Right now I have a silly number of computers at home that I use. I have my new Dell Inspiron (2014) and the laptop that it replaced, the Dell Vostro, which still works fine (2008). Also I bought an Asus Transformer in 2014 which I don’t use that much because it is too small to use as a laptop and instead of design the interface for a 10″ screen, they just shrunk it, so it’s too tiny to read. Also I have my very old Dell Dimension 4700 desktop (2005) which I still use a lot when I want to do serious work since it has two monitors available and a full size clicky keyboard. That’s 4 Windows computers plus I still have the Nexus 7 tablet (2012) and the iPod (2015). The thing I don’t like about the desktop is that it is still running Windows XP, which is becoming a bigger problem (iTunes won’t run on it) and it uses a lot of energy, maybe about 200 watts if you include the monitor. Since I leave it on when I’m home, I can share its files and access them from anywhere in the house with the other computers though.
Apple released iOS 9 this week, so I was thinking I would need to sync with my computer to get the update. I don’t sync that often, so I hadn’t done it since I got the iPod back in July. Since then, I’ve upgraded that computer to Windows 10. Also there was a new version of iTunes to download, as always. The iPod upgraded to iOS 9 on its own, so that wasn’t a problem, but I still thought it would be good to do a sync. Kiwix (the Wikipedia app) was updated as well and now it crashed as soon as I opened it. Sometimes you can uninstall an app and then download it again to avoid crashes like that, but in this case, I would also need to download the 16 GB data file, which I didn’t really want to do.
I was looking again at the giant book of genealogy that George put together for Mom and found that he knew when and who Paw Paw’s brother, Joseph John Grant, Jr., married. I don’t know much about Mom’s uncle Joe, but he was a salesman for Maxwell Motors in Salina, Kansas in 1917. He married a very cute girl he met there and she died the next year, not sure why. He married again in 1958 in Las Vegas, and died in Los Angeles in 1970.
This got me looking a little closer at George’s book for clues to things I didn’t have records of at FamilySearch.org. In his book, I was reading through the childhood recollections of Eunice Thompson Geiger (about 60 pages typed), who was Paw Paw’s first cousin. She lived in Pensacola growing up and, during a Yellow Fever quarantine, left the city quickly (maybe in 1905) with her mother to visit “Cousin Fannie” in Knoxville. She was quite well off, lived in a grand house named “Melrose,” and was well versed in family history, which she imparted to young Eunice.
The Melrose Estate house in Knoxville, Tennessee where Cousin Fannie lived.
Yesterday I wrote about my great, great, great, great aunt Harriet Straker Budden and her husband, Benjamin Bostock. I mentioned that Harriet’s middle name came from her father’s (James Budden) business partner, William Straker, of Barbados, who was also her uncle by marriage to her aunt Susannah Budden. These people lived in 1700’s, so records aren’t that great, but church records can preserve christenings, marriages, and burials, and become a very good source of information. The census only recorded male heads of household up until about 1850, so those are of limited use until 1860. Still you can Google these names and see what turns up, and sometimes you will find a newspaper article (James Budden and William Straker would post about indentured servants they were hiring for their shop). It gets complicated by the lack of standardized spelling (a constant problem in the census as well) so William Straker’s last name was sometimes Stricker, Striker, or Streaker.
But one place I found William Straker’s name pop up several times was in a book recording the proceedings of the Pennsylvania government in 1778, not long after the American Revolution, while the United States was fighting against the British. The United States worked very hard to get France involved in the war and they finally had sent over a fleet of ships and 4,000 soldiers under the admiral Charles Hector, comte d’Estaing. d’Estaing also carried the new French ambassador Conrad Alexandre Gerard de Rayneval. His fleet was sufficiently powerful to blockade the British fleet in New York harbor. During this blockade, a British ship was captured and one of the passengers was William Straker. He was originally from Barbados, but had moved to Philadelphia previously. However in 1775 he went back to Barbados to sell his holdings, and while he was there the war broke out. Since Barbados was held by the British, he figured he could get a ship to Britsh-held New York and then once in New York, get around the battle lines and back to Philadelphia. However the French fleet intercepted the ship he was on, taking him prisoner, and now the new ambassador asked Pennsylvania to award him Straker’s five slaves he had with him. Straker was able to explain what happened and the Budden family vouched for him, so that eventually he was released and able to keep his slaves (these were his household staff and had been with him for years, so it was probably best for everyone for them to stay with Straker). All of this is told in a number of different entries in the proceedings of Pennsylvania’s government, starting with a letter from the ambassador and ending with Straker signing an allegiance to the United States and an order freeing him and returning his property to him. Now here are the French coming to the rescue of the United States and their ambassador (who was also instrumental in France’s decision to support the United States) has asked for something, so this was probably a pretty delicate issue.
One of Mom’s ancestors is Commander Francis Bostick Renshaw, who was a naval officer in Pensacola before the Civil War and then switched sides when war broke out. His daughter, Isabella, married Joseph John Grant, Mom’s grandfather.
Frank Renshaw’s middle name, Bostick, comes from Benjamin Bostock, who married Frank’s aunt, Harriet Straker Budden (actually it isn’t 100% clear what the B in his middle name stood for; it could also be Budden; typically he wrote his name as Francis B. Renshaw or Frank B. Renshaw). Harriet was the daughter of James Budden and the granddaughter of Richard Budden who may have brought the liberty bell to the United States. James Budden fought in the Revolutionary War and corresponded with General George Washington during the war. He married Frances Bispham who was from Barbados, a British colony in the Caribbean. So they are my great, great, great, great grandparents. Their daughter, Harriet Straker Budden, whose middle name came from James Budden’s brother-in-law and business partner, William Straker (who moved to Philadelphia from Barbados; more on him some other time), married Benjamin Bostock, also from Barbados. So maybe Harriett’s mother used her Barbados connections to set that up somehow. In fact, shortly after his marriage to Frances, Benjamin gave his mother-in-law a Barbados sugar plantation which she was to use as a sort of trust to take care of her daughter, son-in-law, and their children.