Friday, April 21, 2017

Patience Meeker's Surviving Child: Almira Miller

WILLIAM MILLER m Loraine Fountaine > MILO VOLNEY MILLER m (1) Patience Meeker > ALMIRA MILLER m George Fee

Last time, I talked about the very successful Milo Volney Miller of Center Point. Early on, he was married to a woman he met during the time he was working in the logging camps in NW Pennsylvania, Patience Meeker. She had two children, one dying as an infant, and Almira, born 23 Sep 1844. Patience died in Indiana prior to 1849 and Milo remarried.

Death Mention Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette
On 29 Mar 1863, Almira married George W Fee in Linn County Iowa. George was the son of George Fee and Abigail Means, who married in North Carolina, but were both Virginia natives who came to Iowa with the earliest wave of settlers.

The couple had three children. In the late 1890s, Almira became ill and remained so until her death on 27 Feb 1898.

Her husband George had his share of troubles during his lifetime. In October 1900, he was arrested and later convicted of assault on one Nicholas Zabosky. He lost on appeal as well and finally received a fine of $10 and three days in jail unless the fine was paid immediately. Zabosky later sued him for $2,000 in civil court for the assault. The outcome of that case is not known.

The year previously, he was pulled up in front of his church council for a church law court session which was highly unusual in the day:

CHURCH LAW COURTNovel Case Heard and Disposed of Before Elder AlbrookPresiding Elder Albrook of the Marshalltown district of the Methodist church last week conducted a court in Tama county that is somewhat novel in church procedure. Some years ago a Mrs Head requested her neighbor and brother in the church George Fee, to attend a sale and bid on an eighty-acre farm in her interest. This she claimed he agreed to do. He attended the sale and bought the farm, but was so well pleased with the bargain that he concluded to keep the land for himself. he contended that he was not acting as the agent of Mrs Head and that he was representing himself. The transaction and the talk that followed made trouble in the church, and the trouble grew perhaps faster than the membership and resources of the local body. Mrs Head claimed that the land was worth $5 per acre more than her agent had paid and as he had kept the land, she maintained that she had been defrauded of $400. The pastor in charge at the time, Rev Lee, concluded that he would put a stop to the talk if not to the trouble, and ordered a trial inside the church. five men were chosen, according to the rules of the denomination, to hear the case, attorneys were selected from the membership and Elder Albrook presided. At the close of the trial, Mrs Head was awarded $380. The case is peculiar in that it substitutes church procedure for civil court procedure.
Cedar Rapids Evening GazetteMonday, April 17, 1899, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Still, luck occasionally came his way. In late 1904, a vein of coal was discovered on his property at a depth of 100 feet. It was discovered while digging a water well on his farm in Tama County.

Fee died 12 Jul 1909 in Linn County.

Almira's children:

William H Fee was born in Mar 1864 and first married Lillas R Hoagland on 01 Jan 1885 in Linn County. They had two children before divorcing. Lillas died 10 Feb 1914 in Custer, South Dakota. I'll be revisiting the children of this marriage. His second wife, Isadora "Dora" Fanning was the mother of his next nine children. Married in 1897, it appears they divorced prior to 1925. William died 30 Mar 1928 in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa. Dora died in 1954.

Cynthia Abigail "Abbie" Fee was born in Nov 1865. She married William P Cress on 03 Oct 1886 in Linn County. They adopted one child, Leo, who was born 27 Aug 1890 to John Cress and Ida Cox.
Short Horn Cattle
William, born in 1863, died 09 Nov 1944 in Center Point. Abbie died 17 Mar 1951 also in Center Point. Leo would spend his entire adult life working on the Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and Northern Railroad.

Wesley Bartlett was born 15 Jul 1867 in Linn County. He married Estella C Cox on 23 Mar 1892 in Linn County. Bart was very fortunate to have survived a case of typhoid fever in 1886. They had four children, two of whom died as young children. I'll visit back on their surviving son another day. Bart farmed successfully, building a large, beautiful residence in 1912. Along with short-horn cattle, Fee raised American Poland-China hogs. Just prior to selling his farm in 1932, his farm was damaged by a serious storm in May of 1932, destroying a brooder house; falling timbers killing many young chicks and rain drowning others. He still maintained a stockyard, where he died of a heart attack while working in 1934. His wife also died in 1934.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Original Milo Volney Miller, Mr. Successful

WILLIAM MILLER m Lorain Fountaine > MILO VOLNEY MILLER m (1) Patience Meeker (2) Cynthia Sprague

1800s NW PA Logging Camp
Milo Volney Miller, not to be confused with nephew Milo Volney Miller, was an early settler in Linn County, Iowa. His father was born in England and came to the US as a young man. Lorain was the daughter of a French-Canadian who emigrated to the US. They lived much of their lives in Onandaga County, New York.

The trek to Iowa was a long one, but fruitful for Milo. Born 08 Sep 1821, in Onadaga County, York, he was reared there until age 19, when he as a single man, went down to Warren County, Pennsylvania for work. Lumber camps were big, successful business in this area during their heyday. Camps were always located along a stream or near a good spring. Logs cut from mountainsides were manually floated to the river or hauled to the Allegheny by horses and chains by teamsters. Pairs of lumberjacks would fell large trees while another man worked clearing space 10-foot around the next tree. Most farms in this area were carved from the bounty of these camps, once cleared, the ground could then be cultivated and farmed. Milo would "follow the saw" for a few years.

While there, he met and married Patience Meeker in 1843 in Pennsylvania. The couple then had gone to near Milan, Ohio. In the 1840s, Milan was experiencing a big grain boom. Located in Erie County, it was also a port town where commodities could be easily transported across the lakes in a time when railroad building was still rather inefficient. They then moved to McHenry County, Illinois where he briefly farmed. Then, it was on to Boon, in Porter County, Indiana, about 10 miles from Valparaiso. The couple had two children,  Almira F Miller, born 23 Sep 1844 in Indiana and an infant who died. Patience would die in Indiana.
Breaking prairie. Done with horses or oxen.

He married Cynthia Sprague on 02 Jul 1849 in Porter County. She hailed from Allen County, Ohio and had come to Porter County with her father, Mr. Solomon Sprague. The first of their four children was born here during the nearly five years they would spend here before they moved on to Jackson County, Iowa. Most of his family was in Boon in 1850 including his widowed mother, brothers Edrick and George, and their families, and sister Mary Jane and her husband Simeon Lisk and family.

While in Jackson County, Milo bought a 200-acre farm, 60-acres of which was "under the plow." Just two years later, he sold that place and moved to Linn County. It was now 1853 and the settlement of the area was still relatively new and burgeoning. He bought a 220-acre improved farm in Grant Township and farmed there until he again moved on in 1876 to nearby Center Point in Linn County.

His brother Edrick would end up settling in Portland, Whiteside County, Illinios, but the rest moved on to Iowa and by 1860, with the exception of Edrick, were all in Linn County, Iowa.

Milo blossomed while in Center Point, moving into the real estate business. He began purchasing land and improving farms. He bought land in town, as well, and owned two business blocks along with over a dozen residences in and out of town which he rented. His rental farms totaled 600 acres of highly-desirable Linn County farmland. Over the course of his nearly 50 years in the area, he developed a reputation as "an upright, reliable businessman of strict integrity and sterling worth," according to The Biographical Record of Linn County, Iowa, 1901.

Milo reportedly died 28 Dec 1912 in Center Point, his wife having departed just before on 06 Jul 1911. However, a news item in the 01 Jan 1913 Cedar Rapids Republican says Miller was "gravely ill" and not expected to survive. My guess would be it was a late-posted article and they had not yet received word of the death. Son-in-law Ted Lampman was named executor of the Miller estate and posted a $2,000 bond.

The children:

1 Almira F Miller, born 23 Sep 1844 (to Patience Meeker). Married George Fee, born 08 Nov 1837 in Crawford, Illinois. He farmed. She died 27 Feb 1898 in Linn County and he 12 Jul 1909. They had three children.

Annie Obit - No mention made of
second marriage to Hein
2. Adelia "Delia" Miller was born 22 Jan 1851 in Porter County, Indiana. She married Theodore. Lampann, another successful Linn County farmer who originally hailed from New York and was born in March 1849. You can read about them here

3. Samuel W Miller was born in 1854 in Linn County, married Margaret (unknown), born 1856. They had three children. He died  in 1913 and she in 1899 in Linn County.

4. Mary Philena was born 01 Mar 1857 in Linn County. She married Edmund James Sarchett on 08 Nov 1874 in Linn County. He was born 10 Jun 1853 in Cambridge, Guernsey, Ohio. They had eight children. She died 08 Oct 1932 in Washington Township and he on 23 Jun 1939 in Center Point.

5. Annie Elizabeth was born 08 Mar 1860 in Center Point. She was married to John D. Wormer, who was born 21 Nov 1856 in Ohio and died on 06 Oct 1898. They had three children. She then married Oliver Hein, a widower with adult children, on 13 Sep 1900 in Marion, Iowa.  The bliss in the union seems to have been short-lived, though because they divorced prior to 1910.  Ann was buried with her first husband in Center Point and died 19 Aug 1936.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dixie Lee Michaelsen Pedersen Pedersen

Young Dixie
Dixie Lee, born 11 Oct 1934 in Black Hawk County, Iowa, was born to Rasmus Theodore "Ted" Michaelsen and Verlie Smith. Her parents had a challenging relationship and the four children of their marriage would all end up in the Bremer Lutheran Orphanage in Waverly, Iowa and be adopted out to various family members and a Lutheran minister and his wife..

Dixie was an adorable, free-spirit who was adopted along with her sister Janis by Axel and Dagmar (Michaelsen) Pedersen,her paternal aunt and uncle. They were raised in Hurley, Mississippi. Like her sister, Janis, Dixie was also involved in 4-H and won three blue ribbons at the 1950 Jackson County Fair and won a number of other ribbons over the years of her participation ranging from her vegetables to her sewing.

In 1952, she met Corporal Flemming Jessen Pedersen of the Danish Air Force, who was undergoing training at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. Dixie's Michaelsen side of the family were from Denmark. When the couple married 23 Nov 1952 in Biloxi. Their wedding "blended traditions of the old and the new countries." It was described as "particularly colorful" in the newspaper.  Her sister Janis was Dixie's attendant and Corporal Kaj-Erick Andreassen of the Belgian Air Force was best man.

After their marriage, they moved to Copenhagen where their first child, daughter Ivy Ann, was born on 03 Sep 1953. In mid-1955, the couple came to the US and stayed with sister Janis and her husband in Mississippi. Their young son, Flemming Dale, born 26 Dec 1954, died while sleeping in its carrier at the Ladnier's. The autopsy confirmed that the child had an undiagnosed heart defect.

Flemming worked at NASA at Cape Canaveral in the 1960s and the family lived in Florida. While living in Florida, Dixie taught dance classes.Two more children came along: Leif David, born 16 Dec 1960 who was born in Lake Worth, Palm Beach, Florida and Eric. Leif would die 15 Mar 2004 in Pascagoula. Ivy Ann died 25 Sep 2012 in Melbourne, Florida.

They eventually moved back to Pascagoula, and Flemming worked at the shipyards where LeVerne worked near Moss Point. Dixie was a life member of the Pascagoula Elks Lodge #1120 Ladies Auxiliary. She served two terms as President and was selected Officer of the Year twice. She died at the age of 75 on 09 Jan 2010 in Moss Point. Her husband Flemming died 23 Sep 2014 in Melbourne, Florida.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Zola Bebee, Grandma's Best Friend


Zola Jenks Beebe
One of the memories I have from childhood is my Grandmother Verlie's best friend, Zola Bebee. Zola was frequently found at her best friend's house as I was growing up. They remained friends throughout their lives. What I didn't know, is that Zola was also related to my Uncle Leland Barr, husband of my Great Aunt VivVerlie's youngest sister.

Alexander Barr and his wife Mary Soash, both hailed from Pennsylvania. Alexander was a cabinet maker and followed that trade when he moved to Wisconsin. He settled on the Whitewater River. Later, he moved down to Iowa and settled in Jackson County. Alexander died in 1862 and his wife soon after. Their son William was the father of Uncle Leland. Their son Henry had married Ella Louise Jones, born in Ohio in 19 Nov 1856. The couple had eight children including Maryette "Mary", who was born 18 Mar 1882.

Mary married Frank Jenks, son of James and Dora Jenks. Frank was born on a farm in Benton County on 29 Jun 1879. They were married 05 May 1900. Frank and Mary had four children, among them, Zola, born 02 Dec 1908. The couple lived in Mt Auburn before moving to La Porte City in about 1917. Frank operated a barbershop and billiard parlor on Main Street in La Porte City, Black Hawk County. One day, he had a heart attack in his shop while talking to customers and died. The town's businesses closed during the funeral hour in respect.

Zola and Verlie on the steps
of Verlie's rental home on Black Hawk St 1950s
John Franklin Bebee was born 26 Jul 1900 in Prairieburg, Linn County, Iowa. He married Myrtle Ethel Reece on 12 Jun 1926 in Waterloo. They had a daughter, Donna Mae Bebee in 1928. The couple divorced and John married Zola. They lived in Waterloo and later in Evansdale. John died in July 1964. In 1963, she became godmother to my sister at our baptism in Waterloo.

Zola used to drive a big blue car - I'd like to say it was about a 1964 Chevy, but I can't nail that down. Because Verlie didn't drive, you could see Zola driving them around in her car. Her carefully coiffed hair bobbing up and down barely above the steering wheel as they tooled down the road. They'd get out of the car, giant purses hooked over their wrists, talking and laughing, in conversations that often ran to, "Well, did you hear about Lula and her man?" They loved to get their hair done and loved to sit and gossip together.

The last time I saw Zola was when my grandma lived in her senior apartment in the late 1970s; I was in high school. She had driven over for a good gossip. Soon after, I left for service. Zola, who had suffered with diabetes for many years, eventually lost a leg to the disease and was no longer able to drive. She was eventually cared for in a nursing home until she died in October 1985 in Waterloo.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

The Other John R Smith

JACOB SMITH > JOHN R SMITH  m Sarah Randolph

Click image to increase size

Is Elnora here too?
Not to be confused with his nephew, John Richard Smith, John R Smith had six known children during his marriage to Sarah Randolph, whom he married 23 May 1854 in Hazel Green, Grant County, Wisconsin. John was born 30 Aug 1826 in Harrison County, Ohio. He came with his family to the Eastern District of Grant County in 1846. This family continues to elude me in getting a sense of who they are. Very little information is available and I would love to meet someone from their family.

John and Sarah stayed in the Grant County area for their lives. In 1880, they also cared for John's mentally challenged brother, Isaac, who had previously and would later again, live with brother William Custer Smith, my 2nd great grandfather.

Elnora Smith was born in Aug 1856 in Grant County. On 06 Mar 1889, she married Charles Simons, a farmer, in Grant County. Charles died on 27 Feb 1912 and was buried in Prairie Cemetery in Fennimore.   She survived until at least 1920, when she and her brother Mark were residing together
Poland-China Sow
on Prairie St in Fennimore. I did not find a stone for her at Prairie Cemetery when I visited, but there was a family stone with no individual names engraved. Charles had a separate stone. They had no children.

Their daughter Elsina was born 28 May 1859 in Fennimore, Grant County. She married Lawrence Zifka, a Polish immigrant, on 01 Feb 1881. They had five children. Zifka raised American Poland-China hogs. The family farmed east of Fennimore and moved into town during their retirement. Elsina appears to be the only one of John and Sarah's children to have children. The Zifka's great-great granddaughter is Olympic judo bronze medal winner and former MMA Bantamweight champ, Rhonda Rousey.

Emma Nancy Smith was born about 1861 in Grant County. She was mentioned in the 1870 and 1880 census, but I cannot locate any further information on her. Have some?  Get in touch.

Mark Smith was born in 1867 in Grant County. He farmed in Burke, Wisconsin and died 10 Nov 1940. His sister Elnora lived with him at the time of the 1920 census.
George McLimans is 3rd from left, 2nd row

Tirza "Tersey" Smith was born 07 Jul 1871 in Preston, Grant County. She married George Oscar McLimans on 14 Mar 1906 in Grant County. George was the son of John McLimans and Sophronia McGhan. John owned a farm just north of the railway tracks on the east side of Preston. In January 1948, Tersey & George had two house fires, the second badly damaging their home in Fennimore.   They also had no children. Tirza died 09 Mar 1951. George was a rural mail carrier and worked out of the Fennimore post office for more than 30 years before he retired. He died 15 Jan 1957.

Sarah "Sadie" Smith was also a life-long single. She was born about 1875 and died after 1940.  In 1940, she was living with the McLimans. Little else is known.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Private Charles E Miller, 40th Iowa Infantry Regiment, Company K


Mary Ann Leroy, who descended from Christina Cappoens, was married to George Miller and had
five known children. George's father, William, was born and reared in England and came to the US as a young man, marrying Lorain Fountaine, a French-Canadian/American born in New York.  They resided most of their married life in Onandaga, New York. George and Mary eventually moved West and arrived in Benton County, Iowa. Lorain would die in Center Point, while father William died in New York.

40th Iowa Infantry Monument
Charles Miller, the oldest son of Mary and George, and also brother to my 2nd great grandfather Ira Miller, was born in about 1837 in New York. He resided in the Urbana area in 1860 with his wife, Mary Ferry or Perry who was born in about 1838 in New York. They had been married on 08 Jan 1860 in Benton County.

In 1862, he entered the Army, serving as a private in the 40th Iowa Infantry, Company K, commanded by First Lieutenant Christie. The group saw many minor skirmishes and by August 1864, was located at Little Rock. It was while there that Charles died of disease on 03 Aug 1864 and was buried in Little Rock National Cemetery. Nineteen enlisted men in this unit died of battle injuries and 184 of disease. His brother-in-law, James Black, husband of Charles' sister Anna Augusta Black, served in the same company for three years and returned safely home.

At home, this put his wife, who had two young sons, in dire financial straits. In January 1865, the county supervisors voted to appropriate $30 out of the Soldier's Relief Fund for the support of the Millers. After 1860, no trace of Mary is found - I would presume she remarried.

Her two sons, Charles Henry and George Sylvester, are a bit of a mystery. Charles is found in Vinton in 1900, single, with no further word on him except that he is still alive after the death of his brother.

Klinefelter Livery, Waterloo, iowa
George Sylvester Miller lived in Vinton for many years and was formerly the driver for Dr JP
Whitney, former mayor of Vinton. George died in his adopted home in Waterloo, Iowa after a stroke on 09 Feb 1914. He had been employed by Klinfelter livery barn for many years and was at work when he was struck down. He left a widow and two children.

I'd love to figure out what happened to Mary Ferry and what became of Charles. If you have information, leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Sideroad: Lyman Dixon Bordwell Family


Sac and Fox Indians
Mary Ann Leroy, who descended from Christina Cappoens, was married to George Miller and had
five known children. George's father, William, was born and reared in England and came to the US as a young man, marrying Lorain Fountaine, a French-Canadian/American born in New York. They resided most of their married life in Onandaga, New York. George and Mary eventually moved West and arrived in Benton County, Iowa. Lorain also ended up in Center Point, dying there in 1881.

Milo Volney Miller, the youngest son of Mary and George, and also brother to my 2nd great grandfather Ira Miller, was born in about 1857 in Iowa. His family was residing in the Urbana area in 1870. On 18 Feb 1884, he married Emma Bordwell, daughter of  Lyman Dixon Bordwell and Sarah Kesinger, Lyman's third wife.

Emma was born about 1862 in Taylor township in Benton County. She was one of at least 14 children of three of Lyman's four marriages. Lyman is today's subject.

Lyman seems to be have been quite the character. As one of the founding members of the area, he was called upon often in his old age to reminisce about the "olden days."

A Bordwell tale
He was born in Livingston County, New York January 28, 1808. He received very little education and spent his earliest working years driving a stage coach. He got married the first time to Maria Turner of Allegheny county on New Year's Day, 1835. She died just 13 months later after having one child, whom he did not raise.

His second wife, whom he married shortly after, was Elizabeth Turner. Lyman headed out in 1830 to Lenawee County, Michigan where he stayed until 1842. While away from Michigan, visiting Iowa, his second wife died, leaving him two more children. Lyman returned to discover his brother was raising these children. The brother told the children Lyman was their uncle. Lyman moved on to Iowa permanently, leaving the kids behind.

He arrived in Benton County in about September 1842, about five years before the county was organized. The area was still wild and inhabited by Indians. He homesteaded in Canton township. Lyman, or "Black King" as he was called, was one of six squatters on a 6-mile strip. He had purchased the claim of George Wright and John Smith. The squatters started farming on a small scale, but primarily hunted and fished. Whatever produce they raised, "readily found purchasers in the person of the Sacs and Foxes."

On July 13, 1843, he married his third wife, Sarah Ann Kesinger in Linn County, Iowa.

The first elections occurred after the county formed in April, 1846, at which time there was but one voting precinct. L.D. Bordwell, received 15 of 29 votes and became Justice of the Peace. The officers elected were only chosen to hold office until the general election, which occurred in the following August, at which time there were two voting precincts. Bordwell and his wife Sarah had the second white child in the County - Lucinda, born 05 Jul 1844. Bordwell was also the JP for the first marriage in the County in 1847.
"In 1851, Alfred Moore came to Benton County and being eager to gain possession of a large amount of land, he entered the claims of SK Parker, LD Bordwell, and Joseph Strawn (part of the original six settlers). The citizens decided to discipline him. Accordingly, two men called upon Moore the night of August 8th and requested that he show them the way to a certain place. Moore was thus entrapped by the citizens and when a little way from his home, he was seized and tied to a tree. His clothing was removed and he was given a good whipping, then tarred and feathered, and ordered to produce the papers necessary to return the claims to the first squatters. Daniel Richie and Ed Johnson were the men who administered the whipping. John Hollenbeck, Daniel RIchie, and Orson Bogle were tried for assault and battery. Bogle was tried first and not being present at the whipping, was soon acquitted. This seemed to disourage Moore and he left the country, probably fearing that he might meet with further vilence from those whom he attempted to prosecute."
The Iowa Journal of History and Politics, Volume 10: The History of Benton County (Western Historical Company, Chiago, 1878), pp 349, 350.
Sarah died 14 May 1883. He married his last wife, Sarah Woodard, April 21, 1884. He belonged to no organizations and had no religion. He died June 10, 1893. His fourth wife survived him.

Despite the fact he himself seemed to care little about land ownership, after his death, his children and grandchildren were involved in a lawsuit regarding the one piece of land Lyman  owned: Lot 2 and the east 1/2 of lot 3 and the NW 1/3 of lot 3 in Block 2 in Grand Gulf, an addition to Vinton, Iowa. They were each entitled to 2/27ths of the value of the land and the defendants Laura Evans, Lonisa Sanders, Edward Sanders and George Tenny, each were entitled to 1/54th share. The bulk of the proceeds went to paying debts and fees.
Custer County Haying
As to Volney and Emma, they moved Custer County, Nebraska. Volney died sometime between 1910-1930. Emma died in 1943 in Custer County. She spent the last years of her life living with Hubert, her oldest of three sons, who had divorced Minnie Belle Watson, and was raising his two boys.