GrandPapa's Letter Part 2
Franklin B. Van Valkenburgh


The following is a record of my fathers family, His children being the FOURTH Generation in America to wit:

ROBERT BRUCE Was born September 23rd. 1821. He was a Private Soldier in the War of 1835, stationed at Buffalo: was a Major General of Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion in 1861-5; was a Member of Congress in 1862; Minister Plenipotentiary to Japan in 1868; and was Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of Florida at the time of his death. He married Catherine F. Rumsey at Bath Steuben County in 1844, and Anna Schoyer at Yokahama in Japan in 1868, and died childless, in Florida, on the first day of August 1888.

DAVID HIGGINS was born on the 23rd day of May 1823; He was Sheriff of Manitowoc County Wisconsin, and was there married to Elizabeth Humphrey on the 5th of December 1852; He was Major of the First New York Artillery, and was shot and instantly killed, while in command of his Regiment, at Seven Oaks Virginia, on the 31st day of May 1862, and died childless.

Catherine was born on the 11th day of March 1825, and married to Charles D. Haven at Oakley Michigan on the 28th day of September 1850; She had three children two of whom are still living; and died at Racine Wisconsin July 7th 1871.

Gertrude was born on the 4th day of April 1827, and married to Otis H. Waldo at Oakley, on the 20th day of April 1850. She had five children, three of whom are still living.

Mary Higgins was born on the 25th day of June 1829; and married to Harrison Voorheis at Pontiac Michigan on the 12th day of March 1856; She had one daughter who still lives, and died at Chicago on the 9th day of May 1893.

Bartholomew Jacob was born on the 23 day of April 1831; and married to Marietta Bailey on the 30th day of November 1853. They had one son who still lives. He was married to Clementine Smith, at Manitowoc (Mishicott, ) Wisconsin on the 2nd. day of March 1879, and they had four (4) sons, all of whom still live. He Married Mary Ann Judson, at La Crosse in 1880 and she still lives; He was a captain and Quarter Master throughout the Civil War of the Rebellion, and was promoted to Major by order of General Grant, "for distinguished bravery on the field of Battle. " and died at Austin Minnesota on the 22nd day of November 1896.

Lucius was born on the first day of April 1834 and died on the 17th day of September 1834.

Franklin Butler


Gerrit Smith were born on the 21st day of February 1835. Gerrit was a Captain in the Confederate Army during the War of the Rebellion; He married Mary Hal Tisdale at Pine Bluff Arkansas on toe 20th day of June 1866; They had six children, Four of whom together with their mother still live; He was a Lawyer and Merchant at Pine Bluff, and died there on the 17th day of July 1885.

Edward Porter


GEORGE were born on the 14th day of April 1837, and George died on the 8th day of March 1839. Edward P. Married Rosella E. Smith at Novi, Michigan, on the 17th day of March 1866, and had (5) children, two of whom are still living; Rosa died at Minneapolis on the 1st day of January 1899. Edward Porter was a private in a Michigan Regiment, and I Lieutenant in the 107th New York Infantry during the War of the Rebellion, and promoted to a Captaincy at the close of the War; after which he was Mayor of the City of Austin in Minnesota.

George Rudd was born on the 7th day of October 1839 and died on the 10th of March 1840.

Franklin Butler Van Valkenburgh, born February 21st 1835, was married on the 8th day of October 1860 to Emeline Wells Pratt who was born on the 13th day of July 1841 at St. Albans in the State of Maine: "They were married at the home of her mother, in Bloom-field Maine, by Reverend W.C. Bullen, and immediately made a home for themselves in Milwaukee Wisconsin, where they have lived and he has practiced Law up to this date.

They have Three children and three Grand Children, as follows;

to wit;

FRANK PRATT; Born June 8th 1860
HELEN; BORN May 17th 1870 DIED July 17th 1878
FAITH; Born November 11th 1878


Frank Pratt Van Valkenburgh was married to Jane Irvin Swoope (Born December 25th 1865 at Curwensville Pennsylvania) at the home of her mother in Curwensvil by the Rev. W.C. Maebeth, on the 25th day of December 1885. He is a practicing lawyer in Milwaukee and has been Assistant City Attorney of that city, and assistant United States Attorney for Wis. They have three children, as follows

HELEN Born November 1st 1886. Franklin Born April 5th 1888. Alice, Born December 28th 1891.

The first member of the HIGGINS Family I know of was RICHARD HIGGINS, one of the Thirty Householders to whom it is recorded that "The Court of Plymouth doth GRANT, unto those who go to dwell at Nansett, (now known as Eastham, Barnstable County, Cape Cod,) all that tract of land lying between sea and sea from the bounds of Nansackett to the Hearing Brook at Billingsgate, and all the meadows islands & c. & c. " His name appears in the "List of Freeman, " in 1633. His Grand-son, Cornelius Higgin Born July 22nd. 1722, was Captain of the eighth company in William Douglass' Regiment of Connecticut Troops during the Revolutionary War. His son, my Grand-father, DAVID HIGGINS, was born at Haddam Connecticut August 6th 1761. He was the fourth in a family of nine children, and was, to use his own expression, "Called out with the Militia and stationed at New Haven under the command of General Ward in 1779, and quartered at the house of Deacon James Gilbert, " and then and there he met his fate, in the person of my Grand-mother EUNICE GILBERT, to whom he was married at New Haven, on the 17 of Janry. 1788.

Grand-father Higgins graduated at Yale College in September 1785, and became a notable preacher, a pioneer minister in the Presbyterian Church in Connecticut, Western New York and OHIO and was known all over the country by the honorable cognomen of "Parson Higgins. " He died in the order of sanctity, at Norwalk Ohio, on the 19th day of June 1842.

My mother was born at North Lyme in the state of Connecticut, on the 22nd day of October 1792, and was baptized there, on the 29th day of December 1795, by her father then the Pastor of the Church at that place.

Jacob Van Valkenburgh was married to Mary (POLLY) Bethia Higgins by her Father the Rev. David Higgins, at his residence in Bath Steuben County New York, on the 18th day of October 1820 and they immediately commenced housekeeping at Prattsburgh in the same Co. where he was then engaged In the general merchandising business, and there they lived (excepting for a short time in 1836-7, which they spent in Buffalo) until twelve children were born to them and three of them died and were buried there.

My parents were both very well educated for their time, and were both pious, and communicants of the Presbyterian Church, strict in the observance of all the ceremonies of the Church, and especially of the Sabbath Day, and they demanded the observance of the rules of their Church by all inmates of their house.

Father, while of a very affectionate disposition and dignified and Stern in deportment, always expected to be treated in a dignified manner by his children. We were never allowed to address him otherwise than as FATHER, were expected, for instance, to say "What does FATHER wish? or What did Father say?" rather than "What do YOU wish? or say?"

Father ALWAYS asked the BLESSING of GOD on every meal eaten at his table, or for that matter wherever he ate, and Family Prayers were said the first thing after breakfast every morning in the year, at which all the household must be present, and in which all took part; either by reading a portion of the BIBLE LESSON or joining in singing the Hymn, and then all kneeled, and Father prayed, and we listened to him, or perchance to the boys who were whistling for us outside the door; or dreamed of what was to come, as the spirit moved us.

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