Sunday, February 23, 2014

52 ancestors - Who was Dorothy Colt's mother?

I happened to stumble across a goldmine of information related to my maternal grandmother's side of the family and very happily added at least 50 new names to my tree.  I previously wrote about Dorothy's son John and this post is highlighting Dorothy Colt herself, my 8th great grandmother. I believe that Dorothy was born in the mid 1600s, but I do not have an exact date. I know her father's name was John Colt, and I believe he might have been a Captain, but this has not yet been confirmed.  I hit a snag when it comes to her mother, however.  In some records I show that Ann Skinner is her mother, in other records I found it appears that John Colt married Mary Skinner at one point (I believe he had 3 wives total) but no mention of Ann, unless Mary went by a different name.  Yet other records show that Dorothy's mother was Hester Edwards, who was John's second wife.  Perhaps, Ann was Dorothy's biological mother and Hester was her stepmother?

The other mystery surrounding Dorothy is that she married my 8th great grandfather, John Sparks.  He died in 1710 and in May of 1712 she married John Parsons.  Dorothy died in October of 1712.  Was she only married to the second John for a few months?  The children she and my 8th great grandfather had together were wards under the second John when the first John died.  If they were only married a few months, then the children became wards rather quickly.  That could have normal back then, I'm unsure.

I have a lot more research on the questions I have above, perhaps someone out there can help me figure out the mystery.  I also believe that this family lines leads me to early settlers, but more investigation is certainly needed.

52 Ancestors. John C. Colt: murder, mystery and a body switch?

I just discovered my Colt line.  My 8th great grandmother was Dorothy Colt.  My distant cousins are absolutely fascinating with intrigue in several of the family members.  I found John C. Colt and thought his story was so intriguing that I had to share the information.

My 4th cousin, 6x removed was John C. Colt.  John was born in 1810 to Christopher Colt and Sarah Caldwell in Hartford CT.  He had a well known older brother whom I will write about at another time. John was a rambunctious child and it seemed like his parents could not contain him.  There were tales of him almost dying on 3 separate occasions due to his mischievousness. Sarah Caldwell came from a very well to do family and Christopher worked very hard for his father in law, which afforded the family a very nice upbringing.  Several things led to an upheaval in the Colt household.  In 1819, the family lost their fortune due to the economy and in 1821 Sarah died of tuberculosis.  Christopher remarried in 1823 to Olivia.  Olivia was more of a realist than the children were used to.  The children were still used to the wealth they had in the early 1800s, but the money was gone.  Olivia insisted that the children work instead of going to school in order to keep the family afloat.  In 1829 John dealt with another blow when his beloved older sister, Sarah Ann, committed suicide.  Rumors swirled about the exact reason, but some believed it was because of her step-mother Olivia.  After this John floated around and ended up as a bookkeeper.  He even wrote a textbook that was used in schools around the country!

Samuel Adams went to see John about some textbooks that Samuel made for John and there was a disagreement about money, or so the story goes.  Samuel wound up dead and John was tried for his murder.  He was found guilty and sentenced to death.  On the day of what was supposed to be his execution, he committed suicide.  There are conspiracy theories that suggest John Colt did not actually die that day.  John's body was discovered after a fire had broken out in the prison. The theories are that he killed another prisoner, put their body in his cell and escaped during the fire, but none of this was ever proven.

It is also stated that Herman Melville and Edgar Allen Poe both made references to John in their stories Bartleby, the Scrivener and The Oblong Box respectively.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

52 Ancestors week 4 - Albert Fisher

I'm a bit behind on the blog posts.  School is killing me this semester.  I keep telling myself that I have this semester to go and then I'm done, but still.  Whew!

My mother always told me that our nationality was "Heinz 57" since it was made up so many different nationalities.  I never really believed it until I started working my family tree. I'm always surprised when a new relative pops up from somewhere that I never realized that I had ancestors from. Maybe some day I will discover I have ancestors from every country in the world, now wouldn't that be fun!

For this entry I'm going to write about my 3rd great grand uncle - Albert E. Fisher. Albert was born in 1852 in Baden, Germany.  He arrived in the United States in 1869 at the age of 16.  I don't have the record of him actually coming over, so I'm not sure who he travelled with, if anyone at all.  In 1880,he married Alma Amanda Youngberg.  The first census I can find him is in 1900 where he is living in Salt Lake City, Utah with his wife, 5 children and 2 servants.  The fact that he had servants intrigued me the most.  What type of person had servants in the 1900s?  His occupation listed him as a manufacturer. I believe it was at this time that I decided to Google him to see what I could find.  Surprised is an understatement!

It turns out that Albert owned a brewery in Utah.  I was able to find out that Albert built the brewery, Fisher Brewery Company, in around 1884 when he purchased 15 acres of land.  In 1893, he built his mansion on the same parcel of land.  An interstate was eventually put through the land and all of the other houses around the mansion were torn down, except for the Fisher mansion which still stands today as a historic site.  See the link below if you would like to read the entire story or see pictures of the mansion.

The brewery lasted until 1916 when Prohibition was just starting to hit Salt Lake City.  Instead of taking the loss and not selling alcohol, Albert boarded up the windows and closed the doors of the brewery.  He died 1 year later in 1917.  I included an article about the brewery below also.

Quist, R. (2010) From Brewer's home to? Retrieved from

Markosian, R (2013) Fisher Brewing Company.  Retrieved from