Thursday, August 27, 2020

He Believed His Brother Was Insane

My maternal 2nd great-granduncle, Lewis G. Waterman, was born on 8 May 1839 in Troy, Athens, Ohio. He and his twin sister Lucy were the 11th and 12th children born to my 3rd great-grandparents Asher Waterman and Bathsheba Paulk. Lewis' and Lucy's siblings were (in order of birth) Eliza, William, Charles, Eunice, Jerusha, Homer, Jason, Nancy, Sarah, and Cynthia.

I've written several blog posts about this family in the past. Asher was a veteran of the War of 1812. Homer served as an assistant surgeon in the US Civil War. Cynthia was my 2nd great-grandmother. Her husband, Ebenezer Perry Carlisle Webster, also served in the US Civil War. Cynthia and Ebenezer were the parents of my great-grandfather, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, a.k.a. "The Traveling Dentist" here on my blog.

At the time the 1850 US Federal Census1 was taken, Lewis and Lucy were 12 years old and were living with their parents and five older siblings.



Ten years later, when the 1860 US Federal Census2 was taken, Lewis and Lucy were 22 years old and were still living with their parents. The rest of their siblings had moved out of their parents' home. Asher and Bathsheba were then in their mid-to-late sixties. Lucy's occupation was listed as a housekeeper and Lewis was listed as a farm laborer.




This census was taken on July 11, 1860. Notice that nothing was written in the last column (column 14) which is titled "Whether deaf and dumb, blind, insane, idiotic, pauper, or convict." I don't know if Lewis was having or exhibiting any physical, mental, or emotional problems at the time this census was taken. So, what happened between the date this census was taken and February 13, 1861 when an affidavit3 was filed in Athens County court by Lewis' brother Jason "setting forth that he believes Lewis G. Waterman is insane?"

I had found the affidavit filed by Jason many years ago. But, I had only written down the page number and the township where I had found it. Yes, I didn't use a proper citation. Ugh! While scrolling through probate files on FamilySearch in an attempt to locate the affidavit again I was able to find it. Yay! And yes, I wrote down the citation this time.

Here's the affidavit that Jason filed.


Transcript of Affidavit

Probate Court, Athens County Feby 15 1861

In the matter of Lewis G. Waterman, Insane
On the 13th day of February 1861 Jason C. Waterman
a citizen of said Athens County, filed in this Court
an affidavit setting forth that he believes Lewis G. Water-
man is insane, that his insanity is of less than fifteen
month duration, and that he has a legal settlement
in Troy Township in Athens County Ohio. Whereupon
the said Lewis G. Waterman was examined before
the Judge of said Court; and in consideration of
the testimony of Dr John Pratt (a respectable Physician
of said County) and Jason C Waterman and
the said Judge being satisfied that said Lewis G
Waterman is insane, that he has a legal settle-
ment in said Troy Township in Athens County
Ohio; and that he is a suitable person to be received
into the Lunatic Asylum. It is ordered that appli-
cation be made to the superintendent of the
Central Ohio Lunatic Asylum for his admitian
into the same ---- Calvary Morris Prob Judge

As you can see, there is a question mark in place of one of the words. I can't make out that word, so if you have an idea of what it is, please let me know in the comments below. (UPDATE: a friend and fellow genealogy blogger suggested the word is "ordered." That makes sense and it does look like that is correct so I will update my transcription. Thank you Diane, owner of the blog Michigan Family Trails.)

The affidavit states that Lewis' insanity was less than fifteen months in duration. So, when did it begin? What were his symptoms that led to being admitted to an insane asylum? Was he really insane by today's standards? Was Lewis suffering from something that could have been managed or cured with today's treatments? And what was the definition of insanity in 1861? Also, what was the "legal settlement in Troy Township" that Lewis was entitled to?

I can't help but feel sorry for Lewis and for anyone else who suffered from mental illness back in the 1800s without the benefits of modern medicine and treatments.

Thanks for reading!

Jana
 
© 2020 Copyright by Jana Last, All Rights Reserved



1 "United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MX3X-FQP : accessed 2 September 2015), Louis Waterman in household of Asher Waterman, Troy, Athens, Ohio, United States; citing family 1003, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
2 "United States Census, 1860," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MC22-JMJ : accessed 27 August 2015), Lewis Waterman in household of Asher Waterman, Troy Township, Athens, Ohio, United States; from "1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population," database, Fold3.com (http://www.fold3.com : n.d.); citing p. 113, household ID 769, NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 803,934.
3 "Ohio, Probate Records, 1789-1996," images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-27593-12066-44?cc=1992421&wc=S24W-VZQ:266276501,1116912711 : accessed 25 August 2015), Athens > Probate journals 1858-1871 (copy) vol 2 > image 104 of 362; county courthouses, Ohio.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Lesson Learned. Always Check for Additional Pages

I've been working on a timeline in Excel about my maternal great-grandfather, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, a.k.a. "The Traveling Dentist" here on my blog.

While doing some research for this timeline, I took another look at a document I shared in a previous post back in 2013. It's a U.S. Consular Registration Application from 1917 for Frederick.1 I was looking at it on Ancestry and clicked on the little arrow on the right side and there was a second page to this application! Not only that, it turns out that there was a third and fourth page too! I had only downloaded the first page to my computer years ago. Now these additional pages have been downloaded to my computer as well.

This second page contains some interesting information.


Information gleaned from this second page:

Name of witness: J. C. Terry
Address of witness: Curitiba, Parana
Date: 29 August 1917
Identifying documents: Previous registration
Name of person to notify in the event of death or disability: Rollin W. Webster
Address of person to notify in the event of death or disability: Chicago, Illinois
Additional data: I own land at Ironton, Missouri
Addresses supplied by Frederick for investigation:

Dr. F. S. Webster
Clinton, Missouri

Rollin W. Webster
525 E. 37th Street
Chicago, Illinois

Rollin W. Webster and Dr. F. S. Webster were Frederick's brothers. F. S. stands for Frank Summers. He was also a dentist. A very interesting bit of information on this page is that Frederick stated he owned land in Ironton, Missouri. Wow! I wonder if I can find some land records about his property.

Here's the third page of Frederick's application.


This is an affidavit in which the applicant had to explain the reason for their "protracted foreign residence" etc.

Information gleaned from this third page:

Date Frederick ceased to reside in the United States: On or about 20 October 1911
Places Frederick lived temporarily since that date: Various places in Brazil
When Frederick arrived in Curitiba, Brazil: About 1915
Reasons for such residence: Frederick said, "I have built up a profitable practice in dentistry which I cannot abandon to return to the United States to start in anew at this time and I expect to return at such time as I retire from practice."
Since establishing a residence abroad Frederick made how many visits to the USA: None
Frederick stated he never was naturalized, took an oath of allegiance, or voted as a foreign citizen or subject.
Frederick maintained the following ties to family, business, and property with the United States: "8 tracts of land near Ironton, Mirrouri on which I pay taxes. Also have two brothers and a sister living in the United States."
Did Frederick pay the American Income Tax?: Frederick said he did not and said, "My income is below legal minimum."
When did Frederick intend to return to the United States permanently?: Frederick answered within four years or when "I retire from practice."
Frederick last registered at the American Consular Office: At Santos, Brazil in about 1915.

There's so much information on this page. It's great to know the reason Frederick stayed abroad. It looks like he was doing pretty well with his dental practice. On the second page of this application he mentioned he owned land at Ironton, Missouri. On this third page he gave more specific information about that land. He said he owned eight tracts of land near Ironton. He also said he paid taxes on that land. These bits of information could lead to further research in land records and tax records, right? 

Frederick also mentioned he had two brothers and a sister living in the United States. His two brothers were those mentioned on the second page. Frederick had three sisters, but only one living at the time of this application. The surviving sister was Lura Elizabeth Webster. The two sisters who had already passed away were Mary Alice Webster and Lillian Dell Webster.

Frederick said he intended to return to the United States permanently within four years or when he retired. I don't know that that ever happened. He moved and traveled so much. I'd have to do more research to find out if he established a permanent residence in the USA at some point after this application. Frederick ultimately passed away in Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil on 21 July 1946 and is buried in the Araca Cemetery in Sao Paulo.

Frederick stated that he had registered at the American Consular Office at Santos, Brazil around 1915, which is true. He also registered at the American Consular Office in Mexico City, Mexico in 1923.

The fourth page of Frederick's application is titled "Opinion of Officer Taking Affidavit" and contains a paragraph written by the officer. I won't include that here in this blog post.

The information within this U.S. Consular Registration Application is fascinating. I'm so glad I clicked those little arrows to see if there were additional pages in Frederick's application!

Now I need to go back to the other U.S. Consular Registration Applications for Frederick to see if I missed any additional pages in those.

Lesson learned. Always check for additional pages.

Thanks for reading!

Jana

© 2020 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved



1 “U.S., Consular Registration Applications, 1916-1925,” database, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 July 2020), Frederick Emory Webster.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Dr. F. E. Webster, The Painless Dentist


Today I did a search for my maternal great-grandfather, Watson (Frederick) Emory Webster, on the Chronicling America website. My regular readers may remember that I refer to Watson as "The Traveling Dentist" here on my blog. At some point in his life Watson changed his name to Frederick Emory Webster.

One of the search results on the Chronicling America website was this article on the front page of The Brinkley Argus newspaper.1


The article reads:

Coming this Month.

Dr. F. E. Webster, the painless Dentist, now in Mexico will return to Brinkley during the month of October. Patrons and friends requested to wait his coming.

Announcement of exact date of coming, will be made later.

Dr. F. E. Webster
The Painless Dentist.

This article was dated October 12, 1906 and said that Frederick would be arriving that month. I wonder when he arrived. I'd like to see if there are any newspaper articles stating that he did arrive. I could then add this to my timeline for his life.

The article states that Frederick was in Mexico during this time period. I know he was in Mexico as early as 1904 according to a record that I have yet to share here on my blog.

Frederick called himself "The Painless Dentist" in this article. What did dentists typically use in the early 1900s for pain control during dental procedures?

I love finding information about my ancestors in newspapers. Researching in newspapers can provide such interesting glimpses into their lives. And newspapers can provide clues for future research. For instance, is there a border crossing document associated with Frederick's return to the United States in October of 1906? How many times did Frederick travel back and forth between Mexico and the United States to do dental work? I found one border crossing document from Mexico to the United States for Frederick that was dated 2 August 1926. It states his occupation as a dentist but doesn't say why he was traveling to the United States.

What interesting information have you found about your ancestors in newspapers?

Thanks for stopping by!

Jana

© 2020 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved



1 The Brinkley Argus. (Brinkley, Ark.), 12 Oct. 1906. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

My 6th Great-Grandfather's Signature



I recently added a new signature to the My Ancestors' Signatures page on this blog.

I was able to add this new signature because I found the probate packet of my maternal 6th great-grandfather, John Waterman.1

Within this probate packet were several documents including John's Last Will and Testament.2

Here's the last page of John's will. The red arrow is pointing to John's signature. 


Here's a close-up view of John's signature.


John Waterman signed his will on 3 January 1742/3. It's incredible to see the signature of one of my ancestors from so long ago. This was before the American Revolutionary War. John's grandson, Dr. Luther L. Waterman, served as a Surgeon in that war. Luther was my 3rd great-grandfather.

John Waterman was born March 1672 in Norwich, Connecticut and died in 1744 in Norwich, Connecticut. John was married three times. I am descended from his third wife, Elizabeth Bassett.

John and Elizabeth were the parents of three children:
  1. Mary Waterman (1722-1736)
  2. David Bassett Waterman (1725-1809) [my 5th great-grandfather]
  3. Elizabeth Waterman (1730-1765)
Probate records are fascinating and valuable genealogical sources. My 6th great-grandfather's signature is an amazing genealogical discovery.

What genealogical discoveries have you found in probate records?

Thanks for stopping by!

Jana

© 2020 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved

_________________________

[1] Connecticut. Hartford, City of. Wills and Probate Records. Connecticut State Library (Hartford, Connecticut); Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut, Digital images. Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 [database on-line]. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9049/images/007628900_00696 : accessed 12 July 2020) Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. John Waterman. Images 696-705 of 1417.

[2] Connecticut. Hartford, City of. Wills and Probate Records. Connecticut State Library (Hartford, Connecticut); Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut, Digital images. Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 [database on-line]. https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9049/images/007628900_00703 : accessed 12 July 2020) Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. John Waterman. Image 703 of 1417.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Dr. Luther Waterman–Revolutionary War Surgeon ~ Borne From the Field of Battle


In a previous post I shared the fact that my 4th Great-Grandfather, Dr. Luther L. Waterman, was a surgeon in the Revolutionary War.  Many years ago, I learned of this fact while reading about Luther in The Waterman Family by Donald Lines Jacobus.In this book, Mr. Jacobus states the following regarding Luther's service, which he gleaned from Luther's Revolutionary War pension file (I added bold text to one sentence):
"…Phebe Waterman repeated her testimony, 5 Jan. 1839, and added that Luther entered service as a Surgeon under Dr. Spaulding, in Col. John Durkee's Regiment, in Cambridge, Mass., for nine months.  He then joined the Brigade of Horatio Gates, in Col. William Bond's Regiment, as Surgeon with Dr. Vinal, as his mate, for one year.  In 1776 he was at Lake Champlain, and was borne from the field, unable to perform his duty.  He was in the battles of White Plains, Stamford, Horseneck, and Rye.  This information was derived from Dr. Luther Waterman, himself."
In 1997 I ordered and received a copy of Luther Waterman's pension file. Unfortunately, this copy is quite difficult to read and only contains 12 of the 63 pages in the pension file.  I subscribed to Fold3.com, and happily I found Luther Waterman's full pension file containing all 63 pages on the website. Another bonus is that it is much easier to read on Fold3. The pension file copy I received in 1997 was inverted or reversed (black background with white writing). It also did not contain the page from the pension file that Mr. Jacobus used for his summary quoted in this post. With access to the full pension file, I was able to find the page from which Mr. Jacobus summarized Luther's war service, including the account of his being "borne from the field, unable to perform his duty."  This information was taken from the deposition of Mrs. Phebe Waterman, Luther's widow. Below is the pension file page containing Phebe's deposition:

Page 26
The entire page above is probably difficult to read, so I cropped it into three parts as follows:




At the bottom of her deposition Phebe signed her name. What a treasure it is to see her signature. Phebe was 82 years old at the time of this deposition.

I wonder what happened to Luther Waterman at the Battle of Lake Champlain that caused him to be taken from the field of battle unable to perform his duties? Unfortunately, I don't know the answer.  And there doesn't seem to be any elaboration about this fact in Luther's pension file. It is and may remain a mystery. The fact that I learned about this from Luther's full pension file shows that it is important to obtain the full pension file of our ancestors if possible.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jana

© 2020 Copyright by Jana Iverson Last, All Rights Reserved

______________________________

1 Donald Lines Jacobus, The Waterman Family Vol. 1,1939, (Reprint by Higginson Book Company, Massachusetts), 294, 295


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