Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Eureka! A Big Find!

SMITH, Jacob > SMITH, Catherine

I've been doing this for about five years now. Diligently going back to trees and searching for more information. William Custer Smith, my 2XGG, arrived in the Plainfield, Iowa area via Ohio and Grant County, Wisconsin. I had great luck being able to trace his brothers, James, John, and Isaac, but the daughters were tough.

Eventually, I was able to trace youngest sister, Sarah. Elizabeth, I believe, based on no reference in her sister Sarah's obit, to have most likely died quite young. Catherine had been a mystery.  Until a revisit of the documents and information just last week. This is just the introduction to this family.

There she was, bolder than a Hawaiian shirt at church. Born in Ohio around 1833, moved to Grant County, and marrying Alfred Fuller prior to 1860 in Grant County. They then moved on down to the Plainfield area, where cousins and her brother had settled (WC Smith lived just over the county border outside of Plainfield, in Butler County). Catherine gave birth to at least six kids before her death around 1875 (still working that out). The newspaper in the area didn't start publishing for many more years, so there was no reference to her life, nor her death outside of records.

Her daughters married into local families - the Thompsons and the Smiths (the "other" Smith family in Plainfield). Those children, in turn, continued to connect and reweave our lines with the lines of other long-time families in the area. Two of her sons ended up in Chicago - several of her grandchildren would join Chicago Police Department, a tradition that continued for generations. Milton ended up in mining in British Columbia. George lost his wife in 1914 and eventually moved to Los Angeles County, California.

Alfred remarried almost immediately to Hannah Maria Randall, a native of Platteville, Wisconsin. They had six more children, before he died in 1902 in Polk Township, Bremer County.  Hannah then married Enoch Benjamin Townsend, who died the same year she did (1929), in Oregon.

Here are the children of Catherine Smith and Alfred Fuller:

CLARA MILDORA FULLER born 12 May 1860, Grant Co Wis - 03 Sep 1916, Bremer Co, Iowa married EDWARD A SIMBRIC born 10 Mar 1852 in Germany/Austria - 02 Jan 1929, Waterloo, Black Hawk,Ia

LULU BELLE FULLER born 13 Nov 1865 Plainfield, Bremer, Iowa - 08 Aug 1948 Waverly, Bremer, Iowa married OZEM GARDNER THOMPSON 02 Jan 1882 in Bremer County.  He was born 06 Feb 1862 Horton, Bremer, Iowa - 19 Mar 1929 Plainfield, Bremer, Iowa

WARREN J FULLER born 05 Nov 1867 in Story County, Iowa - 02 Mar 1949, Cook, Illinois, married MATILDA WATTERS 18 Jan 1882 in Bremer Co. She was born 09 Jun 1859 in Hainsville, Lake, Illinois - 06 Feb 1935 Chicago, Cook, Illinois.

MILTON J FULLER born abt 1868 in Bremer Co - 30 Mar 1958, Haney, British Columbia, Canada married KATIE MANNINGO 21 Dec 1893 in Des Moines, Iowa. She was born abt 1874.

FRANK N FULLER born Jul 1870 in Bremer Co - Nov 1953, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, married ANN LOUISE STANTON 08 Jul 1896 in Chicago. She was born 27 Jul 1875 in Chicago and died 06 Mar 1941 in Oak Park, Cook, Illinois.

GEORGE MCCABLE FULLER boron 04 Jun 1872 in Bremer Co - 15 Jul 1954 in Los Angeles County, California. He married OLIVE LUELLA SMITH in 1895 in Bremer Co. She was born 22 Nov 1871 in Horton, Bremer Co and died 22 Aug 1914 in Plainfield, Bremer Co.

Friday, April 26, 2019

Updated Ancestry DNA Results

Ancestry.com updated their regions for me recently. I had taken a 23andMe test as well and found it highly accurate based on my research. Ancestry, not so much. I knew I had no Iberian Peninsula relatives anytime in the recent few hundred years unless there were a bunch on the other side of the blanket.  Not likely.

Anyway, I received my updated map and it is far more in line with what I know to be true. My Danish is typically German or Swedish - as is the case for many Danes. And, Iberian Peninsula is off the map completely.
Iberian Peninsula? I think not.
Massively Scandinavian/German/English
with under 1% Ashkenazi Jewish (I still love my pastrami, okay?)

Ancestry DNA and Mystery Solving

I think that many of us, who do this maddening thing, watch at least one of those Ancestry shows on TV. I like Dr. Gates' PBS show best, but they also clearly have a giant staff of paid and trained scientists and genealogists combing through records all over the world on their behalf. I'd like to be famous for just a short bit so I'd be invited on and he'd get some of my own questions answered.

DNA connections keep getting better and better on Ancestry.com. ThruLinesTM, now in Beta, is proving to be quite interesting. Of course, it all depends on how accurate your fellow researchers are, and that has proven to be iffy at best, but I have been able to go down at least two paths I couldn't get down before and at least form a hypothesis where I could not before.

It's also proven connections to specific families where I was not sure, or had nothing to cite to make the connection. I'm sure that will give others license to just accept the information at its face and run with it, which will further screw up sorting it out, but I hope not.

One of my discoveries this month was a definitive connection to Sarah Anne Lindsey, child of
Sarah Anne Lindsey Dorathy
(in a classic Lindsey/Linsey look)
Harvey Lindsey and Peace Macumber/Macomber. They lived in New York state and were the parents of my 2GG Oscar Lindsey who pioneered by way of Indiana to Whiteside County, Illinois, and then to Benton County, Iowa. I knew Oscar had an unmarried sister, but was not aware he had at least one other sister, Sarah, who married a Dougherty (later Dorathy) and had a gigantic family who stayed in the Whiteside area and another group of whom moved to Nebraska. It was quite exciting.

Because of DNA, I know I am related to that group and can make the connection at last. It also brings me to my next questions - because of the age difference between Sarah (who was likely one of the older children of Harvey and Peace) and Oscar (likely one of the younger). Are there more siblings out there we don't know about? I'm betting there are and time will tell. I just hate waiting.

What about you? What's been your big discovery this month?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Munson Descendants: Simmons Family in Society in Early Oklahoma City


A long time ago, I talked about the Simmons family which had its roots in the family of the sister of my 2nd great grandmother, Mary Ann Munson Smith. William Wallace Simmons and his wife, Alice O. Carpenter, married in 1889, the same year the first White settlements started in Oklahoma City. In 1901, the couple and their only child, Merle Phillip Simmons made the trek from Iowa to Oklahoma City where they established their household. Oklahoma City was still young.

Alice Simmons opened up a bakery in 1913, which started by baking four loaves of bread per day. It grew over the course of time to a very large bakery serving the entire city. William Wallace Simmons died suddenly while on a business trip in 1915. Mrs Simmons kept on growing her business when WWI took her son for service in France. One of his letters home to his mother made the Daily Oklahoman paper.
Mrs WW Simmons,
Oklahoma City
Received your Christmas box about three weeks ago. We have nothing to worry about
over here as we are comfortably located, have warm weather, and lots of work to do, a place to sleep, something to cat and no place to go, so why should we worry?
France is very interesting, especially are the quaint customs. The roads are of gravel and clay and are in fine shape for motoring as they are so smooth. There are no mud holes or ruts. All over France the roads seem to be the same. A hard sandstone lays just beneath the top soil. Timber is very scarce and as a result the people naturally build their homes of stone and whatever is built of this material lasts forever, it seems. All along the roads are stone walls, three to four feet high. They also surround the farms, which are small and irregular. If stone is not used, a thick hedge is grown. And when you look into the valleys from the hilltop, it is easy to pick out each individual farm. There is not much waste land as the farms are kept clean and in excellent condition.
 Grape vineyards appear to be plentiful as the French seem to be great wine drinkers. The Frenchman's wine to him is as necessary as beer to a German. The farm houses are large, built of stone, with a red-tiled roof which is usually covered with green moss. The house is usually two stories and connecting on one end is a barn and the other a porch or shed used for drying corn, beans, and the like. The farmer wears a loose-fitting work shirt which slips on over his head and is fastened with a draw string around his neck. He wears these instead of overalls. Wooden shoes are very popular.
On market morning the farmer and his family get into a two wheeled cart and go to town. There seem to prefer the carts. Geese and p*** are about all they bring to down now as it is spring and most of the cr**** have been marketed.
I guess we will be paid in a couple of days? We are all broke because we haven't been paid for two months. It is one way to save money, because when a fellow gets broke he can't spend and he can't find anybody to borrow from.
Merle P Simmons
The Daily Oklahoman
(Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Oklahoma, United States of America)
10 Mar 1918, Sun  •  20
Her reputation in the city for her business acumen was growing and her activities frequently made the society pages of the Daily Oklahoman. In 1925, she remarried Mr Horace W. Hakes. The divorce, which occurred during Mrs Simmons final illness in 1938, included a financial settlement of undetermined amount to Mr Hakes. Mr Hakes blamed his stepson, Merle, for his marital troubles. Merle had been slowly taking over the business the past few years and Mr Hake's opinions on the course of the business were ignored.
`1924 Ad for Mrs Simmons Home Bake Shop

Mrs Simmons passed away on 13 Mar 1939 from her long illness. She left her son, Merle and his wife Esther Day and their three boys, Merle Jr., William Wallace, and Robert Day. A daughter, Betty Lou, died at 17 months in 1923.

Two of Merle and Esther's boys, Bob and Bill's weddings made the society page. Son Merle worked with his father in the bakery business, but never married. The advertisements I found for the business ended about 1949.

Bob served as a pilot in the US Air Force. He later worked from Superior Oil and then with Prudential Bache Brokerage Firm, and then worked as an independent oil and gas broker. His wife, Sue Ellison had four children. He died in 1997. Bill married Sarah Jo Durland and they had two children. I don't know a lot about him, but he for several years worked as the North Texas State University as associate director of admissions. He died in 1971 at the young age of 41.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

An Empty Place at the Table: Cora Redington

David Owens > Lucy Owens & Ira Miller > Josie Miller Redington Swanger > Cora Redington

A child. Born after the last census and dies before the next, can be lost to history. Their place at the table still goes missed.

Before, I'd talked about the husbands of Josie Miller, James Irving Edward "Ed" Redington and Charlie Swanger. Ed was a wild one - a town eccentric and multiply married fellow. Charlie was a wild one when younger, but found The Salvation Army and led an exemplary, alcohol-free life in the latter part of his life.

To date, the only child I was aware of in the Redington-Miller marriage, was Ira Edmon Redington, namesake of Grandpa Ira Miller, who was born in 1905 and suffered from some sort of disability that eventually had him living Woodward State Hospital for the "feeble-minded" in Boone County, Iowa. He died at the age of 61.

In searching for something else completely, I ran across this article:

No name is mentioned and I certainly hadn't run across anyone having died so tragically in previous research. No mention was ever made that I recalled of any such horrific event. The story, which began on a beautiful day with children playing and ended in an instant in calamity of the worst kind, went like this:

Young Cora Mae Redington, born in 16 Apr 1903, died on her 3rd birthday,16 Apr 1906, in Harrison Township, Benton County, Iowa at the home of her grandparents, Ira and Lucy (Owens) Miller. The uncle mentioned is unknown as none of the children of Ira were 13 at the time of this event. Jesse was 11 and is the most likely solution. She was buried in Bear Creek Cemetery in Benton County, where several other Miller descendants are buried.

The Redington's had not married until February of 1905, so whether Cora is his biological daughter of Josie, Ed, or both, is not known, but she did carry the Redington name.

No mention is made in Edmond or Josie's obits about Cora, nor Ira Edmond Redington, their child born in 1905 who lived in the Woodward State Hospital for the "feeble-minded" for most of his life.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A Little Pile of Treasures

Click on photo to enlarge
My dad and I have spent much of the last forty years either estranged or annoyed with one another.

When he remarried when I was 14 years old to a woman only 9 years older than me who spent a lot of time subtly sabotaging our relationship, we were never the same. Then, though many years younger than my dad, his wife died last December, quite unexpectedly. In that moment, our relationship moved from eternal darkness to dawn.

As his life went on, the retired Army recruiter, his son and wife, plopped themselves down in a house near a major military base in the Midwest. He made his home there for over 20 years. A rambling house, of good bones, but which had little attention in the past few years as my dad became more and more challenged to finish projects, it had become too much for him to care for. Now, he's moving out of his home and to a new adventure in a seniors community here near me.

My sister and I helped for a week organizing him in the first step to prepare and in the meantime, I located photos he hadn't seen in forty years. Photos he'd forgotten about. Photos no one else living had seen. I got my first glimpse into the childhood of my dad and his brothers. Into my grandmother's relationship with her first family's children. Into what my grandpa looked like with hair. No one knew him then. I don't think they ever owned their own camera, strictly based on the fact there are so few photos. I have a lot of work to do.

What a treasure.

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.