Fuzzy Friday: Exactly WHICH Winchester, Ohio?

Eleazer John Beerbower and Matilda L. McKelvey- marriage information from "House of Bierbauer- Two Hundred Years of Family History" by JC Culver and CW Beerbower, 1942, page 146.
Eleazer John Beerbower and Matilda L. McKelvey- marriage information from “House of Bierbauer- Two Hundred Years of Family History” by JC Culver and CW Beerbower, 1942, page 146.

Beerbower Family (Click for Family Tree)

Matilda McKelvey and Eleazer John Beerbower “married at Winchester, Ohio, July 3, 1839.”

At first glance- this was exciting- they were from the same place as Ollie McKelvey! (See previous post, Those Places Thursday: Canal Winchester, Ohio and the McElvey Family.)

But wait!

Canal Winchester, where Ollie was from, is in the central part of Ohio, in both Franklin and Fairfield Counties; plain ‘Winchester’ is in the southern section, in Adams County; it is also the township name. Apparently there were up to five towns and at least one township in Ohio named ‘Winchester’ at some point in the 1800s, so “Canal” was added to Reuben Dove’s town to distinguish it from the others. Apparently “Canal” was sometimes used, sometimes not, in referring to Canal Winchester, depending on the fortunes of that waterway located in town.

So where did the McKelvey-Beerbower marriage take place in 1839? In which Winchester, Ohio?

Adams County Marriages do not list either the bride nor groom under M or B headings, thus that may be the wrong Winchester. BUT a Thomas McKelvey is listed there in A History of Adams County, Ohio. It appears that most in that family changed their names to Kelvey, but details on each son are not listed. So there may have been some McKelveys in Adams County. More to research.

The McKelvey Family History, 1931, online at Family Search, lists family that was mostly in Illinois and Iowa. No Matilda was found with a search, and the book has been perused up to the last dates possible for Matilda and family, with not a speck of information that is useful for our line at this point in knowledge.

A kind McKelvey researcher (EH) provided his genealogy from his ancestor James McKelvey (b. 1766 in County Antrim, Parish of Clough, Ireland, d. 1843 in Portage Co., OH). None of our direct line is listed in his excellent genealogy, unfortunately. Around the time of Matilda’s birth in 1823 and her marriage in 1839, this researcher’s ancestor’s were in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and Portage County, Ohio, places about 250 miles apart; it is a bit less than 150 miles between Portage Co., OH and Franklin Co., OH. Some researchers/records state Matilda was born in Massachusetts, some say Missouri, so this line is probably not directly related. This James McKelvey apparently had brothers who immigrated to the colonies from Ireland, so that may be a clue to work from. (An aside: I found this researcher through an old query online, and the email still worked! So try all those old queries, no matter their vintage- you may just find another clue.)

The “Adam Smith Family Tree” on lists a James McKelvey who has daughters Susan b. 1849 in Canal Winchester, Emma b. about 1852, possibly in Canal Winchester, and Matilda, b. 1854, possibly in Canal Winchester. I have a message out to the owner through Ancestry’s service. This James could possibly be Matilda McKelvey Beerbower’s brother.

 We really need the names of Matilda’s parents to move further back in our family history. The best chance of finding those might be on a marriage record. A note to both the Franklin and Fairfield county recorders is probably a good next step to see if the marriage record exists from Canal Winchester, and if so, if it contains the names of Matilda’s parents. (Marriage records in the town began much later, so this will probably not be useful.) I also have an email out to the Canal Winchester Area Historical Society, in hope that they may be able to point us to some good resources in the area; trying to find old newspapers for the area might be helpful as well.
If any of our good readers have more information about the McKelveys of Ohio, please share!



Notes, Sources, and References: 

1) McKelvey-Beerbower marriage information on page 146 of House of Bierbauer.  Two Hundred Years of Family History, 1742-1942 compiled by James Culver Bierbower and Charles William Beerbower; Published under the direction of Beerbower History Committee, 1942.

2) A History of Adams County, Ohio, by Nelson Wiley Evans, and Emmons B. Stivers, 1900. Page 849-850.

3) Canal Winchester:

Chamber of Commerce-

Canal Winchester Area Historical Society-

4) The McKelvey Family History, by Frederick Hotchkiss McKelvey, 1931-

5) Those Places Thursday: Canal Winchester, Ohio and the McElvey Family at

6) Adam Smith Family Tree accessed online at Wife is Magdalena Bareis (b. 19 Mar 1835 in Germany, d. Canal Winchester, OH). Daughter Susan McKelvey (b. 04 Aug 1849 in Canal Winchester) m. to Adam Smith in 1869, 11 children including one named Olive who d. young. Daughter Emma McKelvey b. about 1852,


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