Monday, December 17, 2012

An Early Christmas Gift

My great grandfather Stephen Sherwood got even with me the day after my "Carpuss" (see below) post made light of his spelling and grammar.    That post was to be my last for the year until I received an early Christmas present.

This  gift wasn't one I asked for or ever expected, and yet  a more timely or appreciated gift couldn't  have come my way.  I'm up to 1863 in the letters and The Articles of Agreement were written in 1867.  It was as if Stephen wanted The Articles  to tie into the letters that would be posted shortly.  Allow me to explain.

I entered the phrase "Stephen Sherwood mining" in google books (try it by clicking google books, put in the phrase Stephen Sherwood mining, and then go down the page) and a book I hadn't seen before was on the screen,  Articles of Agreement of the Sherwood Silver Mining Company of Nevada. This fifteen page booklet had twenty-three articles of agreement, and the names of the officers, directors, trustees, and attorney of the Sherwood Silver Mining Company. Twenty-four investors were mentioned. Names are worth  more than silver to a  genealogist, and this certainly is a treasure I will be mining for a long time.  These  individuals  had put trust in Stephen Sherwood and his company.  A quick search through google books of  the investors revealed  some were men of influence in Chicago. Carter H Harrison became the Mayor of Chicago.  Yes, there are names to be mined.

So I must say that in his case spelling and grammar didn't mean much in the scheme of things.  It didn't really matter how he spelled Corpus.  Carpuss was just fine.  Everybody knew what he meant.  Stephen would get the final word.  He could say:  "You don't have to be a good speller to have your own company."

The recipient of a gift should always give sincere thanks to the giver.  It isn't exactly clear who I should thank, but let me start with three.  Without the google books search engine which found the document, and I might add the digitizing technology which copied it,  this document would never have been found. The John Crerar Library  had stored the book for nearly 150 years, and last but not least, I should thank John Crerar,  who left 2.6 million in his estate as an endowment for a free public library.

The bibliographic information said the book was digitized on February 24, 2012.    It was as if

was gift wrapped and placed under the tree in February to find and open just before Christmas.

When we do family history, we all have something that somebody else needs.  This post would not be complete if I did not SHOW my thanks.  I've started by posting the book on my blog.  I already recognize names in the Articles of Agreement.  The name Walker  was in a letter I posted, and Coe will be in a future one.  The Articles of Agreement will help build more history around the names in The Sherwood Letters.  Perhaps, even some of their descendants will find their names here.

I'm grateful  I can keep this gift and give it away at the same time.  It's a gift that keeps on giving.  Family history can do that.  This blog has been an attempt to start the process.

Thanks for allowing me to show you what I got for Christmas.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

April 6, 1863--Stephen Sherwood to his Family (Page 1 of 4)

It has been interesting to find the history that is falling in place behind these letters.

"The discovery of gold at Canyon Creek on June 8, 1862, brought a rush of people and supplies into the  Upper John Day basin.  Within a year nearly 10,000 fortune hunters trekked to the gold fields from the nearest access and supply point-- The Dalles-- over a series of trails that became
"The Dalles to Canyon City Wagon Road." Canyon City was larger than Portland at the time.

Dalles  April 6th 1863

Dear children  i received your letter and was over joyed to here that you all war a live and was as well as you was but am verry sorry for Wellingtons misfortune  we are all well Hiram and Oren started with the Pack Trane the other Day to the mines to Canyon citty

Canyon City, Oregon

 it is a bout 200 miles   they will be gon a bout 3 weeks there?  freight will come to 400 Dollars

  i am a waiting at the Dalles for Elizabeth and William to come  i Expect them on the next California Steamer
The Dalles

 i sent them 265 Dollars to come with and  i wish i had some to send to you but i will send you some as soon as possible  and i hope that will be be four long but own loses in california has made it very hard for us but we have got a start a gain am in a better location than before   you must not feel down? that I have not written often for the year past for the most of the time and have ben in the mountains and could? not  but my interest and feeling and affections   i miss the kids?   i have strong hopes and Determined to  make a move  and i will do it that I may a ward you for your Integrity  Don't dis pair  know hope on  the cloud?, will clear a way by and by all

Is Sephen telling his children not to despair but to have hope because even though it is cloudy, they will clear eventually ?).  He always has a message of hope in his letters. (go to page 2)

April 6, 1863--Stephen Sherwood to his Family (Page 2 of 4)

tho it has ben a Dark and Dismal nite all things shall work to gether for  good to them that love you and O Henry & Sarah I send you my Special Love for the spirit of love kindness and integrity that you manifested in your letter  i can't rite my feeling but i hope to see you by and by and i can talk better than i rite you ___ it is much a gave? as is in the letter for it wont  __ half what i want to rite i am a going in to the mines as soon as the boys come back and I Don't know but i Shall take a pack trane load of ____ the horse? we traded?  with last summer take?  me to Day  i could have all i wanted if i worked? ya in to it   i think if the boys are willing to Do it  i think i will  William and i in the mines and Elizabeth can make a hundred Dollar per month baking pies and one of us can take our chances in the mines we have 25 gear pack animals and __ i am a going to win? the horse an loos? the Saddle

 i have? let the (sharpens?) play it and we ___ a ____ i am a going to play (sharp?)  to after this    it is know time?? to look for___ in the business world  i am a going to quit work and a going to (sharp?) it often  this from i can beat  half of the (sharpens?)  if i only work?     but them c______    is one of so they.  Don't hit much if they

( I have no clue what this part of the letter is talking about)  What is shapens??????.  If anybody reading this has any idea, please let  me know

A Spelling Dilemma-- "Carpuss" (Page 3 of 4)

In this part of the letter, I want to show an interesting side of Stephen Sherwood even if he isn't around to defend himself.  Let me explain.

Stephen Sherwood, my gg grandfather,  was a very talented blacksmith and miner.  Actually I believe he was more of an engineer though not formally trained in that field, and had business skills as well.  The reader of this blog will later find that he was the Recorder for a mining district in Nevada, and owned a mine in California.

 If you have read from the actual letters I have been posting on this blog,  it soon became evident, the one thing Stephen didn't do well was spell. Our ancestors weren't perfect and we can certainly overlook some of their faults.

I came across the following sentence in the letter below, "WE WILL GO TO CARPUSS IN TEXAS WHERE THE WINTERS IS NO WINTER A TOLL AND A BETTER COUNTRY THAN ILLINOIS EVER WAS." (sometimes his grammar was a little shaky as well).

Does  anybody know where "Carpuss inTexas" is?  I didn't either.  I had to sleep on that one.  The next morning I realized where it was.   I'm just grateful I have these letters of Stephen so I can get to know him better, and even tease him a little.  After all, in  addition to his grammar and spelling, he makes me work to understand his writing.  AFTER you read the rest of this blog scroll down to see the answer, if you haven't already figured out where "Carpuss in Texas" is.

"We will go to Carpuss in Texas where the winters is no winters a toll and a better country than Illinois ever was." (Start with the fourth line from the bottom of the actual letter if you want to read this sentence).

(continuing with the letter from the top)
__i will greese?? them with a little of the filthy lucre?? and they will go clean??  i am a going to try to get Eaven??  i shall have to quit this part     Tell Mother Francis & the girls my love   Dont go a beging if they Don't want it  they__ar ?? not have it  Elizabeth and i have written more than a half a dazen letters and  have had none   but give my love to Sophia for i think she will re turn it  and tell her to be a good and A noble girl and William may come by and by and tell Ruth if she Dont blow a way when Garry comes he will see her?  You mentioned?? of riting?? the boys (in trust those) that is my ___  i will have Oren and William send you a Deed of (those in trust)  when i can get them to make a deal? and you will have to have a  De __ of the cort and same one appointed guardian but Don't have any one un less  it is you on use  you can instruct the boys a bout that that will be  their rite of choice to choose for them selfs and tell mother Francis that she had better sell? too and when the war is over

Corpus, Christi, Texas


Ruth and Sophia were Ruth (Denick born 1839) and Sophia (Denick born 1844).  They were the daughters of Laura Denick Francis,    from  Laura's first marriage to Valentine Denick.  Stephen's wife Elizabeth Denick was their older sister.  Their other sister, Sarah, had married, Stephen's son, Henry Sherwood who had received this letter from his father Stephen Sherwood.  It appears Stephen was hinting that his son William might "come by and by" for Sophia Denick.  Sophia was born the same year as William  If that had been the case two of Stephen Sherwoods' sons would have married Denicks, as well as their father who was married to their sister Elizabeth.  

Please post in comments below where you think Stephen Sherwood will be February 18, 1864 when he writes his next letter to his family. Take a wild guess. You may be right.


April 6, 1863--Stephen Sherwood to his Family (Page 4 of 4)

it may take me a year or two where i am before i can get a way that is the gratest back country that there is over  i want to take a ___ ____ of brood mares  and some? mules    i can take ___ __ __ and crops? the plows but i Don't want to go till the war is over and There __ is over ___  __   don't suffer for any thing that you need if you can get it for it want pay   Elizabeth rote me that she had  a little flower spring  up the 5 of December  she is much delited with it being a Daughter   i have felt a good while that i had no Daughter but on a Da___ter ____   but i suppose? i have one now which will do me   my love Elizabeth is a good woman you would not now her by her actions and? I love  been more and more  Give ____  little ones a kiss? for me  i should like to return? and  Do it myself   till Wellington  i thank him for  his letter   i will rite him and Dan and  and our? Johnny soon  i send them my love and the hurt?? to? be good boys  i hope to see them by and by  you had better get a hand? full or two of cat tole ploy meat?and add it to the mognaba? ____ ___ and i think it will cure it if it the _____of bones was all got out  your___the____in the____and to get the strength and then or the _______ material? __ of  the

(he is writing, I believe, some things to do to help Wellington)

Excuse all mistakes for my  hart and mind is fuller than pen can Express and my pen can rite from your most Effectionate father

                                                          Stephen Sherwood

H S Sherwood
S M Sherwood
W T Sherwood
D Sherwood
Henry? Sherwood


The "little flower" that Elizabeth had "spring up the 5 of December was Hattie Sherwood.  This was the first daughter for Stephen and Elizabeth.  Stephen had a daughter, Maria, from his first wife, Mariah Hubbell.  He had a second daughter, Elizabeth, from Sophia Parker.  Elizabeth died in 1843.
Stephen Sherwood had high hopes to make some money here, but his next letter is not written from Canyon City or even The Dalles.  This statement will explain why Stephen and Elizabeth were not there the next year.  The Oregon Guide stated:  "By 1863 the number of miners digging gold at Canyon City had been reduced from 10,000 the previous year to 700...... the discovery of gold in others fields practically depopulated Canyon City that Winter."   (Quote under "The 28 Hour Pony Express Run from Canyon City to the Dalles.")  Stephen Sherwood would be part of that depopulation.  Once again it was time for Stephen Sherwood who was called by The Trinity Journal (Jan. 10, 1885) "A 49er frontiersman and inveterate prospector, who, like the Wandering Jew, drifted from place to place in search of new discoveries, fresher fields and fairer flowers"  to move on. 

 If you are reading this, please tell me in a comment, where you think Stephen Sherwood will be in February of 1864 when he writes his next letter.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's Tip --- Stephen Sherwood/Census Records. (Tip #3)

This section was included to illustrate the importance of census records. is a major sources for census records, and is often available in Local Libraries or Family History Centers for free.  You might want to try looking up one of your ancestors.  You can click the orange link in the next paragraph to find my ancestor, Stephen Sherwood, in my family tree in

Stephen Sherwood is listed in Hoboken in the 1880 Census, but probably living in the New River area  (which is crossed out), in household #44 in Trinity County, California.  ANCESTRY.COM census records show Stephen Sherwood in 1840 (Plainfield, Will,  Illinois), 1850  (South Fork of American River, El Dorado,  California), 1860 (York (Oregon House), Yuba,  California) , 1870 (Antioch, Lake, Illinois, and 1880 Hoboken (New River), Trinity,  California).  Yes, he was an adventurer.  Check out these census records in by clicking the orange prompt (then click on "source citations" to view the actual census records).  I just learned how to use the "link" so you'll see more material referenced online in future posts.  This blog is a work in progress if you hadn't noticed.  :-).  Stephen Sherwood was also involved in mining and business dealings in Pioche, Lincoln, Nevada from 1863 to about 1876, but was not there in 1870 to be listed in the census.

Hoboken,  Trinity, California
Although the census listed Stephen in Hoboken, he likely lived in New River which is crossed out in the census record.  He is listed on the voting records (view "original image") in New River in 1879.

He (Stephen Sherwood) "While in the vicinity of Shasta this mineral belt attracted his attention.  He followed it until he camped in what is known as the New River District, exclaiming, "Eureka."
Trinity Journal, Jan. 10, 1885

This  well written book (above)  by Valerie Budig-Markin which includes photographs by Ellen "Nellie" Elizabeth Ladd and Valerie Budig-Markin tells the story of life in this area.  Stephen Sherwood lived here until his death in 1894.  Valeria Markin says:  "A legend was born, with Stephen Sherwood as its hero.  News of the gold rush picked up from local newspapers had been taken up by the San Francisco Evening Post on Jan. 2, 1885."  Valerie says the discoveries by Stephen Sherwood and Clement/Clemens (his partner F. J. Ladd would be there shortly), set "off the upper New River district mining boom."  (See Trinity Journal Sept. 30, 1882 and Dec. 9, 1882) 

Friday, September 14, 2012

December 14, 1862--Stephen to His Children (Page 1 of 4)

December 14, 1862

Dear Children it has ben a long time since i rote you a letter and i am a shamed of it but i have ben so irritated (?) that i could (?)  not ___ you ___Excuse me i have ben gon_ _____ are from any post office 270 (240?) miles  we are all well  Hiram (Parker) and Oren (Sherwood) myself is at the Dalles on the Columbia river in Oregon  we have a pack __orse of 30 horses and mules that we have Earned(?) this summer but we have not made any money but we think we can make money next summer  my wife and W (William Sherwood) & little children is in Cal ___ i had a letter (?) from _____
The children mentioned here are Wellington (13), Dan (11), and John (7).  They are living with their older half brother Henry Stephen Sherwood and his wife in Antioch, Lake, Illinois
Hiram (38) referred to here is likely Hiram Parker (born 1824), the brother of Sophia Parker Sherwood (2nd wife of Stephen Sherwood).  Hiram has not been found in the 1860 Census with his wife and children (he may have been in California) but was with his wife, Sylvia (from Ireland) in the 1850 and 1870 Census in Lake County, Illinois.  Hiram would also be the Uncle of Oren and William, Stephen's children.

Oren (22) and William (18) are children of Stephen Sherwood and Sophia Parker Sherwood (who died in 1853).  His wife Elizabeth Denick Sherwood was in California with their their two children, Lewis (8) and George (2).  George was born in California.

The Dalles, Oregon, 1867
Map with the Dalles and Columbia River

December 14, 1862--Stephen to His Children (Page 2 of 4)

Day(?) thay ware all well   i Expect to get them up here in the spring  mr Walker is in the mines and is well when we left the mines 3 weeks a go it is a bout the same winter weather that it in Illinois  i want you to rite me all the news (?) in general  it is Different with your riting from what it is with us  u are (?) acquainted with the country and people and you ___and you never rite us but very little news  rite a grate long letter and rite me the full perticulars of Wellingtons bone  ___ i have had (?) it only he was____  i never heard (?) whether you (?) got my letters (?) ___ or not


Wellington (born 1846) was a brother of Oren and William Sherwood and son of Stephen and Sophia.

December 14, 1862--Stephen to His Children (Page 3 of 4)

we heard of Mother Parker Death by the way of mr walker's letter   tell Hirams folks that he is well and a doing the best he can and will remember them as soon as possible   he is in company with us in packing  it takes some time to get a _____here  if we have good luck this winter  i think we can make a ___lot of money next summer   i Expect you have had very hard times and my hart has bled for you a many a time but that cant help you   i hope you have not had to under go the real hard ships that we have   i have not had my close of for 7 months to sleepe   slep on the ground roled up in a blanket

 Mother Parker was probably Lavina Farnsworth Parker, the wife of Oren Parker (died 1852).  She would have been Hiram's mother as well as the mother of Stephen's 2nd wife, Sophia Parker Sherwood.  Stephen says "Hirams folks" but both his parents would have been deceased.  Is this another Hiram?or is Stephen talking about other family members and referring to them as folks?  (see more on Hiram on page 1 of this letter).

December 14, 1862--Stephen to His Children (Page 4 of 4)

and not a vegetable to Eat nothing but bread and meat and I feel that it is but poor pay for the benevolence and kindness that i have shown to others all my life   till the children the must all rite ____to me  tell Mother Francis and the girls that if tha want __ should rite  they must __ have written several letters since we have had any___them   Elizabeth is a very Differant (?) woman to__than she was   she is a good woman _____ and a good wife and mother   you would not know her by __ ____ __ ____ your letter

Wasco County, Oregon
yours, Stephen Sherwood

in love        Stephen Sherwood

H S Sherwood
S M  Sherwood

Mother Francis would be Laura Francis, the mother of Elizabeth Francis Sherwood.  H S Sherwood would be Henry Stephen Sherwood, Stephen's son, and S M Sherwood would be Henry's  wife, Sarah.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

June 29, 1860 (Census)--Stephen Sherwood @ Oregon House, Yuba, California

Stephen Sherwood is living at Oregon House, Yuba County, California in 1860 (#846).  Oregon House is about twenty-five miles east of Marysville on the road to Comptonville.
His  wife, Elizabeth, is with him.  He now has two children from Elizabeth, Louis (Lewis) and Henry (George?-- born in March 1860).  He is listed as a lumberman

Two of Sophia's (deceased) sons, Oren and William, are listed on the Census.

March 30, 1860--George W Sherwood born.  He is listed as Henry on the Census record.  Probably named after his brother, George W Sherwood who died September 11, 1858
Oregon House built in 1852
Oregon House was settled in 1850 and began to develop as a 

thriving settlement in 1852 when it became a popular rest stop 

for the mules trains heading up the mountain with supplies  It

lies in a small valley between rolling hills.
Map with Oregon House (in middle)

Map of California with Yuba County

October 7, 1853--A. T. Maltby to Stephen (Page 1 of 2)

(Page 1 of 2)
Oregon Bar
Middle Fork
Oct 7

Friend Sherwood
Since (?)  your Letter to T you wished me to send you to send me some money  I am sorry to say that I am not able to comply with your request as I have not got any on hand nor have I since I done your business for you here  The mining Business is pretty well dried up and it is hard getting money in Cal  but I still feel  __hope to get a little of the _____ yet times have changed very much Since you left here before I left Hangtown i rote to Mr Frances of Sacramento requesting him to send enough money to his Brother at Kenosha to redeem the place with what (?) I have already forwarded to my wife and paid out for you here but I did not hear from him before I came here nor have i since I rote to Eugene to go and see Mr Frances and if he had not sent any money to  forward (?) his wages as soon as possible but I have not heard from him on the subject and I cant say what the ____is but I hope for the best if I ___ of known of the situation of affair


A.T. Maltby  (Alanson T. Maltby).  in 1860 was listed with his wife Susan and their three children in Goodale, Lake, Illinois adjacent to where Stephen Sherwood's home was located.  They were likely acquainted and involved in business dealings in California.  In 1870, he is listed in Decorah, Winneshiek, Iowa with his wife and two children.  He died there in 1875.  He was born about 1809 in New York.

Eugene was likely A.T.'s oldest son from his first wife Priscilla.  He may have been living in Goodale   with his step mother, Susan, and children when his father wrote him to go and see Mr Frances (at Kenosha).  Apparently this brother had another brother of Sacramento (see letter).

The husband of Laura (Dennick) Francis was Artius (Aretas) Francis.  Stephen married Laura's daughter, Elizabeth Dennick, after his second wife, Sophia died.  They were married shortly before this letter was written (September 24, 1853).  They were both buried in Bristol, Kenosha County about seven miles over the border in Wisconsin. Kenosha is about twenty miles from Antioch.  So there seems to be a connection between the Frances, Maltby, and Sherwood families mentioned in this letter.

Eugene (1832-1917) was in Siskiyou County, California when the 1880 and 1900 Census was taken.  He was in Butte County, California when the 1910 Census was taken.  He had a sister, Julia Ann Maltby who married Charles Simons.  They may have been in Sacrament about 1850.  Julia died about 1858.  I believe Eugene and Julia were children of the first wife of A.T. Maltby, Priscilla.

October 7, 1853--A. T. Maltby to Stephen (Page 2 of 2)

(Page 2 of 2)

should of tryed hard to of raised some money and sent home while I was at the City but I have not ben able to rais money  since I heard of the state of affairs to go to the City and for that reason I attempted to do the Business by letter and that is the reason that I cant inform you of the result   I wish you Success in Settling your Business   My respects to your Self and all Engineering friends 
Yours    (initials)

Stephen Sherwood                              A T Maltby

Note:  Go back to page 1 for most of the labels referred to on page 2.  (Most of the labels  apply to Page 1 of this letter and the notes associated with it.  There wasn't room provided in the template for all the labels from page 1 so they were included with page 2)  

October 6, 1853--Hermann to Stephen (Page 2 of 2)

(Page 2 of 2) 

they had very good crops in the valley some  fases (?) of wheat ______ in ______   by _______ clothing of all kinds nearly as cheap as in the states  potatoes sevens cets a pound ham thirty buter (?) five shilling (shillings ?)  I have delivered your mesage to Maltby  will do the same to Fancher (?) the first chance he is working on the middle fork  ino not what his situation is  Malthy is like my self in rather close (?) ________  A present he is at work a few rods (?) be lo here and enjoyes good health had I the means i wood try to asist you  I havi  net (?)  Although prospects is more favorable than they have ben   I have not heard from George for three weeks  then i was over to Hangtown  he was well and talked of going to the city to work at his Trade  his health has ben very poor untill a few weeks past   he thot of trying beter work than mining for a month or so

yours with respect       T T (?) Her????   

                                    (not readable)

October 6, 1853--Hermann to Stephen (Page 1 of 2)

Diamond Springs

Old Placerville (Hangtown)
(Page 1 of 2) 

October 6, 1853
Dutch Bar El Dorado Co

With respect to a Fathers (?) and in answer to yours of the 16 _ improve this opertunity also to inform you that I enjoy good health and am at work on the middle fork of the American River  times has ben very dull this summer  there has not ben much (?) ___ mining done in dry digens  they did not get in the rivers until the middle of Sept  some ar doing well while others ar not making wages so not thing (?) of  the expense of flooming (?)and and putting in their pumps  The river is flooded over three miles here the best clames? ar  in poverty  and  ____ a bar (?) they work them night an day  There has not ben very heavy emigration here this season   the most went to  oragon  a great many cattle and sheep drove acrost this season  most of them pas (?) ____ Dimans (Diamond) spring an Hangtown   in ___ ___  of those places wages ar from thirty to forty Dolars a month

The three towns mentioned here are Dutch Bar, Hangtown, and Diamond Spring.  They are all near Coloma, where gold was discovered in 1848.  Dutch Bar is about seven miles west of Coloma. Hangtown is nine miles southeast of  Coloma, and Diamond Spring is about three miles south of Hangtown (Placerville).  It is difficult to tell from the writing if the person who wrote this letter is the same person mentioned as being with Stephen in his letter of March 1, 1850 to his wife. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

June 27, 1853--George Tiffany to Stephen

Seneca Falla, Seneca County N.Y.
June 27th 1853

Broth Stephen Sherwood

Dear Sir  Permite me to inform you that we are all as well as usual although I have been somewhat unfortunate this spring  my business became so overdone at Auburn I though to better myself by changing my location but I found that I have made a bad matter worse although prices  were  better yet  I ____ my cash sales were very tight and most of my customers wanted credit by means of which I was unable to meet my notes and was obliged to close up my business at quite a sacrifice  I shall be unable at present to do any business in my own name and I thought if you thought there was a good chance for Boot and shoe trade in some of the large towns near you and you would furnish 8 or 10 hundred Dollars  I would try and make out as much more and have the business done in your own name entirely  I shall be in New York after 8 or 10 days  I expect and if you do not answer this letter so that I will be likely to get it before that time  you had better direct your letter to New York direct to me tothe care of John H Fowler  give our best respects to the family and let me hear your mind on this subject as soon as convenient

Yours truly ___        Ge (George) Tiffany

George Tiffany was the brother-in-law of Stephen Sherwood.  George was married to Stephen's older sister, Polly (1807-1879).  Auburn is about fifteen miles from Seneca Falls.

March 2, 1853--John B. Sherwood to Stephen

I take this oppertunity of answering your letter  I have waited some dayes to think about it  you gave me short notice to give you an answer  my bisnes is such that I cant come this spring  sidney was a coming to be their by the first of april   he was a riting to you when i got your letter but he told me he could get ready to be off in 2 weekes  soe he may be their most as soon as this letter  you can let him have it this year and if you aint___ you can let me know and maby wee will come out this fall or next spring  I shant rite you much news now because it is late and I want to retire  I have bin drove very hard  the sleighing is getting _oor (?)   sidney can tell you all the news  I have made a trade with sidney and he will fich (?) that note out and I have paid most of the expence  of that note (?) and he will bring that out and you can arange it with him  it look to me as though you and george ware going to calofornia but I should advise you to stay to home and take care of you motherless children  I feel to simpathize with you in the loss of your wife but not in the _ame  as you have lost but I now something from the loss of my little girl  may the grace of god support you and guide(?) you and your children safe throug this world and ____ you all finley home to heaven

Stephen Sherwood         J. (John) B. Sherwood

John B. Sherwood (1817-1891)was  a brother six years young than Stephen Sherwood (1817-1891).  He stayed in Pennsylvania.

John advises Stephen not go go to California.  He mentions that Stephen had planned to take George with him. In the letter (October 6, 1853) a George is mentioned in California. Did Stephen send his son George to California even though he did not go?  John advises Stephen "to stay to home and take care of you motherless children."  With the death of his second wife, Sophia, about two months earlier, Stephen had five boys twelve or younger.  His youngest son, John F, was just two months old.

January 21, 1853--Sophia Sherwood (TIP #1)

Sophia Sherwood
Photo by Suzanne Grundberg
Find a Grave Memorial #55913144
Angola Cemetery

As with all tombstones there is always a story to be told by those left behind.  When Stephen Sherwood's wife,  Sophia Parker Sherwood, died, Jan 21, 1853, she left five boys under the age of thirteen.  She died two weeks after giving birth to her youngest son, John F. Sherwood, at the age of 39.  
This tombstone was posted at,  There are over 87 million entries on this site.  I have solved many genealogy problems and even broken down brick walls by using this resource.  I would highly recommend it.


  • Go to:                                  (& "Search 87 million grave records")  
  • In the space for Memorial enter:       55913144--you will see Sophia Parker Sherwood 
  • Double click under Family Links:      Stephen Sherwood

This will list many of his children which you can click to find out more. 
You may want to search for your family names on this site.
If you like,  e-mail me at or post a comment on this page about Tip #1.  

Grant Davis

June 26, 1852--James Vokes Note to Stephen Sherwood

Tuesday's Tip--Sharing Information-"Trails in the Snow"

Crossing Paths
(search "Trails in the Snow")
The transfer of land from Erasmus D. Walrod and an agreement from James Vokes were published on my blog November 20, 2012.

I notified Larry Wassman who had submitted Erasmus D. Walrod and Keith Reeves who had submitted James Vokes to their family trees in that I had documents written by their ancestors which I had posted on this blog.  I later received responses from them on  These documents were in the papers of my great great grandfather, Stephen Sherwood.

Larry Wassman of Lacey, Washington wrote he (Erasmus D. Walrod) was "not very close-- brother-in-law of 4th cousin 5x removed."  

The second e-mail was from Keith Reeves of Arlington Virginia.  He wrote a lengthy letter about his ancestry.  I will quote three sentences.

"James (Vokes) was my fourth great grandfather, directly descended....... Are preparing to gather around the Thanksgiving table at the beach house we annually frequent here in Dewey Beach, Virginia.  It's lovely and I'm so glad to write about family on such a wonderful family day."    

These responses made me realize once again we all have family information that can help somebody else.  I am thankful for all those who have contributed to my research endeavors, and hope that somebody can benefit from the information I have.

I responded to Keith Reeves, "Our ancestors crossed paths at one time, but just in a different way than we did today."  The photo above reminded me how that happens.

November 6, 1850 (Census)--Stephen Sherwood @ South Fork of American River--1850 Census

In 1850, Stephen Sherwood (#3) was a miner on the South Fork of the American River in El Dorado County, California.    He was close to Coloma where gold was originally discovered in 1848.  

July 31, 1851--Stephen probably left California on the ship "Oregon."  Stephen was not listed on the 1852 Census in California (so he had left by that time).  

January 6, 1853--John F. Sherwood son of Stephen and Sophia Sherwood born
January 21, 1853--Sophia Parker Sherwood died.  She was buried in Antioch, Lake, Illinois.  His first wife, Maria Hubbell, had died January 19, 1839.  Sophia and Stephen had five boys under thirteen years of age (Oren, William, Wellington, Daniel and John).
September 24, 1853--Stephen married to eighteen year old Elizabeth Denick for this third wife.  She is twenty three years younger than Stephen, the oldest daughter of Laura Denick. 
August 24, 1854--Birth of Lewis B Sherwood 
January 10, 1857--Stephen's son, Henry (a son from Stephen's first wife Maria Hubbell) married  Sarah Denick, the second daughter of Laura Denick.  Sarah was a teacher in the local school.
September 11, 1858--George W. Sherwood, the youngest son of Stephen and Maria Hubbell Sherwood, died.  This son may have been in California in 1853 (see letter of October 6, 1853).    After he died, another son would be named for him born in 1863.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

March 1, 1850--Stephen to Sophia Sherwood (Part 1 of 2)

Stephen arrived at the San Francisco Harbor
February 25, 1850

(Part 1 of 2)
Sacrament March 1, 1850

Dear Wife i in good health take my pen in hand this Evning to rite you   i was Deprived the privilege at the isthmus on account of mr Fergeson leaving so quick   we had a pretty hard trip   we landed at San Francisco on February 25   i Did not rite be fore Since I arivd I want ed to find York and Ingarsalls fokes  I can not find them a toll in narry (?) citty   i found Kimball   he is well   we start tomorrow morning for the mines   the prospects for mining is a good (?) here as at home but all bisness is over _____  in the sittes th (are?) thousands without a Dollar and we shant have per haps a Dollar left when in the mine (go to part 2 of this letter)

Quote from an article published in Sacramento, California April 1, 1850.  Perhaps this reflected the thinking of Stephen Sherwood at this time.

"The Middle Fork is now easy of access..........I find tht a great many persons are packing up provisions to supply the miners.  The Dry Diggings between the North and Middle Forks I think will prove richer than any yet discovered.........If my health permits me to remain in the mines my course is marked out.  I  shall go up the Middle Fork as far as I can get and work on the river until the very hot weather drives me off.  I shall then go up to the dry digging and prepare ground for a winter's work, throwing up as much as I can."

March 1, 1850--Stephen to Sophia Sherwood--(Part 2 of 2)

Sacramento (before flood)

Sacramento, California, January 1850
Sacramento had a  flood in January of 1850 which devastated the commercial operations on the embarcadero.  In March, after Stephen Sherwood arrived, there was another flood, but not as serious  as levees and dams had been built by that time.   In October of 1850,  Sacramento had an outbreak of the cholera which caused about eighty percent of the population to leave the city, and  the death of seventeen of the physicians.  (Wikipedia)

(Part 2 of 2)
Mr Fergeson  probly has told you all a bout the Calofornia prises  as yet i could not in vite any wane to come to this country  my pen cant Describe the sufring I have seen sene since i started from home  there was 3 Died on the ship and a grate many sick with out a Dollar   give my best respects to all inquiring friends  give my love to all the children  i Endever to remember you all Daly by my prayers and i trust i am a subject of your prayers   be fath full and we shall reape if we fant not   give my respects to misses Fergeson & children brother Engleman(?) and family Do the best(?)    yes (?) i can rite to Sutters Mill on the account of the post office being ____   it may be  3 or 4 (?) months be fore you get another letter   i sopose(?)  you have writ (?) a grate many times (?) before you have got this
Latt and Harmann (??)  is with me      S. Sherwood

Monday, September 10, 2012

July 31, 1839--Marriage Certificate of Stephen Sherwood and Sophah Parker

Marriage Certificate of Stephen Sherwood and Sophah Parker
Note:  Stephen Sherwood and Sophah (Sophia) were married by Elder B Ashley in the First Baptist Church (Division and Lockport Street in Plainfield, Illinois) July 31, 1839.  The meeting house (as it was called then) was dedicated November 23, 1836.  Elder Ashley succeeded Elder J E Ambrose who had come there first in August of 1834.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

July 31, 1838--Receipt from Phineas Stevens to Steven Sherwood--Other DeKalb County History

 Receipt from Phin Stevens (Phineas Stevens) to Stephen Sherwood

Colton Ville July 31st 1838

Received of Stephen Sherwood fifteen Dollars as settlement between him and me in the Partner ship between us in the Black Smith Shop  I also sine over to him my clame In all the accounts made in the shop for this last Seven months

Phin Stevens


This receipt from Phineas Stevens gives us more clues into the life of Stephen Sherwood.  He worked as a blacksmith at least up until July 1838 (and begin by January 1838) in Coltonville, DeKalb, Illinois.  

During this time the community centered around the blacksmith shop.  A blacksmith made horseshoes, nails, hardware such as latches and hinges, as well as tools, wheels, and rims, kitchen utensils, ice skates, riding spurs, musket balls and many other things.  Perhaps if you had walked by the blacksmith shop, you would have seen Stephen playing checkers (a very popular game at that time) or making a horseshoe ring for a child.  This trade would serve Stephen well throughout his life.

"Stephen Sherwood opened a blacksmith shop here in 1838."  (De Kalb County History, 814-815)

Two other events are recorded for the year 1838.  On March 29, 1838, a third child, George W. Sherwood was born.  The Sherwood now had three children, Maria (4), Henry (2), and George

In October 9, 1838, the first session of the De Kalb County court was held at the house of Rufus Colton (for whom the town was named) in Coltonville.  Rufus Colton was the Clerk of the Court and preparer of writs and process of the court so could set the first session of county court to be held at his home. Stephen Sherwood may have been in Coltonville when Rufus Colton had attempted to make Coltonville the county seat.  He had decided to hold a new election.  He made sure Coltonville would win the election by telling only the population of Coltonville about it.  His political tactics were eventually cancelled by an act of the Illinois General Assembly.  When the county court convened, the sheriff served a court order declaring a courthouse be 
built in Sycamore.  Eventually Coltonville disappeared from the map settling this issue forever (Wikipedia)

 This first suit on record decided in the home of Rufus Colton was that of Erasmus D. Walrod vs. Stephen Sherwood. (Past and Present of De Kalb County, Pg. 325) This was a case of appeal from a justice's court, the plaintiff having obtained a judgment for the same of $100  The judgment of the lower court was sustained. (DCH, 776).  

Steven Sherwood's partner, Phineas Stevens, erected a distillery with Rufus Colton, but it proved to be a financial failure.  Rufus Colton worked hard to secure for the place the location of the county seat, but without avail. (DCH, 815).  

There was much suffering in DeKalb County in 1839 from sickness.  Ague and billion fever were the prevailing diseases.  They resulted from close proximity to the groves and streams to which the new comers all built their houses; also by the bad surface water from the sloughs which they used in the want of wells of proper depth to supply pure water.  Medical attention was difficult to secure and the physicians who practiced through the county rarely had a sufficient supply of medicine (History of De Kalb County, 380).  

Maria Hubbell Sherwood, the 27 year old wife, of Stephen Sherwood, passed away on January 19, 1839 leaving three children under six.

January 1838--Transfer of land from Erasmus D. Walrod to Stephen Sherwood

Union Grove      January _____1838

For and in Consideration of the Sum of two hundred and Twenty Five dollars to me in hand  paid by ____ and other property to be paid according to a greement I do  here by Quit Claim and transfer over all of my Right title interest property claim and Demand __  __  unto a Certain Piece of Prairie land on the west side of the Sycamore Creek and adjoining the said creek on the East and of said prairie in the Barns Grove in Orring Precinct De Kalb, Co Ill Bounded South by Stephen Sherwood Claim and west or to the prairie and North by David P Halbradths Prairie the line Between these premises and D. P. Halbradth's is to run Due west to certain stakes Street suppose to be 2 miles on to   ___Prairie all of which I Do here by trans fer and assign over unto the Said Stephen Sherwood his heirs and assignees for ever in witness where of I have here unto Set my hand and Seal the day and year First above written in the presence of    Erasmus D. Walrod
_____ Love

More information on this case is available in a previous entry (Receipt from Phineas Stevens to Stephen Sherwood)

Possibly this land sale from Erasmus D. Walrod and Stephen Sherwood was involved in the first suit on record in DeKalb County.  It was interesting to tie the note I had together with the following information:  

"The first suit on record (in DeKalb County) was that of Erasmus D. Walrod vs. Stephen Sherwood.  This was a case of appeal from a justice's court the plaintiff having obtained a judgment for the same of $100.  The judgment of the lower court was sustained."
    DeKalb County, "Judicial", Page 776.

Click here for another reference to this case.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

October 8, 1837--Sale from Robert B French to Stephen Sherwood

State of Wisconsin
Kenosha County

Know all men by the present that I Robert B French of the County of Kenosha and State of Wisconsin for and in consideration of One Thousand dollars to me in hand paid of Stephen Sherwood the _ _ ___ Where of I hereby acknowledge _  an assign subscribe ?  ____ and deliver  by their present do hereby assign ___ __subscribe ? and  deliver to Said Stephen Sherwood all my right, title, claim & interest in ___ the partnership, rights, credits, property & demands of the late firm of Smith French __  of the City of Kenosha, State of Wisconsin giving to said Stephen Sherwood the ___interest and rights in said partnership of Smith French__that I am Entitled and ___.

                                                                       R M B French
Kenosha Ws 8 Oct 1837          


Possibly Stephen Sherwood used the $1000 he eventually received from the 1836 promissory note (bottom of page)  from George J. Goodhue of LaSalle, Illinois for this purchase in Kenosha, Wisconsin.   Deeds show Stephen Sherwood with land transaction in Lake County, Illinois and Kenosha County Wisconsin after this time.  Some of the people he did business with included Albert P Smith, Morris Lampher, and Hiram Parker.  A further study on his land transactions in Lake and Kenosha Counties would add to Stephen Sherwood's life story.

1835-1836---Land in LaSalle County--Early History

Stephen Sherwood married Maria Hubbell in August 30, 1832.  Maria was born in in Herrick Center near Pleasant Mount in 1811.     On June 19, 1835 Stephen bought 160 acres of land at $1.25 an acre.  When this land was sold to by Stephen to Solomon it was suggested it was actually bought from Joel A. Matteson at the land sale at Chicago.  Joel A. Matteson homesteaded near Seward Township in Au Sable.  It was here that Stephen and Maria's second child, Henry Stephen, was born.  Joel Matteson moved in 1836, about the time Stephen Sherwood did, and became active in politics.  In 1852,
Joel Matteson was elected governor of Illinois.

The Black Hawk War and indians problems discouraged settlement at first, but by 1835 things were changing.  The Sherwood Family had their Indian problems.  Upon one occasion while Stephen was gone to mill at Chicago, a number of Indians came to the the Sherwood home and wanted the last loaf of bread which Mrs. Sherwood had for herself and children.  On being refused they became angry, so she took the little ones up the ladder to the second story of their home and then drew the ladder up after her.  The savages endeavored to get up but as they did so the brave mother would hit their hands with a hatchet and finally they left but took all of the provisions in the house with ten.  The family were three days without food until Stephen returned.

This land was in La Salle County but would later be Kendall County (next to Aux Able)  July 2, 1835, he had sold half of his land to his brother Solomon H Sherwood.  By September 10, 1835, Solomon had sold back the land to Stephen.  Stephen's oldest brother, Solomon H. Sherwood died September 23, 1835.  I don't believe Stephen did much farming.  He sold the land the next Spring to George Goodhue for a promissory note of $1000.  He likely worked his trade was well as farmed during those early years as money was tight.  By 1838 he was in Coltonville, DeKalb, Illinois. working as a blacksmith.

The land Stephen bought was reasonable at $1.25 an acre.  Internal improvements such as inland waterways  help persuade new people to move to Illinois.  Also steam navigation caused many people to come westward.  The number of vessels coming to Chicago harbor increased from four in 1833 to 450 a year in 1836. A depression had hit the country from 1831-1840 and many people had lost everything they owned and had to find a new place to live. Farmers in Kendall county found that the Illinois prairie was so rich they could buy 80 acres of land, fence it in, build a house and other building, and pay off all debts and have several hundred dollars in the bank in only two years.  The frontier was a lonely place at this time, bu land at low prices was an incetive to come West.  Kendall County was one of the richest farmng counties in the state of Illinois. (75)
The first sale of land that would eventually comprise part of Kendall County was on January 1, 1835.  By June 19, 1835, Stephen Sherwood had some of that land.  Stephen probably did some farming and worked as a blacksmith.  He sold part of his land to his brother, Solomon H. Sherwood.

(Information from miscellaneous papers with the Stephen Sherwood Letters #1, #2, #3)
#1  Summary of Deed
Land Office at Chicago Illinois
19 June 1835

Received from Stephen Sherwood of La Salle County, Illinois the sum of 200 dollars__ cents being in full  payment for the N E quarter of section  22 at Township  35 North of Range  8 East of the third principle Meridian containing 160 acres and hundredths of an acre at the rate of $1.25 per acre.
E.D. Taylor   Receiver

The foregoing is entered in Index Book page 16

Stephen Sherwood & wife
To         ( Deed)
Solomon H Sherwood
(Summary of the deed)

July 2, 1835
Sherwood and Maria, his wife, of LaSalle County, Illinois (sell to)  Solomon H Sherwood of LaSalle for $400 an equal undivided half of all that certain piece or parcel of land known as described as the
NE quarter of Section 22 in Township 35 North of Range  8 East of the third principal Meridan containing 160 acres.

(continuing to 333)
Stephen Sherwood
Maria Sherwood

in presence of John B Sherwood (younger brother of Stephen Sherwood)

Stephen and Maria Sherwood came before Reuben Fagg, a Justice of the Peace July 25, 1835

The deed was entered in index book page 16

(J.A. Mateson and wife
     (Deed To)
S & S Sherwood
This indenture made this second day of July
(do not have the next page)

#2 Summary of Deed
Solomon H Sherwood to Stephen Sherwood
September 10, 1835

Solomon Sherwood of LaSalle County, Illinois sold to Stephen Sherwood for $500 all that equal undivided  half of the North East quarter of Section  22 in Township  35  North of Range  8 East of the third principal Meridan containing   80 acres which is the half of the quarter  the above described property deeded to me by Stephen Sherwood July 2, 1835.   Also are equal undivided half of the North West Eighty of Section 23 in Township 35 North of Range 8 East of the third principal Meridan containing in the whole total 80 acres which was bought at the land sale at Chicago 19 June by Joel A. Matteson and deed to S.H. Sherwood & Stephen Sherwood July 2, 1835.  Deeded from Matteson

Sealed and Delivered in the presence of Solomon H Sherwood

James Walker, a Justice of the Peace knew Solomon H Sherwood and approved this deed September 14, 1835

The foregoing deed  entered in index page 8
Rec 19 February 1836    Recorded 27 February 1836

#3 Summary of Deed
Goodhue to Sherwood
May 13, 1836

Between  George J. Goodhue  and Stephen Sherwood of LaSalle, Illinois. George Goodhue owes Stephen Sherwood $1000 to be paid by a promissory note with interest; also for further consideration for $100   the North East Quarter of Section 22 in township 35 north of Range East of the third principal Meridan and the west half of the North West quarter of Section 23 in the same Township and Range.

Sealed and Delivered in presence of Geo J Goodhue

May 10, 1835 George J Goodhue  that he entered the written mortgage for the purpose herein

Possibly George Goodhue bought out Stephen when he left the area.

June 19, 1835    Stephen buys 160 acres in Chicago for $200
July 2, 1835      Stephen sells half the land to Solomon for $400
September 10, 1835   Solomon sells his half of the land back to Stephen for $500
September 23, 1835  Death of Solomon Sherwood
May 13, 1836  Goodhue buys the land with a promissory note for $1000

Note:  The $1000 from the sale of this land may have been used to purchase land in Kenosha, Kenosha, Wisconsin the next year.

This  land would probably be in Kendall and/or  Grundell County today as these counties were formed from LaSalle in 1841 (see map in previous post)
Joel Matteson

Friday, September 7, 2012

Stephen Sherwood of Will County, Illinois

Records from the Bureau of Land Management
Stephen Sherwood of Will County, Illinois
Meridian (3rd PM), Township (36-N), Range (9-E), Section (26)