Today’s Tidbit | May 27, 1857 – Joseph and Sadie Voiland

On May 27, 1857, my 2nd great grandparents, Joseph Voiland and Felicitée Marie (Sadie) Romond, arrive in New York City from France.

Joseph, from Essert, and Sadie, from the nearby town of Urcerey, must have started on their journey to America almost immediately after their March 26th wedding. They arrived in New York just 2 months and one day after they were married. Since the ocean crossing took around 6 weeks and travel in France to a seaport was slow, they could not have wasted any time.

After arriving in New York, they traveled to Buffalo and remained there until passage through the Great Lakes could be obtained. They finally arrived in Little Wolf Twp., Waupaca Co., Wisconsin in December.

More about my Voiland/Weller family can be found here.

Today’s Tidbit | May 16, 1866 – Lorenz and Elizabeth Hela

My 3rd great grandparents, Lorenz and Elizabeth (Fleming) Hela, and their children Anna, Andreas and Rosalia, arrived at Castle Garden in New York City on May 16, 1866, on-board the “Bark Johanna” from Prussia. They were from Sossnowd, Prussia.

Johanna Passenger List Showing Hela Family

They settled in Neshkoro, WI and then Princeton, WI before moving to South Dakota in about 1881. Many of their descendants changed their name to “Heller”.

Today’s Tidbit – Are They the Same Person?

I’m wondering if the gentlemen on the left in each photo are the same person.

The first photo is of my 2nd great grandparents, Nelson and Louisa Harris. It is the only picture of have of him, and it’s not a very good one. The second photo shows my great grandfather, Orville Harris, seated on the right. I’m wondering if the other gentleman is Nelson, who is Orville’s father. They definitely have similar cheek bones.

What do you think?

Today’s Tidbit | April 7, 1636

On April 7, 1636,  John Benjamin’s mansion was destroyed by fire. The location where his mansion stood is on a site now occupied by Harvard University.

John and his family arrived in Boston, MA in 1632. He was a part of John Winthrop’s Great Migration of Puritan settlers to America. They soon settled in Newtowne (Cambridge), MA. There, he purchased six acres of land and built a house. Governor Winthrop described it as “unsurpassed in elegance and comfort by any in the vicinity. It was a mansion of intelligence, refinement, religion, and hospitality, visited by the clergy of all denominations, and by the literati at home and abroad.” Gov. Winthrop designated him as Mr. Benjamin, the title Mister being rare in those days. There is a tradition that he brought a fine library from England.

John Benjamin is my 9th great grandfather. More about him and his family can be read here.

Today’s Tidbit | March 20, 1883

On this day, in 1883, my great grandmother, Catherine Jackowski was born to Stephan and Rosalia (Soda) Jackowski in Princeton, Green Lake Co., WI. She married my great grandfather, Frank Heller (see yesterday’s post), on September 26, 1905 in Princeton. They had eight children together, the oldest being my grandmother, Florence.

Today’s Tidbit | King of the Wild Frontier

Fess Parker passed away today. And sadly, with his passing, a little piece of my personal history passed away, too. The first record I ever had was the “Ballad of Davy Crockett”. It was sung by Fess Parker and was the version from the Disneyland TV Production of “Davy Crockett”, in which he starred. I always enjoyed playing it on our old flip-up record player and singing along.

With my name being David, my dad would sometimes call me “Crockett”. I still have that record. It’s a “78” and I no longer have a way of playing it. I’m glad I found a digital version of it several years ago.


Today’s Tidbit | January 18, 1858

On this day, in 1858, my great grandfather, Frank Weller, was born in Little Wolf Twp., Waupaca Co., WI. He was the oldest child of Joseph and Sadie Voiland. Frank cleared and established an 80 acre farm in the town of Royalton, in about 1879, more than three years before he married Laura Sophie Heinke.

They sold the farm in 1907 and moved to Clintonville with the intention of retiring. But soon after, he bought a large farm and dairy and operated it until the fall of 1916, when he purchased a hardware store. He operated Frank Weller Hardware Co. until his death in 1935. His son, Russell, continued to operate the store until 1972.

c. 1880

c. 1934

Today’s Tidbit | December 16, 1717

On this date in 1717, Hezekiah Newcomb, my 6th great grandfather, made the first of his many land purchases in Lebanon, New London Co., CT.

Hezekiah was born in 1694, in the town of Edgartown, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Soon after his marriage to Jerusha Bradford (a great granddaughter of the Pilgrim, William Bradford), the couple settled in Lebanon, where they spent the rest of their life. As a youth, Hezekiah learned the trade of carpenter and joiner. In addition to working at his trade, he was a farmer.

Hezekiah and Jerusha are buried in Lebanon’s Trumbull Cemetery.

Today’s Tidbit | December 3, 1857

On this day, in 1857, Charles Francois Xavier Voiland, his wife Adelaide, and their children Magdalena, Catherine, Julia, Philomene and Adele, arrived at Castle Garden in New York City. They came aboard the ship William Tell. Charles’ name has also appeared in family records as Jean Baptiste Voiland.  It appears that he used both names.

Voiland Passenger List - click to enlarge

Passport record from Belfort, France archives

They eventually made their way to Buffalo, NY. Charles and Adelaide are my 3rd great grandparents. More about my Voiland/Weller family can be read here.

Thanksgiving Thursday

The Thanksgiving season, and these next several months, are a special time of the year in the history of my family. My 9th great grandfather, William Bradford, came to America on the Mayflower in November of 1620.

Partial Mayflower Passenger List - click to enlarge

Partial Mayflower Passenger List – click to enlarge

The ship left England in September and, after a grueling 66-day journey marked by disease, which claimed two lives, the ship dropped anchor inside the hook tip of Cape Cod. That first winter, half of the colonists perished. And then, in early spring, the colony’s first leader, John Carver, died. William was elected to succeed him as governor, and was subsequently re-elected thirty times, serving until he died in 1657. He had a reputation as a firm and fair leader. William was the second signer and primary architect of the Mayflower Compact.

William’s first wife, Dorothy, died on December 7, 1920 after falling overboard into the icy waters of Provincetown Harbor while the Mayflower was anchored. The Pilgrims had not yet made it to Plymouth. On August 14, 1623, he married my 9th great grandmother, Alice Carpenter Southworth. She came to Plymouth aboard the Anne in July 1623, following the death of her first husband. The description of their marriage sounds similar to that of the first Thanksgiving.

Thus began my English ancestry in America. Soon after, my Puritan ancestors arrived with the family names of Benjamin, Newcomb, Cleaveland, Ormsby, Harris, and many others.

I’m proud that my family has been in America for 389 years!