Friday, October 30, 2015

Rev. Deodat Lawson 1640-1715 (52 Ancestors # 44)


This week’s challenge is “Frightening”, in honor of Halloween.  I am writing about Rev. Deodat Lawson this week.  I chose him because he was intimately involved in the Salem Witch Hunts.  Deodat’s second wife was my eighth great-grandaunt.

Deodat Lawson was born about 1640 in England to Rev. Thomas Lawson.  It is not known what his mother’s name was and she died shortly after Deodat was born.  She named him Deodat which means “given to God”.  Deodat had an older brother, Jabez.  It’s not known if there were other siblings.

After Deodat had graduated from college, he immigrated to Massachusetts around 1676. At that time, Deodat was not an ordained minister, but he took a position as a minister in Edgartown, Massachusetts.  He married his first wife, Jane, in 1680, and had a son Deodat in 1682. The following year he and his family moved to Salem, Massachusetts.  He and Jane soon had another child, a daughter.  In 1687, Deodat left for a position in Maine after there was some opposition to him becoming an ordained minister in Salem.  However, in 1688, he and his family returned to Salem where, according to sources, his wife and young daughter both unexpectedly died. He then left for Boston where he remained in seclusion.  In 1690, Deodat married Deborah Allen in Boston.  Deborah was the daughter of Hope Allen and was about thirty years younger than Deodat.

After unusual and mysterious occurrences began in Salem, Deodat was asked to return to Salem in   There he witnessed the trials for the accused witches and, after a month, he returned to Boston and wrote about what he had seen.  The book was A Brief and True Narrative of Some Remarkable Passages Relating to Sundry Persons Afflicted by Witchcraft, at Salem Village which Happened from the Nineteenth of March, to the fifth of April, 1692.
March of 1692.

  In the book, Deodat provided an eyewitness account of the events, and trials that were occurring in Salem.  Interestingly, in an appendix that Deodat wrote for the book several years later, he also described the trial of Reverend George Burroughs who was accused of witchcraft and was hung.  Rev. Burroughs had been accused of, among other things, being the cause of the death of Deodat’s wife and young daughter. 

From accounts that I have read, it is unclear if Deodat was a leader of the prosecution of those accused of witchcraft, if he was just an observer there, or if he helped to create the hysteria.

After Deodat’s return to Boston, he was a minister at a church there, and was finally ordained in 1694.  Deodat’s father died in England in 1695 so Deodat returned to England to settle the estate.  However, he never returned to the United States and is believed to have died in England in 1715.  It’s not known if his family went with him or if they remained in the United States.  


Monday, October 26, 2015

Joseph Francis Murphy 1921-1963 (52 Ancestors #43)





This week’s challenge was “Oops”.  My grand-uncle Joe was certainly an “oops” for my great-grandparents!  Joseph Francis Murphy was born on the 6th of March in 1921 in Peoria, Illinois to Edward R. and Kathryn Hanauer Murphy.  When Joe was born, his sister, Gen was eighteen years old, and his brother, Eddie, was fifteen years old!   

Joe attended St. Mark’s Grade School in Peoria, Illinois.  He was remembered as an “odd” child.  The family home burned down when Joe was around eleven or twelve years old and it was never proven, but widely believed that Joe had started the fire. 

Joe graduated from Peoria High School in 1939 and then went on to graduate from the Engineering School at the University of Illinois, where he was affiliated with Kappa Delta Rho fraternity.

Joe served in the Army Air Corp during World War II. Records
obtained Records obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration state that Joe "served in the Army of the United States from Sept. 19, 1942 to Sept. 26, 1943.  This was his enlisted service......Honorable Discharge to accept a commission.......Separation from service 9-26-43 was at Yale University, New Haven, CT."  They did not include records of his service as an officer, stating "We would need more information to search alternate sources for his service as an officer."  It is known from letters that he was serving in Cairo, Egypt in 1944.

Upon return from the War, Joe was engaged to marry a woman named Martha, but she broke off the engagement, and he married Catherine Freeman in Granite City, Illinois on the 29th of May in 1948.  Joe was employed as a sales engineer for White-Rogers Co. at that time and he and Cathy lived in Chicago for about two years, then moved to Indianapolis, Indiana.

Apparently, Joe and Cathy were unable to have children.  They adopted four children.

In August of 1963, Joe’s mother died.  Joe died that October (1963).  He was only forty-two years old.  He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Joe's wife Cathy died in 2004.





Gustaf Adolph Segh 1873-1908 (52 Ancestors #42)




This week’s challenge was “Proud”.  I am writing about my great-grandfather’s brother, Gustaf Adolph Emil Segh. I am proud of my research in both finding him and finding a picture of him!

It was known that my great-grandfather (Karl Oscar Segh/Charles Oscar Seeber) had twins in his family, but it was not known that he himself was a twin.  It wasn’t until I began to learn more about his family in Sweden that I learned that he and Gustave were the oldest of eight children born to their parents and that they were the first set of three twins born to August and Matilda Hertel Segh.

Gustaf Adolph Emil Segh was born on the 6th of November 1873 in S;t Per Parish, Ostergotlands, Sweden.  He and his twin brother Karl were the oldest of the children.  They are both listed in the 1890 census in Sweden with their parents, and a brother, Johan August Segh, who was born in 1875.  The other five children had all died before this census was taken.

In 1892, Karl Segh had left for the United States.  Gustaf remained in Sweden.  He became a train engineer and lived in Stockholm.  Gustaf married a woman named Elina and they were divorced in 1904.  It appears that Gustaf never had any children. No records have been found to indicate that Gustaf ever came to the United States to visit, although his brother Johan did.

Gustaf Adolph Emil Segh died in Stockholm on the 10th of May in 1908.  He was unmarried at the time and was thirty-four years old.

About ten years ago I was visiting my parents at their summer place and my mother brought out a box of old pictures.  She didn’t know who the people were in some of the pictures.  I began looking through them and came across an old picture of a young man.  I turned the picture over and on the back was written “Gustaf Adolph Segh”!  No one had ever seen a picture of Karl/Charles' twin brother before! they were obviously not identica
l twins! The picture was at least one hundred years old!