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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #1- Edward Byron Payne

Edward Byron Payne, c 1920?
Edward Byron Payne, c 1920?

Most people have at least one beloved ancestor that they feel close to even once that person is gone. I have a stoic grandmother proud of her family history, who always said that we come “from strong pioneer stock, and can do anything we set our minds to do;” a sweet grandmother and grandfather that let me ride with them in their convertible on a trip to the lake; a smart aunt who inspired me to attend college and always keep educating myself; and a great-grandmother who always insisted we eat some of her potato salad that, as a picky eater, I loathed, but I did anyway, because she was my dear great-grandmother and it was a privilege to know her. Genealogists usually have even more of those beloved relatives, but they are often ones who passed away long before the family historian was born, even many, many years before.

Edward Byron Payne is one of my beloved ancestors that I never got to meet. He died the year before his great-grandson, my father, was born, so the connection seems ever more distant. My dad’s parents and grandparents knew him well, and shared some of their stories, though it was never enough for me. I have been researching this man since I was about 15, and it just seems that the more I learn about him, the more questions I have about him.

 

Edward B. Payne, fondly known as EB or EBP in my household, was the third (known) child of Joseph Hitchcock (“J.H.”) Payne and Nancy S. Deming. J.H. Payne was an ordained Congregational minister, living and serving in Ohio when their daughters were born- Cornelia in 1837, and Ruby D., in 1839. There was a long break before another known child was born- perhaps there were others who did not survive, a sad reality in those days. The Rev. Payne was farming and preaching in Middletown, Vermont, in 1846-47, when Edward was born, although I have been unable to find any record of EBP’s birth in the town vital records.

Interestingly, Edward was born 25 Jul 1847, just 19 days after his maternal grandfather, Harvey Deming, died in Middlebury, VT. (The circle of life…) “Edward” has been a family name now used for at least four generations, starting with (Dr.) E.A. McMurray, in honor of Edward B. Payne. (Dr. McMurray was EBP’s grandson.)  I can only find one earlier Edward: Stephen Edward Payne (1821-1883), the brother of EBP’s father. The “Byron” part of EB’s name probably was in honor of his mother’s brother, Byron Deming (1826-1920), as well as the poet in this educated, literate, family.

In 1850 EBP was just 3 years old and living in Fremont, Lake County, Illinois, along with his sisters Cornelia and Ruby D., their parents, and Nancy’s mother, Ruby (Sturtevant) Deming. His father is listed as a farmer, with $1000. in real estate value; he also was serving as a minister per other records. The 1850 US Federal Census was taken on 7 Dec 1850. Little Ruby, named after her maternal grandmother and just 10 years old as listed in that census, died sometime later that month. (Her death record has not yet been found, nor her grave.) Although the holidays were not celebrated in a grand way back then as they are now, it must have been a somber Christmas, instead of what would normally be one of the most joyous times of year for a minister.

Finding the family ten years later in the 1860 census has been a challenge, with no success as yet. They were in Salem (or Liberty) and Wilmot, Wisconsin 1858-1865 per Rev. Payne’s Necrology. Apparently they were just one step ahead of the census taker…

More to come about Edward B. Payne.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Photo of a photo of Edward B. Payne that hung in my grandparent’s home.

2) 1850 US Federal Census, Joseph H. Payne, head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1850; Census Place: Fremont, Lake, Illinois; Roll: M432_114; Page: 79A; Image: 163. Ancestry.com, accessed 3/31/14. JH Payne was listed as a farmer with $1000 in real estate value, and born in New York. His wife was born in Vermont, and mother-in-law Ruby (Sturtevant) Deming born in Massachusetts.

3) Joseph Hitchcock Payne- Necrology, Congregational Yearbook, 1886, Congregational Churches in the United States National Council, Volume 1886. Published by Congregational publishing society, 1886. Page 30.

 

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Sentimental Sunday: Jonathan Felix Benjamin

Hannah (Ford) Benjamin- Bible Record Transcription
Hannah (Ford) Benjamin- Bible Record Transcription (click to enlarge)

Websites like Find a Grave (FAG) have been incredible resources for genealogists- we have found cousins and long lost living relatives, information is available to help as ‘clues’ to be verified for one’s own research, locations within plots can help determine family relationships, as can inscriptions on tombstones or cemetery records, and it is comforting to know where family is “quietly resting.” Writing memorials for FAG has also been a wonderful exercise to analyze and reassess what I think are known facts, and to tell a person’s story. It is also a way to tug at one’s heartstrings, as one learns of the love and heartbreak of a family.

Today my work on Wittemburg Cemetery memorials on FAG tugged at my heartstrings.

If you are a descendant of Dr. E. A. McMurray, Jonathan Felix Benjamin would be a some-number-of-greats Uncle. He was the g-g-uncle of Dr. McMurray, so you can figure your relationship from there.

Jonathan Felix Benjamin was the fifth child of seven known children born to Jonathan N. Benjamin and Hannah E. Ford Benjamin. He lived the first part of his life in Burlington, Licking Co., Ohio, until he moved west with other family members at age 29, in 1867 when they all migrated to Jasper County, Iowa.

In 1870, Jonathan F. and his wife were living with his father and mother on a farm in Malaka Twp, Jasper Co., Iowa. The parents had just $150 in personal estate, but Jonathan F. and his wife had $6500 in real estate and $1000 in personal value.

Jonathan F. and Hannah E. Marple had married in 1863 (probably in Licking Co., Ohio where their first child was probably born) and had six? children: Edson Benjamin (b. 1864), Roland “Rollie” E. Benjamin (b. 1867), William Benjamin (b. 1867), possibly another William (b. 1870), Emma Benjamin (FAG #44708133, b. 1872, married Herman B. Lufkin), and Orlin Dell Benjamin (b. 1878). An “Infant Benjamin, son of J.F. and H. E.” is buried in the same cemetery as his parents, and died in 1873- this may be one of the Williams? though dates do not align.

By 1885, the Iowa State Census shows the family living in Twin Lakes, Calhoun, Iowa. They may have returned to Jasper Co though in 1895, where there is an Iowa State census record that has Jonathan’s age a few years off.

In 1900, Jonathan F. was listed as head of household in the census for Newton (City), living at 748 Main St. at age 60 with his son Orlin, daughter Emma, her husband Herman Lufkin, and their 4 y/o son Percy. Jonathan was listed as a house painter who had been out of work for 2 months, but he did own their home. 

The part that tugged my heartstrings, after seeing they had an infant buried in Wittemberg Cemetery, was Jonathan’s listing as to marital status in the 1900 US Federal Census. He was listed as married for 37 years, but his wife was not listed on the page- she had died on 27 March 1900, and the census had been taken on 08 Jun 1900. How hard that must have been to face life without one’s partner of 37 years! Just that simple little “M” in the marital status column, with a “37” alongside for the years married, but no wife listed after his name, tells a story. He just couldn’t be a widower yet- in his heart, he was still married.

(OK, the cynical and fact-based folks will say that it could have been the census taker’s error, or that of the person giving the information. But maybe not…)

Jonathan was living alone in 1910, when he may be found in the Federal Census renting on Third St. in Newton, still working as a house painter but not out of work. He was listed as a widower in this census.

Jonathan F. Benjamin passed away in March of 1913, age 74. He is buried in Wittemburg Cemetery alongside his wife Hannah E. (Marple) Benjamin.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) From “Notes on the Life and Family of JONATHAN BENJAMIN, 1738-1841, Frontiersman and Revolutionary War Veteran,” Hannah (Ford) Benjamin Family Bible Transcription. (Bible owned by Orletta Hatch Foreman at the time of these “Notes.”) Type-written copy given to me back in the 1960s, when I was too young to know much about documentation. I believe it was written by the Benjamin family historians, and reading it and later finding information about these Benjamin ancestors in a book got me totally hooked on genealogy.

2) 1870 US Federal census, Jonathan Benjamin head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Malaka, Jasper, Iowa; Roll: M593_398; Page: 342A; Image: 324; Family History Library Film: 545897.

3) 1880 US Federal census, John F. Benjamin, head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Twin Lakes, Calhoun, Iowa; Roll: 330; Family History Film: 1254330; Page: 285B; Enumeration District: 025; Image: 0313.

4) 1885 Iowa State Census, Jonathan F. Benjamin: Quigg, Gary, comp.. Iowa, State Census 1885 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003.

5) 1895 Iowa State Census, Jonathan F. Benjamin: Ancestry.com. Iowa, State Census, 1895 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2003. Original data: Iowa. 1895 Iowa State Census. Des Moines, Iowa: State Historical Society of Iowa.

6) 1900 US Federal Census for Jonathan F. Benjamin, head of household: Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Newton, Jasper, Iowa; Roll: 439; Page: 13B; Enumeration District: 0030; FHL microfilm: 1240439.

7) 1910 US Federal Census for Jonathan Benjamin: Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Newton Ward 1, Jasper, Iowa; Roll: T624_407; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0032; FHL microfilm: 1374420.

8) My Find A Grave memorial #57139950 for Jonathan Felix Benjamin: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57139950.

9) My Find A Grave memorial #57139890 for Hannah E. (Marple) Benjamin: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57139890

10) My Find A Grave memorial #28129737 for Infant Benjamin: http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=28129737.

11) US GenWeb- Iowa listings for Wittemburg Cemetery, Jasper Co: http://iagenweb.org/jasper/cemeteries/wittemberg/burials.htm

12) [Edited 04/06/2015 to add] See also posts for Edson Benjamin and his wife, Martha “Jennie” Slade Benjamin:

Tombstone Tuesday: Edson Benjamin and Martha Jennie Slade

http://heritageramblings.net/2014/05/13/tombstone-tuesday-edson-benjamin-and-martha-jennie-slade/

Series of posts beginning with Tombstone Tuesday: Edson Benjamin- “A Cowardly Murder,” Part 1: http://heritageramblings.net/2014/11/04/tombstone-tuesday-edson-benjamin-a-cowardly-murder-part-1/

 

 

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Tuesday’s Tip- Organizing computer files

05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling
05 June 1948- Wedding picture of Edward A. McMurray and Mary T. Helbling

Last week I wrote about creating file names so that your computer will automagically create a sort of timeline in your file folders- see Tuesday’s Tip- Let your computer create a timeline!

Images and documents with multiple persons can be challenging to file- which name should be used as the file name? I tend to use the oldest or most prominent or most important-to-me persons in the photo or document, and one can then create a note to go into other folders referencing where the document or image has been placed. I am hoping to convert to using Lightroom (LR) soon- just wish it could use .pdfs. With LR, you can leave your images in the file hierarchy you like and have the program just point to its location. It also allows you to tag multiple people, so it will help with this dilemma.

 

My file folders are arranged differently than those of many genealogists. My family moved around a lot, so  listing files by place just doesn’t work for me- I prefer to have everything about one person pretty much together. This is a problem though, with things like censuses, since you will find a census entry for a person as a child in their family, and then with a family of their own. I have decided to deal with this by keeping a person in their birth family until they were off on their own as an adult, which usually coincides with marriage and a family of their own. My folders thus have a name like McMURRAY_W-PAYNE_L, for Will McMurray and Lynette Payne, who were the parents of Dr. E. A. McMurray, and his documents and images would appear in their folder until he married. The next folder he would appear in chronologically would be the McMURRAY-ROBERTS folder, where documents about his life with his first wife and son would reside. McMURRAY-KENNER would be the last folder I would put his documents in, for his life with his wife of 61 years and their beautiful family. If you use this method, choose which name to put first and be consistent- either husband or wife first.

Since I am one of those uppity women and a feminist, and it is still Women’s History Month (ahhh, the irony of a Women’s “HIStory” Month…), I use the maiden names of women throughout their lives. That helps me tell “HERstory.” Plus, it helps to separate out Hannah Ford from Hanna Marple who married father and son so both became Hannah Benjamin. (And the confusion continues, since father and son are both Jonathans.)

 

If you decide to try any new system, start small, maybe with just one family, to see if the system works well for you. There will always be items that could be filed in various ways- just try to find what you can be consistent with and use it. Change it to how it will best work for your mind to work with it easily- after all, the idea is for your brain to be analyzing, not filing. Remember, too, that you don’t have to change everything at once- that would be a daunting task, and quite a problem if you decide you don’t like the system or it doesn’t work for you. So that it’s not overwhelming,  start with your new files as you create them, and change older ones out when you have a few minutes here or there, such as while waiting on hold for 30 minutes with the cable company. I still have a lot of cleanup to do on my files since I started on this system even though it has been many years that I have used it. Changing to another computer has also thrown my system off, but further work on this system will be an enjoyable project filled with rediscovered gems as I get my filing system well organized.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family photo archives.

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Mystery Monday- Those Places Thursday-WW1 and Citizen Historians- SOLVED!

Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923.
Reserve Officers Training Corps, Senior Division, Advanced Medical Course class picture. Taken in Ft. Snelling, Minnesota during the course which ran 14 Jun 1923 to 25 July 1923. (Click to enlarge.)

This large image (previously published on my January 16, 2014 post: Those Places Thursday- WW1 and Citizen Historians) was in with the old photographs of the McMurray family. Although that post was not about the mystery of the photo, we are excited to have finally solved the puzzle of which ancestor may be in the photograph, and how it came to be.

There was nothing on the image to identify it, but we had an ROTC certificate that was in the same group of papers and photos. We thought that it might be Edward A. McMurray in the photo, though it is hard to tell which he is. Edward was an M.D., and would have been the right age to have been in training during World War I. We did later find out that this was taken in Fort Snelling, Minnesota in 1923.

Years ago I contacted SLU Archives to find out more about Dr. McMurray’s medical training, but I got very minimal information back from them. So the find of the St. Louis University (SLU) Yearbook for 1925 online was exciting, since that is when Dr. McMurray completed his training at St. Louis University Medical School. He was listed as a Senior and it mentioned that he participated in ROTC. The online access was so much better than trying to have someone there find information about him for me- I could just page through and look at whatever I wanted in the yearbook. Checking out the ROTC pages, I found,

“They’re seasoned veterans. Didn’t they spend last June and July at Snelling in Minnesota? And didn’t they step it off at thirty a minute doing “Squads north and south” with the best of them from seven A.M. right on up to ten, their only halt being for milk and cakes? Rookies? No indeed. And weren’t they kept at that same gruelling [sic] pace every day in the week except Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and Sundays? Rookies? Say not so. Campaign badges for them.”

Now that we have pictures of Dr. McMurray when he was in his twenties, we can compare them with this photo to try and determine which man is “The Doctor” as he was known by so many. It will be great to be able to just blow up the image on my computer screen, with known images of Dr. McMurray alongside, to try to identify him. Sure beats the old magnifying glass methods of the old days of genealogy research. That is the next step… stay tuned.

I think I will send the image to the SLU Archives as well- maybe they will put it on their website so that other alumni descendants will find it. The St. Louis County Library system is very interested in genealogy so I may also send it to them since they are a great repository for local St. Louis family history.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) January 16, 2014 post: Those Places Thursday- WW1 and Citizen Historians

2) St. Louis University Yearbook- 1925 found at http://cdm.slu.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/historicpub/id/38823/rec/8.

3) Family photos and papers.

 

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