Monday, January 28, 2013

Military Monday ~ Loyalist Stephen Pyle and Son

When I shared my Pyle ancestry, I noted that there were a couple of Pyle ancestors who were Loyalists in the Revolutionary War.

It looks like my 4th great-grandfather, Stephen Pyle (born about 1730 and died before 1789) didn't get along with his family and disagreed with them about a variety of things. As noted previously, he was disowned by his Quaker family's Monthly Meeting for marrying outside the Society of Friends in 1752, and was not included in his mother's will in 1778. Stephen's mother, Susanna (Chamberlin) Pyle, wrote her will in April 1778 and died before May 1, 1779. An extract of her will is found at, Chester County, Pennsylvania Wills, 1713-1825:

Pyle, Susanna. Thornbury. April 6, 1778. May 1, 1779. To 3 sons Jacob, William and Israel Pyle 5 shillings each. To daughter Susanna, wife of Thomas Fryer, cow and calf and all other goods and chattels. Executors: Friends John Pierce and William Thatcher.

I found a transcription of Susannah's will at at Pennsylvania Probate Records, 1683-1994, where I first had to browse through the Chester County index, finding reference to Susannah Pyle in Will Book 6, page 417. I then looked at the Wills 1774-1783 vol 6-7, F-G. With a few clicks, I found page 417 and Susannah's will. I include just a piece of it below:

... I Give to my three sons Jacob William and Isreal Pyle the Sum of Five Shillings Each...
She specifies her three sons are Jacob, William, and Isreal. No mention of Stephen. By the time Susannah wrote her will, the Revolutionary War had started and Chester County, Pennsylvania was in the center of the action.

Stephen lived in the vicinity of Brandywine Creek during the Revolution and it is believe he and his son, Stephen (1762-1840) were witness to the battle fought near their home at Brandywine in September 1777. Father Stephen followed the British forces as a civilian member of the commissary departments. Son Stephen joined his father in aiding the Loyalist cause, eventually becoming a carpenter in the Wagon Masters Department of the British forces.

This division of loyalties divided the family, and possibly confirmed his mother's decision to exclude Stephen and his children from her will.

It is not clear as to whether the father, Stephen, survived the war to migrate to Nova Scotia, as the son Stephen did in about 1783.

Some of this above information comes from the privately published Pyle, Smith and Allied Family Histories (1951).

From Guysborough Sketches and Essays, by A.C. Jost, (revised edition published 2009) comes the following description of the Associated Departments of the Army and Navy:
Many of the persons making up this group were among the last to leave New York. There were many in it who had not been members of line Regiments ... The name implied, too, that naval personnel were included, as well as members of the land forces and the staffs, so that it was a heterogeneous grouping of persons who had little but their need in common. (page 327)
And on this list is Pyle, Steven, being allocated land in the Northeast Division of the Town of Guysborough.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Surname Saturday ~ Pyle of Chester, Pennsylvania

Due to popular request from family members, I am going to start a series of blog posts about immigrant ancestors and how I descend from them. Surname Saturday is a blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community's resource for blogging.

Courtesy: Wikipedia
My immigrant Pyle ancestor is Robert Pyle, son of Nicholas Pyle and Edith Musprat. He was baptized at Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, England, on December 29, 1660. Robert married Ann Stovey on November 16, 1681, in Bishops Cannings.

Immigration records indicate that Robert was a malster (he brewed beer) from Horton, Bishops Cannings, England when he, his wife Ann, and infant daughter Sarah, immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1683.

Robert Pyle purchased 150 acres of land in Bethel Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania on May 1, 1683. Chester County was one of the three original counties initially created by William Penn in August 1682, with many Quakers following William Penn in settling there. Chester County was also much larger then, going west to about the Susquehanna River. Robert Pyle became a leader among the local Quakers and often held meetings in his home. He also became a justice of the county court by 1685. However he is referred to as "yeoman" in his will.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Matrilineal Monday ~ Sarah Smith Lowell, b. 1795

Sarah Smith is my third great-grandmother. The little bit I know about her comes from a town history published in 1897: History of Litchfield and an Account of its Centennial Celebration, 1895, published by the Kenebec Journal Print in Augusta, Maine. I found this at, and it can also be found at Google Books.

Local histories are a wonderful resource. This local history includes many genealogies of families who spent time in Litchfield, Maine. On page 311 is the family of Joseph Smith and his wife Martha Robinson.

In the History of Litchfield, the first child of Joseph Smith and Martha Robinson is listed as Sally Smith. This is the only place where I find her listed as Sally. In other records I find her listed as Sarah.

Of course, we must remember that this is a secondary source and should be used as a guide to find primary source information about a family, but for some of this family's information, this is all I have at this point in time. (Other secondary sources that mention Sarah Smith, wife of Reuben Lowell, include The Historic Genealogy of the Lowells of America from 1639 to 1899 by Delmar R. Lowell, published by The Tuttle Publishing Company, Rutland, Vt. in 1899, and The Copeland Family: A Copeland Genealogy by Warren Turner Copeland, published by The Tuttle Publishing Company, Rutland, Vt. in 1937.)

Sarah (Sally) Smith, was born as the oldest child of Joseph Smith and Martha (Robinson) Smith, on November 28, 1795, presumably in Litchfield, Maine. She married Reuben Lowell on February 28, 1820. About 1825, they moved to Calais, Maine, about 186 miles east northeast of Litchfield, according to Google Maps. Her husband, Reuben, died at the young age of 42 in 1837, in Calais, Maine, leaving Sarah as a widow with five children (three other children had died very young in the 1820's).

Reuben Lowell is in Calais, Maine, in the 1830 US Census. After his death, Sarah is the head of the household and I am able to follow her in census records in Calais, Maine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday ~ Mount Royal Boulevard

Hampton Township, Pennsylvania is north of Pittsburgh. My grandparents moved out of Pittsburgh and to their home on Mount Royal Boulevard in Hampton Township in 1940 (after the 1940 US Census).

After my last post, a cousin asked if I have photos of this house. Yes, I do.

The house on the left-hand side was my grandparents' home. I don't have a date for this photo, but I'm guessing the 1940's. Update (September 5, 2017): Based on the size of the fir tree at the right front corner of the house, this was taken in the early 1940s. The building in the middle is a garage with two bays facing front, one bay below and two rooms and a bathroom on the second floor. The very small building behind the house is a children's playhouse, still there today.

According to my mother, there was a gate at the end of the driveway. Here is a photo from September 1940 of her and her sisters in front of the gate. They had probably just moved in.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun ~ Where Were They 100 Years Ago?

Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings Saturday Night Genealogy Fun asks us to do the following:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 January 1913 - 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it.

My father's side:

My great-great-grandmother, Esther Abigail (Whitman) Pyle (born 1828), was living at 200 West 57th Street, New York City. She was a widow and lived with one servant (in the 1910 census). I don't have a photograph of this apartment building and I don't know if the building that still stands there is the one she was living in 100 years ago.

Aerial photo of Hurstmont
My great grandmother, Frances Adelaide (McAlpin) Pyle (born 1860), is not listed in the New York City Directory, but I know that when her husband, James Tolman Pyle, died less than a year before, they were living at 673 5th Avenue, New York City. In 1913, she was living at either New York City and / or Morristown, New Jersey (see my early Hurstmont post for current photo). See Review Old Photos for an aerial photo of Hurstmont from what I am guessing is the 1930's. I do have several other photos of the home in New Jersey.

My grandfather, Charles McAlpin Pyle (born 1893) would likely have been living with his mother in New York City or Morristown, New Jersey.

My great-grandparents, Charles Chapin Adsit (born 1853) and his wife, Mary Bowman (Ashby) Adsit (born 1863 or 1866) were living at Ritchie Court, Chicago, Illinois. The household included their son, Charles, Jr. (b. 1892) and my grandmother, Elizabeth (b. 1897). If I looked, I bet I have a few photos of this home, as I know I have photos of Charles, Jr. as a baby in a carriage outside the home. I don't know if this address still exists in Chicago; there is a North Ritchie Court that has older-looking homes on it (see Google Maps) but the numbers are different than in 1913.

My mother's side:

Calais, Maine - current photo
My great-great-grandmother, very recently widowed Sarah (Lowell) Copeland (born 1833), lived on Main Street, in Calais, Maine. I do have a couple of old photos of this home. This home still stands and a Find A Grave volunteer from the area shared a current photo of the home with me.

My great-grandparents, Lowell Copeland (born 1862) and Ethel May (Greeley) Copeland (born 1875), were living on Maple Street, New Trier Township, Illinois. Included in this household were my great-great-grandfather, Samuel Sewall Greeley (born 1824), as well as my grandfather, Lowell Townsend Copeland (b. 1900) and his two sisters. I do have some old photos that include this house.

My great-grandparents, Percy Earle Hunter (b. 1873) and Marguerite (Lysle) Hunter (b. 1876) were living at 3623 Perrysville Avenue in the 1910 census, but were living at 5629 Elgin Avenue in November 1913, when their eldest daughter died (per her death certificate). My grandmother, Helen Lysle Hunter (born 1907) would have lived there with her four older sisters. See a photograph of what I believe is the Perrysville home at Hunter Family Home. The home at Perrysville Avenue is no longer there, based on my search of Google Maps. Also using Google Maps, it looks like there is a home at 5629 Elgin Street, but I don't know if it's the same home.

Interestingly, 100 years ago, none of my ancestors lived in Massachusetts, yet this is where my immediate family has lived for over 50 years.

Thanks Randy for a fun Saturday Night!

Thomas Jefferson Copeland, 1801-1877

Thomas Jefferson Copeland is my 3rd great grandfather. I am descended from the oldest of his four children, Henry Clay Copeland, whom I wrote about last year. As I noted at the time, much of my knowledge of the Copeland Family history is from The Copeland Family: A Copeland Genealogy by Warren Turner Copeland, published by The Tuttle Publishing Company, Rutland, Vt. (1937). This is where I find that he was born on April 26, 1801, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Nathaniel Copeland and Mary (Page) Copeland.

He married Julia Elvira Townsend on October 10, 1830, in Norridgewock, Maine.

I first find Thomas J. Copeland in the 1840 U.S. Census in Norridgewock, Somerset County, Maine.

Detail from 1840 US Census, Norridgewock, Somerset, Maine; Roll: 151; Page: 131.

Line 18 has Thomas J. Copeland with a household of six. His household indicates that he is employed in "Manufacture and Trade."
Line 21 has Amos Townesend with a household of 7. Amos is Julia's father and therefore, the father-in-law of Thomas. His household indicates that he is employed in "Learned Professions and Engineers." (He was a physician.)

According to the Copeland genealogy, the family moved to Calais, Washington County, Maine, about 1843, where he lived for the rest of his life.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tuesday's Tip ~ Review Your Old Photos

Today's tip is to periodically review your old photographs and always turn the photo over to see what may be written on the other side. Perhaps you'll find a photograph that came to you from one ancestor and it pertains to another ancestor.

In reviewing photographs for a Christmas gift project, I came across a photo that had come to me from my father's mother, Libby (Elizabeth Adsit (Pyle) Rust, 1897-1983).

My husband had originally taken digital pictures of this group of photos five years ago, before I got my portable Flip-Pal scanner. This was also before I had learned very much about my grandfather's childhood home. (See my first blog post.) I had filed this photo in the notebook where I stored other Adsit photos, not realizing what was written on the back. On the back was the following notation.


I believe this is Libby's handwriting indicating that this is Hurstmont, where her first husband, my paternal grandfather, Charles McAlpin Pyle (1893-1966) grew up.

Perhaps someone knows the date of this photo - if so, please let me know in the comments section below.

January 5, 2013 Update: I emailed this to an acquaintance at the Harding Township Historical Society and she was able to tell me that the photo was taken before 1940 because that year it appeared in a sales brochure for the house. I would still love to narrow down the date of the photo.

By the way, my Christmas gift project was to create a calendar for each of my brothers and my mother and instead of each month showing a photograph of my boys (which we've done for many years), each month had one or two photographs of ancestors, or in this case, an ancestral home.