Friday, January 21, 2011


From the Wilmington News Journal, 18 Nov 11:

Ever walk away from a conversation with someone you care about feeling a strange, vague unhappiness about the discussion you had Perhaps feeling like you wanted to connect on a deeper level but ended up discussing the recent Eagles game or what you ate for breakfast?

There appears to be a sound scientific explanation regarding your momentary sense of unhappiness. In fact, your overall level of perceived happiness could be influenced by the amount of time you spend shooting the breeze or if you have no one to talk with regularly about the deep subjects of life. One way to increase your level of happiness is to spend more time in conversation with substantive meaning rather than superficial chatter.

Matthias Mehl, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Arizona, studied 79 college subjects and made intermittent recordings of their talks throughout the day for four days. He then divided the topic of the talks into small talk ("How's the weather?") or substantive talk ("What do you think the meaning of life is?"). Then, he compared the type of talks to tests of the subjects' personalities and sense of well-being. He reported that higher levels of well-being correlated with increased amounts of time spent talking with others and with deeper conversations rather than small talk.

If you are someone who does not have the knack for regular deep, meaningful conversations, do not despair. There are other factors you can work with that also appear to influence how happy you are or can be. In the book "The How of Happiness," author Sonja Lyubomirsky points out that external events or influences on our happiness account for a mere 10 percent of our happiness level. Self-reported happiness also appears to be influenced in part by genetics. Surprisingly, a large portion of our experience of sense of happiness has to do with internal viewpoints and commitment to what Lyubomirsky coined "intentional activities," such as developing an optimistic attitude, behaving in compassionate ways and choosing meaningful personal goals.

So what else can you do to enhance your happiness and sense of well-being? Scientists are studying what contributes to the feeling we call happiness. One team at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Germany reported that a person's relative happiness appears capable of change over a lifetime. The researchers followed 150,000 subjects over a 25-year period and discovered many correlations that contributed to shifts in reported happiness: your partner's personality; prioritizing family over career goals; attending church (the positive impact of this behavior could be related to spiritual and religious views or to the social support gained by attending church); matching actual work hours to ideal work hours (working too much or too little in comparison to your ideal can cause distress); exercise, regardless of body weight; and how often you keep the company of others (social support fights off all kinds of ills).

You also could follow tips from Dr. Tal Ben Shahar's famous class on happiness at Harvard. He published a book with six simple ideas based on research:

1. Embrace all the emotions that flow through your day as part of your experience and allow yourself to be human. Blocking how you feel or pretending you do not feel the way you do will likely contribute to frustration and sadness.

2. Happiness resides at the overlap point between enjoyment and meaning. If you spend the majority of your waking hours doing things that are unpleasurable and lack significance, you will end up miserable. Conversely, filling your days with both significant and enjoyable moments strung together will likely result in an enhanced sense of well-being.

3. Happiness does not depend on what we achieve or earn but rather how we interpret external events.

4. Simplify your life.

5. Pay attention to the mind-body connection. How we feel influences how we function, and how we take care of our physical being directly affects our psychological being.

6. Recognize, express gratitude.

Next time you are inclined to have a superficial exchange and you already feel blue, do yourself a favor -- deepen the conversation. And keep in mind your happiness is something you can take steps to increase. Not only can you feel more cheerful, but you may even contribute to feelings of happiness in others.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I found it!

In the Kent County Courthouse, in the back room, written in fading brown ink, buried in some sad volume forgotten on the shelf.  The deed from Philip Wallis to Unit Angier in 1823: ".....same lands conveyed by a certain James Groome unto Samuel Wallis as will more fully appear by a reference unto the said James Groome's deed to Samuel Wallis, bearing date the second day of March 1802 and recorded among the land records of Kent County.....lying and being in Cecil County (now Kent County).  Beginning at a marked white oak being the Westermost bounds of a parcell of land taken up for a church called the "Hopeful Unity"......."

Amazing! The mystery has been solved after three years of searching. 

So what did this mean?  Here's the background of the original Hopeful Unity partnership:

Edward Blay served in the Royal Assembly Lower House, Cecil County, 1694- 1697 (elected to the 7th session);1704-1707, Kent County, 1712-1713 (died before the 3rd session); Justice, Cecil
County, 1685-1687, 1690-1692, 1694-1702 (quorum, 1702): Justice, Kent County, 1693 (refused to take the required oath), 1707-1713 (chief justice, 1708-1713); Commissioner 1684 Maryland, Cecil County. He was also a Captain, by 1696; Lieutenant Colonel, by 1707. He was Anglican, a member of Shrewsbury Parish Vestry, Cecil County,1695-1696, 1704-1709, 1712. Born around 1653 and died around 1713. He was a second generation American born in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. His son William married William Pearce’s daughter Isabella. He was literate and a first son. Described as a planter and a gentleman. Owned Blay’s Range and donated two acres of Blay’s Addition to the Vestry in 1710 when South Sassafras Parish Church had been constructed. He was part of the commission that drew boundaries for Kent and Cecil County that remain until this day. Son married daughter of William Pearce.

Ebenezer Blackeston was a Court Justice, 1702. Captain of a foot company in Worton and South Sassafras Hundred, 1689. Captain 1698. He was Anglican, a member of St. Paul’s Parish, and owned pew 25. He was born around 1650 Northumberland England, and died 23/25 Oct 1709. He married Elizabeth James in 1670, who died in 1680. On Apr 3 1683, Ebenezer Blakiston of Cecil Co showed that Jon Blakiston of Kent Co died intestate in 1679 that Sarah his widow did not administer on his estate and is since also deceased giving by word and leaving when she died what belonged to ye orphan of ye said deceased to other persons and therefore the said Ebenezer prayed that he may administer on ye said Sarah her estate that he may secure ye estate to ye said orphan to whom in right it belongeth which was granted. The court appointed him guardian of their only child John, still a minor. (Test.Proc. Vol 3 p 272, Vol 13 p 23. Will book Vol 12 p 23). Descendant of Emperor Charlemagne. Owned Boxley in Rock Hall in 1674. Visited by Jasper Danckaerts, Labadist in 1679-1680.

James Frisby defended Lord Baltimore's government against the Protestant Associators in 1689 (although he was first a Member, Associator’s Convention, 1684); he was recommended by Lord Baltimore to be on first Royal Council; he was removed by Gov. Lionel Copley in 1692, but restored by Gov. Francis Nicholson in 1694; he refused out of "Scruple of Conscience" to take the required oaths in October 1695 and was removed from the Court of Delegates. Lower House, Cecil County, 1676-1682, 1682-1684 (Accounts 2, 3; Laws 3),Associators' Convention, Cecil County, 1689 (no evidence of attendance after the 1st session); Upper House, 1692 (did not attend the 1st session; dismissed before the second session) 1694-1697 (Accounts 1), 1697/98-1700, 1701-1704 (attended only the 1st session). Council, 1691-1692 (dismissed), 1694-1704. Justice, Cecil County, 1676-1685 (quorum, 1681-1685). Proprietary Assembly, 1676, Cecil County Rep. Justice of Baltimore County from 1665 to 1674. Royal Assembly 1712-1714, 1716-1718, 1719-1721. He was a Captain by 1683/84. He was Protestant. Born around 1651, and died 1704. Probably born in England. Immigrated from England by 1665 as a minor with his parents from Virginia. He was literate and probably sent his sons to England for their education. He was a planter and a merchant. His home was visited and documented in the journal of Jasper Danckaerts in 1679-1680, two years before Hopeful Unity was patented. He was paid for his services in the late expedition against the Nanticoke Indians in 1678.

Benjamin Gundry was not as well-known.  He died 5 Jul 1708. He married Godfrey Harmar’s daughter Mary in 1675.

Joseph Hopkins was a Captain by 1679-1685. He was Court Justice, Cecil County (quorum) 1679-1685. He died 21 May 1686, wife mentioned but not named, administration account filed by Sarah Kennard. He patented in 1666 Buck Neck, near Worton, 493 acres. Related to William Pearce.

John Howell was a Captain by 1689. He died by May 1703. Master of the ship Shield of Straton in 1689 – 1691. Visited by Jasper Danckaerts, Labadist, in 1679-1680.

William Hemsley patented 550 acres called Pentridge in Broad Neck in 1670. He was born 20 Mar 1633 in Kent County and died 1694 in Talbot County, Maryland. In 1685 is called Captain in Commission; Sheriff of Kent County, 1663; Clerk of Talbot County, 1685. He served in the Lower House and was on the Commission to revise the laws of the Province, and along with Edward Blay was instrumental in dividing Kent and Cecil Counties into the boundaries of the counties existing as they are today.

Charles James was a Member, Associators' Convention, Cecil County,1684-1692; Grand Committee of Twenty, 1690-1692; Deputy surveyor, Baltimore County, 1671, Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, 1674-1676; Coroner, Cecil County, 1674-1676, Baltimore County, 1676; Sheriff, Cecil County, 1676 (dismissed after one month);
Justice, Cecil County, 1690-1694. impeached by Assembly from posts as sheriff, coroner, and deputy surveyor for
perjury and false imprisonment and ruled ineligible to hold public office again, 1676; the Revolution
in 1689 brought his reentry into political office;
countless disputes with other Cecil County officials, 1689-1692; removed from office by Gov. Francis Nicholson (1655-1727/28), 1694. He was Captain by 1689-1694, of a troop of horse. He was Protestant, probably Anglican, and belonged to the Shrewsbury Parish. Born in England, date unknown, he immigrated as a free adult in 1661. He was literate. He transported five others upon arrival in Maryland. He was a former merchant in London, merchant and planter in Maryland. He died essentially penniless in 1698. Owned Drayton Manor, 1200 acres patented to him in 1667.

John James was  a Captain in Cecil County, he swore allegiance to King and Queen of England in 1696. He died 21 Jan, 1698/9. Commissioner of the Province, 1692. He was master of the ship Bohemia Brothers in 1689. Originally owned part of the land that when combined with the land of Col Vincent Lowe, the Hopeful Unity partnership was patented.

William Pearce was a member of the Proprietary Assembly, 1676, Cecil County Rep; High Sheriff of Cecil County, 1684-1688, 1698-1691, 1696-1699; Royal Assembly Lower House Cecil County 1682/83 (resigned to become Sheriff), 1694-1697, 1697/8 -1700, 1704-1707; Justice, Cecil County, 1676-1684, 1694. He fined for cheating the county while sheriff, 1699; found guilty of misappropriating levy, 1704. Captain, by 1688; Colonel by 1690; Naval Officer, Col William Pearce, appointed by Gov. Nicholson, 1694, resigned 1695. Active supporter of the Associator’s Convention. He was Anglican, and a member of the South Sassafras Parish Vestry, Cecil County, 1693-1696, 1704-1705. Born around 1641 and died 1721. Born probably in England and probably immigrated in the late 1650’s definitely by 1664, probably came as an indentured servant. Literate. Anglican. Probably the same William Pearce, who was a former servant of Thomas Mowell (?-1675). Col Pearce at age 73 “or thereabouts” testified in 1714 that he obtained a warrant for completion of service in 1661/62. He went on to testify that he then in 1663 patented 250 acres with another former servant, Robert Neife, in Maryland. Became a planter and owned Marshy Point (Wills Lib 1 fol 207 (1720). Held at death L1153 and 1450 acres. His great great grandson was a US Senator in 1862 (Hon James Alfred Pearce).

Richard Pullen yeoman, on 21 Aug 1660 was bound to serve John Woolcott for four years in MD (BRCO:134). He was a commissioner in 1684 in Cecil County. He was Quaker. He was married to Ann Gilbert Smith Ayres Queeney Pullen. He was assigned to a foot company of Capt John Norwood in 1662 but refused to serve for religious reasons.

Robert Sanders was Quaker. His will in 1684 named wife Sarah as executrix and sole heir. Owned “Ivingoe”, 200 acres in Cecil County. He arrived in Maryland by 1675, when he had land on the south side of Sassafras River.

George Warner was a representative to the Lower House, Cecil County, 1692 (dismissed during the 1st session of the 1692-1693 Assembly because, as a Quaker, he did not subscribe to required oaths). Justice, Cecil County, 1681-1687 (omitted from list of new commissioners on June 9, 1687, when the Council made alterations in the commissions after taking into consideration "the ill state of the County of Cecil at present"), 1688-1691/92 Commissioner, Cecil County. A Quaker and therefore ineligible for office after 1692. Delayed taking oaths as Justice under the Protestant Associators' government following the revolution in 1689. But did sign an address and took a loyalty oath earlier. He was Protestant by 1689, but later followed the Quaker religion. He reported to the Maryland General Assembly with Stephen Coleman (1694), and said that “a weekly meeting settled in Cecil County (later Kent) and a meeting house lately built.” Land donated by him to the Quaker Meeting: two acres. He was Quaker by 1692. Born by 1657, died 1703. First son, probably born in Maryland, probably second generation. Married daughter of Joseph Hopkins, his second marriage. He was known as a planter and merchant. He was literate. Although later Quaker, he did keep slaves until his death.

Given the historical context of the religious and political times, the partnership was obviously formed for religious reasons, and perhaps political as well, as the two were so closely tied during the late 1600"s.

What do you think?