Asenath, Speedy, Zepheniah…Heritage with Poetry

Sometimes I have a rhyme AND a reason to research an ancestor. This time it was because her given name is so intriguing. ASENATH ROBINSON (1766-1847). She is my maternal 4th great grandmother and the daughter of Reuben Robinson and Esther Palmer of Scotland Society, Windham, Connecticut and a direct descendant of the Reverend John Robinson who was the spiritual leader of the Mayflower Pilgrims. Asenath had ELEVEN children including my maternal 3rd great grandmother SOPHIA GREENE (wife of DAVID CURTIS).

What a journey to follow all of the children of ASENATH and LEVI GREENE! AndZepheniah Greene what fun. The given names were a poetic blend of biblical and historical. Zepheniah Ripley, Aurelia and yes…Speedy Greene! I love Speedy Greene! Speedy married Scotsman Gerothman McDonald and they had eleven children of their own…with some pretty spiffy names. Gamaliel Barstow and (this one rolls of the tongue)…Beebe Galusha McDonald.  A lively and celebrated family from Livonia, Livingston county, NY.

ASENATH is a favorite given name and many of her granddaughters and great granddaughters were named after her including the granddaughter of Fanny and Orange Chapin. Because of that family affection for her, I have been treated to flowery obituaries filled with poetic family lore. It impressed me how many other descendants lived and died in Auburn, New York or the surrounding area.

I HAD to do a bit of research on the origin of ASENATH and found the story of the Egyptian woman who was given to Joseph as his wife by Pharoah. Biblical, Hebrew and Egyptian scholars alike have studied the saga of the pair…what her name meant…her Egyptian father’s priesthood. Her conversion and the perils that the two encountered.   What did her parents, Reuben and Esther Palmer think when they beheld their infant daughter and chose such a name?

Asenath met Levi Greene when he came to the Robinson home to Scotland, Connecticut to stay with his friend and fellow Revolutionary War soldier, Reuben Robinson – Asenath’s older brother.  She was just 18 years old when she and Levi married in Scotland, Connecticut in 1785.  The pair moved to Venice, Cayuga County from the Albany, NY area sometime around 1811 and eventually left Venice to establish themselves in Livonia before moving to Oakland county, Michigan with son Zepheniah Ripley Greene and his wife Zilla Gould (don’t you just love it!) leaving behind a large extended family in Livingston and Cayuga counties.

Like all naming trends…the descendants finally lost track of their ancestral names and heritage and “modern” names left the Asenaths and Aurelias and Zepheniahs and Beebe Galushas to the past.

Newspaper Auburn NY Democrat - Argus 2 Mar 1900 Asenath Robinson Chapin obitThe last Asenath I found was Asenath Robinson Chapin Benedict (1831 -1900). She was the daughter of Orange Chapin and Fanny Greene and born in Venice, Cayuga county, NY. Her memoriam in the Auburn NY Democrat, was her gift to me…her first cousin, 4 times removed. A grand life, well spent and a tribute to the earliest Cayuga County pioneers.Orange Chapin Tombstone

Asenath Robinson Chapin Benedict and her parents are buried in Fort Hill Cemetery in Auburn, NY along with a great number of descendants.

 

 

 

 

Fanny Greene Chapin’s sister and my maternal 3rd great grandmother, David and Sophia Greene Curtis TombstonesSophia Greene Curtis is buried beside her husband, David Curtis in Oakridge Cemetery in Livonia, Livingston county, NY.  Oakridge, too, is the site of burials for a great number of ancestors including the wonderful Speedy Greene McDonald and her descendants.

 

 

 

Deborah Martin-Plugh

Author, Historian and Genealogical Researcher

(c) Copyright 2015.  All Rights Reserved

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