When I began serious Eggleston genealogical research, I learned to look to earlier research first. It is always a good idea to check what has been done, so as to not waste time and effort. Unfortunately, I found that some earlier work was not correct. Errors and false assumptions had been perpetuated by those who accepted earlier works without necessarily thinking things through or further checking.
My Great-grandfather Orson H. Eggleston gathered genealogical information while serving a Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Michigan in 1876-77. Apparently while there he corresponded with someone in New York City about the Eggleston family. He included this copy of a response with a letter to his father, seeking his father’s advice on how to respond. He seemed hopeful that this Nicholas would have helpful information. I am not sure what happened with this, but it does indicate how early Orson tried to learn more about the larger Eggleston family.
In an earlier family letter Eliza Barron told her brother Samuel Eggleston about a letter she had received from Rev. A. Eggleston of Broome County, New York. He was requesting information about family members, including birth, death and marriage dates. Eliza seemed skeptical of his intentions and unsure of his address. It is not known what response Samuel gave her or if she ever sent any information to this person. This would have been the Ambrose mentioned in this letter from Melville, who apparently had been researching and collecting information on the Eggleston family.
Correspondence with Wilber E. Hagans
Later, Orson corresponded with Wilbur E. Hagans to try to take the Eggleston line back further. These letters were dated 1910 and 1911, which was late in Orson’s life. We do not have copies of the letters Orson sent. We can only assume from these replies what questions he had asked and what information he had given.
It appears that Orson must have given Mr. Hagens his genealogy as he knew it: His parents Samuel and Lurania Powers Burgess; Samuel’s parents Samuel and Elizabeth Hill; and that Samuel’s parents Samuel and Rebecca. Because of the multiple Samuels, Hagens seemed inclined to place them in the family of Bygod’s son Samuel. There were a number of early Samuels, but as Hagens noted himself, there were missing generations.
Orson may have also mentioned his father’s brother Ambrose, as it appears he assumed that might be the Ambrose Eggleston whom he knew had collected genealogical information. Samuel’s brother Ambrose had lived in Parkersburg, Iowa. He was some kind of minister, but he was not the Rev. Ambrose Eggleston that Hagens mentioned.
Hagens was probably not much help to Orson, especially since he had not had any success in the area of New York where Orson’s family had lived. He suggests that our line might go through Bygod’s son Joseph – which it does – but he seems only familiar with the family of Joseph’s son Ichabod.
Carrying On Eggleston Genealogical Research
These letters were included on the type-written sheets which I found at the home of cousin Ruth. These sheets included family genealogies and letters sent from Orson to his father and letters from other family members to Samuel. I assume that Theron Eggleston or his wife typed them up. There may have been further correspondence, but this is all we have. These letters did not provide any real answers or information to trace our Eggleston line back further. They did give me some insight into the desires and early efforts of Samuel and Orson to search out our ancestors. I also gained a greater appreciation for the availability of good information which make our searches today easier and more fruitful.