G4BB 116: Middle Ground

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Middle Ground

116.1 To sort of finish things off…as I was researching Presidential middle names (and aren’t you glad I didn’t do the Vice Presidents?…trust me, I was sorely tempted!) I came across some interesting genealogical connections that I thought worth diagraming. First was the statement that John Quincy Adams’ mother’s cousin married John Hancock.

116.2  Now I had come across this claim before, and had taken it at face value. But when you think about it, chances are great that “cousin” is being used here its loosest sense, that is, referring to a any blood relative who isn’t some degree of father/son or uncle/nephew. And that suspicion proved to be dead on.

  chart 415

116.3  Checking Chart 415, you can see that Daniel Quincy was the brother of Edmund II…his son Col. John is thus the 1st cousin of Edmund III…and Daniel’s granddaughter Elizabeth is 2nd cousin to Dorothy Quincy, who married John Hancock. Elizabeth is John Quincy Adams’ grandmother, making Dorothy 2nd cousin twice removed to him…and 2nd cousin once removed to his mother Abigail Smith. That was easy, nez pah?

116.4  Next we come to James Abram Garfield. He grew up in a town outside of Cleveland, Ohio…living on a farm next to that of his Uncle Amos Boynton…and I read on Uncle Wiki that “he and his Boynton cousins cherished their memories of childhood together.” Awwwww, that’s nice. But since I already knew from my Middle Name Project that his mother was a Ballou, not a Boynton, this called for further investigation.

chart 416

116.5  Sure enough, Uncle Amos was Garfield’s father’s half-brother…they had the same mother but different fathers. Bear in mind that back in the early 1800s, such kinship was almost always caused by the death of a spouse, not divorce, and that was they case here…Garfield’s grandfather Thomas was husband #1. And as an aside, I discovered that Uncle Amos’ grandfather Caleb Boynton Sr. lived for a time in Rowley, Mass…just a stone’s throw from where I grew up…and also in Madrid, NY up on the St. Lawrence River, just down the road from where I am living now…jeepers, as if this stuff weren’t gratifying enough…

116.6  So as a boy, James Abram Garfield frolicked and gamboled with his half-1st cousins, the Boyntons. But I have learned that once you have found what you thought you were looking for, it’s a good idea to keep reading…and so it turns out that the mothers of the half-1st cousins were themselves sisters! Thus Garfield and his Boynton half-1st cousins were in fact full Ballou cousins. And if you want to get technical about it, these half-1st cousins were actually Hill cousins, the surname of the sole grandparent they share…after all, none of the Garfields were Boyntons, nor were the Boyntons Garfields…they were related because they were all Hills…ha, ha, gotcha!

chart 417  116.7  Finally, getting back to middle names, I mentioned that William Howard Taft’s middle name is tricky…it looks like a given name, but it’s actually the maiden name of his paternal grandmother. I wondered if any of his siblings got his mother’s maiden name, Torrey…none did, but in this family, surnames as middle names flew fast and furious, even including one of Taft’s half-brothers. Trouble is, going back several more generations beyond what I’ve included in Chart 417, I can’t put my finger on a Dutton for Taft’s brother Horace Dutton Taft…perhaps the milkman was a really close friend of the family… 😉 😉

116.8  Bulging mailbag gets our attention next week…but before we go….


Wicked Ballsy


For my final encore…I noticed that there were some prominent Founding Fathers that didn’t get the Middle Name Treatment last week, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Gen. Israel Putnam is a special favorite of mine, since I grew up in the Putnamville area of Danvers, Massachusetts…guess how it got that name? Gouverneur Morris owned land up where I live now, and 2 towns are named after him, Gouverneur and Morristown…he was actually born in New York City and lived most of his life in Pennsylvania. Surprise, surprise, Gouverneur was his mother’s maiden name, so for a middle game I gave him his paternal grandmother’s.

And I’ve even included the dreaded B*n*d*ct  *rn*ld…the interesting coincidence there is, the only monument in the US bearing his name (there are some in Britain) is in Danvers, commemorating a stopover on way to the Quebec campaign of 1775.


Copyright © 2013 Mark John, All Rights Reserved

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More bloggage at  http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com

Updated Resume at   http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com/2011/02/resume.html

Audio samples at  http://stolfspots.podBean.com

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