Abraham Sperling | Ley Family History
It’s been a few years since I’ve had the chance to tromp around the old family stomping grounds in Tuscarawas County and come face to face with haunts of ancestors close and far-flung. Distant Foutz cousin Dawn James and I like to refer to this practice as “full-contact genealogy.”
I dunno, there’s something a bit more tangible than juggling JPEGs and squinting at old clippings or the botched transcriptions of barely coherent hobbyist genealogists when you go foraging through cemeteries that seem as if they haven’t seen visitors in the last year. But then you see recently-laid flowers on the headstones of relatives from extended branches of the tree and it’s an arm-tingling, goosebumpity feeling: the blood that runs through you still runs through this place, too. And will, long after you move away and longer still, when your bones repose in some similar hillside.
One of my dispatches from a visit home in 2013 saw me sharing the stories of fourth great-grandparents Abraham and Catherine Sperling, who found their way to Port Washington, Ohio from New Jersey in the middle part of the 1800’s. He was a shoemaker, butcher, auctioneer and soldier (in his 50’s during the Civil War!), among other occupations, and she bore him 10 children, 8 of whom survived into adulthood.
Their fourth child (and third daughter) was Harriet “Hattie” Sperling, who went on to marry James Hammersley and was mother to Minnie Eillene, whom members of our Ley family may know better as Minnie Ley, wife of great-great grandpa Charles.
I’ll share more in a couple days about Hattie, who remained a devout member of the Moravian Church and remained in Port Washington even after the young death of James in 1869. For now, feast your eyes on the “vintage visage” of Abraham, courtesy of Mike Parker’s tree on Ancestry.com and curated by Mac Wilcox and his genealogist-sleuth brothers at kin-connection.com. Props for their excellent work and generosity — looking forward to see what more they turn up!