Sunday, April 30, 2017

Captain Grant & Mrs Mary Jane Scoles Walker

Mary Jane Scoles Walker

Mary Jane Scoles was the youngest child of Minnie Luella Smith and Charles Scoles. She was born 20 Aug 1927 in Bradford, Chickasaw County, Iowa. As a high school senior, she was chosen as a Queen entrant at the North Iowa Band Festival in Mason City by her class band from Nashua high school. She was a member of both the concert and marching bands, glee club, and mixed chorus and was also the state champion student band director. She was also an attendant to the Nashua High Homecoming Queen as a senior. Immediately after graduation, she belonged to The Majel Club, a social club of young women of the Congregational Church in 1946/1947 and served as secretary. She taught rural school for two years after graduating.

Grant Walker was the son of Mrs Celia Walker and was raised in Pennsylvania, born at Ramey and graduated from the Madera and Ramey area high school. He entered the Navy in 1943 at age 17. He attended Pennsylvania State and Georgia Tech in the Navy Y-12 program and entered midshipmen's
Capt Walker's Columbia
Roomie, Johnny Carson
training at Columbia University in March 1945.

While he was at Columbia Midshipmen's School, his roommate was young Johnny Carson. Captain Walker said, "He was in love with his high school sweetheart, who he later married. We only had Saturday night to go out to drink and he had his friends and I had mine. We got along just fine though."

He was commissioned in July 1945 and first assigned to the USS Chandeuer, a seaplane tender. Then, he was transferred to the USS Rockingham, a Haskell-class attack transport.

While on that ship, they were doing atomic bomb testing in the Bikini Atoll late 1945/1946. He was aboard the ship during the test blasts and also was required to take radioactivity readings on the various test ships (he said, "Some sunk, some didn't.") Captain Walker said they weren't allowed to look directly toward the blast, but had to turn their backs and protect their eyes, but post-blast, he could see the mushroom cloud.
Grant & Mary Jane's

Mary Jane's sister Margaret had married Dale Williamson and moved to Atlanta, Georgia. Mary Jane moved to Atlanta and got a job as a reservations agent for Eastern Airlines. One night, she went out with some others girls from work and went to a bar. That night, Grant Walker, USN, was there too. He had been attending a chemical warfare school in Alabama and had come to Atlanta for a weekend of fun. He had decided to ask one of Mary Jane's group to dance, but by the time he got over there, she got up and left and he was left standing there. So, he asked Mary Jane to dance.

The couple married on 28 May 1953 in Atlanta and began their lives as a Navy family. Each year, they would come to Nashua/Plainfield for a visit with family. He recalls Minnie, Mary Jane's mother, as a bit aloof and difficult to know. She "had her opinions and those were her opinions," he said. Betty Smith Hahn and her husband Lee lived next door to Minnie. Betty was Minnie's adopted sister.

He attended Naval War College in 1963 and was in the same class as Jeremiah Denton, who was a POW for eight horrific years and later served as Senator of Alabama and Sam Gravely, the first African-American Admiral in the US Navy.

Commander Jeremiah Denton
Grant's career flourished. He, over the course of his career, commanded four ships. At the apex, he did three tours in Vietnam as Skipper of the USS Waddell, an Adams-class guided missile armed destroyer, beginning in 1966. During his time there, he recalls not only being fired upon, but firing back, and said his ship was the first to fire north of the South Vietnam border.

His last command was as Skipper of the USS Coronado, an Austin-class amphibious transport dock (LPD) built with additional superstructure for command ship duties. Keel was laid 01 May 1965 and she was commissioned 23 May 1970. Walker was its first Skipper. Captain Walker recalls that in the time it took him to get the ship underway and to its next port, his wife Mary Jane had driven the girls cross-country to Virginia Beach and found a church and joined before he got there. He said, "I didn't get any choice in church, but I'm a Methodist anyway, so it was fine."
Captain Grant Walker, USN

He retired in 1976. Sadly, his wife Mary Jane died months later on 25 May 1977 in Virginia Beach. She died at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital of encephalitis. She had suffered from leukemia for the previous four years.

The couple had four daughters, two of whom reside near him and the other two are only a couple hours away. He has eight grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

Captain Walker remarried after ten years alone to Dorothy, who preceded him in death in 2007 of cancer. He likes to sing in the church choir at St Andrew's Methodist Church, to which he's belonged since 1970. His daughters sing in the choir with him. In earlier days, he was very active in  the community with organizations like the Red Cross and as president of the Civic League, but he mostly takes it easy these days. He still plays poker with the folks in his 40-year-old poker club, though Captain Walker says, "Five had died."  Captain Walker is 91 this year but still goes to the Outer Banks with his kids every year and sees them frequently-a situation he likes just fine.

USS Waddell

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ernest Fee, Law Man

Ernest Fee, 1939

We've covered Milo, Almira, and one of today's subject's half-nephews, Vernard, in the past week or so. William Henry Fee married twice. The first marriage was to Lillas R Hoagland, daughter of Mr & Mrs Silas and Francis Hoagland. They married 01 Jan 1885 in Linn County.

The couple had two children: Bessie and Ernest. Bessie would find herself  living with her Hoagland grandparents in 1900, at age 12. She would go on to marry twice and died 23 Sep 1969 in Orange County, California.

Her father William remarried in 1897 and had nine more children and then was divorced again. In 1900, Ernest Sidney Fee was living with his father.

By 1910, Ernest was living in Custer, South Dakota with his bride, Melinda "Linnie" Roseberry, whom he had married 16 Feb 1910 in Custer. Ernest's mother Lillas lived in Custer in a different residence. She died in Custer on 10 Feb 1914.

Ernest and Linnie moved to Omaha in 1911 and Ernest joined the Omaha police department. By 1923, he had worked his way up to sergeant.  In early September 1923, Fee and three other members of the "morals squad" were called to account after a warrantless search of the premises of Charles Nejetinsky. Think back to those crazy days of prohibition and you'll have a good picture of what life was like for Ernest, who appears to me to be very serious about his work.

OMAHA, Sept 4 - A police sergeant and three other members of the "morals squad" were suspended by the city council this morning following charges by Charles Nejetinsky that his premises was searched without warrant. He alleges damage to upset furnishings resulted from the raid.
The suspension resulted when Sergeant Ernest Fee failed "to answer summons for a hearing of the charges and will be in effect pending investigation."
Lincoln Star
Tuesday, September 4, 1923, Lincoln, Nebraska
He was reinstated after a 60-day suspension on 01 Nov 1923 and was assigned to patrol duty. He soon after secured a job as a Douglas County deputy sheriff and would remain so for the next 25 years. The shennanigans that got him into trouble with the OPD followed him to his next job, still,
Linnie Roseberry Fee
with little repercussion.
Omaha, Jan 20 - Deputy Sheriff Ernest Fee, found guilty of two charges of assault in connection with alleged "beating up" of persons during liquor raids, was fined $100 on each count by Judge Bryce Crawford in county court and posted bond for Fee's release.
The hearing on similar charges of "oppression under color of office" while conducting liquor raids in Douglas county, filed against Dan Phillips and postponed because of the defendant's illness. Federal agent Samardick and Schmidt will be arraigned in federal court on the same charges.
Beatrice Daily Sun
Wednesday, January 21, 1925, Beatrice, Nebraska
In mid-March 1951, Fee was named the deputy in charge of the county jail after two criminals busted out of the jail in early March. The former jailer was moved to the records bureau. Ernest remained in this position until the end of his career. He retired in about 1955 at age 69. He was the sheriff department's oldest deputy. He then went into private security.

3384 Grant St, North Omaha
The Fee's lived at 3384 Grant St in North Omaha. His wife Linnie preceded him in death of cancer on 05 Nov 1964 in Omaha. Fee died at the age of 86 in Omaha in early November 1972, where he resided at the Evans Towers in North Omaha. His two daughters, Lola Brittain and Theresa Cooper survived him.

A Murderous Aside: A Little Murder, this Way Comes
Deputy Fee made the news from time to time for all types of incidents, including traffic accidents, petty crimes, and an infamous long murder trial involving an Arizona horse trainer and a Tucson heiress. He provided critical testimony in the murder trial that caused a stir in the courtroom and may well have been one of the key elements to the case's outcome.This was in the case of the murder of Tuscon heiress Ardath (Noni) Kuykendall for which her husband of 3 months, horse trainer and blacksmith, Joe Kuykendall stood trial.
"There was a little flurry late in the session when Deputy Sheriff Ernest Fee testified
under cross examination that he "did not" see any mark or cut on Kuykendall's hands when he fingerprinted him the morning after Mrs Kuykendall's death.
Fingerprinting Shown
Controversy over the alleged "scuff marks" and "cut" had stalled the trial for two days earlier after a former deputy sheriff testified to them and then when confronted with a report of a county attorney's conference, said he did not at first recall the marks and cut but was reminded of them by another witness.
Defense Attorney Hugh Boyle stepped into the jury box Wednesday and had Fee demonstrate - using Boyle's hand - just how he takes the print of each finger and finally the whole hand. Then he asked him if he saw the marks on Kuykendall's hands. Fee replied, "I did not."
Cedar Rapids Gazette, Thursday, December 10, 1953, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

On 14 Jan 1953, Kuykendall was found "not guilty" after 29 hours of deliberation in one of the longest trials ever in Douglas County. Mrs Kuykendall was beneficiary of a 26-million dollar trust fund originally set up by her great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Smith, who was said to be the wealthiest man in New England when he died in 1927. Her life income from this trust fund was estimated to be about $85,000 per year. A will executed 13 days before her death named Kuykendall principal beneficiary to Mrs Kuykendall's personal estate. The 34 year old horse trainer and blacksmith from Arizona, had come to Omaha for the horse racing season at Ak-Sar-Ben. They had been married three months and were living in a luxurious trailer so they could watch their string of horses compete. The defense claimed the wife was intoxicated and fell and hit her head, causing her death. Within two weeks of his acquittal, he filed on her $200,000 life insurance policy, taken out less than two weeks before she died. Thirty-year-old Ardath (Noni) Kuykendall was married eight times with two children by different fathers. The custody was awarded to the fathers after her death. Kuykendall lost his attempt to get the trailer they were traveling in - it went to her estate. He would be shot to death in 1958 while trying to run another man down on a horse at a race track in Texas.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Munson Clans and a Post About Aeneas Munson

Munson Clan Tree
My 2nd great grandmother on my paternal grandmother's side of the family was Mary Ann Munson. She certainly didn't make any big splashes and was quite like most pioneer Americans, working hard for a better life, being a reliable and steadfast helpmeet to her husband, William Custer Smith, and raising her family. Her ultimate destination was Fremont Township, Butler County, Iowa, but the Smith family's lives revolved around the neighboring Bremer County community of  Plainfield.

The Munsons can trace their roots back to the immigrant Munson, Captain Thomas Munson. According to the Munson Family Foundation website:

"The first appearance of Thomas Munson (1612-1685) in America is recorded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1637 as a member of the militia unit engaged in the Pequot Indian War. He signed the Fundamental Agreement at New Haven Colony (dated 1639) prior to April 1640 and established his permanent home. His life and actions are well documented in The Munson Record, Volume I and the Connecticut colony records.The evidence is persuasive that the Thomas Munson who was recorded as being baptized in St. Nicholas Church in Rattlesden, County Suffolk, England on September 13, 1612, was the same man who later distinguished himself in the public affairs of colonial New Haven."

To trace this now huge lineage, some wise person broke it all down into clans. So, each of us from the Munson lineage was attached to the great grandson of the original immigrant. In my case, I'm a descendant of Thomas' great grandson William, and belong to Clan William. There were originally 17 clans, but this did not include all the descendants of Thomas (excluding the female lines), so in 2008, the Foundation agreed to consider activating a total of 43 additional lines to ensure full inclusion. Only a handful of these have been researched and activated. This involves literally millions of descendants.

My new cousin, whom I've not met, but religiously read her always informative blog, today talks about another distant cousin from Clan Theophilus, Dr. Aeneas Munson, Revolutionary War Surgeon. 

Dr. Aeneas Munson, Jr.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Vernard, Oh, Vernard, What Have You Done?


I've talked a little about both Milo and Almira. Wesley Bartlett Fee went by "Bart" his entire adult life or "W. B." He farmed successfully, raising stock in both shorthorn cattle and American Poland-China hogs. The 1930s wouldn't be a stellar decade for Bart and his family. His farm was severely damaged by a windstorm, his son's wife would cause a scandal of epic proportions, and the same son would die under mysterious circumstances. Bart and his wife both died in 1934.

Kensal, ND, just a few miles from Corrine, where
the Fees homesteaded in the 1910s.
Vernard and Zora got married on 25 Nov 1914 in Delaware County, Iowa. Zora was born on 12 Sep 1895 in Earlville, Delaware County to Charles and Mary Simons Robinson. The young Fee couple had their first son, Charles, in 1915 in Iowa, but by 1917 had moved to Corinne, Stutsman, North Dakota, where their second son Clarence was born. Vernard had a bad case of pneumonia while there and by late 1920, they had returned to Iowa where he plied his trade as a cattle buyer and farmer, like his father. They had three more boys in short order back in Iowa.

Then, the weirdness begins!

On Tuesday, September 2, 1930, Mrs Fee and the five children, paid a "friend" to drive them to her sister's in Delaware County. The Fees had been bickering and fighting for some time and she needed a break. They never arrived. Police were called in and according to reports, "...were concerned over the disappearance of a razor and rat poison from the farm home of Vernard Fee, apparently about the time it was left by Mrs Fee and five children..."

Mrs Fee had only five dollars with her and no food. On September 18th, Mrs Fee and the children returned with quite a tale to tell:

Ralph Owens, who was her traveling companion, was eight years younger than Zora. He was born in Vinton, Iowa 11 Jul 1903. The 1930 census has him living with his parents. We'll get back to him.

The Fee's were headed to divorce. Their divorce was finally granted in about February 1932. Vernard was living at the time with his parents. He had been working in the shed at his parents' farm, soldering a pipe on a stove for the brooder on the evening of his death. He then went to a friends' home and was later found slumped in his car at his friends' home. The death had originally been attributed to self-administered poison, but the coroner found it to be accidental.

How long it took for Ralph Owens and Zora to end up cohabitating, I don't know, but by the 1940 census they were all living together on a rented farm in Harrison township. In 1942, they married. In 1947, Ralph died suddenly of a heart attack at age 43. Zora did not marry again and would die 02 Dec 1976 in a Cedar Rapids nursing home.

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 couple.

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.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Have Genealogy Bag, Will Travel

Clarksville, Iowa
I was loading up  my genealogy kit yesterday before I left for my next adventure. Mini-scanner,
check. Camera, check. Extra batteries, check. Paper and pen, check. Computer, check. Cords, etc., etc., check. I rolled out of here like I was packing for a weekend away from home. I arrived in the small town of Clarksville before 10 am and was welcomed most graciously by my hostess, my third cousin through the Smull and Cooper side of the family. I'll not use their names to maintain their privacy.

One of my new cousins - Pioneer Girl
Shortly thereafter, a woman came out of the back of the house looking like a pioneer woman. Not knowing these folks, I didn't let them know I was taking in the garb wondering if perhaps they were some strict conservative religious sect or something. Turns out this was my third cousin once removed and she was on her way to do a volunteer stint at the library celebrating Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Then, the woman who got in touch with me via my blog, whom I'll call History Sister, arrived and we settled down to what ended up to be many hours of talking, comparing notes, and swapping photos. I had hoped to be home in time for a mid-day nap, but this was way better.

Around about one, I was informed that lunch was ready. I had no idea they were preparing lunch for me, so it was a nice treat and break. I cannot tell you how kind, generous, and thoughtful everyone I've met through this genealogy thing has been to me.

History Sister and I share a love of all kinds of history and the same curiosity that makes us find the answers. She is starting out as the family historian and going through boxes of treasures left by her grandparents including letters between them when her grandfather was serving in World War II, letters from my great-great aunts to member of her family, tons of wonderful photos from the turn of the 20th century and beyond. I laughed so much during my visit, and it was sorely needed!  I hope we get to keep in touch and share more time together in the future. And, I'll be sharing some of what I learned here, so stay tuned!

On the way home, I stopped by my Uncle Harold's house to wish him a belated 89th birthday and showed him some of the photos I picked up on my previous trip. His eyes got big and he pointed at a gent in one of the photos and said, "That's Grandpa!" He seemed pleased and that made me happy. Then he told me great stories for the next half hour before it was finally time to head home and end this chapter of my genealogy adventure.

My kind hostesses left and right. I'm looking pretty pleased.