The Adventures Of A Photo Sleuth: The Minor Family Album

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Minor Photo Album Latch

The leather is cracking, and the gold flecking off of its pages. The images inside are time capsules.  Staring at their faces I search for some resemblance that reappears in my mother or my brothers or me or my children.  Someone on Ceylon Lane, Post Office Carmichaels, Pennsylvania, bought this richly tooled leather album in the late 1800s.  Its heavy card stock pages were cut precisely to hold 4½ by 6½ cabinet card photographs. She–and I only say she because it is this she who constructs family albums today–she did not do me the favor of identifying these people.  I just have clues in the photographers’ names and studio locations.  Hairstyles and jewelry, the cut of a bodice, the width of a lapel, all hint at a timeframe.  Then, like a sleuthhound, I pick up the scent, looking through all the shoots and roots and leaves of my family tree.  Because I do believe that these men, women and children are my family.

For the next little while I will be writing about my discoveries: the mysteries solved, the wild goose chases, and the tips and tricks collected along the way. Join me as I unlock the secrets of the Minor Family Album.

1.  Provenance

2. Page One: Mr. Chin Whiskers

3. Mr. Chin Whiskers, continued

4. Pages two, three and four

 

 

Church Record Sunday: Goshen Baptist Church 1843

“Church Record Sunday – describe a specific church record or a set of records held by a church or denomination and how they can assist genealogists. This is an ongoing series developed by Gena Philibert Ortega at Gena’s Genealogy.”

Trolling through the records of Greene County, Pennsylvania, I came across a transcription of the Goshen (John Corbly) Baptist Church minutes, 1773-1857, in which appear the names of several Minor ancestors.

Abia Minor and his wife, Margaret Pearson, became members shortly after bringing their young family to the wilds of southwestern Pennsylvania.

3/30/1798

Met at Thomas Wrights and after singing and prayer proceeded to business. When Abia and Margaret Minor were received by a letter of dismission from Highestown, New Jersey.

John Pearson Minor (1791-1874), their eldest son, remained in the vicinity of Big Whiteley Creek and, as noted by local historian, William Hanna, in the 1888 History of Greene County,  was among the prominent members of this congregation, “fervent in spirit” and”diligent in business, being extensively engaged in droving, and one of the active participants in the affairs of the Farmers and Drovers Bank of Waynesburg.”

This religiosity and business acumen would account for the inclusion of this handcut and bound booklet among the documents of the Minor Satchel.

A Copy

We the undersigned do agree to pay the sum assigned to our names.  To John Long, Corbly Garard, jonathan Garard, JP Minor, Vinson Long, Jeremiah Stewart and Abner Morris.  A building committee for the benevolent purpose of building a meeting-house for the regular baptist church on big Whiteley, called Goshen.  To be built of brick 43 feet by 55 feet, one story 14 feet high.  To be built at or near the place where the old house now stands.  The money subscribed to be paid, one half when the house is covered, and the balance when the house is completed.  For the faithful performance of the above we here unto set our names and sum.  This 12 day of December 1842. 

The names and sums pledged are then duly recorded: you can review the entire document at flickr.com. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/31479748@N03/sets/72157629979227291/)

The addendum to this 1843 record states indicates that this brick building was completed by February of 1844:

Settled up all borrowed money and A Minor is to lift a note in the xxxxxxx for $220 and give up to John P. Minor xxxx.  my hand this 19th day of February 1844.

 

Goshen Baptist Church was renamed John Corbly Baptist Church

 

Surname Saturday: The Minors

This Saturday’s sun tempted me outside, but the freezing temperatures chased me back indoors after a quick filling of bird feeders.  I couldn’t let this gorgeous light go to waste, however. With the bright light filtering through my windows I placed my family heirloom on the dining room table and set my camera to capture these images.

The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Testaments translated out of the Original Tongues, and with the former translations diligently compared and revised, New York: American Bible Society, 1846.

 

Francis Marion Minor signed this Bible on the inside cover,”FM Minor, February the third, 1861.” The Bible was an 1846 copy of the American Bible Society’s translation of both Old and New Testaments, which served as both holy book and family record, as was the custom of the time.  Between the Old and the New Testament, on yellowed  pages, are entries made in a tidy, tiny hand.  The document begins with the marriage of Francis and Mary Jane:

  • Francis Marion Minor and Mary Jane Gwynn were married on the fourth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty one.

A page of family births follows, and includes the dates for Francis’ parents:

  • John P Minor was born on the seventh day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred ninety one.
  • Isabella McClelland the second wife of John P was born on the thirtieth day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred ninety two.
  • Francis Marion Minor was born on the twenty third of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred twenty eight.
  • Mary Jane Gwynn wife of Francis Marion was born on the ninth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred twenty nine.
  • John P Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the eighteenth day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty two.
  • Olfred Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the twenty third of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty five.
  •  Sarah Priscilla Minor daughter of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the twenty third of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred fifty eight.
  • Leroy Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the fourth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred sixty two.
  • Robert Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor was born on the twenty ninth day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred sixty nine.

The death record begins with Francis’ mother:

  • Isabella Minor wife of John P Minor departed this life on August the fourteenth day one thousand eight hundred sixty three.
  • Leroy Minor son of Francis Marion and Mary Jane Minor departed this life the fifteenth day of April one thousand eight hundred sixty four.
  • John P Minor father of Francis Marion departed this life the twelf day one thousand eight hundred seventy four.
  • Mary Jane Minor wife of FM Minor departed this life March 30 1908 Age 78 five months and 21 days.

What a treasure this book remains!

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Tombstone Tuesday: John Pearson (Pierson) Minor

Veteran, War of 1812
—–John Pearson Minor was born in Middlesex, New Jersey on 7 November 1791.  He moved with his parents, Abia and Margaret Pearson Minor, to Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1796.  The War of 1812 veteran remained in the Whitely Creek area for the duration of his life, serving as a financial lender, land speculator, cattle dealer, and farmer.  He married Hannah McClelland about 1815, and had two children, Abia born 3 July 1816, and  Robert born 11 April 1817.  After her death in 28 April 1817, John married Isabella McClelland  on 24 September 1817,  and together they had 9 children:  Hannah (6 June 1818-?); Mary Ann (19 January 1820-?);   Margaret (5 November 1821- ?);   Rebecca (29 November 1823-5 July 1891);  Samuel Pierson (23 August 1825–27 August 1909);  Francis Marion (23 November 1828–4 August 1913);  Sarah Ellen (10 September 1833–21 October  1862);  Frances Caroline  (9 May 1833–21 October 1862).  Isabella died at home on 14 August 1863.
John P. Minor left the family farm to his son Francis Marion on the condition that he be allowed to remain at the farm for the duration of his life–at no cost. This Minor patriarch died at home on 12 September 1874 and was buried in the cemetery of  John Corbley Baptist Church, Garard’s Fort, Pennsylvania.
 

John Corbley Baptist Church, Garards Fort, Pennsylvania