Friday, March 25, 2016

Brothers Smull: Jesse Smull

The Brothers Smull include Jacob, Peter, Henry, and Jesse, the brothers whose parents are still unidentified. The first three settled in Centre County, Pennsylvania sometime near the turn of the 19th century, soon after its founding (1799).

Jesse was the odd brother out. He wasn't a farmer or stone mason like his brothers, but a day laborer. The first decipherable census of 1850 has him age 36, married to Mary Bergey, with four boys: Charles, Henry, Jesse, and John, living in Frederick County, Pennsylvania.

In 1860, the family had pulled up stakes and relocated to East Coventry, Chester County. Mary and Jesse, had by then, three boys at home:  John, James, and Irwin. Jesse worked as a farm hand.

By 1870, they were still in Chester County, though no census is available for the family. That census would have been Jesse's last. In 1879, while working in a paper mill in Spring Valley, Chester County, Jesse met with a terrible accident.

According to the local paper, The Reading Times, Reading, Pennsylvania:
Jesse Smull, an old employee of the American Wood Paper Company, Spring City, this county, died while working in the alkali house, this morning, because of the tanks suddenly sprung a leak, covering him with liquid and scalding him fatally. He lingered with intense pain until 4 o'clock in the afternoon, when death relieved him of his suffering. Deceased leaves a family.
September 11, 1879
Mortality Schedule, Chester County, PA ending 31 May 1880 (Click to open)
It appears that they did not live a well-off life if at age 65 he was still laboring. What a horrible way to go.

I believe Mary died some time in the next decade. I'm taking a new look at his children, but most of them appear to have remained in the Reading area.  His children generated at least a couple of PhDs and a dentist.  His hard work paid off. I'll update on this soon.

MysteryMuddle: More on the Brothers Smull

I'm trying to untangle the mess of the Brothers Smull, who descended on Brush Valley in Centre County, Pennsylvania sometime in the early years of the 1800s. Read about the mystery of Jacob Smull.

Only one person had any insight in to his story and none of his sources were cited, but I did run across the 1820 Census with his name on it and it supports at least part of the story, but added even more questions to the growing list of mysteries.

According to that family tree, Jacob Smull was born in 1795 and died in 1830. This person had identified five children and a wife, Margarethe Brodt, daughter of Friederich Brodt and Maria Magdalena Seipel.

One of Jacob's purported daughters, Rebecca Smull, was married to Solomon Bechtol. Their history and that of their children was very limited in successful searching.

Elizabeth Smull, married  Jacob Burkert, and was blessedly easy to track.

No references were made to Jacob or his children in any documents outside of Ancestry records that I've been able to find. Margarethe and her parents are also a mystery at this point.

Now, my questions are as follow:

  • What happened to Rebecca's children Anna, Mary, John David, Harry, and Emma J?
  • What happened to Jacob purported children: Juliana, Johannes, and Jacob? 
  • What happened to Margarethe after Jacob's death?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Personal Interviews: Saidee Smull Family History

Curtis Williams
Peter Smull > Johnathan Smull > Saidee Smull married Curtis Williams

I've written many letters and emails trying to get distant family members to help me in my quest. Unfortunately, those have mostly been met with deafening silence. One day, I shot off an email to a distant cousin who lived in Minnesota. She is the granddaughter of my great grandmother's sister. Think about that for a minute, I usually need to. She agreed not only to talk to me, but was going to be visiting the area and would meet with me and BRING PHOTOS!  I had died and gone to heaven.

Saidee Smull was the sixth of eight known children of Johnathan Smull and Mary Jane Cooper. She was born 11 Jan 1877 in Bradford, Chickasaw County. She married Curtis A Williams, son of John Williams and Mary Ann Smith, on 09 Sep 1903 in Plainfield, Bremer County, Iowa. The elder Williams' had been born in Indiana and pioneered into Dixon County, Nebraska, before relocating to the Bremer County, Iowa area.

Saidee and Curtis had two daughters, Annie Rosalie (1904), who went by "Rosalie" and Florence Alta Maude (1906), who went by "Maudie." When Maudie was just four, her father died suddenly from typhoid. He was only 35 and a strapping young farmer who took care of his own family as well as his widower father, John.

Life changed significantly for Saidee, but she persevered. She raised her daughters and had a close relationship with several of her sisters and was often found visiting them in Plainfield from Denver. Around 1912, she got more bad news. 

Rosalie, Saidee and Maudie in
Loma Linda, California 1912-1913
Her daughter Rosalie was sick. My interview subject, her daughter, mentioned her mother had been sick and they had gone to California about that time, but she didn't know why - we figured it out while going through the packet of materials she brought. Inside, neatly folded, was a brochure for the Loma Linda Sanitarium where they provided treatment for tuberculosis (among other things). Mystery solved. The girls and Saidee stayed out there for a year until Rosalie was better. Once they grew, both girls became public school teachers.

Saidee never remarried and lived in her later years with her daughter Rosalie and family. Rosalie married a young man named Cloyd Belton, who had arrived in Iowa to work on a road crew building a highway near Denver and never went home. Cloyd was one of eight boys of Marion and Beatrice (Campbell) Belton from Calloway County, Kentucky.  They went on to have my interview subject.  Rosalie died 10 Mar 1990 in and Cloyd died in 1984.

Maudie married a gent named Fred Baker in 1932 in Marshall County, Iowa. They went on to live in Texas. Maudie died Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas 30 Aug 2005. They had a boy and a girl.

Maudie and Rosalie Williams

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mystery Muddle: The Children of Peter Smull

Help Solve the Mystery
This is a continuation of the remaining mysteries of the Peter Smull line. His parentage is still a mystery and you can read about it here.

Peter Smull married Mary Waggoner (who are her parents, she asked?), most likely in Centre County, Pennsylvania before 1830. John Waggoner was the father and she had a brother William.

In searching through the cobbled together bits and pieces of various census and news articles, I've been able to identify 11 of the reported 12 children of the couple.

Catherine Smull b 1822 Centre Co. Penn; d 1876 Rock Run, Stephenson, IL m 1842, Pennsylvania; William Kryder, son of John and Susanna Keun,  b 1821 in Pennsylvania; d 1902 Dakota, Stephenson, IL. He remarried after her death to Sarah Crock. I've located six children: James Henry, Lydia, Mary Elizabeth, John J, Susannah Elmira, and Norman.

Sarah Ann Smull b 1822 Centre Co Penn; d 1892 Dakota, Stephenson, IL m date UNK David Kryder, son of John and Susanna Keun, b 1823 Pennsylvania; d 1889 Dakota, Stephenson, IL. One child: Samuel (1856-1864)

Mary Smull b 1824 Centre Co Penn; d 1908 Dakota, Stephenson, IL m (1) John Meyer 1844, Pennsylvania, d 1848; One child: Jacob. m (2) George Frantz 1849, Pennsylvania. He was born in 1822 in Pennsylvania and died 1889 in Dakota, Stephenson, Illinois. Three Frantz children: Anna, Henry T and George McClellan (moved to Canada and pioneered in Starbuck, Manitoba.

UNKNOWN SMULL MALE. Believe this son was born between 1826-1830 based on back-tracing the 1830 and 1840 Peter Smull Census.
  • I'm trying to dissect the various Smulls in Stephenson County to deduce who this man was. If you have information that will help solve this mystery, please let me know by leaving a comment.
Matilda Rebecca SMULL b 1828, Centre Co Penn; d 1915 Stephenson Co, Illinois; m Daniel Meyer, 1851, Miles, Centre Co, Penn; son of  Henry Meyer and Hannah Bierly, b 1831 Centre Co Penn; d Dakota, Stephenson, Illinois. I've located nine children: Sarah A, Dora Hannah, Newton Henry, Thomas Ephriam, John Franklin, Peter David, Emma Jane, Effie Susan, and Mary

Julia Ann Smull b 1830 Centre Co, Penn; d 1912 Dakota, Stephenson, Illinois m 1847, Penn; (1) John Haas, son of David Haas and Barbara Mitterling. b 1832 Juniata Co Penn; d 1881 Stateline, Vilas, Wisc., one daughter, Ida, died a spinster, 1938 m bef 1889 (2) UNK Miller

Peter L Smull, SR b abt 1833, Centre Co Penn; d 13 Sep 1900, Dakota, Stephenson Co; Ill at the home of his sister Matilda; m 1861 Rebecca Cronoble (this may have translated from Grenoble and been listed as Grenoble in Pennsylvania); three sons b abt 1835 d UNK probably Stephenson Co, Ill.
  • Peter is a bit of a mystery. He's referenced in the local paper once in a while and at least for a time, worked as a shoemaker, but he remains a big question mark. 
  • His first child Peter L Jr doesn't seem to have lived with his parents. In 1860 he was living with grandparents Peter and Mary and in 1860, he was a 12-year-old living in the household of Simon & Rebecca Rote in Lancaster, Ill. I would guess as a hired hand. 
  • Second son, Oscar Samuel is with his parents in 1870 and in 1880, when he was 18 and a farm hand for CA and Sarah Sullivan. 
  • No records exist for Rebecca Cronoble (possibly Grenoble) either, other than as referenced parent on various documents related to the children. No death record is available for her or Peter L Sr
  • The last news item related to this Peter is in 1900. He is not listed as a survivor on his sister Mary Frantz's obituary from 1908, so I would peg his death at sometime between 1900 and 1908. *Update (2/28/2017): I found an obscure reference to his death on 13 Sep 1900 in a Rockford newspaper gossip column. He died at the home of his sister Matilda Meyer in Dakota.
Johnathan Smull b 1834 Centre Co Penn; d 1885 Bradford, Chickasaw Co, Ia; m 1860 Monroe, Wisc Mary Jane Cooper, daughter of William Lloyd Cooper and Elizabeth Beams, b 1842 Rock Grove, Stephenson Co, Ill; d 14 Feb 1905; Plainfield, Bremer, Ia. They had eight children: Ulysses (died as a young man), Franklin Sylvester, Jennie Elnora, Viola Geneva, Katie Mabel, Saidee  L, Florence, and Amy, who died as an infant/young child.

Adam Smull b 1836 Centre Co Penn; d 1868 Stephenson, Ill; m 1859 Green Co Wisc; Mary Moses; b 1836 Penn; d 1929 Dakota, Stephenson, Ill. Mary and Adam had no children. She did not remarry.

Samuel Smull b 1840 Centre Co Penn; d 1919 Clark, South Dakota; m 1866 Mitchell, Ia; Lorena Thompson; daughter of Daniel Thompson and Ann Cooper; b 1850 Illinois; d 1918 Clark, South Dakota. They had two sons, Betran and Leon Willis.

Henry Smull b 1842 Cente Co Penn; d 1900 Macon, Macon, Ill; m 1864 Stephenson, Ill; Elizabeth "Lizzie" Smith; b 1846 Stephenson, Ill; d 1933 Decatur, Macon, Ill. He had six children: William W, Henry Arthur, Bertha C (never married), Elizabeth "Lizzie" Plummer, Charles E, and Pet (who died in infancy).

Charlotte Amanda Smull b 1844 Miles, Centre, Penn; d 1883 Dakota, Stephenson, Ill. Charlotte was classified as an "idiot" and lived with her parents and finally with sister Julia and husband John Haas until her death.

I'd be very glad to have people poke holes in this theory of descendancy. And, if you have other information, I'm dying to get all the mysteries solved from the seat at my desk because it's not likely I'll ever get to Centre County!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

MysteryMuddle: Solving the Mystery of the Early Smulls

George Henry Smull, the first subject of
the Smull Commemorative
Biographical Sketches
Way back in the day (sometime around 1825-ish), three brothers arrived in the Brush Valley, in Centre County, Pennsylvania. The story is not told through records, but through the centennial commemorative publications popular throughout the United States that profile prominent citizens and told the history of the town. Their accuracy was only as good as the transcriber and the subject providing the information so these publications often offer only mixed results.

Those Centre County Smulls were Henry, Peter, and Jacob. Another brother, Jesse, lived in another part of Pennsylvania and the two daughters referenced below have not been identified.

The Smull story is muddled by these very bio sketches. George Henry Smull, son of Reuben Smull, grandson of one of the three Brush Valley Smulls who first arrived to the area, Henry, was profiled in the J. H. Beers & Co. Commemorative biographical record of central Pennsylvania, including the counties of Centre, Clinton, Union and Snyder Counties:

"The first of the line in America was _____ Smull, the great-grandfather of our subject (Henry, son of Reuben). He was a native of Ireland, whence he came to this country in the latter part of the
Centre & Clinton Counties, 1792
eighteenth cen
tury to locate in the eastern part of Pennsylvania. 
Six of his children lived to adult age - two daughters and four sons, the names of the latter being Henry, Jacob, Peter and Jesse. The Smull family in Brush Valley is descended from the first three sons, who were skilled masons, and all went at the same time to Rebersburg to build the wall for the Lutheran Reformed Church. They remained in the Valley, and, living in German settlements, they and their children adopted the language and customs of their neighbors. Of the brothers, Jacob, in later years, did an extensive business in cutting tombstones for the Rebersburg cemetery from native rock, and several of  these monuments are still standing. Jacob died at his home below Aaronsburg, and was buried at Rebersburg. Peter removed in later life to Stephenson county, Illinois, and died there." 
Just off the bat, this doesn't make sense. While there are some Smull's hailing from Scotland, the Schmoells, Schmulls, Smulls, Smalls, etc. hailed from Germany. The areas like Rebersburg were very German, speaking and conducting all of their business within their German communities in their language, educating their children in German, and maintaining their customs. It would not make sense for Irishmen to integrate into the German community. But who knows?  Intermarrying had already started.

Centre County Township Map, 1861
On that basis, I've since been looking for some other explanation and finally found one, which also may or may not be fully accurate. This taken from Portrait & Biographical Record of Macon County, Illinois, 1893 by Lake Publishing and the subject was Henry Smull (1842*), a heretofore unidentified child of Peter Smull and Mary Waggoner. There is one child of Peter and Mary whom I still have not identified, based on 1830 & 1840 census calculations. It tells a completely different tale about the same ancestor (the unidentified grandfather of both profile subjects):
"The latter (Peter) was of German descent. The paternal grandfather (unidentified) of our subject was a hero of the Revolution. He left the Old Country to avoid entering the army, and arrived in the United States just in time to aid the Colonists in their struggle for independence.
For seven years he (the unidentified grandfather) participated in the Revolution. The father (Peter) of our subject (Henry)was born February 27, 1796, and died in February, 1869, being buried in Rock Grove, Stephenson County, Ill. His wife, who was born February 4, 1801, died and was buried in the same place in September, 1878. Mr. Smull was always a supporter of the Democratic party. He was a mechanic, and always followed the occupation of farming. He came to Illinois when Henry was a lad of twelve years, and located upon a farm in Stephenson County, where he spent his remaining days."
I think this description may be more accurate, but may be bloated in the heroic description. Until it can be ascertained who the parents of the Brothers Smull were, it's all moot. I have yet to find one person who has a reasonable solution to the problem. What I know is that the family is not related, or is very distantly related to John Augustus Smull, the author of the Smull's Legislative Handbook. 

The big questions for me are:
  • Did Jacob Smull have wife and children and if so, whom?
  • Did Jacob Smull leave the Centre County area? No records of him exist, but the house which he built in Centre County is on the National Historic Register
  • Who are the parents of Mary Waggoner, Peter Smull's wife? I have a case to put before the court of public opinion, but will share that later.
*Henry Smull (1842) is the son of Peter Smull and Mary Waggoner and is listed with his birth year to differentiate him from Henry Smull, brother of Peter.

MysteryMuddle: The Many Marriages of Marie/Mary Adaline Smith

William Custer SMITH > Edwin SMITH > Marie/Mary Adaline Smith
Johnathan SMULL > Kate SMULL > Marie/Mary Adaline Smith

This was a lesson I needed to learn. Even though a story all fits together with available records, there may be way more to the story. There are lots of sources to cull from. And those side sources can hold the key to the mystery.

Marie Adaline Smith, who went by Mary much of her life, was the first born of Edwin Smith and Kate Smull, born 04 Oct 1890 in Plainfield, Bremer County, Iowa. According to the records I could find two years ago when I first started this endeavor, her first marriage didn't occur until some time before 1939 to a Greek gent. And, her obituary clearly stated she was married to a "D. L. Elbert" at the time of her death This was a typo.

After putting all the records together, I interviewed my 89 year old uncle who has a pretty amazing memory. At the time I interviewed him, he referred to "D. L. Albert" as "someone Mary knew from when she was younger."

Recently, I had started going through all the Nashua Reporter newspaper gossip columns for Plainfield that included both "Smull" and "Smith" entries when I ran across a couple of important items that reopened the book on the mysterious Mary:
Mary Hoard of Rolfe, is here to visit her parents, Mr & Mrs Edwin Smith over the holidays.
Nashua Reporter December 22, 1910
Hoard? Where did that come from? Eventually, I was able to track down a marriage record from 04 Feb 1908 in Bremer County. Her groom was Edwin Church HOARD of Rolfe, Iowa. And, then a news item:
E C Hoard, of Rolfe, Iowa, and Miss Mary Smith of this place, were married on Tuesday of last week. They left immediately for Rolfe. Miss Smith has been our central girl in the telephone office for the past year and her many young friends will miss her.
Nashua Reporter February 13, 1908  
While living in Pocohontas County, they divorced - some time between 1915-1923. I found another news item that gave me a clue to where she went next:
Mrs Mary Alberts who has been here visiting her mother, Mrs Edwin Smith, went to Nashua Saturday to spend a few days with her sisters, Mrs Andy Beckage and Mrs Glenn Scoles.
Nashua Reporter April 12, 1923, pg 2
What? She didn't marry D. L. Albert until after the next husband I knew about. But, other news items
indicated that maybe I needed to rethink. I found a 1930 census with D. L. Albert and wife Mary living in Pocohontas County. That was them.

They apparently also got divorced and some time before 1939, Mary married Peter Burgos. Peter. Burgos was born in Foruna, Greece, and was co-owner of the Metropole cafe in Isabella County, Michigan. I still haven't figured out how they managed to meet, but marry they did and live in Michigan, they did. Peter died in 1943 at the age of 48.
Mrs Peter Burgos of Mt Pleasant, MI, is spending a few days with her mother, Mrs Kate Smith. Mrs Burgos was called here because of the death of her father, Edwin Smith.
Nashua Reporter January 18, 1939
So, what caused her to end up with Donald Lee Albert again?  Did they marry or did they just live together? I once again called my uncle and asked him to listen to my theory and confirm it. He did. And they did marry again legally, though I could not locate the record. 

Mary and "Lee" lived in Yreka, California when Mary got cancer. She had a full-time nurse who accompanied the body by train when Mary died on 19 Apr 1949. Lee wasn't well enough to make the trip. My uncle was one of her pallbearers. Lee died 09 Nov 1949 and was buried in Yreka.

Married four times, she had no children. She was married before my grandmother, her sister, was even born. I've never seen her photo and don't know that anyone has one. My dad and uncles would have been very young when she died and didn't know her either. She is the only of my grandmother's 10 brothers and sisters who survived infancy I don't at least have some recollection of. The last of her siblings died well before my children were even born. I felt like even though we'll never know her whole story, at least in this way, we can remember something of her where she would have been lost to history.

Dead men tell no tales - nor, apparently, do dead women, but the Nashua Reporter gossip column lives on to help tell the story of each of its residents. And thankfully, so does my uncle.