Monthly Archives: December 2017

Grandma’s memories (Gretchen Lois Ream Hess) 1925-2006

Gretchen’s Memories:

What are some things you’d like your grandchildren to know about you and your life?

One of the first things that I remember is being ill with diphtheria and watching for the doctor, who made a daily visit.  I was about four. I’d watch for him out the window.

We were staying in a rented house while my dad was building a new house for us. This was in Ann Arbor. I was scared about the doctor because he gave me big shots in the back.

I remember when we were in the tenant house, watching the fire engines go by and I would hide under the bed because the noise scared me. Red trucks, like today.

Before I recovered from diphtheria, I was playing bogeyman and had a dishtowel over my head. I was going to scare my Dad and Mother and I ran into a rather hot wood burning stove and burned my hand rather badly. That put an end to playing bogeyman.

I remember going to Bethlehem church for Sunday school, which was just 1/2 a block from my house. My brother would walk me to Sunday school. My brother would call me a “circus pony,” because my mother insisted that I wear a big hair bow. And he insisted I looked like a circus horse. He was eight years older than me.

He would tease me a lot. But if my mother went to punish me, and I made a wailing noise (fake crying), then he’d say “Please, don’t punish her, punish me!” He was confirmed at Bethlehem Church on the day of our father’s funeral. I was just five when my father died.

After my father passed away, we later stayed at my grandmother’s house. And I remember being afraid to be put to bed before the others, because the bedroom was on the 2nd floor and I was used to one on the main floor. But my brother had his own room, and I thought he was very brave to go to bed himself. I shared a room with my grandmother and my mother.

My grandmother was the mother of seven!/eight? children, Herman, Ernest, Minnie, Hulda, Adelaide, Amelia (my mother) and Helen and _____ ?

 

Dr. Hess asked me to find out from Mrs. Hess about her ancestor who was the first to come from Germany to the US. Was it Granmother Greyer (sp?), or her mother? The story that Dr. Hess has heard is that a man came over first, and then his wife or betrothed came over afterwards. This was was, as a child, the chosen companion of some member of a royal family, perhaps a duke. (The royal family chose a child to be a companion to their child. Not an adoption, bu the companion child received the same education, played with the royal child, etc. Hence, Dr. Hess notes, the ancestors who came

Mary Ann Higbee Hess, 1813-1874 – my 2nd great grandmother (A story of a Michigan pioneer woman and mother of 12!)

The Hess/Higbee genealogy is well documented.  You can read the book Hess-Higbee Genealogy compiled by W. Emerson Babcock here:

https://archive.org/details/hesshigbeegeneal00lcbabc

When Mary Ann Higbee (my 2nd great grandmother) was born in Crawford, Ohio on December 12, 1813, her father, James, was 33, and her mother, Mary Fenton Higbee, was 31.

Mary Ann married George Waltour Hess on April 21, 1836 in Anapolis, Ohio. They had 12 children in 20 years. She died on March 24, 1874, in Michigan at the age of 60, and was buried in Berrien, Michigan.

In W. Emerson Babcock’s genealogy compilation, it is recounted that this young married couple “pressed the frontier” and made their way to Berrien County, Michigan.  The book (see page 22) then continues to describe the obstacles on their pioneer journey including the need for them to abandon their wagon when they were mid-stream in the St. Joseph River.  They mounted themselves on the horses and continued on their way through the forest trails of the Native Americans until they find Mary Ann’ parents who had gone before them to establish a dwelling. Mary Ann and George’s westward journey had taken them through Chicago towards St. Joseph, MI. They were literally traveling through marsh lands.  See here the documentation in A twentieth century history of Berrien County, MI Chapter XXVI. HagarCountyhttps://www.ancestry.com/interactive/16860/dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1?pid=1084&backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestry.com%2f%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3findiv%3d1%26db%3dGenealogy-glh19225593%26h%3d1084&treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true#?imageId=dvm_LocHist004592-00674-1

 From the history of Berrien County.JPG

Mary Ann’s husband George was by nature a carpenter and also being of German descent, was able to speak and interpret German.  He served as a justice of the peace in the area and was “an old school Democrat.”  In looking over the news paper clipping below, it is obvious that there was a wave of immigration directly from Germany to Berrien starting in 1840.

clipping from an article in News Palladium 30 Dec. 1939

In historical accounts it is mentioned that George was “neat in appearance” and was able to do logging without getting his clothing “dirty.” Wow- a super great life skill! All kidding aside, it does seem that he was considered a respectable and kind man and community leader. I never heard stories from my family about Mary Ann or George, so all of my knowledge has come from searching Ancestry and the web and of course the entire Hess-Higbee compilation by Babcock.

Find a Grave photo of Mary Ann’s tombstone is here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/95816610/mary-a-hess

Here is my connection to Mary Ann Higbee Hess

Mary Ann Higbee (1813 – 1874)
2nd great-grandmother
Juan James Hess (1850 – 1929)
son of Mary Ann Higbee
Robert Lawrence Hess (1924 – 2017)
son of George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr.
Linda Claire Hess
You are the daughter of Robert Lawrence Hess

 

Knight Sprague 1711-1804, my 6th Great Grandfather. A “minute-man.”

Sometimes, when you delve into a previously unknown story about one of your ancestors you end up with as many questions as answers!  The circumstances of this ancestor’s location in Massachusetts and his birth year place him in a time era and context for becoming an American patriot. As I “unpack” the stories about Knight, I have come up with so many questions.  Questions about the start of this nation, various battles that ensued and time period historical events. What role did Knight have in the formation of America? As a soldier of his times, what had he seen in battle? Where is his historical accounting of the 1757 siege that will be referenced in the quotes below?

For now we begin at the start of Knight Sprague Sr.’s story. He was born on October 12, 1711, in Hingham, Massachusetts. His father, Jeremiah, was 29 and his mother, Priscilla, was 25. Knight’s namesake was his mother’s maiden name.  She had been born as Priscilla Knight.

Knight married Mary Lewis and they had six children together. He then married Mary Beal and they had five children together. He died in 1804 at the impressive age of 93.

Knight served in the Minute Men as an American revolutionary patriot.  He was also involved in 1757 in trying to defend the British held Fort William Henry from a French siege. This particular event is the subject of the book “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper.  Fort William Henry was located at the southern end of Lake George, and Fort Edward on the Hudson River.  The French troops in concert with nearly 2,000 Native Americans from various tribes caused the British troops holding the fort to surrender their control and occupation of the fort. The defeated British troops were to be escorted out of the fort and taken as prisoners.  Instead, as the British were leaving the fort they were killed by the Native American forces in what is historically termed a massacre.  Knight, obviously, was a survivor.

I found out more about my 6th great grandfather because of documentation in American Biography, A New Cyclopedia https://play.google.com/books/reader?id=EmYUAAAAYAAJ&pg=GBS.PA86

“Knight Sprague, son of Jeremiah and Priscilla (Knight) Sprague, was born October 12, 1711, at Hingham, and died at Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1804, aged ninety-three years. He lived at Hingham until 1760, when he sold the old place and removed to that part Old Leicester that is now Spencer. He was a private in Captain Ebenezer Mason’s company of Minute-men, of Colonel Jonathan Warner’s regiment, which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775, and served five days. This was not his first military service, for when he was but sixteen, he was a soldier in Colonel Benjamin Lincoln’s regiment and barely escaped with his life at the time of the Indian massacre at the surrender of Fort William Henry in August, 1757. He afterwards wrote a vivid description of the horrible incident, which has been preserved for us. The next year he participated in the attack upon Fort Frontinac, under Colonel Bradstreet, when that fortress was captured. Knight Sprague married (first), at Hingham, May 26, 1735, Mary Lewis, a daughter of Joseph and Sarah (Marsh) Lewis, by whom he had six children, as follows : Mary, born May 27, 1736; Sarah, born April 1, 1738; Knight, born March 25, 1740; Anthony, born June 29, 1742; Olive, born June 24, 1744; Thomas, born July 28, 1746. He married (second) Mary Beal, daughter of David and Rebecca (Stodder) Beal, of Hingham, where she was born December 21, 1717. The wedding took place at Boston, October 23, 1747. The children of this union were as follows: Asa, baptized July 24, 1748; James, mentioned below; Thomas, baptized April 26, 1752; Caleb, baptized July 20, 1755; Lucy, baptized October 4, 1761 ; David, baptized January 8, 1764.”

I have been unable to find the above referenced account written by Knight Sprague regarding the Indian massacre at Fort William Henry.  But here is another link to information about Knight Sprague and the attack of Fort William Henry:

https://books.google.com/books?id=B2ElTqsiebMC&pg=PA173&lpg=PA173&dq=knight+sprague+and+fort+william+henry&source=bl&ots=hYZWasAhvV&sig=FRcF7fnGT7-NE4x90pJcqq8f5bA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_xYX3horYAhUJxWMKHU0mBXUQ6AEIKTAA#v=onepage&q=knight%20sprague%20and%20fort%20william%20henry&f=false

A general history of the attack at Fort William Henry may be found here:

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

At first I was confused by the quote below that makes reference to Knight being a mere 16 years old while serving as a soldier in Colonel Benjamin Lincoln’s regiment AND barely escaping from the massacre at Fort William Henry in 1757.  Obviously, these are 2 facts being referenced in a strange sentence structure.  Because with a birth year of 1711, Knight would have been 46 years old during the siege on Fort William Henry and then must have been 16 while serving as a soldier in Benjamin Lincoln’s patriot regiment.

In an application made by another descendant of Knight (some very distant cousin of mine) who wanted to be in the Sons of the Revolution based on his ancestor Knight – I have provided this information: (see photos)

part 1 Knight Sprague

part 2 of Knight Sprauge

Here is the how I relate to my ancestor:

Knight SPRAGUE Sr (Rev War) Sr (1711 – 1804)
6th great-grandfather
Anthony Sprague Jr (1766 – 1850)
son of Anthony SPRAGUE
Mary “Polly” Sprague (1792 – 1852)
daughter of Anthony Sprague Jr
John Kellogg Bishop (1827 – 1906)
son of Mary “Polly” Sprague
Dorothy (Dora) Bishop (1857 – 1904)
daughter of John Kellogg Bishop
George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr. (1891 – 1969)
son of Dorothy (Dora) Bishop
Robert Lawrence Hess (1924 – 2017)
son of George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr.
Linda Claire Hess
You are the daughter of Robert Lawrence Hess
Sources also include: Memorial of the Sprague fam, with fam, gen. By Rich. Soule. Boston. 1847. (12,191p.):109 Gen. Column of the ” Boston Transcript”. 1906-1941.( The greatest single source of material for gen. Data for the N.E. area and for the period 1600-1800. Completely indexed in the Index.): 16 Feb 1910, 1160; 12 Jul 1911, 2116
Knight Sprague from application made for sons of the Revolution

I guess we were Puritans! My 10th great grandparents were Richard Warren (sailed on the 1620 Mayflower voyage) and Elizabeth Walker (sailed on the 1623 Anne voyage)

Many historical and genealogical writings offer information on Richard Warren and Elizabeth Walker (my 10th great grandparents).  Richard sailed on the Mayflower in 1620.  He came to the new world alone making sure that things would be satisfactory for the rest of his family. So, YES, my 10th great grandfather was on the original journey of the Mayflower.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Warren “At the time of the Mayflower’s voyage in 1620, Richard and his wife had five daughters: Mary (my 9th grandmother), Ann, Sarah, Elizabeth and Abigail. But Richard came on the Mayflower alone, deciding to wait until conditions in the New World were satisfactory before bringing over his family.” 

Elizabeth, (my 10th great grandmother) then arrived in the new world in 1623 and is described here: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/mn/m2332x2333.htm

“Elizabeth Walker followed husband Richard to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in the Anne in 1623, accompanied by their daughters: Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, Sarah, and Abigail. Early Plymouth records suggest that Elizabeth was a woman of force and social position in the community. She was rated in the Plymouth tax list of 1632-3, and was one of the first purchasers of Dartmouth. She is usually spoken of as Mistress Elizabeth Warren, a designation by no means common, and she is one of the rare instances in that early colony of continued widowhood.

“Mistris Elizabeth Warren an aged widdow aged above 90 yeares Deceased on the [twenty-] second of October 1673 whoe haveing lived a Godly life Cam to her Grave as a shoke of Corn fully ripe shee was honoralby buried on the 24th of October aforsaid.” “Plymouth Colony vital records,”

Richard only lived until the age of 49 and died in 1628. The quote http://www-personal.umich.edu/~bobwolfe/gen/mn/m2332x2333.htm here is from Nathaniel Morton’s 1669 book New England’s Memorial:  “This year [1628] died Mr. Richard Warren, who was an useful instrument and during his life bare a deep share in the difficulties and troubles of the first settlement of the Plantation of New Plymouth.”

 

Here is HOW we connect to Richard Warren (1579 – 1628)
10th great-grandfather
Mary Warren (1610 – 1683)
daughter of Richard Warren
Elizabeth Bartlett (1636 – 1713)
daughter of Mary Warren
Jeremiah Sprague (1682 – 1759)
son of Elizabeth Bartlett
Anthony SPRAGUE (1742 – 1831)
son of Knight SPRAGUE Sr ** (Rev War) Sr
Anthony Sprague Jr (1766 – 1850)
son of Anthony SPRAGUE
Mary “Polly” Sprague (1792 – 1852)
daughter of Anthony Sprague Jr
John Kellogg Bishop (1827 – 1906)
son of Mary “Polly” Sprague
Dorothy (Dora) Bishop (1857 – 1904)
daughter of John Kellogg Bishop
George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr. (1891 – 1969)
son of Dorothy (Dora) Bishop
Robert Lawrence Hess (1924 – 2017)
son of George Kellogg (W) Hess Sr.