Saturday, September 20, 2008

Back to School

With the Parkinson biography finally finished after four months, we're on the home stretch of Tanner ancestors, after which I will switch over to the Morgan line, starting with Harold Morgan and Jessie Christensen. My goal is to finish the Tanners in 2008 and start the Morgans in 2009.

Now that the children are back in school after the teachers' strike (which might not be entirely over since they're just submitting to nonbinding arbitration right now), I'll resume working on this:
(The Overson Diary.) For this project, I'm reading Utah's Black Hawk Indian War and have just ordered a copy of Take Up Your Mission: Mormon Colonizing along the Little Colorado River. These two major sources are, curiously, written by father and son, Charles and John Peterson.

Our temple district will be added to New Family Search next week. Is your temple district included yet? If it is, have you used this interesting new resource?

Tanner 20 & 21: James and Elizabeth Chattle Parkinson

b. 22 October 1808 Ramsey, Huntingdon, England
m. 23 July 1827 Ramsey, Huntingdon, England
d. 2 September 1870 Brookfield, New South Wales, Australia
b. 3 September 1870 Hanleys Flat (now Dungog), New South Wales, Australia
Wife: Elizabeth Chattle
Father: Charles Parkinson; Mother: Hephzibah Newton

b. August 1806 Farcet, Huntingdon, England
d. 18 April 1872 New South Wales, Australia
Husband: James Parkinson
Father: James Chattle; Mother: Sarah Andrews

Our Parkinson ancestors are from the largely rural English county of Huntingdonshire (now in Cambridgeshire). We covered the Parkinson family once before here (click on link).

James Parkinson was the second son and fourth child of Charles and Hepzibah Newton Parkinson.

Elizabeth (called Betsy) Chattle was the daughter of James and Sarah Andrews Chattle.

James and Betsy married in 1827 in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire.

They had four children: William, Thomas (our ancestor), Sarah, and Eliza.

James was a farm laborer and Betsy was a house servant and both were members of the Church of England when they and their children (ages 11 to 21) decided to seek a better life in Australia. They left James’ widowed mother Hephzibah in Manchester, and Betsy’s widowed father James, living with another daughter, Mary Quemby. They knew no one in Australia, and were in good health.

They sailed on the barque St Vincent around Cape Horn, Africa, then all the way to eastern Australia, arriving there in 1849, where they settled in Brookfield, Hunter River, New South Wales. Brookfield is 125 miles north from Sydney along the east coast of Australia, and is about 20 miles inland. It is a farming area. Much of the travel was done by river.

Not long after arriving, Thomas’ younger sister Sarah was married to a former convict or soldier named Rodwell. The marriage did not last long but resulted in two children who were later adopted by her second husband.

A number of families also settled in the Hunter River District included the Stapleys and Bryants.

In 1853 Thomas and his sister Sarah joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were very active in the Williams River Branch of the church. Other families from the area joining the church at this time included the Stapleys and Bryants, also ancestors and relatives of ours. The story of this new branch of the church and several mentions of all three families are found in the diary of Elder William Hyde. James and Betsy did not join the church.

Thomas and Sarah and her two children left for Utah in 1854. When they reached America, Thomas married Mary Ann Bryant, and Sarah married Charles Stapley, Jr. (Sarah’s sixth child, Emma Ellen Stapley was Henry Martin Tanner’s second wife.)

About this same time, the Parkinson’s daughter Eliza married and returned with her husband to England. James and Betsy lived near or with their remaining son, William and his family.

The family has copies of three letters written by Betsy to her children in America. She talks about farming, their health, and family matters. Here is the final page of one of her letters.
James died in 1870 in New South Wales and Betsy probably two years later.

* * *

Sarah’s neighbor in Toquerville, John Steele, recorded this genealogical information when he left on his mission to England.
“Mrs. Sarah Stapley Toquerville wants me to look after her friends in England. Her maiden name was Sarah Parkinson born Cambridgeshire, England, daughter of James and Betty Parkinson whose maiden name was Betsey Chattle. She had Thomas, George, Mary, Susan, Mariah, her brothers in Fassett North Lincolnshire, England. Mariah married Broadbent. Continued on next page Newton Parkinson. John Parkinson, Thomas and Sarah Parkinson, Brothers and sisters of James Parkinson whose mothers maiden name was Newton, residing in 1847 in Manchester, Cambridgeshire, England. (Wanda Steele Cox, ed., Journal of John Steele and Mahonri Moriancumer Steele. Cedar City: 1967, p. 15. Quoted in Kerry Bate, Stapley Family. Manuscript: 1991.)


I have found some disagreement on dates and places and have not seen any good documentation yet for either set of data.

Bate, Kerry. Stapley Family. Manuscript: 1991

Parkinson, Diane and John Parkinson. James Parkinson of Ramsey: His Roots and Branches England—Australia—America. Austin, Texas: The James Parkinson Family Association, 1987.

Picture of Hunter River copyright free from Flikr. Letter from Parkinson book.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tanner 1: Grandpa Tanner

We all remember that archaeology was one of the consuming passions of Grandpa's life. In the autumn of 1979, Grandpa and Granny set off on one of their eventful tours of the Middle East. Grandpa very much wanted to see the cuneiform tablets that had been recently discovered in Ebla, and he and Granny somehow managed to end up in Syria without visas and a guide who had been recommended as someone who could get them to Ebla and back alive.

It was at this point that an incident occurred which more than verified our guide’s good judgment. Without any warning a half-track desert vehicle and two four wheeled drive jeep type vehicles rose up out of no where on the road in front of us blocking the road, As he stopped, our guide said to us: “Don’t get exited, don’t act like you are afraid. Just open the windows and smile!” The windows came down, and uniformed soldiers with automatic weapons appeared at each of the windows, and an automatic weapon was pointed at my head about a half inch away. I tried to keep a smile on my face. It must have been a sickly one. All I could think of was “No Visas,” “No visas.” Out of the corner of my eye I could see the driver and Maxine each had their own soldier with a like weapon almost touching their heads. All this happened in perhaps five or ten seconds.

Our guide began talking to the man guarding him in Arabic. I didn’t know Arabic, but you knew by the sound of his voice that Mr. Akia had a story to tell. His tone was relaxed and friendly, with a “glad you dropped by” inflection which after a few minutes was returned by the man with the gun, with his own questions while pointing his weapon at Mr. Akia, Maxine and at me. He also pointed a few times with his weapon directed to the cameras.

Mr. Akia responded cheerfully and I began to pick up a word or two like Ebla, tablets and archaeologists. From the tone of his voice and his hand and head motions I understood that we were getting a super build up as being some very important people going to Ebla, that we were expected at a certain time and that to be late would never do. They seem more relaxed, by then, and I began to feel more relaxed and found less trouble smiling. The weapons were not quite so close to our heads and the soldiers seemed to relax a little more.

Then suddenly there was a sharp command, the soldiers turned and were gone and the armored vehicles disappeared into their hiding place.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tanner 2: LeRoy Parkinson Tanner

It's a little too early for Halloween, but after running to the store this morning and seeing all the Halloween decorations going up and bags of candy lining the shelves, my thoughts turned (of course) to (what else but) genealogy....

In the Case of the Roy Tanner Family, it was not a skeleton in the closet; it was a mummy.

To be precise, it may have been under the closet rather than inside.

And to be technically correct, it may not even have been under the closet, although the closets in question are quite large.

Anyone familiar with the Eastern Arizona region quickly becomes aware of the existence of previous civilizations in the area. Poking around in certain irrigation ditches is always guaranteed to turn up a handful of potsherds, from the simple fragment to the patterned and ornate one.

Roy and Eva Tanner's home was built in stages in the 1920s-30s, starting with the living room-kitchen-dining room area and then expanding into the bedroom areas. When Roy excavated the foundation of the small bedroom right off the living room, he dug up an ancient Native American burial.

They drove the well-preserved mummy 150 miles and donated it to the university in Flagstaff.

(Sorry, no spine-tingling, blood-curdling stories here. This is a genealogy blog, not an Alfred Hitchcock collection.)

Thanks to Ryan for the photo from a couple years back which I lifted off the cousins' blog. It shows the house from the back in its expanded form, including the eventual attic rooms. Originally, the brick would not have been painted.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tanner 1: Grandpa Tanner

Since it will take a few weeks to write the history of the Parkinson (20/21) and Bryant (22/23) families thanks to a Stapley family history forwarded by a distant cousin, here is an anecdote from Grandpa Tanner's early life for all his great-grandsons who are starting school (and will certainly be avoiding this kind of adventure).

All of the recesses for a full week or 10 days in the first grade were taken up with what you would call an elimination contest.

You were challenged, and you either became a mamby-pamby sissy if you didn't participate, or you participated in a round-robin elimination tournament-of-sorts wrestling match. And you wrestled somebody and somebody wrestled somebody else and somebody wrestled somebody else, and everybody challenged anybody they wanted to challenge. And finally you established a pecking order, all the kids that you could lick and all the kids that could lick you, and knew where you stood.

And I was big and I was strong, and especially I was strong, and I whipped everybody. The one person that I had a problem with was a boy by the name of Benjamin Brown, Jr. And Ben Brown, Jr. gave me fits, because I easily wrestled with him and got him down and ready to say—you made them actually say, "Uncle." That was the ritual. When they said, "Uncle," that was admission of defeat, then you let them up, and from then on you didn't bother trying to whip that kid.

When I got Ben Brown down to say, "Uncle," he was not about to say, "Uncle," and I put a hammerlock on him, and he reached over with his fist and clobbered me right in the nose. And that was against the rules, the unwritten rules. But he hit me about three times and we got up and we had a bloody mess until he finally said, "Uncle," but I respected the fists after that.