Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One Half of an Old Mare called Van Dora

In 1992, I did some research in Muskingum County, Ohio in hopes of finding something about the notorious (according to my grandmother) William B. Jones, my 4th great grandfather.

The obituary of his widow, Elizabeth, stated that she “moved to Columbia City in 1845. Her maiden name was Helms and she was born in Pennsylvania, April 3d, 1804. At an early age she removed with her parents to Ohio, where in 1825 she was married to Wm. B. Jones who died in 1843.”

The death records for four of their five children give the name of their father as either William B. Jones or William Jones. The obituaries of two of the children state that they were born near Dresden, Muskingum County and two others give just the county. The Obits also provide some conflicting information regarding their father with one stating "Through a bad business deal the family competency was lost and the father died in 1843." Another simply states “the father died in Ohio.” And yet another obituary says that “she came with her parents to this county and settled on a farm three and one half miles southwest of Columbia City. Mr. Jones had lost all of his property through the failure of a friend for whom he had been a bondsman and he came to this county to build up his fortunes anew.”

I had found several tantalizing bits at the courthouse in Muskingum County back in '92 – an entry in an administration docket referring to his estate case (No. 2173) and an entry that the estate inventory had been filed on June 11, 1844. But nothing more. No further entries. No estate packet. There were many other estate packets on the shelves, but his was not found. I also checked the Index to Deeds and found entries where the same land was being sold in two different transactions. However, for whatever reason, at that time I did not pull the Deed Books to look at the land records.

Yesterday at the Family History Library was a good day... some answers were found, and, as usual, more were raised, and many remain regarding Mr. Jones.

Apparently, some records from Muskingum County are held by the Archives of Ohio University in Athens, including the “Inventory Records 1828-1909” where, on pages 390-391, I found an entry for the estate of William B. Jones.

John N. Ingalls, Danl C. Bruce, and William Johnson were appointed appraisers of the estate on March 28, 1844. The last land transaction that I found for William B. Jones was on May 8, 1843 where he and his wife Elizabeth were selling land to Zachariah Ogle.

It appears that there were some notes owed and cash on hand of $16.90 and “The deceased having left a widow Elizabeth Jones we the undersigned appraisers have set off to her the following described property without appraisement as directed by the statute.”
“Three Beds & Bedsteads & Beding, one Family Bible, All the cooking utensils the same not exceeding absolute wants of the family. All the books in the family Library the same not amounting in value to the sum of Fifty dollars. All the wearing appariel and clothing of the deceased. The cloths wearing apparrel & ornaments of the widow, one spinning wheel, six chairs, six knives & forks, six plates, six cups and saucers, one milk pot, one sugar dish, one Tea pot, Twelve spoons, one Table.”
The appraisers each received a fee of one dollar each.

Beneath that section is a schedule of “the property belonging to the estate of William B. Jones deceased set off by the undersigned appraisers for the support of Elizabeth Jones his widow and Maxey A. Jones, Catharine B. Jones, Dewitt C. Jones, Curtis W. Jones & Mary E. Jones his minor children for the term of one year from his decease.”
“Names of Articles. One Cow. 7.00 one Common Cupboard 6.00 one Bureau & Book Case 8.00 one settee 3.00, one pr andirons 27 'h, a field of Wheat supposed to contain 40 acres 175.00 one Bee pallace & Bees 5.00 Two Beds & Beding 11.00, Five old chairs 62 'h one old churn 2.5 one half of an old mare called Van Dora 17.50. one grind stone 1.50. one coal stone 1.50. cash 12.00”
Total valuation of the estate of William B. Jones was $248.75

When I read that last line of the list of articles, I first thought it said “one hag” then I enlarged the image on the reader a bit and saw that it said “one half” and started giggling. I pulled Carol over to read it and we've been giggling, snickering and laughing about it ever since! Nothing like a little humor to brighten the day... and in honor of that old mare, my van (my home away from home) is now known as Van Dora!!
On page 391, the appraisers certified that “the above is all the property belonging to the deceased suitable to be sett off to the above mentioned widow and children for their support and maintainance for the term of twelve months next following the death of her said husband and that in our opinion the further sum of Seventy six Dollars and twenty Five cents is absolutely necessary for their support during the above named term and recommend that the same be paid to her in money by the administrator.”
Chauncy A. Pardy was the administrator of the estate of Wm B. Jones and he “made oath that the annexed Inventory is just and true, that it contains a true statement of all the estate and property of said deceased which has come to the knowledge of said Chancey A. Pardy and particularly of all money, bank bills or other circulating miedium belonging to the deceased and of all just claims of the deceased against him or other persons according to the best of his knowledge.” Sworn to and subscribed before me this 11th day of June AD 1844. A. Wilkins, Deputy Clerk.


So there we have it. William B. Jones did not make the journey to Indiana. Exactly where and when he died is still not known but this document provides that “definitive link” between him and his children. The land records I obtained today still need to be reviewed to see what was going on with them. In the meantime we have some Questions unanswered or raised anew:

  • When did William B. Jones die?
  • Where is he buried?
  • What did William B. Jones do for a living?
  • Who has the Family Bible?
  • Where are the rest of the documents relating to the estate?
  • Is he going to be one of my “end of line” ancestors? Where do I go from here? When listed, census records for William's children indicate that he was born in Virginia, but there is no clue as to where in Virginia!
  • And, last but definitely not least; Who owned the other half of the old mare called Van Dora?

Page 390 of the Inventory Record of the Estate of William B. Jones.
As always, double-click on the images to view a larger version.

Page 391 of the Inventory Record of the Estate of William B. Jones.

Information from newspaper clippings and the obituaries of his widow and children reveal that William's family left Muskingum County on October 23, 1845 and arrived in Whitley County, Indiana on October 31st. You can read more about their journey in the post on Grandma Jones and in the Index to Posts on the Jones family.

Also, for a good chuckle, go read Carol's post to see what other adventures we had yesterday...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Honoring Those Who Served

Leavenworth National Cemetery, Leavenworth, Kansas May 6, 2011

Today is Memorial Day, The Day in which we honor those Veterans who have given their Lives for our Freedom.

Thankfully, I've had only a few ancestors who actually died while serving their country, but (also thankfully) I've had a lot of ancestors and family members who have served in the military.

I've written a bit about them before so here are the links to those previous posts:

The Veterans in my Family ~ Immediate family members and ancestors who have served from before Vietnam to the Revolution.

More Veterans in my Family - Part One ~ Siblings of ancestors who were Veterans of the War of 1812 and the Civil War

More Veterans in my Family - Part Two ~ Spanish American War and World War I Veterans who are related to me in some way.

More Veterans in my Family - Part Three ~ Veterans from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. A few of these I actually have met!

To all of the men and women now serving in the United States and around the World to protect our Freedom, I say Thank You! And to all those young men and women who have given their lives while serving our country, Thank You is not enough, but I say it anyway! Thank You.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Excursion to Antelope Island

Wednesday, May 25th - - Today was a “play” day! Carol's husband, Man, had informed us yesterday that today was supposed to be a gorgeous day, and rain free at that!

Antelope Island, which is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, was our destination. At the entrance to the State Park there was a sign warning us that the biting gnats or “no see ums” were out in full force and the midges, which don't bite, were swarming along the causeway.

We made it across the causeway and up to the visitor center, where this photo was taken.

These are midges. They covered the windshield and front end of the truck. Gross. And yeah, the biting gnats were biting. Bigtime.

The Fielding Garr Ranch was established in 1848 and was in continuous operation until 1981. This is a corner of the barn where a wide variety of objects are on display.

That white stuff on the ground (and floating on the breeze, everywhere) is the “fluff” from numerous cottonwood trees around the ranch. In some areas it literally looked like it was snowing.

Indiana has cottonwood trees but I've never seen this much of the fluff before. Definitely soft and fluffy.

Little bits of the white fluff even landed on the Iris. It just adds a little texture!

It was a most pleasant day. The clouds moved in during the late afternoon but no rain came. Man sure picked a great day for a little excursion! Thank you for a wonderful time, in spite of all the icky, little bugs!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What a Delight They Are!

Today at The Library, I met the You Go Genealogy Girls! They are delightful ladies, fun to talk with, and boy do they have some stories to tell... I saw Ruby at one of the microfilm scanner stations and thought she looked familiar (I did know they were coming here – after all, I do read their blog). So I went up to her and asked if she was one of the YGGG. (Thank goodness she was, I sure would have felt silly if she hadn't been.) We had a nice conversation then a few minutes later she brought Cheri over. To make a long story short, we snagged someone at the microfilm readers to take a photo of the four of us. The one the lady took with my camera was way out of focus but I think Carol has a good shot of all of us that she will post soon. [added May 27th - photo posted by Carol. Very good.]

Cheri Hopkins YGGG#2 and Ruby Coleman YGGG#1

Taking a tip from Carol, I decided to scan microfilm images of estate and probate records for several ancestors today. Back in the late 1980s I had taken a research trip to Ohio and had photocopied the “important” papers (those naming heirs) but that was it. I was able to find the estate records for three ancestors and scanned them. I'm hoping to get some clues from the names of the people who purchased some of the goods from the estates. And it's nice to have copies of all of the information from the estates.

There's still another week left! And I'm still hoping for that “Happy Dance” moment!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

No Happy Dance – Yet – Still Hopeful

It's been a slug-fest here at the Family History Library the past five days. I've been chasing the needle in a haystack on several family lines, without success. But, as Carol says, at least now I know I don't need to look at those sources. Ah, ever the optimist, she is!

We've been taking an hour break for lunch every day. It helps to relieve the “stress” just a bit. Our break yesterday (Tuesday, May 24th) took a little longer as we walked through Temple Square to the cafeteria for lunch. The flowers are absolutely gorgeous!!

The Mormon Temple with Gabriel high atop the spires.

The flower beds are jam-packed. So colorful. So Pretty.
See those large reddish flowers on the left?

This is what they look like before they burst out of their pods.

Up close. An orange one of the same variety. Fabulous.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Almost There...

My last day at Green River (Monday May 16th) the weather took a turn for the worse. I didn't feel bad at all about spending the entire day at the library! There were a few scattered showers along with strong winds and much cooler temperatures. I was quite happy being inside and got a lot accomplished.

When I left Green River the next morning (May 17th) it was cool and windy. There had been some heavy rain during the night. The drive on U.S. 6 over the mountains wasn't too bad. A few snow flurries but mostly drizzling rain.

However, once over the mountains, the Utah Valley was covered with gray clouds that were hugging the ground. And it was steadily raining. U.S. 6 linked up with I-15 near Provo and I turned north toward Salt Lake City. I didn't get far, perhaps 15-20 miles, which was not quite half way there. The temperature had dropped to 39 degrees. Driving conditions were terrible. Along with the rain and fog/clouds there was heavy road construction and the spray coming up from trucks and other vehicles reduced the visibility to nearly nothing.

In the rear view mirror I could see the clouds breaking up. There was some blue sky showing and even a little sunshine. I turned around and headed back to Provo and stayed at Utah Lake State Park. It actually warmed up to 45 degrees, which doesn't seem like much, but it does make a huge difference.

We had scattered showers the rest of the afternoon. When it wasn't pouring it was lightly misting. The gray clouds would move in for a while and then, briefly, the clouds would break up and the sun would make an appearance. Off to the east were the snow-capped mountains and once, for about 15 minutes, they could be seen in all their glory. It was one of those times that you just kind of shake your head in wonderment at what Mother Nature gives you in-between all the cruddy stuff! And then you grab your camera and shoot like crazy... Although, I was a little frustrated by the tall weeds that were growing along the little stream running on my side of the fence, it was still a beautiful sight.

The Mountains hovering over Provo during a brief lull in the rain on Monday, May 16th.

Then the clouds moved back in and blocked out the sun once again. It rained most of the night. The following morning was cloudy, foggy, dreary, and raining but I headed north once again. There didn't seem to be as much traffic as there was the day before and visibility was much better. It was still a little nerve-wracking with all of the construction going on and I was a happy camper when I arrived at the RV Park/campground that would be my home for the next two weeks.

Carol and her husband (and the Yorkies) arrived shortly after I did and with frazzled nerves too – I can't imagine having to pull a big rig through that construction zone and all that traffic and in lousy weather conditions. We managed to hook up and made plans for our first ever visit to the Family History Library. We were eager to get to The Library, but we both had “chores” that needed done first - Thursday was a catch-up day.

We made it to The Library on Friday (May 20th) and were a bit overwhelmed, to say the least! I'll be in Salt Lake City for about two weeks before I need to head back to Indiana. Plenty of time for research. Yeah, right! Is there ever enough time for research?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sojourn at Green River

By now, you probably know that I was planning a visit to GeneaMecca - the ultimate destination for any genealogist. I had spent an hour or two, almost every night since leaving Indiana on May 2nd, reviewing the information I had on my ancestors. But that just wasn't enough time to develop a research plan. The library at Green River was rather small but very nice and the ladies that worked there were terrific. Much of my time was spent at the library during my five-day stay at Green River. There wasn't a lot to do in the immediate area of Green River, but the days were beautiful and it was tempting to venture out to Arches, Moab, and Canyonlands.

In addition to working on the ancestor summaries I was able to get a few blog posts written and scheduled. What I was trying to accomplish with the ancestor summaries was to identify the weak links in each line. I reviewed the information I had in my Legacy database as well as the files and documents I have scanned that haven't been entered in Legacy yet. Yes, there is a lot of data entry to be done and it would have made this process much simpler if all the data was in Legacy. Someday. Maybe. It will get done!

At any rate, I was able to make some headway on that task as well as identifying some of the “dead-end” lines. You have to remember that it has been nearly two years since I've really done anything with my genealogy research. I was surprised to learn that I had documentation for relationships for the entire first five generations! In the sixth generation there are two sets of 3rd great grandparents for whom I don't have names plus two 3rd great grandmothers whose names I don't know, so I'm “missing” 6 of the 32 great-great-great grandparents. For the other 26 of the 32, I have documentation that firmly links them to their children. It has been an interesting and enlightening task.

Beyond the sixth generation, there are definitely some “weak links” in the connections between generations. But there are a few lines that I've traced back to the immigrant ancestor and have the documentation for each generation. Others are mostly wishful thinking!

It wasn't all work and no play during the five days at Green River. I did manage to get out a bit. No major hikes, but I did do a little walking. The legs seem to be doing quite well with the medication I'm taking as long as I don't overdo it. Hopefully they will continue to get stronger.

The road leading up to Canyonlands National Park.

At the top of the plateau, looking down on the highway. I didn't go much further, in fact I didn't even get into Canyonlands. Last years visit didn't do much for me and I had only a few hours of daylight left on this day (May 15th). The best thing about my visit there last year was the sunset at Horsethief Campground and seeing my new friend Hunter again.

Desiring to see a little more “green” in the landscape I headed back down the mountain and toward Moab. Turning off on Utah highway 128 on the north edge of Moab, I followed the highway which followed the Colorado River much of the way back to I-70.

The La Sal Mountains in the distance with the Colorado River in the foreground. It was a wonderful drive. All photographs were taken on May 15th.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Arches Revisited

Ten days ago I left Hovenweep National Monument and continued north toward Moab. My intention was to stay a few days and spend some time at Arches National Park. I immensely enjoyed my visit there, about a year ago. However, after a stop at the visitor center, where I learned that most of the campgrounds in the area were already full and booked for the weekend, I resumed driving. There is a State Park at Green River about 45 minutes northwest of Moab and, as luck would have it, they still had quite a few campsites available. It was mid-afternoon when I checked in and before the sun set the campground was full.

The next morning (Friday the 13th), I decided to stay at Green River State Park for the weekend. It was a gorgeous day and after doing a few chores in the morning took a drive over to Arches National Park.

One of the numerous formations at Arches. It was late afternoon and nearby formations cast their shadows, slowly creeping ever closer to this formation.

Another formation silhouetted against the skyline.

The snow-capped La Sal mountains rise up in the distance and dominate the horizon

Balancing Rock. From this angle it really does looks like it is doing a balancing act.

But as you walk around it, the angle of view and perspective change; it is securely attached to the base rock. In time, the wind and rain will erode the base further and some day, in the distant future, the balancing rock will be no more.

And, of course, the setting sun marked the end of another beautiful day!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

They're Gone!

This morning when we got to The Family History Library all of the pretty flowers had been removed. My guess is they will be planting something soon, but it was such a shock to see nothing but brown dirt in the flower beds. They were so colorful...

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Destination :: GeneaMecca

Friday, May 20th – I know, I'm just a little behind on posting, but there is a good reason. I've been spending some time preparing for the “ultimate destination” for any genealogist! Yes, that's right – I'm in Salt Lake City!! And spending some time with my friend Carol Stevens from Reflections From the Fence.

Here we are with our “stuff” heading out to the library this morning. Photo taken by Carol's husband “Man”.

You'll have to excuse the black and white, I was so excited that I didn't check the setting on my camera! We're at the entrance to THE Library!

Here's Carol. We go to the “great” library and what do we do? Take pictures of the pretty flowers outside the entrance! They were gorgeous. Of course, this was after a short lunch break.

Oh, and just as we were leaving for lunch, I ran into Kathryn Doyle! She does the blog for CaliforniaAncestors. What a pleasant surprise!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hovenweep Revisited

Wednesday, May 11th - - My stop for the night was at Hovenweep National Monument, just inside the Utah border, about 45 miles west of Cortez, Colorado.

Yes, I went through Colorado rather quickly. Blame the weather. Call me a wimp if you will, but these extemes in temperatures are not easy to handle. Anyway, I'll be back someday. (I did spend several days in Colorado last year at Mesa Verde National Park.)

Earlier in the day, I had checked the weather forecast for several places along my route. The forecast for Hovenweep was quite favorable and I knew from my visit last year that they had a nice campground. The temperature going through Cortez wasn't much better than it had been after going over the San Juan Mountains but as I continued westward it warmed up to a most comfortable 66 degrees.

I also spent several days at Hovenweep last year and wrote about the National Monument, The Square Tower Group, and The Holly Group in detail. Since the weather was nice, I walked the two-mile trail around and through the canyon to view the Square Tower Group once again. The sun was playing hide-and-seek with the clouds so I waited for some shots until the sun decided to come out. It wasn't an extremely bright light like it was last year and I'm using a different camera so the pictures have an altogether different feel to them.

The largest structure in the Square Tower Group, which is near the campground, is the Hovenweep House. It includes several outbuildings. Here it is seen from the south side of the canyon.

From the north side of the canyon looking at the Twin Towers, Boulder House, and Rim Rock House. Unless you know it's there, it is hard to tell a canyon exists in just a few steps.

A closer look at the Twin Towers, Boulder House, and Rim Rock House.

An even closer look at the Twin Towers (above) and Boulder House (below).

I still find this place to be fascinating, especially how and why these structures were built.

Mother Nature put on another magnificent show at the end of the day.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - sometimes the best sunset pictures are taken looking toward the east (or any direction other than west)! Rain was blowin-in-the-wind and captured the colors of the sun's fading rays.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Over the San Juan Mountains

Wednesday, May 11th - - After a little stop in Alamosa, about 25 miles southwest of the Great Sand Dunes, I continued west on U.S. 160/285.

I was somewhat alarmed at what I saw down the road after leaving Alamosa. I did get into some rain and, at the higher elevations, some snow. But it wasn't really all that bad. The temperature was 49 degrees with a fairly strong wind. By the time I got to the summit at Wolf Creek Pass, (elevation 10,685 feet) the temperature had dropped to 25 degrees. It warmed back up once over the mountains.

On the way up to the summit at Wolf Creek Pass.

On the other side of the San Juan Mountains.

Love this! A nice shot purely by chance! It helps when you roll down the window and the sun comes out for a second.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Dunes in the Morning

Wednesday, May 11th - - The temperature didn't get as low as I had feared it might but it was a blustery 40 degrees when I awoke at 6:30 this morning and saw heavy clouds hovering over the area. The forecast was for a 60% chance of rain. With the cold and gloomy prospects for the weather, I decided to move on with the hope that one day I will return. Off in the far distance, to the southwest in the valley beyond The Dunes, there was sunshine. Some scattered clouds too, but not like the gray clouds overhead.

The Dunes are held captive by the Sangre de Christo Mountains. The campground is to the right of where the dunes drop off (just right of the center of the photo). The sun was coming over the mountain on the right and maybe it would have burned off the clouds and fog, but then again maybe not.

The sun came through the clouds briefly on my way out of the park. I love how the light moves over The Dunes.

A closer look, half in light and half in shadow.

The shape of The Dunes mimic the peaks of the mountains behind them.

To my amazement and delight, this image brings it all together... the light, The Dunes, the mountains, the clouds, the moment. There for an instant. Then it was gone. I stood in awe as the sun rolled over the dunes. It was incredible to watch.