In this conclusion to the history of my eight great grandparents, I identify several locations that I went to in search of information on their lives. I also identify occupations, religious affiliations, newsworthy people, landmarks, and states that my great grandparents, their ancestors, and/or descendants worked at, were affiliated with, had such attributes as, associated with, or lived in.
I also identify and assess economic, educational, migration, military, and social histories that my ancestors participated in.
Searching for information on my great grandparents their ancestors, and/or descendants took me to many cities and counties. These included:
District of Columbia
Information was found at historical societies; city, university, and state libraries; city and county archival record departments; cemeteries; and street locations where individuals lived or worked. The above lists identify locations where those discussed in this family history lived and worked.
While my great grandparents, their ancestors, and/or descendants lived in the above locations, they worked at many occupations. These occupations included:
root beer maker
small business owner
US Navy officer
Religious affiliations of my great grandparents, their ancestors, and/or descendants included:
In the course of researching my great grandparents, their ancestors, and/or descendants, I identified several individuals, many related but not all, who would receive news attention because of their activities and accomplishments. These individuals included:
Charles A. Jenkins
Charles E. Hires
Col Fielding and Elizabeth Washington Lewis
Col Robert Stark
General John H. Cocke
George Hires, Jr.
John Luke Porter
John S. Cocke
John T. Torian
LtCol Horatio Stark
William Byrd II
Historical landmarks that ancestors and descendants of my great grandparents were associated with included:
Cool Spring Plantation
The research uncovered that my eight grandparents, their ancestors, and /or descendants lived in the following states:
During research for this family history, I learned of economic, educational, migration, military, and/or social-cultural events that took place and which I know or suspect my ancestors had involvement with (directly influenced by). In the following paragraphs, I briefly identify some of these events.
Economic. During the first half of the 1800s, many Virginians, and other southerners, were heavy investors in the area west of the present-day state of Georgia westward to the Mississippi River. This investment contributed much to the agricultural development of this territory, and pulled many ancestors to the area. Shipbuilding at several sites along the east coast of the United States early became an important business activity. Several of my ancestors were shipbuilders or otherwise involved in ships and the sea. During the 1800s, several economic depressions occurred, which were believed to be part of natural business cycle progression. I had ancestors adversely affected by such economic downturns. Bankruptcy laws and customs developed during the 1800s, responding to increasing frequencies of declaring bankruptcy. Prior to the Civil War, the south had a strong agricultural economy which was destroyed by that War. Many of my ancestors suffered from that destruction. The 1800s saw the development, or attempted development, of many transportation possibilities. This development was driven by the increasing mobility needs of the country. These transportation possibilities included: ferries; stage coaches; canals; railroads; flat and steam boats; turnpikes; and trucking. I had ancestors who had economic involvement in these transportation modes. Workers during the 1800s were excessively at the mercies of business owners. Towards the end of the 1800s, workers were beginning to obtain increased abilities to reduce the owners’ power, a process that continued fairly unsuccessfully until the 1930s when workers’ rights breakthroughs were made. I had ancestors who benefited from these breakthroughs.
Education. The 1800s in America was a time of great changes in education, and several ancestors participated in or were affected by the changing educational environment. The modern American university can trace its evolution back to the 1870s. An ancestor was a university graduate in the 1870s. By the end of 1800s, much progress had been made in science which greatly affected the training in and practice of medicine (as well other professions). An ancestor was a physician beginning in the later part of the 1800s. By the second half of the 1800s, perceptions of whom should receive an education, and how, much change. Education was no longer only intended for the few rich, aristocratic males but now for a much wider demographic base. I had ancestors who ran schools and taught at them.
Migration. An interesting and substantive sub-history of America’s development is who migrated to America, how they got here, why they came, and the routes that took them to their final destinations once they arrived on America’s shores. One of the most interesting and rewarding findings in my family history project has been learning this who, how, why, and routes taken for those ancestors who preceded my eight grandparents to this country. I discovered ancestors came from: Scotland; England; Wales; Grisons; France; Prussia; and Baden-Wurttemberg. I learned that routes used to get to America's shores included: from Germany to Philadelphia; from Scotland, up the James River in Virginia to the fall line; from Grisons, across Europe to Holland and then on to Virginia; from France, to London and then to Virginia. Once on shore in America, I learned that ancestors, depending on who, traveled from Philadelphia to southern New Jersey; migrated from Philadelphia, south to South Carolina; settled in Virginia's Piedmont region, not far from where they disembarked their ships at the James River fall line; came across the Appalachian Mountains from the Shenandoah Valley to settle just east of the Appalachians in Virginia; traveled west from South Carolina and Georgia to just east of the Mississippi River; travel from Frederick County, Virginia to Kentucky and then likely on the Mississippi River south to western Mississippi; migrated by railroad in the 1880s, west from Albemarle County to Nebraska, and then eventually on to Colorado and California. I learned from this history project that within my ancestral past I have ancestors who made the above described trips.
Here are more migration details for each of my eight great grandparents:
1. Richard W. Robertson. I was only able to trace Richard's father side back to his father and to Cumberland County in Virginia where the father was born in the very early 1800s. The father side most likely came from Scotland. On Richard’s mother side, the trace goes back to the mid-to-late 1700s and to Amelia County, Virginia. Possibly the original immigrant was from England.
2. Mary A. Eubank. I was able to trace the father side back to Amherst and Albemarle Counties, Virginia and to the mid-to-late 1700s. The country of origin of the original immigrant was possible Northern Ireland (the Scotch Irish) or Germany. On the mother side, I was able to trace back to Nelson County, Virginia and also to the mid-to-late 1700s. The probable country of origin of the immigrant was England.
3. Dale D. Luke. On the father side, I was able to trace to Portsmouth, Virginia and to mid-1700s and to England. On the mother side, tracing was only to his mother in Portsmouth, early 1800s, and country of origin unknown.
4. Martha F. Shepherd. On the father side, I was only able to trace to her father and Portsmouth and the early 1800s. On the mother side, I was not able to identify the mother’s name and family.
5. George Torian. On the father side, I was able to trace back to Halifax County, Virginia in the 1730s and for immigration almost certainly to an area in Europe now part of Switzerland. On the mother side, also the trace was back to early 1800s and Halifax County, with the country of origin unknown.
6. Amelia B Crawley. On the father side, the trace was back to Halifax County, late 1700s, and with the country of origin possibly France. On the mother side, the trace was back to early, mid-1700s, to central Virginia, with original immigrant from France, by way of England
7. Charles A. Jenkins. On the father side, the trace was back to Mississippi, and to the late 1700s, early 1800s, with country of origins likely Wales and Germany. On the mother side the trace was back to the 1600s in eastern, central Virginia, with the country of origin England.
8. Lillie S. Cocke. On the father side, tracing was back to the late 1700s in Goochland County, with country of origin unknown. On the mother side, the trace was back to Salem County, New Jersey, in the mid-1700s and late 1600s, with the countries of origin Germany and England.
One clear concussion that I have come to in tracing my ancestors back to their countries of origin is just how many offspring can be generated from single immigrants who arrived here in America in the 1700s and early 1800s. For example, probably thousands of Torians are now living in America who can trace their ancestors back to the original Torian arriving in America in the 1730s. And, this Torian example is not an exception.
We live in a country of immigrants and it is nice to know from what countries have one’s immigrant ancestors come from. So, an interesting result of many years of research is summarized above.
Military History. Several ancestors saw action in various American conflicts, including; the War of Independence; the War of 1812; the Civil War (on the Confederate side); and World War II. One ancestor served at an early 1800s western Army frontier fort in Iowa during Indian attacks. Ancestors were shipbuilders for the American and Confederate navies. One ancestor helped build the confederate CSS Virginian, an early ironclad vessel. Ship carver ancestors added important iconic symbols to wooden ships.
Social and Cultural Events and Changes. Several of my ancestors participated in various events representing American social and cultural evolutions. During the 1800s, many of my ancestors met and married close neighbors. By the 1900s, such a prevalent cultural/social pattern would be long gone. Many European family names brought over by ancestral immigrants would be changed to an Americanized spelling and pronunciation. I had ancestors who owned slaves, a social acceptance happily changed. Some ancestors married cousins, a not infrequent social occurrence, now mostly no longer done. Literary and debating societies were major networking groups during much of first half of the 1800s and several ancestors were active in these societies. Ancestors reported mullatos on their census records, when such reporting was required in the mid-1800s. Other than these census records, nothing is known on the fate of these individuals and their offspring. The 1870s was a period of major social/cultural change for many reasons, not least of which was its proximity to the end of the Civil War. This period saw great changes in how Americans socialize, where they lived (more urban), and how they were entertained. As in university education, many recent cultural practices can trace their origins to the 1870s. Many of my great grandparents were coming of age during the 1870s. In the late 1800s, a great grandmother would be committed to a state mental hospital for the last of half of her life, a very unhappy experience for her, which fortunately no longer would be an accepted practice. For various reasons, the 1890s saw a spike in crime in urbane areas. One of my great grandmothers lost her first husband who was murdered on the street during this period. Time and time again ancestral decisions wee almost certainly made because more family income was needed. In the 1800s many family members primary goal was to obtain more land, which at the time served as the primary source for gaining more wealth (saved income). Land would cease to be the primary source of wealth by the early 1900s, as America’s westward migration petered out. In the 1920s, a unique Christian evangelism movement took place, which an ancestor participated in as an evangelist.
The above are brief references to some of what I learned about economic, educational, migration military, and/or social-cultural events that my ancestors were involved in/influenced by. More about these events, and my ancestors’ interactions with them, can be found in the sections on my great grand and grandparents.