Sunday, August 28, 2011

pets in my family tree

Often, families include more than just biologically related people.  They also include those furry (or feathery, scaley, spiney, etc.) animals that occupy the cherished positions of family pets.  My family tree is no different, and is filled with animals that were doted on and loved.  The following is a short list and photo collection of just some of the pets in my family tree.

In 1867, my great-great-great-grandfather's brother, Albert Jones, died.  His probated estate included an inventory of his personal possessions and assets.  As was usual, the inventory included his livestock holdings.  What was unusual though, is that all of his livestock were individually named in the inventory.  He had cows named: Lucky, Mary, Smith, Julia, Sally, Maria, Lizzie, Jane, Bully, Mollie, Blacky, Aggy and Nora.  He had mules named: Mollie, Beck, Sofa, Cola, Pat, Kit, Dinah, Tiger, Peter, John, and Collie.  He had horses named: Charlie, Jennie, Lightfoot and Billy.

My great-great-grandmother Julia Thurston Bixby had a pet goat that she particularly loved. Although the pet goat was something that many family members remembered, nobody had the common sense to record its name or take its picture.

Wadleigh family gathering in about 1903 with their pet dog pictured in the front.  (My great-great-grandfather Oscar Wadleigh is standing on the far left.  His mother Abbie Wadleigh is seated on the far left and his father John Wadleigh is standing third from the right.)

My great-great-great-grandmother Abbie Tilton Wadleigh and her dog, c. 1910's.

Buster Brown
My grandmother Bettye Brown and her family had a pet Boston Terrier in the 1940's. He was aptly named Buster Brown.
Buster Brown with my grandmother Bettye Brown
and my great-grandmother Louetha Brown.

My other grandmother, Patricia Bixby, also had a pet Boston Terrier during the 1940's. 

My grandmother Patricia Bixby (right) and an unidentified friend or cousin, holding Mickey.

My great-aunt Evelyn Bixby holding Mickey, with a cat standing nearby (name of cat unknown).

Mickey at home.

Mike and Josh
During the 1940's and 1950's, my great-grandparents Odin and Louise Wadleigh had a succession of bulldogs.  I only know the names of two of them, Mike and later Josh.

Odin Wadleigh and a bulldog.

Louise Wadleigh and a bulldog.

Odin Wadleigh and two bulldogs.

two more of the bulldogs.
Odin Wadleigh holding a baby bulldog.

Lover and George
During the 1950's, my dad and his family had two pet monkeys.  One of them, a Spider Monkey, was named Lover.  The other, a Cabuchin monkey, was named George.

My great-grandmother Louetha Jones Brown holding the spider monkey Lover.   

During the 1960's, my mother and her family had a black standard poodle named Chipper. 

My mom and Chipper in 1964 (the white dog was
a neighbor's dog).

My grandmother Patricia Bixby Plymale and Chipper.

Various pets
My dad and the family's poodle, 1960's.

My uncle George Plymale with the family's pet Parakeet, early 1960's.

My great-aunt Mary Jo Plymale Brown and her cat (Snowball?) in 1972.

My grandmother Patricia Bixby Plymale and her dogs Gus (left) and Ozzie (right), 1970's.

My dad's dog Simone (Shneemyoon?) on top of his car, late 1970's.

My Mom and her pet rat, 1971.

My brother Odin and three of our dogs, Fanny, Fred and Barney.

My cousin Ira (left) and my brother Odin with
two of our Basset Fanny's puppies, 1984.

My grandmother Patricia Plymale's cat Candy, found as an orphan kitten in the 1980's.

My mom with one of our Pygmy Goats, early 1990's.

Some more of our Pygmy Goats (including Bill, Bob and Charleen).

Three more of our pets: Fanny (the Basset Hound), Havoc (the Irish Setter) and Minnie (the cat).

My brother Trevor riding our pony Rocket.

My mom holding our pet caiman alligator, Frank, late 1980's.

My grandmother Bettye Brown Staley playing with my aunt Karen's dog Nelly. (Photo stolen from Leslie Moe.)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

a slap in the face

My ancestors Theiss (Matthew) and Nesgen (Agnes) Doors were Mennonites who suffered from persecution because of their religious beliefs.  They were married in the late 1630's and lived together in the village of Kaldenkirchen in what is now western Germany, directly bordering what is now The Netherlands.  There, Matthew worked as a shoemaker and had a shop and house near the village wall.  Apparently, Matthew (and perhaps Agnes) were born as Catholics, but became Anabaptists (Mennonites) some time in their adulthood.  Although the area where they lived was comparatively tolerant to their religious views, they still faced persecution.  It has also been described that they were "tolerated at best", and were even forced to pay special tax so that they could remain in the country and continue to practice their religion.

In 1655, Matthew was fined for failing to obey a submission.  Some have argued though that it was just an excuse though to expel him from the country because of his beliefs, which would happen if he failed to pay the fine. The Duke of Julich then sent a bailiff (another source says it was the Governor of Bruggen) to the Doors' house to issue the decree requiring the payment and collect the fine.  Matthew was away from home when the bailiff arrived and the bailiff instead met his irate wife Agnes, who was about 9 months pregnant.  The bailiff explained that he had an official decree and came to collect the fine.  In response, Agnes quarreled with the bailiff and tried to rip the decree from his hands.  At some point during their brawl, she was struck in the face.

Matthew had still not paid the fine so his shop goods were seized and sold.  They were also pressured to abandon their Mennonite beliefs.  In the subsequent trial, Matthew testified that his wife Agnes had wanted to be a Catholic, so when the child was born several days later (a daughter named Margarita), she was baptized in the Catholic church.  The family though did not remain Catholics and by the following year, they had all joined the Calvinist (Reformed) church, probably so that they could remain in the area.  Matthew and Agnes did apparently spend the rest of their lives in the Kaldenkirchen area, where they were officially members of the Reformed church. 

Religious persecution aside, it has also been suggested that some of the family (including Agnes) suffered from some kind of mental illness, which might explain Agnes' brawl with the bailiff.  Their daughter Gertrude Doors, who was married to Paulus Kusters, had a severe attack of mental illness in 1674, after giving birth to her 4th child Reiner.   The baptism record indicated that she was "unable to use her mental faculties", so her parents (Matthew and Agnes) cared for the child until she recovered.  It is assumed now that she suffered from postpartum depression.  Gertrude eventually did recover and had five more children and eventually immigrated to Pennsylvania with her family in the 1680s so that they were free to practice their Mennonite religion.
My descent from this couple:
Theiss Doors md. Nessgen
- Gertrude Doors md. Paulus Kusters
-- Arnold Kuster md. Rebecca
--- Paul Custer md. Sarah Martha Ball
---- Jonathan Custer md. Hannah Peters
----- Benjamin Custer md. Margaret Bell
------ Isaiah Custer md. Elizabeth Salehamer
------- Charles Custer md. Mary Jane Custer
-------- John W. Custer md. Elizabeth R. Taylor
--------- Louise E. Custer md. Odin F. Wadleigh
---------- Paul Wadleigh md. Bettye Brown
----------- Randy Wadleigh md. Barbara Plymale
-------------Ryan Wadleigh