Monday, March 19, 2018

The Seventh Wife: 52 Ancestors

Would you marry a man who had buried six wives? In the twenty-first century there are many better choices for women; however, in the years after the Civil War, options were limited, especially for widows. So in 1870, the widowed Susan Ann York Bond took a risk and became the seventh wife of Lindsey Lake.

Susan's life is revealed through an extensive collection of government records: her own Civil War pension file, her son's Civil War pension file, Lindsey Lake's chancery court case file, Illinois land records, and her Eastern Cherokee claims application (rejected).

Susan Ann York was born on April 22, 1834, in Morgan County, Illinois, the youngest child of William York and Elizabeth Kitchens. She was probably born near the community of Meredosia. In the 1860 census of Howard County, Missouri, the census taker wrote that she was born in Louisiana, probably a misunderstanding of her claim to have been born at Meredosia.

Before her 15th birthday, Susan married John H Bond or Bonds. Both spellings are seen in the records. They married in Brown County on December 24, 1848. That date is misinterpreted in the Illinois marriage index online, but is confirmed in the pension files.

Susan and John had six children between 1848 and 1864: William Charles Bond, Mary Ann Virginia Bond, Martha Elizabeth Bond, Sarah Ellen Bond, Thomas G Bond and John James Bond. All the children were born in Illinois except Thomas, who was born in 1862, in Missouri. The 1860 Missouri census shows that John Bond was working as a laborer and owned no land. The family returned to Illinois before the birth of the youngest in 1864.

In the closing months of the Civil War, both John H Bond and his son, William Charles Bond, joined the military in service to the Union forces. John joined the 28th Illinois Volunteer Infantry on March 21, 1865, and died of dysentery on November 1, 1865. The fourteen-year-old Charlie joined the USS Ouachita as a First Class Boy [cabin boy] on August 26, 1864.

Susan found herself widowed at age 31, with six children. She listed her address as living in Cass County, Illinois, with her post office at Meredosia. She applied for a widow and children's pension for the five younger children. She was granted a small monthly sum. As each child reached the age of 16, the monthly payment would be reduced. Susan's remarriage would also stop her portion of the pension.

In the Cass County area lived Lindsey Lake, who was related to Susan by marriage. His sister, Precious Lake, was married to Susan's brother, John York. The York and Lake families had been allied for many years, not only in Illinois, but previously in Indiana. Susan had watched as Lindsey had married wife number five in 1859 and wife number six, Elizabeth, in 1863. At Elizabeth's death in 1869, Lindsey was left with three children born between 1861 and 1866.

Susan and Lindsey married on January 13, 1870, in Morgan County. Susan's older children were living and working in other households in the 1870 census, so probably had been sent out to work before the marriage. The small sums from the pension were certainly not enough to live on. Since Lindsey was financially comfortable, Susan may have seen the marriage as her best option to achieve stability for herself and the younger children.

Susan bore at least two children in her second marriage. A child named Liney Lake was buried at 15 months old. A daughter named Susan Lake was born about 1872 and died before 1907.

Lindsey Lake died on August 19, 1876. His will specified bequests to his minor children, but did not include his adult children. This omission triggered a battle in chancery court over the assets of the estate. Susan asked to have her dower portion of the land set off, but unfortunately the surveyors decided the land could not be divided without harm. Susan lost her bid to keep Lindsey's home as her own. That must have been a crushing blow. Between 1878 and 1889, Susan sold some small parcels of land that either were part of Lindsey's land business or had come to her or her daughter from the estate.

Susan lived with her children after Lindsey's death. She applied for and was granted a resumption of her widow's pension that had been forfeit at her marriage.

She married again on September 3, 1893, at Webb City, Missouri, to a man named Peter Wright. She divorced him ten years later on the basis of his desertion in 1898. Susan again had to petition for her widow's pension.

In 1914, Susan gave a supporting statement for her son's Civil War pension. She listed four living children, having buried the other four. She was living with her youngest son, James, at the time.

Susan lived a long life, dying short of her 83rd birthday. She died on February 26, 1917, at Webb City, Jasper County, Missouri, and was buried in Oronogo Cemetery in Oronogo, Missouri. Her name was inscribed on the grave marker of Lindsey Lake in Beauchamp Cemetery, near Meredosia, but according to her death certificate, she was not buried with him.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Umlaut or Not: 52 Ancestors

A missing umlaut could have cost me a new DNA cousin connection this week. My tree had the umlaut, while his did not. Ancestry did not consider them the same surname and rightly so. Fortunately, I recognized the Anglicized surname and investigated the tree.

But then I also noticed that my own tree is full of the same sort of inconsistent spellings. It's a nuisance to spell foreign words correctly on an English keyboard, but I'm starting right now to clean up my act.

I'm starting corrections with my very first Ekström ancestor -- my 3rd-great-grandfather, Eric Andersson Ekström. He was born on December 20, 1770, in Björntorpet in the församling (parish) of Björsäter in Östergötland, Sweden (Sverige). Did you count those non-English letters? He has several source citations which also need to be spelled correctly.

Before Eric, the surname changed in every generation under the patronymic system in use at the time. He was the youngest son of farmer Anders Jönsson and Lena (Helena) Pehrsdotter. At some point he and at least one of his brothers took the surname Ekström, rather than keeping the patronymic Andersson. However, the Björsäter records are very inconsistent as to his names. His birth record says both Eric and Erick. His mother is named as Pettersdotter in the birth record, though never again.

Anders Jönsson died on August 30, 1776, leaving a widow and six children, including the 5-year-old Eric (spelled Erick in the probate). Lena remarried on September 3, 1780, to farmer Hans Jöhansson (another name with random spellings). She died on October 3, 1824, at nearly 85 years of age

The church records say that farmer Eric Ekström married Anna Brita Salomonsdotter on November 8, 1796. Baby Anders was born to Eric Andersson (not Ekström) and Brita Salomonsdotter on June 12, 1798. It was indeed challenging to find all the records for the family! Starting with the fifth child in 1807, all the births were recorded with Eric Ekström as the father. The church record that shows all the children of that marriage is a household survey record (husförhörslängder) from 1810-1814.

Eric's wife, Anna Brita, died on August 25, 1813, five months after the birth of  their seventh child, Carl Peter. That child died less than six months later. Left with six children under the age of 16, Eric remarried to my ancestress, Stina Cajsa (Christina Catherina) Olofsdotter, on May 14, 1814. They added eight more children to the Ekström family, with seven shown among the changes recorded from 1823 to 1829.

Of the fifteen children, six died before Eric's death on July 02, 1842. His living family is listed in his probate (bouppteckning), which was recorded in Bankekinds Häradsrätt (district court) book FII:32. The children of his first marriage (första gifte) are listed first, followed by his widow (who died on February 14, 1850) and the children of the latter marriage (sednare gifte).

Son Salom. [Saloman] Ekström
[married daughter] Anna Lotta Ekström
Children of Son Anders Ekström
      Jöhannes August Ekström 4 years
      Jöhanna Lovisa 9 years

Enkan (widow) Christina Catherina Olofsdotter

Son Olaus Ekström
Son Carl Ekström
Son(s) Gustaf 20 years
Adolph 15 years
Fredrik 12 years
Daughters Anna Lisa 25 [years]
Sophia 17 years

Two names in Eric's probate provide new research opportunities. Responsible for the interests of Eric's minor children was Carl Gust. Larsson. Responsible for the grandchildren was Pet. Bergqvist of Grebo parish. Interestingly, the Bergqvist family of Grebo somehow circles back to my new DNA cousin. I'm eager to see how many connections we find when our spelling is consistent!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Where's the Proof: 52 Ancestors

This game of Clue starts in a Wichita attic in 1949.

The first topic of discussion between cousins old and new in one branch of my family is whether any proof of our Native American ancestry has been found. We have a strong family legend and a rumor that there was proof, last seen in 1949 by my grandmother's first cousin. This blog post is shameless cousin bait to see if someday, someone, somewhere knows what that proof is and where it is now.

Where do you share your knowledge, your private proofs, in a way that you know will persist?

One of the challenges of blogging and of the many family history sites is that web sites come and go.

I would lean toward Family Search as the one web site that will exist in perpetuity. It's not a commercial site, but rather a church-sponsored site. However, the ability for anyone to edit the master tree does make for a mess. I shudder each time I look at my family branches in that tree.

Ancestry and MyHeritage and similar sites are commercial. They could cease operation at any time and all the data could just vanish.

WikiTree was non-commercial and may still be. Someone has to pay for and support it. It also is at risk of vanishing. And of course comments posted to this blog are moderated by me. When I leave this earth, the blog may remain, but no new comments would be visible to anyone.

So if you have private proofs for any part of your family tree (or mine), please share them online somehow. Please place a copy, or the originals, with a local archive. Your family will be grateful.

Who Has the Proof? Spelling Doesn't Count!

Here are the surnames involved in this puzzle. If you've arrived at this post from a web search, take a moment to look at the list because you may be distracted by spelling later.
  • Maddix, Maddox, Maddux
  • Greaton, Guaton, Gratan, Gratton (many variations)
  • Knoles, Knowles
  • Long, Neff, Alkire
  • Davis, Schroeder

This branch of my family has as the current root couple Lazarus Maddox and Elizabeth Greaton of Pickaway County, Ohio. Due to an unclear name in the marriage book, her name was listed as Elizabeth Guaton in an important Ohio marriage index. Her father signed a marriage consent for her with the signature David Greaton, so that is the spelling that I use.

They had eight children, four sons and four daughters. The daughters married men named Knoles, Long, Neff and Alkire. The proofs for this family are in the Pickaway County land and marriage records at the courthouse and at the Pickaway County Historical and Genealogical Library.

The supposed proof of the Maddox family Native American ancestry was found in the Wichita, Kansas, attic of their great-grandson, William Aaron Maddix (Wid Maddix), at the time of his death in 1949. Wid's ancestral story was told in the post telling how he got the nickname Wid. But it is to his descendants and siblings that we need to look to find the private proofs. So today I'm describing what I know of Wid's extended family.

Wid Maddix had two younger brothers and four children. Four of those six branches have died out, leaving two branches that may hold the answer.

Brother Pearl Edwin Maddix married Jeannette Moore in 1903. They had one son, Edwin, and soon divorced. Pearl moved away and Jeannette remarried to Bret Hart. Young Edwin took the Hart name. He died in Texas, without issue. Pearl died before Wid. It seems unlikely that any family documents would have come to this branch.

Brother Gerald Embry Maddix married twice and appears to have had two children, based on census records. He died in Barton County, Kansas, in 1952. There is a slim possibility that this branch holds the family documents.

Son Harold Thomas Maddix never married and left no known issue. He died in Kansas in 1978.

Son Ralph Ellis Maddix married, but had no children, He died in Orange County, California, in 1988.

Daughter Grace Evelyn Maddix never married. She was very likely to have taken the proof. She lived and worked in the Washington D.C. area, so might have deposited documents in one of the many archives in that area. After retirement, Grace returned to Kansas, dying there in 1986. So Kansas archives also might hold the documents. Her burial arrangements were made by a nephew, Tom Davis, which leads to the most likely branch.

Daughter Edna Lucile Maddix married twice, first to Elbert W Davis. They had two children: Patricia A Davis and Thomas A Davis, both of whom are now deceased. Lucile second married Preston E Diehm, but there were no children from that marriage.

Patricia Davis married Virgil D Schroeder and had at least one son.

Thomas Davis retired as a Lieutenant from the Wichita Police Department. His marital history is unclear. His 2016 obituary lists two sons: Roy T Davis and Michael W Davis. Three grandchildren are also listed.

So the question goes to my distant Davis, Schroeder and Maddix cousins: do you know where the proof is of the Maddox (Maddix) family Native American ancestry?