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"Things just get curiouser and curiouser"
-- Alice
This page contains just fun stuff.
Interesting* facts and trivia about some of my ancestors.
*  Interesting to me, anyway!

Omigosh!  My parents are related to each other!

 Yes, they are...  Donald E. Steele (born in Iowa) and Barbara A. Lowe (born in Utah) had ancestors in common, as follows...
George Partridge m. 1638 Sarah Tracy
Triphosa Partridge m.
Samuel West
John Partridge m.
Hannah Seabury
Francis West m.
Mercy Minor
Samuel Partridge m.
Deborah Rose
Pelatiah West m.
Elizabeth Lathrop
Deborah Partridge m.
Isaac Gates
Daniel West m.
Elizabeth Tracy
Isaac Gates m.
Prudence French
Alvah West m.
Sally Benedict
Polly Gates m.
Joseph Wheeler
Chauncey W. West m.
Jeanette Gibson
Milton R. Wheeler m.
Jane Ann Osborne
Heber West m.
Alice Bell
Henry O. Wheeler m.
Helen S. Brownell
Ada West m.
Frank A. Lowe
Bess O. Wheeler m.
William E. Steele
Barbara A. Lowe
(Ted's mother)
Donald E. Steele
(Ted's father)

 And, if that's not bad enough...

... my first wife and I are also related!  Ted Steele (born in California) and Sherry Wood (born in Missouri) share several ancestral lines, including...
Michael Pierce m. ca. 1644 Persis Eames
Ted's Line
Sherry's Line
12 Generations thru surnames:
Pierce, Barber, Steele
11 Generations thru surnames:
Pierce, Holbrook, Daniels, Hayward, Foristell, Stoddard, Wood
William Thrall m. 1638 (unknown)
Ted's Line
Sherry's Line
12 Generations thru surnames:
Thrall, Hosford, Phelps, Griswold, Case, Merrill, Steele
11 Generations thru surnames:
Thrall, Wilcox, Terrell, Wood
Thomas Holbrook m. 1616 Jane Powys
Ted's Line
Sherry's Line
13 Generations thru surnames:
Holbrook, Pierce, Barber, Steele
11 Generations thru surnames:
Holbrook, Daniels, Hayward, Foristall, Stoddard, Wood
Thomas Wood m. 1654 Ann Hunt
Ted's Line
Sherry's Line
11 Generations thru surnames:
Wood, Bailey, Griffith, Annis, Steele
9 Generations thru surname:
It's a wonder that my children can walk and chew gum at the same time.
Say, maybe this explains some things!

Lizzie Borden...

    took an Ax, and gave her mother forty whacks,
    When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!

With all those Borden ancestors, surely I am related to Lizzie.  Well, yes... but not very closely.
Fortunately (?), we have to back eight generations to find a common ancestor.  Here's the picture...

John Borden (1640-1716)
m. 1670
Mary Earle
Ted's Line:
Thomas Borden m.
Mary Briggs
Lizzie's Line:
Richard Borden m.
Innocence Cornell
John Borden m.
Susanna Pearce
Thomas Borden m.
Mary Gifford
Hope Borden m.
Ezra Brownell
Richard Borden m.
Hope Cook
Pierce Brownell m.
Margaret Spike
Richard Borden, Jr. m.
Martha Bowen
John Brownell m.
Mary Ann French
Abraham Borden m.
Phoebe Davenport
Helen S. Brownell m.
Harry O. Wheeler
Andrew J. Borden m.
Sarah A. Moorse
Bess O. Wheeler
(1870- 1964)
(Ted's Grandmother)
Lizzie Andrew Borden
("Gave her mother forty whacks.")

So, how am I related to Annie Oakley?  Not at all!

Yes, I do have lots of Oakley ancestors,... but Annie didn't!

Annie Oakley was born on 13 August 1860 near the village of Woodland in Darke County, Ohio.  Her parents were Jacob Moses and Susan Wise, Quakers from Pennsylvania who had  settled in Ohio in 1856.  Her  name at birth was Phoebe Ann Moses.  Later orphaned and teased  about her name (she was called "Moses Poses" by the other kids in the orphanage), she learned to hate her name.  She took the name "Annie Oakley" as a stage name for her sharp shooting act when she started working with Frank Butler in 1876.  The name was taken from the town of Oakley, Ohio, near Cincinnati.  She and Frank were married on 22 June 1876, when Annie was 16.

In 1885 she was hired by the Buffalo Bill Wild West show and her husband became her manager.  She became renowned for her sharp shooting as a member of this highly popular traveling show, which she starred in for 16 years.   She toured army camps during World War I, giving demonstrations in marksmanship.  She and Frank spent the last several years of their lives in Florida.  In 1926 they returned to Annie's native Ohio, where she died on 3 November 1926.  She and Frank, who died three weeks later, are both buried at Brock, Ohio.

[Source: Notable American Women, 1607-1950, A Biographical Dictionary, Prepared under the auspices of Radcliffe College.]

A few Big Shots and Interesting Folks

Hey, when your American family extends back to the Colonies, the simple arithmetic is that you're going to be related to somebody "important" somewhere.  And so it is with this family.  So, here are the tidbits that are fun to drop when somebody asks, "So, who are you related to?"
BulletGeorge Cleeve (1586-1666)
George Cleeve was the founder and first settler of Portland, Maine.  Born in Shrewsbury, England, about 1586, he was arrested in London about 1614 for passing counterfeit money and landed in Newgate prison.  A resourceful man, he somehow made his release, jumped bail and returned to Shrewsbury.  There in 1618 he married Joan Price.  The following year he sued her father for supposed failure to deliver on their pre-nuptial agreement.  In 1630 he left England, sailing to Cape Ann, Maine, on the Swift.  Here he claimed 2,000 acres on the mouth of the Spurwink river promised to him by Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and went into business with another settler, Richard Tucker.

In 1632, he and Tucker were forced to leave their settlement at Spurwink River and settled at Falmouth (now Portland).  Cleeve came into frequent clashes with the growing local government, which he tended to ignore.  Over time, these disagreements grew in both frequency and intensity, to the point where Cleeve visited Gov. Winthrop in boston in 1637 to plead his case to establish a government with himself in charge.  Winthrop and the commissioners declined to become involved.  In time, Cleeve's claims were upheld, and he ruled the self-named territory of Ligonia for twelve years.

In 1657, the Massachusetts Bay Colony decided that their patent included Maine and ordered Ligonia to meet with them.  Cleeve ignored the order.  The following year, however, the people submitted to the claim.  Throughout his life, he was a controversial character, involved in many legal battles, and apparently a frequent user of foul language.  In spite of grand ambitions and noteworthy companions, he and his wife ended their days in relative poverty.

[Source: Twenty-Six Great Migration Colonists to New England & Their Origins, by John Brooks Threlfall, Madison, Wisc., 1993.]

BulletGov. John Webster (1590-1661)
John Webster was Governor of the Connecticut Colony in 1656.  He came from Warwick County, England, to the Massachusetts Bay Colony prior to 1633, settling in Newtown (now Cambridge).  In 1636 he relocated with the Rev. Thomas Hooker congregation to Hartford.  He served Hartford in many elected positions... as magistrate of judge from 1639 to 1655; as Deputy Governor in 1655; Governor in 1656; and Chief Magistrate from 1657 to 1659.  Late in the 1650s a controversy regarding criteria for membership in the Congregational Church divided the members of hartford's church.  Many of its members, including John Webster, requested and received permission to establish a new parish up the river at Hadley.  He died on 5 April 1661 in Hadley, Mass.

[Source: History and Genealogy of the Gov. John Webster Family, by Wm. H. Webster, Rochester, NY, 1915.]

BulletGov. Edward Winslow (1595-1655)
Edward Winslow (brother to my Kenelm Winslow) was chosen Governor of the Plymouth  Colony in 1633, 1636, and 1644.  He was one of the passengers in the 1620 sailing of the Mayflower and was one of the leaders of the Plymouth settlement.  He was apparently a man of great abilities, and served as the colony's chief diplomat, both with England and the nearby Indians.  He removed to Marshfield by 1643 and died at sea between San Domingo and Jamaica on 8 May 1655.
BulletHon. Nicasius de Sille (1610-1674)
Nicasius de Sille was born into an aristocratic Dutch family in 1610.  Educated as a lawyer and trained in military affairs in Holland, he became Advocate to the Court of Holland, and Captain in the service of the States General.  Upon his arrival in New Amsterdam (New York City during the Dutch settlement) in 1653, Nicasius de Sille brought with him an appointment from the West India Company as First Counselor to Director General Peter Stuyvesant .  He was described as "a man well versed in the law, and not unacquainted with military affairs, of good character, and satisfactory acquirements."
Stuyvesant was an autocratic Governor of the colony, but apparently de Sille enjoyed his favor.  He became a leading statesman for the Dutch in America.  In 1655 he accompanied Gov. Stuyvesant on a successful military effort against the Swedes in the Delaware river.  The following year he was appointed Captain Lieutenant of the New Amsterdam troops.  That same year he was also appointed Schout-fiscal and in 1657 he was commissioned as City Schout of New Amsterdam.  This position combined the present duties of Mayor, Sheriff, and District Attorney.  Also in 1657 he removed to New Utrecht (in today's Brooklyn) where he was again appointed Schout (Sheriff).  He died there prior to March 1674.

[Source: History of the Kip Family in America, by Frederick E. Kip, NJ, 1928.]

BulletGov. William Bradford (1624-1704)
William Bradford was elected Governor of the Plymouth Colony in 1621-1633, 1635, 1637, 1639-1643, and 1645-1656.   He arrived at Plymouth on board the Mayflower in 1620.  Bradford, along with John Winslow and William Brewster, formed the leadership team for Plymouth Colony.  Much of what we know of Plymouth and the life of the Pilgrim settlers comes from Bradford's book, Of Plymouth Plantation.

His son, Major William Bradford, also served as a major figure in the second generation of Plymouth Colony settlers.  He  served as Plymouth Colony Deputy/Assistant, Deputy Governor, and Colonial Commissioner of the Plymouth Colony.  William Bradford was elected Captain of the Plymouth forces.  He later became Commander-in-Chief of the Plymouth troops during King Philip's War.

Major William Bradford's daughter, Mercy Bradford (born Sept 1660 in Boston) married Samuel Steele on 16 September 1680 at Hartford, Conn.  Samuel had served as a Captain with the Hartford troops during King Philip's War and it was probably as a result of that activity that he met Mercy.  Because the Pilgrims and Puritans were diametrically opposed to each other's views, I have always found it interesting that this Pilgrim girl and Puritan boy married.

[Source: Gov. William Bradford and his son, Major William Bradford, by James Shepard, New Britain, conn., 1900.]

BulletNoah Webster  (1759-1843)
Noah Webster was born in West Hartford, Conn., the son of Noah and Mercy (Steele) Webster.  Mercy Steele was the granddaughter of our own Samuel Steele and Mercy Bradford (through their son, Eliphalet).  Thus, she was Thomas Steele's first cousin, and Isaac Steele and Noah Webster were second cousins.  In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, Webster, who was an ardent nationalist, worked to unify America's language.  His first dictionary was published in 1828.  He personally defined every one of the 70,000 words it contained, and "Americanized" many English spellings -- changing, for example, theatre to theater, colour to color, and plough to plow.
BulletChauncey W. West (1827-1870)
As a polygamist Mormon, Bishop Chauncey West had nine wives and 35 children, 19 of whom lived to maturity. He was married to: The Chuncey West family lived in Ogden, Utah, occupying the entire city block bounded by Main and Young Streets, between Third and fourth Streets.  Each wife had her own separate dwelling, with larger buildings for family functions.  Orchards and gardens on the property kept the family fed.  As an indication of the size of their communal dining room, Ted's great grandfather, Heber West, was chastised for riding his pony around the dining room table!  Each of the wives was supposed to have her own set of duties within the household, and the children referred to the other women as "Aunt so-and-so."
BulletCharlie Ebbets (1859-1925)
Charlie Ebbets was the grandson of John B. Ebbets, through his son, John.
Charles Hercules Ebbets was first President of the Brooklyn Dodgers.  He was born in New York City on 29 October 1859, the son of a liquor dealer, and grew up in Greenwich Village.  In 1883 he got a job working for the recently formed Brooklyn baseball team selling tickets and peanuts.  By 1890 he had saved enough money to make an investment in the team.  When one of the co-owners wanted to move the club to Baltimore in 1905, Charlie Ebbets bought him out to retain the club in Brooklyn.  In 1913, construction of the Dodgers' new stadium in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn was completed and Ebbets Field opened for its first ballgame at the beginning of that baseball season.
In addition to his service to the Brooklyn Dodgers, Charlie Ebbets was politically active.  He served as a member of the Board of Aldermen from his district in Brooklyn and, later, as an Assemblyman in the New York State legislature.  He died in his suite at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City on 18 April 1925.   His funeral was held at Trinity Church and he was buried at Greenwood Cemetery.  When he died, his estate was valued at close to $1 million -- most of it being in his half ownership of the Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball Club.  Settlement of the estate was tied up in the New York Surrogate's Court for nearly a quarter century, however.  It was finally settled in December of 1949.

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This site was originally created on May 5, 1999.
Last updated June 18, 2006.
Copyright © 1999-2006 Edward E. Steele, All rights reserved