Monday, June 24, 2013

Genealogy and Life

One of the truths that we learn from genealogy is that every family has its share of heartbreak and tragedy.  The Langford family is no exception. We have seen the loss of loved ones, the dissolution of families, the loss in war and the hardships of persecution. It is part of the human condition that takes its toll on all of us at different times and in different ways.
Life had to be especially tough for Temperance Palmer. Her first husband, David Mason, died in 1837 when Temperance was just 34, leaving her with a family to raise on her own. When Charles Langford entered her life, it must have seemed like a new life was beginning. When he left her to move to Iowa with children from his first marriage, she was left with two more small children to raise on her own.
It is a few years after this that the following newspaper article appeared in the Sandusky, Ohio, Daily Sanduskian:


Whereas Temperance Langford represented to me that she was a widow by the name of Mason, and under this impression I married her; and whereas I have since learned that such was not her name, but that she had a husband living, by the name of Langford; and whereas she has left my bed and board without any just cause or provocation, I do hereby forbid all persons harboring or trusting her on my account, as I will pay no debts of her contracting after this date.

Henry Thomas
January 31, 1850 

There is an old saying the desperate times require desperate measures. Temperance was certainly desperate. It is likely that this episode ended with her move to Ingham County, Michigan. Her sons would both serve the state of Michigan well, George as a doctor and Daniel as a soldier, both in their own way saving lives.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Charles Langford's Other Family

     What we know of Charles Langford, Oscar's father, has been limited by a number of factors. Chiefly, the dissolution of the family seemed to be caused by Fanny's death in 1840. Curiously, I did find Charles in the 1840 census living in North East, Erie County, Pennsylvania. There is a family unit of five total and the census at that time only listed the head of household by name. I reasoned that this was probably where they lived because I found the death notice in the Fredonia, New York, newspaper. Fredonia is only about 25 miles from North East. But some new information has come to light in the last week from another Langford descendant, Laura Bolander of Ohio.
Laura first contacted Susan Chambers, one of the other cousins I found an Susan forwarded her inquiry to me. Laura believed that she was a descendant of a second family that Charles had in the years 1840 to 1845 in North East. After we shared a lot of emails and one phone call, I began to research the facts for myself. I am now convinced that Laura is right.
     Here is the evidence. Dr. George Washington Langford was born in Erie County and went on to a successful career as a medical doctor, among other things, in Ingham County Michigan. When he died his death certificate said that his parents were Charles W. Langford and Temperance Palmer. A profile of Dr. Langford was written in 1891. Here is the exact source that convinced Laura, first, and then me.

PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF Ingham and Livingston Counties, MICHIGAN, Chicago, Chapman Bros. 1891, Pages 739-740:
For the past twenty-two years Dr. Langford has been known as one of the successful physicians of Ingham County and he is still prosecuting his practice at Williamston and vicinity. His father, Charles W. Langford, a miller by trade, was a resident of Pennsylvania, but spent his later years in Iowa, with his son Charles, and there died. While living in Erie County, Pa., he was married to Mrs. Temperance Mason, by whom he had two children, George W., and Daniel W., but he had several children by a previous marriage. The father of Mrs. Langford was a Mr. Palmer who was the father of three sons and two daughters.

The profile goes on:
Dr. Langford was born May 18, 1840, in Erie County, Pa., and being without a father's care since four years of age he grew up under his mother's training and she removed when he was twelve years old to Lenawee County, Mich., and here they resided until the breaking out of the war. The young man who had now just reached his majority enlisted in Company K., First regiment Michigan Infantry, and after three months' service and one year at home re-enlisted in Company I., Eighteenth Michigan Infantry and was in service during the remainder of the war. The last nine months he was held as a prisoner in Castle Morgan and three months of that time he was in the prison hospital at Cahaba, Ala.
The academic education of this gentleman was taken at Fairfield Village in his county and he afterward spent two years in college at Adrian, in which city he studied medicine with Drs. Rhynd and Allen and graduated from the medical department of the University of Ann Arbor in the spring of 1869. Besides taking the regular course he also carried on six extra "quizes." After graduation the young medical man settled in Belle Oak in May, 1869, and in September of the same year he was married on the 29th of that month to Arvilla R. Sparhawk, daughter of Noah Sparhawk a Vermonter, who removed to Ohio at an early day and finally settled in Adrian, Mich., where he resided at the time of his daughter's marriage. To the Doctor and his wife have come five bright and beautiful children, namely: Myrtie M., Theron S., Mabel E., Maud, and George W., all of whom are still under the parental roof. Theron and Myrtie are graduates of Williamston High School, Myrtie is instructor of the intermediate department at Webberville. Theron was elected president of his class before graduation and was awarded the highest scholarship of his class and on examination at the State Normal he was admitted to the junior class.
In 1872 Dr. Langford removed to Webberville where he practiced his profession until November, 1889, when he came to Williamston. He owns eighty acres of land in Ingham County and an equal number of acres in Livingston County, and has a drug store and residence at Webberville besides a home and real estate in Williamston. He is a member of the State Medical Association and is a Republican in his political views but never aspires to public office. For eleven years in succession he was Postmaster at Webberville and for the same length of time carried on a drug store there.
Dr. and Mrs. Langford are valued members of the Baptist Church and the Doctor is a Master Mason and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic holding official position in the latter organization. At Webberville he was successively Surgeon, Commander and Chaplain of the Post, and he now holds the position of Surgeon in the Post at Williamston.

     Doctor Langford was alive when this profile was written and would have provided much of this detail himself. Knowing that Charles was in Clinton County with his son Charles could only have been possible if they were the same people, since these are the only Charles Langford father and son that I have ever found in Iowa.

     Dr. George Washington Langford's brother Daniel W. Langford sadly died of yellow fever while being held as a prisoner by the south in the Civil War. Here is more information on him:
Langford, Daniel W. (Veteran),. Lenawee County. Enlisted in Company B, Fourth Infantry, June 20, 1861, at Adrian, for 3 years, age 25. Height 5’8”. Complexion light. Eyes dark . Hair dark. Farmer by trade.  Mustered June 20, 1861.  Re-enlisted December 29, 1863. Mustered January 1, 1864.  Taken prisoner at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, July 2, 1863.  Returned to company August 12, 1863.  On detached service with Company B, First Infantry, by order, July 2, 1864, at Petersburg, Virginia.  Married by Fourth Michigan's Chaplain John Seage on Saturday February 6, 1864, at Bealton Station, Virginia, at the residence of the bride Sarah Grove. February 10, 1865 Sarah was living in Fairfield, Lenawee County, Michigan and had a 3 month old daughter. Straggler on march and taken prisoner near Long Bridge, Virginia, June 14, 1864. Died of yellow fever at Charleston, South Carolina on October 14, 1864. Originally buried in the"Potter's Field" of the Charleston Race Course in Charleston, South Carolina. Reinterred in the National Cemetery in Beaufort, South Carolina.

     There are some facts here that are troubling. George was born in May 1840, Fanny died in April 1840. Charles left this second family high and dry when he moved to Clinton County, Iowa. It is possible that the years could be off here and there, but regardless of the details, it does not improve the view of Charles as a family man.
I started this research to fill in the blanks caused by a family breakdown. I thought I had done that until last week when Laura shared her research with me and had the same goal that I did. It is only fitting that all of the Langford descendants from Charles be included in the telling of his story. As you can see above, they have stories to add.