Tag Archives: ancestors

True Stories: Pilgrim Ancestors

Here comes Thanksgiving, and of course I’m thinking about my Pilgrim and Puritan ancestors.

Here are three stories from the past:

Plimouth Plantation

Modern reproduction village: Plimouth Plantation. Photo by Nancy, licensed under GNU Free license, Wikimedia

My naughty pilgrim ancestors. What a heritage!

My Pilgrim Ancestor missed the boat–or the boat was delayed by “mechanical difficulties.”

Being a Woman on the day of the First Thanksgiving. The story of Susannah Fuller White.


You Named Your Baby WHAT? Odd Names

Today I’m going to spotlight some of the odd names, er-ah, more ‘interesting’ names I have run across in my family tree.

Obviously these people did not have the aid of some of the 100 or so books to aid in naming your baby. They did not have 60,000 Baby Names, or 100,000 Baby Names  (both from Christian Books.com) or The Complete Book of Baby Names, which outdoes 100,000 by listing 100,001. Nor did they have Baby Names 1840 (Okay, but there IS a Baby Names 2014). Although I suspect they could have put together an early version of The Complete Book of Hebrew Baby Names.

Family Bible Title Page

Family Bible Title Page

What did they have?  The BIBLE, and their prolific use of the “Begats” just may explain why nobody wants to read the Old Testament any more.

Bible begats--odd names

Bible begats

Because mostly the Book of Numbers and the Book of Chronicles begat odd names.

Rhema Anderson (Fair)

I mention my aunt Rhema Anderson Fair, not because she had a strange or funny name (in my judgement), but it is a rare name.  Plus she changed it a couple of times.  Named Rema for the Biblical meaning of “the word,” she changed the spelling to Remah when she was a girl, and later settled on Rhema, but still spent her life answering questions from people who wanted to know if she was a man or a woman.

Rhema’s mother, my grandfather’s first wife, had the unusual name Lillis, by the way. Which according to whom you believe could mean “of the night” or could mean “lily.” Or, if you take an ancient Irish meaning, it could be outlaw. Take your pick. It is also a surname, usually Irish.
Lillis named Remah/Rhema’s brother Telmar, which might be Scandanavian, might be something else. Lillis was a very well-read lady, but Heaven knows where she came up with that name.

Ima Bird (b. 1903)

My mother often mentioned Ima Bird, a cousin, with a “Can you believe they named her that?” comment.

Ima Bird is my 2nd Cousin once removed.

Ima was the daughter of my maternal grandfather, L. Guy Anderson‘s uncle (William McCabe Anderson). The Birds and Andersons were connected in many ways. The family farms stood next to each other in Monroe Township, Holmes County, Ohio, and besides the Bird/Anderson parents of Ima, both Guy and his uncle Frank Anderson married Bird girls. (I am descended from Guy’s 2nd wife, not from Lillis Bird)  Additionally, one of Guy’s aunts married a Bird and another broke her engagement to a Bird.

But regardless of how much teasing Ima got in 8th grade, hers is not the name that fascinates me the most.

Hepzibah Death (1680-1769)

I cannot imagine having “Death” as a last name, and then to add the Biblical Hepzibah as a first name, just compounds the wonder.

Hepzibah Death is my 6th great-grandmother.

The parents of the several Hepzibahs that show up in my tree found her name in the Old Testament. As this explanation shows, Hephzibah, when translated literally from the Hebrew, it is actually a “delightful” name–meaning “My delight is in her.”

The last name Death has a confusing lineage.  Some claim that it is from Belgium, derived from a place name —  a common source for surnames. This theory holds that people from Ath were called d’Ath, which when they moved to England, morphed into Death.  Others claim that d’Ath is just an affectation and it is actually an old English word spelled several ways, but meaning “death.”

I cannot decide whether Hepzibah improved her name by marrying David How, even though Hepzibah How is at least alliterative. She must have been well thought of in the How family, because other girls were named Hepzibah after her.

The most fascinating tidbit I found was in an old history that claimed that the Congress in New England banned the use of the name, and people using that name changed their names to “How” or “Howe.” (Meaning Hepzibah Death was ahead of the curve?) Not only have I been able to find any other evidence for that statement, but if you search for the surname today, you will find both Death and d’Ath and other spellings in use.

Thankful Savage (b. 1743)

The name Thankful has a nice, calm ring to it, and was one of those virtuous names popular with the Puritans.You can find a fascinating list of Puritan virtue names here.  How’d you like to be called “Abstinence?”

Although Thankful Stone (her maiden name) sounds rather Zen, but poor Thankful did not improve her moniker by marrying a man named Savage.

Thankful Savage was my 4th Great Grand Aunt, sister to Jeduthan Stone, the Minuteman. The man she married descended from another Puritan settler.

An earlier instance of the name in my line, Thankful Briggs, married William C. Bassett, grandson of the pioneer William Bassett–first of that line to land in Massachusetts from England. William L. Bassett is my 6th great-grandfather, and Thankful was second of his three wives, but not in my direct line. Another one, Thankful Banks married a son of Jeduthan Stone.

 Waitstill Death (b. 1728)

Waitstill Vose (1688-1750)

Now there is a name to drive your spell-checker crazy! The Puritans strike again, hopefully naming a child with a quality they pray it will possess.

I love the graph on this page that shows that the name Waitstill peaked in popularity in 1640 and had disappeared by the end of the 19th century. I certainly never met a Waitstill — did you? And yet, I have found two — mother and daughter — in my family tree.

Waitstill Vose, like Thankful Stone, made an unfortunate choice of husbands. She became Waitstill Death. But wait — there’s more — she named her daughter Waitstill Death, too!

My relationship here is tenuous.  Waitstill Vose was the 2nd wife (not direct line) of my 6th Great Uncle.

In fact, I found very little information about it, other than the tidbit that it was shortened to Waity, and from that came another odd name Wady. The other interesting thing I discovered is that it was used for both males and females and is also a surname–although that is also rare.

Sardine Stone 1768-1834

I know that astute readers read yesterday’s article about the Stone family who survived (mostly) their pioneering move from Massachusetts to Ohio in the 1790s. And because you are astute, you wondered about the name, Sardine Stone.

For anyone who insists that you must have a “normal” sounding name in order to succeed in politics, think again.  My distant (Male) cousin, Sardine was elected to the Ohio State legislature many times.

Nine years after Ohio became a state in 1803, Sardine was elected, as a Republican, to Ohio’s House of Representatives. He was 44 years old. He served in 1812, 1813 and 1816. (No idea what happened to 1814). In 1817 he ran and was elected to the Senate and re elected in 1818.

Apparently in 1819 some dirty work at the cross road threatened his political career.  Six townships in the counties he represented had been set aside and not counted. Without those townships the tally was in favor of his challenger Levi Barber (859 votes to Stone’s 771 votes.)

Sardine introduced a petition to the Senate and the Committee of the whole decided to reinstate those townships.  The votes in the six townships gave 186 votes to Stone and only 28 to Barber. Once they were added back, Sardine Stone won re-election by 956-887 votes. Whew!

He went on to be re-elected every year through the 21st Assembly in 1822. I would love to know more about his politics and how he got elected, but I have other fish to fry. (Pardon me, Sardine.) After all, his mother may have–rather than a salty fish– had in mind a sardine stone–a type of carnelian that comes in a deep red. The stone is not precious, but the name is decidedly rare.

Sardine Stone is my first cousin 5 x removed, according to Ancestry.com. (Couldn’t prove it by me!)


More odd baby names lurk in the foilage of my family tree– Part Two will come along one of these days.  Stay tuned.

Research Notes

Genealogical Dictionary of New England Settlers Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May 1692. (1860-62) Vol. 2, Page 33, says of the name Death, “This name was common in that part of the county, some yrs. since, but within few yrs. by the legislat. it has been changed to How”

Several records are preserved on line of the names of legislators in the early Ohio Assemblies.  The most common is the Legislative Manual of the State of Ohio published by the Ohio General Assembly.  I learned about Sardine Stone’s political affiliation from a web site A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825.

The History of Marietta and Washington County, Ohio has this gem from a newspaper article about a meeting of the “Republican delegate from townships”, September 20, 1813, that nominated Sardine Stone to run for re-election to the House.

“At the present crisis when our country is beset by savages of the forest and by the civilized savages of Great Britain, it becomes the imperious duty of every good citizen to exert himself.”


There are also links here to books available at Amazon.com because I am an affiliate of Amazon. Anything at all that you buy through those links, earns a few pence to keep Ancestors in Aprons researching. And it costs you no more. Thanks!


The Anderson Stout Family Picture: Identifications

Wouldn’t it be nice if we had family pictures every decade or so that gathered children and grandchildren and spouses and cousins and aunts and uncles all together? And wouldn’t it be nice if someone remembered to put the date and all the names on the back of the picture? And while we’re dreaming, wouldn’t it be nice if there had been cameras before the early 1800’s?

Vera and Guy Anderson family

Family portrait taken in 1909

Oh well, I should not complain. I have this wonderful family photo, which you may be tired of looking at, and my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser and aunt, Rhema Anderson Fair took the time to label all the people and tell some stories about them. Today I am going to tie it all together and put it away in the drawer, so just a little more patience, please.

Twenty-eight relatives of Guy and Vera Anderson gathered in 1909, apparently to celebrate the birthday of Vera Anderson, May 23, when she was 28 years old. (There is also the possibility it was taken on April 8, when Herbert Guy Anderson was one year old.)


My mother remembered the house with love approaching awe.

The house was on Mile Hill outside Killbuck.  Originallly owned by Dr. Roof.  Harriette Kaser thinks that Ben Anderson (Guy’s brother, Bernard Franklin Anderson) bought it form Dr. Roof and then Guy Anderson bought it from Ben and owned it at the time of the picture.  She said that Garfield Woods bought the house from Guy Anderson.

“When Dr. Roof bought the house they planted a big orchard.  Amy and her husband Thomas Roof traveled all over the world, and that’s why they sold it.  When I was little, I had a playhouse in back.  The house had beautiful woodwork and had front and back staircases–the back one for the maids.  There was a big barn, way off from the house.  In the back there was a brick house where they kept food. [Probably a spring house.]

The top of the hill had a beautiful view.  In the picture, you can see they are sitting and standing on a cement sidewalk. It stretched around a huge lawn and down to the driveway.”

While it was unusual to have a cement sidewalk out in the country, Rhema Fair, in her videotaped memoir explained that it was even better than that.  The Roofs liked to go to Florida and they brought back seashells which they embedded in the cement on the edges of the sidewalk. In front of the house they used seashells to spell out ROOF.

The house still stands in the same place, and is very recognizable.

Old Anderson Farm

Old Anderson Farm as it looks today, Photo courtesy of Herb Anderson

The People

(WARNING: If you are not related to these people, you may want to stop reading before you run into a bunch of names and dates)

Below I have linked stories I have told earlier, and given a little information about each person, including their relationship to me and to my grandfather or grandmother and their immediate family. Starting with the children on the ground in the front, left to right:

Alice King  (1906-  )  Daughter of Jennie and George King; granddaughter of Sarah Anderson McDowell. My third cousin.

Rhema Anderson, (1901-1996), daughter of Guy Anderson and first wife Lillis Bird. Raised by Frank Anderson and Amy Anderson Roof. My Aunt.

Estill Anderson, (1905-1926) Son of Ben and Nettie Anderson. My 2nd cousin.

Telmar Anderson  (1903-1982), Son of Guy and Lillis Bird Anderson.  My uncle.


Caroline Anderson Bird (1846-1918), Daughter of John and Isabella Anderson. Aunt of Guy Anderson . Married to Leonard Bird. For some reason, my mother called her Aunt Catherine. My great-grand aunt.

Amy Anderson Roof (1843-1917). Daughter of John and Isabella Anderson. Aunt of Guy Anderson.  My great-grand aunt. Both my mother and aunt remember Amy’s beautiful long red hair, and the fact that she and Caroline were inseparable. She and her husband were known as great travelers, and Aunt Rhema remembered her as the greatest influence on her young life.

Margaret (Marge) Anderson Lisle. (1827-1917) Daughter of John and Isabella Anderson. Aunt of Guy Anderson. Caretaker for her own children and several grandchildren. My great-grand aunt.

Isabel Sarah McCabe Anderson. (1818-1912) Widow of John Anderson. Grandmother of Guy Anderson.  My mother thought she came from Scotland with her family, but in fact it was her grandfather who first came to the U.S. She married John J. Anderson and moved to Ohio from Pennsylvania against her family’s wishes.  My great-great-grandmother.

Doctor William Cochran (Doc) Stout (1845-1910) Son of Isaiah Stout and Emmaline Cochran Stout. Father of Vera Stout Anderson. My mother said that this picture must have been made after he had a stroke, because he has his cane with him. He died within a year of the photograph, on August 18, 1910. My great-grandfather.

On Doctor Stout’s Lap:

Harriette V. Anderson Kaser (1906-2003) Daughter of Guy and Vera Anderson. My mother.

William J. Anderson (1905-1975) Son of Guy and Vera Anderson. My uncle.


Ada Brink Allison, (1867- 1946) Sister of Mary Brink Anderson who was Guy Anderson’s Mother and his aunt, Sarah Jane Brink Anderson (wife of Frank Anderson). Married to DeSylva Allison. My great grand aunt.

DeSylva Allison (1863-1941). Husband of Adda Brink Allison, uncle of Guy Anderson. He was sheriff of Holmes County at one time. My great-grand uncle.

George King (1873- ) Husband of Jennie McDowell King, who was Grand-daughter of Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell.

Sarah Jane Brink Anderson (1850-1912),  Wife of Frank Anderson and sister of Guy’s Mother. My great grand aunt.

Frank Anderson (1852-1926), Son of John and Isabella Anderson. Uncle of Guy Anderson, and the man who raised both Guy and Guy’s daughter Rhema. My great-grand uncle. Frank and Guy’s father married sisters. Frank and Sarah Jane were another couple who traveled a great deal, said mother, going West long before most people did.

Vera Stout Anderson (1881-1964), wife of Guy Anderson and my maternal grandmother and namesake.

Herbert Guy Anderson (1908-1963), baby that Vera is holding, son of Guy and Vera. My uncle.

Leita Allison (the short woman) (1887-1955) Aleitia Larrimore Allison was married the year before this picture to Errett Allison, cousin of Guy Anderson. She worked on Guy and Vera’s farm.

Harriette (Hattie) Morgan Stout (1842-1928), married to Dr. William Stout, mother of Vera Stout Anderson. My great-great-grandmother.

Errett Allison (1884-1952), cousin of Guy Anderson and worked on farm. Son of DeSylva and Ada Allison. My first cousin twice removed.

Nettie Andress Anderson (1882-1911), wife of Ben Anderson who was Guy Anderson’s brother. Wife of my grand uncle.

Bernard Franklin (Ben) Anderson, (1881-1963) Brother of Guy Anderson, son of Joseph and Mary Anderson. My grand uncle.

Glen Lisle (1892-1952) Grandson of Margaret Anderson Lisle, Guy’s Aunt. My 2nd cousin once removed.


Alice/Ada McDowell (?) Mother identified this woman as Ada McDowell, but I cannot find an Ada McDowell that fits. On the back of the picture mother had first written Jennie McDowell, then changed it to Ada.

It is possible that the woman is Alice McDowell, mother of Jennie King, since Jennie seems to be looking in her direction.  If that is the case, Alice McDowell Eyster (1858-1910) was the daughter of Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell and James McDowell, she was a widow, living with George and Jennie King, and died the year after this picture was taken. Alice McDowell was my first cousin two times removed.

Leonard Guy Anderson (1878-1944), husband of Vera Stout Anderson, son of Joseph and Mary Anderson.  My grandfather.

Jennie McDowell King (1817-____) Grand daughter of Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell, Guy’s aunt.  Daughter of Alice McDowell (later married Eyster) and unknown father. My second cousin once removed.

Mary Brink Anderson Kline (1858-1935) Standing in front of post to the right of Vera. Mother of Guy Anderson, widow of Joseph Anderson. Sister of Sarah Jane Brink Anderson and Adda Brink Allison.  Remarried a man named Kline after being a widow 40 years. My great-grandmother.


As you can see there are still some gaps in my knowledge here, so I would appreciate any input if you can add information on any of these people.


The photo, in the author’s possession has names written on the back in Harriette Anderson Kaser’s hand.  She told me in a conversation in 1999 that she and Rhema Anderson Fair had made a tape about the people in the picture and noted the names. The tape is missing.

My cousin Herbert Anderson gave me the picture of the house at it stood in the early 2000’s. Another cousin gave me information about Jennie King and her family.

Birth and death dates are from documents found at Ancestry.com