My Dad, Wes Pepper, as a Custom Wheat Cutter

I’ve recently been in touch with a man in Kansas who is helping me to identify the men, my dad was working with in the late 1940s and early 1950s, in this photo. I met him through Yesterday’s Tractor Company online. He is going to put me in touch with someone who lives in Lincoln and may remember my dad during that time. ūüôā I am wanting to write a biography of my dad during those years and have lots of gaps which need filling!

Left to right Harry Parson, Dale Rathbun, Delmont Jones, Wayne Wilson, and your dad Wesley Pepper.

Left to right Harry Parson, Dale Rathbun, Delmont Jones, Wayne Wilson, and your dad Wesley Pepper.

Delmont Jones was a “custom wheat cutter” and ran an operation during the harvest season from Texas or Oklahoma to Montana or North Dakota.

For More Information:
ML Harvesting (A Tribute to Max Louder [with references to Delmont Jones]) “Our family harvest operation was also published in National Geographic (August 1972 article “North With The Wheat Cutters”), which became the basis for the 1979-1980 television movie “Amber Waves” (starring, Dennis Weaver and Kurt Russell). Dennis Weaver’s character (Mid-Western Custom Harvester) was loosely based on my dad [Max Louder].”

U.S. Custom Harvesters, Inc. – Max Louder

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Our Shoemaking Ancestors in Massachusetts


One of the titles of a chapter in my Biographical Sketch of John Prouty Pepper is “Shoemaker.” Shoe-making became a huge activity in parts of Massachusetts beginning in the 18th century. In the 1850 US Census my 3rd Great-Grandfather Porter Hamilton/Pepper and several of his children were working as shoemakers.

In colonial America, shoe making was a side business for farmers who plied their craft during the slow times in the agricultural cycle.” This quote is from a simple looking site which is LOADED with facts and information about Massachusetts history. Please see: Mass Moments sponsored by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities.

Shoe-making became a large industry in certain parts of Massachusetts, especially in Essex County, and Central and Eastern Massachusetts.

One of the old books I have is, The Organization of the Boot and Shoe Industry in Massachusetts Before 1875 by Blanche Evans Hazard, Professor of Home Economics in Cornell University. It, unfortunately, is not fully indexed, but I will be willing to do a few look-ups for you if you think you had a Massachusetts shoemaker in your family before 1875.

Mass Moments – “The Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities (Mass Humanities)¬†launched the Mass Moments project‚ÄĒan electronic almanac of Massachusetts history‚ÄĒon January 1, 2005.” Specifically the Sunday, February 22, 2015 post “Lynn Shoeworkers’ Strike, February 22, 1860

Hazard, Blanche Evans, The Organization of the Boot and Shoe Industry in Massachusetts Before 1875 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1921). (Teresa’s personal copy) Available at the Internet Archive Online.

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Isn’t Amy a Modern Name?…NOT

Which of you, after doing family history research for years, has come across a name that seems odd or somehow doesn’t seem to fit in with the family or time period?

I have a few of those. I have a Great-Grandfather Porter Pepper. His first name (Christian name) is not a family name or even a popular one at the time (he was b. in Mass. in 1811) but obviously there is a reason he has that name. I hope to find its origin someday.

I have also come across what I thought was a modern name such as Amy in the 16th century and thought, what the heck? I mean, I never heard of a Queen Amy so can this be right? Maybe it is a typo or transcription error? Or is it French, maybe?

Well, as it turns out Amy or Amee is a very old English name and some proof of that can be found on the internet today in a great article at: BBC News Cambridgeshire, a group called the Norfolk and Suffolk Medieval Graffiti Survey is responsible for finding the names of Cateryn, Jane and Amee Maddyngley etched in the ancient church wall of All Saints and St. Andrew in Kingston, Cambridgeshire, England.

Ooooo, there is another name familiar to New England genealogists, Kingston. You know, Kingston, Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is one of the earliest communities in New England and was settled by our Puritan ancestors. According to David Hackett Fisher, author of Albion’s Seed, over 60% of the early Puritan fathers came from Essex, England or what is also known as¬†East Anglia. BTW, his book comes with a HIGH recommendation from me!

Is it possible that some of you who have deep roots in New England may be related to the Maddyngley family in 1570 Kingston, Cambridgeshire, England? The name would probably be rendered today as Madingly, rare, but still in use in the USA.

So, let’s bring back the old English name of Amee or Amy. It would make a great middle name for girls, don’t you think?


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The Salem Witch Hunt

One of the most disturbing events in early New England History are the Salem Witch Trials which lasted from February 1692 to May 1693.

Was your ancestor accused or an accuser?

List of Accused and Accusers

List of Accused and Accusers

If you had ancestors living in Salem Village (now Danvers), or Salem Town, in 1692 and 1693, you might find information about them at this wonderful site:¬†A Guide to the On-line Primary Sources of the Salem Witch Trials, where you’ll find Entries from Records of the Salem Witch Hunt Linked to Digital Facsimile Images.

This is a fantastic resource for New England researchers where you’ll be able to read the original documents online and for free!

Find out today if your ancestor was accused of witchcraft or accused others!

More Resources:
The University of Virginia Salem Witch Trials Online
Salem Witch Trials at Wikipedia

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Search British Records at Ancestry for FREE!

From February 6th through the 8th you can search the British records at for free! So get searching today!


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Hey Pepper Cousins! Do you know about our cousin connection to the Manhattan Project?

Pepper/Hamilton Line:
In November 2013 I sent out a brief blog post about a new discovery I had made:

“You never know what discoveries you’ll make when sleuthing through your family tree. I just, right now, discovered that I am the 6th cousin 3 times removed of Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves.

Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves, Jr. (17 August 1896 ‚Äď 13 July 1970) was a United States Army Corps of Engineers officer who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II.

Leslie Groves.jpg

Lieut. Gen. Leslie R. Groves is the descendant of our MUTUAL ANCESTOR Nicholas La Grove born in France about 1650 and arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in about 1668. He was apparently a French Huguenot.

Nicholas La Grove/Groves/Grove married Hannah SALLOWS, they had Hannah GROVE and she married Robert MOULTON, Jr. of Salem Village and they had Mary “Molly” MOULTON and she married Anthony NEEDHAM and they had Jasper NEEDHAM, and he married Deborah FULLER and they had Naomi NEEDHAM, and she married James STRICKLAND and they had John STRICKLAND, and he married Betsey BROOKS and they had Janette STRICKLAND, and she married John Prouty PEPPER (HAMILTON DNA), and there you go peeps!”

My direct line goes:
Nicholas La Grove/Groves/Grove married Hannah Sallows
Hannah Grove married Robert Moulton, Jr.
Mary “Molly” Moulton married Anthony Needham
Jasper Needham married Deborah Fuller
Naomi Needham married James Strickland
John Strickland married Betsey Brooks
Janette Strickland married John Prouty Pepper
George Warriner Pepper married Delia Bridget Jackson
John Prouty Pepper married Reita Geraldine Bishop
John Wesley Keith Pepper (1932-2014) (My dad)

If you want to read or listen to a definitive account of the history of the Manhattan Project including personal accounts of our distant cousin, Lieut. Gen. Leslie R. Groves, then I highly recommend this book: Sherwin, Martin J., American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (It is also available as an audio book at

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Big Changes Going on at Gran’s Family HIstory

A few years ago I was very ambitious and I started several blogs/websites to share my family history/genealogy research. Due to unforeseen circumstances (my parents’ health) I have not been able to keep up with the sites or to edit them as needed.

I had created a site for MY ancestry and a site for my HUSBAND’s ancestry. Yesterday I decided to bring those both together under my Gran’s Family History site. It is now “Gran’s and Grandpa’s Family History.”

This will make it easier for me to maintain and add to the site and it will make it easier for my four children to find their ancestry, now that it is all in one place!

There is ONE link, to click on in the header, to pull up all of my history which includes the PEPPER, BISHOP, ROORK and SAMMON surnames, and one link for my husband’s history which includes the RUST, BOETTNER, PAGET, and BOOTHBY surnames.

I still have a lot of editing to do and formatting to reconfigure, so please be patient. You can check out some of the changes though, if you like.

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My Dad’s Family Finder DNA Test

Just recently I submitted a DNA sample from my father John Pepper to Family Tree DNA for the Family Finder test. The results have started coming in the last few days and my head is spinning with all of the possible connections. Already some interesting information is coming through regarding my dad’s family history and DNA connections.

I decided to make a couple of charts with my dad’s ancestral surnames (including the places and dates where they are found in our family history) in order to make it easier to find cousin connections.

Here are the charts, updated as of today, the 22nd of March, 2014:

My dad’s PATERNAL side through his father John Prouty Hamilton/Pepper:
Surnames for John Wesley Keith Hamilton Family Finder

My dad’s MATERNAL side through his mother Reita Geraldine Bishop:
MATERNAL Surnames for John Wesley Keith Pepper Family Finder Test

I went back to about the 6th or 7th Great-Grandparents of my dad, which would include up to 6th to 7th cousin, I believe.


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Updated “About” Page :)

Updated: 14 Feb 2014

I love history! I am one of¬†those¬†people, you know, the ones who want to pull over at every historical marker while on a road trip. ūüėČ I had to grin while writing that because of the many times I had my husband back the car up because he went flying past a marker! He eventually learned.

I nearly drove my kids crazy when we vacationed in England for three weeks in the summer of 2006. Everyday as we were driving I was yelling at them to “quick, look out the window” and see that Norman church or that Roman¬†aqueduct, or that beautiful manor house, etc., etc. They would look and then roll their eyes, and say, “Mommmmm!”

My love of history is a big reason why I love genealogy and family history research and traveling. I don’t just want to collect facts about my ancestors, I also want to know their histories, their hardships and triumphs and failures. None of them were saints, they were real flesh and blood people with hopes and desires for the future. There were some “bad” characters and there were some “good” ones who tried to make a positive impact. I think most were pretty common, honest and hard-working. We have a few ancestral royals in our line and we have a cousin-connection to the current royal family, but most of our “people” were of the ordinary type that persevered through immigration, exile, economic and physical hardships, some more graceful than others, but they have all left their impact on the world through their descendants today.

The world is a big, wonderful place, full of amazing people, places and cultures and this blog is my attempt to share some of our family’s contribution to it!

My name is Teresa (Hamilton/Pepper) Rust. ¬†I’ve been married to Brad Rust for 38 years and we have four children ages 18 to 28, two lads and two lasses. I am also the proud “gran” to our first grandchild, Aidan Bradly.

I have spent nearly 36 years, off and on, researching my family history.  My ancestry is primarily Scottish, Irish, and English, with some German and a small amount of Swiss and French thrown in! A typical American ancestry!

Besides my family…my other interests include: reading, writing, history, knitting and traveling. My favorite places in the world are Scotland, England and Ireland. My favorite literature is British especially of the 18th and 19th Centuries.

Below is a photo of myself with my four children in the summer of 2006 when we house-swapped with a family in Northampton, Northamptonshire, England. This photo was taken on the estate of Burghley House, near Stamford, Lincolnshire, England.

Top: Ethan and Nate. Bottom: Rachel, Teresa and Abbie
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Update on our Mayflower Ancestor, George Soule and his wife Mary Buckett

Updated: 14 Feb 2014:
(Bishop Line)

This is the ancestry of my 6th Great-Grandmother¬†Content SOULE, beginning with her immigrant ancestor, my 10th Great-Grandfather¬†George SOULE, a passenger on the¬†Mayflower.¬†George SOULE, the Mayflower Pilgrim, is Aidan, Daniel, Lillian, and Callen’s 12th great grandfather!

First Generation in the New World

1.¬†George SOULE, “was born¬†by 1602 based on his probable date of marriage.”[S1]¬†He came to Plymouth on the¬†Mayflower¬†as a servant of Edward Winslow. “He died between September 20, 1677, and January 20, 1679/80, in Duxbury”[S1] in Massachusetts. “He married¬†Mary BUCKETT¬†about 1626 and had nine children. She died about December 1676.”[S1]

Children of George SOULE and Mary BUCKETT, all born at New Plymouth Plantation in New England:

i. Zachariah Soule, born before 22 May 1627, died before 11 Dec 1663
ii. John Soule, b about 1632; died before 14 Nov 1707
iii. Nathaniel Soule, b. c 1638; d. before 12 Oct 1699
2. iv. George SOULE, (George 1), b. c 1639
v. Susanna Soule
vi. Mary Soule, died after 29 Apr 1718
vii. Elizabeth Soule, born c 1645; married Francis Walker
viii. Patience Soule, died 11 Mar 1705/6 in Middleboro, Massachusetts
ix. Benjamin Soule, died after 1676

For more information about George Soule, our Mayflower ancestor, see:
Pilgrim Hall Museum: “The nation‚Äôs oldest continuously operating public museum, Pilgrim Hall Museum houses an unmatched collection of Pilgrim possessions telling the story of brave and determined men and women building lives and homes for themselves and their children in a new world.
Caleb Johnson’s Mayflower History: “Welcome to, the Internet’s most complete and accurate website dealing with the¬†Mayflower¬†passengers and the history of the Pilgrims and early Plymouth Colony.

Plymouth Plantation Reconstruction of George  and Mary Soule's House
Plymouth Plantation Reconstruction of George and Mary Soule’s House

Second Generation

2. George SOULE, (George 1), born about 1639 in Duxbury, Plymouth Plantation Colony in Massachusetts. He married Deborah THOMAS about 1661 in Dartmouth, New Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. George, Jr.  died around 1704 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts. They had EIGHT children together.

Children of George SOULE and Deborah THOMAS:

Deborah SOULE
George SOULE
John SOULE, died 1704
William SOULE, born 1670 and died 1723
3. Nathan SOULE, born 1675 and died 1736

Third Generation

3. Nathan SOULE, (George 2, George 1), was born about 1675 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts. He married Marcy/Mary GIFFORD on 12 Jun 1704 in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts.

Children of Nathan SOULE and Marcy GIFFORD:

i. Content SOULE, born 1705 in Dartmouth
ii. John SOULE, born 1707
iii. Cornelius SOULE, born 1711; died 1782
4. iv. Timothy SOULE, born 10 Apr 1714; died 1770
v. Mary SOULE, born 1720; died 1759

Fourth Generation

4. Timothy SOULE, (Nathan 3, George 2, George 1), was born in Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts on 10 Apr 1714. He married Elizabeth ALLEN 6 Jan 1737 in Dartmouth.

Children of Timothy SOULE and Elizabeth ALLEN, all born Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts:
i. William SOULE, born 1738/9; married Anna SEWELL, about 1761; died 23 Mar                    1811 in Alburgh, Grand Isle County, Vermont.
ii. Ebenezer SOULE born late 1730’s.
5. iii. Content SOULE, born about 1742. Married George SHELDON.
iv. Margaret SOULE was born about 1745.
v. Joseph SOULE was born about 1747.

S1 –¬†Pilgrim Village Families Sketch: George Soule¬†at


George Soule¬†at the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s American Ancestors web site about the pilgrim families.

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