Tuesday, August 26, 2014

52 Ancestors Challenge - Mary Elisabeth Griffaw - born 1821 in Perry County, Missouri - Week 29

Mary Elisabeth Griffaw was my great, great, great grandmother.  She was born November 27, 1821 probably around Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.  Back in 2003, my Great Aunt Vickie sent some papers to my mom.  They were copies of things she received at the Gibson family reunion in De Soto, Missouri.  Below, is a copy of a page that showed Mary Elisabeth Griffaw and her 4 siblings written on a piece of paper.

Here, the last name looks to be spelled Griffar.  Doing research on this family, I've also seen it spelled Griffard, Griffon, Griffan, and Gorfard.  This line of ancestors were not well educated.  Censuses show many could not read or write, so to have the name misspelled would not surprise me.  In fact, when researching the name Griffaw on Ancestry.com, I could not find it until the 1880s, and then only in southeast Missouri, where this line is from.

Ste. Genevieve's Project Pioneer honors two family lines each year during their "Jour de Fete."  In 2001
they honored the Griffard family who came to the area around the 1780s from Quebec, Canada.  In the book they created for this family, they show all 5 names listed above.  In this book it says the parents of these children were Jean Michel Griffard and Anne Grissom.  I'm not sure where their information comes from, there are no references in the book (I do have a copy in hand).  However, I do know that Mary Elisabeth's mother's name is Anne (also shown as Ann, Annie, and Anna).

There is an entry in the 1830 Federal Census for a Michel Grifford living in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.  The census picture is very hard to read, but there is something written above his name, however, I can't make it out and it wasn't transcribed on the listing on Ancestry.com.  In his household Ancestry has it transcribed as one male under the age of 5, one male age 20-29, 2 females age 5-10, and one female age 20-29.  If you look at the actual document, even though it's hard to read, it looks like the older male is actually 50-59 years old.  This would make sense, especially if this is the same Jean Michel Griffard in the Pioneer book.  Church Baptismal records list him as being born September 29, 1780.

The first document were we see Mary Elisabeth's name is a marriage record dated June 25, 1840 in Bois Bruel, Perry County, Missouri.  She married Hezekiah Cotner.  Hezekiah was the son of Jacob Cotner and Elizabeth Lewis who lived in Cape Girardeau County, Missouri.

I also believe she was living in the household of Nathaniel J. Divine during the 1840 census.  Her mother married Nathaniel in 1836, after the death of her father.  The ages of the children in the household match the ages of the children written above.  The family was living in Perry County, Missouri.

The 1850 Federal Census, we are able to finally see Mary Elisabeth's name along with her family.  They are living in Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri.  The following people are shown in the household:

  • Hezekiah Cotner age 39
  • Mary Cotner age 28
  • Nathaniel J. Cotner age 9
  • Martha Cotner age 6
  • Michael Cotner age 3
  • Susannah A. Cotner age 1
Not far from them is her mother, brother John and sister Ann.  her mother is listed as Ann Davis.  Nathaniel J. Divine died sometime before 1844, when she married Spencer B.R. Davis.

In 1860, the family moves to Liberty Township, St. Francois County, Missouri.  Here we see the following shown on the Federal Census for this year:
  • Hezekiah Cotner age 48
  • Mary Cotner age 37
  • Martha Cotner age 14
  • Mida Cotner age 11
  • Mary Cotner age 7 
  • Hezekiah Cotner age 1
I'm not sure what happened to Nathaniel and Micheal.  They may have died between 1850 and 1860.  I believe Mida is Susannah A., possibly short for Arminda?  The younger Hezekiah was actually Isaac Hezekiah.

By 1870, we do not see Hezekiah.  I believe he may have died sometime prior to the 1870 Federal Census.  In the household, we see the following people living in Marion, St. Francois County, Missouri:
  • Mary Cotner age 46
  • Mary E. Cotner age 16
  • Isaac Cotner age 11
  • Louisa Cotner age 9
I'm not sure what happened to Martha.  She may have married and moved away, or may have died as well.  Louisa is my great, great grandmother, Louisa Nancy Carolyn Cotner (you can read about her and her husband and children in the post I did earlier about her husband William Francis Gibson).

By 1880, the family moved to Plattin, Jefferson County, Missouri.  Here it states Mary is a widow.  Mary Elizabeth Cotner (daughter of Mary Elisabeth Griffaw) had married James Gibson, and her mother, brother Isaac and sister Louisa were living next to them.  On a side note, James Gibson was the uncle of Louisa's husband, William Francis Gibson.  In the household we see:
  • Mary Cotner age 50
  • Isaac Cotner age 20
  • Louisa Cotner age 16
The ages on these census records are always different!

By 1900, after all her children had married, she moved in with her brother John.  John never married, and I believe he owned a farm in Plattin.  I believe this, because in the papers my Great Aunt Vickie gave my mother, there were some notes from Betty Tracy Thayer, daughter of Emma Clyde Gibson, Granddaughter of Louisa Cotner.  In it Betty wrote about a fond memory her mother, Emma had:
"She (Emma) recalled the times when she was a child that her father would rent a carriage (rig) with horses, and they would all pile in it, kids and mother and father, and drive out to the "Plattin" to her grandfather and grandmother Cotner's farm for the day, she said it was "great fun."

John would have been her great uncle, not her grandfather, but grandmother Cotner would have been correct.

After 1900, I'm not sure what happened to her.  I haven't been able to locate a death record, and she is not located on the 1910 census that I know of.  Her daughter, Louisa, passed away in 1904 of "Consumption," or Tuberculosis.  Louisa's husband died also that same year from the disease.

Mary's daughter, Mary E. Cotner Gibson, along with her brother, John Baptiste Joseph Griffaw, and mother, Anne Grissom Griffaw Divine Davis, were all buried at Charter Baptist Church Cemetery in Festus, Jefferson County, Missouri.  Maybe that is where she would have been buried too?  I'll have to make a trip down there to see.  It's on my very long list of places to go and research.

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

52 Ancestors Challenge - Anne Grissom Griffaw Divine Davis lived to be 104 years?? - Week 30

My last post was on Mary Elisabeth Griffaw.  This week, I'm going to talk about her mother, Anne Grissom.

In the Charter Baptist Church Cemetery is a headstone for Anna Griffaw, who died at age 104.  I believe this is the grave of my 4th great grandmother.  The stone says she was 104 years old when she died in 1885!!  The record of her death is also found on Missouri Digital Heritage, you can see it here (the original can be seen on Ancestry.com, if you have a subscription, look up Annie Griffaw under the database Missouri death records, 1834-1910).  I have a newspaper clipping regarding the death of her son, John Baptiste Joseph Griffaw, written around August of 1920.  In the clipping, it states that his mother lived to be 104 too.  But is that correct?  They may have just copied what was on the headstone or death record.  Every census record I have found on her says otherwise.  Death records aren't always right, and tombstones aren't always right either.  For now, I'll just fill you in on what I do know, and where I received my information.

Newspaper clipping on the death of John Baptiste Joseph Griffaw.  Not sure which paper it came from, but someone wrote August 1920 on it.  This copy was given to my mother from her Aunt Vickie.  John was not our great grandfather, as it was written above.  From family notes, it is said the children of William Gibson and Nancy Louise Carolyn Cotner would travel out to visit their "grandparents" on their farm in Plattin.  Their grandmother, Mary Elisabeth Griffaw Cotner was a widow by the time they were born, and was living with her brother John, their great uncle in Plattin.
I don't have any true proof stating Anne's maiden name was Grissom (i.e. birth record, marriage record, etc.), so I can't be sure.  I do have a copy of a family history book that was completed by the Ste. Genevieve Project Pioneer on the Griffard family that settled there around the 1780s.  In that book, it states "Jean Michel Griffard married Anne Grissom.  She was born 1804."  It also states the names of their children along with their birth dates.  These children were the same children written on a piece of paper I received from my mom, who received it from her Aunt Vickie back in 2003.

Back in 2003, my Gibson family had a reunion back in De Soto, Missouri.  I wasn't able to attend, but my Great Aunt Vickie sent my mom some copies of paperwork from the event.  One of those papers was a list of children and their birth dates.  No mention of a mother or father though.  Here is a copy of that paper.

Where this came from, I'm not sure.  But the first name is indeed the name of my 3rd great grandmother, Mary Elisabeth Griffaw.  Mary Elisabeth married a man named Hezekiah Cotner, a man of German decent whose family settled in the Cape Girardeau and St. Francois county areas of Missouri in the early 1800s.  Together, they had my 2nd great grandmother, Louisa Nancy Carolyn Cotner.  I've written briefly about Nancy in an earlier post that was about her husband William Francis Gibson.  There you can see a picture of Louisa and William.

I'll start by saying, I'm not sure where Ste. Genevieve Project Pioneer received their information.  There are no references for any of it.  So, this hunt is a work in progress.

The first census document we see with the Jean Michel Griffard family may be found in 1830.  On Ancestry.com, we find an entry for a Michael Grifford, or Michael Griffard, living in Ste. Genevieve City, Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri.  In his household there was one male under 5, one male, age 50-60, 2 females age 5-9, and one female age 29-29.  If you go to the next page, it clearly says there are 5 people in the household.  Above his name something was written, but I can not read it.  It is too faint to see on the online copy.

I believe this is the family of Jean Michel Griffard.  He was born in 1780, which puts him at about 50 years old.  His birth is well documented in church records, and in several book that I have seen (more about him in a future post).  If Anne was born in 1804, then she would have been about 26.  Mary Elisabeth and Susan Mary would have been 9 and 6.  Finally, Micheal would have been 4, so under the age of 5.

According to the information found in the family book by Ste. Genevieve Project Pioneer, we see Jean Michel Griffard dies January 1, 1836 in Ste. Genevieve.  I'm hoping there is a record of this somewhere, but again, I don't have that record.  So I'm not 100% sure of this.  But I do know there is a record for a marriage for "Mrs. Ann Griffan" to Nathaniel Divine in the neighboring county of Perry, Missouri, on July 18, 1836.  In addition, Anne's daughter, Mary Elisabeth, named her first born son Nathaniel J. Cotner.  Could she have named him after her stepfather??  There are no other Nathaniels that I can find in the family.

Later, in the 1840 Federal Census, we see a Nathaniel Divine living in Perry County, Missouri with the following people living in the household (the actual ages of the Griffard family in 1840 are in parenthesis - they are not listed on the census, I'm just making a comparison):

  • one male age 5-9 (John Baptiste Joseph Griffard age 9)
  • one male age 10-14 (Michael Griffard age 14)
  • one male age 40-49 (Nathaniel Divine)
  • one female age 5-9 (Ann Griffard age 5)
  • two females age 15-19 (Mary Elisabeth Griffard age 19 and Susan Mary Griffard age 16)
  • one female age 30-39 (Anne Grissom Griffard Divine age 36 if born i 1804)
February 26, 1844 there is another marriage record that I believe belongs to our Anne.  It shows Ann Divine married Spencer B.R. Davis in Perry County, Missouri (info from Ancestry.com, Missouri Marriages to 1850).  Nathaniel Divine must have died between 1840 and 1844.  Spencer B.R. Davis may have died not long after the marriage too.  Because in 1850, we find and Anne Davis living with John B. Griffan (or Griffau) and Ann Griffan (or Griffau) in Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri.  Not far from them are Mary Elisabeth and her husband Hezekiah Cotner with their family.

I have searched high and low to find the family on the 1860 Federal Census, but haven't been able to yet.  We do find Anne on the 1870 Federal Census though.  She is now living in Plattin Township, Jefferson County, Missouri, and listed as Anna Griffaw age 50.  Her son John is living with her.  The ages for her and John are not correct.  But it says they were both born in Missouri.  It also says both of her parents were of foreign birth.  Notice too, she is using the last name of Griffaw, not Davis.  

In 1880 we find Anne and John both living in Plattin still.  This time, John's age is listed as 30 years old, and Anne is listed as 65.  John is now listed as head of household, and Anne listed as his mother.  Her place of birth is now listed as Kentucky, with her father being born in Virginia and mother born in Pennsylvania.  They are both listed as having the last name of Griffaw.  

On April 20, 1885, the death of Annie Griffaw was reported.  On this death record (which can be found on Ancestry.com, Missouri Death Records 1834-1910) it states she died March 12, 1884.  Did they really wait a year to report it?  Her tombstone, which you can see here at findagrave.com, says she died March 14, 1885.  So which is it?  The number 4, on 1884, is underlined in the record.

This death record also says she was 104 years old.  Would that be right?  It also states she was a widow, of Irish decent, and born in Kentucky.  The record says she had been living in Missouri for 90 years, and died at her son John Griffaw's residence in Plattin Township.  Cause of death was Angina Pectoris.  She was buried at Charter Cemetery (now Charter Baptist Church Cemetery in Festus, Jefferson County, Missouri) March 14, 1885.  So she probably did die in 1885, not 1884 like the other part of the record states.

If Anne was 104 in 1885, she would have been born in 1781.  Which means she would have been 54 years old when her youngest daughter, Ann, was born.  Not impossible, but I'm not buying it!!  I'm guessing she was born around the early 1800s.

I've done a little research on the last name of Grissom, trying to find any family she may have had living nearby.  There was a Nelson Grissom living in Perry County in 1840, 1850, and 1860.  He was born in Kentucky about 1804.  Could they be related?  I haven't found a link.  There are a few Grissom families residing in Kentucky in the early 1800s.  I'm still looking into a connection, but I know I may never find it.

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

Friday, August 22, 2014

52 Ancestor's Challenge - William H. Ross 1841-1916 Missouri - Week 28

Week 28 is about William H. Ross.  According to Findagrave.com, William was born February 23, 1841.  Where he was born, I'm not sure.  I have conflicting information.  A few people have posted online that he was born in Cane Creek, Missouri.  His daughter, Martha Jane Ross Hopson Tracy, has that he was born in Missouri on her death certificate.  The 1850 Federal Census shows he was born in Missouri as well.  However, looking into later censuses, we find in 1900 it says he was born in Indiana and so were his parents.  But by 1910 it states he was born in Illinois, but it was unknown where his parents were born.

Speaking of William's parents, who were they?  I've seen online that some have his father listed as Thomas Ross, but I haven't seen any proof.  The 1850 Federal Census has William, who is age 9, living with another William who is age 60.  Could this older William be his father?  There are no relationships shown in the 1850 census, so we just don't know.

Tracking William's moves with the censuses, we can see where he lived and who he lived with (documents found on Ancestry.com):

1850 Federal Census
Living in District 77, Ripley County, Missouri
People living in household:
  • William Ross, male, age 60 born in Connecticut, occupation is farming
  • Lorenso Ross, male, age 19 born in Missouri, occupation is farming
  • Jinnetta Ross, female, age 17 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • Calvin Ross, male, age 14 born in Georgia possibly (hard to read initials), no occupation
  • William Ross, male, age 9 born in Missouri, no occupation
1860 Federal Census
Living in Kelly Township, Ripley County, Missouri
Local Post Office is listed as Doniphan (this will come up again)
People living in household:
  • C.N. (Claiborne) Kidd, male, age 30 born in Tennessee, occupation is farmer
  • C. Kidd, female, age 23 born in Illinois, occupation is domestic
  • Martha Kidd, female, age 13 born in Tennessee, no occupation
  • Nancy Kidd, female, age 11 born in Tennessee, no occupation
  • C. Kidd, male, age 5 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • Jas Lee, male, age 14 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • S.A. Lee, female, age 11 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • C. Lee, female, age 4 born in Missouri, no occupation
  • William Ross, male, age 19 born in Illinois, occupation is farmer
  • Mary Jane Ross, female, age 15 born in Tennessee, no occupation
I haven't been able to find the marriage record for William and Mary Jane, but the 1910 Federal Census shows they were married about 1860.

We know from family tradition that William Ross fought in the Civil War for the Confederacy.  Family stories state he and his son-in-law, Harmon Augusta Tracy, who fought for the North, used to try tripping each other with their canes (Harmon was about 7 years older then William).  I have had trouble finding him in Civil War records.  There are too many with the same name.  However, browsing through Fold3.com, I found a Civil War record for Private William Ross of the 9th Missouri Infantry, Company H.  They show this William Ross was captured by the North in Little Rock, Arkansas on May 12, 1863.  With these records is a letter written on January 11th, 1865 stating his Oath of Allegiance to the United States.  This entire letter can be seen on Fold3.com, if you have a subscription.  It says the following:
"I Wm. Ross a private of Company H 9th Missouri Infy would respectfully represent that I was Conscripted in the Rebel Service in August, 1862, at Doniphan Missouri, I was forced into the Rebel Army against my free will and consent,...I voluntarily surrendered to the 6th Missouri Calvary at Little Rock Arkansas the 12th May 1863, in order to avail myself of the Amnesty Proclamation..."
I feel certain this may be the same William.  The link is that he enlisted at Doniphan, which was the post office location for his household on the 1860 Federal Census.  However, I have one hang up.  His daughter Martha Jane was born March 30, 1864.  His wife would have had to become pregnant right before he was captured, and have given birth late (pregnancy would have lasted about 45 weeks).  Could he have been able to go home at some point?  I can not say with 100% certainty that we have the same person.

The 1870 Federal Census, I can not find.  Not sure where they could have been living.  So we'll pick up with the 1880 Federal Census.

1880 Federal Census
Living on Third Street in De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri
People living in household:
  • William Ross, head of household, male, age 38 born in Illinois, parents born in Indiana, occupation is a Locomotive Fireman
  • Mary J. Ross, wife,  female, age 34 born in Tennessee, parents born in Tennessee, occupation is keeping house
  • Mattie Ross, daughter, female, age 16 born in Missouri, occupation is at home
By the 1900 Federal Census, they were living at 410 Stone Street, in Valle Township, City of De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  Their daughter, Martha, was not listed on the census with William and Mary Jane, but 3 of her children from her first marriage were:  William H. (Willie), Ivie, and Myrtle Hopson.  They are also showing on the 1900 census living with their mother and her 2nd husband Harmon Augusta Tracy.  They may have lived at both places.

In 1910, William and Mary Jane were still living in Valle Township, City of De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  He was still showing as an engineer for the locomotive.  This census shows how many children they had.  Next to Mary's name it says they had 2 children, and 1 was living.  I'm guessing one of their children must have died before 1880.

February 14, 1915, William's wife, Mary Jane Kidd Ross, died of "Valvular Heart Disease."  She was 70 years old.  The certificate states they were living on Stone Street near 3rd Street in De Soto.  She was buried at the City Cemetery in De Soto.

A little over a year later, William passed away too.  He was in the Missouri Pacific Railroad Hospital at 1600 California Ave., in St. Louis, Missouri prior to his death.  His age was 78 years old.  The certificate, found on Missouri Digital Heritage: Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1963, shows his occupation was a "Hustler Tending to the Engineer for the Missouri Pacific Railroad Co."  He was buried next to his wife in the De Soto City Cemetery.  You can see their tombstone here on Findagrave.com.

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!!

52 Ancestor's Challenge - Martha Jane Ross 1863-1933 Missouri - Week 27

Picture of Martha Jane Ross
Well, I've been MIA these past few weeks.  Summer has taken me outside and away from the computer.  I'm about a month behind with this challenge, I think...I've lost track!!  Back to it!!

I'm dedicating this post to my great, great grandmother Martha Jane Ross.  From information I was given, Martha was born in Ripley County, Missouri.  Not sure where this information came from, so I'm not 100% sure it's accurate.  According to her death certificate, she was born March 30, 1864.  She was the daughter of William H. Ross and Mary Jane Kidd.  I am not able to find the family in the 1870 Federal Census, so I am not able to see if Martha had any siblings (according to the 1910 census showing William and Mary Jane, it states she had 2 children, but only 1 was living).

The family can be seen in the 1880 Federal Census living in De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  In the household is William, Mary Jane, and Martha, or Mattie as her name is written.

Martha was first married to John Hopson.  Martha and John had 4 children together:
  • Willie born 1881
  • Ivy born 1882
  • Myrtle born 1884
  • Lester born 1890
I believe the two were married November 2, 1880 in St. Louis, Missouri.  This was information given to me by another family member, but I can not find proof of the marriage, so I'm not 100% sure it is correct.  I was also told Martha and John divorced in 1889 in Jefferson County, Missouri.  Again, I have not seen the paperwork, so I'm not certain of this date.

I do know that Martha married for a second time to Harmon Augusta Tracy on November 14, 1896 in Jefferson County, Missouri.  This can be found in the Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002 on Ancestry.com.  Martha was Harmon's 3rd wife (possibly 4th).  Together the two had 7 children:
  • Paul who died in infancy
  • Luke who died in infancy
  • William Mark born 1897
  • Minnie born 1899
  • Arbelle, or Orville, born 1902
  • Grace born 1904
  • Byron Earl born 1906
Here is a funny story given to me about Martha's father William and her husband Harmon:
Martha's father, William Ross, was about 7 years younger then his son-in-law, Harmon (William Ross was born about 1841 and Harmon was born in 1834).  They both fought in the Civil War, William fought for the South and Harmon for the North.  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 they walked by."
The pictures in this post are of Martha and various family members.  These copies were given to me by my mother, who received them from her aunt.  I'm not sure who is in the photo with her, or when and where they were taken.

The family can be found in the 1900 Federal Census living in De Soto, Jefferson County, Missouri.  In the house is Martha and Harmon, along with 2 of Harmon's children from his second marriage, Olive and Matthew, Harmon and Martha's children, Mark and Minnie, and Martha's 4 children from her first marriage, Willie, Ivy, Myrtle, and Lester.  Looks like they had a full house!!

In 1910, the family is still living in De Soto.  Mark, Minnie, Orville, and Grace are the children living with them...not sure where Byron is (1910 Federal Census found on Ancestry.com).

Then, after 1910, Harmon left the family to go visit his daughter, Olive, in Arkansas.  He never made it back.  Harmon died on May 17, 1919 in Memphis, Tennessee, supposedly on his daughter's houseboat (Olive's husband was a ferry boat owner).  Harmon was buried at the Memphis National Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1920, we can find Martha along with Orville, Grace, and Byron living on Hickory Street, in St. Louis Ward 15, St. Louis County, Missouri.  The 1920 Federal Census shows Martha as a widow.

On the 1930 Federal Census, we see her still living in St. Louis, but this time on Monroe Street.  She was listed as a "lodger," renting a room from Julian and Sophia Lesvicki.

Martha Jane Ross Hopson Tracy died September 25, 1933.  Her death certificate can be found online through Missouri Digital Heritage, Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1963.  She was living at 3403 North Broadway, in the City of St. Louis.  She is listed as 69 years, 5 months, and 26 days.  Her son Byron was the informant.

I'm not sure which cemetery she would have been buried in.  Under "Burial, Cremation, or Removal," it says "De Soto Sept. 27, 1933."  The Undertaker is listed as E.J. Schnur, at 3125 Lafayette Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri.  One day, maybe I will find out where she was buried.

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!!