Friday, December 24, 2010

Chistmas Eve Dinner

This past Sunday, we were driving home from church and Prairie Home Companion was on the radio. Garrison Keillor described a traditional Norwegian Christmas meal with the lutefisk. I just cannot describe it better. So if you really want to know what lutefisk is without tasting it, listen to Garrison's description in the December 18, 2010 News From Lake Wobegon. He was spot on.

We would start the meal with fruit soup which is made with pearl tapioca, a variety of dried fruits, stick cinnamon and grape juice. Then, the main course would include lutefisk (cod fish cured in lye) with boiled potatoes drown in melted butter. There would be a vegetable, a salad, and lots of lefse which looks a lot like a tortilla except that it is made out of potatoes. We would butter the lefse and sprinkle it with sugar and cinnamon  and then roll it up. We usually had one or two fruit pies for dessert. There would also be several cookies like krumkaka, fattigmond and rosettes.

My grandmother without an ounce of Norwegian blood would make this meal on Christmas Eve. My grandmother with both Norwegian and Swedish heritage would make several English dishes.

Merry Christmas to all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mrs. William H. Moore - Helen Leach or Helen Fine?

Another perfect afternoon was wasted after I decided to enter "Helen Leach" into to see if ANY new documents popped up. And well, yes, something did. Helen Leach/Leech b. 1838 in Maine is the sister of Mary Ann Leach/Leech, one of the main subjects of this blog. I have tracked down all of Mary Ann's brothers and parents. But, Helen has eluded my past searches. Helen is enumerated with her mother, Hannah Leech, in 1850 in Delevan, Walworth, Wisconsin and appears to be enumerated with her mother, Hannah, in the 1855 Wisconsin Census in Delavan, Walworth, Wisconsin (it used to be on but is not appearing on Previously, I was not been able to find Helen in the 1860 Federal Census or in the Walworth County Marriages. So, when I found the entry below, I got a little excited. Especially when I found Helen and her husband, William in Walworth County, Wisconsin in 1860! Helen is enumerated as 21 years old, born in Maine. All consistent with my Helen.

Name: Anna A. Houghtting
Death Date: 13 Apr 1919

Death Place: San Berrito, Cameron, Texas

Gender: Female

Race: W

Death Age: 47 years 10 months 16 days

Estimated Birth Date:

Birth Date: 17 Jun 1872

Birthplace: Rockford, Iowa

Marital Status: Married

Spouse's Name:

Father's Name: Wm H. Moore

Father's Birthplace: Old Town, New Jersey

Mother's Name: Helen M. Leach

Mother's Birthplace: Maine

Occupation: Farmer

Place of Residence:


Burial Date: 14 Apr 1919

Additional Relatives: X

Film Number: 2073563

Digital Film Number: 4023777

Image Number: 85

Reference Number: 85

What has me a bit concerned, is that several online family trees have the wife of William H. Moore as Helen "FINE". No one listed a marriage but that is what is needed here. A marriage record that states William H. Moore married Helen ???. Well, so far, I have not found one. 
Hopefully, one of the Moore/Fine descendants have found a marriage record or have additional information that I am missing. But, a quick check of my trusted Maine research sites, and I was coming up with a couple of questionable "FINE" families in Maine during the 1840-1850 time frame and maybe none. Yet, in the 1860 Census and in the 1870 Census enumerated in Rockford, Floyd, IA, Helen is born in Maine. In both of the 1860 and 1870 census, William is listed as being born in New Jersey. There are certainly several "Fine" families in New Jersey but none appear to have a daughter named Helen born in 1838 in Maine.

In the next post, more clues from Anna Houghtling's death certificate and more census clues.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Joseph H Leech - Land Patent

Land Patent for Joseph H. Leech

When I found this land patent on the Bureau of Land Management's website, I wanted to know if this was the same Joseph Leech, son of William R. Leech and Hannah Sewell, born in Maine>moved to Wisconsin with his mother>moved to Iowa with his brother-in-law, Jotham Viles>settled in Bon Homme County, South Dakota. Valuable information can be gleaned from the patent file. Here are some things that I found in the file:

No. 14335
Land Office at Michell, D.T. [Dakota Territory]
Sec. 15, Town. 103, Range 67
Patented Apr 20 1888
Recored Vol. 21, Page 76

The land was purchased on 5 Dec 1885 by Joseph H Leech, residing in Brule County, Territory of Dakota, North East Quarter of Section 15 in Township 103 of Range No 67 of the 5 Principal Meridian containing 160 acres. He bought the land for $1.25 per acre totaling Two Hundred Dollars.

An Affiviavit dated 20 Apr  1888 by Joseph H Leech, was sworn and subscribed in Bon Homme County, Territory of Dakota.

Date of Residence,  May 7, 1883
Date of Entry, May 7, 1883
Date of Proof, Dec. 1, 1885
Date of Advertised, Dec. 1, 1885
Date of Certification, Dec. 5, 1885

Improvements, Frame house, shingle roof 12 x 20, 40 acres broken
Value of $600
Residence claimed, 2 y. 6 mos 24
Claimant's family, Wife & 5 children

Paid $14.00 on May 7, 1883 to the Register for a Homestead Application.

The house was built in 1882 and Joseph purchased the house from the entry man.

An Non-Mineral Affidavit signed in Davison County, Territory of Dakota by Joseph H Leech on 1 Dec 1885.

C M Gregory (acquainted with Joseph Leech for 30 years) and Clark A Edgecomb signed Homestead Proof - Testimony of Witness for Joseph.

On 1 Dec 1885, Joseph claimed to be 39 years old and native of the United States. He had a wife and 5 children. He had only been gone from the property for 3 days to harvest grain since May 7, 1883.

Joseph H. Leech was given a Homestead Certificate No. 14335.

What did I learn from this file? It is highly probable that this is the same Joseph Leech who was born in Maine and later lived in Bon Homme County, South Dakota based on age,affidavit taken in Bon Homme County, nativity, and consistent with arrival date to South Dakota reported on South Dakota 1905 Census by two daughters . Joseph and his family arrived in South Dakota on or before May 1883. Assuming that this is the correct Joseph, Joseph and his wife, Alice had a child who was most likely born between December 1882 and May 1883 and died before 1900. Alice mostly like died in South Dakota before 1900.

Now the question is who the heck is C M Gregory that had known Joseph for 30 years? This implies that C M Gregory lived in Wisconsin with Joseph.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Beautiful Butterflies

A little break from gravestone hunting in cemeteries. I could not resist taking these photos of the butterflies.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Elinor (Eleanor) Viles Daughter of Joseph Viles and Elinor Heald

The family group of Joseph Viles born 05 Sept 1792 in Orland, Hancock, Maine and Elinor (Eleanor) Heald had gaps in it. Joseph Viles b. 1792 was the uncle of Jotham Viles and brother of Alfred Viles. Either there were missing children or several children died. Well, I just found a child to fill one gap thanks to Pilot Family Search. I used the advance search and put in "Joseph" for First and Middle Names, "Viles" for Last Name and "Eleanor" for Spouse. There were 20 exact and close matches. The top three were my couple: marriage record in Maine, death record in Wisconsin, and the third was the surprise. A Massachusetts death of Elinor C. Leach. Hmmmm .......

JACKPOT! There is no doubt that Elinor C. Leach is the daughter of Joseph and Elinor (Eleanor) Viles. She was born in Anson, Maine. Anson was where Joseph and Elinor Viles lived before moving to Geneva, Walworth, Wisconsin circa 1845.

Return of A Death    City or Town: Raynham
Full Name: Elinor C. Leach   Register No. 26
Place of Death: Raynham Centre St.    Date of Death: Sept 2 1908
Residence: Raynham      Age: 86 years - months 25 days
Sex F Color W     Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced   M
Maiden Name: Elinor C. Viles
Husband's Name: Zelotes Leach
Birthplace: Anson, Me
Name of Father: Joseph Viles
Birthplace of Father: unknown
Maiden Name of Mother: Elinor Heald
Birthplace of Mother: unknown
Occupation: none
Informant: Willard G Leach, Raynham
Place of Burial or Removal: Raynham Pleasant St. Cem
Undertaker: E Milbank

What I learned from this document was that Joseph and Eleanor (Heald) Viles had at least one child who did not make the trip to Wisconsin. Elinor Viles was born (calculated from death date) on 8 August 1822 in Anson, Somerset, Maine. She married Zelotes Leach and died on 2 September 1908 in Raynham, Bristol, Massachusetts at the age of 86 years 25 days. Her father and mother were Joseph Viles and Elinor Heald.

Additional research indicates that Elinor Viles was previous married to Mr. Green. That marriage has not been located. Elinor Green and Zelotes Leach were married on 12 December, 1847 in Taunton, Bristol, Massachusetts. It is also not clear whether Elinor and Zelotes Leach had any children. Zelotes Leach apparently was also previous married married to Martha C. Gary. The informant on Elinor Leach's Return of Death was Willard G. Leach, son of Zelotes and Martha.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Viles Information in Wisconsin and Iowa

My last post discussed new databases for Maine research. As discussed in past posts, numerous Maine Viles families migrated first to Wisconsin settling primarily in Walworth County. From Wisconsin, they scattered West. Many moved to Iowa or Minnesota. has databases with birth, marriage, and death records for Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. I found the marriage records to be the most complete. I believe that many records are missing from the birth and death records probably because they were not recorded. If the image is not linked to the index on, the FHL film source will be listed. Researching these families is certainly becoming easier.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Maine Databases

On April 27, 2010, updated three important databases for Maine research.

  • Maine Births and Christenings, 1739-1900
  • Maine Marriages, 1771-1907, 1739-1900
  • Maine Deaths and Burials, 1841-1910, 1739-1900
This is wonderful! There appear to be several databases. The same marriage may appear several times with slightly different information. And a word of caution, some of the marriage dates may in fact may be the marriage intentions and not the actual marriage date.

The research Wiki at cautions that databases are not complete for any given area. The LDS source film is given with each entry so that original can be checked out.

In terms of the subject Viles family of this blog, there appear to be several individuals that are members of the family yet not connected in my database. For example, there is a Susan Viles that marries Levi Butler. See entry below:

Groom's Name: Levi Butler

Groom's Birthplace: Of Norridgewock
Bride's Name: Susan Viles
Bride's Birthplace: Of Norridgewock
Marriage Date: 18 Sep 1849
Marriage Place: Norridgewock, Somerset, Maine
Indexing Project (Batch) No.: M52268-1
System Origin: Maine-EASy
Source Film Number: 11577

This couple is living next to Alfred and Thankful Viles in Starks, Somerset, Maine in the 1850 Census. The unanswered question screams, "Is Susan Viles the daughter of Alfred and Thankful (Norton) Viles?"

Monday, March 22, 2010

Elijah Butler and Naomi Viles Family Group Sheet

Notes: There may be other children. Also, not every fact has been verified. Most of the sources are secondary sources. If you have better information, please let me know. I also have information on the grandchildren of Elijah and Naomi Butler.

Husband: Elijah BUTLER son of Henry Butler and Mehitable Norton
Birth: Abt. 1798 in Massachusetts
Marriage: 20 Mar 1823 in New Vineyard, Franklin, Maine, USA [2]
Death: Bef. 1870 in Genoa City, Walworth, Wisconsin, USA [1]

Wife: Naomi VILES daughter of Joseph Viles and Sarah Hancock
Birth: 1805 in Orland, Hancock, Maine, USA
Death: 11 Jul 1882 in Genoa City, Walworth, Wisconsin, USA or Bureau, Illinois.

1 Name: Asa Hunt BUTLER [1, 3]
Birth: 07 Oct 1825 in New Vineyard, Franklin, Maine, USA [1, 3, 4]
Marriage: 26 Jan 1854 in Geneva, Walworth, Wisconsin, USA
Death: 13 Nov 1914 in Petrolia, Humboldt, California, USA [5]
Spouses: Rosina FARNSWORTH (b: 12 Oct 1830 d. 12 Oct 1902 Petrolia, Humbodt, California [5])

2 Name: Harriet Downs BUTLER [1]
Birth: 26 Mar 1826 in Industry, Franklin, Maine, USA [1, 5]
Death: 03 Aug 1907 in Churn Creek, Shasta, California, USA [5]
Spouses: John S LEEMAN (b: 1824)
Mathias Mathew BRAND (b: 23 Jun 1825) Marriage: 08 Nov 1859 in Shasta, California, USA [6]

3 Name: Sumner BUTLER [1]
Birth: Oct 1830 in New, Franklin, Maine, USA [1, 7]
Marriage: 03 Jul 1859 in Steele, Minnesota, USA [8]
Death: Aft. 1910 mostly likely New Mexico
Spouses: Jeannette SIMMONS (b: 1826)

4 Name: Francis BUTLER [1]
Birth: 20 Nov 1832 in New Vineyard, Franklin, Maine, USA [1]
Marriage: 12 Jan 1858 [9]
Death: 06 Nov 1915 in Elkhorn, Walworth, Wisconsin, USA [1]
Spouses: George E. BURPEE (b: 1821)

5 Name: Martha BUTLER
Birth: 12 Nov 1835 in Farmington, Franklin, Maine, USA [1]
Marriage: 1862
Death: 21 May 1922 in Esbon, Jewell, Kansas, USA [5]
Spouses: Emory CLEMONS

6 Name: Lorahama BUTLER [1]
Birth: 1838 in Maine, USA [1]
Marriage: 20 Dec 1869 in Elkhorn, Walworth, Wisconsin, USA
Death: 1921
Spouses: Charles WALES (b: 1818)

8 Name: Mary BUTLER [1]
Birth: 1842 in New Vineyard, Franklin, Maine, USA [1]
Marriage: 29 Mar 1873 in Delavan, Walworth, Wisconsin, USA
Death: 02 Apr 1932 Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska, USA [5]
Spouses: Jerome S MILLER (d. 10 Nov 1896 Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska)

9 Name: Jennie BUTLER [1]
Birth: Dec 1848 in Maine, USA [1, 10]
Marriage: 18 Dec 1877 in Elkhorn, Walworth, Wisconsin, USA
Death: 12 Apr 1938 in Bureau, Illinois, USA [11]
Spouses: Joseph W. ALBRECHT (b: Jun 1845 d. 03 Jan 1929 [11])


1, Public Member Trees (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006), Database online.Record for Elijah Butler.
2 Hatch, William Collins, History of Industry (Press of Knowlton, McLeary & Co., 1893, 894 pgs.).
3 and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1880 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005), Database online. Petrolia, Humboldt, California, ED 40, roll T9_66, page 445.4000, image 0192.Record for Asa Butler.
4, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004).
6 Pamela Lane Dollarhide, Pamela Lane Dollarhide.
7, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004).
8 State of Minnesota, Minnesotal Offical Marriage System (2009),
9 Pamela Lane Dollarhide, Pamela Lane Dollarhide.
10, 1900 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004).
11 Illinois Statewide Death Index 1915-1950.
12 Hatch, William Collins, History of Industry (Press of Knowlton, McLeary & Co., 1893, 894 pgs.), 836.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Asa Butler and Fred Farnsworth Bound for California

Asa Butler moved with his parents and large extended family from Maine to Walworth County, Wisconsin circa 1850. He married Rosina Farnsworth on 26 Jan 1854 in Geneva, Walworth, Wisconsin. It is not known whether this couple had any children or not. Then, prior to 1860, Asa and his brother-in-law, Fred Farnsworth, travel by covered wagon from Wisconsin through Fort Kearney, the South Pass. Asa, Rosina and Fred are found in the 1860 census of Eel River Twp, Humboldt, California in 1860. Asa's sister, Harriet Downs Butler Leeman also made her way to California but settled in Shasta County. Harriet married Mattias Brand on 8 Nov 1859 in Shasta, California. From Serial Set Vol. No. 1100, Session Vol. No. 9; Report: H. Exec. Doc. 63; Asa Butler had 1 wagon, 2 people, and 4 stock destine for California. Fred (listed as F. Carnsworth) had 2 wagons, 4 people and 8 stock destine for California. The interesting question becomes, who were the other four people? Was one of the party, Harriet Leeman who was a widow at the time? Fred was not married yet. Just who were the other 3 or 4 unaccounted for persons??

It must have been an adventure.

Asa Hunt Butler b. Oct 1825 in New Vineyard, Franklin, Maine. Asa and Harriet's parents were Elijah Butler and Naomi Viles. Harriet was born 26 Feb or March 1826. Either Asa's or Harriet's birthdate is not correct.