Ragtime Composer (Cousin) Percy Wenrich. 52 Ancestors – Week 5 and February Theme – Branching Out

The theme for February 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is Branching Out.

One way to take this week and month’s theme of branching out is to write about collateral relatives – those that share the same family descent as me but by a different line. I have many historical and famous kin that descend from collateral lines, but I chose to write about my lesser-known Cousin Percy Wenrich. He is my fourth cousin, three times removed. Meaning that he and my great-grandfather Abraham G. Kennedy were direct fourth cousins. We share ancestors Johann Matthias Wenrich (Weinrich) and Judith Schauer.

Although today most-likely only those that are fans of ragtime music or study music of this time period would recognize his name. He and his wife Dolly Connolly were Ragtime superstars in their own time! Actually, Percy Wenrich was a quite well-known composer of Ragtime and popular music of the time. When I discovered my kinship to him, I sought out his music. I am a fan of Ragtime music and remember playing Ragtime songs on the piano from the film The Sting. I have to say that I truly am a fan of his and I have a playlist devoted to the music of Percy Wenrich.

Perry Wenrich – 1910

Percy Wenrich was born on 23 January 1887 in Joplin, Missouri. He was later known as the “The Joplin Kid” due to his links to Joplin.

He was the son of Daniel K. Wenrich and Mary L. Ray. He came from a musical family. His father Daniel “according to a 1912 [Jopin] Globe article, [he was known] for his musical ability as a quartet singer and “composer of campaign songs in the days of President William McKinley.” Percy’s mother, Mary, was an accomplished pianist and organist and his first teacher.” (1)

Percy published his first piece, titled “L’Inconnu,” in 1897 when he was 17. He had a thousand copies printed, which he sold one at a time in the district. While he was busy working up music, he was employed as an assistant postal clerk by his father. He also performed for friends at the YMCA at 418 Main St. [Joplin, Missouri] in 1901. Young Percy began writing his own melodies for which his father provided lyrics. Many of these songs were used locally at political rallies and conventions. He continued to be interested in music and enrolled in the Chicago Musical College to be trained as a “serious” musician. Chicago Musical College was run by Florenz Ziegfield, Sr., the father of the Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. He continued his efforts in writing popular song and while in Chicago, succeeded in having two of his works published, Ashy Africa and Just Because I’m From Missouri. Interestingly perhaps, both titles were suggested to him by Frank Buck, a Chicago music publisher who went on to become a famous producer of African travel and adventure films. While in Chicago, he worked for McKinley Music Company writing melodies for lyrics sent to McKinley. He composed various works including waltzes, songs, intermezzi and rags. He also worked in a Milwaukee department store’s music department where he published another song, Under A Tropical Moon. He later noted that working in the department store kept him from working in “the district” — an area that was home to many brothels. (1, 2)

His first best-seller without lyrics was “The Smiler,” published in 1907. He subtitled it “A Joplin Rag” in honor of his hometown. As I write this, I am currently listening to “The Smiler” as played by Sue Keller below.

He met his wife Catherine Ann “Dolly” Connolly, a vaudeville singer, in 1905, and a year later they wed. Dolly lists her place of birth as Chicago, Illinois and Michigan in various records, but she was actually born in County Caven, Ireland. Percy and Dolly toured as a vaudeville song and dance act for fifteen years.

Dolly was considered by many to be the “most beautiful of the famous ragtime singers and had marked out a steady career for herself in vaudeville when she met up and coming composer and accompanist Percy Wenrich, a handsome but rather shy and nerdy fellow who became a pop music genius. The unlikely couple hit it off instantly and became inseparable, living as well as touring together and Wenrich began to write music for her including the 1911 mega-hit Red Rose Rag which became one of Dolly’s signature songs along with Alamo Rag, also written by Wenrich.” (3)

“As many successful songwriters did during that time, Wenrich teamed up with Homer Howard to form his own music publishing house, the Wenrich-Howard Company. Together they published a number of his songs, including, Kentucky Days, Whipped Cream Rag and Snow Deer in 1913. Within only a year, Wenrich gave up the publishing business as it was taking him away from song writing and performing. So, in 1914, he gave it up to devote all of his time to composing and performing with Dolly in vaudeville. He connected with Leo Feist that year as his publisher and that same year he scored what may be his greatest hit of all time, When You Wore A Tulip And I Wore A Big Red Rose. For several years, perhaps fifteen or so, Connolly and Wenrich toured vaudeville singing mostly his songs. Connolly’s success also carried over to recording and she became a huge star recording songs for Columbia.” (2)

Dolly Connolly

“Dolly had a contralto voice which allowed her to go down for some rather low notes while still having considerable power and she also possessed a wide vocal range. She could sing melodies precisely and exactly on pitch which was essential for vocal versions of rags. She didn’t impose too much emotion in her songs and never did scat singing or even fairly simple deviations from the melody but preferred to sing the music as written, especially when written by her husband who was writing for her range and vocal character.

She also was stunningly beautiful and always dressed in the latest, most elaborate fashions of the time, similar to a Ziegfeld star such as Lillian Lorraine and was not above posing in a saucy manner smoking a cigarette and hiking up her skirt to show off a little leg. After her marriage to Wenrich she continued her career and actually expanded it as her fame grew and she and her husband became a major vaudeville attraction as either he or she or both put out hit after hit. In 1912 Wenrich and lyricist Edward Madden put out Moonlight Bay, which was an enormous hit and made the Connolly-Wenrich team an even bigger attraction in vaudeville.” (3)

The [Joplin] Globe reprinted a Chicago Tribune review of their act from Aug. 27, 1912. “Seated idly at the piano at the Majestic this week is Mr. Percy Wenrich, a plump and pleasing young fellow who plays with great expression and effect the melodies of his own composition. These works include such musical necessities as ‘Moonlight Bay’ and ‘Put on Your Old Gray Bonnet,’ ‘The Skeleton Rag’ and ‘Rainbow,’ to say nothing of a score of other sentimental tunes, which insist on being whistled. (1)

“Just back of Mr. Wenrich and the piano is Miss Dolly Connolly, an expert at the rhythmical rendition of Mr. Wenrich’s ballads. She sings most attractively while Mr. Wenrich helps out with the chords and both of them do about all that can be done for minor music. Ere the act is over, and while Miss Connolly is making one of her bewildering changes of costume, Mr. Wenrich plays a segment from each of his most popular ditties. Whereupon those in the audience applaud their favorites and Mr. Wenrich smiles benignly like a benefactor, which he probably is.” (1)

In the 1920s Percy devoted himself to creating and contributing to Broadway shows both with and without Dolly with some success, the operetta Some Party, a strong performer in 1925 but without Dolly in the cast. Although Dolly had a successful career with Columbia Records and was  continuing in vaudeville, her star had faded by the later 1920s (although she and Percy toured in vaudeville up to 1929 and Dolly and Percy hit Broadway with several shows in which she starred with mild success) with changing musical tastes and Percy also retired from composing and performing in the 1930s, apparently to care for Dolly who suffered from an undisclosed illness, apparently Alzheimer’s Disease, which caused Percy at first to limit their theatrical and radio performances and then to confine her to a sanitarium in 1947 where she stayed until his death in 1952.  In 1939 Percy had put together a revue featuring classic songwriters which was called Songwriters on Parade but that seems to be his last venture into major entertainment. Dolly lived with her sister until her death in 1965 at age 77, by that time long forgotten by the general public.” (3)

A few more facts about Percy Wenrich: He was the founding member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. And he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.

My great-grandfather Abraham G. Kennedy with his mother, my great-great grandmother, Susan Palmer Kennedy – 1922.

Side note: My great-grandfather Abraham G. “Abe” Kennedy worked many years as a public-school teacher, then as a principal. But after he retired, he worked in a music store and a piano store. He was musical and I truly believe he would have enjoyed knowing that he and Percy Wenrich were cousins and shared an affinity for music. In the photo above is Abe with his mother Susan Palmer Kennedy. Susan would have been a direct third cousin to Percy Wenrich’s father Daniel K. Wenrich.

Percy Wenrich’s direct line:

  1. Johann Matthias Wenrich (son of Balthazar Wenrich/Weinrich and Maria Elisabeth Magdalena ____) and Judith Schauer (daughter of Johannes Michael Schauer and Anna Magdalena ____).
  2. Matthias Wenrich and Eva Ephrosina “Rosine” Schauer (daughter of Johann Hans Michael Schauer and Elisabeth Catharina Lauck/Laux).
  3. Thomas Wenrich and Anna Margaretha Lingle (daughter of Thomas H. Lingle, Sr. and Anna Mary Feggen).
  4. David Wenrich and Catherine Kinports (daughter of John Kinports and Barbara Huber).
  5. David K. Wenrich and Mary L. Ray (daughter of William Ray and Elizabeth Jane Rodgers).
  6. Percy Wenrich.

My direct line:

  1. Johann Matthias Wenrich (son of son of Balthazar Wenrich/Weinrich and Maria Elisabeth Magdalena ____) and Judith Schauer (daughter of Johannes Michael Schauer and Anna Magdalena ____).
  2. Maria Esther Wenrich and Johann Jacob Spatz (son of Lorentz Spatz and Anna Maria Kirchenbauer)
  3. David Spatz and Hannah Hafer (daughter of Andrew Hafer and Elizabeth (Mary Elizabeth) Druckenmiller).
  4. Mary Ann Spotts and John Palmer (son of Floyd Palmer and Barbara Wolf).
  5. Susan Palmer and John Davis Kennedy (son of John Kennedy and Jane Williams).
  6. Abraham G. Kennedy and Mary Elizabeth Price (daughter of James Price and Julia Ann Mateer/Meteer). My great-grandparents.

I thought as an ending note that I’d include below one of my favorites by Percy Wenrich “Peaches and Cream”.

Peaces and Cream by Cousin Percy Wenrich.


  1. Bill Caldwell: Ragtime composer Percy Wenrich was known as ‘The Joplin Kid’ – Bill Caldwell, The Joplin Globe online.
  2. Percy Wenrich – “The Joplin Kid” – Composer Biographies – The Parlor Songs Academy website.
  3. Dolly Connolly and Percy Wenrich: Ragtime Superstars by David Soren – The American Vaudeville Musem & UA Collection – The University of Arizona.

If you’d like to learn more about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project, please visit here:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Or join the Facebook group Generations Cafe.

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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My Greatsinger (Gretzinger) and Bonnett ancestors of Berlin, Germany

Jerusalem Chapel

My Greatsinger (Gretzinger) and Bonnett ancestors are through my great x3 Grandmother Hannah Elizabeth Kritsinger/Greatsinger (she married David Prindle, Sr.).

Her grandfather was Johann Christian Gretzinger (Greatsinger), he was the son of Johann Jacob Gretzinger and Loisa (Louisa) Antoneta Bonnett, he was baptized 17 Jun 1729 in the Jerusalem Chapel (Church of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel) in Berlin Stadt, Brandenburg, Prussia, Germany.

Loisa (Louia) Antoneta Bonnett was the daughter of Johann Frantz Bonnet and Anna Dorothea Strelmer / Steiner.

Johann Frantz Bonnett is listed in German church records as Johann Franciscus Bonnet, Johann Frantz Bonet, Frantz Bonet, and with surname listed as both Bonnet and Bonnetts. On his marriage record his father is listed as Johann Bonnet.

History of the religious affiliation of the Jerusalem Church: United Protestant since its reconstruction in 1968, originally Roman Catholic, Lutheran from 1539 until deserted in the Thirty Years War, Calvinist (1658–1662), the Calvinists and Lutherans shared the church (1682–1830), Evangelical Protestant (1830–1941), Romanian Orthodox (1944–1945), then destroyed. (5)

Photo postcard of the Jerusalem Chapel taken in 1906.

Bonnet Name Meaning

French: from the medieval personal name Bonettus, a diminutive of Latin bonus ‘good’. French: occasionally, a Gascon variant of Bonneau. English and French: metonymic occupational name for a milliner, or a nickname for a wearer of unusual headgear, from Middle English bonet, Old French bon(n)et ‘bonnet’, ‘hat’. This word is found in medieval Latin as abonnis, but is of unknown origin. In Germany the name was borne by Waldensians, of French origin. (1)

My Bonnet ancestors are found in church records of the Evangelical Lutheran church in Berlin. But the surname has its origins in France and most with the surname Bonnet in Germany were originally Waldensians from France that came to Germany.

Gretzinger Name Meaning

One source states the Gretzinger surname means someone from any of the three places named Grötzingen (Old High German Grezzingun) in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Another source states it is a Swedish and German surname that was a locational name for a dweller on a pebbly or sandstone piece of land, one who came from Gresse in Germany.  (2 & 3) The name could also be related to the surname Kritzinger which originally was Kreutzinger and meaning “Living near the Cross” in German.

Johann Christian Gretzinger (Greatsinger) emigrated to the American Colonies before 1760 and settled in Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey. He married first before 1760 to Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer, she may have been the daughter of Emanuel Palmer/Parmer. Most of his older children’s baptism records are found there in the Dutch Reformed Church Records in Freehold, New Jersey. He migrated to Ulster County, New York by 1774. After the death of his first wife, he marries second to Susannah Myers in Ulster County, New York.

Children of Johann Christian Greatsinger (Gretzinger) with first wife Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer:

  1. Catherina (Catrina) Greatsinger/Kritsinger, she married Johannes John Deyo
  2. John (Johann) Greatsinger/Kritsinger, he married Lea Litts
  3. Stephenus/Stephen Greatsinger, he married Deborah Litts
  4. Susannah M. Greatsinger/Kritsinger, she married Benjamin Deyo
  5. Maria Polly Greatsinger, she married Daniel Litts
  6. Sarah Greatsinger, she married Isaac Sluyter
  7. Anna Greatsinger, she married Ezekiel Rhodes
  8. Eleanor Greatsinger, she married Johannes John Litz/Letts (Litts)

As you can see, many of the Greatsinger siblings married into the same Litts family, two married into the same Deyo family. One married into the Sluyter family, this is same Sluyter family that I am also descended from, for my ancestor Lea Litts mother’s maiden name was Sluyter (see below).

Children of Johann Christian Greatsinter (Gretzinger) with second wife Susannah Myers:

  1. Rev. Christan Greatsinger, he married Anna Mariah Smith
  2. William Greatsinger, he married Phebe Spencer

I am a DNA match to over 50 people that are all descendants of Christian (Johann Christian) Greatsinger and his two wives. That number does not include my 3rd and 4th cousins that share David Prindle, Sr. and Hannah Elizabeth Greatsinger/Kritsinger or Daniel Prindle and Sarah Jane “Jennie” Doman as ancestors!

My direct ancestor is John (Johannes) Greatsinger, the son of Johann Christian Greatzinger (Greatsinger) and Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer. He was baptized 30 Apr 1764 in the Dutch Reformed Church in Freehold, Monmouth, New Jersey. I have not been able to find his marriage record yet, but he married Lea Litts, the daughter of Roelof Lits/Litts/Litz and Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter.

My Litz ancestors came early to America most likely from Germany, although the surname is found to a lesser degree in the Netherlands as well. Roelof Lits/Litts/Litz was the son of Daniel Litz/Letts/Litts and Femmetje Clerk/Klerk. The parentage of Daniel Litts is unproven, although some list him as the son of Johannes Litz who came from Wannweil, Württemberg, Germany.

Femmetje Clerk/Klerk was the daughter of Willem Klerk/Clerk and Hilletje Vanderbilt. There are those that say Willem Clerk was the son of William Clerke of Leicester, Leics, England who died in Virginia and Mary Spenser. This is highly unlikely. Clerck is a Dutch surname, often found as De Clerck. He married Hilletje Vanderbilt, a woman of obvious Dutch ancestry, in the Dutch Reformed Church in Kingston, Ulster County, New York on 25 Aug 1698. The baptism records of their children are found in the same church records.

Roelof Litts married Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter, the daughter of Edward Sluyter (Sluiter) and Lea Van Schuyven. Both the Sluyter and Van Schuyven families were from the Netherlands. The name Roelof is a given name of Dutch origin, it is the Dutch cognate of Rudolph. (3)

You may read more about my Dutch ancestors related to my ancestors Edward Sluyter and Lea Van Schuyven here: My Dutch Gardenier (Flodder) Ancestors and Related Lines. And Cousin Hannah Hoes Van Buren (wife of Pres. Van Buren).

My direct line:

Pictured is my great-grandmother Anna “Cora” Prindle Cole.
  1. Johann Jacob Gretzinger and Loisa (Louisa) Antoneta Bonnett (daughter of Johann Frantz Bonnet and Dorothy Strelmer/Steiner).
  2. Johann Christian Greatsinger and Anne (Antje) Palmer/Parmer (possibly the daughter of Emanuel Palmer/Parmer).
  3. John (Johann) Kristinger/Greatsinger and Lea Litts (daughter of Roelof Litts and Sarah Annatje (Zara) Sluyter).
  4. Hannah Elizabeth Greatsinger/Kritsinger and David M. Prindle, Sr. (son of Amos Prindle and Esther Canfield).
  5. Daniel Prindle and Sarah Jane “Jennie” Doman (daughter of Jacob (John Jacob) Doman and Mary Ann Chamberlain).
  6. Anna “Cora” Prindle and Joseph Edward Cole (son of Lorin Richard Cole and Nancy M. Losure). My great-grandparents.

I will be writing in the future in more detail about the life of my Greatsinger and Litts ancestors in America.


  1. Bonnet Name Meaning – Ancestry.com
  2. Gretzinger Name Meaning – Ancestry.com
  3. Gretzinger Surname Meaning
  4. Origins of the Given Name Roelof
  5. Rabe Family Genealogy Blog

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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My Ancestor William Durkee – First Irish Catholic to settle in Massachusetts

This week in 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, the prompt is “Favorite Find” – there are so many stories, photos, and other finds that I could use for this week, but I am deciding to re-blog my post about my ancestor William Durkee, the first Irish Catholic to settle in Massachusetts. He is one of my favorite finds. His courtship and marriage to Martha Cross, the daughter of the quite litigious and very Protestant Robert Cross, are chronicled in detail in Essex County, Massachusetts court records, which includes facts, hearsay, and lots of gossip as testimony!

Anna's Musings & Writings

My more recent immigrant ancestors were from in and around Gort and Peterswell Parish in Galway, Ireland, and from Klingenmünster in the Südliche Weinstraße(Southwest Wine Route) district in Germany. I have to go back an additional eighty-five years to find my next immigrant ancestors, they were Kennedy and Murray Scots-Irish that came to British Colonial America about 1770 from Ballintoy, Antrim, Ireland. I do have a few German ancestors that came from Germany in the 1750’s. And I have several additional German ancestors that came to British Colonial America via England in 1710. The English transported nearly 3,000 German Palatines in ten ships to New York in 1710. However, I have a huge amount of Colonial American ancestors that were here even earlier, including a few Mayflower Pilgrims. Although many of my Colonial ancestors were from England, I also have some that were from Scotland, Wales, Germany, The Netherlands, France…

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 1. Foundations. Fahy/ Fahey Ancestors.

I took a few weeks off from my 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blog posts. I was quite busy working and volunteering for The Salvation Army during the latter part of December. So, I am now beginning again now that it is a new year and new prompts. This year we have more options, we have a theme each month and prompts each week. For January, the theme is Foundations. Also, this first week of January the prompt is also the word Foundations. Additional information about this week’s prompt: “Some ways you might interpret this include focusing on the person who sparked your interest in family history, a builder in your family tree, or the person who is the bedrock of your family.

I spent quite a bit of time going through all the surnames of my direct ancestors in my family trees (a daunting task!) looking up the meanings of each surname that I had not done this prior. I got to the letter “f” and to the surname Fahey/Fahey (Fay), and I realized that I should have thought of it right away, I already knew that the meaning of the surname is related to the word FOUNDATION!

Graphic from Irish Origenes

The surname Fahy/Fahey is Irish and is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Ó Fathaidh or Ó Fathaigh meaning ‘descendant of Fathadh’, which is a personal name derived from fothadh ‘base’, ‘foundation’. This name is sometimes Anglicized as Green(e) as a result of erroneous association with faithche ‘lawn’. (1 & 2)

The name still has a very strong association with County Galway, Ireland, where the historic homeland was situated. The area of the family’s power was around the modern town of Loughrea in the south of the county, and they retained their property in the region until the catastrophe of the seventeenth century. The surname is still most plentiful in this area, despite the upheavals and migrations which have spread the name quite widely throughout Ireland. (2)

Interesting to listen below as to how the surname Fahey/Fahy is pronounced in Irish, whereas in American English it came to be pronounced Fay-He thus why my ancestor, eventually after several decades in America, dropped the ‘h’ and began spelling his surname as Fay.

The words base and foundation refer to anything upon which a structure is built and upon which it rests, the basis or groundwork, the act of founding, setting up, establishing. My ancestor Daniel Wolfetone Fahey/Fahy (Fay) and his kin were certainly our Irish foundation ancestors here in America.

For more information about my Fahy/Fahey ancestors and related lines, I have provided links below to a few other blog entries that I have written about my paternal Irish family.

Strength. My Irish Ancestor Daniel Wolfetone Fahey/Fahy (Fay) from County Galway, Ireland.

My ☘️ Irish ☘️ Joynt and Larkin Ancestors from Galway and Clare. Related Irish lines: Fahy/Fahey, O’Donnell, Nestor, Hanberry/Hansberry.


  1. Fahey Name Meaning – Ancestry.com
  2. Fahey surname history

If you’d like to learn more about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project, please visit here:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Or join the Facebook group Generations Cafe.

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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Rosa Mystica. A Christmas Ghazal Poem.

Rosa Mystica

Rosa Mystica
a fragrant secret upon the mouth of God.

Hildegard Von Bingen
Your praises echoed from her saintly lips.

A Rose among thorns
Heavenly chants of medieval monks fill the air.

Garden of God
Your divine place of sweet refrain; rest in the arms of your beloved.

Opening of the sacred petals
The breath of God sighing deeply into your barrenness; a cloistered garden of divinity.

Round Yon Virgin
Mysterious fertility within thy consecrated womb.

Fruit ripens on the blessed vine
The shoots of the stalk of Jesse break into the world.

Rosa Mystica
Awaited Messiah cradled in your loving arms.

Anna A. Kasper – Copyright 2004

The Christmas poem Rosa Mystica found above is one I wrote for a college Creative Writing class. It’s a Ghazal style poem which is an ancient form of poetry from India and Persia. The subject matter is usually mystical spirituality or mystical sensuality. I did receive an A+ for my writings in this course. The professor told me I have a natural gift for writing Ghazal style poetry, and that I understand the form on a mystical level, something he stated that not everyone does. Recently, I studied Ghazal style poetry again when the subject was found in my World Religions course that I completed at Phillips Theological Seminary last fall. 

The history and origins of the Virgin Mary being called Rosa Mystica (Mystical Rose):

In the 5th century she was first called a “rose among thorns” to express Mary’s purity and the fragrance of her grace. In Medieval times she was called rosa mystica or the mystical rose coming from the verse of Sirach 24:14: “like a palm tree in Engedi, like a rosebush in Jericho” which makes reference to God graced fertility and growth, and a reference to the mysterious generation of Christ from the womb of Mary.

The Biblical source of the title is also found in the Song of Songs 2:1, often translated, “I am the Rose of Sharon“. Bishop Robert C. Morlino draws a connection to Isaiah 11:1, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” This is also reflected in the German Advent hymn Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, known in English as “”Lo, how a rose e’er blooming”, which makes reference to the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah which in Christian interpretation foretell the Incarnation of Christ, and to the Tree of Jesse, a traditional symbol of the lineage of Jesus.

Christmas Blessings to all!

Nana Mouskouri – Es is ein Ros entsprungen

Lyrics to Es is ein Ros entsprungen (It is a rose sprung up) in English:

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

A rose has sprung up,
from a tender root.
As the old ones sang to us,
Its lineage was from Jesse.
And it has brought forth a floweret
In the middle of the cold winter
Well at half the night.

The rosebud that I mean,
Of which Isaiah told
Is Mary, the pure,
Who brought us the floweret.
At God’s immortal word,
She has borne a child
Remaining a pure maid.
or: Who makes us blessed.

The floweret, so small
That smells so sweet to us
With its clear light
Dispels the darkness.
True man and true God!
He helps us from all trouble,
Saves us from sin and death.


  1. Mary, the Mystical Rose, is link to God – Madison Catholic Herald
  2. Journey into the Heart of God: Living the Liturgical Year – Philip H. Pfatteicher – Google Books
  3. Rosa Mystica – Wikipedia
  4. Mystical Rose (piercedhearts.org)

Rosa Mystica poem is © Anna A. Kasper 2004. If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 48: Strength. My Irish Ancestor Daniel Wolfetone Fahey (Fay) from County Galway, Ireland.

The writing prompt this week is strength. “Strength comes in many forms. It can be physical, but it can also be emotional or spiritual. What ancestor has demonstrated strength?” To me strength does indeed take on more than one form. The hardships many of my ancestors endured are countless. But this week I going to discuss some aspects of the hardships in the early life of my Irish ancestor Daniel Wolfetone Fahey (Fay) including famine and loss, and the strength required to endure these hardships.

My great-great grandfather Daniel Wolfetone Fahey (Fay)

My great-great grandfather Daniel Wolfetone Fahey (Fay) was born 1 April 1833 in Mountbellew, in County Galway, Ireland. (In various records at various times, he gives his year of birth between 1831 to 1839 but based on his obituary it appears it was closer to 1833). He was the son of Thomas Fahey and Anna “Annie’ Joynt. His father was from Peterswell Parish in Galway, and his mother from Shanaglish (near Gort) with links just over into County Clare. His older siblings were born near Gort. The family appears to have gone up to Mountbellew possibly for work. I do have some remote DNA matches to those from the areas in and around Mountbellew, but the majority of my paternal Irish related Fahey/Fahy DNA matches are to those originally from Peterswell Parish and from in and around Gort.

How many years the family stayed in Mountbellew I am not sure, but his brother, who was only a few years younger than him, Michael Fahey stayed in the Mountbellew area before migrating to Roscommon. Whereas his sister Mary Fahey, who along with Michael and their sister Honora, stayed in Ireland, lived near Gort. Mary married Edward Flannery. Honora Fahey married Daniel Kearns, and they lived in Peterswell Parish.

Most people in America with Irish ancestors are familiar with the horrific tragedy of the Irish Potato Famine years. The Great Famine (Irish: an Gorta Mór) also known as the Great Hunger, the Famine (mostly within Ireland) or the Irish Potato Famine (mostly outside Ireland) was a period of mass starvation and disease in Ireland from 1845 to 1852. With the most severely affected areas in the west and south of Ireland, where the Irish language was dominant, the period was contemporaneously known in Irish as an Drochshaol, loosely translated as “the hard times” (or literally “the bad life”). The worst year of the period was 1847, known as “Black ’47”. During the Great Hunger, about 1 million people died and more than a million fled the country, causing the country’s population to fall by 20–25%, in some towns falling as much as 67% between 1841 and 1851. Between 1845 and 1855, no fewer than 2.1 million people left Ireland, primarily on packet ships but also steamboats and barks—one of the greatest mass exoduses from a single island in history. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6).

Sadly, I have not been able to locate my Fahey/Fahy ancestors, as a family unit, in ship records. But we know they came into America via Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My Dan Fahey/Fahy gives his year of immigration as: 1850 and 1853. I do find a Danl Fahey that departed via Liverpool, England and arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the ship Wyoming on 13 June 1853. This Danl Fahey is listed as aged 18 and born in 1835 and is not listed with family. His brother Thomas Fahey settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and married Mary Mooney. Thomas lists his year of arrival, in the one census record it was recorded, as 1847. I do find a Thomas Fahey arriving via Liverpool, England into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the ship Beatrice on 8 July 1851. This Thomas is listed as being aged 23 and born in 1828 and is not listed with family members.

Are the two single men listed on these two separate ships my Fahey ancestor and kin? I cannot know for sure. The story that my ancestor Dan Fahey/Fahy told was that the family came together on the ship from Ireland to the USA. Shortly after the family had settled in Pennsylvania his parents were killed by a team of run-away horses. It appears at least one younger sibling was killed as well. I have been unable to locate any newspaper articles about this accident. Did it happen in Philadelphia as the story was relayed? If so, then maybe in such a big city with so many recent immigrants, the story would not have been deemed worthy to include in the newspaper. I have been unable to locate where they are buried. Sadly, they may have been buried in a Potter’s Field cemetery where those without means would have been buried, and sometimes those records were lost, also fires destroyed many vital records. I do not find Daniel, his brother Thomas, their siblings, or their parents in the 1850 Census. This leads me to believe the earliest they arrived in the USA was in 1850, arriving too late in the year to be included in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census. Or they arrived a bit later between 1851-1853.

He stated later in life that his siblings were scattered after the death of their parents, and he being old enough to take care of himself, migrated after the death of his parents to Louisville, Kentucky. I have been able to piece together that he came to Louisville because his uncle Michael Francis Fahey was most likely already living there with his wife and family, or Dan traveled together with his uncle and his family, and they arrived in Kentucky together. Michael had a child born in Gort, Ireland in 1850 and the next known child was born in Louisville in 1855. Michael Francis Fahey married about 1838 in or near Gort, Galway, Ireland to Bridget Keeley. Between 1842 and 1850 we know that three of his children were born in Gort.

Among Dan’s cousins, the children of Michael Francis Fahey, was a Bridget Fahey. More than fifty-five years later, when cousins Dan Fahey/Fahy and Bridget Fahey Ethell were well into old age, and both widowed, they did marry. But that is a story for a future blog entry.

Daniel lost touch with most of his siblings. We know he was in contact with a brother that went to Canada. DNA has shown that the brother that went to Canada was named John Patrick Fahey. DNA has also shown strong links to his siblings that stayed in Ireland (although in most cases, the descendants of these siblings that stayed in Ireland came to the USA within the next few generations, with a few going to Australia). He had an older brother Patrick Fahey who went to Vermillion, Minnesota. He had brothers named James “Jim” Fay and Robert Fay that did come to the USA, but nothing more is known about them.

My branch of the Fahy/Fahey family used the spelling Fahey and Fahy in various records in the U.S. for some decades before they dropped the ‘h’, and it slowly became Fay.

I cannot imagine what it would have been like to live in Ireland during The Great Famine. Or needing to flee your homeland due to starvation. And after making it to America, after a long, difficult voyage on a ship, only to have your parents and at least one of your siblings killed in an accident only a short time later. Then to pick yourself up and migrate 672 miles to Louisville! I must say that my great-great grandfather had great fortitude and strength. I can only hope that I inherited some of those quite worthy traits from him.


  1. Great Famine (Ireland) – Wikipedia
  2. Kinealy, Christine (1994), This Great Calamity. The Irish Famine 1845-52, Gill & Macmillan.
  3. The great famine | dúchas.ie (duchas.ie).
  4. An Gorta Mór – the impact and legacy of the Great Irish Famine Lecture delivered by Mr. Éamon Ó Cuív, TD, Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, at St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, Canada, on Friday 8 May 2009.
  5. Ross, David (2002), Ireland: History of a Nation, New Lanark: Geddes & Grosset.
  6. Reconciling generations of secrets and separations (irishcentral.com).

If you’d like to learn more about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project, please visit here:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. Week 47: Thankful. DNA, Genealogy Sites, and finding long-lost cousins.

Week 47: Thankful

This week’s prompt for 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is Thankful. “Is there an ancestor you’re especially thankful that you found or a story that you’re thankful you discovered? What about all of the wonderful resources available to us now? What are you thankful for?”

There are so many reasons to be thankful in general. There are many ancestors that I am thankful that I found. But I chose to write about being thankful for how DNA and genealogy sites have brought about finding long-lost cousins.

My Mom only had a few first cousins on her paternal side. She had quit a few on her maternal side, but I doubt she ever knew them. For many years of my family research, I was not sure if she had any first-cousins on that paternal side at all. I had seen a photo of my great-grandfather taken in Michigan with young children running around him. Sadly, that photo was lost in the fire of 2017 when I lost all of my belongings. So, I knew there was a chance there had been at least a few first cousins that my Mom did not remember.

My grandfather Durward Edward Cole.

My grandfather Durward Edward Cole had three siblings that lived into adulthood: Lorin Richard “Dick” Cole, who married twice but had no children, William Jesse “Jessie” Cole who for many years I only knew of his first marriage (see next paragraph), and Goldie May Cole, who was married four times but had no children.

A happy discovery via DNA was finding that William Jesse “Jessie” Cole had married a second time and had children! DNA was a bit confusing at first, until I realized that I was related to both parents of my DNA match! I was a distant cousin to his mother (via German ancestors on a different line) and a Cole second-cousin to his father. I discovered that William Jesse “Jessie” Cole had married second to a woman name Mary Jones (Jonas) the daughter of Polish immigrants with a large extended family.

Jessie Cole and Mary Jones had three children:

Joseph Emmett “Joe” Cole, Mabel Irene Cole Garska, and Marion Jane Cole Hughes. Sadly, Mary died in 1931 leaving her husband a widower with children aged two to eight. The three children were put in an orphanage. Although he later brought the oldest Joseph home to live with him, the two girls remained in the orphanage.

My grand-uncle William Jesse “Jessie” Cole

If not for DNA, I would have most-likely not known about these paternal first-cousins of my Mother. She along with her siblings left Michigan when she was but five years old. She would have only known the older two cousins who were a few years older than her, and the youngest would have not been born or a baby when they left Michigan. So, my Mother didn’t really have many memories of family in Michigan. Also, I need to point out here that my Mom was somewhat secretive when talking about her family and was never a fount of information when it came to discussing her kin. But I discovered that although Joseph Emmett “Joe” Cole did marry, he never had any children, but his sisters Mabel and Marion do have descendants today.

I even found a Cole second-cousin close in age to me! A daughter of Marion Cole Hughes. Which is not usually the case. I am almost always much younger than any kin I find. This is due to the fact that I was born when my Mom was over 40 years old, and her mom was the baby in the family, and she struggled with miscarriages and stillborn children for some years before she was able to have six children.

Mabel Cole Garska had several children and it was through one of her sons, my second-cousin, that I discovered the DNA matches where I was related to both their parents, as noted above, distantly on a Germany line to the mother, and a Cole second-cousin to the father.

I have been able to link up with a few of the children of Mabel and one of her grandchildren. And also, to the daughter of Marion.

I am very thankful to have discovered my Cole second-cousins and their descendants. Prior to finding them, my grandfather’s line and my close kin were the only closer related Cole family that I had (or knew about). I hope to venture to Michigan again (I did visit Detroit once twenty years ago when my ex-husband was working there on an out-of-state job. But I didn’t know about my Michigan Cole cousins back then) and meet the Cole kin in Michigan. I also have a few Prindle third-cousins in Michigan that I have never met.

My beautiful Aunt Thelma Cole.

My other find was not DNA related, but was only possible because of genealogy sites on the Internet. I found a family tree online that I knew had connections to my Aunt Thelma. I contacted the owner of the tree, and discovered that she was the stepdaughter of one of my long-lost first cousins, one time removed. My Aunt Thelma May Cole married George Vise “Vise” Henage. They had two daughters: Doris Marie Henage McDade Jones Swift and Mary Louise Henage Frantz Ward Miller.

These Cole first-cousins, Doris and Mary, were old enough to be my mother. After leaving Michigan, my Mom and her siblings went to Oklahoma. It is there that two of my Mom’s older siblings married. Then my Mom with her parents and remainder of her siblings went to Texas briefly before settling in El Cajon, a suburb of San Diego, California. My Mom was a teenager when they migrated to California. My Aunt Thelma was one of the older siblings that married and stayed in Oklahoma. Some years later she divorced and migrated to El Cajon, but her daughters remained in Oklahoma with their father and paternal grandparents. Sadly, my Aunt Thelma was killed by a drunk driver when walking across the street in El Cajon. She died before I was born, so I never knew her. My much older siblings do have memories of her, and also a few memories of first-cousins Doris and Mary when they visited their mom in California.

I am happy to say that I have been able to link up with the son of my first-cousin Mary Henage. I also spent a year researching Mary’s prior marriage and another son I knew she had that had died in the 1980’s. I discovered that she had had two sons from her first marriage and the older one was living. Happily, this brought about the youngest son, that I had found prior, to get to talk with his, previously unknown to both of us, half-brother.

The youngest son lived in Oklahoma (the older two sons from her first marriage grew up in Salt Lake City) and believes that his mom Mary had a daughter (that he never met) from a later third marriage. As of yet, I have been unable to discover any information about the daughter. But I remain hopeful.

I am grateful this Thanksgiving week for many things, including family, family I was raised with, family I am DNA kin to, and family in general!

Because my Cole first-cousins, once removed, and my Cole second-cousins and their children and grandchildren are living, I have excluded their names to protect their privacy.

If you’d like to learn more about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project, please visit here:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Or join the Facebook group Generations Cafe.

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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The Salvation Army Red Kettle and Ringing of Bell History

☃️ Me in my 🦌 Mrs. Santa Claus 🤶 costume that I am wearing as a volunteer ringing the Salvation Army bell 🔔 this year. 🎄

As I was getting my Mrs. Santa Claus outfit together, in the last few weeks, in preparation for volunteering to ring The Salvation Army bell this holiday season, I decided to discover the history behind The Salvation Army red kettle and the ringing of the bell.

Red Kettle History

In 1891, Salvation Army Captain Joseph McFee was distraught because so many poor individuals in San Francisco were going hungry. During the holiday season, he resolved to provide a free Christmas dinner for the destitute and poverty-stricken. He only had one major hurdle to overcome — funding the project.

Where would the money come from, he wondered. He lay awake nights, worrying, thinking, praying about how he could find the funds to fulfill his commitment of feeding 1,000 of the city’s poorest individuals on Christmas Day. As he pondered the issue, his thoughts drifted back to his sailor days in Liverpool, England. He remembered how at Stage Landing, where the boats came in, there was a large, iron kettle called “Simpson’s Pot” into which passers-by tossed a coin or two to help the poor.

The next day Captain McFee placed a similar pot at the Oakland Ferry Landing at the foot of Market Street. Beside the pot, he placed a sign that read, “Keep the Pot Boiling.” He soon had the money for needy people to be properly fed at Christmas.

Six years later, the kettle idea spread from the west coast to the Boston area. That year, the combined effort nationwide resulted in 150,000 Christmas dinners for the needy. In 1901, kettle contributions in New York City provided funds for the first mammoth sit-down dinner in Madison Square Garden, a custom that continued for many years. Today in the U.S., The Salvation Army assists more than four-and-a-half million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas time periods.

Captain McFee’s kettle idea launched a tradition that has spread not only throughout the United States, but all across the world. Kettles are now used in such distant lands as Korea, Japan, Chile and many European countries. Everywhere, public contributions to Salvation Army kettles enable the organization to continue its year-round efforts at helping those who would otherwise be forgotten.

Source: The Salvation Army – Red Kettle History (Salvation Army USA.org)

Photo from: Salvation Army Bells | Bevin Bros (bevinbells.com). They make The Salvation Army bells!

But what about ringing the bell?

But where did the idea of ringing a bell come from? It was a young girl named Amelia. She was a Salvation Army cadet (Salvation Army officer in training) in 1900 from New York who bought a 10-cent bell to ring. The bell was a huge success and drew attention and donations from those who passed by. Not long after that, all cadets had bells.

That 10-cent bell quickly became associated with The Salvation Army kettle and the Christmas season. It had such a profound impact on people who walked by that the writer Jay Livingston accredited the classic Christmas song, “Silver Bells” to The Salvation Army bell ringing in the streets of New York. Today, a bell accompanies every Salvation Army kettle.

Donations at Christmas through The Salvation Army red kettles help support nearly 30 million people served by the Army through shelters, after school programs, addiction recovery programs, summer camps, disaster assistance and many other social services. And in today’s digital age you can even find a red kettle online. Eighty-two cents from every dollar donated into a kettle, whether online or on the street, go back into the community in which it was donated.

Source: Before The Kettle Was Red – The Salvation Army (salvationarmycarolinas.org)

The Salvation Army are always looking for more bell ringers. You can start by looking here:  RegisterToRing or contact your local chapter of The Salvation Army. 

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2021 – Week 46: Birthdays. My cousin the Treasonous Benedict Arnold and the Important Date of 21 September 1780.

When I got the prompt this week and read that it was birthdays, I considered writing about shared ancestors with my same birthday – the 21st of September. But then decided to take a different approach and write about what happened on that date in the eighteenth-century that was important in history and directly related to one of my more infamous cousins, Benedict Arnold, most well-known for being a traitor of the American Revolution. I perceive the 21st of September as the “birthdate” of the culmination of his treasonous plans.

Benedict Arnold. Photo from: New England Historical Society

Although most Americans at least know his name and that he was a traitor, but many do not know the details of his life, or what led to him committing treason.

Arnold was born into a well-respected family in Norwich, Connecticut, on January 14, 1741. He apprenticed with an apothecary and established himself a business in 1762 as a pharmacist and bookseller in New Haven, Connecticut. He was a member of the militia during the French and Indian War (1754-1763). Furthermore, he later became a successful trader and joined the Continental Army when the Revolutionary War broke out between Great Britain and its 13 American colonies in 1775. (1)

At the beginning of the war, he was a captain in the Connecticut militia, a few months later he was promoted to colonel. During the war, Benedict Arnold proved himself a brave and skillful leader, helping Ethan Allen’s troops capture Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. His first wife, Margaret Mansfield, died in June 1775. He then participated in the unsuccessful attack on British Quebec later that year, which earned him a promotion to brigadier general. Arnold distinguished himself in campaigns at Lake Champlain, Ridgefield and Saratoga, and gained the support of George Washington. However, Arnold had enemies within the military and in 1777, five men of lesser rank were promoted over him. He also had conflicts with John Brown and James Easton, two lower-level officers with political connections, that resulted in ongoing suggestions of improprieties on his part. Brown was particularly vicious, publishing a handbill which claimed of Arnold, “Money is this man’s God, and to get enough of it he would sacrifice his country.” Over the course of the next few years, Arnold married for a second time to Margaret “Peggy” Shippen, and he and his new wife lived a lavish lifestyle in Philadelphia, accumulating substantial debt. The debt and the resentment Arnold felt over not being promoted faster were motivating factors in his choice to become a turncoat. (1 & 2)

Traitorous beauty Peggy Shippen Arnold. Image from: Peggy Shippen – Mrs. Benedict Arnold – Corel Discovery Center

Historians have identified many possible factors contributing to Arnold’s treason, while some debate their relative importance. According to W. D. Wetherell, he was:

“[A]mong the hardest human beings to understand in American history. Did he become a traitor because of all the injustice he suffered, real and imagined, at the hands of the Continental Congress and his jealous fellow generals? Because of the constant agony of two battlefield wounds in an already gout-ridden leg? From psychological wounds received in his Connecticut childhood when his alcoholic father squandered the family’s fortunes? Or was it a kind of extreme midlife crisis, swerving from radical political beliefs to reactionary ones, a change accelerated by his marriage to the very young, very pretty, very Tory Peggy Shippen?”

W. D. Wetherell, “On The Trail Of Benedict Arnold,” American Heritage 58 #2 April/May 2007

Wetherell says that the shortest explanation for his treason is that he “married the wrong person”. (3)

Arnold had been badly wounded twice in battle and had lost his business in Connecticut, which made him profoundly bitter. He grew resentful of several rival and younger generals who had been promoted ahead of him and given honors which he thought he deserved. Especially galling was a long feud with the civil authorities in Philadelphia which led to his court-martial. He was also convicted of two minor charges of using his authority to make a profit. General Washington gave him a light reprimand, but it merely heightened Arnold’s sense of betrayal; nonetheless, he had already opened negotiations with the British before his court martial even began. (1, 2, 3, & 4)

Early in May 1779, Arnold met with Philadelphia merchant Joseph Stansbury who then “went secretly to New York with a tender of [Arnold’s] services to Sir Henry Clinton.” Stansbury ignored instructions from Arnold to involve no one else in the plot, and he crossed the British lines and went to see Jonathan Odell in New York. Odell was a Loyalist working with William Franklin, the last colonial governor of New Jersey and the son of Benjamin Franklin. On 9 May, Franklin introduced Stansbury to Major André, who had just been named the British spy chief. This was the beginning of a secret correspondence between Arnold and André, sometimes using his wife Peggy as a willing intermediary, which culminated more than a year later with Arnold’s change of sides. (2, 3, & 5)

In 1780, Arnold was given command of West Point, an American fort on the Hudson River in New York (and future home of the U.S. military academy, established in 1802). Arnold contacted Sir Henry Clinton, head of the British forces, and proposed handing over West Point and his men. (1)

It was on September 21st in 1780 that Arnold finally met in person with British Major John Andre and made his traitorous pact. They met on this day to discuss the handing over of West Point to the British, in return for the promise of a large sum of money and a high position in the British army. However, the conspiracy was uncovered, and the plot was foiled. Andre was captured and executed. Arnold, a former American hero, became synonymous with the word “traitor.” He fled to the enemy side and went on to lead British troops in Virginia and Connecticut. (1)

Benedict Arnold attempted to justify his treasonous actions in an open letter titled “To the Inhabitants of America”, published in newspapers in October 1780. (6) He also wrote in the letter to Washington requesting safe passage for Peggy: “Love to my country actuates my present conduct, however it may appear inconsistent to the world, who very seldom judge right of any man’s actions.” (7)

He later moved to England, though he never received all of what he’d been promised by the British. He died in London on June 14, 1801. (1)

Letter to the Inhabitants of America by Benedict Arnold October 7, 1780:

I should forfeit even in my own Opinion, the place I have so long held in yours, if I could be indifferent to your Approbation, and silent on the Motives which have induced me to join the King’s Arms.

A very few words, however, shall suffice upon a Subject so personal, for to the thousands who suffer under the tyranny of the Usurpers in the revolted Provinces, as well as to the great multitude who have long wished for its Subversion, this instance of my Conduct can want no Vindication, as to that class of Men who are Criminally protracting the War from Sinister Views, at the expense of the Public Interest, I prefer their Enmity to their applause. I am only, therefore, Concerned in this address to explain myself to such of my Countrymen as want Abilities or Opportunities to detect the Artifices by which they are duped.

Having fought by your side when the love of our Country animated our Arms, I shall expect from your Justice and Candor, what your deceivers, with more Art and less honesty, will find it inconsistent with their own Views to admit.

When I quitted Domestick happiness for the Perils of the Field, I conceived the rights of my Country in Danger, and that Duty and Honor called me to her Defence-a Redress of Grievances was my only Object and aim; however, I acquiesced in a step which I thought precipitate the Declaration of Independence; to Justify the measure many plausible reasons were urged, which could no longer exist, when Great Britain with the open arms of a Parent offered to embrace us as Children, and grant the wished for redress.

And now that her worst Enemies are in her own bosom, I should change my Principles, If I conspired with their Designs. Yourselves being Judges, was the war the less Just, because Fellow Subjects were considered as our Foes? You have felt the torture in which we raised our arms against a Brother-God Incline the Guilty protractors of these unnatural Dissentions, to resign their Ambition, and Cease from their Delusions, in Compassion to kindred blood.

I anticipate your question: was not the War a defensive one until the French Joined in the Combination? I answer, that I thought so. You will add, was it not afterwards necessary till the Separation of the British Empire was compleat? By no means; in Contending for the Welfare of my Country, I am free to declare my Opinion, that this End attained, all strife should have ceased.

I lamented therefore the Impolicy, tyranny, and Injustice, which with a Sovereign Contempt of the People of America, studiously neglected to take their Collective Sentiments of the British proposals of Peace, and to negotiate under a suspension of Arms, for an adjustment of differences, as a dangerous Sacrifice of the great Interest of this Country to the Partial Views of a Proud, Antient, and Crafty Foe. I had my suspicions of some imperfections in Our Councils, on Proposals prior to the Parliamentary Commission of 1778; but having then less to do in the Cabinet than the Field (I will not pronounce peremptorily as some may, and perhaps Justly, that Congress have veiled them from the Publick Eye), I continued to be guided in the negligent Confidence of a soldier. But the whole world saw, and all America confessed, the Overtures of the Second Commission exceeded our wishes and expectations. If there was any Suspicion of the National liberality, it arose from its excess.

Do any believe we were at that time really entangled by an Alliance with France? Unfortunate deception! and thus they have been duped by a virtuous Credulity, in the incautious moments of intemperate passion, to give up their fidelity to serve a Nation counting both the will and the power to protect us, and aiming at the Destruction both of the Mother Country and the Provinces. In the Plainess of Common Sense, for I pretend to no Casuistry, did the pretended Treaty with the Court of Versailles amount to more than an Overture to America? Certainly not, because no Authority had been given by the People to conclude it, nor to this very hour have they authorized its ratification-the Articles of Confederation remain still unsigned.

In the firm persuasion, therefore, that the private Judgment of any Individual Citizen of this Country is as free from all Conventional Restraints since, as before the Insidious offers of France, I preferred those from Great Britain, thinking it infinitely wiser and safer to cast my Confidence upon her Justice and Generosity, than to trust a Monarchy too feeble to establish your Independency, so Perilous to her distant Dominions; the Enemy of the Protestant Faith, and fraudulently avowing an affection for the liberties of mankind, while she holds her Native Sons in Vassalage and Chains.

I affect no disguise, and therefore Frankly declare that in these Principles, I had determined to retain my arms and Command for an opportunity to surrender them to Great Britain, and in concerting the Measures for a purpose, in my Opinion, as grateful as it would have been beneficial to my Country; I was only solicitous to accomplish an event of decisive Importance, and to prevent, as much as possible in the Execution of it, the Effusion of blood.

With the highest satisfaction I bear testimony to my old Fellow Soldiers and Citizens; that I find solid Ground to rely upon the Clemency of our Sovereign, and abundant Conviction that it is the generous Intention of Great Britain, not only to have the Rights and privileges of the Colonies unimpaired, together with their perpetual exemption from taxation, but to superadd such further benefits as may consist with the Common prosperity of the Empire. In short, I fought for much less than the Parent Country is as willing to grant to her Colonies, as they can be to receive or enjoy.

Some may think I continued in the struggle of those unhappy days too long, and others that I quitted it too soon. To the first I reply, that I did not see with their Eyes, nor perhaps had so favorable a situation to look from, and that to one Common Master I am willing to stand or fall. In behalf of the Candid among the latter, some of whom I believe serve blindly but honestly in the Ranks I have left, I pray God to give them all the lights requisite to their Own Safety before it is too late; and with respect to that kind of Censurers whose Enmity to me Originates in their hatred to the Principles, by which I am now led to devote my life to the Reunion of the British Empire, as the best and only means to dry up the streams of misery that have deluged this country, they may be assured that, Conscious of the Rectitude of my Intentions, I shall treat their Malice and Calumnies with Contempt and neglect.

NEW YORK, Oct. 7th, 1780.” (8)

References and Sources:

  1. Benedict Arnold Commits Treason – HISTORY.com
  2. Benedict Arnold – Wikipedia
  3. Randall, Willard Sterne (1990). Benedict Arnold: Patriot and Traitor. William Morrow and Inc.
  4. Sheinkin, Steve (2010). “The Floating Vulture”. The Notorious Benedict Arnold (First ed.). Square Fish.
  5. Martin, James Kirby (1997). Benedict Arnold: Revolutionary Hero (An American Warrior Reconsidered). New York University Press. 
  6. Carso, Brian F (2006). “Whom Can We Trust Now?”: the Meaning of Treason in the United States, from the Revolution Through the Civil War. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  7. Arnold, Benedict (25 September 1780). “Letter, Benedict Arnold to George Washington pleading for mercy for his wife”. Library of Congress (George Washington Papers).
  8. Letter to the Inhabitants of America – Teaching American History

If you’d like to learn more about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project, please visit here:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Or join the Facebook group Generations Cafe.

If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2021 – Week 45: Stormy Weather. My ancestors John Cogswell / Elizabeth Thompson – The Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635 – The Ship Angel Gabriel

Photo from the Pemaquid Museum. From: My Maine Ancestry: Wordless Wednesday

The ship Angel Gabriel was a 240-ton English passenger galleon. They journeyed from England to Massachusetts in a fleet of five ships, the Angel Gabriel joined by the James, the Elizabeth (Bess), the Mary and the Diligence. They left Bristol England on 4 June 1635.

The Angel Gabriel was captained by Robert Andrews of Norwich, Norfolk, England. The voyage took a little more than 12 weeks. As they approached the coastline of New England, an unusually powerful early season hurricane struck, which came to be known as the “Great Colonial Hurricane of 1635“. This was a Category 3 hurricane that was moving faster than 30 mph, with winds as high as 130 mph. The larger and heavier James and the Angel Gabriel were forced to ride out the mighty storms of hurricane force just off the coast of modern-day Hampton, New Hampshire. The three smaller ships, bound for Newfoundland, were able to outrun the storm, and safely reached their destination on 15 August 1635.

The James anchored off the Isle of Shoals but all three anchors were lost. It managed to limp into Boston two days later, its sails ripped apart, with all one hundred-plus passengers on board surviving. But the Angel Gabriel did not fare as well, it was wrecked off the coast of Maine. The Angel Gabriel took refuge in Pemaquid Bay and most of its passengers managed to disembark before the ship broke apart and sank with the loss of several lives.

Likely track of the Great Colonial Hurricane of August 26, 1635, with hourly positions and central pressure in millibars. Source: Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Among the passengers on the Angel Gabriel were my ancestors John Cogswell, aged 43, and his wife Elizabeth (Thompson), along with their children: Mary, William, John, Hannah, Abigail, Edward, Sarah, Elizabeth, and servants. Their son William Cogswell is also my direct ancestor.

John Cogswell was considered one of the principal passengers. He was from Westbury Leigh, Wiltshire, England. His occupation in England was noted in some records as a “clothier” and that he was a London merchant. He was a man of wealth and standing, married to Elizabeth Thompson, a daughter of the Vicar of Westbury parish. John Cogswell left a very comfortable existence in England to come to America. They embarked with eight of their nine children on the Angel Gabriel accompanied by his servants and many of their belongings bound for the new settlement at Ipswich. It is recorded that he had with him “…several farm and household servants, an amount of valuable furniture, farming implements, housekeeping utensils, and a considerable sum of money…

One of the memorial plaques commemorating the shipwreck of the Angel Gabriel.

The storm was frightful at Pemaquid, the wind blowing from the northeast, the tide rising to a very unusual height, in some places more than twenty feet right up and down; this was succeeded by another and unaccountable tidal wave still higher.”

John Cogswell and his family were swept from the deck but were able to be transported to the shore, some say they washed ashore. More than £5000 worth of his property, including cattle, furniture, and money were lost to the sea, but they were able to salvage some of their property as the waves brought it ashore.

But they came away from this harrowing experience with their lives. Five people died including crew and passengers who had stayed onboard the Angel Gabriel.

My 2nd great-grandfather Bradford Carroll Armstrong – the 6th great-grandson of John Cogswell and Elizabeth Thompson. 5th great-grandson of William Cogswell who was also onboard the Angel Gabriel.

The list of famous descendants of John Cogswell and Elizabeth Thompson is a lengthy one. To name just a few:

U.S. Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Calvin Coolidge, Nathaniel Hawthorne, J.P. Morgan, Jr, Tennessee Williams, First Ladies Mamie (Doud) Eisenhower and Lou (Henry) Hoover, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and via her mother’s American ancestors this list includes Princess Diana and her sons Prince William and Harry.


The Great Colonial Hurricane and the wreck of the Angel Gabriel – Historic Ipswich

The Cogswells in America : Jameson, E. O. (Ephraim Orcutt), 1832-1902 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Remarkable providences illustrative of the earlier days of American colonisation : Mather, Increase, 1639-1723 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

The Angel Gabriel 1635 (packrat-pro.com) – Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600’s

The Wreck of the Angel Gabriel: Colonial Pemaquid: History: Discover History & Explore Nature: State Parks and Public Lands: Maine ACF

Family History Stories – The Wreck of the Angel Gabriel – My Ancestors who Crashed into America | GREENERPASTURE

If you’d like to learn more about the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks project, please visit here:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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If you use any information from my blog posts as a reference or source, please give credit and provide a link back to my work that you are referencing. Unless otherwise noted, my work is © Anna A. Kasper 2011-2022. All rights reserved. Thank you.

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