On Genealogy: My Connection to President Lincoln

This is one of my MOST EXCITING ancestral finds to date!  The connection, albeit extremely distant with the most impressive US Presidents of all time …  Honest Abe is my 6th cousin 5x removed. I said it was distant … hehe!


I posted yesterday on my connection to Obadiah Holmes, the important member of the Baptist church who was whipped for his beliefs, this amazing man was the 5th great grand-father of another revolutionary man who needs no introduction or biography, the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln!

My Lineage

President Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865
6th cousin 5x removed
Thomas Lincoln 1780-1851
Father of President Abraham Lincoln
Capt. Abraham Lincoln 1744-1786
Father of Thomas Lincoln
John Lincoln 1716-1788
Father of Capt. Abraham Lincoln
Hannah Salter
Mother of John Lincoln
Sarah Bowne 1669-1717
Mother of Hannah Salter
Lydia Holmes 1637-1693
Mother of Sarah Bowne
Rev. Obadiah Holmes 1610-1682
Father of Lydia Holmes
Martha Holmes 1640-1711
Daughter of Rev. Obadiah Holmes
Hannah Audley 1643-1685
Daughter of Martha Holmes
Abigail Devol 1695-1719
Daughter of Hannah Audley
Job Milk II 1725-1804
Son of Abigail Devol
Sarah Milk 1749-1830
Daughter of Job Milk II
Roger Moore 1775-1860
Son of Sarah Milk
Olive Moore 1821-1871
Daughter of Roger Moore
Ambrose Richards 1885-1957
Son of George Howard Richards
Benjamin George Richards 1916-1977
Son of Ambrose Richards
Patrick James Richards 1954-2014
Son of Benjamin George Richards
Tina Rose Richards
You are the daughter of Patrick James Richards

Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 9.52.36 PM.pnguntil his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War— its bloodiest war and perhaps its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, paved the way for the abolition of slavery.

In 1840, Lincoln became engaged to Mary Todd, who was from a wealthy slave-holding family in Lexington, Kentucky. They met in Springfield, Illinois, in December 1839 and were engaged the following December. A wedding set for January 1, 1841, was canceled when the two broke off their engagement. They later met again at a party and married on November 4, 1842, in the Springfield mansion of Mary’s married sister.

The couple had four children. Robert Todd Lincoln was born in 1843 and Edward Baker Screen Shot 2017-11-28 at 9.53.40 PM.pngLincoln (Eddie) in 1846. Edward died on February 1, 1850, in Springfield, probably of tuberculosis. “Willie” Lincoln was born on December 21, 1850, and died of a fever on February 20, 1862. The Lincolns’ fourth son, Thomas “Tad” Lincoln, was born on April 4, 1853, and died of heart failure at the age of 18 on July 16, 1871. Robert was the only child to live to adulthood and have children.

On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States, beating Douglas, Breckinridge, and Bell. He was the first president from the Republican Party.

On June 19, 1862, endorsed by Lincoln, Congress passed an act banning slavery on all federal territory.  Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation. In it, he stated that “as a fit and necessary military measure, on January 1, 1863, all persons held as slaves in the Confederate states will thenceforward, and forever, be free”.  The Emancipation Proclamation, issued on September 22, 1862, and put into effect on January 1, 1863.

As we well know, President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, while attending a play at Ford’s Theatre as the American Civil War was drawing to a close. The assassination occurred five days after the surrender of Robert E. Lee and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia.  Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15.

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In surveys of U.S. scholars ranking presidents conducted since the 1940s, Lincoln is consistently ranked in the top three, often as number one.

Pretty INTERESTING FIND to see that I have some connection to a US President, as I’ve previously said coming from Canada this line is FULL of amazing discoveries.

Only this ONE line goes back to the United States, let alone all of the way back to the foundation.  It’s also very exciting that in Canada I am also related to a Filles du Roi and Filles a Marrier, which is Canada’s equivalent of coming over on the Mayflower.

Tune in for the next blog to see what else I discover …

On Genealogy: Whipped for Baptist Beliefs – My Connection to Rev. Obadiah Holmes

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Ok, it’s safe to say we all know that I’m a genealogy NUT, I won’t even try to deny it.  I love learning and I love history, especially when it comes to MY OWN.  They say to know where you’re going, you’ve got to know where you’ve been.  I believe in knowing the trials, tribulations and successes my family has gone through, endured, surmounted and overcome, I can better understand a part of myself – and mainly teach this to my own children and to my family.  I believe I’m the first in my family to have undertaken such an in depth look at ALL lines of our family.  Sometimes I get so excited with where each branch goes, I don’t know where to go next after I’ve followed one to something exciting.

Yesterday I wrote about my familial connection to the Salem Witch Trials and I could have and likely should have stayed with that line as original settlers to the new colony, but something else piqued my interest in another line and off I went …

In going through my photo and story hints in my Ancestry.ca site, I came across a photo that someone had posted about a distant relative by the name of Obadiah Holmes.  Being Canadian, I’m astounded to see such American roots and the importance that some of my ancestors/colonial descendants have.  I had NO IDEA who Obediah Holmes was before starting this research and this blog.  A quick check online and up came a litany of information,  videos, articles and movies/documentaries on HIM.  In all honesty, I was going to write this blog about one of Obadiah’s famous descendants, but as I researched him and his significance to American history and the Baptist church, I felt it was worth writing about.

I’ll add the link to” The American family of Rev. Obadiah Holmes”  here for you to take a look at, but, I’ll provide a brief synopsis of his ancestry:

Arrival to the New Colony:

The decade of the 1630’s so disheartened England’s Puritans that they left their homeland in shipload after shipload to create a newer and purer England far away. These were the years of the Great Puritan Migration and Obadiah Holmes also “adventured the danger of the seas to come to New England.” Holmes and his wife probably sailed from Preston (just north of Liverpool), down the River Ribble, across the Irish Sea, and into the open Atlantic. They had an extremely stormy voyage that prevented them from entering Boston harbor until six weeks had passed. Soon after landing at Boston, most likely in the summer or early fall of 1638, they made their way up the coast and settled at Salem, Massachusetts.  Later removed to Rehoboth in Plymouth Colony.

Obadiah is said to have brought the first pendulum clock to America. This timepiece, one of the first of the kind ever constructed, is still doing duty in the cabinet of the Long Island and Historical Society, Brooklyn, having been presented to them by John Holmes Baker, Esq., a descendant.

Born Obadiah was born/baptized March 18, 1610 in Didsbury Chapel, County of Lancashire, England.  His father, Robert, was 31 and his mother, Katherine, was 26.
Died 15 October 1682 at Newport, Rhode island
Resting place Holmes Cemetery, Middletown, Rhode Island
Education It is said that he attended Oxford in England, but it is not certain if he graduated.

The young Salem settlement encouraged Obadiah and his co-workers in the development of what may have been the first glass factory in North America. They made the common window glass.

Obadiah performed other duties befitting a good citizen; he surveyed and set boundaries for the land of another citizen.

In February, 1643; he accepted an appointment by the town in September 1644 to cut and gather firewood for the church elders.

He often served on juries during his years of residence at Salem.

He succeeded Dr. John Clarke & became the minister of the First Baptist Church in America. The church at Newport was his permanent charge for more than thirty years until his death.

Spouse Married Katherine Hyde (1608 – 1682) at the age of 21.  They were married in Manchester’s Collegiate College Church on November 20, 1630.
Children John, Jonathan, Mary, Martha, Samuel, Obadiah, Lydia, John, Hopestill
Parents Robert Hulmes / Holmes (1578 – 1649)  and Katherine Johnson (1584 – 1630)
Religious Affiliations

Obadiah soon found himself disliking the rigidity of the established church. Then came the horror (for the Puritans) known as Anabaptism. The Baptist zeal in Rhode Island was immeasurably heightened by a direct infusion of English Baptists from abroad. They were convinced that immersion or “dipping” was the only proper form of baptism. This innovation brought conflict and irritation to the Puritans, but brought peace and serenity, at last, to Obadiah Holmes.

He was Baptized with the “new baptism” along with 8 others and became out and out Baptists, with Obadiah becoming their leader and pastor. Obadiah took the irrevocable step toward separation from New England’s official way. It took three years for the membership of the Rehoboth church to become divided on doctrinal and legal lines and become aligned behind the minister and Obadiah as the respective leaders. Obadiah’s conversion to the distinctive views of the Baptists was developed here. He became the leader of the Schismatists (he formal separation of a church into two churches or the secession of a group owing to doctrinal and other differences).

Rev. Obadiah Holmes was a Baptist minister at a time when Baptists were barred from worshipping in the colony of Massachusetts.

A grand jury — included William Bradford, John Alden and Miles Standish — indicted Obadiah Holmes for heresy. He and his family left Plymouth for Newport, R.I., in 1650.

Fateful Trip to Lynn, Massachusetts

On July 16, 1651, Dr. John Clarke (pastor of the Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island), John Crandall and Obadiah Holmes walked 80 miles from Newport, RI to Massachusetts.  The purpose of the visit was to bring spiritual comfort and communion to William Witter, a blind and aged Baptist who had invited the three to come to his house. The broader purpose was, of course, an evangelical one: to tell of the new baptism and its importance. The word was proclaimed, converts were baptized, the elements of the Lord’s Supper were served all of this done privately in William Witter’s home.  I

On Sunday, July 20, they were holding church services to a small congregation. While Dr. Clarke was reading passages of scripture, two constables, with a warrant for the 3 visitors, broke in on the scene. The offence charged against them was conducting religious services in non-conformity with the statutes. The 3 Rhode Islanders were placed under arrest and taken to the local Anchor Tavern, to be fed and to await their scheduled appearance before the General Court, early the next morning. 

In the morning, after a brief appearance before Robert Bridges in Lynn, Mass, the evangelists were sent to Boston for trial. The authorities denied the defendants the opportunity to offer a defence, they simply read the charges and imposed the fines. The court order for commitment to prison, indicated essentially four complaints against the “strangers”. They had offended by (a) conducting a private worship service at the same time as the town’s public worship; (b) “offensively disturbing” the public meeting in Lynn; (c) more seriously, “seducing and drawing aside others after their erroneous judgment and practices”; and (d) “neglecting or refusing to give in sufficient security for their appearance” at the next meeting of the county court.  

The same charges were levied against all three men, all of whom fell under the proscription of the 1645 law against Anabaptists. Clarke, was fined £20; Crandall, as a tag-along and largely silent companion, was fined only £5. Obadiah Holmes, already under the cloud of excommunication from the church in Rehoboth, received the largest fine of £30. Should they not wish to pay the set fines, they had an alternative: the culprit was to be “well whipped”. 

Holmes refused to accept the offer of friends to pay his fine, believing it would be an admission of guilt, making it a matter of his conscience and scruples. He remained in prison from July till September.  

The Whipping

On September 5, 1651, Obadiah was taken from the jail, outside to the market place, where Magistrate Increase Nowell told the “executioner” to strip Obadiah naked down to the waist after he refused to disrobe himself, saying “that for all Boston I would not give my bodie into their hands to be bruised upon another account, yet upon this I would not give the hundredth part of a Wampon Peaque to free it out of their hands, and that I made as much conscience of unbuttoning one button, as I did of paying the £30 in reference thereunto.” He was then tied to the post and publicly flogged at Devonshire & State Streets in Boston, just because he was a Baptist.  

There were thirty strokes (which was 10 lashings short of a death sentence), with a three-cord whip, Screen Shot 2017-11-26 at 4.21.20 PMheld by the executioner – one lash for each pound he owed. Holmes proclaimed, “I bless God I am counted worthy to suffer for the name of Jesus.” Though he received 30 lashes, to his bare back, Obadiah is said to not have let out a groan or scream – after the whipping he uttered the words “You have struck me as with roses.”  

After the flogging and out from the crowd came forward to offer their sympathy and shake Obadiah’s hand.  John Spur and John Hazel were promptly arrested and jailed.  Obadiah’s testimony deeply affected Harvard’s President, Henry Dunster.  For weeks and weeks after the flogging had to sleep on knees and elbows. 

Life After Religious Persecution

Obadiah returned to Newport and in 1652 succeeded Dr. John Clarke. He became the minister of the First Baptist Church in America. The church at Newport was his permanent charge for more than thirty years until his death. In 1656 he was made a Freeman (in U.S. colonial times, a person not under legal restraint). He served as a Commissioner from 1656-58.

Obadiah died October 15, 1682 in Newport and was buried in his own field, where a tomb was erected to his memory (in what is now the town of Middletown). His wife did not long survive him.  He had nine children and 42 grandchildren when he died.

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Thank God for men who put principles and compassion for fellow believers above their personal safety.

Last Will & Testament

These are to signify that I, Obadiah Holmes of Newport on Rhode Island, being at present through the goodness and mercy of my God of sound memory; and, being by daily intimations put in mind of the frailty and uncertainty of this present life, do therefore – for settling my estate in this world which it has pleased the Lord to bestow upon me – make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner following, committing my spirit unto the Lord that gave it to me and my body to the earth from whence it was taken, in hope and expectation that it shall thence be raised at the resurrection of the just.Imprimis, I will that all my just debts which I owe unto any person be paid by my Executor, hereafter named, in convenient time after my decease.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my daughter, Mary Brown, five pounds in money or equivalent to money.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my daughter, Martha Odlin, ten pounds in the like pay.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my daughter, Lydia Bowne, ten pounds.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my two grandchildren, the children of my daughter, Hopestill Taylor, five pounds each; and if either of them decease, the survivor to have ten pounds.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son, John Holmes, ten pounds.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my son, Obadiah Holmes, ten pounds.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my grandchildren, the children of my son Samuel Holmes, ten pounds to be paid unto them in equal portions.
All these portions by me bequeathed, my will is, shall be paid by my Executor in money or equivalent to money.
Item. I give and bequeath unto all my grandchildren now living ten pounds; and ten shillings in the like pay to be laid out to each of them – a bible.
Item. I give and bequeath unto my grandchild, Martha Brown, ten pounds in the like pay.
All [of] which aforesaid legacies are to be paid by my Executor, hereafter named in manner here expressed: that is to say, the first payment to [be] paid within one year after the decease of my wife, Catherine {sic} Holmes, and twenty pounds a year until all the legacies be paid, and each to be paid according to the degree of age.
My will is and I do hereby appoint my son Jonathan Holmes my sole Executor, unto whom I have sold my land, housing, and stock for the performance of the same legacies above. And my will is that my Executor shall pay unto his mother, Catherine Holmes, if she survives and lives, the sum of twenty pounds in money or money pay for her to dispose of as she shall see cause.
Lastly, I do desire my loving friends, Mr. James Barker, Sr., Mr. Joseph Clarke, and Mr. Philip Smith, all of Newport, to be my overseers to see this my will truly performed. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal, this ninth day of April, 1681.
Obadiah Hullme [Holmes][Seal]
Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of
Edward Thurston
Weston Clarke
(Edward Thurston, Sr., and Weston Clark appeared before the Council [of Newport], December 4, 1682, and did upon their engagements [pledges] declare and own that they saw Obadiah Holmes, deceased, sign seal and deliver the above written will as his act and deed; and, at the time of his sealing hereof, he was in his perfect memory, according to the best of our understandings. Taken before the Council, as attested. Weston Clarke, Town Clerk.)

My Lineage 

Rev. Obadiah Holmes 1610-1682
10th great-grandfather
Martha Holmes 1640-1711
Daughter of Rev. Obadiah Holmes
Hannah Audley 1643-1685
Daughter of Martha Holmes
Abigail Devol 1695-1719
Daughter of Hannah Audley
Job Milk II 1725-1804
Son of Abigail Devol
Sarah Milk 1749-1830
Daughter of Job Milk II
Roger Moore 1775-1860
Son of Sarah Milk
Olive Moore 1821-1871
Daughter of Roger Moore
Ambrose Richards 1885-1957
Son of George Howard Richards
Benjamin George Richards 1916-1977
Son of Ambrose Richards
Patrick James Richards 1954-2014
Son of Benjamin George Richards
Tina Rose Richards
You are the daughter of Patrick James Richards


This was an interesting person to research, I had no idea that I was connected to such a significant man/family.  It’s warming to see how revered he is in the Baptist community.

Stay tuned for the original reason I was going to write about Obadiah – his most famous descendant …. any guesses on who it is?


On Genealogy: My Salem Witch Trial Connection

Late last night, I couldn’t sleep, I decided to do a bit of digging on some hew “hints” on my Ancestry.ca site and take closer look into my DNA profile.

A while back I posted a blog called “On Genealogy: My Quaker Connection; Descendant of John Milk, British Colonial America, 1662” which traced my roots back to colonial America.  I had an inclination based on that research that were was going to be a lot of interesting genealogical & historical facts and significance coming out of this line – and there it was – I found my first nugget.  A connection to the Salem witch trials.


The Salem witch trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of people accused of witchcraft in colonial Massachusetts (The Massachusetts Bay Colony) between February 1692 and May 1693. They say that between 150 and 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil’s magic. As a wave of hysteria spread throughout the Puritan colony, a special court convened to hear the cases.  Assembled on the bench were “people of the best prudence and figure that could be pitched upon.” Examinations took place in Salem Village (present-day Danvers, Massachusetts). The trials resulted in the executions of twenty people, fourteen of them women, and all but one by hanging. Five others (including two infant children) died in prison.

Most of the convictions and executions were grounded on testimony of spectral evidence. Spectral evidence is evidence based on visions and dreams of the actions of a witch’s spirit or specter, i.e. the testimony about what an accused person’s spirit did, rather than actions of the accused person in the body.  Opposition by the contemporary clergy to the use of spectral evidence didn’t mean the clergy did not believe that specters were real.  They believed, rather, that the devil could use specters to possess and get them to act against their own will. That Satan possessed a person was not evidence that the person had consented.  Crazy to think of in this day and age, isn’t it??

In terms of my relation – in late January/early February of 1693, the Court sat in Charlestown, Middlesex County, and held grand juries and tried five people: Sarah Cole (of Lynn), Lydia Dustin & Sarah Dustin, Mary Taylor and Mary Toothaker.

List of the Afflicted

Name Location
Alice Booth Unknown
Elizabeth Booth Salem Village
Sarah Bridges Andover
William Brage Salem Town
Mary Brown Reading
Sarah Churchill Salem Village
Johanna Dod Marblehead
John Doritch Unknown
Mary Fitch Gloucester
Rose Foster Andover
Goodhall Probably Salem Village
Benjamin Goodwin Boston
John Goodwin, Jr. Boston
Martha Goodwin Boston
Mercy Goodwin Boston
Mary Herrick Wenham
Mary Hill Salem Town
Elizabeth Hubbard Salem Village
John Indian Salem Village
Elizabeth Knapp Groton
Mary Lacey, Jr. Andover
Mercy Lewis Salem Village
Mary Marshall Reading
Abigail Martin Andover
Elizabeth Parris Salem Village
Hanna Perley Topsfield
Sarah Phelps Andover
Bethshaa Pope Probably Salem Village
Ann Putnam, Jr. Salem Village
Ann Putnam, Sr. Salem Village
Margaret Rule Boston
Susannah Sheldon Salem Village
Mercy Short Boston
Martha Sprague Boxford
Tituba Salem Village
Rebecca Towne Topsfield
Peter Tuft’s maidservant Charlestown
Sarah Vibber Wenham
Mary Walcott Salem Village
Mary Warren Salem Village
**Elizabeth Weston Reading**
Rebecca Wilkins Salem Village
Abigail Williams Salem Village

My Lineage

John Weston II 1631-1729
10th great-grandfather
Sarah Weston 1656-1684
Daughter of John Weston II
John Milk II 1668-1720
Son of Sarah Weston
Job Milk I 1694-1778
Son of John Milk II
Job Milk II 1725-1804
Son of Job Milk I
Sarah Milk 1749-1830
Daughter of Job Milk II
Roger Moore 1775-1860
Son of Sarah Milk
Olive Moore 1821-1871
Daughter of Roger Moore
Ambrose Richards 1885-1957
Son of George Howard Richards
Benjamin George Richards 1916-1977
Son of Ambrose Richards
Patrick James Richards 1954-2014
Son of Benjamin George Richards
Tina Rose Richards
You are the daughter of Patrick James Richards

The Afflicted: Elizabeth Weston

From the linage tree above, you probably noticed that my ancestral connection lies with Elizabeth Weston, daughter of John Weston of Reading.  She accused Sarah Dustin of tormenting her and was held for trial.

Her father, John Westing was born 

Place of Burial: His gravestone in the graveyard shows that he was one of the founders of the church (the First Church of Salem, MA).
Immediate Family: Son of John Weston, II and Martha Weston
Husband of Sarah Weston
Father of John Weston; Sarah Milk; Mary Weston; John Weston; Samuel Weston and 16 others
Brother of Henry Weston, I; Thomas Westonand Francis Weston
Occupation: Owned Sailing Vessels, 1644 emigration (Stow Away), Fought in King Phiilips’ War

I will write separately on John Weston in another blog as HE is the IMMIGRANT ancestor of this line and researching this has lead me to discover other interesting facts about Mr. Weston.

Screen Shot 2017-11-25 at 1.46.55 PMAccused of Witchcraft:  Sarah Dustin

Lydia Dustin/Dastin (approx 1626 – March 10, 1693), was a resident of Reading, Massachusetts, she was arrested on April 30.  She was examined on May 2 by magistrates Jonathan Corwin and John Hathorne, on the same day as Sarah Morey, Susannah Martin, and Dorcas Hoar were examined. She was then sent to Boston’s jail.

Lydia’s daughter Sarah Dustin was the next in the family accused and arrested, followed by Lydia’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Colson. Lydia’s daughter Mary Colson (Elizabeth Colson’s mother), was also accused; she was examined but not indicted.

Sarah Dustin was the unmarried daughter of Lydia Dustin. Her father was Joshia Dustin, who had been one of the founders and leading land owners of Reading, Massachusetts. She was arrested for witchcraft and for tormenting and afflicting Elizabeth Weston, the daughter of John Weston of Reading.

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Excepts from the book The Salem Witch Trials: A Day-by-day Chronicle of a Community Under Siege.  By Marilynne K. Roach


Both Lydia and Sarah were found NOT GUILTY by the Superior Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Gaol Delivery in January or February, 1693, after the initial trials had been suspended when criticized for their use of spectral evidence. However, they could not be released until they paid jail fees. Lydia Dustin died still in jail on March 10, 1693.  Because of this she is included on lists of those who died as part of the Salem witchcraft accusations and trials.  Sarah, must have found a way to pay and was released. Nothing more is known of her.

Ruling in the Case of Sarah Dustin:

      Sarah Dastin of Reding in the County of Midlesex being Indicted by the Jurors for our Soveraigne Lord & Lady the King and Queen upon their Oathes by one Indictment That is to say. For that the said Sarah Dastin of Reding in the County of Midlesex single woman on or about the month of May in the year 1692 And divers other dayes and times as well before as after certain detestable arts called Witchcraft and Sorceries wickedly mallitiously & feloneously hath used practised and Exercised at and in the Towne of Reding in the County of Midlesex aforesaid upon and against one Elizabeth Weston of Reding daughter of John Weston of Reding by which wicked Arts the said Elizabeth Weston the day and year afores’d and divers other dayes and times as well before as after was afflicted tortured tormented pined and wasted against the peace of our Soveraigne Lord & Lady the King & Queen their Crowne and dignity and the Lawes in that case made and provided. Upon the aforesaid Indictment the said Sarah Dastin was then and there before the Justices of our Lord and Lady the King and Queen aforesaid Araigned & upon her Arraignement she did then and there the day and year aforesaid plead to the said Indictment Not Guilty and put her selfe upon Tryall by God and the Country.

     Jury Sworn

     Mr Samuel Hunting, Samuel Whitmore,  Nathaniel Bassam, Stephen Willis, Henry Green, James Lowden, Nathaniel Cooledge, Thomas Welch Jun’r, Daniel Dean, Samuel Jenison,  Joseph Willson, Josiah Convers

     A Jury being called Samuel Hunting foreman and accordingly sworne no exception being made by the Prisoner The Indictment being read together with the evidences And the prisoners defence being heard The Jury went out to agree upon their verdict Who returning did then and there in open Court deliver their verdict That the said Sarah Dastin was Not Guilty of the felony by witchcraft for which shee stood Indicted in and by the said Indictment.

     The Court Ordered the said Sarah Dastin to be discharged paying her fees.

     Anno RR’s et Reginae Gulielmi et Mariae Quinto At a Superiour Court of Judicature Court of Assize & General Goal Delivery held at Boston for the County of Suffolk on the 16930425 25’th day of Aprill 1693

     Present:  William Stoughton Esq’r Chief Justice, Thomas Danforth Esq’r, John Richards Esq’ & Samuel Sewell Eq’r


 “He wondered at the atrocities human kind was capable of committing. The majority of those housed below were ill, mentally or physically, not witches. Most were poor victims–the outcasts of society; or the opposite, people so blessed, others coveted their lives.” Brynn Chapman, Where Bluebirds Fly

I find it an interesting familial connection to this dark piece of American history.  The Salem witch trials remain a profoundly important chapter in American history.  Over 300 years after the final hanging took place, I plan on driving down to Boston & Salem this coming Summer to see, in person, the remnants of Salem’s dark summer of 1692.  Of course, I will blog of my adventures & research there – stay tuned …

Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do 💪🏻

I actually wrote this last year ago but didn’t post it because I wanted to respect my brother’s privacy.  I’m really trying to show how strong he is.  This is a tribute to his grit and will power.

We’ve all had a time in our lives that are beyond difficult to cope. When you wonder when you’re going to become the butterfly cause being the caterpillar sucks.  When you wonder which day you become the pigeon, cause you’re sick of being the statue.

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This particular journey began on May 27, 2014, my brother’s cell came up on my call display, not once but 4 times, in a row.  I wasn’t able to take it,  I let it go to voice mail I’d call him back once I finished my work call. As if by some weird force, I felt compelled to check Facebook (not something I would normally do while on a work call, since I’m not that multi-talented to be checking online and carry an important conversation) and there it was … a message from a family member telling me to call my mom, there was an emergency with Darryl.  I immediately called my brother’s cell back – no answer.

I called a total of 4 times. Maybe there was a voice mail? “Tina, it’s mom, I’m at the hospital with your brother, he’s been rushed in for emergency surgery, I don’t know what exactly, but there was a problem with his heart, it doesn’t look good – if you want to say good bye to your brother you need to come home now”.  I’m sorry, WHAT?  Did she just say that my brother was most likely going to die?  In complete and utter shock, I crumbled against the wall.

An aortic dissection, a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta tears. Blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate, an aortic dissection is often fatal and is relatively uncommon, occurring most frequently in men in their 60s and 70s. How? My brother was only 2 days post celebrating his 37th birthday a far cry from 60-70!  It is  the same thing that both John Ritter and Alan Thicke passed away from.

By the time I showed up (I lived in Toronto and my family were in Kitchener), he had been in surgery nearly 2 hours already.  On my way out the door, I called my dad to let him know that he needed to make his way down.  I mean how do you tell your father that he needs to drive all of the way from Quebec and try not scare him that his only son may not be alive when he got there?

“The family of Darryl Richards?” Dr. Ash (shout out to Dr. Ash, an amazing thoracic cardiac surgeon at St. Mary’s General) says.  In all honesty, hearing that brought me back to a Grey’s Anatomy episode when you’re about to get bad news.  He shocks us and says  “ he’s made it, I don’t know how but he’s made it.  Most people don’t make it to the hospital or make it off the table.  He’s in a coma, on life support and in critical condition,  but he’s alive and he’s made it this far.  The next 24-48 hours are critical”.  

The tubes, all I remember are the copious amounts of tubes going into and out of his body. Heart monitors, intubation tubes, chest tubes, catheters and the repetitious pace of the ventilation machine keeping him alive and breathing for him in interval.

It felt surreal, the whole immediate family around his hospital bed and hoping for the best outcome.  Would he come out well from the coma?  Would he have complications?  Would he have renal failure?  Would he stroke out?  So many things!  I’ve seen my dad cry twice in my whole life.  The third was seeing my brother in this condition, I knew he’d do anything to change places with him.  My mom, obviously, was equally as distraught.  I’ll take a moment to mention that my mom saved my brother’s life.  Those maternal instincts are a real thing!  My brother had called her in the morning saying that he wasn’t feeling well.  After describing his symptoms, my mom told him to rush to the hospital – typical man, “I’ll be ok, I’ll sleep it off”, he ended up going to the hospital after my mom said she’d meet him there and he’d better be there or else lol.  After that, things played out in fast-forward.  He was rushed in, assessed and they called for a thoracic cardiac surgeon.  Darryl tells me his last memories before waking up 4 days later was being told that his odds for survival were not in his favour, a priest was administering his last rights and my mom in hysterics, then as the anesthesia kicked it, hearing the sound of the saw.

Things were really hard on all of us at this time, but things were particularly hard for my mom, I think.  She seemed to spend the majority of her time between two hospitals – caring for her son and for her ailing dad, in palliative care from cancer.  My dad and I would go up to the hospital in the mornings to check in on Darryl … on how he’d faired the night, his vitals, and when when they anticipated bringing him out of the induced coma.  Without getting too much into the specifics of next days where he realized after 4 days that he had made it and he was alive – they brought him out of the induced coma, and slowly started getting him to sit upright, then take a step or two and then talk … after about 1 week he was transferred out of cardiac ICU and into the cardiac recovery ward.

Screen Shot 2021-09-20 at 9.56.40 PM                                           June 15 2014 – Our Mending Faces

While Darryl remained in hospital, I returned to Toronto to get back to work and cared for Nash (Darryl’s dog and best bud).  Dad built a gate so he could have a big backyard to play in.  Dad also spent a lot of time with Darryl, in Kitchener, during his recovery.  He was his friend, his confidant, he would work Darryl through some of his post-op anxieties/fears (I mean, I’d be having anxiety too if I almost died!), he was his very own support and I get the sense that dad was really significant in how well Darryl pulled through this.

You know how they say things happen for a reason? I’m a believer in the power positive thinking, in serendipity, but sometimes even I just can’t make sense and I don’t particularly get why things happen.

My grand father passed away in July, my mom mourned the passing of her dad and my heart bled for my gramma who lost her husband of 60 years.  She hadn’t known anyone else, they stood the test of time.

Darryl, never married and has no biological children, but, he does have Nash.  Nash is his best buddy, his best friend and for all intents and purposes his son.  A brindle Olde English Bulldogge, a loving, loyal companion.  Nash was initially my dog, however, as a puppy he was showing signs of dominance and growing up in a house run by three women, he definitely needed some male influence – so Darryl and I made a temporary trade.  He took Nash and I took his cat, Layla (who just passed away  couple of weeks ago – see below for a pic of this super cutie).  That temporary trade has lasted 9 years.  Nash got sick in July, really sick, he had contracted leptospirosis and went into renal failure.

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Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection.  It spreads throughout the entire body, reproducing in the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, eyes, and reproductive system. Soon after initial infection, fever and bacterial infection of the blood develop. Infection of the liver or kidneys can be fatal for animals if the infection progresses, causing severe damage to these organs. The Leptospira spirochete bacteria is zoonotic, meaning that it can be transmitted to humans and other animals.

Now,  if you love your pets, as we do, you know you, that they’re not just an animal but a member of your family.  Their lives matter just as much as anyone else’s.  Darryl is now only 2 months post-near dying himself, he now having to deal with potentially losing his best bud, his amigo, his Nash – was crazy!

Daily we had to take Nash from the animal hospital to the vet for overnight stays and then due to mounting vet bills they suggested that we take him home at nights.  Oh sure!  No problem! Don’t mind if we do!  Every night for about a week, we had to cart Nash home from the vet (where he was receiving treatment) home, in the back of my SUV, hooked to IVs and catheters and dead weight cause he was so weak.  Not to mention, Darryl couldn’t lift, he had chest full of healing staples from his large incision.  I didn’t realize how strong you can get when you run on pure adrenaline .  But I did, I got Nashy in and out of the back of the truck for as long as I had to, to save his life and ultimately that of my brother’s.  Did I mention, that Darryl had renal failure and had a compromised immune system and was susceptible to infection – remember Lepto is zoonotic and is transmittable to humans.  Yes, to make matters worse, he had to be hyper-vigilant around Nash.  I know he would’ve had really hard time recovering if Nash would have died.  He was his companion, he walked with Darryl during his recovery, he brought him calmness and most of all snuggles 🙏🏻.  To the tune of about $7k Nash survived the lepto scare.

Screen Shot 2021-09-20 at 9.57.03 PM2014:  Emma teaching her Papa to use the new tablet I had just bought for him.  Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Over the course of September and October things slowly calmed and returned to a more normal pace (or whatever our new normal was by this point). The kids went back to school, we celebrated Thanksgiving, birthdays and we made plans for Christmas.  Dad had retired about half a year earlier and usually worked over the Christmas holidays, this year he didn’t have to, so for the first time in about 30 years, we were going to get to spend Christmas with our ol’ man and step-mom in Quebec.  I always called my dad ol’ man, I don’t know why – I just did, he didn’t seem to mind it.  Things were finally on even keel and for a long time in a while, we had something positive to look forward to.

For having a very strong hate on for Toronto, Dad had been helping me finish my basement over the course of the year.  He was spending weeks on end there with us.  I really enjoyed the time I got to spend with him, but, it wasn’t for the conversation – my dad is a man of few words (unless he has a few wiggly pops, then you can’t shut him up lol).  Life can get busy for stupid reasons and living in different provinces it can be hard to spend as much time as you want with people.  Dad’s a simple, salt of the earth, no stress, kinda guy.  6 shirts, 2 pair of shoes, 3 pair of jeans and a few plaid/lumber jackets. And a ball cap, I rarely saw him without a cap on his noggin.  Dad was very skilled,  I always called him McGiver, he could fix anything.  Give him two wires and four toilet paper rolls, some floss and a battery and somehow he’d get your engine to turn over (ok, not really with that example, but it serves to show that he  was skilled).

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Dad was coming down to help me finish the last few things in the basement, this would be it, then we’d be done!  Yay! And it looked great!  And I was excited to spend more time with him, plus Emma missed her homie.  My cell phone is ringing, it’s “Dad & Linda calling”.  But, I’m on the phone for work and I couldn’t take the call.  I assumed dad was calling to confirm the time his bus was pulling into Yorkdale Mall on Friday, it was Tuesday.

10 minutes later, Darryl calls – “that’s weird” I think to myself “why the heck are they calling so close together”?  I texted Darryl “On the phone, call you in 5”.  “No now” is his response.  I get that same deep, sickening pit in the bottom of my stomach.

“Are you sitting down?”  He doesn’t even have to say the words and I know what he’s gonna say next … “dad’s gone Tina”.  As I did only but 5 months earlier, I crumpled to the floor and cried in hysterics.  How the hell could this be happening?  Anger shot straight at God (then asking for His love).  I’m crying now, as I write this, I still think it’s not fair.  He had just retired, he had just started living his life, we were getting to spend more time with him then ever, we had Christmas plans … and he was only 60!  That morning, he got up to live his life and died on his kitchen floor … how was that even fair?

“The rain’s gonna fall on us all
Your heart’s gonna break sometimes
But there’s no way around it, life’s full of mountains
You’re gonna have to climb
But there ain’t no crime in crying
You just gotta keep on trying
So remember, no matter what you’re going through
Tough times don’t last …

Tough people do” ~ Brett Kissell

I try to take something positive out of something negative.  But in those months following dad’s passing, I couldn’t.  I still can’t.  There’s nothing positive about someone being taken from you way too soon when there are so many horrible, pathetic people in the world and someone who did nothing but contribute to society and was a solid individual’s was snuffed out.  When my father passed and my family struggled, I was more lost than I had ever been in my entire life.

Screen Shot 2021-09-20 at 9.57.37 PMLosing a loved one is a painful reminder that life is way. too. short!  Dad would want nothing more than for us to be happy — not the watered-down, half smile, day-to-day getting by content happy, but truly happy. I realize that my dad will never truly be gone. He is still here with me in spirit.  Now, instead of mourning his loss, I celebrate his life.  I miss him, I’ll always miss him and I think about him every single day.  I use this as motivation, as a reminder, to live my best life and that we can still make him proud from up there – that he wants us to live big.  I know he sees us, I know he hears us …. see blog titled “Messages from Beyond: How My Dad Connects With Me”.

I post this on the 3 year anniversary of my dad’s passing (Nov 18th).  Love and miss you ol’ man – til we meet again on Heaven’s highest hill xo

PS:  I’m not strong, my brother is 💙.  To go through what he did in such a short period of time and come out the other end is inspiring.