This week, in honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to share more about my maternal line. Although they each had their own unique personalities, the women in this line were all hard-working, intelligent, industrious, creative, loving people who always found a way to laugh during difficult times. I seem to have inherited both my nose, and the "twinkle in my eye," through this line. [photos below are from my personal collection]
I have followed this line to Scotland. Not only is it notoriously difficult to research maternal lines, which usually change surnames with each generation, it can also be challenging to follow your ancestry in a new country. While I am fortunate that Scottish records often include maternal surnames, the Scottish government has retained control over their records, so images of original documents are only available through Scotland's People on a pay-per-view basis, via a subscription with Find My Past, or on microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, depending on what you are searching for. That is to say, you will not find images of original records on Ancestry or FamilySearch - you will need to go to beyond these sites if you want to go deeper than indexed information.
My mother's mother's mother's mother was born on 13 October 1859 in Port Glasgow, in Renfrewshire, which was a small port city on the River Clyde, on the Western side of Scotland. You might remember from my "Strong Woman" post that Mary Maud Coats was the young child who was brought to the United States (with a goat!) by her paternal aunt, Mary Coats Bergstrom. Although she had no memory of her mother, Mary knew her maiden name: Isabella Forrest[er]. Isabella, my great-great-great-grandmother, was the end of my maternal line for many years.
It was through Scotland's People that I was finally able to corroborate the story of Mary Maud Coats and her aunt, Mary Coats Bergstrom, and begin to learn more about my Scottish family. [Unfortunately, because I am following their terms and conditions, I am not able to share images of what I found.] It was interesting to see what differed from the story Mary had heard as a child (and recounted as an older woman), and what remained true through the years - the essence of the story was correct, but there were several discrepancies with dates, including her own birth date![1,2] I can't tell you how exciting it was to finally view Mary's birth registration from 1859, which recorded information personally reported by her mother, Isabella. I learned the name of the street where the family was living at that time, and confirmed that her father, Andrew, was a shoemaker and a journeyman.
I also located the death registration for Isabella Forrester Coats. This document recorded information reported by her husband, Andrew, who stated that she had suffered from tuberculosis (recorded as "phithisis") for about eight months, and died just prior to Mary's first birthday, on 1 October of 1860, at the young age of 28. It was from this record that I finally had evidence for the maiden name of Isabella's mother: Janet Sherrow. A clue!
Using this information, I was able to locate the death registration of the widowed Janet Forrester, who died less than three years after her daughter, after being paralyzed for "several years." Her death was reported by her son-in-law, Andrew Coats. Interestingly, her maiden name was recorded as "Shirra" in this document, which helped explain why I was not able to identify a single record for anyone with the surname of "Sherrow" on Scotland's People. Not only did this information clear up her father's name and surname (William Shirra was a "spirits dealer" - can't wait to learn more about this guy!), it also provided the maiden surname of her mother: Mary Fulton. So far, records indicate that Janet Shirra came from Glasgow, and that she was not James Forrester's first wife, which is opening up a whole new line of inquiry. After so many years of being stuck at Isabella Forrester, it was exhilarating to move two generations further along my maternal line, which now looks like this:
I also learned some unexpected information from my search on Scotland's People. Just over one month prior to my great-great-grandmother's birth, her father, Andrew, reported a tragic death: his five-year-old daughter, Mary Coats, died after three weeks of "inflammation of the bowels." I can't help but imagine the grieving parents, one month away from the arrival of their fourth (or possibly fifth) child, losing their darling five-year-old so suddenly. They must have named their new baby "Mary" in honor of the child they had just lost.
Isabella, with a paralyzed mother to care for, the loss of this child, and the stress of a new baby, contracted tuberculosis - the "white plague." Andrew wrote to his sister living in America, and told her of Isabella's dying wish:
I found the family in the 1861 census, taken in April, about seven months after Isabella's death - Andrew Coats, his daughters Janet, Jane and Mary, and his sister Mary Coats [Bergstrom], seaman's wife. I'm not sure of how long Mary lived with them, but by September of 1863, she and her niece, Mary Maud, and her husband had traveled to Utah Territory by wagon train.
As I think about this line of women on Mother's Day, I appreciate their strength and willfulness through various forms of adversity. I've learned a little bit about what it took to survive in early 19th century Scotland - how precious and fleeting life was. I mourn the early death of Isabella, who never learned about how well things would turn out for her infant daughter - that she went on to live a long, full life and brought six children to adulthood, along with many, many descendants. I think of the sisters that Mary Maud never knew - I would love to learn more about what happened with them, and if their descendants can be found among the thousands of my autosomal DNA matches. I look forward to learning more about Janet Shirra's story - about her marriage, other children, how long she battled paralysis, and more about her mother, Mary Fulton. I also am so appreciative of Mary Coats in her role as aunt and adoptive mother - this story could have taken a very different course had it not been for her efforts.
I am, most of all, so grateful that I am now able to share more about this story with my mother and my own daughter (as well as many others who share this maternal line with me). I'm wishing you all a very happy Mother's Day, and the best of luck in your own maternal line research - it can be challenging, but is well-worth the effort!
1. Statutory Birth Register, County of Renfrew, Registration District: 574 (Parish of Port Glasgow), 1859, page 95 (printed), number 283, for Mary Coats, 13 October; database online with images, 1859 COATS, MARY (Statutory registers Births 574/283), Scotland'sPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 3 February 2017); citing National Records of Scotland, Edingburgh, U.K.
2. "Autobiography of Mary Maud Coats Bergstrom Stratford: A Pioneer of 1863," 4 September 1922, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Camp 33, recorded by Ethel Stratford Skeen; digital copy in personal collection of the author, East Lansing, Michigan, 2018.
3. "Obituary: Mary M. Coats Stratford," Salt Lake Telegram (Utah), Friday, 20 February 1942, page 26; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 12 May 2018).
4. Statutory Birth Register, Registration District: 574, 1859, number 283, for Mary Coats.
5. Statutory Death Register, County of Renfrew, Registration District: 574 (Parish of Port Glasgow), 1860, page 54 (printed), number 162, for Isabella Coats, 1 October; database online with images, 1860 COATS, ISABELLA (Statutory registers Deaths 574/162), Scotland'sPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 22 June 2017); citing National Records of Scotland, Edingburgh, U.K.
6. Statutory Death Register, County of Renfrew, Registration District: 574 (Parish of Port Glasgow), 1863, page 25 (printed), number 73, for Janet Forrester, 2 April; database online with images, 1863 FORRESTER, JANET (Statutory registers Deaths 574/73), Scotland'sPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 12 May 2018); citing National Records of Scotland, Edingburgh, U.K.
7. Records relating to Janet Shirra Forrester I've found so far include: OPR marriage registration between herself and John Forrester indicating the marriage was to take place in Glasgow in 1831; 1841 census listed two sons (John and Samuel), of John Forrest[er] who were born earlier than the 1831 marriage, and that her birth occurred outside of the county of Renfrew; 1851 census indicated her place of birth as "Lanarkshire Glasgow;" and death registration (cited above), had a discrepancy in age between both census records. More work to be done here.
8. Statutory Death Register, County of Renfrew, Registration District: 574 (Parish of Port Glasgow), 1859, page 40 (printed), number 118, for Mary Coats, 31 August; database online with images, 1859 COATS, MARY (Statutory registers Deaths 574/118), Scotland'sPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 12 May 2018); citing National Records of Scotland, Edingburgh, U.K.
9. "Autobiography of Mary Maud Bergstrom Coats Stratford," page 1.
10. 1861 census of Scotland, County of Renfrew, Registration District: 574 (Parish of Port Glasgow), Enumeration District (ED): 7 (Burgh of Port Glasgow), page 8 (of 22, stamped), schedule no. (household): 46, for Andrew Coats, Janet Coats (incorrectly recorded as "Janent"), Jane Coats, Mary Coats, and Mary Coats; database online with images, 1861 COATS, ANDREW (Census 574/7/8) Page 8 of 22, Scotland'sPeople (www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 12 May 2018); citing National Records of Scotland, Edingburgh, U.K.
11. Individuals in this Company, William B. Preston Company (1863), for Mary Maud Coats, Mary Coats Bergstrom, and Carl M. Bergstrom; online database, Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel (https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/companies/241/william-b-preston-company-1863 : accessed 12 May 2018).
Sorry I'm a little late with this one - I was at the National Genealogical Society's annual meeting in Grand Rapids most of last week. What a whirlwind! I hope to post more about that, soon.
For this week's post I am zooming in on my great-great-grandfather, Zadock (Zadok or Zadoc - spellings vary) Conrad Mitchell. He was the elderly man seated in the photo below. His wife, Louisa Winegar Mitchell, was seated to his left, and they were surrounded by their children, including my great-grandfather, Vernon Claude Mitchell, seated on the right.
I've viewed this photo several times through my life, so I recognized it when I found this copy on FamilySearch a few years ago. Zadock was the son of Benjamin Mitchell and Caroline Conrad. Benjamin was a stone cutter and early Utah pioneer - I hope to write a post about him at some point. He was also a polygamist, with several wives and over fifty children. However, Zadock had only one full sibling, Amanda Elizabeth Mitchell Harman. His mother, Caroline, passed away less than four months after his birth. I believe he was given his unusual name after Zadock Knapp Judd, the brother of one of his father's other wives, Lois Judd Mitchell.
Zadock was a stonecutter himself - he and his father both worked on the construction of the Salt Lake Temple and other significant buildings in Salt Lake City. Like many people of his time, he contracted tuberculosis, and died at the age of 65. I don't know if his work as a stonecutter also weakened his lungs, but I'm sure all the dust and debris flying through the air around him didn't help his condition.
I don't have many photos of him, so I was looking for more on FamilySearch last year, which is where I found this close up of him from the photo I posted above:
I must have looked at this image several times before I realized that Zadock was missing his left eye, or, if it was still intact, it was badly damaged. I also found other earlier photos of him, which show him with both eyes intact. I've never heard anything about his missing an eye from other family members. My grandmother was born about a month prior to his death, so she had no memories of him. I can only imagine that his eye was injured while he was cutting stone.
I did search through some newspapers to see if an accident was reported in the press (and was interested to find that he was involved in local politics, and also called as a witness during a polygamy trial in 1886), without success. I'll be sharing this post with my family - perhaps one of my many distant cousins will know more? I'll certainly post an update if I find more information.
1. "Zadoc C. Mitchell, Native of City, Dies," Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), Tuesday, 27 February 1917, page 5; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 7 May 2018).
2. "Utah, Death and Military Death Certificates, 1904-1961," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 7 May 2018), entry for Zadock Conrad Mitchell, 26 February 1917, Salt Lake County; citing "Death Certificates, 1904-1961," Series Number 81448, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
I was an Army brat. I moved at least five times before my eighth birthday. The last move was to Utah, where both of my grandparents lived, and where, I later realized, my family on both sides had been solidly rooted since the mid-eighteen hundreds. Despite this, the close-knit community my parents chose was foreign to me. I often felt like an outsider because I wasn't born there, none of my ancestors lived there, and, unlike many of my classmates, I didn't go to school with my cousins.
That said, it was a really beautiful place to grow up, tucked between the Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake. We had a lot of freedom to roam the neighborhood, which had so many interesting places to explore. Mountain streams tumbled through steep gullies, which we would wade through in the hot summer months, and sled down on sunny, snowy, winter days. When we were old enough, we extended our range further down the hill, riding our bikes to the town cemetery.
The cemetery was essentially a city park for our community. It wasn't a creepy place that we avoided - quite the contrary! People would routinely go for walks, ride their bikes, walk their dogs, or even picnic there. The shade and cool, green grass were welcoming in the dry desert heat. I loved to wander around the stones, reading the names and inscriptions, and thinking about the people who had come before us. My favorite gravestones were the little sandstone lambs which were placed for babies and children - they were heartbreakingly sweet. I came to recognize the surnames of my classmates (e.g. Adams, Barnes, Blood, Egbert, and Layton), and discern older pioneer gravestones from more modern markers.
In my teen years, I discovered that the cemetery was also a night-time hot spot in the summer. Apparently it was a tradition for teenage boys to have bottle rocket wars there. They would shoot these illegal fireworks at each other from behind the gravestones, using them as shields when the other side returned fire. This fascinated and frightened me in equal measure.
My parents eventually moved away from their home near the cemetery, but I still like to drive by whenever I happen to be in town. One visit was particularly meaningful. In the course of researching my husband's family (he grew up far away from me), I learned that several of his ancestors were buried in that very cemetery. We were able to locate their graves and share the story of this family with our children. The place where I'd grown up walking my dog and riding my bike, actually held the remains of and tributes to the ancestors of my future husband and children. My family had belonged there all along, I just hadn't known it until then.
Let me start off with a warning for this one: the following newspaper articles describe a tragic death in graphic detail - please proceed at your own discretion.
The Tuesday, August 17th, 1920, editions of Wasatch Front newspapers, such as the Salt Lake Telegram and the Ogden Standard Examiner, predicted the possibility of rain showers later that day. The high temperature was 95 degrees, and from personal experience, I'm guessing it was unusually humid. Although it does not rain often in the desert climate of Utah, the region is known for monsoon weather in July and August. Powerful storms can sweep in quickly, with wind, lightning, and torrents of rain, which is exactly what would happen later that day. These predictions seem mild in comparison to what actually occurred.
Vernon Ronald Mitchell was the eldest brother of my grandmother, Lila Mitchell Ogilvie. I wrote about this family for Week 5: In the Census, although 1930 was ten years after Vernon's death. My grandma often spoke about the loss of her brother, and how devastated the family was about his tragic death. She was only three years old when he died (she was accidentally named "Laura" in the Salt Lake Telegram article), but she, and I imagine her entire family, carried his memory for many, many decades.
I was able to pinpoint the location of Vernon's death: Orange Street, between 200 and 300 South, just West of Redwood Road in Salt Lake City. It was a little over one mile from the Mitchell home on Iola Avenue. In the 1920 census there were four homes between 200 and 300 South: (204) Alexander Winter's family, (246) Ludwig Pollei's family, (260) Fredrick Rombach's family [all from Germany], and (280) George Spliethof, from Holland. That block of Orange Street, part of the Lake Breeze subdivision, barely escaped destruction by a large freeway interchange, and is now an industrial area. The irrigation ditch is gone, and there are no trees to speak of. There is no hint of this tragic event - no memory of small houses, immigrant families, summer storms, or enterprising young paperboys.
By the way, I scrolled to the front page of the Ogden Standard Examiner from the day the article was posted about his death, and was surprised to find this historic headline. A good reminder that you just never know what you might happen upon in your research:
1. "Weather," Salt Lake Telegram (Utah), Tuesday, 17 August 1920, page 1, banner; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 18 April 2018).
2. "Weather," Ogden Standard Examiner (Utah), Tuesday, 17 August 1920, page 1, banner; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 18 April 2018).
3. "Telegram Boy Killed by Lightning," Salt Lake Telegram (Utah), Wednesday, 18 August 1920, page 9; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 18 April 2018).
4. "Lightning Kills Newspaper Boy," Ogden Standard-Examiner (Utah), Wednesday, 18 August 1920, page 3; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 18 April 2018).
5. "Utah, Death and Military Death Certificates, 1904-1961," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 18 April 2018), entry for Vernon Ronald Mitchell, 17 August 1920, Salt Lake County; citing "Death Certificates, 1904-1961," Series Number 81448, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
6. 1920 U.S. census, Salt Lake County, Utah, population schedule, Salt Lake City (Precinct 40), ED 119, sheets 18A and 19B (penned), [dwellings/families not enumerated]; imaged at Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 19 April 2018); citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1866.
I don't have any unmarried aunts to speak of... I do have two distant "aunts" to whom I owe an enormous genealogical debt: Jetta Stewart Brunson and Electa Skeen Johnson - who were both childless, but married. So I had to dig a little deeper for this topic, and ended up over on my husband's line. His grandmother was from Madison County, Iowa. I dearly loved her, and continue to have a great affinity for her family history. I often think of the characters from "The Music Man" ("Would you like to give Iowa a try?"), when I study her family - their ages and migration patterns seem to perfectly fit several of our national commonplaces (and mid-20th century musicals). And WOW - after taking another look at her Wynkoop line, I will see your "maiden aunt" and raise her by two - PLUS a bachelor uncle! Read on...
The Wynkoop sisters in Madison County, Iowa, circa 1910. We don't know exactly who is who, but are certain that they are not standing in birth order. Their names, youngest to oldest, were: Blanche, Pearl, Grace, Louie, Virgie, Aileen, and Anna. I suspect that they are in this order, except that Anna and Louie have swapped places - this would put Anna in the middle and Louie on the far right. This could have been taken in 1913, after Blanche and Anna were married - which would explain their identical white dresses.
My children's fourth great-grandparents, Simeon and Mary Josephine Armstrong Wynkoop, had eleven children - eight girls (one died as an infant), and three boys. Of their seven adult daughters, three never married: Aileen (2nd child), Louie Ethel (7th child), and Olive Grace (8th child). Additionally, their eldest son/3rd child, William Garrett never married. He farmed the family's land, and apparently lived in his mother's household (along with sisters Aileen and Louie), his entire life.
Simeon, a veteran of the Civil War, died in 1899, when the youngest child was just eight years old. The family stayed close together. One year later, in the 1900 census, Mary J. Wynkoop's household contained all ten children, including the eldest, Anna Laura, aged 31. Anna was a dressmaker, and narrowly missed being counted with the other "maiden aunts." A 1913 marriage record indicates that she and her youngest sister, Zella Blanche, were married on the same day - February 26th. Anna, at the age of 45, was married to John C. Cook, and Blanche, at the age of 22, to Marion W. Wright.
I'm sure you are now very curious to learn more about our three unmarried sisters! I've been fortunate to have access to digital archives of the Earlham Echo - their local newspaper - and have learned so much about the Wynkoops and other local families by reading obituaries and other tidbits in this paper. Just as you might have expected for unmarried women in this time and place, two of the three sisters: Aileen and Grace - were both schoolteachers.
Aileen lived to the age of 83. From her obituary:
"Allie's life has been one of service. She spent more than fifty years teaching in public schools. From her girlhood days she has taught Sunday School classes... she loved teaching, whether day school or Sunday. She was always busy, either with reading or some type of hand work."
Grace lived to the age of 76. From her obituary:
"She attended the public schools of Madison county, graduating from the Earlham Academy in 1905. She attended Simpson College and Drake University where she received her degree. She taught school in Marne and Boone, then in the Des Moines Public Schools for 41 years... Her Sunday School and church work were an important part of her life... Her life was one of service. Everyone shared in her thoughtfulness, her family and her friends."
Finally, we have Louie. She died the day after her eightieth birthday, in 1961. Unfortunately, that year is not represented in the digital archives of the Earlham Echo. I did locate earlier news articles about celebrations of her birthday, in 1959, and 1960 - they were quite the family gatherings!
From her 79th birthday, in March 1960:
"Snowy Birthday Party for Louie Wynkoop:
I found Louie in census records from 1900-1930. (Curiously, I have not yet located Mary J. Wynkoop or her children, Aileen, William Garrett, or Louie in the 1940 census - still searching!) Louie was a student in 1900, and could read/write, but her occupation was "none" in 1910, 1920, and 1930. She was living with siblings in 1910 and 1920, and back in her mother's home by 1930 (with siblings). Other than that, she remains a mystery to me. I'm looking forward to learning more about Louie's story through future research.
I appreciated the chance to learn more about the Wynkoop family this week, and particularly the unmarried sisters: Aileen, Louie and Grace. It is so easy to overlook the lives of people who have not produced descendants to remember them in family histories, but their lives were often rich and full of service to society. Aileen and Grace both had a great impact on the lives of hundreds of children through their work as teachers, and also played an important role with their many family members and surrounding community. In addition, it is easy to see from newspaper reports that Louie was also loved and celebrated by her family and neighbors. I'm happy to be able to share their stories here.
*Information gathered about the children of Simeon and Mary J. Armstrong Wynkoop from the Earlham Echo and sources specified below:
1. Anna Laura Wynkoop (b. 1868) (dressmaker) - married John C. Cook, 24 Feb. 1913
2. Aileen Wynkoop (b. 1870) (unmarried, schoolteacher)
3. William Garrett "Garry" Wynkoop (b. 1872) (unmarried, farmer)
4. Clyde Amendal Wynkoop (b. 1874) - married Orilla S. Feitz, 25 Feb. 1903
5. Virginia "Virgie" May Wynkoop (b. 1876) - married Hayse H. Hamilton, 16 Sep 1903
6. Zenis Alva Wynkoop (b. 1878) - married Minnie E. McComb
7. Louie Ethel Wynkoop (b. 1881) (unmarried)
8. Olive Grace Wynkoop (b. 1883) (unmarried, schoolteacher)
9. Cleo Pearl Wynkoop (b. 1886) - married C. Leroy Price
10. Infant daughter (born/died ca. 1889)
11. Zella Blanche Wynkoop (b. 1891) - married Marion W. Wright, 24 Feb. 1913
1. Photo of the Wynkoop Sisters, circa 1910, digital image, shared with the author by James Nugent.
2. "Mary J Wynkoop Died at Age of 92," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 23 October 1941, page 1, column 2; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
3. 1930 U.S. census, Madison County, Iowa, population schedule, Earlham, ED 13, sheet 4-A, dwelling 90, family 94, for Mary J Wynkoop, Aileen Wynkoop, William G Wynkoop, and Louie E Wynkoop; database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), microfilm publication T626, roll 666.
4. Madison County, Iowa, Probate Case Files, 1851-1918, Case 1398-1413 (1899), for Simeon Wynkoop, case 1413, filing date 2 August 1899, petition papers; database online, "Iowa, Wills and Probate Records, 1758-1997," Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 April 2018).
5. 1900 U.S. census, Madison County, Iowa, population schedule, Madison Township, enumeration district (ED) 29, sheet 13A (penned), dwelling 267, family 276, for Mary J Wynkoop (incorrectly indexed as "Wyncoop") family; database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), microfilm publication T623, roll 445.
6. "Iowa, Marriage Records, 1880-1940," volume 449 (Emmet-Muscatine), Madison County, Marriage Returns for Fiscal Year Ending 30 June 1913, page 61-1C57 (stamped), License 432 for Marion W Wright and Zella B Wynkoop, and License 533 for John C Cook and Anna L Wynkoop; database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing Iowa State Archives, Des Moines, Iowa.
7. "Obituary: Aileen Wynkoop," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 29 April 1954, page 1, column 3; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive, Advantage Preservation (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
8. "Obituary: Olive Grace Wynkoop," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 30 June 1960, page 1, column 5; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive, Advantage Preservation (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
9. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 8 April 2018), memorial page for Louie Wynkoop (16 Mar 1881–17 Mar 1961), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8122317, citing Fairview Cemetery, Madison County, Iowa; photo credit William Johnson.
10. "Snowy Birthday Party for Louie Wynkoop," Earlham Echo (Iowa), Thursday, 24 March 1960, page 1, column 4; database with images, "Digital Archives of the Earlham Echo," Community History Archive (http://earlham.advantage-preservation.com : accessed 8 April 2018).
11. 1910 U.S. census, Tripp County, South Dakota, population schedule, White River, ED 113, sheet 1-B (penned), dwelling 24, family 24, for Louie Wynkoop; database with images, Ancestry
(www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing NARA, microfilm publication T624, roll 1487.
12. 1920 U.S. census, Polk County, Iowa, population schedule, Des Moines City Ward 2 (6th Precinct), ED 109, sheet 13A (penned), dwelling 286, family 289, for Louise Wynkoop (incorrectly indexed as "Wynekoop"); database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 April 2018); citing NARA, microfilm publication T625, roll 508.
13. 1930 U.S. census, Madison Co., Iowa, Earlham, ED 13, sheet 4-A (penned), dwell. 90, fam. 94, Louie E Wynkoop.
Ah, the old homestead... Like many from "out West," my people have been on the move almost continuously from one generation to the next, on all sides. We keep track of where we have been by where the babies were born. If we do have a "home place," it has only been for 2-3 generations, at most, like the summer cabin my mother's grandfather built (but we no longer own). Wouldn't it be wonderful to have that mythical farm to return to, which has been in the family for hundreds of years? I'm sure it happens for some people, but not mine.
So what's up with these photos, then? Well, there is a place in Utah where my husband's mother's family still gathers (I'm not revealing details to protect their privacy). It is the place where their first immigrant ancestors settled in 1868, and somehow there is still a family member who lives there. We had the opportunity to visit with my mother-in-law, and my husband's brother's family, back in October 2013, and that is where and when I took the above photos. While this was the family's second "home" since their first arrival - the first being just down the road - it was the place that my mother-in-law remembers gathering with her cousins and extended family. It really is a magical place. Our kids, and their cousins, had a great time jumping on the trampoline, and discovering one of my favorite Utah rivers. What a treasure for this family!
A few more thoughts on the topic of family and land... Since I had the chance to go through Salathiel Stanley's Homestead records, I've been hungry to find more. I was fortunate that his documents were part of a collection on Ancestry. I've since found another ancestor on that side who successfully received land through the Homestead Act, but, unfortunately, since his land was in Missouri, not Nebraska, his records are only available through the National Archives. Maybe a trip to Washington, D.C. for our next Spring Break is in order?
I just returned from this year's Spring Break (that's why I'm a little behind on posting), where I was searching for another type of homestead - this time for a Loyalist land grant in Ontario, Canada. I still haven't located the exact site (I'm so close - looking forward to sharing more soon!), but we did drive around the vicinity to get a feel for it. (We also popped into the Lexington & Addington County Museum & Archives, which I highly recommend!) I love visiting places where I know my ancestors once lived - where they worked, where they walked. It gives me so much more perspective on what they experienced, and what they left behind in their continuous search for just the right spot.
I think, in the case of both of my Loyalist ancestors, John Ogilvie and James Lake, they were given land in Nova Scotia and Ontario, on thin soil, in cold, wet conditions, as compensation for the rich farmland they left behind in Georgia and New York. Although in both cases, where they landed was beautiful, wild countryside, after visiting I understand why their children heeded the call to move West (and South), for warmer conditions and better land.
Margaret was raised in the Ogilvie household in Nova Scotia. She married English emigrant, Peter Furlong, and their first child, Barbara Elizabeth, was born in or near Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1852. The Furlong family joined the Ogilvie family on their arduous journey West to Utah Territory in 1855. They lived briefly in Tooele, then Alpine City, and later settled in Spanish Fork, and four more children joined the family. It was a difficult existence in those early days, with very little food, widespread illness, and poor shelter. To complicate matters, by 1860, Margaret's step-father, George B., had separated from her mother, and was starting a new family in a new location.
The 1880 U.S. census marked her further decline. She was the only boarder in the household of James and Jane Powell. She was marked as "insane," labeled sick with "paresis," and had not worked in the last 12 months. As you can read below, Margaret died five years later, in 1885, after having been "insane for a great many years."
As anyone who studies family history knows, unfortunate circumstances can continue to ripple for generations. Margaret's youngest child, Mary Ellen, was certainly affected by her family's misfortune. The following description of her childhood in a history of her husband, George Newman Perkins, is heartbreaking.
I often think of Margaret's family and the series of misfortunes in their lives. Margaret lost her father at an early age, endured the hardships of pioneer life, bore at least five children, lost the only father-figure she knew, and then her husband - her provider and protector - died at a young age. Poor and illiterate, she then lost her mother and two of her children, and then her other three children were sent to work, some in abusive situations. She lived alone, or as a boarder for the last fifteen years of her life. I think even the toughest of us would have been hard-pressed to retain our sanity through all of these events. Margaret's three surviving children went on to live long and productive lives, and two of them had very large families (the third gave birth to at least eight children, with only two living to adulthood - more misfortune).
Stories like Margaret's are a good reminder that not all family histories are pretty. However, these tales are just as important to tell, and can often provide explanations for medical histories, reasons why families fell into poverty, and inspiration for handling our own challenges. Understanding these stories can make successes stand out even more, when we know the challenges and misfortunes a family has faced.
1. Estate Papers of John Campbell, Musquodoboit, ca. 1827, “Halifax County Estate Papers,” no. C18, microfilm 19399, Nova Scotia Archives (NSA), Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
2. "Utah, Death and Military Death Certificates, 1904-1961," database with images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 March 2018), entry for Barbara Elizabeth Hales, 13 October 1924, Utah County; citing "Death Certificates, 1904-1961," Series Number 81448, Utah State Archives, Salt Lake City, Utah.
3. Individuals in this Company, Jacob F. Secrist/Noah T. Guymon Company (1855); online database, Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel (https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/companies/263/jacob-f-secrist-noah-t-guymon-company-1855 : accessed 2 November 2017); citing "2nd Company of 50 reports,” 31 May 1855; report, CR 1234 5, box 1, folder 37, Emigrating companies reports 1850-1862, Reports 1853-1855, Brigham Young office files, 1832-1878, Church History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.
4. 1860 U.S. census, Utah County, Utah Territory, population schedule, Spanish Fork Post Office, p. 230 (penned), dwelling 2043, family 1632, Peter Furlong [incorrectly indexed as “Furlond”], Margaret Furlong; digital image, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 4 November 2017); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1314.
5. 1860 U.S. census, Salt Lake County, Utah Territory, population schedule, Union Post Office, p. 270 (penned), dwelling 1983, family 333, Geo B Ogleby; digital image, Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com : accessed 2 November 2017); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication M653, roll 1313.
6. Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 26 March 2018), memorial page for Peter Furlong (19 Jun 1819–30 Apr 1865), Find A Grave Memorial no. 48253567, citing Pioneer Heritage Cemetery, Spanish Fork, Utah County, Utah, USA. Note: I am still seeking original documentation for Peter Furlong's date of death. It is possible that he was buried in the Spanish Fork Pioneer Cemetery, but this has not yet been confirmed to my knowledge.
7. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 3/image 22, Catherine J. Furlong entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 22 March 2018). Note: this record has a date of death as 15 October 1866, but the Spanish Fork City Cemetery Index on Ancestry has it as 15 October 1868.
8. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 4/image 23, Barbra E. Ogilvie entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 9 November 2017).
9. 1870 U.S. census, Utah County, Utah Territory, population schedule, Spanish Fork, p. 29 (penned), dwelling 227, family 215, Margaret J Furlong [incorrectly indexed as "Mary W Furlong"]; digital image, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 March 2018); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1612.
10. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 18/image 31, Margaret A. Furlong entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 22 March 2018).
11. "Deaths," (Salt Lake City, Utah) Deseret News, 18 March 1885, page 16, for Margaret Furlong; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 22 March 2018).
12. Spanish Fork Cemetery (Spanish Fork, Utah), “Cemetery records, 1866-1898,” page 76/image 90, Margaret J. Furlong entry; Family History Library (FHL) microfilm 008195204; FamilySearch (www.familysearch.org : accessed 22 March 2018).
13. Reo Stephens Perkins, "George Newman Perkins," [publishing date unknown], page 1, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/6604803 : accessed 24 March 2018). Note: I have been unable to identify the Gibbs family referenced in this memory - it is possible that this surname was mis-remembered.
I really had to work at figuring out who to write about for this post. As far as I know, I have no Irish ancestry (maybe Ulster Scots?), and so many of my ancestors were just regular people who were born into tough circumstances. I finally landed on George Byers Ogilvie, my 4x great-grandfather, because there is no denying his great luck. I have studied his story for a very long time, and I still have some questions about him. I'm sure I'll be writing about him several times on this blog (I've already mentioned him in this post, as well as in my SLIG post, which also has a nice view of the Oquirrh Mountains) - so I'll try to just focus on this one moment in time, when the winds of fortune blew his way.
George arrived in Utah Territory with his family in 1855, and worked at cutting timber and running cattle along the Wasatch Front for several years.  The story goes that he was doing lumber work for an associate named Archibald Gardner (one of Gardner's saw mills is now a shopping destination in West Jordan, Utah), near Bingham Canyon, in the Oquirrh Mountains.
George is credited with discovering silver ore in Bingham Canyon in 1863. He worked with Archibald Gardner and other men to form the "West Mountain Quartz Mining District," which ran the length of the Oquirrh Mountains. The district included their specific mining claim for the ore discovered by George as "The Jordan Silver Mining Company." This became the first mining claim filed in Utah.
Despite this historic discovery, George moved his family to Nevada before his interest in this mine had a chance to pay off. His grandson reported that a man rode out to buy his shares from him for $25 each, prior to his death in 1879. George never reaped the rewards of his great fortune - his shares eventually became part of Bingham Copper Mine, the world's largest open pit mine. It is visible to the naked eye from space.
It has enriched many, and employed thousands, including my great-grandfather, who swept floors and moved debris, and my grandfather, who was an engineer for the smelter. I wonder what George would have thought of that? This may come as a surprise, but there are many reasons why I am grateful that my family did not benefit too much from this mine - I suppose, in a way, we have been lucky, too.
1. Jetta Stewart Brunson, “History of George Beyers Ogilvie,” biographical narrative; FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8058896 : accessed 7 November 2017).
2. Daniel D. Coons, Biography of George Byers Ogilive [sic], Part 1, [publishing information unavailable], page 21; viewed on FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/7905705 : accessed 12 February 2017).
3. Coons, Biography of George Byers Ogilive [sic], Part 1, pages 21-24.
4. “Bingham Bulletin Notes,” (Salt Lake City, Utah) Salt Lake Herald, 16 December 1895, page 3; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 16 March 2018).
5. Photo of George Byers Ogilvie, circa 1870, digital image, FamilySearch
(https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/5207917 : accessed 16 March 2018).
6. “Notice: Office of the Vedette Silver and Copper Mining Company,” (Camp Douglas, Utah Territory) Union Vedette, 27 November 1863, page 2; online database with images, Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 16 March 2018).
7. George Francis Ogilvie, "George Beyers Ogilvie - Pioneer Elko County Rancher," Northeastern Nevada Historical Society Quarterly, 93-4, pages 135-136; citing George Francis Ogilvie, "George Beyers Ogilvie: Pioneer Rancher in Elko County," biographical narrative, Elko, Nevada, 12 June 1966; paper copy in possession of the author, 7 November 2017.
Why have I chosen Mary Coats Bergstrom as my "Strong Woman"?
This 1901 obituary really says it all:
Mary was the paternal aunt of my great-great grandmother, Mary Maud Coats Stratford - the little child mentioned in this obituary, and the one who cared for her at her end. Her story is a good reminder that sometimes our ancestors made more than one trip across the Atlantic. I've found Mary's first crossing, with her husband, Carl, and younger sister, Jane Coats. I'm still looking for Mary's return with my great-great grandmother. I'd love to see that goat listed on the passenger list - ha ha!
As with all stories, there is so much more I could write about this woman. Suffice it to say that life was not all roses for her. She was born into poverty. She worked in a cotton mill from a very young age. Her marriage was disappointing, and her alcoholic husband eventually abandoned their family. She never had children of her own. However, instead of sinking into despair, she worked hard and saved her money, bringing her widowed mother and adopted niece to start a new life as Utah pioneers. While she was sad to lose her husband, his departure enabled her to finally find financial independence and stability. Her stores in Ogden and Logan were community gathering places, and she made lasting friendships with her neighbors and customers.
Mary Coats Begstrom, I admire your strength and courage, and am so grateful for your legacy of thrift, persistence, and love for your family.
1. "Death of an Old Resident," (Utah) Ogden Standard, 11 November 1901, page 6; Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 6 March 2018), search term "Mary Bergstrom."
2. Maud Coats Bergstrom Stratford, "Sketch of the Life of Mary Coats Bergstrom," 4 September 1922, Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Camp 33, Recorded by Ethel Stratford Skeen; digital copy in personal collection of the author, East Lansing, Michigan, 2018.
I have been thinking all week about which will to write about... There was the hotly contested will of John Russell, my 3x great-grandfather, which I recently discovered. Or perhaps the will of someone I was studying for a class, which magically solved my research question? But then I saw the prompt from Amy Johnson Crow, the originator of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, about how my post could also be about someone named "Will," and I knew that was the direction to go.
Many people called my great-grandfather, William George Ogilvie, by the name "Honest Will." I always love reading that about him. I never met him - he died four years before I was born. I knew his wife, Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, and heard her stories many times, but I didn't know as much about him, figuring he was a quiet, stable person who preferred to stay out of the limelight.
He is pictured above with his three sisters (l-r), Julia Reina (seated), Edna Eliza, and Grace Amelia. Will was the oldest of seven children, and his family was raised in Richfield, a small Central Utah town, which his grandfather, George Ogilvie, helped settle. Below, on the left, Will is pictured with his brothers, Oliver Fay (left), and Orin Author (right). His sisters are in the photo to its right, with Edna Eliza (top), Julia Reina (left), Grace Amelia (right), and Delora (bottom).
Like most families in this time and place, they were not wealthy, and everyone pitched in with household labor, growing food, and taking jobs where and when they could. They are pictured below in about 1913, prior to the loss of many family members. Will's youngest brother, Oliver, died in 1914, his father in 1917, his sister, Edna, in 1918, and his mother in 1919. Listed left to right: Oliver, Grace, Will, Julia, Orin, Edna, George William, Delora, and Cosmelia "Melia" Ogilvie.
I recently read my great-grandpa's autobiography, and honestly, I wish I could just post the whole thing here, because his words tell the story better than I could. Unless noted otherwise, all following information comes from this document. He summed it up this way, "My entire life consisted of hard working conditions." His early adult years consisted of traveling away from home for menial jobs. Just a few examples:
Will worked as a missionary for his church from 1907 to 1910, travelling throughout South Carolina and parts of North Carolina. He worked at harvesting and thrashing grain after his return. He attempted to work at the mine again, but became ill after several months and returned home. He worked at the Elsinore Sugar Factory, processing sugar beets, when he met and married Ida Jorgensen, in 1913. Unfortunately, the sugar mill was only open seasonally, so he had to look for work in the winter/early Spring, such as working for a plaster company.
It went on this way for a few years, along with the arrival of his first two sons (photo above is of Will, Ida, and my grandpa, Kendal Morris Ogilvie ). In October 1918, Will contracted the Spanish Flu, which led to pneumonia and pleural empyema. He was hospitalized for two months, and did not work for nine months. His household was supported by a network of family, friends and neighbors. During this period his mother died, and his third son was born. He went back to work crushing gypsum for the Jumbo Plaster Company, and spinning sugar for the Elsinore Sugar Company, but his health was never the same after this experience.
1923 brought a big change to the family, when Will started work with American Smelting & Refining Company in Garfield, Utah (a company town that no longer exists), at the Southern end of the Great Salt Lake. He started as a clean up man, eventually working with the electrical generators. By the time he retired in 1950, he was back to sweeping and clean up, and he took on other janitorial jobs here and there after his retirement from the smelter. He and Ida were the parents of nine children (including one adopted son), and hosted several foster children along the way. They sent four sons off to fight in World War II at the same time - all returned home safely.
Will wrote that he never learned how to drive, and never owned a car. One story that has really stuck with me was something his wife, Ida, shared in a recording. She said that he once walked all the way over a mountain range, from Richfield to Delta, Utah, to meet her. At some point he wore off the soles of his shoes, so he completed his journey barefoot.
Photos above are of Will and with his wife, Ida. Will battled ill health throughout his adult life. In addition to his respiratory problems, he suffered several heart attacks - one that knocked him down in the middle of crossing a busy street! He had cataracts, and was nearly blind by the end of his life. He experienced the loss of several family members early on. Despite all this, surrounded by those who loved him, he continued to work hard, holding tight to his faith and his family throughout all of his trials. His children all lived good lives - guided by strong morals. His grandchildren remember him as a gentle, loving person. He died on 26 February 1971 - just two days shy of his 86th birthday - I started writing this post on his 133rd birthday. So Happy Birthday, Great-Grandpa Ogilvie! What a perfect example of "When there's a Will, there's a way."
1. William George Ogilvie, "Autobiography of William George Ogilvie," page 1, digital image at FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/48335817: accessed 28 February 2018); scanned from B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson and Grant J. Ipson, ed., My Links to Heaven: Courageous Ancestors Stories and Testimonies, self-published, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1993.
2. B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson, "Biographical Sketch of George William Ogilvie," digital image at FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/37687372 : accessed 28 February 2018); included in B. Eileen Ogilvie Ipson and Grant J. Ipson, ed., My Links to Heaven: Courageous Ancestors Stories and Testimonies, self-published, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1993.
3. "Not Guilty: The Glenwood Alleged Murder," (Provo, Utah) Territorial Enquirer, 26 March 1886, page 3; Utah Digital Newspapers (https://newspapers.lib.utah.edu : accessed 28 February 2018), search term "Charles Ogilvie."
4. Photo of Ogilvie children, circa 1893, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/4994307 : accessed 28 February 2018).
5. Photo of Ogilvie boys, circa 1903, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8908604 : accessed 28 February 2018).
6. Photo of Ogilvie girls, circa 1903, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8908604 : accessed 28 February 2018).
7. George William Ogilvie Family Photo, circa 1913, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/4994481: accessed 28 February 2018).
8. William George Ogilvie, "Autobiography...," FamilySearch.
9. William George Ogilvie, Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, and Kendal Morris Ogilvie photo, circa 1915, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1591771 : accessed 28 Feburary 2018).
10. Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie, audio recording of memories of her son, Kendal Morris Ogilvie, circa 1980-1990 (date unknown), digitized copy obtained from Rachel Ogilvie Robison privately held by author in personal collection, 2018, East Lansing, Michigan.
11.William George Ogilvie photo, circa 1945, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/8908605 : accessed 28 Feburary 2018).
12. William George Ogilvie and Ida Jorgensen Ogilvie photo, circa 1960, digital image, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/photos/artifacts/1871286 : accessed 28 Feburary 2018).
I'm Ginger Ogilvie, and I am absolutely, hopelessly hooked on genealogy!
© Keep Family History Services 2022