Showing posts with label Cornwell. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cornwell. Show all posts

Thursday, October 16, 2014

52 Ancestors #43: James Larimer of "Pioneer Stock" and a Democrat

Hubby's 3d great-grand uncle James Larimer, 3d son of Isaac M. Larimer of Pennsylvania, married Asenath Cornwell (1808-1897) in Fairfield county, Ohio (in the 1830s?).

James and another Larimer brother soon bought land in Middlebury, and the families became pioneer farmers in Indiana. James and Asenath had five children: John, James, Nancy, Anderson, and Amos. Later they sold some land to his brother-in-law, Abel E. Work (1815-1898), who married James' sister, Cynthia Hanley Larimer (1814-1882).

James Larimer was tall and known for his strength, which he needed to split rails for farm fences. In fact, he won a local reputation for his speed with an axe.

But James also had a political side: He served as one of Middlebury's delegates to the Democratic convention of Elkhart county in Goshen, Indiana, on May 29, 1840. At left, a snippet from an article in the Goshen Democrat of June, 1840. James's name appears under "Middlebury."

It was a presidential election year, and Martin Van Buren was running for reelection against Whig party nominee William Henry Harrison, an 1812 War hero. Despite the support of loyal Democrats like James Larimer, Van Buren lost the popular vote by a small margin--and lost the Electoral College vote by a wide margin (234 to 60). William Henry Harrison was inaugurated in early 1841, then developed pneumonia and died just weeks later. His vice-president, a former Democrat named John Tyler, succeeded to the Presidency and pushed the "states' rights" view of government.

Back to ancestor James. He died on a cold winter day when his horse stumbled and James was thrown, hitting his head hard. James's grave in Middlebury, Indiana has this inscription:
"Type of Pioneer stock that, for one hundred years, pushed Government, School and Church into the Wilderness."

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday's Tip: It Takes a Village to Trace a Tree

All of the family trees I'm working on have been "leafed out" with help from other people. Especially this year, I've learned that it truly takes a village to trace a tree. 

For example, Major James Elmer Larimer (hubby's first cousin, 4x removed), wrote to his mother, Asenath Cornwell Larimer, when he was fighting for the Union during the Civil War. At left, a page from one of his many letters--thanks to the gentleman who found me via this blog and who is now part of my village.

Here's how I make it easy for my village to exchange information:

1. My family trees on Ancestry are public (not living people, of course). That's how Philly Cuz found me and how the latest contact from a Wood cousin took place. 

2. I post about people and places on surname and locality message boards. If anybody out there is looking for Schwartz from Ungvar or Farkas from Botpalad or Bentley from Indiana (or California), they'll find my queries on message boards like Ancestry and GenForum. That's how I connected with Bentley researchers, for example.

3. I contact local genealogy clubs and historical societies. Just as one example, the fabulous folks at Elkhart County Genealogical Society provided numerous gravestone photos and probate court records for my research into the Larimer family.

4. I correspond with people who have posted on Find-a-Grave. Sometimes they have more photos they haven't had a chance to post--and among those photos are my ancestors. A very kind volunteer supplied exact directions to hubby's great-great-grand uncle's gravestone so we could visit this summer. Of course, I return the favor by posting photos of dozens of gravestones on F-a-G whenever I visit a cemetery.

5. I blog about my genealogy challenges and achievements. Thanks to this genealogy blog, I've been found by so many cousins! (You know who you are...) The blog also helps me explain to my newfound family what I know (or think I know) about a particular person or branch of the tree. In more than one case, my wonderful blog readers have been instrumental in identifying a person's uniform or place or period.

Thank you to my village!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Motivation Monday: Those Brickwalls Are Crumbling

When I began this blog in 2008, I put the following sentence at the top: Adventures in genealogy . . . finding out who my ancestors were and connecting with cousins today!  What adventures I've had, and what joy in finding cousins all over the map. 

Botpalad, hometown of Moritz Farkas
Nothing is as motivating as a breakthrough, right? November is possibly my best-ever month for bringing down brickwalls, which only makes me want to dig deeper. It's been so exciting that it's hard to know where to begin...remember, all of this happened in the past 25 days, and the month isn't over yet :)
  • "Hello Cousin" was the subject line on a much-anticipated e-mail from Israel. After many months of searching, I've finally connected with long-lost Schwartz cousins on my maternal grandfather's side! My 2d cousin confirmed our relationship and sent me wonderful photos of herself and the rest of our family in Israel. Next up: A Skype session! All in the same month that Sis and I met "Philly Cuz" for the first time in person--she's also a 2d cousin on the Schwartz side. And in the same month, I saw my 1st cuz from Queens (Hi, Ira!)
  • "James Elmer Larimer" was the subject line on an e-mail that arrived out of the blue. As I wrote just recently, this gentleman is trying to find the connection between hubby's Larimer line and his family (still working on that). He was kind enough to share the wagon-train journal kept by James Elmer Larimer's widow, Asenath Larimer, who went with her brother John Cornwell and three of his neighbors to join the Gold Rush in 1852. The journal is an incredible first-person account of what it was like to walk day after day through an unknown landscape, battle illness and accidents, and--hardest of all, in some ways--to leave loved ones behind, never knowing if the family would see one another again. Spoiler alert: Asenath is reunited with her young children after all!
  • "I'm the grandson of ... " read the Ancestry message I received from a first cousin, 1x removed of my hubby's! He's just beginning to trace his family tree and I'm delighted to share what I know about Thomas Haskell Wood and Mary Amanda Demarest, our common ancestors. Can't wait to hear from him again.
  • Remember microfilm? Last week I located the handwritten birth entry of my great-grandpa Moritz Farkas in the records of Botpalad, Hungary, contained on a Family History Library microfilm titled "Anyakönyvek Izraelita Hitközseg, Fehérgyarmat." Now I can search the same records for any siblings, knowing I'm in the correct part of the world at the correct time. I'm very motivated to keep cranking through this microfilm, even though part is in Hungarian and part is in German :( 
  • Cousin JW, who was thought to be a family friend but turns out to be a cousin of the Farkas family, sent naturalization records and other documents from her parents and grandparents so I can connect her line to our line. I'm almost there. This is an immense breakthrough because we believe it will show we're actually related to a large group of Farkas descendants in Europe and the U.S.
  • "Captain Slatter" was the subject line from a lady whose father trained under Captain Jack Slatter in 1941. Captain Jack (actually John Daniel Slatter) was hubby's great-uncle and a renowned bandmaster for 50 years. Replying to this inquiry, I sent a photo of Capt. Jack and a request to hear her father's memories of the good Captain. It's a small world after all!
So many ancestors, so many cousins, so little time. I'm motivated! 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Military Monday: Major James Elmer Larimer

This morning I heard from a gentleman who found me through this blog.* His family has some wonderful historic treasures: A cache of Civil War letters written by James Elmer Larimer to his mother, Asenath Cornwell Larimer, and Asenath's journal chronicling her trip to California in the Gold Rush era. Are these Larimers related to hubby's Larimers?

Yes! And they're listed in the book Our Larimer Family by John Clarence Work, which traces this branch of the Larimers, starting with Robert Larimer's shipwreck enroute from North Ireland to America in the early 1700s.

Of course I dropped everything to check out James Elmer Larimer and his parents, James Larimer and Asenath Cornwell Larimer...and quickly discovered that James Elmer Larimer had quite a distinguished career in the military and afterward.

Above is the first of several pages about Major James Elmer Larimer from the 1915 book History of Dearborn County, Indiana (read or download it here). He enlisted in Company A, 17th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry, on April 16, 1861. He rose through the ranks, serving bravely, and eventually became a first lieutenant in command of four companies of the 23rd Missouri Volunteer Infantry. He was in the first battle of Bull Run, and in many other famous battles (Hoover's Gap, Stone's River, siege of Atlanta, and on).

After the war, President Grant appointed him U.S. gauger and in that capacity, Major Larimer foiled a number of frauds (but not all--see this Wikipedia entry). Next he became publisher and editor of the Lawrenceburg Press in Indiana. The Dearborn history sums him up this way:
"His favorite sport is baseball. His church--all of them. His bible--"The Book" and Emerson. His reading--everything, but preferably scientific. His friends--every good man or woman. His hopes--the best of what he has been. He hates--a human skunk or fox. His pride--that he has lived through 75 years of more valuable achievement by man than all the race had previously accomplished."
James Elmer Larimer was my hubby's first cousin, four times removed, and that makes us proud. 

* Larimer ancestor landing page, a big plus!