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Category: Logan County

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.

Thomas Franklin Lucas

Thomas Franklin Lucas

Thomas Franklin Lucas was born in what is now Logan County on April 14, 1831. He married Mary Jane Buckles, a daughter of Robert and Mary “Polly” Birks Buckles [and my 4g grandparents], about 1852/53 [records lost in courthouse fire]. Thomas was the son of John T. and Sarah Bowman Lucas [both siblings of my 4g grandparents James and Hannah Bowman Lucas].

Thomas Franklin Lucas died on February 19, 1855, and was buried at Steenbergen. His widow married as his second wife Abner Copeland, a son of William and Sarah Lucas Copeland, and moved to Iowa and then Missouri.

When I asked for probate papers on Thomas Lucas, son of James and Hannah Bowman Lucas, I guess it is not a stretch that I was sent the probate file – or rather a portion of it – for this Thomas Lucas.

Spencer Turner Revisited

Spencer Turner Revisited

I have recently done more research on the Turners, not enough but more. Spencer Turner was one of the first settlers in DeWitt County, arriving in Wilson Township near Waynesville just east of Logan County in 1835. His parents had moved to Illinois in 1827 living first near Athens in Menard County, then Rocky Ford in Logan County, then to Waynesville in what became to DeWitt and eventually to Wapella.

From transcribed newspaper accounts of social goings on, which I read on the DeWitt County ILGenWeb site,  he apparently was not seriously damaged by being charged with murder and stiffing Abraham Lincoln. If I hadn’t read the court record I would have strongly suspected the story was not factual or heavily embellished but no, it is true.

Spencer’s stone in Sugar Grove Cemetery near Wapella does not look like that of a man who couldn’t pay his legal bill. You can see the stone here. When his widow Nancy Hoblit died in 1900 she had three lots in the town of Wapella and an 80 acre farm.

Web Archive

Web Archive

The Web Archive is a very useful tool. I suggest bookmarking it and checking it periodically.

Do a search for “logan county” illinois. Write it just like that including the quotes. Since the last time I checked they have the 1860 and 1870 census. They are long downloads since they put the entire state in one file but it is worth it. They also have some of the old histories, maybe one you are looking for.

It is free.

Scanning Update

Scanning Update

Ok, Ms. Smarty Pants, are your files perfect someone asked? Nope. And my system is not perfect to begin with, rather it is one that works for me and may work for you.

In my defense I have computer files dating back to 1987. Most have had had their file form changed a couple times. I used WordPerfect then – and still do – but I didn’t have Windows. I don’t remember if they had Windows yet at that time. Yes, hard to believe. These days when I have time I convert non photo files to pdf and try to rename them at that time.

I also have multiple lines with the same name. I have maternal and paternal Wood lines, unrelated. Ditto Harding and others. There are the Downings who were unrelated until about 1855 when they began intermarrying. Then there are common ancestors where I have multiple lines of descent. Abraham Lucas and David Clark [the mystery man who never got out of New Jersey] are two examples.

You need to make a basic plan, using logic that makes sense to you and that you can remember, and adapt it to your situation as these things arise. Consistency is the most important element.

How are the pictures coming? I have maybe – maybe – half of the boxed photos scanned. We are talking literally thousands of pictures. Only a small portion are named. I have an idea for the that when the scanning is done. I have found duplicates and pictures that there is no reason to save – I had a fine time when I first got a digital camera. Not all of the pictures are genealogically related of course.

I have found some amazing old photos I didn’t even know I had. There are people I don’t know who are probably related. There are people I don’t know but I am certain they are not related. And there are so many photos of one cute little girl that even I am getting tired of her. At this point I feel like just scanning and naming all the pictures will keep me busy until at least 2025. And with the SnapScan the scanning is now easy.

Why name in the same order, ie, surname, first name, type, date, location? One reason is to make sure you put everything in the name. Another useful reason is to sort them. Example, if named properly the following files will sort as follows:

Downing John census 1790 Westmoreland Pennsylvania.pdf
Downing John census 1810 Madison Ohio.pdf
Downing John census 1820 Madison Ohio.pdf
Downing John census 1830 Logan Illinois.pdf
Downing John land 1803 Madison Ohio.pdf
Downing John land 1821 Logan Illinois.pdf

and so on. It makes it handy to see what you have.

Before Logan County was formed it was Sangamon County. Except for land records for information on Logan County between the first settlement in 1819 until 1839 you must look in Sangamon County records. Most Sangamon County records for that period are housed at IRAD including Board of Supervisors’ records and files, various Circuit Court files, election records, marriage records, probate records.

Do not rule out any records. From the election records I found the following list of voters for Union Precinct [a precinct name I was not familiar with] on August 2, 1824:

Charles Counsel
Job Burden
Jacob Bryan
Mathew Rogers
Oliver W. Kellogg
Levi Cantrill
Archibald Constant
William Carpenter
Andrew Cline
Samuel Rhodes
Nathan Hussey
Joshua Sayles
Humphrey Taylor
Thomas Brock
John Orendorff
George Power
Robert Evans
Joseph Beedle
William Brock
Gardner Randolph
Joseph W. Center
Daniel Harper
Evans Brittin
Isace Morgan
Robert McClelland
Jonathan Hodge
Jeharias Lankston
Samuel Carman
John Hendricks
James W. Estill
Thomas Strawbridge
Richard Wright
William Estill
John Stevenson
Hezekiah Davis
Edward Davis
William Johnson
Jacob Dean
William Willcoxan
Nathan Kenneda
Hezekiah Briggs
Jesse Sutton
John Renhart
Peyton Mitchel
Meredith Cooper
Thomas Briggs
James Stewart
Hiram Robins
Bostin Finder
Garret Elkins
John Sutton
James Strawbridge
Stephen Phelps
Ambrose Cooper
Thomas Branson
Martin Porter
Christopher Orendorff
Samuel Carpenter
James Williams
Wyatt Cantrall
John Dorson
John Clin
Cornelius Vandeventer
John W. Taylor
William Strawbridge
Andrew Branson
Eli Branson
Jojin Branson, Jr.
Isiah Stillman
William A. Hodge
Joseph Woods
Philip Smith
Washington Turley
John Woods
David L. Taylor
Stephen Stillman
George Borders
Charles Hayes
Robert Downing
John Branson
James W. Chapman
Alexis Phelps
Henry Cooper
Robert Buckles
Enoch Smith
Benjamin Briggs
Jeremiah Birks
James Turley
Alexander McNaghtin
Abraham Musick
John Simpson
William Prockter
Charles Turley
David Riddle
Levi Millard
James Garvin
Janes Sayles
James Morrow
John Brook
James Latham
David Hughs
Nicholas Moore
Joshua Dean
Myron Phelps
Landa Hurst
Thomas Prim
James C Stevenson
James Stringfield
Henry Holland
Abraham Hathaway
John Dixson
John Porter
Thomas Constant
Peter Vanburgen
Willima Lofton
Ezra Knapp
John Stevenson
Charles Smith
David England
Samuel McClure
John Prim
Robert McClure
John Buckles
John Strode

I don’t know where Union Precinct was but I recognize a lot of Logan County names including ancestors and collaterals who were living along Salt Creek at that time as well as people living in the south end of the county in the Lake Ford area. Presumably at that time polling places were few and far between.

New Relative Located

New Relative Located

I have a relative I have never met who, like me, is a double Downing. We are descendants of one of the three marriages of children of Robert Downing to children of Samuel Downing. Although these families settled within a mile or so of each other on Salt Creek they were not related prior to the marriages.

My “cousin” said he’d like to find out more about his wife’s genealogy. Her ancestors are also from Logan County. I said send me what you have, you never know, I might know something that would help. Her ancestors lived in Lincoln so it was a long shot. He did.

Imagine my surprise when I read his list of names. His wife is also related to me. Her ancestor Charity Bowman was a sister to my ancestor Hannah Bowman. Both ladies, along with their mother, are buried at Steenbergen Cemetery.

It’s a small world.

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.