Sunday, August 24, 2014

William Tanner Lives Again: A Summary of the Tanner Genealogy in 2014

I confess that I have not done much work on the Tanner line past John and Joshua Tanner. I knew the recorded history contained dubious genealogy and fake royal lines, but felt that those who were more interested would spend time on it, and I would continue to do what I do best: 19th century family and community history.

Then a couple of years ago some friends invited my family to vacation with them in New England. We returned home through Rhode Island and as we drove a few of the highways and byways of our smallest state, I was surprised by feelings of deep connection to the place and people.

Despite these feelings of connection, my list of projects often falls prey to the demands of everyday life and I have not done much work on the Tanner genealogy, but there has been a recent surge of interest in the subject, so here is a brief summary of the research.

This is how the family currently looks on FamilySearch Family Tree. This shows John Tanner's entry KWJ1-K2F and Joshua Tanner's entry L7BX-YNF. [1]

This chart shows that John Tanner (1778-1850) is the son of Joshua Tanner (1757-1807), the son of Francis Tanner (1708-1777), the son of William Tanner (1660-1757). From what I've gathered of the current dispute, most people agree on the first three generations but disagree on the identity of William Tanner and his parents and wives.

— o o O o o —

Several family books were published before it became common to list sources. I will not list them all. They include valuable stories that would have been lost if they had not been written, but also contain genealogies that range from reliable to incorrect. [2] The family books seem to rely on the research of George Clinton Tanner of Minnesota, most notably the following:
Tanner, George C. William Tanner of North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and His Descendants, 1905. (Also available here.)
All of the genealogical information should be independently verified before adding it to an online family tree. [3]

Stone bridge in Argyle, New York, used as is from Sébastien Barré at Flickr.

The most thoroughly-sourced exploration I've seen of the Tanner colonial genealogy is by my father, James Tanner. I have also done a few small projects, so I will list our work together by generation. Some of these links are to my father's blog, Genealogy's Star. Some of these links contain interesting comments from cousins. Some of the articles may include ongoing research, so if you have questions, please ask.

John Tanner (Tabitha Bently) (Lydia Stewart) (Elizabeth Beswick)
The John Tanner Story (a previous summary of resources)

Joshua Tanner and Thankful Tefft
Looking for Thankful Tefft (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three)

Francis Tanner

William Tanner

Here is another reliable resource, Karen Bray Keely's website on the Tanner family, mostly on John Tanner and his descendants: (Tanner Family)

— o o O o o —

Current Genealogical Research

As mentioned in the comments to some of these articles, some family members have put significant effort into tracing the genealogy, but as far as I can tell from internet searches and public family trees, none of these efforts are publicly available.

I have not been contacted by people working on the family line, except in blog comments, and have limited time right now to work on this project. However, if you have done work on the family and would like to run it past me or my father, contact me at amyancestorfiles at gmail dot com or my father at genealogyarizona at gmail dot com. My father has expressed interest in doing further research, and I would be happy to review your research.

Prescott Farm, Middletown, Rhode Island. Source: susteph.

Research Directions

One of the weaknesses of many sources on the Tanner family, including George Shepherd Tanner's book, John Tanner and His Family (1974), is that they seem to lack historical context. They do not take into account differences in religious and family life in previous centuries, nor do they take into account changing boundaries, migrations, or the connections between family and community groups.

Did you know that John Tanner crossed the plains with relatives of his first wife's family and his nephew Benjamin Baker, among others? Did you know that although the beautiful movie about John Tanner, Treasure in Heaven, shows him loading up a couple of wagons and leaving New York with "a few others," the family moved with a large group of around 45 people?

Who were these people?

And why is it important?

The reason it is important is that when you are tracing a family through the generations, it is vital that you do not choose a single person in each generation and go back from son to father to grandfather, ignoring wives, children, siblings, cousins, and in-laws. If you do this, you are going to miss valuable connections that will help confirm that you are tracing the right family. It is important to understand the extended family.

Next, in order to trace families back correctly, it is important to have an understanding of the geography. Where did they live? How were the places related to each other? How far is it from Rhode Island to Greenwich? Greenwich to Bolton Landing? Which counties did they live in and how did the boundaries change over time? Knowing the correct locations are important so you know where to look for records, which will be cataloged by locality.

Last, it is important to understand the history: local, national, and international. Why did they live where they did? Why Rhode Island? Why Greenwich? Why Bolton Landing? How were those places connected? When did they move and why? What did they do there? What does it mean that they were Baptists? Were any of the Tanners Seventh-Day Baptists? How did religion play into their moves? When and why were they involved in warfare? What can tax records tell us about them? Were they northern slaveowners like some of their neighbors? Why or why not?

It does take work to understand extended family, geography, and history, but without it, it will be hard to treat your ancestors' lives with fairness and accuracy and an understanding of their real experiences, not just the experiences you or someone else think they should have had.

Farm in Greenwich, New York, used as is from Doug Kerr at Flickr.

Checklist for Tanner Family Research

Collaboration. Who is currently doing research? Can we form a committee, formal or informal, to combine information? If we divide up the work, we can cover more ground than if everyone is duplicating efforts. [4]

Adding Sources to FamilySearch Family Tree. Family Tree is a good way to pool information. If everyone would spend some time and add the sources they have, it would become a great resource for information on the family. [5]

Four important notes:
  • When you make a change in Family Tree, leave a note about why you are making the change. People can't read your mind, and if they don't recognize your name, they won't know whether to trust your change.
  • Don't make a change unless you have a source to back it up. [6] 
  • Primary sources (sources made at or near the time of the event) take precedence over secondary sources (those made later), and just about everything takes precedence over user-created family trees.
  • The published Tanner family books should be taken with a grain of salt. It is best to make changes based on records created at the time of the event. I see someone has recently changed Lydia Stewart Tanner's name to "Stuart" based on the Maurice Tanner book. This is unfortunate since the family name is spelled "Stewart" in most sources created around 1800, and the occasional later use of the spelling "Stuart" is more likely due to a rise in Scottish nationalism than historical fact. [7]
We Will Never Know Everything. There will be some things we will never know about the family, but this doesn't mean there aren't many wonderful discoveries waiting to be made.

Lake George, New York, used as is from Eric at Flickr.


We appreciate all of you and your interest in the family genealogy. We hope you will be able to help. We'd all like to get this right. Let's work together.

If you don't care to put in the effort to learn to do 18th century mid-Atlantic and New England research, please work on your line between yourself and John Tanner. Collect pictures, documents, sources, and stories, and add them to Family Tree. (Whether or not you're a member of the LDS Church, relevant research methods are mentioned at Researching Your Mormon Ancestors.) Don't forget the women of the family, as has so often been done; learn about their lives and tell their stories, too.

Please leave comments, questions, or suggestions here or contact my father or me by email. If you have sourced information available online or in print, please send me a note so I can add a link here.

— o o O o o —

[1] Due to the problem of IOUS (Individuals of Unusual Size) created by the switch from NewFamilySearch to Family Tree, John and Joshua Tanner and other family members have at least one other non-mergeable entry. The entries I list are currently their main entries. Every so often (okay, at least once a week) someone goes in and tries to fix the problem, but until NewFamilySearch is closed down for good, it is not possible to fix. So don't bother trying to fix the IOUS's.

[2] As an example of a problem arising from a printed family book, I mentioned in my recent post Finding Thankful, Joshua, and Tabitha, that the Maurice Tanner book noted that John Tanner's sister lived in Mexico, New York, so subsequently many family trees showed her children as being born in Mexico. However, they were all born in Greenwich and many of them died there; it was not until late in her life that the widowed Esther Tanner Wellwood moved to join one of her sons in Mexico. Additionally, her husband is sometimes listed as her child.

[3] Why go back and source and double-check all this genealogy? (a) Because the original work was done in an era when fraudulent genealogies were not uncommon. (b) Because we have much better accessibility to resources now than even professional researchers had back then.

[4] Just think what it would be like to divide up into subcommittees, for example one committee in charge of Joshua Tanner, another for Francis, one for Argyle/Greenwich history and sources, another for Bolton Landing, one for the Teffts, another for the Bentleys, etc. (Pipe dream here?)

[5] There is no way to list sources in sub-categories, so as people have been adding sources to John Tanner's entry, I've been adding years to the source titles, if possible, and sorting by year. If the source does not lend itself to a timeline, it goes on the end by record type. FamilySearch has recently made a change so the source shows who originally added it, and who has made the last change. This is nice, so it doesn't make it look like I added all these sources just because I changed their titles.

[6] There are a very few exceptions, for example, if a date or place needs to be standardized. However, people who delete relationships or individuals because they don't understand them or make willy-nilly merges are not helping the cause. One example from this past week, luckily not the Tanner line: someone merged two people with the same name, resulting in a grandson showing as the husband of his grandmother. Brings a new meaning to the old song "I'm My Own Grandpa."

[7] The Stuart spelling seems to trace back to Nathan Tanner's 1884 history of the family. In 1902 Francis M. Lyman uses the spelling "Stewart," and John Tanner's son's name is always written "William Stewart," although his death record just uses "S." "Stuart" needs to be changed back to "Stewart" unless someone can find a source made during Lydia's lifetime using the spelling "Stuart." 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — Blank Pages, the Name Margaret

Somehow Ann got her dates off, so there are three pages with repeated dates. Here is the last one:

On this page she notes, "My Sisters birthday 21 January 1823."

As with her own birthdate, she has her sister's wrong. What could be the reason for this? We know that they had a large fire and her father lost all his business and turned to drink. Could all the family records have been lost at the time? Were birthdays simply not important to them? They lived at times on the edge of destitution and was survival more important than dates which may have additionally reminded them of sad memories? Did Ann get both incorrect birth dates from her older sister?

Here is Margaret Prior's birth and christening record from Islington, London.

It says:
[1823 March] 23rd    [When Baptized.]
Born Febr 21st
No. 327.
Margaret                     [Child's Christian Name.]
daug-r of
William & Catherine  [Parents Name. Christian.]
Prior                           [Parents Name. Surname.]
Whitecross Street       [Abode.]
Carpenter                   [Quality, Trade, or Profession.]
J.W. Rice                   [By whom the Ceremony was performed.]
Note that Ann named her daughter after her sister, who had been named after her grandmother Margaret Rutherford McEwen. 

I don't know if Ann's mother Catherine McEwan Prior had a sister or cousin Margaret (like I said the other day, the genealogy is a mess and very incomplete on Family Tree), but other than that, from what I can find, the name Margaret has been used in the family — either as a first or middle name — from probably before the 1600s to the present. 

Here are a few of the Margarets:

Margaret Rutherford McEwen (1750-?)

Margaret Prior Noakes Robinson (1823-1908)
Margaret Jarvis Jarvis (1857-1934)

Margaret Godfrey Jarvis Overson (1878-1968)

Eva Margaret Overson (1897-1932)

Within the past day I've seen lovely pictures on Facebook of one of Margaret Rutherford McEwen's fifth-great-granddaughters and one of her sixth-great-granddaughters, both of whom carry this traditional middle name.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — August 19–31, 1884

Tus 19     Weather cool spent the day winding yarn ect
     Anne helped us cut plums Br Randle child died
     Mrs Nelson is very bad

Salt Lake Herald, August 30, 1884, 4.

Wed 20     Weather pleasant I had a bad night was in misery from one untill three not feeling very well to day
     I had a ride to night I hope that will do me good
     heard a nother Br is shot for preaching glad tidings

Thur 21     Weather fair

Granddaughter Susie Milne a number of years later upon her marriage to her cousin William.

F 22     Weather fine boiled some fruit went riding for an hour in the evening had Susie Milne with me  suffered very much a few hours in the first hours of the night

Sat 23     Weather a slight shower thundering Windy Sister Forsyth called in to day went for a ride took Anne had a good ride I hope I shal have a good night

Sun 24     Weather fine The flag is at half mast a meeting will be held to pay respect to our Murdered Bro

Mon 25      Weather fair rode up to the store received a letter from Heber Will D made a mistake in our little bill

"Will D" or William Defriez, Charles Defriez Jarvis's brother.

Tus 26     Weather calm attended to fruit went to meeting. but no one came only Vine Farnsworth I persuaded Amelia to go & Ane went we want Sister Crosby home again.

Hannah Baldwin Crosby. Things just weren't the same with the president out of town.

Wed 27     Weather fine put down some sweet pic^k^els was sick in the evening

Thu 28     Weather bright

Fri 29     Weather very warm attended George Cannons funeral it was a very large one Josey & I rode in ^the Evening^

Sat 30     Weather very warm nights cool put down some fruit

Sun 31     went to meeting. took Amelia for ride T & Em came in the ^evening^

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
Frid 29 Aug 1884 Hot weather. At 2 P.M. attended the funeral of George Q Cannon, aged 18, son of D H Cannon. Remarks were made by Br Eyring, Smith, Thos Judd, and Whitehead appropriate to the occasion. Br C Smith spoke very clear on the principle of Power being connected with the ordinances of the Holy Priesthood, showing that we came on this Earth on purpose to form associations. Those being Sanctioned by God were of a holy Nature, consequently eternal, and should be prized very much by the People of God.

Br Randle child — Mary Alice Randall, the daughter of Joseph and Louisa Hall Randall. The dates don't match in the diary and obituary. The burial records state August 20th, so Ann Jarvis could be off a day in her diary, but she had the dates correct elsewhere on this page. (Relief Society, Cannon funeral.) In any case, I've added the obituary to Mary's Family Tree entry. I've been adding diary pages to Family Tree entries when she provides interesting family history information about a variety of people.

Mrs Nelson — There are several options including Mary Alice Thompson Nelson and Selina Palfreyman Nelson (1843-1930). Mary Alice was mentioned recently in the diary. Selina had recently given birth, so perhaps she was meant.

heard a nother Br is shot for preaching glad tidings — I believe this was part of the rumors and misinformation that spread in the national media after the Cane Creek Massacre. Certain news outlets were reporting that one or both of the other elders at the scene had been shot.

Susie Milne — Probably her granddaughter, Anne Jarvis Milne's oldest daughter, Susan Young Jarvis Milne, named after Anne's husband's first wife. Susie was eleven years old at this time.

Sister Forsyth — Because of the way Ann talks about people, this is probably Mary Browett Forsyth (1823-1915), the mother of her daughter-in-law, Mary Forsyth Jarvis.

flag is at half mast —A commemoration of the murder of the two missionaries at Cane Creek, John Gibbs and William Berry.

Will D —I don't see any other William or Wilford D's, so this seems to be William Defriez, the brother of Charles Defriez Jarvis. Yes, the identification is correct. The Jarvis-Defriez history notes that he worked for many years in the Woolley Lund & Judd store.

Vine Farnsworth — That does seem to say "Vine" Farnsworth. There was a Lovina Johnson Farnsworth, but she had children listed in FamilySearch as being born in Kanab in 1883 and 1885. However, she was married in St. George, and her in-laws Moses and Elizabeth Jane Stewart Farnsworth lived in St. George, so she could have been there in 1884.

we want Sister Crosby home again — Due to the vicissitudes of doing research at the Church History Library, the last time I was able to spend any research time there I ended up with the histories of the Second, Third, and Fourth Wards, but not the First Ward. (Arrgh.) Okay. This information is listed in the back of Relief Society Memories. (Whew.) As I suspected, this refers to Hannah Baldwin Crosby (1820-1907), the wife of Jesse Wentworth Crosby, and the president of the First Ward Relief Society. She is one of my Eminent Women. I have not written her biography yet, but she was an amazing woman. This was a difficult time for her family, and she may have been visiting the Nevada settlements when this was written.

George Cannons funeral — George Quayle Cannon (1866-1884), the son of David Henry Cannon and Wilhelmina Logan Mousely Cannon. George was a first cousin of Ann's daughter-in-law Eleanor. Note that this is not, of course, Eleanor's uncle George Q. Cannon who was in the First Presidency of the Church at the time.

T & Em — Son-in-law Thomas Cottam and daughter Emmaline Jarvis Cottam.

Crosby, Samuel W. Jesse Wentworth Crosby: Mormon Preacher — Pioneer — Man of God. n.p., n.p., 1977, 98-101.

Dewsnup, Verna L., and Katharine M. Larson. Relief Society Memories: A History of Relief Society in St. George Stake : 1867-1956. Springville, Utah: St. George Stake Relief Society, 1956, 152.

MEEddy [pseud.], "Hannah Elida Baldwin Crosby, Taken in St. George," [photograph], FamilySearch Family Tree, (Source).

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — August 9–18, 1884

Here in the midst of slightly cooler weather and wool dividends and checker games, the community receives a deep blow. The story is too complex to tell here, but I will include links to a few resources.

[Update] Ann also mentions the tragic death of Johannes Traugott Graf, a Swiss immigrant living in nearby Santa Clara.

Sat 9     Weather sultry Josey worked in the Temple sewing carpet I was requested to be there but could not walk

Sunday 10     Weather pleasant I will have to stay home from meeting to day

Mon 11     Weather fair Josey went to the factory received on Wool dividend one dollar & seventy seven cents George came home and put up at our place Thomas & Em came here

Tues 12     Weather fine I forgot it was relief society day played checkers with George in the afternoon

Wed 13     Weather fair Anne spent part of the day here
     our brethener has been murdered while preaching the gospel

Salt Lake Herald, August 13, 1884, 2.
Note that not all the details are accurate.

Thursday 14     Weather fine George has gone back on account of the murder of Wil Berry he wants to attend the funeral

Fri 15     Weather windy buggy ready for use again 
     I shall be glad to get a ride again

Sat 16     Weather windy spent the day making garments for myself rode out in the evening Anne & Josey went with me

Sun 17     Weather cloudy went to meeting took Em to Amelias promised to [indecipherable] take her home took Em home posted a letter ^to^ Maggie had a visit from Br Owens family of London

Mon 18     Weather windy spent the day parking apples ect
     received letters from Sam Anne Maggie
     Bro Graff was killed by the kick of a mule

Johannes Traugott Graf (1857 Switzerland –  1884 Santa Clara)
Sacred to the memory of John Traugott Graf...
Weep not for me dear wife and children
life is but a dream from childhood
to the tomb.

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
The diary shows some confusion about the dates, but Ann noted that they received the news on the 13th. Walker includes extensive information about the murders. I will not reproduce it here. See the links below for more information.

Aug Wend 14th [Thurs 14th?], 1884  The following startling dispatch was received to day by telegraph.
The following are names of Elders Killed, Gibbs and Berry: Also 2 of Condors Sons, [Elders] Jones and Thompson escaped. We are all anxiously waiting for further particulars as some of them are Missionaries sent to the states to preach the gospel.

sewing carpet — The sisters in the area collected rags and sewed them into rugs for the temple. Perhaps this was for the Manti Temple.

Wool dividend — The Jarvises had bought into a community herd and received dividends when the wool was sold. Some of these small amounts are listed in the inside covers of Ann's journal.

our brethener has been murdered while preaching the gospel — The Cane Creek Murders. See all the detailed information at Amateur Mormon Historian or Bruce's recent book, A Land of Strangers: Cane Creek Tennessee's Mormon Massacre and its Tragic Effects on the People Who Lived There.

the murder of Wil Berry — It had been only 23 years since St. George was settled, but already the families had intermarried and formed complicated family alliances. Ann's son George Frederick married, first, Eleanor Woodbury, and second, Rose Sylvester. The Sylvesters were from Bellevue, and George's family had been spending quite a bit of time there. One of Rose's sisters, Lovinia, was married to William Shanks Berry, one of the missionaries who was killed at Cane Creek. Lovinia was a widow for 71 years until she died at the age of 100.

Br Owens family of London — My best guess is William D. Owen, born in Paddington, London, in 1810 and died in 1903 in Salt Lake City. He had been the branch president of the Woodford Bridge Branch in London, and the Jarvis family could have known him there.

Bro Graff — Twenty-seven-year-old Johannes or John Traugott Graf (1857-1884). He left a wife, Emma, and two young daughters, Lillian and Hilda.

Anonymous, John Traugott Graf gravestone, FindAGrave. (Source.)

Crow, Bruce, A Land of Strangers: Cane Creek Tennessee's Mormon Massacre and its Tragic Effects on the People Who Lived There. (2014)

Salt Lake Herald, "One of Utah's Oldest Residents Dies of General Debility." [William D. Owen obituary,] December 25, 1903, 9.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — July 28–August 8, 1884

And, now we know the name of the horse. Pope. Ann was pretty mad when he broke the buggy since it meant that with her precarious health, she would not be able to leave her house much. However, she took advantage of being stranded at home to read the Book of Mormon, and that seemed to lift her spirits.

Ann has noted several relatives leaving for Sanpete. They were going there to help build the Manti Temple, or support family members there.

Mon 28     Weather fair Anne H Milne started for Sanpete on last Saturday our Anne feels lonely she spent part of the day here I have been kniting to day

Anna Hess Milne.

Tuesd 29     Weather warm I attended my meeting to day Sister Woodbury called to day we had a letter from George & a note from Elanor give Anne a ride

Wed 30     Weather pleasant  Josey took Mary Alice Nelon home in the buggy Brig had his grain threshed

Thursday 31     Weather pleasant I have written to Eleanor to day

Friday 1 August Weather warm Em came here I took her home in the buggy

Sat 2     Weather warm Father has let Pope mash the buggy up I can stay home now

Sun 3     Weather sultry Father & Josey has gone to the funeral of Mr Whitelocks baby I pity them only those that has laid their dear ones away can realise the desolate feeling of parents

Mon 4     Weather moderate I am not able to do much to day as my eyes are weak I have wild hairs. (?) I feel rather depressed in spirits it is because I have to stay home so much bought bacon & sugar come to fifty cents for Anne

tusday 5     Weather fine

Wed 6     Weather warm

Thurs 7     Weather windy it is fast day Brig had his baby blest its name is Ethel I had dinner with them

Friday 8     Weather changeable sky dark stormy. I have read the book of Mormon through this week
     We shall soon be through with the warm weather
     the seasons come & go & bring us nearer to the change

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
Aug 7th Thursday 1884 Hot day. Went to fast meeting. Spoke a short time; showed that it was impossible to exhaust the Fountain of intelligence, that we were a much favored people in being permitted to come upon the earth in the last days...

Anne H Milne — Anna Hess Milne. David Milne had two living wives at this time, Ann's daughter Anne, and Anna Hess. His first wife, Susan Young, died in 1881. David had skills that were in demand for building the temple, so he was there along with George F. Jarvis and many other community members.

Sister Woodbury — There were a number of Woodburys in St. George, but this would have been Ann Cannon Woodbury (1832-1921), the mother of Eleanor Woodbury Jarvis, and she would have brought the letters from George and Eleanor.

Mary Alice Nelon — Mary Alice Thompson Nelson (1853-1915), the daughter of Robert Thompson and Alice Hulme Lougee and wife of William A. Nelson.

Pope — The horse!

Mr Whitelocks baby — Murkins Whitelock, see July 13. His grieving parents left St. George after his death.

the desolate feeling of parents — Ann is talking about the loss of her children Elizabeth Frances and Willie.

Ethel — See entry from July 19.

nearer to the change — "Death, be not proud, though some have called thee/Mighty and dreadful, for, thou art not so..."

C.G. Naegle, Anna Hess — CG Naegle collection, FamilySearch Family Tree. (Source.)

Valeri [pseud.] Murkins Whitelock gravestone, FindAGrave, used by permission. (Source.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — July 16–27, 1884

This installment details more family life: work, a birth, sicknesses, and a Pioneer Day Celebration that was much more festive than the Fourth of July for the residents of St. George in 1884. Ann notes, "I have twenty six living Grand children, five dead."

June 1884  July

Wed 16 Weather fine this is Georges birthday ^a month after^
      I went to meeting thinking it was tuesday sit in Marys part of the afternoon I was sorry to miss the meeting through my carelessness

Thur 17     Weather warm We called on Mrs White lock last evening. Father is not very well
     I have done some kniting Josey is making her a dress.

F 18     Weather pleasant cool nights & mornings
     I have been pareing apples to day. I am sorry to hear Eleanor is very sick again

Sat 19     Weather fair Mary gave birth to a daughter this morning I am not well I took Anne for a ride spent a very pleasant evening after I came home sent a letter to Maggie & Heber

Sun 20     Weather pleasant I went to Meeting Thomas & Em called in the evening Josey took them home in the buggy Amelia called in I have twenty six living Grand children five dead

Mon 21     Weather fine spent the day cooking din^n^er kniting Ect received a letter from Heber

Tuesd 22     Weather pleasant

Wed 23     Weather windy

Thur 24     Weather cloudy. We had a pretty good time good toasts & sentiments I had a nice ride for a few blocks We had a very good time 

Friday 25     Weather very warm we all feel sleepy and dull my eyes are painful

Sat 26     Weather fine I do not feel very bright for my eyes are weak and blood shot I expect it is caused by the intense heat of the weather

Sun 27     Weather very warm I went to meeting but I could not keep awake. I took Em home in the buggy

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
24 July Was celebrated after the usual style, Speeches, music, songs, and toasts, games and amusements in the P.M. All went off quite [sic] and peacefully.

went to meeting thinking it was tuesday — Relief Society.

Mary gave birth to a daughter — Ethel Jarvis (Bennett) (1884-1925) the daughter of Brigham and Mary Forsyth Jarvis. 

George's birthday — George Frederick Jarvis was born on June 16, 1847 in Poplar, London, England. Ann is getting her dates confused, as she notes above the line.

pretty good time good toasts & sentiments — Pioneer Day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — July 5–15, 1884

In this rather hot installment we meet, for the first time (kind of), the horse. For all her ongoing interactions with the animal, Ann does not mention it much.

Rose seems to be doing better — she eventually died of Bright's Disease — but Eleanor continues to fail, and when the entire family leaves for Bellevue "Father" George provides some support for his son George's family, helping with their farm.

June July
Sat 5     Weather very warm attempted to go to the store could get as far as Whipples house and had to come back Father & I went to Pickets to supper it was his Mothers birthday her age was seventy one spent a pleasant evening

Sunday 6     Weather very dark & sultry I hope it will rain soon and cool the air We attended meeting Rose called in the evening  Thomas Em and babies I and Josey took  a ride George is in from Bellevue

Monday 7 Weather more pleasant there is a nice breeze
     George called in the evening he has come in for Rose & the children

Tues 8     Weather warm I am alone George has gone to Bellevue has taken Rose Father will attend the lot

Wed 9     Weather very warm spent the day at needle work

Thursday 10     Weather hot spent the day at sewing etc.
     went for a ride did not enjoy it was so warm fleas so thick on the horse

Friday 11     Weather very warm Josephines last day at school
     I have spent the day sewing ^on^ Fathers shirts
     I should like to see the folks in Arizona

Sat 12     Weather warm made a shirt for Father Anne was here tried to trim her sun [indecipherable]

Sunday 13     Weather warm Father & B Fawcett went to administer to Mr Whitelocks baby     the weather is to warm to live I shall be glad when the warm weather is over for this summer received a letter from Maggie

Monday 14     Weather cooler cut apples went over to Georges lot I am longing to travel again We hear there has been a thunder storm in Nutrioso killed two of Ed Browns horses knocked Sister Brown down

Tueday 15     Weather fine it is the relief society but I forgot it was the day

From Charles Lowell Walker's Diary
Sunday 6th Hot with a little sprinkle of rain. Went to the ward Sunday School and gave a few hints about the sacrament.

Whipples house — Probably the Caroline and Eli Whipple home, 44 East 100 South, St. George.

Pickets to supper...his Mothers birthday — Horatio Pickett, son of Susanna Mehitable Rogers Sangiovanni Pickett Keate, who was, as noted here, celebrating her birthday. People with roots in St. George may recognize Horatio's name from their family death certificates since he was the undertaker.

Father will attend the lot — George Jarvis will do the necessary farming while George F. is helping his invalid wife.

B[rother] Fawcett — Patriarch William Fawcett (1814-1904)

Mr Whitelocks baby — Murkins Alma Whitelock. His mother was Amanda Terry and his father was John Albert Whitelock of Gloucester, New Jersey, teacher at the high school for one year.
In Albert Whitelock, St. George had an excellent schoolmaster and administrator. He was a good disciplinarian, one who was respected for his sound scholarship and his ability to inspire his students to do their best. In the opinion of George E. Miles...he was the best teacher St. George had known up to the time of his coming. He was at St. George for but one school year, 1883-1884. (Larson, I Was Called to Dixie, 551.)
Cut apples — processing apples to dry and store

Ed Browns horses...Sister Brown — Edward Mumford Brown (1849-1920) son of Lorenzo and Frances Crosby Brown, and his wife Ella Jane Dodge Brown (1849-1920). They lived in Nutrioso for about a decade and then returned to St. George. They had no children.

"Eli Whipple Home," [article and photo] Washington County Historical Society," accessed August 18, 2014,

Larson, Andrew Karl. I Was Called to Dixie: The Virgin River Basin: Unique Experiences in Mormon Pioneering. Utah: Deseret News Press, 1961.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — June 23–July 4, 1884

This installment gives a few more hints as to Ann's chronic condition. I've assumed it was something to do with her kidneys, and the side and back pains may suggest that. Other data: weight gain, swelling, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea. History includes cholera, eleven live births, etc.

Don't miss Ann's wry comment on hearing some news from her daughter.

Next, this section reveals (as noted in the footnotes) that Ann's genealogy needs some good detailed work. In other words, I hadn't realized what a mess it was. It looks like families are confused and mixed together and sources are missing. Scottish research takes a particular skill set, and I wish I had the time and energy to get into it now.

And, finally, no one in the area knew what was coming, although there may have been a bit of foreshadowing given in the Fourth of July speeches, as reported by Ann, but the family and community were soon to be hit with a great tragedy. At the rate I'm currently posting, it may show up this week; if I post at a normal rate, it could be several weeks. 

Mon 23      Weather warm I went to Ems took her to the Store in my buggy spent the rest of the day there done some sewing
[In margin: W]

Tuesday 24     had my Great Uncle & Aunt Baptized for
      made the skirt of a Gigham dress [indecipherable] Anne is in trouble again George is going to Sanpete
[In margin: Wea]

Wed 25     Weather warm done needle work went out riding took Abey Walker
[In margin: Wea]

Abigail Middlemass Walker (1842-1931)

Thurs 26     Weather warm Rose spent the day with me Amelia went through the Temple for my Great Aunt finished my dress ^Amelia [indecipherable] took buggy
[In margin: Wea]

Friday 27      The last day for Temple work I went through there was a large company Weather windy
[In margin: W]

Sat 28     Weather very warm
[In margin: Wea]

Sun 29     Weather sultry I am sick not able to go to meeting pains in my side and back slept best part of the day
[In margin: Wea]

Mon 30     Weather very warm I am not able to work I am quite sick cannot eat or work went for a ride in the evening was to sore to enjoy it.

[In margin: indecipherable]

Tues 1     Weather very warm I am feeling a trifle better this morning  I hope I shall continue to improve health is a great blessing I was not able to attend my meeting to day  not able to take a ride in the buggy

Wedd 2     Weather warm I am feeling better this morning  I ate breakfast the first meal I have had since  Saturday  I feel so sleepy all the time

Thursday 3     Weather very warm but there is a breeze that cools the air I did not attend Fast meeting but walked to the Lyceum to our monthly meeting in the evening brought Milne flour  from the office Josey and I had a nice ride in the buggy

Fri 4     Weather fine the Nations holiday History repeats herself they were opresed now they try to opress us  the Lord is very angry with them for their wickedness sent a letter to Maggie done some sewing

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — June 10–22, 1884

In this installment Ann continues to deal with her chronic illness, working and attending meetings as possible. I'm still looking for clues about her ongoing health problems. 

In the last installment, Ann could not attend meetings since her only Sunday dress was too warm as the season changed, so we see her starting to sew a new one. She was a trained and talented seamstress and also trained her daughters in the craft.

Another story line here involves her son George. (As always, when she says "George," she means her oldest son.) He took his invalid wife Eleanor to Bellevue, probably for her health, but meanwhile his second wife, Rose, became ill at home.

Tus 10     Weather very sultry sent a letter to Charley to day spent the day kniting washing dishes ect I have not been out to day I was disturbed in my sleep last night Father was watering

Wed 11     Weather rain. I woul like to do more work than I do  
     I spent the day at needle work cooking I took Em some R^h^ubard I took Anne for a ride and some of Annes Children

Thurs 12     Weather fine received a letter from Sam

Frid 13     Weather blustering trying to make a dress feel sleepy such a task to work when I do not feel well I did not attend my Conference fell miserable

Sat 14 Weather Warm    went to conference Br Taylor spoke  his preaching was very good. Anne & I went riding went to the funeral of Br Mcdonnald Child

Sunday 15    Weather fine  I went to meeting in the morning I was late I did not hear the preaching I stayed at Em in the afternoon rode out in the evening with Josey Sister Knele & [indecipherable] called

Mon 16     Weather Georges birthday [^age^] 27 George Ate dinner here we played checkers We are invited to supper at five oclock at his home spent a pleasant Evening a Georges played checkers

Tus 17     Weather fine I did not attend my meeting to day Sister Crosby sent for me on particular business played checkers with George he intends taking Eleanor to morrow to Bellevue

Wed 18     Weather very warm. I finished my dress to day Father & I rode out this evening called on Em she and babies are well Thomas is at the Santa Clara

Thur 19     Weather warm made me a dress G has taken Eleanor to Bellevue   making me a dress

Friday 20    Weather very warm thundering & lightning poor little Emma has hurt her thumb has lost her nail  Rose is sick   Anne ^W^ Jarvis is sick Georges Child

Sat 21     Weather Sultry finished my dress took Em for a ride then Josey Father has to water his lot to night    had our stove moved. made soap

Sun 22     Weather warm went to meeting took Anne to see Rose  she is very sick

There are no entries in Charles Lowell Walker's diary for this time period.

Br McDonnald Child — This is Joseph Booth McDonald (1883-1884), the son of Joseph Booth Macdonald (1857-1942) and Mary Virginia Ashby (1859-1899). He was a grandchild of Alexander Findlay Macdonald.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Ann Prior Jarvis Diary — June 5–9, 1884

Thurs [June] 5 Weather warm I went to fast meeting went to the monthly Meeting went to see Em stayed with her untill her son was born. about nine at night I am glad it is a Son

Friday 6 Weather windy received two letters and five papers by last nights mail from Charley & Maggie [in Arizona] Went to see Eleanor she is very sick

Sat 7 Weather fine had a ride in the evening took Anne with me went to see Eleanor & Em Eleanor more cheerful

Sun 8 I did not go to meeting as I did not have a dress but flannel to warm Father took me for a ride over his land in the field Called on Em she was [indecipherable] ^well^

Mon 9 Weather warm I have written a letter to Charley Father gave me fifty cents called on Em had a ride

Brief excerpt from Charles Lowell Walker's Diary.
June 5  Getting to be warm weather....rains are helping the farmers much in this country.

Went to fast Meeting and spoke a short time, expressing my thanks to God for his blessings unto Me. Touched on the origin of Man, showing [him] to be of Celestial origin...[paragraph about Darwin, etc.]... The Brethers and Sisters expresed themselves as much interested and comforted at what little I said. This was also comforting to Me, knowing of Myself I could not do this unles God prompted the words and to him be all the praise.

Em's son — This is the birth of Thomas Cottam (1884-1970). Emmaline Jarvis and Thomas Punter Cottam's first child was a daughter, Emma Jarvis Cottam (1882-1976).

His land in the field — Since St. George followed the Mormon town planning system with all the settlers living in town and traveling to their farms in the surrounding lands, it would have taken awhile to take a ride to "the field," as they called it.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Finding Thankful, Joshua, and Tabitha

See previous discussions of the mystery surrounding Joshua Tanner's burial: (Surname books and the Reed's Corner Mystery) and (Joshua Tanner and the Elusive Reed's Corner).

In 1917 volunteers associated with the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) scoured the towns of Greenwich and Easton, New York, looking for old cemeteries and burials.  A distant cousin and local farmer, Oscar W. Tefft (1865-1934), drove around and cataloged all the old burial plots tucked into corners of area farms. Oscar was very interested in family and local history. He helped with the research for the book The Tefft Ancestry (Stocking, 1904).

When he drove up and down the old farm roads and highways in 1917, the burial locations he found had between one and a couple dozen headstones as well a variety of graves marked only by slates. [1]

Oscar listed 19 farm cemeteries and gave each a name: Koert L. Foster's Farm, Alpheus Barber Farm, Daniel Tefft Farm, William Hartshorn Farm, and so forth.

After Oscar and others finished their explorations, they compiled the lists and sent them to be published in The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record

Some of the cemeteries, particularly the larger ones, are still in existence, but a century later some may be unknown, or grave markers could be missing or inscriptions worn off, so Oscar Tefft and the others provided a valuable service to the community.

In recent years websites including GenWeb put this data online, but as with any type of indexed information, it's worth going back to the first known compilation.

— o o O o o —

Several months ago, Karen Bray Keeley noted on Family Tree that Joshua Tanner was buried in the William Hartshorn Farm Cemetery. She had seen the name "Joshua Turner" and recognized that the other burials in the small cemetery were Joshua and Thankful's grandchildren, so "Turner" was a misreading of Tanner, and now thanks to Karen we know where Joshua is buried.

I saw her note on Friday and although she used one of the secondary sources it was enough to find the original list.

As I read through the lists, many names were familiar: Tanner, Tefft, Barber, Kenyon. Since so many Tanner relatives migrated in great waves from Washington County, Rhode Island, to Washington County, New York, these families lived and died within miles of each other. [2]

The list cleared up a few mysteries.

John Tanner's first wife, Tabitha Bently Tanner, is buried in the Koert L. Foster Farm Cemetery, one mile north of Greenwich. [3] She is buried next to her father Elisha Bently, her sister Mercy Bently, and her mother Sarah Bently Rose. [4] This means that the Elisha Tanner who migrated west with John Tanner and his family was not Tabitha's father as Pioneers and Prominent Men claims. Instead the Elisha mentioned in the book may be a brother or other relative.

Here is the list showing Joshua Tanner, transcribed Turner, five grandchildren, and son-in-law John Wellwood. The death dates of the grandchildren are between 1816 and 1826, which indicates that Tanner relatives were living on the farm until at least that date.

No surprise:
Based on the Greenwich grave records, the information in this Tanner genealogy is largely incorrect.
From Maurice Tanner, Descendants of John Tanner, The Tanner Family Association, 1923.

Many of the family trees show the John and Esther Tanner Wellwood family living in Mexico, Oswego, New York, but they were clearly located in Greenwich, and Esther continued to live in the area until at least 1855. By 1860 she had joined one of her sons in Mexico, but it is incorrect to list her children as being born in Mexico. Additionally, many families list a son John in this family with the same death date as Esther's husband John. Due to the possible confusion created by this list, the existence of a son John needs to be proved separately.

— o o O o o —

The list of burials at the William Hartshorn Farm Cemetery includes an inscription on a stone that says simply "T.T." Thankful Tefft Tanner died in 1822, so there is a good chance that she died and was buried next to her husband on the farm where she had lived for decades.

Why would she have been buried in Greenwich when she was shown living in Greenfield, Saratoga, New York in the 1820 census? A quick look at Google suggests an answer: Greenfield was adjacent to Saratoga Springs, which was where people, including invalids, went to "take the waters," or use the mineral waters for their supposed health benefits. It makes more sense that she would have relocated temporarily for health reasons than that she would have randomly moved 23 miles west to a town with no known relatives.

Why didn't Thankful have a normal gravestone? There are at least four possible reasons.

First, she may have had one and it may have been broken or disappeared during the intervening century.

Second, she was a widow. It is likely that she would only have had a stake in any real property (farm land and dwellings) until her death, and living as a widow for so many years could have reduced her circumstances.

Third, her death occurred during the aftermath of the Great Panic of 1819. Times would have been hard and cash would have been scarce for farmers. 

Fourth, her oldest son John Tanner had moved to Bolton Landing and had a large family and many financial demands. Her daughter Esther Tanner Wellwood who, as the deaths of her children attests, lived there on the farm, was recently widowed. Thankful's youngest son William may have taken over the farm after John Wellwood died, and he was just starting out in life, so there may have been no family members able to purchase an expensive headstone.

— o o O o o —

These records leave a few questions. 

First, is there anything I missed? Do you read any of the records differently?

Second, where are these graves? I cannot find any of these farm cemeteries in FindAGrave or Billion graves except for the Alpheus Barber Cemetery. (That is the burial location for another of John Tanner's sisters and her gravestone is still there.) I have put out some requests for information, but have not heard back from anyone yet.

— o o O o o —

Thanks to Oscar Tefft we have a better picture of the Greenwich Era in the Tanner family history. In appreciation I left a "flower" and brief note on his FindAGrave entry.


[1] Although the following article is primarily about Dutch settlers in the region, it explains the different type of markers found in cemeteries from this era. (Brandon Richards, "Fieldstone Burial Markers in the Upper Mid-Atlantic Colonies," January 23, 2010, link.)

[2] The great family migration that John Tanner participated in while he was a boy certainly prepared him with the practical knowledge and experience he would need much later in life when his family moved in other great migrations: first to Kirtland, then to Missouri, Illinois, and Utah. The practical training he gave his sons benefitted many others in the Church as they helped lead wagon trains and freight back and forth between western settlements.

[3] The name is alternately listed Bently and Bentley. The government records from the time use "Bently" so I mostly use that, but it isn't too important; either spelling works.

[4] The others in the Koert Foster cemetery may also be Bently relatives.

Picture of rural Westchester County, New York cemetery from Flickr.