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Unusual Profiles in my Extended Tree

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surname/tag: Smith, Coldwater (Kaltwasser), Ilett, Bourne, Orpet
Profile manager: Weldon Smith private message [send private message]
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The following synopses highlight the more unusual biographies in my extended tree, but I suspect not that unusual, since each reflects a facet of the human condition.

Giles Ilett: How I spent my mid-life crisis. Giles Ilett lived two lives. He was a yeoman/miller with a wife and children in SW England up until the late 1850s. Then he simply disappeared from records and his wife later claimed widow status. Thanks to Wikitree member Carole for notifying me that she had found mention of a Giles Ilett serving in a Cavalry Regiment in Colorado at the end of the Civil War. It turns out to have been the very same Giles, now a miner living in South Park, Colorado. He had followed the gold to Pike's Peak. Sadly, his volunteer regiment was a principal unit involved in the Sand Creek massacre of the Cheyenne. See Giles' bio on WT, and other details.

John Coldwater: German tourist does America. Balthasar Kaltwasser, alias John Coldwater, was a Hessian soldier in the Waldeck Regiment. He fought with the British against the Americans in the NY area, then got shipped down to Florida and then on to New Orleans, where he was captured by the Spanish and imprisoned. He escaped, made his way up the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers to Louisville, where he enlisted in Gen. George Rogers Clark's Illinois Regiment of the Virginia Line Militia and fought against the British and their native allies on the western frontier for the remaining 3 years of the war. He settled on land in Indiana earned from his service. More Detail .

Anonymous: Hanky panky revealed; the hay loft is suspected scene. Mysterious close relatives were found by DNA match; they did not exist in any recorded ancestral line. I deduced that this Jackson line was actually headed by my gg-grandfather James Smith (son-in-law of John Coldwater). Turns out James was a neighbor of the soon-to-be Mrs. Jackson. Hoping 185 years is far enough in the past that its revelation will not destroy lives.

E. O. Orpet: Work makes the man. We don't have to peer too far into the past to see that our forebears worked longer and harder. My ancestral example is my great uncle EO, who was on the job for 81 years, apprenticed as a plantsman at age 12, died at age 93 as proprietor of his own nursery: E. O. Orpet, Rare Plants, Bulbs, and Cacti. He was well known in various circles through his hybridizing (plants named after him), his contributions to trade publications, articles published by E. O. Orpet in Garden and Forest magazine, his position as Superintendent of Public Parks in Santa Barbara through the 1920s, the Santa Barbara Park named for him, and for his long-running nursery business during his final quarter century. More detail.

Rev. Richard Bourne Sr: A society does not deserve what it cannot protect. This is a morality tale: choose your leaders well. Richard Bourne came to Sandwich MA as part of the Puritan Great Migration. He was a strong supporter of allowing the native peoples to remain on their lands, enabling them to live their lives independently as Christian communities. To this end, he bought with his own funds a 50 square mile tract of land on Cape Cod and donated it to the local Mashpee tribe. The Mashpee community became self regulating and the reservation was active for over a century, until outside corruption by English colonial rule, later Massachusetts state corruption, and greed of tribal overseers, leaves only 150 acres of land that is now a reservation under control of the Dept. of Interior. The entropy of inattentiveness/avarice cast these lands to the winds.

Johannes Venetz: Be there Witches among Ye? Johannes was Governor of St. Moritz and Mayor of Mörel during the early 17th Century, the time of the European Inquisition. The corrupt Church required each community to purge itself of heretics who spoke against Church doctrine, especially those who could be 'proved' to practice the "black arts". Such proof usually consisted of someone accusing someone else of appearing to have black powers, followed by trial. If no one would speak up for the accused, they were tortured on the rack to extract a confession, then went to their death by fire at the stake. While Mayor, Johannes met his 'duty' by identifying seven 'suspicious' members of his community who ultimately met this fate. The Church used its loyal subjects as prosecutors so as to lay off blame from itself for its hideous practices. Powerful families could be laid low by a single false accusation during this corrupt scourge; Johannes' Mother's family were great and numerous in 1600, after which two of their descendants were tried and the family ceased to exist in this area by 1700. No one escaped damage from this 'great washing' of society. More Detail.

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Wonderful idea for a page; I've added the idea to my sandbox for later development.
posted by SJ Baty
Thanks! I answered a G2G question regarding this topic and realized my answer needed a more permanently accessible place, so I grabbed it and threw it up on the Spaces wall.
posted by Weldon Smith