Putnam/ Dougherty family genealogy

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Favorite Family Photo’s #52 Ancestors

This weeks challenge is to write about my favorite photo. With my passion of genealogy also comes a love of all these old family photos. Instead of trying to choose one, I think I’ll show you a few that have changed how I view those in the photos from how I knew them.
It is great to be able to put a face and context to our family who we did not know in the prime of their lives.

Well that’s a real disappointment. The first photo I was going to go with I can not find. The photo is  of my maternal grandfather when he was at Cornell and when I look at it I see a different young man from the person I only knew as an elderly and stern man. Another one from that same time period is this one of my grandparents on the day they were married. It is not a formal photo and they truly look very happy and carefree. Nothing like the buttoned-up formal couple they were in latter life.

This next photo is of my paternal grandparents who were quite different from my other grandparents. Here they look to be teenagers, that would make it taken about 1900. Since grandpa Ike died when I was just 2 years old I have no memory of him but my grandma (Gay) lived to be 93 I felt I really knew her. She was a little rough around the edges but had a huge heart. This was said to have been taken on the Elliott ranch, where her parents worked, near Visalia in California and it looks like their home was also a little rough. They were most likely pretty poor. Ike is wearing both suspenders and a belt. Her hair is quite something.


This next one is my mothers brother, Walt, who as a kid appears to be a”class clown”.  I think he is about 10 years old here. He was a thespian and a swordsman in college and later in life was a drum major for his local Shriners unit. The man I knew was mechanically inventive and a hard worker.


And now  this is one of my father and his sister (Eunice). It was taken in 1926. This is his first car. I do not know why his sister has a bouquet but I am assuming it was a special occasion. But why are they so serious? My aunt was always one with a ready smile and always so stylish. She was very particular about her clothes. She did not have a lot of clothes but she always handled them with great care and put them away wrapped with tissue paper. Now my dad worked road construction jobs when I was growing up. He drove a grader and came home filthy dirt. He would always clean up before dinner but I did not consider him “dapper”,  but many of his pictures from his younger days show him fairly well dressed, and that car was a “Star” (brand name) and looks quite sporty.



A Putnam family recipe

What is your favorite family recipe? For me it was what my family called Spanish Steak. I can just smell it frying. Spanish Steak cooking

Now mind you we have absolutely no Spanish blood but still my father’s mother made what the family called Spanish Steak. Where this recipe came from I can only speculate. We lived in California and my father’s family had come during the gold rush and his mothers side had mostly been there for several generations also. Maybe it was from the early Spanish Californians or the later immigrants from the Azors that were the family’s neighbor.  My fathers mother was known to me simply as Gay. Now Gay was not a sophisticated woman. She was a ranchers wife and what we would have called tough as nails. She loved her flowers and belonged to the Visalia garden club. Like most women of her generation she spent lots of time in the kitchen and while she was not a fancy cook she got most of the basics correct. Her kitchen was not large, but it had a large round oak table at one end. The stove was to the right by the back door and the sink and drain board was directly accross from the table while the refrigerator was to the left next to the opening into the living room. Gay was a short woman I do not think she was much over five feet tall. She always wore a dress and most often she had a large bib style apron on over her dress. If we were having Spanish steak we would more then likely also have asparagus and roasted potatoes.Spanish Steak

Putnam Family Spanish Steak

1 lb. beef Round Steak  1/2″ thick

1 egg beaten

2 tablespoons of water

1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste

salt and peper

Cut meat into 2 serving -size pieces. Place meat between  2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound lightly with meat mallet until well tenderized, remove plastic wrap.

In a shallow dish combine egg and water.  In another shallow pan combine flour, cayenne and salt and pepper. dip meat into flour mixture then egg mixture and then again into flour mixture.

In a cast iron skillet cook meat in hot oil over medium heat until brown, turning once.



Easter Memories

Easter 1955

Easter 1955

My sister Madeleine and I are closer in age to each other then we are to our other sister and brother. When we were quite young about 3 & 4, people would often ask if we were twins. We did not usually dress alike, except  I remember on most Easter Sundays we would wear the latest “hand-me-downs” from our step-cousins Irene and Joanie. They were what I would have called “matchy – matchy”.  For the longest time I did think that Irene and Joanie were twins because their clothes always seamed to match. Gosh those hats are awful. I remember those skirts were a corduroy and so were those hats. The net petticoat was part of the outfit so I guess we had to show them off also. Quite the look back then. Easter morning meant going to St. Paul’s church in Visalia before coming home for our egg hunt either at home or over at Aunt Babe’s. Easter Dinner at Aunt Babe’s was a table set up in her back yard.  I was looking for that iconic photo we have where we are all around the table, even Grandpa Francis our great grand father was there in the background. I do not think the lawn had been cut which of course was better for hiding the eggs.

52 Ancestors – Ruth Whipple Putnam

I have a calendar I printed out with all the relatives birthday, anniversary and death days. In reviewing October I was struck by the number of contemporaries that celebrate their birthday this month. I see one non-contemporary that was born over 300 years ago. Ruth Whipple was born 27 October 1692 ( the year of the Salem Witch Trials) in Ipswich, Essex county Massachusetts to Joseph D. and Sarah (Fairfield) Whipple.

Ipswich Mass. town records, births

Ipswich Mass. town records, births

On 20 November 1708, when Ruth was 16 years of age her father Joseph died and 5 years later  on 16 September 1713 her mother Sarah died.

Ruth Whipple married Seth Putnam on 16 September 1718 in Salem, Essex county Massachusetts. So looking at the map of Ipswich in relation to Salem. I wonder how they met? On the map below Ipswich is north of Salem, and Billerica is to the west. Remember to click on image to enlarge.

Partial Map of Massuchusetts

Partial Map of Massuchusetts

A year after their marriage their first child Ebenezer is recorded as being born 8 August 1719 in Billerica, Massachusetts.


Massachusetts Town Records Billerica

Massachusetts Town Records

From this listing for Billerica we see eight children born to Seth and Ruth from 1719 – 1732. Timothy their last child born on Christmas day 1732.

Sometime between 1740 and 1749 Seth and Ruth Putnam and several of their children including Ebenezer, Seth Jr. and Timothy relocated to Charlestown New Hampshire known at that time as No.4. It was one of 9 settlements from Massachusetts designated in the frontier area. Members of ancestry.com can view the History of Charlestown to learn more about the early years of Charlestown and their troubles during the French and Indian wars. Also we find the death of a Seth Putnam who may or may not be the son of Seth and Ruth.

Seth Putnam Senior dies 30 November 1775. He is buried in Charlestown.

Seth Putnam tombstone Find a grave added by Pam Emery

Seth Putnam tombstone
from findagrave.com
added by Pam Emery

Here lies Buried
Mr. Seth Putnam
Who departed this Life
Nov. 30, 1775 aged
80 years & 6 Months.

Ruth died 1 February 1785 and is buried also in Charlestown, New Hampshire.

Ruth Whipple Putnam tombstone from findagrave.com added by Pam Emery

Ruth Whipple Putnam tombstone
from findagrave.com
added by Pam Emery

In Memory of
Mrs. Ruth, Wife of Mr.
Seth Putnam Who
died Feb. 1, 1785.
In the 93rd year
of her age.


52 Ancestors – Timothy Putnam- Revolutionary War Soldier

Who do I write about when I think about independence. We have many ancestors who were in this country during the revolutionary war and this past week the online Fold3 (Website) has made it possible to research their revolutionary files for free (until July 15th). I thought “great now I will be able to get some documentation on those who were fighting for our independence from England”. I started with one I knew had been involved: Abner Amsdale. Well of course there were listings for Abner Amsdale, but was he our Abner? Then I decided to see if any of my direct line for the Putnam’s were involved. We all had heard of General Israel Putnam but we know that he is not an Ancestor but a half brother to our line. My 5x great grandfather, Timothy Putnam born in 1732 he could have been involved or his son my 4x great grandfather Timothy born 1860, so I decided to pursue a Timothy Putnam. In looking for Timothy on Fold3 I found one from Mass. but my Timothy’s lived in New Hampshire during the conflicts.

I finally was able to see that a Timothy Putnam is listed in Charlestown New Hampshire’s list of Revolutionary War solders on a Rootsweb site. Listed as Company No. 1 Col. Benjamin Bellows’ Regiment, with Captain Able Walker.   According to this account, in the spring of 1777 Ticonderoga  was in danger and Capt. Able  Walker takes his company there to give defense. The listing given by Rev. Henry H. Saunderson  shows a Private Timothy Putnam. Timothy Putnam Senior would have been 45 and Junior would have only been 17. This could be either one. ( Ticonderoga is about 100 miles from Charlestown)

The confusion comes from the National Archives listing of Pensions and rolls from Massachusetts.

I was reading on line a history of Charlestown by Rev. Henry H. Saunderson that may or may not answer my question: is the Timothy listed for Massachusetts the same Timothy listed in New Hampshire.

and while the decision
of His Majesty was still pending, the General Court of Massachusetts Bay granted above thirty townships between the rivers Merrimac and Connecticut ; which to\^uships upon the running (that is determining)
of the divisional line in 1738, fell within the Province of New Hampshire ; and among them were those granted under the designations No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 ; which are the present townships of
Chesterfield, Westmoreland, Walpole, and Charlestown ; which though they had fallen within the limits of New-Hampshire, were all subsequently settled in dependence upon their grants received from Massachusetts. The settlers therefore, as their grants had emanated from an authority which had no jurisdiction over the soil, had, as it was claimed, no valid title to their lands. And this they must have
known, as the final decree of his Majesty fixing the boundary line, bears date March 5th, 1740 ; and we find a petition of the proprietors of No. 4, dated Sept. 29th, 1740, to His Majesty, praying to be re-
annexed to the Massachusetts Province, to which they had supposed they belonged. This was before any considerable settlement had been made. But notwithstanding their title was uncertain, we find
that the settlement was still continued, though for the most part under different proprietors till 1753 ; when in consequence of the report of the Attorney and Solicitor General in relation to what was right and
proper to be done concerning those townships which had been granted by Massachusetts, in which it was substantially recommended, that proprietors who had made improvements on their lands, should be con-
firmed in the rights and privileges given them by their grants from that State, application was made by petition to New-Hampshire to that effect, which was readily and cheerfully granted. Thus Charles-
town was for between twelve and thirteen years after its settlement substantially a Massachusetts town.¹

A consideration may be that those listed in New Hampshire may have also been claimed by Massachusetts since many of them had resettled in New Hampshire from Massachusetts. Timothy Putnam Senior was born in Massachusetts and his father was from Danvers of Essex County. So possible because of close ties to the town they originated from could these men have moved about the country fighting in different regiments as the conflict continues? Also when we consider the designations during this period for the Colonies, Massachusetts Colony engages quite a large area.

Looking at the two depositions I read they specifically state Timothy Putnam of Danvers Massachusetts.

A Rufas Putnam claims that Timothy was with him at West Point (a battle?) for 3 months with Capt. Benjamin Peabody’s company of Col. N. Wade’s regiment in 1780.² That may have been the period that Benedict Arnold was in Command.

Then a Jonathan Porter of Danvers claims that Timothy Putnam was for 6 months in Rhode Island with him in Capt. Jeremiah Putnam’s company of Col Nathan Tyler’s regiment in 1779.³

I saw a painting online of General Rufus Putnam, was he the same Rufus on the pension documents for Timothy Putnam?

So was my Timothy so well known in his home town that he was reassigned to different companies during the war years that had men that knew him in Danvers and stated he was from there? Then again maybe I am looking at a cousin who has the same name that was still residing in Danvers. What do you think?

While I may not have learned if the records in at the National Archives are for my Timothy Putnam the challenge brought  about a great benefit in learning a lot more about the Revolutionary war period, battles, and individuals that  I had previously never pursued. Thanks Amy Johnson Crow for these challenges.

By Rev. Henry H. Saunderson.
2. Deposition from Rufus Putnam

3. Deposition from Jonathan Porter

52 Ancestors- Our routes to the Gold Fields

During the “Gold Rush” we had two different family lines make the great migration to California. Joseph Putnam left Cambridge Massachusetts and traveled the sea route  down the eastern seaboard past Cuba, into the gulf arriving in Chagris, Panama and making the journey across the isthmus and up the west coast to California. Once in San Francisco he bought a row boat and rowed up the delta to the Molkaleme river to what would become his mining claim. The other was George Washington Francis who left Zanesville, Ohio and traveled overland to the mining town of Hangtown (Placerville).

Just getting to the expected riches in the California foothills must have felt like traveling halfway around the world. If you had money and were in a hurry to get a prime mining site what route would you have chosen?

Painting by A.D.O. Browere Crocker Art Museum, Saramento "Crossing the Isthmus about 1860

Painting by A.D.O. Browere
Crocker Art Museum, Saramento
“Crossing the Isthmus about 1860



Routes to California 1849

Routes to California 1849

In the early 1850’s a trek across the isthmus of Panama was the preferred route for settlers headed to California from the Boston Area. The trip around the horn would have been 15,687 miles and taken an average of 6-9 months on a whaler. The trip that utilized the trek across the isthmus of Panama was about 6,000 miles and would have taken approximately four months utilizing a ship out off Boston or New York,  mules and carts across the isthmus to Panama City, and then a ship from Panama City up to San Francisco. To have traveled the shortest route in miles would have been overland approx. 3,000 miles, from Massachusetts or Ohio to Council Bluffs Iowa then 6 to 9 months by wagon train to San Francisco.

Apparently one had the money for the sea route while the other was taking the cheapest route.

from a Journal written and illustrated by Alexander Van Valen http://americanhistory.si.edu/onthewater/exhipition/2_4.html

from a Journal written and illustrated by Alexander Van Valen









52 Ancestors – The old Homestead

I always think of the ranch in Visalia when I think of the old Homestead, but I guess that was not an accurate title for it. I started searching online for the Visalia Plat map that would show the original configuration of the old home place. My siblings remember when our grandparents lived on the other side of the property (East side) and there was apparently a “prune orchard” between our house and Grandpa Ike’s place. It was called a prune orchard by the family because the plums where used to make prunes.

1913 (partial) Parcel map Tulare County

1913 (partial) Plat map Tulare County

This plat map is 1913 (click on image to enlarge). That was a year after my father was born. Highway 99 runs through the west side of the parcel shown as owned by J.F. Putnam (my great grandfather) ( in section 5) and highway 198 is at the north section line of section 32. Section 4 & 5 are in Township 19S, Range 24E  The piece next to JF Putnam (a little less then a quarter of a section) looks like it could be I.B. Putnam (it looks like he has a little less then a quarter of a section) and then W.H. Putnam (with a little greater then a quarter of a section). You can see the Oak Grove school district outline in red. If the Oak Grove school is in the north west corner of section 34, which is where I remember it being located, then the property was smaller than I had imagined. My father and Aunt Babe attended Oak Grove School. It was not that far of a walk but I do remember the pictures of dad at school without shoes. Later my older sister and brother also attended the same school, until Veva Blunt School was built.

1920 (partial) Plat Map Tulare County

1920 (partial) Plat Map Tulare County

By 1920 W.H. Putnam had sold out to what looks like Elmer N. Black. I have placed a red box around section 4 & 5. I. B. Putnam (Grandpa Ike, my father’s father) has the same parcel and J.F. Putnam (Grandpa Joe, my dad’s grandfather) property has remained the same. I do not know what year Grandpa Joe divided his piece between three of his children, but I had seen an article in the Visalia Times about when he gave property to the airport, which must have been around 1920. J.F. Putnam died in 1932.

Lloyd and Eunice

Lloyd and Eunice


The photo above is probable taken on the I.B. Putnam property about 1932. Due to Ike’s illness by 1948 he had sold off his parcel to a Mr. Swearanger and built a new home on the middle section of what had been Grandpa Joe’s parcel. Aunt Lena (Ike’s sister) had the acreage to the north and their other sister (Aunt Blanche) had the acreage to the south. For as long as I can remember Aunt Blanche lived in Los Angeles and she always had renters on her property in Visalia. It seems to me her renters, the Matos’s, kept a dairy. Aunt Lena maintained her property with help from various hired hands. After the “Dance Hall” burned down I remember Aunt Lena kept cattle in the field between her place and ours. Then the cattle were gone and she had watermelons growing in that field. I did not like stepping in cow dung or on rotten melons. I also remember her growing alfalfa.

I.B. Putnam (grandpa Ike) died in 1948. After he died I remember the fields east of our house had cotton for a long time. My grandmother (Ike’s wife, Gay) always had milk cows. In the early 1950’s the State of California bought more right-of-way along Hwy 99. My Dad had lost any interest he might have had in the Ranch and in 1956 we moved away. But the property there by Hwy 99 and the airport was always home to me.

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