Our Cuz Betty Smith Celebrates 90th Birthday

By Rodger M. Wood

On Sunday May 24th our cuz Betty Duberow Smith celebrated her 90th birthday in the loving company of over 75 children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, in-laws, relatives and friends on beautiful Presque Isle in her lifelong residence of Erie PA. Betty is the daughter of Fred Casper Duberow (1893 – 1944) and Elizabeth Mary Staab (1893 -1942), granddaughter of Emil Frank Duberow (1863 – 1932) and Maria Bode (1858-1924), who is the common link between Betty’s Duberow and our Herr Family. Maria Bode was the second wife of George Gasner (1844- 1892) and after he passed away, the first and only wife of Emil Frank Duberow. George Gasner was the father of Rose Gasner (1881 – 1955) who married Fred Fidel Herr (1881 – 1944), the son of William Herr (1844 – 1894), the son of Fidel Herr Jr. (1812 – 1894) the son of the progenitor of Herr Family in America, Fidel Herr Sr. (1777 – 1862), who came from Achern, Baden to Nankin, Wayne County, Michigan in 1832. Growing up, Betty always said that our grandfather Fred Herr was her favorite uncle and my mother, and daughter of Rose Gasner, Helen Herr Wood, her favorite cousin.

Betty’s children David, Greg, Sharon, Matthew, and Christel, their children, grandchildren and even four great grandchildren, and some of the children and grandchildren of her brothers, Bernard (1920 -2012), 92-year old Paul, who was also present, sister Rita Sajewski (1921 – 1960), and even one of Herr Kuisine, Rodger M. Wood and his wife Joanne, joined in the celebration.

Betty’s sons, daughters, niece, and Herr cousin joined her in the celebration of a Mass the Saturday afternoon before at Betty’s family church, and a cook out at the house of Mitch and daughter Christel Willis following Mass.

Duberow- Sajewski-Smith Family Photo

Betty and Youngest Great Grandchild


2013 Woodworth Family Reunion

June 9-12, 2013
Wolfville, Nova Scotia

     Over ninety (90) descendants of Walter Woodworth (1608 – 1686), who settled in Scituate, MA in 1631, celebrated their New England Planters lives at the 2013 Woodworth Family Reunion in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, June 9 – 12, 2013.
     Entriced by a grant of free land, six Woodworth settlers, Thomas (1), Thomas (2), William, Amasa, Silas,  and Joseph Woodworth, left New England to settle  in Cornwallis Township, Nova Scotia in 1760.  Concerned about the French threat hovering behind them at Louisbourg, Cape Breton,  British officials bestowed land upon  the settlers, which had been vacated by the French Arcadians, whom the British had expelled after their century and a half of living there.
      During the reunion, the attendees, of whom thirty – nine (39) were direct descendants of the six Woodworth New England Planters (with ten (10) tracing their roots to William Woodworth, two (2) to Amasa Woodworth, two (2) to Thomas Woodworth (2), and the high majority, twenty –five (25), to Silas Woodworth), toured Thomas, William, Amasa, and Silas Woodworth’s original royal land grants,  went to the Planters’ Plymouth Rock, where the Woodworths came ashore in 1760, walked the Grand Bre National Park, where the Arcadians had to pull up their roots, and for a day and a half with our informed tour guide, Ken, visited Wolfville, Kentville, and other towns, homes, museums, and sights near and dear to our  first Woodworth settlers in Nova Scotia.
     Our family’s lineral New England Planter ancestor is William Woodworth
(1731 – 1827), who with his young wife, Sarah Blackmore (1736 – 1767) and four children, Elizabeth Betty (1753 –   ), William (1755-1839), Timothy (1758 – 1839), and Alexander (1760 – ) left Lebanon, Connecticut in 1760 to settle in Nova Scotia.  Sons Leonard, Branch, and Lemuel Woodworth were born after the family’s settlement in Cornwallis Township.
     William Woodworth’s brother-in-law (wife Sarah’s brother) Branch Blackmore (1732 –  ), a signatory on the original royal land grant, settled on  a homestead nearby to  William Woodworth.
     William Woodworth’s father, Jedediah Woodworth (1699 – 1777),  and oldest brother Jedediah Woodworth (1739 -1853) were also as petitioners for royal land grants but there is no evidence of their subsequent settlement there.
     Our family Woodworth line is Walter Woodworth (1608 – 1686), Joseph Woodworth (1645 – 1718), Joseph Woodworth (1671 – 1745), Jedediah Woodworth (1699 – 1777),  WILLIAM WOODWORTH (1731 – 1827), Timothy Woodworth (1758 – 1839), Eunice Woodworth (1785 – 1822), William Bills (1820 – 1900), Sarah Eunice Bills (1857 – 1937), and Fred Fidele Herr (1881 – 1943).
 You can view the 267 photos of the reunion activities, including four family portraits, at this link.

If interested in purchasing two photo cd containing the 267 2013 Woodworth Family Reunion photos for $25.95 (US funds only), including postage and handling, please leave a reply to this article. 


Our Ancestors Fought At The Battle of Fredericksburg

December 11-12, 1862

Our ancestors, Charles and John Marshall Bills, cousins of our 1st great grandmother, Sarah Eunice Bills, wife of William Herr/Fidel Herr Jr/Fidel Herr Sr/Blasius Herr/Marcus Herr, had their baptism of Civil War fire at the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 11, 1862


Their unit, the 24th Michigan Infantry, had been formed with exclusively Wayne County, Michigan men the previous June – August, 1862 and had been joined to other Wisconsin and Indiana Regiments in the famed Iron Brigade to make up for that brigade’s casualty losses at South Mountain and Antietam the previous September, 1862.


The Iron Brigade was distinguished by its tall hats, but the 24th Michigan was shunned and not allowed to wear those hats until they showed their battle mettle at Fredericksburg by crossing the Rappahanock River on small boats along with PA and NY brigades before the main battle commenced to take out snipers shooting the Union pontoon bridge builders from shoreline houses, behind fences, boulders, and other buildings.      


Later in the main battle of Fredericksburg, the 24th Michigan went against Stonewall Jackson on the right flank of the Confederate line on Prospect Hill where they broke through and for about an hour almost helped win the day for the otherwise devastated Union Army, whose General Burnside was sending his soldiers up Marye Heights eight times before learning it was futile.


In his pension records, Charles Bills described the Union Army’s retreat through Fredericksburg back across the Rappahannock at the battle’s end. He survived the war to live in Caro, MI to a ripe old age of 88, but his cousin John Marshall Bills was not so fortunate having been captured at the North Anna River crossing in May, 1864 and dying a few months later at the infamous Confederate prison Andersonville at the rage of 21.


In the photo folder, the 24th Michigan reenactors are shown crossing the river, and taking out Confederate snipers in buildings, obstacles, that were standing 150 years ago during the battle


Other photos show the futile charges up Marye Heights, and the terrain of Prospect Hill, where the 24th Michigan almost beat Stonewall Jackson’s crack Confederate brigades.



Racing Rodger



Fidel and Joanna Wilsey Herr


2011 Woodworth Family Reunion

Visit the Gallery
By Rodger M. Wood

2011 Woodworth Reunion, Griswold CT  
You missed a good time if you weren’t at the 2011 Woodworth family reunion June 12 – June 16th in Griswold, CT. From registration on Sunday night to close out Thursday morning, over 55 family members and spouses talked about Woodworth genealogy, checked out records, romped through home sites, cemeteries, and bonded together for lots of fun.  

Day One – Columbia and Coventry, CT  
Lebanon Crank or Columbia CT  
Monday morning, we started out for Columbia, CT, which was formerly known as Lebanon Crank. Our sixth and seventh great grandfathers, Joseph Woodworth (1671 – 1745), and Jedediah Woodworth (1699 – 1777) left Little Compton, RI to settle there between the years, 1726 – 1734. Joseph’s oldest son, Joseph Woodworth (1696-1750), also settled there about 1734. Lebanon merchant, Thomas Newcomb verified their presence in the town between the years from 1733 to 1738 in his account book.    
A Benjamin Woodworth also settled in the northeast part or Alder Road area of Lebanon in 1703, and joined the First Church of Lebanon, but soon, tired of walking over hill and dale to get to church on Sundays, joined the North Society of Lebanon Crank, which established the Second Church of Lebanon in 1716 on the other side of the hill.  
A Third Church of Lebanon or Goshen Church was established in Columbia in in 1800, or four years before Lebanon Crank was incorporated into Columbia in 1804.      

Columbia Town Hall  
At the Columbia town office, town administrator, Jonathan Luiz, greeted and filled us in about Columbia historical resources, and the beautiful Columbia Lake, which the American Tread Company sprung in 1933 from a spring, which our ancestors probably drank from when they first settled there in the early 1700s.    

Columbia Historical Society  
At the Columbia Historical Society, we checked cemetery records for Woodworth graves in the Columbia Burying Ground and the Old Yard. We found a burial record for Benjamin Woodworth and Jedediah Woodworth in the Old Yard, so we headed there next.  

Old Yard Cemetery
 Jedediah Woodworth Grave Site
It took a while, but finally we found the our patriarch Jedediah Woodworth’s grave site under a big oak tree next to a stone wall midway back on the north side of the Old Yard.
His grave was guarded by a large worn tombstone, which read, “Jedediah Woodworth (1699 – 1777), He finished a most exemplary life, November 11, 1777, aged 78.” Woodworth was hyphenated,  with  “Worth” appearing on the line below “Wood,” and making the tombstone name more difficult to identify, while walking around, quickly glancing at only the last names on the many tombstones in the cemetery.
There were no other Woodworth markers nearby his grave, but I’d guess that his wife Margaret Torrey, who died about 1751 after the birth of her youngest daughter Margaret, was probably buried alongside him, as the Old Yard was established with its first interment in 1725. 
Jedediah’s son William Woodworth, our New England planter 5th great grandfather, died in 1767 in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, and his grandson, our fourth great grandfather, Timothy Woodworth died in Royalton, VT in 1839 and both were buried in those faraway locations.  
Other lineal ancestors were not buried there.
I didn’t find the graves of Jedediah’s father Joseph or his brother Joseph in either of the Columbia cemeteries.  Both cemeteries were functional when the father died in 1745 and the brother in 1750.
A tombstone for his oldest son Constant Woodworth, who died of small pox only six months before him in April, 1777, was found on the front lawn of a house in the Alder Street area, where we believe the Woodworth homestead and Second Church of Lebanon were located.
Jedediah’s  youngest son, Jedediah Woodworth Jr.  (1739 – 1823), who probably inherited the Jedediah Woodworth homestead because all of his brothers had passed away before his father’s death in 1777, lived in Columbia until his death January 5, 1823 and may be buried in the Old Yard somewhere too.

Benjamin Woodworth (1772 – 1856).
We also found the grave of Benjamin Woodworth (1772 – 1856) and his wife Mary (Tichnor) in the third row back from the Old Yard gate.  Benjamin was the son of James Woodworth (1733 -1812), grandson of Benjamin Woodworth (1689 -1729) and great grandson of Benjamin Woodworth (1649 – 1728), who was reputed to have been the first Woodworth to settle in the northeast section of Lebanon in 1703 and was certainly would have been on the committee that prompted the establishment of the Second Church of Lebanon.

Coventry, CT – Home of Nathan Hale
After Columbia, many of the Woodworth Family met at Lakeview Restaurant in Coventry CT, where we ate outdoors and enjoyed the view of beautiful Lake Wangumbaug.  
Coventry was the birthplace of American hero Nathan Hale, whose dying words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” inspired us in youth.  

Nathan Hale Cemetery
Our ancestors in the Albert P. Woodworth (1834 – 1926) Branch settled in Coventry, CT in the 1800s     so after lunch our next stop was the Nathan Hale Cemetery, where we paid our respects at Albert’s  gravesite.         
 While the cemetery is named the “Nathan Hale Cemetery,” it is not because Hale was buried there. There is a large monument honoring Hale at the front of the cemetery, but the patriot hero was hanged for his spy activities during the Battle of Long Island at 66th St. and 3rd AV in New York City. The British left his body hanging from the tree for three days as an example to others who may want to become colonial spies, and buried him somewhere near that spot.

Nathan Hale Homestead
Joanne and I were so inspired by the Nathan Hale story that we went to see his family homestead a few miles down the road from the cemetery.  Nathan Hale never lived in the big red house on the grounds as his father, step mother and 12 brothers and sisters moved into the house a month after he was hanged.  The homestead moderator told us, however, that Nathan and 8 brothers and sisters lived in the little shack with an outhouse to the left across from the big house when growing up.
We enjoyed an informative tour of the large roomy Hale house and went back to Griswold for a discussion of the Woodworth DNA Program at the hotel to end the day.

Day Two – Lebanon, CT
We headed to Lebanon, CT, where many Woodworths settled after a migration from Scituate, MA, to Little Compton RI.   

Lebanon Historical Society
Original Proprietors of Lebanon, CT 1734
Our first stop was the Lebanon Historical Society, where we were treated royally and granted access to many historical records, one of which was a March 10, 1704 record of the original Lebanon proprietors. If I am deciphering one of the names correctly, a signer on that record and one of the proprietors was our 7th great grandfather, Joseph Woodworth (1671 – 1745).  While he may have the property there in 1704, I don’t think he or his sons relocated to Lebanon Crank until 1726 or later.       
The museum exhibits were informative about Lebanon’s early history. The town was founded in 1700 and served as an important supply depot for the colonists during the American Revolution. Connecticut troops drilled on the large common across the street from the historical society building. 

Lyman High School Exhibit
One of the exhibits commemorated a Lyman High School. Our fourth great grandfather Timothy Woodworth married Eunice Lyman, daughter of Jabez Lyman (1702 – 1784), granddaughter of Samuel Lyman (1676-1708) and great granddaughter of Samuel Lyman (1647 – 1708), who was granted a large parcel of land in Lebanon Crank for his exploits fighting the Pequot Indians and for whom I think the school was named.

Timothy Woodworth, Private, Connecticut Line, American Revolution   
Looking out the window of the research room, I couldn’t help visualizing our 4th great grandfather, Timothy Woodworth, an 18-year old private in Captain Eley’s Company, Colonel Huntington Regiment of the Connecticut Line, and his cousins, Samuel Woodworth (1756-1816), Benjamin Woodworth (1759-1803), Benjamin Woodworth (1757-1841) and Uncle Jedediah Woodworth (1739 -1823) drilling on the common during the Winter of 1776-1777, before they were called to battles at Brandywine, Philadelphia, Trenton, and then spent the terrible winter at Valley Forge in 1777-1778. Timothy had returned from Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, to live with his grandfather, Jedediah Woodworth, after both his parents William and Sarah (Blackmore) died in November, 1767 and enlisted in the Connecticut Line for three years in February, 1777.

Trumbull Cemetery, Lebanon, CT
Doug Woodworth and I looked for Woodworth and Fitch graves in Trumbull Cemetery. He was interested in finding the Reverend James Fitch, who was one of the original landowners and first church rector of Lebanon. I was more interested in looking for Lyman, Blackmore, Whitely, Hutchinson, Swift, Clark. and other families that our Woodworths married into. While I was unsuccessful in finding any more Woodworths, I did find a Hutchinson and Lyman grave site to make my search worthwhile.

Lebanon Town Office Building
The Lebanon Town Clerk Office was truly a treasure chest of volumes and volumes of early Lebanon land records, dating back to the early 1700s. I found and had copies made of twenty-five different land records, which were consummated by our direct Woodworth ancestors, Joseph, and Jedediah Woodworth, between 1737 and 1750.
It will take me some time to analyze these records, but I should get a better fix of where exactly our ancestors lived in Lebanon afterwards.
 I didn’t look at earlier years because the older volumes didn’t have indices as the others, but plan to go back there some day to finish the job. 

Third Day – Free Day and Banquet
Mystic Seaport, CT
Joanne and I set off for Mystic Seaport, which was an easy ride of about 25 miles, going alongside the Thames River by way of historic Norwich, and Groton, CT.
Nestled along the wide, beautiful blue waters of the Mystic River, the restored nineteenth century seafaring village is a bustling collection of old sailing ships, over sixty original captain houses and other buildings, museums, and outstanding sea food restaurants.
We took a boat ride up and down the Mystic River, during which we saw the Charles W. Morgan, which reportedly is the only surviving wooden sailing ship in the world, the Annie, a still functional sand bagger sloop, and the Mystic River drawbridge opening and closing on the 45 minute mark of every hour.
We ate at an outstanding Italian sea food restaurant in the shadows of the drawbridge and across the drawbridge and walked a few steps from it to Julie Roberts’ famous Mystic Pizza shop.

Ledyard, CT
Bill Cemetery
On the way back, we drove by way of Ledyard, CT, stopping to see the Bills Memorial Library, and the Bill Cemetery. 
We are related to Joshua Bill (1762-1841) through his second great grandfather Phillip Bill (1620 – 1689), who relocated to the Groton area in 1671 at the request of John Winthrop the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony to provide a buffer colony on the Thames to ward off the French and Dutch, who were trying to make inroads in the area.
It was hard to find the graveyard, which is high up a hill just off Route 117, one mile north of Ledyard Center, which is  the first right going north past the Bill Library. Down the road also is an old store managed by the Bill family in the 1800s.

Ft. Griswold
We took a leisurely ride to Ft. Griswold, which figured prominently in the Thames River defense and the Battle of Groton Heights on September 6, 1781 in which British troops under the traitorous Benedict Arnold captured and almost destroyed the fort. Many of the Bill ancestors fought and were wounded at Ft. Griswold.

Thank You! Lowell Woodworth
Prior to the banquet, we found out that Lowell Woodworth was passing the next reunion baton onto Diane Woodworth Martin Liebert, who would organize the next reunion at Nova Scotia in 2013.  We owe Lowell deep gratitude and many thanks for doing a great job in organizing the past 2007, 2009, and 2011 Woodworth Reunions , which were great times and went off without a single hitch.

The Woodworth met on the last day of the 2011 reunion for its biannual banquet at the plush Lebanon Golf and Country Club.
Eric Woodworth gave us another outstanding address emphasizing that Lebanon was a step in the Woodworth’s trek in realizing the family and country’s Manifest Destiny. Connecticut was not blessed with an abundance of good arable land, and the next generation after the initial Woodworth settlers had to move on, some to Nova Scotia, others to Vermont, and a few years later,  the bulk of them to Western New York.
A raffle was held at the end of the banquet, and yours truly won three prizes,
The Woodworth Family presented Lowell with a thank you present and all went on their way to join up together again in 2013 at Nova Scotia, which is NOT as far off as you think. Renew your passports!

Nicht Dummer!

“I’m Not Dumm” oder, Nicht Dummer!


In German class, I was inspired by playwright Frank Wedekind pre-expressionistic message about the adverse impact of the German educational system on children in the year 1892.

I felt I experienced a similar effect myself in 1953 when attending public elementary school in Detroit.

I described that experience in this vignette to communicate my feeling in a style I thought similar to the much underrated German playwright.


Ich schrieb diese,, Nicht Dummer” fuer meine Deutschklasse bei George Mason Universitaet. Ich besuchte, wie Expressionismus oder wie Frank Wedekind zu schrieben. Ich hoffe, dass Sie es mogen.


Nicht Dummer!

Von Rodger M. Wood

     Einmal in der achten Noteklasse legte ich einige wilde Hafer in die Musikklasse. Meine Musiklehrerin, Frau Z war eine dicke sensible Frau, die ich nicht mochte oder respektierte. Waehrend einer fruehen Klasse hatte sie mich an der Wandtafel vor allen Studenten die Musiknoten zu analysieren gebeten. Weil ich nicht  wusste, wie das zu machen, brachte sie mich in Verlegenheit, wonach sie sagte,, Ich dachte, dass du cleverer als das warst, aber ich hatte unrecht.” Dann lachten meine Klassenkameraden viel, als sie mich ,,Dummer” nannte.  

     Weil ich eine sehr stolze sensibele Person war, wusste ich, dass ich ihr fuer ihr beleidigendes Benehmen zurueckzahlen musste, und so wartete ich auf den richtigen Moment. Als ich hinten im Klassenzimmer saB, bereitete ich meine Rache vor. Ich riB ein Stueck Papier heraus aus meinem Notizbuch, das ich zu einem Segelflugzeug zusammenfaltete.  Ich nahm mir vor immer geduldig aus den richtigen Moment zu warten. 

     Sobald ihre Augen sich schloBen und ihr Kopf einnickte, war mein Moment gekommen.  Ich hoB mein Segelflugzeug auf und zog es durch die Luft entgegen Frau Z. Es zog behutsame. Die Augen der anderen Studentens verfolgten hypnotisch der langsamen, aber sicheren Flug auf  die Haare auf meiner Lehrerins Kopf stellt.

     Als das Segelflugzeug landete, erstarrte einen Augenblick meine dicke Lehrerin. Sie wurde einem Augenblick, bevor sie begriff, dass ich der Schuldige war, der verantwortlich fuer diese Tat war.

     Sie stand auf von ihrem Stuhl, und wie ein Stier, der eilig aus einem Knesttor beim tierkampf hatte mit Feuer kommenden aus ihren Augen und Ohren, kam sie schnell auf zu mich.

     Also statt wie ein Stierkampfer, der fuer einen Stier abzuwehren wartete, wartete ich nicht auf sie, sondern rannte im Klassezimmer herum, waehrend meine dicke  Lehrerin mich erfolgte und meine Klassenkameraden lachten, bis sie Traenen fast in ihren Augen hatten.

      Weil Frau Z.  mich nicht fangen konnte, schrie sie laut,,Gehe zum Buero. Du wirst von der Klasse gewiesen, und wirst fuer dieses Semester eine ,,F” Note in Musik erhalten.”

     Beim Buero peitschte Frau C. die Rektorin meinen Hintern mit einem Guertel, den sie ,,Adolphus” nennt, und telefonierte meiner lieben Mutter, die nicht glaubte, dass ihr Kindsohn etwas unrecht tun konnte.

     Ja! Ja! Diese Bestrafung wurde viele verdient, aber es tat mir nicht leid, dass ich Frau Z. aufregte, weil sie mich aufregte. WiBen Sie etwas? Ich laechelte mit jedem Guertelschlag

auf meinem Hintern, weil ich ueber mein glattfliegendes Segelflugzeug dachte, und wie gut es zu seinem Ziel flog. Ich hatte verteidigt!  Ich war nicht der Dumme, wie Frau Z. sagte, und sie wurde in Verlegenheit von meinem Segelflugzeug gebracht, als ich bei der Peitsche war. Ich wuerde dasselbe Handeln, wenn die Stituatio wieder vorkommen wuerde.  



Fidel Herr Image


John Herr




GroB Geburtstagfeiern im Biergarten Haus oder Wood Family Celebrates Rodger’s 39th Birthday


Am 20.November 2011 aehnelte Trinken gutes deutsches Bier, Essen gutes Wurst, Sprechen ein bisschen Deutschsprache bei anderen Kunde und Feiern Rodgers 39th Geburstag beim Biergarten Haus am,, Capitol Hill” im Washington, D.C.  wie einem Feiern im Deutschland.

Drinking liters of good German wheat beer and eating lots of Wurst at the Das Biergarten Haus on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. on a Saturday afternoon, November 20, 2010, the Wood Family added a touch of traditional Germany to their festive celebration of Patriarch Rodger’s 39th birthday (at his age, you start lying about your age).  

Except for daughter Aimee, who was sick, all of his immediate family members were there to enjoy the festivities, including wife Joanne, oldest son Mark Wood, his wife, Justine, and sons Tad and TJ, son Thomas, his wife Colleen, daughters, Meghan, Katie, son Brendan, and Aimee’s husband Robin, and son Sebastien.    

As the afternoon wore on, more and more you felt like you were back in the Schwarzwald.