Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Photo by Patrick Jones. Reykjavik Culture Night, 20 Aug 2016.

Have a fun and festive New Years! Bring on 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Reflections on 2016

Photo by Patrick Jones. Point Dume, 23 Sep 2016.
It has become a blog tradition to recap the year with a closing post and some thoughts on the things to come. I have some wonderful memories from 2016, of new places and experiences. I have some sad memories too, losing our Dad to cancer and seeing others more famous gone too soon in 2016. The long election and Presidential result added to the negative thoughts on the year. I can only hope things look up in 2017. The uncertainty with an unfriendly administration taking shape in DC brings a challenge that will shape the next four years and beyond.

Looking back, I started 2016 in LA. Returning for meetings brought an opportunity to walk where my 5th-great-grandfather Francisco Suastegui may have walked in 1835. I also ran with Blacklist LA and started the long preparations for the half-marathon and marathon.

Later in the month I went to Istanbul, a place that has become one of my favorite cities. Istanbul and Turkey as a whole had their own challenges in 2016. The people are very resilient and I am looking forward to going back in early 2017.

I returned from Istanbul early for our epic Snowzilla storm. We celebrated by turning our street into a toboggan run and making the best of the snow with our neighbors. As fun as that was, I am hoping 2017 brings less snow to DC.

In March I was able to do another Miami street art layover, see Madrid and Marrakech. As a family we spent Spring Break in Mexico, visiting the ruins at Chichen Itza and Coba, and swimming with dolphins at Xcaret eco park. In April I went to Bangkok and Siem Reap. I was able to see the amazing Angkor Wat, a brief trip that I will never forget.

May included a whirlwind trip through Moscow, Amsterdam and Minsk. June took me to Helsinki, Finland, a land of stunning sunsets. I started July with a stopover in Reykjavik and a first visit to the calming waters of the Blue Lagoon. I also went to Montevideo, Uruguay and stepped up the mileage for the Reykjavik Marathon.

I have already written quite a bit about my running experiences from 2016. The marathon and the trip to Iceland were unforgettable. After returning from Iceland, I ended August with the family at Duck, North Carolina.

September included a visit back to LA and a family trip to Universal and Harry Potter World. October featured a trip to Namibia and stopover in Dubai. November included a trip back to India and a memorable Thanksgiving run back at home in Del Ray. December has been spent at home, taking the family to movies and enjoying the holidays around DC.

I know 2017 will begin much like past years, with meetings back at the West Coast home. Los Angeles is one of my favorite places and it always feels like home to go back. Right now I am not planning to run another marathon, but I may enter another half-marathon in 2017. I will certainly enter a 10K and perhaps the Parkway Classic 10 mile race in April.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Hyderabad, India. 1 Nov 2016.
I am ending this post with a photo taken at Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad. The lake has been declared as the "Heart of the World" with UNESCO. May 2017 bring good fortune and many new adventures. Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

More from the pension file of James Smith

Prayer in Chioggia by Leonardo Bazzaro. 1897.
Looking over the Revolutionary War pension file of James Smith and Margaret Truax Smith, I see a few more historical gems to share. One document dated 12 February 1835 appears to include James' signature (see below). This one transferred the administration of his pension from Kentucky to Indiana.
Source: Fold3, page 36.
Andrew Smith, son of James and Margaret, and Stephen Daugherty (son-in-law through his marriage to their daughter Jane Smith) appeared before the Justice of the Peace and testified that they knew James to be the same person who had originally applied for the pension in Kentucky. Stephen and Jane Smith Daugherty testified on behalf of Margaret on 13 July 1843 as part of her widow's pension application. This document also includes Margaret's mark for her signature.
Source: Fold3. Page 39.

Where I ran in 2016

Source: Mapmyrun. Reykjavik Marathon, 20 Aug 2016.

According to Mapmyrun, I've run a whopping 667 miles in 2016. While the year is not quite over yet and I may still run a little bit more, I thought it might be interesting to look back on my year in running and see some of the interesting places I was lucky to run through. I am quite happy with what I achieved. I set a post-40 personal best in the Alexandria Turkey Trot, completed the marathon in August, and another half marathon back in April.

I ran pretty consistently through the winter months, starting with 43 miles in January and 78.9 in February. January also saw my first run with LA running group Blacklist LA at LACMA's Urban Light.
Source: Mapmyrun. Blacklist LA run, 4 Jan 2016.

In March I ran through Marrakech, Morocco, walked over 10 miles through Wynwood Walls and the Miami Airport, and ran through Xcaret and Chichen Itza in Mexico.
Source: Mapmyrun. 5 miles in Marrakech.
April included the brutal hills around Charlottesville for the Charlottesville Half. In May I ran three miles in Moscow, 13 miles in Amsterdam and 9 miles in Minsk, all within the same trip.
Source: Mapmyrun. 6 mile run through Minsk.
In June and July I really stepped up the mileage as I got closer to running the Reykjavik Marathon, hitting 117 and 115 miles. This included a memorable 17 mile Midsummer night run through Helsinki and two of my then longest runs, 19 and 20 miles along the Potomac.
Source: Mapmyrun. Midsummer training run.
August featured the long run through Reykjavik (see the top of this post for the map), while runs slowed considerably in September as I recovered. I did manage to run with Blacklist LA again in September while in LA. November saw treadmill running in Hyderabad. December has been light on the miles but I am looking forward to more runs in interesting places in the first few months of 2017.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Looking closer at the pension application

Source: Fold3. Pension file of James Smith.

The Revolutionary War pension file of James Smith includes a declaration dated 9 August 1832, made in Adair County, Kentucky. In this document, James claimed that he entered service in Frederick County, Maryland in either 1774, 1775 or 1776 under "Captain Craiger" with Philip Smith the First Lieutenant of the Company. He would have been 21 years old in 1776.

I found verification to part of James' story in the Archives of Maryland, Records of Maryland Troops in the Continental Service. Captain Valentine Creager was in charge of a Flying Camp company in 1776. According to the Archives of Maryland, the Flying Camp was established by the Continental Congress on 3 June 1776 consisting of 10,000 men from across Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. James Smith does appear on the service list for the company, along with a John and Joseph Smith, although at this point it isn't clear if there is a relationship between these two and James. Creager's company was formed on 3 October 1776 from the Middle District of Frederick County, Maryland. Further information on James' enlistment in the Flying Camp militia company should be located at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore.
Archives of Maryland, page 72.
Archives of Maryland, page 73.
According to a Rootsweb post updated on 8 February 2002, Creager was born 9 February 1734 in Oley, Pennsylvania. From June to December 1776, his company saw action in battles on Long Island, at Harlem, White Plains and Fort Washington. Smith's declaration mentions he was at a skirmish at Brunswick, this would have been during General Washington's retreat through New Jersey.

It looks like James served for the remainder of 1776 in Creager's company, and then joined with Captain John Carmack in early 1777 for two months. He says he marched over parts of New Jersey and New York. I need to look at available records in Maryland on Smith's service.

James claimed to have served for two months with Captain Humphreys in Virginia, marching to Williamsburg and Jamestown. This should be Thomas Humphrey of Loudoun County, Virginia, who commanded a company from 1779-1780. He also claimed to have served a two month tour under Captain Josiah Moffett in 1781. Moffett was from Loudoun County, Virginia.

Smith notes he was at the "taking of Cornwallis", which would have been the Battle of Yorktown. Another ancestor fought at the Battle of Yorktown, my 6th-great-grandfather Joseph Thornhill Senior. James said he assisted in guarding prisoners, marching them up the Potomac to Fredericksburg. At this stage of the war he was a Sergeant.

At the end of the war, James returned to Loudoun County, Virginia, where he married Alice Margaret Truax. A verification of their marriage was included in the file as part of Margaret's widows pension in 1841.

James provided an amendment to his file on 1 April 1833, stating that he served with Major Samuel Cox, marching to Mechanicsburg and Jamestown. James' Adair County neighbors Samuel Wilson and Joseph G. Walker testified that they knew him and were aware he was a soldier during the Revolutionary War.

There is more in the file following James' move from Adair County to Gibson County, Indiana in 1835. His widow Margaret Truax Smith's case was linked to the widows pension application of Nancy Ann Redman, wife of Aaron Redman. Aaron was another soldier originally from Loudoun County, Virginia and a good friend of James Smith. Redman and Smith's families moved together from Virginia to Kentucky, and later from Kentucky to Gibson County, Indiana.

Unraveling the story

Source: Fold3. Revolutionary War pension file of James Smith.

The next generation from Isaac Smith takes us to his parents, James Smith and Margaret Truax. There are many descendants of this couple, my 5th-great-grandparents, so I am not alone in trying to uncover their story. We are lucky to have the Revolutionary War pension file of James and Margaret. There are over 50 pages in the file, captured digitally on Fold3. I will start to go through the file with this post. There may be other researchers and descendants of James and Margaret who may find this page. In no way is my research exhaustive or definitive, I am only scratching the surface of available data here.

According to the file, James was born about September 1755. Some researchers attribute his birth place to be Fairfax (now Loudoun) County, Virginia. He moved to Frederick County, Maryland before 1776. He enlisted in the Flying Camp of Captain Valentine Creager in 1776. I will write more about the description of James' service in the war shortly.

After the War

The file notes that after the war, James married Alice Margaret Truax in Loudoun County, Virginia on 25 January 1783. The file includes a certification from the Clerk of Court of Loudoun County, dated 2 February 1841, attesting to the marriage. Margaret is noted as a "spinster of Shelburne Parish" in Loudoun County. She is supposedly born on 19 February 1757, so she would have been 26, almost 27 on the date of her marriage.
Source: Fold3. Pension file page 46.
James and Margaret later moved to Fayette and then Adair County, Kentucky, where many of their children were born. James applied for his Revolutionary War pension from Adair County, Kentucky in 1832. By 1835, he and Margaret had moved to Gibson County, Indiana to be close to their children. That same year, James requested the transfer of his pension file to Indiana from Kentucky. James died on 29 January 1838 in Gibson County. After his death, Margaret applied for and received a widow's pension for James' service in Maryland.
Source: Fold3.
The children of James and Margaret are not mentioned by name in the pension file. James and Margaret had at least the following children after their marriage in 1783:
- John Smith, 1784 in Virginia
- Mary Polly Smith, 1785-1873
- Elizabeth Smith, 1788-1869
- Andrew Smith, 1790-1862
- Lydia Katherine Smith, 1794-1857
- Anna Smith, 1797-1868
- Isaac Smith, 1799-1858
- Jane Smith, 1800-1862
- David Smith, 1801-1881/1882

Some researchers attribute James Smith Jr (1774-1855) to James and Margaret. I am keeping him separate for now, as I do not think he was a son of Margaret.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Isaac Smith

Source:, map of Gibson County, Indiana.
In my earlier post on the Smith family, I included a map showing land owned by Isaac Smith in Johnson Township, Gibson County. Isaac acquired 80 acres of land on the west half of the northeast quarter of Section 32 as part of a land patent issued on 15 November 1830. He entered another land patent on 6 June 1832 for the adjoining 80 acres covering the east half of the northeast quarter of Section 32.

Isaac Smith was born on 7 June 1799 in Fayette or Adair County, Kentucky. Isaac married Susan Ann Martin around 1825, although I have not been able to find a marriage record for them in Kentucky or Indiana before Isaac appears in Gibson County in 1830. They had at least 12 children:
- Naomi Jane Smith, 1826-1890
- Priscilla Smith, 1830-1869
- Jesse Asbury Smith, 1832-1920
- Margaret E. Smith, 1834-
- Rebecca C. Smith, 1836-
- Mary A. Smith, 1838-
- Marticia Smith, 1840-
- Elizabeth E. Smith, 1842-
- Helena F. Smith, 1848-
- Isaac H. Smith, 1848-
- William F. Smith, 1849-
- John Smith, 1853-

Isaac died on 10 October 1858. His will was entered into probate in Gibson County on 25 October 1858.

Isaac's will was executed on 30 November 1857. He left a life estate for his wife, listed here as Sucky Ann Smith. His first son Jesse A. Smith was given 60 acres of land in the southeast quarter of Section 32. The remaining quarter of land was given to his sons Isaac H. Smith and John Smith. He gave the remaining 100 acres of his original land patent in the northeast quarter of section 32 to be equally divided among them.

The remainder of Isaac's personal estate was to be equally divided by his daughters after the death of his wife Susan Ann. His daughters were listed as Naomi J. Epperson, Priscilla Smith, Margaret E. Smith, Rebecca C. Brownfield, Mary A. Smith, Martitia C. Smith, Eliza E. Smith, Helena F. Smith. Jesse A. Smith and Charles Epperson were appointed as executors.
Source: Findagrave. Headstone of Isaac and Susan Ann Smith.

Christmas Memories

Photo source: Patty Marple. Christmas in Indy, mid 1950s.
The photo above shows my Mom on the right, with her sisters Linda (middle) and Patty (left). This is from the mid 1950s in Indianapolis. Thanks to my Aunt Patty for sharing this photo.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Probate file of Jesse Smith

Ancestry. Indiana Probate Records, Image 1546.
As noted in the last post, Jesse A. Smith died on 1 July 1920 in Gibson County, Indiana. His probate file shows my 2nd-great-grandmother Anna signed a bond in settlement of his estate.

The probate file includes a receipt showing Anna's signature for the final settlement of $98.80 on 3 January 1922.

The settlement also covered taxes on four acres of land in Fort Branch, Gibson County, Indiana located in Section 13, Township 3, Range 11. Jesse also had 17 acres in Union Township worth $3420.

It appears Anna Smith Lamon had to file an action against the estate in 1921 to quiet title to land inherited and to determine the rights of the heirs. Anna and her brother William were the sole heirs of Jesse Smith. As seen in the papers above, the court resolved the matter as petitioned by Anna.

Anna died five years later, on 28 May 1927 in Indianapolis.

The next probate file contains information on Jesse Smith's father, my 4th-great-grandfather, Isaac Smith. I will cover this in my next post.

Shifting locations and stories

Summer at Shinnecock Hills by William Merritt Chase, 1891. 

I am taking a break from writing about AncestryDNA connections on my Mom's Mexican side of the tree to wait on the arrival of some research. I think one connection is to the family of Ignacio Terrazas and Brigida Herrera. In the meantime, there is a line on my Dad's side of the tree that I have not spent much time writing about here. For the next few days I will follow the Smith family of my 2nd-great-grandmother, Anna Smith Lamon.

I previously posted a copy of the marriage record for Anna Luiza Smith and Uriah Lamon back in August 2013. They were married in Gibson County, Indiana on 9 November 1884. The same post included a copy of the marriage record for Anna's parents, Jesse A. Smith and Rebecca Muck. Jesse and Rebecca were married in Gibson County on 27 May 1856.

According to Jesse's death certificate, he passed away on 1 July 1920 in Fort Branch, Gibson County. This document lists his birth date as 7 February 1832 and the name of his father, Isaac Smith.

The lands of Jesse A. Smith and his father Isaac Smith Sr. appear in the Gibson County land ownership map from 1881 in Sections 29 and 32, Johnson Township.
Johnson Township, Gibson County, 1881.
In the 1920 US Census, taken 6 January 1920, Jesse was living in the household of his son, William L. Smith and his wife Lisa. Ten years previous, Jesse appears in the 1910 US Census as head of household, with his daughter Anna Luiza Smith Lamon and her husband, my 2nd-great-grandfather, Uriah Lamon.
1910 US Census, Gibson County, Indiana.
Jesse and Rebecca appear together in the 1900 US Census. She passed away the next year, on 3 February 1901.
1900 US Census, Gibson County, Indiana.
In the 1880 US Census, the family appears in Johnson Township, Gibson County. Jesse and Rebecca had two children, William L. Smith, and my 2nd-great-grandmother Anna Luiza. William was born on 14 April 1857, Anna was born in June 1861.
1880 US Census, Gibson County, Indiana.
Looking back another ten years, in the 1870 US Census, Jesse and Rebecca had a small farm with their two children. Jesse's mother, Susan, also appears three houses away, with several of Jesse's siblings still living at home.
1870 US Census, Gibson County, Indiana.
Susan died on 9 October 1875, she is buried in Blythe Chapel Cemetery in Owensville, Gibson County with her husband Isaac Smith. Her headstone says she was born on 15 August 1808.

Jesse and Rebecca were living next door to Susan and Jesse's siblings in the 1860 US Census.
1860 US Census, Gibson County, Indiana.
Jesse's father, Isaac Smith, last appears in the 1850 US Census. He died on 10 October 1858 in Gibson County.
1850 US Census, Gibson County, Indiana.
Isaac Smith appears in the 1840 US Census in Gibson County, living next to John Smith. Isaac was also in the 1830 US Census in the same place.
1840 US Census, Gibson County, Indiana.
Isaac and Susan had at least the following children:
- Naomi Jane Smith, 1826-1890
- Priscilla Smith, 1830-1869
- Jesse Asbury Smith, 1832-1920
- Margaret E. Smith, 1834-
- Rebecca C. Smith, 1836-
- Mary A. Smith, 1838-
- Marticia Smith, 1840-
- Elizabeth Smith, 1842-
- Helena F. Smith, 1848-
- William F. Smith, 1849-
- Isaac Smith, 1850-
- John Smith, 1851-

We are lucky that the Indiana Probate records contain the will and probate files for Jesse Smith and his father Isaac. I will have more from these records in the next post.