Thursday, October 24, 2013

(SCOFIELD) The Irascible Sir Cuthbert

Cuthbert Scofield was a pugnacious fellow. Perhaps it is fitting that he was the first Scofield to be granted a crest.

Crest granted to Cuthbert in 1582
The records of his life are primarily from the courts. Even his knighthood, granted by Queen Elizabeth in 1588, resulted from his assistance during a war. (He somehow helped defeat the Spanish Armada, probably by donating money.) 

As one author said, "Cuthbert Scolfeld was evidently a man either fond of litigation or uncommonly unfortunate, for he appears in the Duchy Court more frequently than any other inhabitant of the parish." (B)

Cuthbert went to court several times claiming various lands. His legal squabbles with relatives and neighbors, however, are the most interesting.

In 1561, Cuthbert sued his wife, Anne, for divorce. Herself the product of an affair, she apparently thought nothing of conducting a dalliance while her husband was at the market. Upon arriving home, Cuthbert was informed by others of the goings-on at Schofield Hall. Anne's lover fled from a window; she followed. Cuthbert pursued them, "brandishing his sword and giving chase through several fields." The pair escaped and made their way to Ireland; Cuthbert sued for divorce. (E)
Scofield Hall, 1829. Inhabited from the 16th-20th century. Now in ruins.

In 1565, Cuthbert quarreled with a neighbor about the ownership of a piece of land that included the local chapel. Apparently, Cuthbert attempted to enforce his opinion. According to another neighbor, Cuthbert, "a very evill disposed person... hath in verie riotous and forceable manor entered into the...chapell... and with strong locks and bars hath shut up the same," and when the locals tried to attend services they found "several disordered persons with drawn swords in their hands, who did make assault and affray upon divers persons." (A, C) 

Ah, Cuthbert, fractious and feisty till the end.

***I did NOT research the genealogy for this post. I researched Sir Cuthbert and have cited sources below. However, I am depending on someone else's genealogic accuracy; I have NOT verified this line of descent. That being said, here is the genealogy, according to contributors on 

Guy Wixon Scofield, 1913-1984
John Wixon Scofield, 1888-1962
Charles Andrew Scofield, 1840-1910
Eleazer Scofield, 1811-1881
Rufus Scofield, 1773-1854
Noah Scofield, 1750-1790
Jonathan Scofield, 1719-1788
Nathaniel Scofield, 1688-?
John Scofield, 1647-1699
Daniel Scofield, 1620-1669
Alexander Scofield, 1588-1620
Sir Cuthbert Scofield, 1555-1605

A) Rebe Taylor, Rochdale Retrospect, chapter 3,
B) Henry Fishwick, History of Rochdale, chapter 17, this is also the source of the picture of Schofield Hall, from a pen and ink sketch by George Shaw, architect, and the information about the Scofield crest
C) ibid, chapter 10
D) ibid, chapter 15
E) "Schofield Hall" at

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

(LUKE) John Lang, Miner

My great-great-grandfather, John Emil Lang, left Sweden in the 1880s. By 1895 he had settled in Silver City, Utah. He mined in the American West for 30 years.
Me in Silver City, September 2012.
Another website says these are the basement steps of the store. 
The US Department of Labor reports that “From 1880 to 1910, mine explosions and other accidents claimed thousands of victims. ...mining was...highly hazardous. Fires, explosions and roof falls caused many deaths and injuries. In the early 20th century approximately 1,500 miners died annually.1

Despite the dangers, even children participated in mining. As a “youth,” John's son Rudolph worked in the mines, carrying buckets of water on a yoke.3

"Job insecurity also plagued miners. Few could count on full-time work the year around. The periodic recessions and depressions that affected both the American economy as a whole and the mining industry in particular resulted in long periods of unemployment and often wiped out the savings of even the most frugal families.”2

Miners in Silver City also faced local troubles. In the 1890s water began to flood the mines. In 1902, a fire caused widespread destruction. Reinvestment five years later doubled the population to 1,500, but the boom did not last. By 1912, only 300 people remained in Silver City. The Langs rode out all of these storms, staying in the town for at least ten more years.
All that's left of Silver City, September 2012
Falling rocks. Runaway ore cars. Bad air. Lead poisoning. Lung disease. Cave-ins. Miners faced a multitude of job-related dangers. But in the end, it was living near a mine, not being a miner, that spelled the end for John Lang.

On Saturday morning, September 2, 1922, 57-year-old John Lang disappeared while walking near his home. His absence was noted within minutes and the alarm was sounded, but it was already too late: John had fallen into an abandoned mineshaft. The 75' fall resulted in a fractured skull, and probably instant death.

The local newspaper carried reports of four other injuries in local mines that week, caused by 2 less serious falls, a cave-in, and someone falling under a mine cart.4 John's death made the front page.

Between a picture of a European monarch and an article on local democracy lies my great-great-grandfather's obituary: bridging the Old World and the New, even in death.

  • According to Utah History-To-Go, “Falls down mine shafts were one of the  most common fatalities.”2
  • For the curious, my lineage:
    • John Emil Lang (1865 – 1922) is your 2nd great grandfather
    • Rudolph Edwin Lang (1899 – 1987) son of John Emil Lang
    • Zenda Constance Lang (1924 – 2005) daughter of Rudolph Edwin Lang
      (Zenda is my grandma.)

3 Rudolph Lang Eulogy, given by Dean Lang on 8 Dec 1987. Copy in my possession.
4 Eureka Reporter, 8 Sep 1922. That week's issue also included an ad that advocated letting children “eat their fill” of “pure candy,” a report on labor agitators, and an ad for 17¢ cans of “ripe olives.”

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

(ROBERTS) "You...rascal! We are Americans, not British."

The Battle of Haw River of the Revolutionary War: deception, a family history tie, and a win for the Patriots add up to a great story! (You know, if you ignore the carnage part.)

In February, 1781, the British were seeking Loyalist recruits for the army in North Carolina. Dr. John Pyle answered the call, gathering at least 300 men. He asked (British) General Cornwallis to send an escort for his men. Cornwallis complied, sending (British) Lt. Col. Tarleton with about 450 men. Pyle seemed to be concerned enough about his safety to ask for an escort, yet he allowed his men, against higher orders, to linger in the area to socialize with friends and family, which resulted in their missing their rendezvous with Tarleton.

On February 24th, two men from (Loyalist) Pyle's group were out looking for (British) Col. Tarleton's force. They came across an army wearing green coats, like Tarleton's men did. Unfortunately for them, (Patriot) Col. Henry Lee and his men also wore green coats. William McAdams, my 6th-great-grandfather, was at that time serving under Col. Henry Lee. William was present for all that followed, although his specific actions are unknown.

Pyle's men assumed that (Patriot) Lt. Col. Lee was (British) Lt. Col. Tarleton, as both units dressed in green coats. The two men freely revealed the nearby location of Pyle's army. Lt. Col. Lee sent the two back to Pyle with "Colonel Tarleton's compliments," and asked them to have Pyle's force move off the road so "Tarleton's" group could pass.

Then Lee broke his army into three groups, apparently to surround the Loyalist forces, to either capture or bypass them on his way to attack Tarleton. Lee's contingent openly approached Pyle's men and began to pass them on the road, while other of Lee's forces got behind the Loyalists in the Woods. Dr. Pyle saluted Lee, assuming he was Tarleton, and even shook his hand.

At that moment, shooting commenced near the woods. Apparently, some of the Loyalists had seen the Patriots hidden in the woods and started shooting, realizing that these weren't the British. (It has alternately been suggested that the Patriots started shooting first. As the evidence is unclear, I think that's mostly irrelevant over 200 years later.) Lee dropped Pyle's hand and drew his own sword, and Patriot troops swarmed from the woods and attacked the Loyalist troops. 

"'Stop! Stop!' screamed Col. Pyle, 'You are killing your own men!'

"His cry ended abruptly as a Patriot sword knocked him from his horse. ... As each Patriot wheeled his horse to face a new opponent, he called out, 'Whose man are you?' 'The King's! The King's!' screamed the Loyalists, and the Patriot sword cut them down." [A]

Amazingly, though smitten as soon as they proclaimed to be friends of the king, the Loyalists continued to be confused about the identity of their assailants. Several who escaped later found the British camp, and they complained to the real Tarleton "of the cruelty of his dragoons." [B] One injured Loyalist, taken as a prisoner, exclaimed to Lee, "Mr. Tarleton, you have this day killed a parcel of as good subjects as ever His Majesty had." Angered, Lee replied, "You...rascal! We are Americans, not British. I am Lee of the American Legion!" [A]

The battle was a clear Patriot victory. At least 90 Loyalists were killed, and several hundred were wounded. No Patriots were killed. The head of William McAdams' regiment, Col. Moore, was injured when his horse was shot and fell on him. He was the only Patriot wounded.

The Battle of Haw River helped weaken British morale, and from the American Patriot point of view was "of infinite Service. It has knocked up Toryism [previously a big problem in that area] altogether in this part."[C] 

William McAdams served in the militia for over two years. He also participated in the Battle of Stono, the pursuit of Col. David Fanning the Tory, and various skirmishes with the Tories and British. He eventually settled in Illinois.

For the curious, the genealogy is:
William McAdams (1760 - 1843)
is your 6th great grandfather
daughter of William McAdams
daughter of Mary "Polly" McAdams
daughter of Hannah Dugger
son of Mary Anne Graham
son of William H Peter
daughter of Earl Raymond PETER(S)
and then down to me.