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Tombstone Tuesday – The Curse of the Chaneys

The Sunday Oregonian, August 8, 1920

Some families seem to have more than their share of tragic deaths. One such family is that of Phineas Benjamin Chaney and his wife, Josephine Welsh. Phineas was my fourth cousin 5 times removed through the Davis line. Phineas was born 8 January 1854 in Illinois, the son of Phineas, Sr., and Mary Jane (Berry) Chaney. Even before Phineas, Jr., was born, his parents had endured their own share of tragedy; of their eleven children, four died before their second birthday.  Another child, Emma, died shortly before she would have turned 22.

At least Phineas, Jr., did live long enough to marry; he and Josephine had a son, Fred Russell Chaney, born in March 1885, apparently in New York. At some point the family moved to Portland, Oregon; there, on 9 April 1895, aged 41, Phineas died of appendicitis. The Sunday Oregonian of 12 April 1895 reports the sad events:

“The funeral of Phineas P. Chaney, who died at the Portland hospital, on April 9, took place yesterday afternoon from his late residence at 1193 East Yamhill, a short distance from the Rosedale station, Mount Tabor railway. There was present a large concourse of the friends of Mr. Chaney. The services were conducted by C. B. Reynolds, of the Secular church. At 2:15, the choir began the services by singing the beautiful song, “Sweet Bye and Bye,” when Mr. Reynolds arose and delivered an eloquent address. The remains were buried at Lone Fir cemetery. Mr. Chaney had lived in his present home about four years, coming from Brooklyn, N.Y. He was 41 years old. He was an accomplished millwright, and constructed most of the gearing and machinery in the docks along the East Side. Only a week ago, he was taken sick, and was removed to the Portland hospital, where it was found, as a last resort, that the vermiform appendix would have to be removed. The operation was performed, but he was too far gone to recover, and inflammation ensued, which terminated his life. He leaves a widow and a little son.”

Phineas’s widow, Josephine, was 35 years old and became a schoolteacher. Later young Fred entered medical school at the University of Oregon. After completing his medical training, he moved to Alaska to practice medicine there. In September 1908, while he and three other men were climbing a mountain near the Valdez glacier, he slipped and fell 200 feet. He was apparently not killed instantly but was taken into Valdez, where he died. He was 23 years old; his body was returned to Portland and buried near his father.

Josephine, having lost both husband and only child, continued to teach. She appears in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses, listed as a schoolteacher. In that final census, her address is listed as 415 Yamhill Street. There, seven months later at the Elton Court Apartments, the family’s final tragedy occurred.  At five o’clock in the morning, perhaps caused by a careless smoker, a fire started in the lobby of the apartment building and spread quickly, up both the elevator shaft and the stairs. Josephine was trapped on the fourth floor and, as firemen attempted to rescue her, fell from a window to the sidewalk below.  She died en route to the hospital. Two other women were killed after jumping from the second and fourth floors. Josephine, aged 60 according to some records, 54 according to the Sunday Oregonian, was buried in what is now known as Portland’s River View Cemetery with her husband and son.

Blogging Prompts, Montgomery Line, Sweeney, Tombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday – A Boy Named Esther

 

Eighty-five years ago today, my third cousin four times removed, William Sweeney, died. Thank goodness for genealogy databases which make it easy to look up that sort of thing.

According to his tombstone, William was born 27 January 1891 in Kentucky, the eldest son of Doctor Franklin Sweeney (his actual name, not a title) and his much younger wife Lucy Ann Watson.  Lucy’s name is also a mysterious – she appears variously in records as Lucy Ann, Lousanna, and Louisiana. Doctor Sweeney (or Doc) had been married previously; he and Sarah Margaret Allen had twelve children before Sarah’s death at 46. He then married Lucy some two years later.

In 1900 the family was enumerated in Casey Creek, Casey County, Kentucky. Doctor F. Sweeney is listed as a farmer born in October 1835, and Louisiana as his wife born in March 1868. They had been married for 9 years, which means at their wedding Doctor Sweeney was 55 and his bride 23.  Here William E. is listed as being born in January 1893, with three younger siblings:  Mary E., born March 1895; Fanny Lee, born June 1896, and Mardie B., born November 1899.

Doc Sweeney died in April 1902. About a year later Lucy married George W. Foster. By the 1910 census George and Lucy, still in Casey (or Casey’s) Creek, appear with three of their own children (Albert T., age 6; Elbert, age 2; and Lily, age 1 8/12), as well as Lucy’s four stepchildren. Here William appears as “Esther” Sweeney, age 18.  Most of the family is still together in 1920; only Mary Sweeney is no longer in the household.  In addition, George and Lucy have been joined by daughter Leonda Foster, age 7.

William would not live to be enumerated in the next census, dying in June 1929. He is buried in Brush Creek Cemetery, Casey County, Kentucky. His death certificate is singularly unhelpful. Stamped “Delayed,” it lists yet a third birthdate, 1 June 1889, and under “Cause of Death,” is stamped “Queried No Reply.” Yet another mystery to investigate…

Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Davis, Montgomery Line, Research, Tombstone Tuesday, Wilson

Tombstone Tuesday – Knox to King

 

Pearl Ethel Wilson, my 2nd great aunt, was born 18 June 1892 in Creighton, Knox County, Nebraska.  She was the fifth child of six born to Wellington David and Lucinda Blanche (Davis) Wilson. Lucinda died, aged 35, when Pearl was only two years old. Her younger brother, then ten months old, was raised by his maternal aunt, while Pearl is found living with her maternal grandparents in Iowa in 1900.

By 1910 Pearl was 18 and living in Centerville, South Dakota. She was a boarder in the Turner Hotel run by Edward Mudie and his wife Jennie.

 

By 1920 Pearl had moved to Hobson, Montana.  There, boarding with the family of Floyd McCowan, Pearl was employed as a schoolteacher. About 1921 Pearl married Ray Edward Ramaker. Ray and Pearl had three children, all born in Montana:  Mary Jo, Shirley E., and Nancy R. By 1930 the family had moved to Missoula, Montana, where Ray worked as a dentist. The home at 315 Daly Avenue where they lived in 1930 still stands; it was valued at $6500 in 1930 and $5500 in 1940. It was assessed at $165,877 last year. In 1940 Pearl and her daughters were still living in the Daly Avenue home, while Ray was living in Seattle.

By 1946 when their youngest daughter graduated from high school, it appears the entire family had moved to Seattle’s King County. Here, on 18 December 1969, Ray died, followed a decade later by Pearl, on 16 March 1979. Both are buried in Evergreen Washelli Memorial Park, Seattle’s largest cemetery.

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Tombstone Tuesday – More Sweeneys with Fun Names

     

Jordan Sweeney, first cousin six times removed, was born 16 November 1806 in Casey County, Kentucky.  The grandson of Moses Sweeney, his parents were Charles Welby Sweeney and Frances Shackleford. His wife, whom he married 20 September 1829 in Casey County, had one of the best names ever:  Permelia Pigg.  Permelia was born about 1810, also in Casey County.

The Baby Name Wizard site indicates that Permelia was the name originally chosen for Melanie Wilkes in Gone with the Wind, but that it has never ranked in the top 1000 baby names.  Shocking.

Jordan and Permelia had five children, all given much more normal names than their mother: Mary A., Charles Willis, Frances, Elizabeth Ellen, and Amanda H. Jordan died 2 August 1845, and Permelia about 1845.  Both are buried in the Sweeney/Drake Family Cemetery in Casey County.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Darmstadt to Fairbury

Karl Schwing, my 3G-grandfather, was born in 1813 in Darmstadt, Germany.  His father was apparently also named Karl Schwing, according to the History of the Schwing Family, which provides many of the following details. While in Germany, Karl was a Lutheran minister; he was married twice in the “Old Country” but lost both wives shortly after childbirth, the second wife buried at sea during the trip from Germany to America. Karl would later join the German Apostolic Christian Church.

In 1851 Karl married Saloma Bollinger, my 3G-grandmother, in Akron, Ohio. They had a son, John B., in 1852, and in 1853 the two older children, Karl and Margaret, died. Four more children followed John’s birth: Charles; Henry Edward; Albert Carl, Sr.; and Joseph Gilbert. Both the 1860 and 1870 censuses show Karl working as a tailor in Akron. In 1877 the family moved to Livingston County, Illinois, where Karl worked as a farmer. Three years later, the oldest surviving son, John, died in Chatsworth, Illinois, of lung fever. Karl only outlived his son by three months. The Livingston Yesterday series from the Pontiac Public Library (taken from the Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Illinois) states that on 10 August, 1880, “at the zenith of his powers,” Karl died. He is buried in the South Apostolic Christian Cemetery outside Fairbury, Illinois. Karl’s widow Saloma lived for two more decades, residing with all three sons at various times. She died in early 1900 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Fairbury.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Joshua Ousley Montgomery

One of many family graves seen during last year’s visit to Mansfield, Illinois, was that of Joshua Ousley Montgomery, a first cousin twice removed. Grandson of my great-great-grandparents John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery, he was born February 3, 1893 in Mansfield, to Thomas Milton and Frances May (Hoover) Montgomery.

His World War I draft registration from June 1917 lists him as “Joshua Oozley Montgomery,” age 24, of medium height and build, with light blue eyes and light-colored hair. In the four censuses in which he appears, he is enumerated with his parents. By 1930 he is listed as divorced. Cousin Janet Alvis indicates that his wife was a Leona H. Brooks, born about 1902, and that Leona and Joshua married May 6, 1922.

Janet has also provided the following obituary information for Joshua on the Find-a-Grave website:

Joshua O. Montgomery, 44, World War veteran and life-long resident of Mansfield was instantly killed at 10:50 pm Sunday, March 28, 1937, when he was struck by a car two mile east of Mahomet on Rt 150. Services were conducted in Mansfield Wednesday afternoon with burial in Mansfield cemetery. 

He was born on a farm near Mansfield, the s/o M/M T. M. Montgomery. He had just started construction of a home near his parents’ residence in Mansfield. Besides his parents he leaves two brothers: Fred of Chicago and Thomas of Mansfield; three sisters: Bertha Thomas, Stella McIlvain and Hattie Hannah, all of Mansfield. He was unmarried.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Sophia Hoffmann Kuntz

My great-great-grand aunt, Sophia/Sophie Hoffmann, was born in June 1864 in France. The fifth child of Jacob Hoffmann and his first wife, Annette (Meyer) Hoffmann, she was the younger sister of my 2G-grandmother, Catherine, and the older half-sister of my great-grandfather Paul. At age 18, Sophie traveled with her family from France to America, arriving May 16, 1883.

A little over three years later Sophie married John W. Kuntz in Pontiac, Illinois, on July 26, 1886. John and Sophie were the parents of six children:  Samuel Henry, born June 15, 1888; William John, born about April 1, 1890; Walter Louis, born February 17, 1894; Frieda Ann, born about January 14, 1897; Raymond Napoleon, born about August 21, 1899; and Joseph, born about January 26, 1901. All of the children were born in Woodford County, Illinois, where the family was also enumerated in 1900, in Metamora Township:

June 14-15, 1900 Metamora Twp., Woodford, Illinois
Kuntz John W Head W[hite] M[ale] Nov 1858 41 M[arried] 14 Illinois Switzerland Switzerland Farmer
—Sophia Wife W F June 1864 36 M 14 5 5 France France France 1884 16
—Samuel H Son W M Jun 1888 11 S Illinois Illinois France At School 8 
—William J Son W M Apr 1890 10 S Illinois Illinois France At School 8 
Kuntz, Walter L Son W M Feb 1894 6 S Illinois Illinois France At School 6
—Frieda A Daughter W F Jan 1897 3 S Illinois Illinois France
—Raymond N Son W M Aug 1899 10/12 S Illinois Illinois France
Dargel, Wm H Boarder W M Apr 1883 17 S New Mexico Germany Germany Farm Laborer 0 yes yes yes

About six days after the birth of her son Joseph, Sophie died at age 36, presumably as a result of complications from childbirth. Baby Joseph lived only another week. Sophie was buried in the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Cemetery in Roanoke, Illinois.

Following Sophie’s death Raymond, the youngest surviving child, was raised by Sophie’s sister Lena (Hoffmann) Yost, who had no children of her own.  John and Sophie’s second child, William, died about February 7, 1907 at age 16. John himself lived to age 92, dying on June 7, 1951 in Bluffton, Indiana. He shares a tombstone in Uniontown Cemetery, Zanesville, Indiana, with his son Ordie Smith, who died in 1940 at age 15.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Moder and Fader

My great-great-grandparents, Anders and Agnette (Lien) Roberg, are buried in the South Branch Cemetery amidst rolling hills outside Newman Grove, Nebraska. Agnette’s half of the tombstone is detailed and written in Norwegian; Anders’s is simpler and lists only his dates of birth and death.

Both Anders and Agnette were born in Norway – Agnette in Biri, Oppland, on November 30, 1844, and and Anders, eleven years later, in Innvik, Sogn og Fjordane. Agnette married a Mr. Martin, and they had a son, Emil, on January 12, 1871. It appears Mr. Martin died, and in May 1878 Agnette and her young son sailed to America, arriving in Winona, Minnesota.

On December 3 of that year Agnette married Anders in Rushford, Minnesota. She was 34 and he was 23.  He had emigrated to America in June 1875 along with his brother Arne. In May-June 1879 Anders, Agnette, and Emil traveled to Nebraska by covered wagon. The 1880 census finds the small family in Shell Creek , Boone County, Nebraska, joined now by the first of three children.

All three children were born in Boone County, Nebraska:  Severin on February 17, 1880; Sophie Christine (my great-grandmother) on November 5, 1881; and Sena on June 2, 1884.  In 1900 and 1910 Anders and Agnette were enumerated in Midland Precinct, Boone County. Agnette died of liver cancer on February 18, 1919. I have yet to find Anders in the 1920 census, but in 1930 and 1940 he was living in Newman Grove. He moved to the Newman Grove “Old Peoples Home” in May 1942 and died of chronic myocarditis on New Year’s Day 1943.

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Tombstone Tuesday – the Hoffmann Pioneers

Usually I find myself referring to Jacob Hoffmann, my 2G and 3G-grandfather, as our emigrant ancestor. While he was the patriarch of the family, he wasn’t the first of our Hoffmann branch to arrive in America. This distinction actually goes to two of Jacob’s daughters, Anna and Catherine. 

Of Jacob’s 17 children by his two wives, the last four were born in America; 11 emigrated to America; and only two, Lisa and John, remained in France. Lisa was the eldest and already married when her family decided to leave France; John was the third child and eldest son. Anna was the second of Jacob’s children and was born September 24, 1859 in Renaucourt, France. On June 10, 1878 she was married to Ferdinand Schott (a big thanks to Cousin Daniel in France for providing copies of these records).

Four years later Anna and Ferdinand, along with Anna’s sister (my great-great-grandmother) Catherine arrived at Castle Garden in New York on April 13, 1882 on the ship St. Germain. In spite of the confusion of surnames, the family is identifiable:

Mrs. Angela Hoffmann 22 F[emale] France New York
Angelo d[itt]o 1/2 M[ale] do do
Mrs. Catherine do 23 F do do
Emile do 1/2 M do do
Ferdinand Schott 33 Carpenter do do
Louis do 2 yr. do do

More information about Catherine’s history in America can be found in earlier posts here. Anna and Ferdinand (“Fred”) lived in Gridley, Illinois, for some time, then later moved to Kansas before returning to Illinois in 1888. Anna and Ferdinand had nine children in all, including Lewis and the twins Angela and Emil, who all sailed with them on the St. Germain. Children born in America were: Bertha, Anna, Caroline, Catherine, Leah, and Martha. Anna, Sr., died September 9, 1919 and was buried three days later in Cissna Park, Illinois. Fifteen years later Ferdinand died and was buried in Cissna Park as well.

Mrs. Anna Schott passed peacefully to her rest Tuesday, Sept. 9 at 9:30 a.m. at her home in the northwest part of town. She had been in poor health for several years but was confined to her bed for a period of three months.

Anna Hoffmann was born in Remicourt, France, Sept. 24, 1859 and was married to Ferdinand Schott in 1877. They lived at Vitrey, France until 1881 when they sailed for America, coming direct to Illinois.

Later they moved to Kansas. In 1888 they again moved to Illinois, making the trip in a covered wagon. It took them seven weeks to arrive at their destination at Hopedale, Ill. From there they again moved to Armington, Minier, and then to Cissna Park, where they have since made their home.

To this union nine children were born: the twins, Emil and Angela, preceeding her in death. The surviving children are Lewis F. of Shelbyville, Ind., Mrs. Chas. Kercher of Wolcott, Ind., Mrs. Benj. E. Krantz of Peoria, Caroline Kathryn, Leah and Martha who are at home. She is also survived by her husband the following brothers and sisters John Hoffmann of France, Mrs. Phillip Yost, Mrs. S. R. Stoller, Paul Hoffmann and Mrs. Orville Farney of Fairbury, Mrs. Jeff Springer of Danvers, Mrs. Albert Schwing of Francisville [sic], Ind., Mrs. Joe Schwing of LaCrosse, Ind., Joseph Hoffmann of Roanoke, Mrs. George Bauer and Sam Hoffmann of Cissna Park and Andy Hoffmann of Hoopeston.

The funeral services were held at the Christian Apostolic church southeast of town, Friday, Sept. 12, and was largely attended by her many relatives and friends.

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Tombstone Tuesday – Uncle Joe

Seven years ago Mom and I took one of our many genealogical side trips while visiting our Fairbury (Illinois) relatives. This side trip took us to Roanoke, Illinois, some forty miles west. I knew a large number of relatives were purportedly buried in Roanoke, and we found the Roanoke Cemetery fairly easily.  Wandering through the rows of graves we saw a lot of familiar surnames: Weyeneth, Fehr, Schumacher, Hodel, Zimmerman. But we couldn’t seem to find any of the really close connections we were looking for.

As luck would have it, it was mowing day, and an older gentleman was at work between the rows of graves. Neither Mom nor I are good at this sort of thing, but we ventured over. Perhaps he had seen “the look” before because he readily asked if he could help. I told him we were looking for some relatives’ graves but hadn’t been able to find them, and he asked who we were looking for.  A little hesitantly, I said, “Well, Joseph Hoffman…” Immediately he said, “Oh, Uncle Joe!” He went on to explain that there was a separate Apostolic Christian Cemetery near the church, farther out in the country, and told us how to get there. I never did figure out if he was really a cousin of sorts (this Joseph Hoffman was my great-great-grand-uncle, not to be confused with my grandfather Joseph Hoffmann), or if everyone in Roanoke knew our Joseph Hoffman as “Uncle Joe.”

Mom and I set off again, another 3 1/2 miles southwest. And here were all the names we had been looking for, Uncle Joe among them. Joseph Hoffman was born May 2, 1872 in Renaucourt, France, the youngest full brother of my great-great grandmother Catherine (Hoffmann) Swing, and a half-brother of my great-grandfather Paul Hoffmann. He emigrated to America with his family in 1883. On February 27, 1898 he married Lydia Hodel, six years his senior. Lydia died January 23, 1940 and is also buried in the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Cemetery. A year later Joseph married Lydia’s younger sister Emma; he was 68 and she was 60. Emma died September 17, 1957 and is buried in the same cemetery as well. Joseph himself lived to the age of 95, dying October 22, 1967 in Morton, Illinois, and being laid to rest near his two wives.

Joseph Hoffman

Roanoke (PNS) –Joseph Hoffman, 95, died at noon Sunday at the Rest-Mor Nursing Home, Morton, where he had lived for six years.

His funeral will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Remmert Funeral Home and at 10:30 a.m. at the Roanoke Apostolic Christian Church.

Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Visitation will be 2 to 5 p.m.; 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Mr. Hoffman was born May 2, 1872, in Alsace-Lorraine France, a son of Jacob and Annatte [sic] Meyers Hoffman. He married Lydia Hodel Feb. 27, 1898. She died Jan. 23, 1940. He then married Emma Hodel Feb. 23, 1941. She died Sept. 20, 1957.
Surviving are a brother, Sam, Cissna Park; and many nieces and nephews. Four brothers and nine sisters preceded him in death.

Mr. Hoffman was a member of the Apostolic Christian Church, where he served as a trustee and Sunday school teacher. He was a retired farmer and had lived in Roanoke for 71 years.