Sunday, January 14, 2018

Confirming Ancestors Through DNA

DNA Results

                I completed an Ancestry DNA test a year ago, and thought it might be worthwhile  to share some of my results here.

                Ancestry DNA does an estimate of your ethnicity, which they explain can be from thousands of years ago.  I expected my ethnicity to show a high percentage of Great Britain, Ireland, French and German based on my paper research.  It showed 26% Scandinavia; 26% Ireland, Scotland, Wales; 17% Iberian Peninsula, and 9% Great Britain. 

                I was more interested in seeing if DNA matches would confirm my paper research.  I was excited to match with a descendant of F. E. Goldsberry, because that was further proof that he was the father of the illegitimate Clarence F. Goldsberry. 

                The other most exciting match for me was sharing DNA with descendants of Nehemiah Sprague and Isaac Sprague through another one of Isaac’s sons, Enos.  This is important to me because Enos has been approved as a patriot line in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  Harmon has not yet been approved because there is no paper documentation of Harmon being the son of Isaac.  The DAR will not yet accept the type of DNA testing that Ancestry does.  They will accept only the type of DNA that traces the Y chromosome from male to male in subsequent generations.  (That is difficult for a female descendant of a female ancestor, i. e. Phoebe Sprague). 

                Ancestry groups matching DNA with multiple people into what they call “DNA Circles.”  I have matched enough other people with a high enough percentage of the same DNA to be included in the following DNA circles in my Goldsberry line (hopefully you will recognize these names from previous posts):

·         Almira Bobo

·         John Van Buren Goldsberry

·         Phoebe Lovett

·         William Lovett

·         Elizabeth Parsons

·         John Smith

·         Mary Ann Smith

·         Harmon Sprague

·         Nehemiah Sprague

I have many other matches to our Goldsberry ancestors, even though they are not included in DNA Circles.  This may be due to a smaller amount of DNA shared, or not enough people in the database to establish a circle.  Many people who do DNA testing do not choose to make their family trees public for various reasons, so they are not included in DNA Circles.  Here are Goldsberry ancestors (with posts on this blog) with whom I match DNA with at least one person:

·         John Ashworth

·         Caroline Pennybacker

·         Mark Smith

·         Mary Pence

·         Edward Hartley

·         Charles Parsons

·         Elizabeth Chestnut

·         Roger Hartley III

·         Richard Parsons

·         Lydia Briggs

·         Peter Dirck Keyser

·         Benjamin Wilbore

·         Elizabeth Garner

·         Dirck Pennbacker

·         Hannah Dehaven

·         Henry Bobo

·         Sarah Black

·         Philip Packer

·         Rebecca Jones

·         Mary Alkire (Isaac Pennybacker’s wife)

·         Hendrick Pannebecker

·         Eve Umstat

·         Richard Parsons

·         Daniel Fish

·         Abigail Mumford

·         Gabriel Baubeau (Bobo)

·         Elizabeth Spencer

·         Owen Lovett

·         Mercy Stackhouse

                There are also individuals who match my DNA for Hull, Peck, Griffin, and Clark lines which I have not yet written about because the paper trail is not as strong as the other lines I have researched.

                In summary, most of the ancestors I have written about in this blog have been confirmed by DNA.  Those of whom I have written and do not have DNA shared with descendants are: Souplis, Pawling, Roosa, Op den Graeff, Bills, and Brown.  As I learn more about analyzing DNA, I am hoping to confirm them.

                Eric Hovemeyer, who has been researching the various Goldsberry lines for years, has been analyzing DNA and sees some relationship (though distant) with some other Goldsberry lines in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.  You can read his DNA reports on the Goldsberry Family Facebook page.  My hope is to eventually be able to find some confirmation on the father of John Van Buren Goldsberry. 

                I encourage other members of the Goldsberry family to consider doing DNA testing.  Male DNA would be especially helpful to tracing back John Van Buren Goldsberry. I personally prefer the method Ancestry presents their results.  The DNA test involves spitting into a test tube.  Family Tree DNA test involves swiping a cotton swab against the inside of the cheek.  23 and Me and My Heritage also do DNA testing.  Ancestry has the largest database of people by a large margin, and I know there are other Goldsberry members in the Ancestry database.  Ancestry’s regular price is $99, but they often have sales, especially around Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas.  The best price I have ever seen is $59 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  If you have Amazon Prime, it is possible to order Ancestry DNA through them and get free shipping.  Otherwise, shipping is $9.99 I believe.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Brown Family: First Baptist Minister, Slave Traders, Founders of Brown University

                It has been so long since I have written a blogpost, I feel the need to summarize where this next family fits into my family story.  So here is a quick recap:  My grandmother, Ada Hartley Goldsberry, was the daughter of Phoebe Sprague Hartley, who was the great-great-granddaughter of Revolutionary War soldier Joshua Sprague.  Joshua Sprague was one of the earliest settlers of Ohio, and built part of the blockade known as Campus Martius to protect the Ohio Company, which later became the town of Marietta.  Joshua was born in 1729 to William Sprague and his wife, Ellis (or Alice) Brown.  It is that Brown Family of which we learn today.

                Ellis Brown was born May 31, 1691 in Providence, Rhode Island.  She married William Sprague on September 16, 1714.  Her parents were Daniel Brown and Alice Hearndon.  Daniel was the son of Chaddus Brown.  Daniel was born in England about 1634.  The first record of Daniel in America is of him serving on a jury investigating the drowning death of two settlers who fell through an icy river.  He married a neighbor’s daughter, Alice, and had at least nine children.  I love the names of their children:  Alice, Ann, Daniel, Hallelujah, Hosanna, Jabez, Jeremiah, Jonathan, Judah and Sarah.  The strong Biblical influence of their names is a testimony to their grandfather’s heritage.  You see, Daniel's father, Chaddus Brown was the first Baptist minister ordained in the United States.  Chaddus Brown was born in 1600 in Buckinghamsire, England and married Elizabeth Sharparowe in 1626.  They arrived in the Massachusetts Colony in July of 1638 on the ship “Martin.” 

                Chaddus was disappointed to find the Massachusetts colony to be as rigid in their religious rules as the Church of England which he had escaped.  He moved very quickly to a new colony called Providence, which had been started by Roger Williams.  Chad and 12 other of the original proprietors signed the “Providence Plantation Compact,” guaranteeing religious freedom and separation of church and state.

                 In 1642, Chad Brown was ordained as the first official pastor of the Baptist Church of Providence.  The church was organized by Roger Williams and  originally met in the woods or orchards. The First Baptist Church of America is the name of the church in Providence which traces its history to this group. It is affiliated with the American Baptist Association and is located at 75 North Main Street in Providence. 

First Baptist Church of America in Providence

 Chad was known to be an excellent arbitrator of differences.  It is said he was often described by the phrase, “blessed are the peacemakers.”  His first property in Providence was on “Towne Street,” which is now land upon which Brown University is located.

Chad Brown’s plot in the original layout of Providence is 18th from the top.

                Chad’s nephews James and Obadiah Brown entered the slave trade and became very wealthy.  James died and Obadiah raised James’ four sons, who became known as the “Four Brothers of Providence.” A fascinating book about the Four Brothers is available on Google Books:  Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution by Charles Rappleye.  One of the brothers, Moses, later became a Quaker and abolitionist, putting him at odds with his brothers.

                The College of Rhode Island was chartered in 1764.  The Brown Family convinced the college to move to Providence by donating land (Chad Brown’s original property) and large sums of money.  Members of the family served as professors and treasurer.  The college was renamed Brown University in 1804.



Rhode Island Historical Society Postal History Collection,



The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. p. 84


Sons of Providence: The Brown Brothers, the Slave Trade, and the American Revolution by Charles Rappleye.  Available on Google Books.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Fish Tale

                There is some disagreement about Abigail Wilbor’s father’s name.  (Abigail was the wife of Joshua Sprague).   Sprague Families in America states that her father is Jeremiah Wilbor.  The “Sprague Project” internet database states that it is Daniel, and I tend to agree with the Sprague Project at the point.  Daniel had a son named Jeremiah and a daughter named Abigail.  It is possible that an older brother had taken care of Abigail, or that Daniel’s middle name was Jeremiah, or some other confusion.  But, until I see research refuting Daniel, I am going to go with that.

                Daniel Wilbor’s wife was Sarah Fish, born January 29, 1694 in Newport, Rhode Island.  According to the Rhode Island Record of Vital Extracts, Sarah’s parents were Daniel and Abigail Mumford Fish. This also makes me think Abigail’s father was Daniel, as it was common to honor parents and grandparents by naming children after them.  Sarah Fish married Daniel Wilbor on April 2, 1725.

                Daniel Fish was born in 1662 in Rhode Island, according to his marriage record.  He married Abigail Mumford in 1682 in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. His father is also recorded on the marriage record as being Thomas Fish.  According to an article by John Dean Fish, a corresponding member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, there were at least eight individuals with the last name of Fish who came to America in the 1600s.  All were natives of England.  Thomas Fish is believed to have been born in 1619.  There is record of a Thomas Fish arriving in Rhode Island in 1643.  With so many with the last name Fish, and a common first name like Thomas, it is difficult to trace exactly who is who.  There are many records of Thomas Fish serving as a juryman, delegate to the General Assembly, and constable in Newport, Rhode Island.  There is also record of a will for Thomas Fish, recorded in February, 1687 and proven in December, 1687, that names his wife, four sons, three daughters and seven grandchildren.  It is believed that Thomas Fish’s father was Robert Fish (1593-1639), who lived in England all of his life, and married a first cousin, Alice Fish.



Rhode Island, Vital Extracts, 1636-1899

U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900

U.S., New England Marriages Prior to 1700

American Genealogical-Biographical Index (AGBI)

Mumford Memoirs: Being the story of the New England Mumfords from the year 1655 to the present time

Sprague Families in America

The Sprague Project

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Wilbore Family: Adventurous Abigail and a Nicaraguan Colonist

               Joshua Sprague’s wife was Abigail Wilbur/Wilbor/Wilbore Sprague, and she must have been a very patient, but adventurous woman.  She married Joshua on April 22, 1750 when she was only 18 years old.  Joshua’s first wife, Amey Darling, had died soon after their marriage.  It is possible that Amey had died in the childbirth.  Joshua would have had a young daughter, also named Amey, when he married Abigail.  Daughter Amey died when she was only 13 years old.  Joshua and Abigail had another daughter soon after Amey’s death and named the baby Amey also.  Altogether, Joshua and Abigail had 11 or 12 children, including at least one set of twins.

                In 1762, Joshua and Abigail moved to Nova Scotia with their family.  The French Acadians were deported from Nova Scotia in 1755-58 as part of the war between Britain and France, and their land was made available to homesteaders from New England.  This must have seemed like an incredible opportunity to Joshua, but it turned out to be a decision that he regretted for the rest of his life.  As the American colonists began to rebel against their English rule, the British government in Canada became concerned about the loyalties of the settlers in Nova Scotia.  Finally, the settlers were forced to sign a pledge of loyalty to the British government.  If they refused, they were run out of the country with only the clothes on their backs, leaving behind their property and all their possessions.  Joshua and his family escaped back to Rhode Island, and then to Massachusetts.  Joshua often said that he had a “peck of silver dollars” that he had to leave behind. 

                Abigail was left to care for their large family while Joshua and at least one of their sons, James, left to fight in the Revolutionary War.  After the War, Joshua and two of his sons, Jonathan and William left again.  They knew that there would be many people moving west, and that the easiest way of travel was by water, so they went to Simrell’s Ferry (near Pittsburg, PA) to build boats.  From there, the Sprague men were convinced to join the Ohio Company efforts in building a fort.  There is record of them being paid $100 for building one of the blockhouses (or corners) of the fort at Campus Martius.  Meanwhile, Abigail kept things running on the homefront.  A year later, Joshua returned to pack his family up and move them to the Campus Martius settlement.  They soon moved on up the Muskingum River to a new settlement called Waterford, where Abigail was finally able to put down roots and stay until her death in 1816. 
Abigail Wilbur Sprague Tombstone

                According to the Sprague Project, Abigail’s father was Daniel Wilbore, who was born March 8, 1701 in Newport, Rhode Island.  According to the State of Rhode Island’s Vital Extracts, Daniel’s father was Benjamin Wilbore.  Daniel married Sarah Fish in 1725 in Rhode Island.

                Benjamin Wilbore was born in 1670, as recorded in the marriage record in Rhode Island Vital Records Extract.  He married Mary Kinnicutt in 1700.  Benjamin’s father was William Wilbore, who was born in Essex, England and came to Rhode Island about 1654.  He was a very successful merchant of cloth.  His uncle, Samuel Wilbore, was one of the signers of the Portsmouth Compact.  Samuel had settled first in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, but because of religious differences with the Puritans, was banished. 

                William’s parents were John Wilbore (1594-1656) and Joan Drane Wilbore (1596-1630). John Wilbore was born in England, and may have been one of the Puritans to settle a colony in 1631 off the coast of Nicaragua.  This colony, called Isla de Providencia, was expected to be much more successful than the North American colonies because of the warmer climate.  It was, however, overrun by pirates and the Spanish.

                The Wilbore name can be traced back in England as far back as 1066 and was originally spelled Wellburro, and then Wildbore.  There is a digitized book available on the internet titled The Wildbores in America: A Family Tree which tells more about the ancient history of the name.  It state tshat the “Wildbore” spelling was never used in America.


Sprague Families in America

Sprague Project Database

Wildbores in America: A Family Tree

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Buffalo and Bears in Athens County?

               Almira/Elvira Bobo (Sprague) was born in 1826 in Lodi Township, Athens County, Ohio to Joseph and Hanna Moore Bobo.  A narrative written by Joseph Bobo is included in the book History of Athens County and Incidentally of the Ohio Land Company and the First Settlement of the State at Marietta (which is available to read online).  In his narrative, Joseph states that his parents, Henry and Sarah Black Bobo, came to Athens County in 1798 (which was then a part of Washington County).  They settled on Margaret Creek, where Joseph was born in 1802, then moved to Lodi Township in 1810 “which was all wilderness then.” Joseph describes taking grain to a mill in a canoe by going to the mouth of the Hockhocking River 40 miles, then 30 miles up the Ohio River to Marietta, and 2 miles up the Muskingum to Belpre.

                Joseph tells about hunting deer, bears, turkey, and even a few elk and buffalo.  He states that the last buffalo was seen in 1815 in Meigs County.  He tells the story of his father Henry going into caves after bears with a torch in one hand and his gun in the other.  One time, the bear came running after him, and he just laid flat as he could and the bear ran over him, tearing his clothes.  Luckily, he had a buddy standing guard outside the opening of the cave who killed the bear.  Supposedly the bear weighed 390 pounds.
                Joseph married Hanna Moore on September 18, 1823.
                Hannah Moore Bobo died in 1853 and is buried in Williams Cemetery in Lodi Township, Athens County.  Joseph married Mary Wren (or Renn) in 1854.  His house burned to the ground in 1871, according to a newspaper article.  He died in July 1880 and was buried in the Williams Cemetery.

                Henry Bobo was born in 1771 in Prince William County, VA.  His parents were Gabriel Bobo (1719-1790) and Elizabeth Garner Bobo (1729-1813), also of Prince William County.  There are graves for Gabriel and Elizabeth Bobo in the Elk Cemetery in MacArthur, Vinton County, Ohio.  Research gets very confusing from this point on.  The name is of French origin and is spelled in a variety of ways:  Bubboe, Beaubeau, Baubeau, and many more. I believe Gabriel’s father was also named Gabriel, and was the original Bobo to come to America in about 1700.  That Gabriel married a widow, Elizabeth Spencer White. Some researchers feel that Gabriel and Elizabeth’s son, Spencer, is the father of the second Gabriel (making Gabriel Sr. the grandfather rather than the father of Gabriel Jr.).  Others suggest that Gabriel, Jr. is the son of Gabriel, Sr. and another wife.  Elizabeth Spencer White Bobo was responsible for helping at least five people come to America by paying for their passage in exchange for their land grants.

                The Bobo Family were persecuted in France for their Protestant beliefs.  A Gabriel Baubeau was living in 1691 St. Sauvant, France with three sons. There is a record of two Baubeau brothers being sentenced to death in 1697 for meeting in the woods for an Easter service. They were to be hanged and their bodies displayed on two different main roads to discourage any others from congregating to hear the Protestant teachings.  The French religious refugees became known as Huguenots.  There is an organization known as The National Huguenot Society and we would qualify for membership as descendants of Gabriel Baubeau.  We have another Huguenot ancestor: Andreas Souplis, who I wrote about in a previous blogpost titled “The Sheriff of Germantown.”     

Saturday, June 4, 2016

The Fascinating Saga of the Sprague Family

               Ada Hartley’s mother was Phoebe Sprague.  It’s interesting that the grandmother that raised Clarence Goldsberry, Ada’s husband, was also named Phoebe.  And there are more Phoebes in this line!

                Phoebe Emaline Sprague was born December 18, 1858 in Athens County, OH.  She married Samuel Hartley in 1876.  They lived next door to her parents in the 1880 Census, in Canaan Township, Athens County.  By 1890, they were living in Lodi Township, where they continued to live until their deaths.  Samuel and Phoebe are buried at Graham Chapel Cemetery.
              Phoebe Sprague Hartley's death certificate naming her father as Harmon Sprague and
              her mother as Elvira Bobo.

               Sprague Family has played an integral part in the history of the state of Ohio and the nation.  I have spent hours researching this family, with my husband and sister’s help, and still have more to do!  I hope to complete an application for the Daughters of the American Revolution based on this family, but am still needing one piece of documentation.  We are heading to Missouri this summer to look for records there.

                I would encourage all my family members to read Sprague Families in America by Warren Vincent Sprague to understand the fascinating story of the Spragues.  It is available online.  The author was from Athens County, was a cousin of our ancestors, and spent years researching and interviewing for the book.

                Phoebe Sprague Hartley’s father was Harmon Sprague.  Harmon and his wife have about made me tear my hair out with their name variations!  Harmon was also called Hiram.  His wife’s name is sometimes written as Almira and sometimes Elvira.  I have joked that they must have either been terrible spellers or they had really bad speech defects that caused other people to write their names differently each time!

                Harmon was born October 23, 1828 in McConnellsville, Morgan County, Ohio.  He was the son of Isaac Sprague and Phoebe Elizabeth Hedden, but I cannot find a single legal document to substantiate that.  Birth records were not yet required when he was born, and I checked the Court House records in Morgan County to no avail.  The aforementioned book, Sprague Families in America, states that Harmon is the son of Isaac, but the DAR does not look at published genealogies as a definitive source.  His parents moved to Canaan Township, Athens County, Oh sometime after the 1830 census and before the 1850 Census.  In the 1850 Census, Harmon is living with his two older brothers, next door to their parents, making it impossible to use that census to prove the father/son relationship of Isaac and Harmon.

                Harmon married Irena Blakely on April 6, 1851 in Athens County.  The Blakely Family keeps popping up in my family tree.  There were three Blakely sisters.  Irena married into my paternal grandmother’s line, Caroline married into my Robinson Family on my mother’s side, and Adeline Blakely married into my mother’s Phillips Family. 
                                   Marriage record of Harmon Sprague and Irena Blakely
Soon after his marriage to Irena, Harmon, his parents, and his brothers went to work on the railroad in Illinois.  Working conditions were terrible.  The tracks often went through very swampy land.  Workers and their families were often victims of malaria, dengue, and cholera.  Irena died in Illinois, though I have not been able to find any record of her death, and Harmon was close to death.  Harmon knew several doctors back in Athens County who were related to him, and rode back to Athens on the train to get treatment.  The treatment was successful, and Harmon recovered, but he decided to stay in Athens instead of joining the rest of his family moving further west with the railroad. 

                Harmon married for the second time Almira/Elvira Bobo on August 21, 1856 in Athens County.  Phoebe was born about two years later. 
                                  Marriage record of Harmon Sprague and Almira Bobo
The family lived in Lodi Township until sometime before the 1870 Census, when they were living in Canaan Township, where they lived until their deaths.  Harmon and Almira are buried in Graham Chapel Cemetery.  Almira died in 1903.  Harmon spent the next four years talking to his grandson, John Sprague, about his family’s history, his Christian testimony, and the many revivals which took place at Graham Chapel. Harmon died in 1907.  Harmon and Almira’s graves were marked only by peony bushes for many years, until a descendant named Budd Sprague (John Sprague’s nephew) purchased a marker for them.  Budd told me several neighbors from around the church came to the cemetery while the marker was being placed to tell him what wonderful people Harmon and Almira were.  Budd Sprague has written down the memories which his Uncle John shared with him, and I was fortunate to read through them. 


                Harmon’s parents were Isaac and Phoebe Tyler Hedden (a widow with children when Isaac married her).  Isaac was born March 1, 1797 in Coal Run, Washington County, Ohio, before Ohio was a state.  His mother died when he was a little boy, and he was probably only 14 when his father died.  He spent most of his time with his Uncle Jonathan Sprague, who was closest in age to Nehemiah.  Isaac’s grandfather, Joshua Sprague, left him land in Franklin County, Ohio.  I have read that it was in the Brice Road area.  Joshua had been given the land in the “Refugee Tracts” for serving the Revolutionary cause, and having been banished from Canada.  Joshua probably gave it to Isaac in order to help him get started, since Isaac’s father, Nehemiah, had died while Isaac was young.
                          Refugee Land Grant to Isaac Sprague

Isaac married Phoebe Elizabeth (Tyler) Hedden in McConnellsville, on December 26, 1823.  Phoebe was a widow of John Hedden. They lived in McConnelsville for several years, with Isaac running the ferry there. 
                       Marriage record of Isaac Sprague and Phoebe Hedden
The 1830 census shows them as living in Morgan Township in Morgan County with their three children and three other children between the ages of 10 and 15, which were probably Phoebe’s children from her previous marriage.  They moved to Canaan Township, Athens County, OH in 1840 and lived there until at least 1850, but then moved to Decatur, Iowa before 1860 and Speedwell, St. Clair County, MO before 1870.  Isaac died in Lebeck, Cedar County, MO on November 12, 1876.  Lebeck is no longer a town, and is about two miles north of Cedar Springs.  There are no records of where he is buried.  I am hoping to search court house records this summer to see if I can find any records of his estate.

                Isaac’s father was Nehemiah Sprague.  Nehemiah was born in 1770 in Sackville, Nova Scotia.  His family moved back to Rhode Island when he was six years old, then moved again to Adams, Massachusetts.  He stayed in Massachusetts with his mother and siblings in 1788 when his father and two older brothers, William and Jonathan, left for Marietta.  He did not go when his father came back for the rest of the family in 1789, but was in Marietta by 1790 and lived in Fort Frye during the Indian troubles.

On March 11, 1791, Nehemiah’s younger brother, Wilbur, left the fort before daylight to do his chores on the family property.  He was shot by a group of Indians as he headed back to the fort.  He was hit in the hip.  Nehemiah and older brother Jonathan ran out of the fort amid a shower of bullets to bring Wilbur back into the fort.  Wilbur was crippled for the rest of his life.

On another occasion, Indians attacked Jonathan, Nehemiah, and two other boys right outside the fort.  The Indians captured one of the other boys, Daniel Convers, who was taken to the Indian village in Detroit.  He escaped and finally returned to Marietta almost three years later.  He said he was always treated very well by the Indians.   An Indian bullet grazed Jonathan during this skirmish, leaving seven holes in his shirt because of the way it hung in folds. 

  Nehemiah married first Mary Lowe, who is supposed to have been born in Adams Township, Washington County, OH in 1780. They had five children. After she died, he married Mary Mason, daughter of William and Rebecca Sharp Mason, who came to Ohio in 1797. They had three children, the youngest who was born four months after Nehemiah died.
                       Marriage record of Nehemiah Sprague and Mary Mason 

Nehemiah was a farmer, and his farm on the Muskingum River was known as the “Ridgeway Farm.” It was not far from his brother Jonathan’s farm. Nehemiah had five children by his first wife and three by his second.  Isaac, our direct line ancestor, was the firstborn son of his first wife.  Nehemiah died in Coal Run, Washington County, OH on February 2, 1811, only 41 years old. The story has been handed down that Nehemiah came across a young boy traveling down the river who was very ill.  Nehemiah took care of him, even after discovering that the boy was sick from smallpox.  He cared for the boy himself to keep from spreading the disease to anyone else.  The boy died, and Nehemiah buried him immediately, hoping to prevent spreading the disease.  However, Nehemiah had already contracted the disease and died soon after.  His grave is in the Devol Cemetery, close to the Jonathan Sprague home on Muskingum River Road.  Also in this cemetery is Wilbur Sprague’s grave, Nehemiah’s younger brother who was wounded by the Indians.
                                                                        The Devol Cemetery


                Nehemiah’s father was Joshua Sprague, a Revolutionary War soldier, who was born July 3, 1729 in Smithfield, Rhode Island.  On April 22, 1750, Joshua married Amy Darling first, then Abigail Wilbur.  He immigrated to Nova Scotia in 1762.  Land was made available in Canada when the French Arcadian were driven out by the British during the French-Canadian War.  The Sprague family took up a homestead of several hundred acres at the town of Sackville, and lived there for about 14 years, but was driven out by the British when hostilities began with the American colonies.  Joshua and his family had to leave with only the clothes on their backs. They returned first to Rhode Island, then to Massachusetts.

                Joshua enlisted as a private in Col. Archibald Crary’s Regiment in 1776, when he was 47 years old.  In Massachusetts, he served as a Major in Colonel Joab Stafford’s Company and fought in the battle of Bennington on August 16, 1777.  He marched to Fish Kill on June 6, 1778 to serve in Colonel Diamond’s Regiment, but was rejected as unfit for service.  But then, in October, 1779, he enlisted as a private in Captain Barne’s Company, then Colonel Israel Chapens’ Third Regiment.
               Joshua Sprague's military records state that he was six feet tall and of light complexion.  Sprague Families in America states that he was of "more than ordinary strength and energy."
After the war, Joshua and his sons, William and Jonathan, worked at the carpenter trade, building boats.  They moved to Simrell’s Ferry, on the Monongahela River, bringing their tool chest on a two-wheeled cart drawn by one horse.  Their plan was to build boats on the river for the many people planning to migrate west.  It is believed that they built the boat, the “New Mayflower,” that carried Rufus Putnam and the first settlers in Ohio.    However, when the Ohio Company arrived in Marietta, they discovered they did not have adequate carpenters, and persuaded Joshua and his sons to come to help build the stockade.
                             A model of a long boat at the Campus Martius Museum.

A life-size replica of a long boat, outside the Campus Martius Museum. 

Joshua arrived in Marietta, Ohio with two of his sons on June 22, 1788, just 6 ½ weeks after “The First 48.”  Joshua, his sons Jonathan and William, were contracted to build some of the “block houses” at Campus Martius (for which he was paid $100). Rufus Putnam, head of the Ohio Company, lived in one of the blockhouses.  After the trouble with the Indians settled down, most of the fort was dismantled and used to build individual homes, Rufus Putnam added on to the blockhouse, and it is still on its original site, with the Campus Martius museum built around it.  It is possible, but not proven, that this is the blockhouse that Joshua and his sons built.  If it is not the exact structure, it is almost identical to the one that they built.  It is not known for sure if the Spragues built more than one of the blockhouses.
 The Rufus Putnam home, added upon one of the original blockhouses of Campus
  Martius.  It is now inside the Campus Martius Museum, the museum having
  been built around the home. 


The interior of the Rufus Putnam house includes two pieces of furniture built by Jonathan Sprague, Joshua’s oldest son:  a tilt-top table chair and a corner cupboard.  These pieces of furniture came from Jonathan Sprague home.


In the fall, Joshua returned to his home in Massachusetts, and in the next spring brought his family, including the wife and children of his son William, and two of the children of his son Elijah, who had died. In the spring of 1789, two new settlements were established by settlers spreading out from Marietta.  Nineteen families, including Joshua, William, Jonathan and their families and Wilbur, single, are listed as those who first made camp at Tuttle’s Run (about ½ mile east of the present town of Beverly.) The settlers found a prairie that had been cultivated years earlier by the Indians and were able to quickly clear it by setting fire to it.  In January, 1791, Indians attacked at “Big Bottom,” killing 12 and capturing 5.  There is a monument in Big Bottom State Park on State Route #266. The remaining settlers immediately decided to build a fort.  Fort Frye, as it was named, was a very unique design.  It was an irregular triangular shape, with the long side of the triangle running along the river bank for about 200 yards.  There was a blacksmith shop and two wells in the center of the yard.  It was reported that living at Fort Frye was much more enjoyable than Campus Martius because Campus Martius was run more like a military installation.  They lived in the stockade for seven years, until the trouble with Indians was over.

                When Joshua and his wife were older, they moved in with son Jonathan in Adams Township.  Jonathan’s home still stands, and is one of the oldest in Ohio. It sits on top a hill overlooking the Muskingum River in Washington County and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Architectural historians say that the house is a fine example of Federal architecture.  When it was completed in 1800, it was the first stone house to be built anywhere in Washington County.  The barn was completed in 1803, and is one of the oldest barns still standing in Ohio.

Joshua died October 1, 1816 in Coal Run, Washington County, OH.  He was 87 years old, and left 163 descendants, including nine sons.  His wife, Abigail, died on December 6. 1828 at the age of 95.  He is buried in the Sprague Family Cemetery in Coal Run, Washington County, OH, close to Jonathan’s home.  Both Joshua and Abigail were said to be tall with fair complexion.  Joshua was said to be a man of “more than ordinary strength and energy.”  It is interesting that one census recorder said he did not need to ask the last name of anyone settled in the Coal Run area because the Spragues had such a distinctive appearance.
                                                                Joshua Sprague

                                         Abigail, Consort (wife) of Joshua Sprague

                  The Sprague Cemetery, very close to the Devol Cemetery.

Jeff and I were able to visit Campus Martius Museum in Marietta last summer, as well as the Sprague and Devol Cemeteries.  I was able to sit in the table chair built by Jonathan Sprague, touch the corner cupboard built by Jonathan, and see his house and barn on the banks of the Muskingum River. I met a gentleman in the Historical Society Library who put me in touch with Budd Sprague. 
                   This is the view looking down to the Muskingum River from the
                    Sprague Cemetery.  The white dot on the right is Jeff, waiting on
                    the road while I climbed through the weeds up to find Joshua
                    Sprague's grave.  We had only longitude and latitude coordinates
                    to find the cemetery.

This summer, I am hoping to visit the Court House and Historical Society in Missouri and find some record of Isaac Sprague which would establish him as Harmon’s father. 

It is interesting to read the history of the settlement of Ohio, and to realize our ancestor was so involved.  In the book, History of Marietta and Washington County, we find that the Ohio Company was a committee of men determined to settle the frontier.  They made detailed plans for their trip into the frontier.  The “First 48” settlers of Ohio were to include four surveyors, a superintendent of surveyors, 22 men to attend the surveyors, 20 men to include six boat builders, four home carpenters, one blacksmith, and nine common workmen.  The men were furnished with one axe (for clearing the land), one hoe (to cultivate the land), and their sustenance.  They were allowed 30 pounds of personal baggage.  The men were to bring with themselves a good small arm, bayonet, six flints, a powder horn and pouch, priming wire and brush, half a pound of powder, one pound of balls, and one pound of buckshot.   They would be paid four dollars per month.  They were subject to military-type command.  Most of the men were Revolutionary War veterans and were used to following orders.  The “First 48” arrived April 7, 1788.  Joshua Sprague and sons arrived there on June 22, 1788.

In 1788, George Washington said, "No colony in America was ever settled under such favorable auspices as that which has just commenced at the Muskingum...If I was a young man, just preparing to begin the world, or if advanced in life and had a family to make provision for, I know of no country where I should rather fix my habitation..."

When Marietta was first settled, there was no uniform currency. Ledgers were usually kept in pounds, shillings, and pence, but each of the New England colonies had their own way of determining the value.  Actually payment was usually in the form of bartering.  Dollars and cents, based on the metric system, were confusing for years for the early settlers. 

The majority of the settlers were farmers, so they chose the “wide bottoms” close to the river, which was the only highway into the territory.  However, their first crop of corn was almost all killed by an extremely early frost in the fall of 1789, which resulted in a near famine.  The settlers were always grateful to a neighbor across the Ohio River whose crop was not affected by the frost and was willing to share with the new settlers.  In 1791, the settlers who had gone on about 40 miles north of Marietta were attacked by Indians and 12 were killed.  Then the Indians lurked around Marietta, driving off cattle, and making for some very nervous settlers.  Many were ready to abandon the settlement and return east. 

There were still a few buffalo around when Joshua Sprague first came to Ohio, as well as elk, but they disappeared soon after.  There is record of a man killing six buffaloes in the winter of 1792.  Deer, turkey, bear, panthers, wolves and wild cats were plentiful.  The wolves were especially hard to keep away from the settlers’ livestock.  The river was full of fish, and the common method of catching them was gigging with a spear.  A man gigged a pike which weighed 96 pounds, and cooked it for a 4th of July celebration in 1790.

                Joshua’s father was William Sprague II, who was born February 2, 1691 in Providence, RI.  He married Ellis (Alice) Brown on September 16, 1714.  They had six children. By 1728 to 1731, he was made a Lieutenant in the Providence Militia.  By 1732, he was made Captain.  He donated land for the first Baptist meeting house in 1738. After Ellis died, he married a second time Mrs. Mercy (Mary) Walling on August 26, 1744.  There were no children born to this marriage.   He died October 20, 1778 in Smithfield, RI, at the age of 88. 

                William Sprague II’s father was Jonathan Sprague, born May 28, 1648 in Hingham, Plymouth County, MA.  Jonathan was named after an older brother who had died ten months before he was born. The brother was only six years old when he died.  He married Mehitable Holbrook on July 20, 1670 in Weymouth, Norfolk, MA.  They moved to Providence, RI in 1681, probably because of their religious beliefs.  He served as a deputy to the General Assembly, as Justice of the Peace, and Speaker of the House of Deputies.   He worked on a committee to establish the northern boundary of the settlement. In 1722, he wrote a long letter to three prominent Presbyterian ministers in Massachusetts who wanted to establish a church in Providence.  Jonathan was a Baptist, and failed to see the necessity of a Presbyterian church in the settlement. The First Freewill Baptist Church of Smithfield in Greenville, RI, traces its founding to the Baptist church begun by the Spragues.  The church’s history states that the “first settled pastor was Elder Jonathan Sprague.”  Jonathan and Mehitable had at least ten children.  Jonathan died and is buried in Providence County, RI.

                Jonathan’s father was William Sprague I.  William was born in 1609 in England and came with his brothers, Ralph and Richard, to America in 1629, landing in Salem, MA.  William was the youngest of the three brothers. It is thought that they sailed on the ship Abigail with Governor Endicott, and landed at Salem on September 6, 1628. Soon after arriving in Massachusetts, the brothers were commissioned by Governor Endicott of Salem to explore land beyond the settlement, a vast forest between the Mystic River and the Charles River.  The Albergeuian Indians were living there, and the Sprague brothers worked out a peace agreement with them.  That area became the town of Charlestown, which was later absorbed into Boston.  The brothers helped found the first church in Boston.

William married Millicent Eames in 1635 in Charlestown, Suffolk County, MA.  In 1636, he and his father-in-law, obtained grants of land in Hingham and moved there.  He served as a “Selectman,” Constable, and Collector of Town Rates.  He and Millicent had at least 13 children. Our ancestor, Jonathan, was William’s second son to be named Jonathan.  The first Jonathan died the year before the second Jonathan was born, when the first was only six years old.   William died in Hingham, Plymouth County, MA, October 26, 1675.
                    Record of William Sprague's Death in 1675

               What a fascinating family!  Hopefully, I will have more information to add to their story soon!  Someday I would like to write a series of children's books based on this family.