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Mystery Monday: A Relationship to Jonathan Edwards, Theologian?

Jonathan Edwards, Theologian (1703-1758), via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
Jonathan Edwards, Theologian (1703-1758), via Wikimedia Commons, public domain. (Click to enlarge.)

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

Deep into records and books of the mid- to late-1600s and the “Great Migration” of the English to America, the name ‘Jonathan Edwards’ kept surfacing. The name was already somewhat familiar from readings about later family members, as Jonathan was a British colonial theologian who influenced so many ministers and missionaries who came after him- and we have quite a few of those in the McMurray-Payne-Burnell lines. Additionally, many of our family members lived in the same area at the same time as Jonathan Edwards, and most listened to his sermons every Sunday during the 23 years of his church service in Northampton, Massachusetts. Since October 5 is the anniversary of Rev. Edwards’ birth (312 years ago!), it seemed a good time to learn more about this man.

I also found some Edwards surnames in our family around the same time and place- related? Possibly. People back then came in groups to America, and were often closely related, or else ‘cousins’ in a much looser meaning of the word than we now use. Research has not yet shown a definite connection, but there may still be one- possibly.  As an example of the families to sort out, family members and other researchers have listed Mehitebel EDWARDS (?-1716) as the spouse of John BURNELL (1696-1744). The Lynn, Essex, Massachusetts marriage records list them as “John BURNULL” and  “Mehitabel EDMONS” married 15 Jan 1716/7 with intention (to marry) filed previously. (Seeing Mehitebel’s possible birthdate, she would likely be a cousin of some degree to Jonathan if actually related.) No other records could be found for a Mehitebel Edwards, but there are records for the Edmons family, although she is not included.  We also have a Rachel EDWARDS in the family who married William POMEROY; she was born in 1785 in Chesterfield, Massachusetts, and died in the same county, Hampshire, in Williamsburg, in 1860, so geographically it is possible. We do not yet know her parents, who may be descendants of the great theologian. So more research is definitely needed on the ‘are we related to Jonathan Edwards?’ question.

There is, of course, also a possibility that there is no family relation at all.

Jonathan Edwards was still important to our family, whether or not genetically related, as he was preaching in places they lived. (Genealogy is not just about being related to ‘famous’ people but it is important to learn about them as they often influenced the non-famous folks and impacted their lives even on a daily basis.) Since religion was a part of the government pre- Revolution/Constitution, what Rev. Edwards said and wrote mattered. He is still considered to be one of the greatest thinkers of all time, definitely one of the greatest theologians, and his books and sermons continue to be published and read.

Jonathan Edwards was born in East Windsor, Connecticut, to Timothy Edwards (1668-1759) and Esther Stoddard , daughter of Rev. Solomon Stoddard; she was said to have ‘unusual mental gifts and independence of character.’ Jonathan was their only son, a middle child of 11 children, and education was important in the family- even the daughters were educated. Jonathan enrolled in Yale College just before he attained 13, graduated at 17, and in addition to spiritual matters, he was very interested in the natural world. Throughout his life he prayed and worshiped in the beauty of nature, rather than only inside a church. He also wrote papers on science topics, and felt that the wonders of science and nature were evidence of what was then called the ‘masterful design’ of God, (today called ‘intelligent design’); he felt science and nature therefore proved God’s wisdom and care for humans. Jonathan’s thinking was shaped by the ‘Age of Enlightenment’ (AKA ‘Age of Reason’) and he emphasized the aesthetic beauty of God, scripture, and the world in his writings and sermons.

Although Jonathan Edwards grew up in a Puritan household with strong Calvinist roots, he came to believe that personal religious experience was more important than doctrine and ritual. He served at a Presbyterian Church in New York City for eight months in 1722-3, became a tutor at Yale, and then was ordained as a minister on 15 February 1727 in Northampton, Massachusetts. His maternal grandfather, Rev. Solomon Stoddard, was pastor, and Jonathan became his assistant. Jonathan worked part-time as a pastor, but also studied 13 hours a day. He became a working pastor after the death of his grandfather about 2 years later, and served the Northampton Church for 23 years. Our Parsons, Strong, Edwards, Warner, Phelps, Pomeroy/Pomroy, Kingsley, Allis, Lyman, and other families who lived in Northampton during his tenure would have attended the church and listened to the sermons of Pastor Edwards.

The second and third generation of Puritans whose parents had migrated to the American British colonies as part of “The Great Migration” were not as pious as their elders. Secular influences such as politics and economics, plus the logic and reason espoused by Enlightenment writers, distracted some younger Puritans from religious obligations and a deep commitment to the church. There was also a decline in morals as a belief took hold that it was easier to get into Heaven than originally thought.

To counter this decline, in July of 1732 Edwards preached a sermon in Boston that declared how absolute was the sovereignty of God in deciding who would be saved by grace, and who would not; his sermon was published as, “God Glorified in the Work of Redemption, by the Greatness of Man’s Dependence upon Him, in the Whole of It.” Shortly thereafter, a revival of religion began in Northampton, a town with only about 200 families about this time. By the winter of 1734 and spring of 1735, the intensity and popularity of the revival actually hampered business in the town- in just 6 months over 300 persons had become new church members. (Some scholars estimate the rate of church attendance as 75-80% between 1700 and 1740.)

The revival spread throughout the Connecticut River Vally and as far as New Jersey. The camp meetings were emotional since Edwards spoke to the heart, and emphasized a personal experience with God and religion. Instead of the usual stern Congregational church decorum, at times listeners would moan, groan, and move about in the rapture of the moment in these great outdoor meetings. Some began to wonder, however, if followers were becoming fanatics. To add fuel to this turn of attitude, some members became convinced of their unavoidable damnation, and, it was believed, urged by Satan, they committed suicide, including Rev. Edward’s uncle, Joseph Hawley II. This dark side of the revivals effectively cooled the religious fervor, although, at the same time, the movement’s premises began to be known and appreciated in England and Scotland.

George Whitefield, a Calvinist British evangelist, came to the American colonies in 1740 and preached ideas similar to Edwards’; this time period and religious movement became known as “The Great Awakening.” Whitefield worked with Edwards and preached in Northampton, with Edwards weeping at the emotion of Whitfield’s discourse.  Whitefield also travelled around the colonies, including the Middle Colonies and Southern Colonies. He drew great crowds- 30,000 persons came to hear him in Boston alone, significantly increasing the number of persons influenced by “The Great Awakening.”

Jonathan Edwards preached his most famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” first to his own Northampton congregation. (Our ancestors probably heard it on a Sabbath in June, 1741.) He was then invited by a pastor to repeat the sermon on 08 July 1741 in Enfield, Connecticut. The Connecticut congregation had not been much affected by “The Great Awakening”- at least, not until this sermon.

08 July 1741 sermon of Jonathan Edwards: "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." via Wikipedia, public domain.
08 July 1741 sermon of Jonathan Edwards: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” via Wikipedia, public domain.

This most famous of Edwards’ sermons is still studied today. In it, he described in vivid detail the horrors of a very real Hell, and explained that humanity has a chance to rectify their sins and return to Christ, in order to avoid the torment of Satan through eternity. People in the audience interrupted his sermon many times, crying out, “What shall I do to be saved?”

Although seemingly a ‘fire and brimstone’ sermon, Jonathan Edwards did not need to sermonize in such a way- his parishioners were already quite familiar with that aspect of the Bible. Instead, he talked quietly to his audience, but with much emotion although he did not shout. He calmly laid out a series of logical points from which they could easily draw the conclusion he desired- in this case, that humanity was lost without the grace of God.

As might be obvious, the different thinking of Edwards caused a division in the Congregational Church. The actions of followers at revivals that included fainting, crying out, moaning, even convulsive fits led him to defend his evangelical preaching, and he even had to write a second apology. Edwards developed a test for membership in his church, and members old and new balked at taking it. His sermons became unpopular- attended by visitors, but not local church members. (Wonder which of our ancestors followed him?) He then published a list of young people who, he suspected, had been reading ‘improper books,’ (definitely need to check this list for our ancestors) and this incident further distanced him from his congregation. The church council and town meeting voted Jonathan Edwards out of the pulpit, and he preached his last sermon at Northampton Church in October, 1751.

Edwards was still popular in other places, however, and became pastor in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and a Indian missionary and advocate. Although in ill health, he next accepted the presidency of the College of New Jersey (now known as Princeton University) and was installed on 16 Feb 1758.

With his interest in science, Jonathan Edwards was a supporter of the new smallpox vaccine. It was still experimental, but Edwards became inoculated so that others would be encouraged to get the vaccine and help eliminate one of the great killers of the era. (Mortality rate for smallpox was up to 35%.) Sadly, the health of Jonathan Edwards was not robust enough to recover from the mild fever that most got after the vaccine, or the vaccine may have been contaminated, and he died on 22 March 1758.

In addition to the great changes brought to many versions of Protestantism, Jonathan Edwards influenced society in many other ways, and our family, as well. Our McMurray ancestor Rev. Edward B. Payne (1847-1923) most likely read the works of Edwards, and although schooled in the modified Congregational church inspired by Edwards, he too parted ways with the old tradition. He also embraced Edwards’ conception of the beauty and aesthetic aspects of religious thought. E.B. Payne preached outdoors as well, and many of his sermons also focused on inward discipline to control one’s morals in order to gain Heaven, rather than predestination. A collateral ancestor, Thomas Scott Burnell (1823-1899) was a missionary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, which was heavily influenced by Jonathan Edwards. His brother and our ancestor, Kingsley Abner Burnell (1824-1905), became a lay preacher- a condition made more acceptable by the emphasis Jonathan Edwards gave to personal experience over formal education for preachers. K.A. Burnell also travelled as a foreign missionary. Deacon Moses Kingsley (1743-1829) became the 21st Deacon at Northampton Church, most likely growing up in the church while Edwards was still pastor; Moses Kingsley served there for 9 years.

There is much more to come on these family members, and many more ancestors. Their lives will be put in context by knowing more about Jonathan Edwards- theologian, philosopher, educator, evangelist.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Note in 1741 sermon that an ‘f’ often stands for an ‘s’ in early Colonial writing. Thus “Impreffions” is actually ‘Impressions.’ Also note use of phrase, “…a Time of great Awakenings…”
  2. “Antiquities, Historiais and Graduates of Northampton” by Rev. Solomon Clark, 1882. via Archive.org.
  3. Jonathan Edwards- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Edwards_(theologian)
  4. Edwards on RevivalsContaining a Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God … in Northampton, Massachusetts, A.D. 1735. Also, Thoughts on the Revival of Religion in New England, 1742, and the Way in which it Ought to be Acknowledged and Promoted” by Jonathan Edwards, Dunning & Spalding 1832, via GoogleBooks.com.

  5. The author is far from a scholar of theology, but there is quite a lot of information online about Jonathan Edwards. Here are some links that were useful:

 

 

 

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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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Labor Day: Celebrating the Labors of Our Ancestors

First Labor Day Parade in the US, 5 Sep 1882 in New York City. Via Wikimedia.
First Labor Day Parade in the US, 5 Sep 1882 in New York City. Via Wikimedia. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Labor Day officially became a federal holiday in the United States in 1894. “The Gilded Age” included the rise of big business, like the railroads and oil companies, but laborers fought- sometimes literally- for their rights in the workplace. Grover Cleveland signed the law to honor the work and contributions, both economic and for society, of the American laborer. Celebrated on the first Monday in September, ironically the holiday was a concession to appease the American worker after the government tried to break up a railroad strike but failed.

The Labor Day weekend is a good time to think about our ancestors and the work they did to help move our country and their own family forward.

Jefferson Springsteen was a mail carrier through the wilds of early Indiana, traveling for miles on horseback through spring freshets (full or flooding streams from snow melt), forest, and Indian villages. Samuel T. Beerbower, who would be a some-number-great uncle depending on your generation, was the Postmaster in Marion, Ohio, for many years. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Edward B. Payne, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio.
Edward B. Payne, Pastor, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio.

Bad weather, gloom of night, ocean crossings in the mid 1800s, and the threat of disease or injury did not stay our minister, deacon, and missionary ancestors from their appointed rounds either- especially since the felt they were appointed by a higher power. We have quite a number of very spiritual men in the family. Henry Horn became a Methodist circuit rider after coming to America as a Hessian soldier, being captured by George Washington’s troops in Trenton, NJ, then taking an Oath of Allegiance to the United States, and serving in the Revolutionary Army. The family migrated from Virginia to the wilds of western Pennsylvania sometime between 1782 and 1786. A story is told of how he was riding home from a church meeting in the snow. The drifts piled up to the body of the horse, and they could barely proceed on, but Henry did, and was able to preach another day. He founded a church Pleasantville, Bedford Co., Pennsylvania that still stands, and has a congregation, even today. Edward B. Payne and his father, Joseph H. Payne, Kingsley A. Burnell and his brother Thomas Scott Burnell were all ministers, some with formal schooling, some without. Edward B. Payne gave up a lucrative pastorate because he thought the church members were wealthy and educated enough that they did not need him. He moved to a poor church in an industrial town, where he was needed much more, however, he may have acquired his tuberculosis there. He also risked his life, and that of his family, by sheltering a woman from the domestic violence of her husband, and he testified on her behalf.

Abraham Green was one of the best tailors in St. Louis, Missouri in the early 1900s, and many in the Broida family, such as John Broida and his son Phillip Broida, plus Phillip’s daughter Gertrude Broida Cooper, worked in the fine clothing industry.

Edgar Springsteen worked for the railroad, and was often gone from the family. Eleazer John “E.J.” Beerbower worked for the railroads making upholstered cars- he had been a buggy finisher previously, both highly skilled jobs.

Sheet music cover for "Bless Your Ever Loving Little Heart," from "The Slim Princess."
Sheet music cover for “Bless Your Ever Loving Little Heart,” from “The Slim Princess.” (Click to enlarge.)

The theater called a number of our collateral kin (not direct lines, but siblings to one of our ancestors): Max Broida was in vaudeville, and known in films as “Buster Brodie.” Elsie Janis, born Elsie Beerbower, was a comedienne, singer, child star in vaudeville, “Sweetheart of the A.E.F” as she entertained the troops overseas in World War I, and then she went on to write for films. Max Broida also did a stint in the circus, as did Jefferson Springsteen, who ran away from home as “a very small boy” to join the circus (per his obituary).

Collateral Lee family from Irthlingborough, England, included shoemakers, as that was the specialty of the town. They brought those skills to Illinois, and some of those tools have been handed down in the family- strange, unknown tools in an inherited tool chest turned out to be over 100 years old!

Will McMurray and his wife Lynette Payne McMurray owned a grocery store in Newton, Iowa. Ella V. Daniels Roberts sold eggs from her chickens, the butter she made from the cows she milked, and her delicious pies at the McMurray store. Franz Xavier Helbling and some of his brothers and sons were butchers in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh, and had their own stores.

Some of our ancestors kept hotels or taverns. Joseph Parsons (a Burnell ancestor) was issued a license to operate an ‘ordinary’ or “house of entertainment” in 1661 in Massachusetts, and Samuel Lenton Lee was listed as “Keeps hotel” and later as a saloon keeper in US Federal censuses. Jefferson Springsteen had a restaurant at the famous Fulton Market in Brooklyn, NY in the late 1840s.

From left: Edgar B. Helbling, (Anna) "May" Helbling, Vi Helbling, and Gerard William Helbling, on Flag Day 1914.
From left: Edgar B. Helbling, (Anna) “May” Helbling, Vi Helbling, and Gerard William Helbling, on Flag Day 1914. Note ‘Undertaker’ sign- yes, it was all done in his home. (Click to enlarge.)

Many of our family had multiple jobs. William Gerard Helbling (AKA Gerard William Helbling or “G.W.”) listed himself as working for a theater company, was an artist, then an undertaker, and finally a sign painter. George H. Alexander was artistic as well- he created paintings but also worked as a lighting designer to pay the bills.

Sometimes health problems forced a job change. Edward B. Payne was a Union soldier, librarian, and then a pastor until he was about 44 when his respiratory problems from tuberculosis forced him to resign the pulpit. For the rest of his life he did a little preaching, lecturing, and writing. He also became an editor for a number of publications including, “The Overland Monthly,” where he handed money over from his own pocket (per family story) to pay the young writer Jack London for his first published story. Edward B. Payne even founded a Utopian colony called Altruria in California! He and his second wife, Ninetta Wiley Eames Payne, later owned and conducted adult ‘summer camps’ that were intellectual as well as healthy physically while camping in the wild and wonderful northern California outdoors.

Other times, health problems- those of other people- are what gave our ancestors jobs:  Edward A. McMurray and his brother Herbert C. McMurray were both physicians, as was John H. O’Brien (a Helbling ancestor), who graduated from medical school in Dublin, Ireland, and came to America in 1832. He settled in western Pennsylvania, still wild and in the midst of a cholera epidemic that was also sweeping the nation; he had his work cut out for him. (It appears he did not get the same respect as other doctors because he was Irish, and this was pre-potato famine.) Lloyd Eugene “Gene” Lee and his father Samuel J. Lee owned a drugstore in St. Louis, as did Gene’s brother-in-law, Claude Aiken. Edith Roberts McMurray Luck worked as a nurse since she received a degree in biology in 1923.

We have had many soldiers who have helped protect our freedom, and we will honor some of those persons on Veterans Day.

We cannot forget the farmers, but they are too numerous to name them all! Even an urban family often had a large garden to supplement purchased groceries, but those who farmed on a larger scale included George Anthony Roberts, Robert Woodson Daniel, David Huston Hemphill, Amos Thomas, etc., etc. We even have a pecan farmer in the Lee family- William Hanford Aiken, in Waltham County, Mississippi, in the 1930s-40s.

Lynette Payne, December 1909, wearing a purple and lavender silk dress.
Lynette Payne, December 1909, wearing a purple and lavender silk dress. (Click to enlarge.)

We must also, “Remember the ladies” as Abigail Adams entreated her husband John Adams as he helped form our new nation. He/they did not, so 51% of the population-women- were not considered citizens except through their fathers or husbands. Many of these women, such as Lynette Payne McMurray, labored to get women the right to vote, equal pay, etc. (Lynette ‘walked the talk’ too- she was the first woman to ride a bicycle in Newton, Iowa! Not so easy when one thinks about the clothing involved.) Some men, like her father, Edward B. Payne, put their energy into the women’s suffrage movement as well. Many of our ancestors worked for the abolition movement too, including the Payne and Burnell families.

A woman worked beside her husband in many families, although she would get little credit for it. Who cooked the meals and cleaned the rooms for the Lee and Parsons innkeepers? Likely their wives, who also had to keep their own home clean, laundry washed, manage a garden and often livestock- many families kept chickens even if they didn’t have a farm. They raised and educated their many children too, sometimes 13 or more. Oh yes, let’s not forget that women truly ‘labored’ to bring all those children into the world that they had made from scratch. (Building a human from just two cells makes building a barn seem somewhat less impressive, doesn’t it?) Some of them even died from that labor.

June 1942- Claude Frank Aiken and his wife Mildred Paul in their drugstore.
June 1942- Claude Frank Aiken and his wife Mildred Paul Aiken in their drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri.

Working alongside one’s husband could be frightening due to the dangers of the job. A noise in the Aiken family drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri in 1936 awoke Claude and Mildred Aiken since they lived in the back of the store. Claude look a gun and went into the store while Mildred called the police. Claude fired the gun high to frighten the intruder- Mildred must have been very scared if she was in the back, wondering who had fired the shot and if her husband was still alive. Thankfully he was, and the police were able to arrest the thief, who wanted to steal money to pay a lawyer to defend him in his three previous arrests for armed burglary and assault.

 

We applaud all of our ancestors who worked hard to support their family. Their work helped to make the US the largest economic power in the world, and a place immigrants would come to achieve their ‘American dream.’ We hope our generation, and the next, can labor to keep our country prosperous and strong.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. There are too many folks listed here to add references, but using the search box on the blog page can get you to any of the stories that have been posted about many of these persons. Of course, there is always more to come, so stay tuned!

 

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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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Edward B. Payne- Anniversary of his Birth

Edward B. Payne, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio.
Edward B. Payne, circa 1874. Image courtesy of Second Congregational Church, Wakeman, Ohio. (Click to enlarge.)

McMurray and Payne Families (Click for Family Tree)

Today, 25 July, is the 168th anniversary of the birth of Edward Biron Payne. Born in 1847 (although some sources state 1845, it was most likely 1847), we have been unable as yet to verify the year with any official town record. His death certificate states he was born in Middletown, Vermont, but other sources list Rutland, Vermont. A search through town records for these areas of Vermont for the years 1845-1847 has failed to turn up any record.

Rev. Edward B. Payne was the father of Lynette Payne McMurray.

This image may be the earliest of the few available for Edward. It was found in the Second Congregational Church via emails to that pastor. He was kind enough to take a photograph of it on the wall, hence the refections in the image. This image includes EBP’s service dates as 1874-1875, but a section in History of the Fire lands, comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of the prominent men and pioneers by W. W. Williams, states he served the congregation as pastor for 2-3 years.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) History of the Fire lands, comprising Huron and Erie Counties, Ohio, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of the prominent men and pioneers by Williams, W. W. (William W.). Published 1879, pages 191-2. https://archive.org/details/historyoffirelan00will

 

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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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World Tuberculosis Day and Our Ancestors

 

Mycobacterium tuberculosis- scanning electron micrograph.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis- scanning electron micrograph. Centers for Disease Control, Public Domain.

Beerbower Family, Broida Family, Payne Family

Consumption. Phthisis. Scrofula. Pott’s Disease. The White Plague.

These are all names that were used for tuberculosis (TB), the deadliest disease for many centuries- even for thousands of years. Tuberculosis was described and found in ancient Egypt, and Hippocrates wrote that it was the most prevalent cause of death in Greece. TB has even been found in Neolithic bone 9,000 years old! Closer in time, for 200 years in Europe it was “The White Plague” and killed hundreds of thousands, and more than 30% of Europeans died of TB in the 1800s. Some think that in the industrialized cities, 100% of the poverty-stricken working class was infected with TB. It is estimated that at least 40% of deaths in this group were caused by tuberculosis.

Sanitation in the 1800s, or the lack thereof, was thought by some to be the cause. Sanatoriums were hoped to be a cure in the mid- and late-1800s, by getting patients out of the polluted, closely-packed, dirty cities. Fresh air, along with the prescribed good nutrition and exercise, did some good- consumptives (persons with TB, also called “TBs” or “Lungers”) sometimes actually did improve, and some claimed, were cured. In the United States, moving west to the Rockies or California helped many, including some of our ancestors. Unfortunately, a ‘better’ climate did not help all, including some of our ancestors as well.

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne bacterial disease, but that fact was not common knowledge until Robert Koch delivered a paper on his discovery of the bacterium on 24 March 1882- hence, ‘World Tuberculosis Day’ today. The use of x-rays in the early 1900s helped with diagnosis of the disease, but until the discovery in the 1940s of antibiotics that could treat TB, there was no hope of a true cure, but only possible remission, which did sometimes occur.

The most common symptom of TB is a cough, often with bloody sputum; night sweats, a general malaise, fever, and exhaustion may also occur. It is a slow disease, eating away from the inside, and sometimes the outside too, even affecting parts of the body other than the lungs.

A century or two ago, some felt that consumptives were more sensitive, artistic, etc.-  Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Louis Stevenson, Anton Checkov, Thoreau, the Bronte sisters, Chopin, Stephen Crane, Robert Heinlein, Franz Kafka, D.H. Lawrence, George Orwell, Sarah Bernhardt, Edvard Munch, and many more died of TB. It became fashionable for women to paint their faces almost white to get that pale, delicate complexion seen in consumptives after wasting away for many years.

Tuberculosis is spread when persons carrying the bacterium cough, sneeze, speak, or sing; the bacterium can stay in the air for many hours and infect someone else when that air is breathed in. A carrier may have the bacterium for many years and not know it, but something, such as immune suppression or pregnancy, can trigger the disease into an active state. For some, it may take 15 years or more to waste away with the disease.

TB Prevention Poster
“TB poster” by Rensselaer County Tuberculosis Association. – U.S. National Library of Medicine Transferred from en.wikipedia. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TB_poster.jpg#/media/File:TB_poster.jpg

Spittoons have a place in this discussion- men spit tobacco everywhere back in the day, and that actually spread TB. Using spittoons helped to corral the infection into those brass vessels instead of all over where it could travel via shoes, long dresses, etc. Wonder if the people who cleaned spittoons had a higher rate of the disease?

Pasteurization of milk also helped decrease the disease in developed countries, as the bovine (cow) form of tuberculosis can be spread to humans. This is a real problem today in India and Africa.

TB is not just a disease of the third world these days- with antibiotic resistance increasing and the number of persons immigrating to western countries carrying Mycobacterium tuberculosis, plus illnesses like HIV and drugs that suppress the immune system (such as some of the new anti-inflamatories), TB is on the rise, even in the US.

Our ancestors would be disappointed to see this trend, as TB would have been something terrible they coped with throughout their lifetime, or with family or friends. They most probably would have thought that it would be curable and then eradicated by the year 2015.

We have had at least 3 ancestors appear unexpectedly out west- two were very puzzling, as the reason for their move was not evident, until one sees the cause of death on the death certificate: tuberculosis. They had gone west in pursuit of golden health, not the gold in the ground.

Robert Warson Beerbower, son of Edgar Peter Beerbower and Anna Missouri Springsteen, was enumerated in the 01 Jun 1900 US Federal Census in Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, with his wife of just two years, Josephine Reiffel Beerbower. He was working as a railroad clerk, and they were living with his wife’s parents. The couple was expecting their first child. Robert’s job was probably not very strenuous as a clerk, however he was sick. Robert traveled to Denver, Colorado, likely alone, and likely leaving his pregnant wife in Indianapolis. They would have known he had TB, but there were no antibiotics to cure it at that time. He died of tuberculosis on 12 Sep 1900 in Denver, and his body was returned to Indianapolis, Indiana for burial. Robert was only 26 years old. “Rob’s little baby,” Roberta Pearl Beerbower, was born just a month later and named after her father.

Sarah Gitel Frank Broida was born in Lithuania and immigrated to the United States about 1881. She was the mother of nine children, with seven surviving childhood. The family were poor immigrants, living in industrial, polluted Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, working as ‘rag pickers’ initially. Their son Harold Broida was born 25 Dec 1897, and the 1899 City Directory places the family living at 1102 Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh. By 07 June 1900, Gitel, her husband John (or Zelig) Broida, oldest son Joseph, and youngest son Harold were living in Denver, Colorado; the other sons were staying with scattered family back east. This was very puzzling- the Broidas were city folk, and it was hard to imagine them in the still somewhat wild west of 1900. Family oral history, however, stated that Gitel had died of tuberculosis, so their move to the sanitariums there or just the more favorable climate and cleaner air made sense, especially since antibiotics to cure TB would not be available for another 40 years. Perhaps one of Gitel’s many pregnancies had triggered the infection possibly picked up years before, maybe from contaminated rags from their early days in the US, or the disease could have been newly acquired. Gitel died in Denver on 14 April 1901 at the age of 41. Her mortuary record verifies that she died of tuberculosis. (Unfortunately the state of Colorado won’t share her  114 year old death certificate- but they took the money paid for it. Apparently a great-grandchild is not closely related enough to view it, despite the certificate previously being online.)

Edward B. Payne had worked in the tenements of Chicago around 1872, and in the mill towns of Massachusetts and New Hampshire with the poor during the 1880s. He had been called to a position in Berkeley, California, between those years, but had returned to visit family and decided to stay in New England. Edward apparently acquired tuberculosis sometime in the 1880s, if not before; it may possibly have worsened by 1890 or so. In 1892 the family chose to go back to California, in hope that it would improve his health, plus provide him more of what he wished for in his professional and spiritual life. (He was a minister.) The climate must have helped, as Edward lived another 31 years, to age 76, without the cure of antibiotics. He did spend a lot of time outdoors as was recommended for those with tuberculosis, and became a convert to some of the ‘newest’ healthy foods, like whole grain breads, so those treatments may have helped him survive the disease.

 

Other family members, like the Lees and Aikens, traveled frequently to Colorado. We do know that for the Lees it was due to respiratory problems- plus they loved the mountains- but know of no one that definitely had tuberculosis.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Tuberculosis References :

http://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/factsheets/general/tb.htm

http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/contagion/tuberculosis.html

http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/infections/tuberculosis_and_leprosy/tuberculosis.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_tuberculosis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tuberculosis_cases

2) Robert Warson Beerbower- see other posts:

http://heritageramblings.net/2015/01/04/beerbower-family-bible-deaths/

(Robert’s death and “Rob’s little baby” entry for Roberta’s birth.)

http://heritageramblings.net/2015/02/12/treasure-chest-thursday-roberta-p-beerbower-wertz/

http://heritageramblings.net/2015/03/01/sentimental-sunday-at-home-with-robert-warson-beerbower-and-his-wife-josephine-reiffel-beerbower/

 

3) Sarah Gitel Frank Broida- see the following posts:

http://heritageramblings.net/2013/11/25/mystery-monday-gitelgertude-frank-broida/

http://heritageramblings.net/2015/01/27/tuesdays-tip-broida-family-research-in-denver-colorado-repositories/

http://heritageramblings.net/2015/01/29/those-places-thursday-denver-colorado-and-the-broida-family/

http://heritageramblings.net/2015/02/06/friday-follow-up-death-record-of-sarah-gitel-frank-broida/

http://heritageramblings.net/2015/02/11/wordless-wednesday-mortuary-record-for-sarah-gitel-frank-broida/

 

4) There are no posts yet about this time period in Edward B. Payne’s life- those are in the works.

 

 

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Suffrage Saturday: Frances Willard Postcard

Frances Willard Postcard
Frances Willard Postcard, c 1912

 Payne Family, Women’s Suffrage

Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard was born in 1839 in Churchville, New York, and was an educator, activist, and reformer who touched the lives of many of our ancestors. Even schoolchildren of her day knew about her work for alcohol temperance, women’s suffrage, child labor laws, eight hour workdays, domestic violence laws, education and labor reforms, prison reform, and other social causes.

Frances lived in liberal Oberlin, Ohio from age 2-6 (about 1841-1845), where her father had taken the family to be a part of Oberlin’s ministry. Our ancestor, Joseph Hitchcock Payne (father of Edward B. Payne) had attended Oberlin in 1834-1836, where he studied Divinity, and EB Payne attended Oberlin later as well. They were like-minded families with their work toward social equality and conversion from Congregationalism to a more liberal denomination: the Willards converted to Methodism, and while JH Payne did not convert, his son EB Payne moved even farther to the left with his change to Unitarianism. The Willard family then moved to Janesville, Wisconsin Territory, about 1846, and Frances grew up an independent child of the frontier.

The Willards valued education for both male and female, and Frances attended college as her brother did. She was named President of Evanston College for Ladies in 1871, which was associated with, and two years later merged with, Northwestern University. “Frank” as she was called by her friends, became the Dean of Women at Northwestern, and also a professor of art and English. She resigned in 1874 after continued conflict with Northwestern’s president, Charles H. Fowler, to whom she had been engaged 13 years before.

The “Woman’s Crusade” for antiliquor laws was gaining ground and Frances became president of a Chicago temperance organization. She lectured and held other positions in local and national temperance societies, including the largest, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). Temperance (control of alcohol by law) was an important women’s issue- alcoholic men would drink up their pay even before they got home where it was needed for food and lodging for their families. Women would work what jobs they could, such as taking in laundry, to help compensate and feed their large families; even the youngest of the children might have to work in factories or on the streets instead of attending school in order for the family to not go hungry. Domestic abuse was rampant and very frequently linked to alcohol, so women felt that restrictive alcohol laws might give their children and themselves better lives.

In 1877, Willard was director of women’s meetings for Dwight L. Moody, a Chicago evangelist. Our ancestor, Edward B. Payne, had also worked with Moody earlier, 1870-1871, when EB was newly married to Nannie Burnell and they lived in Chicago. Moody worked in the poorest tenements of Chicago, as did our ancestor, who was also working as a librarian by day, and doing Moody’s ‘night work’ to help the poor lift themselves out of poverty.

Frances Willard only worked briefly for Moody, and left the national WCTU in 1877, as she had wanted to link women’s suffrage with the temperance movement, but the WCTU president wished to keep the issue only alcohol prohibition. Suffrage became the main topic of the lectures given by Frances throughout 1878, but she became the national WCTU president in 1879, and held that post for the remainder of her life.

Frances Willard Postcard-Reverse
Frances Willard Postcard-Reverse

[Editor’s Note: It may seem silly to post the back of the card especially when it does not have an address or note, but postcard enthusiasts can date and sometimes even determine manufacturer of the card by the way the back is divided, typeface, stamp box, etc.]

Frances was able to support herself on lecture fees, and she traveled to every state then in the Union in 1883. She traveled 30,000 miles per year (before airplanes!) and gave an average of 400 lectures per year for  period of about ten years. In 1886, the WCTU provided her a salary to continue her work. The WCTU was the largest organized group of women in the 19th century.

The platform used by Willard to gain acceptance of women’s suffrage by the average woman was “Home Protection.” By having the right to vote, women could protect their home and family from the “devastation” caused by legal, strong drink. Additionally, if women had a voice in choosing civic leaders and therefore the laws they made, men would not be able to so easily get leniency for the crimes they committed against women and children. Patriarchal ministers, press, and society tried to turn women away from the suffrage movement, but Frances also used her interpretation of Scripture to argue for equality between the sexes: “God sets male and female side by side throughout his realm of law.”

Politics was a world that women should be a part of, per many of the speeches Frances gave. About 1893, a large painting was commissioned that showed Frances with an American Indian, an “idiot” or mentally disabled man, a convict, and an insane man. It was entitled “American Woman and Her Political Peers.” Henrietta Briggs-Wall, a Kansas suffrage and temperance advocate, had commissioned the painting, and exhibited it at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In 1894 she said, of its display:

“It strikes the women every time. They do not realize that we are classed with idiots, criminals, and the insane as they do when they see that picture. Shocking? Well, it takes a shock to arouse some people to a sense of injustice and degradation.”

Frances learned to ride the bicycle in the 1893, when she was 53- quite a rebellious feat for a woman in those days!  (How did they kept those long skirts out of the way??) She wrote a sweet little book about it, which shows us that the bicycle was a key to freedom for many women, as well as men. She felt that mastery of the bicycle would help women to gain mastery over their lives- the ‘wheel within a wheel’concept.

A popular speaker around the world, and especially in England, Frances also drew attention to the international drug trade with the “Polyglot Petition.”

Trips to Europe and new Socialist thought intrigued Frances, and she became a Socialist in her later years. Her political and social thoughts again paralleled those of Edward B. Payne- he declared himself a Socialist as well in the 1890s.

The work of Frances Willard was pivotal in the passage of the 18th (Prohibition) and 19th (Women’s Suffrage) Amendments. Sadly, she did not live to see the passage of either, as she died of influenza in 1898 in New York City while waiting to embark upon a ship for a lecture tour in England and France.

In 1905, a statue of Frances Willard was submitted by the state of Illinois (she lived in Evanston for many years) to Statuary Hall in the US Capitol. It was the only statue of a woman in the hall until 1958. Today, there are just eight women represented among the 100 official statues placed in Statuary Hall and throughout the Capitol.

"Statue of Frances Willard in the US Capitol" by RadioFan at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_of_Frances_Willard_in_the_US_Capitol.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Statue_of_Frances_Willard_in_the_US_Capitol.JPG
“Statue of Frances Willard in the US Capitol” by RadioFan at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Frances Willard entry in the Encyclopedia Brittanica: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/643926/Frances-Willard

2) http://www.franceswillardhouse.org

3) Wheel within a Wheel. How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle with some reflections by the way. Frances Willard, 1895.Fleming H. Revel Company. https://archive.org/details/wheelwithinwheel00williala

Republished in 1991 as How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle: Reflections of an Influential 19th Century Woman, Carol O’Hare, editor.

A short book that really is about learning to ride a bicycle- sounds silly, but in the 1890s that was a really outrageous thing for a woman to do! The first 10 pages or so give quite a glimpse into life as it was for women. The “Wheel within a Wheel” portion of the title has to do with a Bible verse in Ezekiel, showing the many layers of an action or spirituality.

4) Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frances_Willard_(suffragist)

5) American Woman and Her Political Peers: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2004681894/

http://www.kshs.org/kansapedia/cool-things-american-woman-and-her-political-peers-painting/10294

6) Statue of Frances Willard: “Statue of Frances Willard in the US Capitol” by RadioFan at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Statue_of_Frances_Willard_in_the_US_Capitol.JPG#mediaviewer/File:Statue_of_Frances_Willard_in_the_US_Capitol.JPG

7) The featured postcard is owned by the author. It is one of a trio of postcards on American suffragists. (Would love to own the other two!) The seller of this postcard was kind enough to send me scans of those two in her collection, and has given permission for them to be posted in an upcoming “Suffrage Saturday” post.

 

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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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