One Family's Personal History
Letter to Robert
|Introduction||Robert & Betsey||Curtis and His Hannahs|
May 6, 1995
Dear Grandfather Robert and Grandmother Betsey,
I stood by your graves yesterday. More that that, I discovered your graves yesterday! Could you ever have imagined, Grandfather, as you laid your dear Betsey to rest, that two hundred and one years and two weeks later one of your descendants would be tracking down her grave—and yours?
My husband and I are still in awe that we found you! All we knew was that your firstborn, Curtis (my ancestor), was born in Bethlehem, Connecticut, in 1792 and that you, Grandmother, died following childbirth in 1794, presumably also there. We knew nothing of you beyond that. Did you, Robert, remarry? Did you spend the rest of your life in Bethlehem, or migrate somewhere else, as Curtis did? And we didn’t know when either of you were born (we still don’t know where).
After mistakenly searching a newer cemetery, we finally found the old, right one. Did I say “old”? I’ve never been in one like it! In neither cemetery were there any headstones readable as early as 1794.Oh, Betsey, I thought, if Robert “went off and left you,” both of you will undoubtedly be lost to us forever!
Then Fred hollered! And there you were, with names and ages—and Lucy! So you did remarry! Someday I hope to find out when. And you lived to be 79! That was a notable accomplishment in those days. To think that 49 years after your Betsey died, you were still buried beside her. In fact, I find it incredibly touching that you were buried with—probably between—both your wives.
Because the headstone gave your ages at death, we can now calculate the years of your births: Robert–1764; Betsey–1765; Lucy–1867. I am really surprised that you two weren’t a lot younger when your children were born. Of course, a number of questions are still unanswered:
Where were each of you born—in the colonies? or in Europe?
Were Curtis and daughter Betsey raised by Lucy?
Did you and Lucy have other children?
The family history we have is written by a daughter-in-law of Curtis’s who married into the family ten years after his death; in it she says she knew nothing of his childhood.
corner of the tapestry of my ancestors has come into clearer focus. A big
Your great-granddaughter six generations down the line,
Esther Moneysmith Gross