Friday, October 30, 2015

Van Wey Homestead rendering, circa 1850

This picture card was part of a collection of family memorabilia belonging to my father, Richard L. Hughes, Jr.   The letter on the reverse side was written to my great grandfather, Simeon Hughes of Tioga, Pennsylvania.  My mother made the note at the top of the letter on the reverse side that she thought it was a rendition of the Hughes homestead. That is mother's handwriting.  But alas, dear Mother, you were wrong about that.  A little internet sleuthing found information about the author of the letter, poem and drawing  Louis E. Cooke,  and I discovered he was quite the fellow in his day. 
Here are the Clues:
1. In the poem he talks about experiencing travels far and wide.
2. The title gives his birth date, May 17, 1850 and says "The place where I was born".
3. In the letter he asks Sim if he remembers the old log house implying a shared relationship.
Fact:
1. Louis E. Cooke is not a  son of Frederick Hughes nor a grandson of Jeptha, as none of Jeptha's daughters married a Cooke.
Assumptions:
1. He could have been related to Fred's wife Harriet Van Wey.  Her obituary states that she lived and died in the same location, which was Jackson township, Tioga Co. PA
2. If Louis E. Cooke is a relative of Harriet Van Wey Hughes, than this drawing may be the  Homestead of her parents Henry Van Wie and Elizabeth Middaugh.
Research:

A census search for Louis locates him in the family of Lewis E. Cook, age 46  of Jackson township, Tioga Co.PA in 1850.  He is an infant listed as Edwin.  This makes sense; he is named for the father, Lewis E. Cook.  His mother's name is Phoebe. 

Another search found the "Reminiscences of a Showman",  A series of weekly articles written by Louis E. Cooke where he tells about his life and experiences with the Wild West Show.  In his June 3 article he tells that he was born in Jackson, Tioga Co. PA and that the family moved to Michigan when he was 6 years old in 1857.  While he doesn't mention his parents by name he states that his mother died 2 years after the move to the wilderness of Michigan.  (These articles are very interesting to read!)


A Find A Grave search turned up Lewis E. Cook, aged 66 years, 7 months, 29 days,  buried in Mendon, St. Joseph County, Michigan. He died November 22, 1870. This must be his father.  I have not located a death record for Phoebe yet.

The New Jersey Historical Society, has a Scrapbook  that shows Cooke, Louis E. (1850-1923), circus agent, hotel proprietor, Newark, N.J.  The scrapbook contains many pictures, etc. of the circus and Louis'  contacts while reporting with the circus. Definitely,  our Louis E. Cooke was a man who traveled world wide working with the circus and the Wild West Show.

Now a look into my genealogy software program for Lewis E. Cook (the father) and what do you know!  There he is.  My records show that he is married to Phoebe Van Wey, a sister of my great, great grandmother Harriet who married Frederick Hughes!  Aha! We have the connection;  Louis E. Cooke was a cousin to Simeon Hughes, my great grandfather.  Their mothers were sisters, daughters of Henry VanWey and Elizabeth Middaugh!

Conclusion:
This picture above, therefore, must be the homestead of Henry Van Wey and his wife Elizabeth Middaugh. 

Do any of my siblings or Hughes cousins remember Grandpa Hughes mentioning that he was a cousin to the famous Buffalo Bill Cody of the Wild West Shows?  

Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World - Circus poster showing cowboys rounding up cattle and portrait of Col. W.F. Cody on horseback. c.1899
When I was a child my family took many camping trips across the country.  When we were in Cody, Wyoming, Dad told us that we were related to Buffalo Bill Cody, but he didn't know how the relationship went.  I have tried several times to find that connection.  What kid of the 50's wouldn't want to discover a famous cowboy was a relative? Not so.  Buffalo Bill Cody has no relationship to the Hughes family.

Here is my theory.  The stories  of cousin Louis Cooke must have been pretty exciting tales when my grandfather was growing up.  I  imagine good old cousin Louis returned to Tioga,  Pennsylvania to visit his family there and shared some of his adventures with the Wild West Show.  It is likely that Grampa Hughes  remembered  hearing these stories about Buffalo Bill and the Wild West Show and by the time we kids were growing up the reminiscences had evolved into  thinking that it was Buffalo Bill who was Grampa Sim's cousin.  We have Louis Cooke, the adventurer and circus agent, friend of Bill Cody, but not his cousin.  Well, that's OK, because this was a fascinating piece of research to work on and I am happy to have not only discovered the truth here,  but also am able to identify  the  homestead in the drawing Louis made. 


Sources:
  • "United States Census, 1850," index and images, FamilySearch, NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 830.
  • Find A Grave Memorial# 13854154, Lewis E. Cooke.
  • The New Jersey Historical Society,  Scrapbook, 1882- 1923. 1 vol.  Online at http://www.jerseyhistory.org/findingaid.php?aid=0975
  • Circus Historical Society, "Reminiscences of a Showman", http://www.circushistory.org/Cooke/Cooke.htm. A series of weekly articles Louis E. Cooke wrote that were published in the Newark Evening Star, Newark, New Jersey, from 1915 to 1916.
  • "Wild West Show",  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wild_West_shows. 
  • Family records of Cynthia Hughes Smith.

                                                Copyright
                                         This page  © 2015, Cynthia H. Smith
 
                                         Send email to chsmith47@yahoo.com
This site may be linked, but not duplicated in any way without consent. The copyright on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material.

GENEALOGY IS A WORK OF HEART
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.
                                                   Email to chsmith47@yahoo.com               







Friday, October 23, 2015

Jeptha Hughes (1791-1866), Pioneer to Tioga, Co. Pennsylvania




Jeptha Hughes was a fine looking man with a full head of hair!  But, besides that,  his story is the ancestor that every kid who ever came to a Hughes Reunion in Tioga knew.  The Hughes family is proud to be descended from Jeptha. For generations Hughes boys have carried his name.  The idea that he was the man who came into the area and claimed or bought up the land that my grandfather was so proud to point out to me as we stood on a hill top and say, "as far as you can see" was Hughes land. He was born in 1791 at Danville,   Pennsylvania,   the son of Thomas and Mary Stevens Hughes.  His father, who died when Jep was still a minor in 1807,  was a pioneer to the area of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania at Catawissa, near where the East Branch of the Susquehanna River joins the West Branch.   By the time Jep was 18,  his father's estate was settled in court, after which he and his brothers Isaac, Jesse and Jonathon moved further north to the area of present day Hughesville,  Pennsylvania.   In the History of Tioga Co. Pennsylvania it is noted that Jeptha purchased a track of land in Lycoming Co. on March 26, 1816 when he was only 25 years old from John Harrold and laid out the village of Hughesville.   Jeptha Hughes was a man of vision!

Four years later, in July, 1820, he sold his interests and eventually migrated to Tioga, Co. where he was a farmer. He located first in a place called Beecher's Island where he stayed until April 12, 1838, after which he settled at Mitchell's Creek where he remained the rest of his life.  Daisy Miller Hughes gives this account.  "Jeptha set out on foot with his father's brother George (who may have been his cousin) to seek a new territory. They came to a small village on a mountain called Blossburg. They learned of the coal available there and continued to travel until they came to a deep valley called Beecher's Island, and found shelter with a family who told them it was a dwelling place for Indians who called the river Cowanesque, and at the upper end a settlement called Nelson. A winding river and road along the mountain side led north to a village called Painted Post. This section was traveled by paths made by Indians. Jeptha liked what he saw of this land and soon bought a portion and sent for his wife and family. They settled and soon a small community was formed at a place called Beaman, and later Tioga Junction, when the Erie Railroad was built in 1863 from Elmira to the coal mines in Blossburg."


Jeptha was married to Elizabeth Hill, a daughter of Frederick Hill of Lock Haven, in 1816. She was born in 1796. Also known as Betsy, Elizabeth died March 17,1881 when she was 85 years old. They were the parents of six daughters and two sons. Three were born by the time they migrated to Tioga;  Rachael, who married Charles Button, Sarah, who married James Dewey, and Frederick, the only son to marry and carry on the Hughes name. Polly who married John Van Wey, Elizabeth who married Charles Gray, Rebecca, who married David Cunningham, and Catherine and George, neither of whom ever married, were all born in Tioga County.

Jeptha Hughes is recorded on the 1820 census in Lycoming Co., Muncy township, this being prior to his relocating in Tioga county.   On the 1830 census the family is found in Tioga Co., Elkland township.  The 1850 census record locates him in Tioga Co., Lawrence township at which time Elizabeth, Rebecca, George and Catherine are still living at home.  Jeptha is listed as having a property value of $200.00. His neighbor is son, Frederick, whose property value is listed as $1500.00. Another neighbor is John Hughes, age 25, perhaps a nephew.   Jeptha acquired much land in his life time and was able to leave large estates to his children, especially his son Frederick.

Jeptha lived to be 75 years old. This abstract from the Tioga County Agitator records his death. "1866, 7 FEB.   Hughs, Jeptha   died in Tioga, Jan 12, 1866, Jeptha Hughs (Hughes) aged 75 years. He has long  been a resident of Tioga township and leaves a large circle of relatives."  Betsy died  on March 17, 1881 at Mitchel's Creek, Tioga twp. Pennsylvania. She was 85 years old.  They are buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Tioga, Pennsylvania. 



Jeptha and Elizabeth Hill Hughes were  my 3rd great grandparents.  Their son Frederick,  was named to honor  his grandfather Frederick Hill.   Frederick married Harriet Van Why and had a son named Simeon who married Fannie Westlake.  Their son Richard was my grandfather.
Sources:
1897 Tioga County History, Biographical sketches, Jeptha and Frederick Hughes,  History of Tioga Co. PA, Vol. II, p. 1013, 1897.   http://www.rootsweb.com/~srgp/1897/ch63.htm.
Northumberland Co. Court House, Sunbury Pennsylvania, Will Book 2 , p. 55. 
Miller, Daisy Hughes (1900-1989), Beginning of the Hughes' Family in America. June, 1983. Copy in my files.
"United States Census, 1820," FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org.)  
"United States Census, 1840," FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org.) 
"United States Census, 1850," FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org.) 
"United States Census, 1860," FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org.)                                                                            
                                            Copyright
                                         This page  © 2015, Cynthia H. Smith


Send email to chsmith47@yahoo.com
This site may be linked, but not duplicated in any way without consent. The copyright on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material.

GENEALOGY IS A WORK OF HEART
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Frederick Hill (1758 - 1833)

The story of Frederick Hill has not been an easy one to reconstruct.  The family records kept by  Phoebe Hughes Button names him as the father of Elizabeth Hill Hughes who married Jeptha Hughes.  From Historical Sketches 
of the Bench and Bar of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania it is learned that  "Frederick Hill, born Sept. 8,. 1758, at a place called Windsor Castle, in Windsor Township, Berks County. He lived in Richmond Township, and later Oley Township, where he was a shoemaker. According to his pension affidavit, made May 6, 1818, Frederick enlisted in Berks County, 1777, in Capt. Robert Connelly’s, Company in the Regiment commanded by Col. William Butler, and served for three years in the 4th regiment of the Continental Line.

He served in the battles of Monmouth, New Jersey and Jamestown, Virginia, and was discharged in Virginia. This latter fact would seem to preclude his having participated in the revolt of the Pennsylvania Line, in New Jersey in 1779. At the time of his declaration, he stated that he had no family but resided with his son, aged 21 years.         

                                                                           
The March to Valley Forge by William B. T. Trego (1858-1909)
He was present during that memorable winter at Valley Forge when the troops suffered so much hardship. He died May 6, 1833 according to a notation on his pension declaration papers, and is buried at Danville, Pa."



Frederick married Betsy Myers  sometime around 1790.  She is said to have been born in Loch Haven, Pennsylvania.  It is not known exactly when she died,  but it was about 1801.  They had three children;  Catherine who was born in 1792 and married Isaac Hughes,  Elizabeth, born 1796 who married Jeptha Hughes (the Hill sisters married Hughes brothers) and  Martin,  the unnamed son with whom Frederick was living in 1818 when he made his declaration for pension, was born August 1, 1800.  It is believed that Betsy died shortly after the birth of Martin.

The DAR has  a file for Frederick Hill.  He is Ancestor #: A055716.  It is interesting to note that a second wife is named here, Mary Elizabeth Dockerty.  Some resources name additional children,  Jacob, Mary who married John Hampton and Rebecca who married Joseph Cole who are probably the children of this second marriage.

Daughter Elizabeth married Jeptha Hughes and had a son named Frederick who must have been named after his grandfather Frederick Hill.  Frederick Hughes married Harriet Van Why and had a son named Simeon who married Fannie Westlake.  Their son Richard was my grandfather.

The pension records say he is buried in Danville.  If anyone has found the gravesite I would like to know where it is. 

Sources:
  • Family records of Cynthia Hughes Smith taken from the Hughes Family reunion records kept by Phoebe Hughes Button (1891-1976) of Tioga co. Pa.
  • http://www.lycolaw.org/history/sketches/10.htm, Historical Sketches 
of the Bench and Bar of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.

                       Please see this list of all My Revolutionary War Ancestors.

                                                     Copyright
                                         This page  © 2015, Cynthia H. Smith

Send email to chsmith47@yahoo.com
This site may be linked, but not duplicated in any way without consent. The copyright on this page must appear on all copied and/or printed material.

GENEALOGY IS A WORK OF HEART
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. It is with pleasure that I am able to present this information here for you to enjoy. If you discover a relationship here, I would very much enjoy hearing from you.