Monday, February 25, 2013

Jane Rennetts Langford Hamilton Allen Daily

Thanks are in order to two more Langford cousins, Julie Ramirez and her father, John Allen, who shared their research over the last weekend. It was in their family tree on that I first found Charles and Fannie listed as Oscar’s parents. I contacted John and we have shared emails since about the Langford line. This weekend Julie sent me a few links about Jane Langford and a summary of their research.
They advise that Jane was married three times. Previously, I had only known of one marriage, making it difficult to find Jane in census records.
Her first marriage was to Merritt Hamilton in 1847, in Mount Carroll, Illinois. They had two children during the brief marriage. Sadly, her first husband died in 1851 and her children both died very young.
Shortly after this, Jane’s sister Mary died near Two Rivers, Wisconsin, leaving her husband, Merritt Allen with children to raise. It must have seemed like it was meant to be when Jane and Merritt Allen fell in love and married on May 24, 1854 at Two Rivers. And the family did grow adding children to the household. But it may have been a marriage of convenience. It does not seem to have lasted and Jane can be found living with her children Mary, 5, and Thomas, 2, in Sabula, Iowa, in the 1860 census.
And Jane married for a third time on April 1, 1864, this time to George Daily, in Jackson County, Iowa.
Jane and her children can all be found buried together in South Mineral Cemetery, near Wyoming, in Jones County, Iowa. Many of the Langford family landed in the three neighboring Iowa counties of Clinton, Jackson and Jones. Jane lived in all three.
In addition to Jane, the following are buried in the South Mineral cemetery:
Jane’s son Thomas Franklin Allen and his wife, Angie Ward Allen

Jane’s daughter Mary Allen Alden is also buried here, but Mary’s year of birth is listed as 1853, which would make her the daughter of Jane’s sister, Mary. This will require some further investigation.

Jane’s grandson and his wife are also resting there, Leo George Allen and Ora May Howard Allen. Leo was one of three children of Thomas Allen. The other two being Otto Allen and Millie Allen. Millie Allen, age 4, was also buried there in 1883.


And here is Jane’s obituary including a recount of a tragic accident.

From The Wyoming Journal Newspaper
Wyoming, Jones County, Iowa
February 27, 1896

In Memoriam

    Jane R. Allen, after having been confined to her bed for nearly five years from injuries she received in falling into a cistern, departed this life February 1, 1896 at the home of her son, T. F. Allen of Wyoming Township. Her maiden name was Langford. She was born in Fredonia, New York, April 20, 1818. She came to Iowa in 1836, was married to Merritt Hamilton in 1847, who died in 1851 leaving her with two small children who died while young. In 1853, she was married to Merritt Allen to whom three children were born who survive her: T. F. and G. E. Allen and Mrs. Mary Alden.
    The funeral services were held at South Mineral Church, conducted by Rev. A. W. Smith, February 2, and her body laid to rest in the South Mineral Cemetery.
    Mrs. Allen, though a great sufferer, bore her affliction with patience and a sublime trust in Jesus. Her cheerfulness and sweet temper on her bed of sickness were a beautiful lesson to all who visited her.

    ‘Who are these arrayed in white,
    Brighter than the noon day sun,
    Foremost of the sons of light,
    Nearest the eternal throne?
    These are they, that bore the cross,
    Nobly for thy Master stood,
    Sufferers in his righteous cause,
    Followers of the dying Lord.”


Here is the obituary of Thomas F. Allen as posted by the Jones County Historical Society:

Thomas Franklin Allen was born at Savana, Ill., Oct. 12, 1857. He passed away at the farm home near Spencerville, Iowa, February 28, 1919, aged 61 years, 4 months and 16 days. He was united in matrimony to Miss Angie Ward at Maquoketa, Sept. 9, 1880. To them three children were born. The eldest, Millie dying while a baby in 1883, and the sons Otto M. and Leo G. who reside on the home farm. Mr. Allen leaves a sister, Mrs. Mary Alden of Cedar Rapids and a brother George who lives in Portland, Ore. There are also two grandsons, Millard and Lyle, left to morn with and to comfort the bereft widow who will continue to reside on the farm that had been the pleasant home of this happy family for many years.
Frank Allen, as he was affectionately known, was one of the progressive farmers of Wyoming Township. He stood for the best things in community and state. For 18 years he was a trustee of the Township and also served in that capacity for Mineral Church and Cemetery. He was a man whom his neighbors could trust and who never spared himself when he could serve anyone in need. It was only when his last illness compiled that he resigned his posts of public trust.
He was converted in 1876 and has since lived the Christian life. For years he was superintendent of the Sunday school and was a faithful attendant at Church, even going when almost too ill. He will be greatly missed by his fellow worshipers.
For three months he has been confined to his home where he has been a great but patient sufferer. All that medical skill and loving hands could do was done to alleviate his distress but death came to his release on the above date. His sister Mrs. Alden was permitted to be with him and Mrs. Allen for the last five weeks which was a great comfort to all concerned. Here in the home of his mature years, which he had ever labored to make a bright place for the family the last special effort being a family dinner last Christmas day, planned by himself. Here his spirit took its flight back to the God who gave it. The home, the Church, and the community, will greatly mourn and miss him. Peace be unto his soul.
The funeral was held at the South Mineral Church, March 2, 1919. The services were conducted by the Pastor Rev. Jesse Smith. Music by Mrs. Samuel Hutton and daughter, and Mr. Burkey with Mrs. Chatterton at the organ. Interment was then made to the beautiful cemetery by the church.


And, lastly, here is the obituary of Jane's grandson, Leo George Allen:

A native of the Onslow, Iowa area who had lived for several years in Lockwood died in a Monticello, Iowa hospital last Friday, June 11 (1965), after an illness of four days. He was Leo George Allen, for whom death came at the age of 78.
Mr. Allen had made his home in Lockwood with his son Lyle and his family since 1957. The elder Mr. Allen operated the scales at his son's rock quarry east of town. He was stricken by his final illness while visiting friends and relatives in Iowa. He had been in Iowa since shortly before Memorial Day before falling victim to the illness which claimed his life.
Mr. Leo George Allen was born on a farm near Onslow, Iowa on January 2nd, 1887. He was the son of T. F. Allen and Mrs. Angie Ward Allen. He was married to Miss Ora Howard on February 9th, 1916, in Wyoming, Iowa. To their union was born one son, Lyle.
Mr. Allen united with the Onslow Presbyterian Church at an early age. He farmed land in the Onslow area homesteaded by his grandfather until his retirement following the death of his wife in 1946. He was preceded in death by his parents, an infant sister, his wife, and one grandson.
Survivors include a brother, Otto of Wyoming, Iowa; and a son Lyle and a grandson Larry, both of Lockwood.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Orange M. Langford in the Civil War

Oscar's brother, Orange Mansfield Langford, joined the 2nd Iowa Infantry in 1861. The newly elected President Abraham Lincoln, put out a request for Iowa to establish a regiment of volunteers for the Union Army. In Clinton County, there were fewer than 5000 total men of the correct age for military service. About 800 were given exemptions for various reasons. Of the remaining 4000+, over 1500 signed up to join when the call went out. This was more than they needed for one regiment and during a subsequent call, Iowa produced two more regiments.
According to "Roster and Record of Iowa Troops In the Rebellion, Vol. 1" By Guy E. Logan,
Governor Kirkwood sent the following message to Lincoln's Secretary of War:
"Your telegraphic dispatch informing me that two more regiments of volunteers were required of this State, reached me on the 17th inst. I immediately ordered the ten companies selected as the Second Regiment to rendezvous at Keokuk by the 25th inst., there to be mustered into the service of the United States. I have also selected the companies to form the Third Regiment, and I have sent orders to them to rendezvous at the same place by the 3d of June proximo at furthest. I hope both regiments will be promptly at Keokuk by the time named. The want of telegraphs and railroads in the interior of our State causes delay in the transmission of orders and the movement of troops, or these regiments would be at the place of rendezvous much sooner.
 Col. Samuel R. Curtis, a member of Congress from the First district of Iowa, resigned that office to accept a commission as Colonel of the Second Iowa Infantry. He was a graduate from the Military Academy at West Point, but had many years before resigned from the army to engage in civil engineering. Upon taking command of his regiment, he at once proceeded to instruct the officers and men in the details of their duty as soldiers. So promptly and well was this instruction given, and received, that the Second Regiment was the first to take the field, the First following but one day later, and the Third but a few days thereafter. On the 13th day of June, 1861, Colonel Curtis received a telegram from General Nathaniel Lyon ordering him to at once move the troops under his command into the State of Missouri, with specific instructions to take military control of the lines of the Hannibal and St. Joseph and North Missouri Railroads."

Within 56 hours, the 2nd Iowa Infantry had taken control of the Missouri railroads stretching from Hannibal to Saint Joseph, Missouri, an incredible military accomplishment by Colonel Curtis who was later promoted to Brigadier General and Major General and would defeat the Confederate Army at the Battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas as Commander of the southwest Army.

"The Second Iowa Infantry thus began its military career under an able leader whose influence and example was an inspiration to the splendid officers who subsequently became its commanders succeeding each other in vacancies caused by promotion, by death on the battlefield, and by disabling wounds. The regiment rendered important service during the campaign in the summer of 1861 and most of the winter of 1862. The principal points from which it operated were as follows: St. Joseph Mo.; United States Arsenal, St. Louis, Mo.; Bird's Point, Mo.; Ironton, Mo. Pilot Knob, Mo.; Jackson, Mo.; Fort Jefferson, Ky.; Benton Barracks, St. Louis; Military Prison, McDowell's College, St. Louis. Leaving the last named station on the 10th day of February, 1862, the regiment was transferred by boat to Fort Donelson, Tenn., where it participated in the siege and capture of that stronghold and opened the way for the passage of the Union troops up the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers."

Fort Donelson was the first full-fledged battle that the Second Iowa Infantry would see.

"The compiler of this history has before him the original telegram from Major General H. W.
Halleck, addressed to Adjutant General N. B. Baker of Iowa, dated at Department Headquarters, St. Louis, February 19, 1862, which reads as follows:
The Second Iowa Infantry proved themselves the bravest of the brave. They had the honor of leading the column which entered Fort Donelson.
Colonel Tuttle then goes on to mention by name those who especially distinguished
themselves by coolness and bravery in the assault upon the fort. Of those in the most responsible positions, he mentions Lieutenant Colonel Baker, Major Chipman and Adjutant Tuttle, and says of them:
They were gallant to perfection. Lieutenant Colonel Baker had a ball pass through his cap
and come out near his temple, Major Chipman was among the first to fall severely wounded,
while cheering on the men of the left wing, and refused to be carried from the field, but waved his sword and exhorted the men to press forward. Captains Slaymaker and Cloutman fell dead at the head of their companies before they reached the entrenchments. Near them fell Lieutenant Harper. His death was that of a true and brave soldier. Captains Cox, Mills, Moore and Wilkins were at the head of their companies, marked examples of gallantry and efficiency. Lieutenants Scofield, Ensign, Davis, Holmes, Huntington, Weaver Mastic, Snowden and Godfrey—in fact nearly all of my officers, commissioned and non-commissioned— deported themselves nobly throughout the engagement, Sergeant Major Brawner deserves very honorable mention for his gallant conduct. Surgeons Marsh and Nassau also deserve the highest praise for their skill and untiring devotion to the welfare of the wounded. Dr. Nassau was particularly noticed for his bravery on the field, taking off the wounded during a heavy fire from the enemy. I cannot omit in this report an account of the Color Guard. Color Sergeant Doolittle fell early in the engagement pierced by four balls, and dangerously wounded. The colors were then taken by Corporal Page of Company B who soon fell, dead. They were again raised by Corporal Churcher of company I who had his arm broken just as he entered the entrenchments, when they were taken by Corporal Twombly of company F, who was almost instantly knocked down by a spent ball, but he immediately rose and bore them gallantly to the end of the fight. Not a single man of the Color Guard, but himself, was on his feet at the close of the engagement.

Thus, in its first great battle, so important in its results, the Second Iowa Infantry bore such a
conspicuous part as to be accorded the post of honor by being placed in the vanguard of the troops who took possession of the stronghold they had fought so bravely to subdue. The news of the splendid manner in which they had sustained the flag of their country was heard with glad acclaim, mingled with mourning for the gallant dead, throughout the State of Iowa, and served as an inspiration to those who were rallying to the defense of their country, and eagerly waiting for the opportunity to take the places of their fallen comrades."

In April, the Second Iowa Infantry would be present at the Battle of Shiloh.

"The two regiments of Tuttle's command—the Second and Seventh Iowa— which had
escaped capture, reinforced by fragments of other regiments, constituted an important part of the line of last resistance at Shiloh on the 6th of April, and again the regiment occupied a post of honor. On Monday, the 7th, the Second Iowa was placed under the orders of General Nelson and made a bayonet charge in a most gallant manner, the enemy giving way before them. It will thus be seen that the regiment well sustained at Shiloh the record it had made at Donelson."

Next they were sent to Corinth Mississippi where 108 of the 320 who fought, were killed.

"After the battle of Corinth, the regiment, now decimated in number by its heavy losses in
battle, continued in active service in the states of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia, during the fall, winter, spring and early summer of 1862 and 1863, and contributed its full share to the success of the operations against the enemy, up to, and culminating in, the fall of Atlanta and the march to the sea, and on to Washington. During this period of its service, it participated in the following engagements: Little Bear Creek, Alabama, November 28, 1862. Town Creek, Ala., April, 1863. Resaca, Ga., May 14 and 15, 1864. Rome Cross Roads May 16, 1864."

Between July 7, 1862, and December 16, 1862, Orange Mansfield would be promoted to Corporal (July 7) Sergeant ( September 4) and Second Lieutenant (December 16). 
Orange mustered out of service after completing his three year enlistment in May of 1864. The Second Iowa would March to the sea and then to Washington DC, before returning to Davenport, Iowa, where it was disbanded on July 20, 1865.

Last week, I found two books that mentioned the Second Iowa Infantry and ordered them both. Hopefully they will provide more detail on the service of this brave group.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Charles Langford Grave

The lost is now found! Friday, February 15, 2013,  Nancy and I drove to Clinton, Iowa and Fulton, Illinois, for some more valuable research. The above stone marks the grave of Charles Langford, Nancy's great great grandfather. He is buried in Fulton Township Cemetery. We had believed that his grave had no marker but there it was. He is located in Section Q, row 3, lot 101. He appears to be the only Langford buried there. The ownership of this plot continues under the name of his son, Charles E. Langford.

The stone reads:

Chas. Langford
Born Oct. 14, 1797
Died Jan, 23, 1878
Aged 80 Ys. 3 Ms. 9 Ds.

It appears that the stone was added some time after the burial. The newspaper accounts I found clearly indicate that he died January 23, 1879 which would make him one year older than the stone indicates.

While visiting the area, we stopped in a number of other places. We found the location of the Charles E. Langford farm, the last operating mill on the Elk River, Eagle Point Park, the Van Allen Building, the Saw Mill Museum, Oakland Cemetery and more.

The Langford family research is far from done but here is the best indicator of what a great American pioneer family they were. Charles Langford, gravestone above, and Fanny Mansfield had eleven children.

Here is where they are all buried:

Charles Langford                    Fannie Mansfield Langford
Buried in Fulton, Illinois          Buried near Fredonia, New York


Charles Elliot Langford                  Buried in Pasadena, California

William George Langford               Buried in Spokane, Washington

Oscar Mansfield Langford              Buried in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Jeanette Langford Wise                 Buried in Clinton, Iowa

Orange Mansfield Langford           Buried near Collegeville, Arkansas

James Mansfield Langford            Buried near Fredonia, New York

Harriet Langford McGinnis            Buried in Coshocton County, Ohio

Jane Langford Allen                      Buried in Jones County, Iowa

Mary Langford Allen                      Buried in Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Ellen Langford Wayland                 Unknown

Fidelia Emily Langford Pierce        Buried at Marionville, Virginia

Jane and Jeanette are the only two buried in the same state. Fannie and son James are known to be buried in the same general area, near Fredonia, New York.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Burial Location of Oscar’s Father Found

We had done a lot of looking and we were prepared to do a lot more research when the answer was handed to us.

We knew that Charles Langford brought many of his children to Lyons, Iowa, about 1840 after his wife Fannie died in New York. We knew that he showed up in the Federal Census of 1850, 1860 and 1870, living in Elk River Township,  Clinton County, Iowa. We surmised that he passed away between 1870 and the next census in 1880.

Susan Chambers provided us with several letters that had gone back and forth to Oscar while at the Printer’s Home. One of them from Delia Wilcox gave an account of her attending Charles funeral in tiny Almont in Elk River Township and said “he was buried at that place.” More importantly it provided a time frame of 1878. This allowed me the clue to find newspaper accounts of Charles death on January 23, 1879.

We tried to find a record of his burial on Ancestry, Family Search, Archives, Heritage Quest, Find a Grave, GenWeb and every other site we could think to search with no results. I found an interesting site, the Iowa Gravestones Project, that had a bigger collection than anywhere else for Clinton County cemeteries. I looked through the listings and found two old cemeteries where the burial could have taken place. One of them, the Smith Cemetery had only 53 burials but three stones were too worn to make out a name. Nancy and I planned to visit this cemetery in better weather to  see if we could find Charles among these unknowns. They were our last avenue to pursue.

Then, last week, we made a trip to Fulton to meet with two folks from the Fulton Historical Society. Barb and Harvey had information on the “other” Charles Langford, Charles Eliot Langford, Oscar’s brother. Harvey had done some great research as had Barb. But Harvey had done the cemetery searching.and mentioned that there was a Langford buried in Fulton, Illinois. Sure enough, it was Oscar’s father, Charles.

Evidently, the Charles E. Langford in Fulton had his father Charles buried in the Fulton Township Cemetery after his funeral across the river in Clinton County, Iowa.. He is buried in Sect Q, lot 101, row 3. There is no marker.

In the greatest of ironies, Nancy’s great great grandfather was buried near where we have lived for the last 36+ years, but we were completely unaware of him ever being in Iowa. The lost is now found and we are going to Fulton soon to see his “place”.

Biographies of Whiteside County

     Charles E. Langford, President of the Langford and Hall Lumber Company, of Fulton, Ill., and the pioneer lumberman of this city, established himself at Fulton in 1859. He began by running lumber across the river from Lyons. He next leased a saw-mill just above town, which he operated till 1862, when he built a small mill on the site of his present one. He operated the first mill till 1876, when he moved it off, and built the present extensive concern. The mill was begun in 1876 and completed in 1877. The Langford and Hall Lumber Company was incorporated Jan. 26, 1878, with a capital stock of $75,000, all of which is paid up. The mill has a cutting capacity of 75,000 feet per day, and when running at full force, 130 men are employed ten hours a day. The company carries an average stock of 7,000,000 feet of lumber. It was inventoried Jan. 1, 1885, at a net value of $97,181. Mr. Langford was elected President and Treasurer at the organization of the company, and held the office for several years. Mr. George S. Sardam is the present efficient Secretary. Mr. Langford holds half of the company stock, while the balance is divided between the heirs of Warren P. Hall and others.
    Mr. Langford was born in Genesee County, New York, Dec 14, 1816, and is the son of Charles and Fannie (Mansfield) Langford. His parents were natives of New York: his father was born in Genesee, and his mother in Oneida County. When two years of age Charles removed with his parents to Upper Canada, to St. John’s. Seven years later they went to northern Ohio, where they resided till 1829, when they changed to Erie County, Pa. At the age of 14 years Charles bought his time of his father, who was a carder and a clothier, and began life for himself. He had learned the carding business, at which he worked till the fall of 1836, when he started out to seek his fortune. He traveled south as far as New Orleans, and the following June (1837) he came up the Mississippi River to Lyons, Iowa. He made a claim on unsurveyed land between Lyons and Sabula before the Indians were removed.
    His experience while a squatter is well worth relating. He built a log shanty, and hired five acres broken, which he planted to sod corn. He soon  after bought a pair of old oxen on time; then having a chance to exchange one of his oxen for breaking, he did so, and added nine acres to his plowed land, and paid for the cattle with the proceeds from his sod corn. The following season he sowed a part of his land with wheat and planted the balance with corn. He then rigged his odd ox with an old mule’s harness, with ropes tied to his horns for lines, and with this novel outfit he cultivated his corn. His wheat yielded 30 bushels to the acre, which he hauled to Chicago, and sold for 90 cents a bushel.
    He sold his claim for a small consideration the second year, and the following winter engaged in cutting cord wood for the boats. He sold his wood the next spring, and with the proceeds purchased a carding machine at St. Louis, which he set up the following July, on a little water power on the Elk River, between Sabula and Lyons. He built a dam and a small mill and began business as a carder. As many of the old settlers kept a few sheep and used the old fashioned spinning wheels, he found plenty to do. He continued that business about five or six years when he sold out. He then purchased a tract of land in Clinton Co., Iowa, where he engaged in farming. In 1852 he leased a small water powered saw mill, on Elk River, above Lyons, which he subsequently bought. He operated that mill only a short time, when he sold out and resumed farming.
    In 1856 he retired from the farm and located at Lyons. Soon after the financial storm of 1857 he leased what was known as the Stambaugh Saw Mill at Lyons, since burned, which he operated till 1859, when he leased a mill on the Fulton side of the river, above town. In 1862 he built the small steam mill on the site of his present mill, as before mentioned. He is still the owner of 500 acres of his old farm in Clinton Co., Iowa.
    Mr. Langford has, by the exercise of good judgment and untiring energy, developed an important and extensive business. He is a fair type of the self made Western man, starting as he did at the age of 14 years, buying his time of his father, and going out into the battle of life with only his bare hands, shrewd judgment and indomitable will to back him. His marked success has been won after many a hard struggle against discouraging circumstances.
    Mr. Langford has been married twice: first in Pennsylvania, to Miss Hannah Shadduck, in 1836. His second wife was Miss Maria Sherman, to whom he was married in Fulton, Ill., June 18, 1874. He had seven children by his first marriage, three sons and four daughters; by his second marriage he had one daughter.
    Mr. Langford was a Whig early in life, and since the organization of the Republican Party, he has voted that ticket.

Article from the Fulton Newspaper
Tuesday, June 20, 1893

Death of a Former Citizen of Fulton

    C. E. Langford died at his home in Pasadena, California, June 10, and the remains were interred in the cemetery at that city. Mr. Langford was one of the pioneer settlers in Clinton County, Iowa. In 1865 he built the first saw mill where the present saw mill now stands. The mill was but twenty-four by sixty feet with a capacity of from 700,00 to 1,000,000 feet of lumber a year. In 1866, Warren P. Hall became a partner of Mr. Langford and the capacity of the mill was increased to 3,000,000 feet of lumber annually. In 1876 the L. and H. Lumber Co. was incorporated with a capital stock of $100,000. In 1888, the saw mill had a capacity of about 12,000,000 feet of lumber a year and Mr. Langford sold his interest in it to David Joyce.
    Mr. Langford was a remarkable man in many ways. His knowledge of books was limited, but his knowledge of men and of business principles was great. He was plain, honest, frank, more than frank, blunt. He never became discouraged. To illustrate his shrewdness one occurrence will be sufficient. He sold a bill of lumber which was used in constructing a two story building in this city. The first story was used as a store by the owner and the second story occupied as a residence by the owner. A third person held a mortgage on the property. After a few years the owner of the building leased the lower story, built and outside staircase to the second story  in which he resided. Mr. Langford levied on all the building  but the second story. It was sold at Sheriff’s sale and Mr. Langford secured what was due him. It was the first case on record where such a thing had been done.

Oscar’s Booklet about his Brother William

I previously posted an article that Oscar wrote about his brother, William G. Langford, for a memorial booklet he created at the time of his brother’s passing.

There were also excerpts from various newspapers included.

From the Spokane Review
May 11, 1893


He Passed Away Yesterday, After a Long Illness-He Held Many Positions of Trust

    Hon. William G. Langford, late Judge of the Superior Court of Spokane County, died at his residence, 1224 Broadway, yesterday afternoon a few minutes before 5 o’clock.
    The Judge had been suffering with a complication of ailments for nearly two years, and his physical condition of late had been such that the end was not unexpected. The primary cause of death was nervous prostration.
    Everything possible was done for him; the best medical assistance that could be procured was in attendance, but of no avail.
    The Judge breathed his last surrounded by his wife and a few intimate friends, who had stood watch at his bedside day and night for weeks past. He made a brave struggle for existence, but the odds were against him. For some time previous to his death he was unable to lie in a reclining position, and the folding bed which he occupied was arranged so that he could sleep almost in a sitting posture. It was in this manner that he passed peacefully and unconsciously away.
    Judge Langford would have been 58 years old his coming birthday. His early youth was passed in the states of New York and Iowa. In 1850 he emigrated from the home of his boyhood and crossed the plains to Oregon. In 1856, under Judge E. D. Shadduck, at Portland, he began the study of law, but dropped his studies and served several months in the Indian war, then raging. Afterward he resumed his studies in the office of Judge P. A. Markham, at Portland. Subsequently he went to Vancouver and practiced law until the spring of 1862. In 1863 he was appointed by the Governor of the Washington Territory prosecuting attorney for the First Judicial District. In 1864 he was elected a member of the Territorial Council. Then he went east and practiced law in Washington, D. C., also in Texas and in Mississippi. Afterwards he practiced law in San Francisco.
    He married Mrs. Emma R. L. Norris (nee Wheaton), at Washington, D. C. A year later he moved to Lewistown, Idaho, where he was elected a member of the Territorial Council. In 1879, his wife died. In January, 1883, he married Julia Gilbert, a cousin of his former wife, who survives him. This wedding was consummated at Walla Walla, where Judge Langford located early in the seventies, and where he served as city attorney for a number of years. He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Territory of Washington by President Cleveland. During his term as Associate Justice he decided the local option law and woman suffrage law invalid, and was sustained by his associates.
    He removed to Spokane from Walla Walla about three years ago, and was soon after elected to a Superior Court Judgeship on the Democratic and Labor tickets, succeeding Judge Kinnaird. He filled the office with dignity. During the latter part of his term on the bench the Judge suffered intensely. He spent some time on the coast and in British Columbia, seeking the health which never came.
    Judge Langford was a man of scholarly attainments and sterling integrity. In politics he was Democrat, but his friends  and admirers among both parties were legion.  The deceased has a brother residing at Pasadena, Cal., a brother and sister in Ohio, and two sisters in Iowa and Virginia.

From the Spokane Chronicle

    The Hon. William G. Langford was among the most conspicuous personages in Spokane. He was honored, revered and loved by all who knew him, by those with whom he has come in contact, either socially or in his official capacity. He gained their entire confidence and good will. Intellectually, he was a man of high culture.

From the Spokane Review
May 16, 1893


Remains of the Late Judge Laid to Rest-The Bar Association Acts

    The Bar Association met in the court room yesterday morning to take action on the death of Judge William G. Langford. Judges Norman Buck and Wallace Mount presided. Hon. R> R> Blake moved that the court take a recess until Tuesday morning, out of respect to the deceased. The motion was approved. Hon. George Turner moved that a committee of five members of the Bar be appointed to draw up suitable resolutions for the occasion. The motion prevailed, and the following gentlemen were appointed: Charles S. Voorhees, L. H. Plather, J. W. Feighan, J. M. Kinnaird and George Turner.

From the Spokane Review
May 17, 1893


The Bar Association Meet This Morning and Pass Resolutions of Respect to Judge Langford-Worked for the Public-He Was Known and Respected by all Classes of People Where He lived.

This morning the members of the Spokane Bar met in the courtroom to pay homage to the memory of the lat Judge Langford. Judge Blake as President of the Bar Association, presented resolutions, and also in an able address paid a high tribute to the life and works of his esteemed brother jurist.
    C. S. Voorhees delivered a eulogy upon the life, character and deeds of the deceased judge. In part, he spoke as follows:
    “I feel that one of the highest honors that could possibly be conferred upon me is to be allowed to speak upon such an occasion as this, and to pay my respects to the life of so distinguished and eminent a jurist as the late William G. Langford. During his brief career among us, and as a member of the bench, my associations with him have always been pleasant. As a judge upon the bench he was one of the most conscientious and honorable men that I have ever known. As a lawyer, in the knowledge of law he had few equals, and always kept himself posted with every branch and ramification. He was a close student and thoroughly acquainted himself with every minor as well as the more important points in all cases. His sterling honesty, unquestioned integrity and true loyalty were faculties possessed by him that has made his name a synonym  among us. By his death the profession has lost an able, conscientious and worthy member, and the citizens a valued and most sincere friend.”

    S. C. Hyde and Isaac Kevelle followed, and paid glowing tributes and high testimonial in their eulogy of Judge Langford. The resolutions were then presented and read and spread among the minutes, which are as follows:


Whereas, It has pleased an all-wise Providence to remove from our midst, while yet in the full meridian of his intellectual powers, our friend and brother, Hon. William G. Langford; and,
Whereas, It is fitting and proper that we, the witnesses of his life-work, should put upon record for posterity our appreciation of his character in life and our estimation of the great loss sustained by his profession and the public in his death; therefore be it
Resolved, by the Bar Association of Spokane, That as a man, a citizen, a member of the legal profession, and a judge upon the bench, our deceased associate, Judge Langford, exhibited throughout his life virtues and abilities of the highest order, and justly won, by reason thereof, the esteem and confidence of the public and the love and respect of his associates at the bar.
Resolved, further, That by his untimely death our profession has lost one of the brightest exemplars, we, the members thereof, a trusted and friendly guide and mentor, and the public at large a faithful, efficient and upright aid in the administration of public justice.
Resolved, further, That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the Superior Court of Spokane County, with a request that the same be spread on the minutes, and that a copy of the same be transmitted to Mrs. W. G. Langford, the widow of our deceased friend and brother, accompanied by the profound and heartfelt sympathy of the Bar Association in her deep grief.


    Judge Langford was original, thoughtful, and profound. He had breadth and scope, resource, learning, logic, and, above all, a sense of justice. He understood the framework, anatomy and foundation of law; he was familiar with the great streams, currents and tides of authority. He was not a case lawyer, a decision index or an echo. He listened to debates, and his industry was only limited by time and strength. In the winter of 1892-3, when he was almost completely disabled by rheumatism, whenever it was possible for him to be at his post, he could always be found there; and it was universally conceded that Judge Langford has made one of the best judges that Spokane has ever had. He had a faculty of dispatching business rapidly and expeditiously, and his decisions always reached the point and stood the test of the Supreme Court. In his home life, he was a model husband, ever thoughtful and kind, and while suffering said to a friend that he would like to be released from it if it were not for the thought of leaving his wife.

    Among the prominent features of his character was his genial and kind nature, his generosity to those in trouble; and a life like his cut down in its zenith was considered by the citizens of Washington as a public calamity. Of death he had no fear, and these lines expressed his sentiments:

        I fear not death. Why should I fear
            The God that gave me breath?
        This life is but a suburb of the life
            Whose portals we call death.

    On the Sunday evening preceding his last illness he sung his favorite hymn “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”. He believed in the Christian religion, and said it was our deeds, not words, that showed our Christian character, and that we should imitate Christ while he was on earth, as near as possible, to be true Christians. Work and good deeds were the expressions of his Christian life; and if we could look through the misty veil that separates us, we might know why this transition. The noble mind was too large for its tenement.

        But how vain to pry within the veil!
        Our keenest visions here must fail;
        But faith reveals to us a place
        Held for the just by Heaven’s grace-
        A veil of texture thin and fine,
        Through which no ray of light may shine.
        So cast your burdens on his breast,
        Who to His loved ones giveth rest.

    It was fitting that a being so noble, that so gentle and so pure a life should leave the scenes of earth in May, when Nature is dressed in her holiday attire, when the leaves and vines and green, when flowers are blooming, when the songs of birds and the murmurings of brooks commingle their sweet music, when the sunshine is bright, and the air is laden with the perfume of flowers.

        Green be the turf above thee,
            Friend of our better days.
        None knew thee but to love thee,
            None named thee but to praise.

From the Spokane Chronicle
May 15, 1893


There Were Many To Shed Tears at Judge Langford’s Grave--The Funeral Services and the Burial at Greenwood

    The funeral of the late lamented Judge William G. Langford took place this afternoon at 1:30 o’clock at the family residence, 1224 Broadway, where brief services were held. The remains were then taken in charge by the Odd Fellows and members of the Spokane Bar, and escorted to the First Presbyterian Church, where the last sad rites were held over the remains of the distinguished jurist.  The Rev. F. J. Mundy delivered the funeral service. The spacious quarters of the church were filled to overflowing, and many friends and neighbors of the eminent judge were unable to gain admittance. Rev. Mr. Mundy’s sermon was a most impressive one. He paid a high and worthy tribute to the life and deeds of the deceased jusge. The funeral procession was led by the Odd Fellows; then came the hearse with the following pall-bearers, all wearers of the ermine at present or in days gone by: Hon. Norman Buck, Hon. Jesse Arthur, Hon. Wallace Mount, Hon. George Turner, Hon. K. B. Blake, Hon. J. M. Kinnaird. The Bar Association came next, nearly every lawyer in the city being in line, followed by the officers of the courts. The carriages brought up the rear. The obsequies were very impressive. The interment took place at Greenwood Cemetery.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Delia Wilcox Writes to Oscar Langford 1907

A letter from Delia Wilcox to Oscar Langford, written from Chicago, February 8, 1907:
(Notes in red are mine)
My dear Uncle-

I came to Chicago a few days on business and a little visit, and yesterday I received a few lines from James' (James was Delia's brother James Henry Wise) wife with your letter and one from Mary (Mary was Delia's sister Mary Wise Graul) enclosed. When I read your letter it made me feel badly and a little bit guilty, but I did not think, as you said, that my old uncle was not worth bothering about, but simply neglected to do so, which of course does not excuse me in the least. Being alone as you are, it is a very fortunate thing that you have even so good a home, and I fully realize that is your right as you helped support the Home for many years. It may be my fate also, as I am a member of the Eastern Star, and we are supporting a Home at Boone, Iowa. I never expect my relatives to care for me when I can not care for myself, if I should live after that time comes.

I am still located at Mount Vernon and shall, in all probability remain there until next fall, when, I think likely, I shall move to Clinton to be near my stepmother (Peter Wise married Sarah after Jeanette Langford Wise passed away) who is getting old and the time is likely to come when she will need care and of course I am the one who must do it. She was always kind and did so much for us that I would be very ungrateful if I did not look after her.

Mary and John Herwick (Mary Langford Herwick is a daughter of Charles E. Langford of Fulton) visited in Lyons last August when I was there and they wanted me to go Los Angeles with them, but I must not go away as long as mother lives. They have lived in Los Angeles 18 years.

I do not know what the reason is for Mary (Graul) looking up the Langford pedigree-I knew nothing about it til I saw her Thanksgiving at Waterloo (James Henry Wise lived in Waterloo). So far as I am concerned, I am willing to let such things remain undisturbed, for sometimes it is possible to unearth things which which were better left buried.

From your letter she did not obtain much knowledge and there is no one else to give her any. So far as meeting or knowing your father, it would not have any pleasure to you if you had known him before he died at uncle Charles farm at Hauntown on this side in the winter.  My father and I drove out to Almont School house to the funeral. He was buried at that place. I think it was about 1878, several years after I was married. Well I guess we will let these old things rest.

I went to Waterloo with my stepmother, who was going to spend the winter with James, November 5 last, and I remained there till January 29 when I went home and then here. I shall be at home at Mount Vernon about the middle of March.

I should like to see you once more, but unless I can take a trip to Colorado next summer, do not know as I will.

I suppose Mary (Graul) told you about her family. The girls are nice, the oldest son a railroad man and all right too, I guess.

When I have time I will stop in Lyons with the oldest daughter, for a short visit.

I am very well and able to earn my living and go and come about as I please even if I do not work hard, but I feel as if my life has been a failure. When I am ready to die, I will then be ready to live.

Well, my dear uncle, I will close and hope you will write to me again very soon.

With love, your niece,
Delia Wilcox
7448 Normal Avenue Chicago