#132: Sweet Treat…

132.1  Let’s consider actor Treat Williams. First big break, with loads of curls, came in the movie version of “Hair”…I remember him best from one of my favorite flicks, Steven Spielberg’s “1941”…both came out in 1979. Now when you first heard of him, did you think the name “Treat” was some sort of tinseltown publicist’s gimmick? Having paid attention somewhat in American History class, I suspected there was more to it than that.

132.2  And when I was looking at the lack of middle names among the Founding Fathers back in #115…and noticed that of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, only 3 had middle names…one of those being Robert Treat Paine…OK, now that’s what I’m talking about!

132.3  As much as I distrust Uncle Wiki with a passion, I will go there as a starting point…but only that. So here’s what they had to say…


They’re especially sloppy with famous kin…the people are usually right, but the precise relationships, not so much. I figured it would be fun to verify this (and it was!)…starting with William Henry Barnum, which as a direct ancestor would be straight up the tree, child to parent.

132.4  Census date proved sufficient…in fact, Treat Williams’ maternal grandmother being a Barnum made it especially easy. You will notice that William Henry turns out to be Treat’s 3G grandfather, not 2G as Uncle Wiki stated…don’t they ever check this stuff?

chart 460

132.5  I suppose it’s possible that they thought they were saying 3G when they said “maternal great great grandfather”…William Henry Barnum is Marian Andrew’s 2G grandfather, true. Trouble is, “maternal” means “on your mother’s side,” not simply “your mother’s.” I mean, if mother’s and maternal meant the same thing, then your mother’s mother would also be your…maternal mother…d’oh!!

132.6  At any rate, Treat Williams was known as Treat growing up…nicknamed Sweet Treat or Meat Treat…and you can see why from Chart 460. A boy will often go by his middle name if this first name is the same as his father’s. Here, Treat’s dad was called Dick…and his mother was called, trust me on this one, Andy…Andy Williams, get it? You’ll also notice the obvious path to Robert Treat Paine, with both a grandfather and uncle named Treat Payne Andrew. Paine with an “i” is the accepted spelling today, but things were more loosy-goosy way back when…hence Payne with a “y”.

chart 461

132.7  But before getting to that, there was the obvious question of whether William Henry Barnum was related to Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum, as both being from Connecticut suggested. Sure enough…not only were they kin, but in the 1867 election for Congress, William Henry defeated P.T. …no “Vote Barnum” signs, I reckon. And Chart 461 gives us 3rd cousins once removed. I’ve seen “3rd cousins,” but that’s only because nobody checks this stuff, nez pah? BTW, it’s tempting to suppose that Milo and Philo were brothers, but they were 2C 1R…

chart 462

132.8  And Treat Williams’ relation to P.T. Barnum? Just place Chart 461 on top of Chart 460 and you should get 3rd cousin 6 times removed…a relationship that derives not from William Henry Barnum, but from his father, who was P.T.’s 3rd cousin.

chart 463

132.9  Connecting Treat Williams to Robert Treat Paine…”The Signer” as his family called him…was straightforward as well…not surprising, since these Anglo-Saxon families are pretty well documented, especially when involving historic figures. Chart 463 gives us 2nd cousins 7 times removed. And that’s certainly a “distant relation” as Uncle Wiki put it…bearing in mind that at some point, even direct ancestors (grandparents with G’s) are distant too…just easier to say! And that should have pretty much been that…

132.10  …except it wasn’t…

132.11  …and that’s where things get sort of comical. If you read what Uncle Wiki says, it’s that Treat Williams is related to William Henry Barnum and Robert Treat Paine, nothing more. But when I read it, I thought they were saying he was related to Robert Treat Paine because Robert Treat Paine was a “distant relative” of William Henry Barnum….in other words, related to Robert Treat Paine thru William Henry Barnum. In fact, it looked pretty cool because if Treat were related to Paine thru the Barnums, he was also certainly related thru the Andrews…a double link. And that still might be the case, if you go back to the Old Country and remove some cousin 12 or 13 times.

132.12  Luckily, I re-read Uncle Wiki and finally understood what they were saying before I had done too much extra work. And I must say, one good thing about it was getting reacquainted with a very valuable website called The Political Graveyard…it connects various political relatives down thru history, and I’ve found their precise kinships to be right on the money.

132.13  I’d even sketched out a tentative solution…Treat Williams related to H.C. Barnum, who was related to P. T. Barnum, who was related to one Luther Hotchkiss, who was related to Charles Hotchkiss, who was related to Robert Treat Paine…and who’s to say this might not have eventually paid off. But as The Gambler said, You’ve got to know when to fold ’em. 

chart 464

132.14  Still, I’d done 2 more charts before I stopped dead in my tracks…and waste not, want not, that’s my motto.

chart 465

132.15  Plus, it’s always nice to see relatives marrying relatives, as with Merriman Hotchkiss and Betsey Durand in Chart 465…2nd cousins…which today freaks a lot of people out. Hope you recover in time so we’ll see you back here next week…

wicked ballsy

Got a comment about the various Valentine Hatfields…I approved it and answered it, but I’m not seeing where it shows up on this blog, so I’ll repeat it all here for the record.

wicked ballsy

I’ll be interested to see if she has any additional info, since she is a relative. If I’m wrong in my conclusions, so be it. Just need to see some evidence, you know?


Copyright © 2013 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved


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