Archive for February, 2012

When William Theobald and his wife Martha (Lane) Theobald decided to immigrate to America they sacrificed a great deal. William’s mother came from the Dore’ Family on the Isle of Wight, who owned a great deal of land, and a manor home. William and Martha walked away from the privileges of their life to travel, first by ship to New Orleans, then up the Mississippi River where they obtained a team of Oxen and a Wagon, to become Pioneers of the Westward Expansion. As they travelled they were sometimes required, by necessity to leave behind valuable items. These items would be ‘cached’ which meant hidden, or buried so they could hopefully be retrieved at a later date. There were other times when dishonest trail leaders would urge them to  cache something so that they could come back and take the treasured items before the rightful owners could find them.

One day Martha was requested by the Wagon Captain to leave behind the treasured feather bed that she had brought from England. The bed was filled with feathers that she had gathered and was quite heavy. Fearing that the request was so the feather bed could later be stolen, Martha sat on the back of the wagon, slit open the ticking of the bed and allowed the feathers to fall behind the wagon along the trail, until all she had was the ticking. That story tells me quite a bit about Martha and her strong will.

When you come across a will, or probate record, there will usually be an inventory of household items. Feather beds are often listed, and were prized, and handed down. You will find other items that will tell you about your female ancestor. These may give  clues to how she spent her time. There may be listed, quilts, thimbles, spinning wheels, butter churns, crockery and other items that give you a glimpse into your ancestor, what she valued and how she spent her time.

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