Don’t Fight About Money

James Frederick Smith born 1880, adopted child of James William and Hattie Hickey Smith. His parents were George and Sarah Smith, George was brother to my great grandmother Elizabeth Smith. Their parents were James William Smith born in Ireland, 1808 and Mary Ann Wilson, 1818, from Loyalist Canadian background

I went walking and met money. I said, “You are just a piece of paper.” Money smiled and said, “yes, I’m just paper but nobody throws me in the trash yet people like to fight over me!”

My great great grandmother Elizabeth Smith (Let’s Go Homesteading in Gilpin, Alberta blog) had a brother 2 years younger than her, George Smith. The family came from Irish and Loyalist backgrounds. George grew up in the large Smith family moving from St. Mary’s, Ontario to Port Hope, Gore, Huron, Michigan. He lived through the bad fires of 1881 and 1891. George married Sarah E. Sampson in 1876. They had four children: Bertha 1878, James William Smith 1880-1926, Maude 1886, Frances 1889. Sarah became a young widow with the death of George the fall of October 1889. He was 35. She had four very young children to support.

Sarah Smith, head of the family on the census, became a dressmaker to support herself and ran a boarding house with 13 boarders. Under her matriarchal roof lived James William her son, a plumber and his wife Hattie Bella, Maude at 24 a stenographer, and a married daughter, Frances Kipp, 21, about to become divorced. James William Smith became a surfman. He must have been a dare devil; liking the roar of the boat’s engine over the ocean waves, bucking the incoming waves, and the peppery feel of sea spray on his face for he was a Life Saving Keeper on the Point aux Barques lighthouse near Port Huron, Michigan for six years (before they took the name Coast Guard Marines). It was here he would come back and build his mansion.

From a July 9, 1926 newspaper called the Lakeshore Guardian, I gleaned the successful businessman James William Smith became. “Jim” as he was known had 300 employees invited to his summer home; from Detroit, they caravanned 60 cars, owned by the Smith Truck Company, enroute to Pointe aux Barques. He was born in Gore, and spent his boyhood across the road from the school house. When he first started the trucking business, he had many obstacles to overcome and success seemed impossible. Persistent and determined he built up and obtained a contract trucking daily between Detroit and Pontiac and Flint, Michigan, hauling Fisher bodies for the Buick Motor Co. In celebration he had invited all his employees up to his summer house for a vacation: fireworks, dancing, racing, a ball game, bathing and boating.

October 22, 1926: Pneumonia took Life of James W. Smith Sunday Afternoon was the headline on Sunday October 17.

James W. Smith Sep 19, 1880 Port Hope, -Oct 17, 1926 aged 46, Detroit, Michigan

Only ill a week, the dreaded disease took a life which had been such a great success both in business and social way. He was born in Port Hope, December 19, 1880. His first job was fireman at the waterworks plant in Bay City. Then he was coast guard at Pointe aux Barques. After leaving this government service in 1909 he drove taxi just as automobiles were new. From this small beginning he worked hard amid many disappointments building one of the largest trucking companies in the US. At the present time James W. Smith Trucking Co. operates 91 large trucks, with the exclusive contract conveying Buick auto bodies. His friends will remember him prospering in a financial way; he is reported to have been worth over a million dollars. But their memories are of a man who was never happy unless he was bringing sunshine into the lives of others. His Fourth of July party left no man losing any wages while away from work, all the expense was met by the deceased. His latest act of philanthropy was a new steel dock to his old home town of Port Hope, 500 feet long costing $8000. A member of the Masonic Lodge, he was survived by his wife Hattie, one son, James F. Smith, his mother, Mrs. Sarah E Smith, and two sisters, Mrs. A. F. Burstrom (Maude) and Mrs. W.C. Hooper (Frances). Burial in Detroit.

The mansion at Pointe aux Barques was finished by his widow, Hattie, July 27, 1927, when the roof was finished, detailing yellow brick, beams of steel, two stories, a bar and casino in the basement and a 18 hold golf course. A well with 8000 feet of pipe watered the 100 acre farm which was to be his retirement home. There were also four cottages on the property, one was being remodeled for his mother, Sarah, but she hadn’t been given the deed upon his death.

Mrs. Hattie Smith, his wife, at aged 45 became President of Smith Trucking, she had remained active as executive head and associate of her husband and assumed the presidency on his death. James and Hattie and drawn up joint wills in which each bequeathed property , 1/3 to go to his mother, his sisters and other relatives to be an equitable division among relations. Hattie rewrote her will, revoking the former one, leaving the fortune to their adopted son, James Frederick Smith (Teddy) born in 1918. She made no provision therein for the mother of her deceased husband, but left each of his sisters, named in his will and hers, the sum of $10,000. She named her niece Mrs. Helen Fader, daughter of her sister, Mrs. Minnie Rosencrans, administrator and guardian. James was 9 when his father died. Hattie died of a cerebral embolism January 8, 1928 the next year. The papers wrote the headline: Hattie Smith Will Is Filed, Fortune Left to Adopted Boy, Estimated 1 – 3 Million. It’s dated October 2, 1929.

And the fight was on! Several attempts were made to alter the terms of her will. The estate was tied up in a suit for years, sending it to the supreme court! There was a motion to remove with a charge of mismanagement when the yacht worth $100,000 was sold for $39,000. (This was during the depression years). and a motion to remove Helen as guardian was pled by the boy’s real mother, Mrs. Rose Ruoff Bryce, seeking to regain custody of him. Helen (the executor of the will and James guardian ) Fader’s husband was superintendent for the trucking company and stated he didn’t know where his wife, Helen, was. The court dismissed the mother’s case, when it was found Helen had taken the boy to a school. The family objected to the way Mrs. Fader was operating the Smith Trucking Company and charged misuse of company funds. This case was also dropped. The funeral bill for Hattie was $4365.64 and was not considered a preferred claim over others in the estate. Mrs. Fader filed a report for Jan 1928-Sept 1929 showing income of $1,409774 and disbursements of $1,031,107.

The attorney admitted that Cousin Helen, Mrs. Fader, had fled the jurisdiction and was hiding the then 13 year old James Frederick Smith, the heir of the trucking estate. The next headline says they were in court four times and suit delayed again. In 1929 a title read, “Loses Fight to Regain Rich Son.” My further research says the mother was a drug addict when she gave up her son for adoption, and had remarried. Mrs. Bryce, the mother was charged with perjury, when she didn’t disclose a previous violation of probation and disorderly person arrest. A September 20, 1934 Newspaper at Detroit, Michigan was titled, “Mother May see Boy Heir” and tells he had received only $60,000 while the other 7 heirs had received $150,000 each. In March 1935 Mother is barred from adopted son, The boy had been adopted at age one. The judge held it was not good policy to allow the natural parents to interfere with children after adoption. James was a student cadet at Howe Military Academy. The court approved $15,841 spent on his schooling.

The paper wrote a flattering op ed of the grandmother saying the 71 year old looks 20 years younger and has a keen understanding of the 91 trucks and trailers managed by outsiders, excluding her family. I don’t understand how the will was handled? The relatives succeeded in upsetting the will and the courts ordered the distribution of the estate on the lines of the joint will. The title, front page of the newspapers exclaimed, Grandmother Wins in $3 Million Will Suit.

Sarah Smith wife of my Great Uncle George Smith lived to be 92..

The trial court filed an opinion which stated: “his opinion of abundant proof to sustain plaintiffs’ contention that James W. Smith and Hattie Smith, his wife, agreed with each other to make wills which would leave a third of the estate of the survivor in equal portions to seven relatives, four of whom were the mother and three sisters of the husband ad the other three, a niece and two sister of the wife.” A reading of the testimony also satisfies us that such an agreement was made. Mr. Smith was an only son. His mother, left a widow when he was a small boy, had endured much hardship in rearing him and his sisters, and found on page 305, when he first engaged in the trucking business she advanced the money with which he purchased his first truck. He appreciated her kindness and assistance. It was but natural that he should want to provide for her old age when making his will. The provision made for her in both wills would be inoperative unless the wife had bound herself by agreement with him that hers should not be changed in the event that she survived him. It was conceded that none of the plaintiffs were present at the time the contract was made.

So what happened to the little millionaire boy? Accounting of May 1931, showed real estate valued at $1,052,409 in addition to $625,469 in cash and bonds. However the court was probing the boy’s fortune Aug 9, 1934 when he was age 19, as there were shortages. He was to inherit at age 20, 2/3 of the estate. 4 of Mr. Smith’s heirs had received money as well as 4 of Mrs. Smith’s heirs, and the long fought suit was settled privately. Mrs. Fader besides being administratrix, and Jame’s legal guardian was one of seven other heirs named in the will.

He grew up! after being raised in the home of Walter and Helen Fader. He was a Lieutenant stationed at Camp Wheeler, Macon, Georgia and married Dorothy Jane Parkhill in 1941.

Marriage of Parkhill/Smith Nov 2, 1941

She was an artist, world traveler and avid golfer and had studied fashion design. Dotty was one of the Eclectrics, a women’s artist group. They had children: James Parkhill Smith and wife Lynne Mills who gave the couple a grandchild, John Mills (J.M.) Smith. Twin girls died in infancy. In 1953 her father, James Parkhill, retired industrialist willed his wife, the daughter Dorothy (Dottie) and a grandson James Parkhill Smith $1 million in property and $500,000 in General Motors stock, whose company had taken over his. James William Smith my adopted 2nd cousin 2x removed, died in 1993, Dottie was a widow until 2007.

How Old Are You? The Stories of John Waddell 1921-2003

“Daddy” sketched by Wendy Harty, 2012

“Not nearly as old as many of my ancestors”, I say! This was also the answer Pharaoh got from Jacob, Genesis 47:9. And then I read in Psalm 90; The span of our lives is seventy years, Or given the strength, eighty years, But the best of them are trouble and sorrow, (and labor). They pass by speedily. My father, John Gordon Waddell was born October 17, 1921 and lived to be over the allotted three score and ten. Daddy, as I always called him lived to be nearly 82, dying August 15, 2003.

The following is a summary from his autobiography written in 1989. It was on a wintry night in October, Mrs. Sweet, the neighbor lady was sent for. In a blizzard of 1921, John Gordon Waddell was born on the homestead in the St. Kilda district of Southern Alberta late on a Monday night, October 17. In the morning, he was greeted by his three older siblings, Dorothy, Arthur and Grace. His parents were Gordon and Olive (Gibbs) Waddell.

John Gordon Waddell was born here in 1921, in Davis Coulee.
Olive Waddell, Dorothy, Grace, Art, Alice toddler and John on ground, Davis Coulee, St. Kilda district about
This home was moved in 1929, where Johnny grew up, (I lived in this house for my first 4 years).

The family was 20 miles from the nearest town of Coutts. His playmates besides his siblings were the kids growing up in Montana, in the Sweetgrass Hills and the McLachlan’s over the hill to the west. He loved cats and dogs and had many pets. As a kid he could travel the country side on a stick horse and played with paper people snitched from old colorful Sears and Roebuck catalogues found in the outhouse of Dave and Lizzie Thomas. Johnny told us girls about catching frogs in the coulee. He cooked and ate them using an old metal tea kettle for a stove and an old jam lid for the frying pan. (I vividly recall the day he helped us girls do this!) Johnny didn’t want to go school; he’d heard “stories” and was afraid and scared. His oldest sister Dorothy, carried him screaming into his first day of school. He had a good pal in James McLachlan but they also wrestled and fought during recess. The grade one teacher Ken Scott used to take off his belt and whip the boys – then they’d go outside and cry together and say, “I wish his pants would fall down.” The kids were ragged and some had very little food, he went to school with. This made a vivid impression and he talked about how poor they were. It left with him a great determination to provide for his family in later years. The games at school were anti-I-over, pom-pom pull away. Johnny had a deep scar on the back of his head as a result of falling backward into a barbed wire fence at school. (no stitches).

School was held at the Plumas Gaines house about 1 1/2 miles west of home. A sheepherder named Bill Gordon lived in a sheep wagon in the yard. The kids spent their noon hour with him. He played the spoons to entertain them and had a trunkful of circus clothes. Susan McKnight (later married Bill Harvie) (and still later taught me in Grade 6) was Johnny’s Grade two teacher. He still wasn’t impressed with school. For grade 3, the kids were moved to Indian Rock School #2540. Miss Doan, the teacher, boarded with the Waddell family. At age eight, she taught him how to read and spell and gave him excellent math skills. An excellent sympathetic teacher for an eight year old boy. Then disaster the next year! Fife came to teach at Indian Rock. She used to “forget” to bring matches to light the fire so Johnny was usually sent home to get them – 1 1/2 miles and back before a fire could be built. She forced Johnny to sing solo in front of the class until he fainted. She whipped the kids whenever she took a notion to. Each of the boys had a special board on the outside of the school on which they scratched their names and recorded the beatings they got. The school was a cold school, being built before insulation was used. It was heated with a CPR stove in the middle of the room. Many times the children sat in a circle around the stove, with their feet on the railing which encircled it. Their feet would have been frozen had they been kept on the floor. There was no water supply at this school, so each brought in a bottle or syrup pail. On a hot day playing ball, a bottle of water didn’t last long. The five Waddell children (Alice had been born) and four McInnes, an immigrant family from Scotland, were its last pupils. (1932).

1928, Johnny was 7.
Johnny Waddell

In the 1920’s drilling companies arrived and a gas well was drilled one mile north of home. This site became known as the Oil Well Corner. The Waddell’s sold milk to the cookhouse and the kids liked to go along on the milk delivery buggy to visit the cook who gave them pie and other goodies. There were picnics, on the river at Howard Leslies. By this time there were many cows to milk at home and they had to leave early and miss the picnic supper.

Johnny used marks like IIII with a line through to count 5. On old wooden granaries you may still find these marks where early farmers measured out their grain by the bucketful. The next four years of school were spent at St. Kilda. Johnny helped plant the trees, hoed and carried water to them. They were all promised a gift from the local board for their efforts that never materialized. There were races and prizes of balls that he could win. Johnny rode to school on a Shetland named Cappy. He would often buck him off. Johnny found memory work difficult and useless but was whipped many times and kept after school. Then he would have to gallop all the way home in order to arrive at the same time as the other kids to avoid another whipping; five miles of hard galloping but Cappy was a hardy little pony. His grade six teacher used to tell him how dumb and stupid he was and that he would never amount to anything. When Johnny finished grade nine he threw away his passing certificate and galloped home happy to think those awful years were behind him.

Johnny did chores at home and at age 14, was hauling bundles to the threshing machine. He also trapped coyotes to provide for himself. The years of the mid 30’s were dry years and difficult. 1936 winter came early with deep snow and -40F for over a month. During these years many of the homesteaders moved out. Jimmie McInnes gave Johnny his first calf in return for taking a four horse team and wagon load of good to the train station at Coutts. Jimmie gave him his old N.W. mounted police saddle. Johnny trailed cattle to Coutts and Sweetgrass for various cattle buyers. On one occasion the buyer shipped out without paying him or for his hotel room and Johnny had to ride the 20 miles home without breakfast. Another occasion, Johnny and his brother, Art, with two others were trailing 200 head from 1-9 to Sweetgrass. They were caught in a violent rain storm. The electricity in the air caused balls of fire to roll along the telephone wire, bouncing as it went. The horses ear’s glowed in outline in the dark.

When Johnny was 18 he went to work for Joe Gilchrist. Joe was an excellent boss and teacher. With his help Johnny perfected his skills of a cowboy and rancher. The dream of owning his own ranch was shaping in his mind. Johnny developed an acute awareness of his surroundings and of various animals. His powers of observation were sharpened. He wished he had the education to become a Mountie or a vet. As Johnny worked for Joe he trailed cattle east to Bedfords in the spring, west in the fall. Gilchrists’s summered 1000 head of steers in Saskatchewan. On one occasion he was lost in the fog, another set afoot in the fog and at times lost in open country with no fences for miles. He saw many dinner times with no dinner. Once moving animals from the Cross Z to Lost River the animals didn’t want to move in the rain. It took all day to move them 13 miles. After supper they had to ride back to the Cross Z – in the dark their horses took them home- it was the blackest night he had ever seen. The CPR built a corral and chute at Bain on the railroad leading southeast from Manyberries to ship cattle from. The cowboys would gather the three year old steers, corral them and load out the cars. The men worked from a rope corral. At night their horses were turned loose, except for a wrangle horse. They changed horses several times a day as each field was 1 or 2 townships in size.

The horses needed for round-up held in a rope corral.

Joe and Muriel were good to Johnny. Muriel doctored him with hot salt packs when his sinus problems occurred. The ranch cook, kept him well fed. They were very appreciative of their men. Many years later when Joe suffered a broken leg when his horse fell, the horse came home alone. Muriel called Johnny to come search, “You are the only one that knows this land and where Joe will be.”

At the Milk River ranch Joe let Johnny keep his horse, Brown Bomber, for his personal use. Sometimes he would ride 10 miles to a dance at Massinasin, arrive back at the ranch in time for breakfast, to face another had days work with no sleep. He continued working out when asked. For Doug Weir, he gathered cattle from a community pasture west of Milk River. Here they slept in tents often cold and snowy in late October.

When World War II came, Johnny was classed as 4-F and exempt from military service. The community built the bowery – the cement dance floor at St. Kilda. They held Red Cross dances and rodeos there. The main social life was picnicking and berry picking.

In 1945, Johnny went to a turkey supper at Allerston, where he met Jean Miller who was a teacher at Coutts. On the 6th of January, 1946 Johnny bought his first car a 1935 Chev Coupe. There were many wedding dances that winter as the soldiers returned home with their brides. Johnny worked late at night to put in the spring crops so he could take a few days of at Easter time to go meet Jean’s family and to be married at Red Deer Alberta, April 26, 1946.

Jeane Miller and Johnny Waddell, courting

My dad and mom, Johnny and Jeane worked side by side and were married for 57 years. They worked for his dad for the first ten years and lived in the same house, for several. On October 19, 1956 they bought the ranch and began to build it into their dream and have the cattle Johnny wanted. The ranch expanded in 1958 when they purchased Plumas Gaines lease land. The ranch was paid in full October, 1972.

Haying memories: The job went from an overshot stacker and bull rake toa W-9 tractor with a push off stacker in front of it. Finally a baler in 1955. The oat crops were half bales and half bundles – cut with a 6 foot binder and a three horse team. Johnny hated stooking! In Johnny’s words, “hard work and honesty pays off – and being considerate of the older generation”. They taught him lots. Johnny suffered many accidents and illnesses; being bucked off as a youngster there were neck and headaches. He was injured from a fall from a hay sweep in 1950 and again in a fall in 1967. He had thyroid problems, many bouts of sinus and pneumonia, kidney stones, a broken foot. Surgery included spinal fusions, one in 1962, another in 1968. Skin cancer in 1989.

Besides his ranch, his chief joy was his family. Marlene Beryl born 1951, Wendy Jean 1955, Dawn Elizabeth 1957 and Dixie Gwen 1967. One of his saddest days was the death of his oldest, Marlene, Sept 6, 1982. Johnny and Jeane retired from the ranch in 1979 where he says he has everything he wanted, “a home, a car, a horse and a family he is proud of!” Johnny did volunteer work for the Lethbridge Handicapped Riding Association and fed and exercised their horses for years, enjoyed old time music and rodeos. He enjoyed his grandchildren: Jennifer and Andrea Neil, Philip, Lorne and Lorraine Harty, Ryan and Jordan King, Morgan and Raymond Husereau. And he asked each of us girls if we were sure before walking us down the aisle to son-in-laws: Jim, Brendan, Brian and Maurice!

Waddell family picture about 1994

My Dad and his family wrote many letters, here’s some snippets from 1937-42. To Dorothy, you old stick, I went to Daroes dance, it was 10 below out side and about zero in that barn, had to keep moving to keep warm. Art was working out on paper to find out who loved him. He had Ethel’s, Marie and Sophie’s name. I don’t believe anything he’s peddaling. Gracie kissed John, I saw them. The bull ran away and Gracie took Rambler to get him back. She thinks he fell with her and she was knocked out. She was white as a sheet and doesn’t know how long she was out. From Alice: Dad froze his ear lobes today, Art rode for the cattle in the storm and froze his face. Gracie and I had to churn a gallon can of cream. We all have colds, mine is in my lungs, feels like on fire to cough. Art made a sleigh big enough for 3 of us. Damn magpies are bothering the cattle in the corral. I let the dog in to sleep out of the cold. Johnny and I (Alice) frosted our feet and they were poofy on the bottoms. Dad rubbed kerosene on them at bedtime. His strong, warm hands gave us a good rub. April 1, 1938 Gracie made a swell angel food cake. Old Pete caught a gopher, there are big drifts on both sides of coulee, Dad is afraid if it melts fast. When we started at St. Kilda we were the new kids and got bullied. One day someone dared Johnny to yell, “Dago”. I came around the corner at recess and saw the Italian bullies had him on the ground destroying him. I grabbed a big stick and got in a few good whacks. The recess bell saved me from these older and bigger bullies but Johnny’s nose really bled. When I (Alice) had my 3rd baby born at Mom and Dad’s I had fever and pain in my face with deliriums. Johnny made small bags of salt and heated them on the stove. He stayed up all night for days to help me and sat by my bed (1945 Johnny was 21).

These special moments of you will always bring a smile: the night you held the pillow against the hail stones on my bedroom window; the day I never undid the back cinch on Goldie and you never scolded; the day you and I were loading bales and when I was hot and tired you said, “If I sat down every time I got tired, nothing would ever get done,” and together we kept going, that moment when it was you and me and you quietly, peacefully slipped away. Forever in my heart, daddy, 100 years ago you were born. Love Wendy

John Gordon Waddell 1921-2003

Can Cows Catch a Mental Illness?

October 10th is World Mental Health Day. I think the pandemic has hit hard. Anyone facing long term health conditions has been impacted. I faced my fears when denied surgery for thyroid cancer because the bed I needed was needed by a covid-19 patient. The surgical floor was closed and used as surge beds. This is my chance to talk about mental health, how we need to look after it and how important it is to talk about things when one is struggling. With cups of coffee and phone calls I felt surrounded by people who understood and were there to listen to me. The roller coaster of emotions, ups and downs, maybe even a flip upside down and over again, at least that’s the story the sheets told each morning as I untangled myself. There is a happy ending to this part of my struggle; surgery happened and I am recovering happily. I listened to calming babbling brook meditations, dropped my shoulders and unclenched the jaw. I learned to break some rules I had set for myself. I asked for help and arrived at a healthier mental place. And then I sought my favorite pastime of researching the ancestors and relatives and found this story.

After cancerous thyroid removed October 8, 2021

The year was 1885. A proposed site for a new Protestant Mental Health Hospital was being proposed for Verdun, Montreal. The farmers that owned surrounding land rose up in protest in fear that their livestock may catch mental illness from the patients. Really? It’s maybe not that fetched then to think people think covid shots will harm them, the government can trace them or an anti-scientific political agenda is out to reset their lives. Maybe someday the unvaxxed will read history and say “Really”? “People thought that really”? For me it is still too easy to dismiss someone else’s decisions when I don’t understand their day-to-day challenges they face; I just pray that challenge wouldn’t be covid related. If I could, I’d ask cousin George, but he died in 1983.

The idea for a “Protestant Hospital for the Insane” was founded in 1881 and became the most progressive mental health institution in Quebec. It was not administered by a religious institution and depended on public generosity, volunteers and resources from the community. Headley Farm was purchased, in 1887, 110 acres, for $108,170. The farm provides most of the food for patients who by 1890 there were 140 patients. In the next 20 years, pavilions were built and one was named Reed Pavilion. In 1946, the hospital became affiliated with McGill University and became a teaching hospital. In the 50’s, a revolutionary breakthrough and research with antipsychotic medications gave new lives to those considered incurable. In 1965 the Hospital was renamed The Douglas Hospital. It is recognized for its quality of services and a leader in the field of mental health research. Hope and recovery and reducing the stigma surrounding mental illness would make those protesting farmers feel pretty stupid today?

If you go to the emergency entrance today at Douglas Hospital, you enter through Reed Pavilion. It is named after Dr. George Ernest Reed L.M.C.C. my second cousin once removed on my father’s side.

Douglas Hospital

George was born in 1903.

William and Alice Reed with Florence and George Ernest Reed

George was born to parents William Charles Henry Reed and Alice Maud Clarke and the grandson of Leander Gersham Reed who made soda pop famous and Eliza Jane Waddell who in a previous blog sadly walked off the wharf and drowned. Eliza Jane was a 1/2 aunt to my grandfather, Gordon Waddell. Dr. Reed graduated from the University of Toronto in 1926, and was medical Superintendent at Verdun Protestant Hospital from 1947-1957. He was assistant Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University from 1943-1957, a consultant in psychiatry for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. He was certified in Psychiatry and Neurology and was on many boards.

George Ernest Reed

He died in 1983 at the age of 81. He married twice the first to Grace and they lived on the grounds of the hospital. Secondly he married his cousin, Leila Viola (Cy) Reed. who would also be my second once removed cousin.

Leila Viola Reed daughter of Edward Derocke and Leila Maude Muller Reed.

Imagine his excitement at teaching brilliant minds, Dr. Reed was there when his fellow doctor first used chlorpromazine and reduced patients sufferings; was there when imipramine for the treatment of depression was first used. The hospital had housing for 1200 inpatients while he was Superintendent. George would discharge a number of psychotic patients returning them to community life. Before he died he would see advances in buildings for the needs of children and adolescents, a community mental health clinic and divisions for aging and Alzheimer disease, and research into mood, anxiety, impulse and schizophrenia disorders.

I’ll end with this quote by Lisa Olivera, “Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you doesn’t mean you can, should, or need to it do it alone.” Drop those shoulders and pick up the phone and give someone a call.

Perches, Punkins and Penn

Eyes, Which Relative Do I Get My Eyes From? sketched by Wendy Harty September, 2021

Sometimes my research pulls me in all directions. My 7th great grandparents, Woodman Stockley (1654-1713) and Jane Rogers (1659-1713) didn’t know where they lived! Indian River, Delaware, was known for its pumkin chunkin festival which would involve hurling a pumpkin. There were new taxation laws imposed on the Sussex County, Delaware, 1693, which were only “supposed to be in force for one year”.

The William Burton Patent for Long Neck is found on page 247 Georgetown Court House, Delaware. It is described: W side of Delaware Bay, S side of Rehoboth Bay, N side of the Greate River, 1000 perches to a white oak at head of small creek called Indian Cabin Creek, N 350 perches to a white oak standing by a creek called Middle Creek with a line of marked trees to the Bay, SE 1000 perches containing 100 acres of land.

As you can see, the land wasn’t surveyed, they used landmarks and what was a perch? The mile was based on a Roman measurement of 1000 paces. The word “furlong” comes from the distance ploughed by an oxen without a rest. A foot the length of a man’s foot, a perch was 16 1/2 feet, 40 -perches was 1 rood and 4 roods was 1 acre. An acre could be ploughed by a team of 8 oxen in one day. It certainly wasn’t an exact science, and imagine if the white oak blew over after a hurricane wind or the point eroded and fell in the water?

Then enter into the equation two kings. in 1632, King Charles ! of England in the Charter of Maryland granted the Peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay and a line from Watkin’s Point to 40 degrees to Lord Baltimore (that wasn’t colonized yet!). Then by 1664, James I English King had granted Virginia 400 miles of Atlantic Coast extending west to the Pacific Ocean to the colonists of Jamestown, 1606-1611. Each claimed the land my relatives lived on.

Woodman and John (twins born in 1654) and brother William Stockley were three of the seven boys of John Stockley Jr. and Elizabeth Watkins. John Stockley Jr. obtained his Assawoman plantation, Accomack County, Virginia by transporting people from England to the New World Colony of Virginia in 1664. 50 acres for each person transported was given. Here the family grew up and I think the 70 mile strip of land later called the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) was becoming to populated to expand. These three boys went about 50 miles north with the cattle their father, John Stockley gave them just before he died in 1673. Here there was a boundary dispute over a 28 mile wide strip of territory. A final judgement wasn’t achieved until 1767, when the Mason-Dixon line was recognized as the boundary between the colonies of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware and Penn and Lord Baltimore quit fighting. Therefore my 7th great grandparents didn’t know where they lived and the records of Sussex Country, Somerset County and Accomack County are all listed as their children’s birth places. Thus Elizabeth Stockley, my 6th great grandmother is born 1689 at Somerset, Maryland and her aunt Jane dies at Love Creek, Sussex, Delaware, 1710. My research leads me to believe the family never really moved, the boundary lines were just changed.

Henry Bagwell was John and Elizabeth Watkins Stockley’s educated neighbor. Henry was the clerk of the 1st Court of Accomack. His son, Thomas Bagwell married their cousin Ann Stockley daughter of Uncle Francis Stockley. They were the first of this large Stockley family to move to Sussex County, Delaware when William Burton sold half of Long Neck to Thomas Bagwell. It was all one big family interrelated. William Burton was married to Thomas’s Aunt Frances Bagwell and they had eleven sons at Accomack County, Virginia. By 1677, William Burton and sons owned 1000’s of acres along Indian River. They had to pay the natives for the land – one matchcoat -a big fur cloak for each 600 acres. The rent was 10 bushels of winter wheat, settlers had to make improvements and continue in obedience and confirming himself to the Laws of their government.

It was here the three Stockley brothers, the twins Woodman and John and another brother William, brought the cowherd to Sussex County, which was sparsely settled. Woodman Stockley my 7th great grandfather married Jane Rogers in 1673. His best friend William Atkins, and indentured servant married his sister, Ann Stockley. It was also in 1673 that their father, John Stockley Sr. died and the seven sons inherited equal shares in the Assawoman Plantation of 385 acres each. Woodman sold his inheritance to his younger brother, Charles, who lived near their widowed, blind, mother, Elizabeth Watkins Stockley remarried to John Stratton.

By 1693, Woodman and Jane Stockley were found on records listed in a Delaware tax role. The taxation was only to be for one year with these stipulations: 6 shillings if owned less than 100 pounds of assets, those with a great charge of children would not be taxed or if one was indigent. This would be taxed on all freemen.

John Stockley value 200 pounds taxed 0.16.8

Woodman Stockley value 100 pounds taxed 0.08.4

Charles Stockley value 100 pounds taxed 0.08.4

William Atkins (married to their sister Ann) with less than 100 assets was taxed 0.06.0 or 6 shillings. We know from a court case I recorded in a previous blog that William married to Woodman’s sister had a cow that was in a court case worth 350 pounds of tobacco, but didn’t have a penny to his name, the year before in 1692 where the records state he had recently come.

In 1706 Woodman Stockley and William Atkins bought 300 acres on the south side of Love Creek and Branch in Love’s Creek in Angola Neck, which was listed in his will as on the sea side of Cedar Neck. Further records show Woodman in 1710 moved to Somerset County where he died, still owning “Bradford Hall” his plantation in Sussex County which he bequeathed to his son, Woodman Jr.

My research shows Woodman and Jane living in all three states of Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. I wasn’t able to ascertain what a great charge of children was for the taxation laws but apparently Woodman and Jane’s didn’t qualify. Woodman’s brother John Stockley Jr. was the Judge of the Court in Sussex County in 1692. Apparently the family grew tobacco and gained land for their named plantations. Woodman Stockley’s will written in 1710 named his wife Jane and left Woodman Jr. his 150 acre plantation at Bradford Hal, Sussex County, Delaware. He left to 3 sons, Joseph, Benjamin and Oliver 300 acres out of 500 at Cedar Neck and he named his two daughters, Elizabeth my 6th great grandmother and her sister Temperance.

I wonder today if I could win at a punkin chunkin festival or go golfing on the course that was designed on Long Neck by Jack Nichlaus? I wonder if the white oak still stands? I wonder?

Watkin’s Point

Hand drawn map of Watkin’s Point referenced from 1612 map of John Smith drawn by Wendy Harty 2021

From a 1612 map drawn by Captain John Smith, is found the name Watkin’s Point. Elizabeth Watkins, my 8th great grandmother, born in 1633 at Accomack County, Virginia, is possibly a relative of James Watkins, who the point of land on the peninsula was named after. James Watkins was a soldier in the expedition of Captain John Smith in June 1608. Watkins arrived, as a laborer, on the first supply ship to reach Jamestown in 1608. It was Smith, who named the point after James Watkins.

That such an obscure place in Maryland, would have my maternal ancestor, associated with it is a fun fact, but that it also had contention is another fact. William Burton settled in part of Somerset County, Maryland and sold his land to Thomas Bagwell, a cousin’s husband of Woodman Stockley, John and Elizabeth Watkins Stockley’s son. In Burton’s affidavit in the boundary dispute between Penn and Lord Baltimore, he was called William Burton of Maryland, Planter aged 62 and said he had resided in the county of Sussex and Maryland for 48 years. His lands had been granted to him by Lord Baltimore. Thus when he died in 1744/45 he didn’t know that years later by the decision of the House of Lords that he had been in Delaware!

William Burton was also Justice of the Peace. In 1696, at the first court of Prince George’s County, the name was changed from Mount Calvert to Charles Town (named after the third Lord Baltimore, a Catholic.) Lord Baltimore retained title to the land in Maryland not yet granted, or nearly 2800 square miles of which only a fraction had been granted. And at the center of the problem Watkin’s Point became a costly public issue! For two more centuries no on really cared. When a line was cut for 15 miles through trees and marsh from Pocomoke River to the Eastern shore, the southern border was vague, from the mouth of the Patowmack river where there is a spring to the promontory called Watkins Point. It was not possible to determine latitude with any degree of accuracy. The 1608 map referenced above was about 17 miles out. So years later, when Penn and Lord Baltimore agreed to disagree, Lord Baltimore really didn’t care because the area was marginal land and had little value to either side, and it would become Delaware, not Maryland.

What they didn’t know was what lay hidden in the water around Watkin’s Point? 1840-1850 Victorian America developed a taste for oysters. The harvest in Maryland doubled from 710,000 to 1.4 million bushels. The peak harvest of 15 million bushels was reached in 1884 and the Oyster Wars occurred between Maryland and Virginia. Maryland hauled the Virginians into court and confiscated their boats, and gave them fines for over harvesting in their waters. In 1852 another survey was attempted but the findings were so controversial it took arbitrators another 20 years to resolve. To make matters worse the point had eroded and was under water. Watkin’s Point was intended to be the beginning point of the whole State of Maryland but you are left to ponder with scholars and lawyers what was really meant by “Watkin’s Point” and the southern boundary Lord Baltimore described.

This story will be continued in Woodman Stockley’s and Jane Roger’s my 7th great grandparents story because I don’t believe they knew where they lived either?

Gramma Watkins was Wanted by the Sheriff

Sea Shell At Assawoman, Virginia pencil sketch by Wendy Harty September 20231

Elizabeth’s knobby knees were aching after her hike. A warm wind lifted a strand of grey hair from her forehead. The air this day was moist and clean. When she was sure the sheriff had gone she moved down onto the beach where the packed sand was easier to walk on. Elizabeth let the watery warm waves cross her ankles as she walked barefoot on the cool, moist sand. A horseshoe crab scuttled out of her way and she saw the tiny bird prints left where they had flown away. Elizabeth didn’t know how much longer she had to live. As the sun was lowering itself over the Chesapeake Bay, Elizabeth left the beach and climbed the dunes to her plantation. Tomorrow, June 17, 1697 she had decided to write her will, just in case.

Little Assawoman Bay

Elizabeth Watkins was born in 1633 in Accomack County, Virginia. The Watkins family were the 1st Planters coming in the 2nd or 3rd supply ships that founded Jamestown. The Watkins and Woodman family were known to each other at Corsham, Wiltshire, England when Richard Woodman married Elizabeth Marie Watkins who were parents to Elizabeth Woodman married to John Stockley Sr., so these 8th great grandparents of mine were probably second cousins.

Accomack County was one of the original shires or counties of Virginia. The word means, “the other shore” a native word from the Accawmack tribe. Nine years later, in 1642, England changed it to Northampton, as it was the northmost shore of the Virginian Eastern Shore. The English eliminated “heathen names” in the New World, by changing them. By 1663, populated with tobacco plantations the county was split into two and her home assumed the original name of Accomac and Northhampton. Then in 1670, the Virginian Colonial Royal Governor, William Berkeley abolished Accomac County, but it was recreated in 1671. in 1940 the General Assembly added a “k” and has since been called Accomack.

In 1648, Elizabeth Watkins, my eighth great grandmother married. She was 15; he, John Stockley Jr. was 27. The plantation was near the small town of Assawoman. Oh, her John was a wild one paying the fine for not observing the Sabbath Day, with his brother, Francis, and being hauled into court. She was heavy with their twins when a great storm and tide destroyed their tobacco already taken to the rolling house to be stored and inspected. The children came on a regular basis; the first seven all boys, William and Francis, twins, Woodman and John twins, Joseph, Charles and Thomas. The last four were girls, Jane, Hannah, Elizabeth and Ann.

In 1653 John was called to Old Planation Creek to witness his brother Francis’s will. It was a very sad day, when Francis, John’s brother died January 1, 1655, they had been very close. John’s father, John Stockley who was the first of the Stockley’s to come from England with his wife Elizabeth Woodman, died the next year. Francis’s widow Joane Hall Stockley remarried William Custis, the Sheriff of Accomack County. Francis and Joane Stockley’s daughter Ann, married Thomas Bagwell in 1661. This cousin and her husband would have a huge impact on the John and Elizabeth Watkins Stockley family.

John Stockley was away to England several times during the babies years. On September 2, 1664 John transported 52 people from England and was granted 2700 acres at Assawomen, Accomack County, Virginia. Page 187 of the Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants give this description: bounded E. With the seaboard side, N. by Corrattawaman Cr,, S. by Stokeleyes branch and a right lyne parting this land of Col. Edmnod Scarburgh followed by the names of the 52 people. The colony was becoming viable and enthusiastic men and women boarded the ship, willing to become indentured servants and laborers. For every person John brought 50 acres was given.

Elizabeth was heavy with twins the year of 1667, Hannah and Elizabeth. On September 6, a dreadful hurricane struck the outer bank of southeast Virginia. John lashed the small children to the upright beams in the barn, during the eye of the storm. All the family survived but the wind howled for twenty four hours coming northeast, turned due south and finally came at them out of the west. There was no thunder but a confused noise of the wind and falling trees. 10,000 houses were blown over and the area crops of corn and tobacco were beat into the ground. The cattle drowned as the rivers overflowed with the 12′ storm surge. Their barn on high ground survived but they heard about the graveyard at Port Comfort that was swept out to sea and First Lynnhaven parish tumbled into the water. The storm wasn’t over; 12 days of rain followed. When finally a morning sun came, it lit the ruination of their plantation. The tempest was so furious it made a general desolation. Their tobacco fields were torn to pieces, food had perished and fences around the corn fields had blown down or been beaten by falling trees. Whole woods had been blown down making it so John couldn’t go plantation to plantation for days. They rebuilt.

John Stockley was feeling poorly in 1670. He had accumulated a large land base having bought a further 500 acres. On February 3, 1670 he wrote his will. The eleven children, all living, were from ages 21 to the baby Ann. John left the main plantation to be equally divided by the seven boys when they reached age 18. John provided Elizabeth his wife a neck of land for her own use.

The Stockley family were growing up and leaving the nest. Elizabeth waved to the boat carrying her three sons away. She swayed on her husband John’s arm. The boys were going the 50 miles to Delaware up the Bay to join Thomas and Ann (Ann was their cousin being Francis Stockley’s daughter) Bagwell. Her sons William, Woodman and John were leaving home, 1672. John Stockley gave them his blessing and divided his herd of cattle among them, and added a codicil to his will stating thus.

Grandmother Elizabeth with such small children didn’t have long to mourn her husband John Stockley when he died August 18, 1673 at Assawoman, Virginia; they’d been married for 25 years and few women chose to be widows. The records show she remarried John Stratton within the year. That’s an interesting choice. John was the man in court accusing her John Stockley of not being attentive in church and getting him fined. Upon her second marriage, Elizabeth was 40 and he 52 and it also meant a relocation to his plantation at Pocomoke Sound, Accomack Country, Virginia not far to the west of Assawoman. Elizabeth sold her Neck of Land in 1674 at Accomack to Edward Vaughan.

Elinor Stratton was born in 1675 and married Alexander Massey in 1695. This daughter was the reason Gramma Watkins Stockley Stratton was escaping meeting the sheriff. In her mind, she wasn’t being unlawful, I imagine she wasn’t going to let Elinor’s husband, Alexander Massey Jr. win because she just wasn’t done living her life yet!

John Stratton, Grandmother’s second husband made his will May 1, 1696 and soon passed, at the age of 77. They had been married for 16 years. Both his wife Elizabeth and daughter Elinor were named. John Stratton was hardly buried when the son-in-law wanted the plantation and petitioned the court saying John Stratton had bequeathed his wife the plantation where John and Elizabeth lived on. Alexander asked that Elizabeth be ordered to produce it, come to court and show why she detained and didn’t probate it. On April, 1697 the court ordered that Elizabeth Stratton, widow of John be cited for detaining Stratton’s will and not having it probated. Grandmother failed to appear. The sheriff was ordered to take her into custody until she posted a bond for her appearance in court and she was to give the will immediately into the hands of the sheriff. I am assuming Elizabeth Stratton knew the sheriff and with a heads up was inconveniently never home when he came visiting at Pocomoke Sound.

Elizabeth Stratton made her will June 17, 1697 and left mostly cattle to her grandchildren she named Joseph Atkins, son of daughter Ann, also Matilde and John Atkins, grandson Woodman Stockley, To Henry Towles jr., Stockley Towles, Thomas Towles, Job Towles. and to sons, John, Francis, Joseph, Charles and daughter Hannah Balley. She named Woodman and Thomas Stockley executors.

Elizabeth Stratton continued to elude the sheriff! On February 9, 1698 Charles Stockley her youngest son came to court because his mother was blind and she couldn’t come herself. Elizabeth had retained Mr. Henry Custis, attorney, (her nephew, son of her sister-in-law, Joane Hall Stockley Custis) but Mr. Custis was unable to be present because his wife was dangerously ill.

Elizabeth knew that John Stratton’s will said she could have the plantation for the rest of her life before it passed onto Elinor. Elizabeth passed sometime before June 4, 1706 when once again her name appeared in court when her son John Stockley of Somerset Co and Edward Bayle (son-in-law) were accepted as administrator’s of her will which was intestate. (not found). This was later overturned when Thomas Stockley presented the will of Elizabeth which was proved in 1680 on oaths of Mary Sample and John Bradford who had witnessed the will. Administration was granted to her son John Stockley.

I took a little fictional liberty walking Gramma Watkins along the Chesapeake Beach and evading the sheriff, however, the court records are legitimate. For my ancestors who took the ship to the Americas for political, religious and economic reasons I am grateful for your lives to tell about.

The Anglican’s in Early Virginia Colonies

Church pencil sketched by Wendy Harty June 2021

If you read my last blog, One of Mine Was at Jamestown, Virginia, John Stockley was in court for violating laws “failing to remember the Sabbath Day and to keep it holy.” On December 20, 1643 he and his brother Francis were fined for “profaning God’s name”. This sent to me researching in to the times and to the religion being practiced by the colonists.

England broke from the Catholic Church to form the Church of England when the Pope wouldn’t grant King Henry VIII a divorce. The church was part of government. The Church of England was legally established in the colony in 1619. By 1624, when the Virginia Company of London was dissolved by King James I, authorities in England had sent 22 Anglican clergymen to the colony. The local taxes were used to handle the needs of local government, the salary of the minister and to build roads and give the poor relief.

Ministers complained that the congregation were either sleeping, whispering, staring blankly into space or out the windows. I imagine John and Francis were still guilty after being fined. During Anglican church services which were compulsory, the colonists who did not wish to be there were inattentive, uninterested and bored. The churches were built within walking or riding distance, not more than six miles from every home in the colony. Also there was a court not more than a day’s ride from every home in the colony .

By 1689, Parliament passed the Act of Tolerance which allowed freedom of worship. Baptists, German Lutherans and Presbyterians, funded their own ministers, and wanted disestablishment of the Anglican church. But between 1768 and 1774 there was much persecution and half of the Baptist ministers in Virginia were jailed for preaching. By 1740, the established Anglican Church had about 70 parish priests. They were paid by the vestry who provided some land, a house and 16000 pounds of tobacco plus 20 shillings for weddings and funerals. While not poor, the priests made a modest living with slim opportunities for improvement. When a crop failure occurred in 1758, the price of tobacco went from two to six pennies per pound, inflating clerical salaries. The Two Penny Act was passed allowing clergy to be paid. Britain said no, angering the colonists, as they saw King George III veto of their law as a breach of their legislative authority.

Enter those Henry relatives of my father. At the Hanover County Courthouse, December 1763, Colonel John Henry was that judge (father to Patrick Henry) that came to prominence, by arguing that a King, by disallowing the act was a Tyrant and should forfeit the right to his subjects’ obedience. The case was called the Parson’s Cause, and the British Crown attempted to set the salaries of clergy in the colony regardless of conditions in the county. Hanover County was developed by planters moving west from Virginia tidewater, where soils had be been exhausted by only planting tobacco.

This early Virginia was dominated by elites. By 1740, there were stately English designed houses, imposing county courthouses and elegant parish churches. The English had arrived, pushed out the earlier inhabitants and started to accumulate wealth. Church attendance dropped and people began reading religious books on their own. There were divisions between Virginians and the clergy and the old ways broke down. New sects arose and attempts by religious authorities to repress these new religious movements further annoyed the colonists. The dissenters became more distrusting of colonial and British authority which led to the idea of revolution. Lower class Virginians weren’t willing to pay taxes to a state supervised church that they saw as corrupt. This reduced Anglican influence based on social standing or aristocratic lineage. Slavery even came into question.

Neither Francis or John Stockley’s names were found in the Anglican Church records at Hangar’s Church, Accomack County in 1660-61. For the infraction of profaning God’s name, they had been fined 30 pounds of tobacco apiece, December 20, 1643. Then John Stockley after his brother died, in the 1660’s had a brush with the law and religion. John was called before the Grand Jury of Accomack County for violating the laws of the Colony of Virginia, specifically “remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy”. John Stratton, member of the grand jury of Accomack County, attested that John Stokely had made a breach of the Sabbath by “talking and making a noise when the minister was in divine service”. When admonished by Stratton, Stockley answered that he came there to do business.

In the Virginia colony, people were commanded to attend The King’s church and could be fined if they did not. This was the rule of the Anglicans, in the early American Colony.

A Colonial Court

My 8th Great Grandmother (mother’s maternal ancestors) Elizabeth Watkins made her last will and testament on June 17, 1697. She was known as Elizabeth Stratton the widow of John Stratton. Her first husband was John Stockley Jr.

During the 17th century times Grandmother Elizabeth lived in, there were colonial court systems with the magistrate or more commonly called the Justice of the Peace. This judge mostly dealt with petty crimes, was usually a religious or political leader. The court rarely used juries since the settlements were so small and far apart. These local courts heard thousands of cases and kept very meticulous records.

I was surprised to find my fiesty grandmother ordered to be taken into custody. Here’s her story.

Elizabeth Watkin was born before 1633 in Assawoman, Accomack Co. Virginia. She married John Stockley Jr in 1648 being a young girl of 15. John would be a plantation owner having transported people to the new colonies from England and in exchange was given large land grants. In December of the year they married Elizabeth’s husband John Stockley was called before the grand jury of Virginia in Accomack County and fined for violating laws of “failing to remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.” His accuser was John Stratton whose testimony said John talked and made loud noise at the service. He and his brother, Francis Stockley were fined for “profaning God’s name”. On July 19, 1664 Elizabeth Stockley is listed in a headright, with her husband. The headright system was used by the Virginia Colony and was a grant of land of 50 acres. It was a way to attract new settlers to the region and address the labor shortage.

The couple prospered on their 2700 acre plantation. They raised 7 boys and 3 girls: William, Francis, Woodman, John, Joseph, Charles, Thomas, Jane Ann, Hanna, Anna, Elizabeth. All were named in his John Stockley’s will written February 3, 1670. His will was probated by 1673 and Elizabeth sold her inherited land in 1674 at Accomack, 100 acres from the Neck of Land to the North of Christopher Stanley’s. (tract A140), In 1680 Elizabeth Watkins Stockley married John Stratton of Northampton County, Virginia her husband’s Church accuser. She sold the balance of her land of 250 acres according to records to James Powell.

In Virginia, Elizabeth lived at Accomack with John Stockley and then lived at Pocomoke Sound with John Stratton

For 16 years Elizabeth was married to John Stratton and he named her in his will of May 1, 1696 at Accomack County, Virginia and she remained on his plantation, when he died the next year. And here begins the court case.

On February 3, 1697, Alexander Massey petitioned that John Stratton had bequeathed “his” wife, Eliner, the plantation that John and Elizabeth Stratton lived on and the widow had detained the will. He asked she be ordered to produce it, come to court and show why she detained and didn’t probate it! On April 6, 1697, ordered that Elizabeth Stratton, widow of John be cited for detaining Stratton’s will and not having it probated. Failed to appear. Sheriff ordered to take her into custody til posted a bond for her appearance in court. She was to give will immediately into the hands of the sheriff. Elizabeth didn’t comply!

On June 17, 1697, Elizabeth made her will. She called herself Elizabeth Stratton and left to her children: John, Francis, Thomas, Joseph, Charles and Hannah and left her cattle to her grandchildren: Joseph, Matilda and John Atkins, children of daughter Ann, grandson Woodman Stockley, and the Towles grandchildren Henry, Stockley, Thomas and Job, children of Elizabeth.

Finally, on February 1698, her son Charles appeared in court on her behalf because his mother was blind. She couldn’t come and had retained Mr. Henry Custis attorney, who couldn’t appear because his wife was dangerously ill, so he couldn’t be present. The case was referred to the next court. I do not know how this ends but Elizabeth’s will presented some challenges for the court also. She died before June 4, 1706 when her son John Stockley of Somerset Co. Maryland and Edward Bayle were granted administration of the estate of Elizabeth Stratton, who they said died intestate. Then on August 6, 1707, Thomas Stockley another son presented the will of Elizabeth Stratton, dec’d. It was proved by the oaths of Mary Sample and John Bradford who had witnessed it. Upon the request of Thomas Stokely, the administration was granted to John Stokely and Edward Baly was made void.

Elinor Stratton Massey (Elizabeth and John Stratton’s daughter) and her husband Alexander had to wait nearly 10 years to inherit the plantation while her mother Elizabeth Watkins Stockley Stratton out ran the sheriff!

Woodman an English Name

Pencil Sketch by Wendy Harty 2004 “Canadian Goose”

History can be horrible! What can we do to each other to cause suffering? On June 22, 1557, Nicholas Richard Woodman a farmer and iron master was burnt at the stake at Lewes, England during the Marian persecutions. He was born at Corsham, Wiltshire, England. The next year in 1558, the Act of Uniformity was passed in English Parliament requiring all to go to church once a week. The consequence of not attending church was a fine of 12 pence, a considerable amount for a poor person.

My ninth great grandmother had the name of Elizabeth Woodman. my seventh grandfather Woodman Stockley, my fifth and sixth grandfather’s Woodman Stockley Sidbury Sr and Jr. Woodman was a name used on my mother’s paternal and maternal ancestry for generations.

Here’s a deep dive into what happened in their native land of England before they crossed the Atlantic Ocean to take up residence in the new colonies of America. In Europe, both Catholics and Protestants burnt one another depending who was in power. All those dreadful executions as they lopped off heads of the upper class people, lords and ladies and archbishops. The ordinary people weren’t affected until the Marian Government of Queen Mary.

Catholicism became identified as something violent and hateful, foreign and Spanish. What happened when Mary married Spain’s Philip was unpopular, as people thought the Inquisition would come to England. What happened was worse.

King Henry VIII, the lusty womanizer, married 6 times and the handsome, vigorous King canoodled with numerous ladies-in-waiting along with his many wives, until he became a 300 pound tyrant. Mary was his daughter from the first wife. By 1520, Henry was unhappy as he had no male heir. Henry, a Catholic, sought an annulment so he could marry again. The Pope refused so Henry broke away from the Church and became Head of the Church of England. The second wife was beheaded and four more marriages occurred with some wives dying, another ended in in annulment, another beheaded.

The English were unhappy with Henry VIII who treated the Catholics with horrific and torturous executions. During the Reformation they harbored grudges. Mary had many step-mothers. She was declared illegitimate as was her sister Elizabeth. By 1544, King Henry reinstated the girls behind their half brother, Edward. When Henry died, Edward took the throne and England was Protestant. He again removed Mary from the line of succession and put his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, who, when he died was proclaimed Queen. Lady Jane tried to capture Mary but Mary raised an army who declared Mary the legitimate Queen. Lady Jane was Queen for 9 days, was imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed.

Marriages were not for love but mostly built dynasties. At the age of 2, Mary was engaged to the son of the King of France. This engagement was terminated. Then Mary was betrothed to her cousin Emperor Charles V. This also ended and she married his son Prince Philip of Spain, 10 years her junior. In 1554, many tried to overthrow Mary, anxious about restoring the Catholic Church. She resurrected the laws against heresy and as a result 300 Protestants were burned at the stake. The English were still angry. Queen Mary reinstated Edmund Bonner as Bishop of London. He was responsible for sending 1/3 of the 300 to the stake. All deaths happened in a two year period – a bloody time giving her the name Mary Queen of Scots or Bloody Mary. Some were saved as on November 17, 1558, the executions were interrupted by a messenger shouting, “The Queen is dead!” The death penalty required her signature or was cancelled if the monarch died before the sentence was carried out.

In the end, Queen Mary died childless and Queen Elizabeth, her sister, took the nation back to Protestantism. The Elizabethan era saw voyages of discovery and my mother’s ancestor’s, the Woodman’s, Stockley’s, Sidbury’s and Atkinson’s all left England to come to the Eastern Shores of America giving me part of my 30% English ethnicity.

The Will of Woodman Stockley 1654-1713 and Woodman Jr. his son 1690-1748

“The Mill” acrylic painting by Wendy Harty 2005

The Stockley’s were an early Virginian family, emigrated from Stoke-on-Trent, England and were given land at Accomack, Virginia in exchange for transporting people to the new colony. By the time this 7th great grandfather of mine was born in 1654-1713, treaties had been signed with Powhatan natives in 1646 but his mother Elizabeth Watkins Stockley must have been terrified upon hearing of the Jamestown uprisings in 1622 and 1646, especially if her husband John Stockley was away on ships bringing people from England. When his father John Stockley was issued the land the family settled with 7 boys and 4 girls at Accomack and began a plantation harvesting tobacco and raising livestock. When Woodman was 23 years old, Jamestown saw more struggles with Bacon’s Rebellion. The settlers were unhappy as the Navigation Acts only allowed their tobacco to be sold to English merchants, with high taxes, and once again the outlying frontiers were under native attack. Nathaniel Bacon with 1000 settlers decided to take care of this last problem. He got the governor to give him a commission to attack the natives. However, he and his followers did not differentiate between those tribes responsible and those friendly to the English. The governor declared Bacon a rebel and civil war was fought on the colony. When Bacon set fire to Jamestown, they destroyed 16 of 18 houses, the church and the statehouse. The Rebellion ended in October, 1676, when Bacon died. The rebels were captured and 23 were hanged. Another treaty was signed between more tribes, reservation lands were set up and yearly fish and game had to be paid by the natives to the English.

Woodman Stockley, my 7th great grandfather, son of John and Elizabeth Watkins Stockley, married Jane Rogers, in 1673 when he was 20 and she was 17. His father John died this same year. The father’s will states in a codicil that with his brothers, William and John, Woodman had already received their share of cattle. I think Woodman moved near his Uncle Woodman and Aunt America where they are found in 1652 arriving on land patents in the Land Office of Maryland. Woodman was a member of the Provincial Assembly and surveyor or overseer of highways for the county on the south side of Indian River. Along the Atlantic Coast they lived in Delaware’s island bays, the Indian River Bay connected to the Little Assawoman Bay and the Rehoboth Bay.

The children of Woodman Stockley and Jane Rogers were born Elizabeth in 1689, Woodman 1690-1748, Temperance 1691-1784 Benjamin 1698-1762 and Oliver 1699-1745, all born in Sussex County, Records say they removed to Sussex County but probably didn’t move an inch. At the time the boundary of Maryland and Pennsylvania on the Delaware River was in flux. Maryland claimed up to the Rehoeboth Bay and the people were residents of what would be called Somerset County. The only move was the boundary lines that were fought over. The area was in contention until the famous Mason-Dixon line surveyed the border of Maryland in 1763. Woodman and Jane would know of the survey. They would have dined on fabulous seafood, oysters, crabs, clams, and fin fish. Although the Puritans were some of the first in Maryland it became a predominantly Catholic region. It was also a key destination of tens of thousands of English convicts punished by sentences of transportation. Tidewater evolved as a society descended from second and third sons of the English gentry who inherited land grants. They formed part of what became the southern elite of America. They had common ties with England and maintained their connections with each other, became interrelated as they increasingly married. Pre-revolution, with an economy dependent on the production of tobacco, the ownership of the land was controlled, passing between the families of social rank. Based on slave labor the colony became a slave society. While at first white indentured servants were common early in the settlement, who signed a control of indenture requiring them to work for their masters for five to seven years, in return for the cost of their crossing the Atlantic they were gradually replaced by slave labor by the mid 1700’s.

Tobacco was the main export crop grown in this colonial era involving a great deal of hand labor.

In 1698, Jamestown was burnt again; this time it was started by a prisoner knocking over a lamp while awaiting execution. The government and capitol were moved from Jamestown to what is now Williamsburg, Virginia. Jane Rogers Stockley and Woodman Stockley both died, ancestry lists as September 12, 1713 in Somerset County, Maryland, beside the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Woodman Stockley dated his will May 20, 1710. Woodman gives a 150 acre dwelling plantation called Bradford Hall in Sussex County and in Angola, and 2 pewter plates to his eldest son Woodman. He also asked that if Woodman has no issue the plantation is to go to his brothers Joseph, Benjamin and Oliver, at his death.

He gives 300 acres out of 500 on sea-side of Cedar Neck to be divided between Joseph 1 st choice, Benjamin 2nd choice and Oliver 3rd. He left these sons, guns and horses He leaves livestock to his daughters, Elizabeth (my 6th gg) and Temperance. He gives 200 acres called Fenwick’s Choyce to his friend Jacob Morris, bought of Mr. Fenwick. His wife Jane gets the balance of the estate and is named Exectrix. Son Woodman and cousin Thomas are trustees. Adding the inheritances Woodman had amassed nearly 1000 acres.

Will was witnessed by Comfort Morris, Rhoda Stockley, Woodman Stockley Jr., John Stockley and Mary Evans. Location Sumersett Co. Maryland. On the 12th Day of September these people presented the will to court.

Woodman Jr. Stockley my 6th great uncle, 1690-1748 married the above witness Mary Evans. His will of August 19, 1748 lists Mary and children: John, Joseph, Cornelius, Joseph and Elizabeth and Mary. This Woodman requested a Christian funeral and burial leaving his home plantation to son Cornelius which his loving wife Mary would have access to. Daughter Mary was to inherit the mill at age 21. If Mary were to die then Elizabeth inherited the mill. Uncle Benjamin their school teacher was to divide money between the sons. Elizabeth also to inherit a tract of land in the forest formerly owned by William Clarke. Loving wife to get the horse and saddle commonly called hers and his desk. And to daughter Mary a nice hand cloth cover for her saddle. Some of the slaves were also named and gifted. Cedar Creek, Sussex, Delaware.

Cedar Cree,k Delaware

Interesting will where I glean the children were young when their father died, yet being educated and the girls were given a business opportunity. Agriculture was the main income of Delaware. Beef cattle were raised in the marshes and woods, that took four years to reach the age for slaughter as compared to ten months today. Delaware has a mild climate and would become known as the breadbasket colony. The colony grew lots of wheat and after being ground into flour it was exported to England. Mary was only 12 when she inherited the mill. (1736-1795)

The Church of England was the main church in Delaware. It could not depend on taxation for support in Delaware. By 1701 the London based Society for the Propagation of the Gospel led to the Society’s first English clergy for the colonies. The society had a hard time reconciling freedom in Christ and the enslavement of an African workforce. Then the largest sugar plantation in Barbados cemented the Society’s support for slavery. Codrington Plantation, with its large slave population, was a principal source of funding for the Society. Most farm owners before Mary died were C of E members and typically owned slaves.

Mary Stockley married John Wiltbank who during the American Revolution was commissioned Major, Sept, 1775 by the Delaware Council of Safety. By January 1776, he was appointed Major for Sussex County. In 1777, John was Chief Justice of the Court for Sussex County and served until his death.

Rev. James Wiltbank 1764-1842 my second cousin 6x removed

One more generation later, a son James Wiltbank was born at Lewes, Sussex Co. Delaware in 1764. At age 24 he was enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania graduating in 1791 and then studied theology. He went home and was called to the rectorship of his native church, St. Peter’s at Lewes until 1809. Then for four years he was principal at Lewes Academy. Removed to Philadelphia for 16 years was headmaster of the University of Grammar School. James was commissioned Chaplain in the United States Navy. He accompanied the Minister of the US to Russia to St. Petersburg.

Just when I think I should make these shorter I find the obit of the wife of Cornelius Wiltbank. Her name was Lettie. I wish I would have known her 1827-1922; she lived to be 95 and “never took any stock in eggs and up to time of her death was able to say, on the Delmarva Peninsula she never ate an egg in her life. She never had much sickness, had a good appetite but she positively refused to eat an egg. During her childhood, there were few corsets worn. In those days they were considered luxuries for the elite and too expensive. Lettie claimed they were uncomfortable, changed her shape and caused untold agonies. Mrs. Wiltbank attributed her long life to plenty of fresh air, wholesome food, exercise and refraining from exposure and the fashions and frills of the her days, such as wearing low necked dresses and corsets, and being thinly clad. I agree about the eggs and “bras”!

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