Friday, June 19, 2015

Heirloom from Elizabeth Smyth Murphy, my great-great grandmother (52 Ancestors #24)

I have many heirlooms that have either been left to me, or have been handed down to me.  My great-grandmother left her Haviland china to me, stating that she wanted her oldest great-granddaughter to have it.  I have since passed it on to one of my daughters.  My grandmother left me both her china and her silver.  I have many pieces of jewelry from my mother.  But my oldest heirloom came from Elizabeth Smyth Murphy, my great-great grandmother.

Elizabeth was born in 1844 and married William Murphy in 1864 in Peoria County, Illinois.   William and Elizabeth had seven known children.  She died at the age of thirty-eight in 1883, leaving her husband of eighteen years and children ranging in age from sixteen years old to two years old.  She died from Puerperal peritonitis, which is defined by Wikipedia as: “Puerperal infections, also known as postpartum infections, puerperal fever or childbed fever, is any bacterial infection of the female reproductive tract following childbirth or miscarriage.”  So it appears that Elizabeth died after having an eighth child.

The heirloom of Elizabeth’s that I have is a rocking chair that was made between 1870 to 1880.  It was passed down from her youngest son, to his daughter, then to my mother.  My mother gave it me years ago.  You can tell by the picture that it has been re-upholstered at some time.  It is very solid and beautiful.  I love having such a beautiful chair and that it goes back so far in my ancestral line!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wedding-Lucina Adamson & George Washington Gibson (52 Ancestors # 23)

 “Wedding” is the theme for this week’s challenge.  I tried to think of the marriages I had learned about that had the most impact on me, and I thought of my great-grandfather’s sister, Lucina.

Lucina Adamson, daughter of Aaron and Martha Jennings Thompson Adamson, was born about 1842 in Illinois.  On the 17th of October 1861, Lucina married John M. Dewhirst in Richland County, Illinois.  Lucina was nineteen years old and John was twenty-one years old at the time of their marriage.  Sadly, John died five months later of typhoid, leaving Lucina a widow at the young age of nineteen or twenty. 

Lucina remarried on the 26th of October in 1863 in Clay County, Illinois, one year and seven months after her first husband, John Dewhirst, had died.  At the time of this marriage Lucina was about twenty-one years old and her new husband, George Washington Gibson, was twenty-four years old.  

I have written before about this second marriage of Lucina’s.  In the Clay County Marriage Records, it is recorded that she married Washington Lewis in Clay County.  I quickly realized that it was not Washington Lewis that Lucina had married, but it took me years to find that it was actually Washington Gibson who she had married, not Washington Lewis.  The two Washington‘s were listed as living next door to each other in the 1865 Clay County census. I am guessing that the county clerk who recorded the marriage just mistakenly put down the wrong last name.

Lucina and Washington Gibson’s marriage also ended sadly, with Lucina’s death in 1866 when she was about twenty-four years old and had been married to George for two years and five months.
It doesn’t appear that Lucina had children, at least not any that had lived for long. 

Lucina’s story has always struck me as tragic.  It’s hard to imagine how she went through nursing and losing her first husband so soon after they married.  And then she married again and she died.  Very sad.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Commencement-Arthur L. Adamson and Lotta Nye Gray (52 Ancestors # 22)

This week’s challenge was the topic “Commencement”.  I chose to write about my paternal grandparents. Both of my grandparents graduated from college.  I find this amazing since they were both born in the late 1800’s when going to college was not often considered an option! 

My grandfather, Arthur Logan Adamson, was born on the 29th of April in 1885 in Olney, Richland County, Illinois.  He was the eleventh of thirteen children and, as far as I know, the only one to attend college.  He graduated from Olney High School in 1903.  The family story is that his parents sold their farm in order for Art to attend Westfield College in Westfield, Illinois.

My grandmother, Lotta Nye Gray, was born on the 5th of July in 1888 in Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana.  She was the second of five children. One of her brothers also graduated from college. 

Art graduated from Westfield College in 1906 after “three years of hard work and summer school”.  While at Westfield he played quarterback for the football team.  Nye graduated from Westfield in 1907 and was president of her class (which consisted of five students!).    Art and Nye had begun dating each other before they left Westfield.   

The above picture was taken from The Lanz 1907, the yearbook from Westfield College.  It refers to her interest in my grandfather in the line:

"Being a descendant of Adam she has taken a special interest in one of his sons..." 

Art and Nye married in 1910, and went on to have four children.  All of their four children graduated from college during the years of 1935 to 1948.

Obviously, education remained very important to Art and Nye.