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......

Monday, July 12, 2010

More On Asbury Taylor and Minerva (Corderman) Browning

I've been contacted by/have contacted a few new cousins this past week. Coincidentally, all of them are connected to the same Browning and even more coincidentally, it was the Browning I wrote about most recently -- Asbury Taylor Browning, the ninth child of Samuel and Margaret! Taylor died of smallpox in the Civil War but he had three children (Charles Otho, Sarah Viola, and Emma Ellsworth) who lived to have descendents. I'm currently corresponding with a descendant of Taylor's son, Charles. I've been contacted by a descendant of Emma Ellsworth but I've sent two emails so far and I haven't heard back from her. I sent yet another email to a man who I believe is descended from Sarah Viola. If I'm lucky I'll hear back from everyone soon.

Speaking of Asbury Taylor, I've also been thrilled to discover that a historian named Rhonda M. Kohl has been researching the Regiment that Taylor belonged to in the war, the 5th Illinois Cavalry. She's written the following scholarly articles about the regiment:

Kohl, Rhonda M. "'This Godforsaken Town': Death and Disease at Helena, Arkansas, 1862-63." Civil War History, 50, no. 2 (June 2004): 109-144.

Kohl, Rhonda M. "The Hard Lessons of War: The Fifth Illinois Cavalry at Helena, Arkansas." Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, 99, no. 3-4 (fall-winter, 2006-07): 185-210.

Unfortunately I don't belong to the IL State Historical Society so I haven't been able to read either of these. I sent an email to Ms.Kohl inquiring about Taylor and where he might possibly have been buried if he'd died in a hospital in Helena. Ms. Kohl kindly and quickly sent a response and gave me a few suggestions. She said many soldiers were buried on hills overlooking Helena, each was given their own grave and honored with crosses listing their name and unit. She said there was embalming at the time and Taylor's body may have been shipped back to IL (though if it was, I haven't found a gravesite for him.) She also suggested that I may want to contact the Phillips County Historical Society. I hope to follow up on some of her leads. Ms. Kohl is also in the final stages of submitting a book about the Regiment to her publisher. I'll be sure to obtain a copy when it's released.

Since this post is all about Asbury Taylor's family I thought I'd post a few photos of his children's tombstones as well as speak about another interesting document that Taylor's widow filed after his death. First things first, though!

The picture to the left is the tombstone of Sarah Viola Browning, Taylor and Minerva's fourth child. Sarah is buried at the Seaney Cemetery in Montgomery Township in Crawford County, Illinois. She sure was an interesting lady. She married four times and might have buried all four of them! She was born on 2 Aug 1859 in Prairie city (now Toledo) in Cumberland County, Illinois. She married Alfred Newton Criss around 1877, probably in Sullivan Co., IN. I don't know what happened to Alfred but Sarah married Daniel H. Ripple on 11 Jul 1886 in Crawford County, Illinois. She and Daniel settled in Crawford County and something happened to Daniel as well for Sarah married William J. Purcell on 2 Apr 1896, also in Crawford County. William and Sarah lived in Honey Creek Township. William died in Feb 1905 and Sarah married Abraham Walters on 24 Nov 1910. Sarah and Abraham lived in Oblong township for many years before Abraham died in 1924.

Sarah was living in Robinson on North Madison St in 1930 with her grandson Harold/Herald Reynolds and she remained in Crawford County until her death on 18 Nov 1942. Now I don't know who Harold's mother is. He says that both his parents were born in Indiana. As I'm quite sure I don't know exactly how many children Sarah had, much less their names (since I'm missing that precious 1890 census!) then Harold's most likely my best link to another daughter of Sarah's who married a Reynolds. I'll be looking Harold up on my upcoming trip to Robinson. Hopefully his marriage to Laura c1929 is in the Crawford County courthouse and he'll give his parent's names!

The next picture is the tombstone of John Abram Pirtle and his wife, Emma Ellsworth Browning. I won't post that one here because the picture was posted by Nynaeve on Find-A-Grave and I would much rather just link straight to her picture. Emma was born on 29 Sept 1862 in Prairie City in Cumberland County. She was only six months old when her father died and likely grew up feeling that Matthew Starbuck (her mother's second husband) was her father. Her mother died in 1873 when she was only 11 years old. I don't know what became of her from that time until 1880 but that year she was in Fox Township in Jasper County, Illinois as a 17-yr old hired domestic in the household of George Barnett. George was Emma's brother Charles and his wife Laura Belle Tritt's next door neighbor. I feel Emma was likely living with Charles and Laura but the census caught her at work.

Living two households down from Emma was a family headed by a man named John Kellar, aged 28, who was married with a 7-month old daughter. John was born in Illinois but both his parents were born in France. John Kellar becomes interesting because Emma had a daughter, Elsie May, in Sullivan County, Indiana on 1 March 1882. When Elsie married James Skidmore in Sullivan County in 1899 she listed her father's last name as Keller and his first initial as either an "L", a "J" or an "S." As Emma didn't marry John Abram Pirtle until 29 May 1884, she was unmarried at the time of Elsie's birth. Could this John Keller have been Elsie's father? Did Emma get pregnant and move to Sullivan County to give birth? Her older sister Sarah was in Sullivan county at the time. It's certainly a possibility. At any rate, John and Emma lived in and around the Oaktown, Knox Co. IN and Carlisle, Sullivan Co., IN area all their lives. They were buried in the Carlisle Odd Fellows Cemetery in Carlisle in Sullivan County.

Rewind a bit again with me as we come back to Asbury and Minerva, Sarah and Emma's parents. After Taylor's death in 1863 Minerva married Matthew James Starbuck and the couple and their children moved to Greenup Township in Cumberland County. You can see Matthew and Minerva's marriage license to the right. What's nice about this document was that it's a copy of the original document that Minerva had provided to prove her marriage to Matthew in her pursuit of guardianship of her children with Taylor. I'm thrilled to have it because Cumberland County's courthouse burned in 1885 and the original document is now lost. But yay, I have a copy of it right here!

Speaking of the pursuit of guardianship -- I'd always found it a bit odd that Minerva needed to pursue a guardianship for her OWN children! All the pension documents she filed in 1863-1867 never mention that she had given guardianship of her children to anyone else; as a matter of fact that state unequivocably that she had not. So why did she file? I turned once again to Bouvier's Law Dictionary and found my answer.

Minerva, as the children's mother, could be considered a 'Guardian By Nuture' but by the late 1850's that distinction was rapidly becoming obsolete. She of course had care of her children, but upon her marriage to Matthew she needed to have the rights to maintain and manage her children's estates as well as their persons; i.e., become their Testamentary Guardian. Now I'm only making an inference here, but it seems that if she'd allowed Matthew to become her children's legal guardian instead of herself, she would've been unable to continue to draw her children's minor's pensions from Asbury's estate. So Minerva filed for guardianship of her children with Asbury on 25 February 1868 under her married name, Minerva Starbuck, and her petition was granted on 29 June 1868.

I also initially found how they worded the guardianship papers odd as well. Take a look at the document over there on the left. Each of the children (Charles, Sarah and Emma) were listed as being "__ years on the __ day of ___", that day being one day before their birthday. For example, Charles was born the 6th of April -- he is listed as being seven years old on the 5th. It was strange to begin with but it's not as odd to me now with a second and third read-through. It makes sense, really. The day mentioned is the last full day each child was legally considered a minor and therefore also the last full day Minerva would hold guardianship over them.

Minerva died in May of 1873. If Matthew filed for any guardianship papers over Emma and Sarah -- who were still minors and still eligible for Asbury's pension payments -- after Minerva's death, those papers were lost in the 1885 Cumberland County courthouse fire.

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