The Winegar Migration from New York to Michigan

August 24, 2010

Genealogy is a fascinating subject.  No matter what area I research, new questions or areas of interest arise.  In recent weeks, I have been working to expand my data base on the descendants of Ulrich Winegar who came to America in 1710 and  settled in New York state.  In a recent post I described the involvement of the Winegars with the early Mormon Church.  As my project continued, I became aware that there was a large number of Winegars who settled in Michigan during the middle 1800s.  My great-grandfather had settled in Wacousta in Clinton County, and I knew that some Winegars had settled in Grand Rapids, but the large number in Michigan surprised me.  I also became aware that they seemed to be concentrated in a strip of counties in southern Michigan.  I had lived in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, in the late 1950s and was surprised to learn that Winegars had settled near there over 100 years earlier.  Some were buried in the Eaton Rapids cemetery.  I vaguely remember my father contacting some nearby Winegars, but it seems they were unable to determine if we were related.

I decided to explore the migration of the Winegars from New York to the area in Michigan where they settled. Ulrich Winegar was a German Palatine who was brought to America by the English to work in the timber industry.  After 14 years he was able to buy land and settled with his family in Amenia, Dutchess County, New York.  Ulrich had two daughters and a son Garrett.  Garrett had 14 children, nine of them boys.  Descendants of at least three of these boys eventually settled in Michigan.

Dutchess County is located on the east side of the Hudson River, north of New York City.  As the family grew, they moved north along the Hudson River but also settled in the area westward between Albany and Buffalo.  This was the area where the Erie Canal was built and completed around 1825.  Almost all of the Winegars who moved to Michigan were born or lived along the Hudson River or the Erie Canal.  The Erie Canal made westward movement possible.  Pioneers and their families could travel down the canal, catch a steamer across Lake Erie and be in Detroit.  This was much easier than overland travel.  Apparently, land was available in the territory which encouraged people to move there.  Michigan became a state in 1837.  The map below shows the counties where the Winegars who traveled to Michigan were born.

Map of New York with highlighted counties showing birthplace of Winegars who migrated to Michigan.

As it turns out, where the families settled was determined by the roads in the new territory.  The government built a road north from Detroit northwest through Howell to Lansing, the new capital, and then west along the Grand River to its mouth at Lake Michigan.  The road was called the Grand River Road or Grand River Turnpike.  I found a lot of information about this road and that could make an interesting future post.  Recognizing the path of this road, it is easy to see why the Winegars settled where they did. The road started at Detroit in Wayne County, went through Howell in Livingstone County, then to Ingham County where Lansing is located, and then followed the Grand River through Eaton, Ionia , Kent, and Ottawa counties.  The map below shows the counties where Winegars settled, all within a short distance of the Grand River Turnpike.  The heaviest concentrations were in Kent, Eaton, and Jackson counties. One exception was a large number who settled in Macomb County just north of Detroit.

Map of Michigan, highlighted counties where Winegars settled in the 1800s.

As I compiled this information I found new areas to explore.  Amos Winegar and his family were in Howell, Michigan by 1817, at least 8 years before the opening of the Erie Canal.  I would like to learn more about this family.  George Winegar and his family were in Eaton County by 1836, before the government had funded the highway.  Isaac Winegar jr. was in Kent County by 1847.  These families played a major role in the development of Michigan and I hope to explore their stories and share them in the future.

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The Winegars and the Early Mormon Church

August 13, 2010
I have been working on a project to create an extensive Winegar data base by adding to my existing files information from the Winegar Tree newsletters.  In this effort, I have found several articles that describe the involvement of the Winegar family in the history of the Mormon Church.  I have found these stories very interesting and I have decided to briefly share this information.

Individuals involved are the family and descendants of Samuel Thomas Winegar (1773-1874).  Samuel’s line is Ulrich(1), Garrett (2), Samuel S. (3), Samuel Thomas (4).  Samuel Thomas and his wife, Rhoda Cummings, as well as their children Alvin, Almira, and John received Latter-Day-Saints baptism in January of 1833 in Springfield, Pennsylvania.  Springfield was only a short distance from Kirkland, Ohio, then the headquarters of the Mormon Church.  Samuel, Rhoda, and the three children joined other members of the church in Far West, Missouri.

Zion's Camp, painting by C.C.A. Christensen. Copyright expired.

In 1835, Samuel Thomas, Alvin and a daughter of Samuel, either Almira or Sarah, were called by Joseph Smith, the founder of the church known as the Prophet, to go with a group of Saints to Zions Camp.  Their purpose was to relieve the suffering of members of the church there.  While in Far West Alvin married Mary Judd and Almira married William Stoker.  When the church moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, the Winegars and the Stokers moved there as well. Marriage records from Henry County, Indiana show Alvin and Mary were married there, August 31, 1837.  See comment below.

Alvin’s wife, Mary, helped Joseph Smith’s wife in her home and was present when a mob came for Joseph.  Fortunately, he was not there.

Lois Smith, who later would marry Stephen Samuel,  the youngest son of Samuel Thomas, lived in the home of Joseph Smith.  Lois and her family had immigrated to Nauvoo from Canada.  When her parents and all her siblings all died of cholera, Lois, an orphan,was taken into Joseph Smith’s home.  She was baptized by him two days after her eighth birthday.  One of her relatives related that she would repeat that she had been baptized by the Prophet as many as 20 times per day.  She also liked to tell of how she would ride with him on his horse, Joe Duncan.  After Joseph Smith was assassinated, she lived in the home of Brigham Young until her marriage.

Balconies and pillars of the Old Mormon Tabernacle.

The Winegar family traveled by wagon train to Utah.  Lois Smith and possible her future husband Stephen, traveled in 1848.  They were married in Utah in 1850.  Stephen cut lumber for the building of the Temple and the Tabernacle.  The pillars that hold up the balcony of the Tabernacle were cut and hauled by ox teams driven by Stephen Winegar.  William Stoker and Almira Winegar Stoker started for Utah in June of 1852.  Alvin Winegar and his family left about the same time but traveled in a different company.  In Utah, William Stoker took a second wife, Christina Emily Madsen.  Living with both wives, he had nine children by Almira and five by Emily.

Alvin Winegar and Mary Judd had nine children.  Stephen Samuel Winegar and Lois Smith had eight.  A large number of the Winegars living in Utah today are descended from these two brothers.

In putting together this post I have relied heavily on a paper, The Family of Samuel Winegar and Susanna Thomas by Helen Beazer presented at the 1984 meeting in Salt Lake City and The Story of Smith Winegar by Orla L. Coltrin-Pratt -Hillhouse from The Winegar Tree, January 1981.

The Will of John Would

August 10, 2010


Copy of the Will of John Would, 1825

Today I received copies of two wills that I ordered from the Lincolnshire Archives several weeks ago.  One of the wills was that of John Would who died in 1825 in Kirkby on Bain, Lincolnshire.  I thought at first that this John Would was the father of Elizabeth Wold Stephenson and my 4th great grandfather, but it was not to be.  What a coincidence that a small town such as Kirkby on Bain would have two John Woulds who both died in 1825!

For the benefit of other researchers, here is the information that I was able to gather on the John Would of the will. 

John Would married Ann Lusby 13 May 1766 in Kirkby on Bain.  They had three children: Thomas (born 1767), Joseph (born 1769), and Susanna (born 1778).  John’s will does not mention his wife, Thomas, or Joseph, so presumably they were deceased at the time of John’s death.

John’s daughter Susanna Would married William Greetham 7 May 1795 in Kirkby on Bain.  They had three children: Mary, Thomas, and Elizabeth, all of whom were remembered in their grandfather John’s will.

Mary Greetham married John Motley 26 March 1818.  John Motley was a butcher.

Thomas Greetham married Elizabeth and had two children, Mary and Ann.

Elizabeth Greetham married George Taylor 13 May 1819.  George was a farmer.

John Would designated his daughter Susanna as Executrix of his will and grandson Thomas and grandson-in-law John Motley as Executors.

It is amazing how much information can be determined from a will and 30 minutes on a computer. 

Descendants of Ulrich Winegar Data Base

August 10, 2010

In my last post, I discussed my project of building a data base of the descendants of Ulrich Winegar.  I started with data that my father had collected, plus what I have added in the last few years.  Now, Sandra and I are working to add information from the Winegar Tree, a magazine produced during the late 70’s and early 80’s.  We have added data from the first two volumes and uploaded our file to  If you are an Ancestry subscriber, you can can reach this file by clicking the link below.  If this fails, contact me and give me your email address and I can give you guest privileges to this file.  The file is called Ulrich Winegar Descendants-August 2010.  The file contains some information I don’t think is available elsewhere, as well as a number of pictures and stories from this blog.  As I add new information from the Winegar Tree, I will upload new versions.  We are working in Family Tree Maker which is much more user-friendly for entering large amounts of data.