Friday, May 29, 2015

Moses Thompson Adamson 1838-1917 (52 Ancestors # 21)

This week's challenge was "Military".  I chose to write about my great-grandfather and how his service in the Civil War affected his life.

Moses Thompson Adamson was born on 29 March 1838 in Edwards County, Illinois to Aaron and Martha Thompson Adamson.  He was the second of seven children and the only son.  His father, Aaron, died in 1850, when Moses was around twelve years old. Two of his sisters also died around this time.

My great-grandfather, Moses Thompson Adamson, enlisted to fight in the Civil War in September of 1861.  He served for three years.  His time serving affected his life greatly for the next fifty-three years, up until he died.

Moses enlisted in Company I 38th Infantry Regiment, Illinois Volunteers on the 21st of September 1861 in Albion, Edwards County, Illinois.  He was listed as single, a farmer, age 23, with dark complexion, grey eyes and black hair.  His cousin, William G. Adamson, enlisted with him.

The Roll for November and December of 1862 reported Moses as “Killed in battle” on the 31st of December 1862.  However, on the 31st of December in 1862, Moses was actually taken prisoner at the battle that occurred at Stone River in Tennessee.  He was taken to Libby Prison in Richmond Virginia, where conditions were horrendous.  The Adjutant General’s Office report shows that Moses was in parole Camp Annapolis Maryland for May and June of 1863.  Family notes indicate that Moses was in Libby Prison from 31 December 1862 until 22 May 1863.  They also state that he was compelled to travel through snow and rain, had all of his clothes stolen in prison, and that he was almost starved.

Both of these reports are confusing to me because Moses obtained a Marriage License in Richland County, Illinois on the 25th of April in 1863 and was married to Lydia A. Bullard on the 30th of April that year.

I wonder if perhaps he was sent to Libby Prison, then to the parole camp.  Were men allowed to leave and visit home while in the parole camp?

Moses was back in battle at Chickamanga and was wounded there on the 20th of September in 1863.  His cousin, William G. Adamson who had enlisted with him, was killed on this day.  Moses was wounded in his left hand and was sent to the hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.  According to records he remained in the hospital through the 30th of June in 1864, when he was transferred to the “Invalid Corp.” 

Again, I find this confusing, since his wife Lydia became pregnant with their first child around November of 1863.

Moses was discharged on the 5th of October in 1864.  When he returned home to Richland County, Illinois, he had a new two month old son awaiting him.  The son was named “Robert Aaron Adamson” after his two grandfathers.  Sadly, the baby died at eight months old.  However, Moses and Lydia went on the have a total of twelve children, and then adopted a toddler later in life.

Information found from his Declaration for Original Invalid Pension dated 21 July 1879 stated that Moses was age 41 years, height 5'6", complexion dark, hair black, eyes green.  "That while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Richmond, in the state of Virginia on or about the 25 day of January 1863, he contracted disability of head, some disease that is chronic and causes great pain, first attacking him in back of head while he was on way from Battle Field Stone River to Richmond Va as Prisoner of War-he does not know the exact nature or name of the disease which now gives him great pain and extends through his whole head-he is thereby 1/3 disabled".

The head injury may explain why he had been hospitalized for so long.  I wonder if he was allowed leave from the hospitals to go home on furlough, then return to the hospitals?
Moses was described by my grandfather as lazy, never working a day in his life, etc.  Apparently after his service in the War of the Rebellion, Moses never held a job.
In 1883 from the List of Pensioners, it showed that Moses received a pension for a wounded left hand, chronic diarrhea, and disease of the brain.  His monthly pension was $16.00.

Pension records indicate that the family was never able to leave Moses home alone.  I sure would like to know how he and Lydia managed to raise such a large family, when he could not work or be left alone at home. Moses and Lydia’s youngest daughter, Ella, remained single and lived with them through-out their lives.  She must have been a great help with her father.

Lydia anad Moses celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1913. Only four of their twelve children were alive to share in the celebration.

Moses’ last pension paid was on 4 July 1917 for $50. 

Moses Thompson Adamson died 14 September 1917 at the age of seventy-nine.  Eight of his twelve children preceded him in death.  This was certainly a man who had experienced a great deal of loss, with siblings dying young, the loss of his father at an early age, going through the War and then losing so many children.

One of his obituaries ended with this line: "His experiences in prison affected his health throughout his life." Another obit read: "On December 31, 1862, he was taken prisoner at Stone River, and months of confinement in prison affected his health from which he suffered throughout his life."  

Moses’ life is one of those that I wish I could have asked my grandfather (son of Moses) about, but my grandfather died when I was twelve years old and I didn’t know to ask the questions!  His health, mentally and physically, was certainly affected by his war experience, and while his experiences may not have been as traumatic as others, his problems give some insight into what others who go through war experiences may struggle with in their lives.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

There's A Way-My families who came to the US (52 Ancestors #19)

For this week’s challenge the topic is “There’s a Way”.  I thought that I would look at how my ancestors arrived in the Midwest by examining my maternal and paternal grandparent’s heritages.

On my mother’s side, her maternal grandparents (Charles Seeber and Ingrid Olauson) both came to the United States from Sweden.  Grandpa arrived in 1892 and went to Hobart, Indiana upon arrival. Grandma left Sweden in 1894, went to Chicago, then Peoria, Illinois.  Both had relatives that they stayed  with when they arrived in the United States.   They met at a Swedish dance hall in Rantoul, Illinois, and settled in Peoria. 

My mother’s paternal grandparents (Edward R. Murphy and Katherine Hanauer) were both born in the United States. Grandpa’s family had come from Ireland (County Kilkenny in 1849 and County Down in 1830). Grandma’s family had come from Alsace Loraine (in 1847) and from Bavaria (in 1858).  The Murphy family had settled in Peoria Illinois in 1850.  The Hanauer family came to Peoria in 1893 from Indiana.

My father’s grandparents were all born in the United States.  His paternal grandparents (Moses Thompson Adamson and Lydia Bullard) were from families who had come from England around the 1750’s. 

My father's maternal grandparents (Samuel Erskine Gray and Cora Ferrel) came from families who had come from Ireland and Scotland.  The most recent of my father’s family to come to the United States was in about 1830 when the Gray family came from Scotland to New York, to Chicago for a short while, then settled in Vigo County, Indiana. It is not known at this time when the Ferrel family arrived in the United States from Ireland, but it has been speculated to be as early as 1637.

It’s interesting to me that all of my family arrived in the United States and settled in the Midwest before 1900.  And here I am in 2015, born and raised in Peoria, Illinois!  I guess my ancestors chose wisely when they decided where to settle all those years ago!

Harry Oliver Seeber 1907-1987 (52 Ancestors #20)

This week's topic for the challenge is "Black Sheep".  I always heard stories about my great-uncle Harry Seeber, and , although he seemed to be well-loved by the family, he also was a bit of a "black sheep".

Harry Oliver Seeber was born on the 8th of June in 1907 in Peoria, Illinois to Charles (Karl Segh) and Ida (Ingrid) Olauson Seeber.  He was the fourth of six children.  He had one older brother, one
younger brother, two older sisters, and one younger sister. The picture above shows Harry with all of his siblings. Harry is standing in the middle of the top row.

He was listed with his parents and siblings in the 1910 Peoria, Illinois Census.  However, the 1920 Peoria Census only lists Harry’s parents and his younger brother.  The other children have not been located in 1920.  Harry would have been twelve or thirteen years old at that time.

In 1926 Harry was listed in the Peoria City Directory, living in his parent’s home and working as a laborer.  His parents divorced in 1926 when Harry was nineteen years old.  In 1929, Harry married Mildred “Midge” Aldridge, probably in Peoria. Harry was twenty-two years old and Mildred was nineteen years old when they married. 

Harry and Mildred were listed as living in Peoria with Mildred’s parents in the 1930 Peoria Illinois Census.  Harry was listed as a salesman for a yeast manufacturing company.  Harry’s father died in 1933.  Harry and Mildred were listed together through 1935, living in Peoria. They divorced sometime between 1935 and 1940.  They may have been living in Iowa during that time period.

The 1940 Waterloo, Black Hawk, Iowa Census shows Harry living there with the Gabriel Kokotan family.  The census shows that Harry had not worked for the past fifty-three weeks.  He was listed as age thirty-two and single.  He married Gabriel’s daughter Helen sometime between 1940 and 1943.  Helen was about seven years younger than Harry. 

By 1943, Harry was employed by the US Employment Service in Pekin, Illinois. He may have served in the Navy between 1940-1943, but records have not been found to prove that.

From an undated newspaper article (probably from 1943) found in family papers was the following: 

"Harry Seeber was given the petty officer rating of storekeeper third class upon graduating from recruit training with the Navy at Farragut, Idaho. He came to Peoria to spend a leave with his wife at 513 Ravine Ave and his mother, Mrs. Ida Seeber, 339 Howett st.   Seeber served a previous enlistment in the Navy.  Up until leaving for further service Nov. 11, 1943, he was employed by the US Employment Service in Pekin.  His brother, Pvt, Earl Seeber, is undergoing basic training with the Army at Camp Wolters, Texas.".
Harry sailed on the US Navy Aircraft Carrier Lexington on 24 Feb 1944.

Harry and Helen were listed as living in Pekin until 1947, when they moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Harry was working for the State Employment Service.  He was listed in Phoenix, Arizona city directories with Helen until 1957.  In 1957 Harry was listed as a clerk.  It is not known what became of Helen after 1957. 

Harry married Wygtle “Maxine” Ackerman Siefen in 1959 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Maxine died the following year in 1960 and in 1961, Harry married Julia Twardy Miller.

In 1962, a newspaper article from the Tucson, Arizona newspaper Tucson Daily Citizen reported the following:

“Mr. and Mrs. Harry Oliver Seeber of Phoenix were indicted on four counts of making telephone threats to injure William Hubert Weese of Norton Village, Ohio, unless he paid them $10, 000.  Police said the calls made to Weese apparently were intended for another party.”

Harry was found guilty on three counts.  Julia was found not guilty.  It is not known what Harry’s sentence was.

Harry's mother died in 1974.  Harry and Julia remained living in Phoenix.  He and Julia were together until her death in 1978.  After her death, Harry lived with a woman named Rosalie, but it’s believed that they never married.  He was taken care of by the Phoenix Veteran’s Hospital as he got older.

Harry Oliver Seeber died on the 19th of July in 1987 in Phoenix, Arizona at the age of eighty.  He had outlived his two brothers, and one sister.  Two sisters survived.  Harry had no known children.

Harry was remembered by family members as a good-looking, charming man.  He drank a lot and ran around with women a lot.  Interestingly, I have no memory of him, although I was about thirty-seven years old when he died.  I only remember hearing stories about him.  I think that he would have been and interesting and entertaining fellow to have known!