It is hoped that with the telling of the following history that a better understanding of one branch of the Chenoweth family may be had. If this is your line and can contribute to, or correct, the data herein contained please do so, so that others may benefit. Peter Clinton Chenoweth8, Harold Richard7, Frank Larking6, William Clawson5, William4, William3, John2 and Caroline (Mitchell), Edward1. [contact Peter]
I have spent a long time trying to trace our connection with that of John and Mary (Calvert) Chenoweth but have failed to do so with any accuracy. The information we have of our branch is not sufficient. If John were born about 1682, he would be a contemporary of our ancestor William, but whether a brother or cousin or a more distant relative we do not know. I have given our genealogy back to Edward, born about 1610, which came to me from records which my father and our Aunt Caroline had, but I have no proof of its accuracy. Beginning with John, born 1741, the record gives the name of all his children with the dates of their births and deaths, and this we have reason to believe is accurate. Which ancestor left the ancestral home in Wales and settled in Chatham on the east coast of England we do not know, but since it is the custom in England for the oldest son to inherit the entire estate of his father, it is probable that a younger son left the home to seek his fortune in another part of England. It must have been some years, perhaps generations, before the time of our great grandfather Edward, as the family was then well established in property and profession. This is shown by the fact that John, a brother of our grandfather Edward, possessed considerable property which later formed a legacy in which my father and his brothers and sisters participated. The story of this legacy follows as it has some interesting features:
John died in 1852, leaving a will in which he left his estate to his family which consisted of one son and six daughters, but with the provision that should these children die without heirs, the property would go to the heirs of his brothers and sisters. The son died without children and none of the daughters married. The last one died in 1896. Her housekeeper, who had lived with the family many years, tried to claim the property, but the will was found and Mrs Ramage and Edward Moxom were appointed executors and an effort stated to locate the heirs. One of John's brothers by the name of William had sailed from England about 1825 bound for Australia. He was never heard from so it was supposed that he was lost at sea. To comply with the English law, the executors were obliged to advertise in papers in different parts of the world for the possible descendants of William. None were found so the heirs consisted of fourteen grandchildren of Edward, five living in England, five in the United States and four in Australia. The property consisted of a house in London, some stocks and bonds and other property. After several years of investigation and conducting the case through the English courts, the property was sold, all costs paid and $2200 sent to each of the heirs. This was a great surprise to my father as he supposed the lawyers would get most of the property. He gave to each of his children ten (10) dollars with instructions to buy something to remember their uncle by. During the time the case was pending, Uncle Ed, our father's brother - who was living in Ottawa, decided that some one should go to England to represent the American heirs and see that their interests were fully protected and as none of his brothers thought this necessary, he went on his own responsibility. He had a pleasant trip, an interview with Mrs Ramage, a visit with Edward Moxom, a cousin who to a remarkable extent resembled himself, and a visit to the church where his father and mother were married. Being a great admirer of Dickens, he spent considerable time visiting the villages described in Dicken's books, and on his return gave lectures in the schools of Ottawa and vicinity on "Dickens and his Country". He spent most of his time in England at the home of Lizzie Dallison, a cousin on his mother's side. Cousin Lizzie, who never married, spent thirty years as a teacher in the London schools and during her last years was a reader to the blind in a home for veterans of World War I. A number of cousins in America corresponded with her as I did. She was very fond of her relatives and eager to write to any of us. She begged us to come to London to visit her. When my husband and I made the trip in 1931, I knew that she had been dead for several years, but we went to her home at 42 Ridge Road, Stroud Green, to see if we could locate any of her nephews and nieces. Through the family in the house, we located a niece, Mrs Pilgrim, and spent a pleasant evening visiting with her, her husband and daughter. Since her grandmother was a sister of Caroline Mitchell, Mrs Pilgrim and I were second cousins.
The first accurate information we have of our ancestors is concerning our great grandfather, Edward. He lived in Chatham, a ship building town on the east coast of England. He was a master caulker of ships and a skilled worker in wood. He married Phoebe Ramage and to them were born eleven children, five of whom died in infancy. Our grandfather was John, the eighth child and the third to be given the name John. It seemed that every generation must have its John, so if the child by that name died, the next son was given the name. As was the custom of the times, John worked with his father as an apprentice, learning the trade of cabinet maker. His father, having the ambition for him to become a clergyman, sent him to Oxford to study for this profession. John, however, decided he preferred the trade of cabinet maker, and returned to Chatham to work with his father. He was married to Caroline Mitchell and a record of this marriage, copied from the Marriage Register of Chalk County of Kent, is as follows:
"John Chenoweth and Caroline Mitchell were married on the second day of May in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty four by me." R.S. Jaynes This marriage was John Chenoweth solemnized between us Caroline Mitchell In the presence of Ann Mitchell Stephen Redsell
Our father, John, born 21 April 1829, was the third child of this marriage. In 1832 grandfather John was advised by his father to take his growing family to America where opportunities were greater. His wife Caroline, who was very devoted to her mother and sisters, was reluctant to leave but was persuaded it would be a wise move. They embarked in a small sailing vessel for New York City. Knowing no one in the new world this was a great adventure. Father was too young to remember any of the details of this trip, which lasted seventy-two days.
In New York, grandfather John obtained work making mahogany doors for fine houses. In 1835 he started in business for himself buying, repairing, and selling furniture. Grandmother Caroline was never satisfied in her new home because she grieved continually for her relatives in England. In 1841 John said they would go back and would sail in two weeks. Caroline, however, now demurred and said they would not sail until the baby she was expecting was born, because it if were born at sea it might die without baptism. So the trip was postponed until the baby was born and baptized. This baby was Edward, known to us as "Uncle Ed". The oldest son, also named Edward, had died in 1836. The family now consisting of father, mother, and six children returned to their old home in Brumpton, England. After a few weeks the family moved to London and there experienced real hardships. Grandfather John obtained some work but the wages were very low. I have heard father say that he carried a letter eight miles to get the penny the postage would be and his mother and sister, Caroline, made colored shirts by hand for a penny a piece and white shirts with the linen bosoms backstitched on for three pence. Father became very familiar with the London streets for he walked looking for work. When we were children he often told us stories of these streets, the names of which sounded so attractive to us. Many years later, when I walked on these very streets, these stories came back to me with their familiar names. The children begged to return to New York which was more like home to them. Aunt Alice, grandfather John's sister who was in comfortable circumstances, furnished the money for the passage, and again on 27 December 1843, the family embarked on the ship "Switzerland" at St Catherine docks, London, on a voyage the remembrance of which was always a nightmare to father.
For several weeks, the vessel was so buffeted with storms that it was unable to clear the English Channel. An anchor was lost and the ship so damaged that the captain was obliged to go into the nearest harbor for necessary repairs. On their way again and out on the Atlantic Ocean, the captain was taken ill and the command of the ship was taken over by the first mate. He was not sufficiently experienced and the vessel got off the usual route and into the place of calms, where they drifted for days and weeks. Food and water supplies ran low and all might have starved had not the cargo included some peas and beans destined for seed and some Belgian hares. These were used for food. The water became so scarce and stale that it is remarkable that an epidemic did not take all on board. My father was seasick during the entire one hundred and five days the voyage lasted and never again wanted to board a sailing vessel.
Grandfather John again opened a shop in New York where he made furniture and repaired old pieces and bought and sold second hand furniture. He was a good cabinet maker and took pride in his work. He was a man of mild disposition, kind in his manner and always willing to do a neighbor or a stranger a good turn. He was fond of reading and studious by nature. He cared nothing for the accumulation of property. The opportunities for gain in New York City at that time were many, but he was satisfied with enough for his family to live on. He was fond of his children, interested in their welfare, but left the discipline entirely to their mother. Grandmother Caroline was an energetic and resourceful woman who cared for her large family with only the help of the older children. Being members of the Church of England, the family affiliated with Trinity Church in New York and the children were brought up in this faith.