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  1. Our Kingsley Ancestors and Shays’s Rebellion

    August 29, 2015 by pmm

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    "Shays's Rebellion." The portraits of Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck, leaders of the Massachusetts "Regulators, from "Bickerstaff's Boston Almanack of 1787, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. via Wikimedia, public domain.

    “Shays’s Rebellion.” The portraits of Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck, leaders of the Massachusetts “Regulators,” from “Bickerstaff’s Boston Almanack of 1787, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. via Wikimedia, public domain.

    McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

    If you are a McMurray, Payne, or Burnell descendant, you might be interested to know that today, 29 August, is the anniversary of the beginning of Shays’s [sic] Rebellion.

    Dr. Edward A. McMurray, Dr. Herbert C. McMurray, and Maude Lynette “Midge” McMurray Cook  were the third-great grandchildren of Ebenezer Kingsley (1769-1855), and fourth-great grandchildren of Ebenezer’s father, Deacon Moses Kingsley (1744-1829), so you can figure your relationship from them.

    Ebenezer Kingsley and his father (and family) were living in Northampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, in 1786, the epicenter of Shays’s Rebellion. Northampton is in the western part of the state, which was very rural, with subsistence farming its primary economic base in the rolling hills of the valley. About 85% of the population was living on small farms in the backcountry in 1786, trying to eke out a spare living for their family.

    Connecticut Valley, MA_from History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Louis. H. Everts,1879, frontispiece, Vol II, via archive.org.

    Connecticut Valley, MA, from History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Louis. H. Everts, 1879, frontispiece, Vol II, via archive.org.

    So what was Shays’s Rebellion about, if you have forgotten high school history?

    First, a bit of background on the times:

    The Revolutionary War was over and the Articles of Confederation were the weak glue holding the thirteen ex-colonies together. The fledgling government did not have enough money to pay soldiers for their service or the promised bounties, so many returned home penniless, and in debt for their farms or businesses, whether it be a mortgage, supplies and livestock bought on credit, or taxes while they were off fighting for our freedom. Businesses were in great distress because of the disruption of commerce due to the war, plus they could not pay their bills since their customers could not make good on what they owed. There was no demand for labor since there was no money to pay workers, and the towns, states, and country were all in debt due to the war. The lost income to individuals, businesses, and thus tax revenues due to the war, overall must have been staggering, and triggered the first post-war depression of the new United States of America’s economy.

    The states and the federal government, of course, levied taxes to pay their debts, but the citizens did not have the money to pay. Some estimated that the state of Massachusetts had debt equal to almost $200 for every family in the state; they levied an additional property tax to pay this debt. Prior to the war, the barter system had been used as hard money was scarce, but the government would not take livestock or crops- if a farmer even had some to spare- in lieu of cash to pay taxes. The laws of the time required property to be seized from debtors, and unjustly allowed the first of the creditors to take all the property, not giving proportionate amounts to other creditors, who then would not be able to pay their own loans. Debtors were thrown into prison with felons, and “families left to want and poverty.”

    “Heavier than the people can bear” was the comment made by John Adams when describing the economic situation and tax burden of the people, even though he was normally a conservative.

    President John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand (1767-1845). via Wikimedia, public domain.

    President John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd president of the United States, by Asher B. Durand (1767-1845). via Wikimedia, public domain.

    Law-abiding citizens wrote petition after petition for relief to the state government in Boston, with no reply and no decrease in taxes.

    Our Kingsley ancestors would have felt this burden keenly, as it appears that they were not very well-to-do. The 1820 US Federal Census indicates that Moses Kingsley was still working in agriculture at age 76, and at least two of his sons, Ebenezer and Asahel, were also farmers.

    Describing Shay’s rebellion, the Gazetteer of Hampshire County, Mass., 1654-1887, states:

    “This uprising in Western Massachusetts against the authorities of the state, in 1786, was not, however, strickly [sic] speaking, a rebellion; that is, it was not prompted by any spirit of disloyalty, nor was it designed or plotted with the wish to overturn the government. It was the wild and lawless expression of discontent with harsh circumstances; the natural outbreak of those who were suffering and oppressed.

    … As the courts and lawyers were instrumental in the foreclosure of mortgages, the distraining [seizure to pay off debt] of personal property and the imprisonment of debtors, the popular outcry and rage was largely directed against the officials of law and justice.”

    An earlier mob outbreak had disturbed the court session in Northampton in April of 1782, when Ebenezer was just 13, and his father, Moses Kingsley, 38 years old and a pillar of his community. The mob leader was arrested, then broken out of jail in another city by his comrades, who were then arrested in Northampton. A mob came to Northampton demanding their release, which did occur. This must have been a scary time for the local population, though likely exciting to a 13 year old boy like Ebenezer Kingsley!

    Four years later, conventions were convened in the state to rectify these same problems in August of 1786. It was, however, too late: 1500 people mobbed the Northampton Courthouse  and grounds on August 29th to prevent any cases against debtors proceeding. Daniel Shays and Luke Day, both who served admirably in the Revolutionary War, became the leaders of the rebellion. (Many other rebels had served honorably in the Revolutionary War as well.) When peaceful means did not work, they issued a call to arms and violent protest by the citizenry, which did happen that fall in other towns. The rebels were able to stop courts before they could convict debtors, and moved from town to town, inciting revolt. They saw themselves as “Regulators,” trying to make taxation fair and reducing official corruption, not rebels.

    Fearful of the economic and possible political effects of this revolt, a private militia was raised by wealthy merchants and land owners, since the state of Massachusetts did not have the funds to pay a militia to put down the rebellion. Forty-five hundred men were enlisted, 1200 to be raised from Western Massachusetts in December.

    Ebenezer Kingsley was 18, his brother Asahel Kingsley (1771-1864) was 16, and brother Moses Kingsley (1772-1828) was 15 at this time- perhaps they participated in the militia, or possibly even in the rebellion? What if one felt the rebellion necessary, and another felt it important to put it down? Young men of that age are often eager to test their mettle in battle, and they had been just children during the Revolution so could not serve then. Their father Moses Kingsley was 44 and had become the 21st Deacon of First Church in Northampton. It must have been a difficult time for him- as a Deacon and a farmer himself, he likely would understand the pain of the people concerning their inability to pay their debts in such challenging economic times, yet as a man of the church he would want the law to be obeyed.

    As Shays’ men needed arms, they decided to attack the US Arsenal in Springfield, MA. They were stopped by the militia, and the “Shaysites” as they were called, retreated after 3 were killed and one severely wounded. The militia pursued the rebels up the hills in the snow and cold winds of a Massachusetts January, and rebels deserted the cause in droves; the rebellion was essentially over. Over four thousand men signed confessions of wrong-doing, and were required to swear an oath of allegiance to the state and those who governed.

    Elections brought a new, more responsive group into power and they placed a moratorium on debts collected by the state, plus cut taxes.

    Some have called Shays’s Rebellion the last battle of the Revolutionary War, as the citizens were rebelling against an elite group in far away (Boston) levying taxes that were much too high for the average person to pay. George Washington came out of retirement to help the government determine what to do about the rebels, and he went on to become President in 1789. The Rebellion revealed the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation, thus a Constitutional Convention was convened, resulting in the Constitution we still use today.

    Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution. via Wikipedia, public domain.

    Washington at Constitutional Convention of 1787, signing of U.S. Constitution. via Wikipedia, public domain.

    Thomas Jefferson, French Ambassador at the time, was not concerned that Shays’s Rebellion would destroy the new country he had worked so hard to build. One of his most famous quotes comes from a letter he wrote about Shays’s Rebellion: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.” [fertilizer]

    Hopefully, the positive political aftermath of Shays’s Rebellion helped our Kingsley ancestors in their pursuit of liberty, success, and happiness.

     

    Notes, Sources, and References: 

    1. Gazetteer of Hampshire County, Mass., 1654-1887, page 100, via Archive.org. https://archive.org/stream/gazetteerofhamps00ingayw#page/n113/mode/2up
    2. Shays’s Rebellion: The American Revolution’s Final Battle, by Leonard L. Richards, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.
    3. 1820 US Federal Census for Moses Kingsley in Hampshire, Massachusetts: Detail: Year: 1820; Census Place: Hampshire, Massachusetts; Roll: M33_50, via Ancestry.com.
    4. Further research into the newspapers of the time in Northampton, researching court documents that might include a confessions, diaries, militia lists, etc., might give us more insight into exactly how the Kingsley family fit into Northampton in 1786, and how they were affected by Shays’s Rebellion.

     

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    We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
     

    Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

    Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
     
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  2. Workday Wednesday: Jefferson Springsteen in 1848- Trunk Maker

    August 26, 2015 by pmm

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    Jefferson Springsteen in 1848 Brooklyn City Directory

    Jefferson Springsteen in 1848 Brooklyn City Directory and Annual Advertiser for the Years 1848-9, comp. by Thomas P. Teale, pub. by E.B. Spooner, Brooklyn, NY, 1848, via InternetAchive.org.

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

    In 1848 in Brooklyn, New York, Jeff Springsteen was a trunk maker, per the above city directory listing.

    People in the mid 1800s did not have a stack of suitcases like we do today. They used a small valise or carpet bag for quick trips, or if they only had one set of clothes. (That is all some folks had.) If they were moving or going somewhere for a time- which they often did since travel took more time just to get to a place- they would use trunks. Women’s clothing was so big with the long skirts and hoops and other undergarments, etc.- they would never fit into today’s suitcases! Additionally, many persons dressed for dinner or the theatre, so would need multiple changes of clothes. All of a person’s worldly goods might be in one trunk as they migrated to a new town or state; large trunks were therefore essential.

    Saratoga Trunk

    A barrel-stave Saratoga trunk with protective metal banding on each of the oak slats, via Wikipedia; public domain.

    Trunks were actually manufactured in a number of sizes, including the large ones we see today in antique shops. Smaller ones were important too, but all trunks were sturdy and provided protection for the goods inside- especially important when traveling by wagon or stagecoach.

    Trunks often had elaborate interiors- some with lithographs pasted inside the lid. There would be many compartments in some trunks, so that hats would not be crushed, highly starched collars would stay round, contents would be organized since one might be living out of the trunk for a while, and the contents would not jostle as much over the bumpy roads of the mid-1800s.

    tray compartments of the Saratoga trunk

    The complete tray compartments of the Saratoga trunk above, via Wikipedia; public domain. (Click to enlarge.)

    Compartments could include hat and shirt boxes, a compartment for documents, a coin box, and even secret compartments for valuables.

    Saratoga trunks were some of the most common pre-1870 trunks. Perhaps Jeff Springsteen helped to build them? And maybe this ad in a later city directory (1850) was the company Jeff worked for in 1848.

    Trunk Manufacturer Advertisement in Hearnes Brooklyn City Directory for 1850-1851

    Trunk Manufacturer Advertisement in Hearnes Brooklyn City Directory for 1850-1851, Brooklyn, NY, pub by H.R. and W.J. Hearne; via InternetArchive.org. (Click to enlarge.)

    Jefferson Springsteen seems like a pretty down-to-earth man from what I know about him, and the city directory did use the simple term ‘trunk maker’ for his occupation. In fancier circles or on the continent (Europe), one who made trunks was known as a “malletier“- literally ‘trunk maker’ in French.

    Tools of a Malletier

    Tools of a Malletier, from Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des métiers et des arts, Denis Diderot (1713-1784) and Jean Le Rond d’Alembert, via Wikipedia; public domain. (Click to enlarge.)

    Above are some of the tools used in the late 1700s to make trunks, but they were likely the same used by Jeff Springsteen in his daily work. A pine box would have been constructed per the size of trunk needed, and then sturdy and/or decorative materials would have been glued or nailed to the outside and inside. Many types of hardware would have been used for hinges and handles, and hardwood or metal slats may have ringed the trunk to help hold it together. Just think of all the old westerns with trunks flying off the stagecoach when they hit a rock- obviously, trunks had to protect their contents well!

    Prior to 1854, all trunks had rounded tops, so that water would run off of them when transported outside on a stagecoach or wagon. Unfortunately, this shape kept them from being stacked. Louis Vuitton, who some may have heard of, was the first malletier to make a flat-topped trunk, and it was lightweight as it was made of canvas; it was airtight too. Louis Vuitton has remained the most popular luggage maker in the world since this design debut in 1854. (LV is probably the most copied, as well.)

    It would be interesting to know more about Jeff’s job as a trunk maker. Likely the workers only did one or a few parts of a trunk, repeating it for the next so they could specialize in that part of the manufacturing. Jeff worked later as a painter in Indianapolis, and although he made his living painting houses, he also painted landscapes, etc. for his family. This might be a clue as to his part of making a trunk- he may have applied the lithograph, painted borders, etc. to make the trunk as beautiful as it was useful.

     

     

    Notes, Sources, and References: 

    1) Jefferson Springsteen in 1848: Brooklyn City Directory and Annual Advertiser for the Years 1848-9, comp. by Thomas P. Teale, pub. by E.B. Spooner, Brooklyn, NY, 1848, via InternetAchive.org.

    2) Trunk Manufacturer Advertisement in Hearnes Brooklyn City Directory for 1850-1851, Brooklyn, NY, pub by H.R. and W.J. Hearne; via InternetArchive.org.

    3) Wikipedia articles:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malletier

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trunk_(luggage)

     

    Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

    We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
     

    Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

    Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
     
    Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
     
    Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.

    Mappy Monday- The Springsteens in Brooklyn, NY, 1848-9

    Mappy Monday- The Springsteens in Brooklyn, NY, 1848-9

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree) Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909) and his wife, Anna Connor (1824-1887), are hard to trace in their early lives. Both have fairly common surnames-especially Anna, with a common first name too. Anna was born in Ireland thus was an immigrant; the names of her parents are unknown, increasing the difficulty. Both Jefferson and […]

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    Gridded notepaper pinned to front page: Mary died Jan. 6th, 1928 Ind. In her 82nd year At her sons. 2331- N. New Jersey St. Indianapolis Ind. [Mary Elizabeth Springsteen Beckwith, Anna Beerbower & Edgar Springsteen’s daughter (b. 1846); married to Joseph E. Beckwith (1844-1922).]   Abram F. Springsteen Died Jun 20th 1930. In his 80th year Santille Calif- [Abram Furman Springsteen, brother […]

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    This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

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    This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

    Transcription: Marriages Family Record    Edgar Beerbower To Anna M. Springsteen Feb. 12 1873 at 117 Spring St. Indianapolis Ind By Rev. Hanford A. Edson [Bible owners.]   Anna May Beerbower Gerard W. Helbling Thanksgiving Nov 24-04 St. Alphonsus (Rock Church) 8 a.m. Rev. Father T. Clark [Daughter of Anna Missouri and Edgar P. Beerbower, on Nov […]

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    This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Abram F. Springsteen

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  3. Mappy Monday- The Springsteens in Brooklyn, NY, 1848-9

    August 24, 2015 by pmm

    image_pdfimage_print
    Jefferson Springsteen in 1848 Brooklyn City Directory

    Jefferson Springsteen in 1848 Brooklyn City Directory and Annual Advertiser for the Years 1848-9, page 213, comp. by Thomas P. Teale, pub. by E.B. Spooner, Brooklyn, NY, 1848, via InternetAchive.org. (Click to enlarge.)

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

    Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909) and his wife, Anna Connor (1824-1887), are hard to trace in their early lives. Both have fairly common surnames-especially Anna, with a common first name too. Anna was born in Ireland thus was an immigrant; the names of her parents are unknown, increasing the difficulty. Both Jefferson and his family apparently moved about in the northeast (New York, New Jersey) until they settled in Indianapolis in the early 1850s.

    Brooklyn city directories are now available online for many years, and I finally found an entry for Jeff, with his last name listed as “Springstan” which was a new variation to me.

    This city directory states that Jefferson lived at “116 Hudson av” in Brooklyn, NY in 1848. The first thing I do when I know an address is look it up on Google Maps, to get an idea of the area.

    [Above, embedded GoogleMap from https://www.google.com/maps/place/116+Hudson+Ave,+Brooklyn,+NY+11201/@40.7045616,-74.0165205,12777m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c25bcd6e88e27d:0xfb6d025aa4780125?hl=en-US]

    If there is a house there, I check Zillow.com (or local property tax records) to see when the house was built. (In some instances, it is the same house that our ancestor lived in!) A search showed 116 Hudson (which runs basically N-S) to be between the blocks of Marshall and John St., south of the East River and west of the Navy Yard. Looking at the Street View, it shows an industrial area- definitely the house is long gone. The house would have been a long block from the river to the north, and the same to the Navy Yard. It probably was not a very glamorous area, being so close to the river, even back in 1848 when the Springsteens lived there.

    The next thing to do is look for a map printed close to the date of interest- in this case, 1848. Unfortunately, some of those maps that are online just are not readable when enlarged, so they did not help much. I did find a map drawn in 1865. A lot changed in Brooklyn between 1848 and 1865- the population boomed- but the map is still better than a current day map to give us a feel for the number of roads and where they went.

    1866 Johnson Map of New York City and Brooklyn, NY

    Section of 1866 Johnson Map of New York City and Brooklyn, NY, via Wikipedia; see below for source. Public domain. (Click to enlarge.)

    Hudson Avenue is in the pink section to the left of the Navy Yard. Hudson Avenue continues to the river, where the Hudson Ferry docked and transported customers across. New York ferries were the first real mass transit in the US. Brooklyn and New Jersey had become ‘suburbs’ of New York, with over 60,000 of those who had been born in NYC moving there, and they needed a way to get to work. The East River ferries carried even more passengers per day than those that crossed the Hudson (to New Jersey). Every 5-10 minutes one of six ferries would begin an East River crossing, with a total of 1,250 crossings per day. The fare was a penny, and they no longer accepted wampum as the earliest ferries had done. The ferries were probably steamboats, which Robert Fulton, an owner of a ferryboat, had invented in 1807. He used a center paddlewheel boat so it would not require a large space in which to turn around; this made getting on to the next trip faster as well.

    I wonder how many time Jeff and Anna Springsteen travelled on the Hudson Ferry?

    By the mid-1850s, slightly after Jeff and his family left Brooklyn, it had become large enough to be the third most populous city in America. So they lived there during quite  a boom time.

    There is a wonderful website full of (copyrighted) images called “Whitman’s Brooklyn- A virtual visit circa 1850.” It has wonderful 3D maps and images from the years when Walt Whitman, America’s poet, lived in Brooklyn. Taking a look at the images will give insight into what life might have been like for Jefferson and Anna and their five children who were born in Brooklyn between 1844 and 1852. (Four more were born after the move to Indianapolis, Indiana.)

     

    Notes, Sources, and References: 

    1) Brooklyn City Map: Google Maps at https://www.google.com/maps/place/116+Hudson+Ave,+Brooklyn,+NY+11201/@40.7032041,-73.980758,17z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x89c25bcd6e88e27d:0xfb6d025aa4780125

    2) “The Twin Cities of Brooklyn and New York in 1866” by Alvin Jewett Johnson – Johnson, A. J., Johnson’s New Illustrated Family Atlas. (1866 Johnson Edition) This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by Geographicus Rare Antique Maps, a specialist dealer in rare maps and other cartography of the 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, as part of a cooperation project.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brooklyn#/media/File:1866_Johnson_Map_of_New_York_City_and_Brooklyn_-_Geographicus_-_NewYorkCity2-johnson-1866.jpg

    3) NY Harbor History: A Glance Back in Time: http://www.baycrossings.com/dispnews.php?id=1006

    4) Whitman’s Brooklyn- A Virtual Visit Circa 1850: http://whitmans-brooklyn.org/

     

    Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

    We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
     

    Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

    Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
     
    Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
     
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    Workday Wednesday: Jefferson Springsteen in 1848- Trunk Maker

    Workday Wednesday: Jefferson Springsteen in 1848- Trunk Maker

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree) In 1848 in Brooklyn, New York, Jeff Springsteen was a trunk maker, per the above city directory listing. People in the mid 1800s did not have a stack of suitcases like we do today. They used a small valise or carpet bag for quick trips, or if they only had one […]

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    Shopping Saturday: Springsteens Keeping the Lights On in 1845

    Shopping Saturday: Springsteens Keeping the Lights On in 1845

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree) Twenty years ago, keeping the lights on was as simple as flipping a switch, and our shopping Saturday dilemma was whether to get soft white or bright white lightbulbs, and which wattage. Today it is more complicated, with rows of incandescent, halogen, LED, Edison, and other types of lightbulbs lining […]

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    Workday Wednesday: City Directories for Social History

    Workday Wednesday: City Directories for Social History

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree) Although the architects Gamaliel King & John Kellum are not related to us, I found this ad when going page by page through the city directory, looking for Jefferson and Anna Springsteen. I knew the Springsteens were in Brooklyn in the 1840s and 1850s, but wanted to pinpoint the years and learn more about […]

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    Sentimental Sunday: Family Artifacts From the Moon???

    No, we sadly don’t have any family artifacts from the moon, but Neil Armstrong’s family does. See the article here about the treasures his widow found stashed in a closet. (See also the Buzz Aldrin video- he is a national hero, now in more ways than one.) Our more mundane family treasures may not have been […]

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    This entry is part 6 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

    Gridded notepaper in with New Testament Front sheet: Charlie Springsteen Died June 11 1930 St. Joe Mo- [Brother of Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower.]   Kate died Nov 2nd 1931 St. Joe Mo [Katherine O’Neil, b. 1857, wife of Charlie Springsteen, Anna May Springsteen Beerbower’s brother.]   Robert E. Springsteen Died Mch 4th Monday-     1931 Indianapolis Ind. […]

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    This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

    Gridded notepaper pinned to front page: Mary died Jan. 6th, 1928 Ind. In her 82nd year At her sons. 2331- N. New Jersey St. Indianapolis Ind. [Mary Elizabeth Springsteen Beckwith, Anna Beerbower & Edgar Springsteen’s daughter (b. 1846); married to Joseph E. Beckwith (1844-1922).]   Abram F. Springsteen Died Jun 20th 1930. In his 80th year Santille Calif- [Abram Furman Springsteen, brother […]

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    Beerbower Family Bible- Deaths

    This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

      Family Record Died [Handwritten] Mary Emma Beerbower June 29th 1880 Aged 9 weeks, 5 days Brightwood, Ind. [Anna Missouri & Edgar P. Beerbower’s daughter born April 22, 1880.]   Mrs. Anna Springsteen April 17 1887 aged 64 years Cairo Ill [Anna Missouri’s mother, Anna Conner, wife of Jefferson Springsteen. Died while staying with her daughter […]

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    Beerbower Family Bible- Marriages

    This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

    Transcription: Marriages Family Record    Edgar Beerbower To Anna M. Springsteen Feb. 12 1873 at 117 Spring St. Indianapolis Ind By Rev. Hanford A. Edson [Bible owners.]   Anna May Beerbower Gerard W. Helbling Thanksgiving Nov 24-04 St. Alphonsus (Rock Church) 8 a.m. Rev. Father T. Clark [Daughter of Anna Missouri and Edgar P. Beerbower, on Nov […]

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    Beerbower Family Bible- Christenings

    This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

        Family Record [Christenings] Robbie  Eddie   May- BeerbowerUrbana Ill Baptized Sep 1883 Griggs House by Rev.Miller Methodist M- [Robert Warson (b. 1874), Edgar (b. 1876), and (Anna) May (b. 1881), children of Anna Missouri and Edgar P.]   Anna M. Beerbower Baptized Nov 1st 1885 By Rev McNutt. Presbyterian M. [Probably Anna Missouri Springsteen Beerbower, […]

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    Beerbower Family Bible- Births

    “Jany 19 -74” may indicate that Anna Missouri (Springsteen) Beerbower began recording family events in the bible received from her father on that date. We also know that any dates that occurred before the date of presentation, 31 December 1873, may be subject to error, although most information has been verified with a few exceptions that will […]

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    Beerbower Family Bible-Dec. 31st, 1873

    Beerbower Family Bible-Dec. 31st, 1873
    This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series Beerbower Family Bible

    The year 1866 must have been a year of a big collective sigh in what was again a United States of America. The strife of the Civil War was behind the country, although the personal, physical, financial, and emotional wounds still festered; they would heal some with time. The Beerbower family bible was printed that year, but we […]

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    Funeral Card Friday: Jefferson Springsteen
    This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Jefferson Springsteen's Obituary

    Sadly, we do not have funeral cards for Jefferson Springsteen in our family, but there were a few death and funeral notices published in the newspaper for him, including one in the Washington DC newspaper. (Jeff’s son, Abram F. Springsteen, was celebrated as the youngest drummer boy in the Civil War in Indiana, and he […]

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    This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Jefferson Springsteen's Obituary

    Indianapolis in 1835 was a small village with just a few houses on South Illinois Street when Jefferson Springsteen arrived. He was probably on his own after being with the circus, and still a young teen. “Before he was 16 years of age he was a government mail carrier with a route extending from lndianapolis […]

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    Wishful Wednesday: Jefferson Springsteen was “Lured by the Sawdust Ring…”
    This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Jefferson Springsteen's Obituary

    One never knows what lurks in the dark back corners of closets. I had been tracing our family history for years and was stuck at my great-great grandfather, Jefferson Springsteen. I had searched far and wide (in the days before internet genealogy) without success in learning much more than his name and a few dates- […]

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    Sentimental Sunday- Little Houses on the Prairie

    Sentimental Sunday- Little Houses on the Prairie

    September 11, 2014, among other things, was the 40th anniversary of the television premiere of, “Little House on the Prairie” which was based on the beloved books of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The books were favorites of mine as a child- I would check out one after the other at the school library and the public library, devouring […]

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    This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Abram F. Springsteen

    So what does one do when their military career is over at age 15? Abram Furman Springsteen returned to Indianapolis to attend a private school after the Civil War. He later worked as a brickmason in Indianapolis after learning the trade from his uncle, also named Abram Springsteen (1825-1895). Abram F. also worked as a clerk […]

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    This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Abram F. Springsteen

    Family stories become a part of one’s being if one listens closely. Growing up, I always heard the story of Abram Springsteen, “the youngest drummer boy of the Civil War.” Mary T. Helbling remembered going to the museum in Indianapolis, and said his portrait was there, with the same claim. She was just 14 and had gone to […]

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      It was July 2, 1776 in hot Philadelphia, and a group of delegates to the Second Continental Congress had just committed a treasonous act- they had declared their thirteen American colonies as sovereign states, independent of Great Britain. That treasonous act included a unanimous vote for independence, using a document that had been drafted by a […]

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    Mystery Monday-Helbling or Springsteen Woman and Child

    This beautiful image was in with photos of the Helbling and Springsteen family. Looking at other images we have, I think this may be Mary Theresa (Knipshield) Helbling, with one of her children. Facial features are similar, and note the size of her hands in both pictures- very large.  She may even be wearing the […]

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    Telling the family stories is a wonderful legacy to pass on to your children. But I can’t find ANYTHING about my ancestor ANYWHERE… Don’t know much about the actual stories of the lives of your ancestors? There are many resources available, both online and at specific places that can help you piece together a life […]

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    Laura May Longfellow was born about 1853 in Ohio to Jane (maiden name unknown, b. 1831) and George W. Longfellow (1817-1893). The family is found in the US Federal Censuses in Kankakee, Illinois in 1860, and in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1870. In both censuses, her father is listed as a Hotel Keeper and her mother a […]

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  4. Shopping Saturday: Springsteens Keeping the Lights On in 1845

    August 22, 2015 by pmm

    image_pdfimage_print
    1845 Candles Advertisement, page 20, Doggets New York City Directory via archive.org

    1845 Candles Advertisement, page 20, Doggets New York City Directory via archive.org. (Click to enlarge.)

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

    Twenty years ago, keeping the lights on was as simple as flipping a switch, and our shopping Saturday dilemma was whether to get soft white or bright white lightbulbs, and which wattage. Today it is more complicated, with rows of incandescent, halogen, LED, Edison, and other types of lightbulbs lining store shelves, with a myriad variety of bases. (More technology= simpler lifestyle??)

    Keeping the lights on was complicated for our ancestors, too. Jefferson and Anna Connor Springsteen, living in Brooklyn, NY in 1845, did not have the luxury of flipping a switch, but had to deal with oil for lamps and candles, as well as wood for stoves/fireplaces which would also provide a little light. No wonder families tended to get up at dawn and go to bed when it got dark- you could save a lot of money by buying less oil and candles! For those on the frontier, where goods and stores were scarce, making their own or doing without was the only way they could survive.

    Oil lamps have been used since ancient times, with a variety of oils used as fuel. Candles have been made from a variety of substances throughout the years as well. Beeswax candles are considered to be the very best, however they are also very expensive since bees make such a small amount of wax for each hive- they could never keep up with the booming American economy that was ten times as large in 1860 as it had been in 1800. In 1858, kerosene began to take the place of animal-based oils in lamps, and paraffin began to be used for candles. Paraffin was inexpensive, burned cleanly and without odor, but melted easily. Once stearin was discovered, it was added to candles and raised the melting point, so they would not soften in hot weather or warm buildings.

    Whale oil lamp of the 18th/20th century. Photographed at Dithmarscher Landesmuseum Meldorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Iron with cotton wicker.via Wikipedia, CC License.

    Whale oil lamp of the 18th/20th century. Photographed at Dithmarscher Landesmuseum Meldorf, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. Iron with cotton wicker.via Wikipedia, CC License.

    Sperm Oil and Candles

    Living in the northeast in a port city and so close to the ocean, the Springsteens would have had easy access to oil from whales. Whaling provided a lot of products in the early 1800s, including oil, which was used for lamps, making candles, as a lubricant for machinery including the booming railroads’ rolling stock; locomotive headlights used whale oil too. Sperm whale oil was used for light, fast-moving machinery, such as that in the cotton mills. Heavier whale oil, derived from a number of species, would be used in the heavy machinery like locomotive engines.

    Whalers would boil the blubber from a whale to create oil, put it in casks and it would be sold around the country for lubricants and illumination, as well as for use in the manufacture of soaps, varnish, and paints. Spermaceti, a waxy oil from the head of the whale (it was used for buoyancy and echolocation by the whale), was the most valuable of the whale oils. Over 500 gallons of spermaceti oil could be harvested from just one sperm whale. Because of its waxy properties, it made what was considered the finest candle, which had a very bright and clear flame, good for reading, and these candles did not emit a lot of smoke. Spermaceti oil also was used as a lubricant in precision machinery- thus some say that whaling is what drove the success of American industry in the 1800s.

    Sperm oil would make brown candles if used naturally, but was often bleached to make a pure white candle- more elegant but of course more expensive. Around 1800, sperm candles cost three times the price of tallow candles. Tallow candles were made of the fat of sheep and cattle, and were made at home by many families. They burned unevenly, their light was not as bright as sperm candles, and in hot weather, tallow candles would collapse once they softened. Tallow candles also had a very unpleasant odor when burned. Tallow could be used as a lubricant, as well.

    Lard Oil

    In the 1800s, the American diet consisted of a very high proportion of meats. This meant that there was an abundant supply of lard from slaughterhouses. Lard, while used in pie crusts and other edible goods, was also made into lamp oil. It was inexpensive because it was an animal byproduct, but the quality was poor. It required a higher temperature for burning and didn’t flow well as the fats tended to congeal in a lamp, especially when ambient temperatures were low.

    Early/mid 19th century height adjustable pendant oil lamp. Brass fixtures, painted glass shade. Chain and counterweight allow it to raised and lowered. Now used as paraffin lamp; originally probably intended to be fueled with whale oil.via Wikipedia, CC License.

    Early/mid 19th century height adjustable pendant oil lamp. Brass fixtures, painted glass shade. Chain and counterweight allow it to raised and lowered. Now used as paraffin lamp; originally probably intended to be fueled with whale oil. Wikimedia Commons, CC License.

    Adamantine Candles

    Stearic acid, derived from animal fats, was added to wax to make adamantine candles. The stearic acid hardened the candle, making them less apt to melt in hot weather.

    Elephant Oil

    Likely ‘sea elephants’ or elephant seal oil. These large animals found on the Pacific coast were also used for lamp oil in the 1800s. A large bull could yield 210 gallons of oil made from their blubber, and these animals were hunted to what was thought was extinction. Eight individuals were found in 1892 when the Smithsonian expedition killed seven of them for their collection; amazingly the population survived and due to legal protection, colonies now thrive.

    "Breeding colony of Mirounga angustirostris"[elephant seals] by Brocken Inaglory - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Breeding_colony_of_Mirounga_angustirostris.jpg#/media/File:Breeding_colony_of_Mirounga_angustirostris.jpg

    “Breeding colony of Mirounga angustirostris”[elephant seals] by Brocken Inaglory – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Breeding_colony_of_Mirounga_angustirostris.jpg#/media/File:Breeding_colony_of_Mirounga_angustirostris.jpg

    Kid Oil

    Possibly from young goats? No information found on this oil.

    Oil Soap

    A candle-maker was called a “chandler.” Chandlers used raw products such as whale oil and tallow to produce a variety of products, from candles and oils to soaps, sauces, paints, and varnishes.

     

    Notes, Sources, and References:

    1) A variety of websites were sources of information in this article:

    http://history1800s.about.com/od/whaling/f/whaleproducts01.htm

    In Pursuit of Leviathan: Technology, Institutions, Productivity, and Profits …

     By Lance E. Davis, Robert E. Gallman, Karin Gleite

    https://books.google.com/books?id=xsk0AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA250&lpg=PA250&dq=elephant+oil+lamp+history&source=bl&ots=drfty9OSkJ&sig=iqyy7oZeSZh1QrpHpO5wSP-JUXg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CF0Q6AEwEGoVChMIwcbB6uq6xwIVyVg-Ch1FTg1V#v=onepage&q=elephant%20oil%20lamp%20history&f=false, page 250

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_candle_making

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerosene_lamp

    https://historyweaver.wordpress.com/2009/07/16/lighting-the-way/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spermaceti

     

    Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images.

    We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
     

    Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

    Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
     
    Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
     
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  5. Workday Wednesday: City Directories for Social History

    August 19, 2015 by pmm

    image_pdfimage_print
    King & Kellum, Architects, Ad, Brooklyn, NY. From Hearnes Brooklyn City Directory for 1850-1851 via InternetArchive.

    King & Kellum, Architects, Ad, Brooklyn, NY. From Hearnes Brooklyn City Directory for 1850-1851 via InternetArchive.org.

    Springsteen Family (Click for Family Tree)

    Although the architects Gamaliel King & John Kellum are not related to us, I found this ad when going page by page through the city directory, looking for Jefferson and Anna Springsteen. I knew the Springsteens were in Brooklyn in the 1840s and 1850s, but wanted to pinpoint the years and learn more about that time. I also wanted to verify Jeff’s occupation, as I had found that he had a restaurant at the Brooklyn fish market.

    The Springsteens were not listed in the 1850-1851 Brooklyn City Directory, but I loved the above ad- this may have been what the home of their dreams looked like! Similar homes would have been found in the neighborhoods they travelled through, or possibly their own neighborhood- or they may even have lived in a house like this.

    Learning a bit about the place and time of your ancestors can often be done while browsing a resource, such as a city directory. Oftentimes, researchers will look for a name, find it or not, and move on to the next resource. Because when I found Jefferson in some of the directories his name was spelled much differently than I have seen previously (spelling creativity ruled back then!), I searched mostly page-by-page through the directories I used on InternetArchive.org. As I paged through, however, I saw delightful advertisements such as this architect’s ad, data on population and transportation, and city government information and office holders. The ads especially give a taste of what a typical workday may have been like for a resident- note the occupations which we no longer have. Some may even require a bit of research because the job is obscure to us in this high-tech century. One can also learn a bit about what a woman’s life was like- the vendors she may have used for food and household goods, what products were available to make her life easier, etc.

    So plan time to peruse a city directory or other resource- you may be surprised at what you find. You may find familiar names and learn of neighbors who moved to the next town with them, find siblings, children, or parents nearby, learn what occupation was followed (which can help differentiate those with the same name), and possibly even learn the name of a wife, which may be listed after her husband’s death- and that will also give you a clue as to when the husband died. Do be careful though, and read the actual entry- sometimes persons are listed after they died as an oversight, and I have even seen a directory list that a person had moved to __, so were not actually living in that town.

    At the very least, looking through a directory will give you a sense of the times your ancestor lived in, and the surrounding place. It will help you build a social history that contains your ancestor, and will make the stories you tell about an ancestor much more interesting.

    I will be posting more charming items from the Brooklyn City Directories of 1848-1851– and some that are downright frightening– in future posts.

     

    Notes, Sources, and References: 

    1) I did not find Jefferson and Anna in the 1850-1 city directory. They had probably moved on to Indiana by then.

    2)  The OCR/search engine on InternetArchive.org did not pick up the name in multiple Brooklyn city directories even when spelled exactly like it was found it in the directory. It definitely does not have a fuzzy search. (I am, however, really happy that these directories are available online!)

    3) City directories can have multiple sections, with each having its own numbering system. Brooklyn had an ‘east’ and ‘west’ section in the later directories, plus the city information had its own section and numbering sometimes, other times was listed as an appendix. So familiarize yourself with the layout of the directory and its sections- you might find some of them have more information that had not gotten picked up in a search.

    4) King & Kellum, Architects, Ad, Brooklyn, NY. From Hearnes Brooklyn City Directory for 1850-1851 via InternetArchive.org.

     

    Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image. Click to enlarge image.

    We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
     

    Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

    Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
     
    Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
     
    Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.