New York Travel Pics, part I

I’ve traveled to New York City by plane, subway, bus, and personal vehicle. But nothing beats arriving by ferry.

This was our first trip back since 9/11, and so it was also our first view of the new skyline.
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An absolutely gorgeous day with beautiful views.

Next, we headed for Ground Zero. Nothing, even though we had heard, we had seen pictures, we had watched news footage, nothing prepared us for seeing the footprints of the towers and the beautifully planted trees.

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A flag placed at Tower 2.
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A view of the new trade center from further uptown.
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It was a beautiful day, though equally sobering.

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Travels Through New York, 2013 – part III

Continued from Travels Through New York, 2013 – part II

The librarian did not bring me a copy of the poem. She brought the poem. I sat there at a table and just stared for a few moments. I couldn’t quite believe it was really here, after all of that, and it was just incredible to realize I was staring at a document written in 1799…over 200 years ago, and by my ancestor! I tried not to breathe on the thing.

I don’t know when, if ever, I have been able to be this close to a document this old, let alone so personally significant to me. I could even see the strands of the paper, which was more of a material, vs. the clean cut version we know today. Someone else (different handwriting) had noted on the document that it was found among Major Ladd’s papers, written in his own manuscript. Also in Ladd’s writing, besides the poem itself, was “A coppy.” At the end of the poem he wrote “December ye 24th 1799.”

Looking at it more closely, I could see something was written on the other side. As I raised the paper towards the light to see better, the librarian was immediately at my elbow. Did I need her to copy it larger for me? No, I said, this is actually fine, and easily read. But I just noticed something seemed to have been written on the other side. Oh, said the librarian, here. And she grabbed the document and casually flipped it over. With her hand. Now, I’m probably overreacting here, but come on! It’s over 200 years old, and she’s manhandling it like it’s the Times?? Sigh.

Anyway, on the other side it stated
“Elegy on the Death of
General Washington
Who Died Decr ye 14th 1799
Written Decr ye 24th

I finished reading the poem, thanked the librarian profusely for all her help, accepted the copy she made for me, and left. At 2:55pm. Yessss!!

So taken all in all, besides now owning my very own copy of my 5x great-grandfather’s poem, which would be pretty darn awesome in its own right, I now have a new set of mysteries to research.
1. Simeon is referred to in the secondary note as a major. I knew he was a patriot in terms of donating goods and services to the revolutionary cause, but he had rank, too?
2. Simeon did not write this poem as an elegy for President Washington, but rather General Washington. Why?
3. Simeon wrote “a coppy” on this page. I’m not sure that it is a copy, so much as a rough draft. There are mistakes and cross-outs, etc. The final and true copy was probably the one he sent or submitted. So where is that one — the pretty, clean copy? Did he send it to Martha Washington or simply to the Washington Family? Does it still exist somewhere?

I have the most fun considering the events that transpired for me to have found this poem in the first place. First, Simeon Ladd had to write the poem. How many were written in mourning for Washington, anyway? Next, the poem had to be kept and preserved. Then, the collection it was in had to be in an area accessible to the public. Also, I had to find mention of it online, travel to NYC, find a secure place to leave the truck and trailer, and get to the Society while it was open. Finally, I actually read the document. I may be the first person in 7 generations to even know of this poem’s existence, let alone actually see it and read it for myself.

Words just can’t express what I’m feeling, but I sure have tried.

Travels Through New York, 2013 – part II

Continued from Travels Through New York, 2013, part I

I had found a mention of a Simeon Ladd poem online, which indicated it was located at the New York Historical Society. I immediately planned to visit the Society when I was next in New York. Now that I was in NYC, I had spent the first couple of days running all over town with Travel Buddy, seeing old friends and historically significant locations, and now the final afternoon was here. I was finally going to know if the poem written by my ancestor was really here or not.

We arrived at 2:15. And learned the Society was closing at 3pm. Special Collections was upstairs, so we raced up and inside. A receptionist immediately greeted us and asked for identification, which we promptly handed over. After several anxious minutes (ours, not hers), she directed us to a bank of computers and asked us to complete the registration process over there. The time was now 2:23pm. I immediately settled in and began the process of registering. After several more moments, Travel Buddy decided to wait downstairs. I finished the registration at 2:32pm.

As soon as I finished, the receptionist turned me over to a librarian, to whom I explained what I was looking for. She immediately escorted me to a small card catalog, where she found a few references to Ladd, but no Simeon. So she asked me why I thought the poem was at the Society. When I told her I’d found it online, she began to look doubtful. I asked her if they had any of George Washington’s papers, and she said, yes, they did have a small collection. When I reminded her that Ladd had reportedly written the poem in mourning for Washington, she decided to look it up on the Internet, herself. Time: 2:36pm.

Her first online search resulted in nothing. I had her try Simeon Ladd, George Washington poem, and then she found it. She then headed upstairs to check with the Washington librarian, and said she would bring me a copy if she found anything. Time: 2:41pm.

Continued in Travels Through New York, 2013 – part III

Travels Through New York, 2013 – part I

This was the single most important stop of our entire trip this year. At least, as far as my own family is concerned.

When you’re traveling by trailer, driving through cities is difficult even on the best days. And we were headed into New York City: one of the most challenging cities to negotiate even with just a car.

But we lucked out: after checking with many different campgrounds, state parks, etc. we finally found a safe place to leave the truck and trailer. A campground in New Jersey, right across from Manhattan. Nothing but gravel and too-close neighbors for the most part, but it did have full hook-ups and a safe location. At $80 a night the price was much, much higher than we were used to paying on the road, but when you consider the cost of a hotel room downtown and the fact we were pulling a trailer…perspective is everything. Besides, it also had a nifty view of the Statue of Liberty.

Travel-wise, this was a major coup. Tourist-wise, it was a snap to either walk a few blocks one way and ride the ferry or a few blocks the other way and ride the subway. Whichever, we were able to get to NYC quickly, which was important as we had a few things to do.

We stayed three nights, so had three days to make the most of our visit. We saw a number of friends, walked through Washington Square, visited the Public Library, and Ground Zero, which were all wonderful and significant events.

But the most important find genealogically-speaking, I located at the New York Historical Society. Some time back, I was trying to do more in-depth research on one of my ancestors, Simeon Ladd. In frustration, I finally just googled him and discovered he had written a poem. A poem mourning the death of George Washington. This was intriguing. So I tried to find out more about the poem, hoping to find a transcription or something, but the only thing I could discover was that it was currently located at the New York Historical Society.

I just had to go there and see if a copy was available for me to read.

Continued in Travels Through New York, 2013 – part II

Yeary Family Genealogy

Yeary Family Genealogy

My closest Yeary is Mary Polly Yeary, who was born in 1786 in Lee County, Virginia. This is a long time back, so my knowledge is skimpy at best. I do not have proof that Mary Polly is in my line, but all the trees I have seen thus far list her as the wife of Abner Hatfield. I am hoping to shed some light on this connection, possibly through their son, Moses Hatfield. I am traveling to Lee County this year, and unlike two years ago, I will be there on a day when the libraries are open, so I am hoping to garner some hard evidence.

Mary’s parents were Henry Yeary and Martha Ball. Henry was born in 1765 in Lee County, Virginia and Martha was born in 1764 in Fairfax County, Virginia. They both died in Lee County, Martha in 1836 and Henry in 1840.

Henry’s parents were Henry Yeary and Elizabeth Croxall (sometimes spelled Croxtall). Henry was born in 1725 and Elizabeth was born in 1729, both in Lee County, Virginia. They also died in Lee County, Henry in 1799 and Elizabeth in 1805.

Henry, Sr. served in the Revolutionary War as a soldier, and Henry, Jr. served as a water boy during the Battle of Kings Mountain.

I would love to connect Mary Polly to Abner Hatfield to truly claim these ancestors that I have felt were mine for years! If you can help me do so, please let me know. I would love to compare notes with you.