Genealogy becomes a mania…

“Genealogy becomes a mania, an obsessive struggle to penetrate the past and snatch meaning from an infinity of names. At some point the search becomes futile – there is nothing left to find, no meaning to be dredged out of old receipts, newspaper articles, letters, accounts of events that seemed so important fifty or seventy years ago. All that remains is the insane urge to keep looking, insane because the searcher has no idea what he seeks. What will it be? A photograph? A will? A fragment of a letter? The only way to find out is to look at everything, because it is often when the searcher has gone far beyond the border of futility that he finds the object he never knew he was looking for.”Henry Wiencek


Brigadier General William Cosby is Notorious (Daily Post Prompt)

Brigadier-General William Cosby (1690–1736) was a notorious Irish soldier who served as the British royal governor of New York from 1732 to 1736.During his short term as governor, Cosby was notoriously portrayed as one of the most oppressive royal placeholders in British Colonial America. 

Lydia Armstrong Gilliland (Gillilan)

Lydia Armstrong, is my sixth great grandmother and a member of one of the best known families in Augusta County Virginia. Lydia was born October 17, 1755 and died on July 23, 1817. She married James Gilliland (my sixth great grandfather) who was a Revolutionary War Soldier born in Augusta County, Virginia. Marriage: Abt. 1781, Greenbrier Co., West Virginia

James started out as a private but was promoted to Lieutenant. He was granted a pension of $78.22 per annum on February 5, 1834.

You can find more information on James Gilliland here:

Partriot James Gilliland

James and Lydia Armstrong Gilliland had six sons: Robert, James, Nathan, William, Samuel, and George. They also had six daughters: Jane, Sarah, Elizabeth, Nancy, Lydia and Mary Polly.

After Lydia died in 1817, James Gilliland married James Edmiston’s widow Jane Smith Edmiston. Jane was the mother of Andrew Edmiston. Andrew Edmiston was married to James Gilliland’s daughter, Mary Polly Gilliland which means that James Gilliland was Andrew Edmiston’s father in law and Step-father.

Mary Polly Gilliland (daughter of James and Lydia Armstrong Gilliland) b. 4 July 1790 and Andrew Edmiston (son of James and Jane Smith Edmiston) b. 22 July 1777 were married on 8 January 1807.

Compiled by: Cindie Harper

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My 7th Great Grandmother Sarah Dyer Armstrong

Sarah Dyer Armstrong was born in 1720 and married James Armstrong in 1748. James died in 1759. Sarah died on the 31 January 1787 in Flagg Springs, Augusta County, Virginia, United States.

I found a probate record for my seventh great grandmother Sarah Dyer Armstrong. It was listed in Augusta County Virginia 07 October 1759 in Virginia, Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850. This probate record was originally published in “Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virginia, 1745-1800. Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County” by Lyman Chalkley. Sarah was listed as the Executrix for her husband James Armstrong’s noncupative will – “Wife, Sarah (pregnant); daughters, Liddy and Jean. Executors, wife Sarah and Brother Robt. Armstrong. Proved by witnesses and executors qualified.” Book WB2-341, Prove date: 21 November 1759.

Executors, wife Sarah and brother Robert Armstrong, Teste: Thomas Lloyd, Samuel Archer. Proved, 21st November, 1759 by witnesses, and executors qualified, with Sampson Archer, James Bell. Vol.1. Book VI, p. 319; 21 Nov 1759, “Sarah relict of James Armstrong, summoned to show cause against James’ nuncupative will.” Chalkey’s Page 350. 18 March 1760. James Armstrong’s appraisement, by John Finley, Sampson Archer, James Hogshead, Andrew Foster. 

Vol. 1, p. 156: February 17, 1762: Robert Armstrong is appointed guardian of Lydia, James, and Jane Armstrong, orphans of James Armstrong- Chalkey’s

Sarah was pregnant with James Jr. when his father James died in 1759. His sisters are Lydia Armstrong (who is my sixth great grandmother who married my sixth great grandfather, Revolutionary War Patriot James Gilliland) and Jane/Jean.

Lydia moved to Greenbrier County, Virginia (now West Virginia) with their uncle Robert Armstrong when her father James died.  

greenbrier county wv cindie harper map genealogy

James Armstrong is buried in the Geeding-Keller Cemetery which is located on the farm of Dr. James Knopp, behind Green Hill Cemetery, on Route 836 near Churchville. Overgrown with trees and some brush.

Inscription on the tombstone reads as follows:

Armstrong, James                           d  6 Oct 1759
Here lies the body of James Armstrong departed this life in the
28th year of his life, October the 6th 1759.

By: Cindie Harper, Researcher and Contributor

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The Anchorage aka Putnam Villa in Marietta Ohio

The Anchorage Putnam Villa entrance window artThe Anchorage Putnam Villa entrance outsideThe Anchorage Putnam Villa entrance lightingThe Anchorage Putnam Villa chandelierDouglas Putnam got rich by investing in real estate and the first railroad to connect Parkersburg, WV and Marietta, Ohio. He used his money to build a spacious home for his second bride, Eliza Whipple Putnam. The Tuscan-style villa on Putnam Avenue (originally called Putnam Place) took ten years to build and cost $65,000 which was a lot of money in that time. When it was finally completed, Eliza moved in where she shortly died from heart disease at the age of 53.

The Christian Anchorage Nursing Home Putnam Villa

Over the years it has passed from owner to owner. A nursing home used the complex, including the mansion, to house patients. That is when it became known as the Christian Anchorage. It received this name because of its distinctive, anchor-shaped driveway. Even after the nursing home sold it to Marietta Memorial Hospital, who then sold it to the Washington County Historical Society for one dollar, people continued to refer to it as The Anchorage.  

The Christian Anchorage Putnam Villa Travel Paranormal

Another rumor attached to the house is that it was used by the Putnams as a way station on the Underground Railroad. Supposedly a tunnel leads from the subcellar to a steep bank on the Muskingum River, just up from its confluence with the Ohio. This seems unlikely, since such a tunnel would have had to have been pretty long. Also, it’s a widespread misconception that the Underground Railroad really involved a lot of literal underground activity. Mostly slaves were hidden in a back room and fed, clothed, given a place to sleep. Tunnels were very rarely involved.


Here are some pictures from my visit there. The property is currently in the process of historic preservation.

The Anchorage Putnam Villa stairwayThe Anchorage Putnam Villa stair towerIMG_1031IMG_1030IMG_1027


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