Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Brother Markham . . of mild and engaging disposition and much practical good sense.

The year 1854 saw the passage of the Kansas – Nebraska Act by the US Congress, and a vast swath of new land was open for settlement.  The Methodist Episcopal Church was immediately aware that the settlers in the new territory would be in need of the church.  At a meeting in Baltimore Maryland, church leaders determined to “send one who should make a tour of exploration, ascertain its condition . . return and report in time to send out a sufficient body of preachers . . “  The Church chose Rev William H Goode for the job.  He set out in July 1854, and nine years later, he included an account of his expedition in a book - Outposts of Zion.

Rev Goode’s book is a delightfully readable account of his many years of service in the Methodist Episcopal Church.  His trip to the Kansas – Nebraska Territory in the summer of 1854, is only a piece of his story.  But, the reading of these chapters (Part II, Chapter 1-3) was instructive.  Along with the opening up of land for settlement, came the divisive issue of slavery, and during his journey, Goode became a witness to growing tension in Kansas.  In his position as a church leader, he commented on the “stands” of the various Indian Missions in the area around Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.  Besides the several Methodist missions in the area, there were the Baptists and Quakers.  Being an anti-slavery man – he found himself more hospitably received by the Quakers, than by his own church’s Shawnee Mission.

But, the story here is about Rev Thomas Bernard Markham, who is introduced to us by Rev Goode.  What great good fortune to come across a first-hand account of our ancestors.  By 1854, Rev Markham had been serving almost thirty years as a teacher, missionary, and circuit rider among the white and Indian settlers on the Kansas – Missouri border.  Rev Goode fell seriously ill during his travels in Kansas, and he was taken in by Rev Markham and his family. 

In the words of Rev William H Good:

[mid July 1854]  . . . Still Feeble, suffering, and apprehensive of results, I urged on my course, and about three in the afternoon reached the house of Rev. Thomas B. Markham, then residing upon the bank of the Missouri, nearly opposite to where the town of Kickapoo, in Kansas, now stands. Here I found a brother in Christ and a kind Christian family, who, though then afflicted themselves, received me cordially, sympathized in my condition, and ministered to my necessities.

Brother Markham was a grave yet cheerful Christian man and minister, of mild and engaging disposition and much practical good sense. He had been a local preacher, steadfast in the ranks of the Methodist Episcopal Church up to the time of the reorganization of Missouri Conference in 1848, when, like many others, stirred by the necessities of the work and the scarcity of laborers, he joined the traveling connection, though already past the meridian of life. He had given a son also to the ministry, said to have been pious and promising, who, after a brief service in itinerancy, during which he encountered sharp persecutions, fell nobly at his post in the field of battle. Brother M. was well versed in the history of affairs in Missouri and upon the border, had spent some years in the Indian missions, and was able to give me much interesting and valuable information. Before leaving I engaged him to take charge of the work in the settlements of Kansas contiguous to Fort Leavenworth, till the ensuing Conference . . .

By the 22d [July] I began to feel as though I should summon up my little strength and again address myself to the journey. Hearing of a meeting of some days' continuance to be held, on my way, in a neighborhood on the Missouri side, where, it was said, nearly all the residents had "taken claims" in Kansas, and intended moving over, and, being told that I could see more Kansas people there than at any point in the Territory, I determined to attend. Brother M. accompanied me to the place, where I found a settlement of substantial Indiana farmers, and was made welcome. I participated in the Sabbath services, preaching from John iv, 35, and administering the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. We had an interesting meeting, and I saw no demonstration of hostility . .

At this place I formed some acquaintance that proved of benefit to me in my after labors in the Territory . .  Near one year afterward, just about the time of the breaking out of violence in Platte county, good brother Markham was called home to his reward without witnessing the worst of the painful struggle which ensued. I was called to preach his funeral; consented, and fixed a day; but the scenes of outrage meantime had opened; the Platte county interdict upon our preachers had been passed; and the family never made the appointment.

Rev Thomas Bernard Markham died 1 April 1855, near Weston in Platte county Missouri.  The 1860 census shows his widow and younger children living across the river in Shawnee county Kansas.  His obituary proclaims, “He was a good man, a good preacher, and an unwavering friend of the Methodist Episcopal Church.”

For more details on Thomas Bernard Markham, visit his page at Family Stories, pamgarrett.com.

Moving back in time:  Thomas Bernard Markham, 1800 > John Markham, abt 1745 > John Markham of Chesterfield, abt 1700.
Thomas Bernard Markham is my first cousin, six generations removed.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Linus, Linnaeus, Leneans – How do you spell that?

Linus van Pelt, Charles M Schulz’s Peanuts comic series
Captain N L Cooke was a child of Kentucky, born in 1816 to Norborne Berkeley Cooke and Judith Virginia Markham.  He likely began his days in the town of Versailles, but as a young boy, moved with his family to an area around New Castle in Henry county Kentucky.  His story is an interesting one, and descendant William “Bill” Millay has put together an account – sharing stories about the packet boats he operated on the Ohio River, his stance on slavery, and an eventual move to Texas.  Bill has graciously allowed me to share these stories on my Markham of Chesterfield website.

So, what do the “N. L.” initials represent?  After coming across at least a half-dozen different renderings for his name, I have settled with the spelling Norborne Linnaeus Cooke.  I don’t claim to be correct on this spelling, and I don’t have any strong evidence to support my choice.  After looking at so many possibilities, I simply had to settle on something. 

The name Norborne was passed down through the Cooke family for several generations.  It must have originated with Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt, who served as Governor of Virginia from 1768-1770. The Norborne name is often seen with a “u” in the second syllable.

Norborne Cooke’s middle name raises even more questions.  Not only have I seen a wide variety of spellings, but discussion continues as to whether the name is Linnaeus or Leneans.  Recently, Bill Millay and I have shared our thoughts on the question.  Coming from the ‘Markham Family camp”, I wrote to Bill:

I would like to ask you about the middle name “Leneans” . . . Do you know anything of its origin? I have no doubt that you know much more about the Cooke family than I do – but I have always felt that the Linnaeus spelling fit as a family name.  For what it is worth, I will tell you the little bit I know about the Linnaeus name.  Judith Virginia Markham Cooke (wife of Norborne Berkeley Cooke) had a sister Mary Markham.  She married Linnaeus Bolling and lived in Buckingham county Virginia.  I have the impression that Linnaeus Bolling was well respected among the Markham spouses.  I have assumed (possibly incorrectly) that Norborne and Judith Virginia Cooke used the name to honor their brother-in-law.  Bolling family history claims that the name Linnaeus was used in their family to honor the botanist Carl Linnaeus.  I don’t know more than that.

Bill replied, and referred me to James Nourse and His Descendants (1897), by Catharine Nourse Lyle – where the Leneans spelling of the middle name appears.  The Nourse book includes a good account of the descendants of Norborne Berkeley Cooke and Judith Virginia Markham.  It is not clear as to who supplied the information to Mrs Lyle.  If Judith Markham Cooke, or one of her children, supplied the information, then Bill is correct in suggesting to me, “I would think that the elder Mrs. Cooke would know how to spell her rather distinguished grandson's name.”  But, I do note that Judith Markham Cooke’s mother is incorrectly identified in the account, and that leaves me wondering. 

For now, I am going to leave Captain Cooke’s name as Norborne Linnaeus Cooke in my database.  But, I am not going to discount the possibility that his middle name is actually Leneans.  Perhaps some stronger evidence will surface in the future.

Regardless of the correct name spelling, you will enjoy learning more about Captain Cooke.  Be sure to check out, Captain Norbourne L Cooke: An account by William "Bill" Millay, 2015.

For more details on Norborne Linnaeus Cooke, visit his page at the Markham of Chesterfield website.

Moving back in time:      Norborne Linnaeus Cooke, 1816 > Judith Virginia Markham, 1787 > Bernard Markham, abt 1737 > John Markham of Chesterfield, abt 1700.
Norborne Linnaeus Cooke is my first cousin, five times removed.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Home Sweet Home – A search for John Markham’s home on the Shampoke

Laurel Meadow, Chesterfield county Virginia

I am pleased to have a copy of Benjamin Weisiger’s book “Old Manchester and Its Environs, 1769 – 1910”, written in 1993.  It contains a lovely collection of stories from the area around the old town of Manchester in Chesterfield county Virginia.  One of the stories that caught my attention was that of Laurel Meadow Plantation, the home of Col David Patteson.  Weisiger’s introductory paragraph tells us:

Laurel Meadow, the old home of Colonel David Patteson, stands at 1640 Bramwell Road , in a subdivision off of Hull Street Road, east of Chippenham Parkway.  It is fortunately surrounded by some acreage that sets it off from its surroundings.  The L-shaped house was probably built in the 1750s or 60s and added to in the 1770’s. 

Col David Patteson was a friend to the Markham family.  Born in 1746, he was of an age of John Markham’s sons, and his cousin Nelson Patteson married John Markham’s youngest daughter.  About 1776, a few years after John Markham’s death, David Patteson purchased a nine hundred acre property from the Markham family.  Evidence points to this property being John Markham’s estate on the Shampoke .

When I first read Weisiger’s book, back in 1999, I made a note to consider whether Laurel Meadow might be the original plantation home of John Markham.  That thought has been percolating a long time.  In 2013 Laurel Meadow was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and I have recently had the opportunity to view the application published online.  The nomination was prepared and written by Adele Livingston, the current owner of Laurel Meadow, with assistance from the staff at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.  It only makes a brief statement related to the original owner (builder) of the home, but it seems possible that this is the home where John Markham lived with his family in Chesterfield county Virginia. 

I would like to give a few teasers from the National Register nomination for Laurel Meadow.  I think that descendants of the Markham and Patteson families would enjoy taking a further look. 

Laurel Meadow is an early Virginia plantation home now located in the city of Richmond on a one-acre remnant of an original 902 acre parcel, within a mid 20th century subdivision of modest homes.  The 1 ½ story, L-shaped house, measuring 2,200 square feet, is a simple frame building, constructed in two distinct sections at right angles to each other, and displays aspects of Colonial and Federal architectural design.  The west section rests on an English basement, and may have been constructed prior to 1776 when David Patteson, who had become the agent for William Byrd’s Falls Plantation in 1767, acquired the property.  The east section, which fronts Bramwell Road, appears to have been added to the house in the early 19th century . .

The west section, considered to be the oldest section of the building, includes a stair hall, a library to the north, and a dining room to the south . . The stair rises to a room over the library that was clearly designed as a small bedroom . .  

The ‘original’ core of the house may have been an overseer’s house constructed in the eighteenth century, and currently exists as the northwestern block.  This theory is supported by historical tradition that Laurel Meadow was the residence of Col David Patteson, who purchased the property in 1776, deeded portions of it “where I now reside” as a gift to his son Samuel in 1813, and was buried in the cemetery designated in his will close to his residence when he died at Laurel Meadow on 2 May 1821. 

It is not clear when the earliest section of Laurel Meadow, the northwest block, was originally constructed.  It may have been built prior to 1776, which is when David Patteson purchased the property, as there is reference in the deed for 696 acres dated December 4, 1772, from Richard Crump to Vincent Markham describing “. . . one certain tract or parcel of land situate in the said County being the same whereon John Markham deceased formerly lived . . . “ (previously from the estate of John Markham).  Another deed from James Lyle to Vincent Markham dated April 3, 1772, describes “fifty acres bounded by the lands of John Smith, Matthew Branch, the said Vincent Markham and Shampoker Creek.”  This creek described boundaries for Laurel Meadow until 1943 when a plat of 30 acres remaining with the house accompanied the deed, and the remaining acreage where the house is located were sold.  The plat accompanying the 1943 deed shows a family cemetery on the north, Shampoke Creek to the south, and the residence, barn, and other outbuildings in the middle. 

The “original” section of Laurel Meadow presents possibilities as the John Markham home on the Shampoke.  The information detailed in the National Register application blends nicely with John Markham’s 1771 estate inventory, which hints at a dining room, and a possible library area for the main section of the house.  As I read the inventory I envisioned a kitchen set apart from the house.  But, I would wonder where John Markham’s six bedsteads might have resided, if they were resident in this small home in 1770.  Is the “English” basement a possibility?  Merriam Webster Dictionary tells us that an English basement is “a high basement that is usually mainly above ground, is often adapted to living quarters . . “  As the English basement at Laurel Meadow has a number of windows and a fireplace, this seems like a real possibility for bedding all the Markham children in the 1750 - 1770 period. 

I really want to believe that Laurel Meadow was John Markham’s home!  It is exciting to think that a pre-revolutionary ancestral home might still be standing today in Chesterfield county Virginia.  And, I am left to wonder about the Patteson family cemetery that resides nearby.  Might some of our Markham ancestors also be buried there?  I am almost convinced, and would be delighted to know what others might think? 

For more details on John Markham, visit his page at the Markham of Chesterfield website.  A transcription of his inventory will be found there.  A sketch titled John Markham’s Life in Virginia might be of interest, as it gives a few further details on the location of John Markham’s property.  Also, my blog posting titled Pass the Cream Pott, Please gives an imagined picture of John Markham’s home, based on his estate inventory.

Further Reading:
Old Manchester and Its Environs, 1769 – 1910; Benjamin Weisiger, 1993.
Laurel Meadow (Richmond, Virginia); National Register of Historic Places, Adele Livingston, 2013.

About the photo:  I have been in contact with Adele “Hutch” Livingston, current owner of Laurel Meadow.  She is continuing with a restoration of the home, and graciously shared this recent photo.  We are both excited to explore further on the Markham family connection to Laurel Meadow.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Pass the Cream Pott, Please!

John Markham’s family is sitting around their large walnut table, on the rush bottom chairs.  It’s 1757, a cool autumn afternoon in Chesterfield county Virginia.  On this day the table is set with the Delph plates.  The Delph teapot, sugar dish and “cream pott” wait on a side table.  A corner cabinet holds a few of their finer things – “Chainie” plates, cups and saucers, six silver spoons, and a flint glass decanter with wine glasses . . .

I am imagining again!  I have conjured up this scene from John Markham’s estate inventory, found among the 1770 records of Chesterfield county Virginia.  Studying an old inventory can be an interesting occupation.  It gives us clues to the lives of our ancestors. 

Years of research on John Markham’s family has left me with the impression that they lived a comfortable, rural life, perhaps a step above the typical tidewater farmer, but not quite members of the Virginia elite.  John Markham was a large landowner, holding about eight hundred acres.  Services he offered to his community suggest that he was literate, and possibly formally educated.  Records regularly designate him as “gentleman”.  His estate inventory tells us that he had a few fine (imported) things. 

In 18th century Virginia many of the large homes were inventoried “room by room”, filling many pages in the county ledgers.  But, John Markham’s inventory comes to us as a single list, about one and one-half pages long.  Items are arranged on the list in a manner that might suggest several rooms in the home.  There must have been a separate dining area to house their large collection of tableware. Besides the “Chainie” plates, and Delph collection, they also had thirty-six pewter plates, and various serving items.  The more utilitarian cooking items appear near the end of the inventory, along with odds and ends.  They might have had a detached kitchen, a somewhat common practice of that time and place. 

The furniture listed on the inventory was simple – six beds and furniture, two tables, twenty-four chairs of various description, two old desks, and a bookcase.  The bookcase is of interest, because it probably held the parcel of Books, valued at twelve pounds and thirteen shillings. Books were expensive, and this valuation is one of the larger amounts on John Markham’s inventory, ranking up there with his Copper Still and grey Horse.     

Rosie Zagarri, Professor at George Mason University, soothed my curiosity about the nearly three dozen cups and saucers listed in the inventory,

By the mid-18th century there was a lot of imitation of English tea drinking rituals.  So if you could, you would import fancy silver goods, tea kettles, teaspoons.  Tea drinking really was the center of social ritual at the time.  Especially the women would gather together and make a big ceremony of brewing a certain kind of tea and pouring the tea and socializing and gossiping and eating little teacakes.  It was all a big way to both demonstrate your social status and connect with other members of your community.

What might we learn of John Markham himself from these inventory items – a Silver Watch, a pair of pistols and fencing foils?  The watch was valued at 4 pounds, identifying it as a valuable possession, and a mark of social standing.  The pair of pistols, at 10 shillings, must have been old and weary.  But, the fencing foils are interesting.  These were not commonly listed on the inventories of Virginia farmers in 1770.  With the value at 1 shilling, they weren’t fancy.  I wonder who John Markham found for a sparing companion – perhaps one of his sons.  Or, were the foils remnants of his youth, when he served as a British soldier in the Highlands of New York?

There are other items listed in John Markham’s inventory that might support a future blog posting.  It would be interesting to know more about how they used the warming pan, mustard pott, fire Dogs, and bullet moulds.  Did the Markham women work the Spinning Wheele?  And what makes a hair Brush valuable enough to list on an inventory?  Certainly, I would like to take a hard look at his thirteen slaves. 

   underlined items appear in John Markham’s inventory

For more details on John Markham, visit his page at the Markham of Chesterfield website.  A transcription of his inventory will be found there. 

If you would enjoy knowing more about probate inventories, visit this great website:
Probing the Past.   It includes the interview with Professor Rosie Zagarri.

About the photos: 
Posset pot, Netherlands, Late 17th or early 18th century, Victoria and Albert Museum, London.  Wikimedia Commons, photo in the public domain.
H. Angelo's Fencing Academy by Rowlandson, 1787.

Monday, July 6, 2015

I Need to Know Your Name

In the 1890’s there was a flurry of activity among John Markham’s descendants – an effort to record their family history.  George Evans Markham committed to paper the stories of his family branch, and Liddie Rivers published an extensive account of the Markham family in the William and Mary Quarterly.  Around the same time, an anonymous descendant recorded what she knew of her grandmother, Judith Markham, and it turned up as a newspaper clipping in the files of a Kentucky Historical Society.

The brief, but informative, newspaper clipping was reprinted in Kentucky Explorer Magazine in October 1995.  The original newspaper is not identified, but the article has a connection to Henry county Kentucky.  An accompanying note said, "Taken from old clippings dealing with Kentucky family history . . These clippings are about 100 years old."  I contend that the article introduces us to Judith Markham Burch, and a transcription, with explanations, can be found here.  The purpose of this blog posting is to consider who the author of the newspaper clipping might be. 

The clipping headline reads “Judith Markham”, and the article begins “My grandmother was a Markham . . . “

I suspect, but have not proven, that this is the same Judith Markham who marries Cheadle Burch and is named in the records of Amelia county Virginia as early as 1806.  By 1820 she appears, as a widow, in Giles county Tennessee.  As best I have been able to determine, Judith Markham Burch had three children, eleven grandsons, and five granddaughters, all born in Giles county Tennessee.  Possibly there are other children and grandchildren unidentified.  But – I would like to look further at the five granddaughters to see if one might be the author of this article.  The granddaughters are Mary Judith Edwards, Sarah Antoinette Edwards, Mary White, Sarah R White, and Marion A White.

The Edwards girls – Mary and Sarah - are the daughters of Dr John Edwards and Mary C Burch of Cornersville in Giles county Tennessee.  Mary Judith Edwards, born about 1827, married Thomas Burgess, merchant, and they removed to Nashville Tennessee by 1880.  Sarah Antoinette Edwards, born about 1830, married Angenol Cox, and they resided for a number of years in Pulaski Tennessee.  The 1860 census of Giles county Tennessee identifies A Cox as a methodist minister. Stories of his later life suggest that he was an interesting and successful promoter and man of business.  Sarah Edwards Cox’s bio gives more details on the Opera House he built in Pulaski.  By 1880, Sarah and Angenol Cox are found in Butler county Kansas, and they are buried there in Elmwood Cemetery.  Both of the Edwards ladies are in the running as authors for the Judith Markham story. 

The three White girls – Mary, Sarah and Marion – are the daughters of James K White and Judith Virginia Burch of Pulaski Tennessee.  They have been more difficult to follow.  The 1850 census of Giles county Tennessee shows James K White as a school teacher, but by 1860 Virginia White is a widow, practicing the art of millenery.  Daughter Mary White, born about 1834, appears with her parents in 1850, but I have lost tract of her after that.  Second daughter Sarah White is married to Joseph Marshall in 1865, following the war.  By 1870 she is a twenty – eight year old widow living in Nashville Tennessee with her brother.  She may have remarried, but I have not been successful in following her. 

Marion A White, youngest daughter of James White and Virginia Burch, proves interesting.  I am voting for her as the most likely candidate for author of the Judith Markham newspaper clipping.  Marion White was born about 1844 in Pulaski Tennessee.  In 1871, in Nashville Tennessee, she was married to Isaac D George.  He was a printer and newspaper man, and they eventually settled in Chicago Illinois, where George died in 1906 and Marion in 1912.  A few further details of their life can be found in Marion White George’s bio.  Isaac George and Marion White were the parents of three daughters.  Two of the daughters, Mary Adah George and Helen Louise George, did not marry.  I have not been successful in tracking their middle daughter, Virginia “Jennie” George, who was born about 1881. 

Identifying the author of the Judith Markham newspaper clipping could answer further questions on the identity of Judith Markham Burch and her descendants.  I think that others may be able to tell us more about this family.  Until then – I Need to Know Your Name!

For more details on Judith Markham Burch, visit her page at the Markham of Chesterfield website.  

Moving back in time:  Judith Markham, 1780 > William Markham, abt 1736 > John Markham of Chesterfield, abt 1700.
Judith Markham is my first cousin, six times removed.

About the photo:  Woman Reading The Newspaper, by Carl Vilhelm Holsoe (no date). Via wikigallery.org, in the public domain.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Francis Smith meets General Lafayette

The Marquis de Lafayette, friend and confidant of George Washington, was one of the great heroes of America’s Revolutionary War. In 1824, at the invitation of President James Monroe, Lafayette returned to the United States for a celebratory tour.  The year-long visit marked the upcoming fifty year anniversary of America. Lafayette traveled over six-thousand miles, visiting all twenty-four states. 

In October of 1824 Lafayette made a week-long stop in Richmond Virginia, a city he had twice defended during the Revolutionary War.  The Richmond Enquirer, dated 29 October 1824, gave an account of the myriad of events that surrounded Lafayette’s visit to the city.  The article included a “Muster Roll of Revolutionary Officers who met at Richmond on 26 Oct 1824 to welcome General Lafayette.”  On that list we find, “Francis Smith, First Virginia Regiment, 83 years.” 

This must have been a great day for Francis Smith, our old veteran!  A family friend, commenting on Francis Smith, recalls, “. . . when I was a boy 17 years of age . . . I stayed at his [Francis Smith] house with Capt Wm his son, - he set up half the night, talking of nothing but the Rev War, it was his only theme from that day to the present . .”

This account of Lafayette’s arrival in Richmond is found in “Chesterfield: An Old Virginia County”, Francis Earle Lutz, 1954:

Lafayette and his party came up the James River and landed on October 26 at Osbornes where a huge assemblage was awaiting his arrival, including the official State welcoming party, an escort of horse, and a detachment of artillery to fire a salute.  An immense multitude thronged the wharves and adjacent hillsides to get a glimpse of the distinguished visitor.  He was conducted to the waiting carriage amid enthusiastic cheers and started for Richmond by road with an escort of cavalry.  Everywhere along the route waving crowds were there to cheer and it is reported that the escort had difficulty in clearing Mayo Bridge for the triumphal entry into the capital city.

We will probably never know the exact vantage point from which Francis Smith observed these historic events.  Was he part of the welcoming party?  At age eighty-three, did he ride with the Cavalry? Or, did he simply watch with the crowds from the hillside?  According to accounts, this impromptu parade tracked down Main Street and eventually arrived at Richmond’s historic Eagle Hotel. 

We garner a clue of Francis Smith’s likely participation in the day from Duke and Jordan’s, “A Richmond Reader: 1733-1983”, published in 2011:

The parade ended at the Eagle Hotel where Lafayette would stay, but the General's groupies still hung out in the streets outside of the hotel.  Many were able to meet the revolutionary hero, but forty old and venerable vets of the revolution got a personal reception from the Frenchman. They were able to meet with him in an elegant room the evening he arrived.  Some saluted in silence; some "welcomed him with every expression of sincerity and kindness.

These “old and venerable vets” may have joined Lafayette for dinner that same evening at the Governor’s mansion.  The dinner guests were said to include Vice President John C Calhoun, Virginia Governor James Pleasants, Chief Justice John Marshall, and “more revolutionary vets”.

Despite his advanced years in 1824, Francis Smith lived on for nearly ten years more, dying in April of 1833. The account of this great day, when General Lafayette visited Richmond, must have been given a prominent place in his repertoire of revolutionary war stories.   

For more details on Francis Smith, visit his page at the Markham of Chesterfield website.

Moving back in time:  Francis Smith married Catherine Markham, b abt 1745  > John Markham of Chesterfield, b abt 1700.
Francis Smith is the husband of my 5th great-grandaunt.

About the Photo:  The Landing of General Lafayette.  Platter, pearlware with transfer-printed decorations; James and Ralph Clews, Cobridge, Staffordshire, circa 1825.  On display at the DAR Museum, Washington DC.  Photo by Daderot – placed in the public domain.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

John Markham – Who are you?

Exploring the life of John Markham has been a bit like assembling disparate pieces into a puzzle.  One of the first pieces to appear was a Will for John Markham, proved in 1770 in Chesterfield County Virginia.  It named nine children, but no wife.  Then, by great good fortune, a genealogy presented itself - published in the Virginia Magazine of History about 125 years after that Will.  The genealogy introduced an interesting wife, but she didn’t seem to fit very well into the puzzle.  Next out of the box, something about New York – Really?  Then an amazing clue arrived, but the piece was hard to get to – a fellow researcher suggested a quest for Bernard Markham in Ireland.  So the pieces were laying themselves out on the table, but they weren’t fitting together very well.

Time and patience has worked its magic, and gradually the story of John Markham’s life has come into better focus.  There are still some missing pieces. And, one or two pieces just don’t fit like they should.  But, I am determined to get his puzzle into better shape.  Perhaps future researchers will be able to give it some polish. 

John Markham was born near the beginning of the eighteenth century in County Kilkenny Ireland.  He was the son of Bernard Markham and Rebecca Briscoe, whose families had come into Ireland from England in the previous century.  The basic timeline of John Markham’s life is fairly simple – As a young man, in the 1730’s, he immigrated to America, and settled in Orange county New York; probably just before 1740, he married Catherine Mathews and began a family;  just after 1750, he uprooted his family, and moved south to Chesterfield County Virginia;  in Virginia his family continued to expand and he pursued a variety of occupations;  in 1770 John Markham died in Chesterfield County Virginia. 

It was when I tried to color John Markham’s timeline with details that his story became interesting and challenging.  Did he come alone to America?  There is little evidence of family or friends.  What is the story of his wife?  Her puzzle piece is one that doesn’t fit very well.    What inspired John Markham to uproot his family and move to Virginia?  That wasn’t a typical migration pattern of the time.  And, the questions continue. 

I have written extensively about John Markham at my Markham of Chesterfield database website.  I suspect that I have asked, and examined, more questions than I have answered.  If you like to consider puzzles, and are interested in the life of John Markham, I hope you will make a visit, and read more.  There are still plenty of seats at the puzzle table!

For more details on John Markham, visit his page at the Markham of Chesterfield website.

Moving back in time:  Albert Luther Clarkson 1901 > Aubin M Fry 1878 > Eliza Brooks Hutchins 1844 > Aubin M Markham 1817 > John Markham 1770 > Bernard Markham 1737 > John Markham of Chesterfield, abt 1700.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Greetings!  I am delighted to have you visit my Markham of Chesterfield Blog.  My name is Pamela Sue Hutchison Garrett, and I have been researching on Markham, and allied surnames, for almost forty years.  This Blog is a companion site to my Markham of Chesterfield database website.

The Markham of Chesterfield database website sets out, in orderly fashion, the ancestors and descendants of John Markham of Chesterfield county Virginia.  He is my 6xgreat-grandfather.  I chose him as the centerpiece of this Markham story, because he was that adventurous ancestor who brought my Markham family across the ocean to America.  Besides the vital statistics, the database website includes stories, photographs, biographies, social history sketches, and documents, both original and transcribed. 

The Markham of Chesterfield Blog will serve a slightly different purpose than the database website.  The ancestor stories here will be relatively brief and focused.  They might tell about a family home, a quirky character trait, or a historic event.  The postings might introduce a compelling or amusing story that I have come across in my years of research.  

This Markham family seems an ordinary family.  But, when their stories are thoughtfully considered, their lives take on an extraordinary cast.    If you enjoy the stories and want to know more about how they relate to your own ancestral past, be sure to visit the Markham of Chesterfield database website

I hope you enjoy your visit.

Pam Garrett
March 2015
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