Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Connely Family History Document

Bernice Connely, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Bernice Hackley Connely Pratt
taken in Baton Rouge c1860

Connely Family photostat, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Negative photostat of document

Connely Family History Document

The most challenging document I have transcribed is a history of the Connely family, probably written by Belle Tisdale's grandmother, Bernice Hackley Connely. The handwriting is similar to one page of a letter written by Bernice to her daughter Eliza in 1867. There were two sets of copies of the three page document. By the time I got them they were both faded and almost illegible. One set consists of three faded negative photostats on heavy photographic paper and the other set contains three faded Xerox copies made by my mother in the 1960s. Present location of the original is unknown.

We don't know who had the negative photostats made or when, but it was probably before my mother started researching in 1964. The Photostat Corporation began about 1920 and the 1922 issue of Patent and Trade Mark Reviews says that its former name was The Commercial Camera Company. Photostat brand machines were in use as early as 1911. Photostat eventually became the generic name for any kind of copy just as xerox has become the generic name for copies today. The Xerox process was introduced in the 1950s and the Photostat Corporation was absorbed by Itek in 1963. 

The original document appears to have been a little smaller than 8” x 10” and consisted of one full page written on front and back and one page with two short notes. I started trying to transcribe the document in November 1991 and worked on it off and on. When I got a scanner and photo editing software, the job became possible. By reversing the negative to a positive and enlarging words on the computer screen I was able to piece the text together from the two copies.

Enhanced Xerox copy of the document

When I finally got the transcription done in August 1995, I sent a copy to my cousin Janet Sarradet Colletti in Louisiana. She wrote me back and said that she had heard from another Connely family history researcher, Roger Connelly, in Maryland. She gave me his address and I wrote to him. (Notice this was back when we were communicating via snail mail.) I sent him copies of my transcription and told him that we were going to be visiting friends in his area in about a month. Within a week he wrote back:

“The transcription of the 'Connely Letter' was a treasure, thanks for going to all that trouble with multiple copies and for sharing it with me. It seems to be based on the info found in a Connely family Bible (my trans. of that enclosed) but has some dates and counts of children that are of interest to me. I saw this Bible in person (see a few paragraphs in one of the early issues of my newsletter which are enclosed).”

Roger's transcription of the Gilmore Connely Bible information was almost word for word the same as my document, but includes more information on the Gilmore Connely line. There was either a strong oral tradition passed down in the family or both had been copied from an earlier document. Roger also sent me copies of his Connelly Connections newsletter that had much more information on the Bible.

Gilmore Franklin Connely was a great-grandson of the original emigre, Thomas Connely. He married Lucy Leffingwell in Assumption Parish, Louisiana, on February 14, 1843. This was about the same time that William Henry Pratt first came to Louisiana and settled not far away in Baton Rouge. In 1980 the family Bible was in the possession of Gilmore's grandchildren, Ruth and Lavinia Connely, in Houma, Louisiana.

About seeing Gilmore Connely's handwritten information in the Bible, Roger wrote:
“What a thrill it was to read those 3 sentences [the introductory sentences of the document], written by a Connely one and a quarter centuries ago, and providing a wealth of information about our immigrant ancestors of yet another century earlier.”
“...actually seeing the words written by Gilmore Franklin Connely brought tears to my eyes.” 
(Roger R. Connelly, Connelly Connections, A Connelly Family Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 2, April-June, 1980, pages 1-3)

Roger had been doing genealogical research for much longer than I had, and I was overwhelmed with the amount of information he had gathered. Roger has graciously given me permission to use these quotes. If you would like to see the Gilmore Connely Bible data transcription and learn more about the whole Connely/Connelly family, go to Roger's website at:http://www.rogerconnelly.com/

Roger even told me where to find Arthur Connely's grave in Old Stone Church cemetery in Augusta County, Virginia. But that's a story for another post.

For today here's the transcription of Bernice Connely Pratt's Connely Family History:
The original is written as one long document with no paragraphs. I have transcribed the words exactly as written but formatted it for ease of understanding. I have used brackets whenever I was not sure or when I have inserted information.

[page 1]
           Thomas Connely, his Brother Arthur & Sister Mary, together with their Father & Mother emigrated from Ireland to the State (then colony) of Virginia in the year [blank].
about 1756 or 57 [inserted between lines]
They left behind them a married sister who never had any children.

Thomas Connely married in Virginia a lady named Walker, who bore him 9 children to wit:
Arthur – Thomas – Alexander – Robert – Martha – Mary – Jane – Eliza[beth & Isabella faded but supplied from next generation]

Of the above 9 persons
Arthur married Jane Dale in Augusta County Virginia by whom he had 9 children, (to wit:
Isabella Connely born [27th] Sept 1786 – died Dec 5 1849 leaving one child named Donaldson.
Thomas Connely born 24th Nov 1787 has 6 living children-
Alexander Connely born 17 May 1789 has 16 living children.
Arthur Connely born 19th Dec. 1790 has 7 living children.
Robert Connely born 20th Dec. 1794, has no children.
Margaret Connely born 1st Nov. 1792 – married S. Logan – has 11 children -
Elizabeth Connely, - died in infancy,
Gilmore Connely, born May 5, 1799 has 9 living children -
Maria Connely born 29th Dec. 1800 – married twice died 16 Aug. 1831 leaving no children –

Thomas married & emigrated to Boone County Kentucky where he died leaving 5 children.
Alexander settled & still lives in Covington Ky where he raised 8 children -
Robert settled in Boone County Kentucky (where he died in 1850) he raised 11 children -
Martha married her Cousin Arthur Connely -
Mary Married [her cousin][struck through twice] George
[page 2]
Berry but never had any children – She died in 1848)
Jane married Charles Patterson by whom she had two children a son & a daughter – (The former             was killed in 1837 by a fall from a horse)-
Elizabeth married Samuel Tharp by whom she had seven children who now live mostly in Illinois -
Isabella married Saml Gowdy and settled at Xenia, Ohio where she died in 1838 leaving a large               family –

The Arthur Connely – brother of the first named Thomas married in Virginia & there died, having            raised 9 children to wit:
Thomas – Robert – John – David – Arthur – James – Mary – Jane & Sarah -
Of the last named 9 -
Thomas was killed in the Revolutionary War
Robert was killed by the Indians while on a surveying expedition in Kentucky -
Arthur married his cousin & settled in Kentucky -
James left a family in Scott County, Kentucky -  [Bernice Hackley Connely's father]
John never married he died near Xenia Ohio
David left a family near Xenia Ohio who now are scattered over the west and south -
Mary married Joseph McCauley (left a family -
Jane married David Williamson –
Sarah married John Walker the brother of her uncle Thomas's wife– she lived to a great age & died          in Augusta County Virginia
[page 3]
     note - Alexander Connely of Covington Died [?] May 1851 the last of the old stock

[Faded note near middle of page 3]
I may have mi[ illegible ] wife with Alexander & it may have been the sister of Thomas & Arthur the first emigrants that married John Walker.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Three Mysterious Daguerreotypes

1840s Little Girl, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Who are these beautiful people?

When I first saw the Daguerreotype of this serene little girl, I thought it might be Valerie Catherine Pratt (1839-1846). The wood case and simple mat are consistent with a date in the 1840s. But one of the memorial essays written by her classmate says that Valerie had dark flaxen hair. This little girl appears to have dark brown hair.The off-the-shoulder dress was typical for little girls all through the 1840s and 1850s. This cased image was with Eliza Pratt's family photos so it could be Eliza herself, born in 1837, or one of her sisters Susan May, born in 1842, or Albina Sarah, born in 1845.

The flairing sleeves and white undersleeves date this dress to about 1850. The collar and hair-do are also early 1850s. The lady is also wearing a chain with a slide that holds a gold pencil, typical of that time period. Eliza Pratt was born in 1837 and married Benjamin Franklin Tisdale in 1851, a little more than four months after her 14th birthday. This Daguerreotype could have been taken around that time. Is this Great Great Grandmother Eliza Pratt Tisdale? Or could it be B. F. Tisdale's first wife, Maria Pike, who died in 1849.

1840s Man no ID, belletisdale.blogspot.com

Is this dashing young man Benjamin Franklin Tisdale (1823-1876)?The case and mat appear to be from the 1840s. His collar and tie also can be dated to the 1840s. There are three other known photos of B. F. Tisdale when he was older. (We will see them later.) I think the hairline and face shape in this Daguerreotype are consistent with the later photos. Another possibility is that it may be Frances Ann Pratt's husband, Wiliam McCaughey, who died in 1850.  Are there any Tisdale or Pratt cousins out there who recognize this man or have a similar image?    

Daguerreotypes were made from 1839 to 1865, but the peak years for this type of image was from 1852 to 1858. The process is a positive image on silver-coated copper plate, mirror-like and not magnetic. The most common size is 1/9 plate, 2" x 2 1/2" like the three above.

Dating old photographs is both science and art. I have done presentations describing the process for several genealogical societies and I have posted my handout as a separate page on this blog. I'll be referring back to it as we look at more of Belle's photos.                                                                        

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Masonic Documents

Letter from Hendreson to Fuertes 1845, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Letter from Stephen Hendreson to A. R. Fuertes, June 25, 1845

Among Belle's letters were several documents that pertain to the St. James Lodge #47, Free and Accepted Masons, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Belle's father, Benjamin Franklin Tisdale, was a member of the lodge and served as Secretary in 1848 and Worshipful Master in 1850. The lodge is still active.<http://www.stjameslodge47.org/officers.htm>

According to Le Raconteur, the journal of Le Comité des Archives de la Louisiane, Inc., St. James lodge was formed in 1844 after two former lodges in Baton Rouge had ceased to exist. (Le Raconteur, Volume XXXIII, No. 3, September 2013, page 193.)

Letter dated June 25, 1845 from Stephen Hendreson to A. R. Fuertes

The first letter is a thank you to A. R. Fuertes of the Sacred Music Society of Baton Rouge signed by Stephen Hendreson. Original. 7 1/2" x 12 1/4" sheet of paper folded to 3" x 5 1/2" and addressed on the center back to A. R. Fuertes Esq. Manuscript ink. Original in possession of V. B. Zimmerman. Transcribed exactly as written.

Baton Rouge June 25th 1845

A. R. Fuertes Esq
Leader of Baton Rouge
Sacred Music Society

                                    I have been deputed by the Members of the Masonic Fraternity, composing the St. James Lodge, in this Town, to tender to yourself and the Sacred Music Society, their sincere and grateful thanks, for the voluntary and efficient aid rendered by the choir, in assisting the Members of the Lodge to celebrate the anniversary of their patron, St. John the Evangelist.
                                  I seize for myself this opportunity, to express to you, my admiration of the untiring industry, that actuates yourself and Lady, in your efforts to improve the Sacred Music Society, which has become the ornament and pride of the Town of Baton-Rouge.
                                                                              I am
                                                                                Very respectfully
                                                                                  Your obtS”
                                                                                 Stephen Hendreson

[Center Back]

     A. R. Fuertes Esq: .
Leader of the Sacred Music Society


I could not find A. R. Fuertes in Louisiana census records. Stephen Henderson (spelled Henderson instead of Hendreson as in the signature) is on the 1840 and 1850 censuses in the 8th Ward of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana. 

In 1850 Stephen Henderson is on line 21, family 811. Stephen is listed as age 51, born in Scotland. His wife is Mary Henderson, age 39, born in Germany. Their children, all born in Louisiana, are Stephen, age 20; Zelia, age 18; Robert, age 14; Mary, age 12; and Caroline, age 8. Also living with the family are Alexander Boreland, Accountant, age 24, born in Louisiana; William W. Rogers, Druggist, age 24, born in England; and Ann Randolph, Mulatto, age 55, born in Louisiana. He is also listed on the 1850 Slave Schedule with 55 slaves. (United States Census, 1850, index and images, FamilySearch.org, NARA mf M432.)

McCaughey Masonic Documents

The next four documents are related to William H. McCaughey, husband of Frances Ann Augusta Pratt.  She was Belle Tisdale's aunt and Eliza Pratt's sister. William was born in Ohio about 1820 and was initiated as a master Mason in 1842.

Wm. H. McCaughey 1842, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Wm. H. McCaughey Masonic initiation 1842

Photocopy of 1842 Masonic certificate of initiation for William H. McCaughey. Location of original unknown. Transcribed exactly as written.

Wheeling, Oct 13th 1842

This is to certify that the bearer hereof our trusty and beloved brother Wm H McCaughey has been regularily innitiated passed and voiced to the sublime degree of a master Mason and is now a member of Ohio Lodge No. 101

Witness the seal of Said Lodge this 13th

day of October AL 5842 A.D. 1842.

[Signed] James W. Clemens

[Seal]                                    [Signed] Geo. W. Sights Secty
[Signed] Wm H. McCaughey

William McCaughey came to Louisiana sometime before 3 December 1846 when he married Frances Pratt. He was admitted to Baton Rouge Lodge #47 of the Masons on 
4 November 1848.
Wm. H. McCaughey Masonic document 1848, belletisdale.blogspot.com

Original Masonic document granting Demit to William H. McCaughey, dated 4 Nov 1848, signed by B. F. Tisdale. 8” x 16" grey paper folded in half, then folded to 3" x 5" with address center back, manuscript ink. Original in possession of V. B. Zimmerman.
Transcribed exactly as written.

St. James Lodge No. 47
Baton Rouge Nov 4th 1848

To All Free and Accepted
Masons throughout the World
                                                          Our Worthy Brother
William H. McCaughey, having made a written application to this L. for a Demit, and his dues to the Same being all paid, the Said Demit was Granted him unanimously in Open Lodge the day and date above Written.

In testimony whereof I have            
placed my Official Signature          
and affixed the Seal of the             
L .. to this instrument of Demitment
[Seal of St. James Lodge]
[Signed] B. F. Tisdale
Secretary St. James
L.-. No. 47.

Center Back:
W. H. McCaughey Esq

On 26 March 1850 William McCaughey died of consumption. The family had funeral notices printed as was the custom at the time. Photocopy, 5" x 7 1/2". Original location unknown.

McCaughey Funeral Announcement, belletisdale.blogspot.com
William McCaughey Funeral Notice 1850

The final McCaughey Masonic document is a letter of condolence to his widow with the resolutions passed at the March 27, 1850 sitting of St. James Lodge.  10" x 16" grey paper with watermark, folded in half with the letter on the first page and resolutions on the third page. Manuscript ink, faded and difficult to read. Original in possession of V. B. Zimmerman. Transcribed as written with brackets to indicate illegible writing.

Baton Rouge March 28/50
Mrs Wm H. Mc Caughey
                  Baton Rouge

                                At the request of St. James Lodge No 47 - I have the honor to hand you herewith, the Resolutions passed by [him? or tm for them?] at the sitting of the 27th Inst, In token of respect for the memory of our departed Brother:
I remain with much respect
Your obedient Servant,
[signed] Eugene Lanoue
St. James L: M 47


           Whereas it has pleased Almighty God, in the dispensation of his all wise providence to take from us by Death, our Worthy & beloved Brother Wm H. Mc Caughey in the       year of his life.
           Therefore be it Resolved:
That in the death of Bro: William H. McCaughey, we have lost a worthy Brother and this community a good citizen.
           Resolved that whilst we bow to the decree of Divine Providence, yet we Sincerely deplore the loss of Bro. Wm H. Mc Caughey & deeply sympathize with his family in their bereavement & tender them our heartfelt condolence for their loss.
           Resolved that in token of respect for the memory of the Deceased, this Lodge & its furniture be clothed in Mourning for the space of 30 days.
           Resolved that a copy of these resolutions be furnished to the Widow of the deceased and published in the papers of this City.
[signed] Eugene Lanoue
of St. James L: No 47
St. James Lodge No. 47
Baton Rouge March 27, 1850

"William McCoy" is listed in the 1850 U. S. Census Mortality Schedule and in the population schedule his widow Frances and one year old daughter Bernice are listed as living with her parents, William and Bernice Pratt. Their surname is given as "McCoy." Until I saw that census it never occurred to me that McCaughey could be pronounced as McCoy. The family always pronounced it McCoffee.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bernice Hackley Connely and William Henry Pratt

Bernice and William Pratt, belletisdale.blogspot.com

Bernice Connely, belletisdale.blogspot.com
Bernice Hackley Connely (1807 - 1890)

William Henry Pratt, belletisdale.blogspot.com
William Henry Pratt (1802 - 1880)
Belle Tisdale's photo collection spans the period from 1840 to 1930 and includes examples of every type of photography from early Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, and Tintypes to Cartes de Visite, Cabinet Cards, and Kodak roll film prints. The pictured hinged case contains Daguerreotypes of Belle's maternal grand parents, Bernice Hackley Connely and William Henry Pratt. From the case and mat style as well as the clothing, we can estimate that they sat for their portraits in the early 1840s.

We know that Bernice and William Pratt were both born in Scott County, Kentucky, he in 1802 and she in 1807. They married there on 7 April 1824 and their first two children, Frances and James, were born in Kentucky in 1825 and 1828. The next three children, Marion Franklin in 1832, Eliza Helen in 1837, and Valerie Catherine in 1839, were born in Arkansas. Family sources say they were living in Chicot County, Arkansas, when Belle's mother Eliza was born. We do know that William Pratt filed a Cash Entry Permit in Helena, Arkansas, on 58.11 acres of land on 24 April 1838 according to Bureau of Land Management records. By 1840 the family was back in Kentucky and they appear in the 1840 census living in Scott County. The household includes 13 persons, 8 free white and 5 slaves. In April 1842 their sixth child, Susan May Pratt was born, and in January 1845 their seventh, Albina Sarah was born, both in Kentucky. By 1844 William Henry is in Louisiana. Perhaps Bernice remained in Kentucky with the children while William Henry Pratt traveled down the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge sometime. By 2 March 1847 she is in Louisiana and gave birth to their son Joel Eugene Pratt in Baton Rouge. 

William Henry Pratt first shows up Baton Rouge records in 1844 with James McHatton, also of Kentucky, as lessees of the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Baton Rouge.

“The first five-year lease of the penitentiary went to James McHatton and William Pratt, who paid almost nothing for the privilege. McHatton and Pratt advanced $15,000 to the state as surety for the state's purchase and installation of textile machinery in the prison, so that prisoners could manufacture rope, pack cloth, and cotton and woolen fabric. They also paid $2,200 annually for the services of a clerk, chaplain and prison doctor.”
(Matthew J. Mancini, "Convict Leasing," on KnowLA, The Online Encyclopedia of Louisiana, edited by David Johnson, <www.knowla.org>. More information in his book “One Dies, Get Another: Convict Leasing in the American South, 1866-1928, University of South Carolina Press, 1996)

In a typed letter from Belle's cousin Kate Craig Couturie to her cousin Will in 1904, Kate writes:
“Grandfather and Grandmother Pratt came from Ky. and owned property in Baton Rouge town and lived there first. Grandfather was lessee of the penetentiary. In 1853 they moved out onto the Plantation five miles east of Baton Rouge on account of the yellow fever which was very bad that year....He furnished the penetentiary with all its wood and made quite a good deal of money. He was one of the Superintendents (if not the only or principal one) of the building of the State Capital at Baton Rouge...” (JPEG of photocopy emailed to the writer by cousin F. P. Tisdale, transcribed exactly as written, location of original unknown)

Construction of the Old State Capital, as it is known today, began in 1847. Baton Rouge became the state capital in 1849 and work continued on the interior of the building until 1852.

William Henry Pratt shows up in Louisiana records again in 1849 when the Louisiana Supreme Court hears his appeal in the case of William Pratt vs. James A. McHatton, Charles G. McHatton, and George W. Ward. The original suit was brought for the liquidation of their partnership, “which continued from 1844, until October, 1849.” A lower court had found that William Pratt owed the other partners a large sum of money and he appealed the decision. The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of William Pratt and remanded the case to the lower court for a new trial. (Louisiana Reports: Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Louisiana, Volume 62, Louisiana Supreme Court, Thomas H. Thorpe, Charles G. Gill, pages 250-255, Google Books)

On the 1850 census the Pratt family is living in Baton Rouge only five houses away from the State Penitentiary which was located in the middle of town. The family includes William and Bernice, their children James age 21, Marion age 18, Eliza age 13, Susan age 8, Albina age 5, and Eugene age 3. Eugene is the only child born in Louisiana. Also living with the family is their widowed daughter Frances McCoy age 24 and her daughter Bernice age 1. The census listing of the penitentiary ends on the same page as the Pratt family. The list includes 197 prisoners as well as William Pratt's former partners, lessees C. G. and James McHatton.