Friday, July 29, 2016

Myers Family B - The Cowans of Missouri

Last time, we began with the second of our Myers-Ferguson families: the descendants of Welby and Eliza (Ferguson) Myers. This week, we will look at their eldest child; their daughter Mollie.

This is one family where the Callin Family History does not give us much to go on, and the records don't necessarily have all of the facts I usually count on in one document so I can be sure that the child of one family is the bride in another. I found Indiana marriage index records for a Mary A Myers which led me to a possible husband, which led me to a Find-A-Grave memorial which gave her maiden name and her husband's name. Because I don't have original records, I could still be wrong, and have the wrong family -- though I don't think I am.

The CFH (which was published in 1911) says this of the oldest child of Eliza and Welby: "Mary, born 1864; married, 4 children, three living." It goes on to give this Mary her own page, naming two of these four children as "Geo. Myers" and "William Myers" - which, since her married name would not have been "Myers," makes me doubt that great uncle George had the most up to date story on his cousins when he compiled this part of the family tree. You won't see a George or William in the family below. But if I identified her husband correctly, then the Census records and all that follows should tell the story of the right folks, and allow me to correct Uncle George.

    I. Mary Augusta "Mollie" Myers (1864–1927) married Richard Jefferson Davis Cowan (1863–1948) on 14 February 1884 in Knox county, Indiana, and moved with him to Wayne county, Missouri. Jeff was born in Cowan township, which is located almost exactly half way between St. Louis to the north, and Memphis to the south.

Jeff's grandfather, Richard Dickey Cowan, was born in Lincoln county, North Carolina, in 1782. He served as a Major in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812, settled in Missouri some time after the war (probably establishing Cowan township on a land grant) and was elected to the Missouri state house of representatives in 1828, 1834, 1838. Major Cowan died in 1868, and his son, Jeff's father, Richard Dickey Cowan, Jr. died two years later. Jeff's grandmother, Susan, took in Jeff and his two older sisters briefly in 1870, and then the three went to live in the home of Washington and Emily Ellis, where their mother, Eleanor, was the domestic servant. In 1871, Eleanor married Wallis Kirkpatrick (1840-1908). Jeff likely grew up in that household, until he was old enough to be on his own.

At first, Jeff Cowan settled with his new wife in Wayne county, and began a family. The couple had a baby every other year until 1890. In the 1890s, there are a few records of a Jefferson Davis Cowan in California, which could be someone else, or could mean that our Jeff Cowan was exploring business opportunities on the west coast. In 1900, his occupation was listed as "Hotel keeper," and in 1910, he was listed as a traveling salesman.

Hornersville Cemetery, Dunklin county, Missouri
Altogether, Jeff and Mollie had eleven children - all but one of whom survived to adulthood. By 1920, they had moved 100 miles south to Hornersville, in Dunklin county, which is in the panhandle at the bottom of Missouri. After Mollie died in 1927, Jeff lived with his son, Leonard, for a while, but at some point, he moved out to Los Angeles, where he died in 1948. Jeff and Mollie are both buried in the Hornersville cemetery.


     A. Uriel Cleveland Cowan (1884–1958) grew up in Wayne county, and in 1910 was living with his parents and working as a salesman in a dry goods store. He married Minnie Bell Kibby (1878–1963) some time before 1917, and they lived in Clay, Dunklin county, in 1920. Some time in the 1920s, Cleveland and Minnie moved to Michigan, where they lived in the Detroit area for about twenty years.

As far as I can tell, Cleveland and Minnie did not have any children. (But remember Minnie -- we're going to talk about her family more near the end of this post!)

     B. Cona Billie Cowan (1886–1967) married Edwin A Costner in Greenville on 26 October 1905. That much, I can prove with a Missouri Marriage record. Other researchers claim that the couple had a daughter, known only as "Little Tot," who died in 1909. I have not been able to find any records to confirm any of that, and Cona appears in the 1910 Census with her parents and siblings, and she is listed as "Single."

Cona married again, this time to  Robert Bryan Taylor (1894–1958). There are two Arkansas Marriage records for this wedding in 1935, but the couple was listed on the 1930 Census living in Hornersville with Robert's mother, Fannie. They remained in Dunklin county until the 1940s, when they moved out to California. They may have gone there with Cona's father, Jeff; Robert died there in 1958. After the deaths of her husband and father, Cona returned to Missouri, where she died in 1967.

     C. Nettie Beatrice Cowan (1888–1967) George William Stivers (1887–1939) on 3 January 1909. George was elected to the legislature in 1922 and 1923 from Wayne county, and served as postmaster at Piedmont. He suffered a heart attack in April 1939, and died.

     1. Phyllis Edith Stivers (1909–2003) married Homer E Beall Jr (1908–1965) and they have three daughters still living, and in their late 70s.

     2. Joseph Wiley Stivers (1911–1981) graduated from the University of Missouri in 1930, entered the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, and received his commission in 1934. He served his commitment to the Navy, and returned to Piedmont, where he was appointed as a postmaster in 1940. He served in the Navy as a Lieutenant Junior Grade, from 1942 to 1946; after the war, he returned to Piedmont and was again appointed postmaster.

He married Magdalene Stovall (1917–1996), but I have not found any mention of their children in any records.

     3. Carolyn B Stivers (1914–1992) married Arthur B. Meyer, Jr. (1916-1989) on 9 February 1940. Her name appeared on the marriage certificate as "Carolyn Stivers Larkin," so I assume she was married once before; however, I haven't been able to document that further. Arthur had also been married before, and brought a young son into the marriage.

Arthur's father was a bank president in neighboring Moniteau county, Missouri. Arthur was an editor in Piedmont, Wayne county, when he married Carolyn. When the war broke out, he obtained a commission and served from 1942 to 1945 as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. After the war, Arthur took a job in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he and Carolyn were living in the late 1950s; they were there through at least 1980. After retiring, they moved to Littleton, Arapahoe county, Colorado, where they died just a few years apart. They were buried together in the Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver.

     4. George William Stivers Jr (1920–1945) graduated from the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1942, and served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. He was cited for gallantry in the South Pacific, Guadalcanal in 1942 and Tarawa in 1943. He was General J.C. Smith's Aide de Camp and in 1944 he became an air cadet. That same year he received his wings from the Corpus Christi NAS. He was piloting Grumman Avenger, FT-117, that was part of the infamous Flight 19 squadron that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle while on a training mission out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

     D. James Wiley Cowan (1890–1973) Beryl Viola Ferguson (1897–1965) around 1923, and they had two children, a son and a daughter, who are still living. Wiley moved the family to Detroit in the 1930s, where he worked in the auto industry, like his brother, Cleveland. Around 1944, Wiley and Beryl moved to Alhambra, Los Angeles county, California. Sometime after 1956, they moved out to Riverside in San Bernardino, where are buried.

     E. Everett Austin Cowan (1894–1972) grew up in Wayne county, Missouri, and enlisted in the U.S. Army in World War I, serving from May to December or 1918. After the war, he married Minnie Bell Bolding (1898–1990) on 12 May 1919, when he was 24 years old. They had three sons and a daughter; their youngest son is still living.

The family moved to Los Angeles after the birth of their first child, but returned to Missouri by 1935, and Everett went to work as a tool checker for WPA roads projects.

     1. Everett Doyle Cowan Sr (1925–2011) was born in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, and after his family moved back to Missouri from Los Angeles, he remained in Strafford for most of the rest of his life. Doyle served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, and was a lifetime member of the VFW Post at Strafford.

Doyle married Mildred Esther Fetterhoff (1928–2004) in May 1945, and they raised three sons and two daughters together. All but one of them survives. He retired from Springfield City Utilities where he was supervisor at the power plant.

     a. Everett Doyle Cowan Jr (1946–2010) was born in Chicago, Illinois, and spent much of his childhood on his grandparents’ farm near Strafford. Junior graduated from Strafford High School, obtained an undergraduate degree from Southern Baptist University and a master’s of education from Drury University. He served for a short period of time in the U.S. Marine Corps, spent nearly 15 years as a teacher and a principal, and also owned a construction business and a lumber yard. He served as Mayor of Strafford, Missouri.

After retiring, Junior moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he died in June 2010. He was survived by his wife, three children, and three grandchildren (as of 2010).

     2. Mary Ann Cowan (b. 1928) was born in Los Angeles, California, and returned to Missouri with her family when she was about 7 years old. Aside from a California birth index and two Census records, I have not found any other information about her, though her brother's 2011 obituary did say that she predeceased him.

     3. Kenneth Wesley Cowan (1933–1997) was born in Hollywood, but grew up in Strafford, Missouri. He graduated Strafford High School in 1951, and attended the teacher's college in Springfield. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in Vietnam. I don't know when, but I know that he married, and that he and his wife had at least two sons.

     a. Troy Bryant Cowan (1960-1969) only lived two weeks past his ninth birthday. I do not know what caused his death.

     b. Kenneth Troy Cowan (1970-1993) named partly in honor of his recently decease brother, Kenneth enlisted in the U.S. military when he was 19, serving for three months in 1989.

     F. Richard Cowan (1897–1907) was the older twin, born about a week before his sister, Bessie. I could not find any record or newspaper account to explain why he died at age nine.

     G. Elizabeth Rae "Bessie" Cowan (1897–1955) was born on 7 September 1897, at least a week after her twin brother. She married John Stanley Krapf (1897–1960), a World War I veteran who served as a sergeant in the 43rd Infantry. He worked as a government clerk, and they had a daughter. It isn't clear when or why, but it appears the family moved to Los Angeles in the 1940s. Their daughter married, then died in 1948, the same year that Bessie's father died there. Bessie died in Los Angeles in 1955, and John moved back to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, where he died in 1960. He is buried in the Hornersville Cemetery.

     1. Phyllis Evelyn (Krapf ) Hicks (1925–1948) died in Los Angeles, just a few weeks before her 23rd birthday.

     H. Leonard Jefferson Cowan (1899–1976) grew up on the farm, and began working in the timber mills around Hornersville in Dunklin county. He married Ruby Riley (b. 1904) in Poplar Bluff on 26 July 1919. Leonard's father was living with them in 1930, before moving out to California. They were together throughout the 1930s and 1940s, but never had children as far as I could tell.

When World War II broke out, Leonard signed up, and served at the Jefferson Barracks as an auto mechanic. After that, I'm not sure what happened to Ruby, but Leonard ended up married to Myrtle M "Maggie" Smith (1908–1987), and I believe he lived with her during his later years in Chester, Illinois, just across the Mississippi river from Missouri. After Leonard died, Maggie moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where she died; they were buried in Ellis Grove City Cemetery, Randolph county, Illinois.

     I. Curtis R Cowan (1901–1993) married 17-year old Bertha "Bertie" Lee Banks (1903–1924) on 5 June 1920. She died in 1924, and Curtis quickly re-married on 19 October 1925. This time, his bride was Essie Mae Chitwood (1909–1964).

Essie Mae was the half-sister of Minnie Bell Kibby, Curtis's sister-in-law (remember, I told you we'd talk about her again). Their mother was Esther Ellen "Nellie" Duncan (1854–1937), who married George Chitwood some time after John Kibby died.

Curtis and Essie May had eight children; five sons and three daughters, most of whom are still living. Like his older brother, Curtis worked in timber, and he lived in Hornersville until 1935, when he moved the family to Alton, Madison county, Illinois. (I couldn't say whether he moved there before or after his brother did.) The couple had moved to Chester by the time Essie May died in 1964; that is where Curtis died, as well.

     a. Kathryn Joyce (Cowan) Lloyd (1927–2006) was a realtor for over 30 years and attended Abundant Life Christian Center, through which she helped establish a prison ministry working with delinquent girls. She was survived by 4 daughters, 6 grandchildren, and 3 great-grandchildren.

     c. Stanley Glenn Cowan (1930–1980) enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served in Korea from 1950 through 1952. He appears to have been a career non-commissioned officer, retiring at the rank of Master Sergeant. He never married, that I know of, and he was only 50 when he died.

     d. Janett Cowan (1932–1934) died before she reached two years of age.

     f. Lindell Davis "Tex" Cowan (1936–2010) was just a couple of years too young to serve in Korea, but he enlisted in the United States Air Force. I assume he was probably stationed in Texas, as he moved to El Paso, Texas, and joined the Police department in 1958.

He married Genoveva J Juarez (1931–1995) and raised three daughters in El Paso. After Genoveva died, Lindell moved back to Illinois. He retired from Granite City Steel after many years of dedicated service as a welder.

     J. Thelma D Cowan (1905–1990) moved out to Los Angeles to stay with her younger brother and his wife, and was living with them in 1930. Not long after that, she married and electrical engineer named Stanley E Lindahl (1905–1987) and they had a daughter, whom they raised in the Los Angeles area. Both of them are buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale.

     K. Brewster Wilson Cowan (1908–1980) married a girl named Gladys W. (1908–1963) around 1930. I can't find a marriage record, but they were in the Census and U.S. city directories in Los Angeles, and they seemed to be happy living in California. At the end of World War II, Bruce enlisted in the U.S. Army for a few months, and served at Fort Macarthur in San Pedro, California.

I don't know whether they ever had children, but after Gladys died, Bruce did enjoy a whirlwind romance with a woman named Lorene. They married and divorced between February and September of 1966.

 - -- --- -- - 

And that brings us to the end of what I can tell you about the Cowan family and their descendants. There's certainly a lot to take in, and considering the leap of faith I started with, I hope this is mostly correct.

As always, if you are related to anyone mentioned in this post, please say hello - you can drop a comment below, join our Callin Family History Facebook group, or email my Gmail address: callintad at gmail dot com.

Corrections and editorial comments are not only welcome, but encouraged. I want to get this right!
 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Myers Family B - Welby and Eliza

For the last several weeks, we were looking at the descendants of Sarah Ferguson and her husband, Daniel Myers. This week, we begin looking at Sarah's younger sister, Eliza, who married Daniel's older brother, Welby. (And if you want to start with Sarah's and Eliza's parents, see February's post: The Rise of the Fergusons.)

Eliza Ferguson (1847–1920) married Welby Nathan Myers (1842–1931) on 16 April 1863 in De Kalb county, Indiana. While his name is rendered several different ways in the various records I found (Willoughby, Wiloby, Wilbey, and sometimes as William), Welby N. Myers is the name given in the Callin Family History, and seems to me to be the most common rendering among the sources where he is likely to have had any input.

Welby's death certificate calls him "William N. Myers," but the informant on that record is the Home Hospital in Lafayette, Tippecanoe county, where he was residing at the time of his death, and I have the impression that their record was wrong or garbled when the form was filled out. Ironically enough, his daughter, Almeda's death certificate gives his full name - Wilbey Nathan Myers - and lists her mother's full name as "Eliza Calin Ferguson." The handwriting was slightly damaged on that record, though, so the transcriber rendered it as "Eliza Caline Fergeebr." (Moral of the story: be wary of poor transcriptions - and sympathetic to transcribers! They know not the context of what they do.)

Welby and his brother Daniel are both listed in 1860 as "Laborers" on their father's farm. Like his brother, there is no evidence that Welby fought in the Civil War; judging by the timing of his marriage and the birth of his two eldest daughters, Welby and Eliza remained in Indiana and began their family during those war years.

  • I. Mary Augusta "Mollie" Myers (1864–1927) 
  • II. Amanda A. Myers (1865–1905) 

(Mollie and Amanda each left behind a lot of descendants for us to discuss, so we'll look at them in more detail in coming weeks.)

In the year between the birth of Amanda (July 1865) and Carrie (April 1866), the family moved to Eaton county, Michigan, where Welby was working in carpentry according to the 1870 census. They lived in Roxand, at least for the four years between 1866 and 1870, when they had their two younger daughters, Carrie and Minerva.

By 1880, the family moved back to the Auburn area in De Kalb county, Indiana, where Welby established himself as a farmer. There, when Welby was 39 and Eliza 34, they had their youngest child and only son, James.

  • III. Carrie A. Myers (1866–1954) 

Carrie married Oscar Haines (1859–1934) in 1886. He was a farmer, and they lived in Auburn township, where they raised their adopted son, who came to their family when he was five years old. Around 1910, Oscar and Carrie moved to the town of Ashley. In the 1930s, Oscar's health began to fail, and Carrie took care of him after he suffered a serious of strokes; he died in 1934. Twenty years later, Carrie died in the convalescent home in Butler.

     A. Oscar "Harry" Harris (1892–??) had six children, according to Oscar Haines's 1934 obituary; however, I have been unable to locate any reliable records to tell me more, partly due to how common the names "Harry" and "Harris" are. Without knowing where he lived or his wife's name, any of the records I found could be the family I'm looking for. The search continues.

  • IV. Almeda Minerva Myers (1869–1900) 

Almeda married Clement V Brandon (1865–1926) on 15 January 1887 in De Kalb county, Indiana, and promptly had their son, George, on 12 September of that year. Almeda died in August of 1900 from tuberculosis, and Clement carried on alone, raising 13 year old George. He bought a farm outside the town of Garrett in 1920, where his son's family was living with him when he died.

     A. George Curtis Brandon (1887–1959) married Lottie Belle Clark (1889–1970) on 20 February 1906, and he went to work for the B. & O. Railroad as a trainman. He inherited his father's farm in 1926, which was valued at $875, and in the early 1930s, he sold the farm and moved to Indian River, Michigan. He died in in 1959 at the hospital at Petoskey, Michigan, after a two month illness. Lottie survived him, and moved back to Fort Wayne to be near their daughter. Lottie died of a heart attack at age 82 while living in the National Nursing Home in Fort Wayne.

     1. Imadean May Brandon (1906–1992) married Theodore R Crooks (1902–1985) in April 1924 in Garrett, Indiana. They had two children; a son and a daughter. Theodore worked as a "trimmer" in an auto factory - most likely the Auburn Automobile company - and later worked for General Electric in Fort Wayne. He was long retired when he died at 83 from a "recurrent cerebrovascular accident" in 1985. Imadean lived until 1992, and they were buried together in the Garden of Devotion section of Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne.

     a. Darel Arthur Crooks (1924–2013) was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corp, and served in the South Pacific Theater during World War II. He married in 1974, and was employed as a pharmaceutical salesman for the former Michigan Pharmacal, located in Auburn Hills, Mich. He retired in 1988, when he moved with his wife to their home on Burt Lake. They spent their winters in Ft. Meyers, Florida or Orange Beach, Alabama.

As well as his wife and four of his five children, Darel left behind eight grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and one great-great grandson.

     b. Geraldine Joan (Crooks) Green (1928–1970) graduated from Kendallville High School in 1947, and went to Fort Wayne, where she worked for Sears as a typist in 1950. She was living in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband when she died at 41 years of age.

  • V. James N Myers (1881–1923) 
James lived on the farm and worked with his father until his late twenties. His sister Amanda married in 1881, and Mollie in 1884, so James probably did not know them as well as he did his younger sisters.

James married Grace A Perry (b. 1881) in June 1910. She had been married before, and divorced, and brought a son from her first marriage, Harry, into the family. She had been supporting herself  by working in the home of the Link family when James married her. When their son was born the following year, they named him in honor of that family.

James took his family and moved to Toledo some time before 1920; they were living there when James died in July 1923, killed in an accident involving an electric street car. According to the reporting in the Toledo Blade:

J.M. Myers, Ottawa road, was killed instantly when hit by a Toledo bound Lake Shore limited car at stop 337 in the Woodville road Thursday morning.
It was first reported that Mr. Myers had intentionally thrown himself in front of the car but Coroner Henzler gave a verdict of accidental death.
"Mr. Myers was crippled. One of his feet was shorter than the other and it is my opinion that he suddenly fell in front of the speeding car when he stepped into a hole beside the track," the coroner said.
Witnesses say that Mr. Myers had been standing in a shelter house at stop 337 for several minutes when he walked out at the approach of the limited. They say he suddenly lurched forward and that within a second the car was upon him.
The car was operated by J.B. Emmons, Toledo, who said that he did not see the man until he left the shelter house.
He said that then the car was less than 50 feet away and although he put on the brakes it was too late to stop.

A few years later, Grace re-married to James Erven; she died in July 1948.

     A. Marshall Link Myers (1911–1976) was an electrician for the Norfolk and Western Railway 30 years, retiring in 1974. He was also a dock master for the Ottawa River Yacht Club. His wife and daughter survived him.

 - -- --- -- - 

Special thanks to the kind and helpful staff of the Local History & Genealogy Department of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library for providing the obituaries for James N. and Marshall Myers.

Also, credit to Ancestry user baraboo84 for finding and uploading several wedding and death documents for James & Grace Myers - without which I would not have been able to find out nearly as much about them as I did!

As always, if you are related to any of the people in this post, I'd love to hear from you. This is part of an ongoing project to update the 1911 Callin Family History, compiled by George W. Callin of Bowling Green, Ohio. If your family is listed here, then you belong in that book!

Comment below, email me (callintad at gmail dot com), or follow the link to our Callin Family History Facebook page, and tell me how you're related so I can add you to the group.

Next week: The Cowans of Missouri (there are a lot of them).

Thursday, July 14, 2016

A #HamiltonMusical Intermission

I'm waiting for a couple of obituaries to arrive and allow me to finish the next post on our Myers cousins, so... I'm taking another "bye" week on the Callin Family History update - but I still have something interesting to tell you about.
The Marquis de Lafayette

I don't think there are many human beings left who have not been told about this year's Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Hamilton. Not only have I fallen in love with the show, my thirteen-year-old and her friends have, too. And some of my son's friends... and most of mine... well, you get the idea. It's kind of omnipresent.

If you managed to avoid hearing about it elsewhere, I'll just tell you that it is the story of America's first Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton--he of the $10 bill--only set to hip-hop music and told in fierce, poly-rhythmic freestyle rhymes. (If you want to know more about how historians feel about it, I can recommend the Backstory episode!)

Among our favorite characters in the show, you family historians might recognize the name of the Marquis de Lafayette. He was the young French aristocrat who fought under General Washington in the Revolution, and the original Callin Family History claimed that our own founding father, James "1st" Callin, served under him at the Battle of Brandywine. (You can read more about that in my post from last March, Lafayette On the Brandywine.)
Daveed Diggs as
Marquis de Lafayette

Our forefather may not have made it into the cast of named characters when Lin-Manuel Miranda composed his lauded libretto, but I was curious whether James Callin would have been in the chorus. Or, more accurately, whether his unit fought in any of the battles referenced in the musical.

As it turns out... (if you are put off by strong language, there are two brief, common toilet references that might embarrass you in this song; fair warning. In context, I really don't think you'll notice.)




That song tells the story of the Battle of Monmouth, clearly, which was fought on the 28th of June 1778. That link will take you to the Order of Battle on Wikipedia, which lists the 4th, 8th, and 12th Virginia Regiments under the command of Colonel James Woods as being present on that day. As it happens, the Ancestry database of "U.S., Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783" for those regiments lists James Callin as 51st out of 83 soldiers present during the month of June 1778.

So that means that when Lafayette took command from Charles Lee, "snatching a stalemate from the jaws of defeat," that my 5th great grandfather was almost certainly on the battlefield. And maybe someday, if I get enough tickets to the show, I might spot him among the soldiers behind Hamilton onstage?

Grandpa?

Friday, July 8, 2016

Myers Family A - Two for One Post

James Callin's great granddaughter, Sarah Ferguson, and her husband, Daniel Myers, were the parents of four sons. We spent the last two posts reviewing the two elder sons and their descendants.

I. Samuel Ralston Myers
II. Henry Tilman Myers

Today, we'll have time to cover the descendants of both of the younger sons in one post - but first, I have to introduce someone else.

Emma May Hostler (1862-1922) was born near the beginning of America's Civil War, and died after the First World War. Her parents were Michael Hostler (or Hosler), Jr. (1832-1916) and Elizabeth Disler (1832-1930), both of whom were born in Stark county, Ohio, to German immigrant parents and both of whom were part of that great Westward migration to Indiana that we saw during the 1840s.

May married early, wedding William B Fletter (1858–1891) on 10 August 1879 in Allen County, Indiana. They had seven children during the 11 years they were married, and while I have not found any documented evidence of the date of William's death, I believe the other researchers of this family who peg it around December 1891. Sadly, the youngest of those seven children was also born that year, and May remarried on 29 November 1893 to Alfred E. Keck (b. 1872) - who, you might note, was ten years her junior.

I don't like to moralize or sound judgmental about the marriage customs of these earlier times. There is no way to know what social or economic pressures drove anyone's decisions; but there are a number of factors here that spell danger to modern readers. A young widow, with so many children; a younger husband; volatile economic times; whatever it was that motivated them, the Kecks had two sons together before their divorce in 1899, and this time, when she remarried, May found a husband from our family.

     III. David Albert Myers (1873–1938) grew up on his father's farm in Perry township, near Fort Wayne, and he married May Keck in 1902, when most of her nine children were old enough to be self-sufficient. I don't believe he adopted any of them, though Ernest Vernon (1895-1965) and Franklin Adolph Keck (1898-1975) appeared in the household under the Myers surname in 1910. At that time, the family was living in Chicago, where David worked as a carpenter. David and May had one son together.

     A. John Michael Myers (1903–1944) married Burnetta Blanche Hess (1907–1970) on 6 November 1922 in Hillsdale, Michigan, and they raised two daughters in Fort Wayne, Indiana. One of their daughters is still living. John supported the family working in a foundry. He contracted pneumonia in 1944 and died on April 15. The records aren't clear to me, but it seems that before John's death, Burnetta was already married to her second husband.

Betty Rose (Myers) Birch
Covington Memorial Gardens, Ft. Wayne, IN
     1. Betty Rose Myers (1923–1983) joined the U.S. Army in March 1945, and served through January 1946. I know from her death certificate that she was divorced at the time of her death, but I have not been able to locate an obituary or any other information about her husband or any children.

     Some researchers have documented May Hosler's death in 1941 in Los Angeles, California, but I found her death certificate on Ancestry.com - according to that document, which correctly identified her parents and her husband, she died on 4 May 1922 from kidney failure due to chronic interstitial nephritis. She was buried in the Old Leo Cemetery in Leo-Cedarville, Allen county, Indiana, next to her first husband, William Fletter.

When he lost May, who had been 11 years his senior, David might have ended up on his own. His son and many step children were all grown, after all, and many men his age might have retired to the farm. But in December of 1923 David married his second wife Iva Elizabeth Shirely (1904–1962). She was 18 when they wed, and they had two daughters and a son before David's death in 1938. As far as I can tell, their elder daughter is still alive.

     B. Davis Lewis "Sonny" Myers (1925–1990) was a truck driver who was living in Hicksville, Ohio, when he did of a heart attack at age 64. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on 21 August 1943 and served until 27 February 1946. He was married, and his wife survived him; she may still be alive today.

     C. Violet Beaula Myers (1927–2007) was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan; I'm not sure why, as her parents were lifelong residents of Fort Wayne, but the records are pretty clear. She married Robert L Kessinger (1921–1990), on February 18, 1946. He worked as a telephone lineman. They raised two daughters and two sons, and left behind three grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.



     IV. Edward Alfred Myers (1875–1952) the youngest of these four Myers brothers, married Gertrude M Jones (1882–1928) on 29 September 1901. Edward worked as an engineer and builder in the Fort Wayne area. He and Gertrude had four children - three sons and a daughter - two of whom survived to adulthood. The records are not completely clear, but I believe that Edward and Gertrude divorced in the early 1920s. Having lost two children within a couple of years of each other, their marriage may have suffered; they would not be the first couple to split up after such a painful tragedy. There are marriage records for Gertrude Jones and Evert Arnold in 1924, and Gertrude Arnold died in June 1928. Other researchers on Ancestry document her death in February, as Gertrude Myers, but I have not found records to confirm that.

The Myers family seems to have been close, as they frequently took care of each other during hard times. In 1910, Edward's brother, Henry, came to live with Edward's family after Henry's wife, Fannie, died. Henry's younger children went to live with Daniel and Sarah that year. And after Gertrude left in 1924, Edward's mother, Sarah, came to live with him.

Edward spent his final years in the Leslee nursing home, and died of chronic nephritis in 1952.

     A. Albert Harry Myers (1902–1981), eldest son of Edward and Gertrude, married Luella Emma Claus (1902–1946) on 15 May 1922 in Hillsdale, Michigan, and he worked as a wire drawer and enameler in the 1930s and 1940s. They raised three children together, but Luella died just at the close of the second World War. Then on 2 October 1949, Albert married his second wife, Ivah V Miller (1903–1976).

Albert and Luella's two younger children seem to still be alive, but they lost their older daughter in 1944.

Found on Newspapers.com
     1. Wilma Gertrude Myers (1922–1944) graduated from North Side High School in Fort Wayne in 1940, and she found work as a bookkeeper for the First National Bank in Fort Wayne. The bank was located next to a Sears and Roebuck Co. building which was ravaged by a fire at the beginning of April 1944.  Two floors had burned away, and while the building was undergoing repairs during the first two weeks of April, there were heavy rains and high winds in the area, which further weakened the remaining walls. On 11 April, the Sears & Roebuck building collapsed and spilled tons of brick and mortar debris into the Fort Wayne bank, killing six and injuring several others. Wilma was among those killed during the collapse.

     B. Arthur Lee Myers (1904–1921) was 17 years old when he and a friend decided to go hunting one Monday in November 1921. They tried to hop a ride on a freight train back to Fort Wayne, and when his friend attempted to pass the shotgun up to Arthur, it discharged into his left shoulder. The accident occurred on the 7th of November, and he died two days later.

     C. Alva Albert Myers, Sr. (1906–1969) married Laretta Belle Green (1908–1945) on 5 March 1927. In 1930, their little family was living with Laretta's parents on Wabash Avenue. Alva worked in the wire factory. They had six children altogether; five of whom survived to adulthood, and three of whom are still alive today.

On the 15th of October 1945, Laretta died after a coal oil explosion at home covered her entire body with second degree burns. Her three youngest children were all under the age of ten when she died. Alva remarried in 1950; his second wife was Pearl Maude Trim nee Carpenter (1914-1954), who died just four years later of ovarian cancer.

     1. Mary Ellen Myers (1928–2010) married Frederick Wilson Cartwright (1925–2012). Fred was a World War II Purple Heart Army veteran. He retired as a mogul operator for Wayne Candies in Fort Wayne, Indiana and he and Mary moved to Virginia to be nearer to their four children, ten grandchildren, six great grandchildren and several step great grandchildren. Two of their daughters and their son are still living

     a. Ellen Elizabeth (Cartwright) Wasson (1960–2011) was born in Fort Wayne, but was living in Palmer Springs, Virginia, when she died at the age of 51. She clerked for Slip-In Convenience stores, and was a member of the Church of Religious Science.

     2. Edward William Myers (1930–1931) was just over a year old in April of 1931, when he contracted pneumonia and died.

     3. Helen Luella (Myers) Bell (1932–2012) married in 1951, and she was survived by her husband, three daughters, two sons, 19 grandchildren, 39 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

     D. Henrietta May Myers (1909–1917) was severely disabled, suffering from a spinal defect and from a bout of meningitis when she was two years old. At age 8, she died from a pulmonary hemorrhage.


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Sometimes this hobby feels very morbid - especially when I am writing about a family that has suffered a lot of tragedy. Most of the time, I contribute that feeling to the fact that I'm not writing about living people (not without their permission!) and to the fact that I'm getting a lot of information from obituaries. This is particularly true at the end of a post, when I'm usually writing about the most recent generations.

But I think Ancestry either added a database of Indiana Death Certificates, or made the existing records easier to find, because as I reviewed these last few Myers families, the Ancestry hint system was suggesting these records to me. That is why I was able to go into (often gruesome) detail about how some of these people died.

Whatever the reason, I hope you found this interesting and helpful, and as always, if you spotted any mistakes, please let me know. And if you belong to this family, let me know that, too! Drop a note in the comments, or come visit our Callin Family History Facebook group to learn more about this project.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Myers Family A - Stubborn Henry

Last time, we began looking at the first of two Myers families. Sarah Ferguson, the daughter of Eliza (Callin) Ferguson, married Daniel Myers, and they had four sons. We looked at the descendants of their eldest son, Samuel Ralston Myers, and now we will kick off with his brother:

     II. Henry Tilman Myers (1868–1918) grew up on his father's farm in Perry township, Allen county, Indiana, and he married Frances "Fannie" Thompson (1879–1908) on 12 May 1898. They moved to Union township in neighboring De Kalb county, where Henry worked as a teamster.

Remember, that is a job that was changing drastically during Henry's lifetime. When he started out, he was probably still working with teams of horses pulling wagon loads of timber; by the mid 1910s, it was more likely that he was working with trucks or tractors.

Found on Newspapers.com

As you can tell from the obituary linked here, Henry met his end in 1918, after what appears to have been a frustrating day at work. He was only 50 years old, though at this point he would have been driving loads of timber for twenty years; and after making a delivery of heavy timber to the work site, he probably just wanted to stand out of the way and rest. I know that I don't respond well when I'm tired, and people keep yelling at me, so while the newspaper makes it clear that Henry was stubbornly ignoring warnings to get out of the danger zone, I can't help thinking that he was just confused and annoyed.

This article was important to my research, because finding records to tell the story of Henry's life had been difficult, and until I saw this article, I had no idea whether he and Fannie had any children. Even this obituary isn't as helpful as it could be, since it says he was "survived by the widow, five children" but appears to list six children and not name his widow. Which means that after Fannie's death in 1908, Henry re-married, but crucial details like his second wife's name are lacking. Piecing this puzzle together meant working backwards from limited information, complicated by the fact that there was more than one Henry Myers in Indiana at the time.

To the best of my abilities, here is what I think I figured out:

     A. Ruth Mabel Myers (1899–1958) was surprisingly difficult to research, and there are some gaps in the records that raise questions about where she was for long periods of time. In most records, she is referred to as Mabel, though she seems to have preferred to be called Ruth after the 1930s. When her mother died in 1908, Mabel would have been just 9 years old, and three of her younger siblings (Hubert, Ford, and Oleva) were listed in the household of grandparents Daniel and Sarah Myers in 1910, Mabel and her other sister, Marie, were not. Henry moved in with his younger brother, Edward.

Mabel married Harry Paul Clement (1892–1933) on 11 March 1916; their marriage certificate is the only record I found that listed her birth date as 29 March 1897. Most records say 29 March 1899, and the earlier date would be unlikely, since her parents weren't married until May 1898. That means she and Harry wanted to get married when she was only 16, and the couple probably didn't want to have to seek her father's consent.

They had one child, a daughter, when they were together, but they soon divorced, and Mabel remarried to Arnold R. Wolf (b. 1898) in December 1921. They also divorced, some time after 1925, and Mabel (now preferring the name Ruth) was married to Walter James Baker (1894–1971) by 1940. He was a widower with several grown children, and he and Ruth were still together when Ruth died of rectal cancer in 1958.

     1. Kathryn Maxine Clement (1917–1995) seems to have preferred a quieter life than her mother's. She lived for some time with her aunt, Oleva, appearing in the Zimmerman household in 1930. She married Carl E Beam (1909–1990) around 1935, and they stayed together in the Fort Wayne area for the next 55 years. Carl worked as a bottler for the Falstaff brewery for 32 years, retiring in 1967. He died of respiratory failure after suffering from chronic lung disease which developed into pneumonia. Kathryn died of mesothelioma in 1995, leaving behind a son, a daughter, six grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

     B. Hubert J Myers (1900–1974) was something of an outlaw. After the 1910 Census, when he appears in his grandparents home, there isn't much in the way of recorded evidence that he was around, except for a few mentions in the Fort Wayne newspapers. In 1922, he was fined $5 for public intoxication, along with several friends. Ten years later, he was sentenced to 180 days "at the state farm" for selling a stolen car. By 1940, he seems to have married and settled down to work as a bartender. His wife's name was Flossie, but other than a 1907 birth date, I don't know much about her. They were together through at least 1945; his death certificate says he was widowed. He died of intestinal cancer in 1974.

Ford R and Edith Myers headstone
Lindenwood Cemetery, Fort Wayne, IN
     C. Ford Ruford Myers (1902–1960) is someone about whom I still know very little for all the records I was able to locate. His father's obituary seems to be the only place his name is recorded as "Rutherford," and he usually appears as "Ford R."

The U.S. City Directories database records for Fort Wayne show a Ford R Myers working as a "wire drawer" or "tinsel operator" for many years. He married Helen Ethel Willson (b. 1901) in October 1925, and they were together through at least 1930, though I have been unable to locate a Census record (which would tell us whether they had any children). He seems to have been married to a Florence (Souder) Bullerman (1906-1989) in 1939, but she appeared in the 1940 Census living in her parents' home (under the name Myers), and Ford's directory listings in the early 1940s show him living with Edith (1906-1968), who is buried next to him in Lindenwood Cemetery in Fort Wayne.

As with his brother, I can't tell whether Ford left behind any progeny.

     D. Minerva Marie Myers (1905–1998) married Edward Lawrence Welch (1903–1944) on 14 August 1922, when she was still 16. Edward and Marie raised two sons together, and Edward worked for the Fort Wayne Drug Co. until his death from a coronary embolism at the age of 41. She remarried to a Mr. Dunn who preceded her in death, as did both of her sons. Marie died of a sudden stroke at the age of 92.

     1. Edward Lawrence Welch Jr (1923–1976) served in the U.S. Army's new Air Corps from 27 November 1942 to 13 January 1946. After the war, I am unable to locate any information about where he went or what he did, though I presume he remained in the Fort Wayne area for the following 30 years, as the U.S. military and Social Security files indicate that's where he died.

     2. Arnold Leroy Welch (1925–1987) enlisted a year after his brother did, serving in the U.S. Army from 17 November 1943 to 20 January 1946. He married on 2 December 1952, and he and his wife raised a daughter in the Fort Wayne area. Arnold died of colon cancer in 1987; his wife survived him and is still living.

     a. Joanna Lee Welch (1953–1990) died very young, leaving behind a new husband and a career as a hotel manager. Her death certificate indicated the cause of death being due to intravenous drug use, but without more details, I wouldn't want to speculate or moralize about that. She was married briefly when she was eighteen, and had just remarried a couple of years before her death, not long after her father died.

     E. Oleva Gertrude Myers (1907–1996) was the most elusive of Henry and Fannie's five children to track down. It would seem that the obituary that named her was confused about her name, but after piecing together a number of records, I'm satisfied that I have the right person. Of course, nothing about this family was easy to figure out, so please bear with me. I think this is what happened:

Oleva married Sherman L Zimmerman (1904–1956) around 1924, and they had three children before 1930; a daughter, and two sons. Oleva and Sherman divorced at some point, and from what I can tell, the two younger children, Donna and Harold, were adopted by Ralph and Elsie Yarde. Sherman remarried and had seven more children (three sons, four daughters) with his second wife, Mary Imogene Likes (1923-1957). Sherman died from a cerebral abscess in 1956, and Mary was killed in a car accident a year later.

Oleva had remarried to Arthur F Everett (1910–1993) by 1940, and Henry Zimmerman lived with them for a time. She outlived her husband by three years, then died at age 90 of a heart attack, leaving behind 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 5 great-great-grandchildren.

     a. Henry Clayton Zimmerman (1925–2002) married Marilyn E Glasgow (1926–1975), probably around 1968, and they had one daughter, who is still living. He did remarry in 1977, after Marilyn's death, and his second wife is also still alive today. Interestingly, that second wife was also married to Henry's brother, Harold.

     b. Donna Louise (Zimmerman) Yarde (1926–1998) married Edgar Dale Grabill (1923–2006) on 29 December 1946, and they raised three daughters and a son, all still living. Edgar and Donna raised their kids in the Goshen area, and moved to La Otto in Noble county later. Donna eventually succumbed to heart disease.

     c. Harold L (Zimmerman) Yarde (1928–1990) married Beverly G Nelson (1930–2010) on 4 June 1949, and they had four children over the following five years; a son and three daughters. In March 1955, Beverly filed for divorce, and in July, so did Harold. In September, the judge awarded custody of one of the children to Beverly, and required Harold to pay child support in the amount of $7 a week.

By December 1955, Harold was remarried; his second wife later married his brother, Henry, in 1977. I don't know how long they were together, but Harold married twice more in 1978 and 1979. His third wife was Gladys O (Smith) Durham (1921–2011), and their marriage did not last long, but Anna Jean "Oma Jean" Vanover (1933–2002) moved with Harold to Nashville, where they were together at his death.

     i. Sheryl Lynn Yarde (1954–2012) was the youngest of Harold's four children. She seems to have suffered from kidney disease, and left behind two grown sons and a grand-daughter.

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When one does this kind of research as a hobby, it's easy to think of every mystery solved as a masterpiece worthy of Sherlock and Batman, even though most of the time the most difficult challenge comes from figuring out how to fish facts out of a new database. This family, though, represented a crazy quilt of half-correct clues, missing records, and logical leaps that left me scratching my head (and not just from the shingles).

I'm not complaining. This is what I do for fun, after all. But each of Henry's children presented a new set of questions to untangle one piece of evidence at a time. Except for Hubert and Oleva, all of them used their middle names, and Oleva's name was rendered as everything from "Olive" to "Alevia" in her records. Their relationships took unexpected, and sometimes bitter, turns; and I had to keep digging for tiny clues that would unlock the next fact until I pieced it all together. For all that, I still have no idea who Henry's widow was!

But now that I've solved most of the mysteries here, I feel the usual hesitation about publicizing what might have represented some difficult childhood experiences for the surviving cousins who might read this. I always hope that for the families involved, nothing I've found in the public record is considered a secret, and that no one is hurt by what I've uncovered.

I know that my grandmother would have been uncomfortable talking about things like divorce and adoptions, and it could be that a distant cousin might be disturbed by something that was hidden or forgotten which they find out about through my blog. That is never my intent, but I have to take the approach that if I can find the evidence on the Internet, then the truth is already "out there" waiting to be discovered. In the case of this post, much of that evidence came from digitized archives of the Garrett Clipper on Newspapers.com - which you can see at this link.

Of course, if I simply got things wrong, I'm always happy to make corrections. If you have evidence that helps me correct my records, please contact me and let me know. You can comment below, email me (I'm "callintad" on Gmail), or join the Callin Family History Facebook group and say hello!