Monday, January 18, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Samuel J. Denyer and the Santa Fe Expedition

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I share a news article containing a narration of some of the events of the Texan Santa Fe Expedition by Samuel J. Denyer, the brother of my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer. I do not know how closely this narration resembles what other survivors said. or how it compares to the historical record. Reading it from the perspective of our own times, it is easy to see a markedly different narration of events could be written by other participants.

Santa Fe Expedition as told by Samuel J DenyerThe Brooklyn Daily Eagle 
Brooklyn, New York 
23 Jun 1843, Fri • Page 2

The sufferings of the Santa Fe Expedition — of which we received a verbal account from Samuel J. Denyer, one of the survivors, a few days ago — were much greater than have commonly been supposed. Scarcely had they left Austin when calamities began to overtake them ; and ere they had accomplished a moiety of the distance, their provisions were exhausted, and they were reduced to a state of extreme want. At the camp on Little River, Gen. McCloud, the leader of the expedition, was taken sick, and a small detachment remained for the purpose of assisting him during his illness and conducting him to the main body when he should recover: the remainder pushed onto Nolan's River, where they discovered an Indian village, and were fortunate enough to obtain some provisions. Here the main body was again joined by McCloud and his guard. The hunger of the men had now become excessive, and they ate the hides, entrails everything, in short, except the horns of their beeves, and even drank the blood. This latter was subsequently divided among them, so eager had the competition for it become. Large numbers of Indian dogs were also killed and eaten : and by many pronounced extremely delicate. At this time several of the men had been killed in skirmishes with the Indians and two or three had committed suicide.

Soon after leaving Nolan's river, and before reaching the Polladora, a fight occurred between five of the men and several hundred Indians. The former had wandered some distance from the camp for the purpose of shooting game, and while thus engaged, found themselves among hills black with the enemy. Escape seeming to be doubtful, if not impossible, they resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible, and obtaining as favorable a position as they could find, drew up their horses in the form of a breastwork, and awaited the onslaught. In a few moments about half a dozen Indians approached, and all save one were killed. Some four or five others were then sent, who shared the fate of their predecessors ; and this operation was repeated apparently with the view of not endangering the lives of more than were competent to the object until a score of the assailants had fallen. By this time the horses of the whites had been killed, and their bodies served as a fortification, from behind which considerable execution was done. At length, overpowered by numbers and their ammunition exhausted, they were slain. A spy, who arrived in camp the next day, informed the Texans that the heart of Maybe (one of the five) whose extraordinary bravery had excited the admiration of the Indians hid been taken out and roasted, and each one of the tribe allowed to eat a piece of it. A council was now held, and it was resolved that a detachment of one hundred should proceed to Santa Fe for provisions, as neither buffalo could be killed, or supplies obtained from the natives.

Leaving this position the main body advanced towards Red Lake, and in their progress encountered a large and handsome Indian village, (the Waco.) It was beautifully situated on the margin of a stream which emptied into Red River, and was so large as to be mistaken by many for the latter. The streets of this village were neatly laid out, the houses well built and comfortable, the gardens filled with fruit trees in bearing, and the fields growing corn and vegetables. In the centre was the Great Council House, of a circular form, and appropriately fitted up. Tho whole aspect of the place, indeed, gave evidence of advancement in civilization ; but the inhabitants were hostile and treacherous. At first they intimated their willingness to form a treaty, and proposed a day for a meeting of the Chiefs on both sides. The Texans were ready at the appointed time, but not so the faithless savages. They solicited further time ; but it having now been ascertained that they were carrying off their women, children and valuables, and that the desire for time was a mere artifice to deceive the Texans until the arrangements for giving them battle with safety should be completed, the negotiations were summarily closed, and the expedition took up the line of march.

From this time nothing of importance occurred until the surrender at Red Lake, which was induced by the treacherous conduct of the individuals entrusted with the arrangement. On arriving at the Lake the Mexicans were discovered in a strong position, and although not exceeding an hundred in number, they were fresh and well-provisioned, and constituted a formidable foe for one hundred and fifty Texans, worn down with hunger and fatigue, and many of them scarce able to walk. Still, the latter would have fought and were anxious to do so ; but they were overruled by the officers, all of whom, save McCloud, were clamorous for terms. The Mexicans had professed an anxiety to trade, provided their customers would lay down their arms; and promised, in the most solemn manner, to act in good faith, and restore the arms on their departure. When asked what guarantee they would give for the fulfillment of the conditions, they replied, "The best guaranty in the world the faith of the great Mexican nation."

An agreement was subsequently reduced to writing, and interpreted to the Texans by the commander. It promised everything that could be desired, and exhibited, on its face, the most perfect fairness. Gen. McCloud, however, was not willing to repose confidence in the treacherous crew ; referred to the many instances of Mexican duplicity of which they had had experience ; " but," said he, "what can one do against a dozen." At a given signal the Texans discharged and then grounded their arms, when the Mexicans marched in, and took possession of them. As an instance of their seeming fidelity we may state, that they requested each man to write his name on a piece of paper, and attach it to his musket, so that no difficulty or confusion might ensue in returning them. Some obeyed the request, and all were about to do so when McCloud suggested that they had better save themselves the trouble.

For some days after the capitulation, the prisoners were treated with generosity and even kindness ; but this was because their subjugation was not yet quite complete. One evening a sham riot was enacted, and a complaint was afterwards made that a Mexican soldier had been stabbed by one of the Texans with a Bowie knife. The prisoners were thereupon mustered into line, and their knives taken from them under pretense of examining each for blood. It is hardly necessary to say that they were not returned. Their rations were now suddenly cut down to an ear of corn a-day for each man, with scarcely water enough to quench their thirst. Subsequently the Texans were again paraded, and their pen and jacknives taken from them; when, being assured of their entire defenselessness, a most cruel and inhuman mode of treatment was adopted towards them by those honorable representatives of the " Great Mexican Nation." They were tied together and driven like animals ; kept with scarcely food enough to sustain life, and when the women and children on the route, seeing their destitution and feeling a disposition to relieve them, offered provisions, they were rudely ordered and beaten away. Sometimes a shower of nicknacs would be thrown in among them, which, however, were of little use, unless when the prisoners were fortunate enough to catch them in their hands. The subsequent fortunes of the expedition are already well known.


1) My third great grandfather, William Denyer, the father of Samuel Denyer and his brother, my second great grandfather, Ebenezer Denyer, was born in England and immigrated to the US in the early 1820s. Samuel was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1822 and Ebenezer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania in 1828. It's not clear exactly when the family headed south to the Republic of Texas, but at least Samuel was clearly there before Texas became a State in 1845, and likely the rest of the family as well. William died in Louisiana in 1848, and was likely a resident of three countries during his lifetime. Samuel Denyer was killed by an "Indian" April 30,1861.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Selig Feinstein and the Progressive Order of the West - Unity Lodge 104

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I’m sharing lists of names of delegates to several annual conventions of the Progressive Order of the West - a Jewish fraternal organization that was founded in 1896 and headquartered in St. Louis Missouri. My maternal great grandfather, Samuel Deutsch, was buried in the Progressive Order of the West section of Waldheim Cemetery in Chicago in 1938. I knew my second great grandfather, Selig Feinstein, was a member of a fraternal order from his son's wedding announcement,  however I didn't know which ones, until finding his name in these lists. While there may have been multiple lodges in the St. Louis area, since I don't know the locations for all of the lodges, I am going to focus on just the lodge Selig was a member of: Unity, 104.

Progressive Order of the West 7th Annual Convention Delegates
The Jewish Voice, Jan 24, 1902, page 3

Unity, 104
A. Rosentreter, Dr. M.I. DeVorkin, H. Elbert, Jos. Lehr, S. Feinstein, H. German, H. Maizner

Progressive Order of the West 9th Annual Convention Delegates
The Jewish Voice, Jan 29, 1904, page 6.

"Unity" 104


Dr. M.I. DeVarkin
Rev. A. Rosentreter
H. Elbert
J. Lehr
S. Feinstein
M. Zuckerman
A. German
J. Becker
H. Bearken
W. Schwartz
M. Pearl
M. Laski
A. Kristel

M. Weiselman
D. Roodman
H. Hirsch
L. Roodman
S. Cohen
I. Reifler
S. Honeck
A. Rosenfeld
W. Grassblatt
J. Davis
G. Elbert
I. Rosen
J. Sheffer

Grand Lodge Officers - 1913
The Jewish Voice, July 25, 1913, page 8

Following is the list of Grand Lodge Officers for the past term: 
B. Frank, Grand Master. 
H. L. Brody, 1st Deputy Grand Master. 
Abe Levy, 2nd Deputy Grand Master. 
J. Zuckerman, 3rd Deputy Grand Mas. 
N. Koffman, 4th, Deputy Grand Mas. 
Michael Sack, 5th Deputy Grand Mas. 
Morris Shapiro, Grand Secretary. 
Jacob Lasky, Grand Treasurer. 
Sam Kranzberg, Beneficiary Treas. 
Ben. E. Cohen, Grand Counsellor. 
Dr. M. I. DeVorkin. Grand Med. Ex. 
Chas. Schneider, Grand Chaplain. 
D. Reichman, Beneficiary Chairman. 
Adolph Cohen, Chairman of Finance. 
Harry Specter, Committee on Finance. 
Mike Novack, Committee on Finance. 
Ed. Lasky, Chairman on Supplies. 
Max Levy, Chairman of Appeals. 
M. Rubin, Chairman on Reserve Fund. 
Chas. I. Mahler, Chair. State of Order. 
B. Stein, Chairman on Propaganda. 
M. Lowenstine, Chairman of Rituals. 
Philip Fishman, Chair on Disability. 
S. Goldman, First Trustee. 
S. Feinstein, Second Trustee. 
J. Guttmann, Third Trustee. 
J. Jacobson, Grand Sentry.


The above indicates my second great grandfather was at least a member from 1902-1913. Selig died in 1915, and was likely a member at his death. M(ax) Weiselman, who was an alternate delegate in 1904, was Selig's business partner. Max was from Zhitomir, Volhynia, and I know the Feinsteins were from Volhynia as well. I do not know if the Weiselmans and Feinsteins knew each other in the Old Country.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Do I Have Cousins in Burlington, Vermont?

 In the 1880s a group of immigrants to Burlington, Vermont founded Chai Adam Synagogue. These immigrants came from Čekiškė, Lithuania - the same shtetl my Cruvant ancestors came from. Do I have kin in Burlington?

Chai Adam founders included: 

  • Morris Levin
  • Abraham Mowsowitz
  • Max Samuelson
  • Joseph Trotchky
  • Hyman D. Segel
  • M.L. Levin
  • Abram Kaplan
  • Isaac Levin
  • Sam Trotchky
  • Lewis Greenstein

Surname Kaplan

  • Hannah Kaplan married a second great granduncle, Girsha Abram Kruvond.  
  • Hannah's brother, Louis, went by Louis Cohen, and he married a first cousin three times removed, Sarah Cruvand.
  • Julius Kaplan married second cousin twice removed, Fannie Cruvand. (I only know he came from Lithuania. I believe they married in the U.S. His father's name was Max.)

While Hannah and Louis definitely came from Čekiškė, Cohen/Kaplan is an extremely common Jewish surname. Further research was required to see if Chai Adam founder Abram Kaplan is related. (More closely related than being a descendant of Aaron, brother of Moses.) 

I found who I believe is the same Abram Kaplan on Geni. While from nearby Josvainiai, Lithuania, his wife is from Čekiškė, so it could be the same individual. I asked Geni to find the shortest connection between us, and I was told it was through his wife. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a connection through him that Geni doesn’t know about yet.

Surname: Greenstein
  • Abraham Greenstein married first cousin three times removed, Rebekka Kroovand. (They were married in New York, and I am not sure where he immigrated from.) If I can confirm he came from the vicinity of Čekiškė, I'll research further to see if he is related to Lewis Greenstein.
Surname: Trotchky
  • No known relatives. Just a small note that Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky, was born in Bereslavka, Ukraine about 1200 km (745 miles) from Čekiškė. His surname at birth was Bronstein. He changed his surname to Trotsky after the surname of a Siberian prison warden.
The linked website at the beginning of this post has some great pictures from inside the Čekiškė synagogue I posted about a few years ago.

Note: Senator Sanders was born in Brooklyn, NY and later moved to Burlington. He is not a descendant of the Burlington Chai Adam founders. Alas.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Amanuensis Monday: Mabel Fulkerson is Hit by a Car - November 1961

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

I continue my project to transcribe family letters, journals, newspaper articles, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts. Not only do the documents contain genealogical information, the words breathe life into kin - some I never met - others I see a time in their life before I knew them.

Today I’m sharing the transcription of three newspaper articles concerning my wife's great grandmother, Mabel (Fulkerson) Gober (1901-1991). In November of 1961 she was hit by a car, and she remained in the hospital until February of 1962.

St. Louis Post Dispatch, 26 Nov 1961, Page 12 

Mrs. Robert L Gober, 60 years old, suffered fractures of the jaw, ribs and right hip last night when she was struck by an automobile in front of her home, 4111 Jennings Road, Pine Lawn. 

The driver of the automobile, Harry B. Frye, 9834 Colony drive, Bellefontaine Neighbors, said he was driving south in Jennings road when Mrs. Gober stepped into the path of his car from between two cars which were stoped in the northbound lane. She was taken to St. Louis County Hospital. 

Daily Standard, Sikeston, Missouri, 07 Dec 1961, page 3 

Word was received Wednesday from Mrs. Mabel Gober, a patient in St. Luke’s Hospital, St. Louis, that she is still on the Improving List. Mrs. Gober’s room number is 5109. She is a sister of Mrs. Ellis Alcorn, Sikeston; Mrs. Virgie Williams of Sikeston, who is spending the winter in Memphis; and Mrs. John Healy of Dexter. 

Daily Standard, Sikeston, Missouri, 08 Feb 1962, page 6 

Mrs. Ellis Acorn reports that her sister, Mrs. Mabel Gober of St. Louis who was struck by a car in St. Louis, November 25, was released from the St. Luke Hospital, this past Sunday. Mrs. Gober is now able to be around in a walker and wishes to thank all friends and relatives who were so kind and thoughtful doing her stay in the hospital.


I was already aware of the names of Mabel's brothers-in-law so the traditional naming format wasn't particularly frustrating. If I hadn't been, identifying which sister married which man could be my next challenge. Julia Fulkerson married Virgil Williams, Wrista Lou Fulkerson married Ellis Alcorn. Bertha Priscilla Fulkerson married John Healy.

I doubt a newspaper today would print the hospital room someone was staying in. It appears after being taken to St. Louis County Hospital (a 200-bed facility that opened in 1929 and closed in 1986), she was later transferred to St. Luke's Hospital for her recuperation.