For the past several months we have been posting, day by day, Porter's transcription of the World War I diary kept by Hezekiah Scovil Porter of the United States Army's 101st Machine Gun Battalion, chronicling his days from October 9, 1917 until his death at Chateau Thierry on July 22, 1918. In this post I've collected the entire diary transcription in order, with page numbers and occasional explanatory comments. You can see images of the pages themselves here: Hezekiah Scovil Porter's WWI Diary.

Introduction

Hezekiah Scovil Porter was the youngest of Wallace and Florence Gesner (Wells) Porter's seven children, born into the tiny town of Higganum, Connecticut on June 4, 1896. He attended The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut. Choate is now known as the school that "has educated generations of the upper-class New England establishment and the American political elite," but at the time it was only as old as Hezekiah himself. Twenty years later, John F. Kennedy would graduate from Choate, having been chosen by his class as the person "most likely to succeed." About Hezekiah, the Headmaster wrote:

Hezzie was always a man of deeds rather than of words. And his influence either on the field, or in the classroom, or about School in general, was of the kind that very definitely made us a better School for his being part of it. In his Sixth Form year Hezzie was President of his class, and in the vote which was taken toward the close of the year, he was almost unanimously chosen as the member of his Form who had "done most for Choate." He was also voted—and there were no near competitors— the "most popular," as well as the man in his class "most to be admired."

But Hez never had his chance to become President. As with many of his generation, his service ended on the battlefields of France. After graduating from Choate, Hezekiah attended Yale University. But he left during the fall of his sophomore year to join the Army. After four months he was at the front, and five months later he was killed in action near Chatêau-Thierry.

The following quote, and the one above, are taken from Yale in the World War, by George Henry Nettleton (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1925). You can read a somewhat fuzzy but still legible copy of the article on Hezekiah Scovil Porter by clicking on the images in the middle of my Memorial Day, 2009 post.

On the morning of July 22, 1918, in the course of an American attack on Epieds, north of Château-Thierry, Hezekiah Scovil Porter, Private in the 101st Machine Gun Battalion, was killed in action. His diary closes abruptly with an entry recorded the night before while his company was awaiting the dawn which was to bring the expected advance. Next morning in the midst of the attack he met instant death in the open field as he was hurrying forward with ammunition for a machine gun.

Hezekiah Scovil Porter is my husband's granduncle. That diary the article mentions? Porter has it. He labored much to photograph and transcribe the pages of the diary, in honor of the 100th anniversary this year of Hez's death. The images can be viewed here; the transcription follows. (The original is in black; annotations are in red.)

Family note: In the pages below, you will see references to mail Hez received from family members. Conspicuously absent are communications from his father, mother, and one of his brothers, who had all predeceased him: his mother in 1910, his father in 1912, and his oldest brother, Ralph Wallace Porter, in 1915.

Hez's Diary
October 9, 1917 - July 21, 1918

Page 1

H. S. Porter
101st Machine G. Bat. (Machine Gun Battalion)
U.S.A.

(places he went)

Niantic Conn.
Montreal, Canada
Halifax "
Liverpool, England
Borden "
Southampton "
Le Havre, France
Mont les Neufchateaux "
Lifol le Grand "
Vrigny "
Pinon "
Soissons "
Brienne le Chateau
Bar sur Aube

Page 2

Fontaine Fr. (This seems out of place as it is in southwest France, near Grenoble; could it be Hontaine?)
Colomby "
Vignory "
St. Blin "
St. Agnan "
Liouville " (It exists on Google, after you scroll down some from the famous person of the same name.)
Jouy " (Jouy is a commune in the Eure-et-Loir department in northern France)
Menil la Tour "
Bois de Hazelle
near Fleury (During the Battle of Verdun in 1916 Fleury was captured and recaptured by the Germans and French sixteen times. Since then, it has been unoccupied. During the war, the town was completely destroyed and the land was made uninhabitable to such an extent that a decision was made not to rebuild it. The area around the municipality was contaminated by corpses, explosives and poisonous gas, so no farmers could take up their work. The site of the commune is maintained as a testimony to war and is officially designated as a "village that died for France." It is managed by a municipal council of three members appointed by the prefect of the Meuse department.)
Foug "
Void "
Vitrey le François " (Vitry-le-François is a commune in the Marne department.)
Coulommes "
La Ferte " (La Ferté-sous-Jouarre is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne département in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is located at a crossing point over the River Marne between Meaux and Château-Thierry.)
Montreul ? (Could not find in Google)
Bejou ?
Belleau Woods (Actually spelled Belleau Wood)

Page 3

(first entry)

Oct. 9th 1917
(Leaving Connecticut for Canada)

Left camp at Niantic at about 8 A.M. Train late at station. Started about 10 A.M. Went north via Saybrook Junction. Through Hig. (Higganum, Connecticut) Lyndonville Vt. last town went through while awake. Good reception there.

Oct. 10th Wednesday
(Canada)

Arrived at Montreal about 6 A.M. at docks. Boarded boat by 7:00 A.M. got 3rd class quarters – Rotten -. Set sail about 10 o’clock. Up St. Lawrence R. Pretty scenery. Poor grub. Arrived in Quebec about 8 P.M. Took on some Servians. (Servian is an archaic word for Serbian.) Saw rats around bunks when went to bed.

Oct. 11th Thursday
(Canada, on the St. Lawrence River)

Still going up river.

Page 4

No excitement. Have to wear life belts at all times now. Felt as though had wash board around neck. Lots of snow on hills. Cold, getting rough to-night.

Friday Oct 12th
(Canada, at sea)

Rough & rocking.

Everybody sea sick. Stayed up on deck nearly all day & tried to sleep when not sick. Didn’t eat all day.

Saturday Oct 13th
(Canada, at sea)

Felt fine this A.M. Pulled into Halifax about 9:30 A.M. Other transports besides ours loaded with American troops. Took on some Canadians. Loaded on provisions this P.M. Nothing doing this evening.

Page 5

Sunday Oct. 14th
(At sea)

Fine day. Set sail this P.M. at 3:30. Nine ships with us. All going together.

Monday Oct. 15th

Fine day. On guard this A.M. No excitement.

Tuesday, Oct. 16th

Very foggy. Boats going straight ahead today. No excitement.

Wednesday Oct. 17

Foggy this A.M. Clear this P.M. Concert by fellows this evening.

Thursday Oct 18

Cold this A.M. Hail storm in morning. Cloudy all day. Nothing doing.

Page 6

Friday Oct. 19th

Colder. Same sort of weather. Sighted a ship this P.M. which proved to be a freighter.

Saturday Oct. 20th

Cold to-day. Have got a cold. Nothing doing all day. Rather rough this evening.

Sunday Oct 21st

Raining, rather windy. Met our convoys this P.M.

Monday Oct. 22st

Raining. Very stormy & rough.

Tuesday Oct 23rd
(At sea, then England)

Saw land for first time since left this A.M.

Page 7

Left two or three freighters at Glascow (sic) I guess. Going around northern coast of Ireland. Can see Irish coast very plainly this P.M. Going faster. Arrived in Liverpool about 6 P.M. Off the boat & right onto the train. On train all night. Queer trains. Small, jerky. Didn’t sleep much. 8 of us in one (24th Oct.) compartment. Arrived at Borden about 5:30 A.M. About 2 mile hike to camp with packs. Got straightened out this A.M. Pretty cold. Fine country. Large encampments here. Lots of other Americans. Rain & blowing. Mud.

Page 8

Oct. 25th Thursday
(October 24 is part of previous entry.)
(England)

On Kitchen. Up at 4 A.M. Still lots of mud. Broke camp after breakfast + to station + boarded. Arrived in Southampton about 11 A.M. 3 mile walk to camp. Fine country. Mud. Lots of Americans downtown tonight + had a good feed.

Oct. 26th Friday

Fine day. Nothing doing in particular. Quite cold. Downtown this evening and had a feed.

Oct. 27th Saturday

On detail to unload provisions at freight yards. Downtown tonight . Feed + bath.

Oct. 28th Sunday

Wrote letters this A.M. Went on a short hike this P.M. Downtown this evening and had a feed.

Page 9

Monday Oct. 29th
(crossing the English Channel; France)

Up early this A.M. Rolled packs to go away. Left about 1 P.M. Down to boat + waited till about 5 before off. Left Southampton + went across to Havre (sic) France. Awful trip across. Very rough + no place to sleep. Oct. 30th Arrived about 10 A.M. long hike to camp. All up hill. In tents again on board floors. Raining + muddy. Lots of Canadians here. 7/8 of them are Americans. Good night’s sleep.

Wed Oct 31st
(October 30 is part of previous entry.)
(France)

Rolled packs this A.M. Late mess. Left this P.M. for R.R. station. Long and hard hike. 2 hrs. About 7 miles. Had to wait 6 hrs. for train. Boarded train about

Page 10

12:15 this evening. Rotten sleep. 8 in small compartment. Like Eng. Trains.

Thurs Nov 1st

Rode all day. Slowly. Broke coupling. No other excitement. Bully beef + hard tack for grub. Another night of bum sleep.

Friday Nov. 2nd

Arrived In Neuf Chateau (sic) about 9 A.M. Hiked over to Mont Neuf Chateau this A.M. Other American troops. Saw lots of them on way today. Put in small new Barracks with headquarters. Pretty good quarters.

Sat. Nov. 3rd

Up late. Had good sleep. Breakfast at 9. Nothing doing all day.

Page 11

Sunday Nov. 4th

Went for short hike this A.M. Filled beds with straw. Nothing much doing.

Monday Nov. 5th

Up early. Went on about 6 mile hike this A.M. Sitting up exercises afterward then double time back to camp. Drill this P.M. then another hike mostly up hill. Letter from Polly this evening. (Polly was his sister, Florence Adeline Porter.)

Tuesday Nov 6th.

Walked to town this A.M. All got steel helmets. Back late. Dinner late. Hungry. Little talk by Hartford pastor this P.M. then hiked to woods for firewood. Tired + sore feet tonight.

Wednesday Nov 7th

Laid up today with bum feet. Didn’t

Page 12

do anything much.

Thursday Nov. 8th

Raining. Went after wood up in woods after wood this A.M. Went again this P.M. Tried to clean off some of mud on mess strut this P.M. Stoves installed in our barracks this P.M.

Friday Nov. 9th

Hiked over to a town this. Raining + got soaked. Raining too hard for doing anything this P.M.

Saturday Nov. 10th

Rain hard this A.M. No calls. Went on guard this P.M. at 1:30. On 1st relief 1:30 to 5:30. Quite comfortable in guard house by fire. Got feet warm + dry for 1st time in about a week. One fellow came down with measles tonight + all in our barracks

Page 13

are quarantined.

Sunday Nov. 11th

Cold. Nothing doing. Can’t go out around anywhere. Turned in early tonight.

Monday Nov 12th

Saw sun for 1st time since we’ve been here this A.M. Played cards. hike after wood.

Tuesday Nov 13th

Cards this A.M. hike after wood this P.M.

Thursday Nov 14th (sic; this may be Wednesday, Nov. 14 or Thursday, Nov. 15 - the next entry is Friday, Nov. 16)

Cards this A.M. hike + wood this P.M. Fine day.

Friday Nov. 16th

Cards this A.M. Wood + drill (cal) (calisthenics) this P.M. Mail this evening (Choate News).

Saturday Nov. 17th

Cards this A.M. Examined practice trenches + bombs this P.M. + got wood. Mail this evening. Letter from Louise (his oldest sister, Harriet Louise (Porter) Walker).

Page 14

Sunday Nov. 18th

Played cards + wrote letters. Went for walk this P.M.

Monday Nov. 19th

Lecture this A.M. Wood, hike.

Tuesday Nov. 20th

Lecture this A.M. Wood this P.M.

Wednesday. Nov. 21st

Lecture this A.M. M.G. (machine gun) instruction. Hike + calisthenics this P.M.

Thursday Nov. 22nd

Lecture this A.M. Wood this P.M. Mail tonight. Testament from Polly (his sister).

Friday Nov. 23rd

Lecture this A.M. Long hike this P.M. to + around Neuf Chateau.

Saturday Nov. 24th

Wood this A.M + Lecture. M.G. instruction this P.M.

Sunday Nov. 25th

Nothing doing today.

Monday Nov. 26th

Out of quarantine today. After wood.

Page 15

Tuesday Nov. 27th

Wood this A.M. Took down guns today + cleaned them up. Hike this P.M. to Neuf Chateau.

Wednesday Nov. 28th

Wood this A.M. On guard at 1:30. Rest of bunch get ½ holiday.

Thursday Nov. 29th

Off guard at 1:30. Big Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, cranberry sauce, apple sauce, crullers. After dinner walked to Neuf Chateau with Rogers + Day. Came back with Tracy + Dennis, stopped at Café Menager.

Friday Nov. 30th

Hiked over to range beyond Pargny. Firing in A.M. D. Co. with us. Dinner from field kitchen. Cleaned guns after dinner + came back without a halt. Mustered for pay when back. Big “red dog” game this P.M.

Page 16

Saturday Dec. 1st

Signed the pay roll this A.M. After a load of wood. Headquarters went after wood this P.M. Wasted all P.M. trying to find wood. Walked all over hell + brought back a small load just before supper. Worked down at Y.M.C.A. after supper.

Sunday Dec 2nd

Cold. Snow squalls. Church + communion at Y.M.C.A. this A.M. Dr. Miel. Lecture this A.M. there by William Irwin on Italian situation. Very good. Worked at Y.M.C.A. after supper.

Monday Dec 3rd

Drill all day long with guns out in lots. Wet feet, pretty cold. Down at Y.M.C.A. this evening.

Tuesday Dec. 4th

On K.P. today. Lots of work. Took out insurance of 6,000 today.

Page 17

Wednesday Dec. 5th

After 2 loads of wood this A.M. M.G. practice this P.M. Down to Y.M.C.A. this evening. Mail – letter from Phil (his brother, Philip Wells Porter, who was also serving overseas).

Thursday Dec. 6th

Over to range all day long. Mail tonight – letter from Louise (his sister).

Friday Dec. 7th

Drill with M. Guns all day out in fields. Down at YMCA tonight.

Saturday Dec 8th

After wood this A.M. Nothing much doing this P.M. Mail tonight Package from Louise (his sister).

Sunday Dec 9th

Wrote letters this A.M. Down to Neuf Chateau this P.M. Cabled to Whit (Whitney Scovil Porter, his oldest living brother and Porter's grandfather).

Monday Dec. 10th

Over to range today. Mail tonight – letter from Louise (his sister).

Page 18

Tuesday Dec 11th

Paid this A.M. – first time since enlisted. Wood this A.M. M.G. drill this P.M. Down to Y.M.C.A. this evening.

Wednesday Dec. 12th

Over to range all day. General Edwards came around.

Thursday Dec 13th

After wood this A.M. Went on guard at 1:20 P.M. Good bunch on. Mail – Bill (his brother Phil’s wife; her given name was Orvilla), Polly (his sister)

Friday Dec. 14th

Off guard at 1:20 P.M. Down town for supper with Tracy Goodwin, Matthews.

Saturday Dec 15th

Cleaned up the town this A.M. On detail this P.M. to fix up new orderly room. Y.M.C.A. this evening.

Sunday Dec 16th

Fooled around all A.M. Wrote letters this P.M. Down to Y.M.C.A. this evening.

Page 19

Monday Dec. 17th

Snowing. On detail to unload lumber. All day.

Tuesday Dec. 18th

Over to range all day. Y.M.C.A. this evening.

Wednesday Dec. 19th

Over to range again today. Y.M.C.A. this evening.

Thursday Dec. 20th

On building detail all day. Y.M.C.A. this evening.

Friday Dec. 21st

On building detail this A.M. Gas masks issued today. Lots of 1st class mail. – Polly (his middle sister) 2 – Bill (his brother Phil's wife) – Esther (his youngest sister, Esther Caroline Porter) – Louise (his oldest sister) – Mabel (Mabel (Davis) Porter, his brother Whitney’s wife and Porter's grandmother).

Saturday Dec. 22nd

Gas mask drill this A.M. Fooled around this P.M.

Sunday Dec. 23rd

Day Beach + I walked to Domremy (Domrémy-la-Pucelle). Visited home of Joan of Arc, Church where baptized, place where saw vision basilique (basilica). Great place.

Page 20

Dec. 24th Monday

Fine day. On special detail this A.M. Went to Neufchateau this P.M. Little celebration at mess hall. Young show, present to officers, feed, giving out of packages. I was S.O.L. Big time the old shack tonight.

Dec. 25th Tuesday

Xmas tree + combined young festival with people of town. Presents for kids. Package from Mabel + Whit (his sister-in-law and his brother)Down at Y.M.C.A. this evening. Favors, free sandwiches, cocoa. Talk by Mr. Kearney (Kenney? Kerney? Kinney?) ambulance driver.

Dec. 26th Wednesday

On special carpenters’ detail all day. Y.M.C.A. this eve.

Dec 27th Thursday

Detail with carpenters again this A.M. + P.M.

Dec 28th Friday

Snowing hard. Nothing doing this A.M. On

Page 21

guard at 1:10 P.M. Cold night.

Dec. 29th Saturday

Cold. Off guard this P.M. Wrote letters.

Sunday Dec. 30th

Great day. Fooled around.

Monday Dec. 31st

Went to range – lot of snow d- cold. Big time this eve in the shack.

Tuesday Jan 1st 1918

Holiday. Fooled around all day. Down to Mlle. Alice this eve for tea. Another big time in the shack this evening.

Wednesday Jan. 2nd

Pistol practice this A.M. 

Afternoon off.

Thursday Jan 3rd

Change of company. Cold. Nothing doing.

Friday Jan 4th

On K.P. all day

Page 22
(There's a large space left before the next entry, as if he meant to go back and add something later, but did not.)

Saturday Jan 5th

Inspection this A.M. This P.M. off. Mail tonight.

Sunday Jan 6th

Fooled around all day.

Page 23

Monday Jan 7th

M.G. drill this A.M. + P.M. Also this P.M.

Tuesday Jan 8th

Sighting practice this A.M. Dentist this P.M.

Wednesday Jan 9th

Snowing. Target practice this A.M. M.G. instruction this P.M.

Thursday Jan 10th

Snow. No drill. Target practice this P.M. Box from Polly (his sister).

Friday Jan 11th

On special detail this A.M. Sighting practice this P.M.

Saturday Jan 12th

Target practice this A.M. On guard at 1:30. Punk night.

Sunday 13th

Rain + snow. Off guard at 1:30. Y.M.C.A. this eve.

Monday Jan 14th

Drill this A.M. Target practice this P.M.

Tuesday Jan 15th

Pistol instruction. Rain M.G. instruction.

Page 24

Wednesday Jan 16th

Pistol instruction. M.G. also. Rain + warm.

Thursday Jan 17th

Gas drill this A.M. Falling snow + stayed in quarters this P.M.

Friday Jan 18th

Warm. In quarters all day.

Saturday Jan 19th

In infirmary today another fellow with me.

Sunday Jan 20th

Still in (the infirmary)

Monday Jan 21st

Still in

Tuesday Jan 22nd

Still in – Bill Famely was let out today. Mail tonight – box from Polly (his sister).

Wednesday Jan 23rd

Out (of the infirmary) this A.M. but in quarters.

Thursday Jan 24th

Were paid this A.M. On 500 range this P.M. Was in

Page 25

target trenches under fire.

Friday Jan 25th

M. G. drill this A.M and P.M. too. Warm + fine day.

Saturday Jan 26th

On kitchen all day.

Sunday Jan 27th

Over to range at Concourt all day. All M. guns in 26th div. on one range. Great sight. Home late. Talk by Col. Parker

Monday Jan 28th

Same thing today. Home a little earlier

Tuesday Jan 29th

Same thing again.

Wednesday Jan 30th

Pistol practice this A.M. Drill this P.M.

Thursday Jan 31st

On our range all day with M. Gs.

Friday Feb 1st

Drill this A.M. On range this P.M. digging

Page 26

implacements (sic) for guns.

Saturday Feb. 2nd

Co. went to range. Was supernumerary of guard so stayed home. Fire this evening about 1 A.M. Called to go on guard at 3:30 A.M.

Sunday Feb. 3rd

Great day. Off guard at 8 A.M. Wrote letters + read all day. Letter from Bill (Orvilla, his brother Phil's wife) this eve.

Monday Feb. 4th

Inspection + cleaning up this A.M. Cleaning and lecture this P.M.

Tuesday Feb. 5th

More cleaning and inspection this A.M. Went to Neufchateau this P.M. + brought up Fords for Co. Supper at Mlle. Alice’s this evening.

Wednesday Feb. 6th

Another trip to Neufchateau for Fords this A.M. Worked on cars this P.M.

Page 27

Thursday Feb. 7th

More cleaning up. Worked on cars all rest of day. Mine is fine shape now. Supper at Mlle. Alice’s this P.M.

Friday Feb 8th

On K.P. Up at 4 A.M. Company left for Lifol le Grand at 3 P.M. Went with the kitchen. Arrived there at about 6:30. Had to get supper, pack stuff on cars. Off at 9:30 – some day. Tried to sleep in barracks with no blankets, etc.

Saturday Feb. 9th

Up at 3:30 A.M. Marched to station with junk & loaded it on cars. Were off after breakfast at 6:30 A.M. On box cars – 37 in ours. Some crowd. Rode all day. Slept but little

Page 28

Sunday Feb. 10th

Detrained at about 4 A.M. at Braisne. Unloaded our Fords etc. Had breakfast + started out in Flivers. Ate dinner at a town all shot to pieces. Continued in afternoon thru wrecked towns + landed at CheVregny. Town completely wrecked – not a house left. I Live in barracks – some in dugouts. Got a better sleep.

Monday Feb. 11th

Fine Day. Went around town exploring trenches + dugouts.

Tuesday Feb. 12th

Fine day. Drill this A.M. Moved into different barracks this P.M. Saw a Boch (a slang term, of various spellings, for German) airplane bring down an observation balloon.

Wednesday Feb. 13th

Drill for gas this A.M. + with guns. Drill + short hike this P.M.

Thursday Feb. 14th

Gas drill + short hike this A.M. Drill with guns

Page 29

This P.M.

Friday Feb. 15th

Gas drill + gun drill this A.M. Went on guard at 4:30 P.M. Cold tonight

Saturday Feb. 16th

Cold. Off guard at 4:30 this P.M. Appointed a driver again. The Company went to trenches tonight. Bob Skinner drove my car up.

Sunday Feb. 17th

Fine day. Took an all day walk + went nearly to 3rd lines. Saw a German plane brought down this A.M.

Monday Feb. 18th

Worked on cars all day. Fooled around.

Tuesday Feb. 19th

Fussed with Flivers all day. Nothing much doing for us.

Wednesday Feb. 20th

On K.P. all day. Mail tonight – 3 letters.

Page 30

Thursday Feb. 21st

Worked on cars this A.M.

Worked in kitchen grinding coffee this P.M.

Friday Feb. 22nd

Fussed on cars. Nothing much doing.

Saturday Feb 23rd

Same old stunt. No excitement.

Sunday Feb. 24th

Worked on cars this A.M.

On guard this P.M.

Monday Feb. 25th

Off guard at 5 P.M.

Tuesday Feb. 26th

Worked on cars all day. The Bosch (slang for Germans, same as "Boch" above) shot down a balloon that was up over our heads here this P.M. Some noise.

Wednesday Feb 27th

On K.P. all day. Drove up to front this eve – took some “C” men up + brought back some of our fellows – they returned tonight. Awful night. Dark as pitch – raining hard.

Page 31

Thursday Feb. 28th

Nothing much doing today. Worked on cars some this P.M. Got orders tonight to be ready to go to Front tomorrow.

Friday March 1st

Spent most of day getting ready + packing up to go. Order came about 6 P.M. that they didn’t need me. Heard Dr. Shankin of Wesleyan speak this eve over in dug out. Snowing + cold – not so sorry I’m not going.

Saturday March 2nd

Snowing + blowing + cold. Short drill this A.M. Nothing doing this P.M.

Sunday March 3rd

Punk day – nothing doing.

Monday Mar. 4th

Drill this A.M. Snow. Short hike this P.M.

Page 32

Tuesday Mar. 5th

Drill this A.M. On guard at 1:30.

Wednesday Mar. 6th

Fine day – warm

Off guard at 1:30

Thursday Mar 7th

Fine day. Drill this A.M. Hike this P.M.

Friday Mar. 8th

Warm + like spring. Drill this A.M. Played ball + quakes this P.M. (Quakes may be a form of craps.)

Saturday Mar 9th.

Calisthenics this A.M. General clean up. Inspection this P.M.

Sunday Mar. 10th

Packing + cleaning up. Getting ready to go to trenches again. Company left this P.M. Drove up one car, came back with some “C” men. Was driven back again. Meantime guns set up. On gun guard soon as back. Quietly off at 12:30 A.M. Up again at 4:45 A.M. to

Page 33

Monday Mar. 11th

stand to. Breakfast + to bed. Gun guard + digging at 11:30 A.M. Relieved at 4:30 P.M. Not much excitement.

Tuesday Mar. 12th

Gun guards at 1:30 A.M. off at 7:00 A.M. Gas guard at (12 overwritten 4 or 4 overwritten 12) 30 A.M.

Wednesday Mar. 13th

Some gas + a few shells this A.M. Off guard at 4:30 P.M. Out at 7:00 – find (sic) until 9:30. On gun guard at 1:30 – off at 7:00 A.M.

Thursday Mar. 14th

Guard again at 4:30 off at 8 P.M. On again at 1:30 A.M. off at 7 A.M.

Friday Mar. 15th

On guard from 12:30 – 4:30 and from 8 – 1:30 P.M.

Mar. 16th 1918

On again from 12:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. heavy gas shelling. Packed up + left for Vregny

Page 34

Sunday Mar. 17th

On K.P. all day. Worked hard.

Monday Mar. 18th

Rolled packs – in cars + off at 9 A.M. Drove to one station beyond Soissons – dinner – loaded cars + luggage on train. Off at about 4:30 P.M. In box cars – no sleep.

Tuesday Mar. 19th

Up at 7 A.M. Unloaded cars + luggage – breakfast – off again overland at 9 A.M. Brienne le Chateau to Fontaine. Nice little town. On guard + drew “orderly.” Couple of luxurious chateaus – officers quarters. Whole bunch of us quartered in a big old mill.

Wednesday Mar. 20th

Off guard at 1:00 P.M. Went to Bar sur Aube – great town. Good feed etc.

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Thursday Mar. 21st

Inspection this A.M.

Hike up a mountain here this P.M. Went to town – had a good feed and went to “movies”

Friday Mar. 22nd

Short drill this A.M. Played ball. Spent rest of day packing up. Swim.

Saturday Mar. 23rd

Fine day. Up at 5:15 rolled packs and off at 8 A.M. Rode about 10 miles. Beautiful country. Stopped at Colombey (Colomby) – slept in a regular bed with “Bob” + “Dock”. Great sleep.

Sunday Mar 24th

Moved out at about 10 A.M. Stopped at Vignory – all put up in a big barn. Downtown in evening. Took a walk – Old

Page 36

Castle on hill. Slept in hay.

Monday Mar. 25th

Up early and off at 7 A.M. Stopped at St. Blin. Expect to stay here a while. Spent day in straightening out.

Tuesday Mar. 26th

Cleaned up this A.M. for inspection. Took a bath this P.M.

Wednesday Mar. 27th

Cleaned up billets + guns + pistols for inspection. Dental inspection this P.M.

Thursday Mar. 28th

General show down inspection lasting all day. Ball game with 104th this P.M. Went over to see Ken Page at Manois this evening. Also saw Hersey from Kent. Had a good time.

Friday Mar. 29th

Rain. Did some packing this A.M.

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Nothing much doing.

Saturday Mar. 30th

Rain. Nothing much doing. Got day off. Went over to Manois but 104th had gone.

Sunday Mar. 31st Easter.

Rain. Went to services at Y.M.C.A. Read this P.M. Went to Y.M. this eve.

Monday April 1st

Rain. Up at 3:45 A.M. Packed + ready to start at 5:50 A.M. 1st platoon off in Fr. Trucks. Rode all day through Neuf-Chateau + Toul. Hiked about 2 ½ miles to camp at Menil la Tour. Mud a foot deep all around. On guard worst luck. Punk night. Borden was a picnic side of this place.

Tuesday April 2nd

Rain but clearing at noon. Off guard at 11:30 A.M. American Sector here. Regulars. Balloon. Menil la Tour

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Wednesday April 3rd

Cloudy. Nothing much doing. Down to Menil this P.M. with Bill Hart + had supper – eggs + wine.

Thursday Apr. 4th

Cloudy + rain. Played cards all day.

Friday Apr. 5th

Fine day. Played cards.

Cleaned guns + pistols.

Saturday April 6th

Cloudy Nothing much doing.

Sunday Apr. 7th

Rain + cloudy. On K.P. all day.

Monday Apr. 8th

Rain hard. Played cards + read all day.

Tuesday Apr. 9th

Rain. Cards this A.M. Worked this P.M. on road.

Wednesday Apr. 10th

On guard at 1:00 P.M.

Thursday Apr. 11th

Off guard at

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At 1 P.M. Gas scare last night. Slept + took bath this afternoon. Went to “movies” at Y.M. in evening.

Friday Apr. 12th

Orderly today. Nothing much doing. Bunch off on hurry call.

Saturday Apr. 13th

Worked on incinerator today. Short drill this P.M. Cards.

Sunday Apr. 14th

On K.P. all day

Monday Apr. 15th

Rainy. Cleaned guns. Cards. Read. Report that boys got two guns from Bosch (Germans).

Tuesday Apr. 16th

Rain. Gas drill. Read Cards Wrote.

Wednesday Apr. 17th

Cards + read this A.M. On guard at 1 P.M. Bunch came back this evening. Were in a hot place

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lots of exciting stories. Brought back all sorts of German souvenirs.

Thursday Apr. 18th

Off guard at 1 P.M. Took bath this P.M. Read + wrote.

Friday Apr. 19th

Rainy. Orderly today. Nothing much doing. Inspection.

Saturday Apr. 20th

Quite noisy. Gas this A.M. at 5 o’clock. All prepared to go at any minute. Cleaned ammunition this P.M. Slept alert this evening.

Sunday Apr. 21st

Rainy. Church this A.M. Read. Mail from home.

Monday Apr. 22nd

Big attack on this front 102 + 104 lost lot of men. All packed + ready any time to move. Expected a call last night. Have to sleep with clothes

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on now. Rainy.

Tuesday Ap. 23rd

Sun for short time now rain. Short drill this A.M. Nothing much doing. Couple fellows from 102nd told of experiences this P.M.

Wednesday Apr. 24th

Rain. Short drill this A.M. Nothing doing.

Thursday Apr. 25th

Sun. Short drill. Hard rain this P.M.

Friday Apr. 26th

Nothing doing this A.M. Short drill this P.M.

Ball game. Hurry call about 6 P.M. Off in a short time + had long ride. Landed at a place near St. Agnan + after walk of about 3 miles with equipment Set up guns in woods. Went back to P. C. on ration detail. Early morning when

Page 42

back to Positions.

Saturday Apr. 27th

Slept little last night. Have to stay in open trenches – no shelter or dugouts. Sun shone all day + we slept.

Sunday Apr. 28th

On guard and at 3 A.M. we got S. O. S. signal. We fired a 11 minute barrage and they say it was good. Cloudy and started to rain this P.M. Raining hard, all soaked, mud. Awful night. Another S.O.S. at 11 P.M. and we fired another barrage – short one. Lot of artillery action.

Monday Apr 29th

All look like drowned rats this A.M. Rain still. Wet, hungry, cold. Sneaked down to infantry dugout this A.M. + got warm. Cleared off. Half of crowd went to dugouts in

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rear. We were relieved at 8 P.M. Went on food detail this P.M. Awful long + rough walk. 2 miles. Dugout pretty good. Fire in it. Turned in about 12 o’clock – dead tired.

Tuesday Apr. 30th

Pretty good sleep. Up to guns at 8 A.M. Weather clear. Slept a little this P.M. All pulled out of this hole at 9 P.M. Left six guns in new posts with four men on each. Rest of us went on to Liouville. Quarters good – good supplies. Staying in old wine cellar underground. One + ½ mi. to lines. Town not hurt much – some people here – pro-Germans. On guard to 11 P.M. Our bunch carry food to men on outposts.

Wednesday May 1st

Rain. Nothing much doing. Off guard

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at 11 P.M.

Thursday May 2

Fine day. Sunshine – quite warm. On food detail this A.M. Went in old church here. Very pretty for little town. Rolled packs this P.M. 102nd relieved us this evening. Left here about 12 o’clock and went to (left blank).

Friday May 3rd

Got up late. Feeling punk. Nothing doing all day. Moved into private billet this evening. 6 of us in one room good beds.

Saturday May 4th

Weather still good. Pretty town. Paid today. On guard at 1 P.M. Feed tonight.

Sunday May 5th

Off guard this A.M. Went over to Aulnois to Yale Mobile Hosp. Unit this P.M. Saw Len Beadle +

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Jes Willard. Bud Clark wasn’t in. Rained this P.M. Had supper with Pete Sargent.

Monday May 6th

Fine day. On fatigue. Nothing much doing. Feed this evening.

Tuesday May 7th

On K.P. all day. Letter from Irene Plige from Merrifield. Co. B played ball with 103rd Eng. after supper, beat them 5-0.

Wednesday May 8th

Rain. Wrote letters + played cards. Feed tonight.

Thursday May 9th

Inspected this A.M. Lot of fellows had to go to hospital + get a scrub + a rub.

Friday Mar 10th (May 10)

Pretty good day. Nothing much doing. Ike had to leave us today. Ben Baum

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is up with us now. Feed tonight.

Saturday Mar. 11th (May 11)

Warm day. Nothing much doing. In P.M. went to Yale Unit, saw Bud Clark, Ken + Jess. Storm came up + I stayed to supper.

Sunday Mar. 12th (May 12)

Went to communion service held by Dr. Miel + later to mass meeting. Ball game this P.M. Tie score in 7th + had to call game because of rain. Band of 103 + YMCA girls there

Monday May 13th

Wrote letters. Walk this P.M. Played cards all evening.

Tuesday May 14th

Nothing much doing this A.M. Cleaned guns this P.M. Practice game of ball.

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Wednesday. May 15

Wrote letters. Went in gas house this A.M. Bath this P.M.

Thursday May 16th

Warm day. Walked up on hill this A.M. Played ball this afternoon with 102nd. Ball game this evening with Yale Mobile Unit score 6-2 our favor. Rode over in cars.

Friday May 17th

Nothing doing this A.M. Warm day.

Saturday May 18th

Fine day. Ball game this P.M. with 103rd. Won again. 101st Band.

Sunday May 19th

On K.P. all day. Ball game with 101st eng. got trimmed. Rain.

Monday May 20th

Warm day. Ball game 2nd team U.S. 103rd. Won again. Good game.

Page 48

Tuesday May 21st

Fine day. News of moving. On guard Pack up this P.M. Farewell supper at Rose’s. Out at 7 P.M. Beautiful ride thru woods. Warm, still, moonlight. Off at Ausonville. Part of Co. took up positions. Rest of us back to the old swamp again. Slept in car.

Wednesday May 22nd

Beautiful weather. Pitched pup tents in woods. Went over to see Elsie Janis in outdoor entertainment by Y. M. She sure did give us all a great time. Northy and Stan went up to front this evening.

Thursday May23rd

On K.P. all day. Hard day – lots of work.

Friday May 24th

Colder. Rainy. On guard at 1:00 P.M. Corp. (corporal) of guard. Nothing much doing.

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Saturday May 25th

Nothing doing this P.M. Off guard at 1.0 P.M. Took bath. Walk to Sanzy.

Sunday May 26th

Down to Menil la Tour this P.M. Ball game with 101st Eng. Boxing, band. On guard this evening.

Monday May 27th

Off guard at 1:00 P.M. Nothing doing.

Tuesday May 28th

Saw Wood – Olive Wood’s brother from E. City. On guard at 1. P.M.

Wednesday May 29th

Off guard at 1. P.M. Down to Menil la Tour after supper. Minstrel show, band. Dixie + I went to Royaumix to see couple Lieutenants. Fine time.

Thursday May. 30th

Went to Bouque this P.M. in Trucks. Punk

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ball game and punk boxing bouts.

May 31st Friday

On K.P. all day.

June 1st Saturday

Nothing much doing all day. Ball game this evening with engineers.

June 2nd Sunday

Paid this A.M. Took walk this P.M. Saw ball game. Went to concert this evening. Miss Kerne – Metropolitan soprano. 101st band.

June 3rd Monday

Played cards this P.M. Down to Menil la Tour + Rayoumix. Over to Lieut. Kramer’s place.

June 4th Tuesday

On K.P. all day. Feel pretty punk.

June 5th Wednesday

Down to Y.M. this A.M. Played cards this afternoon.

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Ball game + show this evening at camp Snelling.

June 6th Thursday

Sick. In bed all day.

Friday June 7th

In bed this A.M. Up a short time this afternoon. Back to bed early.

Saturday June 8th

Loafed around most of day. Ball game this P.M. with old Co. A.

Sunday June 9th

Hung around. Walked to Royaumix this A.M. Ball game this P.M. concert band + speaker after supper.

Monday June 10th

Came up to front tonight + took Morril’s place. In big woods.

Tuesday June 11th

Played cards. Pretty good place up here.

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mail tonight.

Wednesday June 12th

All had to “stand to” from 2 A.M. on. Some big shells dropped very close. Slept all morning. Came home this evening. Shelled road while we were walking down to Bernicourt. One darn close call.

Thursday June 13th

Up rather late. Took baths this P.M. + got clothes. Down to show this evening.

Friday June 14th

To Y.M.C.A. this A.M. Had pictures taken this P.M.

Saturday June 15th

3rd platoon came back last night. Band concert at 51st brigade hdq (headquarters).

Sunday June 16th

Shelled Royaumix this A.M. Church service

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Y.M. this P.M.

Monday June 17th

Rain. On working detail beyond Mandrais. Nothing doing this P.M.

Tuesday June 18th

On K.P. all day. S.A. this evening Pie + coffee.

Wednesday June 19th

Shelled Royaumix again this A.M. Short order drill.

Thursday June 20th

Rainy. Short drill. Got pictures this eve. Stopped at S.A. and got pie and coffee.

Friday June 21st

Cleaned guns. Short drill. Inspection of guns + exercises this P.M.

Saturday June 22nd

Rainy. On working detail near Mandrais this A.M. Took

Page 54

baths over near Bouque this P.M.

Sunday June 23rd

Church this A.M.

On guard at 1 P.M.

Monday June 24th

Off guard at 1 P.M. Short drill. On working detail all afternoon. Ball game

Tuesday June 25th

Packed up and cleaned up whole camp this A.M. Left this P.M. for Foug. Nice town – quite large. In good barracks.

Wednesday June 26th

Went to Toul (Dommartin-les-Toul) – walked in. Great dinner – nice town – wonderful feed at Y.M.C.A. for supper. Stopped on way back to see 82nd Div. 5 miles over. Pretty tired but had great time. Good bath here in morning. Went thru ammunition factory here.

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Thursday June 27

Took walk this A.M. + P.M. Thru factories. K. Page came over this evening.

Friday June 28

Walked around all day – beaucoup de bus.

Saturday June 29th

Packed up this A.M. + rode short dist. to Void. Large town but nothing doing. Had swim. Prommenade (sic) ce soir.

Sunday June 30th

Up early for breakfast. Started on journey at 6:30 stopped at Vitrey le François. Good ride was lot of country. Large town – pretty – good time ce soir.

Monday July 1

Up early + early start – long ride to Coulommes. Saw lot of country – farming

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aviation – camps. In late. Good supper at one of houses. Pup tent camp.

Tuesday July 2nd

Walk this A.M. After wood with truck. Great dusty ride. 18 miles from Paris.

Wednesday July 3rd

Moved tents. Nothing much doing all day.

Thursday July 4th

On K.P. no rations till 3 P.M. Only coffee for dinner. Paid at 5:30. Great feed at house with couple fellows. Everybody happy ce soir.

Friday July 5th

Nothing doing all day. Had a wonderful feed this eve at 5:30 P.M. at farmhouse. Broke camp + loaded on cars at 8 P.M. On trucks. Rode till 10:30 P.M. Held up in La Ferte until 5:30 A.M. Met 59th going in.

Page 57

Saturday July 6th

Slept in Fr. taxis parked in square. Started off at 5:30 + went about 2 mi. to next town. Stayed here all day. Slept – only cup of coffee to eat. Pulled out at 5 P.M. Stayed up in patch of wood till dark – then came up here to woods on road to Chateau Thierry. Supper at 12 o’clock. Slept in shallow pits in ground.

Sunday July 7th

Spent morning improving our holes to sleep in. Dr Hesselgrave came up this P.M.

Monday July 8th

Nothing much doing all day. Played cards.

Tuesday July 9th

Made our dugout bomb-proof. Played cards.

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Wednesday July 10th

Nothing doing in particular. Played cards. Rainy.

Thursday June (sic) 11th

Rainy. Nothing doing.

Friday July 12th

No excitement. Rainy, muddy.

Saturday July 13th

Rainy. Went into Montreul this A.M. to infirmary. Saw kitchen. Packed up this eve and moved about mile farther toward line in another woods. Hiked. Had to “stand to” all night with rest of division in expectation of attack. Nothing doing. Cold.

Sunday July 14th

Got settled in new place this A.M. Pup tents in wood. Slept most all day

Monday July 15th

Cleaned up the place.

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Gas mask inspection and drill this P.M. Went after straw after supper. Hell broke loose soon after in bed. All up + had to roll rolls in the dark. Hell of a time. Stand to all night + then nothing doing.

Tuesday July 16th

Slept most of day. Rain. Pistol inspection + drill. M.G. inspection.

Wednesday July 17th

Rain. Nothing much doing all day. Most of crowd left for front tonight. Corporal + 3 men from each squad. Thunder showers most of night. Say they had a tough night of it.

Thursday July 18th

Nothing doing all day. Rest of us got orders to move up to-night. Carried grub from cars to bunch with full

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pack. Hell of a racket. Laying around in woods.

Friday July 19th

Sat around all day in same place. Moved out tonight. Back in trucks to same old place. Late supper.

Saturday July 20th

Pitched shelter halfs this A.M. Nothing doing all day. Good reports from front. All got baths this P.M. We needed them.

Sunday July 21st

Up + rolled packs before breakfast.

 


And that is the end. There is no more to Hezekiah Scovil Porter's diary, save some brief notes on where he served, in someone else's handwriting.

On Monday, July 22, 1918, his unit went into battle, and Hez was killed.

From Yale in the World War (George Henry Nettleton, Yale University Press, 1925; pages 324-325), quoting a letter written shortly afterwards by a "Yale classmate and comrade-in-arms," comes this description of his death:

Two guns had been placed in a wood, and ammunition was needed. "Hez" was one of the detail to take it up. They had to cross a wheat field, and a splinter [shrapnel] caught him square in the chest.

History of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion has a longer description of the action from the "War Diary of a Machine Gunner," compiled from the field diaries of several of the soldiers by the Rev. Charles E. Hesselgrave, a Congregational minister serving overseas with the YMCA.

JULY 22. At daybreak both companies were sent out into some woods overlooking Trugny to assist the attack of Major Rau's battalion against the town. We could not locate any enemy to fire at, and the best we could do was to wait to protect Rau's left against possible counter-attack. We were shelled and M. G. bullets flew pretty thick. Bristol of C Co. was wounded. After a while the attack crumbled in spite of Rau's gallant efforts against impossible odds, and the troops were withdrawn to the old positions. A little later C Co. was sent over to the right to join Rau. There they found him with only a few of his men left. The guns were set up on the edge of the wood in a defensive position. B Co. got orders to support an attack of the 102d Inf. on the town of Epieds over on the left flank. The company formed a fourth wave behind the infantry, and spread out into a long skirmish line. The advance started over the open wheat field at a slow walk, with frequent halts during which each man flattened out so tliat no moving thing was visible in the field. M. G. bullets began to kick up little puffs of dust all around us, and the enemy artillery barrage came down fiercely just ahead. We knew we would have to go through this, and every nerve was tense. We soon found ourselves in the midst of it—direct fire at that, mostly from one pounders, and 105's and Austrian 88's which come with the shriek of a thousand devils. The fumes choked us and the concussions half stunned us. It was here that Hez Porter, following his platoon leader, was instantly killed. Corcoran, Dick and Wendt were wounded. An infantry captain just ahead called frantically to us to put an enemy M. G. out of business. He pointed out a pile of barrels where the gun was supposed to be hidden, and two guns of Lt. Sandberg's platoon, Sgt. Hart's section, went into action in the edge of some woods and peppered the spot for some time. It was here that the whole attack was checked, and we got word from the infantry that it was pulling back and that we should do the same on our own hook. The company was drawn to the left into cover of woods, reformed, and sent back, skirting around a rise for concealment. We assembled in a patch of wood a little way back and waited for possible counter-attack and to cover the withdrawal of the doughboys if necessary. They came filtering back, bringing their wounded with them, and soon we were also returned to our old place where the guns were set up to repel any attack that might come from the left. Dr. Hesselgrave appeared with cigarettes and chocolate which was indeed welcome, as we had nothing to eat. This was not a healthy place for the Doctor to be in, but we knew he would come to us when we needed him most. There was a dressing-station near us, and it was awful to see the wounded and shell-shocked fellows brought in. About 6 p. m. the Boche put down a fearful artillery barrage close in front of us, and we were pulled back a hundred yards to escape the effects of this fire. A detail had been digging a grave for Porter, but were unable to finish. A bit later, orders came from Division that we would go back into reserve for a time. We thought our troubles were about over for that day, but were mistaken. Down on the road near Champluisant Farm, just east of Sacerie, our machines were lined up, waiting to take us out, and as we were loading up there came the familiar shriek and two shell burst in the field close by. A moment later there came a deafening blast—all was confusion. Two more shell had exploded together right among our cars. Two of them were overturned. We got the wounded into cars as quickly as possible but, to make matters worse, a mule-cart had become wedged in the road ahead and blocked all traffic, so we could not move out. Finally the way was cleared and the cars with the wounded made for the first-aid station at Sacerie Farm. Harold Smith and Ralph Henry of B Co. died. Brackett, Weld, Olschefskie, Hampson, Haskins, Barber, Maun, Rogers, Burden, Fothergill, Mercer, Burnham, Sancyzk of B Co. and Fabryk of C Co. wounded. Robinson and Gunning of B Co. shell-shocked. Our cars had been doing fine service most all day in taking out wounded. Two of C Co's cars were hit and one wrecked. At last we found ourselves in bivouac in the woods.

JULY 25. ... A detail went back and buried Porter.

More details about his burial are from the Geni genealogical website entry for Hezekiah Scovil Porter, compiled, I believe, by Charles E. Rounds, Jr., grandson of Hezekiah's brother, Philip Wells Porter.

A photograph of the temporary gravesite is in the possession of Charles E. Rounds, Jr., 107 Mt. Vernon St., Boston, MA 02108 (2013). In the photograph are two of his comrades who had survived the battle. One is from Wethersfield, Connecticut (State Street) and one is from Waterbury, Vermont. The Vermonter is Wagoner Arthur A Barlow, a farmer, who was born Aug. 10, 1895. The Connecticut man is Sergeant Everett H. Hart, born July 10, 1894, who in civilian life had been a "member" of the Chas. C. Hart Seed Co. Bordering the field, just beyond the grave-site, is a thick forest of mostly birch saplings. The underbrush is heavy.

In a letter. dated July 27, 1918, more details of the initial "make-shift" interment of the remains of Hezekiah Scovil Porter are communicated in a letter from his commanding officer (Philip S. Wainwright) to Whitney Scovil Porter (one of Hezekiah's brothers): "...The grave is marked near the head by a cross-shaped blaze on a tree with "Hezekiah S. Porter--101st. M.G.B. U.S.A.--July 22d, 1918" carved into the wood. His helmet is also placed at the head on a bayonet with his name scratched on it. I removed his wallet which contained a small sum of French money and his diamond ring, which was all the personal property we could find." [The referenced wallet, which is bloodstained, is in the possession of William Porter Wightman, grandson of the said Whitney Scovil Porter (2017)].

Hez's remains were later retrieved and given a permanent resting place in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois (Aisne), France: Plot A, Row 4, Grave 18.

Requiescat in pace, Hezekiah Scovil Porter.

This is the conclusion of the World War I Diary of Hezekiah Scovil Porter, begun in the previous post: The Complete World War I Diary of Hezekiah Scovil Porter - Part I, 1917. You can see images of the pages here: Hezekiah Scovil Porter's WWI Diary.

 

Hez's Diary
January 1, 1918 - July 22, 1918

Continuation of Page 21

Tuesday Jan 1st 1918
(in France)

Holiday. Fooled around all day. Down to Mlle. Alice this eve for tea. Another big time in the shack this evening.

Wednesday Jan. 2nd

Pistol practice this A.M. 

Afternoon off.

Thursday Jan 3rd

Change of company. Cold. Nothing doing.

Friday Jan 4th

On K.P. all day

Page 22
(There's a large space left before the next entry, as if he meant to go back and add something later, but did not.)

Saturday Jan 5th

Inspection this A.M. This P.M. off. Mail tonight.

Sunday Jan 6th

Fooled around all day.

Page 23

Monday Jan 7th

M.G. drill this A.M. + P.M. Also this P.M.

Tuesday Jan 8th

Sighting practice this A.M. Dentist this P.M.

Wednesday Jan 9th

Snowing. Target practice this A.M. M.G. instruction this P.M.

Thursday Jan 10th

Snow. No drill. Target practice this P.M. Box from Polly (his sister).

Friday Jan 11th

On special detail this A.M. Sighting practice this P.M.

Saturday Jan 12th

Target practice this A.M. On guard at 1:30. Punk night.

Sunday 13th

Rain + snow. Off guard at 1:30. Y.M.C.A. this eve.

Monday Jan 14th

Drill this A.M. Target practice this P.M.

Tuesday Jan 15th

Pistol instruction. Rain M.G. instruction.

Page 24

Wednesday Jan 16th

Pistol instruction. M.G. also. Rain + warm.

Thursday Jan 17th

Gas drill this A.M. Falling snow + stayed in quarters this P.M.

Friday Jan 18th

Warm. In quarters all day.

Saturday Jan 19th

In infirmary today another fellow with me.

Sunday Jan 20th

Still in (the infirmary)

Monday Jan 21st

Still in

Tuesday Jan 22nd

Still in – Bill Famely was let out today. Mail tonight – box from Polly (his sister).

Wednesday Jan 23rd

Out (of the infirmary) this A.M. but in quarters.

Thursday Jan 24th

Were paid this A.M. On 500 range this P.M. Was in

Page 25

target trenches under fire.

Friday Jan 25th

M. G. drill this A.M and P.M. too. Warm + fine day.

Saturday Jan 26th

On kitchen all day.

Sunday Jan 27th

Over to range at Concourt all day. All M. guns in 26th div. on one range. Great sight. Home late. Talk by Col. Parker

Monday Jan 28th

Same thing today. Home a little earlier

Tuesday Jan 29th

Same thing again.

Wednesday Jan 30th

Pistol practice this A.M. Drill this P.M.

Thursday Jan 31st

On our range all day with M. Gs.

Friday Feb 1st

Drill this A.M. On range this P.M. digging

Page 26

implacements (sic) for guns.

Saturday Feb. 2nd

Co. went to range. Was supernumerary of guard so stayed home. Fire this evening about 1 A.M. Called to go on guard at 3:30 A.M.

Sunday Feb. 3rd

Great day. Off guard at 8 A.M. Wrote letters + read all day. Letter from Bill (Orvilla, his brother Phil's wife) this eve.

Monday Feb. 4th

Inspection + cleaning up this A.M. Cleaning and lecture this P.M.

Tuesday Feb. 5th

More cleaning and inspection this A.M. Went to Neufchateau this P.M. + brought up Fords for Co. Supper at Mlle. Alice’s this evening.

Wednesday Feb. 6th

Another trip to Neufchateau for Fords this A.M. Worked on cars this P.M.

Page 27

Thursday Feb. 7th

More cleaning up. Worked on cars all rest of day. Mine is fine shape now. Supper at Mlle. Alice’s this P.M.

Friday Feb 8th

On K.P. Up at 4 A.M. Company left for Lifol le Grand at 3 P.M. Went with the kitchen. Arrived there at about 6:30. Had to get supper, pack stuff on cars. Off at 9:30 – some day. Tried to sleep in barracks with no blankets, etc.

Saturday Feb. 9th

Up at 3:30 A.M. Marched to station with junk & loaded it on cars. Were off after breakfast at 6:30 A.M. On box cars – 37 in ours. Some crowd. Rode all day. Slept but little

Page 28

Sunday Feb. 10th

Detrained at about 4 A.M. at Braisne. Unloaded our Fords etc. Had breakfast + started out in Flivers. Ate dinner at a town all shot to pieces. Continued in afternoon thru wrecked towns + landed at CheVregny. Town completely wrecked – not a house left. I Live in barracks – some in dugouts. Got a better sleep.

Monday Feb. 11th

Fine Day. Went around town exploring trenches + dugouts.

Tuesday Feb. 12th

Fine day. Drill this A.M. Moved into different barracks this P.M. Saw a Boch (a slang term, of various spellings, for German) airplane bring down an observation balloon.

Wednesday Feb. 13th

Drill for gas this A.M. + with guns. Drill + short hike this P.M.

Thursday Feb. 14th

Gas drill + short hike this A.M. Drill with guns

Page 29

This P.M.

Friday Feb. 15th

Gas drill + gun drill this A.M. Went on guard at 4:30 P.M. Cold tonight

Saturday Feb. 16th

Cold. Off guard at 4:30 this P.M. Appointed a driver again. The Company went to trenches tonight. Bob Skinner drove my car up.

Sunday Feb. 17th

Fine day. Took an all day walk + went nearly to 3rd lines. Saw a German plane brought down this A.M.

Monday Feb. 18th

Worked on cars all day. Fooled around.

Tuesday Feb. 19th

Fussed with Flivers all day. Nothing much doing for us.

Wednesday Feb. 20th

On K.P. all day. Mail tonight – 3 letters.

Page 30

Thursday Feb. 21st

Worked on cars this A.M.

Worked in kitchen grinding coffee this P.M.

Friday Feb. 22nd

Fussed on cars. Nothing much doing.

Saturday Feb 23rd

Same old stunt. No excitement.

Sunday Feb. 24th

Worked on cars this A.M.

On guard this P.M.

Monday Feb. 25th

Off guard at 5 P.M.

Tuesday Feb. 26th

Worked on cars all day. The Bosch (slang for Germans, same as "Boch" above) shot down a balloon that was up over our heads here this P.M. Some noise.

Wednesday Feb 27th

On K.P. all day. Drove up to front this eve – took some “C” men up + brought back some of our fellows – they returned tonight. Awful night. Dark as pitch – raining hard.

Page 31

Thursday Feb. 28th

Nothing much doing today. Worked on cars some this P.M. Got orders tonight to be ready to go to Front tomorrow.

Friday March 1st

Spent most of day getting ready + packing up to go. Order came about 6 P.M. that they didn’t need me. Heard Dr. Shankin of Wesleyan speak this eve over in dug out. Snowing + cold – not so sorry I’m not going.

Saturday March 2nd

Snowing + blowing + cold. Short drill this A.M. Nothing doing this P.M.

Sunday March 3rd

Punk day – nothing doing.

Monday Mar. 4th

Drill this A.M. Snow. Short hike this P.M.

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Tuesday Mar. 5th

Drill this A.M. On guard at 1:30.

Wednesday Mar. 6th

Fine day – warm

Off guard at 1:30

Thursday Mar 7th

Fine day. Drill this A.M. Hike this P.M.

Friday Mar. 8th

Warm + like spring. Drill this A.M. Played ball + quakes this P.M. (Quakes may be a form of craps.)

Saturday Mar 9th.

Calisthenics this A.M. General clean up. Inspection this P.M.

Sunday Mar. 10th

Packing + cleaning up. Getting ready to go to trenches again. Company left this P.M. Drove up one car, came back with some “C” men. Was driven back again. Meantime guns set up. On gun guard soon as back. Quietly off at 12:30 A.M. Up again at 4:45 A.M. to

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Monday Mar. 11th

stand to. Breakfast + to bed. Gun guard + digging at 11:30 A.M. Relieved at 4:30 P.M. Not much excitement.

Tuesday Mar. 12th

Gun guards at 1:30 A.M. off at 7:00 A.M. Gas guard at (12 over 4 or 4 over 12) 30 A.M.

Wednesday Mar. 13th

Some gas + a few shells this A.M. Off guard at 4:30 P.M. Out at 7:00 – find (sic) until 9:30. On gun guard at 1:30 – off at 7:00 A.M.

Thursday Mar. 14th

Guard again at 4:30 off at 8 P.M. On again at 1:30 A.M. off at 7 A.M.

Friday Mar. 15th

On guard from 12:30 – 4:30 and from 8 – 1:30 P.M.

Mar. 16th 1918

On again from 12:30 P.M. to 4:30 P.M. heavy gas shelling. Packed up + left for Vregny

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Sunday Mar. 17th

On K.P. all day. Worked hard.

Monday Mar. 18th

Rolled packs – in cars + off at 9 A.M. Drove to one station beyond Soissons – dinner – loaded cars + luggage on train. Off at about 4:30 P.M. In box cars – no sleep.

Tuesday Mar. 19th

Up at 7 A.M. Unloaded cars + luggage – breakfast – off again overland at 9 A.M. Brienne le Chateau to Fontaine. Nice little town. On guard + drew “orderly.” Couple of luxurious chateaus – officers quarters. Whole bunch of us quartered in a big old mill.

Wednesday Mar. 20th

Off guard at 1:00 P.M. Went to Bar sur Aube – great town. Good feed etc.

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Thursday Mar. 21st

Inspection this A.M.

Hike up a mountain here this P.M. Went to town – had a good feed and went to “movies”

Friday Mar. 22nd

Short drill this A.M. Played ball. Spent rest of day packing up. Swim.

Saturday Mar. 23rd

Fine day. Up at 5:15 rolled packs and off at 8 A.M. Rode about 10 miles. Beautiful country. Stopped at Colombey (Colomby) – slept in a regular bed with “Bob” + “Dock”. Great sleep.

Sunday Mar 24th

Moved out at about 10 A.M. Stopped at Vignory – all put up in a big barn. Downtown in evening. Took a walk – Old

Page 36

Castle on hill. Slept in hay.

Monday Mar. 25th

Up early and off at 7 A.M. Stopped at St. Blin. Expect to stay here a while. Spent day in straightening out.

Tuesday Mar. 26th

Cleaned up this A.M. for inspection. Took a bath this P.M.

Wednesday Mar. 27th

Cleaned up billets + guns + pistols for inspection. Dental inspection this P.M.

Thursday Mar. 28th

General show down inspection lasting all day. Ball game with 104th this P.M. Went over to see Ken Page at Manois this evening. Also saw Hersey from Kent. Had a good time.

Friday Mar. 29th

Rain. Did some packing this A.M.

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Nothing much doing.

Saturday Mar. 30th

Rain. Nothing much doing. Got day off. Went over to Manois but 104th had gone.

Sunday Mar. 31st Easter.

Rain. Went to services at Y.M.C.A. Read this P.M. Went to Y.M. this eve.

Monday April 1st

Rain. Up at 3:45 A.M. Packed + ready to start at 5:50 A.M. 1st platoon off in Fr. Trucks. Rode all day through Neuf-Chateau + Toul. Hiked about 2 ½ miles to camp at Menil la Tour. Mud a foot deep all around. On guard worst luck. Punk night. Borden was a picnic side of this place.

Tuesday April 2nd

Rain but clearing at noon. Off guard at 11:30 A.M. American Sector here. Regulars. Balloon. Menil la Tour

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Wednesday April 3rd

Cloudy. Nothing much doing. Down to Menil this P.M. with Bill Hart + had supper – eggs + wine.

Thursday Apr. 4th

Cloudy + rain. Played cards all day.

Friday Apr. 5th

Fine day. Played cards.

Cleaned guns + pistols.

Saturday April 6th

Cloudy Nothing much doing.

Sunday Apr. 7th

Rain + cloudy. On K.P. all day.

Monday Apr. 8th

Rain hard. Played cards + read all day.

Tuesday Apr. 9th

Rain. Cards this A.M. Worked this P.M. on road.

Wednesday Apr. 10th

On guard at 1:00 P.M.

Thursday Apr. 11th

Off guard at

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At 1 P.M. Gas scare last night. Slept + took bath this afternoon. Went to “movies” at Y.M. in evening.

Friday Apr. 12th

Orderly today. Nothing much doing. Bunch off on hurry call.

Saturday Apr. 13th

Worked on incinerator today. Short drill this P.M. Cards.

Sunday Apr. 14th

On K.P. all day

Monday Apr. 15th

Rainy. Cleaned guns. Cards. Read. Report that boys got two guns from Bosch (Germans).

Tuesday Apr. 16th

Rain. Gas drill. Read Cards Wrote.

Wednesday Apr. 17th

Cards + read this A.M. On guard at 1 P.M. Bunch came back this evening. Were in a hot place

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lots of exciting stories. Brought back all sorts of German souvenirs.

Thursday Apr. 18th

Off guard at 1 P.M. Took bath this P.M. Read + wrote.

Friday Apr. 19th

Rainy. Orderly today. Nothing much doing. Inspection.

Saturday Apr. 20th

Quite noisy. Gas this A.M. at 5 o’clock. All prepared to go at any minute. Cleaned ammunition this P.M. Slept alert this evening.

Sunday Apr. 21st

Rainy. Church this A.M. Read. Mail from home.

Monday Apr. 22nd

Big attack on this front 102 + 104 lost lot of men. All packed + ready any time to move. Expected a call last night. Have to sleep with clothes

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on now. Rainy.

Tuesday Ap. 23rd

Sun for short time now rain. Short drill this A.M. Nothing much doing. Couple fellows from 102nd told of experiences this P.M.

Wednesday Apr. 24th

Rain. Short drill this A.M. Nothing doing.

Thursday Apr. 25th

Sun. Short drill. Hard rain this P.M.

Friday Apr. 26th

Nothing doing this A.M. Short drill this P.M.

Ball game. Hurry call about 6 P.M. Off in a short time + had long ride. Landed at a place near St. Agnan + after walk of about 3 miles with equipment Set up guns in woods. Went back to P. C. on ration detail. Early morning when

Page 42

back to Positions.

Saturday Apr. 27th

Slept little last night. Have to stay in open trenches – no shelter or dugouts. Sun shone all day + we slept.

Sunday Apr. 28th

On guard and at 3 A.M. we got S. O. S. signal. We fired a 11 minute barrage and they say it was good. Cloudy and started to rain this P.M. Raining hard, all soaked , mud. Awful night. Another S.O.S. at 11 P.M. and we fired another barrage – short one. Lot of artillery action.

Monday Apr 29th

All look like drowned rats this A.M. Rain still. Wet, hungry, cold. Sneaked down to infantry dugout this A.M. + got warm. Cleared off. Half of crowd went to dugouts in

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rear. We were relieved at 8 P.M. Went on food detail this P.M. Awful long + rough walk. 2 miles. Dugout pretty good. Fire in it. Turned in about 12 o’clock – dead tired.

Tuesday Apr. 30th

Pretty good sleep. Up to guns at 8 A.M. Weather clear. Slept a little this P.M. All pulled out of this hole at 9 P.M. Left six guns in new posts with four men on each. Rest of us went on to Liouville. Quarters good – good supplies. Staying in old wine cellar underground. One + ½ mi. to lines. Town not hurt much – some people here – pro-Germans. On guard to 11 P.M. Our bunch carry food to men on outposts.

Wednesday May 1st

Rain. Nothing much doing. Off guard

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at 11 P.M.

Thursday May 2

Fine day. Sunshine – quite warm. On food detail this A.M. Went in old church here. Very pretty for little town. Rolled packs this P.M. 102nd relieved us this evening. Left here about 12 o’clock and went to (left blank).

Friday May 3rd

Got up late. Feeling punk. Nothing doing all day. Moved into private billet this evening. 6 of us in one room good beds.

Saturday May 4th

Weather still good. Pretty town. Paid today. On guard at 1 P.M. Feed tonight.

Sunday May 5th

Off guard this A.M. Went over to Aulnois to Yale Mobile Hosp. Unit this P.M. Saw Len Beadle +

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Jes Willard. Bud Clark wasn’t in. Rained this P.M. Had supper with Pete Sargent.

Monday May 6th

Fine day. On fatigue. Nothing much doing. Feed this evening.

Tuesday May 7th

On K.P. all day. Letter from Irene Plige from Merrifield. Co. B played ball with 103rd Eng. after supper, beat them 5-0.

Wednesday May 8th

Rain. Wrote letters + played cards. Feed tonight.

Thursday May 9th

Inspected this A.M. Lot of fellows had to go to hospital + get a scrub + a rub.

Friday Mar 10th (May 10)

Pretty good day. Nothing much doing. Ike had to leave us today. Ben Baum

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is up with us now. Feed tonight.

Saturday Mar. 11th (May 11)

Warm day. Nothing much doing. In P.M. went to Yale Unit, saw Bud Clark, Ken + Jess. Storm came up + I stayed to supper.

Sunday Mar. 12th (May 12)

Went to communion service held by Dr. Miel + later to mass meeting. Ball game this P.M. Tie score in 7th + had to call game because of rain. Band of 103 + YMCA girls there

Monday May 13th

Wrote letters. Walk this P.M. Played cards all evening.

Tuesday May 14th

Nothing much doing this A.M. Cleaned guns this P.M. Practice game of ball.

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Wednesday. May 15

Wrote letters. Went in gas house this A.M. Bath this P.M.

Thursday May 16th

Warm day. Walked up on hill this A.M. Played ball this afternoon with 102nd. Ball game this evening with Yale Mobile Unit score 6-2 our favor. Rode over in cars.

Friday May 17th

Nothing doing this A.M. Warm day.

Saturday May 18th

Fine day. Ball game this P.M. with 103rd. Won again. 101st Band.

Sunday May 19th

On K.P. all day. Ball game with 101st eng. got trimmed. Rain.

Monday May 20th

Warm day. Ball game 2nd team U.S. 103rd. Won again. Good game.

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Tuesday May 21st

Fine day. News of moving. On guard Pack up this P.M. Farewell supper at Rose’s. Out at 7 P.M. Beautiful ride thru woods. Warm, still, moonlight. Off at Ausonville. Part of Co. took up positions. Rest of us back to the old swamp again. Slept in car.

Wednesday May 22nd

Beautiful weather. Pitched pup tents in woods. Went over to see Elsie Janis in outdoor entertainment by Y. M. She sure did give us all a great time. Northy and Stan went up to front this evening.

Thursday May23rd

On K.P. all day. Hard day – lots of work.

Friday May 24th

Colder. Rainy. On guard at 1:00 P.M. Corp. (corporal) of guard. Nothing much doing.

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Saturday May 25th

Nothing doing this P.M. Off guard at 1.0 P.M. Took bath. Walk to Sanzy.

Sunday May 26th

Down to Menil la Tour this P.M. Ball game with 101st Eng. Boxing, band. On guard this evening.

Monday May 27th

Off guard at 1:00 P.M. Nothing doing.

Tuesday May 28th

Saw Wood – Olive Wood’s brother from E. City. On guard at 1. P.M.

Wednesday May 29th

Off guard at 1. P.M. Down to Menil la Tour after supper. Minstrel show, band. Dixie + I went to Royaumix to see couple Lieutenants. Fine time.

Thursday May. 30th

Went to Bouque this P.M. in Trucks. Punk

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ball game and punk boxing bouts.

May 31st Friday

On K.P. all day.

June 1st Saturday

Nothing much doing all day. Ball game this evening with engineers.

June 2nd Sunday

Paid this A.M. Took walk this P.M. Saw ball game. Went to concert this evening. Miss Kerne – Metropolitan soprano. 101st band.

June 3rd Monday

Played cards this P.M. Down to Menil la Tour + Rayoumix. Over to Lieut. Kramer’s place.

June 4th Tuesday

On K.P. all day. Feel pretty punk.

June 5th Wednesday

Down to Y.M. this A.M. Played cards this afternoon.

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Ball game + show this evening at camp Snelling.

June 6th Thursday

Sick. In bed all day.

Friday June 7th

In bed this A.M. Up a short time this afternoon. Back to bed early.

Saturday June 8th

Loafed around most of day. Ball game this P.M. with old Co. A.

Sunday June 9th

Hung around. Walked to Royaumix this A.M. Ball game this P.M. concert band + speaker after supper.

Monday June 10th

Came up to front tonight + took Morril’s place. In big woods.

Tuesday June 11th

Played cards. Pretty good place up here.

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mail tonight.

Wednesday June 12th

All had to “stand to” from 2 A.M. on. Some big shells dropped very close. Slept all morning. Came home this evening. Shelled road while we were walking down to Bernicourt. One darn close call.

Thursday June 13th

Up rather late. Took baths this P.M. + got cloths. Down to show this evening.

Friday June 14th

To Y.M.C.A. this A.M. Had pictures taken this P.M.

Saturday June 15th

3rd platoon came back last night. Band concert at 51st brigade hdq.

Sunday June 16th

Shelled Royaumix this A.M. Church service

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Y.M. this P.M.

Monday June 17th

Rain. On working detail beyond Mandrais. Nothing doing this P.M.

Tuesday June 18th

On K.P. all day. S.A. this evening Pie + coffee.

Wednesday June 19th

Shelled Royaumix again this A.M. Short order drill.

Thursday June 20th

Rainy. Short drill. Got pictures this eve. Stopped at S.A. and got pie and coffee.

Friday June 21st

Cleaned guns. Short drill. Inspection of guns + exercises this P.M.

Saturday June 22nd

Rainy. On working detail near Mandrais this A.M. Took

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baths over near Bouque this P.M.

Sunday June 23rd

Church this A.M.

On guard at 1 P.M.

Monday June 24th

Off guard at 1 P.M. Short drill. On working detail all afternoon. Ball game

Tuesday June 25th

Packed up and cleaned up whole camp this A.M. Left this P.M. for Foug. Nice town – quite large. In good barracks.

Wednesday June 26th

Went to Toul (Dommartin-les-Toul) – walked in. Great dinner – nice town – wonderful feed at Y.M.C.A. for supper. Stopped on way back to see 82nd Div. 5 miles over. Pretty tired but had great time. Good bath here in morning. Went thru ammunition factory here.

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Thursday June 27

Took walk this A.M. + P.M. Thru factories. K. Page came over this evening.

Friday June 28

Walked around all day – beaucoup de bus.

Saturday June 29th

Packed up this A.M. + rode short dist. to Void. Large town but nothing doing. Had swim. Prommenade (sic) ce soir.

Sunday June 30th

Up early for breakfast. Started on journey at 6:30 stopped at Vitrey le François. Good ride was lot of country. Large town – pretty – good time ce soir.

Monday July 1

Up early + early start – long ride to Coulommes. Saw lot of country – farming

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aviation – camps. In late. Good supper at one of houses. Pup tent camp.

Tuesday July 2nd

Walk this A.M. After wood with truck. Great dusty ride. 18 miles from Paris.

Wednesday July 3rd

Moved tents. Nothing much doing all day.

Thursday July 4th

On K.P. no rations till 3 P.M. Only coffee for dinner. Paid at 5:30. Great feed at house with couple fellows. Everybody happy ce soir.

Friday July 5th

Nothing doing all day. Had a wonderful feed this eve at 5:30 P.M. at farmhouse. Broke camp + loaded on cars at 8 P.M. On trucks. Rode till 10:30 P.M. Held up in La Ferte until 5:30 A.M. Met 59th going in.

Page 57

Saturday July 6th

Slept in Fr. taxis parked in square. Started off at 5:30 + went about 2 mi. to next town. Stayed here all day. Slept – only cup of coffee to eat. Pulled out at 5 P.M. Stayed up in patch of wood till dark – then came up here to woods on road to Chateau Thierry. Supper at 12 o’clock. Slept in shallow pits in ground.

Sunday July 7th

Spent morning improving our holes to sleep in. Dr Hesselgrave came up this P.M.

Monday July 8th

Nothing much doing all day. Played cards.

Tuesday July 9th

Made our dugout bomb-proof. Played cards.

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Wednesday July 10th

Nothing doing in particular. Played cards. Rainy.

Thursday June 11th

Rainy. Nothing doing.

Friday July 12th

No excitement. Rainy, muddy.

Saturday July 13th

Rainy. Went into Montreul this A.M. to infirmary. Saw kitchen. Packed up this eve and moved about mile farther toward line in another woods. Hiked. Had to “stand to” all night with rest of division in expectation of attack. Nothing doing. Cold.

Sunday July 14th

Got settled in new place this A.M. Pup tents in wood. Slept most all day

Monday July 15th

Cleaned up the place.

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Gas mask inspection and drill this P.M. Went after straw after supper. Hell broke loose soon after in bed. All up + had to roll rolls in the dark. Hell of a time. Stand to all night + then nothing doing.

Tuesday July 16th

Slept most of day. Rain. Pistol inspection + drill. M.G. inspection.

Wednesday July 17th

Rain. Nothing much doing all day. Most of crowd left for front tonight. Corporal + 3 men from each squad. Thunder showers most of night. Say they had a tough night of it.

Thursday July 18th

Nothing doing all day. Rest of us got orders to move up to-night. Carried grub from cars to bunch with full

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pack. Hell of a racket. Laying around in woods.

Friday July 19th

Sat around all day in same place. Moved out tonight. Back in trucks to same old place. Late supper.

Saturday July 20th

Pitched shelter halfs this A.M. Nothing doing all day. Good reports from front. All got baths this P.M. We needed them.

Sunday July 21st

Up + rolled packs before breakfast.

 


And that is the end. There is no more to Hezekiah Scovil Porter's diary, save some brief notes on where he served, in someone else's handwriting.

On Monday, July 22, 1918, his unit went into battle, and Hez was killed.

From Yale in the World War (George Henry Nettleton, Yale University Press, 1925; pages 324-325), quoting a letter written shortly afterwards by a "Yale classmate and comrade-in-arms," comes this description of his death:

Two guns had been placed in a wood, and ammunition was needed. "Hez" was one of the detail to take it up. They had to cross a wheat field, and a splinter [shrapnel] caught him square in the chest.

History of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion has a longer description of the action from the "War Diary of a Machine Gunner," compiled from the field diaries of several of the soldiers by the Rev. Charles E. Hesselgrave, a Congregational minister serving overseas with the YMCA.

JULY 22. At daybreak both companies were sent out into some woods overlooking Trugny to assist the attack of Major Rau's battalion against the town. We could not locate any enemy to fire at, and the best we could do was to wait to protect Rau's left against possible counter- attack. We were shelled and M. G. bullets flew pretty thick. Bristol of C Co. was wounded. After a while the attack crumbled in spite of Rau's gallant efforts against impossible odds, and the troops were withdrawn to the old positions. A little later C Co. was sent over to the right to join Rau. There they found him with only a few of his men left. The guns were set up on the edge of the wood in a defensive position. B Co. got orders to support an attack of the 102d Inf. on the town of Epieds over on the left flank. The company formed a fourth wave behind the infantry, and spread out into a long skirmish line. The advance started over the open wheat field at a slow walk, with frequent halts during which each man flattened out so tliat no moving thing was visible in the field. M. G. bullets began to kick u]) little puffs of dust all around us, and the enemy artillery barrage came down fiercely just ahead. We knew we would have to go through this, and every nerve was tense. We soon found ourselves in the midst of it—direct fire at that, mostly from one pounders, and 105's and Austrian 88's which come with the shriek of a thousand devils. The fumes choked us and the concussions half stunned us. It was here that Hez Porter, following his platoon leader, was instantly killed. Corcoran, Dick and Wendt were wounded. An infantry captain just ahead called frantically to us to put an enemy M. G. out of business. He pointed out a pile of barrels where the gun was supposed to be hidden, and two guns of Lt. Sandberg's platoon, Sgt. Hart's section, went into action in the edge of some woods and peppered the spot for some time. It was here that the whole attack was checked, and we got word from the infantry that it was pulling back and that we should do the same on our own hook. The company was drawn to the left into cover of woods, reformed, and sent back, skirting around a rise for concealment. We assembled in a patch of wood a little way back and waited for possible counter-attack and to cover the withdrawal of the doughboys if necessary. They came filtering back, bringing their wounded with them, and soon we were also returned to our old place where the guns were set up to repel any attack that might come from the left. Dr. Hesselgrave appeared with cigarettes and chocolate which was indeed welcome, as we had nothing to eat. This was not a healthy place for the Doctor to be in, but we knew he would come to us when we needed him most. There was a dressing-station near us, and it was awful to see the wounded and shell-shocked fellows brought in. About 6 p. m. the Boche put down a fearful artillery barrage close in front of us, and we were pulled back a hundred yards to escape the effects of this fire. A detail had been digging a grave for Porter, but were unable to finish. A bit later, orders came from Division that we would go back into reserve for a time. We thought our troubles were about over for that day, but were mistaken. Down on the road near Champluisant Farm, just east of Sacerie, our ma- chines were lined up, waiting to take us out, and as we were loading up there came the familiar shriek and two shell burst in the field close by. A moment later there came a deafening blast — all was confusion. Two more shell had exploded together right among our cars. Two of them were overturned. We got the wounded into cars as quickly as possible but, to make matters worse, a mule-cart had become wedged in the road ahead and blocked all traffic, so we could not move out. Finally the way was cleared and the cars with the wounded made for the first-aid station at Sacerie Farm. Harold Smith and Ralph Henry of B Co. died. Brackett, Weld, Olschefskie, Hampson, Haskins, Barber, Maun, Rogers, Burden, Fothergill, Mercer, Burnham, Sancyzk of B Co. and Fabryk of C Co. wounded. Robinson and Gunning of B Co. shell-shocked. Our cars had been doing fine service most all day in taking out wounded. Two of C Co's cars were hit and one wrecked. At last we found ourselves in bivouac in the woods.

JULY 25. ... A detail went back and buried Porter.

More details about his burial are from the Geni genealogical website entry for Hezekiah Scovil Porter, compiled, I believe, by Charles E. Rounds, Jr., grandson of Hezekiah's brother, Philip Wells Porter.

A photograph of the temporary gravesite is in the possession of Charles E. Rounds, Jr., 107 Mt. Vernon St., Boston, MA 02108 (2013). In the photograph are two of his comrades who had survived the battle. One is from Wethersfield, Connecticut (State Street) and one is from Waterbury, Vermont. The Vermonter is Wagoner Arthur A Barlow, a farmer, who was born Aug. 10, 1895. The Connecticut man is Sergeant Everett H. Hart, born July 10, 1894, who in civilian life had been a "member" of the Chas. C. Hart Seed Co. Bordering the field, just beyond the grave-site, is a thick forest of mostly birch saplings. The underbrush is heavy.

In a letter. dated July 27, 1918, more details of the initial "make-shift" interment of the remains of Hezekiah Scovil Porter are communicated in a letter from his commanding officer (Philip S. Wainwright) to Whitney Scovil Porter (one of Hezekiah's brothers): "...The grave is marked near the head by a cross-shaped blaze on a tree with "Hezekiah S. Porter--101st. M.G.B. U.S.A.--July 22d, 1918" carved into the wood. His helmet is also placed at the head on a bayonet with his name scratched on it. I removed his wallet which contained a small sum of French money and his diamond ring, which was all the personal property we could find." [The referenced wallet, which is bloodstained, is in the possession of William Porter Wightman, grandson of the said Whitney Scovil Porter (2017)].

Hez's remains were later retrieved and given a permanent resting place in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois (Aisne), France: Plot A, Row 4, Grave 18.

Requiescat in pace, Hezekiah Scovil Porter.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, July 25, 2018 at 8:10 am | Edit
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Hezekiah Scovil Porter WW I Diary Transcription continued

There is no more to Hezekiah Scovil Porter's diary, save some brief notes on where he served, in someone else's handwriting.

On Monday, July 22, 1918, his unit went into battle, and Hez was killed.

From Yale in the World War (George Henry Nettleton, Yale University Press, 1925; pages 324-325), quoting a letter written shortly afterwards by a "Yale classmate and comrade-in-arms," comes this description of his death:

Two guns had been placed in a wood, and ammunition was needed. "Hez" was one of the detail to take it up. They had to cross a wheat field, and a splinter [shrapnel] caught him square in the chest.

History of the 101st Machine Gun Battalion has a longer description of the action from the "War Diary of a Machine Gunner," compiled from the field diaries of several of the soldiers by the Rev. Charles E. Hesselgrave, a Congregational minister serving overseas with the YMCA.

JULY 22. At daybreak both companies were sent out into some woods overlooking Trugny to assist the attack of Major Rau's battalion against the town. We could not locate any enemy to fire at, and the best we could do was to wait to protect Rau's left against possible counter-attack. We were shelled and M. G. bullets flew pretty thick. Bristol of C Co. was wounded. After a while the attack crumbled in spite of Rau's gallant efforts against impossible odds, and the troops were withdrawn to the old positions. A little later C Co. was sent over to the right to join Rau. There they found him with only a few of his men left. The guns were set up on the edge of the wood in a defensive position. B Co. got orders to support an attack of the 102d Inf. on the town of Epieds over on the left flank. The company formed a fourth wave behind the infantry, and spread out into a long skirmish line. The advance started over the open wheat field at a slow walk, with frequent halts during which each man flattened out so tliat no moving thing was visible in the field. M. G. bullets began to kick up little puffs of dust all around us, and the enemy artillery barrage came down fiercely just ahead. We knew we would have to go through this, and every nerve was tense. We soon found ourselves in the midst of it—direct fire at that, mostly from one pounders, and 105's and Austrian 88's which come with the shriek of a thousand devils. The fumes choked us and the concussions half stunned us. It was here that Hez Porter, following his platoon leader, was instantly killed. Corcoran, Dick and Wendt were wounded. An infantry captain just ahead called frantically to us to put an enemy M. G. out of business. He pointed out a pile of barrels where the gun was supposed to be hidden, and two guns of Lt. Sandberg's platoon, Sgt. Hart's section, went into action in the edge of some woods and peppered the spot for some time. It was here that the whole attack was checked, and we got word from the infantry that it was pulling back and that we should do the same on our own hook. The company was drawn to the left into cover of woods, reformed, and sent back, skirting around a rise for concealment. We assembled in a patch of wood a little way back and waited for possible counter-attack and to cover the withdrawal of the doughboys if necessary. They came filtering back, bringing their wounded with them, and soon we were also returned to our old place where the guns were set up to repel any attack that might come from the left. Dr. Hesselgrave appeared with cigarettes and chocolate which was indeed welcome, as we had nothing to eat. This was not a healthy place for the Doctor to be in, but we knew he would come to us when we needed him most. There was a dressing-station near us, and it was awful to see the wounded and shell-shocked fellows brought in. About 6 p. m. the Boche put down a fearful artillery barrage close in front of us, and we were pulled back a hundred yards to escape the effects of this fire. A detail had been digging a grave for Porter, but were unable to finish. A bit later, orders came from Division that we would go back into reserve for a time. We thought our troubles were about over for that day, but were mistaken. Down on the road near Champluisant Farm, just east of Sacerie, our machines were lined up, waiting to take us out, and as we were loading up there came the familiar shriek and two shell burst in the field close by. A moment later there came a deafening blast—all was confusion. Two more shell had exploded together right among our cars. Two of them were overturned. We got the wounded into cars as quickly as possible but, to make matters worse, a mule-cart had become wedged in the road ahead and blocked all traffic, so we could not move out. Finally the way was cleared and the cars with the wounded made for the first-aid station at Sacerie Farm. Harold Smith and Ralph Henry of B Co. died. Brackett, Weld, Olschefskie, Hampson, Haskins, Barber, Maun, Rogers, Burden, Fothergill, Mercer, Burnham, Sancyzk of B Co. and Fabryk of C Co. wounded. Robinson and Gunning of B Co. shell-shocked. Our cars had been doing fine service most all day in taking out wounded. Two of C Co's cars were hit and one wrecked. At last we found ourselves in bivouac in the woods.

July 25. ... A detail went back and buried Porter.

More details about his burial are from the Geni genealogical website entry for Hezekiah Scovil Porter, presumably compiled by Charles E. Rounds, Jr., grandson of Hezekiah's brother, Philip Wells Porter.

A photograph of the temporary gravesite is in the possession of Charles E. Rounds, Jr., 107 Mt. Vernon St., Boston, MA 02108 (2013). In the photograph are two of his comrades who had survived the battle. One is from Wethersfield, Connecticut (State Street) and one is from Waterbury, Vermont. The Vermonter is Wagoner Arthur A Barlow, a farmer, who was born Aug. 10, 1895. The Connecticut man is Sergeant Everett H. Hart, born July 10, 1894, who in civilian life had been a "member" of the Chas. C. Hart Seed Co. Bordering the field, just beyond the grave-site, is a thick forest of mostly birch saplings. The underbrush is heavy.

In a letter. dated July 27, 1918, more details of the initial "make-shift" interment of the remains of Hezekiah Scovil Porter are communicated in a letter from his commanding officer (Philip S. Wainwright) to Whitney Scovil Porter (one of Hezekiah's brothers): "...The grave is marked near the head by a cross-shaped blaze on a tree with "Hezekiah S. Porter--101st. M.G.B. U.S.A.--July 22d, 1918" carved into the wood. His helmet is also placed at the head on a bayonet with his name scratched on it. I removed his wallet which contained a small sum of French money and his diamond ring, which was all the personal property we could find." [The referenced wallet, which is bloodstained, is in the possession of William Porter Wightman, grandson of the said Whitney Scovil Porter (2017)].

Hez's remains were later retrieved and given a permanent resting place in the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, Fere-en-Tardenois (Aisne), France: Plot A, Row 4, Grave 18.

Requiescat in pace, Hezekiah Scovil Porter.

Previous posts: IntroductionPart 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30, Part 31, Part 32, Part 33, Part 34, Part 35, Part 36, Part 37, Part 38, Part 39, Part 40, Part 41, Part 42, Part 43, Part 44, Part 45, Part 46, Part 47, Part 48, Part 49, Part 50, Part 51, Part 52, Part 53, Part 54, Part 55, Part 56, Part 57, Part 58, Part 59, Part 61, Part 62, Part 63, Part 64, Part 65, Part 66, Part 67, Part 68, Part 69, Part 70, Part 71, Part 72, Part 73, Part 74, Part 75, Part 76, Part 77, Part 78, Part 79, Part 80, Part 81, Part 82, Part 83, Part 84, Part 85, Part 86, Part 87, Part 88, Part 89, Part 90, Part 91, Part 92, Part 93, Part 94, Part 95, Part 96, Part 97, Part 98, Part 99, Part 100, Part 101, Part 102, Part 103, Part 104, Part 105, Part 106, Part 108, Part 109, Part 110, Part 111, Part 112, Part 113, Part 114, Part 115, Part 116, Part 117, Part 118, Part 119, Part 120, Part 121, Part 122, Part 123, Part 124, Part 125, Part 126, Part 127, Part 128, Part 129, Part 130, Part 131, Part 132, Part 133, Part 134, Part 135, Part 136, Part 137, Part 138, Part 139, Part 140, Part 141, Part 142, Part 143, Part 144, Part 145, Part 146, Part 147, Part 148, Part 149, Part 150, Part 151, Part 152, Part 153, Part 154, Part 155, Part 156, Part 157, Part 158, Part 159, Part 160, Part 161, Part 162, Part 163

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, July 22, 2018 at 5:01 am | Edit
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As part of my research into some of the Davises in our family tree (related to David Wood, about whom I wrote before), I've been reading about early New Jersey churches. That line was primarily Baptist, and settled there to escape persecution.

Morgan Edwards' work, Materials Toward a History of the Baptists, provided amusement along with information. For example, these paragraphs about the Cohansey Baptist Church [Vol. 1, p. 89]:

In 1710 ... Rev. Timothy Brooks and his company united with this church: they had emigrated hither from Swanzey [Swansea] in Plymouth (now Massachusetts) government, about the year 1687; and had kept a separate society, for 23 years, on account of differences in opinion relative to predestination; singing psalms; laying on of hands, etc.: the uniter was Rev. Valentine Wightman, of Groton in Connecticut: the terms of union were, bearance and forbearance.

In 1714, eight Presbyterians joined this church: the occasion was a[s] follows: Mr. Wightman was invited to preach at Fairfield; but forgetting his situation, he talked away as if he had been in a baptist pulpit.

Clearly the name struck a bell, and indeed, that's our Valentine Wightman: Porter's 6th great-grandfather through his father's side; my 7th great-grandfather through my father's grandfather Willis Johnson Langdon, whose ancestors married into the Wightman line. Willis' wife, my great-grandmother, was Mary Lucy (Nellie) Wood. The Woods and the Davises of my family during that era were Baptists and Seventh-Day Baptists in that area of New Jersey, and it's likely that Mary Lucy Wood's ancestors heard Valentine Wightman preach on one of his visits. One hundred and thirty-four years after Valentine's death in 1747, their lines met when Willis and Nellie married. Ninety-four years after that, they met again when Porter and I were wed.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 9:39 am | Edit
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It's no secret that my husband and I bit the bullet and jumped into the genetic DNA testing arena, having finally decided that the information benefits outweighed privacy concerns. But of course, when we sumitted our samples, we were "speaking" not only for ourselves but for our blood relatives everywhere, since we share DNA, albeit in varying amounts.

So, family, this is your fair warning to keep your lives clean and stay on the right side of the law. As you can see from this New York Times article (or just Google for it if you can't get in to the NYT), police in California have apprehended a man who they believe is a notorious serial killer/rapist/burglar who commited his crimes in the 1970's and 80's. They cracked the case by matchng a sample from one of the crimes to DNA some of his ftamily members had submitted to a genealogical database.

Sure, it tweaks my privacy-concern buttons a bit, and even more so my Big-Brother-is-watching-you fears, but I sure am glad the guy was finally caught. But this is what concerns me most of all:

Mr. DeAngelo will not be charged for a series of rapes authorities believe he committed in the Sacramento area in the late 1970s because the statute of limitations has expired.

There's a statute of limitations for rape? How can that possibly be?

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 28, 2018 at 11:55 am | Edit
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Category Genealogy: [first] [previous] [next] [newest] Random Musings: [first] [previous] [next] [newest]

William W. Tedrow is not one of my direct ancestors, but my great-great-granduncle: my father's mother's father's mother's oldest brother. I wouldn't normally spend too much time on him, but I noticed that the death date I had for him had no associated source. I'm in the process of cleaning up my family tree, and unsourced facts—whether accidental or put in deliberately as part of ongoing research—must go. Generally, I'll spend a little time trying to find a source for the fact—more if the person is in my direct line, less if not—then either add the source or delete the fact.

Frankly, my gut reaction was to delete William W. Tedrow's death date and move on. Up until recently I was eager to learn as much as possible about anyone and everyone connected with my family—and even non-relatives if the puzzle was interesting enough. But I have just shy of 15,000 people in my database, and am no longer under the illusion that I can learn everything I want to about all of them.

Be that as it may, there was something about William's supposed death date that intrigued me.

I knew that he had served in the Union army, as a musician, from August 1861 until he was discharged in February 1863. Discharged alive and well, apparently. But the (unsourced) information I had was that he had died in 1863. He had survived his Civil War service but died soon thereafter? This warranted at least a quick look.

That's when it became interesting.

William W. Tedrow was born in Illinois, about 1840, the firstborn child of Asa W. and Sarah Elizabeth (Davis) Tedrow—my great-great-great-grandparents. I had already found his Civil War record, or so I thought. He had joined the Union army on August 1, 1861, served as a musician—an official rank between private and corporal in the Civil War army—in Company I, 33rd Illinois Infantry, with distinction, and was discharged February 7, 1863. But it turns out that a lot more data has become available online since I discovered that back in 2004. Here's the next thing I found:

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The name's right; the age is right; the birthplace is right. But now he's in Company B, 5th Regiment, U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, which he joined as a 1st Sergeant on October 6, 1863, in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I've found no hint in census or other records that the family is of mixed race. I know that units of black soldiers were commanded by white officers, but as you can see from this list of officers of the 9th Louisiana Infantry, African Descent (the original name of this unit), Tedrow is not among them.  He was not a commissioned officer. According to the article, the enlisted men were black, and the rank of sergeant is an enlisted rank.

But there is no doubt that this is my great-great-granduncle.

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There he is, as described in this record from the Illinois State Archives; his description is exactly the same as in the previous image, except that his complexion is listed as "dark" instead of as "fair." And down at the bottom is the notation, "Discharged Feb 7, 1863 at St. Louis MO enlisted in Miss[issippi] Marine Brigade." That is the key.

Here's what the website for the current 33rd Illinois Volunteer Regiment Band has to say about its history:

Mustered at State Normal University August 15, 1861 Charles E. Hovey, President of State Normal University, became the first Colonel of the 33rd Illinois Volunteers when the unit was organized in McLean County, Illinois. The regiment at once became known as the "Normal" or Teachers' Regiment and attracted both teachers and students to its ranks. Because it was stated that the regiment would not obey orders unless they were absolutely correct in syntax and orthography, the regiment was at times called the "Brain Regiment." The 33rd fought throughout the Mississippi Valley and distinguished themselves at Vicksburg, having lost 11 of 32 men, all the rest wounded save one.

The Regimental Band, led by Augustus Woodward of Lexington, Illinois and C.S. Elder also of Lexington, Illinois was made up of 17 bandsmen. The band was mustered on August 15, 1861 and mustered out on August 16, 1862 "... by order as to musicians." Due to financial issues within the military, bandsmen were a financial liability and the government could no longer afford the higher wage paid to the musician. The band provided enjoyment to the regiment and many bands continued service without authorization and the officers and men of the unit paid the added expense.

The Regimental Band was a major part of the soldier's life while fighting against many odds. The band played music that reminded them of home, kept their spirits high, and added to their emotional well-being. The Regimental Band led soldiers into battle and to their death as well.

No doubt William Tedrow was one of those musicians who stayed on, since he was not officially mustered out of the unit till half a year after the band was mustered out. But there he was, having distinguished himself at Vicksburg, Mississippi, with the Army not wanting to pay musicians. So he joined the Mississippi Marine Brigade. According to Wikipedia,

The Mississippi Marine Brigade was a Union Army unit raised during the American Civil War as part of the United States Ram Fleet. These soldiers acted as marines aboard United States Army rams patrolling the Mississippi River. The unit was ... organized as part of the Regular Army instead of a State unit. [It] was an army command operating under the direction of the U.S. Navy consisting of artillery, cavalry and infantry and a fleet of boats for transportation and was commanded by Brig. Gen. Alfred W. Ellett. ... The unit was organized in early 1863 and consisted of about 350 officers and men, including boat crews which used nine small light-armored boats fitted as rams.

The Siege of Vicksburg ended in July 1863. What was next for William W. Tedrow? Clearly, his assignment on October 6, 1863 to Company B of the 5th U. S. Colored Heavy Artillery, as shown above. That he truly served in all these units is shown by the pension application below.

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Was my great-great-granduncle white, black, or in between? Given the rest of my family history, as well as my DNA results, I'd have to say he was white, although I don't actually know his ancestors on either his mother's or his father's side, so it's still an open question. But perhaps looking "fair" among black troops and "dark" among white troops was an asset for a young (23 years old) teacher-cum-army sergeant in the Civil War. Sadly, William W. Tedrow did not survive to leave a record of how he managed in his new role: He died on December 31, 1863, "by accidental shooting."

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 11:51 am | Edit
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We interrupt the flow of diary entries to present this video about the Haddam Veteran's Museum, which we're told has quite a bit about Hezekiah.

Can you say homeschool field trip?

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, April 22, 2018 at 8:23 am | Edit
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AncestryDNA is currently offering its testing kits for $59, a great price. If you think that's still too much, you might win one for free if I want your data badly enough.  :)

Of course, I know that for many people the cost barrier is not money, but privacy issues, so I would never pressure anyone into DNA testing. It took me a LONG time to get to the point of being willing.

But if you're interested, now's a good time.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, April 20, 2018 at 8:46 am | Edit
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(I'm putting this here because Ancestry does not make it easy to leave a note for those who view my profile there.)

My areas of interest and research include, but are not limited to, surnames Langdon, Wightman, Smith, Porter, Bradbury, Barbe, Faulk, Davis, Wood, Tinker, Cunningham, Kemp, Bristol, Reuterberg, Wells, Chamberlain, Daley, Hofferbert, Landeen, Stücklin, and Westfall.

My tree is private, but will show up in Ancestry searches, including AncestryDNA. If there's something that interests you, please contact me. I'm happy to share ideas and sources with those who ask. The tree itself is a work in progress. It is as accurate and as well documented as I have been able to make it thus far, but that doesn't make it right. Again, please contact me for sources and draw your own conclusions.

I have sources for just about every person and fact in my tree. My work is done primarily in RootsMagic, which I sync as well as I can with my Ancestry tree. Unfortunately, Ancestry makes a mess of the sources, so I don't upload them, if I can avoid it (I can't always). Ancestry also hides the general notes I have for people in my RootsMagic tree, and that's where I put a lot of information—another reason to contact me about specific people.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 9:22 am | Edit
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As a genealogist, I love old family photos.  But old family photos without any identification are a tragedy, and that describes a terribly high percentage of our pictures.  Here's one, for example, that's actually in better shape than most, in that I know three of the people for certain, and have some good guesses as to most of the others.  But I'm posting it here in the hope that there are others of our scattered family, perhaps direct descendants of some of these people, who will give greater clarity.  (Click on the photo to enlarge.)

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Here's the identification I've come up with:

Back row: Francis Orson Davenny, Erna (Bradbury) Langdon, Mary Jane Langdon

Front row: William Davenny, Richard Davenny, Nina (Bradbury) Davenny, and an unknown woman, possibly Frances (Langdon) Hill.

Based on my best guess as to the ages of the boys, I think the photo was taken around 1945, probably in Spokane, Washington.

What do you say, Internet? Is there someone out there searching on these names who will recognize any of these folks?

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, April 9, 2018 at 6:36 pm | Edit
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Fear not, Faithful Readers, I don't expect more than one or two of you to read all the way through this 6000+ word post. Even the genealogists in the group will skip the details of the Sources and Data sections. But they're there, not only for my own present thinking and future reference, but also for the curious Internet searcher who might find something helpful.

If you read through the beginning, just after the chart you will find a link that will take you directly to the more generally interesting Questions and Conclusions section. A brief summary of the specific genealogical conclusions is at the very end.

The Problem of Jonathan and Elnathan Davis

The Puzzle

The wife of David Wood, Jr.—whose father I wrote about in The Problem of David Wood—was Mercia (or Mercy) Davis. One of the genealogists at the New England Historic Genealogical Society looked at my list of surnames and sighed, “I would rather have Smiths in my line than Davises.” I have both Smiths and Davises; while Smiths aren’t easy, I quite understand his point.

As an example, and to introduce this problem, consider the following excerpt of a brief church history given in the Register of Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey, 1737-1830 by Ernest K. Bee, Jr.

The family of the Davises settled higher up near Trenton who came thither directly from Long Island, but originally from Swanzey [Swansea, Massachusetts] and (no doubt) were some of the Company that came over in (1662) with the Rev Miles from J—tone in Glamorganshire [Wales] … the persons that ministered among them at first were Rev. Messieurs Jonathan Davis and Samuel Bowen…. This Jonathan Davis was born May 15th 1675 (his wifes name Elisabeth born May 1st 1675). Came in company with another brother or two from Long Island … and settled near Trenton abt. the year 1695 and preached their to his death which hapned abt. the year 1750, his brothers son with his family had been moved down to Cohansey abt the year 1732 and soon after 3 more brothers followed where they have multiplied. …

[The Cohansey church was formed in 1737.] Rev. Jonathan Davis, he was nephew to the forementioned Jonathan Davis of Trenton and took the care of the Church at their incorporation in 1737 and continued in the care thereof to his death in Feb. 2, 1769. … His wife was Esther Ayars, by whom he had children Jerman, Jonathan, Elnathan, Isaac, Edeth, Elijah & Naomi…. Mr. Davis died in the 60th year of his age, his successor was Rev. Jonathan Davis.

He was not of the Same family with his predecsor, but son of the Rev. David Davis that lives at Newark in Delware State where he was born July 7th, 1734: he was … ordained in the Church Nov. 13, 1768…. He marryed Margret Bond of Nottingham by whom he had Children Ann, Samuel, David, Ammi, Sarah, Richard and John….

Are you keeping track? That’s three men named Rev. Jonathan Davis who led this small church. The first (Jonathan Davis A) is credited with being the founder (and visiting preacher), the second (Jonathan Davis B)—his nephew—was the first “settled pastor,” and the third (Jonathan Davis C)—completely unrelated—the latter’s successor. Oh, and the last Rev. Jonathan Davis isn’t actually completely unrelated, if you look forward instead of back: I’m related to both of them. The chart below show five generations of the ancestors of my great-great—grandfather, R. J. Wood. Jonathan Davis B is in purple and Jonathan Davis C in green. Jonathan Davis A is not shown, but is the brother of Elnathan Davis, in red (twice, because he shows up in two separate lines). (Click image to enlarge.)

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The problems begin with Elnathan.

(If you want to skip the Sources and the Data sections and go right to the Questions and Conclusions, click here.)

 

The Sources

  • Brig. Gen. William Church Davis, The Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Davis (1773-1865) of Norway, NY, and His Wife, Elizabeth Hallock Davis (1784-1851) (Walton, NY: Press of the Reporter Co., 1927), pp. 9-20. Available online at Ancestry.com and HathiTrust.org, https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/005730242.
  • Ancestry.com. The Church Records of the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
  • Frederick Lewis Weis, The Colonial Clergy of the Middle Colonies: New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, 1628-1776 from the American Antiquarian Society website, http://www.americanantiquarian.org/proceedings/44539283.pdf.
  • George Rogers Howell, The Early History of Southampton, L. I., New York, with Genealogies, second edition, revised, corrected, and enlarged. (Albany, New York: Weed, Parsons and Company, 1887).
  • Jeannette Edwards Rattray, East Hampton History: Including Genealogies of Early Families (East Hampton, N.Y, 1953), pp. 262-263.
  • O. E. Monnette, First Settlers of ye Plantations of Piscataway and Woodbridge: olde East New Jersey, 1664-1714, a period of fifty years (Los Angeles: The Leroy Carman Press, 1930).
  • “The Founders of Hartford,” from the Society of the Descendants of the Founders of Hartford website, copied 18 March 2018, http://foundersofhartford.org/founders/davy_fulke.htm.
  • Linda Moffatt, compiler, “Fulke Davis of East Hampton and Jamaica, Long Island,” from Papers by Warren Skidmore on descendants of Reginald de Scudamore, eldest son of Ralph the Domesday tenant. Source: http://www.skidmorefamilyhistory.com/Reginald%20papers%20compilation.pdf, pp 84-85. Original source: East Hampton (Long Island) Town Records, Book A, pages 74-6.
  • “Fulke (Ffulke, Foulk) Davis” at Long Island Surnames website, https://longislandsurnames.com/getperson.php?personID=I2520&tree=Mather.
  • Francis Bazley Lee, Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, New Jersey (New York & Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Compnay, 1907). Available online at Google Books, https://books.google.com/books/about/Genealogical_and_Personal_Memorial_of_Me.html?id=6tcMAAAAYAAJ.
  • Gilbert Cope, Genealogy of the Sharpless Family Descended from John and Jane Sharples, Settlers Near Chester, Pennsylvania, 1682: Together with some account of The English Ancestry of the Family, including the results of researches by Henry Fishwick, F.H.S., and the late Joseph Lemuel Chester, LL.D.; and a full report of the bi-centennial reunion of 1882 (Philadelphia: For the family, under the auspices of the Bicentennial committee, 1887). Available online at Ancestry.com and the Internet Archive, https://archive.org/stream/genealogyofsharp00cope/genealogyofsharp00cope_djvu.txt.
  • Ancestry.com. History and genealogy of Fenwick's Colony [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Shourds, Thomas.. History and genealogy of Fenwick's Colony. Bridgeton, N.J.: George F. Nixon, 1876.
  • T. H. Breen, Imagining the Past: East Hampton Histories (University of Georgia Press, 1996), pp. 121-137. Available online at Google Books, https://books.google.com/books?id=2oyC98E09lMC.
  • Helen A. Titus, Maidenhead: the Early Days. (Trenton, New Jersey: Lawrenceville Tercentenary Committee, 1964). Available online courtesy the Lawrence Historical Society, at http://www.thelhs.org/newsletters/maidenhead.pdf.
  • Morgan Edwards, Eve B. Weeks, and Mary B. Warren, Materials Towards a History of the Baptists (Danielsville, Georgia: Heritage Papers, 1984).
  • Ancestry.com. New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011. (Original data: New Jersey State Archives. New Jersey, Published Archives Series, First Series. Trenton, New Jersey: John L Murphy Publishing Company).
  • Ethel Stroupe, “Origins of the Jersey Settlement of Rowan County, North Carolina: First Families of Jersey Settlement,” from Sons of DeWitt Colony Texas website, http://www.sonsofdewittcolony.org/mckstmerjersey. Downloaded 18 Mar 2018.
  • Josephine C. Frost, editor, Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island, New York, 1656-1751. (Brooklyn, New York: Long Island Historical Society, 1914). (Available online at HathiTrust, https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=yale.39002006199039;view=1up;seq=7).
  • Ernest K. Bee Jr., Register of Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey 1737-1830 (Plainfield, New Jersey: Seventh-Day Baptist Publishing House, 1976).
  • Various Internet sites of more or less credibility, rife with speculation, but useful for indicating directions of research.
  • Wikipedia contributors, Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia: “Lawrenceville, New Jersey,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrenceville,_New_Jersey.
  • Stuart Hotchkiss, “Witches of Long Island,” from Brooklyn Genealogy Information Page website, created in 1997 by Nancy E. Lutz, hosted by Steve Morse, http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/LI/WitchesofLongIsland.html.

 

The Data, Part 1—from the New Jersey Side

From Genealogy of the Sharpless Family

About the year 1662, three brothers, John, Jonathan and William Davis, came to New England in the company of Welsh Baptists under the leadership of the Rev. John Miles. They named the place of their settlement Swansea from that of their home in Wales. About the year 1687 a number of families ... removed to South Jersey, and settled at Bowentown, Barretts Run and Shiloh. Some of the Davis family removed to Long Island, whence Jonathan and EInathan Davis, supposed to be sons of one of the above three brothers, came to Trenton, and EInathan became the Surveyor General of New Jersey. …

Jonathan Davis of Long Island, born May 15, 1675, married a Bowen of the Rev. John Miles' company, and about the year 1700 settled at Trenton with his brother EInathan Davis, the Surveyor General. He frequently visited his wife's relatives at Bowentown, and being a Seventh-day Baptist gained numerous converts in that vicinity. ... At length, on the 27th of March, 1737, the Seventh-day Baptist Church of Shiloh was organized.... To Jonathan Davis, senior, is ascribed the honor of being the founder of the church. He died in 1750, leaving no children. [pp. 207-208]

From Materials Towards a History of the Baptists

The first minister of the Sabbatarian order, who preached in this neighbourhood and in that of Trentown, was Rev. Jonathan Davis, uncle to the Jonathan Davis who was the first minister for the church of Shiloh, and the 120 families which belong to it, may consider him as their founder and father. He died at Trentown about the year 1750, in the 75th year of his age.

His wife was Elizabeth Bowen; but no issue. He was very tall and fat, which made his familiars banter him under the name of the ”great high priest.”

He, and his brother Elnathan Davis, are said to have settles at Trentown near the beginning of this century; and to have emigrated thither directly from Long-island, but originally from Wales: if so, he might be the son of one of the three Davises who came to Swanzey in 1662, and who emigrated thither from Glamorganshire, in the company of Rev. John Miles: he could not be one of the emigrants; for he was born May 15, 1675.

When he embraced the sentiments of the Sabbatarians; and when and where he was ordained, are matters I could not learn either from the family or from records…. [p. 137]

From Origins of the Jersey Settlement of Rowan County, North Carolina

In 1697 Thomas Revell sold 1,050 acres (in the center of the township) to Johannes Opdyke, a Penny Town (Pennington) area soon settled by inter-related Presbyterian families from Newton (Elmhurst), Queens, Long Island. In January 1675/7 the will of Ralph Hunt, Sr. was proved at Newton. In 1698 his sons, Ralph, Jr., Samuel, daughter Ann and husband Theophilus Phillips, and daughter-in-law Johanna (widow of John Hunt) had deeds in Maidenhead (Lawrence), N.J., where they joined the Presbyterian Church….

That same year, Jonathan, Samuel and Elnathan Davis were members of Burlington's Presbyterian Church. [On January 21, 1698/9, a deed from Jonathan Davis "husband man" was transferred to his brother Samuel Davis "weave', both of Maidenhead, 20 acres at the head of his preceding 100 acres north of town, adj. on the west by Elnathan Davis. New Jersey Records, Liber B, H:656]….

Hannah Davis (b. c1715) who named a son Eldad in 1738, was probably daughter of Eldad Davis. These Davis - Reeds were Baptists and perhaps related to the Jonathan Davis who in 1708 came to Burlington's Court seeking to be qualified as a Baptist preacher according to the Act of Toleration, asking permission to preach in a house, which was how the Hopewell Baptists met at this time.

From The Colonial Clergy of the Middle Colonies

JONATHAN DAVIS, b. Swansea, Mass., 15 May 1675; preached at Trenton, N.J., 1737-1750; Bapt.; d. Trenton, N.J., 1750, a. 75, s.p.

JONATHAN DAVIS, b. 1710, son of Elnathan Davis; sett. Cohansey (Cumb.) N.J., Chh. at Shiloh, 27 Mar. 1737-1769; 7th Day Bapt.; d. Shiloh, Cohansey, N.J., 2 Feb. 1769, a. 59.

JONATHAN DAVIS, b. Newark, Del., 7 July 1734, son of Rev. David and Rachel (Thomas) Davis; Ord. Cohansey, N.J., Chh. at Shiloh (Cumb.) N.J., 12 Nov. 1768-1785; 7th Day Bapt.; d. Shiloh, N.J., 23 July 1785 [p. 205]

From Register of Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church

The family of the Davises settled higher up near Trenton who came thither directly from Long Island, but originally from Swanzey [Swansea, Massachusetts] and (no doubt) were some of the Company that came over in (1662) with the Rev Miles from J—tone in Glamorganshire [Wales] … the persons that ministered among them at first were Rev. Messieurs Jonathan Davis and Samuel Bowen…. This Jonathan Davis was born May 15th 1675 (his wifes name Elisabeth born May 1st 1675). Came in company with another brother or two from Long Island … and settled near Trenton abt. the year 1695 …. [p. 63]

Side note: Part of the above quotation, from “This Jonathan Davis…” to the end, was added, in pencil, to the original manuscript. The editor of this source says the penciled annotations are the work of an unnamed later researcher. Based on extreme similarities between some of these notes and the words of Materials Towards a History of the Baptists, I propose that this unknown researcher was none other than Morgan Edwards himself.

From History of the Counties of Gloucester, Salem, and Cumberland, New Jersey

Elnathan Davis was born at Shiloh in the year 1785, and was the son of Rev. Jonathan Davis, one of the original constituents and first pastor of the Seventh-Day Baptist Church at that place, and was a grandson of Elnathan Davis, who settled at Trenton about the close of the seventeenth century. The family came from Wales to Massachusetts in 1662, in company with Bowen, Bacon, Barratt, and others, some of whose descendants settled in this county.

From New Jersey Abstract of Wills

The will of Jonathan Davis “of Trenton, Hunterdon Co, yeoman” [i.e. farmer], made March 20, 1745 and proved April 17, 1746, names, “Wife Elizabeth. Five sons of brother, Elnathan Davis, viz: Elnathan, Jonathan, Nathan, Samuel and John.” [v30 p135]

From History and Genealogy of Fenwick's Colony

[Elnathan Davis, the great surveyor of West Jersey] was the grandson of Jonathan, the eminent divine, who was born on Long Island, whose father, together with two or three other brothers, had emigrated from Wales and settled in the New England States as early as 1664. However, some of them soon afterward located on Long Island, whence Jonathan and his brother Elnathan Davis came to New Jersey in 1700, and settled at Trenton. Elnathan’s occupation was that of a land surveyor. He was soon appointed surveyor-general of the State of New Jersey. Jonathan Davis, his brother, was a conspicuous Seventh-Day Baptist minister. His wife was Elizabeth Bowen. Her relatives residing in Cohansey precinct, he made frequent visits in that section of country. It has been stated he preached occasionally in the Cohansey Church, sometimes among the Seventh-Day Baptists that lived near the Cohansey Corners, in one of their private houses. Soon after the Church at Shiloh was organized, Jonathan Davis, Jr., was chosen their first pastor, and Elnathan Davis, the eminent surveyor of the lower counties of West Jersey, was the son of Jonathan Davis, 2d, the first pastor of Shiloh Church. … His [Elnathan’s] physical strength and great endurance excelled most men, with his great mathematical genius, which he inherited from his ancestors. He in early life was noted … as being the most competent and accurate land surveyor at that period of time. … Most of his sons were also practical surveyors. [pp. 528-529]

 

The Data, Part 2—from the Long Island Side

From The Founders of Hartford

Fulke Davy sold his house and lot to Nathaniel Ward before Jan., 1639-40, and probably removed from Hartford; he witnessed a grant from Jas. Fasaett to Lion Gardner, of Isle of Wight March 10, 1639-40; signed the petition from Jamaica, Middleborough, and Hempated, L. I., to be taken under Conn. government.

From The Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Davis

Davis is a Welsh name, but before the 1600’s had been distributed throughout the British Isles; without further evidence, we can’t be certain whether someone of that name came from Wales or some other part of that land.

Foulk Davis was the founder of the Long Island Davis family.

Lion Gardiner, from the Saybrook settlement in Connecticut, colonized Gardiner’s Island (now in New York) and later founded East Hampton, Long Island.

Foulk Davis originally settled in Southampton, then moved to East Hampton, and later to Brookhaven and then Jamaica, where he died. (That’s Jamaica on Long Island, not the one in the Caribbean.)

Foulk Davis was born in Wales or England, probably about 1615, and died in Jamaica, Long Island, N.Y., about 1687. He married, 1st (name unknown), probably about 1639, and 2nd, Mary Dayton, a widow, about 1660. His known children, all by his first marriage, were Benjamin, Joseph, Samuel, Jonathan, Sarah, and John.

Foulk’s son Samuel was born, probably after 1642, at Southampton, and died 1692 at Jamaica. He married Mary (surname unknown), who survived him.

From The Early History of Southampton 

The next colony was one that founded and settled the sister town of East Hampton in 1859. … Of the [list of residents of East Hampton] the following were known to have been previously residents of Southampton: John Hand, Thomas Tamage, …. Fulke Davis, Nathaniel Bishop …and Jeremiah Meacham. … Considerable numbers also removed from time to time to New Jersey…. [p. 79]

Davis, Fulk, has a grant of land Oct. 9, 1642. In 1655 he was a resident of East Hampton and in 1660 of Jamaica. He m. in E. H. (2d w. prob.) Mary, who m. 1, James Haines, 2d, Ralph Dayton, and 3d, Fulk Davis, and had ch. John, Samuel of North Sea, 1657, of Jamaica, 1660, and Benjamin, and perhaps others. [p. 424]

From First Settlers of ye Plantations of Piscataway…

Fulke Davis and Samuel Davis are listed as freeholders in the town of Jamaica, Long Island, in 1660. [p. 108]

From Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island

Sam Davises bill of sale or gift from his father
Know all men whom it may consern that I Fulck
Davis Inhabitant of Jamaica in the North Rideing of
yorkshire on Long Iseland have and doe by these presents
freely give and make over unto my son Samuell Davis
Inhabitant of the same place to him his heirs and Asignes
the one half of my ten acre Lot Lying and being on
the west of the sayde Samuell Davises Lot. His sayd
Lot being on the caste adjoyning to the sayd Land. The
other halfe of the ten acre Lot. I Fulk Davis give the
use of it to my son Samuell Davis to him his heirs and
Asignes as Long as I Live dureing my naturall Life and
being. And farther I doe Ingage and promis to my
son Davis that I will not sell or dispose of the sayde
land dureing my Life exsept nessessity compelleth mee
and if I then shall expose it to sale then my son Davis
shall have the sayd halfe ten acre Lot for the som of
five pounds corrant paye. And for the true perforemans
of this my act and dede I have hereunto set my hand.

November the 3d 1680

Witnes JOHN PRUDDEN                     FULCK DAVIS
ELIAS DOWGHTY                             This is a true coppy taken
                                                      out of the originall by mee
                                                      NATH DENTON Clerk  [p. 193]

Samuell Davis hath allsoe a pese of Land Layde out
of aboute twenty acres Lying and being on the east side
of the rest of his Land which is made a kinde of a neck of
Land by two boggy Medowse. The which nek of Land
is whoely Layd out to the sayde Samuell Davis for
twenty acres of Land more or les onely a litle poynte that
Lyeth on the south east end of the sayde Neck the sayde
Land runing northward to the cart path that goeth
through Samuell Milses Lot to the south end of the
litle playnes.

Recorded by mee
      NATH DENTON Clerck  [p. 193]

 

The Data, Part 3—the Connection

From the Genealogical and Personal Memorial of Mercer County, New Jersey

The summer of 1690 may be fixed as the time when the first settlement of Maidenhead occurred. … The permanent settler was the third of those whose surveys were dated August 20, 1690. This was Mary Davis, accompanied by her three sons —Jonathan, Elnathan and Samuel. [pp. 70-71]

From Maidenheadthe Early Days

Mary Davis also bought 300 acres here about 1690. These lands lay east of what later became the village of Maidenhead (now Lawrenceville)….

From Wikipedia

Maidenhead was originally part of Burlington County, then Hunterdon County, finally Mercer County. It is near Trenton.

From The Church Records of the Presbyterian Church of Lawrenceville

The earliest evidence that there were Christian people in Maidenhead uniting together for the maintenance of religious worship is found in the record of a deed dated March 18, 1698-9: By this deed, “the West Jersey Society by their agents … convey to Ralph Hunt, Jno Bainbridge … Jonathan Davis … Samuel Davis, Elnathan Davis, Enoch Andris … and Edward Hunt, all of Maidenhead, Burlington Co. for one hundred acres there, of the Society’s 15,000 acre tract above the Falls of Delaware, to be used for a meeting house, burying ground, and schoolhouse.”

From Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island

To all Christian peopell to whome thes presents shall
cume Mary Daves of West Jarzey in ye County of Bur-
lingtone sendeth greetting Know yea that I ye abovesd
Mary Davess beinge the widdow & relleckt of Samuell
Davis latte of Jamaica in Queens County deseast beinge
appointed & consstetuted by my husband aforsd in hisMary
last will & testement to be his wholl & sole exceketricks
to se his will performed & likewise being Choasen & ap
poynted by my three sons Jonathan Samuell & Ellnathan
Daves to be their garudden to sell bargin & disspoas
of whatt lands or meadowes way belonging to my said
husband I say that I the abovesd Mary Daves with
Jonathan Daves my eldest sone for severall good reasons
& casses us & either of us therunto moveing but more
easspeatially for a vallewable sume to us in hand paid
by William Creed of Jamaica in Queens County & secured
to be paid ye reseaipt wherof we doe herby acknowledg
& own ourselves to be therwith contented sattisfyed
and paid have giveen granted covenanted allinated
releast quit enfeoffed made over & sould and doe own
& acknowledg to have for us and ye other my two sones
our heires exceketors & assignes given granted ‘cove—
nanted allinatted quitt claimed enfeoffed made over &
sould unto ye abovesd William Creed his heires exceketors
& assignes all that ye accomadations Of upland and
meadow lying & beinge within ye boundes of Jamaica
viz: a sartain parcell of land bounded north by ye
high way runing to ye Little Plaines & south wth ye bogges
lyinge together which makes a necke of land together
with all orchyardes gardens fruet-trees improvements
prevelidges benefitts timber trees standing or lyinge
being upon ye same together with all & every ye rest
of ye rights & devetions of upland that are & ever wear
bellonging to ye acomadations of my sd husband de
seassed excepting fiveten acers sould to Mr. Daniell
Whitthead & Abigaill Milles & ten acers that was sould
to Mr. Daniell Whitthead allone as allsoe ye right of
devition of meadow being ten acers more or less as it
was layd outt lying and beinge beinge comonly called
ye further East Necke….

…in testimony wherof I the
said Mary Daves with Jonathan Daves my sone doe bind
our selves firmly by settinge to our names & ffixeinge our
seals this seventh day of November in ye fivfth yeare of
their Majesties raigne & in ye yeare of our Lord Christ
one thousand sixe hundred niney & two

Signed sealed & delivered                  MARY DAVES
in presence of                                   JONATHAN X DAVES
SAMUELL RUSCOE                                  his marke
JONATHAN WATERS
MARCY X RUSCOE
     hur marke                    [pp. 399-400]

 

The Questions and Conclusions

It is established that Jonathan and Elnathan Davis came to the Trenton, New Jersey area from Long Island around the very end of the 17th century. Jonathan is fairly well documented, thanks to his renown as a preacher. Elnathan is more of a mystery, however, as are the origins of both brothers.

Who was Elnathan Davis? When was he born, when did he die, who was his wife? Who—besides my sixth great grandfathers Jonathan and Samuel—were his children? We have the names of at least five of his sons, thanks to the fact that his brother Jonathan died childless, and left his estate to his nephews. But for Elnathan himself I have found no will, no information on his birth or death, nothing about whether or not he stayed in the Trenton area or moved elsewhere. According to History and genealogy of Fenwick's Colony, he was the “Surveyor General of New Jersey”—just what that meant in those early days, I don’t know, but that he was a respected surveyor I find believable, as he passed his surveying skills on to at least one grandchild and several great-grandchildren.

The suggestion is widespread that the name of Elnathan’s wife was Hannah Housely, but of proof, or even a credible source, I’ve seen nothing. Perhaps a visit to the New Jersey archives will reveal something, or eventually something more definitive will become available in a library or online. But for now, his wife—and any other children besides the five sons named in his brother’s will—remain a mystery, as will the circumstances of his birth and death.

I’ve had more success with discovering the previous history of Jonathan and Elnathan Davis.

An early resident of Long Island, by the improbable name of Fulke Davis (or Foulk, Ffulke, Fulk, Ffulk, and other variant spellings), has been suggested as the ancestor of Jonathan and Elnathan. The name is Welsh, but Davises were spread throughout the British Isles by that time, so it can’t be ruled out that he or his ancestors were actually from England. 

If the name is odd, apparently his character was worse, judging from the stories about him that can be found online. Most modern commentary seems to treat his sins lightly, but reading transcriptions of the original court records for the small Long Island settlements where he resided indicates that Fulke Davis was, shall we say, the James Levine of his day, but without the great music. I’ve posted the sources, but not excerpts, to avoid giving this post an X rating.

Wading through those court records was difficult, and not solely because of the old language and casual attitude toward spelling. I couldn’t read much without wanting to take a long shower.

These were Puritan settlements, trying to be a just and moral society:

In civil affairs the colonists governed themselves by virtue of “town meetings,” at which they elected their officers and discussed matters of public interest; but their criminal administration was a virtual theocracy, being “an Absstract of the Lawes of Judgmt as given Moses to the Commonwealth of Israel, soe farre forth as they bee of Morall that is of perpetuall and vuniursal Equity. Among all Nations, Especially such where the Church and Common Wealth are commplanted together in holy couenant and fellow shippe with God in Jesus Christ, being Joyntly and vnanimously Consented vnto as Ffundamentall by ye Inhabitants of this Collony of South Hampton.” (The Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Davis…, p. 12)

Instead, they reveal the dangers of fallen humans setting themselves up as a theocracy. Tale-bearing, backbiting, and taking one another to court were apparently rampant. Accusations of witchcraft, illicit sexual behavior, and other real or imagined crimes could easily land you in court—good for future genealogists but bad for you and your relationships with your neighbors. Fulke’s wife (probably his second, and not our ancestor) was a primary witness in one famous witchcraft trial, which revealed her to be a rather unpleasant person herself.

To be fair to our forebears, we can’t claim to be any better. A glimpse of our own society seen through the lens of court documents would be far worse, and in the 21st century we have shown ourselves just as ready as in the 17th to gossip and accuse and participate in witch hunts.

But it was painful reading, and I’m glad to leave behind speculation about the character of Fulke Davis, his family, and his neighbors, and move on to genealogical gleanings.

One of the founders of the Hartford, Connecticut, was named Fulke Davy. Not much seems to be known about him, but the following suggests that he is one and the same with the Fulke Davis who first appeared in Southampton, Long Island, around 1642. Note that this contradicts the widespread belief (in my sources and many others I did not include) that the forebears of Jonathan and Elnathan Davis came to Long Island from Swansea, Massachusetts, where they had settled in the 1660’s—and in particular that Jonathan was born in Swansea. Nonetheless it is very suggestive.

Fulke Davy sold his house and lot to Nathaniel Ward before Jan., 1639-40, and probably removed from Hartford; he witnessed a grant from Jas. Fasaett to Lion Gardner, of Isle of Wight [later Gardiner’s Island], March 10, 1639-40; signed the petition from Jamaica, Middleborough, and Hempated [Hempstead], L. I., to be taken under Conn. government.

Fulke later moved to East Hampton, possibly living for a while on Gardiner’s Island. From there he removed to Brookhaven, and finally to Jamaica (now part of Queens), where he died.

Fulke Davis was possibly born in Wales or England about 1615, and died in Jamaica, Long Island, about 1687. He married, first, a woman whose name is unknown, probably about 1639, and second, Mary Dayton, a widow, about 1660. Mary Dayton, whose maiden name is unknown, had first married James Haines, then Ralph Dayton, before marrying Fulke Davis. Fulke’s known children, all by his first marriage, were Benjamin, Joseph, Samuel, Jonathan, Sarah, and John. It is likely there were several more.

An important key to this puzzle comes from evidence that, around 1700, a Mary Davis was one of the first settlers of Maidenhead (now Lawrenceville), New Jersey, which is near Trenton. She came with three sons: Jonathan, Elnathan, and Samuel. Even though a brother Samuel was never mentioned by name in all the references I’ve found to the Jonathan and Elnathan Davis that clearly belong to my ancestral lines, it’s clear that these are the same people.

Here’s the linchpin, from Records of the Town of Jamaica, Long Island (emphasis mine):

Mary Daves of West Jarzey in ye County of Bur-
lingtone sendeth greetting Know yea that I ye abovesd 
Mary Davess beinge the widdow & relleckt of Samuell
Davis latte of Jamaica in Queens County deseast beinge
appointed & consstetuted by my husband aforsd in his
last will & testement to be his wholl & sole exceketricks
to se his will performed & likewise being Choasen & ap
poynted by my three sons Jonathan Samuell & Ellnathan
Daves to be their garudden to sell....
... a sartain parcell of land bounded north by ye
high way runing to ye Little Plaines & south wth ye bogges
lyinge together which makes a necke of land….

From this we see that the Mary Davis who moved to Maidenhead (then part of Burlington County), with sons Jonathan, Elnathan, and Samuel, came from Jamaica, Long Island, and was the widow of Samuel Davis.  We can also assign possible birth years for Samuel (about 1777) and Elnathan (about 1779), based on Jonathan's birth year of 1775, the order in which Mary names her sons, and the fact that elsewhere she refers to Jonathan as her eldest son.

But was this Samuel Davis the son of Fulke Davis? Here again from the Jamaica town records:

Know all men whom it may consern that I Fulck
Davis Inhabitant of Jamaica in the North Rideing of
yorkshire on Long Iseland have and doe by these presents
freely give and make over unto my son Samuell Davis
Inhabitant of the same place to him his heirs and Asignes
the one half of my ten acre Lot Lying and being on
the west of the sayde Samuell Davises Lot....

This confirms that Fulke had a son named Samuel, and The Ancestry and Posterity of Joseph Davis claims his son Samuel’s wife was named Mary. But are these the same people? Once again from the Jamaican town records (emphasis mine):

Samuell Davis hath allsoe a pese of Land Layde out
of aboute twenty acres Lying and being on the east side
of the rest of his Land which is made a kinde of a neck of
Land by two boggy Medowse. The which nek of Land
is whoely Layd out to the sayde Samuell Davis for
twenty acres of Land more or les onely a litle poynte that
Lyeth on the south east end of the sayde Neck the sayde
Land runing northward to the cart path that goeth
through Samuell Milses Lot to the south end of the
litle playnes.

It’s confusing, but the similarity of this description of the land owned by Samuel, the son of Fulke, with the land being sold by Mary, the widow of Samuel, convinces me that they are one and the same. Jonathan, Elnathan, and Samuel, then, are Fulke’s grandsons.

If so, there are still some puzzling questions. First, the question of origin: From Wales or England to Swansea, Massachusetts, and thence to Long Island in the early 1660’s, or from an unknown immigration point to Hartford, Connecticut before landing in Long Island in the early 1640’s?

Many who claim a Swansea, Massachusetts origin for Jonathan Davis say that he was a Baptist, possibly of the Seventh Day variety, from the start. Fulke was a Puritan, and a rogue. If he is the progenitor, how did Jonathan and Elnathan rise to become so successful, and to found a dynasty of Seventh Day Baptists? The first church established in Maidenhead was most likely Puritan in nature, but it soon became Presbyterian, and Jonathan, Elnathan, and Samuel were members. By 1708 Jonathan had become a Baptist preacher, and at some point after that converted to the Sabbatarian branch. 


The Conclusions, in Summary

(My direct ancestors are shown in blue.) 

Fulke Davis was possibly born in Wales or England about 1615. He may have been the Fulk Davy who was one of the founders of Hartford and moved soon thereafter to Long Island, although there is much tradition that the Long Island Davises came from Swansea, Massachusetts. There is a substantial tradition (partly backed by court records) that Fulke was not a pleasant person. He appears on Long Island first at Southampton, then in East Hampton, possibly living for a while on Gardiner’s Island. From there he removed to Brookhaven, and finally to Jamaica (now part of Queens), where he died in about 1687. He married, first, an unknown wife, probably about 1639, and second, Mary Dayton, a widow, about 1660. Mary Dayton, whose maiden name is unknown, had first married James Haines, then Ralph Dayton, before marrying Fulke Davis. Fulke’s known children were all by his first marriage. It is likely there were more.

  1. Benjamin Davis was born in 1640. He died on December 20, 1692 at the age of 52 in Southampton, Long Island.
  2. Joseph Davis was born about 1645 in Southampton, Long Island. He died in 1691 at the age of 46 in Brookhaven, Long Island.
  3. Samuel Davis (see below)
  4. Jonathan Davis died in 1674 in Jamaica, Long Island.
  5. Sarah Davis
  6. John Davis

 

Samuel Davis (Fulke-1) was born about 1643 in Southampton, Long Island, and died in 1692, at the age of 49, in Jamaica, Long Island. He married Mary (surname unknown). After his death, his widow moved to New Jersey with their known sons to become some of the earliest settlers of Maidenhead (now Lawrenceville), near Trenton.

  1. Rev. Jonathan Davis (see below)
  2. Elnathan Davis (see below)
  3. Samuel Davis, born perhaps about 1677, lived in Jamaica, Long Island, and about 1690 moved to Maidenhead, New Jersey with his mother and two brothers.

 

The Rev. Jonathan Davis (Samuel-2, Fulke-1) was born on May 15, 1675. He lived at Jamaica, Long Island, but about 1690, after his father died, he moved with his mother and two brothers to Maidenhead, New Jersey (near Trenton). He died between March 20, 1745 and April 17, 1746 at the age of 69 in Trenton, New Jersey. He was most likely a Puritan at first, then became a Presbyterian, and finally a Baptist preacher. Somewhere along the line he became convinced of the Sabbatarian way, and is considered the founder of the Seventh Day Baptist Church at Cohansey (Shiloh), New Jersey, though he was never officially their pastor. Jonathan was tall and fat, and thus was sometimes referred to as "the great high priest." He married Elizabeth Bowen, who was born on May 1, 1675, but they had no children, and he willed his property to his brother Elnathan's sons.

Elnathan Davis (Samuel-2, Fulke-1) was born perhaps around 1677. He lived at Jamaica, Long Island, but about 1690, after his father died, he moved with his mother and two brothers to Maidenhead, New Jersey (near Trenton). He was a surveyor, and apparently became the Surveyor General of New Jersey. The name of his wife is unknown, although it has been suggested that she was Hannah Housely. They had at least five children; these are the five sons named in the will of his brother, Jonathan.

  1. Elnathan Davis
  2. Rev. Jonathan Davis (see below)
  3. Nathan Davis
  4. Samuel Davis (see below)
  5. John Davis

 

The Rev. Jonathan Davis (Elnathan-3, Samuel-2, Fulke-1) was born about 1709. About 1731, in Cohansey, Salem County, New Jersey, he married Esther Ayars, the daughter of Isaac and Hannah (Barrett) Ayars. She was born about 1711 in Cohansey, and died after July 5 in Shiloh, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Jonathan was the first settled pastor of the Cohansey (Shiloh) Seventh Day Baptist Church, of which his grandfather Jonathan is considered the founder. He died on February 2, 1769.

Samuel Davis (Elnathan-3, Samuel-2, Fulke-1) was born April 3, 1713. On October 13, 1735, in Cohansey, Salem County, New Jersey, he married Anna Ayars, daughter of Isaac and Hannah (Barrett) Ayars and sister of Esther Ayars, above. She was born November 9, 1713, in Cohansey, and died September 20, 1783 in Shiloh, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Samuel died between August 30, 1785 and October 31, 1785, in Stow Creek Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey.

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Hezekiah Scovil Porter was the youngest of Wallace and Florence Gesner (Wells) Porter's seven children, born into the tiny town of Higganum, Connecticut on June 4, 1896. He attended The Choate School in Wallingford, Connecticut.  It is now known as the school that "has educated generations of the upper-class New England establishment and the American political elite," but at the time it was only as old as Hezekiah himself. Twenty years later, John F. Kennedy would graduate from Choate, having been chosen by his class as the person "most likely to succeed." About Hezekiah, the Headmaster wrote:

Hezzie was always a man of deeds rather than of words.  And his influence either on the field, or in the classroom, or about School in general, was of the kind that very definitely made us a better School for his being part of it. In his Sixth Form year Hezzie was President of his class, and in the vote which was taken toward the close of the year, he was almost unanimously chosen as the member of his Form who had "done most for Choate." He was also voted—and there were no near competitors— the "most popular," as well as the man in his class "most to be admired."

But Hez never had his chance to become President.  As with many of his generation, his service ended on the battlefields of France. After graduating from Choate, Hezekiah attended Yale University. But he left during the fall of his sophomore year to join the Army. After four months he was at the front, and five months later he was killed in action near Chatêau-Thierry.

The following quote, and the one above, are taken from Yale in the World War, by George Henry Nettleton (Yale University Press, New Haven, 1925).  You can read a somewhat fuzzy but still legible copy of the article on Hezekiah Scovil Porter by clicking on the images in the middle of my Memorial Day, 2009 post.

On the morning of July 22, 1918, in the course of an American attack on Epieds, north of Château-Thierry, Hezekiah Scovil Porter, Private in the 101st Machine Gun Battalion, was killed in action. His diary closes abruptly with an entry recorded the night before while his company was awaiting the dawn which was to bring the expected advance. Next morning in the midst of the attack he met instant death in the open field as he was hurrying forward with ammunition for a machine gun.

Hezekiah Scovil Porter is my husband's granduncle.  That diary the article mentions?  Porter has it.  That is the reason for this post and the ones that will follow.  I will now step aside and let Porter take over.

One of my "95 by 65" goals is to transcribe Hezekiah's WW I diary.  I knew he had died on July 22, 1918 - but I didn't remember when he had started the diary.  Then I couldn't find the diary.  I had moved it to a "safe place" after I had last looked at it.  Finally, today, I found it again.  It turns out he started the diary October 9th, 1917 - so I am four months late starting a "100 years ago today" transcription.  Since that is the case I plan to have Linda put up two days of transcription each day, one for 100 years ago and one starting from October 9th and moving forward.  I think this will work out such that the missed entries will be finished before July 22 comes.  I hope this is of interest to all of you, and especially to my grandson Noah, who has Hezekiah's name as his middle name and also owns Hezekiah's schoolboy desk.

Thanks to Linda for "volunteering" to put this up on her blog.

Porter (Dad-o) Wightman, February 9, 2018.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, February 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Edit
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A National Public Radio story reports that the 2020 U. S. Census will ask more detailed questions about race and ethnicity, as shown to the left on one of the possible new forms. (Click image to enlarge.)

I can appreciate not being labelled simply as "white" as if some races have further identities but white is simply white. However, it sure complicates filling out the form, and I have my doubts about how much useful information it will generate. I know more about my ancestry than most Americans, and I can't answer this question.

There simply is no room in those boxes to enter "English-German-Welsh-Irish-Scottish-French-Dutch." And if I manage to confirm the (currently quite speculative) Swiss branch, is that really Swiss, given that the family came to Switzerland from Germany? Is my French really French, given that it is actually Norman French, and the Normans were largely invading Vikings from Scandinavia? There's a good chance much of my English is also orignally Scandinavian—DNA testing suggests this as well—and my Scottish may have been originally Irish and vice versa.

Given that my most recent immigrant ancestors came to this country in the 1700's, I think I'll fill in the blank with "American" and let the chips fall where they may. But I've only learned this information recently, after years of research.  That kind of research is even more difficult for African-Americans, thanks to slavery and the "1870's wall," but at least the census offers "African American" as a choice—which just happens to fit exactly into the boxes allowed. I suppose I could try "European American"—but that won't fit.

How many Americans know their ancestry further back than their grandparents, anyway?

There's going to be a lot of guesswork going on.

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A few months after my recent work on the David Wood branch of my family, I learned about the Register of Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey, 1737-1830, by Ernest K. Bee, Jr. I tried in all my usual sources to find a copy: ancestry.com, familysearch.org, americanancestors.org, hathitrust.org, worldcat.org, the New York Public Library, the Internet Archive, Google Books…. Nada. Even the few that recognized the book could not point me to a library where it existed. Amazon.com acknowledged the book, but said it was unavailable. Ebay didn’t even mention it.

But what do they know? Google came through, finally, after some playing around with search terms, and sent me to seventhdaybaptist.org. Yes, the denomination still exists, though I’ve ever only heard of it in the context of early American history and my genealogical research. They have an online store, where they currently have available 15 books. One of those they list under the title, Register of Cohansey SDB Church, Shiloh, New Jersey, 1737-1830. It sells for $2.50—plus a flat $7.20 shipping charge, which made me wince but which I did not hesitate to fork over. At least that hefty fee earned me Priority Mail service, and the book arrived just a few days later.

What a find! This 83-page book would have been worth the cost just for what I learned about David Wood’s family, though I’m hoping to find more to help with other branches of that New Jersey line.

On August 16, 1975, while doing genealogical research among the records and documents of the Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey, a Register for the years 1737-1830 was found. It was covered with oil cloth which was held on by cotton string pushed through the edges. The pages of the Register were deteriorating—crumbling and discolored from centuries of handling. The significance of the 1737 Register became more apparent as the section, “Births by Family Group,” was examined. In that section are listed parents and their children with their birthdates and often death dates.

Ernest K. Bee, Jr. created a “one for one complete copy of the original,” and that is my $10 treasure. It is sometimes frustrating, as many pages are blank, and important information is clearly missing, but ah, the information it does have!

One way in which this source is apparently unique is that it lists five children born to David Wood and his first wife, Lucy Lennox; all my other sources had concluded they had none. As a bonus, it gives clear birth dates for the children—and for Lucy as well. Unfortunately, it says nothing so clearly about his other wives and children, but as the Jews say, dayenu.

For the sake of recording the process of this research, I have included the text of my original David Wood post below, with the additions and corrections based on the Cohansey Church records shown in red. (Except for the final Conclusions section, which I have kept black.)

 

The Problem of David Wood, Updated January 29, 2018

 

The Puzzle

I’m pretty happy with the line of my family tree that goes up (on my father’s side) to David Wood, born May 1, 1778 in Stow Creek Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey, died there in 1828. He married, April 11, 1798, Mercia Davis, born July 15, 1777 in Cumberland County, died there December 1, 1823, daughter of Isaac and Mary Ann (David) Davis. I’m good with that.

I also have an okay line up from David’s grandfather, Jonathan Wood, who died in Cohansey, Salem County, New Jersey in 1727, and was married to Mary Ayers. This goes back to a John Wood who died at Portsmouth, Rhode Island in 1655. Details are sparse, but at least the line is there.

The problem, as is often the case, is in the middle.

I know that David Wood, Jr.’s father was David Wood, Sr., son of Jonathan and Mary (Ayers) Wood. But David Wood, Sr. had three known wives, and what details are known have few dates associated with them. I’m convinced that David Jr.’s mother was named Prudence Bowen; I haven’t found her parents, though supposedly she was the sister of David and Jonathan Bowen, of Bowentown, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Am I certain enough to put time into following the Bowen line? Probably, though not now. 

I’m not at all certain my logic will convince anyone else, but I’m equally uncertain I’ll get any better documentation. As one of my correspondents understated, "New Jersey records are very hard to find."

I’m accustomed to working with New England ancestors, and, say what you want about the Puritans, those folks knew how to keep records. And when something like engaging in illicit sex or selling liquor to Indians lands you in the court dockets, that’s a bad thing for you but a great thing for future genealogists.

 

The Sources

Vital records (birth, marriage, death), church records, wills, and probate records are wonderful genealogical resources, since they are usually contemporaneous with the events they describe. That’s not to say they’re without error, but they are generally considered reliable. New Jersey was not as good as New England at keeping these early records, but I found some.

  • Ancestry.com. New Jersey, Marriage Records, 1683-1802 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, v. 22 p. 52 Prudence Bowen and Simeon Roberts, and v. 22 p. 335 Prudence Roberts and David Wood. (Original data: New Jersey State Archives. New Jersey, Published Archives Series, First Series. Trenton, New Jersey: John L Murphy Publishing Company.)
  • "New Jersey, Deaths, 1670-1988," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2SZ-1FPR : 18 October 2017), Anley McWood, May 1853; citing Roadstown, Cumberland, New Jersey, United States, Division of Archives and Record Management, New Jersey Department of State, Trenton.; FHL microfilm 493,711.
  • Ancestry.com. New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011, v. 9, Abstracts of Wills, pp. 50-51 Jonathan Bowen, and pp. 419-420, David Wood Sr. (Original data: New Jersey State Archives. New Jersey, Published Archives Series, First Series. Trenton, New Jersey: John L Murphy Publishing Company.)
  • Ernest K. Bee Jr., Register of Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church, Shiloh, New Jersey 1737-1830 (Plainfield, New Jersey: Seventh-Day Baptist Publishing House, 1976), pp. 3, 35.

Although published genealogies are far from primary sources, they are usually—according to my contact at the New England Historic Genealogical Society—reasonably reliable on the American side of the Atlantic Ocean, even though many fictitious across-the-pond connections abound. Therefore I’m designating these sources as credible, if not as good as primary sources.

  • Bruce W. David, The David Family Scrapbook: Genealogy of Owen David, Volume 5 (3223 Ormond Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio: Bruce W. David, Volume 5, 1964), pp. 315-316.
  • Gilbert Cope, Genealogy of the Sharpless Family Descended from John and Jane Sharples, Settlers Near Chester, Pennsylvania, 1682: Together with some account of The English Ancestry of the Family, including the results of researches by Henry Fishwick, F.H.S., and the late Joseph Lemuel Chester, LL.D.; and a full report of the bi-centennial reunion of 1882 (Philadelphia: For the family, under the auspices of the Bicentennial committee, 1887), p. 545.
  • Dorothy Wood Ewers, Descendants of John Wood: A Mariner who died in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, in 1655 (Colorado Springs, Colorado: Ewers, 1978), pp. 54-56.

Family tree date abounds online, and its credibility is exceedingly variable. Some online trees are maintained by excellent, sometimes professional, researchers. Some contain undocumented but accurate personal memories. And there are also many, many trees that have merely copied someone else’s data that is entirely wrong—a widespread propagation of error. Unless something about the source convinces me otherwise, I consider this data suspect, but it can still be a source of ideas and hints.

  • Family tree data from Ancestry.com, FamilySearch.org, and other Internet sites. 

 

The Data

From the David Family Scrapbook

David Wood Jr. was born May 1, 1778, the son of David Wood, Sr. and Elizabeth Russell.

From the Sharpless Genealogy

David Wood (Sr.) died about 1798, “aged over 70.” His wives and children:

  1. Lucy Lennox, no issue.
  2. Prudence, sister of David and Jonathan Bowen of Bowentown, Cumberland County, New Jersey. Children:
    1. David Jr., born May 1, 1778 in Stow Creek, Cumberland County, New Jersey; married April 11, 1798, Mercia Davis, daughter of Isaac and Mary Anna Davis.
    2. Auley McCalla
    3. Sarah
    4. Prudence
  3. Elizabeth Russell. Children:
    1. John
    2. Lucy
    3. Richard

From Descendants of John Wood

David Wood, Sr. was born 1721, died 1794 in Stow Creek, New Jersey, “over 70.” His will was written March 10, 1794, proved January 18, 1798. Two scenarios are presented for his wives and children, from different correspondents:

  1. Lucy Lennox, no children.
  2. Prudence Bowen, married 1777. Children:
    1. David
    2. Auley
    3. Sarah
    4. Prudence
  3. Elizabeth Russell, married in 1786. Children:
    1. John
    2. Lucy
    3. Elizabeth
    4. Richard

Alternatively, the following children, not assigned to mothers, and in no particular order (clearly taken from David’s will, see below):

  • Sarah
  • Prudence
  • Lucy
  • Obadiah
  • James
  • Phebe
  • Lydia
  • Aulay McAuliff (McCalfa, McCalla)
  • David
  • John

From New Jersey Marriage Records

I find nothing for a Prudence Bowen marrying a David Wood, but there are these records of marriage licenses issued:

  • Prudence Bowen of New Town and Simon Roberts of Philadelphia, June 14, 1762.
  • Prudence Roberts of Cumberland and David Wood of Salem, July 9, 1777.

It’s likely that these represent the first and second marriages of the same person, especially since that agrees with the 1777 date in Descendants of John Wood.

From New Jersey Deaths, 1670-1988

Anley McWood (Auley McCalla Wood). Death, May 1853, Roadstown, Cumberland, New Jersey. Residence Stoe Creek, Cumberland, New Jersey. Male, age 69, occupation farmer. Estimated birth year 1784. Birthplace Stoe Creek, Cumberland, New Jersey. Father David Wood, mother Prudence Wood.

From New Jersey Abstract of Wills

  • Will of Jonathan Bowen, February 21, 1804. He was likely the Jonathan, brother of David of Bowentown, mentioned in Sharpless above, hence brother to David Wood’s wife Prudence. Among many other bequests, he leaves a share of his household goods to “my niece, Mary Roberts,” strengthening the notion that this Prudence was once married to Simeon Roberts.
  • Will of David Wood, Sr. of Stow Creek Township, Cumberland County, March 10, 1794. 

Wife, Elizabeth, 1/3 of personal. Son, Obadiah, £50. Daughters, Sarah, Prudence, and Lucy Wood, son, John, and if wife should be pregnant, the said child; the remainder of personal, divided between them, when of age. Son, John, to be put to a trade, when 14. To heirs of son James, 5 shillings. To heirs of daughter, Phebe, 5 shillings. To heirs of daughter Lydia, 5 shillings. Son, David, 4 acres of woodland bounded by land of David Gilman, Dorcas Bennett to John Dare’s land; also 10 acres of marsh in Stathem’s neck. Son, Aulay McCalla Wood, remainder of home plantation with buildings; also remainder of swamp at Stathem’s neck; should said sons, David or Aulay McCalla, die before of age, said property to the survivor of them. Executor—Azariah Moore, Esq. Witnesses—George Burgin, Mary More and Martha More. Proved Jan. 18, 1798.

January 10, 1798. Inventory, £221.9; made by Joel Fithian and David Gilman.

January 18, 1798. Azariah Moore, having renounced the Executorship. Adm’r—C.T.A.—Jonathan Bowen. Fellowbondsman—Benjamin Dare.

From Register of Cohansey Seventh Day Baptist Church

Luce (Lucy) Lennox was born 3 January 1718.

Luce (Lucy) Lennox was baptized 27 May 1739. (This says nothing about her birth, because the Cohansey church baptized only professing believers, not children.)

 David and Lucy (Lennox) Wood had the following children:

  • Mary, born 11 December 1748
  • James, born 4 December 1750
  • Pheby (Phebe), born 25 November 1753, died 19 May 1789
  • Obadiah, born 28 February 1756
  • Lidya (Lydia), born 26 May 1758

From assorted online family tree data

David Wood Sr. was born 1721 or 1740, died 1798, married Lucy Lennox 1760.

Lucy Lennox was born 1742, died 1773. Her children were Obadiah (born 1760), James (born 1760), Phebe (born 1762), Richard (born 1768).

Prudence Bowen was born in 1754, died in 1778, married David Wood 1774. Her children were Prudence (born 1776), Sarah S. (born 1776 or 1777 or 1779), Auley (born 1775).

Elizabeth Russell was born in 1755, died in 1797, married David wood in 1779. Her children were Prudence (born 1776 died 1777), Lydia (born 1778), Elizabeth (born 1779), David (born 1778), Lucy (born 1767), John (born 1780).

Simeon Roberts, born about 1735 in Philadelphia, died about 1766 (probate) in Philadelphia, married Prudence Bowen (born 1740 in Newton, Sussex, New Jersey) June 14, 1762 in New Jersey. Their child: John (born about 1780).

And more. The data is inconsistent and confusing as well as unreliable.

 

The Questions

So what can I make of all this?

First of all, let’s deal with the name of one of David’s sons: Auley McCalla Wood. By his death record, Auley McCalla is definitely established as the child of David and Prudence Wood. But what kind of a name is that for a child? First of all, despite the alternate spellings given in Descendants of John Wood, Auley (or Aulay) McCalla is probably correct. The name shows up more than once in New Jersey; David Wood’s child was no doubt named after a friend, or someone his parents respected.

The will of David Wood is a most interesting document, and I’m sorry I only have an abstract to work with. Struggling with hand-written wills is hard on both the eyes and the brain, but can give insights a summary misses. Still, the abstract is much better than nothing.

Of the thirteen children mentioned in the combined sources—David, Auley McCalla, Sarah, Prudence, John, Lucy, Richard, Elizabeth, Obadiah, James, Phebe, Lydia, and Mary—three are missing from the will. For that time period, it’s not unlikely that Mary, Richard and Elizabeth had died before the will was made, so there’s no need to assume they’re extraneous additions to the records. Three others—James, Phebe, and Lydia are mentioned only in that their heirs receive bequests. Phebe we now know had died by the time the will was made, and it’s likely James and Lydia had also, though not as children, since they had heirs. Mary, Richard, and Elizabeth almost certainly died before marrying and having children.

That Elizabeth Russell was David’s third wife is supported by the mention of Elizabeth in his will. Next comes Obadiah. It’s not specified that he is the firstborn, but that’s customary, and as he’s bequeathed his £50 outright, he must have been at least 21 years old in 1794, unlike Sarah, Prudence, Lucy, John, David, and Auley McCalla, who are clearly not yet of age. John is something less than 14 in 1794, making him born after 1780. Since we now know that James was the actual first born son, the bequest to Obadiah is further indication that James was no longer living when his father made his will.

The five-shilling bequests to the heirs of children James, Phebe, and Lydia are another puzzle. Why the heirs? Are James, Phebe, and Lydia older, married … and dead? Or did David just want to leave something directly to his grandchildren (sadly, unnamed)? In any case these three children seem to be married and on their own. I’m trying to be grateful to David for actually leaving a will, since many did not, instead of wanting to shake him by the shoulders and demand to know why he didn’t include surnames for most of the people he mentions. Sadly, it appears that James, Phebe, and Lydia were indeed married, on their own, and dead.

But whose are these children?

One scenario is that Obadiah, James, Phebe, and Lydia are Prudence’s children from her first marriage. It’s possible, because there were15 years between her first and second marriages, if the dates are right. But I think it more likely that they were Lucy Lennox’s children, already grown and on their own by the time their father made his will. Of course it’s possible that Lucy simply didn’t have any children; infertility is not exclusively a modern problem. But David specifically names these children as his. On the other hand, relationship naming was more fluid in the past: When a document specifies “my brother” or “my uncle,” for example, it does not necessarily mean by these terms what we do now.

One thing that speaks to these children being Prudence’s by her first husband is the naming patterns. It seems unusual for David to have at least two sons before giving one of them his own name. He did have an uncle Obadiah, as well as an uncle John. The sources of the names Lucy, Prudence, and Elizabeth are obvious, though if James, Phebe, Lydia, Richard, Sarah, or Auley McCalla are in his family tree, I don’t know about it. But I can’t find any information on children for Prudence and Simeon, nor for Lucy and David, to help solve the puzzle. I think it more likely these are Lucy’s children, but I may be wrong. Again, the church records render this speculation unnecessary: These children, plus Mary, are definitely Lucy’s, and I was right.

Wills often name children in order of their birth, but sometimes that order is within categories, such as all sons and then daughters. In this case, I would guess that Sarah, Prudence, Lucy, and John are listed from oldest to youngest; likewise James, Phebe, and Lydia; also that David is older than Auley McCalla, which we already know from their birthdates. In the case of James, Phebe, and Lydia, this is no longer a guess. 

Figuring out birth order between one category and another is more of a problem. Unlike most of my sources, I place Sarah and Prudence between David and Auley McCalla because of the large gap in the latter’s birthdates, although it’s possible that Prudence was born last and her mother died in childbirth.

Although it is speculation on my part, here is the scenario as I imagine it. As was customary, David’s widow received 1/3 of the personal property—as I understand it, this is pretty much everything that’s not land. It was valued at £221.9, so her share would have been £74. (Or possibly £57, if Obadiah’s £50 was deducted before the division. I’m afraid I don’t know enough about legal language when it comes to wills.) That makes Obadiah’s portion a pretty large chunk of the estate, but it was not unusual back then for the firstborn (or eldest living) son to inherit more than his siblings.

The remainder of the personal property was to be divided amongst Sarah, Prudence, Lucy, and John, probably the youngest children. This suggests that the older children may have already received gifts of goods and property and were perhaps living on their own. The older girls were no longer living, and the boys are dealt with below.

David and Auley each received land. Since Auley was given the “remainder of the home plantation with buildings,” I imagine the older sons (probably Obadiah and James) had been given their shares of the land already. Why was John to be “put to a trade” (I assume apprenticed) when 14? Perhaps the land suitable for farming had already been apportioned. Maybe John didn’t want to be a farmer, and his father supported that preference, although he seems to have been too young for that to be likely. Even though James was dead at this point, he still may have received land earlier, since he had children already. Obadiah most likely did. Wills often mention earlier gifts, but not always.

Why were the heirs of James, Phebe, and Lydia given five shillings? Such an amount was not insignificant, but at 20 shillings to the pound, barely a drop in the estate bucket. Was it meant to be just a token for small children from Grandpa? If there were bad relations in the family and he wanted to insult them, I imagine he would have done it for even less money. As stated above, discovery of the record of David and Lucy’s children makes it almost certain that this was a case of children having died before the will was made, and not some ill will in the family. Five shillings each for possibly a good number of grandchildren could add up to something that is a more significant bequest than it at first seems.

Was David Wood, Sr. really born in 1721? It seems a reasonable approximation, if it is true that he was “over 70” when he died, which was somewhere in the range 1794-1798. That makes him apparently much older than his wives, though I don't have documented birth dates for any of them. I've also seen an unsourced birth year of 1740 often suggested for David Sr. But it's not impossible that he really was that old—one of my own great-grandfathers was 59 before producing any children. Absent any compelling evidence to the contrary, I’ll stick with the earlier date, though since I think it’s a guess from the uncertain death date, I’d put it more at about 1725. Now I’m much more likely to agree with Descendants of John Wood on the 1721 date, though I still have no hard evidence for it. But Lucy Lennox was born in 1718, and for a man to be three years younger than his wife is more likely than that he be seven years older. It might have been even earlier, since “over 70” covers a lot of ground.

The discovery of the Cohansey church records also makes me willing to speculate on a marriage date of about 1746 for David and Lucy—based on the birth of the eldest recorded child, Mary. David would have been 25 years old and Lucy 28, a bit old for those times, but it’s the best evidence I have.

 

The Conclusions

Always being ready to scrap speculations in light of new data, this is what I now believe about David Wood, Sr.

David Wood, Sr. was born about 1721, probably in Salem County, New Jersey. (Cumberland County was formed in 1748 from the west side of Salem County.) He died between March 10, 1794 and January 18, 1798, in Stow Creek Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey. David married three times.

His first wife was Lucy Lennox, born January 3, 1718, baptized May 27, 1739, and died before July 1777. They had five children, probably born at Shiloh, Cumberland County, New Jersey.

  1. Mary, born December 11, 1748
  2. James, born December 4, 1750
  3. Phebe, born November 25, 1753, died May 19, 1789
  4. Obadiah, born February 28, 1756
  5. Lydia, born May 26, 1758

He married, second, about July 9, 1777, Prudence Bowen, the sister of David and Jonathan Bowen of Bowentown, Cumberland County, New Jersey. She had married, first, about 14 July 1762, Simeon Roberts of Philadelphia. Prudence died before 1786.

David Wood and Prudence Bowen had the following children (order uncertain).

  1. David Wood, Jr., born May 1, 1778, died in 1828. He married, April 11, 1798, Mercia Davis, born July 15, 1777 in Cumberland County, New Jersey, and died there December 1, 1823, daughter of Isaac and Mary Ann (David) Davis.
  2. Sarah S.
  3. Prudence
  4. Auley McCalla, born about 1784, died May 1853, Roadstown, Cumberland County, New Jersey (residing in Stow Creek, Cumberland County, New Jersey).

In 1786 David married, third, Elizabeth Russell. (This may be a married name from a previous marriage.) Their children (order uncertain) were probably

  1. Elizabeth, died before 1794
  2. Richard, died before 1794
  3. Lucy
  4. John

 

The ancestry of David Wood, Sr., taken from Descendants of John Wood, is, in an abbreviated form, as follows:

John Wood, died 1655 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, married ---- ----.

John Wood, born 1620, died August 26, 1704 in Little Compton, Rhode Island, married Anna ----.

Jonathan Wood, born August 26, 1658 in Springfield, Massachusetts, died 1715, married, by 1692, Mercy Banbury.

Jonathan Wood, died 1727 in Cohansey, Salem County, New Jersey, married Mary Ayers.

David Wood, Sr., as above.

Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 1:46 pm | Edit
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In 1944, my grandparents moved across the continent from Pullman, Washington to Rochester, New York, where my grandfather worked until he retired in 1969. This film, made in 1963, gives glimpses of their Rochester. The Rochester they watched as it developed.

We visited them at least once a year when I was young, but I remember little of the city from then. Most of my memories are from my own time in Rochester, from 1970 through 1983. That's close enough to 1963 for this video to have sparked many memories, from the Midtown Plaza Clock of the Nations to Letchworth State Park to the Spring House restaurant, where we had our wedding rehearsal dinner. Not to mention the University of Rochester, the Lilac Festival in Highland Park, and the old familiar industries and landmarks.

By the time our daughter returned to attend the Eastman School of Music at the end of the century, Rochester was a different city, with much of the industry gone or on the way out. A telling quote from Wikipedia about the Eastman Kodak Company, once virtually synonymous with Rochester, is this: Although Kodak developed a digital camera in 1975, the first of its kind, the product was dropped for fear it would threaten Kodak's photographic film business. They had forgotten, perhaps, the film's admonition that if a company (or a city) does not change, change will come in ways unexpected and unpleasant.

Rochester is still a lovely city, and I sure miss "the splendor of a Western New York apple," though I don't think anyone's bragging about the traffic situation anymore. Our children, and perhaps even my siblings, are too young to remember when life was like this, but I hope they'll still enjoy this bit of history, which is part of the world of my childhood. I only wish I could talk with my grandparents about the Rochester they knew.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 7:19 am | Edit
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With the engagement of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle making the news, and my old friend Gary Boyd Roberts* and the New England Historic Genealogical Society providing temptation in the way of an article and a handy genealogy chart, I decided to spend some time trying to link their data with my own. And indeed, I could. As it turns out, Meghan Markle is my 23rd cousin, once removed, with common ancestors King Edward I of England (Longshanks) and Eleanor of Castile, through American immigrant ancestor Robert Abell. Through the same common ancestors (but a mostly different line on his part, of course), I am also Prince Harry's 23rd cousin, once removed. Yes, this means that Prince Charles is my 23rd cousin, and Queen Elizabeth II is my 22nd cousin, once removed. Who knew?

Similarly, Porter is 23rd cousin three times removed to both of them, with common ancestor King John (Lackland) of England and his mistress, Clemence, through the American immigrant ancestor Thomas Yale.

Not that I can claim anything special in all this. Millions of Americans are cousins to the new royal couple. They just don't know it—as I did not until now.  But I love puzzles, and have finally learned—no thanks at all to my school experiences—that history is fascinating.

 


*That is, we shared three or four conversations over several years, and his works have been very helpful in my research. He's also a Langdon, albeit from a different branch from ours.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, December 2, 2017 at 7:46 am | Edit
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