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......

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - How Many Ancestors Did You "Meet"?

Randy Seaver's Funtime was too much to resist this week. So here are his directions and my answers follow!

1) Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).

2) Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, or in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.

Here is my list:

* My mother.

* My father.

* Franklin Louis Depperman (1918-2004), my mother's father, who resided in Peotone IL his whole life.

* Clementine Mae (Hamilton) Depperman Bernier (1922-2002), my mother's mother. Resided in Watseka IL and Kankakee IL.

* Minna Anna Louise (Papstein) Depperman (1888-1985), my great-grandmother (mother of Franklin, my mother's grandmother), who resided in Germany until she went to Peotone, IL in 1889.

* Beulah Ethel (Garrard) Browning (1900-2002), my grandmother (mother of my father). She was born in Crawford Co., IL and lived most of her life there before moving to TX in the mid-1980's.

* Virgil Joseph Browning (1901-1989), my grandfather (father of my father). He was born in Crawford Co., IL and lived most of his life there before moving to TX in the mid-1980's.


Wow, this is a pretty short list. I've only "met" seven of my ancestors. That's a pretty low number -- even less than Randy himself!

Mine is limited for two reasons:

1) my father's parents were both nearly forty before they had my dad. My dad's mother's parents were also nearly forty so my great-grandparents on that side died by the 1940's, at least twenty years before I was born.

2) My mother's parents divorced when she was 6 months old and her mother disappeared. I was lucky to even be able to list her since we only met once, when I was about eight years old. I certainly never met any of her family.

This has been fun. Thanks again, Randy!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday Is An (Almost) Tombstone Tuesday

I was reading Monday Madness posts on Monday (as I am wont to do, fancy that!) and came across this post by ThisAndThat over on her blog Conversations With Ancestors Past. Her Madness post was about Hugh Lawson Baldwin, a man who skipped off to Texas and became her featured "elusive man."

The Texas connection perked me right up because the city where he'd been buried (Lancaster) was about 45 minutes away from me. I looked up the cemetery she mentioned and wow, it just so happened that I had made a doctor's appointment about 20 minutes away from the cemetery (the Edgewood Cemetery in Lancaster, Dallas County, TX) that Hugh had been buried in! I didn't hesitate to comment and let her know that I'd be happy to go to the cemetery and find him if it would give her a clue.

So that appointment was today and afterwards I headed out with a bottle of water to battle the ridiculous Texas heat. I'd initially figured I'd be able to walk the cemetery and find him but decided at the last minute to give the funeral home governing the cemetery a call. I am SOooo glad I did and would recommend that course of action to anyone doing something like this! The cemetery (contrary to my thinking) wasn't a small one and I know I would never have located him had I neglected doing so. Anyway, I found the funeral home and studied the burial records to orient myself as to the location of his marker. Then off I went!

I figured it would be easy. Well.....

I had to call the funeral home again after about 20 minutes. I was SURE I'd found the right place, but it looked like this:

No stone in sight. After I checked to see if I was in the right place -- and sure enough, I was -- I got a bit determined. I dug around in my trunk and found a thin probe to poke into the soil. I spent about ten minutes poking around randomly and then got smart and started looking at the other older stones in neat rows to each side. I sunk the probe back and forth and halfway down I got a satisfying thud. I'm glad I was the only one in the cemetery because anyone else would've rightly been a bit nervous being around the wildly cackling lady on her hands and knees in the grass!

I started digging and soon unearthed the entire base of a stone. According to the burial plot records Hugh's stone was the only one listed, so I figured it was his. I was so excited. I was really hoping to find the rest of the stone and spent another ten or twenty minutes digging (Texas roots love to take hold!) and probing around. Nothing. After I cleared much of the dirt and grime away I got up and snapped a picture:

Then I kept digging around the front and back and sides of the stone. Bah! Another ten minutes of nothing but grass and dirt. By that time the shadows were growing long and I still had about an hour's drive home. I didn't want to but I had to throw in the towel. If there's anything still left of his stone it's either so far down that the tools I had today weren't good enough or it's been lost to posterity -- vandalized, broken and thrown away, or leaned somewhere else and grown over by years of flora.

Hm, I have more doctor's appointments this way in the coming months. I might have to stock my car with a better, tougher, longer and thinner probe. Or I'll have to drag my daughter out here. That girl can witch graves! I swear she can, I've seen her do it and it's amazing. She can tell me how many others are buried near him....

Can you tell I hate admitting defeat? :)

For the time being, I sure am sorry, ThisAndThat. I really wanted to get you a picture. I mean a picture of a pretty little stone, not a sad and broken base, you know. It appears that in death, your Hugh is just as slippery and elusive as he was in life.

(I'm just glad you have the burial records at the funeral home! Reminds me of some cemetery records at the Wesley Chapel Cemetery in Crawford Co., IL, where many of my earliest Brownings are buried. The caretaker copied the oldest ones onto the back of a pull-down shade in the front window of his home. He'd just roll down the shade, fill in a death, roll it back up. Ah, but upon his death? No one thought to look for them there. They just bulldozed his house.....and poof! Arrggghhh.......)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Hair Book Families Pt 1 -- Thomas F. and Mary (Plymell) Emery

We start my series of posts about the families whose names are in my Hair Book with the Emery family.

Thomas Emery was born in 10 July 1814 in Ohio and married Mary Plymell -- born 13 May 1817, the daughter of James Plymell and Margaret (rumored to be half Wyandot, a Native American tribe) -- on 17 October 1838 in Marion County, Ohio. His parents are currently unknown.

To put this in perspective (and to better clarify her relationship to the two women who filled out the Hair Book) -- Mary Plymell was my 3rd-g-grandmother Delinda Jane Plymell's sister; hence, she was Eliza Ursula (Nichols) Swan's aunt and Estella Jane (Swan) Browning's great aunt. Mary is my 3rd great-grandaunt.

Thomas and Mary had the following children:

1) Elton Amos Emery (b. c1840 Marion Co., OH , never married, d. 22 Dec 1907 MT)
2) Alzina D. Emery (b. c1842 IL, m. John H. Hatchett 19 Dec 1867 in Macon Co., IL, d. 25 Sep 1898, bur El Paso Cemetery, Derby, Sedgwick Co KS)
3) Lorinda Emery (b. c1847 IL?)
4) Mary A.Z. Emery (b. c1849 IL?)
5) Elmer Francis Emery (b. 3 Jul 1855 IL, m. Fanny G. Parker 14 Aug 1881 in Sedgwick Co., KS, d.14 Jan 1933 bur El Paso Cemetery, Derby, Sedgwick Co KS)

Thomas Emery is found living in Marion Township in Marion Co., OH in 1840. He is listed as 20 -under 30. Living with him is Mary his wife (20 - under 30), a male under 5 (an unknown son who died before 1850 or most likely Elton Amos b. c1840), a female (5 - under 10), and a man listed as 50 - under 60. I don’t know who the older man is (perhaps Thomas’s father?) but the young female can only be Olive Ann Plymell, Mary’s youngest sister. By 1837 Mary’s parents had died. As Olive Ann Plymell (aged 7 in 1840) was found living with Thomas and Mary ten years later in the 1850 census, it stands to reason she’s the young female in the 1840.

By 1850 the couple and their children had settled in Crawford Co., IL, probably because Mary’s Plymell relatives were already there. They lived in Crawford County at least ten years (showing up on both the 1850 and the 1860 censuses) and during that time Mary’s sister Olive Ann Plymell died (on 2 Feb 1858) and was buried in the New Hebron Cemetery in Crawford County. By 1870 the Emery’s had moved to Decatur in Macon Co., IL. In 1871 they moved again, going overland by wagon to Wichita, KS. They settled in Rockford Township in Sedgwick Co., KS and lived there until 1882, when they sold their farm and moved to the nearby city of Mulvane, KS to join their youngest son Elmer and his family. Mary died on 18 Jan 1889 and Thomas followed on 9 Mar 1893. Thomas and Mary are buried in the El Paso Cemetery in Derby, Sedgwick Co KS. (Their headstone picture at right was taken by Kyle on Find-A-Grave in 2004 -- he deserves all the credit I can give him for his volunteer efforts there.)

There is some confusion about Thomas and Mary’s children -- meaning, how many did they actually have? 5…….or 4?

Mary A.Z. Emery and Lorinda Emery show up on two different censuses but neither girl shows up on a census with the other. The 1850 census shows a 1-yr old girl named Mary A. Z. born in IL. The 1860 census doesn't show a Mary A.Z. (who should be around 11 yrs old) but does list a Lorinda, aged 12 (the census says born in OH but it’s an obvious enumerator error; two of her siblings suffer the same error.) The confusion lies because Lorinda is NOT listed on the 1850, where she should be, but is on the 1860. There’s argument to be made that Lorinda Emery could have a year of birth c1847 and have a year of death after the 1860 census, and have a sister named Mary A. Z. Emery with a year of birth c1849 and a year of death prior to the 1860 census, it possible that the 1-yr old “Mary A. Z.” on the 1850 is the “Lorinda” on the 1860?

I’ve looked for further information on either girl (marriages, deaths, etc, in the counties in which their family lived) to no avail. Perhaps I won’t ever know. What I DO know, though, is that Lorinda Emery DID exist. Her name is in the Hair Book and in a script that's a perfect match to another entry (that of Nathan A. Plymell) dated 1861. Elton’s and Elmer’s, dated 1860, are as well. But Mary’s? No. Does that mean she died too early and wasn’t old enough to have been included in the book? Perhaps. But for me, I’m inclined to think that Mary and Lorinda are one and the same. Call it a hunch.

Lastly, to address another few entries in the Hair Book that connect to the Emery family -- Flossie Hatchett and Nellie Hatchett. These two names were written in the hand of the Hair Book’s second author, whom I’m confident is Estella Jane (Swan) Browning, born 1874. Flossie (probably Florence) and Nellie Hatchett were Stella’s second cousins, granddaughters of Thomas and Mary (Plymell) Emery. Florence was born in IL in Nov 1870 and Nellie was born in KS in 1873. I don’t know when Stella got the hair samples from both girls that she sewed into the book, but Florence died in KS in 1880 at the age of 10 and Nellie went on to marry McEnsie Cockrell on 7 Jan 1894 in Sedgwick Co KS before she died in Dec 1958. Hmmm, perhaps it wasn’t Stella who sewed Flossie’s sample in; she was only 6 when Flossie died! That means there’s a third author and the writing styles are very similar…

Next time, the Vanes (though I've covered them already in some detail and will be highlighting those older posts as well)!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Treasure Chest Thursday - My Hair Book (c1859)

(Hmm, my posts are making a habit of becoming a day late and a dollar short....)

The family heirloom I've been mentioning lately (and posted a picture of in my last entry) is a small black book that belonged to my great-great grandmother Eliza Ursula Nichols, the daughter of Joseph Nichols and Delinda Jane Plymell. Eliza was born in 1847 in Crawford Co., IL, and it is there that the book has its origins.

This book is made of some sort of stock lined with something resembling a thin piece of fabric that gives it some amount of flexibilty. Though the picture of the front cover that I posted yesterday might give the impression that it's made of leather, it's not. It's on the small side and can fit in the palm of your hand with just a little bit hanging out over each side.

There are a total of 61 pages, each page lined like today's notebook paper. Not all the pages are filled in and some of the pages are sewn together. Names are written on the bottom of many of the pages, some with dates beside them and some without. The earliest date in the book is 1859 and the latest is 1861. Although it's obvious there are later entries, none of those are dated. There are 41 different names in the book and some are repeated more than once. It's quite apparent that two people wrote the names in the book; there are two vastly different writing styles represented. The first style is written in dark brown or black ink that has faded to brown and was almost certainly written with a quill pen. The handwriting is spidery and rather severe. The second style is in pencil and the handwriting is larger, more open and loopy.

The first writer I can definitively identify because I have samples of her writing -- she was Eliza Ursula (Nichols) Swan, born 1847. If I were to hazard a guess as to the identity of the other, later writer, I'd say she was Eliza's daughter Estella Jane (Swan) Browning. Though I can't say for sure I feel very safe in assuming she's the second writer because one of the entries refers to "My Gramma DJ Nichols" and Estella was Delinda's only surviving grandchild. Estella died young and her mother Eliza moved in with her spinster sister Missouri. Both women lived in the same house together for the majority of their lives and helped raise Stella's boys -- my grandfather and his two brothers -- after their mother's untimely death. That second author (Estella, in my estimation) filled some of the pages in with names of friends and relatives.

What makes this book truly unique, though, is WHY the pages are sewn together. Dotted throughout the book are samples of hair sewn onto the pages, mostly with thread but every so often with ribbon. The hair samples belong to the person whose name is listed under the sample. My grandmother always called it a Hair Book and told me she remembered people making such things when she was small (in the early 1900's.)

I can't adequately describe how I feel about this book. Awe, most certainly, and wonder too. It gives me such a feeling of connection to my ancestors when I can reach out and trace the contours of a braided piece of my 3rd great-grandmother Delinda Jane (Plymell) Nichol's hair. Her hair! It's not words on a page or my imagination working overtime. It's a solid fact and a true physical piece of her, a person born in 1822! Wow. It simply makes it all REAL, doesn't it?

I am so very lucky to have this book. Even if it didn't have the hair it would be a wonderful help to me, genealogically speaking. Many (indeed, most) of the names in the book are of relatives and in some cases this is the only documented way we have to link some of the family members together. No relationships are mentioned except the one I mentioned above. Most of the people in the book (28 out of 41) are people I recognize. There are many names without existing hair samples, though remnants of thread or empty holes where a needle once went through the paper tell me that they were there at one time.


The names in the book are as follows (with all spelling errors left as written, blank pages left out, asterisks by those who have hair samples, and capitalizations for those written by the second author):

Joseph Nichols*
Delinda J. Nichols*
Lorinda Emry
Missouri A Nichols
Alzina D. Emery 1859
Eliza U. Nichols
Elton Amos Emery 1860
Elmer F Emery
Joseph A Plymell
Nathan A Plymell 1861
James F Plymell
Rebecca Ann Plymell 1861
Arvine Plymell
William F Plymell
John Vane 1861
George Vane
Shanon Vane
Adline Vane 1861
Semantha Jane Vane 1861
Mary Emry 1861*
Thomas Emery*
Effie M. Steward 1861*
Wallace W Plymell
Jane Plymell
Dovey Ann Gaddis
Olive A Plymell
Marget Plymell
Mary J McCarty*
John Plymell*
Ann Nichol
Mary A McCarty*

The major players in this book are the Plymell family (specifically, the children of James Plymell and his wife Margaret, rumored to be half Wyandot) and the families they'd married into: the Nichols, the Emerys, and the Vanes. The Nichols and Plymell families had come together with the 1844 marriage of Joseph Nichols, son of John Nichols, and Delinda Jane Plymell, daughter of James and Margaret. The Plymell and Emery/Emory families had meshed with the 1838 marriage of Thomas Emery and Mary Plymell, daughter of James and Margaret. The Plymell and the Vanes blended together with the 1848 marriage of John Vane, son of Arthur Vane and Eleanor Blair, and Adaline Plymell, daughter of James and Margaret.

By 1859 (the earliest date in the book) all three of these couples had children. Eliza, my g-g-grandmother, was 12. Many of the other names written in the book are her cousins, the children of her aunt Adaline and her aunt Mary. Other names are those of her aunts and uncles. Still others are friends of the family, and a few I am completely unfamiliar with. I'd sure like to remedy that.

Next time I'll concentrate on the collateral families -- Plymell, Nichols, Vane and Emery.

Update: I'll keep a record of the other posts in this series here, as well as on my sidebar:

Pt 1 - The Thomas and Mary (Plymell) Emery Family

Pt 2 - The John and Adaline (Plymell) Vane Family

Pt 3 - The Joseph and Delinda Jane (Plymell) Nichols Family

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Rebecca Ann (Swan) Plymell (1839-1882) (and a surprise!)

To the left is the tombstone of Rebecca Ann (Swan) Plymell. She was born 6 Jan 1839, probably in Champaign Co., OH, and was the daughter of James Swan and Jane Taylor.

She married James Fuller Plymell, the son of James Plymell and Margaret ??, on 11 Jan 1855 in Crawford Co., IL. She and James had nine children (born in Crawford Co. IL and Jasper Co. IL) before the couple and their children moved to Paradise, Wise Co., TX.

Rebecca died in Paradise on 9 Jan 1882. She is buried at the Paradise Cemetery.

I'll be featuring Rebecca and her family -- as well as other members of her husband's family -- in my next series of posts. They are part of a fascinating string of letters sent between Texas and Illinois between 1881 and 1926. They allow us a unique glimpse into the prairie Texas life, yes, but they also illuminate some very human emotions. It's obvious how much those who'd left missed those who'd stayed behind.

In addition to the letter, I will also feature a VERY unique family heirloom. Have you ever wished you could somehow make copies of your ancestors and ask them all sorts of questions? I can't tell you how many times I've looked at my heirloom and thought, "If I just had the talent and the money, I could do just that!"

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

(Late!) Saturday Funtime - The "Sweet 16"

I had fun tonight working up my "Sweet 16" -- the g-g-g-grandparent assignment that Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings had given us over the weekend. As usual, I turn mine in late. I wonder if this means I'm still a member of the "Procrastinator's Club" from my high school Chemistry class?

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.
2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.
3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).
4) If you don't know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.
5) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.

Here's mine:

1. James Madison Swan, son of James Swan and Jane Taylor: born 8 Dec 1844 in Champaign Co., OH; married 5 Aug 1873 in Crawford Co., IL; died 26 May 1876 in Crawford Co., IL and was buried in the Wesley Chapel Cemetery, Montgomery Twn., Crawford Co., IL. ENGLISH.

2. Eliza Ursula Nichols, daughter of Joseph Nichols and Delinda Jane Plymell: born 6 Jul 1847 in Duncanville, Crawford Co., IL; died 16 Feb 1931 in Robinson, Crawford County, IL and was buried in the New Hebron Cemetery, LaMotte Twn., Crawford Co., IL.

3. Joseph Browning, son of James Browning and Jane Nevitt: born 2 Jun 1842 in Tippecanoe, Harrison Co., OH; married 13 Mar 1866 in Palestine, Crawford Co., IL; died 24 Jun 1916 in Palestine, Crawford Co., IL and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Palestine, Crawford Co., IL. ENGLISH?

4. Almarena Mathewson, daughter of Daniel Mathewson and Mary Brimberry: born 29 Nov 1846 in Palestine, Crawford Co., IL; died 6 May 1886 in Crawford Co., IL and was buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Palestine, Crawford Co., IL. SCOTCH?

5. William A. Garrard, son of William Garrard and Rebecca Dunlap: born 30 Oct 1822 in Hardinville, Crawford Co., IL; married 5 Apr 1849 in Crawford Co., IL; died 25 Nov 1864 in Crawford Co., IL and was buried in the Haskin Cemetery, Honey Creek Twn., Crawford Co., IL. FRENCH.

6. Mariah Elizabeth Haskin, daughter of Robert Cochran Haskin and Martha Elizabeth 'Betsy' White: born 10 Apr 1830 in Crawford Co., IL; died 16 Feb 1868 in Crawford Co., IL and was buried in the Haskin Cemetery, Honey Creek Twn., Crawford Co., IL. ENGLISH.

7. David Newton Eagleton, son of James Eagleton and Margaret J. Montgomery: born 18 Apr 1825 in Edgar Co., IL; married 6 Nov 1851 in Crawford Co., IL; died 28 Dec 1878 in Crawford Co., IL and was buried in the Eaton/Grand Prairie Cemetery, Crawford Co., IL. SCOTCH.

8. Margaret Jane Conrad, daughter of James Conrad and Charity Shook: born 6 May 1834 in Crawford Co., IL; died 8 Oct 1878 in Crawford Co., IL and was buried in the Eaton/Grand Prairie Cemetery, Crawford Co., IL. DUTCH.

9. Herman Depperman: born unknown; married unknown; died bef 1900. buried unknown. GERMAN.

10. Henrietta Sennhausen, daughter of Jacob Sennhausen and Wilhemina Schultz: born 11 May 1840 in Germany; died 13 Feb 1918 in Peotone, Will Co., IL and was buried in the Peotone Cemetery, Peotone, Will Co., IL. GERMAN.

11. August Carl Papstein, son of Friedrich Papstein and Wilhemina Koplen: born 6 Sep 1864 in Neu Lobitz, Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Germany; married 17 Oct 1887 in Neu Lobitz, Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Germany; died 20 Nov 1946 in Peotone, Will Co., IL and was buried in the Peotone Cemetery, Peotone, Will Co., IL. GERMAN.

12. Anna Marie Louise Koehn, daughter of Johann Koehn and Johanna Vierkow: born 9 Jun 1868 in Neu Lobitz, Kreiß Dramburg, Hinterpommern, Germany; died 26 Apr 1952 in Peotone, Will Co., IL and was buried in the Peotone Cemetery, Peotone, Will Co., IL. GERMAN.

13. Barton Warren Hamilton, son of John Hamilton and Mary Ann Zumwalt: born 20 Mar 1848 in Harrison Co., KY; married 5 Jan 1882 in Latona, Jasper Co., IL; died 10 Mar 1912 in Jasper Co., IL and was buried in the Tate Cemetery near Bogota, Jasper Co., IL. ENGLISH.

14. Clementine Jeannette George, daughter of David George and Martha H. Clark: born 27 Sep 1863 in Richland Co., IL; died 14 Apr 1942 in Peotone, Will Co., IL and was buried in the Onarga Cemetery, Onarga, Iroquois Co., IL.

15. William T. Dow, son of Lorenzo Dow and Susan Baker: born 12 Jan 1871 in Latona, North Muddy Twn., Jasper Co., IL ; married 26 Sep 1889 in Jasper Co., IL; died 28 Nov 1943 in Effingham, Effingham Co., IL and was buried in the Trexler Cemetery, Jasper Co., IL.

16. Clarissa May Newell, daughter of Robert Newell and Mary Armour and adopted daughter of Henry Lesser and Lovie Jane Whitehurst: born 20 Jan 1873 in Latona, North Muddy Twn., Jasper Co., IL; died 12 Oct 1941 in Effingham, Effingham Co., IL and was buried in the Trexler Cemetery, Jasper Co., IL.

So this means I am......

4/16ths English (25%)
4/16ths German (25%)
4/16ths unknown (25%)
2/16ths Scotch (12.5%)
1/16th French (6.25%)
1/16th Dutch (6.25%)

This was so much fun! I now know that I need to do some more research on my mother's side of the family. I'm woefully lopsided; my dad's family has been easier because of the amount of information that was available to me via my grandmother Beulah. Well, shame on me!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Browning v. Beck Pt 9 - What A Web We Weave

I've learned much more about the Brownings than I could have hoped to learn by taking the time to research and analyze the Browning v. Beck cases brought up by Samuel and Julia Ann.

Far and away, the most important aspect of both cases are the statements made by Samuel and Julia Ann. To my knowledge, Samuel Browning never left a will. I've looked for his will in Crawford County and the surrounding counties (Shelby County was the county he and his second wife were residing in at the time of his death and the county his youngest daughter's daughter said he died in) with no luck. Since I've been able to find no will I considered he might have died intestate, so of course I've also looked into probate records. Nothing. In birth he seems to have hatched and in death he seems to have simply faded away. It's frustrating...

The legal statement he made for this case then, is very important to me. Considering my lack of any other written documentation, this statement is the best proof I have that Samuel was Julia Ann's father. I have implied sources like census records and the statement "dau of S&M Browning" on Julia Ann's tombstone, but this document states their relationship clearly.

Julia's statement, taken side by side with Samuel's, demonstrates another important familial link. Julia states that she was with her sister Rachel. One could infer from this -- and I do -- that Rachel is also Samuel's daughter. Couple this with Rachel's appearance on census records with Samuel and Margaret and I have a fairly good circumstantial case for saying that Rachel is also a daughter of Samuel Browning and Margaret Markee.

There are other relationships that these two statements help to bolster by contributing that extra layer of circumstance. Rachel's son John Wesley McConnell is found in the 1870 census of Noble County, Indiana as a farmhand in the household of Isaac F. and Susannah Crago. Susannah's maiden name was Browning and this couple had been married in Crawford County, Illinois, where the Brownings had moved in the early 1850's. To all appearances, the fact that one of Rachel's sons was living in Isaac and Susannah's household certainly shores up the idea that Susannah (Browning) Crago was another of Samuel and Margaret's daughters.

Additionally, a young girl named Emma Hoy spent some time in Harrison County in 1870, visiting (or living for a time) with Rachel's family. Emma was the daughter of James Hoy and Margaret Browning. James and Margaret were found in the 1850 census of Tuscarawas Co., OH, living with Julia Ann and her husband, James Hoy's brother John Hoy. To find James and Margaret Hoy's daughter Emma staying with Rachel and her family is another circumstance that lends credence to the idea that Margaret, wife of James Hoy, is yet another of Samuel and Margaret's daughters.

I'm sure there are more hidden gems to this case that I have yet to discover. It's funny how one seemingly small thread of information can transform into a long and winding one weaving many different aspects of a family together. Finding these threads is one of the deepest sorts of pleasures of genealogy.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Browning v. Beck Pt 8 - The Cases Are Resolved

-->When we last left off, Samuel Browning had submitted his statement for his Trespass On The Case suit against James Beck, the man accused of fathering the child born to Samuel’s eldest daughter, 16-yr old Julia Ann. Julia Ann -- who herself was a plaintiff in a case of Bastardy against Beck -- had also submitted her statement. Counsel for both sides had been drawing up witness lists and filling out subpoenas for the witnesses they’d chosen to call for both cases. William Milligan, the sheriff of Harrison County, was given all the subpoenas to serve. He began serving them on 18 October for Julia Ann’s Bastardy suit and had finished serving them (either in writing or by reading them aloud) to all the witnesses by 27 October for Samuel’s Trespass On The Case suit.

Witnesses subpoened for Julia Ann’s suit were scheduled to attend court at 8 am on 24 October 1837, when the proceedings in the Bastardy case would begin. Witnesses subpoened for Samuel’s suit were scheduled to attend court at 8 am on 27 October 1837, when the proceedings in the Trespass On The Case trial would begin. All the witnesses (subpoened or not) had shown up at their appointed times by the morning of 27 October and were duly sworn in to give their testimony in the proceedings. Well…..all except one.

Hester Nash, one of the witnesses subpoened as a witness for the Defense in both Julia Ann’s Bastardy suit and Samuel’s Trespass suit did not show on 24 October as she’d been directed to do so by the court. On 28 October an attachment was made to the case files and the State of Ohio drafted its own case against Hester entitled, “The State Of Ohio vs. Hester Nash: Attachment for Contempt.” William Milligan sent his Deputy Sherriff, William Cady, to fetch Hester and bring her to court. He did as instructed and placed her bodily before the Court. The county held her in contempt and levied a $100 fine as well as charging her mileage, a service fee, and a charge that was called “bringing the lady up” that came to an additional $1.40.

I have to wonder……why didn’t she want to testify? Was she a friend of Julia’s?

The trials began as scheduled. I don’t have any documents pertaining to the substance of the trial testimony (I’m hoping that some of this might survive in the James Beck file (if there IS one! -- I’m busy checking that out) in the Harrison County Historical Society’s record vaults. The only records that I do have are those pertaining to the jurists chosen in each of the cases and the verdicts the respective juries handed down.

The jury convened in the matter of Julia Ann Browning vs. James Beck on 26 October 1837. James Christy, McCauslin McGonigle, Thomas Day, Emanuel Custer, John L. Layport, William Cunningham, George Foster, James Haverfield, Charles Patterson, George Day, James Matthias and David G. McGuire were chosen as the jurists. They heard testimony on the part of the Plaintiff and adjourned until the next morning. The following morning (27 October) they reconvened and heard testimony from the Defense before rendering their verdict: guilty as charged. Sentencing was to be at a later date.

The following day, on 28 October 1837, the jury convened in the matter of Samuel Browning vs. James Beck. Zadock Bliss, James D. Anderson, George Baker, Silvanus Lamb, Elzy Chaney, Peter Barger, Samuel Boland, Alexander Beall, John Layport, Robert Guinea, Ephraim Johnson and William Barrett were chosen as the jurists for the case. The panel heard testimony from both defense and plaintiff and rendered their verdict the same day: guilty in “manner and form.” He was sentenced to pay a sum of $100 in damages to Samuel.

It had been a rough two days for James Beck.

Beck’s lawyer, John Goodenow, filed a motion for a new trial in the case between his client and Julia Ann. The document he filed with the court is interesting but it is difficult to read in places. I’d welcome any translation of the words that I’ve left out! Anyway, the motion suggests that there was testimony given that might not place James Beck as the only man ever to share Julia Ann’s bed. I unfortunately don’t have the trial testimony itself but this little tease sure does make me wish I did! I’m sure it was very much a “he said/she said” case, hinging upon witness testimony, credibility, and whether or not Julia could convince the men sitting in judgement of her that she wasn’t a “loose woman” but a simple girl naïve enough to believe words a man would say to have his way with her. If Beck was a bit of a rounder (the other case against him in a matter similar to this comes to mind -- the case I thought I copied but did not, alas!) then his assumption of guilt would be even harder to surmount. Without DNA it would be nearly impossible to prove Beck’s case, and he does seem to have went into it at somewhat of a disadvantage.

The motion (see right) was as follows:


Complaint of Bastardy after Verdict of Guilty
The Defendant, by his counsel, moves the Court here for a new trial, for the causes following:
1. that the credibility of the complaining witness was so far impeached as to render her testimony unsafe and insufficient uncorroborated, to sustain this issue before the jury.

2. that the evidences when altogether concl
usively show that if the Defendant has connection with the complainant at the times she states, still he is not the father of the child.

3. that the case made out by the testimony entire is one which clearly entitles the Defendant to an acquittal.

4. that the verdict is against the evidence given to the jury and against the law governing the case.

Jno. M. Goodinow

atty for Defendant

In any event, the Court summarily overruled the motion on 30 October 1837. They sentenced him as follows:

“…do order that the said James Beck stand charged with the maintenance thereof as follows to wit: that he pay to the clerk of this court for the time being for the use of the mother of said child or other person having the care or maintenance thereof the sum of fifty-four dollars. And also that he pay weekly into the hands of the clerk of this court for the time being for the use aforesaid the sum of seventy-five cents for the period of five years from the expiration of the term of this court, provided the said weekly payments shall cease in case of the death of the said child, and it is further considered and ordered by the court that the said James Beck pay the costs of this prosecution.”

In James Beck’s case against Samuel, things weren’t much better. Damages had been assessed in the amount of $100. Beck was advised to pursue the matter further and he gave notice of his intention to take the matter to the Ohio State Supreme Court. Samuel’s lawyers -- the famous Dewey and Stanton -- made their intention to do the same equally known (I imagine because the damages were much less than the $1000 Samuel had wanted!)

I researched the Ohio State Supreme Court cases in the ten years after the verdict. No further record of the case has been located. I imagine it was merely an empty threat.

And that resolves the cases surrounding my ancestor, Samuel Browning, and his daughter Julia Ann. What a glimpse into the legal system of the early 1800’s!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


My ex-husband's mother passed away this morning. He and I were married nearly twenty years and have only been divorced for a few years. We've remained friends and will always be in each other's hearts.

His mother -- my daughter's grandmother -- was very important to me. She told me many times that I'd always be her daughter whether or not her son and I were married. She said it, like many people do....but her actions proved her words. She kept me close in the family in word and in deed. Her loving acceptance of the difficult decision I made by divorcing her son and her boundless capacity for embracing all sorts of family were two of her most endearing qualities. I'll miss being able to pick up the phone and call her and spend an hour sharing our lives.

I love you, meemaw. You'll be sorely, sorely missed.