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October 2

October 2

Using On This Day the other day I learned that three siblings were married on the same day. Very curious.

Carl Henry Lipp married Cora Mae Ryan on October 2, 1907. Cora’s brother Amos Albert Ryan married Anna Amela Hubner on October 2, 1913. Their sister Mary Augusta Ryan married Jasper Andrew Veech on October 2, 1924. These are siblings of my grandmother, all of whom I knew and most of whom I remember fondly.

I have not been able to find any reason why they would chose October 2, no historical significance or anything. Since On This Day shows me births and deaths as well as marriages I see no connection there. It’s a puzzle. Needless to say, there is no one to ask.

I have no connection to the program, etc. etc. I just find it useful. It is connected to GedStar Pro which is free for Android. When checking the website I learned the calendar part is now called GedStar Today. It appears it is only for Android. Apple and Windows users are out of luck.

FEMALE ANCESTORS

FEMALE ANCESTORS

How many generations in your direct female line do you know? This question is for females. The way records were kept men can generally go further back with data on male lines than females with their female lines. Mitochondrial DNA is inherited solely from the mother and thus enables the trace of your maternal line back in time. Unfortunately it can’t put a name to the members of the line.

Obviously you are #1 and your mother is #2. My maternal grandmother #3 was Leona Ethel Ryan Downing who was born in 1892 and died in 1975. Her mother was Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan #4. Lillie was born in 1871 and died in 1956. I knew all of these people. Lillie’s mother, #5, was Sarah Katherine Lucas Wood. Sarah was born in 1835 and died in 1896. Sarah’s mother was Mary Turner Lucas #6. She was born in 1813 and died in 1855. Lillie, Sarah and Mary are buried in the same area of Lake Bank Cemetery, Lake Fork Township, Logan County, Illinois.

Mary’s mother was Margaret Low Turner. Margaret #7 was born in Maryland around 1793, had 13 children and died, presumably, in DeWitt County, Illinois, after 1870. Her husband Allen had died in DeWitt in April 1846. Margaret’s mother was Mary Low, maiden name unknown. We know her name was Mary from land records in Ohio. Mary #8 was born about 1771 in Maryland, married Nathan Low and died after 1827, presumably in Madison now Clark County, Ohio, where her husband died a few years later.

Expand the View

Expand the View

I recently had a lengthy email correspondence with another transplanted Logan County native. We have different backgrounds and no ancestors in common but when we started talking our ancestors, collaterals and their families brushed at so many spots that I learned new things.


This indicates to me it would be worthwhile to expand our somewhat limited view and see what turns up.


If you have any connection to these lines or think you might – or know anything that might be interesting – I want to hear from you.


This is my maternal grandfather’s direct male line [with spouses]. This is what is used for most DNA, which will come up later. 


Ellis Downing [1888-1978] m L. Ethel Ryan [1892-1975]
so
William H. Downing [1863-1903] m. Eliza S. Harding [1869-1942]
so
William N. Downing [1839-1865] m. Delilah J. Downing [1842-1909]
so
Samuel Downing [1794-1866] m. Margaret Matthews [1797-1836] m. Mary Matthews Day [1800-1847]
so
George Downing [1867-1848] m. Elizabeth Bennett [1772-1802] m. Winifred Downing [1778-1841]
so
Timothy Downing [c 1744-c 1800] m. unknown m. Mary Chenoweth [1749-after 1791]
so
brick wall


Samuel Downing came to Logan County with his second wife Mary Matthews. Samuel was born in Maryland, lived many years in Ohio and came to Illinois. Mary was born in Ohio. Samuel’s first wife Margaret was Mary’s sister. Samuel’s brother Thomas, members of his assorted families and various members of the Matthews family also came to Logan County. According to family history John Matthews, father of Margaret, Mary and others, was born in Ulster, Ireland. This is important.


Samuel’s father and grandfather were also born in Maryland.


Note that there are two Downing-Downing marriages. Delilah is the daughter of Robert, son of John, all of Logan County. John came from “Virginia” which, at the time, could be about anywhere. Before his father James he is a blank.


Winifred is the daughter of Joseph, another Downing line living in Pike County, Ohio, but Joseph came there from Maryland. Before that he is a blank.


To the best of anyone’s knowledge and all research to date, these three lines are not related.


Enter DNA. DNA testing indicates that all three [and one or two others tested] have a common ancestor back about the above Timothy’s grandfather. This totally ruins my theory that they came by UFO, a theory which conveniently explains some relatives. 


Further, testing indicates they came from Ulster. It appears likely, from research in yet another DNA matched line which my ancestors did not marry, that this common ancestor came in through District 96, South Carolina. This will come up again. Sarah Kirby and Humphrey Scroggin were married there. But that’s another line.


See, we already have circles.

More Pictures, More Story

More Pictures, More Story



We have pondered last week’s picture for more than a dozen years. For some reason it has always intrigued me. Sometimes you just need to put it aside. When you go back and ask the question again someone might have the answer. Or your brain may just kick in.


What’s event? My sister’s idea is likely the correct answer, Edward Daniel Ryan’s birthday, what would be his last one, July 14, 1950. We already knew it was taken in the summer of 1950 and that would make sense as the reason.

Where are the rest of the relatives then? I have literally thousands of pictures. The original picture came from my files – although there are multiple copies of it around. But I had not seen these two from Tessa Rasnick, a great great granddaughter of Lillie and Edward. She sent them to me sometime in the last year and I hadn’t really gotten to them [because there was another interesting picture in the group]. They are before her mother’s time but her great grandmother Mary Ryan Veech is in the pictures.



Here are Edward and Lillie Wood Ryan with all five of their then surviving children. Obviously this is the same day and location. Margaret, Mary, Lillie, Ethel, Edward, Cora [partially hidden], Wilford.






And here are more people, not too many of the men – and this was before tv – and more children. Of the males I only know my uncle Orville, last one on the left. All my older cousins are in the picture but I am missing as is my aunt Patricia, soon to be a bride.










Now I wonder if there are more pictures of that day hiding in a box in the back of a closet somewhere.
Final Four – Who Are They?

Final Four – Who Are They?

This picture, taken during my lifetime, continues to baffle me. I am looking for the final four pieces in the puzzle. 


I can date the picture by the oldest and youngest. Edward Daniel Ryan died at Christmas 1950 and the infant is Jacqueline Green, born October 1949, making this warm weather after May 1950. From the background I would guess it was taken at Emagene Veech Green’s home in the country between Mt. Pulaski and Illiopolis.


There are 19 relatives in this picture. I identified 13. Emagene Green was able to identify two more. That leaves four we don’t know and yet we know they are almost undoubtedly descendants of Benjamin B. and Sarah Lucas Wood or the spouse of a descendant.





Back row, Irma Mae Ryan Sapp, Margaret Ryan Rentchler Graul, Janet Downing Rubin, Thelma Volle Downing, Vera Brown Downing, Ethel Ryan Downing, no clue, no clue, Bessie Wood Meade, Cora Ryan Lipp, no clue, Marie Wood Havener Heard, Mary Ryan Veech.


Front row, Betty Downing Rothwell Atwood, Lillie Wood Ryan, no clue, Edward Daniel Ryan, Emagene Veech Green, Jacqueline Green Kapper. I’m sure the two younger women in the front row got to sit because Emagene was holding a baby and Betty had had one in May.


Cora, Ethel, Mary and Margaret are among the 10 children of Lillie and Edward Ryan. The unknowns are not from their families. Bessie and Marie are daughters of Lillie’s brother Caleb Wood and his wife Marcy Conaway. The unknowns may be connected to them.


And, I wonder, where are the men and the rest of the children. Without a doubt I was there. 


If you know the answer to this puzzle PLEASE let me know.

The Dress

The Dress

This is the dress made for Ethel Ryan for her marriage to Ellis Downing on January 19, 1910, at the Lincoln Christian Church. Check out that waist – 18 inches.

In 1910, as told in an earlier post, Ethel, her two older sisters and her mother were pregnant. Ethel’s sister Cora had made the dress. When Cora’s daughter was born she cut up the dress to make baby dresses for her daughter. Ethel was not thrilled. Cora said Ethel would not be needing a wedding dress again so what was the big deal. It always rankled but the two remained close until Cora’s death less than 14 months before Ethel’s.

How Did You Meet Grandpa?

How Did You Meet Grandpa?

Sunday, April 14, 1907, was Ethel Ryan’s 15th birthday. Although not a member, she went to the dedication of the new Mt. Pulaski Christian Church building with her friend. There was a social. Also at the event was Ellis Downing whose minister ancestors and their family founded several of the Methodist Churches in Logan County and across central Illinois. Ellis enjoyed music and dancing, which the Methodist Church in 1907 did not, so he and his brother were attending the Christian Church. The couple met that day.

Ellis was the second of the four sons of William Nelson and Eliza Sciota Harding Downing, our Lida of prior posts. Ellis’ father, who farmed land his family originally settled, had died of typhoid in 1903.

Ethel was the third daughter of Edward Daniel and Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan [“A Family Affair”]. Teddie was a bricklayer whose ancestors came from Ireland in the 1830s. Both of Lillie’s parents were descendants of Abraham Lucas. To be kind, Teddie liked his drink. The families did not know each other, certainly were not in the same social or economic circles. Most would have said the couple had nothing in common.

Ellis’ older brother Clarence was dating Lena Drake. Her stepfather was Charles Brooker. The Brookers lived half a mile west of the Downing household. The families were friends and the couple seemed well suited.

Eventually the talk to turned to marriage and it seemed natural to have a double wedding. Lena could afford a wedding. Ethel could not. In order to have the double wedding Ellis paid for Ethel’s dress. The couples, joined by their mothers, went by horse and buggy to Lincoln on January 19, 1910, where they were married at the Lincoln Christian Church. Both couples settled down to farming.

Ellis and Ethel had five children. She died on January 8, 1975, 11 days short of the couple’s 65th wedding anniversary. Ellis wrote his family story to be placed in the cornerstone of the new sanctuary of the Mt Pulaski Christian Church, starting with the story of their meeting in 1907. He witnessed the dedication of that new sanctuary in 1977 and died on June 28, 1978.

Clarence and Lena had one son, Darwin. They eventually divorced. One September day in 1942 Clarence showed up at Ellis and Ethel’s’ home and said he felt ill. They put him to bed and called the doctor but Clarence died on September 28, 1942. Lena died in October of 1985.

A Family Affair

A Family Affair

In 1910 the three oldest daughters of Edward and Lillie Wood Ryan were “in a family way.” Sarah Katherine Ryan Kinert, the eldest, already had a young son, Floyd. It would be the first for Cora Ryan Lipp and Ethel Ryan Downing. Their mother was also expecting.

On August 9, 1910, the Ryan sisters’ youngest sister Margaret was born. On August 26 Ethel’s eldest son Orville was born. On December 1 Cora’s only child Dorthalene was born. On January 18, 1911, Sadie’s daughter, Adela, was born. Then things went terribly wrong. Eight days later Sadie died, apparently of sepsis.

The widower was unable to take care of the children and work too. Floyd went to live with Cora. Adela was raised by another family.

Cora and Ethel lived past 80. Floyd died of an infection at 28. I never knew Adela. My mother never met her. I don’t recall hearing her mentioned except in response to direct questions. By the time I had enough information and the internet to track her down she had died.

A New Vaccine

A New Vaccine

We are thinking about swine flu vaccine. In the early 1950s polio was the deadly threat. In Logan County there was a woman who had worked tirelessly for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis – you know it as the March of Dimes – since its founding in 1938. When the Salk vaccine was made available in 1953 and shots were to begin they chose Ethel Ryan Downing to select the first first or second grader in Logan County to receive the shot. Before she could chose it was discovered one of her many grandchildren was in fact a first grader at Mt. Pulaski. She didn’t want to chose him, feeling it was selfish, but the organization insisted.

Thus it was that on his mother’s birthday in 1953, Ethel Downing’s grandson Terry, dressed in his cowboy shirt, got the first polio vaccine in Logan County, followed closely by all the other first and second graders in the county.

No one knew why she was so devoted to that particular cause. Her husband Ellis said she volunteered for so many organizations but that one had a real hold on her. He didn’t know why either. The organization was founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt but Ethel was a staunch Republican. She knew no one with polio. She continued to work for the organization until polio was conquered. They didn’t forget her. When she died in 1975 one of the biggest wreaths came from the March of Dimes.

Lillie Margaret Wood

Lillie Margaret Wood

Lida died before I was born. A couple great grandmothers hung around until I arrived. The one I knew most of Lillie Margaret Wood Ryan.

Lillie had a long hard life. She was a daughter of Berryman B. Wood. Her paternal grandfather was Solomon Wood, 2nd Coroner of Logan County, Illinois. Her great grandfather was Abraham Lucas saw Revolutionary War service and whose proven line goes back to the Huguenots in France. [Unproven and somewhat creative reports go to Charlemagne.]  The Lucases arrived in America in 1710. Other early ancestors were Quakers, arriving on the second voyage of the Kent. On her mother’s side she was a great great great granddaughter of the same Abraham and Marcy Kelsey Lucas.  Marcy’s father served in the Revolutionary War and her Kelsey ancestors arrived in New England in 1631.

As previously mentioned, Berryman B. Wood was not a great provider. While the family was in Kansas for a few years Lillie met Edward Daniel Ryan, son of a neighboring farmer, and they married. When her parents returned to Illinois the newlyweds remained.

That went sour fast. Apparently there was a major disagreement over the religion of their first child, daughter Sarah Catherine. Lillie came from a long line of early adopters of the “new religion.” Daniel and his family were Catholics, the religion her ancestors left. His parents came from Ireland as toddlers. Apparently they failed to discuss this prior to the marriage. There was no compromise.

In the 18 months between their first and second child the couple packed up a covered wagon and moved to Mt. Pulaski, Logan County, Illinois, where Lillie’s family lived. They never saw his family or any relative again although we know he received correspondence from his mother. His father died within two years of their departure.

 

Lillie and Daniel had 10 children, eight of whom survived childhood.  They never had much. Edward took up drinking although he worked every day there was work. According to my grandfather, who never had a drop of liquor in his life, his father-in-law put in a good full day’s work every day and closed the bar each night before rolling home to begin all over again.

In 1950, a few days before Christmas, Daniel died while exchanging gifts with his youngest daughter. He was 85. They buried him on Christmas Eve beside her parents and in the shadow of her maternal ancestors. Shortly thereafter Lillie took to her bed. For a few years she got away with it, her children and grandchildren coming in to cook and clean. Eventually she went to the Christian nursing home. On Christmas Eve 1956 Lillie died at the age of 85.