Dear Bernadette and friends,
My husband and I just returned from a week of visiting libraries and historical societies, graveyards of Long Island, Oyster Bay, Huntington; Newton, and Roosevelt's home at Sagamore Hill. The Roosevelt's even had a pet cemetery. =) Finding places and sites was most difficult as there are so few road signs and the roads seem to go in circles. It looked much like the mainland of Connecticut with trees boarding the roadsides. Beautiful estates are hidden deep in the woods.
Oyster Bay was gorgeous with a many of recreational boats and a few working crafts. The beach was nice but had much litter left from the Fourth of July fireworks. LOL I am spoiled with the Disney beaches that are raked daily. There is one hotel in the town.
One would think the Historical Society sites would be open in the summers. They do leave a phone number to call but ... We missed seeing Walt Whitman’s Birthplace, Earl Wightman’s house, Raynham Hall Museum.
The libraries were great, open from 9 am to 9 pm. The Huntington Library in the town of “Huntington,” had their genealogy materials in a locked room. Professional genealogical assistance was not available but they did have a beautiful collection of books.
We were able to find land records of Anne Gregory, christened 29 JAN 1625 in Saint Peter’s parish, Nottingham, England, She made her home on Long Island. Ann m. William Crooker who died about 1660; m. (2) about. 1669, John Rogers. We found the property with archival maps from the library. It was across the street from the Matinecock Quaker Meeting House, built about 1671. It is said to have not missed a service since. Parishioners would have to pay a fine if not in attendance. Frugal folks to be sure!
It was so exciting to sit on the grass in their graveyard and think of those early settlers of Oyster Bay. We ate our lunch there with heroes and royalty from another era. Townsends, Osborns, Underhills, Burrs, Bennetts, Betts, Baylis, Wood, Weeks etc. Reverence, respect and honor filled my thirsty soul. There are numerous grave yards tucked in and around the towns.
The old map had the name “Messenger’” on land further down Duck Pond Road. Vaguely remembering something in my linage, I went to investigate. Boarding the road was buried the famous thoroughbred MESSENGER! He born in England in 1780 and brought to America in 1788. Buried with honors 28 JAN 1808, was a descendant of the from greatest thoroughbreds in England. The famous race horses in America are his descendants.
We crossed Long Island Sound in a boat, landing at Bridgeport, CT. In another lifetime, I taught sailing for the University 1969, little knowing my great, great grandparents raised their family in Southport. I had only a vague idea and verbal history to go on, my grandmother had the key to his store.
The town of Fairfield, is the home of FAIRFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY LIBRARY. It is a delightful, one of a kind, experience. We were here a couple of years ago. They are open and staffed by a full time professional genealogist, Dennis Barrow and several assistants. This is where I first found the connection to my Southport great, great grandparents, John Gregory and Mary Elizabeth Osborn. I was able to find their property, home, and stories about his place in local newspapers.
I just told the gentleman my story, and he kept bringing me the needed materials. Jacobus' Families of Old Fairfield was offered. I know it is online some where too. I had found a set and have been making good use of them the past few years! Across the street was the Town Hall where I was able to verify information.
The walls are floor to ceiling with treasures. Some 10,000 volumes including genealogies, local history, decorative arts; 700 linear feet of manuscripts including personal and business papers, diaries, account books, atlases; maps etc. I even found an original Fillow Genealogy! The more rare and precious materials are kept in another room. I am not sure where he kept the folders and envelopes and binders of specific families. It had research done by previous generations on the family. He brought me two of the Banks family as they are also related. I just did not have time to look through them.
I think you might be able to find your answer to your Peter Osborn question in those folders. The Osborn family had property across from where my family lived on the corner of Center Street and “The King’s Highway.”
A real treasure was the SOUTHPORT PACKET, the first ten years is bound together. It even had a photo of the Gregory store. It had two or three issues of the OSBORN YEARS and O'DWIRE YEARS and other early history of families in that area.. Can’t help but share this rare treasure!
Mr. Barrow’s showed me the Volume THE GREAT MIGRATION, that I gave a donation for them to buy needed books. There was much in the new volume, I was not acquainted with the volumes. Perfect choice! I am starting to sound like commercial.
I learned about five years ago, via DNA tests, that I have defective gene for Huntintgton’s disease. It is a very rare condition, about 1/20,000 INHERIT the DEGENERATIVE NUROLOGICAL disease, for which there is LITTLE TREATMENT, and NO CURE YET. It is like LouGerig disease only life expectancy is longer. (10-25 years)
Everyone needs huntington to live as it is in every cell of the body. I was born with the DNA. My birth children have a 50/50 chance of inheriting the same. If one does not have HD, then you will not pass it on. It has been an emotional roller coaster to adjust my focus and go on living. Being a productive, loved and appreciated teacher most of my life, and ... now, no job, physical limitations, caregiver needs.
YOU are helping me to give my children my one last gift. My time is limited I know. I really want to leave behind a complete and accurate “Family History and Genealogy.” The proud families that came to New England in 1600s searching for a new way of life are my HEROES, ROYALTY, EDUCATORS, LAWYERS, GOVERNORS, DOCTORS, PASTORS, FARMERS, BUILDERS, INVENTORS, and yes, PARENTS. They provided the best education and training for their families. I am sad that they had to deal with so much superstition, and turmoil in the name of religion. They faced the ravages of smallpox, cholera, dysentery, infant/mother death.
Some went through the same progression as I am experiencing. I believe Holland and England were the first families with the HD gene in America. It is found in all races and countries.
I must not forget, the wonderful HISTORICAL EXHIBIT and DISPLAYS. They were featuring the time in history when folks began using real and printed money. Very well done and it hit home! My gr. gr. grandfather, John Gregory, did well “keeping the books’” and running his grocery store in Southport. Unfortunately, the adjustment to money was most difficult. He became mentally unbalanced over the years and was committed to an Institution for the Insane, and lost everything. That was common practice for person’s with HD in those days. Mary Elizabeth (Osborn) Gregory and most of the family, moved to California in the 1880s. They too wanted to make a new life. His son was the publisher of “The Morning Echo,” the first newspaper in Bakersfield. He was the father of thirteen children.
Thank you again, friends for being so much help in my last project!
Without you, I would have not been able to find my family and fulfill my last quest. Words can not express how much this mean.
I know you have plans for a 6 million dollar improved site across the street in an other building. I forget the name of it but they are pretty excited about its prospects. Please continue to help others make connections.
The gentleman who assisted me was Dennis Barrow, Librarian,
FAIRFIELD HISTORICAL SOCIETY
636 Old Post Road
Fairfield, CT 0643
OPEN Tue-Sat 10:00 am -4:30 pm
Sundays 1-4:30 pm
CLOSED Mondays and major holidays
The gentleman who assisted me was Dennis Barrow, Librarian,
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