Saturday, November 12, 2016

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 12: Bill Adamson

Obviously, I have not been able to keep up with the daily challenge of writing for this blog.  I hadn't thought about this being a daily challenge!  The last challenge I did was in 2015, but it was a weekly challenge, so I had more time to work on it.  Anyway, I have decided to just chose a prompt from the daily challenges to write about as I can.  Today I am doing Day 12, which is to craft a poem or love letter from one of you ancestors to his or her future spouse.  I have changed that a bit, in that I am not writing the poem, but sharing one that my Uncle Bill (William Harold Adamson) wrote to his wife on their first anniversary! I have included pictures of the front and the back of the little booklet.

My grandmother wrote in her scrapbook:

"Billy was the first to enlist in the Naval Reserves at Peoria on December 8th-1941.
He left on December 18 for the Great Lakes Training Station.
Left for New York Receiving Ship on January 23. 1942. Called me long distance Friday morning to say good-bye."
"Dropped in on us at 1:00 A.M. Sunday January 18, 1942 for a 36 hr. leave. Gray and Mildred, Ella and Dorothy Cation were here for dinner and we took pictures. Left at midnight."

Bill was engaged to Dorothy Cation at the time of his enlistment.  They married on the 21st of May in 1943 in Boston at the Navy Chapel. Dorothy returned to Peoria to stay with her mother while Bill returned to active duty.  On their first anniversary he sent this to her:

Inside the poem was:



And with that there is "A picture of me without you" and it is blank. Signed "Love, Bill".

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 8: James H. Murphy

Today is Election Day and the writing challenge for today was to imagine the first time your ancestor got to vote.  My great-great-great grandfather James H. Murphy came to the United States in 1849 and was naturalized in 1858, so his first time voting in an United States election was in 1860 when Abraham Lincoln ran against John C. Breckinridge, John Bell and Stephen A. Douglas. 

Lincoln was the only Republican running and, based on the Murphy family's long history of voting Republican, I would imagine that James H. Murphy also did.  The election was on the 6th of November in 1860. James lived in Kickapoo, Peoria County, Illinois then, so it is likely that he would have needed to come into Peoria to vote. This vote was incredibly important as it was the impetus for the outbreak of the Civil War.

As difficult as this vote may have been, I imagine that James was very proud to vote for the first time in his new country.  It is interesting to compare and consider how difficult and important our vote is today one hundred and fifty-six years later.

#30dayFHWChallenge-Day 6: Eddie Murphy

Today's challenge was to share a favorite family photo and write about the feelings that
must have been felt by the ancestor. Although I have many favorite photos, the one that first came to mind was of my grandfather, Edward Francis Murphy, holding his brand new first-born child (who happened to be my mother)!

Knowing my grandfather, I am sure that he was absolutely terrified to be holding a new baby and that he also felt as close to heaven as he ever had before. I would also guess that as soon as the picture was taken, he immediately handed the baby to my grandmother (pictured in the back)!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 5: Karl Oscar Seg (Seeber)

For Day 5, the writing challenge is to imagine a block party scene for an ancestor.  I am writing about a block party occurring in 1900 where my great-grandfather, Karl Oscar Seg

July 1900-A block party happened on Charlotte St. in Peoria this past weekend.  There are only 5 families living on Charlotte St., but that includes 6 adults and 5 children.  Oscar Seeber and his new wife of only 4 months attended the party, along with Patrick Powers and his wife Catherine and their 2 young children.  The other family attending was the family of Michael Flesner which included his wife, Annie and their 5 children. The party was a mix of ages and jobs: Oscar is 24 years old and works as a wood turner; Patrick is 32 years old and is employed as a day laborer; Michael is 40 years old and is a railroad car repairman. The men are each from different countries with Oscar being from England [*see note below], Patrick from Illinois and Michael from Germany.

None of these differences were obstacles to the families enjoying the block party.  Oscar played mouth organ for entertainment and his version of "Red Wing" was most enjoyed by the party attenders.  The men imbibed and the women gossiped! Catherine Powers had her 7 month old baby there and the women teased Ida about how soon she would be pregnant.  The women all found Oscar Seeber to be a charming, handsome man, so the speculation was that a baby would soon be coming!

*Note: Karl Oscar Seg/Seeber was born and raised in Sweden, but hid that fact all his life, including from his wife and children.

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 4: Allen Adamson

Day 4 challenge is to write an obituary about an ancestor.  I chose to write one for my great great grandfather Aaron W. Adamson, of whom, sadly, I know little specifics about:

Aaron W. Adamson was born around 1807 in Tennessee, the oldest of 11 children born to William and Polly Wilson Adamson. He married Martha Jennings Thompson on the 7th of June in 1835 in Albion, Edwards County, Illinois. The family lived there until the late 1840's when they moved to Crittenden County, Kentucky where Mr. Adamson's family lived.

Mr. Adamson died in late 1850 at the age of 43, having been married to his wife for 15 years.  He had not been well through-out the past year.

Surviving him are his parents; 6 brothers: Allen of Crawford County, Missouri, William, Michael and James all of Crittenden County, Kentucky, and John, whereabouts unknown; 2 sisters: Polly (Niles) Price, and Nancy (Henry) Shelby both of Crittenden County. 

Mr. Adamson also leaves behind his wife and 7 young children: Polly, Moses, Rachel, Lucina, Martha, Lavina, and an infant daughter.

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 3: Pat Murphy Adamson

Day 3 Challenge is to write a journal entry that your ancestor may have written about buying their first home.  I chose to write about my mother, Patricia Murphy Adamson. 

Dick and I have bought our first home!  The house is on Rosalind in Peoria Heights. I am so excited to have a home to move into.  Since we got married last  April we have lived in a cramped basement apartment in Chicago for the last 9 months (and the last month with a newborn baby) and it has been awful (although I loved living in Chicago).  It will be so nice to be back in Peoria near Mom and Dad.  And as excited as I am about having our first home, I am not happy that Dick insisted on buying a home a couple of doors down from his sister and father. But his mother just died, so I think that he needs to be close to his family.  I just don't want it to become a problem.  There is a nice yard for Susie to play in when she gets a little older and other homes being built around us, so I am hoping for some neighbors I can spend time with.  It was awfully lonely being alone in Chicago and not knowing anyone, except for my Uncle Joe.  I'm excited to decorate as we can afford!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

#DayFHWChallenge-Day 2: Alice Murphy Cody

Day 2 challenge is to think of your ancestor as a character in a novel and describe them.  Here is a picture of my great-grandfather's sister, Alice Murphy Cody. Oh, how I wish that I would have known Alice!

Alice was born to William and Elizabeth Smith Murphy in 1870.  She was the only girl born to them; she had six brothers!  Alice had to have been tough to have dealt with that!  I think that Alice would have been rather short, with probably dark hair and blue eyes. Her mother died when she was thirteen.  Her father remarried the following year, and Alice was pretty much on her own after that. When her father died in 1891 Alice was twenty-one years old. Five years later she married Joe Cody and her two youngest brothers came to live with her and Joe.

I think that Alice was a strong, funny, bright woman.  She lost her parents early, but worked to keep the family together.  She had three daughters, but had lost two sons in infancy. Her second youngest brother suffered from mental illness all his life and he lived with her for years.

Joe Cody provided a nice living for his family and Alice had very nice things.  She dressed well, and had a beautiful home in the nicest area of town. She and Joe were very active in their church and generous with their wealth.  Joe died in 1927.  Alice continued living in the family home with her daughter, Mary.  Around 1940, Alice began to suffer from dementia and was kept upstairs in her room until she died in 1944 at the age of 74. She was remembered as being wickedly funny and incredibly generous.

#30DayFHWChallenge-Day 1: William Adamson

I haven't blogged here for awhile, but my research continues!  I came across a new genealogy challenge for November, so I am going to do my best to keep up with it.  Of course, I am already a day behind, but that is because I just learned of it today!

"In November, join us in the 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge. Each day in November, we'll share a writing prompt on the front page of that will help you use your research in a new, creative way." 
So today's prompt is to write a letter to an ancestor you've never met and ask them questions!  Here goes:

Dear William Adamson:

I am your great-great-great granddaughter.  You are the first ancestor that I discovered and you are still one that after 25 years of research I cannot seem to learn more about!  I don’t know your date of birth nor the date of your death.  I have clues to each, but not definitive answers!  You were born sometime between 1785-1790 in either North Carolina or Tennessee.  You died probably in 1865. 

So where and when were you born?  And who were your parents? And your siblings? The 1850 census indicates that you were blind.  Were you completely blind?  

Did you serve in the War of 1812? Did you enjoy your life?  You lived to an age that seems old for the times.  Were you proud of how your children turned out? 
I know that you moved from Tennessee to Illinois ( listed there in 1835), and then on to Kentucky by 1836.  What drew you to Kentucky?  You didn’t seem to have siblings there.  Did your wife?

One of my goals for 2016 is to learn who your father was.  I still don’t know.  I suspect that it was an Aaron Adamson, but where’s the proof???

I have so many questions for you!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

You Just Never Know

A couple of weeks ago I received an email and it was from my great-grandmother's first cousin!  Now my great-grandmother was born in 1873, so you can imagine my surprise!  This first cousin of hers was born in 1928, the same year as my mother!

So she is able to fill in lots of lost information for me and also has a couple of pictures to share, one of which she said is of my great-grandmother!

I just love these kind of genealogical surprises!

Book about Civil War Missouri

 The Homefront in Civil War Missouri by James W. Ervin is a good overview of how the Civil War
affected Missouri.  I was interested in the book because of my genealogical research that involved members of the family from Missouri who fought for the Confederacy.  This book does a good job describing what it was like on the homefront for the family members left behind while their loved ones were off fighting.  There were marauders, bushwackers and guerrilla fighters everywhere and no one was safe.  Wives and mothers watched as the husbands, sons, and fathers were beaten, or worse.

Below is an example that I have found doing research on my family:

To be technical, Richard Douglass was the husband of my 2nd great granduncle's wife's niece. Richard Douglass was married to Mary Saunders. Richard was a 1st Lieutenant in Company F, 1st Missouri Regiment (CSA). He fought for the Confederacy.

In August of 1863, Richard Douglass was a prisoner at Gratiot St. Prison in St. Louis.  In the Texas County (Missouri) Heritage book it was written about Richard Douglass:

 "Was beaten to death with the fire shovel until his brains spilled out by bushwackers at his brother, Andrew's house near Union late 1863.  The women had to bury Richard since the rest of the men had to leave the area." 

 This book is an excellent resource for anyone researching in Civil War Missouri. It was well-written and easy to read, with lots of resources sited.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Who is the "Moore" ?

I have been looking for a long time to identify who the “Moore” was that married Nancy J. Adamson, daughter of Allen and Elizabeth Saunders Adamson.  At last, I may have some information.

Nancy J. Adamson was born about 1838 in Kentucky.  She was the first known daughter in the family.  She was listed with her family in the 1850 Crawford County, Missouri Census as age 12 (listing is under Allen “Adsun”). Nancy’s mother, Elizabeth Saunders Adamson, died around 1858 and soon after her father, Allen, took off for Kentucky, leaving the younger children with his wife’s relatives.

In the 1860 Upton, Texas County, Missouri Census, Nancy was listed as living with her mother’s brother, John Saunders and his family.  Nancy was listed as “Nancy More”, age 23, born in Kentucky.  She was also listed with a one month old son (first name not given).  I have not found any marriage records for Nancy.

I have not found Nancy Adamson Moore after the 1860 Census; however, it appears that she had another child.  The 1870 Upton, Texas County, Missouri Census shows a Nancy J. Moore, age 3, born in Missouri, living with CM Hill and his wife Nancy Saunders Hill. (Nancy Saunders Hill was the daughter of George W. Saunders, brother to Elizabeth Saunders Adamson)

This young Nancy was again found in the 1876 Texas County, Missouri still living with the Charles M. Hill family.  In this census, she is listed as “Nancy J. Hill”, under ten years of age. And again, in the 1880 Piney, Texas County, Missouri Census, Nancy is listed with the Mitch and Nancy Hill family.  She is again listed as “Nancy J. Hill”, age 11, born in Missouri.

I have found no records for Nancy Adamson Moore after her listing in the 1860 Census.  It appears that she had two children, a son born about 1860 and a daughter, Nancy J. Moore, born about 1867.  My best guess is that Nancy J. Adamson Moore died between 1867 and 1870.

So who is this “Moore” who apparently married Nancy J. Adamson around 1860 and fathered two children with her?  Until about a month ago, I had no clue.  I had sent for some records from the Missouri Archives Union Provost Marshal Papers for Richard Douglass.  Richard had been married to Mary Saunders, sister to Elizabeth Saunders Adamson.  When the records arrived they included a reference to a “Robert Moore”.

I sent for those records and found that that "Robert Moore" had his horse stolen in Uplands Township, Texas County Missouri on the 10th of September in 1862 by Peter Saunders, Richard Douglass, JP Saunders and Thomas Saunders, along with two others.  [Peter Saunders was Elizabeth Saunders Adamson’s brother and JP and Thomas Saunders were his sons. Richard Douglass was married to Mary Saunders, sister to Elizabeth Saunders Adamson]

Another statement, dated the 10th of October in 1862 reported that William Moore, Thomas Knight and AJ Moore saw the men named in the petition of Robert Moore rob him of a horse with saddle and bridle worth $98.

Since all the men named in these reports are closely related to Nancy J. Adamson Moore, I am guessing that this Robert Moore may have been the "Moore" who fathered the two children of Nancy Adamson Moore.

Some further research showed that Robert D. Moore served in the Eighth Missouri Infantry (CSA)-the same that Allen, Isaac, John Wesley and William Adamson (Nancy Adamson Moore’s brothers) served in.  Information found shows that Robert Moore enlisted in Thomasville, MO on 7 August 1862; “Eyes: gray; Hair: dark; Height: 6'; Age 27.  Serg't (October 10, 1862).  Farmer; Deserted Dec. 29, 1862 in Sebastian County, Arkansas; Captured and sent to Ft. Wyman, Rolla Mo; Probably took oath of allegiance; Released Feb. 1863.”

The 1860 Piney, Texas, Missouri Census shows a Robert More, age 25, born in Kentucky and a William More, age 21, born in Tennessee, listed as living with the RW Rodgers family. This would indicate that the Robert More listed here would be 27 years old in 1862, same as the Robert Moore listed above. And the above report named a William Moore.

So, I still have no actual proof that this Robert Moore is the “Moore” I am seeking.  Nor do I have any proof that he actually married Nancy J. Adamson (other than she was listed as Nancy More in the 1860 census).
Regardless, my speculation is that this is the “Moore” and his being attacked by Nancy’s family in September of 1862 had something to with his relationship with Nancy.  It’s interesting to note that she apparently had another child with him in 1867!

As of today, I have been unable to locate what became of this Robert Moore. I am hoping to perhaps find more military records, but records for those who served in the Missouri CSA are sparse. 

I also have not been able to find what became of Nancy Adamson’s child, Nancy J. Moore after 1880.  It may be that she continued to go by the name of Hill and I need to search for that. I have never found any additional records of references to the male Moore born in 1860.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Richard Douglass-killed by Bushwhackers in Missouri in 1863

Richard Douglass and Mary Saunders were married on the 11th of January 1855 in Texas County, Missouri, being about ages twenty-one and nineteen respectively.  Richard was born in about 1833 in Tennessee, the son of Matthew and Nancy Weaver Douglass and the fourth of ten children. Mary was the daughter of Peter and Jane Saunders, born in about 1835 in Illinois. 

Richard was listed in the 1850 Texas County, Missouri Census as age seventeen, living with his parents. He and Mary were listed in the 1860 Texas County, Missouri Census, along with their children: Thomas Randolph., age 5, Nancy Jane, age 4, and Peter Matthew, age 1.  Richard was listed as a farmer. They were living next door to Mary’s sister, Nancy Saunders Martin.

from the Houston Herald (Texas County, Missouri), August 16, 1956, page 7:

"Last week's Mystery Farm belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Elam Crawford and is familiarly known to neighbors as the Old Lundy Mill.  About nine miles southwest of Houston on the Bado mail route, this spot on Little Piney has been a favorite swimming hole for some time.  Years ago the Lundy mill and the Lundy store and the post office set on opposite sides of the road....
The farm was homesteaded by a Richard Douglas whose name appears on the patent with the date 1857....."

Richard Douglass enlisted on June 27, 1861 in Howell County, Missouri, in Company A, 8th Missouri Infantry (CSA).  He was captured in Howell County, Missouri on the 22nd of May 1863.  At the time he was captured he was a 1st Lieutenant in Company F, 1st Missouri Regiment.  Records are conflicting/confusing about where Richard Douglass was after his capture. From records located it appears that he was taken to Springfield, Missouri for two weeks, then placed at the Gratiot Street Prison in St. Louis.  It appears that he was there from the 15th of June, 1863 to the 30th of June, 1863.  Records then indicate that he was sent to Johnson’s Island in Ohio on the 17th of August 1863, then transferred to Alton (Illinois) on the 29th of September 1863. He was also listed as being in Gratiot Prison from the 1st of October 1863 to the 5th of October 1863.

In August of 1863 Richard gave a statement that included the following information:

Richard stated that he had served under Price and McBride, and was in battles at Lexington and Wilson's Creek.  He reported that he had never furnished arms to the rebellion, and had never been with anyone taking horses, arms, etc. He stated that he was a southern sympathizer and that he had no slaves.  He also stated that he had a wife and four children, and was a farmer. He reported that he had relatives in the rebellion: his father-in-law and a brother-in-law;    

"I have been in Camp with my Regiment in Arkansas and Missouri.  I was discharged from the MO State Guard.  I went to Fulton County Ar.  What did you do there?  I did not do anything.  Sometimes and farm.  I did not think it safe for me to remain at home.  From Fulton County Arkansas I went to Howell County MO where I was captured.  I am not willing to take the oath of allegiance.  I never belonged to Freeman's ..........” 

The recommendation was that the prisoner (Richard) be tried.

From records found on, it states that Richard Douglass was a Lieutenant in Freeman’s Regiment, MO Cavalry.

Apparently, Richard was not in prison later in the year of 1863, because he was at his brother Andrew’s home late in 1863 where bushwhackers found him and he 

“was beaten to death with the fire shovel until his brains spilled out……The women had to bury Richard since the rest of the men had to leave the area.” (taken from the Texas County Heritage Book).

One can only imagine what the horror of this was.

Mary was left with either three or four young children, from ages five to eight years old.  Three children have been found on census readings, but it is noted that Richard reported in August of 1863 that he had four children.

Richard’s wife, Mary, moved to Lawrence County, Arkansas and was living there with their three children in the 1870 Census. In 1876 Mary married Richard P. Dickens in Newton County, Arkansas.  He had been married twice before and had five children.  Richard Pickens and Mary went on to have either two or three children together.

It is believed that Mary Saunders Douglass Dickens died in 1893 when she was 56 years old.  She had lived thirty years after the brutal murder of her first husband.