Thursday, March 7, 2013

WPA Veterans Records

In the 1930s, the Works Progress Administration made a map of the cemetery and collected data on each of the veterans buried there. I've transcribed the information below; as you can see, one soldier from the Battle of White Plains is named (Johnson O'Dell). There are a few strange inconsistencies in these records, for example William S. Lane seems too young (born 1808) to have served in the War of 1812. I also don't believe it's a complete list, as it leaves out Albert S. and William H. Lane. You can see these and other WPA Veterans Records at the Westchester County Archives Digital Collections.

Jacob Conklin (1821-1881)
Civil War
NY Vol. Co. D-50th 
Enlisted August 19, 1862 at Union, NY
Discharged June 13, 1865
War record: Siege of Yorktown-Fredericksburg-Wilderness, Va.; Cold Harbor-Appomattox Cour(t?) [record is cut off]
Rank: Private

Benjamin Dutcher (1844-?)
Civil War
Co. E. Mil. 15th NYNG
Enlisted June 4, 1864 at Mamaroneck, NY
Discharged July 7, 1864
War record: Served at New York Harbor
Rank: Private

Joel F. Gilbert (1819-1879)
Civil War
U.S. Army 5th NY H. Art. Vol.
Enlisted December 30, 1863 at Tarrytown, NY
Discharged May 1, 1864
War record: Discharged for disability at Fort Marshall Md.-Harpers Ferry-Wilderness; Cedar Creek-Charlestown
Rank: Private

Stuart R. Hart (1839-1861)
Civil War
17th NY Inf Vols.
Enlisted May 7, 1861
Discharged June 24, 1861 (date of his death)
Rank: First Lieut.

Warren Hutchings (1793-1857)
War of 1812

John A. Lands (1838-1877)
Civil War
49 Inf. Co. C.
Enlisted August 10, 1861 at Portchester

Thomas B. Lane (1841-1887)
Civil War
Co. B 57 Inf.
Enlisted September 17, 1861 at Utica, NY
Discharged December 15, 1864
War record: Wounded in action Sept. 17, 1862 at Antietam, Md. also May 5, 1864 at the [Battle of?] Wilderness, Va.
Rank: Private

William S. Lane (1808-1890)
War of 1812

David J. Matthews (1844-1867)
Civil War
Co. M Vol. 6th Arty. NY
Enlisted September 30, 1862 at Yonkers, NY
Rank: Private

Johnson O'Dell
Revolutionary War
War record: Killed in Battle of White Plains

Washington B. Pullis
Civil War
58th Ill. Inf. Vols
Enlisted October 1, 1861
Discharged April 1, 1866
Rank: 1st Sergeant, 2nd Lieut., 1st Lieut., Captain-Major

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

20: Martha J. and Henry Gorham

Grave of Martha and Henry Gorham (source)
Martha and Henry Gorham's story is a sad, but not unfamiliar one for the nineteenth century. Henry Gorham died on May 9, 1884. His mother Martha, age 33, died nine days later. Since Henry's exact age is not given (he is described as "infant son"), it seems plausible that he died before, during, or just after birth and that his mother died from complications of the birth. Either that or they both succumbed to illness shortly after he was born.

Martha was born in Connecticut around 1851. Her husband, Lyman, was a photographer who was also born in Connecticut. His work can be found in the New York Public Library's Photography Collection.

Four years before her death, the couple was living in New York and had no children. This was the only census in which they would appear together.

1880 US Federal Census
In 1870, twenty-year-old Lyman Gorham was living with his family in Westport, Connecticut. He was the son of David, a farmer, and Sally A. Gorham, and had two sisters. Marietta was presumably his grandmother.

1870 US Federal Census
Lyman Gorham married again, to a woman named Sarah Hendrick, in 1892. In 1900 they were living in Norwalk, Connecticut, and Lyman was working as a machinist. They were still there in 1910.

1900 US Federal Census
In 1917, Lyman was interviewed for the Connecticut Military Census. This document reveals that his middle name was Beers; that he was 5'9"; that four people were considered his dependents; and he had a hernia. I'm not sure what the State of Connecticut thought that a 67-year-old man with a hernia could do for the military, but they asked anyway.

1917 CT Military Census
In 1919, Sarah Gorham died, leaving Lyman a widower for the second time. A year later, now age 70, he had moved in with his 91-year-old father-in-law Edward Hendrick and his wife's unmarried sister Maria. Lyman was still working as a machinist.

1920 US Federal Census
Lyman Gorham died in 1927 at the age of 78 in Connecticut.

There are several other Gorhams buried in the cemetery, all children. They are:

Carrie J. Gorham, died 1860, age 1 year, daughter of Charles W. and Caroline
George Starr Gorham, died 1860, age 3 years, child of C. W. and Mary A.
James C. Gorham, died 1860, age 4 years, child of Charles W. and Caroline
Josie Gorham, died 1863, age 1 year, child of C. W. and Mary A.
Lillian Harriet Gorham, died 1860, age 2 years, child of C. W. and Mary A.

An article I found from a local newspaper in the 1890s stated that Lyman Gorham, then living in Connecticut, had ridden his bicycle over to New York to visit his relatives who lived there. I may be able to figure out how he was related to these Gorhams, but I think I'll explore that in a later post.

UPDATE: I found the obituary of Martha Gorham in the historical society, which provides her maiden name:
It is our sad duty this week to record the death of Mrs. Martha Gorham, which took place at about two o'clock last Sunday morning, May 18th, at her residence, South Norwalk, Conn., aged 34 years. The cause of death was paralysis of the heart, an affection [sic] from which she had previously suffered. The circumstances surrounding her death are of a particularly sorrowful character. On May 3rd, she gave birth to a son who died a week later. This was a severe blow to her fond hopes, which seemed to have centered on their first and only child. Mrs. Gorham, however, made good progress toward recovery from her sickness, and on Saturday morning last her physician gave most assuring hopes of her speedy restoration to health and strength. But in the evening, she was taken with paralysis of the heart, and although everything was done for her that medical skill could suggest, or loving hand could do, she died about two o'clock. As she realized that her end was near, she placed her trust in the Saviour, and became fully resigned to the separation from her friends in this world, looking forward to a happy reunion in the land beyond. She was a member of the M. E. Church, and her religion showed itself in the Christian faith and sweetness which had characterized her daily life. She was the only daughter of Mr. Newman Reynolds, of this village, and leaves her father and a brother, Mr. Eugene Reynolds. Her mother died about a year ago. She was married in 1878 to Mr. Lyman Gorham, then of this village and last year they moved to Stamford and afterward to South Norwalk. Much sympathy is felt for her bereaved husband in his deep affliction.

  1. Lyman Beers Gorham (1849-1927) m. (1) Martha J. Reynolds (1851-1884) in 1878 (2) Sarah Hendrick (1862-1919)
    1. Henry Gorham (1884-1884)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

18: The Lane Family (updated)

Lane monument (source)
Update: Claudia, who saw this post via Facebook, was able to find the 1876 obituaries of William H. Lane and Albert S. Lane. The latter died of "typhoid pneumonia," and the former of "pneumonia." It seems plausible that all three of the Lanes who died in 1876 suffered from typhoid. She also alerted me to several Lanes on the 1914 cemetery transcript that I missed; their information is in the family tree at the bottom of the post.
This large obelisk commemorates four members of the Lane family: William H. and Eliza A. Lane and their two sons, Albert S. and William H. Jr. Father and sons all died in 1876 - the same kind of multiple family tragedy that wiped out four Baker children in the years between 1868-1871 and three members of the Babcock family within five months in 1861-2.

The most probable culprit is infectious disease. Living in close quarters, with little knowledge of how disease spread and little means of treating it once it occurred, the people of the nineteenth century were in many ways helpless. The monuments they erected to the dead - some small and humble, some large and ornate, and some, like the Lane monument, large and austere - gave family members some semblance of control. They may not have been able to stop their loved ones from dying, but they could shape the way they would be remembered after their deaths.

In 1850, William and his wife Eliza had eight children ranging in age from one to eighteen years. He was a merchant.
1850 US Federal Census
Twenty years later, the house had been emptied of children, with the exception of youngest daughter Emma, 19. Sixty-year-old William ran a restaurant.

1870 US Federal Census
Six years later came the dreadful year that saw the deaths of William, William Jr., and Albert Lane.

Albert S. Lane had served in the Civil War. He was discharged with a disability in September 1861 at Alexandria, Virginia. I can't find him in the 1870 census, so I don't know if he was ever married. He died at age 36 in New Jersey.

William H. Lane Jr. also served in the Civil War. He mustered out in May 1865. In the muster roll abstracts, he is said to have gray eyes, brown hair, a fair complexion, and to be 5'7.5" in height. I can't find him in the census either, but William Lane is a terribly common name. He died at age 30.

Eliza A. Lane is similarly difficult to find in the 1880 census, although I know that she lived until 1890.

William H. Lane Sr. was the defendant in a legal case regarding his restaurant in the 1870s. From this I found that his restaurant was located at the corner of Hall Place and Seventh Street in Manhattan, and that Albert S. Lane was also involved in the restaurant. It's long and complicated, but one interesting tidbit was that William H. Lane couldn't be reached for his testimony at the time because he was sick (the case was written up in 1877; this was probably the sickness that killed him). In any case, he seems to have won the case.

Hall Place has since been renamed Taras Shevchenko Place - so according to Google Maps, this seems to be the general area where William's restaurant stood. I wonder if William ever stopped to get a drink at McSorley's Old Ale House, established 1854.
East 7th Street, NY, NY
I tried to find out more about William Lane's restaurant. I found this in a real estate record from 1870:

Real Estate Record 1870
I'll have to do some further research to see if I can trace the Lanes any further.
  1. William H. Lane (1807-1876) m. Eliza A. (1808-1890)
    1. Harriet Lane (1832-)
    2. Francis B. Lane (1835-)
    3. Hannah M. Lane (1838-)
    4. Albert S. Lane (1840-1876)
    5. William H. Lane (1841-1841)
    6. Elizabeth Lane (1844-)
    7. Charles Wesley Lane (1845-1855)
    8. William H. Lane (1847-1876)
    9. Mary A. Lane (1849-1862)
    10. Emma J. Lane (1851-)

19: The Thorns

Grave of Stephen Thorn
This is a very, very exciting post for me to write. For the first time, I have actual photographs of people who are buried in the cemetery. Not of their descendants, but of the people themselves, kindly provided to me by their descendant!

This is Stephen Thorn, a shoemaker born around 1811 and a father of (at least) twelve children, five of whom are buried in the cemetery. Three of these children died as infants, one just a few months before the death of Stephen's first wife, Susan Weeks. Another child died as a teenager, and one in her twenties. A sixth child died in her twenties but is buried in a different cemetery.
Stephen Thorn
I think one thing about the past that we have trouble grappling with is that these people faced tragedies - such as multiple child deaths - that most people today don't have to suffer, and yet they were exactly like us in terms of intellect and emotional capacity. How does a father cope with the deaths of six children and the premature death of his wife? It's a question that baffles us because such a tragedy is rare today in the United States, yet it wasn't unusual in the years before the 20th century.

Here is Stephen Thorn's family in 1850, just two years before Susan's death. Their son Stephen Jr. died on May 3, 1852, at the age of 5 months, placing his birth somewhere around early January of that year. Susan died on August 16, 1852, at the age of 39.

1850 US Federal Census
In her book A Midwife's Tale, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich makes it clear just how dependent wives and husbands were on each other in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. I would guess that the same was the case in the mid-19th century as well, especially in the country where most people were still farmers or worked a trade like shoemaking. Men and women were each responsible for managing one half of the family's economy. The cloth that midwife Martha Ballard and her daughters produced was essential for the income of the household, as were the proceeds from her midwife practice. On top of that, Martha was responsible for the care of her children, her grandchildren, and her neighbors. A family that had lost a wife and mother was crippled both emotionally and financially, and it is for this reason that people in the 18th and 19th centuries remarried relatively quickly after a spouse's death.

Stephen Thorn married Harriet B. Dixon sometime before 1856 (their first child together was born in January of 1857). I have to wonder what she thought of the prospect of marrying a man with eight children. In 1850, aged 26, she was living with her middle-aged parents, presumably the last of her siblings to leave the house. Her father was a laborer who owned no property. Given that Harriet was between the ages of 28 and 32 when she was married, she was unusual for her time. Most of her peers would have been married young, in their early twenties.

Early in their marriage, Stephen and Harriet lost two infants within two years: George Thorn in 1857 and J. Lewis Thorn in 1858. Neither lived past nine weeks old. One child of Stephen and Harriet did live: Albert Thorn, born in 1861, who was living with them and his half-sister Julia in 1870.

1870 US Federal Census
He was still there in 1880, when he was 19 and following in his father's footsteps as a shoemaker.

1880 US Federal Census
Stephen Thorn died in 1891 at the age of 80. Harriet B. Dixon Thorn died in 1900 at the age of 77 in New York City.

Here is a summary of the lives of the Thorn children who reached maturity:

Sarah E. Thorn - Unknown.

Charles Thorn, who was 12 in the 1850 census, was in 1860 living with a nearby family of Sarleses and working as a shoemaker. He died of Bright's disease in 1878 in New Market, New Jersey. In 1907, his widow Lucy had his remains removed from the Episcopal Cemetery and reburied in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla. You can read more about it in this post.

Abby Jane Thorn was living in Danbury, CT, in 1860, where she worked as a hat trimmer. She died in 1865 at the age of 25.

Antoinetta Thorn married Edward Keer, a German immigrant and jeweler, in 1867 and lived in Newark, New Jersey.
Antoinetta Thorn Keer
Esther Thorn married Richard Lappin.

Frances Thorn married Abraham Van Winkle in 1865 and had three children. She died in 1875 and was buried in the cemetery, then was disinterred and reburied elsewhere in the 1920s. Read about it here.

Frances Thorn Van Winkle
Julia Thorn married William DeWitt Moose, a carpenter. They had three children, only one of whom was living by 1900. She died in 1924.

Albert Thorn married Hattie B. and continued to work as a shoemaker. Hattie died in 1904 of heart failure caused by typhoid fever and is buried in the cemetery. Albert, who suffered from paralysis, was living in the Westchester County Almshouse in July 1916, but was discharged after only a week's stay.
  1. Stephen Thorn (1811-1891) m. (1) Susan Weeks (1813-1852); (2) Harriet B. Dixon (1823-1900)
    1. Sarah E. Thorn (1837-)
    2. Charles H. Thorn (1838-1907) m. Lucy
    3. Abby Jane Thorn (1839-1865)
    4. Antoinetta Thorn (1841-) m. Edward Keer (1841-) in 1867
    5. Esther Thorn (1843-) m. Richard Lappin (1845-)
    6. Frances A. Thorn (1845-1875) m. Abraham Van Winkle (1829-1909) in 1865
      1. Adrienne Van Winkle (1867-1965)
      2. Charlotte Van Winkle (1869-1924)
      3. Charles Van Winkle (1872-1954)
    7. William F. Thorn (1849-1863)
    8. Julia Thorn (1850-1924) m. William DeWitt Moose (1837-1915)
      1. William DeWitt Moose Jr. (1877-1947)
    9. Stephen Thorn (1852-1852)
    10. George Thorn (1857-1857)
    11. J. Lewis Thorn (1858-1858)
    12. Albert Thorn (1861-after 1916) m. Hattie B. (1857-1904)