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.