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Expand the View 2

Expand the View 2

This is my maternal grandfather’s mother’s line.


Eliza S. “Lida” Harding [1869-1942] m. William H. Downing [1863-1903] m. John Rupp [1878-1935]
do
Benjamin Harding [1836-1915] m. Mary Ellen Clark [1847-1914]
so 
Daniel Harding [1798-1869] m. Elizabeth Wilson [1801-1884]
so
John Bennett Hardin [?-1849] probable but not sufficiently proven – his ancestors are known should proof surface


My maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother’s line.


Mary Ellen Clark [1847-1914] m. Benjamin Harding [1836-1915]
do
Rev. Richard Winans Clark [1808-1854] m. Margaret Ann Clark [1808-1867]
so
Rev. David Clark [1776-1847] m. Rachel Rutter [? – c 1803] m. Sarah Winans [1788-1843]
so
David Clark [1737-c 1802] m. Sarah Winans [1737-1807]


Margaret Ann Clark was the daughter of Rev. David Clark’s brother John Winans Clark [1779-1859] m. Ann “Nancy” Isgrig [1783-1867]. The Isgrig line can be traced back to William Isgrig, son of William and Ann. William Isgrig was transported from Old Bailey in London to Maryland in 1740 instead of being hanged for stealing after his boss testified on his behalf. This record is online.


The Winans go way back and include early New Englanders as well as early Dutch. The ancestry of David Clark is 100% unproven. It’s a very common name. A fantasy version can be found online. My theory is he came from Scotland and brought the passion for the Methodist religion his descendants carried west with him.


I know nothing about Elizabeth Wilson except she also came from Virginia but they were married in Ohio. They had at least 13 children, most of whom apparently did not reach adulthood. One, Wilson, appears to be buried at Laenna with his wife Christena. I have no clue.


My maternal grandfather’s paternal grandmother’s line.


Delilah J. Downing [1842-1909] m. William N. Downing [1839-1865] m. David Shellhammer [1830-1912]
do
Robert Downing [1793-1887] m. Jane Morrow [1802-1882]
so
John Downing [1762-1838] m. Hannah Frakes [1766-1842]
so
James Downing [?-?] m. Nancy Gardner [?-?]
so
brick wall


Several Morrow children married Downings and Shoups [sister of John Downing] in Ohio. The Morrows were from New York. 


Hannah Frakes was the daughter of Robert Frakes, born in England about 1746, who married Mary Dawson in Pennsylvania about 1766. 


Some Downing, Frakes, Shoup and other families traveled from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Illinois together or in tandem.

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.

Joseph A. Bozarth Probate

Joseph A. Bozarth Probate

Joseph A. Bozarth wrote his will on February 28, 1896. He died April 18, 1897, in Illiopolis, Sangamon County. I got it through IRAD because it less expensive. Also, the interns at IRAD are more experienced at finding the entire file. It’s their job. It is not the primary job of the Circuit Court Clerk. Documents from IRAD are generally copied in the format in which they exist, ie, double sided pages are copied double sided.


Joseph Bozarth was born in Morgan County where he married Elizabeth Ann Henry and they moved to Sangamon County as did his brother William and his wife Lucinda Jones. William died on January 28, 1896, possibly prompting Joseph to write his will a month later. 


Elizabeth survived her husband as did two of their five children, Florence Bozarth and Eva Bozarth Wood. Eva was married to William Tobias Wood.


Bozarth left his wife a life estate in his property. At the death of his wife and after paying all debts he left the remainder in two parts, “one part to Florence Bozarth without qualification, the other part to be invested in real estate for the benefit of Eva Wood, her heirs and assigns forever.” He intended it to be entailed forever.


We also know from the probate that they were members of the Christian Church in Illiopolis which got $7.50 from the estate.


It would appear that Joseph Bozarth did not think Florence would marry. He wanted to make sure Eva’s inheritance went to her children and not her husband – a totally unnecessary precaution since Eva outlived her husband by nearly 30 years but not an uncommon one.


Elizabeth Henry Bozarth did not die for ten years, on February 7, 1907, in Kansas. Florence Bozarth did indeed marry, to a Nichols. She received notice of the final estate settlement by mail under that name. Unfortunately no address was given. There is no marriage in the Illinois State Archives database which may just mean she married after 1900.





The Bozarth monument in Riverside Cemetery, Illiopolis, cost $184.15. Elizabeth’s plaque is on the other side.


The final settlement of the estate did not occur until December 22, 1908.

William Henry Downing Probate

William Henry Downing Probate

William Henry Downing’s probate file came from the Logan County Circuit Clerk. Parts of it could be found at IRAD and the whole probate would be in the FamilySearch files.


On December 2, 1903, in the typhoid epidemic, William Henry Downing died. He was the only child of William Nelson Downing, who died in the Civil War, ironically of “typhoid pneumonia,” and Delilah Downing Downing. He was 40 years old, not expecting to die and had no will.





His heirs were his widow Eliza Harding Downing, sons Clarence, Charles Ellis, Ennis and Floyd. Clarence was 17 and Floyd was 7. [Floyd isn’t in the picture.]


The widow was named Administrix on December 8, 1903. David Shellhammer, husband of Delilah Downing Downing, and James Shellhammer, Delilah’s first son by her second marriage, stood as sureties. Appointed as appraisers were Lewis Upp, Charles Brooker and William Beckers, all three very close neighbors. Brooker would become the father in law of the eldest son Clarence. Upp was married to a Lincoln, descendant of the same immigrant ancestor as the more famous Lincoln.


They finished up their work promptly and reported on December 28, 1903, valuing the property of the estate at $4,700.25. The list is four pages long and is quite specific at times – “6 rocking chairs, 1 bay mare named Brownie, 1 red steer, 1 gray mare, 66 hogs” – and less specific at others – “1 lot of chickens” [which I first read as “a lot of chickens”]. 


The value of the widow’s property as prescribed by law, which included school books, a sewing machine, beds, one fourth of a cow for every family member [fortunately for the cow there were four members], two sheep for every family member, one horse, etc., was $1,281.50. 


The Administrix reported on March 23, 1907. There was $4,700.25 in receipts which included $599.37 for “property not sold but kept…to make up amount shown on appraisement bill.” In the long list of bills totalling $3,704.76 we learn that funeral expense was $263.75 and the stone cost $1,140. The balance after all bills was $995.49, less than the widows’ amount.





The land apparently passed separately. It is not mentioned. Each son received 80 acres which was farmed by son Ellis until the early 1970s. Most of it is now farmed by his grandson, Roy Downing.

Delilah Downing Downing Shellhammer Will

Delilah Downing Downing Shellhammer Will

Delilah Downing Downing Shellhammer was the youngest child of Robert Downing whose probate was previously discussed. I had never considered that she had a will or probate but I found it in the probate records posted online at FamilySearch. These probate files are more work to collect, not being word searchable, but they are also free. Help with the records





Delilah died June 22, 1909. She first married William Nelson Downing who died in the Civil War. She then married David Shellhammer. She had a son, William Henry Downing, by her first husband. William Henry died in 1903 leaving four sons. She had two sons, James and Albert, and two daughters, Sarah Jane Shellhammer West and Augusta Shellhammer Park, by her second husband. 


On June 1, 1909, Delilah executed a will. Delilah couldn’t write and had to sign it with her mark. Whether Delilah couldn’t write or was too ill to write at the time is unknown.


Delilah very carefully and specifically divided her property into fifths giving one fifth to each child and the remaining fifth to be equally among the heirs of her deceased son William. Her estate consisted of her personal effects and furniture and land in Section 1, Mt. Pulaski Township. She directed that one heir buy out all the others and that the others cooperate to do that.


Finally she named T. A. Scroggin executor of her will. There were no claims against the estate. Everyone cooperated and probate closed November 1, 1909. 


Some of Delilah’s descendants should have taken a lesson from her will.

10,000 Dead People

10,000 Dead People

It was a long and miserable December thanks to the cold from hell. The bright spot is when I was able to be up but not able to go out I worked on my “10,000 Dead People” database and got it to a place where it could be uploaded. I had to divide it into thirds to do that and fidget with the formatting to get each part to reasonable size. It went up the last week of December and almost immediately I began receiving additions, corrections, etc.

What I personally call 10,000 Dead People is basically a list of people buried in south Logan County, Illinois. Why there? With only a few exceptions this includes all of my ancestors back to the beginning of this country so I am particularly concentrated in this location. Unfortunately that made it more difficult to work on which is why I gave it the frivolous name. I am related to a lot of these people, was very close to some of them, knew many more of them. It’s difficult to look at some of them as a name on a stone. Too many memories.

Now it is up and it is a great resource for those researching in south Logan County along with the Logan County ILGenWeb site which, if I do say so, contains many resources for researchers of the same area.

It’s permanently a work in progress. If you have additions or corrections send them on.

10,000 Dead People

10,000 Dead People

For several years I have been working on a massive database of, basically, burials in south Logan County. It includes cemeteries from Hurlbut, Elkhart, Mt. Pulaski, Lake Fork, Laenna and Aetna Townships and two in Chester. Elkhart is not complete. I frivolously named it “10,000 Dead People.” Otherwise it gets a bit too close.


It is more than just a list of the burials. Jane DeWitt, who set up the original list, looked up these people in various sources and added information to the basic list. I have reduced it to the number of columns which fit on a landscape page. I have added information. There may be a maiden name, date of death and maybe birth, spouse, parents, cause of death, military, occupation and assorted other information.


It has taken forever to get it into a format that can be used on the web and then get it into consistent columns. I am still cleaning up columns. It is very time consuming. As I try to clean up each row I get distracted. I knew many of these people. It includes people very close to me. Further, as a genealogist, I want to add information. Finally I gave up, stopped adding information and just worked on consistent columns – all the military in the military column, etc.


At this point I am approximately one third done. Rather than wait until I am done I am going to be putting it online as it is and then continue working on it. I anticipate it will be up by January 1, 2011.


I anticipate there are many, many errors. Some are caused by the manipulations the file has gone through. Some are caused by errors in previous transcriptions. Some are caused by using old books with bad or faint handwriting. There was reliance on old histories which, as we know, were not necessarily accurate to begin with. If you see something in the database that you believe is incorrect do not hesitate to let me know. Please include why you believe it to be incorrect. Ideally the final corrected version will include citations where appropriate.


Ideally I will eventually link names to other things – printed obits, photos, printed bios, etc. I don’t know if that is feasible at this point but I hope it is.


Stay tuned.

War of 1812

War of 1812

John Downing was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. After the war he left Pennsylvania for Ohio where he lived for many years before moving on to Logan County in 1821. John and his wife Hannah Frakes had nine children, three of whom served in the War of 1812 from Ohio. They were living in Madison County at the time.

The eldest son John was a Private in Captain Levi Pinney’s Company, First Regiment [McArthur’s], Ohio Militia. He enlisted May 1, 1812, the same day as his brother Josiah, and was discharged December 12, 1812. Josiah, the second son, was killed in action against the British on July 20, 1812. John named his first son Josiah. John died in 1819 in Ohio. His widow was living with her in-laws in the 1820 census but apparently did not travel to Illinois with them. Josiah left a widow but no children.

John and Hannah’s third son and fourth child was Robert Downing. He served in Capt. John Wilson’s Company of the Ohio Militia May 8-29, 1813, and July 26-August 26, 1813. This is the service listed in his pension record. He also served as a Private, Renick’s Mounted Regiment, Ohio Volunteers. In 1819 Robert married Jane Morrow and in 1821 traveled to Logan County, Illinois, with his parents and surviving siblings. They had 10 children, three of whom married children of a neighbor [unrelated] named Samuel Downing. In general the descendants of John are buried at Bowers-Templeman. The descendants of Samuel are buried at Downing.

Vanishing DAR Markers

Vanishing DAR Markers

Humphrey Scroggin was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Note the DAR markers on his grave in Steenbergen Cemetery, Mt. Pulaski Township, Logan County, Illinois. He also has a flat military plaque. The stone was saved and repaired through the intervention of Dalen and the late Sandra Shellhammer, genealogists who oversaw the cemetery operations for years.

Literally just a few feet away is the stone for Revolutionary War veteran Abraham Lucas. The above picture was taken in 2001. Note the edge of the DAR marker. This Memorial Day that marker was no longer there. There is no military marker. You would not know Lucas was the forefather of many DAR members.

Blog Hits Pay Dirt

Blog Hits Pay Dirt

On February 1 I wrote about Berryman B. Wood, my great great grandfather. I have some pictures and a lot of questions.

http://genealogysleuth.blogspot.com/2009/02/mystery-of-berryman-b-wood.html

As a result I have heard from several people. Two are relatives who have never lived in Logan County. The first is a granddaughter of his son, also Berryman B. Wood, who moved to Minnesota. When I was a child her twin aunts and their husbands [brothers] visited several times. Marlys resides in Minnesota. She has some great pictures.

Tessa wrote that she was related to a cousin. I hear that a lot and it invariably turns out to my relative’s husband. But Tessa said no, she is a 3 great granddaughter of Berryman and a great granddaughter of my great aunt Mary. Her family had been the subject of discussion just days before. As soon as we had the connection figured out I heard from her aunt who lives directly across the state from me.

Tessa, young as she is, has been researching for about 15 years. She had lots of information. She even has a possible death date for Berryman. And yes, she has pictures, lots of pictures. Her great grandmother and my grandmother were sisters. I am having a great time with the pictures.

We’ve been trading all the stories about family skeletons. The infamous ones were in the family only by marriage but we have some that are almost as good who are blood relatives.

Eventually we should be able to draw a much more complete picture of this family line.