A James Family Line with an Interesting Twist!

#52Ancestors  Week 3 – Long Line

Columbus and Mary ann grave 001

While thinking of which of the long lines of ancestors I would like to explore next, I decided to research more on the ” James” line.   The James family line is on my father’s side of the family and started mainly with Columbus Ashlin and his wife, Mary Ann James who are my second great-grandparents.  The curious thing about this couple is that they were actually cousins of a sort!

First, let’s look at the maternal line for Columbus.  Columbus Perry Ashlin, born 5 September 1830 in Sugar Grove, Smyth, Virginia, was the son of Chesley Harrison Ashlin and Phoebe Byrd James – Yes, his mother was a James!  Now Phoebe James was born in 1797 in Virginia to Spencer James and Frances Davis.   So, to review, Chesley and Phoebe were my third great-grandparents and Phoebe’s parents, Spencer James and Frances Davis James were the fourth great-grandparents.    And, just to add to the lineage, Spencer James’ parents, Samuel James and Mildred Taliaferro, are the fifth great-grandparents.  Here’s how is works out on the pedigree chart below.

Columbus pedigree 001

Now, let’s look at the paternal line for Columbus Ashlin’s wife, Mary Ann James.  Mary Ann, born 18 June 1838 in Smyth County, Virginia, was the daughter of Thompson B James and Susannah Porter who are my third greats.  Thompson B James was the son of Ezekial Beriel James and Frances Baker James.  Thompson James’s parents, Ezekial and Frances would be my fourth great-grandparents.  So far, so good.

Now it is getting a bit dicey as I discovered that Frances Baker James’ parents are Spencer James and Frances Davis – the same couple that are parents of Columbus Ashlin’s mother, Phoebe Byrd James.  Research proved that Phoebe Byrd James and Frances Baker James were indeed sisters and daughters of Spencer James and Frances Davis!  This is where the cousin relationship comes in for Columbus and Mary Ann.  Of Spencer and Frances’ daughters, the older daughter, Frances Baker, was born in 1791, married Ezekial James when she was but 16 years old.  Her sister, Phoebe, was born in 1797 and did not marry Chesley Ashlin until she was 25 years old.

However, recall that Spencer James and Frances Davis are my 4th greats according to Columbus’ lineage.  Now let’s look at Mary Ann’s pedigree and when we find her connection to Spencer and Frances, they are actually my 5th great-grandparents in her lineage!  So Spencer and Frances are my 4th AND my 5th great-grandparents!  This makes Spencer’s parents, Samuel James and Mildred Taliaferro my 5th AND my 6th greats depending on which pedigree chart you are following!  Take a look at Mary Ann’s pedigree chart!

Mary Ann's pedigree 001

So you see, researching the very long James lineage can and will be challenging!  I have to keep in mind that each person was one of my unique ancestors and look for their individual stories!  I will certainly have to minimize their dual relationships to myself and my family and focus more on researching their lives and telling their tales.  More to come in future posts as I share what I find on this long line of the James family!

If you would like to see what I have already written on the James Family Line, you can check out the following posts!

Can a Cemetery be Awesome? This one is!

A Soldier’s Story: Col. Waddy Thompson James

Portrait of a Strong Woman

Are We Related to Jesse and Frank James?

Favorite Photos- Grandma and Visitors!

#52Ancestors:  Week 2 –   Favorite Photo

I have but a few photos of my maternal grandmother, Alma Tusa Knihtila.  She was an immigrant from Finland coming to America with her older brother, Arne Tusa in 1909.  She was 22 years old.  Before Alma left Finland, her mother, Sanna Tusa, had a portrait taken of herself and her three daughters, Alma, Hilja and Hulda.  I was given this photo a couple years ago and was amazed as it was the first time I ever saw my grandmother as a young lady!  She was so very beautiful!  She did live across the alley from us while I was young but I don’t remember but little of her as she passed away when I was six years old in 1952.  She was only 65 years old then.

Grandma K with mother an 2 sisters 001
My Grandmother, Alma is seated on the right next to her mother, Sanna Puirola Tusa.  Behind Alma is her sister Hulda and sister Hilja is on the left.  Circa 1908

My next favorite photo of my grandmother Alma is one I found by accident in my mother’s old album, tucked in the back.  Here Alma is sitting on the left side of the bench and three of her Finnish lady friends have come for coffee and a chat dressed in their Sunday best complete with fancy hats!  My grandmother had the charge of babysitting that day her friends came and the girl on the blanket is me with my older brother, Arthur.  We all had to pose for the picture!

Knihtila, Alma, pic with friends visiting 001

This picture was taken around 1949.  There are a few things I do remember about my ever so kind grandma Alma.  She would take my brother and I regularly to the sauna and get us squeaky clean then buy us an Orange Crush soda from a big red Coca-Cola dispenser.  She went with us to the Finnish Lutheran Church on Sundays and made sure we went to Sunday School.  She had huge lilac bushes in front of her house and I used to pick bouquets for her and she would always act so surprised and pleased when I gave them to her.

She had a huge weaving loom in her barn where she would weave beautiful rugs from rags.  I would sit on the floor next to it while she ran the loom and I would wind strips of rags into balls.   My grandmother had soft brown eyes and very long hair that she would braid and then wind around her head.  At night, she would brush her hair out over and over.  I have other recollection of her but this picture of her and her friends is precious because it stirs old memories.  I can almost hear them chatting in Finnish and laughing together!

My grandmother was beautiful inside and out and I cherish her memory!  You can read more about this amazing person at Mother’s Day: My grandmother Alma

Thank you for visiting my site!

 

 

A Difficult Fresh Start for the Cole Families

#52Ancestors, Theme: Fresh Start

It is truly amazing to me what ordeals some of our ancestors had to survive to make a better life for themselves and their families – a “Fresh Start” – so to speak.   To travel to a new place to settle in the mid 1700’s was not an easy endeavor as my ancestral Cole families found out!  This is the story of a journey made by Cole families in 1771.

My sixth great-grandfather, Joseph Cole Jr, son of Joseph Cole Sr. and Freelove Cole, was about 21 years old in 1771, having been born 28 May 1750 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts Colony.  He had recently married Remember Cole (an unforgettable name!) on 26 Nov of 1769 who was born in 1752 and was about 18 years old in 1771.  You probably noticed that her maiden name was the same as Joseph’s but they were actually from two different Cole families – families that were great friends and neighbors.

Joseph Cole Jr. came from a lineage tracing back to James Cole of London (ca1600), then Hugh Cole I, Hugh Cole II, Hugh Cole III and then Joseph Cole Sr, father of Joseph Jr.   On the other hand, Remember Cole’s lineage was from a Daniel Cole (b. ca1614, England, settling in Plymouth Colony in 1633), then Israel Cole I, Israel Cole II, and finally Israel Cole III who was the father of Remember Cole.  Remember Cole’s mother was Emary _____.  It can be confusing but just know that there were two unrelated Cole families that became related through intermarriages.

In the mid 1700s, Israel Cole II and his family, including Israel III’s family,  were found living in Poughkeepsie an New Paltz, Ulster County, New York Colony.  Not surprising is that the Joseph Cole Sr. family were also living there.  These two lines were joined by intermarriages of their children – one such marriage was Joseph Cole Jr and Remember Cole – newlywed in 1769.  Both of these Cole families had received several land grants in Washington County, Virginia – the part of Washington County that would eventually become Smyth County, Virginia in 1832.  One can only speculate why they wanted to move but here it was – their chance for a fresh start!

They decided to travel all together- two families of Coles with parents, grandparents, children and extended families- to their new land and they got together and made a plan for their journey.  Now if this would have been modern times, they could have driven, flew by plane, taken a train, etc. but this was 1771 and roads were poor or non-existent and overland travel was slow and treacherous in wagons and on horseback.  Danger of attacks by Native Americans or highway robbers was real.  The map below shows how far the trip really was from Ulster County, New York to Smyth Co., Virginia!

Cole family journey 001
What the Cole family journey would look like today!

Their grand plan was to jointly hire a boat and sail down the Hudson River to the Atlantic Ocean and sail south to Virginia.  After landing in Virginia, they would travel by river and overland to their destination.  A story regarding the migration of the Cole families to Virginia was carried down through the generations and told to a William Jones, who wrote it in a manuscript:  When Joseph Cole, Zachariah Cole and Sampson Cole with their wives were getting aboard the boat at New York to sail for Norfolk, Virginia together with several others, one of the party, Dorcas Cole, was very much alarmed by the sight of so much water.  She cried out, “We will be drowned, we will be drowned!!” (She was a Baptist) and her brother Eleazer Cole (who was a Methodist Minister), remarked to her, “Stick to your faith!  If you are born to be drowned, you will be and if not, you will not!  That was Baptist doctrine.

Thankfully for me, the Cole families did survive this perilous journey and Joseph Cole Sr. and Freelove Cole, my seventh great-grandparents, settled in the area of the south fork of the Holston River.  Their son, Joseph Cole Jr. and Remember Cole, my sixth great-grandparents,  also settled in that area and raised their family.   Joseph Cole Sr. established a grist mill, called Loves Mill which was still in operation in 1962.   Cole family members in Washington and Smyth Counties are well documented in historical and legal records.  They had large families who farmed their lands, operated grist mills, defended their nation and made valuable contributions to their neighbors and their state.  Their dead are buried in almost every cemetery.  The St. Clair Bottom Primitive Baptist Church has many graves marked with Cole names.  The Coles had indeed made a fresh start and thrived in their new land!

You can read more about the Cole ancestors in another post here: Tribute to Capt. Joseph Cole Jr. – Revolutionary War Ancestor

(Sources upon request)