ANCESTORS of DAVID A. WOODBURY
In New England: Woodbury – Hines – Sweet – Porter – Knowlton – Tufts – Griswold…
In Pennsylvania and Ohio: Miller – Dershem – Sunderland – Gardner – Wagonner…
Here are being added bits of history regarding my ancestors and near-relatives as I am able to write the individual accounts from the resources available to me.
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.
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 her 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.
Fly Rod Crosby — The first person licensed as a Maine Guide (in 1897), Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby was a cousin on my father’s side.
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.
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 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.