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”!

Uncle Francis Stockley

And the Story of Wife Joane testifying in court.

Tobacco Barn watercolor by Wendy Harty Sept. 2021

Uncle Francis was mentioned numerous times in my blog, “One of Mine Was at Jamestown, Virginia” Research was done by Marilyn Blanck using Genealogy and History of the Eastern Shore of Virginia which I accessed. She thinks there were three Stockley Brothers, my John, Uncle Francis and another named Woodman Stockley. Woodman lived in St. Mary’s County, Maryland and was a prominent Puritan. It is proven that this Woodman Stockley arrived in Maryland with his wife, son James and three servants in 1652. The Stockley brothers, John and Francis were in Accomack/Northampton County by 1634-36. Since the name Woodman was used by these Stockley’s is there a relationship? And this is where Woodman (my 7th great grandfather) and two brothers took the cows given to them in their father’s John Stockley’s will.

Uncle Francis Stockley has a bill of sale of land on Nov 3, 1634 in Accomack County (now Northampton). The Virginian Land Patent Book says Francis Stockley was granted 50 acres in Accomack County December 22, 1636. I love the visual location: SE by S on the old plantation creek, NW by N into the woods, westerly on Henry Williams an easterly on the creek. For transfer of one servant Francis Jarvis. He later sold this land. This patent was his first grant for transporting another person to America. In 1639, Francis acquired 200 acres, called Milford, on the seaside of the peninsula in the Dunn and Mill Creek area, on Old Plantation Creek. Here he made his home. Francis died about 1655 in Northampton Co. Virginia, his will being dated December 12, 1655 and recorded on Jan 28, 1656. Witnessed by William Gelding, William Ennis and his brother, John Stockley.

Wills are great records to glean children’s names and ownership. Francis’s reads: To wife, not named, 3 cows and 4 steares, plus all the moveables; to Daughter Ann Stockley, 2 cows and 2 steares; To son, John Stockley, 3 cows, two steares, and my gun; To daughters Frances and Ann – a bed apiece; To wife, the best bed, curtains and valance; to godson, Francis Willyams, a calf; The cow my brother, John, owes me – bequeathed to his son, William; to my wife, all my movables and things belonging to me.

Research found me Francis’s wife’s name of Joane Hall. It seems she was an indentured servant paying off her passage. She made an interesting appearance in Northampton County Court, September 20, 1642. Under oath she told that three years ago, (1639), Roger Moye, drunk at the time, had accused four people of killing a hog, and told Mrs. Burdett (now deceased), that four of her servants had killed a hog and roasted it at the creek side; at this time Ann, the wife of Roger Noye, was asleep. In the morning when Anne awoke, Joane (now Joane Stockley) told Anne that “your husband told my mistress that four of her men had killed a hog and roasted it by the Creek side,” Mistress Anne (Mrs. Moye) said she knew nothing about this and questioned her husband. He threatened that he would “run a knife through her” if she contradicted him. Two or three days later Anne and Roger Moye went into the woods and when they came home Joane asked what he had said to her. Anne Moye stated, “Didn’t you hear me cry? Roger swore that he will kill me if I saye not as hee sayth.” Statement signed by Joane with a mark. Continual abuse was not a plea in self defense. The story ends with Mrs. Moye and William Vincent in jail and referred to as ‘condemned prisoners”. In 1646 Roger Moye was murthered. The report sounds like Anne had endured as much as possible and did him in with the help of Mr. Vincent. Joane must have been working off her transportation with Mrs. Burdett. When her indenture was finished she married Uncle Francis Stockley. After Joane’s husband, Uncle Francis died she remarried William Custis, who was sheriff of Accomack County. Uncle Francis’s daughters both raised families in Accomack and received land from William Custis. Of the three children of Francis and Joane Stockley, John married and called his son John and had 370 acres called “Dune” and died in 1713, Frances married Edward Sacker, and Ann married Thomas Bagwell son of Henry Bagwell of the Jamestown Colony, whose story will become important to the next generation of Stockley siblings. Thomas and Ann Stockley Bagwell named their sons, Francis and John. The Stockley family certainly used the names of Francis and John and Woodman to name their children.

Elizabeth Woodman Stockley

Many States into One Nation Series

Corn sketch by Wendy Harty August 2021

My 9th great grandmother, Elizabeth Woodman Stockley crossed the Atlantic Ocean from England. Elizabeth was living in an outpost on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay by 1621 near the fort called Jamestown. The sun had only been up a few hours and she nursed her nearly one year son, John Francis Stockley. His older brother Francis played at her feet. The whole town was on guard having been alerted by a native informant but, seven miles away in the Martin’s Hundred Plantation hundreds of Powhatan warriors attacked the English colonists in what she now called home, Virginia. On March 22, 1622, Elizabeth saw the smoke as settlements along the James River were burned in a sudden and fierce attack. Elizabeth learned of her twenty female neighbors who were abducted after witnessing the violent deaths of neighbors and loved ones.

Some of these neighbors had recently arrived, brought over by the Virginia Company of London to establish a Protestant English Colony. They hadn’t had an easy time of it. They were weakened by disease, malnutrition, poor organization and no knowledge of their new environment and the settlement was a disaster. By nightfall less than 150 remained alive.

Elizabeth married to John Stockley heard the story when she arrived how peace was obtained after the chief’s daughter Pocahontas had been abducted and married the white planter Rolfe Those who had been enemies enjoyed a cordial relationship. However, more settlers had poured in, carving up the land into tobacco plantations, driving away the animals from the hunting grounds of the natives and destroying a centuries old way of life. The natives wanted to rid their lands of the invaders. They surprised the settlers, burned houses, killed livestock, and mutilated the dead and dying before fleeing, that day in March.

The whole settlement was melancholic; the colonists that survived were dazed and despairing. Everyone was struggling to survive. Some of the other settlements were abandoned but England continued to send a new supply of people. 1/6 of the entire Virginian colony had been wiped out in a single day.

The men were divided, but colony officials felt that attacking took precedence over saving English prisoners. One year later, Elizabeth looked up and saw a bewildering sight. She gazed upon an English woman dressed in attire, with native pearl necklaces, copper medallions, dressed in furs and feathers, and dyed red deerskin. Mistress Boyce, once a captive of Opechancanough was being returned when the chief desired a truce, saying enough blood had been shed on both sides.

The Powhatans were allowed to plant corn the next spring however, the truce was never intended to be honored by the Virginians. Captain William Tucker and his force of musketeers in May, 1623 met to negotiate the release of the other captives. The natives were given poisoned wine prepared by the resident physician who would become governor, Dr. John Pott. Many died or were shot. The chief escaped and so did the hopes of the captured women. Until November, the colonists kept striking them and the abundant harvest of corn was taken by the Englishmen for their profit. The Powhatan Uprising of 1622 paid a high price, but so did the colony that had become a crude, crueler place than before. A few powerful men thoroughly dominated affairs of the colony politically, economically and militarily.

Dr. Potts ransomed Jane Dickenson and other women by trading beads for them. Jane owed the Doctor a debt of labor for her ransom and three more years of service that her deceased husband had left on his contract of servitude for his passage. She petitioned the court in March 1624 for release from what she considered her “new slavery” with Dr. Pott.

Elizabeth named her third son Woodman in 1624, her maiden name. Francis, John and Woodman grew up and while was Woodman was quiet, Francis and John had many court cases against them. The Anglican Church was the only one recognized and had strict rules. There were fines for not attending. John was called before the grand jury of Virginia in Accomack Co. for violating laws of “failing to remember the Sabbath Day and to keep it holy”. His accuser was John Stratton whose testimony said John talked and made loud noise at the service. On December 20, 1643 John and Francis were fined for “profaning God’s name”. As the boys matured all three married. Francis and John Stockley the oldest travelled back and forth the Atlantic Ocean, transporting people to the colony. Elizabeth heard their tales of 1635; they boarded the ship “Two Brothers” which took them to Jamaica then they arrived back at Accomack. As young men in London, they found it congested, busy, loud, and rank. The babble rose from the vendors hawking their wares but in the taverns they found men willing to take on servitude to travel to the New World. The early seventeenth century had the colonies becoming more viable and the brothers were granted land for privately organizing the movements of those willing to relocate. In 1635, some whether reluctantly or enthusiastically boarded the ships for an adventure, even some prisoners were ordered overseas, to become indentured laborers. The boys talked of trepidation of the hazards of the voyage, fair winds and ballast. “The hurricane struck and they saw the rocks of death before them, the sails torn into rotten rags; and God turned the wind”, they told Elizabeth. The boys were accumulating land for their transporting.

My Uncle Francis Stockley, obtained 50 acres in the County of Accomack at old Plantation Creek, adjoining the land of Henry Williams, due for transporting of one servant, Francis Jarvis, Dec 22, 1636. Francis was a valuable asset to the colony, settled at Dunn and Mill Creek, on Old Plantation Creek and married Joan Hall and gave Elizabeth grandchildren. His will dated Dec 12, 1654 was proven Jan 28, 1655 gives to his wife (not named) 3 cows and 4 steeres, to daughter Ann Stockley 2 cow and 3 steeres, to son, John 3 cows 2 steeres and my gun, to daughters Frances and Ann a bed apiece, to wife the best bed, curtains and valance, to godson Francis Willyams, a calf, the cow my brother, John, owes me – bequeathed to his son William to my wife all my movables and things belonging to me.

8th Grandfather John Stockley married Elizabeth Watkins in 1648. He was granted acres based on transport of people and in 1672 he bought 500 acres from Colonel William Kendall. He wrote his will in Feb 3, 1670 codicil Apr 9, 1673 and probated Aug 18, 1873. His plantation at Assawoman, 2700 acres to be divided by his seven sons, if wife remains a widow the sons inherit when they become 21. Wife Elizabeth shall keep the part she resides on now, then son Thomas inherits also wife chest, featherbed, bolster, rug, blanket, curtains, valance, a pair of sheets and one mare with foals. All cattle, heifers and mares are to remain in wife’s possession until children reach age of 18 they inherit a proportionate number of the animals. He names Jane, Hanna, Elizabeth and Ann under 18. Elizabeth wife to have all movables.. In 1673 John added codicil. sons William and Woodman and John to have no share of cows because have received shares already. Also gives a neck of land to wife outright. Elizabeth Stockley, William Custis and Edward Roball executors.

These two wills are proof of Elizabeth Woodman Stockley and her husband John Stockley of Assawoman, Accomack County, Virginia grandchildren: Hannah Ann, Ann 1647-1712, Francis 1652-1698, William 1652-1686, John 1654-1675, Woodman 1654-1713, Elizabeth 1656, Joseph 1658-1737, Thomas 1659-1720, Jane 1663-1710, Charles 1660-1719: children of John and Elizabeth Watkins Stockley and Ann, Francis and John children of Francis and Joan Hall Stockley. The other son Woodman moved away to Maryland and soon their was a migration of Stockley’s away from Virginia. In my tree are 27 family given the name of Woodman, you certainly left a legacy.

To my 9th great grandmother Elizabeth Woodman, I say well done for living during the entire 17th century. She died over 320 years ago living to an old, old age. Thanks for the path you followed that allowed me a glimpse into your life.

One of Mine was at Jamestown, Virginia

Watercolor by Wendy Harty 2021, Dunes on Chesapeake Bay, Accomack County, Virginia

I started down a blog path. Soon I fell down a rabbit hole and between my imagination and researching stories, it has me carrying my DNA (Mom, Jeane Waddell’s ancestry) back to the pages of lives with words preserved and left behind in a written record.

My tenth great grandparents were Francis Stockley and Ann Stokley living at Stoke on Trent, Stafford, England. Two of their children, Francis and John, born 1575, in England, made the records at Jamestown, Virginia. I always thought Plymouth was the first colony; not so says my research; Jamestown was the genesis of democracy in America!

In 1664, John Stockley had 2600 acres of land on Accomack Co. described as west of Assawoman Creek, bounded on the east by the sea, south by Stockley’s Branch, in payment for transporting people to the Virginia Colony, named in the transport: John and Elizabeth Stockley. Accomack county was named in 1663 on the eastern edge of Virginia, between Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Red dot is Assawoman, Accomack County, Virginia

In the beginning, “Out of the Many, One” was the quote. And just these few words send me off in search of this historical time. Many colonies were formed into states which emerged into a single nation. Three ships arrived in 1607, called the Susan Comfort, Godspeed and Discovery. They brought the first English settlers 104 men and boys. They left London on December 20, 1606 and arrived across the Atlantic on the shores of America on May 12, 1607. 40 miles up a river they navigated the next day and named the spot Jamestown, in honor of King James I. Here they attempted to carve a home from a forested frontier wilderness. This was the first permanent English settlement in North America. Why did they come?

Knights, gentlemen and wealthy British merchants were eager to find opportunity to invest in established companies to trade in various parts of the world. These investors were called adventurers, who then owned purchased shares of company stock. The British King granted a charter to each company and gave a monopoly to explore, settle and trade goods. Profits were shared according to how many shares (stock) each owned. 6300 Englishmen invested between 1585 and 1630.

The Virginian Co. of London in the first charter, was granted Maryland, Virginia and Carolina. The Company paid for all the costs of establishing a colony requiring all settlers to work for the company which controlled all the land and resources. My John and Ann Stockley apparently read the pamphlets, saw the plays, or heard the sermons in Church when England raised interest in the New World Investments. In groups or individually, 1700 purchased shares by men of different occupations, wealthy women, and trade guilds helped pay for ships and supplies, recruiting and outfitting laborers. 1 share cost 12 pounds, 10 shillings or about 6 months wages of the ordinary man. In exchange for 7 years labor for the company, the company provided passage, food, and protection.

With the second charter granted, another 600 colonists sailed for Virginia. The King had a risk free investment and hoped to find the route to the Orient. The colonists had a chance to improve their economic and social standing. Instead they found leadership problems, sickness, assault by the Natives, poor food and water, and class strife. The third supply ship, Sea Venture, shipwrecked off Bermuda. From the wreck, two ships were built, Deliverance and Patience. When these ships finally sailed up to Jamestown, they found only 60 of 214 who had survived, many dying and ill and not self sufficient. These were taken on board. Jamestown was being abandoned when another relief ship from England arrived and the settlers were put back on shore. The King gave a third charter from sea to sea. The colony continued to struggle with labor shortages and mortality was high. In 1619, the first slaves were brought to Virginia.

Into this background of history, drops my 9th great grandfather, John Stockley. John had married Elizabeth Woodman in England. Their first child Ann, was born in England in 1621. At this time the London Company was in trouble with unpaid dividends. Investors were wary and the company was in debt. By March 1622, the colony situation was dire to disastrous. The Native, Powhatan Confederacy rose up in protest, where before they had traded for food, some English had taken food by force. In 1609, the Company had issued instructions to settlers to kidnap children and educate them with English values and religion. (Pocahontas, story for another blog). The massacre of 1622, killed one quarter of the Virginia Colony with 350 of 1240 dying.

The tobacco economy led to constant expansion into Powhatan Indian lands, which ultimately provoked the violent reaction of 1622 and the killing on Friday, 22nd of March, 1622. The Powhatan braves came unarmed into the houses with deer, turkey, fish fruits and other provisions to sell. It was a ruse, however, and the warriors grabbed tools or weapons and killed all the English settlers they found, of all ages. Openchancanough then led the Powhatan Confederacy in a coordinated series of surprise attacks. The colonists had the excuse they needed to take even more of what they wanted from the indigenous population. They believed this unprovoked assault by Native Americans made them forfeit any legal or moral rights of ownership of the land. The English settlers took revenge with surprise attacks of their own, famine resulted from the burning of Native corn, they destroyed boats and houses, broke the fishing weirs, and pursued the Natives with horses and blood hounds.

Jamestown expanded into a town to the east of the original fort. Colonist John Rolfe who married Pocahontas introduced sweeter strains of tobacco from the Caribbean. This was the background history of Virginia where John and Elizabeth Stockley appeared and their son, John Jr. was born in Jamestown, Prince Edward County, Virginia in 1622. Woodman Stockley was born in 1624. King James I dissolved the Virginia Company and made Virginia into an official crown colony with Jamestown as its capital. The governor was appointed by the King. The King provided land ownership to the colony. John and his brother Francis said, “yes”, and their names begin to appear, sometimes in court cases!

John Stockley travelled back and forth transporting 52 people and 11 children to Virginia in 1643. A court case of 1640 was brought against John. His brother Francis testified that John was indentured to him for 3 years, therefore he could not work for another man. In 1642, John was accused of ruining a set of clothes for William Stevens. In a 1643 will in the estate of William Burdett, John was owned 260 pounds of tobacco. John was called before the grand jury of Virginia in Accomack Co. for violating laws, “failing to remember the Sabbath Day and to keep it holy”. Testimony said he talked and made loud noise at the service and was accused by John Stratton. It was law to be fined for not attending the Anglican Church. On December 20, 1643, John and his brother Francis were fined for “profaning God’s name”. Francis, his brother paid Captain Sam Lucas 50 acres for transporting him. In 1649, Francis was given land on Phillip Watkin’s deathbed. Francis was living in 1651-53 at Northampton County. John proved his brother Francis’s will in 1655 in court. The will mentions a loving wife, not named, children Ann, Frances and John and to his brother’s child William to be given a cow that his brother John owed to Francis. The widow of Francis remarried Col. William Custis and he his found with 20 acres bounded ESE land beside Francis Stockley on December 1658.

My ninth great grandfather, John Stockley Sr. died February 3, 1669 at the age of 74. Elizabeth Woodman Stockley his wife died August 6, 1707 aged 92 at Assawoman, Accomack Co. Virginia, British Colonial America. Note her maiden name of Woodman. It will be used and inherited for generations!

What an adventurous risk taker, probably profane ancestor John Stockley was! I’m going to repeat my original find of the record. In 1664, at the age of 69, John had 2600 acres of land in Accomack County. This land bordered the Atlantic Ocean on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. There are 33 dune sites on Chesapeake Bay along Accomack’s shoreline. After the sandy beach, behind the dunes are marshland. I imagine John and Elizabeth building their home on stilts, so water from the northeaster’s can wash under it. I see John climbing the dunes looking for ships or to survey the flat terrain with it’s sandy soil growing tobacco. I imagine Elizabeth fanning herself during the temperate summer, relating the moments and milestones of her wealthy landowner husband. Did John and Elizabeth understand that they were making history of the first permanent English settlement in North America that would be the beginnings of three cultures: European, Virginia Native and African.

The King approved the Virginian Assembly in 1627 with the governor and assembly overseeing the colony until 1776. After the Revolutionary War one nation emerged but not until 1965 could most people vote. The 15 th amendment said they could but that is not what happened. Now I am fearful for the American’s right to vote again. My ending quote I’ve changed to say “From out of the two, Many!” as I intend to explore the next eight generations of ancestors.

The Canadian Shield, Narcissism and a Red Fox

Wolseley Car sketch by Wendy Harty 2021

For 80 years Britain produced one of the finest luxury motor cars. By 1914 they were being manufactured in Canada.

She moved onto Jarvis Street, Toronto. She harbored dark secrets. Why weren’t the police called? She was the name sake of her aunt Mary Elizabeth, called Mary Melissa. The mansion on Jarvis Street looked like an authentic home but its everyday life tells a different tale.

This story begins 2.4 million years ago. The earth rumbled. A vast upheaval and a molten hot flow changed the path of the trickle of water flowing through the fractured rocks. The glowing rocks slowly cooled and another ice age advanced. Glaciers rolled the ground, rounding and smoothing and polishing. Inside the glaciers were boulders and rocks gnawing away and making scars on the Canadian wilderness. Waters flowed through the porous open grained rock. The waters cooled and deposited a flake like leaf of gold here, a foot of silver in a vein there, nickel and metals dropped into the fractured ricks. The ice retreated, mosses and ferns, swamps and lakes were established. Unaware, the red fox padded along a silver sidewalk, taking the easier walking path along the hillside. Joe La Rose watched the fox emerge from the bushes. On his forge he was sharpening his steel drill. The fox paused in its trot, and with a curious eye, eyed Joe. Joe reached for a hammer and sent it hurtling towards the fox. The fox bolted and Joe went to retrieve his tool. On a beautiful summer morning, where the hammer had struck the rock was a gleaming strip of metal that was about to change the fortunes of Mary Melissa’s husband. By the spring of 1910, a full swing rush was on. Thousands of fortune seekers poured into the area. By the end of the summer 8000 claims were recorded.

Uncle Charlie and wife Elizabeth probably only wanted their 27 year old daughter to marry well. They found out Mary was planning to elope and put a stop to it, encouraging her towards James whom they thought was a better match? From humbling beginnings, James had also been raised on a farm, first in St. Mary’s, Ontario, then at Port Hope, Michigan. Mary came from a farm family, was a devout Wesleyan Methodist and was not well educated. It is surprising the family preferred that she marry James, a Roman Catholic. The couple married February 18, 1891 at Port Hope and two children were born there, Frank Wesley and Lillian May. In 1896, they gave up farming and moved to French River, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Eva was born here and James went to work as a tax collector for $300, a Canadian Civil Servant. Marguerite Elizabeth or Peg was born in 1907 at Haileyburg, Timiskaming.

Where did James find the silver or how? Your author does not know. Perhaps it was by befriending the provincial geologist W.G. Miller. He was a big shy man, black bearded who quietly scribbled a diagram, winked and nodded, tasked with unravelling the rocky enigma of the geological puzzle. The find of La Rose could be reached overnight in a Pullman car on the new railroad, the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. An ambitious premier promoted the rail line and the blacksmith made the first find. By 1909 prospectors flooded the area, travelled up the new railroad, staked a claim and returned to Haileyburg to register the stake and have their specimens assayed. One of the famous mines would be called the Dome Mine. The sun struck on a specular piece of yellow and glistened just waiting to be discovered. The Golden Stairway as it was called was a vein running down the side of the hill 150′ wide and several hundred feet long. A barber from Haileyburg and his partner Alex Gillies, with a flip of a coin divided 12 claims. It became one of the greatest gold producers in the Western hemisphere.

James emerged as a sudden made millionaire during the 1910’s discovering silver in northern Ontario. With the wealth came extravagance, a reward of success. The finer things in life became his. He bought a Wolseley automobile, in its day considered a luxury vehicle. The mansion on Jarvis Street, Toronto was purchased. There were servants and he wore tailor made suits and dressed impeccably. Perhaps James was in love with Mary once, but just as a handsome Greek youth fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water, he showed narcissistic tendencies. Paul Nache in 1899 had used the term narcissism in a a study of sexual perversions and Freud, 1914 used the term. Narcissisms often leads to relationships where others are objects instead of equals. The chauffeur, would do his duty, bringing mistresses and prostitutes, delivering them in the Wolseley. James would remove himself from the family and go upstairs. Mary would take the children to the kitchen until he was done entertaining. There was one dark secret hidden away. Lillian May was mentally challenged, walked with a limp and probably had epilepsy. He kept her hidden away from strangers and was ashamed of her condition. James grandiose schemes, sense of entitlement, treatment of others spiraled toward his own demise. The threat to acquisition of social symbols were numerous. His way of life was stripped by unscrupulous stock brokers and he lost it all. The family moved back to Stoney Creek farm. James’ health began to deteriorate and he began showing symptoms of violence. Most likely he had contracted syphilis from one of his many extramarital affairs. He threatened to kill his grandchildren. Mary endured and feared for her safety and the rest of her family. His sudden rages, at first mild irritations became annoyed serious outbursts including violent attacks. James was an exhibitionist to the world, created the illusion that was acquired in adulthood by wealth and became a full blown personality disorder with erratic behavior.

An obvious question today is why the police were not involved? James was the breadwinner, and without him they would all be destitute. James’ health worsened. He would go into the fields without his pants on. Eventually James became a patient at the Ontario Hospital where he remained until his death.

Perhaps civilization has improved? Perhaps today Mary Melissa could reach out for help in her situation and be secure? I cannot imagine the decisions she made to stay!

Walking My 2nd Great Grandmother Home, Mary Elizabeth Smith Gibbs

Blue Heron sketch by Wendy Harty July 2021

The Great Blue Heron is a large wading bird, common in the wetlands of North America. In folklore the stories are about self-reliance and self-determination. The symbolism signifies determination because we are bound to wade through marshes and ponds through life’s journey, but we must never give up. When it builds a nest, it teams up with the female and works cooperatively with her to establish a solid foundation for their young ones. In their hunting they are very patience, a virtue of stillness before they catch a fish. Still and quiet in its ways, the great blue heron is the symbol for the Town of Barrhead, Alberta. This will be Mary Elizabeth Smith Gibb’s final resting place, and I like to think of her watching these beautiful birds for her last 27 years, a widow, until she died at the age of 90. The area is a quiet land of rolling hills well covered with poplar, birch, pine and spruce trees while willow and tamarack fill the valleys. It was between two rivers, The Athabasca and Pembina. It is a land of lakes, sand dunes, marshes, bogs and forests. In 1824 the trail from Fort Edmonton to Fort Assiniboine was widened to accommodate pack trains of horses, some over a hundred head. In 1898, the trail was used by some heading to the Klondike seeking gold. By the time Mary Elizabeth came to Barrhead it had train service, an eight bed hospital, a curling rink in 1938. She may have taken in a movie at the new theatre in 39. Besides the great blue heron, deer, moose, coyote, black bear, grizzly, mountain lion and wolves roamed. The beautiful displays of Aurora borealis Mary Elizabeth would enjoy on dark nights. Below is the Gibb’s family continuing story.

Beside the Stillwater Creek, that runs into the Stillwater River which joins the Yellowstone near Columbus, Montana Hiram Gibbs aged 67 was laid to his final rest on earth after he died June 9, 1913. Mary Elizabeth and Hiram had wed in Port Hope, Michigan. Mary was 17, Hiram was 21. They had 46 wedding anniversaries and raised eight children, two died in infancy. The couple’s fourth child was my great grandfather. George Arthur Gibbs divorced from Lydia Ruth May Wise, who came home and lived with Mary Elizabeth his widowed mother, at Broadview, Montana. His occupation listed was rancher.

George Arthur Declared his Intention to become a US citizen, farmer, ruddy complexion, 5′ 11″, 180 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes. He was born June 13, 1875 at Port Hope, Michigan. He now resides at Broadview, Montana, immigrated from Flagstone, B.C. Canada on the Rexford and Fernie Branch of the Great North Railroad. My last foreign residence was Innisfree, Alberta (the homestead). He renounced King George V, of whom he was a naturalized subject, Arriving through the port of Gateway, October 25, 1909. He was not an anarchist, a believer in polygamy and in good faith he wanted to become a citizen of the USA and permanently reside therein. SO HELP ME GOD Signed George Arthur Gibbs November 30, 1912.

George Arthur pulled a five pound rainbow trout from the Yellowstone River where it entered the Stillwater. The cutthroat and the rainbows came up river to spawn. It would make a lovely supper for his new family. They were ranching in the valley where the risks were understood when the grizzly, lynx and the grey wolf competed for his cattle. The bald eagle soared overhead, waiting his turn for the spawning trout.

The town of Broadview where they received their mail had the post office in 1908 just 4 years before the Gibbs family returned to Montana from Gilpin near Viking, or Innisfee, Alberta. Broadview, Montana with a population of less than 200, wouldn’t be incorporated until 1917, when George and Rebecca, Eugene and Otis and new daughter named after her mother, Frances Lucille born at Columbus, Montana would be on the move again. But I get ahead of my story.

Rebecca Frances Snyder was twelve years younger than George. She hadn’t had much “luck” with picking men. When she saw George, she liked what she saw!

George Arthur Gibbs 1875-1963 my great grandfather. George was 35 when Lydia divorced him

Rebecca had been born in Illinois, and married at age 19, in 1906 to William F Joedeman, 15 years her senior. Her first husband, William had been a servant and sheepherder to a rich man with her brother George, in Montana. When Rebecca and William married they kept travelling always looking for greener pastures. In New Mexico a daughter Dorothy Cyrilla was born in 1907 and died by 1909. The twins William Henry and Eugene Kenneth were born Feb 27, 1910 at Lake Valley, New Mexico. Only Eugene would survive. In 1910, William and Rebecca were living at Pirtleville, Arizona, down on the Mexican border. William Joedeman must have died and Rebecca made her way back to Columbus, Montana with the small boy. Here is where her mother and father had arrived in 1910 where he was a teamster. She remarried J. Vance Jones and he died in 1913 but not before they had conceived a child. Rebecca was 26, with the little Eugene and a new baby, Otis Vance Jones born December 13, 1913. What would this young mother do? She married for the third time to my Great Grandfather.

The war to end all wars was declared on July 28, 1914. American public opinion sentiment for neutrality was particularly strong among Irish Americans, and German Americans, as well as church leaders and women. People learned of the atrocities in Belgium. Germans had to march through Belgium to get to the French army. Belgium was neutral, but the people were subjected to murder, arson, looting and women raped. Nuns were ordered to strip under the pretext that they were spies or men in disguise. It turned uglier on August 25, 1914 when the Germans deliberately burned a library, civilian homes set on fire and citizens shot where they stood, others displaced and food and equipment looted and taken to Germany. There was worldwide condemnation.

The slogan, “The Rape of Belgium” was used in the USA as a propaganda device to build popular support for American intervention in the European War.

Rebecca wed my great grandfather, George Arthur when he was 39, on November 2, 1914 at Stillwater County, Montana. He took her back to the ranch near Broadview. Her mother-in-law was very upset with news from the war. Mary Elizabeth was a professing Brethren. Her daughter, Nettie Estella and the Rev. Hughes were missionaries for the church. Obedience to Christ is the center of Brethren life. They historically practiced non-resistance. Mary Elizabeth renounced the Christian’s use of violence in combating evil.

Frances Lucille Gibbs was born to George Arthur and Rebecca on May 17, 1916 in Columbus, Montana. George had to register for the draft which he filled out in 1917, for all men ages 18-44. Unmarried men with no dependents were drafted, between the ages of 21-30. On April 6, 1917, under President Wilson the US joined its allies, Britain, France and Russia, to fight in World War I. Emotions ran high in Montana. The state enacted the harshest anti free speech laws of any state. In nearby Lewistown a mob pursued a German man demanding he kiss the American flag, threatened another with lynching when he refused to buy bonds. Mary Elizabeth would cheer on Miss Jeanette Rankin, the first female member of Congress, when she said, “I want to stand by my country, but I cannot vote for war!” There were 50 others that voted the same way on April 2, 1917.

Whether the outbreak of the war had anything to do with their decision, George and Rebecca took the children and moved to the old homestead that his father Hiram and Mary Elizabeth Gibbs had entered in 1904 and proved up in 1907. They came in 1917. The census taker came in 1921 and George was 45, Rebecca 34, Eugene 11, Otis 8, Frances 5 and a new baby born Hiram Garner Gibbs born May 10, 1921 at Viking, Alberta. It was only fitting that the boy born on the homestead should be named after his grandfather. On the census, Rebecca’s boys which were George’s step children used the name of Gibbs not Joedeman and Jones.

Mary Elizabeth Smith Gibbs had many Smith relatives back in Michigan and Canada who enlisted. Her oldest brother John Smith had married Hiram’s sister, Rachel Gibbs. Their son George A., Mary Elizabeth’s nephew, died November 21, 1916 during the war in the Psychopathic Hospital, cause of death mania depression psychosis and exhaustion. Mary Elizabeth’s brother Charles Wesley “Charlie” Smith, had a daughter, named Melissa who married James Gillies and moved back to Ontario. Their son Frank Wesley Gillies enlisted for 3 years 6 months in the 91st C.H. Regt. (the Queen’s Own) at Toronto. Then he joined the fighting during WWI on Feb 14, 1916. He trained with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. By trade he was a mechanic. After the war he was in the Westminster Hospital and died there September 12, 1924 from general paralysis of the insane.

Charles Wesley “Charlie” Smith with his grandson Frank Wesley Gillies wearing his Canadian World War I uniform to show his grandparents before his overseas trip.

I can only imagine Mary Elizabeth looking forward from letters from home at Port Hope, Michigan only to get this news. Two brothers died George and Lendley in 1889 after the Hiram Gibbs family had left Port Hope, Charles her brother died in 1918, heart failure and dropsy (edema) age 75. Levi another brother died from the Spanish influenza also age 75, 1919. Sister Sarah Jane died in 1920 heart disease, John Nicholas died in 1922 87 of senility and heart disease, followed by James William Jr. in 1923, named after their father James William Smith from Ireland. All her siblings had died; she was 7 of 9 and would outlive them all.

James William Smith Jr. 1837-1923

Nellie Mary, the oldest daughter and Abraham Applegate had moved to Columbus, Montana. Two of their children enlisted in WWI and were in training in New Mexico when Arthur Charles Applegate got the 1918 influenza and died on October 11, 1918 with bronchial pneumonia. A week later, Devere Richard Applegate his brother, was a private first class and departed Oct 19, 1918 on the war ship named Walmer Castle. He was with the base hospital #94. The war was soon over in 1919 and Devere came home to Columbus and married It is with this family that I have a DNA match, Nellie, Devere, Leona Applegate’s son, Kenneth Cole, 111 cM and 7 segments. When Nellie’s husband died in 1917 she took the youngest, Beryl Bliss and Cora Almeda to her family near Barrhead. After the war Harrison McKinley Applegate arrived in 1926. Once again Mary Elizabeth had four of her children and family surrounding her: Nellie, George Arthur, Lendley and Rachel Lillian.

During this war time, George Arthur’s first wife Lydia was cooking and cleaning houses in the Kalispell area of Montana. Residing in the Glacier Park at Montana she married George J. Blanchett, at Shelby, Toole County, Montana. They were married by a Methodist minister on April 22, 1915. She was 32 and he was 40. This marriage didn’t last long. Ruth and George’s oldest daughter, my grandmother, Olive Vivian would elope with Gordon Waddell working as a freighter at Glacier. They were married at Cut Bank, where she lied about her age on the marriage certificate being only 16. Lydia Ruth May Wise Gibbs Blanchett then married Raymond F. Himple her third husband at Youngstown, Alberta in 1919. His homestead was entered in 1913 at the NE Section 15-township 26-Range 9 at Big Stone, Alberta near Youngstown. Mary Manervia was living with her father, George and new wife Rebecca, with step children Eugene, Otis, and Frances on the Viking homestead from March 1918 until April 1919. She came to live with Lydia and Ray Himple where the Plaindealer, newspaper reported a fatality as a sad occurrence as Mary Minervia came to her death by self imposed gun shot wound, Sep 22, 1919. Deceased was 18. Her mother Lydia Wise Gibbs Blanchett Himple at age 39, would be treated and undergo operations for tumors at the Holy Cross Hospital in Calgary. She died in this hospital on Wednesday night, May 23, 1923 and is buried beside her daughter, Mary in the Youngstown Cemetery.

Lendley Gibbs the youngest son of Mary Elizabeth and Hiram married to Jessie Rice had divorced. Jessie Rice died in 1916 and she left his children, Thella and May with her widowed mother Lydia and brother Charles Rice. This was on the next homestead to where George Arthur and Rebecca first lived, 49-11-W4. near Viking when they moved from Montana. The girls were ages 14 and 11. Lendley had remarried Ethel Gillanders back in Missoula, Montana on April 29, 1914, and also moved back to Alberta. They were living on Section 17 -Township 62, Range 6 W 5th Meridian living north and west of the Athabasca River at Holmes Crossing Mary Elizabeth at age 70 lived with them. She listed her religion as Methodist. They lived in a single story wooden built house. A man by the name of Reginald Henry Wallis lived in the same section 17-62-6 homesteaded there in 1910. George Arthur would come to live near his brother Lendley and mother in a place called Camp Creek, near Barrhead. Reginald Henry Wallis would marry George Arthur’s wife Frances in 1928. George Arthur left the Viking homestead and filed on a new quarter SE 25-61 W5 on November 23, 1929, close to his brother Lendley between Ft. Assiniboine and Barrhead, Alberta, at Camp Creek. George Arthur would marry Ruth Crystal Smith in 1930. Ruth grew up on a homestead near Medicine Hat and was motherless when she was 14. George Arthur Gibbs and Ruth Smith had a son named Fred Robert on June 5, 1929 and Arthur Willis Feb 21, 1932 at Camp Creek. This baby boy was named with his father’s middle name, Arthur and Willis was Ruth’s father’s name. Ruth Crystal died March 9, 1939 at age 38 leaving George to raise Fred and Arthur, 10 and 7. The oldest stepson is listed on findagrave as Sgt. Eugene K. Joedeman would marry and live in Nevada ranching. Otis VanceJones, the step son of George Arthur Gibbs enlisted at the age of 32. Admission date April 1945 to the infantry, Discharge date Jun 1945. He was discharged from the hospital after being wounded in the thigh by a bullet, a battle casualty. He was treated with penicillin therapy. I don’t believe he married and was died December 30, 1978. Daughter Francis Lucille married Percy Wroe in 1934. Son, Hiram Garner died Oct 10, 1987 at Prince George, B.C. Son, Fred Robert died Sept 27, 1964 at High Prairie.

Arthur Willis came and spent some time with his 1/2 sister Olive Gibbs Waddell at the Coutts homestead. My father John Waddell was eleven years older than Arthur but they enjoyed each other’s company and my dad had to call him uncle.

These were war years again from 1939-1945.

George Arthur took his mother Mary through the Port at Sweetgrass, August 11th, 1928 to see her son Charles in California. Charles Hiram would die one year after his mother working for the Idaho highway department when his death certificate states he was ran over by a truck, had head injuries and died instantly. It says he was a WWI vet.

Mary Elizabeth Smith had some of her family near her for her final last years. She died living a long life of 90 years on November 24, 1940 at Fort Assiniboine. The oldest, Nellie Mary Gibbs Applegate died at Ft. Assiniboine April 1950. Rachel the baby of the family had remarried after divorcing Edward Dove, to Claude Cox in 1914 at Wyoming. She died in 1950 in Edmonton and her obituary lists George Arthur living at Coutts. Lendley was at Ft. Assiniboine, James was a rancher at Idaho and Nettie Hughes of Lincoln, Nebraska was running a girl’s rooming house. Lendley died in 1954 aged 72 and was buried at Ft. Assiniboine. Nettie Estella died in 1956, aged 77. The oldest James Abraham died at age 83 in Idaho, 1955. George Arthur my great grandfather died at aged 87 at Cardston, Alberta March 18, 1963, and was buried at Coutts. Just as his mother had, he outlived all his siblings.

I’ve been listening to a podcast by Jody Carrington. She says we are all here just to walk each other home safely! It’s been quite a journey walking Mary Elizabeth Smith Gibbs home to her final resting place when she died on November 24, 1940 at Fort Assiniboine, Alberta, Canada.

This my 2nd great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Smith was born in Perth, Mornington County, Ontario on July 7, 1850. Her parents, James Smith and Mary Ann Wilson left there when she was four to move to Port Hope, Michigan. Here, once again the country was just opening up to settlers. Mary Elizabeth was four when they moved and saw the chimney and sawmill built. She married my 2nd great grandfather on May 8, 1867 at Port Hope. They had ten children in 19 years, two died as infants but she saw the other eight to adulthood, married and with families of their own. She was quite the matriarch. Hiram and Mary Elizabeth kept the family safe during the two disastrous fires of Michigan that wiped out the town of Port Hope, not once but twice in the years 1871 and 1881. The family moved west where a last daughter, Rachel was born in South Dakota, then on to the orchards in the Flathead Valley near Kalispell, Montana. At age 58 she moved again to Gilpin, Alberta in 1904, homesteading with Hiram, proving up on their own 160 acres. Somehow, the family survived the winter of 1906-07 when the snow killed so many cattle herds. They stayed until 1912 and another move saw her back in Montana, near Broadview. Then her husband of 46 years, died in 1913, leaving her a widow. Think of the war years, having lived through the World War and the beginnings of WWII. Mary Elizabeth went back and lived the homestead life, with her youngest son Lendley and his second wife. George, Nettie, and Rachel were close by. She was buried in the Hillcrest Cemetery, beside the Grizzly Trail, where once the gold seekers trekked to find Klondike Gold. I am sure a Blue Heron, walks the marshy shoreline, makes a nest across the Athabasca River and downriver from Fort Assiniboine at Holmes Crossing, where she lived out her remaining years. 1850-1940. What a dash!

Why Mary Minerva?

Lydia seated, Mary Minerva on her lap, Olive standing. Imagine keeping those white dresses clean, picture about 1912.

George Arthur Gibbs had married my great grandmother Lydia Ruth May Wise when she was 15, he was 22. The couple had 3 children in the next 3 years, and went homesteading at Gilpin, Alberta with the Gibbs family. Lydia was unhappy and the couple came back to the Flathead Valley, at Kalispell, Montana. The winter of 1906-07 was a tough one. It started snowing in November and blizzarded into April. Besides the deep snow there was bone chilling cold. Imagine living in a tiny shack with five people three of them small children.

A poem I penned for Lydia.

The land was painted winter White,

The lurking storming winter winds howled,

Coldness reigns and the snowfall and the darkness descends,

there is no caress from the sun, and her soul cried out,

“Go Home, or you will die here” as the Winter Madness descended draped like a mantle around her shoulders.

George Arthur took Lydia and the children home to Kalispell, Montana. But home was not as she remembered it. Her mother Angeline Penrod Wise had a marriage crisis of her own. James Alexander Wise had died at age 38, leaving Angeline a widow with four small children and a baby on the way. Lydia was 8. Angeline took in a boarder named Charles Condell “CC” Johnson to help with the farm work. Unbeknownst to Angeline, 46, Charles 71, was still married when they wed and had a daughter, Susie Ann, November 28, 1902. When Lydia came home her mother was going through a lengthy court case to get a divorce until finally her marriage was annulled. She changed Susie’s name back to Wise.

George Arthur Gibbs

George Arthur and Lydia Ruth May Gibbs must have had some fight; George walked away and Lydia filed for divorce asking for custody of the children then 11, 10 and 9. She worded her complaint with the words dissipation, profligacy and idleness while not providing the necessities of life. I must admit I had to look up the meanings of the words. Lydia more or less said he wasted expenditures of the family’s fortune, was extremely extravagant, and reckless. I can hear them fighting when she would quote the proverb to George: the devil tempts men but an idle man tempts the devil.

George Arthur couldn’t be found to serve the court papers on. Finally he was served over in Washington State. The divorce was uncontested and Lydia obtained her divorce and custody on October 28, 1910. George Arthur moved about going to B.C. finally coming back to his family at Broadview, Montana where his father Hiram Gibbs died the next year. His occupation here was listed as rancher.

George Arthur Gibbs Declared his Intention to become a US citizen, farmer, ruddy complexion, 5′ 11″, 180 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes. He was born June 13, 1875 at Port Hope, Michigan. He now resides at Broadview, Montana, immigrated from Flagstone, B.C. Canada on the Rexford and Fernie Branch of the Great North Railroad. My last foreign residence was Innisfree, Alberta (the homestead). He renounced King George V, of whom he was a naturalized subject, Arriving through the port of Gateway, October 25, 1909. He was not an anarchist, a believer in polygamy and in good faith he wanted to become a citizen of the USA and permanently reside therein. SO HELP ME GOD Signed George Arthur Gibbs November 30, 1912.

George Arthur married on November 2, 1914 at Stillwater, Montana to Rebecca Frances Snyder, the mother of a child from her first marriage, Eugene Kenneth Joedemann, and a new baby, Otis Vance Jones when the second husband died in 1913, made an instant family. They would add to this family a daughter, born in Columbus, Montana on May 17, 1916, Frances Lucille Gibbs.

Lydia May Ruth Wise Gibbs married George J. Blanchett on April 22, 1915 in Shelby, Montana, at the Methodist Episcopal Church. They were both divorced. The two had been working in the Glacier Park. He was 40, she was 32. They were divorced on September 22, 1917, at Flathead, Montana. She used the name Ruth.

I was saddened to think my second great grandfather just walked away from his two girls! Then I found a picture and an obituary that shed some light on the matter. Another young freighter in the Glacier Park, by the name of Gordon Reid Waddell eloped with Ruth’s daughter, Olive Vivian Gibbs just 4 months after her mother had married. Olive was 16 and lied on her marriage certificate about her age. Gordon was 24 and had a homestead east of Coutts, Alberta.

Isn’t this lovely old picture: my grandparents Gordon and Olive, my Aunt Dorothy Waddell was born June 19, 1916 making her about 1 year old in the picture, and Mary Gibbs would be Mary Minerva Gibbs

This picture was clue #1. Mary Minerva was with her sister Olive Gibbs Waddell in 1917 at the homestead at Coutts. Their father, George and wife Rebecca moved back to the Hiram and Mary Elizabeth Gibbs homestead at Viking in 1917. I think George Arthur must have kept in touch with his children because he found them here. AND he took Mary Minerva to live with them to Viking. Ruth’s marriage to Mr. Blanchette wasn’t going well by this time.

Clue #2 is a sad one. It is Mary Minerva’s obituary. It reads: Marie Minerva Gibbs birth 1901 death 22 Sept. 1919 aged 18 at Youngstown, Hanna Census, Alberta, burial Youngstown Cemetery. On her site is the following obtained from Cemetery Register, and Youngstown Memories Across the Years 1909-1983.

The Plaindealer Sept 25, 1919 FATALITY IN SOUTH COUNTRY

A sad occurrence took place, Miss Marie Gibbs, daughter of Mrs. Himple came to her death by self imposed gun shot wound. Deceased was 18 years of age and had been resident of Viking, Alberta from March 1918 until April of this year, when she came to live with her mother. The funeral was held in the Cemetery at Youngstown, Sept 24, 1919. Rev J.R. Geeson conducted the service. Mother buried beside her in 1923.

There it is, clue #2, Mary Minerva had been living at Viking with her father. He hadn’t abandoned her.

Lydia May Ruth Wise, Gibbs, Blanchette was married to Raymond Fay Himple, her 3rd husband. He had homesteaded at Youngstown the NE 15-26-9 W4 in 1913 and had just proved up on it January 1917. I am really surprised she came back to homestead and wonder how they met. It’s 275 miles from Youngstown to Glacier Park. They wed in 1919 and Mary Minerva was living with them at the time of her death.

Lydia Ruth Wise Himple reads Birth Aug 1883 Iowa, USA Death May 23, 1923 aged 39. Calgary, Alberta

Obituary: The death occurred at Calgary on Wednesday night, May 23, of Mrs. Ray Hmple, formerly of Cando district. Mrs. Himple had been undergoing operations for tumors at the Holy Cross hospital, (stomach cancer). The remains were shipped here for interment, the funeral taking place in the Youngstown cemetery May 26, 1923. Rev Eli Good, officiating. The deceased being laid to rest beside the body of her daughter, Miss Marry Gibbs, who died some three years ago. In addition to her husband, one daughter living at Coutts mourns her loss. Obituary printed in The Plaindealer published Youngstown, Alberta June 1, 1923.

The daughter would be grandmother, Olive Vivian Gibbs Waddell. I found a border crossing at Coutts when Ray Himble and step daughter Olive crossed the border going to the Shelby State Fair. I am thinking he came to return Ruth and Mary’s personal belongings to her only remaining family.

George Arthur Gibbs, Olive’s father remained in her life. Below is a five generation picture of the him with daughter Olive, granddaughter Grace, great granddaughter Lottie, and great great grandson Michael. Picture about 1961.

This blog doesn’t leave me any answers to the title, Why Mary Manervia? Why? Her name though I can explain. Mary after her grandmother Mary Elizabeth Smith Gibbs who had a sister named Manervia Ann “Minerva” Smith born in 1847 in Mornington Perth, Upper Canada. Many of the names the family used were in honor of the Smith relatives. Lendley, George, James and Charles were also Mary Elizabeth’s brothers and she honored each of them naming her children after them.

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