Wednesday, November 15, 2017

DNA Discoveries: Lillian Pearl (Wells) Porter Porter Walker (1889-1990)

As I was working on some new DNA matches, I got to "meet" Lillian Pearl Wells all over again. She been in my tree for years as the wife of of Joseph "Jesse" Isaac Porter, without known parents or death information. I knew Jesse and Lillian married sometime before 1930 and he had previously been married to and divorced from Emma Mabel Riggin, daughter of Theodore Augustus Riggin (1840-1910)[1] and Caroline (Vangundy) Pritchett, and my first cousin three times removed.

Because of my new DNA match, I did a lot more research into Lillian and I believe my working theory is correct.

Lillian Pearl Wells was born on 10 April 1889 in Chicago, Illinois, to George Washington Wells[2] and his first wife, Ida Logenia[3] Ewing, daughter of Sylvester Ewing and Mary A. Briggs. George and Ida married on 21 June 1885 in McLean County, Illinois, where Ida grew up. After moving to Chicago, George became a policeman and at least one more child was born to he and Ida -- Arthur Washington Wells, who died on 4 May 1894, the same day he was born. His mother died two days later. At the age of 36, George married Bessie Sackett on 9 September 1894 in Chicago.

George Washington Wells (1858-1920); courtesy of
Michelle (Wells) Ward

Lillian Pearl, who sometimes went by Lily, married Daniel Ethan Porter in 1906 in Monroe County, Illinois. He farmed on rented land in 1910 but by 1920 worked as a pipefitter. Together Lillian and Daniel had five children:
  • Lorene Lillian Porter (1909-1992)
  • Clara Porter (1916-1917)
  • Eunice Porter (1917-1984)
  • Nellie Porter (1919-2009)
  • Nettie Porter (1922-2013)
Sometime before 1927 Daniel Porter was committed to the Alton State Hospital, a hospital for the insane built in 1917. He remained a patient until his death in 1955.

Lillian married Daniel's older brother, Joseph "Jesse" Porter[4] soon after Daniel was committed. They had one son, Robert George Porter in 1927 (died in 1991) and the family was enumerated together in 1930. Joseph was an engineer at a flour mill. This second marriage did not last.

By 1940, Joseph and Lillian divorced. Lillian married Francis Marion Walker, a widower, and lived in Henderson County, Kentucky. Her two youngest children lived with she and Marion.

Francis Marion Walker died in 1948 was interred in Fernwood Cemetery in Henderson, Kentucky, beside his first wife. Lillian Pearl (Wells) Porter Porter Walker died on 4 October 1980 in Henderson County.

I have several DNA matches to other descendants of common shared ancestors James M. Wells and Mary Hearelson through their children: Clementine, Daniel, and George. And these matches are also shared with this new match which allowed me to discover Lillian wasn't "just" the second wife of my cousin's husband, but also an ancestor. But before I sorted all the relationships out, I spend several hours very confused!

Diagram depicting the relationships described in this blog post; created
using Microsoft Powerpoint[5]

[1] Theodore Augustus Riggin was a son of my three times great grandfather, Alfred Riggin (1811-about 1850). I descend from another son, John Wesley Riggin.

[2] George Washington Wells was the youngest son of James M. Wells and Mary Hearelson, my three times great grandparents and parents of Clementine Wells, the second wife of John Wesley Riggin (mentioned above).

[3] I had not known George Washington Wells had been married twice. Ida Logenia Ewing was a new discovery.

[4] Joseph "Jesse" Porter had been married and divorced two times previously. First to my cousin, Emma Mabel Riggin; and second, to Margaret (Bone) Purkhiser, whose first husband worked for the railroad and appeared to leave her in Illinois with two young children. He died in California in 1949.

[5] The correct surname of Lillian's third husband is WALKER, Francis Marion Walker.

I descend from James Wells and Mary Hearelson as follows:
Clementine (Wells) Riggin Collins
Ida Mae (Riggin) Muir
Alice (Muir) Jennings

New Wells/Murphy Family Tree Branch
Squabbling Siblings
The Wells Spinsters
New Wells Family Tree Branch

Monday, September 11, 2017

John Ronald Miller (1915-1952): The Uncle Most of Us Don't Remember

John Ronald Miller, who went by Ronald, was Aunt Ruth's first husband. He died before my younger Lange first cousins and me were born or were old enough to remember. According to Mom, he was born in Britain; never knew who his father was; and was raised by an aunt who had a bit of money but who died of cancer when he was young. As he cared for her in the final stages of her life, he became addicted to the morphine her doctor's prescribed to manage pain. Eventually after a 12-year marriage to Aunt Ruth, he committed suicide.

Not long ago, I looked at the information I had collected about Uncle Ronald (it seems weird to call him that), and realized there were a lot of gaps in the paper trail. So I went digging.

John Ronald Miller (1915-1952*); personal collection

Ronald was born on 16 September 1915 in Grimsby, England, also known as Great Grimsby, a large seaport on the Humber estuary close to where it joins the North Sea west of Leeds. Britain makes birth records available to genealogists and family historians after 100 years. I should be able to find the registration of his birth, but I have not. I am left wondering if John Ronald Miller was his birth name or one assigned to him later.

On 22 March 1930, 14-year-old Ronald boarded the Cunard Line's RMS Antonia along with thirty other boys from the National Children's Home (NCS), which had been established in 1869 by a Methodist minister. By the time Ronald lived at the NCS, the organization operated a number of homes across England, including one in Leeds, which may have been where Ronald lived. There was always pressure on the NCS to find homes for the children in its care so their would be space available for new arrivals and emigration played an important role in achieving that end. Many of the NCS administrators believed the children would have the opportunity for a better future in Canada. Ronald arrived in Halifax on 31 March 1930. He indicated to immigration officials, his foster father was Sidney Rogers of Grimsby and he had been a student in the UK but intended to work on a farm in Canada.

On 27 July 1932 Ronald joined the British Merchant Navy in London. A few days later he signed on to merchant ship Esperance Bay in Southampton. He indicated it was his first ship and previous to that he fished for work.  Ronald served as a deck boy.

Merchant ship Esperance Bay; courtesy of State of Victoria Archive

By 1939 Ronald lived in Montreal and worked as a sales manager. On 6 November he arrived in Burlington, Vermont, by plane. He told immigration officials he intended to reside permanently in the U.S. and his destination was New Orleans where he would visit a friend. Interestingly, the building listed as friend's address is now known as the Maritime Building.

Ronald married Ruth Hedwig Lange on 16 September 1940 in Washington, DC. She was the daughter of Gustav Lange and Wilhelmina Schalin. She was born in Winnipeg in 1916 but had been raised on a farm in Prince George's County, Maryland. At the time of their marriage, Ruth worked in a bakery in Washington. Surpringly, neither Ronald or Ruth were listed in the 1940 census, which was enumerated earlier in the year. A month after their marriage Ronald registered for the Army draft. He was a Canadian citizen, as was Aunt Ruth, and they lived in an apartment in a row house at 1201 C Street, NE.

1201 C Street, NE, Washington, DC; courtesy Google Maps

Ronald worked for the Standard Drug Company, which had been established in 1919 in Richmond by two pharmacists. Stores were later opened throughout Maryland and Virginia and the chain thrived for decades before it was purchased in 1993 by the company now known as CVS. The remainder of the records I have for Ronald are border crossings returning from trips to Canada in 1943 and 1945. He and Ruth continued to live at 1201 C Street, NE, during that time.

Mom said Ronald and Ruth would move around the country frequently so that he could obtain prescriptions for morphine. When a doctor discussed a detoxification clinic, it was time to move. They were in Pelham, New York, when a doctor convinced Ronald to be institutionalized in order to withdrawal from morphine. However, after a few days, he called Ruth and begged for her to get him released. She did after seeing his terrible physical deterioration. According to Mom, Ronald committed suicide in 1952 in Pelham, New York, a few days later. The New York death index for that time period is available and I have found one record that could be Ronald's but have been unable to verify it. If it is for "my" Ronald Miller, he died in 1956 in Poughkeepsie.

Ruth (Lange) and J. Ronald Miller in happier times; personal collection

Ruth married Robert Riffle Meek in a 1960 civil ceremony in Stamford, Connecticut. He was a divorcee with one adult son and worked as a real estate broker. Soon after their marriage they moved to DeLand, Florida, and purchased an apartment complex, which they managed for several years.

I can't help but think after spending several days researching and learning more about Aunt Ruth's first husband that his life began with hardship which continued through much of his childhood. Even though his adult life seemed normal to most casual onlookers, his demon's conquered him in the end.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Altha Alice Queen: Mother of the Largest Family in the District

Altha Alice (Paxton) Queen was my Aunt Katherine's great great grandmother. She was born on 15 September 1807 in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Many public trees indicate her parents were William Paxton and Ruth Ann Sellman, but I have found no source documents which identify her parents. On either 6 February or 2 June 1831 in Washington, DC. They had eight children. Mr. Queen died in 1885 and Mrs. Queen in 1907.

On 4 June 1905 a Washington Times page 2, full-page article and photo spread about Mrs. Queen entitled, "A Queen in Name and a Queen of Mothers" was published.

Page 2 of The Washington Times, 4 June 1905; courtesy of Chronicling America

Washington Woman 98 Years Old Has 153 Living Descendants and Mourns 51 Dead

Mrs. Alice Queen, Mother of Largest Family in the District

Four People Needed to Tabulate Her Many Descendants

Feels Young and Expects to Live Many More Years

In an old-fashioned country home near Tenleytown, surrounded by a splendid growth of flowering rose bushes, nestling between hills sown with sweet-scented clover and timothy, and undisturbed as yet by the rapid growth of the city's streets and buildings, lives Mrs. Alice Queen, ninety-eight years old , the mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother of descendants so numerous and increasing so rapidly that it took four members of her family hours to properly tabulate them. Even now the four express fears that they have overlooked a number of them.

Of children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, as far as she and her offspring are able to discover, there have been 204. The living of these, of which the oldest is seventy-three, are at least 153.

A Times reporter found this remarkable woman sitting on the wide piazza of her old-fashioned house. It is her custom to spend many hours to spend many hours in this shady corner these warm days quietly enjoying as it were the secret of eternal youth. From her place of vantage she watches over her numerous progeny and descendants, noting carefully their comings and goings, giving advice, always shrewd and to the point, and backed up with the experience of years, giving sympathy those that need it, and giving love to all.

A Mother to Them All

She has been a mother to them all in turn, even down to the fifth generation, and the absolute mistress over their lives. For she is a woman of much force of character and has always been looked up to as the head of the house, her husband having died many years ago. She is familiar with the daily habits of each and every one of her huge family, the clothes they wear, the money they earn and spend. She does not allow her grandsons or her great grandsons to drink, smoke or stay out late at night. Her granddaughters and great granddaughters may remain away from her but a short time without giving an account of themselves.

When The Times reporter called upon her he found her in her usual comfortable seat on the veranda, talking to her grandson, Dorsey Queen; her granddaughters, Mrs. Grigsby and Mrs. Harry, surrounded by a number of her great grandchildren. It was Mrs. Queen who welcomed him to her home first. When she discovered his mission she seemed greatly amused. She took the matter with much more tranquility than the rest of her family.

"Will I let you take my photograph and write me up?" she asked. "Certainly, if you like. There is no harm in a photograph, and if people want to know of me I am quite willing they should. I believe I'm rather old and my family a rather remarkable one."

It was in this remark, as in other things, this wonderful old lady showed the strength of her mind and character. The timidity of the others over what seemed a trying ordeal vanished at once.

"Grandmother thinks she's a little girl again," said her grandson, smiling, "And why not? She is younger and has more sense than any of us to this very day."

Expects to Live Years Longer

"I certainly do feel young," said Mrs. Queen, "and if your readers wish to know how long I will live , just tell them it will be another fifty years, or at least until I hold one of the sixth generation on my knee." And she laughed.

"She will live until that time, too," said the grandson, "and she will treat the sixth generation just as strictly as she treated us. We all depend upon her so much more that we often wonder what will become of us when she is gone."

"Rightly, too," said the grandmother, with a note of scorn in her voice, "because you do not know how to live. It takes the old folks to teach you."

The snow-white head shook slightly as she made this emphatic assertion. She did not say that she thought young people are too much accustomed to think that they know everything under sun, but she left the impression that she spent much time convincing two hundred odd boys and girls that there were many things they did not know. Mrs. Queen looks twenty years younger than she really is. Her hair, which has been white for many years, is growing thin over the temples, and there are scores of wrinkles in her fine old face. Her slate-blue eyes, uncovered by glasses or spectacles, are bright and quick. Little goes on about her escapes her keen glances. Perhaps it is her mouth that betrays her true character more than any other feature. It is a large, kind, humorous mouth, showing, too, much strength of character. She is neither very tall nor very short. A slight sloop, the result of the last few years, it is the only clue to her great age.

Active as a Girl

Mrs. Queen is remarkable in more ways than one. Her mind is as bright as that of any of her descendants; her memory is even better than theirs; and until recently, when, in chasing a runaway granddaughter across the fields, she slipped and fell, she was as active on her feet as any of her grandchildren and never had a day's sickness in her life. She has never used spectacles, and sees as clearly as the best to thread a needle and sew. Suffering from rheumatism now as a result her recent fall she refuses to take what would be the first medicine for her, and defies her children boldly with the statement that "patience is the best curative." Patience she must have had all these years, to be the splendid old lady she is. Meantime, she uses a cane.

"First, of a Second Dozen"

Alice Paxton, afterward Mrs. Queen, was born 15 September 1807 in Emmitsburg, Frederick county, Maryland.

"Ours was a large family," said Mrs. Queen. "But those were the days of large families. I remember a story which was told of an aunt of mine that lived in New England, and reared a large family. Her husband was a lawyer, and when a judge of that circuit stopped at their house for a night's lodging he found my aunt in the garden with a small baby in her arms. Seeing the pretty woman, a flush on her face and graceful as a girl, and wishing to compliment her, the judge congratulated her on her fine baby and by chance said:

"Your first, Madam?"

"The first, yes," my aunt laughed and blushed, and added, "of the second dozen."

When she was only nine years old Mrs. Queen's father and mother moved to the District of Columbia and settled on a farm not far from her present home. She remembers the events of those days almost as well as she does those of the past year. Her father was drafted for the army in the War of 1812, but he was unable to go to the front because his wife and young children demanded all his care. But Mrs. Queen remembers distinctly the march of the United States troops past her father's house on the old Baltimore pike during this war, and how she was thrilled by the sight, and how occasionally a tired soldier would stop to ask for a drink of water.

Her Early Life

She has kept an exact account of everything of importance which has happened in or about Washington ever since those old days, and she can tell perhaps better than anyone now living of country life in the District of Columbia when Washington was in its infancy, and it was thought that Georgetown would always be the great city. The old lady laughed as she told how as a girl she carried her stockings and prunella slippers in a bag almost to the church door on Sundays and then sat herself down, and taking off the coarser homespun brown stockings and heavy shoes, pulled on her finery. Such was the custom of all country belles in those days of muddy roads. She can tell of the quilting and spelling bees and the country parties.

She remembers well the long winter nights when her family and friends sat about the great open fireplace and cracking nuts or told stories while the wind whistled down the chimney and the snow fell about the home that stood in what was then an almost trackless wilderness. Or she can tell the curious inquirer of the long summer days when the young girls rode behind their lovers on horseback, going to picnics or country fairs. She can tell too, of the radical changes which have occurred in Washington and of its interesting early social and political life.

Girls Outlived Boys

While still a young girl Alice Paxton married Electurus Queen, a young farmer living near her home. It was a happy marriage and for years the Queens led a quiet happy life in the country. Eight children were born of the union, four boys and four girls. It is a strange fact that today all of those boys are dead while all of those girls, old women now, are still alive. Mrs. Queen has outlived her husband by twenty years, the one regret she has in her young life. Not that she wishes she were dead for she is a most optimistic soul and expects to live for many a year longer, but she is sorry when she thinks that her husband is not here too.

It was immediately after their last son's death that Mr. Queen died. He had often declared that he would not survive his sons. The four living daughters are Mrs. Emily Burroughs, Mrs. Abne Stauff, Mrs. Sarah Harry, and Mrs. Rosina Barnes. Mrs. Harry is now living with her mother.

Mrs. Queen is not the only member of the family who is long lived. Two of her numerous brothers, both well on toward ninety years of age, are living in Tenleytown today, and still take an active interest in business. They are Thomas and Joseph Paxton. Strange as it may seem, out of Mrs. Queen's two hundred descendants few, if any, have taken to the professions or have entered the army or navy. Nearly all of the men of the family have stuck to farming in Maryland or Virginia. Mrs. Queen spoke as if she had taken little or no interest in the civil war. Largely through her efforts her sons did not enter either of the contending armies, but stayed on the farm. Consequently, she feels no bitterness now, nor did she lose, as so many other mothers in this section of the country, a son or a husband in the war.

Too Much Worry Now

Mrs. Queen was brought up strictly and according to to the ideas of the old Methodist church. She was never allowed to dance or do many of the things which her own daughters and great granddaughters have done. But she was broad-minded enough to see that merely because she had not done certain things those things were not necessarily bad.

Her life is not by any means centered in the past alone. Her mind has kept young with each succeeding generation, and she has a fund of common sense, wit and humor, that is not surpassed by that of any of her grandchildren, clever though they may be. She has no choice between the old days and the new, but thinks that each has its good points. But she does believe that the people of former generations had stronger minds, better habits, and did not grow worldly-wise too soon, as so many young persons do today. In face, she explains her own youthfulness at such an advanced age by the fact that she remained a girl a long time leading a simple and quiet life. She firmly believes that the world moves too rapidly today and that, though she herself is able to keep pace with it, it is entirely too fast for the younger members of the family.

"They worry too much," said Mrs. Queen. "I have worried, too, but always for others, not myself."

A Family Reunion

Notwithstanding her fears for the present generation, it appears that her line will not suffer as the years go by. The rapidity in the increase in the family is certainly keeping pace with the age. Many of the grandsons and granddaughters have large families, and even the great grandsons and great granddaughters are not far behind. In fact, as Mrs. Queen humorously remarked, the babies are being born into the world more quickly than she can count them.

There has never been a reunion of the Queen family, or rather that branch of it of which Mrs. Queen is the progenitor. Perhaps because of the very number of her descendants such an undertaking as rounding them all into the same house has not been attempted. Some of them meet every year, on Christmas or some other holiday. Usually there is talk of a big reunion, but so far nothing has come of it.

"No house would be large enough to hold us all," the old lady remarked, "and when the reunion does occur we will have to hire a hall big enough for all. We are waiting until we can afford it. But it will come in the next fifty years, I am sure, maybe after I have held a child of the sixth generation on my knee."

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Lange Family Farm

Grandma and Grandpa Lange purchased 193-1/2 acres of land from Susie G. Dyson and Frank Dyson, her husband for $3,500. The deed was signed on 16 December 1919. The legal description of the land was as follows:

"...that lot of ground situate, lying and being in Brandywine District, of Prince George's County aforesaid, known as Vineyard Brook's Choice, or by which ever name or names it may be known, and described as follows; that is to say: Beginning for the same at a small Gum tree on the north side of Wilsons Mill Race said tree being the southwest boundary of Mrs. Mary C. Townsend land and running thence with the north side of said Mill Race south forty-six and one-half degrees west ten and four-fifths perches to a large Poplar tree south fifty-one and one-fifth degrees west thirty and one-half perches south sixty-one degrees wet five and two-thirds perches north eighty-six degrees west twenty-one perches south seventy-two degrees west seventeen and one-half degrees west eleven and on-half perches south one and one-half degrees west and one-fifth perches to a Gum tree on south side of said Race then up Mattaponi Branch south eighty-four and one-fourth degrees west eleven and two-fifths perches south sixty-six and one-half degrees west six perches to a Sycamore tree south sixty-two and one-half degrees west five perches north eighty-five and one-half degrees west twenty-eight perches; thence leaving said branch north fifty-two and one-half degrees west thirty and two-fifths perches to Mattaponi Branch and up (note at fourteen and two-thirds perches is large Persimmon tree in the line) said branch north thirty-nine and one-half degrees west fifteen perches north forty-three and one-half degrees west five and one-half perches north thirty-five degrees west eight perches north sixteen degrees west three perches north twenty-three and one-half degrees west four perches north fifteen degrees west and one-half perches north fifty-one degrees west four perches north five and one-half degrees west eleven perches north forty-three and one-half degrees west fourteen perches south seventy-nine degrees west eight perches, north fifty-eight and one-half degrees west five and one-half perches south sixty-one degrees west nine and one-third perches north sixty degrees west twelve and one-half perches north eighty-eight and one-half degrees west five and one-half perches south sixty-eight degrees west nine perches to a Sycamore and Gum tree leaving said Branch north forty and three-fourths degrees west twelve perches north fifty-four and one-half degrees east fifty-one perches to the ninth line Vinyard [sic] and with said line reversely south eighty degrees east twenty-six perches north twenty-five degrees east sixty perches to the first line of "Brook's Lot" and "Widows Trouble" north forty-seven and three fourths degrees east nineteen perches north twenty-three and three-fourths degrees fifteen perches north forty-eight and three-fourths degrees east fifty-two perches (note at twenty perches Gate and Private Road) north sixty-four and one-fourth degrees west nine perches north fifty-one and one-half degrees east twelve perches north sixty-two and one-half degrees east forty-nine perches to the northwest boundary of Mrs. Mary C. Townsend line and then with her lands reversely south seventeen and one-half degrees east fifty-one and four-fifths perches south sixty-two degrees west eleven and nine-twenty-fifths perches to an Ash tree and then down a small branch south twenty-two and one-half degrees east ten perches south six and one-half degrees east sixteen perches south eighteen degrees west six perches south eleven and one-fourth degrees east sixteen perches to the mouth of the Quarter Spring Branch, then south sixty-two perches to a Cedar tree on south side of a ravine south forty-five and one-half degrees east seventy-one and twenty-two-fifths perches to a Walnut tree on the north side of Mattaponi Branch south fifty-eight and three-fourths degrees east five and two-thirds perches to the beginning; containing one hundred and ninety-three and one-half acres more or less according to a survey of same made by W. I. Latimer, Surveyor of Prince George's County in August 1880.

The legal description makes me long for the Cadastral method of land descriptions! You have to wonder if all the gum, sycamore, persimmon, walnut and ash trees are still standing. And I wonder what the history is behind the parcel of land known as "Widows Trouble."

The land passed to Susie G. Dyson through the will of Laura S. Huntt in1913. Laura S. Hunt inherited the land from James Eli Huntt in 1892, who purchased it from Lemuel F. Lusby in 1890. In 1878 the land had been owned by William Holliday Early, a prominent land owner in the district. The community of the same name developed as a small crossroads village at the convergence of an old stage coach road (now Rt. 301) and old Indian Head Road. William H. Early had a store, post office, and blacksmith shop just west of the village. The establishment of the Popes Creek Line of the Baltimore & Potomac Railroad in the 1870s brought new development to the area, including a hotel.

Locatioln of Grandma and Grandpa's farm on the 1878 Hopkins map;
courtesy of the Maryland State Archives

In 1929 Grandma and Grandpa Lange sold 10 acres of land to Thomas J. Shumate. The legal description was as follows:

Part of a tract of ground in Brandywine District, Prince George's County, Maryland, it being part of the "Vinyard [sic] Farm." Beginning at a point on the east side of the road leading into the farm at a distance 16 feet from the end of 330 feet from the beginning of the thirty-fifth line of the whole tract, and running along said east side of said road South 1 degree 15' East 660 feet, thence North 88 degrees 45' East 660 feet to a stake near the quarter spring branch, thence North 1 degree 15' West 660 feet to a stake, thence South 88 degrees 45' West 660 feet to the place of beginning, containing ten (10) acres, according to a survey made by Millard Thorne, Surveyor, August 25, 1929.

The same parcel of land was sold back to Grandma and Grandpa Lange by Glenn and Mary P. Efort on 18 December 1951 per the deed and the settlement sheet indicated the purchase price was $5,700 plus $67.85 in settlement fees.

In a life sketch about her parents which appeared in Our Schalin Family, 1770-2003, Mom wrote:

"They bought the farm in Maryland where six more children were born to them. They worked hard cutting pulpwood to pay for the farm and build a new home. They raised tobacco for one year (a big money crop) but because of religious beliefs did not pursue that further. Instead, they started a poultry business and also kept horses, cows and pigs. Gustav began an egg route in Washington, District of Columbia, delivering eggs to some of the U.S. Senators in the Senate Office Building.

Ruth, Arnold, and Walter Lange, c1920, the three children not born on the
farm; personal collection

Minnie's life was busy and she worked hard raising nine children and working side-by-side with Gustav on the farm. They had no electricity or running water. Although there was always time to play with her children -- tag, hide and seek, and ball games, even putting on boxing gloves to spare with one son! She had a gift for story telling. When she worked with the children, cutting and husking corn, fixing the road, hoeing the garden, planting potatoes, bringing in the hay, feeding the chickens, or whatever, she would tell them a story and magically the work was done.
Meal times were the best part of the day, although presenting a real challenge for her. She relied on the big garden and fruit trees to put a meal on the table. These were noisy but cheerful times."
Tribute to his parents carved by their son, Arthur James
Lange; personal collection
Mom was their last child who lived at home, which she did for nearly ten years after graduating from high school. She married in November 1957. Three sons built houses on the farm and raised their families there. Grandma died in 1960 and Grandpa in 1963.
Christmas, 1952; personal collection

Monday, August 21, 2017

Grandpa Lange's Life in Winnipeg and Michigan

We don't know when Grandpa left Essen for Liverpool, or how long he had to stay at a hostel near the docks waiting to board his ship to Canada, but we do know he left England on 12 August 1911 and arrived at Port Huron, Michigan, on the Grand Trunk Railway on 20 August. Assuming 50 to 60 hours for the train ride to Winnipeg, he probably arrived on 22 or 23 August. It's entirely possible he may have been traveling for nearly a month.

The first record I have found for Grandpa in Winnipeg is his and Grandma's Official Certificate of Marriage. Grandpa was a 27 year-old bachelor, who worked as a store keeper, and was a Baptist. His place of birth and parents' name were listed and his father's profession was farming. At the time of his marriage he lived with his maternal uncle, Gustav Ludwig. Grandma was a 21 year-old spinster. (Don't you just love the terminology. Never mind she'd been working since she was 9 years old, no profession was typically listed for women.) She was born in Leduc, Alberta. Her parents' names were also listed.

Gustav and Wilhelmina (Schalin) Lange on their wedding day; personal collection

They were married on 9 April 1915 by C. H. Edinger, a Baptist minister, at the home of Grandpa's uncle at 386 Thames Avenue in Winnipeg. The witness to their marriage was Uncle Gustav. Mom always said Grandma and Grandpa met in Winnipeg or Edmonton when Grandma was there with a family for which she worked. After she and the family returned to Alberta, Grandpa sent her a letter, asking her to marry him and enclosed a train ticket. Not knowing what to do, Grandma asked her boss what he thought. He replied, "Minnie, he sent a ticket. He mean's business. Go."

Current photograph of 386 Thames Avenue, Winnipeg, Canada;
courtesy of Google Maps

In order to track the rapidly growing population of the western provinces, the Canadian government ordered special census of the prairie provinces to begin in 1906. These census were in addition to the nationwide census conducted every ten years on the first year of each decade (example 1911). This practice continued until 1956. Because of this special census we know that Gustav and his young family lived at 400 Thames Avenue just a few doors down the street from Uncle Ludwig. He worked as a general laborer. Grandpa's brother, Traugott (known as Fred), had immigrated to Canada and lived with Uncle Gustav and his family. Aunt Ruth was five months old so the census was likely conducted in July.

Grandpa Lange left Winnipeg in February 1917 and traveled by train to Detroit, Michigan. When he crossed the border on 24 February, he hold immigration officials his destination was 1073 Montclair Avenue, the home of his friend, Dan Stroscheim. Grandma undertook the same train trip with her baby daughter and arrived in Detroit on 30 April 1917.  Her destination was 1090 Holcombe Avenue, where Grandpa now lived.

These delightful photographs of Aunt Ruth were taken at studio in Detroit;
personal collection

On 5 June 1917 Grandpa registered for the World War I draft in Sanilac County, Michigan. He worked as a farm hand for Bert E. Mortimer, who coincidently was also the draft registrar for the county. Mom told me many times Grandma and Grandpa worked on a sugar beet farm, saving money to buy their own farm. Grandpa claimed an exemption from the draft because he was married with dependents. His appearance was described as medium height, medium weight, brown eyes and dark brown hair.

Sanilac County township map and land ownership map; courtesy of and, respectively

Uncle Walter was born in December of 1917 and Uncle Arnold was born in October 1919. When he was three weeks old, Gustav and his family were traveling once again to a farm Grandpa bought sight unseen in southern Maryland.


Grandpa Lange's Trip from Essen to Winnipeg
Grandpa Lange's Life in Essen

Monday, August 14, 2017

Grandpa Lange's Trip from Essen to Winnipeg

My mother always said her father, Gustav Lange (1888-1963) immigrated to Canada from Essen, Germany in 1911; and I have his immigration inspection card. However, for years could not find his listing on a passenger manifest.

Immigration inspection card for Gustav Lange; personal collection

But good things happen to stubborn persistent people and I finally found it on 2 July 2017 after beginning my search in late 2012. Grandpa worked in Essen, Germany, before immigrating to Canada. He likely purchased his steerage-class ticket from a White Star Line agent and took a steamer from Amsterdam, Bremen, Hamburg, or Rotterdam across the North Sea to Hull, England. From there he took a train to Liverpool, as did 9 million other emigrants from 1830 to 1930. Passengers were not allowed to board their ship until the day before or the day of sailing. So most spent between one to ten days in a hostel near the docks.

Grandpa boarded the RMS Teutonic on 12 August 1911 and arrived in Quebec on 20 August. After reviewing hundreds of other records of German immigrants whose final destination was Winnipeg, I believe he took the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) in Quebec. The trip to Winnipeg is nearly 50 hours by train today. How long it was in Grandpa's day, I have no idea. As new and different as a sea voyage must have been for a young man born and raised in landlocked western Russia, the train ride would prove equally fascinating, I'm sure.

From Quebec the GTR went to Montreal and then Toronto before crossing the U.S. border at Port Huron, Michigan. At Grand Haven across the state on Lake Michigan, the train cars were loaded onto a car ferry for the 4+-hour trip across the lake to Milwaukee. What a sight that must have been for young Gustav!

Lake Michigan rail car ferry; courtesy of Deep Sea Detectives

From Milwaukee the GTR went to Minneapolis, then Fargo and Grand Forks before making its last stop in the U.S. at Noyes, Minnesota. Another stop across the border at Emerson, Canada, for immigration paperwork and on to Winnipeg.


Grandpa Lange's Life in Essen 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Grandpa Lange's Life in Essen

Gustav Lange (1888-1963), better known to at least his younger grandchildren as "Grandpa Lange," left Porozove in 1906, the year after his father died. I always heard he went to Germany to work, sending money home to his mother as well as saving to immigrate to Canada. I really don't know if he planned to immigrate when he left home. His uncle, Gustav Ludwig, who was his age and had been raised by his sister, Caroline (Ludwig) Lange, my great grandmother, after their mother died in late 1888, immigrated to Winnipeg in 1910. So Grandpa Lange may have decided to join his uncle in Winnipeg after receiving a letter from him describing life in Canada.

Lately I have been re-examining all the records and personal papers I have for Grandpa and realized I never transcribed or translated his German work permit.

Gustav likely made his way from Porozove[1] fifteen kilometers northeast to Rivne, where there was a rail station. We don't know through which cities he had to pass or where he changed trains but eventually he made his way to Essen, in the Ruhr Valley. Essen had been at the center of the industrialization of the German Empire and was home to the Krupp family's vast weapons dynasty. It was also home to steel factories and coal mines.

While in Essen, Grandpa had his photograph taken at Beckmann's photography studio.

Gustav Lange circa 1906-1911; personal collection

His clothing was very typical for a man in the first decade of the 20th century -- a "middle-class men's suit" instead of frock coats of the previous century, a vest and tie or bow tie. The shirts were often pastel in color and the collars were detachable because they required more frequent cleaning. Collars could also be replaced if ruined.

In Essen Grandpa obtained a work permit, which included his place of birth and employer. It appeared a new work permit was required each year. Below is his permit for 1911, the last year he was in Essen.

Grandpa Lange's German work permit; personal collection

Gültig für das Jahr 1911
Valid for the year 1911
No. 686273

Abfiertigungsstelle Essen a. d. R.
Check-out point Essen [initials not translated]
der Deutschen Feldarbeiter-Zentralstelle zu Berlin
The German Field Workers' Center in Berlin

Workers Identity Card
ausgestellt auf Grund des Ministerialrlasses
Issued by the Ministerial
vom 21. Dezember 1907 -- IIb 5675
of 21 December 1907 [remainder not translated]

Vor- und Zuname Gustav Lange
First and Last Name Gustav Lange
aus Samosck
from Samosck
Kries Lutzk Heimatland Russland
District Lutzke Homeland Russia
Arbeitgeber Rh. Westf. Elektrizitatwerk
Employer Rheinish-Westfalisches Electric Plant
Place of Work Essen
Kreis, Provinz
Bundesstaat Essen Ruhr Rheinland
District, County
[not translated] Essen, Ruhr, Rhineland

Diese Legitimationkarte ist bei polizeilichen An- und Abmeldungen und bei jedem Weschsel der Arbeitsstelle vorzulegen.
This card is to be presented in the case of police log-in / log-out (?) and every change of the working place.

Die Polizeiverwaltung
The Police

The Rheinish-Westfälisches Elektrizitätwerk was founded in 1898 in Essen. The company's first power station began operating in 1900. The local municipalities owned the majority of the company's stock shares.

The RWE power station in Essen, circa 1905; courtesy of RWE

I don't know where Grandpa lived while in Essen or how he spent his leisure time, but at the turn of the century, Germany's economy was the most dynamic in Europe. The years from 1895 to 1907 witnessed a doubling of the number of workers engaged in machine building, from slightly more than a half a million to well over a million. People continued to migrate from eastern provinces to the growing and multiplying factories in Berlin and the Ruhr Valley. Health insurance was provided to German workers in 1883 and the Workers Protection Act of 1891 banned work on Sundays and limited the work day to 11 hours. So Grandpa Lange had some leisure time to spend. Was he a member of band, playing his trumpet?

The Lange family had converted from Lutheran to German Baptist by the time Grandpa left home. Where was his church and where did he live? Surprisingly, according to an article by John S. Conway and Kyle Jantzen, "German Baptists were among those small groups of free churches which had to struggle throughout the 19th century to gain a foothold in Germany against the intolerant pressures of the established Lutheran church. By the 20th century they were conditionally recognized but remained on the edges of society. They sought to encourage the ideal life of true believers, separated from the rest of sinful society and politics. Hence, abstention from all worldly associations was coupled with the demand for freedom from all state interference in church life." Those beliefs seem noble to me but somewhat impractical to live by for a working-class factory worker like Grandpa. As an alien worker in Germany, his life interacted with the state on a regular basis.

Did he pay attention to politics as do some of his grandchildren today? Mom remembered he closely monitored the diplomatic maneuvers by European countries prior to World War II. At the time Grandpa lived in Essen, the empire's authoritarian political system was marked by paralysis. Encyclopedia Britannica described the political situation as:

"With each election, the increasingly urban electorate returned Social Democrats in growing numbers. By 1890 the Social Democrats (who had adopted a Marxist program of revolution at their Erfurt congress in 1891) received more votes than any other party. By 1912 they had more voters supporting them than the next two largest parties combined...Many contemporary observers thought that a major crisis was looming between the recalcitrant elites and the increasing number of Germans who desired political emancipation..."

Some time in the summer of 1911, Gustav traveled to Liverpool, England, where he boarded the White Star Line's RMS Teutonic on 12 August, and immigrated to Canada.

[1] Porozove is located in the Rivne raion of the Rivne oblast, Ukraine. At the time Gustav Lange lived there it was part of the Russian Empire. After the Polish-Soviet War in 1920-21, it became part of Poland. After World War II, part of Ukraine.

Another Ludwig Breakthrough: Finding Uncle Gustav

Monday, July 31, 2017

God Planned It: Escaping from East Germany

My maternal grandfather's youngest brother was named Friedrich Lange (1905-1988). Unlike his two older brothers, he remained in Poland, married in 1929 a few months after his mother died and had three children. He was drafted into the German Army in 1943; was taken prisoner by Czech partisans in 1944, who turned him over to the Soviet Army; and was held in a Soviet prison until 1949.

Meanwhile, his wife fled German-occupied Poland in early 1945 in advance of the Red Army and made her way, with the children, by wagon, to Zeitz, Germany, where she had family. After V-E day, Germany was divided into four occupation zones under the control of the U.S., Britain, France and the Soviet Union. According to the pact signed in Potsdam, the four occupying countries were to treat Germans in a uniform manner, but this goal was never achieved and each country pursued their own goals and aims. The Soviets required reparations and took factory equipment, even entire factories for their occupation zone. Britain, France and the U.S. focused on economic reconstruction. The Soviets extended Communism to their German zone and collectivized farms. In 1946 the U.S. announced its zone and the British Zone would be merged to form Bizonia -- the start of the German division. The Soviets reacted by announcing Ostmark and suspended all land and air traffic to Berlin. The famous Berlin Airlift, to provide food, coal, and other necessary supplies to the western zones of Berlin ensued.

The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was established on 21 September 1949 and the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), a month later.

Soviet occupation zone in red; U.S. and British troops withdrew from purple
area after fighting ceased; heavy black line was the border between what
became East and West Germany; courtesy of Wikipedia

Friedrich Lange and his family found themselves in East Germany. They lived on a small farm until Friedrich's health continued to deteriorate to an extent he could no longer help with the farm work. The government moved the family of five to a one-bedroom apartment in town where they remained until 1956 when they escaped. Their son believed it was a miracle planned by God. 

His mother had been looking for a sign from God letting them know when they should escape. The daughter of a friend, who worked at the bank, had been ordered to report any large withdrawals the family made. When Theofile, Friedrich's wife,  learned the government was monitoring their banking transactions, that was her sign from God it was time. 

When she told her family, it was time to go, they thought she was crazy. Friedrich told her the police would not let them leave together at the same time. Theofile refused to lie to the authorities but she was determined to escape. So she and their son went to the police station to get visas to visit relatives in West Germany. The policeman told them they could not go together unless other family members remained in East Germany. She told them her husband and two daughters were still in the country. So the police gave Theofile and her son visas. 

Theofile sent Friedrich and their daughter to the police station immediately. At the police station they were told they could not leave unless other family members remained in the country. Friedrich was able to say truthfully that his wife, daughter and son were in East Germany. Theofile and her youngest left East Germany on the 6:00 p.m. train and Friedrich and his middle daughter left the next morning. Their eldest daughter was married and wanted to stay in Leipzig where she and her husband lived. As their son said, “God planned it; we were just along for the ride.” 

In West Germany, they went to Wettmershagen where Heinrich and Olga’s families lived. The husband of Heinrich Lange’s daughter got Friedrich's son a job in the Volkswagon factory. Richard Lange’s wife came from Canada to visit. After hearing her talk about Canada, Friedrich and his family decided to settle there permanently. The application process took about six months and they left on 4 August 1957 aboard the Arosa Line’s SS Kulm, an old U.S. Army transport, from Bremerhaven and arrived in Quebec on 15 August 1957. They took a train to Winnipeg to reunite with Friedrich’s siblings, Richard and Heinrich. My grandfather traveled from Maryland to Winnipeg in 1958 or 1959 to see his youngest brother for the first time in 50 years and meet his family. 

I was so fortunate to be contacted by one of Friedrich Lange's grandchildren, who put me in touch with her father. He and his wife shared so much information with me and were so patient with my follow-up questions and constant digging. We shared many laughs together on the phone. I cannot thank them enough.

Left to right: Richard Lange; Theofile (Strohschein) Lange; her son; and a daughter of
Heinrich Lange, another brother of Richard and Friedrich Lange. The photograph was
taken on the front porch of Richard Lange's home in Winnipeg on the day Friedrich
Lange's family arrived in Canada; courtesy of Friedrich Lange's son

Monday, July 24, 2017

Has My Prussia Origins Theory Gone Up in Smoke?

My maternal grandparents, Gustav Lange and Wilhelmina Schalin, considered themselves German, wrote to their siblings in German, read a German Bible, and spoke German in their home until their eldest daughter came home from her first day of school in tears because she could not speak English. However, only Gustav Lange lived in Germany, briefly, for five years from 1906 through 1911 when he worked in Essen in order to send money home and save for his passage to Canada. At this time I do not know from where in Germany our Lange or Schalin ancestors originated

The Lange-Ludwig grandparents of my grandfather, Gustav Lange, were born near present day Lodz, Poland, in the 1840s and moved to the Volyn Oblast in Ukraine in the early 1880s. The paternal ancestors of my grandmother, Wilhelmina Schalin, lived in the Greater Poland Voivodeship, about halfway between Poznan and Lodz since at least the 1790s. They moved to the Volyn Oblast in Ukraine between 1861 and 1863. I know nothing of Wilhelmina Schalin's mother beyond her name.

Migrations of the Lange (red circles) and Schalin (green squares) families;
created using Google Maps

But from where did the Lange and Schalin families originate? I assumed Germany since Grandma and Grandpa Lange spoke German as their native language, but I wanted to know more. I spent a lot of time delving into the history of Poland and Ukraine. I learned the area of Poland where the Lange and Schalin families lived was known as South Prussia after 1793 and the Second Partition of Poland by Prussia and Russia. So perhaps they were from Prussia.

When Ancestry unveiled its genetic communities, I looked at them for all the Lange-Schalin DNA tests I administered.

Lange-Schalin relatives I have DNA tested (red outline); created
using Microsoft Powerpoint

On the day after genetic communities were launched, we all shared at least one genetic community and it was Northern Germans, which included Prussia. But as Ancestry has continued to refine the genetic communities, the picture has gotten muddier. As of 30 June 2017, the genetic communities are now:

Genetic communities of the Lange relatives' DNA tests; created using
Microsoft Excel

It appears as if some genetic communities were refined and some of my Lange relatives lost some or all of genetic communities and new ones were added.

Map of Northern Germans genetic community; courtesy of

Northern Germans was the genetic community we all shared when Ancestry launched its genetic communities though it does not reflect the eastern migration of hundreds of thousands of Germans to current day Russia, Poland, and Ukraine.

Germans, Netherlanders, Belgians & Luxembourgians Ancestry genetic
community; courtesy of
The Germans, Netherlanders, Belgians & and Luxembourgians was a new genetic community and likely a refinement. It has a great deal of overlap with Northern Germans but extends more westward, which does not support my Prussia origins theory.

Northern (yellow) and southern (red) origins of Germans in the Midwest
Ancestry genetic community; courtesy of

Germans in the Midwest originated from both northern and southern Germany. So it could still support my Prussia theory.

And the problem...

German origins of the Germans from Baden-Wurttemberg in the Dakotas
Ancestry genetic community; courtesy of

There is no way, Germans from Baden-Wurttemberg may be considered northern Germans from the area that was once Prussia. So at this point my thinking is the genetic communities are interesting but not helpful. Pretty much what I have found ethnicity estimates to be. Sometimes they make sense; sometimes they don't.

On the settings page of each DNA test is a privacy section. That section states the following about ethnicity:

"Show the participant's complete ethnicity profile to their DNA matches. This means the participant's DNA matches will see both the participant's full ethnicity estimate and all the Genetic Communities. (If left unselected, the participant's DNA matches will only see the portion of the participant's ethnicity estimate and the Genetic Communities they share in common.)"

I have not selected this for any of the tests I administer, but I changed this setting from my test and my mother's test to select it. Then went to Mom's match from the home page of my DNA test. I could see all of her ethnicity estimates but not her genetic communities. And I should have been able to see them. So there is still work for Ancestry to do in this area.

Monday, July 17, 2017

DNA Discoveries: Rediscovering John Muir (1905-1978)

John Muir was born on 24 November 1905 in Hamilton, Scotland, to James Muir and his first wife, Janet Lees Syme. James was a coal miner and grandson of my three times great grandfather, Robert Muir (c1800-1869). James and Janet had two more sons -- Hugh Syme in 1908 and Thomas in 1910.

When Thomas was three months old, the family boarded the Allan Line's RMS Pretorian on 31 December 1910 in Glasgow and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts, on 11 January 1911. Their destination was Mystic, Iowa, to join James' brother, John, and his uncle, also named James Muir, who was my great great grandfather. Mystic was in the Walnut Valley area of Appanoose County and was described as "one continuous mining camp." The Mystic coal seam was on the surface and drift mines were opened and abandoned so often the place looked like a honeycomb.

Mystic, Iowa, in 1909; photograph source unknown

Less than two years after the family's arrival in Mystic, James' wife, Janet died on 29 September 1912. She was buried in a local cemetery two days later. James decided to return to Scotland and traveled to New York with his three young sons, boarding the Anchor Line's SS Cameronia bound for Glasgow. They arrived in Scotland on 11 May 1913.

James joined the Gordon Highlanders regiment in 1914 but was released within 90 days. He remarried in 1927 and died in 1967. His eldest son, John, returned to the United States at the age of 20, arriving in New York on 16 January 1926. He was an iron molder and was headed to Detroit for work. On 19 January 1926 he declared his intention to become a U.S. citizen at the district court in Detroit.

He must have traveled back to Scotland some time after settling in Michigan because on 20 October 1928 he and his brother, Hugh, boarded the Anchor Line's RMS Transylvania in Glasgow.[1] He returned to Scotland the next year as well, returning aboard the Anchor-Donaldson Line's SS Leticia. He arrived in Quebec on 31 August 1929 and crossed the U.S. border on 3 September. His appearance was described as being 5' 7" tall, of medium build with brown hair and green eyes. He lived at the YMCA in Detroit and worked as a clerk.

Detroit skyline as seen from Windsor, Canada, in 1929; photograph courtesy
of the National Photo Collection held by the Library of Congress

When the 1930 census was enumerated, John lived at 80 Vernon Street in Mount Clemens, Michigan. He rented a room from the Alore family and worked as a laborer in a refrigerator factory.

On 4 February 1933 John married Roselyn K. Malcolm in Detroit. She was the daughter of William and Margaret (McCartney) Malcolm, and was a bookkeeper. She was born in Queens, New York, to Scottish immigrants. The year after their marriage, the couple lived in Buffalo, New York, at 995 Lafayette Avenue. Eventually, they settled in Hamburg, New York.

John Muir died in April 1978; Roselyn died on 8 August 1989. They had two sons.

I rediscovered John Muir because of a DNA match who had two people in his family tree -- himself and his father, who was deceased. Using the death date and place of the father, I was able to find an obituary, which included his parents' names and then an obituary for his father's mother, Roselyn K. (Malcolm) Muir. Once I knew her maiden name, I found the marriage license and realized I already had her husband, John Muir (1905-1978), in my tree but had had not yet spent time researching him after he returned to Scotland with his father and brothers in 1913.

[1] I am suspicious about this UK outward bound passenger record as his brother Hugh's age is listed as being older than John rather than being three years younger.

"Not Likely to Become an Efficient Soldier"
Anchor Line: Scottish Ships for Scottish Passenger

Monday, July 10, 2017

Family Memories of John Campbell Smith (1806-1888): Smith Siblings and His Children

Continued from Family Memories of John Campbell Smith (1806-1888): Smith/Campbell Parents.

Father and mother with four children moved from Gennings Creek, Tennessee[1], to the headwater of Little Barren (then Green County, Kentucky) in the fall of 1805. Afterwards changed to Barren County and now in 1867 it is Metcalfe County formed in 1860 where he bought land and continued to reside until his death on 8 January 1845.

Josiah Campbell Smith (1796-1843)
Josiah C. Smith was the first born living child of father and mother. He was named for grandfather Campbell and was a wheelwright by trade and a Baptist by profession. A good and holy man, married Barbara Morehead, lived and died in the same neighborhood of my father and raised eight children -- five boys and three girls.

William S. Smith was the eldest son. He has been married three times. His first was Polly Acres; his second, Sally Gooden; his third, Lucinda Morehead. John M. Smith was the second son. He married Lucy Harvey, daughter of Austin Harvey. Rebecca Smith was the eldest daughter and married Josiah Murphy. Susannah Smith was the second daughter and is not yet married. Elvira Smith married Joseph Wright Parks. David C. Smith married Martha Gooden. George W. Smith married Mary Ann Bradhauser. James Grouch Smith married Judy Quick.

William Street Smith (between 1801 and 1810-before 1844)[1]
William Street Smith was the second son of my father and mother. He married Leah Chandler. His first son was named Thomas Chandler Smith and his oldest daughter was named Elisa. His second oldest daughter was named Frances.

My brother, William S. Smith moved to Indiana, stayed a year or two and came back to Kentucky. Then moved to Illinois and came back to Kentucky sick. He died in Marrowbone[2] with consumption. His widow married Thomas Morris and moved to the state of Illinois.

Susannah M. Smith (about 1801-after 1870)
Susannah M. Smith was the name of my eldest sister. She was named for Grandmother Campbell and married Jacob Lemon. They lived on the dividing ridge of Little Barren and the Cumberland river in Metcalfe County about one mile from father's old dwelling place and have raised a large family of children.

Their oldest is named James G. Lemon and he married Elizabeth Branstetter. The second son was named William Smith for his Grandfather Smith and he married first a Miss Huffman and second Miss Williams. The eldest daughter was named Elizabeth and married Lewis Williams. George Lemon married Marissa Branstetter. Margaret Lemon was named for my mother and is not yet married. Barbara Lemon married Granville Williams. Nancy Cropper Lemon is not yet married. Jonathan Stamper Lemon married Susetta Amyx and Josiah, the youngest child, married Meta Vaughn. When I was at their house last summer  (1875), they had one child.

Frances Smith (about 1803-before 1870)
Frances Smith, my second eldest sister, married Archibald Ferguson. They had eight children -- four girls and four boys. Their oldest named Margaret Campbell for my mother. She is not yet married. Joseph Ferguson, their second child and oldest son, is a Methodist preacher and married Louisa Branstetter. Sally Ferguson married Ely V. Ovens, a Baptist preacher. William Ferguson died when he was young. Nancy Ferguson married James Amyx. They are both dead, leaving only one child, a daughter named Mary Frances. John Ferguson married Jermia Resslar. Mary Ferguson died unmarried. Alfred Ferguson married Mary Smith.

John Campbell Smith (1806-1888)
John C. Smith, the writer of this memorandum, married Ruth Parke. His eldest daughter Margaret Campbell married Samuel R. Tolls. She died childless. After her death, Tolls married a second wife, a Miss Betty Childress. They have three children, all girls named as follows: Lelah Florence, Sally Bell and Althea.

My second born and oldest son is named William Fletcher. He is a house carpenter and married Harriet Ballinger. They have six children named as follows: Lucinda, Florence, Ida, Susan, Clarence and Minnie.

Jane Douglas Smith, my second daughter, married Francis Dollins. They have four living children named as follows: Frank Price, he is blind; Norah; John; and Mary Edd.

Lucinda Cropper Smith, my third daughter, died when she was about three years and a month old.

My fourth was born dead and not named. My first wife also died a few days after and I was left a widower with three living children: Margaret, Fletcher and Jane.

My second wife' name is Lucinda Parke, youngest own sister to my first wife. Our oldest or first child was a son named Americius Vespucia. He died before he was two years old.

Our second child was a daughter named Elisabeth George. She married John H. Beals. They have two children named Calidonia and Isaac Campbell.

Our third child is a son named David Bristow and he will be seventeen years old the sixteen day of August 1875, the year I am now writing.

I am now seventy years and two days old and have only four children living, two sons and two daughters. Fletcher and Jane, my first wife's children, and Elisabeth and David, my second wife's children.

David Campbell Smith (1809-1870)
David C. Smith, my brother and fourth son of father and mother, married Susan Parke, his first wife. By her he had four sons named William Washington, Joseph Westley, John Linsy, and Jeremiah Stamper. William married Miss Hattie Hardy, daughter of Lt. Governor Hardy. Joseph married Miss Ella Revice of Missouri. John married Betty Dollins and died in time of the last war.[3] Stamper died about the same time and their mother, my brother's wife, also died in the in the time of the war and left my brother, David, a widower. He afterwards married Mattie Murphy. She had two children, a son and a daughter named Henry Street and Susan Campbell. They are living with their brother, William, being orphans, their father and mother both dead.

David Campbell Smith; courtesy of Ancestry user

Elizabeth Street Smith (1812-1868)
Elizabeth Street Smith, my sister and third daughter of father and mother, married Leven Hartland. She died in Illinois, leaving six children, three boys and three girls named as follows: George Barton, Huldah, William, Mary, Sarah, and John. Their father, Leven, is a Methodist preacher and has a second wife and lives in Illinois.

Nancy Jones Smith (1816-after 1880)
Nancy Jones Smith, my sister and fourth of father and mother's children, married William Douglas Parke, who is now dead, leaving her a widow with about nine children named as follows: Margaret, William, Joseph, Ruth, Bell, Robert, Lizzie, Marion, and Phebe.

Jeremiah Moulton Smith (1810-1870)
Jeremiah Moulton Smith, my brother and fifth son of father and mother, married Pervania Clarke, daughter of Henry Clarke of Virginia. Jeremiah died in Illinois and left his wife a widow with six children named as follows: Cassandra, Nathaniel, Ann, William, Sarah, and Emma.

George Washington Smith (about 1828-1855)
George Washington Smith, my youngest brother and sixth son of father and mother, married Margaret Neal of Allen County. They are both dead, leaving two orphan children, both girls named Elnora Pitts and Melicia Green. Elnora is dead and Melicia is married to William Richey and now lives in Metcalfe County, Kentucky.

And now in the year 1876, I have but one sister living and no brothers. Myself and Nancy are all that are left upon the land of the living of my father and mother's eleven children.

John Campbell Smith was born on 19 March 1806 in Barren County, Kentucky. He was a second generation Kentuckian as his grandparents had migrated west after the Revolutionary War. He is also the great grandson of Robert "the Elder" Mitchell (1714-1799), my five times great grandfather. Between 1848 and 1876, John wrote about his memories of his family. The document is the property of David S. Peden and was scanned using optical character recognition technology and then edited by Jack A. Laswell, Sr. I am indebted to them for making the electronic version available to other descendants of the Campbell, Enos, Mitchell, Shropshire, Smith, and Street families.

[1] According to the will of William Smith, his father, which was written in 1884, William Street Smith was already deceased.

[2] Marrowbone is an undesignated Census place in Cumberland County, Kentucky.

[3] I believe he was referring to the Civil War

Family Memories of John Campbell Smith (1806-1888): Smith/Campbell Parents
Family Memories of John Campbell Smith (1806-1888): Smith Aunts and Uncles
Family Memories of John Campbell Smith (1806-1888): Campbell Aunts and Uncles
Family Memories of John Campbell Smith (1806-1888): Grandparents
Robert Mitchell, the Elder
Kidnapped by Indians