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Graduates

Graduates

Mt Pulaski Class of 1914

These handsome fellows are all the males in the first graduating class of Mt. Pulaski High School in 1914. They are Harry Rothwell, Frank Turley, Alfred Litterly and Floyd Downing. There were females in the class but they took a separate picture. I haven’t seen but have talked to people who said they did.

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.

 

Robert Clark Genealogy

Robert Clark Genealogy

by Robert D. Clark, 1927
Robert D. Clark was a descendant of John Winans Clark, one of three Clark brothers (really) who came to Illinois. The Clarks were all Methodists and many were involved in founding Methodist Churches. John’s brother David and David’s son Richard (who married John’s daughter Margaret) were ministers as were other Clarks who did not come to Illinois.

Robert D. Clark was born in Laenna Township on September 30, 1844, and died in Mt. Pulaski on October 12, 1933. He attended college at Normal (now Illinois State) and taught in local schools for 16 years before turning to farming. He retired in 1895 and in April 1909, he was elected Mayor of Mt. Pulaski. He died October 12, 1933.

Please note that this was difficult to read.  Clark was 83 years old when he wrote this. The writing grew progressively worse and it was written with pen and ink which tends to be messy. Many spellings are known to be wrong. Others could be spelled incorrectly and I would not be aware of it. Keep in mind this was written in 1927. Modern research has made a significant number of corrections to this information.

If you would like to try your hand at reading the letter and transcribing it please do. For convenience it has been divided into three files. The first file is what is transcribed here. The other two files are the additional genealogy not included in this transcription. If you do transcribe the additional parts please let me know.

 Robert Clark Letter part 1

 Robert Clark Letter part 2

 Robert Clark Letter part 3

Information for a sketch of family records must necessarily be obtained by conversing with or corresponding with other persons, or from wills or other writings when they are made matters of record, and sometimes from county histories or from one’s own personal knowledge of dates and events and from many other sources.

The information received from one source will often conflict with that received from some other source, so that there may be some errors especially among the earlier generations. Even obituary notices are not always absolutely correct.

County histories are not always a very reliable source of information. A great deal of that which they contain is taken from statements of persons who gave the information from their best recollections and which is not always correct. I personally know of some errors in the Sangamon and Logan Co. Ill. histories, and also in the Miami 0. history and I have no reason to believe that these are exceptions.

Wills, when they are recorded, are more reliable as they usually give the names and dates of most, if not all, of the members of the family and often the names of some of the descendants and ancestors as well.

Family records which give only the names of the immediate family are also reliable.

Jonathan Winans, the father of Sarah (Winans) Scudder, in his family record, which is still extant, gives the birth dates of all the members of his family. These dates are no doubt correct. I have copies of a number of wills which were made by persons who lived in N.J. by the name of David Clark but I am not sure that any one of them is the will of the David Clark who married Mrs. Sarah (Winans) Scudder. Their son, David Clark2 made his will in Sangamon County, Illinois.

The father of David Clark1 may have been a soldier in the American Revolution but that is very doubtful for if he was living at that time, he was quite aged.

Jonathan Winans, the father of Sarah (Winans) Scudder, died in 1774 just before the American Revolution and none of his descendants in the Clark line, except those of David Clark2 have Winans ancestors who were Revolutionary soldiers although some of them have in other lines.

The second wife of David Clark2 was a daughter of Samuel Winans, who was a son of Jonathan Winans, and a brother of Sarah (Winans) Scudder, the wife of David Clark.1

Samuel Winans was a Revolutionary soldier. There were others by the name of Winans who were soldiers in the Revolution.

In an early day there were at least two separate families in N.J. by the name of Clark that were not related.

We are probably the descendants of Richard Clark who came from England to the New Haven colony and went from there to Long Island and then to Elizabeth, N.J. with his wife, Elizabeth, and a daughter, Elizabeth, and three sons about 1678. Two sons were born in N.J.

Mr. J. C. Cox, of Miami Co. Ohio, who was a very enthusiastic searcher of family records once gave this as a guess which may or may not be correct.

Richard1, Samuel2, Jonathan3, David4 who married Mrs. Sarah (Winans) Scudder, whose first husband was Jacob Scudder by whom she had one son, Matthias.

After the death of Jacob Scudder, she married David Clark and they had a family of five sons and four daughters in N.J.

If Mr. Cox’s guess is correct, it would place this David Clark as of the 4th generation of his Clark line in America.

His wife, Sarah, was the 4th in the Winans line.

My father, David Ward Clark, in his family record has the following as showing who were the ancestors of his mother, Ann Isgrid, in America.

William Isgrig was born in England April 13, 1721. His third wife was Hannah Wolsey who was born April 13, 1716.

Daniel Isgrig, born December 26, 1756, was their only child. Daniel married Margaret Cole, born June 14, 1751. Daniel and Margaret had a family of three boys and three girls.

Daniel and Margaret came to America and settled in Maryland, where their children were born. Their children were:

1 – William, who married Elizabeth Rutter

2 – Daniel    ”    ”   Mary Currant

3 – Michael    ”    ”   Margaret Currant

4 – Hannah    ”    ”   William Pattison

5 – Margaret    ”    ”   Peter Stephens

6 – Ann    ”    ”   John W. Clark

STOUT

The parents of Hannah (Stout) Clark, the wife of David Ward Clark, were: Anthony Stout and Sarah (Royal) Stout. They settled in Green Co. Penn. where their daughter

1 – Hannah was born Thursday, December 27, 1810.

They moved to Ohio and the other three children were born there.

2 – Thomas married Elizabeth Williams

3 – Mary    ”    John McKinsy[?]

4 – Matilda    ”     James Parish

Anthony Stout died in Middletown, Ohio when the children were small. Sarah Stout married Isaac Clark5 July 7, 1821 in Miami Co. Ohio. Isaac Clark was a son of David and Sarah Clark4, and he was an uncle of David Ward Clark6, the husband of Hannah Stout.

I do not know the names of Anthony Stout’s father nor mother, nor of any of his brothers nor sisters, if there were any.

My mother told me he was a small man and that he was a Penn. dutchman. The family may have come from N.J. to Penn. as there were many there by the same name.

The following notes were prepared by me and given, in part, to the Historical Society at Springfield, Illinois.

[a rule appears here}

My father left many notes in regard to the Royal family, which together with what was related to me by my mother, have been very helpful.

I have also corresponded with many of the descendants of Thomas Royal in several different states, which has enabled me to give fuller details than those which I learned from my parents.

A short sketch of him and some of his descendants may be found in a work entitled “A History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, 1836.”

Among the many correspondents was the Rev. Stanly [sic] O. Royal to whom I wrote many years ago, and sent him what I then had of the Royal family which he copied, and to which he added a great deal that I did not have at that time and returned it to me.

He was a District Superintendent of the M.E. Church in Ohio and a grandson of Rev. William Royal who crossed the plains from Illinois to Oregon in 1853.

He had intended to publish a book for the benefit of the descendants of Thomas Royal but he died April 13, 1914 before he had completed it, and his widow wrote me some years ago that he had not gone far enough with the book so that they could go on with it and she doubted if any of the family would ever do so.

The following may be of some interest to the descendants of Thomas Royal who was a soldier in the American Revolution.

There are doubtless many hundreds of them now living in the west and northwestern states and probably many of them live in the southern and eastern states as well.

The church records in England show that the parents of Thomas Royal were Thomas and Sarah Royal (then spelled Royle). They also show that Thomas was baptized March 27, 1752, and that at a very early date the name was spelled Ryle but gradually the spelling was changed to Royle.

Sometime after Thomas came to America, he spelled his name as Royal. Thomas and Sarah Royle, the parents of Thomas Royal, lived in England about half a mile from Cheadle and two miles from Stockport, Cheshire, and five miles from Manchester.

Thomas Royal had a sister, Elizabeth, born 1750. His other brothers and sisters were probably John, Ann, James, Charles, Mary, Sarah and Joseph but I have no record that any of them ever came to America but they may have done so later.

The Sangamon County Illinois History states that Thomas Royal came to America with a comrade about his own age near the beginning of the war for independence.

They both volunteered in the army of the Colonists and his comrade at his side had his head blown completely off.

About the same time Mr. Royal was severely wounded by a charge of buckshot entering his ankle, some of which he carried to his grave. So far as I know, that statement is correct, but I do not know who his superior officers were nor from what colony he enlisted.

After the war Mr. Royal married Miss Hannah Cooper in Philadelphia.

The following is a copy of his marriage certificate, the original some years ago being in the possession of Rev. T. R. Royal of Portland, Oregon and some of his descendants no doubt still have it.

“Philadelphia June 29, 1782

“These are to certify that on the 29th day of June in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty-two, Thomas Royle and Hannah Cooper are joined together in Holy Matrimony.

So witnesseth my hand,

John Kunse

Protestant Minister.”

[a rule appears here]

The above shows that Thomas Royal was first married in Philadelphia, but he settled in Virginia where the children by his first wife were born.

Thomas Royal’s son, Rev. William Royal, died in Salem, Oregon, September 29, 1870. I have his obituary which states that he was born in Monongahela County, West Virginia.

There is a Monongahela River and also a Monongahela city in that part of the country, but I find no record of any county by that name.

There is, however, a Monongalia County in West Virginia, which no doubt is the county in which William was born and where his father lived until he moved to Ohio.

My mother was born in Green County, Pennsylvania which adjoins Monongalia County in West Virginia, which was formerly a part of Virginia.

Her mother was Sarah (Royal) Stout, a daughter of Thomas Royal, and she might have settled near her parents, and may have gone to Ohio about the same time he did.

[a rule appears here]

The following are the names of the children and grandchildren of Thomas Royal and his first wife, Hannah Cooper, and also their consorts so far as they are known to me:

ROYAL

1 Elizabeth, born June 16, 1783, m. …Canfield

  • Hannah, married …Worrell.
  • b. Daniel
  • c. Mary, married …Robins and settled in California
  • d. Vincent, born 1814

Children of Elizabeth and her second husband …McDonald

  • John
  • Phillip, settled in Princeston, Missouri
  • Martha, m…Roe, settled in Urbanna, Ill.
  • Thomas

2 James, born October 14, 1785

  • Leonard
  • Hiram
  • Hannah
  • Emily
  • Joseph
  • Martha
  • Nancy

3 Mary, born June 8, 1787, m Absalom Meredith

  • Thomas – m.1 Priscilla Fields; m.2 Jane Basil
  • Amy – m. William B. Lawley
  • Davis – m. Mary Newcomer
  • William – Minister, U.B. Church to Fort …, Kan.
  • Sarah – m. James Dillon, to McLean Co. Ill.
  • Joseph – m.1 Susan Dillon; m2 Mary Adams

Absalom and Mary were married in Virginia, to Butler Co. O. then to Miami Co. O. then to Sangamon Co. Ill. where Absalom died in 1842. Mary died there in 1844. a, b, c, and d born in Butler Co. O. e, f born in Miami Co. O.

4 Samuel Cooper, born April 11, 1789. He was in the War of 1812. While in the army he became ill and his father brought him home where he died July 30, 1812, the same day that his half-sister, Rebecca, was born.

5 Thomas, born April 7, 1791 and settled near Middletown, Ohio.

  • John, born December 25, 1821, in Butler Co. Ohio. He married Jane Withrow who died July 23, 1904.
  • Thomas R., m. Rebecca Chinoweth, went to Gueda Springs, Kan. and died there January 1, 1899.
  • William of Dayton, Indiana.

There may be others.

6 Sarah, born March 3, 1793, died Fulton Co., August 4, 1846. Married

Anthony Stout, died Middletown, Ohio.

    • Hannah, born December 27, 1810 in Green Co. Penn. Married David Ward Clark in Sangamon Co. Ill. July 7, 1831. D. W. Clark was born in Bourbon County, Ky. September 30, 1809 and died in Mt. Pulaski February -, 1892 and Hannah died there December 15, 1897.
    • Thomas, born November 19, 1812, in Ohio. Married Elizabeth Williams
    • Mary, born January 1, 1815. Married John McKinney and went to Wisconsin. She died January 14, 1894 at the home of her son, Thomas, Hoxie, Kansas.
    • Matilda, married James Parish. They had a family and lived in Athens, Ill.

Anthony Stout died at Middletown and Sarah went to Miami Co. Ohio and was there married to Isaac Clark5, May 7, 1821. Isaac Clark5 was an uncle to D. W. Clark6, the husband of Hannah Stout.

Children second husband of Sarah (Royal) Stout. Isaac Clark5 and Sarah:

    • Lydia Z, born February 16, 1822, m. George Snell
    • William R., born July 15, 1823, m1 Elsey Fitsgerald; m2 Sarah Grigsby; m3 Huldah McCumber. William had children by each wife. He died August 9, 1906.
    • Ezekiel, born May 4, 1825, m. Diantha Beckelhimer.
    • Margaret, born November 1, 1826, m. John Grigsby
    • Amy, born about 1828, m. Pleasant Bryant. Went to Kansas.
    • James, born February 14, 1830, m. Catherine Gay

All of the children of Isaac and Sarah Clark, except James, had a family and many of their descendants now live in Fulton Co. Ill.

B for born

D ” died

M ” married

M1 ” ” 1st time [?]

7 William Royal, born February 24., 1796

m. Barbara Ebey September 8, 1818 in Doublin, Ohio

    • Thomas Fletcher, m. Mary Ann Stanley
    • Charles W., m.1 Rachel Misner; m.2 Sarah Cummings
    • George A., born 1825, died October 16, 1842
    • William Bramwell, m. Lizzie Hall
    • James H., born m. Carrie Hall
    • Mary Elizabeth, m. Rev. John Flynn in Oregon
    • Jason Lee, m. Anna Browning in Oregon

William Royal (above) and his family crossed the plains from Illinois to Oregon in 1853. He was a minister in the M.E. Church and would not travel on Sunday. Those with whom he traveled would leave him Sunday morning, but he would overtake the others during the week and arrived in Oregon with the rest of the company.

He and his family visited my father’s home for two days just before he started west. He and my father corresponded for some years. I still have some of their letters, one of which, written by my father, was taken to Ohio and sent to me from there. William Royal died in Salem, Oregon September 29, 1870. Many of his descendants live in Oregon and other states. There were many preachers and teachers among them.

8 Charles, born March 19, 1798

m. Polly Gearhart in Piqua, Ohio.

    • Thomas Wesley, born January 24, 1823 in Piqua, Ohio.
    • Sara
    • Eliza
    • John
    • James
    • Charles Fletcher
    • William
    • Mary
    • Lewis B.

9 Hannah, born February 26, 1801. M…Jarrett

A daughter, Mary married Aaron Hiner. Mary and Aaron went to McLean Co. Aaron died and Mary m …(?)

[a big blot of ink but square in shape appears here on the original]

Thomas Royal was the grandfather of Hannah Stout Clark. See his 6th child. The above names appear on a bronze tablet at the south door of the court house at Springfield, Illinois.

Mrs. Hannah Cooper Royal died in Virginia and Thomas Royal married Miss Rebecca Matthews and moved to Franklin Co. Ohio.

10 Simon, born June 27, 1810, died in infancy.

11 Rebecca, born July 30, 1812, married Jacob Boyd

    • John T., born 1835, married Sarah E. Clayton
    • William, born May 1, 1837, married Mary A. Vigal
    • George B., born December 25, 1839, married Hariet Williams
    • Mary M., married Alonzo Sparks
    • Susan, married Harvey Alexander
    • James 0, married Marietta Reed
    • Sarah J, married Elijah D. Lawley
    • Davis 0, married Sarah A. Campbell
    • Vincent C, died in his 18th year.

Mrs. Rebecca (Matthews) Royal died in Doublin, Franklin Co., Ohio and Thomas Royal married Mrs. Ellen Brunk; one child.

12 Joseph B., born November 1, 1816 in Franklin Co. Ohio. Joseph B. m1 Louisa Downing; m2 Mrs. Elsey McHendry. Joseph was a minister of the Christian Church and went to Vermont, Fulton Co. Ill.2 and had a family there. I have pictures of his two boys, Oscar and Eddie.

Dates for a sketch are sometimes given from memory, after many years, and there are likely to be some errors.

The “Early Settlers of Sangamon County” states that Thomas Royal came from Franklin County, Ohio to Illinois in a company of sixty-three persons, arriving in the fall of 1824 and also that Christopher Newcomer came from that county to Illinois, arriving December 9, 1824. They probably came together.

It also states that Absalom Meredith came from Miami Co. 0. to Illinois arriving October 27, 1829 and that the company in which they came numbered sixty-three persons.

While it might be possible, yet it is not very probable, that just sixty-three persons came together from different counties in Ohio to Illinois in different years.

Thomas Royal was the father-in-law of Absalom Meredith, and this information may have been given by different descendants, and one of them may have erred in regard to the number of persons they were telling about.

My father’s uncle, Rev. David Clark,5 came from Miami Co. Ohio to Ill. in 1829 and my mother came from there at the same time and lived with her relatives until she and my father were married.

Absalom Meredith and Rev. David Clark may have come to Ill. together.

Rev. David Clark5 was a brother of Isaac Clark5 who was the second husband of Sarah Royal Stout.

Thomas Royal died August, 1834; his widow died in September 1844., both in Sangamon Co. Ill. They were buried in the Geo. Brunk Cemetery several miles southeast of Springfield.

There is a stone at the grave which gives his birth date as 1758. That is not correct as the church records in England show he was baptized March 17, 1752. My mother told me he was a tall man.

In 1911 the D.A.R. unveiled, with appropriate exercises, a bronze tablet on which are inscribed the names of the twenty-four revolutionary soldiers who were buried in Sangamon Co., the name Thomas Royal being one of them. The tablet is near the south entrance of the County court house.

Hannah Cooper, the first wife of Thomas Royal, gave her son, William, an ancient family bible in which are some family records that are still legible.

It was handed down to his descendants until a few years ago when it was placed in the archives of the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, and I am informed by the Regent of the D.A.R. in that city that it is still there.

One of Hannah Cooper’s brothers was a silversmith. My mother had a teaspoon that he had made and on the handle of which was engraved the name “Cooper.” It was destroyed when my father’s home burned down January 15, 1888.

The descendants of Thomas Royal are a host now and could hardly be traced. I have the names of many of the later generations but probably all of them can trace their ancestral lineage back to some one of the names given above.

As before stated, I do not know whether or not any of Thomas Royal’s relatives ever came to America from England.

There is a family who spell their name as Royall, whose ancestors came from England many years before the revolution.

They are keeping in repair a mansion at Medford, Massachusetts which was built between 1637 and 1677 which at one time belonged to one of their ancestors.

If they were related to Thomas Royal it would be almost impossible to establish that fact.

Mt. Pulaski, Illinois

March, 1927

Robert D. Clark

[This ends the elaboration. It is followed by 63 pages of tightly written genealogy. There are also notes in the margins.]

Mystery of Berryman B. Wood Becomes Less Mysterious

Mystery of Berryman B. Wood Becomes Less Mysterious

The mystery of Berryman B. Wood has become less mysterious thanks to a discovery by his descendant Tessa Rasnick. One of the big mysteries has been when did Berryman B. Wood die?

When he died no marker was set. Perhaps they couldn’t afford one. They buried him by his wife, Sarah Catherine Lucas Wood, and she had a stone. Perhaps they meant to add his name. Whatever, it never happened.

At some point Wilford Ryan, a grandson, poured a concrete stone and, using a stick, wrote his name and date of death. Various cemetery walkers have said the now worn stone said 1911 and 1914.

No death certificate has ever been found. They weren’t mandatory in Illinois until 1916.

Someone pointed me to a note that indicated he died February 8, 1908. There was no source but I liked it because it fit my theory that if one was born or died in the winter there was less likely to be a record prior to 1916. (Yes, I know of many exceptions to my theory.)

Tessa was hunting for obits in old newspapers when she looked up John Allen Wood, a son of Berryman. John Allen is her third great uncle. This is what she found in The Decatur Herald for May 20, 1909.

“John Allen Wood Dies
“John Allen Wood, living eight miles southwest of Mt. Pulaski, died at his home at 9:30 o’clock Tuesday night from heart trouble, having been a sufferer for many months. He was born south of Mt. Pulaski, and was the son of the late Berryman Wood. His age was 43 years, 11 months and 30 days. Mr. Wood married Isabelle Jones, daughter of Mrs. M. M. Howard, of this city, July 10, 1890, and he is survived by his wife and three children, Emery, Herman and Stella, also five sisters and four brothers. Funeral services will be held at the Copeland church, six miles southwest of Mt. Pulaski, at 11 o’clock, Friday morning conducted by Rev. Gilbert Jones, pastor of the Christian church of Mt. Pulaski. The remain (sic) will be buried in Mt. Pulaski cemetery.”

“Son of the late Berryman Wood.” (emphasis added) That pretty much eliminates 1911 and 1914 as death dates. It also explains why he cannot be found in the 1910 census.

We still don’t know for sure exactly when he died but the 1908 date looks a lot more likely.

The Mystery of the Ashes

The Mystery of the Ashes

Buried among some discarded photographs the letter caught my eye.


It was from Charles R. Loomis of Loomis, Offers & Loomis of Buffalo, New York, to Mrs. Alma Cunningham in New York City. The date on the letter was September 24, 1943. It said: 


Dear Mrs. Cunningham: 
I have just returned from securing the permit for shipment of your sister’s ashes and for the burial of the same. Unless I am otherwise advised we will send the ashes by express to you, care of Mr. Carl Lipp, Mt. Pulaski, Illinois on Monday of next week. They should then arrive at about the same time you do. 


It seemed odd to keep such a letter so I had to track it down. I knew who Carl Lipp was, my great uncle by virtue of his marriage to my great aunt, and the letter was in their daughter’s possession. But I had no clue who Alma Cunningham was. So I dug.


Alma Vonderlieth Cresmer Cunningham was the daughter of George Vonderlieth and his wife Catherine Miller. George was a brother of Adolph who married first Elizabeth Lipp and second her sister Anna Catherine. Elizabeth and Anna were sisters to Carl Lipp. There’s the Lipp connection.


But who was Alma’s sister? A Vonderlieth. And then I knew. A quick check of dates showed Leonore Vonderlieth died May 28, 1943, in Buffalo. 


Leonore Vonderlieth, better known as Vaugh de Leath, was born September 26, 1894, in Mt. Pulaski. She was known as the “First Lady of Radio” in the 1920s and was one of the first “crooners.” One of her hits, from 1927, was a hit for a guy named Elvis years later. Hear Vaugh de Leath’s version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KC5TGHuvX68


The ashes were buried in Mt. Pulaski Cemetery in the family plot with her parents and her sister Alma.

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.