Five Family Photos for Friday- Samuel J. Lee of St. Louis, Missouri


A portrait of samuel J. Lee taken in St. Louis, Missouri. He appears to be about 3 or 4, so this would have been taken around1882-3.

A portrait of Samuel J. Lee taken in St. Louis, Missouri. He appears to be about 3 or 4, so this would have been taken around 1882-3.

[Click on any image to enlarge.]


Samuel J. Lee was born to Samuel Lenton Lee (1849-1932) and his wife Louisa M. Brandenburger (1859-1934) in Bunker Hill, Macoupin, Illinois on 29 Jun 1879. He married Dorothy Adele Aiken (1884-1953) on 1 Dec 1906 in Bunker Hill. They moved to St. Louis, Missouri by 7 Sep 1907, when their son Lloyd Eugene Lee was born.

Samuel J. Lee (left) in his Chouteau Ave store in St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1920?
Samuel J. Lee (left) in his Chouteau Ave store in St. Louis, Missouri, circa 1920?

Sam Lee had a drugstore at 4067 Chouteau Ave. in St. Louis. When his son also became a pharmacist, the store was called “S. J. Lee & Son.”

Samuel J. Lee home at 6204 Alamo Ave., St. Louis, Missouri. 1930s or 1940s?
Samuel J. Lee family home at 6204 Alamo Ave., St. Louis, Missouri. 1930s or 1940s?

The Lees purchased their home at 6204 Alamo in St. Louis sometime between the 1920 and 1930 censuses.

Christmas, possibly 1960s, at the Samuel J. Lee home on Alamo in St. Louis, Missouri.
Christmas, possibly 1960s, at the Samuel J. Lee home on Alamo in St. Louis, Missouri.
Samuel J. Lee in His Drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri, possibly 1940s or 1950s?
Samuel J. Lee in his drugstore in St. Louis, Missouri, possibly 1950s or 1960s?

Sam died 24 Sep 1964 in St. Louis and was buried in Memorial Park Cemetery in Jennings, St. Louis Co., Missouri.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Birth information for Samuel J. Lee: Source Citation: Registration State: Missouri; Registration County: St Louis (Independent City); Roll: 1683856; Draft Board: 24. Source Information: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2005. Accessed 12/11/13.

2) Samuel J. Lee and Dorothy Adele Aiken marriage certificate in family artifacts.

3) Birth record of Lloyd Eugene Lee: Source Information: Missouri Birth Records, 1851-1910 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Missouri Birth Records [Microfilm]. Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives. Accessed 12/11/13.

4) 1920 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: St Louis Ward 24, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: T625_960; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 468; Image: 245. Source Information: 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Accessed 12/11/13.

5) 1930 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: St Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 1245; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 0239; Image: 830.0; FHL microfilm: 2340980. Source Information: 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls. Accessed 12/11/13.

6) Find A Grave Memorial # 56893479, Accessed 12/11/13.

7) Note: edited 7/2/14 and changed “George Lenton Lee” to “Samuel Lenton Lee.” George Lee was the father of Samuel Lenton Lee; Samuel’s mother was Eliza Lenton.


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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

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.

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

2) The FamilySearch Wiki has an article on the Agricultural Census:

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: 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 and per Early American Marriages: Virginia to 1850.

Source Information: Virginia, Marriages, 1740-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: 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 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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Five Photos for Friday- Lieut. John Brandenberger of St. Louis, Missouri


Lt. John Brandenburger with His Car

Lt. John Brandenburger with His Car, circa 1920?


John A. Brandenberger  was the only son of five children born to John Andrew Brandenberger (1826-1906) and Christina M. Funke (1837-1901), both German immigrants that settled in the Bunker Hill, Macoupin County, Illinois area. The Brandenbergers ran a boarding house that listed German coal diggers as residents in the 1880 US Federal Census.

Lt. John Brandenburger
Lt. John Brandenburger

John married Helena Charbulak 10 Mar 1896, but we have been unable to find a marriage record in Illinois or Missouri for them. Their daughter Lillian, called “Lily,” was born 15 Feb 1897 in Missouri. (Lily later married Chester D. Paul.)

Lil Brandenberger- Graduation? circa 1915.
Lil Brandenberger- Graduation? circa 1915?
Lil Brandenberger- Child, possibly circa 1904 if about age 7.
Lil Brandenberger- possibly circa 1904 if about age 7.












The Brandenbergers lived in St. Louis, Missouri for the remainder of their lives. John was a police officer, and he worked in a tough town during Prohibition and the Depression. Family lore is that he started the first Women’s Police Force in St. Louis. He can be found with his wife in the 1900, 1910, 1920, and 1930 US Federal Censuses in St. Louis, Missouri.  John died 24 Mar 1932 in St. Louis at age 58 and is buried in Bunker Hill, Macoupin, Illinois.

Lt. John Brandenburger- Funeral Card
Lt. John Brandenburger- Funeral Card

Helena lived in the home they owned with their daughter Lily and Lily’s husband living with her. Helena died 22 May 1944 in University City, St. Louis County, Missouri. She is buried in Lebanon, St. Clair Co., Illinois.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) 1880 US Federal census: Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Bunker Hill, Macoupin, Illinois; Roll: 232; Family History Film: 1254232; Page: 64C; Enumeration District: 108; Image: 0129.

2) 1900 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: St Louis Ward 9, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 892; Page: 11A; Enumeration District: 0133; FHL microfilm: 1240892. Accessed on on 12/4/13.

3) 1910 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: St Louis Ward 10, Saint Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T624_816; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 0163; FHL microfilm: 1374829.

4) 1920 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: St Louis Ward 13, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: T625_951; Page: 21A; Enumeration District: 263; Image: 95.

5) 1930 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: St Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 1236; Page: 35A; Enumeration District: 0026; Image: 942.0; FHL microfilm: 2340971.

6) 1940 US Federal Census: Source Citation: Year: 1940; Census Place: St Louis, St Louis City, Missouri; Roll: T627_2196; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 96-361B.

7) Family oral history.

8) Find A Grave:

John A. Brandenberger: Find A Grave Memorial# 80582045,

Helena Charbulack Brandenberger: Find A Grave Memorial# 11676686,


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Wedding Wednesday- Joseph Baer Cooper and Helen Cooper

Wedding Photo of Joseph and Helen Cooper
Wedding Photo of Joseph
and Helen Cooper

February 3rd, 1901, was a special day for Helen Freda Cooper and her second cousin, Joseph Baer Cooper- it was the day they were married in Elmira, Chemung, New York, USA. Both were immigrants from Russian Lithuania, with Helen only in the United States for about a year before their marriage. Joseph was 27, Helen 22 on their wedding day.

Helen’s parents are unknown to us, and her Uncle, Irving Cooper, and Aunt, provided the wedding:

Wedding invitation of Helen and Joseph Cooper.
Wedding invitation of Helen and Joseph Cooper.

 [Click on images for larger pictures.]


The invitation reads:

“Mr. and Mrs. I. Cooper,
request the pleasure of your company at
the marriage of their niece
Miss Helen Cooper
Mr. Joseph Cooper,
Sunday evening, February 3d, 1901,
at six o’clock.
119 Orchard Street,
Elmira, N.Y.”

 Helen and Joseph lived in Montgomery, Lycoming, Pennsylvania from about 1903 until Helen’s death in 1934. They were married for 33 years and had four children: Ann Cooper (Hesselson) (Poser), 1903-1981; Rose Cooper (Gale), 1904-1988; Loretta Cooper (Ribakow), 1907-1955; and Irving Israel Cooper, 1908-1982.


Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family oral and written history, plus the above photo and invitation.


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Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.