Monday, July 14, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Wilhelm Grote - Celle, Germany - Week 26

I've been slacking when it comes to this 52 Ancestors Challenge lately.  I'm finding it hard to make the time, and concentrate, while my children are home from school.  So much more to do with them home everyday, but its all fun!!  So this is a bit late, but better late then never!!
For week 26, I've decided to write about my great, great, great, grandfather, Wilhelm Grote.  For years I've been looking for him, not knowing if he died in Germany or came to the U.S. with his wife Auguste Rheinfels.  I had no birth date to go off of either, just the entry on his daughter's birth certificate that she was born in Celle, Germany. 
Well, earlier this week, I did another google search (as I tend to do from time to time), and searched for "Genealogy records Celle, Germany."  This time, I found a link to a familysearch Wiki post at  On this page it talks about Village Lineage Books, "locally compiled books...extracted from parish registers."  I clicked on the link listed and it directed me to  I've been to this website before, but most of it is in German and my German isn't all that good, so I easily give up.
Playing around, I scrolled down to the Niedersachsen villages to see what I could find.  I knew the family was from the Celle area, but what actual village, I wasn't sure.  As I clicked through a few, I then looked up the surnames of Grote and Rheinfels, along with a couple others I knew were related to them.  Finally, I clicked on the area of Celle Süd-Ost, found the surname Grote, and looked at the very long list of Grotes.  I clicked on a few, but when I clicked on the name Carl Heinrich Wilhelm Grote I noticed his wife's name was Henriette Wilhelmine Auguste Rheinfels.  Could it be???  They show a daughter named Auguste Caroline Wilhelmine Henriette Grote born 24 December 1867.  I immediately pulled up my tree to compare, and sure was the same birth date!!  Auguste Rheinfels birth date is about the same too!  Her info on this website says she was born 28 August 1835, the same date I have that was based off her death certificate!!

So I'm very sure these are the same people.  However, because this is a secondary source, I hesitate to say I'm 100% sure.  I need to track down the actual records to verify it all.  But with these village books, I now have hope that these records do still exist!!

If we can safely assume these entries are correct, then this Grote family can be traced all the way back to the early 1700s!  All living in the same village too!

So who is Wilhelm Grote?

Based on the findings from this "Familiendatenbank Celle Süd-Ost Familienbericht," or Local Family Database Celle Süd-Ost Family Report, we know the following:
  • Carl Heinrich Wilhelm Grote was born the 25th of August 1833 (same birth date as my dad...just 117 years earlier) in Bröckel, Germany.
  • His parents were Carsten Heinrich Grote and Dorothea Elisabeth Schepelmann.
  • He had at least 9 brothers and sisters:
    • Sophie Elisabeth
    • Sophie Caroline
    • Friederike Elisabeth
    • Carsten Heinrich
    • Heinrich Wilhelm
    • Heinrich Christian
    • Heinrich Christian (two with the same name, the first died before the second was born)
    • Marie Dorothea
    • Caroline Friederike
  • Wilhelm married Henriette Wilhelmine Auguste Rheinfels the 22 of April 1864 in Weinhausen, Celle, Germany.
  • They had at least 4 children that I know of:
    • Heinrich Friederich Wilhelm
    • Auguste Caroline Wilhelmine Henriette (my great, great grandmother)
    • Caroline Marie Auguste
    • Herman (he isn't listed on this website, but was born about 1877 and is listed on his sister's obituary).
  • We don't know for sure when or where he died.  His wife is listed on the "Chicago, Illinois, City Directory, 1897" on's "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989." She is listed as the widow of Wilhelm, and living at 585 Larrabee. Her son Herman is shown as living at the same address in this directory.  So we know he died prior to 1897.  The 1900 census also lists Auguste as coming to the U.S. in 1887, although, I haven't been able to find her on any ship manifest yet.  I'm guessing he might have died in Germany, but can't be sure.
It's safe to say I was very excited to find this new information!!  It has consumed most of my free time over the last week!  If you would like to see Wilhelm and his family in this database, just click here on, and it should take you there.  If you'd like to read more about his wife, Auguste, she was the focus of my week 18 post.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about any of the information listed above, please leave a comment. I'd be happy to provide any additional information I have. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 23, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Robert P. Miles - Georgia to Alabama - Week 25

Signature of Robert P. Miles, found in probate
paperwork for Absalom Jackson's estate (his father-in-law).
Copy found in probate file, in
Chambers County Estates Box 16, Folder 43
It may be hard to read, but this is the signature of my 4th great grandfather, Robert P. Miles.  His signature was found on some probate papers in the estate of his father-in-law, Absalom Jackson.  The paper it is from is very hard to read, but I believe it has something to do with the sale of some property that Absalom owned.  The page is dated in the year 1840, and has the signatures, or marks, of each of his unwed daughters and the husbands of his married daughters.

Robert P. Miles was born around 1799, probably in Georgia.  I speculate he was born somewhere around Hancock County, GA.  His father is thought to be John Miles and was on the tax rolls of Hancock County, GA from 1995-1805.  There is a book that discusses John Miles called Your Inheritance, Vol. II, by Robbie Lee Gillis Ross, Matthews, NC, Delmar Print Co., 1972 (pages 231-236).  In the book it states John Miles was a Commissioner from Montpelier, and was a Justice of the Peace for Baldwin County, GA.  John's wife, and Robert's mother, is said to be Margaret (Peggy) Warren. 

According to this same book, Robert P. Miles had one draw in the Third Lottery Act of 1820, set up by the Georgia Legislature.  This can also be seen in the Historical Collections of the Georgia Chapters, Daughters of the American Revolution, Volume IV, Back Matter on if you have a subscription.  If you don't have a subscription, a copy of the index is found at USGenWeb.  His name can be seen in Ellis' District.

Robert is next found in the will of his father, John.  John left his son a slave named Daniel, a feather bed, and furniture.  I find the idea of having another human being as part your property reprehensible, but this was common in the south at this time.  It is sad what these people had to endure, and my heart goes out to them.

A large part of John's estate was left to his wife, Peggy.  When she died in 1826, it was divided to their children.  At her death, the estate had 18 additional slaves.  These slaves were divided up into Lots of 2 each.  Each heir of the estate drew a lot.  Robert drew lot number 7, which meant he was given 2 slaves by the names Sucky and Selilia, which were appraised at $450 together.  You can find these papers on Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990, Baldwin County, Returns 1813-1831, page 139 in the book, but page 493 of 664 of the digital copies.

I'm unsure where Robert was living in 1830, but by 1833 he is shown marrying Palmira Jackson in Meriwether County, GA.  Palmira Jackson was the daughter of Absalom Jackson, who was living in Meriwether County, Ga when the 1830 census was taken.

Marriage record of Robert P. Miles and Palmira Jackson May 16, 1833, Meriwether Co., GA
Image found on, "Georgia, County Marriages, 1785-1950"
Robert and Palmira had 9 children that we know of.  They are as follows:
  • Elizabeth b.1834, d.after 1891 - married John H.M. Vines
  • Lucinda b. 1835, d.1908 - married William M. Beckett
  • Margaret (Maggie) b.1839, d. 1917 - married Holland Middleton Bell
  • Matilda Ann b.1840, d. 1857 - married William Green Stowe
  • Absalom Jackson b.1841, d.1862 - never married
  • John W. b.1841, d.1918 - married Victoria P. West
  • Alevia b.1844, d.unknown - don't believe she ever married, can't find her after 1880 though
  • Robert Paul b.1847, d.1930 - Married Monica Bell (sister of Holland M. Bell)
  • William H. b.1849, d.1918 - never married
 In 1840, there is a R. Miles living in Huey's District, No. 3, Harris County, GA, according to the 1840 Federal Census.  In the household it shows the following members:
1 male age 20-29; 2 females under the age of 5; 2 females age 5-9; 1 female age 30-39; 1 male slave under the age of 10; and 1 female slave age 10-23
We can assume the  male and older female are Robert and Palmira, however, the age of Robert would be incorrect.  The two females under the age of 5 could be Matilda Ann and Margaret, while the two other females could have been Elizabeth and Lucinda.  It's unknown whether the older female slave could have been Sucky or Selilia.  The male slave under the age of 10 would have been too young to have been Daniel, so I'm not sure what his name was.

In 1843, Robert Miles can be found in Harris County, in the Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892, found on  He is located in the Dagnol District.  I can't quite make out what each item is they listed, but I can see he still had 2 slaves in his household.

The 1850 Federal Census has been frustrating for me.  I have looked and looked for this family in this census, but can not find them anywhere.  It's quite possible they were still in Harris County, GA, but on May 1, 1849, there was a land grant recorded for a Robert Miles of Tallapoosa County, Alabama.  This can be found on as well in the U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907. The following piece of land is shown in the grant:
"The North East quarter of the North West quarter of Section Twenty Eight in Township Twenty Three of Range Twenty Four, East, in the District of Lands Subject to Sale at Montgomery Alabama containing forty Acres and eight and a half hundredths of an Acre."
We also know that his oldest daughter, Elizabeth Miles (my 3rd great grandmother), was married in Tallapoosa County, AL on February 13, 1849, to John H.M. Vines.  You can see the marriage details here on  It is my assumption, that the family had moved to Tallapoosa County, AL by this time.

We can't find the family in the 1850 census, but Alabama had a state census in 1855.  On in the Alabama State Census, 1820-1866 records, we see a Robert Miles living in Beat 13.  In the household, it shows the following:
4 males under 21; 1 male over 21; 4 females under 21; 1 female over 21; and 2 slaves.
The families time was short in Tallapoosa County.  By 1860, the family can be found in Fayette County, Alabama.  The 1860 Federal Census shows the family living in East District, Fayette Co., AL.  The surname is spelled Myles and it shows Robert as age 60, occupation a farmer, value of real estate as $2,000, value of personal estate of $1,500, and he was born in Georgia.  The people living in his household are as follows: Palmira, Margaret, John, Absalom, Aleva, Robert, William, Green Stoe, Wm. C. Manases, Sarah A. Manases, Davens J. Manases, James H. Manases, and Dorphus Manases.  I don't think the Manases family was related to the Miles, but "Green Stoe" is actually William Green Stowe, Robert's widowed son-in-law.  He was married to Matilda Ann Miles on September 9, 1856, and she died December 27, 1857 in Tallapoosa County.  She probably died in childbirth, and is buried with their son Robert A. Stowe.

We can also see Robert in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census - Slave Schedule on  He is shown having 2 slaves in his household and one slave house.  One is listed as a female age 30, while the other is listed as a male.  The age of the male is hard to read.  The person who indexed this typed in 29 years, but I think it looks more like 21 years.  Either way, there is a mark next to the male, which means he was a "fugitive of the state."  What that might mean, I'm not sure.  Did he run away?  Attempt to get his freedom?  The ages show they could be the same two that were living in the household in 1840 as well.

Robert Miles can also be found in the Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedule for the year 1860.  He is shown with the following for his farm:
  • Acres of land improved: 135, unimproved: 425
  • Cash value of farm: $200
  • Value of Farming Implements and Machinery: $20
  • Livestock on June 1, 1860
    • Horses: 4
    • Milch Cows: 4
    • Working Oxen: 2
    • Other Cattle: 3
    • Swine: 40
    • Value of Livestock: $775
  • Bushels of Wheat: 100
  • Bushels of Rye: 20
  • Bushels of Indian Corn: 1,000
  • Ginned Cotton Bales of 400 lbs each: 18
The Civil War then came and brought a lot of changes to the Miles family.  At least three of Robert and Palmira's sons, and their son-in-law, went off to war.  Only two returned.  Their son Absalom Jackson Miles died of sickness near Richmond, VA, and their daughter, Elizabeth's, husband John H.M. Vines died of sickness in Mississippi.  Their son John Miles was injured, but made it back home.

The 1866 Alabama State Census found on shows the family living in Fayette County still.  There is a total of 14 people living in the household.  This would be Robert, Palmira, John, Alevia, Robert Jr., William, and their widowed daughter Elizabeth Miles Vines along with Elizabeth's 7 children: Mary Ann, Nancy Elizabeth, Lucinda, Susan, Matilda, Robert Javis, and George W.  This census also contains an area to mark whether anyone in the household was killed in the war, died of sickness, or disabled.  In Robert's household they have marked 2 for died of sickness and 1 for disabled.  The 2 that died were Absalom and John H.M. Vines, while the disabled soldier, I believe was John.

In 1870, we see Robert, age 71 years now.  He is still living in Fayette County, according to the 1870 Federal Census, he is in Township 17.  In his household were his wife, Palmira, and two of their children, Alevia and William.  Next to them on the census is their daughter Elizabeth with 5 of her children.  Her oldest daughter Mary Ann Melvina Vines was married by this time and living in Tallapoosa with her husband, Jonathan Beckett.  Elizabeth's daughter, Nancy Elizabeth was living with Mary Ann and her family too.

Another Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedule was done in 1870 as well, and can be found on  There is an R.P. Miles listed on it with the following:
  • Acres of land improved: 100, unimproved: 564
  • Cash value of farm: $200
  • Value of Farming Implements and Machinery: $10
  • Livestock on June 1, 1870
    • Horses: 2
    • Milch Cows: 5
    • Working Oxen: 2
    • Other Cattle: 10
    • Swine: 19
    • Value of Livestock: $467
  • Bushels of Indian Corn: 400
  • Bushels of Oats: 100
It's similar to what he had for the 1860 census.  Not too much had changed.  Robert didn't own a large plantation, so the war may not have affected his business as it did some people.

August 30, 1873, Robert passed away.  He is buried in the Old Section of the Fayette City Cemetery.  His wife Palmira and their grandson, Robert Calvin Miles, are buried next to him.  I've seen on record that there is a CSA soldier buried next to them, but there isn't a stone that we have found for him.  Not sure if this CSA soldier could be their son, Absalom Jackson Miles or not.  My mom and her husband have taken a couple of trips to the Fayette City Cemetery and have taken photos of the gravestones.  Interesting find, behind the old gravestones that are deteriorating from age, are two small white stones with just their initials on them.  They must have been added afterwards, but not entirely sure. Robert's was found inside the cement curb that surrounded one Bell family stones. Palmira's was found lying on the grass just behind the Bell stone.  I need to contact the people in charge of this section of the cemetery to see why this is.

Gravestones of Robert P. Miles, Palmira Jackson Miles, and Robert Calvin Miles

Second, smaller, stone with Robert's initials found in Bell plot

Photo of "RPM" stone lying inside Bell plot (on the left).  Palmira's second stone is lying in front.
Robert died intestate, and the probate of his estate was handled by his son-in-law, Holland Middleton Bell, who would eventually work as probate judge for the county. Copies of his probate paperwork can be found in the Fayette County, AL Probate Court Minutes: Vol.2, Pages 285-287, 783-784, 798-799; Vol. 3, Pages 24, 315, 342-343, 352-354; Vol. 4, Pages 43-44; and Fayette County, AL Probate Court Records, Vol. 2, Pages 401-408.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about any of the information listed above, please leave a comment. I'd be happy to provide any additional information. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Absalom Jackson - Chambers County, Alabama -Week 24

Will of Absalom Jackson dated August 29, 1838 in Chambers Co., AL
Copy found in probate file, in Chambers County Estates Box 16, Folder 43
Absalom Jackson was my 5th great grandfather on my mother's side of the family.  For a long time I had a hunch that the name of my 4th great grandmother, Palmira Jackson Miles' father was Absalom, but couldn't be sure.  Naming practices in the south are what I relied on.  I knew her and her husband had twin boys (the oldest boys of the family), and I knew their names were Absalom and John.  We believe Palmira's husband, Robert Miles' father was John Miles of Georgia, so it was safe to assume that Palmira's father was probably named Absalom.

So who was Absalom Jackson? As far as I can tell, he was born somewhere between 1781 and 1790, in either South Carolina or Georgia (I'm leaning toward South Carolina though). There is another Absalom Jackson who lived in Georgia. He was a land surveyor and has many, many documents with his name on file. But, we can safely rule out that these are two different men. The land surveyor was quite a bit older and is the same Absalom Jackson that died in 1793 in Camden County. He was married to Phareba Webster, and is not the Absalom we are talking about today.

The first record of our Absalom, that I can find, is the 1820 Federal Census. He is living with his family in Capt. Buckhalter's District, Jones County, GA. In the household are the following:
2 males under 10; 1 male age 16-25; 1 male age 16-44; 2 females under 10; 2 females age 10-15; 2 females age 16-25; 1 female age 45 or older
We know the 2 youngest males are not Absalom's sons.  Absalom and Abigail took in two boys after their mother died.  Hideon and Richard Moore were the twin sons of Joseph Iddings (or Idens, Hideon) Moore and his wife Jane.  I've been given notes about this Moore family, and it seems there was a family bible.  In the bible it states Jane died March 4, 1817 after giving birth to twins on February 25, 1817.  In the 1820 Federal Census, we see Hideon, or Iddens Moore, living a couple households away from Absalom Jackson.  I believe Absalom and his family raised these boys, or at least had a lot to do with the raising of these boys.  Both Hideon and Richard were mentioned in Absalom's will, and Hideon named two of his children after Absalom and his wife Abigail.

I believe the other male age 16-25 was the husband of Absalom's daughter Elizabeth.  Her husband was named Thomas Jefferson Brooks.  His father is thought to be Robert Brooks, Sr., who also lives just a few households away from Absalom.  His father, Robert, is listed as living alone in 1820.

In the 1830 Federal Census, we see Absalom moved his family to Meriwether County, GA.  He is listed with the following in his household:
2 males age 10-15, 1 male age 40-50, 2 females age 10-15, 2 females age 20-30, and one female age 50-60.
Again, the 2 boys were probably Hideon and Richard Moore. 

By 1838, the family had moved their way into Alabama, settling in Chambers County.  Absalom made out his will and signed it August 29, 1838.  It can be found in volume 1, page 204.  It was entered into court on October 5, 1838.  Here is a copy of what it says:
"Know all men by these presents that I Absolom Jackson while in my proper mind without the persuasion of any person or persons whatsoever, do bequeath unto my Daughter Phebe one feather bed and furniture also do bequeath unto my daughter Abigail, one feather bed and furniture.  Also I do bequeath unto my Daughter Mary, one feather bed and furniture and I further do bequeath to my Wife Abigal Jackson two sorrel horses one four years old and the other three years old last spring also one cart and yoke of oxen, and all the balance of the cattle and hogs and also the crop that is now growing on the place whre I now live for the use of my wife Abigal and family that now lives with me and her also and to remain, and also to all the household and kitchen furniture on this place where on I now live, and to be supported by Hideans and Richard Moore so long as she, that is my wife Abigal lives or remains a widow and the two horses and yoke of oxen and cart with all the balance of the cattle and hogs or so much as remains at her death or marriage there to be sold and equally divided between all my lawful heirs and all the balance of my property to be sold according to law, with the exception of two forty acres lots of land in the Cherokee County in Georgia that is if Jefferson Brooks will go and sell them according to a previous contract between him and me and return the one half of the price to be divided between all the heirs and the balance sold and equally divided together with all the debts due to me after all of my debts are discharged.
(enter line before assigned)
Know all men by these presents that I , Absolom Jackson do here by appoint my wife Abigal Jackson and John F. Sharp as my executors and administrators.  Assigned sealed and acknowledged in the presence of us this the 29th day of August 1838." 
The will was witnessed by Thompson Reeves, Edmond Jackson, and Richard Gordon.  Absalom signed it with his mark.

The will was given to the Orphans Court and entered into record with the following statement:
"I Joseph I. Williams, Clerk of the Orphans Court of said county do hereby certify that the above is a true copy of a paper admitted to record in this office as the last will and testament of Absolom Jackson late of this county, deceased.  Given under my hand and private seal there being no seal of office yet provided this 5th day of October A.D. 1838."
So, Absalom died somewhere between August 29th and October 5th of 1838, in Chambers County, AL.  The entire probate file can be found in Chambers County Estates Box 16, Folder 43.  From his probate file, we know his children were as follows:
  • Elizabeth who married Thomas Jefferson Brooks, Sr.
  • Mathilda who married Jethro Hamblin
  • Phebe who married William Thompson
  • Epsey who married William C. Hamilton
  • Palmyra who married Robert P. Miles
  • Abigail who married William C. Stephens
  • Mary who married Royal Floyd Tucker
Phebe, Abigail, and Mary were all unmarried at the time of Absalom's death.  All of his daughters remained in Alabama, mostly around Chambers and Tallapoosa Counties.  Palmira moved with her family to Fayette County by 1860.  Abigail Jackson, Absalom's wife is shown once more in the 1840 Federal Census.  I believe her and her daughters were living with Hideon Moore.  The entry on the census reads Hideon Jackson.  In the household are one male age 20-30, one female age 10-15, one female age 15-20, 2 females age 20-30, and one female age 50-60.  If Hideon was taking care of Absalom's wife and children after his death, it is quite possible the name was mixed up.

What Jackson line is Absalom from??

This is the question I'm currently working on.  So many people are doing research on the different lines of Jacksons in the southeast.  Everyone has a different theory.  I have an assumption of my own.  I have no proof for this, so don't quote me on it, but I believe these Absaloms all come from the same line of Jacksons. 

First, I believe, the Absalom Jackson who died in Camden County, GA in 1793 was born about 1750.  He had ties to the Quakers and the Society of Friends in Wrightsboro, GA.  His father may have been Benjamin Jackson.  Benjamin Jackson also had another son named Walter.  I believe this Walter might be the father of our Absalom.  Walter also had another son named James.  James married Temperance Motley, and they had a son named Absalom born February 26, 1805 in Georgia.  This Absalom married Emma Bolling Hall and lived in Autauga County, AL.  This line of Jacksons is said to have come from Ireland in the early 1700s.

It is said that the Moore family from which Hideon and Richard came from were also related to Quakers, and the Society of Friends.

For now, these are all assumptions, and nothing is 100% acurate without any paperwork to back it up.  Like I said, DON'T QUOTE ME ON THIS!  It is all a work in progress!!

If you have any questions, or concerns, about any of the information listed above, please leave a comment. I'd be happy to provide any additional information. Thanks for reading!!


Monday, June 9, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Where is Grover William Locke? - Week 23

My great grandmother, Mamie Estelle Locke, had an older brother named Grover William Locke.  We know nothing about this person, and I've spent a lot of time wondering where he went. 

We do know, according to pages from the family bible, that Grover was born March 12, 1885, probably in, or near, Rosebud, White County, Arkansas.  He was the first child of Francis Marion Lock/Locke and Nancy Elizabeth Vines. 

The family moved around from what we can understand.  Francis Marion was a Minister of the Gospel and taught piano lessons.  His work must have moved them around, we can not find the family on any Federal Census between the years 1900 to 1920.  However, we do know that they were probably living in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas by 1903.  Mamie had an autograph book, and in it Grover wrote the following:

"Stephenville, Erath Co., Texas
Jan 26 1903

Miss Mamie Locke

When I am gone, and you can't tell, go to our church and ring the bell.

Your Brother,
Grover Locke"

"Jan 26 1903

Miss Mamie Locke

I hope you good luck and success through life, perhaps some day you will be some lucky wife.

Your Brother,
Grover Locke"

There was a picture in my grandmother's things.  They were things that belonged to her mother Mamie.  With those items was a picture of a young man.  We don't know for sure, but this could possibly be Grover.   

The only document for Grover that we have been successful in finding was a WWI draft card.  The copy was found on, but it isn't the best quality, and hard to read.  It lists a Grover Wm. Locke, born March 12, 1885, living in Drumright, Oklahoma.  It lists his contact person as "Mother Nattie Locke," living in Rogers, Texas.  Rogers is in Bell County.  I believe it says his occupation is "cleaner & presser," but I can not read the name of his employer, just that it was on Ohio Street in Drumright.

WWI Draft Card found in Creek County, OK, Draft Board 1
There is also a marriage record dated September 29, 1909 for Grover Locke and May N. Flora, both of Elk City, Beckham County, OK.  The age matches him, but not sure if it is him.  I believe the WWI draft card was him, so why would he put his mother down as closest relative, when he was married?  I guess it wouldn't be impossible if May died before the war, so who knows?  On the 1910 Federal Census, there is an entry for a "W D Lock and May Lock" living in Elk.  Their birthdates match, and it says they have been married one year.  But "W.D." would not be his initials.  However, it says on this census that W.D. Lock is a cleaner and presser working in tailoring. 

When my mom was a young girl, she remembers asking her grandmother if she had a brother.  Her grandmother said she did, but he died in the war.  From what I can find, there is no record of Grover Locke in World War I.  She doesn't remember if she meant he died in the war, or during the war.  I haven't been able to locate a death record either way.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Ida B. Haase, born 1868 in Prussia and died 1952 in Chicago, IL - Week 22

Ida B. Haase was my great, great grandmother on my father's side of the family.  According to her marriage certificate she was originally from "Gross Runow, H. Pommern."  I believe this was the small town of Gross Ruhnow, in the county of Stolp, in the old Prussian province of Hinterpommern (or Further Pommern in English).  At least that is what I was told when I questioned the place name on's message boards. It is now known as Runowo, Poland.

Ida was born April 18, 1868, and was the daughter of Ludwig Haase and Justine Augusta Erdmann.  I believe her siblings were Adeline (b. 1860), Hulda (b. 1864), Augusta (b. 1870), Emma (b. 1871), Minnie (b. 1874), and Richard Ludwig (b. 1877).  The whole family came to the U.S. around 1878/1879.  There is a ship manifest for the Leipzig, found on, which arrived in Baltimore, Maryland on June 6, 1879.  It lists the entire household.  I only question it, because some of the children's ages were not written correctly, but the order and names are all the same.  The manifest states they were headed to Illinois, which is where they settled.

We can find the family in Chicago, IL in the 1880 Federal Census.  Everyone but Augusta is shown in the household.  Augusta may have passed away.

On May 10, 1890, Ida married John Martin Kutz in Chicago.  John was the son of Martin Kutz and Anna Draeger.  He was born in Chicago on June 18, 1861.  His parents were immigrants from Germany, just like Ida and her family, however they came to the U.S. in the late 1850s.
Ida with her children
Taken probably around 1896
Ida and John had 4 children: Elsie Justine (b. 1891) - she was my great-grandmother, Arthur Martin (b.1893), and twin daughters Emma Rose and Lillian Ruth (b. 1895).

The family stayed in the Chicago area.  According to the 1900 & 1910 Federal Censuses, they rented a house on Augusta Street.  By the 1920 Federal Census, they moved to 919 Washtenaw Avenue.  In 1930, they were living at 5017 Schubert Avenue.
The children of John and Ida Haase Kutz
Emma and Lillian (not sure who is who),
Arthur, and Elsie

On November 12, 1933, John Kutz passed away, and was buried at Concordia Cemetery in Chicago. Ida continued living at the house on Schubert with her son Arthur, who never married.  They are shown there on the 1940 Federal Census, along with Ida's daughter Lillian and Lillian's husband Ralph Hanson.

August 2, 1952, Ida passed away.  She was also buried at Concordia with her husband John.

Death certificate of Ida B. Haase Kutz
Ida with her grandson, Howard Arthur Glesener
and his daughter (her great-granddaughter), Judith Kathleen.
Probably taken around 1946.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

***Just a quick note.  I meant to add this when I first wrote about Ida, but forgot.  Years ago when I first started researching my family, I came across an entry on  It showed a woman born in April 18, 1868 named Ida Bertha Haase and her parents, Ludwig Haase and Justine Erdmann.  It also stated she was Baptized in Schurow, Pommern, Prussia, on May 3, 1868.  I don't know where this information came from, but I do remember seeing it, and I made a note of it in my files.  I'm not sure if it was information added about them by another person, or if it was information from a record at one of the Latter Day Saints libraries.  I do have in my notes, that Schurow, Pommern, Prussia is now present day Skōrowo, Koszalin, Poland.  Looking on Google maps, the two areas are very near each other.  Routing it, it is only 11 kilometers between the two towns.  Unfortunately, I can't verify this.  I am unable to locate the link online at this present time.


Monday, May 26, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Army PFC Jake J. Holcomb, World War II - Week 21

My grandmother, Tennie Belle Holcomb Gibson, had a brother, who we all called "Buck."  He lived next door to my grandparents in a tiny, one-bedroom house in Baldwin Park, California.  He was a quiet, sweet, man who never married, and always wore plaid western-styled shirts and cowboy boots.  He didn't speak much and kept to himself mostly, except for the occasional family gathering.  In conversations, he usually wasn't the one talking, but would reply "yeah, yeah, yeah."  The most I ever heard him speak was sitting with my grandmother and reminiscing about their childhood.  Even then it was my grandmother asking the questions and leading the conversation.  But he usually had a smile on his face, and seemed happy.  This is how I remember him.

It wasn't until I was older, that I found out he had earned a Purple Heart in World War II.  Since it is Memorial Day today, I felt it was appropriate to dedicate this post to him, .

Buck was born Jake Jr. Holcomb on October 29, 1919 near the town of Leuders, in Shackelford County, Texas.  He was the 4th child, and youngest son to Benton Rogers Holcomb and Mamie Estelle Locke Holcomb.  Why was he named Jake Jr. when his father was named Benton?  Well, Benton was often called Jake.  Not sure why Benton was called Jake, but we believe Buck was named after him.  So why did everyone call him Buck you might ask?  Well, I'm not sure about that either, except that it was actually "Roebucks" that they originally called him.  Maybe it was so they wouldn't get him confused with his father.  Why Roebucks?  I have no idea.**

The family lived in Shackelford County, Texas for a few years, before moving to the Tahoka area, just south of Lubbock, Texas.  Buck spent most of his childhood on a farm and worked alongside his family raising cotton.  He attended school until the 5th grade, which is when he began working on the family farm as a farm hand.  According to his Army Separation Qualification Record (we have on hand in his papers), his main occupation was a farm hand on a general farm.  His work summary listed was: "Worked on farm for wages.  Drove tractor to plant, plow and harvest such crops as cotton and small grain.  Tended cows.  Raised poultry for home use." 

Benton Rogers Holcomb and Jake Jr. Holcomb (Buck) in front of the families gas station and general store.
Not sure of the date - probably taken after the war.

Around 1941, Buck's parents purchased a grocery store and gas station.  I believe this was in New Lynn, which was just northeast of Tahoka.  According to U.S. World War II Enlistment Records on, Buck's Civil Occupation was a "Sales Clerk."  On October 29, 1941, a Notice of Selection was sent out to Buck to report for "Induction" on or around November 17, 1941.  According to his enlistment records, he enlisted at Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas on November 19, 1941.

Buck's identification card found in his papers
Card from Buck sent back home to his family while he was away at war.
Signed "Roebucks"

According to his Enlisted Record and Report of Separation, Honorable Discharge, Buck served as a PFC in the Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry.  He was an Ammunition Bearer, and he "Carried ammunition to troops in front lines.  Loaded and unloaded trucks.  Stacked shells and explosives.  Pre=pared ammunition for instant use."

He saw action in
"Algeria-French Morocco  Tunisia  Sicily  Normandy  Northern France  Rhineland GO 33 WD 45." 
Decorations and Citations earned:
"EAME  Campaign Medal with 6 Bronze Stars  Distinguished Unit Badge with 1 Oak Leaf Cluster  Purple Heart GO 23 Hq 3474 Evac Hosp APO 43 3 Aug 44  Good Conduct Medal  American Defense Service Medal."
The Purple Heart was earned from a small shrapnel wound he obtained, according to a newspaper clipping we have (do not know the name of the paper it was from or the exact date it was printed). 

Buck separated from the Army at Fort Sam Houston on July 1, 1945, and returned to his family home.  I'm not sure what happened next, but I do believe at some point he suffered from a nervous breakdown.  I've heard it was due to his time in the Army.

Buck remained with the family and probably worked in the store and gas station.  His father became sick in the beginning of 1946, and he traveled with him to Ruidoso, New Mexico.  There, Benton was trying to get relief for asthma, and Buck was there to help him.  Unfortunately, Benton passed away unexpectedly on March 11, 1946.

Buck returned to Lynn County, TX and lived with his mother, Mamie, and younger sister, Tennie Belle for another year, until the store was sold and they all moved to California.

Mamie eventually purchased a small property in Baldwin Park, California in the early 50s.  This is where her and Buck lived.  My grandmother, Tennie Belle, and her husband moved in next door to them around 1955.  Buck shared the one-bedroom house with his mother.  She had the bedroom while he slept on the pull-out sofa in the front room.  Mamie passed away in 1972, but before she died, she made my grandmother promise to take care of, and look after Buck.

Buck with his mother, Mamie, holding my mother, Teresa.
I believe they're standing in front of their little house - about 1950.

Buck in his cowboy hat - probably taken in the late 70s early 80s,
In Baldwin Park, CA - My grandparents dog Sandy and our dog Pepper running around him.

Buck remained at his little house until he became sick and had to move to a nursing home.  He passed away on December 6, 2000 at Intercommunity Medical Center in Covina.  His final resting place is at Riverside National Cemetery in Riverside, CA.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

**After my mom read this, she passed on a little information about what she remembers about Buck: "I heard that Mama (that would be Buck mother Mamie) called him Roebuck when she would call him in from playing or working, instead of just Buck she would say it really long like..."RooooooooooBuck!"  Kind of like calling someone who was out in the fields or down the street."  "Also, he loved In-n-Out hamburgers, fries, and Cokes...Had the biggest smile on his face everytime we brought him one."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Harmon Augustus Tracy - Week 20

Picture of Harmon Augusta Tracy
Found on, originally posted by tinalawson630
in her tree named Gibson/Stockdale Family Tree
It's another week, and I'm writing yet another post for the challenge brought by Amy Johnson Crow, 52 Ancestor's in 52 WeeksIts colorful ancestors like the one I'm discussing this week, that make this hunt so exciting!!  This week is all about my great, great grandfather Harmon Augustus Tracy.  So many stories about this one, I don't know where to begin!!  I'm lucky that so much is already known, and shared, about this man.  A lot of what I'm writing this week is from all the notes I've collected through the years.  Some from family reunions from years ago, and some from email correspondences with other relatives.  All in all, this is going to serve as a means to put the information all in one place...Finally!

Let's start from the beginning...

Harmon Augustus Tracy was born December 1, 1834 in Connorsville, Fayette County, Indiana.  He was the second son born to Henry Tracy and Julia Content Greer.  Altogether, I believe he had 7 siblings: Mary Elizabeth b.1828 in OH, Henry Lafayette b. 1832 in OH, Lydia b. 1839 in IN, Nancy Jane b. 1841 in IN, Thomas b. 1846 in IN, Harriett b. 1848 in IL, and Millard F. b. 1851 in MO.  Harmon's father was born in either Canada, as many of the censuses state, or he may have been born in New York, as some others researching this line believe.  His mother, Julia was born in Massachusetts.

In 1850 we can see Harmon living with his family in Warren County, Illinois.  On the 1850 Federal Census (found on, it shows a Jonathan Tracy also living with the family.  He shows as 79 years old and born in New Jersey.  It is said this might be Harmon's grandfather living with the family.

Here's where things get interesting...

Marriage record for Harmon Tracy and Anne McAllen
Bourbon Co., Kansas 1859
Recorded in Book A, page 27
found on
Kansas Marriage records index 1855-1869
Harmon marries Anna Rebecca Elifritz sometime in 1859.  Anna is the widow of James McAllen.  She is also a few years older and had a child from her first marriage, named Albert.  You can see the family living in the County of Bourbon in Kansas Territory, on the 1860 Federal Census.  In the household is:
  • Harmon age 26
  • Ann age 29
  • Albert age 8
  • Frederick age 2 months
Harmon and Anna went on to have at least 6 children altogether:
  • Frederick Alexander b.1860 in Des Moines, IA
  • Harmon Oliver b. 1862 Osceda, Warren Co., IL
  • Calvin Minton b. 1865 Lebenon, St. Clair Co., IL
  • William Augustus b. 1867 Des Moines, IA
  • Clara Julia b. 1870 Lebenon, St. Clair Co., IL
  • Martha Ann b. 1873 Patoka, Marion Co., IL
The family seemed to move around quite a bit.  I believe Harmon was a carpenter, so he may have moved to where the work was.

During the Civil War, Harmon was a private in the Union army.  He enlisted in Company F, Iowa 6th Infantry Regiment on September 9, 1862, and was mustered out July 16, 1864 in Roswell, GA.  According to family, he was injured in the war.  I have a note in my files that says his daughter Grace said "he fell off a bridge while in retreat and broke his back."  Not sure if that is true.

The family can not be found in the 1870 census.  However, on the 1880 Federal Census, you can find Anna living with her, and Harmon's, 6 children.  They are living in Patoka, Marion County, Illinois (found on  Harmon is not showing, but Anna is still listed as married.  There is a Harmon Tracy living N. 15th Street in St. Loui, Missouri.  Same age, same places of birth for him and his parents too.  He is also a carpenter.  But we see a woman named Catherine, age 48, born in Kentucky...and she is listed as his wife!!  Did he get a divorce from Anna??  Many of Harmon's siblings, and his mother were living in St. Louis around the 1870s and 1880s.

Then on June 16, 1886, Harmon is shown marrying a Mrs. Susan Greer in White County, Arkansas (certificate found on!!  What happened to Catherine?  Mrs. Susan Greer is said to be Susan Elizabeth Mary Johnson, widow of Charlie Greer.  Greer???...could he be a relative of his mother's?  Haven't been able to make that connection yet, but still looking.  Susan had a daughter from her first marriage with Charlie, named Ora Leila Greer.  Ora actually goes on to marry Harmon's nephew, Henry Foster Tracy.

Harmon and Susan go on to have a few children as well:
  • Olive Content (also called Bessie Mae) b. 1888
  • Matthew J. Bowlan (also called Bud) b. 1890
  • Mary b.1891, d.1894
Harmon's sister, Harriett was living in Bald Knob, White County, Arkansas in the late 1800s.  Its possible they were nearby.  Harriett was married to Matthew J. Bowlan, which is who I'm guessing Harmon's son Matthew was named after.

It has been said that Susan died sometime around 1893.  This information was given to me from some notes others had taken from Harmon's pension file.  Not long afterward, Harmon marries Martha Jane Ross on November 14, 1896.  Martha is who I'm related through, and she was a divorced woman who already had 4 children with her first husband, John Hopson.  The children were Willie b.1889, Ivy b.1882, Myrtle b.1884, and Lester b.1890.  Harmon and Martha had at least 7 children together:
  • Paul - died in infancy
  • Luke - died in infancy
  • William Mark b. 1897
  • Minnie b. 1899
  • Arbelle, or Orville, b.1902
  • Grace b.1904
  • Byron Earl b. 1906
How many children is that now???  About 16 who were from Harmon, not including the step-children.  Interesting to point out too, Harmon was about 72 years old when his youngest was born!!  Crazy!!

We can find Harmon and Martha living in DeSoto, Jefferson County, MO with their children Olive, Matthew, Mark, Minnie, Willie, Ivy, Myrtle, and Lester, in the 1900 Federal Census (found on

In 1910, the family is still living in DeSoto, and Harmon is still living there with Martha and kids Mark, Minnie, Orville, and Grace...not sure where Byron is (found on

Then after 1910, Harmon left the family to go visit his daughter, Olive, in Arkansas.  He never made it back.  On May 17, 1919 Harmon died in Memphis, Tennessee.  He was supposedly on his daughter Olive's houseboat.  According to the 1920 Federal Census, her husband, William F. Wright, was a "Ferry Boat Owner."  Not sure if that is the same boat our family notes were referring to.

Harmon was buried at the Memphis National Cemetery in Memphis, TN.

Picture found on
After Harmon's death, Harmon's first wife, Anna, tried to obtain his pension as well.  She sent in a certified copy of their marriage certificate from Bourbon County, Kansas stating they were married November 31, 1859.  It seems they probably never got a divorce.

Some interesting notes I've been given on Harmon are as follows:

From an email to my mother from a distant cousin of ours who had been in contact with another cousin of ours.  He was in contact with Grace, Harmon's daughter.  She was still alive in 2000 and living in DeSoto, MO.  This is a note of what Grace said about her father:
  • "He was short (Grace is less then 5ft. tall).  He was supposed to have been a mormon.  He was injured in the Civil War.  She said "He fell off a bridge while in retreat and broke his back."  He was a member of the Union Army in Iowa.  He played a fife.  He owned a grocery store in DeSoto, MO.  Grace remembers that Harmon left the family when she was about 10 years old.  She said he left the family to "go visit his daughter in Arkansas and never came back."  She said that he "lived on a houseboat."  There was also mention of a sister named "Hattie" that lived in Bald Knob, Arkansas."
Another story I have in my files is one about Harmon and his father-in-law, William Ross (Martha Ross' father - Harmon's last least I think it was his last!):
  • Harmon's father-in-law, William Ross was about 7 years younger then his son-in-law (William Ross was born about 1841).  William also fought in the Civil War, but he was on the Confederate side.  At one point, the two were living in the same household, and it is said "they would use their canes and try to trip each other as the walked by."

If you have any questions, or concerns, about any of the information listed above, please leave a comment. I'd be happy to provide any additional information. Thanks for reading!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Minnie T. Tracy - DeSoto, Missouri - Week 19

Week 19 of the 52 Ancestor's Challenge is on my great grandmother, Minnie T. Tracy.  She was the only great grand parent that was still living by the time I was born.  I remember visiting her once when I was a child.  She was very tiny for an adult, I thought.  Of course, I was about 7 years old at the time.

Minnie was born in August 16, 1899 in DeSoto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  She was the daughter of Harmon Augustus Tracy and Martha Jane Ross.  Her parents were both married multiple times, and between them, they had about 20 children.  So Minnie had about 19 siblings!!  According to family, she always stated she had Indian blood in her.  Haven't found the link on her side of the family yet, but still looking. 

In 1900, the family was living in Valle Township, City of DeSoto, Jefferson County, MO (from 1900 Federal Census, page 11 of 61 found on  The household consisted of her father, Harmon, and mother, Martha, 2 of her half siblings from her father's previous marriage, Olive and Matthew, her full sibling Mark, and her half siblings from her mother's previous marriage, Willie, Ivy, Myrtle, and Lester Hopson.

In 1910, the family is still living in the City of DeSoto, living in District 45.  In the house is Harmon, Martha, Mark, Minnie, and 2 more full siblings of Minnie's, Arbelle, and Grace (from 1910 Federal Census, page 4 of 22 found on  There is a third sibling born in 1906, Byron Earl Tracy, but he isn't shown with the family on this census...not sure why?

Frances, Vicki, and Minnie

November 1, 1916, Minnie married William Frank Gibson in DeSoto.  She was just 17 years old.  The couple went on to have 9 children:
  • Ethel Louise (1917-1993)
  • Kenneth Earl (1919-2007)
  • Dorothy Lucille (1921-2004)
  • William Frank (1922-1990)
  • Frances Wilma (1924-1994)
  • Violet Marcella (Vicki) (1927-2011)
  • Louis Marie (1930-2001)
  • Thelma Mildred (1931-1931)
  • Vivian June (1933-1977)

I can't seem to locate the family in the 1920 Federal Census, the family was known for moving around a lot.  According to my notes, every child was born in a different house.  I do know my grandfather, William Frank Jr. (went by the name Bill), was born in DeSoto.  One note I have in my files says the family moved after my grandfather, Bill, was born.  Either way, by 1930, they were definitely living in St. Louis.  According to the 1930 Federal Census, they were living at 1461 Benton Street, St. Louis, Missouri (1930 Federal Census, page 7 of 21 on  William Sr. worked as a shoe maker in a factory.

Sometime before 1937, William Sr. left the family.  He tried to get a divorce from Minnie, but she refused for 7 years.  In that time he had two more children with another woman named Elnora Spencer.  Their divorce was not completed until 1945.  In the 1940 Federal Census, you can find Minnie living with 6 of her children: Bill, Frances, Vicki, Lois, June, and Dorothy, along with Dorothy's husband Nick Marino (1940 Federal Census, page 20 of 36 on  They were living at 1225 Chambers Street, in St. Louis.  There is a Frank Gibson living at 905 Chambers Street, in St. Louis.  If this was William Sr., then he probably wasn't far.
Great Grandma Minnie with 4 of her children.
Left to right: Dorthy, Lois, Bill, Minnie, and Frances.

Minnie remained in Missouri the rest of her life.  In the early 80's she made a trip out to California, which is where I remember visiting her with a bunch of my cousins.  I thought I had a photo of all of us with her, but can't seem to locate it at this time.

In my records and notes, it says according to her daughter Vicki, Minnie added the T as a middle initial because there was another Minnie Gibson living in DeSoto, and the post office kept getting them mixed up. So she added the T in order to get her mail. I'm guessing the T stood for Tracy, but not certain.

Tennie Belle Holcomb Gibson, Minnie Tracy Gibson, and
William Frank Gibson, Jr.
Photo taken at the home of William and Tennie Belle
in Baldwin Park, CA

Minnie passed away April 17, 1982 at the Normandy South Hospital, in Des Peres, St. Louis County, MO.  She was 82 years old.  I have a copy of her obituary.  The date of the paper is April 19, 1982, but not sure which paper it is from.  It reads:

"Minnie Gibson
The funeral for Minnie Gibson, 82, De Soto, will be at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday) in a chapel of Mahn Funeral Home, De Soto, with the Rev. James Lillie officiating. Burial will be in De Soto City Cemetery.

Mrs. Gibson died at Normandy Osteopathic Hospital South, Des Peres, on Apr. 17, 1982. She was a daughter of the late Harmon and Martha Jane (Ross) Tracy, born Aug. 16, 1899 at De Soto.

Her husband, was the late William Frank Gibson. They were married at De Soto on Nov. 2, 1916.

She was a resident of Jefferson County all of her life and was a housewife.

Survivors include seven children, Kenneth E. Gibson, De Soto, Dorothy Wood, Hillsboro, Ethel Louise Albers, St. Ann, William Gibson, Jr., Baldwin, Calif., Frances Wilma Durham, Jefferson City, Violet Marcella McManness, Cedar Hill, and Lois Marie Grimett, Anaheim, Calif.; sister, Grace Pilger, St. Louis; 29 grandchildren; 49 great-grandchildren"

According to her death certificate, she was living at 602 S. 2nd Street, DeSoto, Jefferson County, MO. 

Minnie Tracy Gibson
Not sure when or where this was taken, but isn't she cute!!

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Week 18 - Augusta Rheinfels - Celle, Germany to Chicago, IL

This weeks post is going to be short.  I don't have much information on this Rheinfels family, or Augusta herself.  Augusta was my 3rd great grandmother on my father's side.  Augusta Rheinfels was the wife of Wilhelm Grote.  They were the parents of my 2nd great grandmother, Caroline Grote Glesener (also known as Lina).  From a cousin of mine, I found their other children were Carl, Gussie, William, and Herman. 

The first record I found of her, was the 1900 Federal Census (found on  She was living with her daughter Lina, and Lina's family, at 454 Cornelia, Town of Lake View, City of Chicago, Illinois.  Augusta is shown as a widow, age 67, born August 1833 in Germany.  It also says she came to the U.S. in 1892, about 4 years after Lina.  Whether she came with Wilhelm, I'm not sure.  However, after a while, I was able to locate Augusta in the "Chicago, Illinois, City Directory, 1897" on's "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989."  She is listed as the widow of Wilhelm, and living at 585 Larrabee.  Her son Herman is shown as living at the same address in this directory.

I was able to get a copy of Augusta's death certificate.  She died February 8, 1905 at the residence of her daughter, Lina.  She was 69 years, 5 months, and 11 days, which puts her birth date as August 28, 1835.  The record says she was born in Germany, but it doesn't list a town.  Augusta was buried at St. Lucas Cemetery on February 11, 1905.

If you have any questions, or concerns, about any of the information listed above, please leave a comment. I'd be happy to provide any additional information. Thanks for reading!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Week 17 - Martin Kutz - From Prussia to Chicago, IL

Martin Kutz is the furthest I can trace the Kutz line on my father's side of the family.  He is my 3rd great grandfather.  I haven't been terribly successful in tracing my German roots.  So this line is a work in progress.

According to family, he was born October 5, 1830 in Germany, and he married Anna Dräger.  The date and place of their marriage is unknown, however, their first child was born January 15, 1860 in Chicago, IL.  Anna was born 30 Jan 1833 in Germany, and died 26 Nov 1902 in Chicago, IL. has a passenger list for the ship Athena, arriving May 28, 1858 into New York, from Breman, Germany.  On one page, it shows a Martin Kutz, age 27.  Just nine lines below Martin is someone named Anna Dräger.  Not sure these are the same people, but could they have traveled together to the U.S.?  Did they meet onboard, or possibly know each other before leaving?  A copy of the manifest is shown below.

Ship Manifest for the Athena sailing from Bremen, Germany to New York, arriving May 28, 1858.
Found on the "New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957" on (page 149 of 514).
Shows Martin Kutz age 27, and Anna Dräger age 22 just 9 rows below Martin. 

Martin had a sister named Gustina/Justine Kutz who married August Kienitz in 1849 in Germany.  I've been in touch with someone who descends from this line, and they say Gustina was the daughter of William Kutz, and was born September 23, 1832 in Steglitz, Brandenburg Province, Prussia.  I haven't been able to verify this though, or the fact that they were siblings.  So I'm not 100% sure.  However, Gustina and her family came to the U.S. in 1853, originally settling near Princeton, WI before settling in Faribault, MN.  Gustina died 12 Sep 1915 in Blue Earth, MN.

Martin Kutz and Anna Dräger had the following children:
  • Wilhelmina Kutz (Minnie) - b. 15 Jan 1860 in Chicago, IL - married Fred Hagenmeister 11 Oct 1879 - Minnie died 10 Sep 1947
  • John Martin Kutz - b. 18 Jun 1861 in Chicago, IL - married Ida Haase 10 May 1890 - John died 12 Nov 1933
  • Mary Kutz - b. 13 Jan 1863 - died in 1869
  • Emma Kutz - b. 25 Sep 1865 in Chicago, IL - never married - died 6 May 1941 in Chicago, IL
  • Herman Kutz (Henry) - b. 1 Oct 1867 in Chicago, IL - never married - died 14 April 1923 in Chicago, IL
  • Augusta Kutz (Gussie) - b. 10 August 1870 in Chicago, IL - never married - died 23 May 1923 in Chicago, IL
  • Anna Kutz - b. May 1874 in Chicago, IL - never married - died 29 May 1943 in Chicago, IL
**The only census I can locate Martin on is the 1880 Federal census.  He is listed with Anna and their children on page 32 in Enumeration District 142, Chicago, Cook County, IL.  They are shown living at 144 Cornell Street.  It says Martin worked as a day laborer, he could not read or write, and he was born in Prussia.

He is listed on the "Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for U.S. District & Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950," found on page 47 of 3149 on  It shows he was born in Germany and became a Naturalized U.S. citizen on 4 Nov 1876.  I've attempted to obtain the paperwork on file, but haven't been able yet.  Because the paperwork is so old, I doubt there is much information on it to go off of anyway.

Martin died 3 Nov 1888 in Chicago, IL.  The death certificate indicates he was 58 years old, lived at 144 Cornell Street in the 16th ward, Cook County, IL.  The cause of death is listed as Pneumonia.

Death Certificate copy in my files for Martin Kutz ordered from Cook County, IL, and received July 2007

If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

**Upon further investigation, I was able to find Martin Kutz on the 1860 Federal census.  He was living in the 6th Ward of Chicago City, Cook County, IL, house number 1674 on page 202 of 404 on  He is listed as a laborer, age 30, from Baden.  His wife Anna is listed as 27, also from Baden, and their daughter "Mena," which I'm guessing is Minnie, is listed as 1 years old, and born in Illinois.

This post was part of the 52 Ancestor's Challenge brought by Amy Johnson Crow.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Week 16 - Eva Sabrina Porter...Daughter of French Nobility and Ex-Fiance of President James K. Polk???

This week for the 52 Ancestor's Challenge, I'm going to focus on my 3rd great grandmother, Eva Sabrina Porter.  Here is a perfect example of double checking your sources, and double checking your sources sources.

There is a book called The Holcombes, Nation Builders...Their Biographies, Genealogies, and Pedigrees, by Hannah Elizabeth Weir McPhereson, published in 1947.  It is a wonderful book with thousands of names and tons of stories about the genealogy of the Holcomb(e) family.  You can view a copy of it online, for free, at  Just put the title in the search box and you can download it to your computer.  Or, if you have an subscription, you can view it there.  I find it easier to view on

My line of Holcombs are listed in the book.  My grandfather, Benton Rogers Holcomb and his wife Mamie Locke are mentioned in it (nothing more then their names).  Benton's father Thomas William Holcomb and his wife Jane Coburn are shown too, and listed with their children.  Then you come to Thomas' parents, William Alfred Holcomb and Eva Sabrina Porter.  This is where things get interesting!!  It states the following on page 350:

"This Porter family was of the French nobility, who escaped extermination by fleeing from France across the English Channel en route to N. America, bringing only such property as could hastily convert into money and jewels and carry on their persons."

"Eva Sabrina (Porter) Holcombe's parents knew they were marked to be beheaded as part of the nobility. This Porter family entered N. America through the port of New Orleans, La.; took boat up Mississippi River; then traveled inland. They bought and equipped a plantation on the old Post Road between Columbia and Nashville, Tenn. , -in Maury Co., Tenn., and there had as neighbors families named Payne, Pillar, Post.  The Polk families of Tenn. were their warm friends."

The story goes on to say the following about Eva:

"As a young lady Eva Sebrina Porter 'spent her summers on the home plantation and winters in Washington, D.C. where she entertained and was entertained in diplomatic circles and at the White House. She was engaged to marry President, James Knox Polk and led many grand marches at balls with him. They quarrelled and their former relations were not restored.'"

The quote from the book is in quotation marks which leads me to believe it was taken from one of the sources the writer corresponded to.  She lists the sources for William Alfred Holcomb and Eva Sabrina Porter as:
  • Family Records of Alfred and Sabrina Porter Holcomb
  • Their granddaughter, Nancy Sabrina Holcomb Carpenter (1869-1955). 
  • Mrs. R.H. (Lillie Cater) Creitzberg
  • T.K. Jones of Lubbock
  • Mrs. Arthur G. (Bob Holcombe Carter) Watson
  • Mrs. Oscar Waldo (Gaynell Martin) Williams
I recognize Nancy Sabrina Holcomb Carpenter, but not the other names.  Could these have been stories passed down??  A brief look into the life of Eva through records seems to contradict some of this.

What The Records State...

French Nobility??
First, lets deal with the issue of "French Nobility."  We know from probate records that Eva was not the daughter of James Porter, as the book suggested.  That may have been a guess on the part of the author.  A will dated May 6, 1841 for William Porter** of Maury County, TN, lists one of his daughters as Sabrina Holcomb.  Looking into his probate papers (which can be seen on Page 1852 on, TN Probate Court Files 1795-1927, Maury Co., Pigg, George W. - Reams, Joshua Henry), we can see an Alfred Holcomb purchasing several items from the sale of the estate.  This William Porter was the husband of Sabrina, or Sebra, Goodrum.  Sebra Goodrum Porter is living next door to Alfred and Sebrina Holcomb on the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, in District 11, Maury County, TN.  I'm fairly certain that this William Porter is Eva's father.

Gravestone of William Porter found in Porter Family Cemetery, Maury County, TN
Photo found on
But who is William Porter?  Was he the "French Nobility" they were speaking of??  He certainly owned a large plantation in Maury County at his death.  The story says her parents emigrated during the French Revolution, which would have been sometime around 1789.  According to his gravestone, he was born October 15, 1766, so he would have been about 23.  But his wife is said to have been Sebra Goodrum, daughter of Revolutionary War vet Thomas Goodrum.  She would have been born in South Carolina, so they couldn't have traveled together.

Only 3 of William Porter and Sebra Goodrum's 8 children lived until the 1880 Federal census, which is where, for the first time, people were asked about their parents birth.  Two of them list their father's birthplace as North Carolina, and the other lists it as South Carolina.  Many other individuals who have researched this line suggest William is the son of Hugh Porter from North Carolina, who died in Abbeville, South Carolina in 1808.  The will of Hugh Porter does name a son William.  However, there were several William Porters at this time, it's hard to say it is our William.

It's my belief, our Eva Sabrina Porter is not from parents of "French nobility" who escaped during the French Revolution.  I believe her parents were born in the United States.  However, there is a line of Porters who descend from Thomas Porter (1685-1767) of Manakin Town, Goochland County, VA.  He is listed on the "Registered Lineage list" as a "founder of the Huguenot colony at Manakin or Huguenots settling in early colonial Virginia."  This is found on the website for The Huguenot Society of the Founders of Manakin in the Colony of Virginia.

Thomas Porter himself was not a Huguenot, but was married to Elizabeth Dutoy (or Dutois), who is said to have been born to parents who were French Huguenots.  The book To be Useful to the World, Women in Revolutionary America 1740-1790, by Joan R. Gundersen, 2006, can be found on Google Books.  On page 18, it relays the story of how Elizabeth Dutoy's mother, Barbara de Bonnet Dutoy escaped France with her parents and sister:   

"...travels began as an infant when her parents hid Barbara and her sister in saddlebags to cross the French border.  One of the children was wounded when a soldier thrust a sword into the bags.  The de Bonnetts were among the 200,000 Huguenots who chose to leave France rather than convert to Catholicism after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  In 1700/01 the de Bonnetts joined an organized, publicly financed expedition of Huguenots who had received a grant of land in Virginia from the English Crown."

This is all speculation, but, could Eva's story originally been similar to the story above, about Barbara?  Maybe Eva's story that was told to Hannah Elizabeth Weir McPhereson was one that was altered through the generations?  It could have been about the Porter family, or maybe another relation to Eva.  This is something I'm currently researching, but as of now, don't have the answers.  Maybe in the future I'll have another post about this subject.  But until then, lets look at the other interesting comment about Eva.

Engaged To A Future President?
Did Eva really spend her winters in Washington DC?  Entertaining in the political circle?  Her father did have a large plantation in Maury County, TN, but I'm not sure how much he was involved with politics.  What would take him to D.C. anyway?  The Polk family did live in Maury County the same time as Eva's family.  I do find it possible that the Porters and the Polks could have been acquainted, however, I haven't seen any hard proof that they were family friends.

According to, James K. Polk married Sarah Childress on New Years Day, 1824.  That would have put Eva at a very young age.  According to my records, Eva was born March 1, 1815, however, 1850 federal census says she was born in 1812, and the 1860 federal census says she was born in 1814.  Either way, if we assume she was born in 1812 (the earliest date per our documents), then she would have been only 12 years old in 1824.  I know women back in the early 1800s married young, but to be entertaining people at the young age of 12, or younger...I find that a bit hard to believe.

It would be more plausible that one of Eva's older sisters was engaged to President Polk.  Or possibly a friend of the family.  But I do not believe that she was the one who was. 

Overall, I believe these are great stories that were probably altered in some form from generation to generation.  People could have been changed and dates could have been altered unknowingly, making the facts a little skewed.  Still, it was fun to read that we may be descendants of the French elite, even if it may not be true!

Timeline for Eva Sabrina Porter's Life
Here is just a brief timeline of the facts I have in my files on Eva Sabrina Porter.
  • 1815 - March 1 - born in Tennessee to William Porter and Sebra/Sebrina Goodrum (information provided to me by a family source).
    • She was the youngest of 8 children.  Her siblings were:
      • Delphia Porter Hall (1792-1859)
      • James R. Porter (1794-1857)
      • Elizabeth Porter Helms (1797-1880)
      • Nancy Porter Eddleman Turner (1798-after 1880)
      • William Wesley Porter (1800-1872)
      • Sarah Porter Bogard (1803-????)
      • John Nelson Porter (1810-1896)
  • 1831 - February 12 - Eva marries William Alfred Holcomb in Maury County, Tennessee.  William Alfred Holcomb is the son of Kinchen Holcomb and Nancy ?? (Tennessee State Marriages 1780-2002, found on
  • 1832 - June 27 - son John William Porter Holcomb was born in Tennessee (birth information on all of the children was provided to me by a family source).
  • 1834 - September 24 - son Nelson Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1835 - April 11 - son Nelson Holcomb died in Tennessee.
  • 1836 - October 27 - daughter Parolee S. Holcomb was born in Mississippi (birthplace according to 1850 Federal Census).
  • 1839 - October 18 - son James Alfred Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1840 - Family living in Maury County, Tennessee (1840 Federal Census), next to Eva's father and mother.
  • 1841 - May 26 - Eva Holcomb listed on the Last Will and Testament of William Porter.
  • 1842 - September 11 - daughter Nancy Evaline was born in Tennessee.
  • 1845 - April 14 - son Francis Newton Holcomb was born in Maury County, Tennessee.
  • 1846 - October 6 - son Thomas William Holcomb was born in Tennessee (my great, great grandfather).
  • 1850 - January 17 - Wesley Houston Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1850 - Family living in District 11, Maury County, Tennessee (1850 Federal Census), next to Eva's brother John, her mother Sebra, and her brother James' son James W. Porter.
  • 1851 - July 30 - Eva's mother Sebra Goodrum Porter died and was buried in Porter Family Cemetery near her husband.
  • 1852 - August 15 - daughter Roxyanna/Roxanna Holcomb was born in Tennessee.
  • 1854 - January 26 - daughter Roxyanna/Roxanna Holcomb died in Tennessee, and is buried in Porter Family Cemetery, in Maury County, TN (gravestone found on
  • 1860 - Family living in Bell County, Texas (1860 Federal Census).
  • 1869 - March 17 - Eva Sabrina Porter Holcomb died and is said to have been buried in Carpenter's Cemetery, also known as Eulogy Cemetery in Temple, Bell County, Texas.
  • 1869 - June 16 - Eva's husband William Alfred Holcomb died and is said to have been buried near Eva.
If you have any questions, or concerns, about the information in this post, please leave me a comment. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or share what information I have on the individuals listed above. Thanks for reading!!

**Side Note
Doing research on other southern families, I've noticed the first male child is usually named after the wife's father as a sign of respect.  William Alfred Holcomb and Eva Sabrina Porter's first son was named John William Porter Holcomb.  I'm wondering if Eva's father was not just William Porter, but John William Porter?  It seems many people in this line went by their middle names, and not their first names.