Today is Pioneer Day in Utah.
We celebrate all those who walked, mostly with handcarts, across the plains, rivers and Rocky Mountains, to reach the "[This is the right] Place," the Great Salt Lake Valley, as seen in vision by Brigham Young.
Though I am a Mormon, and you are, too, my children, we don't come from this pioneer stock. I want you to know, though, we come from a long line of pioneers. I'll try to let you know who they are, according to my understanding.
Many years ago, about 1635, on a ship bound for Rhode Island, our ancestor, Richard Borden (your 9th gr-grandfather) emigrated from Headcorn, County Kent, England (about 40 miles SE of London),
with his wife, Joane Fowle, and their five children (at the time). They were part of the original settlers of Rhode Island, settling in Portsmouth thereafter. They had joined the Society of Friends (Quakers) in England, which led to their emigration. Their son, Matthew, was the first child born in Rhode Island. We descend from his eleventh child, Benjamin Borden.
Richard Borden was a surveyor and owned large tracts of land in both R.I. and Monmouth County, NJ. Others to descend from this couple were Gail Borden, inventor of condensed milk and founder of Borden Milk Company (remember Elsie the cow?). Gail, Texas was named after him. Lizzie Borden, who was charged, but acquitted, in killing her parents in 1892 was also a descendant. Two Borden sisters, Mary and Ann Borden, both married signers of the Declaration of Independence. Mary married Thomas McKean of Pennsylvania, though she died before he signed the document. They had six children together. Ann married Francis Hopkinson, delegate from New Jersey, and Benjamin Franklin's protege. She was left a widow with five children.
Benjamin Franklin mentored Francis H. and he was mentioned in Ben's will:
"The philosophical instruments I have in Philadelphia I give to my ingenious friend, Francis Hopkinson. . . . I request my friends, Henry Hill, Esquire, John Jay, Esquire, Francis Hopkinson, Esquire, and Mr. Edward Duffield, of Benfield, in Philadelphia County, to be the executors of this my last will and testament; and I hereby nominate and appoint them for that purpose." (BTW, I discovered this information about Mary and Ann Borden on July 2, 2004, the real day of independence, according to John Adams. I couldn't believe it. I thought it was a typo, but I Googled it. It's true. Two sisters married two signers.)
Richard Borden's grandson, also named Benjamin, and our progenitor, owned tracts of land in Freehold, N.J. and 1,200 acres of land in Philadelphia, Pa. He was granted 3,143 acres in Orange County, Va., called "Borden's Manor." He was then issued a patent of land for 92,100 acres in Rockbridge County, called "Borden's Great Tract." He also owned tracts in Shenandoah and Botetourt counties in Virginia.
Lydia Borden (your 6th gr-grandmother), daughter of this Benjamin, born about 1728 in Monmouth County, New Jersey, married Hans Jakob Peck (or Beck), a Revoltuionary War hero--along with sons John and Adam). He emigrated from Ebingen, Wuerttemberg, Germany and reached the colony of Virginia about May, 1740. He renounced his German allegiance and became a Virginian in 1747. They settled in Fincastle, Va.
There is a funny story about Lydia Borden and Jakob Peck told by their descendants.
The following story was handed down by Joseph A. Peck (1812-1886), great-grandson of Jacob I, and was recorded by his daughter, Mrs. Elizabeth Peck Hanby, of Rockwall, Texas: "While we lived in Washington County, Va., near Bristol, my father visited some of Adam Peck's descendents, who lived at Mossy Creek, Tennessee. ...They told some good stories of the Bordens and Pecks. One was that Jacob was very much in love with Lydia and very much afraid of Benjamin. It seems that the old gentleman hadn't noticed very closely and never suspected the attachment. So Jacob told Benjamin that he was in love with a girl and uncertain as to the consent of the girl's father, and it was against the law for a man to run away with a girl. The old gentleman said, 'There is no law against a girl running away with a man. Get your girl to run off with you.' A few nights later, Lydia, mounted on a powerful horse, called for her Jacob, took him up behind her, and away they went."
Their graves are in the Fincastle Presbyterian Church cemetery, along with other of our ancestors.
Click on the photos below to enlarge.
There is a Peck cabin still maintained as a residence in that town.
|Peck House, Fincastle, Virginia|
A monument stands in the Fincastle Presbyterian Church Cemetery to honor those who fought in the Revolutionary War.
Of those on the monument, Lewis Hickle, Jacob Peck and his son, John Peck, are our direct ancestors. The rest married in.
|Archibald Washington Kessler|
The story goes, they ". . . feared for their safety. A barn had been burned and shots fired at the house. . . . In Rupert [now West Virginia], one wagon broke down. Leaving the women and children with a kindly family, the men traveled on to [Independence] Missouri. They found the towns rough with terrible living conditions. They were quickly convinced that this was not what they wanted. On the return trip, they went to visit Archie's sister in Summersville. The men were well pleased with conditions and the people in Nicholas Couty. While there, John [Peck] purchased a farm. He spent the rest of his life there."
Mary Catherine Peck Kessler is your 3rd great-grandmother. Your great-grandmother, Mary Lou Kessler, talked about her grandmother all the time and was very proud of her.
|Mary Catherine Peck Kessler, seated, and her sister, Anna Eliza Peck Hamilton|
Lucy Richmond Boggs Kessler
|Martin Christopher Kessler, MD|
|Artist's rendition of the Battle of Point Pleasant|
Please read about the Battle of Point Pleasant, the Muddy River Massacre and the Clendenin Massacre in my genealogy program--or in the biography I wrote in 2003 about your great-grandmother Mary Lou Kessler. Or Google it to find out more interesting facts.
When I visited Point Pleasant in 2005, at the confluence of the Ohio and Kanawha rivers, I was able to see the state park (memorial) and learn that Teddy Roosevelt actually proclaimed the Battle of Point Pleasant to be the very first battle of the Revolutionary War. The savant there told me, if descended from anyone in that battle, you could file to be in the DAR.
The docent at the Point Pleasant Memorial Park told me I was lucky to see a paddle boat on the Kanawha River, right at the confluence of the Ohio River. She said they usually only come by once a month or less.
|Click on the photo to read|
To end . . . I would like to consider myself a pioneer. I was the first in our family to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I even crossed the plains (in my minivan) and settled in the Salt Lake Valley, just as the Saints of old did.
Children, please visit all my notes in my Legacy program and you will find all of the ancestors I have gathered--many thousands--tens of thousands.