Thursday, March 25, 2010

Silas Lamson (1778-1855) Lunatic or Fanatic?

Silas Lamson and Susan Goodnow had 11 children. Ward Lamson, the patriarch of Fairfield Iowa was the 8th child. After Silas lost 4 children to diptheria he became passionate to communicate his "firmness of purpose to unveil and ridicule all that he deemed ridiculous in law, custom and religion", preaching his beliefs wherever he could.  Had he lived fifty years earlier his orthodox forefathers would have hung or burned him at the stake. Silas did not approve of government oversight and as such he was routinely placed in jail for failing to pay his tithes, and finally, due to his constant preaching, was condemned to the Worchester and Brattleboro asylums "to be treated for insanity and uncustomary methods of dispensing his sentiments" for a period of six years.

The asylum superintendants, who beieved that Silas was a fanatic liberal, frequently would let Silas out, and when questioned Silas would reply "The angels let him out".

Finally, when the supporters of church and state orthodoxy made their last effort to return him to the asylum, liberal thinking men headed by Ralph Waldo Emerson, made up a purse for his defense.  The resulting lawsuit ended in a court decision that proclaimed his incarceration as a lunatic was illegal.

What do you think?  Lunatic or fanatic liberal? 

It does explain why his son, Ward Lamson's favorite author was Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finding the right B & B and taxes........

So I have given the reader a whirlwind tour to the towns and core ancestors Virginia & I want to visit this June to further our genealogy research: From the patriarch Ward Lamson and his wife Maria (Fairfield), to their 5th child Ella who married Charles Clapp Clark (Iowa City). They then moved to Burlington and had my grandfather, Warren Pomeroy Clark who Married Hilda Mabley and had my mother Judith Clark Stephens, all in Burlington. That's the gist of it!

So the next step is to figure out what B & B's we will be staying in while blogging our way thru this genealogy tour! This is so exciting!!!

But wait, I've really got to do my income tax returns! I'm procrastinating! So you won't hear from me again until that's done. And then I promise, I'll post a site about Ward's quirky father, Silas Lamson & his wife Sarah Goodnow Lamson. Off to do the taxes......

Monday, February 8, 2010

Burlington Golf Club History - by Margaret Clark, 1975

"In 1898, Charles Clapp Clark (right) and Jackson (Jack) Garrett called a group of friends together to see if there was enough interest to start a Golf Club in Burlington. There was. Land was bought from Mr. Ritter on Sunnyside Avenue, north of Aspen Grove Cemetery's northern boundary. A brick home on the property was to be the Club house. This was located just about where the Cemetery gates now stand. The first tee also was there. A course, of sorts, was laid out and play was started on May 30, 1899.

On June 7, 1899, articles of incorporation were filed thus making this the first incorporated Golf Club west of the Mississippi. An organizational meeting was held and the following officers were elected :
  • President: Charles C. Clark
  • Captain of the Green: H.W.Chettenden
  • Secretary: Jack Garrett
  • Treasurer: H.W.Perkins
The officers were ex-officio members of the Board of Directors, the other elected members being Mabel G. Millard, Ruth C. Sherfey and E.W. Danner. The membership was set at 200"
This is the first two paragraphs of a 2 page documentary from my Aunt Polly in 1975 (available upon request). The Golf Club was at the heart of my childhood memories - every summer my 4 sisters and I would visit our grandparents, Hilly & Warren Clark, and spend the hot summer days swimming at the Club and playing tennis with our Schramm cousins.
This summer I will re-visit those memories and further research the Clark and Schramm families.

Burlington Connection

Ella Lamson(right) (Fairfield Connection) went to Boston to study piano about 1881 where she became an accomplished pianist. She taught piano at her home in Burlington for many years and passed the art onto her daughter Margaret (Aunt Polly - right).

Charles Clapp Clark graduated from Law School at the University of Iowa and then came to Fairfield to teach, which is where he met the Lamson family.

Ella and Charles were married in 1885 and shortly after Charles was offered a job in Burlington with the Seeley Law firm. They moved to Burlington.

Ella and Charles started with a small house and piece of property overlooking the Misissippi River located at 922 N. 3rd. Over the years they made additions which evolved into an absolutely elegant manor. This is a "must see" on our upcomming tour this summer!!!

Ella and Charles had two children, the oldest was Maragret (photo above) and the youngest was Warren Pomeroy Clark, my grandfather (left).

Warren attended Dartmouth College, obtained a business degree, and after graduating moved to Chicago and worked for General Electric. About 1920 he returned to Burlington and was offered a job in the furniture business with Chettenden and Eastman, where he was employed for the rest of his life.

Warren Clark married Hilda Mabley in 1924. "Hilly" as we all knew her, was raised in St. Louis and attended college at the University of Wisconsin. Over Christmas break in 1920 she accompanied her roommate back to her roommate's home town of Burlington. Charles and Ella had an elaborate Christmas party at their home which Hilly and her roommate attended. It was there that Warren met Hilly Mabley. Their engagement lasted four years.

Hilly and Warren resided at 919 N 3rd, a home that my sisters and I visited for many summers while growing up. Another "must see" for our trip!

Hilly and Warren had two girls, my mother (left) Judith Maragret Clark and her younger sister, Louise who passed away recently after a courageous battle with Parkinson's.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Iowa City Connection

Ella Lamson, the 5th child of Ward & Maria Lamson, married Charles Clapp Clark in 1885. Charles was born in Iowa City.

His parents were Sophia Clapp Clark (right) (1829-1884) & Joseph Warren Clark (1823-1868). Sophia and Joseph had 4 children, the first two born in Huntsburg, Ohio and the 3rd and 4th in Iowa City:

  • Elizabeth Louise (1854-1913)

  • Florence Eliza (1857-1885)

  • Charles Clapp (1859-1951)

  • Harold Warren (1861-1923)

This is a photo of Charles, "Lizzie" and Florence in 1864. Apparently Harold was to young to pose for the photographer!

This family is the core family that we will be researching in Iowa City.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Four Corners - Where's That???

Maria Albertina Danielson(right) was Ward Lamons 4th wife (see last post). Her parents were Elizabeth Louisa Anderson and John Danielson. They immigrated to the US in 1845 with four other Swedish families, 25 people in all.

Our records whow that there are probably three other siblings that came to America with Maria but this is one of the things that we hope to explore when we come to Iowa!!!

This group of 25 Swedes made Four Corners their home. Many of them are buried in the New Sweden Methodist Cemetery.

Where is Four Corners? It's 15 miles east of Fairfield.

Fairfield Public Library

Ward Lamson (right) married 4 times, the first three were in Burlington in 1844 (Elizabeth Dills), 1847 (Elizabeth Smith Carter) and 1851 (Sarah Potter). He relocated to Fairfield.

Having buried three wives and a son, and his father Silas in and out of jail and asylums (yes, I promise I will write about Silas later!!), Ward set his sights on establishing a free county library.

With the help of Christen Slagal, the Fairfield Public Library was opened in August 1853. That same year Ward married his 4th wife, Maria Albertina Danielson who had been a "hired girl" to his 3rd wife.

Yesterday, Rebecca Huggins, the Director of the Fairfield Public Library graciously took time out of her busy schedule to talk to me. She informed me that the library has a newly restored oil painting (with the help of generous private donors) of Ward that she described as "outstanding".

I can't wait to see the library, the painting and learning more about my great-great-great-grandfather from knowledgeable people like Rebecca Huggins!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Fairfield Iowa Connections

  • The 5 daughters of Ward & Maria Lamson:

Florence Slagle (L)

Lizzie Hunt

Ella Clark

Carrie Ross

Mary Howard (R)

My mother has at least 38 known ancestors who either were born or died in Fairfield. Nine are buried in Evergreen Cemetery, maybe more. Family names include Bowman, Howard, Hunt, Lamson, Ross, Roth & West.

The nuclei of the Fairfield connection are Maria Danielson(1832-1920) & Ward Lamson(1820-1904). Ward is the 8th of 11 children whos parents were Susan & Silas Lamson of Massachusetts. Silas was quite a character and I will write more about him later. Maria's parents, Elizabeth Louisa Anderson (1792-1895) & John Danielson (1799- )immigrated from Sweden to Four Courners in 1845. I will cover more about them in the Four Corners Connections section tomorrow.

Ward & Maria had the following children, all born in Fairfield:
~ Elizabeth
~ Victor Alonzo
~ Ralph Waldo
~ Mary
~ Ella - my great-grandmother
~ Carrie Albertina
~ Florence Eva
~ Clara Emily
~ Arthur Ward

Most of our family connections in Fairfield are ascendants or descendants of Ward & Marie Lamson

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Getting Started

Several years ago my Mother-in-Law started helping me research the genealogy of my mother, Judith Margaret Clark Stephens. Three years later we have a database with over 5000 identified ancestors and a book that's over an inch thick with hundreds of old photos. I gave the book to my mother last July for her 83rd birthday.

But genealogy projects don't end - there's always holes to be filled in! And as I'm retiring in a few months, Virginia suggested that we go after some of those holes.....

Soon a plan formulated and we decided to take 3 weeks in June and go to Iowa, specifically Fairfield, Iowa City and Burllington with possible other stops in Pella and Alton.

This blog will be the travel log of searching those ancestral trails through Iowa.