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Posts Tagged ‘Indiana’

My 2nd great-grandparents, Israel and Christine (Nash) Wilt.  Buried in Miller’s Cemetery, Middletown, Indiana.  Israel Isaac Wilt was born 20 June 1823 in Rockingham County, Virginia and died 11 Sep 1919 in Henry County, Indiana.  He married Christine (also documented as Christena) Nash, daughter of Alexander and Elsy Nash, on 5 Feb 1857 in Prairie Township, Henry County, Indiana.  She was born in 1837 and died on 18 Aug 1876 in Henry County, Indiana.

Israel and Christena had ten children – 6 sons and 4 daughters (Jacob Marion, Sarah Christina, George A., Alice Jane, Clement V., William David, [my gr-grandfather] Joseph Napolean, Mary L., Ida Belle, and Charles H.).  George A. and Ida Belle both died close to 2 years old.  The others lived to adulthood.

Tombstone Inscription:

WILT
Israel
1823-1919
His Wife
Christine
1837-1876

(Photograph taken by my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, in September 1959.  Original owned by Wendy Littrell.)

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Gravestone of my 2nd great-grandmother, Nancy Caylor Stern.  Born May 10, 1840 and died Dec. 21, 1900.  Buried in Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana.  Photo taken by my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson. Original in my possession.

Nancy married Emanual Bushong Stern on Feb. 6, 1857 and they had 8 children: Susannah, Samuel, Margaret (Ellen), John, Daniel, Elias, Martha (my great-grandmother), and Mary between 1858 and 1874.  Nancy and Emanuel divorced before the 1900 Census.

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Can I get in on this at this late hour?  Just today I scanned some more photos that I’ll be cleaning up & cropping to post to Find A Grave

My grandmother, Vesta (Wilt) Johnson and her brother, Clarence Wilt, at the grave of their father, Joseph Napolean Wilt, in Bethel* Cemetery near Lexington, Scott County, Indiana.  Joe died in January 1944.  When he died it had been many years since my grandmother had seen him.  My mother remembers standing “on the side of a hill” during the burial and the ground frozen solid.  This picture was taken by my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, in 1959.

Taken three years later, four of Joe’s six children, gathered at the gravesite.  One son, Jesse, had passed away in 1959 and the second oldest, John, did not travel from Oregon to Indiana.

The headstone also lists Joe’s second wife, Anna Park, and their son, Albert. 

Joseph Napolean Wilt – born January 21, 1868 died January 9, 1944
Anna Park Wilt – born April 12, 1879 d. 1941
Albert Wilt – born 1917 d. September 1933

*Other information lists the cemetery as Beswick.

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This is my submission for the 56th Carnival of Genealogy being hosted by Lori Thornton at Smoky Mountain Family Historian. The topic is 10 essential books in my genealogy library.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to buy a lot of the books I really should.  Some I’ve checked (& re-checked) out of the local library.  Others I’ve been able to find on Google Books.  So without further ado:

1. The Hollister Family of America.  Compiled by Lafayette Wallace Case M.D.; Chicago, Fergus Printing Company; 1886

2. The Genealogy of the Loveland Family in the United States of America from 1635 to 1892. By J.B. Loveland, Fremont, O., and George Loveland, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Vol. 1; Freemont, Ohio; I.M. Keeler and Son, printers; 1892.

3. The Risley Family History.  By Edwin H. Risley of Utica, N.Y.; The Grafton Press; Genealogical Publishers; New York; MCMIX; Copyright 1909 by Edwin H. Risley.

4. The Treat Family, A Genealogy of Trott, Tratt and Treat.  By John Harvey Treat, A.M.; Salem, Massachussets; The Salem Press Publishing & Printing Company; The Salem Press; 1893.

5. Genealogy of the Bigelow Family of America.  Gilman Bigelow Howe; Worcester, Mass.; Printed by Charles Hamilton; No. 311 Main Street; 1890.

6. Historical Sketches and Reminisces of Madison County.  John L. Forkner and Byron H. Dyson; Anderson, Ind.; 1897; from the Press of Wilson, Humphreys, & Co., Fourth St., Logansport, Ind.

7. A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer.  By Rev. A.J. Fretz; Milton, N.J.; Press of the Evergreen News; Milton, N.J.; 1908

8. Marriages of Coshocton County, Ohio, 1811-1930.  Miriam C. Hunter; Compiled from marriage records, Probate Court, Coshocton County, Ohio; Coshocton Public Library, Coshocton, Ohio; 1967.

9. History of Coshocton County, Ohio: Its Past and Present, 1740-1881.  Compiled by N.N. Hill, Jr.; Newark, Ohio; A.A. Graham & Co., Publishers; 1881; Carlon & Hollenbeck, Printers & Binders, Indianapolis, Ind.

10. Historical Collections of Coshocton County Ohio; 1764-1876.  By William E. Hunt; Cincinnati; Robert Clarke & Co., Printers, 1876

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Many times when we find an obituary of an ancestor or a member of a collateral family, we skim over the details without really taking it apart.  I will list some obituaries that I have found or that I have copies of and analyze them part by part.

ONE:

Funeral Services for John Lafe Johnson – Full name was John Lafayette Johnson, his nieces and nephews called him Uncle Lafe as there were many in the family named “John”.  The inclusion and shortening of his middle name was to make sure that extended family knew precisely that this was their family member.

age 78 – Age is given so if there is another member of the community with a similar name, this information would be enough to differentiate them.

former resident of Anderson – He had lived in Anderson most of his life and was well known in that town, however he had not lived in that location for about 9 years.  This information shows he still had family ties in that locale.

who died Sunday – Day of the week instead of the actual date.

at the home of a son, Glen Johnson, of Fairfield, O. – where the death took place.  By saying “a” son, this seems to indicate that John had more than one son – which he did – however, the oldest, Letis, had been deceased for many years.  This also gives the name of the son and where he lived.

will be held today at 2 p.m. in the Bob Waltz funeral home with the Rev. James H. Welsh, pastor of the East Lynn Christian Church in charge. – Day, time and location of funeral services.  Provides information on what type of officiant will be handling the service.  By naming a minister of a particular church, this is one way to deduct that the deceased had some affiliation either with the Pastor, that particular church, or that denomination.

Burial will be in Maplewood Cemetery. - Location of burial.  No city is listed indicating that it is in the same city as the newspaper location (Anderson, Indiana).

The body will arrive at the funeral home this morning. – Indicates death took place in another location and the deceased will be transported to the funeral home this same morning.

Questions I have after reading this one include:

  • How many children did John Johnson have?
  • Who were his survivors and how are they related?
  • What was his wife’s name?
  • Was she still alive or had she died?
  • Why was John at his son’s home?
  • Why was that particular minister in charge of the funeral?
  • Was he a member of the Christian Church in Anderson, Indiana?
  • What was the exact date of death?
  • Had John been ill?
  • Was his death sudden?
  • Was he a native of Anderson or had he been born somewhere else?
  • Who were his parents?
  • What occupation(s) had he held in his life?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

TWO:

This clipping is very similar to ONE except for a four things.  First: It states in bold headlines that “Johnson Funeral To Be Wednesday”.  This suggests that the obituary ran at least a day or two prior to the funeral as opposed to ONE, which suggests the funeral is that same day.  Second: Throughout the clipping, it also states Wednesday as the day of the funeral.  This answers the question – what day of the week the funeral will be held. Third: this obituary states “East Maplewood Cemetery” instead of just Maplewood.  This details the exact cemetery (as there is a West and East).  Fourth: Adding on to the last sentence it states, “to lie in state until the hour of the funeral.”  Now it is learned that the body not only will be transported to the funeral home, but there will be a time when visitors may pay their respects to the deceased and family until time for the funeral.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

THREE:

I also have the original typewritten copy that my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, prepared for the obituary.  It reads:

JOHN LAFAYETTE JOHNSON, son of James W. and Amanda Johnson (nee Mullis) was born March 2, 1861 in Rush County, Indiana. His early boyhood was spent in and around Rushville and Kokomo, Indiana. While a very young man he settled in Madison County, near Anderson, Indiana. On July 4, 1883 he was married to Katie J. Blazer. To this union were born two sons, Letus W. and Glen R. In 1910 a foster daughter, Eva, came to bless the home. Letus, the older son, passed away in 1915. Shortly after coming to Anderson, Indiana, in 1889, to make their home they became identified with the Central Christian church and continued as active members until leaving there in March, 1930, due to illness of Mrs. Johnson, to make their home with their son Glen and family at Fairfield, Ohio. On May 20, 1930, Mrs. Johnson passed away and Mr. Johnson continued Living with his son until his death on May 28, 1939. In 1889 he entered the employ of American Steel and Wire Company at Anderson. In 1904 he entered business for himself as a fruit and vegetable peddler. After taking up his residence in Fairfield, he continued to sell fruit and vegetables during the spring and summer month, until the fall of 1938. Since January this year he had been in failing health, but did not become seriously ill until last Friday and died at 10:30 A.M., Sunday, May 28th, at the age of 78 years, 2 months, and 26 days. He leaves to mourn his passing his son Glen R. and daughter Mrs. Eva Skinner of Fortville, Indiana, and 4 grandchildren.

Extra details given include:

  • Parents names, including maiden name of his mother
  • Date and place of birth
  • Locales of his youth
  • Date and to whom he was married
  • Names of his children, including details about one son being deceased and what year and that his daughter was a “foster” daughter and the date she came to live with the family.
  • Year that he settled with his family in the town of Anderson.
  • Church he joined and was affiliated with.
  • Reason he and his wife left Anderson to move to Ohio with their son.
  • Date of his wife’s death.
  • His continuation to live with his son after his wife’s death.
  • Date of his death.
  • Year of his employment, company name, and location.
  • His own business venture and the date.
  • Continuation of his own business after moving to his son’s and the date he retired.
  • How long he had been ill.
  • Exact age at death.
  • Those family members who survive him.

If this obituary had been printed in full, I would also have these questions:

  • Is a funeral to take place?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Who will be in charge?
  • Where will he be buried?

As a genealogist, I long to find obituaries written in the form that my grandfather typed for his father.  There is a wealth of information.  More than ONE or TWOTHREE records a more accurate timeline of my great-grandfather’s life.  Many questions asked of the first two clippings are answered in the typewritten obituary.

When you discover an obituary, disect it to see if it gives you the answers to pertinent questions.  Sometimes I’ve been lucky to find not one or even two but three different obituaries for the same person.  Then I need to disect each one to retrieve details that are exactly alike and then see what is left.  More often than not, one or two items are conflicting.  Possibly a survivor’s name is listed wrong or in my great-grandfather’s case, the middle name is shortened in the newspaper clippings but his full legal name is used in the typewritten obituary.  There will always be unanswered questions, but being able to pick out each piece of information will give us a better understanding of our ancestors.

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There have been several times in the past where I’ve come to a brick wall – more like a cement wall – unmovable and indestructable.  When I’ve come to a screeching halt in my research, I’ve generally focused on either other activities or other names in my ancestry.  I think it is usually a case where I’m looking so hard at one thing, I can’t see what’s right in front of me.

However, there are still some brick walls that I haven’t been able to even knock one brick out of in order to see a little glimmer of light from the other side.

Parents (and therefore their ancestors) of:

  • William Amore (my 2nd g-grandfather) b. Feb. 6, 1828 in Troy, albany, NY d. Feb. 9, 1896 in Franklin Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • Charlotte Imons (my 2nd g-grandmother, wife of William Amore) b. Aug. 4, 1828 in Ohio d. Oct. 9, 1862 in Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • Frances Ogan (my g-grandmother, wife of James Emory House) b. Nov. 29, 1846 in Ohio d. Feb. 18, 1915 [I posted about her story here.]
  • Julia Lewis (my 2nd g-grandmother, wife of Florus House, mother of James) b. Dec. 24, 1815 in Ohio d. Oct. 6, 1899 in Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • John Blazer (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. abt. 1812 in Ohio d. Unknown probably in Indiana.
  • Martha McManaway (my 3rd g-grandmother, wife of John Goul) b. abt. 1801 in Germany or Rockingham, Virginia d. Oct. 7, 1855 probably in Indiana.
  • Frederick Goul (my 5th g-grandfather) b. in Germany. (No information on his wife either.)
  • Jacob Johnson (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. Dec. 11, 1787 in New Jersey d. May 2, 1855 in Center Township, Rush County, Indiana.
  • William Shields (my 4th g-grandfather, father of Ann Shields, father-in-law of Jacob Johnson).
  • Thomas Stanley (my 4th g-grandfather).
  • Sarah Smithey (my 4th g-grandmother, wife of Thomas Stanley).
  • George Mullis (my 4th g-grandfather) b. 1768 in Wilkes County, North Carolina d. 1833 in Surry County, North Carolina.
  • Johnathan Wilt (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. abt. 1800 in Virginia.
  • Catherine Hollinger (my 3rd g-grandmother, wife of Johnathan Wilt) b. 1799 in Virginia.
  • Alexander Nash (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. about 1808 in Pennsylvania. (No information on his wife, Elsy’s, family.)

My research has included checking the census records for the areas in which they died and going backwards as well as any other on-line documentation – wills, marriages, births, deaths, obituaries and newspaper articles.  I’ve also asked living family members what they have heard about ancestors in case oral histories have been passed down.

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I believe I’ve mentioned my maternal great-grandmother, Martha Jane Stern, in previous posts.  She was the mother of my mother’s mom, Vesta Christena Wilt.  Martha was born on February 9, 1872 in Clarksville, Hamilton County, Indiana to Emanuel Bushong Stern (descendent of the Stern and Bushong families) and Nancy Caylor (descendent of the Kohler/Caylor and Kinsey families).

When Martha was 18, she married 22 year old Joseph Napolean Wilt in Delaware County, Indiana on September 10, 1890.  Between July 1891 and April 1906, the couple had 4 sons and 2 daughters (it is also reported that they had a son who died at birth – but I have yet to find proper documentation).  My grandmother, Vesta, was the oldest daughter and fourth child.

When the youngest, Clifford, was a little more than two years old, the couple had separated.  I’ve written about the bench warrant that was sworn out for Joe Wilt in “An Early Divorce”. Martha’s sister, Margaret Ellen Stern, had married William Franklin (Frank) Clawson in 1882 but Margaret died in April 1908.  On New Years’ Eve 1910, Frank and Martha married and combined their families. 

The family ran a store in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  When my great-aunt, Nellie, was diagnosed with asthma, Martha and Frank took her and Clifford to Leaburg, Oregon.  My grandmother had already married and they were living with my grandfather’s parents.  It was many years before my grandmother saw her mother again because people just didn’t cross the country for a “visit”.  She took her grandson, my brother, to visit Grandma Clawson (which is what we all called her), when he was just a few years old.  My mom has always said that my brother met Grandma before she did. 

Frank passed away on May 23, 1923 – not too many years after they arrived in Leaburg.  After John returned from WWI, he moved to Oregon to be close to his mother.  Frank’s son, Ralph, also spent time in the Northwest.  Frank’s daughter, Nancy Clawson Welch, had moved to California and died two years before her father. 

I don’t know if Martha’s sons, Jesse and Clarence, ever saw their mother again.  I’ve not heard or read anything that mentions either one of them taking a trip out to Oregon to visit her and I know she didn’t travel east after she’d moved.

Martha died on November 6, 1956 of congestive heart failure.  She was 84 years old.  Funeral services were held at Buell Chapel and she was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Leaburg, Oregon.

I wasn’t able to meet my great-grandmother and only know her through the stories my grandmother and my mom have told me.  I also have several letters she wrote to my grandmother.  She was highly respected by her children and loved very much.

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