Photo of Great-Grandmother Viola V. Hise

As result of this blog, I was able to get contact with the family of my great-aunt Wreatha May Murray Elwood. I wondered for years what happened to Wreatha and her family. I was given a photo of her mother Viola and her second husband Samuel F. Murray

Viola Hise

Viola Hise with second husband Samuel Murray and daughter Mary Wilson

The little child in the bottom right corner is a Vandivier grandson from next door, also a relative.

In addition here’s a photo of her mother Mary Jane Runyan and Viola’s siblings

Mary Jane Runyan

I see a resemblance.

Immigrant Ancestor Scottish Covenanter

I discovered that a group of Scottish Covenanters sailed to New Jersey in the early 1700s and settles in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  They were a group of religious reformers despised by the king.  William Wilson came from the area.

It was incorrectly thought  by some that William’s father Nathaniel Wilson came to this continent as a Scottish prisoner of war.  I have found documentation that refutes this and states that Nathaniel was a Scottish Covenanter. It’s further recorded that Nathaniel came to this country with the sword of the religious leader of the group (some irony here).  Since he came to this country with the sword, there is no way he was transported as a political prisoner.

I hope there is more written about the immigration of the Scottish Covenanters.  It might bring me closer to finding out where Nathaniel came from.  I wonder if the name Wilson is as common in Scotland as it was in this country.  A few decades ago, Wilson was one of the ten most common surnames in the United States.

The family knew that our immigrant ancestor Nathaniel Wilson was Scottish.  I think my interest in genealogy inspired family members to wear the family tartan.  Forty years ago there was no Internet. My Aunt Dot told Mom and me the Wilson tartan was orange, and never mentioned it was only the ancient variation.  Her favorite color was a version of orange. Mom and I didn’t really like the color.

Wilson Ancient 2

Ancient Wilson tartan

Mom and I never found out that the pretty modern Wilson tartans (above) existed. I don’t know how well into the past any of these were worn.  The Wilsons were a band under the Clan Gunn.  We wore that one instead (below).

Gunn Modern

It turns out our family history was not nearly as simple as that.  Through both her parents’ backgrounds, Mom’s ancestors came from most of Northern and Western Europe, and several Native American nations.

Loss of a Lovely Woman

Juanita Winchell 1932-2018

Juanita M. Winchell, 85, lost her long battle against the antibiotic-resistant gastrointestinal bacteria clostridium difficile on 3 April 2018. at Timberlyn East Nursing Home in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.

Juanita was a long-time resident of Columbia County, residing in Philmont and Hudson, N.Y. She most recently resided at Bethany Village in West Coxsackie, NY. She worked in several sewing mills in Columbia County. She retired from Sunoco Crellin Plastics in Chatham, N.Y. where she was a press attendant, head trainer, and member of the initial McDonald’s product team, receiving an award at corporate headquarters for process improvement in 1998. She was a Girl Scout troop leader and participated in bowling teams in Hudson and in the Columbia Memorial Hospital Auxiliary. Juanita also obtained training in reflexology, Reiki and furniture refurnishing. Decades ahead of business trends, Juanita attempted to establish a business sewing and selling reusable fabric shopping bags. After retirement, she earned her real estate license and worked for Barns and Farms Realty in its Germantown and Hudson offices. She adopted several cats from the Columbia-Greene Humane Society. She greatly appreciated her British Isles, colonial Dutch, and Native American ancestry.

Juanita was born in Torrington, Conn., the daughter of Frederick E. Wilson and Mary M. Vandivier. She is predeceased by her parents; brothers Harvey, Sidney, Richard, Everett, Donald, Raymond Wilson; sisters Mildred Alstrup, Florence Davis, Dorothy Baccei, Nina Joyce Carrozzo; and her former husband Avery Winchell. Survivors include daughter Debra, sister Edna Westmoreland and many nieces and nephews.

There will be a private funeral service at Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home in Torrington, Conn. Internment will be in Hillside Cemetery, Torrington, Conn. next to family members. Memorial services in West Coxsackie and Torrington will be held later this year. Contributions in Juanita’s memory to the Peggy Lillis Foundation, 266 12th Street #6, Brooklyn, NY 11215 would be appreciated to help prevent further clostridium difficile deaths.

My Mother’s Friends

MomFriendsThis is a photo with my mother and some of her friends around Christmastime one year. My mother is the first woman on the left wearing the white holiday shirt.  I found this photo packing up her apartment and I have no idea who these women are.  I would like to know.

It looks like the kitchen is part of a church hall or a fraternal organization.  It was taken between September 1994  and 2004, probably in Hudson, New York or someplace nearby.  My mother had friends named Genevieve (who lived in Germantown) and Cecile Wochek (phonetic spelling).  Mom also shared friends with Helen Pollack., who used to live in Hudson and moved to Claverack with her husband.  There was a Mrs. Kahn we really liked.  Mom worked a few times time in the dress factory there.  I can’t remember the name of it.

My Mother’s Brother Dick


Goshen Man And His Three-Year-Old Son Are Drowning Victims

Dog Pond Scene Of Double Tragedy

Richard Wilson, 33, And His Son, Timothy, Perish When Ice Breaks

An evening of fun and play for a father and his son came to a tragic end last night when the two drowned at Dog Pond, West Goshen, in the state’s first thin ice accident of the season.
Richard A. Wilson, 33, and his son Timothy, three, drowned about 9 o’clock when ice broken beneath them, causing the two, along with Mr. Wilson’s brother, Donald L., of Bantam, to fall into the icy water.
Donald Wilson was able to scramble from the water to safety. When a quick search failed to disclose the whereabouts of either of his companions, Donald Wilson ran to the nearby home of Alton Parker to seek help.
Mr. Parker telephoned to state police and the Goshen fire department for assistance and then with members of the fire department sped to the pond and set out in two boats in an effort to find the man and the boy.
Their efforts were unsuccessful, but State Policeman John Wilcox of the Litchfield barracks, who had set out in another boat, recovered the bodies with the aid of grappling hooks. Mr. Wilson’s body was recovered at 10:10 p.m. and the boy’s was found at 11:45, approximately three hours after the accident occurred.
Det. Sgt. William E. Menser of Canaan barracks reported that the men had been on skates and the boy riding on a sled about 180 feet from the west shore on the pond when the accident occurred.
Dr. W. Bradford Walker, medical examiner, viewed both bodies and gave permission for their removal to the Tompkins-North Funeral Home.
Officer Alden Thompson of Litchfield barracks, Officers Robert Anderson and Charles Sedar of Canaan barracks and Auxiliary State Policemen Donald Spencer and Philip Eichner, as well as officers from the Hartford and Bethany barracks assisted in the search. Emergency equipment from the Hartford and Bethany barracks was also used by the officers. Capt. George Remer, commanding officer of the western division of the state police, was in charge of the search.
Mr. Wilson, born in Douglas, Wyo., March 20, 1919, was a veteran of World War II. The son of Frederick E. and the late Mary Van Divier Wilson, he and his family had lived in West Goshen for about two years.
Survivors, besides his father, include his wife, Jeannette Dressel Wilson; a daughter, Lois C.; four brothers, Harvey G. of Philadelphia, Sidney J. of New York City, Everett P. of Northampton, Mass, and Donald Wilson of Bantam; six sisters, Mrs. Dorothy E. Baccei of Torrington, Mrs. Mildred R. Alstrup of Highland Park, N.J., Mrs. Florence A. Hanson, New Brunswick, N.J., Mrs. Edna T. Thomen and Mrs. Joyce N. Carrozzo, both of Winsted and Mrs. Juanita N. Wilson of Philmont, N.Y.
Timothy W. was born Oct. 17, 1949. Besides his mother and sister, he is survived by his paternal grandfather Frederick E. Wilson and his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Martha Dressel of Holyoke, Mass.
A double funeral will be held Friday afternoon at 2 from the Tompkins-North Funeral home with the Rev. William Penner, pastor of the Goshen Congregational Church officiating. Burial will be in Hillside Cemetery.
Friends may call at the funeral home tomorrow afternoon from 2 to 4 and tomorrow evening from 7 to 9.

The Torrington Register, Wednesday, December 31, 1952, Vol. 79, No. 308, front page, 1st column.




Richard Wilson and Son

A double funeral service for Richard Wilson and his son, Timothy, was held this afternoon at 2 from Tompkins-North Funeral Home with the Rev. William Penner, pastor of the Goshen Congregational Church officiating. Burial was in Hillside Cemetery.

The Torrington Register, January 2, 1953.

Royal Ancestry or Not?

According to some, my ancestor Hugh Harry is supposed to have royal ancestry spanning much of ancient Europe.  I am beginning to doubt that.  I’ve just had to cut off two lines that according to Wikipedia, descent was not possible.  One ruler was Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last King of Wales.  The other was Offa, King of Mercia, who died in July 796.  Mercia was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in ancient England.  Unless there are different forms of his children’s names I don’t know about, I was unable to make a connection between the child’s name I had and his.

It is possible that Hugh Harry’s descendants are the victims of a fraudulent genealogy.  At one time it was popular for European nobility to claim descent from biblical characters.  In this country it was popular for people to claim descent from European nobility.  How does one go about creating a fraudulent genealogy? Did they just string together likely sounding names, never guessing that two hundred or so years later the World Wide Web would be created and their descendants would be able to check the veracity of their claims?

After watching the Time Team programs, I also came under the romantic spell of the ancient British Isles.  I’d check my genealogy to see if I had the landowner in my database.  At least I’ve had the good sense to double check my information, to my disappointment.

I wonder how much truth is in my database.  I wonder where all true names of ancestors end and the fictitious ones or relationships begin.  I have so many dead ends just in North America.  I don’t know if I’ll ever have answers to this.

The Genes are Showing.

My cousin recently shared with me a photo of her father when he was young.  The resemblance between him and his uncle is amazing.  I don’t believe any of Fred Wilson’s sons looked so much like him.  I can’t help but wonder which side of the family they resemble, George Wilson’s or Viola Hise’s.  Here are some photos to study:

 Whitted Florenceis Hise Eliza

Wilson Clara


In order from the top, Larry L. Elwood, his uncle Fred Wilson. Below Fred on the left is Fred’s cousin Florence Whitted and next to him his mother and Fred’s great-aunt Eliza Hise Whitted.  Below them is Fred’s aunt Clara Wilson on his father’s side.  The bottom photo has Fred’s grandmother Mary Jane Runyan on the far right.  I believe the two children on the left are by her first husband Jesse Hise.  The dark fellow standing next to her may be Barney Humphreys.

I  added Clara Wilson’s photo in an attempt at contrast. Her look is not entirely dissimilar, but not exactly the same as the Hises.  The resemblance might be due in part to the Native ancestry her mother Mary Skeeters had.  As far as I can tell, the Hise and Skeeters family don’t connect.


Great Aunt Found

I know now what happened to May Murray, my grandfather’s half-sister, whom I found on the 1910 census.  As Wreatha May Murray, she married Cyril Myron Elwood 3 July 1924 in Marion County, IN.  The  couple lived in Indianapolis for several years and then moved to Adams Township, Allen County, IN.  They had six children.  Sunday morning I was contacted by the daughter of the youngest son.  We compared notes all afternoon and they all matched.  It wasn’t until a couple days later we accessed the Parke County USGenWeb page to find a “corrected” birth record that listed Wreatha May Murray born as the daughter of Samuel F. Murray and Viola Hise.  This is exciting. Laurie lucked out because she received information culled from my many years of research.  What other hobby can bring a new first cousin for your mother and a second cousin for yourself?

1902 Skeeter Family Reunion


Here is another family photo in which all but one of the people are unidentified.  This is the Skeeters family reunion in 1902.  This photo was shared with me a long time ago by a distant cousin who wanted help in identifying people.  If you recognize anyone, please let me know.

The Skeeters family seems to be a very small one, and everyone with an ancestor of that name is related.  The origin of the family still hasn’t been determined, although I have a theory or two.

This is how the Skeeters entered my family:

David Skeeters (Josiah-1) was born about 1802 in KY. He lived in Parke Co., IN in 1850.[1] In 1850 he was a farmer.[2] David died before 17 Aug 1876 at the age of 74, because his wife Catherine’s tombstone says she is his widow.

David Skeeters and Catherine Turner were married on 28 Jun 1821 in Campbell Co., KY, but it could have been in Boone County instead. Catherine Turner was born on 25 Mar 1799 in KY.[3] She was buried in 1876 at Old Morgan Cemetery in Parke Co., IN.[4] She died on 17 Aug 1876 at the age of 77 at possibly in Wabash Township in Parke Co., IN.[5]

David Skeeters and Catherine Turner had the following children:

  1. Mary Skeeters, born abt 1828, KY, USA; married William Harvey Wilson, 24 Jan 1844, Parke Co., IN; died 21 Jun 1890, Parke Co., IN.
  2. Lorenzo Skeeters was born about 12 Sep 1828 in KY.[6] He was buried in 1853 at Old Morgan Cemetery in Rockville, Parke Co., IN. He died on 1 Jan 1853 at the age of 24 in Parke Co., IN, USA.
  3. Elizabeth Skeeters was born on 6 Apr 1830.[7] She was buried in 1837 at Old Morgan Cemetery in Rockville, Parke Co., IN.[8] She died on 13 Sep 1837 at the age of 7 in Parke Co., IN.[9]
  4. Absalom Skeeters was born on 11 Nov 1835.[10] He was buried in 1836 at Old Morgan Cemetery in Rockville, Parke Co., IN.[11] He died on 11 Mar 1836 at the age of 0 in Parke Co., IN.[12]
  5. Ellen Skeeters, born 18 Mar 1842, IN, USA; married Milo G. Chezem, 18 Dec 1861; died 28 Dec 1909, Parke Co., IN.

Mary Skeeters (David-2, Josiah-1) was born about 1828 in KY, USA. She appeared in

the census in 1880 in Reserve Township, Parke Co., IN.[13] She died on 21 Jun 1890 at the age of 62 in Parke Co., IN.[14] She was buried at OId Morgan Cemetery in , Parke Co., IN.[15]

Mary Skeeters and William Harvey Wilson were married on 24 Jan 1844 in Parke Co., IN.[16] They appeared in the census on 18 Jun 1860 in Reserve Township, Parke Co., IN.[17] William Harvey Wilson, son of William Wilson and Rachel Wells, was born on 3 Dec 1820 in Greenfield Twp., Fairfield Co., OH.[18] In 1850 he was a farmer.[19] He appeared in the census in 1860 in Reserve Township, Parke Co., IN.[20] In 1860 William was a farmer.[21] He died on 28 Oct 1862 at the age of 41 in Parke Co., IN.[22] He has reference number 160. William was buried at Old Morgan Cemetery in Parke Co., IN.[23]

William Harvey Wilson and Mary Skeeters had the following children:

  1. William Graham Wilson was born about 1845.[24]
  2. Isabel Wilson, born 1848, IN; married Samuel Haworth, 1866.
  3. Pratt Wilson was born in 1851.
  4. Alice Wilson, born 1853; married James Collins, 1872.
  5. Loretta Wilson, born 1855; married James Hiller, 1871.
  6. George S. Wilson, born 30 Dec 1858, Parke Co., IN; married Viola V. Hise, 31 Mar 1882, Parke Co., IN; died 23 Jan 1901, Parke Co., IN.
  7. Clara Wilson, born abt 1862, IN; died 24 May 1927, IN.

George S. Wilson (Mary Skeeters-3, David-2, Josiah-1) was born on 30 Dec 1858 in Parke Co., IN.[25] He appeared in the census on 4 Jun 1880 in Reserve Township, Parke Co., IN.[26] In 1900 he was a farmer.[27] George died of consumption on 23 Jan 1901 at the age of 42 in Parke Co., IN.[28] He was buried on 25 Jan 1901 at Old Morgan Cemetery in Parke Co., IN.[29]

George S. Wilson and Viola V. Hise were married on 31 Mar 1882 in Parke Co., IN, USA.[30] Viola V. Hise, daughter of Jesse Hise and Mary Jane Runyan, was born in Oct 1862 in Clinton, Vermillion Co., IN.[31] She appeared in the census in Jul 1870 with her aunt and uncle in Reserve Twp., Parke Co., IN.[32] She appeared in the census on 10 Jun 1880 with her aunt and uncle in Reserve Twp., Parke Co., IN.[33] Viola appeared in the census on 11 Jun 1880 with her mother and stepfather in Clinton Township, Vermillion Co., IN.[34] She appeared in the census on 28 Jun 1900 in Reserve Township, Parke Co., IN. She appeared in the census on 15 Apr 1910 in Reserve Township, Parke Co., IN.[35] Viola died of paresis for a year on 14 May 1914 at the age of 51 in Reserve Township, Parke Co., IN.[36] She was buried at Morgan Cemetery in , Parke Co., IN, USA.[37] Viola lived with her aunt and uncle James Morgan and Turzah Hise.

George S. Wilson and Viola V. Hise had the following children:

  1. Iva M. Wilson, born Aug 1883, IN; married Lewis A. Rohr, 6 Mar 1901, Parke Co., IN; divorced 1905.
  2. Frederick Everett “FE” Wilson, born 17 Jun 1887, Montezuma, Parke Co., IN; married Mary Myrtle Vandivier, 18 May 1910, Parke Co., IN; died 12 Oct 1965, Hagerstown, Washington Co., MD.
  3. Mary D. Wilson was born in Feb 1891 in IN, USA.[38]
  4. Infant Wilson was born on 1 Jul 1900 in Parke Co., IN.[39] He died on 12 Aug 1900 at the age of 0.[40]

[1]. 1850 federal census record, Parke Co., IN.

[2]. Ibid.

[3]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery (2000).

[4]. Ibid.

[5]. Ibid.

[6]. 1850 federal census record, Parke Co., IN.

[7]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery.

[8]. Ibid.

[9]. Ibid.

[10]. Ibid.

[11]. Ibid.

[12]. Ibid.

[13]. 1880 federal census, Reserve  Township, Parke Co., IN.

[14]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery.

[15]. Ibid.

[16]. Parke County Marriage Records.

[17]. 1860 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[18]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery.

[19]. 1850 federal census record, Parke Co., IN.

[20]. 1860 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[21]. Ibid.

[22]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery.

[23]. Ibid.

[24]. 1860 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[25]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery.

[26]. 1880 federal census, Reserve  Township, Parke Co., IN.

[27]. 1900 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[28]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery.

[29]. Ibid.

[30]. Parke County Marriage Records, MR#7, page 485, Book 7, Page 485.

[31]. Parke County Death Records, Book H-16, Page 86.

[32]. 1870 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[33]. 1880 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[34]. 1880 federal census, Vermillion Co., Ind.

[35]. 1910 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[36]. Parke County Death Records, Book 16, Page 86.

[37]. Parke County Death Records, Book H-16, Page 86.

[38]. 1900 federal census, Parke Co., Ind.

[39]. Carol Ealey, transcriber, Old Morgan Cemetery.

[40]. Ibid.