Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported me in my endeavors as a genealogist - both on a personal & professional level. Without the help from family, friends, and clients I would not be able to do what I do. I hope you all have had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Those Places Thursday: Panton, Vermont

The Holcomb family had a prominent part in building the town of Panton, Vermont. Panton a rural town in Addison County, is adjacent to Lake Champlain and Vergennes (Vermont's smallest city). Among the original proprietors of the town, in 1702, were David Holcomb, Timothy Holcomb, and Timothy Holcomb, Jr. I have not yet been able to show how I relate to these individuals, although I am almost certain I do not descend from them directly. I am, however, certain that there is a collateral relationship.

Other early Panton settlers include my 6th great-grandfather, Phineas Holcomb (1726-1781) and my 5th great-grandfather (Phineas' son), Joseph Holcomb (abt. 1762-1833). Phineas, Joseph, and three of Phineas' other sons (Joshua, Elisha and Samuel) were kidnapped by Indians in 1778. They were taken to Quebec via a "vessel that was anchored Lake Champlain." (The Hocum Family by Mabel Hocum Adams p. 65-66). Joshua, Samuel, and Phineas died in 1781 from hardships they suffered during their capture. Joseph and Elisha were released from capture in 1882.

The Holcomb family resided in the toe town of Panton for many years. My 3rd great-grandfather, George Andrew Holcomb (who is pictured above) was a soldier in the Civil War. His daughter, my 2nd great-grandmother, Rose Holcomb (image on right), birthed my great-grandfather, George Dewey (Holcomb) Baker, while still residing in Panton. She later married Carl Baker and moved to Lamoille County, Vermont where she lived out her years.

I would love to know if there are Holcomb descendants still residing in Panton. If so, I would love the opportunity to connect with them.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday's Obituary: Fredrick H. Richardson

My great-grandfather, George D. (Holcomb) Baker, was the illegitimate child of Rose Holcomb and Fred Richardson. According to family stories, Rose and Fred met while he was on a business trip in town. They had a short fling, which resulted in Rose becoming pregnant. Rose later married Carl Baker, and my great-grandfather assumed his last name (I am not sure if Carl adopted him, or not).

According to my great-grandfather's birth record, Fred Richardson was born in Rutland (with a ? next to the town's name), and his occupation was listed as "insurance". Upon researching any Fred Richardson's from the Rutland, Vermont area, I came up with one, the son of Clark and Harriet (Sargent) Richardson. Clark died eleven months prior to the birth of my grandfather. Could his son have traveled to Vergennes, where Rose lived, to take care of after-death matters regarding his father's estate (Clark was the owner of the Berwick Hotel in Rutland, and also ran a construction business)? It seems to be a viable theory that needs further exploration.

I am not certain that this Fred Richardson is my great great-grandfather, but I am also not certain that he isn't.

Frederick H. Richardson
Dies at His Rooms After Long Illness With Cirrhosis of the Liver

After an illness lasting since March 20, Frederick H. Richardson of No. 51 Wales Street, died at his rooms, last evening about 8 o'clock with cirrhosis of the liver.
July 22, 1861, being the son of Clark F., and Harriett L. Richardson. His father built and for many years was proprietor of the Berwick Hotel on Center Street.

Mr. Richardson attended Harvard University for two years after spending some time in a preparatory school in Massachusetts. He was a charter member of the Rutland lodge of Elks, to which society he belonged until several years ago.

Mr. Richardson is survived by no near relatives, the nearest being cousins, among whom are George J. Sargent of Mendon and Henry W. Richardson of this city. There are other cousins on the Pacific coast. (Ruland Daily Herald, 12 Aug 1914)

From Hobby to Business: My Great-Grandfather's Talent for Woodworking

My great-grandfather, George D. Baker (born George D. Holcomb) created beautiful wooden crafts. His craft began as a hobby after purchasing a small wood kit, and eventually turned into a small business for himself.

My great-grandfather was the father of 11. His oldest five children were with his first wife, Ruth Miller, who died a little more than a week after the birth of their last child. The infant was placed for adoption, and my great-grandfather cared for the others, as a single father, until he married my great-grandmother, Elizabeth F. Beard, who he had seven more children with (one whom was born still).

My great-grandfather began making items, such as cigarette boxes, sewing kits, bookends, and more. My great-grandmother was quite confident in her husband's wood-crafting skills, and suggested that he market his crafts to people around his hometown. A few weeks prior to Christmas 1945, she brought some of his creations into town where she was able to gather multiple orders, keeping my great-grandfather busy for several weeks.

Orders for his wood products continued to come in, keeping my great-grandfather busy in his woodworking shop each morning. He eventually started making and selling large items, such as corner closets. In a newspaper article, published in the News and Citizen on 29 July 1946, he quoted "I built the first one for my wife, then several persons visited here, saw them and ordered them for their own homes." (Oh, how I would love to have one of his corner closets).

Below are photos of a jewelry box he made. The box is currently in the possession of my grandfather's cousin in Florida. (Update 01/01/2014: During a family reunion in Aug. 2013, the box was gifted to me by the aforementioned cousin. It now sits proudly on my living room bookshelf. Thank you so much, Mona!