458 Meylert St Laporte PA 18626
TOURING SULLIVAN COUNTY’S MUSEUM
. . . while dusting
Benjamin and Anna Lewis
When we work with researchers, many times we get to hear about the journey of discovery that they are on. Such was the case with Phil Enriquez who was doing family research on his mother’s ancestry of the Lewis family. His mother, Vivian Marlene Lewis Enriquez was born Oct. 17, 1923 in St. Louis, MO to Albert Leslie Lewis (then 56) and Francis Zoe Jennings Lewis (then 45). Vivian’s brother, Albert Leslie, Jr. had been born three years earlier. They accompanied the coffin, by train, back to Towanda for burial and afterwards visited with family members at the Benjamin Lewis homestead in Hillsgrove.
In 2007 Phil brought his mother to Sullivan County for the exploration of a lifetime for her. Vivian was able to reconnect with relatives and see, for what turned out to be the last time, places of her heritage roots. Vivian passed away in September of 2011 but Phil’s research continued on. His Lewis family genealogy is now on the archives shelves in the museum, complete with old and current family photos. In early Dec. he contacted the museum about an upcoming visit to Sullivan County and in mid-January he and his camera began the task of visiting graveyards for burial locations of ancestors. Despite the fact that for many researchers photos exist online of tombstones, they quite often want to go themselves to the location of burial and such was the case with Phil. It was a cold, blowy, rainy day when we tromped around the snow covered ground so we assumed we’d meet up again on a better weather day before he had to return home to California. A few days later we received the following email from Phil: “I never made it back to Sullivan County. I got distracted along the way. Decided to pass thru the hamlet of Sugar Loaf in Orange County, NY, the U.S. origin of the Jennings and Allison families, and by a series of incredible coincidences, wound up at a meeting of the Chester Historical Society where they had a guest speaker [Michael J. Worden, on yet unpublished book] giving a presentation on the murder of Richard Jennings. Richard Jennings was my 4th great grandfather who was the victim of what could be labeled as a “contract” murder, the first it is said in the state of N.Y. The trial of his murderers and the hanging of two of them was sensationalized in N.Y. in 1819. One of the persons convicted (but not hanged) was a Davis Conkling, (now Conklin). At least one of the descendants were in the audience hearing the presentation, and I may have been the only representative descendent of the victim. As a result of my going to that meeting, I met several local genealogists and historians and wound up spending the next two days sightseeing in the area.”
The search for ancestry information can be an adventure and in this man’s case is an ongoing saga in memory of his mother. And how exciting that she was included in his start of that search!
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The Sullivan County PA Historical Society and Museum is a registered 501(c)(3).