Daniells/Plowman/Coleman Links to the Royalty of Europe

November 23, 2009

Betty Daniells

In several previous blogs, I have mentioned the work of my Aunt Betty Daniells in gathering genealogical information on our ancestors.  Betty spent her retirement years traveling in the U.S. and Europe, gathering data.  She did her work before the age of the computer, so everything was collected and recorded by hand.   Starting with her parents, she followed each line as far as she could.  One line, through Juliana Coleman, wife of Peter Plowman, was traced back to around 1400 where it was linked to the royalty of England.  The English have historically kept detailed ancestral records so that once a link is established, it is possible to connect dozens of generations.  Her research shows that the ancestors of the Daniells/Plowman/Coleman line includes Kings of England, France, Italy, Germany and Poland.  Our ancestors include Charlemagne, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, and numerous Counts, Dukes, Viscounts, and Earls.  Several of our ancestors signed the Magna Carta.  Lady Godiva is my 34th great-grandmother.

It is one thing to gather all of the data on European royalty; it is another matter entirely to display it.  Betty traced one line 76 generations to Mark Antony and at least six more lines 40 or more generations.  It was common practice in the Middle Ages for treaties between nations to include the marriage of one king’s daughter to the king’s new ally.  Lines crisscross and kings have children by multiple wives.  No standard genealogy chart handles all of this data.  One of Betty’s major accomplishments was to organize all of her data into a chart.  I have several rough drafts she made on long white window shades.  Eventually, she created a  copy where each couple’s names were typed on tabs which were attached to poster board and then laminated.  A picture of this chart, made in two pieces, is shown here.  Actually, there is a third piece which connects as an overlay.  I don’t know if anyone else has been able to create a chart displaying  this information, but I think this was a major accomplishment.  I think that Betty made a copy of this chart for each of her 11 nieces and nephews.

Betty Daniells' Ancestry Tree

I was recently able to have the chart scanned and anyone who would like a PDF copy can reach me through the comments section of this blog.


Plowman Poetry: Dora and Luther Plan a Prank

September 2, 2009


Sate Plowman, author of the poem

Sate Plowman, author of the poem

The following un-titled poem was written by Sarah Elizabeth “Sate” Plowman Hodges about an event that transpired between 1885 and 1890.  This is a wonderful example of the Plowman family — their humor, their poetry, their love for one another.  It is written in the literary style of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem Song of Hiawatha, written 1855.  I remember memorizing parts of Song of Hiawatha,and when Sandra read me Sate’s poem, I immediately recognized the cadence.

For those readers who have not followed the saga of the Plowman family, here is a brief synopsis of family members.  The author is “Sate,” one of the eleven Plowman brothers and sisters.  The brother from the far away mountains is probably George Fawcett Plowman who moved to Iron

Dora Plowman Bliss

Dora Plowman Bliss, co-conspirator

Mountain, Michigan, and ran a florist business.  Dora is Dora Plowman, wife of Herman Sidney Bliss.  The little daughter she kisses is Iva Bliss.  Luther is another brother of the Plowman clan.  Following the picnic, brother and sister Dora and Luther conspire to play a joke on the rest of the family the following Christmas. 

I am sorry I never had the opportunity to attend a Plowman Christmas Tree because reading this poem, I am sure I would have loved this family and their wit.


In a very pleasant country,

Where the ground was white in winter,

Where the flowers were bright in summer,

Where the sun at night did linger,

Where the robins loved to gather.


 In that mild and pleasant country

Lived a kind and loving family,

Many brothers, many sisters,

Dwelt in unison together.


In a city of the mountains,

Far away in that lone country,

Lived a brother of the family,

Of this kind and loving family.


It was very long ago,

Many months and years ago,

That he came to visit kindred,

Left his home and left his fireside,

Came to visit brothers, sisters,

Home of childhood came to visit.


Then the brothers and the sisters

Of this kind and loving family

Planned to take a pleasant journey

With the brother from the mountains,

Planned to visit farm and country,

Visit haunts of early childhood.


In a near and prosperous city,

With her family, lived a sister.

She too planned to take this journey,

Take this very pleasant journey.


Now the son, so young and nimble,

With his eyes so keen and steady,

He had clipped and groomed the pony,

Clipped the strong and faithful pony.


And the goodman of the household,

In the moon had early risen,

Fed the pony very early,

Fed her grain and well he fed her,

Gave her hay, much hay he gave her.


From the barn he took the buggy,

Greased the wheels,

And made things ready,

Then he called her for the journey.

Long had she been ready, waiting,

Carefully had planned the luncheon

And within the well filled basket

Placed the onions sweet and fragrant.


Very pleasant was the journey

To the farm and to the country,

To the orchard and the meadow,

To the flats they well remembered

Where in childhood they had rambled,

Where they found the pussy willow,

Where they swung upon the grapevine,

Where they hunted for the goose egg,

Where they skated in the winter,

Where they gathered flowers in summer,

Chased the squirrel

And picked the cowslip.


When at noon they had grown weary

They were glad of well filled baskets.

By the green tree they had gathered,

On the green grass spread their luncheon,

Of the meat there was aplenty,

Cakes and pies were quite delicious

Sweetest honey and the melon.


Then the sister, she the generous,

From basket took the onions,

Passed them round,

Again she passed them

To the brothers and the sisters,

To the sisters too she passed them.


They were fresh and sweet and spicy

And they ate and still they ate them.

It did make their tongues run glibly

Made them eat and talk and chatter,

Made the children blithe and happy,

In the trees the children scampered

After squirrel and after chipmunk.


Sister Dora, she so pleasant,

Gathering up the many fragments,

Placed an onion, sweet and tender,

With the fragments in her basket.


Pleasant was the journey homeward

In the cool shade of the evening.

When near another festive season

Sister Dora, she so pleasant,

Always so serene and happy

Seemed at times to grow more thoughtful.

On her brow there was a shadow,

She seemed planning, thinking, planning,

Ever thinking, ever planning.


All at once she seemed more hopeful,

Then consulted her kind husband,

Kissed again the little daughter,

Told them she would be back early,

Told them she would not long tarry.

Quickly on her way she started,

Gladly then she hurried forward.

Went she, till the hills and sand were plenty,

Till the sand was very plenty.


There she found her brother Luther,

Luther poet of the family.

Then she told him of the onion

She had found within her basket.

Long they talked in secret planning

Till she saw the sun descending,

Then she quickly hastened homeward.


Now the brother’s mind seemed busy

In the past he now was wandering.

Sat he quiet, still and quiet,

Very silent, sat he thinking.


The good wife by the fire still lingering,

From her eyes askance was looking,

Knew she well the muses lingered,

Knew she well why he was thinking,

Liked she not then to disturb him,

But she gently did remind him

Of the chores he had forgotten.


Went he slowly to the cupboard,

For the lantern reached and halted,

Still his mind was very busy

With the muses still he lingered.


To the barn he slowly wandered,

Fed the sheep and fed the cattle,

Fed the horses grain and watered.

Looking at the faithful horses

Made him think of many journeys,

Many long and faithful journeys

In the past that he had taken.


Then his eyes began to brighten

And his steps begin to quicken,

To the house he then did hasten,

Quickly called the dark eyed maiden

To bring ink and pen and tablet

Then he wrote some pretty verses,

Pretty verses wrote the poet.


Now the brother and the sister

Took the verses and the onion,

Took them to the Christmas gathering

To remind them of the journey,

Of that very pleasant journey.


That was very long ago,

Many months and years ago.

Now again, we bring the onion

To another Christmas gathering.

It is no more sweet and fragrant,

It is no more fresh and spicy,

But we bring it as a sweet reminder

Of that journey to the country

When they passed and ate the onions

With the brother from the mountains.



Plowman Poetry: All But 49

August 25, 2009


The annual Plowman Christmas Tree Reunion required a great deal of planning throughout the year with committees selected to manage each task.  Serving dinner to scores of people required crews to cook the food, wait on the tables, clear the tables, and wash the dishes.  The entertainment committee would arrange for musical treats, both instrumental and vocal, skits, and dramatic readings.  But the highlight of the Tree was the reading of the poetry, some silly like the one below, some nostalgic, and some commemorating some memorable event during the year.  The following ditty was written, Plowman-style, by Saron Rex Plowman in 1928.  Although Saron did not name his poem, I have selected the final line in each stanza for the title.

All But 49

By Saron Rex Plowman

At Bateman’s place is the Christmas Tree

Where the bunch will gather full of glee.

Of the 54 trees, all in a line,

I’ve attended all — but 49.


The mob will laugh and cheer and shout

And put dull care to utter rout.

Of the 54 trees, a good cheer sign

I’ve attended all — but 49.


The Pedro champ, with feelings tame,

They lost the rubber, by not saving game.

Of the 54 trees, balsam, spruce or pine

I’ve attended all — but 49.


Escalloped potatoes, and apple pie,

Oysters, and coffee as strong as lye.

Of the 54 trees, where you laugh and dine,

I’ve attended all — but 49.


Dishwashers, cooks and those who wait,

Pickles, sandwiches, and layer cake.

Of the 54 trees, both yours and mine,

I’ve attended all — but 49.


The Santas, Uncle Will and Lute,

With many a joke, thrown in to boot.

Of the 54 trees dressed up so fine,

I’ve attended all — but 49.

Plowman Poetry: Song of the Little Old Rocker

August 18, 2009


This poem was written by George Fawcett Plowman in 1908.  George was one of the eleven children of William Tuthill Plowman.  He was also brother to Lide Plowman who wrote extensively about her early life in rural Michigan.  George writes this poem about Lucy, his wife, and her rocker, no doubt also remembering his mother and her rocker.
George and Lucy Plowman

George and Lucy Plowman

Song of the Little Old Rocker

By George Plowman


Here I am, dressed out anew,

In nineteen hundred eight.

Not many of my early chums

Can boast of such a fate.


I’ve helped to soothe the restless child

When the fire was burning bright,

With a ruddy blaze and glowing coals,

By the fireplace at night.


I’ve heard the hum of the spinning wheel

As the housewife made it fly,

While she drew the thread out from the roll

And hummed a lullaby.


I’ve watched the reel, reel off the skein

When the spindle full had got

And listened for the little click,

The signal for the knot.


I’ve seen the skein stretched on the swifts

And the swifts go whirling round

As the quillwheel turned the shuttle’s quill

And the yarn on the quill was wound.


I’ve listened to the noisy loom

Beneath a lowly roof,

While the shuttle through the warp would fly

And the lathe bang up the woof.


This all I’ve seen and heard, and more,

I’ve seen the forest wane,

And by the woodman’s axe to fade

Into a fertile plain.


I’ve rocked the babies now grown old

And the babies they have born

And I’ll be rocking babies still

When Gabriel blows his horn.


The different coats that I have had,

To know would be a shocker,

Though now disguised with Japalac,

I’m Lucy’s same old rocker. 

Plowman Poetry: Memories of the Old Stove

August 17, 2009


This undated poem was written by Sarah Elizabeth Plowman, known to her family as “Sate.”  The poem was written to her neice Luna May Plowman, daughter of Charles Nelson Plowman.  Charles and Sate were both children of William Tuthill Plowman.  The last stanza of the poem refers to a “souvenir.”   The Plowmans often wrote poetry to accompany gifts at Christmas, birthdays, and other special occasions.  We do not know what the souvenir was.

Sarah Elizabeth "Sate" Plowman

Sarah Elizabeth "Sate" Plowman

Memories of the Old Stove

by Sate Plowman


Way back in old Westphalia

When we were young and gay,

When brothers too and sisters

Wore the common home-spun gray,


Our happy brother Charlie

So strong in hand and arm

Had left the dear old homestead

Moved on his Riley farm.


To us other numerous children

It always seemed a treat

To visit this dear brother

And around his board to eat.


They always set a table

Good enough for any king,

For what ever there was needed,

He would always gladly bring.


His wife was kind and thrifty

And of pies, baked not a few,

For of fruit he furnished plenty,

Both to bake and also stew.


Now soon they found their oven

Quite too small for their demand,

And they planned to buy another

Either new or second-hand.


So now this happy brother

To an auction found his way;

I think he will remember

For it was his lucky day.


It was there he found the creature

They always called, “Old Dutch,”

Of milk she gave a plenty

And of butter they made much.


There too, a fine large stove he found,

‘Twas just as good as new,

The oven large and roomy

The fire-box ample too.


But as the years went fleeting by

They made another change,

This stove now old, was set aside,

For the bright and modern range. 


Our brother’s oldest daughter

With a voice quite sad and low,

While looking at the old stove, said,

“I am sorry to see it go.”


When a very little maiden

With her round and dimpled cheek,

By it’s side she sat and prattled,

In the oven warmed her feet;


By it sat in early childhood,

When the time so quickly flies,

By it rocked her little sister,

With the bright and laughing eyes.


Many pleasant recollections

‘Round the old stove seemed to twine,

And she loved it very dearly

For that bright and sunny time.


And now for happy memories

For which we all have sought,

We bought this little souvenir

For what the old stove brought.

The Plowman Family: Lide Remembers Childhood, conclusion

August 15, 2009


Mary Eliza "Lide" Plowman

Mary Eliza "Lide" Plowman

In the last two posts, Lide Plowman has told the story of her childhood — homelife, schooling, and childhood play.  Today she concludes the true story, recalling spelling bees and courting.  Her account makes us remember the things that are positive and good for families today.  As usual, the family tree chart is at the end of the post to assist you with keeping the family members and relationships straight.

The spelling bees were a source of much pleasure and profit.  Each school would train their pupils on a certain part of the speller and use that part when they spelled at their own school, their  teacher being the one to pronounce the words.  It was quite a honor to spell another school down.  Every one was eligible to try.  The first part of the evening was spent in choosing sides and spelling and after a social time at recess, the contest was between the different schools.

 I remember especially one with Mr. Macumber when Mrs. Macumber came with her school.  Among them were Naomi, Harriet and Maryette Dutton.  I was younger but I see Maryette yet standing when nearly all were down.  I admired her very much and in a few years loved her as a sister.  I do not remember who won.  At recess the young people visited and at the end paired off for the home trip.  Some tomed they went to some home and had a short party or dance if there happened to be a musician present.  George and Granvil Peck, Hermans cousins, had violins, and Sidney Bliss a dulcimer, which considered good music.  There were neighborhood parties, no public dances near us.  Young folks found places to meet for amusement then the same as now.

 Till and had two escorts, the one Till liked best liked me, and one I liked best liked Till.  When Till would refuse one, he would ask me, but sometimes through such maneuvers I would be left out and one of the boys sisters would go instead, which did not please our sister nor myself either.

 As I have written you before, our elder brothers spent many winter evenings shelling corn to be ground at the mill, chopping sausage meat in the winter on a bench made of hard wood using a ax to get it fine.  It took some meat to supply our family and the fresh meat would keep sweet and good in that way a long time.  The bony parts had to be eaten first.

 We had apples, peaches, plums and cherries when I first remember and using our own sugar with our own fruit gave us a good supply of desserts.  Later cider applesauce formed quite an item in our fare.  It was planned to make a good supply and send some to Ezra, also dried fruit and fresh apples and any thing else that they lacked.

 Our first experience in canning fruit was in a small mouthed jar, (crock).  Met had given me instructions and I did as near as I could remember, but it was a sad failure.  I was probably 16 then.  Met’s kept alright and mine did the next time.  Glass jars came soon after and our preserving days with equal parts of fruit and sugar were over.

 I wanted to tell how Sate came to be called Eber, how mother and her children rented a house for a school week where Sate was teaching.  John went for them each Friday and took them back each Monday with provisions for the week, and Till at home always glad to welcome them.  How Lute went to Ezra’s to do chores and attend school where I was teacher.  How George went with Jule and me to attend school in St. Johns.  How Jule went to care for Barbara and keep people from killing her with kindness, and Ezra gave Jule a cow when she was married.  No use to enumerate, the thoughts come faster than I can write.

 As I look back it seems we have much to be thankful for, in a home of plenty and enough work to keep us interested in our home, each having a share and doing it cheerfully.  The boys helping out doors the girls helping Mother, spinning, knitting, sewing and tending baby, — all loving each other in a happy simple life. 

Plowman Family Tree

Plowman Family Tree


The Plowman Family: Lide Remembers Childhood, part two

August 13, 2009


In part two of Lide Remembers Childhood, written in 1924, Lide Plowman tells about childhood play and her brothers and sisters in their mid-1800’s home in rural Michigan.  The family tree chart is at the end of this post.

When Brother George came after four girls, it was a great treat and he was the idol of all, with his black eyes and clear white skin.  Nothing was too good for him.  Father made him a wagon with all the parts of a big one.

 Lute had for his pet and plaything an old root something the shape of an animal, called Thompson, who lived many years with us as a companion for “our punch.”  About that time we had a “pork sprout” (a little runty pig), which was also a pet, called Porky, which grew into a fine pig, but no one wanted to eat him.  These pets were as to Lute as Paul’s horse was to him.

 Till, Jule and Sate found much pleasure with their little families of home made rag dolls, about seven inches tall consisting of father, mother, boy and girl.  The house the top of a box about two feet square, with little rolls of cotton for beds to fit their size, and covers etc.  And these families were put to bed and gotten up in the morning every day while the girls talked and talked.

 Saron’s and my pet was the checker board, which helped us to pass many happy hours, only sometimes we were not good losers and had disputes.  At those times the board flew to the shelf, mailed to the beams, where things were kept away from children.

 It was from that shelf that I found Ivanhoe and Father Clement and Thaddeus of Warsaw, which I regret to say that I never read.  Father thought it a great book.

 I have been thinking much lately of the time Ezra left home for Gratiot.  Father had bought Ezra 169 acres of land from the government for $80.00 and with a wagon and yoke of oxen and provisions and bedding he started out to make a home for himself in the wilderness.  He was 20 years old.  Jon Hendernshott and Harvey Troop were with him.

 Of all the leaving home of our family, this seems the most lonesome and far away, although only 50 miles away, but at that time 1855, there were not many settlements north of Maple Rapids and no roads, only trails.

 Father made Ezra a black walnut chest with a till for papers.  The corners were mitered and it made a nice piece of furniture.  The chest was burned and father made him another, but as I remember it was not so nice as the first one.

 It was a happy day for us when Ezra came home on a visit, and the little ones thought candy grew on trees where he lived as he always brought some for them, and later that was not all he brought.  I think in about two years Barbara came with him.  She was about the size of Florence and was very kind to all the children.  Her nice dress was a white lawn with yellow set flowers, very pretty, and what won my heart, she made my doll a dress like it.

 Barbara with her father and brother came from Ohio about the time Ezra went north.  She walked bare-footed behind the wagon and drove a cow and calf.  They had to ford rivers and they were with one family when they upset and their baby was drown.  They lived at first in a shack with no frool and all their furniture was made of rough longs.  Her broom was also home made with which she swept the dirt floor.

 Ezra once signed a note with a man, who skipped off and left him to pay.  This was what put the mortgage on his farm and left Barbara without means in her old age.  They had no children of their own but brought up three, and no matter how much trouble they had they were always cheerful.

 Our brother Ezra was not to accumulate wealth here, but out of kindness of his heart, his help to those in need, especially to children and mothers, he had a mine of wealth stored where “neither moth nor rust could not corrupt, nor thieves bread through and steal.”

 I might say here that Ezra’s neighbors had moved from near Grand Ledge and made the trip home with ox teams, which was a slow way of traveling and our place was the stopping place the last night.  With one man as driver and all the women and children  a lumber wagon would hold, it would tax the bedding of the house to furnish a place for all to sleep.  We were always glad to hear from Ezra, and I think Father considered that as pay for all the trouble and expense.

 George was a baby when Ezra went away, so you see there was no time when all of us children were at home, only 8 at that time.  Charley must have married soon after Lute came, and Saron about the time the twins came to cheer our household, and how we all loved them.

 John Gensterbloom had been living with us since I was 12 or 14.  You may be interested in how John came to be a member of our family.  His parents moved here from Germany and lived near Mrs. Petch’s father, and John and his father worked for him.  Our father needed help as Ezra had gone then, and John first to work and finally to stay.  He could not have been more than 13 and was one of the family ever after.  After the three older boys moved away the children still had an older brother and I am sure Nora and Dora knew no difference, as he took care of them as any of the family.  He was always helping mother and arranged his work so he could go for Jule every week, while she was teaching in Bengal.

 Although we were 11 children, there were never more than 8 or 9 of us at home at the same time, but with Father, Mother and the school teacher 7 months of the year, we were still quite a family with plenty of work for all.

 Charley and Saron being our elder brothers were very kind to take us out when we had no other escort.  We had no theaters and moving pictures were undreamed of, but we much ___ the association of our schools. 






Plowman Family Tree

Plowman Family Tree