In the last two weeks, Nancy and I have visited the Clinton Iowa Public Library, the Fulton, Illinois Historical Society, the Schmaling Library in Fulton, the historian for Fulton, Illinois, and Brinkman Hardware Company which sits on the land where the Langford and Hall Lumber Company once was located. We also stopped by for an outside look at the Langford home in Fulton. In addition to these travels, I went back for another visit to the Clinton Iowa Public Administration building to review County Recorder land records and vital records. The Fulton historian also recently sent us some newspaper articles from the Fulton Weekly Journal which contained the Langford name. And, lastly, I have been in touch and sharing information with another Langford descendant. One of Oscar's sisters, Fidelia Emily Langford, has a descendant with the same family tree information posted an ancestry.com. I attempted to make contact back in April but she had taken a hiatus from ancestry and found my message at the end of the year.
All of these events have added a lot to our understanding of the family. Where to start? Lets get the pictures out of the way first.
The Charles E. Langford Home
The house is "Steamboat Gothic" and if you can imagine a steamwheel riverboat on the Mississippi River coming right at you, it would look fairly similar to this with its double deck and rounded wood frame. Charles was married to Hannah Shadduck in Iowa and they had a large family together. At least one of the Langford daughters, Fannie Elizabeth, was married here.I hope to discover what happened to Hannah but as of this time all we know is that Charles had a second wife by the late 1870s living here with him, Maria A. Sherman, 24 years his junior. Charles and Maria had one daughter, Mabel Celia Langford. The three of them moved to Pasadena California around 1887, where Charles began to make land dealings and started an orange growing operation.
We visited with Barbara Mask, who runs the Fulton Historical Society. Barbara welcomed us into her Civil War era home, and, decorated for Christmas, it was lovely. Her beautiful flocked Christmas tree was about 12 feet tall and as big around as it was tall. Barbara had done a segment on the Langford and Hall Lumber Company for one of their meetings and had a lot of information about the business which she went over with us. Barbara is going to make a package of information for us after the holidays and we look forward to returning to Fulton.
While we were in Fulton we also stopped by the local historian's business. Ed and Nancy Kolk and their daughter run a small business in the downtown. Nancy is a volunteer for the Schmaling Public Library who was not in when we stopped by, but has sent us a number of articles from the Fulton paper. Most involve Charles Langford and his business interests.
And here is a picture of the lumber baron from Fulton, Illinois, Charles E. Langford:Many of the land transactions that I found in Clinton County involved Charles. I reviewed thirty large ledgers of land transactions for the period 1844 to 1880. I started to record them all but gave up. There were between 60 and 100 different transactions. There were deeds bought and sold, mortgages bought, sold and satisfied, equipment bought and sold involving a large number of people. There were a few other deeds involving Langfords other than Charles. Orange Mansfield Langford bought and sold some land right after the Civil War. Jane Langford also sold some land. I have to research what the settlement procedures were when new folks moved into an area. It was not a land rush but very likely there was some way to award land just for agreeing to live there. Names which repeatedly come up with Charles are George Griswold, David Tripp, David Shadduck, Joseph Herwick, as well as Edwin O. Langford. I believe Joseph Herwick was a son-in-law of Charles.
Discovering a new cousin for all the Langfords was a special treat. Susan Chambers is descended from a sister of Oscar Langford, Fidelia Emily Langford Pierce, pictured here.
I had run across Oscar Langford in the tree that Susan maintains on ancestry.com and we got in touch. Fidelia was to us an unknown, and we were not 100% sure that we had the right names for all of Oscar's brothers and sisters. With Susan's help we believe that we have them all. In Oscar's letters to the Fredonia Censor he mentions there being six sisters and four brothers. He does not make it clear whether he was including himself or not. After some study, I believe he was not including himself and that there were eleven children. Here then are the most likely children of Charles Langford and Fanny Mansfield:
Charles Elliott Langford
Oscar W. Langford
William George Langford
James Mansfield Langford
Orange Mansfield Langford
Jane Rennets Langford, married name Allen
Mary Jane Langford, married name Allen
Fidelia Emily Langford, married name Pierce
Harriet E. Langford, married name McGinnis
Jeanette Maria Langford, married name Wise
Ellen or Eliza Langford, married name thought to be Collins
Pasadena California was calling to him and Charles went west again. He bought land that is now in the heart of downtown Pasadena. It is unlikely that his home out there still exists. It was on the SW corner of Euclid and California streets. From Google Earth there appears to be a large office or apartment building on that site now. After he died, Maria and Mabel can be found living at 476 S Marengo in Pasadena. Sons Edwin O. Langford, Charles E. Jr.and Thomas Langford can also be found in Pasadena. Charles only lived there six years before he died but can be found donating money for the construction of the first public library in Pasadena.
Future trips for more research include a return to Fulton and a trip to Morrison, Illinois, the County seat of Whiteside County, Illinois for more records.
Okay, one more picture provided by Susan Chambers of the blog namesake himself, Oscar Langford, taken on the steps of the Union Printers Home in Colorado Springs in 1922: