Category Archives: Historical Event

THE LOVE FAMILY SAGA, FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC IN SEVEN GENERATIONS, PART II: Lorenzo and Lois Love; George and Hannah Love; Olin and Mabel Love

The Love Family Saga tells the story of seven generations of the Love family, from the first immigrants to American shores in the eighteenth century, to those living in the first third of the  twentieth century.  In Part I of this Saga, I recounted the lives of the first four generations of Loves in America:    Generation I:  Adam and Mary Love, Generation II:  Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love, Generation III:  Robert and Susanna Love, and Generation IV:  Levi and Eunice Love.

I also identified themes that recur through the generations and connect them.  In each generation, some of the children left home and moved to new lands and farms farther west.  This migration pattern was not unique to our family, but was part of a larger movement of New Englanders moving westward as lands were appropriated from Native American residents and opened for homesteading.

Another unifying theme concerns the character and personality of many of the Loves:  these men were entrepreneurial, bold, and adventurous, but they were not always able to make their  big dreams come true. A third pattern involved the wives of these seven generations of Love men:  these women came from their own long lines of American settlers and pioneers, and their diverse heritages enrich and expand the Love family story.

Part I of the Love Family Saga, covers the first four generations (click here).  Part II carries the Love narrative forward through generations five, six, and seven.


Lorenzo (1814-1901) and Lois Hale (1815-1886) Love: From Bridgewater, NY to Newton Township, Michigan

Lorenzo Love was born in Bridgewater, NY, the fourth child of Levi and Eunice Waldo Love. When he was fifteen, he moved with his family to Hartland, NY, where he helped them clear new land for farming. At age 21 he left home and moved fifteen miles away to Yates, NY, where the next year he married Lois Lorain Hale. While there, he raised a company of the state militia and was its captain for three years.

Calhoun County, Michigan

Calhoun County, Michigan

In 1843, Lorenzo, Lois, and their two children, Almon Dwight, age 4, and Lorenzo Homer, age 2, left New York and moved 450 miles west to Calhoun County, located in south-central Michigan.  They made this journey just a few months after Lorenzo’s parents, Levi and Eunice Love, also left New York to settle in Waukesha, Wisconsin.  Lorenzo’s in-laws, the Hales, left New York as well, and settled near the Loves in Kalamazoo County, Michigan.




The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States

The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States, early 19th century.

When the Lorenzo Love family arrived in Michigan, it had been a state for six years. Michigan opened for extensive settlement in the aftermath of the War of 1812, when the federal government, in treaties with the local Ojibwa, Ottawa, and Potawatomi tribes, removed them to lands farther west. The Erie Canal provided a route from New England and New York, and thousands of New Englanders moved into the lower third of the state to create homesteads in the Michigan wilderness.



Ceresco:  The Grain Company

Westwind Mill, Linden, MI, est. 1837. This large mill may have been similar to the J. Wallingford 5 story mill that Lorenzo Love managed in Ceresco, MI, in the 1840s. Photo source:

Westwind Mill, Linden, MI, est. 1837. This large mill may have been similar to the five story mill that Lorenzo Love managed in Ceresco, MI, in the 1840s. Photo source:

The Loves settled in a town called Ceresco, which its founders named by combining the name of the Greek grain goddess, “Ceres” with the abbreviation for “company”. So the name means Grain Company. Lorenzo took employment at J. Wallingford’s five-story grain mill, located on the Kalamazoo River, and became its general manager.   The mill processed grain from a large surrounding region and shipped its products to markets as far away as Chicago and New York.







Historic ad for Kellogg's corn flakes

Historic ad for Kellogg’s corn flakes

The region was well-suited for growing cereals; later in the 19th century this agricultural fertility attracted the Kellogg brothers, who established their health sanitarium and breakfast cereal company in nearby Battle Creek.  The Loves and their neighboring farmers probably sold wheat and corn to this food-processing company.






The Underground Railroad

The largest monument to the underground railroad in the country is located in Battle Creek. It shows Harriet Tubman, local "conductors," and runaway slaves. Sculptor: Ed Dwight. The Kellogg Company commissioned the monument in 1993.

The largest monument to the Underground Railroad in the country is located in Battle Creek. It celebrates the role of Harriet Tubman.  Like Sojourner Truth, Tubman was an ardent abolitionist, and she is especially remembered for her leadership and bravery in the Underground Railroad.   Sculptor: Ed Dwight. The Kellogg Company commissioned the monument in 1993.

In the early 1840’s, about the time that the Love family arrived, Calhoun County became renowned for its fervent support of the Underground Railroad. In one instance, a fugitive slave family had settled there and a group of Kentuckians arrived to return them to slavery. The residents of the County refused to surrender the family to them, and later raised donations to pay a fine imposed on the citizens by a federal court.   In 1857, Sojourner Truth, famous African-American abolitionist and women’s rights activist, settled in Battle Creek, the county seat of Calhoun County, because of its strong abolitionist efforts.  We have no record of specific involvement of the Love family in the Underground Railroad, but like Lorenzo’s grandparents, Robert and Susanna Love, who attended the church of anti-slavery advocate Rev. Levi Hart,  they were embedded in an Abolitionist milieu, and it would have been a pervasive topic and preoccupation.

Descendants of Austin Love, Lorenzo Love's uncle, in Adrian MI, late 1800s; Photo courtesy of Judy Love

Descendants of Austin Love, Lorenzo Love’s uncle, in Adrian MI, late 1800s; Photo courtesy of Judy Love

Immigration and Family Separation

After several years working at the mill,  Lorenzo bought a farm, and he and Lois became  full-time farmers. In addition, Lorenzo  served the area at various times as postmaster, clerk, and justice of the peace for the Township.  During these years Lorenzo and Lois had two more children, Harriet Lorain, born in 1847, and our ancestor, George, born in 1850.

Lorenzo had one relative in Michigan, his uncle Austin Love.  Austin had been raised in Bridgewater, NY and moved to Michigan in 1835.  He and his large family lived in Adrian, about 60 miles away from the Lorenzo Loves in Burlington, and it is possible that the families were able to visit occasionally.

Historic Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI, showing an 1876 reaper recently invented to reduce the physical labor of harvesting. Photo source:

Historic Firestone Farm at Greenfield Village, Dearborn, MI, showing an 1876 reaper recently invented to reduce the physical labor of harvesting. Photo source:

However, Lorenzo was separated from his parents and the family he grew up with in Bridgewater.  His brothers and sisters were scattered throughout Canada, New York, and Wisconsin. At this time, transportation was difficult, and very few farm families could afford either the time or money to travel long distances for family reunions. Family historian Dorothy McKillop quotes from a letter that Lorenzo, in his old age, wrote to his nephew, Charley Love, in Wisconsin,  which expresses the loss he felt at having so little contact with his family.

“As I had not heard of the death of my brother [DeLoss Love] until you informed me, I must say I feel much obliged to you for your kindness toward me. I have never seen DeLoss but once since father [Levi] moved to Wisconsin in 1843. He was then a boy some 16 or 17 years old. I wrote him a letter once but he never answered it. Well, out of a family of 14, only 5 remain.” (McKillop, p. 65)

Lorenzo retired from farming in 1888, after his wife’s death, and lived in the homes of his children until he died in 1901 at age 86.  According to his obituary, written by his sons, “ he was an active, vigorous man and was always strictly honorable in his transactions.”

Lois Love Tombstone, Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, MI. Photo Susan Whitelaw 1995.

Lois Love Tombstone, Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, MI. Photo Susan Love Whitelaw 1995.

Lois Lorain Hale, Lorenzo’s wife, was descended from New Englanders. Her parents moved from Vermont to Yates County as part of the large migration of New Englanders to western New York after the Revolutionary War, and moved to Michigan in parallel with Lorenzo and Lois in the 1840s.   Lois died on the home farm in Burlington in 1886, at the age of 71.

She and Lorenzo lived to see the family begin to move away from rural life into occupations more closely associated with towns and cities.  One of their children,  Lorenzo Homer, known as L.H. Love, became locally prominent as the publisher of a small-town newspaper, the Athens Times, and George, our direct ancestor, also explored alternatives to traditional rural life (See below.)

Lois and Lorenzo Love are buried at Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, Michigan.  The Calhoun County Genealogical Society has recognized Lorenzo Love as a Calhoun County Pioneer (one who settled in the County before 1861)  and has officially verified our family’s descent from him and Lois, his wife.


George Winslow (1850-1918) and Hannah Maria Lewis (1854-1946) Love: From Newton Township, Michigan to Livingston, California.


Love Family, 1886, Michigan. Left to right: Ralph, Lewis, George, Charles, Hanna, Olin, Ruth.

George and Hannah Love Family, 1886, Michigan. Left to right: Ralph, Lewis, George, Charles, Hannah, Olin, Ruth.

George Love was born in Ceresco, Newton Township, Michigan, where his father operated a flour mill. He was the youngest of four children. Soon after his birth, his father left the mill and bought a farm in the area, where  George grew up and attended local schools. In 1874, at age 24, he married Hannah Lewis, who lived on a nearby farm, and whom he had probably known since childhood.   The couple settled down on farms in Calhoun County and had four sons and a daughter between the years 1876 and 1886:  Charles George, b. 1876; Ralph Emerson, b. 1877; Ruth Carrie, b. 1880; Lewis D., b. 1883; and Olin Wayne, b. 1886.

Starting in the 1890s, the Love family and their children made a series of moves that took them from farms to towns, from Michigan to the west coast, and from farming to leadership in farming cooperatives, and to business and professional careers.

Benton Harbor, Michigan

Eden Springs amusement park miniature railroad, early 20th century, Benton Harbor, MI

Eden Springs amusement park miniature railroad, early 20th century, Benton Harbor, MI

By 1894, the family had moved to Benton Harbor, a town on the shore of Lake Michigan, about 85 miles west of Newton Township. Benton Harbor was a rapidly growing town in the 1890s. The construction of a canal had drained its swamps and also provided a port on the Lake, so that agricultural products could be shipped out to Chicago and other markets.  Sawmills, fruit canning companies,  manufacturers, and a tourist industry all grew quickly in this late nineteenth century boom town.  The 1900 Federal Census lists George Love’s  occupation in Benton Harbor as “carpenter,” and  it seems likely that he worked on construction projects in this growing municipality.  Judging from his later activities on the west coast, he may also have been interested in land speculation.

Hanna Love, 1901, age 47, a few years before she left Michigan and moved to Oregon

Hannah Love, 1901, age 47, a few years before she left Michigan and moved to Oregon,  Source:  Fran Bryanton photo archive


Real Estate in Woodburn, Oregon

In 1905, George and Hannah, in their early 50’s, and two of their now-adult children (Ralph and Lewis),  moved 2,300 miles west to Oregon. They left  behind Hannah’s mother, Rachel Freer Lewis, and their oldest child, Charles, and his family.  Two of their children remained in the midwest and came to Oregon later.  Ruth was a nurse in Chicago; she married Millard Seitz, a lawyer, in 1907, and they moved to Oregon in 1908.  Olin was still a teenager when his parents left; he was working in Indiana but joined the family in Oregon a few years later.





Love Real Estate Brochure, about 1911, Woodburn, Oregon

Love Real Estate Brochure, about 1911, Woodburn, Oregon

The Love family settled in Woodburn, Oregon, in the heart of the fertile Willamette Valley, a town of about 2,500 people. George and Hannah bought a 50 acre farm, but farming does not seem to have been their primary occupation.  George and his  sons opened a real estate office, hoping to speculate successfully in the growing demand for the rich farm land in the area.

Both farming and real estate were short-lived ventures, however, and in 1912 George and Hannah moved to Livingston, California, another area of potentially highly productive farm land.  George was probably interested in continuing to speculate in real estate, and apparently found the prospects desirable, as the children, Lewis, Ralph, Olin and their families, also left Oregon over the next several years and joined their parents there.  Ruth did not move to Livingston.  Her husband died of drowning on the Oregon Coast in 1912.  She and her young son, William Love Seitz,  returned to Chicago where she studied music at the Chicago College of Music.  She then established a career as a piano teacher in Anaheim, California.


The California Agricultural Revolution

Family Picnic, July 4, 1914, Livingston, California. Far left, Ralph Love; center, Hanna and George Love; others are Ralph's wife, Edna McCoy and her relatives.

Family Picnic, July 4, 1914, Livingston, California, two years after the Loves arrived there.   Far left, Ralph Love; center, Hannah and George Love; others are Ralph’s wife, Edna McCoy and her relatives.  Source:  Frances Morton photo archive.

The town of Livingston was named after the famous explorer of Africa, Dr. Livingstone (the final “e” was inadvertently omitted from the application for a post office, so the town name officially became Livingston). Land speculators advertised the area nationally, drawing settlers from as far away as the mid-west.  However, as in Oregon, the Love family did not prosper in real estate there, and instead they turned to wheat ranching.

Grain thrasher, Lewis Love ranch, Livingston, California, about 1920

Grain thrasher, Lewis Love ranch, Livingston, California, about 1920. Source:  Stan Elems photo archive.

When the Love family arrived, central California was in the midst of an agricultural revolution, and the Loves discovered that wheat farming there was very different from that practiced on their Michigan farm. In California, the farms were called ranches, because the wheat fields were large, flat, nearly empty expanses of land.  Scientists developed new strains of wheat compatible with dry farming, so wheat could survive in arid areas.  Unlike the small family farms characteristic of Michigan, California ranches replaced intensive human labor with giant farm machinery and large teams of horses, both of which were well adapted to the flat, empty terrain. A single rancher, with the help of hired “hands”, could grow much larger crops than was possible in the mid west.  To get a sense of the change in scale, compare the huge harvesting machine shown here with the reaper used by Michigan farmers pictured in the previous section on Lorenzo Love.


Farmers utilize a team of 14 draft animals to harvest wheat. Source: OSU photo archives.

Farmers utilize a team of 14 draft animals to harvest wheat. Source: OSU photo archives.

The Loves embraced this new method of wheat-growing with enthusiasm. Lewis formed a partnership with a local banker, who provided the capital for them to jointly purchase 1,000 acres, one of the largest ranches in the area.  Lewis was in charge of the actual farming.  George and Ralph also had ranches.   Son Olin joined the family in 1918 and also bought a ranch.   My mother, who lived on her father’s ranch for a few years as a child, remembered that her Uncle Ralph, who had lost an arm while working at a saw mill in Oregon, was renowned for managing teams of twelve horses with his one arm.  Twelve-horse teams would have been unheard of, and not useful, in Michigan.

“Death to All Rabbits” (Livingston Chronicle, March 9, 1917)

Lewis Love, seated on horse on left, leading a jack rabbit drive, about 1918. Photo from the Livingston Chronicle, Oct. 12, 1933.

Lewis Love, seated on horse on left, leading a jack rabbit drive, March, 1917.  Photo from the Livingston Chronicle, Oct. 12, 1933.

Lewis Love was a popular local figure. Over the years he was elected to be the first director of the Merced Irrigation District, the president of the Livingston farm center, an officer in the Livingston chamber of commerce, and justice of the peace. He was most remembered, however, for being the organizer and leader of a series of massive jack rabbit sweeps.  Jack rabbits were so numerous that they seriously threatened the crops. In one sweep, Love organized a thousand men, including contingents from the Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese communities, for a drive covering ten square miles, with an estimated kill of 6,000 rabbits.  (Note:  Many thanks to Stan Elems, grandson of Lewis Love, for locating and scanning all newspaper articles in the Livingston Chronicle on the Love family, and for much other help in doing research on the Love family in California.)

George Winslow Love, about 1915, Livingston, California

George Winslow Love, about 1915, Livingston, California.  Source:  Roger Schartzer photo archive.

George Love died at age 68, in 1918, unfortunately by suicide, after learning from his doctor that his heart was failing. He became despondent, and hanged himself from a rafter in the barn.   Although his method of dying was not made public at the time, I have chosen to do so here  because currently we understand suicide to be a symptom of depression, which, like many other mental and physical disorders, can have a physiological base. It is useful for those in the Love line to know if they might have a genetic susceptibility to depression.




George and Hanna Love, soon after arriving in California, 1914.

George and Hannah Love, soon after arriving in California, 1914.

Hannah Lewis Love survived her husband by many years. She lived to see the end of World War II.   During her widowhood, Hannah divided her time between Livingston and Los Angeles, at the home of her daughter, Ruth.  She returned to Michigan once that we know of, in 1918, to visit her mother, then in her 90s, and her son Charles and his nine children. Hannah died in 1946 at the age of 92 and is buried next to her husband in Turlock Cemetery, near Livingston.

Hannah’s ancestry includes very early immigrants to America. Her mother was Rachel Freer.  Rachel was born in New Paltz, NY, the home base of the extensive Freer family, who were Huguenots fleeing persecution in France.  Through her father, Adna Lewis, Hannah was a descendant of Thomas Lewis, an early settler to Dutch New York, and by his marriage, to several of the early Dutch families there.   Click here.   Through her paternal grandmother, Hulda Nye Lewis, Hannah was also related to the Nyes and other Puritan settlers of the Cape Cod town of Saugus in the 1600s. Click here.

Hanna Love's loveseat, which she brought from Michigan to California, now in the Historical Museum, Livingston, California

Hannah Love’s loveseat, which she brought from Michigan to California, now in the Historical Museum, Livingston, CA.  Photo Susan Whitelaw, 2009.

Ruth Love Seitz, California, 1930s

Ruth Love Seitz, nurse, California, 1930s.  Source:  Fran Bryanton photo archive.

George and Hannah’s children continued the trend that began a generation earlier of transitioning from farming to urban occupations.  Charles was a musician and piano tuner in Michigan his entire adult life.   His expertise was recognized by opera singer Helen Traubel, who always insisted that he tune the pianos that would accompany her performances in the area.  Lewis left ranching after several years to become a justice of the peace in Livingston.  Ruth had obtained professional education in two fields:  music education and nursing, and, as a single mother, was able to support herself and her son in these professions.  Olin tried a number of occupations and was a farmer only briefly (see below).


Charles Love, piano tuner, Michigan, perhaps about 1935

Charles Love, tuning a piano at the Grinnell Brothers Music Store, Lansing, MI., probably the 1920s.  Source: Courtesy Lori Love Smith.

Lewis Love, Justice of the Peace, courtroom, Livingston, CA, 1933

Lewis Love, Justice of the Peace, in his courtroom, Livingston, CA, 1933.  Source:  Stan Elems photo archive.


Olin (1886-1930) and Mabel Goulet (1889-1963) Love: From Newton Township, Michigan to Portland, Oregon

Olin Love, Oregon, 1925

Olin Love, Oregon, 1925

Olin Love was born in 1886 in Burlington, Michigan. According to his daughter, Alvis, he was originally named Leland Stanford Love, after the railroad industrialist, but the name was changed to Olin Wayne when he was five or six, for reasons that are now obscure. “Wayne” may be a reference to “Mad Anthony Wayne,” a military leader of the Revolutionary War, who later helped win Michigan and the Northwest Territory from Indian and British influence.

Olin was the youngest of five children born to George and Hannah Love, and spent his earliest years on their farm in Burlington, Michigan. During his childhood the family moved to Benton Harbor, on the coast of Lake Michigan. This was the first of many moves that were to characterize his peripatetic life. A 1912 book of biographical sketches of self-made men in Oregon details Olin’s restless energy. At the time the book was written, Olin was 26 years old.  He and others like him took advantage of the opportunities open to ambitious young men attempting to leave the farms homesteaded by their ancestors and move into the modern world.

Early 20th century cigar sign, Spokane, Washington. Photo by Larry Mann. Source:

Early 20th century cigar sign, Spokane, Washington. Photo by Larry Mann. Source:

“[In Benton Harbor, Michigan] he pursued his education in the common schools until he had attained the age of thirteen years. He then laid aside his textbooks and apprenticed himself to the cigar maker’s trade, which he followed in twenty-six different states. He subsequently located in Elkhart, Indiana, engaging in business there until 1908. In February of that year he disposed of his establishment and joined his father, who had previously purchased a ranch of fifty acres near Woodburn [Oregon]. Soon thereafter he went to Spokane, Washington, where he followed the cigar business for a year, but at the end of that time he returned to Woodburn and together with his brother Louis D. opened a real-estate office. Although they have been engaged in this business for only a brief period, they have become very well established and have every reason to feel most sanguine regarding its future success.” (Joseph Gaston, 1912)

Olin, Alvis, and Mabel Love, Woodburn, Oregon, 1912

Olin, Alvis, and Mabel Love, Woodburn, Oregon, 1912

Olin Love married Mabel Goulet of Woodburn in October, 1910; their daughter Alvis (my mother) was born a year later. The family moved to San Diego in 1917, but then moved to a ranch in Livingston, California, in the San Joaquin Valley, joining Olin’s parents and siblings.  During this time, Olin became interested in organizing farmers and was involved with California’s Farm Bureau.





Traveling Salesman

A postcard Olin, traveling salesman, sent from Washington to Mabel and Alvis, 1923.

A postcard Olin, traveling salesman, sent from Washington to Mabel and Alvis, 1923.

In 1921, Mabel’s poor health caused the family to move back to Woodburn, where they could be near Mabel’s parents. Olin took a position as a salesman for a firm producing food supplements for livestock, the Economy Hog & Cattle Powder Company. This large Iowa company distributed its products nationwide. Olin, as company sales representative in the Northwest, traveled continuously through Oregon and Washington.

Postcard of Carnation Milk Company, 1909

Postcard of Carnation Milk Company, 1909

He was recognized as a top salesman for the Company in 1928 and 1929, and was described in the firm’s newsletter of July, 1930, as “one of the most energetic, as well as capable salesmen ever to represent the Economy Company.” The May, 1930, edition of the newsletter reported that: “Mr. Love had the faculty of being able to approach big men with large business firms. He was the man more responsible than anyone else in getting the business from the Carnation Milk People,” a large dairy farm operation with over 1,000 head of Holstein cows.

Olin (far left) and Mabel (seated under the awning) on their boat with friends, Willamette River, 1929

Olin (far left) and Mabel (seated under the awning) on their boat with friends, Willamette River, 1929

The family moved to Portland in 1925, so Alvis could attend a Portland high school. Olin was determined that she would have a good education and attend college, a somewhat unusual ambition to have for a daughter at that time.   During these Portland years, Olin became owner of a boat with which he entertained his family and his clients for the Economy Company on fishing trips along the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. A fellow salesman wrote in the company newsletter (May, 1930) that he “had the pleasure of riding with Mr. Love in his house-boat on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers of Oregon. Mr. Love was a splendid entertainer and host. . . . [He] loved to fish, hunt; he enjoyed out-door life and was especially fond of being on the water.”

Olin Love and his car, about 1918.

Olin Love and the Courtland, about 1918.

Olin Love died unexpectedly and prematurely of complications from surgery on duodenal ulcers in 1930 when he was in his early 40’s. Unfortunately, he died just as he was becoming financially successful, and had not had time to provide for his wife and
daughter. This was before the days of Social Security, so his death caused both his wife and daughter to struggle financially. His daughter, Alvis, remembered him as a kind and devoted father, but one who was a rolling stone, always eager to try a new job or see a new part of the country. During his lifetime, he lived in numerous states and tried many different occupations. The ones he seemed to like the best involved constant travel.

Alvis Love Whitelaw, 1971, Portland, OR

Alvis Love Whitelaw,  Associate Director of Metropolitan Family Services, 1971, Portland, OR

Mabel Love outlived her husband for many years, supporting herself as an apartment house manager.  I have written about her here.    Her mother, Florence Beach, was the daughter of Amos Beach, Civil War Veteran (click here).   Her father was W.H. Goulet, son of French Canadian pioneers S.A. and Marcellisse Goulet (click here).  Olin and Mabel’s daughter, Alvis Love Whitelaw, (my mother) continued the family trend of moving from farming to an urban way of life.  She obtained a college degree in 1933 and had a career in social service.  I have written about her here. 




Endings and Beginnings

Roger Schartzer, swearing-in ceremony to Coast Guard (grandson of Charles Love) center, with parents Ruth and Vernal Schartzer on right and Coast Guard staff on the left, 1979, Phoenix, AZ. Photo archive of Fran Bryanton. Courtesy Roger Schartzer.

Roger Schartzer (grandson of Charles Love) center, with parents Ruth and Vernal Schartzer on right, swearing-in ceremony as Chief Warrant Officer of Coast Guard, 1979, Phoenix, AZ. Photo courtesy Roger Schartzer.

The death of Olin Love in 1930 marked the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Adam and Mary Love in America in 1730.  As the generations progressed through these two centuries, some patterns gradually ended. The movement westward came to a stop, as the descendants of George and Hannah Love ran out of land on the shores of the Pacific Ocean; instead, they moved north and south, up and down the coast from Washington and Oregon to California and back again.  The pattern of small scale family farming as the normative occupation for Love families also ended, as it did for the country as a whole.



Fran Bryanton, grand daughter of Charles Love, retired auto worker. Photo taken on her 90th birthday, singing with her nephew, Bill Love, Lakeland, FL, 2008

Fran Bryanton, retired auto worker, and daughter of Charles Lov. Photo taken on her 90th birthday, singing with her nephew, Bill Love, Lakeland, FL, 2008

The sixth and seventh generations ushered in new ways of life, with a growing urban orientation.  The Loves took advantage of windows of opportunity to move out of agriculture to pursue occupations and careers, for example, by working for agricultural industries or taking leadership in farm organizations.    Their big dreams didn’t always work out, but their willingness to take risks and their sense of adventure helped these families to see and profit from opportunities in towns and cities.



Alvis Love, third from right, Atwater School, Livingston, CA, about1918

Hazel Love (Lewis Love’s daughter), fourth from right, and Alvis Love, (Olin Love’s daughter), third from right,  Jordan-Atwater School, Livingston, CA, about 1918.

The lives of the  great-grandchildren of George and Hannah Love reveal another emerging trend, the increasing importance of education.  Among their descendants are Ph.D’s, college professors, and physicians.  This trend occurred for women in the family as well as men, as the girls in these families were likely to receive as much or more education than the boys.



Nancy Whitelaw, Ph.D. and Vice President, National Council on Aging, Olin Love's granddaughter; with Evie Elems, and Stan Elems, M.S., biology professor, and grandson of Lewis Love. Photo by Susan Love Whitelaw, Livingston CA Historical Society, 2009

Nancy Whitelaw, Ph.D. and Vice President, National Council on Aging, Olin Love’s granddaughter; with Evie and Stan Elems, M.S., biology professor, and grandson of Lewis Love. Photo by Susan Love Whitelaw, Livingston CA Historical Society, 2009

The photos that appear throughout this post of George and Hannah Love’s descendants  are intended to suggest the wide range of occupations they found as they adapted to life in urban, industrial America.  The children and grandchildren of George and Hannah Love forged pathways for themselves in many fields, including music, the ministry, public administration, social service, sales, health care, manufacturing, the military, and small businesses.




References for Lorenzo and Lois Love

Underground Railroad Monument, at;  Ceresco, at;  Rosenstreter, Roger L. (1980) “Calhoun County”  Michigan History, Vo. 64, no. 3, p. 7-10;  Calhoun County Genealogical Society, Pioneer Certificate for ancestor Lorenzo Love, Marshall, MI; U.S. Federal Census 1840, Orleans County NY; U.S. Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, Calhoun County, MI; History of Calhoun County Michigan (1877), Philadelphia:  L.H. Everts & Co., p. 174;  Newton Township, (1873) Atlas of Calhoun Co. Michigan, New York:  F.W. Beers, p. 57; Love, L.H. & G.W. (1901)  Death of Lorenzo Love, The Athens Times, Athens, Calhoun Co. Michigan, August 3, p. 1. ; Lorenzo Love and Lois Love Gravestones, Burlington Cemetery, Burlington, MI; Berrien, Michigan death certificate (1901), Lorenzo Love; McKillop, Dorothy & Love, Mary Anne, eds. (1991)  Love Family HIstory, MS and DVD/CD Rom reprint, Seattle, WA, p.. 76.; Waldo LIncoln (1902)  Genealogy of the Waldo Family, Worcester, MA:  Press of Charles Hamilton, p. 490.  Sources for Hale family, all on  Vermont Vital Records, Benjamin Hale, born 4 Marcy, 1787; Findagrave Benjamin Hale,  died Jan. 1866, Mountain Home Cemetery, Kalamazoo, MI; 1830 U.S. Census, Royalton, Niagara, NY,Benjamin Hale; 1840 U.S. Census, Yates, Orleans, NY, Benjamin Hale; 1850 U.S. Census Index, Portage, Kalamazoo County, MI, Benjamin Hale; 1860 U.S. Census, Oshtemo, Kalamazoo County, MI, William Hale (mistake for Benjamin Hale?).

References for George and Hannah Love

1860, 1880 U.S. Census, Newton, Calhoun, Michigan; 1900 U.S. Census, Benton Harbor, Michigan; 1910 U.S. Census, Woodburn, Oregon;  Death of Lorenzo Love, The Athens Times, Athens, Calhoun Co., Michigan, August 3, p. 1; City of Benton Harbor – History, available online at; Gaston, Joseph (1912).  Olin Wayne Love.  Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, Volume III; Biographical Sketches, Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1912, pp. 546-547; Olmstead, Alan L. and Rhode, Paul W.  The Evolution of California Agriculture, In California Agriculture:  Dimensions and Issues, p. 1-28, Giannini Foundation, 2011, available online at;  G.W. Love Dies at his Turlock Home, Aged 64.  Livingston, CA, Livingston Chronicle, Feb. 22, 1918; Death Certificate, George Winslow Love, 1918, Stanislaus County, CA; Marriage Record, certified:  Love-Lewis,  State of Michigan, County of Calhoun, December 1, 1874;  Whitelaw, Alvis,  Oral History, Recorded by Susan Whitelaw, Oregon and Michigan, from 1990-1996; Stanislaus County, CA, Death Certificate for George Love (1918); Los Angeles County, CA, Death Certificate, Hanna M. Love (1946); Death Comes Peacefully to Judge L.D. Love, True Friend, Community Leader, The Livingston Chronicle, October 12, 1933, p. 1; Calhoun County, MI Death Certificate, Rachel (Freer) Lewis, 1920.

References for Olin and Mabel Love

Gaston, Joseph (1912). Olin Wayne Love. Centennial History of Oregon, 1811-1912, Volume III: Biographical Sketches. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1912. pp. 546-547; Love Buys Home Ranch (October 24, 1919), The Livingston Chronicle, Livingston, California; O.W. Love. (May, 1930) The Livestock Reflector, a publication of the Economy Hog & Cattle Powder Co., Shenandoah, Iowa. Vol. II, No. 1. p. 16 and p. 31; O.W. Love Succumbs (March 20, 1930). The Woodburn Independent, Woodburn, Oregon, p. 1.; State of Oregon, Center for Health Statistics. Certificate of Death, Orin W. Love. (Note typo on certificate: Orin instead of Olin). March 14, 1930, Portland, Multnomah, Oregon.; State of Oregon, Center for Health Statistics.   Certificate of Marriage, Olin Wayne Love and Mabel Clara Goulet, Oct. 26, 1910, Woodburn, Marion, Oregon;  U.S. Federal Census. (1900). Ollin W. Love. Benton Harbor, Berrien County, Michigan; Whitelaw, Alvis. Oral History. Recorded by her daughter, Susan Whitelaw, from 1990 to 1996, in Oregon and Michigan.

THE LOVE FAMILY SAGA: FROM ATLANTIC TO PACIFIC IN SEVEN GENERATIONS, PART I: Adam and Mary Love, Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love, Robert and Susanna Love, and Levi and Eunice Love

Andrew Greeley Go West Young ManThe entrepreneurial spirit and the quest for greener pastures, passed down through the generations of our Love family line, resulted in a two hundred year, seven-generation migration from Northern Ireland, across the Atlantic to the eastern seaboard of the American Colonies, through Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and finally the West Coast states of Oregon and California.   The Love family exemplifies a common American migration pattern, with each succeeding generation migrating further west.

Our Love family line is male, going from father to son as follows: Adam Love, Sgt. Robert Love, Robert Love Jr., Levi Love, Lorenzo Love, George Winslow Love, and Olin Wayne Love, my grandfather.   Olin had one child, my mother, Alvis Ruth Love Whitelaw.

Westward Expansion of the United States

Westward Expansion of the United States

The records we have on these men reveal another pattern passed down through the generations: as a group, the Love men appear to have been personable, capable, risk-taking, and adventurous. They were also dreamers whose big plans didn’t always work out, and the records are punctuated with bankruptcies and broken dreams.

The marriages of the generations of Love men formed a third pattern. As it happens, they tended to marry women whose families had been in North America for a very long time, often back to the earliest European settlers on North American shores. I have written about some of these early families in previous blog posts, and will give links to these earlier posts as each wife appears in the generational narrative. In this way, the reader can make connections among the various early branches of the Love family and form a coherent picture of the extended Love family tree.

As the families moved through history, they interacted with events of their time.  This narrative will interweave these economic, political, and social events with the individual life courses of our Love ancestors, from colonial days to the twentieth century.

Historical Background

The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States

The migration of New Englanders to Western New York and the Great Lakes States after the Revolutionary War.

In this two-century, multi-generation migration, the Love family was part of the larger migration patterns in the U.S. Many descendants of families who came to New England in colonial times moved westward, following the retreating frontier. The end of the Revolutionary War opened up territory in Western New York, and the War of 1812 expanded the American frontier to the Great Lakes states. The Erie Canal, built in 1825, made travel accessible for large numbers of families with their livestock and household supplies, as they moved from the depleted farms of New England and  eastern New York to virgin lands around the  Great Lakes.


Automobile Routes 1907

Automobile Routes 1907

The California Gold Rush and opening of lands in the Willamette Valley in Oregon encouraged the children and grandchildren of those earlier pioneers to continue the generational movement westward in wagon trains on the Oregon Trail.   After the Civil War, railroads built across the west provided a fast and safe mode of transport from the east clear to the Pacific shore, and shortly after the railroads were built, the age of the automobile made travel even easier.


The work of homesteading required large families, but when the children were grown, they needed to establish farms of their own. Source: North-wind picture-archives. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration.

The work of homesteading required large families, but when the children were grown, they needed to establish farms of their own. Source: North-wind picture-archives. Hand-colored woodcut of a 19th-century illustration.

The spirit of adventure and the promise of economic security through homesteading large tracts of wilderness were undoubtedly motivations for these migrations. By the early nineteenth century, some lands in New England had been cultivated for almost two hundred years and had lost productivity.   Families were large, and the farms were often divided among the children as they came of age, so the farms became smaller over the generations. While some siblings would stay on the home farm, others would move to new lands and opportunities further west. In this way adult children became geographically separated from their parents and from one another. The permanent separation of families and social isolation of individuals  are other recurring themes in our family saga.

Sources:  Two family histories provide much of the material for the narratives here.  William Deloss Love, Jr. (1851-1918) wrote Love Family History (1918) based on notes of his father and his own research.  He was the great-grandson of Robert and Susanna Love; his grandfather was William Love, a brother of our direct ancestor, Levi Love.    William Deloss Love, Jr.’s  work is the main source of information for Adam and Mary Love, Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love, and Robert and Susanna Love.  Dorothy Love McKillop (1943- ),  and Mary Anne Blaisdell Love  (1948-) descendants of Levi and Eunice Love, wrote another Love Family History in 1991, bringing the narrative forward.  Their book is the main source  of information for Levi and Eunice Love.   These and other sources are listed in the Footnote section at the end of this essay.


Adam (1697-1765) and Mary (1702-1776) Love: From Northern Ireland to Rhode Island

Sea Routes on the Atlantic Ocean. The Times Atlas, new edition, 1900, pub. London.

Sea Routes on the Atlantic Ocean. The Times Atlas, new edition, 1900, pub. London.

Adam and Mary Love and their young daughter emigrated from Northern Ireland to Rhode Island in about 1730. According to a family story, Mary gave birth to their second child, our ancestor Robert, on ship. The Loves traveled with Adam’s brother Gabriel, part of a larger movement of farmers leaving the economic hardship in Antrim County, Northern Ireland, for the promise of economic opportunity in the new world.






Jury duty in colonial Rhode Island often meant convening a temporary court at the site of the crime, so the jurors could examine the evidence.

Jury duty in colonial Rhode Island often meant convening a temporary court at the site of the crime, so the jurors could examine the evidence.  See the outdoor court in center of picture.

Adam and Mary homesteaded in a wilderness area about ten miles west of the town of Warwick, Rhode Island. A consortium of settlers had purchased this land from the Narragansett Tribe of Indians in 1642.   Over the years, the Loves helped to create the town of Coventry. Public records show that they bought and sold various farms and paid taxes that were above the average for the area. Adam was elected as a jury man several times, and also served as town constable.  In colonial America, in resistance to British oppression, juries fulfilled an important political function of protecting individual liberties.

rhode island map.netHowever, the records also show that Adam was sued or otherwise involved in legal problems.   Adam was forced to declare bankruptcy at one point. According to family historian W. D. Love, the bankruptcy resulted from his effort to secure farms for his adult children: “The gifts he had made to his sons, were, however, more generous than he could afford” (p.26).   Adam was in his early 60s at the time; he spent his remaining few years living with his wife on the property of his son, William. He died at age 68 in 1765. Adam and Mary Love had two daughters and three sons; all but the oldest daughter were still living at the time of Adam’s death.  Mary lived for another 11 years, and is buried by her husband in Riverside Cemetery (also known as Oneco Cemetery), Sterling, Connecticut.

For more on Adam and Mary Love, including a discussion of their legal issues, click here.


Sgt. Robert (c. 1730-1809) and Sarah Blanchard (1743-1771) Love: From aboard ship in the Atlantic Ocean to Coventry, Rhode Island

 Robert, the oldest son of Adam and Mary Love, was born about 1730, probably on the ship that brought his parents from Northern Ireland to America. He grew up helping to clear the family homestead farm in the wilderness in Coventry, RI. In 1753, when he came of age, his father gave him a portion of the homestead farm, about 80 acres. As a young adult, he farmed this land and also probably worked as a blacksmith.   Over the next fifteen years, he suffered such serious financial hardships that his farm was in danger of being repossessed for back taxes.  Fortunately, his mother, Mary Love, satisfied the claim by relinquishing one of her silver spoons to the sheriff.

Silver spoon, c. 1780, made in Philadelphia from melted down silver coins

Silver spoon, c. 1780, made in Philadelphia from melted down silver coins

During these years, Robert married three times.  He had a daughter by each of the first two wives; both women died in childbirth, and their daughters were raised in the homes of grandparents.

Robert married for a third time in 1762, to our ancestor, Sarah Blanchard (born 1743 in Rhode Island), whose family’s farm adjoined that of Robert Love. She died in 1771, at age 28, leaving three children, including our ancestor Robert Love, Jr. She was “a woman of excellent family and character, and her death was a serious loss to the family circle” (W.D. Love, p. 71). Her parents were Anne Whaley and Moses Blanchard, whose families were early settlers in Rhode Island. Sarah Blanchard’s great grandfather was Theophilus Whaley, a mysterious historical figure; I have written about him here.

Soldiers at the siege of Yorktown, 1781, by Jean Baptiste Antoine DeVerger. The Black soldier wears the uniform of a Rhode Island regiment.

Soldiers at the siege of Yorktown, 1781, by Jean Baptiste Antoine DeVerger. The Black soldier on the left wears the uniform of a Rhode Island regiment.

In 1773 , his oldest daughter, Olive, by his first wife,  moved from the home of her grandmother, Mary Love, to that of her father. She was  16 years old and assumed the duties of managing the household and her three younger half-siblings, probably with the help of her grandmother, Mary Love. Sgt. Robert Love left her in charge of the household and enlisted in a Rhode Island regiment in 1777, to serve in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.  He remained in service for three years and three months, as verified by the database of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).


Colonial blacksmiths forging arms during the Revolutionary War

Colonial blacksmiths forging arms during the Revolutionary War

Over the years before and after the War, Sgt. Robert Love sold off the property he had inherited, much of it to his brother, William.   During his later years he lived on property that his children by Sarah Blanchard had inherited from their maternal grandfather, Moses Blanchard. According to W.D. Love, he built a blacksmith shop on this land.  He married for a fourth time in 1791; there were no children from this marriage.  Robert Love died in Coventry in 1809. In assessing his character, W. D. Love wrote:

“Sergeant Robert Love seems . . . to have been a man of unusual energy. He was industrious, resourceful and patriotic, tenacious, doubtless, of his rights and very likely careless in the management of his affairs – a man whose life passed amid a variety of experiences and was repeatedly broken up by affliction, but a man who had that courage and perseverance which have characterized so many of his descendants.” (W.D. Love, p. 70)

Robert had three daughters and two sons; all were living at the time of his death except his oldest son, Alexander, who died a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  According to W. D. Love, he is probably buried in the Riverside Cemetery (also known as Oneco Cemetery) near his parents and other kindred, but his gravestone has not been found.


Robert (1767-1836) and Susanna Austin (1766-1842) Love: From Coventry, RI to Bridgewater, NY

This picture shows General Washington in Rhode Island in 1780. However, according to W.D. Love, Washington passed the Love homestead in either 1776 or 1781 (p. 36).

This picture shows General Washington meeting the French General Rochambeau  in Rhode Island and traveling to Yorktown  for the definitive battle of the Revolution.  This could have been the cavalcade that young Robert Love observed from the family farm.

Robert was born in 1767 in Coventry, RI, and grew up on his father’s farm. His childhood was disrupted by the death of his mother, Sarah Blanchard, when he was four, leaving him and his two older siblings in the care of his father and later of his older half-sister, Olive Love.  When Robert was ten, his father and older brother, Alexander, left home to fight in the Revolutionary War for three years, and his brother never returned, having  died in service.  The War was a pervasive presence close to home; a family story states that Robert watched General Washington and a contingent of soldiers pass by the family farm during military maneuvers. After the War, when Robert was sixteen, the family was permanently broken up when Olive got married and left home, and Robert’s father, Sgt. Robert Love, sold the family property to his brother, William.

Young Robert, now out on his own, worked as a laborer for several years, and then made his way about thirty miles west to Preston, Connecticut, where he continued to work for others. There is no record that he owned land in Preston, but he did have an interest in land back in Coventry, RI. This was the farm that his grandfather, Moses Blanchard, had left to his children. Sarah, Robert’s deceased mother, had inherited a one/sixth share of her father’s estate, and this share was divided among Sarah’s two surviving children. This was too small a parcel to support Robert and his family, and in 1785 he sold it to his father, and left Rhode Island for good.

Susanna Austin Love and the Congregational Church in Preston, Connecticut

John Gano, Baptist minister, baptizing George Washington at Valley Forge. The authenticity of this alleged event is much disputed.

John Gano, Baptist minister, baptizing George Washington at Valley Forge. The authenticity of this alleged event is much disputed.  It is certain that George Washington was baptized  as an infant in the Episcopal Church..

In 1788, at age 21, Robert married Susanna Austin in the Congregational Church in Preston.  The pastor was the Rev. Levi Hart, a prominent and influential preacher in Connecticut.

The family’s involvement with this church began a generation earlier,  in 1762,  when Susanna’s parents, Benjamin and Sarah Burdick Austin, came to Preston from Rhode Island.  Sarah was descended from founders and leaders of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Rhode Island, dating back to the 1600s (click here).  A key tenet of the Baptist Church was adult, not infant baptism.  Therefore, it was very significant when, in 1768, Sarah broke with this tradition,  formally joined with Rev. Hart’s  Congregational Church , and had all six of her children baptized.

One of those children was our ancestor, Susanna.  Susanna, in her turn,  formally joined the Church after her marriage to Robert and later had her children baptized there, including our ancestor Levi.    In those days, joining the Congregational Church was a major commitment, and not undertaken lightly.  Robert did not join, but, like many others, was part of the larger church family.

Design of the medallion created as part of anti-slavery campaign by Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, 1780.

Design of the medallion created as part of  the anti-slavery campaign by Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, 1780.

The Loves’ involvement in Rev. Hart’s church put them in the center of one of America’s great social reforms, the Abolitionist  Movement.  Historian Peter Hinks called Rev. Levi Hart  one of the “most important critics of slavery to emerge in Connecticut during the years of the American Revolution.”  In 1775  he preached a sermon that pointed out the hypocrisy of fighting for freedom from Britain while maintaining slavery:

“Could it be thought then that such a palpable violation of the law of nature, and of the fundamental principles of society, would be practiced by individuals and connived at, and tolerated by the public in British America! . . . .

What have the unhappy Africans committed against the inhabitants of the British colonies and islands in the West Indies, to authorize us to seize them, or bribe them to seize one another, and transport them a thousand leagues into a strange land, and enslave them for life?” ( Liberty Described and Recommended, 1775.)

AntiSlaverySermonEdwards2After the war, he helped form the Connecticut Society for the Promotion of Freedom and the Relief of Persons Unlawfully Holden in Bondage, organized in 1790.  In addition to lobbying the legislature to abolish slavery in Connecticut, the Society assisted African-Americans, both slave and free, from the terrible threat of kidnapping and being transported to slave-holding states.

Robert and Susanna Love were actively involved in the Church during the years of Rev. Hart’s public leadership to abolish slavery and no doubt heard many sermons on subject.  Their devotion to Hart is shown by the naming of their first son after him, our ancestor, Levi Love.  We don’t know their personal views on slavery, but the record clearly shows that as participants in this church, they were embedded in the social and moral environment of the New England abolitionists.

Migration to Bridgewater, New York

Oneida County, New York

Oneida County, New York

In the spring of 1794, when Robert was 26 years old, he and Susanna and their three young children left Preston to follow a migration trail to Oneida County, New York, a distance of about 220 miles.   This land became available for settlement after the Revolutionary War, as a result of U.S. conquest and treaties with the Iroquois Confederacy of Native American tribes, who moved to reservations or to areas further west.


How life might have looked in Bridgewater at the time of settlement

Early stage of settlement in the wilderness, showing how life might have looked in Bridgewater in the 1790s.

This new “promised land,”  included potentially fertile farm land in the wilderness along the Umadilla River.  At the time that the Love family arrived in Bridgewater, it was no more than a clearing in the forest consisting of about two dozen families.  The migration from New England to western New York was largely a phenomenon of young families wanting to build an economic future for their children.  At Bridgewater in 1800, 400 of the 1,000 residents were under the age of 10 and most of the rest were their parents.  Only 77 people were over the age of 45.

Western New York farm

Western New York farm several years after first settlement.  Source:  Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York (1850)

Over the next few years, the Loves incrementally bought land, which comprised a total of 135 acres in 1811. But then the fortunes of the Love family declined quickly. Love invested in locally raised cattle with the expectation that they would be driven to Albany to be sold for export. This was potentially quite profitable, but the looming War of 1812 intervened. An embargo was placed on exporting beef, causing the price to fall steeply. Love lost heavily, and his homestead was sold for debt in August, 1811.

A farm in Western New York Source:

Western New York farm in a later stage of settlement.  Source:  Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York (1850)

According to W. D. Love, Robert “grieved for years over his ill fortune and never fully recovered from its discouragement”. However, he enlisted briefly in the military to defend Sackett’s Harbor during the War of 1812.  After the war, he was slowly able to acquire farmland again, partly by buying properties belonging to his now adult children. He died on his farm in Bridgewater in 1836, at the age of 69.

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812. Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY. Photo by Judylove1157 at

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812. Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY. Photo courtesy of Judy Love.

His wife, Susanna Austin Love, died in 1842. According to W. D. Love, she was a strong influence in the family.   She was consistently mentioned in letters with “respect and affection” and was remembered for her many good deeds. She was particularly interested in the religious education of her children and grandchildren. Susanna was buried beside her husband in Fairview Cemetery in Bridgewater.

The Loves had eleven children, only one of whom (Alice Love Steele) remained in Bridgewater. The rest of the children scattered throughout New York, Michigan, Wisconsin and elsewhere in the Midwest, continuing the Love’s multi generational migration westward.


Levi (1790-1875) and Eunice Waldo (1791-1867) Love: From Preston, Connecticut to Waukesha, Wisconsin

Levi Love was born in Preston, Connecticut in 1790, the second of eleven children. His parents, Robert and Susanna, named him after Rev. Levi Hart, the Abolitionist pastor of the Congregational Church in Preston, which they attended.  Levi immigrated to Bridgewater, New York with his family when he was three years old.  Young Levi grew up helping on the family farm, and attending the local village school and Congregational Church.

Eunice (Dimmock) Waldo Love

Woodcut of a Woman in the Revolutionary War, 1779

Woodcut of a Woman in the Revolutionary War, 1779

One of his childhood companions was Eunice Waldo, whom he married in Bridgewater in 1808 when they were 17 and 18 years old, respectively.  Eunice’s ancestry traces back to the earliest pilgrims. Among her maternal predecessors were the famous Governor of the Plymouth Colony, William Bradford and his wife, Alice Southworth Bradford.  Two other ancestors were involved in the Revolutionary War.  Her grandfather, Jesse  Waldo, fought with a Connecticut regiment of the Continental Army from 1774 to 1777.  Her mother’s mother, Phebe Turner, as a young widow with four daughters to raise on her own, nonetheless lent the State of Connecticut over 117 pounds, a sum that represented more than half the value of her estate, for the war effort.  The debt was still outstanding at the time of her death (Daughters of the American Revolution database).  Through her Waldo line, we are also distantly related to Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Eunice had immigrated to Bridgewater as an infant with her parents, Ephraim and Eunice (Dimmock) Waldo.  Family historian Waldo Lincoln recorded an account of the journey the Waldos, along with two other families, made from their home in Mansfield, Connecticut into the wilderness of western New York in about 1791:

Postage Stamp commemorating the role of the ox cart in American settlement

Postage Stamp commemorating the role of the ox cart in American settlement

“They came by way of Albany, up the valley of the Mohawk to Whitesboro and from thence by the way of Paris Hill to Bridgewater.  From Paris Hill they were obliged to make their road as they progressed, following a line of marked trees.  Their team consisted of two yoke of oxen and a horse and the vehicle of an ox sled.  They arrived on the 4th of March.  The snow at this time was about one and one half feet deep but soon increased to the depth of four feet.  They had two cows which, with the oxen and horse, subsisted, until the snow left, upon browse alone.  Upon their arrival they erected a shanty of the most primitive style.  Four crotched sticks set in the ground, with a roof of split basswood overlaid with hemlock boughs, with siding composed of coverlets and blankets, formed the first dwelling house ever erected in the town of Bridgewater.  The three families continued in this miserable apology for a house until midsummer, when two of them, having more comfortable dwellings provided, removed to them while the other remained for a year.” (Lincoln, pp. 326-328)

Exploring the Great Lakes Region

Levi and Eunice Love settled to a life of farming in Bridgewater.   The War of 1812 disrupted the family; Levi’s father, Robert, went bankrupt and both Robert and Levi joined the army for the defense of Sackett’s Harbor on Lake Erie. Eunice’s father, Ephraim, was killed in the War.

great lakes areaWhen they were nearly forty years old, Levi and Eunice followed the Love family pattern of  each generation moving west; they moved three times in the next fourteen years, starting in 1829.   The Loves were part of a tide of New Englanders who rapidly populated the territories around the Great Lakes, which started to open for settlement after the War of 1812.


Niagara County, New York

Niagara County, New York

Their first move was in 1829, soon after their twelfth child was born.  In that year the family left Bridgewater and moved about 200 miles west, to Hartland, a farm community in Niagara County, New York.  Eunice’s parents had moved there many years earlier, so the Loves were certainly familiar with the region.




A passenger barge on the Erie Canal.

A passenger barge on the Erie Canal.

A great spur to their migration was the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, which went from Albany, NY, on the Hudson River, west to Buffalo, NY, on the shores of Lake Erie. The Loves and their twelve children almost certainly traveled by barge along the canal to their new homestead in Hartland.  Although barge travel was crowded, dirty, and uncomfortable, it was much faster and easier than the journeys the Loves’s parents had made by foot and ox cart a generation earlier from Connecticut to the wilderness of Bridgewater, New York.

Waukesha, Wisconsin

Waukesha, Wisconsin

After seven years in Hartland  and the birth of two more children, for a total of fourteen, the Loves were on the move again.    In 1836, Levi traveled with his brother, Robert, to Waukesha (then called Prairieville), Wisconsin, on the western shore of Lake Michigan.  Earlier in 1836 the Federal Government, having removed the Native American residents who had been living there, created Wisconsin Territory, surveyed the land, and opened it for settlement.  No doubt the Loves, like many other New Englanders, wanted to be among the first to claim homesteads in this potentially very fertile agricultural region.

Robert Love and his family stayed and homesteaded in Wisconsin, but Levi returned to Hartland.  We don’t know what his intentions were for the trip to Wisconsin – whether he was simply going to reconnoiter, or whether he had hoped to homestead there like his brother, and for some reason did not.

Map of Western New York and Ontario, Canada

Map of Western New York and Ontario, Canada

Whatever the reasons for his trip to Wisconsin, it is clear that the Levi Love family was planning to leave Hartland permanently, because they did so soon after Levi returned.  Instead of Wisconsin, they moved moved 170 miles west across the Niagara River into southern Ontario, Canada, not far from the northern shore of Lake Erie.  We would like to know more about the reasons for the decision to move there, but unfortunately I have found no information on this.

The move to Canada also proved to be temporary, and in 1843 the family moved for the third time, to their fourth and final location.  After a brief return to Hartland, the Loves joined Robert, Levi’s brother, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. By this time several of the older children were grown and out on their own, and only eight of their  fourteen children, ranging in age from 8 to 32, accompanied their parents to Wisconsin.

To the eight year old Julius Caesar Love, Levi and Eunice’s youngest son, the journey was an adventure.  Years later he recounted his experiences:

“We started with two sleighs and two teams of horses, with wagons set on the sleighs and the wheels fastened onto the loads. I think I rode about half of the distance on the wheels and that part of the reach that extended beyond the wagon.

Ox cart in snow, Vincent Van Gogh, 1884

Ox cart in snow, Vincent Van Gogh, 1884  The ox cart was indispensable in pre-industrial societies throughout the world.

The wagons were loaded with household goods and provisions . . . . . We stopped three times to cook up a quantity of food and every night we stayed all night at a tavern (NO liquor tavern.) When night came on we would run out in the road to see if we were coming near to a tavern. We were cold and hungry and a sign of a tavern was welcome. They always gave us a room to prepare our own food.

When we were going through Northern Indiana the snow went off and we sold our sleighs and started the remainder of our journey on wagons. But, when we reached Southport [now called Kenosha] we found deep snow. Father hunted around to find sleighs and found a man who wanted to send a sleigh to Milwaukee, and trusted Father to deliver it. Father also bought one sleigh. We arrived in Milwaukee on March 23, 1843, at 8 o’clock, pm. They were having the “River and Harbor Celebration.” Father went to look for his brother, Robert Love, and found him upon the platform, one of the speakers. (Dorothy McKillop, p. 67-68)

Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1857

Waukesha, Wisconsin, 1857, fourteen years after the Love family homesteaded on a farm near the town.

Levi and Eunice bought a 243 acre homestead claim from Levi’s brother, Robert. The land had only a log cabin, 16 by 20 feet. Levi, Eunice, and their eight children all lived there for the first two months, along with another brother of Levi’s, Henry Love, who arrived from Milwaukee with his family of four. Then the family built a large addition, where the family settled permanently.   According to Julius Caesar Love, “For this new home Father turned in one team and wagon in part-payment, and we traded one horse for a yoke of oxen and a cow and bought another yoke of oxen and paid off that by plowing and I was usually one of the drivers and not yet nine years old.   (Dorothy McKillop, p. 68)

Eunice died there in 1867. Levi, now age 77, remarried almost immediately. His second wife, Elizabeth, also predeceased him. Levi died at age 85, in 1875, by drowning when he slipped and fell into a spring where he was dipping his pitcher for water. According to his obituary, “his temperate life had enabled him to escape many of the infirmities of so great an age.” He is buried by his first wife, Eunice, in Prairieville Cemetery.  His obituary refers to him as “Deacon Love;”  the title implies that he had a leadership role in a church, quite likely the Congregational Church founded by his brother, Robert Love.

Part 2 of the Love Family Saga is forthcoming.  It will follow the Love family line from Levi and Eunice’s son, Lorenzo Love,  to George Love, and then to my grandfather, Olin Love. 


Adam and Mary Love:  Jones, Maldwyn A. (1980)  Scotch-Irish.  In Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups, ed. Stephan Thernstrom, Boston, MA:  Harvard University Press, p. 896;  Love, William DeLoss, Jr. (no date, but prior to 1918)  Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished manuscript; A Brief History of Warwick, Rhode Island, available online at, accessed 2016; Dialogue on the American Jury:  We the People in Action, available on line at, accessed 2016.

Sgt. Robert and Sarah Love:   Love, William DeLoss, Jr.  (no date, but prior to 1918)  Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished manuscript, p. 67; DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution), Robert Love Ancestor No. A071843.

Robert and Susanna Love:  Love, William DeLoss, jr.  (no date, but prior to 1918) Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished Manuscript;    U. S. Federal Census, 1790, for New London, Connecticut, Robert Love.; Connecticut Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection),, database on line, Provo, UT, accessed 2006;  Connecticut Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920,, data base on line, Provo, UT, accessed 2013; The United Methodist Church, What’s the difference between infant baptism and believer’s baptism?  Available on line at, accessed 2016; Hinks, Peter P.  Early Anti-Slavery Advocates in 18th Century Connecticut.  Available online,, accessed 2016;Editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Iroquois Confederacy, available on line at, accessed 2016; U.S. Federal Census, 1800, 1810, 1820, 1830 for Bridgewater, Oneida County, New York, Robert Love.

Levi and Eunice Love:  Love, William DeLoss, jr.  (no date, but prior to 1918) Love Family History.  Hartford, CT:  Unpublished Manuscript;  Lincoln, Waldo (1902), Genealogy of the Waldo Family, Charles Hamilton Press:  Worcester, Mass.; Connecticut Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920,, data base on line, Provo, UT, accessed 2013; Daughters of the American Revolution, Jesse Waldo, Ancestor No. A120688, and Phebe Turner, Ancestor No. A036936; Jones, Pomroy, (1851) Annals and Recollections of Oneida County, Rome, NY:  Published by the author, pp. 125-127, as quoted in Lincoln, Waldo (1902);  Turner, O. (1850), Pioneer History of the Holland Purchase of Western New York, Buffalo:  Jewett, Thomas & Co.;  Love, Dorothy, and Anne Blaisdell Love (1991), Love Family History, Seattle:  Unpublished manuscript; U.S. Census, 1830, Hartand, Niagara County, NY; U.S. Census, 1850, 1860, Pewaukee, Waukesha County, WI.; “Death of Deacon Love”, Waukesha Freeman, Nov. 18, 1875, as quoted in Love, Dorothy, p. 70.

SAMUEL GOULET (1816-1906) and MARCELLISSE (DUVAL) GOULET (1822-1911): French-Canadian Pioneers in Michigan and Oregon

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Our French-Canadian ancestors were adventurous travelers. Their journeys across North America were dangerous and difficult. Yet, they were also a quiet, self-effacing people who have left little personal record of their lives, and they have faded into history, largely forgotten. In this they resemble the narrative of French-Canadians generally in this country. French-Canadians were French speaking Catholics, and were among the first Europeans to explore widely the vast wilderness of North America.   Although farming was always a component of French-Canadian life, as “voyageurs” they also traveled the rivers and Native American trails in pursuit of beaver and other animal skins for the lucrative European fur trade. They trapped and also traded extensively with Native Americans, then sold the furs to European companies. As the fur trade declined in the 19th century, French-Canadians gradually settled down to farming and businesses, and before long they had blended in with their American neighbors. Today, French-Canadian heritage societies and the many French place names across the country remind us of the important French-Canadian influence on the early history of this country.


The Duvals and Nadeaus

Our family’s French-Canadian story starts with the 17th century migration of French peasants from the Paris area and other parts of France, to the lands bordering both sides of the St. Lawrence River in what is now Quebec, Canada. Our ancestors the Goulet, Nadeau and Duval families were among these immigrants to the New World.

Map showing the water route of migration from Montreal to Detroit

Map showing the water route of migration from Montreal to Detroit (Google Images)

After several generations of farming and trapping in Quebec,  the Nadeaus and Duvals joined the stream of French-Canadian migrants who traveled down the St. Lawrence River, through Lakes Ontario and Lake Erie, and up the Detroit River to Detroit. The French government had established Fort Detroit in the early 1700s to solidify the French claim to the Great Lakes area and to counteract British encroachment there. They offered free land and farming supplies to French-Canadians willing to come. At the time the Duvals and Nadeaus arrived, in the 1780s, the city was officially part of the United States, but the population of Detroit was still predominantly French (DuLong, 2001).

Riviere aux Raisins

Map of Monroe, MI ribbon farms, including those of Marcellisse's grandparents. The upper black arrow shows Antoine Nadeau's 539 acre farm; the lower black arrow shows Ignace Tuot Duval Sr.'s 346 acre farm. Original map located at the Monroe Historical Society.

Map of Monroe, MI ribbon farms, including those of Marcellisse’s grandparents. The upper black arrow shows Antoine Nadeau’s 539 acre farm; the lower black arrow shows Ignace Tuot Duval Sr.’s 346 acre farm. Original map located at the Monroe Historical Society.

The French Canadian immigrants settled all along the Detroit River, and the Duval and Nadeau families soon moved south from Detroit to the Riviere aux Raisins (named for the wild grapes on its banks), an area then called Frenchtown, now Monroe, Michigan.  Like their fellow immigrants, they established “ribbon farms,” a settlement pattern in which homesteads had a narrow frontage on a river and then, in a long, narrow ribbon, went inland until they ended in an indefinite border in the wilderness. This pattern allowed the settlers to use the river for transportation, fur trapping, and a source of food to supplement the produce from their farms. During these early years of the 19th century, the French were the predominant ethnic group in this area. They trapped, traded, and farmed, maintained good relations with their Native American neighbors and fur trading partners, and tried to stay out of the conflicts among Britain, the United States and Native American confederations over control of the Great Lakes territory. (For more on the War of 1812 in Monroe, Michigan, and the role of French-Canadians living there, click here.)

Marcellisse (Duval) Goulet (1822-1911)

Marcellisse Duval Goulet in younger years. (from Munnick, St. Louis Church Records, vol. II, courtesy Louise Manning Giles)

Marcellisse Duval Goulet in younger years. (from Munnick, St. Louis Church Records, vol. II, courtesy Louise Manning Giles)

Our ancestor Marcellisse Duval was born on such a farm in 1822, to Michael and Agatha (Nadeau) Duval, and was baptized in the Catholic Church. French-Canadians tended to have very large families, and Marcellisse was the third of ten children.   She grew up to marry a new-comer to the French-Canadian settlement in Frenchtown, Samuel Goulet. He and Marcellisse led remarkable lives, but left no personal records. In recounting their stories, I have relied on their Obituaries, written by close relatives,  public records, and the memories of their great grand daughter, who was my mother.  These  sources are listed at the end of this essay.

Samuel Antoine Goulet (1816-1906)

Samuel Goulet was born in Montreal, Canada in 1816 to Pierre and Marie Goulet (Munnick, 1981).   He received a good education there, and then, when he was about 17 years old, he migrated to Monroe, Michigan. He probably traveled the usual route of French-Canadians, down the St. Lawrence River and through Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. At the time he arrived, Monroe was a growing agricultural center. It was a hub for newcomers from the East arriving in Michigan territory via the Erie Canal, and heading to the interior to homestead.   A few years after Samuel arrived, in 1837, Michigan became a State. Samuel, a carpenter by trade, also worked on the newly developing local railroad system. In 1842, at about age 26, he married Marcellisse, then age 20, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, in Monroe.

California Gold Mines

Map of the trails to California during the Gold Rush.

Map of the trails to California during the Gold Rush (Google images).

In 1852, after living in Monroe for 19 years, Samuel and two of his brothers headed west to California, lured by stories of the Gold Rush. Marcellisse remained in Monroe and worked as a school teacher to support the couple’s three children. The Goulet brothers took a cross country route with a contingent of horses they planned to sell to the gold miners. Samuel is listed in the 1852 California Census as a resident of Calaveras County, where gold had been discovered in 1848.

“Land-Looking” in Oregon

He remained there only briefly; by April of 1853 he was in Marion County, Oregon, registering a land claim. It is likely that getting a foothold in the fertile Willamette Valley of Oregon, recently opened for homesteading by the territorial Oregon government, had been the plan all along.  Samuel remained in Marion County, Oregon for two years and was on the tax rolls there. We don’t know why he stayed so long.  One source says he spent his time in the west mining and “land-looking.” Perhaps he needed to build a house or make other improvements in order to validate a successful claim. He may also have been working to save money for the return trip home.


Sailing Around the Horn

The clipper ship Northern Light

The clipper ship Northern Light  on which Samuel Goulet traveled around Cape Horn in 1855 (Google images)

Samuel left the West coast sometime in mid 1855. He made the return journey coming around Cape Horn, at the southern tip of South America, on the clipper ship Northern Light, made famous by sailing from San Francisco to Boston in a record-setting 78 days in 1853. A passenger list shows him as boarding the Northern Light in Punta Arenas, Chile, with the point of origin of his trip being the U.S.A. This suggests that he took a different ship from San Francisco to Chile, then transferred. He arrived in New York on January 14, 1856.  By the time Samuel returned home in early 1856, he had been away for four years.


Map of frequently travelled routes to California gold fields (Google images)

Map of frequently traveled routes to California gold fields (Google images)

In the 19th Century, ships sailing around Cape Horn carried world trade from Australia to Europe, and also passenger and trade goods between the coasts of the United States.   It was a recognized route for those going to the California gold fields.  Though popular, the route was also extremely hazardous, and many ships foundered.


Wagon Train to Oregon

The Oregon Trail (Google Images, Microsoft Maps)

The Oregon Trail (Google Images, Microsoft Maps)

In 1859, Samuel and Marcellisse left their home in Monroe, Michigan for Oregon, which became a State that same year. Samuel organized and led a wagon train consisting of French-Canadians and other Monroe families, Samuel’s two younger brothers who had accompanied him on the first trip west, and “many sturdy young men, from Monroe and vicinity who were anxious to seek their fortunes in the promised land.” (The Monroe Democrat, 1912). The three Goulet children accompanied them: Phillip, age about 14, Fred, age about 10, and Mary Ellen, age 8. We don’t know what route the wagon train took, but probably they crossed through Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois on established routes, and joined the Oregon Trail in Iowa or Nebraska. They were on the trail for six months.

Giving Birth on the Trail

Still shot from the 1923 movie "The Covered Wagon"

Still shot from the 1923 movie “The Covered Wagon”

Marcellisse must have been as brave and adventurous as her husband. She was pregnant when the pioneer caravan left Monroe, and gave birth, as she must have known she would, on the trail, somewhere in Iowa. The new baby, named William Henry Goulet, was our direct ancestor and my mother’s grandfather. The circumstances of his birth must have been harrowing. According to the story told to my mother,

“The wagon train stopped only a few days for the birth. My great-grandmother lay in the wagon with her arms stretched out grasping the sides, to steady herself from the jolting wagon, so she wouldn’t inadvertently crush her baby lying beside her. The baby was very small at birth, and the Indians followed the wagon train for several days trying to trade for the baby, whom they thought was special because of his extremely small size.” (Alvis Whitelaw oral history, 1992).

French Prairie

Frency Praire Map (Munnick, frontispiece)

Frency Praire Map (Munnick, frontispiece)

The pioneers settled on homesteads in an area near Salem, Oregon, just east of the Willamette River, called French Prairie. The area got its name from the French-Canadian trappers who had worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company in earlier years and had now retired to farms there. Samuel and Marcellisse had one more child, Minnie, born in 1862, and remained on their homestead near Gervais for the rest of their lives. They were considered to be ethical, upright people by their neighbors. Samuel’s Obituary says that he was

“a man of strict probity, of quiet disposition and a determined will, always busy at something and never satisfied until he had finished that which he had begun. He was a good neighbor, generous to a fault, and delighted in shouldering the burdens of others. He was a great mathematician, had a remarkable memory and had good presence of mind just prior to passing away. He built a number of houses in this section and was conscientious in the performance of duty.”


Mathias Goulet (1827-1903). He accompanied his brother Samuel on all of his travels and settled nearby in French Prairie, Oregon.

Mathias Goulet (1827-1903). He accompanied his brother Samuel on all of his travels and settled nearby in French Prairie, Oregon.

Samuel Goulet and his younger brothers, Mathias and Peter, uniquely among our ancestors, traveled throughout the entire Western Hemisphere. They journeyed by boat, horseback, and wagon train over vast distances from Quebec to the tip of South America, and from the West to the East coast of North America. In spite of these achievements, Samuel was a quiet, hard-working, thoughtful man; his brave and adventuresome explorations of the New World sat modestly on his shoulders.


William Henry Goulet (1859-1924)

Alvis Love with her grandparents Florence Beach and William Henry Goulet, Woodburn, 1916.

Alvis Love with her grandparents Florence Beach and William Henry Goulet, Woodburn, 1916.

William Henry, born on the wagon train, was the fourth of five children of Samuel and Marcellisse. He is my great-grandfather. Unlike his parents, he lived his entire life within a few miles of the family home, mainly in Woodburn. He was known for his élan and for his dedication to horses.  He had a livery stable in town for many years, which was a hub for Woodburn transportation. He raced teams of horses at the county fair. He was the trusted town veterinarian, and was called “doctor”, though he had no formal medical training, and he was a Marion County Commissioner for many years.


His mother never learned to speak English, so French was the main language of his parents’ home, and he spoke it well. He converted to Protestantism at the time of his marriage to Florence Beach, a woman of British background. In this he had the acceptance of his parents, who were always kind and welcoming to his bride. He and Florence spoke only English in their own home, and he did not teach his children French. However, he did not change the spelling or pronunciation of his name, although his older brother attempted to Anglicize his name to Gouley.

Mary Ellen Manning (1851-1937), daughter of Samuel and Marcellisse Goulet, and a favorite great-aunt of my mother, Alvis Love Whitelaw.

Mary Ellen Manning (1851-1937), daughter of Samuel and Marcellisse Goulet, and a favorite great-aunt of my mother, Alvis Love Whitelaw.

William apparently identified with his French-Canadian background but did not feel that he had to maintain the language or culture. General assimilation was common in 19th century small town America, and the Goulets, like other French Canadians who settled in the Woodburn area, seem to have left behind much of their cultural heritage within a generation or two. Today educational displays at Champoeg State Park in the Willamette Valley preserve some of the cultural heritage of the French-Canadians who were among the first homesteaders there.  (For more on William’s wife, Florence Beach Goulet,  click here.  For more on his daughter, Mabel Goulet Love, click here.)

How You Are Related to the Goulets, Duvals and Nadeaus

Go to your personal fan chart, and go back from Alvis Whitelaw.


Susan, Nancy and John Whitelaw at the gravestone of Michael Duval, the father of Marcellisse Duval Goulet. St. Antoine Old Burying Ground, Monroe, MI. 2011.

Susan, Nancy and John Whitelaw at the gravestone of Michael Duval, the father of Marcellisse Duval Goulet. St. Antoine Old Burying Ground, Monroe, MI. 2011.

Bartolo, Ghislaine Pieters, and Reaume, Lynn Waybright (1988).  The Cross Leads Generations On:  A Bicentennial Retrospect of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception formerly known as St. Antoine at the Raisin River.   “Remaining Tombstones in Old St. Antoine/St. Mary Burial Ground on North Monroe Street”   (Tappan, NY:  Custombook Publ.).  p. 96-98.

California Census, 1852.  Calaveras County.

Death of Samuel A. Goulet (Jan. 11, 1906).  Woodburn, OR:  The Woodburn Independent, p. 1.

Denissen, Christien (1912, revised 1987)  Genealogy of the French Families of the Detroit River Region 1701-1936.  (Detroit, MI:  Detroit Society for Genealogical Research). Vol. I.

Dr. W.H. Goulet called by death (Oct. 1924)  Woodburn, OR:  The Woodburn Independent, p. 1.

DuLong, John P. (2001)  French Canadians in Michigan.  (East Lansing, MI:  Michigan State University Press.)

Hines, George H.  (1919)  Death List of Oregon Pioneers, “Gouly, P.P.”  (Oregon Historical Quarterly, Vol. 20, April-May).

The Late Samuel A. Goulet. (1906)  The Oregonian, Jan. 11.  p. 6.

Marriages Paroisse L’Assomption de Windsor, Ontario 1700-1985.  Societe Franco-Ontariene d’Hubire et de Genealogie.  Ottawa, Canada.  No date.

Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections.  (Lansing, MI)  Vol. 10, p. 536-537 and p. 601-613.

Mortuary, Mrs. Antoine Goulet (Jan. 12, 1912).  The Monroe Democrat, Monroe, MI, p. 12.

Munnick, Harriet Duncan (1981).  Catholic Church Records of the Pacific Northwest. (Portland, OR:  Binford and Mort, publisher.)

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line].  Ancestry. com, Provo, UT.  2010

Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR,Index Collection:  Territorial and Provisional Government Papers Index.  retrieved from Goulet, Samuel A., tax assessmet roll, Marion County, 1854, 1855.

Oregon State Archives and Records Center.  Oregon Death Index 1903-1998.  database:

Portrait and Biographical Record of the Willamette Valley (1903). “Phillip Peter Gouley” (Chicago,Ill:  The Chapman Publishing Co.) p.985.

Pioneer Woman Passes Away at Gervais (Dec. 26, 1911).  The Oregonian, p. 6.

Rejected Applications, Oregon City Land Office.  Genealogical Material in Oregon Donation Land Claims, abstracted from Rejected Applications Vol. 4, 1967, (Portland:  Genealogical Forum of Portland) p. 25.

Russell, Donna Valley (1982).  Michigan Census 1710-1830.  (Detroit, MI:  Detroit Society for Genealogical Research),  p. 51 (Michigan Census, 1782),  p. 66 (1796 census of Wayne County, MI) p. 76 ( 1802 Tax List),  p. 80 (1802 Tax List for Wayne County) and p. 175 (1830 Michigan Census).

U.S. Census, 1840.  Frenchtown Township, Monroe County, MI.  Martin Nadeau; Michael Duvall.

U.S. Census, 1850.  Monroe Township, Monroe County.  Michael Duvall; Antoine Goulard.

U.S. Census.  1860.  Fairfield, Marion, OR.  S.A. Goulet.

U.S. Census.  1870.  Marion County, OR.  S.A. Goulet.

U.S. Census.  1880.  Woodburn, Marion, Oregon.  Samuel Goulett.

U.S. Land Office (1936)  Monroe Harbor, Mich.  Map Prior to 1820.  (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).  Map rev. by Michael M. Dushane, April, 2012 and retitled “The First Land Claim Owners Along the River Raisin.”   Dushane states that “Most owners possessed the claim prior to July, 1796.”  The original map is at the Monroe Historical Society, Monroe, MI.

Williams, E.Gray and Ethel W.(1963).  First Landowners of Monroe County, MI.  (Kalamazoo).

Alvis Love, third from right, Atwater School, Livingston, CA, about1918

SOCIAL WORKERS IN THE NEW DEAL: John Whitelaw (1911-1974) and Alvis Love (1911-1998)

 My parents, John Whitelaw and Alvis Love, came of age during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The Depression affected many countries, and was a spur to the development of both Communism and Fascism in Europe, as capitalist financial systems were seen to have failed. The U.S. was hit particularly hard. The stock market crashed in 1929. By the early 1930s, a quarter of all wage-earning Americans were unemployed. There was no national unemployment insurance or welfare, so when Americans stopped earning, they also stopped spending, thus accelerating the downward spiral of the economy. These events caused massive personal suffering; further, many people worried that our economic and governmental systems had permanently failed, and the American dream was over.

John, in the Midwest, and Alvis, in Oregon, both graduated from college in the depths of the Depression; their personal journeys into adulthood interacted deeply with the circumstances of this historic era. Their adult lives were forged in the maelstrom of the Depression, and as social workers in this era, they were able to make a real contribution to their country.

 John’s Kansas Years

John was born in 1911 on a family farm near Lawrence, Kansas. The Whitelaws did not prosper in farming, and lived with scanty material resources. John and his two older siblings, Neill and Eleanor, completed the elementary grades in rural, one-room schoolhouses. Later, they walked or drove a horse and buggy the two miles to high school.

Franklin School, near Lawrence, Kansas, 1916. John is seated at lower left. Eleanor and Neill are in the second row, second and third from left.

Franklin School, near Lawrence, Kansas, 1916. John is seated at lower left. Eleanor and Neill are in the second row, second and third from left.

In the midst of material poverty, however, the Whitelaw children were fortunate to grow up in a household that held education in high esteem. Their mother, Bertha, unusually for the time, had graduated from college with a major in Greek and Latin, and was valedictorian of her class. Their father, John, had also received some college education. All three of the children graduated as high school class valedictorians. John followed his brother and sister to Park College, Missouri, founded to provide academically promising but poor Midwesterners, mainly those from a farm background, with a college education. Tuition was free, as the students worked half of each day on the college’s farm and cottage industries. John spent two years there, and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin where he majored in economics and business administration.

John Whitelaw, graduation from the University of Wisconsin, 1932.

John Whitelaw, graduation from the University of Wisconsin, 1932.

John graduated from college in 1932, in the middle of the Great Depression. He hoped to find a job in Chicago but his job search was disappointing.  He wrote to his cousin, Mary:

“Well, here I am still in Chicago and still very much unemployed. . . . I almost had a job selling Electrolux [Vacuum] Cleaners but you see I am single, young, not a resident of Chicago, etc., and all of that greatly detracted from my hirability in the eyes of the manager. Jobs are really scarce here though and salaries are very low as evidenced by the fact that one of the agencies where I thought about applying told me that I would be lucky to get $15 a week as that was all many firms were paying to experienced men.”[i]


He finally had to return home to Kansas. Going back to the farm was discouraging for him and probably wasn’t easy on his parents, either. John recounted that his father “informed him that things on the farm were not better because of the help of a son with a degree in economics.”[ii]  After almost two years of unsuccessful job hunting, his break finally came.   In 1934, when he was 23 years old, John became a caseworker at the welfare relief office in nearby Johnson County, Kansas.

After Wall Street had crashed in 1929, Kansas, an agricultural state, felt the effects primarily in the decline in prices for farm products. According to a historian of the era, the value to farmers of wheat sales fell catastrophically from $153.5 million in 1928 to a paltry $29 million in 1932, and the number of employed people declined 30 percent during the same period.[iii]

Political cartoon, The Kansas City Star, 1933

Political cartoon, The Kansas City Star, 1933

President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal unfurled an array of programs to help states provide relief to their citizens. For the first time, the federal government became involved in providing economic support directly to the destitute. Previously, a patchwork of local governments and private charities had offered limited relief on a case-by-case basis.

In 1933, Kansas had almost 50,000 families on relief. The welfare agency John joined was a county relief program that had recently received an influx of federal funds. John’s job was to do “Rural Rehabilitation”, which, in addition to providing cash grants to eligible families, also helped them start subsistence farming so they could at least feed themselves, even if selling crops was no longer possible.


John Whitelaw, Poor Commissioner of Lane County, KS

John Whitelaw, Poor Commissioner of Lane County, KS

One of the goals of the newly founded federal welfare programs was to increase the professional abilities of the staff. John, after nine months on the job, received one of the welfare department’s scholarships to attend graduate school in St. Louis for one semester.

After this additional education, John, now aged 24, was appointed “Poor Commissioner,” as the County Administrator was then called, of the Lane County Welfare Office, located in arid western Kansas.   This area was part of the “dust bowl,” and became notorious as an emblem of the wretched condition of many Americans during the Great Depression. About 80,000 people left Kansas during the 1930s, many of them young men who “faced with drought, dust storms, and grasshoppers – had become disillusioned with life on the farm.”[iv]   In many cases the emigrants left their aging parents to survive as best they could on the desolate, arid farms.

As the County Administrator, John oversaw the work of the casework staff, which allocated grants to needy families and arranged for basic health care. He also managed the budget, and was the public voice of the program, interpreting this new idea of a federally funded, professionally staffed program to help the indigent and unemployed.   His salary was $125 a month.

Christmas card that reads: “To John Whitelaw from Helen Martin. Here’s thanks for getting my tonsils fixed.” One of John’s tasks was to help people get basic medical care, using a combination of private charity and federal dollars.

Christmas card that reads: “To John Whitelaw from Helen Martin. Here’s thanks for getting my tonsils fixed.” One of John’s tasks was to help people get basic medical care, using a combination of private charity and public money.

The profession of social work was relatively new when John came of age. The professionalization of a field that had been filled previously by well-meaning volunteers and religious organizations was given impetus by the events of the New Deal, which required a professional work force to administer its programs. John was well-suited to the demands of this emerging profession. He felt genuine concern for others, was affable and well-liked, and he believed in the values and ideals expressed by the New Deal, that effective government could improve the lives of its citizens and stabilize the democratic system. He also was an engaging public speaker, and could accomplish very well one of the key roles of welfare administrators, that of interpreting the program to clients and the community. He communicated a fundamental decency and kindness that defused the anger and frustration that were so much a part of the welfare office atmosphere at this time. At the same time, he could reassure those who worried about fostering dependency that the program, in addition to offering cash relief, also expected clients to help themselves.


John remained at the Lane County Welfare office for about a year and then continued his social work education in graduate school, this time at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. The School specialized in educating administrators for the newly developing federal and state welfare bureaucracies, and many social work leaders were on the faculty. John financed his education through federally funded graduate assistantships. His master’s thesis was on philanthropic foundations, and their role in community planning and development of social programs. He graduated in August 1937, when he was 26 years old.



John horseback riding in the Rockies, mid 1930s. (His sister, Eleanor, is at the far back.)

John horseback riding in the Rockies, mid 1930s. (His sister, Eleanor, is at the far back.)

Upon graduation, John was hired by the Oregon State Relief Commission, as the public welfare agency was known at the time, as a caseworker in Clatsop County (Astoria), where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Norris Class, a welfare administrator, brought to Oregon a number of young men who were recent graduates from schools of social work around the country. From this cadre came leadership for social work in the Pacific Northwest that lasted for decades.

The job Norris Class was offering John was to establish a child welfare department in Clatsop County. Child welfare workers had master’s degrees, and were expected to offer consultations to the rest of the public welfare staff on difficult cases. They worked closely with other community services for children and were the public voice of the agency, interpreting the new welfare programs to the community.  Norris offered John a starting salary of $175 a month plus mileage at 4 cents a mile. John was expected to provide his own car.

 “Building Human Happiness”

 In September, 1937, when John arrived in Oregon, another arrival to the State was making news. President Franklin Roosevelt came to dedicate one of the glories of the New Deal – Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood.

It is hard to overestimate the impact of the New Deal in Oregon or the popularity of its programs among the citizens. The Great Depression had hit Oregon very hard. The economy collapsed, with the price of wheat and lumber, mainstays of the economy, in steep decline. There were runs on local banks and bank failures; people defaulted on mortgages and were left homeless. “Hoovervilles,” named after President Herbert Hoover, were shanty towns that the newly homeless constructed all over the U.S. Portland, Oregon’s largest city, had at least three.

Although the political leadership of Oregon by and large opposed the New Deal, fearing the incursion of federal authority, ordinary citizens were enthusiastic. New Deal programs, in addition to providing work relief to thousands of unemployed Oregonians, undertook a massive building of infrastructure in the State. In assessing the impact of the New Deal, historian William Robbins highlights the point that ordinary citizens saw the federal government as the source of hope, innovation, change, and effective leadership. He describes the great sense of purpose felt by those involved in New Deal projects, not only to avert a present crisis but to build a better country:

“Although not all of the social experiments were successful and lasting, the social vision and common purpose of New Deal reform was pointed toward building a nation whose benefits and privileges would be extended to everyone. . . . President Roosevelt observed that the great construction projects in the American West would benefit the entire citizenry, with the ‘objective of building human happiness.’”[v]

Alvis Love in Oregon

Alvis Ruth Love, age 4, Christmas, 1914, Woodburn, OR

Alvis Ruth Love, age 4, Christmas, 1914, Woodburn, OR

Alvis was born in Oregon the same year as John, 1911. Her mother had deep roots in Woodburn, an agricultural town near the State capitol of Salem, and Alvis sometimes lived with her grandparents there.   Her father, Olin, who grew up on a Michigan farm, was a traveling salesman for an agricultural supply company, with a route covering Oregon, California, and Washington.

Neither parent had attended college, but her father in particular was eager for Alvis to go.   She enrolled in Willamette University, in Salem, in 1929. After the death of her father at the end of her freshman year, she had to struggle to continue at college and to provide some financial support to her mother, Mabel. Through part-time work and loans she was able to graduate in 1933. She majored in French, with the thought that she could find work as a French teacher, and with the hope that once she paid off her loans she might be able to attend graduate school at Middlebury College, a training ground for the foreign service. However, the realities of the Depression caused her to put those plans aside.

Alvis Love, about the time she graduated from college, 1933.

Alvis Love, about the time she graduated from college, 1933.

Upon graduation, she heard that the State was taking applications for the newly established Oregon State Relief Administration. She was hired immediately, along with a large number of other young people, to staff the new organization. The facilities and the work structure were very provisional. The office was in a warehouse, Alvis recounted,

“with a huge corridor down the middle. There weren’t enough offices so we caseworkers had desks of a sort lined up along this big corridor and apple boxes for the clients to sit on while they were being interviewed. The applicants for assistance or for one of the jobs created by the Works Progress Administration would wait in lines stretching clear down the hall. Some were belligerent. They were family men, responsible people, some with college degrees, and here was this young woman deciding if they would get help! Interviewing people who knew me or my family was awkward, such as the math teacher who had been my tutor.” [vi]

“Rough and Ready” Social Work


Two of Alvis's clients at a transient camp. It was enclosed with a card which read, "To Miss Love, From 14 boys who have just lost a little sister.

Two of Alvis’s clients at a transient camp. The photo was enclosed with a card which read, “To Miss Love, From 14 boys who have just lost a little sister.”

Welfare work in these desperate times was sometimes dangerous. The clients were often very frustrated, and some became rebellious. Alvis remembered that once some clients rioted at the office and barricaded in all the workers, until the police came and let them out.   On another occasion a man locked her into the house with his family and threatened her with a knife if she didn’t authorize more relief. She refused to concede and he finally let her out unharmed. Another time she visited an ill client who turned out to have small pox. Alvis escaped quarantine but unfortunately exposed her whole office before the illness was discovered and they could all get vaccinated.

Alvis Ruth Love, 1932, Salem, OR; graduation from Willamette University

Alvis Ruth Love, 1932, Salem, OR; graduation from Willamette University

At one point, Alvis had a caseload of single men, living in single room hotels on skid row. She said, “It was odd they gave a caseload of single men to a young woman right out of college, but in those days the agency’s priority was to find and help people who were desperate for food.” She had to prowl around the waterfront looking for them. One man wrote her amorous and semi-threatening letters. The authorities deemed him mentally ill and he was committed to a mental hospital. She said she never had any real concerns for her safety: “It must have been a more innocent time.” Two of the men on her caseload looked after her; when she visited the men in their hotels, they let everyone know she was coming and accompanied her on her rounds. When she left that caseload, they gave her a desk set.

Like John, Alvis was able to attend one semester of graduate school at the expense of the welfare department. There was no school of social work in Oregon so she attended the University of Washington in Seattle. She remembered graduate school as

“sort of hilarious, something to do with the temper of the times. We drank sloe gin because it was cheap. We had frequent gatherings and picnics, where we danced the schottische and other square dances. The faculty and Dean danced, too.”

 County Administrator

Alvis, as a County Administrator, had to have a car in order to travel over the entire county. Buying one’s own car and driving it as part of the job, at a time when car ownership was not universal, gave these young professionals a sense of independence and personal freedom.

Alvis, as a County Administrator, had to have a car in order to travel over the entire county. Buying one’s own car and driving it as part of the job, at a time when car ownership was not universal, gave these young professionals a sense of independence and personal freedom.

After one semester of graduate school, Alvis was promoted to County Administrator, just as John had been in Kansas. Her first job was in Columbia County (St. Helens), where the County Board of Commissioners, who had traditionally handled relief efforts, was in a power struggle with the State Welfare Office, which thought it was now in charge. The County Board fired every Administrator who was sent to them, including Alvis. Her next position was Administrator of Benton County (Corvallis). Her main memory of that job was that during one severe winter, when the roads became impassable, she carried food up a mountain to a snow-bound family stranded there because they all had the flu.

As Administrator in Linn County (Albany) Alvis, now 26 years old, experienced sexual harassment, an occupational hazard for young professional women of the time. She recounted:

“A prominent doctor on the State Medical Board and also on the State Welfare Commission requested that I confer with him on welfare cases. When I would get to his office, he would lock the door behind me and sit me down right by him and haul out a bottle of whiskey. He tried to get me to drink with him. I would try to get the information I needed and get out of there. Sometimes he chased me around the desk. When I would leave, his office staff looked at me with sympathy. He never did anything to me, but it was a constant effort to fend him off. I would get back to my car and be soaking wet from perspiration. He figured caseworkers were fair game. I knew if I reported it, he could have had me fired because he was on the State Welfare Commission. I wouldn’t have been able to get another job, because there were no jobs. I have a lot of sympathy for women now who are involved in reporting these situations.”

 John and Alvis

Welfare staff picnic on Memorial Day 1938 at the Oregon Coast. Here John and Alvis began a serious relationship. Alvis and John are third and second from right. Norris Class, who hired John and many other young social workers from around the country, is on the far right.

Welfare staff picnic on Memorial Day 1938 at the Oregon Coast. Here John and Alvis began a serious relationship. Alvis and John are third and second from right. Norris Class, who hired John and many other young social workers from around the country, is on the far right.

 John had been stationed in the rural back-water of Clatsop County (Astoria) for only eight months when his life suddenly became much more eventful. In May, 1938, he was brought into the State Office in Salem, Oregon, to clear up an administrative problem involving an incompetent county administrator. He was now at the nerve center of New Deal administration in Oregon.   Through a mutual friend, he met Alvis, now 26 years old and the County Administrator of Linn County. They were both part of a large group of young professionals around the State working for welfare who got together to socialize. At a Memorial Day beach party John and Alvis started dating, and on Labor Day of that year, they got married after only a three month courtship.


John, Lt. in the Naval Reserve, Alvis, and children Susan and John, 1945, Stewart Heights, WA

John, Lt. in the Naval Reserve, Alvis, and children Susan and John, 1945, Stewart Heights, WA

Both John and Alvis left the welfare program within a year or two of their marriage. By the late 30’s, the nation was beginning to recover economically, the sense of emergency was over, and the welfare offices were becoming institutionalized as governmental bureaucracies.

John took a position as head of the Community Council in Portland, a position he held for the next twenty-three years, with a break during World War II when he served in the U.S. Navy on a gunnery ship in the Aleutians.

John Whitelaw at his retirement party, Portland, 1963.

John Whitelaw at his retirement party on leaving his position as Executive Director of the Portland Community Council, Portland, 1963.

The Community Council gave leadership to social work agencies, and worked with service organizations and local business leadership to improve social services in the metropolitan area. After retiring in 1963, John joined the faculty of the newly founded School of Social Work at Portland State University.

 John and Alvis, 1959, Portland, Oregon.

John and Alvis, 1959, Portland, Oregon.

Alvis quit work to raise three children, John (born 1939), Susan (born 1942), and Nancy (born 1947).  She returned to her social work career in 1957. She always regretted that she had not been able to continue her graduate education, but with a family to raise and the lack of a school of social work in Oregon until very late in her career, it never seemed feasible to return to school. She became the Associate Director of a large family service agency in Portland. She then worked as a consultant for the State Child Welfare Department, in which she traveled all over the State helping local offices establish child protection programs that enabled children to remain safely in their own homes. She retired in 1981.

Alvis Whitelaw with one of her staff at the time of her retirement from Metropolitan Family Serivice, 1976, Portland, OR

Alvis Whitelaw with one of her staff at the time of her retirement from Metropolitan Family Service, 1976, Portland, OR

John and Alvis remembered their years as social workers in the Depression, when they were in their 20’s, as exciting and fulfilling ones.   Years later, Alvis reflected on the turbulence of those years.

“It was an exciting time to be involved, to see a big problem like this and the programs really swing into action. At first we were providing relief, and then they set up the Works Progress Administration, and our job was to interview people and refer them for job programs. They built roads and bridges and other things all over the state. There was the Civilian Conservation Corps for young people. It was just exciting to be there. I really have never gotten over the exhilaration of that time. We certainly weren’t doing skillful family counseling. We had a feeling that the whole nation was being moved very fast in some direction, and of course it was, with Roosevelt.

We were all excited about Roosevelt and his plans to keep people from starving to death. We had a sense of purpose. We were all united by the feeling we could make a difference in this horrible situation. Welfare services delivery in those years was a rugged affair – rough and ready. These guys needed jobs, so the federal government hired them and made work of building roads and so on. It all seems so simple, looking back.”

John Whitelaw, teaching a class at Portland State University, School of Social Work, about 1970

John Whitelaw, teaching a class at Portland State University, School of Social Work, about 1970

[i] Whitelaw, John. (1932) Letter to Mary Williams. Whitelaw family papers, located with Susan Whitelaw.

[ii] Gale, Hugh. (1968) Concern for others runs deep in Whitelaw family. The Clarke Press, Portland, OR, April 3, page 1.

[iii] Fearon, Peter. (2007) Kansas in the Great Depression. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, MO. P. 12.

[iv] Fearon, p. 150.

[v] Robbins, William G. (2008) Surviving the Great Depression. The New Deal in Oregon. Oregon Historical Quarterly, Summer. P. 10.

[vi] Whitelaw, Alvis (1990-1998) Oral History. Dictated to and transcribed by Susan Whitelaw.

Alvis and friend Randall Stewart, at a political rally in the 1980s on a rainy day, Portland, OR

Alvis and friend Randall Stewart, at a political rally in the 1980s on a rainy day, Portland, OR

How you are related to John and Alvis (Love) Whitelaw.  Look on your personal ancestor fan chart (the one with you at the center.)  John and Alvis are in the third or fourth ring out from you, depending on whether they are your grandparents or great  grandparents.

BERTHA BELL WHITELAW (1872-1964): “The Most Remarkable Woman I Ever Knew.”

My paternal grandmother, Bertha Bell Whitelaw, was in many ways ahead of her time. Born in 1872, she bridged the 19th century world of intensive home labor on small family farms and the subordinate position of women, with the emerging modern world of education for women and the possibility of a career. Her life story illustrates how she was able to meld these contradictory forces to achieve what she herself described as a “meaningful life.”

Bertha Bell Whitelaw, age 90, holding a newspaper for which she had recently written an article. (Goodell, 1962)

Bertha Bell Whitelaw, age 90, holding a newspaper for which she had recently written an article. (Goodell, 1962)

Bertha encompassed other disparate qualities. She lived in small farming towns in the Midwest, which generally lacked libraries or other cultural amenities. She was a full partner with her husband, John, in the hard daily work of farming. Church, community, and neighborly activities occupied much of her free time. Yet embedded as she was in the rural daily round, she also transcended it, by maintaining an active intellectual life. She could read both Greek and Latin, and had an enthusiastic interest in current affairs, both local and national. In her later years she defied gender and age stereotypes by maintaining independence and economic self-sufficiency through her own labor almost until her death at age 92.

How did she do it? Unfortunately she did not write very much about herself, and there is no indication that she thought she was in any way remarkable. Quite the opposite, in fact. But we have some of the letters she wrote weekly to her children over the course of twenty-five years, and we also have newspaper articles written about her in old age, as her community began to recognize that she was, as Pansy Penner, one of her neighbors, put it, “the most remarkable woman I ever knew.” (Penner, 1964.)

Pioneer Girl

Bertha was born on a homestead farm in Iowa soon after the Civil War. Her parents were of Scotch and Scotch-Irish background. Martha Gordon Bell, her mother, had grown up on a farm and taught in one-room rural schools before her marriage to Alexander Bell. He was an immigrant from Northern Ireland, a Civil War veteran, and a widower with two sons.

Front row: Alexander and Martha Bell with a grandchild; Back row, left to right: Bertha, her sister Eudora, and her brother Gordon. Springfield, Missouri, 1897

Front row: Alexander and Martha Bell with a grandchild; Back row, left to right: Bertha, her sister Eudora, and her brother Gordon. Springfield, Missouri, 1897

During the last months of her life, Bertha reminisced about her earliest years.

 “Feb. 1, 1872 was my birthday. Bertha Elizabeth Bell, fourth child, 2nd daughter of Alexander Bell and 2nd daughter of Martha Ann Gordon Bell. Elizabeth for my grandmother Gordon – maiden name Elizabeth Ferguson – who knitted me a pair of white stockings with blue stripes. Born on a farm 3 ½ miles south of Earlham, Madison County, Iowa. Baptized at an early age in the Union United Presbyterian Church 7 miles distant.

Started to school at 5 years, walking two miles. Once lagged behind the older children and returned home. Repeated this and was returned to school by an irate mother. Later my sister and two brothers and I were taught by a neighbor young lady and a farm helper – and still later attended another school – also 2 miles away. Neighbors were distant and playmates few. Occasional visits to relatives, church and Sabbath school were our recreations. Reading aloud at home and a magic lantern pleased us. Also games.”

This memoir, brief though it is, sets key themes of Bertha’s life: challenging physical environments and a strong emphasis on education and religion.

Pictured: Bertha at graduation from Drury College; 1895, Springfield, MO

Pictured: Bertha at graduation from Drury College; 1895, Springfield, MO

Her parents, unusually for their time, were determined that Bertha and her sister would have a college education. After attending rural schools and a high school boarding academy, the girls were enrolled in Drury College, in Springfield, Missouri, where the family was now living. Bertha majored in Latin and classics, which prepared her to teach in institutes and academies, the equivalent of today’s high schools and community colleges. She graduated in 1895 as class valedictorian. Years later, Bertha recollected:

 It wasn’t hard to get into college in those days because not many persons wanted to attend college. I had just grown up with the idea that I would attend college. I heard my mother talking to a young woman when I was quite young. They were talking about the woman’s having recently graduated from college. I liked the sound of that word “graduated” and decided I wanted to do it too.” (Enthusiasm for Life, 1962)



Bertha Bell about 1899, when a teacher

Bertha Bell about 1899, when a teacher

Bertha taught classics and Latin for eight years (1895-1903) in two different institutes in Missouri. There is a family story of Bertha as a teacher. One day she called on a large boy at the back of the class. He said he hadn’t prepared the lesson because this was his last day of school. Bertha responded, “All the more reason to study now.” This story highlights Bertha’s belief in the intrinsic value of learning.

While teaching at Kidder Institute in Kidder, Missouri, Bertha met John Whitelaw, who worked at the family hardware and implement business. She may have met him at the Congregational Church, which his family had helped to establish and where she was the Superintendent of the Sunday School. They got married in 1903, when she was thirty-one years old. As was the almost invariable custom of the time, she quit work to devote herself to the domestic sphere.

John and Bertha had four children, one of whom died shortly after birth. The family moved from Kidder to Lawrence, Kansas in 1910, where they began to farm. They grew wheat and other grains; kept ten horses which they used for plowing and other farm work, and had pigs and chickens. The farm also held a herd of dairy cows, which they milked themselves. Daily John or Bertha would drive a horse-drawn wagon with 20 or 30 gallons of milk to the nearby railroad station so they could be taken to the dairy in Kansas City.

The Whitelaw children at the one-room Franklin School, Lawrence, Kansas, 1916. John, my father, is seated at the far left. His sister, Eleanor, is in the second row, second from left, and his brother, Neill, is on her left.

The Whitelaw children at the one-room Franklin School, Lawrence, Kansas, 1916. John, my father, is seated at the far left. His sister, Eleanor, is in the second row, second from left, and his brother, Neill, is next to her, third from left..

In 1919 the family moved from the farm to nearby DeSoto, Kansas, so that their oldest child, Neill, could live at home while attending high school there. (Many farm children did not attend high school, or had to board with a family in town.) They bought a small house in DeSoto, where they lived, and a farm about two miles distant. During the 1920s all of the Whitelaw children finished high school.   With the strong encouragement and support of their mother, they each were valedictorian of their class. Although the family farm provided little income beyond supplying the basics of life for the family, John and especially Bertha were determined that their children would attend college. Her children credited her determination and encouragement for the fact that they all graduated from college and obtained master’s degrees. One son, Neill, obtained a Ph.D. in physics and became a professor.

Pictured: Neill, Eleanor, John Jr., Bertha and John, De Soto, Kansas, in 1937.

Pictured: Neill, Eleanor, John Jr., Bertha and John, De Soto, Kansas, in 1937.



In order to help finance college, Bertha, then in her fifties, started working part time as a reporter.  She recounted:

“It was 1923. . . our children were off to college and, as any parent knows, that always means extra cash from the parents.   We had lived near Lawrence, near Noria in Franklin community, before moving to DeSoto in 1919. We had read the Journal-World since 1910 and my first thought was to add to the family coffers by reporting.” (DeSoto Writer, date unknown.)

She was the local correspondent for the DeSoto News, the Johnson County Democrat, and the Lawrence Journal-World, and continued as a reporter for 39 years, only retiring when she was 90. During that time, she never missed sending in her weekly reports.

She reported on local happenings and events in people’s lives. A long time friend recounted: “It wasn’t just curiosity which prompted her favorite saying, “Know any news?” She was vitally interested in people and she converted that characteristic into newspaper correspondence . . .”

Bertha, in the dark suit, at a workshop for correspondents of the newspaper.)

Bertha, in the dark suit, at a workshop for correspondents of the newspaper.

In an interview, she said that she considered that her specialty was writing about the doings of people who had been residents of De Soto and were still well-remembered but now lived elsewhere (Goodell, 1962). Just as her own children left town when grown, so did many others of that generation, so this was a rich field for her news-gathering.

She was able to get information for her reports easily because she was very active in the community. She was a member of the school board for many years, was a founding member of the Athenaeum Club, a local cultural organization, and a member of the De Soto Chapter of the Grange, an organization for farmers.   She was a very dedicated member of the Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday School, and was a member of the women’s society and of a quilting society.

Reflections on Old Age

In her later years, Bertha continued to defy stereotypes about age and gender. She remained active both physically and mentally almost until her death at age 92. “She out quilts and out walks us all,” said a member of her quilting club (Kroh, 1958).

Bertha at her kitchen table, where she wrote her newspaper articles on a manual typewriter.

Bertha at her kitchen table, where she wrote her newspaper articles on a manual typewriter.

Bertha believed strongly in maintaining economic self-sufficiency even in old age, and refused to be dependent on her children in any way. She and her husband, John, had only their savings from selling the farm as income. Social Security became available to farmers in 1955, but the Whitelaws were not eligible for benefits because they had not had the opportunity to pay into this social insurance program.  After she and her husband gave up farming, she earned money by taking in roomers, babysitting, selling eggs and chickens, and of course by continuing to write for newspapers. She and her husband maintained a vegetable garden and a cow for dairy products. She made most of her own clothes and bought very few products of any kind. She walked to town every day (about 8 blocks), refusing rides even in rain or snow.

Bertha with grandsons John Whitelaw  (on left) and Bill Whitford, 1940, De Soto, Kansas

Bertha with grandsons John Whitelaw (on left) and Bill Whitford, 1940, during a family visit to De Soto, Kansas

She also remained very active in the community, keeping up her membership in all of her organizations. She taught her adult Sunday School class continuously for 44 years. She never stopped reading, particularly newspapers and the Bible. She said she enjoyed crossword puzzles and word games because they made her think. She also enjoyed stamp collecting and yard work. She maintained a frequent correspondence with her three children, all of whom lived in other states.

She described a typical week in a letter:

“A week ago Tuesday was our bazaar – we served two meals that day and cleared $400. Last Thursday was club – yesterday we met to make out the Athenaeum club books, today I went to Bible class and this forenoon I ironed, washed my hair and worked down some butter, of course besides the incidentals – but I feel well and not really tired.”   (Whitelaw, 1951.)

She may have enjoyed old age as a particularly fulfilling time of life. On the occasion of her 81st birthday she wrote to her children:

“Maybe you think you dread being 81 – probably think you will never reach that age – neither did I and would have supposed life would hold nothing at that age but sitting around and waiting to die. However that is not the way I find it – as to health I feel as well as ever, perhaps, better than at many times, my enthusiasm is I believe up to par, and my interest and enjoyment of opportunities and pursuits still keen. Problems and worries are fewer and with an ever growing faith in God’s promises I can meet them better. So my testimony is that I am as happy or happier than at any time of life. Pardon me for devoting so much of this letter to talking about myself and taking from your time to read it all; but I thought that perhaps you might like to know something of how I feel when I am an old old woman. Take courage for yourselves and do not mind the added years – YOU need not really be OLD.” (Whitelaw, 1953)


DeSoto Writer Has Record on Her Job (1958). Lawrence Daily Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas, date unknown but about 1958.

Enthusiasm for Life Keeps 90 year old DeSoto Resident Active, Youthful. (1962) The Daily News, Feb. 24, p. 5.

Goodell, Jane.  (1962)  Reporter, 90, Aids the J-W.  Lawrence Daily Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas.  May 24, p. 12.

Kroh, Sarah. (1958) Quilting Bee Links the Decades. Kansas City Star, Kansas City, Kansas. About April 27, 1958 (date is blurred on the photocopy.)

Penner, Pansy (1964) Tribute. De Soto News, Johnson County, Kansas, September 3, Vol. 44, No. 47, p. 1.

Whitelaw, Bertha Bell (1951). Letter to Children and Grandchildren. Nov. 13, 1951. Reproduced in her Biography by Susan Love Whitelaw (see below).

Whitelaw, Bertha Bell (1953). Letter to Children and Grandchildren. February 6, 1953. Reproduced in her Biography by Susan Love Whitelaw (see below).

Whitelaw, Susan Love (2007). Bertha Bell Whitelaw: 1872-1964, A Documentary Biography with an Appendix of Family Documents. Chelsea, MI.

For More Information, click here for the blog entry on Bertha’s husband, John Whitelaw, Jr.  Click here for a complete copy of Susan Whitelaw’s biography of Bertha Bell Whitelaw.

How You Are Related to Bertha Bell Whitelaw  On your personal fan chart, Bertha Bell Whitelaw is either in the third ring (if you are her grandchild) or fourth ring (if you are her great-grandchild) out from your name in the center.


The world into which our ancestors, William Bradford and Alice Carpenter, were born in 1590 was dynamic and unstable. It was a time of the Renaissance flowering of literary and artistic genius. William Shakespeare was currently at the peak of his writing career. Queen Elizabeth I had just led her small, upstart nation to victory over the invading Spanish Armada, an event that changed the power balance of Europe.

Galileo, a near contemporary of the Bradfords. He was an astronomer and a pioneer of the scientific revolution.

Galileo, a near contemporary of the Bradfords. He was an astronomer and a pioneer of the scientific revolution.

The Protestant Reformation and advances in astronomy, mathematics, and physics had thrown old religious certainties into confusion. A century of ocean exploration had opened Europeans’ minds to possibilities of leaving behind the problems of their home countries and starting new communities in previously unknown lands.

 Joining the Separatists

William Bradford’s family were prosperous farmers in the northern English county of York, but his childhood years were marked by separation, loss, and instability. His parents both died when he was young, and he was passed around to various relatives. He was a sickly, bookish child; unable to help much with farm work, he spent his time reading, especially the Bible, and teaching himself Greek and Latin.

William Bradford’s birthplace, Austerfield, England

William Bradford’s birthplace, Austerfield, England

He became involved with a new and controversial religious sect in the nearby town of Scrooby. The members were called Separatists because they believed in the total separation of their own, small, community of like-minded believers, from the Church of England, which they saw as corrupted by power, and weighed down with meaningless ritual. Because of their refusal to adhere to the official state religion, they were considered to be a subversive element and were persecuted.

Persecution increased when King James I inherited the throne in 1603.  Bradford recorded in his journal, Of Plymouth Plantation, that church members:

“were hunted and persecuted on every side, so as their former affliction were as flea-bitings in comparison with these that now came upon them. For some were taken and clapt up in prison, others had their houses beset and watcht night and day, and hardly escaped their hands; and the most were faine to flie and leave their howses and habitations, and the means of their livelihood.”

In 1608, when William Bradford was 18, he and other members of the Scrooby congregation decided to escape persecution by immigrating to Holland, which was tolerant of religious diversity. The congregation lived in Holland for twelve years. During that time William turned twenty-one and inherited all the English property of his parents, which he immediately sold. In Holland he met his future wife, Alice Carpenter, whose family were also English Separatists.  Alice and William did not marry at that time; each married instead another member of the congregation. William at age twenty three married Dorothy May, then sixteen, and Alice married Edward Southworth.

Life in Holland had drawbacks. As non-citizens, the English Separatists were barred from the more lucrative areas of Dutch economic life. William supported Dorothy and son John with a low-paying job in the textile industry. Children were assimilating into Dutch culture and attenuating their allegiance to Separatist values. Catholic Spain was threatening an invasion of the Netherlands.   In the midst of these hardships, reports were coming in of vast unclaimed lands across the Atlantic Ocean in North America. For the bold and adventurous, this new land offered tantalizing possibilities for religious and economic freedom.

By 1620, the Scrooby congregation was planning to immigrate to North America.  Bradford explained in his journal:

 “all great & honourable actions are accompanied with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with answerable courages. It was granted ye dangers were great, but not desperate; the difficulties were many, but not invincible. For though their were many of them likely, yet they were not cartaine; it might be sundrie of ye things feared might never befale; others by providente care & ye use of good means, might in a great measure be prevented; and all of them, through ye help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either be borne, or overcome. “

The Mayflower Voyage

1609 Map of New England, by John Smith, the founder of Jamestown colony in Virginia. The pilgrims almost certainly had this map on the Mayflower.)

1609 Map of New England, by John Smith, the founder of Jamestown colony in Virginia. The pilgrims almost certainly had this map on the Mayflower.

William Bradford was 30 years old when he crossed the ocean on the Mayflower, and his wife, Dorothy, was about 23. They left their young son John in the care of friends in Holland, planning that he would come over with a later contingent of immigrants.

Along with a crew of about thirty men and boys, the Mayflower had one hundred and two passengers.   Only eighteen were adult women; all of these were married and three were pregnant.   We are used to hearing about the “Pilgrim Fathers” so it may be a surprise to learn that that the passengers were quite young. The adults were mainly in their twenties and thirties. Over forty of the passengers were children, a large proportion of whom were teenagers, both boys and girls. Most of the passengers were in family groups, but a significant number, especially among the adolescents of both sexes, were servants connected to a family through legal indentures.

The Mayflower during one of the many squalls it endured. The crew had to lower the sails to keep the wind from breaking the masts, so the ship was simply tossed around on the sea, soaking the terrified passengers.

The Mayflower during one of the many squalls it endured. The crew had to lower the sails to keep the wind from breaking the masts, so the ship was simply tossed around on the sea, soaking the terrified passengers.

Only about thirty of the passengers were from the Separatist congregation in Holland. The rest were residents of England; most of these were also Separatists or at least sympathetic to their religious convictions. A few may have been strictly economic immigrants. Also on board were many animals: farm animals such as chickens, pigs, and sheep, and cats to keep down the rodent population. Two dogs came along as pets, a mastiff and a springer spaniel.

The two-month trip across the ocean was a terrible ordeal; only one person died, a member of the crew, but all were sick and dirty the whole way over. They were cramped and crowded, often wet and in great danger from ocean storms, and didn’t have enough decent food.

Beginning of Democracy in America

King James had given the Mayflower passengers permission to form a settlement in what is now New York, but the ship ended up, probably due to bad weather, north of there, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  The King had not yet claimed the right to rule this area, so the legal auspices under which the new settlement was to manage itself were unclear.

Some passengers suggested that they did not need to submit to any government and each person could go off on their own. However, it was obvious to most that if they were to survive the winter, they needed to work together, and so the adult men on the ship formed and signed the Mayflower Compact.

Artist’s rendering of the signing of the Mayflower Compact on board the ship.

Artist’s rendering of the signing of the Mayflower Compact on board the ship.

Each signer voluntarily agreed to submit to a democratically elected governing structure, consisting of a governor and a group of “assistants.” This document has been celebrated as the beginning of democracy on American shores. William Bradford was one of the architects of the document and among the first signers.

When the Mayflower arrived off the shore of Cape Cod, William Bradford was among the small group of men who first set foot on shore. It was now November, and they had to work quickly to find a suitable place for a settlement. They urgently wanted to make contact with the local inhabitants to trade for food and seed grain, and to establish friendly relations.  Indians appeared from afar, but disappeared into the woods when the pilgrims tried to approach. The pilgrims came upon an Indian settlement that had been deserted, due to an outbreak of small pox brought by earlier European explorers. They also found baskets of Indian corn buried in the sand, which they dug up and took with them. They desperately needed provisions, and hoped to offer trade goods to the Indians in compensation. Possibly in retaliation for this theft, a group of Indians attacked the exploring party one night, but were successfully fended off. Later on, after the Indians and pilgrims became acquainted, the pilgrims paid the Indians for the corn they had taken.

The first winter was horrendous. Half of the pilgrims died, mainly from infectious diseases. The women were particularly hard hit: all but four of the eighteen women died. The women remained on the Mayflower all winter, in close, damp, dirty quarters. The men were mainly on land, hunting, fishing, and building rough shelters for the families to inhabit in the spring. They endured great hardship, but were in healthier surroundings than the women, and had access to fresh water. If they were sick, they returned to the Mayflower, inadvertently further infecting those quarters. Dorothy Bradford was among the first casualties; she died not from sickness but by falling overboard while her husband was on one of the early scouting parties. William himself got very ill during that terrible winter and almost died.

 The First Thanksgiving

By spring of that first year, it began to seem possible that the colony might survive. There were no more deaths. The pilgrims learned from the Indians how to plant such native foods as corn and squash, and how to fish the local waters. The Mayflower sailed back to England, and families established themselves in the newly-built houses.

After the first elected governor of the colony died during the winter, William Bradford was elected as the new governor, a position to which he was re-elected nearly every year until his death in 1657.

Artist's rendering of the first Thanksgiving, 1621. William Bradford, seated at the table, is presiding over the feast in his role as governor.

Artist’s rendering of the first Thanksgiving, 1621. William Bradford, seated at the table, is presiding over the feast in his role as governor.

During the autumn, the settlers were able to harvest enough food to last through the winter. In celebration, they organized a feast that went on for several days. Ninety of their Indian neighbors brought newly killed deer and joined the party. The four adult women who had survived the winter must have been strained to the utmost to organize the cooking for this large crowd of about 140 people.

Alice Carpenter Southworth

In 1623, when she was thirty-three years old, Alice Carpenter Southworth, along with other Separatists from Holland and England, came to Plymouth on the ship Anne. Her husband, Robert Southworth, had recently died, leaving her with two young sons. Probably by prearrangement, within a month of landing in Plymouth she married her old friend, the widowed William Bradford. In the following years, three of her sisters also came to Plymouth; they formed an influential nucleus of the community of women in the colony, and among them left many Carpenter descendants. Plymouth records note that Alice was much loved in the colony.

The wedding of the colony’s governor and Alice, both of whom were well known, was the occasion for a major celebration. The Native American leader, Massasoit, attended with his wife and a retinue of over 100 men. The party feasted on venison and the increasingly bountiful supplies of the pilgrim colony.

A pilgrim cradle, brought on the Mayflower, now at the Plymouth Historical Museum.

A pilgrim cradle, brought on the Mayflower, now at the Plymouth Historical Museum.

Over the years the Bradfords raised a number of children. William’s son, John, and Alice’s two sons, Thomas and Constant, came to the Bradford home from Europe. The Bradfords had three children of their own. Our family descends from William and Alice through their first son, William Jr. They also fostered other children of the colony.

Governor Bradford

William Bradford was governor of the Plymouth Colony, with only a few breaks, from its beginning until his death in 1657. One of his main tasks was to put the colony on a sound financial footing. The original voyage was financed by a group of investors in England. They needed to be paid off through the profit making ventures of the colonists, which consisted mainly of sending beaver furs, lumber, and smoked fish back to English markets. Vagaries of weather, shipwrecks, and other perils interfered with this transatlantic trade, but the colony was able, after several years, to free itself of debt. Thereafter, Bradford led the colony in a transition from a communal economy, where everything was owned in common, to one of individual ownership.

Squanto, an early benefactor of the pilgrims, teaching them how to plant corn using fish as fertilizer. Squanto had learned English from earlier explorers and had travelled to Europe. He was a key intermediary for the pilgrims in establishing good relations with the local inhabitants of Cape Cod.)

Squanto, an early benefactor of the pilgrims, teaching them how to plant corn using fish as fertilizer. Squanto had learned English from earlier explorers and had travelled to Europe. He was a key intermediary for the pilgrims in establishing good relations with the local inhabitants of Cape Cod.

Another major task was to maintain good relationships with their Native American neighbors. The pilgrims traded with the Indians for beaver pelts, a major source of income for the colony. When the pilgrims set up outposts in Connecticut and Maine for trapping and logging, they needed the good will and the expertise of the Indians. It seems very unlikely that the Plymouth colony could have survived without the active help and support of the surrounding Native Americans.

Beyond the practical considerations, the religious values of the Separatists led them to policies of toleration and mutual respect. They practiced these values with the Native Americans, and also with religious dissenters such as the Quakers. They accepted the presence of economic immigrants to their colony, some of whom were rough, noisy, and caused trouble with the Indians. As part of this policy of respect for diversity, the Plymouth colony established the principle separation of church and state. In this way, they could accommodate non-Separatists in their midst, as long as they obeyed the civil governmental structure of the colony.

In their practice of gentle toleration, the pilgrims of Plymouth colony were very different from the mighty Massachusetts Bay colony growing on their border. The English Puritans who settled there were high-handed in their dealings with others, and intolerant of religious dissent.  The painful history of European settlers’ treatment of the Indians began early, and it is extremely unfortunate that the model for working with local populations established by the Plymouth colony was not followed.

William Bradford’s chair, now in the Plymouth Historical Museum

William Bradford’s chair, now in the Plymouth Historical Museum

Another of Bradford’s responsibilities as Governor was to maintain order and stability within the diverse Plymouth community. The following excerpt from his journal, On Plymouth Plantation, shows the respectful but firm leadership he exercised. The Separatists did not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, but some newcomers to the colony, who were there only for economic gain, wanted to celebrate the holiday in traditional English fashion. Bradford wrote in his journal:

 “And herewith I shall end this year. Only I shall remember one passage more, rather of mirth then of waight. On ye day called Christmas day, ye Govr [William Bradford] caled them out to worke, (as was used,) but ye most of this new company excused them selves and said it wente against their consciences to work on yt day. So ye Govr tould them that if they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them till they were better informed. So he led away ye rest and left them; but when they came home at noone from their worke, he found them in ye streete at play, openly; some pitching ye barr, & some at stoole ball, and shuch like sports. So he went to them, and tooke away their implements, and tould them that was against his conscience, that they should play & others worke. If they made ye keeping of it mater of devotion, let them kepe their houses, but ther should be no gameing or revelling in ye streets. Since which time nothing hath been atempted that way, at least openly.”

Statue of Willaim Bradford, Plymouth, MA

Statue of William Bradford, Plymouth, MA

William Bradford died in 1657. He left his children and his widow, Alice, a sizable estate, including a library of over 100 books. Alice survived until 1670, when she was eighty years old. Their son William became a leader of the colony and in the military.

The Mayflower Society, an organization of the descendants of the Mayflower, estimates that there are about ten million descendants living today of the original passengers on the Mayflower; some unknown number of these descend from William and Alice Bradford. (MacGunnigle, 2015).

In a larger sense, all of us in America today are the beneficiaries of Bradford’s legacy. Through the Mayflower Compact, he was a pioneer in establishing democratic government as a viable alternative to monarchy. He had the vision and leadership to promote the immigration of a small community of religious dissenters to a new and unknown land across a dangerous ocean. His good judgement and dedication guided the colony in its early years of near extinction and made it a model of good governance that still informs our national aspiration to become a true beacon of democracy.

Bradford himself articulated what he hoped would be the legacy of the pilgrims of Plymouth colony. It is helpful to remember that his understanding of the “kingdom of Christ” meant living out the values of toleration, community, respect, mercy, caring, humility, and the obligation of each person for self-governance.

 “Lastly (and which was not least) a great hope, & inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation (or at least to make some way thereunto) for ye propagating & advancing ye gospel of ye kingdom of Christ in those remote parts of ye world, yea, though they should be but even as stepping stones unto others for ye performing of so great a work.”

How You Are Related to William and Alice Bradford

On your individual fan chart, find Eunice Waldo in the outermost arc. Then click here to trace Eunice Waldo’s ancestry back to the Bradfords.  This line of descent from William and Alice Bradford to our family has been approved by the Mayflower Society and the documentation of it is stored in their permanent records.


Anderson, Robert Charles. The Pilgrim Migration: Immigrants to Plymouth Colony, 1620-1633. Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society. 2004.

Bradford, William. Of Plymouth Plantation (1620-1647). New York: The Modern Library. 1981.

Heath, David B. (Editor) Mourt’s Relation: A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Bedford, MA: Applewood Books. 1963.

Johnson, Caleb H. The Mayflower and Her Passengers. USA: Xlibris Corporation. 2006.

MacGunnigle, Bruce C.  From Fifty to Ten Million:  A Sample of the Families on the Mayflower.  The Mayflower Quarterly.  March, 2015.  Vol.81, No. 1.  pp.  36-44.

Stratton, Eugene Aubrey. Plymouth Colony: Its History & People, 1620-1691. Provo, Utah: Ancestry Publishing. 1986.

Williams, Mrs. Harold Four-Footed Pilgrims. The Mayflower Quarterly. Feb. 1975, Vol. 41, No. 1.





2012 was the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, and the commemorations brought a revival of interest in this historical event. The War was the occasion for Francis Scott Key’s writing of the Star Spangled Banner, and for Dolly Madison’s rescue of an important portrait of George Washington as she fled the White House hours before the invading British Army sacked it. The Battle of New Orleans, which inspired a famous country-western song, was also a part of this war.   Other than these events, however, most people don’t know why or where it was fought or even whom we were fighting against. It is often called the “forgotten war.”

The War of 1812, between the United States and Great Britain, was fought to resolve issues left unsettled by the Revolutionary War, which took place 35 years earlier. Some issues were specific, such as whether British ships could “impress” (take as forced labor) captured American seamen. A major, more general issue was how the lands to the west of the original colonies were going to be settled and who was in charge of this process.   The British wanted to claim ownership of some western lands, particularly those adjoining Canada. Native Americans also wanted ownership of some of these lands. Tecumseh, a Native American leader, and his tribal confederation, sided with British in the War because the British promised them a homeland west of the settled areas of the United States. The British, the Canadians, and many Indians wanted to curb what they saw as aggressive American expansionism westward.

The Great Lakes region, on the border between Canada and the U.S. and newly opened for settlement by the American government, was a major theater of the War. Our ancestors of the Waldo, Love, Duval, and Nadeau families had migrated to territories along the Great Lakes after the Revolutionary War as these areas became available for homesteading.    These ancestors were involved in the War as combatants or as civilians in a war zone. The map below shows the major battles of the great lakes region, including those in which our ancestors were engaged. Ephraim Waldo at the Battle of Queenston Heights, Canada (on the Niagara River between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario); Robert and Levi Love at the Battle at Sacket’s Harbor, New York (on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario); and our Duval and Nadeau ancestors at the Battles of the Raisin River, Frenchtown, Michigan Territory (south of Detroit).

War of 1812 Battle Sites in the Great Lakes region

War of 1812 Battle Sites in the Great Lakes region


Ephraim Waldo, born in 1764 on a farm in Connecticut, came from a long line of New Englanders. His father, Jesse Waldo, had been a Lieutenant in the Revolutionary War. Ephraim married Eunice Dimmock and in 1789 they became pioneer settlers in the wilderness of western New York, settling in Bridgewater, Oneida County, where they started a store and raised a family. Ephraim also worked as a blacksmith.   When war was declared in 1812, the family had moved to Niagara County, New York. Ephraim, then 48 years old, enlisted in the military, and travelled about forty miles west from his home to join the War at the Canadian American border on the Niagara River.

The Americans planned to invade Canada early in the War at various points, expecting an easy victory over the unprepared British. One invasion took place on the Niagara River, where the American army and local militia assembled in Lewiston, on the American side (shown at left in picture), and crossed the River to attack Queenston Heights, Canada (shown at right in picture). Unfortunately for the Americans, they had difficulty in getting their soldiers across the river, giving British reinforcements time to arrive and aid in the defense of Queenston Heights. The British repelled the invasion, which ended in a chaotic American retreat back across the river.

Battle of Queenston Heights

Battle of Queenston Heights

Ephraim Waldo died in this battle. Waldo family historian Lincoln Waldo, in interviews with Ephraim’s descendants about ninety years later, recorded family memories of Ephraim’s death:

“He [Ephraim Waldo] . . . was present and took part in the Battle of Queenston Heights, Oct. 13, 1812, and was never heard of afterwards. It is a tradition in the family that, while the American army was retreating or being driven towards the river, Ephraim was seen by a cousin or an uncle, who was in the ranks with him, to fall – whether from a stumble or a wound is unknown – and his comrade, looking back, saw him leaning on his sword as if wounded, and the Indians coming up behind him. His fate is unknown. After the surrender of the Americans, he was looked for among the dead, wounded and prisoners, but was not found, hence it is supposed that he succeeded in reaching the Heights, attempted to swim the river and was drowned in the attempt, like many others. He was a good swimmer, and, if not wounded, perhaps would have escaped. It is related of him, that, having been captured by a press gang and placed on board a man-of-war, off Quebec, he jumped overboard in the night and swam ashore, a distance of three miles. (Lincoln Waldo, Genealogy of the Waldo Family from 1647 to 1900, Worcester, Mass.: Press of Charles Hamilton, 1900, pp. 326-328).

At the time of his death, he left four children by his first wife, Eunice (Dimmock), including our ancestor, Eunice Waldo, and several children by his second wife.

How you are related to Ephraim Waldo 

On your personal Ancestor Fan Chart, trace your lineage from your name, in the center of the fan, to Eunice Waldo, on the outermost rim. Then, open the attached Eunice Waldo Ancestor Fan Chart. Her name is at the center, and her father is Ephraim.


Robert Love, the grandson of Scotch-Irish immigrants, Adam and Mary Love, was born in 1767 in Rhode Island. In later years he recounted that while working on the farm as a boy, he saw a cavalcade of Revolutionary War officers pass by on their way westward. Their leader was George Washington.   His father, Sergeant Robert Love, served more than three years in the Revolutionary army, and was perhaps in service at the time that young Robert saw the officers. (William DeLoss Love, Love Family History, unpublished ms. New Haven, CT, 1918, pp. 36-39).

As a young man Robert moved first to Connecticut and there married Susanna Austin. Together they took the pioneer journey to the western wilderness of New York State, where they made a clearing in the forest in Oneida County, and with a few other families, established the settlement of Bridgewater. Among their neighbors were Ephraim and Eunice Waldo, whose involvement in the War of 1812 is discussed above. Ephraim and Eunice’s daughter, Eunice, grew up to marry her childhood friend in Bridgewater, Levi Love, son of Robert and Susanna Love.   In this way the Loves and Waldos became in-laws and the ancestors of all of us who descend from Levi and Eunice Love.

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812.  Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY.  Photo by  Judylove1157 at

Robert and Susan Love tombstones, with medallion for service in War of 1812. Fairview Cemetery, Bridgewater, NY. Photo by Judylove1157 at

At the time of the War, Robert was 45 and had several grown children.. Robert and three of his sons, including our ancestor Levi, enlisted in the militia.   They were called upon to do guard duty at Sacket’s Harbor, about 100 miles north of their home. Sacket’s Harbor, located on the eastern edge of Lake Ontario, was a major U.S. Naval base. In July, 1812, a fleet of British ships sailed toward the base, intending to capture it. The American military successfully deployed cannon and artillery, located on shore, to disable the British ships. The British fleet retreated, and the Americans claimed victory. The militia, including our ancestors, mainly stood guard and did not have a role in the fight, since the British did not land.

Sackets harbour

Pictured: a reenactment of the Battle, showing the central role of cannon in the American victory.

Eighty years later, Levi’s son, Lorenzo, wrote his memories of what his father told him about this episode.

“During the War of 1812 between England and the United States, grandfather [Robert] with my father [Levi], George and William, father’s brothers, were called out to defend Sacket’s Harbor on the water. The fleet was called the Royal George. The British on the water and the Americans on the land fought with cannon all day Sunday and at evening [the British] sailed away. That ended the war in that quarter and father and all came home.” (Lorenzo Love, letter to Charley love, Berrien Springs, Michigan, Feb. 10, 1895. The letter was reproduced in Love Family Quarterly, St. Petersburg, FL, Vol. IIl, Oct. 1955, pp. 5-6).)

Charley Love, Levi’s grandson, had these recollections.

“The last time I saw my grandfather Love to talk with him he said he had the papers to fill out for a pension in the War of 1812 but because he was only out a few days at Sacket’s Harbor, he did not feel that he ought to apply for a pension. Said he would liked to have done more for his country than he did, but his family was young and he was poor and he was needed at home and his colonel gave him leave of absence as soon as he felt he could spare him.” (Charley Love, Note to letter from Lorenzo Love, 1895. Reproduced in Love Family Quarterly, published in St. Petersburg, FL, Vol. IIl, Oct. 1955, pp. 5-6)

How you are related to Robert and Levi Love

On your personal Ancestor Fan Chart, follow your lineage out to Levi Love, on the outermost rim.   Then open the attached Levi Love Ancestor Fan Chart. His name is in the center, and his father is Robert Love.


 The recent creation of the Raisin River National Battlefield Park in Monroe, Michigan, has highlighted the strategic role played by that community in the War of 1812. Known as Frenchtown because of the large number of French Canadians who immigrated from Canada and settled along the banks of the Raisin River after the American Revolution, at the time of the War it had grown to become the second largest settlement in Michigan Territory.

For the French living in the Raisin River area, the War initially created a conflict of loyalties. They wanted to get along with the new American government and to be cooperative citizens of Michigan Territory. Yet they also had ties to the opposing side. Many owed possession of their farms to the negotiations they had made with local Native American leaders. Native Americans, who feared the loss of their land to the encroaching American settlers, chose to ally themselves with the British-Canadian side in the War.

Immigrants from Canada themselves, the French also had family and business ties to that Untitledcountry. At the time of the War, Frenchtown was surrounded to the North, East, and West by British-Canadian military and their Native American allies. The American military was far to the south at Fort Meigs, Ohio, separated from Frenchtown by an almost impassable geographical barrier, the Great Black Swamp.

Our own French Canadian ancestors, the Duval and Nadeau families, had immigrated from Canada to the Detroit region in the 1780s, and owned farms in the Frenchtown area. Records are scarce concerning the specific actions of local civilians during the War, but it is reasonable to assume that historical information on the French Canadian community includes the involvement of our specific ancestors.

From the beginning of the War in July, 1812 until the decisive American victories in late 1813, which effectively ended the War in the area, Frenchtown was the site of repeated invasions and occupations by the opposing armies. Its civilian inhabitants, both French and other American settlers, suffered as the battles were fought directly on their homes and farms.

The Habitants

Raisin River re-enactment

Pictured: a Raisin River Battle re-enactor, dressed as an habitant.

The French Canadian settlers, known as habitants, aided the American side as scouts, suppliers and transporters of provisions, blacksmiths, and as members of the militia. During periods of British occupation, they had to find a way to co-exist with the occupiers. In one story, the habitants were charged with obtaining and escorting a large herd of cattle to provision the British army. As word came that an American army was working its way northward, the habitants sequestered the cattle in the woods. Later on, some of the cattle found their way to the American side, and the habitants may have purloined the rest.

In spite of their conflicts of loyalties, the habitants contributed greatly to the war effort. It is estimated that about 83 percent of the men eligible for service fought for the American side. One Kentucky soldier who fought in the decisive 1813 battle wrote: “”Our situation at present is an enviable one, compared to our past. Plenty of apples, cider, butter, etc. in abundance. The inhabitants [habitants] are numerous and very friendly. Several took arms and fought valiantly at our sides.”


Tecumseh was a Native American leader who formed a confederation of tribes to try to negotiate Untitledwith the American government to establish a Native American homeland in Indiana and other Midwestern regions.   When the War of 1812 broke out, he led his confederation into an alliance with the British, who promised his confederation a large homeland in the U.S. following victory in the War.

Tecumseh was a well-known figure in Frenchtown and was frequently in the area during the War. It is very likely that our ancestors there knew him personally, and, like other civilians there, had cause to be grateful to him. He had enlightened and humanitarian values, which he practiced even in the difficult circumstances of War. The rangers at the Raisin River National Battlefield Park tell visitors that on one occasion, he intervened when a band of Native Americans menaced the unprotected women and children in Frenchtown. In spite of the great injustices he and his people endured, he did not retaliate against innocent individuals. Today monuments and other commemorations in the U.S. and Canada acknowledge his vision for a peaceful co-existence between Native Americans and European settlers in America.   A town near Frenchtown is named Tecumseh, in his memory, and the Civil War General, William Tecumseh Sherman, bore his name.

Remember the Raisin!

In January, 1813, in the farm settlement of Frenchtown, the British-Canadian forces and their UntitledNative American allies won the Battle of Raisin River, which was the bloodiest fight of the entire War.   The aftermath of this battle was horrendous. The victorious British abandoned a large number of wounded American soldiers who were their prisoners of war. The next day, a Native American raiding party arrived and massacred them all, an event now known as the Raisin River Massacre. In this time of terror, about half of the local population fled to other cities, where their fate depended on whether or not they had family or friends to harbor them. Those who remained experienced near starvation and survived on a diet of wild grapes from the banks of the Raisin River, boiled hay, and muskrat, a rodent found abundantly in the River.  Today descendants of these early French Canadians still serve muskrat dishes at festivals, as part of their heritage.

The massacre of American prisoners of war galvanized American public opinion to the cause. “Remember the Raisin” became a rallying cry for the war effort. Commodore Perry destroyed the British fleet on Lake Erie in September, 1813, and after that the tide of War turned in favor of the Americans. In the Battle of the Thames, at Ahmetsburg, Canada in October, 1813, (see map, above) the American army defeated the British and Native Americans and forced the retreat of British troops from Michigan territory, including Frenchtown.   Tecumseh was killed in that battle, and with him, any realistic prospect of realizing the dream of aNative American homeland in the northern Midwest. After this decisive battle, the habitants and other residents of Frenchtown were able to begin the work of restoring their homes and farms. Within a few years the region was peaceful and prosperous once again.

How you are related to the Duvals and the Nadeaus

Go to your personal Ancestral Fan Chart and find the lineage that ends with Michael Thuot Duval and the lineage that ends with Agatha Nadeau. Then open the attached Ancestral Fan Charts for Michael Thuot Duval and here for Agatha Nadeau.

References for the Battle of Raisin River

Naveaux, Ralph. Monroe in the War of 1812. Available online at:

Essay in Wikipedia. U. S. Park Service River Raisin Battlefield National Park

THEOPHILUS (or possibly ROBERT) WHALEY (1616-1720)


According to family historian William DeLoss Love, “The name of Theophilus Whaley is familiar to every reader of early New England history. He is one of its most mysterious characters.” (p. 129) His biography is deeply connected to the events of the English Civil War, particularly the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649 by William Cromwell and his Puritan constituency in Parliament.

Trial of Charles I

Trial of Charles I

The Whaley family (also spelled Whalley or Whale) was on the side of Parliament, and were cousins of Oliver Cromwell, the leader of the Parliamentary rebels. One prominent member of this family was Edward Whaley. He was among the fifty-nine judges who condemned Charles I to death. After his execution, Cromwell and the Puritans ruled England until 1660, when Charles, son of the executed king, was invited back from exile to become King Charles II. From then on, the judges who signed his father’s death warrant were in danger, and many fled the country. Some, including Edward Whaley, came to the American colonies, where citizens hid them from the arm of English law. In the colonies there was an atmosphere of mystery and confusion surrounding these fugitive and hidden judges who were supposedly living among them. People speculated on whether a newcomer or stranger was possibly one of the fugitives.

Theophilus Whaley entered this scene in 1679, when he came to Rhode Island from Virginia with his wife and children. The family settled in a modest cabin on Pettaquamscutt Pond in what is now North Kingstown. Several things about him seemed mysterious, most prominently that he never gave a full account of his background, and that he had arrived in Rhode Island in the same year that Edward Whaley supposedly died while in hiding, and that he shared the same name as Edward Whaley. In the community there was speculation bordering on conviction that he was in fact Edward Whaley. The mystery of Theophilus’s true identity was still unsolved at the time of his death in about 1720. (Pictured: the Judges Cave near New Haven, CT where Edward Whaley lived in hiding at various times.)

The Judges Cave

The Judges Cave near New Haven, CT where Edward Whaley lived in hiding at various times. Painting by George Henry Durrie

In 1755, thirty five years after Theophilus’s death, Dr. Ezra Stiles, President of Yale University, began a study of judges who had been sequestered in New England. He was able to interview children and close neighbors of the judges, and to examine documents. He published a book on his extensive study in 1794, and, as the cover indicates (pictured at left), the book contained “An Account of Mr. Theophilus Whale, of Narragansett, Supposed to have been also one of the Judges.”

Dr. Stiles learned that Theophilus Whaley was born in England in about 1616-22, and that he was of good descent and education. Whaley said that when he was young “he was brought up delicately and that till he was eighteen years old, he knew not what it was to want a servant to attend him with a silver ewer and knapkin whenever he wanted to wash his hands.” (Stiles, p. 351) When he was about 18 years old, in 1637, he came over to Virginia, and went as an officer into the Indian wars. Then he returned to England and became “an officer in the parliament wars, and through the Protectorate, “ or the reign of William Cromwell (Stiles, p. 355).

After the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Whaley returned to Virginia, “having by some action or other rendered himself obnoxious to the royalists.” (Stiles, p. 355) He never said how he was involved in the events of the English Civil War, but he considered himself “a man of blood” who might be in danger from the royalists. Once back in Virginia, he married in about 1670, when he was about fifty years old. His wife, Elizabeth Mills, was a Virginian. They lived there for about ten years. Virginia records show that he was a man of some wealth and property. We don’t know why the family left Virginia; possibly he began to fear that he was being pursued by English authorities there. Or they may have run into some religious difficulty; the Church of England was dominant in Virginia, and Whaley was a Baptist.

A History of Three of the Judges of King Charles I

A History of Three of the Judges of King Charles I, by Dr. Ezra Stiles

In 1679-80 the family moved to Rhode Island, and rented property on Pettaquamscutt Pond, where they built a modest cabin. There Theophilus lived a simple and retired life, supporting himself and his family largely by fishing and weaving. His neighbors soon learned that he was a man of learning, proficient in Greek, Latin, and Hebrew, and called upon him for writing documents and other such work. He was given much to study and reflection.

Dr. Stiles reported incidents that deepened the neighbors’ suspicions that Theo. Whaley was perhaps one of the judges. A delegation of distinguished Bostonians visited him about once a year. The visitors “embraced him with great ardor and affection, and expressed great joy at seeing him, and treated him with great friendship and respect.” These men also supplied him with means, possibly money coming from relatives in England. The neighbors who observed these visits concluded that the Bostonians knew his true identity and had known him in Boston as Edward Whaley. Another time, a British warship under the command of an officer named Whaley anchored at Naragansett Bay. The captain came ashore and visited Theophilus. The neighbors saw them greet each other warmly; it was clear that they had known each other before. The captain invited Theophilus back to his ship, but Theophilus declined. The neighbors concluded that he feared he might be betrayed by someone on the ship and deported to England for trial.

Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II

Charles I, Oliver Cromwell, Charles II

Although Theophilus’s children and neighbors were all certain that he was Edward Whaley, in the end Stiles was unconvinced. He had fairly strong documentary evidence that Edward Whaley had in fact died in 1679 while in hiding, and that therefore Theophilus could not be the same man. He also pointed out that it did not make sense that Theophilus would have chosen to retain his last name and only change his first name, if he were truly trying to hide from the English authorities.

However, the mystery of his true identity still remained, and it was clear that he was hiding from something in his past. The most likely possibility that Stiles considered was that Theophilus was actually Robert Whaley, a younger brother of Edward Whaley. Robert had served during the Civil War in the regiment of Commander Hacker, who was the commanding officer at the execution of King Charles I. Presumably, Robert participated in this event as a member of the regiment. At the time of the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Hacker was executed in retribution for his role in the regicide, so it was reasonable that others in the regiment would be fearful of arrest. Robert’s name disappears from English records at about the time of the restoration, and this is also the time when Theophilus appears in Virginia. So it has seemed quite possible to Stiles and to subsequent historians that Theophilus may have been Robert (Whaley, 1901). If he was involved in Charles I’s execution, he may have come to regret it later. His reference to himself as a “man of blood” who “ought to mortify himself” may suggest his participation and subsequent change of heart. Other participants in the regicide are known to have lived with this haunting sense of guilt that shadowed the rest of their lives.

Whatever Theophilus’s true identity, he was considered a good and pious person by his neighbors and children. Stiles (p. 352) referred to him as that “singular, good old man.”  He and his wife Elizabeth raised five children to adulthood, including Samuel, our direct ancestor. Theophilus spent the last years of his life “in solitude and without labor; yet his body and mind were sound to the last.” After the death of his wife, about 1715, he went to live with his daughter Martha in West Greenwich. He died between 1719 and 1722, probably in the latter year, at the remarkable age of 103 years. He was buried near the home on Hopkins Hill, it is said with military honors.

The graveyard on Hopkins Hill still exists. When William DeLoss Love visited it in the early 20th century, he reported that Whaley’s grave was “known but unmarked.” In 1992, a local historian, Howard Goldman (p. 32), reported that the cemetery was small and overgrown, surrounded by the remains of a stone wall, and contained ancient, rough cut stones on which the inscriptions had worn off. Goldman also noted the appearance of a commemorative stone to Whaley, of modern origin. This stone must have been placed somewhere between the early 20th century, when W. D. Love visited, and the early 1990s. There are no records showing who was responsible for placing the memorial there.

Theophilus Whale memorial stone

Theophilus Whale memorial stone

The memorial stone reads:

“Here was buried
Theophilus Whale
The singular good old man
Born in England about 1616
Died on this hill about 1720.

And his wife
Elizabeth Mills
Of Virginia

Their descendents endure
Even unto this day”

And so, fittingly, the Theophilus Whaley story ends with another mystery. Who placed this stone and why did they do it? It seems to be a testimony to our continuing fascination with this “singular, good old man.”


Map showing the Whaley home site and grave site near Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island

Map showing the Whaley home site and grave site near Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. (Stiles, p. 344a.)

Theophilus’s wife, Elizabeth, was born about 1645, probably in Virginia. We know nothing about her early life. In later years she signed legal documents with her mark, often a sign that the person could not write, so she may not have received much education as a girl. She married Theophilus in about 1670, in Virginia, when she was in her mid 20s. He was much older, being nearly 50. So far as we know, this was a first marriage for both of them. They had two daughters, and possibly two more children, while in Virginia, but in 1679-80 they moved to Rhode Island, where they raised a total of five children to adulthood. They lived very modestly. According to Dr. Stiles, Theophilus lived in “poverty and obscurity, and built himself a little under-ground hut in a high bank, or side hill, at the north end or head of the pond.” (p. 342).

Dr. Stiles, in interviews with descendants and acquaintances of the Whaleys, learned something of Elizabeth’s character. Judge Hopkins, a grandson, remembered his grandmother as a “smart tight little woman, a mighty doctress” [a woman with medical skills] (Stiles, p. 346.) Judge Hopkins also remembered that when the couple became old, Elizabeth used to “make long visits to her daughters. . . and leave the old man to shift for himself” (p. 348). One reason she might have done this comes from an anecdote from a neighbor who knew them well.

“The wife was a notable woman, a woman of high spirits, and often chastised her husband for his inattention to domestic concerns, and spending so much of his time in religion and contemplation, neglecting to repair and cover his house, which was worn out and become leaky and let in rain in heavy storms, which used to set her a storming at him. He used to endeavor to sooth her with placid mildness, and to calm her by observing in a storm, while the rain was beating in upon them, that then was not a time to repair it, and that they should learn to be contented, as it was better than sinners deserved, with other religious reflexions; and when the storm was over, and she urged him, he would calmly and humorously reply, it is now fair weather, and when it did not rain they did not want a better house.” (Stiles, p. 351)

Perhaps she stayed in the homes of her daughters because she wanted to be in a dry house. Elizabeth died in about 1715 and was buried near the church in Kingston, RI.

The Whaleys’ youngest child and only son was Samuel Whaley. Samuel’s granddaughter, Sarah Blanchard, married Sgt. Robert Love, the son of Adam and Mary Love, who were the subject of my last family report. From Sarah and Robert Love descended a series of male children, culminating in Olin Love, my grandfather.

Colonel Whalley's Residence

The Whaley home on Pettaquamscutt Pond (Updike, p. 352)

How you are related to Theophilus and Elizabeth Whaley

On your personal Ancestor Fan, go to the outermost ring and find Levi Love.  Then click here to open the Levi Love Ancestor FanTheophilus and Elizabeth Whaley are in the green section, fifth ring out.

Goldman, Howard A. “That Good Old Man – Whoever He Was.” Old Rhode Island, vol. 2, Issue 6. July, 1992. pp. 32-40.
Love, William De Loss. Love Family History. Unpublished Manuscript. New Haven, CT, 1918. P. 129.
Stiles, Ezra. A History of Three of the Judges of King Charles I. Major-General Whalley, Major-General Goffe, and Colonel Dixwell: Who at the Restoration of 1660, Fled to America; and were Secreted and Concealed, in Massachusetts and Connecticut, for Near Thirty Years. Hartford, CT: Printed by Elisha Babcock, 1794.
Updike, Wilkins. History of the Episcopal Church in Narragansett, RI. New York: H.M. Onderdonk, 1847. Picture of the Whaley home, p. 352.
Whaley, Rev. Samuel. English Record of the Whaley Family and Its Branches in America. Ithaca, N.Y: Andrus & Church, 1901).

ADAM (1697-1765) AND MARY (1702-1776) LOVE

blovdy tenent

Cover of Roger William’s pamphlet on the need for separation of religion from the government

Adam and Mary Love, who immigrated to America in about 1730 from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, represent the beginning of our Love ancestor line in the U.S. They settled in Rhode Island, where they established a farm and raised five children to maturity, including our ancestor, the Revolutionary War veteran, Sergeant Robert Love.

The Loves were Scotch Irish. Their ancestors were part of a large relocation program instituted by King James I of England. During the early seventeenth century, he encouraged Protestants from southern Scotland to settle in northern Ireland, in order to neutralize the rebellious Irish and to counter the power of the Roman Catholic church there. A hundred years later, these Scotch-Irish, or “Ulster Scots,” as they were called in England, were suffering economic hardship. Absentee English landlords aggressively pursued short-term economic returns on their Irish holdings with no regard for sustaining the productivity of the land. So, in the early eighteenth century, groups of these farmers organized themselves to immigrate to the new world.

Adam and Mary Love came to America in such a group, including Adam’s brother, Gabriel, his wife, and probably other neighbors and extended family members. They were young – in their late twenties or early thirties – and had their toddler age daughter, Elizabeth, with them. Mary was pregnant with her second child, our ancestor, Robert, who was born possibly on board the ship or soon after they arrived in America.

rhodeislandusrapTheir destination, Rhode Island colony, had been founded by Roger Williams a century earlier, and was known for its religious toleration and acceptance of a diverse array of immigrants. We don’t know if the Loves chose Rhode Island, or whether they wound up there because the neighboring colonies, Massachusetts and Connecticut, did not want them.  Those colonies welcomed only Puritans from England who wanted to live in a theocratic state – in other words, immigrants who were like the people who were already there. The Loves immigrated primarily for economic reasons, not because of religious persecution. But they were no doubt aware that freedom of conscience was the bedrock on which Rhode Island was founded.

The Loves settled in central Rhode Island, in the newly established town of Coventry, about twelve miles from the Connecticut border. Adam Love started out by working for an already-established farmer in Coventry.

A New England Kitchen

A New England Kitchen

Colonial Rhode Islanders taking produce to market

Colonial Rhode Islanders taking produce to market.  Some of their farm products would have been  sold in the colonies, and others would have been loaded on the ships seen in the background, to be transported to European markets.

By 1738 Adam and Mary had bought land and begun the back -breaking work of creating a farm. Typically, Rhode Island farmers produced apples, corn, onions, dairy products, and sheep for market as well as home use.

Adam and Mary raised to adulthood five children, three boys and two girls. When the boys were grown, their parents bought each of them a farm of their own, as was customary at the time.

Adam Love gravestone on right, Mary Love’s gravestone on left.

Adam Love gravestone on right, Mary Love’s gravestone on left.

Adam Love died in 1765. His gravestone still stands in a small cemetery just across the state line into Connecticut. His gravestone reads: “In the Memory of Mr. Adam Love who Deceased This Life Aug. 10, 1765. Aged 68 years. The sweet remembrance of the just shall flourish when he sleeps in dust.”

Mary Love lived for another ten years, residing mainly on the homestead farm. During that time she had the care of the infant daughter, Olive, of her son, Robert. In an account it appears that she made charges for board and care as follows: “To keeping, bording and finding your child clothes from the year 1760 to the year 1768 five shillings per week, 84 [pounds] 0 shillings, 0 pence. To fore years boarding and cloathing of your child at two shillings per week from the year 1768 to the year 1773, 20 [pounds] 16 shillings, 0 pence”, (McKillop, p. 29). It is hard to convert colonial money to the current day, but a comparison point is that Adam Love paid 2 pounds 10 shillings for a pair of shoes (McKillop, p. 27), the equivalent of two and a half months of board and care when the child was young. When Olive was eight or nine and old enough to help around the farm, the cost of her care was reduced by more than half.

Mary Love’s gravestone

Mary Love’s gravestone

Mary Love died at age 74 and was buried next to her husband. Her gravestone reads: “In Memory of Mrs Mary wife of Mr. Adam Love who Departed this Life Feb. 27, 1776 in ye 74th year of her age. In hope to sing without a sob, The anthem ever new, I gladly bid this dusty gloab And vein delights Adieu.”

Information about Mary‘s charges for boarding her granddaughter points to an interesting aspect of research on colonial ancestors. For Mary and Adam Love, we have records of several court actions, which have been preserved in Rhode Island since colonial times, but the records themselves don’t tell us the social and legal context within which these actions occurred. So we know, for example, that Adam and Mary were “warned out” of Coventry, RI, as potential vagrants soon after they arrived there. However, we have no context in the record itself for understanding this legal action. Our first conclusion might be that they were considered undesirable residents. However, colonial towns operated under the English Poor Law, which required them to care for town residents who became destitute. To get around this, towns commonly gave a “warning out” notice to newcomers, as a legal statement that these persons were not yet residents, and so not eligible for potential Poor Law benefits.

Similarly, we know what Adam Love paid for shoes because he was sued for non-payment, but once again we have no context. So we don’t know if he was trying to get away without paying the bill or if it was all a misunderstanding. The record of Mary‘s charges to her son for the care of his daughter also raises questions. Was this common practice at the time? Or possibly – my own theory – a legal record created so that when she died, the cost of board could be deducted from Robert’s share of the inheritance. Colonial legal records give us a window into colonial life, but also leave us with unanswerable questions.

How you are related to Adam and Mary Love

On your personal Ancestor Fan, go to Levi Love on the outermost ring.  Then click here to open the Levi Love Ancestor FanAdam and Mary Love are in the blue section, third ring out.

References for pictures of the graves.
Love, William DeLoss. Love Family History. Unpublished manuscript. Hartford, CT, about 1918.
Jones, Maldwyn. “Scotch-Irish.” In Thernstrom Stephan, ed. Harvard Encyclopedia of American Ethnic Groups. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA. 1980.
McKillop, Dorothy, and Love, Mary Anne. Love Family History. Unpublished manuscript, Seattle and Fairfax, VA.

THOMAS LEWIS (1628-1684)

Our Dutch ancestor, Thomas Lewis, was actually Scotch-Irish! He was born in Belfast but spent most of his life in New Amsterdam, a Dutch colony that later became New York City. He lived there during a turbulent period when the Dutch contested the territory with the Indians and the English. The Dutch founded New Amsterdam in 1626 when they purchased Manhattan Island from the Indians for 60 guilders, at about the same time that the Pilgrims were settling in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Dutch colony grew and by the late 1650s encompassed western Long Island as well. New Amsterdam was a thriving mercantile town with strong shipping and trading interests. The population consisted of immigrants from all over Europe, particularly Holland and Great Britain, and was known for its religious tolerance. In 1664 the English captured the Dutch colony in a surprise naval attack. The Dutch recaptured the colony in 1673, but in 1674 the English re-took the area, permanently naming it New York City.

New Amsterdam

New Amsterdam as it would have been viewed by Thomas Lewis, arriving from Holland on the Blue Dove, 1656.

17th century Dutch tile

a 17th century Dutch tile with a blue dove pattern.

Thomas Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, about 1628. He immigrated to Holland with two of his sisters to avoid Cromwell’s wars in Ireland. The sisters died in Holland while still young women, after which Thomas departed for New Amsterdam. He sailed in 1656, on a ship called the Blue Dove, owned by the Dutch West India Company. On the ship’s register, he is listed as a carpenter; the company paid his passage in exchange for which Thomas agreed to stay in New Amsterdam for at least three years and work as a carpenter.

Lewis thrived in New Amsterdam and is mentioned in many early records, where his last name is written in Dutch form as Lodowycksen or Lievens. He went first to Albany, where he served out his term as a carpenter. After working off his obligation to the Dutch West India Company, he left carpentry to become a mariner. He married Geesje Barnets, a descendant of Dutch immigrants, in about 1661, and in 1663 he moved to New Amsterdam with his wife and one child. It is through Geesje, and Dutch brides of subsequent male Lewis descendants, that we trace our Dutch ancestry.


Pictured: a sloop, developed by the Dutch in Bermuda, displaying its typical triangular sails. 17th c. woodcut.

Also in 1663, Thomas Lewis served in the second Esopus Indian War, a conflict between Dutch farmers in Ulster County, up the Hudson River from New Amsterdam, and the Esopus Indians. By now he owned a boat, called a sloop, with which he transported troops to the battle site. Governor Peter Stuyvesant also used the sloop as his headquarters during the war.

Thomas Lewis prospered in the shipping business. He travelled around the New York coast, and went at least as far south as Virginia, to bring tobacco back to New York. He seems to have lived a colorful and event-filled life New Amsterdam, which at the time was essentially a frontier town. Court records of 1665 that mention him (usually as Thomas Lodowycx) give a flavor of life at that time.

    • Lewis “states that he brought with him from the Virginias two hogsheads of tobacco for Mr. Petrus Stuyvesant, and that he will not receive them.” Lewis requested “that Mr. Stuyvesant’s wife shall be ordered to receive the same.”
Peter Stuyvesant

Current statue of Peter Stuyvesant, Governor of New Amsterdam, in New York City.

  • Lewis testified in court that “as he was proceeding with Abel Hardenbroeck and some women folk towards the Bouwery, he saw the defendant, Denys Isaacksen, draw the knife on the plaintiff, whom he pursued with many abusive and threatening words.”
  • He was called into court for having been “out playing on the 13th of the month, being Sunday, contrary to the Placard.” He admitted he had been, but as he was not aware of any ordinance to the contrary, he was excused.
  • On another court appearance that same day, “’Thomas Lodowycx, boatman’ stated that ‘when he went last to the South River he took an anker of brandy on freight from Capt Backer to deliver to Pieter de Rangiere.’ De Rangiere sent it back two hours later, saying it was half water. ‘He was thus obliged to bring the same back here, which he did and brought it back to said Backer, who refused to receive it, as he said, it was good brandy, which he himself brought on board. He requests therefore that the Court would order that he should do with it, inasmuch as he and all his crew will make oath, that the same was not adulterated by them.’” The court ordered him to pay Capt. Backer four beavers and costs for the brandy.
  • He sued Hendricx Coustrie for freight to the South River, some of which Coustrie accused him of “’recklessly throwing overboard.’ On Nov. 21st he accused Coustrie ‘of being a liar and a rogue, and undertook to prove it. . . The aforesaid Lodowyx was fined for his abusive words.’ On Dec. 12th he ‘says it occurred through haste: declares he knows nothing of the plaintiff but what is honourable and virtuous.’ But he was fined 25 florins nevertheless.”

These court records reflect the frontier atmosphere of commercial transactions at the time.  As the years went on, New York society became more stable and law-abiding.  In 1668 Thomas and Geesje Lewis bought a house on William Street, adjoining Hanover Square, where they lived for the rest of Thomas’s life. They joined the Dutch Reformed Church, where all their children were baptized, except the first, who had been born in Albany.

By the early 1670s, Lewis was becoming a prominent and well-established citizen. On a list of “’the best and most affluent inhabitants of this city’ appears the name Thomas Lewis, whose property is valued at 6,000 florins. Only 16 other inhabitants of the city rank higher in the list. This shows that Thomas Lewis, from a humble beginning as a carpenter, was able by his trade as ‘mariner’ to amass a considerable fortune. . . .He was appointed Alderman of NY City by Gov. Andros Oct. 17, 1675, and was re-appointed in 1680 and 1682. In 1675-76 he was appointed chairman of a committee to survey vacant land, and to have casting vote in case of tie, ‘wee having conceived a good opinion of the fitnesse and ability of Mr. Thomas Lewis, Alderman.’”

Although Thomas Lewis never returned to Belfast, he maintained contact with relatives there, and his oldest son, Lodowick, spent time there as a young man.

Thomas Lewis died Sept. 28, 1684. He left his widow, Geesje, and five children, Lodowick, Barent, Leonard (our ancestor), Catharine, and Thomas. After his death, his widow became a baker and lived with her daughter, Catharine. The exact date of her death is not known, but it was somewhere between 1720 and 1725. At the time of her death, all her children were also deceased except for our direct ancestor, Leonard.

Map of New Amsterdam, about 1660

Map of New Amsterdam, about 1660

We know quite a bit about our earliest Lewis ancestor to come to the New World, mainly from two journals: the New York Genealogical and Biological Record (Vol. LX, No. 2, New York, April, 1929), the source of all quoted material included here; and Lewisiana or the Lewis Letter, published in New York in the early 20th century.

Two mariners on a Bermuda sloop.  Dutch 17th c. tile.

Two mariners on a Bermuda sloop. Dutch 17th c. tile.

How you are related to Thomas and Geesje Lewis

On your personal Ancestor Fan, go to Adonijah Lewis, in the outermost ring.  Then, click here to open the Adonijah Lewis Ancestor Fan.  Thomas and Geesje Lewis are in the outermost ring.  Below is a brief biography of each person in the line of descent from Thomas and Geesje Lewis to present day Whitelaws.

Line of Descent – Thomas Lewis to Present Day Whitelaws

Thomas Lewis (b. 1628 Belfast, Ireland, d. 1684, New York City.) See above.

Col. Leonard Lewis (b. New Amsterdam, d. 1730, Poughkeepsie, New York). He followed his father’s footsteps as a merchant and community leader. In 1692 he served in an expedition against the French in Mohawk country. In 1696 he was elected alderman from the East Ward in New York City and served several terms. He was a member of the Colonial Assembly from New York County from 1699 to 1701. He became a large property owner, buying into the Hardenburg Patent that included parts of several counties in New York and was owned by his descendants for several generations. In 1710 he moved to Poughkeepsie, and represented Dutchess County in the Colonial Assembly from 1713-1726. He was a judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He married Elizabeth Hardenbergh (b. about 1668, Albany, NY), of Dutch descent, in 1688 in Albany. They had eleven children.

Leonard Lewis (b. about 1707, Poughkeepsie, NY, d. about 1759). He married Rachel Swarthout, of Dutch descent, in 1747, with whom he had three children. He died before his mother, and therefore did not inherit any of the property left by his wealthy father, and was unable to leave an inheritance for his children.

Corporal Leonard Lewis (b. about 1748, in NY, d. in 1817). He resided in Lewisburgh, Ulster County, across the Hudson from Poughkeepsie. He enlisted in the Revolutionary army in 1778, and served with General Washington at Valley Forge and elsewhere. He served for nine months and was promoted to Corporal. His service record and line of descent to us is verified in the records of the Daughters of the American Revolution. He married Hannah (surname unknown) in 1766, in Lewisburgh. They had four children.

Adonijah Lewis (b. about 1780, Lewisburgh, NY, d. 1839, Plattekill, NY.) He was a farmer. He married Huldah Nye (B. 1781, Mass., d. after 1850, Hartland, Livingston, MI) in 1803 in New York. The couple had ten children. Huldah descended from the Nyes of Sandwich, Massachusetts, about whom I have written in an earlier post. Adonijah wrote an extensive will, listing all his household and farm equipment, which still exists in Ulster County Probate Court records. After his death, his widow, Huldah, moved to Michigan with her younger children, where she joined her older children who had moved there earlier.

Adna Lewis (b. 1820, New York, d. 1884, Burlington, Calhoun, MI). Adna, a farmer, married Rachel Freer (b. 1823, New Paltz, NY, d. 1920, Athens, Calhoun, MI). They immigrated to Michigan in 1850, living first on a farm near Lansing and then to Burlington, in south western Michigan. The couple had six children.

Hanna Lewis Love (b. 1854, Hartland Township, MI, d. 1946, Los Angeles, CA.) Hannah spent her childhood on her father’s farm in Burlington, Michigan. She married George Love (b. 1850, MI, d. 1918, Turlock, CA) in 1874, in Calhoun County, Michigan, where they ran a farm. They immigrated to Woodburn, Oregon in about 1905 with four of their five children, all adults. In about 1912 the family immigrated to Livingston, California. After George’s death in 1918, Hannah lived near her children in Los Angeles and Livingston.

Olin Love (b. 1886, Burlington, MI, d. 1930, Portland, OR). He was raised in Michigan and moved to Woodburn as a young man. He married Mabel Goulet (b. 1889, Woodburn, OR, d. 1963, Portland, OR) in 1910 in Woodburn, and they had one child. He worked mainly as a travelling salesman in Oregon, Washington, and California for a stock feed company. He died unexpectedly from complications resulting from ulcer surgery.

Alvis Love Whitelaw (b 1911, Woodburn, OR, d. 1997, Royal Oak, MI.) She married John Whitelaw (b. 1911, Lawrence, KS, d. 1974, Portland, OR) in 1938 in Salem, Oregon. She lived most of her life in Portland, Oregon, and worked as a social worker in Portland. Before marriage and again when in her 60s she worked for the state public welfare department as an administrator and consultant to counties all over the state. She and John had three children. In her later retirement years, she moved to Michigan to be near her daughters.

John (b. 1939, Portland, OR), Susan (b. 1942, Portland, OR), and Nancy (b. 1947, Portland, OR) Whitelaw