Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In The Beginning

In 1852 Joseph and Mary Trudgian arrived in Galena, Illinois after sailing from Plymouth, England on May 3, 1852 on the ship John with two of their own children under the age of 6 and two slightly older children from Joseph's first marriage. ( He had married Ann Woolcock on March 6, 1833 and after having two children, Ann died in 1844. On Christmas Day of 1845 he married Mary Pellymounter who was, as they say, a spinster.)

About 80 acres of land had been purchased by Joseph just outside of Galena.....but there were no structures on the property. Imagine having four young children, coming to a new country and not having a home. The family built a barn - which is still standing today - of field stone and wood and the family moved in and lived there for a year or two until their home was built. The barn's foundation of fieldstone was equipped with special little windows to allow someone on the inside of the barn to aim a shot gun at any intruders [ family stories say the area was occasionally visited by Indians] while keeping out arrows or bullets from "enemy" from harming anyone inside. Both Lillian's father, Charles and my great-grandfather, Thomas were born in the barn, as was their brother, Samuel.

If you have read Lillian's Diaries: Whispers From Galena's Past you will may have noticed that Lillian starts right in with her first entry in 1913 in the here and now. There is no mention of her father having lived on the land from the first day of his life, or of any correspondance from anyone in England or for that matter any mention of her true "roots". In fact, in one entry she states the family is Irish and in another that they are French. So here is a difference between Lillian and I......she appears to never be seeking information about her family tree, while those that know me, know that I can't seem to stop seeking genealogical information about the Trudgians and those associated with them.


  1. I'm enjoying your blog, Sherry! All rumors about visiting Indians aside, the Black Hawk War of 1832 was the last time Indians were "allowed" in Illinois. After this war the governor of Illinois signed a law that prohibited Indians from living in the state forever! The Sac and Fox Itribes and their chief Black Hawk were summarily banished to Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma that same year, so the danger of Indians being in NW Illinois in 1852 when Joseph built the barn was highly unlikely.

  2. You know how family rumors go....but the little windows are still there and I know that when the Smithsonian Institute was out to photograph the barn, as a "living" example of early U.S. barns they also suggested the use of the window design as a protection device from the "enemy". Perhaps the enemy was a big black bear! I am not arguing with you know way more than I do about history... I will ask Barbara about the report from the Smithsonian and try to get a picture of the barn up for all to see. Thanks for commenting and please visit from time to time and keep me "honest".

  3. Carol Jean "Trudgian" SmithSeptember 3, 2009 at 9:11 AM

    Enjoyed your blog!
    Being a member of the "Trudgian" family I can't wait for the next book to learn more about my heritage! I loved reading the first book " Lillian's Diary: Whispers from Galena's Past", with all the pictures, old recipes, and snip-its of past historical life....GOOD READING!!!
    Bring on the next book..I can't wait!

  4. You will be happy to know that tomorrow I am going to start giving sneak previews once or twice a week of the next book Vol.II. I am currently taking a Family History Writing Class, to try to find a new way to present Lillian's diaries and will try to incorporate the tips I learn in the entries on this blog so I can get some Feedback from those of you who have read "Lillian's Diaries: Whispers of Galena's Past" Thanks for commenting Carol, glad you enjoyed the book. Did you try any of the recipes?????