Saturday, April 12, 2008

English Aristocrat to Adirondack Frontier Existence

This is my 3rd great Grandmother, a story about her genealogy and the hardships of going from well to do educated lady to the hostile environment alone , in the frontier of northern New York.

Eleanor was born Sep. 1795, in Drax, near Shelby,Yorkshire,England to Joseph Twigg and his wife Eleanor Ward. Joseph was a Linen Merchant, he came from a family of a well to do "Gentleman Farmers" and was somewhat of an embarrassment to the family, he actually went out and made a living as a merchant. Joseph's wife died at child birth leaving Eleanor with no mother. Joseph remarried to Clarissa Jewet in 1796, but she passed away in 30 Aug 1806, and again Eleanor is alone with her father, he passed away 12 Aug 1809. Eleanor is now alone, but Joseph had made arrangements for his estate to go to a brother John or William Twigg who was living in the old family home "Scurff Hall, in Drax, Near Selby, Yorkshire.

This was a beautiful home and came with a family of Aunts, Uncles and cousins. nothing to do but love and cherish her. cousin William Twigg was to graduate in few weeks and become a Vicker.
With the estate she inherited, nothing was out of reach. She was enrolled in a finishing school, she took music lessons from a neighbor, just a few years older than her, Issac Rhodes. Her father having been a linen merchant had made available some of the finest fabrics, that were later made into clothing for her. For 5 years she lived a pampered, life style wanting for nothing. With Uncle John and cousin Joseph she built a bond that lasted for years, and her cousins, Mary, Sarah and Eleanor were very close, there was enough financial stability that no one had to worry.The farm had been handed down for several generations from her grt grandparent Jno Twigg of Wakefield. The relationship between her and her music teacher went beyond teacher student and in March 31 1814, they were married in the church at Snaith, Yorkshire, England.

A disappointment to the Twigg family, Elenior's father had been somewhat of an embarrassment during his life time as he worked first as a Spirit Merchant, then a Linen and latter a Woolin draper. With that behind them there hopes for Elinior were dashed when she dropped below the family social standing. The Rhodes family was of a lower standing and the man she was married to was a teacher not a high social position. There is no indication that any of the family was in attendance at the wedding. This was cause for her uncle John to cut off her endowments.

No time was wasted by the young couple, a daughter Mary was born 1815, the following year, first son Joseph was bap. 24 Jan 1816, at Kingston-on-Hull, Fish street ind.,Yorkshire,Eng. followed by daughter Sarah Ann in 1817. Isaac is finding it hard to earn enough to take care of a wife and three children. They decide it best to go to America. Isaac's career would not have allowed him to accumulate any large sum of money, but Elinor is now past the legal age of 21 and could no doubt obtain some of her inheritance, passage for 2 adults and three children aboard the ship "Athens" must have been quite a sum, plus the up keep on the family. They arrived in the united States 20 Sep 1820. They apparently knew no one during the next 5 years nothing much is known except they added more children. Charlott was born in 1821 shortly after arriving, then in 1824 Isaac came along, by now they are in Clinton Co. New York and ready to take the plunge into Farming. A music teacher and a highly educated aristocratic lady with 5 children Saranac Village, in Clinton Co. at the time 80 other families lived in the whole township, not the end of the earth but you could probably see it from there.

So 5 March 1826 they buy lot 5,Township #4 of the Old Military Tract, 55 acres for $350.
a bad move and its only going to get worse-the area is not even mentioned in the early gazetteers of New York, not until 1830, but our Elinor has another child by then Elizabeth is born 1830. The situation is becoming real bad Isaac has tried hard but he has turned to the bottle only making a bad situation worse, desperate for funds Elinor turns to her family-there is still funds due her but relations with them have not been good but she write to her cousin Joseph Twigg, following is a letter from him:

I have several of these from 1832 up until 1850's notice how the writing is from left to right
and then paper is turned 180 degrees and written right across-This is very difficult to read plus the worm holes and missing pieces leave something to guess work. a copy follows so you might see the vital information you can find in some of these old family papers:

  1. Your melancholy letter brought me the unpleasing intelligence of your fore loan situation. The interior of America to a person possessed of compatancy is not desirable. Much more they who are deprived of the common necessaries of life your situation must be trying in the extream. It is well you can follow the ----cepts of your once indulgent father by looking unto him who is able to support you in all your troubles. Many changes have taken place since you left England. My dear favorite sister Ellen is now no more, She died happy in God Jan 20 1830. My dear father has also departed his life on the 17 jane 1832 with a sure and certain hope of everlasting happiness. We have much cause to feel thankful to a kind and beneficent saviors that 2 endeared relatives were so well prepared to meet in en----- they were the wisest and the best in out family. Your aunt Wood has lost her youngest daughter while on a visit to Fanny, she died in Sheffield. Mary Mackenze and her husband is still in Hull,David and Ellen is yet living in London. I am inclined to think you have been shameful in neglecting to write for so long a period perhaps necessity may be one cause of your present letter. I have learnt from Mrs Rhodes that your son Joseph has got some of the knowing failings of his father. Had he been dutiful and affectionate he would have remained with you to cultivate the farm. I think your plan of improving the farm ought to be abanded, as in all probability that when your son comes of age he will sell the farm and your improvements, leaving you again to the wide world. Were I in your situation I should prefer --- --- --- some of the large villages or towns in America, or any other occupation more suitable to a female than farming. I find the Rhodes are anxious to have the children over to England where un after years they would augment the super abundant population, America is a more suitable place to those who are destined to labor for there bread as many are wandering about England that would be glad to go to America had they the means of doing it. The Cholera is now prevalent in England it has reached Hull,Goaleand,Selby it has extended to many villages around us. 3 have died in Newland within the last 10 days. The disease commences by a bowel complaint with vomiting and violent cramps all over --- --- --- Will be of service to you I can pay 20 pounds ----bank in London you may name to be --- -- a banking house in America whom you --- --- and believe me dear unfortunate cou---- -- your Sympathetic cousin Joseph.

  2. The rest of the letters are along same line reporting on relatives that are born or passed away, each time sending Elinor money.There is a uncle Leatheriage referred to in every letter he apparently has control of her monies left by her father-she never got any, in fact in the early 1930 the family was notified of money available in England. The depression was on so the family pooled their money gave it to one relative to go to England he got as far as New York City and the money was gone-what ever she had coming went to the Crown.
Apparently Issac Rhoads left Ellinor and the 6 children about 1840, he must have been dead by 1850 as he does not appear in any census and his wife is listed, its about this time the family is breaking up.
As you can see by the letter Son Joseph had left home, in the 1850 census he is living in Isle Lamote, eventually ends up in Fayett, Indiana, on 28 Nov 1860 he sold his interest in the homestead to his sister Sarah and her husband Daniel Parsons. At the same time the other son Issac and his wife Rebecca sold there interest to Sarah and they moved on to Bonus,Boone Co. Ill.were he was engaged in the shoemaker business in the 1860 and 1870 census. Mary also sold her interest in the homestead to Sarah her sister. At this time Sarah and her husband moved into the farm to help her mother. Four years later Sarah sells her interest to her sister Elizabeth Scutt for $100. and The Scutt family take over the farm.

In 1872 Eleanor's favorite grandson dies and she wrote a "Acrostic"
for him- this seems to have been something she did a lot as I have about 10 of them but this is the only one mentioning a family member. Its is addressed "Acrostic on the name and death of James Edward Parson age 18" and signed by his "grandmother Eleanor Rhodes aged 78", Saranac, May 1872.

This material came into my possession from Mrs Sadie Stone , daughter of Elizabeth Scutt, the youngest daughter of Ellinor Rhodes Twigg. Any family members that are interested in this material, I will gladly make copies of the originals for you.

Ellinor died 1878 and with her husband Issac is buried in Lower Saranac, New York. Mrs Sadie
Stone related in one of her letters of the truck full of beautiful gowns and cloths that her grandmother had brought from England, and kept all those years.

The Rhodes farm is now the school house property in Saranac,New York

In reading all the letters, and preparing this, have come to realize just how strong some of these
immigrant ancestors must have been-she had it all in England but put it aside to come here and carve out a life despite all the challenges that were in her way, yet remain true to her god and convictions. Genealogy has a way of making our burdens and obstacles seem trivial in comparison.

1 comment:

Ona said...

I enjoyed reading this account as I am a descendant also. My father was Gerald Stone and Carrie Scott (Scutt) was his grandmother. I have continued with my dad's interest in family history. I would love to speak with you. I am trying t find out who Chritiana Howard Rowley's parents were. Do you know? I hope to hear from you. My email is Thank you so much.