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Month: June 2016

A Clue in Samuel Downing’s Bible

A Clue in Samuel Downing’s Bible

Samuel Downing was born in Maryland. The family soon moved west. At the age of 18 he served with the Ohio Militia in the War of 1812. In 1818 he married Margaret Matthews in Pike County, Ohio. After her death he married her widowed sister Mary Matthews Day.

Margaret and Mary were daughters of John Matthews, said to be a surveyor. The name of their mother is unknown. The only surviving Matthews child in 1880, William, said on the census that year his father was born in Ireland and his mother was born Pennsylvania.

Samuel Downing keep a record of the family in his Bible. The Bible, definitely a Protestant Bible, was printed in Dublin, Ireland, in 1781. Samuel kept his family records, except his own birth and death, and the Matthews family records in the Bible. The writing appears to be the same hand until Samuel’s death.

In the Bible is this mysterious listing: “Thomas Matthews Deceased January the 17th in the yeare of our lord 1833” and “And Sarah Matthews his Wife Died May the 15th in the yeare of our Lord 1840.”

There is no missing Thomas Matthews. Thomas, brother of Margaret and Mary, died in 1875, and he left a will. The probate documents state he died February 11, 1875, leaving “no widow, nor children, father or mother, but heirs John Mathews, heirs Margaret Downing, heirs Mary Downing, heirs Jane Lawrence and William Mathews.” Those are the Matthews children. The will indicates he was mute. (Matthews is spelled different ways in different places. Samuel Downing was consistent with Matthews.)

There is no hard information as to the name of the the Matthews father. It has always been said his name was John but I find no proof. It is possible it was assumed from the naming pattern of the children.

Samuel and Margaret named their children: George (Samuel’s father), Sarah, Elizabeth (Samuel’s mother), Thomas, Mary Jane (Jane was the name of one of George’s sisters and one of Margaret’s sisters; Margaret also had a sister Mary) and Samuel.

Maybe the name of the parents of the Matthews children was never a mystery. Maybe Samuel told us their names: Thomas and Sarah.

A Farmer is Born

A Farmer is Born

On this  date 128 years ago in a farmhouse three miles northwest of Mt. Pulaski in Logan County, Illinois, Eliza Harding Downing gave birth to her second son, Ellis. The couple already had an 18 month old.

When Ellis was two he got another brother.  This picture was taken when he was about 4, just before his maternal grandparents, their other daughter and three sons, none of whom were married at the time, moved to Iowa. His father’s father had served with his mother’s father during the Civil War. His paternal grandfather died in Arkansas as the war ended of “typhoid pneumonia.”

William H. Downing family

Apparently there was good rail service between north central Iowa because there seems to have been visiting between Eliza in Illinois and her family in Iowa.

The fourth and final son came when Ellis was 8. The family was complete. Or they gave up hope of ever having a girl.

The family had been living on land which William had inherited from his grandfather as his father’s heir when he came of age. Now he was able to purchase more of it. With the help of his sons he cleared the land. They wore high leather boots to protect them from snakes. They built a new house half mile east. Things were going well.

Then, in the fall of 1903 tragedy, struck. The oldest son, Clarence, caught typhoid. Then Ellis got it. William nursed Ellis while Eliza cared for the younger boys and the recovering Clarence. Then William got typhoid. Both of the boys survived but William did not. Just before Christmas he died leaving a widow and four minor sons.

It was not the plan for Ellis to be a farmer. He went to business school. But, in the end, Ellis was the one who stayed on the land and farmed while his brothers went their  ways. Each of his brothers and their wives had one son. Ellis and his wife had three sons. After 11 years he had a daughter – and then another one.

He died two weeks after his 90th birthday.

 

Restoration Movement

Restoration Movement

The Lake Fork Predestinarian Baptists, formed in 1827, the first known organized religious group in Logan County, began to splinter and by 1860 members were leaving although a new church was built in 1868 and services were held until 1894.

The Restoration Movement also known as the Disciples of Christ and generally know as the Christian Church took hold in the county and appears to have been the impetus for the movement away from the Baptists.

There was a Buckles Church on land donated by John Buckles. As people moved toward Lake Fork a church was formed there and the building which housed the Buckles congregation was moved Carlyle Cemetery. It no longer stands.

The Mt. Pulaski Christian was formed following a series of revival like meetings. It remains and is active.

The Copeland Christian Church was formed in 1866 at the southern end of Mt. Pulaski Township. The Copeland Church building still stands although it is not a church. The Buckles and Copeland families were members of the Baptist church before forming those Christian Churches. The Copelands had come from Ohio with the church group.

Christian Churches were also formed at Elkhart and Latham. A short (and incomplete) history of the Restoration Movement in Logan County can be found here.

Moved Away

Moved Away

Recently I had a discussion with a relative – our mothers were cousins – about some family members. I knew they married but lost track after that. She remarked it was because I moved away.

I have heard a version of that before. But you know, if your ancestors hadn’t “moved away” you’d still be living in a cave in eastern Europe or wherever they currently think we came from.

Our mutual ancestors come from people who “moved away” for several generations. It’s my “last in” line with the shortest “moved away” history. The other lines had been moving away from Europe, then the east coast and so on, some for 200 years, when the Ryans arrived.

Michael Ryan married Catherine Donovan in Lismore Parish, Waterford, Ireland, November 26, 1825. They decided to move away. They boarded the Russell Baldwin in Liverpool and arrived in New York on July 28, 1834. They brought Bridget, Daniel Edward and John with them.

For reasons I can’t begin to imagine, they moved away from New York to southeast Wisconsin. They are not to be confused with another Ryan family who also went to that part of Wisconsin.

In 1844 they were living in Merton Township, Waukesha County, according to a later court transcript. They were there for the 1850 census. They managed to appear in court records so they are fairly easy to track.

In 1855 Daniel Edward married Catherine J. McKenney. Her parents had moved away from Ireland to New York where she was born and then moved away to Wisconsin.

In 1865 the Daniel and Catherine and their sons moved away from Wisconsin. Their sixth son, Thomas, was born in Wisconsin in 1864. The seventh son Edward Daniel, was born St. Joseph, Andrew County, Missouri, in 1865. Eventually Daniel and Catherine had 12 sons, including three sets of twins. Eight survived.

Daniel and Catherine were in Missouri about seven years, then moved away again, finally settling in Harper County, Kansas. There Edward Daniel Ryan met Lillie Margaret Wood. Her family had been trying to move away from Logan County, Illinois, to various places for years. Lillie was born in Falls County, Texas, on one attempt. Edward and Lillie married November 16, 1886, in Harper County. Shortly thereafter, her family moved away for the last time, back to where they started.

Edward and Lillie had a daughter and the trouble began. It was settled when Edward and Lillie got into a covered wagon with their daughter and moved away to Logan County, Illinois, where they stayed for the rest of their lives. They had nine more children, some of whom eventually moved away.

Where Does It End?

Where Does It End?

When I began entering my genealogy into PAF in the 1980s I pretty much stopped at my grandparents. Yes, my aunts and uncles, cousins and siblings, are there but not all the children of my grandparents’ cousins. Certainly not their children. Maybe not my cousin’s children. Vaguely there were concerns about privacy but also I wasn’t thinking about contemporaries. I was entering ancestors.

With DNA there is the suggestion you need six generations of complete information. I’m doing ok – with some notable exceptions – until I get to the children of my mother’s first cousins. But say my oldest great nephew wants to do his DNA. Six generations (in our mutual line) would be his mother, his grandfather, great grandmother, great great grandparents, 3rd great grandparents. I know or knew all those people! I have them in my database. But I don’t have all of their descendants. I’d probably recognize the names.

Now add all of his ancestors who married my relatives – his father, other grandparents and so on. I have no clue.

I don’t have an inclination to do any research to get all those people into my database. I could spend the rest of my life working on ancestors and, since I have a choice, that’s what I plan to do. Yes, if the information comes my way I’ll enter it so I can make you a chart. But you have to research it, source it, etc.