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Sibling Saturday: Alfred Payne and Civil War Taxes

Alfred PAYNE on November 1864 Tax List in Fremont, Lake County, Illinois. (Click to enlarge.)

McMurray Family, Payne Family (Click for Family Tree)

Taxes seem to follow us everywhere, and they did for our ancestors as well. Whether called an ‘excise tax’ (which was really an ‘income tax’ in this instance) to pay for the Civil War, as in the case of this ancestor, taxes on beloved British tea that would ignite a Revolution, or even going as far back as tributes to the chief of our ancient ancestor’s tribe, it seems we seldom get to keep all our earnings.

Taxes provide a “treasure chest” for our counties, states, and country to take care of infrastructure, provide employees and offices for essential services, etc. The old tax lists are also a treasure chest for family historians.

The life of Alfred Payne (1815-1895) is of interest because he was the brother of Rev. Joseph Hitchcock “J. H.” Payne, the great-grandfather of Dr. Edward A. McMurray. The above tax list from 1864 places Alfred in Fremont, Lake County, Illinois, to which at least two Payne lines migrated. It also tells us a bit about how he made his living. We know from censuses that he was a farmer, but he apparently also manufactured a significant amount of sorghum syrup.

At that time, the government had instituted the first income tax, to help pay for the Civil War. The tax laws were such that if one made $600 or less per year with a particular product, and if the product was produced by the farmer or his family, it would be exempt from duty. Alfred’s sorghum syrup production was more than double that dollar limit, so he was required to pay a 5% tax on the product they manufactured.

Alfred was taxed on 2,200 gallons of sorghum syrup. (It is unknown as to what the time period was for that much production- it may have been his annual production for 1864.) The syrup was valued at $1,320- that would be about $19,000 in today’s money. Most of us today would gladly exchange our tax rates with his 5%, which worked out to $66 in 1864, equivalent to about $960 today. We don’t know Alfred’s specific views on slavery, but most people in the family were staunch abolitionists, as were many in the town of Fremont and the members of the Congregational Church where Alfred was a charter member. So Alfred may not have minded the tax too much, since it was helping to pay for the war to end the cruel institution of slavery.

Alfred Payne is found on the December 1865 tax list as well, this time listed as a manufacturer for 7 months. His tax bill was $5.83. Sadly there is no more detail available, but he could have still been making the sorghum syrup since he was listed as a manufacturer.

In May of 1866, Alfred was listed in Bowen as a “retail dealer” and his tax was $10. Again, that is the only information…

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So just what was Alfred manufacturing, and what was it used for?

Sorghum syrup is made from a plant called Sweet Sorghum— there is a grain sorghum, too, which is not as high in sugars— both originally from Africa. The plant itself looks much like corn, but it can be grown under much drier conditions than corn. In the US today, sorghum is mostly grown in the south, but back in the nineteenth century, it was a common crop in the midwest as well. (Some of today’s farmers in the midwest sow it as a cover crop and winter food for pheasants, so that the hunting—and meat— is good.)

Sorghum almost ready to be harvested in Uganda, via Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Today sorghum is used to produce biofuels, but as in the old days, it is also used for animal feed. The harvested plant is packed tight into silos with little air movement, for anaerobic fermentation. This silage keeps well over the winter when grass is scarce, and is fed to ruminants like cattle and sheep. When made into a syrup, sorghum is used as a sweetener– again, just as in Alfred Payne’s day.

“Grinding sorghum on the farm of J. W. Stooksberry, Anderson County, Tennessee. This land will be inundated by the waters of Norris Dam reservoir.” Image by Tennessee Valley Authority, 25 October 1933, public domain via Wikipedia/NARA. (Click to enlarge.)

The sorghum would be cut down at the end of summer, in September or October, and often juiced right in the field. Alfred Payne likely had some sort of a press for the sorghum on his farm, draft animals to turn the press/juicer, and a large cooker to reduce the sorghum juice down to a thick syrup.

As the stalks of the plant are crushed between the rollers of the press, a bright green juice is extracted. It would be cooked as soon as possible, so stacks of firewood would have been made ready for tending through the day and probably even the night. Boiling for hours would kill most of the bacteria that could spoil the liquid, and the heat would turn the juice into a golden amber colored, thick liquid. It would take about 10 gallons of the fresh juice to make just one gallon of syrup. Alfred and his family and any workers would have harvested quite a number of acres in order to produce 2,200 finished gallons of sorghum syrup. And they would have celebrated the harvest as the syrup cooked, eating and maybe dancing away the long hours of the night.

“Grinding sorghum on the farm of J. W. Stooksberry, Anderson County, Tennessee.” Image by Tennessee Valley Authority, 25 October 1933, public domain via Wikipedia/NARA. (Click to enlarge.)

Sorghum provides minerals that cane sugar and high fructose corn syrups do not, especially if it is minimally processed. Our ancestors used sorghum as a ‘tonic’, and would have used sorghum syrup in pies and cakes, drizzled on their biscuits or rolls, etc. Sorghum has a rich, earthy flavor similar to molasses, though a bit different. If you want to try some, make sure you get 100% sorghum- sometimes they mix it with other products. It is very good over pancakes or biscuits, and really makes excellent cookies, too!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. For more information about sorghum syrup and how to use it, see:
    http://www.farmflavor.com/at-home/shopping/what-is-sorghum/ and http://nssppa.org/Sweet_Sorghum_FAQs.html
  2. Inflation calculator– http://www.in2013dollars.com/1864-dollars-in-2016?amount=66
  3. Alfred PAYNE on November 1864 Tax List in Fremont, Lake County, Illinois from U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918, Ancestry.com.

 

 

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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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Mystery Monday: The Birth of Edward B. Payne

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. This is the youngest image we have of Edward- he would have been about 27 years old. (We apologize for the reflection from the glass.)

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

One hundred sixty-nine years ago, on 25 July 1847, a son was the third (known) child born to Nancy S. Deming (1813-1893) and Joseph Hitchcock Payne (1810-1884). They named him Edward Biron/Byron Payne.

We do not know of any ancestors named “Edward” that he might have been named after, but we have not yet extended those lines as far back as we would like to have completed. His middle name, however, was likely after Nancy’s brother Byron Deming (1826-1920). Perhaps his middle name was also in homage to the poet Lord Byron, who many know today for his short poem, “She Walks in Beauty.” Byron wrote much more than just that one lyric, though, and was quite famous in his own time as one of the Romantic era poets. “J. H.,” as Edward’s father was known, was an educated man. He had read the classics as he completed his education, which included seminary training; he would have read Byron and many other poets and writers. Nancy’s father (Harvey Deming, 1785-1847) had been Town Clerk so she likely was educated to some degree as well, or maybe could read and/or write- we don’t know for sure, since there is so little in the records for women. J.H. and Nancy may have had dreams that their son would become a poet, and that he did as well in life as his Uncle Byron- but we are getting ahead of the story, and today’s Mystery Monday.

We cannot find a birth record for EBP (as he is lovingly known in our home since I am so obsessed with learning more about his life). Most information about his birth states he was born in Middletown, Vermont, including a card he filled out in 1918, when he was 71 years old:

CA State Library Biographical Card- front, cropped
CA State Library Biographical Card- front, cropped

Of course, when someone gives their birth information, it is always secondary evidence, since, although they were there at their birth, they probably were not aware of what day or year it was! A person only knows the day of their birth by what others tell them, such as their parents, or when they see a vital record.

The vital record here is the mystery this Monday- where is a record of EBP’s birth?

The 1900 US Federal Census noted that EBP was born in Vermont in July of 1847, but it also included that his father was born in England and his mother in Germany- both places are decidedly untrue, as the family has deep roots in early America. (Perhaps someone else gave the census taker the information?)

EBP’s second wife, Ninetta (Wiley) [Eames] Payne [Springer] was the informant for his death certificate in 1923, and she stated his birth as 25 July 1847 in Vermont.

Everything else we have found states EBP was born in Vermont, but where? And is there proof of when, since some sources noted his birth year as 1845 instead of 1847?

Starting with the information given by EBP on the California Author Card, we found that Middletown is in Rutland County, Vermont. The name was changed to Middletown Springs in the late 1800s, but he may not have known that, or else just preferred the name of the town as it was at his birth. Middletown is not a very populous town- only about 750 residents even today, with not many more in the past.

Vermont Vital Records are now available from FamilySearch and Ancestry.com, and a search box search on both websites was unsuccessful. So I looked through the records, page by page (virtually), in Rutland County for the years 1844-1848. No EBP. No mention of his parents. No mention of his sisters, but they were born in Ohio so would not be included in the Middletown or Rutland, VT birth records.

In The History of Middletown, Vermont, in Three Discourses… by Barnes Frisbee, published in 1867, we learn that Joseph H. Payne, EBP’s father, moved to Middletown in December of 1846, and preached there in the Congregational Church for about a year. That tidbit helps us to pinpoint his birth year as 1847 (vs. 1845), as EBP stated it was.

So, no success finding proof of Edward Biron Payne’s birth online despite many, many hours, but we do have a ‘preponderance of evidence.’ Happily, FamilySearch has a number of microfilms that include Middletown/Rutland land records, town records, etc., so those will be the next resource to peruse. We might be able to learn a bit more about the family’s short year in Middletown, as well.

Anyone out there have proof?

Surprise party for Edward B. Payne on 27 July 1893. Morning Call (San Francisco), page 3, column 2, Chronicling America via doc.gov.
Surprise party for Edward B. Payne on Tuesday, 25 July 1893. Morning Call (San Francisco), Thursday, 27 July 1893, Volume LXXIV, No. 57, Page 3, Column 2, ‘Chronicling America’ via loc.gov.

For now, we will continue to use 25 July 1847 as EBP’s birth, and we did raise a glass in his honor today. He was an incredible man, who put his faith into practice and worked unflaggingly to better the condition of all men and women. He once commented that he believed there was a door between the two worlds, our world of the living and the world of those who have moved on to the next phase, whatever that may be. I hope that today the door opened just a bit, and he saw how we lovingly honored him on his ‘natal day.’

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image from Leominster Massachusetts Historical and Picturesque, by William A. Emerson, Lithotype Publishing Co., Gardner, Mass. 1888, page 55. Accessed 25 July 2016 at https://archive.org/stream/leominstermassac00emer#page/54/mode/2up.
  2. Edward B. Payne census information–Year: 1900; Census Place: Berkeley Ward 2, Alameda, California; Roll: T623 83; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 397, via Ancestry.com. The 1900 US Federal Census for Edward B. Payne, indexed incorrectly in the home of Samuel Wakeman despite EBP having a different house number- he was actually single since his wife had died, and boarding at 2147 Parker St., as was Charmian Kittredge, who is listed on the same page. They were living in the home of Roscoe Eames and his wife Ninetta (Wiley) Eames. Charmian was the niece of Ninetta, and would later become the wife of the writer Jack London. Roscoe and Ninetta divorced, and she later married Edward. But that is all another story or two… or twenty.
  3. The History of Middletown, Vermont, in Three Discourses… by Barnes Frisbee, Tuttle & Company, Printers, Rutland, Vermont, 1867, page 95, via archive.org.

 

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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 2013-2016 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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Motivation Monday: Correcting Edward B. Payne Internet Errors

Edward B. Payne
Edward B. Payne, c1900 or later?

McMurray Family, Payne Family (Click for Family Tree)

OK, did you chuckle just a little when you read the title of this post? Or did the thought of ‘correcting internet errors’ elicit a loud guffaw??

Yes, me too, but I am SO motivated to take on this task- I hate junk genealogy!!

And yes, I must have a Sisyphus Complex- hopefully without my having the deceitfulness and hubris of the original Greek mythological character.

In this case, it is about Edward B. Payne (affectionately known as EBP in our household), my great genealogical obsession. I would roll a stone uphill to make sure he is remembered correctly. (Well, for a while, anyway, and depending on how big the stone is, how round it is, and how steep the hill, how hot it is outside, and…)

In the excellent “A History of Berkeley, From The Ground Up,” Dr. Frank Payne is mentioned a number of times. He apparently was an early physician in Berkeley, and his name can be found in the Alameda County Voter’s Registration Lists next to the name of Rev. Edward B. Payne. I had wondered how the two were related, but had never researched that particular question in detail. So when I saw that this article stated, in Chapter 14 under “Dwight Way Station”:

“…the Reverend Payne (the brother of Doctor Payne, Berkeley’s erstwhile physician),”

I became very motivated to document the relationship and see if I could get this statement corrected. Despite Edward’s magazine article, “Spectres on the Overland Trail,” which is most likely totally fiction, he did not have a brother who is known to Payne researchers- he only had 2 sisters. One sister died at age 11, and one stayed in the east and married. I have never found any inkling of a second male child in the family.

It turns out that I do have more information about Frank and his family than I realized, plus a few other New England Payne lines. Ancestry.com states the relationship of the accountholder to a person in the tree, but what I found was confusing: Frank Howard Payne (1850-1904) was my “brother-in-law of 1st cousin 4x removed.” But WHICH cousin? That would take a lot of time to figure out. Thankfully I have been clicking on all sorts of things on (trusted) websites since a lot of them no longer highlight with a mouse-over to signify a hyperlink, and sometimes good intel results. This time, by clicking on that phrase, Ancestry provided me with a list of people and relationships that were used to determine the connection. Mercy Hitchcock and her husband Peter Payne were thus the common ancestors.

Dr. Frank Howard Payne (1850 – 1904)
brother-in-law of 1st cousin 4x removed
|
Thomas Hubbard Payne (1807 – 1892)
father of Frank Howard Payne
|
Emma Estelle Payne (1848 – 1884)
daughter of Thomas Hubbard Payne
|
Arthur Abbott Payne (1847 – 1903)
husband of Emma Estelle Payne
|
Alfred Payne (1815 – 1895)
father of Arthur Abbott Payne
|
Mercy Hitchcock (1783 – 1859)
mother of Alfred Payne
|
Joseph Hitchcock Payne (1810 – 1884)
son of Mercy Hitchcock
|
Rev. Edward Biron Payne (1847 – 1923)
son of Joseph Hitchcock Payne
(and so on with his descendants)

(At first it was hard to understand the above chart, but then I realized it is sort of an hourglass, with one family at the top going back generations to the center point, which is the common ancestor. One then follows down the other family line from that ancestor.)

From the helpful chart, I could ascertain the relationship of Frank and Edward.

Mercy Hitchcock + Peter Payne
|
Alfred Payne
|
Arthur Abbot Payne + Emma Estelle Payne
Emma Estelle was the daughter of Thomas Hubbard Payne (have not found an older connection between these Payne lines yet); her brother was Dr. Frank Howard Payne.
Also,
Mercy Hitchcock + Peter Payne
                                                       |
Joseph Hitchcock Payne [so brother to Alfred]
|
Rev. Edward B. Payne
So EBP was first cousin to Arthur Abbot, who married Emma. Arthur’s brother-in-law was Emma’s brother, Dr. Frank Howard Payne. Therefore, Edward Biron Payne was 1st cousin to the brother-in-law of Dr. Frank Howard Payne.
I have sent a note to the author and he responded quickly, even though the copyright on this was 2007-8. It is good to have a blog to put out such information too- hoping this post will come up in searches when the website also comes up.
Remember, just because it is on the internet, does not make it ‘actual factual.’ Even my blog posts may not be totally correct, and some have been updated with new information as we find it. So do always remember to trust but verify, especially with secondary sources. (Sometimes that is needed with primary sources, as well.)
Be motivated to try to correct erroneous information- whether in an online tree or a website. Corrections can happen, and our descendants will thank us for avoiding the genealogical confusions we today so often face.

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1.   “A History of Berkeley, From The Ground Up” copyright 2007-2008 by Alan Cohen, http://historyofberkeley.org/chapter14.html. Accessed 3/12/16.
  2. “Spectres on the Overland Trail” in The Overland Monthly, Volume XIV- Second Series, July-December 1889, p654-7, December 1889. https://books.google.com/books?id=l3hAAQAAMAAJ&pg=PR3&lpg=PR3&dq=%22Spectre+on+the+Overland+Trail,%22&source=bl&ots=JJHvzz85AU&sig=5zRj89fSb3fV0AdBHbOef4ls6m0&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiQ8qr3gbzLAhWJ4SYKHSqwCJEQ6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=%22Spectre%20on%20the%20Overland%20Trail%2C%22&f=false
  3. Ancestry.com: censuses, voter registrations, vital records, etc.

 

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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 2013-2016 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.

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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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #1- Edward Byron Payne

Edward Byron Payne, c 1920?
Edward Byron Payne, c 1920?

Most people have at least one beloved ancestor that they feel close to even once that person is gone. I have a stoic grandmother proud of her family history, who always said that we come “from strong pioneer stock, and can do anything we set our minds to do;” a sweet grandmother and grandfather that let me ride with them in their convertible on a trip to the lake; a smart aunt who inspired me to attend college and always keep educating myself; and a great-grandmother who always insisted we eat some of her potato salad that, as a picky eater, I loathed, but I did anyway, because she was my dear great-grandmother and it was a privilege to know her. Genealogists usually have even more of those beloved relatives, but they are often ones who passed away long before the family historian was born, even many, many years before.

Edward Byron Payne is one of my beloved ancestors that I never got to meet. He died the year before his great-grandson, my father, was born, so the connection seems ever more distant. My dad’s parents and grandparents knew him well, and shared some of their stories, though it was never enough for me. I have been researching this man since I was about 15, and it just seems that the more I learn about him, the more questions I have about him.

 

Edward B. Payne, fondly known as EB or EBP in my household, was the third (known) child of Joseph Hitchcock (“J.H.”) Payne and Nancy S. Deming. J.H. Payne was an ordained Congregational minister, living and serving in Ohio when their daughters were born- Cornelia in 1837, and Ruby D., in 1839. There was a long break before another known child was born- perhaps there were others who did not survive, a sad reality in those days. The Rev. Payne was farming and preaching in Middletown, Vermont, in 1846-47, when Edward was born, although I have been unable to find any record of EBP’s birth in the town vital records.

Interestingly, Edward was born 25 Jul 1847, just 19 days after his maternal grandfather, Harvey Deming, died in Middlebury, VT. (The circle of life…) “Edward” has been a family name now used for at least four generations, starting with (Dr.) E.A. McMurray, in honor of Edward B. Payne. (Dr. McMurray was EBP’s grandson.)  I can only find one earlier Edward: Stephen Edward Payne (1821-1883), the brother of EBP’s father. The “Byron” part of EB’s name probably was in honor of his mother’s brother, Byron Deming (1826-1920), as well as the poet in this educated, literate, family.

In 1850 EBP was just 3 years old and living in Fremont, Lake County, Illinois, along with his sisters Cornelia and Ruby D., their parents, and Nancy’s mother, Ruby (Sturtevant) Deming. His father is listed as a farmer, with $1000. in real estate value; he also was serving as a minister per other records. The 1850 US Federal Census was taken on 7 Dec 1850. Little Ruby, named after her maternal grandmother and just 10 years old as listed in that census, died sometime later that month. (Her death record has not yet been found, nor her grave.) Although the holidays were not celebrated in a grand way back then as they are now, it must have been a somber Christmas, instead of what would normally be one of the most joyous times of year for a minister.

Finding the family ten years later in the 1860 census has been a challenge, with no success as yet. They were in Salem (or Liberty) and Wilmot, Wisconsin 1858-1865 per Rev. Payne’s Necrology. Apparently they were just one step ahead of the census taker…

More to come about Edward B. Payne.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Photo of a photo of Edward B. Payne that hung in my grandparent’s home.

2) 1850 US Federal Census, Joseph H. Payne, head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Fremont, Lake, Illinois; Roll: M432_114; Page: 79A; Image: 163. Ancestry.com, accessed 3/31/14. JH Payne was listed as a farmer with $1000 in real estate value, and born in New York. His wife was born in Vermont, and mother-in-law Ruby (Sturtevant) Deming born in Massachusetts.

3) Joseph Hitchcock Payne- Necrology, Congregational Yearbook, 1886, Congregational Churches in the United States National Council, Volume 1886. Published by Congregational publishing society, 1886. Page 30.

 

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