Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Booz in my Blood

E.G. Booz Whiskey Bottle

Yes, it's almost comical that the only "drink" of liquor I've ever had was by accident from a well-meaning "Christmas Party" prank. I walked into a store and the guy asked me if I wanted some Coca Cola ... I love Pop, so I said sure ... one drink told me this was NOT the normal soft drink I thought I had been given! Upon spitting it out, I was told that it had been spiked and he appologized profusely for his prank.

Funny, as a member of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints {LDS or Mormon} church, and as a non-drinker ... I find in my Family History the surname of BOOZ. Yes, the Booz from which the term "drinkin booze" came from! So regardless of the fact that I'm a non-drinker ... I am descended from a family who at one time owned a Whiskey Distillery in Pennsylvania.

Charles Booz and his wife Mercy Ann VanHorn {my 4th great grandparents} were born in Pennsylvania ... their first child, Easten, was also born in Pennsylvania. Their origins are from Pennsylvania … probably Bucks County as one researcher and family historian claims has been handed down in family lore.

Charles married Mercy Ann VanHorn about 1836 or 1837. Because they married between Census years, I cannot find them on the 1830 Census in Pennsylvania due to the fact that only “heads of household” are listed. Though I do not know who Charles mother and father are, I have strong clues as to the parents of Mercy Ann VanHorn. I believe them to be Arthur VanHorn & Lydia Featherby ... this is speculative and not proved by any documents.

My goal is to find the Parents of my 4th Great Grandparents, Charles Booz and Mercy Ann VanHorn. Born 1818 and 1822 both in Pennsylvania. They later moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio about 1838. Family Lore says that Mercy Ann had an ancestor that was referred to as: “Grandpa Featherby”. I was told that an ancestor of Mercy Ann was a Hessian Soldier that he served in the Revolutionary War. {May 5th, 2011 .... I have just been told by a great granddaughter of Mercy Ann, that her mother used to speak of being descended from a "Dutch Princess" ... this would fit the "Hessian" senario}.

I have suspicions that Mercy Ann may be the daughter of Arthur VanHorn & Lydia Featherby … several “hints” support that guess. And one researcher has them connected on New Family Search as if that relationship has been proved ... it has NOT.

As for Charles Booz, I have NO IDEA who his parents were. The family lore is that they came from Bucks County Pennsylvania and that they may be related to E.G. Booz, the famous Whiskey Distiller that the “BOOZ Bottles” have made famous … this BOOZ name is how the term BOOZE, in reference to drinking alcohol, got it’s nickname.

Charles & Mercy Ann were the parents of 15 children in all. I have 8 photos of their children but lack one for my own 3rd Great-Grandmother ... I know that Mercy Ann was still living in 1896 but there seems to be NO RECORD of her death or where she is buried. There are 3 children who are now lost or died without knowing what happened between census records.

Descendants of both Charles and Mercy Ann as well as descendants of Arthur & Lydia were in attendance together at a family reunion held in Putnam Park, in Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio in 1924. (see Booz - VanHorn newspaper article included here: Interesting that on the 1830 Census, Mercy WOULD fit into the Arthur VanHorn family with the hash mark that is present. There is no KNOWN child that would fit that hash mark ... but Mercy Ann WOULD!! …………. If only the Census would have listed each family member by name instead of just the head of household with hash marks in age groups for every one else, this work would be much simpler.

I … am a Mormon, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints …. Through my family history research I also have come to the conclusion that I am also a Baptist and a Methodist, my ancestors were mostly firm in the faith of Jesus Christ and attended services of various denominations, though mostly Baptist and Methodist from all indications. Borrowed from one obituary in 1908 it states: … “She was a true believer in God and His power to save.” They had a great desire to believe, and for that reason, I have found great joy in the heritage of a Christian and faith believing family.

In my research I have found that though times were different, situations were much the same then as they are now. I found divorces, spousal abuse, children out of wedlock, suicides and other “black sheep” activities … though these are rare, they do exist. I love finding out the unusual and surprising things. I’m not afraid of finding (already have) things like an affiliation with the KKK, a newspaper article about a family member (in 1919) being arrested for fornication … and other facts about family members that seem to be outside the “norm”. I find all this information fascinating and I’m not ashamed of anything I find out about family members … we all have our faults and family secrets.

I find all information fascinating … even if it’s negative information, it’s family history. I don’t try to judge as I’ve made my own mistakes in life … and I don’t know each of our ancestors personally … nor what they actually lived through. It was amazing to think of each of these children and their descendants and the trials, and joys they had in their lives … I learned quickly that sometimes I would make assumptions and after gaining documents or court recrods … the FACTS became clear and made more sense when I learned of the WHOLE situation they were in.

Some of them came to Ohio in the early to mid 1800’s. I assume they came by wagon … probably not a comfortable trip … and I believe that Mercy Ann was pregnant at the time with her 2nd child. IF, (and this is not yet proven) Arthur VanHorn IS Mercy Ann’s father, then it is highly likely that they traveled in the same wagon company as him. They did move to the same town and lived 7 doors from one another once they arrived in Springfield Township, Muskingum County, Ohio {1840 Census}. And in my “colorful” imagination it may have been a comfortable trip … as Arthur VanHorn was a wagon maker by trade……. I’ll bet he fitted the wagon for a pregnant daughter with a comfortable seat (by the day’s standards)!

We come from a tough stock ... Mercy Ann’s 7th child, Esther Ann, contracted Consumption/TB and died on 20 December 1869. Her 7th Child Louisa had Consumption/TB in 1880, but survived and went on to be a mother of 5 children of her own. On November of 1892 Amanda (child #2) contracted the disease and died. Within 6 months child #5, John, also contracted the disease and died. At this point Mercy Ann had probably nursed or was in contact with ALL 4
children (2 of whom were already married) when only 4 months after John died … Lillie Ellen Skinner, daughter of Amanda and granddaughter of Mercy Ann died of the same disease. Lillie lived with Mercy Ann at the time of her death … so this brings the count to 4 children and one grandchild who died of the dreaded disease. Lillie passed away 16 July 1893 and Mercy lived on till at least 1896 when she is listed on the Zanesville City Directory. She was a strong and valiant woman and tough by the days standards … and even by our standards today … How she could live with so may who had the disease and not be brought down before the age of 74 is amazing to me … and her strength is something to be admired!

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