Sunday, July 31, 2011

Frederick William Dewers

FREDERICK WILLIAM DEWERS (son of David Dewers and Mary Childs Brady) was born on 4 July 1819 in Cambridge, Washington County, New York. He died on 22 Mar 1847 in Jessup, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and was buried in the Birchardville Cemetery, Forest Lake, Susquehanna County. Frederick married ORINDA E. COGGSHALL on 23 April 1840 in Middletown, Susquehanna County as reported in the Montrose Volunteer. The three children listed below are undoubtedly their children. The last was born the year Frederick died. These children were found living in Montrose, Susquehanna County at the 1850 U.S. Census with T. B. Coggshall (age 45). The two younger children have not been found in any other census records or other records. It is possible they moved, were adopted, died, or were married. Also living with Mr. Coggshall is a Phoebe Coggshall (age 74), likely his mother. Mr. Coggshall is probably either an older brother of Orinda or her father. Frederick’s epitaph reads “His partner mourns his early end, his children miss their father friend.”

Frederick and Orinda had the following children:

i. Mary L. Dewers, b. abt. 1840.

ii. Frances Dewers, b. abt. 1845, probably in Jessup Twp., Susquehanna, Pennsylvania.

iii. Henry Dewers, b. abt. 1847 probably in Jessup Twp.

This is part of a larger project--a family history and genealogy of the Duers/Dewers family. Any information related to this family would be very helpful. I have found Mary in later censuses and records, but, as mentioned above, not the other two children. If you have any information on Frances or Henry Dewers, please contact me. Thanks.


1. Birchardville Cemetery, gravestone transcription, Genealogical Society, 1968, p. 8 (copy found in LDS Family History Library, book 974.834/B1 V22S).

2 Montrose Volunteer, Montrose, Susquehanna Co., Pa., 30 April 1840.

3. 1850 US Census of Bridgewater Twp., Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania, p. 299, dwelling 107.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hugh McGibeney Family

One of the children of James McGibeney and Hannah Sterritt (see my earlier post on this couple) was Hugh McGibeney. I am certainly interested in more information on this talented man and his family for a genealogy and family history I am writing. The Washington State Historical Society has a picture of Hugh as a young boy that I cannot post here. But here is the information I have on his family. I'd love to hear from you if you have additional information or photos.

Hugh H. McGibeney, born in November 1865 in Minnesota. He married on 25 Apr 1888 in Buchanan Co., Iowa to Grace L. Holman who was born in December 1868 in Iowa. “The Holman family were a particularly gifted and versatile family in a musical way, and had several different organizations of their own. Miss Grace Holman traveled with the McGibeney Concert Troupe, and married Hugh McGibney, a fine violinist.” Both Hugh and Grace are listed as musicians in the 1900 U.S. Census. By 1920 and 1930, Hugh is still working as a music teacher (violin), but Grace is a Department Head working for the Red Cross. Hugh’s most famous pupil was likely Eddy Brown. Here is a quote from a biographical article on Brown:

Brown, Eddy (15 July 1895-14 June 1974), violinist and radio pioneer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Jacob Brown, a tailor and amateur violinist from Austria, and Rachel “Ray” Brown (maiden name unknown) from Russia. His mother, who had a keen interest in Christian Science, named him after Mary Baker Eddy. The Brown family moved to Indianapolis when Eddy was four. He took his first violin lessons from his father and then studied with Hugh McGibeney at the Metropolitan School of Music (later Butler University’s Jordan College), giving his first public recital at the age of six. In 1904 he traveled to Europe and entered the Royal Conservatory of Music in Budapest to study violin with Jenö Hubay. His teachers there included Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, and cellist David Popper. In 1906 Brown won the Budapest Concerto Competition. (Finishing second was a young violinist and fellow Hubay student named Jenö Blau, who later changed his name to Eugene Ormandy and became a famous conductor.) The next year Brown opened the new hall at the Liszt Conservatory with a performance of the Mendelssohn concerto...Columbia Records quickly signed up the young sensation, issuing his first recordings in the summer of 1916, and Carl Fischer, Inc., published a series of his violin transcriptions.

Hugh was appointed director of the Roberts Park Choral Society in Indianapolis in 1911, and served in that position for 20 years. Hugh and Grace had the following children:

1. Mignon McGibeney, b. June 1890 in Iowa. In 1917, Mignon performed in the musical comedy Very Good Eddie. The play was produced by Elisabeth Marbury and F. Ray Comstock, written by Philip Bartholomae and Guy Bolton, with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Schuyler Greene. The play had just finished a successful 341 performance run on Broadway.

2. Donald McGibeney, b. 26 September 1892 in Independence, Buchanan Co., Iowa. He is single and working as a writer (living with his parents) in 1920 and 1930. Donald wrote the story for the silent film Two Arabian Nights (1927) starring William Boyd, Mary Astor, and with a minor role for Boris Karloff that was produced by the young aviation mogul Howard Hughes and won an Academy Award for Best Comedy Direction. He also co-wrote the story for at least two other silent films, When the Desert Calls (1922) and Woman Wise (1928). Donald also wrote the classic murder mystery 32 Caliber (1920) which is still currently available in e-format.


1.History of Buchanan County, Iowa, and its people, Volume 1, by Harry Church Chappell and Katharyn Joella Allen Chappell, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1914, p. 437.

2.1870 US census, Winona, Winona Co., Minnesota, p. 34, dwelling 267.

3. 1900 US census, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, e.d. 56, sheet 7A, dwelling 119 (this census says that Hugh was born in Oregon, his father in Scotland, and his mother in Massachusetts, all of which are inconsistent with other census records).

4. 1910 US census, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, e.d. 141, sheet 9B, dwelling 195.

5. Iowa Marriages, 1809-1992, FamilySearch online database, FHL film 1024830.

6. 1920 US census, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, e.d. 140, sheet 9B, dwelling 163.

7. 1930 US census, Indianapolis, Marion Co., Indiana, e.d. 49-333, sheet 25A, p. 150, dwelling 340.

8. John Anthony Maltese. “Brown, Eddy”;; American National Biography Online Jan. 2002 Update.

9. Martha F. Bellinger, Music in Indianapolis, 1821-1900, Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 41, No. 4 (December, 1945), pp. 345-362.

10. The Times, Batavia, Genesee Co., N.Y., Saturday, February 3, 1917, p. 3 (

11. The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., 1 April 1917, p. 12 (Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, Library of Congress).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Magnificent McGibenys

JAMES B. MCGIBENY, son of Samuel McGibeny and Hopewell Duers, was born 7 February 1835 in New York. He married HANNAH STERRITT who was born in February 1844 in Pennsylvania. The family is difficult to find in census records, probably because they were always traveling. The book, Allegany County and Its People had the following about James and his family:

JAMES B. McGIBENY son of Samuel, born Feb. 7, 1835, came with his father in 1839 to West Almond, was graduated from Alfred University in 1860, married Hannah STERRITT of Philadelphia, Pa., in 1862, and in 1864, went to Minneapolis, Minn., as superintendent of music in the city schools. He was engaged there four years, at Winona two years, and at Portland, Oregon, four years. In 1875 he commenced giving concerts, and as the celebrated McGIBENY family, his family has won high praise in all parts of America.

In 1870 James was working as a professor of music in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota. In 1880, the family was performing in various locations as a musical troupe, and as this report from the Friendship Chronicle reports, they were very well received:

While such talented and productive couples as Mr. and Mrs. McGibeny, parents of the wonderful musical prodigies, the McGibeny children, continue to make their periodical contribution to art and to the population there can be no reasonable ground for any dry of decadence in this country. This worthy and talented couple have surrounded themselves with olive branches from which leaves of music bud forth it would seem spontaneously. It is truly a most interesting family circle or to use another simile we might compare it to a flight of steps up the temple of St. Cecilla. The appearance of the nine McGibenys on the stage is so pleasing and homelike that it is impossible not to feel attracted towards them as one is not usually attracted towards them as one is not usually attracted towards ordinary musical or dramatic troupes. The nine range in regard to age from Florence who has attained six years to the Professor who has just passed two score and five. There are four others in various stages of preparation to be added to the nine. These are “Doc” aged 5, Grace 3 1/2, Carl 2 and Jamie 6 months.

Of the musical and other performances of the nine we need say little. There is a novelty and a freshness about all they say, sing, play or do that is most pleasing and entertaining. It is not to be wondered at that they almost invariably attract large audiences. On Tuesday night Academy Hall was overcrowded although this was their third appearance here. They performed here under auspices of Mr. J. B. Goodliff of Wellsville who is establishing an enviable reputation as an amusement manager for this section of the State.

According to the 1900 U.S. census, James and Hannah had thirteen children, twelve who were still living in 1900. I found a picture of the family in the Charles Levenson online photo galleries (see photo above), but I would like to know who the individuals are in the picture. I would also like to find additional information and pictures for this family.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Duers/Dewers Family

I am currently working on a genealogy and family history of the David Dewers Family. If you have any information or pictures of this family, I'd love to hear from you.

On the 9th of December 1770 DAVID DEWERS was married in Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts to DEBORAH SHERMAN. The event is notable because this is the first known historical record of this Dewers family. It is also notable because this marriage to Deborah is essentially all we know about David. No mention is made of him before this marriage in Dartmouth even though the vital records indicate that he was a resident there. No mention is made of him after the marriage in Dartmouth, or elsewhere, at least as far as we have been able to ascertain. No deeds, tax records, or other records have been found to indicate how long or how permanent a resident of Dartmouth he was, nor to indicate anything about him after the family moved to New York.

The Dewers/Duers family name is not a common name and very little published information is available on the family. A search of the US Social Security Death Index for the name Duers gives 27 entries. Of these, 18 had social security numbers issued in New York, 4 in New Jersey, and two in Pennsylvania. The name Dewers appears only 12 times in this same death index, but the numbers were issued in a wider variety of states, including Pennsylvania (2), Indiana (3), Maryland (2), and California (2). Even in this modern age of readily available information, it is still difficult to find anything written about the Dewers/Duers family. One of the problems in tracing the family name is that it is variously spelled as Dewers, Duers, Duerz, Deuers, Deurs, Duerst, Dewees, Dewars, and perhaps in other ways in historical records. Dewers is the commonly used form in Pennsylvania and in Massachusetts, while Duers is usually the form used by the family in New York, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. The one common factor among all the variants, which is nearly universal, is that the name is spelled with an “s” (Duers or Dewers); individuals and families who spell the name Duer, Dewar, or Dewer are in almost all cases not part of this family.

David Dewers’ wife, Deborah, was the daughter of Henry Sherman and Ruth (Akin) Sherman. Her ancestry, unlike David’s, is well-known and can be traced back through several generations to the Sherman’s of Yaxley, England. Deborah was born about 1752 probably in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts. Her ancestors include John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley (4th great-grandparents) who were passengers on the Mayflower.

It appears that between 1774 and 1776, Deborah’s father Henry Sherman, along with most of his children, moved from Dartmouth, Massachusetts to Washington County, New York. David and Deborah (Sherman) Dewers must have moved later, since their son David was born in Massachusetts. At the present time, no records have been found for the elder David Dewers in Washington County, New York, but he must have been in New York with the family for a few years because his two youngest sons John and William were born in New York in about 1779 and 1784, respectively, according to later census records.


1. The first two generations for the Dewers family have previously been published by the author in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, v. 137, p. 93-102 and 201-210.


Vital Records of Dartmouth, Massachusetts (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society., 1930) vol. 2, p. 164, 424, and 427.

3.Roy V. Sherman, Some Descendants of Philip Sherman, the First Secretary of Rhode Island (privately published, 1968), p. 494.

4.1850 US Census of Kingsbury, Washington, New York, p. 233, and of Rose, Oakland, Michigan, p. 380A. Henry Sherman (also known as Shairman) is listed in the Mar 2nd and Oct 23rd 1779 Saratoga (New York) District Tax lists. His tax valuation assesment was small ($10) consistent with having just moved recently to the county. Henry was also a member of the 13th regiment of the Albany County Militia according to New York in the Revolution as Colony and State (Albany, 1904), 1:124. He was one of the original members of the Masonic Lodge established in 1787 at Fort Edward and Kingsbury (Crisfield Johnson, History of Washington County [Philadelphia: Everts & Ensign, 1878], p. 317). He was apparently still in Massachusetts when his father, Jabez Sherman, willed him property there (Jabez Sherman’s will is dated 15 Jun 1774, two weeks before his death and is found in the probate records of Bristol County, Massachusetts in Salt Lake City on Family History Library microilm 579,724). Our Henry probably was the Henry Sherman mentioned as being chosen to be a “pathmaster” at a district meeting in Cambridge, Washington County in May 1776 (Johnson, History of Washington County, 255). If this is the case, his daughter Deborah and her husband David Dewers must have moved some time later to New York, because in 1776 they were still in Dartmouth, Mass. where their son David was born in November of 1776.