Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Another Trip to Clinton

I made a list of things to check and drove to Clinton, Iowa, yesterday to make some new headway on my Langford family research.
My primary reason was to visit the Clinton Public Library Root Cellar which is their specialized area for genealogy research. They have microfilm there of Clinton newspapers going well back into the middle 1800s. I was hoping to pin down the exact date and place of burial of Charles Langford, the great great grandfather of my wife Nancy. He uprooted much of his family about 1840 from Chautauqua County, New York, and moved to Clinton County, Iowa. But we had been unable to pinpoint when he died. All we knew was that it was before the 1880 census.
I spent three and one half hours there, most of it on the microfilm reader.  A relative had a hand written note that gave his date of death as January 10, 1879, so I concentrated on newspapers around that date.
I found an article in the Lyons Weekly Mirror of Saturday, January 25, 1879:
"Mr. Langford, father of C. E. Langford of Fulton, died at Almont Thursday night, aged 89 years."
Then I found another article this time in the Clinton Herald of Friday evening, January 24, 1879:
"Mr. Chas. Langford, for many years a resident of this vicinity, died at the residence of Mr. Fowler in Almont, where he was stopping, about seven o'clock last evening. The deceased was the father of Chas. Langford, Jr., of Fulton, and the grandfather of E. O. Langford, of Almont. He was about 80 years old and was well known and widely respected."
I again reviewed the burial records of that time for Clinton County and could not find a reference to where Charles was buried.
In the Root Cellar, I next gave my attention to old plat books to determine the precise location of the Langford farm. I knew it was in Elk River Township and had an idea of its section and lot numbers from the real estate transactions I had previously reviewed. This was readily found in a plat book from 1874. The Charles Langford farm was owned by Charles E. Langford of Fulton, but he allowed his father to live on it. It was about 200 acres located in Section 12 of Elk River Township. From the earlier land transactions I reviewed Charles E. Langford also owned land in the sections surrounding section 12. I think it is likely that he owned as much as 2000 acres of prime Iowa farm land at some point, selling most of it off to finance his lumber mill ventures.
The farm is located on the Elk River and I can imagine that made it a prime location for raising animals and irrigating crops. Here is the current plat with the Langford farm outlined.
I then stopped at the Clinton County Administration Building and met with the County Engineer. He provided some current plat maps showing who owns the Langford farm now. County roads that should be paved wind right through the farm and should make it easy to find.
I had hoped to drive by the farm but was running out of time and daylight as I made my way in the direction of the farm.
As I headed north out of Clinton, on HWY 67, I passed Oakland Cemetery on the very north edge of Clinton. Several Langfords are buried there but it was raining and not a good day for a cemetery visit. I was able to get as far as Almont, and I stopped at the last remaining building of what was then Almont, the Almont Tap. I stopped and found the bartended and one customer besides myself.
I toasted Charles and told the barkeep of my reason for being in the area. The lady on the bar stool perked up and started telling me where the cemeteries were in the immediate area.  I quickly located the likely locations of two of the oldest cemeteries in the area. I had previously reviewed the pictures of gravestones in these cemeteries and found a couple possibilities. I knew from the status of Charles E. Langford, that a headstone would have been provided for his father. There are no records of a headstone on the Iowa Gravestones Project site or the Find A Grave site, although there is at least one unknown that looks promising.
I will make another post about the information that I discovered on other family members, in particular, Delia Wise Wilcox.

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