Monday, October 31, 2011

'Twas A Night Not Soon Forgot

According to an undated newspaper article in a family scrapbook (with the headline of “Landed Fifty-Seven Years Ago”) my fourth great grandmother, Elizabeth Helms Jones and her five children, left their home in Muskingum County, Ohio on October 23, 1845. There were several other articles of “remembrances” of her son Curtis Warren Jones that were found in the scrapbook. The one below was published in the Columbia City Post on Wednesday, November 2, 1910:
“Attorney Curtis W. Jones, of this city, dean of the Whitley county bar, recalled his arrival in this county Monday, and stated that it occurred just sixty-five years ago on Hallowe'en Day, when his mother and five children, reached their journey's end, after traveling through the forests of Ohio and Indiana.

“They arrived just as the sun was sinking in the west and took up their habitation in a deserted log cabin with punchen floor, and as their Hallowe'en diversion, heard the howls of wolves, screams of catamounts, hoots of the owls and other inhabitants of the wild wood. As a further pleasure to them within three and four hundred yards, were located two Indian villages. Their first night under such circumstances is one that will never be forgotten by Mr. Jones.

“He was 77 years old on October 9th, and his only sister, Mrs. Mary E. Sherwood, just east of the city is 75 years of age. His mother has long since passed to her reward and Mrs. F. H. Foust, Mrs. William H. Dunfee and D. C. Jones, have also passed away, but his recollections of the Hallowe'en night will always remain.”

So the story goes that we oft' have been told,
Of a Halloween night of old.
Thru the wilderness of Ohio into Indiana they did arrive,
'Twas back in eighteen hundred and forty-five.

Traveling midst the forests and the vale,
Following the long meandering trail,
Mother Jones came with five young children – Maxy,
Catherine, Dewitt, Curtis, and Mary.

Household goods and personal possessions in hand,
Loaded in an ox cart were carried to a new land.
Many untold hardships they would endure,
And bravely they did overcome their fear.

Though friends and family were left behind,
New friends in their new home they would find.
Marriage and grandchildren would in time arrive.
Untold descendants would come from the original five.

Trite though it may sound, but 'tis true,
If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be alive.


This is a slightly modified version of a post from October 15, 2007. See the Index to Posts for more information on the family of William B. and Elizabeth (Helms) Jones.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Another Ancestor Found!

Last Saturday was a very good day! After returning from a lunch break I found another ancestor! At least I think I have... a subdued Happy Dance ensued. I was working with Deed Records in Montgomery County, Ohio trying to obtain copies of those records for William Lavering, Christian Schuder (Shuder, Shuter, Shooter, etc.), Caspar Stoever (Stiver) and the unknown Huntsicker ancestor.

On December 22, 1842 Christian Schuder, Jr. was married to Sarah Huntsicker in Montgomery County, Ohio. They lived in Jefferson Township, Montgomery County until after 1860. They moved to Elkhart County, Indiana prior to 1870. The only information known about Sarah was that she was born February 2, 1817 in Pennsylvania. Her date of birth was calculated from her age at death as shown on her grave marker and her place of birth is from the 1850 through 1880 census records.

Christian's brother, Peter Shuder, had married Barbara Hunsager on February 20, 1826 also in Montgomery County. (Peter was born in 1799 and Christian in 1813.) In spite of the differences in spelling of the surname, it was thought that Barbara and Sarah were sisters. We had no clue as to who their parents were.

Earlier in the week I had taken a break from viewing microfilms and got on the FamilySearch website to get copies of some Ohio Marriage Records. The image provided a bit more information than the “official” copy that my cousin had gotten from the Montgomery County Clerks's Office – Sarah's brother, J. Huntsicker was present at their marriage ceremony.

Marriage of Christian Schuder and Sarah Huntsicker recorded in volume A-2 page 270 of the Montgomery County, Ohio marriages. (Image 486 from

Apparently there is no “master” index to the deed books for Montgomery County or, if there is, it hasn't been filmed by the Family History Library! So basically you have to get the microfilm for each book and check the index located at the front of each book. I had gotten through 15 rolls of microfilm (26 deed books) when this deed jumped out at me.

On August 14, 1837 the heirs at law of Margaret Huntsicker sold a parcel of land to Emanuel Shank. Sarah is not named as one of the heirs in the first sentence but is listed each time thereafter that the others are named. I think the Recorder simply left her out in that first instance.

There was another family in Jefferson Township, Montgomery County that has a similar spelling – Huntsinger. But research by my cousin, Caroline Conrad Fawley, pretty much eliminated them as being Sarah's family. More research is needed but I'm fairly confident that Margaret Huntsicker is Sarah's mother and that her siblings are Abraham, John Jonathan, Katharine, Margret, Nancy Burnett, and Barbara Shuter.

And, of course, this all begs the question – who was Sarah's father? And what is her mother's maiden name? And where in Pennsylvania did they live? Anyone researching these families? If so, please contact me!

Montgomery County, Ohio Deed records v. B-2 pages 450-452. FHL Microfilm 966656. Spelling and punctuation (or lack thereof) is the same as (or relatively close to) what was in the deed book.

[page] 450

A. Huntsicker
&c to
E. Shank

This Indenture made this fourteenth day of Augst in the year of our Lord One thousand Eight hundred and thirty seven. Between Abram Huntsicker John Huntsicker Jonathan Huntsicker Margaret Huntsicker of the State of Ohio and John Burnett & Nancy his wife and Peter Shuter & Barbary his wife of the State of Illinois, heirs at law of Margaret Huntsicker decd of the first part and Emanuel Shank of the County of Montgomery & State of Ohio of the second part (witnesseth) that the said John Huntsicker Abram Huntsicker Jonathan Huntsicker John Burnett Katharine Huntsicker, Sarah Huntsicker Margret Huntsicker John Burnett & Nancy his wife & Peter Shuter & Barbary his wife for and in consideration of three hundred dollars lawful money of the United States to them in hand well and truly paid by the said Emanuel Shank the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged hath granted bargained sold, aliened released, conveyed and confirmed by these presents unto the said Emanuel Shank his heirs and assigns forever All that lot and parcel of land lying and being in the County aforesaid West of the great Miami River and east of a Meridian drawn from the mouth of the big Miami River being the North end of the said Michael Mayers land and bounded as follows viz. Beginning at a post at the North west Corner of the said Michael Mayers land and running along his W Boundary line Southwardly six chains and thirty two links to a post thence westwardly six chains and twenty links to the place of beginning Containing four acres of land And all the Estate, right title Interest, claim and demand of them the said Abram Huntsicker John Huntsicker Jonathan Huntsicker Sarah Huntsicker Margret Huntsicker and John Burnett & Nancy his wife & Peter Shuter & Barbary his wife of in and to the said premises and every part thereof together with all the singular the privileges and appurtenances to the same belonging, or in any wise appertaining, and the [two illegible words] and profits thereof: To have and to hold the premises hereby bargained and sold, as meant or intended so to be with the appurtenances to the only proper use and behoof of the said Emanuel Shank his heirs and assigns forever. And the said Abraham Huntsicker John Huntsicker Jonathan Huntsicker Katharine Huntsicker Sarah Huntsicker Margret Huntsicker John Burnett & Nancy his wife Peter Shuter and Barbara his wife for themselves Executors and Administrators doth promise, covenant and agree, to

[page] 451

and with the said Emanuel Shank his heirs Executors and assigns that they [blank space] the true and lawful owners of the premises hereby granted and hand good right, full power and lawful authority to sell and convey the same in manner and form afforesaid. And further that they the said Abraham Huntsicker John Huntsicker Jonathan Huntsicker Katharine Huntsicker Sarah Huntsicker Margaret Huntsicker John Burnett & Nancy his wife Peter Shuter & Barbary his wife their heirs Executors and Administrators will warrant and forever defend the aforesaid premises with their appurtenances and every part and parcel thereoff unto the said Emanuel Shank his heirs and assigns against all persons claiming or to claim by for in and to them or any of them or by from or and in any other person or persons whomsoever In witness whereof the said Abram Huntsicker and Susan his wife and John Huntsicker and Amey his wife, Jonathan Huntsicker Katharine Huntsicker Sarah Huntsicker Margret Huntsicker John Burnett and Nancy his wife Peter Shuter and Barbary his wife, who hereby relinquish all their right, title claim, interest or dower in the premises have hereunto set their hands and Seals the day and year within written.

Sealed and delivered in the presence of Joseph Clingenpel [and] John D. Kiefer

Abraham Huntsicker (his mark)
Susan Huntsicker (her mark)
John Huntsicker
Amy Huntsicker (her mark)
Jonathan Huntsicker (his mark)
Catharina Huntsicker (her mark)
Sarah Huntsicker (her mark)
John Barnet
Nancy Barnet (her mark)
Peter Shuder (her mark)
Barbary Shuder (her mark)
Margaret Huntsicker (her mark)

The State of Ohio, Montgomery County
Before me Joseph Clingenpeel a Justice of the peace within and for the County personally appeared Abrah Huntsicker John Huntsicker Jonathan Huntsicker Sarah Huntsicker Catharine

[page] 452

Huntsicker Margret Huntsicker together with Susan and Amy wives of the Said within named grantors and acknowledged the within deed of Conveyance to be their voluntary act and deed for the uses and purposes therein mentioned and the said Amy and Susan being examined separate and apart from their said husbands and the Contents of said deed being made knowna and explained to them Declare that they voluntarily and of their free will and accord without fear of their said husbands did and now do acknowledge the signing and sealing thereoff In Testimony whereof we have hereunto set our hands and seals this 14th day of Augt A. D. 1837.

Joseph Clingenpeal J. P. {Seal}

[A similar affidavit was signed by John Barnett and Nancy his wife and witnessed by a Justice of Green County, State of Illinois on October 28, 1837. Peter Shuder and Barbary his wife and Margaret Huntsicker signed their affidavit before James Lamb a Justice of the Peace in Union County, Indiana. The Recorder erred when he wrote that Peter Shuder and Barbary were of the state of Illinois.]

Montgomery County, Ohio Deed records v. B-2 pages 450. FHL Microfilm 966656.

Montgomery County, Ohio Deed records v. B-2 pages 451. FHL Microfilm 966656.

Montgomery County, Ohio Deed records v. B-2 pages 452. FHL Microfilm 966656.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Update from Salt Lake City :: Week Two

In the “early years” of on-site research (back in the 1980s) I usually just abstracted deeds and estate records. Very seldom did I get copies of an entire estate file. The few copies that I did make back then have faded over the years and many of them are no longer legible. In addition, there are estate and other records that I “know” are there – from information obtained from published indexes or other researchers. So, I've been concentrating on obtaining digital copies of those records as well.

It's not super exciting or anything but it's nice to know that I'll be filling in some of the blanks – at least as far as some records are concerned - those that are available here at the Family History Library! As a result of that strategy (gathering records, so to speak), there still haven't been any big breakthroughs although I have found some rather interesting things – some that have generated additional questions, as so often happens.

So far I've scanned deed records for 15 ancestors as well as the complete estate files for the following ancestors, amounting to several hundred pages:
  • James Ball 1830, Owen County, Kentucky
  • John D. Berlin, 1879, Elkhart County, Indiana
  • Susan Berlin, 1880, Elkhart County, Indiana
  • Henry Bray, 1798, Nelson County, Kentucky
  • Christian Schuder (Sr), 1842, Montgomery County, Ohio
  • Casper Stiver (Casper Stoever III), 1821, Montgomery County, Ohio
  • Eli Yarian, 1895, Elkhart County, Indiana

As Randy Seaver says, these will provide plenty of “blog fodder” in the future!

Receipt slip signed by my 2nd great-grandparents Lovina Yarian and Eli Yarian.
Elkhart County, Indiana Estate file D25. Microfilm No. 1711412.
Estate of John D. and Susan Berlin.
Susan died before John's estate was settled and her estate was combined with his.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun :: The Ancestors' GeneaMeme

Randy Seaver has picked up The Ancestors' GeneaMeme from Geniaus as his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and I thought I'd play along...

According to the instructions, the list should be annotated in the following manner:
  • Things you have already done or found: bold face type
  • Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
  • Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
  • You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item
My comments are in square [ ] brackets...
  1. Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents
  2. Can name over 50 direct ancestors [with help from my genealogy database]
  3. Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
  4. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times [None that I know of though William Alexander was married three times.]
  5. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist [Not that I know of.]
  6. Met all four of my grandparents [No. Knew my Mom's parents buy my Dad's mother died when he was 2 years old. His father died 5 years before I was born.]
  7. Met one or more of my great-grandparents [Five of them were still living when I was born and they all lived in the area.]
  8. Named a child after an ancestor [I don't have any children...]
  9. Bear an ancestor's given name/s [My middle name is Rose, which is the same as my Mother's. She was given the name in honor of her mother's aunt, Rose (Wise) Zinsmeister.]
  10. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland [Joslin, Goodrich and others.]
  11. Have an ancestor from Asia
  12. Have an ancestor from Continental Europe
  13. Have an ancestor from Africa
  14. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural laborer [The vast majority of my ancestors were farmers.]
  15. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings [William Foster, Andrew Brinker and others.]
  16. Have an ancestor who was a holy man - minister, priest, rabbi [Johann Casper Stoever and William Foster. Jacob Phend wasn't a preacher but he helped start several Evangelical churches.
  17. Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  18. Have an ancestor who was an author [Sort of. My grandmother wrote her autobiography.]
  19. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones [William B. Jones]
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22. Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z
  23. Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day
  25. Have blue blood in your family lines
  26. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth [All 4 grandparents and the 8 great-grands were born in the United States. Only three great-great grandparents were "foreign born" - two in Switzerland (Phend, Wiseman) and one in "Germany" (Fisher).]
  28. Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century [Several]
  29. Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier [Several]
  30. Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents
  31. Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X [Probably, quite a few of them couldn't read or write...]
  32. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university [Charles Romain Brubaker briefly attended Valparaiso College.]
  33. Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence [Not aware of any but it's possible.]
  34. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35. Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine (Tell us where) [here at kinexxions]
  36. Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) [Phend Family History privately published in 1991.]
  37. Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries [The closest is the home of John Brubaker in Huntington, Indiana.]
  38. Still have an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family
  39. Have a family bible from the 19th Century [Charles Wiseman Family Bible]
  40. Have a pre-19th century family bible

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update from Salt Lake City

Well, I've been here a week now and thought I'd better post “something” so y'all would know I'm still alive! The days have been full (and fulfilling) and they have gone by quickly. Time flies whether you're having fun or not but seems to go by much quicker when you are enjoying what you are doing!

There haven't been any “breakthroughs” thus far but then I've been doing the “drudge” work, so to speak – gathering information from Deed Books. Yes, I'm digging into deeds once again. I've done some work in deeds “on location” in several counties in several states but it is so much easier and convenient to work on them here. Even though they don't have “everything” they do have much of what I need to look at. Of course, there are “a few” other things that I'll be working on as well.

And now, something to ponder...

The signatures above are for Charles Wiseman (my 2nd great grandfather) as found in Kosciusko County, Indiana Deed Book 57 pages 128 and 129 and recorded on February 27, 1885 (FHL Film 1705383). It is fairly obvious that the signatures are not the same. In fact, the two entries in the deed book are in a different handwriting (see below).

Also, Charles Wiseman resided in Switzerland County (in southern Indiana) when these deeds were executed. Thus, it is my conclusion that neither one of these is the actual signature of Charles Wiseman! Rather they are the interpretation of his signature that appeared on the documents that were sent to the Recorder's Office in Kosciusko County (in northern Indiana).

In other words, the signature is a transcription. So what this does for me is raise suspicions in regards to other “signatures” recorded in Deed Books or other types of records, such as this one for Wilhelm Foster. It's really kind of a bummer when you thought you might have the actual signature of an ancestor...

Kosciusko County, Indiana Deed Book 57 page 128 (FHL Film 1705383).
Note that the writing is different in the two entries.

Friday, October 07, 2011

One Question Answered

After one day at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, I've already found the answer to one question "left over" from my Switzer research!

As noted in the post Not One, Not Two, Not Three, but Four of Them! (about half way through the post) there was a question regarding which Jacob Switzer was the owner of 80 acres in the W ½ of the SW ¼ of R2 T12 S16 in Fairfield Township, Columbiana County, Ohio.

The answer came in a deed record (volume 64 page 397 of FHL film 926962) in which Isaac Switzer and Christiana his wife, Benjamin Switzer and Lidia Ann his wife, Levi Switzer and Hannah his wife, Peter Keck and Delia Ann his wife, James Crooks and Eliza his wife, Anna Switzer and Sophia Switzer of the county of Columbiana sold the parcel “containing 72 acres of land owned and lately occupied by Jacob Switzer deceased” to Christian Kiser for $3420 on April 6, 1860.

So now we know that this land belonged to Switzer Family Number 4 :: Jacob G. and Catharina and not to “my” Jacob. In addition, it confirms the names of his heirs and provides the names of the spouses of the married children, which would be nice for anyone researching this particular family!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Crater Lake Revisited

Saturday, October 1st - - Last year I spent three beautiful days at Crater Lake National Park (September 24th through the 26th). And though this visit was just a week later than last year, the weather was much different – colder and cloudier, though not quite as windy – and the campground was closed as were many other facilities in the park.

This time, the visit was a short one – just a few hours – but it was sort of on my way. I don't know why, but this is a special place for me. It is exquisitely beautiful. Magical. Perhaps it is the startling color of the water – it's like nothing I've ever seen anywhere else.

Last year I had taken a series of pictures hoping to “merge” them together into a panoramic view, but never got around to doing it. And now I have this fancy new camera that does that for me! You really, really need to double-click on these images for a larger view...

This view was taken at Rim Village on the south side of Crater Lake.

This is from the southwest side near Discovery Point.

And, this is from the west side at Watchman Overlook.

Those few patches of white on the west side (left) of Wizard Island are piles of snow that are “left over” from last years record snowfall.

Surprisingly, there were quite a few other people there – but take a few steps along one of the trails and the people seem to disappear. Not many travel those paths this time of year. It would be easy to lose yourself in a place like this. The mind wanders into mysterious places while you're watching the movements of the clouds and the water. Time passes quickly, too quickly, but it is a two hour drive to the next campground and it is getting late in the afternoon. Reluctantly, I leave. Hoping that some day I may return again to spend a little more time in this place.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Honeyman State Park

A short walk from the campground and through the forest leads to this beautiful little lake surrounded by the forest and sand dunes. Double-click on the image to see a larger version... it is a portion of a panoramic view that doesn't quite capture the full beauty and serenity of the place, but does a pretty good job of it!

I sat up on top of this sand dune for several hours, listening to the quiet. The only other people around were those two youngsters at the edge of the water, far below. Optical illusion? After looking at this image for awhile, it is hard to tell whether you are looking down toward water, or up toward sky, either way, it was a long way up/down.

As the sun lowered toward the horizon I left my gorgeous viewpoint and ventured down to the small lake.

Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park
South of Florence, Oregon
September 29, 2011

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Along the Oregon Coast...

The air was cool,
the sun was warm,
a stiff breeze was blowing,
the waves were churning.

Strange formations (natural or man-made?) beneath a cliff below the highway.

Intense blues.

Taking advantage of the sunshine... sadly, it didn't last long.

All photos taken between Newport and Florence on U.S. 101
September 29, 2011

Monday, October 03, 2011

Tangled Roots :: Time for a Change

Saturday, September 29th - - The sign at Beverly Beach State Park in Oregon states that this is an Ancient Stump that goes...
“Back to the dawn of the bronze age! This root mass was one of many buried beneath the beaches along the Oregon Coast between Newport and Neskowin. It once supported a spruce tree, which was buried when the land suddenly dropped into the sea. It remained preserved beneath the sand for 4,100 years before surfacing and breaking free in 1998. Violent winter storms washed it into the mouth of Spencer Creek in 1999.”
The root mass was quite large, perhaps 25-30 feet in diameter and appeared to be of one piece. An amazing thing, regardless of its age, with roots going off in all directions and twisting and curving around each other.

Monday, October 3rd - - The few days I had here on the coast of Oregon were incredibly nice. The weather forecast was as nice as was predicted, and as predicted the clouds and rain returned. It's time for a change...

After a great deal of thought, and realizing (among other things) that I'm just plain tired after being "on the road" for most of the last two years, I've decided to take a break from the travels for a while. I'm not saying the journey is at an end, in some regards it may just be beginning! Yes, that's rather cryptic. Sort of follows the mood I'm in at the moment.

I've been heading east for the last two days, but not back to Indiana, at least not just yet. I'll be making a stop in Salt Lake City to do some research (for an undetermined, indefinite period of time). The ancestors have been calling me and I think the time has come that more of them will reveal themselves to me! That's what I'm hoping for... The answers are out there, somewhere, the very least I can do is go and look for them. Perhaps I can make my way through the maze of tangled roots in my family tree and expose them for their descendants to see...

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Sun Sinks into the Ocean

Beverly Beach State Park north of Newport, Oregon
September 28, 2011

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Water as Smooth as Glass

Beverly Beach State Park north of Newport, Oregon
September 28, 2011