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Posts Tagged ‘Blazer’

Since this post was published, I’ve located more information – see below for the update!

A wealthy man and a postmaster
An argument over a ditch
A revolver came out and several shots fired
Some of them never hit
A shed to hide
A suicide

The story of the attempted murder of John James Johnson by Coleman Hawkins in a nutshell.  Just who were these men?  Were they more than just neighbors?

John James Johnson
John J. Johnson, oldest son and third child of Jacob and Ann (Shields) Johnson, was born on October 8, 1821 in Byrd Township, Brown County, Ohio.  He moved with his parents and siblings to Rush County, Indiana by 1840 and married Dolly Mullis on March 4, 1848 in Union Township of that county.  Dolly was the sister of Amanda Mullis, wife of John’s brother, James Wilson Johnson. 

The couple were enumerated in the 1850 US Census living in Marion Twp in Rush County with their one year old daughter, Ann M. Johnson.  John, 27, listed his occupation as a Farmer.  They aren’t easily found in the 1860 Census but they had moved to Stoney Creek, Madison County, Indiana by 1870.  Two children are living with them – Rosa, age 12, and John, age 7.  Dolly’s siblings, Sophia (age 55) and Thomas (age 42) are also residing in their household.  By 1880 Rosa had married and was widowed.  She and her son, Edward Milburn, age 3, were living with John and Dolly as well as brother, John. 

Elizabeth Blazer
Elizabeth was born to John and Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer in the mid-1840s.  She was enumerated with her parents on the 1850 Census living in Fall Creek, Madison County, Indiana.  For a long time she was “missing”.  She would have been more than 20 in the 1860 Census and probably married, yet the name of her husband was unknown.  Unbeknownst to me – I had found her in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses – I just didn’t know it yet!

Coleman Hawkins
This man was born about 1832 in Virginia.  I only knew about him through newspaper articles and biographical data from “The History of Madison County”.  He is living in Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Ohio in the 1870 Census.  His residence was adjacent to the John James Johnson family.  He had a wife and eight children.  In the 1880 Census, Mr. Hawkins and his family are living in the same spot.  Seven of the older children are still living there along with two that had been born since the 1870 Census.  Coleman Hawkins would not see another census.

The Incident
Historical sketches and reminiscences of Madison county, Indiana (John L. Forkner, Byron H. Dyson; Publisher: Forkner; 1897; pages 965-968) recounts that Coleman Hawkins, a very wealthy man, had been a resident of Stoney Creek township for a number of years and lived close to the postmaster, John J. Johnson.  The Midland Railway – near Johnson’s Crossing, was in the vicinity of their homes.  Hawkins and Johnson had maintained a good relationship for many years until 1888.  At that time a ditch had been constructed that ran through the neighborhood.  On December 5, 1888 Johnson took a mail pouch to the train and saw Mr. Hawkins there.  Once the train had left the station, Hawkins inquired whether his neighbor could stop the construction of the ditch.  Apparently similar conversations had occurred prior for Johnson told him that he’d already answered that question.  Hawkins obviously wasn’t happy with that answer and pulled a revolver on Johnson, who turned and walked away – possibly not believing that the other man would really fire at him.  Yet Coleman Hawkins did just that.  

“. . .  the shot taking effect in the back just left of the spinal column and below the shoulder blade. Johnson ran into the stationhouse and closed the door after him. As he shut the door another pistol shot was fired, the ball just passing the door. Hawkins then rushed to the window, about six feet from the door, broke out a pane of glass, and fired four or five additional shots, two of which took effect in Mr. Johnson’s body, one on the left side of the face and the other in the forearm. One shot passed through the stove pipe in the room and another through the ceiling. Johnson now opened the door and ran out past Hawkins into a field that led to his residence. Hawkins, having emptied the chambers of the revolver, drew a second one and resumed pursuit of his victim. He fired four additional shots, one of which lodged in Johnson’s right shoulder. Four bullet holes were found in his coat in different places where his body had escaped injury. Johnson ran until his strength was fast failing, when he turned upon his pursuer and clinched him, forcing him to the earth.”

At that time Rosa Johnson, John’s daughter, ran toward the two farmers after she had heard the gunshots.  Without thought to her own safety, she wrangled the gun out of the hands of Coleman Hawkins.  Another neighborhood resident had heard the commotion and came to the two men.  Both men agreed to let each other go.

What should have been the end of the violence – was not.  Apparently Hawkins was either still enraged or looking toward the future of being tried for attempted murder, that he entered a barn on his farm and shot himself.  His wife and son, Rufus, had tried to follow him when they saw him go toward the barn but they didn’t reach him in time.

The ditch that seemed to lay at the center of the quarrel had been awarded by the court so that Johnson could drain his land.  He had requested Hawkins give him an outlet for three to four years but had been refused.  So Johnson had turned to the court and the court had forced the construction of the ditch through Hawkins’ land.

It was also discovered that the pistols that Hawkins had used to fire upon Johnson and to commit suicide had been purchased the day prior to the incident at the railway station.

The conclusion of the story read,  “The remains of Coleman Hawkins were interred in the Anderson cemetery, over which was erected a handsome granite shaft that can be plainly seen from the Alexandria road as the traveler turns to the right after passing out of the iron bridge crossing White river.  The widow of Coleman Hawkins yet resides on the old farm, and has earned for herself the reputation of being one of the best farm managers in the county, having carefully preserved the fortune left her by her husband.”

George Hawkins
The son of Coleman Hawkins born about 1860 ended up marrying the niece of John J. and Dolly (Mullis) Johnson on July 30, 1881.  Olive Belle Johnson was born in August 1865 to James Wilson and Amanda (Mullis) Johnson.  The couple had three children – Urmine, Vesta and Lucy.  It is believed that George died between 1884 and 1887 since Olive married again.

John Lafayette Johnson and Katie Blazer
My maternal great-grandparents resided in and married in Madison County, Indiana.  Katie’s father, Franklin Blazer, had died when she was a small girl.  I found her uncles, John and George Blazer but her aunts – Mary Jane and Elizabeth still remained elusive.  Or were they? 

I re-read a letter my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson (son of John and Katie), had sent to my cousin’s mother.

glen_letter

“My uncle on my mother side Uncle Cole Hawkins shot Uncle John Johnson and then killed himself.  My mother was a young girl at the time this happened and she worked for Aunt Lib Hawkins and Uncle Cole.  Uncle John Johnson did not die from being shot but he carried the bullet in his body until he died several years later.”

Somehow Coleman Hawkins and his wife, “Lib” (Elizabeth), were related to my grandfather through his mother.  Could Elizabeth Hawkins be Franklin Blazer’s sister, Elizabeth?  I didn’t have enough documentation to say for sure but I was going on the assumption that she was.  I couldn’t find any other relationship other than through the Johnson side and the marriage of my grandfather’s aunt to the Hawkins’ son, George.

I had spent some time earlier in my research to dig up information on the children of Coleman and Elizabeth in case I could verify any other relationships.

Mary Jane Blazer
Then I ran across a listing in the 1870 US Census for an “MJ Webb” living next door to Franklin’s brother’s family.  “MJ” and her husband, Marion, were enumerated with four children.  The only reason this jumped out at me is because in the George and Amanda Blazer household is “Jas Webb, blacksmith”.  Going back to the Historical sketches and reminiscences of Madison county, Indiana, I located an entry about Jasper Webb as a blacksmith.  The Blazer family obviously had close ties with the Webb family.  Could “MJ” Webb actually be Mary Jane Blazer?  The 1880 Census for the Webb family lists Marion Webb, age 40, living with his wife, Mary J. Webb, age 38, and children, Tena, Rufus, Lydia, Wilson, and Horace.  By the 1900 Census, Mary J. Webb is widowed and lists herself as a mother of 6 children – all living.  Living with her is her son, Horace, and daughter, Maud.  Mary J. Webb is also found in the 1910 Census and living with her is her daughter, Maud, with husband and small daughter.  The last census she is found is the 1920 Census living with her widowed son, Rufus.  The Indiana Room at the Anderson Public Library shows that Mary J. Webb’s obituary was published in the June 7, 1929 edition of the local newspaper.

Tena Stanley
I’ve had a photograph in my possession for quite sometime of Elizabeth Hawkins and Tena Stanley.  Trying to figure out how Tena Stanley fit into my family tree, I’d contacted the Indiana Room for Tena’s obituary.  They emailed me four news accounts.  I went back over each one.  The one published in the Anderson Herald on April 8, 1942 listed her survivors as one brother, Horace Webb, and a sister, Maud Peterson. BINGO! 

tena_stanley

That was more documentation that Tena Stanley had once been Tena Webb.  And with the picture I had of Tena and Elizabeth – that led me to believe that Tena and Elizabeth were related – which it appeared that Elizabeth was Tena’s aunt – sister of Tena’s mother, Mary Jane Blazer Webb.  

tenastanley_elizabethhawkins

So the tangled family tree looks like this:
Katie J. Blazer: My maternal great-grandmother’s uncle by marriage, Coleman Hawkins, who was married to her father’s sister, Elizabeth Blazer, shot her husband’s (John Lafayette Johnson) uncle, John James Johnson.  My great-grandfather’s aunt, Olive Belle Johnson, married Coleman and Elizabeth’s son, George HawkinsTena Webb married for the last time to Nelson Stanley, and was the niece of Elizabeth Blazer Hawkins and Franklin Blazer and first cousin to my great-grandmother, Katie J. Blazer.

So what happened to John James Johnson?  He lived four more years after being shot by Coleman Hawkins, dying from heart disease in an instant. 

UPDATE: Not only did Olive B. Johnson marry into the Hawkins family, but so did her cousin, John Marshall Johnson, son of John James Johnson - the man Coleman Hawkins shot!  Marshall – as he was known – married Hawkins’ daughter, Rosa Jane.  There was probably quite a bit of tension in the Marshall and Rosa Johnson household after the shooting incident – yet the couple, who married on December 17, 1881, remained married until Marshall’s death in 1921.  Their union produced seven children – Walter, Roy, Grover, Alta, James Leroy, Georgia and Arris. 

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I wrote this post about wanting to meet Maureen Taylor of Photo Detective fame and show her the portraits I’ve acquired.  Yesterday I had an opportunity to photograph the portraits – since they are way too large to scan – and look them over a little more.  I had to experiment a little because each time I used a flash, it would create a glare on the picture.  Thinking I might need to have my photographer daughter set up her studio lights & take pictures just so I can have better quality digital shots.  I don’t want to expose these fragile pieces to harsh lights any more than I should though. 

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This is a crayon/charcoal rendering of my 2nd great-grandmother, Malissa (Goul) Blazer.  The portrait is at least 16×20.  There aren’t any artist’s marks or other identifying features.  I think the drawing was made from a photograph rather than at a sitting. 

P8120695

This is another large rendering of my great-grandmother, Katie (Blazer) Johnson.  She is young and it is my thought that she wasn’t married yet.  Below is a photo that shows Katie about the same age – quite probably the photo that the drawing was made from.  The “smudge” on the lower corner of the picture appears to be an artist’s mark – except it really is just a smudge of some sort.

katie_young

This portrait of the Johnson family (below) appears to be an enlargement of a regular photograph.  It was very difficult to photograph.  Whatever material or chemical process was used, made areas of it too shiny to capture correctly.  This picture is poster sized.  The original photograph would have been made between 1906-1908.  I don’t know what year the enlargement would have been made.

P8120690

This is the only picture I have of my maternal great-grandparents’ (Katie and John Johnson) family that included both my grandfather (younger boy), Glen Johnson, and his older brother, Letis.  In fact, this was the first picture I saw of my great-uncle.

P8120691

Above is my other maternal great-grandfather, Joseph N. Wilt.  Written on the back of this 16×20 is my great-grandmother’s name (Martha Wilt) and her address.  There are also indications on how much brown, gray and black to use on the drawing.  All indications to me that they were still married at the time – which would have been before 1909.

Below are other renderings that were packed with those above.  Some of these people are still a mystery to me.

baby mary

This is actually a photograph (above) that is 16×20.  My mother seemed to think this was my grandfather’s baby sister, Mary, before she died.  Others seem to think it is a little boy – not a little girl.  When I look at this picture, I see resemblences to other member of my family in the eyes and mouth.

baby glen
My mother told me the child above is her brother, Glen, as a baby.  I have no reason to believe otherwise.  This is a drawing – slightly smaller than 16×20.

P8120696

The drawing above is of an unknown woman.  My mother told me she thought it was a sister of my 2nd great-grandmother, Malissa. I’m more inclined to believe it is my great-grandmother’s sister, Rachel (Blazer) Given.  I’ve seen pictures of her other sister, Martha “Mattie”, and this isn’t her. 

P8120698

My grandfather, Glen Johnson (baby) and his older brother, Letis, with the family dogs. 

P8120685

This is another photograph that has been enlarged.  It is of my grandfather, Glen Johnson, at Shadyside Park, close to his home in Madison County, Indiana.  Again this was very hard to photograph due to the materials or chemical used in the process.  The size is smaller than a 16×20.

My biggest challenge will be to figure out what to do with these rather large pictures.  I don’t have enough wall space to have them framed and hung.  Nor would I want them exposed to bright sunlight.  I’ll gladly accept any recommendations and suggestions.  Perhaps Maureen Taylor herself might give me some pointers!

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As I did further research on my BLAZER line this past weekend, I went to Find a Grave to check out any new submissions that might help. There weren’t any recent postings so I decided to submit a photo request for the grave of Malissa Goul Blazer, my maternal g-g-grandmother. On the request form, I also asked for pictures of other BLAZER or GOUL graves located close to her’s.

Imagine my surprise when I received a notice that someone had accepted the photo request and had already taken pictures of the graves!  Not only did this wonderful Find a Grave volunteer post Malissa’s – but also other Goul and Blazer stones.  She also found Malissa’s husband’s stone – Franklin Blazer – my g-g-grandfather!  I was very thrilled to actually be able to see that on Franklin’s stone, the inscription listed him of a child of J & M Blazer (John and Mary).  That is what I had discovered but it was great to have further confirmation of that!

A day or two passes when I received an email from the kind woman who had posted the photos.  She had gone to the library to see if she could find more information about Franklin for me.  Unfortunately, she didn’t find any but she did find some articles on the deaths of two of his family members.  She is mailing them to me so I am very excited. 

Have you performed a Random Act of Genealogical Kindness lately? Or at all?  How many people have offered to help you?  Have you sent an email or posted a message thanking those who have helped you? 

And to all those who have helped me – if I haven’t said it lately – thank you very much!

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This is a list of my ancestors who immigrated to America.

Adam Goul: My 4th g-grandfather.  About 1763 from Germany to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Adam was a young boy traveling onboard ship with his mother, father – Frederick, and a sister.  All but Adam died on the voyage.

Adam Lutz: My 5th g-grandfather.  (father-in-law of Adam Goul) about 1749 from Rotterdam on the Lydia.  (source: Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Baptisms from the Church Book of German Reformed Church of Philadelphia)

Jacob Blazer (or Blaser): My 5th g-grandfather.  Came from Baden (German) via Holland late 1700s and settled in the Shenandoah Valley.  Traveled to Gallia County, Ohio and settled there by 1803. (source: Blazer Family History, credited to Dan Blazer and Aileen Blazer Rush – no date given)

James Arbuckle: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born Glasgow, Scotland and died in Virginia.  (source: Jacqueline Ann Richardson – no supporting documentation)

John Madison: My 9th g-grandfather. Born in England about 1620, died in Virginia.  (source: Kenneth Soper – no supporting documentation)

Johannes Kohler (Caylor): My 4th g-grandfather.  Born in Germany in mid 1700s, immigrated to Philadelphia on ship Britannia in August 1767. (source: paper sent by Ann Hastings from a paper received by Dr. Truman Caylor in a letter to Evelyn Caylor from a church paper.)

Johannes Kuntzi: My 6th g-grandfather.  Surname later changed to Kinsey.  Born in Switzerland about 1724 and died about 1761 in Berks County, Pennsylvania.  (source: Robert Mark Sharp “The Kinsey Family”)

Hans Peter Wampler: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born about 1722 in France and died in Frederick County, Maryland.  Lived in Schuykill County, Pennsylvania by Sep 1743 when he married Anna Maria Brenneissen (also born in Germany). (source: World Family Tree – no supporting documentation)

John Miller: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born in France in 1724 and was in Somerset County, Pennsylvania by Jan 1848 when he married Magdalena Lehman. (source: Rose Patrick – no supporting documentation)

Christian Yoder: My 6th g-grandfather.  Born in Bern, Switzerland in 1722 and was in Berks County, PA. by 1752.  (source: Greg Raven, Blickensderfer and related families – no supporting documentation)

Barbara Beiler: (Christian Yoder’s wife) My 6th g-grandmother.  Also born in Bern, Switzerland about 1723. (source: Rose Patrick – no supporting documentation)

Unknown Amore: My 3rd g-grandfather.  Born in England and was in New York by 1828 when my 2nd g-grandfather, William Amore, was born.  (source: 1880 US Census, Franklin County, Coshocton County, Ohio, Enumeration District No. 45 – William Amore lists his father’s birthplace as England)

Peter Werts: My 5th g-grandfather.  Born 1737 probably in Germany and married in 1758 in Maryland. 

Rosina Feurstein: My 5th g-grandmother.  Baptised in a Alsace, France and was married by 1768 in Maryland. Immigrated with her parents, Nicholas & Anna Catherina (Nonnenmacher) on the ship “Peggy”, captained by James Abercombie, Master.  Arrived in Philadelphia from Rotterdam (where they left after fleeing Alsace) on September 24, 1753.  (source: The Firestone Family History and German Pioneers to America, Passenger Listss)

Benjamin Maple: My 7th g-grandfather.  Immigrated from Ipswich, England in 1864 on the ship “Friendship”.  Ended up in Barbados as an indentured servant for four years.  Afterwards, he went to New Jersey.  This man and none of his descendents ever owned slaves. (source: Mark Freeman, Mostly Southern, no supporting documentation)

Those individuals that I have no supporting documentation for will have to be researched further until evidence is found of their immigration, marriages, deaths, etc.

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The 10th Edition of Smile for the Camera is about Costumes! Not the type worn for Halloween but a distinctive dress for the period or class or what was worn in an era of time. I chose the photo below of my maternal grandfather’s first cousin, Ada Blazer.

blazer_ada

Ada Dell Blazer was born on July 2, 1890 in Champaign County, Ohio to Wesley Blazer and Binne McAdams.   She was the only daughter of the four children.  Ada married Frank Ogg about 1910.  After he died in October 1920, she married John Black.  One daughter was born to this union.  John died in December 1960.

I’m not sure how old Ada was when this photo was taken but my guess it would be prior to or soon after her first marriage.  (I know footnoteMaven will love this photo because she is wearing glasses!)  I chose this photo primarily because of her headdress.  According to Vintage Fashion Guild, by “1911 hats were at their largest, often with the brim extending beyond the breadth of the wearer’s shoulders. To secure these huge creations to the head, hat pins – sometimes as long as 18 inches – were skewered through the hair and hat. The hatpin had other advantages too. Any man who attempted an unwanted advance soon discovered that a hatpin was all a frail woman needed to defend herself.”

This also could be a pre-wedding photograph taken as it appears that the suit, the hat and the hand warmer are a matching set.  I do not know the significance of the one sided lace collar.  With her hands covered by the hand warmer, I can’t see if she is wearing any wedding jewelry although it appears she is wearing a necklace with a dainty chain with the charm at the “V” of her jacket and another necklace that appears to be possibly herringbone that fits closer to her neck.  There is a just a hint of a smile on her face.

Ada lived until the age of 86 and died February 22, 1977 in Champaign County, Ohio.

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Some of my ancestors were “lost” at one point or another in their lives.  I find them in one census – then they are missing from the next one – and found again on the one following.  Unfortunately, it is always the census that could give me that extra bit of information – children’s names, a current spouse’s name, or even an age and location of parents’ births.

Those that I am desperately trying to locate include:

James Emory House b. 2 May 1842 d. 1 Oct. 1924.  I’ve located my g-granfather in the 1850 Census living in his parents’ (Florus A. and Julia A. House) home, age 8, Linton Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio; the 1860 Census still in his parents’ household, age 18, Linton Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio; the 1880 Census as Head of Household, age 38, living in Tuscarawas Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio; the 1900 Census as Head of Household, age 58, Bethlehem Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio; the 1910 Census as Head of Household, age 67, Tuscarawas Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio; the 1920 Census as Head (his son Alva Lester House is also listed as Head), age 77, Tuscarawas Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio.

He’s missing from the 1870 Census!  He was married to his first wife, Barbara (or Barbary), and their three children were born.  Since Barbara was originally from Guernsey County, Ohio, I’ve looked in that county as well as Coshocton.  I’ve entered just the first name, age, and born in Ohio to try to narrow it down to the possibility of the last name being misspelled.  I’ve also tried searching by his first wife’s name and the three kids’ names.  No luck. I suspect that they were in a pretty rural area or were in the process of moving at the time of the census.

Franklin Blazer b. 2 June 1836 d. 26 Aug. 1869. I’ve found my 2nd great-grandfather in the 1850 census living in his parents’ (John and Mary Ann Blazer) household, age 14, Fall Creek Twp, Madison County, Indiana.  Since he has died by 1870, the 1860 Census is the only one that will show that he was indeed the husband of Malissa (Goul) Blazer and father of her children including my great-grandmother.  I have checked the 1860 census records for the United States using his name without any luck. I’ve checked in Madison County, Indiana using either his first or last name or his last name with wild card characters in case it has been misspelled.  One thought is that my great-grandmother’s sister, Martha, was born close to the time the census was taken.  Perhaps they were in transit from wherever the birth ocurred to another location.

James Wilson Johnson b. 16 Aug. 1829 d. 31 Oct. 1917.  I’ve located my 2nd great-grandfather in the 1850 Census living in his parents’ (Jacob and Ann) household, age 20, Centre Twp, Rush County, Indiana; the 1860 Census as Head of Household, age 31, Centre Twp, Rush County, Indiana; the 1880 Census as Head of Household, age 50, Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Ohio; the 1900 Census as a Boarder in the household of his brother’s widow/first wife’s sister (Dolly Mullis Johnson), age 70, Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Ohio.  He’s missing in the 1870 Census.  I’ve checked in Rush County, Indiana and Madison County, Indiana and throughout the state of Indiana by his first or middle name and last name; by his last name and birth year, by “Johnston” (since it has been misspelled that way in other censuses) but no luck.  I think the family was moving from one location to another as there were reports that they also lived in Howard County for a short time.  The 1870 Census will provide information on his second marriage and the youngest children from his first wife.

These men aren’t necessarily brick walls – yet they have been lost somewhere in time.  More research is needed and other avenues will have to be explored.

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This is an update to my post from July 24, 2008, Elusive Great-Great-Aunt Rachel, where I listed information I knew and what I had found concerning my maternal great-grandmother’s sister, Rachel Blazer.  Rachel had married Maurice (or Morris – depending on the document) Given about 1897 according to the 1910 Census that lists them as married 13 years.

While I was researching one of my brick wall ancestors (Franklin Blazer – Rachel’s father – who I will post about soon!), I ran across the name “Rachel Blazer” in the Chicago Tribune for the June 20, 1897 edition.  Listed under “Marriage Licenses” that were issued the day prior, were the names Maurice Given, age 38, residence listed as Madison, Kansas and Rachel Blazer, age 29, residence listed as Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  Ta-Da!

marlic

marlic2

This is what I consider Serendipity!  I was looking for something else – albeit Rachel’s father – and discovered more informaton on Elusive Great-Great-Aunt Rachel!

(Source: Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); Chicago, Illinois;  20 Jun 1897)

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