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Workday Wednesday: Frederick McMurray Crying a Farm Sale

Frederick A. McMurray, "crying" a farm sale prior to 1929. From an article in the Newton Daily News, Centennial Edition, August 10, 1957, page 27.
Frederick A. McMurray, “crying” a farm sale prior to 1929. From an article in the Newton Daily News, Centennial Edition, August 10, 1957, page 27.

McMurray Family (Click for Family Tree)

“Crying a farm sale” was a term used for what an auctioneer did to drum up interest in an item at an auction to get a good sale price. It took very careful listening to understand the words as a sale was ‘cried,’ since the auctioneer spoke so fast.

Frederick Asbury McMurray (1850-1929) was initially a farmer, but became an auctioneer in 1880, in Newton, Jasper County, Iowa. Farm sales and auctions were common in rural areas back in those days. When a farmer lost the land due to taxes and bad crop years, or when death took the person who worked the land, often parts or all of the land, barns and other buildings, farm equipment, tools, horses, buggies, and even the house and household goods would be sold at a public gathering. Even the kitchen sink could be offered at an auction!

Of course, stores and homes could also be the subject of auction, not just farms.

Apparently Fred had quite a following as he was a very good auctioneer. His job was to command the highest prices for his employer, or the person who contracted with him to cry the sale. “There frequently being a rivalry as to who can first command his services,” Fred kept his calendar filled with auction dates. His headquarters were at the grocery in Newton owned by his son, William Elmer McMurray (1874-1957), and farmers and store owners would come into the store to talk with Fred to engage him for their sale.

Of course, the higher the price that Fred could get for an auction item, the better for him as well as the farmer, as auctioneers generally receive a percentage of the total sales to pay them for their work. “Buyer’s premium” as it is called today, is usually 15% of the sale price, though it can vary. (Could not find out how much the  premium was in the late 1800s.)

Most auctioneers stayed pretty local, but Fred was so popular that he travelled to many other counties in central Iowa, and was well known for his abilities. Around 1903, Fred even cried a sale in Dexter, Dallas County, Iowa. Dexter was about 70 miles west of Newton, but evidently the income from the sale was worth paying him for the time and travel.

In 1902, Fred cried 128 sales, with his average sale being worth $2,100- that would be about $55,000 in today’s money!  [See Note 2.] That was a significant total, and he was at the top of the auctioneer ranks because of it.

Of course, his descendants- Fred was the grandfather of Edward A. McMurray, Sr. (1900-1992)- would like to think his personality made him popular as well as his skill at generating income for  someone hosting an auction. The newspapers of the day did mention that “The secret of Fred’s success is his attention to business, his fairness, and strict fidelity to the interests of his employer…” Fred would “…leave both buyer and seller in good humor and satisfied.”

“His work speaks for itself.”

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Family treasure chest article, “Fred A. McMurray” from The Daily Herald, [Newton, Iowa], January 1, 1903, page 9.
  2. The inflation calculator at http://www.in2013dollars.com/1902-dollars-in-2016?amount=2100 was used to determine Fred’s sales. If he received a 15% buyer’s premium, $8,250 in today’s money would have been his average income from a sale in 1902, with his income equivalent for the year 1902 over a million dollars. Fred may have done very well that year, but not likely that well. So it is important to really look at such calculators and use common sense with the math.

 

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Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
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Tombstone Tuesday: Frederick P. Horn and Hepzibah (Clarke) Horn

Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016.
Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016.

McMurray Family, Horn Family (Click for Family Tree, and see Notes below.)

Sandhill Cemetery is a “Pioneer Cemetery” in Cedar County, Iowa, a place to which our family migrated in the 1850s. Pioneer Cemeteries are often neglected as farm families moved, and they become overgrown and the stones deteriorate even faster than they would normally since they are not cleaned. There is no “perpetual care” in a pioneer cemetery as there is in urban cemeteries, and they are often a place of vandalism, being away from scrutiny out in the country. So it is important that we help to maintain the final resting places of the ancestors who came before us- after all, we carry their genetic material that helps make us who we are!

So often today families live far from the gravesite of ancestors, and care of the cemetery falls to local historical or genealogical societies, or Scout troops who go in and clean up a cemetery for a service project or even an Eagle or Gold Project.

Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016.
Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, after strong winds blew through the cemetery in March, 2016. Note the hole/chipped base of the third pedestal- it is surprising that this stone did not fall over.

Cedar County, Iowa, has a Pioneer Cemetery Committee that is working to restore Sandhill Cemetery and others to what they respectfully should be. Sandhill had three very large evergreens in the center of the cemetery that were getting too old and needed to be removed. These trees and others have been removed so they cannot fall on headstones (or living people in the cemetery!), and the grounds are being weeded and cleaned up. Also, there are many stones like those of Frederick, AKA “F.P.,” and Hepzibah, that need attention- in fact, there are 10 Horn family members buried in Sandhill, and some of their stones need repair as well.  Some funds are provided by the county, but most of what is done is volunteer and through donations.

Headstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration.
Headstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration about 2007.

The Pioneer Cemetery Committee is trying to prioritize their expenditures to the headstones that need the most help right now.

Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in August of 2015. Note deterioration of stone.
Tombstone of Frederick P. Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in August of 2015. Note deterioration of stone.

Currently, for 3 of our Horn family stones- Hepzibah’s, F. P.’s, and a stone for “Henry” which is next to Hepzibah’s (he may be their son)- the Committee has found a gentleman who will repair them all for $400-425 and will clean them. He will also put new 4′ foundations under them, to help preserve them (hopefully) for another 100+ years. (Hepzibah died in 1882, Henry in 1885, and F.P. in 1887.)

Headstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration, about 2007.
Headstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in sandhill Cemetery, near Tipton, Cedar Co., Iowa, prior to restoration, about 2007, with inscription chalked.

It would be very helpful for our family to donate to the group as they care for the memorials to our ancestors, since the county does not provide enough to totally restore this cemetery.

Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in September of 2015 after some restoration.
Tombstone of Hepzibah (Clark) Horn in Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar County, Iowa, in September of 2015 after some restoration.

All donations are tax-deductible, and checks can be sent to:

Cedar County Pioneer Cemetery Commission

c/o Cedar County Historical Museum

Attention: Sandy Harmel

1094 Hwy 38

Tipton, IA 52772

Thank you for honoring the memory of our ancestors!

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. How are the McMurrays related to the Horn family?  

    Edw. A., Maude Lynette “Midge”, and Herbert C. McMurray =>
    William Elmer McMurray =>Frederick Asbury McMurray =>
    Henderson McMURRAY + Mary Ann HORN (married 1845) [daughter of Frederick P. Horn and Hepzibah (Clark) Horn]

  2. See our previous post, “Headstones of Frederick P. Horn and Hepzibah (Clark) Horn- Sandhill Cemetery, Cedar Co., Iowa” at http://heritageramblings.net/2013/11/16/headstones-of-frederick-p-horn-and-hepzibah-clark-horn-sandhill-cemetery-cedar-co-iowa/
  3. Daisy Wingert has taken the wonderful pictures for Find A Grave for the Horn family, given us permission to use them, and has communicated with us about the need for headstone repair. Daisy has also done some searching in local records to help us learn more about F.P. and Hepzibah- more to come on them later. Thanks, Daisy, who isn’t even related to us!!
  4. The images from ~2007 were paid for by the author so many years ago, and permission given to use.
  5. Please contact us through the blog if you have questions about donating, and we will forward them on to Daisy or Sandy.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Friday’s Faces from the Past: The McMurray-Benjamin Family

McMurray-Benjamin Family circa 1886: Frederick Asbury McMurray, Hannah "Melissa" Benjamin McMurray, William Elmer McMurray, Harry J. McMurray, Addie Belle McMurray, Roy McMurray, and Ray McMurray (baby)
McMurray-Benjamin Family circa 1886: Frederick Asbury McMurray, Hannah “Melissa” Benjamin McMurray, William Elmer McMurray, Harry J. McMurray, Addie Belle McMurray, Roy McMurray, and Ray McMurray (baby)

McMurray Family, Benjamin Family (Click for Family Tree)

Reverse of circa 1886 McMurray-Benjamin Family
Reverse of circa 1886 McMurray-Benjamin Family

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Family treasure chest of photos- thanks, Cousin Cindi and Cousin Julie!

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
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Workday Wednesday continued on Thursday: Tilling the Soil, Part 2

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Workday Wednesday: Tilling the Soil
Edward A. McMurray and his mother, Edith Roberts Luck surveying their family farm, circa 1980.
Edward A. McMurray and his mother, Edith Roberts Luck surveying the corn field on their family farm, circa 1980.

Here are just a few of our farming and gardening ancestors that I was thinking of as I worked with the soil and plants on the land we own, and that we can pass on to our descendants, just like our ancestors did:

Frederick Asbury McMurray, circa 1890?
Frederick Asbury McMurray, circa 1890?

Frederick Asbury “F.A.” McMurray (1850-1929) worked on the family farm as a child, with his occupation listed as “works on farm” on the 1870 US Federal Census when he was 19; he was living in the household of his parents, Henderson McMurray and Mary Ann Horn McMurray. Of their 11 children, the boys apparently stayed in school until 14 or 15, though they probably took time off – or school was closed- for planting and harvest. The four oldest boys worked on the farm full-time, and the family boarded a 20 yr old woman who also helped with the housework- a lot of hungry mouths to feed after that hard farm labor, and a lot of dirty laundry.

F. A. married and in 1880 was listed as a farmer in the census. He became an auctioneer about 1880; he cried over 128 sales in 1902 (‘cried’ is a term for what an auctioneer does as he offers lots for sale), with the very large average of $2,100 per sale making him an auctioneer in demand- he was very good at getting the prices up for his sellers. (Since he probably took a percentage of the sales, there was good incentive to describe the goods in an enticing way, then encourage more bidders to make a higher offer.) By the 1885 Iowa State Census F. A. was listed as having a Second Hand Store- a good spin-off for an auctioneer, and a lot less physical work than being a farmer. (McMurray Family Ancestor– click for family tree)

Gerard William Helbling in his garden, August 1934. Family photo album.
Gerard William Helbling in his garden, August 1934. Family photo album.

Gerard William Helbling loved roses, and had a flower garden he loved. (He never seemed the sort…) He grew some veggies, such as tomatoes, too. (Helbling Family Ancestor– click for family tree.)

The garden of Gerard William Helbling, August 1934. Family photo album.
The garden and family dog of Gerard William Helbling, August 1934. Family photo album.

William “Bill” Aiken supposedly had a pecan farm in Tylertown, Walthall County, Mississippi in the 1930s. (Lee Family Ancestor– click for family tree.)

Samuel T. Beerbower showed livestock at the county fair, so likely grew some of his own hay for grazing. (Helbling/Beerbower Family Ancestor– click for family tree.)

Samuel T. Beerbower- County Fair Winner. 03 Oct 1879
Samuel T. Beerbower- County Fair Winner. 03 Oct 1879, The Marion Daily Star, Vol. II, No. 305, (Whle No. 615), Page 4. Posted with permission.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Frederick A. McMurray, auctioneer article from the Daily Herald, Newton, Iowa, 01 Jan 1903, page 9.

2) Samuel T. Beerbower article as cited above.

3) Family treasure chest of photos.

 

 

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
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Tuesday’s Tip: Putting Together the Clues about Henry Horn

This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series Henrich Horn: Military Career
Henry Horn's Pension Application Affirmation and his mark.
Henry Horn’s Pension Application Affirmation and his mark. (Click to enlarge.)

 

[Editor’s Note: We apologize that this Tuesday post was not published on Tuesday- not sure what computer gremlins intervened. But here it is on Thursday, and now yesterday’s post will probably make more sense.]

 

➡ Horn Family, McMurray Family, Genealogy Research

 

Have a genealogical conundrum? Have lots of facts and details but not sure how they all fit together?

Tuesday’s Tip:

1. Write a list of brief notes- just the facts.

2. Look at the notes apart from all that data and details circled around your desk space or computer desktop, and with a very open mind to all the possibilities. Give your thoughts time to brew, and meld- even ‘sleep on it.’

3. Analyze the brief facts, and find any connections- or none. Knowing what is ‘NOT’ may be important too.

4. Write an Analysis Report that details how you came to your conclusions. It doesn’t have to be long, perfect, or totally accurate (yet)- it is just a record of your thought process to help in the future.

In the dark long ago of genealogical research, pre-internet, gathering information was tedious and difficult. One would read the queries posted in genealogical magazines, join local historical societies and place queries in their newsletters, then send a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelopes) so the person you were writing to with questions did not have to buy a stamp just to respond to you, nor have to figure out the handwriting for your address. One would copy by hand or make carbon copies (the origin of “CC” in your email program, for the internet generation) pedigree charts and Family Group Records to include in the letter, and then one had to wait months, even years, to see your envelope returned with hopefully useful information typed with a typewriter with dirty keys and usually with handwritten notes inserted or in the margins. The carbon paper was messy and smeared, but that was all we had until the late 60s when copy machines could be found. (Those were very smelly and left oil and/or alcohol stains on the paper, but still an improvement.)

Books, journals, and government records were, of course, available with information, but they were secreted away in all sorts of depositories one would have to travel to, and once there, with many not indexed, or not indexed well, poring over the books and old records was a challenge. Thankfully the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) had a lending library, and would ship old books from their circulating library. I eagerly awaited those big boxes of sometimes very old, falling-apart books that held so much information. The St. Louis County, Missouri, public library had an excellent genealogy section that was helpful too.

Microfilm was available for order from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and could be read in a local branch of their library.

The above information was all we had to go on to learn Henry Horn’s history. Our Tuesday Tip to write down what you know, in a brief form, and then analyze, is how we came to a hypothesis about Henry Horn and his military service, using information gleaned from the above resources.

Following is a bit of what was known about Henry Horn back in the late 60s/early 70s, even pretty much up until the 1990s and special genealogy interest mailing forums online, and then Ancestry.com. Finding Henry Horn’s pension application on microfilm in 1992 helped immensely.

1. Mary Ann Horn (1824-1891) married Henderson McMurray and had Frederick Asbury McMurray (1850-1929), one of their 13 children and an ancestor.

2. Mary Ann Horn’s father was Frederick P. Horn (1796-1867), and his father was Henry Horn (1758-1845). We could not find Henry’s parents nor record of his birth in the US, but Horn is a common name.

3. Henry Horn served in the American Revolutionary War forces, as he had a US Pension granted.

4. Henry Horn was born near Hesse-Cassel, Germany, in the year 1758, per his pension.

5. Henry Horn was just 16 when he came to America, per his pension.

6. Henry Horn enlisted at Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1777, per his pension.

7. Henry Horn participated in the Battle of Trenton, per his military marker.

8. Henry Horn married Elizabeth Pretzman (1759-1840) in 1782 in Leesburg, Loudon County, Virginia.

9. Henry and Elizabeth moved to Bedford County, Pennsylvania, with their children.

10. Oftentimes, his name was listed as “Heinrich Horn” or “Henrich Horn.”

 

As a colonial America and American Revolution history buff, and knowing the history of the time, as I skimmed these brief facts, the lightbulb went on.

Born in Hesse-Cassel, Germany? The hated Hessians ‘mercenaries’  that supplemented British troops were recruited from there.

Born in 1758? That would make him prime age for the military and draft, age 18 in 1776.

The Battle of Trenton? The Hessians marched with General Howe’s British Redcoats and took New Jersey as a defeated George Washington and his troops retreated. The Hessians occupied the small town of Trenton, NJ, as their winter quarters, but were attacked 26 Dec. 1776 by Washington’s forces after crossing the Delaware River and the Hessians surrendered after their commander was killed.

BIG CLUE– There is no mention of the Battle of Trenton in Henry’s pension. If he had been part of Washington’s forces, wouldn’t that famous, turning-tide battle be remembered, even at his advanced age at the time of the pension?

Place of enlistment Lancaster, PA? The Hessians captured at Trenton on 26 December 1776, over 900, were taken to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, as prisoners of war. So Henry Horn would have been in that place in the year 1777 if he indeed was a Hessian.

Enlisted in 1777? The prisoners at Lancaster had been enticed to enlist in General Washington’s forces. They were well-trained soldiers, and the American rebels needed all the military forces they could muster.

Hmmmm, this analysis suggests that Henry Horn could have been a Hessian- but was he? Granted, there were many Germans who had immigrated to the colonies before 1776, and there were German regiments who served Washington well. The above analysis is not quite the genealogical standard of ‘preponderance of evidence,’ but a good basis for more research- for proof.

Unfortunately, back then, there was not much available to check whether or not Heinrich Horn was on the rolls of the Hessian recruits. HETRINA, or Hessische Truppen im Amerikanischen Unabhängigkeitskrieg, Index nach Familiennamen, was not available in English, but I felt it would give the answer. Sadly, it was only available in German in Germany, and I never got a reply from my letters to archives there. The Hessians kept very good records, so that they would be paid well by the British King George for his German mercenaries, but I just could not find access to any of them at that time.

Once the mailing lists and genealogy websites began popping up on the internet, plus with correspondence with other Horn researchers, the consensus was that Henry could have come to America via one of the following scenarios:

1. He was avoiding the German draft, since he was the prime age of 16, so immigrated on his own. Germany had a history of sending their armies to other countries as mercenaries, as did other European countries.

2. He came to America with his parents when about 12, arriving at the Port of Philadelphia in 1770 on the ‘Good Ship Sally.’ The family settled in York, PA, and Henry joined the colonists when war broke out with Britain. This was the view held by one of the premier Horn researchers.

3. He came as a Hessian soldier.

 

The third scenario turned out to be the truth about Heinrich Horn, and we will explore more in future posts.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) Early research of the author and others.

2) See also:

Military Monday: Heinrich Horn” at http://heritageramblings.net/2015/03/02/military-monday-heinrich-horn/

Tombstone Tuesday: Henry Horn” at http://heritageramblings.net/2015/02/24/tombstone-tuesday-henry-horn/

George Washington and Our Ancestors” at http://heritageramblings.net/2015/02/22/george-washington-and-our-ancestors/

It’s July 4th- Do You Know Our Revolutionary War Ancestors?” at http://heritageramblings.net/2014/07/04/its-july-4th-do-you-know-your-revolutionary-war-ancestors/

The McMurray-Payne-Benjamin- Horn Family Family Tree Page: http://heritageramblings.net/family-trees/the-mcmurray-payne-horn-family/. Scroll down to the Horn tree. Please note that the generations before Henry Horn have not yet been well researched to verify what other (good) researchers have provided.

 

 

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images. Click to enlarge images- it may also make them sharper.

We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2015 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted.
 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 
Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright of our blog material.