Showing posts with label Larimer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Larimer. Show all posts

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Inspiration from Ancestors: Asenath Cornwell Larimer

The untimely, accidental death of my husband's fourth great uncle James Larimer (1806-1847) left his wife, Asenath Cornwell Larimer, a pioneer widow with a handful of young children to support.

As shown above, her husband's estate was appraised at $125, the value of household goods like brooms, a bed, farm equipment, and so on. Not shown are several IOUs totaling a few dollars, and the bill for appraisal and settling the estate.

My guess is there was little actual cash to keep Asenath and her kids afloat for the long term. So a few years later, when her brother John Cornwell and his neighbors decided to join the Gold Rush, she did the same.

Asenath left her children behind in the care of other family members and set out from Ohio, in March of 1852, bound for California and a new life. Her youngest child was not even 7 years old when Asenath began her journey. Her oldest was 15.

Asenath Keeps a Journal

Asenath wrote a journal for a full year, March 1852 to March 1853, commenting on her long journey, her fears, her hopes, and her faith. You can read the entire journal, transcribed and typewritten, here.

The first entry, dated March 16, 1852, tells how her children begged her not to go. She writes that after considerable prayer, "in the Lord put I my trust." It was her oldest son's birthday, and "oh how much have I thought of him during the day," she laments, not knowing when or if she might see him ever again.

She and her brother book passage on the Lady Franklin to St. Louis (cost: $10 per person). She continues to think about her children left behind, "there is a whispering of conscience that I am in the path of duty, and I feel a strong faith that the Lord will go with me and bring me back again, and . . . [he will] be a Father to my fatherless children..." at this time, she writes. It's quite clear from the journal that her faith sustains her through many difficult challenges in the months ahead.

The Circle of Life 

Soon Asenath and her brother switch to the Pontiac to go "up the Missouri" River. She falls ill but quickly recovers. Just two weeks into the journey, a child on the boat dies, buried in the woods during a brief stop on shore. Two days later, an older man becomes ill and dies. Asenath is coughing and begins taking Dr. Janes Expectorant [sic, see here for formula].

By mid-May, her wagon train has joined a "constant crowd of wagons" headed west. She writes: "Colera and small pox both among these trains. 30 fresh graves have been counted on that road." Several more of her traveling companions sicken, pass away, and are buried.

Meanwhile, babies are born along the way, to the great joy of all in the wagon train.

Through the Nevadas to Volcano and Clinton

California had been a state for less than two years--and Asenath writes of passing out of the United States, then entering the States again. By mid-September of 1852, six months into the journey, she and her brother reach Volcano (east of Sacramento). Days later, they go 8 miles to Clinton, where they choose a lot and set up a tent. Her brother will prospect for gold while Asenath takes in washing and patching and baking.

Unfortunately, he and his partners don't find as much gold as they would like. He sells oxen for credit to buy food. Asenath chronicles the steady rise in prices for various commodities. She bakes and sells pies, clearing enough to cover costs.

By March of 1853, the brother and sister have halted efforts to find gold and begin putting down roots. Asenath plants a garden and settles into her California life. Through letters from home, she knows her children are doing well.

Larimers Reunite in California

1863 San Francisco city directory showing Asenath Cornwell Larimer and her son
Asenath must have encouraged her children to join her in California once she was settled. In fact, several did make the journey to California. On the other hand, one son married in Indiana and remained there for his entire life.

In the 1861 city directory for San Francisco, dated September of that year, Asenath is listed as a widow, living at 913 Stockton. By 1863, the city directory for San Francisco showed Asenath as a baker, living with her son Anderson Wright Larimer, who was a partner in a harness-making firm.

A few years on, Asenath moved to Santa Monica, where she was among those who organized the public library. Her granddaughter Elfie Asenath Mosse (1867-1939) was the first librarian in 1890 (according to History of Los Angeles County, vol 3 by McGroarty).

Asenath as Inspiration

Asenath Cornwell Larimer lived from 1808-1897. After she was widowed, she never remarried. She was a woman of strong faith, twice a pioneer, a settler and civic leader, the mother of a Civil War soldier, the grandmother of a librarian.

In the midst of the current coronavirus crisis, I find the life and times of my husband's amazing ancestor quite inspiring. Which ancestor inspires you?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

St. Paddy's Day FAN Club Census Page

1850 Census for Clinton township, Elkhart county, Indiana - showing Larimer FAN club
For St. Patrick's Day, I looked at some of hubby's ancestors who told U.S. Census enumerators that they were born in Ireland. No counties listed, just country of origin, unfortunately.

My husband's Larimer family, originally from the north of Ireland, intermarried in America with cousins from the Work, Short, and McKibbin families--families that were also originally from Ireland.

These families are part of the Larimer FAN club (meaning Friends, Associates, Neighbors).

FAN Club in Clinton Township, Indiana

The FAN club is very visible in this excerpt from the 1850 U.S. Census for Clinton township, Elkhart county, Indiana. Just on one page are neighbors who are actually related by cousinship and/or marriage.

For example, the second full household from top of page is headed by William McKibbin a farmer born in PA, wife born in PA, all children born in Indiana. He's part of the Larimer cousin collection.

Next household down is headed by Alexander McKibbin, a farmer born in PA whose wife was born in Ireland. Yes, part of the McKibbin cousins.

Next-to-last household is headed by James Larimer, a Larimer cousin who's also a farmer. Born in VA, wife from Ohio.

Bottom household is headed by Edward Murray, a farmer born in Ireland, married to Jane McKibbin, also born in Ireland. Yes, this McKibbin is part of the cousin collection.

On other pages of this Census are several other Larimer FAN club members living (and mostly farming) in Clinton township, Indiana in 1850.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Clues in Family-History Books: Caveat Emptor!

Searching for surnames in books on
Let me say it yet again: I married my husband for his ancestors! Happily for me, there are many people researching his ancestral surnames.

Even more important, a number of these people have written books about their research into the history of specific families. As valuable as the books are, loaded with useful clues, I have to say caveat emptor.

Inheriting a Larimer Family History

My husband's family has had a copy of a particular LARIMER book in their hands for more than 60 years. They knew the cousin who researched and wrote it. The author wrote eloquently about the Larimer patriarch who was shipwrecked en route from Northern Ireland to America; he listed every descendant he could find or find a name for, and a tid-bit about each person's life.

This author personally contacted my husband's parents in the 1950s to request information about their family. First-hand knowledge!

Yet I know this book has some typos and mistakes. On our family's copy, my late father-in-law or mother-in-law crossed out names and dates that weren't correct and wrote corrections in pen or pencil. The book listed the wrong death date for my husband's grandmother, for instance. In all, I found a dozen handwritten corrections. And those are only the errors my in-laws were aware of.

Nonetheless, these days, when a cousin contacts me about Larimer ancestors, I send this link to the book on the website. Anyone can download and read the book for free, from anywhere. Just don't make the mistake of believing everything. Check. It. Yourself. 

In other words, caveat emptor. Keep the Genealogical Proof Standard in mind while reading, and treat the contents as clues.

Searching for a Surname Book

To see whether Family Search has a book about a particular surname, navigate to the page where you can search only the book collection. See the screenshot above for an example where I searched for "McKibbin" and "Indiana" to find anything about a family that intermarried with the Larimer family in that state. (Sometimes creative spelling will turn up additional books to consider.)

At the top of the results is a book tracing the ancestry of a McKibbin family in Indiana and those who intermarried with it. I've downloaded this free book, which was written in 1977 and subsequently submitted to the Family History Library. Now I'm in the process of checking the information against what I've discovered in other records and from other sources.

There are also other books with the McKibbin surname, the Larimer surname, and names that appear in my husband's family tree a few generations back (such as Work, another family that intermarried with Larimer descendants).

Slowly, I'm making my way through the results lists to see which books are relevant to my research. Along the way, I'm gaining an appreciation for the social, historical, and economic context these family-history books add to my knowledge of hubby's family tree.

Colleen Brown Pasquale ("Leaves & Branches" blog) also suggests searching for family histories in, which links to results at Family History Libraries, FamilySearch, and other sites.

Caveat Emptor: Clues, Not Facts

Until I can verify, the information in any family-history book is a clue, not a fact. But there are some great clues to be found, as long as I keep caveat emptor in mind.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Thank You for Sharing

Handwritten note by Brice Larimer McClure, naming his ancestors
My husband's grandfather, Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), left several scraps of paper with notes about his family tree.

As shown above left, one of these scraps begins with the sentence: "I am Brice Larimer McClure, a son of . . . " He then proceeds to name his grandparents and great-grandparents and back as far as he knows.

Are the details all correct? Maybe yes, maybe no. This note was written from memory, I suspect, reflecting what Brice was told about his ancestors as he was growing up. Even if the names and dates aren't entirely accurate, they gave me good ideas for further research.

This first-person account of McClure and Larimer genealogy was so unique, I couldn't keep it to myself. I decided to share it on a public family tree on Ancestry back in 2011. As shown above right, I attached it to eight ancestors whose names appear on the note.

Since then, a total of 99 other Ancestry members have saved it to their family trees. This is far more people than have ever saved any other single photo or document from my public trees to their trees.

By sharing, I hope to give others clues for researching names, dates, and relationships in their trees, just as I've learned from clues in unique documents and photos shared by people who attached them to their public family trees.

Thank you, everyone, for sharing. Please go ahead and use any unique photos and documents you find on my public trees to jump-start your own research. And remember--unique items like this can be excellent cousin bait! 

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Sepia Saturday and Saturday Night Genea-Fun

James Edgar Wood in his 1917 Ford, Summer of 1917
This week's Sepia Saturday ties in well with my response to Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge! So I combined the two.

Sepia Saturday: Posing with the Car

Above, a photo taken of my husband's grandfather, James Edgar Wood (1871-1939) by hubby's father, Edgar James Wood, (1903-1986). Ed was only 14 when he took this photo of his father during a road trip from their home in Cleveland, OH to downtown Chicago, visiting Wood family members along the way. Ed had gotten a camera for his birthday and began a lifelong hobby of chronicling family activities.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Top 20 Surnames in Family Tree

Using RootsMagic7, and following Randy's instructions, I went to Reports, then Lists, scrolled down to "Surname Statistics List," and selected "Frequency of Surnames" from the list.

With 3,128 people in my husband's Wood family tree, I could have printed 17 pages for the "Frequency of Surnames" report. Instead, I printed only the first two pages. After that, the frequency of surnames dropped off sharply.

And the winner is . . . WOOD, which appears a total of 204 times (125 males, 78 females). The oldest date of a Wood ancestor record is 1551, the most recent date is 2019.

The top 20 are: Wood, Larimer, McClure, Work, Steiner, Slatter, McKibbin, Hilborn, Denning, Smith, Cushman, Brown, Taber, Nelson, Johnson, Bradford, Short, Caldwell, Rinehart, and Miller

By the time I got to Miller, there were only 17 appearances in the Wood family tree (11 males, 6 females), with the oldest date of 1803 and the most recent date of 2006. A Miller married a Work (the granddaughter of a Work-Larimer marriage) and that's how the Miller surname connects to my husband's Wood family tree.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Weddingest Months in His Family Tree

February 14, 1861 marriage of Adaline Steiner Sigler and John Dome in Crawford county, OH

My husband's family tree has one Valentine's Day wedding, among 25 marriages that took place in February. But February isn't the month with the most weddings in that family tree.

Valentine's Day Wedding

Above, the marriage license of Adaline Elizabeth Steiner Sigler (1837-1912) and John Dome 1824-1902). Adaline was my hubby's 2d great aunt, the sister of his great-grandfather Edward George Steiner.

Addie's first marriage was to Albert Sigler (1833-1858), who sadly died at the age of 24, just three months before their only child was born.

When this child was nearly three years old, Addie married for a second time. She and John Dome applied for the license on Thursday, February 14, 1861, and were married the same day. This was two months before the official start of the Civil War. John did register for the draft in July of 1863, but he was not called to serve.

By the time great-great-aunt Addie died, she was widowed again and a grandmother several times over.

August and December, the Weddingest Months

In my husband's family tree, the most weddings took place in August and December. According to the anniversary list I generated using my RootsMagic7 software, 40 couples were married in each of these months. By comparison, only 25 couples were married in February.

On the first day of August, 1722, Andrew Allen and Abiah Lovell were married in Barnstable, Massachusetts. Andrew and Abiah were my husband's 5th great-grandparents. This is the earliest August wedding in the anniversary list.

There were three New Year's Eve weddings on the anniversary list. On December 31, 1863, John N. McClure and Rebecca Jane Coble were married in Wabash county, Indiana. John was my husband's 2d great uncle. They were part of the McClure contingent that left Indiana to try farming in Emmet county, Michigan.

My husband's great-great-grandpa William Madison McClure, part of the contingent, briefly farmed in Little Traverse, Michigan before returning to Indiana. One of his four children was born in Little Traverse. That child was Grandpa Brice Larimer McClure, born on December 29, 1878. The other three were all born in Indiana.

I wrote this post for Elizabeth O'Neal's Genealogy Blog Party, February 2020 edition!

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Two Ancestors Named Margaret Larimer

L-R, Lucille E. McClure with husband John E. De Velde
and mother Margaret Larimer McClure
My husband's family tree is filled with multiple versions of John, Mary, Elizabeth, and Thomas. Just one example: he has "John Slatter" ancestors in three generations.

Today I want to look at two female ancestors with the same maiden names but very different lives. Margaret Larimer Short was my husband's third great-aunt. Margaret Larimer McClure was my husband's great-grandmother. The two Margarets were granddaughters of Isaac Larimer and Elizabeth Wood Larimer.

Margaret Larimer Short, Pioneer Mother of Doctors and a Dentist 

Margaret Larimer was born in 1825 in Bremen, Fairfield county, Ohio. She was a granddaughter of Isaac Larimer and Elizabeth Wood Larimer, two Ohio Fever ancestors who were living in the "Territory north west of Ohio River" in 1800, according to a land-claim petition submitted to the U.S. Congress in 1801. These ancestors had moved from Pennsylvania to the frontier near the Ohio River in search of fertile farmland.

Isaac and Elizabeth's son John Larimer, a farmer, married Rachel Smith in 1818 in Bremen. Margaret was their third child (but first daughter). When Margaret was 11 years old, her father John purchased land in Elkhart county, Indiana, and was moved the family westward to pioneer in rugged country yet again.

In 1842, at age 16, Margaret Larimer married a farmer, Thomas Short, in Elkhart county, Indiana. Thomas was the son of pioneers, James Short (born in Ireland) and Frances Gilbert Short (also born in Ireland), who had left Pennsylvania for the wilds of Indiana. Thomas and his bride Margaret continued the pioneering spirit, farming in LaGrange county, Indiana. Of their ten children together, the youngest was only 11 when Margaret died in 1877, at the age of 52.

Remarkably, four sons of Margaret and Thomas became physicians, and one son became a dentist!

Margaret Larimer McClure, Mother of an Inventor and a Teacher

Margaret Jane Larimer was born in 1859, the youngest child of Brice S. Larimer and Lucy Emeline Bentley. Brice was a son of Ohio Fever pioneers Isaac Larimer and his wife Elizabeth (the common ancestor with Margaret Larimer Short). Lucy was a daughter of Indiana pioneers born in upstate New York.

Margaret's father Brice farmed only briefly before becoming a postmaster and then railroad agent in the fast-growing county of Elkhart, Indiana. Like the other Margaret Larimer, this Margaret married young, at age 17. Her husband was William Madison McClure, who grew up on his family's farm but decided to work for the railroad in Elkhart.

Not one of Margaret and William's children became a farmer, despite the long tradition of family farming on both sides of the family tree. Their youngest son, Hugh Benjamin McClure (1882-1960), became involved in industry, first as a shipping clerk, then a salesman, then the owner of a thriving manufacturing firm in Peoria, Illinois. Ben invented a folding machine and received a patent in 1954.

The older daughter, Lola, graduated from high school (not typical for the time and place), became a teacher, and married a civil engineer. The younger daughter, Lucille, embraced city life, marrying a plumber in Chicago and remaining in the Windy City.

The older son, Brice Larimer McClure, was a master machinist who worked for the railroad and, later, put his skills to use working in a company that supplied equipment for the U.S. military during World War II. This Brice was my husband's beloved grandfather.

This is the Week 6 prompt for #52Ancestors.

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Larimer and McClure Ancestors Worked on the Railroad

Hubby's Great-Great-Grandpa Brice Larimer was a "RR agent" in 1860
As readers know, I married my husband for his ancestors. There is so much to say about them! I wrote last year about my husband's long line of farmers going back many generations, and the year before I wrote about his long line of Wood ancestors stretching back to England in the 1500s (carefully researched by two genealogist cousins).

For 2020, I wanted a fresh take on "long line." As usual, hubby's family tree has a wealth of stories waiting to be told. I remembered that a number of his ancestors worked for railroads over the years. Here I look briefly at four of those ancestors, two in the Larimer family and two in the McClure family.

Larimer on the Railroad

Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906), my husband's 2d great-granddaddy, was a farmer in Elkhart county, Indiana, in 1850. He was appointed an agent for the Lake Shore Railroad in 1859, and reported that as his occupation in the 1860 Census (see excerpt above). He continued working as railroad agent for decades. He faithfully attended Larimer family reunions and was often mentioned in news stories as being the eldest there--by far. His grandson was named Brice in his memory (see below).

Brice's son, William Tyler Bentley Larimer (1849-1921) worked at the railroad depot in 1870, according to that census. After he married Elizabeth Stauffer in 1872, however, he settled down to farming in Millersburg, Elkhart cty, Indiana. William was my husband's 2d great uncle. He was named for William Tyler Bentley, an ancestor who went west during the gold rush era.

McClure on the Railroad

My husband's great-granddaddy William Madison McClure (1849-1887) reported working on the railroad in the 1880 Census, when he was 31 years old. Unfortunately, he fell ill with typhoid fever and died when only 37 years old. Thanks to a news report, I know he had arranged for life insurance, much needed by his widow who had young children to care for.

William's son, Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), was a machinist working for the "Big Four" railroads in Wabash, Indiana, when he married Floyda Mabel Steiner in 1903. His skill as a machinist meant he was never out of work, working for railroads and later for war industries during WWII. Brice, named for Brice S. Larimer, was my husband's grandfather. Hubby has fond memories of learning to fish while visiting his cabin in the country during summers off from school.

"Long line" is #52Ancestors prompt #3 for 2020.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Family Recipes: Grandma McClure's Butterscotch Brownies

Recipe from Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure

With the winter holidays fast approaching, I wanted to share my husband's family recipe for butterscotch brownies. They bake up light and dry, taste best with a scoop of ice cream on top and a drizzle of caramel or fudge syrup.

Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure
circa 1903

These brownies were made by his maternal Grandma Floyda Mabel Steiner McClure (1878-1948).

She was married to hubby's maternal Grandpa Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970) for 45 years, before she passed away at the age of 70.

Grandpa McClure outlived his loving wife by 22 years, continuing to be active until his late 80s, taking his grandchildren (including my husband) fishing and boating on lakes in Ohio.

Now this recipe is part of #FamilyHistory!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Hugh Benjamin McClure, Inventor and Entrepreneur

Folder patent received by hubby's great uncle H.B. McClure
My husband's great uncle, Hugh Benjamin McClure (1882-1960) was a successful inventor and entrepreneur who ran a thriving manufacturing firm and received patents on industrial devices. Above, one of his patents from 1954. Don't ask me what it is, but it apparently was a plus for the manufacturing side of the business. (I found it by doing a general online search for his name.)

Ben's Early Life

Hugh Benjamin--called "Benjamin" or simply "Ben"--was born on February 3, 1882, in Wabash, Indiana, the youngest child of William Madison McClure and Margaret Jane Larimer. He married Olivette Georgia Van Roe in 1902, at the age of 20, and their only child was born the following year.

Sorry to say, Olivette died of TB in 1905. In the 1910 Census, Ben was living in Wabash with his daughter and his Van Roe brother- and sister-in-law. Ben's occupation was listed as "shipping clerk, cabinet factory."

In 1913, Ben completed a legal transfer of some real estate lots in Wabash to his then 10-year-old daughter. The paperwork adds "love and affection" along with the transfer. He sounds, to me, like a warm-hearted Dad.

Ben, Rebekah, Family, and Factory

It was 101 years ago this month that Ben remarried, to Rebekah Venice Wilt (1896-1975). He was already working for a Fort Wayne, Indiana, company. The family moved to Fort Wayne by 1920, where he told the Census he was based as a "commercial traveler, cabinet." But then they moved to Peoria soon afterward, so Ben could get into the manufacturing business.

In 1930, the Census shows Ben, wife Rebekah, and three daughters in a home they owned in Peoria. The home's value was $6,500 at that time (about $95,000 today). It wasn't the most expensive home on the block, but many others were renting, so clearly Ben was well off enough to be an owner. His occupation in 1930 was "manufacturer, filing equipment."

By 1940, Ben and Rebekah had four daughters and he was listed as the president of his office equipment firm. His WWII draft registration card shows him as 60 years old in 1942, self-employed, living in Peoria--but, curiously, he listed one sister, Lola McClure Lower, as a "person who will always know your address."

During the 1950s, Ben received patents like the one at top, and he continued to expand his manufacturing firm. The company was now a family operation, with Hugh as president, his wife Rebekah as vice-president, and his sister-in-law as secretary. H.B. McClure Manufacturing provided employment for many people in Peoria over the years.

Families Stayed in Touch

Ben died in August, 1960, at the age of 78, leaving his wife and five daughters, 10 grandchildren, two great-grandkids, and a successful family business that his wife Rebekah and several in-laws continued to operate for years.

By reading my late father-in-law's diary, I learned that the McClure family stayed in touch with Rebekah for some time after Ben died. Ben's brother, Brice Larimer McClure, visited with Rebekah and family in 1964, an occasion for McClure relatives to gather together.

When Rebekah's sister and family came east in 1965, they visited with Ben's brother Brice, Brice's daughter, and my late father-in-law (whose diary entries reflect pleasure at this surprise visit).
Hugh Benjamin is my focus ancestor for this week's #52Ancestors prompt of "rich."

Sunday, October 27, 2019

From Blog Posts to Ancestor Booklet

Sample page from "Three Ancestors Who Caught Ohio Fever"
Will the younger generation think the #FamilyHistory booklet I wrote this week is a trick or a treat?

Just in time to mail this for Halloween, I combined and edited three recent blog posts into a colorful seven-page booklet about my husband's pioneer ancestors in Ohio. One of these ancestors was born in the American Colonies, the year before the Revolution began; the other two were born in the newly-independent United States. All caught "Ohio fever" and went west for fresh, fertile farm land. That's my theme for the booklet.

The Pioneer Lives of Denning, McClure, and Larimer

To introduce the booklet, I created a cover page with a large, colorful map of the United States in 1785. It shows descendants where their ancestors Job Denning, John Larimer, and John McClure lived in the East before they moved.

The map also shows their wilderness destination in the Northwest Territory, then the western frontier of the fledgling country. Land beyond that belonged to Spain. Ohio statehood was years in the future when these ancestors began to clear trees for farming. All this is historical context that helps descendants understand and appreciate what their ancestors faced as pioneers.

Two Pages Per Ancestor

After the cover page, each of the ancestors has a two-page spread, including a full-color regional map (where he lived, where he moved). This is followed by a brief biographical sketch, written simply but in vivid terms, tracing each man's life from birth to marriage to children to final resting place.

The women in their lives figure prominently in my narrative because they, too, were pioneers--wives for all but also daughters, in some cases.

Where I had enough details, I mentioned specific pioneering activities, such as helping to found a church or serving in the local militia.

The excerpt at top shows the second page of Job Denning's ancestor sketch. I tried to succinctly sum up his life in context (above, I called Job Denning a "pioneer turned civic leader").

Descendants Want to Know: How Are They Related to ME?

These ancestors lived, like, a l-o-n-g time ago, right? I want my grandkids to see at a glance how, exactly, they're related to each of these ole-timey ancestors. 

So at the end of each sketch, I included a quick pedigree of the ancestor couple and the descendants in the direct line to my grandkids.

This will, I hope, give the youngest a very concrete idea of the family connections between them and their pioneering great-great-great-great-great grandparents!

Maybe the booklet will "trick" them into understanding that their ancestors weren't just old-fashioned characters from family history--they were true pioneers who actually made American history.

It was a treat for me to put this together.

This week's #52Ancestors prompt is "trick or treat" - thanks to Amy Johnson Crow.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Larimer Ancestors: Patriots and Pioneers with Ohio Fever

Western migration of pioneer ancestor John Larimer (1794-1843)
Yet another ancestor of my husband's caught "Ohio fever." He was Isaac M. Larimer. His son, John Larimer, continued the Western migration and pioneered in Elkhart county, Indiana, as shown above on the map.

Isaac Larimer, Son of Immigrants, Patriot and Ohio Pioneer

Isaac Larimer (1771-1823) was born in the south-central Pennsylvania county of Cumberland. He was the son of the original journey-takers in my husband's Larimer family, who left Northern Ireland and crossed the Atlantic to start a new life in what was then the American colonies.

Isaac married Elizabeth Wood (or Woods, 1773-1851), in Pennsylvania. Caught up in Ohio fever, they migrated West to Fairfield county, OH, where they brought up their 10 children.

Isaac fought in the 1812 War and lived to see tremendous growth in Ohio as settlers streamed in from the East decade after decade. Two of his sons, John and Robert, decided to move further West when they grew up, perhaps hankering for wide open spaces and additional farmland.

John Larimer, Patriot and Indiana Pioneer

John Larimer, my husband's 3d great-grandfather, was born in Pennsylvania (see #1 on map above). By the time he was a teenager, he was living in Fairfield county, Ohio (#2 on the map above). During the 1812 War, John fought as a 90-day enlistee alongside other Larimer relatives.

In 1818, he married Rachel Smith (1799-1838) in Lancaster, Fairfield county, Ohio. About 1835, John and Rachel left Ohio and moved their growing family to what was then the wilderness of Elkhart county, Indiana (#3 on map). At this point, Indiana had far fewer residents than Ohio, which was increasingly crowded.

Sadly, Rachel took ill and died during what locals called the "sickly season" of 1838. Left with youngsters to care for, John remarried in 1840 to Nancy Orr Smith (1799-1853).

Unfortunately, John Larimer died just three years later, reportedly from an infection in his throat caused by a deer bone splinter, and was buried in Elkhart. His second wife, Nancy, died ten years later, and was buried in Ohio, where her first husband was buried.

Saluting these patriots and pioneers in my husband's family tree!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Cousin Bait Leads to Discovery of Another Family History Book

My husband's Larimer family intermarried with members of the Work, Short, and McKibbin families in America.

One reason we know this is from the detailed Larimer family history book researched by John Clarence Work (1875-1962) and his father, Aaron Work (1837-1924). The book suggests that there were ties among the families back in the original home towns, before these ancestors crossed the Atlantic Ocean.

Believing that researching siblings, cousins, and in-laws can lead to more genealogical breakthroughs, I've been looking at the Work family connections with the Larimer family. And, of course, I've been blogging about the Work family.

My cousin bait blog posts have attracted a couple of inquiries--including one distant Work cousin who knew something I didn't about John Clarence Work.

Larimer Family History

A photocopy of the Larimer family history survived in my husband's family, along with my in-laws' hand-written corrections of spelling and dates for some of the people mentioned in the book. I've used the book and the corrections as a starting point for researching my husband's family, grateful for the clues and comments.

John Clarence Work and his father not only traced the Larimer family tree, they also compiled the names and brief bios of descendants of the original Larimer immigrant who left Northern Ireland about 1740 to make a new life in America. Happily for any Larimer descendant, the Larimer Family History is available for free, in its entirety, on FamilySearch (follow this direct link to the book).

As it happens, John Clarence Work was in touch with my late mother- and father-in-law during the 1950s, asking about their lives and the names/dates of their children (including my hubby). So I know how much effort they put into this family history. What I didn't know is that this was not the only family history done by John Clarence Work.

Work Family History

The Work cousin who contacted me via my blog said he was in touch with the Fairfield District Library in Lancaster, Ohio, near where the Work family once lived. The librarian kindly scanned and sent to him several pages from a book about Work family history, cowritten by John Clarence Work with his niece, Rhoda Fisher Work. That gave me an idea...

I searched the Family Search catalog for books by John Clarence Work. And I discovered that the Work Family History, like the Larimer Family History, is also available for free, in its entirety, on FamilySearch (follow this direct link to the book). What a treasure trove of genealogical clues!

One lesson learned from this experience is: If someone in the family wrote a family history, check to see whether that person wrote a second or third family history. Check the local library and historical/genealogical society in the area where these ancestors lived, and check Family Search as well.

Thank you to the Work cousin who contacted me and shared what he'd learned about the Work family history book!

Monday, July 8, 2019

Short Family Reunion in 1900 in LaGrange Cty, Indiana

In my husband's family tree, the Short and Larimer families reportedly had a cousin relationship in Northern Ireland, along with the Work family. Some of their descendants settled in Pennsylvania, and then went west toward Ohio and Indiana. The American-born descendants and cousins continued to feel close kinship, evidenced by the reunions they held for more than 20 years.

Thomas Short, LaGrange County Pioneer

Thomas Short (1820-188?) married my husband's great-great-great aunt Margaret Larimer (1826-1877) in January, 1842 in Middlebury, Elkhart, Indiana, where her family lived. The newlyweds soon settled in LaGrange county, where he cleared land, built a house, and farmed.

From 1843-1866, they had 10 children, including 4 who became physicians. There were physicians in the next generation of the Short family, as well.

A Short Family Reunion

Having found news reports of many reunions held by the Larimer and Work families, I was delighted to find this news item in the Elkhart Weekly Review of July 11, 1900. The descendants of Thomas Short were getting together on their own for a reunion, 119 years ago this month:
A reunion of the Short family was held last week on the old Short homestead in LaGrange county, where Thomas Short settled 58 years ago, clearing the timber off the land on which he built. Those present were Dr. W.H. Short & family, and Dr. J.L. Short, of LaGrange. Dr. I.W. Short & family and Dr. S.B. Short & family, from Elkhart, and J.E. Short & family, of Goshen.
As shown in the map at top and mentioned in the news snippet, some of the Short descendants had to travel about 20 miles from Elkhart county to arrive in LaGrange county for the reunion. Notice that the only person without a "Dr." in front of his name is J.E. (James Edson) Short, a farmer like his father, the LaGrange pioneer.

Thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for the prompt of "reunion" for this week in the #52Ancestors series.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Long Tradition of Independent Family Farming

For this week's "Independent" prompt from Amy Johnson Crow's #52Ancestors series, I wanted to look at the long tradition of independent family farming in my husband's Larimer and McClure families.

Larimer Family Farmers

Several Larimer ancestors fought in the War of 1812 and received land grants in later years, based on their military service. One was hubby's 4th great-granddaddy, Isaac M. Larimer (1771-1823), who was born on the family farm in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania and died on his farm in Fairfield county, Ohio.

Isaac was the son of immigrant ancestor Robert Larimer (1719?-1803), the 5th great-granddaddy who came from Northern Ireland in the 1740s who began the family's farming tradition in America. Isaac's mother was Mary O'Gallagher (or Gallagher, 1721-1803).

Isaac and Mary's son Robert Larimer (my hubby's 4th great uncle) also fought in 1812 and earned the land grant shown in the document at top.

Isaac and his wife Elizabeth Wood Larimer's son John (1794-1843) was my hubby's 3rd great-granddaddy and a 90-day enlistee in the War of 1812. Like so many others in the Larimer family, John Larimer eventually moved from Ohio to Elkhart county, Indiana, to obtain more land for farming.

My husband's 2d great-granddaddy, Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906) continued the tradition of family farming in Elkhart county, Indiana. By 1853, he had been appointed postmaster. Brice later served as a railroad agent, and his son William Tyler Bentley Larimer (1849-1921) also worked at the railroad depot. Later in life, William T.B. Larimer returned to farming, but none of his children or grandchildren were family farmers.

McClure Family Farmers

The McClure family tradition of farming in America began with my husband's earliest McClure immigrant ancestors. Hubby's 5th great-granddaddy Halbert McClure (1684-1754) and his wife Agnes (?-1750) led a large group of McClure family members from County Donegal across the Atlantic to Philadelphia, where they walked all the way to Virginia to buy farmland.

Halbert's son Alexander McClure (1717-1790) bought land in Mill Creek, Augusta, Virginia in 1751. Alexander was hubby's 4th great-granddaddy. His son John McClure (1781?-1834), hubby's 3d great-granddaddy, was most likely a farmer after moving to Adams county, Ohio.

John and his wife, Ann McFall (1780-1823) had one son, Benjamin McClure (1812-1896) who most definitely a farmer in Noble township, Elkhart, Indiana. Benjamin was my husband's 2d great-granddaddy.

In the generation after Benjamin McClure, not everyone was a full-time farmer. Oldest son Theodore Wilson McClure told the Census in 1880 that his occupation was "farming and storekeeping." Second son John McClure was a farmer, first in Indiana and then as a tenant farmer in Little Traverse, Michigan. Third son Train Caldwell McClure operated an oil mill in Wabash county, Indiana.

Benjamin McClure's youngest son was William Madison McClure (1849-1887), my husband's great-granddaddy. He grew up on the family farm in Indiana but after marrying Margaret Jane Larimer (1859-1913), William worked on the railroad. That was the end of family farming in this line of the McClure family: None of Margaret and William's three children married a farmer or worked in farming.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Family Tree Fourth of July


This vintage Independence Day greeting card was sent to my husband's uncle Wallis Walter Wood in Cleveland more than a century ago. The Fourth of July has significance for our family trees in two instances.

Larimer Elopement

George Ainsworth Larimer (1873-1922), hubby's 1st cousin 2x removed, married Cora Lutz (1875-1945) in a Gretna Green elopement on July 4, 1899. They didn't announce the marriage until November, as shown in this news snippet.

Over the years, St. Joseph was a Gretna Green for several of my husband's family members who eloped. On that particular July 4th in 1899, St. Joseph recorded 21 marriages, including that of George and Cora!

George retired early from a career in civil engineering and bridge construction, due to a heart condition. His death cert mentions the contributing factor of "dropsy" (related to his heart problem). He died in Memphis, TN, on Halloween of 1922 at the age of only 49.

Schwartz Birth

My great uncle Samuel Schwartz (1883-1954) was born on July 4, 1883, in Ungvar, Hungary. He was an older brother of my immigrant grandfather Theodore "Teddy" Schwartz.

Teddy came to America in 1902, followed by brother Sam two years later. According to the 1904 passenger manifest, his given name was Simon but somehow once he arrived in America, he became Samuel. Sam and Teddy teamed up to pool their hard-earned money and bring their younger sister Mary to America in 1906.

Like his brother Teddy, Sam married only days after he attained U.S. citizenship. Sam settled down and raised a family in New York City, where--like his brother Teddy--he ran a small dairy store. Sam died on a hot June afternoon, just weeks before his 71st birthday.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Earliest and Latest Larimer-Work-Short Reunions

Earliest reunion of three families united by marriage
and cousinship over more than a century
In researching the reunions of the Larimer-Work-Short families--related to my husband on his mother's side of the family tree--I discovered that the reunions continued much longer than I knew!

Earliest Reunion Was a Picnic (Literally)

The earliest reunion I could find was called a "joint picnic," held by the three families in August of 1900. They formed a family association and named the following as officers:

  • Dr. James Anderson Work (1845-1928), hubby's 1st cousin, 4x removed (I just recently wrote about his two brothers who died while in the Union Army during the Civil War)
  • Dr. Isaac Wright Short (1863-1938), hubby's 1st cousin, 3x removed (I wrote about the Short family's doctors and dentists a few years ago)
  • Edson Franklin Larimer (1862-1933), hubby's 1st cousin, 3x removed, whose occupation was "clerk" in the Elkhart city directory of 1903.
  • Mrs. W. H. Barger, maiden name Luetta Millicent Work (1868-1927), hubby's 2nd cousin, 3x removed.
The next few reunions were held closer to the home of patriarch Brice S. Larimer (1819-1906) in deference to his age. Brice was my husband's great-great-grandfather, and lived nearly to 87. Two members of the Larimer family were elected as officers within a few years, with Short and Work family members also represented on the executive board.

Later Reunions Continued to the 1920s
1922 reunion of Larimer-Work-Short-McKibbin-Elliott families
The 1922 reunion was held in Goshen, Indiana, 97 years ago this month, as the above news snippet reports. One big mistake: Other evidence shows that the Larimer ancestor who first arrived in America was actually Robert Larimer, not Isaac Larimer. Isaac wasn't even born until 1771, and he was Robert's son. But anyway...

At this point, the reunion had expanded to include McKibbin family members, who often intermarried with the Larimer family and with the Elliott family. 

The earliest instance of Elliott-McKibbin marriage I've found is John White Elliott (1829-1914) marrying Jane McKibbin (1828-1879). John and Jane's son Howard Elliott married Margaret Short, a daughter of Margaret Larimer and Thomas Short. 

It's wonderful to see that these cousins in my husband's family tree cared enough to hold reunions for more than two decades.

Thank you to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt of "earliest."

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Work Brothers in the "War of Rebellion"

Elkhart, Indiana family reunion 1903

The Work family was so-called "Scots-Irish" (or "Scotch-Irish") from County Antrim, Ireland, cousins of and intermarried with the Larimer family. The Larimers are my husband's direct ancestors.

The newspaper snippet at left also mentions the Short family, which intermarried with the Work and Larimer families. The Short and Work families have been mentioned as cousins to the Larimers when all lived in the old country.

Over time, by researching members of the Work and Short families, I may find clues that will lead me to the hometown of the Larimer family.

From Ohio to Indiana

I've been taking a closer look at two brothers from the Work family who served on the Union side during the Civil War. These brothers were hubby's 1st cousins 4x removed, and both enlisted at the same time in 1862.

Isaac Larimer Work (b. 1838) and John Wright Work (b. 1841) were the second and third sons of Abel Everitt Work (1815-1898) and Cynthia Hanley Larimer (1814-1882). Born near Bremen, Fairfield county, Ohio, the boys were still young when their parents moved the family to Middlebury, Elkhart county, Indiana.

In their early 20s, the brothers studied at Hillsdale College in 1861, as the page here shows. The following year, the Work brothers were among the roughly 400 students of this famously anti-slavery college who enlisted to fight for the Union in the Civil War.
Hillsdale College 1861

Company I, 74th Regiment, Indiana Infantry

Back in Elkhart county, Indiana, Isaac and John joined Company I, 74th Regiment, Indiana Infantry, in August of 1862.

Within months, Isaac became a corporal, John was a private. Both found themselves in battle as their regiment saw action very quickly.

Alas, Isaac died at the age of 23 in a hospital in Gallatin, Tennessee. Whether the death date in the military record was correct or the newspaper account below from the Goshen Times (Indiana) was correct, I don't know.

In fact, I've seen several different death dates for Isaac L. Work. The news article agrees with the death date recorded on Isaac's gravestone and transcribed in the U.S. Civil War Roll of Honor (which indicated either Dec. 29th, 1862 OR January, 1863). His cause of death was shown as "diarrhea." In the Indiana digital archives, his death date is shown as November 23, 1862.

Sadly, Isaac's brother John died in Gallatin, Tennessee, from a case of "chronic diarrhea," at age 24. His name and cause of death appears in the handwritten list of Indiana volunteers who died in the Civil War.

There, his death is shown as January 15, 1863. On the Roll of Honor, his death date is transcribed from his gravestone as January 5, 1863.

When their father Abel Everett Work died in 1898, his obituary said that sons John and Isaac had "lost their lives in the war of rebellion." The boys didn't live to see slaves freed and the Union reunited, but their parents and all their brothers did.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Dear Diary: Clues to Truth of Family Stories

Excerpt from diary of Edgar James Wood
Edgar James Wood (1903-1986), my late father-in-law, wrote every day in his diary. As an insurance adjustor, he had to be able to say where he was and what he was doing if called by the court to testify in a case involving an auto or truck that his company insured. Knowing the care he took to record his activities day by day, I've come to trust his diary as a valuable resource for family history research.

Index Those Diary Entries for Clues

Most of his diary entries are fairly brief (how much can you say in in a three-inch space?). He was meticulous about listing who, what, where, and when. His diary entries about non-work activities have helped me understand more about family relationships and dynamics.

To make sense of the 30 years of diaries I'm lucky enough to have in my possession, I had to index the people and places and dates, which I did a few years ago. Now I can look at the index, pick a person or place or date, and go directly to the part of the diaries where Ed wrote about what I'm researching. Lately, I've been examining family stories and trying to figure out how much (if any) is true, and whether there are nuances I can better understand by digging deeper.

Visiting John Andrew Wood

Case in point: One family story about the four Wood brothers. I'd heard from Ed's children that their father was not at all close to a younger brother, John Andrew Wood (1908-1908). It's true that Ed, married and living in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, rarely saw John, who lived in Indiana for most of his adult life.

However, Ed's diary entry from August 19, 1964, provides subtle insight into this family story. That week, Ed was on vacation from his job. He was driving his wife (Marian McClure Wood) and father-in-law (Brice Larimer McClure) to see family members in other states. He took his diary with him and jotted notes every evening, as was his habit.

They had just finished an overnight visit with McClure relatives in Peoria and arrived in Michigan City, Indiana, for an overnight stay with "John." According to the diary, as shown above, they enjoyed an "evening of visiting & a late supper." Next day, they had breakfast and Ed drove on to their next stop, a visit with a cousin on the Larimer side of the family.

Reading the August 19th entry, I recognized Michigan City as the home of Ed's brother John. John's wife was Rita Goodin Wood (1918-1988). This entry suggests that the brothers did stay connected through the years, even if the relationship might not have been as close as Ed's relationship with his two other brothers.

Clues Hidden in Plain Sight

Again and again, I found little clues like this, hidden in plain sight within my father-in-law's diaries. The diary entries hinted at how close Ed was to certain family members and how often he spoke or visited with brothers, sisters-in-law, and cousins, not to mention his grown children and, later, his grandchildren. Also I learned to read between the lines and see who was NOT mentioned in the diary.

Most of the time, Ed didn't explicitly spell out family relationships in his diary entry, because he obviously knew these people well. But when a relationship was also an affectionate honorific (as in the beginning of the diary entry at top, where "Aunt Becky" is mentioned), it was especially easy to connect the dots and confirm which family member he was writing about.

Thanks to Amy Johnson Crow for the #52Ancestors prompt of "Dear Diary" this week.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Unique Ancestor Images on Public Trees Are Cousin Bait

83 people have saved Brice Larimer McClure's
note about his ancestry, which I originally posted.
Brice Larimer McClure (1878-1970), hubby's long-lived granddaddy, wrote a few notes about his ancestry on tiny slips of paper. Years ago, I scanned those notes and uploaded them to my public Ancestry tree, along with a full transcription. You can see the beginning of the transcription above ("I am Brice McClure a Son of Margaret Larimer McCure and Wm. McClure...").

Every year or so, I return to images I originally posted, and check to see who has saved each one. By now, more than 80 people have saved this unique, one-of-a-kind note, which I attached to 8 people in my husband's public family tree.

Clicking on the tree of each person who saved one of my unique images shows me where Brice or Brice's ancestors might fit into that tree.

It doesn't matter whether I believe the other person's tree to be accurate or not. My objective is to see who's on the tree and how these people might be related to my husband. Potential clues, in other words, to possible cousins.

Occasionally, I'm able to identify a solid cousin possibility. I double-check what's on the other person's tree and reexamine my tree's connection to that ancestor. Then I send a message about this possible cousin connection and offer to exchange additional genealogical info. And, thankfully, a few people have responded and continued to correspond about mutual research interests!

I know there are more cousins out there to be found via family trees and paper trails (DNA is not my primary focus at this point). If someone has saved a unique image or note that I originally uploaded, it's worth a few minutes of my time to check that person's tree.

Those unique images are cousin bait!