nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘1800s

old schools in the landscape

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In my last few posts, I have focussed on my research toward a new poetry project I will be beginning. I know there are interesting stories to be told about the ‘inside’ of the one room school. Because of my interests in botany and community history, I would like to reflect on the ‘outside’ of the one room school – its surroundings and geographic location.

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I still have to do some thinking about this project. I know that people who attended one room schools will have stories to tell about how the local terrain and landscape influenced their schooling.

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A school’s surroundings would have impacted learning in many ways. For example, the view of a lake from the school window may have caused many a pupil to settle into daydreams.  Interesting fields, hills, and watercourses would provide the teacher with opportunities for nature study.

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The location of the school would also influence recess and lunch-time activities. My Dad wrote about damming a local stream so they could skate in the winter months. The same stream meant fishing in May and June. A nearby hillside would be great for sledding in January and February. Trees in the school yard?  – A place to climb or to hang a swing.

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'willow swing'

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Students walked to school before the 1950s. The study I made of schools in Upham Parish, New Brunswick suggests that students walked as many as three miles to school in the late 1800s. Hills made the long walk to school more difficult. The winds by a lake or other shore land would be bitter on a winter day. Rivers, lakes and wetlands meant a place to hunt tadpoles. A spring by the road? – A cool drink. My Uncle, forced to wear a hat/scarf he hated, used the bridge on the way to school as a place to hide his headgear!

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One room schools were located near clusters of houses and various community activities. The walk to school may have passed a church, a post office or a community store. Hardwood forests meant lumber mills and, in spring, maple syrup and the sugar shack. Good land meant farms; grazing land meant cows to outstare.

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On a drive last weekend, we found an older building along the Saint John River that may have been a school. The Upper Queensbury Community Hall has all the characteristics of a one room school – the steep roof, rectangular footprint, and tall side windows.

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Upper Queensbury Community Hall 1

Upper Queensbury Community Hall near Nackawic, New Brunswick. I will have to make some inquiries to find out if it was a school house at one time.

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A look at a map shows some of the landscape features in the area.

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Queensbury

Map showing landscape features of part of Queensbury Parish, near Nackawic, New Brunswick. The yellow dot is the location of the Upper Queensbury Community Hall which may have been a one room school.

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The Saint John River was nearby, although further than it is today since the Mactaquac Dam (built in 1968) has raised the level of the water. The river’s possibilities for fishing, skating and boating were only a downhill trek away. The terrain is gently undulating, as the names of nearby communities (Day Hill and Granite Hill) suggest. Local geographic points the community children may have known include the many-tiered Coac Falls and Coac Lake (an old road runs past the community hall back through the woods to the lake, about a mile away). The aerial photo (taken near the end of September) shows the red of the cranberry bog – picking cranberries may have been a well-known activity. Sugar maples are common in the area, as are old ‘sugar shacks’. When I interview people who went to the one room school I will have to remember to ask them about their memories of these places.

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Writing poetry about these ideas will be so much fun!

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Copyright  2016  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

May 9, 2016 at 7:11 am

early schooling in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia – including nature study

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Of all the classes given in 1888 in New Brunswick, I would have liked ‘Useful Knowledge’ the best. This is where I might have learned about birds and plants and butterflies.

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Bringing ‘Useful Knowledge’ into the classroom may have been a greater challenge than it appears. The focus was on  the three R’s (reading,’riting, and ‘rithmetic) and scarce resources meant less time for ‘frivolous’ subjects. In the neighboring province of Nova Scotia, educators faced a challenge when they tried to bring studies about the out-of-doors into the classroom. The situation in New Brunswick would have been similar.

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In her book Loran Arthur DeWolfe and The Reform of Education in Nova Scotia 1891-1959 (Truro, Nova Scotia: Atlantic Early Learning Productions, 1989), my aunt, Dr. Jane Margaret Norman described the situation in the late 1800s and early 1900s in Nova Scotia.  Dr. DeWolfe, Director of Rural Science Schools in Nova Scotia from 1913 to 1924, focused on including studies of nature and in particular agriculture in the schools. These were times of rural out-migration – interest in staying and working on the family farm paled in comparison to the adventures promised by leaving for the west. Dr. DeWolfe was convinced that the only way to keep people in rural areas was to interest them, from the start of their education, in the world of nature.

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Aunt Jane's book

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His solution was to include in the curriculum ‘field days’, ‘spring gardens’, folk dancing, lessons in canning food, ‘Planting Days’, and school fairs. My dad, who would have attended elementary school in the late 1920s, remembered Dr. DeWolfe visiting his school in rural Digby County. He told my aunt that Dr. DeWolfe “… always had something to say about nature.”

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Dad as a boy holding horse

My dad as a boy (holding the horse Goldie). Dad grew up in a rural area and attended a one room school. He remembered Dr. DeWolfe’s visits to that school and his emphasis on paying attention to the out-of-doors. Dad became a teacher and, as my teacher in Grade Six, taught me about the solar system and the cause of our seasons. He also taught me how to make a whistle from a willow twig.

 

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In New Brunswick, by 1888, ‘Useful Knowledge’ would have introduced many students in New Brunswick to nature studies. In rural schools (Ungraded Schools in Country Districts), the classes in Standard I (Grade 1) included ‘oral lessons on animals’ and, in Standard II (Grade 2) ‘natural specimens where possible’. Standard III (Grade 3) included ‘lessons on agricultural products of the district’, and Standard IV (Grade 4) studied ‘agricultural topics’ from Tanner’s First Principles of Agriculture. In addition to Tanner’s First Principles of Agriculture, Standards V and VI (Grades 5 and 6) used Bailey’s Natural History Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) was a horticulturist, naturalist and advocate of nature study.

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” … Stuffed birds do not sing and empty eggs do not hatch. Then let us go to the fields and watch the birds. Sit down on the soft grass and try to make out what the robin is doing on yonder fence or why the wren is bursting with song in the thicket. An opera-glass or spy-glass will bring them close to you. Try to find out not only what the colors and shapes and sizes are, but what their habits are … ” from the Birds and I , Liberty Hyde Bailey. http://libertyhydebaileyblog.blogspot.ca/

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IMG342_crop

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Copyright 2016  Jane Tims

 

Useful Knowledge

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I have continued to read the Annual Report of the Schools of New Brunswick 1888 (Fredericton, 1889) by the Chief Superintendent of Education, to discover more about New Brunswick’s one room schools.

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Since I am a botanist, interested in natural history, I wondered what students in 1888 were taught about the natural world. Below, I have listed the subjects included in ‘Useful Knowledge’ in Standards I through VI (Grades One though Six). The theme of temperance, moderation in alcohol consumption, was central to ‘Useful Knowledge’ in Grade Four and beyond. I also like the animals listed in Standard IV – Animal Life !

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Standard I (Grade 1)

Minerals.—Distinguishing and naming coal, slate, clay, iron, lead, etc.
Plant Life.—Distinguishing and naming common garden vegetables, flowers,
field crops, trees in the neighbourhood.
Animal Life.—Distinguishing and naming principal parts of the human
body by means of pictures ; to point to and name principal parts of familiar
animals.

Standard II  (Grade 2)

Minerals—Pointing out objects in school room made in part or in whole of
iron or any mineral. Names of implements made of iron, steel, &c. Cooking
utensils of iron, tin.
Plant Life.—Distinguishing parts of plants—stems, leaves, roots.
Animal Life. —Distinguishing and naming the chief sub-divisions of the prin
cipal parts of the human body and lessons on such parts as skin, nails—use and
care of. Familiar animals—their food, habits, uses.

Standard III (Grade 3)

Minerals (Oral).—Lessons on minerals or stones in the district—names and
how distinguished from each other.
Plant Life (Oral).— Agricultural products of the district. Trees, shrubs,
herbs—different ways of distinguishing one from another, &c, by form, colour,
and size of trunk, branches, leaves, bark.
Animal Life (Oral).—Ear and Eye—use and care of. By means of pictures, to distinguish and name such animals as are treated of in the Reader, and give their
prominent structural characteristics. Domestic and wild animals of the district.
Oral lessons on all Useful Knowledge Lessons in Reader before the pupil is
required to memorize the answers to the questions.

Standard IV (Grade 4)

Reader.
Minerals (Oral).— Principal Minerals of the Province, localities and uses.
Oral lessons on Metals (similar to those in Useful Knowledge lessons in
Reader).
Plant Life (Oral).— Names of the principal forest trees of the Province—
their uses. Agricultural productions of the Province.
Animal Life (Oral).— Organs of Respiration —-Effects of alcoholic stimulants thereon. Domestic and wild animals of the Province. General structure of such animals as are treated of in Reader. Oral lessons on Useful Knowledge lessons in Reader before the pupil is required to memorize the answers to the questions.

Standard V (Grade 5)

Minerals.—General qualities and uses of the more useful metals and minerals
of the Province (Oral).
Plant Life. —General characteristics of the useful and hurtful plants of the Prov
ince (Oral).
Animal Life.—Organs of digestion and circulation. Effects of alcoholic stimu
lants thereon. Adaptation of structure to habit of such animals : the cow, the
squirrel, the camel, the lion, the elephant and the whale (Oral).

Standard VI (Grade 6)

The Mineral Kingdom.—Lessons to be illustrated by specimens, (Text-book,
Part I, Baileys Natural History).
Physical effect of alcoholic stimulants upon the human system. Lessons
to be illustrated by experiments where practicable. Text-book, Palmer’s Tem
perance Teachings of Science, Chaps. I-IV inclusive.
Physics, (Oral).—Hotze’s First Lessons in Physics for Teacher’s use only.
Lessons 1-13 inclusive.

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Long after my own days in elementary school are past, I am still learning about the ‘Adaptation of Structure to Habit’ of such animals as the squirrel:

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DSCF4901_crop

Adaptation of structure to habit of such animals : the cow, the
squirrel, the camel, the lion, the elephant and the whale. Part One: The Squirrel, perfectly adapted to stealing seed from birdfeeders.

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 22, 2016 at 3:28 pm

Schools of New Brunswick in 1888

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I love beginning a new project … love learning, love doing the research, love the dusty old books holding the information.

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A project about the old schools of New Brunswick won’t be totally new to me. I grew up hearing the stories my Mother told about teaching in one-room schools. In University, I wrote a research paper about school in the 1800s and how schools were situated in the community and in the landscape. And I am always interested in older buildings and how they survive in the built landscape.

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location of schools near Salt Springs, Kings County, New Brunswick in 1886

location of some schools in Upham Parish, Kings County in 1862, showing the effects of linear settlement on school location (map shown is from H.F. Walling, Topographical Map of the Counties of St. John and Kings New Brunswick, 1862)

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My first step to research this topic was to take a drive in the countryside, to find some old schools (see post for April 26, 2016). My next step is to do some more reading about the school system in the nineteenth century.

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I began with an old book, not dusty at all, but available on-line at Google Books (https://books.google.ca/books):  Annual Report of the Schools of New Brunswick 1888 (Fredericton, 1889) by the Chief Superintendent of Education.

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In 1888 there were 1,532 schools in New Brunswick. Some of these would have been larger schools, but the majority were one room schools in rural settings. There were 1,587 teachers and 59,636 pupils. Only 50% of these students were ‘daily present’ during the time the school was in session –  “…falls far short of what it ought to be …” reports the Superintendent! He suggested that teachers could help a lot if they would “… carefully inquire into the cause of every absence …”

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P494-23 Carters Point School Kingston Penninsula

children and teacher at Carter’s Point School on the Kingston Peninsula (Source: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)

 

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The report contains over 1000 pages and lists the classes given most often:

Reading, Spelling, Recitations

Oral Lessons on Morals

Physical Exercise

Health, including Temperance

Composition

Print Script

Writing

Number Standards/ Arithmetic

Geography

Useful Knowledge (for example Plant Life)

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I love the description of the Health instruction:

pure air, sunlight, good water,
wholesome food, proper clothing, cleanly and temperate habits, avoidance of draughts,
and the sudden checking of perspiration, dry feet, etc.

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I think I will go check my perspiration and feet …

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cumberland bay school 4

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Copyright 2016  Jane Tims

 

 

 

one room school houses – hiding in the landscape

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Last Friday, we took a drive along the west side of Grand Lake, in the Youngs Cove area of Queens County, New Brunswick. We were searching for old one room school houses. As far as I know, there is no list for these buildings in Queens County, New Brunswick, although a list does exist for nearby Kings County.

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I had seen one old school in the Whites Cove area, so we began there. This school was operated as a local craft store for a few years but is now a private cottage. The one room school is in good shape, painted bright red. The round plaque in the gable of the roof says 1837. The building had two front doors – one for boys and one for girls.

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white's cove school house 5

Whites Cove school house

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We then continued toward Chipman, taking old roads when possible. I know that in the late 1800s and early 1900s, each small community (each Parish) had its own school, so we watched for the tell-tale design of the one room school house – a small, rectangular, one-storey building with a steep-sloped roof and rather high side walls. Each school had two or three tall rectangular windows on each side and one or two front doors. Some New Brunswick schools had a small anteroom or vestibule on the front. The bell-tower common on school houses in the United States was not typical of one room schools in New Brunswick.

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We followed the road along the shoreline of the peninsulas extending into Grand Lake. In particular, we were watching for the older homes that show what the community may have looked like a hundred years ago.

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As we came over a hill, we first saw the Rees school house. It had some of the characteristics I describe above. However, I am new to one room school hunting, so I was not really certain this little building had once been a school. And then my husband pointed to the sign on the small road opposite the building – School House Lane. The school house was being used as a cottage and was in poor condition with broken windows and a crumbled brick chimney. But I was happy to see the original stone foundation, a straight roof line, a large flat stone as a threshold, original clapboard on the front of the building, and evidence of the original vestibule.

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rees school 1

Rees school house

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Thrilled by our discovery, we continued to the next community and followed a side road. Almost immediately, we saw the Cumberland Bay School, announced by a sign above the door. It was a typical school house design, built on a hill. There was a rock foundation (with some brick) and a straight roof. The building was in good shape with evidence of regular maintenance and use, perhaps as a hall. A cold wind was howling and I felt sorry for the kids who must have come to school in all kinds of bitter weather.

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cumberland bay school 4

Cumberland Bay school house

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After seeing three school houses, we felt like pros. We took the next road along the shore, toward Cox Point, and found a school house outside the community of Range. It was set back from the road, used in conjunction with a family cottage. The roof was straight, the side windows were intact  and the shingles were in good repair.

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Range school 3

Range school house

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I was delighted with our drive – we had discovered three school houses we did not know about! I also got a feel for some of the characteristics of these buildings and how they fit into the local landscape.

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Old Schools in Youngs Cove area 2016

a map showing the old school houses we found … you can see a pattern emerging … I expect there were once school houses in some of the other communities indicated on the map

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Why am I interested in this topic? My interests in landscape, the environment and history all come into play. I am also beginning to think about my next poetry project and have decided to explore the idea of school houses in the landscape.

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To do this project, I will think about the setting of the school house in the community and how topography (hills and lakes and rivers), vegetation (fields and forests, orchards and big old swinging-trees) and other built landscape (bridges, churches, stores and farms) would have influenced the students, teachers and members of the community.  Visits to old schools, some talk with people who remember attending these old school houses and reading at the Provincial Archives would give me lots of material for my writing.

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Do you have examples of old one room school houses in your area? Did you attend school in a one room school house? I would love to hear your stories!

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Copyright 2016 Jane Tims

Great Grand Aunt Sadie – dressmaker

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As I learn about my family history, I am drawn to the stories of the individuals I encounter.  One of the people important in my great-grandmother Ella’s life was her sister Sadie.  Sadie was born on December 11, 1863 in Pennsylvania, the fifth child of eight children.  She was called after her mother, Sarah Ann (Kresge).  Sadie’s father was Josiah Hawk, a shoemaker who died when Sadie was a little over a year old and Ella was six.  For a little more about Josiah, see  https://nichepoetryandprose.wordpress.com/2012/10/17/occupation-shoemaker/

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As far as I know, Sadie remained unmarried throughout her life.  This meant that she had to support herself. Few opportunities were available to women in the late 1800s, but Sadie stayed connected to her family and earned her way as a seamstress. The 1910 US Census shows Sadie as a dressmaker living with her mother, a landlady.

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Sadie Hawk (1863-1921)

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By looking at the US Census for 1870, 1900, 1910, and 1920, as well as the City Directories for Scranton, I can account for Sadie most years.

In the 1870 census, when she was six and a half, she lived with her mother in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  That year, her mother married Joshua Popplewell, a machinist living in Scranton.

I have not located Sadie in the 1880 Census due to the commonness of her name.

From 1888 until her death in 1921, Sadie lived in Scranton.  Her addresses included 330 Lackawanna Avenue (1896 – 1900), 16-18 Williams Building (1905 and 1906), 101 Spruce Street (1907 to 1916), and 116 Mulberry Street (1917 to 1921).  I have looked at these addresses on Street View (Google Earth) and the houses where Sadie lived are all gone, replaced by parking lots and modern businesses.

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Sadie made her home with her mother Sallie Popplewell from 1907 until Sallie’s death in 1910 or 1911, and with sister Ella, my great-grandmother, from 1910 to 1921.

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Sadie Hawk

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Sadie died at 2 PM on March 26, 1921.  In her will, Sadie described Ella (my great-grandmother) as her “beloved sister”.

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When I was a teenager, my Aunt Jane told me about Sadie and gave me Sadie’s locket.

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Aunt Sadie's locket (front)

Aunt Sadie’s locket (front)

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Her initials are beautifully engraved on the back – S A H –  Sarah Ann Hawk …  the sweet-faced woman in the photos above.

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Aunt Sadie's locket (back)

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Copyright  2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

July 25, 2014 at 6:54 am

Where they came from …

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With a little more research, I have some more information on where some of my ancestors came from before they arrived in the United States and Canada.

  • John Winslow (b. 1597)  Droitwich, Worcestershire, England (Fortune 1620, probably 1821)
  • Mary Chilton (b. 1607)  St. Peter, Sandwich, Kent, England  (Mayflower 1620)
  • Patrick McMullen  (b. 1704)  Scotland
  • Peter LeValley (b. 1675)  France
  • William Spavold  (b. 1810)  England (Trafalgar 1817)
  • Eliza Greenfield (b. 1790)  England (Trafalgar 1817)
  • Stephen Hopkins  (b. 1581) Upper Clatford, Hampshire, England (Mayflower 1620)
  • Elizabeth Fisher (b.  unknown)  England (Mayflower 1620)
  • Francis Cook (b. 1583)  Gides Hall, Essex, England (Mayflower 1620)
  • Hester Mahieu (b. 1585)  Canterbury, Kent, England (Anne 1623)
  • William Latham (b. 1608)  Chorley, Lancashire, England (Mayflower 1620)
  • Conrad Hawk (Sr.)  (b. 1744)  Germany
  • Conrad Kresge (b. 1730)  Amberg-Sulzbach, Bayern, Germany
  • Johan Ulrick Kohl  (b. 1702)  Pallatine, Germany
  • Solmey Cooll  (b. 1702)  Germany
  • Johann Nicholas Borger (b. 1720)  Wertheim, Main-Tauber-Kreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany (1753)
  • Ottila Shafer (b. 1725) Nassig, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • Michael Fisher (b. 1720) Germany
  • Maria Elizabeth Storm (b 1725) Germany
  • John Clark (b. 1793) Straiton, Ayrshire, Scotland
  • Jane Cooper (b. 1799)  Greenock, Scotland
  • Margaret Miller (b. 1798)  Hoddam, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
  • William Aitcheson (b. 1794)  Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (1832)
  •  — Wayborne (b. 1836) Rockbeare, Devon, England
  • John Johnson (b. 1780)  England

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I plotted these on a map of the world.  Each red line represents the voyage of one or more of my ancestors across the Atlantic from the place of their birth in England, Scotland, Germany or France.

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map of origins

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

June 2, 2014 at 7:05 am

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