Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stephen A. Hart: The Singing Surveyor of Goodhue County, Minnesota

Land surveyor using odometer in United States, c. 1850
from Wikipedia Commons
In my quest to find any documents pertaining to my great great grandfather, John Hart, even if they are not vital records, I have encountered records for several other family members, including John’s younger brother, Stephen A. Hart. Stephen is much more historically prominent, mainly due to the fact that he was the first County Surveyor in Goodhue County, Minnesota, and ran the first survey line in the state in 1852. He is also noted as having had the "first white wedding" in the town of Red Wing. Furthermore, he was one of the first singing teachers in the town of Red Wing, according to Goodhue County, Minnesota, past and present (1893). He is particularly significant to my family history research as it appears that he was the first Hart on my tree to relocate to Minnesota. After he emigrated there from Lewis County, New York, his brother John, John’s wife Sarah, and almost all of their living children and their families also made the move. Perhaps in writing about Stephen A. Hart, often recorded as “S.A. Hart”, I will discover more about John.

Stephen A. Hart was born on July 29, 1818 in Pinckney, Lewis County, New York, to the Honorable Stephen Hart, who had been a member of the New York State Assembly and a judge, and Elizabeth Scidmore Hart. Stephen A. was one of the youngest of their fourteen children. In the fall of 1846, at the age of twenty-eight, and as a single man, he travelled to Dubuque, Iowa to work as a surveyor for the government. His work involved surveying in Iowa and Minnesota, which led him to settle permanently in Goodhue County, Minnesota in 1854. In October of that year, when he was thirty-six, he was elected as the first County Surveyor. On Christmas Day, 1855, he married Marietta Farnsworth in Red Wing, Goodhue, where they resided for the rest of their lives. I am really not certain about this, but they may have had around four children, and it is possible that they all died in childhood. I believe them to be Allie, James, William “Willy”, and Nellie (1861-1861). (I would appreciate any further information about Stephen’s children).

Stephen’s experiences as a surveyor are mentioned in A History of Goodhue County (1878) as follows: “When the government surveyors, engaged in establishing meridian and parallel lines, reached what is now the southeast corner of Pine Island township in June 1853, no wagon had ever penetrated to that part of the county. The teams accompanying the surveyors were the first to disturb the grass and herbage. Mr. S. D. Hart [sic], a resident of Goodhue county since 1854, was a member of the government surveying party, and he relates that when they reached Cannon Falls, in the fall of 1853, they found a small, uncovered shanty—or rather the pole structure of what was intended for a shanty—that had been erected on the west side of the falls, to ‘mark a claim’. That was the only evidence of civilization they found until they reached a point within five miles of Red Wing, where they found the body of a shanty on Spring Creek”. Stephen also provided the author with topographical descriptions of many of the townships. In addition, if you go to the Goodhue County, Minnesota website,, you can find several images of surveyor’s drawings for the area created by Stephen himself.

The first member of his brother John’s family to follow Stephen west  appears to have been John’s son and Stephen’s nephew, Joel Merriam Hart, who settled in the neighbouring county of Rice, Minnesota, where John and the rest of the family who came to Minnesota were also to live. Joel also arrived as a single man, and also got married in Minnesota.  I have found one reference to Joel also having been a surveyor. Perhaps he worked with his uncle at some point and/or was taught by him. John himself arrived between 1860 and 1864, the year of his death.

To my knowledge, Stephen is the only member of the family who, after travelling as far west as Minnesota and Iowa, ever returned to visit family in New York State. In fact, he made the trip at least three times. The August 19, 1868 Lowville Democrat reported:

He would have been fifty at the time.  Next, the Watertown Daily Times reported on March 8, 1889, “Stephen A. Hart of Red Wing, Minn., is visiting his brother George Hart on Mechanic Street in this city, and his relatives in Jefferson county generally. Mr. Hart went west 35 years ago”. Stephen would have been a widower at the time, assuming that he did not remarry, as Marietta had passed away on January 16, 1880. In 1893, twenty-five years after the first visit, it was stated in the Lowville Democrat that “Stephen Hart of Red Wing, Minn. is visiting his niece, Mrs. J. G. Goutremont”. She was born Grace Hart, the daughter of Stephen’s brother, Alvin Stephen Hart.

Stephen died two years later, on February 23, 1895, at the age of seventy-seven, at the home of niece, and his brother John’s daughter, F. Chloe Chase, who was married to Gilbert S. Chase. The February 27, 1895 Faribault Republican reported that Stephen Hart “aged 77 years, died last Saturday, Feb. 23, at the residence of G. S. Chase, on West Front Street, where the funeral services were held on Monday afternoon, conducted by Rev. R. C. Grose. The remains were sent to Red Wing for burial. Deceased came to Minnesota in 1843, and was Surveyor of Goodhue County from 1850 to 1890, a period of 40 years”. (Many thanks to John Dalby for transcribing this obituary to his website). Stephen was buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Red Wing, a cemetery for which he himself had selected the land. It is stated in A History of Goodhue County  regarding the Oakwood Cemetery: “This beautiful repose for the dead is located on the summit of one of the numerous bluffs that encircle and overlook the city, about one and half miles south of Main Street. The plot of ground includes forty acres, belongs to the city, and was selected by Stephen A. Hart and David Hancock, a committee appointed for that purpose by the early settlers, in September, 1854”. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Depression Era Photos of Henry Monk from the Library of Congress

Henry Monk, tenant farmer near Ruthven, Iowa
December 1936
Photographer Russell Lee
Accessed via the Library of Congress website

I have recently heard from one of my readers, who is a member of the Monk clan, that she noticed that I often post my items early in the morning, and that to be up this early, I must be a “true Monk”. There may be something to that, as my father used to arise early, too. In honour of her, and other members of the extended Monk family, some connected by marriage, who have contacted me and who have helped with my research and this blog, I decided to do another Monk blogpost. Just to remind you, gentle reader, I do try to respond to your feedback and help by posting more items from the lines which interest you.

I came across this photo of Henry Monk through some random Googling, I think. It is from the Library of Congress website,, and is titled, Henry Monk, tenant farmer near Ruthven, Iowa. Its publication date is December 1936, and the photographer was Russell Lee. I present it to you here, as I believe it to be in the public domain, based on the information from the website.

Which Henry Monk is he? I believe him to be my second cousin once removed, Henry Vernon Monk, son of Merle Monroe Monk and Ruth Henrietta Beams Monk. He was born on April 17, 1912 in Ruthven, Iowa, and died there on March 21, 1970, at the age of fifty-seven. He married Thelma Mary Smith on May 10, 1936. Their son, Clarence Monroe Monk (a.k.a. “Butch”) was born June 24, 1939, and died on May 5, 1974,  apparently of a hit and run accident. He was married and had five children at the time. Henry also had two daughters of whom I am aware, but it appears that they are still living, so I am not mentioning their names here. In the 1940 U.S. Census, Henry Monk is listed as a “farm” “operator”, which would be consistent with the appellation “tenant farmer” of the photo.

Henry Monk and two of his stepchildren
on their farm near Ruthven, Iowa
December 1936
Photographer Russell Lee
Accessed via the Library of Congress website
What really confuses me is the next photo, from the same website, taken at the same time by the same photographer, entitled Henry Monk and two of his stepchildren on their farm near Ruthven, Iowa ( Both pictures are lovely, and really evoke the era, the people, and the place, but who are these kids? I can’t find any mention of Henry’s wife Thelma Mary having been married before, and the title seems to indicate that there were even more children! I suppose it is possible that the photographer had his information mixed up. If anyone out there has any further information about the people in the photos, or any ideas about who the children are, please let me know. If the children are living, you don’t have to give names in your comments, and if you choose to email me, and I blog about what you wrote later, I will not reveal the names of the living or any other information you do not wish me to reveal.

(As a side note, I am planning to write a blogpost on Henry’s mother, Ruth Henrietta Beams Monk, in future. I am hoping to find a good picture of her which comes along with permission to utilize it. I have found one on the internet, but have as yet been unable to secure the necessary permission to reproduce it. If you can help me with this, I would much appreciate it).

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mark Sanderson, The Chestnut Horse Inn and The Railway Hotel

Pewter Tankard,  one pint, likely pre-1878,
 from the Royal Oak Inn, Helpston.
Photo courtesy of Shirley M.

(My thanks go out to my English cousin, Shirley M., for providing this photo and the one below of pewter tankards from the Royal Oak Inn, Helpston, which the Sandersons operated from about 1916 to 1929 after leaving the Railway Hotel).

Pewter Tankard, 1/2 pint, from the Royal Oak Inn, Helpston.
Photo courtesy of Shirley M.

My weekend foray into vintage British newspapers has helped to solve a mystery—how did my great great grandparents, Mark and Phoebe Sanderson, end their proprietorship of the Chestnut Horse Inn in Deeping St. James, Lincolnshire to take up the running of the Railway Hotel in Helpston? I found a handful of newspaper items which show the process of Mark’s license being up for renewal, its being denied,  and then the sale of Chestnut Horse Inn:

from the Stamford Mercury, May 1, 1908

from the Stamford Mercury, May 29, 1908
and finally:

from the Stamford Mercury, September 18, 1908

(It is wonderful to have a description of the premises). My English cousin, Shirley M., in reading these, noticed that the owners of the Chestnut Horse Inn, “Messrs. G. and H. R. Hunt, Brewers, Stamford”, also were the owners of the Railway Hotel, where the Sandersons were to live and work next. She remarked that they may not have had much of choice about moving to Helpston, as they were likely transferred there by their employers. She stated that it must have been a "worrying time" for them, as it had not been many years before that the farm they were renting in March, Cambridgeshire was sold, and they had needed to move to Deeping St. James.

(For a further discussion of Mark and Phoebe Sanderson's lives, please see my blogpost, Phoebe Sanderson of the Royal Oak Inn).

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

William Cook Senior and the Case of the Purloined Ferret

from Wikipedia Commons
posted by Mika Hiltunen

(First, a warning to my gentle readers: I hope you will not be too dismayed by the following tales of assault, drunkenness, thievery, and outright mendacity in Victorian England).

I have not yet written much about my three times great grandfather, William Cook Senior, father of my great great grandfather William Cook Junior, who emigrated to Canada and homesteaded in Saskatchewan. This is because early on I was focusing more on my forebears who came to Canada, and when I wrote about anyone else born in England, it was because I had a picture of them or they had an interesting story to tell. In his case, I had neither.  However, I recently was given access to the newspaper database section of, and was able to find some articles pertaining to him and to William Junior.

William Cook Senior was born in 1827 in Timberland, Sleaford, Lincolnshire, and was baptised in St. Andrew’s Church on August 20, 1827. He was the son of Thomas Cook and Elizabeth (a.k.a. “Betsy”) Cook. I now believe that she was born Elizabeth Pearson, in Metheringham, Lincolnshire, daughter of William and Elizabeth Pearson, due to some sleuthing and record comparing I did this weekend utilizing and the records I already possessed. William Cook’s mother was nine years older than his father, and so far I have only been able to find two other children of theirs, Thomas and Rebeccah, both older than William.

William married Ann Squires in 1848, and at least nine children were born of their union: William, Anne Rebecca, Mary Elizabeth, Sarah Jane, Harriet, Elijah, Alfred, Emma and Martha. William Senior lived his whole life in Timberland, where he worked first as an “agricultural labourer”, and then as a “carrier”, i.e. the driver of a horse-drawn carriage for the transport of goods, usually employed by a railroad for transporting items over a shorter distance. Finally, he was a “coal higlar”, a seller of coal by horse and carriage.

The first news item I found for him was from the Stamford Mercury, dated July 20, 1858, when William would have been thirty years old. A John Vickers basically accuses him of having stolen his ferret and of being a liar:

This is clearly our William—lives in Timberland, is a carrier, and has a brother named Thomas. I have since discovered that ferrets were useful for coaxing rabbits and other small animals out of their holes. I checked the England and Wales, Criminal Registers 1791-1892 on Ancestry, and was able to find the following entry:

It appears that this entry may refer to a criminal court case against William for "larceny", particularly as the time frame matches that of the newspaper item, and the venue of  "Kesteven" and "Bourn" fits the general district where he lived. (You can click on the above image to see it enlarged). Fortunately, if this is him, he was found "not guilty". It is also interested to note that the newspaper item was dated "June 28, 1858"--the same day that the William Cook larceny case was before the judge. Maybe the outcome of the case, in addition to the "warrant against" him, is what prompted John Vickers to submit the notice.

The next article I was able to find was from the Lincolnshire Chronicle, dated August 12, 1870, when he was forty-three, which reported that “William Cook, sen, and William Cook, jun, were charged by William Potterton with an assault, at Timberland, on the 1st inst. Settled out of court”. Strangely enough, what William Cook, jun, had in common with his future wife, and my beloved great great grandmother, Emma Green Cook, is that they both had been charged with assault along with their same sex parent prior to their marriage! Imagine my surprise. (She is depicted on every page of this blog reading a book, demonstrating her gentility). Five years earlier, on November 25, 1865 the same newspaper reported that “Elizabeth Green and Emma Green were summoned by Phoebe Bassett for assaults, at Helpringham, on the 12th inst., and were each fined 5s and costs”. Emma would have been sixteen at the time, and she is, of course, not here to explain herself.

Next, I find William Senior as a victim of a crime. In the Grantham Journal, on February 10, 1877, when William is forty-nine, it is reported:

As was previously noted, William was a purveyor of coal. It seems to me that William was robbed of a substantial amount of his product, as “one bag and one hundredweight” is quite a bit, considering that a “hundredweight” would have been about one hundred and twelve pounds. I am given to understand that the “Union”, where the “girl”, Louisa Elkington, was sent, would have been a workhouse.

The next instance I found of a William Cook appearing in the press, could have been William Cook Senior or Junior, but I tend to think, based on family lore, that it was Junior. The Grantham Journal reported on September 26, 1885: “William Cook was summoned by P.c. Bonner for drunkenness at the “Drayman” Public-house, Timberland, on the 7th inst. Defendant admitted the offence, and was fined 5/- and 9/6 expenses”. Family lore has it that William Junior’s wife Emma went around to all the pubs in the “town” and convinced them all not to serve her husband. If this was Timberland, where they were living in 1885, then one of these pubs may have been the “Drayman”. I have since learned, via the website: Martin Timberland Community Website,, that there were three pubs in Timberland: The Jolly Drayman on Station Road (now called the Penny Farthing Inn), the Six Bells in Church Lane, and the Houghton Arms in Main Street. Perhaps these were the obliging establishments of the family story.

The Penny Farthing Inn, formerly the Jolly Drayman,
Timberland, Lincolnshire
courtesy of Wikipedia Commons,
submitted by Ian Carrington

Finally, there is a notice of the sale of the property where William is living, dated two years before his death. The auction is to take place at the "Houghton Arms", just mentioned. The notice was published in the Lincolnshire Chronicle, February 27, 1894:

He had been living there since at least 1891, when the address “Fen Lane, Timberland” appears in the census. It is wonderful to have a description of where he was living. William died in the first quarter of 1896, at the age of sixty-nine, (and I will now have to order his death record). His wife, Ann, passed away in Pendleton, Lancashire, in 1901, at the age of seventy-nine, where she was living with her daughter, Mary Elizabeth Cook Ferrer.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Herbert Charles Saunders in the Mountain View Cemetery

Private H.C. Saunders
Mountain View Cemetery
Vancouver, BC, Canada

This weekend, while wandering around the Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver searching for the grave of Herbert Charles Saunders, my great grandfather, I realized that I was in a military section of the graveyard, judging by the markings on all the headstones. Here is a photo of Herbert’s gravestone, which I was able to find fairly easily using the iCemetery app on my iPad. I had wondered why my great grandmother, Faith Saunders, was not buried with him, and the fact that he is buried with other soldiers may help to answer that question. I am supposing that the Canadian government must have paid for the burial of veterans, but not necessarily for their spouses. Faith Cook Saunders (1888 to 1974) was buried at the Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby, where her mother, Emma Green Cook, and two of her siblings are also buried. I hope to visit there soon.

If you are interested in Herbert’s military service, please see my previous blogposts relating to his life.

You can find the memorial I created for him at:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Herbert John Sanderson in the Mountain View Cemetery

Herbert Sanderson 1872-1937
Mountain View Cemetery
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Here is the second of the three graves I visited at the Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, British Columbia over the weekend. Although it is now difficult to read as it has become worn over the years, it is the headstone of Herbert Sanderson, 1872 to 1937, my great grandfather. I found it in the shade of tree. It is the first headstone I have ever seen in the shape of a heart, which is lovely and touching. According to the cemetery records, his wife and my great grandmother, Phoebe Sanderson (nee Green), 1876 to 1946,  is also buried in the same plot, but I looked around and could see no separate headstone for her. Therefore, this appears to be her headstone, too. I will look again when I return. 

You can find the memorial I have created for Herbert at:

(This blogpost has been brought to you in honour of "Tombstone Thursday", and marks the first time I have used a common "blog prompt" to create a blogpost).

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

William and Alice Sanderson in the Mountain View Cemetery

William and Alice May Sanderson
Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver, BC

I just wanted to share with you this photo I took on the weekend of the headstone of the grave of my grandparents, William Sanderson and Alice May Sanderson (nee Saunders). This was my third visit to the Mountain View Cemetery in Vancouver, and the first time I have had any luck finding the graves of my family members. Twice last year I went armed with maps, but I never knew how difficult it could be to find the graves you are looking for in a large city cemetery. This time I utilized the “iCemetery” app for the Mountain View Cemetery, and although my iPad is not 3G, I was able to take screenshots of the locations of the graves beforehand, and these led me to finding three graves. I plan to go back to find more in the near future. I have never been one to visit cemeteries prior to getting into genealogy, but I am glad that my research has led me to this. It is quite moving to pay your respects in this way. I could not help but have the whisp of a feeling that the visit was appreciated.

You can pay your respects virtually at the pages I have created for William and Alice. If you create a free account for yourself, you can leave virtual "flowers" and a note without having to disclose more of your identity than you wish to.

For Alice Sanderson:

For William Sanderson: