Monday, January 28, 2019

The Mysterious Rose Etta (Poole) Von Briesen Taylor...

I am so fortunate to have a research buddy when working on my Semple line. Due to the time difference between New Zealand and New York, we are able to "tag-team" the research 24 hours a day. Lately, we have been researching James Taylor, my second cousin three times removed. His grandmother was the sister of my three times great grandfather, Peter Semple (1822-1904). James Taylor's first wife, Rose Etta (Poole) Von Briesen, has been a difficult research subject and we have several questions:
  1. Where did she and her two older siblings, Noah Cornelius and Bessie Viola live in 1910?
  2. Where did Rose live with her two children in 1920 after her first husband died?
  3. Why was Rose in Chicago when she married James Taylor in 1921?
  4. When did they divorce?
  5. Did Rose marry again after 1940?
  6. When and where did Rose die?
  7. Where was she interred?
Here is what we know about Rose to date:

Rose (Rosa) Etta Poole was born on 9 November 1893 (or 1894) in Maryland, to William A. and Martha E. (maiden name unknown) Poole. Rose was the fourth of five children. In 1900 her family lived in Laurel, Maryland, where her father worked as a day laborer.

I suspect her parents died before 1910 or her father was deceased and her mother could no longer care for her children as I have only found two of her siblings in the 1910 census. Older sister, Susan "Susie" Mabel Poole boarded at the farm of John and Elta Stevenson in Carroll County, Maryland; and younger brother, William Ashby Poole, was enumerated as an orphan living with Adelaide Hatton on her farm on Fort Washington-Accokeek Road in Prince George's County, Maryland.

Marriage to Robert Von Briesen

On 6 October 1913 Rose Etta Poole and Robert Von Briesen, son of Oscar and Susanna (Wagner) Von Briesen, applied for a marriage license in Washington, DC. They were married in the same city the next day. He was a widower, who was 28 years older than Rose. His first wife, Roberta (Campbell) Von Brisen died seven months earlier on 9 March 1913, leaving him with ten known children ranging in age from 22 years old to 5.

Rose and Robert had two children during their marriage, both born in Baltimore, Maryland:
  • Dorothy Von Briesen born 20 June 1914
  • Oscar Von Briesen born 5 December 1915
Rose's husband, Robert, died on 2 November 1916 in Baltimore at the age of 51. Rose was 23 years old at the time of his death.

Robert Von Briesen (1865-1916) death notice as published in The Baltimore
; courtesy of

I think it is likely that after the death of Rose's husband in 1916, she moved to Chicago because her elder sister, Bessie Viola (Poole) Baugher lived there. Bessie had married Gideon Gilbert Baugher in 1911 and they were living in Chicago by 1915. I have been unable to find Rose or her children in the 1920 census. However, her ten step-children, the children of Robert and Roberta (Campbell) Von Briesen, have all be found in the 1920 census. They remained in Baltimore.

Marriage to James Taylor

On 29 October 1921 Rose married James Taylor in Cook County, Illinois. James was the son of John Taylor and Agnes Miller Morgan and had been born on 7 August 1896 at Carstairs Junction in Carstairs, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He arrived in the United States on 8 May 1920 in New York, having sailed on the White Star Line's RMS Celtic. He told immigration officials at Ellis Island his destination was Springfield, Massachusetts, where a paternal aunt, Margaret McNair (Taylor) Isbister, lived, as well as a paternal uncle, Robert Semple Taylor, the two youngest sibling's of James' father.

James Taylor filed a declaration of intention with the Naturalization Service in 1924. He and his family lived at 6319 Keeler Avenue in Chicago. He worked as a factory hand at the time and listed Rose as his wife. When his filed petition for naturalization in 1927, the family lived in Clarendon Hills, Illinois, and James worked as a factory foreman. He listed his step-children as his own children on his petition. In 1930 Rose, James, and her two children continue to live in Clarendon Hills. They owned their own home at 81 Chestnut Avenue, which was valued at $7,000.

Rose's marriage to James Taylor did not last. Sometime between 1930 and 1936, they divorced as James married again 10 May 1936.

Wedding announcement for James Taylor's
second marriage as published in the Dixon
Evening Telegraph
; courtesy of

Son's Death

Rose's son Oscar, who was named for his paternal grandfather, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 30 November 1937. He completed his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina, and by January 1938 had been assigned to First Signal Company in Quantico, Virginia, as a student at the Radio School. He was absent without leave (AWOL) from 6:00 a.m. 28 March to 9:00 p.m. 31 March. Oscar was tried on 1 April by a disciplinary court and sentenced to 10 days of confinement in the post prison with bread and water rations, with a full ration every third day and two months loss of pay, which amounted to $12.

On 25 April 1938 Oscar Von Brisen committed suicide by a self-inflicted rifle shot to the head in Rockbridge County, Virginia. His maternal aunt, Bessie Viola (Poole) Baugher and her husband had moved to Buena Vista, which at the time was a city in Rockbridge County. Her husband, Gideon, died in 1935. I have been unable to locate Bessie in the 1940 census but perhaps Oscar had gone to visit her and that is the explanation for his place of death?

When the 1940 census was enumerated, Rose and her daughter, Dorothy, lived in Chicago. Rose did not work and Dorothy worked as a computer operator. That is the last record I have been able to find for Rose Etta (Poole) Von Briesen Taylor.

Her daughter married Pedro G. Raz, who was born in the Philippines. She died on 26 December 1976 in Chicago. Her husband died the following year.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Nine Sons Wore the Suit of Gray

My three times great grandparents, James Harvey Beard and Mary McMullin (or McMullen) had four known sons:
  • David Fleming Beard, Sr. (1812-1878), my great great grandfather
  • Granville Lacy Beard (1813-after 1873)
  • Robert M Beard (about 1818-after 1880)
  • Charles Edward Beard (1827-1900)
Charles Edward Beard married Ann Elizabeth Key, daughter of John Bernard Key and Paulina Overstreet, on 21 November 1849 in Bedford County, Virginia, and two of his nieces married younger brothers of his wife, Ann.

Beard-Key marriages; created using Microsoft PowerPoint

Apparently the Beard and Key families were quite close as evidenced by the fact that my great great grandparents, David Fleming Beard and Barbara Ann (Mitchell) Beard are buried in the Key Family Cemetery in Bedford County.

According to a book about the Key family, John Bernard Key, was born in Petersburg, Virginia, to Thomas and Nancy Keys. He moved to Bedford County, Virginia, when he was 17 or 18 years old. Also living in the southern part of the county was a family with the same surname. The mail frequently was delivered incorrectly so John Keys dropped the "s" from his surname.

Ann Elizabeth Key, wife of Charles Edward Beard, was one of thirteen children. Nine of her brothers served in the Confederate States Army (CSA):
  • Thomas Henry Key, born 3 September 1821; enlisted in Company C, 28th Virginia Regiment on 10 August 1863; mustered out on 30 March 1864 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia; according to Find A Grave he died on 30 March 1865 and was interred in Texas so there is some mystery about the end of Thomas' life. 
  • Robert N. Key, born 17 February 1823; enlisted in Company G, 34th Virginia Regiment; died on 10 April 1862 in the Confederate army (according to his brother). His company muster rolls stated that he was "supposed to be dead since April 1862." 
  • Charles Hopkins Key, born 29 November 1825; enlisted in Company G, 34th Virginia Regiment on 3 March 1862; captured on 6 April 1865 in Farmville, Virginia; died in prison in 1865 in Newport News, Virginia. 
  • Yelverton Peterson Key, born 29 October 1829; enlisted in Company G, 34th Virginia Regiment on 3 March 1862; wounded and sent to a hospital in Petersburg, Virginia, on 18 May 1864; died 2 April 1911.
  • Edward Willoughby Key, born 17 January 1835; enlisted in Company G, 34th Virginia Infantry on 3 March 1862; captured on 6 April 1865 in Farmville.
  • John Singleton Key, born 6 May 1839; enlisted in Company G, 34th Virginia Regiment on 1 May 1863; died 4 June 1864 at a hospital in Petersburg.
  • Joseph Cephas Key, born 7 May 1841; enlisted in Company G, 34th Virginia Regiment on 3 March 1862; transferred from a hospital in Farmville to a hospital in Bedford County on 29 March 1865; died 21 January 1884 according to his widow from a lung illness contracted during the war.
  • Benjamin Franklin Key, born 17 January 1844; enlisted in Company G, 34th Virginia Regiment on 3 March 1862; transferred to a hospital in Farmville on 2 April 1865; died 1 May 1925.
  • William Alfred Key, enlisted in Company E, 34th Virginia Infantry in 1864 at Petersburg.
As stated earlier, Thomas Henry Key's death is a bit of a mystery. In Key and Allied Families, written by Mrs. Julian C. Lane, his brother wrote in a letter, "Thomas Henry, b. Sept. 3, 1821, d. in Confederate Army Mar 1865; m. Cecilia A. Owens." Yet, his military records indicated he mustered out of the Army on 30 March 1864. He was interred Pilot Grove Cemetery in Yoakum, Texas, and the inscription on his headstone says, "Thomas Henry Key PVT 2 Co C 28 VA INF Confederate States Army Sept 3 1821, Mar 30 1865." His widow lived in Pike County, Missouri, in 1870 with their children.

Benjamin Franklin Key wrote to a grandson of his brother, Charles Hopkins Key about the experiences of the nine brothers during the Civil War:

"You asked me to tell you something about your grandfather. He belonged to Company E, 34th Virginia Regiment[1], Capt. William Jordan's company, Wise Brigade, Infantry, and was taken prisoner not very long before Gen. Lee's surrender at Appomattox and was kept in prison at Newport News, Va., until June 25, 1865, he passed out and went home to be with his Redeemer. I can say this, that a more devout Christian ever lived or died. He was imprisoned about three months and buried at Newport News. Your papa scarcely remembers ever seeing him. He was born Nov. 29th, 1826. Besides him I had seven other brothers in Civil War, namely: Thomas H., who was born Sept. 3, 1821, and died at a hospital in Richmond, Va., March, 1865. Robert N. was born Feb. 17, 1823, was put on a boat in Yorktown very, very ill with double pneumonia enroute to hospital in Richmond, but never landed, supposed to have died and was thrown overboard. Yelverton P., Edward W., Joseph C., William A., and myself were the only ones to return and I came from a hospital in June at Farmville after the surrender, minus a foot I lost on our retreat the 29th of March, 1865, and John S. Keys was born May 6th, 1839, and died June 4th, 1864, in a hospital in Petersburg."

Benjamin Franklin Key is credited as the author of this verse:

Nine sons wore the suit of gray,
Four sons passed o'er the way --
And their deeds, proud deeds shall remain for us,
And their names, dear names without stain for us,
And the glories they won shall not wane for us,
     In legend and lay
     Our heroes in gray
Though dead, shall live over again for us.

The 34th Virginia Infantry Regiment was formed in May 1862 from men from Norfolk, Richmond, and Yorktown and the counties of Gloucester, Mecklenburg, Bedford, Greene, and King and Queen. For almost two years the unit served as heavy artillery. During that time it was known as the 4th Heavy Artillery and was assigned to the Department of Richmond. In May 1864 it was assigned to Wise's Brigade as an infantry unit. It participated in the Siege of Petersburg and saw action in various conflicts around Appomattox.

[1] According to muster rolls Charles Hopkins Key served in Company G, not Company E.

Lane, Mrs. Julian C. Key and Allied Families, (Baltimore, MD: Clearfield Co., Inc., 2003), pages 275-280.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

A Shot Rang Out and Tore Apart a Family

One day a shot rang out and Lizzie Tolles was wounded. In 1895 a Douglas County, Oregon, grand jury determined there was enough evidence to charge Edward "Ned" Trent Bridges, Jr. with assault with the intent to kill. Justice seemed as slow then as it does today because the final judgment in the case was not rendered until 1899.

Douglas County, Oregon, Courthouse; courtesy of Genealogical Society of
Douglas County

Perhaps in preparation for being found guilty, Ned Bridges and his brother-in-law, Enon Lilly, did some fancy land trading. Ned sold his land to Enon and then, in turn, Enon deeded the land to Ned's wife, Mary Etta (Lilly) Bridges. My supposition was these transactions were to ensure the land could not be taken as a result of Ned's legal troubles.

Ned must have held out some hope that he would not have to go to jail because he was enumerated in the 1900 census with Mary and three of their children. Their son, Edward Trent Bridges, III, must have died sometime after his birth in 1891 and before 1900 because he was not included in the enumeration of the family. But sometime after the census, Ned did a runner.

He simply disappeared.

He and Mary had married on 7 January 1886 in Mercer County, West Virginia. Ned was son of Dr. Edward Trent Bridges, Sr., and Sarah Pope Claytor, daughter of Harvey Claytor[1] and Adeline Walker. He was 25 years old and Mary was 15. She was the daughter of Johnson Keatley Lilly and Alabama Gore. Ned and Mary had four children in Mercer County before Ned's grandmother, Adeline (Walker) Claytor, died. She made her grandson, Ned, Jr., the executor of her will. The Walker and Claytor were families prominent Virginia families and owned large plantations. Though the Civil War wrecked havoc on their financial position, there was still plenty of money.

Ned's inheritance enabled he and his family, along with his brother-in-law and his family to move to Oregon. The brothers-in-law bought a tract of land together in Douglas County on 9 May 1891.

Ned and Mary's oldest daughter married Authur O. Parks in 1907. Mary and the two youngest children, Bruce and Lucy, lived at 441 Fowler Street in Deer Creek, Oregon. Mary worked as a dressmaker to support her family. Her children also contributed to the family coffers as Bruce worked for the railroad as a fireman and Lucy was a clerk for a dry goods establishment.

And Ned, well, he was still alive and kicking. His runner had taken him almost 700 miles south to Butte County, California, where he boarded with Nathaniel and Clara Burns and worked as a hired man for a blacksmith. I don't know if he kept in touch with Mary and his children or not, but Mary had clearly had enough of her absentee husband. She was granted a divorce on 24 March 1919.

News-Review, 24 March 1919; courtesy of

Ned Bridges, Jr. died on 22 June 1928 in Butte County, California, and was interred in the Old Oroville Cemetery.

[1] Harvey Claytor (1800-1871) was my first cousin five times removed. This is the second new branch I've been able to add to my family tree as a result of DNA matches with other people who are related to Harvey Claytor, including:

In Celebration of Black History Month (or More DNA Discoveries)
Savior of the USS Indianapolis Survivors