Early Life of Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston
Lurania Powers Burgess, daughter of Mary (Polly) Titus and Harvey Burgess was born August 15, 1808 in Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York. Her father Harvey’s family can be traced back to Thomas Burges, an early resident of Plymouth, Massachusetts and the Hopkins family of the Mayflower. Her Mother Mary’s parents came from Long Island where their ancestors were early colonial residents.
The Burgess and Titus familles migrated from Stillwater, Saratoga, County New York to Sempronius, Cayuga County about the same time and quite possibly together. A History of Cayuga county mentions the Burgess family coming in 1796, and being one of the first families to settle Sempronius. Mary’s father Jonas Titus died in 1795 in Stillwater, and his widow and children probably came shortly after that. Both of these families were members of the Baptist church in Stillwater and are listed as original members of the First Baptist Church of Sempronius. The two families were neighbors in Sempronius and probably were very close as Harvey and Mary grew up together in both Stillwater and Sempronius. Harvey Burgess and Mary (Polly) Titus were married in Sempronius around 1802. Lurania was the third of their eleven children.
Sempronius, Cayuga County is in the finger lakes area of northern New York. It consists of hilly country nestled in between Oswaco and Skaneateles Lakes. The area was largely settled after the Revolutionary War. It was part of what was known as the Military Tract, which consisted of land given by the government to Veterans of the Revolutionary War, though the majority of Veterans given land never lived there. The Burgess and Titus families came as pioneers to this new settlement.
Lurania grew up in this small new frontier town where her extended family made up a large portion of the initial population. Her grandfather Seth Burgess had the first tavern in the area, which probably served as a community as well as family gathering place during Lurania’s early childhood. The first school was in a log building on the Titus farm, belonging to one of Lurania’s uncles. Later a school was built on her cousin Byron Burgess’ land. Lurania may have attended this school in her early years, but most likely attended a newer school built in 1815 at Sayles Corners near her home. The first Town Officers of Sempronius included Lurania’s grandfather and uncle.
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Early Life of Samuel Eggleston in New York
Samuel Eggleston, son of Samuel & Elizabeth Hill Eggleston was born March 30, 1804 in Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York. He wrote a brief autobiography which states:
“I lived in the town of Marcellus until I was 13 years old, then my father, with his family, then moved into the town of Springwater, Livingston County, state of New York. My brothers and sisters numbered ten in family. I lived with my father until I was 19 years old, then I went to live with my brother-in-law to learn the tanner’s trade. I lived with them until I was 23 years old . . .”
Samuel’s father came to Marcellus in the early 1800’s with his parents and other family members. He bought a piece of land bordering Skaneateles Lake. He sold this land in 1817 which was the time that the family moved to Springwater.
Samuel’s mother, Elizabeth Hill Eggleston, also known as Betsy, died in 1823 in Springwater. Some of the children were still quite young at the time of her death. Samuel was about 19 years old. It was around this time that Samuel went back to the area where he had grown up. His older sister Lucy had married Thomas Marsh and they were living in Sempronius, across the lake from Marcellus. Samuel’s obituary indicates that it was Thomas Marsh with whom he lived for 4 years, from age 19 to 23. He learned the tanner’s trade from Thomas Marsh.
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Little is known of the details of the life of Harvey Burgess Eggleston. He was just becoming an adult when his life was cut short. We can only imagine what his life would have been like if he had lived, and wonder about the circumstances of his death.
Birth of Harvey Burgess Eggleston
Harvey Burgess Eggleston, the 5th child of Samuel and Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston, was born February 8, 1836, In Sempronius, Cayuga County, New York. He was named for his grandfather Harvey Burgess. His parents lost their first 2 sons as infants, so when Harvey was born he had two older brothers.
The birth date of Harvey Burgess Eggleston was recorded in the Eggleston Family Bible – bottom on the left
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I learned a great deal about our family history during a 2001 road trip tracing our family’s migration route in reverse – An Eggleston Genealogy Odyssey.
The Eggleston Genealogy Odyssey Begins
This is the only photo I took of the motorhome on the trip. Skaneateles Lake is in the background
In August 2001, I invited myself on a journey with my Dad. Mom passed away in November 2000. She and Dad had traveled around much of the country in their motorhome. That summer, Dad wanted to drive to New Hampshire to visit my sister. It was a trip he had made several times with Mom, but I was concerned about him traveling that far by himself. (He later made many solitary trips – just not that far) I also was up for a visit with my sister. We learned that my other sister would be staying with them for a while in between moves, so it was a 2 for 1. After doing a good decade of genealogy research, I saw an opportunity to see some of the places our ancestors had lived. I eagerly offered to accompany Dad so he wouldn’t be lonely on this trip. Thus began a journey to a family reunion which traced our family’s migration route across the country – in reverse. A journey back to our beginnings, almost.
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January 16th marks the anniversary of the birth of Samuel Eggleston, son of Samuel and Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston. His birth, life and death occurred during a very dark time and place in the lives of his family and the larger community of Latter-day Saints. Early in 1846, the Saints were forced to leave their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois. The Eggleston family were not among the first to leave. They stayed until sometime in the spring of 1846 according to Samuel’s account. They may have stayed longer than others for financial reasons, or to help with the completion of the Temple which was dedicated May 1, 1846.
The Egglestons traveled to Winter Quarters in Nebraska, where the Saints had gathered to prepare to go further west. Small cabins were built where they spent a miserable winter. There was inadequate food for the many refugees camped there. There was also much disease which was easily spread. Many people died during that year, especially the very young and very old.
Birth of baby Samuel to Lurania and Samuel Eggleston
Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston
Lurania Powers Burgess Eggleston, who was 38 years old at that time, gave birth to a son on the bleak winter day of January 16th. Patty Sessions was a prominent midwife during that time. Fortunately for us, she kept records in her diary and an account book. Her notation under the date of 16 January was “Put sister Eggleston to bed with a son Samuel E.” “Putting to bed” was her way of noting the confinement and delivery of a baby. Patty’s account book showed that Samuel Eggleston paid $2.00 for her services January 16.
The birth of this child must have brought great joy to the family at a time of great suffering. He was given the name of his father – Samuel. He may have also been named after Samuel H. Smith who along with Orson Hyde had introduced the family to the Restored Gospel. (They had named their last born son Orson Hyde Eggleston)
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Postcards were an easy and inexpensive way to keep in touch with family and friends in a time when there were few telephones and no internet. In the early 20th Century they were like Social Media, sharing bits of news and often short messages in between longer letters. They were written on postcards showing familiar scenes or with simple greetings. Vedia Eggleston’s Postcard Book contained postcards from nearby places where friends and family lived. Other postcards from places further away are shared in another post.
Some from Home in Afton, Wyoming:
This is the Tabernacle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Afton, Wyoming, Vedia’s home town.
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July 24th is a significant day for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and for the State of Utah. We commemorate the settling of Utah by the Mormon Pioneers, the first of whom arrived in July 1847. The Pioneer Era is generally considered to span from 1847 to 1869 when the Trans- continental Railroad was completed.
Our family has a large and rich pioneer heritage. Our first Eggleston ancestors to come to Utah were Orson Hyde Eggleston and his brother Reuben, along with his wife Emeline and young son.
Orson H. Eggleston
In the summer of 1861, Orson came to Utah with his brother Reuben and his family in the David H. Cannon Company. Bartlett Tripp, who was Company Clerk for the David H. Cannon Pioneer Company in 1861, included a list of company members in his Camp Journal. Listed were Reub. B. Eggleston, wife and 1 child, Orson Eggleston, 4 oxen, 1 cow, 1 wagon. Continue reading →