Just in time for Memorial Day, here is Grandpa Lawrence Montgomery‘s 1920 census record. I still haven’t found him (or his father) in 1910, so this is the first record where he appears. In that year he was stationed at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas. His age is listed as 21, which is consistent with the (incorrect) birthdate Grandpa gave when enlisting in 1917. Grandpa was really only 18 in January 1920. Nebraska is listed as the birthplace of Grandpa (which is correct), as well as his parents (which is incorrect). His occupation is “soldier.” Grandpa’s military records give a little more information on his military service, though Grandpa also told some (as yet unsubstantiated) colorful stories about his experiences:
While operating the base movie projector (which his records confirm he did do), hollering at someone who came in to the projector room to put out their cigar, only to have someone tell him he had just yelled at General Pershing
Whatever Grandpa’s role, I’m grateful for his service.
There is irony in the fact that the line I’ve had the least success in tracing is my own paternal Montgomery line. I currently hit the proverbial brick wall with my 3G-grandfather, William Montgomery. Born February 19, 1802 in Pennsylania, his parentage is as yet unknown.
That was the paragraph I had written earlier today. I probably would have continued on to talk about how a fairly common name like Montgomery, and no specific city for beginning my search, complicates matters. But in reviewing sources on Ancestry.com I discovered something brand-new (to me): baptismal records for Old Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia – and there is William – the February 19 birthdate that appears on his tombstone, and a baptismal date of March 21. These particular records still don’t list William’s parents – but this gives a whole new avenue for the search!
So, to continue with what I already knew before today…
William married Mary Ann Extell on September 27, 1827 in Pleasant Mills, Gloucester (now Atlantic) County, New Jersey; William was 25 and Mary Ann 18. According to their marriage record, William was from Batsto and Mary Ann from Pleasant Mills.
The 1830 census finds the family in Fairfield, Cumberland County. Their location in 1840 is uncertain (tracing census records prior to 1850 when each individual began to be enumerated individually by name is always trickier). By 1850 the family has moved westward to Clark, Ohio; William and Mary Ann are now joined by John, aged 20; Samuel, 18; David, 16; Thomas, 14; Mary E., 10; Susan, 8; William, 5; Joseph, 3; and Edward, 7/12.
William appears in only one more census, again in Clark, Ohio. Another child, Sarah (age 6) has been added to the family; other children had apparently been born but hadn’t survived. On October 6, 1868 William died in Lynchburg, Ohio. He is buried in Lynchburg’s Masonic Cemetery.
In 1850, my 3G-grandparents, George and Sarah Walker, were living in Batavia, Ohio and were enumerated there with six children:
383 383 George Walker 68 M[ale] Farmer Maryland Sarah ” 57 F[emale] Kentucky x [can’t read/write] Hiram ” 21 M Farmer Ohio Marcus ” 20 M Farmer “ Ruth ” 18 F “ Mary ” 16 F “ Ezra B. ” 13 M Indiana Ellen ” 10 F Ohio
George was born about 1781-1782; his parents are as yet unknown. Sarah was born Sarah Malott about 1792-1793. The couple was married July 23, 1815 in Clermont County. George and Sarah’s son Marcus, my great-great-grandfather, would marry Mary Ann Conklin seven years later.
Genealogy puts one in direct connection with times and places long gone. It can be interesting to look back and imagine oneself in a generation other than the current one. Where would I have been in, say, 1900?
None of my grandparents were alive yet in 1900; Grandpa Montgomery would be born the following year. His parents, Charles William and Laura Maud (Walker) Montgomery, were living in Holdrege, Nebraska (Grandpa’s birthplace) that year, with their other six children: Myrtle, Mamie, Bessie, Alta, Walter, and John (Ward). Charles was working as a butcher and was 39 years old; Laura, 37. The children were 16, 13, 11, 10, 2, and 7 months old. Charles and Laura had been married for 17 years.
Carl Wilson, father of Grandma Montgomery, turned 15 in 1900. In that year’s census he appears in Lincoln, Nebraska, a boarder and farm laborer in the home of Jonas and Maggie Misler (maybe…the handwriting is difficult to decipher).
It would be seven years before Carl would marry Sophie Roberg. Three years his senior, Sophie was also “working out” in 1900. She can be found in Shell Creek, Nebraska, a housekeeper in the household of Mons Knudson, a 43-year-old widower with six children between the ages of fourteen and two. His mother, 76 years old, lived in the household as well.
Paul Hoffmann, Grandpa Hoffmann’s father, was 22 years old in 1900, the eldest child still living at home on the farm in Fountain Creek, Illinois; he would marry two years later. Paul and his parents, Jacob (age 63) and Christine (age 50), are listed as having emigrated to America in 1883. Christine had given birth to 7 children, of whom 6 were still living. In addition to Paul, those still at home were Andrew, 16; Maggie, 11; Sammie, 8; and Louisa, 6. Paul and Andrew have “farm laborer” listed as their occupation; the other children were attending school.
Paul’s future wife, Emma Slagel, was 20 years old and living at home with her parents in Indian Grove Township, Livingston County, Illinois. Samuel Slagel, then 50, and Mary, 45, had been married for 24 years. Mary had given birth to 4 children, three still living (and all at home): Emma, along with brothers Daniel (22) and Joseph (18). Also living with them was Mary’s niece, Lena Demler, twelve years old.
In 1900, Grandma Hoffmann’s father was still using the old German spelling of his name. He appears as “Albert C Schwing,” in Ash Grove, Iroquois County, Illinois. Another farming family, his parents were Albert, Sr., age 40, and “Kathrine,” age 38. They had been married for 16 years, and Catherine had given birth to 10 children, all still living, and all still at home: Martha, 15; Charles, 14; Lena, 12; Albert C., 11; Soloma, 9; Joseph, 7; Katey, 6; Anna, 3; Harry, 2; and Paul, 3 months. A further three children would eventually be born to the family.
The final and youngest of these ancestors, Lena Hunkler, was seven years old and living in Washington, Illinois. Her parents, George J. (age 37) and Mary (age 40), had been married for 13 years, and George is listed as a farmer. All five children are at home: Bertha is 13 and listed as Berty (?). Matilda is 11; John G. is 8; “Lenie,” 7; and Hulda, 4. All but Hulda had attended school in the previous year.
Our Hoffmann emigrant ancestor, Jacob, appears in only two U.S. census records, having come to this country in 1883 and died in 1914. In 1900 Jacob appears in Fountain Creek Township, Iroquois County, Illinois. He had lived in this location for nine years, having purchased 160 acres 1/4 mile east and 1/4 mile north of Fountain Creek proper. This original farmhouse still stands; Jacob’s two youngest children, Samuel J. (born September 9, 1891) and Lucy (born July 1893) were born here.
June 2, 1900 Fountain Creek Twp., Livingston, Illinois 23 23 Hoffman Jacob Head W M Sept 1836 63 M 25 France France France 1883 17 Farmer —Christine Wife W F Mar 1850 50 M 25 7 6 France France France 1883 17 —Paul Son W M May 1878 22 S France France France 1883 17 No Farm Laborer —Andrew son W M May 1884 16 S Illinois France France Farm Laborer —Maggie Daughter W F Sept 1888 11 S Illinois France France at School —Sammie Son W M Sept 1891 6 S Illinois France France at School —Louisa Daughter W F July 1893 6 S Illinois France France at School
This census lists Lucy as “Louisa,” though Louise was in fact an older daughter who died in 1884. Louise accounts for the fact that Jacob’s wife Christine is listed as having given birth to seven children, six of whom are still living. His first wife, Annette, had given birth to a further ten.
On September 16, 1908, Christine Schmidt Hoffmann herself died:
Mrs. Jacob Huffman of near East Lynn, died Wednesday night after a lingering illness of several months. She will be buried this afternoon at the Amish cemetery.
Jacob then rented the Fountain Creek farm to his son Andy. Two years later, the 1910 census finds the widowed Jacob living with Lucy on 4th Street in Fairbury, Illinois:
April 21 1910 Fairbury City, Indian Grove Twp., Livingston, Illinois 4th St 18 18 Hoffman Jacob Head M W 74 Wd Ger German Ger German Ger German 1880 na English own income —Lucy Daughter F W 16 S Illinois Ger German Ger German English none
Some four years later, on January 20, 1914, Jacob died and was buried in Graceland Cemetery in Fairbury. It would be interesting to know how many of Fairbury’s current residents can claim a connection with Jacob.
When the 1940 census was made available to the public last year, naturally I began scouring its records to find relatives and bridge the gap since 1930’s enumerations. My parents are too young to appear in this census, so my first line of attack was looking for both sets of grandparents.
Finding my paternal grandparents’ record was fairly straightforward because I already knew where they were. They were enumerated in Scottsbluff, Nebraska on April 18, living at 1710 Avenue F. They were paying $8 a month in rent, and the household consisted of Lawrence C., age 38, a common laborer doing farm work and earning $650 the previous year for 45 weeks’ work. The census taker indicated he had attended school until the 10th grade. “Blanch A.,” age 31, had gone through the 8th grade. Both had been born in Nebraska. The following children were also enumerated: Florence M., age 12; Irene D., age 10; Myrtle C., age 7; Morris W., age 6; Marvin L., age 4; William C., age 2; and “DeAnna E.,” age 10 months. Deanna was listed as born in Nebraska; the other children’s birthplace was listed as South Dakota. Real estate records indicate the house at 1710 Avenue F is 868 square feet in size, has two bedrooms, and was built in 1915. On our cross-country trek last summer, Mom and I visited Scottsbluff and looked up the little house.
My maternal grandparents provided a bit more of a mystery. Married in 1938, they had not yet had my mom, their eldest child. I knew Grandma had worked for the Rock Island Arsenal from May 1938-September 1940 and had assumed she and Grandpa were actually living in Rock Island, Illinois. In the early days after the census release before the records were fully indexed, I scoured the Rock Island records to no avail. I even searched records for Boise, Idaho, since I knew Grandpa and Grandma moved there in 1940. Luckily it didn’t take long for indexing to be complete and for me to be able to search for Grandpa and Grandma by name – and there they were, not in Rock Island itself, but in Moline, about four miles east along the Mississippi River.
Apparently one of four couples living in an apartment complex at 1212 7th Avenue, they were paying $30 a month in rent. Joseph Hoffmann, age 32, having completed the 8th grade, is listed as an electric welder at a sheet metal factory. He had earned $820 the previous year but had only worked 24 weeks. Grandma, on the other hand, had worked 52 weeks and earned $1287 as a clerk/typist at the Rock Island Arsenal. She was 23 years old and had completed four years of high school. Grandpa was listed as born in Illinois, Grandma in Indiana.
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been to Moline…yet.
It’s always interesting to follow one family (or all one’s related families) through each census in which they appear (I’m continuing that never-ending project on a nightly basis). It can also be interesting to look at all individuals who appear in census records in a particular location; this provides color to the history of these family members and how they may have interacted with one another.
Mansfield, Illinois, is one of those locations with many family connections. For years I labored under the delusion that it was in southern Illinois, closer to Olney. This delusion was based on the fact that my great-great-grandparents, John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery both died in Olney, and a number of their children were born there, then later died in Mansfield. It pays to look at a map – Mansfield is about 125 miles north. Coincidentally Mansfield is much closer to Fairbury, Illinois, home of a huge portion of my maternalrelatives, and the location of an annual summer pilgrimage.
The earliest Mansfield census record I have found thus far is that of Thomas Milton Montgomery, my great-grand-uncle, in 1910:
Village of Mansfield, Blue Ridge Twp., Piatt, Illinois May 3, 1910
Montgomery, Tom M. Head M W 45 M1 Illinois New Jersey Ohio yes Farmer Gen’l
” Frances Wife F W 38 M1 21 6 6 Illinois Indiana Ohio
” Fred M. Son M W 19 S Illinois Illinois Illinois
” Joshua O. Son M W 17 S Illinois Illinois Illinois
” Bertha L. Daughter F W 15 S Illinois Illinois Illinois
” Hattie M. Daughter F W 13 S Illinois Illinois Illinois
” Stella B. Daughter F W 15 S Illinois Illinois Illinois
” Tom M. Son M W 3 S Illinois Illinois Illinois
No others are enumerated in Mansfield itself in 1910; in 1920, only Fred Milton Montgomery, Thomas’s son, is enumerated there (Thomas himself is enumerated in Blue Ridge Township but not within Mansfield’s boundaries):
January [?] 7, 1920 Mansfield Village, Blue Ridge Twp., Piatt, Illinois
121 121 Montgomery, Fred head R M W 28 M yes yes Illinois Illinois Illinois Delivery [?] engineer grain elevator
—Hannah Wife F W 26 M yes yes Kentucky Kentucky Kentucky
—Raymond son M W 5 S Illinois Illinois Kentucky
—Mabel P. daughter F W 4 S Illinois Illinois Kentucky
In 1930, a large number of families appear in Mansfield. Of these, two family groups are not in the direct Montgomery line but the Walker line (my great-grandfather Charles William Montgomery married Laura Maud Walker): Joshua O. Bateman and Minnie Walker with their daughter Tessie; and their married daughter Lora, her husband John M. Davis and their family.
The remaining families were scattered in various locations around town; Thomas Milton again:
April 3, 1930 Mansfield Village, Blue Ridge Twp., Piatt, Illinois
65 65 Montgomery, Thomas M. Head O 1500 no M W 66 M 25 no yes Illinois Ohio Ohio 61 yes clerk Hardware Store
—Frances M. Wife-H V F W 59 M 18 no yes Illinois Indiana Ohio 61
—Onsley J. Son V M W 37 D [I think] 30 [crossed out] no yes Illinois Illinois Illinois 61 yes Electrician Ill. Power & Light Co. W.W.
—Thomas M. Son V M W 22 S no yes Illinois Illinois Illinois 61 yes Electrician Illinois Light and Power Co.
—Raymond L. Gr. son V M W 15 S yes yes Illinois Illinois Kentucky
Thomas Milton’s married daughter Hattie and family:
April 3 1930 Mansfield Village Piatt Illinois
62 62 Hannah John Head O 600 No M W 31 M 20 no yes Illinois Illinois Illinois 61 yes Drayman General Handling
—Hattie M Wife-H v F W 31 M 20 no yes Illinois Illinois Illinois
—Mildred P Daughter F W 10 S yes yes Illinois Illinois Illinois
—Arthur C Son M W 8 S yes Illinois Illinois Illinois
—Frances R Daughter F W 6 S yes Illinois Illinois Illinois
—Richard L Son M W 1 4/12 S no Illinois Illinois Illinois
Finally, Thomas Milton’s married daughter Bertha Lucinda, her husband Wren Cole Thomas, and their children:
April 4 1930 Mansfield Blue Ridge Piatt Illinois
135 135 Thomas Wren C Head O 1500 R No M W 34 M 23 No Yes Indiana Indiana Indiana 60 yes Proprietor Hardware Store WW
—Bertha L Wife-H v F W 34 M 23 no yes Illinois Illinois Illinois
—Willis H Son v M W 9 S yes Illinois Indiana Illinois
—Lyle M Son v M W 7 S yes Illinois Indiana Illinois
—Helen P Son v M W 3 9/12 S no Illinois Indiana Illinois
I’ve only found two families enumerated in Mansfield in 1940 thus far: Hattie (Montgomery) Hannah’s married daughter Mildred Pearl and her husband Joseph Edward Alvis; and, again, Wren Cole and Bertha (Montgomery) Thomas:
April 9 1940 Mansfield Piatt Illinois
78 R 10 no Alvis Joe Head M W 22 M No H2 Illinois Same Place Piatt Illinois Laborer Farm 52 360
—Mildred wife F W 20 M no H4 Illinois Same house Piatt Illinois
—JoAnn Daughter F W 1/12 S no Illinois Same house
Hannah Arthur brother-in-law M W 18 S no 8 Illinois Same house Piatt Illinois CCC Camp GW 28 250
—Frances sister-in-law F W 16 S no H1 Illinois Same house
April 15 1940 Blue Ridge Twp Mansfield Piatt Illinois
160 O 2000 No Thomas W C Head M W 45 M no 8 Indiana Same Place 48 Plumber own business 52
—Bertha Wife F W 45 M no 8 Illinois Same Place
—Willis Son M W 19 S no H4 Illinois Same Place 48 Assistant Plumber Father’s business 52
—Lyle Son M W 17 S yes H1 Illinois Same Place
—Helen Daughter F W 13 S yes 7 Illinois Same Place
—W. C. Jr. Son M W 8 S yes 4 Illinois Same Place
On this Mother’s Day it seemed fitting to take a look at the life of Lucinda Blanche Davis, my great-great-grandmother. A mother of six, she died at age 35 when her youngest child was ten months old. Lucinda was born March 16, 1859 in Allenville, Missouri, the oldest child of John H. and Celia (Murphy) Davis. She appears in the 1860 census in West Union, Iowa:
June 25, 1860 West Union Twp., Fayette, Iowa John Davis 19 M Farmer 50 Do [born in Ohio] Celia Davis 19 F Missouri Lucinda Davis 1 F Do [born in Missouri]
I haven’t located John and Celia’s family in the 1870 census; on August 31, 1879, Lucinda married Wellington David Wilson in Brush Creek, Iowa. Lucinda was twenty years old, and Wellington just shy of that. In 1880 the new family was enumerated in Eden Township, Iowa:
5th June 1880 Eden Twp., Fayette, Iowa Wilson Wm D.W M 21 x [married] Mail Carrier N. York N. York N. York —Blanche L. W F 21 Wife x [married] Illinois Ohio Ill
Wellington and Lucinda’s first child, Maud Ethel, was born May 31, 1881; five more children followed over the next twelve years: Jerry Erving, Carl Ozro (my great-grandfather), Caroline Blanch, Pearl Ethel, and William David. Sometime between the births of Maud and Jerry the family moved to Nebraska; in the 1885 Nebraska status census, the family is enumerated in Niobrara, living next door to Wellington’s father Charles:
June 1 1885 Niobrara Precinct Knox Nebraska Page 2 Enum 467 13 13 Wilson Chas. W M 52 x [married] Farmer New York NY NY —Lucy B W M 48 wife x Keeps house New York NY NY —Eddie W M 19 Son x [single] Iowa NY NY —Samuel W M 12 Son x x [school] Iowa NY NY Barbara Anderson W F 20 x servant 3 Canada Can Can 14 14 Wilson David W M 26 x [married] servant New York NY NY —Lucinda W F 26 wife x keeps house x [can’t read] Missouri O O —Maud W F 5 Daughter x [single] x [school] Iowa NY Mis. [looks almost like Wis.] —Jerry W M 1 Daughter [sic] x x x [can’t read/write] Nebraska NY O [?] Davis Lizzie W F 19 x servant 6 Iowa NY NY
Nine years later, on September 29, 1894, Lucinda died in Bloomfield, Nebraska. Shortly thereafter Baby William David was adopted by Lucinda’s sister Anna and her husband Irwin Hubbard. Around 1895 Wellington David was remarried, to Betsey Olsen; at about this same time he moved from Nebraska to Sisseton, South Dakota. He and Betsey had three children of their own: Beulah, Warner, and Gladys. Wellington died in Sisseton June 17, 1923.