And the Stories of Their Lives


Looking for the Drama in the Lives of Ancestors

       For many years I have been seeking the bits and pieces which make up the life stories of my ancestors and my wife's ancestors. I like to go beyond the usual vital record information so that I can get some sense of their life experiences within historical context. 

       The first story linked to this page is "Like Father, Like Son - James Tanner and his Impact on the Life of Samuel Spates" It explores the life of James Tanner, son of John Tanner, the 'White Indian'. Tanner is not my ancestor but he is a complex and controversial figure in the history of missionaries in the midwest. He had an enormous impact upon the life of my great-grandfather, Samuel Spates, a pioneer Methodist missionary to the Ojibwa Indians of Minnesota. 

       The largest story among these links is "Samuel Spates - A Pioneer Methodist Missionary and allied lines: Pope, Link, Fullenwider, and Rice. It chronicles the life of Samuel Spates from his birth in Kentucky, to his pre-missionary education in Illinois, to his many years as missionary among the Ojibwa Indians of northern Minnesota, and to his final years in retirement after fleeing the Mission at Sandy Lake when he and his family were threatened and attacked by Indians. A similar story is included in "Louis Lehmann's Ancestry Publications" (See link below)  

       "Sifting Out the Truth From the French Family Legends" reports my exploration of how family legends erroneously labeled Daniel French, my great-grandfather, as an Oxford graduate and Methodist minister whose ancestors were said to have been listed in Burke's Peerage and included a Chief of the Coastguard and a major general; and how a recollection of an overheard conversation linked our family to the Merritt family of Mesabi Iron Range fame. As these stories were debunked, more believable and interesting stories emerged about the life of Daniel, his ancestors, and his son.  

       "John Dower - a Pioneer Tacoma Lumberman" explores the life of John Dower from his childhood in Michigan to his introduction to the lumber industry in Minnesota and his subsequent fame as a lumberman in the state of Washington.  

       "Reverend William Ewing - The 'Soldier-Preacher' From Scotland" chronicles the life of William Ewing, a Scotsman who was a soldier in the British army, serving in Germany during the War of the Austrian Succession.  He was married in Ireland, came to America, was with General Braddock at Fort Duquesne, became an itinerant Baptist minister in Massachusetts and finally died in Vermont after a series of  tragic experiences.

       "The Lives of John Batcheler and Mary Chapman and Some of Their Descendants" explores events influencing their lives in and near Rye, an ancient town on the Sussex coast. Many were seafarers, two of whom suffered untimely deaths, one by drowning and the other in performance of coast guard duties. They were part of a community horrified by a brutal murder in 1742 and terrified by periodic threats and attacks by smugglers, In contrast to all this is the touching romance between a customs officer and his wife.

       "The Life of Frederick Lehmann and Some of his Ancestors and Descendants" is the story of my great-grandfather. Born as Johann Baumberger, he emigrated from Switzerland, changed his name, settled in Minnesota, and fought the Sioux Indians in 1862. The story debunks a popular family legend with many errors.  

       "Rufus Willis Speaks - Of Ancestors in Early New England and New York" contains documented information along with some speculations as might be spoken to me by Rufus Willis, my 3rd gr- grandfather.   

  "Ups and Downs in the Life of Reverend Stephen Tracy" explores how Stephen was orphaned at age seven during the French and Indian War, graduated from Princeton, became a minister, supported the Revolution, opposed the War of 1812, and died insolvent. This story also examines the lives of his children including Elizabeth Tracy's marriage to Thomas Kidd, a deputy sheriff whose name was associated with hauntings in Chesterfield, Massachusetts; and the troubles and tragedies experienced by Mary (Tracy) Doolittle and her family.  

      The Church family story contrasts a descendant's perspective and a native American's perspective about the life of my ancestral uncle, famed Indian fighter, Colonel Benjamin Church. For further contrast, this story concludes with a brief account of Colonel Benjamin Church's grandson, Doctor Benjamin Church, who was accused of treason.. 

      Amariah Dana is my most patriotic and also my most rebellious direct ancestor. His story includes his service in the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War as well as his participation in Shay's Rebellion. 

      A short review of Reverend Jame's Keith's uncertain ancestry is followed by an exploration of the uncertain fate of King Phillip's son whose life may have been spared due to an intervention by Reverend Keith, a direct ancestor. 

      The life of Reverend James Ewing traces his origin in Scotland to his desertion from the British army during the American Revolution, and his subsequent service as a minister in Hopewell, New Jersey. 

       "Indenture Servitude and Slavery in the Families of Guy Finch and Peter Hoggins" examines those practices in early Maryland. 

       The factual material in these stories sometimes becomes blurred with embellishments, distortions, and family mythology. I have tried to address this problem as much as possible through documentation. But of course some resources are more credible than others so the life stories linked this web page become mixtures of truths, probabilities, possibilities, and just plain speculations.

       With those thoughts in mind, I hope that the stories linked to this web page will nevertheless be informative and entertaining, especially to any cousins, regardless of how distant they are and whether or not I have ever met them. For me, most of the enjoyment of genealogy is in the sharing. So please enjoy and feel free to contact me with any questions or comments...Louis Lehmann (louislehmann24@gmail.com)


Links to stories of ancestors and significant people in their lives

Like Father, Like Son - James Tanner and his Impact on the Life of Samuel Spates

Sampson Dower - Cornish Miner and Minnesota Lumberman

John Dower - A Pioneer Tacoma Lumberman

Samuel Spates - A Pioneer Methodist Missionary and Allied Lines: Pope, Link, Fullenwider, Rice

Sifting Out the Truth from the French Family Legends

The Life of Frederick Lehmann and Some of his Ancestors and Descendants

Rufus Willis Speaks - of Ancestors in Early New England and New York

Ups and Downs in the Life of Reverend Stephen Tracy

Amariah Dana and his Relatives - Patriots, Rebels and More

The Church Family - Including an Indian Fighter and a Traitor

The Uncertain Ancestry of Reverend James Keith

"Reverend James Ewing, British Army Deserter and Baptist Minister

Indentured Servitude and Slavery in the Families of Guy Finch and Peter Hoggins

The Lives of John Batcheler and Mary Chapman and Some of Their Descendants

Further information about the descendants of John Batcheler and Mary Chapman can be found in the following website, hosted by Bruce Hunt:

Hunt and Crouch Family History

The story about Reverend William Ewing - The Soldier-Preacher from Scotland has been moved from this page to the Ewing Family Association's web site. A related article - William Ewing,Soldier/Preacher, and his Certain, Almost Certain, Probable, and Possible Children - can also be found there. Links to the articles may be found in the Ewing Family Association's Reading Room by clicking here. Scan down the list of articles, which is ordered by author name, and click on the title of one of my articles. Clicking on the title will bring up a Table of Contents (TOC) window that you can use to go to the article - displayed in a second, Document window - or any of it parts. If you find the text size too small in either the TOC or Document windows, just click on the "100%" that appears in the lower right-hand corner of the window.

Here is another website which includes a number of stories about Lou Lehmann's ancestors

Louis Lehmann's Ancestry Publications

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