Tuesday, December 11, 2018

An heirloom carriage clock from John Russell Stone

 © 2018 Christy K Robinson

In the early 1990s before she passed away, my mother gave me an antique carriage clock she said belonged to her grandfather, John Russell Stone (1880-1938). Today I tried to find an age for my clock, and one antique store listing says "first half of 19th century." If it came down in John Stone’s family, that would mean it belonged to his grandparents. Mine looks just like the antique store’s photo, and has the key inside the back door, but it doesn't run.

The store called it a French clock, probably because theirs had a French tune in its music box, but John Stone was 7/8 English (from New England) and 1/8 Dutch. Maybe it was a wedding gift? I can't believe any of those ancestors owned a carriage or ever had money for luxuries--they were farmers with wagons and buggies.
Lois Elizabeth Stone, John's eldest child, was my grandmother.
I continued searching Google Images and clock forums. Further research says that it’s tin and brass (inexpensive), and is made by Friedrich Mauthe (Schwenningen, Germany), a mid-19th century clock maker. The video shows this model of carriage clock, with a delightful European folk tune.

That means my carriage clock could have been from John Stone’s parents, Job Ransom Stone and Maria Elizabeth Harper, or could have belonged to his grandparents. Or, if it's not a carriage clock at all, and just a mass-produced reproduction of the carriage style, Great-grandfather John bought it for a mantel clock in the early 1900s. Whatever the history, it's at least 100+ years old. And it's mine. All mine!

Edith Mae Hall Stone and husband John Russell Stone.
For more of their adventures, see my article


Christy K Robinson is author of the books:
·          We Shall Be Changed (2010)
·          Mary Dyer Illuminated (2013)
·          Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This (2014)
·          The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport (2014)
·          Effigy Hunter (2015)
·          Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)

Monday, December 3, 2018

Life sketch of Isaac Robinson of Plymouth Colony

© 2018 Christy K. Robinson

Rather than write a narrative on the life of my 8th great-grandfather Isaac Robinson, son of Rev. John Robinson, I’ll submit this timeline of his life events, along with my commentary.


Leiden, Netherlands, centered around the St Pieterskirke where
Rev. John Robinson is buried.
1610             Isaac Robinson born in Leiden, Netherlands, to Rev. John and Bridget Robinson, pastor of the Pilgrims, who had experienced persecution and prison in England before fleeing to Netherlands for religious liberty. Two children, John and Bridget, were born in England, and Isaac was the first child born in the Netherlands. He had five siblings. During Isaac’s childhood, his father was pastor of the English “Pilgrims,” an author of numerous religious tracts, and a professor at the University of Leiden. The Pilgrim families built about 21 small houses in the Green Close near the St. Pieterskirke church.
Isaac was four years younger than the miller’s son who would become a great artist, Rembrandt van Rijn, also a Leiden native. Rembrandt attended Leiden University when Rev. John Robinson was teaching there, and Isaac’s brother John Robinson III was a student there. 
St Pieterskirke, near where the Pilgrims lived. Isaac's father is buried
beneath the church floor.
1620             Pilgrims emigrated on Mayflower to their intended destination of Virginia, but they ended up in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Robinson family stayed in Leiden because Rev. John Robinson ministered to the congregation that remained in Leiden.

1625            Father, John Robinson, died in Leiden at age 50. Robinson fell ill on Saturday, 22 Feb. 1625, yet preached twice the next day. The plague was then rife at Leiden (and indeed, pandemic in Europe and England), In Leiden, 9,600 died that year, but John Robinson did not catch the plague. He was weakened by an acute fever. He died on 1 March 1625 (Dutch reckoning, or present style; in the old English reckoning it was 19 Feb. 1624).

Unknown year  Isaac must have moved to England for a time before he sailed from Bristol to the port of Boston in Massachusetts Bay Colony. He may have lived with relatives in Lincolnshire or Nottinghamshire. His older brother was still obtaining his higher education in Europe, so Isaac wasn’t living with him.

1631            On Feb. 5 Isaac arrived Boston Harbor on ship Lyon. He had departed from Bristol on December 11, 1630 on a tempestuous 66-day journey. The Lyon made the rare journey in the vicious Atlantic storms of a Little Ice Age winter, stuffed full of supplies, food, and “a store of lemons” to curb the starvation and scurvy rampant in Massachusetts. That ship carried only about 20 passengers, including Rev. Roger Williams.
The ship’s master, William Pierce, wrote to John Winthrop just before departure and presumably sent the letter by a small, fast ship, “and now having obtyned some quantity my ship is so full that I cannott take in what I would and should; but mr. allerton hath a ship to depart from barnstable very shortly, unto the which we send away what I cannot take in. I wish with all my heart you were here at present to help in the Busines I am over chardged with, to my leisure. if the lord did not greatly sustayn me I should be over whelmed with it. I do now with all my strength endevor to be gon to sea.”
On Nov. 11, after another food and supplies delivery from the Lyon, Boston held a day of thanksgiving. Plymouth Colony people traveled to Boston to celebrate a thanksgiving feast.
I created this map to show where Isaac Robinson lived, and in which order.
1632            “Isaak Robinson was at [Mary Masterson's] house last sommr nigh death and so continewed til his recoverie aftr or [our] friend's [Richard Masterson's] death [from cholera] and comes to us sometimes, soo shee hath had op[por]tunitie to requite his fathrs labor of love in some measure, and his mothrs love and loving tokens.”
Isaac, like other single men, wasn’t allowed to live alone, so he lived with friends of his parents’, the Mastersons. He nearly died from cholera in an epidemic.

1634            Isaac moved to Duxbury.

1636             Married to Margaret Hanford in Scituate, Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts.
Serves on grand jury.

1636-37    Plymouth Colony and a Massachusetts militia went to war against Pequot tribes in southern New England, including parts of Plymouth’s charter lands, and Connecticut and Rhode Island. From 700 to 1,000 Pequots were gruesomely slaughtered, as described by Governor Bradford. Survivors became slaves.

1638            Daughter Susannah born at Scituate.

1639             Deputy for Barnstable.

1640            Son John born at Barnstable.

1643            Mother Bridget White Robinson, in Leiden, makes will on Oct. 28. She leaves money (40 guilders) to Isaac, and a black skirt and suit to Isaac’s wife.

1645             Daughter Fear born at Barnstable.

1646             Tax collector for Barnstable.

1647             Daughter Mercy born at Barnstable.

1649             Wife Margaret dies after 14 years of marriage. Margaret passed away on June 13, 1649, in Barnstable, Massachusetts, being 30 years old. She died as a result of complications of childbirth, having given birth to a premature daughter (who also died) just the week before her own death. “The wife of Isaac Robinsonn buried [at Barnstable] June 13, 1649, and a maid child born of her before the ordinary time buried the week before.”

1650             Isaac marries second wife, Mary.

1651             Son Israel born, Barnstable. Israel Robinson later changed his name to Isaac, since his older half-brother had died.

1653             Son Jacob born, Barnstable.

1655            Son Peter born, Barnstable.

1656             Quakers arrive in Massachusetts: many in Sandwich, Mass., convert to Quakers and begin suffering heavy fines, beatings, confiscation of property, imprisonment, etc., under their Plymouth Governor Prence and Massachusetts Governor John Endecott. 
Isaac is the first to build a house between Fresh and Salt ponds at Falmouth, and was given four acres by his house, eight acres nearby, and one and a half of meadow elsewhere. 
The signature of Isaac (who spelled his name Isaack).

1659            Isaac was asked to attend Quaker meetings to help the Quakers see the error of their ways. Instead, upon attendance, he felt that the laws that had been enacted against the Quakers were tyrannical and should be repealed. He wrote a letter to the magistrates stating this. As a consequence in 1660, the court ordered him stripped of his rights as a freeman, which lasted for thirteen years.

1660            On 7 March the court “taking notice of sundry scandals and falsehoods in a letter of Isacke Robinson's, tending greatly to the prejudice of this government and encouragement of those commonly called Quakers, and thereby liable ... to disenfranchisement, yet we at present forebear the censure until further inquiry be made into things” [PCR 3:183].
The letter may have had to do with the Quakers William Robinson (no known relation) and Marmaduke Stevenson, who were executed in October 1659 after several visits to Plymouth Colony. Mary Dyer visited Sandwich in November 1659.
People who were Quakers in this period were arrested, fined heavily for refusing to swear an oath of allegiance to the colonial government, had property and livestock confiscated by greedy courts, were jailed without heat in the Massachusetts winters, and were stripped to the waist and flogged nearly to death. However, there’s no record of Isaac Robinson suffering those persecutions, and it seems that he only lost his freeman status. I suggest that Isaac’s heritage as the son of the revered Pastor John Robinson protected him in Plymouth Colony.

1660             On 6 June 1660, five days after the execution of Mary Barrett Dyer, a Quaker, Isaac Robinson “for being a manifest opposer of the laws of this government expressed by him in a letter directed the Governor and otherwise” is disfranchised of the freedom of the corporation.
An interlineation following says, there being some mistake in this, Isaac Robinson is re-established and by general vote of the court, accepted again [PCR 3:189]; this interlineation may have been made as late as 1673, for Isaac Robinson is not in the 29 May 1670 list of Plymouth freemen, and on 4 July 1673 Plymouth Court “voted Mr. Isacke Robinson to be reestablished in the privilege of a freeman of this corporation” [PCR 5:126]. http://www.revjohnrobinson.com/isaac.htm  

1661              Saconesett (later called Falmouth): Entered land where he had 4 acres by his house (between Fresh & Salt Ponds) and 8 more, plus 1-1/2 of meadow elsewhere. Sept 20 - Robinson, Isacke (Senr.) acknowledges receipt of legacy by will of Timothy Hatherly. 

1665             7 February Mr. Isaac Robinson was approved by the court to keep an ordinary [tavern, inn] at Saconesett (Falmouth), “since there is great recourse to and fro by travellers to Martin's Vineyard and Nantucket.” He may have converted to Quaker beliefs in 1665.

1666             He called himself “Isacke Robinson Senior of Barnstable, planter,” in a legal transaction.

1668            28 October “Robinson, Isacke; Lumbert, Barnard; Phinney, John - Land laid out to them 28th, 8 mo. [Oct. 28] by Thomas Hinckley, Nathaniel Bacon, Richard Bourne” - Barnstable, making him an original settler of Falmouth. 

1669             8 November – Isaac’s second wife Mary dies

1672             27 August - Barnstable, “Annable, Anthony; Robinson, Isacke; Fuller, Samuel; Blossom, Peter - Granted of Quachattacett and Webaconett, land of Saconessett.”

1673             Is reinstated as freeman.

1676-77   King Philip’s War raged in New England between the English colonists and native tribes. More than 2,500 colonists died, and more than 5,000 native Americans died.  

1685             Minutes of Sandwich Monthly [Friends] Meeting: “Friends of Suckonesset were encouraged to meet together.” This was the formal start of the West Falmouth Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, which 300 years later continues. Of the £44 subscribed for the purpose, £8 were contributed by ten Sandwich Friends. The 14 Falmouth Friends who contributed £36 for the building of their meeting house were Richard Landers, Thomas Bowerman, Stephen Harper, Joseph Landers, Benjamin Bowerman, Justes Gifford, Stephen Bowerman, Isaac Robinson, John Robinson, Peter Robinson, William Gifford, Benjamin Swift, John Wing, and Daniel Allen.

1686            Granted to his son Peter, 1/7 of Tisbury Great Neck (on Martha’s Vineyard).

1700            Sold 1/16 of Scrubby Neck along with 1/13 part of Sooconqueta in Tisbury and a lot in Kepheggon for an undisclosed sum of money.

1700            Granted southern half of his Kepheggon lot to son Israel/Isaac.

1701             Isaac Robinson sold his home lot at Tisbury to his son Israel/Isaac and removed to his daughter's in Barnstable.

1702             He was living at Barnstable in Apr. 1702 when Judge Samuel Sewell of Boston visited him. On 4 April 1702 Samuel Sewall wrote “Visit Mr. [Isaac] Robinson, who saith he is 92 years old, is the son of Mr. [John] Robinson pastor of the church of Leiden, part of which came to Plimo [Plymouth]. But to my disappointment he came not to New England till the year [1631] in which Mr. [John] Wilson was returning to England after the settlement of Boston. I told him was very desirous to see him for his father's sake, and his own. Gave him an Arabian piece of gold to buy a book for some of his grandchildren.” During the same visitation, Judge Sewell traveled to Martha's Vineyard where he “walked” with one of Isaac's sons, but Sewell did not mention in his diary the son's name.

1704             Isaac died, aged 94, at daughter Fear Robinson Baker’s home in Barnstable, Mass.


Christy K Robinson is author of the books:
·          We Shall Be Changed (2010)
·          Mary Dyer Illuminated (2013)
·          Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This (2014)
·          The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport (2014)
·          Effigy Hunter (2015)
·          Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)

Isaac Robinson, four generations down, and two generations up the pedigree.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A quiet man, veteran of the Great War

© 2018 Christy K Robinson

On Nov. 11, 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended the Great War in 1918, I played the piano for the Life Church choir as we honored the sacrifices of millions of people who endured the horrors of World War I. Click "play" to hear the inspiring piece as you read the article below.

Leonard Robinson, in 1918-1919
At age 33 in 1918, my paternal grandfather, Leonard Robinson, joined the American Expeditionary Force, and was assigned to Company C, 109th Engineer Regiment, 34th Infantry Division. Many of the men in his regiment were from the Midwest states of Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Leonard came from Wayne, Iowa, and was a single man. His rank was Private First Class.

On 17 Sept. 1918, his company departed New York City on the RMS Cretic troop transport ship. They probably steamed to St. Nazaire, on the west coast of France. In the months and years before this trip, German submarines had attacked troop ships and supply ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s probable that the Cretic was part of a convoy with other ships and defense ships.
Formerly a passenger ship, the Cretic's name changed
several times, and was repurposed as a troop ship, then an
agricultural cargo ship before it was broken up.

Troop transport record for Leonard E Robinson, 1918.
Because of the postcards my grandfather brought home from his service in France, I know that he must have been stationed at Allerey-sur-Saône, France, which is not far from Verdun. The Americans were constructing a military hospital base of 10,000 beds with a crisis capacity of 14,468. In addition to the medical and rehabilitation patients, thousands of support French and American personnel were employed in every aspect of supporting a city with daily needs of cooking and serving meals (including a bakery that made 800,000 pounds of bread a day), transport, medical and pharmaceutical supplies, laundry, delousing, clean drinking water and sewage treatment, recreation, and everything to sustain a temporary city.

The newspaper “Le Progrès,” from Chalon-sur-Saône, collected information about this project and, on February 15, 1918, published an article which announced the stunning news:
"An American medical health service camp --- For some time now, we have been informed that the town of Allerey had been chosen for the installation of a vast American medical health service camp. After several visits to the site by Franco-American commissions, the project is allegedly on the verge of being carried out.
The camp will be comprised of ten hospitals of 1,000 beds each and will occupy a total area of four hundred hectares [988 acres], including a cemetery of a little more than one hectare [2.47 acres].
The land chosen is located in a cheerful countryside, along the road to Beaune, near the château and not far from the woods. This the best land in the township and the most salubrious. At this time, it is covered with wheat fields or vineyards. The rent for the duration of the war has been agreed to at the rate of 500 francs per hectare for prime land; 400 francs for second class land and 300 francs for third class.
A track will connect the camp to the station and a second line will be constructed on the Gray line, from the hamlet of Chauvort to the camp.
Wells will be drilled for obtaining drinking water. Electricity will be installed for lighting, and telephone and telegraph services will be established. And, in typical American fashion, we have been assured that three months will be enough to complete the whole set up.
The installation of this camp is certainly a bit of good luck for this township which, benefiting from its location as railway head, was the preferred choice of the Americans.
The agricultural and wine production of the region and local commerce will be happy for this turn of events, and we might even venture to say that, in the future, the town of Allerey might find itself transformed into a large city after its occupation by our powerful allies." [Spoiler: Allerey returned to a sleepy village after the war.]  
Source: http://net.lib.byu.edu/~rdh7/wwi/comment/Allerey/Allerey03e.html
Postcards brought back from France in 1919, by my grandfather.

The ground at Allerey was level, but very low, and the soil that was perfect for crops quickly became saturated with rainwater and muddy with heavy traffic.

The camp was crossed by a two-tracked railway line, connected at the hamlet of Chauvort to the PLM line from Chalon to Gray . This facilitated the unloading of the sick and wounded, as well as food supplies. The roads which paralleled the track comprised a large avenue which facilitated the circulation of ambulances and trucks. From each section of this central avenue---the camp's backbone---two secondary roads split off to service the base hospitals, while being linked among themselves by various crossroads. There were also roads along the back of the two groups of five base hospitals, placed symmetrically on either side of the railway line.

Letters written by American servicemen at the time mentioned ever-present mud. The postcards show streets in the camp that have churned-up clods of mud from truck, equipment, and ambulance traffic. For foot traffic, there were long boards bridging muddy fields.

Not only was The Great War one of attrition—whoever kills the most men wins—it was marked by plagues of diphtheria and the so-called Spanish Flu [H1N1], which killed more than 20 million people worldwide. Also, the German and Austrian forces were gassing the Allies on the fields of war.

“The flu killed 15,849 U.S. soldiers in France and another 30,000 in stateside camps. That’s 45,849 killed by the flu versus 26,277 killed at Meuse-Argonne— documenting that the flu was by far our most deadly battle.”

“In November 1918, the center at Allerey was housing over 22,000 in addition to about 600 troops and employees of the engineers and was severely overcrowded. A number of cases of influenza and pneumonia had been received during October, together with many gassed cases who were very susceptible to respiratory infections. The greatest number of influenza cases was 1,002 on November 4, when the total number of patients in the center was 16,063; and the greatest number of pneumonia cases, 291, was reached four days later.”
I’m not sure if my grandfather ever had influenza, for which there was no effective medication or antibiotic treatment.

Allerey-sur-Saône is located at the map pin.
Participation of my grandfather’s regiment, the 109th Engineers, was conducted in 1918: Lorraine, Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Champagne, Oise-Aisne, and Meuse-Argonne. I believe Leonard probably did construction carpentry at Allerey.

On 10 Nov. 1918, only a few hours before the Armistice ended hostilities, 500 men of the 108th Engineers were killed because of a mistake in orders. This was not my grandfather’s regiment, but you can see the type of duties that engineers were responsible for.
Albert John Lambert, 108th Engineers, Ripley County, Indiana:
“Work of Engineers was to build bridges across the Meuse, build roads, dig trenches, put up barbed wire entanglements, dig dugouts and dressing stations. Also cut wire entanglements of enemy with pliers and blew them up when necessary. Went ‘over the top’ in charges.
“A mistake in orders on the night of November 10, 1918 sent two regiments ‘over the top’ near Metz without a protective barrage fire. They were caught by uncut barbed wire. The enemy fired with machine guns, determined not to let their supplies of ammunition stores be captured since the Armistice was on the point of being signed. This mistaken attack resulted in the loss of about five hundred American soldiers.”

On 11 Nov. 1918, the Armistice of Compiègne was signed between Allies and Germany, and WWI was over, having cost tens of millions of lives.
Men who worked at Allerey

Leonard Robinson remained on duty in France for another seven months after the Armistice, and the Allerey hospital base continued in operation as its patients recuperated from wounds, amputations, gassing, and communicable diseases like influenza. After 1919, the camp was dismantled and became an agricultural school.

My grandfather's postcards of Notre Dame, Paris. I visited
there in 2004.
Leonard must have been given leave to travel, because he collected postcards from Notre Dame in Paris, as well as a stack of hand-tinted postcards of women and little girls, all with a saccharin sweetness about them. Were they provided to remind the servicemen of sweethearts and children at home, or that they had come to France to save and protect innocent women and children?
Hand-tinted postcards from France.

On June 17, 1919, Leonard Robinson departed St Nazaire, France (mouth of Loire River near Nantes) on the ship USS Pastores. The ship arrived 26 June 1919 in Hoboken, New Jersey. On the 2 of July 1919, Leonard was discharged from the American Expeditionary Force with the rank of Private First Class.
Troop ship USS Pastores

In 1920, he was living with his parents in Albia, Iowa, working as a carpenter.

In June 1921, Leonard married Opal Carter of Albia, Iowa. When my grandmother Opal passed in 1995, she left me her gold wedding band, which I wear every day. My brother Brian has Leonard's woolen army uniform in storage.

Leonard Robinson was self-employed as a farmer for the rest of his life, in northern Minnesota. The family lived on 160 acres and in a log house with an outdoor privy. I’m not sure of his educational level because it’s not listed on the census reports, except that he could read and write. But my parents told me that he was well-read and that he preferred histories and biographies. My cousin says that Leonard only had formal schooling to the eighth grade, but he read all of her mother's (his daughter's) schoolbooks. Her mother completed high school and college, and became a teacher.
The Robinson family, probably at church, circa 1941.
From left: Kenneth, Leonard, Donald, Carolyn, Audrey, and Opal.
I only met my grandfather a few times when I was a small child, but I remember a stack of books next to his chair, that he mixed up the food on his plate before he ate, and that he clinked his spoon in his coffee cup during grace at the table (got away with it because he was hard of hearing). I was told that he had a very dry wit. He and Opal were married for 53 years, and he passed away in Park Rapids, Minnesota after some strokes.

Leonard Robinson was descended from Rev. John Robinson, the pastor of the Pilgrim separatists who escaped England and moved first to the Netherlands, then to Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts, on the Mayflower. Also in his direct ancestors were Revolutionary War heroes.
Leonard Robinson is fourth from left.

Christy K Robinson is author of the books:
·          We Shall Be Changed (2010)
·          Mary Dyer Illuminated (2013)
·          Mary Dyer: For Such a Time as This (2014)
·          The Dyers of London, Boston, & Newport (2014)
·          Effigy Hunter (2015)
·          Anne Marbury Hutchinson: American Founding Mother (2018)