November 26, 2014

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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A Tenuous Connection To Abraham Lincoln

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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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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

Genealogy Tracking: Wilkersons, Whitmores and L. Frank Boyd – Part 2

Genealogy Tracking: Wilkersons, Whitmores and L. Frank Boyd – Part 2
Part 2: (continued from Part 1 )

When we left Iowa in 1995 it would be two years before we would return again. In the mean time though, I got right on the trail of John Whitmore since Mr. Stucker had given us a copy of a letter from the Medal of Honor Society. The contact information on the letter was somewhat out of date, but I was able to get in touch with the then current representative for the society. Their reason for wanting to contact living family members was to get permission to put a new government supplied headstone on John Whitmore’s grave denoting his status as a Medal of Honor recipient.

Medal of Honor circa 1860’s era

After some false starts (the original stone was broken during shipping) we had our ceremony planned for May of 1997. As it turned out, the family members were there, along with a re-enactment group from Burlington, Iowa, and the local historical society representatives, but the actual stone (again) was delayed in transit and so we had a mockup of what the stone would say. I did not attend the ceremony, so it wasn’t until later that I noticed that the MOH Society man I had been working with had put the wrong death date on John’s marker. His read 1918, when it should have been 1913. Not like you can “white out” anything on a headstone!

John W. Whitmore, headstone at Pleasant Grove, IA

It was during the planning stages of John’s MOH ceremony that our family genealogy quest put us in touch with another cousin who had a letter written to John Whitmore in 1914, that led us to L. Frank Boyd, another illustrious member of the family. (to be continued)

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