Friday, February 20, 2015

Holbrook line: Hiram A Stanard: Sometimes a little find says a lot

I've delayed writing about my second great grandfather for these many months, because while I knew a little bit about him, I didn't feel like I had a good "handle" on him.  I wanted something to point to what kind of man he was, before I could tell his story.

Thanks to a new website called gengophers.com, I found just one little detail that helps me visualize the man.  I still have questions about him, of course, but this helps.

Hiram A Stanard (sometimes spelled Stannard) was born August 28, 1828 in or near Eaton, Madison County, New York to Libbeus and Luceba (I've also seen it written Euzebia) Fay Stanard.  He was part of a very large family.  In the 1840 census, he is shown with potentially three brothers (one not known to us) and four sisters, again one not known to this.  In addition he had five brothers who were older than he was and apparently out of the house.

It makes one wonder what his mother thought when the decision was made to take up stakes, and make the long journey to northwestern Illinois shortly after this census.  The family settled near Malden, Bureau County, Illinois, but they weren't settled for long. Luceba died on January 3, 1842, along with a young child.  It's not clear whether this was a childbirth case, or from an epidemic type disease, or just plain exhaustion and malnutrition during a long, hard winter.  At any rate, Libbeus, with a whole houseful of children, married again on July 4, 1842, and Hiram, at the age of 14, had a step mother. 

We don't know much about the next years of Hiram's life.  He married Susan Eddy, daughter of Joseph P Eddy and Susan Lamphire, on December 31, 1854.  They had four children together, Seba, Susan, Esther and Louis E.  I haven't located them on the 1860 census, but in 1870 they had four children listed, plus Cornelia, (Hiram's oldest sister, who apparently never married), Elizabeth Essinger, a young German girl who was a domestic servant, and George McMinch (?), a farm laborer.  So they apparently were doing all right at this time in their lives.

In fact, they may have been respected members of the community.  Here's what I found on the gengophers site that gave me a peek into the life of Hiram.  In 1871, at least, he was a justice of the peace.  This came from a book called Rummel's Illinois and book and Legislative manual for 1871, which is a source I would never in a hundred years have thought to look at.  (Isn't the internet grand?)  A justice of the peace had to be respected and in most states had to be able to post a bond, so this is a clue that the family was not dirt poor.  In fact, the 1870 census confirms this, giving Hiram a value of $9000 for property and $2000 for personal property.  This was doing OK, financially speaking, for the time and place.

The 1880 census is confusing.  Here, Hiram is along on the farm with Cornelia.  The rest of the family is gone, and Cornelia, at age 68, is assisting Hiram in farming.  Susan and the children, however, are in Darlington Township, Harvey County, Kansas, living with Hiram and Susan's son Louis and his bride, Mary Alice Hetrick, plus two other Stanard's who are doubtless cousins to Louis.  What was going on in the family?  Had the move just happened, and Hiram had stayed behind to sell the farm, or because perhaps Cornelia was or had been too ill to move?  Was this a temporary separation of some sort?  Were Susan and children just there for a visit?  I don't know if we'll ever figure this out.

We do know that in 1885 Hiram was in Darlington, Harvey County, Kansas with Susan, their youngest daughter Susan, and Cornelia.  (I certainly hope Susan and Cornelia got along well, as they seem to have spent several years together.)  Whatever had kept the Stanards apart in 1880 was no longer in evidence.  A puzzling aspect of this census is that both Susan and Hiram are listed as mulatto.  I am confident that this is an error, but will keep my mind open if I find anything that points in that direction.  Since the family is well-established for generations back, it would be surprising to learn of such a "fact".  Maybe the census taker, looking forward 130 years, just wanted to sell DNA tests! 

Hiram died before September 25, 1895.  His land had to be sold to pay off debts and the money he had intended to leave his family simply wasn't there.  Farming in Kansas was difficult, and it must have been galling for him to realize that he was ending his life a debtor.  He is buried with his wife Susan, who died in 1910, at the Highland Cemetery in Ottawa, Franklin County, Kansas.

There is one other "maybe" about Hiram.  He may have been an author of sorts.  There is, in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Il., a "History of the of La Moille Baptist Church."  Margaret B Hopps is the author with H.A. Stanard listed as a contributor.  We know from the 1870 census that the nearest post office was La Moille.  It also makes sense that the Stanards were Baptists, since their son Louis became a pastor in the Baptist denomination in Kansas.  I sure would love to go to Springfield to look at that book!  

The line of descent is:

Hiram Stanard-Susan Eddy
Louis E Stanard-Mary Alice Hetrick
Etta Stanard-Loren Holbrook
Gladys Holbrook-Richard Allen
Their descendents