My Troth Ancestry

Who knows why we have this urge to discover our roots?  It is obviously in our DNA and in this day and age, we can use DNA advances to find  the answers to our questions about our roots.  Isn’t it amazing?!

My earliest known (to me) Troth ancestor was William Troth born about 1676 in England and died 1740 in the American Colonies.  He married Elizabeth Fields and (of course) there is a romantic story of her parents objecting to the marriage so they had to steal away and came to America to start a new life. William Troth came to America approximately 1700.  He and his family settled in Evesham Township, Burlington County, New Jersey.

Their son Paul Troth is my sixth great-grandfather.  All of my genealogy notes were not yet transferred to the computer when (my old old story – which is getting tiresome, I know!) the 1998 flood destroyed all hard copies of my research.  Thus the following narrative only has  a reference note – “Reference #49.” No. 49 would have been one of the thousands of notes I copied from various history and family books.  Thus, I unfortunately cannot credit the source for the following information.

. . . East of the Hewling tract was the large Troth tract.  He parted from his boyhood sweetheart, Elizabeth Fields, and made the trip across the ocean and landed at Burlington.  He loaded his packhorse with gun, axe, grubbing hoe, knives, a cooking utensil, salt, flour, corn meal, and blankets, and took the walk through the woods to his future home, which, of course, was a log cabin.  Back in England his sweetheart was making preparations to join him.  The Fieldses were a wealthy family and they objected strongly to her marrying William Troth, who was not wealthy.  They refused to pay her passage on the boat trip to this country.

True to that feminine instinct of knowing what she wanted and getting it, she sold her jewels and trinkets, thereby securing enough money to pay the passage on the sailing vessel, which required six weeks to make the crossing.

Arriving at Burlington, William Troth met her with his horse, and the two made the trip on horseback through the woods.  For fear of being brushed off the horse, she would put her arms around him and he voiced no objection.

Why did she leave her home and family in England with its luxury and security to live in a wilderness in the crudest kind of a house?  Here she found the ferocious greenhead fly, the persistent strawberry fly, and hordes of mosquitoes–all seeking her blood.  Snakes were numerous: the poisonous rattlesnake and copperhead; the rapid traveling nonpoisonous black snake, that could overcome a rattlesnake in battle; the water snake, garter snake, pine snake and other varieties.  If the door was left open, snakes would crawl into the house.  There were the screech owls and the hoot owls, breaking the silence of the night.

Troth now proceeded to build a better house of ironstone or sandstone, abundant then and now in the nearby meadow.  To make sure of keeping warm in winter, he built a large fireplace which extended almost across the room.  Doors were built opposite each other so that a horse could drag a heavy log across the room.  The back log was then rolled into the fireplace and would burn all night without any attention.  On the second floor was a fireplace not quite as large.  An outside door was made so that wood could be handed into the room.

There was a bake oven where a fire could be made inside.  When fire heated the brick bottom sufficiently, it was withdrawn and the bricks swept clean.  The bread dough was placed on the hot bricks and this heat was sufficient to bake the bread to a beautiful brown.  A thick slice of this hot bread, with butter and molasses on it, was a hungry boy’s delight, and the smell of home-made bread sharpened the appetite of the elders.

To make the bread, a jar of yeast was always kept on hand.  Mashed potatoes and water were added to the jar to keep it full.  The yeast was added to the bread dough, and then allowed to rise for a few hours.  It was then ready for the oven. Pies were also baked–huckleberry, gooseberry, and pumpkin.  For sweetening they had sorghum molasses; and if they were lucky to find a honey tree where bees stored honey in a hollow branch, this added to the sweetening supply.

As soon as lumber was available from the water-power saw mill, Troth built a high back settee.  The reason for the high back was to protect the neck and shoulders from the draft of cold air that swept across the room and up the chimney.  More hot air went up the chimney than came out into the room.  An old saying About these fireplaces was “your shins toasted and your back froze.”

In the long winter evenings as they sat around the fireplace, Troth would read Bible stories to the children.  They roasted chestnuts ( which fell to the ground by the bushels, popped popcorn, cracked hickory nuts, shell barks, and black walnuts.  Perhaps a neighbor would drop in and spend the evening.

Troth also built a cross-legged table with a long bench on each side.  His wife kept busy.  For breakfast she would fry ham in a long-handled pan over an open fire.  For dinner, a big dinner pot would be filled with pork, cabbage, and potatoes. This pot was then swung over the fire by a crane.  Supper was a bowl of corn mush and milk.  To supplement this diet, wild game was plentiful.  Domestic fowl were chicken, duck and geese.  In winter pigs were killed, and also a beef.  Tallow as made from the beef into candles and soap.  Ashes from the fire were put in a barrel.  Water was allowed to soak through the ashes; lye was obtained in this manner and was mixed with the tallow to form homemade soap.

A housewife washed and combed wool which was then spun into thread on a large spinning wheel. This thread was then made into warm winter clothing.  For summer wear, flax fibers had to be taken out of the flax stems.  This was a difficult job and a special tool had to be used.  The fiber was then spun on a smaller spinning wheel, flax being harder to spin than wool. The flax thread was then put through a weaving machine.  The linen then made into clothing.  No coloring was used; the linen was a dull gray.

While the wife was busy in the house, the husband was busy outside, cutting down trees and clearing the underbrush.  It was a hard job to dig out the stumps, so he planted his corn between the stumps, using a grubbing hoe to stir the soil and cut down unwanted growth.   When time permitted, he dug out the stumps.  He made a sort of wooden plow that was pulled by oxen.  He made a barn to shelter his grain and livestock; and he made a oxcart with solid wooden wheels, wooden axle, body, tongue, and neck yoke to hold the oxen.  The oxen pulled the cart by their powerful necks.  This was the slow method of transportation for heavy hauling  For fast transportation, one mounted a horse.  Oxen were powerful beasts weighing About a ton, as compared to a horse’s 1200 to 1500 pounds.  Oxen could pull a load in muddy ground where a horse would flounder.  Oxen were hard to train.  It was hard to get an idea into their thick skulls.  When the driver saw that an oxen team was About to hit an obstruction he would holler “whoa;” but to get them used to the word “gitup,” a whip lash was a good instructor.

During the Revolutionary War, Tylee Engle was in possession of the Troth farm.  He built a brick addition to the old sandstone part and his initials T. E. and the year 1777 were marked on the door latch.  A later owner rough coated the entire house. The present owner, James Ivins, has sold the farm to real estate developers and the old house faces a gloomy future.


About hopeseguin

Who am I? I'm still discovering just who I am, I suppose. A. Powell Davis writes that "Life is just a chance to grow a soul."

Posted on January 4, 2010, in genealogy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. My goodness, your grandma married young, but then died young too. Life expectancy way back at the turn of the century just wasn’t what it is now .

  2. My great grandmother was meriba troth who died in Wilber,ne She was married to Levi Anthony coming from Ohio to Missouri to Iowa and to my town of Wilber, Nebraska

    • It is quite likely our Troths are connected – although I don’t have a Meriba Troth in my database (which doesn’t mean anything . . . for there are a lot of brick walls in my Troth research).

  3. What a fascinating story! I too am descended from William Troth though with all the Isaacs and Williams I’m not sure exactly how the line goes.

  4. I am a descendant of William Troth. My father, Hugh Isma Troth, wrote two books about his home town of Lynchburg, Ohio. He has tons of Troth history in those books as well as his first book on Isma Troth, his grandfather, who fought for the Union in the Civil War. You can Google this information. Today is January 26, 2013. All relatives are encouraged to contact me. Thanks, Daniel M. Troth

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