Monthly Archives: May 2020

Tombstone Tuesday – May 26, 2020 – Sarah Ann Best Coon

Tombstone of David Elway and Sarah Ann Best

Sarah Ann was the daughter of Hiram and Mary (Addison) Best. She was born in Durham, Ontario on January 17,1858.

In the 1861 and 1871 Canadian Census, Sarah is with her parents Hiram and Agnes Best in Dereham, Oxford, Ontario.

On March 8,1883, Sarah Ann Best married David Edward Coon at the bride’s residence in Durham, Oxford, Ontario. It is witnessed by Hiram Best and James Addison.

In the 1891 Canadian Census, David and Sarah are living with David’s parents, Matthew and Sarah Ann Coon in Sidney, Hastings West, Ontario. David is a farmer. They have two daughters ; Annie (1884) and Caroline (1886). ( I am not sure why the Census says Caroline, her death record in 1895, states Carrie Louise.

In 1898, Sarah gave birth to twins, a still born son and a daughter who they named Mildred Rachel. The following record allows us to make some assumptions. They are that the daughter was born alive but I see no record of her in census or other records so I assume that she must have died soon after and before the 1901 census. I do not see either of these children listed in the Cemetery record where I find the rest of the family members burial records but they could be on the other side of the family stone. The stone looks much older than a 1935/ 1936 stone.

Schedule A Canadian Birth record
line 17 and 18 of 1898 Schedule A Birth Record

In the 1901 Canadian Census, David is a farmer. Sarah and David’s daughter, Carrie died at age nine They seem to have lost a daughter the children listed are Laura A (Annie from the previous census), Wilbur (1892) and Ralph (1894) and David’s Mother Sarah Ann

In the 1911 Canadian Census, David and Sarah have two children and David’s Mother living with them. They are Wilbur (1892) and Ralph (8/14/1894)They live in Sidney, Ontario. David’s Mother is Sarah Ann and she is eighty six years old, born in 1825.

Eighty-five years ago today, Sarah Ann Coon died of complications from Diabetes.

She is buried in Holy Trinity Cemetery in Frankfort, Ontario with the rest of the Coon family members.

Rest in peace, Sarah Ann!

Love, Jan

Sarah Ann Best Coon is my first cousin four times removed.

Tombstone Tuesday – May 19,2020 – Richard Leete


Leete Family Crest

Richard Leete was the son of Thomas and Mary (Slade) Leete born in Cambridge, England in 1575. Thomas and Mary had six children; John (1575), Thomas (1575), Richard (1576), Jane (1577), Ruth (1578), Rebecca (1579).

Most of the information has been obtained from the Parish Records for the Oakington Parish.  Many of the Leete family men were Churchwardens at sometime during their lives including Thomas Leete in 1598 and Richard from 1612 through 1615. Churchwardens were responsible for maintaining accurate church records

Richard is known to have married first to Isabella. She died and is buried in the Oakington church yard on September 3, 1616. On January 17, 1617, Richard married Elizabeth Rogers which is listed in the church Marriage records. In the Parish there are fourteen Leete children born but none are for children of Isabella and Richard or Richard and Elizabeth.

Listed in the official probate records indicate that Master William Gager granted administration right for the estate of Thomas Leete who died on November 12, 1616 to his natural born son, Richard Leete on December 7,1616.

Three hundred and ninety one years ago today Richard Leete died in Oakington, Cambridgeshire, England. He is buried in the cemetery next to the Oakington Parish Church. There are of course not stones or monument to prove it but the Parish records do a good job of that.


Oakington Parish Church and Cemetery


Rest in peace, Richard!

Love Jan

Richard is my eleventh Great Uncle.

This is one of those weeks where there just isn’t much data to find. Many trees show Richard and many do not show that he is married much less twice but that is what the parish records indicate. None of them show children. There is evidence of Leete Family members who date back to the Crusades around 1000 AD in England. I did learn a lot today about early record keeping in England which I will write up in a future blog.



Tombstone Tuesday – May 12, 2020 – Grace Spencer Day


This is likely where Grace’s discarded stone is!

Grace Spencer was born on July 27, 1674 in Connecticut. She was the daughter of John and Rebecca (Hayward) Spencer, they had five children; Rebecca (1666), Jerad (Gerard) (1669), Benjamin (1671), Lydia (1673) , Grace(1674/1677).

The Gerard (Jared) Spencer family from Stotford, Bedfordshire, England, with his five  sons, John, Gerard (Jared), William, Thomas and Michael, came to America in 1632 settling in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  All of the Spencer men were very active politically and militarily in early colonial New England. Grace was Gerard’s Granddaughter

Grace married John Day Jr. on January 21, 1696 in Hartford, Connecticut. John and Grace had eleven children; Lydia (1698)), Mary (1699), John, III (1701), Joseph (1702), Benjamin (1704), Editha (1705), Esther, (1705), Daniel(1709), David (1710), Abraham(1712), Isaac (1713).

Three hundred and six years ago today, Grace died on May 12, 1714 at the tender age of thirty nine leaving her husband with eleven children. She is buried in the Colchester Burial Grounds in Colchester, Connecticut.


Rest in peace, Grace!

Love, Jan

Grace is my first cousin eight times removed.


Rant coming

Nothing makes me madder than to see a photo like the one above.   Just because the tombstone is broken, do not move it…Leave it on the grave.. Notify the Cemetery trustee or the county or the owner of the cemetery. Most of the old pioneer cemeteries do not have maps or records which can accurately identify grave placement so once the grave stone is moved there is no way to know where it belongs.

I would rather see grass grow over the stone, though I think that is disrespectful too.  As a society, county, and town, it is our obligations to care for our cemeteries.   We owe that to our ancestors!  The correct amount of funds need to be set aside to properly maintain them. We need to preserve all of our cemeteries but especially our oldest.  It is very easy when the budget gets tight to cut funding for cemeteries.

It is nice to have these big memorials to our famous generals and presidents, after all they were great leaders but it is the common people who manned the militia, ran businesses and farms, cleared land and established towns and ran them, that really made this country what it is today.  These are the people buried in these cemeteries.    Their final resting place should be their place of honor.  A place where any and all can come to see.


Tombstone Tuesday – May 5, 2020 – Paul Leroy Whitely


Paul Leroy Whitely was the son of Dora E. (Smith ) and Josiah Whitely born on Dec 31, 1893 in Fairmont, Indiana. In the 1900 Federal Census, Paul is found with his parents; Dora and Josiah and Dora’s Uncle, John Smith. In the 1910 Federal Census, Paul is still with his parents in Grant County, Indiana. He is attending school. His father is a farmer. In his 1918 WWI draft registration, Paul Leroy claims an exemption (due t religious beliefs) stating that he is a member of Quaker Church known as the “The Friends Church”.

In 1919, Paul Leroy Whitely is granted a student passport to study abroad. The passport application, dated February 10, 1919, states that he would be in Bordeaux, France for seven months of study. He departed Bordeaux, France returned through the port of New York on the ship “SS Chicago” on September 7, 1919. Paul Leroy obtained his Bachelors Degree in 1920 at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. In the 1920 Federal Census, Paul Leroy is recorded with his parents in Grant County, Indiana. The census states that he is working with is father on the farm.

An Quaker College Alumni Directory states that Paul Leroy went on to obtain his Master’s Degree at the University of Chicago in 1923 and his PHD in Psychology in 1927.

In the 1930 Federal Census, Paul Leroy is living in New York. It is a boarder living with Charles Sanford and his wife. He is a teacher at a university according to the census record but that same year, Paul Leroy took a position at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was a Professor of Psychology.


1932 Franklin and Marshall Directory

Paul Leroy married Esther Ruth Risser on October 26, 1934 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  In the 1940 Federal Census, Paul Leroy and Esther are found in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is a professor at Franklin and Marshall College. They have one son, James Lowell Whitely.


Franklin and Marshall College

On April 27, 1942, Paul filled out a WWII Draft card. In it he states that he lives in 519 State Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania with his wife, Esther and that he works for Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

On July, 1952, Paul, Esther and their son James, left New York Harbor bound for Southampton, England on the SS Veendam for a one and a half month trip. Once they arrived in England, they stayed in London at the Friends House on Euston Road.

Thirty two years ago today, Paul Leroy Whitely died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania at the age of ninety five years old. He was buried in Sadsbury Friends Burial Grounds in Christana, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


Rest in peace, Paul Leroy!

Love, Jan

Paul Leroy Whitely is my second cousin 2 times removed.