Seventh Blogaversary

Secondary Roads

Secondary roads,
Take you off the beaten trail,
Lead you to less stress.


My first blog post went online seven years ago today.  Much has changed in that time.

In those first few years, I’d spend up to six or seven hours per day cruising blogs and clicking on badges.  It was hard work trying to increase my blog rating.  Fortunately, that has gone the way of the dinosaur.  Family and close friends are now my target audience.  I blog to please them.

I also blog to learn.  There is always something new to discover and to try.

Thanks for joining me on this journey down secondary roads.  Here’s looking forward to this next year of blogging.

Family Flash Back

The ancestoral family home is not what it used to be.

John I de Sutton was my 21st great grandfather. However, as an old German grandmother once observed, “But that was long enough ago that it doesn’t matter anymore.”  A great bit of wisdom there — grandmothers seem to be particularly gifted in the ability to share wisdom.

Last Friday, I shared a verse that I have written and a dark and brooding image of Dudle Castle. I had no particular person in mind as I composed the lines. However, the castle image brought forth the emotion that I felt.

So here is the [very] short story of an ancestor, Sir John.

Knight, Lord of Dudley Castle, co. Stafford, 1326 Sir John de Sutton, of Dudley Castle, Staffs; made over the Castle and Manor of Dudley to Hugh le Despenser by deed 19 Oct 1325, but this grant, extorted from him while in prison, was cancelled 1327 and the property was restored to him; married Margaret, daughter and heir of Roger de Somery, of Dudley Castle. [Burke’s Peerage]

I’m still seeking more of the history of this branch of the family. The old grandmother’s wisdom says it doesn’t matter. Think about it. We had two parent, four grandparents, eight great grandparents, etc. By the time you get back to our 21st great grandparents, the number is roughly 10 million. At that time the world population was about 440 million persons. In other words, you have roughly a 1 in 44 chance of being related to a specific person alive then.

George & Mary Baxter Yallup ~ Part 2

Yesterdays story continues as we continue the narrative written in 1913 of events that took place 60 years before that:
Now to return to Mother Yallup. She found herself left in England without home or money and four small children to care for. Her mother wanted her to come home and live, but she thought it best to live alone. And thus she lived and supported herself and children mostly by gleaning in the fields. She hired an old lady to care for those who were too small to take in the fields. She often remarked that she never wanted for anything in those three years for she had plenty of friends and was always able to work. And thus she passed the time until Father Yallup sent the money for her to come to America.

Her voyage over was more eventful than his. They had been out on the ocean only a short time when their vessel was wrecked, but all on board were saved. She asked the Captain to return her money and she would go back home but he said, “No, if one vessel wouldn’t take us another would,” and so they started again and were out only three days when a terrible storm came up and they were driven back to the place from which they started. They then weighed anchor until the wind was right, then set sail again with better results  There were thirteen hundred on board besides the captain and crew. During the passage cholera broke out and a great many died. Mother Yallup was very sick with it but out of it all it pleased the Lord to deliver them.

About the time Father Yallup thought they would be in Detroit he went there to meet them but after waiting three weeks without any tidings of them he began to think the boat had gone down with them and had decided to go home in the morning. He happened to see a lady in the hotel that he thought he had seen in England and he got into conversation with her and mentioned being there to meet his family but thought they must be lost. She asked him to describe them and then told him they would be there in the morning for they came over in the same vessel with her. Thus after all their hardships and trials they were again united. In a short time they started for their new home in Clinton County, Michigan, making the trip over land in a lumber wagon and upon reaching here had to live with a neighbor until a place was cleared in the wilderness and a log house built, and thus began life in this country. A few years later they bought another forty, and replaced the log house with a frame one, which stands today on the old homestead, taken up in the fifties.

Father Yallup, when paying for his home, spent the most of his time ditching. He would walk to his work Monday morning, sometimes a distance of 20 miles and do a day’s work and return Saturday evening after his work was over. Mother Yallup and the children did the most of the farm work and by hard work and wise economy they earned for their last days a goodly inheritance. Eight children were born to them and with the exception of one lived to have homes of their own and settled within a radius of five miles of the old home. On August 14, 1894, they celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage. Just as Father Yallup came first to seek a home in this country, so he went first to that Heavenly country. He passed peacefully away November 27, l895 at the age of 76 years, nine months and 13 days.

Mother Yallup passed the remainder of her life at the old home with her youngest son, George. She led a very active life for one of her age until within a year of her death, which occurred October 2l, 1904. There remains today forty direct descendants of the Yallup family, five children, sixteen grandchildren and nineteen great grandchildren.


Special thanks and a tip of the hat to cousin Peter of Essex, England who has provided some further information on the earlier history of the Yallup family.

George & Mary Baxter Yallup ~ Part 1

This history is excerpted from that presented at the November 1913 Yallup Family Reunion. George Yallup was Sylvia’s 2nd great grandfather.  Earlier I wrote about Mary Baxter Yallup, but it turns out that the information that I had was incomplete and there was much more to the story.  And so here is the story of how these ancestors of my wife came to America and settled in mid-Michigan.

George Yallup, the father of the present generation, was born in Norfolk, England in 1819. Being too young to support himself by hard labor at the time of his parent’s death, he was given a home with a farmer and did light work, such as keeping the rooks off from the fields of grain and thus he worked for his living from the time he was six years of age. His education was sadly neglected, as were most of the poorer class in England at that time. As he grew older he became a sawyer in the yards.

On August 14, 1844 he was married to Mary Baxter and for six years they lived in England. He kept hearing such glowing accounts of America that he felt there was his chance for a home, but when he mentioned it to Mother Yallup she opposed it, said she would never go to America or let him so he said no more about it, but had decided to come just as soon as he could lay aside the money for his passage. He said he knew if he could once get here and send for her she would come, and in a short time the opportunity came.

There was to be a fair near her old home and she expressed a wish to go home for a visit at that time. He told her she could go for a week and he would go with her and come back the next day on account of his work. What must have been his feelings when he parted from his family, little knowing if they would ever meet again.

The next day he took his clothes and the little money they had saved and thus begun his journey to this country. His voyage across the ocean was fairly good for those days, making the trip in about three weeks, but upon arriving in New York his money was nearly gone, so he began to look for work, but could get nothing to do.

One morning after paying his last shilling for a bed, he asked a man if he would give him his breakfast and let him work to pay for it as he had no money. The man told him the poor master lived down the street and if he went to him he would get his breakfast, but Father Yallup thanked him very kindly and said he never had been to the poor master and didn’t think he should ever go.

He then wandered down to the waterside and there saw a boat nearly ready to go to Cleveland and he inquired of one of the men if he would let him work his passage there. The man said they were in need of a hand. When on board the man asked him if he had had his breakfast and he said, “No nor any supper or dinner the day before.” So the Captain was notified and a good breakfast was given him.

Upon arriving in Cleveland he wrote a letter to his family telling where he was. He soon obtained work in the country and stayed there a year or so then went to Oakland County, Michigan and worked until he had earned the money to send for his family. He had been in this country three years and in the meantime had taken up forty acres of government land, a part of what is now the old homestead.

Part 2 follows tomorrow.

Mary Baxter Yallup ~ Part 2

On January 14, I posted the story of Mary Baxter Yallup ~ Hero. The story of the wife and mother who triumphed after a great struggle is a compelling one. I was glad for the opportunity to share her story with you, and I thought that it was over. Wrong!

Early this week, I received an e-mail from England. It came from a Peter Yallup — evidently a distant cousin. Can you imagine the excitement that generated? Later, he sent me a copy of an article from the November 6, 1913 Clinton Republican. (It was printed in the next county, and Sylvia is there almost every week to visit her father.) Now we have more of the story. The article tells us what George was doing in America while Mary remained in England. This from that newspaper:

“George Yallup, father of the present generation, was born in Norfolk, England in 1819. His parents having died while he was young, he began working for his living at the age of six. August 14, 1844, he married Mary Baxter. After residing in England for 6 [more] years, Mr Yallup decided to come to America. He would send for his family as soon as possible. His money gave out while in New York, but he obtained work upon a boat bound for Cleveland. In Cleveland, he wrote and informed his family of his whereabouts and a year later went to Oakland county [Michigan] and worked until he had enough money to send for his family. During this time he took up 40 acres of government land, a part of which is now the old homestead, 3 miles south of St. Johns.

Left alone in England, Mrs Yallup supported herself and 4 small children mostly from gleaning in the fields. In making the trip to America the vessel she was on was wrecked. A second ship was driven back to port because of a severe storm. The third time she sailed with better results. On shipboard, Mrs Yallup was very sick with cholera, but finally with her family reached Detroit where they were met by Mr Yallup, who had waited for them in that city for 3 weeks. They came to Bingham Township in a lumber wagon and lived with a neighbor while their home, a log house, was built. Eight children were born to them and with one exception lived to have homes of their own and settled within 5 miles of their parent’s home.”

Now, tell me how bad do we have it today? Really?

George and Mary were the great grandparents of my father-in-law. I am still in awe of their courage and determination. I’m glad they realized their dream. I still think of them whenever we go to visit father-in-law and drive past Yallup Rd.

Finally, thanks to cousin Peter Yallup. I’m so glad to have met you, if only online.

Mary Baxter Yallup ~ Hero

Heroes are courageous. That’s part of what makes them heroic. In JFK’s book Profiles in Courage, he tells of elected officials who displayed courage in the face of opposition. You can contrast that with courage on the battlefield. Both can change the course of history and alter the face of the world. There’s another kind of courage and it’s quiet and personal. It may only impact a few persons, or perhaps a family. Here’s a story about that kind of courage and of a hero.

Leon, my father-in-law, lives across the road from a woodlot. Just east of that woodlot is what used to be the northwest corner of his great grandparents’ farm. That farm was the realization of a desire for a better life.

George and Mary Yallup came from Norfolk, England. George was a farm hand, but he longed for a better situation for his family. George had married Mary Baxter in 1845, and now they had three daughters. Mary was pregnant again in 1851, that’s when George left to find and prepare a place in America for his family. He found that place in Bingham Twp, Clinton Co, Michigan. It took three years to prepare a home for his wife and daughters (now four of them). It took courage for George to leave England and come to Michigan, which had only been a state for 14 years.

I think it took greater courage for Mary to stay in England. The 1851 England census shows her living in Norfolk, England. She is shown as the head of her household, a pauper living with her three daughters: Sarah (age 5), Mary (age 2) and Hannah (age 1 and Leon’s maternal grandmother). The fourth daughter, Maria, came along soon after. Perhaps you can imagine the difficulties this brave woman faced raising her family alone. And later (about 1854), she would make the difficult crossing by ship with four young daughters to the US and from there across land to Michigan.

George died in 1895. Here’s a portion of his obituary, which was written at that time:
The subject of this sketch, Mr. George Yallup, was born in Norfolk, England, in the year 1819, and grew to manhood in the land of his birth. On August 14th, 1845, he was united in marriage to Mary Baxter and together they have toiled for over a half a century. Six years after his marriage the husband started for this county in search of a home for himself and family. After about three years of toil and struggle he succeeded in obtaining: a place in the wilderness of Michigan he could call his own, and on which he has spent the remainder of his days. The wife and mother were sent for and with her four small children started on what was then a perilous journey. Shipwrecks and disaster followed, but out of all it pleased the Lord to deliver them. Great however, must have been the anxiety of the husband and father who, for three long weeks after he had expected to meet them, must watch and wait alone with no tidings of his lost family.”

I salute Mary Baxter Yallup for her courage, determination and faith. Qualities I see in her great great granddaughter, my wife, Sylvia.

Isaiah 50:7 “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.”

Who are the heroes in your family?