The story of our family...for my sons

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dwight Fred Stewart, alias Robert Dwight Mason celebrates his centennial

My father, Robert Dwight Mason, born Dwight Fred Stewart, 23 January 1913, in Verdon, Nebraska, to Fred Uriah Stewart and Edna Iva Mahannah. The family was living in the train depot at Verdon, Nebraska since Fred was a telegrapher and station master for the railroad (researching which one). They lived an ideal life and little Dwight was the love of his mother and father. Some time after 1925, the Stewart's had to get out of town, because as family history has it, Fred did something that, well, called for a fast exit.

The family then moved to Santa Maria, California, where we believe Fred went to work for another railroad. Now this is where the Stewart's become the Mason's, and little Dwight becomes Robert "Bob" (named after his favorite cousin Robert Burns). So confusing because when Bob Mason went to Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, everyone called him "Stew" as in Stewart. Anyways, Bob goes to Santa Maria High School, is head cheerleader, and a lifeguard during the summer in Santa Barbara. He does a lot of riding the rails during the summers, and finally heads to Los Angeles after high school (only completed his 2nd year).

Here's another weird thing, my dad is living with his folks (new stepmother LaVerne) during the 1940 census, and Bob says he's 3 years younger than he was, and his father says he's 6 years younger...somebody still running from the law? Meanwhile Bob has been skiing in the local mountains and has become very good. So good he starts teaching skiing in Minnesota, where he meets my mother, Helen Marie Skogerson. This was a very quick romance and marriage, with a ski vacation in Sun Valley, Idaho and other strange things happening. Also, as far as I can tell she married Dwight Stewart, because she didn't legally change her name to Mason until July of 1944, nine months before my sister and I were born.

As the story continues, working as an artist for Northrup Aviation at the start of WWII, dad then joins the Merchant Marines during World War II, sails around the world delivering death to every doorstep. Returns home, works for Douglas Aircraft as an artist, then heads for the mountains (Running Springs, California) to teach skiing at Snow Valley near Big Bear, California. Happy days growing up in the mountains going to a one room school house. Dad hears the call for adventure again and heads to Alaska and works at the Parson's Hotel as a desk person.

He returns to the family, now living in Sherman Oaks, California (I think this is when mom and dad separate and life starts sucking. Dad was a good man and raised another family which produced Mark, my hero and brother. Dad worked for many years for Aerospace Corporation, retired, stayed active skiing, biking, playing tennis and swimming. He eventually had a horrific bicycle accident and never really recovered. He had a wonderful friend in MaryLee, who cared for him until he died on 10 July 1989 of prostrate cancer...I miss you dad, very much...Happy 100th where ever you are.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Quaker Allen's

Ralph Allen, my 7th great grandfather (1621 - 1691), the son of George Allen and his first wife, is believed to have been born in about 1615 in England. Although it has not been determined when he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, it is known that he did not travel on the same ship as his father, George. This Ralph, who is known to have held lands at Waymouth that originally belonged to his father, George, later moved to Rehoboth in what is now Bristol County, Massachusetts. He eventually settled at Sandwich in the New Plymouth Colony of Massachusetts, however, where his father lived.

According to available records, Ralph was generally referred to as a planter and wheelwright, and in certain documents he was also referred to as Ralph Allen, Sr.,such as the burial record of his daughter, Mary, in 1675. This was apparently to distinguish him from the other Ralph Allen who resided at Sandwich, was married to a woman named Esther Swift, and was a mason by trade. Although Ralph is thought to have been married sometime around 1630-1635, it is not known at this time whether he married in England, or after he arrived in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Our Ralph is believed to have been married to a woman named Susannah.

In 1657, while residing at Sandwich, Quakerism began spreading throughout the Colony, and Ralph and six of his brothers and sisters were apparently among the first to be "convinced." Unfortunately, the adoption of Quakerism by the Allen’s resulted in their being persecuted and fined for many years for practicing their faith. Their persecution was particularly acute for refusing to take the Oath of Fidelity which they felt was unlawful. During the years 1663 and 1664, Ralph purchased land at Dartmouth in the New Plymouth Colony (now within Bristol County, Massachusetts), which he later conveyed to his children. Even though he was living at Sandwich at the time of his death, it is believed that he and Susannah probably resided at Dartmouth for a few years. Ralph is mentioned in several deeds as being "of Dartmouth," and in 1684 he was involved in an agreement with three others to build a gristmill there.Ralph Allen was purported to have died during the month of March 1698 at Sandwich in what had then become Barnstable County, Massachusetts. His will, which had been written on 18 December 1691, was probated before the Barnstable County Court on 1 July 1698.

Ralph was subsequently buried, as directed by his will, "in the Friends Burying place at William Allen's in Sandwich. "With the exception of Philip, Benjamin, and Mary, the following children were named in Ralph’s will. Philip and Benjamin, identified in the records as being sons of Ralph Allen, died in the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Mary, on the other hand, died at Sandwich and was also identified as being the daughter of Ralph Allen. All three of these children died prior to Ralph writing his will. The exact order of birth of the below listed children is not known. Issue: (Surname Allen)26. John ------------ b. in MA.m. Rebecca ( ) in MA.d. 1706 at Sandwich, Barnstable Co., MA.27. Benjamin ------ b. in MA.d. 1669 at Portsmouth, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. (now within Newport Co., RI.)bur. 27 February 1669 at Newport, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. (now within Newport Co., RI.)28. Philip ----------- b. in MA..d. 13 July 1671 at Portsmouth, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. (now within Newport Co., RI.)* 29. Joseph -------- b. ca. 1642 in MA.m. (1) 1 July 1662 to Sarah Holloway(Holway) in New Plymouth Colony, MA.m. (2) 1680 to Sarah (Hull) Ridley in New Plymouth Colony, MA.(widow of Mark Ridley)d. 1704 at Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co., NJ.30. Patience ------ b. calc. 1645 in New Plymouth Colony, MA.m. 10 June 1680 to Richard Evans at Newport, Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. (now within Newport Co., RI.)d. 4 December 1711 at Newport, Rhode Island Co., RI.(now within Newport Co., RI.)31. Increase ------- b. in New Plymouth Colony, MA.m. Rachel ( ) in MA.d. 7 March 1723/1724 at Dartmouth, Bristol Co., MA.32. Ebenezer ----- b. 10 February 1649/1650 at Sandwich, New Plymouth Colony,MA. (now within Barnstable Co., MA.)m. ca. 1681 to Abigail ( ) in MA.d. 1725 in Bristol Co., MA.33. Zachariah ----- b. at Sandwich, New Plymouth Colony, MA.(now within Barnstable Co., MA.)34. Mary ----------- b. at Sandwich, New Plymouth Colony, MA.(now within Barnstable Co., MA.)bur. 18 April 1675 at Sandwich, Barnstable Co.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

James Ira Stewart at Gettysberg?

My great grandfather, James Ira Stewart fought in the Civil War and was collecting a Union pension when he died. The really big question is, was he a Californian, or a New Yorker fighting in a California regiment (A5 Calif. Inf. is on the pension application). There are many questions to be answered, but if he fought with regiment, which turned into the 106th at Gettysburg, what amazing action did he see?

Few Californians are aware that the final day of battle at Gettysburg, often called the "high-water mark" of the American Civil War, was partly decided by four California Regiments. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th California Regiments, then decimated by prior battles and reconstituted as the 71st, 69th, 72nd and 106th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments, were assigned to defend the center of the Union line at a bent section of fence called "the bloody angle" and a copse of trees, that were the focus of Confederate Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett's disastrous attack on July 3, 1863.

The idea for these California regiments was that of Col. Edward Baker, an early California Republican and Oregon's first U.S. Senator. Col. Baker believed that units named to represent California would serve to cement California's loyalty to the Union. However, in one the California Brigade's first engagements, Col. Baker was killed and the unit was thereafter absorbed within regiments of the Philadelphia Brigade. At Gettysburg, the remnants of Bakers California regiments were almost entirely manned by Pennsylvanians, though despite the state's small population, nearly 17,000 Californians enlisted to fight and California ended up having more volunteers per capita in the Union Army than any other state, according to the California State Military Department.

So, where does great grandfather Stewart fit into all this? My job is to find out. Listed below are the "actions" that the 106th was involved in during and after Gettysburg:

June 11-July 24 Gettysburg Campaign
June 21 and 25 Haymarket
July 1-3 Battle of Gettysburg

The regiment was commanded at Gettysburg by Lieutenant Colonel William L. Curry. It brought 335 men to the field, losing 9 killed, 54 wounded and 1 missing.

From the monument on Emmitsburg Road by the Codori farmhouse:

July 2d. Morning. Companies A & B on skirmish line. Co. B. by order of Gen. Meade, advanced and uncovered enemy's position on Seminary Ridge.

Afternoon. Co. B advanced to Bliss House. Held by 16th Miss. where it was repulsed losing 1 officer, 11 men.

Later. In connection with 4 companies of 12th N.J. again advanced and captured the Bliss House & number of prisoners.

From the monument by the Copse of Trees:

"Position of the Regiment July 2, 1863. In the evening the Regiment assisted in repulsing a charge of the enemy on this line and made a counter charge to the Emmitsburg road in which 3 guns of Battery B, 1st Rhode Island were recovered and at the Codori House captured 250 prisoners."

"The evening of July 2nd the Regiment moved to East Cemetery Hill to reinforce the 11th Corps and remained there as indicated by monument. During the 3rd, companies A and B continued here an assisted in repulsing the final assault of the enemy on the afternoon of the 3rd."

July 5-24 Pursuit of Lee
September 13-15 Advance from the Rappahannock to the Rapidan
October 9-22 Bristoe Campaign
November 7-8 Advance to line of the Rappahannock
November 26-December 2 Mine Run Campaign
November 27 Payne's Farm
February 6-7 Demonstration on the Rapidan
May 4-June 12 Rapidan Campaign
May 5-7 Battles of the Wilderness
May 8 Laurel Hill
May 8-12 Spottsylvania
May 10 Po River
May 12-21 Spottsylvania Court House
May 12 Assault on the Salient
May 23-26 North Anna River
May 26-28 On line of the Pamunkey
May 28-31 Totopotomoy
June 1-12 Cold Harbor
June 16-18 Before Petersburg; Siege of Petersburg begins. Attached to 3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 2nd Army Corps
June 22-23 Jerusalem Plank Road
July 27-29 Demonstration on north side of the James at Deep Bottom
July 27-28 Deep Bottom
July 30 Mine Explosion, Petersburg
August 18-20 Demonstration on north side of the James at Deep Bottom
August 14-18 Strawberry Plains, Deep Bottom
August 25 Ream's Station
October 27-28 Boydton Plank Road, Hatcher's Run
February 5-7 Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run
March 25 Watkins' House, Petersburg
March 28-April 9 Appomattox Campaign
March 29 Vaughan Road, near Hatcher's Run
March 31 Crow's House
April 2 Fall of Petersburg
April 6 Sailor's Creek
April 7 High Bridge and Farmville
April 9 Appomattox Court House. Surrender of Lee and his army.
May 2 At Burkesville
May 2-12 March to Washington
May 23 Grand Review
June 30 Mustered out

Monday, January 7, 2013

Stewart's...outlasting the competition

The Stewarts were remarkable for the length of time that they held on to sovereign power - some 340 years, still nearly fifty years longer than the dynasty of Hanover-Windsor which came afterwards (due for its tercentenary in 2014), longer than the Bourbons in France (259 years), the Hohenzollerns in Prussia and Germany (217 years) or the Romanovs in Russia (304 years). Only one major dynasty in modern European history has exceeded their total: the Hapsburgs in Austria (645 years with gaps).

Yet compared to their longevity as a dynasty, the lives of the individuals were frequently violent and short. Of the fourteen Stewarts who wore a crown, eight failed to reach the age of fifty and only three (Robert II and Robert III of Scotland, James II of Great Britian) passed their sixtieth birthdays, bringing the average age at death to forty-seven. Six out of the fourteen died violent deaths: two were executed (Mary Queen of Scots and Charles I) and two were killed in battle (James II and James IV).

The premature deaths were inevitably followed by premature accessions; while their average age for inheriting the crown was twenty-three, six came to the throne before their tenth birthdays and by a miracle survived the machinations of those who sought to take advantage of their youth.

Of the uncrowned members of the main family at least another hundred were murdered and about the same number (plus one king - James II) were murderers themselves. At least double that number were executed and three times that many killed in battle.

We Stewarts are very good at dying the interesting death...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Princess Beatrice di Savoy and the Kings of Aragon

Beatrice di Savoy, my 19th great grandmother on the Allen side, was the daughter of Thomas I of Savoy and Marguerite of Geneva. Beatrice married on (5 June 1219) Ramon Berenguer IV, Count of Provence. She was a shrewd and politically astute woman, whose beauty was likened to that of a second Niobe by Matthew Paris. After two stillborn sons, Ramon and Beatrice of Savoy had four daughters, who all married kings.

The medieval kingdom of Aragón (more or less northeastern Spain) started out as a county in the Frankish empire, at a time when most of the Iberian peninsula was under Muslim control. From the beginning down to the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella, its dynastic history is very complicated. This page shows several lines of descent for us, and also some of the later monarchs.

Tradition says that the first recorded Count of Aragón, Aznar (died 795) was a son of Duke Eudo of Acquitaine - which is likely, but unproven. He had a son Gelindus (died 815), who had a son Ximen (died 803), who had a son known as Count Aznar I (not II). This count is well documented, and died in 839. His son Count Galindo married a woman named Guldregut (note the Germanic names in this family; there are a number of descents from the Visigothic kings who ruled parts of Spain after the collapse of the Roman empire). Galindo's sister Matrona married Garcia, who was also briefly count of Aragón and was also supposedly descended from the first Aznar.

Galindo's son Aznar II (died 893) married Oneca, daughter of Garcia I Iñiguez, Count of Pamplona. Later on, after her family died out, this united Pamplona (a large part of later Navarre) with Aragón. Their son Galindo II Aznar (died 922) married Acibella, daughter of Garcia I of Gascony. They had a daughter Toda who married Count Bernardo I of Ribagorza (I have not found a descent). Acibella died, and Galindo then married a cousin, Sancha, daughter of King Garcia II of Pamplona. They had two daughters, one of whom (Andregoto) married King Garcia III of Navarre, and we have descents from this marriage (see Navarre). Aznar II also had a sister,Urraca, who married King Sancho III of Navarre, and another sister, Sancha, who married (for diplomatic reasons) Muhammad Ali Tawill, King of Huesca.

Thus the first Aragonese male line died out, and the title was united for a time with the title King of Navarre, through Andregoto's descendants. Her oldest son, King Sancho II (c935-994) was also Count of Aragón, and married Urraca of Castile. (see below). Sancho II's sister Urraca also married into the Castile family.

Sancho II of Navarre (c. 935-994) and his wife Urraca were the parents of King Garcia IV (c964-c1004), who married Jimena Fernandez, a daughter of Count Fernando of the Asturias royal family. Their son was the first powerful Spanish monarch of the Middle Ages:

Sancho III "the Great," born either in 990 or 992, was the first leader since the Moorish invasion nearly three centuries earlier to pull the small Spanish kingdoms and counties together as a united force. He has been called the first 'real' king of Spain, but that is an anachronism. He inherited Navarre and Aragón but also brought Barcelona, León and eventually Castile under direct or indirect control. This proto-Spain did not last, because he divided his territories among his sons. He died in October 1035. His wife was Muña Mayor Sánchez, daughter of count Sancho I of Castile and Urraca of Castile (she died sometime after 1066). Their children: Garcia V "de Najera" (c. 1020-1054), King of Navarre (see Navarre for descendants; we are connected through the last 'native' Queen of Navarre, Blanche, who married the count of Champagne; the line continues down to Jacquetta of Luxembourg);Fernando/Ferdinand I, King of Castile and León (c1017-1065, married his first cousin Sancha of León, daughter of Alfonso V of León, Asturias and Galicia; our ancestor through various lines, including Sancha de Ayalá); Gonzalo of Sobrarbe and Bernardo of Navarre, no known descendants; Ramiro I, King of Aragón (died 1064, married Gisberga, daughter of Roger, Count of Bigorre, Foix and Couserans). Some sources claim that Ramiro was illegitimate, and thus not Muña's son.

Ramiro I of Aragón and Queen Gisberga had at least five children, and Ramiro also had some illegitimate offspring. The eldest was Sancho I, King of Aragón and Navarre (1042-1094), who married Isabella of Urgel; they had three sons, all of whom were kings of Aragón and Navarre in turn. Pedro I (1094-1104) and Alfonso I (1104-1134) had children but no grandchildren. The third brother, Ramiro II (c. 1075-1147) married Agnes of Poitiers, daughter of Duke William "the Troubadour" of Acquitaine and thus aunt of Eleanor of Acquitaine. Their only child Petronilla (1135-1174) inherited Aragón. She married Ramón Berenguer IV "the Saint" (1113-1162), Count of Barcelona, thus taking the Aragónese crown into a new dynasty.

Ramón Berenguer IV was closely related to all the families mentioned above but his male line goes back to the early Counts of Carcassonne (see Barcelona). He and Petronilla had a son Pedro, who died young; their second son was Ramón Alfonso II (1157-1196), who married Mafalda (c. 1149-1174, daughter of King Alfonso I of Portugal. They had no children; he then married Sancha, daughter of Alfonso VII of Castile and León. Of their nine children, we are descended from at least two: King Pedro II 'El Catolico' of Aragón (c. 1175-1213, see below) and Alfonso, Comte de Provence (1180-1209), who married Gersende, Countess of Forcalquier and was the father of Raimund Berengar I, Count of Provence and Forcalquier (1198-1245). Raimund Berengar I married Beatrice, daughter of Count Tommaso I of Savoy; they were the parents of Marguérite (1221-1295, wife of Louis IX of France; of Eleanor (1217-1291), wife of Henry III of England; and of Beatrice (1234-1267) who eventually inherited Provence and passed it on to the Angevin kings of Sicily (see Anjou). All three daughters are our ancestors.

Pedro II 'el Catolico' (c. 1175-1213) married in 1204 Marie, heiress of the seigneury of Montpellier. Their son Jaime I 'el Conquistador', King of Aragón, Valencia, Majorca, etc. (b 1207, d 1276) married first Leonor of Castile, and then Yolande (Violante) of Hungary (1215-1251), daughter of Andrew II (see Arpad) and Yolande de Courtenay, whose father was one of the usurping Latin emperors of Constantinople - in this way a claim to Constantinople passed into the Aragón family. They had at least ten children (those who died young are not mentioned here): Pedro III 'el Grande'(1239-1285), King of Aragón, ancestor of the 'main' Aragonese royal line, who married Constance, daughter of Manfred of Sicily (see Hohenstaufen) and was the father of Isabel of Aragón 'the Saint' (1271-1336), wife of Diniz I of Portugal and our ancestor via Castile and Plantagenet.

Jaime I 'el Conquistador' was also the father of Jaime II of Majorca, etc, whose descendants ruled the Balearics for some generations; Violante, who married Alfonso X 'el Sabio' of Castile (our ancestors via Pedro 'the Cruel' of Castile); and Isabelle (1247-1271), who married Philippe III of France and was a grandmother of Isabelle, wife of Edward II of England.

The male line of descent from Pedro III died out with Martín I in 1410; after two years of disputation the House of Trastámara took the throne: Fernando I (1412-1416) was the son of Juan I of Castile and Eleanora of Aragón, sister of Martín I. Fernando was the grandfather of Fernando or Ferdinand II, who married his cousin Isabella of Castile and unified Spain; they were the parents of Henry VIII's wife Catherine of Aragón and grandparents of the Emperor Charles V (I of Spain), ancestor of all the subsequent Habsburgs of Austria, Spain, Tuscany, etc.