My history comes Alive


November 10, 2021

You can know what some of your family histories are. I wasn't necessarily interested in my family until my sister, Dena, started digging into it herself. Her friend Liz looked up something for her, and after that, she was hooked on our family. Dena spends hours every day researching. She has information going back 40 generations. She has studied all four of my family lines Patten, Brewer, Clowes, and Biddle.

In my family are many interesting, powerful, and inspiring blood relatives. And others I would rather not claim, but they are mine anyway and have contributed to my family culture. Those in my family history include Ben Franklin, my cousin. Thomas Macy, born in 1659, was the first white to live on Nantucket Island; King William the Conqueror, my 26th great grandfather, and other kings before him and after him. Jeremiah Clarke, my 8th grandfather, was President Governor of Rhode Island. John Rolfe was married three times, and his 2nd wife was Pocahontas, and his third wife Jane Pierce, our 12th great-grandmother. One of my great grandmothers was Elizabeth Stanton/Bailey, born in 1846. Her quilts are on display at numerous museums back east. Dr. Thomas Wynne, my 9th great grandfather, was William Penn's doctor.

Samuel Clowes, 1674 -1760, came over from England to serve as the first Governor of New York. His responsibility was to do the first survey for the English of the land that they got from the Indians. Land bought with beads in treaties. His daughter married Edward Willett; her son was Lieutenant colonel Marinus Willett. He was buried in Trinity Church next to the world trade center. He was the Governors and the Mayor of New York City. He was a Lieutenant Colonel and one of the First Sons of Liberty. He has a history center named after him. George Washington offered him a different promotion, but he turned him down. It is recorded that he was one of the only people to refuse Washington. He declined because of the federal government's treatment of the Creek Nation.

On my husband's side, William Rutledge was in the War of 1812, Alan's 3rd great grandfather. He traveled the Oregon trail in 1859, which was opened between 1840-1860; his brother founded Little Rock, Washington.

William Weller was an orphan, but in the Civil War, he was wounded and received a pension for the rest of his life. He was born in 1819 and died in 1892. He was one of the older civil war soldiers. Maria Melissa Stowe lived 78 years, 1819 -1897; her grandparents served in the Revolutionary war. Her grandfather was Captain Georg Stowe, Alan's 4th great grandfather. Alan's 5th great-grandfather fought at Bunker Hill, named after George Bunker, my 9th great-grandfather.

We had both slave owners and non-slave owners in my family, but no one fought for the south.

The Salem witch trials brought out our dogmatic religious relatives, as they testified against the innocent only because they believed differently than they did.

Murat Rais (Van Haarlem), a Barbary Coast Pirate, was my Grandfather. He made lots of money and married a Moroccan woman, and they had ten children. His son, Jansen Van Slaee, arrived in New Amsterdam. He was the first Muslim in the United States and my 10th great-grandfather.

On the Clowes family, we arrived in Montana from my dad's mother, Ruth Biddle, homesteading in 1908 in Valley County coming from OHIO. Homer came from Pennsylvania. In 1917. My one great grandfather served in the Civil war between 1861 till 1865. He was wounded three times, captured and held in Belle Island, the precursor for Andersonville. He was exchanged, but many of his fellow patriots died. Around 60 died there. He received a pension because of his severe injuries and was seriously disabled. He lived till he was 86.

We have grandfathers that have served in all the US wars documented in numerous online research. Family members were members of the Church of England, Puritans, Quakers, Huguenots, and Calvinists.

And while we were sitting at Starbucks, she received more hints on a relative in the late 1500's, and while sitting in Yosemite, she received a message from someone living in Florida who was related to me through my DNA. We share a 4th great-grandparent.

While on vacation with my sister to Yosemite, I mentioned that I casually talked about a woman who had a homestead on our place, a hole where her house used to be. She spent four hours and discovered everything about her. Her parents were from Czechoslovakia or Privlak, Austria. They found information about her sibling, her husband, when she was married, about her children. She was married in GF at the age of 27, and her husband was 47 when they got married. They moved to the family homestead in Hopp Community. They had two daughters who went to school in Big Sandy. Life was hard as her husband was abusive and beat his wife.

She died of a brain aneurysm in 1962. One daughter moved to Helena and finished High school there.

Suppose you would like my sister to help you discover your family. She is willing to do so. Call the Big Sandy Mountaineer if you are interested.


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