Consanguinity: (kŏn'săng-gwĭn'ĭtē) , relationship by blood, whether linear or collateral.

Primarily concentrating on my Browning family from Harrison County, Ohio (and their subsequent move to Crawford County, Illinois) but I've got Plymell, Crago, Eagleton, Garrard, McConnell, Nichols, Swan, Nevitt, Huls, Markee, Depperman, Papstein/Popstein and Hamilton in there too. And that's just the beginning......

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Who's Number #21?

After reading the Educated Genealogist's post mentioning Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing's question about who is your Ahfentafel number #21, it inspired me to think of mine. Number #21 means your father's mother's father's mother. I am soooo late for this (I blame 13-hr days at work the last week and a half) but it sounded like fun!

My #21 is Mariah Elizabeth Haskin. Mariah was born on 10 April 1830 in Crawford County, IL. She was the daughter of Robert Cochran Haskin and Martha Elizabeth 'Betsy' White.

Mariah married William A. Garrard (the son of William Garrard and Rebecca Dunlap) in Crawford County on 5 April 1849. William A. was born 30 Oct 1822 in Hardinville, Crawford Co., IL.

William and Mariah were the parents of seven children: Thomas H., James A., Robert Elbert (my g-grandfather), Amanda Jane, William B., Mary A. and Dora A.

In November of 1864, tragedy struck the family. The cows they owned that grazed in the fields alongside their farm had eaten some snakeroot and the family drank the milk that they gave. The entire family sickened with the poison but only one person actually succumbed to the sickness; William, Mariah's husband. My grandmother (Robert Elbert's daughter Beulah) told me that from that day to the day of his death, Robert never would touch milk of any kind. I suppose it makes sense when you think about what had happened to him!

William was buried in the Haskin Cemetery in Honey Creek Township in Crawford County. Mariah was alone with seven children to feed -- five older children and a set of infant twins (Mary and Dora were only 15 mos. old at the time of their father's death.) I don't know what she did to make ends meet but assuredly she thought she needed to find a husband. Sure enough she found one -- a man named Jackson Glosser. They married on 25 Sep 1866.

My grandmother Beulah told me that according to her father, none of Mariah's children never liked, must less trusted, Mr. Glosser. Grandma told me about the rumors that swirled around about how Mr. Glosser had a penchant for drinking and had a cantankerous temper. According to Mariah's children, oftentimes Mariah took the brunt of it, but when she didn't, her children by William did.

Whatever the situation was, Mariah became pregnant, for in February of 1868 she gave birth to her second set of twins, a pair of sons. Days after their birth she died. They died before their third birthday and they were buried near her in an unmarked grave in the Haskin Cemetery. Mariah's children erected a stone for her and made sure to mention their father, William, on it. My grandmother said her father -- Mariah's son Robert -- believed that his mother had been killed by Mr. Glosser because he hadn't wanted her to become pregnant and that he had done it by poisoning her.

I have no idea if this is true. It's just rumor and high emotions. Stranger things have happened of course, and there was certainly bias against Mr. Glosser from Mariah's children. We'll never know. I'm just reporting what I was told.

It sure does make for an interesting story though!

Freddie & Frank (1923)

The word prompt for the 11th Edition of Smile For The Camera is brothers & sisters. Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world? Our ancestors often had only their siblings for company. Were they best friends or not? Show us that picture that you found with your family photographs or in your collection that shows your rendition of brothers & sisters.

My submission is to the right -- it's a picture of my grandfather Franklin Louis Depperman and his brother, my great-uncle Frederick Walter Depperman. Frank is on the left and Freddie is on the right. It was taken in 1923, probably in Joliet, IL but perhaps in Peotone in Will County, IL.

Look at the picture. Aren't those sailor suits grand! The buttons and the lace-up boots, as well as the ball my grandfather is holding. I don't know what my great-uncle is holding but it looks like a diploma, or maybe a map? Or maybe just a piece of paper. What I love most about this photo is the boys themselves. My grandfather looks so serious, my uncle so very impish. Also interesting is though they certainly look like it, the boys weren't twins. Well, okay, they were.....kind of. They were actually two members of a set of triplets. They had a sister, Florence, but she died at the age of 6 months.

I've wondered at times if Frank and Freddie were actually identical twins instead of fraternal. I know that the family always said when they were boys the two looked very much alike and people had a hard time telling them apart. This picture does seem to lend truth to that statement! I lean toward the fraternal twin camp, though. As they got older, their differences grew more marked. By the time I knew and remembered them, when they were both in their late 50's/early 60's, they didn't seem to look too much alike to me even though so many people who didn't know them all that well still insisted that they did. But then again, I knew them my whole life. What do you think?

My memories of my grandfather were varied -- stern at times, then somewhat loving and indulgent at others. I would spend summers at his house when I was 7-9 years old and I loved it! I wish I could say he and I stayed close as I got older but we didn't. I tried to reconnect with him a few times over the years but he was far away and he was the penultimate taciturn German. He died in 2004 and I never got to say goodbye.

His brother Fred -- my "Uncle Freddie" -- was another story entirely. He was by far my favorite uncle. His wife (my aunt Elsie) would make fudge and he'd take me to Dunkin' Donuts and White Castle. We'd sit eating Baskin and Robbins ice cream and his belly laugh never ceased to make me happy. He was smiley and jovial and warm and loving in all the ways my grandfather either would not or could not be. He was Yin to my grandfather's Yang. I sure did worship him. He gave me a stuffed bear that I still have to this day and I named him Freddie (I know, I know....not very original!) Fred died in 1984 and I sure do miss him. I miss him still. The memories I have of him are sweet and savory.

So were they identical twins? Hm, I think not. They were so very different.

And oh yes, before I forget! They were the sons of Franz Herman Depperman (b. 1879 in Germany) and Minna Anna Louise Papstein (b. 1888 in Neu Lobitz, Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Germany). Franz came to the United States around 1897 and Minna came to the US in 1889. Minna's father August Carl Papstein served in the German calvary and trained Lippanzer stallions to dance for Kaiser Wilhelm I, the King of Prussia from 1861 to 1888.

Franz and Minna were married 16 Sep 1904 in Monee, Will Co., IL. They were the parents of seven children -- Anna, Herman, Alvin, Alfred, Franklin, Frederick, and Florence. All lived to adulthood except for Florence and Alvin. Franz died in 1955 and Minna in 1985.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday/Genealogy Happy Dance, Pt III

At the end of the last post we were in 2001 and had just discovered the pieces of Margaret's stone. We looked that day without success for her grandson Olen's stone. According to the cemetery plat we had with us, it was supposed to have been placed to the right of Margaret's when you faced her stone. It was missing, and we assumed it had been felled by the same tree that had sheared Margaret's in half. As thrilled as we were about locating Margaret (and for the particulars of that story refer to my last post!) the four of us -- me, my cousin Pat, my other cousin Linda, and her husband Cliff -- were still pretty disappointed. We left the cemetery without anything left of poor Olen but a piece of paper and some memories.

Did I mention that my cousin Linda and her hubby Cliff were intrepid souls? Well they are! They went back to the Wilkin Cemetery a couple of times and continued looking, hoping to find little Olen's stone. They were frustrated until three years later, when in July 2004, Cliff decided to take a chance and utilize a probe to poke around in the ground. He did exactly that and lo and behold, he got a hit!

They very carefully delved into the ground, barely wanting to hope. It took a while but slowly Olen's stone emerged from its earthy prison. It had fallen over flat and was lying about 3-4 inches deep. No lawnmowers had chipped it and no trees had clipped it. The base was evenly broken and the stone had no grooves or fissures. It was in near-pristine condition, like it had been made only yesterday.

Cliff pulled it up and set it at the same time he set Margaret's. Having been there since 1856, you would never believe this little stone (the one to the left) was 152 years old. It's a beautiful piece of work. Though I was thrilled to see it and even more thrilled to have it standing proud beside grandma like the family had meant it to be, there was a part of me that was sad. Being in the ground had kept it whole; protected from the ravages of time and the elements. It's not so lucky any more. Someday its words will be gone forever. But for right now, little Olen sure looks grand!

Olen Barron Browning was the son of Asbury Taylor Browning and Minerva Corderman. He got his middle name from his maternal grandmother Sarah Viola Barron. He was born on 21 Sept 1853 in Crawford County IL and died on 8 Sept 1856 in Crawford County, IL. Olen was Taylor and Minerva's firstborn child.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Genealogy Happy Dance, aka "In Search Of......Margaret, Part II"

I told the first part of the story below and you definitely need to read that first. So go, go go.....

You're back? Okay! So now.....The Rest Of The Story.

Er, sorta.

Anywayyyy.......after finding Margaret's name in the Wilkin cemetery plat, other research tasks spurred by its discovery caught my attention. Realizing that Samuel likely wasn't buried next to Margaret had disappointed me even through my giddiness at finding her on the Wilkin Cemetery plat records. To help ease the disappointment I set about trying to find out who Olen was. It didn't take long to learn that little Olen (1853-1856) was the son of Samuel and Margaret's ninth child Asbury Taylor Browning and his wife Minerva Corderman.

The discovery did inspire me to begin tracing all of Samuel and Margaret's children, one by one, in the hopes that by doing so I would learn more about who Olen had been. This was when I finally learned the benefits of researching one family exclusively. By the time I'd been at it for a while I began to feel like I "knew" each and every one of them like the back of my hand. That familiarity is essential to good work and without it you may miss vital pieces of information that would have no context otherwise. Never let anyone tell you that hunches borne of familiarity aren't valuable tools. Follow them.

Anyway, the time and opportunity for a visit to Crawford County finally came. I flew down to Crawford County in July 2001 with Patricia O'Connor, a cousin that I'd been working with since the late 1990s. She and I had never physically met but we'd formed a solid bond during our researches. I was so excited to finally get to meet her! Her ancestor, John Wesley Browning (b. c1837) was Samuel and Margaret's 11th child while my ancestor, James (b. 1815) was their first.

Pat and I spent nearly a week in Robinson -- the county seat of Crawford County -- and during that week we got together with Cliff and Linda and took a trip out to the Wilkin Cemetery. They led me to Margaret's grave -- what there was of it -- and during the obligatory picture-taking/wandering the cemetery, a man drove up and got out and eventually approached us.

He introduced himself as the cemetery caretaker and when he noticed we were staring at Margaret's grave he pointed to the giant overgrown stump a few rows forward from Margaret's stone. "See that stump?" he said. "You want to know what probably happened to that grave there? About 50 years ago or so that was a huge tree that got hit by a stroke of lightning. Sent it crashing down into the middle of the cemetery and from what I hear, a lot of the stones in its path got busted up pretty good."

My heart sank to the pit of my stomach and everyone else looked like they were feeling the same. We thanked the caretaker and after a few more minutes we decided to take the last pictures and go ahead and go. It was July, the Illinois humidity was brutal, and everyone else was wilting. We all started back to the van to start the air conditioning but I was dragging my feet. I just kept thinking that there was something I was missing.

I turned back and told them to give me five minutes. They gladly cooled down in the van while I went back up to the cemetery, thinking to myself about what would have happened in the aftermath of that damaging lightning strike. Tombstones scattered everywhere, tree limbs all over. I noticed a large number of big branches thrown over the barbed wire fence around the perimeter and it started me wondering if they'd carted the stones towards the perimeter as well. I walked the perimeter and looked through all the underbrush with no results. I had about given up in frustration when something drew me back toward the stump in the middle. I looked at it a moment and then thought, "Well....surely they'd have propped the stones against the stump?"

Except there really wasn't too much of a stump anymore, just the remnants of one. So I bent down and started digging through the undergrowth -- which incidentally I recognized as poison oak! -- with my bare hands. I saw a flash of white and grabbed it, pulling it out into the light. Emblazoned on the face was a single word.


and below it, faintly:

Wife of S Browning
died January 19

I don't really remember it but I know I let out a yell of triumph because Cliff came running out of the van. He said later he thought I'd been snakebit. I laid it down, shaking, and reached in again to pull out another part of the stone. This one showed a hand pointing to heaven. I laid it next to the part of the stone bearing her name and the two pieces fit like a glove.

I had to sit down then because I was weak, laughing and grinning and shaking like an idiot. It was easily the most exhilarating genealogical experience of my life.

To this day I recall the feeling I had standing in that cemetery and I can't help but wonder if Margaret herself wasn't calling me over to where her stone had fallen. Having been propped against the stump, had it toppled into the hole left as the tree decayed? It was the only logical explanation, of course. But the feeling of serendipity remains.

After a time I felt able to stand and the discoing commenced in earnest. All the cousins there were discoing that day! After we'd calmed a bit we lifted the stones and placed them on top of what was left in the ground. A perfect fit! I stood back and took the picture on the left. Cliff told me then that he was going to repair the stone. It took him a couple of years but he did it. The stone as it appears today is shown on the right.

Of course we still hadn't found Olen's stone. Margaret's stone had been busted into three pieces. At the time it seemed reasonable to assume that Olen's stone, sitting to the right of Margaret's like it had been, had caught the worst of the tree as it fell. I believed we'd never find it.

But that's.......not quite the the Rest Of The Story.

Part III, coming right up!

Genealogy Happy Dance, aka "In Search Of......Margaret, Part I"

I'm a little late in getting around to the Genealogy Happy Dance post I've been reading about in a number of genealogy blogs, but I figure it's better late than never. I've had so many occasions to jig and rhumba (or do my very best disco!) during my 16 years at this hobby, but the most intensely happy moment by far was when I located the gravestone of my Browning matriarch -- my 4th g-grandmother -- Margaret (Markee) Browning. It's been years since this happened, but just doing the writing to tell the tale makes the grin start creeping onto my face and my toe start tapping.

Get comfortable, people. This is a long story.

My 4th g-grandparents, Samuel Browning and Margaret Markee, married in 1815 in Harrison County, Ohio. They were both little more than children -- Samuel was about 18 and had just returned from serving six months in the War of 1812 with Captain Baruch Dickerson's Company, a part of Lieutenant-Colonel William Cotgreve/Colgrove's Second Regiment of Ohio Militia out of Jefferson County. Margaret, the daughter of James Markee (who was the son of James Markey and Amey Trigg of Taynton, Gloucester, England) was barely 15. They were married for 40 years and had 13 children during their marriage, all of whom lived to adulthood. They also took care of their daughter Julia's illegitimate son, Washington, throughout the term of his life. (Washington's story is an interesting one, which I'll blog about at another time.)

They lived 35 years together in Harrison County (moving from Cadiz Twn to Athens Twn to Moorefield Twn) before deciding around 1851 to move on to Crawford County, Illinois. Ten of their thirteen children and their grandson went with them. Samuel and Margaret's eldest son James and his wife Jane Nevitt had moved to Crawford County a few years before that, along with a few of Margaret's Markee nephews. At this point in my research, though, I wasn't aware that Samuel and Margaret had moved to Crawford County and I certainly didn't know that any of the Markees had! I only knew that MY ancestor James had. Not knowing that they'd went to Illinois turned out to be pretty important.

When I first began my genealogical research, I located Samuel and Margaret mentioned on page 535 of J.H. Beer's book, A Commemorative Biographical Record of the counties of Harrison and Carroll. The sketch was of John C. McConnell, who'd married Samuel and Margaret's daughter Rachel. (Rachel was the only one of the Brownings to remain in Harrison County her entire life -- the others moved to Indiana and Kansas -- but as I said before, I didn't realize that at the time. I thought only James had moved to Illinois!) Anyway, the biography spoke briefly of the Browning family and mentioned, as follows: "In 1864 he [Samuel] died, and his remains were laid beside those of his wife, who died in 1855." This small phrase and its implications sent me on a wild goose chase that lasted years and painfully highlighted my fledgling genealogical talents.

I looked all over Harrison County for the location of Samuel and Margaret's gravesite. I spent a very frustrating 6-9 months on the search and when I kept coming up empty I got sidetracked onto other research tasks with other families and decided to lay the burial mystery aside for a while. You must understand -- this was in the years before I learned to concentrate on one family instead of hopping about from family to family. Like I said, fledgling.

A few years later I came back to the Brownings -- to stay, it turns out -- armed with the then-new information that Samuel and Margaret had emigrated to Crawford County, Illinois not long after their son James. I looked at the phrase with new eyes. I finally realized that the phrase had only implied they'd been buried in Harrison County! Since all the other information in the passage about Samuel and Margaret had been true (their children, Samuel's 1812 service, their religious orientation, etc) I wondered if Beers could have been in error about their burial. But in looking at it, Beers never mentioned that they'd been buried in Harrison County. He simply said they were buried together. I thought perhaps they'd been buried in Crawford County instead. But I wondered anew.....where?

I started looking and after some amount of diligence, finally found a hit! Margaret! Buried in the Wilkin Cemetery in Licking Twn. Although I held off on the full-press disco because there wasn't a Samuel listed, I did stand up and allow myself a jig or three. I was pretty happy because next to Margaret there was another Browning listed, one I'd never heard of. A child named Olen B., a son of Asbury Taylor Browning (Samuel and Margaret's ninth child) and his wife Minerva Corderman.

My happiness was tempered by the fact that -- being in Texas -- I couldn't just run out the door and visit the cemetery like every bone in my body was dying to do. I did the next best thing and called a cousin that lived in the county -- one I'd located between my first search and the one that found Margaret -- and dispatched her posthaste to the cemetery to find the stone. She came back emptyhanded. We were crushed.

But my cousin Linda wasn't easily daunted. She started asking around, conferring with the most prominent historian/genealogists in the county. What she found was hugely exciting. Apparently an old cemetery plat existed for the Wilkin, and Margaret and Olen (though not Samuel) were on it! She got a copy made after some finagling and she and her husband Cliff -- who is a treasure, believe me! -- went back to the Wilkin and used the plat to find the position of Margaret's plot. They went armed with a camera.

Look over to the left for what they found. No name there at all, and merely the hint of a death date -- 1856. Hm, I thought, Beers was a little off after all. According to the plat, Olen was supposed to be buried to her right when you faced her stone but there wasn't a stone in sight.

There was little surprise that at their first run of the cemetery, Cliff and Linda had missed her. Without the plat, they'd surely have continued to do so.

As Paul Harvey likes to say, stay tuned, for "in a minute, you're going to hear...the Rest Of The Story."

(If you'd like to read further, go to Part II of this story here, then come back and read Part III of this story!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

(Not At All) Wordless Wednesday -- Joseph Nichols (1823-1912)

I know this is supposed to be wordless but umm......I'm never wordless! Ask anyone who knows me and they're likely to say they wish I'd learn to be. Hah!

Look at the intensity on the face of the man to the right. He is my ancestor Joseph Nichols, born in what is now Greenbriar County, WV on 20 Oct 1823. By the age of 8 he'd made his way with his parents and siblings to Crawford County, IL. He eventually met and married Delinda Jane Plymell -- who is rumored to be half Wyandot, but that's another story! -- on 24 Dec 1844.

Now on 7 Nov 1831, Joseph's father John had purchased 40 acres (the SW 1/4 of the SE 1/4 of Sec 2, T6N, R12W) in Robinson Township in Crawford County. By the April term of 1849, though, John had died. His lands were due to be divvied up in 1/7 increments to his heirs -- his daughters Lucinda (the wife of John Guinn), Mary (the wife of Wiley Emmons), Levisa (the wife of Abel Mann), and Eliza Jane (the wife of George Hartwell); his granddaughter Eliza Ann (infant daughter of Reuben Nichols, deceased), and his sons Merritt and Joseph. This division never happened, though, because the court's commissioners decided that the lands were "so circumstanced that a division thereof cannot be made without manifest prejudice to the proprietors thereof."

It was decided by the Court that the land would be sold at public venue by James H. Steel as commissioner, the sale being at the courthouse door in the town of Robinson. This was done on 9 June 1849 and Joseph purchased the entire 40 acres at the sale for $249, with an initial $88 up front at the time of sale. The rest was to be paid by June 1850.

I know this because I have in my possession the original handwritten deeds of these sales, as well as an abstract that Joseph's daughter Missouri (my g-g-aunt) had drawn up in 1933.

Joseph and Delinda settled on the 40-acre spread in Robinson Township and built a house there. He and Delinda lived on the property the rest of their lives. The couple had three children: Eliza Ursula (who married James Swan,) Jane (who died at a week old) and Missouri Ann (who never married.)

Delinda died on 3 Jun 1889 and was buried at the New Hebron Cemetery in LaMotte Township in Crawford County. Joseph never remarried and lived with his daughter Missouri, his other surviving daughter Eliza Ursula -- who'd become a widow after losing her husband James Swan after less than three years of marriage -- and Eliza's daughter Estella Jane. Estella was my g-grandmother and eventually married Frederick Leone Browning.

Joseph died of pneumonia on 12 Jan 1912 and was buried beside his wife.

My family still owns this land today. My father has 5 acres of it and plans to deed it to me in the coming years. I played there when I was a child. We have an Illinois Sesquicentennial Farm sign on the property. I'm proud of that. Although I live in Texas, my heart belongs to the acres that Joseph Nichols bought, farmed, and nurtured. It's in my blood. Land can call to your soul and say, "Here is your home." For me, this is the land that calls.

Take a look at that face again. I cropped the photo -- the tintype that this snippet comes from is a 5x7 sheet. The detail is incredible. Every wrinkle on his eyelids and face can be seen, the hairs in his beard stand out clearly, and the expression in his eyes is both tired and intense. When I hold the tintype up I swear Joseph is about to step off the sheet. I found this tintype buried in a box in my grandmother's storage shed that we cleaned out a few years ago. It had been in the brutal Texas heat for over 5 years. I am amazed that it shows almost no damage whatsoever from the elements. Needless to say, I have it in archival quality storage now.

It's one of my most favorite shots.