The Leckenby Bible

This little personal bible caught my eye in a shop in the Fall of 2008. It had the name Anna Maria Draper embossed on the cover. When I opened it, I could see in very faint pencil the inscription:

“Anna Marie
from G.S.
Jan. 1842”

Wow, I thought. That’s a long time. I wonder who they were. And why is this bible here in this shop and not with its family? As it turns out, the back of the bible had more information. There was another inscription:

“Dr. Geo. Swinburn to Anna Marie Draper before they were married, 1842″

Also a folded sheet of paper tucked inside read:

“Presented to Anna Marie Draper by Dr. George Swinburn Jan. 1842

George Swinburn & Anna Maria Draper

George Swinburn & Anna Maria Draper

I was able to track down the Swinburn couple easily on Ancestry, and learned they had lived in Rochester, New York where they married in May, 1842 and raised three children. Perhaps the bible was an engagement gift?

A third note taped to the inside back cover recorded that Ellen Swinburn Leckenby, the daughter of George Swinburn and Anna Draper, presented the Bible to her grandson, Stephen Draper Leckenby.

However, further research revealed that Stephen Draper Leckenby, had sadly been killed in action during a bombing mission over France on the 25th of June, 1944. He was only twenty one years old and had no children.

Stephen Draper Leckenby with his grandmother, Ellen Swinburn Leckenby.

Stephen Draper Leckenby with his grandmother, Ellen Swinburn Leckenby.

Perhaps that is when the bible became separated from the family. Where it has been in the meantime, no one can say. I was able to track down the wife of Stephen’s nephew in Washington state. Her name is Marilynn Leckenby, and her son happens to be named after Stephen Draper Leckenby. Could that be more perfect? They had never heard of this little bible, so it was a pleasant surprise. Now the bible will be his.

Marilynn Leckenby kindly provided me with the photos used here.

Polyglott Bible (2)


Alma Virginia Wells

A local antique store in Portland, Oregon had this sweet photo album on display. The title page had an inscription in silver pen:

A present from Mama and Papa

Alma V. Wells

Dewitt, Virginia

July 11, 1925

It was filled with old family snapshots, most seeming to date from the 1920’s and 30’s. There were many taken around a farm. Lots of candid photos and group shots, and a few pictures of older folks. I thought, somewhere there has got to be a family that would love to have these. I bet I can find them.

So off I headed to my trusty internet sites — Ancestry, Rootsweb and Findagrave. After a few hours, I was able to find Alma in a tree, and find a relative who was still tending the family graves in Dewitt. Her name is Demsie Wells and she’s a very active genealogy buff. It turns out the farm in the photos is the “old homeplace” of this Wells family, and was settled by their ancestor Samuel Wells two hundred years ago. It is still in the hands of a Wells descendant today, though the old house is no longer in  use.

It was such a pleasure to communicate with this family and learn about their history. The album has been toted to family reunions and they’ve had fun trying to identify everyone. We’re not sure how the photo album got to Portland, but one of her nieces said in an email:

My dear Aunt Alma! When I was a little girl, she rocked me while singing hymns to me! I’m sure that photo album was in the trunk full of her things that Uncle Webster saw when she died in Arizona. He accompanied her body back home. Her husband said he would send the trunk to Virginia, but he never did.

Alma passed away back in the 1950’s, and the antiques dealer thought she may have picked the album up in Palm Springs. Whatever the case, it has found its way home now, where I believe it will be safe and sound for years to come.

“Wrought by Helen Rogers 1834”

I came across this needlework in a consignment store in Portland, Oregon. It details the marriage and children of Henry Rogers and Ann Slade.  Helen Rogers, their daughter, embroidered it as a girl in Ohio. I thought this was a little treasure that needed to find its way home. Helen Rogers did not have any descendants I could find. However, I was able to use internet message boards to locate a 4th great granddaughter of her sister Hortense, who is mentioned in the embroidered tree. She quickly called the store where I had seen it and had it shipped to her in Utah. No one knew about the little boy Byron, who died as a child. Ann Slade remarried after the early death of Henry, and had several more children. She died in Utah in 1872.

Martin T. Stewart – his last note

The note written by my grandfather on his deathbed in December 1940 and hidden under his pillow. He had previously suffered a stroke, and practiced his writing at the top:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Dear Alice
You bet you stuck
to me. I won’t forget it
either. Martin.
Martin Thomas Stewart.
Dear ole girl I am a poor married
(The last line is probably a reference to a well known song by the vaudevillian Billy Murray that Grandpa Marty was fond of singing)

The story of great-grandmother as I hear it from my mother by Sarah Ann McClintock, Feb. 6, 1933

Center Falls Schoolyard by Jacob Houston

According to Larry Hitchcock, who first posted this to a Rootsweb Message Board, this is a transcription of a letter that was made from a poor photocopy. There are a few words and sentences that could not be deciphered.

The painting above is not the painting referred to here:

"The grandma in the painting, wearing the gold beads, was my mother's grandmother, Hannah Nichols Coon Grandy; and her mother was an Egelston. This is as far back as my knowledge of that family goes.

Hannah's father and family lived at a place called White Brook, RI. There was fine white sand in the yard, and the first of her recollections was of sitting in that sand when she was about two years old and dipping it up with a teaspoon and eating it like sugar. And a brother rode up on a big black horse and said, "Get up, Hannah, or I'll ride over you.", and it frightened her so she never forgot it.

She and Elisha Coon sang in the church and she was the handsomest woman in church. When she was 18 years old, she and Elisha Coon were married and to start their own home, they came "up country" to Washington Co, NY about a mile from Union Village. There was no road and they had to come on horse back on an Indian trail, with all their worldly possessions on the horses' backs. Her father and brother came a hundred miles with them, and then turned back, and she never saw them again. When they got to Washington County, they stayed with neighbors until Elisha could cut down enough trees for a house, and when the frame was up they moved in, before there were doors or windows or fireplace, ?? bears and other wild things in the woods. They had to go by marked trees to neighbors. Elisha was a carpenter and had to work for others to get money to buy doors and windows; and Hannah stayed in such a house all alone some nights when his work was too far away for him to get home.

One night she heard some one in the part of the house where the chimney was started, and a hole for the fireplace, and she called "Who's there?". He said, "It is I, Tommy Tinker". She said "Look out, I've got a trap there to catch rogues in"; he said "I guess I'm one - I'm in". He was a neighbor. But once when she was alone a big negro came and scared her most to death, she made believe.....

When her second child was 3 weeks old came that raid. The Union Village DAR book says it was in August 1776. Folks had heard the soldiers were coming, so they buried their pork in the garden that had been plowed so that it did not show where the ground had been disturbed; there were peas sowed. They had all agreed to go to a house on a hill when it was certain the soldiers were coming. Hannah took her baby and ran, but kept falling; she thought it was because she was frightened, ?till? she thought she was weak.... neighbors took charge of her boy, and...... for three weeks.

The Indians destroyed meal by throwing the bag across a pony's back and opening it so it would be scattered over the ground. Hannah hung her sunbonnet behind the door and when the Indians came and took the other one's bonnets they did not find hers. When she saw them taking the other's necklaces, she took hers off and put it in her work bag and sat the baby on it, and so saved the beads which her father gave her, which I now have.

The soldiers put their goods in a two-wheeled cart and set Elisha to drive the oxen, but he would not help to carry off his own stuff, so he made believe he did not know how to drive oxen, and tipped the cart over. So they called him a fool and set someone else at it. They took Hannah to a Tory's house in Canada, where she soon took hold to help; and they sent her for wine, which she helped herself to, and it helped her get strong. I understand she was kept there until fall and then allowed to come home. They let her have her old feather bed but claimed they could not find her new one; and she saw a girl making Indian meal mush in front of an open fire wearing her "calamink??" skirt all scorched, so she did not want that..

There are no more details but when she got home all they had to eat was the pork they buried in the garden and the peas that had got ripe and shelled out on the ground.

After this there seems to have been no special happening until there were seven children. Elisha Coon was then very low with consumption. His doctor told him to take a sea voyage,  go to Cuba. Hannah went to New York and saw him on board a boat and bade him goodbye, never expecting to see him again; and she did not, for he died and was buried at sea. He made his will before going to sea, and willed his wife the use of 1/3 of his farm and to his son James 2/3; and James was to work his mother's 1/3 and he named numerous things that she should have for the use of her 1/3. I do not know how long James stayed on the place but after awhile he sold his 2/3 to Elihu Crandal; and Elisha had willed that when his wife died, the 1/3 should go with the 2/3 to son James, but as it went first to the 2/3, Crandal got it.

I do not know how long after Elisha died, the 8th child was born; she was the first Olive. When the two youngest children, Betsy and Olive, were from 6-8 years old, their mother married Bezaleel Grandy. He was a soldier and had a pension of $8.00 a month; he was a carpenter and built a frame house on the site of the old log house. Olive was married quite young, I think, to Oliver Bailey. She had two children, Hiram and Ann, and when Ann was two years old Olive died and Betsy had been married but a little while. She was asked to take Ann, which she did, and Ann immediately claimed her for a "ma" and she could not get her to call her "aunt". Ann said the other little girls had a ma, and she wanted a ma, although Betsy said she felt green to be called a ma, when she had no children of her own. She was "ma" to her ever after.

When Betsy's first child was born, she was the 2nd Olive. Betsy's husband was Simon Chubb; they lived in Troy, and when Ann was about 15, she went to live with her grandmother to held do the work. Ann was married Nov 17, 1833, and was 18 on Dec 25, 1833. After that another grandchild stayed with her until Betsy Chubb's family were all away, when she went to live with her mother. I do not know whether Grandy was alive then or not.

Emily has a book one of DAR neighbors loaned her that is a history of Greenwich from 1809 to 1909. They have what they could find out about Elisha and Hannah Coon. They tell of the raid when Mrs. Coon was taken prisoner, and they tell of two other times when she was taken and got away; but I never heard of any such thing.

Great grandmother died at the age of 95, a little while before I was born, which was Sept. 17, 1844. Grandma Chubb came with all the dishes and things the grandmother had willed Ma; got there about a week before I was born.

Hannah's children's names were: Elisha, the oldest, Billy Coon's grandfather James, I think Hannah was the oldest girl and married Ben Prosser; Sally married a Washburn; Anna died young, consumption; think one married a Henderson; and Betsy and Olive were the youngest."

Sarah Ann McClintock was the daughter of Ann Bailey Pullman granddaughter of Olive Coon Baily and great granddaughter of Hannah Nichols Coon.

Will of Elisha Coon, Jr

In the name of God Amen

This Seventeenth Day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety two I Elisha Coon of East Town in the county of Washington and the state of New York, yeoman being weak and low in body, but of sound mind and memory thanks be to God for the same and calling to mind the mortality of my Body and knowing that all flesh must yield unto death when it shall please God to call, Do make and ordain this my Last Will & Testament. Principally and first of all I recommend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it and my Body I commit to the Earth to be buried in decent Christian Burial at the discretion of my Executors herein after named . . .

And as touching Such Worldly Estate as it hath pleased God to Bless me within this life I give and dispose of the same in the following manner and form . . .

First my Will is that all my just Debts and Funeral Charges be well and truly paid by my Executors in a Convenient time after my Decease. .

Imprimis I give and Bequeath unto my well Beloved wife Hannah Coon the life and profits of all my Real Estate until my son James shall arrive to the age of Twenty one years if my said Wife shall remain my widow but in case she shall marry before my said son James shall arrive to Lawfull age then my will is that my four Youngest Daughters (namely) Anna Sally Betsy and Olive have the profits thereof till my said son James shall arrive to lawfull age as aforesaid.

Item I give and Bequeath to my well beloved Wife my riding Mare and all my sheep that shall be more than ten after my Eldest Daughter shall arrive to Eighteen years of age together with one Bed and furniture all which I give to my wife during her Natural Life. Item I give and Bequeath unto my well Beloved Daughter Hannah Coon one Bed and furniture and my largest Iron pot to be hers when she shall arrive to lawfull Age also I give to my said Daughter Hannah Coon ten sheep to be at her disposal when she shall arrive to lawfull age as aforesaid and my largest pair of silver shoe Buckels also I give to my said Daughter Hannah Coon a Dove tail Pine Chest that is called hers . . . Item I give and bequeath unto my well beloved Daughter Anna Coon my largest Iron Kettle to be hers when she shall arrive to lawfull age . .. Item I give and Bequeath to my Beloved Wife Hannah Coon all the remainder of my Household Goods that is not heretofore in This Will given away as long as she shall Remain my Widow and after my Widows Marriage or Decease which first may happen then my will is that what is given in this Bequest to my wife be given and Equally Devided between my four youngest Daughters namely Anna Coon Sally Coon Betsy Coon and Olive Coon. Further my will is and it is my intent and meaning that my Wife Hannah Coon have Her thirds agreeable to law besides the Bequests herein made to her as long as she shall remain my Widow. Item I Give and Bequeath to my well beloved son James Coon all my Real Estate lying in Eastown in the County of Washington in the State of New York Reference being had to the Deed for the Boundaries thereof which land I give to my Son James Coon when he shall arrive to the Lawfull Age to him his heirs and assigns forever his paying what I shall here after in the Will enjoin him that is for him my son James Coon to pay to my other two beloved Sons (namely) Elisha Coon and George Coon forty Pounds New York Currency that is to say Twenty Pounds to each of them my two Sons (viz) Elisha and George to be paid my son Elisha when my son James shall arrive to lawfull age and to my Son George Coon when he my son George shall arrive to lawfull age and also for him my son James to pay unto my four Beloved Daughters (namely) Ann Coon Sally Coon Betsy Coon and Olive Coon Twenty Pounds New York Currency that is to say Five Pounds to be paid to each of them my Daughters (viz) Anna Sally Betsy and Olive when they shall arrive to lawfull age. Item I give to my Beloved Wife Hannah Coon one Cow and five of my largest Swine & two Shoats or smaller swine together with all my wheat Corn Fodder & Barley to be for the use and support of my family. Further my will is that the remainder of my live stock that is not heretofore in this Will by me given Be sold by my Executors (viz) a Horse a Yearling Colt a Calf and the swine also a Gun an Iron shod Stay a Broad ax together with all my farming utensils and that the sum arising from the Sale thereof be appropriated to the payment of my Just Debts and to pay my Executor for his Rightfully Administering on my Estate and after the aforesaid Debts are paid then my Will is that the Remainder of the Money that arises from the sale of the articles as aforesaid together with all my Obligations Notes of Hand and Book Receipts be equally divided between my two sons namely Elisha Coon and George Coon.  Item I give and Bequeath unto my three Beloved sons (viz) Elisha Coon James Coon and George Coon all my wearing Apparel to be Equally devided between these my three Sons and also a pattern of a Cotton and worsted Jacket to be divided between my three Sons as aforesaid . . .

Lastly I Constitute ordain and appoint my trusty and well beloved Brother in law Sylvester Satterly of East town in the County of Washington and the State aforesaid yeoman to be my whole and Sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking and Disannulling all and every other Will and Wills by me heretofore made Ratifying and Confirming this and only this to be my last Will and Testament In Testimony where of I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal the Day month and year first within written . . . Signed Sealed Published Pronounced and Declared by the Testator to be his last Will and Testament in presence of us Witnesses

George Thurston, Jr                                                    Elisha Coon     (his mark)

David Nichols

Caleb Potter


Whereas of even Date with these Presents I Elisha Coon of East Town in the County of Washington in the state of New York yeoman did make and ordain my last Will and Testament wherein I Constitute Sylvester Satterly my whole and Sole Executor and I hereby Ratify and Confirm said Will and every Bequest therein by me made . . . Considering this to be a part of my Last Will & Testament

Further my Will is that my Executor put as an apprentice my son Elisha Coon to some suitable place to learn a Good Trade as soon as may be — and also that my Executor bind out as an apprentice my son James Coon as soon as he can get a Good and suitable place for him after his time is our for which he is now hired, Further my Will is that my youngest son George Coon be and Remain with my Wife Hannah Coon if she shall live or Remain my Widow until he my said son George shall arrive to the age of Fourteen years if he my said son George shall behave him self in a becoming manner and be profitable to his Mother in her widowhood & his sisters in their Infant state — Otherwise if my Wife should not live until my son George shall arrive to the age of fourteen years or he prove unprofitable to his mother obstinate or unruly then my Will is that my said Executor bind him as an apprentice to some suitable Person to learn a good Trade or if my son George shall remain with his mother in her widowhood as aforesaid in a profitable & becoming manner until he arrive to the age of fourteen Then my Will is that my Executor bind him as an apprentice as aforesaid. In Confirmation whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and Seal this 17th Day of September AD 1792 —

In presence of —                                                        Elisha Coon (his mark)

George Thurston Jr

David Nichols

Caleb Potter

At a meeting of the Town Council of Hopkinton in the County of Washington & State of Rhode Island on Monday the 19th Day of November AD 1792 The foregoing Instrument was exhibited to the said Town Council at which time personal appeared before the Council Gent George Thurston David Nichols Esqr & Caleb Potter witnesses to the same who made oath that they saw the Testator Elisha Coon Sign Seal Publish Pronounce & Declare the Instrument to be his last Will and Testament & that in his presence & in the presence of each other – they subscribed their names as witnesses thereto & the said Elisha Coon appeared to be at that Time to be of sound disposed mind & memory. Sworn to before the said Town Council, Witness Caleb Potter

Be it Remembered that on the Nineteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Ninety three Sylvester Satterly the Executor of the within written Will of Elisha Coon Appeared before me Edward Savage and was duly sworn to the Execution and performance of the said Will by taking the Oath of an Executor as by Law appointed before me Edward Savage Surrogate

The People of the State of New York

By the Grace of God Free and Independent to all to whom these Presents shall come or may concerning on the nineteenth day of January Instant before Edward Savage Esquire thereunto by as delegated and appointed the Last Will and Testament of Elisha Coon a Copy whereof is hereunto annexed was proved and is now approved and allowed of by us And the said deceased having whilst he lived and at the time of his death goods chattels or credits this State by means whereof the proving and registering said Will and granting Administration of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased And also the Auditing allowing and final discharging the accounts thereof doth belong unto us The Administration of all and singular the goods chattels credits of the said deceased and any way concerning his Will is granted unto Sylvester Satterly the Executor in the said Will named he being First duly sworn well and faithfully to administer the same and to make a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the said goods chattels and credits and also to under a Just and true account thereof when thereunto required in Testimony whereof we have caused the seal of our Court of the surrogate of our said County, Washington to be hereunto affixed Witness Edward Savage Esquire Surrogate of our said County at Salem the nineteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Ninety three and of our Independence the seventeenth

Savage (his signature)

Washington County} Be it also Remembered that on the Twenty sixth day of January Instant Personally came and Appeared before me William Tefft and John Satterly of Easton in said County of farmers who being duly declared that according to the best of their knowledge and belief the name of Elisha Coon signed to the will of the said Elisha Coon is the respective proper handwriting of the said Elisha Coon and the proof of the said Will is the proper way or manner in which Wills are proved according to the Laws in that case made and provided in the State of Rhode Island sworn before me

Edw. Savage, Surrogate

(his mark)