Hannah Haddasseh Hickok Smith

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Last year, my newly found Austin cousin shared with me the Austin letters, info and photos saved by her grandmother Lillie Austin Calkin.

Among the items was an 1855 letter from an Abby Smith to my great-grandmother Mary Ann Eldred Austin.

The letter was about how Abby’s sisters had been so sick and what they did to get better. As I typed up the letter, I found myself wondering why in the world I was typing up a letter from 1855 about some very sick people I had never heard of.

But then the names of Abby’s sisters—Cyrinthia, Laurilla, and Zephina—were so unusual, that I thought perhaps even with Smith for a last name, I would do a google search including Glastonbury, where the letter was from.

Abby Hadassah Smith and her sisters—Hancy Zephina, Cyrinthia Sacretia, Laurilla Aleroyla, and Julia Evelina—were the daughters of Hannah Haddasseh Hickok Smith and Zephaniah Hollister Smith.

Hannah Haddassah Hickok Smith was a first cousin to my great-great-grandmother Hannah Hickok Eldred.

The Zephiniah H. and Hannah H. Hickok Smith Family
The Zephaniah Smith daughters came from an accomplished and nonconformist family. Zephaniah Smith was a lawyer and former minister. Their mother, Hannah Hickok, was an amateur mathematician and poet.

Zephina was an inventor; Laurilla was an artist; and Cyrinthia was a poet and horticulturist. Julia knew classical languages and translated the Bible into English.

In 1873, Abby, 76, and her sister Julia, 81, lived in their family home, Kimberly Mansion, in Glastonbury, Connecticut.

Kimberly Farm had the most valuable property in town. The Smith sisters were being exploited by the town tax collector, because they were women and at that time, had no vote or voice in their taxes.

Abby and Julia refused to pay their tax until they were given representation. Abby took their concerns to the town council where she said:

    The motto of our government is ‘Proclaim liberty to all inhabitants of the land!’ and here, where liberty is so highly extolled and glorified by every man in it, one-half of the inhabitants are not put under her laws, but are ruled over by the other half, who can take all they possess.

    How is Liberty pleased with such worship?

The town seized their beloved Alderney cows, auctioned them off and attempted to auction their farm as well.

The sisters were able to buy the cows back and fought the town in court, ultimately winning.

More information on the Smith Family
Abby, Julia, and the Cows
Fascinating, well written article by Elizabeth G. Speare.

Kimberly Mansion.

Glastonbury, CT history

The Smiths of Glastonbury

Olinda Austin Ayers

Monday, November 29th, 2010


Olinda Ann Austin was the daughter of Alonzo Eugene and Isabelle Camp Austin. Around 1880, Alonzo Eugene and Belle Austin and their children, Olinda and Henrietta, and probably Alonzo Eugene Austin jr. went to Alaska where they were Presbyterian missionaries in Sitka.


Olinda Austin married Joseph Garrish Ayers. Here is Olinda with their two sons, Joseph Garrish and Charles Haines Austin.

Mary Ann Eldred Austin?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010


Could this be Mary Ann Eldred Austin? The photo below is Mary Ann Austin with her ninth child.


Could this be?

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Could this be Aida?

Could this be great-great-grandma Hannah Hickok Eldred? She died
in 1869. Great-great-grandma Fanny Knapp Austin died in 1861.



Photo ID of old Tin types

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Kathy T. found a number of tin types in an old Bible without ID on them. Click on more to see the others.



Aida Austin 2

Thursday, November 18th, 2010


Aida Austin 1

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010


Ralph Austin, James H., Ann Mary Schoonover

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

These photos are courtesy of Kathy T., an Austin relative I met soon after, The MIll on Halfway Brook was published.

I have spent most of this week typing up a wonderful group of ‘new’ old letters for Book 2, that Kathy sent me.

Kathy’s grandmother was Lillie Austin Calkin, daughter of James Eldred Austin and his wife Emma Parmenter. Lillie was born in 1884 in Solomon City, Kansas, and we will meet her in Echo Hill and Mountain Grove, the book I am currently writing.

Very fortunately for me and our family, Lillie saved about everything, I am told. Lillie’s daughter Dorothy, who is still living, gave Lillie’s information to her niece, Kathy, who has shared the sea of information with me.

It is very exciting to have contact with this branch of the Austin family. We seemed to have lost contact with them before 1960.

My great-great-grandfather, Ralph Austin.


William Henry Austin writes his son Lon Austin

Friday, November 12th, 2010

Eldred, January 12, 1879
A.A. Austin
Solomon City, Kansas
Dear Son,
I will write a few lines in answer to your vary welcome letter and to let you know that we are all well and I hope this will find you enjoying the same blessing.

The weather is quite cold here now. The snow is about 12 inches deep. The coldest it has bin yet is 13 below zero and that was as cold as I wanted.

Mr. Kelso has bin to N.Y. abuying goods last week to start a store. He was gone 8 or 10 days. He told me that he tride hard to sell out, but could not. He said that he was afeared to sell for $1100 dollars, but could not sell for any price.

Your Mother and Me was down their Christmas and had a nice visit. Mrs. Kelso wished that you and Maria was there. We ware to Mr. Collins New Years and had a good visit. Mrs. Kelso made the same wish there.

They had a donation for Mr. Martinas Friday nite the 10th. They took in $37 dollars. There that their was not much of a turn out. I did not go for I had nothing to go with. I never saw money more scarce. I can’t see yet how I can rais a nuff to pay my taxes.

1866 Mortimer Bruce Austin writes to his uncle, William Henry Austin

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

121 Chambers St., NY, August 22, 1866
Dear Uncle,
I don’t think of anything particularly interesting or of much importance to write about, but as i have nothing very urgent to do this morning and feel somewhat in the humor of writing I thought I would write to you.

Uncle Perry was at our house not long since, and said that you was talking some of taking another Lumber job at Smith Mills.

If you do try the lumber business again, you had ought to have it understood so that there will be no quibbling or misunderstanding when you come to make a settlement and not only that you should (must) be pretty well satisfied that you are going to make something for there is no use of your working yourself almost to death this winter.

And then when you come to settle in the spring find that you have made nothing and I should if I were you have it understood that if you were dissatisfied with the price they charge you for provisions, feed, etc, that you will be at liberty to make your purchases of supplies elsewhere and make them advance you the money as fast as you make it or may need it.