Monday, August 27, 2012

Records Hidden; Now They're Not!!


For years, and I do mean years, I’ve been looking for two specific marriage records to no avail. For one thing, I wasn’t completely sure these marriages ever took place but felt my mother knew the facts. The facts she knew but not precise details.

Mom said her Uncle Angus Miller (1883-1950) had been married and his wife, Irene Stevens, had died of cancer. Unfortunately, she never mentions exactly when he was married and until she told me about this, in the around 2000, I thought he had been a confirmed bachelor. From all indications – birth record, census records, real estate, etc. – Angus remained in Rush County, Indiana his entire life but a thorough examination of Rush County records came up dry for any marriage.

Mom also said her mother, Sylvia (Walker) Miller, told her that Granny, Mom’s great-grandmother, Rosa Belle (Kennedy) Walker, had remarried after the death of Daniel Jackson Walker. Apparently, however, the new husband was abusive and the marriage was short lived. Granny’s was a sad story anyway as she lost her first child in 1891 at only one year and two other children and her husband between December of 1895 and March of 1896. Sylvia, the only child left was only four years old. But I digress. Though I’ve looked many times at the marriage indexes at the Rush County, Indiana court house, I’ve never found this second marriage.

Yesterday as I was trying to catch up on some blog reading, I happened onto Harold Henderson's post on his Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog that mentioned the indexing work being done by the Indiana State Genealogical Society for Family Search. One of the projects is indexing marriage records for some of the Indiana counties not previously indexed. I noticed Rush County and some surrounding counties had been added to the index. I thought what the heck, I’ll give it another try.

So first I entered Angus Miller in the search field, hit enter and the long sought record appeared. He wasn’t married in Rush County; he was married in Fayette County.  He didn’t marry Irene Stevens; he married Irene Stanton. He was 50 years old when his first and only marriage took place on 04 Feb 1933; that’s just three years before my Mom married my Dad.

Next I tried for Granny’s second marriage. Rosa Belle Walker didn’t bring the desired result but Belle Walker did. Just nine months after the death of first husband, Daniel Jackson Walker, she married John M Larimore on 12 Jan 1897; this being his 3rd marriage and her 2nd.

Wow, I cannot thank Indiana State Genealogical Society and Family Search enough for making these finds available to me. Two mysteries solved in a matter of ten minutes! Now, I know I have more research ahead of me to get a better understanding of the impact of these events on the lives of my family but for now I’ll just bask in the joy of the find!!

~ Becky

Monday, August 20, 2012

Military Monday - A Brothers Meeting


Only about four years apart, brothers Peter and Eliphalet “EB” Miller spent their childhood in Rush County, Indiana with their parents, Archibald and Ann (Barber) Miller and their siblings: Charles, Martha, Sarah, Permelia, and Susannah. Peter was born in March of 1836 and EB in Jan of 1840. They knew the joys of wandering through wilderness lands still prevalent in the area and the responsibility of helping their father tame that wilderness into fertile and profitable farm land.
In 1859, when Peter was only 23 years old, his father purchased land in Douglas County, Illinois and Peter left home to tend that land. According to Rush County records, Peter was married with one son at the time; however, this family never joined him in Illinois. The 1860 US census lists him with the Lemuel Githens family (Lemuel was Permelia’s husband); Peter is listed as having $1000 in real estate and $600 personal estate.
Enter the firing on Fort Sumter and the beginning of the Civil War in April of 1861. Unlike many young men at the time, neither Peter nor EB rushed in enlist. EB had his father and family to consider; there was much to be done and Archibald, though still strong, would find working the farm alone difficult. Peter was just getting his land in order and probably felt drawn to stay with it. However, at almost the same time, both brothers enlisted. EB became part of the 68th Regiment, Company C, of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry in August of 1862. He was age 22, 5’ 11 ½” tall with brown eyes and black hair. In that same month, Peter joined the 79th Regiment, Company E, of the Illinois Volunteer Infantry. Peter was age 27, 5’ 8” tall, with blue eyes and dark hair.
Taking different but similar paths the two regiments came near each other in January of 1863. I’ll let Peter tell the rest of the story as transcribed from his original letter, (Note: Eliphalet aka EB aka Dick):
Rutherford County, Tenisee near Murfreesboro at the hospitle.Dear father and Mother and sisters, this leaves me well and hope it will find you all well. I received your letter Dated Feb. the 4 and was glad to here from you. I received your letter that had the dolar in it and those two are all I got from you since the battle and I have fiften more besides this one.Dick and I rote one two weeks ago or about that. I heard that he was at Nashville and I that by telling the surgeon that he was sick that he would let me go to see him and I tole the surgeon that he was very low with the fever and had sent word for me to come and see him and he would not tell me to go. He said that if I went he would not make any interruption hereafter but he gave me no pass and I got with a train of teams that were going after ammunition and provisions. This train were six or seven miles long. No more of this.I slept with Nathan Lewis some two weeks ago. His is well, I go and see him soon again. He is in camp within two miles of my Reg.I were with Dick two nites and one day. He was well. It were after nite when I went on picket to find him. I went in the old house which a part of his Company was in and looking over the house to see if I could see him in he came to my back with some wood and I stood with my back almost to him and said , you burn your wood tolerable long here. Yes, said he without pausing, how are you, Peter and how did you get here. It always done me good to meet friends at home but it does me more good here than you can imagine to meet relation and old acquaintance. I have acquaintance in the 21 Ills, 25 Ills, 123 Ills, 37 Ind, and I have seen them all since the first of October and 67 Ind…
Peter Miller To: Archibald Miller, Ann Miller, Susan Miller, Sarah Miller, P Miller
I am fortunate to have 6 letters written by Peter to his family in Indiana ranging from 1863 through 1865 just prior to his discharge.
Both Peter and Eliphalet lived through the war and had families of their own. Peter died in 1911 in Oklahoma living to see his children grow to adulthood. Eliphalet died in 1887, one year after the passing of his wife, leaving seven orphaned children ranging in age from eighteen to one year.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Illusive Fresh Girls


For several years now two young women – well they’re not really young having been born and died in the 1800s – have been slipping in and out of my genealogy consciousness. They are not in my direct line but just the fact I’ve had so much trouble learning their lineage keeps me coming back.

Lucinda Fresh was born in Kentucky 26 Jan 1809 (according to her tombstone). She married William R Leisure 14 Nov 1827 in Lincoln County, Kentucky. The couple had three children: Benjamin, Francis, and Sarah E. This Leisure family had lived many years (census records 1850 and 1860) in Rush County, Indiana. Lucinda died 09 Mar 1869 in Howard County, Indiana and is buried in Jerome cemetery in Howard County, Indiana
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Dorinda T. Fresh was born in February 1811 (according to census information). She married Joseph P. Leisure 08 Nov 1836 in Lincoln County, Kentucky. The couple had five children: Elizabeth, Lucinda, William, Sarah M., and John Franklin. Dorinda died 09 Feb 1875 in Rush County, Indiana and is buried in Hannegan cemetery in Rush County, Indiana.

William R. and Joseph P. are brothers of my 3rd great-grandfather, George Washington Leisure. Are Lucinda and Dorinda sisters? Cousins?

The Fresh surname is apparently very uncommon. A search on Ancestry.com shows only two Fresh families in all of Kentucky in 1820. There is a Benjamin Fresh listed in the Crab Orchard, Lincoln County, Kentucky 1820 census. Listed with him are one female under 10 and one female between 10 and 15 – could that be Lucinda age 9 and Dorinda age 11?

I would love to learn more about these ladies, their parentage, and their early lives. Any help out there?