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52ancestors-2015

Amy Johnson Crow, of No Story Too Small continues the challenge to the geneablogging world to write a blog post weekly on one ancestor. This could be a photo, a story, biography, or a post on the weekly theme. To read her challenge please go to Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – 2015 Edition. Feel free to join in at any time!

The first week’s theme centers around “Fresh Start” and immediately several things came to mind – namely, what person or family do I want to look at with fresh eyes? It is the family of my second great-grandfather’s brother, James J. Johnson, who is a collateral ancestor.

Instead of writing about the family in this post, I’m going to list those things which I have documented because I can’t get a “fresh start” unless I only state what is true (according to the sources).

On February 28, 1848 James J. Johnson and Dolly Mullis were granted a marriage license in Rush county, Indiana and married on March 4, 1848.

john johnson dolly mullis marriage record

John J. Johnson is listed by name in the 1850 Census enumerated on September 7, 1850 living in Union twp, Rush county, Indiana. He is listed as age 27 making his birth in 1823 and lists his place of birth as Ohio. His occupation was farmer. Living in the household was Dolly Johnson, age 25, born in North Carolina, and could not read or write. A one year old child, Ann M. Johnson, born in Indiana also resided in the house.

In 1856, John J. Johnson is listed as guardian for Jemima E. Johnson, his younger minor sister after the death of their father, Jacob Johnson.

On July 29, 1870 J. J. Johnson was enumerated in the 1870 Census. He was living in Stony Creek twp, Madison county, Indiana. Johnson was a 47 year old farmer, born in Ohio, with a personal income as $900 and a real estate value of $4000. Others in the household included: Dolly Johnson, age 44, born in North Carolina; 12 year old Rosa A. Johnson, listed “at home,” born in Indiana, and had attended school in the last year; and John J. N. (or J. M.) Johnson, age 7, listed “at home,” born in Indiana, and attended school within the year.  Two others in the household included: 55 year old Sophia Mullis, born in North Carolina, with a personal property value of $1400, and who could neither read nor write and Thomas Mullis, a 42 year old farmer born in North Carolina, with a real estate value of $3000 and a personal property value of $2000 and could not write.

On June 11, 1880, John J. Johnson is enumerated living in Stony Creek twp, Madison County, Indiana at age 57. He is a farmer, married, and born in Ohio. He lists his father as born in New Jersey and his mother born in Pennsylvania. He is living with his wife, Dolly Johnson, age 55, who was born in North Carolina as were both of her parents. Daughter, Rosa A. Milburn, is age 22, married, born in Indiana. She lists her parents as born in Ohio and North Carolina. Son, John M. Johnson, is a farmer age 17, born in Indiana, and lists his parents born in Ohio and North Carolina. Grandson, Edward D. Milburn is age 3, born in Indiana and his parents are listed as born in Indiana.

The History of Madison County lists the story of how John J. Johnson’s neighbor, Coleman Hawkins, tried to kill him on the night of December 5, 1888. The article mentions that Johnson had been a postmaster in the area of Johnson’s Crossing near Stony Creek twp in Madison county, Indiana and mentions Johnson’s daughter, Miss Rosa Johnson.

John J. Johnson’s obituary on the front page of the Anderson Democrat on October 14, 1892 stated that he died instantly while sitting in a chair after he had returned from visiting a daughter in Knightstown. The physical description of him said that he was over 6 foot tall and large in proportion.

Dolly (Mullis) Johnson is listed on the 1900 Census as still residing in Stony Creek twp.  She is a widow and the mother of 5 children but only four living.

The obituary for Dolly Johnson that ran in the February 25, 1908 edition of the Anderson Herald states that she was 82 years old and was survived by four children. It mentions that she was the widow of John Johnson and died at her daughter’s home – listed as Mrs. Charles Anderson. Besides that daughter, listed later as Rosa Anderson, the other children who survived her are Martha Johnson, Mrs. Jonathan Delawter, and Mrs. Mary Reid.

What strikes me are two things – one, until I can locate this family in the 1860 Census, there are several questions and two, I believe the names of the children that survived Dolly Johnson are wholly inaccurate and lacking – but…since I’m looking at this family with fresh eyes, I have to consider all the possibilities.

Even though it is not documented proof, I do have a list of people who attended the Johnson reunion in 1915 & 1916. This list is a good indication as to who were considered to be “family.”  Included in the photo with a key to the who is who on the back are Rosa Anderson (3rd person from the left on the 4th row standing), Mrs. Delauter (1st person on the left on the 2nd row sitting), Mrs. Marshall Johnson (9th person from the left on the 3rd row standing), Mr. Marshall Johnson (10th person on the left on the 3rd row standing), and Mr. Delauter (1st person on the left on the 3rd row standing) (as well as my grandfather and his parents).

Johnson Reunion cropped

I am pretty confident that Marshall Johnson is John Marshall Johnson, son of James J. Johnson and Dolly Mullis. There is a marriage record on FamilySearch.org for John Marshall Johnson and Rosa J. Hawkins on December 17, 1881, as well as marriage records for some of their sons that lists their parents as: Marhsall Johnson and Rosa Hawkins, Marshal Johnson and Rosa Jean Hawkins, J. M. Johnson and Rosa Jane Hawkins,  and J. M. Johnson and Rosie J Hawkins.

I also believe that Rosa Johnson Milburn Anderson was their daughter due to the entry in the History of Madison County concerning the attempt on her father’s life by Coleman Hawkins; she was enumerated as living in their household as “daughter” in the 1870 and 1880 Censuses; and she attended the first reunion in 1915.

Elizabeth Delawter appears to also be a daughter of John and Dolly as she and her husband Jonathan appear in the photo for the 1915 reunion and are listed in reunion minutes. A notation reads: “Lizzie Delawter died.”

In the above three cases, those who survived Dolly (Mullis) Johnson seem to be correct. What about the mysterious “Martha Johnson” or “Mary Reid”? And why wasn’t John Marshall Johnson listed? And why was there no mention of the 1 year old child – Ann M. Johnson – who had appeared in the 1850 Census with John and Dolly? Who provided the information to the newspaper for the obituary or did someone at the paper take it upon themselves to write it up and perhaps print the wrong names?

Further research that I need to do before making a conclusion according to this family: find the family in the 1860 census, any land records or deeds, obituaries or news articles, marriage records, better death records, and birth records if they exist.

Oh where, oh where, are you – descendants of this couple through any of the three children listed above or any children that I haven’t documented?

(52 Ancestors graphic courtesy of Amy Johnson Crow of No Story Too Small)

 

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train

Not too long ago, I read a Facebook status (and I’m sorry but I don’t remember who it was) that mentioned their ancestors had traveled less than 50 miles over several generations. The revelation prompted me to think about how many miles my ancestors traveled before landing at the place they called home until they died.

Instead of going back many, many generations, I will begin with my maternal 2nd great-grandparents.

emanuelstern_nancy

Emanuel Bushong Stern b. 7 Oct 1834 in Montgomery county, Ohio. Nancy Caylor b. 10 May 1840 in Wayne county, Indiana.  Emanuel had traveled approximately 105 miles from his birthplace in Ohio. Nancy had traveled about 68 miles from her birthplace. The family remained in Hamilton county. After my 2nd great-grandparents divorced, Emanuel traveled to Yale, Nebraska to visit one of their children and was found living there in the 1910 census. He traveled (probably by train) about 787 miles.  Nancy died (21 Dec 1900) in the same county that she had lived with her husband. Emanuel was buried (after 10 Sep 1911)  in Hamilton county so he (or his remains) had to travel back from 787 miles to Hamilton county, Indiana.

isrealwilt

Israel Isaac Wilt b. 20 Jan 1823 in Rockingham county, Virginia was in Prairie township, Henry county, Indiana by the time of his marriage to Christena Nash on 2 Feb 1857. He had traveled about 503 miles traveling through Pennsylvania and Ohio. Christena was b. 1837 in (probably) Beaver county, Pennsylvania. She had traveled with her family 316 miles.  They lived in Henry county the rest of their lives. Israel died 11 Sep 1919 and Chrstena died 18 Aug 1876.

joewiltfamily

The Stern’s daughter, Martha Jane Stern, b. 9 Feb 1872 in Clarksville, Hamilton county, Indiana married Joseph Napolean Wilt (b. 21 Jan 1868) on 10 Sep 1890 in the same county both were born. By the 1910 census, Martha and Joseph were divorced and she was remarried and living in Anderson, Madison county, Indiana – 29 miles away. By 1923, Martha and her second husband, William Frank Clawson, moved 2,257 miles away to Lane county, Oregon. Both of them died in Oregon and were buried in Leaburg. Joseph Wilt. By 9 Jan 1944, when Joseph died, he was living near Nabb, Indiana – about 102 miles from his birthplace.

My other sets of great-great-grandparents (ancestors of my grandfather) were James Wilson Johnson b. 16 Aug 1829 and Amanda Evaline Mullis b. 1833 and Franklin Blazer b. 2 Jun 1836 and Malissa Goul b. 17 Oct 1832.

James Wilson Johnson, I think

 

James W. Johnson was born in Brown county, Ohio and by the 1850 census, he had moved to 137 miles away to Rush county, Indiana. Amanda was born in Wilkes county, North Carolina and had traveled with her parents and family to Rush county, Indiana – 519 miles. Amanda d. 21 Mar 1868 in Rush county. After her death, James moved around, reportedly through Howard county, Indiana and finally settling in Anderson, Indiana – a little over 40 miles away. 

malissa_blazer

Franklin Blazer was probably born in Madison county, Indiana and stayed in that county until he passed away on 27 Aug 1873. Malissa was born in Union, Champaign county, Ohio and by the time she married Franklin before 1859, she was living in Pendleton, Madison county, Indiana – a little over 125 miles away.

johnson_john_katie

The Johnson’s son, John Lafayette Johnson, and the Blazer’s daughter, Katie J. Blazer married on 4 Jul 1883. John was b. 2 Mar 1861 in Rush county, Indiana. Katie was b. 27 Sep 1864 in Stony Creek, Madison county, Indiana. By the time of their marriage, John was living close to her. They remained in Anderson, Indiana – 40 miles from John’s birth and 9 miles from Katie’s birth until 1930 when they moved to Greene county, Ohio to live with their son (my grandfather). That move took them 109 miles from their home. Following each of their deaths, they were buried back in Anderson, Indiana.

glen_vesta_friends

My grandparents, Glen Roy Johnson b. 21 Nov 1898 and Vesta Christena Wilt b. 7 May 1898, were both born in Indiana. He was born in Anderson, and she was born in Noblesville. When her mother and stepfather moved 29 miles away to Anderson, she was still young.  After they were married on 24 Dec 1916, the couple moved 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio (the town merged with Osborn and became Fairborn many years later). As my grandfather was in the military, he was at Ft. Omaha in Nebraska; Kelly Field in San Antonio, France during WWI; Wiesbaden, Germany during the early 1950s; and by the time they returned to the states and my grandfather retired from the US Air Force, they lived on Devonshire in Dayton, Ohio. So even though they had traveled over 4200 miles and then some, they moved 18 miles away from Fairborn. When I was a baby and small child, they had moved to a home on Rahn Road in Kettering – 14 miles away. Before my grandmother died 19 Jan 1984 they had spent many years living 9 miles away at the Park Layne Apartments at 531 Belmonte Park in Dayton. After my grandmother’s death, my grandfather moved almost 13 miles away to the Trinity Home on Indian Ripple Road in Beavercreek, Ohio. He was there at the time of his death on 18 Jan 1985.

mom

My mom, Mary Helen Johnson, was born in Anderson, Indiana and moved with her parents 109 miles away to Fairfield, Ohio when she was very young. She remained there until she married my dad in 1943. They moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin (close to 400 miles away) before moving to Great Falls, Montana – about 1300 miles away. My dad was in the military, and they moved to Japan and back twice – over 6500 miles from Columbus, Ohio. In fact my mom drove my brother and sister from Dayton to Washington to catch the ship for Japan the first time they moved to Japan – a trip of over 2300 miles – very lengthy for a young woman with two little kids in 1953. By the time they returned to the states for the final time, they moved to Panama City, Florida – about 780 miles from Dayton. In 1960, they moved back to Ohio and bought a house in Beavercreek. This was the same house my mom lived in until 1977 when she moved a little over 5 miles away to the town home she lived in for the remainder of her life. (My father is still living so I will not disclose all the places he has lived.)

Below is a list of how far my ancestors traveled in order from who lived (and/or) died at a location farthest from their birthplace to the shortest distance:

  • Martha Jane Stern – 2246 miles
  • Amanda Evaline Mullis – 519 miles
  • Israel Isaac Wilt – 503 miles
  • Christena Nash – 316 miles
  • James Wilson Johnson – 190 miles
  • Malissa Goul – 125 miles
  • Glen Roy Johnson – 115 miles
  • Mary Helen Johnson – 115 miles
  • Vesta Christena Wilt – 113 miles
  • Katie J Blazer – 113 miles
  • Emanuel Bushong Stern – about 105 miles
  • Joseph Napolean Wilt – 102 miles
  • John Lafayette Johnson – 95 miles
  • Nancy Caylor – 68 miles
  • Franklin Blazer – less than 5 miles

According to Wikipedia, History of Indiana, the “state’s population grew to exceed one million” by the 1850s, and several of my ancestors had either made their way to Indiana or were born there. My Wilt/Nash great-great-grandparents likely traveled over the National Road in their westward migration from Virginia and Pennsylvania to Indiana. The Mullis family would have likely traveled by wagon through the wilderness to either the Cumberland Gap/Wilderness Road or to the National Road to get to Indiana.

There were probably several reasons for my ancestors to move north and west – better economy, more fertile farming land, more opportunities, and different political and social climates.

Though my maternal roots run deep in Indiana, I am partial to the state of my birth – Ohio. Even then, I didn’t stay there to live, work, marry and raise a family. I moved over 1000 miles away! Just as my ancestors left the places of their birth in search of something better, that is what I did. I moved (and stayed) due to job opportunities and warmer climate.

Have you tracked your ancestors?

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Most genealogy programs include reference numbers – either pre-programmed or entered manually. Today I decided to look up all those in my family file with reference #’s that include numbers that correspond to today’s date.

Dorcas Elizabeth Stropel – born Unknown (around 1800-1813) and died Unknown.  Wife of David Bushong, Jr.  Mother of Jacob, George Emmanuel, (twins) David III & Joseph, John and three daughters.  Dorcas is the wife of my 2nd cousin 6 times removed.  Reference #: 1105

Oliver P. Bookless – born Jan. 15, 1820 in Coshocton County, Ohio and died Oct. 30, 1897 in Sheldon, Iroquois County, Illinois.  Husband to Emily Lister and father of Rebecca Ann, Emily J., Leonard, James and William. Oliver is my 3rd great-grand-uncle.  Reference #: 11050

Alexander Bookless – born about 1824 and died Mar. 9, 1902 in Iroquois County, Illinois.  Husband of Sarah (Unknown) and father of Sedora, Mattie C., William, Mary E., and Emily M.  He is my 3rd great-grand-uncle.  Reference #: 11051

Emily Lister – born about 1830 in Indiana and died Dec. 3, 1896 in Sheldon, Iroquois County, Illinois.  Wife of Oliver P. Bookless (see above). She is the wife of my 3rd great-grand-uncle.  Reference #: 11052

Rebecca Ann Bookless – born about 1850 and died Unknown. Daughter of Oliver P. Bookless and Emily Lister.  Wife of Mr. Edwards.  She is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  Reference #: 11053

Leonard Bookless – born July 9, 1859 in Sheldon, Iroquois County, Illinois and died Apr. 14, 1924 in Sheldon, Iroquois County, Illinois.  Son of Oliver P. Bookless and Emily Lister. Husband of Dicie Fry. Father of Virgil, Loretta, Vernie & Cleota.  He is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  Reference #: 11058

James Bookless – born Oct. 15, 1866 in Sheldon, Iroquois County, Illinois and died Apr. 10, 1921 in St. Charles, Illinois. Son of Oliver P. Bookless and Emily Lister and husband of Emma Gillfillan.  Father of Earl, Ernest and Bernice.  He is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  Reference #: 11059

Emily J. Bookless – born about 1854 and died Unknown. Daughter of Oliver P. Bookless and Emily Lister. Wife of Mr. Edwards.  Emily is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  Reference #: 11056

Bessie Connor – born in 1889 and died Unknown. Wife of James Scott Bookless and mother of Keith and Ruth.  She is the wife of my 1st cousin 3 times removed.  Reference #: 11105

Elivina Blazer – born and died Unknown. Daughter of Samuel Blazer and Prudence Collins.  She is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  Reference: 11054

Elvira Blazer – born and died Unknown.  Daughter of Samuel Blazer and Prudence Collins. Wife of James McFadden.  She is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  Reference #: 11057

Jesse W. Walker – born about 1842 in Rush County, Indiana and died Unknown.  Son of Hiram Walker and Nancy Mullis.  He is my 1st cousin 3 times removed.  Reference #: 11055

The date: 11/05 is in each of the reference numbers – perhaps with an added number before or after.  How many can you find in your family tree with the date?

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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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