Tag: Historical Figures

The sinking of the White Ship.

Several of my children’s ancestors were among the hundreds who perished in the sinking of the White Ship off Barfleur, France in 1120.
The sinking of the White Ship

Depiction of the sinking of the White Ship.

During my years of researching the medieval ancestry of Mark and our children, I’ve noticed a recurring theme. Several of the ancestors were casualties of the disastrous shipwreck of the “White Ship”. Although there were actually closer to 300 passengers aboard, I was only able to locate a list of twenty of the casualties. It is well known though that the ship was loaded with nobles and contemporaries of King Henry I, of England.

Henry I, King of England

Henry I, King of England

The “White Ship” was a new, state of the art vessel under command of Thomas FitzStephen. His father had been Stephen FitzAirard, captain of the ship “Mora” under William the Conqueror during his invasion of England in 1066. Captain FitzStephen offered transport to England on his ship to Henry I for his return to England, but since the King had already made other arrangements, he declined. King Henry did, however, arrange for his son, William “Aetheling” Adelin and two of his illegitimate children to sail on the ship.

The familiar account of the events leading up to the sinking as delivered by the known sole survivor state that all aboard had been drinking and partying liberally and by the time they set sail, most on board were very drunk. It is interesting to note that there are conflicting accounts of survivors. Based upon the “Orderic Vitalis”, some believe there were two survivors, the butcher and Geoffrey de l’Aigle.

Amidst the drunken revelry described by the survivor, a challenge was issued to the Captain to overtake the King’s own ship, which had set sail earlier. Upon setting off, the White Ship struck a hidden rock in the shallow waters of the channel, quickly capsizing and sinking.

Etienne de Blois

Stephen of Blois, King of England

Those on shore saw what was occurring and sent a boat out to get William “Aetheling” Adelin, the King’s son, who was on his way back to shore when he heard his half-sister Matilda du Perche cry out for help and had the boat return to assist. Unfortunately, there were several scrambling to get on board the small boat, causing it to be swamped and to sink. William drowned right along with his half-sister and all the other unfortunate passengers. The common belief through the centuries has been that the Captain, Thomas FitzStephen, upon hearing of William Adelin’s drowning, just surrendered to the waters and drowned rather than take such terrible news back to the King.

As a result of Prince William’s death, King Henry named his only remaining legitimate child, his daughter Matilda, to be heiress to the throne. He forced the noblemen to swear to support Matilda, who was unpopular because she was married to Geoffrey V, Comte d’Anjou who had been an enemy of the Norman nobility. When the noblemen refused to support Matilda after the death of King Henry I, they turned to the King’s nephew, Etienne de Blois and named him King. Etienne de Blois had originally planned to travel on the “White Ship” as well and had even boarded her, but had to leave before the ship’s departure because he became ill with diarrhea.

Mathilde and her husband initiated war against Etienne and his followers to gain the English throne, as her father had wished. This period of civil war known as “The Anarchy” spanned almost two decades from 1135 to 1153 and became a pivotal time in the history of England, resulting in the end of Norman rule.

The closest ancestor to my children who played a part in the story of the “White Ship” disaster was:

  • Etienne de Blois, King of England. He was the 31st great grandfather to my children.

The known casualties from among the approximately 300 on board, listed in order of the closeness of relationship to our children (if any) include:

  • William the Atheling, son of King Henry I and heir to the English throne – 26th great granduncle to my children.
  • Mathilde du Perche, Countess of Perche, illegitimate daughter of King Henry I – 26th great grandaunt.
  • Richard of Lincoln, illegitimate son of King Henry I – 26th great granduncle.
  • Godfrey de l’Aigle, knight. – 28th great granduncle (brother to Engenulf)
  • Engenulf de l’Aigle, brother to Godfrey – 28th great granduncle
  • Mathilde de Blois, sister to Stephen de Blois, King of England and wife of Richard d’Avranches – 31st great grandaunt
  • Robert Mauduit, nobleman. – 31st great granduncle
  • Richard d’Avranches, 2nd Earl of Chester, nobleman. – 1st cousin 31 times removed
  • Outher d’Avranches, brother of Richard, Earl of Chester. – 1st cousin, 31 times removed
  • Geoffrey Riddell, Lord of the Judiciary, nobleman.  – 2nd cousin 30 times removed
  • Ottuel, Illegitimate half brother of the 2nd Earl of Chester.
  • Hugh of Moulins, nobleman.
  • Walter of Everci, nobleman.
  • Lucia Mahout, wife of the 2nd Earl of Chester.
  • Othver, Prince William’s tutor.
  • William Pirou, the king’s steward.
  • Geoffrey, Archdeacon of Hereford.
  • Richard Anskill, son and heir of a Berkshire landowner.
  • Captain Thomas FitzStephen, ship’s captain.
  • William Grandmesnil, nobleman.

Sources:

photo credit: Wikipedia.org

 

John “Lackland” King of England.

John “Lackland”  King of England (the bad king) was born December 24, 1167 or 1177, to Henri II, King of England (1133-1189) and Eleonore  d’Aquitaine, Duchess d’Aquitaine (1122-1204). He was also the younger brother and successor to King Richard (the good king).
King John of England

King John painted c.1250-59 by Matthew Paris.

John was made King of Ireland in 1177, Comte de Mortain in 1189, and his reign as King of England began with his crowning in London on May 27, 1199 when he succeeded his brother Richard, who had left on crusade. He was crowned a second time October 8, 1200 at Westminster Abbey, with his second wife.

King John is seen as a villain, this impression having been fostered through the retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, who supposedly took up the cause of the people against King John’s exhorbitant taxes by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

In 1173, John was betrothed to Alix de Maurienne (1166-1174), daughter of Humbert III, Comte de Maurienne and his third wife Klementia von Zähringen, and an agreement was reached where John would inherit the county of Maurienne if Humbert had no sons by his wife.

He became betrothed to Isabel (Avise), Countess of Gloucester in 1176 and married her as her first husband on August 29, 1189 and they divorced (annulled on the grounds of consanguinity) before August 30, 1199. Isabel was the daughter of William FitzRobert II, Earl of Gloucester and his wife Avise de Beaumont. She remarried in 1214 to Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex, and again in 1217 to Hubert de Burgh, who became Earl of Kent afterward, in 1227.  Isabel died in 1217.

He was then betrothed to Alix de France, daughter of Louis VII, King of France and his second wife Infanta doña Constanza de Castilla in 1193. The betrothal was arranged by King Richard, who himself had been betrothed to Alix de France at one time. Alix returned to France in Aug 1195.

Tomb of Isabelle d'Angoulême

Tomb of Isabelle d’Angoulême.

John’s second marriage was to Isabelle d’Angoulême on August 24, 1200 as her first husband. Isabelle was the daughter of Aymar “Taillefer”, Comte d’Angoulême and his wife Alix de Courtenay. She was crowned Queen Consort on October 8, 1200 at Westminster Abbey. King John and his second wife had five children: Henry  III, King of England (1207-1272); Richard, King of England and the Romans (1209-1272); Joan  of England (1210-1238); Isabella  of England (1214-1241); and Eleanor (1215-1275).

Newark Castle, Lincolnshire, England

Newark Castle in Lincolnshire, England.

After John’s death in 1216 in Newark Castle in Lincolnshire, she married again in 1220 to Hugues XI, de Lusignan, Comte de la Marche.

John also had numerous mistresses, the majority of whom were unknown. Those that were known were the daughter of Hamelin d’Anjou, Earl of Surrey and his wife Isabelle de Warenne; Clementia, the wife of Henry Pinel;  a woman named Hawise (possibly ‘de Tracy’); and a woman named Susanna, her origins unknown.

There were several children born to him of several of his mistresses, including: Joan “Joanna”  of England, Lady of Wales (1190-1237); Oliver  (    -1219); Osbert Gifford (    -1246); Geoffrey FitzRoy (    -1205); Sir John FitzJohn (    -1242); Odo FitzRoy (    -1242); Henry FitzRoy; Richard  Constable of Wallingford Castle; Matilda  Abbess of Barking; Isabella  la Blanche; Richard FitzRoy (    -1245).

Tomb of King John

Tomb of King John of England.

John died October 18 or 19, 1216 at Newark Castle in Lincolnshire and was buried at Worcester Cathedral, Worcestershire.

Effigy of King John.

Tomb effigy of John “Lackland”, King of England.

Up until 1944 King John was considered to be a horrid man and even worse king. In 1944, it was demonstrated that the main source for information about the reign of John was at best unreliable. These new findings caused a change in perception of King John, possibly resulting in a further skewed view of John on the positive side.

Those attempting to find a more accurate view of John are doing so through examination of the administrative records of the time. Even with these records, however, there is some doubt expressed about whether the records are to be taken at face value or whether John or his staff were able to skillfully produce records portraying him in a more positive light.

John’s energetic, fastidious nature belied his appearance, paunchy, 5′ 5″ tall with “erect head, staring eyes, flaring nostrils and thick lips set in a cruel pout.” It was said that “he prowled around his kingdom.” He was very clean, routinely taking numerous baths, enjoyed food and drink, gambled, and loved women.

Contradictory to the legend we have become accustomed to, he assisted the poor by providing the proceeds from the forest law and was generous to his servants.

His legend may in fact have been fueled by knowledge of his highly suspicious nature and enjoyment of intrigues and secrets. He also acted against his father, as he did against Richard while the latter was held captive in 1193.

Although John would not be considered a ‘good’ man, in different circumstances he could have been a great king.

King John was 24th great grandfather to my children.

Sources:

  1. Kings and Queens of England – The Normans, The Royal Family of England online [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page17.asp].
  2. Kings and Queens of England – The Angevins, The Royal Family online [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page60.asp].
  3. Early Scottish Monarchs, The Royal Family online [http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/Page69.asp].
  4. Gary Boyd Roberts, The Royal Descents of 500 Immigrants, (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1983).
  5. Funk & Wagnalls Inc., Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia (1983).
  6. David Faris, The Plantagenet Ancestry of Seventeenth Century Colonists (English Ancestry Series, Vol. I, Second Edition; New England Historic Genealogy Society, 1999).
  7. The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdon, Extant, Extinct or Dormant (G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I.).
  8. Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy (Alison Weir, Britain’s Royal Family: A Complete Genealogy; Pimlico; 2Rev Ed edition (13 Jun 2002); London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999.
  9. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Th.D., The Magna Carta Sureties, 1215, (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.), 5th Ed., c1999.
  10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came To America Before 1700, 8th Edition (Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc., 2004).
  11. Ernst-Friedrich Kraentzler, Ancestry of Richard Plantagenet and Cecily de Neville (Selp-published, 1978).
  12. Directory of Royal Genealogical Data, Brian Tompsett, Dept. of Computer Science, Hull University online [http://www.hull.ac.uk/php/cssbct/genealogy/royal/].
  13. Charles Mosley, Burke’s Peerage and Baronetage, 106th Edition (1999).
  14. George Smith, Dictionary of National Biography, Vols. 1-21 (: Oxford Press, 1885-1990).
  15. John Fines, Who’s Who in the Middle Ages (New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 1995).
  16. Call, Michel, Royal Ancestors of Some American Families (Salt Lake City, 1989, 1991).
  17. Foundation for Medieval Genealogy online [http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLAND,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm#LoretteMWilliamMarmiondied1275].
  18. Wikipedia.org [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_lackland]

 

Transcription: Adjutant General’s letter re David Coon’s death.

Adjutant General's Office re David Coon's Death Document

Pension document from the Adjutant General’s Office re David Coon’s death.

The following is my transcription of a letter from the Adjutant General’s office regarding David Coon’s death during the Civil War.

Adjutant General’s Office
Washington, D. C.
June 5th, 1865.

Sir:

I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt from your Office of application for Pension No. 89.92.5, and to return it herewith, with such information as is furnished by the files of the Office.

It appears from the Rolls on file in this Office, that David Coon was enrolled on the 26th day of Feb, 1864, at Madison in Co. A, 36th Regiment of Wis Volunteers, to serve 3 years, or during the war, and mustered into service as a Pri on the 1st day of Mch 1864, at Madison, Wis, in Co. A, 36th Regiment of Wis Volunteers, to serve 3 years, or during the war. On the Muster Roll of Co. A of that Regiment, for the months of Mch & Apl 1865, he is reported “Died in Rebel Prison at Saulsberry N.C. Nov 2d 1864″ Cause of death not stated

I am, Sir, very respectfully,

Your obedient servant, Saml [Treck]
Assistant Adjutant General.

The Commissioner of Pensions
Washington, D C.

Original form text below scored through, more than likely indicating no relevant information to be entered:

Memoranda.
Name of applicant,
Address

Initials or abbreviation noted in bottom left corner:

N.R.

_____________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

Cardinal Henry Beaufort

Cardinal Henry Beaufort (de Beaufort) was born in 1375 in Castle Beaufort, Anjou, France to Sir John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (1340- ) and Katharine (de Roët ) Swynford (c. 1350 – 1403), widow of Sir Hugh Swynford of Lincolnshire.

Beaufort-Cardinal-Henry1Once the governess to John’s daughters from his first marriage, she became his mistress, subsequently bearing him more children.  Her children were made legitimate September 1, 1396 by Pope Boniface IX and February 9, 1397 by charter of King Richard II, but were excluded from the succession.

Castle Beaufort

Beaufort Castle

Cardinal Henry’s progression began with his becoming Dean of Wells Cathedral, Somerset, England and Chancellor of Oxford University in 1397, at the age of 22.

In 1399, upon the accession of his half -brother, Henry IV, in 1399, he was assured a prominent place and high influence in politics.

He continued to rise rapidly, becoming Chancellor of England and a Royal Councillor in 1403, and Bishop of Winchester in 1404.

In 1413, he resigned his chancellorship and led the opposition of the council to the King’s Chief Minister, Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury. However, he regained his chancellorship when his nephew and ally became king as Henry V in the same year.

Highly ambitious and striving to climb still higher, he sought and obtained a position with the papacy when Pope Martin V made him a cardinal in 1417. The king feared that Beaufort would be too effective as spokesman for the papacy and subsequently forced him to resign.

After the accession of the infant King, Henry VI in 1422, however, Beaufort flourished yet again. A very wealthy man by this time, he expanded his fortune by lending money at inflated interest rates to the financially troubled crown, which further entrenched him in his position of power, making him virtually invulnerable to his enemies.

In 1426, he was made papallegate and Cardinal of St. Eusebius, for which his uncle, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, continually criticized him for conflict of interest by holding positions of power in both the church and state. Beaufort’s power and influence enable him to remain unharmed by the attacks by Duke Humphrey.

In 1435 and 1439 he failed in his attempts to negotiate the end of the Hundred Years’ War between England and France.

Henry gained even more power on July 14, 1438 when he became Bishop of Lincoln. While in this position, he had an affair with a woman whose identity is speculation at best, due to a lack of documentation. Some believe this woman was Alice FitzAlan (1378-1415), daughter to Richard FitzAlan and Elizabeth de Bohun.

An illegitimate daughter, Jane Beaufort, was born to this relationship in 1402. This relationship is made credible by the mention of Jane and her husband Sir Edward Stradling in Cardinal Beaufort’s will.

Henry retired from politics in 1443, died April 11, 1447 at Wolsey Palace in Winchester, and was buried at Winchester Cathedral.

Cardinal Henry Beaufort was 22nd great grandfather to my children.

Sources:

Foundation for Medieval Genealogy; http://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/ENGLAND,%20Kings%201066-1603.htm

Encyclopædia Britannica CD ’97, HENRY BEAUFORT

Wikipedia.org; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Beaufort

Transcription: War of 1812 Land Warrant Card for William B. Coon

Land Warrant Card of William B. Coon and David Coon.

Land Warrant Card of William B. Coon and David Coon. 

Below is my transcription of the War of 1812 Land Warrant Card for William B. Coon

No. 49954     40 acres.

ACT OF SEPT. 28, 1850.

Issued to Wm. B. Coon
Priv: Capt. Fillmore’s
Co., N. York, Ma.
War of 1812

Located at Menasha
40 Wis

Located by David Coon, ???

Patented April 15, 1856
Recorded Vol. 308
Page 31
1761286

Transmitted to
Reg.
25 Feb. 1857
2 Sept – 1857

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 

Alanson and Gardner Adams, Brothers in Arms in the War of 1812

I mentioned in a previous post about William B. Coon, who served as a soldier for the United States in the War of 1812 and was the father of Civil War casualty David Coon, that I would be writing about Alanson Adams (fifth great grandfather to my kids) who was father to David Coon’s first wife Mary Ann Adams. Alanson and Gardner Adams both fought in the War of 1812.
Alanson Adams

Alanson Adams

Alanson was born April 16, 1792 to Joseph Adams (born 1756) in Williston, Vermont, United States and was the brother of Gardner Adams.

Alanson and Gardner Adams - Muster Roll

Alanson and Gardner Adams – War of 1812 Muster Roll.

Alanson worked as a farmer until he enlisted along with his brother Gardner on January 28, 1813 for service as soldiers for the United States in the War of 1812, both as Privates with Captain Samuel R. Gordon and Captain (later Lieutenant) Valentine R. Goodrich’s Company of the 11th Infantry Regiment in Vermont.

On February 28, 1814, Alanson’s brother Gardner was recorded to be sick in hospital at Brownsville. He had been shot in the leg, and as a result of this injury, he received a military pension after his discharge on January 28, 1818, just one day following the discharge of his brother Alanson.

Submit Hall

Submit (Mitty) Hall

Alanson married Submit “Mitty or Malinda” Hall in 1840 and they had the following children: Elam Dennis Adams (1821-1897), Martha Marie Adams (1827-1861) and Mary Ann Adams (1824-1859), first wife of Civil War veteran David Coon (fourth great grandfather to my kids). Throughout his life, he worked as a farmer (early years), labourer in manufacturing and as a shoemaker.

Sometime between 1840 and 1844, Alanson and his family relocated to Licking County, Ohio, living there until after 1860, when they are recorded in the census at Fold du Lac, Wisconsin, where he is shown living near his son Elam Dennis Adams.

The wealth of Alanson and his family appears to have fluctuated considerably. In 1850, he owned $600 value in real estate, yet in 1860 his wealth had reduced to just $100 in personal goods (no real estate), and then in 1870 he owned $1,000 in real estate. It is unknown whether Alanson had any personal wealth in 1880 as he is showing in the Canadian census to be living with the family of his son Elam Dennis Adams, while still in Fold du Lac, Wisconsin.

Alanson and his family were members of the Baptist Church.

Alanson died April 23, 1881 while living in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The following obituary was published in the Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth of Tuesday, April 26, 1881, on page 4.

Retrospective

The death of Mr. Alanson Adams of our city on the 23rd instant, is an event of more than ordinary interest. Born in the year 1792, in the third year of Washington’s first term, his life covers nearly the whole period of our constitutional history. We are fairly startled at the rapidity of our country’s development, as compared with other countries, when we contemplate its history being crowded into the lifetime of one man. During this period the small circle of States bordering the Atlantic coast, few in population and impoverished by war, has been enlarged until it now engirdles the continent. A great nation, ranking among the first in power, wealth and influence has been developed within this comparatively short space of time. Human life can no longer be said to be short, if we measure it by the achievements comprehended within its.limits.

Mr. Adams is identified with the history of our country in one of the most endearing relations. Every country venerates the memory of its soldiers. Especially is this true of a republic, which must depend very largely on the valor and patriotism of its volunteer soldiers for defense. The deceased belongs to that noble band whom our nation delights to honor. In early manhood, at the call of his country, he entered her service in the war of 1812. He was in several engagements during this war, among which were the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane. At the latter place he was wounded. Thus another one of the few surviving heroes of this war has been laid away to that rest which no battle call, or shock —–will ever disturb.

But in still another and not less important cause was the deceased identified with the history and progress of our country. He belonged in the class of pioneers peculiar to our country, and yet sometimes overlooked, and underestimated in making our estimates of the elements entering late American progress. To this class of our population, essentially nomadic in its character, does our country owe very much of its greatness to-day. By it has been laid the foundations of that grand super-structure of American nationality which has no parallel in history. Reared in central Vermont he became identified with the early struggles of that State. In 1818 he was married. The union thus formed continued some fifty-four years. In 1844 with his family, consisting of one son and two daughters, he removed to Ohio. Here he remained until 1860, when he moved to Wisconsin, where he has since resided. Since the death of his wife, some ten years ago, he has made his home with his son, E.D. Adams, of our city, where he died.

The deceased was a devoted Christian, having been a member of the Baptist church nearly sixty years. He will be deeply mourned by the church to which he had endeared himself, and the circle of friends how knew him best. The sympathies of its many friends are extended to the bereaved family, with the assurance that our loss is his gain.

Sources:

  1. Payroll of a Company of Infantry Commanded by Lt. Valentine R. Goodrich, the Eleventh Regiment of the United States, for the Months of January and February, 1813, online [], accessed.
  2. Emily Bailey, “Mary Ann Adams,” e-mail message to Christine Blythe, 20 Nov 2006.
  3. Coon, David, death certificate no. Widow’s Claim to Pension – Emma and Hiram Coon (1864).
  4. Affidavit of Alanson and Mitty Adams (31 Mar 1869).
  5. Adams, Alanson obituary, Fond du Lac Commonwealth, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Tuesday, April 26, 1881, Pg. 4.
  6. 1840 US Census, , (Burlington, Chittenden, Vermont); 541, Roll: 48; Page: 541; Image: 101, Family History Library Film: 0027439, 48, Original data: Sixth Census of the United States, 1840. (NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29, National Archives, Washington, D.C..
  7. 1870 US Census, , (Fond du Lac Ward 3, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin); Page: 285B, Roll: M593_1713; Page: 285B; Image: 577, Family History Library Film: 553212, Roll: M593_1713, Image: 577, National Archives and Records Administration, n.d., Washington, D.C..
  8. 1880 US Census, , (Fond du Lac Ward 3, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin); 212A, Roll: 1425; Page: 212A; Enumeration District: 41, Family History Film: 1255425, 1425, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, USA, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
  9. 1800 US Census, , (Williston, Chittenden, Vermont, USA); 350, Roll: 51; Page: 350; Image: 195, Family History Library Film: 218688, 51, Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C..
  10. Adjutant-General, “Adjutant-General’s Report,” jpg, Roll of Capt. V. R. Goodrich’s Company (: accessed ).
  11. “William B. Coon Family,” e-mail message to Christine Blythe, 20 Nov 2006.