Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Murdered by a Stranger or Was It Self-defense?

Walter Joseph "Joe" Manley was my second cousin twice removed. He was born on 23 June 1905 in Troy, Illinois. Troy is in southern Illinois not far from St. Louis, Missouri, which is just across the Mississippi river. The land is rolling with good soil for farming and water was abundant. Most people in the area farmed.

Coal was discovered in Madison County as early as 1840 but when the railroad connected Springfield to East St. Louis, mining began in earnest. Many men from Troy worked for Donk Brothers Coal & Coke Co. The company sank a mines near Marysville, Collinsville, and Troy, which employed about 1,000 men by the time Joe was born. Joe's father Samuel J. Tilden Manley had moved to Troy from Big Island, Ohio, where he lived with his sister and brother-in-law and worked as a day laborer. He lived out the remainder of his life in Troy and worked for Donk Brothers as a miner for several years.

Walter Joseph Manley was the first child born to Tilden and Mary "Mollie" Blanche Riggin. I am pretty sure that in 1920, at the age of 15, Joe was an inmate at the Illinois State Home for Delinquent Boys, also known as the St. Charles School and Home for Boys.[1] According to the St. Charles Public Library website, "the purpose of the school was to provide boys with a strong education in both intellectual and vocational studies so that once released they could live a life of 'usefulness'." Additionally, the boys were given religious and military training.

Illinois State Home for Delinquent Boys opened in 1904; image courtesy
of the St. Charles Heritage Center

By 1927 Joe was back in southern Illinois, married to Mary Burke, and living at 906 Rock Road in East St. Louis. He was days short of his 22nd birthday when he was murdered.

From the front page of the 22 June 1927 Edwardsville Intelligencer; image courtesy
of Ancestry.com

Interestingly enough, there was not another mention of this incident in the newspaper. While Eddie McAteer was held for murder, he doesn't appear to have been convicted or even had a trial unless murder was so common in East St. Louis it wouldn't have warranted a mention in the newspaper. Joe lived long enough to give a statement to police. In it he claimed he'd never met McAteer before and his shooting was a case of mistaken identity. McAteer's story is much different. He claims he'd had trouble with Joe for a long time and Joe had threatened to kill him. This time Joe came at him with a razor.

So was Joe Manley murdered or did Eddie McAteer shoot him in self-defense?

Joe died in St. Mary's Hospital and was buried at the Troy City Cemetery.

I plan on contacting the Illinois Regional Archives Depository about the records of the coroner jury mentioned in the article to see if there was ever a murder trial.

[1]This is the only viable 1920 Census record for him unless he was living in another state far from Illinois. The only thing that gives me pause is the birth location of his parents.


Joe Manley Dies After Statement Implicated Eddie McAtee in Shooting

Eddie McAteer, of East St. Louis, was held for murder by a coroner jury late yesterday afternoon in the death of Joe Manley, 21 years old, son or Mr. and Mrs. Tilden Manley of Troy, who was buried this afternoon at his old home. McAteer is 37 years old. The fatal shooting occurred in sight of Manley's home, 906 Rock Road, East St. Louis last Saturday night at 7 o'clock.

Manley died at St. Mary's Hospital Monday from three bullet wounds in his body. After the shooting McAteer surrendered at the police station, declaring he shot in self defense.

The jury found that Manley's death was due to a gun shot wound, in the chest, inflicted by Edward McAteer with murderous intent.

Stories on the killing of Manley are widely different. It is believed that McAteer was looking for another and killed Manley through mistaken identity. 

Before Manley died he made a statement implicating McAteer and declared he was not acquainted with the assailant and never saw him before.

McAteer contented that he was attacked by Manley with a razor and shot in self defense. A razor was found in the ambulance that took the injured man to the hospital. The razor is a new one and it is claimed to be unlike the style Manley used.

Before his death Manley told police officers that he was about to enter his house when a man in a Buick coupe called to him. He said he went to the machine and the man in the car, whom he said that he did not know, said "you're John Pringle and I am going to kill you." Manley said that with this remark the man in the coupe pulled a revolver out of his pocket and fired three times. The bullets struck Manley.

Clay Farrell, an employee at Fill Motor Co. nearby, heard the shots and ran into the street. Farrell told police that he observed the Buick coupe, with no license plates, driving away and then saw Manley lying in the street.

When McAteer gave himself up at police headquarters he said that he had been having trouble with Manley for some time and that Manley had several times threatened to kill him. It was about one of these threats, McAteer declared, that he had come to see Manley. During the conversation, McAteer said, Manley displayed a razor and started to cut McAteer. It was then that McAteer fired the shots which resulted in the death of Manley.

Though Manley, before his death, declared that he had no trouble with anyone, McAteer claimed that he had trouble with the dead man for a long time.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

52 Ancestors #13: From Tragedy to Tragedy

Ancestor: Elizabeth Muir (BRODIE) Lively (1874-1910)

When I was thinking last week about how much women's lives have changed and how difficult it was to think of an ancestor who was similar to me, I thought of all the tragedy in my tree and how it seemed to fall on women more heavily than on men. Elizabeth Muir (Brodie) Lively lived a short, sad life. I cannot begin to imagine how she coped. It's no wonder women are TOUGH!

Elizabeth was born on 29 November 1874 in the Causeystanes area of Blantyre parish, Scotland, to William and Henrietta (Cassels) Brodie. Her father was a coal miner; and not long after Elizabeth's birth, he went to work for William Dixon, Ltd., owner of several coal mines in and around the town of Blantyre. He moved his growing family into Dixon's Rows, company-owned housing, which was described in a 1910 report on the condition of miner's housing as a "most miserable type of house." The work mothers and their daughters had to do to keep homes clean is unimaginable to me. These homes typically had two rooms and families with as many as 12 or 13 children lived on top of each other, a great breeding ground for disease.

Dixon's Rows, Blantyre; image courtesy of Auld Blantyre

Elizabeth married James Lively on 31 December 1891. James was a coal miner and also lived in Dixon's Rows. Their first child was born five months later and over the course of the next 10 years, James and Elizabeth had 5 children. Their second child, a son they named James, after his paternal grandfather and father, was born on 21 November 1893. He died three months later of inflammation of the larynx and congestion of the lungs.

Glasgow Road c1910; photograph courtesy of Blantyre Project

Tragedy next struck Elizabeth 12 years later. Her husband James, was walking along Glasgow Road and was run over by two horses pulling a lorry. He survived for five terrible hours after sustaining injuries to his three of his ribs and one lung. It had to have been a terrible death. Life must have been horrible for Elizabeth after her husband and the family's bread winner was killed. William Dixon evicted widows when their husband died, even in mining accidents. I don't know where Elizabeth went to live as she was dead by the time the next census was enumerated in 1911.

Elizabeth died on 14 June 1910 at her sister's home on 8 School Lane in Blantyre. She died of pulmonary phthisis, or tuberculosis, and she had been sick for five months. I'd like to think she and her children were living with her sister, but I am not so sure. Elizabeth was listed as a pauper when her father registered her death. Mary (Brodie) Moore had five children of her own and one died the same day on which his aunt, Elizabeth, died. It was a house doubly steeped in mourning.

Two of Elizabeth's sons were living with her father in Dixon's Rows in 1911. And her daughter married the next year. One son, John Sneddon Lively, Elizabeth's youngest child, was only 8 years old when his mother died. Where he went, I have no idea.

Tragedy wasn't finished with Elizabeth's family yet, however. Her third child, William Lively, was drafted into the British Army and arrived in France on 31 March 1918. After training for a few days at the 40th Infantry Base Depot, he was transferred to the 1/4 Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment on 19 April 1918. Little more than a month later, he was dead at the age of 19.

Ancestry.com recently added UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929. It the only reason I knew about brother John.

William Lively's Soldiers' Effects Record; courtesy of Ancestry.com

I am only glad William's mother was not alive to learn of his fate. At least she was spared that.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme Different.

Elizabeth Muir (Brodie) Lively was born on 29 November 1874 to William and Henrietta (Cassels) Brodie. She was named after her maternal grandmother, my great great grand aunt. She married James Lively on 31 December 1891 in Blantyre, Scotland, according to the forms of the Evangelical Union Church. The couple had five children. James Lively was killed in 1906 and Elizabeth died four years later on 14 June 1910 at her sister, Mary's house in Blantyre.

Killed in Action During the Spring Offensive
Dixon's Rows: "A Miserable Type of House"

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Killed Twice?

Nathaniel D. Riggin was the second son of my space alien, three times great grandfather, Alfred Riggin and his wife, Sarah "Sally" Piper. He grew up on his parents' farm in what became Jarvis Township in Madison County, Illinois. At the age of 22, he married Sarah A. Matlock on 12 March 1859.

He was soon caught up in the Civil War, serving as a Private in Company I, 7th Illinois Infantry Regiment. He had one of the skimpiest muster roll files I have ever seen -- two general index cards which listed his name and military unit -- both undated. So I have no idea when he began his service.

Company I was originally formed from men mostly from Springfield, Illinois. Perhaps Nathaniel and Sarah had moved to the state capitol? The city had become the state's third capitol city in 1839.

Color Bearers of the 7th Illinois Infantry Regiment; photograph courtesy of
the Illinois State Historical Library

The 7th saw plenty of action near and in Alabama in 1863 and 1864. I do not know exactly when or where Nathaniel was captured, but he was. The Illinois Adjutant General issued a history of the regiment's wartime service. It included the following description of fighting:

"Arrived at Pulaski Feb. 27, 1864, where the regiment was mounted, and left for Florence, Alabama, 90 miles distant, to patrol the Tennessee river and watch Forrest's command, which were just leaving Tuscaloosa, Ala., on the memorable raid on Paducah and Fort Pillow. The regiment was divided into three detachments - four companies at Florence, two companies at Sweetwater, and four at Centre Star.
April 8th, Col. Rowett returned to the regiment, whose headquarters were at Florence, Alabama, and again assumed command, having been relieved from the command at Camp Butler, at his own request.
On the morning of the 7th of May, General Roddy's rebel brigade crossed the Tennessee, between Sweetwater and Centre Star, and attacked the companies at Florence and Sweetwater. After six hours severe fighting against ten times their number, the companies were obliged to retire with a loss of three officers and 32 men wounded and captured. On the 13th of May, the 7th returned with the 9th Ohio Cavalry, under command of Colonel Rowett, and drove the rebels across the Tennessee, capturing a number of prisoners. Was engaged in patrolling the river until June 14th, when the regiment was dismounted and ordered to report to the Brigade Commander at Rome, Georgia. Arrived at Chattanooga, Tennessee on the 17th of June, and was ordered to Tilton, Georgia, to patrol the railroad from Dalton to Resaca, which was then threatened by rebel Cavalry. On July 7th was relieved by the 18th Wisconsin Infantry, and proceeded to Rome, Ga., and went into camp on the south side of the Etowa river. On the 29th of July the non-Veteran officers and men were mustered out by reason of expiration of term of service. Capt. Hector Perrin was mustered as Lt. Colonel, and Capt. Edward S. Johnson as Major. On the 3rd of October 1864, the 4th Division, 15th Army Corps, (to which the Seventh was attached) commanded by Gen. John M. Corse, was ordered to Allatoona Pass to assist in the defense of that important station, then threatened by Hood's army. The 3rd brigade consisting of the 7th, 50th and 57th Illinois, and 39th Iowa, commanded by Col. Rowett, reached the Pass on the morning of October 4th. The railroad being destroyed after the passage of this Brigade, the rest of the Division failed to reach its destination. On the morning of the 5th the Pass was attacked by Gen. French's rebel Division, numbering six thousand men. The 7th, armed with the Henry rifle, (or 16 shooter,) did gallant and fearful work -- successfully repelling four separate charges made by the desperate and hungry enemy on the line occupied by them -- its torn and bleeding ranks told at what a fearful cost. Its colors, under which fell many a gallant bearer that day, were never lowered."
It is possible it was during this period of fighting that Nathaniel was captured. He ended up at a prisoner of war camp in Cahaba, Alabama, at the confluence of the Alabama and Cahaba rivers not far from Selma. It was also known as Castle Morgan. The prison opened in 1863 and used a existing cotton warehouse as the main building. It was originally intended to house 500 prisoners but by October 1864, 2,151 Union soldiers were imprisoned there. Despite the unsanitary conditions and lack good water, it had one of the lowest deaths among prisons on both sides. Records indicated between 142 and 147 men died there.

Castle Morgan; drawing courtesy of Wikipedia

On 16 November 1864, Nathaniel D. Riggin joined that statistic. He died of variola smallpox. His mother received a pension for his service on 26 September 1882.

All of the records seemed pretty definitive until I went to the Illinois State Archives website and found this on Nathaniel's record

Death Remarks on the record index at the Illinois State Archives for
Nathaniel D Riggin

There was a riot at the Charleston, Illinois, courthouse in March 1864 where some soldiers and civilians were killed. It was thought the Copperheads had instigated it. But I have not yet found a reference to mob violence in Springfield a few days later, though those arrested in Charleston were transported and held in Springfield.

So when and where do you think Nathaniel D. Riggin died?

I usually leave the sources on my family tree and just tell stories here, but the conflicting sources are part of the story:

Illinois State Archives, Illinois Adjutant General's Report, Regimental and Unit Histories, containing Reports for the Years 1861-1866, online: https://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/databases/reghist.pdf
National Archives and Records Administration, General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. NARA T288. Held by Ancestry.com
National Archives and Records Administration, Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1860 and 1900, compiled 1949, documenting the period 1861-1942. NARA T289. Held by Fold3.com
National Archives and Records Administration, Registers of Deaths in the Regular Army, compiled 1860-1889. Records of the Adjutant General's Office. Record Group 94. ARC ID: 1226156. Held by Ancestry.com
National Archives and Records Administration, Registers of Deaths of Volunteers, compiled 1861-1864, Records of the Adjutant General's Office, Record Group 94. ARC ID: 656639. Held by Ancestry.com
National Park Service, Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, online http://www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/
Northern Illinois University, Illinois Copperheads and the American Civil War, http://www.lib.niu.edu/1996/iht319615.html (accessed 6 March 2015)
U.S. Federal Census, Year: 1850; Place: Marine, Madison, Illinois; Roll M423_119; Page: 561A; Image 462. Held by Ancestry.com
Wikipedia, Charleston Riot, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charleston_Riot (accessed 6 March 2015)

Did Widow Riggin Remarry?
Who's Your Daddy, Alfred Riggin?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Worldwide Genealogy: Slave Name Roll Project -- How It Started and Thoughts on Its Future

As some of you may know, the Slave Name Roll project was launched on the last day of February as a way to foster continuous collaboration between descendants of slaves and descendants of slave owners. One month on, it's been keeping me quite busy adding the contributions from many people who contribute by leaving links of named slaves as comments on the page. It's a good problem to have as the response is gratifying.

I contribute to Worldwide Genealogy -- A Genealogical Collaboration on the 25th day of every other month. Today I wrote a post describing how two DNA matches led me ancestors who owned slaves, how the Slave Name Roll Project began, and the thoughts I am starting to have about its future. I hope you will click over and read it and provide your thoughts on what the future of the project should be.

Image of a watercolor entitled "Old Plantation (Slaves Dancing on a South
Carolina Plantation) circa 1785-1795 attributed to John Rose; courtesy of
Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On the High Road to Ruin

For months I thought I had figured out how my Grandma, Alice (Muir) Jennings, descended from Teague Riggin, who lived in Somerset County, Maryland, by 1667. He came to the colonies as an Irish indentured servant and died owner of a significant estate. The person I thought was my fives great grandfather was Teague's great great grandson, James Riggin. He was born on a Maryland plantation and died in the mountains of Tennessee. He had been a tailor, a Methodist circuit-riding minister, and farmer.

In a book about the descendants of Teague Riggin, I came across a reference, "information that had been contributed to Mrs. Kelty's book on the Riggins family -- the only book on the subject in the Salt Lake City Library." I went looking for that book on FamilySearch.org. Index of Riggins Families was compiled by Mrs. Daniel Stone Kelty and is held by the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. It is also available on FamilySearch.org.

The index included a fascinating biographical sketch about James Riggin written by his son John C. Riggin. Even though James Riggin is likely not a direct ancestor, though a DNA matches suggests we are related in some way, I wanted to share the sketch:

Memoirs of James and Mary Riggings (page 1)

Memoirs of James and Mary Riggins... from a manuscript (typed) in the Los Angeles City Library (Gen Dept.)

"J. M. Riggins was born on the 21st day of May, 1756, Somerset Co. Md. of English and Irish descent. His father dying while he was young, he was bound apprentice to learn the tailor's trade, for 3 years. His apprentice having expired, he continued to work at his trade and keep house for himself, for four years; and during this time, as he expressed himself, in the high road to ruin. About this time, a set of people called Methodist commenced dissembling their tenants in Maryland, and Riggins went to hear one of their preachers out of curiosity. The name of the preacher was Petticord. Riggins listened attentively, the preacher characterized the sinner, depicted the terrible consequences of sin, painted out the only remedy and exhorted sinners with great earnestness to seek that remedy and whilst thus engaged, fixed his eyes steadfastly on Riggins, and with a peculiar look and tone said, 'Tomorrow it may be too late for you.' Those words made a powerful impression on Riggins and he immediately determined to reform which he did, and joined the Methodists. His patrimonial estate consisted principally of negroes which he liberated. Feeling it was his duty, he procured a license to preach and commenced traveling the country in various directions, preaching with great zeal and effect.

While thus employed he became acquainted with Mary Howard, who then resided in Green River, Va. After an acquaintance of about 12 months they were married in Washington Co. Va. 27th day of Jan. 1791, where Miss Howard had gone to visit her sister. Riggins, having traveled and preached for about 8 years, now felt it his duty to locate and commence farming. For this purpose he removed to Tenn. and settled on the banks of the Little Pigeon, which is now in Sevier Co. While preaching, he had a spent most of his earnings. His wife had no money and their united means enabled them to purchase 12 acres of land. On this he remained for several years, working hard on week days and preaching on Sun.

At this time War broke out between the Cherokees and the whites, in consequence of which Riggin and his family retreated in the pickets of the fort every night. Upon the return of peace, he sold his plantation on Pigeon and settled on Waldrons creek, ten miles distant from his former place. This was his last removal. Here he became the owner of 300 acres of land and erected several good buildings. It was in a state of nature and he labored hard and cleared the land and annually raised good crops of all kinds and kept on hand a large stock of cattle, hogs and horses. In fact he lived as well as heart could wish, but this state of bliss was interrupted by a difference between him and the Methodist Church in 1810. One Clark Moore, a celebrated preacher of the Society, had swindled the public. Riggins complained to the Church of his conduct and they refused to reprimand Moore, so Riggins withdrew from the church, but continued to preach, as long as he lived.

His wife, Mary was born in Bedford Co., June 28, 1765 of Scotch and Irish descent. When six years of age her father moved to Green River Co. Va. at which time there were only six families in the County. Here she lived mostly within the walls of the fort until she was 14, as the Shawnee Indians at that time were very troublesome. Her father and brother were engaged in frequent skirmishes with them and while on an expedition against them in 1780 her father died. Soon after, all of her brothers and sisters married and settled themselves, some in Ky. and others in Tenn. In this situation she lived until her mother died and in 1788. She then resided with the family by the name of Scarborough until she married as above stated. After the death of her husband she lived mostly with her youngest son Ignatius and with her daughter Sarah in Bradley Co. Ten., where she died Nov. 21, 1836. She was buried in a valley 6 miles south of Cleveland in Bradley Co.

They had eight children, 4 boys and 4 girls, all of which grew to maturity. James Riggins died April 1, 1826, nearly 70 years of age. He was full 6 ft. tall, a man of great strength and commanding appearance. He is mentioned in Ramsey's Annals of Tenn.[1] as being one of the first Justice of the Peace of Sevier Co."

[1]Ramsey, James Gettys McGready. Annals of Tennessee to the End of the Eighteenth Century, (Charleston:John Russell, 1853) 
This book is available on Google Play.

Who's Your Daddy, Alfred Riggin?
Indentured Servant to Landed Gentry
Lost an Election to Abraham Lincoln
Confusion and the Proof Standard

Sunday, March 22, 2015

52 Ancestors #12: Genealogist and Inspirational Author

Ancestor: Jessie BEARD

The optional theme for this week was "Same," and I had a terrible time with it. If it wasn't for my sheer determination to follow the themes each week as a way to write about ancestors I may normally not highlight, I don't know that I would have ever thought to write about Jessie Beard or to dig deeper into her life to discover what I did.  The theme made me realize how much a woman's life has changed over a fairly short period of time. I work outside the home as an executive at a software and market research company, a role once reserved for men in an industry that didn't exist a hundred years ago. I vote; I drive; I don't have children (by choice); and I hire a maid service to clean my home. How could I possibly find someone like that in my tree, which is filled with wives of coal miners, farmers and factory workers?

Inspiration finally struck when I thought about why I write my blog. I do it because I'm an amateur genealogist and family historian, who wants to share stories about my ancestors. With that thought, one person in my tree jumped out at me -- Jessie Beard. In 1952 she wrote History of Adam Beard and His Descendants, which can still be purchased from Higgonson Books and other sources. According to Jessie's introduction, she did it the hard way by writing letters to distant family members and relying on them to provide important dates, family stories, and search through old family Bibles for answers to her questions.

Jessie Beard from her high school yearbook available
on Ancestry.com

Jessie was born and raised in Southside, West Virginia. I'm sure she spent many hours in nearby county courthouses doing her research. I've written before about old family genealogies and how much I enjoy them and how I use them in my own research.

My great grandmother was Effie Davis Beard. For years she was Dad's brick wall; he only knew her given name. Then the year before he suffered his first cerebral hemorrhage, one of his research collaborators (and my second cousin) found Effie's full name among her grandmother's papers. Slowly, Dad began answering his many questions about the Beard family.

He had a second massive cerebral hemorrhage in 2012 that changed his and Mom's life completely. I took over his research so that it would continue. At first, I concentrated on sourcing his information and correcting what few errors I found along the way. Early on I took a DNA test. Boy, did I have a lot of matches who also had the Beard surname in their pedigree charts. I was able to confirm that Effie Davis Beard descended from John Beard (1705-1780), my six times great grandfather, who had at least three grandsons who fought in the Revolutionary War -- David, Samuel (my direct ancestor) and Adam.

Jessie believed her Adam Beard descended from Capt. David Beard. She wrote in her book:

"The earliest record of the Beard family that can be traced here in the United States is of -- David Beard -- the first one of our family to settle here. Legend tells us that his family were natives of Ayrshire, Scotland, but left there because of religious persecution and went to North Ireland. No actual facts are known by the writer about his early life here, except, that he lived in Virginia and was a soldier in the American Revolution. He was in the army of General Greene, serving with him through the Southern Campaign, rising to the rank of Captain. He was badly wounded at the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781, having been shot through the abdomen while leading a charge near the close of the conflict. After his recovery, he again entered the service and was at the surrender of Yorktown. After the war was over, he returned to Virginia and settled in Bedford County."

Jessie began her book with Adam Beard (1787-1872), who she believed was a son of Capt. David Beard. I, however, believe he was a son of David Beard's younger brother, also named Adam Beard (1755-1788). DNA matches seem to confirm my theory. But I digress...

Adam Beard's cabinet Mason County, West Virginia, c1845; photograph
courtesy of Ancestry.com member dlemberg1. It was also included in
Jessie's book.

Genealogy is never finished as there are new sources which become available daily and new technologies to help us in our quest. As I am writing a multi-volume history of the descendants of my Scottish three times great grandfather, I can empathize with the struggles Jessie must have faced to produce her Beard book. I can use Internet publishing technologies instead of a manual typewriter and online records in addition to the parish registrar's office. Even with all that is available today I would echo Jessie's comment, "It is not complete by any means as the many families are widely scattered and I have been unable to contact several of them and a few have been indifferent about giving me information."

Jessie Beard; photograph from her website

What gave me special pleasure was Googling Jessie's name and discovering that after retiring from her career as a teacher, she became an inspirational author. While I have had my writing published, I've yet to be paid for it. Here's hoping that happens after I retire!

So I celebrate the life of an ancestor who is a little like me. And more like what I would like to become in my "retired" career.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme Same.

Jessie Beard is still living; I have written this post with her permission. She has also agreed to be interviewed.

Honoring Robert Dennard Tucker
Newly Discovered Photos
George Washington Spoke to Him

Friday, March 20, 2015

Grandma and The Sound of Music

Twentieth Century Fox Film released The Sound of Music in March 1965. There was a New York premier on 2 March and one in Los Angeles on 10 March. I'm not sure when the movie opened in Washington, D.C., or in which theater, but Grandma and I were there for opening night. She dressed up in a long blue dress and I was dressed in one of the beautiful dresses Mom made for me.

Sound of Music movie poster; courtesy of Wikipedia

Grandpa Jennings had died four years before. After that, Grandma had to sell their home, get a job, learn to drive, and buy a car. She was only 55 years old. Her first car was a Chevrolet Corvair, and her driving skills -- well, it was always an interesting experience -- but she was fearless. She made me fearless, too.

We waited in line to buy our tickets and watched the movie together. Driving home that night, way after my bedtime, we sang songs from the movie in very off-key voices. A very special "Grandma" memory. Watching the ABC special with Diane Sawyer about the making of the movie earlier this week on the movie's the 50th anniversary brought it all back.

ABC's "The Sound of Music" with Julie Andrews (part 1)
ABC's "The Sound of Music" with Julie Andrews (part 2)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Did Widow Riggin Remarry?

Sarah "Sally" Piper was my three times great grandmother. She married my space alien, Alfred Riggin, in 1833. He was dropped to Earth when he married Sally, bought forty acres of land, and was enumerated in the 1840 and 1850 census. Then he disappeared into thin air again. I am not amused.

Sally was a mere mortal, however. She pulled one disappearing act in 1860 but the rest of her life is well documented. She and Alfred had six children:
  1. John W. Riggin: born about 1835, died before 1897, married 1) Mary Ramsey and 2) Clementine Wells
  2. Nathaniel D. Riggin: born about 1837, died 1864, married Sarah A. Matlock
  3. James Carroll Riggin: born 1838, died 1907, married 1) Sarah A. Hulme and 2) Rebecca Heady
  4. Theodore Augustus Riggin: born 1840, died 1910, married 1) Mirey M. Raselle and 2) Caroline Vangundy
  5. William H. Riggin: born 1844, died 1877
  6. Mary Jane Riggin: born about 1848, married Charles H. Norton
Nathaniel served as a Private in Company I, 7th Illinois Infantry. He died in Cahaba, Alabama, which was the location of a Confederate prisoner of war camp on 16 November 1864. On 26 September 1885 his mother received a pension for her son's Civil War service. Interestingly, her name is not listed on the image of the card on Fold3.com:

Civil War Pension Index Card for Nathaniel D. Riggin from Fold3.com

However, his card from Ancestry.com provides his mother's name.

Civil War Pension Index Card for Nathaniel D. Riggin from Ancestry.com

Had she remarried?

According to the Illinois Marriage Index, 1763-1900, a searchable database available on the Illinois State Archives website, she did. A Mrs. Sarah Riggin and James M. Robinson were issued a marriage license on 6 May 1856 in Madison County. Maybe this is why Sarah and younger children disappeared in 1860?

I now have more things to add to my research to-do list:
  1. Obtain a copy of Nathaniel's pension file from the National Archives
  2. Order the Robinson-Riggin marriage record from the Illinois Regional Archives Despository
  3. Search for Sarah Robinson in the 1860 census

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Who's Your Daddy, Alfred Riggin?

Alfred Riggin was Alice (Muir) Jennings' great grandfather. She was my paternal grandmother. For many months, I thought Alfred descended from Teague Riggin, who settled in Somerset County, Maryland, by 1667. But I was incorrect. He may yet tie into Teague's line, but right now my working theory is he was dropped by aliens into Madison County, Illinois, in the early 1830s.

Alfred lived during a time in history that wasn't too fussed with keeping records and seemed to me more interested in fighting Native-Americans, arguing about the "peculiar institution" of slavery, acquiring land, and prospering if they could. Madison County began recording land sales in 1802 and marriages and probate records in 1813. The first census was enumerated in 1820. Births began to be recorded in 1858 and deaths in 1877.

Alfred was born about 1811 in Tennessee and disappeared from the records after 1850, neatly dodging almost every helpful record that could have been left about him.

According to the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900, a searchable database available from the Illinois State Archives, Alfred Riggin and Sally (a nickname for Sarah) Piper obtained a marriage license on 7 April 1833 in Madison County.

On April 1836, the Illinois Public Land Purchase Records, 1813-1909, indicated he purchased 40 acres of land, or a quarter section, for $50. The land was described as Section 25, Township 4 North, Range 7 West. This purchase was later recorded at the U.S. General Land Office in Edwardsville on 1 August 1844 and Alfred received Certificate No. 16142 as proof of his ownership. John Tyler was president of the United States of America at the time.

1844 U.S. General Land Office Certificate for land owned by Alfred
Riggin; image courtesy of Ancestry.com

The 1840 census indicated there were 5 people in Alfred's household. He was between 20-29 years of age, so, too, his wife. He was born in Tennessee and she was born in Ohio. One adult could not read or write; this was likely his wife, Sally. They had three male children living in the household with them: two under 5 years of age and one between 5 and 9 years. Alfred was a farmer.

Ten years later the census documents included names of the people living in a household, but not their relationship to each other. That did not begin until 1880. Alfred was 39 years old; his wife Sarah, whose nickname was Sally, was 36 years old. Their likely children, enumerated in the 1840 census, were now named: John W., 15; Nathaniel D., 13; and James Carrol, 11. In addition, three more children have been added to the household: Theodore A., 9; William H., 5; and Mary J., one year old.

Then, poof! Alfred disappeared after the 1850 census was enumerated just as suddenly as he appeared in 1833. The entire family was missing in action in 1860. I need to browse those records page by page in order to locate them.

Alfred's widow reappeared in 1870. She was living on Alfred's farm in Township 4, Range 7, next door to her son James and his wife and child. She lived with her son William, who was now 25 years old, and owned his father's farm, or at least a portion of it. The land was valued at $2,500 and William's personal estate, at $600. A pretty good return on Alfred's initial $50 investment!

Section 25 of Township 4, Range 7, in Madison County; Illustrated
Encyclopedia and Atlas Map of Madison County, Illinois,

Sarah's oldest son, John W., also lived there. He was a widower and with him were his three children by Mary Ramsey: Josephine, Harrison, and Alice Mary. Mary J. Riggin was now 21 years old. She, too, lived with the household. She had married Charles H. Norton and had an infant son, William Henry, who was 8 months old.

In 1880, Sarah lived in Jarvis Township, the name then for Township 4. She listed her occupation as retired farmer. Living with her were two grandchildren: Tressa, Theodore's daughter, and Mary's son, who went by Harry at the time.

According to her headstone, Sarah died 30 July 1887 in Troy, Illinois, which is a town in Jarvis Township. From her headstone, I also learned she was born on 7 March 1813. She was buried in the Troy City Cemetery. No record of Alfred's burial has been discovered.

Research To-Do List:
  1. Look for Alfred in the 1820 census. He won't be named, but he should have been about 9 years old.
  2. Look for Alfred in the 1830 census. He may not be named, but he should have been about 19 years old.
  3. Order Alfred Riggin and Sarah Piper's marriage records.
  4. Look for Sarah (Piper) Riggin and her children in the 1860 census.
  5. Order a book of cemetery inscriptions from the Madison County Illinois Genealogical Society; maybe Alfred will be listed.
Any other suggestions?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

52 Ancestors #11: Indentured Servant to Landed Gentry

Ancestor: Teague Riggin (1640-1707)

Most of my Irish ancestors were none too lucky and many weren't really Irish at all. They were Scots "planted" by English kings in northern Ireland and always considered themselves Scots from what little evidence remains of them. So I decided to write about my first possible[1] Irish ancestor to come to America. For months I thought he was my ninth great grandfather, Teague Riggin. Most of what I learned about Teague came from a book by Sharol Riggin, entitled Teage Riggen and his Riggen - Riggin - Riggins Descendants published in 1987, validated and extended by my own independent research. What I particularly love about the book is that most of the sources are listed for the early Riggin family members. Day trips to Somerset County, Maryland, and the Maryland State Archives enabled me to acquire copies of several relevant wills and land records.

According to Irish Pedigrees (Volumes I and II) by John O'Hart in 1875 and published in 1915, Teague Riggin was a brother-in-law to the 123rd prince of Ireland, Dathi Oge O'Dowda. I'll admit to always being a little skeptical when royal ancestors are claimed, but when I read Dathi's son was over seven feet tall, well....my eyebrows did a bit of a waggle.

Irish Pedigrees by John O'Hart; image courtesy of Internet Archive

The Civil War of 1641-1652 did not treat the Reagh clan very well as they were on the losing side when Oliver Cromwell prevailed in putting down the rebellion. Irish soldiers were allowed to move from Ireland and join foreign armies. Wives of Irish soldiers and children over 10 years of age were sent as slaves to Virginia or the West Indies. The remaining population was required to move west of the Shannon River.

Whatever the reason for Teague's coming to America, he did; and was here by the late 1650s. He was sent to the southern end of Virginia's Eastern Shore. By 1667 he was in Maryland and registered his cattle under the mark Teage Riggen  as "cropt in both ears and holes of both ears." Teague married Mary London, daughter of Ambrose London, in late 1667. His father-in-law deeded land to Teague called Teags Down, a property of 16 acres. Down meant rolling grassy hills along side water. Not long thereafter, Ambrose London deeded Teague another property called Last Choice, which was ten acres. Over time, Teague enlarged his properties to encompass fifty acres.

In 1675 Teague purchased a 700-acre planation called Golden Lyon. The price was 28,500 pounds of good, marketable tobacco. Hamilton Owens, in his book Baltimore on the Chesapeake,  said "those who had land in suitable locations -- which meant, in the early days almost anywhere along the lower bay and its rivers -- were almost certain to get rich, provided they could provide sufficient capital to employ the large number of hands necessary to produce and cure the tobacco crop."

Map of Somerset County c1795

Teague must have been able to do so because he continued to buy property. First, 150-acre Halliards Discovery in 1680, then another 150 acres called Seamans Choice in 1683. Later he patented Riggins Mines, which consisted of 100 acres. In 1687 Teague sold Teags Down and Last Choice. In 1693 Teague started selling portions of his land holdings to his children.

Teague died in November 1707 after writing his will the previous May. We do not know when his widow, Mary, died but she gave testimony in 1730 that her age was 86.

So Teague Riggin came to the America likely as an indentured servant and died as a land owner in Somerset County, Maryland. That's the luck of the Irish!

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme Luck of the Irish.

I thought my descent from Teague Riggin (c1640-1707) was Teague Riggin II (1670-1721), Charles Riggin (1704-1773), Teague Riggin (c1735-1773), James Riggin (1756-1826), John C Riggin (1781 to 1801-1869), Alfred Riggin (c1811-c1850), John Wesley Riggin (c1835-bef 1897), Ida Mae Riggin (1879-1909), Alice Muir (1906-1993), Charles Theodore Jennings (1931- ). However, it likely that John C Riggin only had one son named Ignatius, who is definitely not in my direct line. The Find a Grave Memorial for John states he was born in 1781 but this is fully a decade before his parents were married. I believe his headstone says 68 years and not 88 years old, which would put his birth year as 1801. In this way he fits nicely into the birth order of James and Mary (Howard) Riggin's known children. However, that also makes it impossible for him to be the father of Alfred Riggin, who was born about 1811 in Tennessee. Alfred is the furthest back I can prove my Riggin line. A DNA match leads me to believe Alfred Riggin was related to Rev. James Riggin (1756-1826). I just don't know how.

Slaves of the Riggin Families of Somerset County
Confusion and the Proof Standard
Lost an Election to Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, March 14, 2015

26th North Carolina Regiment at New Bern

Last year my husband and I toured Battlefield Park at New Bern and had a wonderfully informative chat with one of the volunteers. As we walked the battlefield, which is wooded and quite hilly for coastal North Carolina, we discovered this monument to the 26th North Carolina Infantry.

26th North Carolina Infantry monument at
New Bern Battlefield Park

Twenty-Sixth Regiment
North Carolina Troops
Zebulon Baird Vance, Colonel

Abner Bynum Carmichael, Major
Henry King Burgwyn, Jr., Lieutenant Colonel

"Soldiers!! the enemy is before you and you will soon be in combat. You have the reputation of being one of the best drilling regiments in the service. Now I wish you to prove yourselves one of the best in fighting. Men, stand by me and I will by you."

Lt. Col. Henry Burgwyn, Jr.
To the men of the 26th NC on the eve of the battle...

On March 14, 1862, a combined Union army and naval expedition, consisting of 11,000, under the command of Brig. Gen. Ambrose Burnside commenced an assault against Brig. Gen. Lawrence O'B. Branch's 4,000 man Confederate defenses at New Bern.

The 26th NC was assigned to defend the right section of the Confederate line following Bullen Branch from the Atlantic and North Carolina Railroad, west to Bryce's Creek. The right wing of the 26th NC's line covered Weatherby Road and was manned by companies B, E and K of the 26th NC and several attachments, all under Lt. Col. Burgwyn's command. The center of the 26th NC's line, companies C, F, H and I, were under the direct command of Colonel Vance.

The left wing of the 26th NC was defended by companies A, D and G, and was under the command of Major Carmichael. From this line, east to Wood's Brickyard, occurred the most intense fighting of the day. For over three hours the 26th NC, with assistance from the 7th NC and 33rd NC, repelled the enemy's assaults along the railroad and Bullen Branch. A final Union assault on the brickyard succeeded in breaking the Confederate center.

With this, the Confederate forces, holding the line from the brickyard to Port Thompson, retired to New Bern destroying the bridge over the Trent River. The 26th NC, cut off and nearly surrounded, was the last Confederate unit to leave the field. This engagement was the baptism of fire for the 26th NC, which at Gettysburg would sustain the largest numerical losses of any unit, North or South, during the entire course of the war.

26th NC Soldiers Who Died at New Bern
Major Abner B. Carmichael -- Capt. William P. Martin, Co. H
Corporal Michael M. Woode, Co. A
Private M. Kevley, Co. C -- Private Thomas M. McRory, Co. B
Private Joseph Miler, Co. C -- Private Solomon Mullin, Co. B
Private Jackson W. Pope, Co. D -- Private Hugh M. Ray, Co. H
Private William Taylor, Co. A -- Private Lewis B. Tysor, Co. H

In addition to the 11 members who died at New Bern, the 26th NC also lost: 1 man mortally wounded, 9 men wounded, 2 men wounded and captured and 68 men captured for a total of 91 casualties.

Under the leadership of Colonel Zebulon Baird Vance, these North Carolinians made the ultimate sacrifice while defending their native soil. May they always be remembered.

Erected by the Society for the Historical Preservation of the Twenty-Sixth Regiment North Carolina Troops
March 10, 2007

Battle of New Bern

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Onion Layers that Were Cecelia Dagutis

After discovering my husband's paternal grandmother remarried after her first husband died, I decided to re-examine what information I did have about her. Cecelia Dagutis, like many of my husband's Lithuanian ancestors, has been a lot like an onion. The layers peel off slowly as I uncover a small bit of information, leaving many layers of the unknown. I have two big questions: 1) am I dealing with two women named Celia and Cecelia who married Adam Dagutis or one, and 2) what in the heck was her maiden name? I have a slew of options from which to choose.

Cecelia first showed up on the 1900 Census for Hazle Township in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. Her name is spelled Celia Clomaskousky. She was born in April 1883 in Poland Rus and immigrated in 1899. She worked as a servant in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Griskconick, who seemed to run a small boarding house for immigrant coal miners. This may have been where Celia and Adam Dagutis met as he lived at the boarding house.

Cecelia showed up next as Celia Domoshowski, who was born on 10 April 1882 in Russia Poland. Her father was Anthony Domoshowski and he gave his consent to the marriage. Celia lived in Harwood, Pennsylvania, a coal patch, and married Adam Dagutis on 24 November 1900. And honestly, I'm not sure if this is "my" Cecelia or not. My husband's oldest sister had a vague recollection that Adam had been married before. Currently, my family tree reflects Adam being married twice. I have not been able to find a second marriage record for Adam, which makes me wonder if Celia and Cecelia are one in the same person.

Snippet of Adam Dagutis and Celia Dowoshowski Pennsylvania marriage
record; document courtesy of FamilySearch.org

I also have two different birth dates. 10 April 1882 for Celia (marriage record) and 22 November 1882 for Cecelia (death certificate).

Cecelia and Adam had nine known children, though my sister-in-law remembers her Dad talking about 13 children, several of whom died infancy or very young. Luzerne County began recording births in 1893 and this something I need to pursue for all of the children:
  • John Joseph Dagutis, born about 1902
  • Francis Adam Dagutis, born 1 August 1904
  • Joseph Dagutis, born 3 October 1904
  • Anthony Dagutis, born 3 October 1906
  • Anna Dagutis, born 1 June 1908
  • Anthony D. Dagutis, born 10 October 1911
  • Charles Dagutis, born 12 February 1914
  • Peter Charles Dagutis, born 10 March 1918
  • Albert Paul Dagutis, born 18 March 1920
I'm sure you can see a problem right away with the birth dates for Francis and Joseph. The source for Francis' birth date was the application he completed for a Social Security account in 1936. The source for Joseph's birth date is the application his mother sent for a headstone for a military veteran. She submitted the application in 1950.

Francis Dagutis was baptized on 14 August 1904. His mother's maiden name was listed in the church register Kilmasauckuite (keep in mind this is what I believe Latin version of her name). No church baptismal record has been found for Joseph. Anthony Dagutis was buried on 26 November 1906. His mother's maiden name was listed in the church register as Kilmaskeuc. The Pennsylvania death certificate listed her maiden name as Klemazaska. The Pennsylvania death certificate for Charles' death in 1920 listed his mother's maiden name as Klenosioski.

Francis Adam Dagutis' church baptismal record; document courtesy of
Holy Name Parish in West Hazleton, Pennsylvania

Cecelia's oldest known son, John Joseph, married Mary Berndetta O'Donnell in 1925. He listed his mother's maiden name as Cecelia Rolickas. Daughter, Anna, married Joseph Genevich on 2 January 1926. Her mother's maiden name was listed as Kavalaitis on the marriage license. 

Adam Dagutis died in 1925 and Cecelia remarried in 1929. Her father's name was listed as Anthony Klamanakie on her marriage license.[1] On her obituary, which was probably written by her son Anthony (born in 1911), Cecelia's maiden name was Klimasuskis. When Cecelia died in 1967, her son Francis was the informant listed on the death certificate. He did not know the names of Cecelia's parents.

Snippet of Anthony Shrupskis and Cecelia Dagutis' marriage Michigan
marriage record; document courtesy of Ancestry.com

And then there is Cecelia Dagutis' application for Social Security. She listed her father's name as Klimasansluski, which is the spelling I currently have in my tree.

What's your vote for her maiden name? And did Adam Dagutis marry twice?

[1] This marriage lasted very long. It took place in Michigan, but but 6 years later, she was back in Pennsylvania and called herself Cecelia Dagutis. The second husband was not mentioned in her obituary and my father-in-law never spoke of a step-father. My sister-in-law believes her second husband died three years after they were married but I have been unable to find a death certificate yet.

Cecelia [you decide her maiden name] was born on 10 April 1882 or 22 November 1882. Her father's given name was Anthony. She may have married Adam Dagutis on 24 November 1900 or it may have been later. She and Adam had nine known children. Adam died in 1925. Cecelia and her sons Francis, Anthony, Peter, and Albert to Hamtramck, Michigan, between 1927 and 1929. She married Anthony Shrupskis on 13 April 1929 in Detroit. When the 1930 census was enumerated Cecelia and her sons were still living in Hamtramck and Cecelia said she was married, but Anthony was not listed as living with her. By 1935 she was back in West Hazleton and called herself Cecelia Dagutis. She died on 23 May 1967 at the Hazleton State Hospital of peritonitis due to a perforation of the bowel and colon cancer. She was buried beside her first husband on 27 May 1967 at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church Cemetery.

Cecelia's Big Secret? 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

52 Ancestors #10: Last of the Covered Wagons -- Duck and Cover

Ancestor: Clarence Mern BEARD (1885-1960)

My AncestryDNA test results have led to many interesting discoveries but one of the earliest connections I figured out was with a fifth cousin once removed. Her tree included many wonderful old photographs of her mother's Beard family, the line we share, and stories they wrote. Perhaps, the most treasured outcome of this cousin connection was the gift of friendship. My "new" cousin has shared many things about her life, including a book her uncle, Clarence Mern Beard, wrote about his family's trip west in a covered wagon at the turn of the century. Railroads already linked east and west so the trip was unusual in that the family was still traveling by covered wagon in the late 1890s. She has graciously allowed me to share portions of the book on my blog.

A typical covered wagon used by many families during the great western
migration; photograph courtesy of The Historical Society of Dauphin County

This excerpt is about a storm that sprung up quickly on the vast grassy plains.

"But shortly afternoon, an innocent little day cloud appeared in the southwest and as we watched, it took on a sinister appearance.  We could see flashes of lightning bolts outward from its dark, mass, and as a towering thunderhead mushroomed upward, this cloud spread laterally with amazing rapidity.  It quickly blotted out the sun, and as it did so its color became an ugly dark green.  Tattered segments of cloud tumbled in a mighty rolling motion: while wisps of vapor, which had the appearance of smoke, rolled in an upward sweep across the face of the storm.  As this disturbance approached, a large flock of long-winged, pigeon-size birds wheeled and darted overhead in what appeared to be mad ecstasy or sheer panic, as they drove steadily before the oncoming storm.  These were the insect-feeding creatures of the whippoorwill family, which mother called night-hawks and father called bull-bats, but which the Indians named thunder-birds, because of their habit of acting as heralds of violent weather.

But we had little time to view this awe-inspiring spectacle, for everything had to be piled into the wagon and a tarpaulin stretched over the open front, to turn what was certain to be a driving rain.  Father quickly drove stakes into the ground by each wheel and anchored the spikes into the ground by each wheel and anchored the spikes to these because a heavy gust of wind might have upset the outfit.  The farmer came racing out and told us all to run for the shelter of the cellar, while he and father led the horses into the barn.  Mother hurried the children and Daisy carried Iona; and we all stumbled into the safety of an underground structure, which served as a cooler in the summer, and a frost-free storehouse in the winter, but in this case a cyclone cellar.

Tornado in Nebraska; photograph courtesy of the National Weather Service

By the time the men had joined us, a funnel-shaped tongue had dropped from the cloud; and as it touched the ground, dust and loose objects seemed to leap upward and disappear in the whirling mass.  It was perhaps a mile from our shelter but we could clearly see its rotating cone coming straight toward us.  There was scarcely a stir of air and an ominous silence oppressed us.  There was a crash of thunder and a few spatters of giant raindrops slapped the ground.   Father waited outside for a moment, watching the wild thing with evident fascination until, at the insistence of our host, he ducked into the shelter and slammed the door.  Then in a matter of seconds, this terror was upon us with the roar of a freight train.  We expected to hear the crash of falling buildings and braced ourselves for the blow.  There was a hissing, rending sound, which was smothered by a deluge of rain and hail and a pall of darkness fell over the whole scene.  We had put out the candles for fear they might start a fire, in case the house overhead should be wrecked."

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge optional theme Stormy Weather.

Clarence Mern Beard was born on 7 November 1885 in Ansley, Nebraska, to William Adam and Emma Elizabeth (Elison) Beard. He was their second child and oldest son. He married Helen May Banker, the daughter of prominent Louisiana businessman, Francis Henry Banker, on 30 May 1912 in Calasieu Parish, Louisiana. The couple had two children. Clarence died on 29 August 1960 in Oakland, California.

AncestryDNA and Finding a New Cousin
The Great Cyclone of 1896
Biblical Plague or Locust Infestation?