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Friday, May 29, 2015

Daniel Good

One of my favorite activities is digging out documents to correct false information on a family that has been published and widely circulated or a family that is basically unknown. One of those fell into my lap about two weeks ago and I've been having a lot of fun digging. I'm not finished but the story is beginning to emerge.
It began when I saw an original 1793 deed on an Ebay auction. After checking the deed index, I decided it is an unrecorded deed related to a Daniel Good family of Cocalico Township in Lancaster County. (Unrecorded means there is no record of it in the courthouse and the original is the only one in existence.)  Little is known about this family and I was sure the deed would reveal some unknown facts. How it got to California is hard to tell but I thought it should come home where it belongs. I put a bid on it and won.
I transcribed the deed the day it came and sure enough! It did reveal some new information on the Daniel Good family. He was married to Christina (not Elizabeth as has been published) and had five children: Henry, Elizabeth, Sarah, Daniel Jr. and Christian (two of whom were previously unknown).
Further research has shown that Daniel and Christina were householders of the Ephrata Cloister. That means they were members of the group but lived on a farm as a family rather than in the Cloister compound where only celibate members lived. However, daughter Sarah was one of the celibate sisters in the Cloister.  Elizabeth was married to Andrew Weiss and was baptized into the Lutheran church as an adult. I'm still working on tracing the sons.
This Daniel is of particular interest to me because he may have been a brother of my ancestor Henry Good. I would love to find something to confirm his identity. One of my history friends recently told me, "I like to work on the hard ones. Anybody can get the easy ones." This is one of the hard ones. I'm sinking my teeth into it and gnawing like a dog with a bone.

Monday, May 25, 2015

End Of An Era

Way back in November 2014, we signed an agreement to sell the family cabin at an auction on May 23, 2015. It seemed far off then but time marched steadily on and the day came. We went up to the cabin Friday evening and spent the night there. Our two youngest sons came up too and reached back to touch the past by catching some crayfish and a frog when they went to fetch water from the stream. They stirred up the water so much it wasn't fit to use and they had to drive to another cabin nearby to get water from a spring there. Gene's little boy loved the little frog. "Aw, he's cute."
The auction was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, but people began arriving around 9. Our oldest son and his wife came, as well as some other family members. By the time the auction began, I estimated about 40 people were there. That was a good turnout for a one-item auction. We recognized some of them as people who had been there for one of the Open House days and knew they were serious bidders.
After all the months of planning and preparing, the auction was over in 15 minutes and sold to the highest bidder. We were happy with the outcome of the sale, both the price and purchaser. The place was bought by the owner of the neighboring property who has a permanent residence there.
He mainly wanted the ten acres to protect his own property and keep it in woods. He will let the cabin there and rent it out. Perhaps we can still go there, but as renters instead of owners. That would mean we can just relax and not have to do any maintenance work. That's what we were trying to accomplish by selling.
The assorted family who were able to stay for lunch shared one last meal in the cabin before drifting off their separate ways. My sisters stayed with us for the rest of the weekend.
We were blessed with a beautiful weekend although it was cool enough in the mornings that a little fire in the woodstove felt good. On Sunday afternoon we loaded our wagon to head home but took a few final pictures first.

We made a lot of memories here since my parents built this cabin in 1984. Daddy died about two years after it was built and it passed on to me and my siblings. But now, with grandchildren added to our families, it is too small to hold our entire families. We weren't using it much anymore and as we get older the work of maintaining it is more than we care to do. It was time to pass it on to someone younger and more ambitious. It was sad to see an era come to an end but life moves on and we have to move with it.
Thanks for the memories. They are ours to keep.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Forgotten First President

If you are like me, you were probably never taught that our nation had two governments. We are under the second one. In the 1780s, prior to the Constitutional government, we had the original government with its own constitution "The Articles of Confederation."
The first President of the United States was not George Washington but John Hanson,  the only man from Maryland to serve in the nation's highest office. That is a historical fact that has been lost in American memory.
In late June 1776, twelve colonies were in on the Declaration of Independence but doubting Maryland was not. John Hanson took the lead in the Maryland Legislative body, saying they must join in on the Declaration of Independence. The Second Continental Congress was sitting in Philadelphia waiting on word from Maryland. They said they would wait until July 2 and if Maryland was not in at that point, they would go ahead without Maryland. They were sitting there that afternoon when a rider came in from Maryland saying Maryland is in and that made it unanimous. Hanson had convinced Maryland to go along and took the lead in keeping the nation whole.
At the same time the Declaration was signed, there was a motion to form a Continental Congress and have it draft a Constitution. By the fall of 1777, the committee reported in but there was not yet a government. The Second Continental Congress was a consultative body of thirteen colonies and states that were trying to form a government. They had separate governments that had declared independence from England but were thirteen separate nation-states, much as you see in the European Union today.
In late 1777, the Articles of Confederation went to the thirteen states for ratification but there was an impasse on the Western lands. Six of the colonies had been granted so-called Western Lands by the British crown. Hanson, in the Maryland General assembly, saw this would not work. Those six would outweigh the population of the seven states without land grants and run the show. It would lead to division and the breakdown of the nation. Three of these Western Land Grants extended all the way to the Pacific Ocean. If Hanson had not done his work, we would have Seattle, Connecticut; San Francisco, Virginia; and San Diego, Georgia.
The Second Continental Congress was stuck on this for five years until Hanson authored the Doctrine of Maryland saying Maryland will not join unless this is solved. The General Assembly of Maryland sent Hanson to Congress and eight months after he arrived he got all six of those states to agree to cede those Western Lands to the United States. So Hanson saved his nation the second time.
A nation does not exist until you have a government and a Head of State. That did not happen until the Articles were ratified and signed on November 5, 1781. As its first act, they elected John Hanson as the first President, unopposed.
Who was our first President? We had two governments and each government had its first President. John Hanson was the first President of the original government and George Washington was the first President of the second government. Washington himself stated that Hanson preceded him and was the actual first President of the United States. Seven more men were elected for one-year terms as President of the original government. They were Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock, Nathaniel Gorham, Arthur St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin. Then in 1789, George Washington became the first President of the second government under the current United States Constitution.
Remembering John Hanson was written by Peter Hanson Michael, a descendant of John Hanson. The book is a comprehensive biography of the most-forgotten major figure in American history. I learned a lot from it that I never knew and was not taught in our American history classes.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mary Sensenig

Mary Sensenig lived with my sister, Carol, for more than twenty years. She was with our family so much she left like our step-sister. We will miss her when we get together and her place is empty.
Mary had cancer, was treated, and had five more cancer-free years. A year ago it came back. She fought bravely on and continued to work as much as she was able. Then the cancer attacked her brain and three weeks after she went to work for the last time, she was gone. Her faith and her smile remained constant to the end. Her last words before she sank into her last sleep were an expression of appreciation for all that people were doing for her. Mary showed us how to live and how to die. See you later, Mary.

Mary Esther Sensenig, 50, entered the presence of her Lord and Savior on Friday, May 8, 2015. She died peacefully in her home. She will be lovingly remembered by her family.
Born in Ephrata, she was a daughter of Melvin G. and the late Margaret W. (Hurst) Sensenig.
Mary was a diligent employee of Conestoga Wood Specialties, East Earl, for eight years, last working on April 20, 2015. She enjoyed hiking, music, and sharing her life with 23 nieces and nephews and their families. She was known for her caring spirit and her ability to encourage and cheer on others. She was also a faithful member of Living Water Fellowship, Reinholds.
In addition to her father, Mary is survived by a stepmother, Elma H. Sensenig; four sisters: Arlene, wife of Paul K. Landis, of Ephrata, Verna, wife of George Kardos, of New Holland, Gloria, wife of Warren Martin, of Mt. Pleasant Mills, and Geraldine, wife of Clair B. Good, of Denver; and long-time friend, Dr. Carol R. Burkholder. She was preceded in death by her mother and a brother-in-law, John Sensenig.
Funeral services will be held on Thursday, May 14, at 2:00 PM at Martindale Mennonite Church, 171 Hurst Rd., Ephrata, PA 17522. Interment will be in the adjoining cemetery. Viewing will be held on Wednesday, May 13, from 5-9 PM at the church and 1 hour prior to funeral services.
Lancaster newspaper, May 9, 2015 


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Message to America

This is an urgent message to America on the National Day of Prayer. Click on the link to hear it. And listen all the way through. The very best part is at the end.