Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Dress

This is the dress made for Ethel Ryan for her marriage to Ellis Downing on January 19, 1910, at the Lincoln Christian Church. Check out that waist - 18 inches.

In 1910, as told in an earlier post, Ethel, her two older sisters and her mother were pregnant. Ethel's sister Cora had made the dress. When Cora's daughter was born she cut up the dress to make baby dresses for her daughter. Ethel was not thrilled. Cora said Ethel would not be needing a wedding dress again so what was the big deal. It always rankled but the two remained close until Cora's death less than 14 months before Ethel's.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

How Did You Meet Grandpa?

Sunday, April 14, 1907, was Ethel Ryan's 15th birthday. Although not a member, she went to the dedication of the new Mt. Pulaski Christian Church building with her friend. There was a social. Also at the event was Ellis Downing whose minister ancestors and their family founded several of the Methodist Churches in Logan County and across central Illinois. Ellis enjoyed music and dancing, which the Methodist Church in 1907 did not, so he and his brother were attending the Christian Church. The couple met that day.

Ellis was the second of the four sons of William Nelson and Eliza Sciota Harding Downing, our Lida of prior posts. Ellis' father, who farmed land his family originally settled, had died of typhoid in 1903.

Ethel was the third daughter of Edward Daniel and Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan [see "A Family Affair"]. Teddie was a bricklayer whose ancestors came from Ireland in the 1830s. Both of Lillie's parents were descendants of Abraham Lucas. To be kind, Teddie liked his drink. The families did not know each other, certainly were not in the same social or economic circles. Most would have said the couple had nothing in common.

Ellis' older brother Clarence was dating Lena Drake. Her stepfather was Charles Brooker. The Brookers lived half a mile west of the Downing household. The families were friends and the couple seemed well suited.

Eventually the talk to turned to marriage and it seemed natural to have a double wedding. Lena could afford a wedding. Ethel could not. In order to have the double wedding Ellis paid for Ethel's dress. The couples, joined by their mothers, went by horse and buggy to Lincoln on January 19, 1910, where they were married at the Lincoln Christian Church. Both couples settled down to farming.

Ellis and Ethel had five children. She died on January 8, 1975, 11 days short of the couple's 65th wedding anniversary. Ellis wrote his family story to be placed in the cornerstone of the new sanctuary of the Mt Pulaski Christian Church, starting with the story of their meeting in 1907. He witnessed the dedication of that new sanctuary in 1977 and died on June 28, 1978.

Clarence and Lena had one son, Darwin. They eventually divorced. One September day in 1942 Clarence showed up at Ellis and Ethel's' home and said he felt ill. They put him to bed and called the doctor but Clarence died on September 28, 1942. Lena died in October of 1985.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Identifying Photos Revisited

I got involved in revising my file system, going to Network Attached Storage and installing Windows 7. The last required a clean install and a reinstall of all programs. Thus I downloaded the last version of Picasa which is 3.6. I turned it loose on my pictures in their new location. This time I was able to do with an unattended laptop that I didn't need for the day so it was allowed to do its work uninterrupted.

The latest version seems faster and also seems more adept at facial recognition. It has identified nearly 7,000 faces and identified about 100 people who are in multiple pictures. It has found the younger version of people I only knew as old and, upon inspection, has been right most of the time. It thinks at times my sister might be me and makes other interesting family connections, my niece in a close up and my grandfather for example. I don't see the resemblance but it must be there.

Some of those 7,000 faces are people who happened to be in the picture, maybe in the background. You can tell Picasa to ignore those. Some are part of historical group pictures I own but cannot identify. Why my grandmother had them if there are no relatives in them escapes me so I continue to look.

I have been able to identify about 700 of the 7,000. Some are relatives I never met, knew or even heard of. Some are children of friends of my mother or grandparents that I never knew. When I have a rough time frame and perhaps a last name and location I have posted the information to boards and lists, so far without success.

I have enlisted extended family in identifying the pictures. I don't understand why people get possessive about pictures. Scan them, share with all, get help with the identification. I'm not one who has to own the original but even if you feel you must you can still scan them and share.

We say we should have ask these questions, identified these pictures, etc. when the older generations were still here and yet we aren't doing it for future generations.

I'll get off the soapbox now but considering making scanning and identifying your photos, old and newer, a New Year's resolution.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Family Affair

In 1910 the three oldest daughters of Edward and Lillie Wood Ryan were "in a family way." Sarah Katherine Ryan Kinert, the eldest, already had a young son, Floyd. It would be the first for Cora Ryan Lipp and Ethel Ryan Downing. Their mother was also expecting.

On August 9, 1910, the Ryan sisters' youngest sister Margaret was born. On August 26 Ethel's eldest son Orville was born. On December 1 Cora's only child Dorthalene was born. On January 18, 1911, Sadie's daughter, Adela, was born. Then things went terribly wrong. Eight days later Sadie died, apparently of sepsis.

The widower was unable to take care of the children and work too. Floyd went to live with Cora. Adela was raised by another family.

Cora and Ethel lived past 80. Floyd died of an infection at 28. I never knew Adela. My mother never met her. I don't recall hearing her mentioned except in response to direct questions. By the time I had enough information and the internet to track her down she had died.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Using Picassa 3.5 to Identify Photos

I have been playing with the facial recognition in Picassa 3.5, Google's free photo organizing and editing software. I have a lot of pictures scanned [and at least as many to scan]. Working with photos is not my favorite thing. After playing with the latest version of Picassa for about an hour I'm down to only 9,000 to identify!

The most interesting thing to me is it often chooses family members as potential matches. When I was labeling my granddaughter Marly's pictures it brought up for my consideration some of her sister Sarah's pictures. It did the same with my brothers.

I was hopeful that it would use this family resemblance to help identify some of my unknown ancestors but that has not happened so far. The only photo it has identified that I didn't know was one baby picture. It suggested it was my #2 brother. Upon closer inspection I believe it is. So there is hope it will find others as I start to identify the ancestors.

By pulling up the faces it did show me pictures I didn't even remember or know I had, an interesting side benefit.

I don't like the way it wants to link the pictures with an email address from my Google contacts. To foil it I used full names for men, maiden and married names for women. For those woman who don't use a married name I included their middle name. It seems to be looking for a perfect match in contacts and accepts these as new people. Of course, the problem will not arise with the old pictures but I tested on those I was sure about.

The price - free - is right so you have nothing to lose and maybe some photos to identify.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Keeping Up

We all have multiple lines we are researching. It seems I pay more attention to some lines and less to others. I field more queries about those lines and am generally more familiar with them. The other day I got an inquiry about a line and I couldn't recall the details. Then I realized I haven't had an inquiry about that line in years.

There was a time when I had so many inquiries on that line my expert sent his GEDCOM file so I could just pull it and find out a few things, decide where to sent the researcher for more. In those days my internet connection was dialup and things were slow. Now internet is always on and generally fast. I realized that I didn't even have a bookmark for the database my expert has developed [and keeps up] so I hadn't had an inquiry since I moved five years ago.

I could say it means interest in lines goes in spurts and that's probably true. It also means I have neglected to keep up with my genealogy. I'm more organized but I've gotten sloppy on the lines no one asks about, particularly when there are others who are paying attention to those lines.

Is it possible to keep up with all the lines? Is there a formula for how much time to devote to each one? Is it okay to forgot some lines because others are devoting all their time to them? Contrary to what some might suggest, we cannot possibly do all the original research on all our ancestors. What is the compromise?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Cousin Bob

July 22 is my cousin Bob's birthday.

Abraham Lucas' father was Thomas Lucas. Thomas' father Frans came with his father in 1710 from Otterberg, Germany. Their ancestors were Huguenots who had fled from France into the Pfalz. Records of the church there miraculously survived all the wars. Abraham had a great many descendants including my gggrandparents Berryman B. Wood AND his wife Sarah Katherine Lucas Wood.

Thomas and his wife, whose name is unknown, had nine children who reached adulthood. We know this because of a lawsuit over his estate. Abraham was the eldest child followed by Sarah. The family moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to Ohio. Sarah married Daniel Ullery in Pennsylvania. They stayed in Ohio. Abraham moved on to Illinois.

Thomas Lucas is my 5th great grandfather. Turns out he has another 5th great grandchild, a descendant of Sarah, that you may have heard of -- former Senator and Presidential Candidate Robert Dole. William Addams Reitwiesner, a genealogical researcher who is noted for medieval research as well as checking out the family trees of U.S. political figures for as long as I can remember, did the research on Dole for the 1996 election.

On July 22, Bob Dole will be 86. Happy Birthday cousin Bob.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

War of 1812

John Downing was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. After the war he left Pennsylvania for Ohio where he lived for many years before moving on to Logan County in 1821. John and his wife Hannah Frakes had nine children, three of whom served in the War of 1812 from Ohio. They were living in Madison County at the time.

The eldest son John was a Private in Captain Levi Pinney's Company, First Regiment [McArthur's], Ohio Militia. He enlisted May 1, 1812, the same day as his brother Josiah, and was discharged December 12, 1812. Josiah, the second son, was killed in action against the British on July 20, 1812. John named his first son Josiah. John died in 1819 in Ohio. His widow was living with her in-laws in the 1820 census but apparently did not travel to Illinois with them. Josiah left a widow but no children.

John and Hannah's third son and fourth child was Robert Downing. He served in Capt. John Wilson's Company of the Ohio Militia May 8-29, 1813, and July 26-August 26, 1813. This is the service listed in his pension record. He also served as a Private, Renick's Mounted Regiment, Ohio Volunteers. In 1819 Robert married Jane Morrow and in 1821 traveled to Logan County, Illinois, with his parents and surviving siblings. They had 10 children, three of whom married children of a neighbor [unrelated] named Samuel Downing. In general the descendants of John are buried at Bowers-Templeman. The descendants of Samuel are buried at Downing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Useful Item #2 - Netbook

Laptops are portable, sort of. They are heavy, most weighing in about six pounds. They don't go very long without power. And what do you do in a library when you have a laptop but need to go get another book?

Netbooks are small laptops, generally with 9-10" screens. They weigh under three pounds. They aren't new. Gateway made tiny laptops in the early 90s but they just didn't sell. Others have made them since. After 17 years their time has finally come.

Mine fits in my purse. Ok, I tend to carry a large purse when I am traveling. The first day after I got mine I shoved it in my purse and carried it around all day, shopping, to lunch, to the library, to the grocery store, etc. It's doable.

The battery keeps going and going and going. The reason is you close the lid and it hibernates. Some manufacturers claim the battery lasts nine hours. Mine does BUT I don't use it steadily for those nine hours.

Two weeks later I went on a two week trip with the netbook as my only computer. Mine has a camera, wi-fi, bluetooth, a 160 GB hard drive and 2 MB of memory. I loaded up my programs, my work files, my pictures, my music [the sound isn't bad] and my genealogy files.

With cloud computing through programs such as Gmail and Evernote, your data is available to you wherever you are. More and more storage is available that way. My netbook came with 10 GB cloud file storage. Windows Live provides free cloud file storage. Cloud computing is the future.

There is no CD drive. To add a program you need to download it, install it from an external CD drive, copy it to the netbook across your network or copy it to a flash drive and then use that as your installation disk.

Some come with wireless cards. In fact, you can get a pretty inexpensive netbook with a built in wireless card if you sign a two year wireless contract. For about $30 a month you can "tether" your netbook to your smartphone to connect -- which sounds cumbersome to me. Or you can connect when you are at one of an ever growing number of places with free wi-fi access, places from city parks to fast food outlets. It's a great excuse to go to Dairy Queen.

The screen IS small for reading long documents but that's what scrolling is for. I wouldn't want to do eight hours of work on it. That's really the only downside. My biggest gripe is the inability to disable the built in touchpad to use a wireless mouse. There is a way to do it but it just doesn't work. I finally cut a piece of lightweight cardboard and taped it over the touchpad. That effectively eliminated about 85% of the problem. If you use the touchpad you don't have this problem.

I think a netbook is the perfect tool for research trips.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Useful Item #1 -- Smartphone

I recently got a couple new items that are quite useful. And they turn out to be useful for genealogy too. I finally gave in and replaced my antique with a new cell phone. I really don't even like having a cell phone. That has changed, at least in part. I still refuse to have it permanently attached.

I bought a Blackberry Curve. That's an older model with a keyboard made up of tiny but typeable keys and a 2 x 1.5" screen, not large. It's pink, dubbed Pinkberry, and in a neon pink case. It's easy to see.

The first thing I learned, quite by accident, was you can take a picture with the cell phone and then you can email it to yourself or anyone else, even post it to various online sites, regardless of where you are. Even if you can't figure out how to get it off the cell phone you have the picture. Later I learned that with the new phones you can easily get your pictures from the phone to the computer but I've gotten used to emailing them.

Soon I was taking pictures of everything. It's so easy. Your cell phone is always handy, much handier [and lighter] than the camera I always carry in my purse, and always ready. No copy machine. No problem. Click. I wasn't planning to stop at this cemetery and now look what I found! Click. You can even make a video if great aunt decides to spill the beans.

The smartphone holds more useful tools. Where exactly is that cemetery? Just look it up on the internet on your cell phone. You can even get GPS on the phone if you need such things. I looked up a cemetery layout on my web site when I couldn't find a particular stone. Even in the middle of nowhere I could do it. If you think you'll do a lot of looking up things online I suggest you look for a large screen phone but it is doable on the smaller screen.

Mine also has a calculator, note pad, voice recorder, maps, a calendar and Evernote, the program I cannot live without. The phone version, at least for my older version phone, is not that impressive but I can take notes and I can connect to the internet and use it there. For work we keep an assortment of information in Evernote too. Evernote is pretty critical to me and having it on the phone factored into the choice.

As far as I know there is no genealogy program for the Blackberry. If your smartphone uses Windows Mobile there is a genealogy program for it. I'm not hot to read my genealogy on that small screen so it wasn't something I considered.

I'm sure there are many other things you can do with a smartphone. If you are in the market I suggest determining what is available, what you will actually use [as opposed to might when stranded on an island] and then narrowing down your choices. I did that, went home with the information and researched for another week, went back with a phone in mind. When I got to the store I had two more questions. The answers totally changed the phone I finally chose [and saved a chunk of money]. So ask a lot of questions.

I have not scratched the surface of the Blackberry's talents and probably never will. For me it is a tool and not a toy. My life does not depend upon it. But it is useful and for the first time I'm happy to have a cell phone.

My package includes sending the pictures from phone to phone. That package also includes unlimited text messaging. I find myself using it more and more. I'd really rather get a text message than a phone call if it is just pass information. So much less intrusive. [HINT]

Friday, June 05, 2009

Blog Hits Pay Dirt

On February 1 I wrote about Berryman B. Wood, my great great grandfather. I have some pictures and a lot of questions.

As a result I have heard from several people. Two are relatives who have never lived in Logan County. The first is a granddaughter of his son, also Berryman B. Wood, who moved to Minnesota. When I was a child her twin aunts and their husbands [brothers] visited several times. Marlys resides in Minnesota. She has some great pictures.

Tessa wrote that she was related to a cousin. I hear that a lot and it invariably turns out to my relative's husband. But Tessa said no, she is a 3 great granddaughter of Berryman and a great granddaughter of my great aunt Mary. Her family had been the subject of discussion just days before. As soon as we had the connection figured out I heard from her aunt who lives directly across the state from me.

Tessa, young as she is, has been researching for about 15 years. She had lots of information. She even has a possible death date for Berryman. And yes, she has pictures, lots of pictures. Her great grandmother and my grandmother were sisters. I am having a great time with the pictures.

We've been trading all the stories about family skeletons. The infamous ones were in the family only by marriage but we have some that are almost as good who are blood relatives.

Eventually we should be able to draw a much more complete picture of this family line.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Presenting Dr. J

This isn't about ancestors or ancestors hunting. It's about this this very cute girl pictured with her grandpa.

Here they are a few years later. She's a junior at La Lumierie in this picture taken after Sarah's Bat Mitzvah. [Yes, Sarah got cut out for this blog.]

After spending more than 20 of her 25 years in school she is now Jenny Tristano, M.D. Shortly she begins her residency at a major Chicago hospital.

Congratulations Jenny!!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

All Your Notes, All the Time

How would you like to have all your notes with you all the time so you can't forget something? It's possible.

I've been using a product called Evernote for nearly five years. About a year ago it totally changed from a program on your computer to one that is shared. I admit I was reluctant but now I can't live without it.

If you share your notebook or notebooks the notes are also on your personal space at Evernote and shared with everyone you have shared with. That could mean merely your other computers. Or it could be other people. Think of the possibilities. You could use a notebook to share information among all the researchers of a certain line.

A note I add to the notebook on my desktop computer is almost instantly there for me in the program on my netbook or my laptop. I can use my SmartPhone browser to go to the web space, see my notes, add new notes. If I used a Windows Mobile compatible phone I could have the program on my phone. It also works on Macs. And you can run it from a flash drive.

When you are researching on the web you easily clip from a web page and there it is in your notebook, including the URL so you don't have to make a separate note. The URL works later if you need to go back. You can also clip from any document you can copy from on your computer -- a word processor, spreadsheet, pdf, etc. Your notes are right there when you want to enter them into your genealogy program, insert in an email, add to a blog -- whatever, wherever.

Did I mention you can include photos, audio, ink, pdf, anything you can scan in too? You can snap a photo with your SmartPhone and email it to your Evernote. If you photograph a document Evernote will recognize the text in the photo. Again, think of the possibilities.

The program is free for up to 40MB per month, $45 per year for up to 500MB per month.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

John Winans Clark

John Winans Clark, one of the two younger brothers of Rev. David Clark, was born in New Jersey January 17, 1779. At the age of 20 he went with his brother to Bourbon County, Kentucky. There, on February 15, 1805, he married Ann "Nancy" Isgrig. Her interesting ancestry will be the subject of another post.

Three children, Hannah, Margaret and David Ward, were born in Kentucky before, following his brother, they moved to Miami County, Ohio, where six more children were born: Daniel Isgrig, Phoebe, Nancy, Isaac, Sarah Winans and Mary French. Nancy died before they left Ohio, again following his brother, in 1838.

In 1838 they settled on son Daniel's land in Yankeetown, Laenna Township, Logan County, Illinois.

John died on March 5, 1859, and is buried in Laenna Cemetery. See Graveyards of South Logan County for his stone and military service.

This picture is reputed to be the adult children [except for Phoebe] of John Winans and Ann "Nancy" Isgrig Clark. Since Hannah died in 1866 then it is a very old picture, taken no later than early October 1866. Or perhaps it is not Hannah but Phoebe and it was taken when their mother died -- all are wearing black. Ann died December 8, 1867, and Margaret died two weeks later so the time frame is small but possible.

John Winans Clark was a great grandfather of Lida.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Rev. David Clark

David Clark was born in New Jersey in 1776. No proof of his ancestry beyond his parents has been found. There were several Clark families in the town, so much intermarriage and so many people with the same name it is very difficult to determine the lines. Another theory is his father, also David Clark, came from Scotland to New Jersey where he married yet another Sarah Winans.

In 1799 David Clark and his brother John Winans Clark traveled to Bourbon County, Kentucky. There he married Rachel Rutter and they had two children, Samuel and Mary. Sometime before 1806 Rachel and Samuel had died and David married Sarah Winans. They were first cousins. Mary, of course, married a Winans. David Clark was an active Methodist preacher.

In 1807 Richard Winans, Rev. David Clark and Uriah Blue were the first settlers of Section 14, Staunton Township, Miami County, Ohio. Richard was Sarah's brother, also married to a Sarah. Five children were born in Ohio. In 1829 he donated the land for the Hyattsville M. E. Church, sold his possessions to Robert Evans and they moved to Williams Township, Sangamon County, Illinois. He "settled on Wolf Creek, serving during the remainder of his life, as he had for more than twenty years before, as an acceptable and useful local preacher. He was a man of strong convictions, faithful, devout, and highly respected." [Methodist Ministers, Vol. 1, Illinois Great Rivers Conference] Their last child was born in 1830.

Sarah died in 1843 and was buried in Mt. Pulaski Cemetery. Rev. David died in 1847. They share a stone. "Sally Wife of Rev. David Clark and Daugh. of Samuel and Hannah Woodruff died Dec 3, 1843 by the 54th year of her age. Also Rev. David Clark Born Aug 28, 1776 Died Jan 6, 1847 In the 72d year of his age."

They are the great grandparents of Lida.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Frenchman

My ancestors mostly came from the British Isles to the new world. However, there was a Frenchman [and woman of course] in there.

Francois Lucas, son of Jean Lucas and Elizabeth Rollaire, was born August 8, 1663, and baptised in the French Reform Church in Otterberg, Germany, on August 12. The church, many of whose records survived to be filmed by the LDS, was comprised of French Huguenot refugees. On November 9, 1688, in that church, he married Marie Baudouin, daughter of Arnolt Baudouin and Marie Menton.

The religious freedom began slipping away during the Palatinate War of Succession and subsequent wars which ravaged the country and left hunger and destruction in the wake of the invading armies. In 1709 residents of the Palatinate began fleeing up the Rhine. The first group arrived in Rotterdam April 19. We don't know if Francois and his family were in that group but we do know that Francis Lucas, age 46, cloth & linen weaver, his wife, sons aged 17 and 11 and five daughters aged 19, 8, 6, 3 and 3 were in the first party to arrive in London by May 3, 1709. Also in those earliest refugees were ancestors of Elvis Presley and Jimmy Carter.

About 3,200 Palatine refugees boarded 12 ships in the Thames which left London in December 1709 for New York. About 470 died on the voyages. Whether Marie Baudouin died in London or on the voyage is not known. The twin girls and the eldest son also did not arrive in the new world. We do not know their names.

The refugees were bound for New Rochelle, New York, courtesy of Queen Anne of England. Francois, however, ended up in New York City where, on August 9, 1711, he married a widow named Elisabeth Engeler. By July 29, 1718, his son Franz was in Raritan, Somerset County, New Jersey. Franz married Jannetje Aten and on February 20, 1723, their daughter Maria was baptised in the Reformed Dutch Church [later First Reformed Church] in Raritan. Records of Francois after his marriage disappear until November 1741 when he is Somerset County, New Jersey, presumably with Franz. There is no more.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lillie Margaret Wood

Lida died before I was born. A couple great grandmothers hung around until I arrived. The one I knew most of Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan.

Lillie had a long hard life. She was a daughter of Berryman B. Wood. Her paternal grandfather was Solomon Wood, 2nd Coroner of Logan County, Illinois. Her great grandfather was Abraham Lucas saw Revolutionary War service and whose proven line goes back to the Huguenots in France. [Unproven and somewhat creative reports go to Charlemagne.]  The Lucases arrived in America in 1710. Other early ancestors were Quakers, arriving on the second voyage of the Kent. On her mother’s side she was a great great great granddaughter of the same Abraham and Marcy Kelsey Lucas.  Marcy’s father served in the Revolutionary War and her Kelsey ancestors arrived in New England in 1631.

As previously mentioned, Berryman B. Wood was not a great provider. While the family was in Kansas for a few years Lillie met Edward Daniel Ryan, son of a neighboring farmer, and they married. When her parents returned to Illinois the newlyweds remained.

That went sour fast. Apparently there was a major disagreement over the religion of their first child, daughter Sarah Catherine. Lillie came from a long line of early adopters of the “new religion.” Daniel and his family were Catholics, the religion her ancestors left. His parents came from Ireland as toddlers. Apparently they failed to discuss this prior to the marriage. There was no compromise.

In the 18 months between their first and second child the couple packed up a covered wagon and moved to Mt. Pulaski, Logan County, Illinois, where Lillie’s family lived. They never saw his family or any relative again although we know he received correspondence from his mother. His father died within two years of their departure.

Lillie Edward Ryan 1892

Lillie and Daniel had 10 children, eight of whom survived childhood.  They never had much. Edward took up drinking although he worked every day there was work. According to my grandfather, who never had a drop of liquor in his life, his father-in-law put in a good full day’s work every day and closed the bar each night before rolling home to begin all over again.

In 1950, a few days before Christmas, Daniel died while exchanging gifts with his youngest daughter. He was 85. They buried him on Christmas Eve beside her parents and in the shadow of her maternal ancestors. Shortly thereafter Lillie took to her bed. For a few years she got away with it, her children and grandchildren coming in to cook and clean. Eventually she went to the Christian nursing home. On Christmas Eve 1956 Lillie died at the age of 85.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Mystery of Berryman B. Wood

This is about Berryman Baughan Wood. Berryman B. is not related to Lida although all but three of her grandchildren are his great grandchildren.

Berryman was the son of Solomon and Phebe Lucas Wood. His parents came from Greene County, Ohio, with the migration of church members who formed the Lake Fork Predestinarian Baptist Church in Logan County, Illinois. Phebe's parents, Abraham and Marcy Kelsey Lucas, and living siblings also made the move. The couple bought land and settled at Rocky Ford in Corwin Township, about 15 miles from the rest of the family. Berryman was born there on December 22, 1834.

What happened next is a mystery due to the 1856 courthouse fire. We know that Solomon Wood was the second coroner of Logan County. We know Phebe died after 1839 when her last child was born, probably before Solomon sold his land on what is now Lucas Chapel Cemetery and moved in 1842. [Land records survive.] It assumed that Phebe is buried in Lucas Chapel but time and the regular spring flooding of Salt Creek have erased all traces of burials in that section of the cemetery.

Solomon remarried by 1847 and his last child was born February 23, 1848. Less than two months later Solomon was dead. Rhoda Tuman Winn Hoffman Wood, the widow, was Administrator of the estate [notice published in Springfield paper]. On April 23, 1849, the widow deeded all interest in Solomon Wood's land to his heirs and they in turn deeded all interest in her premarital property to her. John Lucas signed as guardian of Joel, Berryman, Lucinda, Rebecca and Solomon. By 1858 the record indicates Ezekiel Bowman was guardian of the two remaining minor children, Solomon and Rebecca, and executor of the Wood estate.

Berryman was apparently raised by John Lucas, his mother's brother, who was married to Sarah Bowman, a sister of Hannah who was the widow of James Lucas, another brother of Phebe. [Remember this. It will come up again.] Ezekiel Bowman was their brother. The 1850 census lists him as "Benjamin."

On December 22, 1855, Berryman married Sarah Katherine Lucas. Berryman was a grandson of Abraham Lucas. Sarah was a great granddaughter of Abraham Lucas. Her grandparents were Hannah Bowman and James Lucas. Berryman and Sarah produced 13 children while bouncing around the country. They went to Missouri but returned to Logan County. They went to Texas and returned to Logan County. They went to Kansas and returned to Logan County. On January 20, 1896, Sarah died.

The above picture is of children and grandchildren of Berryman B. and Sarah Katherine. We suspect it was taken when they gathered after Sarah's death. They placed a stone for her.

The rest of Berryman's life is also a mystery. My grandmother remembered him with love and amusement. No children or grandchildren survive and almost all of the great grandchildren have died. No record of Berryman's death has been located. We know it was 1911-1915, probably 1912-1914. When he died no one put up a stone. Years later a grandson made a marker out of concrete and put it on the grave. The death year is unreadable.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Some Old Clarks

Lida Harding Downing's mother Mary Ellen was a Clark. Her father was Rev. Richard Clark, son of Rev. David Clark and Sarah Winans. Her mother was Margaret Clark, son of John Winans and Ann "Nancy" Isgrig Clark. John and Rev. David were brothers. Did I mention the mother of Rev. David and John Winans Clark was also a Sarah Winans and their father was also a David Clark? You really need a genealogy program to keep the Clarks [and Winans] straight.

The Clarks, whether ministers or not, were active in founding Methodist churches. David, John and another brother Isaac came to Illinois in the 1820s, spreading the word as they had in Ohio. Isaac went to Fulton County.

The above is said to be the adult children of John Winans and Ann "Nancy" Isgrig Clark. That would be Margaret on the right in the back. If it is those children [and it most likely is] they did not age gracefully. Margaret died in 1867 at the age of 59. Hannah had died the year earlier at the age of 61. That means the picture was taken before October 1866. Hannah and Margaret were the oldest so those "old" men were even younger as were the other women. Mary, in the lower right hand corner, would only be 44.

John Winans Clark died in 1859. The Rev. David and Sarah Winans Clark had been dead for more than 12 years by then. Ann "Nancy" Clark died on December 8, 1867, and her daughter Margaret Clark Clark died less than two weeks later on the 21st. Lida was not yet born. This may account for the lack of strong connection to the Clarks that is obvious is some later correspondence.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Daniel Harding

Benjamin Harding was born June 7, 1836, in Belmont County, Ohio. He fought in the Civil War in the 106th Illinois, lived in Logan County, moved to Iowa with all but one of his adult children in 1894. He died there June 29, 1915. He married Mary Ellen Clark on March 30, 1866, in Logan County. She was the daughter of the Rev. Richard Clark and his wife Margaret Ann Clark Clark. There were five children, only two of whom had descendants. One was Lida Harding. She's on the left in the picture.

Benjamin Harding came to Logan County with his parents Daniel and Elizabeth Wilson Harding. They were married March 21, 1822, in Belmont County, Ohio. It is believed there were 13 children, including at least one set of twins, although we only know about six of them and what we know about five of those is very little. We know six married in Logan County, two into the Clark family. Some researchers have concluded that the other seven died before reaching adulthood. They apparently did not go to Illinois.

We know nothing about Elizabeth except she told the 1880 census taker she was born in Virginia as were her parents. Virginia at the time of her birth [October 30, 1801] included territory north into Pennsylvania and west into the unknown.

Daniel was also born in Virginia, on April 29, 1798. He died August 19, 1869, in Logan County, Illinois, so he didn't get to tell the census taker where his parents were born.

Harding is a very common name. It is also spelled Hardin, Harden, etc., often in the same family. One of the theories is Daniel was the son of John Bennett Hardin, baptised in Stafford County, Virginia, in 1761. He was the son of William Harding and Clarissa Million.

John Bennett Hardin was living in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1820 as was Daniel. John Bennett Hardin was living in Knox County, Ohio, in 1830 and died there on August 18, 1849. Daniel was living in Knox County at least by 1838. He was living there in 1850 after which he left for Illinois. John Bennett Hardin had a son named Daniel whose birth date is the same as Daniel Harding's. No proof has been located.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Abe and Me

Where I come from is closely associated with Abraham Lincoln. "You can tell you are from Logan County because every school trip for 12 years was to Lincoln something." [There are several counties which could say the same.] In addition, we had one of the two remaining courthouses where he practiced in town. Unfortunately after they moved the actual court a fire destroyed most of the records from that time.

As a result I confess I am not terribly interested in one A. Lincoln. While others were trying to find a connection I was happy not to have one. My ancestors were farming, not spending time in court...or if they were it will remain secret because the records were destroyed.

2009 is the bicentennial of Lincoln's birth. Work has been going on for several years. It caused two web sites of interest to be created. One is the Lincoln Papers and the other is the Lincoln Log.

On July 10, 1834, in Sangamon now Logan County the Rev. Michael Mann married Thomas Lucas and Mary Turner. They had 10 or maybe 11 children before she died.

Mary had a brother named Spencer Turner. He lived in neighboring DeWitt County. Spencer Spencer liked his alcoholic beverages. One cold night, ironically April 15, in 1840 Spencer hit a fellow drinking buddy named Matthew K. Martin. Martin died on April 18 and my 3rd great granduncle became the first man charged with first degree murder in DeWitt County.

Spencer hired the legal team of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas defended him. Turner admitted that he hit Martin, saying Martin was drunk and made insulting remarks about Turner's wife Nancy Hoblit. Lincoln and Douglas argued that Martin did not die from the assault but from alcoholism or exposure to bad weather. The court agreed and issued a not guilty verdict.

The Turner-Lincoln connection did not end there. As the Lincoln Papers and Lincoln Log show, their relationship would drag on for several years.

Spencer did not pay his legal fees. In October 1841 Lincoln sued for $200. He eventually got a judgment but could not collect. Douglas also sued and, for whatever reason, Spencer paid Douglas.

After the matter dragged on for some time Turner and Lincoln reached an agreement. He offered Lincoln a horse in exchange for the fees due and Lincoln accepted. The horse soon went blind.

Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, the victim of an assassin's bullet. Spencer Turner died, presumably peacefully, on April 26, 1896, at the age of 79.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

An Airplane!

On September 29, 1910, my grandmother, Ethel Ryan Downing, hitched up the buggy and took her month old son Orville [I never asked why he was named Orville. I don't think he was named for Orville Wright but the plane was being hyped when he was born.] to town where she picked up her sister Cora Ryan Lipp, seven months pregnant. They stopped by their mother's house but Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan absolutely refused to accompany them. She thought the plane might somehow harm her seven week old daughter, Ethel and Cora's youngest sibling. Lillie didn't think her daughters should go either. They weren't afraid though and drove the buggy out to the big field on the south edge of town to see a real airplane.

There was a big race that day. The Wright Brothers bi-plane piloted by Walter Brookins, raced the Illinois Central train from Chicago to Springfield, a distance of 187 miles. Wilbur Wright was on the train. $10,000 was at stake.

The plane stopped twice to refuel, the second time in Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. Brookins lost a wheel on takeoff but he won the race.

The New York Times of September 30, 1910, proclaimed the news: Longest American Flight by Brookins; With Two Stops He Goes in Wright Biplane from Chicago to Springfield, 187 Miles. Loses Wheel, But Goes On. Declares It Was a Trying Experience. Believes Chicago to New York Race Is Practicable.

Later a pilot named Lindbergh would fly the mail over about the same the route as he flew the mail from St. Louis to Chicago with stops in Springfield and Peoria.

Ethel was one of Lida's daughter-in-laws.

More pictures of the plane-train race here.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A Brief Marriage

Ah the happy couple. Don't they look blissful? I think they had pickles at the reception. This is William Nelson Downing and his bride Delilah Downing. Downing is her maiden name and no, they were not related. They were neighbors though. Two of her sisters had already married two of his brothers and, on February 27, 1862, they were married.

It didn't last. Five months and one day later he was gone with her brother and other relatives in 106th Illinois Infantry out of Logan County, Illinois. She never saw him again. Their only son was born February 23, 1863.

William Nelson Downing died April 30, 1865, at Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Delilah's father in law provided her with a hired man and Delilah soon married him.

Their son, William Henry Downing, grew up and married Eliza Sciota Harding - our Lida.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The post on Lida's picture has been awarded the Proximidade Award by Tina Sansone of Gtownma's Genealogy.

These blogs invest and believe in PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships! These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers, who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

Now it seems I must find eight genealogy blogs who meet the criteria. Now I have a great excuse to read more blogs!