Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917

Four generations of RICHARDSONs 1917
William Richardson, Alice Josephine Richardson Dakin, Robert Worthington Richardson, Harry Bogart Richardson
Showing posts with label Sherman CT. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sherman CT. Show all posts

Friday, August 12, 2016

60 Acres More or Less

Growing up, I remember my father telling the story of his Aunt Clarice buying land.  Clarice Theodora Evans (1884-1953) was a professional woman in the first half of the 1900s.  Clarice taught industrial arts when it was a new area of study in various schools around the US, advocated child-centered education, traveled to England to teach and to research for Darlington Hall, and spent her final years teaching at Jersey State Teachers College in New Jersey.

Clarice never married. Her sister Marion Evans Dakin was a widow who was raising a son, Ted.  Both were professional women, but neither woman had any extra funds -- they did not come from a wealthy family.  So purchasing land would be a luxury for Clarice.  Some land became available near the woods where their father had built a shack in Sherman, Connecticut.  Clarice wanted to purchase the land, but it was too expensive.  So, Clarice suggested to her friend Amy Herrick, that maybe they could buy the land together.  Amy had some money and she agreed. They would purchase the land together.

My father's story of the purchase:
The land was 60 acres and the farmer wanted three times what Clarice could afford. Clarice and Amy wanted the land surveyed before they bought it, but the farmer said, "It's 60 acres more or less, period."    The two women paid the going price per acre, Amy paying 2/3 and Clarice 1/3.  When they had the land surveyed to divide it afterwards, Clarice's share was 60 acres!

The story sounds a bit apocryphal, but I used to tell it in my middle school math class when we would study measurements --  an example of needing to have a sense of the size of measurements that you use each day.  In this case, the farmer would probably have some sense of what an acre actually was -- not what I would expect my students to know, but the farmer should.  Then we'd do an activity estimating the number of inches, centimeters, feet etc. something was before measuring. Then I'd end with "handy approximate" measures for the inch, and some estimating activities, for example.

Time to investigate the story:
1. Did Amy and Clarice purchase 60 acres of land in Sherman? 
2. Did they have it surveyed dividing it into 2/3 and 1/3?
3. Did Clarice end up with 60 acre of land as her 1/3?

This is a piece of a more complicated land record search in Sherman that I'm trying to sort out.
Here is the "truth" of the story about Clarice and Amy.

Amy and Clarice made two purchases of land in the northern portion  of Sherman, Connecticut on Ten Mile Hill on 13 December 1938, each with an undivided interest of 1/3 to Clarice and 2/3 to Amy.   One piece of property was for 10 acres, more or less, of woodland from Roland Mygatt [see Sherman Land Records, volume 16, pages 310-311].   The other piece was from Helen H Mygatt for 60 acres, more or less [see Sherman Land Records, volume 15, page 161].
Amy and Clarice purchased 10 + 60 acres on 13 December 1938.

1. Did Amy and Clarice purchase 60 acres of land in Sherman? 

Amy and Clarice, paid to have the land surveyed and divided, 17 months later.
On 1 June 1940, they signed a portion of the land to Amy and a portion of the land to Clarice.

Clarice Evans Quit-Claimed three pieces of property to Amy Herrick, one was 5 1/2 acres, one was 10 and one was 10 acres, a total of 75 1/2 acres [see Sherman Land Records, volume 16, pages 340-341].

Also, on 1 June 1940, 1 Amy Herrick Quit-Claimed three pieces of property to Clarice Evans, total 55 acres [volume 16, pages 341-342].

Amy got 75 1/2 acres, Clarice got 55 acres.  This doesn't sound like 2/3 and 1/3.
They did own the property together as undivided 2/3 and 1/3 each.

Looking closely at the deeds on 1 June 1940.

The land had been surveyed and divided, giving Amy all of the 10 acre piece piece purchased from Roland Mygatt -- a totally separate piece of land sold, none of which went to Clarice.  Possibly this piece of land had a higher value.

The piece of land sold by Helen Mygatt, had been surveyed and divided into three pieces, one was a 6 acre plot which Amy got.

The rest of the "60 acres" purchased from Helen Mygatt, was divided into two convoluted pieces: a west portion (55 acres) and and an east portion (60 acres).

So the "60 acres, more or less" piece was actually 60 + 55 +10 acres when a survey was done.
Clarice received the west portion.

So, back to our questions....
2. Did they have it surveyed dividing it into 2/3 and 1/3?
Well, when they owned it together, it was as an "undivided" 2/3 and 1/3.  They had it surveyed.  They probably divided it into the real estate value of 2/3 and 1/3. Not explicitly stated, since no values were given in any of the original or later transactions].

3. Did Clarice end up with 60 acre of land as her 1/3?
Close to it!  She ended up with 55 acres of land bordering on the land her father bought and built a shack on in the 1920s.

I had always assumed from my father's telling of the story:
They bought "60 acres more or less, 2/3 to Amy and 1/3 to Clarice," with Clarice getting 60 acres  would have meant that Amy got 120 acres -- not exactly the the case, but not too far from the truth, I suspect if you look at land values.

So, did Clarice enjoy her new position of land owner?
Actually, Clarice was very generous.  Not long after her purchase, she filed two Quit-Claim Deeds -- giving her sister Marion Evans Dakin a 1/3 undivided interest and her nephew, Theodore Robert Dakin a 1/3 undivided interest.   [see Sherman Land Records, volume 17, pages 519-520.]

Where is the land located?
It is actually hard to find the exact location on Ten Mile Hill by the deed descriptions because names of adjacent land owners might have been long dead and the land is not a simple rectangular shape like suburban lots. ["BEGINNING at the stonewall fence intersection marking the Northeast corner of the six acres field which is bounded on .. thence Westerly along said Northerly boundary about 375 feet to land of Marion Evans Dakin; thence Northerly along land of said Dakin and land of Emery Thorp about 1520 feet to the Northeasterly corner of land of said Thorp; thence Westerly along land of said Thorp about 600 feet to the land of Robert Hungerford; thence Northerly along land of said Hungerford about 1220 feet to the Northeasterly corner thereof; then Westerly..."]

There was a statement in the deed giving Clarice her land that a photo [Fairchild Aerial Survey] was filed with the land outlined in red ink and filed with the land records.  Unfortunately, that photo doesn't exist there now.

The Town Clerk did find a map showing the land on a map for a nearby property -- Herman Mosenthal's land (actually the land originally owned by Jonathan and Ruth Evans when they first came to Sherman in 1801)

and here is a close up of the map:

Now, Clarice, Marion and Ted are land owners!

©2016, Erica Dakin Voolich
The link to this post is

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A News Clipping -- Surprise!

Charles and Elizabeth Radford Evans in front of the home that Charles' parents
built about 1801 in Sherman, Connecticut.  This picture was taken before they "retired" to
Great Barrington, Massachusetts to be closer to their two sons.
In the late 1890s, Elizabeth and  her husband Charles moved a few miles north to Great Barrington to be closer to their sons who had moved their Evans Bros. construction company north to become the Barrington Builders.

Elizabeth Radford Evans is the woman who was corresponding with her cousin Louise (in the 1840s) who wrote the two letters that I shared in blog posts: Dear Cousins Elizabeth and Augusta and Dear Cousin ... 2 1/2 years later.  If  you recall in the first letter, Louise was talking about her "light reading" of novels by Sir Walter Scott, that her cousin would probably be criticizing her for not reading and keeping up with more important things -- then later in the same letter, she was discussing the evils of slavery and declaring herself an abolitionist.  Louise was keeping up with the world far beyond Madison County New York in the mid-1840s.  Fast forward a few decades, now Elizabeth is an 88  year-old widow, living in Great Barrington, and the local paper interviews her.

“The Berkshire Courier, Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Thursday 20 March 1913, volume
LXXIX, no. 12, pages 1, 8

One of Great Barrington’ Old
Ladies and Some of the Things
She Has Witnessed During Her
Long Life. ---Memory Excellent and
and Interest  Keen for Current

     Mrs Evans, mother of E. B. Evans
 of the Barrington Building Co., is
one of those ladies of an old school type
that is fast passing away.  In her
88th year she retains her mental fac-
ulties to a remarkable degree, and
her stories of the days when the na-
tion was young are wonderfully in-
teresting.  She has lived under the
administration of 22 presidents of
the United States, and in the dawn
of the administration of the 23d 
president, Woodrow Wilson.  She
was a young girl during the adminis-
tration of John Quincy Adams, and
witnessed some of the exciting inci-
dents attending the canvass of An-
drew Jackson.  On incident she re-
lates was of an ardent admirer of
Jackson crowing over a group of the
adherents of Henry Clay.  He was
riding along in the stage coach when
they stopped near a group of men
digging in the ditch.
     “Hurray for Jackson!”  souted the
stalwart Jackson supporter.  Each 
man in the ditch grabbed up a hand-
ful of sticky clay and hurled it at the
Jacksonian and shouted in unison:
     “Hurray for Clay!”
     She has witnessed the campaigns
of Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison,
Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Fillmore, PIerce,
Buchanan, Lincoln, Johnson, Grant,
Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland,
Harrison, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft
and Wilson.
     Mrs. Evans graduated from Mt.
Holyoke college in the class of 1845,
and is one of the few members of 
that class alive today.  She entered
Mt. Holyoke eight years after its or-
ganization, and when the noted Mary
Lyon, was its president.

   She has seen 23 states admitted to
the union in the period of her long
and active life, namely:  Arkansas in
1836, Michigan, seven months later
in 1837, Florida in 1845, Iowa in 1846,
Wisconsin in 1847, California in 1850,
Minnesota in 1858, Oregon in 1859,
Kansas in 1861, West Virginia in 
1863, Nevada in 1864, Nebraska in 
1867, Colorado in 1876, North Dako-
ta in 1889, South Dakota has the same
year, Montana six days later of that
year, followed by Washington three
days after, Idaho in 1890, Wyoming
eight days later of the same year,
Utah in 1896, Oklahoma in 1907, and
more recently the territories of New
Mexico, organized in 1850 and Ari-
zona, organized in 1863, admitted fi-
nally into statehood, as well as the
organization of the district of Alas-
ka as a territory in 1868 and Hawaii
in 1900.  She has seen the acquisition
of the Phillippine Islands and of 
Porto Rico and the Isthmian Canal
zone pass into United States posses-
     Among the stories she tell was one
related to her by her mother, of an
oratoron the political platform who
made this prophecy:
     “We now have a confederation of
13 states, but, gentlemen there ex-
tends beyond us territory sufficient
for 13 additional states, even to the
far west, to the banks of the Missis-
sippi river.”
     Mrs. Evans has live the see that
oratorical prophecy, then so improb-
able, fully verified, and to see this
to the Pacific ocean, and extend its
power to the far islands of the sea.
She remembers well the early stage
coaches, which in their day were re-
garded as a wonderfully rapid means
of transportation.  She has seen
them superseded by the railway
trains and witnessed the advent of
the trolley cars, the aeroplane and 
wireless telegraphy, the telegraph
and telephone, and the era of talk-
in movie pictures.
     Through all these years time has
dealt leniently with her and her con-
versational powers are wonderfully
interesting, and her interest in cur-
rent event continues unabated.”

Clearly for decades, Elizabeth was not "just" a mother of four and a housewife busy with all her chores on a farm in rural Connecticut, she was continuing to keep up with current events as she had learned from her mother (Harriet Higgins Radford 1785-1846) who had also done that.

The big surprise, to me in the newspaper was
     Mrs. Evans graduated from Mt.
Holyoke college in the class of 1845,
and is one of the few members of 
that class alive today.  She entered
Mt. Holyoke eight years after its or-
ganization, and when the noted Mary
Lyon, was its president.

She attended college!!!  I never knew that anyone in my family had gone to Mt Holyoke Seminary, or that any woman in the family had been to college that early.  I contacted the school archives, and she never graduated, but she did attend college, 1844-1845.

Thanks to my 2nd cousin once removed who mailed me a copy of this newspaper and made this discovery and blog post possible.  Thanks Craig!

©Erica Dakin Voolich, 2014
The link to this blog post is

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ruth Kirby: Who are you? and A Big Opps!

For years I have been trying to figure out who was my GGG'grandmother, Ruth Kirby Evans.  According to church records, she died on 21 March 1844 in Sherman Connecticut at age 63.   My grandmother, Marion Evans Dakin's notes on her family tree says her great grandmother was Ruth Kirby, born either in "Dover, New York or Canada" and married Jonathan Evans.

According to the Beekman Patent book (vol. 1, page 817), Jonathan was the son of John Evans of Dover, Dutchess County, NY.  By 1800, Jonathan and Ruth are married (probably in Dover) and have a baby, Lydia.  Soon they move over the border to Sherman, Connecticut to a house they built on Evans Hill Rd, and lived in the rest of their lives [Sherman SENTINEL, 16 October 1868 story on the oldest houses in town], and raised their nine children. This old house, even after over 213 years, has been owned by only two families: first Evans and now Mosenthal.

The EVANS family house on Evans Hill Road in Sherman CT
with Charles Evans and Elizabeth Radford Evans
(son and and daughter-in-law of Jonathan Evans and Ruth Kirby Evans).

Born "in Canada" is a bit broad for searching.  So, for years,  I've been looking in the Dover NY neighborhood for a KIRBY family for my Ruth.  There were two KIRBY families in Pawling NY in the 1790 census, George and William.  She died in 1844 at age 63, so in 1790 she would have been about age 9.  Each had white females and so are possible families.  BUT, then I found the Beekman Patent Book (VII, 575-579) has no mention of any Kirby family with a daughter named Ruth born about 1781, including George's and William's families.  This doesn't seem too promising.

So I got to searching recently, wondered if maybe she had been born over the border in Connecticut.  I found a Mrs. Ruth Kirby who died in Litchfield CT, maybe that was my Ruth Kirby's mother and she was named for her mother?  Worth a look.  I was looking a bit closer on GenealogyBank -- a source of old newspapers.

I found widow Ruth Kirby, with neighbors concerned about her and holding a "woodspell" -- a term I had not heard before but clearly a "wood supply" help-your-neighbors-event:
Wednesday 23 January 1805, Republican Watch-Tower (NY, NY), vol 5, issue 333, page 4:
    “Faith, Hope and Charity -- the greatest
of these is charity.”
    Monday the 7th inst, was proposed as a day 
to have a woodspell for Mrs. Ruth Kirby,
widow of Col. Ephraim Kirby, late of Litch-
field, deceased.  On which day received, by way
of presents, upwards of one hundred loads of
wood, excellent both for quantity and qua-
    Such acts of benevolence, display an hono-
rable trait of goodness in human nature.--
They also demonstrate more than words can
do is what regard the character of Col. Kir-
by and his family are estimated in the town
of Litchfield, where their merits are best
    The greatest order and even solemnity was
visible on the occasion.
Let gratitude in acts of goodness show
  Our love to God, in love to man below.
Be this our joy--to calm the troubl’d breast.
  Support the weak and succour the distress’d
Direct the wanderer, dry the widow’s tear,
  The orphan guard, the sinking spirits cheer.
Tho’ small our power to act, tho’ weak our
God see the heart--He judges by the will. 
                      A. Mer.”

Sadly, I found the first death notice for Ruth Kirby, widow of Col. Ephraim Kirby just a month after her delivery of fuel for the winter:
Friday, 22 February 1805, Albany Register  (Albany, NY), vol. XVII, issue 1370, page 2:
At Litchfield, Conn. Mrs RUTH KIRBY, wid-
ow of the late Col. Ephraim Kirby, deceased.”

Followed over a month later by:
Friday, 29 March 1805, Albany Register (Albany NY), vol. XVII, issue 1380, page 2
    “In the account published in our paper sev-
eral weeks since, of the death of Mrs. RUTH
KIRBY, consort of the late EPHRAIM KIR-
BY, Esq. deceased, and which we copied
from the Pittsfield Sun, we are happy in
being able to inform our readers is amply 


I guess Ruth Kirby, upon reading the newspaper could sympathize with a future Mark Twain who sent an 1897 note to London reporter Frank Marshall White, "The report of my illness grew of his [cousin's] illness; the report of my death was an exaggeration." [en.wikiquote/wiki/Mark_Twain]

She did live another 12 years:
“Monday, 3 November 1817, Connecticut Mirror (Hartford CT), vol. IX, issue 19, page 2
--At Litchfield, on the 17th ult. 
Mrs Ruth Kirby, aged 64, relict of the late E. Kirby, Esq.”

The Ephraim Kirby family was in the 1800 census in Litchfield CT but Ephraim had died by the 1810 census.  Searching for any evidence of their children on, I did find a few people who have put up trees for this KIRBY family, they have no daughter Ruth born any time near 1781.  More recently on, I did find the marriage of Ephraim Kirby and Ruth Marvin on 17 March 1784 in Litchfield, CT -- unfortunately that is 4 years after MY Ruth Kirby was supposedly born.

Anyone in Canada have a KIRBY family with a daughter named Ruth born about 1781?

EVANS/MOSENTHAL family house in September 2012
(various additions over the years)

The link to this post is:

©2014 Erica Dakin Voolich