December 11, 2014

Cornell Family Dialogue Via Blog Post Comments




KILLED STRANGELY: A NEW ENGLAND MURDER STORY was the most commented on post on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS, an online magazine-style blog. It’s connected numerous persons delving into the Cornell family (Twitter hashtags #Cornellgenealogy, #Cornellfamily).

  • Hi Carolyn, I am the great, great, great grandson of William and Margaret O’Neal Cornell of Bedford PA.  I’m trying to figure out if I belong to the New England family line or the French Huguenot family line or a lesser known family….Maybe you could help!  Patrick, received on CAROLYN’S BIO July 23, 2013

I decided to post a list of these comments separately from the list of a review of other CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS comments because the information is valuable for Cornell family researchers.

NOTE: This article is being rewritten. Upon review I discovered I made multiple writing errors which I will correct after January 1, 2015, on the CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS follow-up blog, CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE. To reread the edited copy type CAROLYN’S ONLINE MAGAZINE after January 15, 2015.

Below are the Cornell family comments on CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS:

  • this story fascinates me! I found it a couple of years ago when I came across clues that suggest we’re also Cornell descendants here in Oklahoma! I had to buy the book. I’m reading it again because I want to share the story with my family on my blog, American Saga. I will track back to you when I get it written. Jan
  • Thomas Cornell was my eighth great grandfather. I’m going to Rhode Island in three weeks to visit these spots you mention and others. Were you able to find the graveyard where he is buried? Cameron Cornell  — January 3, 2009
  • I recently spoke to the author, Dr. Crane, who assured me she had found the family burial plot deep in the overgrown woods. It is not located on the government property. I visited this spot in Rhode Island a month or so ago, and walked back in the woods, but did not go deep enough to locate the plot. I’ll try again in the spring. John W. Cornwell  — January 22, 2009

  • I finally located the cemetery. To read my experience, click on IN NEW ENGLAND, HISTORY CONFLICTS WITH PROGRESS. Thanks for your comment. By the way, the “c” in carolyncholland stands for my maiden name, Cornell.carolyncholland — January 23, 2009
  • I am directly related to the Cornells also. I live on the Cornell Farm in Dartmouth MA. My grandmother was a Cornell. On 8/5/09 I located the Cornell cemetery. It is hard to find…You must enter the Bay View condo compex..keep going straight…towards the ocean. You will enter a newly built are of condos, turn left and look for Condo 281. pull behind this condo unit (you can park there) there is a small path cut into the woods..enter this path..about 10 feet in..look to your right..there are stones still standing. What caught my attention is that there are plastic flowers that have been placed there. If you need further info..your welcome to contact me…More info.. There are other names of people buried there that I can’t explain…A John Wyatt from Virginia and a few Coggshalls. I have found no record of these family names in my research..any help would be email is Craig Tjersland — August 7, 2009
  • Awesome Craig– did you buy the Cornell farm or inherit it!? and if you bought it, did you know you were related at the time!? I am almost done reading the book by Dr. Crane —it is very good– My husband is also a descendent of Thomas and Rebecca– from their son Samuel— next time we go to Portsmouth, I will look for the cemetery–our daughter recently married and lives in Rhode Island now, from upstate NY— thanks for the directions–Kim Mabee  August 28, 2009
  • Thomas and Rebecca were also my “grandparents.” I did return to Portsmouth in April ’09, and easily found the cemetery behind the condos. My brother George was with me and we spent many sweaty hours with assorted handtools clearing out debris and undergrowth. We found the plastic flowers scattered about and bundled them next to a tombstone. Many of the stones are still legible. Cross referencing the Cornell Geneology by Rev. John Cornell (1902), I was able to make sense of many of them…ie: Coggeshalls were old neighbors and married into the family.  Jack Cornwell  October 23, 2009
  • John, I am so glad you chose to spend the “many sweaty hours” cleaning the cemetery. It desperately needed it! So accept my words of gratitude and appreciation. Carolyn Cornell Holland  October 24, 2009 I will add my many thanks to that also —We plan to get there soon to see it — Well done— kim Mabee — October 24, 2009
  • Hi Everyone— we found the cemetery yesterday— Craig, you did a wonderful description job on how to find it– John, sorry to say all your hard work needs redoing— if you go to you will find some of the pictures I took and downloaded– it is named the thomas cornell cemetery, in rhode island/newport county of course—i wrote in what i could read—there are lots of broken stones etc— kim   November 3, 2009
  • Kim, could you post a link to your pictures? I’m computer illiterate, went to and couldn’t figure out how to find the pictures. Thanks.  Carolyn C. Holland November 3, 2009
  • carolyn— I am pretty computer illiterate also— this is the best i could figure out how to do—it has been a while since i was on findagrave—-you may have to set up an account/login !!?? sorry– kim
  • Carolyn — were you finally able to see the pictures on the web site? if not, i could email them directly to you— it is a shame about the condition–there was a large branch/tree in the way of the sign even– did not think to bring a chain saw with us! It has warnings for vandalism, but you can see it was used for target practice– any ideas of who/how we can bug someone to get all this properly taken care of?? state? town? historical society? owners? —thanks, kim  November 9, 2009
  • Carolyn—do you know who G Corwell is ? they duplicated some of the names on findagrave—i would be happy to turn them over to someone if they want to control them— i see what they tried to do– add some info — but they needed to contact me to do that,i guess — not 100% sure how this works– kim November 9, 2009
  • Hi Carolyn, I also am a member of the humble corp of direct descendants of Thomas Cornell. My home is in New Jersey, and I visited the Cornell cemetery in April with my brother Jack [John W. Cornwell] who has posted comments above. I am glad you received our cemetery photos, but regret I could not figure a way to post them on your blog. Kim Mabee’s comments, and the grave photos she post at “findagrave” were very helpful for me in some mild research on some of the individuals buried there. My primary source was Rev. John [1839-1926] Cornell’s 1902 Cornell Geneolgy [which is available online [via “Ezra Cornell Papers”]. I also used “Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries Transcription Project” 2007 to find more information about birth/death dates.  Comment by George Cornwell — November 10, 2009
  • George, Let me know which photos you would like added to the blog and I will link them. Thanks. Are you anywhere near Belcoville, NJ? There is another family there descended from the Cornells. They are my father’s children by a second marriage. I was also surprised to find another group of Cornells nearby where I live in Southwestern Pennsylvania. They are descended from a different child of Thomas and Rebecca Cornell. I am descended from their son Thomas, who was hung. Rightfully or wrongfully. I have yet to have contact from anyone else who is descended from son Thomas.  Which of Thomas and Rebecca’s children are you and Jack descended from? Carolyn C(ornell) Holland  November 10, 2009
  • Dear Carolyn,  I’m a Cornell descendant and tried to leave a comment on your piece about your visit to the Cornell homestead site with the book Killed Strangely. Somebody from Cornell University seems to have located the Cornell burial ground but the graves seemed fairly modern but it’s overgrown and unmaintained. What a pity since the Cornells were founders of the place.  There’s a Richard Cornell burial ground in the Far Rockaways which is on the National Historic Register but the headstones have been lost. He was one of the sons of Thomas and Rebecca Cornell.   At the New York Historical Society I read Rev. John Cornell’s genealogy book on the family with photographs of the well maintained Cornell homestead in RI and well maintained burial ground. What a difference a century makes.   bessfones — July 21, 2010 on CAROLYN’S BIO


The links below take you to the eight Thomas and Rebecca Cornell cemetery photos contributed to this article by their descendent, George Cornwell. If you read the comments below, you will learn that he and his brother John spent many “sweaty” hours cleaning up the cemetery. I appreciate George’s permission to post the photos.

A link to Kim’s photos:




Two Photographers Named Cornell



  1. […] Cornell Family Dialogue Via Blog Post Comments […]

    Pingback by Why Spend A Saturday Doing Genealogy? | Carolyn's Online Magazine — March 3, 2015 @ 1:32 am | Reply

  2. Anymore info on why Thomas was hung ?

    Comment by Grace ( & Fred) Wells — May 17, 2015 @ 8:09 am | Reply

    • Not really—it will always remain a mystery. However, my short story will have my version of what happened. I’ve written the beginning and the end, and need to complete the middle.

      Comment by carolyncholland — May 17, 2015 @ 8:38 am | Reply

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