Thursday, August 16, 2018

Did your ancestor get sent off with a 35-line memorial poem?

My great-grandfather's oldest brother, Joel Thrall (1792-1827), went from Vermont to Quebec to Ohio, where he died outside of Columbus, leaving behind him a mysterious widow (wife #3), a trail of bad debts, a skeleton (in addition to his own), and a 35-line memorial mourning poem.

I knew nothing of this when I set out to write him up. (Beware those dull-seeming relatives!)

The first part of his story is now out in the summer issue of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, AKA The Journal of American Genealogy. The second and last part (scheduled for fall) follows Joel's son Homer (with wife #1), who became a Methodist missionary in Texas and a Confederate apologist, and his daughter Rachel (with wife #2), whose grandchildren are scattered across Canada and the U.S. She is the source of all of Joel's living descendants, but he was not present at her christening. It seems unlikely that she knew him, but she and half-brother Homer probably met when he paid a flying visit to Quebec in later life (1884).

FYI would-be writers: The Register is not all New England all the time; it is interested in out-migrations as well.

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