Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A Trip to Decatur City Cemetery

Ruth Foster          John
        1808   1895          1808  1884   

Decatur City Cemetery, in Decatur City, Iowa was the first cemetery that I visited along Highway 2 going across Iowa to Illinois in July, 2014. It was early afternoon when we got there and getting pretty hot out. There was no on-site directory and it took some time to find the grave of John and Ruth Foster Negley, parents of Josiah Foster Negley. 

Four of their seven children were living at the time of their deaths, David, John Calvin and Susannah lived near them in Iowa and Josiah was in Nebraska. It would have been a 250 mile trip for Josiah to get to their funerals, I don't know if he was able to go for either of them. Both John and Ruth died in the month of December, when the weather can sometimes make travel difficult. 

John and Ruth lost two boys when they were very young and a daughter died in her 20's. David and John Calvin, as well as many grandchildren and other relatives also lie in the Decatur City Cemetery. The other five children are resting in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Nebraska and other parts of Iowa. 

Pennsylvania is a long way from where I am, but I would like to get there someday. If I do, I will visit the graves of both John and Ruth's parents. Jacob and Phebe Negley are buried in St Paul's UCC Church Cemetery in Huntingdon County. Ruth's parents, Richard and Charity Foster lie in the Duvalls Cemetery in Bedford County.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Negley's in Harvard Cemetery

Going back to my series about the grave's I've been to, I'll pick up with the Negley family line. The parents of my Great Grandma Sadie Negley McGrath are Josiah and Sarah M. Negley.   

The Negley family plot is in the northeast corner of the Harvard Cemetery, about 45 miles from my home. I've been there a few times. It's a good sized cemetery that is kept up well and has a nice electronic directory on-site that is a great help for finding graves.

The first loss for the Negley family was son Newton who died of tetanus in 1887 when he was 13. Josiah & Sarah's daughter Sadie and son Bill rest in the Aurora Cemetery, son George Oscar Negley is buried in the Stockham cemetery, and the other three are beside their parents in Harvard. All of these graves are within 30 miles of each other.

The elements have been very hard on these. Three of them are nearly illegible, especially in bright sunlight. Josiah lies on the far right and the others are in the order below, going to the left.

Josiah F.

Sarah M. 

Alice M. 

Josia D C Negley
PVT 7 Trench Mortar BN
World War I
Sept 12, 1881   Dec. 3, 1967


1907 - 1908

Josiah & Sarah's granddaughter, Mary, is buried to the left of Josia D C or "Cal". She is the infant daughter of George Oscar and Lena Negley. Also buried in a different section in the Harvard cemetery are Sarah's brother, George Washington Lee and members of his family. 

The parents of Josiah and Sarah are resting in cemeteries in Iowa and Illinois. I've been fortunate to be able to travel to both locations.   

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Negley Properties in Eldorado, Nebraska

Josiah and Sarah Negley moved from Decatur County, Iowa sometime between 1883 and 1887 to Clay County, Nebraska. They were in their late 30's and had five children.1
I don't know if they owned property in Iowa (I haven't had the opportunity to look), but I've found a few deeds for property they owned in Eldorado, a town that no longer exists. This map of Eldon (the original name of Eldorado) was in a book at the Clay County courthouse. I think that "State Street" is Highway 14 so if that's correct, about all that is left of Eldorado today is a few houses that stand in the area of Block Three between Maple and Center streets. The railroad tracks were torn out years ago, but I remember them crossing the highway. Eldorado sat between Harvard and Stockham on the line. I've seen a note in the social column of an old the Harvard Courier that said Sarah Negley took the train to Stockham which is a distance of about 5 miles.

Click to enlarge
The first deed I found was in Sarah's name. This wasn't the first time I have found deeds in my female ancestors' name, so I'm no longer surprised but still curious if there was a reason for a married woman being named and not her husband. On December 1, 1897, she paid $75.00 for Lot 1 in Block 3, the top right corner of the left hand block between Maple and Center streets. The deed states the Lot "having been contracted to be sold to William J. Stockham by said Pioneer Town Site Company... and said contract being subsequently assigned to said Sarah M. Negley". 

In November, 1904 Josiah contracted to purchase from Pioneer Town Site Company Lot 2 in Block 3, the property just south of the Lot Sarah bought in 1897. On December 18, 1907 for $50 the property was conveyed to Josiah F. Negley.

On September 29, 1908, Calvin Negley, youngest son of Josiah & Sarah had just turned 21 years old. He paid Art & Daisy Cranstone $750 for Lots 1, 2, 3 & 4 in Block 4. That's the small corner piece of land to the east (right) of Railroad Street. His father witnessed the deed along with Ezra Ayer, a neighbor and family friend. 

On January 12, 1909, Josiah received the deed for land he contracted  in July, 1906. Out Lots E and F, which as stated in the description "Said premises being formerly known as Lots one (1) and two (2) in Block numbered (2)..." .

1909, at age 63, Josiah is still buying property. For $100 he bought Lots 3 and 4 in Block 3 "having been contracted to Milton A. Fairchild by Pioneer Town Site Company...". The name Milton A. Fairchild was familiar to me from a photograph I had found with the Negley family's possessions in the Old Trunk in the Attic. 

At this point, Josiah and Sarah owned Lots 1 through 4 in Block 3 and Outlots E and F, or Lots 1 and 2 in Block 2. Son Calvin owned four Lots in Block 4. In 1912, Josiah became the Justice of the Peace in Eldorado. His sons Calvin and Bill ran general mercantile stores in Eldorado and Harvard at times, but I haven't been able to find more information on when exactly. I would guess they had a store on the property that Calvin owned, but I'm not sure. 

On April 10, 1913 Calvin sold his four Lots in Block 4 to George W. Dill for $350. That was quite a loss for him after paying $750 for it five years before.  A year later a fire destroyed the towns grain elevator and lumber yard which would have been devastating to the town.  

Josiah Negley suffered a stroke about 1915 and was paralyzed until his death in April, 1922. Just three weeks before his death, he and Sarah sold to Adam G. Ross and Peter Hein "Out Lot F" for $200. The description matches exactly with the earlier deed calling it "Outlot E and F", for which they paid $100. 

Three days after Josiah's death, his children gifted their interest in Lots 2, 3 and 4 in Block 3 to their mother for $1.00 and love and affection. Spouses Lena Negley and Art McGrath relinquished all their marital rights and interests. 

The final two deeds I found that day were between Sarah and two of her children, dated March 28, 1923. She conveyed Lot 1 in Block 3 to Calvin and her unmarried daughter Alice got Lots Two, Three and Four in Block Three. Both for $1.00, love and affection, to have and to hold "from after my death". Sarah died on October 11, 1927.

1 Clarification: Josiah and Sarah had six children: George Oscar, Newton, Alice, Sadie, William and Calvin. Newton died in August, 1887 and the next month Calvin was born.


Sunday, February 3, 2019

Another Three-Name Stone

           JONATHAN A                      RACHEL                     JONATHAN
      SON OF S & M K SMITH           APR 9, 1800            JUNE 22, 1798
OCT  19, 1872 - DEC 25, 1875      OCT 9, 1866            FEB 27, 1867

My previous post also featured a stone with 3 names on it. Again, I think this stone was probably placed years after any of the deaths. Jonathan A. Smith was the grandson of Jonathan and Rachel, his father was their youngest son Samuel. Another son of Jonathan and Rachel is buried in Mt Moriah - Andrew, along with his third wife, Eliza. Jonathan and Rachel are my Fourth Great Grandparents.

Mount Moriah Cemetery is over 300 miles from me in Davis County, Iowa. I was at this cemetery in July of 2014, when on our way to Illinois we travelled across Iowa on Highway 2 and stopped at four different cemeteries. After spending the night in Bloomfield, we were here at Mount Moriah in the morning. Steam was rising from the nearby fields with the humidity. There aren't many stones here, it was easy to find Jonathan & Rachel's. 

They were married for about 51 years, and just four months after Rachel's death Jonathan died. He was born in New Hampshire, lived in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and finally in Iowa. He and Rachel Simmons married in Mercer County, Pennsylvania and had ten children together. At least three of their children passed away before them, including their daughter Ruth, my Third Great Grandmother. Those children's final resting places are scattered throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, Nebraska, and Oregon.

Jonathan's parents, Jonathan and Dorothy (Wadleigh) Smith, are buried in Raymond, New Hampshire. I don't know the burial location of Rachel's parents Elijah and Ruth (Russell) Simmons. It is likely somewhere in Pennsylvania.

Mount Moriah Cemetery, Davis County, Iowa