Friday, August 28, 2015

"The Terrible Gulf Storm": Sabine Pass, Texas and the Great Flood of 1886

Susan Hughes, Director

This past Sunday, the Syracuse, NY Post-Standard had a small paragraph noting that NBC Today Show weatherman (and SUNY Oswego alum) Al Roker was releasing a new book, “The Storm of the Century,” on August 25. The book details the horrific events surrounding the Great Hurricane of 1900 that hit Galveston, Texas.

August 27, 2015 was the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which caused so much devastation to the Gulf Coast. Just a month after Katrina - on September 24, 2005 - Hurricane Rita came ashore.  The surge from that storm destroyed more than 90% of the structures in Sabine Pass, Texas. Sabine Pass is small community, part of the city of Port Arthur, lying on the channel that separates Texas and Louisiana and provides access to Sabine Lake.

In 1886 Sabine Pass, Texas was also the home of the Pomeroy family – mother Eliza, 51; sons George J., 24, Reuben W., 18, Brick Fred (who went by Fred), 15 and Charles D., 13; and daughters, Lovey, 11 and Lizzie J., 8. Eldest son George J. had married Laura Jones three years earlier and they may have had a young child. Two other daughters, Mary Louise, 29, and Oneida “Ida”, 21, were married and living elsewhere in Texas. It appears this large family had lost their patriarch, George Pomeroy, sometime between June 1880 and October 1886. The last mention we find of him is in the 1880 U.S. Census where he is listed as a 55 year-old river pilot.

George Pomeroy was born in Vernon, Oneida County (did that inspire his daughter’s name?), NY about 1822 (1). He enlisted in the U.S. Army in June of 1844, but records show he deserted less than 3 months later (2). By 1850, George was in Rio Grande, Texas and listed his occupation as mariner. He married Eliza (Elizabeth Ogden) about 1856 (3) and by 1860 was living in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Civil War did not pass George by as he served with the Texas Volunteers, Confederate States Army, from 1863 to 1864. After the war, the family settled in Sabine Pass where George made a living as a boatman and river pilot (4) and was appointed Justice of the Peace for Precinct 3, Jefferson County. (5)

In October 1886, Sabine Pass was the second largest town in Jefferson County, boasting a new rail line and an optimistic outlook on continued growth as a major coastal port. On the afternoon of October 12, just two months after a hurricane had destroyed the Texas port of Indianola, a fierce storm ravaged the town of Sabine Pass. The hurricane's strength lay in its 100 mile-per-hour winds and the swiftly rising water that swept homes off their foundations and carried people and animals as far as 25 miles away. Eighty-six people, including entire families, were killed, and only two of 77 houses remained intact after the waters subsided. Stories of survival are documented as well, signifying the determination of residents to endure the storm. (6) One of those survival stories found the Pomeroy family prominently featured.

By October 14, headlines across the country screamed the news that Sabine Pass had been destroyed. The New York Times stated, “Last night during the overflow a hotel containing 15 or 20 persons was swept out in the bay and the occupants were drowned.” On October 15, survivors were being located and their harrowing storied appeared in the newspaper. An article in that day’s edition of the New York Times tells of two survivors who reported that the water began to rise from the Gulf and the lake about 2 p.m. and rose rapidly. “The citizens of the doomed place did not realize the imminent danger until it was too late to escape.” (7) This is the first we see of the loss of members of the Pomeroy family: “Mrs. Pomeroy and family of three.” That number would grow.

The October 16 edition of the New York Times listed, “Mrs. Pomery [sic] and three children.” Below that, “Mrs. G. Pomery [sic] and child.” Was this Laura, wife of George J. Pomeroy, and their young child?

From the October 15 Boston Evening Transcript, details began to emerge.
The water kept rising, and between three and four o'clock the smaller houses began to yield to the resistless force of the waves, which not only moved them from their foundations, but turned them over on their sides and tops. A little later the larger houses began to give way, and death by drowning seemed in store for every person in the place. Great fatality accompanied the giving way of the buildings.
Two brothers named Pomeroy were picked up by a schooner in Sabine Lake. They had been in the water thirty-six hours clinging to their capzied [sic] yawl. Their mother and sister and Mrs. Captain Junker, her son and [a] little girl of the party were lost. The Pomeroys report that fifty lives were lost at the Porter House, where the people had collected as the best place of safety. It went to pieces at nine o'clock. Many persons are missing.
The Galveston Daily News shared the heart-breaking story told by the surviving Pomeroy brothers, Reuben and Fred, on October 16 in a story titled, “Scenes of Great Suffering”:
This in brief is the story. The storm made its appearance Tuesday about noon... There were about forty-five women and children at the Porter-house tavern and some fifteen or twenty men...A yawl was hitched to the house, the water having risen about four feet, when the end of the house was blown off and the remaining part of the structure began to shake; the yawl was manned to its fullest capacity, and an effort was made to reach the high ridge back of the town. On the yawl were... Mrs. E. Pomeroy and two daughters...Mrs. Laura Pomeroy and child, Fred Rube, Geo. and Charley Pomeroy... Of these only Fred and Rube Pomeroy are now alive. Let Rube Pomeroy, a boy about 18, tell the story of the yawl Tivas: "About half past 9, when we went on board, the yawl was loaded down to the water's edge, and I and my brother Fred jumped on a plank that was floating near, in order to light it off. I caught hold of the stern of the yawl, and held to it. The sea was terrible rough, and several times we were almost cast off the plank, but I held on to the yawl for dear life. The wind seemed to be blowing in every direction. The yawl was danced around without any effort being made to direct it. Homer King became much excited. He prayed aloud and frequently jumped up and caught his wife in his arms. This excited the other women on board, and they all began to jump up and cling to each other. During one of these spasms a wave struck the yawl and nearly half filled it. All of them rushed to one side and the boat capsized and some of them were never seen again. Carlisle Junger got hold of the bottom of the upturned boat with one hand and held his mother with the other. I grasped my mother and held on for some time, but in a few minutes she died in my arms. My two brothers, George and Charlie, were clinging to the yawl, too. The plank on which I and my brother Fred were drifted away from the yawl, but in about two hours we run on to it. We (Fred and I) in the meantime had got ahold of one of the life-saving boats. It was drifting around. We crawled in, but there was nothing to guide it. Carlisle Junker and my two brothers were still clinging to the upturned yawl. We tried to reach them but could not. They told me they could not hold on much longer, as their fingers were nearly worn off. Carlisle Junker told me that his mother died in his arms. The yawl drifted away toward the lake and was found by W. B. Crawford, of Beaumont, and a search party about two miles inland yesterday morning. Of course they were all drowned. They fought for their lives, but could not win. The boat I was on drifted around and finally reached shallow water beyond the railroad between the two Neches and Sabine Rivers, and finally was picked up by the schooner Andrew Boden.
Rescue efforts began immediately. Boats loaded with supplies and rescue teams headed out from Beaumont, Orange, Galveston and Houston. Special legislative action provided tax relief for the storm-ravaged area, exempting citizens from payment of state and county taxes for 1886. (8)

Reuben and Fred Pomeroy went to live with their sister Ida and her husband W. W. Woolford at their home in Galveston. Reuben was employed at the US Government Jetty at Fort Point until his death on January 15, 1897 at the age of 29 at his sister’s home. Fred married and worked as a longshoreman in Galveston, eventually becoming a ship’s pilot and Captain of the US Dredge Sabine. He and wife Cora had four children. Fred passed away at age 62 and is buried in Galveston. Ida Pomeroy Woolford was the last surviving member of the siblings when she passed away in June 1944. Oldest sibling Mary Louise Pomeroy Ingalls, who had lived with her husband James and four children in Jefferson, northeast Texas, had died in 1910.

More information on the Sabine Pass Great Flood of 1886:
Daily Alta California, October 15, 1886. California Digital Newspaper Collection

Weather Research Center, Huston, TX: Texas Tropical Storms & Hurricanes

Texas Hurricane History, National Weather Service, Camp Springs, MD; David Roth

The 1886 Hurricane and the Sabine Pass Lighthouse, Judith W. Linsley. Center for Regional Heritage Research, Stephen F. Austin State University

The Great Storm of 1886: A Day of Agony and Death at Sabine Pass, Texas, W.T. Block. Reprinted from the Beaumont Enterprise, January 9, 1977

  1. A.A. Pomeroy gives a date of death as 1898 in Galveston, TX, stating that the "entire family perished in the Galveston Calamity of 1898".  However, evidence suggests this not to be the case. The 1820 U.S. Census shows Joel Pomeroy (1764-aft 1840) living in Vernon, Oneida County, NY; the George Pomeroy who resided in Sabine Pass, TX reported having been born in Vernon, NY when he enlisted in the U.S. Army in Albany on June 23, 1844; therefore, we believe the Pomeroy family who lost their lives on October 12, 1886 were the widow and children George Pomeroy, son of Joel Pomeroy.
  2. US Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914
  3. Death Certificate for Oneida (Pomeroy) Woolford lists her mother’s name as Elizabeth Ogden. Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976.
  4. 1860, 1870, 1880 U.S. Census
  5. The Galveston Daily News, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas, 22 August 1877
  6. 1886 Hurricane at Sabine Pass historical marker
  8. New York Times, 15 October 1886, “The Terrible Gulf Storm.”
  9. We believe George Pomeroy died prior to the 1886 storm as Eliza Pomeroy is listed as the person who would have been responsible for paying state and county taxes in 1886. See The State of Texas, General Laws of the State of Texas Passed at the Regular Session of the Twentieth Legislature convened at the City of Austin, January 11, 1887, and Adjourned April 4, 1887. Chap. 23.--[H.B. No. 383.] “An Act to release certain inhabitants of Sabine Pass City, county of Jefferson, from the payment of taxes assessed and now due for the year A. D. 1886, in consequence of a great public calamity. Section 1...they are hereby released from the payment of the several sums named, the same being the amount of State and county taxes assessed against them and now due for the year A. D. 1886, to-wit:...Mrs. E. Pomeroy $1 40”

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Running Barefoot-The Mary Ann Coe Story (Part 6)

By Nancy Maliwesky
Retired Director, APHGA

Washington Street, Sandusky, Ohio.
Present home on lot previously owned by David and Mary Ann (Coe) Powers.
Editor's Note: 
Readers of our blog may recall the November 2011 post about Nancy Maliwesky’s research into the elusive story of Mary Ann Coe Pomeroy. You can read (or reread) it here. Nancy completed the draft of a publication prior to her retirement, although there remain unanswered questions about parts of Mary Ann’s life story. Hoping our readers may be able to help fill in some of these gaps, we’re presenting Running Barefoot as a weekly series. We welcome your comments and suggestions! Please feel free to share this blog with others who may be interested. 
     – Susan Hughes, Director, APHGA

Missed Part 1? Click here. 
Missed Part 2? Click here.
Missed Part 3? Click here.
Missed Part 4? Click here.
Missed Part 5? Click here. 

Cholera Cemetery, Sandusky, Ohio
Is this Mary Ann’s final resting place?

Family Ties – Lemuel Powers’ Children
Volney Powers, the eldest son of Lemuel and Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers, was born 12 June 1814 in Tompkins County, New York. He was engaged in his father’s hat making business in Paris (now Plymouth), Ohio from 1830 through 1842.  He married Mary Ann Reems, daughter of Samuel Reems 15 June 1837 (probably in or near New Haven, OH). [i]  On 9 April 1840, “Nicodemus C. Childcoate and wife Elizabeth Chilcoate, Volney Powers, and wife Mary Ann Powers of Cranberry Township, Crawford County and State of Ohio, Also John Idler and wife Eliza C. Idler, and also Catherine R. Reem, all of Plymouth Township Richland County and State of Ohio, in consideration of fifty Dollars in hand paid by Horace Porter Cheshire New Haven County and State of Connecticut do hereby remise, release and forever quit claim unto the said Porter his heirs and assigns forever, all our interest title and Estate, legal and equitable in and to the following premises, with the appurtenances situate in New Haven County Huron Township & State of Ohio and in Range No. twenty three [23] township No one Section No. four and the Southwest part of Lot No. ninety one [91]... containing fourteen acres.”[ii]  We do not know who the other people named in the quitclaim are, but they were likely related to Mary Ann.

 Volney Powers was listed as head of household in Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio according to the 1840 U.S. Federal Census.  In his household were four persons:  two free white males under 5 years of age, one free white male of 20 through 30, and one white female of 20 through 30.  One person in the household was engaged in agriculture.  According to the book History of Crawford County and Ohio, Volney Powers was engaged in the mercantile business between 1842 and 1848 in New Washington, Crawford County, OH and had established the first ashery there.[iii]  A short biography in New Washington and Cranberry Township gives additional insight into Volney’s life and career:

“VOLLNEY POWERS is a native of Tompkins township, Adams county, N. Y. is a son of Lemuel and Jane S. Powers, and was born in 1814.  In 1818 Mr. Powers' parents moved to New Haven, Huron county, Ohio, where his father purchased a farm.  He however practiced medicine and rented his farm.  This gave young Vollney an opportunity to attend school.  His father remained at new Haven until 1826 when he and his family moved to Plymouth and purchased the land on which the east side of Plymouth now stands.  He laid out lots and was practically the founder of that city.  He entered the Drug business and young Vollney assisted him in this enterprise and attended school as time would permit.  Vollney seemed anxious to learn a trade of some kind and his father set up a shop where Vollney became an apprentice at the hatter trade.  He worked at this trade for twelve years proving, himself quite an adept at the business.  In 1837 he was married to Miss Mary A. Ream, who departed this life in 1871.  This union was blessed with fourteen children of whom but five are living - Elizabeth, Jane, Amanda, James and Rolley.  In 1844 he moved to New Washington and engaged in the mercantile business and carried on quite an extensive trade.  During his stay at new Washington he was also proprietor of an extensive ashery which was of vast importance in those days.  In 1850 he disposed of his stock of goods and ashery in New Washington and bought some land in Cranberry township.  He however moved to Centerville where he purchased an interest in a saw mill and for 3 ½ years done an immense business at the mill furnishing lumber for the B. & O. R. R. which was then undergoing construction.  In 1854 he moved back to Cranberry township and purchased the farm on which he resides at present.  In 1874 he was married to Mrs. Margaret Runion who yet survives.  Mr. and Mrs. Powers are both members of the M. E. church.  He has been a good citizen all these years which endears him to his fellow men.  Politically Mr. Powers, originally was a whig but at the birth of the republican party he joined its ranks and has been of that faith ever since.[iv]

The Volney Powers household was found in Norwich, Huron County, Ohio in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census.  Volney, as head of household, was identified as 35 yrs old, born in New York, and working as a laborer, with real estate valued at $600.  Listed below him was Mary A. Powers, 30 years old, born in Pennsylvania.  Next are children, Lemuel Powers, 12 years old, born in Ohio and having attended school within the year, Elizabeth Powers, 8 years old, born in Ohio and having attended school within the year, Jane Powers, 5 years old, born in Ohio, and having attended school within the year, and James Powers, 3 years old, born in Ohio.  Also in the household was George Richards, 20 years old, born in Ohio, and working as a laborer.  George Richards’ relationship to this family, if any, is unknown.

Volney and his family were living in Cranberry according to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.  Listed were Volney Powers, 46 years old, born in New York, occupied as a farmer with real estate valued at $8,000; Mary A. Powers, 41 years old, born in Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Powers, 18 years old, born in Ohio, employed as a domestic, having attended school within the year; Jane Powers, 16 years old, born in Ohio, having attended school within the year; James Powers, 13 years old, born in Ohio, having attended school within the year; Amanda Powers, 7 years old, born in Ohio, having attended school within the year; and Joseph Powers, 2 years old, born in Ohio.[v]

On 8 April 1861, Volney Powers, with his wife Mary Ann’s consent, sold the balance of Lots 41 and 42 in the Village of Plymouth Huron County Ohio to Adam Brant for $600.[vi]

Volney and his family were found in Crawford, Crawford County, Ohio in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, listed as follows: Volney Powers, 56 years old, born in New York, male citizen of the United States of 21 years of age and upward, occupied as a farmer with real estate valued at $12,200; Mary A. Powers, 52 years old, born in Pennsylvania, occupied keeping house; Amanda Powers, 17 years old, born in Ohio, occupied at school, having attended school within the year; Rolla Powers, 7 years old, born in Ohio, occupied at school, having attended school within the year; and Albert Reible, 21 years old, born in Ohio, both parents of foreign birth, male citizen of United States of 21 years of age and upwards, occupied as a domestic servant.[vii]

According to Volney’s obituary, his first wife Mary Ann (Reems) Powers died in 1873.[viii]  Volney married Mrs. Margaret (Snyder) Runion in 1874.[ix]  A page by page review of the 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Cranberry, Crawford County, Ohio did not produce any results for this family, nor did a wider search of Crawford County, Ohio or the entire United States entering search parameters of surname Powers, birthplace Ohio and year of birth 1815 (+/- 5 years).  Volney died 10 March 1894 in Cranberry Township.  His second wife, Margaret, died 28 October 1896 in Cranberry Township.[x]

Louisa Powers, second child, and first daughter of Lemuel M. and Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers was born 15 September 1815 (likely in New York), married John H Fry 4 October 1844, and died 1 January 1859, according to Amos H. Powers in The Powers Family.[xi]  She wrote to her aunt Abigail (Powers) Fillmore regarding her father’s death on 5 May 1835.  She also wrote to her aunt on 26 December 1836, after returning home from a visit with the Fillmore family earlier that year:
                                                                                                        “Paris, Dec 26th 1836

“Dear Aunt

            "do not think that I have forgotten you since my return home. no, I have thought of you all every day and would like to see you very much. we had a very pleasant time on the lake, and arrived at Huron on saturday evening after the stage had left. The stage horses ran away that day and killed the driver but injured only one of the passengers slightly. I remained at

Huron until mon. when they got a new driver and we arrived at home without any accident.  I found our folks all well when I returned and they are also well at present. Marcia has been confined but lost her child, and I am very sorry to say that ma is in a family way too. Uncle David has not kept his promise that he made with you and grandmother, I think I would not tell grandmother for she will feel too bad and it will do no good, he lives better with his wife than he used to. I have given up going to the south this winter for my health is much better than it has been. I shall spend the remainder of the winter with Julia, I have not seen her since I came back but heard that she was well. Volney is still carrying on the hatting business here and doing well, I feel very anxious about Alonzo he is going to school this winter but says that he will go away in the spring. I am afraid that a boy of his age will get into bad company, if he goes for himself, I do not know what he will do. Mr. Carpenter is carrying on the saddling business now but will give it up and go on a circuit next year. (a fine way indeed to support so large family I think) I have heard nothing from my baggage that I lost nor do I expect to. Aunt do write soon and let us hear from you and tell Julia and Maria both to write. Ma sends her love to you all and says she would like to come down next summer and see grandmother. I hope her health is better this winter. My love to you all. I remain your

Abigail Filmore                                             niece 


                                                           Louisa Powers”
Also included in Louisa’s letter to Abigail (Powers) Fillmore were two other letters, one to Julia Fillmore and one to Maria Fillmore:  
           “Dear Julia

            ”I have no excuse to offer for not writing sooner, but you must forgive me for I have been very busy since I came home. I hope you have not entirely forgotten me. I told Abigail that you and Darius thought of coming out here next summer and she said that she would be very glad to see you both. I hope you or Maria or both of you will come. I came home in company with Mr. McCreara the beau that I promised you, he was verry kind and generous indeed, he paid my expenses from Buffalo home which was ten or twelve dollars and would

not allow me to pay him. I am sure you will like him. He will go down to New York in Feb. shall I send a letter by him and tell him to call at the land-office and give it to Darius and then if he likes him he may introduce him to you. you must write and tell me. Julia I have had two offers since I came home but have refused them both, I am waiting for somebody but do not know that I shall ever get anybody. I shall be satisfied if I do not. Miss Louisa Underhill is married to Mr.Beverstock a merchant.                  I remain

                                                                   yours to

Julia Filmore                                            Louisa Powers”

          “Dear Maria

          “I suppose you think the laughing Louisa has had so much laughing to do at home that she has quite forgotten absent friends, but you are mistaken for I have thought of you a great many times and wished that you was here, but I expect that you can enjoy yourself much better there than you could here. we have not had any snow here yet and the roads have been as dry and dusty as they are in the summer. (I would not have you think it is quite as warm, for we have cold frosty nights) Therefore we have had no sleighing here yet. I presume you have plenty of snow there. You must write and let me know if you use it much. have you been in to Dr. Hawley’s yet? How does mrs. Hall and her family do? do you practice on the piano yet? sometimes I fancy  in my sleep that I hear you playing. Maria we had fine times on board the boat, the lake was just rough enough to make them sick, all the ladies in the cabin excepting one besides myself were sick. During the night they called for me to get up and raise the windows for they were all so sick (and the cabin maid too). that they would not get up, but I slept so sound that I did not hear them. There was a son born on board the boat and the Capt. named him Columbus after the boat, the woman was so sea sick that we left her at Cleaveland. Do you think that you will come out here next spring if Darius comin I wish you would. Tell Darius that I did not read the whole of “Japhet in search of a father” on the boat but finished it as soon as I got home, and I liked it very well. Direct your letter to paris and they will be forwarded to me immediately.         I remain your most

                                                                                    Affectionate and

                                                                                     devoted not exactly cousin but


Maria Filmore                                                            Louisa Powers” [xii]
These letters contain a wealth of information about the author’s immediate and extended family and her own wishes and dreams.  Louisa was a bit of a gossip, and thank goodness for that!  How else would we have learned so many intimate details about this family?  In her letter to her Aunt Abigail, Louisa states that Marcia had been confined, but lost her child.  Marcia was Louisa’s cousin, and daughter of David and Polly (Wilcox) Powers.  Marcia had married her first husband, Joseph Rice on 28 Nov 1833.[xiii]  It does not appear that Marcia had any other children after this early miscarriage.  Louise also states that her mother was also pregnant.  She was likely referring to her mother’s daughter Eliza, born of Jane’s marriage to her second husband Reverend Cyrus S. Carpenter on15 Feb 1837.  Louisa seems not to have had the best opinion of her new stepfather, stating, “Mr. Carpenter is carrying on the saddling business now but will give it up and go on a circuit next year. (a fine way indeed to support so large [a] family I think).”  Louisa appears to be rather sarcastic in some of her other comments, and I think her sarcasm was showing in that previous statement.  Louisa also stated that her brother Volney was continuing their father’s hat manufacturing business, and –what is most interesting to us as Mary Ann Coe researchers - was her statement that “David has not kept his promise that he made with you and grandmother, I think I would not tell grandmother for she will feel too bad and it will do no good, he lives better with his wife than he used to.”  So, apparently, at least from Louisa’s perspective, David and Mary Ann’s relationship had not been the best, but was improving, and David had not been able to keep a promise to his sister Abigail and his aged mother.  What that promise was, we do not know.

Louisa’s letters to Julia and Phebe Maria Fillmore (younger siblings of her Uncle Millard Fillmore) were more intimate in nature, as one would expect of young women friends of about the same age.  Julia Fillmore was born 29 August 1812 in Niles, Cayuga County, New York, while Phoebe Maria Fillmore was born 23 November 1819 in Moravia, NY.  Their brother Darius Ingraham Fillmore, of whom Louisa also mentions, was born 16 November 1814 in Sempronius, NY.[xiv]  Julia stated that she had told Abigail that Julia, Maria and Darius Fillmore might visit that next summer and that Abigail would be glad to see them.  We can only guess that the Abigail of whom Louisa refers was her younger sister, although she could also have been David Powers’ daughter, who would have been a contemporary of Louisa, having been born in 1816.  Louisa told Julia Fillmore that she had received and turned down two offers of marriage, and also states that Louisa Underhill married Mr. Beverstock, a merchant.  The familiarity in which Louisa mentions Miss Underhill to Julia makes me think that Julia was acquainted with Miss Underhill.  I believe that Louisa Powers was referring to Sarah Louisa Underhill, a daughter of Major David Underhill, a well-known and respected early settler of Huron County, Ohio.  David Underhill was born 19 May 1765 in Dutchess County, New York and moved when about 4 years old, with his parents to Dorset, Bennington County, Vermont.  At about 26 years of age he travelled to Herkimer County, New York with his cousin Thomas Manley,   He married Polly Osborn, probably in Herkimer County, about 1795 and made a trip to Huron County, Ohio in 1811.  On his way to Ohio he stayed with Isaac Sherwood at his inn in what is now known as Skaneateles, New York.  An interesting aside, that speaks to the complex webs of relationship found in early upstate New York, is the fact that  Isaac Sherwood was in business early with Winston Day, the husband of Thankful Pomeroy, who was a sister of Reverend Francis Pomeroy, and a cousin of Spencer Pomeroy.

Major David built a log cabin in “Underhill settlement”, in Ridgefield, Huron County, Ohio in 1815, from whence in February 1816 he and Levi Cole returned to Herkimer County to bring their families west to Ohio.  That year the families celebrated the 4th of July at the house of Levi Cole, along with John Chapman (Johnny Appleseed), Daniel Mack and his wife, from Macksville, Reuben Pixley and his wife and Hanson Read and his wife.[xv]

Although Louisa mentions returning home from a trip “to the lake” in her letter to Aunt Abigail, it is not until her letter to Maria Fillmore, that we were able to determine from whence she was returning.  She wrote: “Maria we had fine times on board the boat, the lake was just rough enough to make them sick”, she also stated that a woman gave birth onboard and was so ill from seasickness that she had to be dropped off in Cleveland.  From that statement we can guess that Louisa was returning from a visit to her Aunt Abigail in Buffalo, and had taken one of many boats or steam ships that regularly crossed Erie Lake, making stops in Cleveland and Sandusky.

The next letter written by Louisa Powers in the Millard Fillmore Collection at SUNY Oswego Penfield Library was dated 7 April 1840:

Plymouth  Apr. 7th 1840

                                                                                              Tuesday morning

Dear Aunt

            In your last I think you promised to write me from Washington. I have been anxiously expecting to hear from you every mail this some time past, but have been disappointed. We are all in good health excepting sister Julia, who is gradually failing; her limb are so drawn up that she is not able to stand alone, she has two or three abscesses that discharge considerable her old physician thinks it impossible for her to live long, they have now employed a new one who thinks it probable he can cure her, she has two children a son and a daughter. Brother Volney’s family are well, he is going to build this summer, his wife has two fine boys of whom he feels very proud.  Alonzo is still in a store but thinks of studying surveying in the fall, he thinks that he ought to have some trade.  Uncle David’s family are also well, he is living with his wife at present but think he will not long, they live very unpleasantly together. Uncle sees a great deal of trouble lately in pecuniary as well as in family affairs, he came to our house on saturday and said he had heard Abigail was to be married to a Jesse May (a poor worthless fellow whom he despises) and made mother promise to call to Mr. Armstrongs (a few doors from us) a brother of Abigail’s first husband where she has been staying and persuade her not to have him, we called in the evening and invited her to come to our house, she appeared very pleasant and sociable and promised she would come the next week and spend several days with us and we left, little thinking that she was deceiving us as she did. the next day, (monday) uncle came to our house again and asked if we had been to see her and what she said he said that he could not believe she would marry this May and seemed to feel very bad about it, however they were privately married sunday evening at Mr. Armstrongs without the knowledge of any of her friends or even her father  Uncle David thinks he married her out of revenge to him and cares nothing for her but I hope they will do better than we anticipate. Charles is in Senica County at work and is doing pretty well I believe. Edson is at home with his father. I can think of nothing more that will be interesting. perhaps you would like to know what I have been doing this last winter. I have been studying french there is a class of young ladies and gentlemen reading under Doct. H. Austin we meet once a week to read and can translate pretty well. I have lately been reading “Telemanque” it is very difficult indeed for us to procure French books--- I am afraid that I have already wearied your patience.  mother sends her love to you.  give my love to uncle and the children.
Please write me before you leave W____ and inform me how you have spent the winter, what the general amusements are at the Capital, how the children like travelling [etc]

                                                        I remain your



Another juicy letter!  It would appear that Louisa’s sister Julia recovered, at least somewhat, from the ailment that it was feared she would die of when this letter was written in April 1840, as The Powers Family gives her date of death as 26 September 1843, although there is some confusion regarding this date, as Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions gives the date of death as 27 September 1842, “aged 25 years 2 months 24 days.”  It is likely that this second date is correct, as the calculation of her age from her date of death gives a date of birth of 3 July 1817, which agrees with The Powers Family.[xvii]  It is hard to surmise from the description of Julia’s illness, what disease or affliction she was suffering from.
Volney’s two boys would have been Lemuel Frank Powers, born 6 May 1838 in Plymouth, OH[xviii], and Samuel Powers, born 18 November 1839 in New Haven or Plymouth, OH.[xix]  Not much is known concerning Alonzo Powers’ early life, so this information regarding his occupation and intentions helps to fill in some blanks.  Once again, Louisa sheds doubts on the compatibility of her Uncle David Powers and his wife Mary Ann (Coe) Pomeroy Junkins Powers, in her statement, “Uncle David’s family are also well, he is living with his wife at present but think he will not long, they live very unpleasantly together.”  In fact, much of the letter concerns Uncle David and his family problems, especially concerning his daughter Abigail’s choice for a second husband, Jesse May.  Abigail Powers’ first husband, George R. Armstrong, died just one and a half years after their marriage, and as far as we have been able to ascertain, the couple did not have any children, so it is interesting that Abigail was living with her brother-in-law, not her father.  Even more interesting is this brother-in-law’s involvement in Abigail’s marriage to Jesse May.  Was Jesse a friend or relation to the Armstrong family?   
Louisa’s letter stated that her address was Plymouth.  There is a Plymouth in Richland County, Ohio on present-day maps, which is 2.6 miles south of New Haven, Huron County, Ohio.  Is the current Plymouth, Ohio the place where Louisa was living in April of 1840?  The 1840 U.S. Federal Census has Cyrus Carpenter enumerated in the township of New Haven, and there are no heads of households with the surname Armstrong in New Haven, according to this census record.  Of course, since we do not know when this census was taken, some, or all of the parties involved may have moved between when the letter was written and when the census was taken.  A check of heads of households in Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio in 1840 does reveal two Armstrong families, enumerated together, these being the James Armstrong household and the William Armstrong household.  From the ages of the members of each household it would appear that James of between 60 and 70 years of age may have been the father of William Armstrong, enumerated at between 20 and 30 years of age.  William would have been a contemporary of Abigail Powers (born 1816).  Could William have been the brother of George that she was living with prior to her marriage to Jesse May?  And why did David so despise Jesse May?

Louisa’s letter stated that Charles was working in Seneca County, [we assume, Ohio].  It would be interesting to learn how he was employed there.  Charles would later study to become a Lutheran minister, but his education, and life, was cut short by consumption.[xx]  Edson, Charles’ brother and youngest son of David Powers, who would have been 18 at the time this letter was written, was reported as living with his father.

The next letter written by Louisa is in the Millard Fillmore Collection at SUNY Oswego’s Penfield Library, was written in December 1842:

“Plymouth  Dec 12th        1842

“Dear Aunt

            “After a silence of nearly two years I again resume the pen to address you, often during that time have I thought of you and wished to see and hear from you, but you have preserved as strict a silence as myself.  There are but few who receive greater pleasure in corresponding with their friends than I do, and yet with how few do I correspond and those few how seldom. I would like to hold a more frequent correspondence with my father’s favorite sister than I have of late, for life is uncertain and we know not how long we may have the privilege of doing so.  Death has again entered our family and snatched from our embrace another one of its members. Alas how fleeting is life. Sister Julia whom you know has suffered extremely for more than five years has at last found rest in the grave she died at Mansfield on the 25th Sept. we were all of us present at the time. She was sensible to the last and perfectly resigned.  She has left two children, a son and a daughter.

”Brother Volney has moved to a small village about twelve miles from this place where he follows the mercantile business. Alonzo still clerks, he intended to have gone into business for himself this fall, but the gentleman who was to be his partner in trade would not raise funds, and as his capital was not sufficient to warrant his commencing business alone, he thought it best to continue clerking, this year as times are hard and he is getting good wages and ready pay.  Sister Phebe and [Jane] are going to school at Ashland. Phebe is now studying the highest branches taught in that school.

“Uncle David Powers has become a very steady man since he joined the temperance society, which was more than a year now. he earns a very decent livelihood sometimes by working in the auditor office at Sandusky and at others by teaching school.  The controversy about Uncle Davids farm between Ma and Mr. Williams is not yet ended and perhaps will not be until spring, unless they compromise, which is quite probable

“We have heard that cousin Abigail and her husband is now in Iowa Territory where he has taken possession of some land which was left to his father’s family by his uncle may they remain there and prosper.

“And now Aunt would you not like to hear something about me? I will tell you a [novel].I am engaged to be married and have been for more than a year and a half and yet would you believe it? I am so fickle minded that sometimes I am more than half resolved to break the engagement and what inducements could be held out for your doing so,? you will ask. I will tell you although you may think me a very silly girl.  I have corresponded with cousin Darwin

for more than three years. he is now teaching in Van Buren Ark. and says he will visit us early in the spring if I will consent to return with him.  I wish that I could go and sometimes I think I will. The gentlemen to whom I am engaged is studying law and will not accomplish his studies before next fall when we are to be [blank] I could go and return before that time [line cut off] is not willing. he is very much opposed to it indeed I should think he need not care if I return by next fall. Aunt do you not think I had better go to Ark. in the spring? I am tired staying here. have you heard from Julia lately? and where is she? and Maria is she staying with you this winter or is she married? have my little cousins forgotten me? tell them they have a cousin Louisa in Ohio who loves them much. give my love to uncle and accept a share of it for yourself. remember me to Maria if there.

your aff.



“[??] for if I go west I will go the first of march and I will would like to hear what you think of it first. I hope you will approve of it for I want to go very much and I now think that I certainly shall”[xxi]

Well, whatever affliction that had plagued her sister Julia when Louisa last wrote her Aunt Abigail, had apparently killed her, and we now have a third date of death for poor Julia.  Louisa once again writes about her uncle, this time in more sympathetic terms: “Uncle David Powers has become a very steady man since he joined the temperance society, which was more than a year now. he earns a very decent livelihood sometimes by working in the auditor office at Sandusky and at others by teaching school.  The controversy about Uncle Davids farm between Ma and Mr. Williams is not yet ended and perhaps will not be until spring, unless they compromise, which is quite probable.”  Although the letter states that there is controversy between “Ma” and Mr. Williams regarding David’s farm, I wonder whether Louisa meant to write “Mary” not “Ma”.  We have not found any evidence that Lemuel or Jane were involved in David’s ownership of his New Haven farm.
Personally, what I find most interesting was Louisa’s mention of cousin Darwin (Erasmus Darwin Powers, son of Dr. Royal Newland Powers) coming to Ohio if Louisa agreed to return to Van Buren, Arkansas with him.  It can be hard reading between the lines of letters written during this time period.  It would seem unlikely that a young woman would go into detail regarding her love interests, and of course, Darwin was her cousin, and 7 years her senior.  Was this just a way for Louisa to escape her dull life in Ohio, or was there more to her relationship with Darwin than could be spelled out in a letter to her aunt?  As it turned out, Louisa married John H. Fry on 4 October 1844 according to the book “The Powers Family”[xxii].  Was this the young lawyer that she was engaged to?  A copy of the marriage records for Huron County Ohio does list a marriage intention for John H. Fry and Louisa Powers on 2 October 1844, in which Rolla Powers (Louisa’s younger brother) swore under oath as to the legality of the marriage, but there is no further record recording the date of the marriage and by whom the marriage was performed.[xxiii]  Louisa’s cousin, Erasmus Darwin Powers would die about two years after she married, in June 1846.[xxiv]

There are no other letters written by Louisa Powers in the Millard Fillmore Collection at SUNY 
Oswego’s Penfield Library.  What little we know of Louisa, and her husband John H. Fry, come from mention of them in later letters written by her brother Alonzo and sister Mary, and a letter written by Henry S. Foote, Esq. and E.D. Baker, Esq.  These tell an interesting story of brother Rolla’s legal problems in California.  According to these letters John and Louisa were living in San Francisco during this time.  John H. Fry wrote a letter to Millard Fillmore regarding his defense of Rolla in January of 1855.  He mentioned that his wife was not well.[xxv]  The little we know about Louisa, outside these letters, is that she died on 1 January 1859.[xxvi]  Did she die in California?  We have been unable to find any records that substantiate this.

Julia Powers, third child of Lemuel M. and Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers was born 3 July 1817, in either New York or Ohio, based on where her parents were living at the time.[xxvii]  From letters written by her older sister, Louisa, we know that she had married and had two children, a boy and a girl, before dying at the age of 25 in September 1843 of an illness that lasted five years.  Julia’s letters to her Aunt Abigail reveal her to be perhaps more sensitive and serious than her older sister.  The first letter in the Millard Fillmore collection was written in Paris, OH in  April 1835, and deals mainly with the lost of Julia’s father, when Julia was 17 years old:

“Paris  April the 29th 1835

“Dear Aunt

            “Although a stranger to you I feel it a pleasure to retire from the busy scenes of life and converse (as it were) with one that can simpathise with any feelings, for I take more pleasure in conversing about my father, and the particulars of his death to those that feel interested, than I do in any thing else, although it is a melancholy thought that I am now deprived of that much beloved father whose constant study was to promote the hapiness of his family, I feel if possible the loss greater now than I did the moment I saw him expire, still it gives me a secret pleasure to think, that while I am mourning the loss of a tender parent that others mourn their loss also, not only his relatives but his friends feel in him a loss that can never be restored, even those that were enemies to the religion he professed was known to shed tears on hearing the news of his death for he was beloved by all that knew him.  Many came in to see him the day that he died not knowing that he was very sick before, even we ourselves did not think him dangerous untill sunday evening.

“He was taken very severely on wednesday about one oclock with a chill Something like the ague, he was taken [deliriously] that day and I think was not perfectly rational untill Sunday evening when he was in Such great distress that he could not tell without great difficulty from which time he was perfectly rational untill he died, for several days his ideas had been scattered that he could not think of the name of anything.  he could say “I think” or “I want” but no more now he could say anything he wished to say, in the night he spoke to us all and Seemed willing to leave us in the hands of God.  he said considerable about his business which I am sorry to say was so situated that it troubled his mind untill the last.  Having bid farewell to his family [knowing] that his peace was made with God his thought was on his business that would have to be seen to after his death, after giving some directions about [this] he was ready and willing to go before the Lord was prepared to take him to him to himself.  I cannot describe my feelings when I saw him from time to time wave his hands and look at nails and [proclaim] O when shall I [die] be [inquired] of us to know the time [verry] often and when he would not speak he took hold of Volney’s watch chain and looked up at him to know what time it was and when we would tell him, he would say “only so late how slow time passes along, he breathed with great difficulty we all expected to see him strangle to death, his constant prayer was “O that I may breathe my last easy” his prayer was answered and he died without a struggle.  Some time he would say to himself “It will Soon be said that Dr. Powers is no more, and looking at us he would “It will soon be said that you have no father”  At another time he said “ Although I have no fear of death, no fear but that it will be well with me, yet it is an awful feeling on to think that in one hour I must die”  I might fill my whole letter with his expressing but I must not I will only add that he died with full hope of a better world, and leaveing a bright testamony behind that he is gone to glory where, it was his prayer that all his friends should meet him.  I must tell you that if you write to your mother or Aunt Mary to write that in allmost his last moments he thought of his mother but a short time before he died he said “My poor old Mother!  if I die I want her taken care of”  I thought it would be a comfort to his mother to know that he thought of her in his dying moments.  Mother feels her loss severely there is not a day but what she cries and she cannot speak of him without sheding tears at the thought of what is now lost forever, She says there is no [more] comfort remaining in this world for her, she does nothing and says she has no [heart] to do anything.  we received a letter from Aunt Mary a few days since [directed] to Father in answer to a letter that he wrote the tuesday before he died monday.  Ma wept while she heard it read, and said “O dear Mary little thought that her brother was then cold in the grave that there was no such person living as the one she was writing too” Your letter gave her much consolation, we expect Uncle George out this fall He says if pa was only alive how much comfort we would take in seeing our relations but now it will bring to mind all former joys and the thought that he is gone will embitter all its sweets.  If she could only visit his grave, She thinks it would be some satisfaction but she is denied that privalege for according to his request he was buried in the New haven burying ground,  His funeral was attended by a large concourse of weeping friends there is said to have been nearly three hundred that followed him to the grave.  we did not dress in mourning because he has spoken so much against it.

I do not know what we shall do but at present Volney will carry on his trade in this place Louisa will commence a [illegible word crossed out] school next Monday about seven miles from this place  I shall remain at home.  You wished Louisa to write.  She does not know that I have writen so it will not hinder her from writing when she thinks proper.  we all wish to see you this summer, and we hope that we shall have the pleasure of seeing you and Aunt Mary as she writes she will be here the last of June.

                                    “Give my love to Uncle Millard

“I am yours Affectionately   Julia Powers

(in the side margin it reads)

[the last time he saw me was dying he said nothing but shook his head]”[xxviii]
What a sad letter.  From the letters written about their father Lemuel, daughters Louisa and Julia paint a picture of a generous, God-fearing, loving man.  We also learn from Julia that Lemuel had adopted a faith in a less than popular religion.  Raised a Baptist by his parents, it appears that Lemuel may have become, at least in later life, a Methodist.  This assumption is based on the six-volume set of Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible found in Lemuel’s household.  Adam Clarke, the author of the set published for the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1831, was a British Methodist theologian who was born in Ireland.

Julia wrote again to her Aunt Abigail in August 1835:

“Monday August the 30th 1835

“Dear Aunt                            

“with what language shall I express my feelings (I must weep or alas this heavy heart will break).  You said “Julia you must write to me again” [yess] but this I little thought that I should have to tell you that another of our family was laid beneath the clods of the valey

yesterday the cold remains of my Sister Abigail was consined to the silent tomb.  She died on Saturday Eve as the sun was setting, her complaint being the dropsy in the head, She died a very hard death for three days before she died she did not speak.  My dear mother, who can realize her feelings but those who have experienced the same, after having the dearest ties of nature torn asunder by the kind of death, and numerous other trials to have her child taken also.  O who can discribe her sufferings, it would be vain for me to try to tell you any thing about her feelings on this subject.

“We all feel the loss severely but O how trifling is this loss to the one we have before met with

no one looked up to her for suport or protection no one was has lost the companion of their future years, alas my Dear Aunt she has gone to meet her father in the Eternal world to which we are fast hastening She is as it were but an hour before us May God Almighty enable us to say “Thy will be done” and prepare us to follow them, she was twelve years, five months and seven nineteen days old, when She died, I must tell you something about the rest of us.  Louisa has returned from her scool and will remain at home this winter.  Volney and George has taken the hating establishment in partnership and are calculating to carry it on this winter in Paris after which time I am unable to tell where they will be, they are not boarding with mother therefore her family is small.  Rolla says there ant any children, now much.  Only three little girls now 

“When pa died little Rolla says “why what a small family we’ve got” there was then eleven in the family now there is only seven.  What shall I say of myself. I am cast upon the winds of fortune without any permanent home, and must be driven about by the waves of chance.  I cannot content myself at home.  I am now siting in a school house in the centre of Greenfield.

I commenced a school of about thirty scollars in this place last Monday and was sent for from home on Thursday last,  I returned here last evening.  I think I can content my self here for two or three months I am engaged to teach Reading Writing Arithmetic Geography and grammar for one dollar and a half a week and be boarded for two or three months as will best suit myself I have allmost relinquished my design of spending the winter among my relations I think it too sickly to travel at present at any rate.  It is very sickly here this season Agues fever’s and sick stomach’s prevail.  but if I do not go to the East this fall, I expect that I shall

spend the winter with my mother.  but I cannot tell whether I shall ever visit my relations if I do not this fall my future years (if any there be) are yet in futurity.  Mr Skinner after remaining in possessions of the apothecary shop for more than a month refused to fulfil the contract, the case was taken before the justice and we only recovered the wholesale price of the articles sold by him.  Uncle Davids family are well excepting his wife who is very sick, he could not attend the funeral yesterday on her account, Martia is living with her father.  Abigail is still at home and will remain there Louisa has heard nothing from Mr Caples since you was here, and I think he will never pay any more attention to her.  I have talked with her about him she says he said he would be here in about two months when she saw him last.  it has now been about six

“Aunt what more can I tell you! we have not [page torn] many frinds here to write about but we have much to say of ourselves, we have been expecting to hear from you ever since your return home, we have been much disappointed in not receiveing a letter from you.  I do not know how Soon Louisa may write to you or any of the rest of the family but I felt as though I must write immediately they are not aware that I have writen

Give my respects to Uncle, and tell Aunt Mary that I Send my love to her, and indulge a hope of seeing her again in this world should it please the Almighty to spare our lives.  I must bid you farewell, but not forever, you shall hear from me again.  do not fail of writing immediately

    “ Julia Powers”[xxix]
It would appear, by reading this letter and Julia’s previous letter, that Abigail Fillmore (if not Millard Fillmore and Mary Powers) did visit grieving relatives in Paris that summer.  Who was Mr. Caples, Louisa’s delinquent suitor?  The news of little Abigail’s death, followed so closely on the heels of her father’s death, is quite sad, and Julia conveyed the sadness and loss that her mother felt.
Julia was writing from Greenfield, Highland County, Ohio, where she was teaching a school with 30 students, for $1.50 a day plus room and board.  She mentioned in the letter that her brothers Volney and George were carrying on their father’s hat manufactory in Paris, OH.  She also mentions a Mr. Skinner who apparently was running her late father’s apothecary after his death, but was not honoring a contract, although damages were awarded when the family brought suit, the money received was not what was originally expected.

Uncle David was mentioned in this letter as being unable to attend Abigail’s funeral, as his wife (Mary Ann) was very ill.  Little is known of Mary Ann’s day to day life during this period.  We know that her son Edwin had passed away the year prior, on 6 September 1834 in New Haven[xxx]. Was he living with his mother and her new husband?  We also know that Mary Ann’s elder son, Francis W. Pomeroy, was working as a jouneyman printer for the Milan Times, in Milan, OH.[xxxi] In a letter written to Abigail Fillmore by her brother David Powers on 15 November 1835, David mentioned that his wife had been ill since his son Chester had returned from Buffalo on 13 September 1835.[xxxii]

Julia also stated that Marcia, daughter of David by his first wife Polly Wilcox, and her sister Abigail were living with their father.  Marcia had been married about two years to her first husband Joseph Rice at that time.  Was he also living in the Powers household?  I cannot help but wonder what David’s children, (especially his daughters), thought of Mary Ann.

“Tuesday    February the 9th 1836

“Dear Aunt

“Sister of my beloved and departed Father, it is with pleasure that I undertake the task of writing a few lines to you ~~ I know not Aunt, how to begin to communicate the news I have

to tell.  We are all at home, and enjoying good health, except Mother who has just returned from a meeting 8 miles off with a bad cold and much wearied with the ride, Volney took bread-

fast with us this morning, and I think he will board at home and go to school, as he has no work that he can do in the shop.  On Tuesday the 26th of last month Julia gave her hand to one who has long possessed her heart, Aunt you may think I have not done very well in this, I did not expect to raise myself in the estimation of the world nor better my condition.  I had a good home.  A kind Mother. and affectionate Brothers & sisters.  I have loved them long & love them still, and perhaps shall yet spend my days with them, he with whom I have consented to spend my days he to whom I gave my hand that I might Share in his affliction, is now afflicted he has not enjoyed good health cince last Spring, for Several months past he has been troubled with a pain in one side and shoulder and is now gone to his Fathers entirely unable to work his Mother says she does not think we will ever go to keeping house.  if not I say “Lord thy will be done” although [word cut off] severe stroke to me.  We did not intend to get married until spring, but board was so high that they thought they could [do] better by boarding themselves as they was doing but little in the shop & could not afford to live as the did, as I have said I think Volney will now live at home, I am now at home but if George gets worse he will send for me there. [word cut off] wrote not to Ashland for Mr Caples & Mr [Crall] to allow the weding.  I suppose you know Aunt who they are by hearsay well they attended, Mr Caples staid quite late, had a private conversation with Louisa & the next evening waited on her from a party given by a neighbour, had another conversation Abigail came up & stayed two days, Mr [Crall] came home with cousin I think for an excuse to keep an eye over Louisa the last evening.  She told me after, that She might have said the word Tuesday evening and been married before long.  but says She “he is coming again”  I do not know in fact whether she can get either, but I knew that Caples would be her prefference, & if she never has him I shall believe it is because she cannot get him  She has enjoyed very poor health this winter, in december last.  She [relaxed] into a kind of melancholy, she ate nothing said nothing wished to see nobody & would Sleep pretty much all the time.  the doctor thought best to blister her.  She refused but consented to ride in the stage.  we started Wednesday evening, went as far as Mansfield with an in tention to go on, but the mail went from there on, in an open wagon & the weather was siverely cold, we thought it not propper to go any father, we staid there one week and then returned home.  She appeared to be enlivened a little & has gradualy [wore] it off.  There has been considerable said about Abigails getting married.  the truth of which I cannot ascertain, Mother was there a few days cince, Uncle was going to Norwalk to trade and took her along.  Mother asked him if Abigail was going to see Armstrong himself & if he was agoing to have her they must be married soon.  Mother said she scarcely knew what he meant by it & neither do I.  I would like to say something about the business of the estate but I do not know what to say, however I think we got along as well as could be expected this affair between Dr Skinner & Mother, mentioned in my last letter is not at an end he has carried it up to county court & the suit comes on next month, herself and [Colecglaser] are setting up the estate to their satisfaction I do not see but that things are going on tolerable well.  There are many things I might write, but I leave the particulars for another to write whom perhaps you would be full as well pleased to hear from as myself.  Uncle David and his wife lives pretty much as they always have, Joseph has bought a house in town & intends moving it on the piece of land which he bought of Uncle near his house where he intends to live Martia has no family and no hopes of any, I think. Louisa will not know that I write this if she did [it] would prevent her writing.  She asked me if [words cut off]did to write I told her I would have that for her to do, but being at school and not very busy I altered my [word scribbled out] intention.  Aunt, I should like to hear from you I have no doubt but my dear Aunt [can] give some good advice, which I very much need  Louisa said, she received a letter from Aunt not long since but of its contents I am ignorant ~~

  “There may be other changes in the family, of which you shall hear as soon as fully known ets [sic] I consider it a pleasure and a privalege to write you you will no doubt hear from me again,

                                           “I remain as ever your affectionate neice

                                                                                                   “Mrs Julia Dubois

“Sunday evening

“Before I cealed my letter a messenger came for me to go to Ms Dubois’ for George was worse & I have just returned left him quite comfortable, Louisa tells me Mother is to be married [next] Monday week. I cannot say more now  J---- P---[xxxiii]

In this letter, Julia Powers announced her marriage to George F. Dubois, born about April 1814 in New York[xxxiv], son of Abraham and Elizabeth (Graves) Dubois[xxxv].  An Abraham Dubois was listed as head of household in Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio according to the 1830 U.S. Federal Census.[xxxvi]  A Thomas Dubois was also listed as head of household in Plymouth in 1840.  What we know of George is that he was a farmer.  What ailment he was suffering from at the time this letter was written is unknown to us.
And who was the mysterious Mr. Caples?  I have found a Judge Robert Francis Caples who was living in or near Tiffin, Seneca County, Ohio during this period.  According to Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon,Robert married Charlotte Laffer, and the couple had several children prior to Judge Caples death in 1835.[xxxvii]  Could the mysterious Mr. Caples have been a son of Judge Robert Francis Caples?

Julia continues to speak of the problems that her Uncle David Powers was having with his wife and daughters.  “Uncle David and his wife lives pretty much as they always have.”  My goodness, how short was their honeymoon period?  And, if they were so ill suited to each other, why on earth did they marry in the first place?  According to Julia, David is still quite upset over daughter Abigail’s decision to marry Jesse May.  Julia wrote that ” Joseph has bought a house in town & intends moving it on the piece of land which he bought of Uncle near his house where he intends to live Martia has no family and no hopes of any, I think.”  We believe that Julia was referring to Joseph Rice, Marcia’s husband.  We have found a deed, dated 28 Feb 1840, in which David Powers and his wife Mary Ann, deed to Joseph Rice land on lot 67 containing six acres of land.[xxxviii]  Was the property purchased by Joseph Rice from David Powers in 1836 the same property where the house stood?

Mr. Skinner, who was mentioned in the previous letter as running her late father’s apothecary, is now identified as Dr. Skinner, and apparently the disagreement between him and Julia’s mother continued.  This was the last letter written by Julia that we found in the Millard Fillmore Collection at SUNY Oswego.  From letters written by her younger sister Louisa, we know that Julia died abt 27 September 1842, leaving two children, a son and a daughter.  She was buried in the New Haven Cemetery, in New Haven, Ohio.[xxxix]

Alonzo Powers, the fourth child of Lemuel M. and his wife Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers, was born 17 October 1820 in Ohio (probably New Haven).[xl]  He wrote to his Aunt Abigail Fillmore in October 1838, after apparently returning home from a visit with her and her family in Buffalo:

“Plymouth Oct 14 1838

“Dr Aunt

“I promised to write when I should arrive at home, it was some time after I left Buffalo before I came home as uncle David told you I suppose,  I neglected writing to you because of having entered into business soon after my arrival at home and have been buisy buying wheat and clerking in a store.  my employer has gone to New York to lay in goods and left me in charge of the Store & post office.  I think I shall have business to Buffalo next spring and I will call and see you again.  I should like to know how uncle David acted while a Buffalo.  I wish you would write and let me know, he told me he paid Aunt Mary money enough to Satisfy her for the present, I do not think there is much reform lately in his habits.  Louisa is still teaching School She Sends her respects to you and your family her health is very good give my respects to Mr Filmore and your family,  Mother is well, Sister Julia is in quite poor health, I had rather live in Ohio than in Buffalo, persons in my business are thought more of here than in your place, I Shall not be at this business always (I do not like harts Garden) I understand that cousin Abigail is a going to live in Buffalo with you next Spring, buisness is brisk here any industrious young man can get employment, now Aunt do write Sometimes to Louisa or me do not forget, my respects to Aunt Mary in particular but Stop lest I weary your patience and

                                                                      I Ever Remain

                                                                  YourAffNephew A. Powers

To Mrs M. Filmore

(on side margin in different handwriting)

Miss Abigail Powers

Oct. 14. 1838”[xli]
[Although this letter was identified by a previous researcher as being written by Miss Abigail Powers, we believe it was written by Alonzo Powers, as the author identified himself as “Your Aff Nephew” and identified Julia and Louisa as his sisters.  Additionally, Alonzo’s sister Abigail had died in 1835, making it impossible for her to have written this letter.]

Alonzo wrote about working as a clerk in a store and managing the post office while his boss was away on business in New York.  Although I have not been able to find out who his boss was, he was likely the first Postmaster of Plymouth, as the town of Plymouth (previously known as Paris), was formed by charter in 1838.[xlii]  Alonzo also brought up what seemed to be his family’s favorite subject, “Uncle David”, stating that he did not think there was much reform in his habits, which may be a reference to David’s drinking or spending habits, or something else altogether.  He mentioned that David had told him that he had given Aunt Mary enough money to satisfy her, but whether that was true or not, we do not know.

Alonzo gave news of his sisters Louisa and Julia, information previously relayed by those same sisters.  He also mentioned that his cousin Abigail (the daughter of Uncle David), was planning on going to live with Abigail Fillmore in Buffalo that next spring, which makes us wonder if her first husband, George Armstrong, had already passed away by the time the letter was written.  We have not been able to ascertain the date that George died, the only clue was a note in the Huron County Probate Docket, dated 23 November 1838, in which Abigail Armstrong was named administratrix, with David Powers and Henry Adams acting as sureties in the amount of $500, and Thomas T. Mulford, Elisha Steward and William D. Mann, appraisers.[xliii]

Alonzo wrote again to his Aunt Abigail in November of 1839:

“Plymouth Nov 24 1839

Dear Aunt

     I recd your in due time but have from time to time neglected to Answer it.  I have again Recd a letter from cousin Darwin he was in Evansville Ark  and will Soon go to Texas to the city of Austin located on the Colorado River, one resolution he Says I have firmly [fixed] which is never to visit my native land and friends until my condition is bettered I will pursue the fickle Godess fortune Even to the ends of the Earth_ I am in my old place getting a verry good Salary this year, mother and Louisa send their best respects to you and your family Sister Julia is verry poorly and will not live many months if She does not find relief Evry thing has been done that could possibly be_ my health is good, give my best respects to Mr Filmore

uncle David is about as formerly in a verry bad condition Evry thing he owns is out of his hands always in trouble miserable man_

     I am Truly Yours hoping that prosperity and happiness may attend you through life and crown Your Evry wish                     

                                                                 A Powers

Mrs Millard Filmore”[xliv]

Based on this letter, Alonzo’s life and occupation seem steady, his mother and sister Louisa also much the same, and unfortunately, his sister Julia, much the same, continuing to battle the illness or condition that eventually took her life.  Uncle David, also seems the same “in a verry bad condition Evry thing he owns is out of his hands always in trouble miserable man”. 

Alonzo wrote to his uncle, Millard Fillmore in April 1840:

”Plymouth O apr 28/40

Dear Uncle

     I recd yours of 22 and you will receive my thanks for your trouble_ Mothers family are well and send their best respects to you and Mrs Filmore Genrl H R Brinderhoffs in speking of you sometime since_ sends his compliments to you but says he must differ from you in Politicks_ remember me to Mrs Filmore

I remain Yours Truly

A. Powers

Millard Filmore”[xlv]
This short note, much more formal than ones written to his Aunt Abigail, mentions a Gen’l H. R. Brinderhoff, as not agreeing with Millard Fillmore’s politics.  A Henry R. Brinkerhoff represented Huron County in the House of Representatives, between 1843 and 1845.[xlvi]  According to Supplement to the Family of Dircksen Brinkerhoff of New York City 1638, General Henry R. Brinkerhoff purchased 200 acres of Henry Barney’s farm in Plymouth in 1837[xlvii].  This would have made him a near neighbor to the Powers family.  It is likely that this was the General Henry R. Brinkerhoff of whom Alonzo was referring in the above letter.  And, because everyone seems to be related to each other, it seems only fitting that Henry’s son Peter Swartout Brinkerhoff, would marry Persis Sophia Coe, the daughter of Luther Coe and Sophia Barney, on 30 Apr 1842 in Huron County, Ohio.[xlviii]  Sophia Barney was the daughter of Henry Barney.

In an article in the Huron Reflector published on 13 September 1842, Alonzo was identified as a delegate in the recent Whig Convention[xlix].  Alonzo was 21 at the time, and apparently getting into politics early.  His uncle, Millard Fillmore, was also a Whig.

Alonzo wrote next to his Aunt Abigail in September of 1844:

                                     “Plymouth Sept 13 1844

Dear Aunt, I arrived at home and find my friends well – I called on Uncle David at Sandusky on my return found him well he entertains very unfriendly feelings toward Aunt Mary he is in poor circumstances although he manages to live—he is looking up in the world mingles in good society and steady habits – he is anxious to see you he is now on a visit to our house when he will remain two weeks – Our folks are very anxious to see you Louisa will be married the first day of October and would be glad to see you here at that time you must not fail to come I have assured them you would be here - if it would not be convenient for you to come as late come sooner we will be glad to see you any time as I expect to see you soon I will not

write at length

 your affec- nephew


 (written on side margin)

PS Bring cousin Powers with you if Possible”[i]
Alonzo’s letter to his aunt was social in content, as his letters to Abigail typically were.  He spoke of his sister Louisa’s upcoming marriage, and the family’s expectation that Abigail would visit at that time.  Alonzo apparently had just returned home from a visit to his Aunt in Buffalo.  These visits, back and forth, from Buffalo, New York to Huron County, Ohio seem quite frequent.  It seems likely that they would have traveled by boat and stagecoach.

Alonzo gives the latest on Uncle David.  This time, David seems more steady, although he had made it clear to Alonzo that he was angry with his sister, no doubt over her suit against him to force him to repay a mortgage she had given him to allow him to buy his farm in New Haven, which timely repayment he had not made.

On 11 Mar 1845, Alonzo purchased two pieces of land “lying in the town of Plymouth, New Haven township, Huron County & State of Ohio, and described as follows, viz: known as Lots number forty one & forty two in said Village of Plymouth, with the following incumbrances, viz: a reservation made by George G. Graham & Mary his wife, in their deed to Christian Culp & John Culp, executed on the 15th Feby 1840, and herein described in the words following, to wit: I George G. Graham & Mary his wife do hereby reserve unto themselves, their heirs and assigns forever; the privilege of placing aqueducts to carry water from the public spring across said lots No. 41 & 42, and of repairing the same from time to time as they may require, and the said Christian Culp & John Culp and their heirs,& assigns shall not disturb or injure the [pipes] in any way whatever; and for further particulars reference may be had to Huron Co. Records ... and excepting from the Southern side of Lot No. 42, a strip of land sold therefrom to Joseph Light... Also part of Lot No forty three in said town of Plymouth...with the encumbrance of a reservation made by the above mentioned George G. Graham in the deed above mentioned and therein described as follows, (George G. Graham doth hereby reserve to himself his heirs and assigns, the right to build & repair an aqueduct from the public spring across said lot, and the said Christian Culp & John Culp shall not destroy or disturb said aqueduct themselves, their heirs or assigns, in any way to the damage of the said George G. Graham his heirs and assigns.)  Also a certain piece or parcel of land situate and being part of Lot No. 171, in the first section of New Haven township... and excepting therefrom on the Southern side of the said piece of land a strip sold to Joseph Light...from Augustus W. Hulett and Aurelia Hulett his wife, for $700[li].  This land would appear to be close to his father’s old estate, as Joseph Light was Lemuel’s close neighbor.

Alonzo wrote again to his Aunt Abigail in April 1848:

                                                Buffalo N.Y. Apr 28/48

Dr Aunt

     I told uncle Filmore day before yesterday that I should call and see you on my return but I find that the Ohio a good boat leaves at 10 this morning and if I stay any longer I shall be obliged to stay over Sunday at Sandusky City consequently it will be much to my interest to

leave immediately – Uncle informs me you intend visiting Sandusky Uncle David would be happy to see you --- I was much pained to hear of the severe illness of Aunt Mary and hope she may recover --- if you should visit Sandusky you must [not] fail to come to Plymouth we shall all be glad to see you

     remember me to your family and accept for yourself my best wishes

     in haste

                                Your Nephew
                                A.   Powers”[lii]
This short letter indicates that Alonzo was in Buffalo, and although having planned on visiting his Aunt, was unable to, due to his desire to catch a boat to Sandusky.  In his letter he noted that Abigail was expected to visit Sandusky.  David was briefly mentioned and Alonzo expressed concern for Aunt Mary’s health.Alonzo wrote another short note to his Aunt Abigail a year later in April 1849:
                        Buffalo Apr 21 1849

D Aunt,

     I have just arrived on my way home and I called at the American this forenoon but you was absent also in the office and Mr Filmore was not there.  I endeavoured to find Aunt Mary by the directions you gave me but could not find when Mr Hart lived if in Michigan St  I could not find him by the directions nor by inquiring – I was now about to leave in the American and am       very sorry that I could not see aunt Mary – but as my buisness will necssarily call me here again in about 30 days  I shall then not fail to see you all if you are here.

                        Remember me to all

           your nephew                               

           in haste


Again, Alonzo seems to miss both his Aunts in what we can only believe was a short trip to Buffalo.  This letter was written a month before Alonzo’s wedding to Mary Jane Hackathorne on 20 May 1849[liv], and at first it seems odd that he did not mention this event, but it is likely that he was writing in haste on his way out of town, and did not have time to write about family matters.

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census shows Alonzo and his family living in New Haven, OH (most likely in Plymouth).  Alonzo was identified as a merchant, with real estate valued at $3,600.  His wife Mary, and children (twins) Millard and Ada Powers share the household[lv].  Three additional persons were found in this household: Eliza Stringham, 20 years of age, born Pennsylvania; Alexander Kirkland, 16 years of age, born in New Jersey and employed as a clerk (probably working for Alonzo); and Frederick Hayney, 18 years of age, born in Ohio, employed as a tinner.  Alonzo’s mother, identified as Jane S. Powers, was listed as head of household one family above Alonzo’s on the same census page[lvi].  It is interesting that she is going by the surname Powers.  She was living with daughters Jane, Mary and Eliza. 
Alonzo wrote to his Uncle Millard Fillmore in October 1854:
                             Monday Afternoon

Mr. Fillmore

    Pardon me for intending myself on your nature by sending this note__ would I have hoped for an interview, I should have made my regards in person, & I am almost fearful that you will refuse to receive this as coming from me. But I will presume to make it however, I hope I shall not [incur] your displeasure by so doing.

     In the midst of my struggles to get along, my quarters rent [($36)] becomes due on Sunday & I cannot [find] money to pay or [will] the last of next month. Feeling almost confident that if you [knew] my situation you would help me, I am [inclined] to ask you to lend it to me until that time, when I will most faithfully return it to you, with interest, [simple], or double if you please.

     Grateful to you for past favors, allow me to extend to you my thanks & warmest wishes for your prosperity & happiness. If you are inclined to assist me, please send to 21 [East] Eagle St., [&] very much oblige me. Should you think the request too great, an feel that I should not have wrote [you] at all, drop me a line to that effect, & I will trouble you no more.

                                                         Yours with much respect

                                                          A  Powers[lvii]

It must have been difficult for Alonzo to write to ask money of his Uncle Millard, as his writing style was even more formal than usual in writing to his Uncle.  Unfortunately, we do not know if Fillmore helped his nephew.  And what other past favors was Alonzo referring to?

Alonzo wrote next, again to Millard Fillmore, in January 1855:

                   Plymouth O Jany 25/55

Dear Uncle

     Your favor of 12 inst. is at hand in regard to Bro Fry’s Exertions in Bro Rollas behalf I am well convinced he has done the best he could and necessarily at a great expense and has appealed to me for assistance in several letters_ I am willing and intend to assist him but the money affairs are such that I cannot at short notice raise any considerable amount out of my business the call being so unexpected (and greatly regretted) that I am not able to do anything now_ Surely I handle large amounts of money but it takes every dollar I can raise in this commercial crisis to keep from failing_ herewith I enclose you Mess. Foote & Bakers letters in accordance with your wish__ remember me to cousin Powers and to yourself, my warmest regards   

                          Your aff. Nephew

A.   Powers[lviii]
This letter referred to Alonzo’s younger brother Rolla Powers, and I believe, his brother-in-law John Fry, who was married to Louisa Powers.  John Fry, according to an earlier letter was a lawyer.  Why was he assisting Rolla?  A brief search uncovered some surprising results.  Prior to this research, we knew little of Rolla’s life.  He was identified as a saloon keeper, aged 22, born in Ohio and living in Salmon Falls, El Dorado County, California in the 1850 U.S. Federal Census.[lix]  He was living with two other men, Israel Grant, 21, born in OH and working in a saloon, and Philip Quail, 26, born England, whose occupation was listed as “gambler”.  Rolla’s occupation would likely to have been a disappointment to his father, had his father been alive at that time.

A news article printed in the 18 Oct 1854 issue of the Sacramento Daily Union reads:
“ARREST OF A MURDERER – A man named Rolla Powers was arrested yesterday on the steamer Golden Gate, just previous to her departure for Panama, on the charge of murdering a man at Coloma, six weeks ago.  The arrest was made by Capt. North, of the Police, by direction of Marshal McKenzie, who received a telegraphic dispatch from Coloma, in the morning.  It appears that Powers was one of those wrecked on the Yankee Blade, but for which calamity he would in all probability have escaped the grasp of justice.  He had been lodged in prison until he can be taken to Coloma – Sun.”[lx]
Another news article printed in the 19 Oct 1854 issue of the Daily Alta California gives more information about Rolla’s troubles:
“ROLLA POWERS – This man was brought before the Recorder yesterday, and an application was made for a discharge by his counsel.  The testimony of a witnessed named J.K. Benson was taken, who stated that he knew defendant at Georgetown, Mariposa county, and that defendant’s business whilst there was gambling; is well acquainted with a man named Bradley, who saw Powers shoot a man named Hoover at Georgetown; was one of them who went in pursuit of Powers after the deed was committed.  The Recorder said that he considered it necessary to retain the prisoner till to-day, and that he considered the proof was sufficiently strong to warrant his doing so.  Powers was consequently sent down to wait the arrival of the officer from Mariposa County.

   “The following communication, by telegraph, from Thos. H. Hughes, District Attorney, Eldorado county, was received by the City Marshal.

   “Powers was in October, 1853, indicted by the Grand Jury of Eldorado county for the murder of Daniel Hoover.  He deliberately shot his victim down, jumped on a horse and escaped.  The murder was the most atrocious kind.  Bench warrants were sent to your county long since.  An officer from this county will be in San Francisco to-night, having left here this morning.

   “October 17th, 1854.


   “TELEGRAPHIC ARRESTS – Judge Freelon decided yesterday – in the case of Rolla Powers, wherein his Counsel applied for a discharge on the grounds that the arrest was illegal, in consequence of the order having been transmitted by telegraph – that a man can be arrested from information received by means of a magnetic telegraph, and detained in custody long enough to afford a reasonable time to the officers of justice to arrive and claim the prisoner.”[lxi]
A very short notice in the Weekly Alta California on 1 December 1854, indicated that Rolla’s fortunes had changed: “CASE OF ROLLA POWERS – The Empire Argus says that the verdict of the jury in the case of the State vs. Rolla Powers, for the murder of Daniel Hoover in September, 1853, at Georgia slide, was not guilty.”[lxii]

 In December 1854, two of Rolla’s lawyers wrote to Millard Fillmore on behalf of John Fry, in hopes of gaining his assistance in the payment of Mr. Fry’s numerous expenses incurred in defending Rolla:
                                              San Francisco, December 14th 1854

Hon. Millard Fillmore.

Dear Sir,

     We have been recently engaged in the defence of a young gentleman personally known to you, upon a charge of Murder.  The name of the young gentleman is Rolla Powers.  His trial took placein the county of El-Dorado in this State, and has eventuated in his acquittal.  The defence was one of great difficulty; nor could we have succeeded at all, but for the most extraordinary exertions on the part of the brother-in-law of Powers, John N. Fry Esquire of this City, who in his efforts to secure the attendence of witnesses, in the employment of counsel, and in the performance of all those labors incident to the defence of such a case, displayed a zeal and persevering energy that we have never known equalled.

     Mr Faye Mr Fry had to go to the mine four times, and his wife once, at great expense, in order to aid in rescuing the accused from the dangers which so manifestly surrounded him & felt bound to employ two highly influential local Attorneys in addition to ourselves, with a view to obverting the multiplied and serious empediments to acquittal which existed.  His business

as a lawyer is very considerable, and on the increase; but he has had to a considerable extent, to neglect & sacrifice it in order to accomplish the deliverance of Powers & an object to the attainment of which he found it necessary to devote himself, for some weeks, almost exclusively.

     Mr. Fry has had to pay out, in actual cost, the large sum of six thousand (6000) dollars, some extent relieved from the heavy burden which he has assumed in connection with this unfortunate affair, and confidently hopes that your own personal interposition may induce the other relatives of Powers, (who have been already written to on the subject) to come forward at once and renumerate him in part at least in regard to the large amount which he has been

compelled to expend.

     Believing confidently that you will feel the propriety of complying promptly with Mr. Frys wish in the behalf as now made known by us, and with sentiment of the highest respect and most cordial friendship, we have the honor to be

Your obedient servants

                                                                    H. S. Foote                                                                                E. D. Baker”[lxiii]

 John H. Fry, Rolla’s brother-in-law, and his attorney, wrote a letter to Millard Fillmore in January of 1855, in hopes that Millard could help him with the expenses incurred by the trial, or that Millard could convince Rolla’s family to reimburse him:
                                            "San Francisco Cala January 31, 1855

Uncle Fillmore

Dear Sir.

       You have no doubt ere this recd a letter addressed to you by Messrs. Foote and Baker, two gentleman well known to you through their official life. - circumstances have since transpired that have caused me to address this to you & be assured sir, I do it with much reluctance as I do not wish to obtrude my misfortune on any of my friends and especially on one with whom I have never yet had the honor of a personal acquaintance.

       Through our friends in Ohio you have no doubt learned of your nephew Rolla Powers (& brother to my wife) having been tried for murder in El Dorado County, Cala  in Nov. last.  He had no relative or friend here except his sister & me. & he was utterly penny less. He had started for home twice, once on the Yankee Blade when she was wrecked & again on the

Golden Gate on which tall ship he was arrested just a few moments before She left our port. I had both times paid his fare home as he had not one cent - I employed three able counsels here to get him off by habeus Corpus. but after much effort & a good deal of Expense to me, I failed & he was transfered to El Dorado County to answer the Charge of Murder for murder for killing Daniel Hoover. (whose real name is Huber).  It then became a serious matter to Rolla. I had up to that time spent about $1500.00 in money for him in his defense & for sending him home twice_

       His Case was hopeless without my immediate assistance - It was in short a clear case of murder & nothing but management, influence, & skill with other means could possibly save him, - It was important too in another light, as some of the ‘strongest witnesses for the State had dispersed & could not be found & an immediate trial would deprive the State of some of her best witnesses.  Under all the circumstances it was most proper that a speedy trial should be pressed by Powers - My wife Louisa & Rolla both appealed to me to come to the rescue

that their Mother & Bros. Alonzo & Volney was at would come to my rescue & not see me suffer if I helped promptly - from my position to the family - humbled by the greatest desire to save Rolla, the family & kinsman from a deep stain & from lasting infamy & relying upon their justice & honor towards me - I went into the defense with my little all I had in this world &

with all the energies of my soul -I immediately employed Gov Foote & Col. Baker the most eminent & influential criminal lawyers in the state - & also engaged two the best lawyers in El Dorado County._ Shut up my own office & went to the Mountains to see to the evidence - & here I write for you to read that I know will go no further - the strongest witnesses for the

State were gotten out of the way_ the defense was marked out - & witness were gotten to support that defense - Public Opinion which was all excitement became alleged, several parties friendly to us were received on the Jury -  the Sheriff -  the Judge & the Dist. Atty. became friendly disposed - the Dist. Atty. was a personal friend of Gov. Foote’s & promised to both no unfair advantage and that he would not get any one to assist him - thus prepared

we went into the trial & clear him in one day.

     That trial sir cost me a little over $600000 which with the amounts of aforesaid & what I had

to pay incidentally made me out of Pocket in actual cash a little over over $500000 saying nothing for my loss of time about 2 weeks in all- loss of business- & expenses at home going on all the time- besides. - This amt. of money was promptly paid by me without a moments warning almost & to get it, it had to in cumber as I stated before my all I had in the world - I immediately wrote to Rolla’s friends.& stated that I was battling this cause & if any earthly

chance was left. I could & would get him cleared - but that they must immediately send me $2000 $3000 - & if I needed more, they must do as I did, encumber their property & come to my rescue rescue - Rolla is clear & never thanked me once for all I did for him - his friends have thus far not done one thing for me - They did send me a check for $72300 which was dishonored & which I returned to my mother-in-law -  Alonzo promised at home that he would immediately send me a $1000 but did not & Volney refused to do any thing - & here I am with

My Louisa struggling in adversity again - & unless I get relief soon I will loose all I have got - I had helped my father & mother to several several thousand dollars to relieve them from their pecuniary embarrassments which all put together falls on me beside that I can bear - You

can hardly believe me that I have labored by day & by night to get a start in the world and that I had so far succeeded that I was expecting to go home in the spring with $25000 - in money -  that through this unfortunate affair I have so encumbered this amount that I shall loose every dollar of it without aid comes now.

     The promised day was beginning to dawn when I was looking forward to the time of my return to my good old Mother & Father to administer to their declining days. & enjoy their society & the society of all my friends which I so much need with a little aid I could still do so -  I wrote to my friends if they would send me promptly $4500 -  I could save myself - from utter ruin & loose the balance myself - I am barely meeting my interest & expenses - times are dull - every thing  - rents interests - Bills all is paid here by the month & a month here is as a year is at home.  My friends cannot become impressed with this matter - Louisa has been sick since Nov. last & nearly had lost her reason - You may well imagine my feelings under all the circumstances - when I know my friends have the ability to do even more than I ask & when they are standing by & see me ruined in vindicating their honor & name - My prospects are not as they were a year ago - times have changed beyond adequate description  - & if I fall now I have no prospects of again rising here - Under these circumstances you may well imagine that feelings are kindled in my bosom which it would be improper to express - & contrary to the natural impulse of my soul - & while I am now on this point I say to you that if Powers immediate friends will not do me ordinary justice that the hand that blessed & saved them from a lasting burning shame & disgrace will yet turn to smite them - & if it were not for

my wife who lives in my inmost soul. I tell you I would twice re arrest Rolla & turn prosecutor in that very case - for the man’s name he shot is not “Hoover” but Huber, he was indicted for killing Hoover & was acquitted on that charge under our Peculiar statutes of the state, would be no bar to a new indictment. - permit me to say that I never allowed your name to be used in this whole tragedy - & that what I have written is only to explain the letter of Foote & Bakers voluntarily written by them after the trial and is from their own advise & suggestion, they well knowing my circumstances.  In conclusion, I would say that if you deem it proper to address my wife’s friends in a plain letter that you can induce them to do something to save me & for which kindness on your past mercy I always felt under obligation to you.

                                            With sentiments of the highest regards

                                                     I am truly yours,  John H Fry”[lxiv]

This letter is quite amazing.  If it is true that John Fry had not been reimbursed for his expense in clearing Rolla’s name, and was facing financial ruin, it is understandable that he was upset.  A letter written by Mary Powers, youngest daughter of Lemuel and Jane, to her Uncle Millard Fillmore, confirms that Jane Powers sent money to John, why it was “dishonored” we do not know.  John’s thinly veiled threat to prosecute Rolla also sheds new light on Rolla’s “supposed” innocence.  I also find it interesting that it was John who aided Rolla’s failed attempts to flee the State.

Rolla was living in the George Gillis household in Coulterville, Mariposa County, California according to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census. He was occupied as a Saloon Keeper, was 32 years old and born in England.  His personal estate was valued at $500.  Rolla, or “R. Power” was also occupied as a saloon keeper (we presume that he and George were in business together), was 35 years old and born in Ohio.[lxv]  A short obituary appeared in the Sacramento Daily Union, 5 March 1863: “Died... In Coulterville, Feb. 25th, ROLLA POWERS, aged about 35 years.”[lxvi]

There are no further letters from Alonzo Powers to Millard or Abigail Fillmore in the Millard Fillmore Collection at SUNY Oswego.  Alonzo (as A. Powers) was enumerated as head of household in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, in New Haven, OH.  He was identified as 39 years of age, born in Ohio, occupied as a shoemaker, with real estate valued at $2,500 and personal estate valued at $1,200.  His wife Mary was identified as 33 years old and born in Ohio.  Two children were listed in this household; Millard Powers, male and Adaline Powers, female, both 10 years of age and born in Ohio, both having attended school within the year.  Also listed on this same census page was Alonzo’s mother Jane S. Powers.  Her husband, Cyrus S. Carpenter, was not listed in her household.

Alonzo Powers died 19 August 1860, according to his obituary which was run in the Norwalk Weekly Reflector on 28 August 1860:

“At Shelby, Ohio, on the 19th day of August, ALONZO POWERS, aged 39 years, 10 months and 2 days.

“WHERAS, It has pleased Almighty God, in the Wise Dispensation of His Providence, to summon by the hand of his unseen messenger, Death, the Spirit of our Past Grand Brother, ALONZO POWERS, from this early Lodge to that Lodge not made with hands – eternal in the Heavens:

“AND WHEREAS, We, as Odd Fellows, are taught that however keenly we may feel the shafts of the grim monster, yet we must acknowledge that He doeth all things well, and in a manner we cannot gainsay, and which we acknowledge to be agreeable to the mysterious wisdom of the Grand Patriarch who governs all things well: there-fore,

“Resolved, That the members of this Lodge tender to the afflicted family and connections of our deceased Brother, ALONZO POWERS, our sincere and heartfelt sympathy in this the hour of their bereavement, and would fraternally point them to Him who has promised to be a Husband to the Widow and Father to the Orphan.

“Resolved, That a copy of these Resolutions be forwarded to the Widow of our deceased Brother, and one to each of the following papers for publication, viz: Plymouth Advertiser, Norwalk Reflector, Norwalk Experiment, Shield & Banner, Mansfield Herald, and Richland Democrat.

“R. McBride, J.W. Beekman, M.P. Wright, Plymouth, O., Aug. 21st, 1860.”[lxvii] 

Alonzo’s widow, Mary Jane, sold lot 30 in Plymouth, Huron County, OH to Thomas Cook on 1 April 1865 for $800.  Volney Powers was a witness to this sale.[lxviii]

Abigail Ann Powers, daughter of Lemuel and Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers, was born about 10 March 1822 (or 1823) most likely in New Haven, OH.[lxix]  She died of dropsy of the brain in Paris (later Plymouth), OH on 29 August 1835.[lxx]  She was buried in the New Haven Cemetery, New Haven, OH.[lxxi]

Phebe Ann Powers, daughter of Lemuel and Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers, was born 14 Feb 1825, probably in New Haven, Ohio. [lxxii]  Phebe married Phillip D. Connell in Huron County, Ohio on 14 Feb 1844.[lxxiii]  Phillip and Phebe were found living in Plymouth, Ohio according to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census.  In the household were listed Phillip Connell, 29 years old, male, born in Virginia, occupied as a cabinet maker, with real estate valued at $500, Phebe Connell, 25 years old, female, born Ohio “attended school within the year”, Frank Connell, 5 old, male, born Ohio, Charles Connell, 3 years old, male, born Ohio, Julia F. Connell, 1year old, female, born Ohio, Orlando Connell, 7 months old, male, born Ohio, and Angeline Russell, 11 years old, female, born Ohio.  While the mark for “attended school within the year” is found in the column of the line in which Phebe is identified, this may not be correct.[lxxiv]  One researcher gives a date of death for Phillip of 5 September 1854 in Galion, Crawford County, Ohio, but we have found no other records to confirm this.[lxxv]  Phebe and children are found living in Galion according to the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.  In the household was Phebe A. Connell, 35 years old, female, born Ohio, real estate valued at $500, personal estate valued at $100; Charles Connell, 14 years old, male, born in Ohio, attended school within year; Julia F Connell, 11 years old, female, born in Ohio, attended school within the year; Powers Connell, 9 years old, male, born Ohio, attended school within the year; James C. Connell, 7 years old, male, born in Ohio, attended school within the year; and Wellington Connell, 5 years old, male, born in Ohio, attended school within the year.  If Wellington’s age was correct in the census taken 27 July 1860, and Phillip also died in 1854, then Wellington would have been born after his father’s death.  This must have been a very difficult time for the young widow, Phebe.

Phebe A. Connell is later listed as head of household in Landis, Cumberland County, New Jersey, according to the 1870 U.S. Federal Census.  In her household was: Phebe A. Connell, 46 years old, female, born in Ohio, occupied keeping house, with real estate valued at $8000 and a personal estate valued at $500; Frank P. Connell, 25 years old, male, born in Ohio, occupied as a grocer’s clerk; Charles Connell, 22 years old, male, born in Ohio, occupied as a grocer’s clerk; John P. Connell, 18 years old, born in Ohio; Clarance Connell, 16 years old, male, born in Ohio, attended school within the year; Wellington Connell, 15 years old, male, born in Ohio, attended school within the year; Philip Baker, 23 years old, male, born in Pennsylvania, occupied as a grocer, with personal estate valued at $1,500; and Latimer Baker, 21 years old, male, born in Pennsylvania, occupied as a grocer, with a personal estate valued at $1,500.[lxxvi]

Although we have found no letters in the Millard Fillmore collection that were written by Phebe, nor any mention of her in her siblings’ letters, we have found Phebe’s children listed as grandchildren of Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers in her last will and testament, dated 5 August 1874: “The undersigned Volney Powers makes application for the Probate of the Last Will and Testament of Jane S. Powers late of said county, deceased, hereto attached.

“Said Testator died leaving --------------

and the following named persons her next of kin:

NAME                        DEGREE OF KINSHIP                   P.O. ADDRESS

Volney Powers         Son                                                     New Washington, Crawford Co O

Jane Teller                 Daughter                                            Vineland New Jersey

Eliza Carpenter        Do                                                       Plymouth, Ohio

Lemuel Dubois         Grand Son (son of Julia Powers)   Plymouth, Ohio

Millard F. P___          Do                                                       Cleveland, Ohio

Ada Powers              Grand Daughter                                Indiana

Frank Connell           Grand Son                                         Toledo, Ohio

Charles                     Do                                                       Cincinnati, Ohio

Julia                          Grand Daughter                                Ft. Wayne, Indiana

Powers                     Grand Son                                                       , Indiana

Clarence                   Do                                                                     , Indiana

Wellington                Do                                                                     , Indiana

Volney Powers Applicant”[lxxvii]

Jane Powers, daughter of Lemuel and Jane Strong (Bacon) Powers, was born 25 January 1827, probably in New Haven, Ohio.[lxxviii]  She was living in her mother’s household on 31 October 1850, in New Haven, when the 1850 U.S. Federal Census was taken.[lxxix]  She married 13 May 1851 Dr. Emery Rounds Tuller in Huron County, Ohio.  In a letter written to her aunt Abigail Fillmore on 6 October 1851, Jane formally introduces her husband:

                                                        “North Fairfield Oct. 6./51

Dear Aunt:

         Your were so kind when here as to express a desire to see my husband.  Will you do me the favor to except this miniature of him.

         It is very correct likeness of him when thoughtfull.  Abbie can tell you how he looks animated.   We have not the in the country the advantages of a good room and sky lights but

it will serve to give you some idea of how he looks and perhaps of his character. Tell me what you think of him aunt.

           From your affection Niece

                     Jane Tulle[r]”[lxxx]
Jane wrote her Uncle Millard Fillmore and his son Millard Powers Fillmore in July of 1854, on the sad occasion of Millard and Abigail’s daughter Mary Abigail Fillmore’s death of cholera 26 July 1854 in Aurora, Cayuga County, New York:
                                                      “Newark Licking Co. Ohio

                                                                  July 28th 1854

Dear Uncle & Cousin

         You have many friends who sympathise with you on this mournfull occasion, yet I think there is not a heart mourns with you more than mine. I have loved her as a sister and a friend. Her sudden death fills me with anguish. I have so long desired to see her, and now she has gone.  My health has been so feble for the past two years I thought I might not live long & and I desired to see her and talk to her before I died; but she has preceded me. The Lords ways are not my ways.  How lonely your heart is, and how desolate your home. God in his providence is pressing to your lips a bitter cup; yet his word assures us he does not willingly afflict any: and we knew him too good to sin and too wise to err. May the Lord sanctify this deep affliction to your eternal good.

             Your aff_ Niece and cousin

             Jane Powers Fuller

P.S. Uncle please send me some slight token of her something that she loved most


Millard Fillmore’s wife Abigail (Powers) Fillmore had passed away only one year before on 30 March 1853 in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Federal Census of Newark, Licking County, Ohio, taken 16 June 1860, shows Jane living with her husband Emery (or Emory) Rounds Tuller, who is 34 years old, born in NY, and occupied as a doctor, with real estate valued at $2,500 and personal estate valued at $700.  Also in the household were their children: Malcolm, 8 years old, male, born in Ohio; Horace, 5 years old, born in Ohio; Willis, 3 years old, born in Ohio; and Royal, 1 year old, born in Ohio.[lxxxii]

The name of E.R. Tuller, of Newark, Licking County, Ohio, 37 years old, born in New York, occupation Physician was found on the 13th Congressional District of Ohio Civil War Draft Registration record, enumerated during the month of June 1863.[lxxxiii]  According to Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey, Emery Rounds Tuller “was born at Genesee, New York, October 1, 1824.  While a young man he went from Genesee to Buffalo, from there to Cleveland, and later on removed to Fairfield, Ohio.  After stopping for some time in Newark, Ohio, he finally settled in Vineland, New Jersey, in 1866, where he remained engaged in the practice of his profession until his death in 1891.”[lxxxiv]  Emery and Jane, with their children Malcolm B., Horace L., Willis N., Royal P., John G., and Daisy M. Tuller were enumerated in the 1870 U.S. Federal Census in Landis, Cumberland County, New Jersey on 12 August 1870.[lxxxv]  This is the same town in which Jane’s sister Phebe Ann, widow of Phillip Connell was living with her children in 1870.  Emery and Jane and some of their younger children were enumerated in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census in Landis, on the 18th of June.[lxxxvi]

Mary Powers, the youngest child or Lemuel and Jane Strong (Bacon) Pomeroy, was born 20 June 1831, probably in New Haven, OH.[lxxxvii]  She was living with her mother in New Haven on 30 October 1850 when the U.S. Federal Census of that town was enumerated.[lxxxviii] Mary apparently had a close relationship with her Uncle Millard Fillmore and his son Powers.  In November, 1854 she wrote of returning from a visit to their home in Buffalo:
                                                                Plymouth Ohio

                                                                    Nov 19th/54

Dear Uncle

     I seize this first opportunity of to write you. I arrived at home safely the evening of the same day P left you and only remained over the Sabbath. Monday Morning I started for Sidney where I arrived in the evening. I found my sister very anxiously watching for me. Herself and two of her children were in miserable health. I was there not quite two weeks but during that time I made all the necessary arrangements and took my sister with all her little family home to Mother’s.  And now we are all once more comfortably settled and enjoying our home together.  Mother’s health is not very good.

     As soon as I got home the matter was all explained to me why Alonzo did not come for me. They had already sent for me by Mr. Cass, a friend of the family, and were expecting me daily. I knew my friends would not neglect me. Alonzo’s health is better than it has been for years. I think I never saw him looking so well. But Rolla, O that brother, we have just heard such heart rending news from him. But I cannot write of it perhaps you have heard of this dreadful calamity that has befallen us. O this great grief is almost more than we can bear. O well dont think you are alone in your affliction.  Death would be far preferable to this but it has come and may God give us grace to bear it. Pardon me I forget all this does not interest you as no one can appreciate it but those who have it to bear.

     I am afraid you will think me egotistical for I have only written about myself and family. But it is needless to tell you how much pleasure I took in my visit at your house. I wish I was with you this evening to read to you for I enjoyed my reading very much.

     Those miniatures are a very great comfort to me. I love to look at them.  Please remember me kindly to Miss Fuller and tell Powers how much I thank him for placing me under the care of so kind a gentleman.

     Please accept my warmest wishes for your happiness.        

                                                               Mary Powers”[lxxxix]

Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio was a stop on the Miami and Erie Canal’s Sidney or Port Jefferson Feeder Branch, which may be why Mary took this route home.  I’m not sure which sister she was referring to, as none, to my knowledge, lived anywhere near Sidney.  I believe that Louisa was living in San Francisco at the time, and do not think she had children.  Julia had died eleven years previous, Phebe we believe, was living in Galion, OH at that time, and Jane, according to a letter she wrote in July, was living in Newark, Licking County, Ohio.

Mary wrote to her Uncle Millard Fillmore in December 1854, again regarding her brother Rolla’s legal troubles: 
                                   Plymouth     Dec 10th 1854
My Dear Uncle

            I was very happy to receive your very kind letter of the 26th ult which came to me in due time.  I regretted much to hear of your affliction but trust that [ere] now you have recovered entirely.  I wish I had been there to have nursed your ear I am sure I could at least have lightened the pain.  I used to suffer very much with earache.

            My Dear Uncle indeed you cannot know how much I thank you for your kind expressions of interest regarding my dear brother Rolla.  Yes it seems that his misfortunes,

if I may call it by so charitable a name, binds me closer to him and makes him doubly dear to

me.  I should never have alluded to the matter had I thought it would have escaped your hearing.  It is very painful to me to write it and to spare myself and give the matter more clearly to you I will just enclose one of our many letters we have received from my brother Mr. Fry.  I will send one of the first; we recieve [sic] one evry [sic] mail, one a week, but as the substantive matter is the same and this one is the most explicit I will send but this one. Our last letters tell us the counsel he has employed.  Col E. D. Baker an old ex member of Congress from Illinois one of the best criminal lawyers in California. Also Ex Gov Foote formerly N.S.senator from Missippi a Lawyer of great reputation and success in criminal cases.  Also Messrs William and Newell of El Dorado Co lawyers of reputation and men of influence.  I know Mr. Fry will do everything in his power to save Rolla.  Alonzo & Volney have sent nothing, Alonzo cannot and Volney will not.  Mother has done everything in her power, and all she has succeeded in sending has been $650, a mere drop in the cup.  For this she gave a judgment note with bail and a mortgage on her house and lot.  She tried hard for a thousand but this was all she could get.  She pays 12 ½ percent, 2 ½ per cent in advance, O how willingly would we give up all in this world if we could but save him.  It may not only be the means of saving his life but his soul which is of far greater value.  My Mother is almost borne down with this heavy afflictio, & what worse thing could come upon us. Do not think I have written this cold and unfeeling.  No, no, words are far too weak to express my feelings in this deep affliction.  My love to your family and accept the warmest affection of

                        Your Niece

                        Mary Powers

You may return me the letter I enclose if you will.

Please                                    Mary.”[xc]

 wrote to her Uncle Millard Fillmore regarding Rolla’s acquittal in January 1855:

                                                “Plymouth Huron Co O.

                                                Jan 17th1855

My Dear Uncle

            Your letter of the 15th ult was duly received.  I thank you for your kindly sympathy

and am rejoiced that I have good news to tell you.  My Brother has been honorably acquitted

of those grave charges of having been proved the act was committed in self defence,   He is

coming home when we will endeavor to do every thing for him to induce him to remain We shall expect him every steamer O what a time of rejoicing the bare anticipation makes me so happy I wonder what the reality will do Surely however large the cloud may be the blue sky is larger still if we could but see far enough.

            My Sister has been quite sick and I have been constantly confined to the sick room she is now convalescing.  Our weather is fine, more like April than January.  We have had but little

snow and no sleighing more than two or three days.  It is so comfortably warm this morning that I have hung my birds out to enjoy the sun and they are rendering their thanks by singing so loud as to be heard nearly all over the village.  Please remember me to Miss Fuller and  accept for yourself the warmest affection of your niece

                        Mary Powers

I received a letter a few days since from Cousin Cyrus, he said they were all well.”[xci]
Mary would again write to her Uncle Millard in July 1856:
                     “Galion Ohio
                         July 7 /56
Dear Uncle

     Hearing of your safe return I send you my most cordial greeting.

     Welcome once again to your country and friends.  By your return, friends are made happy and a nation to rejoice. The name of Millard Fillmore is greeted every where with shouts of


     In your long absence I hope you have been blessed with health and happiness. If my greeting has been tardy it is not the least sincere.

                                                          Your affectionate Niece

                                                     Mary Powers”[xcii]
Mary’s sister Phebe was living as a widow with her children Charles, Julia, Powers, James and Wellington in 1860, according to the U.S. Federal Census.  It seems likely that Mary was visiting her sister when this letter was written.  This letter, no doubt, refers to Millard’s return to America from his European tour on 29 June 1856.[xciii]  We have found no other letters in the Millard Fillmore Collection which were written by Mary.

Mary was married to William L. Arnold in New Haven, OH on 30 December 1858.[xciv]  She died 27 July 1864.[xcv]

What’s Yours is Mine – Property Struggles
On 28 April 1835 a portion of David's property on lot number 6 in Norwalk, OH, including a dwelling, was auctioned at a sheriff's sale in order to raise money to settle a suit brought by Elisha Whittlesey. (This was part of the property that Mary Ann (Coe) Pomeroy Junkins brought with her into their marriage.) On 28 February 1840 David and Mary Ann Powers sold property on lot 67 in New Haven, OH to Joseph Rice for $200. (Joseph Rice was the husband of David's daughter Marcia.) About September 1840 David and Mary Ann were living in a house rented from Mr. Foreman in Sandusky, OH. On 30 January1841 David and Mary Ann were forced to sell the remainder of Mary Ann's property on lot 6 in Norwalk, OH to satisfy a suit brought against David by his sister Mary Powers. David and Mary Ann later purchased property on Washington St., Sandusky, OH. Mary Ann would later deed 1/3 of that property to her son Francis W. Pomeroy.

On 17 February 1845 David Powers was elected Justice of the Peace in Portland, Erie Co., OH and the following August was elected president of the Temperance Society in Sandusky, OH. At this time Mary Ann was working as a seamstress. On 2 April 1849 David was appointed Postmaster at Sandusky City, OH on 2 April 1849, a position in which he served until 26 March 1853.

Between 1848 and 1853 a number of property transactions are recorded involving David and Mary Ann Powers, demonstrating their financial struggles. In June of 1848 Mary Ann purchased the south half of the East two-thirds of Lot 28 on Hancock St. in Sandusky from Alvina and Washington Dewey for $165. Two weeks later they sold the property to David’s brother-in-law Millard Fillmore for $100. In February 1849, David and Mary Ann sold the mortgage deed on this parcel to a John Linker.

On 23 August 1852 Mary Ann Coe Pomeroy Junkins Powers died of cholera at her home on Washington St. in Sandusky. She had gone to her son Francis W. Pomeroy's home to help care for his children who were sick with cholera; the children recovered. Mary Ann was likely buried in the city’s Cholera Cemetery.

In 1853 David Powers tried to sell the property on Washington St. in Sandusky, including the 1/3rd share that belonged to Francis W. Pomeroy. Francis filed suit against David and his son Edson Powers and won the judgement.

David Powers died 2 October 1857 at the home of his son, Edson Powers in New Haven, OH. His final resting place is unknown.

The Cholera
From the website Cleveland Free Times Archives: Haunted Ohio comes the following description of the Cholera Cemetery in Sandusky, Mary Ann’s believed final resting place.  
“On a small green plot of land next to the Sandusky Amvet Junior League Baseball Park before Harrison Street dead-ends with West Adams, a graveyard sits with the title 'Cholera Cemetery' almost proudly displayed across its entrance’s archway.  Though only three gravestones inhabit the cemetery, more than 400 bodies are entombed in its earth.

“Rumor has it that not all of the souls were lucky enough to have died before being interred.  In the rush to bury the victims, many who were too sick to speak up or move were also tossed into the cold ground, covered with the countless corpses of their families, friends and neighbors....”
It is extremely unlikely that this was the fate of Mary Ann, as her husband had her laid out in the house the night of her death, and she was not buried until the following day.  It is interesting, though, to note that David wrote to his sister Abigail of nightmares that Mary Ann was still alive when buried.

Haunted Ohio continues with the following:    
“The cholera epidemic in the mid-1800s hit Sandusky hard.  The small town was the most important spot on Lake Erie’s south shore, and seafaring men from other regions are thought to have brought the disease there.  When 19 cholera victims were thrown overboard a ship sailing to Detroit, the bodies washed up in Sandusky.  The townspeople, thinking them shipwreck victims, buried them, but the disease spread quickly.
“Sandusky’s worst year for the plague was 1849.  It was reported that as many as 37 people died on a daily basis and there was great difficulty finding men to bury the dead bodies.  More than half of the town’s population fled or were killed by the sickness.  The 69 worse days of the plague (between July 1 and September 7), saw more than 400 deaths.  A burial ground that had been used to receive the Protestant burials became known as the Cholera Cemetery, as victim’s bodies were buried there in mass graves...
“By 1853, its fence had become so dilapidated that cattle got into the cemetery and disturbed the graves.  In 1884, a list of the cemetery’s legible tombstones was made, and in 1893 the lad was cleared of them.  The cholera trench was never opened, however, and the bodies were not removed.  The ground was plowed and used for hog slaughter, until the deceased’s relatives began to object.
“By 1909, children were playing on the grounds, climbing trees and building bonfires on graves.  A section became used as a chicken yard, until the deceased’s families again protested.
“By 1924, the grounds were finally renovated and a monument to those who gave their lives during the cholera epidemic was erected.
Epilogue - the search continues
In the fall of 2010, an old hospital building, unoccupied for over 40 years and located on the property that was once the Onondaga County Poorhouse, was given by the County to Onondaga Community College. The Onondaga County Poorhouse had been built in 1827 as part of a state-wide initiative to better serve the poor and indigent of New York State. Construction work done around the facade of the building turned up not altogether unexpected results – bodies believed buried in the early 1800s, residents of the Poorhouse who had died there.  An archaeological team from SUNY Binghamton (Public Archaeology Facility) was contacted and began an excavation of the site.  Site archaeologist, Daniel Seib was interviewed for an article appearing in the Syracuse Post Standard on Monday, 6 December 2010.   

Upon reading the article about the bodies that had been uncovered, I immediately wondered whether one of these may have been Spencer Pomeroy.  I contacted Daniel Seib which began a collaboration between the APHGA, SUNY Binghamton, Onondaga County, the Town of Onondaga Historical Society and Jane Tracy, then Town of Onondaga Historian. [Read Nancy's post about this project. - ed.]

The unanswered questions around Mary Ann Coe Pomeroy Junkins Powers remain. The APHGA maintains a Coe Family Research site seeking answers to these questions:
  • when did Mary Ann divorce Spencer Pomeroy?
  • why did Mary Ann move to Ohio?
  • was Mary Ann legally married to Benjamin Junkins?
  • where is Mary Ann's final resting place? Was she moved from the Cholera Cemetery as David Powers told his brother-in-law Millard Fillmore?
  • where was Mary Ann between 1811, when she may have been abandoned by her first husband Spencer Pomeroy, and 1823 when we find her in Sandusky, Ohio? 
Can you help us solve these mysteries? We'd love to hear from you.
                                   - Susan Hughes

[i] History of Crawford County and Ohio, 995
[ii] Huron County, Ohio Deed Records, Book 22: P 159, Huron County Clerk’s Office, Norwalk, OH
[iii] History of Crawford County and Ohio, 995
[iv] J.I. Smith, New Washington and Cranberry Township, Directorial, Biographical, Historical, [New Washington: Herald Job Print, 1889] 24
[v] Volney Powers household, 1860 U.S. Census, Cranberry, Crawford County, Ohio, P 277-8, Dwelling 814, Family 789; National Archives microfilm publication M653_951
[vi] Huron County, Ohio Deed Records, Book 13, P 81, Huron County Clerk’s Office, Norwalk, OH
[vii] Volney Powers household, 1870 U.S. Census, Crawford, Crawford County, Ohio, P 396, Dwelling 85, Family 85; National Archives microfilm publication M593_1186
[viii]Florence Siefert Scrapbook
[ix] New Washington and Cranberry Township, Directorial, Biographical, Historical; 47-48
[x] Florence Siefert Scrapbook
[xi] The Powers Family, 103
[xii] Letter from Louisa Powers [Paris, OH] to Abigail, Julia & Maria Fillmore [Buffalo, NY] 26 December 1836; held by Special Collections SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xiii] Erie & Huron Co. marriages thru 1838/from 1934 DAR transcription, []
[xiv] Some Descendants of Law, Kerr & Knight, Mark Law [] online [], accessed 18 October 2006
[xv] Martin Kellogg, “Early Settlements in the Fourth Section of Norwalk and Vicinity,” The Fire Lands Pioneer, Vol 5 [June 1864]:21-23 
[xvi] Letter from Louisa Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Washington, DC], 7 April 1840; held by Special Collections SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY] 
[xvii] Huron County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions, (Norwalk: Huron County Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society, 1997); 395 [xviii] Benjamin W. Dwight, The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong, of Northampton, Mass, Volume I, [Albany: Joel Munsel, 1871]; 529-30
[xix] Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions, 395
[xx] Charles W. Powers obituary, The Sandusky Clarion, Sandusky, Ohio, 8 September 1846, P 3 Col 1
[xxi] Letter from Louisa Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY] 12 December 1842; held in the collection of SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xxii] The Powers Family, 103
[xxiii] Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1850, FamilySearch online []; Reference No. Vol 2 P 160, Film No: 410258, Image No: 428
[xxiv] Letter from Erasmus Darwin Powers [Van Buren, AR] to Abigail Fillmore, 21 May 1846; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xxv] Letter from John H. Fry [San Francisco, CA] to Millard Fillmore, 31 Jan 1855; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xxvi] The Powers Family, 103
[xxvii] Ibid
[xxviii] Letter from Julia Powers [Paris, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY], 29 April 1835; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]

[xxix] Letter from Julia Powers [Greenfield, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY] 30 August 1835; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]

[xxx] Edwin Pomroy obituary, Huron Weekly Reflector, Norwalk, OH, 16 September 1834, P 3 Col 3
[xxxi] Milan Times article, Daily Cleveland Herald, Cleveland, OH, 28 August 1835; unknown page; Col 4
[xxxii] Letter from David Powers [New Haven, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY], 15 November 1835; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xxxiii] Letter from Julia DuBois [Paris, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY], 9 Feb 1836; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xxxiv] George F. Du Bois household, 1900 U.S. Census, Gorham, Fulton County, OH, ED 10, Sheet 7B, Dwelling 193, Family 198; National Archives microfilm publication T623_1270.
[xxxv] Richards Family Group GEDCOM, William Arthur Richards, Jr., [] online [], accessed 19 June 2007
[xxxvi] Abraham Dubois household, 1840 U.S. Census, Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio, P 69; National Archives microfilm publication M19-139
[xxxvii] Portrait and Biographical Record of Western Oregon, [Chicago; Chapman Publishing Company,1904]; 291
[xxxviii] Huron County, Ohio Deed Records, Book 16; P 288, Family History Center Film #396153, Salt Lake City, UT
[xxxix] Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions; 395
[xl] The Powers Family, 103
[xli] Letter from A. Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Abigail Fillmore, 14 October 1838; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xlii] A.A. Graham, compiler, History of Richland County, Ohio; (Including the Original Boundaries,) Its Past and Present, [Mansfield, A.A. Graham & Co., Publishers, 1880] 560
[xliii] Huron County, Ohio Probate Docket, Book 1; Family History Library film #1303066, Salt Lake City, UT
[xliv] Letter from A. Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY] 24 November 1839; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xlv] Letter from Alonzo Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Millard Fillmore [Washington, D.C.] 28 April 1840; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[xlvi] A.T. Wikoff, Annual Report of the Secretary of State to the Governor of the State of Ohio, including the Statistical Report to the General Assembly, [Columbus: Nevins & Myers, State Printers, 1874]; 19
[xlvii] Roelif C. Brinkerhoff, compiler, Supplement to the Family of Joris Dircksen Brinkerhoff of New York City 1638, [Riverside: Self Published, 1902]; 11-13
[xlviii] J. Gardner Bartlett, Robert Coe, Puritan: His Ancestors and Descendants 1340-1910 with Notices of Other Coe Families, [Boston: J. Gardner Bartlett, 1911]; 200
[xlix] A.B. Coe, Whig Convention delegates article, Huron Reflector, Norwalk, OH, 13 September 1842
[l] Letter from Alonzo Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY] 13 September 1844; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[li] Huron County, Ohio Deed Records, Book 19; P 25, Family History Library Film # 396155, Salt Lake City, UT
[lii] Letter from Alonzo Powers [Buffalo, NY] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY], 28 April 1848; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[liii] Letter from Alonzo Powers [Buffalo, NY] to Abigail Fillmore [Buffalo, NY] 21 April 1849; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[liv] The Powers Family, 103
[lv] Alonzo Powers household, 1850 U.S. Census, New Haven, Huron County, Ohio, P 189, Dwelling 2607, Family 2659; National Archives microfilm publication M432_697.
[lvi] Jane S. Powers household, 1850 U.S. Census, New Haven, Huron County, Ohio, P 189, Dwelling 2606, Family 2658; National Archives microfilm publication M432_697
[lvii] Letter from Alonzo Powers to Millard Fillmore, 17 October 1854; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[lviii] Letter from Alonzo Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Millard Fillmore 25 Jan 1855; held by Special Collections, SUNY Oswego Penfield Library [Oswego, NY]
[lix] Rolla Powers household, 1850 U.S. Census, Salmon Falls, El Dorado County, California, P 384, Dwelling 5, Family 5: National Archives microfilm publication M432_34
[lx] Arrest of A Murderer article, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, CA; 18 October 1854
[lxi] Rolla Powers article, Daily Alta California, San Francisco, CA; 19 October 1854
[lxii] Case of Rolla Powers (News Article), Weekly Alta California, San Francisco, CA, 1 Dec 1854; P 2
[lxiii] Letter from W.S. Foote and E.D. Baker [San Francisco, CA] to Millard Fillmore, 14 December 1854; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[lxiv] Letter from John H. Fry [San Francisco, CA] to Millard Fillmore, 31 Jan 1855; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[lxv] George Gillis household, 1860 U.S. Census, Coulterville, Mariposa County, California: P 674, Dwelling 591, Familly 586, National Archives microfilm publication M653_60
[lxvi] Rolla Powers Obituary, Sacramento Daily Union, Sacramento, CA, 5 March 1863;
[lxvii] Alonzo Powers obituary, Norwalk Weekly Reflector, Norwalk, OH; 28 August 1860, P 3,Col. 1
[lxviii] Huron County, Ohio Deed Records, Book 17; P 393, Huron County Clerk’s Office, Norwalk, OH.
[lxix] The Powers Family; P 103
[lxx] Letter from Julia Powers [Steuben, OH] to Abigail Fillmore, 30 August 1835; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library, SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[lxxi] Huron County, Ohio Cemetery Inscriptions, P 395
[lxxii] The Powers Family; P 103.
[lxxiii] Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950, digital images, from FamilySearch Internet [] Reference No: Vol 2, P 143, Film # 410258, Image # 419
[lxxiv] Phillip Connell household, 1850 U.S. Census, Plymouth, Richland County, Ohio; P 186A, Dwelling 170, Family 176, National Archives microfilm publication M432_724
[lxxv] Scott Mace Gedcom; Ancestry World Tree Project, []; Accessed 27 September 2011
[lxxvi] Phebe A. Connell household, 1870 U.S. Census, Landis Township, Cumberland County, New Jersey; P 358, Dwelling 618, Family 347, National Archives microfilm publication M593_859.
[lxxvii] Jane S. Powers will [1874], Surrogate’s Office, Richland County, Ohio
[lxxviii] The Powers Family, 103
[lxxix] Jane S. Powers household, 1850 U.S. Census, New Haven, Huron County, Ohio, P 189, Dwelling 2606, Family 2658; National Archives microfilm publication M432_697
[lxxx] Letter from Jane Tuller [North Fairfield, OH] to Abigail Fillmore, 6 October 1851; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[lxxxi] Letter from Jane Tuller [Newark, OH] to Millard and Millard Powers Fillmore [Buffalo, NY] 28 July 1854; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[lxxxii] Emery Tuller household, 1860 U.S. Census, Newark, Licking County, Ohio, P 83, Dwelling 630, Family 658; National Archives microfilm publication M653_998.
[lxxxiii] U.S. Civil War Draft Registration Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.
[lxxxiv] Francis Bazley Lee, compiler, Genealogical and Memorial History of the State of New Jersey: A Record of the Achievements of Her People in the Making of the Commonwealth and the Founding of a Nation, Volume I, [New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1910]; 852
[lxxxv] Emory R. Tuller household, 1870 U.S. Census, Landis, Cumberland County, New Jersey, P162, Dwelling 1548, Family 1352; National Archives microfilm publication M593_859
[lxxxvi] Emery R. Tuller household, 1880 U.S. Census, Landis, Cumberland County, New Jersey, ED 83, P 30B, Dwelling 331, Family 351; National Archives microfilm publication roll 776
[lxxxvii] Ibid.
[lxxxviii] Jane S. Powers household, 1850 U.S. Census
[lxxxix] Letter from Mary Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Millard Fillmore, 19 November 1854; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[xc] Letter from Mary Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Millard Fillmore, 10 December 1854; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[xci] Letter from Mary Powers [Plymouth, OH] to Millard Fillmore, 17 Jan 1855; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[xcii] Letter from Mary Powers [Galion, OH] to Millard Fillmore, 7 June 1856; held by Special Collections, Penfield Library at SUNY Oswego [Oswego, NY]
[xciii] Robert J. Scarry, Millard Fillmore, [Jefferson; McFarmland & Company, Inc., Publishers, 2001]; 274
[xciv] Ohio, County Marriages, 1790 – 1950; Ref. No: P 184 CN 1099, Film No. 410260, Image No. 142 
[xcv] The Powers Family; 529