Thursday, September 22, 2016

USS John Adams

 Image result for uss john adams 1799 is always offering me new hints about the various people that I have in my family trees. Today provided another interesting brush with history. The hint was simple enough, Anna Woodruff Pierce, the daughter of Fidelia Langford and Lorenzo Dow Pierce had filed for a survivor's pension. Her husband, Charles E. Goodwin, had served in the US Navy before they were married and when he died, Anna filed for a widow's pension based on that service.
The hint directed me to a form that had been completed that showed she qualified for the pension because he had served aboard the USS John Adams. This is where the story gets interesting. The USS John Adams was built in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1799. She saw action in many conflicts: both Barbary Wars, the War of 1812, the Mexican War and the Civil War being the last conflict. Charles Godwin must have been on board during the Civil War as he was born in 1839.
The Adams gained fame for leading a three steam-powered gunboat raid up the Harbor River to Port Royal, South Carolina. The raid was organized by Union operative and former slave, Harriet Tubman and Colonel Montgomery. The ships relied on local black mariners to avoid mines and fortifications. The raid freed over 750 slaves and broke the back of the Confederacy.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Eliza Langford Found

Eliza Langford was the one sibling of Oscar's who has consistently eluded my efforts to find her. I knew about when she was born, that Oscar had seen her when he was 18 (1855) in Monroe, Green County, Wisconsin, and she was married at that time. Then I also had a hand written note that said her married name might be "Wayland" and she may have lived in Unique or Henrique, Humboldt County, Iowa.
I am not exaggerating when I say that I looked for her for hundreds of hours. Last week that all changed.
I do most of my research on I also heavily use as a double check and with troublesome searches. Both are continually adding new records to their collections. I was once again looking for Eliza on when I found a Federal Census record from 1850 that said there was a Pennsylvania-born 18 year old Eliza Langford living in Bellevue, Jackson County, Iowa. She was living with a family named Williams. Her sisters Harriet and Jane started Iowa life in the same way. Either Iowa families took them in, or hired them as domestic help, or both.
I had previously scoured the Iowa census records for her so I was confused when this showed up and went to and looked for the same record. They had made several mistakes when it was entered. They said she was 48, not 18, and that her name was Longford and that the census was in Belleville, Iowa. When you looked at the original census file there is no doubt about her name or age.
So now I had found her. But finding her again proved to also be a challenge. In 1850 she is single in Iowa, but in 1855 Oscar sees her in Wisconsin and married. I needed to find a marriage record between 1850-1855.
I tried without success and then turned to my secret weapon, the Facebook Group : Your Genealogy Brick Walls. There are some excellent people who will do excellent work when you are at the end of your rope. It took less than a day for them to find a marriage record. Eliza married Edwin D. Hoylands on September 4, 1854, in Jo Daviess County, Illinois. Jo Daviess County is east of Dubuque and includes Galena Illinois.
Eliza Hoylands is found in the Clinton, Iowa census record of 1870 without Edwin but with a daughter, "Nettie" (Martha Janette Hoylands) and Nettie was born in Wisconsin in 1857. Also, I found four other Hoylands buried in Richland Cemetery in Green County, Wisconsin, and I found an 1878 marriage record for Nettie and her husband Thomas Heather. In the 1880 Census Eliza is living as a boarder.
I kept looking and found an Iowa State Census record from 1885 from Weaver, Humboldt County, Iowa. Eliza is 51 and living with Nettie and Thomas and their sons, Oral (1879) and Frank (1883). Another son Oscar comes along in 1897. Eliza is marked as a widow in 1885.
So all of the little facts that I knew came together. Hoylands not Wayland, living in Humboldt County, and in Clinton County, Iowa. I feel certain that this is our Eliza as there were very few other Langfords in northeast Iowa in the 1850 Federal Census

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fisher's Cemetery, Vancouver, Washington

Over the summer of 2014, we visited a lot of places for genealogy purposes. We visited cemeteries, libraries, museums, battlefields, historic homes, county offices, courthouses, historic societies and more. We checked on many families: Langfords, Flemings, Rettews and Allens in particular. Without a doubt, we learned the most about a branch of the Langford family, the Allens.
Mary Langford married Merritt Allen and had five children with him before she died in 1853 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

Here is a recap of the family and some pictures from Vancouver.

Merritt Allen married Mary Langford in Fredonia, New York, in 1837, the same year her youngest brother Oscar was born. Their children Henry (1839) and Arabelle (1841) were born in New York. Around 1843 they moved to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where children Frank (1844) George James (1850) and Mary Adelia (1852) were born. Sadly Mary died there also, in 1853.

Their children:
Henry Allen can be found in the 1860 Federal Census living in Hannibal, Missouri. He was killed in action in the Civil War at the Battle of Chalk Bluff, Arkansas, on May 1, 1863. This battle was fought on both sides of the state line between Missouri and Arkansas and he died in Dunklin County, Missouri.
Arabelle Allen married Elbridge D. Bailey (1837-1894) in Wisconsin in the mid 1850s. Their family started in that state as well. Son William was born in Wisconsin in 1858. Shortly after this they moved to Hannibal, Missouri. 
By 1860 Merritt Allen, had married Jane Langford, had two children with her and left her behind when he moved to Hannibal and many of his children with Mary followed. In Hannibal, Arabelle and Eldridge Bailey added to their family Nettie (1860), George (1864) and Arthur Merritt (1874).
The least is known of Frank Allen who married Nettie McCoy and had three daughters, Frances (1867), Susan (1869) and Daisy (1873). Frank lived in Hannibal but returned to Wisconsin by the 1870 census. He moved to Mosinee, Marathon County, Wisconsin, until his death in 1905. He is buried there as well as Nettie who died in 1933.
George James Allen is one of the more intriguing characters among Mary's children. Born in Wisconsin in 1850, he is in Missouri in 1860 and marries Mary Loretta Cook there in 1870. Their first five children were all born in Missouri: Lillie Belle died at birth in 1871, Charles (1872), George (1874), Henry (1877) and Eugene (1879). After Eugene's birth, the family moved to San Francisco where the two youngest boys, Henry and Eugene, died a day apart in 1880.  The next event tells us the family did not stay in California but moved to Vancouver, Washington. In 1883 a new son is born there Albert, following by a second wave of other children, Sarah (1885) Hazel Esther (1888) and Francis Willard (1897). For the most part, this branch of the family stayed in that immediate area and are all buried in Fisher's Cemetery in Vancouver. Many of their graves are pictured here as well.
The last child of Merritt Allen and Mary Langford was Mary Adelia (1852) who married William Francis Marseilles (1850-1928) in Hannibal about 1870. They had six children and lived their lives in Missouri: Florence (1871), William Merritt (1875), Charles Edgar (1879), Francis Ferdinand (1883) and Frederick Allen (1887).
I have followed each of these descendant lines down even further but will not over burden the reader with more names and dates.
Following are pictures from Fisher's Cemetery:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Oscar Write Julia again in 1922

It amazing appears that Oscar continued to correspond with his brother William's widow for almost thirty years after William died. This letter was written on Union Printers Home letterhead and had been noted with  this comment added to the letterhead: Exclusively a Union Printers Home and 240 acres of land in connection property of the International Printers Union. From our visit there several years ago, I learned that they ran a complete farm operation there producing much of their own food.

 Colorado Springs, Colorado
June 20, 1922

Dear Sister Julia, Hillsdale, Michigan:

Last month I had some "Kodak" pictures of myself taken, the face being a little too much shaded, but I will now mail you one of them in this letter, that you may see how I "show up" in the poor "Kodak" form, taken the date that I was three months past eighty-five, being born February 20, 1837. Please make the best of it.
Since your hand became disabled, I seldom hear from you. My daughter-in-law, Veva, in St. Louis, Missouri, cannot write from a similar affliction, but her daughter Vivian and some other relatives write me occasionally. I often think of you, and will not forget your past kindness. Weather, sun shining all this month.
Owing to my hand writing not being first-class on account of my poor eyesight, Jason E. Haynes, a roommate and Union printer, kindly writes this for me. He has his right arm off since thirty years of age, and had his left hip socket injured, causing short left leg, when forty-nine years old by two separate train accidents, yet full of life and intellect. He was born October 22, 1854. Now eight months past sixty-seven-an American, and a Missourian. Long time a printer and an editor.
Hoping this will find you in good health, I remain,
Your affectionate brother,
Oscar Langford
Resident, Union Printers Home

Friday, August 21, 2015

Oscar writes to brother William's widow in 1907

Some time ago, I was given some letters that had been written by Oscar Langford to Julia Gilbert Langford, the widow of Oscar's brother Judge William Langford.
The following letter was written some 14 years after his brother died indicating that Oscar had a regular correspondence with Julia over quite a long time. I was also given another letter written in1922.
Some time after William died, Julia returned to her family's farm in Hillsdale, Michigan. She cared for her mother and ran the farm.

January 2, 1907

Dear Sister,
I should have acknowledged your kind Christmas gift of “The House Beautiful” before now, but was waiting for my IOOF certificate before writing. The card contains a whole sermon of precious truths and I have hung it up in my room  so that I can keep its lesson in mind. Thank you.
Well, Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone and we at the Home have received numberless and all kinds of gifts from our local unions and from personal friends. One of mine was a hundred letterheads from Dayton union of which this sheet is a sample. I received from the St. Louis union $5.00 cash as did the five other members of that union at the Home. I received handkerchiefs, etc., from different friends, and have got a big enough stock on hand to keep my nose clean till next Christmas, at least. Mr. and Mrs. Graul, living at Dow City, Iowa, sent me their photos and a pretty handkerchief. Mrs. Graul is a niece of mine and the younger sister of Delia Wilcox. I was surprised to get a letter from her about three weeks ago, as she has never written to me before. I have not seen her for about forty years, when she was then Mary Wise and I think not over fifteen years old. She is now a mother of several grownup children and also a grandmother. It seems but yesterday since she and Delia were little “kids” playing about their father’s house at Elk River, Iowa. You know Delia and Mary are daughters of my sister Jeanette, one of the dearest, sweetest women that ever lived, and who died early in the fifties.
Delia Wilcox is almost a perfect picture of what her mother was, and Mary looks like her father. Mary wrote me for information about the birthplace of her father and mother, but I could tell her nothing except that her father was born in Canada.
You know, I was the youngest of eleven children. My mother died when I was about three years old, and I was adopted by a farmer named Griswold and thought that was my name till about ten years old. My father went west and I was introduced to him when I went to sister Jeanette’s in Iowa when I was about 18 years old. Jeanette lived at Fredonia, New York, near where I was raised, but I never knew she was my sister till after I found out my name was Langford, though she often came to see me when a little boy “down on the farm”. My foster parents told me her name was Walker. I remember I was mighty glad when I found out  the relationship for I was very fond of her. My father was such a ”rolling stone” that I never knew where I myself was born till I became a young man, when I visited cousins in Erie County, New York, and they told me I was born there. The rest of the family became scattered all over the country and their “long lost brother” had a terrible time hunting them up and getting acquainted. So I wrote Mary Graul all I knew about the Langford family, which wasn’t much, especially about their early history. Sister Harriet knew about all of them, but I never saw any family record.
Mary mentioned her sister Delia Wilcox, but did not write whether she was still at Mount Vernon, Iowa or not, from which I infer that she is. I have had no letter from her for over a year though I wrote to her last. The last letter she wrote she complained of bad health and that she was wearing herself out sewing for so many people, who were tiring her to death and she seemed rather discouraged. I wrote her an encouraging letter, telling her to put her trust in God and be more cheerful. But she never answered the letter.
Well, our holiday weather has been more like spring than like winter. We have had no snow to speak of since November ,when we had a severe blizzard and bad weather for about a week or more, but December has been mostly a pleasant month, the sun shining almost every day. It tried to snow yesterday a little but quit the job in a few hours. I expect, however, we will get plenty of winter weather yet, because the stormy times come late in the season here.
I got no holiday gifts from either of my sons, and I hardly expected any, as Charley (so Veva wrote) has been out of work a good while, though was at work again a couple weeks ago. I hear that Harry and his wife are both in poor health. I sent Veva some magazines, their little girl a doll and Charley some cigars and tobacco.
You must be rather lonesome trying to run the farm yourself, but I suppose there isn’t much to do in winter. I hope and pray that you may continue to be healthy, prosperous and happy. I want to hear from you often. My health is about the same. Will be 70 years old Feb. 20. God bless you and keep you,
Your affectionate brother,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Jane Langford in Wyoming, Iowa

Nancy and I took a day trip to Jones County, Iowa. We knew that Jane Langford was buried there and thought we might learn a few more things between the cemetery and the County Courthouse in Anamosa. It turned into a very fruitful day, thanks to the hospitality of the good people of Wyoming, Iowa.
Wyoming is located on Highway 64 and is home to the Wyoming Historical Museum  in the 1878 Williams Hotel, the Wyoming Fairgrounds and the Calkins House. The museum is the town's repository of history. We saw that it was closed but had posted a number of phone numbers to call if you arrived at a time when closed. We dialed Jim Eichhorn's number and he came right down from working on the horse show ring at the Fairgrounds and opened up for us.
We explained that Nancy's great grandfather had a sister, Jane Langford, buried at South Mineral Cemetery, and that her children were also buried there, Thomas Allen and Mary Alden. Jim got right on the phone with Joyce Fishwild, the Curator of the Museum who was on vacation in Texas. Joyce and her husband stopped what they were doing and Jim put me on the phone with them.
Between Jim and Joyce we learned that Thomas Allen had a farm out in the country and that Marvin and Carol Parmer lived on the farm today. Otto Allen was the last descendant to live on the farm. Otto and his wife Hulda are also buried at South Mineral. We then dropped by the Wyoming Library to see if there was any genealogy information. While there, Jim found us again with Joyce on the phone and we talked some more.
We had spent more time than planned in Wyoming and as we left decided we did not have time to go to Anamosa. We decided to try and find South Mineral Cemetery. We took a blacktop north out of town and tried to head into what I thought was the general direction of the cemetery.
Then, it happened. That moment when you see a sign and know what you have to do. The sign said simply "Parmer" with an arrow that pointed up a gravel road. We drove right to the house and barn that had been built by Otto Allen in 1912. Here are some pictures of the Parmer farm.

The Parmers were very gracious to us and made us welcome right away. Marv was on the phone with Joyce Fishwild in Texas when we arrived. Joyce was briefing him on our stop at the Museum.
Marv had grown up there and knew more background on the farm. When Thomas Allen died he divided his farm between his two sons, Otto and Leo. Otto got the portion without the house and had to build one along with other buildings. Marv and Carol had grown up in the area and raised their children there. The farm that had been Leo's was not as clearly handed down and was apparently now a rental.
Marv and Carol had also kept in contact with two of Otto and Hulda's grand daughters and shared their contact information with us. Both grand daughters live out of state but make an annual trek to put flowers on the graves at South Mineral Cemetery every Memorial Day.

Below are pictured the grave markers from South Mineral Cemetery of Jane Langford and Merritt Allen's two children, Thomas and Mary. Also pictured are the stones of Otto Allen and Hulda Warren, and Leo Allen and Ora Howard, sons, and their wives of Thomas Allen and Angie Ward. Jane herself is buried in the same plot as Thomas and Angie but does not have a marker.

There has already been a payoff in terms of new information. Otto's grand daughters were able to confirm that the Mary Alden stone pictured above is indeed the same Mary Allen who first married M. J. Mann. She later married George Ransom Alden at age 36 and had two children with him.
A big thank you to Jim Eichhorn, Dick and Joyce Fishwild, Marv and Carol Parmer, the Musuem Board and all the other good people of Wyoming, Iowa.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The History of Clinton County, Iowa: Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns &c., Biographical Sketches of Citizens

Front CoverThe Scott County Iowa Genealogical Society recently held a "Night at the Library" event. The purpose was to give access to the Davenport Public Library's Richardson-Sloan special collection for interested family historians. The special collection is available during normal library hours, but this was an evening when the library is normally closed. And for a modest fee the society also provided an evening meal. Volunteers were on hand to give advice and assist with research.
Since I have visited this collection quite a few times, I did not expect to find a lot of new information, but I did find an interesting book that gave a few more details about the first Langford to arrive in Clinton County, Oscar's brother Charles Elliot Langford.
In the chapter concerning Elk River Township " On the 8th of July 1839 the following settlers were in the township:
Arthur Smith
Otis Bennet
CE Langford
Levi Shadduck
David Shadduck
George Hollis
John Hollis
James Mclntire
0 A Crary
Josepii McCrary
John Carr
William Alexander
William Dinwoodie
Martin Toel
Michael Toel
George Griswold
Alfred Brown
Thomas Calderwood
Daniel Smith
James Leonard Sr
Robert Cruthers
William Smilley 

This further suggests that the Shadducks were likely related to Charles Elliot Langford's first spouse, Hannah Shadduck. And, the Griswold name makes it likely these were relatives of Oscar's foster folks. In another part of the book, it mentions that the native Americans were still living in Elk River Township until the fall of 1839. This coincides with Charles account of having made claim on the land before the native Americans had moved off of it.

Another excerpt is here:
In 1841 Messrs Calderwood & Dinwiddie commenced the erection of a saw mill on the Elk River on Section 18 Township 83 north Range 7 east. After two failures resulting from the imperfection of the water wheels Mr Dinwiddie withdrew from the firm Mr Calderwood however succeeded late in the fall of 1842 in completing a mill that was of ample capacity for the wants of the locality The supply of timber being good plenty of Government land lumber was shipped to Galena and various other points for wagon building etc until 1850 when Mr Calderwood went to California selling the mill shortly after to Mr CE Langford who operated it for several years and there laid the foundation for the present extensive and first class steam saw mill owned by himself and Mr Hall in Fulton.

And there were a few other references about the Langford family as well. Charles served on the first jury in Clinton County and Orange Langford's Civil War service is also noted. It was a successful night at the library.