Saturday, November 21, 2020

Surname Saturday - Offill


Surname Saturday - Offill

James A. Offill (1819-1904)

Earlier in the Wilson Surname posting we identified one of Nancy’s great-grandparent couples as:
Norman David Wilson (1844-1914) married Mary Ellen Offill (1854-1934). Her parents were:

James A. Offill (1819-1904) married Mary Ann Walters (1826-1921).
He was the eldest son of:

John Offill (1795-1878) married Eleanor Elliott (1800-1879). They spent their live in Kentucky.
He was the eldest son, second child of:

John Offill (1770-1805/10) married Jane Ann “Jennie” Richards (1770-1840/50).
He was born in Virginia. He was the son of:

William Offill (1756- ?) and (wife unknown).[Their other known children were James and John!!]
He was the eldest son of:

John Offill (1720-1780) and Elizabeth Rice (1730 - ?).
He was the eldest son of:

William Offill (abt 1700- ?) and Mary Rucker (abt 1700-1755).
He was the son of:

John Offill (1680 - ?) and (wife unknown).
He was the son of:

William Offill (1660-1712) and Hannah Unknown (art 1660 - ?). He was born in Nansemond, VA, This community was established in 1637 as Upper Norfolk, but the name Nansemond was adopted in 1646. The entire area is now known as Suffolk.
He was also the son of William Offill, born act 1640… location unknown.

Families are Forever! ;-)


Monday, November 16, 2020

Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 8


Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 8

The Busy Builder boys and their projects

“Busy Builders


President…. Lester Brown

Vice President ….Clarence Fick

Secretary … LeVerne Smith


What is worth doing at all is worth doing well.

[NOTE: This is a saying my Dad, Pete, repeated to me as I went off to college!!]



Lilac and White”

On the right side of the image:


Le Verne Smith
Arley Brown
Clarence Fick
Lester Brown
Jerald Johnston
Junior Grim
Wesley Thomas
Howard Fick
Arnold Dobson
Marion Johnston
Wilbur Thomas
Merle Brown
William Johnston”

Since 1925

In the fall of 1925 we gave a “Jack Carnival” which was a very successful event. The school room and the basement were crowed with people who were enjoying themselves at the various booths and games. The proceeds of this carnival were used to purchase the necessary equipment to standardize.
The next February we gave a Valentine Party to which we invited our parents. Most of them came and pronounced it a success. After the play we gave out valentines.
The following May, graduation exercises were held at the schoolhouse. We had a picnic at the end of the year.
At Christmas time in 1926 we gave a program in spite of the fact that most of us had the Whooping Cough. Santa Claus came down the chimney that we had over a window. He brought with him a huge bag of presents which he distributed. We closed the year with a picnic.
The next year on Valentine’s Day we had a party for the pupils. After dinner we played a number of delightful games.”

Continued on the right side of the image:

“In the fall of 1927 we had a party given by the children who had birthdays in the first three months of the year. The next party was given in the winter by the ones who had birthdays in Dec., Jan. and Feb. Then the ones who had birthdays in the last three months gave their party in the spring. We had a picnic at the end of the year at Burgan’s Grove.
In the fall of 1928 we had a party again the same as the year before only the ones who had birthdays in the summer helped too.
On Halloween night we gave a program. Despite the rain we had a fairly large crowd.
In December the school as usual was invited to the community dinner.
At Christmas time the pupils exchanges names and gave presents. We had a tree for the presents.
Our winter birthday party was held on Lincoln’s Birthday.
March 29 we had an Easter egg hunt.
We expect to close this year with our spring birthday party on May 17.
 - - Maxine Smith”

See you down the road… ;-)


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Surname Saturday - Yager


Surname Saturday - Yager

Albert Thomas Yager (1825-1886)
Farmer, Mechanic and a Doctor.
He moved from his native Virginia to Jefferson County, Iowa, by covered wagon (naturally) in 1849.
He moved to Audubon County, by way of Jasper County, in 1874.

Nancy’s mother, Ruth Thomas Bolger, was shown earlier to be the daughter of Wesley Lynk Thomas and Freyda Elsina Weaver.  

Freyda was the daughter of Samuel Lewis Weaver (1852-1925) and Harriet Ellen Yager (1859-1939).

Harriet was born in Jefferson County, Iowa, the daughter of Albert Thomas Yager (1825-1886) and Sinia Gillespie Tyler Yager (1825-1874). They had a total of nine children live to adulthood.

Albert Thomas Yager was the second son of Felix (1789-1830) and Margaret (Deer) (1793-1866) Yager.

Felix Yager was the oldest son and first child of Elisha (1760-1833) and Elizabeth (Barry) (1762-?) Eager.

Elisha Yager was born in Culpepper County, VA, the first son and oldest child of Adam (1738-1813) and Juriah (Berry) Yager.

This Adam Yager was born and died in Madison County, Virginia, and was the 5th child and 4th son of Adam (1707-1794) and Susanna (Kobler) (?-1775) Yager.

This elder Adam Yager was born in Frankenstein, Neubery, Germany, the son of Nicholas (1678-?) and Mary (Wilhite) Yager.

The Nicholas Yager family emigrated from Germany in 1717 to Virginia, near Germanna, and later resided on the Robinson River. He was in bondage for 8 years, until 1725. In 1734 they moved to Orange County which became Culpepper County in 1748. He was the son of Paul Yager about whom little is known.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Friday, November 13, 2020

Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 7


Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 7


Back row, left to right - Fick, Pete, Squeak (Capt.)
Front row, left to right - Bub, Ginger, Hoddy, Tuffy, Sonny, Les, Bro., Billy”

Boys Sports pages


Left to right - Tuffy, Billy, Sonny, Fick, Pete (Capt.)
Squeak, Les, Hoddy, Ginger”

Girls around Table

“Little Citizen’s League


President……………………Ethel Johnson

Vice President………………..Dorthy Fick

Secretary…………………….Ruth Thomas

Librarian……………………… Beth Thomas



LaVerne Smith

Irene Lucht

Fair Play

Wesley Thomas

Marian Thomas

Good English

Jerald Johnston

Maxine Smith


Arlen Brown

Helen Thomas

Dorothy Thomas”

On the right side of the image:


Let me be a little kinder, To the faults of those around me;
let me praise a little more, Let me be, when I am weary, just a little bit more cheery;
Let me serve a little better those whom I am striving for,
Let me be a little braver, when temptation bids me waver;
Let me try a little harder to be all that I should be.
Let me be a little meeker with the brother that is weaker;
Let me think more of my neighbor and a little less of me.



Second and Fourth Friday at 2:30 P.M.


Getting opened by President

Minutes read by  Secretary

Reports from various committees



Closing by President"

On the right side of the image:


Le Verne Smith
Ethel Johnston
Ruth Thomas
Arley Brown
Maxine Smith
Helen Thomas
Clarence Fick
Dorthy Fick
Irene Lucht
Dorothy Thomas
Beth Thomas
Lester Brown
Jerald Johnston
William Johnston
Junior Grim
Wesley Thomas
Esther Fick
Bethene Smith
Fern Brown
Marian Thomas
Howard Fick
Arnold Dobson
Marion Johnston
Mildred Fick
Wilbur Thomas
Merle Brown
Maxine Dobson
Marjorie Thomas”

Families are Forever! ;-)

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 6


Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 6

First Graders on a pony




Green and Yellow



On right side of the image:

“Class Roll

Wilbur Thomas …….. “Billy”

Merle Brown ………… “Shorty”

Maxine Dobson …….. “Sister”

Marjorie Thomas ……. “Mugs”

“First Grade Class History

We started to school last fall.
Miss Christy is our teacher.
Sometimes we have good lessons and sometimes we don’t.
We like to swing, slide and play croquet.”

Right side says: “ALUMNI”

“Class of ’09

Katherine Doran (Salmon) - Bayard, Iowa

Alice Doran (Clarke) - Des Moines, Iowa

Class of ’12

Nellie Wilson (Parsons) - Seattle, Wash.

Class of ’13

Hellen Doran (Leighty) - Guthrie Center, Iowa

Class of ’14

Grant Ballard - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Bois McLaughlin - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Joyce Wheeler (Pierce) - Hinsdale, Ill.

Class of ’15

S.P. Bugler - Des Moines, Iowa

Class of ’16

Duane Wheeler - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Class of ’19

Wayne Smith - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Harold Hartwigsen - Austin, Minn.

Ruth Wheeler - Coon Rapids, Iowa”

On the right side of the image:’

“Class of ’21

Clyde Grimm - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Ralph Wheeler - Perry, Iowa

Volva Rabuck - Ann Arvor, Mich.

Class of ’24

Orel Thomas - Coon Rapids, Iowa

LVene Thomas - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Catherine Grimm - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Class of ’26

Clifford Grimm - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Verse Thomas - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Foster Slocum - Scranton, Iowa

Irene Fick - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Pauline Smith - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Class of ’27

Ralph Johnston - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Charles Grimm - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Harold Grim - Coon Rapids, Iowa

Arnold Thomas - Coon Rapids, Iowa”

I personally doubt that this is a comprehensive list, but rather those who were known at the time. If anyone has better information, I’d be happy to hear it. Thank you.
Great list, in any event. Great to have available for future reference.

This listing is similar to one I have seen from Coon Rapids High School in, I believe, 1919... ;-)

Families are Forever! ;-)


Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 5


Ancestor Artifact - 29 The Star - Part 5

Members of the Fourth Grade in 1929


Dare To Be True


Orange and Green



On the right side of the image:

“Class Role

Lester Brown ……..   “Gus”

Jerald Johnston …… “Tuffy”

William Johnston …   “Billy”

Wesley Thomas …..   “Sonny”

Junior Grim ………… “Ginger”

Esther Fick …………. “Es”

Bethene Smith ……… “Betty”

Fern Brown ………….  “Sis”

Marion Thomas …….. “Smoke”

“Fourth Grade Class History

William Johnston, Junior Grim, Fern Brown and Marian Thomas started to school Sept. 7, 1925.
We were the first class to start in the new schoolhouse and the school was standardized that year too.
Clara Christy has been our only teacher.
Wesley Thomas started the next year and caught up to us.
Lester Brown, Jerald Johnston, Esther Fick and Bethene Smith are with us now.
 - William Johnson, Junior Grim, Fern Brown, Marian Thomas

Lester Brown and Fen Brown are younger siblings of Arley Brown.
Wesley Thomas is the younger brother of Ruth and Dorothy Thomas.
Between Smith is the younger sister of Pete and Maxine Smith.
Marion Thomas is the younger sister of  Helen and Beth Thomas.

There were apparently no third grade students; the right side says: SECOND GRADE

Second Graders on Playground Equipment


All Work and No Play Makes Jake a Dull Boy


Violet and pink



On the right side of this image:

“Class Roll

Howard Fick …….    “Hoddy”

Arnold Dobson ….    “Brother”

Marion Johnston …  “Bub”

Mildred Fick ………  “Millie””

“Second Grade Class History

There was only on in this class the first year. Arnold Dobson and Marion Johnston came in the next year. Howard Fick entered the class this spring.
Miss Christy has been our only teacher.
All of us in this class are good friends.
 - Second Grade

Right side of this image: “FIRST GRADE” - to come in Part 6…

Families are Forever! ;-)


Monday, November 9, 2020

Hall-Bowman-Thomas Connection - Carrie Thomas


Hall-Bowman-Thomas Connection

Carrie Thomas

I have written extensively (both fiction and non-fiction) about life in small-town and rural mid-American, based on life-long experience and observations. The Carrie Bowman Thomas family relationships provide an excellent example of typical relationships in this environment, traced back to first Euro-American settlement in the region. In this case we are looking at The Star Community located a few miles north of Coon Rapids located in western Iowa.

Obit of Claude Thomas, husband of Carrie Thomas

I recently wrote about the first settlers in this area being the Thomas H. Hall family in 1868.
Hattie Hall was a five-year-old in that family. In 1883, she married George Bowman listed in that story as another of the first settlers. Their first child born later that year was Caroline, per the 1900 census. She was always known as Carrie in the community. As noted in the clipping, above, she married Claude Thomas in 1908. They lived their long lives together on their farm on the western half of the same section of land where The Star Church was located in the southeast corner. My memory is that they lived in a big, boxy farm house located on a hill in that section of land at the end of very long driveway coming in from the west.

Claude and Carrie, along with the four of their five children that lived to adulthood, were very active in The Star Church and the Star Community in general. The children attended The Star School and Coon Rapids High School over the years. Their children were:
Orel Elwin Thomas (1909-1993)
Beryl Wilbur Thomas (1911-1911)
Verle W Thomas (1911-1958)
Arnold H. Thomas (1913-1988)
Edith J Thomas Kreger (1922-1987)

Speaking generally, this family well represents the typical rural-small town distribution of relationships.

First, Orel married Margaret Pingery. Margaret was a town girl in Coon Rapids (like my mother). She was one of a large family, mostly females, that married a variety of spouses in town, in the country and out-of-town (I will likely write more about this family at a later time). My Mom, daughter of a bank clerk, always considered herself a “town-girl” but married a farmer and did well at it… as did Margaret. Orel and Margaret lived just a mile west of the farm where I grew up. They lived on the county line between Carroll and Greene counties, on the Greene county side, like us. Their children, Pat and Wilson, attended Willow #3 one-room school, with me. (See Wilson Obit, yesterday)

Beryl and Verle were obviously twins, Beryl died as an infant, Verle married my aunt, LVene Smith, my Dad’s sister, who lived on a farm within two miles. They would have gone to school together. Verle and LVene made their home just to the north of Claude and Carrie in a farmhouse along the road. They had two sons, David and John. Verle died far too young at 47 - though not uncommon. Not only were they active in The Star Church, LVene was also the teacher at The Star School for a number of years.

Arnold married a girl from out-of-town (another common practice), Julia Hicks.
They lived on a farm less than a mile to the west of Claude and Carrie. They had three daughters: Rebecca, Sharon and Claudia. They were all active in The Star Church as well.

Edith married Floyd Kreger, from Fort Dodge, and moved there after their marriage. Again, a common occurrence with small town and rural folks… marrying someone from away, and moving away.

Even with solid roots in one location, people may choose to stay there or they may choose to move off to another location. Such in life. It makes very fascinating observing, and makes the study of family history and genealogy such an enjoyable activity. Thanks for coming along on this little journey with me.

Families are Forever! ;-)