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.
This week’s mystery family appears in a photograph taken at the Brady and Medaris studio in Monticello, Illinois. I have no record of any genealogical events taking place in Monticello itself, but many family members did live in Piatt County, of which Monticello is the county seat.
Could this be Minnie (Walker) Bateman, discussed in my last post, with her husband Joshua and children Lora, Roy, and Tessie? In about 1895 Lora would have been 8, Roy 6, and Tessie 4; youngest child Elsie would not yet have been born. Minnie would have been about 30 and Joshua 34.
Here is another example of a bittersweet cemetery discovery. Infant Bateman was my first cousin twice removed but was unknown to me until a visit to the cemetery in Mansfield, Illinois last year. I don’t know much about this baby other that what I can glean from the tombstone – even the gender is not specified. Infant Bateman lived only three days and was the fourth of five children of Joshua O. and Minnie (Walker) Bateman.
Minnie was born September 19, 1864 in Noble, Illinois; her older sister Laura Maud was my great-grandmother. Joshua O. Bateman was born June 13, 1861; he and Minnie were married February 4, 1885 in Richland County, Illinois. Other children born to Minnie and Joshua were Lora H., Roy Walker, Tessie, and Elsie Fern Bateman.
By the time of the family’s enumeration in the 1900 census, Infant Bateman had been resting in the Mansfield Cemetery for six years:
June 2 1900 Blue Ridge Twp., Piatt, Illinois 21 21 Bateman Joshua Head W M June 1861 38 M 15 Canada Eng Ireland Ireland 1866 34 Na Farmer —Minnie Wife W F Sept 1864 35 M 15 5 4 Illinois Ohio Ohio —Lora Daughter W F Sept 1887 12 S Illinois Canada E Illinois At School —Roy W Son W M Mar 1889 11 S Illinois Canada E Illinois At School —Tessa Daughter W F Apr 1891 9 S Illinois Canada E Illinois At School —Elsie Daughter W F Apr 1896 4 S Illinois Canada E Illinois Walker Orlando C B-in-law W M Feb 1875 25 S Illinois Ohio Ohio Farm Laborer Henard Ashley [Asbury?] Servant W M Nov 1877 22 S Tennessee Tennessee Virginia Farm Laborer
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
This is another of those mysterious family photos that makes me feel guilty remembering all my own unlabeled pictures. Obtained from Grandma and Grandpa Montgomery’s house while packing things up, the family is most likely one of our Montgomery connections – but which one?
Again one of the major clues is the name and location of the photography studio. Olney, Illinois, home of the M. B. Rush studio, has any number of Montgomery and Walker connections, with even more when all of Richland County is considered. The family members themselves also provide clues – is there a family consisting of two sons and then two daughters with approximately the right age differences between them?
One possibility is the family of my great-grand-aunt, Hattie F. (Montgomery) West. The oldest child of John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery, she was born November 28, 1859 in Ohio; from at least 1870 until her death, Hattie resided in Denver Township, Richland County, Illinois. Hattie married Martin V. West in a double-wedding with her brother Charles William (my great-grandfather) and Laura Maud Walker. The ceremony took place February 22, 1883. Ten months later Hattie and Martin’s first child, Wilmer Madison West, was born. In 1885, son Harley R. West followed. Around 1887-1888, daughter Stella West was born, followed by Bessie in 1891-1892. Edna Bertha West was not born until August 23, 1897. A photograph taken of the West family when baby Bessie was about two years old might look similar to this one. Around 1894, Wilmer would have been 10, Harley 9, Stella 7, and Bessie 2. Of course, there’s also the possibility this could be some other family entirely!
Charles William Montgomery, my great-grandfather, was born January 17, 1861 in Lynchburg, Ohio, the son of John and Belinda (Simmons) Montgomery. By 1870 his family had moved to Denver Township, Richland County, Illinois, where they were enumerated that year in June. In the household that year are John, age 40; Belinda, age 31; Hattie, age 10; Charles, age 8; Franklin, age 7; Thomas, age 6; Harry, age 4; and Edward, age 2. John’s birthplace is listed as New Jersey, Belinda’s and the first three children’s as Ohio, and the youngest three children’s as Illinois.
In 1880, Charles, age 19, is still living at home with his parents in Richland County, but more children have been added to the family. It now consists of John, age 50; Belinda, age 42; Hattie F., age 20; Chas W., age 19; Samuel F., age 18; Thos. M., age 16; Silas H., age 14; James E., age 12; Joseph T., age 8; John W., age 6; and Emma L., age 4. The five oldest boys are all listed as “working on farm.”
Most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, so the next time we find Charles is in the 1900 census. By this time Charles has been married to Laura Maud Walker for 17 years and has moved to Holdrege, Nebraska. Charles and Laura are the parents of six children; their youngest, my grandfather Lawrence, will be born the following year. The household consists of Charles W., born January 1861; Laura, born July 1862; Myrtle P., born February 1884; Mamie E., born October 1886; Bessie B., born December 1888; Alta G., born August 1889; Walter D., born March 1898; and John W., born October 1899. Charles’s occupation is listed as butcher.
There is another 20-year gap in the census records before we find Charles again. Several of his children appear in various locations in the 1910 census, but to date I have yet to locate either Charles or Lawrence. Between 1900 and 1920 the family underwent a number of changes. In December 1904 Charles’s wife, Laura, entered the Pueblo State Hospital in Colorado, where she remained for the rest of her life. Myrtle, Mamie, Bessie, and Elta/Alta all married before 1910. According to Grandpa (Lawrence), his father spent some of the intervening years “riding the range with Buffalo Bill.” I have yet to determine what kernel of truth (if any) is to be found in that story!
In 1920 Charles finally reappears, now living in Fort Collins, Colorado. He is one of many “roomers” living at 224 Linden Street, his family now dispersed. He is listed as C. W. Montgomery, age 57, with “farm laborer” his occupation. It appears that this residence was known as Antler’s Hotel and still stands in Fort Collins.
By April 1930, Charles is still living in Fort Collins but has moved about two blocks away, to 326 Walnut Street. He is now a lodger in the home of Charles and Minnie Reingold, Russian immigrants and proprietors of a junk store. Charles is listed as age 69, paying $10 a month in rent. He is employed as watchman at the G. W. (Great Western) Sugar Factory.
Charles’s wife Laura died in the Pueblo State Hospital in 1933. Seven years later Charles has returned to Linden Street, though his street number is now 222. He is paying $10 rent again and is now listed as age 72 and unable to work. Details provided by Charles indicate the highest educational level he completed was the eighth grade. The proprietors of Antler’s Hotel are Charles and Mary Bohnke.
About a year after this final census, Charles married a woman named Lyle who was born about 1884. In January 1942, Charles died at age 80 of a coronary occlusion. He was buried on January 16 in Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins.