Daguerreotype of a mystery man: Wesley Throckmorton?

I have been trying to identify the mystery man in this daguerreotype for the last 14 months, when I started organizing my late grandmother’s photography collection. The portrait dates from the late 1850s, at which point this man appears to have been approximately 20 years old. Little by little, I have eliminated ancestors from contention. Some men would have been too old at the time this portrait was made, others too young. It finally dawned on me that the mystery man may be Charles Wesley Throckmorton, my second great-grandfather.

Wesley, as he was known, lived in Morrow County, Ohio. Although I have verified pictures of his wife (Mary Jemima/ Jane Hicks, my second great-grandmother) and children (including Mary Edna Throckmorton, my great-grandmother), I do not have any verified photographs of Wesley. My research task now is to find another portrait of him.

The 1911 History of Morrow County, Ohio, written by Abraham J. Baughman and Robert Franklin Bartlett, includes almost four pages of information about Wesley’s life and family. That profile begins with the following passage:

Such a glowing account makes me believe that another portrait of Wesley, perhaps taken later in life, must exist. The question is where.


A few notes about Emily Throckmorton’s probate case

Before I found this case, I had no idea that Emily (Salisbury) Throckmorton existed. Finding this case in the Morrow County probate records sent me hunting for evidence that she indeed was married to my ancestor, Archibald Throckmorton.

I first looked for a record that would show Archibald and Emily getting married during the nine-year window between the death of Archibald’s first wife (Ruth Simpson) in 1871 and Archibald’s own death in 1880. This search turned up a  marriage record from 1874. Not only was that document created during the correct time frame, it also matched the place I would have expected to find Archibald living: Morrow County, Ohio. Archibald had lived in the small Morrow County village of Sparta with his first wife.

My next step was to see if I could find Archibald and Emily living in Sparta on the 1880 census. I did. The Archibald (or “Archie,” as he was listed on that record) was the correct age (75) to be my ancestor. The census also showed that “Archie” was unable to work or carry out his normal activities due to rheumatism at the time when the census was recorded in June that year. My Archibald could have been quite ill in the summer of 1880, since he would die that September.

The probate records also listed “C.W. Throckmorton” as executor of Archibald’s estate. The only “C.W. Throckmorton” I have found in Morrow County in the 1880s was my second great-grandfather, Charles Wesley Throckmorton. Although I have not exhaustively researched Archibald’s children yet, I currently believe that Charles Wesley (or “Wesley” as he was known) was the only one  of Archibald’s sons living in Ohio at the time of his death.

Altogether, these various facts lead me to believe that the Archibald Throckmorton referenced in Emily’s probate case was actually my third great-grandfather. With that established, I could move on to analyzing the case itself.

Emily asked the probate court to more than double the amount of money she was to inherit from Archibald’s estate. She was set to receive $250, but asked for an additional $275. Ohio law relating to wills stated that, once medical and funeral expenses were paid, there was an expectation that a widow (and any children) would receive sufficient funds to get them through the first year after the deceased’s passing from the estate. In the end, her inheritance was bumped up to $319. These amounts did not intuitively seem to be that much, even adjusted for inflation. I checked. In 1880 dollars, $319 is equivalent to $6,905 in 2009 dollars (the online  calculator I used didn’t go all the way to 2010).

The idea that $319 would get Emily through an entire year was based on the idea that she had inherited Archibald’s house.  As a widow, she might earn income by renting portions or all of that house.  The house was her “dower,” not to be confused with a dowery.

Probate judge reviews Emily Throckmorton’s probate case

Today’s post concludes the transcription of Emily Throckmorton’s probate case, which started earlier this week. In my next post, I will discuss these documents as they relate to my genealogy research.

Emily Throckmorton



C.W. Throckmorton et al




Review of widows [sic] years [sic] allowance

 Emily Throckmorton widow of Archibald Throckmorton deceased, having filed in this court her petition praying that the years [sic] allowance as set off to her by the appraisers of said estate be reviewed by this court and increased. This day by consent of the parties, this cause came unto be heard, waiving the continuance as heretofore entered of record upon the Journal of this court in this cause. An upon the proofs exhibits and testimony, and the arguments of counsel and upon consideration whereof the court being fully advised in the premises do find that the sum of $275.00 as set off to said widow by the appraisers of said Estate, is insufficient for her support for the period of twelve months from the date of said Archibald Throckmortons [sic] death. It is therefore by the court ordered  adjudged, and decreed that said sum of $275. be increased to the sum of $325.00 being an addition of $50.00 to said first mentioned sum of $275.00. And this shall be the years [sic] allowance of said Emily Throckmorton as contemplated by the statutes of Ohio, in such cases in such cases made and provided. Exclusive of and without the court’s having taken into consideration any rents that may accrue or arise from the leasing of the Mansion house of her deceased husband for the period of one year from date of said decendent’s death or without the court having taken into consideration any right of said widow to occupy the same. It is therefore ordered that the sum of $319.00 be paid to the said Emily Throckmorton of the Estate of said Archibald Throckmorton deceased. The said Emily Throckmorton having selected in personal property belonging to said Estate the sum of $6.00. And it is further ordered and adjudged by the court that the costs that have been accrued in the continuance of this cause, being the witness fees & c taxed at the sum of eight and .81/100 dollars. And it is further ordered that all other costs of this action be paid by the executors of said estate out of the assets of said estate.

W.D. Matthews

Probate Judge

(Source: Ohio, Probate Court (Morrow County), “Complete Record 1871-1921,” vol. 1: pp. 499-501, Emily Throckmorton probate case, 27 November 1880; FHL microfilm 1,928,463.)

Emily Throckmorton’s case, part 3

Emily’s probate court case continued in November 1880 and looked like it would not be resolved until 1881. The final installment comes tomorrow…

This day in open court came Emily Throckmorton widow of Archibald Throckmorton deceased and filed herein duly verified by her affidavit petition praying that the years [sic] allowance as set off to her as the widow of the aforesaid deceased by the appraisive of the Estate of the aforesaid decendent [sic], be reviewed by the court and increased and the court being fully advised in the premises do order that a summons issue to the Executors of the Estate of the aforesaid Archibald Throckmorton notifying them that the same will be heard on the 27day of Nov A.D. 1880 at 10 oclock [sic] A.M.

W. D. Matthews Probate Judge

Probate Court of Morrow County Ohio Nov 27” 1880

Emily Throckmorton



C.W. Throckmorton



This day came the parties by their attorneys and thereupon this cause came on to be heard. Whereupon the same is continued by consent of the present of the parties to the 8day of January A.D. 1881 at 10 A.M. of said day.

W.D. Matthews

Probate Judge

(Source: Ohio, Probate Court (Morrow County), “Complete Record 1871-1921,” vol. 1: pp. 499-501, Emily Throckmorton probate case, 27 November 1880; FHL microfilm 1,928,463.)

Emily Throckmorton’s probate case, part 2

This post picks up where I left off yesterday, transcribing the probate court case brought by Emily Throckmorton, widow of Archibald Throckmorton, in October 1880. In today’s installment, the Probate Judge orders the Morrow County, Ohio sheriff to serve papers to the executors of Archibald Throckmorton’s estate. The papers are served and expenses tallied. More tomorrow…

(Source: Ohio, Probate Court (Morrow County), “Complete Record 1871-1921,” vol. 1: pp. 499-501, Emily Throckmorton probate case, 21-29 October 1880; FHL microfilm 1,928,463.)

State of Ohio

Morrow Count SS

To the Sheriff of Morrow County Ohio greeting:

You are commanded to notify C.W. Throckmorton and F.G. Jackson Exc’s of the last will and testament of Archibald Throckmorton deceased. That Emily Throckmorton widow of the aforesaid Archibald Throckmorton has filed in the probate Court of Morrow County Ohio her petition praying that the aforesaid Court review and increase the allowance of the aforesaid widow for her years support as set off to her by the appraiser of the decenent’s [sic] Estate, and that the prayer of said petition will be heard by this court on the 27th day of November A.D. 1880 at 11 A.M. of said day. And that unless they answer at that time said petition will be taken as true and an order made accordingly. It is further ordered that you make due [illegible] of this order forthwith upon the expectation of the same.

Witness my hand and the seal of the court of Probate of Morrow County Ohio this the 21st day of October A.D. 1880.

W.D. Matthews Probate Judge

The State of Ohio

Morrow County SS

Received this order Oct 21” 1880, And on the 29” day of Oct 1880 I served the same on the within named defendants C.W. Throckmorton by leaving at his place of residence and F.G. Jackson by delivering to him each a true and duly certified copy hereof.

D.C. Sanford     Sheriff

By E.C. Sanford     Deputy

Shff fees

Service $ .55

Copies      .80

Mileage 2.00

Return     .10

Total  $ 3.45

Archibald Throckmorton’s second wife found through probate records

I recently found a series of probate records that truly took me by surprise. These records showed that my second great-grandfather was sued by his step-mother over the limited size of her inheritance. Before seeing these documents, I had not realized that my second great-grandfather, Charles Wesley Throckmorton, had served as executor of his father’s estate. Nor had I known that his father, Archibald Throckmorton, remarried after his long-time wife, Ruth (Simpson) Throckmorton, died in 1871.

Anxious not to confuse unrelated Throckmortons with my own, I searched for other documentation to prove my Archibald had married a woman named Emily sometime between 1871 and 1880, the year of his death. I found this Morrow County, Ohio (the right place) marriage record that shows Archibald Throckmorton marrying Emily Salisbury on July 15, 1875.

(Source: Ohio, Morrow County “Marriage Record,” vol. 3: p.319, Archibald Throckmorton and Emily Salisbury marriage record, 15 July 1875; FHL film #388,782.)

I had previously had trouble locating Archibald in the 1880 census. Searching for “Emily Throckmorton,” however, proved to be the key to finding him. I found him, listed as “Archie”, living with his wife Emily in Sparta, Morrow County, Ohio. Emily was then 65 years old. “Archie” was 75 and suffering from rheumatism. He died in September that year. In October, Emily contested the inheritance she received from Archibald’s estate. Over the next few days, I will post my transcriptions of the probate records concerning Emily’s inheritance. Today’s installment sets the stage.

(Source: Ohio, Probate Court (Morrow County), “Complete Record 1871-1921,” vol. 1: pp. 499-501, Emily Throckmorton probate case, 15 October 1880; FHL microfilm 1,928,463.)

To the honorable Judge of the Probate Court within and for the County of Morrow and State of Ohio,

Your petitioner, Emily Throckmorton, widow of Archibald Throckmorton, deceased. Respectfully represents that the appraisers of the Personal Estate of the said Decedent, allowed the sum of two hundred and seventy five five [sic] ($275.00) dollars in property and money for the support of your petitioner for one year from the time of said decedent’s death. That said sum is insufficient for the purpose aforesaid, and that it will require an additional sum of two hundred and twenty five $225.00 dollars, and the executors of the estate of said Archibald Throckmorton Deceased may be directed to pay the same over to your petitioner in pursuance of the statutes in such cases made and provided – Sparta Ohio, October first A.D. 1880.

Emily Throckmorton

widow of Archibald Throckmorton dec’d

by A.J. Roberts

The State of Ohio

Morrow County SS

Emily Throckmorton being first duly sworn deposes and says that the allegations averments set forth in the forgoing petition are true as she verily believes. attest – A.J. Roberts

Her mark

Emily X Throckmorton

Sworn to and subscribed before one this 15th day of October A.D. 1880.

Andrey J. Roberts, J.P.

(Source: Morrow County, Ohio Probate Court, “Complete Record 1871-1921,” vol. 1: pp. 499-501, Emily Throckmorton probate case, 15 October 1880; FHL microfilm 1,928,463.)

Archibald Throckmorton makes the news nearly 130 years after his death

It never occurred to me that my third great-grandfather, Archibald Throckmorton, would show up in the news these days. After all, he died in 1880. If I had set up a Google Alert for him, however, I would have been notified when he, his wife, and his brother were all discussed in Ohio’s Country Journal, a farming news outlet, last September. I came across the article, “Morrow County Century Farm Still Known by Ancestral Name,” by chance last night.

The article profiled a farm that has been in the Palmer/ Barnett family since 1906. The current owner of that farm, Chris Barnett, told the reporter, “I’ve been here 25 years, and nobody calls this the Barnett Farm… This is the Throckmorton Farm.”

The article goes on to describe how Archibald Throckmorton’s brother acquired the land through a land grant, then sold it to Archibald in 1830. It also briefly touches on how the farm passed out of Throckmorton hands in order to “settle [Archibald’s] estate.” The tale of Archibald’s estate is an interesting one, which I only just discovered while doing research at the Family History Library last week.

By the time of Archibald’s death, his first wife, Ruth (Simpson) Throckmorton, had already been deceased for nine years. I discovered that Archibald remarried a few years before his own death. In addition to a marriage certificate for his union with Emily Salisbury, I also found probate records showed that Emily (Salisbury) Throckmorton, sued the executor of Archibald’s estate to receive greater compensation as his widow. The executor of Archibald’s estate was his son — and my second great-grandfather — Charles Wesley Throckmorton. More about that incident in my next post.

Mardenbro Hicks wounded at the Battle of Perryville, KY

The immigrant couple I discussed in my previous post, John and Letitia Frad (Banbury) Hicks, had four children, including my second great-grandmother Mary J. (Hicks) Throckmorton and a son named Mardenbro Hicks. When he was 19, Mardenbro became a soldier in the Civil War.

According to the Official Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War of the Rebellion 1861-1866, Vol. 8, he joined Company C of the 121st Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry on August 22, 1862. Mardenbro’s first — and only — battle action occurred a month and a half later at Perryville, Kentucky. (More information about this battle can be found, among other places, on the University of Kentucky website.)

Wounded in his first battle, Mardenbro remained in Kentucky to recuperate for through the rest of that fall and into the winter.  He was far from alone:

For months, hundreds of wounded soldiers remained in Perryville under the care of the town’s 300 citizens. In addition, thousands of injured and sick troops convalesced in Danville, Harrodsburg, Bardstown, and other local communities. Union surgeon G. G. Shumard recalled that a “large number of sick and wounded were scattered about the country in houses, barns, stables, sheds, or wherever they could obtain shelter sufficient to protect them from the weather.” Another doctor remarked that “Every house was a hospital, all crowded, with very little to eat.” (Source: Perryville Enhancement Project, “History of the Battle of Perryville.”)

The Official Roster indicates that Mardenbro finally was “discharged Feb. 12, 1863, at Louisville, Ky., on Surgeon’s certificate of disability.”

John Hicks and Letitia Frad Banbury’s marriage certificate

I am finally home from my trip to Salt Lake City’s Family History Library. One of the documents I found at the FHL was this 1841 marriage certificate for John Hicks and Letitia Frad Banbury.

John and Letitia, my third great-grandfather and third great-grandmother respectively, were both born in Cornwall, England. They arrived in the United States in the 1830s. According to Baughman and Bartlett’s1911 History of Morrow County Ohio:

John Hicks … immigrated to the United States when a young man, and soon after coming to Ohio found employment in Gambier on the [Kenyon] College farm, with which he was afterwards connected for many years, serving long and well as its superintendent. While at the College he married Letitia Banbury, who was born in Cornish England, in 1812, a daughter of Thomas Banbury, their union being solemnized in 1840.

That date was off by a year, as the original marriage certificate shows. Another detail in this document that I found significant was the religion of the minister who performed their marriage ceremony. He was a “Minister of the Gospel of the M.E. Church,” with “M.E.” being shorthand for Methodist Episcopal.

In the late 1970s, John and Letitia’s granddaughter, Mary Edna (Throckmorton) Patrick — my great-grandmother — recorded an autobiography at a family gathering. In that recording, she proudly recounted a long-standing family legend claiming that one of our (unnamed) ancestors was personally converted to Methodism in Ireland by Methodist Church founder John Wesley. Before I started doing genealogy, I just assumed that the ancestor in question was a Throckmorton.  Knowing more about my Throckmorton line now (more about that in a future post), it is clear to me that those ancestors were living in North America for more than a century before the founding of the Methodist Church, making the Ireland conversion story impossible for any of them. Methodism may have originated with either (or both) the Hicks or Banbury lines, however.

I do not know yet whether or not an Irish conversion may have been possible for either of these lines; I have only traced the Hicks and Banburys back to Cornwall in the late 1700s, around the time of John Wesley’s death.  Of course, the “personal conversion by John Wesley” story may be an exaggeration or even pure fiction. Time and research will tell.

Roundup of Family History Library Trip Planning Resources

The day has finally arrived. My flight to Salt Lake City leaves later this morning. Before I go, I wanted to do a quick post featuring some of the resources I have found most useful while planning for my research at the Family History Library (FHL).


In the last couple of weeks, both The Genealogy Guys and Lisa Louise Cook have dedicated long sections of their podcasts to this very subject. The Genealogy Guys were recently in Salt Lake doing research. Their discussion covered ordering materials from the FHL vault, ways to capture digital images of the files you find at the library without breaking the bank, busy and slow times at the library, and more. Their discussion about the FHL starts around minute 30 in Podcast #194. Lisa Louise Cooke interviewed Irene Johnson for her most recent Genealogy Gems podcast. Irene listed things researchers should and should not do when visiting the library, narrowing down your research goals, the library layout, and advanced planning using the library’s online catalog. When you click on the link above for this podcast, scroll down to the bottom of the page to see additional “tips” from Irene and Lisa.

Online resources

As mentioned above, the FHL catalog, located on the Family Search website, is a resource that can be used from home to look up call numbers for the materials you need to use on site. There is an interactive tutorial for using the catalog online as well. Other resources available through the Family Search website include a document called, “Preparing to Visit the Library,” an updated list of library opening and closing times, and floor plans for each of the five levels of the library.


With so many trip planning resources available online through the FHL website, it is not surprising that few books about visiting the library have been written recently. I reviewed a couple of books in the course of planning for this trip. The most recent and useful of these was Your Guide to the Family History Library, by James Warren. Published in 2006, this book covers both the Family History Library in Salt Lake and regional Family History Centers.

How to scan slides with iConvert

This morning, I spent a couple of hours trying to figure out why the slide scanner my father-in-law got for Christmas has been so hard for him to use. The tool in question, Brookstone’s iConvert, allows you to make digital files from old slides. Great idea! Slides can be a wonderful resource for genealogists, but few of us have working slide projectors any more. Transforming our slides into a more useful, contemporary format is a valuable project to undertake. As I personally have a huge crate of my own family slides waiting to be digitized, I knew that figuring out this scanner’s issues would be useful both for my father-in-law and, potentially, for myself.

There are two problems with iConvert, however. First, the instruction manual glosses over some important steps. Second, the accompanying software was not designed to be used in an intuitive way.  If you read the customer feedback on the Brookstone website about this tool, you’ll see that many of the iConvert’s negative ratings spring from these problems. Only 44% of customers would recommend the iConvert to anyone else, according to Brookstone.

That said, I finally figured out how to get the iConvert to work purely through trial and error. To save others from having to go through the same process, I decided to write up a few notes on using iConvert. The following steps worked for me.

  1. Install the software as shown in the product manual. Your computer will restart automatically as the final step in the installation process.
  2. Once your computer has restarted, you will see a “FotoLite” icon on your desktop. Even though this name bears no resemblance to iConvert, it really is the software that runs your slide digitizer. Double-click on the FotoLite icon.
  3. In the window that opens, select the number of dots per inch (dpi) and image type (I chose JPEG) you want to create. Select the folder on your computer where you want the digitized slide files to be stored. Close the FotoLink window.
  4. Clip four slides into the black tray that came with the iConvert. Slip the tray into the slot on the right-hand side of the silver iConvert box.
  5. Position the slide you want to digitize so that it is roughly in the center of the silver box. There does not appear to be a way to figure out when your slide is in the correct position. You’ll just have to play with it until you get it right. More about this issue in step 6.
  6. On the front of the silver box, press the slide button (it’s the one on the left, over which you will see a picture of one rectangle) one time.
  7. Back on your computer screen, double click on the FotoLite icon again. This time, because of the action you took in step 5, a different window will appear than you saw in step 3. This time around, you will see a preview of the slide to be scanned. The image inside the blinking dotted rectangle is the image that will be captured as a digital file. If it doesn’t look right to you — perhaps the image is oddly cropped or incomplete —  manually adjust the position of the slide tray inside the silver box. To see  if your adjustment did the trick, click the “prescan” button in the FotoLite window your computer screen. Keep adjusting the slide trade and clicking the “prescan” button until you’ve got it right.
  8. Click scan.
  9. Wait. It looks like nothing is happening, but, in reality, your digital file is being created. You may have to wait 5 or 10 seconds, but it will work. When the image has been scanned and saved in the destination folder you selected in step 3, the FotoLite window will close automatically.
  10. Repeat steps 5 through 9 until you run out of slides to digitize.

I hope these tips help. Are there other slide digitizers you have been using? Which one would you recommend?

College cemeteries

After spending more than a decade employed in higher education administration, I know that colleges and universities can be wonderful places to work. I had never though of them as ideal places to spend eternity, however, until I visited the Williams College Cemetery in Williamstown, Massachusetts over the weekend.

I was there to do a little genealogy volunteering, tracking down a gravestone to photograph as requested by a genealogist on the Find-A-Grave website. The Williams College Cemetery is tucked away on a back street with a (believe it or not) 19-mile-an-hour speed limit, partially hidden by a stand of pine trees.

The people buried there clearly had a deep bond with Williams. Why else would you chose the grounds of a college as your final resting place? While rules may have changed over time, plots are available today only for Williams College’s “tenured faculty and faculty with emeritus status, their spouses or domestic partners, and unmarried children.”

Kenyon College officials placed a similar restriction on campus burials in the mid-1800s, according to a history of Kenyon’s burying ground that I read earlier today. While faculty and alumni could be buried there, staff could not. This policy change was of interest to me, because two of my ancestors (at least) worked on staff at Kenyon after emigrating from England in the early 1800s. I am still nailing down their exact death dates, but they clearly died too late to qualify for burial at the college.

Given my career and ancestral background, these college cemeteries have piqued my curiosity. I did a quick search of Find-A-Grave for college-affiliated cemeteries and turned up, among others, cemeteries at Denison College and William & Mary. Does your alma mater have a cemetery? If so, are there restrictions on which members of the community can be buried there? Would you want your alma mater to be your final resting place? If so, why?

Small town grocery store calendar and recipes

My great-grandparents, Paul and Alberta Arminda “Bertie” (Watson) Boyd, ran a grocery store in Sparta, Ohio for many years. I have a few of the annual calendars they had printed for customers, like this one from 1941. Because the back of each calendar page was pre-printed with family-style recipes and menus, I think of these artifacts as fascinating windows into the cultural life of my great-grandparents and early 20th century rural life in general.