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—Harry Truman (1884-1972)

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Rosie the Riveter

Rosie the Riveter

Courtesy Terry Johnson, fourth generation, Oscar's branch


Few Comforts and No Conveniences

The following is excerpted from The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction, Bernard Bailyn, Knopf, 1986, pp. 99-101, 104, 105. Courtesy Terry Johnson, fourth generation in America, Oscar Johnson’s branch and (unknown) generation in America, ‘Brass’ Humphries’ branch.

“The English immigration to the Chesapeake...had been continuous, from 1607 on, with various peaks of intensity. This flow had consisted overwhelmingly of unmarried male indentured servants bound to four or more years of servitude and traveling not in family groups but as individuals. They had arrived and had been put to work in an unfamiliar, unhealthy environment in which malaria was endemic and they had died like flies.

Approximately half of the children born in these disease-ridden colonies in the seventeenth century died before the age of twenty, and those who survived to that age had a further life expectancy of little over twenty years. Most immigrants to the Chesapeake who survived to the age of twenty died before reaching forty.

Virginia, a group of residents reported in 1697, ‘looks all like a wild desart; the high-lands overgrown with trees, and the low-lands sunk with water, marsh, and swamp...perhaps not the hundredth part of the country is yet clear’d from the woods, and not one foot of the marsh and swamp drained.’

The typical house of an ordinary farmer was a dark, drafty, dirt-floored, insect-ridden, one- or two-bedroom box made of green wood and scarcely worth maintaining in good condition, since it would be abandoned as soon as the few acres of farmland it adjoined were exhausted by ruthless tobacco cultivation. These ill-kept, ramshackle, crowded little farmhouses, so flimsy they were ‘virtually uninhabitable after a decade unless they were substantially reconstructed’, were ‘dribbled over the landscape without apparent design.’ Most were a mile or so from the next habitation (some were completely isolated), and there were ruins and debris all along the banks of Chesapeake Bay and the lower reaches of the rivers that empty into it, wherever there was, or had been, habitation.

‘If the untidy, unplanned, and unsymmetrical layout of the typical plantation is dismaying, the interiors of the homes prove even bleaker. There we find few comforts and no conveniences. Most colonial furniture consists of homemade pieces from local soft woods, roughly dressed and nailed together. Dirt or plank floors bear no coverings, nor do curtains hang at the glassless windows.’”


Familygram Editor Retires

terry%20johnson,%20dob%2001_16_1949%20pob%20twin%20falls,%20id In April, 1989, I began doing family history research with a trip to Denmark. That’s 20 years ago. Loved it! But, it’s time for someone younger, and smarter, to take over. That’s ‘Layne’ Cope, fifth generation, ‘Lou’s branch. He says he is no historian, but can help family members submit articles, inputs, and the like for addition to the website. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

- Courtesy by Terry Johnson, fourth generation, Oscar's branch



Notes: 2nd generation = child; 3rd generation = grandchild; 4th generation = great grandchild; 5th generation = 2nd great grandchild; 6th generation = 3rd great grandchild; 7th generation = 4th great grandchild

Cousin Calculator does not supplant closer degrees of consanguinity.