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Volume 9 Issue 10                                                                         October 2004





In the court records of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Volume 29, pages 420 to 421, there is suit brought by “James Babcock of Washington in the County of Berkshire, yeoman, plaintiff, versus Elkanah Watson of Pittsfield in said county of Berkshire esquire defendant on the fourteenth day of May last past [1810] by their deed of that date duly executed and acknowledged and in court to be produced in consideration of thousand dollars paid them by the plaintiff covenanted in fee simple unto the plaintiff that part of lot number forty five in the Township of Fabius & County of Onondaga known & distinguished by a survey bill & map made by James Gaddis Esquire on the 20th June 1804 in the subdivision of lot number forty five by lot number five being bounded as follows…containing one hundred & thirty nine acres & one hundred and fifty six perches [a rod, 16 ½ feet] of land be the same more or less to hold to him & his heirs & assigns forever…execution issued September 2nd, 1811.”


Soon after winning this case brought again Mr. Watson and being awarded damages of ninety dollars, James Babcock and his family moved from Washington Township, Massachusetts to the described land in Fabius Township, Onondaga County, New York.  This land is located just north of the Cortland County line, and Lot 55 of Truxton Township.


 James Babcock’s daughter, Betsey married Samuel Wiser before 1820. As we know from family records, John McCormick Wiser, son of Samuel and Betsey (Babcock) Wiser was born June 22, 1826 in Truxton Township, Cortland County, New York.  It is very likely that he was born in a farmhouse located on Lot 55 in Truxton Township where his cousins the Albros and their descendants lived for many years in the 1800s and early 1900s.  Grandfather and Grandmother Babcock would have lived nearby on a farm just up the dirt road on Lot 45 in Fabius Township.  For at least the next fifteen years, Samuel and Betsey and their family, including their son John McCormick, probably lived.  Since this is a highly forested area, he may have also been involved in the potash industry like his father.


In 1832, Betsey gave up any right to the premises previously owned by her recently deceased father, James Babcock, on Lot 45, and in 1834, Samuel passed away and was probably buried somewhere near.  Some family members are buried at a cemetery at the foot of the present day Labrador Mountain Ski Area, (which is located just west of Lot 55), but unfortunately there are no Wiser stones.  There are many unmarked stones in this cemetery, but no records exist for those unmarked stones, so the mystery of where Wiser family members are buried will continue.


On my recent research trip to New York, Hilarie Albro (and I wish to express my appreciation to her for such a wonderful picture) took the above photo of the area of Lots 45 and 55 described above.  It was taken from Highway 80 looking south at Morgan Hill, the farm area closer would be Lot 45 of Onondaga County and the area towards the hill would be Lot 55 of Cortland County.  Morgan Hill is now a fairly remote area usually reserved for hunters or adventurers.  It would be interesting to know what this area looked like when our ancestors lived and worked here, but regardless, it is a beautiful place.



Please accept our condolences to those who recently lost family members.

The Logan, UT Herald Journal, Friday, 16 Oct 2004: May Elizabeth Nielsen Wiser, 97, passed away peacefully Thursday, Oct. 14, 2004. She was preceded in death by her husband, DeVon Glover Wiser [George Harmon Wiser, John McCormick Wiser, Samuel Wiser, Benjamin Wiser], in 1989. Oct. 14 was DeVon's birthday and they were able to celebrate it together. May was born April 2, 1907, in Hyrum, Utah, to Annie Sparrow Nielsen and Joseph I. Nielsen. May was the sixth child, after five boys, and was followed by three more girls. Summers were filled with thinning sugar beets, starting at age 5, receiving a penny a row. They completed about three rows a day; tromping hay and riding the horse to pull hay into the barn. Playing was cut to a minimum. She was baptized July 3, 1915, in a Hyrum river into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. May rode in a horse-drawn covered wagon to a one-room schoolhouse in Hyrum. During the ninth and 10th grades she lived and worked with Wood and Lucy Christiansen. Her schooling ended when the Christiansens moved, leaving her without transportation. In May's teenage years, she went with friends on sleigh rides, dances and attended silent movies. She rode the neighbor's horse until the saddle came loose and she fell off and broke her elbow. After that May learned to harness the horse and drive the buggy. When she turned 16, she was never lacking for dates.

May worked as a nanny and cleaned houses to earn money for clothes and recreation until she was called on an LDS mission to the North Central States, Minneapolis, Minn., at age 20. Before finishing her mission, May was afflicted with a serious illness and wasn't expected to live. Apostle David O. McKay gave her a blessing, saving her life. May returned home for three months recovery and then completed her mission to the North Central States. May married DeVon Glover Wiser on Nov. 25, 1931, during the Depression. They lived with his parents in Lewiston, Utah, until they moved into their two-room house in Lewiston one year later. May scrubbed clothes on a galvanized wash board and ironed them with a stove-heated flat iron. May is the mother of seven children. Their first baby, Bryce, and third baby, Eugene, only lived a few months before passing away with pneumonia. Clayne, the second child, died October 1986. The surviving children are JoAnn Weaver of Clearfleld, Utah, Brant Wiser of Layton, Utah, MayVon Platte of Encampment, Wyo., and DeMont Wiser of River Heights, Utah. May has 21 grandchildren and 35 great-grandchildren. She wrote poetry, did many types of needlework and was learning to play the piano. Funeral services will be held at noon on Monday, Oct. 18, in the Logan 1st Ward Chapel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 89 S. 200 West, Logan. A viewing will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17, at the Allen-Hall Mortuary, 34 E. Center in Logan, and from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday at the church, prior to services.



Thanks for any suggestions in regards to our family newsletter. Please contact me at or at 6 Baton Rouge, Roswell, NM  88201, or at (505) 623-2534. Please note that my e-mail address has changed.