December 21, 2014

Do You Have Favorite Family Members?

Minnie Smith age 12

Are there favorite family members you like to research or write about?  Until someone else posed this question, I hadn’t really given it much thought just who I seemed to write about the most.  I think about several of my ancestors quite often though, and wish that I could have met them.

Minnie Smith Yates

I’ve written about my two grandmothers before in Growing Up Grandma-less where I explain how much you lose when you never get to know your grandmother.  I think about my Grandma Minnie Yates quite often, especially now that I have two granddaughters of my own. What would I have learned from her? I wonder…

Donald, Helen, Joan, Jeane and Joyce Moline

My maternal grandmother, Helen Nordgren Moline, had a very short life, but she left us with a mystery.  Well, several mysteries.  She was killed by a hit and run driver as she stood on a corner in Seattle in September of 1929.  At the time, she was already living away from her husband, two adopted children and three biological daughters.

In 1930 Grandpa Moline and the three girls are living with another young woman in the house, presumably the adopted daughter.  But where was the adopted son Donald Moline?  And, why two adopted children when they had three girls? Did Grandpa want a boy so bad to carry on his name that he wanted Grandma to keep having babies till she ‘gave him one’, and when she had my mother, the youngest and another girl, did they decide to adopt?

~~~

There are plenty more people for favorites in Jim’s family too:

Henry Skaggs, one of the “long hunters” who ( I was told) had an unnatural relationship with his granddaughters.  He’s not my favorites because of that, just the long hunter part because he was one of the pioneers who went into Kentucky with men such as Daniel Boone.

My husband Jim is a descendant of Henry Skaggs through Henry’s marriage to Susan Scott. Their daughter Nancy Skaggs married Peter DeSpain. Of that union a son, John DeSpain married (3) Mariah Perkins. John and Mariah’s daughter Mary Elizabeth DeSpain married John W. Whitmore, a Medal of Honor recipient in the Civil War. The DeSpain and Whitmore families settled in Des Moines County near Pleasant Grove, Iowa.  Peter DeSpain and Nancy Skaggs had 19 children.  I know she probably had no choice, but I sure admire that woman!

Mariah Perkins DeSpain

Who are your favorite ancestors? Let me know by leaving a comment, please.

How To Clean A Headstone – Advice From The Artist

Mary E. and John Whitmore.

If you are planning a trip to the cemetery to clean some headstones, you should check out this advice from Roy Dixon. Roy is an authority because he designs and creates hand carved memorials for Leyda, Burrus and Metz Monument Company in Burlington, Iowa. Roy has been a regular reader of iPentimento for a while now and to show my appreciation, I would like to introduce you to his website and show you what a talented artist he is.

roy dixon cemetery monuments and memorials

Just a little side note from me. I once read about an intrepid genealogist who was out in a farm field and she had the idea to use flour to make the writing on an old stone show up more clearly. This was not a very good idea though. There were cattle in the field and even though the stones had some fencing around them, the cows were crazy to get to that flour. You guessed it, they made their way through the fencing, and proceeded to lick that flour off the stones. That wouldn’t have been so bad, but it also damaged the stones and knocked some over. So, never use flour on the stones. Instead, use your common sense. Or, binoculars?

Below is an older photo of my husband’s Great Great Grandfather John Whitmore’s old headstone prior to 1997 when the Medal of Honor Society arranged for a new one to be place on his grave.

Mary E. and John Whitmore.

Mary E. and John Whitmore.

A Tenuous Connection To Abraham Lincoln

caswell-massey-picture

Abraham Lincoln

When we were little kids in grade school each year we would dutifully make profile pictures of Abe Lincoln and proudly take them home to Mom and Dad. It never occurred to me that many years later I would be researching my husband’s family tree and find that there was a “kissin’ cousin” connection to the great man.

I should say, my husband is not directly related to Lincoln, but one of his DeSpain cousins was married into the Hanks family. Here’s how the connection happened:

Descendants of Andrew Jackson Hanks (brother to Nancy Hanks, Lincoln’s mother)

1      [1] HANKS, Andrew Jackson  Source1: 1870 United States Federal Census, Source2: 1880 United States Federal Census, Source3: 1860 United States Federal Census, Source4: 1850 United States Federal Census    b: 1815 in Grayson, KY
.        +PORTER, Melinda          m: 17 Mar 1837 in Illinois      d: 29 Apr 1856 in Pleasant Grove, Des Moines, IA
2      HANKS, Matilda  Source: “Obit for Nancy Hanks DESPAIN”            d: Aft. 1932 in Clovis, Fresno, CA
.        +CARTER, John
2      HANKS, Caroline
.        +HAWKS, William
2      HANKS, Elizabeth              d: 1927
.        +MCNEIL, Jerimiah (Jim)      b: 1838    m: Abt. 1866      d: 1919 in New London, Des Moines County, IA
2      HANKS, Mary Ann
.        +SHEPHERD, A.C.              d: Abt. 1864 in Civil War
2      HANKS, Melinda
.        +EVANS, Milton
2      HANKS, Celia
.        +MATTHEWS, G. W.
2      HANKS, Charles  Source: “Obit for Nancy Hanks DESPAIN”    b: 1841        d: 1937
.        +CARPENTER, Eliza Jane              d: 1914
2      HANKS, Nancy  Source: “Obit for Nancy Hanks DESPAIN”    b: 05 Jul 1848 in Pleasant Grove, Des Moines, IA        d: 04 Jul 1932 in New London, Des Moines, IA  src: “Obit for Nancy Hanks DESPAIN”
.        +DESPAIN, Newton  Source: 1880 United States Federal Census    b: 18 Feb 1851 in Louisville, Jefferson, KY    m: 29 Apr 1869 in New London, Des Moines, IA      d: 08 Mar 1915 in New London, Des Moines, IA
2      HANKS, William Henry  Source: “Obit for Nancy Hanks DESPAIN”    b: 1854 in New London, Des Moines, IA        d: 1933 in New London, Des Moines, IA
.        +MCCUNE, Harriet      b: 1855        d: 1946
*2nd Wife of [1] HANKS, Andrew Jackson:
.        +ROWE, Sophia      b: in New Jersey    m: Aft. 1838      d: 27 Aug 1879 in Pleasant Grove, Des Moines, IA
*3rd Wife of [1] HANKS, Andrew Jackson:
.        +MORAND, Milcah Gardiner          m: 07 Jan 1881

My husband’s connection to Lincoln and the DeSpains:

(1) John DeSpain and Mariah Perkins were parents of

(2) *Mary Elizabeth DeSpain who married **John W. Whittmore 05 Nov 1865

(2) Newton DeSpain who married Nancy Hanks 29 April 1869

*there were other siblings

** John W. Whittmore was a Medal of Honor Recipient in the Civil War

Mary Elizabeth and John Whitmore’s daughter

(3) Mariah M. Whitmore married William Henry Wilkerson 11 March 1896 at Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa

Mariah and William Wilkerson were parents of

(4) Wesley L. Wilkerson who married Amanda Bean 17 November 1923 at Nashua, Iowa

Wesley and Amanda were parents of

Loren Wilkerson, father of my husband Jim

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caswell-massey-picture

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The Home Friend 1909

In the late 1980’s my husband and I owned an old house here in Port Orchard, Washington. It was in dire need of repair, and at one time we were in the process of tearing down a wall separating two rooms on the first floor. As we got one side of the wall boards off my husband noticed a rolled up paper inside which revealed itself to be an old ‘magazine’ called The Home Friend. I have toted that old magazine around for all these years, and just before Christmas I took it to a copier and had the pages scanned, printed and put on disk.  It is now 100 years later and I thought it would be fun to share some of the articles and advertisements contained in that homemade time capsule.  Be looking for them in future posts here on iPentimento. In the mean time, I leave you with one of the articles as a small tribute to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

gettysburg-address

iPentimento – COI 10th Edition – Costume

john-whitmore-family-group

We’re celebrating the 10th Edition of the Carnival of Images with the word prompt: Costume

john-whitmore-family-group

John and Mary (DeSpain) Whitmore center-front

Children behind L-R: Cordelia, John, Mariah, Mary and William

This photo was most likely taken before 1904 because the youngest boy, William, died in January of that year. I have chosen this photo for the Carnival because of the elaborate dresses the ladies are wearing.

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