Sunday, February 23, 2014

Civil War Vet, Francis Marion Phares (52 Ancestors; week 8)

Francis Marion Phares>Amy Louisa Phares>Florence Eugene Walters>Cecil Lloyd Walters>Charles Lloyd Walters

Francis Marion Phares, often called Frank, was born to Sarah (Marshall) and Samuel Clevenger Phares on January 28, 1836 in Hamilton County, Ohio. When he was about 11, family moved to the area of Clinton in DeWitt County, Illinois.  On January 6, 1861 Frank married Elizabeth McPherson, daughter of Mary (Weaver) and William Alexander McPherson. 

Francis Marion Phares
Civil War
Shortly after the start of the Civil War, on May 8, 1861, Frank enlisted and three months later, on August 5, 1861, Frank mustered in and joined the 41st Illinois Infantry Regiment, Company C. Three days later, the regiment was in St. Louis. A few months after Frank left, sometime in the fall of 1861, Elizabeth gave birth to their first child, Francis. Sadly, the child died in 1863. I wonder if Frank ever got to meet him.

The regiment saw its first action in February 1862 at Fort Henry followed by Fort Donelson. Fighting on the 5th day at Fort Donelson was intense and the 41st Illinois lost 200 men to death or injury on that day. Perhaps Frank was among those 200 as sometime during the fight he suffered an injury to his left eye. Frank lost sight in his eye and, according to his son, carried a Minie ball in his eye for the rest of his life. Despite his injury, Frank continued to serve his country, taking part in several battles including the Battle of Shiloh and the siege at Vicksburg. A detailed account of the 41st Illinois can be found here.

[I hope one day to do more in depth research into Frank’s time during the war. It seems surprising to me that he would be fighting at Shiloh, less than 2 months after losing his eye at Fort Donelson. In my mind his injury seems like something he could understandably use to leave the fighting. Maybe it was common for men with similar injuries to continue fighting; maybe is says a lot about his character--Something to add to my ever growing list of things to research more thoroughly!]

Frank mustered out on August 20, 1864 as a sergeant and returned to Clinton on August 25th where he and his fellow soldiers were welcomed home with great pomp and circumstance. Despite the short notice of the men’s return, the women of Clinton pulled together a grand feast and the celebration included “joyous shaking of hands, friendly greetings, bright smiles, happy faces, and everything calculated to make the evening pleasant and memorable.” A second celebration was planned for two weeks later and Frank’s wife was a part of the planning committee.

Life after the war
Some of the 41st Illinois continued in service and were part of Sherman’s March to the Sea while Frank and the other returning soldiers were mustered out due to a lack of supplies. William Marshall Phares, Frank’s son, wrote a history of the Phares family. William writes that he remembers his father saying “the men were practically barefoot and short of food.”

Following the war, Frank seemed to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder. William Phares writes, “He was subject to the frailties of human nature…and after the hard days of army life during the Civil war, reaction set in….But it lasted only a short while and…he soon adjusted himself to the serious responsibilities of life and home.” 1883 records show Frank being rewarded a pension of $2.00. Hardly seems enough for the loss of an eye!

Frank worked as a farmer and also had an interest in community affairs and held some civil positions. He also ran a drainage tile manufacturing plant and later he purchased a billiard hall in Clinton from his brother John Phares. Frank ran his business with high moral standards and he “would not tolerate swearing or loud and boisterous language, neither would he permit an intoxicated person.”

Frank and Elizabeth had 6 children, including my great-great grandmother, Amy Louisa Phares. Elizabeth died in 1900 and Frank died on August 30, 1919. About 5 years before his death, Frank suffered a stroke and moved in with his daughter Amy in Winterset, Iowa where he died. He is buried alongside Elizabeth in Woodlawn Cemetery in Clinton.

Sources: A Phares family history written by William Marshall Phares by William Marshall Phares, A History of the Marshall and Related Families by Wallace Marshall, Illinois State Marriages, DeWitt GenWeb Project - Civil War News, DeWitt GenWeb Projects – Obituaries, Madison County Iowa - IAGenWeb Project obituaries, U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, Find a Grave.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Robert Reynolds (52 Ancestors; week #7)

Robert Reynolds>Ruth Reynolds>Ruth Whitney>Daniel Lawrence>Daniel Lawrence>Esther Laurence>George Palmer Ransom>Samuel Ransom>Jameson Harvey Ransom>Charles Francis Ransom>Lillian Emma Ransom>Cecil Lloyd Walters> Charles Lloyd Walters

Robert Reynolds came to the New World in 1630 with the Winthrop Fleet. The fleet was made up of 11 ships and about 700 people and set sail from England in the spring of 1630. A list of passengers in the fleet includes Robert Reynolds and wife Mary along with children Nathaniel, Ruth, Tabitha and Sarah. The ships landed in Salem, Massachusetts and by September 1630 many of these settlers were in Boston. Due to the time of year, the settlers didn’t have time to grow crops and lack of supplies probably played a factor in the estimated 200 deaths that occurred by December of that year.

Robert is assumed to have been among this first group to move to Boston as he was allotted a large home-lot with a good location (and a short distance from the house of Gov. John Winthrop himself). The first mention of Robert in the Boston records is when he gained membership to the First Church of Boston on August 10, 1634. On September 3, 1634 he was made a Freeman of Boston (a privilege he wouldn’t have received if he wasn’t a member of the church).

It is possible that Robert was in Watertown for a short time as records show him receiving land there and his name appeared among those who set out to start a new church in Wethersfield. If this was the same Robert Reynolds, he did not remain there long as records soon have him in Boston.

It’s assumed Robert was born in England and there is evidence that he was well educated as he wrote his own will. Robert was a cordwainer, or shoemaker, a skill he probably practiced in England as well as in Massachusetts. He and his wife, Mary, had at least 5 children, 4 born in England and one in the new world. The marriages of all of Robert’s children can be found in the Boston records and there are also several records showing Robert buying and selling land.

As was common in that time, children and grandchildren were often named for family members. Robert’s family was no exception. His grandchildren included: 4 Nathaniels, 3 Johns, 2 Phillips, 2 Josephs, 2 Benjamins, 4 Marys, 4 Sarahs, 3 Elisabeths and 2 Ruths. I wonder if that made for confusing family gatherings!

Robert was included in the will of Captain Robert Keayne in which he was given 20 shillings as Captain Keayne said that he had not forgotten “a word he spake, publicly and seasonably, in time of my distress, and other men’s violent opposition against me.” This time of distress for Keayne may have revolved around a pig and although the story isn’t directly connected to Robert, it gives an interesting glimpse into the life of early Boston.

Robert Reynold's property in Boston
 From "The History of One Line of
Descendants of Robert and Mary Reynolds"
It seems that Captain Keayne was brought a pig that was wondering around town. The captain attempted to find the owner of the pig and was unable to do so. He kept the pig for a year when he then killed a pig (whether it was one of his own pigs or the wandering pig is up for debate). It was at this time that a Mrs. Shearman claimed that the lost pig was hers and that Keayne had killed her pig. The matter was brought before the court and the whole situation caused such a divide among that people that it led to the split of the General Court. One author wrote, “Thus the Senate was the idea of a pig - the direct result of a pig’s whimsical notion to go sight-seeing in Boston.” Robert took the side of Keayne in the argument and was apparently rewarded for his actions.

Robert’s lot in Boston was quite large and measured 85x220 feet. It was located on the south-east corner of Milk Street and Washington Street. After Robert’s death, the land was left to his son Nathaniel. Sometime in the late 1600s, Josiah and Abiah Franklin rented part of this land from Nathaniel and it was here, on January 6, 1706, that Benjamin Franklin was born. The land remained in the Reynolds’s family until 1725.

The exact burial place of Robert and Mary Reynolds is uncertain, although it is thought that they may be buried in King’s Chapel Cemetery as it was the only cemetery in Boston as the time of their deaths. Robert died in Boston on April 27, 1659. He wrote his will on April 20, 1658 and was proven 2 months after his death.

In his will, Robert gave his widow his home “with all my house hold stuff” and the remaining money. After her death, the home and orchard was to go to their son, Nathaniel. After the death of Nathaniel and his wife, if they didn’t have any legal heirs, the property was to be divided between Robert’s 4 daughters, Ruth, Tabitha, Sarah and Mary. The daughters were also to receive £20 each.

The inventory of his estate was estimated at a value of over £335, a significant estate for the day. The inventory included everything, including common household furniture and utensils, linens, food items, clothing, books, sword and musket. No livestock was mentioned in the inventory, but there was good amount of leather, which may indicate that Robert was still involved in his shoemaking trade.

Sources: Massachusetts vital records, Bigelow-Howe Genealogy, Crooked and Narrow Streets of Boston, The History of One Line of Descendants of Robert and Mary Reynolds of Boston, Descendants of Robert and Mary Reynolds, New England Historical & Genealogical Register

Thursday, February 13, 2014

August Wendorf (52 Ancestors)

August Wendorf>Fred Wendorf>Lorayne Wendorf

My great-great grandfather, August Wendorf was born on August 25, 1851 in Paatzig, Regenwalde, Pomerania, Prussia (present day Resko, Poland). He was married to Emilie (sometimes Amelia) Zuege on April 6, 1877. The couple had 11 children, all but one lived to adulthood. August, Emilie, and three sons (ages 3 years to 4 months) arrived in Baltimore on October 9, 1881 after leaving from Bremen, Germany. They sailed aboard the ship Strassburg, traveling in steerage and their ultimate destination was Minnesota. Like most of the members that make up my tree, August was a farmer.

The family settled in Watertown, Minnesota where August rented a farm. In 1903, August bought a farm in Hollywood, Minnesota. His wife died in 1913. August lived on his farm until 1938 when he moved in with his son William and his family in New Germany, Minnesota.

August had a zeal for life. A 1940 article in the local paper, tells of August and his love for flying. The headline reads “August Wendorf, 90, Wants Stunts When He Rides In Plane”
The article continues, “Every chance Wendorf gets he goes to Sell’s Flying Field and watches the mechanics service motors and waits for a chance to hop a sky ride. Even though he’s 90 the retired farmer would like to learn to fly. But so far he’s had to be content with being a passenger.”

Back: Martha, William, Carl, Alberg, August, Margaret
Middle: Emilie, Marie, August, Martin
Front: Fred and Hubert
August died on December 23, 1944 at the age of 93. He and his wife are buried in the Mayer Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mayer, Minnesota. 

Sources: Carver County Newspapers, Census records, Passenger list

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Ulaliah March (52 Ancestors)

Descendant line: Ulaliah March>Mary Burt>Benjamin Brooks>William Brooks>Lemuel Brooks>Aurel Brooks>Almira Allen>Emma Elizabeth Sanderson>Elmira Lyons>Lillian Emma Ransom>Charles Lloyd Walters

Ulaliah March (also spelled Eulalia or Ulilah Marche) was in all likelihood born in England, probably shortly after 1600 as she was married on December 28, 1619 to Henry Burt. The couple was married in Dean Prior, Devon, England. Henry, and it is assumed the whole of his family, arrived in the colonies sometimes around 1639. Ulaliah gave birth to 9 children in England (7 living in 1639) and four more in Massachusetts. The family was living in Roxbury, Mass in 1639 and then in Springfield by 1640. Her husband was apparently a respected member of the community, serving on juries and selected as clerk.

Henry died on April 30, 1662. As he died without a will, it was ruled that his estate would fall to his wife to divide. Henry died with a good amount of debt to Mr. Pynchon and his store. He owed £45 at the time of his death and seven months later the debt was around £41. On April 20, 1663, Ulaliah settled £32 of her debt by deeding her homestead to Pynchon. She was then able to rent an acre of land from Pynchon and agreed to pay two bushels of wheat. Come November of 1663 she still owed Pynchon £13 0s 8d which she was able to pay with wheat and pork and in February 1664 she paid the wheat she owed for rent.

According to family tradition, while living in England, Ulaliah was thought to have died. It wasn't until after she was placed in her coffin that it was realized that she was still alive! Ulaliah’s actual death date was August 19, 1690.

I love when I am able to find the will of someone. Wills can give a glimpse into spiritual beliefs, family circumstances and an overall look into the way of life. The book, Life and Times of Henry Burt of Springfield, contained a copy of Ulaliah’s will.

“I Ulaliah Burt, of Springfeild, being weake in body, but sound in mind, memory and understanding, do make this, my Last wil and Testament, this 27th of May Anno Dom 1684. I comend my soul to God who made it, and to Jesus Christ, who redeemed it with his most precious blood. And my body I commit to the earth hoping for that blessed resurrection when it shall be reunited to be forever with the Lord.”

Ulaliah divided her “earthly estate” among her children. To daughter Sarah she gave two cattle. Abigail received a cloak, green apron, coat and a shift. Mary was given a heifer and Elizabeth two cattle. Patience received a flock bed, a pillowbeer (or pillow case), a pair of sheets and coverlet. She was also given red stockings, a shift, white neck cloth and apron, a hat, coif, and coat. Daughter Mercy was to receive a pair of sheets, pillowbeer, a shift and coat as well as some woolen fabric that Mercy’s husband had sent to Ulaliah for a waistcoat. There was also a piece of cloth at the weavers that Abigail was to have two yards of and the rest of the fabric was to be split between Patience and Mercy. The will gives us an idea of how much value was placed on each item.

To her son Jonathan, Ulaliah gave a portion of land that her husband had purchased from George Lancton and her best brass kettle was to be given to his son Henry. Jonathan was also to have a pillow and pillowbeer. Her son David was to be given the oldest yoke of cattle and a brass pan. Nathaniel was to inherit her great brass kettle and four acres of land which was to be passed on to his eldest son upon Nathaniel’s death if he saw fit. Nathaniel's daughter Rebecca was to receive Ulaliah’s scarf, Cambric neck cloth, pillow and "yarn and wool and tow to make a coverlet.”

Ulaliah concludes her will by saying "And the rest of my smal estate not heer named I doe order to be given as there is most need, or my Executors hereafter named see cause." Her sons Jonathan and Nathaniel were appointed executors.

Sources: “Genealogical Research in England, Burt-March” from NEGHS Register 1932, Life and Times of Henry Burt of Springfield, Genealogical Records of Henry and Ulalia Burt and Massachusetts Vital Records.

Sarah Marshall (52 Ancestors #6)

Descendant line: 
Sarah Marshall>Francis Marian Phares>Amy Louise Phares>Cecil Lloyd Walters>Charles Lloyd Walters

Sarah was born on September 16, 1809 in Frederick County, Virginia to William and Sarah (Cole) Marshall. The family moved to Greene County, Ohio when she was about 6 years old. She married Samuel Clevenger Phares on February 21, 1828 in Greene County.
In October of 1847 the family moved to Waynesville, Illinois from Ohio and a few years later the family moved again to Clinton, Illinois. Sarah and Samuel lived the in the Clinton area for the rest of their lives.

Sarah and Samuel had 13 children, all but the youngest two were born in Ohio and all children grew to maturity. Twins ran in her family. She herself had a twin brother and two brothers were twin. Sarah gave birth to 2 sets of twins, two of her children had twins and there were at least 5 sets of twins among her grandchildren.

Sarah died on October 17, 1877 at her farm home in between Clinton and Maroa, Illinois. She is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Clinton, Illinois. He husband, who outlived her by 23 years, is buried beside her. There are a large number of descendants also buried in the same cemetery.

Her death was reported in the Clinton Public as follows:
Death has entered the homes of several families in this county during the past few weeks, and the young and the aged alike have been called to pass through the dark valley. On Wednesday evening Mrs. Sarah Phares, the aged consort of Uncle Samuel C. Phares, breathed her last after a brief illness of four days. This is the first time that Death has invaded that family circle. Mrs. Phares was the mother of thirteen children, all of whom, with the father, are still living, and eleven of them were at her bedside as she passed to the better land. The funeral services will take place this afternoon, at one o’clock, at the M. E. Church.

Sources: A History of the Marshall and Related Families, Ohio Marriages, obituaries and other newspapers reported on DeWitt GenWeb Project, Find A Grave.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Ida Petronella Landberg (52 Ancestors #4)

Ida Petronella Landberg, or Nellie, as she preferred, is the inspiration behind the name of this blog and I thought it fitting that she be the subject of an early entry.

One of my favorite old family photos - Victor and Nellie
On occasion, my immediate family calls me “Nellie” and upon hearing this, my Grandma Lorayne told me that her grandmother also went by the same name. About a year ago, as my grandma was getting ready to move from the farmhouse that had been her home my entire life, my dad brought home for me a small covered basket. It had belonged to my great-great grandmother Nellie. I don’t know how old it is or what its original purpose would have been, I just know that Grandma wanted me to have it and that is good enough for me. It’s Nellie’s Basket.

Ida Petronella Landberg was born on February 2, 1879 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Christine Louise (Nelson) and Absalom Johanson Landberg. She was the oldest of 12 children. Her family moved to Carver County, Minnesota when she was a few year old. On October 14, 1896, at the age of 17, she married Elias Alester Hanson. The couple lived in the area of Princeton, MN. They had one child, Hester Louisa who died when (according to my grandma) Nellie's mother-in-law left the door open, causing the baby to become too cold which led to pneumonia and death. Grandma also remembers hearing that the couple was very poor, and Elias' mother would sometimes bring food to their house, but she would only bring enough to feed her son, and not Nellie. On February 12, 1898, Elias died of consumption, having been sick for some time.

Nellie and Elias
The story goes that after her first marriage, Nellie returned to her parents’ home and stated that she would married the first man who asked her. Victor Vidlund, a hired hand on her parents’ farm, asked and they were married on Dec 5, 1898, just 2 years and 2 months after her first marriage. The couple had 6 children.

It seems that Nellie was a bit secretive about both of her marriages. The newspaper account of her first marriage, published over a week after the event, still didn't have the name of the groom. The marriage of Victor and Nellie wasn't reported by the Carver County News until 2 weeks after the marriage. “As the boys kept their bells very quiet, we knew nothing about the affair until the present time.”

From her obituary: “When still a young girl she learned to know Christ as her savior. It was her desire to serve Him who had died for her and she always had a strong faith in God. In the home she was a faithful wife and a devoted mother.” Nellie was a charter member of the Watertown Evangelical Free Church. She was also a great organ player as one granddaughter remembered, “She would be pumping her feet to run the organ and they would be going full force! ... She wore her hair in a bun and it would be bobbing with her head. Everyone would sing along.”

Nellie and Victor both died from stomach cancer, Victor in 1934 and Nellie on March 24, 1948. They are buried in the Watertown Public Cemetery.

Nellie and grand kids;
Grandma Lorayne on her right knee
Sources: Carver County News, Sherburne County Records, Family memories.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Captain Samuel Ransom (52 Ancestors #5)

I thought I would start my genealogy blog the same place my love for genealogy started for me. Captain Samuel Ransom.

It was 5th grade Social Studies class and our assignment was to find something about our family history to share for the class. I went home and asked Mom what she knew about our family tree. She pulled out a stack of papers bound in a yellow folder. I still have that folder. I don’t think Mom intended for me to keep it, but after twenty plus years, she’s not getting it back now!

I remember being fascinated by the story of Captain Ransom. I was excited and proud to be able to share about my ancestor who fought and died in the American Revolution, and I have to admit, I’m sure I was excited to share the gruesome manner of his death with my classmates. But his story is certainly about more than just his death. Here is what I know about Captain Samuel Ransom.

Samuel was born on April 10, 1738 in Middleborough, Massachusetts to Robert and Sarah (Childs) Ransom. The next record of Samuel is his marriage to Esther Laurence, daughter of Daniel and Rachel (Kingsbury) Laurence. The marriage took place on May 6, 1756 in Canaan, Connecticut. The couple had 9 children; 8 were born in Canaan and the youngest was born in Plymouth, Pennsylvania.

Family and local histories seem to agree that Samuel was a prominent citizen, holding a number of titles such as Key Holder, Fence Viewer, and Member of the School Committee. He was also active in buying and selling land. In 1773, Samuel and his family moved to the Wyoming Valley in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania where Samuel quickly became a notable citizen.

In August of 1776 at a Wilkes-Barre, PA town meeting, it was voted that a fort be built for protection from the British and Native American forces. Tradition says that Samuel hauled the first log in building the fort. On August 24, 1776, Congress declared that two companies from Westmoreland be formed for the defense of the area (Westmoreland was at the time part of Connecticut, but is now in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania). It was also understand that the companies could be called elsewhere if they were needed. On August 26th, the captains of the two companies were named: Robert Durkee was made commander of the First Independent Company for the Revolutionary Service and Samuel Random was in charge of the Second Company.

On December 12, 1776, the two companies were ordered to join with General Washington’s forces. The men were part of the Battle of Millstone in New Jersey where retreating British forces left behind 50 wagons of provisions which were divided among the Continental troops. Captain Ransom sent one wagon home to Pennsylvania.  The men also saw action at Brandywine, Germantown, Bound Brook and Mud Fort. In the summer of 1778, tensions were rising in the Wyoming Valley and Captain Ransom, along with Captain Durkee, resigned and returned home. They arrived at Forty Fort on the morning of July 3, 1778. Ransom along with approximately 400 other men set out that day to defend their homeland against approaching British and Indian forces. Captain Ransom was sent out to survey the enemy forces. He never returned, and his body was found near the front line of the fighting with a musket ball through his thigh and his head severed from his body. His son, George Palmer Ransom (and my direct ancestor), was among those who buried the dead. Many of the bodies, including that of Captain Ransom, are buried under a large monument in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. His son George continued to fight in the Revolution and according to Samuel’s pension records, was given 300 acres of land on account of his father’s service.

*Unfortunately I don’t have as many well document sources as I would like. Much of Samuel’s early life was taken from other written accounts, no doubt passed from one book on to the next. If anyone happens to know have any better sources, I would love to know. Such books include: History of Western New York, Tioga County History, The Harvey Book, and Ransom Notes.