Forewordby Vincent E. Summers
12212 Thomas Nelson Highway
Lovingston, Virginia 22949
The History of the Stewart Family was a document written by Bucher Ayres, from data revealed to him by one of his wife’s ancestors. I do not rightly know his name, except that Bucher himself referred him to as Dr. Stewart. Bucher Ayres’ wife was Jane Alice Lyon, the daughter of John Lyon, Ironmaster of Pennsylvania Furnace Company. His wife, and hence Jane’s mother, and Bucher’s mother-in-law, was Margaret Agnes Stewart, the daughter of Samuel Stewart and Agnes (Nancy) Calhoun. He took an interest in genealogy, even as is so strongly suggested in the opening paragraphs of his dissertation. His younger brother, George Bucher Ayres - telegrapher, photographer, artist, musician, honorary historian, and good friend of Dr. William H. Egle - was also so interested, and no doubt the two strengthened the convictions of the other, that a good family tree was a fine thing to record.
I do not directly relate to them. Yet I do relate to their ancestor from Ireland, the Scottish-Covenanter, Samuel Ayres, and his wife, Margaret Richmond Ayres. These early immigrants to Philadelphia were the progenitors in this country of the line that led to my mother, Adele Stockham Ayres Summers, the daughter of Edward Clifford Ayres. Edward Clifford Ayres was the last Ayres to be mentioned in Egle’s "Pennsylvania Genealogies." My mother, adopting the family penchant, was very much interested in genealogy, and used to almost literally pull me by the arm to the various sites of interment of our family ancestors. So it is that I have an intense interest in genealogy, and in particular, the genealogy of everything relevant to our Ayres. In this, I tend to include what I consider important or particularly interesting small diversions from the direct trunk of the family tree. Bucher Ayres is one such important person to me.
Recently I was able, by good fortune, to find two photographs available on the worldwide web, through the courtesy of one Robert King of Arizona. The photographs are of Bucher Ayres, and another of his wife, Jane. These are sepia prints done by Lyonel, the son of Bucher and Jane, perhaps through the original photography of the brother of Bucher Ayres, George Bucher Ayres, mentioned above, in the form of daguerreotype. The originals date from 1853 – the copies from 1891.
The brochure that I have here transcribed, with a few small modifications, was a copy of a copy that was in the possession of a university professor from Eugene, Oregon. I have not yet been successful in learning the total history of this copy, nor in obtaining an earlier one, closer to the original. The copy that has come down to me was modified by at least three individuals, but primarily by one Minnehaha Finney. This woman was well educated, seemingly a salutatorian in her high school years, and in her university experiences, and apparently had led a most interesting life - certainly she was interested in genealogy - and in history - for she wrote a history of the town of Sterling, Kansas, in which she lived a portion of her adult life. Apparently she was witness in a murder trial at a tender age.
Unfortunately, even a cursory reading of this transcription reveals the fact that her efforts were not at their peak, when she addended, even overwrote, certain portions of the data as supplied by Bucher Ayres. Often she says she believed, guessed, presumed, etc., that some of her data, or that of others, was true, and even replaced a small amount of Bucher Ayres’data, on the basis of such guesses and estimations. This is truly much to be regretted. While much of her data may assist some Stewart researchers, she unwittingly damaged the work of another. If only she had merely footnoted the original brochure! Yet, if she did damage it, she may have been the cause of its preservation, for it is not yet known that there is another extant copy in existence. Also, Minnehaha may never have intended to supplant the publication of Bucher Ayres, but only to have made a copy for her personal use, and that of her immediate family… Such occurrences are part of life, and must be taken philosophically. So it is, that I have decided to present this brochure, freely, to the public, marking portions as done by others, and parts as probably being done by others, by using brackets, and a different color font (red). Unfortunately, I cannot clearly identify all parts that were changed. Especially is this the case, beginning about page number 14 of this transcription. So only small spots beyond this point are highlighted with a red font, rather than the majority of material, despite the probability that much of it is not of Ayres’ writing. The first part of the brochure seems to be almost exclusively the work of Bucher Ayres. It was a big help in trying to ascertain what was material he had written himself. He did not appear to assume the public reader to be slow-witted, and thus in need of repetitious reminders implying the same; nor does it appear that he felt a frequent necessity to remind the reader that changes in geographical naming took place over the years. And, perhaps the biggest indicator of what was not his was his almost total avoidance of brackets or parentheses. The majority, if not all, of the uses of brackets in this transcription, are actually where parentheses did appear in the copy the writer received.
The reader will note a reference to pages 14-A, etc. Instead of inserting these in the brochure as was done by Minnehaha Finney, I have chosen to include the two pages involved, Family Bible Transcriptions from the possession of Minnehaha herself, to the two pages appearing as an Appendix at the end of this brochure.
If anyone happens to discover an older more original copy, the transcriber of this brochure (me!) would appreciate receiving a photostatic copy, or perhaps a scan of the individual pages, so that improvement can be made on this copy of the Bucher Ayres brochure. Thank you all, and may you find something of value in this historical brochure!
V. E. S.
October 10, 2000
Special Acknowledgment must go to Peter M. Wilson, Ph.D. of Spotsylvania, Virginia, for supplying me with his photostatic copy of the brochure, modified by Minnehaha Finney. This is the first and only copy of the brochure by Bucher Ayres I have yet seen,and I am so appreciative of it. It was only kindness, and fellow feeling for a genealogy researcher, that motivated this gentleman to provide me with what was so essential to this project!