Monday, March 28, 2016

Connecticut Connections

I grew up in the Florida panhandle, and from about 1900 on, all my ancestors have lived in either Florida or south Georgia (not to be confused with South Georgia Island!).  Only one or two of my male ancestors from the period of the Civil War remain unaccounted for, and it is virtually certain that all of them, if they were able to fight, fought for the Confederacy -- with the exception of the turncoat Peter Pelt, who is anyway a collateral ancestor, not a direct ancestor.  It comes as something of a surprise, then, to find that one of my mother's ancestors was practically a neighbor of one of my father's ancestors in the mid-1600's in Connecticut.

I have already mentioned that Samuel Hine(s), the father of Charles Wesley Hines, came from Milford, CT.  The first of this line was Thomas Hine (also spelled "Hind" and "Hinde"), who, as recorded in Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to Families of the State of Massachusetts, by William Richard Cutter and William Frederick Adams, was in residence at Milford by 28 Jan 1646.

Thomas Hine was particularly noteworthy for his good relations with the local American Indians.  In particular, he gained the gratitude of the Mohawks by rescuing one of their warriors who had been left tied to a stake to die of exposure; this had been his punishment by the Pequots for being part of a failed attempt to ambush them. What is more,
Not only did the act of being a good Samaritan impress the Mohawks but the Pequot tribe held Hine in high regard and promised to him and his descendants, that when the time came for them to die, the Great Spirit would take them to the big Wigwam. But until that time the Great Spirit would watch over them.
Thomas Hine had a son named Samuel (b 26 Jan 1659-60), who had a son named Samuel (baptized 9 Jan 1703-4), who had a son named Samuel (b 9 Nov 1743), who had a son named Samuel (b 8 Nov 1770), who had a son named Samuel (baptized 15 Oct 1797), who moved to Georgia and was the father of Charles Wesley Hines.

That is five generations of "Samuel Hine" -- and there were also, apparently side branches which also had men named "Samuel Hine"!  This, naturally enough, gives ample opportunity for confusion.  The account by Cutter and Adams, for example, appears to omit altogether the Samuel born in 1770.  (I say "appears" to omit because the 1743 Samuel seems to be the one called "Samuel Hine, Jr." -- at least, the numbering system does not indicate an intermediate between the 1743 Samuel and the "Samuel, born at Derby, removed to Georgia".)  On the other hand, Families of Early Milford, Connecticut by Susan Emma Woodruff Abbott notes of the 1743 Samuel that "He is confused with his son Samuel," and it gives this son Samuel (our 1770 Samuel) as the father of the Samuel that "Hine gen says went to Ga?"  (There is no doubt of this fact.  In the 1850 census, Samuel Hine(s), by then living in Georgia, gives his place of birth as Connecticut.)  Even Abbott does not give the year of his birth, but only the date of his death:  28 Mar 1800.  The 1770 date of birth comes from, on what basis I am not sure, though it fits and is reasonable.

Regardless, it is agreed that it was the 1743 Samuel who served one year with Captain John Prudden and Captain Benjamin Hine's company in the Revolutionary War, and who shortly before his death (in 1843) received a pension on that basis.  In fact the records are again a bit confusing, as there was another Samuel Hine from the same general area who also served in the Revolutionary War, but this could not have been the 1743 Samuel, because he would have added that information to his pension application.

On my mother's side, the wife of David Adam Edmondson was born Martha Ann Gertrude Todd.  The Todd family also traces back to Connecticut, as recounted in The Todd Family in America, or the Descendants of Christopher Todd, by John Edwards Todd.  Christopher Todd, born in Pontefract, West Riding, Yorkshire, in 1617, moved to New Haven, CT, in 1639, becoming a wealthy miller.  This put him in the same county that would shortly be occupied by Thomas Hine, who probably came by way of New Haven; note also that the distance between New Haven and Milford is less than a dozen miles.

Once again, there are a lot of Samuels in this story.  Christopher Todd was the father of Samuel Todd (b. 1645), who was the father of Samuel Bradley Todd (b. 1672), who was the father of Rev. Samuel Todd (b. 1716), who was the father of Dr. Eliel Todd (b. 1746), who moved to Vermont and was the father of Samuel Bryant Todd (b. 1783), who was the father of Samuel Bryan Todd (b. 1814), who moved to Georgia and was the father of Martha Ann Gertrude Todd.

Dr. Eliel Todd "was a lieutenant in the Revolution.  He died in 1793, from poison accidentally taken," according to History of Rutland County, Vermont, with illustrations and biographical sketches of some of its prominent men and pioneers, by H. P. Smith.  He appears to have been a well-liked and respected physician, so this does not seem particularly suspicious, but its is still odd.  Most likely it was due to sloppy or careless labeling.  Sadly, it took many such accidents for the pharmaceutical practices we have today to develop.

EDIT:  I should add that Mary Todd, who married Abraham Lincoln, was apparently descended from an Irish family named Todd.  All the Todds are believed to ultimately have come from Scotland, but the name itself refers to a profession or avocation -- specifically, to one who hunts foxes.  As a result, there may be multiple independent origins of "Todd" families.  One way or the other, Mary Todd Lincoln is at most a distant relative.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Road Safety > Making a Point

Gadsden flag 
By Lexicon, Vikrum (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.0], 
via Wikimedia Commons

The Gadsden Flag, pictured above, has at least two main, distinct uses.  The first is as a flag used in the American Revolution.  Those who fly it today, though, usually are not really commemorating the Revolution, they are showing support for the "Tea Party" movement.  The main points here are as follows.
  • Despite the name "Tea Party" and the use of this historical flag, the connection between the modern political movement and Revolutionary ideals is mostly imaginary.  This kind of game has been popular among grown men for as far back in time as we can see.  Other examples include Freemasons pretending to be the continuation of the Knights Templar, the American founders pretending to be a kind of restoration of the Roman Republic (hence the "Senate" and "Capitol Hill"), Himmler pretending that the SS was a kind of reinstitution of Medieval orders of knights, Mussolini pretending to re-found the Roman Empire, modern Druids pretending that their rituals are those of the ancient Druids rather than the fantasies of Victorian romanticists, and -- yes, you knew I was going there -- modern racist groups pretending to be the heirs of the Confederacy.
  • The modern use of the flag by the Tea Party movement should not be allowed to completely redefine its history.
  • The Tea Party movement produces moderately strong emotions, both in its supporters and its detractors.
  • For full disclosure, I am not really either a supporter or a detractor of the Tea Party movement, so I don't have much of an emotional reaction to them.  I can agree with much of what they say, but I think they put too much emphasis on taxes and other economic issues, and I don't really agree with their stance on immigration.  However they started, they now seem to be a sock puppet of the Republican Party.

Imagine, then, that someone chose to fly a huge Gadsden Flag where it would be visible on a busy interstate highway.  The purpose of our imaginary flag-flier is to reclaim the Gadsden Flag from its association with the Tea Party and educate the public about its original, historical meaning.  That purpose really would not matter in this context:  drivers would come up on the flag, have an emotional reaction to it, and then drive past.  There is really not enough time in this brief encounter to educate anyone on anything, but what will happen is drivers will be distracted, and this will increase the likelihood of a wreck.

I don't recall seeing huge Gadsden Flags flown near the interstates, but I have seen huge Confederate Flags flown that way.  Now the Confederate Flag has a wider range of meanings than the Gadsden Flag; for some it stands for the historical Confederate States of America, for some it is a symbol of home and family, for many (I'm thinking of the country music / NASCAR types here) it is little more than an act of mild defiance against the powers that be, and for many others it is a symbol of racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan.  In the summer of 2015, when the governor of South Carolina, Walmart, and others took it upon themselves to decide for everyone that the one and only thing that the Confederate Flag (and all things Confederate) stood for was racial hatred, this amped up the emotional conflict to the extreme.  I know; this was what prompted me to join the Sons of Confederate Veterans and to begin researching my ancestry, so I am clearly not one who is ashamed of the Confederate Flag.  However, this is not an issue of shame; this is an issue of prudence.  In today's society, the Confederate Flag is as big a distraction as a completely naked centerfold model on a billboard would be.

The debate about the meaning of symbols and about the meaning of history is a debate worth having.  Let's have it in a place where people can stop and think without putting lives at risk, though.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Христос воскресе!

Christ Is Risen!

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ, which we especially celebrate today, is infinitely more important than the topics I usually discuss on this blog.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament 2016

Here is my bracket for this year.  This is not the first one I ran, but I discovered I had the wrong regional matchups in the Final Four.  I still don't know how that's done -- that is, do the South and West always meet, and the East meet the Midwest, or are they cycled from year to year?  And how is home court advantage determined in the Final Four?  Are these things determined years in advance, or are they set by the seeding committee on Selection Sunday?

At any rate, since I had to change the Python program I wrote last year to generate this anyhow, I decided to run it 3 or 4 times and take the best-looking result. 

In the SOUTH Regional

In the 2nd Round:
16 Austin Peay  @  1 Kansas  -->  1 Kansas
15 N.C. Asheville  @  2 Villanova  -->  2 Villanova
14 Buffalo  @  3 Miami (FL)  -->  14 Buffalo
13 Hawaii  @  4 California  -->  4 California
12 S. Dakota St.  @  5 Maryland  -->  5 Maryland
11 Vand / WiSt  @  6 Arizona  -->  6 Arizona
10 Temple  @  7 Iowa  -->  10 Temple
9 Connecticut  @  8 Colorado  -->  9 Connecticut
In the 3rd Round:
9 Connecticut  @  1 Kansas  -->  1 Kansas
10 Temple  @  2 Villanova  -->  2 Villanova
6 Arizona  @  14 Buffalo  -->  6 Arizona
5 Maryland  @  4 California  -->  4 California
In the Sweet 16:
4 California  @  1 Kansas  -->  1 Kansas
6 Arizona  @  2 Villanova  -->  2 Villanova
In the Elite 8:
2 Villanova  @  1 Kansas  -->  1 Kansas
In the WEST Regional

In the 2nd Round:
16 HC / Sou  @  1 Oregon  -->  1 Oregon
15 CSU Bakersfield  @  2 Oklahoma  -->  2 Oklahoma
14 Green Bay  @  3 Texas A&M  -->  3 Texas A&M
13 N.C. Wilmington  @  4 Duke  -->  4 Duke
12 Yale  @  5 Baylor  -->  12 Yale
11 Northern Iowa  @  6 Texas  -->  11 Northern Iowa
10 VCU  @  7 Oregon St.  -->  7 Oregon St.
9 Cincinnati  @  8 St. Joseph's  -->  8 St. Joseph's
In the 3rd Round:
8 St. Joseph's  @  1 Oregon  -->  1 Oregon
7 Oregon St.  @  2 Oklahoma  -->  7 Oregon St.
11 Northern Iowa  @  3 Texas A&M  -->  11 Northern Iowa
12 Yale  @  4 Duke  -->  4 Duke
In the Sweet 16:
4 Duke  @  1 Oregon  -->  1 Oregon
11 Northern Iowa  @  7 Oregon St.  -->  7 Oregon St.
In the Elite 8:
7 Oregon St.  @  1 Oregon  -->  1 Oregon
In the EAST Regional

In the 2nd Round:
16 FGCU / FDU  @  1 N. Carolina  -->  1 N. Carolina
15 Weber St.  @  2 Xavier  -->  2 Xavier
14 S.F. Austin  @  3 West Virginia  -->  3 West Virginia
13 Stony Brook  @  4 Kentucky  -->  4 Kentucky
12 Chattanooga  @  5 Indiana  -->  12 Chattanooga
11 Mich / Tuls  @  6 Notre Dame  -->  6 Notre Dame
10 Pittsburgh  @  7 Wisconsin  -->  7 Wisconsin
9 Providence  @  8 USC  -->  9 Providence
In the 3rd Round:
9 Providence  @  1 N. Carolina  -->  1 N. Carolina
7 Wisconsin  @  2 Xavier  -->  2 Xavier
6 Notre Dame  @  3 West Virginia  -->  3 West Virginia
12 Chattanooga  @  4 Kentucky  -->  4 Kentucky
In the Sweet 16:
4 Kentucky  @  1 N. Carolina  -->  4 Kentucky
3 West Virginia  @  2 Xavier  -->  2 Xavier
In the Elite 8:
2 Xavier  @  4 Kentucky  -->  2 Xavier
In the MIDWEST Regional

In the 2nd Round:
16 Hampton  @  1 Virginia  -->  1 Virginia
15 Middle Tenn. St.  @  2 Michigan St.  -->  2 Michigan St.
14 Fresno St.  @  3 Utah  -->  3 Utah
13 Iona  @  4 Iowa St.  -->  4 Iowa St.
12 AR Little Rock  @  5 Purdue  -->  5 Purdue
11 Gonzaga  @  6 Seton Hall  -->  11 Gonzaga
10 Syracuse  @  7 Dayton  -->  10 Syracuse
9 Butler  @  8 Texas Tech  -->  9 Butler
In the 3rd Round:
9 Butler  @  1 Virginia  -->  9 Butler
10 Syracuse  @  2 Michigan St.  -->  2 Michigan St.
11 Gonzaga  @  3 Utah  -->  3 Utah
5 Purdue  @  4 Iowa St.  -->  4 Iowa St.
In the Sweet 16:
4 Iowa St.  @  9 Butler  -->  4 Iowa St.
3 Utah  @  2 Michigan St.  -->  3 Utah
In the Elite 8:
3 Utah  @  4 Iowa St.  -->  4 Iowa St.
1 Oregon  @  1 Kansas  -->  1 Kansas
4 Iowa St.  @  2 Xavier  -->  2 Xavier

2 Xavier  @  1 Kansas  -->  1 Kansas