Friday, January 31, 2014

Harshbarger line: John Harter-I'm dancing again

One of the reasons I blog is to see where my reasoning and proof is lacking.  I'm so glad I look like a fool now and then, because then I get the chance to correct my mistakes, and to do my happy happy dance. 

After I posted about John Harter on Tuesday, I started looking at the information available about him on line, and I looked at my original sources (none, but I think I know where the wrong information came from), and I studied the censuses that are on line.  I still need to go to Columbia City to do some research, but I am 95% convinced that John's parents were not John Harter and Mary Bower, but instead were George Harter and Elizabeth Geiger.  Everything I am finding points to that direction, including census reports, on line trees, and FindaGrave.  As mentioned in my last post, I need to look at George's will, at John's obituary, and at the land records for George and John, so this is not yet a done deal.

However, I've put it on my Ancestry tree as if it is proven, so that I will know where I need to research, if George and Elizabeth are indeed John's parents. I'm going to have a lot of fun, because it looks like this line is well researched, and I'll have a fairly easy time of it. (Of course, the brick walls in this line will surely be difficult to break down, since it's been tried before and better family historians than I have been stumped.)   

The really interesting thing is that if you follow one of the lines back far enough, one of the ancestors is Anna Margarete Luther.  Her father was the famous Martin Luther, theologian and founder of the Lutheran church.  There is quite a bit of dispute about this, but the claim is that Anna Margarete was married twice, and that this line descends from the only child of her first marriage. 

I think that would be so cool to find that I gave birth to descendants of Martin Luther! But even if that proves to not be true, I'm sure there are many interesting people in this line, and they want to have their stories told.  If you'll excuse me now, I'm off to do some more research! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Harshbarger Line: John Harter 1830-1902

I sure learned a lot while I was working on this post.  I started at the ending:  John Harter died August 24, 1902 and is buried at Eel River Cemetery, Allen County, Indiana.  However, he lived much of his life in Smith Township, Whitley County.  Smith Township borders Eel River Township, Allen County, so he probably lived very near the county line. 

His tombstone states that he was born August 16, 1830. It's likely that he was born in Licking County, Ohio, but that is not yet proven, although the census indicates he was born in Ohio and his parents were born in "E. Virginia".  He was in Whitley County by 1851, because he married Mary Bennett there on April 20, 1851, one of the earliest marriages on the county's records.  Mary Bennett was the daughter of Solomon Bennett and Margaret Farmer. 

In researching this post, I learned that I probably have a mistake in John's ancestry. His parents weren't John Harter and Mary Bower, as I'd thought, but George Harter and Elizabeth Geiger.  How do I know?  Well, John aged 20 is listed in the household of George and Elizabeth in 1850, in Whitley County, Indiana.  Of course, this could be a nephew, but in the 1870 census, John Harter and Mary Bennett  have a 68 year old woman named Elizabeth living with them, and it says "mother to John", if I'm reading it correctly.

(So, I hang my head in shame because I have the wrong information on my tree, but I'm doing a happy genealogy dance because now it appears that I have the correct information. I will verify it in Whitley County before changing anything, and it may just be that I have the wrong parents but that George and John Senior were brothers. We'll see.)

In 1860, he was farming in Smith Township, with a value of the farm of $1200 and personal property of $860.  He is next to a Henry Harter, and just a couple of houses down we find George and Elizabeth, who had had a son John born in 1830.   In 1870, John and family are still in Smith Township, with land valued at $3500 and personal property not clear.  A George Harter family is right next to him, but this would not be his parents. Perhaps it is a brother. 

John was a widower in 1880, his wife having died November 25, 1876.  He was only 50, young to be a widower, and had a son, Harvey and daughter in law, Laura, living with him.  There was also a son, Henry, a granddaughter, Mary E aged 1, and Ellen Harshbarger, a boarder, aged 15.  It appears that Laura and Ellen may have been sisters.  Of course the 1890 census is missing.  By 1900, he was living with daughter Elizabeth Claxton and her family.  Elizabeth was 44 in 1900, and her husband,  Richard, and four children were in that household, in Smith Township, Whitley County, Indiana. 

John and Mary's children were Harvey, born 1852, Sarah Jane, 1854, Elizabeth, 1856, Clara Ellen, October 21, 1857, Lara, 1858, Mary E. 1859, and Henry, 1860.  There are two John Harters from Indiana listed in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors database, but it doesn't appear that either of them are our John Harter, even though he was of age to go.  Also, his name is not listed on the Civil War memorial at the Columbia City Courthouse. 

When (if?) the weather warms up I need to go to Whitley County (again!) to look for a will for George and Elizabeth, and John and Mary Sr, and also to look at land records to see if I can find a deed transfer that might tell me more about this confusing family.  I love a mystery, and I love facts. 

If anyone wants to look at the 1870 census and give me your interpretation of what it says after "Elizabeth" aged 68 in the John Harter family on page 25 of the Smith Township, Whitley County, Indiana census, I'd be grateful!   

The line of descent is
John Harter-Mary Bennett
Clara Ellen Harter (Clarissa in two different censuses)-Emmanuel Harshbarger
Grover Harshbarger-Goldie Withers
Cleveland Harshbarger-Mary Margaret Beeks


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Beeks line: Owen T Reese 1790-1876

Surprise!  I found an ancestor with a lot of inconsistencies in the records.  Some of the information is proven, and some isn't, or at least, I haven't found the proof for it yet (examples:  number and names of children, his and his wife's age, and even the names of his parents).  But there is enough to go on to make a brief outline, I think, and I'm going ahead with the post in hopes that other descendants will see it, and contact me to give me additional information and corrections. 

Owen Traveler Reese lived an interesting life.  His middle name, Traveler, was given him because his parents were traveling from Frederick County, Virginia to Highland County, Ohio, when he was born.  Based on census records only, he was born about 1790.  His parents are believed to be Solomon and Ann Rees, but I found a newspaper article from Tipton, Indiana, stating that his father was also Owen Reese.  I believe that to be an error, because I have found no records of an older Owen Reese, but I can't prove that. 

We don't know anything else from Owen's childhood, except that Solomon had a brewery in 1806.  Presumably Owen would have either worked there, or was apprenticed elsewhere, but that is speculation.  We know he had brothers and sisters.  Lydia was born in 1774, and brother Hiram was born about 1790, so Hiram and Owen would have been close in age and grown up together.  Sampson, John, and Sarah were also siblings, but I have as yet found no indications of their birth dates. 

About the time he came to manhood, the War of 1812 (not yet called that, of course) was rearing it's head.  Owen may have lived in Fayette County at this time, or shortly after.  Owen is listed as a soldier in the 1st Reg't (McArthur's) Ohio Vols and Militia.  He enlisted a private and was discharged as a private, but it's not clear whether he was part of the volunteers who were engaged in the campaign of Detroit, which involved a lot of walking and a lot of fighting Indians, or whether he was part of the militia, who stayed closer to home.  Either way, he served his country at that time and we owe him a debt of gratitude.  The "McArthur's" refers to Duncan McArthur, who had much previous battle experience and went on, after the war, to become governor of Ohio.  The articles I read said that McArthur accumulated much wealth through land speculation, so perhaps any land that Owen owed was originally purchased by McArthur.   

Owen married Margaret Ellen Moon on December 14, 1813 in Fayette County, Ohio.  He is listed on the 1820 census there, along with brother Hiram and also Solomon, over 45.  This is probably his father, since Solomon died in 1829 in Fayette County.  Owen already had four children, two boys and two girls, under the age of 10, living in the household.  Margaret must have been one busy mother!

By 1830, there are more children: one male under the age of 5, one aged 10-14, and one aged 15-19, plus 2 females under the age of five, one who was between five and 9, and two who were 10-14.  Owen was still in Greene Township, Fayette County, and there had been six children born between 1820 and 1830.  By now, I wonder if Margaret was one tired mother? 

By 1840, Owen is in Concord Township, Fayette County, Ohio.  There are still young children in his home, but some of the older ones had apparently left home.  There is one male under the age of 5, and one between the age of 20-29.  What happened to the rest of the boys?  There is also one female aged 5-9, two 10-14, one who was 15-19, and one who was 10-29, plus Owen and Margaret.  There was one person over 20 who could not read and write, and there were two persons engaged in agriculture.  And there was Margaret, probably exhausted. 

He was still in Concord Township in 1850.  The family was downsizing by now, with Ann, Eliza M, Ellen, Albert, and Jackson still at home.  There was also a baby, Margaret, who was probably a grandchild.  The farm that Owen owned was valued at $2200, and on the same page his son, Jefferson, owned land valued at $800.

Sometime between 1850 and 1860, the Reeses moved to Jefferson Township, Tipton County, Indiana, and purchased land noted as being about 1/4 mile southwest of Kempton (which wasn't in existence yet).  His land in 1860 was valued at $5250, with $1000 in personal property.  Even though he was 69 in the census, he still listed his occupation as farmer.  The household now included his wife, Margaret, and Ann and Albert.  Ellen Dunham was also living in the household, as were 5 year old Margaret and 3 year old James Dunham.  Ellen is two years younger than the Ellen listed in 1850 would have been, but it is still likely that this was the Ellen in the 1850 census. 

In 1870, Owen and Margaret make their last appearance in the census.  Ann is still living with them, noted as being "without occupation", as are presumed grandchildren Margaret and James (not noted as having a different last name).  I wonder if Ann was the long suffering child who felt it necessary to stay home and take care of Mom and Dad, or whether she perhaps had a physical or mental handicap that meant Dad and Mom were taking care of her? 

Margaret died on August 3, 1876 and Owen on November 16, 1876.  They are buried in the Kempton cemetery, along with many of their children.  Their children have been identified (not all proven) as Jane, Jefferson, Ann Maria, Isabella, Eliza, Matilda, Jackson, Eleanor, Albert, and Christian.  I wonder what stories the children heard as they were growing up, of the early days in Ohio, and of the War of 1812? 

This may give us some idea of the stories we'll never know about.  A Tipton newspaper printed a short biography of Owen Reese, saying that they traveled to Tipton County in 1852, with a team of oxen hauling their wagon.  This is what the newspaper article stated: "The story of their trip is very impressive...Almost everywhere was wilderness and although the trip was made with oxen and wagon with dirt and corduroy roads, thy had a prosperous and pious one. 

Thus began the progess of their work.  Their homes consisted of one rooned log cabins with grease lights to be used sparingly.  Work was begun by clearing the forests, chopping of wood, sawing of beams, digging of foundations and a general uprising on every side to provide their families with shelter from the summer heat and winter snow. 

Wild animals prowled around their doors, ducks were shot on the water from their cabin window.

The water, from lack of drainage, encircled the timber and added to their difficulties to be overcome.

Their religious services were held in two old log school houses, one located at Tetersburg and one at Old Berlin, south of Kempton."

The line of descent is:

Owen Reese and Margaret Moon
Eliza Reese and Samuel Goodnight Dunham
Mary Catherine Dunham and Homer Harvey Aldridge
Cleo Aldridge and Wilbur Beeks
Mary Margaret Beeks and Cleveland Harshbarger

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Allen line: John Wilson Knott, early years, continued

Continuing with the autobiographical letter written by John Wilson Knott in 1914 in Ashland, Oregon:

..."We lived with father and mother in the little brick cottage during the summer of 1861, and I raised a crop of corn on father Starr's place east of Tipton. In the fall of that year, wife and I went to the farm six miles south of Tipton which father had purchased of the Knott family in Mt Vernon.  Sometime afterwards, father and mother moved down to the farm with us.  We lived there from the fall of 1861 to the fall of 1864, and I worked on the farm, as much for my parents as for myself.  We just got our living.  Whether it was premonition or not, I had a feeling that something unusual was at hand.  What was it?  From a child, I had seemed to have a desire for the ministry, but at no time did it seem possible-conditions were all against me.  I might have been heard many times alone in the barn in prayer during the summer, seeking to know what it was before me that I could not see.  It was 18 months after our marriage, and while we were on that farm that little Alfred was born.  Sometime after little Alfred came, father said to me that mother was unwilling that we should remain in the house with them.  We were going to have a family, and they wanted us to have a house by ourselves.  He said that 52 acres of the farm on the east side was mind, and he would put up a house away up on the hill (a lonely, out of the way place) for us. Of course, this was only talk, for I had no deed of the 52 acres, and when, a few years afterwards, he exchanged the farm for the Sugar Creek Mill property, I had nothing to do with it.  The transaction was made without my knowledge.  And when the mill property was exchanged for the old Mt Vernon farm, I had nothing to do with it.  The $1,500 father frequently said I was to have never appeared.

But the proposition to get rid of us and our unborn children came to me like a shock.  His proposition, at sight, was to me, utterly impracticable.  He had no means to put up anything of a house, maybe a cheap shack, and I had no means to speak of at all.  A deep well would have to be dug, we had but one team and he would control that and other things on the place, as he had been doing all along. I could never take my little family up there under such conditions, and I felt that the plan or demand on us was equivalent to expulsion from the place and I must look out for myself.  I determined at once to face the situation and do or die.

Father Starr kindly offered to give my wife a home with them if I wished to go to the Seminary. I passed my evaluation before the presbytery, and left for McCormick Seminary, Chicago, October 1864.  My undertaking was a crushing experience which no one else can ever know.  I knew I was a green young man, must go before a faculty of eminent professors, and take standing with young men, some of them right from colleges with their diplomas in their pockets. The outlook was tremendous, it was appalling.  In the Seminary, I learned that the faculty had consulted, and had agreed to try me.

Those three years away from family and home were three years of great trial and self-sacrifice, for I loved my wife and children as dearly as any man could.  But notwithstanding, I completed the course with the credit of having been the most faithful in attendance of any married man that up to that time had been in the seminary. 

It is not necessary to delineate particularly what followed in my humble ministry for the next 47 years, from my licensure in 1866 and ordination in 1867, until my advanced age, broken health, and retirement in April, 1913.  It was a checkered life of sunshine and storm, sometimes in prosperity and encouragement, at others in sharp trial and almost alone.  My beloved wife, ever faithful and uncomplaining, traveled with me in loving fidelity through all those years.

In trying to care for my parents in their old age and helplessness, I refused a promising church in Kansas, and went into a very discouraging missionary work in Southern Illinois which was a sacrifice in usefulness, and doubtless, an important financial loss which a very few have know anything about. So the sale of our land in Iowa and the purchase of the Kauffman mortgage at father's earnest request, was doubles a loss of $500 or $1000, as the Iowa land was worth the most.

The remaining lines of my personal biography are sufficiently known to the family: my great bereavement in the loss of my beloved wife in 1910, my experience and narrow escape from death in the hospital, and my journeying since that time until now.

The next important event may be the obituary--a few closing lines--and a long silence until the resurrection."

It's interesting to me what my great grandfather left out of his autobiography.  For instance, his brother Elzy was murdered in Nevada on March 8, 1859 in Nevada.  I think this probably had a great deal to do with the family dynamics outlined in the letter. His father, especially, felt great guilt at the death of his son, and it may have contributed to the way he related to his other children.

 He also didn't mention the early deaths of three of his children, "little Alfred" at the age of 9 months,  John Thomas at the age of four years and three months, and Anna Laura at the age of three years and 9 months. Another daughter, Mary Louise, died as a young adult, at the age of (almost )22.  Did he preach the funeral sermons for his own children? 

His surviving children were George Charles Knott, Walter Leroy Knott, Edith Clarissa Knott, and Herbert Lowell Knott.  Herbert died in 1919, before his father, and I don't have a death date yet for Walter Leroy. 

Reverend Knott pastored at least 17 churches in his lifetime, with his longest pastorate being about 7 years in Lodi, Wisconsin.  He pastored churches in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, Idaho, and Oregon.  I have never heard a word about his wife, other than what is in this autobiography, but I have very great sympathy for her. She did not live an easy life.  Imagine moving 17 times! Imagine losing four children!  Imagine all the church services she must have attended, while moving frequently and trying to raise her family!   

The "Father Starr" reference would be John Havens Starr, 1803-1873, and mother Starr would be Clarrissa Falley, 1812-1875.  "Father" and "mother" were Thomas Jefferson Knott (1808-1887)and Hannah Bell (1811-1890).  John Wilson Knott died in 1927.

John Wilson Knott and Harriet Starr's daughter was Edith Clarissa Knott, who married Edward F Allen. They are my grandparents. 

I'm glad we have this record of our ancestor's lives, even though we acknowledge that this was one man's viewpoint, and he apparently was bitterly disappointed by the actions of his parents. I hope to share in a future blog about his father's life, and ask that we withhold judgment about this parents until we've heard that side of the story. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Allen line: John Wilson Knott, the early years in his own words

The following is a rather long transcript of a hand typed autobiography that John Wilson Knott wrote in July, 1914, from Ashland, Oregon. 

"A brief autobiography of J.W. Knott, written by request for the family:

My birth occurred at Jamestown, Steuben County, Indiana, March 26, 1836.  My father and family removed a short distance in the same county, to Willow Prairie, otherwise called Brookville, where we lived until I was five years old.

In the spring of 1841, we moved across the state line into Michigan and located on the shore of Baubese Lake near Hillsdale.  Here father built a house and we lived in this place about two years.  That country at that time was one vast forest.  In the summer of 1843 father exchanged our home for a place near Jonesville, about 8 miles north, where we lived for another two years, when this place was exchanged for another, two and a half miles north of Jonesville, known as "the Couch" place, at a crossroads which became known as Knott's corners.  This was my home for six years, from 1846 to 1852.  I worked on the farm most of the year, and in the winter trudged through the snow to school a mile and a half to a little log school house.

Father was heavily in debt, and in the spring of 1851 gave his son in law, William S Fezler, an outfit at considerable expense to go to California for gold.  That excitement at the time about the newly discovered gold mines in California was sweeping over the country, and thousands were on their way crossing the plains.  Fezler returned in a year, spent all and brought nothing back. As near as could be ascertained, from some dishonorable conduct, he had to leave in haste for his own safety.  His wife, poor sister Anna, died soon after his return.  Embarrassed with debt, and grieved with disappointment at the miserable failing of Fezler, father determined to sell his farm and go to California himself.  This he did in the spring of 1852, left his family, except brother Elzy who went with him, in a rented house in Jonesville.  We had very little money for anything. I went out and worked in harvest time for 50 cents a day, and mother was very lonely, staying with the children in a large, rickety old house alone.  While we were there, I went to school until the spring of 1853, when mother determined to break up, and go to her folks in Ohio.  We all went to Ohio, and I started to school in the town of Plymouth but the school and the teacher were so unsatisfactory to me that I got $4 or $5 together and returned to the school in Jonesville, did chores for my board with a very kind widow, Mrs. Jones, from whose husband and family the town was named.

I remained in the Jonesville school until the spring of 1854, when the principal, to whom I was very much attached, went away, and then I returned to the family in Ohio.

It was in the summer of 1854 at Jonesville that I made a public profession of religion and united with the Presbyterian Church  After my return to Ohio, I went to school about six weeks at Baldwin Institute, near Cleveland, now Baldwin Institute, but there was trouble in the Institute, the principal was away to conference, I had but little money, and went home.

In the Spring of 1855, father returned from California and came to us in Huron County, Ohio.  In a few weeks after his return, I went to Delaware, near Columbus, and entered the freshman class of the Ohio Wesleyan University.  Soon after, the family followed me to Delaware and lived there in the summer of 1855 in a rented house.  About this time, father bought grandfather Bell's farm, and the family went back to the farm and left me in the University.  I was rooming alone and trying to board myself.  This did not last long.  I was stricken with typhoid fever, and for three weeks was hanging between two worlds, and finally nature prevailed and as soon as I was able, went home to the farm and family.  The year 1856, during the Buchanan and Fremont campaign, and the border ruffian excitement in Kansas, was a red hot year in Ohio.  Father sold the farm, and with a capital of some $2000, in October of that year we migrated to Iowa.  Tipton was the point of destination.  Unwittingly, instead of buying cheap land, father invested in a dry goods firm, and for a year I was clerk and bookkeeper in the store of Knott and Carl, Tipton.  The firm broke up, or sold out, in the winter of 1857-8 and our family was left with nothing but a little brick cottage, and no title for the land on which it stood.

Brother Elzy sent father some money, and by borrowing a little more, in 1855 father and brother T.J. went to California, and myself and the rest of the family were left in the little brick house in Tipton.  I worked out where I could get anything to do and taught school in the country in the winter, and did what I could to supply the wants of the family and keep them together until father should return.  It was in the spring of 1859 that I became acquainted with a lovely and beautiful girl, Hattie C. Starr, and we became engaged.  Father returned in the winter of 1861.  On the 2nd of April, 1861, Miss Starr and I were married.  This was just twelve days before the great civil war broke out in all its fury by the storming of Fort Sumpter..."

I am going to make a part 2 and give the rest of the letter in my next blog post, as this is already lengthy for a post.  A few words of explanation:  His father and mother, not referred to by name, were Thomas Jefferson Knott and Hannah Bell.  The Bell grandparents that he referred to were John Bell and Hannah Finch, who lived in Huron County, Ohio for the latter part of their lives.  From the writings of Thomas Jefferson Knott, it is apparent that Thomas was more of an optimist, or put a better "spin" on things, than did his son John Wilson.

Also, if anyone from the Fezler family reads this, I would certainly be interested in hearing anything they know about William S. Fezler. I'm sure there are two sides to the story. 

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Break time: Catching my breath

This isn't really an ancestor post. It's more about getting ready for my next ancestor posts.  Bear with me. 

A week and a half ago, Randy Seaver, on his Genea-Musings blog, issued one of his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenges, to determine how many ancestors we had found, back to ten generations (7th great grandparents).  I tried to figure it out just using my pedigrees, but I kept losing track on the charts. So I finally printed out the whole anhentafel  (ancestor list) back to 10 generations, and counted manually.  My count was 547 on my side (197 pages of material) and 415 (139 pages) on my husband's side. I believe a "perfect" score was 1023 ancestors.  So, I have my work cut out for me!

Printing out the ahnentafel, I instantly realized, is going to be hugely helpful in working on my blog. When I printed it out, I noticed that it included all the material I have typed into my Family Tree Maker program, giving an informal list of sources, and including bits and pieces from various books, newspapers, etc, that I've found.  Now I can easily page through, see who seems to be pretty thoroughly researched (really, that includes no one) and who is sadly lacking (almost everyone).  I can also put sticky notes to remind me that I've written about so and so, or have written about this about so and so, so I don't do the same blog twice.  Yesterday I bought binders for each tree and tab dividers for each generation, so today I expect to be doing a lot of hole punching.  I know this method is "quaint" (my sister's term for "get into the 21st century, girl!"), but it will work for me.  I'm thrilled that answering Randy's challenge is going to help me with this blog.  It may someday give me a structure for writing a family history book, too. 

I still need to face the challenge of going through a five drawer filing cabinet to see what I've recorded, what I haven't, and what I can safely toss.  But that's for another day, or month, or year!  And first, I have a pile of papers to file, about 2 inches thick. An organized genealogist I am not!

I'll post again on Friday, but for now, I need to get busy punching holes and reviewing those papers.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Harshbarger and Beeks lines: Men and their cars

Here are a couple of newspaper articles I think are worth sharing.  The first is from the Logansport Pharos-Tribune October 21, 1920.


Columbia City, Oct. 21- Emanuel Harshbarger, well known cider mill proprietor of Thorncreek township, after a prosperous day Thursday, in the evening, with over $200 in a cigar box, before going to his home first went to the garage to put some gasoline in his auto. A lantern Mr. Harshbarger had lighted was placed on the ground near the gasoline tank.  Fumes arising from filling the auto tank ignited, the lantern exploded, and burning oil was shot over the interior of the building. Mr. Harshbarger saved his auto by pushing it from the shed, then happened to remember that he had left the box of money on the floor near the machine.  The fierce progress of the flames prevented his re-entering the shed to recover the money. Mr. Harshbarger was badly burned about one arm, a local physician being called to attend him."  

The second article is from the Huntington Herald, March 26, 1924, page 8. 


Wilbur Beeks and Samuel Aldridge are taking a lot of kidding these days over a trip Sunday to Atlanta, Ind., near Tipton. They encountered some poor roads on the way down, and were given quite a lot of information about how to find their way back.  The advice was disastrous, as it is related that they were stuck in the mud three different times, and each time had to hire a team to pull them out.

Night came on, and then, it is said their real troubles began.  After traveling "all over central Indiana," it is said, they came to a small town and made inquiry as to where they were.  It developed, so their traducers say, that it was Andrews, and that they would not believe it until they were shown the town hall. 

The trip home is said to have required ten hours." 

Ah, and their cars! 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Holbrook line: Fremont Holbrook and my happy, happy, happy genealogy dance

He was a mystery, and he was my great grandfather.  Mystery and great grandfather should not be in the same sentence, in my opinion.  All I knew was his birth date, quite a bit about his wife, and of course I knew his parents and his children and his siblings, because I did have census data.  But that's about the end of the line. 

Thanks to an obituary and a funeral report found on, from the Chicago Heights Star, I now have the following additional information.

His father, Joseph Holbrook, had married Mary Elizabeth Whittemore.  They came from New York with Job Campbell, and purchased land from the federal government. Joseph Holbrook eventually owned about 1000 acres of land, including what became the Holbrook subdivision in Chicago Heights. 

Fremont was born February 10, 1851 in a log cabin on the old Holbrook homestead two miles north of Chicago Heights,  He married Phoebe Brown on October 10, 1877 and they settled on the family homestead, where they lived until 1901.  They had three sons, Ray Rockwood, Loren F, and Clark.  The obituary mentions there were three grandchildren, (actually, there were four), numerous other relatives, and a host of friends who survived to mourn a fine character. 

It also mentions that he was a member of the First Methodist church and had been active until the last five years of his life, when he became ill.  Finally, I learned that he was buried at Oak Lawn cemetery (I knew that part), "the land which Mr. Fremont Holbrook and his father preceding him, had owned and managed for many years".  The date of death was Wednesday, July 21, 1926.

I am so happy that I subscribed to this website.  I spent an hour or so on it this morning and pulled quite a bit about the Brown family, too, although I haven't yet found an obituary for my great grandmother.  (As an aside, there are some fascinating newspapers on this site, and I plan to explore more of them in the days to come.  In the meanwhile, I think I already have my money's worth!)

So, here's another happy, happy dance on a very cold and snowy day.  Slowly, I'm learning our ancestor's stories, and I'll continue to share the joy of the hunt and the nuggets that I find about our ancestors.   

Line of descent:
Fremont Holbrook-Phoebe Brown
Loren Holbrook-Etta Stanard
Lois/ Gladys Holbrook

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy genealogy dance for the Allen line

Few things make me happier than to stumble across something new about one of my ancestors.  A couple of days ago, I was doing my semi-regular Google searches for my found relatives, hoping for something new, and behold!  I Googled the name of my great grandfather, John W Knott, and pulled up several new-to-me sites for him.  One was the General Catalogue of the McCormick Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church, Chicago, Il, from 1900 and another issue from 1912, and I can now say I think I know everywhere that he preached during his lifetime. There were 17 different locations noted.  McCormick Theological Seminary kept track of him because he was an alumnus of sorts. Thank you, Cyrus McCormick, for providing the initial funding for this school!

Even more interesting, I found a reference to a John W. Knott who ran for the office of Idaho State Secretary of State in 1898.  Hmmm...He was in Soda Springs, Idaho in 1898.  A little digging on turned up the information via the Idaho Daily Statesman of May 28, 1898, that this was indeed Rev. John W. Knott, of Soda Springs, Idaho.  He and the entire Prohibition ticket were soundly trounced in the November election.  This was a four party race, and most Idahoans were paying attention to the Free Silver issue, not to the Prohibition ticket, which was a few years ahead of its time.  I find it fascinating and commendable that at the age of 62, knowing it would be a losing cause, he was willing to run for office. I'm sure he felt it his duty, and probably felt the call of the Lord to do this. 

So-happy genealogy dance time, for a detail that sheds real light on the character of my great grandfather! It looks like he practiced his faith, and didn't just preach it.

I am hoping to have more happy genealogy dances during 2014.  I'll be happy with anything I learn that fills in the gaps of the people I know about.  I'll be ecstatic if I break down any brick walls this year.  My genealogy goals are to continue reading, watching videos and webinars, researching both the lost and the found, and to keep blogging.  Maybe if I don't find my brick wall people, I'll find new cousins I can actually talk to! 

Happy New Year to all my readers, and my 5 cherished followers!