A Frontier Hostess and Midwife

Week 3: #52 Ancestors – Unusual Name By Eilene Lyon How my great-great-grandmother, Meltha Lucinda, came by her name is a mystery. There is a place name “Meltha” in the Domesday book. It’s located in West Yorkshire and now known as “Meltham.”1 It’s not a particularly common name.2 One thing is clear: Meltha Lucinda Painter... Continue Reading →

Crossing an Ocean with Kids

Week 2: #52 Ancestors – Challenge By Eilene Lyon Meet Eliza Jane Drake Eliza Jane Drake was the daughter of Samuel and Eliza Drake (b. 1792, b. 1794). The Drakes were of English descent and lived in the village of Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland. Eliza Jane was born in 1822.1 Eliza Jane fell in... Continue Reading →

A Photographic Mystery

Week 52: #52 Ancestors – Resolution By Eilene Lyon I suspect this is a problem with no resolution to be found. But I decided to pitch it on the blog in hopes that someone, somewhere, has the key. Ten men left Trenton, Indiana, on March 10, 1851 to seek their fortunes in California. Only nine... Continue Reading →

Phrenologically Kind

Week 51: #52 Ancestors – Nice By Eilene Lyon “…one who is still frequently upon our streets, the fruits of whose labor all of us are reaping more or less, one of those by whom the world is more benefited than is by the world acknowledged…” Don’t let that stern countenance fool you. William Painter... Continue Reading →

No Pocahontas

Week 48: #52 Ancestors – Next to Last By Eilene Lyon Note: This post is more about the research process than storytelling. Yes, there really is a John Smith in my family tree. And, no, he isn’t that John Smith, of Jamestown and Pocahontas fame. Fortunately, I’ve been able to trace my mother’s paternal line... Continue Reading →

Solving a 166-Year-Old Crime (revised)

By Eilene Lyon Introduction I posted the original version of this story on September 13, 2018. Briefly, it involves the 1851 – 1852 partnership between Elias D. Pierce, William S. Good, and Paris S. Pfouts in Siskiyou County, California. Pierce suggested that William Good took off with the company’s assets worth $40,000. I didn’t believe... Continue Reading →

A Sad Situation

Week 46: #52 Ancestors – Random Fact By Eilene Lyon “Benjamin Hull Jones, a native of Ohio, became dissipated, and by accident shot away a large portion of his face.” I found that statement more random and shocking than anything I’ve come across in my decades of research. When I began examining the life of... Continue Reading →

Slave-owner to Socialist

Week 45: #52 Ancestors – Bearded By Eilene Lyon The Slave Years My 2nd great-grandfather, Melville Cox Davis, was the oldest of five children born to Dr. Hamilton Cunningham Davis and Christina Mock. Hamilton married Christina in their home state, North Carolina, and shortly afterward moved to Lafayette County, Missouri, along with their parents and... Continue Reading →

Meanwhile, On the Homefront

Week 42: #52 Ancestors – Conflict By Eilene Lyon To Engage, or Not? The  Civil War was undoubtedly this country’s most destructive conflict, in terms of damage to American lives and property. Not to mention the permanent scars on the collective psyche of the nation. Far from the battlefields, discord raged in communities across the... Continue Reading →

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