West Virginia Travel Pic

I didn’t take many pictures in West Virginia, but here’s one that connects with the blog post from 9/21:


I may add a few later.

Sprague Family Genealogy

Sprague Family Genealogy

Sarah Sprague was born in 1790, Addison County, Vermont. She married Timothy Beach, and ultimately wound up in Macon County, Illinois, where she died in 1860. Check back in an earlier post for Timothy Beach’s genealogy.

Sarah’s parents were Abraham Sprague and Celstia Freelove Hubbell. Abraham was born in 1764 in Providence County, Rhode Island. Celstia was born in 1764, but I don’t know where. They both died in 1847 in Macon County, Illinois.

Abraham’s parents were Anthony Sprague and Mercy Dexter. Anthony was born in Scituate, Providence County, Rhode Island in 1728. Mercy was born in Smithfield, Providence County, Rhode Island in 1730. I don’t know where or when Mercy died, but Anthony died in Lanesborough, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. I am looking forward to traveling through the Berkshires in Massachusetts and the Providence, Rhode Island area, as although I have traveled to both before, I wasn’t researching families in the area, and I am excited to learn more about the history of these areas, particularly during the time my ancestors lived there.

This is as far back as I have the Sprague family at this time. Interestingly, Abraham and Celstia both had fathers who died in Lanesborough. This makes me think there is a strong possibility that Abraham and Celstia may have lived in the area as well, or even married there. It is a short distance from this location to Addison County, where Sarah was born.

I’ll be traveling this route in reverse (Vermont, then Massachusetts, then Rhode Island) but I’ll get to all these locations eventually. I am hopeful I will find out a thing or two when I do!

Travels Through West Virginia, 2013

When we started out on our Eastern trek, we originally planned to drive through a larger swath of West Virginia. I have family research to do in both Lewis and Hampshire counties, and we thought a stop at the State Archives in Charleston might prove enlightening. Washington County, Ohio was just across the Ohio River and it just seemed like a done deal.

But in the end we ran short of time to get to other commitments, and ended up stopping just in Berkeley County to do some research on Travel Buddy’s Snodgrass family.

Now, we hadn’t done a great deal of research on this particular generation of Snodgrass, and as subsequent generations were found further south into Virginia I was somewhat skeptical that the Snodgrass family had been in Berkeley County at all. We arrived too late to hit the library, so we decided to just head over to Hedgesville, and see what we could find.

When we pulled up to the local cemetery, I immediately spotted a historical marker describing William Snodgrass who had arrived in the area as an early pioneer in 1732. Bingo!

We headed to the cemetery, looked around for a bit, and then Travel Buddy headed up to the church to ask the practicing organ player if she knew where the Snodgrass’s were buried. She didn’t, but by the time Travel Buffy returned to tell me so, I had found markers for both William and his wife, Catherine Patterson Snodgrass.

This was no small feat, because William died in 1766. Which means he died a British citizen. This is amazing…and 1766 I do believe is the earliest marker we have found for either of our families. Success!

We stopped back by the church to tell the organist we had found both markers, and she proceeded to tell us about the tavern run by Robert Snodgrass, William’s son. We said we had read about it on the historic site sign, but she continued on, mentioning a few recent events which had been held there. Wait a minute, I interrupted. You mean you can still see this tavern? Yes, she said. It’s just up the road.

So we raced out of there and over to the Snodgrass Tavern! It was closed, so we couldn’t see inside, but that was the place! It turns out that George Washington mentioned the Tavern in his diaries.

Washington was frustrated because although he had paid for room and board, apparently the use of cutlery wasn’t included, forcing him to fetch his own from his saddlebags in the stable! As I said to Travel Buddy: Check it out! Washington really did sleep here!

We’ve got to return to West Virginia someday to research the other locations mentioned earlier, and when we do, we’ll visit the Berkeley County library, as well.

But we definitely won’t discover anything as exciting as this stop!

Virginia Travel Pics, part I


This is a picture of Robert E. Lee’s memorial.

I had heard that the Lee Chapel on the Washington and Lee University campus was beautiful. It truly is.



These are a couple of views from outside.




These are pictures from inside the chapel: the pews; probably the most recognized portrait of Lee; and the Lee family pew.

I love visiting historic sites, and I am gratified when the sites themselves, buildings, artifacts, etc. are able to be maintained so that we can all enjoy them.

Mendenhall Family Genealogy

Mendenhall Family Genealogy

The Mendenhalls were a prominent Quaker family, particularly in North Carolina. The Quakers kept excellent records, which is super helpful with research. I found a wonderful source in North Carolina: an extensive volume of transcribed incidents, listed as they had been recorded. Thus, it was easy to follow when a child was born to which parents, and then see when that child married (and to whom, and who their parents were) and in time, even when that same individual died.

My line begins with Arena Mendenhall, who was born in 1817 in Wayne County, Indiana. I do not know if she had been raised as a Quaker or not. I know that many Quakers left North Carolina for Indiana, and Arena’s parents were part of that lot. But I read somewhere that Francis Mendenhall decided to pull away from the Quaker following. If I can find a similar volume on the Quakers in Indiana to that I found in North Carolina, maybe I will find out for sure. Another point of interest is that Quakers did not believe in tombstones, as they felt they were too ostentatious. Yet, Francis and his wife have a shared stone. Maybe their children decided to place a stone anyway, or maybe it was within their wishes.

Anyhow, Arena married Jesse Beach, and they died in Macon County, Illinois, he in 1854, and she in 1860. Arena did remarry a man named Lodgen between the deaths of her first husband and her own.

Arena’s parents were Francis Mendenhall and Mary Albertson. They were both born in 1790, Mary in North Carolina, and Francis at the Springfield Meeting House in Guilford County, North Carolina. They died in Huntington County, Indiana, Mary in 1864, and Francis in 1865.

Francis’s parents were Moses Mendenhall and Betty Thomas. Moses was born in 1767 at the New Garden Meeting House in Guilford County, North Carolina, and Betty was born in 1770 at the Piney Grove Meeting House in Richland County, South Carolina. They both died at the Springfield Meeting House in Guilford County. Francis was 15 when his father died, and 21 when his mother passed. Maybe something happened in North Carolina, or after he moved to Indiana with his wife, that caused him to break away from the Quakers.

The rest of the Mendenhall line is well-documented, and easily found online. Moses Mendenhall’s father was also Moses Mendenhall, and that Moses’s parents were Mordecai Mendenhall and Charity Beeson, two prominent Quaker families. The Beeson and Mendenhall families came to America and first settled in Chester County, Pennsylvania where Mordecai and Charity were born. After they married, they moved to Virginia first, before pushing on to North Carolina.

Another interesting bit of trivia is that a female Mendenhall in this line married a Milhous, and they had a daughter who married a Nixon. This is where Richard Milhous Nixon got his name. Lots of fascinating stuff to read through on this line!

Travels Through Virginia, 2013 – Part I

Virginia is a truly beautiful state, and I love seeing it, again.

This trip, we stayed right along the mountain ridge (following Hwy 81) almost from one border to the next.

Between our two families, we have many genealogy links following that ridge, and we are grateful that there is such an excellent road connecting them all as we drive South to North.

We started in Washington County, where we found the burial site one of Travel Buddy’s patriots: James Snodgrass.

From there, we hit Montgomery County, Botetourt County, Augusta County… so amazing to walk where our ancestors walked. Most of these counties were 1700s to early 1800s, so our families lived there some time ago!

In Charlottesville, Albemarle County, I visited the county archives, but before long, shrugged my shoulders and left. The family I was researching, my Wood family, is one of the most recent we researched in the whole state…Sarah was born in 1813, and I have found two siblings: Ransom and Eliza/Betsy. Sarah married Hezekiah Collins in 1832, and soon after, they moved to Lewis County (now part of West Virginia). But who were her parents? Although the archives had a great deal of information on the Wood families, I just could not narrow down all the possibilities. As I finally told one of the docents there, “I don’t know enough to be here.” I’m hoping to change that down the road, and return to the archives again, one day, better equipped to learn more about my specific Wood ancestors.