Thursday, March 29, 2018

March to the Sea: 52 Ancestors


War changes the world.

If there had been no Civil War, how would life have differed for the Maddox family of Scott County, Illinois? What would have happened if David Maddox had not died and Lewis Maddox had not served?

David Maddox was the eldest son of William Maddox and Nancy Jane Webb. He was born about 1843, making him about 18 at the start of the war in 1861. There had been an older brother, John, who died before his second birthday. Therefore David was the oldest and, no doubt, the leader of his younger siblings.

David was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, moving with his family to Scott County, Illinois, when he was about 10 years old. He enlisted for three years on August 13, 1862, in Company F, 129th Illinois Infantry. The company muster roll tells us that he was 19 years old, 5 foot 7 inches tall, dark complected, with dark hair and blue eyes. He was a farmer and supposedly married, though no marriage record has been found.

The Illinois Adjutant General's Report gives a brief history of the regiment, which spent the early years of the war first in Kentucky and then in Tennessee. In May of 1864, the regiment joined Sherman's army and began the march to Atlanta.

David was wounded in the side at the Battle of Resaca, Georgia, on May 15, 1864. He recovered and stayed with the regiment as they fought the Atlanta campaign and occupied the city. On November 15, Sherman's army began the famous march to the sea. The army was large and the soldiers had to scour the countryside for food. It was probably on one of these expeditions that David was captured near Madison, Georgia, by some Confederate soldiers on November 20, 1864.

His captors took his weapons and then turned him loose with an agreement known as parole. David had to agree to not resume fighting. His absence was noted as desertion in the company records. However, the final notation in the muster roll was that he had been a prisoner since that date. It also states that no discharge was furnished.




There is no further record of David. By the time of his father's death in 1869, he was not living. It is probable that he died trying to make his way home from Georgia to Illinois.

The loss of David as the eldest brother and leader forever changed the dynamics of the Maddox family.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Psychic: 52 Ancestors


"What did you bury under that tree?"

With that simple question, Effie Lake proved her psychic ability to her future husband. Or so the family legend goes. He had stopped out of sight of her home and buried her ring under a tree as a test to see if she truly was psychic.

Effie A. Lake had a short but storied life. She was born to Aaron Lake and Sarah Elizabeth Bosseck on April 26, 1868, in Morgan County, Illinois. She had four older sisters and several younger siblings. When she was about 11 years old, the family joined a wagon train from Illinois. Many members of the Lake family first settled in eastern Kansas, in Wilson County. By the time of the 1885 state census, the Aaron Lake family had moved on westward and had settled near Kingman, Kansas.

Family legend swirled around Effie and is remembered to this day. She had an electrical current flowing through her body and when she placed her hands together the current would shock her. People from miles around came to her for assistance with finding things. Without these legends, she probably would have passed into obscurity.


Effie A Lake and J George Smith


Effie first married the publisher and editor of the local paper, the Cunningham Herald. J George Smith wrote a lovely paragraph after their wedding on May 05, 1888, in Ninnescah. Strangely he didn't name his bride, though wrote with flourish about his decision to marry.

George battled health problems and, at one point, suspended publication of the newspaper while the couple traveled to New Mexico for his health. After their return to the community of Cunningham, George died on October 11, 1895. Effie buried him in the Lake family plot, which strikes me as a humorous payback for his omission of her name in his marriage notice.

At some point the widowed Effie became the postmistress of the Cunningham post office. Herman Krell, a widower, became the owner of the nearby livery stable. They married in Kingman on September 11, 1900. The 32-year-old Effie died just two months later, on November 8. She had a lovely obituary in the newspaper:

The Kingman Weekly Journal
16 November 1900
The Silent Messenger

The funeral of Mrs. Herman Krell, whose maiden name was Effie Lake, was conducted during the noontide hour, last Sunday, by Rev. Clark of Kingman.

Deceased was well known in this community [Cunningham], having resided here for many years, and at one time having charge of the post office. She was 32 years of age, and united in marriage with Mr. Krell two months previous to the date above mentioned.

Her last illness was attended with severe suffering, and her condition so complicated that the best efforts of physician and surgeon proved alike unavailing, though the most painstaking efforts were put forth for her recovery. She was conscious of the approaching end, and in accordance with her request the funeral was conducted from her home.

The attendance was unusually large, a procession of carriages nearly half a mile in length following the snow-white casket to the cemetery south of town.

Effie was buried in the Lake family plot with George Smith and her parents. Effie had no children, though it is possible that a child is also in the plot. The lovely marker in the Old Cunningham Cemetery is unclear. The Lake family was left with just a few photos and the memorable legend of a family psychic.

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!