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THREE BROTHERS

THREE BROTHERS

There were three brothers who went to Illinois. Most genealogists will tell you if it starts with “there were three brothers” or a descent from an Indian princess or royalty it is likely fantasy genealogy. Not so fast.

David Clark of Rahway, New Jersey, married Sarah Winans. They had nine known children, all born in New Jersey. The youngest three, all boys, were David, John Winans and Isaac – our three brothers who went to Illinois. They all went from Rahway to Miami County, Ohio, to Sangamon County, Illinois, although not together.

David Clark  went to Kentucky in 1798 and married Rachel Rutter there about 1800. She died in 1804. He went to Cincinnati in 1805, made brick for the first brick house there, then went back to New Jersey where in 1806 he married Sarah Winans. They became, like his parents, David Clark and Sarah Winans. In 1809 they moved to Miami County, Ohio. David’s oldest son Richard Winans Clark married John Winans’ second daughter Margaret Ann Clark in 1829 in Miami County, Ohio. The same year David, Sarah, the newlyweds and most of David and Sarah’s other children packed up and moved to Sangamon County, Illinois. David was a farmer and a Methodist preacher.

John Winans married Ann “Nancy” Isgrig in Bourbon County, Kentucky. They soon went to Miami County, Ohio. Family records indicate that their son Daniel was born in Ohio in 1812 but John Winans did service in the War of 1812 in the Kentucky Mounted Volunteer Militia, mustering in on August 31, 1813. After that he was undoubtedly in Ohio. He did not settle in Sangamon County, soon to be Logan County, Illinois, until 1838 when he was 60 years old. At that time his eldest daughter Hannah and her husband Asa French also moved to Logan County.

Isaac, the youngest, first married Lydia Zeliph. She died before 1821. He then married the widow Sarah Royal Stought, in Miami County, Ohio.  In 1829 they went Illinois, almost certainly stopping first in Sangamon County, where Sarah’s daughter Hannah by her first marriage married David Ward Clark, a child of Isaac’s brother John Winans, in Sangamon now Logan in 1831. Note that John Winans was not yet in Illinois but several of his children were. Issac settled in Fulton County where he owned a water powered grist mill.

Three brothers did come to Illinois. So far no Indian princesses or royalty. My emigrant Isgrig ancestor was transported to America by his majesty, a prisoner from Old Bailey – does that make a royalty connection?

13

13

Samuel Downing, my ggg grandfather, was second of 16 children. His immediate younger brother Thomas followed him to Illinois and purchased neighboring land.

Thomas had three wives. He apparently had a thing for the number 13 too. [Remember that.] He married Elizabeth Kellison in Pike County, OH, on May 13, 1819. They had five daughters before she died. He married Rebecca Huff in Pike County, OH, on September 13, 1832. They had three children, a daughter and two sons, before she died. He married Loretta Sherman, who was 17 years younger, on October 13, 1842, in Ohio. They had four children, three daughters and a son. Add it up. Thomas had 12 children, nine daughters and three sons.

On June 11, 1865, Thomas Downing died in Logan County, Illinois. The original probate documents leave a blank for his widow, list five daughters [Margaret, Nancy, Susan, Mary and Rebecca] and three sons [George, William, Thomas]. Three daughters [Caroline, Elizabeth and Sarah] had died young or at least without heir. The child of the deceased daughter Hannah Downing French is listed. 12 children, all accounted for. Thomas had no will and probate took some time.

There apparently was a dispute which resulted in a suit to partition and to assign specific land to Loretta as her dower. It was filed September 23, 1867, more than two years after Thomas’ death. This suit lists the heirs of Thomas as Loretta, the five daughters, the child of Hannah and his FOUR sons George, William T., Thomas and Samuel W.

Samuel W.??? Where did he come from?

Samuel W. duly got his share of the estate, specific parcels of land which can be found on 1873 plat maps. Since he was not a minor we can assume he was a child of one of the first two marriages. He is not mentioned in any other documents before or after but he is a very real presence in the probate documents.

Samuel, brother of Thomas, died 14 months after Thomas. His son Samuel Wesley inherited a share and controlled more of that estate as guardian for various other heirs.

Did the courts get confused when the names were the same and the lands were all in the same area? Are land records wrong?

Or is the mysterious Samuel W. the 13th child of Thomas? [cue ‘Twilight Zone’ theme]