a map. 

Entrance to the upper level.
Really a Hilltop Cemetery, Thomaston, CT

You can drive around the Hilltop Cemetery on paved roads.  There are graves tucked in areas that are wooded and you have to walk to them.  There is a pond but don’t drive that road it stops and you don’t want to get stuck in the soft grassy areas.  I think another road ends too so be careful!

So I spent about 45 minutes wandering the Hilltop and didn’t find the Ancient Cemetery?  Well, much to my surprise I had blown right by it.  The entrance is at the very front almost across from the entrance sign I showed earlier and before you get to the maintenance building.  You don’t have to go into the main cemetery and you can park in the maintenance building parking lot.  It was not a problem when I was there no one was around. 

Ancient Cemetery next to the front entrance of Hilltop Cemetery, Thomaston, CT

Ancient Cemetery entrance, Hilltop Cemetery, CT

Frankly I am very worried about this cemetery which is tucked back up a path in the woods.  It was in sad condition with tombstones toppled over and half buried. 

As you can see from the entrance you have to climb a little but it is not too bad.  You do need to find parking and walk in.  There is a path through the woods and I would say about 1 block in?

Path to Ancient Cemetery looking to the entrance.

Path to Ancient Cemetery looking to the tombstones

I found David Blakeslee’s tombstones about in the middle of the burial area. 

Capt. David Blakeslee Bede’s father’s tombstone

David Blakeslee died Feb 11, 1781 Plymouth, Litchfield County, CT.

I had pondered taking photos of cemeteries in detail but I just didn’t have the time.  I felt the tug a lot at this cemetery even though it really wasn’t my family line.  I come down from Ebenezer’s brother Solomon Goss.  I came here to honor my cousin Paul H. Goss and his line down from Ebenezer. 

I have more photos which I will upload when I get the chance for this cemetery.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011: Granville again, Yes a Third Time! Then on to Litchfield

Time to leave Massachusetts and return to Connecticut. The Patriot’s Day Holiday had forced a change of plans.  I had really wanted to visit the Granville Town Hall and I was determined that today I would stop there. This meant that I might have to give up some other side trip or outing. My ultimate goal was Bristol and their public library history room which was open 2-4 pm. 

I checked out of the Comfort Inn and headed back to Connecticut. This Comfort Inn is not as good as others that I have stayed at.  I actually have upgraded from Days Inn’s to Comfort Inn’s and received much better accommodations.  My room was okay except for the huge bathroom and no shelving for the handicapped.  Loved the shower with all the handle bars and movable shower head.  Showers can be a challenge when you travel. 

The laundromat was on the first floor in a stacked arrangement and I put all my quarters into the dryer first….AUGH!!  The receptionist told me to go to the corner for more change.  Hmmm….what has happened to the concept of Petty Cash? I am sorry, I should not rant!  There are so many more motels around this area of Hwy 20/7 that they might be worth checking out and as far as I could see they all looked in good condition?  Comfort Inn does serve breakfast and they have a points reward program.  I have liked my past rooms and the service. 

Coffee Maker carefully situated on the sink!

My goal is to head for Litchfield, CT but before that I want to stop in Granville and visit the town hall.  I originally planned to stop in Barkhamsted and try to find the tavern of Thomas Goss brother to Philip Goss IV who migrated to Simsbury, Granby and Granville.  I think his tavern is where the Christmas Tree farm is north of Barkhamsted Center.  The original burned a while back.  Still seeing where he lived would be interesting. I didn’t have the time if I was to be in Bristol at the library before the History Room closed at 4 pm.  There is a Barkhamsted Historical Society and it might be a good idea to do a little more investigating before attempting this.  I will talk a little more at Thomas Goss later in this post.

I knew the road to Granville.  So it was easy to drive down Hwy 20 to Hwy 8 to Hwy 57 and make my way along.  I passed the covered bridge again just north of New Boston and turned sharply left onto Hwy 57 and headed east to Granville.  This second time went fast and I zoomed by Rose’s home.  Someone was raking in the yard.  I kept going although it was tempting to stop and say hello? 

The Granville Town Hall is a bright white.  I was a little concerned that the Administrative Assistant might not be there but I spotted a car and knew it was open.  I had been told by the town clerk when I called that if she was not there I could leave a note if I wanted something.  I had confidence that I would be able to access the records for Granville. Rose told me the Administrative Assistant should be there but I should call.  I did email but it was like a holiday and the chance she would see it would be small. 

Granville Town Hall, MA

You park on the right side or in the back.  You enter the building through the door in the back.  The front doors are locked. 

The Administrative Assistant was there and helping a man with his taxes.  I explained I wanted to look at the vital records and she said the town clerk was not in but I could look.  She led me into the town clerk’s office and took me behind the wood swing gate to the metal filing cabinets and on top were metal card files.  She cleared off a desk area for me to work.  She explained that the information was in the card file.  She left returning to her office on the other side.  No one was in the room.  These are cards with hand written names, dates and information on them and not much else in information. 

The vital records of Granville, MA in the dark metal card file drawers.

I studied the dates and pulled out the drawer I wanted and started taking photographs of the cards that I was interested in with the names Goss, Haskell, Rose, Gibbons etc.  I looked at birth, marriage and death. 

Before I left I wrote out a note asking for the birth record for Solomon Goss and gave my $5.00.  I asked were the original records were and was told they were too fragile and that was about it.  I am very confused? This is the second town hall in Massachusetts and so far no original records.  Now that is not very many town halls.  Hmmmm….!!  I did appreciate being given access to these records on the cards. 

Granville Town Clerks Office

No more time for dallying.  So I headed west on Hwy 57 back to New Boston and turned the car south Hwy 8 and headed back to Connecticut.  Boy did it come fast.  A lake came into view on my left and I realized that Connecticut was very close.

Not always easy to get a sign like this with no parking in site!

Now I was planning to turn and go to Riverton and then north and around to Barkhamsted Center but decided that I need to press on.  I was soon in Winsted and it was now or never to go east to Barkhamsted?  I opted to continued south on Hwy 8 which had become a very nice four lane highway and was a dream to drive on. 

Well, I might not have investigated Barkhamsted but I could stop in Litchfield and check it out.  My question was “Where did they hang poor Thomas Goss?” 

Barkhamsted is where Thomas Goss lived and he murdered his wife Eunice because he thought she was a witch or as the story goes?  Thomas Goss was a brother to Philip Goss IV who married Mary Kendall.  Thomas had been in Granville and then he migrated to Barkhamsted.  He is listed with Philip Goss on the Granville Land Map that I viewed at the Granville Public Library. 

Now I would publish the newspaper articles for Thomas Goss describing his arrest and the hanging but there is a “reproduction prohibited without permission” at the bottom.  So here is the source:

1.  Article #2 – No Title Connecticut Courant and Weekly Intelligencer (1778-1791); Aug. 29, 1785, ProQuest Historical Newspapers pg. 2.  This is about the trial of Thomas Goss (written Gofs) for the murder of his wife.  “guilty of willful and premeditated murder!”

2.  Article #5 – No Title Connecticut Courant and Weekly Intelligencer (1778-1791); Aug. 29, 1785, ProQuest Historical Newspapers pg. 3. “Litchfield, Nov. 15, Laft Wednefday Thomas Gofs, late of Berhamfted was executed at this place, pursuant to the fentence of the Superior Court for the murder of his wife, — His defence, upon trial was Infanity…” “and under pretense that his wife was a witch…” I obtained this on the internet at a Connecticut Library which has access to the newspapers.  You might be able to get copies in some other way? 

Thomas Goss served in the Revolutionary War and that might have caused some problems afterwards. Here is one source about this service.

Book:  Litchfield County Revolutionary Soldiers – Honor Roll, Josephine Elli Richards, Editor-in-Chief, published by Mary Flloyd Tallmade Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Litchfield, Connecticut, 1912 Pg 41 – Thomas Goss Bark. Men, page 19 – Rec. Conn. Men. 17, 471

Soon I was at the turn off for Hwy 118 to Litchfield which is not that far to go.  Litchfield is wonderful.  I immediately liked what I saw.  They have a great big town green that is divided up with streets and you do have to pay attention to the streets signs and highway signs.  I turned on South St. (Hwy 63) and then parked my car across from a long line of buildings that must be their downtown area. 

Litchfield Shopping!

There was a restaurant named DiFranco’s and I decided to give it a try.  Perfect, just what I wanted a sit down restaurant with a variety of items to choose from.  I sat in the window so I could watch the action outside. 

People looking very much like lawyers were coming in and out of this building that looked more like a church and I asked a man if it was the courthouse and he said “yes.”  You can see rain drops on my camera lens!

Down the street to the east on the corner was the Litchfield Historical Society.  It was after 11 am and I knew that I might after all be in luck and be able to visit it.  Sure enough it was open.  I was greet by a nice friendly receptionist who asked me to sign in and I think I paid $5.00?  I told him what I needed was to find out information about Thomas Goss and he sent me downstairs to the Archives. 

Right on the corner !

One of the attendants behind the desk offered to help and I told her about Thomas Goss and she jumped up and went into the back through a door and a few minutes later she and another person came out with a file folder with a few items in it about Thomas Goss.  They had the two articles I had obtained from the Connecticut newspaper and have listed above and another article from the Litchfield paper which she gave me a copy. 

Source:  Republican-American (Waterbury newspaper?) Sunday June 13, 2010 “Race’s murderous hill has history of hangings pg 1 and continued on page 4A by Brigitte Ruthman.  “It was known as “The Gallows,” just off the Town Green and a half-mile from the courthouse and jail. It is where, during the 1700s and 1800s at least four convicted murderers were hanged….hangings were conducted at a hangman’s tree.”  Several cases are presented in this article with names.  “Thomas Goss was a 52-year old innkeeper who was said to have showed signs of insanity in 1785.  “He fancies himself beset by the minions of the spirit word and used to speak of goblins harassing him,” according to historical accounts, “and began calling himself the second Lamb of God.”  He killed his wife with an ax, believing her to be a witch and “smeared her gore over the bodies of her three children: to keep her form casting a spell on him.  He then walked to a neighbors house to confess his crime.  He was hanged at Litchfield Nov. 7, 1785.”

How sad!!!! The descriptions of the hangings are documented in “Legal Executions,” a comprehensive reference by Daniel Allen Hearn at the Connecticut State Library.  I have not check this source from the newspaper article.” 

I asked her were he might have been hung and she mention Gallows Lane featured in the article.  Then she said quietly that they really didn’t know.  I said “Gallows Lane and where is that?”  So she pulled out a another map not the Walking tour map of Litchfield that I had found and showed me it was south on Hwy 63. Gallows Lane is flat when you first approach and then there is a steep hill to a valley below. It is very short with trees on one side and houses on the other.  The tree is long gone but it is believed to be haunted. I guess I have watched too many CSI’s. 

Now there is another family of interest in Litchfield.  Oliver Wolcott Sr. buried in the East Cemetery in Litchfield and Oliver Wolcott Jr.   Their houses are in Litchfield on Hwy 63.  The Walking Tour of Historic Litchfield.  According to this map the Litchfield Library is Oliver Wolcott Jr’s home and across the street is opposite Wolcott St. as it butts up to South Street is Oliver Sr’s home. 

Well this is what happens when you hurry! The Library at Litchfield
Oliver Srs. Home

Litchfield would be worth returning to and exploring it was lovely even in the rain!