I have played with my family tree for about ten years, but mostly I have just tried to bore straight back through the generations. It has produced at least one line back to a William de Vernai or Verney born about 1045 in Normandy – who must have been somebody important, because common folks didn't keep such records about themselves.

My father collected a lot of material about the family tree but didn't do any significant research. When he died in 1998, I inherited the pile of material, and then when the Internet went high-speed in the mid-1990s, I began poking around there.

Among my father's things was a marvelous old book called Porter Genealogy, published in Bangor in 1878. In it, I have located several pages with salient connections. (I also have a hand-written list of Sweet genealogy, in the script of Dana Sweet, whose relationship to my great-grandmother, Goldie, is unclear.)

Here is a salient relationship, from me (at the bottom of the list) back to Col. Ezekiel Porter (who was not a Colonel, but a Captain of the Militia in 1787, so the Col. may have been one of those purchased commissions):

Col. Ezekiel Porter 1762-c.1814, mrd. Betsey (Wyman) Porter
parents of eleven children, including
(3) Thirza (Porter) Cottle 1789-1865, mrd. Dr. John Cottle
(4) Ezekiel Porter 1791-1867, mrd. Eunice Hitchcock
parents of nine children, including
(1) Thirza (Porter) Crosby 1819-?, mrd. Lemuel Crosby
parents of
Cornelia Thurza “Fly Rod” Crosby 1854-1946
(2) Jeremy W. Porter 1820- (still living at time of genealogy), mrd. ? (name not given in genealogy)
parents of
1st Lieutenant James E. Porter, Company I, 7th Cavalry, killed with Gen. Custer at Little Big Horn
(11) Eliza Wyman (Porter) Sweet 1807-1881, mrd. Zebediah Sweet 1809-1873
parents of
Andrew Jackson Sweet 1837-1892, mrd. Mary Jane Knowlton 1845-1913
parents of
Goldie May (Sweet) Hines 1882-1969, mrd. Ralph Gilman Hines 1881-1966
parents of
Clarice Augusta (Hines) Woodbury 1903-1969, mrd. Everett Hugh Woodbury 1889-1945
parents of
Victor Walter Woodbury 1927-1998, mrd. Dorothy Mae Miller 1925-
parents of
David A. Woodbury 1950- (that’s me)

It's tricky in the genealogy, because the younger Ezekiel Porter had an older sister, Thirza, and then named his daughter Thirza. It's the younger Thirza who is important here. Cornelia's middle name is spelled with a “u” in her official biography, and it's possible, even likely, that the author of the genealogy was working from town records that had it both ways.

So I am the son of Victor, who is the son of Clarice, who is the daughter of Goldie, who is the daughter of Andrew, who is the son of Eliza, who is a sister to Ezekiel, who is grandfather of Fly Rod Crosby.

Fly Rod Crosby's mother, Thirza Crosby, and I are first cousins four times removed, (“removed” meaning removed by generations, not convolutions of the family tree).

Fly Rod's first cousin, Lt. James Porter, son of Jeremy Porter, was killed in Custer's Last Stand. As with Fly Rod's mother, Jeremy Porter and I are first cousins four times removed. That makes Cornelia "Fly Rod" Crosby my second cousin three times removed. (My first cousin's child is my second cousin.) That also describes my relationship with Lt. James Porter. My father had occasionally referred to James and the Custer connection – as far back as when I was a teenager he tried to tell me about it – but I had never quite teased it out of the books until now. He never mentioned, and may not have known, that he and Cornelia were cousins, and in fact he was 19 and living in the next town when she died.

David A. Woodbury, April 2008