Saturday, October 19, 2013

Michael West Land in Grayson County, Texas

Michael West is my 3rd great-grandfather on the Leffel Family line.

1859 Grayson County, Texas Plat Map 

Land grants were offered by the Peters Colony to help colonize North Texas. Michael West arrived in Texas (Peter's Colony) prior to July 1848 and was recorded as a widower with two daughters and one son. He obtained 640 acres in Grayson County, Texas. His son, Michael Perry West, obtained 320 acres in Grayson County, Texas.

Connor, Seymour V., Peters Colony of Texas,  page 426
Michael West, a widower, land patent for Grayson County, Texas 
This 1859 plat map of Grayson County, Texas shows the land belonging to Michael West (red), son Michael P. West (green), and son-in-law, Jesse F. Thomas (blue). Just to the left of Michael West is Page Stanley. Son, Michael Perry West, married the daughter of Page Stanley.
1859 Grayson County, Texas Plat Map
Last time I posted a highlighted plat map, I had several requests for a map without the highlights.  So, here is an unmarked copy without the highlights:)

1859 Grayson County, Texas Plat Map

Posts about the West Family:
Michael West Family
Mysterious Death of Michael Perry West
Elizabeth West Boyles
Susan West Leffel
Rebecca West Haning

Information on Michael West's son-in-law, Jesse F. Thomas, who also owned land in Grayson County, Texas.  Jesse Thomas, his wife, Louise West Thomas, and their children disappear after the 1860's.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Witch in the Family

Alice Lake is my 10th great-grandmother on the Wilson-Hatfield family line, through the Cole family.  In 1651, Alice Lake was convicted of being a witch and executed by hanging in Dorchester Massachusetts. 

Alice Lake Hanged
Alice's Story

Alice Lake was born in England, and immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony at some point, and settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts. She was the mother of at least five children, all presumably fathered by her only known husband, Henry Lake. In 1651, those children would have been a girl about ten, a boy about seven, a boy about five, a child about three who likely was a boy, and an infant.

In 1651, Alice Lake's baby died. Later, she told people that she saw the baby. Maybe she did. Or, maybe she grieved so much that her mind allowed her to imagine that she saw her baby to ease her grief. As painful as the death of a loved one is, a mother's loss of a child is the most difficult.

The Puritan belief was that the devil was coming to her in the form of her deceased child, and because of that, she was accused of being a witch and brought to trial. Like most of the women accused of witchcraft, Alice was poor. And like most of the accused, she denied being a witch. The records of her trial are lost, but she was apparently found guilty of witchcraft.

A book entitled A Modest Enquiry into the Nature of Witchcraft, written in 1702 by John Hale, makes the following reference to the Lake incident:
"Another [Alice Lake] that suffered on that account some time after, was a Dorchester woman. And upon the day of her execution Mr. Thompson minister at Braintree, and J.P. Her former master took pains with her to bring her to repentance. And she utterly denied her guilt of witchcraft; yet justified God for bringing her to that punishment: for she had when a single woman played the harlot, and being with child used means to destroy the fruit of her body to conceal her sin and shame, and although she did not effect it, yet she was a murderer in the sight of God for her endeavors, and showed great penitency for that sin; but owned nothing of the crime laid to her charge."

As indicated in the above 1702 account, Alice was given the opportunity to recant her story on the day of her execution, which might have saved her life. Instead, she said that God was punishing her because she had engaged in premarital sex, had become pregnant, and had attempted an abortion. She had apparently carried the Puritanical guilt for trying to cause the death of her oldest child throughout her life.

Alice faced death, and still she insisted that she had seen her dead baby. Perhaps admitting her child had died was more than she could bear, though her only hope of living was to admit that she knew her baby was dead.

Alice Lake was hanged in 1651 in Dorchester Massachusetts.

Salem Witch Hangings
From Entertaining Satan: Witchcraft and the Culture of Early New England, 1982, Oxford University Press:
Alice LAKE, convicted and executed at Dorchester in about 1650. Her husband Henry moved away at once; his name appears regularly in the records of Portsmouth, RI, beginning in April 1651.  Meanwhile the four LAKE children, all less than ten years old, remained in Dorchester.  One, probably the youngest, was 'bound out' by the town meeting to a local family for a 'consideration' of 26 pounds--and was dead within two years. The other three were also placed in separate Dorchester households. At this point their trail becomes badly obscured.  One was living as a servant to an uncle--still in Dorchester--in 1659.  Later, having reached adulthood, the same three were found in Rhode Island--and then in Plymouth Colony, where their father had removed by 1673.  It appears, therefore, that the family was eventually reunited, some two decades after the event that had broken it apart.

Alice Lake is an approved ancestor for National Society of THE ASSOCIATED DAUGHTERS OF EARLY AMERICAN WITCHES.  If you are interested in joining, contact me - I have good sources and documentation up to her descendant and our ancestor, Nathan Cole 1760-1826.  Website for THE ASSOCIATED DAUGHTERS OF EARLY AMERICAN WITCHES:

Note: The above images and stories are easily found online by doing a Google search.  Also, one can actually purchase T-shirts online with the image at the top of the blog post.:)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Married 70 Years

Robert L. Baldwin was the uncle of grandpa Jess Baldwin and the brother of  great-grandpa Allen Baldwin.  R. L. Baldwin's parents were Francis Marion Baldwin and Mary Sadler of Eliasville, Young County, Texas.  On 12 Dec 1897, Robert Baldwin married Martha (Mattie) Clara London at her father's home in Throckmorton County, Texas.  In 1967, Mattie Baldwin was interviewed for the Sunday Edition of the Wichita Falls Times newspaper.  Great interview and story about pioneer life in Oklahoma Territory.  (Transcript below)

Wichita Falls Times, 17 Dec 1967, pg 38
Couple Married 70 Years Recall Life in Oklahoma Territory 
Any woman who has been married for 70 years deserves to be interviewed in her own parlor, with her feet on a velvet cushion.
But, it was more in keeping with the simplicity that has characterized Mrs. R. L. Baldwin that she should be interviewed in a modern laundromat while she waited for her clothes to be dried.
Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin, who lives on Route 1, Randlett, Okla., celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Dec. 12 following their usual daily routine.  A small family dinner had been held on Dec. 4, when their three surviving children could be at home with them, and during that afternoon many of their neighbors called to express their good wishes.

Robert and Martha London Baldwin were married in her father's home in Throckmorton County, Texas, in 1897.   Although their family farms were only about 10 miles about 10 miles apart, they did not meet until about a year before they were married.  Of the witnesses to that long ago ceremony, only three remain, her sister, Mrs. Emma Hale, her sister-in-law, Mrs. Bennie London, and a niece, Mrs. Osee Parks.

Like many Texans in the early years of 1900, Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin were on the lookout for greater opportunities, better land to farm and a better life for their children.  So, they loaded their two children and belongings on a wagon and moved north.  They stopped at a camping ground at Charlie and heard a man named Nowlen had a farm to rent over the river in Oklahoma territory. 

The new frontier sounded good to them and Nowlen proved to be a good landlord and a good friend.  Friendship was important in 1903, for neighbors were scattered, one to each 160 acre tract.

The importance of friendship was soon to be very apparent to the Baldwins, for their third child chose to arrive during a February storm that left about three feet of snow on the ground.  There was no doctor, but with the help of the nearest woman neighbor, the baby was delivered safely, Mrs. Baldwin remembers that the weather continued to be so severe that the snow stayed on the ground for over a month and that her kind neighbor made daily trips to check on the welfare of the little newcomer.

Friendship was important in other ways, too.  The farms grew wheat, cotton, feed, garden stuff, just about anything a family would think to plant, but some items of family use had to be purchased in stores.  For quite a few years after the Baldwins moved to Oklahoma there were no towns, except Wichita Falls and Temple.  The neighbors took turns hitching up their teams and plodding to down to get the  mail and shop for the whole neighborhood.

 Before moving to their present home near Randlett 43 years ago, the Baldwins lived in the Rabbit Creek community.  They were charter members in the Rabbit Creek Baptist church and their six children attended the Rabbit Creek school and turned out to be pretty good students.  [unreadable]  ...there was about 60 students in school and only one teacher. 
Baldwin was one of those who bid for land when the Big Pasture was opened, but he was not successful, later buying his present farm.  Like most wives of her generation, Mrs. Baldwin made her home the center of her affections and interest, so that the discovery of oil in Burkburnett and the many tall tales which accompanied the boom are just legends to her.

Now, at 92 years of age, Mrs. Baldwin's life still centers around her home, which she maintains with the help of a part time housekeeper, Mrs. Gertie Green.  The weekly trip to the supermarket and the laundromat are a regular ritual; so regular that the laundromat attendant could say with conviction, "If this is Wednesday, Mrs. Baldwin will be here"  Mr. Baldwin, going on 96 years of age seldom leaves the home place.

Mrs. Baldwin thinks that modern washing facilities are just great, remarking that they really beat the old tin washtub she had to put on the wood stove and the washboard on which she has scrubbed  hundreds of items. 

She jokingly declared that about the only inconvenient modern utility was the dial telephone, which took all the joy and neighborliness out of the rural party line.

Mr. and Mrs. Baldwin have three children, Mrs. W. R. Carswell of Burkburnett, Frank Baldwin of Ingleside, Tex., and Wilbert (Bud) Baldwin of Randlett.

by Marjorie Kauer, Burkburnett, Tex; Wichita Falls Times (newspaper), Wichita Falls, Texas, 17 Dec 1967, Sunday, pg 38