The Minor Family Album: Continuing The Search for Mr. Chin Whisker’s Identity

Mr. Chin WhiskersMy last post contained a LOT of information about the face that greets me when I open the Minor Family Album.  Mr. Chin Whiskers was originally thought to be our family patriarch, John Pearson (Pierson) Minor, but that hypothesis was thrown out when a cousin shared copy of a labeled tintype of John P. Minor.  My image and his image were NOT of the same person.  Continuing my search within the Minor family tree, I compared my image to another image of a known Minor, Samuel Minor, who was John P’s brother.  These two images were not of the same person.  I left the post dangling the idea that perhaps my image is of a third brother, Asa.

Is this bearded man Asa Minor?

Among my family artifacts are documents and letters found in an old leather satchel, retrieved from the Minor Home Farm long ago by my mother.  Included in this treasure trove are letters from Asa Minor to his brother, John P.  (You can read more about this exchange here.) These papers establish that the brothers kept in touch, and presumably John’s children would have known of their uncle.

The 1860 US Federal Mortality Schedule tells us that Asa died in January of that year, succumbing to consumption from which he had suffered for nine months.  His wife continued to live on the farm in Deerfield Township, Warren County, Ohio.

So, Asa kept in touch with John.  Asa was alive in the 1850s when everybody with a bit of money could get a photograph made.

That is all we really know.

Could this photograph be Asa?  If I can confirm that the TW Rogers took a photo of a photo and if I can confirm that the man’s clothing is typical of the late 1850s, then I could feel a wee bit of confidence in that identification hypothesis.

For now…

I turn to the blogosphere, to photo detectives, to descendants of Asa Minor–what do YOU think?

  • What timeframe does the jacket, vest and beard suggest to you?
  • Are there other copies of this photograph out there, LABELED?
  • Are there other photographs of Asa out there?

Of course there are other possibilities…

What if this is a member of Mary Jane Gwynne’s family?  I don’t have much research to document her family, other than her father, Alfred, died in 1835.  And until I can narrow down the timeframe for the photograph, original or copied, then I can’t really narrow down which male family members this might be!!

And so I conclude this post as mystified as I began.  The whiskered man begs to tell a story.  For now, the story will have to remain untold.

Mr. Chin Whiskers

 

 

 

 

Amanuensis Monday: Article of Agreement

Today’s transcription comes from my Minor Treasure Box and sheds light on the characters introduced in last week’s Letter from Asa Minor to John P. Minor.

The musty yellowed paper has been folded in half, then in half, then in half again.  With gloves on I gently unfold the 3″ by 4″ packet; on one panel is the notation

Article of Agreement between Asa Minor of Warren County Ohio and John Pl Minor of the State of Pennsylvania

(A tmc? copy of the Original)

I unfold the document again and read some spidery script as being a record of payments, conveniently kept on the outside of the agreement.  I unfold this record one more time to read an agreement complete with ink smudges and crossed out words. Other words were inserted between lines and into small spaces as the parties hashed out these terms:

This Agreement made and concluded upon this 25th day of May Eighteen hundred and thirty five by and between Asa Minor of Warren County Ohio, of the one part and John P Minor of the State of Pennsylvania of the other part, both children and heirs at Law of Abia Minor late of Warren County Ohio deceased. Witnesseth, that for and in consideration of the sum of five hundred dollars good and lawful money of the United States to be paid to the said John P Minor, his heirs, executors or administrators by the said Asa Minor, his heirs, executors or administrators, in five years from the first day of January next, at the rate of six per cent per annum from the first of ??? next that then and in that case the full sum of five hundred dollars, with the interest  aforesaid, being paid by the said Asa as aforesaid, to the said P Minor as a aforesaid, he the said John in consideration of the said payment having been made as aforesaid, doth hereby covenant and agree for him self, his heirs, executors and administrators to and with the said Asa his heirs executors, and administrators to convey deed in fee simple to the said Asa his heirs, and assigns forever, all the right title , interest estate property, claim or demand whether in possession or remainder in Law Equity of the Real Estate (the Personal Estate excepted) which he is, or may be entitled to, as one of the children and heirs at Law of the said Abia Minor deceased, including the reversion of that portion of the said Real Estate which has been set off to the Widow of the deceased, after her decease.  In Witness whereof the parties do hereby set their hands and seals at Warren County Ohio this 25th day of May 1835 the interlincations and er????? being made .

Both Asa Minor and John P Minor set their signatures to this document, complete with hand-drawn seals.  The agreement was witnessed by James Thompson, R.M. Rofs and Thomas R Rofs.

Folding the agreement once more, I find the record of Asa’s payments to John P. Minor:

April the 4th 1836 paid on the within $50.09

november second 1837 paid $100

january the first 1838 paid $ 100 forty three dollars

This discovery adds definition to last weeks’ transcription.  In fact I believe that the $100 payment recorded for 2 November 1837 is the money mentioned in Asa’s letter.  The Panic of 1837 did not interfere with this family transaction, at least not until 1839.  I will be curious to see if any further payments were made, or if somewhere in my Treasure Box there is a deed for this land.

Amanuensis Monday: A Letter from Asa Minor to John P. Minor, 1837

The front of the 4″ by 5″ packet declares :

W                                                                                                                                                              John P Minor                                                                                                                                        Green County PA                                                                                                                                Big Whitely Ofice                                                                                                                                                    Pa

Kirkwood O                                                                                                         25                             August 22nd

On the back hidden amid some scribbled numbers is a thumbnail-sized circular stain, the remnant of some long ago wax seal.  The parchment-colored paper unfolds to reveal a letter, one long paragraph,  written on two 7.5″ by 12″ pages.  There are no commas or periods to help the 21st century reader mark the beginning and ending of thoughts.  Capital letters are used indiscriminately for proper and common nouns, verbs and adjectives.  Spelling is often phonetic and the same word can have multiple spellings throughout the note.  Fortunately the handwriting is legible, the ink still dark, the script remarkably like the cursive I learned in Mrs. Flora’s fourth grade classroom.

This is a letter written by Asa Minor (b. 1796) to his big brother John Pierson (Pearson) Minor(b. 1791) in 1837. *1  I have taken the liberty to present the letter with corrections, so that the intent of the letter is clear:

Warren County Ohio August 22nd 1837

Dear brother & sister,

I take my pen in hand to inform you we are enjoying good health  at present & our friends as far as I can hear are enjoying health through the tender mercies of a kind Providence.  I hope these few lines may find you all enjoying good health.  I have nothing particular to write you at present, only to scold you a little; that is if you ever received my last letter which I wrote,  I think, in May last.   I know it was shortly after Uncle Stephen Minor came with his news of having a bill against us & I have never received a line from you since.  I thought I would set down in a brief manner to inform you we are all well & also to try to persuade you to write me an answer to let me know if you are coming down this fall or not.

Also Concerning this money Scrape (*2): if our Ohio paper will answer you any purpose, I can have $200 hundred for you this fall if it will.  As I have 100 hundred coming into my hands & I have to take that or nothing.   I thought if you intend to buy any stock it would answer, as it will on all purposes here with the exceptions of Land.

We have had a tolerable wet summer here. Our corn looks well and oats but we have had a tedious time for harvest.  Our markets is as follows:  wheat is from 90 to $1.00; flour is 3.50 per hundred wt barrel  $7.00 per lb.  Oald Corn is 50 pr, oats 33 ½.  The horses is high but not so high as was in the spring, for you could buy  tolerable good gelding from 65 to 75 dollars.

I must come to a close as I am in a hurry to move at present but we remain your friends until death. Give our love to all inquiring friends and please to write in haste.

Asa Minor , Eleanor Minor

(to) John P. Minor,  Izabel Minor                                                               (PS) for Wool 33

*1:The brothers were part of the large Abia Minor family, which began with the marriage of Abia to Margaret Pearson in 1790, Middlesex, New Jersey.  When the boys were small Abia and Margaret joined the extended Minor family living in Greene County, Pennsylvania, at the southwestern corner of the state.  Abia outlived his first wife, remarried and continued to contribute to the nation’s population growth.  At some point after 1820 it appears that Abia moved his family to Warren County, Ohio; this migration certainly included the youngest members but may have also included children from his first marriage, including Asa, who married Eleanor Thompson.  John P. Minor married Isabella McClelland, and remained in Greene County to become a very successful farmer and investor.

*2 The money scrape refers to the Panic of 1837 in which a wave of state and private banks defaulted on deposits.  Loans were called in and credit was no longer extended, creating a cycle of business failures, high unemployment and rapid inflation.  Ohio had nine state banks, which had lent beyond its means and printed money unsecured by gold and silver deposits.  Paper money was not accepted by the federal government for postal transactions or land sales. The depression that followed the crash lasted until around 1844.