Saturday, October 31, 2015

Samuel Greeley (d. 1798) - 52 Ancestors #44

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is Frightening: Do you have an ancestor who did something frightening or lived through a scary event? Do you have your own ghost story in the family? Now is the perfect time to share!

Awhile back, when I was researching my Greeley line (the five Samuels in a row: See Surname Saturday ~ Greeley (Greele) of Salisbury, Massachusetts), I found that several ancestors are buried in what is considered a haunted cemetery in Wilton, New Hampshire.

Samuel Greele (or Greeley) was born on September 29, 1752, in Hudson, New Hampshire, to Samuel Greele and Abigail Blodgett. According to the DAR's Genealogical Research Service, "Samuel Greeley, Jr." is recognized as a Revolutionary War Patriot for his patriotic service because he "signed the association test" in "Nottingham West," New Hampshire. His Patriot Number is A047896.

He married Olive Read on November 8, 1779, in Nottingham West (which is now known as Hudson) and died at age 45, leaving a widow and six children, ranging in age from 17 to a year and a half.

I previously shared information about his burial in Tombstone Tuesday ~ Samuel Greele Killed By The Fall of a Tree, where I noted that he died on September 25, 1798, in Wilton, New Hampshire, and is buried at Vale End Cemetery in Wilton, New Hampshire, between his wife and his father, Samuel, also a Revolutionary War patriot. (See his memorial here.)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lillias (Johnston) Alston - 52 Ancestors #43

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, I am sharing the little bit I know about a third great-grandmother, Lillias Johnston.

Almost two years ago, I blogged about finding Scotland, Births, Baptisms, and Marriages at I found a record for the birth of "Lilias Johnstone" on June 4, 1806, in Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland, to Robert Johnstone and Lilias Kennedy. She was the third of their six children. She was baptized on June 16, 1806.

Just after her 27th birthday, she married John Alston on June 28, 1833, at Glasgow, Scotland. (See their marriage record and read about her husband at John Alston - 52 Ancestors #36.)

The Alstons immigrated to America in 1835 with their oldest child and settled in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania.

Recently, I borrowed a microfilm from the Family History Library to look for my Presbyterian ancestors in Allegheny County. This microfilm had records from several different Presbyterian churches, but about half of this microfilm (items 5 - 8) was:
Church records, 1830-1900 from the First United Presbyterian Church (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania : Allegheny). These included Session minutes 1837-1870, 1830-1870 (includes communicants, deaths, received by certificate and testimony); Session minutes 1839-1900.
(See the complete microfilm description at the FamilySearch Online Film Ordering website.)

This church was organized in 1831 as the Associate Reformed Church of Allegheny. (As readers of my blog and those familiar with Pittsburgh history know, Allegheny City merged with Pittsburgh in 1906.) In 1858 the church became the Allegheny First United Presbyterian Church, North Side in Pittsburgh and in 1994 the First Allegheny Presbyterian Church.

Although I had no luck finding my Hunter ancestors in these records, very early on, I found mention of John and Lilias Alston joining the church!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Diana (Morgan) Whitman - 52 Ancestors #42

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, I am sharing the little bit I know about a third great-grandmother, Diana Morgan.

Finding information about Diana is a challenge. From the Pyle genealogy (Pyle, Smith, and Allied Family Histories, privately published, 1951), I learn that she was born on December 17, 1803, in Manchester, Guysborough County, Nova Scotia, to John Morgan and Diana Hadley.

(I recently explored some Guysborough Baptismal Records (on an FHL microfilm) and found that she had several siblings. I still need to go through the saved images and record the data in my database.)

I believe that this is one Guysborough County line (the Morgans and the Hadleys) that were not Loyalists; they were living there before the American Revolution.

Diana Morgan married Thomas Cutler Whitman on March 13, 1827, in Guysborough County, and had nine children:
Esther Abigail Whitman (1828-1921)
George William Whitman (1833-1900)
Maria E. Whitman (1842-1901)
Thomas Whitman (1839-????)
Judson Whitman (1841-1860)
Ira A. Whitman (1844-1889)
Harriet Whitman (1846-1901)
Charles Whitman (1848-1909)
Gordon Whitman (1851-1864)

In 1849, their eldest daughter, Esther, traveled from Guysborough to Boston, and ultimately ended up in New York City, where she married James Pyle, who preceded her in this migration by six weeks. Several years later, most of the Whitman family followed their eldest daughter.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Leonard Adsit - 52 Ancestors #41

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, I am sharing the little bit I know about the short life of my third great-grandfather, Leonard Adsit.

Leonard was born to Martin Adsit and Rhoda Haight on September 4, 1783, in Spencertown, Columbia County, New York, as the second of eleven children. (From the secondary source: Descendants of John Adsit of Lyme Connecticut, by Newman Ward Adsit, privately published about 1959. A digitized copy of this book can be found at

The only census I have found him in is the 1810 U.S. Census. In 1790 and 1800, he would have been just a tick mark in his father's household; he was dead before the 1820 census.

1810 U.S. Federal Census. Hillsdale, Columbia, New York; Roll: 31; Page: 666; Line: 20.

I previously shared my analysis of this census record at James Adsit's Parents in New York State, where I also shared an abstract of Leonard's probate record.

With the addition of lots of probate records at, I found the probate record for Leonard Adsit.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Samuel Sewall Greeley Born in October - 52 Ancestors #40

For this week's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks writing challenge from blogger Amy Crow Johnson of No Story Too Small, the theme is "Birthday in October."

Family Tree Maker's filter option makes it easy for me to filter for direct ancestors (of the person shown) or to filter for those with "Oct" in the Birth field. I have several ancestors with October birthdays, including my great great grandfather, Samuel Sewall Greeley, who was born in Boston 191 years ago this weekend on October 11, 1824.

The best evidence that I have for his birth date is an 1890 passport application. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line].
Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2007. Roll 344: 01 Mar 1890-31 Mar 1890.
Record for Samuel S. Greeley

He was 65 years old when applying for this passport in March 1890. If you look closely at the document, it appears that he crossed off "swear" and wrote above it "affirm" in each case where the word "swear" appeared. He also crossed off the "So Help Me God" in the middle of the document.

Here is closeup of the middle section of the passport:

At 65, he was 5 feet, 9 1/4 inches tall, with brown eyes and Hair: black, flecked with grey." He had a dark complexion and a "full beard + mustache, grey."

I believe I have mentioned before how much I love passport applications from this collection at

I have written about Samuel Sewall Greeley before: He graduated from Harvard in 1844, and was a surveyor and civil engineer in Chicago for decades, even using these skills to build a sewer during the Civil War. You can find additional wonderful descriptions in a couple of obituaries I have previously shared.

He was the oldest living graduate of Harvard for a period of time before his death on March 8, 1916, at the age of 91. Apparently he signed his name with "OLG" after it during this period, though it's a little unclear as to how long he was the "Oldest Living Graduate."

He is buried at Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, and I visited the Greeley family plot at the beginning of September. I previously wrote about obtaining this plot card and the interesting mysteries solved and mysteries introduced by it.

He had two wives (I descend from his second wife, Eliza Wells) and nine children, five of whom predeceased him. My descent from Samuel Sewall Greeley:

Samuel Sewall Greeley
Ethel May Greeley
Lowell Townsend Copeland
my mother