Sunday, July 29, 2012

Genealogy Road Trip | Lindley Hill Lane

My sister Courtney joined me for a three-day genealogy road trip in June 2012. I am writing a series of posts that shared the stories and sights of our adventure. This is Part 4.
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When I first learned my ancestors helped settle and were buried in Prosperity I expanded my research beyond and Googled our surnames. This is how I found the Lindley Fort and the settlement story. I then pulled up Google Maps and started looking for the locations that were described in the stories and documents I had found online. What I didn't expect to find when looking around the small community of Prosperity was the Lindley surname was attached to a road on the edge of town.

Before leaving DC, I had written directions on how to find the lane and we didn't have any trouble finding it once we had arrived in town. Luckily for us, the sign, while faded, still stood and we were able to stop and take some photos.

Lindley Hill Lane was not much more than a gravel lane that lead up a hill to a farm and a mining plot. We drove up the lane as much as we could, but there were no trespassing signs posted near the top and while we thought they were for the mining plot, we weren't for sure and decided to leave. The road split near the top and provided a nice turn around and some pleasant views of town and of the Upper Ten Mile Church (more on that in my next post).

I know there are still some Lindley's living in Prosperity and have been in contact with a the nephew of one of them. I plan on making another trip in the next year so that I can try to look at church and vital records, and if I'm lucky, meet some distant cousins.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Genealogy Road Trip | Lindley Fort and Stockade

My sister Courtney joined me for a three-day genealogy road trip in June 2012. I am writing a series of posts that shared the stories and sights of our adventure. This is Part 3.
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Years ago I had read a post in a genealogy forum that suggested that our Lindley ancestors were some of the first white settlers claim land west of the Monongahela River in Western Pennsylvania. The story went on to say that one of our Lindley ancestors (Demas Lindley) had also built a fort to help protect the families who settled with them.

I had also read online that there was a monument dedicated to the old Lindley Fort that stood near where the old fort had once been built. My limited knowledge of the monument came from a short description I had read online that was accompanied with an out-of-focus photo. From that photo, I knew it would be sizable and half-joking told Courtney to keep an eye out for something the size of a VW Bug as we approached town.
Thankfully, my ridiculous size estimate was correct and I briefly caught a glimpse of it as we rounded a the corner coming in to Prosperity. After a quick u-turn, we were able to pull off to the side of the road in a patch of gravel next to the monument. The monument is quite imposing and the inscriptions can be easily read:



You can click on the monument photo to get a larger view
of the monument and the carving.
What I wasn't able to see in the out-of-focus picture I'd viewed online was that there was a carving of what looks like a frontiersman. In person it was quite intriguing.  I've always wondered what Demas looked like and this carving (while generic and not identifiable as him) has helped me to get a better understanding of what he might have looked like.

The details of Lindley Fort are not very well known, it has also been written about in several western frontier fort histories (herehere, and here). Additionally, it is said to have been a reinforced blockhouse (built around the same time as this), it housed soldiers during times of war, and it's currently being threatened by gas drilling. I hope for the sake of all Lindley descendants, that the land around it is preserved and will remain a testament to those who lived in and around it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Genealogy Road Trip | DC to Prosperity, Pennsylvania

My sister Courtney joined me for a three-day genealogy road trip in June 2012. I am writing a series of posts that shared the stories and sights of our adventure. This is Part 2.
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The first day of our genealogy road trip found us leaving DC with a goal of making Ohio by nightfall. Our trip started out in true road trip style as we got stuck in DC traffic at 6:00 am on a Saturday! I will save myself a lengthy dedicated post and end this tidbit on the following note: no matter how long I live here I can't get over how much DC traffic sucks... 24/7/365.

Day 1: DC to Prosperity, Pennsylvania
Once we got on the open road we made good time driving through Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Even though we spent the majority of our time on the freeway, it was an enjoyable and scenic drive. The Appalachian Mountains are beautiful and you can't help but notice the majestic feel of them as each steep incline's peak gives way to beautiful vistas and stunning river carved valleys.

We left the freeway in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, and began winding our way up to the land in Washington County that our Lindley ancestors helped settle in the late 1700's. The narrow two-lane roads leading to Prosperity hug the curvature of the rolling hills, and at times, fall into step with meandering creeks. It's beauty is undeniable and it is easy for me to understand why our Lindley's wanted to call this land home.

Morris Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania
The closer we got to Prosperity, the more I felt like I was back home in Crawford County, Wisconsin. It wasn't just the physical geological similarities that had me thinking of home, it was the way I felt when driving through this land. Farmers were in their fields, families were fishing off bridges, and communities were gathered at cookouts. It's a place where time stands still and people enjoy life, not just live it.

As we drove I couldn't help but imagine the feelings my ancestors felt when arriving in this new territory. How did the families that migrated together decide how to divvy up their new homeland? Were they happy that they stopped here? Did any of them want to push farther west? Was it safe? Did they ever wish to return to the land and lifestyles they left?

I've always wondered what my ancestors would say if they saw the land their future generations settled on in Iowa and Wisconsin. After visiting this area, I am comfortable saying that they would feel right at home.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Genealogy Road Trip

At the end of June, I set off on a week-long road trip to the Midwest. My sister (who lives in Iowa) flew out to DC to join me on the drive back home. My sister is amazing. Seriously, how many 20-somethings do you know who fly to the east coast to drive with her sister back to her starting destination over a long weekend? I'm not joking when I say, hubs and I picked her up at the airport around dinner time, drove back to our neck of the woods, grabbed some grub at our favorite restaurant, drove to the grocery store and picked up snacks, and then slept for a few hours before hitting the road at 6 a.m. the next morning! She's amazing! :)

It may sound crazy to most people, but us Heisz's are always up for an adventure and road trips are our favorite avenue. Adventuring, as we call it, is in our blood. This adventure allowed us to trace the steps of our ancestors from the east coast to the Midwest, making four stops in three states.

Our first stop was in Prosperity, Pennsylvania, to visit the resting place of our Lindley/Day relatives (stop B in the image). Our second stop was in Marr, Ohio, to visit resting place of our Miller/Martin relatives (stop C in the image). Our third stop was in Oxford, Ohio, to visit the resting place of more Lindley/Day relatives (stop D in the image). Our fourth and final stop on the drive out was near Covington, Indiana, to visit one of our Lindley relatives (stop E in the image).

(Click on the image to enlarge.)
Over the next few weeks I will be writing posts about our stops along the way, writing about the people we met and the resting places we visited. There was the farmer who lent us a four wheeler, tons of no trespassing signs, and how can we forget the guy with a gun? It was quite the adventure!