Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Episode 5

The following is Episode 5 of 8 written in the summer of 1995 and shared with our three daughters, to begin sharing with them our ancestors stories. We have shared many stories in the meantime, and regularly keep them up to date on our research.

I am posting each of these stories here in order to demonstrate what can be done, and, to make the information available to interested others. PLEASE NOTE: these have not been edited and updated for new information, so if you read this, take the information WITH THAT IN MIND! Thanks! Enjoy reading this slice of our lives.

Episode 5

The Kinnick Gap

The Kinnick Genealogy book was written in 1953 (including Billy and Jimmy Smith on page 323). We grew up hearing such things as "All Kinnicks are related. Why would you want to do genealogy work on the Kinnicks...it's already been done. We ARE related to Nile Kinnick; of course we are, his dad sent Buzzy a letter about it!"
On May 25, 1995, during our housesitting for Annette and Larry, while they were in Australia and New Zealand for their honeymoon, we visited Franklin, IN, and the home library of Nettie Edna Kinnick Waggener who wrote "The Kinnick Family: A Genealogical History of the Kinnick Family of America. Descendants of John Kinnick and Ann Kinnick of Davie County, North Carolina." We made copies of additional pages of the book to get a better perspective on what the book really said about the family. Previously, we only had copies of the pages listing our own family.
The first thing I noted was the organization of the book (after the real name, of course). The first generation reported was William and Sarah Kinnick and their family, first found in Maryland in 1775, but having originated in Holland, presumably (more on this later). William died in 1785. In 1795, their son, John, sold his land in Maryland and moved to North Carolina. Since the book is written by and about the descendants of John and his wife, Ann, the rest of the book is mostly about them.
There are a few pages about the family of William and Sarah with only passing mention of the brothers and sisters of John. It then goes into great detail about John's children, a full chapter each. John had four brothers and three sisters. The only mention of his brother Joseph is as a next of kin in the estate records of William Kinnick in 1786 (I am attempting to get a copy of those records from the Maryland archives).
John and Ann had seven children. Their stories run from page 8 thru page 321. The youngest child, Polly, married an Etchison. Their descendants are briefly described on pages 317 to 321. At the bottom of page 321 is the following heading (with no other lead or description):


This family settled first in Pennsylvania; moved to Belmont County, Ohio; Buda, Illinois and Iowa.

The next three pages are our family listings (copies attached), later noted as being provided by members of the family. Out in the middle of the family listing is the following statement:

"P.S. -- It is my opinion [referring to the author of the book], after careful research, that this family is descended from Joseph Kinnick, the son of William I. and his wife Sarah, and was a brother of our John Kinnick I; these names appear in the same family as you will see by the record and it is probable that Joseph left Maryland and settled in Pennsylvania, while John migrated to North Carolina from Maryland."

It is true there is a Joseph, a fairly common name, in each of the first two generations reported for "our family." That is, a brother and an uncle of Alonzo (father of Paul Harold Kinnick). There is absolutely no substantiating data to support the above claim!! She reports nothing under the first generation about her Joseph; she doesn't know what happened to him. I believe she "wanted" this to be so, and grasped onto the name similarity for her assertion, and nothing else.
This is where the gap is. Who is the next ancestor back from Walter W., father of Walter Watson, father of Alonzo? Is that person (her) Joseph, a son of Joseph, or someone else entirely? This is the challenge.
Recall her assertion that the first recorded Kinnick in the United States, according to her (over twenty years of) research as of 1953, was her ancestor William in 1775 in Maryland. In just two library visits of fairly casual checking of some new information indexed between 1986 and 1995, I have found one Kinnick and two Kennicks (a name used by her relatives in colonial days, sometimes) who arrived on our shores before 1775; as well as another Wm. Kinnick who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1786. There is much work yet to be done.
1. A William Kennick went from England to Barbados in 1695. Unlikely to be a relative, but needs to be recognized.
2. A Robert Kinnick appears on a list of indentured servants shipped from London to Maryland in 1728 (Robert is the name of one of Paul's brothers).
3. A John Kennick is listed as a Bonded Passenger to America in 1763. The book with the detailed listing is in Iowa City (and probably some other places). I haven't seen it yet. It may or may not have more detailed information. (see detailed listing information in attachment).
There are additional passenger list indexes that I have not yet checked. These early results seem to make checking them worth while!
I have attempted to systematically examine the census indexes for the states where Kinnicks might have been (including Kennick and other near variations). For instance, Pennsylvania for 1790 (the first census), 1800, 1810, 1820 and 1830 list no Kinnicks (or Kennicks). The 1840 Pennsylania census has a John Kennick. The codes for that year indicate a male age 80-90 and a female age 70-80 in the household. This would make him born 1750-60. Doesn't seem useful now, but, as always, we store the information for future reference. Mom found the details for this one on the census tape down at Iola, KS, library. There was also an 1840 notation of a Francis P. Kennik. We have not had a chance to check that tape. The census information itself is on microfilm. Each year has different information. Indexes have been prepared for most tapes, for most states, for most counties. Libraries may have an index, a tape, neither, or both, for what you are looking for at any particular time. Finding and reading any particular tape is a challenge in itself (samples attached).
I have checked the Ohio census records 1790, 1800, and 1810, finding no Kinnicks or Kennicks. Also, nothing in an index to Ohio Tax Lists for 1800-1810. These should show if real estate property taxes were paid. If they did not own land, of course, they would pay no tax.
The K.G. (Kinnick Genealogy) lists the birth of Walter Watson Kinnick as 11 Oct 1840 in Belmont County, Ohio. We can assume this came from family records. I have written to Belmont County for a record of his birth, but they only have birth records from 1867. Many states (and counties) did not start keeping records of birth until the federal requirements about 1875. We have found confirmation in the census records, however, for Bureau County (Town of Dover), Illinois, for 1850 and 1860. The 1850 census shows Walter (the father, age 41, born in Maryland), Susan (age 41, born in Penn), Mary E. (15), Sarah A. (14), John S. (13), Joseph (12), Walter (10 - born 1840!), Catherine (8), Jacob (4), Margaret (3/12). The children were all born in Ohio, it says, except we cannot read whether the birthplace for the last two is Ohio or Illinois. The 1860 census shows only some of the children, living at a Carrington household: Joseph (22 - with a wife, Amelia, 22, it appears), Walter (20, again confirming the 1840 birth date), Jacob (14), Margaret (10), Susan (8), Evelina (6), and Mary S (4). There is no mention of the parents in 1860. We would like to find them. Mary E. is not included (she would have been 25, probably married); note she was not listed in the K.G. at all. Sarah A. would have been 24, probably already married to Thomas Richmond, need to check that. John S. is not there, he would be 23, K.G. says he was killed in action in Civil War, we should be able to find military record on him, eventually (Walter Watson Kinnick's gravestone says he was a "Veteran 61-65" so he also served in the Civil War - more checking to do). Catherine would be 18, is not mentioned, might already be married to William Fletcher, need to check that...lots of things to check! It is interesting to note that Evelina (6) and Mary S.(4) are not included in the K.G.!
We have learned from the above where the older Walter was born, Maryland, and that it was about 1809 (41 in 1850), same year for his wife, Susan, but she was born in Pennsylvania. This information was not available from the K.G.! So much for "careful research" by the K.G. author...she didn't check anything, in my opinion. She just reported what she was given on this family.
There are no Kinnicks listed in the 1830 or 1840 census for Belmont County, Ohio. I have not yet found an 1820 index for Ohio. In 1840, elsewhere in Ohio, there was a Samuel Kennick. Noted.
Some summary comments on the Kinnick information at this date would be in order. While the K.G. is an excellent resource, we want to check as much as possible with original records, in addition to finding new information. There are many discrepancies, of various sizes, already. For instance. Eileen Kinnick's birthdate is listed as 14 Oct 1918 in K.G. - it is actually 14 Dec 1918, of course. Fanny Alice Kinnick is shown in K.G. as d. May 4, 1894. Her gravestone says May 26, 1894. Which would you believe? Another has Nora E. b. Jan 2, 1866 and d. Feb 2, 1866. The gravestone says b. Jan 4, 1866 and d. Feb 10, 1866!! The wife of Walter Watson was Mary Estella Symonds. The K.G. lists her b. Aug 8, 1841 and d. Jan 8, 1909. Her gravestone, beside Walter, in Hopeland Cemetery near Buda, Illinois, says b. Aug 8, 1843 and d. Jan 7, 1909. The other grave we found was John and the information matched!
Note: Buda, IL, is 12 miles west and 2 miles south of Princeton. Princeton is about 25 to 30 miles east of Cambridge where the George F.H. Wilsons lived (about 13 to 18 miles from Buda). I'll send a map with Episode 6 on the Wilson's. Norman lived in Cambridge from about age 6, in 1850, until sometime after he finished his Civil War service in about 1864. He was in Prairie City, Iowa, by 1870.
Walter and Mary Kinnick (at age 23 and 24) were living in Buda, IL, when their first child, Joseph, was born. Between Dec, 1868, when Margaret Ann was born in Buda and Nov, 1870, when Alonzo was born in Stuart, Iowa, they had obviously moved to Iowa. Alonzo's obituary states, "in his infancy, his parents moved to Illinois where Alonzo remained until 17 years of age when he returned to Iowa with his uncle, A.O. Vanaken." Note, however, according to the K.G., that Alonzo's next younger brother was born in Sept, 1972, in Mendon, Missouri, not Illinois. The rest of the children were born in Buda. More mysteries. Wouldn't it be interesting to trace all the descendants of all these two generations listed on page 322. The hunt is on.

Families are Forever! ;-)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Episode 4

The following is Episode 4 of 8 written in the summer of 1995 and shared with our three daughters, to begin sharing with them our ancestors stories. We have shared many stories in the meantime, and regularly keep them up to date on our research.

I am posting each of these stories here in order to demonstrate what can be done, and, to make the information available to interested others. PLEASE NOTE: these have not been edited and updated for new information, so if you read this, take the information WITH THAT IN MIND! Thanks! Enjoy reading this slice of our lives.

Episode 4

Cedar County Probate Records

On a return trip to the Cedar County offices in Tipton, June 1995, we started with the probate records. We found (and made copies, in part):
1. John Dolan Estate records from 1852.
2. James Dolan probate listing all heirs at death, 19 Jan 1891.
3. Will of Amanda E. Dolan, listing family members.
4. Estate records of Harriett Bolger, death on 12 Sep 1912, listing surviving heirs, with ages and addresses.

(1) The Probate records of John Dolan disclosed a number of relationships of interest. First, a legal notification on behalf of his surviving widow, Rebecca, lists his children. At the time, we knew most of the names but had not yet confirmed the relationships:

In the Matter of the Estate of John Dolan;
To Jeremiah Dolan, George W. Dolan, William Dolan, Julianna Dolan, John Dolan, Charles Dolan, Almira Dolan, Amanda Jane Dolan, Melissa McSparren, Phillip McSparren, Harriet Bolger and Michael Bolger. You are hereby notified that there is now on file in the Office of the County Judge of Cedar Co, Iowa, a Petition of Rebecca Dolan, widow of the late John Dolan...
It goes on to provide for her clear claim to five contiguous forty acre land parcels in western Cass Township, a total of 200 acres. Included in the record is a report of survey of that property prepared by Robert Gower on 27 Oct 1852. Signatures on a document acknowledging receipt of the notice are:
Michael Bolger as Guardian for Charles Dolan (census records show he worked as a farm laborer for his brother-in-law, Michael)
Michael Bolger for Harriet Dolan "By M. Bolger, her husband"
Rebecca Dolan as Guardian for Almira Dolan and Amanda Jane Dolan [Note that this Amanda Jane Dolan is younger and a different person than Amanda (E) Dolan noted in the next report.]

(2) George B. Dolan filed the final report on the James Dolan estate on 5 Sep 1891. It listed heirs as (copy of actual attached):
name age address
Amanda Dolan, widow 71 Tipton, Ia
(Real estate left to her: W2NE4, Sec. 15, Twp. 80, Range 3, 80 a.)
G.P. (Pitt) Dolan 37 Washington, Ia
Sally Filson 35 Tipton, Ia
Arabell Boon 30 " "
George B. Dolan 27 " "
Charles Dolan 50 Concordia, Kan.
Melvinia Peacock 47 Mapleton, Iowa
Charlotte Zeifing 45
Jessie Bolger 23 Coon Rapids, Ia
Wallace Dolan 22 " " "
Lenard Dolan 18 " " "
Ollie Dolan 14 Lisbon, Ia
Susan Lucinda Paton 22 Lebam, Wash
Rachel Ann Tamas 19 Willipa City, Wash
Omi Aqum Dolan 11 " " "
(date of last birthday-minor-7 Mar 92)

Lists such as this are extremely useful in discovering or confirming ages, married names, locations of people and land transfers that may not be recorded anywhere else. Since some of these are the direct heirs alive at the time of decedents death, it also suggests or confirms when some of their parents died (that is, when the children of the deceased had died). Such listings also give clues to the existence of grandchildren and their names, not previously identified.
For instance, age 71 for Amanda Dolan would suggest a birth year for her of 1820. We earlier had her (Amanda E. Stratton) marriage record to James Dolan, on June 8, 1851, where she stated her age as 30, suggesting a birthdate of 1821. He stated his age as 39 for the marriage record. This would suggest a birth year of 1812. [Recall the 1850 census listed his age as 43, a birth year of 1807.] His biography in the History of Cedar County stated his birthdate as 12 Oct 1806, which matches the information on his gravestone.
Now, for the children. The first five were the children of Nancy Harris (she died in 1846): Melvinnia, Josiah, Charles, Harley, and Charlotte. Note that Melvinnia has married a Peacock. Josiah has died and is represented by his children, Jessie Bolger, Wallace, Leonard (correct spelling), and Ollie. Charles is living in Kansas. Harley has died, and appears to be represented by his children, the last three listed. Charlotte has married a Zeifing. Amanda's children by James are: G.P. (commonly known as Pitt), Sally (married to a Filson), Arabell (married to Cyrus Boon), and George B. Listing of each of their ages makes interesting comparisons with census data and other sources, of course. Now, knowing the married names of some of the females, they can be identified in census records, often along with the full name of their husband, their children, and, their ages: entirely new information!

(3) The will of Amanda E. Dolan, second wife of James Dolan, made 15 Jun 1897, about a year before her death, leaves whatever she had left to her children and heirs, only. In her six paragraph will, the first paragraph gives her granddaughter Susie Filson the sum of $20.00. The second paragraph lists several grandchildren to whom "I give and bequeath nothing": Amanda Rohads, Mrs Lue Finefield, Mrs Doray Windes, Masid McConnick, Will Slater, Laura Filson, Friddie Filson, Casper Filson, Harry Filson and Rolf Filson (spelling interpretations from hand written documents probably include some errors).
Paragraph 3, 4, and 5, specify that after "payment of all my lawful debts and funeral expenses," one half of the entire estate goes to Arabell Boon, one fourth to G. Pitt Dolan, and one fourth to G.B. Dolan. G. Pitt Dolan is appointed sole executor in paragraph 6.

(4) Harriett Bolger died 12 Sep 1912. [Note her name is spelled with either one or two "t"s in various places at various times.] Her daughter, Mary, Mrs. Milton Vincent, with whom she was living in West Liberty at the time of her death, filed the initial report asking that William T. Negus, a grand son, be named administrator. It listed the surviving children and heirs:
- Fleeta, born in 1851 and died in 1852, was not listed.
1. Mrs. Rosamond Negus (married David Negus, Feb 28, 1878), age 58, West Liberty, Muscatine Co, Iowa.
2. Mrs. Mary Vincent, age 56, West Branch, Cedar Co, Iowa.
- Nina, born in 1858 and died in 1879, was not listed.
3. Thomas Bolger, age 51, Coon Rapids, Carroll Co, Iowa.
- Sarah, married J.J. Larkin about 1888, had died, her children are listed below.
- Catherine (Katie), born 1867 and died 1885, was not listed.
4. Michael Bolger, age 42, Webster City, Iowa.
5. G.A. Larkin, age 23, grand son, Olwein, Iowa.
6. Anabel Larkin, age 20, grand daughter, Olwein, Iowa.
7. John Larkin, age 18, grand son, Olwein, Iowa.
8. Frank Larkin, age 16, grandson, Olwein, Iowa.

A Waiver is signed by Rosamond Negus, Thomas Bolger, Mrs. Mary Vincent, Glenn A. Larkin, Michael Bolger, John Larkin and Frank Larkin.
The assets of the estate, noted in the Final Report filed 20 Dec 1913 by Wm. T. Negus, consisted of a certificate of deposit in West Branch State Bank of $300.00, a checking account balance there of $76.88, and a real estate mortgage due her of $1,500.00. With interest and $34.27 rent collected on real estate, the total assets were $2,048.67. Taxes and funeral expenses were $241.73 while the monument ($100) and other administration fees totaled $222.50. The net estate was to be paid out as follows:
1. To Mary Vincent One Fifth $ 316.89
2. To Rosamund Negus One Fifth 316.89
3. To Michael Bolger One Fifth 316.89
4. To Thomas Bolger One Fifth 316.89
5. To Glenn A. Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22
6. To Mabel Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22
7. To John Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22
8. To Frank Larkin One Fourth of One Fifth 78.22

The report states then: "He reports that he is ready at any time to make distribution in accordance with the above but he shows that the last two heirs named are minors and they have no guardian to his knowledge."
A Notice follows whereby the Administrator proposes that the $79.22 due each of the minors be deposited with the Clerk of Court until they are "of age." "The expense of service of this notice to be deducted from your respective shares." They apparently did that.
Later, two forms were filed for each. The first was an "Application of J.G. Larkin for order to pay over funds" and then an "Order to pay over funds" that noted the said J.G. Larkin "became of age on April 25, 1915," and is entitled to the $78.17 ($79.22 less cost of service!!) plus $2.60 interest earned or $80.77. Similarly, Frank J. Larkin filed similar papers when he became of age on April 25, 1917, and received $80.87!!!!!!!!!! (I enjoyed that part.)

There remains the question of whether John Dolan and James Dolan were related. It seems almost certain they would be cousins or nephew-uncle, if not brothers. A lady in Cedar Rapids was "going to write a family history on the Dolans" about ten years ago, but she was killed in a car accident, or something. We have written to a couple in Cedar Rapids who is supposed to know more, but have received no reply to date (they are probably dead, too). Ann Beach, who we knew in high school (daughter of Irene Rees, granddaughter of Thomas Bolger), supposedly also has more Dolan information. She lives in Redfield, Iowa. We will be contacting her one of these days.
We visited Webster City to find Michael Bolger, the younger. This report in another episode.

Family is forever! ;-)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Episode 3

The following is Episode 3 of 8 written in the summer of 1995 and shared with our three daughters, to begin sharing with them our ancestors stories. We have shared many stories in the meantime, and regularly keep them up to date on our research.

I am posting each of these stories here in order to demonstrate what can be done, and, to make the information available to interested others. PLEASE NOTE: these have not been edited and updated for new information, so if you read this, take the information WITH THAT IN MIND! Thanks! Enjoy reading this slice of our lives.

Episode 3

Cedar Bluffs: The river, the ferry, the Gower connection

"From the date of the first settlement of the county, in May, 1836, until January, 1877, that part of the Cedar River which flows through Cedar County, remained unobstructed by bridges. And even now there is but one bridge over that stream, and that is at Cedar Bluff. When the first settlers came, Indian canoes were used to convey them from one side of the river to the other. This kind of ferriage continued in use until the settlements so increased as to demand larger and stronger means of crossing, and in 1838, Abner Arrowsmith constructed a rough ferry boat which was operated by a rope, and was of the kind known as a rope or chain ferry."
Thus begins a section of The History of Cedar County (written in 1877, I believe) about the Cedar River bridge and later about Cedar Bluff. The following is based mostly on this source with some from other research. Our Michael Bolger settled a little over a mile west and a little less that a mile south of the west side of the river where the ferry boat operated (and the bridge was eventually build, after his death). The John Dolan family (the father of Harriet) settled just a mile west of Michael.
William Frazeur states that he helped build the first ferry boat used there for Abner Arrowsmith, in 1838. It was then called Washington Ferry. In 1839, James H. Gower and Willard Hammond bought the claims of many "squatters" in Cass Township, and Mr. Gower settled on Section 33, on the east side of the river. Mr. Gower built additions to the house formerly owned by Mr. Arrowsmith, on the site of Cedar Bluff, and opened a store. He also bought the ferry and had a post office at his store. Mr. James H . Gower was a Representative to the State Legislature at an early day. Mr. Gower received his goods chiefly from St. Louis via Muscatine.
Steamers occasionally came up Cedar River. The "Maid of Iowa," belonging to the Mormons of Nauvoo, Illinois, came up, and a large quantity of corn was purchased from Mr. Gower. Mr Gower soon after began pork packing. He paid $1.00 per 100 pounds, in store goods, for dressed pork. After a few years, Mr. Gower discontinued his store and moved to his farm, on the west side of the river.
In the spring of 1841, Robert Gower, from Ohio, settled on Section 33, on the west side of the river, with his family, including his sons - James, Alexander, Sewell and Albert. Mr. Robert Gower purchased the ferry from his brother, Mr. James H. Gower.
Mr. Robert Gower was a surveyor, and laid out the village (of Cedar Bluff) in July, 1851, for Charles W. Gower. The land on which it was located was entered by J.H. Gower, in the name of C.W. Gower, Allen and Willard Hammond. It was transferred to J.H. Gower, then to Robert Gower. A note written at the time of the survey says: Red Cedar River is navigable for steam and other boats at all seasons of the year when free from ice. It possesses at this point superior facilities for damning and bridging, and the settlement in this vicinity requires both.The village is located on the corner of Sections 27, 28, 33 and 34, Tnsp 81, Range 4 west.
Michael Bolger married Harriet Dolan at the home of Robert Gower on the 24th day of February 1851. On November 28, 1856, Robert Gower sold Michael Bolger a parcel of land of approximately 40 acres in Section 5 of Gower Township.
"Mr. Robert Gower, after whom Gower Township received its name, was a public spirited, highly esteemed man, prominent in many county and local actions, and a member of the Second Constitutional Convention. He died in April, 1874." Michael Bolger died in 1875.
Daniel Riegle built the first hotel in Cedar Bluff, although Robert Gower had kept travelers on the west side of the river. The hotel burned down in 1875, but was rebuilt. In 1866 there were ten houses in the village. The first physician was Dr. Davis about 1846. As noted above, the first post office was established June 24, 1841, with James H. Gower, Postmaster. The office was called Cedar River, being the third office in the county. July 3, 1849, the name of the office was changed to "Gower's Ferry." The office was kept successively by Robert Gower and Sewall Gower, on the west side of the river. It was changed to the east side in 1859, with David Baldwin as Postmaster, and the name changed to "Cedar Bluff." After the post office was moved to the east side of the river, another office was secured on the west side called Gower's Ferry, with Robert Gower as Postmaster. This office was again consolidated with the Cedar Bluff office when the bridge was built (1877) at that point.
The nearest school to which the settlers might send their children, in 1842, was located on the Philip Metz farm. "After two or three years, J.H. and Robert Gower hired Mr. Lambert to teach in a log cabin on the west side of the Cedar River, on the Kester place. School continued there every Winter until the school house was built, near the site of the present school house, on the Gunsolus place (recall, the cemetary was called Gunsolus, also). The 1870 census for Cass Township, Cedar County, includes in the home of Robert Gower, age 67 (and his wife, Rosamond*, age 66), an Emma Hammond, age 20, listed as "Teaching school." The new school house was built in 1876, and is a good frame building." There is (written in 1877) no school house in Cedar Bluff, although a good district school has been established one mile east, since about 1856. (* Note that Michael and Harriet Bolger named a daughter Rosamond in December, 1853.)
"In 1877, a large iron bridge was erected over the Cedar River at this point, and being the only one in this county, it has increased the business at Cedar Bluff, and conduced greatly to its prosperity. There are now about one hundred inhabitants in the village. It has an excellent location, and is in the center of an unsurpassed farming district."

The following is a brief account of a lengthy discussion regarding building a bridge:
About the year 1851-2-3, Robert Gower, the first settler at Gower's Ferry, (Cedar Bluff), and others, conceived the idea of erecting a toll bridge at that point, and petitioned the County Judge for license to carry out their proposed enterprise. Proposed tolls, for ten years were to be:
4 horses or oxen and wagon or other vehicle........ 40 cents
2 " mules, oxen and wagon or other vehicle... 25 cents
1 horse or mule and wagon.... 25 cents
1 " and man.... 15 cents
1 footman..... 5 cents
Each head of sheep or swine................................ 2 1/2 cents

The bridge proposed was never built.
At the June 1856 meeting of the (county) Board of Supervisors, Robert Gower, then, as for many years previous, a member of the board, introduced a proposal for a toll bridge across the river, half to be owned by the county, half interest to be solicited by sale of stock to the public. A study reported to the board in September recommended two locations: Gray's Ford and Gower's Ferry. A vote took place in October: for the Ferry, 595; for the Ford, 862; total vote, 1,457. Local support for the Ford location seemed to be lacking. A year later, another vote on a bridge at Gower's Ferry was: for a bridge, 786; against a bridge, 1,808; total vote, 2,594. The following year, another vote was taken: for the bridge, 561, against the bridge, 1,935; total vote, 2,496.
"From October, 1867 to 1870, Mr. Gower permitted the matter to remain in abeyance." In 1876, they voted a $15,000 appropriation to build a bridge. It opened in January, 1877.

Cedar Bluffs now, in 1995, exists on the east side of the river, south of the bridge road, as a couple dozen homes. Many appear to be "vacation type homes" although it seems that most are lived in as you drive by. There is one large building that looks like it might have been a hotel/store and is under a slow renovation. This is up on the ridge above the river. On the peak of the ridge sits an old church building on a corner, with bell tower, but abandoned. Trees and vines are all grown up around it. Seems that they want to preserve it, but no one wants to spend the time or money to do it.

Families are forever! ;-)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Episode 2

The following is Episode 2 of 8 written in the summer of 1995 and shared with our three daughters, to begin sharing with them our ancestors stories. We have shared many stories in the meantime, and regularly keep them up to date on our research.

I am posting each of these stories here in order to demonstrate what can be done, and, to make the information available to interested others. PLEASE NOTE: these have not been edited and updated for new information, so if you read this, take the information WITH THAT IN MIND! Thanks! Enjoy reading this slice of our lives.

Episode 2

Property Records Search, Cedar County, Iowa

Property records of the county are arranged by Grantee and Grantor, each set in alphabetical order by name. We looked under B and found one Bolger, Michael, with several entries. The first was to Michael Bolger from the United States of America, an instrument dated March 10, 1852, a Patent (meaning first sale by the United States Government to a private citizen) for the SW4 SE4 of Sec 32 Twp 81 Range 4, recorded in Book M, page 300. The second entry was to Michael Bolger from Robert Gower, dated Nov 28, 1856, a warranty deed, for NWfr4SEfr4 of Sec 5, Twp 80, Range 4. There were four other entries dated 1855, 1874, and two entries dated 1875.
Good maps are an essential tool in a search of family records. In the library there is a book of maps for each state with the counties clearly shown. Then the state is divided into regions, Iowa is quartered, for instance. There is a detailed map of the region with each county showing the townships noted along with the towns. Further, each county is available with only township and town markings. On these maps there are no roads or rivers or other features. They are very useful when working with census information and general location descriptions. This book is listed under "Township Maps." However, to locate individual pieces of property, as noted in the records of the last paragraph, a plat book of each township is essential. Each township in each county of the United States is described by a north and south coordinate and an east-west coordinate. Cass Township in Cedar County, for instance, lays partly in Township 80 North (or just N) and partly in Township 81 N, while Union Township, Carroll County (which contains Coon Rapids), for instance, is located at Township 82 N. The east-west coordinate is expressed as a Range of the 5th Principle Meridian. Cass Township of Cedar County straddles Range 3 West and Range 4 West (of 5th P.M.), while Union Township of Carroll County is in Range 33 West (of 5th).
Each Township is divided into "one square mile" Sections and the Sections are numbered sequentially in a regular pattern. Deviations are sometimes found where there are natural barriers such as rivers, etc. Townships may, for instance, consist of 36 numbered sections. Within each section, one square mile, consisting of 640 acres, is further subdivided into quarters of 160 acres each and designated SW, SE, NE, NW for the respective quadrants. The smallest designation is (usually) a 40 acre parcel which is a quarter of a quarter section, hence: the SW4 SW4 is the southwest quarter of the southwest quarter of the designated Section. The opposite corner of the section would be the NE4NE4, that is the northeast quarter of the northeast quarter. Another designation might be the S2 NW4. This would be the south half of the northwest quarter of the section. It would normally be 80 acres. (Note: we have found that the northern and western tiers of sections in most townships are irregular, that is, not a "square" 160 acres, so as to make up for irregularities of surveys of each township. For instance, an "80 acres" might actually be 90.4 acres in one township or 76.8 acres in another.)
We noted above: "Michael Bolger from the United States of America, an instrument dated March 10, 1852, a Patent (meaning first sale by the United States Government to a private citizen) for the SW4 SE4 of Sec 32 Twp 81 Range 4, recorded in Book M, page 300." This is a 40 acre parcel located as the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of Section 32, Township 81 N, Range 4, which places it in the southwest corner of Cass Township (see maps attached). Section 31 is bordered on the west by (now) Benton County and bordered on the south by Gower Township. Section 32 is immediately to the east of Section 31, and is also bordered to the south by Gower Township. The next section to the east, Section 33, has the Cedar River running through the northeast quarter and the community of Cedar Bluff is also there.
Until 1877, there was no bridge across the Cedar, but there was a ferry. At different times, the ferry, and the communities on either side of the river were known as Gower's Ferry or Cedar Bluff or other names. That is another interesting episode that will be shared at a later time.
The second property entry above was: "Michael Bolger from Robert Gower, dated Nov 28, 1856, a warranty deed, for NWfr4SEfr4 of Sec 5, Twp 80, Range 4." Section 5 is the section in Gower Township (named for Robert Gower) immediately south of Section 32, Cass Township. This parcel designation is read as the northwest fractional quarter of the southeast fractional quarter of Section 5. The "fractional" means it is not a "true" 40 acres. It is located in that northern tier of sections of Gower Township, which may account for the fractionals.
Looking in Book M, page 300, discloses the following entry, in hand script, in part, designated: Patent United States to Michael Bolger, Certificate No. 4210. "Whereas Michael Bolger of Cedar County Iowa has deposited in the General Land Office of the United States a Certificate of the Register of the Land Office at Iowa City Iowa whereby it appears that full payment has been made by the Said Michael Bolger according to the provisions of the Act of Congress of the 24th of April 1820, entitled. An Act making further provisions for the Sale of the Public Land for the South West Quarter of the Southeast Quarter of Section Number Thirty two in Township Number Eighty One, (...several letters...) Range Number Four West in the District of Iowa Subject to Sale at Iowa City, containing Forty acres. According to the official Plat of the Survey of the Said Lands, Attuned (sic) to the General Land Office by the Surveyor General. Which said tract has been purchased by the said Michael Bolger. Now Know ye that the United States of America, in consideration of the premises and in accordance with the several Acts of Congress, is such case made and provided. have given and granted and by these presents do Give and Grant unto the Said Michael Bolger and to his heirs and assigns of acres. In Testimony whereof I, Millard Fillmore, President of the United States of America have caused these Letters to be made Patent and the Seal of the General Land Office to be hereunto affixed. Given under my hand at the City of Washington the Tenth day of March in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and fifty two. and of the independence of the United States the Seventy Sixth. By the President Millard Fillmore By M. R. Fillmore, Secy E.S. Terry, Recorder of the General Land Office."
Under Dolan there are a number of interesting entries in Cass, Gower, and Center Townships. A half mile west of the original Michael Bolger purchase, a John Dolan purchased a 40 acres parcel on June 10, 1851. He also purchased, from the U.S.A., three additional 40 acre parcels immediately to the south in Gower Township on the same date. Just south of that, on May 1, 1848, a George Washington Dolan purchased an 80 acre tract and sold it to Jno Dolan on August 3, 1848. This land lies just to the west of the land Michael Bolger bought from Robert Gower in Section 5. I speculated at the time we found these entries that Harriet might be a part of this family, but we had no evidence to support the speculation.
The Patent Record of the first John Dolan purchase above is especially interesting and insightful into the land purchase process at the time. The preprinted form begins: The United States of America. To all to Whom these Presents shall come, Greetings: KNOW YE, That in pursuance of an Act of Congress, entitled "An Act to raise for a limited time an additional military force, and for other purposes," approved February 11, 1847, (then, filled out by hand) Joseph B. Cowlick late a Sergeant in Captain Weavers Company, Fourth Regiment of Ohio Volunteers (continuing preprinted format) having deposited in the General Land Office a warrant in his favor numbered 62682. (The word "his" and the "62682" were handwritten in the blank.) There is Therefore Granted by the United States unto (again in handwriting) John Dolan assignee of said Joseph B. Cowlick and to his heirs, the north....( it goes on to describe the property.) Military service at certain times earned warrants for the purchase of lands being opened in the west. The warrants could be turned in for land, or, sold as happened here.
James and Josiah Dolan owned land in Center Township. The records we first examined seemed to be incomplete, but, some of the references were there. Their home place was located in Section 15 of the Township.

Families are forever! ;-)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Episode 1

The following is Episode 1 of 8 written in the summer of 1995 and shared with our three daughters, to begin sharing with them our ancestors stories. We have shared many stories in the meantime, and regularly keep them up to date on our research.

I am posting each of these stories here in order to demonstrate what can be done, and, to make the information available to interested others. PLEASE NOTE: these have not been edited and updated for new information, so if you read this, take the information WITH THAT IN MIND! Thanks! Enjoy reading this slice of our lives.

Episode 1

The Search Begins in Cedar County, Iowa

We first went to Cedar County right after ESU Commencement on May 13, 1995. Glenn Bolger's father, Frank Bolger (Nancy's Grandfather), was the son of Thomas Bolger, who had been a farmer in Coon Rapids, and had earlier married a Jessie Dolan, known to be the grand-daughter of a James Dolan (by a son, Josiah). He had presumably immigrated from Belfast, Ireland to Ohio with his family and, in 1844, settled in Cedar County, Iowa. We had a very crude list of names of the James Dolan lineage, but no more. We knew little of the origins of the Bolger family, though we had been told they had come from Ireland.
This search was also to be our first attempt to search old county and library records to dig up previously unknown information and to verify in records information previously provided us by family sources. We knew from our readings on family history and genealogy searches that all information obtained is not necessarily reliable. It is best to go to the original documents for verification, wherever possible. Multiple, reliable sources are even better. This allows a cross-check and confirmation.
Prior to leaving Emporia, Nancy had begun to examine U.S. census tapes for Cedar County for 1850, 1860, and 1870. The indexes for the census tapes had shown a number of Dolans in Center Township, including a James and a Josiah (see below). No Bolgers were noted on the 1850 census but there was a Michael Bolger, a Harriet Bolger and three children listed for 1860 in Cass Township, in western Cedar County. The census further showed Michael as born in Ireland and Harriet born in Ohio. In the 1870 census for Cass Township, the Michael Bolger family included for the first time a son, Thomas, listed as 9 years old. That fit with what we knew of Thomas. (In addition, the 1870 census showed Michael and Harriet aged 58 and 39. It listed other children: Rosamond, 16; Mary, 14; Nina, 12; Sarah, 6; Catherine, 3; and Michael, 3/12.) Our job, then, was to verify and confirm that we had identified the correct family and proceed to expand on that information. (Nancy recognized the Rosamond name, from family discussions, but was totally unaware of either of the Michaels. More on the younger Michael in a later episode.)
The 1850 census for Center Township which includes Tipton, the county seat, in the middle of the county, among the several Dolans, listed a Harriett Dolan, by herself, age 18, born in Ohio. Harriett did not appear anywhere on the Dolan name list. Was she from another family? Could Harriett Dolan, age 18, in Center Township in 1850, possibly be the same person as Harriet Bolger, age 27, in Cass Township in 1860?
Dolans in the the 1850 census included what appeared to be a family unit of James A. Dolan (age 43), Malvinna (16), Josiah (13), Chad (10), Harley (8), and Charlotte (6). The Dolan list we had showed children of James as: 1. John, 2. Charlie, 3. Melvina, 4. Josiah, 5. Charlotte. (This is fairly typical of how various records are at odds with one another and how it is important to note where you find each piece of evidence; later, one can work on questions about the source; most reliable, and/or original source?)
At the Cedar County Courthouse in Tipton, one of our first searches was of marriage records, from the beginning of recorded history there, which was the 1830's. They did have an index, by alpha name, so that helped a lot. Looking down the list we found (they are listed by male and then female along side): "Bulger Nichael Dalan Harriet" at Marriage Record Book D, page 4. The entry at that reference, plainly written in hand script, was, in part: "This is to certify that on the 24th day of February 1851 I did unite in the bonds of Matrimony Michael Bulger Aged 28 Years to Miss Harriet Dolan aged 19 Years in Cedar County Cass township at the House of Robert Gower." It was signed, Asa Haskins, Justice of the peace. [Harriet's roots will be discussed, more, later.]
Nancy did have, from her mother, Ruth, a copy of the Certificate of Marriage of Mr. Thomas Edmond Bolger to Miss Jessie Amanda Dolan, in Johnson County, February 18, 1889.
We also found in the marriage records, under Dolan (male list) the following, which we recorded for future reference: John Dolan, Rebecca Tyler; James Dolan, Amanda E. Stratton; Charles Dolan, Mary Paden; Pitt Dolan, Katie G. Spende. Under Dolan (female list): Arabell Dolan, Cyrus Boon; Rebecca Dolan, Geo Riggle; Sarah Dolan, Robert Filson; Kate Dolan, Hayden Pierce; Milisa Dalan, Phillip McSparen. Under B (female list) we found: Mary Bolger, Milton Vincent; Rosemond Bulger, David Negus. Each of these had a book and page reference where more information was provided, such as date, house where married, by whom, etc. We duly recorded this information, even though we doubted many would be of further interest. (We later were able to identify each - and they were very useful tidbits of information, later!)
We next went to property records, but that is another story .... see episode 2.
Let me share two cemetery visit stories at this point. They really depend a lot on information found in property records and at the library, but we will discuss those details later. The James Dolan family list, mentioned earlier, says he died in 1890 and was buried at Mt. Zion Cemetery in Cedar County. We found out at the library that the Mt. Zion Church and Cemetery were a few miles southwest of Tipton and easily accessible. While at the library, we also found the following article in the Directory of Cedar County, Center Township (I believe it was written about 1877, need to verify the date): "DOLAN, JAMES, farmer, Sec 15; P.O. Tipton; born in Ohio, Oct. 12, 1806; lived there thirty-eight years and came to Cedar County April 20, 1844, located at Gower's Ferry during the Summer and moved to where he now lives Oct. 17, 1844; bought the claim and entered the land from the Government; there were plenty of deer, turkeys and wolves here; only few are here now who were here when he came; owns farm of eighty acres; has held school and road offices. Married Nancy Harris from Ohio; she died in 1846; they had five children. Married Amanda E. Stratton, from Champaign Co., O., in June, 1852; they have four children - Pitt, Sallie, Arabella and George B.; had two sons in the army; they enlisted in the 24th Regt. Iowa Infantry and were in many battles."
We visited Mt. Zion Cemetery and found his marker with others. James Dolan d. 19 Jan 1891 Age 84 yr. 3 mo. 7d.; Amanda, wife of James n.d.; George B. d. Mar 7, 1921; Susie inf daughter of G.B. & S.P., Aug 1896; Blanche, dau./o G.B. & S.P. Oct 22, 1888, age 1 yr. 4 mo. (At the library we found information on Mt. Zion in Stones & Sites of Cedar Co, Ia. 1836-1986, p.375: Located in NW1/4 of SE1/4 Sec 15 (same section as James Dolan farm) Center Twsp. lying east of the church yard and on the north slope of a ridge. Access is by a gravel road on the south with main entrance on east and west ends. The deed contains "and it is hereby agreed that the meeting house there on standing is to be free to the use of other denominations when not occupied by the Mt. Zion Church. It is further agreed that should said church lose its visibility, that the house shall become the property of the State School Fund of the Free Baptist denomination in the State of Iowa." The church was locked, but we did look in the windows and it has pews and an alter and appears to still be used, sometimes, if not regularly. A few hundred feet west of the church (and cemetary) there is an abandoned farmstead (May 14, 1995) that sits on the land on which James Dolan lived. We have no way of knowing, yet, if this might have been where his homestead was located, but, it was fun to speculate this might have been it.
We also found the cemetery in Cass Township on a hill just north of the Michael Bolger property (on the same section, near the northeast corner), right along the nice paved county road (Straight west of Tipton, west of the Cedar River, north of West Branch; now marked with road signs: Solon Road and 210th Street). Just inside the front gate, and to the left, maybe fifty feet, are a large "Bolger" stone and four smaller grave markers: Michael 1808-1875; Fleeta 1851-1852; Nina 1858-1879; Katie 1867-1885; Harriet 1833-1912. (We later found this cemetery - see reference above, p 368 - is known by three names: Evergreen, Gunsolus, Green Hill. The description in the book includes: "This cemetery lies high on a small ridge on the north side of county paved road F28 one mile west of the Cedar River bridge at Cedar Bluff. Specifically the site is on the northern boundary of NE1/4 Sec. 32-81-4 Cass Twsp. where the Tipton & Iowa City Road intersects the Overman's Ferry and Cedar Rapids Road. The main entry gate is in the west fence near the SW corner. In addition there is a seldom used pedestrian gate in the SE corner."
We actually found this cemetery and the markers before we got to Tipton. We had driven north from West Branch and had just turned east toward Tipton. On the left, on a rise, was a small cemetery. We got out, walked past the gate, turned to our left, and there they were. We knew it was going to be a good day.

Family is forever! ;-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Initial Post

This initial post to this blog will consist of two written pieces dated 10 Jul 1995. The first is an introduction for our three daughters (my wife, Nancy, and I just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary last month) to a series of stories (actually 8 were finished - to be published here as subsequent posts) about our family history and how we had gone about our search. The second is the "transmittal lettter" content. We are now aware of many changes and new information. That will be added in later ancestor story posts - these writings are as shared in 1995.

Farmers of the Prairie; the people, the times, the places
A story of one family; created from many families


William Leverne Smith and Nancy Ruth Bolger Smith


We started the quest in search of the true story behind the "family story" we had always heard about Nancy's Great-Grandfather Norman D. Wilson and his wife, Mary Ellen Offill, coming across the prairie in a covered wagon with the oldest three of their five daughters. Nancy is a granddaughter of their youngest daughter. We envisioned our own version of "Little House on the Prairie."
To an extent, the dream has been confirmed. However, the stories we have found, and are still finding, of the history of our families are much more exciting, much more widespread, and really much more interesting than a simple trek of a hundred miles or so in a covered wagon. Yes, the final leg of the journey was about a hundred miles in a wagon to bring the household goods and children to the farm on the prairie; but Norman had been both visiting and working the farm for perhaps ten years before the actual move. And, while he was breaking sod on the prairie, the train went by a few miles to the north and a few miles to the south. He was an authentic pioneer, in many respects, but, his father, his grandfather and his great-grandfather, we have found, were each pioneers also, in earlier times and earlier places. As were many others of our ancestors not so many generations ago. They lived in times and places which had only been vague references in the history books until we probed and probed and probed to discover the lifes they must have actually lived in what now seems to have been really exciting times and places.
We want to share with you now some of those times and places we have discovered along with the people, people who are a part of us and our heritage, people who have become alive for us through the act of discovery. We have found a much deeper and personal sense of the history of our nation in this process of discovery also. In addition, we have found that these people were really no different from us. We each simply face life as it comes to us and deal with it, day by day, hour by hour, year by year. While facing major changes in our national character and striving to make a living for our families, our children are being born and seeking their own lives. Some of them die, they are killed in accident and war, and most grow up to do things we would never have imagined in our younger years. Along the way, we have been courageous and cowardly, rich and poor, brilliant and stupid, brave and afraid.
We write this for ourselves and our three daughters. That is enough. If others find any of our stories interesting, we hope they inspire you to seek your own stories, because they are exciting also. But much of the excitement is in the search. Begin today.

The Wilson line was a good place to start because a lot of good people before us had done a lot of work in recording and preserving records down through the years: From England to Connecticut shortly after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth, to upstate New York, to Illinois just after the Black Hawk wars, fighting in the Civil War, moving to Prairie City, Iowa and then to the Far View Farm in Carroll County, Iowa, between Coon Rapids and Glidden. The Wilsons, particularly in Illinois, were also active in the Underground Railroad. The Offills moved from Virginia to Kentucky, fleeing to Iowa as the Civil War threatened to engulf them. Meanwhile, during the early l800's, the Dolans and the Bolgers were migrating from Ireland, via Ohio, to the Cedar River valley in eastern Iowa, settling in central and western Cedar County. Our new discoveries in these families were very satisfying. We look forward to more "ah-ha's!"
Nancy's maternal side consists of the Thomas line from Wales, via Illinois, the Lynk line via Illinois, the Weavers via Ohio and the Yagers from Pennsylvania and Ohio. Do we see a pattern developing? Quite a bit was already known about the latter three lines, so we have done less discover work there and more simply becoming familiar with the details by visiting libraries, county offices and cemetaries in many towns and states. In the process, however, information was discovered in other lines. You never know where you will find the next clue. And then, a new bit of information makes other previously recorded notes more meaningful, and the cycle starts all over again.
Much of Bill's side of the family is shorter in terms of years in the United States, it turns out. Grandmother Dorothy Sorenson Kinnick, for instance, was born in Aalborg, Denmark, and came to the United States, to Stuart, Iowa, in 1904. Great-Grandfather Smith was born in France in 1829 as John Michael Schmitt (which became Schmidt, then Smith). His wife, the mother of Grandfather Smith, was born in Sweden in 1848. Grandmother Ellen Smith was a Preston (origins still being checked), but we do know that her maternal Grandfather was an Ohio banker. Finally, the Kinnick line was presented in a 1953 genealogy based in Indiana. It has been presented through the family as suggesting the thesis that all U.S. Kinnicks come from one family first identified in Maryland in 1775. Those in Indiana arrived there via North Carolina, the family having moved there from Maryland. Except, it appears one son, Joseph, moved across the border into Pennsylvania from Maryland rather than going to North Carolina. It is speculated in the book, no more than that, that our branch descended from that Joseph. The records (we are missing probably one generation, it appears) then pick up in Buda, Illinois, where the family of Walter Watson Kinnick (the older) appears on the 1850 census. The census shows he was born in Maryland and his first few children, including Great-Great-Grandfather Walter Watson Kinnick (the younger) were born in Ohio. His son, my Great-Grandfather, Alonzo Palmer Kinnick, married Margaret Jeanette Williams, whose father, Elias Williams, was born in Dinhigh, England, in 1838. This is where the Kinnick-Williams picnic in Coon Rapids, Iowa, of my younger years had it's origins.
This summary covers the eight families of ancestors of each of us, sixteen in total. There is another set of sixteen, one more generation back, of course. We have been able to identify many of them, at least by name: Dolan (a second family), Dickey, Adkins, Walters, Hurtman, Dockstader, Steel, Tyler, Symonds, Duncan, to date. In addition, some of these are identified back several more generations. It is quite a large number of people, and only a few of them have been officially identified in any written family history form. One of our secondary goals is to change that. We think they deserve it, and we deserve it. We recognize it will take years, but we look forward to the challenge.

Note the use of DRAFT on all the pages along with a date. That is because these documents are for our internal family use only at this time. As you read this and the numbered episodes that follow, please provide feedback, corrections and questions that come to mind to direct further research. We look forward to your reactions and thoughts.
Numbered episodes will follow in no particular order.

Here is the transmittal letter content:

To: Annette, Allison, Arrion

Re: Enclosed 3 page introduction document - regarding family history

I, your Dad, seem to have a way of being too formal, sometimes, but I want to do this sharing right, not mess around with it, like some others I have observed have done (we'll talk about that sometime in the future).

The enclosed set of thoughts is in DRAFT form, no more, no less. I don't know where it is going, if anywhere. It may never go beyond this little set of sharing reports with you.

Mom and I have been having a ball with the family history research so far. She has been the main one this time. I started on pieces of it long time ago, twice, but let it drop. She is now the lead researcher, but has gotten my juices running again, too. So, I am beginning to work on my side of the family as we work real seriously on her side.

If I follow through on this as I hope, some of the numbered episodes will be stories we have found, some will be stories of the search, some will be...who knows? I hope Mom will include some she has written. She is getting pretty good at it. Mostly, I want an excuse, and a deadline, to write stuff down, to finish little pieces, to keep me going. I don't want to have to worry about getting everything "exactly right" before I send them to you for your review. They will never be "done," as new stuff comes up everyday from lot's of places. Let me know what you think. Thanks,
[End of Letter]

Family is forever! ;-)