John  Gatwood was in Virginia January 13, 1663 when he witnessed a deed gift of 219 acres made by Thomas and Jane Button of Farnham Parish, Rappahannock County, to Charles Goodrich. This may be the first record of our name in the Colonies. It was the first I found.   One year later, January 4, 1664, he witnessed the signature of Jane Button who relinquished dower rights to Thomas Corbyn. Because of these transactions, we know that John had some kind of education and could read and write. We also know he had to be of age by the date of these transactions.

June 2, 1666, Colonel John Catlett brought into Rappahannock County, Virginia, ten individuals as immigrants. John Gatwood was one of these men. Again on July 1, 1666, he was one of seventy-three immigrants brought into Virginia by Mr. Thomas Button. It is my belief this was his final trip and when he began his new life in the new world. It is unclear whether these people were indentured. In the case of my ancestor John, I know that when he died, he was the owner of many acres of land which he left to his heirs. I am proud of his accomplishments, no matter where he came from or who his ancestors were.

John was married to Amy (Aimee) Magrah ca.1680. There are nine children listed in John’s will. John and Amy owned approximately four hundred acres of land by 1704.  They were living along the Rappahannock River in Virginia. This is where they were when the Susquehanna Indian Nation made their attack. I think this was a small group of Indians, many had left the area and many had died in prior wars. It is believed that the Gatwood’s knew the Indians quite well. The reason for this belief is because the Indians best friend and interpreter lived adjacent to the Gatwood family.

John had a will made November 14, 1706 and probated January 10, 1707 in Essex County, Virginia. It states that he was a planter and he leaves large acreage to several sons. All his children are listed by name.

Amy married a second time to Joseph Baker. Joseph Baker was a wealthy merchant and when he died, he left most of his wealth to Amy and her Gatwood children.

I believe that Amy Magrah was born in Virginia. It is possible her father was Thomas McGraw/Macgrah, a planter in Essex County, Virginia. When Thomas died he left a will on November 21, 1722. In his will he leaves everything to John Gatwood and his son Phillip as well as James Gatwood. John and James are the sons of John Gatwood and Amy Magrah and Phillip is a grandson. In the will, he refers to James as a “friend”. Amy and her son in law, David Scott witnessed this will. All this seems to indicate that they were family. If this is true, Thomas McGraw/Macgrah would prove a tenth generation!


John Alderson was an immigrant from Yorkshire, England. He was born in 1699.  He was my 6x Great-Grandfather. His father was a minister in the Church of England. In 1719 when John was twenty years old his father gave him money and a horse and advised him to leave the area. This was to avoid a marriage of which his father disapproved. The money did not last, but John did not return home or let his family know where he was. He worked his way across the ocean to America. When he arrived, he was to pay off his debt by working for a Baptist minister who was also a wealthy farmer (Thomas Curtis). Thomas Curtis liked John Alderson very much and they worked well together. In 1726, John Alderson would marry the Farmer’s Daughter (Jane Curtis). This couple had eight children. My direct ancestor is Curtis Alderson (my 5x Great Grandfather).

John Alderson, Sr. liked the Baptist Church and was converted. Very soon he was preaching. At long last, he wrote home to his Father and let him know where he was and told him about his life. His father sent him a nice letter and two volumes on theology. I have read that these volumes are still in the Alderson family. When he left New Jersey, he moved to Pennsylvania. In 1755 he was sent to Virginia where he organized one of Virginia’s first Baptist Churches. He died at the age of eighty-two in 1781.

His work continued with his son, John Alderson, Jr. John Jr. was a Baptist minister in Greenbrier Valley, Virginia (now West Virginia). He is given credit for establishing most of the Baptist Churches in the Virginia Valley.


Jesse Woltz was born in Hagerstown Maryland December 15, 1792.  His parents were Dr. Peter Woltz and Maria Breitengross.   Peter and Maria were my Paternal 5x Great-Grandparents. Before leaving Hagerstown, it is likely he apprenticed with his uncle; George Woltz. George Woltz was a well-known cabinet maker in Hagerstown, Maryland. I have seen a picture on the internet of a clock he made and signed.

Jesse served as a private and sergeant in the War of 1812, Stonebrakers Company of Maryland Militia.

Jesse Woltz traveled to Lancaster, Ohio in 1816 with Samuel Herr who was also a cabinet maker. He began a business for himself that same year at Number 9 Wheeling Street in Lancaster, Ohio. He made all types of fine wood furniture and was successful. On September 30, 1816, Jesse Woltz married Elizabeth Canode. She was also from Maryland. The Woltz’s family would include ten children.

It was rumored that he made the cases for Timothy and Thomas Sturgeon clocks.

Later in his career, Jesse expanded his line to include making pianos and organs, including the organ in the Lutheran Church.

It appears that after 1837, Jesse was not doing as well. He advertised to sell the Lutheran Church organ and was taking in borders. He was selling ice cream where he had once sold furniture. In 1839, he moved to Chillicothe to live with his son and died that same year.

In 1842, Elizabeth (Jesse’s widow) married Isaac Hollenback. The Hollenback’s moved to Indiana and Ellizabeth died there in 1880.



I have been known to extend my family a bit. As an example: this is a story about a “shirt-tail” relative.

Hazel Norris was the Grandmother of my Brother-In-Law; my Sister’s husband. Hazel’s Great Grandfather was James Norris.

The time was August 29th, 1857. The place was “camp ground” in Mason County, Illinois. There was a tent revival nearby. Often when there were revivals happening, men who had no interest in the revival, sat up their own tents and had a “whiskey camp”. They would get drunk and act like fools. Sometimes they would fight amongst themselves.  On this night, James Preston Metzker was hit with a piece of wood as well as a slung shot (the dictionary describes this as a weight on the end of a cord or chain). The two men who were fighting with Mr. Metzker were: William “Duff” Armstrong and James Norris. That evening Mr. Metzker got on his horse and rode home. During the ride, he fell off his horse several times. After his arrival home, he was checked by a Dr. who said he had a fractured head in two separate places. James Preston Metzer died two days later. Did he die from the piece of wood that was used by Mr. Norris? Did he die from the slung shot used by Mr. Armstrong? Did he die from the several falls he took from his horse, riding home?

James Norris and William Armstrong were both charged with murder. The men would be tried separately. The first trial was against James Norris. In October, 1857 James was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to eight years in the Joliet penitentiary.

The second trial, for William Armstrong was not as swift. His father died while he awaited trial. There was a well-known lawyer named Abraham Lincoln who notified the widowed mother of Mr. Armstrong that he wanted to defend her son pro bono. Years before, Lincoln had stayed with the Armstrong family. He was studying law at the time and had no money. He remembered their kindness and wished to “repay”. This trial would be on May 7th,1858 and moved to Cass County, Illinois. The trial became known as the “Almanac Trial”. There would be books, news stories and plays written about this trial. It is possible that this was Abraham Lincoln’s most famous case.

Although there were many witnesses who testified, Mr. Lincoln was only interested in one. Charles Allen testified that he saw Duff Armstrong strike Metzker with a slung shot and he could clearly see the act by the light of the full moon and he was at a distance of 150 feet. Abraham Lincoln used an almanac to show Allen lied on the stand when he claimed he had witnessed the crime in the moonlight and that the moon on that date could not have produced enough light for the witness to see anything clearly. Based on this evidence, the jury acquitted Armstrong after only one ballot.

James Norris was pardoned several years later, in 1863. He had served six years of his sentence.


Charlotte Renouf was born in 1849 and was the child of Charlotte Gatwood and Nicholas Renouf. The family relocated to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania around 1850. Charlotte Renouf married Luther Dickey and together they had six children.

I have a nugget or two to share in regard to this group. I found a newspaper story of interest:

1889-Chicago, Illinois

POISON IN THE FRUIT-Entire Family Poisoned by Raspberries

Chicago, June 21-The entire family of Luther S. Dickey, consisting of wife and six children, living on Warren Avenue, was poisoned yesterday from eating raspberries. Alice, aged nine, died this morning. The others are in serious condition. The berries were bought from street venders. Mr. Dickey, who was absent from the city at the time, was telegraphed for, and arrived home today to find his friends and family plunged in grief.


The mother, Charlotte Renoulf Dickey is my 1st cousin 3x removed. Charlotte’s husband was Luther Samuel Dickey. Everyone recovered from the poison except the nine-year old who died. It was also determined that the poison was not from the raspberries, but from butter that was tainted.

By finding this story, I was lead to more information on this family group. Newspapers are a great source of information. There are many online and in libraries. I have gotten many of my family obituaries thru interlibrary loans. Finding obituaries nearly always leads to more information!

Luther was only fifteen years old when he joined the Army and served in the Civil War for Pennsylvania. He served from September 1861 to June 1865. He was a full Corporal when he was mustered out of the service. He married Charlotte and they had six children. I have read that his wife worked very hard to “make ends meet” while Luther did little. However, I was able to find two books that Luther wrote and are still available. The books are considered to be quite good on their subject matter (History of 103rd Pennsylvania Regiment and History of 85th Pennsylvania Regiment). Luther Dickey was listed as an author at the time of his death.



Silas Duddleson was My 2x Great Uncle. He was the Child of Samuel Duddleson and Sophia Faust; my 2x great grand-parents and brother to my Great Grandmother, Martha Duddleson.

Silas was the first of the children to be born in Ohio. The others were born in Iowa. He was born in 1861. He was the fourth child, the third son.

In the 1870 census for Bloom Township, Fairfield County, Ohio; Silas was nine years old and attending school.

In the 1880 census Greencastle, Fairfield County, Ohio Silas was listed.  The record stated he was nineteen years old and had epilepsy. He was with his family.

Samuel and Sophia Duddleson; the parents of Silas, died in 1898. That same year, in the Fairfield county court house records, there was a Lunacy Inquest and Silas Duddleson was admitted to the state hospital. I have no information whether the family ever saw him again. I have wondered if he was there because of the epilepsy and they did not understand the ailment or if he was insane.

In the 1900 census, Silas was found at the Columbus State Hospital as an inmate in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. He was thirty-nine years old.

On January 1st, 1908 Silas died at the State Hospital. I have no further information on him. It is possible that he is buried in a cemetery on the grounds of the hospital.

This story about Silas may seem of little value, but I feel that all my ancestors deserve their stories to be told. Everyone was not a war hero or had some other “claim to fame”. When our descendants write about us, what will they find of interest? Something to think about.



Warren Albion Pace was born October 19, 1834 in Effingham County, Georgia. This man is not a blood relative of mine, but that has never kept me from a good story. My great-Aunt, Ora Odessa Whetsel (sister to my Grandma-Orella Ortega Whetsel) was married to James Goodlow Pace and Warren Albion Pace was James father.

In 1860, Warren Pace married Mary Elizabeth Drummon. They had one child, a girl named Cora. At the start of the Civil War, Warren took his wife and child to the Savannah, Georgia area to stay with his family. He joined the 7thGeorgia Confederate Calvary in May of 1862. On June 24, 1864 he was hit by a mini ball that shattered his left elbow. In September of that year, he was in Salem Church, Virginia and told to return home. They could not afford to let him take a horse, so he took off on foot to return to Savannah. He had to go through Sherman’s lines. There was nothing left when he reached his family. Everything was gone! They had no food! Mary and Cora were in poor condition.

Warren then commenced to walk about 150 miles to Hawthorne, Florida, where Mary’s family lived. He would get a mule and cart. When he returned to Savannah, he put Mary and Cora on the cart and he walked them back to her parents’ home. Cora was small and always frail for the remainder of her days, but Mary died the same week they arrived at her parents. The death record says she died from consumption, but the family said starvation. This all is so sad, but it was also a new beginning as the War had ended.

In 1866 Warren married a widow named Henrietta (Fossell) Evans and they raised a family of ten children. Warren Albion Pace died in 1932. He was one month from his ninety-eighth birthday.