Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Andrew and the 2 Alexanders

Mystery still not solved. I've tried all of the traditional records but still no definitive relationship between these men found? My assumption has been that Alexander Forgey of Washington County, Virginia is the father of both Alexander and Andrew of Knox County, Tennessee (Alexander Forgey later migrated to Tippecanoe, IN, and Andrew to Maury County, TN).
Here are some reasons why I think Alexander and Andrew are closely related and may have been brothers. Both Alexander and Andrew purchased land from James Forgey (apparently a relative) on the same day in 1801. They apparently each bought half of James's 500 acre land grant. Alexander Forgey married Elizabeth Sawyers in Knox County, TN in 1805. Andrew and Alexander both witnessed a Sawyer's family document. The document they witnessed is Hannah Sawyers Will dated 27 December 1806. Apparently she was a sister-in-law of John Sawyers, Elizabeth's father. Andrew also was an executor for another  Sawyers. He was the administrator of Betsy Sawyers Will in 1818 Maury County, TN.
Here is why I think Alexander Forgey might be the father of these two men. It is assumed that Alexander living in Washington County in the late 18th century is a brother of Andrew of  Hawkins County, TN. He may be the same man who is listed with Andrew Forgey in Cumberland County, PA in the early 1770's . If so he would have been old enough to be Andrew and the younger Alexander Forgey's  father. We know Alexander Forgey of Washington County,Va was an adult in 1783 when he appeared on a taxlist. Only those over 21 were listed. We know Andrew Forgey was over 45 as listed on the 1820 Census Maury County, TN. So he was born before 1775. There is disagreement as to where he was born. A great grandson stated Ireland in a County Biography sketch. A son said Pennsylvania on the 1880 Census. Another son stated he was born in Maryland on the 1880 Census. These birthplaces given on the Census's seem to echo their mother's birthplaces, and is likely not accurate. However Pennsylvania would make sense if this were Alexander's son because we know he lived there in the 1770's, at the time when Andrew was born. Unfortunately since Andrew died in the early 1820's we do not have a Census entry with his birthplace.

James G. Forgey great-grandson of Andrew Forgey states he was born in Ireland and so were his grandparents?

John H. Forgey, Andrew's son, stated he was born in Pennsylania along with his mother

Andrew's son Samuel Scott Forgey 1880 Census says he was born in Maryland,
We do however have a Census birthplace entry for Alexander Forgey which states he was born in Virginia. There seems to be universal agreement regarding his birthplace. The family bible also states he was born 1779 in Virginia. All of the entries I have found for his children seem to agree. It is known that the likely brother of Alexander Senoir, Andrew, was in Virginia in 1779 according to a court case in Washington County, VA. 

Alexander Forgey 1850
Family Bible entry for Alexander Forgey

So we have a definite link between the Junior Alexander and Virginia. If he wasn't born there he certainly had a memory of living there early in his childhood. There were other Forgeys living in Virginia in the 1700s. Robert Forgey of Dumfries was the earliest. This family generally used the Forgie spelling. Daniel seemed to be the only surviving son of Robert. There was also a Joseph Forgay named in a Will in Augusta County, VA. The Sawyers family lived in Augusta County, VA. Don't know if there is any connection? Could not find any other references to Forgeys in Augusta County, only a single reference. Hugh Forgey who later settled in Kentucky was married in Greenbier, VA in 1786. With very few records for these areas before 1800 it is difficult to establish who the father of Alexander and Andrew was. Based on proximity and interactions between these men and the Hawkins County, Tennessee line, I still lean in that direction.

Reference to a Joseph Forgay in Augusta County, VA dont' know the year?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Interpreting Taxlists

I finally received my Washington County, VA Taxlist microfilm from Salt Lake City. I had some problems interpreting these lists. Some of the lists have column titles with detailed names. Other taxlists have columns without names. I copied the pages with Alexander Forgey's entries and should have noticed the absence of column heading on some of the lists. There may have been headings on previous pages?
I found a nice explanation of these lists at a family website which I copied as an image (see above). I agree with this person that some of the info can be conflicting. It does appear that who's taxed  and what's taxed could change from year to year. Also I have not been able to find a list of who might be exempt? I have not been able to find any websites with early Virginia tax statutes which would help me to understand the lists better.
It was very disappointing not being able to find Andrew Forgey, husband of Eleanor Randall, in any of these lists. The 1787 taxlist seemed to point to the possibility that the male in Alexander's household was Andrew. Since the 1786 and previous lists contain the names of only males over 21 he would likely not have been old enough to be listed. The 1788 taxlist does note the number of males over 16; so there should be someone over 16 noted in Alexander's household but there is not. If indeed the 1787 list noted Andrew than possibly he left his father's household to work on another farm or was a member of the Militia. I am not sure who might have been exempt from taxation so he may have been exempt? Another possibility is the person noted was a slave belonging to Alexander's wife Anne named Jane? He was only married to Anne briefly around this time. Also so many taxlists with only one tithable per household leads me to believe there may have been some deception, and some households may not have devulged all tithables.
1794 Taxlist Alexander Forgey
Every year from 1788 to 1793 lists only one tithable in Alexander's household. In 1794 three are noted, but one year later only one is noted which is very perplexing? I came to the conclusion that Alexander G. Forgey was the son of the Alexander. He was born in July of 1779 in Virginia according to a family bible. So Alexander Forgey the younger would not have been 16 in 1793 and would not have been noted. Alexander also would not appear in the 1795 list either because he turned sixteen a few months after the April taxes were collected. I was not able to establish any connections between all these men using the taxlists.  Alexander sold his property in 1795 and does not appear on the taxlists again. It is unknown what happened to him after the sale of his property. Hopefully something will surface to clear all this up.

Friday, August 19, 2011

How the Forgeys earned their Bread

Cecil Clair Forgey's Store in Freetown, IN

The occupations of the Forgeys reflect the era they lived in. The earliest Forgeys to settle America were generally farmers; a typical occupation for that era. Early America was a nation of Farmers and cheap land attracted those engaged in this pursuit in the old world. Many Forgey families owned large tracts of land. Some of these purchases can be found at the BLM site. According to wikipedia in 1870 70-80 percent of the population was involved in agriculture. 
The Forgeys Scots-Irish heritage can be seen in the occupations of the Forgey immigrant generation. The Scots-Irish in Ireland were often associated with the textile trade. Robert Forgy of PA was a weaver by trade. William Forgy also an immigrant to PA was a Tailor. Whiskey making was another skill which the Scots Irish brought to America with them. Andrew Forgey was convicted of selling liquor without a license and above the rates in late 18th Century Virginia.The Forgey's supplemented their farming income in fields such as Whiskey making, Blacksmithing and Tanning. Such jobs were often a sideline to farming. It looks like Archibald Forgey of Scott County, VA did blacksmith's work. My ancestor Hugh Forgey of Jackson County, IN worked as a Tanner.

By the 1880's a shift was occurring which can be seen when studying Forgey Census records. There is a gradual shift from farming to other modern occupations. Some of the earliest alternative occupations can be found in the mining industry such as coal and metals mining. James Forgey was a quartz miner at the Saw -Tooth Mining company in Idaho. My ancestor Andrew Forgey's sons  Clark and Elisha migrated to Colorado where mining was the primary source of employment. Clark worked as a Teamster and his mother cooked for the miners.
New forms of transportation also led to new job types. Frank Forgey of Craighead Arkansas worked as a fireman on a Locomotive in 1900, and by 1920 he worked his way up to engineer. James Forgey of  Hamblen Tennessee either owned or worked at an auto dealership in the 1930's.
New technology led to many new job catagories. The phonograph led to  an increase in the number of music stores. Harland Forgey of Hamblen, Tennessee either owned or was employed by a music store in 1920. James Forgey of Hawkins County, TN line seems to have been the most prosperous. James had invested in land early on. He owned large tracts of land. His descendants inherited much of the land and parlayed the profits into other investments. Some of the profits were used for education. So this line of the Forgey family was able to take advantage of opportunities available to those with an education.  According to the 1880 Census James R. Forgey was a Stock Trader. By 1900 he is listed as Bank President.
The propensity towards litiagation in this country also resulted in a large legal bureaucracy. James Forgey of Iowa became a lawyer but was later imprisoned for larceny. Several Forgey were Justices of the Peace; one of which was Archibald Forgey of Scott County, VA.
The booming comumer culture of the early 20th Century led to an increase in the number of merchants.  Many Forgey family members were employed as salesmen. A few also were entrepreneurs opening shops of their own. My great uncle Cecil Clair Forgey ran a small store in Freetown, Indiana.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Rise of Peer Culture

Popular among his peers David Shields Forgey belonged to the Pan-hellenic Council, Sigma Alpha-Epsilon ,  The Eddies, Mcallie Club, Tennessee Club

Searching for the descendants of James Forgey I found yearbooks from the early 20th century with entries for two of his descendants. Looking through these brought to mind my study of the rise of peer culture during this era. I think that subject is fascinating. The move from the Victorian era to the modern era can be seen when you look at early twentieth century yearbooks.
Victorian society was very strict and rigid. The parents of Louise Taylor Forgey and David Forgey were brought up in a different world. A place where children were expected to remain silent and assist the family on the farm when needed. Extreme modesty in dress was stressed for women. These rigid standards caused the next generation to seek liberation.
The middle classes, like David and Louise's family, and upper classes were the first to embrace the new modern ethos of this peer culture society. The parents of David and Louise may have embraced or at least were aware of the new child rearing techniques being advocated in books. Children at this time became centers of attention for families, whereas, before daily tasks for survival were the focus of family energy. Families were freed from time consuming daily tasks by new labor saving devices. Now the nurturing, emotional and intellectual growth of children could become the focus of families. Child development became a popular field of study, opposing theories were debated in the press. It was felt by some that mothers were becoming too indulgent and permissive. Although some of the new theorists felt rigid structure stifled the creative development of children. The progressive educational movement popular when David and Louise were children also stressed encouragement of creativity in children as opposed to rote learning.
These products of the new child rearing techniques were given freedom from responsibility for a much longer time than earlier generations. Middle class teenagers did not have to help provide for the family anymore. A growing number of high schools and colleges in the early 20th century allowed them to continue their education, and as a result they spent more time with peers than family. 
Louise Forgey and brother David were club joiners. Louise is
pictured  here as a member of the Kodak Club.
The more lax upbringing of these children is reflected in the later behavior of these individuals. Previous dress codes became more and more lax along with moral standards. Teenagers and young adults wanting to assert their independence tried to set themselves apart from their parents generation by adopting fads and new dress styles. A culture of  conformity also sprang up. To be considered a part of the peer group you had to fit in and conform to their culture. Fitting in meant joining clubs in school. Athletics became a way to achieve status on campus.
Peer culture sometimes led to irresponsible behavior. As a counter to this YMCA and YWCA clubs were formed.
The peer culture of teenagers and young adults did help prepare them for the modern business world where networking became important to success. (It's nice too be able to put my research into a famiy perspective.) 

Friday, August 5, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Grandparents' House

My Forgey grandparents purchased the family home and 2 acres of property in about 1939. It was located at 248 4th avenue in La Puente, California (by the way another unrelated Forgey family lived on 4th Street in the same town, which led to confusion with their mail lol). My grandfather Charles Forgey, as stated in the 1930 Census, worked as a carpenter after leaving the Marines. He built the first family home in La Cresenta, California. The family lost that house during the Depression. They rented homes in Glendale California until they saved enough to buy a home and some property. My grandfather used his carpentry skills to fix up the little old farmhouse they bought. He added two rooms on basically by himself; but hired an electrician for the wiring.
By the time I was born in 1963 my grandparents had been living in that house about 24 years; and the house was filled with mementos and memories. My grandfather was born and raised on a farm in Indiana and had a green thumb. The family had a little truck style farm there on 4th avenue for many years. They also kept some small livestock such as chickens and goats. I fondly recall the fruit trees my grandfather planted on the property. I remember visiting there in the Summer and eating tons of mulberries, plums and apricots. The fruit was delicious and much tastier than you can find in the supermarket.
I remember the old timey kitchen with it's red checked curtains and old concrete or granite counter tops.The family always ate at the antique oak table in the kitchen.  My grandmother,Graciela, was a great cook and loved to cook; so spent many hours in that kitchen. She also loved people too, and invited many friends over for meals.
I also recall  the old bathroom with it's old fixtures.The one bathroom was fairly roomy for a small house with a large claw foot tub.
My grandfather was a hunter and fisherman. He devoted a whole room to memorabilia connected with these pursuits. He hung animal heads on the walls and stuffed birds.  I also remember his gun cabinet. I would sometimes take a nap in that room when I was a baby lol.
Something that really stands out in my mind when I think of the house is all of the family pictures my grandmother loved to display. I was told that my grandparents had a picture of their baby daughter Isis Forgey taken after she died. I was a little afraid of coming upon that picture. I don't think they ever displayed that one? Most of the pictures were of the many grandchildren. I loved seeing my own picture which was one of the largest on display. My father would always say who is that monkey on the wall :).
My Picture from my Grandparents house

Another prominent picture in the house that fascinated me was a picture of my great-grandmother Isis Forgey which hung in the living room. I always admired it. Just a couple of weeks ago one of my cousins was cleaning out her garage and found the large framed picture. She asked if I wanted it which of course I did and I am thrilled to have it. 
The house remained in the family until about 1978. When the property was sold the house was torn down. At least I still have the pictures and fond memories.

My Great-Grandmother's picture (Isis Browning-Forgey) from my grandparents' house