how soft and moist your breath against my skin - sixty-five days of fog and rolling clouds touching the tree-tops, silvering the air - and I breathe you in, a summer's mild winter clinging close as a lover.
I'm trying to figure out where my pennsylvania whittinghams come from. I've traced back births to 1759, and then there is a marriage certificate in 1751, which I think might be the parents of the 1759 birth, both in philadelphia county. There are also some funerals in Philadelphia for john, william and mary whittingham in 1711, 1713, and 1716 respectively. They may be relatives as well, and point to the family being in the phila area as early as that. Those are our line's commonly given names which repeat through the generations.
There are very old whittinghams in virginia (1609, 1615, etc) and in massachusetts (1650's), so i'm assuming mine came from one or the other of those lines. The Virginia-origin Whittinghams are nearly all african-american now. There were also some Whittinghams in New York, but they seemed to move back and forth to Great Britain, and have different personal names from ours, such as Richard, George, etc. Ours tend to be almost exclusively John and William, although there is one rather recent George (in the 1870's). Anyway, I don't think we are from that branch. Then there were some Whittinghams who came from England in the mid-1800's and settled in northern Penna, NY, Canada, and they are no relation as far as I can tell, but they take up a lot of space when one is searching for 'whittingham' through the records. ('Don Whittingham' was a very nice man, and eager to trace his origins in England. He has since passed away.) Also, a tremendous amt of data comes up from England and Scotland, all of mostly recent origin, so it is difficult to fill in that pre-1750 gap to connect our Whittinghams with those who came over in the late 1600's to Virginia and Massachusetts.
Another really ancient branch of our line, the Livezeys, came to Philadelphia from Virginia. That is all researched and documented. So, it would seem that that might be a fairly common route to Philadelphia early on, before and at the very beginning of the Penn colony. Our Livezey ancestor bought land directly from William Penn in 1683 in an area that is now part of the district called 'Northeast Philadelphia,' specifically around Cottman Avenue and Street Road. So, maybe the Whittinghams came that way - from Virginia - too.
Some Whittinghams came to Virginia as political prisoners, convicts (a George Whittingham), indentured servants, sometimes via Barbados. Actual bonafide 'colonist' Whittinghams settled in New England, one John in Watertown as a saloon-keeper/inn-keeper. Most of the New England 1600's Whittinghams ran to women who married into other names.
But what I've found out recently that kind of fascinates me, is that there was a claim by Connecticut of land in northeastern Pennsylvania that was also claimed by the Pennsylvania colony and by the Native Americans as well. This region, known as the Wyoming Valley, was fought over by all three parties concerned, very savage, bloody, burning warfare by all claimants. Colonists from Connecticut just came in there and squatted. Many were driven off, but some remained. The land was very rocky and poor for farming, but apparently New England farmers were used to that and so the 'Yankees' were tenacious in their grip on their new properties. They really wanted it.
I remember my mother and grandmother shaking their heads and saying, 'and now look at it, it's one of the poorest regions in the state.' I think they must have known all about it (!) although for me it is something I just came across in a book ("Wild Yankees" by Paul Benjamin Moyer) and had to resort to link+ in order to get the book. A truly fractious and horrifying tale. So fascinating to me how close-lipped my mother and grandmother were about matters that pertained to my grandfather's family (the Whittinghams).
Nevertheless, the early presence of Whittinghams way down in the southeastern tip of the state in Philadelphia suggests to me a Virgina origin. Still researching.
i've been spending more time with a friend of mine who is also an ordained minister, who has been working for the past many years in New Orleans after Katrina, and who formed her own non-profit which has made over a hundred homes livable again for poor residents. Now that she is back in the Bay Area she is unemployed again. Of course. Things are so competitive here and there is a kind of glut on the market. All sorts of 'amazing people' and not enough high-end work for all of them.
my perusal of ordained women who are either unemployed or doing some other kind of work that they can 'interpret' as being a form of ministry, continues.
i've noticed in the african-american community in oakland there are many individuals who call themselves by various ministerial honorifics, ('bishop,' 'sister,' 'brother,' 'reverend') and who are, in fact, doing the work of charity and spiritual support that 'ought' to go along with such titles. The honorifics are there as an indicator of merit, talent and performance, and respect, as opposed to being a professional title that is calculated to establish a unique role and position, with a salary, privileges, etcetera. It's like there are two (or more) different worlds of being 'ordained' and I find it fascinating to observe.
Speaking of employment, vocation and work, have a great Labor Day Weekend!