Fishing Tales and Your Ancestors

We all have family fishing tales of whose fish is the biggest. Town histories even get into telling fishing tales. That is a good thing for those of us looking for our ancestors. It gives a residence, a year and sometimes an occupation for them. Here is one page from “A History of the Town of Industry, Franklin County, Maine …” page 21

Industry Maine 1892 History

The 1892 history of Industry, Maine tells the tale of Isaac Webster, a shoemaker by trade “who died, at an advanced age, a few years since, in Taunton, Massachusetts.” Isaac moved to Industry from Stark and settled in the village of Allen’s Mill for several years.

The largest trout caught by Isaac weighed 17 ¾ pounds.

Others listed for catching large fish are:

John Daggett

John Wesley Norton

Samuel Rackliff

James C. Luce

Luther Luce, Sr.

Rueben Hatch, Sr.

Nelson W. Fish

John Atwell Daggett

John F. Daggett

William R. Daggett

Fred F. Backus

Truman Luce (1833)

Daniel Sanders Collins (1857)

Harry Pierce of Farmington (July 1890)

John Richards of Boston (July 1890)

Chas. E. Oliver of West Mill’s (1885)

John L. Sterry of Stark (1891)

George W. Dobbins of Boston (1889)

Herbert B. Luce of Allen’s Mills (1883)

Henry O. Stanley of Dixfield (1883) State Fish Commissioner

Chas. Augustus Allen of Farmington

A history of the town of Industry, Franklin County, Maine, from the earliest settlement in 1787 down to the present time, embracing the cessions of New Sharon, New Vineyard, Anson, and Stark. In two parts, including the history and genealogy of many of the leading families of the town

by Hatch, William Collins

Publication date 1893

Topics Industry, Maine, Industry, Maine, genealogy

Publisher Farmington, Me., Press of Knowlton, McLeary & Co.

Collection allen_county; americana

Digitizing sponsor Internet Archive

Contributor Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center

Language English

Volume Pt. 1

Notes

Digital image of a photocopied book. Irregular pagination. No copyright page found.

Bookplateleaf 0004

Call number 31833011871297

Camera Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Identifier historyoftownofi01hatc

Identifier-ark ark:/13960/t3hx4ct0d

Invoice 11

Lccn 01008972

Ocr ABBYY FineReader 9.0

Page-progression lr

Pages 894

Ppi 500

Scandate 20141216165122

Scanner scribe2.indiana.archive.org

Scanningcenter indiana

Full catalog record MARCXML

 

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Immigrants remembered

Pictures In Verse Poetry Contest entry 2017

Bill West recently reminded us of his annual Genealogy Poetry Challenge. I decided that this poem honors our nation’s early immigrant’s culture from whence they came and their descendants. It gives a sense of where we came from.

I believe the sentiment expressed in this poem could be applied to immigrants to our nation today. Life is uncertain, filled with the unknown. It’s how we deal with Life that determines who we are.

Today I honor my 8th great-grandfather, John MacBean/Bean.

While researching my John MacBean/Bean lineage, for an Ancestry DNA hint, I came across this poem written by Mrs. Alice Bean Lodge of Gilmanton, New Hampshire (31 Aug 1899); read by Mrs. E. W. Johnson of East Wilton, Maine, for the Fourth Annual Reunion of John Bean (1660) Association at Portland, Maine 31 Aug 1899.

Picture In Verse

Good morrow, friends and kinsmen,

I greet you one and all,

Who’ve seen the fiery Cross go forth

And heard the bugle call.

Ours be a peaceful meeting,

We need no cross or flame,

No plaid or Scottish bonnet

To tell from whence we came.

With pride of ancient ancestry

And love of Highland lore,

Our hearts may be as leal and true

As those who lived of yore.

Warriors were they, and artizans,

Our coat of arms doth show

An arm and hand, with dagger raised

To strike an avenging blow.

The motto of ye olden time

Sounds strange to us to-day,

But in the seventh century,

When Douglas Bayne held sway,

They challenged every man they met,

They made him stand and show

What might his name and station be

And whether friend or foe.

“Touch not the cat without a glove,”

Or you may rue the day

You made him lift the velvet paw,

Or stroked him the wrong way.

Clan Chattan’s foes may well beware,

Her sons are strong and fleet,

And a mountain wildcat might not be

A pleasant thing to meet.

Let us go back to those old days

And see the life they led,

Their home a mountain cavern,

Their dress, the Highland plaid;

Their bed of flinty rock was strewn

With heather and wild fern,

And they drank the sparkling water

From out of the nearest burn.

With trusty bow and arrow

They chased they flying roe,

And watched the mountain passes

To guard against the foe.

While from the castle on the cliff

The watchman, old and grey,

Gave warning to the warder

To keep the foe away.

Within the castle all looked bright,

The knights were brave and true,

The ladies taught their maids

To spin, tow weave and sew.

The laird was father of his clan,

The lady, sweet and fair,

Made all the poor and stricken ones

Their own especial care.

Their peaceful days were brimming o’er

With happiness, I ween,

When all the lads and lassies met

To dance upon the green.

With hearts as light as thistle-down,

With laughter, song and jest,

Each Lassie laced her bodice blue,

Each laddie donned his best;

The lairds looked on approvingly,

My lady with a smile,

The older folks sat round in groups

To chat and rest awhile.

And e’en the poor were not forgot,

Who through the twilight stole,

With bag in hand from door to door

To gather up the dole.

What visions danced before their eyes

As they white sails unfurled,

To seek for home and fortune

In a strange, far off new world.

What anxious days were those at sea,

When parted from the land,

They steered their bark to westward

Till they reached a rocky strand.

Tho’ few indeed their numbers were,

Their hearts were stout and bold;

The dangers met, the toils they shared

Have oftentimes been told.

The German sighs for Fatherland,

The Switzer mourns his mountains

With many a silent tear;

And tho’ Columbia beckons

And the future may beguile,

The bells of Shandon still sound sweet

To the sons of Erin’s Isle.

We talk of Merry England,

The vine-clad hills of France,

Of Spain and her Alhambra,

Of Moorish song and dance;

Italia’s charms and chanted oft

By light of the silver moon,

And we sing of bonny Scotland,

“Ye banks and braes of Doon.”

And why from lands so fair and fine

Is it so many come?

In the fair land—America__

A man can own his home;

Freedom of thought and action,

A chance to see and know,

The land is board, and fair, and free

Wherever he may go.

Her flag is known in every port,

Her ships sail every sea,

She stretches out her strong right arm

To help the oppressed go free.

The morning sun shines brightly

When he leaves his ocean bed

Upon a busy commerce

And crowded marts of trade—

Upon a restless people

Who hurry to and fro,

As here and there with eager steps

Throughout the land they go.

‘Tis true the world is very wide,

And some are sure to find

In leaving home that they have left

Their “Fortunate Isles” behind.

And tho’ like Esmeralda,

We “sing in every bower,”

Or like the bee who all day long

Sips honey from each flower,

When twilight closes round us

Wherever we may be,

We hear our Mother singing

Aneath the “Rowen tree;”

And with the Germans “Wanderer,”

Our hearts cry out, “Where art thou.

O my beloved home>’

And you whose lives are shadowed

By grief, or pain, or loss,

From whom the sky is darkened,

And gold is naught but dross,

Worn out with tears and watching,

Caught by the undertow

And carried outward by the tide

Wherever it may go;

Helpless to bear life’s burdens,

Yet hoping while you call,

That haven may prove a refuge

And a resting place for all.

Look up for strength and courage,

Take note of little things,

You may see angels’ faces

And hear the sound of wings.

Old Allan Bayne, that harp of thine

Has mute remained for many a year,

The chords that thrilled the soul are hushed,

The hand that touched them is not here.

How often in the olden days

Unseen it welcomed many a guest;

It cheered his sorrows, soothed his fears,

And gently lulled to rest.

But when the clansmen filled the hall

To talk of deed by field and foray,

How loud and clear the notes that rang,

While sand the bard of fame and glory.

And when the exile wandered forth

To shadowy cave and forest near,

The ancient harper followed on

To charm and make his life less drear.

O, ancient harper, may my strain

Allure, and comfort as thine own;

Let joybells ring, and Hope’s bright ray

Illume a future all unknown,

For life may yet hold much of good,

Tho’ often mixed with grief and care,

And flowers still loom and birds yet sing

As in old Scotland vales so fair.

 

Written by Mrs. Alice Bean Lodge

 

Source:

  1. Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) https://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofjoh1899john#page/101/mode/1up

 

  1. Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

 

Citation:

  1. John Bean Association Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) Association, at its annual reunion, accessed 7 September 2017, from https://archive.org/details/proceedingsofjoh1899john; publisher S I-The Association, 1899, collection Allen County Americana digitalized, Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, published 1899, call number 31833012005747, image pg100-104

 

  1. West, Bill (2017) West In New England 30 Aug 2017 Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, accessed 7 September 2017 https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

 

My lineage:

John MacBean/Bean 1634-1718 & Margaret Edwards 1640-1714

James Bean 1672-1753 & Sarah Bradley 1673-1738

Samuel Bean 1710-1786 &Mary Buzzell 1714-1812

Judith Bean 1732-1817 &Moses Quimby 1713-1826

Hannah Quimby 1759-1831 & Philip Nelson 1756-1841

William Nelson 1795-1869 & Patty Teel 1795-1891

Benjamin P. Nelson 1824-1862 & Elinor M. Babb 1830-1906

William F. Nelson 1855-1932 & Clara J. Chase 1875-1955, my great-grandparents

Lillian M. Nelson 1895-1934 & Nathan A. Stearns 1887-1851, my grandparents

Nelson W. Stearns 1930-1988 & Shirley B. Pease 1935-2001, my parents

 

Judith Bean 1732-1817 &Moses Quimby 1713-1826 are founding families of Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire the home of my heart.

Source:

  1. Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) https://archive.org/stream/proceedingsofjoh1899john#page/101/mode/1up

 

  1. Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

 

Citation:

  1. John Bean Association Proceedings of the John Bean (1660) Association, at its annual reunion, accessed 7 September 2017, from https://archive.org/details/proceedingsofjoh1899john; publisher S I-The Association, 1899, collection Allen County Americana digitalized, Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center, published 1899, call number 31833012005747, image pg100-104

 

  1. West, Bill (2017) West In New England 30 Aug 2017 Bill West 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge, accessed 7 September 2017 https://westinnewengland.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-ninth-annual-great-genealogy-poetry.html

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Niagara Falls & River Railway Power House

Niagara Falls & River Railway Power House

Day 2 (13 June 2017) of our Road trip found us taking a limo tour of Niagara Falls. The history behind them was an amazing trip in time. The tour gave an overview of the formation, preservation, above and BELOW The Falls.

Did you have an ancestor who work on the construction of the tunnels?

Wikipedia gives an overview. Below is a quick overview of the Power Plants the use the water to power the area.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Niagara_Falls_hydroelectric_generating_plants

  • “Niagara Falls & River Railway Power House, operating in Niagara Falls, Ontario’s Queen Victoria Park between 1892 and 1932, supplying electricity to its trains operating between Queenston and Chippawa.
  • William Birch Rankine Power Station, opened in 1905 by the Canadian Niagara Power Company which was founded in 1892. It was purchased by the Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation in 1950, and then by the Fortis Incorporated Power Group in 1999-2000, after which it was retired from service following an agreement with Ontario Power Generation, the provincial utility.
  • Ontario Power Company, also opened in 1905, purchased by the Ontario Hydro Power Commission in 1917 and then decommissioned in 1999.
  • Electrical Development Company (EDC), later named the Toronto Power Company, operating between 1906 and 1973.
  • Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric Generating Stations, are two hydroelectric generating stations in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, opened in 1922 and originally named the Queenston Chippawa Power Station. It was renamed after Sir Adam Beck in 1950, with significant expansions in 1954 and 2013. The two major power stations at the site are called Adam Beck I and Adam Beck II.”
  • From the Limo

    Under The Falls

    Tunnel Construction

    American Falls as seen from Canada

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How I use my “We’re Related” Application

How I use my “We’re Related App.

Russ Worthington posted a question in his “We’re Related” Facebook Closed Group, asking how we use our We’re Related app. I posted a quick answer.

Then I decided since I was working with a new hint from my app, I would record each step in a blog. It showed that the quick answer I gave Russ left a few steps out of how I use the application.

This is MY Own Way of Researching. You probably have your way.

My goal is to show one way to research those hints from the We’re Related app.  The same principles can be used for any hints you find.

My second goal is in honor of Women’s History Month, I plan to find one new female ancestor each week in March 2017.

 

  1. I add the people hints first to my Excel Spreadsheet Data, using Russ Worthington’s format.
    We're Related App

    We’re Related App

    2. I check my Main Ancestry Tree, to see if the people are there.

    Ancestry Fowler Search

    Ancestry Fowler Search

    3. I continue searching until I find the generation in my tree. No “Ring” Surname, then checked Colby. I do have a Judith Colby the mother of John Collins in my Ancestry Family Tree.
    4. Using the information from the We’re Related Application on Ancestry’s search

    Ancestry Search Bar

    Ancestry Search Bar

    Ancestry Search page

    Ancestry Search page

    Judith Colby results

    Judith Colby results

    5. I NOW have 153 hints to research

    6. I do the same filter search in Family Serach

    Judith Colby Family Search Results
    7. It yielded only a Family Tree, no records. I do not search Family trees, unless I hit a brick wall. Thia prevents ME from becoming lazy in my OWN research.

     

    8. I compare my person, Judith Colby, with my Ancestry Tree information I already researched. I also check my shoebox for any save records that may be for Judith Colby. I did have one for birth for a Judith born of Judith and Er Colby on 7 Oct 1764. I also had save to Judith a Find A Grave Record with the same birth date.

9. I DO NOT add this birth record to my tree. The other hints from my Ancestry search need to be evaluated for location, and possible parentage of Judith.

10. I will go to the next generation, Judith Ring and do the same research I did for Judith Colby.

11. I will research, town histories, deeds, [no censuses for this time frame will give me names of the household members,] marriage records and death records. This is just a few of the records I research and compare, before adding Judith Colby’s parents.

Source information:

  1. Ancestry We’re Related App, http://www.ancestry.com/wererelated/share/ (accessed 3 Mar 2017) via IPhone
  2. Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.com/ Stearns Butka Family Tree (accessed 3 Mar 2017)
  3. FamilySearch Rights and Use Information (Updated 2/3/2015) | Privacy Policy (Updated 3/18/2014) © 2017 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. A service provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  4. com. U.S., Find A Grave Index, 1600s-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.

 

 

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January 2017 Recap Week 1

I may not be posting here in my blog post as much as I should. I am posting on Facebook. Below is a recap for the first week of January 1-7, 2017.

My goal is to at least post a monthly review of my Facebook posting here. February will follow in a day or two.

I did something unusual for the New Year, No resolutions other than to take each day as it comes with a smile and enjoy the moment.

1 Jan 2017 post on June Stearns Butka’s Facebook Page:

We each have our crosses to bear. It is how we deal with them that makes us who we are.

It is difficult sometimes to accept the changes, that some perceive as weaknesses.

Naomi King reminded me that, although I can’t do what I once was capable of, I still have a lot to offer.

I may not be able to bake, cook or make crafts, due to the muscle weakness; I can still offer support, love and give my family a sense of where we came from.

We are made of strong stuff, we stay positive and we adjust to what life has given us.

Live life to the fullest, no matter what challenges you meet. You will be happy with yourself. Maybe even at peace with yourself.

Happy New Year. 🎆

This is my wish for all of you: love yourself, accept what challenges life gives you, and maybe life will be brighter, happier and healing of spirit for the New Year.

4 Jan 2017 post on June Stearns Butka’s Facebook Page:

I quick challenge to my family and friends.

Name one thing about yourself that most people don’t know about.

I’ll start.

Did you know that I helped my Dad, build and race Dune Buggies?

Friend Responses included:

  1. Friend I learned how to take a car engine apart and put back together with my dad. June Stearns Butka I didn’t know that we had progressive Dad’s. Friend Yes I guess we did that’s why we are so close. 😀😀😀❤❤❤
  1. Friendt Did you know that my first language was French? June Stearns Butka Yes, You mentioned it once.
  2. Friend first language was Polish; I studied concert piano for years. On my 16th birthday my Dad bought a Steinway Grand Piano which is no in my sister’s house.

 

January 4th also carried the sad news of Carrie Fisher’s death. I great loss for the world entertainment community, her family and friends. She was taken ill on her flight home after completing the filming of a Star Wars movie.

A Productive day: Dear Myrtle at noon Genealogy Proof Standard Study Group,” Book Club In the Blood,’ Webinar Wednesday DNA, Joe Hill Live (on Facebook) newest book discussion and top the night off with Dear Myrtle Wacky Wednesday Pinterest and Public Television Castles of King Ludwig ll.

5 Jan 2017 post on June Stearns Butka’s Facebook Page:

Genealogy Tip for today:

One that bears repeating- Review the whole page for family, including notes and side bars.

Lines 25 & 26, 31, 32, 33, 34 & 35 are one family. You will notice that the Derosby Family divides them. The Ancestry index list lines 31-35 as child for John C. Derosby. Where in fact they are the children of Edna. Edna is the mother of all the children on line 31-35. Walter is the father of Walter line 31

Check the house number and the sidebar for more hints of corrections when reviewing any documents.

1930 US Census Waterville Maine

1930 US Census Waterville Maine

7 Jan 2017 post on June Stearns Butka’s Facebook Page:

Today’s Genealogy tip:

Take time to review for duplicate entries on your Ancestry People list. Check any Family Tree for duplicates.

Sometimes, especially in the early days of my tree, I forget to check that the person is already in my tree linked to another person, before adding them to my tree.

You save yourself a lot of work when verifying and merging your duplicates.

I’m still cleaning up my tree I began with on Ancestry. It is a slow process but one that is needed to be done.

I try each month to review for duplicates. Even through I leave off at a certain letter, if I worked on my tree in the interim, I go back to the letter “A” and review from the beginning.

I was slack in reviewing when working on a project as a Christmas gift. So, I started at the beginning. I made to the “C’s” before I decided I should write the Genealogy Tip for today.

It looks like I need to verify if my Samuel Chase’s are different people.

Bonus Tip: Even if they have a DOB within 3 years of each other and not DOD, on at least one, I verify that they are not the same person. Same in the reverse, if I have a DOD and not DOB for at least one, I check it.

Happy Reviewing.

Partial Ancestry People List

Partial Ancestry People List

 

Most of the first week of January was down time to recuperate from holiday gatherings. We all need to remember the importance of Heal thyself.

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Don’t Forget to check out the Family Swords

Genealogy Peeps, Don’t forget to check out those guns and swords in your family. You may just find another piece of history about your family.

Check out my Christmas homework assignment results.

I found some great information on the sword.

No automatic alt text available.
June Butka Genealogy Photos

I started by researching the engraving on the sword, I wasn’t sure if it was a personal engraving or not. it turned out to be a military/manufacturing.
http://www.old-smithy.info/…/HTNL%20DOCU…/1866_chassepot.htm

Doing more research I found out that it was a common sword used during the French Wars. The end of “Defense Nationale government and beginning French Third Republic.” The first president in France at this time, President Theirs, main goal was to deport all German sodilers from France. This fitted with the “Prussian-German” link to the family genealogy and the time the families migration to America.

My point is, check all types of family heirlooms for a hint of their life. Even a sword gives clues that might surprise you.

FYI, I was given the sword with the request, can you find out anything about it? When I sent an email of what I found, that is when they told me which family line the sword came from. It made so much sense of how the sword came to be with the family. Yes, some military items were sold or stolen after the wars, in this case we have a better clue how this sword became part of this families treasures.

The screenshot is from Wkipedia. It is a Chassport rifle baronet from the French Wars.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chassepot

Christmas I was given several “genealogical homework” assignments from my family. One assignment was to try to find out a bit of history of a sword passed down to the current generation.

More Links to view:

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Willard McKinstry Honored Part 2

The Fredonia Censor Wednesday Feb 1 1899

This is the second part of the Newspaper transcriptions honoring Willard McKinstry. You can read the first entry here.

Willard McKinstry 1842-1899

Willard McKinstry 1842-1899

Death of Willard McKinstry

Senior Editor of the Censor 57 Years

Mr. McKinstry had been feeble for some time past but seemed no worse than usual recently, in fact he was in better strength and spirits than he had been at times. New Year’s Day he attended the Presbyterian Church, and he took occasional rides to Dunkirk on the electric cars up to two weeks ago. He began to fail in strength Thursday, Jan.19, and did not respond to the remedies for weak action of the heart. Still he seemed to hold his own till 48 hours before he died, and all hope was not abandoned until that morning, Thursday, Jan. 26. His sons were telegraphed for but they could not get here in time. He was unconscious, and sank peacefully to his final sleep about 11 a. m.

With one of Mr. McKinstry’s advanced years and feeble condition, every illness is alarming, but he had rallied from far more serious conditions. It seemed as though the machinery of his strong frame had finally worn out, and no artificial aid could longer keep it in motion. He was prepared to go, and had long expressed a desire to be released from his spells of suffering, yet the sudden ending was a shock to his family and friends. They can only give thanks that he had no final suffering, and that he was spared to them so long. His was a long life of usefulness and honor, and the general expressions from all over the State of sympathy and respect, have been a great consolation to those who were dearesr to him. Some of these expressions, and farther reflections on Mr. McKinstry’s life and character, will be found elsewhere in this paper. His personal history was well written in the Buffalo Express of last Friday, and the history of Chautaugua County, published in 1894, and edited by Hon. Obed Edson of Sinclairville, also has a concise biographical sketch. From the two we copy the following:

Willard McKinstry was born in Chicopee Mass., May 9, 1815. His great-great grandfather, Roger McKinstry, emigrated from Scotland to Ireland about 1669. Mr. McKinstry’s great grandfather, John McKinstry, was born in Ireland in 1677, graduated at Edinburgh University in 1712, emigrated to America in 1718, became a Congregational clergyman first in Sutton, Mass., then at Ellington, Conn. His grandfather, John McKinstry, was born at Sutton in 1723, was graduated from Yale College in 1746, and was the first pastor of the Second Congregational parish of Springfield from 1752, and labored with that church until his death in 1813. Perseus McKinstry, son of John of Springfield, was born at Chicopee in 1772, married Grace Williams in 1803, was a tanner at Plainfield, then a farmer at Chicopee, and died in 1829. They had eleven children, of whom Willard was the seventh. Nine grew to maturity; only one now survives-the youngest, Hon. A. Winthrop McKinstry, formerly associcated his brother in publishing the Censor, now publisher of the Faribault (Minn.) Republican.

In 1842 he brought the Fredonia Censor, the oldest publication in Chautauqua County, having been founded in 1821 by the late H. C. Frisbee. Mr. McKinstry was connected with this publication almost to the last, being a frequent visitor at the office up to a short time ago.

In 1843 Mr. McKinstry married Maria A. Durlin of Fredonia, who died in 1882. They had four children, of whom three are still living. Louis, the oldest, is the present proprietor and editor of the Fredonia Censor, Willard D. is editor and one of the proprietors of the Watertown Times. Anna is the wife of Prof. Myron T. Dana, vice-principal of the Fredonia State Normal School, with whom he lived at the time of his death. In 1887 Mr. McKinstry married Marian A Baker of Achley, Ia., who died in less than a year. He was a member of the Congregational Church of Northampton from 1832 till 1847, when he joined the First Presbyterian Church of Fredonia, of which he had been a member ever since.

Willard McKinstry’s character was formed in that industry, frugality, integrity, patriotism and piety for which New England was noted 75 years ago. There was much work, little play, some schooling, and the small farm furnished a frugal support for the large family until he was fourteen, when his father died. Then Willard worked out two summers, attending school winters. In 1832 he became an apprentice in the office of the Northampton, Mass., Courier. He journeyed to Northampton, 14 miles on foot, carrying all his effects in a handkerchief; his wages was $30 the first year, $35 the second, $40 the third and $50 the fourth. That knowledge of public affairs and of the English language which made him such a clear and vigorous writer was chiefly acquired by careful study and extensive reading during his apprenticeship, and services as a journeyman printer in New York, Hartford, Springfield and Mayville. In Springfield he worked three years for G. and C. Merriam, publishers of Webster’s dictionary, and in Mayville he worked on the Sentinel for his cousin, Benjamin Brockway, with whom he was a fellow apprentice in Northampton. Mr. Brockway finally moved to Watertown, where he became proprietor of the Times, and died a few years ago honored by all. A third apprentice with those two boys was Mr. L.L. Prat, formerly publisher of the Fredonia Advertiser, and now, aged 80, an assistant on the Watertown Times.

At the time of his death Willard McKinstry, was the oldest editor in New York State. The condition of Chautauqua County, when he first came here, is best told in his own words, in the following selection from the preface if his “Editorial Miscellanies and Letters” published in 1895:

“More than two generations have passed since the Fredonia Censor was founded by the late H. C. Frisbee in 1821. Not a single original subscriber is now living. Probably those who remain whose names were on the subscription list when I commenced 52 years ago would number less than a score.

“When the Censor was established in 1821 a large portion of the people in this county lived in log houses, located in clearings in the wilderness. When I came to the county in 1839, it is safe to say that more than half the land was mortgaged to Holland Land Company, and the remainder had but recently been purchased by William H. Seward and two partners.

“I came to Fredonia the village was the largest in the county and contained only 1,200 to 1,500 population. The road to the nearest village, Dunkirk, was a considerable part of the way through the woods and made passable in spring and fall through the swamp intervening by a corduroy road.

“But one railroad existed within 300 miles of us, and that of a most primitive kind, laid with flat bar rails on longitudinal timbers. There were no friction matches here then and the embers of the huge back log were buried in the ashes to preserve the fire overnight. No ocean steamer had then crossed the Atlantic and some four weeks were required to cross from Europe to America.

“Then the boundaries of the United States were on the east side of Mississippi, except Missouri, which was made a State the year the Censor was established, and even when I commenced publishing the Censor, the enterprising pioneers living west of the Mississippi River, excepts those in Missouri, had their papers directed to the territories.

“Then not a telegraph had conveyed information to the newspaper or individual and the mails by stage coaches was the most expeditious method of communication between friends or doing business.”

Mr. McKinstry was a Whig in politics and cast his first vote for Henry Clay and had been a staunch Republican since the organization of that party. He served as postmaster in Fredonia for eight years, being first appointed by President Lincoln in 1863. There are few public improvements in and about Fredonia in which he had not been interested in the last 60 years.

He was one of the original trustees of the Forest Hill Cemetery, one of the original Stockholders of the Dunkirk and Fredonia Street Railroad Company, of which he was president for many years, and was one of the most active citizens in placing the State Normal School here. He was a member of the first local board of Managers of the Normal School. During part of the Civil War , he was a representative of the U.S> Christian Commission with the Army of the Potomac before Petersburg, where he shared the hardships of the soldiers, helped care for the wounded in time of battle, and made himself useful in every way possible to the soldiers of his division. He was a charter member of Fredonia Grange, No. 1, which was the first Grange established in what has since become the great order of the Patrons of Husbandry. He was a Ruling Elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Fredonia, for forty-five years.

 

I will continue the transcription of the second half of the scrapbook page posted in my next blog post.

Thank Pamela Morey Okolita Sherrill for sharing your ancestor’s scrapbook of News articles honoring Willard McKinstry , the newspaperman, life.

 

Links:

The Fredonia Censor 1842-1932

Corduroy Roads

McKinstry-Lawyer Family

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