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.