December 20, 2014

Graveyard Rabbit Carnival – The Whittemores of Pleasant Grove Iowa

Mary E. and John Whitmore.

This is an early photograph taken around 1995 in the churchyard at Pleasant Grove, Iowa. The headstones are for John Whitmore (Whittemore, etc.) and his wife Mary Elizabeth DeSpain. The churchyard is at the Shinar Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Des Moines County, Iowa.

I’m participating in the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival hosted by The Graveyard Rabbit. Won’t you join us as we scamper through the graveyards?

Whitmore – Miller in Macon County, IL History

Whitmore – Miller in Macon County, IL History

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Macon County, Illinois History – First Marriage

Formed in 1829, the county of Macon in Illinois was where our ancestor John Parlen Whittmore wed Delilah Miller, their’s being the first marriage in Macon on 20 January 1829.  John who was born in either Connecticut or Massachusetts was the son of Sarah Parlin and Josiah Whittmore most likely of Massachusetts.  Whittmore Twp. is named for John P. Whittmore (see Place Names of IL – Edward Callery; page 375).

John W. Whitmore – Medal of Honor Recipient (USA – Civil War)

John and Delilah Miller Whitmore were the parents of nine children, one of which was John W. Whitmore b. 03 July 1844, m. 05 Nov. 1865 Des Moines County, Iowa.  John was served in the Civil War as a Private, Company F in the 119th IL Infantry and was the recipient of the Medal of Honor for capturing a flag.

*Note – The death date on his headstone is incorrect, as he died February 26, 1913.  The VA who supplied the stone was given the wrong year by the man who arranged the MOH Ceremony for a veteran’s group.  The stone and ceremony were placed and attended respectively in 1997.

In his lifetime, after the war, two of his homes burned and it is entirely possible that the actual medal was consumed in one of the fires.   We do still have documentation of his service, and his cemetery headstone at the Shinar Presbyterian Church at Pleasant Grove, IA gives further proof.

Most recently, one of our Wilkerson cousins was instrumental in getting John Whitmore’s photo and military record on display at the Hall of Valor at Ft. Benning, GA Infantry Museum.  John’s photo in the museum is only one of 27 currently shown.  Illinois should be proud of her native son. It’s highly unusual for a Private to have been awarded the Medal of Honor during the Civil War.  More often, they went to officers.

After the end of the Civil War, John Whitmore married 05 Nov 1865 Mary Elizabeth DeSpain, daughter of John and Mariah Perkins DeSpain also of Pleasant Grove, Iowa.  They were the parents of six children, five of whom lived to maturity.  A daughter, Mariah M. Whitmore married William Henry Wilkerson.

Tombstone Tuesday: The Wilkersons of Pleasant Grove, Iowa

I wasn’t sure how to really title this blog post because it encompasses so many topics: Illinois history, notable ancestors, **The Face Of Genealogy, and military history.

**Applicable article to follow

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Frances Eveline Holmes Miller – Champion Old Fiddler 1937 Iowa State Fair

Francis E Holmes Miller fiddler 72frame

Mrs. Frances E. Miller, Des Moines, Iowa – 1937

Frances Eveline Holmes was born 20 February 1865 in Harrison County, Missouri to parents Sarah Ann Fallis and Paul Holmes. Paul was the fifth child of Elizabeth Hensley and David Oliver Holmes, and he was born in Tennessee. “Eva” as she was called married Kendall Miller 26 January 1882 also in Harrison County, Missouri.

And except from the Des Moines (Iowa) Register and Tribune 1937 states, ” Mrs. Miller….taught herself to play the violin when she was a young girl of 12 years.  I found a broken fiddle lying around the house….. I tuned it up with a piece of heavy pack thread and plucked.  She plays entirely by ear.”

The 1937 article is a bit hard to read as a xerox copy, but I plan on transcribing it as best I can and posting it at a later date as a link to this article.

Eva Heads to NYC and The “We, The People” Radio Show

Fame and recognition wasn’t done with Eva Holmes Miller just yet though.  After her surprising win at the Iowa State Fair that year, she was invited by the National Broadcasting Company to play on their radio show We, The People.

Frances E. Holmes Miller is my 2nd cousin, 4 times removed through my Yates line.  Eva’s great uncle and my fourth Great Grandfather was John Holmes b. 1784 in Virginia.   John was married to Lydia Register and I descend through their daughter Deborah Holmes who married 28 August 1840 Miles Yates.

Sources:

Darlene Kappelman Wellington, last known address Boise, ID.  She generously shared her family files and the xerox copies with me some years ago.

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