Monday, September 24, 2018

Aaron W. Cooper and His Neighbors


I talked about John Cooper's kids here - they just seem to be a bit of a mess generally. I recently ran across this article regarding Aaron before he left Stephenson and Winnebago Counties, Illinois for /Butler/Bremer County and later Franklin County, Iowa.

The divorce of Anna Blaser from Aaron took place in 1904 in Butler County.

This may well have had something to do with the sale of property in 1904 and early 1905

He died in 1920, having never married again. 

Hannah Cooper: Crazy as a Hawk

Elgin Asylum
This small mention of the life and times of Hannah Cooper, who died at the young age of 45 during a brief stay at Elgin Insane Asylum in Illinois. Living with her single brothers and parents as of the 1880 census in Stephenson County, Illinois, it's likely she was still with the brothers remaining in  the area in 1891. Learn about her brothers here.

She died on 16 May 1891, after being committed only two weeks previously.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Jacob Smith: Bits and Pieces for Discussion Including the Custer Connection

JAMES SMITH > JACOB SMITH m Mary Catherine Randolph

Rumley Township is at the top in Harrison County
Click to enlarge
I've been incredibly frustrated by my inability to move my SMITH line beyond 3GG Jacob Smith and
his purported father, James Smith. Anectdotally, James is Jacob's father and they were originally from the Monmouth, New Jersey area before moving to Ohio somewhere before 1830.
1830 Rumley Township Census
Click to enlarge

Also, little is known about Mary Catherine Randolph, Jacob's wife, who went by "Cathy" from what I've learned. Jacob's son, John R. Smith married Susan Randolph, who I will guess is a relative of Cathy, but again, I have nothing. I've got a couple lines of inquiry I'm pursuing, but records are spotty in the wilderness during this time and without birth or death records, it's going to be non-definitive, even if I feel I've solved it.

One thing of the family legends I was able to confirm is that my 2GG, William Custer Smith, did indeed most likely get his middle name from George Armstrong Custer's father, Emanuel Custer. The legend had it that the Custer's were great friends of the Smith in Rumley Township, Harrison County and sure enough, I find them both living there in 1830.  Emanuel and Jacob were contemporaries.

Jacob's father, James, may be living in Cadiz Township at this time. In 1820, the James Smith family was located in Belmont County, which is adjacent to Harrison County. In 1820, James and family lived in Belmont County.


I believe that either Henry Custer or Nevin Custer is the man on the far left 3rd step,
James Calhoun is seated, 2nd from left.
It is probably Thomas Custer next to Calhoun and G. A. Custer is on the top
step, center, his wife Elizabeth Bacon seated to his right. The man below Elizabeth and below Emanuel
I've not identified. Emanuel is in the top right on top step sitting in a chair.
Photo shared on Ancestry by Connie Fullmer

Emanuel Custer was born and raised in Allegany County, Maryland. He was born 10 Dec 1806. His
Emanual and Mary
Image Courtesy 1881 Courthouse
Museum, Custer SD
first wife was Matilda Viers, whom he married in Maryland in 1828. They had three children, two of whom died young. Upon Matilda's death in 1835 in Harrison County, he married Mary Ward Kirkpatrick in 1836. The couple had at least seven children and widow Mary brought a daughter to the marriage. The two oldest, James and Samuel, died before their first birthdays. The arrival of George Armstrong Custer, later youthful West Point grad and Civil War Army General; and later yet, failed battle strategist at Little Big Horn, was the oldest of Mary's surviving children.

Emanuel and Mary were settled in Harrison County by 1830. After serving in the US Civil War himself at a quite advanced age in his 60s, he and his wife moved to Monroe County, Michigan, where they both died. The Smith's moved on to Grant County, Wisconsin in the mid-1840s.

In between, though, the Custer Family rallied at the time of the Civil War and beyond as part of the Cavalry. Four members of the Custer's immediate family died at the Battle of Little Big Horn:  Brevet Maj Gen (Lt Col) G. A. Custer, his brother Boston Custer, brother Capt Thomas Ward Custer (two-time Medal of  Honor winner), and brother-in-law, Lt James Calhoun, husband of Margaret Custer, along with nephew Harry Armstrong "Autie" Reed (a non-military member of the group) and other Custer friends. The historical perspective of G. A. Custer has been tipped on its head in the past decades as the "heroic" nature of their deaths at the hands of Chief Sitting Bull and his army of Native Americans, but it was surely a profound loss to Emanuel and Mary Custer which ranks up there with the tragic loss of the five Sullivan Brothers of Waterloo, IA during WWII in terms of family service tragedy.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

SIDEROAD RIPLEY: Tragedy Follows...Again and Again

Wm Ripley Dorr

I was doing a little dabbling a few months ago and ran across a Find a Grave for Cyrus Thurston Dorr, the son of William Ripley Dorr, who was the son of Julia Ripley Dorr, the noted author and daughter of the business titan, William Young Ripley of Vermont.

A group called "Missing In America" had located and identified Cyrus' remains, which had been left unclaimed in a Nashville mortuary since 1918 and had his ashes interred at Ft Leavenworth, with full military  honors, along with the remains of several others whom the project located and had interred in 2011.

As a veteran, and as the former wife of a career man, the specter of military suicide has always been of special concern to me. When we have so many of our young men and women taking their lives during or after service, it makes me quake with anger that the awareness and treatment options for our service members are so incredibly lacking and the stigma that still persists stifles great strides in treated our psychically wounded warriors. It made me incredibly sad to think of Cyrus' remains and what caused them to sit, untouched, for several generations and I needed to understand why.

The progeny of William Young Ripley were legend. The lineage is chock full of leaders, business luminaries, and adventurers. William Ripley Dorr, the offspring of Julia Ripley Dorr and Seneca Milo Dorr, was no exception.  Raised in Rutland, Vermont, the ancestral hometown of this branch of Ripley's, he was educated at Norwich University, where he graduated in 1873.

He moved on to Appleton, Wisconsin, where the lumber business was booming and started his life there. Upon hearing of the death of his father in 1884, he returned to Vermont and entrenched himself in the various business interests of the family, including his father's brokerage firm, S. M. Dorr Sons.

Eventually, he moved on to St Paul, Minnesota, where his business acumen was targeted at a number of businesses from gold mining to insurance. In addition to many business interested, he was also President of the Chamber of Commerce in St Paul for many years.  In 1890, he married Helen Thurston, a young woman born in Iowa. From 1891-1900, the couple had four children, Seneca Milo dying in infancy. Once they began getting to the age where they needed an education, William relocated the family to New Jersey so the children would be educated in eastern schools.

In 1904, he  was sent to Chicago as a representative of the American Car Company, and while on business there, he took ill and died suddenly. After William's death, Helen moved to St Paul once more. She passed away in Spokane, Washington in 1922.

Cyrus, the second of four children, was born 30 May 1893 in St Paul, Minnesota. By 1915 he was in Silver Bow, Montana, where he married Kathryn Helen Carpenter on 15 Oct 1915. Kathryn was born in Dec 1893 in Houghton County, Michigan.

Kathryn's family included her parents, William Esau Carpenter and his wife Margaret "Maggie" Sullivan.  Married in 1891, the couple had at least six children, of which Kathryn' was the second child.

The Carpenter's young life was marred by tragedy. In 1902, their 3-year-old daughter, Gladys drowned in a nearby waterway while following her siblings as they went to school. In 1907, 4-year-old Fred died of infantile convulsions. It was after this death the couple pulled up stakes and moved to Montana. While there, their 17-year-old daughter, Margaret, died of typhoid in 1913. Son Chellis would become a lawyer and reside in California and daughter Lydia would go on to teach domestic sciences.

Kathryn and Bud had a daughter almost immediately. Named after his grandmother, Julia Caroline Ripley Dorr, young Julia was born 5 Jul 1916 in Broken Bow. From here, things get murky because there is no trace of Cyrus.

It's now 1918 and the war is raging in Europe. Everyone was contributing to the war effort in any way they could. Suddenly, though, Kathryn becomes ill with Scarlet Fever and dies at the home of her parents on 19 April. Both husband and daughter are mentioned in the obit, but at the time, Bud was living in Kansas City, selling bonds.

On 8 Jun 1918, Bud married Margaret Poncelette in Kansas City.  Just in time for him to report to duty on 2 Jul 1918 with the US Marine Aviation Corps at the Philadelphia Shipyards.

He visited his cousin JD Steele in Appleton, Wisconsin,  while on furlough, 24 Aug 1918. Presumably furlough was taken from Great Lakes Naval Air Station. We see no word of Bud until next we hear of his death. The first report to his widow in Kansas City, Margaret, lacked details as to the cause of death. The second posting regarding his death, published in Appleton, indicated it was an accidental death, yet, the article posted in Nashville bared the truth of the matter - suicide.

No interment was made and the ashes were never retrieved. No mention is made of Bud's second wife Margaret. Margaret, through much of the 1920s, remained a widow. What became of her, I don't know.

Mother Helen was alive and living in St Paul when he died, yet one of the articles refers to "parents" - William was long dead.

William & Maggie Carpenter raised their granddaughter Julia, in Montana. Julia married Robert A. Mohr and had at least two daughters. They divorced. The 23-years-older Julia married young naval man, Gail A. Brownlow in 1962. Reportedly, she died of COPD two days after their transfer from Hawaii to El Paso, Texas.

What did I learn from this foray into the life of a veteran who succumbed to suicide? I learned nothing about what drove the man to this permanent solution. Did whatever darkness he carried impact his first marriage? Did he see himself as a failure? Was there some rift with second wife Margaret? What I do understand, is suicide is rarely ever just about one thing.

Why did no one go pick up the ashes? Clearly it was known where they were. Was the stigma of suicide too great? Was the family in disagreement of what would become of his remains? We'll never know, but thanks to the Missing in America project, this Marine received full honors and a very belated burial.

Things look like they might be changing. The Department of Veteran's Affairs, claims the prevention of suicide is the top clinical priority. Let's hope.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Munsons: The Newcombs and Mayflower Immigrants.

Governor Wm Bradford
The children of Amos & Mary Ann Munson married into the Newcomb family of Pennsylvania and here and read more here. Their immigrant was Capt Thomas Munson, founding father of the Munson's of America, who arrived in the US in 1637.

Caroline married Uri Clark Newcomb and sister Julia married Frederick Porter Newcomb. Caroline and Frederick died and Julia married her sister's widower, Clark. To top it off, Almira Munson married George Ball. Their daughter married Arthur Gilman Newcomb, a nephew of Clark and F.P. Newcomb. Now, we're going to have a quiz. Or not.

Anyway, my point is, the Munson's ties to the Newcomb's are very deep and complex. The Newcomb's time here in America is also quite long. It even includes a marriage within the the family of one of the original Mayflower immigrants - a great granddaughter of Governor Bradford  of Plymouth with Hezekiah Newcomb. There are 35 million claimed descendants of this relatively small group of Mayflower settlers.

Capt Andrew Newcomb was born in the East of England, possibly Devonshire, about 1618. He was a sea captain. He died in Boston in 1686. The descendant Newcombs are in the millions - but our Newcombs are descended from LT Andrew Newcomb, the eldest son of the first wife (Andrew is not mentioned in his father's will and there is some contention over his parentage).

According to The Genealogical Memoir of the Newcomb Family by John Bearse Newcomb, it is believed that Lt Andrew Newcomb came to America as early as 1666. He was also a sea-faring man in his younger life and his earliest recorded mention in writing is regarding a meeting he attended to help set the price of fish in the new colony. Andrew ultimately settled on Martha's Vineyard and does not appear to have felt the call of the sea for many years. He owned a number of pieces of land and served as constable during his lifetime. He died intestate.
Fishing in the New England colonies dates back to the early 1600s when the first Pilgrims made the journey across the ocean to the New World. The poor farmland caused the fishing industry to become vital to the success of the 13 colonies. 
Early fishing vessels
USA Today
Simon Newcomb born about 1666 and believed to have been born at the Isles of Shoals in Maine before his father moved to the Edgartown area on Martha's Vineyard. Simon later moved his family to New London, Connecticut, where he remained until his death in 1774. Simon's son Hezekiah was born in 1693 in Edgartown and married the great granddaughter of Governor William Bradford, of the original Mayflower immigrants.

Jerusha Bradford was born in 1692 in Norwich, New London, Connecticut. They married 14 Nov 1716 in Norwich. Jerusha's line from the Governor is: Thomas, Maj WilliamGov William Bradford. Jerusha's aunt Hannah Bradford married into the Ripley line when she married John Ripley in 1684. That tells you just how tied in those New England folks intermarried!

Hezekiah's son Silas was the father of  Capt John Brewster Newcomb, born in 1760. According to the Lineage Book, Vol 19 of the DAR, Newcomb was a, "conductor of trains for the transportation of supplies from Lebanon to the Continental Army," during the Revolutionary War.  John was the grandfather of Uri Newcomb - the father of all the "modern" Newcombs who pioneered west to Iowa and South Dakota.
The great grandfather of Uri, Silas Newcomb, was born in 1717 and married Submit Pineo in Lebanon Crank (now Columbia), Connecticut. His wife's family were French Huegonots. Old Silas died suddenly of a stroke while sitting under a tree, 24 May 1773. His wife was described as, "having a remarkable attachment to her children and grandchildren. " Five of their sons were coopers and three were physicians. Uri's grandfather, Captain John Brewster Newcomb, was born in Lebanon, Windham County, Connecticut. He and his family lived for many years on "Metcalf Hill," which he had received from his father Silas' estate in 1774. After the birth of their last child, they moved around quite a bit in New York, moving to Oxford, Owasco Flats, Oswego, Moravia, Owego, where his wife died. He then moved to Scipio, where he remarried in 1818, to Reliance (Ticknor) Strong, widow of Daniel Strong. He held various offices in New York, including justice of the peace, as a captain in a calvary company, and was a prominent member of a masonic fraternity. He was described as "an intelligent and an eminently good man," in the Newcomb Family History. ~ Me, Here, Right Now

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Hoodoo, Voodoo, and Quackery

Abner Gile, Millionaire Lumber Man
I was doing some research the other day, and ran across a person who is connected to a line I'm related to only by marriage, but who's family had enough historical interest to follow the bread crumbs. Genealogy is like that, isn't it?

So, way back when, in Wisconsin, three of my Smith fellows married three Monteith women. The Monteith's also married into the Preston family - a more prominent family in the Brodhead area. You can read a little about my family and the Preston connection here.

One of the Preston women, Elizabeth, married into the Tiffany family (yes, that Tiffany family). The  Nathan Tiffany's family ended up in California and I hope to write a little more on another day.

Elizabeth Giles Tiffany's brother Abner Gile was a multi-millionaire lumberman in Wisconsin. Pretty impressive career and achievements in contributing to the growth of his corner of Wisconsin. He'd been born in Wyoming County, New York in 1820. He built a saw mill and lumber business in Illinois in 1843, and in 1850, spent a year in California. On his return, he worked in someone's lumber business and later partnered with NB Holway. He later built the LaCrosse Lumber Company and later yet, built the Island Mill Lumber Co. in 1881, which
Tower Jackson Gile claimed to have an
institute dedicated to the cure of disease through
electro-magnetic treatments. Early quackery
at its best!
he operated until his death. He had his fingers in all kinds of pies from the new utilities concerns to high society and philanthropy.

Abner was also helpful to his family. His brother, Tower Jackson Gile, for example, was the recipient
of his largesse for much of his adult life. When Abner died, Tower was left a bequest, but  Tower did not live long after his brother's death, both dying in 1897.

What grabbed me about Tower is, he went from being Tower Jackson Gile, to "Dr TJ Gile." Tower married Mary Knickerbocker, daughter of Harmon Knickerbocker and Phebe Haughton (or Horton) in upstate New York. Records indicate that they most likely divorced. The couple had at least two children.

In 1875, he left the Wisconsin area and cut a swath through the midwest including Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, and Colorado with his miracle cures. The references I could find about Tower (I just love that name) show he was into the spiritual use of electro-magnetic healing. He claimed he could diagnose you during a free consultation and would provide you with electro-magnetic cures (which I'm sure came at a pretty penny).

He was the "inventor" of many devices and operated the Globe Electric Company. Its appliances, which included an electric chair, electric vapor bath, and other devices, were stock in trade for his "cures."

After the death of his brother Abner, Dr Gile claimed to have been visited by a visage of his brother. This made it into the book, "Beyond the Vail: Narrations and Illustrations of Spirit Experiences, Spoken, Written, and Made by Full-Form Visible Materalizations"; (1901) Kansas City, MO and is excerpted here:
Abner Gile. 
803. Here is a spirit who, in his earth life, came into pos- 
session of rather a large fortune for a person of his locality, 
Wisconsin. And this fortune, it seems, was accumulated large- 
ly from milling into lumber timber of Government lands, and 
handling lumber so made. 

804. His brother, Dr. T. J. Gile, was less fortunate, hav- 
ing accumulated nothing in a financial way; but had made quite 
thorough search into the merits of Spiritualism, and was one 
of this circle during several weeks of the preparation of "Rend- 
ing the Vail," and about that time Abner Gile passed on to 
spirit life, and now, by invitation of this psychic band, stands 
in materialized form before this circle, saying: 

(a) "I am Abner Gile, and I am glad to be here in this way r 
to tell of some things I found when I got to this country. And, 
of course, about the first thing I learned was that my brother 
was about right in this matter. I thought it bothered him. I 
thought it troubled his mind. I tried to hold him back and 
away from it. But I begin to think it was my own mind that 
was off. I was pursuing dark shadows, and he the light. I was 
piling up treasures that I had to leave behind and their bane 
binds me in dark conditions and shuts me up in dark prison; 
makes of me a 'spirit in prison.' While my brother was casting 
bread upon the waters for which I now hunger, and of which 
he may eat and be satisfied, my wealth, instead of a blessing,, 
is a great curse to me. I cannot explain to you how I have 
been confined in darkness. What light I had was of itself the 
most profound darkness, for I find the church dogmas are abso- 
lutely false. 

(b) "I wish I had known these things, but I did not. I 
would not try to know the truth of future life and its relations, 
but scorned whoever did try to learn. So I had no teacher 
when I got here, but have to work it out alone. Each must 
work out his own salvation. I wish all your world could know 
what I know now. But T helped to keep the world in ignorance,, 
and now must try to turn on the light." 
Tower died in 1897. If he's making his own spirit known, I haven't heard.
Tower Gile
La Crosse, Wis., Jan. 22. - Intelligence has reached the city of the death at Cleveland of
Tower J. Gile, aged 73, a brother of the late Abner Gile, the millionaire lumberman of this city. The deceased gained considerable prominence after leaving here in 1875, through his belief in spiritualism and magnetism, and traveled through the country preaching his views and acting as a magnetic doctor. During his travels he was supported almost entirely by his wealthy brother at La Crosse. When Abner Gile died he left a legacy for his brother in his will. The deceased went to Cleveland a few weeks ago, and died there on Thursday last. [Source: Wisconsin Weekly Advocate (25 Jan. 1900)]

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mapping it Out

I do better with visuals. I tried to map out the immigrant path - still a lot of incomplete information even after all these years of work. Here is how it went down with my four sets of great-great grandparents on my dad's side.

Includes Cappoens, Meserol, Fontaine, Leroy, Miller, Linsey lines
antecedents of my paternal grandfather, Leo Linsey
(Click to enlarge)
Abraham Owens and Zachariah Holler. This family joined with the Miller family with the marriage
of David Owens and Sarah Holler. This is the paternal side of my grandfather Leo Linsey's family.
UNK Smull immigrant who was father to Brush Valley, PA's Brothers Smull. The Quaker Cooper's of Pennsylvania and the Quaker Beams family of Whitley County, Kentucky joined  with the marriage of William Lloyd
Cooper and Elizabeth Beams. This family  joined the Smull family with  the marriage
of Johnathan Smull and Mary Jane Cooper, maternal 2GG of my grandmother Verlie Smith Michaelsen Linsey.
James Smith is the earliest located Smith originally believed to be from Monmouth, NJ
The Munson family goes back to Munson immigrant who arrive in Connecticut in 1637. Grant County, Wisconsin
was the site of the joining of the Munson and Smith families when William Custer Smith
married Mary Ann Munson. This is my maternal grandmother Verlie Smith Michaelsen Linsey's paternal grandparents.