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Census Sunday – Mansfield, Piatt, Illinois

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 maternal relatives, 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
Galesville Road
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
Olive Street
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
Short St.
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
Oliver Street
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
W Oliver
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

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, Friday's Faces From the Past, Montgomery, Montgomery Line, Research, Walker

Friday’s Faces from the Past – The Mysterious Family from Olney

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!