In New England: Woodbury – Hines – Sweet – Porter – Knowlton – Tufts – Griswold…
In Pennsylvania and Ohio: Miller – Dershem – Imler – Sunderland – Gardner – Wagonner…

Here are bits of history regarding my ancestors and near-relatives which I deem to have some public appeal or value. At a personal web site I am sharing additional content for the benefit of my own close relatives and my descendants. Please reach out to me personally and request a link to that site if we are related and you have not yet received an invitation.

Kate Gardner’s 1884 Diary by Kate J. Gardner — In 1884, the year she turned 20, Kate Gardner, my great-grandmother, committed herself to keep a diary.  She did so faithfully, and, poignantly, it happens to be the year she met my great-grandfather, Dan Miller.  The original diary is still in the family and is shared here publicly because it has much to recommend it historically as well as for her descendants.

Everett Hugh Woodbury and the Minute Man Express — In 1945, Hugh (as he was called) drove his coal truck into the path of the speeding Minute Man Express at a railroad crossing in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Some questions that a descendant might ask can no longer be answered.

Woody Woodbury — This is not the comedian, Woody Woodbury, but my uncle, Wesley Roland Woodbury.  This is just about the saddest story ever told.  For now it begins with the letters between him and my parents up to the day he took a land mine in Korea in 1952.

Mary Jane, Mary Jane — She gazes into the present across what to her would be the featureless plain of the next 160 years.  Vilenda Gay could not know, in 1855, how many years would pass before her spectral, oval-cut image would tumble from a pile of heirloom family photos in 2015 that had arrived in my care perhaps twenty years earlier.  I had never heard of her, but after a little research I was able to tie her indirectly to my great-great-grandmother, Mary Jane (Knowlton) Sweet, and directly to Mary Jane Knowlton’s cousin and best friend, Mary Jane (Gay) Ranger.

Fading Photographs — People of my generation have a responsibility that our parents let slip, to identify the people in the oldest photographs in our possession before those old pictures become completely useless.  If everyone of my parents’ generation had done that diligently, then the oldest photos in existence, in everyone’s families, could mostly have been labeled for future generations.  I am working on it with the photographs in my possession.  Here, using a couple of Dershem family photos, is an example of the challenges I face.

Victor Woodbury in Antarctica — Soon after his high school graduation my father joined the Coast Guard and was assigned to the cutter, Northwind. He was one of 4,700 men and women on 13 ships who, from August 1946 to February 1947, participated in Operation Highjump, officially titled The United States Navy Antarctic Developments Program. This was Admiral Byrd’s final trip to the continent at the bottoms of the world.

Fly Rod Crosby — The first person licensed as a Maine Guide (in 1897), Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby was my second cousin on my father’s side.

Henry Tufts, Jr. — Every one of his descendants should read and own The Narrative of Henry Tufts by Henry Tufts, Jr., edited by Daniel Allie. Rich in outrageous anecdotes and fascinating historical detail, this book is sure to enthrall readers to this day. Edmund Pearson wrote that this is “probably the first extensive American criminal biography,” and T. W. Higginson described Henry Tufts as “a man whose virtues might doubtless have been very useful to us, had he possessed any, but whose great historical value lies, strange as it may seem, in his vices.”

A Mother’s Poem — From my great-great-great-grandmother Eliza Wyman (Porter) Sweet (1807-1881) to her son, Andrew Jackson Sweet (1837-1892), lamenting that, at age 17, he has left home to roam. I have the original poem in her own handwriting.

A Card — A peculiar piece of mail from 1864 found its way into my stamp collection thanks to my membership in a local stamp club when I was in high school in the 1960s. But who were the people involved in this bizarre protest and how are they related to me?