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 21, 2011

The Browning Series -- Part 9A, the Life and Tragic Death of Charles Otho Browning pt 3

With this post I continue what I call "The Browning Series." Samuel and Margaret Browning had thirteen children between them and after Margaret's death, Samuel chose a widow named Sarah Ann (Bell) Gaddis for his second wife. The two of them had two more children together. My plan has been to feature each one of the fifteen children in a separate post and finally tie the family together with a discussion of their parents.

This post is the third of three about Charles Otho Browning, the second child of Asbury Taylor Browning (son of Samuel and Margaret) and Minerva Corderman.

When last we left the family of Charles Otho and Laura Belle (Tritt) Browning, they and their three children Frank, Tena, and Charles, were living in Marion in Marion County, Kansas. Charles had been born there in January of 1887.

(Events I speak of from now on are culled from newspaper reports at the time and I've done my best to piece a story together from them.)

Fast forward a bit with me now to the 3rd of February in 1889. Charles and his family were living east of East St. Louis -- probably in St. Clair County, Illinois -- at a farm owned by Robert M. Quigley, Charles's employer. Quigley, mentioned in the previous post, was a prominent railroad contractor in the area and owner of a stock commission firm. Charles was employed by Quigley & Co. as a stockman.

The morning of the 3rd Charles, carrying as much as $300 in his pocket, was in Springfield, Missouri. He was scheduled to take a load of mules to Vinita in the Indian Territory (now OK) where the mules were to be employed upon the extension of the Missouri Pacific railroad from Coffeyville, Kansas, south. The mules had been loaded in a railroad car attached to Switch Engine #4 of the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad, which left for the stockyards west of the city. Engine #4 followed another train, backed up the switch, and then ran the car to the stockyards, where it was left for the mules to be put to feed. After the mules were taken care of Charles climbed onto the step in front of the engine as it started back, heading west towards the depot.

(Update: At the time I posted this entry I believed the site of the accident was in the picture to the right. I have since (3/2012) learned that it was not. For the correct location please see the fourth post of this series.)

There were laws in Springfield at the time limiting engines to a top speed of 10 miles an hour while within the city limits but eyewitnesses that day say that Engine #4 passed the Einsenmeyer Mills at a speed estimated closer to 15-20 miles per hour. The Eisenmeyer Milling Company was near National St., about 10-12 city blocks east of N. Campbell and N. Main. Just as the engine reached the frog of the switch west of Campbell street, apparently the signal to stop was given to the engineer, Ed McLean. (If anyone is curious about what a 'frog' is, take a look at the picture below.) McLean failed to catch the signal and in between Campbell and Main the engine struck a frog and jumped the tracks. It hurled about thirty feet before coming down and tearing her way along the ties and into the embankment on the side of the road.

I won't take the space here to describe the horrible scene of the accident or what happened to all the men on the train; I'll leave that to you to read the account that I've posted above as well as go to this site and read #16-18 and #20 and read what I judge to be the most interesting and detailed account of the accident by far. Three men were killed outright and five others badly wounded, Charles among them. Charles was thrown under the engine. Both his legs were severed above the knee and the upper half of his right ear was cut off.

After the accident physicians gathered and a rescue mission began. One report states that "...Boonville Street from the square to Commercial Street was a perfect stream of moving humanity." Physicians were called and wounded men were carried off to their homes or various physician's offices for medical care. The dead were taken to August Lohmeyer's, an undertaking establishment on Commercial Street, where they were laid out on cots and covered. The railroad superintendent, Col. D.H. Nichols, made sure that the Frisco Railroad took care of the welfare of the wounded and placed two of their physicians in attendence.

Reports vary about where Charles was carried. One source says he was carried to the offices over Crank's Drugstore (a distance of about a mile from the scene of the accident, on the northeast corner of Kimbrough Avenue and Cherry Street.) Another report states that he was carried to the office of Dr. Barnes, though the location of Dr. Barnes' office is not mentioned and was most likely the office over Crank's Drugstore. In the chaos, one of Charles' legs was apparently carried away with the dead to Lohmeyer's, the undertakers. Charles' injuries were grievous and little hope was held that he would survive. In the time between the accident and his death, Charles was said to have raved deliriously about his family and about Sweetwater, a city in Buffalo County, Nebraska. His ravings about Sweetwater caused many reporters to erroneously report that he was native to that place.

Charles lived the night but faded quickly and died the following morning in Dr. Barnes' office. It doesn't appear that Laura was able to get to Springfield to be near her husband. W.D. Broughton, a fellow employee who had traveled with Charles on the trip until parting with him at Dixon, MO, telegraphed their boss R. M. Quigley about the accident. Quigley came from St. Louis as fast as he could. Quigley was interviewed by the Springfield Weekly Republican and stated that Laura and her children were destitute and living on his farm outside of East St. Louis in Illinois. Quigley also said that the $300 that Charles had on him at the time of the accident had disappeared by the time Quigley had claimed the body. Quigley took Charles back to St. Louis with him and arranged for it to be interred.

Meanwhile, Justice of the Peace Charles H. Evans (the acting Coroner at the time) had called an inquest the same afternoon as the accident. The inquest was convened to determine the cause of the accident and its resulting deaths. The jury consisted of the following men: J. M. Adams, Horace Smith, J. B. Carson, D. M. Coleman, Charles Denney and W. P. Stewart. They began the inquest the day of the accident but came together again the day following at the City Hall building on Boonville street. They interviewed at least fourteen different witnesses and other railroad employees, viewed the dead and dying, and visited the accident site to get an idea of how the accident happened. Afterwards they rendered their decision.

My cousins located a copy of the Coroner's Report (it is in PDF and I cannot post it here so I include a transcription of it here.) It is a bit difficult to read but it reads as follows:

"We the undersigned Jurors empannelled and sworn in the 3rd day of February 1889 at the Township of Campbell in the county of Greene in the state of Missouri, by C. H. Evans, a Justice of the Peace in and for said Township of Campbell, acting as coronor, to diligently enquire and ( ? ? ) make how and by whom Charles Mason, Wm Miller, George Lowry, C.O. Browning and Ed McLean whose bodies were found at the yards of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad in the 3rd day of February 1889, came to their deaths, having viewed the bodies and heard the evidence do find that the deceased came to their deaths by being crushed and wounded by the wreck of Switch Engine No. 4 of the St. Louis and San Francisco Rail road in charge of Ed McLean, Engineer, and which wreck the Jury do find caused the deaths of the persons whose dead bodies were found as aforesaid and that the said wreck was caused by the carelessness of the engineer Ed McLean running at too high a rate of speed.

--------Given under our hands this 4th day of February 1889------
W.P. Stewart
H. G. Smith

James M Adams

Chas Denney
J. B. Carson
D. M. Coleman

C. H. Evans, JP

--Acting Coroner--

In all, six men died. Those who died at the scene of the accident were George Lowry (brakeman), William Miller, and Charles Nason (both switchman.) The day after the accident Ed. McLean, the engineer (and the man the inquest held responsible) died of his injuries. Charles also died that same morning. Finally, Frank Crawford (day yard master) died three days after Charles did from gangrene that had set into his wounds.

In the aftermath of the accident, funerals were held and slowly life got back to normal. Quigley took Charles' body back with him to St. Louis and took out a burial permit for him in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat on 7 Feb 1889. Quigley then purchased a plot in the St. Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Lemay in St. Louis County, Missouri. The section of the cemetery that he is buried in is a single grave section and it has very few headstones, so the grave is probably unmarked.


Wikipedia, "Railroad Switch".

"A Grist Mill Guide For Missouri," Daviess County Historical Society,

ArcGIS Map of Historic Sites in Springfield MO:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Browning Series -- Part 9A, the Life and Tragic Death of Charles Otho Browning pt 2

This post is the second of three about Charles Otho Browning, the second child of Asbury Taylor Browning and Minerva Corderman.

My cousins recently found the photo I have posted here. It's unidentified, but it is of a man they feel almost certain is their g-g-grandfather, Charles. The photo was found amongst their g-grandmother Tena's (Charles' daughter's) things. The man in the photo looks to be about 30 or so. He has a nicely groomed beard, and his clothes (sack coat, wool vest, white shirt, collar in) and hairstyle (nicely oiled and parted) place him comfortably in the mid to late 1880's range. If you'll look at this picture, and then take a look at one of the smaller pictures in my blog's background (of a similar man wearing similar clothes) I think you'll be able to see how much the two men resemble each other. If our identification is correct, these two men (both named Charles) would be 1st cousins, once removed.

My cousins informed me that they'd taken this photo to a local conference sponsored by Family History Expos this past weekend and showed it to a photo historian who dated it between 1885-1890, most likely around 1887 (+/- a year or so) when the particular kind of cabinet card stock was used the most.

I thought the historian's date analysis was pretty accurate; however, I wanted some independent authentication so I turned to the photographer's mark on the photo. The one on this picture reads Hutchings Bros. Railroad Photo. Car.

Preliminary research on the photographer seems to indicate that the Hutchings Railroad Photo Car was a railroad car designed to be a traveling studio. Robert O. Brown's 2002 book, "Collector's Guide to 19th Century U.S. Traveling Photographers" (published by Brown-Spath & Associates, 2002. 339 pages, ISBN # 1-929955-13-8) states that Hutchings likely worked from 1884-1889, headquartered in Kansas but travelling up and down the railroads into NE. The railroad cars that were used resembled the one seen here, below. I found a few other pictures of families bearing this photographer's mark and most of those labeled were taken in the 1886-87 range and originate from Kearney, a town in in Buffalo Co., NE.

Now to compare what we know of Charles with the photo. Charles Browning was born in 1856, so a picture taken in 1886 or so would find him in his early 30's and at the right age to be the man in the photo. Charles was living in the Shelton area in Buffalo Co., NE c1884 and in Marion Co., KS, in 1887, both areas that Hutchings was known to operate in. It is also known that Charles worked for a man named R. M. Quigley in the months leading up to his death (early 1889), a man who in later years formed his own track-laying company (Quigley-Keough Track Laying Co.) and his own construction company (R.M. Quigley Construction Co., out of St. Louis.) In what capacity Charles worked for him, I don't know, but that he did is certain.

I really think this is a picture of Charles Browning. It's nice to get to see him and have in mind what he looks like, as we read the events leading up to his tragic death.

Next time, the railroad accident that claimed his life.


Image of railroad car taken from:

Reference: "
The Book of St. Louisians: A biographical dictionary of leading living men of the city of St. Louis and vicinity by J.W. Leonard, pg. 596.

More reference:  The Frisco: A Look Back At The Saint Louis - San Francisco Railway

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Browning Series -- Part 9A, the Life and Tragic Death of Charles Otho Browning pt 1

With this post I continue what I call "The Browning Series." Samuel and Margaret Browning had thirteen children between them and after Margaret's death, Samuel chose a widow named Sarah Ann (Bell) Gaddis for his second wife. The two of them had two more children together. My plan has been to feature each one of the fifteen children in a separate post and finally tie the family together with a discussion of their parents.

This post is the first of three about Charles Otho Browning, the second child of Asbury Taylor Browning and Minerva Corderman.

Charles Otho was born on 6 April 1856 in Crawford County, Illinois. His mother was assisted at his birth by his aunt Matilda Corderman, who became a 'double aunt' of sorts to him when she became the wife of Charles' uncle John Wesley Francis Browning five months later. Upon the death of his father, Asbury Taylor Browning, Charles' mother Minerva pursued a minor's pension for Charles and his siblings. Her sister Matilda swore an affidavit stating she'd been present at his birth.

By 1859 the family had moved to Cumberland County, Illinois; by the time Charles lost his dad (1863, to smallpox) he was seven years old. Two years later he and his siblings were living next door to his aunt Matilda and his cousins Sarah Viola and Alice. I'm not sure how the two women were supporting themselves and their children but both were without their men -- Minerva because her husband was dead, and Matilda? Her husband (John) was either dead, had left her, or had went to serve in the war.

The years 1867-1873 were years of change in Charles' life. On 26 December 1867 his mother Minerva remarried and Matthew James Starbuck, a man who'd served alongside his father in the War, became his stepfather. Matthew and Minerva continued to live in Greenup Twn. in Cumberland County for a few years. Charles and his sisters Sarah and Emma were soon joined by at least one half brother, or maybe two. It's for certain Matthew and Minerva had one son, David Clinton Starbuck (born either on 23 September 1870 or 1871) but it's not as certain they had one other, Peter Starbuck, b. c1872-3. It's very possible that they did and the boy died along with his mother. Minerva passed away on 5 May 1873 and within two years Matthew remarried, this time to a much younger woman named Ellen Cook.

I don't know what happened to Charles and his siblings or where they were living in the years between their mother's death and 1877, the year that Charles' sister Sarah married Alfred Newton Criss. The following year, on 8 August 1878, Charles married Laura Belle Tritt, the daughter of Joseph Tritt and Sarah Snider. (You can see a picture of Laura c1900, shown above and to the left.) Charles and Laura were married in Jasper County, Illinois. Matthew Starbuck and his family, including David, moved to Benton County, Arkansas, but Charles and his siblings chose to stay in Illinois.

Charles and Laura traveled back and forth between Illinois, Nebraska and Kansas in the years after their marriage. They first settled in Jasper County and lived there for a few years (their son Frank Tritt Browning was born there on 23 October 1879) but had moved on to Shelton in Buffalo County, Nebraska by the time their daughter Tena May was born on 8 September 1884. They lost a daughter, Elna, there about the same time. By 1887 or thereabouts, when their last child (son Charles Otho Marion) was born, they were living in Marion County, Kansas.

I dont know for sure what Charles did for a living in that time period but I can hazard a decent guess. He was likely working for the railroad system in some way. The St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Company, commonly called the Frisco, had two main lines: St. Louis–Tulsa–Oklahoma City and Kansas City– Memphis–Birmingham. The junction of the two lines was in Springfield, Missouri, home to the company's main shops facility. While the Frisco didn't run in Buffalo County, Nebraska, by 1886 two others did: the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad through Garfield township and the Union-Pacific through Shelton. Both connected to Kansas City.

This is to become important to our story. Charles might've lived by the railroad....but he died by it, too. The conclusion, next time!

(Edited: because of a sudden illness in the family, my posting might be a bit haphazard the next couple days. Bear with me. Thanks.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Browning V. State of Ohio, Pt. 2 - William Meets His Fate

When we last left poor William Browning he'd went to court and stood alongside Samuel Browning (my ancestor, whom I believe to be his older brother.) Both young men agreed to a security of $200, funds that would be taken from them in the event that William attempted to leave the county and/or refused to report for trial. William didn't abscond but did his duty and reported to the court during its March term in 1821. At that time the court reporter entered the charge against him (larceny, in which he was accused of stealing 16 pounds (two bushels) of cornmeal from one James Tarbet) and ordered that he stand trial. Subpoenas for witnesses were drawn up and given to Sherriff Reazin Arnold to serve. William B. Beebe was the prosecuting attorney in the case for the State; the attorney that William hired for his defense is unknown (although as we shall see, perhaps William did not hire an attorney and instead represented himself. Let's see if you think that's what he did...)

(Oh, before I forget...Disberry Johnson. Recall him, he was a witness in the case? He was the J.P. who married William and Hannah Barr.)

I wish I had more about the trial itself. I wish I had interviews, witness testimony, or William's own testimony. I don't. Unlike my Samuel's daughter Julia's case in 1837 (which you'll find on my sidebar if you're interested), I don't have any documentation featuring the actual content of William's trial. So while I'll have to make do without all the 'juicy bits,' so to speak, I do have a document about this case and its aftermath that didn't exist in Samuel and Julia's trial. This document provides a choice piece of evidence about William and I'll just have to be satisfied with that!

The next document I have about the case is - unfortunately - its conclusion. The court clerk duly noted the proceedings in the Harrison County (OH) Common Pleas Journal (Bk. B, p. 110.) The State of Ohio's (and by proxy, James Tarbet's) lawyer, Walter B. Beebe, came to court and the jury members impanelled for the case were listed as Samuel Beatty, Robert Givin, John Cramlet, Israel R. Kirkpatrick, Henry Carver, John Jamison, Thomas Caldwell, James Patton, William Ross, Peter Thomas, James Evans, and Barak Dickerson. The only juror's name I recognized was the last, Baruch Dickerson. Baruch served as a Captain in the War of 1812. My Samuel Browning served under his command as a private in the war. The transcription of the court clerk's entry is below:

State of Ohio vs William Browning
Indictment for Larceny

This day came Walter B. Beebe Esq Prosecuting Attorney for the state of Ohio in Harrison County and the said William Browning in his own proper person who being ordained and called upon to plead to said Indictment says he is not Guilty of Larceny in manner & form as he stands Charged in Said Indictment and of this he puts himself upon the County for trial and the said Walter Beebe in behalf of the state doth so likewise whereupon a Jury of the County being Called Came, to wit, Samuel Beatty, Robert Givin, John Cramlet, Israel R. Kirkpatrick, Henry Carver, John Jamison (Sr?), Thomas Caldwell, James Patton, William Ross, Peter Thomas, James Evans, and Barak Dickerson all good and lawful men who after being duly empannelled tried Sworn and affirmed to by the aforesaid (??) Between the state of Ohio and the said William Browning the prisoner at the Bar and after hearing the evidence adduced and the arguments of Council as well on part of the State as William Browning, do say upon their respective oaths and affirmations that the said William Browning is Guilty of Larceny in Manner and form as he stands Charged in said Indictment and that they assess the value of the property so stolen at one Dollar and seventy five cents, Whereupon it is considered by the Court that the said William Browning pay a fine of Ten Dollars and Costs of Prosecution and that execution I here therefore (?), and it is further Considered and ordained by the Court that the said William Browning be imprisoned in the Jail of said County Fifteen days.

As you can see, William didn't have an attorney (or at least, one isn't listed.) The court clerk stated that William appeared in 'his own proper person' and pled Not Guilty for himself. None of the witness subpoenas I have state any lawyer's name, either, like they did in Samuel's daughter Julia's case sixteen years later. I may be reading more into the court documentation than is meant, but it seems to me he represented himself during the proceedings. Perhaps he simply didn't have the funds to obtain a lawyer. If so, I think it might indicate why he took the cornmeal to begin with. After all, in September of 1819 William was likely only about 19 years old with a wife and a child (or with one on the way.) Who knows if he was a good farmer or a lazy or inept one. Who knows if he'd had a rash of bad luck and his own harvest was slim. I'm not condoning his actions -- if indeed he did take the cornmeal -- but if he did, he chose to steal food. All I'm saying is that there's probably a reason for that.

William was also called a prisoner at the Bar. Did this mean he had already been in jail pending trial? Sure sounds like it but I don't believe that was the case. If William had been imprisoned he and Samuel would not have needed to place bail. Bouvier's Law Dictionary states the following about prisoners (as of 1856): "Prisoners in civil cases, are persons arrested on original or mesne process, and these may generally be discharged on bail."

Let's explore the legalese first. What is mesne process? Bouvier says that it is "any process issued between original and final process; that is, between the original writ and the execution," or "a writ or proceedings in an action to summon or bring the defendant into court, or compel him to appear or put in bail, and then to hear and answer the plaintiff's claim." Therefore, mesne process in William's case had begun with the document stating William and Samuel has appeared in court to provide bail and had been completed when the court had stated the accusations against William in his presence. It's unfortunate that I don't have the entire case file or else we might know for sure whether William had spent time in jail prior to his actual trial, but with the evidence I see here -- the securing of bond to prevent him from running -- I would hazard an educated guess that he was not.

Anyway, the jury found him guilty and sentenced him to pay a fine of $10 plus any court costs and to spend a total of fifteen days in jail. Then another writ was drawn up, a writ of Fieri Facias. This writ is a judgement for debt and damages and was served to the sherriff of Jefferson County, Ohio, one county west of Harrison. This small clue gives William's whereabouts in the days following the trial.

This writ is an interesting document. The writ, once served, bound the sherriff to obtain the money due the state from the goods and chattels of the convicted and present them to the judges of the said court on a day named in the writ. According to Bouvier's there were many rules the sherriff had to follow in executing this writ:

1) The sheriff could not break the outer door of a house for the purpose of executing a fieri facias, nor could he break a window. He could enter the defendant's house if it was open, and, being once lawfully entered, he could break open an inner door or chest to seize the goods even without any request to open them.

2) Although the sheriff was authorized to enter the house of the party to search for goods he was not allowed to enter that of a stranger for that purpose, without being guilty of a trespass, unless the defendant's goods were actually in the house.

3) The sheriff was allowed to break the outer door of a barn or of a store disconnected with the dwelling-house, and forming no part of the curtilage. 16 Johns. R. 287. The fi. fa.

4) The writ may be executed at any time before, and on the return day, but not on Sunday, where it is forbidden by statute.

Here is the transcription of the writ in William's trial:

(front cover of Writ of FIERI FACIAS)

Fi da et fev facias Ca Sa. To July Term 1821 STATE of Ohio vs. William Browning Indictment for Larceny
Fine ---------------$10.00

Costs ----------------$16.26

fifa Ca Sa& -------- $ .35


Add the jail fees before sentence.......

C.P. 121 Calculate Interest from March 23, 1821 W.B.Beebe Atty for State

(in different handwriting) Rec'd this writ March 29th, 1821

(upside down) May 26th 1821
Made in full, Rezin Arnold, Sherriff --

(body of the Writ of FIERI FACIAS)

State of Ohio Harrison County The State of Ohio to the Sherriff of Jefferson County in said State

Greeting -------------------- We Command you that of the Goods and Chattels Lands & tenements and body of William Browning within your County you cause to be levied the Sum of Ten Dollars being a fine, and the Sum of Sixteen Dollars & twenty two cents Costs of Prosecution together with Interest thereon the Costs of this writ and all legal accruing costs, which the State of Ohio lately in our Court of Common pleas for said of Harrison County to wit at the March Term thereof A.D. 1821 by the Consideration and Judgments of our said Court recovered against the said William Browning in a certain action of Indictment for Larceny --. Whereof the said Wlliam Browning is convict as appears of Record in our said Court and have you that Money on the body of the said William Browning before our said Court at the next Term to be holden at Cadiz in said Harrison County on the thirtieth day of July next to render unto the said State of Ohio for the fine and Costs aforesaid, and have you then there this writ. Witness the honourable Benjamin Tappan President of our said Court at Cadiz this twenty ninth day of March Anno Domini ---- 1821.

William Tingley Clerk

As you can see, the writ was received on 29 March 1821 (received by whom, I'm not sure, for it doesn't say; my assumption is that it was received by the Jefferson County sherriff.) However the writ was served and executed, there is a upside-down notation on the front cover of the writ by Rezin Arnold, the sherriff of Harrison County, that it was "Made In Full" on 26 May 1821.

What happened to William and Hannah after the trial? I really don't know. There are a few William Browning's enumerated in close counties in 1830 (one in Tuscarawas County living close by James Markee, who was Margaret (Markee) Browning's brother) and another in Coshocton County, Ohio, but I can't be certain that either of these are William and Hannah. If I had to guess which one he'd likely be I would guess the Tuscarawas County one, but that's just a guess. So in conclusion, other than the fact that William was in Jefferson County, Ohio, in March-May 1821, I don't know what became of him and Hannah.

It sure was an interesting trial, though!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Browning v. State of Ohio: Meet William!

Long time readers of my blog are familiar with a court case my ancestor Samuel Browning and his daughter Julia were both involved with in 1837. The links to the case (Browning v. Beck) are on my sidebar so I won’t go into the case here. What I intend to explore today is another court case, one involving a man named William Browning that I located at the same time as the one involving Samuel. Both cases were found in the files of the Harrison County (OH) Genealogical Society.

The recent morsel of information I received from another researcher about Hannah Barr’s father (Patrick Barr from Ireland) and the location of a consent slip for her marriage to William stirred up memories about this other court case. I’d intended to further explore this case just after the Browning v. Beck one but you know what they say about intentions! Who knows, perhaps I wasn’t meant to explore it until after I received this tidbit. You’ll see why soon.

Before we begin, let me say I’m certain the case file I have isn’t a complete one. As I’ve said before, many of the cases that the Harrison County Genealogical Society have in their files were rescued from the dumpsters behind the Harrison County courthouse some years ago. There are at least two documents missing from this particular case that I know of – a witness subpoena and interviews with the victim and the accused. Unless these documents are filed under the name of the plaintiff in the case, they’re likely gone. Although I’m sad because an interview with the defendant in this case would have been lovely, I’m thrilled to have what I have.

I’m afraid I don’t know much about William Browning, the major player in this case. If I did, perhaps my Samuel wouldn’t be as much of a mystery!

William first shows up in Harrison County, OH on 28 February 1818, the day he marries Hannah Barr, the daughter of Patrick Barr of Ireland. The permission slip I mentioned in my last post states that William was the son of John Browning. John signed the slip giving his consent for William to marry Hannah on 6 November 1817.

William next shows up in the 1820 census within two households of Samuel and two households of John. His age in this census is in a range between 16-26 and he has a son below the age of 10. Strangely, he has another male between 16-26 living with him and a female aged 26-45. I am given to understand that the age of consent was 21, so even if both William and his bride were 21 at the time of their marriage that still puts them a little younger than the 26 listed here. I’m not sure if the census is in error, or I am. I’m open to either possibility. At any rate, this range would place William’s birth from 1794-1804. I’m inclined to lean more towards a tighter range of 1798-1801.

He appears again in Dohrman Township in neighboring Tuscarawas Co., OH on the 1830 census – at least I “think” it’s him. Here he is age 20-29, as is his wife, and the couple have three children, two boys (one 5-9, one 0-4) and a girl 0-4. This census would place his birth more in the 1800-1801 range, which I find more likely given his consent to marry form in late 1817. This William is 15 houses down from James and Rhoda (Johnston) Markee. James Markee is Samuel Browning’s brother-in-law. James’ wife Rhoda is almost certainly the daughter of Disberry Johnston, a man who lived in Harrison County and will become important as we explore the upcoming case.

I don’t find a William Browning on the 1840 census and on the 1850, the only William I find was William M. Browning, b. 1810 in Montgomery Co., MD and who married Eliza Johnson (b. 1810 Ireland, the daughter of Irish immigrants) in neighboring Jefferson Co., OH in 1832. This family later moved to Henry Co., IA. I can’t say for sure that this William is not the William of the case (after all, in 1819-1821 a young boy of 9-11 can sure steal things and his age is never given) but other clues in the case itself make me rule him out with almost a certainty.

So where did William and Hannah go? I don’t know. I have one small clue that this case provided, but other than that I’ve never been able to find out what happened to them.

Now on to the case itself.

The case began on 12 December 1820. On this day, William Browning and Samuel Browning made an appearance before the Harrison Co., OH Court of Common Pleas. The boys came to answer a charge of larceny levied against William and agreed to a bail of $200 to ensure that William would not skip town and appear before the next term of court to stand trial. You can see the document to the upper left and a transcription below:

State of Ohio

Harrison County

On the 12th day of December A.D. 1820 personally appeared before me the Subscriber one of the Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for said County William Browning and Samuel Browning and Severally Acknowledged themselves indebted to the State of Ohio in the Sum of two hundred Dollars to be levied on their Goods & Chattels lands and Teniments if Default be made in the Condition following,

The Condition of this Recognizance is such that if the above bound William Browning shall appear at the next term of the Court of Common Pleas of said County to be holden at Cadiz on the 19th day of March next on the first day of the Term and then & there answer to what at that time shall be objected against him on a Charge of Larceny and abide the order of the Court thereon and not depart without leave then this Recognizance to be void & of none effect otherwise to remain in full force and virtue in law --

Taken and acknowledged before me at Cadiz the day and year above writen.

Alexr. Henderson, Assoc. Judge

The next documentation we find on the case is at the March 1821 term of court. William appeared before the court as he was requested to do. I have not included a picture of the list of witnesses (I've covered that here in the transcription) but the document itself is here. Following is a transcription of the proceedings:

State of Ohio vs. Wm. Browning

Indictment for Larceny


James Tarbot

Patrick Barr

Disberry Johnston

A True Bill

(?) McMillan

Plea Not Guilty


State of Ohio

Harrison County

At A Court of Common Pleas begun & held at Cadiz in & for said Harrison County on the nineteenth day of March in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & twenty one The grand Jurors of the State of Ohio summoned to enquire for the body of law Harrison County upon their respective oaths & affirmations do precent & find that William Browning late of the township of Cadiz in said Harrison County on the twenty day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred & nineteen at the township aforesaid in the county aforesaid with force & arms one bag made of cloth with two Bushels of corn meal therein contained of the value of two dollars of the goods & chattles of one James Tarbott then & there being found claimant did steal take & carry away contrary to the statute in such case made & provided & against the peace & dignity of the state of Ohio.

Walter B Beebe atty for State in Harrison County

So it’s pretty black and white. William was accused of larceny by James Tarbott/Tarbet. A very cursory search on Ancestry says that James was born c1784 in York Co., PA, and married Margaret ‘Peggy’ McCullough in 1807 in Belmont Co., OH. James was living as late as 1850.

According to the accusation above, on 20 September 1819 William had filled a cloth bag with two bushels (about 16 pounds) of James Tarbet’s cornmeal. While it might seem like a silly thing to get all bent out of shape about nowadays – after all, we can head to the local supermarket and pick up a few pounds of cornmeal for a few dollars – it wasn’t at all funny or silly back then. Think for a minute about how many hours of labor went into that cornmeal. Planting it, tending it, harvesting it, and taking it to the mill to be ground? Months and months of labor in total. It’s not a wonder these things weren’t taken lightly.

It also makes me wonder about the circumstances of the theft. Did William even do it? He said he didn't, but if he did, why? Was he lazy, was he drunk, was it on a dare, did he dislike the man he stole from? Or was he simply hungry? It's not something that ever gets explained from the documents I have. If I had William's testimony, perhaps I'd have some idea.

But aren’t the witnesses interesting? Patrick Barr! Disberry Johnston! So let’s get to the witnesses, shall we?

I don’t have all the witnesses that were subpoenaed for this case. I don’t have the subpoena for Patrick Barr or for James Tarbet, but I do have Disberry’s. I’m sure even more witnesses were called but unless there is a file for James Tarbet in the Harrison County Genealogical Society and the files happen to be filed there instead, we’ll likely never find them. I know that more witnesses were called even without the other case files because I have another one, one that wasn’t listed on this witness bill. Elizabeth Barr!

Now it’s been recently proven that Patrick Barr is Hannah (Barr) Browning’s father. The man who sent us the consent slip had been looking for Patrick Barr for 14 years and was equally desirious of learning the name of Hannah’s mother. Well…..I believe I’ve just found it for him. I believe that this Elizabeth Barr is Patrick’s wife and Hannah’s mother. Seeing them both listed as witnesses in this trial -- and at least in Elizabeth's case, "on part of William Browning" helps further cement my belief that they are Hannah’s parents and that this William Browning, is, indeed, the William that married Hannah Barr.

(Update (3/30/2012): I have learned that Elizabeth Barr was likely Hannah's sister, not her mother. See more here. Ah well...the search continues.)

Disberry Johnston, if you'll recall, was mentioned before as the almost certain father of Rhoda (Johnston) Nevitt Markee. Rhoda was not only the wife of James Markee (the brother of Margaret, wife of Samuel Browning) but she was also the mother of Jane Nevitt, the wife of Margaret and Samuel's son, James Browning. That Disberry was a witness in the trial is yet another connection between the families of my Samuel Browning and the William in this case.

One other thing, though. I hope you all noticed that the man who stepped up with William to provide bail was Samuel Browning? Tell me true, now, genealogist to genealogist….would you all be inclined to a presumption that if Samuel Browning stood up for William, and William is John Browning’s son, that these two boys, close in age (Samuel would've been about 24, William likely 20-22) and having no other male Browning in the immediate area that could be their father, would you also come to a hesitant conclusion that Samuel could also be John’s son?

My gut says yes, and I see it as another small bit of circumstantial evidence. Believe me, I’ve been doing the happy dance around here lately.

More about the trial to come!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Part O - The Browning Progenitor Question

Before I get into the meat of this post, I've decided to use this space as Space X for my Browning Series, a space to feature ALL the posts I make that reference or relate in any way to a John Browning, found in Harrison Co., OH in the 1820 and 1830 censuses.

It's my belief that this John is my Samuel Browning's father. I've believed this for over a decade and my cousin Pat went to her grave believing it as well. I've wanted to prove it forever. Perhaps -- someday -- I will.

1) John, the Possible Progenitor
2) My Endless Browning Cycle

Now on with it.

A genealogist friend (and possible cousin if we can ever prove it!) of mine sent me a snippet today, something that came to her on her birthday out of the past. It was so exciting that I had to post it here before I called it a night.

She posted a query on GenForum back in June 2001 about William Browning and Hannah Barr, who married 28 February 1818 in Harrison Co., OH. She posted the question initially because her ancestress, Hannah Browning, married Thomas Drake in the same county in 1837 and she was exploring the possibility that William and Hannah might be her Hannah's parents.

Nothing ever came of the post until today.

A man who had returned yesterday from doing some research at the Harrison County, OH Genealogical Society replied. He was researching the Barr family and came across that marriage license between William Browning and Hannah Barr. He found more than that, though. He said Hannah was the daughter of Patrick Barr of Ireland.

More importantly to me -- he also found the couple's consent to marry slip from Cadiz, OH, signed 6 November 1817. Apparently it was William, not Hannah, that needed this consent (or if she did, the consent form for Hannah wasn't included in the information the man wrote my friend/cousin about.) He said that the consent form listed William's father as John Browning!


Up until now I have had only one small glimpse of that name (other than the previously mentioned census reports) and that was on another consent to marry slip from Harrison County. This slip was for a daughter named Margit. The slip is faded beyond reading more than a few words and I've placed it here so you can see what I mean. This is a copy from the original and it was copied prior to the great dump of records Harrison County performed some years back. John's signature is clear, though.

I've often assumed that William Browning, b. c1800, and my Samuel, b. c1796, were brothers. If this is true (and assuming they did not have two different fathers) then John is also my Samuel's father. This might be the beginning of the link I'm looking for!!

I am eagerly awaiting the results of communication between the man who posted the consent form and my genealogist friend/possible cousin. I hope he made a copy of the consent slip but if he didn't, it will be something I'll send off for.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Here's a GREAT web site for county boundaries!

I'll be posting more soon. I've been so busy lately.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Kingdom For A Good Genealogy Flowchart Program

I've been occupied lately with some new and exciting developments. A few years ago my father took a yDNA test for me and I tucked the results away and didn't disperse them like I should have. Luckily a cousin found me and our mutual excitement convinced me to input them into a Brown Genealogy Society page that I had been invited to but had never pursued. This page also includes Browning information and I'm happy to say it's matched me with a couple of others.

It's a long story but suffice to say I've made a couple of matches in the 7-15 generation category. Although these matches (like me) have one common roadblock, Maryland in the time period 1770's-1790's, that's okay. At least I'm not alone now, and at least it's given me somewhere to focus other than at the tip of my nose! I've missed my cousin Pat since her death in 2009 and I will miss her forever, but I believe I've found another researcher whose enthusiasm and determination remind me of hers. I've really enjoyed that lately.

I've discovered more about my Samuel. I found out he served in two different companies in the War of1812! I've found a land record that somehow I've skipped over all these years, that gives the names of both the companies. I've written to the National Archives and sent for the land case file, hoping beyond hope that a word or two will point me toward Samuel's missing relatives. I'll be sharing all this when I get the chance to pull my head out of my research long enough to take a breath and write.

I'm writing tonight because I've discovered that I'm need of guidance. I have enough clues now to (perhaps) begin to narrow down the possibilites that exist for my Samuel's parentage. I have at least three disparate families that belong to this list of possibilities. I want to be able to have some sort of software program, preferably a FREE one, that can act very much like those whiteboards you see detectives use on TV. You know the ones.....where they draw out a timeline, and list factoids under each person, and there are spaces for additional info, and you can see maps and pictures and other tidbits? I thought about using a regular old genealogy database but really, it doesn't lend itself to this. You have to click through so many connecting people to get to the one you want, for the most part it depends on familial ties that I don't have yet, and you can't see everything in the three dimensions I need. I need to stick clues to each one with virtual thumbtacks. I need to see the big picture here.

Suggestions, anyone?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rachel's Picture Found! Now Let's Date It!

I'm excited to report that this week I made contact with a McConnell family researcher through Find-A-Grave. He let me in on a few corrections to the family of John C. and Rachel (Browning) McConnell and we began talking more and more about the family and their children. While he was descended from John and his first wife Jane Boals/Boles, he knew an awful lot about John's second family because he'd been interested in genealogy from a young age and managed to talk to many of the 'old ones' before they passed on.

In the course of our converstions I mentioned that I had a picture of John C. McConnell given to me by a few surviving relations. He was curious about the photo, saying he had a few photos himself (a set of four consisting of a man and wife and two boys) that he'd always been suspicious were McConnell's but who weren't identified on the backs as such. He'd run into another McConnell descendant who'd owned the same set but his weren't identified either. I sent him the picture of John I had as a comparison, hoping that there would be a match. His next email was an excited YES! (truthfully, there were a lot of hallelulahs and praise Jesuses too!)

I was just as thrilled as he was, because as I said, he had a set! He had John......and RACHEL!

I haven't seen pictures of too many of Samuel and Margaret's children. I only have two: Ezra C. and John Wesley Francis. I also have pictures of the two girls, Laura and Mary, that Samuel had with his second wife Sarah (Bell) Gaddis Browning. Out of fifteen, I only have four. Rachel's picture makes it five. It's a very thrilling addition to the fold.

Once I received the photos I wanted to analyze them to establish a date range. John C. McConnell died in 1873 so that gave me a topmost range to work with.

First, the things that you can't see. This photo has been cropped; I know this because the sender told me. No worries, though, because I also have the photos of John C. and the two boys. The photos of the boys haven't been cropped and the sender told me that the pictures of Rachel and John are framed exactly like those of the boys. The boy's photos are all on thin paper stock and all have two golden double lines encircling them. The sender says there are no photographer's stamps or studio names on them at all.

The pattern on Rachel's dress is quite striking and she is wearing a matching cape. Her sleeves bell outwards between her elbows and shoulders but become less so at the wrist. Are they leg'o'mutton sleeves? I can't tell because of the way the cape covers her shoulders but I don't think they are. They seem more bishop style, tighter near the wrist with some sort of trimming near the cuff. I think I see just the barest hint of a small row of buttons down the front of her bodice -- perhaps a double row, hidden by the cape? -- and I'm questioning whether her skirt isn't of a split style, with some sort of pleated panel in the front and the pattern to each side. She has a simple but delicately scalloped wide white collar with a brooch or cameo in its center. Her hair is center parted and smoothed neatly behind her ears into a bun.

The boys are both wearing shawl collar vests that are higher up on their necks than the one John is wearing. The boy on the left, who I judge to be the elder by a few years, is holding a work or mechanic's hat. I can't tell whether John is wearing a bow tie or some sort of cravat tucked into his vest because of the length of his beard but both boys are wearing small bows tucked underneath their collars. Both boys have sack coats on -- the eldest's of tweed or patterned wool, the other's dark -- and the seams of each are falling off their natural shoulder. John's coat seems longer than the boys' coats but that might just be a trick of the edge of the photo. John sports a single button on one side. His is more fitted to his shoulders and it appears that part of his coat collar is made or trimmed in velvet. All three are wearing their hair parted to the side. The boys seem to have oiled their hair and pushed it up off their heads but John has a full length chin beard. His hair is thin and a little full at the sides.

Looking at the pictures as a whole, I would say that they were taken by the same photographer on the same day. All four appear to be seated on a simple wooden chair; the tip of it can be seen in Rachel's photo and its seat in the elder boy's. The background is the same in all the pictures, though in the pictures of John and the boys a white strip (perhaps a baseboard?) can be seen to their bottom right. I believe the fullness of Rachel's skirt is blocking the view of that strip in her photo.

It will help at this point to have some information about the McConnell family. Rachel was born in 1825 and John in 1807. Their eldest, Theodore, was born in January 1850 and their second son, John W., was born in December of 1853. I believe that Theo is the elder boy holding the hat. Does he look about 15-16 to you? He does to me. I think the other boy looks about 12-13. The elder boy has the look of Rachel in his nose and the set of his mouth while the younger has more the look of his father.

Now to the dating. It's important that we look at these pictures as a unit as well as individually where that's concerned. Rachel's wide white collar, the double row buttons, and the bishop style sleeves all point to a date of the early 1860's. The dress styles of both the boys and John look to be near the same dates but I think, given the style of ties the boys are sporting, might be more toward the middle of the decade. I would be content to think that Rachel, being a woman in or nearing her 40's, might wear styles a couple of years out of fashion. All in all, I would say this set of photos dates about 1865 or 1866.

But the real kicker is something I questioned about her photo the moment I saw it. Most of the dresses I've seen on women in this date range have skirts that are full and consistently patterned. Rachel's dress has a pleated middle section. Now it could be that she's simply a heavy-set woman, but is it possible that she's pregnant?

Rachel had children born in 1850, 1851, 1853, 1855, 1859, 1860, 1862, and 1864. She was also possibly pregnant one other time (either in 1857 or around 1866 -- but the child in this case was either stillborn or died as an infant (I say this because in the 1900 census Rachel stated she was the mother of nine children and I can only account for eight.) If she IS pregnant in this photo, it might date the image to around 1865 and it would match the ages of her sons Theo and John W. If this image is older (say, 1870-ish) it would still match the ages of her sons (though their identification as Theo and John would certainly be in question) but Rachel would not be pregnant, just heavy.

So what say you all? Is this c1865-6, or closer to 1870?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Pt 7, cont (pt 2) -- the children of James Hoy and Margaret Browning

If you haven't been keeping up with this group of postings on James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy, catch up by reading the first post and the second post. This time, as promised, we'll be asking (and answering) some other questions to establish the identities of the children of James Hoy and Margaret Browning. I'll keep it simple here, and save their deeper stories for future posts.

According to the census records between 1850-1870 James Hoy and Margaret Browning had a total of nine children (Sarah, James, Susan, Emma, Edward, Jane, Victor, William and Zara.) The couple's bible records place the number at seven but leave off a last child, which if added would bring the total up to eight. There's an inconsistency here that needs to be examined in greater detail. So let's look at each child in detail.

(I've tried to list the children in their best guess birth order, excepting Sarah Ellen and James Franklin. The bible lists them as Sarah born 1851 and James born 1852 and as the rest of the bible listing appears correct for birth order, why not this? The state censuses can support both; the only one that makes any distinction is the 1860, where James is listed as older than Sarah. Further evidence also supporting James as eldest? -- Sarah was reported born in IL on the 1860 while James was listed born in OH. I don't have death certificates for either one. Lacking any firsthand evidence, I'll use the bible list even though my own belief is that James was older. I tend to use the bible birthdates for James and Sarah but switch their order.)

Sarah Ellen:

Sarah is shown in the family bible born 19 April 1851 and in the 1860 census at 7 years old, placing her birth closer to 1852-3. Other than the 1855 and 1865 censuses that show a female roughly her age in the Hoy household, there are two more censuses that she might be in, the 1870 and 1880 Crawford County censuses. In the 1870 census a Sarah HOY is listed with two other known children (William and Zera) in the poorhouse of William Beers in Hutsonville. This is by no means a certainty, though, because the Sarah listed here is 25! The drastic leap in age from the 1860 to the 1870 census is not believeable to me unless there was a transcription error somewhere. But where? The 1860 census would make more sense if one flipped the dates of birth for Sarah and her brother James F. but even if you don't do that, the age leap from 7 in 1860 to 25 in 1870 is just too great, not to mention the fact that her parents James and Margaret didn't even marry until 1850.

While the presence of both of the youngest sons of James and Margaret in the same poorhouse make a strong case for this unknown Sarah's relationship to them in some way, the age difference is pronounced and I have no idea exactly who this Sarah Hoy was. I've looked at all other possible Sarah Hoy connections (as in, did James have a brother who married a Sarah? Did James's brother John have a daughter named Sarah? etc.) and there are no other options for women with this name and in this age grouping. Now poorhouse records would have been wonderful and might've cleared everything up (and after 1874 poorhouses were required to keep them!) but I had my cousin Pat look into it and it doesn't appear that the poorhouse keepers in Crawford County maintained them (or if they did, the courthouse no longer has them) prior to the law of 1874 or even after. Bleh. Anyway, this unknown Sarah E. was located in 1880 living at another poorhouse run by James Boyd in Martin Twn. and this time says she is 38, born in Ohio, and both her parents were born in Illinois. The Sarah in 1880 was listed in the DDD schedule as a consumptive.

Could the census taker have made a mistake and she was really 15 instead of 25? Sure, it's definitely possible, and it might not even be the census taker's error. It could simply be a bad translation of his handwriting by the recopier. Did you know that the "original" census pages we see are actually copies? It's true. From 1790-1940, field census takers went door to door writing down the information in pencil. Then someone else transcribed the information in ink for the final version that was sent to Washington. A second copy was sent to each state. So were mistakes made, even with some basic issues like age and gender? You bet your booty!

But was this done in this case? I don't know. The Sarah E. in 1870 is 25, the Sarah E. in 1880 is 38. Unless the mis-transciption was two-fold and it was really supposed to be 15, and 28, then perhaps not. Ah, to be able to look at the Crawford County poorhouse records....*sigh* As it stands, I've had no luck finding any other record giving me clues to her whereabouts after the 1880 census.

James Franklin:

James, b. 19 Apr 1852 according to the bible but whose census records seem to place him closer to 1851, is almost a complete mystery to me. According to descendants of Edward J. Hoy (James F. Hoy's younger brother) James, approximately 15-18 yrs of age upon his father's death, took on responsibility for some of the younger children and moved to Cumberland County, Illinois. If this is true it occurred after the 1870 census but I have no way of verifying this information.

The bible record states he married a "Milly F." in 1870 but I'm not sure how much stock I put in this particular notation. If this bit of information is accurate, and they married in Cumberland Co., IL (where at least three of the Hoy children ended up by 1875-ish) then any record of it burned in the Cumberland County courthouse fire of 1885. I feel it more likely that when Ruhama (Cliff) Harris wrote the bible entry (in 1925) she blended the two James Hoy's, father and son, in her memory. Recall that after Margaret (Browning) Hoy's death, James Hoy married Amelia Funk. Milly is a very common nickname for Amelia. Therefore Milly and James as a 'couple' could easily have lodged itself in Ruhama's mind and she placed the Milly as the wife of the son and not of the father. A marriage license I have adds some credence to this argument. A "Mrs. Milly Hoy" married Alfred Marsden in Crawford Co., IL in November 1876. At that time Milly was 33 years old, making her birthdate 1843. It's possible she married James Franklin Hoy first in 1870 but he would have only been about 19 years old to her 26. It's possible but unlikely. I believe that this is James Hoy the elder's widow, Amelia Funk Hoy, instead. Amelia Funk Hoy was born in 1843.

I have another small clue to the actual identity of James F.'s, wife, taken from the recollections of Mildred Mae (Stepp) Maglothin, Edward Jasper Hoy's granddaughter. Mildred remembers her mother and stepmother (who were sisters) talking about their uncles. Mildred's recollections were that James married a woman named Caroline or Emmaline, moved to Colorado, and died in Boulder. I've never been able to verify this, I haven't found him on any other census, and I don't know anything else about him.


Susan was not mentioned in the bible record at all. She was mentioned in the 1860 census (where she is suddenly 9 years old and born in OH, placing her birth c1851 as well) but she's never been located anywhere else. She wasn't represented in the 1855 census or the 1865 so, if she was missed in that one, perhaps she died between 1880-1865. I don't know. I leave her name here because she was listed in the 1860 and for that reason alone. Perhaps someday I'll find some other clue.

Emma Alice:

The bible says Emma was born in January of 1854. Ruhama (Cliff) Harris was Emma's daughter and I believe this birthdate is an accurate date.

So how do we know that Emma was James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy's daughter, especially since she wasn't named on the 1860 census with them? We use other records, of course! In 1870 Emma was living in Washington township in Harrison County, OH, with John and Rachel (Browning) McConnell. Her relationship to the family is not given but surely there's some weight to the fact that Emma is found in that household, far away from Illinois? Rachel McConnell is inarguably one of Samuel and Margaret (Markee) Browning's children (and hence Margaret Browning's sister), a fact that is stated in Julia Ann Browning's witness testimony in her case against James Beck (see my sidebar, Browning V. Beck Pt. 1 for documentation.) Recall that later, Julia Ann married John Hoy! So while Emma's relationship in this regard is not definitive, it's certainly circumstantial.

But there's more. While I have no idea how long Emma stayed in Ohio, she was back in Illinois by 1879. She married Zeno Cliff, the son of Benjamin Cliff and Lydia Calvert, on 3 July 1879 in Effingham County, Illinois. According to her marriage certificate Emma, age 26, was born in Crawford County, Illinois, and was the daughter of James Hoy and Margaret Browning. This document, and her 1925 Los Angeles Co., CA death certificate (that lists her father as James Hoye but mother is blank) is also strong evidence that Emma was James and Margaret's daughter.

Emma and Zeno moved to Canon City in Fremont County, Colorado around 1890 or so. Zeno died in Canon City on 30 January 1912 and after his death, Emma moved along with her children to California and spent the remainder of her days there. She died on 17 September 1925 in Huntingdon Park in Los Angeles County, California.

Edward Jasper:

Edward is inferred on the 1855 and 1865 censuses and listed on the 1860 census outright as well as being listed in the Cliff family bible. I think that's pretty good evidence that he is James and Margaret's son. In the 1870 census he is 15 and is found enumerated with the family of Dr. Nathaniel Steele. The only connection I've found between Dr. Steele and Edward or his family is some records bunched in the probate and estate filings of Samuel J. Browning (Edward's uncle) who died in September of 1862. Dr. Steele was the physician that treated Samuel during his final illness as well as the illnesses of his wife Sarah and their infant son. It is unknown how long Edward stayed with the doctor, but it is not unreasonable to assume he lived there until his eighteenth year.

Some time between then and 1880 Edward moved to Cumberland County, where he married Harriet Rawlings on the 1st of January 1880. Harriet was the daughter of John Dennis Rawlings and Mary Feltner. Her father had been a 1st Lt. with Co. A of the 5th IL Cavalry out of Cumberland County. He had been in the same company and had fought side by side with Edward Hoy’s uncle Asbury Taylor Browning. Edward and Harriet settled in Greenup in Cumberland County. In March 1889 Edward signed some paperwork for Luthera (Gray) Reynolds, the widow of Samuel Reynolds. He attested to his knowledge that she was the person she claimed to be for the widow’s pension application she filed for her husband Samuel’s Civil War service.

Edward and Harriet lived in Cumberland County until Edward's death. The date of his death is not certain, for no death certificate or gravesite has been located, but a newspaper article written by his daughter Martha Elizabeth (born 27 Nov 1898 in Greenup, Cumberland Co., IL) states that her father Edward died when she was 11 months old. This places his death in the fall of 1899. His descendents say he died on Halloween.

I haven't found anything more about him in the actual records. Most of what I know about Edward comes from his descendants.


Jane is another of the Hoy children whose identity is in question. The bible record mentions a Mary Jane born in 1857. The 1860 census shows a 3-yr old Jane, so those two records certainly seem to coincide. In 1870 a Mary Hoy, age 13, is found living in the household of Thomas and Mary Corbin in Palestine, Crawford Co. IL. This also seems to match our Mary....or Jane.

The only other record other than the census I've been able to find that matches this girl in any way, shape or form, is a marriage license from Crawford County, IL. A Miss Mary Hoy from Palestine married Thomas Briggs on 4 Sept 1878. The license states specifically that she is the daughter of James Hoy and Margaret Browning. Forgetting the age difference (age 19 in Sept 1878 likely puts Mary born 1859, not 1857) her name on the license is clearly Mary F., not Mary J. You can see this most clearly by comparing the capital "F" from the groom's number of marriage to the full name of the bride on the second page of the document.

I've looked and looked and cannot find the source that gave me the middle name Frances. I seem to vaguely remember finding it on a courthouse document in Crawford County but if I did, the source is lost to me and I'm loathe to continue using it in lieu of not being able to refer to it directly. But even given the slight differences in names, it does seem to me that Jane, Mary Jane, and Mary F. are all the same person.

Be that as it may, I've never been able to find Thomas and Mary on any later censuses. I found a widowed Mrs. Mary Briggs living in Montrose in Effingham County, Illinois, in 1924 but whether this is Mary/Jane (Hoy) Briggs, I have no idea.

There is one other bible notation for Mary. It says, "d. 24 Feb ?" I've filed this information away but I certainly haven't placed it with any certainty.

Charles Victor:

This is the "Advickus" of the 1860 census. He was born on 13 December 1859 according to the bible record, a date that was tndependently authenticated by some of his descendents. He isn't found on the 1870 census at all and I couldn't locate him anywhere until he married Nancy Ellen Miller, the daughter of Brice Miller and Rebeckah Trader. His descendents say they married on 6 June 1882 in Cumberland County but I can't verify this due to the loss of the marriage records in the county prior to 1885.

I have much family history about Charles and Nancy and their children and what led up to Charles's death from typhoid fever in Paragould, Greene Co., AR on 31 Mar 1906, but it all comes to me from the mouths of descendents. What research I've done to locate firsthand records has been for naught, since Arkansas did not begin keeping death records until 1914. Nex stop for me is the newspapers. Perhaps I'll find something there!


William's birth is listed on 26 Nov 1860 according to the bible record. He isn't found on the 1860 but he's inferred on the 1865 census. He was also listed in the 1870 Crawford County census in Hutsonville Township, age 8, living in a poorhouse managed by a man named William Beers with Zera Hoy (a known child of James Hoy and Margaret Browning) and Sarah Hoy. His presence there definitely implies his close relationship with the Hoys he's with. Another "William" is also listed in the household of Roland and Elvira Fuson. This William is aged 9. I'm not sure if William got counted twice on the census, if he was actually living with the Fusons and was at the poorhouse visiting at the time of the census there, or if the older William is actually Edward or Charles Victor.

William is yet one more tricky cog in the Hoy wheel. Perhaps the trickiest of all! There wasn't much to go on with him at all. He apparently never married and loved to lie to census takers. Descendents of Edward Jasper Hoy had the best leads on him I was ever able to find when they told me that he ran afoul of the law by bootlegging whiskey to the Indians in Idaho and ended up in Ashton in Fremont County and was buried there. I started poking around and found an incredible story, one I'll have to share soon.

His census records definitely show his dislike of the law and (perhaps) his growing paranoia as the years went by. In 1910 he used his own name and approximate age and stated his correct state of birth and that of his father's. By 1920 he used his brother Jim's name instead, shaved 5 or 6 years off his age and gave a fake place of birth. In 1930 he expounded on the fake birthplaces even more, going so far as to state he was from Kentucky. I guess he didn't want anyone using anything against him.

He had an interesting life and an even more interesting death in 1936. I've got his death certificate but it doesn't help prove that he's James Hoy and Margaret Browning's son. The informant was a neighbor and knew nothing about him whatsoever. The only thing I have to connect this William Hoy with mine is the family stories of descendents. I suppose it has to be enough.


Zara is the last child of James and Margaret Hoy (b. c1862) and the only one that doesn't show up in the bible record. He's inferred on the 1865 census and is shown living in the poorhouse with William and Sarah Hoy, but other than that, how are we to know that Zara is James and Margaret's son?

Surprisingly, Zara is the one with the most records connecting him to James and Margaret. Even if that didn't exist, though, there is adequate circumstantial evidence pointing that direction. Just his name is one thing. Margaret Browning had a brother named Zera C. Browning. You don't find Zara's all over the place, you know!

Let's see....oh yes. Zara was married a number of times. The first time he married Lillie Brownfield in St. Marie, in Jasper County, Illinois on 27 Apr 1887. The marriage license lists him as the son of James Hoy and Millie Browning. I imagine Zara, never really knowing his mother Margaret, mixed up her last name with his father's second wife Amelia's. By March 1889 Zara had moved to Cumberland County as he (along with his brother Edward) signed paperwork for Luthera (Gray) Reynolds' widow's pension application.

When Zara married a second time on 3 June 1891 to Emma Ray in Greenup in Cumberland County, he also listed his parents as James Hoy and Margaret Browning. In addition, the man who married them was none other than John D. Rawlings, Edward Jasper Hoy's father-in-law. More circumstantial connections to help Zara's cause, and Edward's.

I'm pretty sure I've located Zara later in life, too, and that if I have he died in 1921, but that will have to wait for a further post! I need to order some documentation to make sure.

Wrapping up, I think it's safe to say that eight is the correct number of children born to James Hoy and Margaret Browning. The only maybe is Susan, a child only represented on one census (the 1860). I haven't removed her from the list of children because of her showing on the 1860. Until I can prove definitively otherwise I feel she should stay but as a general rule I don't think she's a separate individual. "Susan" is the same age, roughly, as Emma, the only child we know belonging to James and Margaret that wasn't shown on the 1860. Could this have been some odd sort of nickname for her? Could the census transcriber have accidentally written down a name from another place? Sure. Mistakes happen. I do know, however, that Emma belongs in this family. I don't know that Susan does.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Small Corrections to the Thomas N. Browning family!

I am currently out of pocket taking care of my mother, who's recovering from spinal surgery. I haven't had much time to spare to dedicate to genealogy (especially since I've no access to any of my databases and paperwork) but I did manage to find enough down time to locate a few obituaries via the Google News Archive Search.

If you've never used it, head on over there and try it out! There are a lot of newspapers and date ranges to pick from and I was lucky enough to find most issues of the weekly Robinson Constitution (Crawford Co., IL) available from 1877-1919. This newspaper has given me a number of obituaries and brief Browning mentions and I wanted to share a few of these. I've found I needed to do a few small corrections for the Thomas Newton Browning family I mentioned in my last post.

In the 27 December 1899 edition I found the obituary of Thomas Clifford Browning. I was reading through it and was surprised and chagrined to see that Cliff hadn't died where I always believed he had! The obituary stated he had "lung trouble" and had moved to San Antonio, TX to see if the climate would be of benefit to him. Obviously it didn't. His remains were shipped from San Antonio to the Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis for the burial on 24 December 1899. I got excited and boogied on over to FamilySearch's Texas Deaths 1890-1976 database hoping to find Cliff's death certificate but I wasn't able to locate it. Bleh!

In my original chronological post I'd mentioned that Cliff died in Indianapolis, IN. That was a guesstimate on my part and I willingly stand up and offer my back for the prerequisite 40 whacks! (In my defense, Cliff had been shown in an 1899 Indianapolis city directory and he'd been buried in Crown Hill in the city, so generally.....well, you know the rest.) Lesson definitely learned.

I also found his sister Leola (Browning) Paramore's obituary in the 17 October 1900 edition. She, too, died of lung trouble....consumption, or tuberculosis as it's called today. She died on 10 October 1900 in Indianapolis (this time the obituary and my records agree!) and was buried in the Crown Hill cemetery in Indianapolis on the 11th.

Add these two to the first of the Browning deaths out of infancy -- Iona Lee, in 1896. Iona's obituary states she died at age 19 after an extended illness...consumption.

I was glad to find these two obituaries but disturbed to notice the trend of deaths in Thomas and Sarah Ann (Huls) Browning's family. Of their seven children (Effy May, Ralph Hansen, Leola, Iona Lee, Thomas Clifford, Roscoe, and Alta Mearl) three of them died of lung troubles. Effy May and Roscoe died as infants. Only Ralph and Alta lived long enough to have children of their own and of those, only Ralph actually did.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Pt 7, cont (pt 1) -- the children of James Hoy and Margaret Browning

At the conclusion of my last post, James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy had both died by 1870 in Crawford County, Illinois. (At least that's my assumption - it's possible that James Hoy just left his wife and children - but barring any proof to the contrary I'll continue to operate on the presumption that he'd died.)

I mentioned the couple's crazy kids. Let me explain.

Pinning down exactly how many children James Hoy and Margaret Browning had and where they went after their parent’s deaths has been a real challenge for me. One source I have that helps with this family is a transcribed family bible record written in 1925 by Ruhama (Cliff) Harris, the daughter of Emma Alice Hoy. The bible is in the possession of Emma's descendants. A copy of this typed transcription is to the right. While I know that a few things in the bible are inaccurate, confused, or just plain missing (the date of James and Margaret's marriage is off by one year, a fact I checked with the transcriptioner to make sure it wasn't a transcription error) and I can guess that a few other things are, I feel the bible record is for the most part a good starting point and a fair account of Emma's sisters and brothers. I used it, along with the only census of this family with names (the 1860) and the other two censuses without names (the 1855 and 1865 IL census) to try and reconstruct their family.

Follow along with me, for here's where it gets fun. Ha!

According to the bible records, James and Margaret had a total of seven children: Sarah Ellen, James Franklin, Emma Alice, Edward J., Mary Jane, Charley, and William. But is this true?

Well, the 1855 IL census (taken in October) shows the couple with two boys under ten and two girls under ten. At the time of this census, these children from the bible record would fit:
22 May 1851 Sarah Ellen Hoy (age 4.5 yrs)
19 Apr 1852 James Franklin Hoy (age 3.5 yrs)
3 Jan 1854 Emma Alice Hoy (age 18 months)
1 Apr 1855 Edward Jasper Hoy (age 6 mos)

So far so good, right?

Fast forward five years later, to July of 1860. Here we find the couple living with their children, a family that has expanded to six children. But we see some new names here and a lot of jumping around in ages. Emma is missing completely. Sarah has suddenly lost two years and James has gained two years. Who is Susan and how did she suddenly become nine years old? Edward's age coincides just fine. We've added two more children, a girl named Jane and a son named "Advickus." The bible record calls this child Charley, which will make a lot more sense when we learn later that his full name was Charles Victor:
22 Jan 1857 Mary Jane Hoy (aged 3 yrs)
13 Dec 1859 Charley (aged 1 yr)

Before we take to analyzing the data, let's go on to the 1865 census, also taken in July. This is the last census we have to look at the James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy family as a whole. In this census, there are a total of ten people in the household. Subtracting the two adults, that meant eight children -- four males and two females 10 and younger, and one male and one female over ten and under twenty. From this census, we can attach the listed children from the bible like so:

over ten-under 20
22 May 1851 Sarah Ellen Hoy (age 14 yrs)
19 Apr 1852 James Franklin Hoy (age 13 yrs)

10 and under
3 Jan 1854 Emma Alice Hoy (age 11 yrs) -- doesn't quite fit
1 Apr 1855 Edward Jasper Hoy (age 10 yrs)
22 Jan 1857 Mary Jane Hoy (age 8 yrs)
13 Dec 1859 Charles Victor Hoy (age 5 yrs)
26 Nov 1860 William D. Hoy (age 4 yrs)
c1863 (Zara Hoy, aged appr. 2 yrs)

Ah, but we have one more census to look at -- the 1870. This census was taken after the deaths of both James and Margaret (Browning) Hoy. This is the point where I wish that I could find some sort of guardianship records. Their children were apparently scattered to the four winds and it has been extremely difficult to find all of them. I've only found a few:

Mary HOY, aged 13, b. IL, living w/Thomas and Martha (Botts) Corbin in Palestine, Crawford Co., IL (personal est. valued at $300)
Edward HOY, aged 15, b. IL, living w/Dr. Nathaniel and Hannah (Kitchell) Steele in Palestine, Crawford Co., IL
Emma A. HOY, aged 15, b. IL, living w/John & Rachel (Browning) McConnell in Washington Twn., Harrison Co., OH
William HOY, aged 9 b. IL, living w/Roland & Elvira (Allison) Fuson in Honey Creek Twn., Crawford Co., IL

I've found one more, I think:
Sarah E. HOY, age 25 b. IL, William HOY age 8 b. IL, and Zarah HOY age 6 b. IL, all listed as paupers and living in the poorhouse that William Beers ran in Hutsonville, Crawford Co., IL

I haven't been able to locate James, Susan, or Charles in the 1870 at all.

To wrap up today's post, the bible record seems to fit quite well with most of the census records. There are a few exceptions to this -- a) Emma's age is just so slightly off in the 1865, b) Susan Hoy (mentioned in the 1860) doesn't appear at all in the 1865, and c) the number of children listed in the bible is off by one because Zara isn't mentioned at all. All that aside, though, the bible record does seem to fit well overall and it makes me feel comfortable with it as a decent recollection of the Hoy family.

The 1870 census brings up a few more questions. Why is Sarah Ellen suddenly so old? Why is William Hoy listed twice? Where are Charles, and James, and Susan? Who are the people the kids are living with? How can we be sure that Zara Hoy is even James and Margaret's child?

For this, the census isn't enough. We need more proof, more records. And next time we'll start asking some other questions.