About Della Dale Smith-Pistelli
I'm originally from Southern California, but have also lived in Pompano Beach, Florida, Northern California, Portland, Oregon, North Hanover, New Jersey and now Brenham, Texas, a small town about half way between Houston and Austin. My third great grandfather, James Henry Rollins, was one of the original settlers of San Bernardino, California, when the Mormons were sent there from Utah in 1851, one hundred years before I was born. His father, John Porter Rollins died in a shipping accident on Lake Erie in about 1820 when James was just 4 years old. His mother, Keziah Katurah Van Benthuysen, was a Dutch girl whose ancestors came from Holland to New York in the 1650's. After her husband died, she sent James Henry and his two sisters to live with her sister, Elizabeth Van Benthuysen and her husband, Sidney Algernon Gilbert, who had no children of their own.
James Henry Rollins and his sisters, mother, aunt and uncle joined the Mormon Church in Ohio in the 1830's and moved from Ohio to Missouri, then Illinois, Iowa and Utah, California, back to Utah, and finally Wyoming. He had 9 children with his first wife, Evaline Walker Rollins, who was the daughter of Oliver Walker and Nancy Cressy of New Jersey and New York. When the church sent him to San Bernardino, California, in 1851 to settle that area, they instructed him to take a plural wife, an English girl, Hannah Hulme, who had been assisting James and Evaline in their home with household duties and raising of their children. James married Hannah before departing for San Bernardino, and they had 13 children together.
Another branch of my family tree includes an interesting great grandfather and second great grandfather, James Joseph Eubank, and Stephen Green Eubank, who were carpenters from Tennessee. James Joseph Eubank enlisted in Company C of the 124th Illinois Infantry in 1862 and was wounded in the battle of Vicksburg during the Civil War, fighting for the Union. Prior to the war, James had also gone to California for the Gold Rush in the 1850's but returned to Illinois in about 1861. His father, Stephen Green Eubank, was supposedly a friend of Abraham Lincoln, who built cabinets and a desk for Lincoln that was on display at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Ironically, Stephen's father-in-law, James Branch, owned seventeen slaves per the 1820 U.S. Federal Census! Thank goodness Stephen did not keep slaves after his wife Susannah Q. Branch Eubank died in 1833 in Palmyra, Missourii, during a cholera epidemic. Stephen's second wife, Mary Ann Phillips, died in 1841 from consumption, but his third wife, Sarah Armstrong Waggoner Eubank, who was 24 years his junior, bore him 13 children, the last being born only two years before Stephen's death in 1872. Stephen received two patents for improvements to a clothes washing machine he designed in 1869 and 1870. His religion was Swedenborgian according to family papers. His wife, Susannah's family were all Southern Baptists.
I'm told my third great grandfather, Samuel Walker West, was descended from English Royalty. According to Geni, here is the path from me to Samuel Walker West and then to his English royal ancestors: Me, Della Dale Smith; Frances Amelia Eubank Smith, my mother; Dorthea Evelyn Eubank, her mother; John Henry Rollins, Jr., her father; Nancy Malinda Rollins, his mother; Samuel Walker West, her father; John West, his father; Isaac West, his father; John West, Jr., his father; John Thomas West, Sr., his father; Thomas West, Sr., his father; then four William West's; Nicholas West, his father; Richard West, his father; John West, his father; Richard West, 7th Baron de la Warre, his father; Sir Reynold West, 6th Baron de la Warre; his father; and Sir Thomas West, 1st Baron West of Oakhanger, his father, who was my 18th Great Grandfather, that is if the Geni records are accurate! Supposedly, the state of Delaware was named after one of these ancestors.
Samuel Walker West's wife, Margaret Cooper West, was from a prominent southern family who owned a 1,000 acre plantation in the early 1800's Tennessee. They also owned slaves but gave them up when they joined the Mormon Church in 1834 and moved from Tennessee to Kentucky briefly before gathering with the Saints in Nauvoo, Illinois, in about 1842. Their plantation in Tennessee had been given to Margaret by one of her mother's uncles for his service in the Revolutionary War.
My second and third great grandfathers, Christian and Jacob Christensen Madsen, came to America from Denmark in the 1850's. Christian married into the Welker family, who arrived in the USA from Germany in the late 1700's. The Welker'salso married into the Dustin family, who came to America in the 1640's, and the Madsen's, Welker's, and the Dustin's were also members of the Mormon church.
My father's family, the Smith's, were Quakers who had migrated from Pennsylvania to Ohio and then to Indiana and later he and his brother moved to Kansas in about 1894, where they worked as farmers from about 1895 to 1925 when the family moved to Venice, California, due to my grandfather's health. Supposedly he had asthma and could not tolerate the "Dust Bowl Days" of Kansas according to my father. My father's mother, Mattie Estella Scott Smith, was a Christian Scientist whose family moved to Kansas from North Carolina in about the 1870's. Her father, Thomas Benton Scott, was born in North Carolina in 1845, and her mother was also born there.
One of my most interesting ancestors was Hannah Dustin, who lived in Haverhill, Massachusets, in 1697, when she was captured by Indians. They killed Hannah's twelfth child, a six-day old baby daughter, by bashing her brains out against a tree. Later Hannah killed her Indian captors, took their scalps, and returned to Massachusetts to claim a bounty for the scalps. There are two different statues commemorating her bravery in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. It is believed she was the first woman ever immortalized by a statue in her honor in the United States. She had one more child, a daughter, about a year after she returned from her capture. Had she not escaped, the Indians had planned to take her and other captors to Canada where they would have been sold into slavery.
I worked in marketing communications in the computer industry for eight years in the 1970's, then in the 1980's and 1990's, I worked for an exhibit/museum design and production company for eighteen years. After that I went into real estate sales in 1998 and worked for Prudential Real Estate as a Realtor, Broker, and Vice President of Sales. Presently I am the Office Manager for Coldwell Banker Properties Unlimited, a real estate firm in Brenham, Texas.
I'm looking to complete my family tree in order to help my second cousins, Meili and Tai Eubank , who are half Chinese, know more about our family history.