Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Montgomery Line, Research, Sweeney, Tombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday – Random Acts

There are many aspects of life in which one person’s actions can have an impact on strangers they will never meet.  Genealogy is no exception.  Moses Sweeney was my 6th-great-grandfather and the most distant relative whose grave I have seen in person. He was born in May 1734 in Antrim, (now Northern) Ireland. He migrated to America, apparently served in the Revolutionary War, and married Elizabeth Johnson about 1759 in Virginia. At some point he operated a mill on the Slate River in what is now Buckingham County, Virginia. In March 1787 Moses and his household moved from Virginia to Lincoln County, Kentucky. Moses died in the Hanging Fork Area of Lincoln County in June 1813.

This might have been the extent of my knowledge if it weren’t for two random acts. J. Harvey Sweeney, Jr., also a descendant of Moses Sweeney, painstakingly compiled the records of numerous other descendants into a 1224-page PDF file. After I purchased my own copy of the file on CD, I learned about the second random act. In 2003 Ben Johnson Sweeney of Liberty County, Kentucky, fulfilled the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout by working to restore Moses Sweeney’s gravesite. As part of this project, a new fence was built to surround the gravesite in the middle of  a field of tall Kentucky bluegrass.

In 2009, as part of our annual Illinois pilgrimage, my parents and I took a side trip to Liberty County. Following J. Harvey Sweeney’s description and maps, we found the road along which Moses’s house once stood and where he had been buried.  And Ben Johnson Sweeney’s white picket fence was unmistakable; without that, we would never have found the tombstone itself. To J. Harvey and Ben, I am grateful.

Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research, Simmons, Surname Saturday, Vital Statistics

Surname Saturday – the Simmons Brick Wall

Names are interesting. When I first started doing genealogy, I found it intriguing to realize how many surnames you “own” in your family tree. Sometimes the surnames become more and more familiar over time as more relatives are uncovered and researched.  Other times the connection to a surname is more tenuous – a link of one maternal ancestor, and then the proverbial brick wall.

My great-great-grandmother Belinda Simmons is one of these tenuous links.  Born May 14, 1838 in Cincinnati, she married John Montgomery on Christmas Day 1858 in Ohio. John and Belinda appear in the 1860 (Clark, Ohio) and 1870-1880 (Denver Township, Illinois) censuses with their growing family. Belinda died on Valentine’s Day 1908 and is buried in Pleasant View Cemetery in Olney, Illinois (in a grave my family and I failed to find on a field trip to Olney).

Belinda’s parentage, however, remains a mystery, as does her name itself.  Sources list her name variously as Malinda, Mary Ann, Mary Ann Belinda, Mary B., and Belinda. After much searching I did finally locate Belinda in the 1850 census, aged 12. The discovery, however, only provided half the story: apparently sometime before 1850 Belinda’s father had died, and her mother (Rachel – the half of the story the census revealed) had remarried a Charles Clark. Also in the household is Belinda’s younger brother Charles H. Simmons, aged 10. If Belinda had been born a little later, it might be easy enough to find a Rachel Simmons and her young children in an earlier census – but since census records prior to 1850 don’t list each individual in the household by name, it is trickier to confirm the identities of family members – especially when the head of household’s name remains unknown.

So…the search back in time continues…

John and Mary Montgomery Tombstone from Find-a-Grave

Blogging Prompts, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Wednesday's Child

Wednesday’s Child – Little Louise Hoffmann

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A daughter of our emigrant ancestor Jacob Hoffmann, Louise Hoffmann was my great-grand-aunt and also my half-great-great-grand-aunt.  She was born November 25, 1875 in Renaucourt, France, the oldest child of Jacob and his second wife Christine Schmidt and appears in Renaucourt birth records.

Louise was seven years old when her family emigrated to America in May 1883. The family arrived in Philadelphia on May 16 (130 years ago tomorrow) and left four hours later on a train bound for Fairbury, Illinois. Two of the Hoffmann daughters were already living in the area.

The following year Jacob rented a farm near Strawn, Illinois. Louise’s brother Andy (Jacob’s 14th child) was born here in May 1884. Louise would not live to see her baby brother’s first birthday, however. She died December 4, 1884 in Strawn, and is buried in the South Apostolic Christian Cemetery near Fairbury.

Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Demler, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Hunkler, Research, Rusch, Schmidt, Slagel, Swing, Tombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday – A Plethora of Greats

A few years back on one of our many genealogical field trips, Mom and I realized that she (and I) have seen all eight of her great-grandparents’ tombstones.  This is one definite advantage to having most of your relatives stay put in the same general vicinity after emigrating to America; all eight of these ancestors are laid to rest within a 150-mile radius, from Francesville, Indiana, to Washington, Illinois. Here they are in ahnentafel order:

Jacob Hoffmann
b. September 18, 1836 in Mackwiller, France
d. January 20, 1914 in Fairbury, Illinois
bur. Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, Illinois
Christina (Schmidt) Hoffmann
b. March 30, 1850 in Butten, France
d. September 16, 1908 in Cissna Park, Illinois
bur. Cissna Park Cemetery, Cissna Park, Illinois
Samuel Slagel
b. November 30, 1849 in Wisconsin (?)
d. November 29, 1937 in Fairbury, Illinois
bur. Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, Illinois
Mary/Maria (Demler) Slagel/Schlegel
b. January 17, 1855 in Baden, Germany
d. February 3, 1928 in Fairbury, Illinois
bur. Graceland Cemetery, Fairbury, Illinois
Albert Carl Swing
b. October 24, 1859 in Akron, Ohio
d. October 14, 1922 in Francesville, Indiana
Catherine (Hoffmann) Swing
b. February 2, 1862 in Remicourt, France
d. March 15, 1931 in Francesville, Indiana
Both bur. Roseland Cemetery, Francesville, Indiana
George John Hunkler b. September 20, 1862 in St. Gallen, Switzerland d. December 2, 1934 in Elmwood, Illinois Maria Elizabeth (Rusch) Hunkler b. December 25, 1859 in St. Gallen, Switzerland d. September 27, 1948 in El Paso, Illinois Both bur. Glendale Cemetery, Washington, Illinois

This means, of course, that I have visited the graves of 8 of my own great-great-grandparents.  My 8 paternal great-great-grandparents (and even my own 8 great-grandparents) are a little more widespread, but I’m making headway there as well.  Now  if only I could figure out where Lucinda Blanche (Davis) Wilson is buried…I might just have to plan another field trip.

Cemeteries, Demler, Hoffmann Line, Marriages, Research, Slagel, Vital Statistics

Vital Statistics – Marriage License of Samuel Schlegel and Mary Demler

Samuel Schlegel (Schlagel/Slagel), aged 26, wed Mary Demler, aged 20, on November 30, 1875.  They were married by John Georg Steidinger in Livingston County, Illinois.  Both Samuel and Mary were residents of Indian Grove Township in Livingston County.  The license to marry was granted November 27.

Various sources list Samuel’s birthplace as Wisconsin or Iowa; both of his parents were born in Switzerland. Mary Demler was born in Baden, Germany. The couple farmed in Livingston County and had four children. One, Samuel, died at age 4.  Their only daughter, Emma Alice, was my great-grandmother. About 1908 Samuel and Mary retired to 407 E Walnut Street, Fairbury, Illinois. Mary died of stomach cancer in 1928; Samuel of toxemia from chronic cystitis and chronic interstitial nephritis in 1937. Both are buried in Fairbury’s Graceland Cemetery.

 

Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Research, Swing, Wednesday's Child

Wednesday’s Child – Virginia Schumacher

Another child of whose existence I was unaware before a cemetery visit is Virginia Schumacher, a first cousin twice removed.  The ninth child of John H. and Kathryn N. (Swing) Schumacher, she was born (April 27) and died in 1934. Kathryn’s older brother, Albert Carl Swing, was my great-grandfather.

I never met Aunt Katie myself, but my mother and grandmother, her great-niece and niece, stopped to see her in an assisted living home in Eureka, Illinois, in 1985. After dinner that evening Aunt Katie recited from memory a 10-minute poem she had learned in the fourth grade. She was 91 years old at the time and would live another decade. She was then laid to rest in the Apostolic Christian Cemetery in Roanoke, Illinois, near where her daughter had been buried six decades earlier.

Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Research, Swing, Tombstone Tuesday

Tombstone Tuesday – Jacob Hoffmann

Graceland Cemetery in Fairbury, Illinois is the burial place for any number of my maternal relatives. The patriarch of this bunch was Jacob Hoffmann, born September 18, 1836 in Mackwiller, France. Jacob was married twice, the first time to Annette Meyer.  Jacob and Annette had ten children:  Lisa, Anna, John, Catherine, Magdalena, Sophie, Eugenie, Caroline, Marie, and Joseph.  Annette died June 26, 1874 in Renaucourt, France, aged 46.  Seven months later Jacob married Christine (or Christina) Schmidt, born March 26, 1851 in Butten, France.  Jacob and Christine had seven children; the first three, Louise, Lydia, and Paul, were born in France.  In 1881 Jacob’s daughter Anna, now married to Ferdinand Schott, emigrated to Illinois. In 1883 Jacob, Christine, and most of Jacob’s children, moved to Illinois as well.  Only Lisa and John remained behind. Jacob and Christine had four more children in Illinois: Andrew, Maggie, Samuel, and Lucy.

Jacob and Annette’s daughter Catherine married Albert Carl Swing and had a son also named Albert Carl Swing.  Albert Carl, Jr., had a daughter named Velma. Jacob and Christine had a son named Paul, who had a son named Joseph.  Velma and Joseph married March 12, 1938 (75 years ago last March); they were half first cousins once removed, and my grandparents.  This makes me, not my own grandpa, but my own half third cousin once removed. Grandpa Joseph Hoffmann died May 16, 1983, 30 years ago this month, and 100 years to the day after his grandfather arrived in Philadelphia on the sailing ship Zeeland.

Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Obituaries, Research, Sunday's Obituary

Sunday’s Obituary – Samuel Frank Montgomery

Samuel Frank Montgomery was my great-grand-uncle.  His older brother, Charles William Montgomery, was my great-grandfather and has been mentioned here a number of times.  Samuel appears as “Franklin,” age 7, in the 1870 census in Denver Township, Illinois, with parents John and Belinda, and siblings Hattie, Charles, Thomas, Harry, and Edward.  In 1880, Samuel F., age 18, is listed with “works on farm” as his occupation.

By 1900 Samuel is married to Ida Goodell and appears in Blue Ridge Township, Piatt County, Illinois, as “Frank,” with a birthdate of September 1863.  Other members of the household are:  wife Ida M., born December 1869; daughter Florence, born August 1889; daughter Ruth, born August 1891; daughter Nellie, born April 1895; and daughter “Dortha,” born July 1898. Ida’s census record indicates she had given birth to a total of 5 children, of whom 4 were still living by 1900.

This photo shows Samuel, Ida, and one of their children:

Still in Blue Ridge by 1910, Samuel F. is listed as age 48 and a rural mail carrier.  Ida M., age 40; Nellie B., age 17; “Dorotha” L., age 11; and John S. complete the family. By 1920 in Blue Ridge Township, Nellie has left home, leaving a household of four. Samuel is now listed as working at a livery. Ida passed away in 1929, and I have yet to locate Samuel in the 1930 or 1940 censuses.  He did not die himself until 1959, age 96.  Samuel and Ida are buried in the Blue Ridge Township Mansfield Cemetery in Mansfield, Illinois.

Cemeteries, Death Certificates, Montgomery Line, Research, Roberg, Wednesday's Child, Wilson

Wednesday’s Child – Anders Clarence Wilson

Anders Clarence Wilson, my grandma Blanche (Wilson) Montgomery’s older brother, was born August 13, 1907 in Boone County, Nebraska. He was the oldest child of Carl Ozro and Sophie Christine (Roberg) Wilson. My grandma, Blanche, was born a little over a year later, on December 17, 1908.  Eight months later, on his second birthday, Anders died.  According to his death certificate, his cause of death was cholera infantum. This disease, also known as “summer complaint,” was apparently a form of dysentery affecting children that was more prevalent in the hot summer months. Anders was laid to rest in the South Branch Lutheran Church Cemetery in Boone County. Ten years later his grandmother, Agnette (Lien) Roberg was buried beside him, and his grandfather and namesake another twenty-five years after that.

Cemeteries, Hoffmann, Hoffmann Line, Obituaries, Research, Slagel

Emma Slagel Hoffmann – Obituary

Sam, Emma, and Norm Hoffmann

Services for Emma Hoffman Thursday

Mrs. Emma Hoffman, 81, died at her home, 505 S Fourth, at 11:45 a.m. Monday. She had been ill three years.

Her funeral will be at the Cook Funeral Home at 2 p.m. Thursday, Rev. Peter Schaffer officiating. Burial will be in Graceland Cemetery.

Visitation begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

She was born in Fairbury, March 5, 1880, the daughter of Sam and Mary Demler Slagel. She was married to Paul Hoffman in 1902. He passed away in 1933. She lived on a farm south of Fairbury until moving to town in 1943.

Surviving are three daughters, Mrs. Marie Kilgus, Fairbury; Mrs. Alice Himelick, Kokomo, Ind.; Miss Leona Hoffman, at home; five sons, Joe, Caldwell, Idaho; Sam, Paul, Clyde and Ralph, all of Fairbury; one brother, Dan Slagel, Fairbury; 36 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, a son and a daughter.

She was a member of the Apostolic Church Fairbury.

The family suggests that any tangible expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to the Cancer Society.