It started, as good quests always do, with a family tale.
When I first began this epic journey of discovery; seems 100 years ago, I held in my hand this book: History of Orange County New York. I looked at this patent map, read every name, wanting desperately to read "William Faulkner" among the patent holders.
But, that would have been too easy. No, I needed to work for this. And work I did. My best work to date. Blood, sweat, tears. And a tenacious drive to put it all together. To not give up. To see it through to the end.
I revisited this book just last week. Looked at the map again with new eyes. And a great deal more knowledge. Thanks to the deed platter I had successfully platted the land of Samuel's sons from old land transfer records. I had also learned that all three properties shared a common neighbor - the Colden's. And the lot was an odd shape.
Hmm. All the pieces fit together to form a triangle - which was good. BUT they faced in the wrong direction. Harrumph.
Staring at the map - the light bulb finally went off! The map was not oriented correctly! Rotating it to line up with the actual earth, this is what I got:
Low and behold! It fit!!
The property willed to Samuel's three sons fit in the upper left portion of the 1130 acre untitled parcel! The rest of the parcel would, more than likely, have been the other two pieces given to William's other two sons, James and William Jr.
Resting on my laurels (for the time being) I sat back and took it all in.
After a moment of silence, a contemplation of the magnitude of this odyssey; a pause to reflect and to offer my gratitude to all the faceless kin that have gone before me; who's blood runs through my veins, I felt humbled.
From the moment I first held this map I had already "found Faulkner", but never knew it. What is that quote?
"We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T.S. Eliot
"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
This labor of love was one of the most personally moving things I have accomplished. But there is still much to do! First, dig deep into the unindexed land records on FamilySearch to locate the sale of the other sons' property. I can then plat it, as I did Samuel's land. With Heaven smiling upon me, the pieces should fit. I am more determined than ever to get to Goshen, NY and to dig into the land records and other early documents. Look at the plat maps. Walk the land of my ancestors and hopefully find a clue that will take me 'across the pond' to the birthplace of William. And meet some cousins!
One more quote for you:
“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” ~ T.S. Eliot
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