Saturday, August 09, 2014

Family History 11: The Dorsey Stream

Dorsey Schenck and
his mother Pearl
1. In 1949, Pearl Dorsey (my Dad's grandmother), was living with her daughter Lula in Michigantown. The living situation was interesting. After her husband Samuel had died of an appendix burst in 1930, she and Lula had somehow ended up as housekeepers for an old bachelor farmer by the name of Oyette McBride in Michigantown, Indiana. In 1943, he had married Lula, who was 22 years younger than he was. Then he died three years later.

Aunt Lula's final house
So in a short span of time, Pearl and Lula had apparently gone from having very little after Samuel's death to long term security. I am not sure how well off Samuel was when he died. At the age of 59, he was working as a laborer on a dairy farm. It is a little sobering to think that Pearl and Lula had ended up working as housekeepers and living with this bachelor farmer in his fifties. But after McBride's death, Lula would go on five years later to marry another farmer in town, a widower himself. I'm guessing they met at the Michigantown Methodist Church she attended. She would then live out the rest of her life in his house, outliving him by 29 years.

2. Pearl Dorsey was born in 1874 there in Clinton County, and she would die in December that year, 1949. By then my parents were married, and my mother attended her funeral. My grandfather presumably was named after her, "Dorsey Schenck."

I don't know much about Pearl, although a lovely typed letter survives from her cousin, Hattie Price, to her the year before she died. In the letter Hattie apologizes for how her typing has deteriorated from when she was Indiana state champion. She admires the composition skills of Pearl's brother Harry when he writes her. She speaks of the meal she had in the middle of typing the letter--she apparently took some time to type it. She warns Pearl about tramps and urges Lula to milk early in the evening and late in the morning.

But the main point of the letter was information Hattie had on how their family came to Clinton County, Indiana around 1840. Pearl's grandfather, Samuel Dorsey, had moved to Indiana with his mother and sibilings after his own father died in 1838. The letter has a lot of fun details, including a dog named Trip that rode with them on a wagon from Ohio. It would jump out when they stopped, then get back in when they continued.

I guess two of the brothers rode horses and guided a cow. They would milk the cow and put the milk in a churn. Then the up and down of the covered wagon would make butter. They came across what is now 40. They left Butler County, Ohio, in September or October because the kids put apples in bags before they left. I guess they were so afraid of being left behind that they didn't get many apples.

William and Ruth Dorsey
There is also a good story about how Pearl's grandparents ended up together. Apparently he (Samuel) had tried to catch her (Margaret) a little too hard and she had scorned him. She had married someone else and had three children. But her husband and two of her children had died of the "bloody flux" (dysentery). Meanwhile, Samuel married and had three children too, but he came home one day to find that his wife had left him and taken their daughter with her.

So they ended up together anyway and had at least five more children, including my GG-grandfather William Dorsey, Pearl's father. William Dorsey married Ruth Lee, who was 15 years his younger.

In the 1920 census, Ruth has died and William is 81, living with Samuel and Pearl in Frankfort. William would die later that very year.

3. William's father Samuel, born in 1802, had come with his father, John Michael Dorsey, from New Jersey. Then John had come from Maryland, born around 1770.

Samuel's wife, Margaret, had also come from Maryland. They apparently loaded their goods on a boat in east Maryland and went up the Chesapeake River and across the bay. Then they finished the journey to Butler County, Ohio by wagon (all according to Hattie). I have to think they had arrived in Ohio by the 1820s.

There are so many lines--wives, fathers of wives, mothers of wives. I don't have time to try to pin them down. Pearl's father was William. William's father was Samuel. Samuel's father was John, born in 1770. From that point back to the early 1600s, the Dorsey's lived in Maryland. In particular, they lived in Anne Arundel, Maryland.

4. It would appear that an Edward Darcy (1619-1659) came to Maryland in the early 1600s. He was born in Hornsby Castle in Yorkshire, England. He landed in Virginia about 1642, moved to Maryland, and apparently drowned off the Isle of Kent in Chesapeake Bay in 1659.

Hornsby Castle, Yorkshire
Edward came from nobility. He was apparently born in Hornsby Castle in Yorkshire, as was his father Thomas (1545-1604). His grandfather Arthur (1505-61) was the son of another Thomas Darcy, who was put to death by Henry VIII in 1537 outside the Tower of London for opposing the dissolution of the monasteries and delivering Pontefract Castle (as its guardian) over to a northern group opposed to Henry's withdrawal from the Roman Catholic Church.

The line of Darcys--or shall we say D'Arcy--goes back to around 1066 and the Norman invasion of Britain from the south. The furthest back I can get has a "Norman D'Arcy" born around 1063 and a "Mrs. Norman D'Arcy." I have to consider this a joke, since the Normans invaded in 1066.

From there the line would jump back to France, presumably back to Arcy area France, southeast of Paris.


Earlier posts:

1. The Revivalin' Twenties
In the Year 1920 (Dorsey Schenck, also see here)
From Quaker to Pilgrim (Harry Shepherd in 20s)
The Great Generation (my parents)

2. The Depression Thirties
Dutch Reformed Past (Samuel Schenck)
North Carolina Flashback (Eli Shepherd)
Wanting to be Rich (Oscar Rich)

3. Passing Generations
Old German Baptist Heritage 1 (Amsy Miller)
Old German Baptist Heritage 2 (Salome Wise)
The Dorsey Stream (Pearl Dorsey)

5. The Divisive Sixties
Prophet, Pastor, and Professor (Harry Shepherd)
Flashback to Jamestown (Champion Shelburn)

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