Sunday, February 27, 2011

Backward Glance - Olive Orrel Webster

Olive Orrel Webster was the youngest of the twelve children born to James and Jane (Shreve) Webster. They were married in Pennsylvania in 1827. Olive was born on February 24, 1855, in Clay Township, St. Clair Township, Michigan, where the family had lived for about 17 years. By the time Olive was born, four of her older siblings were already married and having children of their own.

When Olive was just six years old, her mother died. In 1863, her father remarried to a widow named Betsy Blauvelt. Olive continued to live with her father until about 1872, when she moved to Pennsylvania. Her father died in 1877, presumably in Pennsylvania.

On January 2, 1878, Olive married William Silas Bemiss in East Green, Erie County, Pennsylvania. Their first two children, Freddie and Henry, were born in Pennsylvania. In 1883, William and Olive moved their family to Gove County, Kansas. Their other children, Nellie, Chester, Charles and an infant daughter, were born in Grinnell.

Her husband, William, died on June 26, 1905, after an accident with a runaway team of horses.

Olive was still living in Grinnell, Kansas, when the 1920 Federal census was taken. However, she died in Quinter, Gove County, Kansas, on October 17, 1921. She was 66 years old. Olive is my 2nd great-grandmother.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

St. George Family History Expo

I just spent two great days at the Family History Expo in St. George, Utah. It was a wonderful experience. I have no idea how many people attended, but they all seemed to be enjoying themselves and were very friendly.

The keynote address was inspiring. Glenn Rawson shared some very poignant true stories, which, coincidentally, took place near where I live. This made them come even more alive for me. He told a little about the new series in which he is involved.

Method or Madness - 25 Feb 2011
I got to make two presentations, and I actually had students! Since this is the first time I've made presentations in this type of venue, I really didn't know quite what to expect. But, it was a good experience; one I hope to repeat.

I got to take classes from some very knowledgeable individuals. I learned something in each of them. The exhibition hall was full of fabulous vendors. The place fairly buzzed with activity, especially between presentations. 

Holly Hansen and her staff made themselves available, were very helpful, kind and excited! I appreciate each of them. I am very glad to have had this opportunity. I'm really looking forward to another like it.

These are really great events. I would encourage anyone with an interest in genealogy and family history to attend. Even if you just think you might be interested, give it a shot. There is information at their site.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Backward Glance - James Orson Brownell

I love this picture! James Orson Brownell and Minnie May Harper were married on August 30, 1894, in Hiawatha, Kansas. Minnie was so much shorter than James that she had to stand on a wooden box for this, their wedding picture. We are very fortunate to have this bit of family trivia.

James was born in Colesburg, Iowa, on May 20, 1869. He was named for his father. I have often wondered if he was considered a 'junior,' but I've never found any document with that suffix. I suppose that could be because his father died before James was born. His mother was Frances Jackson, who married Mortimer Clark by 1870. Frances was born in Canada. James died on March 10, 1925, in Stockton, Kansas.

Minnie was the daughter of James Paxton and Barbara Jane (Cowger) Harper. She was born January 17, 1874, in Wolf River Township, Doniphan County, Kansas. She died on July 22, 1947, in Colby, Kansas. She and James are both buried in the Stockton Cemetery.

James and Minnie had six children, one of whom was my great-grandmother, Corinne May, who married Russell Hugh Avery. They lived in locations throughout Kansas; including, Wolf River Township in Doniphan County, Gaeland Township in Gove County, Lowell Township in Rooks County and Stockton. Their daughter, Merle, said James worked on the railroad.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Backward Glance - Charles Clark Morgan

Charles Clark Morgan was born on June 1, 1860 in Delaware, Ohio, to Edgar Lansing and Mary Jane (Clark) Morgan. In 1864, his parents moved their family to Burlington, Wisconsin. By the time the 1870 census was taken, they were living in Washington Township (near College Springs), Iowa. By 1880, they had relocated to Lincoln,  Missouri, in Nodaway County just south of the Iowa state line.

Charles married Virginia Caroline Topping on February 24, 1881, in College Springs, Iowa. Virginia (Ginny or Jennie) was the daughter of John and Margaret Jane (Orr) Topping. She was born April 12, 1862, in Almond, Portage County, Wisconsin, just five months before her father was killed at the Battle of Antietam in Maryland.

Charles and Ginny had five children, John Clyde (1882, Blanchard, Iowa), Maud May (1884, Blanchard), Edgar Howard (1887, Elmo, Missouri), Wilford Charles (1890, Blanchard) and Francis Willard (1892, Elmo).

In 1893, Charles moved his family, including his mother, to Gove County in western Kansas, where they homesteaded on a farm about four miles from Grinnell.

Some time between 1900 and 1905, Charles and Ginny were divorced. Charles continued to live outside of Grinnell, Kansas.  He was a farmer and a carpenter. In 1915, when the state census was taken, his mother was still living with him. However, she died on April 7th of that year. She is buried in Grinnell.

Charles died on April 17, 1938, at the age of 77 years. He was buried on April 20th in the Grinnell Cemetery. He is my 2nd great-grandfather.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Booked my flight!

I booked my flight today, so I know I'm really going to the St. George Family History Expo on February 25th & 26th! If you live in the area, it would be fun to meet you. I will be making two presentations, one on Friday and one on Saturday. In my 'off' time, I'll be wandering from class to class soaking up all the information I can. I also hope to make a bunch of new friends.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Backward Glance - Barbara Jane Cowger

My third great-grandmother, Barbara Jane Cowger, was born on March 9, 1847, in Wapello County, Iowa. Her parents were Gustavus C. and Susannah (Cowger) Cowger; they were first cousins. In 1857, Gustavus moved his family to Wolf River Township, Doniphan County, Kansas. Barbara's mother died in 1862.

On April 4, 1864, Barbara was married to James Paxton Harper in Doniphan County, Kansas. The son of Jesse and Mary Ann (Clifton) Harper, James (sometimes called Paxton) was born in Hendricks County, Indiana, on February 2, 1834. His family moved at an early date to northwest Missouri. By 1856, James' mother had moved to Kansas with her three sons. It is presumed that Jesse Harper died between 1851 and 1856.

Barbara and James lived in Wolf River Township throughout their marriage. Their mail was delivered at Highland, Kansas. On April 25, 1880, just 23 days after the birth of her eighth baby, Inez Jane, Barbara died at the age of 33 years. Inez died on June 23rd. They are buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Leona, Kansas.