Our Bacons are decidedly English. Family tradition (early 1980s write up by Dick Bacon, at least), says that the Bacons were descendants of a Norman invader, Grimbald (or Grimbaldus) who settled near Holt, Norfolk (England) soon after the 1066 invasion. Either he brought the Bacon name with him, or he took it from old English (perhaps from the Saxon word for beech tree, "buccen" or "baccen"), OR perhaps Grimbald took it on as an existing local placename: Beaconsthorpe or Baconsthorpe (which means Bacon's village). I live near the ancient manor home in the village of Baconsthorpe (Baconsthorpe Castle), here is a picture of my Tristan in front of the ruins, in about 2007.
Grimbald is a real historical person with known sons, but how many people with the surname Bacon in their family history can trace back to Grimbald's sons is harder to prove.
Grimbald's descendants include a lot of Bacons who settled in the English county of Suffolk in late medieval times, quite often forming part of locally prominent and wealthy families (minor gentry). Our lineage may include John Bacon of Blakenham Suffolk.
One family tradition (told to the grandson of Raymond Foss Bacon, our Grampy's big brother) is that we descend from Sir Nicholas Bacon, courtier known as "Bearer of the Seal", for Queen Elizabeth I (this dude --->) . My uncle Dick had further notes to suggest that we descended from Sir Nicholas Bacon, the first Baronet of England. But family oral traditions about ancestors are often wrong, so I start with the Bacon ancestors we actually can find evidence for.
The earliest Bacon ancestor of whom we can be sure is "Nathaniel Bacon of Middletown" CT (b. ~1630 in England) he was a founding father of Middletown CT. At the time Connecticut was an overwhelmingly Puritan colony; we must assume that all of our early CT European-origins ancestors were Puritans; mind, they weren't given a lot of choice. Until 1708 Puritanism was the only legal religion in Connecticut, the Puritan church was funded directly out of general taxation, too.
There are some very interesting speculations about the origins of Nat Bacon of Middletown.
Facts that aren't in dispute: at various times Nathaniel Bacon of Middletown served as a town constable, fence viewer, hay-warden, pound keeper, rate maker, surveyor of highways, and selectman. He married Ann Miller, daughter of another founding father of the town, Thomas Miller. Nathaniel died 1705/06,and was acknowledged as a benefactor, possibly relative and even nephew of another early settler, Andrew Bacon of Hartford CT (??1596-1664). Andrew did not leave known children, but A lot of people descend from Nathaniel (perhaps most Bacons in early CT), and a myriad of possible parents have been proposed for him. He is often confused with another Nathaniel Bacon who settled in Barnstable MA and had origins in Stretton England -- but that's not our ancestor. OUR Nathaniel and his uncle Andrew probably came from near Suffolk, England.
Ann Miller's parents we only know as Thomas and Isabel. Unfortunately, that is fairly typical of the women who marry into the Bacon clan, we mostly don't have many details about their providence. Whilst his wife was still living, Thomas Miller got his maid Sarah Nettleton pregnant and had to marry her quick after the child's birth. For the crime of adultury Thomas Miller was briefly imprisoned, excommunicated and forced to move elsewhere. Those were quite light punishments by Puritan standards; both he & Sarah were lucky to avoid much worse, such as execution, public whipping or having the letter A branded on their foreheads. Thomas and Sarah went onto have a large family together.
Here is a run-down of the lineage to CE Bacon (my great-grandfather, the father of Charles Marion Bacon, "Grampy"):
Each marriage produced a great many offspring, we have a serious LOT of distant cousins out there.
Metitable Wetmore (Jun 1669-after 19 Jan 1732, var. spelling Whitmore, among others) is interesting; she is probably the daughter of Thomas Wetmore and Mary (Platt), another original Puritan settler family in Middletown.
After Nathaniel, Josiah Bacon 1756-1840 is our next quite interesting ancestor to us, because
A) he is the earliest recorded ancestor we have in our own documents (the family history folio that Gayle has possession of), and
B) he fought in the Revolutionary war on the winning side. Which qualifies us for membership in the DAR (if you're into that kind of thing). Here is a summary of Josiah's Revolutionary War service, a document created when he applied for a veteran's pension in 1834: .
Josiah's son Elisha Ward Bacon went by "Ward" (a family surname on his mother or grandmother's side). The Family Folio has details about Ward's siblings. Ward himself was a painter and decorator. He was the first Bacon on our line in over 150 years to migrate far -- he went to settle in the then frontier territory of Indiana.
About Ward we know:
born Woodbury CT (according to Family Folio)
had 8 siblings
education = "social school"
occupation = "Merchant tailor"
politics = Republican (which may just mean he was anti-slavery)
religion = Methodist
CE Bacon describes his grandfather Elisha Ward as a "Presbyterian" in his Men of Mark application.
In Indianapolis, Ward met Eliza J. Conn, they married in Marion Co. on 14 Apr 1831 (he was 29 or 30, she was 16). Indianapolis was only a village; this was barely civilized frontier territory. About Eliza's parents we frustratingly know nothing, but her obituary gives us other interesting details. She was born near Salem OH, 27 Dec 1814, and came to Indianapolis in 1828. I once found an Eliza J. Conn of the right age in the same general area listed as a family servant or ward in an 1820 or 1830 Census record, I wouldn't be surprised if she had such humble origins. Conn is thought to be an Irish name, it could be a corruption of another surname like Connor. She outlived her husband by three decades, her obituary appeared in Indianpolis News 21 Feb 1895; death was 20 Feb 1895, funeral on the 22nd Feb, she lived at 478 Broadway Indianopolis at time of her death).
Ward & Eliza had a large family (including two children who died as infants). Eliza's son William M. Bacon also predeceased her by 7 years. That left six living offspring: JC Bacon of Muncie IN, Robert David Bacon, John L. Bacon, George W. Bacon, Mrs. Charlotte Borne and Mrs. Fannie Klingensmith (?sp). 18 grandchildren, as well.
Here is a pic (many thanks to my 4th cousin CJ Roberts) of Eliza (Conn) Bacon with her son Robert David, one of Robert's sons (standing, we are not sure which son) and that son's own young son (a Four Generation photo). Note the striking resemblance between unnamed son and his first cousin and my great-grandfather, CE Bacon, in images below.
Joshua Conn Bacon is my ancestor, he worked in various occupations, listed as a tailor in 1850 Census, elsewhere referred to as a clothier or Merchant (ran a grocery store for a while). He lived in Muncie, Delaware Co., IN, nearly all his life. My family oral tradition says that he was a minister like his son and grandson; I wonder if he was a Methodist Lay Preacher? He had to have had a good income to send his son away to college in NJ (see below).
Joshua married Samantha Cooper, the eldest child of Charles Cooper and SA Turner (somewhere I have a note which makes me think her name was Sarah). Samantha, born in Muncie, Delaware Co., IN 25 May 1832, had two sisters Linnie (Ethelinda?) and Lucinda and two half brothers. CC had at least three wives, last was Angeline Heath.
Of Samantha we also have these details:
"prominant church goer"
died 9 April 1911 of Gallstones, lived in Muncie almost all her life. Interment at "Crown Hill"
Obit. of 10 April 1911 said her funeral held at 417 West Jackson St. at 10am (also her home)
I have a note somewhere about something slightly shameful that Charles Cooper got involved with as a young man (pre marriage, being drunk and disorderly or getting into a public dispute, something like that). In an application to join "Men of Mark in Indiana", CE Bacon says of his grandfather Charles Cooper that he was a farmer, born in England, and "a great disciplinarian." However, in Census records he stated he was born in South Carolina (family oral tradition & stories are often wrong!). We have no idea about his ancestors.
Joshua Bacon, known as "Grandfather Bacon", lived with his son CE after death (in Indianapolis). He died, after 7 weeks of illness which included "paralysis" (does that mean a stroke?), on 13 Sep 1916 at "ME Hospital", was buried at "Crown Hill". In life we have these details:
height = 5'8"
weight =135 lbs
We have quite a few pictures of Joshua and Samantha with their only recorded child, Charles E. Bacon (1855-1939). This is my favourite:, showing 4 generations: Joshua and Samantha, CE Bacon, CE's son Raymond Foss and wife Edna, and Raymond & Edna's son Charles.
Charles E., or "Dr. Bacon" as he styled himself, grew up in Muncie IN. He was an only child, and looks totally miserable in almost every photo we have of him. Perhaps he couldn't smile because his teeth were bad, but I think he was just very very grumpy. I imagine that his parents both spoilt him and put excessive parental expectations on his shoulders. We understand that he was converted to Methodism at the age of eleven, and decided to become a preacher at the age of 18. I have some photos that I think are the college yearbook shots for Netta and CE; I imagine they met at Drew College. In his Men of Mark application, under education, CE Bacon only says that he attended but didn't graduate from (due to illness) Drew Theological Seminary in 1878-79 (elsewhere in the same application, CE says that he didn't complete his education due to his father's business failure!). DrewSeminary is nowadays Drew University, and has always been located in New Jersey. But CE Bacon apparently completed a degree, possibly a BA in Latin, from Depauw (Asbury) University in June 1878. Did CE Bacon and Netta meet there?
I don't know why CE Bacon thought he should be titled Doctor of Divinity. Oral tradition says that he was a Bishop in the Methodist church for the state of Indiana, but I can only find evidence to show he was a "Presiding Elder" in the Indianapolis district in 1904. He was a graduate of DePauw University (1878) and claimed to have received a Doctorate of Divinity from there, but the records suggest that he did not complete his studies for the DD. He had various ministries around the state of Indiana, ending up as the main Methodist minister at the Morris Street Methodist church in Indianapolis. The Bacons were comfortably off; they had servants, they travelled widely (including a trip to Europe), and were supposedly one of only three families in the entire state of Indiana to own a private motor car in 1910. I tend to presume that they inherited wealth from Netta's side, ministers of religion aren't normally well paid. My piano (1876 Steinway Vertigrand) is a wedding gift from the one side or the other (to CE and Netta), somebody had the dosh to pay for it and hand on to CE & Netta.
CE Bacon is the father of my grand-father, "Grampy", Charles Marion Bacon, who definitely did complete a proper theological degree to become a Methodist preacher. "Marion" is after the county where Indianapolis is located, although he was born in Evansville IN (Vanderburg County, on 11 Jun 1897, I have a photo of the building where he was born). Recall that Grampy was a twin (probably identical). Family story is that "Mama" (Netta) found it too much too feed both babies (breastfeeding) so hired a wetnurse; the wetnurse was blamed for the early death of the twin, called Robert Eugene, who died 4 May 1898 of Enteritis (what we would call gastroenteritis nowadays, I think). I have a sweet letter co-written by Netta and CE to Charles M. in about 1939, where they talk about how CM was the littler of the twins so Netta concentrated on him to the detriment of the bigger twin (Robert). However, at almost eleven months old (early May 1898) neither CM nor Robert Eugene were very little babies any more, it seems shocking that one should have died of a mere tummy bug.
CM married Martha Gooch, b. 26 Nov 1903 in Indianapolis, died 1984 in CA , then only 17yo, on 8 Jun 1921 in Indianapolis. CM died in California on 1 Jan 1989 (memorial with Martha).
Grampy's mother Finetta ("Netta") has as interesting a family history as the Bacon's. It seems likely that we are obliged to Netta for the great detail in the Family Folio that details our line back to Josiah Bacon and others. My impression is that she was an intelligent woman with firm fixed opinions (rather like her grand-daughter Elizabeth?!).
First meal that Grammy (Martha) ever cooked for Grampy, she set a HUGE bowl of mashed potatoes on the table. She intended to save some as leftovers. To Martha's astonishment CM ate every last bite. When she asked him why, he presumed that was expected; plus he never got enough as a young man and wasn't allowed to ask for more, so he always ate as much as he could when he could (this from a tennis-crazed young man who would have had a ferocious appetite). The vision I have of Netta starving her athletic young son, in the name of "good manners", has stuck with me.
Netta was born Finetta Victorene Wiggs (29 Mar 1857 Tampico Clarke Co. OH -25 June 1945 Santa Barbara CA, buried at Forest Lawns Glendale CA) ; about her first name I presume that her mother got it out of Italian romance novels that were very popular in the 1850s. About Netta we are told (Family Folio):
religion = Methodist
m. 1 Jan 1879, in Union City ME Church, by the Rev. Meek
height = 5'
weight = 95 lbs
complexion = dark (dark feisty and petite, the resemblance to granddaughter Elizabeth is clear!)
hair = brown
eyes = hazel
Netta's siblings include Alphonse, Cora Clementine, Lilian Albertine and a half-sister, Emily Jane, from her father's first marriage (to Elizabeth Rogers, b. 22 Feb 1846). I have a feeling Elizabeth (Rogers) died in childbirth :(, I have a note that she had another child besides Emily who died as a baby.
Alphonse (1855-1922) ended up running a boat business (I think) on Catalina Island CA, although he is also noted as an academic who died and was buried in Los Angeles; Lilian married a Mr. Gatch, and was close to Netta (several photos of them together into old age). Cora married a Mr. Casmire. Emily married a Mr McClure they had two children (Gayle has a photo). CE and Netta emigrated to California late in life (Pacific Palisades), they died after 1939.
I love this picture: , taken in early 1884, I believe, in Iola Kansas (Raiford and Sarah moved around a lot, but settled here for long periods). The photo shows Netta with her parents, most of her siblings, perhaps some spouses and grand-children. CE Bacon looks like he would give anything to escape from being surrounded by his wife and her sisters (hahahaha). Top middle right is CE, standing next to Netta who holds Raymond Foss on her lap. Seated in front of Netta is Lillian (later Gatch). I am fairly certain now that the lady in the upper left is Emily (Wiggs) McClure, with her husband JW McClure and their son (the eldest child). In the middle are Raiford Wiggs and Sarah Adaline Woodmansee. The seated lady in front left is likely to be Cora Clementine (Wiggs) Casmire, the babe in arms on her lap would be Paul Casmire (b. 22 Dec 1884).
Raiford Wiggs and Sarah Adaline Woodmansy were married 28 Nov 1852 in Tampico OH. We don't know how Raiford & Sarah met, but Darke County OH and Spartanburg IN are both close to the mutual OH-IN border. Raiford & Sarah were married almost 55 years; I have a card for their 50th wedding anniversary party in 1902.
Netta's, Raiford's and Sarah Adaline's siblings have many descendants out there interested in family history, there is a lot of speculation about Raiford's providence. Our Family Folio says that Raiford was born near Spartansburg, Randforth Co., IN on 22 June 1827. He is noted as being of "English" descent. He was a Republican, a Methodist, a Merchant, 6' tall weighing 155 lbs with a "light" complexion, black hair and blue eyes. He died 18 May 1915 "of seniality" at Vincennes IN, and is buried in Indianopolis. His father was Windsor Wiggs who married in 1816, Edgecombe NC, to Sarah Barefoot (b. 10 Mar 1799). Barefoot is an old English name. Details of Sarah Barefoot's obituary (I am not sure in what pub. it appeared), I reproduce below,
"died 4 Aug 1881 daughter of Luther & Jeptha Barefoot born in Wilson Co. NC March 1799 Her father died when she was 6y old and mother died when she was 6 weeks old. She married Windsor Wiggs 6 Aug 1817 and came from N.C. to Greensfork Township in 1826. Mr. Wiggs died 27 Nov 1856 age 63y 3m 18d. He was survived by 6 children, they were married 38y 3m 21d at time of her demise. She was 82y 4m 24 when she died, she is buried on Bur on Chas. Christ farm N. of Spartansburg beside her husband. Stone at the Spartansburg Cem. Serv. at Bethel IN."
The Wiggs were generally prosperous; I am indebted to distant cousin Tom Allen for the picture of handsome Felix Wiggs (1819-1895), one of Raiford's brothers. The original oil painting hangs in the Randolph County Historical Museum museum in Winchester IN.
Windsor Wiggs was born in Wayne Co. NC ~9 Aug 1793 (date worked out from info in his wife's obituary), and is son of Isabel Wiggs (named as her son in documents). There's a lot of hot discussion on who was Windsor's father, nobody is too sure. Windsor (it's said) was a Quaker, who immigrated to IN by 1827, and died in 1856 in Randolph Co, IN and is buried in a Quaker cemetery near Spartanburg IN. He died 27 Nov 1856.
Raiford & Sarah Adaline lived for a while in Iola Kansas, near their daughter Cora and son-in-law Mr. Casmire. Cora married Mr. Casmire in 1881, and in 1884 Raiford is noted in the local newspaper (Iola Daily Register) as becoming a partner in his inlaws' business (hardware, stove and tinware). Raiford also was elected to be a "city officer" of Iola (1888).
Sarah Adaline Woodmansee is more interesting than her husband. Beyond her passion for mid 19th century Italian romance novels, she descends from the Woodmansee (Woodmansy) clan, who flooded thru Ohio in the early 1800s, having previously settled in Connecticut for over 150 years. Here's Sarah's gravestone.
Of Sarah Adaline herself, the Folio notes
born 10 or 11 Dec 1830 near Hamilton Ruther Co. or in Butler Co. OH (came to Darke Co. age 5yo)?
descent = English, French, Scotch
of Asa Woodmansee & Elizabeth A. Mutchner.
3 brothers & 4 sisters.
educated thru primary, Chatuagua Graduate
occupation = Milliner
Politics = Prohibition, religion = Methodist (well, you could see those two going together).
height= 5'8" (tall for the era)
weight = 160 lbs (but not skinny)
complexion = florid (her word, not mine!)
hair = dark brown
eyes = blue
Sarah Adaline died 13 May 1907 of pneumonia at Redkey IN, buried in Indianapolis.
Even her obit. described Woodmansee as "a historic and noble family" (not sure why I don't have more details from her obit?). She was "united with the Methodist Church" at 12 years old, she was married 53 years, was a "woman of strong clear intellect", secretary of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society (so we know where the pushy genes came from).
Asa Woodmansy (b. 8 (or 15?) Jul 1801 in PA, d. 27 Sep 1851) m. Elizabeth Ann "Betsy" Mutchner (b. 2 Mar 1807 in Maryland, died 18 Oct 1891). I know that Betsy's parents were Philip Mutchner & Mary Anderson (m. 19 May 1799 in Maryland); Mutchner is a German name yet Sarah Adaline did not consider herself to have German heritage (odd?). One of my distant cousins said that three Woodmansee brothers married three Mutchner sisters, and the lot of them all immigrated from PA to OH together. Gravestone for our Asa, and photo and gravestone for our Betsy . (Many thanks to Joan Schoffner & Mary Packard). From the info given on those memorials I deduce their birthdates as given above. There is a record (Iola Daily Register) of Sarah Adaline going to visit her mother in February of 1886.
The line from Sarah's dad, Asa Woodmansy to Gabriel Woodmansee of New London CT isn't clear. That said, I'm sure the connection is there. The Woodmansees mostly lived in CT until they started to flood into OH in the early 19th century (part of the westward wave of European immigration that occurred in the USA about then).
More about the Woodmansee exodus to OH. The Woodmansees descend from Gabriel Woodmansee, a prominent resident of New London CT. He was born between 1635 & 1645, and at some point was married to a Sarah Ricks or Rix. Gabriel died by 1688 or so. Beyond that the details about his life get too debated for me to try to reliably repeat here, although it's often thought he was born in Yorkshire England (though some say NJ or MA), and we're not too sure how many wives he had! There is an authoritative text published in ~2009 on the Woodmansee clan, but I'm not sure of title or publisher details.
The CT connection is fascinating to me because the Bacons and Woodmansees (and my other side, the Brainards-Hollisters) were all early settlers of the new colony of CT at the same time. I can't find evidence of earlier intermarriage, but they were all there, living cheek by jowl, coping together with the rigors of early colony life. Meeting, teaching, building, trading, travelling, worshipping, living... together.