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Time Travel Tuesday: When- and Where- Will Your Family History Research Take You?

John Trumbull's Declaration of Independence, showing the five-man committee in charge of drafting the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 as it presents its work to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
John Trumbull’s Declaration of Independence, showing the five-man committee in charge of drafting the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 as it presents its work to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

One of my most favorite places visited was Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. At one of the taverns, there was a gentleman portraying an elderly resident of Williamsburg- he looked like Benjamin Franklin. He was probably in his seventies, and surprisingly got out of character a bit with the kids. He told them that when a young boy, his elderly neighbor had told him stories of the Civil War that he witnessed growing up. The neighbor’s parents had told their son stories of the American Revolution they lived through- and here this reenactor was, just 2 skips from the founding of our country, telling our children of those days in the voice of a Colonial Williamsburg resident. It made me realize that I was closer to my ancestors than it sometimes seemed.

I was not the only one realizing that those times were closer. About ten years ago, Maureen Taylor, who specializes in old photos and deciphering their clues, realized that there were photographs of persons who lived during the Revolutionary War! Photography was invented in 1839, so anyone over 80 years old by then would have been an adult during the Revolution; those who were children during the Revolution would have been at least 50 years old when he or she sat for a portrait after 1839. There were even surviving widows of Revolutionary soldiers in the 20th century: Esther Sumner was just 21 when she married 75 year old Noah Damon, and she died in 1906. So there are more close connections than seems possible, and Maureen has gathered some of this information and many photos into two books:

The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation, by Maureen Taylor
The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation, by Maureen Taylor
The Last Muster, Vol. 2: Faces of the American Revolution, by Maureen Taylor
The Last Muster, Vol. 2: Faces of the American Revolution, by Maureen Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maureen is also working on a documentary called “Revolutionary Voices”: A Last Muster Film. See her website, http://www.maureentaylor.com, for details about this project, as well as her books that can help you learn more about your family through their photographs.

 

The idea for this post came about during my internet ramblings- a fascinating article called, “‘Rasputin Was My Neighbor’ and Other True Tales of Time Travel” by Robert Krulwich is on the NPR website. The website includes a video of an elderly man who was attending Ford’s Theatre the fateful day that President Abraham Lincoln was shot. Yes, a video- that is just amazing!

Thinking about our ancestors, and what they witnessed in their lives, is a way to time travel while still enjoying indoor plumbing and air conditioning ;). A diary or letter, even a photo, can help us go to times past. Adding a timeline to family history research will help us to understand the story of their struggles and their lives, and if older relatives are still around, may be a springboard for stories not yet heard.

 

During the 1970s, as a young college woman, I was working for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (E.R.A.). My grandmother kept up with current events and watched PBS regularly for the news shows. (She did love the gardening shows too.) One day I realized that she had been a young college woman during the time that the 19th Amendment, ‘giving’ women the right to vote, was passed and ratified. I was excited about our parallel lives and couldn’t wait to get the opportunity to ask her what she remembered- did they have a support group at college, did she write letters, debate, or even march? What did she think of the women who were beaten, jailed, starved, and force-fed because they were protesting that 51% of the American population-women- did not have civil rights?

Suffragette and banner used to picket the White House and Capitol, demanding the right to vote for women in 1917-1918. NARA photo via wikipedia.
Suffragette and banner used to picket the White House and Capitol, demanding the right to vote for women in 1917-1918. NARA photo via wikipedia.

I was dumbstruck when my incredibly hard-working, frugal, level-headed grandmother answered, “I don’t even remember that. I was so busy with my sorority and dances and clubs. And I was always having to ask my father for more money for clothes and other expenses.” Years later she showed us her college scrapbook, full of dance cards, programs, and other mementos of her busy college life that didn’t include momentous political changes.

I must say though that she DID study- and earned a degree in biology in 1922, highly unusual for a woman at that time. So she worked for equality in her own way.

 

So do your time travel through wonderful historical sites, like Colonial Williamsburg, but also try to place your own ancestors in the time and place they lived their ordinary lives. Try to decipher the small clues in photographs- maybe a house number on a door, or official documents such as a draft registration or passport application that gives details about color of eyes and hair, and build. Walking the farmland they ploughed, the streets they tarried on as they chatted with neighbors, and stepping foot into that one-room schoolhouse or the actual home they lived in will give you insight into what they experienced. It will bring you one step closer to their lives, and a big step closer to understanding who you are and how you became that person.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Maureen Taylor’s website: http://www.maureentaylor.com

The Last Muster: Images of the Revolutionary War Generation.  Kent State University Press; 1 edition (July 1, 2010) ISBN-13: 978-1606350553

The Last Muster, Volume 2: Faces of the American Revolution.  Kent State Univ (July 8, 2013) ISBN-13: 978-1606351826

 

2) “‘Rasputin Was My Neighbor’ and Other True Tales of Time Travel” by Robert Krulwich

http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/02/07/146534518/rasputin-was-my-neighbor-and-other-true-tales-of-time-travel

 

3) 19th Amendment:

http://www.archives.gov/historical-docs/document.html?doc=13&title.raw=19th%20Amendment%20to%20the%20U.S.%20Constitution:%20Women’s%20Right%20to%20Vote

http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/woman-suffrage/

 

4) Sadly, women in the United States do not yet have equal protection under the law, as they do in most democratic countries- even third world countries. The Equal Rights Amendment was written by Alice Paul, a suffragist leader, right after ratification of the 19th Amendment. The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote, but the US Constitution still did/does not offer women equal protection under the law. (And no, “men” is NOT meant to include ‘women’- if it did, women would have had the right to vote Mar 4, 1789 when the Constitution went into effect.) The Equal Rights Amendment has been introduced into Congress every year since Alice Paul wrote it, with passage in 1972 but ratification fell short 3 states in 1982. In August, 2013, a slightly altered version of the law was introduced to Congress. An excellent website concerning this issue is http://www.equalrightsamendment.org. While on that website watch the video for the upcoming film “Equal Means Equal” – it is an insightful video for this generation to understand the void in our Constitution.

 

Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm, except for the images included in this post.

Time Travel Tuesday: The Murrell Family Farm in 1880

Tipton, Cedar Co. Farm- Engraving
Tipton, Cedar Co. Farm- Engraving (relatively near to Jasper Co. and the Murrell Farm.)

 

It is seldom that we can travel to a time and place long ago, and almost hear the sounds, smell the odors, touch the items in the scene, and have it seem so very real. Unless we have a diary, journal, or detailed written account such as in a county history, it is hard to imagine exactly what life was like for our ancestors.

The Agricultural Schedules of the U. S. Federal Censuses are just the vehicle to take us to a place unknown except to our ancestors. While there are still ag censuses being taken, the ones most interesting to today’s genealogists will be those taken during the 1850-1880 U. S. Federal Censuses, and for any states that also took a census in 1885. Very few of these images have been digitized, and there are also Manufacturing Schedules, Social Statistics Schedules, and even a Business schedule completed in 1935. Not all farms or businesses will be found listed, however, as the criteria for inclusion changed throughout the years, for example, in 1850, small farms producing less than $100 of products annually were excluded; in 1870, to be excluded a farm had to have less than 3 acres or produce less than $500 worth of products.

The following is a simple narrative transcription of the raw data found in the 1880 Agricultural Schedule for Wiley A. Murrell’s farm, using the column headings of the Schedule and including the data for WA’s farm. This information could easily be woven into the story of WA’s life, and that of his family, with richer language to make it a bit less dry. Also, looking at the data for other farmers on the same page will help give a sense of relative income and possessions owned by your ancestor. The Agricultural census may even help to distinguish one person from another with the same name.

JASPER COUNTY IOWA
1880 AGRICULTURAL CENSUS
MOUND PRAIRIE TOWNSHIP
Page No. 8 (D.), Supervisor’s District: No. 3, Enumeration Dist: No. 96, Line No. 6. Enumerated 08 June 1880.
W.A. MURRELL rented for shares of production 240 acres of improved land [Tilled, including fallow and grass in rotation, (whether pasture or meadow.)] and 0 acres unimproved land. The value of the farm included land, fences, and buildings worth $6,000; the value of farming implements and machinery was $300; and value of livestock was $2,200. The cost of building and repairing fences in 1879 was $50, and there was no cost for fertilizers purchased in 1879 listed.
The amount paid for wages for farm labor during 1879, including value of board was $150, with no value listed for the weeks hired labor in 1879 upon farm (and dairy) excluding housework.
The estimated value of all farm productions (sold, consumed, or on hand) for 1879 was $1600. [equivalent to about $36,000 in 2010.]
Of the farm grasslands, in 1879 30 acres were mown, 10 acres were not mown. Hay production was 40 tons, with no clover or grass seed harvested in 1879.
There were 7 horses of all ages on hand June 1, 1880 and no mules and asses.
Neat cattle and their products:
On hand June 1, 1880 were 22 working oxen, 3 milch [milk] cows, and 23 other cattle. 6 calves were dropped. [born] None were purchased, 20 cattle sold living, none listed as slaughtered, and 2 died, strayed, [or] stolen and not recovered. No milk was sold or sent to butter and cheese factories in 1879. 300 lbs. of butter were made on the farm in 1879, but no cheese.
No sheep were on the farm but it included 100 swine and 50 poultry (not barnyard) on hand June 1, 1880. 100 dozen eggs were produced on the farm in 1879.
There was no barley or buckwheat grown in 1879. The farm had 85 acres in Indian Corn, producing 4,000 bushels; 6 acres of oats which produced 225 bushels; 4 acres of rye that produced 100 bushels, and 37 acres of wheat produced 540 bushels of crop. There were no crops of pulse [legumes- soybeans], flax, or hemp. No sorghum or maple sugar was produced, nor broom corn. No hops, potatoes (Irish or sweet), tobacco, or orchard trees (apple, peach) were grown. There was no acreage in nurseries, vineyards, market gardens, or forest products (wood cut and sold or consumed) in 1879. No honey or wax was produced by bees kept on the farm in 1879.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) To determine the non-population schedules of the US. Federal Census that are available, and where they may be found, see http://www.archives.gov/research/census/nonpopulation/

2) The FamilySearch Wiki has an article on the Agricultural Census: http://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/United_States_Census_Agricultural_Schedules

3) Source citation: Census Year: 1880; Census Place: Mound Prairie, Jasper, Iowa; Archive Collection Number: T1156; Roll: 25; Page: 9; Line: 6; Schedule Type: Agriculture.

Accessed online 22 May 2011: http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=1276&iid=31643_218858-00386&fn=J ohn+M&ln=Mench&st=r&ssrc=pt_t4049043_p-1651968883_kpidz0q3d-1651968883z0q26pgz0q3d32768z 0q26pgPLz0q3dpid&pid=577872

4) Even soil fertility and differences with modern agricultural practices may be compared with these schedules. In 1880 the farm produced 4,000 bu. of Indian corn on 85 acres, for a yield of 47 bu./ac. Today’s yields, with modern planting equipment, herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizer, provide yields up to 225 bu./ac for various corn varieties.

Mystery Monday- The Murrells of Virginia and Iowa

 

Wiley A Murrell and Mary Honce Marriage Bond.
Wiley A Murrell and Mary Honce Marriage Bond, 09 Apr 1834. [Click for larger image. See footnotes for transcription.]
Sometimes we family historians have to just realize that the information we seek may no longer be available, or maybe was never available. That is tough to accept for most of us, so we beat our heads up against the proverbial brick wall. We rejoice in any minute clue, and try to look at the negative data in a positive way. We keep hoping to learn just one more tidbit about our elusive ancestor…

Wiley Anderson Murrell (Murrill, Merrell, etc.) is one of my most frustrating brick walls. He was born 03 Feb 1806 in Virginia, a time when record keeping and record survival was not optimum for genealogists. We have been unable to determine his parent’s names, where his parents were from, siblings, or exactly where he was born in Virginia.

Some of the only Virginia documentation that has been found concerns the marriage of Wiley. There was a marriage bond with Catharine Honce, promising a marriage between Wiley and her daughter, Mary Magdalen Honce; the bond was signed on 09 Aril 1834. Mary’s mother signed the bond- unusual for the time- because Mary’s father, Henry Hons/Johns (1773-1864) had moved to Tennessee with his (to be) second wife, Elizabeth Firestone, their child, and some of Mary’s siblings. The family had been unstable- Henry demanded that his daughter Mary go with him as well as all the other siblings, but Mary refused and hid from him when he came to get the other children. (Henry Hons/Honce/Johns is another long story for future posts.)

The Murrell Family Bible states that Wiley and Mary were married “March the 10 1834.” This date corresponds with Dodd’s Early Marriages: Virginia to 1850, which also states that Jacob Carper, a Methodist Episcopal minister, presided, and that Mary was the “d of Catharine who also gives surety.”

Wiley A. Murrell is found in the 1840 US Federal Census in Botetourt, Virginia, with ages and gender of others in the household indicating probably Wiley, Mary, and 3 children (2 girls and a boy); Wiley was a farmer. The Murrell Family Bible records that one of these children, Mary Catherine Murrell, born 18 Sep 1839, “departed this life in the yr of our Lord & Savior November the 6  1846 age 7 years 1 month & 12 days.”

In 1850, Wiley A. “Marrell” was again listed in Botetourt Co., Virginia, in the Western District (District 8) as a farmer and living with his wife Mary and their children: Elizabeth, age 15, John H[enry], 13, William [Anderson], 9, James E., 8, and Ann E[lisy], age 5. There was no value listed for real estate owned, so he may have been renting the land, and it was noted that he was over age 20 but “cannot read & write.” In 1850 there were also many Murrills listed in the nearby Bedford Co., VA census, but no clues of how they might be related to Wiley.

The family moved to Greenbush, Illinois per their son William A.’s obituary in 1856, or 1853 to Roseville, Swan Twp., Warren Co., per family oral history and the obituary of daughter Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts. The family  remained in Warren Co. during the 1860 census- Elizabeth Ann was married by then, but William, James, and Eliza were going to school, and Wiley continued to farm.

Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa, August 20, 1907. Street scene during Old Settler's Day.
Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa, August 20, 1907. Street scene during Old Settler’s Day. RPPC.

In 1868, per obituaries, the family, including Elizabeth Ann and her husband John Roberts, migrated to Jasper County, Iowa, in covered wagons per their great-granddaughter Edith Roberts who heard the stories often as a child. The family has not been found in an 1870 census- not in Iowa, as expected, nor Illinois; even Virginia censuses have been checked with no success.

The family is next found in the 1880 US Federal Census in Jasper Co., Iowa, indexed as “Murren.” Wiley was still farming that year, at age 74, and living with just his wife. In March, 1885, the two were found together in the Iowa State Census in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper Co., Iowa, listed after their daughter Elizabeth and her husband John Roberts. (No land description is given and they have a separate dwelling, so they may have been living on the Roberts’ farm.)

Headstone of Wiley Anderson Murrell and his wife Mary Magdalene Honce. Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa
Headstone of Wiley Anderson Murrell and his wife Mary Magdalene Honce. Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa

Wiley A. Murrell died that same month as the census, on 27 Mar 1885 in Prairie City, Jasper, Iowa. His wife Mary died two years later, on 13 Jul 1887 in Mound Prairie Twp, Jasper, Iowa. Both are buried in the Greenleif/Mound Prairie Cemetery near the family’s farm.

 

We are very lucky to know so much about the family once Wiley A. Murrell and Mary Magdalen Honce were married. The brick wall part is Wiley’s ancestry- who were his parents, where did they live, and where in Virginia was Wiley born? Some researchers think that John Murrell (1785-?) and Hannah Mitchell were his parents. This is the theory I am leaning toward, especially since Wiley and Mary’s first son had the name of John (after his paternal grandfather possibly?) and the middle name of his maternal grandfather (Henry Honce.) Other researchers suggest William L. Murrell (b. 1769 VA, d. 1850-1860 in Cocke Co., Tennessee) and Elizabeth or Nancy Lax (1760- ) were Wiley’s parents. We would welcome conclusive proof of either, or other leads and sources.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Murrell Family Bible, hand copied circa 1966 at a relative’s home in Iowa, though whose home is unknown. Some researchers and the newer headstone for Wiley state his birth date was 02 Feb 1806; the Bible states it was 03 Feb 1805. Date of Bible is unknown. (Sorry, it was the time before much documentation, and hey, I was just a kid!)

 

2) Marriage bond transcription:

“Know all men by these presents, that we, Wiley A. Murrell [and] Catherine Honce are held and firmly bound unto Littleton W. Tazewell- Governor of Virginia, in the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars, current money, and for the payment of which, well and truly to be made, to the said Governor and his successors in office, we bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents. Sealed with our seals, and dated the 9th day of April 1834.

“The condition of the above obligation is such, that whereas, there is a marriage shortly to be had and solemnized, betweeen the above bound Wiley A. Murrell and mary Magdalen Honce daughter of the above bound Catherine Honce of the county of Botetourt. If therefore, there be no lawful cause or impediment to obstruct said marriage, then the above obligation to be void, else to remain in full force and virtue.”

It was signed by Wiley A. Murrell, his mark, and Catharine Honce, her mark, with F [Woltz?] as the witness.

 

3) Marriage Bond date is listed as marriage date on Ancestry.com and per Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850.

Source Information: Ancestry.com. Virginia, Marriages, 1740-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.

Original data: Dodd, Jordan R., et al.. Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850. Bountiful, UT, USA: Precision Indexing Publishers.

 

4) 1840 US Federal census: Source Citation: Year: 1840; Census Place:  , Botetourt, Virginia; Roll: 552; Page: 294; Image: 601; Family History Library Film: 0029684. Accessed last on Ancestry.com 12/08/2013.

 

5) 1850 US Federal census: Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: District 8, Botetourt, Virginia; Roll: M432_936; Page: 156B; Image: 551.

 

6) William A. Murrel- Obituary: “G. A. R. Veteran at Roseville, is Buried Today.” Galesburg [Illinois] Evening Mail, page 10, August 3, 1922. William was just 15 when they moved to Illinois. On 01 Aug 1862 he answered the call to arms and  joined Co. H, 83rd Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He participated in active fighting during his 3 years with the company and was mustered out 26 Jun 1865. He married Cordelia Talley of Roseville, IL, on 01 Oct 1867 and they had 2 daughters and 2 sons. William died 01 Aug 1922.

 

7) Obituary of Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts: “Mrs. Roberts Called Home,” Prairie City News, February 7, 1917. Page number unknown as my copy is a clipping acquired many years ago from family.

 

8) 1880 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Mound Prairie, Jasper, Iowa; Roll: 346; Family History Film: 1254346; Page: 150A; Enumeration District: 096; Image: 0524. Accessed 12/08/2013.

 

 

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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

“FANs”- Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher

Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher, and Their Dog
Albert Hunniball and Annie Fletcher, and Their Dog

 

“FAN” is an acronym for Friends, Associates, and Neighbors– people to look to when doing genealogy to help learn more about your primary subjects.

Annie Fletcher and Albert Hunniball were close Friends to my grandparents, Associates, as the two women attended the same church, and Neighbors too- they lived just a couple of houses around the corner from Edith and Alfred Luck. The Hunniballs were very British, as was Alfred- all three immigrated to the US between 1903-1912. As a child we would go visit Mrs. Hunniball- she was mostly blind and stayed at home, so enjoyed any bit of company. Mrs. Hunniball- I never knew her first or maiden name until just recently- was tall and slender to me as a child, and wore dresses reminiscent of the cotton shirtwaists of an earlier time. Her white hair was piled high on her head in a bun or a wrapped braid, and she had an air of elegant grace even though she was slightly stooped in her 80s. She taught us how to make tea the English way and would tell stories of working in the Queen of England’s castle when she was a young girl. It all seemed so romantic, as did her love for Albert- he passed away in 1965 so it would not have been very long that she had been widowed. She had a photograph of him on the wall that she looked at, and though she probably could not actually see the image in the photo, it was obvious that she could still see Albert with her heart as the young man she fell in love with 50 years before. As she touched his portrait she would smile a sweet smile of long, deep, true love.

I had never seen a picture of the two of them together, young, until recent years when I found some family of theirs online. I just love this photograph- so quintessentially British with the wicker chair and their dog, his paw on Albert’s knee. They never had children, so I wanted to share a bit of their story so their legacy can live on.

Eliza Ann Fletcher was born in Timworth, Suffolk, England on 18 Dec 1880 to Edward and Maria Fletcher. She was listed in the 1881 census in Culford with her parents, and then in 1891, at age 11, in Ampton, both in Suffolk, this time with her parents, four sisters and a brother. Although her father was an agricultural laborer, she and two siblings were listed as “Scholars” as they did attend school. By 1905, when she was 25, she was working in one of the palaces in England- when the “Royal Household Staff” listings became available, I was excited to search for her name to see how the story I remembered fit reality. I had to learn her maiden name first though!

Annie immigrated to the US in 1911 or 1912. She married Albert John Hunniball on 30 Mar 1912 in Newton, Jasper, Iowa.

Albert had been born 07 Apr 1877 in Thetford District, Norfolk, England to George W. and Anna Simmons Hunniball. Albert was listed as a “Plumber & Painter” in the 1891 England census when he was 23 and still living with his family. Albert decided to emigrate to the United States, and sailed on the ship Campania, from Liverpool, England, to New York City, USA, arriving March 26, 1911, at the age of 33. The ship’s manifest listed him as single, his occupation “Decorator,” and it stated he was going to Colfax, Iowa to settle.

Albert and Annie lived the rest of their lives in Newton, Iowa. He worked as a painter and paperhanger. He had a heart attack and died 15 Mar 1965 at age 87. Annie lived for almost six more years, dying at 90 years of age on 26 Jan 1971, in Newton, Iowa. They are buried together in Newton Union Cemetery, Sec. 01 Lot 106 Block 18.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) 1881 England- census for Eliza Ann Fletcher: Source Citation: Class: RG11; Piece: 1838; Folio: 41; Page: 19; GSU roll: 1341445. Source Information: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.

2) Royal Household Staff 1526-1924 at findmypast.co.uk. Fee-based records accessed 2012.

3) Annie Fletcher Hunniball- Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26821263. Accessed 11/22/13.

4) 1881, 1891, 1901 England census for Albert John Hunniball, ancestry.com.

5) Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Source Citation: Year: 1911; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715; Microfilm Roll: 1646; Line: 28; Page Number: 102.

6) US Federal Censuses for Albert and Annie Hunniball for 1920, 1930, 1940, on ancestry.com.

7) 1925 Iowa State Census for Annie and Albert: Source Information: Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.

8) Albert John Hunniball- Find A Grave: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=26821111

 

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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

George Anthony Roberts- A True Iowa Farm Boy

 

This image of George A. Roberts was cropped from a family portrait. It was taken circa 1904.
This image of George A. Roberts was cropped from a family portrait. It was taken circa 1904.

George Anthony Roberts Jr. was the second of four children born to George A. Roberts, Sr. (1861-1939), and Ella Viola Daniel (1866-1922). Their first child, John Robert, was born 14 Mar 1888 in Jasper Co. and died just three months later, in June. George (Jr.) was born the next year on 11 June 1889 in Monroe, Jasper, Iowa, and was always called Georgie. He was a farm boy, and worked hard his whole life on the family farm. He had knee problems and thus was not able to enlist in the military during World War I. When we visited in the 1960s, I remember him having his knee wrapped as he worked throughout the fields and stock areas of the farm. It must have been very painful for him to do such hard physical labor his whole life.

Georgie Roberts with his great-nieces about 1963,
dressed fashionably to gather eggs in the chicken house.

 

George married Irene Artie deBruyn about 1915 in Knoxville, Marion, Iowa. They had been neighbors as children, and Irene kept a journal that mentioned him numerous times. (More about that in an upcoming series of posts.) They lived in an old Victorian farmhouse on one of the land parcels the Roberts children (George and his two sisters) inherited. Georgie and Irene never had children. They did divorce before the 1960s, and one of George’s sisters tried to take care of him, and always brought him baked goods and other foods when she went to visit. He farmed her land for her and they were very close.

George Anthony Roberts passed away 30 Jun 1965 in Jasper Co., Iowa.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family oral history

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