Sunday, April 15, 2018

Fire in Eldorado!

The Updike Elevator in Eldorado, Nebraska on fire, April 30, 1914

Unknown Eldorado residents looking at the rubble from the fire.

Omaha Daily Bee, May 1, 1914

Updike Elevator at Eldorado Destroyed

HARVARD, Neb., April 30. - (Special Telegram.)- The Updike elevator and lumber yard at Eldorado, seven miles northeast of this city on the Northwestern road, was entirely destroyed by fire this afternoon with a loss exceeding $30,000. The blaze was discovered in the elevator between 12 and 1 o'clock while the men were at dinner. The elevator contained several thousand bushels of grain. The manager had been cleaning up and shipping. A considerable quantity of wheat was also stored in the building.

The wind carried the fire to the lumber yard and that was soon beyond control, there being no fire fighting apparatus in the village. Much other property narrowly escaped and was only saved by desperate efforts.

Updike Elevator can be seen in the background of this photo of the Eldorado schoolhouse.
These photos were possibly taken by someone in the Negley family who lived in Eldorado. All three are postcard photos that were never mailed. Eldorado's peak population was in 1910 with 100 residents. Eldorado's Post office opened in 1888 and closed in 1943. For a while there was a general store owned and run by the Negley Brothers Bill and Cal, but I haven't learned when. My Second Great Grandparents both served as Justice of the Peace, Josiah Negley from 1912 until his death in 1922, and Sarah Negley from then until 1925. Today, the land in the above photo is nearly all a cornfield. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Friday's Faces from the Past - A Closer Look

In September, 2014 I posted this photograph which I thought read "This is Myrtle and Deril". The "da." on the next line I thought might be an abbreviation of "daughter". After looking at it closer, I think my eyes neglected to see a hypen because the name "Derilda" was not familiar to me. That little hyphen made me take another look for Myrtle and her daughter "Derilda".

Still looking in the 1940 census because I thought the picture had been taken around that time based on the printed photograph and the way they were dressed, I found no Myrtle and Derilda. But when I searched other online family trees for a mother/daughter without using any dates, I found a family that has a connection to my ancestors. By the ages of that Myrtle and Derilda, the photo had to have been taken 20 years earlier than I was thinking.

I found a Myrtle Jessie and Helen Derilda who had the last name Hebert. This tree showed Myrtle's maiden name was Pitt. That name was familiar to me. Years ago I had heard from someone named Pitt. Myrtle's father was William Pitt, her mother was Martha Berkstresser. I knew how the Berkstresser name fits into my family tree.

For ease of explanation I'll say this photo was originally given to my Second Great Grandparents, Josiah and Sarah Negley who lived in Eldorado, Nebraska.  Sarah's maiden name was Lee, her brother was George W. Lee. George was married to Christine Berkstresser. Martha and Christine were sisters. So, Myrtle is Sarah Negley's sister-in-law's niece.

The Berkstresser and Negley families had both lived in Bedford County, Pennsylvania before moving first to Bureau County, Illinois, and then the Clay county, Nebraska area. Josiah Negley and Christine Berkstresser were both born in 1846, Martha was about 10 years younger.

Myrtle Jessie Pitt was born in 1894 and Derilda in 1914, so in this picture if Derilda is about 3 years old, Myrtle would be about 23. Between 1900 and 1910, William & Martha Pitt moved from Eldorado, Nebraska to Fergus county, Montana. That is where Derilda was born. Following Helen Derilda Hebert in the online trees, she was shown to have married Robert Chester Holmes and had at least a couple of children. She died in 1968 in Seattle, Washington.

The only explanation I have for the stamp "United Photo Service, LaCrosse, Wisconsin" is that whoever took the photo sent their film there for processing. We used to send our film somewhere to be processed. I remember the fun of getting the pictures back! Sometimes it took from Christmas to the county fair to finish a roll of film. You never knew what would be in that envelope.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Naturalization Certificate of Charles Gaisford


State of Illinois, Woodford County, SS

Be it Remembered, That on the <26th> day of <September> in the Year of our Lord
One Thousand Eight Hundred and <Seventy-two> personally appeared before <Bazel D. Meek> 
Presiding Judge of the County Court of the County of Woodford and State aforesaid, (the same being a Court of
Record, having and exercising common law jurisdiction, a Seal and a Clerk,) and sitting judicially for the
dispatch of business at the Court House, <Charles Gaisford> an alien-born, free, white male
person, above the age of twenty-one years, and applied to the said Court to be admitted to become a Naturalized
Citizen of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, pursuant to the several acts of Congress heretofore passed
on that subject, entitled " An Act to establish a uniform rule of Naturalization, and to repeal the acts heretofore
passed on that subject," approved the 14th day of April, 1802: An Act entitled " An Act in addition to an Act to
establish a uniform rule of Naturalization, and to repeal the acts heretofore passed on that subject," approved on 
the 26th day of March, 1804: An Act entitled " An Act supplementary to the acts heretofore passed on the subject of
a uniform rule of Naturalization, passed the 30th day of July, 1813: the Act relative to evidence in cases of
Naturalization, passed the 22nd day of March, 1816: And an Act in further addition to an Act to establish a uniform
rule of Naturalization, and repeal the acts heretofore passed on that subject, passed May 26, 1824: and the said
<Charles Gaisford> having thereupon produced to the Court Record testimony showing that he
has resided in the United States three years next preceding his arrival at the age of twenty-one years and to the
present time, that for three years last passed it has been bona-fide his intention to become a citizen of the United
States according to the provisions of the several acts of Congress, and the Court being satisfied, as well from the oath
of the said <Charles Gaisford> as from the testimony of <Tom Pickard>
and <A. Pickard> who are known to be citizens of the United States, that the said
<Charles Gaisford> has resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States
for at least five years last past, and at least one year last past in the State of Illinois, and that during the whole of
that time he has behaved himself as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles contained in the 
Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order, well-being and happiness of the same.

IT WAS ORDERED that the said <Charles Gaisford> be permitted to take the oath to support the Constitution of the United States, and the usual oath whereby he renounced all allegiance and fidelity to every
foreign Prince, Potentate, State and Sovereignty whatever, and more particularly to <the Queen of England>
whereof he was heretofore a subject, which said oath having been administered to the said <Charles Gaisford>
by the Clerk of said Court, it was ordered by the Court that the said
<Charles Gaisford> be admitted to all and singular the rights, privileges and immunities of a Natu-
ralized citizen of the United States, and that the same be certified by the Clerk of this Court, under the seal of the 
Court accordingly.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, The seal of the said Court is hereto affixed at the Clerk's office at Metamora,
this <26th> day of <September> A. D. 1872, and of the Independence
of these United States the <Ninety Seventh>
By order of the Court,

{Seal}   Attest, <Henry C. Dent> Clerk of the County Court of Woodford County,
                      By Peter Amicker Dpty

Charles Gaisford was one of my last direct ancestors to immigrate to the US. His youngest brother was born in Rhode Island in 1859. In 1872 when Charles filed for citizenship he was 30 years old with 3 young children. His witnesses Tom and A. Pickard are his brother-in-law and his sister Anna Pickard. Henrietta, Charles' wife, was a descendant of colonialists in British America as early as the mid-1600's. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Three Death Records and a Baby

On the right hand side of this page under "Labels" if you click on "Simmons" you will find other posts I've written on this branch of my family tree. In several of those posts, I mention I had not been able to find death records for some of my direct Simmons ancestors. I plan to prove my line to the Revolutionary War Patriot, Libbeus Simmons, and submit a DAR supplemental application. Last year I focused on this line, and was able to find some information on the deaths of three of these Simmons ancestors. Maybe not exact dates, but good enough for my satisfaction. We'll have to see about DAR.

1. Ruth Webb, daughter of Jonathan Smith and Rachel Simmons; married first to Lebius Simmons;  and second to Cyrus Webb. Ruth's mother and her husband were first cousins, so she married her first cousin once removed.
I was sure that Ruth died in Fulton County, Illinois sometime between 1862 and 1866 when she was the wife of Cyrus Webb. You always read about the importance of military records, but if a man mustered into camp, got sick and died within a month I questioned whether there would be much of any information in his file. The military records site Fold 3 offered a free weekend, so I tried to get the "Minor's Pension" listed for Cyrus but I could not get access. About that time another company offered a sale on obtaining military records, so I took advantage of their offer and got the Minor's Pension. An affidavit from the midwife present at the births of the children of Cyrus and Ruth gave me her death date. In the affidavit, the midwife swears "that she was acquainted with Cyrus Webb and wife for ten years before she died...and that they lived together as husband and wife til Mrs Webb died which was on or about the 25th day of October, 1863." No full name given, but for me this was well worth the money spent.

2. I had the kind of experience that would make a great commercial for Genealogybank, the newspaper subscription site. My SECOND search there lead me to a very short sentence. "In Canton Esther, wife of Lebbeus Simmons, 48". Esther and Lebbeus Simmons were the parents of the Lebius Simmons above. They are my 4th Great Grandparents.
That sentence was included in a long list of deaths from all around the country printed in the Commercial Advertisor, a New York newspaper in 1839. I NEVER would have looked for anything on them in a New York newspaper, they never lived in New York. I'm sure that that newspaper picked up that little bit of news from some Illinois newspaper, likely somewhere close to Canton. Someday I hope to find that Illinois paper and read much more than one sentence. The Genealogybank subscription fee was much less than a trip to Illinois searching through all local papers for her obituary.

3. Genealogy groups on Facebook have become a great resource. I posted a message on The Fulton County Historical & Genealogical Society's page and got a results!  Years ago I had been given the death date for Lebbeus of December 24, 1879, but never knew the source. I tried to get a death record from the Fulton County Clerk with that date, but they didn't have anything. For the reasonable search fee of $5.00 I received this clipping which came from the Fulton County Ledger. There it is! December 24, 1879 in paragraph three:

"At the residence of his daughter, Mrs. Hester Ford, in Canton, Wednesday evening, Dec. 24, 1879, of old age, Mr. Libbeus Simmons.  
Mr. Simmons' age is not positively known, but he was supposed to have been from 93 to 102 years old, according to the best information we can gather from old residents. 
He was born in the state of New York. Came to Canton in 1834. He built the brick home just north of the railroad, near Mr. McBroom's. He was twice married. Six or seven years ago a son came here from New York and took the old man home with him; but last summer he was sent here to his daugher's, Mrs. Ford's, where he died, as above stated."

Lebbeus was actually married three times, and he was born in Maine, not New York, but newspapers do make mistakes. Notice it says "At the residence of his daughter "Mrs Hester Ford". Before I had this obit, and back when Fold 3 had that free weekend, there was another pension I was able to get. The Widow's pension for William H. Mills was accessible (maybe only Widow's pensions, not Minor's pensions were included in "free"?). In his file was another affidavit from a woman who was present at the births of William's children. William's wife was Rosilla Douglas Simmons, who was the daughter of Lebbeus & Esther, and a sister to Lebius Simmons. The "midwife" was Esther Ford, a name at that time I had never before seen associated with Simmons. Looking into who Esther Ford was, I found the marriage record of John Ford and Esther Simmons. She was born in Maine and her birth year was just a few years later than Lebius, so she could easily be his sister. At that point, I assumed she was named after her mother and helped deliver her sister Rosilla's children. After getting this clipping I knew for sure she was another child of Lebbeus and Esther Simmons.

Having the information on these deaths will help with my DAR Supplemental application. I still need one death and two marriage records. This line has been something I've worked on for twenty years. I really hope it will pass the scrutiny of the DAR, but as for me, I have faith in what I've found.

How I Am Related to persons in this narrative:

  • My Fourth Great Grandparents: Lebbeus Simmons & Esther Kelsey
  • My Third Great Grandparents: Lebius Simmons & Ruth Smith
  • My Second Great Grandmother: Rachel Jane Simmons
  • My Great Grandpa: Arthur McGrath
  • My Grandma
  • My Mom
  • Me
  • Thursday, March 1, 2018

    Women Involved in the Fight

    With March being Women's History Month, and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment coming in just two years, I've been trying to find out more about my female ancestors and their political interests.  Nine of my direct female ancestors living in 1920 were of eligible age to vote.  The oldest was Mary Roscoe at 84, my Third Great Grandmother.  My emails to local election offices have not been answered, so I don't know if any of them were registered. I can't get to court houses unless I use vacation time, so I turned to online Nebraska newspapers with high hopes. Unfortunately, the papers local to my ancestors are not online and their names didn't make the papers on a state-wide level.

    Still, it has been interesting reading these old newspaper articles on the suffrage movement here.  The Nebraska Women Suffrage Association was organized in 1881 and worked for almost 40 years for the cause.  The women listed below were involved as state officers, committee members, even delegates to national events.  This is by no means a complete list, but I want to recognize and remember some of the Nebraska women who were involved in the fight.

    Nebraska Herald, Plattsmouth, March 10, 1881

    Mrs Ada Bittenbender, Osceola  (1848-1925)

    Mrs Harriet Brooks, Omaha  (1828-1888)

    Mrs Clara Bewick Colby, Beatrice  (1846-1916)

    Mrs B J Thompson, Hebron

    Mrs E L Warner, Roca

    Mrs P Nicholas, Omaha

    Mrs J S Burns, Scribner

    Mrs C C Chapin, Riverton

    Mrs D B Slaughter, Fullerton

    Gertrude M McDowell  (1848-1922)

    Mrs Russell, Tecumseh

    Mrs Lizzie Abbott, Grand Island

    Jennie F Holmes  (1842-1892)

    Mary Smith Hayward, Chadron  (1842-1938)

    Mrs Amanda J Marble, Table Rock  (1846-1910)

    Mrs Getty Whitcomb Drury, Pender

    Mrs J F Spirk, Wilbur

    Mrs Edna Taylor, Johnson

    Mrs J E Lewis, Broken Bow

    Clara A Young, Broken Bow  (1855-1907)

    Mrs Helen M Goff, Minden

    Stella Groves Freese, Pender

    Miss Laura A Gregg  (married Joseph Cannon in Arizona) (1869-?)

    Mrs Emma Shuman, Nebraska City

    Mrs Alice Isabel Brayton, Geneva (1847-1911)

    Mrs Anna Kovanda, Tecumseh  (1857-1946)

    Gertrude Hardy, Lincoln  (1871-1961)

    Mary Garard Andrews, Omaha  (? - 1936)

    Miss Mary H Williams, Kenesaw 

    Dr Inez Philbrick, Lincoln  (1866-1966)

    Mrs Edith Dumont Smith, referred to as Mrs Draper Smith, Omaha  (? - 1959)

    Thank you ladies!

    Monday, February 19, 2018

    Newspaper Clippings - Canton, Illinois 1862

    It's been a bitter cold, dreary winter. Besides the winter blahs, other things have happened that have kept me from both research and blogging family history. These newspaper clippings don't take much time to transcribe, so a quick post like this helps me get back into blogging. If these provide some valuable information for someone, that's even better. And if Spring would get here it would be great!

    These were all copied from microfilm of the Canton Weekly Register, Canton, Illinois. Some of these are very difficult to read, so I may have not read the names correctly. See the other years that I've posted clippings from as well: 1852, 1853, and 1854.  

    Canton Weekly Register, January 7, 1862
    In Ellisville, Dec. 25th, at the residence of the bride's father, by Esq. Anson Smith, Mr. WILLARD SMITH and Miss MARY WARNER.
    In Fairview, Dec. 25th, at the residence of Asa Hicks,  by the Rev. J. S. Johnson, Mr. MOSES H HICKS and Miss ELIZABETH JONAS, all of Ellisville. 
    On the 21 inst by Rev. G. B. McElroy, of Henry, Ill. Mr. JAMES P. SHRYOCK and Miss SARAH W WELLER, both of this city. 
    Thanks for the cake.
    On the 1st inst., at the residence of the bride's father, at Fulton Center, by the Rev. C. Springer, Mr. MARVIN G. COUNTY to Miss PHEBE M. BAGTEN, all of Fulton County.
    On the 11th inst., at the residence of Mrs. Willman(?), in Canton, by Rev. C. Springer, Mr. JOSEPH SHALLENBERGER to Miss RACHEL VAN BUREN, all of Fulton County. 

    * * *

    Canton Weekly Register, January 14, 1862
    In this city, Dec. 30th, MYRA J., youngest daughter of Augustus B. and Prudence V. Smith, aged 12 years, 11 months and 22 days.
    Also, on the 9th January, MINNY, only daughter of Augustus B. and Prudence V. Smith, aged 1 years, 10 months and 20 days.

    * * *

    Canton Weekly Register, January 21, 1862
    On the 15th inst., at the residence of the bride's father, by Rev. C. Springer, Mr. JOHN MESLER to Miss SARAH M WHITMORE, all of this county.
    In Prairie City, on the 9th inst., REBECCA JANE, daughter of J. R. and Annie Parker, aged 18 years, 3 months and 7 days.

    * * *

    Canton Weekly Register, March 4, 1862
    In Henry, Ill., Feb. 21st, at the residence of his father, of consumption, ROSWELL MORRIS WEST, aged 25 years.
    The deceased was a member of the 47th Regiment Ill. Vol. He was taken sick on M???  after lying in the hospital at McPherson City and he was considered hopeless, he was sent home. When he arrived at Henry he was helpless and feeble and survived only forty six hours after arriving.
    Brother, thou art gone before us,
    And thy saintly soul is flown
    Where tears are wiped from every eye
    And sorrows are unknown
    From the burden of the flesh
    And from care and fear, released,
    Where the wicked cease from troubling,
    And the weary are at rest.

    In Vermont, Ill. Feb. 22nd after a protracted illness Mrs. PHEBE ANN wife of Joseph H. Miller(?), in the ?1st year of her age.

    * * *

    Canton Weekly Register, March 11, 1862
    In this city, on the 4th inst., MATTIE J., youngest daughter of J. W. and E. R. Sloan, 10 years and 11 weeks. 
    On the 4th inst., at his residence, four miles west of Canton, JOHN F. MILLER.
    In Lewistown, 5th inst., of diptheria, ANNIE CORNELIA, only child of George and Margaretta Porter, aged 1 year, 8 months and  days.
    In Muscatine, Iowa, on the morning of Feb. 28th, MAGGIE AUGUSTA, daughter of W. W. and E. S. W. Burson, aged 4 years and 14 days.

    * * *

    Canton Weekly Register, March 18, 1862
    In Lewistown, 10th inst., of lung fever, CATHARINE M., wife of Col. L. F. Ross, aged 32 years and 33 days.
    Near Canton, on the 15th inst., of typhoid fever, SAMUEL COLTHEL, aged 24 years.

    Friday, February 2, 2018

    Friday's Faces from the Past - Clarence L. Mann

    How often can you find a photograph of one of your Great Grandparents as an infant? I feel very lucky to have this! The above tin-type was in a plastic baggie with other old pictures in a box of my Grandma Menke's things. When I saw it, I thought the little guy could possibly be her Dad, Clarence Mann. After posting it in a Facebook family group, I got word that his youngest daughter also thinks that it is him.
    Clarence Mann, 1963

    Clarence Lemuel Mann was born June 18, 1878 and died at the age of 90. I'd guess he looks about 2 years old in the tin-type, so it was taken about 1880 probably in Illinois. Clarence was the 11th child of 12 children born to William and Nancy (Climie) Mann, though his older siblings Stephen, Corrine and Carrie had passed away before he was born. Another sister, Elsie, was born and died in August of 1880.  All of the children were born in Illinois, and then in December of 1881 his fifteen-year-old brother Lafayette died in Nebraska. 

    Like his father, Clarence farmed for many years. He married Cora Mabel Gaisford on July 5, 1899 in Fairbury and they were the parents of 14 children, one son died in infancy. Clarence and Cora moved into Beatrice about 1935. He worked for Dempster Mills for 10 years, then enjoyed retirement from 1952 until his death on October 18, 1968.