Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Dunfee Family :: Children of Mary Bonnett Lovett

See this previous post for information on Mary Dunfee who married Isaac Bonnett and James Hanson Lovett. Mary was the mother of eight children, five with Isaac and three with James.

1. Rebecca Bonnett was born about 1836. She is listed in census records with her mother from 1850 through 1870 and is listed as age 14, 24, and 34, respectively. In 1870, Mary Lovette is head of household but Rebecca Bonett is listed as owning real estate valued at $8,850 and has a personal estate of $1,390. Rebecca's occupation is “works at home”. In 1860 she was listed as a seamstress.
According to Holmes County, Ohio marriage records, a Rebecca Bonnett was married on October 31, 1876 to Richard Pawers. They were found living in Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas in 1880, 1900, and 1910. However, I am not convinced that this is the right Rebecca Bonnett!
Why? Well, the 1880 census shows that Richard Powers has an 18 year old step son named John Bonnett who was born in Ohio. There is also a 3-year old son James Powers. The 1900 census shows that Richard and Rebecca have been married 24 years, which would put their year of marriage at about 1876, which means they are likely the ones married in Holmes County. Rebecca is listed as born in July 1836. She was the mother of two children, both living. And, in 1910 the census shows that Rebecka was married twice.
The Ohio Marriages database on FamilySearch were searched for a Rebecca marrying a Bonnett but came up empty. The 1870 census was also searched for Rebecca Bonnett born about 1838 and John Bonnett born about 1862.
So... since the Rebecca Bonnett who married Richard Pawers/Powers is probably not the right person, I really do not have any information on her beyond the 1870 census. She was not found in the 1880 census.
2. Isaac D. Bonnett was born July 30, 1838. He married Sophronia Greenlee on June 15, 1865 in Ashland County, Ohio. Isaac was a farmer. He died December 27, 1877 and Sophronia died February 16, 1879. They are both buried in the Pioneer/Old Sixteen Cemetery in Ashland County, Ohio. They were the parents of five children: Henry Bonnett (born about 1866), Isaac Dean Bonnett (born December 21, 1867 died July 12, 1942), Nettie Bonnett (born about 1869), Louie Bonnett (born August 23, 1873 died March 16, 1874), and Bertie L. Bonnett (born December 16, 1876 died August 11, 1877).
Louie and Bertie are buried beside their parents in the Pioneer/Old Sixteen Cemetery. Holmes County Will Book 2 show that Sophronia's estate was probated on February 28, 1879. The will lists daughter Nettie (she got the picture album) and sons, Henry and Dean. I have no information on Henry. Nettie was listed with her grandmother, Mary Lovett, in the 1880 census but I have nothing further on her.
Isaac Dean was married on February 28, 1895 to Josephine Van Numman in Wayne County, Ohio. They were the parents of two children: Isaac Donald Bonnett (1895-1942) and Martha Bonnett (born about 1909). According to the Find A Grave memorial for Isaac Donald he died on May 3, 1942 at Camp O'Donnell in the Philippine Islands with burial at Arlington National Cemetery.
3. George Bonnett was born about 1840. In May 2008, I wrote about him as the “news boy” who left a $20,000 estate. It was an undated newspaper article and at that time I didn't know when he had died, guesstimating that it was after 1910. The article stated that George was the proprietor of a corner news stand. He had in his possession a letter written to him before 1876 (it was “more than 35 years old” at the time) from his brother Isaac and that letter led authorities to his next of kin.

Since then I've found several records that I thought might be him (still not sure of the first two):
  • An 1888 Illinois Voter Registration on listed George Bonnett residing at 128 Harrison St. No City was given on the record. His nativity was Ohio, he had resided in the precinct for 7 years, in the county 10 years, and in the state for 17 years.
  • An 1889-1890 City Directory for Quincy, Illinois (also on listed George H. Bonnet as an apprentice on The Patriot, presumably a newspaper.
  • And, most recently on FamilySearch, a Cook County Illinois Death Record that shows George Bonnett died on December 11, 1911 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois of pneumonia with exhaustion as a contributory factor. His age is given as 63 years with a birth date of 1848, which is off a bit since census records show that he was 10 years old in 1850 and 20 in 1860. His birthplace was listed as United States. His occupation was Paper Deliverer for the Daily Tribune and his address was the Harrison Hotel. His former occupation was miner, which might have been how he accumulated such a large sum of money. He was single and had been a resident of the City and State for 15 years. George was buried on December 14, 1911 in Rosehill Cemetery.

4. Albert Bonnett abt 1842. He was not found in the 1860 or later census records. No further information.

5. Henry Bonnett abt 1844. He was not found in the 1870 or later census records. No further information.

6. Charles M. Lovett was born January 11, 1851 near Lakeville in Holmes County, Ohio and died December 9, 1935 in Wooster, Wayne County, Ohio. There is an extensive biography of him published in volume 3 (pages 1173-1174) of the “History of North Central Ohio : Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne, Medina, Lorain, Huron and Knox Counties” in 1931. He married Vera A. Powell on November 27, 1871. They adopted a daughter, Iva, who married Henry S. Palmer. Iva and Henry had one son Charles Lovett Palmer. Iva died on December 27, 1941. Her death record on FamilySearch lists her husband as Harry S. Palmer.
Charles held a variety of jobs. He was first a farmer and stockman. He was elected county treasurer of Wayne County in 1891 for two terms; was manager of the Wooster Shale Brick Paving Company; agent of the Southwestern Railway Company; president of the Millersburg, Wooster & Orrville Telephone Company; and vice president of the Wayne Building & Loan Company of Wooster.
7. Alveretta Jo Lovett was born about 1852 and died in March 1948. She was married on May 1, 1877 to William H. Shipp in Holmes County, Ohio. In 1900 they resided in Gilead Township, Morrow County, Ohio where William was a Grocer and sold General Merchandise. By that time they had had 6 children but only 4 were living. Their 18 year old son Fred was an Apprentice Turner while 16 year old Ernest was and Apprentice Jeweler. Twelve year old Harry was in school while 5 year old Vincent wasn't. They also had a 25 year old servant, Deborah Long, living with them.
In 1910, the William H. Shipp family is residing in Mount Vernon, Knox County, Ohio where William works in a furniture store. Son Harry, age 22, is recently married (to 17 year old Mabel) and does General Engine Work. Son Vincent, 15 years old, also resides with them.
The family wasn't located in 1920, but in 1930 William and Alveretta were living on North 10th street in Kansas City, Kansas. They owned their home, which was valued at $5,000 and William was retired.
Alveretta Lovett and William H. Shipp were the parents of six children: Nellie Edith Shipp (born March 29, 1878 died September 4, 1878 buried in Plum Run Cemetery, Holmes County), George Hazlett Shipp (born May 28, 1879 died January 6, 1887 also buried in Plum Run Cemetery), Fred Lovett Shipp (born July 13, 1881), Charles Ernest Eugene Shipp (born October 1883), Harry Herbert Shipp (born March 22, 1888 died October 1971), and Roger Vincent Shipp (born February 8, 1895).
8. Franklin E. Lovett was born March 28, 1858 in Holmes County, Ohio and died July 2, 1900 in Wayne County, Ohio. He was married in Holmes County on April 22, 1880 to Ida Barton. They were the parents of three children: Mary Maudie Lovett (born September 16, 1881 died January 13, 1887), Grace G. Lovett (born July 31, 1883 died December 10, 1974), and Glen Barton Lovett (born February 2, 1886).
Mary Maudie is buried in Newkirk Cemetery, Wayne County, Ohio near her parents. According to the death notice of Alveretta Lovett Shipp dated March 26, 1948 and published in the The Loudonville (Ohio) Times, Alveretta was “an aunt of Mrs. James Drumm of Wooster” which can only be Grace Lovett but I didn't find a marriage record for them in the Ohio Marriages database on FamilySearch. Glenn Barton Lovett married Mary Nice on October 5, 1910 in Wayne County, Ohio.
Sources are available upon request. If you are researching any of these families, please contact me at kinexxions "at" gmail "dot com.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Dunfee Family :: Children of Mary Bonnett Lovett," Kinexxions, posted March 31, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Dunfee Family :: Mary Bonnett Lovett

This is the third installment in the series started in December 2011 on the presumed children of James and Sophia (Hazlett) Dunfee. Additional information on the Dunfee family can be found in Dunfee Family :: Index to Posts.

A biography of Mary's son Franklin E. Lovett, published in 1889 in the “Commemorative Biographical Record of Wayne and Holmes Counties, Ohio" (pages 641-642) states that Mary (Dunnfee) Lovett came to Ohio with her parents. “James Dunnfee was born in North Carolina in 1786, and died at the age of seventy-six years; his parents came from Ireland. Sophia (Hazelett) Dunnfee was born in Pennsylvania, her parents having been driven from Scotland during the religious persecutions.” Census records for James Dunfee indicate that he was actually born in Pennsylvania.

Mary Dunfee was born March 19, 1816 in Adams County, Pennsylvania. She was first married to Isaac Bonnet on March 25, 1836 in Wayne County, Ohio. He died on February 2, 1846. Two years after Isaac's death, on March 28, 1850, she was married to James Hanson Lovett in Holmes County, Ohio.

Census records from 1850 through 1880 show Mary Lovett residing in Washington Township, Holmes County, Ohio. In 1850 (page 287) she is listed with her second husband, James Lovett, and her five children from her first marriage. They are listed on the same page as her parents, James and Sophia, as well as the household of a brother, Jonathan.

From the above mentioned biography of Franklin E. Lovett we learn that James Hanson Lovett “was born September 7, 1823, and when seventeen years of age began teaching, an occupation he followed several years during the winter months, being engaged in the summers in farming.”

The “History of North Central Ohio : Embracing Richland, Ashland, Wayne, Medina, Lorain, Huron and Knox Counties” (v3 pg 1173-1174) published in 1931, contains a biography of Charles M. Lovett, son of James and Mary. It states that James Hanson Lovett was a native of Ohio, that he died at the age of 44, and is buried at Millersburg, Ohio.

Page 216 of the 1860 census for Washington Township, Holmes County, Ohio (post office Nashill) shows what could be considered a somewhat confusing family dynamic.

Twenty year old George Bonett is listed as the head of household in dwelling 1482, family 1504. With him are 15 year old Henry Bonett, 10 year old Charles Lovett, 8 year old Eva R. Lovett, and 5 year old Franklin Lovett. All were born in Ohio. George and Henry are farm hands.

In the next dwelling (1483, family 1505) we find Mary Lovett as head of household. She is a 42 year old widow with real estate valued at $4,000 and a personal estate valued at $700. Mary was listed as born in Pennsylvania. Listed with her were 24 year old Rebecca, a seamstress; 22 year old Isaac, a farmer and three children with the Ship surname: Susan M, age 13; John H., age 11, and William H., age 9. All except Mary were born in Ohio.

It is possible that there may have been two dwellings on the Lovett farm and perhaps the Ship children were visiting at the time. They were neighbors of Mary Lovett. In 1850 (page 288) The David Shipp family included a one year old male named John and a three year old female named Malcom in the along with seven other individuals. In 1860 the David Ship family is on page 215 (dwelling 1481, family 1503). In 1877, Mary's daughter Alveretta Jo Lovett would be married to William H. Shipp.

Mary Dunfee Bonnett Lovett died on March 25, 1900 at the age of 84. Census records through 1880 show her residing in Washington Township, Holmes County, Ohio. Mary is buried next to her first husband, Isaac Bonnett, in the Pioneer/Old Sixteen Cemetery in Lake Township, Ashland County, Ohio. Mary was the mother of eight children, five with Isaac Bonnett and three with James Lovett.

To be continued... see The Dunfee Family :: Children of Mary Bonnett Lovett

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Dunfee Family :: Mary Bonnett Lovett," Kinexxions, posted March 30, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Grand Canyon :: Navajo Point and Desert View

Navajo Point is the last viewpoint before arriving at Desert View. Quite Spectacular. Indeed.

And a closer view of The River.

And this is how it looks from Desert View. The exterior of the Watch Tower was being renovated the last time I was here and this area was not accessible. I think the little blue wheelbarrow adds something to the picture, I'm just not sure what!

A slightly closer shot of the same view as above.

Each one of the stones used in construction of the Watch Tower was reportedly selected by the architect Mary Jane Colter. She also determined where each stone was to be placed.

I did go inside and was going to go up but after the first few steps, my legs cried out “no way” so I turned around. I was completely enthralled by the interior and took plenty of photos the last time, which you can see here.

The view to the east, looking out over the desert. The Little Colorado Gorge lies a few miles away and the terrain is still quite rugged.

And so, as the road to Desert View comes to an end, so too does this Journey of mine... I've made it safely back to Indiana. I'm Home Again. Thank you to everyone who has followed along, I'm so glad you could join me for the ride...

For those of you who are feeling the need for a bit of adventure, my cousins Sue & Fred will be hiking into the Grand Canyon in a few weeks. Then they will be traveling in the West and in May will follow the coast north and “driving” to Alaska via the Marine Highway. They will be spending the Summer Up North! I wish them well in their journey and will be following along virtually, as many of you have been following me...

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Grand Canyon :: Moran Point & Hance Rapids

At Moran Point, I parked on the east side of the parking lot, and as I got out of the van this was what I saw! The Colorado River can be seen more frequently on the eastern side of the park because the canyon walls are not quite so steep.

Walking to the western side of the viewpoint, the view was even more breathtaking. If you look closely a little to the right of the center of the picture you can see the Hance Rapids. (Better seen if you double-click on the image to get a larger version.)

There was an area to the left and below the viewing area that provided a better view. The lighting was fantastic and really showed off the colors of the Canyon.

Zooming in a little closer... A small tour group showed up while I was there and the guide explained that the Hance Rapids were the largest in the Canyon. He said the waves were 12-15 feet high and the rapids were 200 feet across! Wherever a tributary joins the Colorado there will be rapids, partly from the debris carried into the river by the tributary.

The camera set at the maximum 30x zoom and from a slightly different angle. It looks a little “rough” but still doesn't look like the waves are all that big. Like many things in life, it's just a matter of perspective...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One Last Chance...

Thursday, March 15th - - As I was driving east along Interstate 40 I decided to take the time to visit one of my favorite places – after all, I might not get back this way again, at least not any time soon. The Grand Canyon is only about 60 miles north of I-40 and it was simply not possible for me to pass it by, especially after I checked the weather report and found that it was going to be a beautiful day!

It was about 11:30 in the morning when I arrived to find the parking lots nearly full. I certainly wasn't expecting that!

Like most visitors, the first place I went was to Mather Point. As you can see, it was a bit crowded.

But the view from Mather Point is worth bumping elbows with other visitors or having to wait until someone moves away from the railing so you can get that “perfect” shot. The weather could not have been better. The temperature was in the low 60s and there was barely a breeze blowing. Also, the “blue haze” wasn't too bad either.

Because there were so many people and I had only a few hours, I decided to skip the western end of the rim trail. You had to walk or take the shuttle buses to see that side of the canyon and I had walked much of it the last time I was here. Instead, I went to get some lunch and then take the drive along the road to Desert View at the eastern end of the park.

While in the cafeteria line I learned why there were so many people here – it's Spring Break! I should have known but the thought just never crossed my mind.

It was a leisurely drive to Desert View (over four hours to drive 30 miles!) with stops at nearly every viewpoint along the way and spending as much time as desired at each one. The further along the drive, the fewer people there were. I took lots of pictures, but I also took time to simply sit in the sunshine and enjoy the gorgeous day and the awesome views.

The view from Grandview Point near the beginning of Desert View Drive.

This tree is amazing. Beyond words.

It looks so close, but 'tis far away. I think that foreground area is Cedar Ridge!

There will be a few more posts on my short visit to the Grand Canyon... so many pictures, and such a beautiful day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Homeward Bound...

Not quite two years ago (April 5, 2010) after I had been on this Journey for seven months, Craig Manson asked me “How long will you be traveling?” My response was “Till I’m done!” Well, folks, I'm done! And I'm tired...

I woke up last Saturday morning with the realization that I didn't want to go to California. I didn't want the hassle and stress of driving in the horrendous traffic. I just didn't want to deal with any of it. This may sound absurd, but anywhere I'd want to go in California, I've already been. Besides, I'm tired. Yes, there are a few people I'd like to have visited – cousins and friends – but, quite frankly, the traffic and dealing with the weather have taken it's toll. I'm done! And I'm tired...

So, I spent a few days in northwest Arizona mulling things over, trying to determine if this was just a little funk I was in. But it wasn't. I really don't want to go anywhere else either. It's too early to go north and the arid southwest seems, well, quite honestly, not all that appealing right now. Besides, I'm done! And I'm tired...

It has been a marvelous Journey. I can still feel the cold spray of water falling on my face at Niagara Falls and the brisk morning air of that first fall in Vermont. I can see the stillness of the ocean while kayaking in Belfast Harbor and smell the ocean air after a storm at Kennebunk Beach. I see the fog rising from the valleys of Shenandoah National Park, and the sunsets. Oh! The Glorious Sunsets!

I can smell the decaying leaves in the “rain forest” and feel the “sponginess” of the earth beneath my feet in Olympic National Park. I was awed by Mount Rainier and amazed at the deep blue color of Crater Lake. From east coast to west coast and so many places in between. The things I've seen. The things I've done. I went halfway down into the Grand Canyon – and made it back up to the Rim! I went up to the top of Angels Landing – and safely down again. And Alaska! I drove to Alaska! Can you believe it? So many thoughts are going through my mind, so many memories, so many wondrous sights. In one sense, yes, it is over. But in another sense, it will never be over...

But the fact is, it is done. It is time to go home. Back to Indiana. There is a part of me that is sad because it's over. But there is a bit of relief as well. It's time to move on to the next phase, whatever it might be.

But that doesn't mean my traveling days are forever over... I still have a research trip to take into Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and maybe New York. If not this summer, then next. Depending upon how long it takes me to sort through all of the documents I scanned at the Family History Library! And I'm trying to talk my cousin Babs into taking that “Joslin Heritage Tour” that had to be canceled. When that will happen depends upon her schedule.

In my post announcing this Journey on August 3, 2009 I wrote
I believe in serendipity. Not just in family research, but in travel also. As one door closes, another opens… one phase ends, another begins. I'm a little nervous and a lot excited about the prospects of this journey but I feel it is the right thing for me to be doing at this particular time. The stars have aligned. It's time to go.
Yes, I do believe. It is time to go. Home.

However, it's not quite over, yet. I've still got 1750 miles to go and I did make one last “touristy” stop yesterday...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Side Trip to Rhyolite

Friday, March 9th - - Today was a lazy day. I spent much of the morning hanging around the campsite soaking up some sunshine. Then another camper told me about the “ghost town” of Rhyolite just across the state line in Nevada. It was a 60+ mile drive from the campground and the “real” town of Beatty was a few miles further. At Beatty I filled up the gas tank with regular unleaded for just $3.67 per gallon. At the two stations in Death Valley National Park it was nearly $6.00 per gallon! Maybe not worth the drive specifically to fill up but since I was already there it was definitely worth it!

I have to admit, Rhyolite didn't do much for me. I got there around noon so the harsh desert lighting was even harsher than normal. There were only three buildings of any real interest. All of the others were little more than piles of debris.

This was the tallest and biggest building still standing.

The same building as above, from a different viewpoint.

I just love the blue accent of the corners.

The village Mercantile store.

This house was built of glass bottles embedded in concrete! It is surrounded by a tall fence, presumably to protect it from vandals. It looked like it was in pretty good condition.

Glass bottles embedded in concrete.

A “side-yard” was filled with these little structures made of concrete and bits of glass.

Lovely Lavender.

The Huffman-Hoffman Kinexxion :: Heirs of Michael

The first document listing the heirs of Michael Hoffman was dated May 15, 1778 and was the Petition for Partition of the Real Estate.

Estate of Michael Hoffman
Berks County, Pennsylvania Probate Files
Family History Microfilm 1653590 Accessed February 11, 2012
To the Honorable the Justice of the Peace of the County of Berks at an Orphan's holden at Reading the 15th day of May in the Year of our Lord 1778.
The petition of Martin Hoffman, eldest Son and Heir at Law of Michael Hoffman late of Alsace Township in said County Yeoman deceased.
Humbly Sheweth That your said Petitioners Father Michael Hoffman died the 6th Day of January Anno Dom. 1777. leaving a Widow, named Mary and twelve children, to wit. Your Petitioner aged thirty six Years, Dorothea Now the Wife of Henry Shedler of the Age of thirty Years, Burghard Hoffman of the Age of thirty three Years, Dietrich of the Age of Twenty seven Years, Christian of the age of twenty three Years, Elisabeth of the Age of Nineteen Years, Henry of the Age of Eighteen Years, Catherine of the Age of fifteen Years, Barbara of the Age of twelve Years, Michael of the Age of twelve ten years, John the age of six Years & Mary of the Age of four Years all thereabouts.
That the said petitioners Father died Intestate Seized in his Demise as of Fee of and in A certain messuage on Tenement and Tract or Parcel of two hundred Acres of Land Situate in Alsace Township aforesaid.
Your Petitioner therefore humbly prays your Honours would be pleased to award an Inquest to divide the Said Estate among the said Children, if the Same can so be, without prejudice to or Spoiling the same, and if not to Value and Appraize the said Real Estate of the said Decedent, Agreeable to the Directions of the Law in Such Case made and provided.
And your Petitioner as in duty bound will pray, Martin Hoffman
The next document, also dated May 15, 1778 was the Inquisition ordering the Sheriff to have an appraisal made of the land which Michael Hoffman owned. I'm not going to transcribe the entire thing here because it basically reiterates what was in the Petition for Partition listing the heirs. However, even though it still says there were twelve children, the name Philip is inserted after Martin's age and just before the name of Dorothea.

Top portion of a document in the probate file ordering the Sherriff to have an appraisal made of the land which Michael Hoffman owned.

On June 9, 1778 the real estate was appraised by “twelve free honest and lawful men” who found that the land could not be parted and divided among the children “without prejudice to or spoiling the whole thereof” and it was appraised at seven hundred pounds.

Petition of Maria Hoffman stating that there were 13 children of Michael Hoffman and requesting that guardians be named for the four minor children under the age of 14.
To the Honble the Justices of the orphans Court of Berks county held at Reading the 14th day of August 1778.
The petition of Maria Hoffman Administratrix of Michael Hoffman Late of the said County Yeoman Deceased

Honorably Showeth That the said Michael Hoffman Lately died Intestate leaving 13 Children and a Considerable Real & Personal Estate to and among whom the same does Descend.
That our Petitioner has administered to the said Estate as the Widow & Relict of sd Decd.
She therefore humbly prays your honour Would be pleased to appoint Some proper persons As Guardians to take care of the persons & Estates of the the Minor Children of the said Deceased, to wit, Barbara, Michael, John & Maria All under the age of fourteen years.
And your Petitioner Will over & pray.
Maria Hoffman {her mark}
The Orphan's Court Journal (v2 p248) shows that Jacob Lanciscus and Paul Feger were appointed Guardians of the four minor children under the age of fourteen. Also, guardians were appointed for the four minor children above the age of fourteen: Henry chose George Babb, Elisabeth chose Frederick Shleare, and Catherine chose Jacob Lanciscus.

On that same day (August 14, 1778) a document setting forth the amounts to be distributed to the heirs was filed (see below). However, the distribution wasn't actually made on that day. It seems that “Martin Hoffman Should hold & Enjoy the Real Estate of his said father Valued as aforsd to him & his Heirs forever According to Law” but that Martin was to pay equal shares to the younger children.

There is a document in the probate file showing that Dietrich filed a claim and was paid his share (₤33-6-8) of the real estate on August 16, 1779. Martin then sold the land for ₤1500 Pounds on October 1, 1779 to Daniel Schrader (Deed Book 7 p199). The land had been appraised at ₤700 and Dietrich received his distribution based upon the appraised value. I wonder what Martin paid the other children?

As an aside, the deed tells us that Michael Hoffman purchased the tract of land, which was then in the County of Philadelphia, and which contained 166 acres, on February 22, 1768 from Bernhard Keller.

Distribution of Real Estate of Michael Hoffman
Berks County, Pennsylvania Probate Files
Family History Microfilm 1653590 Accessed February 11, 2012

Combining information from baptism records and documents in the probate file, we can say with some degree of certainty that the heirs of Michael Hoffman were (ages, thereabout, given as of May 15, 1778):
  • Martin, age 36, born about 1742
  • Philip, age not given (probably 34-35 years old, born about 1743-1744?)
  • Burghard, age 33, born about 1745
  • Dorothea, age 30, wife of Henry Shedler, born about 1748
  • Dietrich, age 27, born about 1751
  • Christian, age 23, born about 1755
  • Elizabeth, age 19, born about 1759
  • Henry, age 18, born about 1760
  • Catharina, age 15, born about 1763
  • Barbara, age 12, born about 1766 (Anna Barbara, born October 22, 1765)
  • Michael, age 10, born about 1768
  • John, age 6, born about 1772 (Johannes, born May 03, 1770 – perhaps he died young and John born 1772 is really the second John?)
  • Mary, age 4, born about 1774
Now, I don't know about you, but that's quite a span of years with the oldest child being 36 and the youngest being only 4 years old. Call me skeptical, but I'm thinking that Maria Engel may have been Michael's second wife. If she is the mother of all 13 children, she would likely be into her 50s when she had the last child. Possible, I suppose. But I don't have a date of birth or place of birth for Maria or Michael.

I also find it curious that Dorothea is listed “out of sequence” given that her age is 30 and Burghard, who follows her in the lists of children is 33 years old.

I've barely started research on this family; obviously, additional research is needed. And, I'll repeat what I've said before – If anyone researching this family finds these posts, please contact me at kinexxions “at” gmail “dot” com.

Update April 10, 2012: Please see Questioning the Status Quo :: Oh, Maria! for my theory regarding the maiden name of Maria Hoffman.

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Huffman-Hoffman Kinexxion :: Heirs of Michael," Kinexxions, posted March 15, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Huffman-Hoffman Kinexxion :: Michael

Even though I wasn't sure if Dietrich Hoffman was the father of “my” John Hoffman, since I had the resources available, I decided to see what I could find on Michael Hoffman who was reported to be the father of Dietrich. The information that I had received from Maggie Evans in April 2000 was in the form of a family group sheet prepared by a 2nd cousin of her father. It showed that Johann Dietrich Hoffman was born June 22, 1751 in New Hanover, Pennsylvania and that his parents were Michael and Maria (Engle) Hoffman.

Update April 10, 2012: Please see Questioning the Status Quo :: Oh, Maria! for my theory regarding the maiden name of Maria Hoffman.

In a previous post, I mentioned the baptisms of four children of Dietrich Hoffman in the Zion-Spiess Church records in Upper Alsace Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. What I didn't mention in that post was that the sponsors were included in the version created by William J. Hinke in July 1921.
  • Henry b. Dec. 14, 1777, bapt. Febr. 20, 1778 – sponsor was Henry Alter
  • John b. June 22, (1778) – sponsor was John Papp
  • John Michael b. Mar. 10, 1782 – sponsor was Valentine Hartman
  • Samuel b. Apr. 6, 1785 bapt. May 29, 1785 – sponsors were Frederick Lies & wf. Maria Engel
I also erred in the post mentioned above in stating that the mother of the children was not listed. The parents for Samuel were given as “Dietrich Hoffman, Susanna”. Susanna's maiden name is reportedly Alder, which could also be Alter, so I'm wondering if Henry Alter is her father or in some other way related. I have found one online tree that gives her parents as Georg Henrich “Henry” Alter (1715 – 1784) and Mary Magdalena (1727-) with no source information.

Also, you might have noticed that the sponsors of Samuel Hoffman were Frederick Lies & wf. Maria Engel. I did a double-take when I saw her name... perhaps putting the cart before the horse here, but Michael Hoffman's estate entered into probate on February 4, 1777. So, unless there was another Maria Engel in the area it looks like Michael's widow married Frederick Lies.

I need to spend more time reviewing the baptism records for Spiess Church, but it should be noted that Frederick Lies & wf Maria were sponsors for at least three other baptisms. This information certainly opens up some avenues for research into the Alder/Alter line as well as the Engel/Engle line.

In addition, two baptisms for children of Michael & Maria (Engel) Hoffman were found in the book “Trinity Lutheran Church - Reading, Pennsylvania; An alphabetized compilation of baptisms, marriages, and deaths from 1751-1904” prepared by Jacqueline B. Nein & Gail H. Hesser, 1988.
  • Anna Barbara, born 10/22/1765, baptized 11/27/1765, sponsors Georg & Anna Barbara Schmarz
  • Johannes, born 05/03/1770, baptized 06/03/1770, sponsors Johannes & Eva Koch
As stated above, Michael Hoffman's estate entered into probate on February 4, 1777. He did not have a will and his wife Mary Engel Hoffman was made administratrix of his estate.

Estate of Michael Hoffman, 1777
Berks County, Pennsylvania Probate Files
Family History Microfilm 1653590 Accessed February 11, 2012
Know all Men by these Presents, That We Mary Engel Hoffman Widow and Relict of Michael Hoffman late of the Township of Alsace in the County of Berks in the Province of Pennsylvania Carpenter deceased, John Koch of the Township of Exeter in the said County Yeoman and John Myers of the same place Mason are held and firmly bound unto Benjamin Chew Esqr... for the Sum of Three hundred Pounds... Dated the fourth Day of February in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy seven.
I find it fascinating that, apparently, Mary's maiden name was usually included in records giving her name, at least that is the case with some of the baptism records and with Michael's estate. I'm going to take a wild guess here and say that there were probably other women by the name of Mary Hoffman in Berks County at the same time and her maiden name was used to distinguish her from the others. That assumption will be investigated further...

Since Michael did not leave a will, the next most important document for genealogists is one that names the lawful heirs. I've found several online trees on the family of Michael and Maria but most of them include only one or two children, while several have 10 or 11 children, some include Dietrich and some don't. There are several documents in Michael's estate file that list his children but apparently there was an issue with the number of children...

To be continued... see The Huffman-Hoffman Kinexxion :: Heirs of Michael

Published under a Creative Commons License.
Becky Wiseman, "The Huffman-Hoffman Kinexxion :: Michael," Kinexxions, posted March 14, 2012 ( : accessed [access date])

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Death Valley :: Scottys Castle

Be forewarned – this post is graphic intensive – lots of photos!

Thursday, March 8th - - Continuing on with today's excursion, it was only a few miles further north to Scotty's Castle. Walter Scott was a shyster. Using the lure of untold millions of dollars worth of gold in his mine, he duped wealthy business men into financing his imaginary mine – though they didn't know the mine really didn't exist! He eventually incurred the favor of a wealthy business man from Chicago. Albert Johnson, in poor health found another kind of wealth from the dry desert air and an escape from the busy life he led. He enjoyed Scotty's company and the tales he told, whether true or not.

In the early 1920s Mr. Johnson began construction of a vacation home – his wife didn't care much for camping and sleeping on the ground but she enjoyed being in the desert. Within a short time, the palatial house became known as “Scotty's Castle” and the Johnson's went along with it all, perhaps getting a great deal of pleasure in the ruse they were playing on friends and guests who visited the ranch and listened to the stories told by Scotty.

You can read more about the story behind Scotty's Castle on the Death Valley website. It's a fun and interesting story!

As you are driving in from the south, through pretty much barren land, nestled in a small valley at the end of Death Valley National Park there is a little oasis, likely the only potable water in that end of the valley, and nearby is the site upon which Mr. Johnson chose to build his little house.

The courtyard between the two buildings with the clock tower in the background.

Inscribed above the door is “Death Valley Ranch” which is the name the Johnson's gave the place.

The interior of the house is dimly lit, the windows are covered with the original draperies some of which were made of leather. The draperies are closed to block out the sunlight and help preserve the furnishings. Oddly enough, photographs are allowed to be taken inside – even with flash!

The main entry-room was impressive with its floor to ceiling fireplace spanning two floors. The second floor has a balcony that goes completely around the entry-room.

The tour guides dress in period costumes from the 1930s, which is when the Johnson's opened their home to tour groups to help pay for the upkeep of the ranch.

Decorative tiles over the kitchen sink.

The kitchen stove, with copper cooking utensils. The little white appliance on the left of the shelf above the stove is a toaster. Their vacation may have been in a remote area, but the Johnson's had the latest and most modern features.

A floor level view of that fireplace, taken from the kitchen doorway.

A corner fireplace in one of the guest rooms upstairs.

The music room. To the left was a long alcove with a player organ. As part of the tour, they turn it on and play one song. It was beautiful and quite loud.

The elaborate ceiling of the music room. The cables are part of the original construction, used to keep the walls from bulging outward.

A beautiful stained glass window in the west wall of the music room.

Looking up the spiral staircase that leads to the top of the tower, which can be seen on the right side of the photo below.

A front view of Scotty's Castle. The pool in front goes the entire length of the house, and more. The tour guide said it had never been filled with water. If you look closely you can see a cross on the hill above and behind the house. Scotty's grave is to the left of the cross, he died in 1954.

I was amused by the “old prospector” weather vane atop the front tower, probably depicting Scotty on one of his legendary mining expeditions.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Death Valley :: Ubehebe Crater

Wednesday, March 7th - - After stopping at Zabriske Point and the visitors center I drove the 60 miles or so to the north end of the park. On my last visit the road was under construction with long delays and I didn't have the patience to deal with it. I spent the night at Mesquite Spring Campground, which as rustic as it is, is one of the nicer campgrounds in the park – the campgrounds at Texas Spring, Sunset, and Stovepipe Wells are little more than parking lots with the campers lined up side by side.

Thursday, March 8th - - I was still quite tired from the drive on Tuesday and slowly got myself up and around this morning. Since I had never been in this area of the park before I took a look at the Visitor Guide. I knew Scotty's Castle was only a few miles away but wasn't aware that the Ubehebe Crater was even closer. (Ubehebe is pronounced u-bee hee-bee.)

The crater was formed about 2,000 years ago when hot, molten rock turned groundwater into steam. The intense steam pressure built until the superheated combination of steam and rock exploded. The explosion spewed shattered rock over a six-square-mile area, in some places to depths of 150 feet. Ubehebe is the largest of many explosion craters in the area – it is a half mile across and about 600 feet deep.

Several trails lead into the floor of the crater. I didn't even attempt to go down. You can't see them in the photo above, but there are two people down there.

See, there they are... barely visible at full zoom!

A trail also follows the crater rim, how long it is I don't know. I did follow the path up to another smaller crater, which according to a sign was half a mile distant.

A panoramic view of Ubehebe Crater. The parking lot is down that path on the left side of the crater, about half way into the picture. Be sure to double-click on the photo for a larger version, then click again when it opens – it is an incredible landscape.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Death Valley :: Zabriskie Point

Wednesday, March 7th - - I was tempted to spend another night at the motel in Pahrump because the strong winds were still blowing. But the sun was shining and patches of blue sky were showing through the clouds and the weather forecast called for diminishing winds later in the day. There was still quite a bit of dust in the air and the mountains in the distance were rather hazy looking. It was late morning when I left Pahrump and the drive to Death Valley National Park was rather nice. There wasn't a lot of traffic to fight with and I was driving into the wind so the van wasn't buffeted from the side like all day Tuesday.

Having been stationed in California, I have visited Death Valley several times the latest being in April 2010. Like many of our National Parks, each time you visit you see things in a different way. The quality of the light is always different depending upon the time of day and other atmospheric conditions. And the light is what makes things seem to appear different. Because there was so much sand and dust in the air I concentrated this time on the closer views at Zabriske Point, abstracting Mother Nature a bit. There is no sense of dimension in the photos, no way to tell how large or how small the mounds of dirt and rocks really are...