Tuesday, May 20, 2014

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

Picture of Harmon Augusta Tracy
Found on Ancestry.com, 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 Ancestry.com), 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 Familysearch.org
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 Familysearch.org).  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 Familysearch.org)!!  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 Ancestry.com).

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 Ancestry.com).

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 Findagrave.com
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 marriage...at 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!!


  1. He is my grt.grt. grandfather, my grt. grandfather, was his son William, and his last daughter Marguerite was my grandmother,her mom was Martha Pettis Tracy, I am having trouble finding more about her parents, Benjamim Pettis from Baltimore, M.D. and his wife Elizabeth Morrison Bruce

  2. He is my great Grandfather. Grace, his daughter was my grandmother.