Dorcas Middaugh Brink, 12 Children, 6 Living




It would be great to be able to tell some new stories about Dorcas Middaugh Brink, my great-great grandmother. However, I already told you the major stories of that family when I wrote about Abraham Brink (1828).

That’s the story of women in history isn’t it?  I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I saw a major newspaper’s coverage of the historic event that took place in Philadelphia yesterday.  The headline read “With Nomination, Clinton Makes History“. Under the headline they published a huge photo of former President Bill Clinton.  So the historic even was the nomination of a former president?  Nah, it was that other Clinton–the WOMAN. Oh, yeah, women make history, too.

Sorry Dorcas. My bad, as they say in the 21st century.  I should have told the story of the birth of twelve children and the loss of six children, the growth of an Ohio farm and the perspective of my great-grandmother’s family from your viewpoint instead of from that of your husband, Abraham. But things being what they are, I have more information on him.  So here’s what I know about you grandma.

A Woman’s Life

Dorcas Middaugh was born to Jedidiah Middaugh and Ann Coddington Middaugh in Danby Township, Tompkins County, New York on May 2, 1826. Danby was and is a small town south of Ithaca New York, not far north of the Pennsylvania border.  Her father had been born in New Jersey, but her parents settled in New York when they married.  Dorcas had an older brother, and as she was growing up, at least two more brothers were added to the family. Sometime after 1840, the family moved to Holmes County, Ohio, where she met and married Abraham Brink.

Her mother and father-in-law, as well as her father and mother lived nearby when she was a young bride, and as her children grew up, they also stayed nearby.

At this point to fill in Dorcas’ life for the next 47 years, which included the birth of twelve children, marriages of the oldest and the birth of grandchildren–please read Abraham Brink Takes Root in Ohio.

After Abraham

When Abraham died in 1898, Dorcas went to live with her daughter Mary V. Brink, the widow of Joseph Anderson in a nearby township in Holmes County, Ohio. My grandfather Guy Anderson and his bride Lillis shared the house with his mother, Mary. Since I knew my grandfather Guy (whose 2nd wife was my grandmother) and he lived for a couple of years in the same house with HIS grandmother, Dorcas, I feel a connection to Dorcas Middaugh Brink.

In 1900, when the census report was filed, Dorcas reported that she was a widow, had 12 children, but only six were living. When you read Abraham Brink’s story, you will see that she lost three of her children in a very short period of time.

Lillis and Guy had a daughter in 1901 (My aunt Rhema Anderson Fair) and a son in 1903.  Lillis died, probably of complications from childbirth in 1903.

In March of 1904, Dorcas died and was buried in Wolf Creek Cemetery in Holmes County.

Dorcas Middaugh

Dorcas Middaugh Brink’s tombstone, Wolf Creek Cemetery, Holmes County, Ohio











P.S. In October of 1904, my grandfather married his second wife, my grandmother, Vera May Stout.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the son of
  • Mary Brink Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • Abraham W. Brink.

Notes on Research


Heirlooms –The Oldest

As my brother and sister and I took out each precious antique, somebody wondered what the oldest heirloom is that we have had passed down to us.  We will never know how old my sister’s hand-carved wooden bowl is (although it looks like it could have been 17th century) or how old my brother’s pieces of pewter might be.

The Antique Chest Full of Heirlooms

But thanks to my great-grandmother, grandmother and mother, we have dates and names on nearly all the items in our 2x great grandmother Mary Bassett Morgan’s chest.  I wrote about Mary and her chest, and you might want to look at the history of its travels.

When my brother and sister visited recently, we opened the chest and saw this treasure trove.


Inside Mary Bassett's Chest

Inside Mary Bassett’s Chest

Since the chest itself belonged to 16-year-old Mary Bassett when she traveled to Ohio in 1826/27. It surely had been made some years before, and that makes it one of our older possessions. But there was a much older item to be found.

Finding Some Old Needlecraft

We saw this stack of cloth items, stitched loosely together with a note in the handwriting of our great-grandmother Harriet Morgan sewn on top.  She identifies a collar made on a loom in 1835 by her mother Mary Bassett Morgan (the original owner of the chest).  That means Mary made this lace collar when she was 25 years old, six years after her first marriage.

lace collar

Mary Bassett Morgan collar, stitched together with a cloth made by her mother.

Note o antiques

Harriet Morgan Stout’s note sewed to antique pieces.

lace collar made by Mary Bassett

A closer look at the loom-made collar and an embroidered collar saved together.

The note says:

Collar Made on loom in 1835 by Mary [Stout Platt] Morgan Killbuck

Not to go to Columbus   Holmes Co.

What Does That Mean?

Hattie Stout

Harriett Emeline Morgan Stout

That note takes a little explaining.  Why is this package “not to go to Columbus”?  When and why did Harriet Morgan Stout write this note?

Happily, I already sleuthed out the participation of Harriet and “Doc” William Stout in a huge celebration in Ohio to mark the founding of Marietta, Ohio’s first official city in 1788.  The statewide celebration included expositions in each county of memorabilia by “pioneers.”  Please read that earlier article, and see the newspaper article describing the festivities.

That celebration took place in 1888, so we know that “Hattie” Stout wrote the note that year.  And we now know that the reason it says “not to go to Columbus” is that these precious family antiques were not to go on the road. Mary Bassett Morgan, Hattie’s mother, was still living (she died in 1890) and she probably took these items out of her well-traveled wooden chest and loaned them to Hattie and Doc for the Holmes County exposition with instructions that they be returned safely to her.

However, the collar, now preserved for 181 years, is not the oldest item.  Underneath the collars, in the first picture, you can see a woven piece of cloth. It also has a note written by Hattie Stout attached loosely with thread.

flax cloth

Woven flax cloth


Harriet Morgan Stout

Harriet Morgan Stout’s handwritten note on the woven flax cloth.

The note written by “Hattie” Stout in 1888 says,

Spun & made by Grandma Bassett in 1796

H E Stout

not to go to Columbus        Killbuck     Holmes Co.

It takes me a moment to absorb that information.

Our Great-grandmother is identifying a piece made by HER grandmother, Elizabeth Stone Bassett, our three times great grandmother.

The cloth was made in 1796

  • 30 years after the Declaration of Independence,
  • 8 years after the founding of Marietta Ohio,
  • 92 years before the celebration of the centennial of the founding of Marietta,
  • 220 years before I unfolded the cloth and photographed it.

Elizabeth Stone, in 1796 when she wove this piece was 23 years old,  unmarried, and living in New Hampshire. Eight years later she would marry the last of our long line of William Bassetts. They had five daughters, including my great-grandmother Mary Bassett Morgan. If you click over to the earlier story about Elizabeth Stone that I linked above, you will learn that she died soon after she and her family moved to Ohio.

Unresolved Questions

I know nothing about lace making, and a quick search on Google showed me a wide variety of types of lace and types of looms on which to weave them.  If any readers know more about this, I would love to see what a loom would look like that was used by Elizabeth Stone.

I do know a bit about flax growing and use, as you can see in this item I wrote earlier about my husband’s ancestor Rudolph Manbeck. So Elizabeth may have been using a spinning wheel like this.

Spinning Wheel and Reel

“Charlene Parker, spinner, at Knott’s Berry Farm” by DTParker1000 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Commons.









And of course we still don’t know if 1796 is the earliest heirloom that we still have in the family.

Others writings on familly heirlooms

This has been one of my occasional posts on Heirlooms. To see more, type heirlooms into the search box in the right hand column.

Other family history bloggers who write about heirlooms from time to time include:

Family Politics–Me and a Political Convention

Vera Marie Badertscher

Vera Marie Badertscher sitting in the Presidential Box at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans 1988.

Little did I know when I was nine that forty years later I would sit in the Presidential Box at a National Political Convention!

It started like this:

“Because the other party has been in the White House for too long. It isn’t fair.”

My sense of fair play said that after 12 1/2 years of one Democrat, and 3 1/2 years of another in the White House, the Republicans should get a turn.

I expressed my first political opinion, expressed by my 9-year-old self to my fourth grade teacher in the heat of the 1948 campaign pitting Democrat Harry Truman against Republican Thomas Dewey.  You remember that campaign and how it turned out? Everyone KNEW that Thomas Dewey was going to win.  The newspapers even printed headlines to go out the morning after the election. As you can clearly tell by the smile on his face–it was Truman who won.

Harry Truman - Thomas Dewey

President Harry Truman holds up a copy of the Chicago Daily Tribune declaring his defeat to Thomas Dewey in the presidential election. St. Louis, MIssouri: November, 1948.
(Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

I had been right about one thing, the Republicans had been wandering in the wilderness for many, many years.

The election held a harsh set of lessons for a 9-year-old.

  1. You can’t always believe what you read in the newspaper.
  2. You can’t make assumptions about who is going to win an election.
  3. Politics isn’t always about what is “fair.”

But the election of 1948 also lit a fire in me because the election was exciting, people got very involved, and I could see (although my thinking was not very sophisticated!) that it involved some very important principles of Democracy.

Thanks to the introduction four years prior by My Weekly Reader, the newspaper for elementary school kids,I took an interest in current affairs and started reading the newspaper. Thanks to my teacher asking her students to give a speech in favor of their favorite candidate in 1948, I was ready by 1952 to absorb some of the more subtle aspects of politics .

I Like Ike Button

1952 button for the Eisenhower button.

I remember being glued to the radio until late at night, in 1952, listening to the Republican convention that nominated war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower. My interest waned when I was a teenager, but was ignited again in 1960 when, for the first time, I was able to vote in a presidential election.

As the years rolled on, I got involved in community activities, and that led to working in political campaigns, which led to several years as a professional campaign manager and strategist. Working for a Congressman, I was fortunate to be able to attend a political convention in 1988.

As much as technology has changed, the basics of a political convention are the same, I learned when I attended the 1988 Republican Nominating Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Parties and Entertainment

Political Convention Pin

New Orleans Political Convention Pin 1988

Funny Clothes, from Cowboy hats for Texans to lobster hats for Maine’s delegates, and this vest that was the official garb of the delegates from Arizona in 1988.

Political Convention vest

Back of Arizona delegates vest, 1988 Republican Convention.

And, of course–Buttons. In this picture, you can see a few I wore on my vest (borrowed, since I was not an official delegate, but rather  there as an assistant to a Congressman.)

Republican Political Convention 1988

The Buttons I wore on my vest at the 1988 Republican Political Convention

Sellers of various keepsakes and paraphernalia…and buttons… line the halls and the sidewalks.  This is a sampling of the various styles on sale in 1988 at the Republican Political Convention.

George Bush buttons

George Bush Campaign buttons and New Orleans mementos from the 1988 political convention.

And of course the place swarms with Press. Here is an interview in 1988 with my boss, Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona.

John Kolbe and Rep. Jim Kolbe

John Kolbe (dec.), reporter for the Arizona Republic, interviews his brother Congressman Jim Kolbe at Republican Convention 1988.

The excitement always runs high.  Here is the crowd listening to an address by the nominee, then Vice-President George H. W. Bush. (You can see him in the top left on a video monitor.)

George H. W. Bush

Top left hand corner shows the nominee, then Vice President Bush speaking to the convention.

The big event of the speech of the candidate is followed by the equally big event of the BALLOON DROP.

1988 Republican Convention

The balloon drop that signals the end.

All parties come to an end–for some with new friends and warm feelings, for some with a headache that will take four years to heal.

The end of the convention.

After the ball is over…

Note: This has been one of a monthly series I am doing on family and ancestors in politics. Not only did my nine-year old self not suspect that I would be so deeply involved in politics as an adult, I did not realize what depth of political involvement there was in my family history.

Politics in the Family

You can read past posts about my mother and father, Paul and Harriette Kaser and the losingest Presidential campaign ever.

Sardine Stone, an office holder and supporter of James Madison.

William Cochran, who worked for the election of William Henry Harrison.

And before the present series, I wrote about two other polticially active ancestors.

Even Civil War fighter Erasmus Anderson exercised his political opinions in a letter home. (Hint: he disliked one of our most revered presidents.

My uncle Keith Kaser ran for office himself, in one party as my father was working for the opposing party at the same timel


The buttons and vest and poster of New Orleans, and the political convention photos are part of my own collection of Political Convention Memorabilia. I found the image on line of a happy Truman with the mistaken headline. That makes this post partly about Heirlooms.