Eliza and the
Contributed by Maggie Moerdyke
"An Octogenarian peers into a Past which is chary of its secrets"
It is largely my own fault that I know so little concerning my "Family Tree", its progress and survival up to the time that I began to grow on it. If, during my growing years I had possessed the inquisitive spirit that now urges me on, I might have learned much of interest to myself and worth passing on to coming generations. Those who could have satisfied my curiosity are gone and I have only a sketchy picture of the three generations immediately preceding mine.
I know that my maternal great-grandparents were a worthy Dutch couple named Stickle who, not far from the middle of the 18th century, were comfortably settled on a good-sized farm in southeastern New York. There they raised a large family of children to keep the "Tree" from running out, and harbored numerous slaves Ė big, uncouth Negroes from Guinea, who were supposed to honor and obey their white masters and, incidentally, do the work of the farm and household. Whatever of honor they rendered or of work they accomplished, their presence there appears to have been detrimental to the white children, who, in consequence, grew up in idleness and in partial ignorance of home duties. They, presumably, studied the three Rís at some sort of school but, at home, although sternly forbidden to mingle with the blacks, managed to become familiar with their Africo-English jargon, their outlandish dances and many of their heathenish customs.
One of the Stickle daughters, Dinah, destined to be my grandmother, was married February 18, 1802 to Robert G. L. Lennon, whose father, also Robert was Irish, his mother, Elizabeth Newcomb, English. He owned a small farm in Greene County, New York and to that he took his 16-year-old bride. Everything was lovely until the question of family rations came before the house. Then the young wife had to admit that she did not know how to make a loaf of bread. The black girl, who had come with her, was equally ignorant, so dear Robert was sent to find out. What success Dinah had with her first batch of bread I am unable to say, but I am glad to testify that Dinah Lennon became, in time, to be a first class cook. My father thought her one of the best, with Mother a close second, of course. And thatís one mother-in-law who was appreciated.
Like her mother, Elizabeth Stickle, Dinah Stickle Lennon had numerous stalwart boys and coyly girls who enlivened the home and added to the social life of the community. One after another left the Lennon homestead to be a partner in starting a new home. One December 8th, 1835, a dark-haired, dark-eyed young gallant, Elon Stone, chose the blue-eyed, fair-haired Nancy Lennon to be his wedded wife and carried her to the then thriving village of Napanoch, Ulster Co., New York where they lived for 19 years, in easy circumstances and acquired a family of eight children. In 1854, Fatherís health having become seriously impaired, he gave up a salaried position in Napanoch and went to Ohio where most of his brothers and sisters were living. He bought a small place at Florence, Erie Co., OH which we, Father, Mother and children occupied together until his death in 1857. One child, Hoxsie Vincent, was born six months before [? should be "after", see chart below] Father was taken from us. Mother survived him 37 years.
The above is, in brief, what I know of my motherís family. Of my fatherís family I know still less. His grandfather [this Elon Stone I have no information on other than this and my tree is blank for the entry], whom I will call Elon Stone 1st, as in each generation following there was an Elon, was a native of Danbury, Conn. Of his wife I have no knowledge. Their son, Elon Stone 2nd, was born in Danbury, was brought up there and, in due time married Esther Converse, a young woman of good parentage and personally "well favored." In Danbury, where they had a small farm with a blacksmith shop attached, they tilled the soil and shod the feet of sundry unwilling horses. They gave the youngsters the educational advantages offered by the little red schoolhouse. Esther, the wife and mother, died in 1845 and, shortly afterward, Elon 2nd turned his back on the "Nutmeg State", glad to find refuge and rest for the few years left him among the five of his children, who, as pioneers in the new state of Ohio, had literally hewn out for themselves goodly farms and comfortable homes. In 1852, he went the way of all flesh, leaving little to his heirs but the savor of a good name. Of him and the other heads of families mentioned in this sketch it can be truthfully said, "They served their day and generations in uprightness, sobriety and neighborliness and were known as God-fearing people."
"Far from the madding crowdís ignoble strife,
Their sober wishes never learned to stray;
Along the chaste, sequestered vales of life
They kept the even tenor of their way."
Postscript: It has been proven beyond a doubt that Robert Lennon's father was John Lennon, not Robert, who possibly was Irish. His mother was Deborah Newcomb, not Elizabeth. The search for Dinah's parents continues.
The writer of this letter is Eliza Stone b. March 17, 1843 in Napanoch, Ulster Co, NY and d. August 19, 1935 in Wauseon, OH. As an octogenarian Eliza would have written this account in the latter half of the 1920's. She was the daughter of Elon Stone and Nancy Lennon who were married December 6, 1835 in the Leeds Reformed Church, Leeds, Greene County. Her grandparents were Robert G.L. Lennon and Dinah Stickle, who both died in Kingston, Ulster County in 1863 and 1864 respectively.
Table of Contents
Letters from the Past