Sunday, May 13, 2018

Rogers Family Adventures, Continued: More Panthers and Some Rattlesnakes

Here are some more Rogers family adventures, this time mentioning Richard Rogers (1791-1875) and his brothers, Reuben (1798-1850), Joseph (1784-1847), Benjamin (1797-1851), and Moses Rogers (1806-1879). For their connection to me, see the previous two posts, Samuel Rogers and Ann Gaunt, and Richard Rogers Recalls His Childhood.

John James Audubon: Felis concolor

Quoted from The Now and Then magazine. See source below.


Now and Then: A Quarterly Magazine of History, Biography & Genealogy, Volumes 2-3: Pages 233-234. 1888.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Richard Rogers Recalls His Childhood

Old postcard from eBay showing the area where Richard's family lived 

Richard Rogers was the son of Samuel and Ann Gaunt Rogers, who were featured in the previous post. He was born in Yorkshire, England in 1791 and journeyed with his parents and siblings to Pennsylvania in 1801.  These stories take place in Forksville, Sullivan County, Pennsylvania, where the Rogers family settled. 

Quoted from Weavers of a Legacy (see source note):

"J. M. M. Gernerd, editor of The Now and Then, interviewed Richard Rogers (son of Samuel I) in 1874 when Richard was 83 years old. Gernerd captured some of Richard’s memories and escapades as a child growing up in the wilds of the virgin Pennsylvania forests.

Richard’s stories of encounters with wild animals give us a vivid picture of just how dangerous life could be on the frontier. Three of Richard’s adventures are noted below:

He (Richard) related with great minuteness how he went out one morning on the flat below the Forks to bring in the oxen, with his rifle on his shoulder, as was then the common custom, when leaving the house, and had a most terrific encounter with a deer. 

He said he found a large doe with the cattle and shot her. Just as he fired she slightly changed her position, in consequence of which the ball merely stunned her. When he went to bleed her she was almost instantly on her feet again, and attacked him with great fury. He undertook to hold her, but her strength surprised him. The combatants now rolled over each other, back and forth, in the savage struggle for life. She fought him until, as he said, his “shirt was torn into ribbons,” and he was “almost naked.” When he at last succeeded in using his knife, he was himself so nearly exhausted that he was for some minutes hardly able to move.

Once he killed a wolf on the same flat below the Forks with a hemlock knot. He said he was driving some young cattle through the woods, along the creek, when the wolf jumped from behind a tree and started for the stream. He managed to get between the animal and the creek, and just as it raised to attack him, with bristles up and mouth open ready to bite, he struck for its head. Overreaching his mark, he hit it a stunning blow on the back, but before the enraged beast could recover, he dispatched
it with a blow on the head.

When nearly grown up Richard went one day with several of his younger brothers to inspect a bear trap that they had set several miles away in the forest. On returning it began gradually to grow strangely and unaccountably dark. He said “a queer feeling” came creeping over them. They saw a flock of seventeen deer; the nimble-footed creatures did not seem anxious to get away, but appeared to be, as they were themselves, strangely disconcerted. 

The boys stopped at a corn field some distance from the house to do some hoeing, but the mysterious darkness continued to increase, and they could not work. The younger brothers began to cry. Richard now said, “Come, boys, I guess we might as well go home,” with all the apathy he could muster, but secretly he himself was no less strangely affected. They went home and were soon comforted. The darkness was caused by a total eclipse of the sun."


Weavers of a Legacy by Jean Paterson Rosencrantz, 2006. P. 22.

    My connection to Richard Rogers (1791 - 1875) great-uncle of wife of 1st cousin 3x removed

    Samuel Rogers (1761 - 1828) father of Richard Rogers

    John Rogers (1787 - 1858) son of Samuel Rogers

    Rebecca A Rogers (1813 - 1878) daughter of John Rogers

    Emma Little (1846 - 1933) daughter of Rebecca A Rogers

    Eldorous H Whitehouse (1852 - 1938) husband of Emma Little

    Mary Carroll Rankins (1827 - 1909)--my 3rd great aunt--mother of Eldorous H Whitehouse

    Joseph P Rankins Sr. (1801 - 1882)--my 3rd great grandfather--father of Mary Carroll Rankins

    Eleanor Ruth "Ellen" Rankins (1822 - 1914)--my great great grandmother--daughter of Joseph P Rankins Sr.

    Oscar J Ellis (1852 - 1907)--my great grandfather--son of Eleanor Ruth "Ellen" Rankins

    Eva Josephine Ellis (1888 - 1943)--my grandmother--daughter of Oscar J Ellis

    Daniel Lawrence Harris (1907 - 1972)--my father--son of Eva Josephine Ellis

    Clair Marie Harris--me--I am the daughter of Daniel Lawrence Harris

Friday, May 11, 2018

Samuel Rogers and Ann Gaunt

Fairmount Cemetery, Forksville, Sullivan County, Pennsylvania

The fun of digging around in genealogical records and histories is when the stories are uncovered. Sometimes I am busy following my relatives back in time and find myself gone somewhat astray. That's what happened when I came across the Rogers family of Pennsylvania.

Rebecca Rogers (1813-1878) was the mother-in-law of my first cousin 3 x removed, but let's not worry about that--I'll spell out the connection at the bottom of this post. Rebecca's grandparents are the ones with the interesting stories about their journey from Yorkshire, England to America, and their subsequent adventures. And they sure did have a lot of children...

Samuel Rogers (1761-1828) was married in 1783 in Yorkshire, England to Ann Gaunt (1762-1823), when they were both 21 years old. They started their family in Yorkshire with the birth of Samuel, Jr. in 1782 (before they were married?--the records are a little unclear); followed by:

Joseph 1784
Jonathan 1785
John 1787
William 1788
Hannah 1790
Richard 1791
David 1793
Abram 1794
Elizabeth 1795
Martha 1796
Benjamin 1797
Reuben 1798
Jacob 1801

That's 11 boys and 3 girls (so far. Stay tuned). Abram, Elizabeth, and Martha died young and were buried in England.

With their remaining 11 children,  Samuel and Ann and Samuel's brother George sailed for America in 1801. I calculate that their oldest son was 19; then the ages were 17, 16, 14,  13, 11, 10, 8, 4, 3, and baby Jacob.

The trip couldn't have been easy in any way.
"The calamities of the voyage as told by Ann Gaunt Rogers:
Ann related that when her little ones cried for water, she gave them bits of hard, dry toasted bread to chew and abate their thirst. She told of the death of baby Jacob, 5 months old, who died from the dreaded smallpox outbreak and was buried at sea. 
After the ship had anchored about three miles from shore, some drunken sailors accidentally set a fire and nearly burned down the ship... Uncle George had his leg badly scalded during the fracas. 
Four-year old Benjamin was missing when the family was ready to disembark. Joseph, 17, rushed back to the berths and found his brother asleep. Finally, the family arrived on American soil with 10 of their 14 children. Besides the child who died at sea, they had buried Abram, Elizabeth and Martha in England. Four more children would be born in their new homeland." (3)

The four children born after the family arrived in Pennsylvania were:

George born 1802
Isaac b. 1804
Moses b. 1806
Mary Ann b.1808 when her mother Ann was 46.

Next post: More adventures for the Rogers family


1. Ingham's History of Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. 1899.

2. Now and Then: A Quarterly Magazine of History, Biography & Genealogy, Volumes 2-3. 1888.


I am very loosely connected to Samuel Rogers in the following way: 

Samuel Rogers (1761 - 1828)
great-grandfather of wife of 1st cousin 3x removed

John Rogers (1787 - 1858)
son of Samuel Rogers

Rebecca A Rogers (1813 - 1878)
daughter of John Rogers

Emma Little (1846 - 1933)
daughter of Rebecca A Rogers

Eldorous H Whitehouse (1852 - 1938)
husband of Emma Little

Mary Carroll Rankins (1827 - 1909)
mother of Eldorous H Whitehouse

Joseph P Rankins Sr. (1801 - 1882)
father of Mary Carroll Rankins

Eleanor Ruth "Ellen" Rankins (1822 - 1914)--my great great grandmother
daughter of Joseph P Rankins Sr.

Oscar J Ellis (1852 - 1907)--my great grandfather
son of Eleanor Ruth "Ellen" Rankins

Eva Josephine Ellis (1888 - 1943)--my grandmother
daughter of Oscar J Ellis

Daniel Lawrence Harris (1907 - 1972)--my father
son of Eva Josephine Ellis

Clair Marie Harris--that's me, the daughter of Daniel Lawrence Harris

Monday, May 7, 2018

My Great Uncle Jack: John Michael Hayes, Sr., 1898-1967

John Michael Hayes, Sr.
About 1929*

I loved my Uncle Jack. He was actually my father's aunt's husband, but he was Uncle Jack to me. I find it amazing to think that Jack was born not in the last century, but in the century before. I actually knew someone born in 1898!

I remember Uncle Jack from the 1950s, when our families used to visit back and forth between our home in San Francisco and theirs in southern California. We even took a family vacation together to a ranch in Arizona--see Road Trip; Old School Style for a description of our cowboying adventures.  Here is a photo from that trip. I wish Uncle Jack had posed for a photo on this trip but he was off branding cattle with my father.

Left to right: Jack's wife, my great aunt Nellie Ellis Hayes; little me; my mother, Elva; my sister, Jean; and the cowboy known to me as Jimmy and Jerry's Grandpa, who owned the ranch where we all had big adventures
Jack's paternal grandparents were both born in Ireland. The photo below is his grandfather, Michael Hayes, born about 1847. He worked as a stone mason. 

Here is Michael's wife, Bridget Kiley (born about 1850), shown in her later years with some of her grandchildren, I suppose. I love her dimples and her obvious delight with the children. Note the cat, "posing" for the family photo. 

Michael and Bridget came from Ireland to New York, where their first child, Abbie, was born in 1871. Poor Abbie died of "pulmonary tuberculosis and exhaustion" at the age of 35. 

The family moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where the rest of their children were born: 

John, born in 1872, died at age 17, also of tuberculosis
Patrick Michael (my Uncle Jack's father), born in 1873
James, born in 1879
Ellen C., born in 1882
Margaret, born in 1888, died as an infant
There may be more children, I just haven't located records for them yet

Patrick Michael Hayes married Mary C. Burke who had been born in Waterford, Ireland in 1873. While Patrick worked as a mattress maker in Worcester, Mary gave birth to their nine children:

Michael, born in 1896. His death is particularly haunting, as he died at age 12 of diphtheria in the Worcester Isolation Hospital. His younger brother, Jack, was just 10 at the time and the loss must have been terrible for all in the family and especially for the brother closest to Michael in age. 

John Michael (my Uncle Jack) born in 1898
Margaret M. born 1899
Myles, born 1901
Mary, born 1903, lived to be 101
Augustine, born 1905
Anna, born 1908
William, born 1910
David, born 1915

Jack's parents, Mary Burke and Patrick Hayes, with some of their children
Some time after 1900
Jack married Ellen "Nellie" Ellis sometime around 1916. Nellie's father was Oscar, featured in the previous post on this blog (My Great Grandfather Oscar). While Jack worked as a machinist in Worcester's Wright Wire Mill, Nellie gave birth to: 

Ellen Mary, born in 1917
John Michael, Jr., born in 1919
Dorothea Patricia, born in 1922

Wright Wire Mill, 1910

Jack and Nellie Hayes with their children, Ellen, Dorothy, and John, Jr.
Probably around 1929

John Michael Hayes, Jr.
We knew him as Buddy

In his later years, Uncle Jack suffered terribly from arthritis, which made every move difficult. I used to go into another room and cry because I felt so badly for him.  I still have this wallet that he made in physical therapy and, knowing how difficult the lacing must have been for his poor hands, I cried again.

Uncle Jack died at age 70 in 1967 in Worcester. He is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire where his wife's sister and husband--my grandparents Eva Ellis and Albert Harris--are also buried. 

Pine Grove Cemetery, Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire


My connection to Uncle Jack:

John Michael "Jack" Hayes Sr (1898 - 1967)
husband of great-aunt

Ellen Mabel "Nellie" Ellis (1898 - 1982)
wife of John Michael Hayes Sr

Oscar J Ellis (1852 - 1907)
father of Ellen Mabel "Nellie" Ellis

Eva Josephine Ellis (1888 - 1943)
daughter of Oscar J Ellis

Daniel Lawrence Harris (1907 - 1972)
son of Eva Josephine Ellis

Clair Marie "Duffy" Harris
I am the daughter of Daniel Lawrence Harris

*Some of the photos in this post are from our family collection; for the others I am indebted to my fellow family history researchers on 

Saturday, May 5, 2018

My Great Grandfather, Oscar

A livery stable on Green Street in Worcester, Massachusetts--maybe it's the one where Oscar worked as a stable keeper.
Worcester Historical Museum image

My great grandfather, Oscar Ellis, was born in 1852 in Smithfield, Somerset County, Maine to Eleanor Ruth Rankins and Robert Winslow Ellis. Oscar was the fifth of ten children. Two of his siblings, Isaac and Anna, died young. 

When his parents, Eleanor and Robert, moved to Iowa along with other relatives and neighbors, five of Oscar's brothers and sisters--Helen, Henry, Cora Bell, Clarence, and Robert-- went with them. Thomas stayed behind in Maine.

By 1875, both Oscar and his older brother, Edward, had married women from Maine and had moved to Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

Oscar married Julia Tupper in 1875. She died in 1883. I can't find a record for the cause of Julia's death at age 28, but although she was living in Woonsocket as late as 1880, she was buried back in the Woodside Cemetery in Belgrade, Maine along with her parents and siblings. I find no record of any children born to this marriage.

Massachusetts Marriage Record, 26 Oct 1887

In 1887, Oscar married Ellen Maria Healy of Worcester, Massachusetts. Ellen, widow of Thomas Lynch, had been born in England, the daughter of Elizabeth Reardon and Daniel Healy. Oscar and Ellen lived in Worcester after their marriage.

According to Massachusetts vital records, Oscar and Ellen appear to have had one child before this marriage. Oscar James Ellis was born 11 Mar 1886 and died at age 4 months and 12 days of "cholera infantum."

Oscar and Ellen lost another unnamed son, in December of 1887. This little boy lived only 13 days and died of "heart disease."

In 1888, a healthy girl was born to Oscar, then age 36, and Ellen, age 27: Eva Josephine, my paternal grandmother. She was followed by Edward Francis in 1891, Oscar Joshua in 1893, and Ellen Mabel "Nellie" in 1898.

Although Oscar came from a family of farmers, he chose other career paths. In 1874 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, he lists himself as a carpenter in the Rhode Island state census. In the 1880 federal census, he is a teamster; on his 1887 marriage record he is listed as a horse car driver; by the 1900 federal census he "works in a livery stable;" and his occupation at the time of his death in 1907 is stable keeper.

Oscar died of endocarditis and nephritis in November of 1907, just a couple of months after the birth of his grandson, Eva's boy, Danny, who was my father. I am sure that they met each other during those few months. My dad had a lot in common with his grandfather--he was first a carpenter and later drove tow trucks (a more modern version of driving a horse car, I suppose), and he also suffered from heart disease.

Oscar is buried in the Union Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island, along with his brother Edward, Edward's wife Profenda Nickerson, and their daughter, Addie.

Ellen, with three children still at home--Edward, age 16; Oscar, age 14; and Nellie, age 10--soon remarried in 1909 to a much younger bachelor. Ellen was 48 and George Farrington was only 24, but he provided a home for Ellen and her children.

Ellen died in 1935, when she was 74 and George was 50. George lived until he was 66, dying in 1951. He is buried next to Ellen in the Pine Grove Cemetery, Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire--the same cemetery where Oscar's sisters, Eva and Nellie and their husbands, Albert Harris and John Hayes, are all buried.


Relationship between Oscar J Ellis & Clair Marie Harris.

Oscar J Ellis (1852 - 1907)

Eva Josephine Ellis (1888 - 1943)
daughter of Oscar J Ellis

Daniel Lawrence Harris (1907 - 1972)
son of Eva Josephine Ellis

Clair Marie Harris
You are the daughter of Daniel Lawrence Harris

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My Father's School Days: Daniel L. Harris, 1907-1972

My father was Daniel Lawrence Harris, 1907-1972. He was the son of Albert and Eva Josephine Ellis Harris and was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

I wish I knew more about his father's family. After years of poking around, I've only been able to find that his father's parents were Harry and Mamie Graves Harris, and that was only because they were named on Albert and Eva's 1906 marriage record in Newark, New Jersey. "Harry" and "Mamie" sound like nicknames, of course, making the search even more difficult. 

But back to my dad. I love these glimpses into his early life in Worcester. 

This would have been around 1915 in Worcester, Massachusetts. I count 35 students. By the time I went to elementary school in San Francisco in the late 1940s, class size was around 30. Now, of course, most classes are much smaller. 

Perhaps a year or two later