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Re: Penhallow Penharlow Penhollow Harlow
Posted by: Gene Cochran Date: January 11, 2000 at 18:37:33
In Reply to: Penhallow Penharlow Penhollow Harlow by Kevin Penhallow of 14

Iím interested. I have an ancestor (Almira Ellen Vibbert, b. Jul 1833, bp. Ludlow, MA) whoís parents are Russell Vibbert and Sarah Penhallow. (Thatís what she filled out on her marriage certificate. Athough she used the spelling "Penharlow" for her motherís maiden name.) She lived with her granddaughter Daisy Cochran (Cowgill) for a period of time after her husband died. She related to Daisy a number of stories. The following are some extracts from a letter Daisy wrote to a nephew about the family.


Almira Vibbert, my grandmother, was the youngest of her 13 brothers and sisters.

Grandma saw lots of the troubles of war. Two of her brothers were in the Civil War, one died in Andersonville Prison.

Our Mother [Eldora Sarah (Tourtellotte) Cochran] was half French. Grandma [Almira Ellen Vibbert], 16 years old and her boy friend, the same age, had gone with her sister and fiance, who were to be married and took the youngsters along. With a little persuasion, they got married too. When they returned Great Grandma was very angry. Great Grandmother told her, "Now you have married him, go live with him!"

[They were m. 5 Aug 1849, mp. W. Thompson, Windham Co., CT. Her sister Maria Vibbert married an Ebenezer Jencks at that time.]

Now my French grandfather lived in a fine home of wealth, which grandmother wasnít used to, and his parents werenít pleased either. His father owned and operated a big stage coach line across the state of New York. The name is Tourtlelotte [sic] and very French. Sad to say I donít know what my grandfatherís name [Charles Leonidas Tourtellotte] was. Because it is said they fought like cats and dogs, and when my mother Eldora Tourtlelotte [sic] was four years old, Grandma took her and went home; this time great grandmother had relented and she stayed.

Grandma was never interested in joining the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her church and Dorcas Society was all she cared about. She had papers to prove that she could be a member. After her death her second [sic] [third] husband, William Lucas, an old soldier and I must say rather ignorant (although he owned a nice home in Hancock, New York), made a grand cleaning one day and burned up all the papers. Perhaps he liked bonfires?

My great-grandmotherís maiden name was Pen Harlow; it was he who helped dump the tea in Boston Harbor.

Little is known of her except that she had red hair and a hot temper. She was the youngest of 13 children.

She told grandmother [Almira Ellen Vibbert] all about the Boston Tea Party. As I [Daisy Belle (Cochran) Cowgill] got it as a kid, it was [great] Grandmotherís father, Pen Harlow, who was leader of the Boston Tea Party. If it was before he had 13 children it might have been, if not, it was his father. They dressed like Indians, swam out to the ship with its cargo of tea, cut the containers open and dumped it into the ocean. Then, as silently they slipped into the woods where they hid out for a few days to see if suspicion would fall on them, for they were still subjects of the crown, and could be killed for treason. It was three years before the Declaration [of Independence] was signed.

Pen Harlow owned a lot of land in Boston, but then, as now, the big shots have their way of getting what they want. In the Revolution, Pen Harlow was terribly wounded; without the medicines of today he suffered seven years in bed before his death.

Most of his children must have been born after the war. Grandmother [Almira Ellen (Vibbert) Tourtellotte] said her mother told her they lived in Boston and owned quite a lot of property, but he lost it because the men who were in that Boston Tea Party, all had to hide out or be hung by the British for traitors because they were under the rule of the king of England until after the Revolution. Pen Harlow was the leader of the group who broke the kegs of tea. They dressed like Indians and hid in the woods.

He had left England against his fatherís will to come to America and join the Colonists. His father owned a factory and was wealthy so he made a will that the property was to be held in trust for the 4th generation of Pen Harlow. The fourth generation sent lawyers to England to get it, but they were bought off and they always came back claiming it couldnít be settled. Several of them then pooled their money and were going to send the lawyer Daniel Webster, but he died. He was considered an honest man.


Itís interesting how the family tradition loosely conforms to what Iíve seen on Penhollow/Penhallow. There is a problem with the dates that Iíve seen however for Russell Vibbert and Sarah Penhallow. The dates Iíve seen indicate that they would have been dead before Almira was born. The family tradition says that Almira was kicked out of the house by her mother because she got married at the age of 16. If this is true, then Sarah Penhallow would still be alive in 1849.

This requires further investigation. I would be grateful for any information that you might have regarding Sarah Penhallow and Russell Vibbert.

Thank you.


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