Monday, April 30, 2012

Mappy Monday - Indiana & Ohio County Map from 1860

The image below shows counties in part of southern Indiana and the southwestern corner of Ohio in 1860, from the David Rumsey Map Collection. This is from the County Map of Ohio and Indiana by Samuel Augustus Mitchell, Jr.
From the County Map of Ohio & Indiana, 1860
I am tracking down my elusive 3rd-great-grandfather Samuel Oyler (1822-1863), and I thought it would be useful to see the map from his time. The Oyler family immigrated from England to the United States in 1828. They settled in Butler and Hamilton County, Ohio. Samuel Oyler married Mary Ann Hise (also Haise) in neighboring Dearborn County, Indiana, across the border from Ohio, on 25 December 1850.

It appears that Samuel Oyler died in Daviess County, Indiana in 1863, but there is little information on what he was doing there. Given the year, my assumption is that he may have entered service in the Civil War, but I cannot prove this yet.

Samuel's widow Mary Ann returned to Hamilton County, Ohio by 1870 and was living in the household of Samuel's father George Oyler in the 1870 Census.

From the map it looks like there was a road linking Lawrenceburg, Indiana and Washington, Indiana in Daviess County. I have sent a query to the Daviess County Historical Society Museum in the hopes that they may have some suggestions. Samuel Oyler's headstone is located at the Veale Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in Daviess County, Indiana, and was erected by his son, Benjamin Franklin Oyler.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Charles John Oyler

On Friday I wrote about Agnes Lydia Allman Oyler. I have also previously posted a photo of Agnes' husband, my 2nd-great-grandfather, Charles John Oyler. Charles was born on 9 December 1856 in Harrison, Butler County, Ohio, the son of Samuel Oyler and Mary Ann Hise (or Haise). He died on 1 January 1921 in Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana.
I have so far been unable to find Charles in the 1860 US Census, but I know from the work of distant cousin Hilary Jarvis, that Charles moved from Ohio into the household of aunt Elizabeth Oyler Wright and uncle Charles Wright in Tippecanoe County, Indiana at the age of 7 in 1863.

Charles appears in the 1870 US Census in the household of his aunt & uncle in Clarkshill, Lauramie Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana.
Charles Wright had been a butcher in England. He immigrated to the US with Elizabeth Oyler in 1839. Wright taught Charles Oyler the butcher's trade, and Charles also helped on their farm.

Interestingly, Charles' mother Mary Ann Hise Oyler appears in the household of Charles' grandfather George Oyler in the 1870 US Census in Harrison Township, Hamilton County, Ohio. I'll have more on the mysterious Mary Ann in a future post.
In the 1880 US Census, Charles is still in the household of Elizabeth Oyler Wright in Clarkshill, Indiana.

I have already noted the marriage of Charles and Agnes Lydia Allman on 24 May 1882 in earlier posts, along with copies of the 1900 and 1910 US Census entries showing Charles, Agnes & family in Boone County, Indiana.

After Agnes passed away in 1916, Charles appears in the 1920 US Census in Sugar Creek Township, Boone County, Indiana. He's living next door to Albert Vail (a cousin of Easter Vail Armstrong) and his wife Minnie C. Daniel Vail (daughter of William Gilbert Daniel and Sarah Melissa Jones).

 Robert P. Jones passed down the following notes to me from Joe Oyler about Charles John Oyler:

In honor of Charles John Oyler’s birthday – December 9, 1856-1921
One of the greatest heritages any person can have is Godly parents who live a Christian life so nobly and well that their children, and all who really knew them, rise up and call them blessed. Such were our wonderful parents who were most loyal to their church and community their entire lives. They made a place for themselves by practising the Christian precepts, in being good neighbors and citizens in every and all situations. They lived under what we now call restricted conditions, mostly in the “horse-and-buggy-days”, with no telephone for even half their married lives and no electricity in the home. So their range of contacts, though quite limited, were very deep and meaningful and all who knew them sensed their genuine goodness and soundness and learned to love and respect them.
Through regular Bible reading, family prayers, grace at meals, and regular attendance at Sunday School and church, and liberality in all works of charity, they have made alasting impression upon their children which has been a perpetual benediction to each.
Dad and I were very close, partly due to our working together on the farm. He often shared his deepest convictions while we cut wood, hauled hay or grain or husked corn together beside the same wagon. One time when Bill Adams, a good neighbor farmer, was helping Dad and me move hay from one farm to another, they were sharing their mutual Christian faith and Dad said, “Well I have no doubts, I can and do believe in the goodness and mercies of God.”
All through my student days at Purdue, Dad let me know his deep concern for material and spiritual well-being. This was expressed when at home on some week-ends and in a number of fine, warm letters.
(Page 2)
During my first year of teaching in Reelsville, one time when home while Dad was in very poor health, in fact bed-fast most of the time, he voiced his deep interest in my future by saying, among other things, “You will marry and have a home of your own, won’t you”?
Our Dad was one of the very finest men I have ever known. His superb loyalty to his family was unmatched. Had it been our privilege to have lived near uncle Ben Oyler, I feel we could list him close second.
I deeply regret that we know so little of his early boyhood and young manhood while growing up in Clarkshill, Ind. In the home of his uncle Charlie Wright. Kodaks from those days would mean so much. His picture at age 21 is a treasure to us.
Prepared by Joe B. Oyler, December 9, 1965 at Tipton, Indiana

A Partial Biography of Charles John Oyler, Dec. 9, 1856-Jan. 1, 1921, prepared by his son Joe B. Oyler, in January, 1970.
Our father was born in Harrison, Ohio. His parents were Samuel Oyler and Mary Haise. Children were: Samuel Oyler, Jr., Benjamin F. Oyler, Charles John Oyler, Ellen (Schiffer) Oyler, Sophia (Gale) Oyler, and Fannie (Lux) Oyler. Both parents died early and left the six children to be raised in rather widely separated families.; the girls in Catholic homes and the boys in Protestant homes.
Samuel Jr. prospected as a young man near York, Montana and died there as a young man. Burial site is unknown.
Ben Oyler was raised in the home of a Mr. Marsh near Okeana, Ohio about 35 miles from Cincinnati. He married Emma Clawson and they had twins, only one of whom survived. Lee Marsh Oyler lived to manhood. Ben was a farmer. Ellen, after her marriage, lived in Portsmouth, Ohio. Sophia married John Gale and lived near Galesburg in southern Illinois. Fannie married Joe Lux and lived in Covington, Kentucky.
Our mother, dad, Alma and Murrell visited aunt Fannie and family in August, 1906. Aunt Fannie visited us at Thorntown on the Jacobs farm in August, 1911 or 1912 when we had a lot of ripe peaches.
Our father was raised in the home of an uncle Charlie Wright of Clarkshill, Indiana taken by them at the age of seven. He helped the Wright’s on the farm and went to school only about four months a year until age fourteen. He was taught the butcher’s trade.
As a young man he learned to know a young Methodist minister whom he promised to have marry him. Sometime in late 1881 father met Agnes Allman of Fairmount, Illinois who was visiting relatives in Clarkshill. After a courtship of about six months they were married in her farm home two miles north of town on her eighteenth birthday, May 24, 1882. Father’s minister friend, William H. Broomfield, performed the ceremony.
(Page 2)
They farmed near the northwestern town limits of Clarkshill and in about 1890 bought a 70 acre farm at the northeast edge of town. Sometime in 1891 father contracted typhoid fever and was very ill and unable to work for six months. Sister Mabel was born Oct. 8, 1886.
Being in heavily in debt, the long illness set him back, causing him to give up this farm. In September, 1892 they bought a 32 acre farm one and one-half miles northwest of Thorntown and one-half mile northeast of Sugar Plain and moved there. During the period 1892 to 1903 five other children were born: Joe, Emily, Alma, Marley Wree and Murrell. In August, 1903 scarlet fever struck and Marley Wree died at the age of three. Alma, 6 years old, never went to bed because of the fever.
All through their married life our parents were very close friends with George and Tollie Northrup of Clarkshill. They visited back and forth 2 or 3 times a year. While living in the Sugar Plain School and Quaker church vicinity the folks became very close friends of the James Riley family. After Mr. Riley’s death about 1901, his widow Ella remained a very close friend as well as her stepson Marley and his wife Maude.
With the long siege of scarlet fever (the family was under quarantine for 6 weeks) and big doctor bills dad decided to sell the home place and try renting so he could earn some more land. On March 1, 1904 the family moved to the Wm. A Pearson farm of 160 acres four miles northeast of Thorntown. The old friends around Sugar Plain remained faithful and among the new neighbors were the Joe Underwoods, the J. Everette Folks and the John Reeves families.
In March 1908 the folks had a farm sale and moved into Thorntown where dad took an interest in a hardware business. This venture didn’t
(Page 3)
prove very remunerative so in Oct. 1909 we moved back to the Mrs. Jacob 175 acre farm 3 miles northeast of town. We lived there until March 1, 1913 when we moved to Mrs. Eva Wild’s 252 acre farm one and one-half miles due west of Thorntown and less than a mile from the original old home place. It was on the Wild’s farm, operated 5 years, that dad did some of his best farming. He grew 50 to 75 acres of wheat each year and one year produced an average of 35 bushels per acre, which was very good at that time.
In 1918 dad left the Wild’s farm and moved into Montgomery County to the John Flanigan farm of 350 acres, 60 acres of which was in timber. During the summer of 1918 Dad’s health began to break and after harvesting the corn crop he rented a smaller place, the Clint Miller farm of 140 acres 4 miles southwest of Thorntown. His health continued to fail so that by the farming season of 1920 he could do little work. Since I was teaching, Murrell, just 17, took over and with the good help and advice of sister Mabel made the farm go. During Christmas week of 1920 uncle Ben Oyler made us a visit and bid dad goodby while a patient in the Withem Hospital at Lebanon on the evening of December 31 just before taking the train for home. During the early morning of January 1, 1921 our father passed away. Mother died Nov. 9, 1916 while we lived on the Wild’s farm. It was a terrible loss to dad and the family as we had always been very devoted and close. Dad’s physical force began to dwindle from that time on.
Father was held in very high esteem by all who knew him and several fine eulogies were expressed at the time of his passing. His was a life well lived. Jesus said of the poor widow who threw her mite into the treasury, “She has done what she could.” I think these words would apply to our father.

Charles John Oyler -------------
Passed Away Last Saturday After Several Months Illness -------------

Charles John Oyler was born at Harrison, Butler county, Ohio December 9, 1856 and departed this life January 1, 1921 after a prolonged illness of a complication of diseases. 

His parents died while he was young, after which time he was raised in the home of an uncle, Charles Wright of Clarkshill, Indiana, where he spent his boyhood and early manhood. 

On May 24, 1882 he was united in marriage to Agnes Allman of Fairmount, Illinois. To this union was born six children as follows: Mabel, Joe, Mrs. Walter Couger, Mrs.Edgar Jones, Samuel Murrell*, and Marley Wree, deceased. 

The wife and mother preceded him in death November 9, 1916. In 1892 Mr. and Mrs. Oyler moved from Clarkshill to Thorntown where the family has resided ever since. Mr. Oyler joined the Methodist church in early youth and continued a faithful member throughout his life. 

He is survived by one brother, B.F. Oyler, of Okeana, Ohio, and two sisters, Mrs. Joseph (Frances) Lux, of Covington, Ky., and Mrs. Ellen Schiffer, of Portsmouth, Ohio, besides members of the family.  One of the best citizens of the community has been called from us. Seldom have been heard such high words of praise concerning a man as have been spoken of Mr. Oyler by his neighbors and friends.  The funeral services were held at the Methodist church Monday morning at 10:30 o'clock, conducted by the pastor, Rev.C.C. Harold. Interment was made in Maple Lawn Cemetery. -- 
Charles John Oyler & Agnes Allman Oyler - photo source Rachelle Emens

Four Months in on the Blog

When I started this blog in late January, I was hoping this would be creative outlet, provide a means to get my family history written and shared, improve my research and connect with others in the genealogy space. I have managed to cover quite a bit on my Dad's side (primarily the Jones and O'Brien lines and their related families). I have also covered some of my Mom's side, mainly the Read line and briefly on the Campuzano side from Arizona & Mexico.

Now that I'm four months in, I thought it would be useful to look back, note some successes, areas for improvement, and highlight some stories to come in the next few months.

When I started this project, I knew very little about the Mexican War. That has certainly changed after several months of reading pension files, personal accounts and other records from the war. I also did not know the details of ancestors' service in the Civil War. These were holes in my understanding of the Jones line, and I think I've managed to bring some closure to these gaps.

I have picked up a growing set of old photos and stories from my parents. I'm trying to involve other cousins in the family history search and encourage them to collect stories and information. That is an area for improvement.

This blog isn't only for my own family history. In the coming months, I will post stories from branches on my wife's side. Someday I hope our young kids find these stories interesting and inspiring. 

It has been very helpful to have monthly writing reminders, and to keep them flexible. As much as I love family history research, my daily work, family obligations and regular travel limit hours to insomniac late evenings or early mornings. I've done surprisingly well in sticking to the writing reminders, mixing in other new research, and the regular Friday Photo. It has helped that some of these posts are updates from Word documents I've written over the years on the different branches of the family. The blog has also provided a push to go back over old research and correct some errors.

Other genealogy blogs have provided great ideas as well.

Stories to look for in May and June:
- My Mexican roots, from Sonora to Arizona (the current Supreme Court case Arizona v United States over Arizona Senate Bill 1070 is going to trigger some writing, as my Granny's family crossed the border from Sonora in the 1920s)
- The Whitley/Wheatley family, and their journey from Culpeper, Virginia to Kentucky. I've had this in my writing reminders since February. In late May I have to go to Culpeper for work, so I'll get to this branch on my Mom's side before I go there.
- Samuel Oyler Coming to America
- Borders and Crossings
- Brick walls on the Jones side in Jefferson County, Tennessee
- Introduce my Gumpy, still ticking at 91, & some of his stories including his 1937 road trip to California and summer of 1938 as a lifeguard at Indiana Dunes State Park
- Blanche Allene O'Brien Jones, my grandmother & my Dad's Mom
- Updates on Mexican War research regarding Company G
- More 1940 US Census finds

This is an ambitious set of writing reminders, so we'll see where I get.

Company G Pension Update #3

This is the third in the series reviewing the pension application files of the surviving men or widows from Company G, 5th Infantry Tennessee Volunteers from the Mexican War.

Just like the previous two posts, I am not connected to these men except that they served with my 4th-great-grandfather Robert Thomas Jones Sr and his son Robert Thomas Jr in Company G. I hope that descendents of these men will find this information for their own family history research.

Out of this third set, three files were missing (Collier, Hickman, Manning). 11 in this set received a pension, bringing our total to 22 men or their widows from Company G receiving a pension from their service in the Mexican War. 

Robert Collier
Collier's pension file was not available, as the staff at the Archives informed me that the file is currently at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington DC. Interesting. I know from the pension index that Collier's widow, Mary Catherine Collier, filed for a widow's pension.

I also know that Collier signed an affidavit on behalf of fellow Company G soldier Shadrach W Haire from Greene County, Tennessee on 18 September 1872. His account is fascinating.

Shadrach W. Haire
Haire's widow Mary Ann received a pension, and the affidavit submitted by Robert Collier likely helped his cause. 

Shadrach Haire was born on , and he died on 6 March 1867 in Columbus, Georgia. Mary's pension was filed from Hazel Springs, Washington County, Virginia. Her maiden name was Fields. Mary Ann and Shadrach were married on 4 October 1849 in Greene County, Tennessee.

The record notes that Haire became afflicted with "Diarrhea" [likely yellow fever] while in Mexico, and upon his return from service he worked as a carpenter but dealt with the disease for the rest of his life before he died in 1867. According to Collier's affidavit, Haire served as the cook for Colonel George McClelland while they were stationed at National Bridge in Mexico. It is a sad story what happened to Haire after he contracted the disease. Collier's affidavit is included below.

Henry Hickman
The file for Henry Hickman was not available. I will re-check the number and try again at a later date.

William R. Copeland
Copeland received a survivor's pension, filed from Red Hill, Marshall County, Alabama. He was born on 23 January 1821. He was married at Red Hill, Alabama to Sarah Manerva Culbrecht on 10 September 1850. This was his second wife.

According to the file, Copeland married Eliza Jane North in Jefferson County. She died on 18 February 1843 in Jefferson County. Sarah M. Copeland died on 26 February 1894 near Red Hill, Alabama. Copeland also listed his living sons in the file: William Jerome Copeland, born 3 July 1851; James T. Copeland, born 9 June 1860.

Caleb Crow
Caleb Crow received a survivor's pension. He was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee in 1818 and died in 1872. Caleb Crow (spelled Crowe on the marriage certificate) married Jane Loftey in Jefferson County, Tennessee on 8 October 1848. Jane was born in 1830.

Jane Loftey Crow received her widows pension for Caleb Crow. She died before 10 January 1898, when she was dropped off the roll by the Pension Office.

Crow's file included a letter signed by Lt. John A Miller (see Company G Update #1) on 29 November 1892 from Santa Rosa, California. Miller states that he distinctly remembers Caleb Crow was a member of Company G, and he notes that the company "was composed almost entirely of farmers sons from the counties of Greene, Hawkins, Jefferson and Sevier."

Miller continued, "While I cannot myself give the information required to assist the widow of Caleb Crow, to a place on the pension rolls. I will submit your letter of inquiry to another member of our company who I think can give the required description. Jacob Miller of Russellville, Hamblen Co. Tenn. will tell you what he remembers of his comerad (sp) Crow, and enclose to the Pension Office at Washington."

"Very Respectfully Yours, John A. Miller (was 2nd Lt Company G 5th Tenn Regt)"

James Ferguson
Ferguson was born on 24 May 1832 in Jefferson County, Tennessee, and died on 1 December 1889 at Fort Gaines, Georgia. Ferguson received a pension. He married Elizabeth Darnell in Grainger County, Tennessee on 21 March 1849, after returning from Mexico.

In his application filed from Knox County, he states that he was 62 years old on 22 January 1887. His application was also witnessed by Eli Blair, a fellow volunteer in Company G. Ferguson's occupation is listed as marble cutter.

Elizabeth Darnell Ferguson filed a widow's pension application. Her file included an affidavit signed by Jacob Hodges who states that he served in the 5th Infantry with Ferguson. Elizabeth died on 7 January 1907.

William L. Hudson
Hudson received a survivor's pension and moved west to San Francisco, Sacramento, and briefly Los Angeles before returning to Sacramento. He was born on 3 February 1828, and died sometime after 1901. He was dropped from the pension rolls in 1904.

Francis A. Irwin
Irwin received a survivor's pension. His widow Levina Irwin's pension application was rejected. The file contains a letter from the Pension Office in Pleasanton, Kansas asking the office in Washington DC what amount of income was sufficient to debarr a pension claim. Levina Irwin had property worth $3,500 and income in the amount of $350 per year. The pension office states that she was 50 years old and not disabled at the time on 14 April 1894.

Levina McHenry married Francis A. Irwin in Prescott, Kansas on 3 September 1890. Irwin died near Prescott, Kansas on 12 January 1894 of pneumonia. During his life, he signed an affidavit on behalf of fellow Company G veteran Andrew J. Potts, who was also in Kansas after the Mexican War.

Benjamin Manning
I am rechecking the number on this one. His widow Mary Manning filed a pension application.

Jacob Miller
Jacob Miller was born on 5 May 1824. He never married. After returning from the Mexican War, Miller lived in Russellville, Tennessee. It appears he frequently supported fellow Company G veterans by writing affidavits for their pension files, or for their widows. For the files I have reviewed so far, Miller signed affidavits on behalf of Wiley Cozart, Sarah Purkey Couch (widow of William Couch), Isabella Potter (widow of Paul Potter), and he was referenced by John A. Miller in Jane Loftey Crow's widow's pension application as a person who could help with pension applications.

James C. Myers
James' widow Sarah C. Abel Myers filed a widow's pension but was rejected, as she died in May 1887 while the Pension Office was reviewing her application.

Paul Potter
Paul Potter married Isabella J. Northern in Hawkins County, Tennessee on 31 December 1848. Potter died at home in Hamblen County, Tennessee on 10 February 1881. Paul Potter had received a pension for his "service in Company A 1st Tennessee Battery in the War of 1861."

Isabella's pension application filed on 17 January 1887 was initially rejected. Her next attempt was accepted.

Andrew Jackson Potts
Potts' file is also very interesting. He was born on 25 December 1826 in Virginia, and died on 8 October 1906. His first wife was Lydia S. Silvins, born on 10 June 1835. Potts and Silvins were married on 4 June 1850. She died on 21 November 1889.

Potts married Mary Burton on 18 July 1897, and she filed a widow's pension application from Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma. Mary was apparently still married to her first husband. From the file it looks like her maiden name was Rankin.

Potts had filed an earlier pension request in 1852, which was rejected. He claimed that he had been accidentally shot in the knee by a fellow soldier at National Bridge, Mexico.

Thomas Spurgeon
Spurgeon received a survivor's pension. Thomas Spurgeon was born on 2 December 1826 in Greene County, Tennessee. He was living in Coldwater, Wayne County, Missouri. I didn't take other notes on the file.

Thomas Stafford
Stafford also received a survivor's pension. This file was very interesting. Thomas Stafford had two wives, claimed one of them had died in 1865 (she was very much alive), and the two widows later fought over the rights to the pension after Stafford died. The Pension Office had the difficult case of determining which widow had rights to the pension.

According to the file, Thomas Stafford married Delila Phillips at Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee in 1834. He claimed she died at Blowing Rock, North Carolina in 1865. Stafford later married Sallie Ann Brown. Thomas Stafford died on 11 September 1887.

Delila Phillips Stafford filed a widow's pension on 31 December 1887 from Bakersville, Mitchell County, North Carolina. She was born on 16 June 1812 in Elberton County, Georgia, and that her marriage to Stafford was on 1 August 1840 in Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee. He had left and had been gone from the marriage for 19 years when she filed for a widow's pension. She had never remarried. 

Sallie Ann Brown Stafford also filed papers in this case. I did not copy those, but ultimately it appears that Delila Phillips Stafford received a widow's pension.           

Friday, April 27, 2012

Agnes Lydia Allman

I have previously posted about William Allman and Emily Rachel Davis. Their daughter was my 2nd-great-grandmother, Agnes Lydia Allman.

On 15 February, I posted a photo of Agnes Lydia Allman and Charles John Oyler (very likely a wedding picture, they were married on 24 May 1882) in Fairmount, Vermilion County, Illinois. Agnes was born on 24 May 1864, so she was married on her 18th birthday. Here's a close-up of Agnes from that photo [my parents have the original photo in Indiana]:
We have the story of how Agnes met her future husband Charles. He was born in Ohio, but grew up separated from his parents from the age of 7, living on the farm of his aunt Elizabeth Oyler Wright and her husband Charles Wright in Clarkshill, Tippecanoe County, Indiana. Charles moved in with them when his father Samuel Oyler died in 1863 (I will have much more on Samuel Oyler in a future post). Agnes went to visit family living in Clarkshill during the fall of 1881. She met Charles when she was visiting, and they must have made a connection because they were married six months later.

Their son, Joe Oyler, wrote this passage about Charles and Agnes: "As a young man he learned to know a young Methodist minister whom he promised to have marry him. Sometime in late 1881 father met Agnes Allman of Fairmount, Illinois who was visiting relatives in Clarkshill. After a courtship of about six months they were married in her farm home two miles north of town on her eighteenth birthday, May 24, 1882. Father’s minister friend, William H. Broomfield, performed the ceremony."
Fairmount, IL to Clarks Hill to Sugar Creek Twp, IN

I have a photocopy of notes passed to me from Robert P Jones as transcribed by Joe Oyler. The notes were titled A Partial Biography of Agnes Oyler, 1864-1916:
Our mother was born on the home farm north of Fairmount, Ill. May 24, 1864.
Parents were William Allman and Emily Rachel Davis. Grandmother Allman was left a widow before the birth of Ura J. Allman in 1875. Other children who reached maturity were: Eli, Dora, and Agnes. One little girl, Addie, died in infancy. Grandfather Allman lived only 36 years, dying of pneumonia brought on by ditching in cold, wet spring weather.
Eli Allman married late in life and is buried near Little Rock, Ark. His widow, Bess Short Allman, visited in Thorntown after Eli’s death in 1911.
Ura Allman helped my parents a year or more during their move to Thorntown from Clarkshill. He later farmed and went into dairying (Page 2) and made hundreds of gallons of gallons of ice cream and operated a restaurant in Thorntown.
Aunt Dora married Eli Runyon. They lived in the Fairmount community and later moved to their farm home 4 miles northwest of Danville, Ill. They were parents of three daughters – Ethel, Ada and Dewey.
Uncle Eli and family drove their 1913 Ford touring car and visited us 2 or 3 times during 1913-1918. The trip was 75 miles and it took about 4 hours to drive it. Our parents told of some of the family having driven a horse and buggy from Thorntown to Danville, taking 2 days and putting up in Crawfordsville for one night.
Our mother was blessed with good health and was an excellent cook and good house keeper. Most of her (Page 3) cooking was on a wood stove. When she got a new Mallable steel range in 1909 she was very proud of it. All her laundry was done on a wash board with wooden tubs. Churning was done with a dash churn and later a Bent Wood, with a crank to operate a paddle. She had a Domestic sewing machine used for 30 years or more.
Mother told us she became pretty home sick after her marriage. It was 6 years before her first visit back home at Fairmount. The farm house where dad and mother started house keeping stood near Clarkshill until about 1958 when it was razed and replaced by a modern limestone ranch type house.
While I was in Purdue University I came home on Monday evening to vote on Tuesday morning in 1916 and rode my bicycle into town, voted and took the train back to Lafayette.
(Page 4) That evening word came to me that mother had been stricken at the dinner table and was seriously ill. I boarded an Interurban car from Lafayette to Lebanon and then to Thorntown, arriving home about 11:00 o’clock. Marley Riley met me and took me out home. Mother never regained consciousness and passed away on Thursday Nov. 9, 1916 at age 52. Mabel, Emily and Murrell were home to keep dad during our great and very sudden loss. Internment was in Maple Lawn Cemetery, Thorntown.
By Joe Oyler
Charles, Agnes Oyler and family appear in the 1900 US Census in Sugar Creek Township, Boone County, Indiana.
In the 1910 US Census, the family was in Washington Township, Boone County, Indiana.
Charles John Oyler and Agnes Lydia Allman had the following children:
1. Mabel Blanche Oyler - born 8 October 1886, died 8 April 1966
2. Joseph (Joe) Bidwell Oyler - born 19 November 1892, died 3 March 1976
3. Mary Emily Oyler - born 30 October 1895, died 17 February 1972
4. Alma Maude Oyler (my great-grandmother) - born 25 November 1897, died 23 December 1976
5. Marley Wree Oyler - born 2 November 1900, died 19 September 1903
6. Samuel Murrell Oyler - born 9 February 1903, died 11 June 1973

Friday Photo - Pyramids

Photo taken 9 November 2008, Giza, Egypt

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mexican Veteran Pension Law

As I am researching the pensions granted to the survivors and widows of Company G, 5th Infantry Tennessee Volunteers, I thought it would be helpful to post a copy of the Act of 29 January 1887, the Mexican Veteran Pension Law.
The Mexican Veteran Pension Law was passed 8 years after Elizabeth's death. Elizabeth Thornhill Jones filed papers referencing the Act of 14 July 1862 and Act of 6 June 1866. The act of 1866 was an amendment to the act of 1862.  This prompted me to look up the law in place when Robert Thomas Jones Sr died in July 1848 and when Elizabeth filed her pension applications.

There is a book written by John William Oliver titled History of the Civil War Military Pensions, 1861-1865, U. Wisconsin, 1915 (see Google Books, This describes the laws of 1862 and 1866 covering the Civil War, which is interesting but doesn't explain the situation for soldiers & widows of those who served in Mexico.

I did some more digging, and it appears the law in effect when Robert Thomas Jones Sr. mustered out of service in Memphis, Tennessee on 20 July 1848 was an act approved on 10 July 1848, granting bounty land to men who served in Mexico.
So, Robert Sr was entitled to bounty land from his service in Mexico.

On 21 July 1848, Congress passed "an act granting half-pay to widows and orphans where husbands and fathers have died of wounds received in the military service of the United States."
This law was approved one day before Robert Thomas Jones Sr fell overboard and drowned in the Mississippi River on 22 July 1848. A key passage in this law was Section 2 "all widows and orphans of officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians and privates...who may die during the war with Mexico, from wounds received or from disease contracted while in the line of duty, shall be entitled to the same rate of pension as is provided for in the first section of the before-mentioned act, under like limitations and restrictions: Provided,...while returning to their usual place of residence in the United States, after having received a discharge..."

As was the difficulty in Elizabeth's case, for her husband, she had to prove that his death was caused by disease contracted in the line of duty in Mexico. The Pension Office did not believe she had sufficiently proven this.

Elizabeth should have at least been entitled to the allowable pension for her son, Robert Thomas Jones Jr, who died at Muscle Shoals, Alabama in December 1847, on the march down the Tennessee River on the journey to New Orleans and Mexico.

By 13 February 1857, the Committee on Revolutionary Pensions recognized the difficulty for widows to prove whether their husband had died from disease contracted in the line of duty. At least one of the pensions granted in the 1857 set includes a Mexican War veteran (Lt. Thompson Crosby).
Copy made from William Hugh Roberts' Mexican War Veterans, A Complete Roster dated 1887. Note - This only covers officers and enlisted men, not regular volunteers.

Company G Pension Update #2

This is my second in a series reviewing the pensions filed by the surviving soldiers or spouses from Company G, 5th Infantry Tennessee Volunteers from the Mexican War. My first post in this review covered 6 soldiers, all who received pensions. This next set included seven soldiers or their widows, 4 received a pension, one was rejected, and two files were missing (but I am inferring that a pension was received by one of those). This brings the total up to 11 pensions granted.

I want to note special thanks to the researchers at the National Archives who have helped correct my mistakes with the pension numbers. They've been very patient and have helped locate some files when I had the numbers in the wrong places. I've requested 8 files to be pulled, and after that set I will have 12 more files to look up for Company G.

As with the others in my first post, I am not connected to these men except that they served in Company G with my 4th-great-grandfather Robert Thomas Jones Sr and his son Robert Thomas Jr. I hope that descendants of these men will find this information helpful in their own family history search. If you are connected to one of these men, contact me direct and I can send copies of photos from the National Archives.

William P (Wiley) Cozart
According to the Mexican War Service Records on, William P Cozart mustered into service in Company G on 10 November 1847, at the age of 17 years old. I found a pension application for Wiley Cozart of Grainger County, Tennessee. He did not receive a pension. His claim was rejected, as the Pension Office could not find him in the service record for Company E (perhaps that is because it appears he served in Company G, or this is for a different Cozart). Cozart claimed that he was left in Mobile (Alabama) because he was sick with yellow fever.

Cozart's application included an affidavit by Jacob Miller, who stated that he served with Cozart. I'm interested to see what Miller's file says (he's coming up in my 4th batch of pension files). Wiley Cozart married Nancy Holland on 1 February 1849 in Tennessee. Cozart states that he was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee.

William Couch
Sarah Purkey Couch filed her widow's application from Gresham, York County, Nebraska for her husband William Couch's service in the Company G. The application was received on 18 August 1890. She received the pension.

William Couch married Sarah Purkey in Grainger County, Tennessee on 28 March 1850, after returning home from the Mexican War. He died near Knoxville, Tennessee on 7 April 1876. Sarah Purkey was born on 27 April 1828 in Tennessee.

Jacob Miller also signed an affidavit on behalf of Sarah Purkey Couch for her widow's pension application. He states that he was residing in Russellville, Hamblen County, Tennessee on 15 July 1890.

Eli Blair
The file for Eli Blair was missing or misplaced at the National Archives. I am following up on this one to see if I transcribed the wrong file number.

Hiram Blair
Hiram may have been Eli Blair's younger brother. Hiram received a pension under the Act of 29 January 1887. He states that he was born on 26 July 1828 in Blount County, Tennessee, and that he enlisted near Sevierville, Tennessee.

Hiram's widow, Mary J. Allen Blair, filed a widow's pension from Trundles Crossroads, Sevier County, Tennessee on 6 September 1894. She states that she was born on 3 January 1831, and married Blair on 23 August 1855. Hiram Blair died on 4 June 1894.

Lewis Breeden
Private Lewis Breeden was from Jones Cove, Sevier County, Tennessee. He received a survivor's pension, and died on 10 April 1899 at the age of 63. His file was pretty thin, and I did not take pictures.

Merrill Breeden
According to the Archives, they were not able to find Merrill Breeden's pension file using #11391. However, Merrill likely received a pension, as he signed an affidavit in support of widow's pension filed by Francis Marion Click's wife Eliza Ann Click on 29 June 1887. The affidavit states that he was a resident of Jones Cove, Sevier County (possibly brother of Lewis Breeden). He stated that he was 65 years old in 1887. I made a photo of his affidavit.

Francis Marion Click
Francis Marion Click was from Cocke County, Tennessee. According to the affidavit of Merrill Breeden and James Manes, Click enlisted about 1 October 1847 at Knoxville, Tennessee. Click died on 30 August 1877 at the age of 45 (which means he was born about 1832) in Williamson County, Illinois.

Click's wife, Eliza Ann Brothers, filed a widow's pension application from Cobden, Illinois. She was born on 13 May 1842 in Union County, Kentucky. She married Click on 26 February 1857 (3 months shy of her 14th birthday) in Galatin County, Illinois.

Eliza Ann filed a pension increase on 21 October 1916 when she was 74 years old. This was approved on 28 November 1916. Eliza Ann Click died on 21 July 1921 in Cobden, Illinois.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Company G Pension Update #1

This is the first in a series of updates as I review the pension applications related to the men who served in Company G, 5th Infantry Tennessee Volunteers during the Mexican War.

To recap from previous posts, my 4th-great-grandfather Robert Thomas Jones Sr and his son Robert Thomas Jr served in Company G, and pension applications filed by my 4th-great-grandmother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones were rejected. I've decided to look up all of the pensions filed by the survivors or their spouses from Company G.

I had a chance to look through six files at the National Archives in Washington, DC, and I was pleased to see that all six of the soldiers (or their surviving spouses) received a pension. The information below was obtained through reading the pension files at the Archives. I took quite a few photos, but am not posting them all here.

It is my hope that descendants of the men who served will find this information for their own family histories. It is fascinating reading. Several of the pensions were granted by Act of Congress.

2nd Lt. John Adams Miller
John Adams Miller was born on 31 October 1829 in Tennessee, and died on 25 March 1908 in Napa County, California. His wife Laura A. Wiley Miller was born on 9 April 1845 near Logansport, Indiana. She married John Miller in Salt Lake City, Utah on 6 October 1866, and died on 27 April 1919 in Mountain View, California.

The pension file listed the names and birth dates for their four children:
1. Orlando Wiley Miller - born 14 August 1867
2. Lillian D. Miller Hendricks - born 21 November 1868
3. Willard J. Miller - born 3 June 1871
4. Raymond P. Miller - born 25 September 1883

Lt. Miller received a survivor's pension until his death. His wife received a widow's pension until her death in 1919. The pension was granted per act of Congress.

The file notes that on 2 July 1848, Miller was on board the ship Maid of Orleans, returning from Mexico. Company G took casualties at National Bridge on 11 May 1848, 21 June 1848.

Sergeant Marcus LaFayette Allen (later promoted to 2nd Lt.)
Allen was born on 30 June 1816 in Franklin County, Tennessee. He joined the 5th Infantry in Knoxville, Tennessee. Allen died on 10 August 1894 in Blansett, Scott County, Arkansas.

Marcus LaFayette Allen married Leah Hickman in Pontotoc County, Mississippi on 28 October 1849, after returning from the Mexican War.

Leah Allen's pension references a Special Act of Congress approved 3 March 1891, which increased her pension to $20 per month. The pension was filed in Clark County, Arkansas. The photos below show HR 13526 from the 51st Congress, relating to Congressional approval for Leah Allen's pension.

Sergeant James Thomas
According to the pension file, James Thomas was originally married to Elizabeth A. Gray on 22 November 1840. She died on 18 January 1844. He enlisted in the 5th Infantry in Dandridge, Jefferson County, Tennessee.

James Thomas married his second wife Elizabeth J. Routh after returning from the Mexican War. They were married on 25 October 1850 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. He died on 28 November 1875. Elizabeth J. Routh Thomas was born on 21 June 1828. She died in Dallas, Texas on 12 January 1922, as reported by Mary Thomas.

Before her death, Elizabeth was receiving $30 per month for her widow's pension. 
Sergeant William F. Barr
William F. Barr served only 49 days in Company G and was discharged in New Orleans on 28 December 1847, before the Company went to Mexico. According to the pension file, Barr was born on 1 August 1828 in Guilford County, North Carolina. He married Mary E. P on 19 August 1852 in Abingdon, Virginia. Barr died on 3 July 1897.

Mary Barr filed her widow's pension in Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia. This application was interesting because it states that a Special Act of Congress was approved on 25 February 1907 which granted a pension to Mary Barr as "widow of William F. Barr, late of Company G, 5th Tennessee Volunteer Infantry, Mexican War."
Senator Thomas S. Martin (D-VA) wrote a letter on Mary's behalf to the Commissioner of Pensions, and asked the Commissioner to confirm that her pension would be increased to $20 per month (it was raised).
There was even a House Bill (HR 20605, 59th Congress) approving an increase in Mary's pension from $8 to $12 per month, as part of an act of Congress to grant a pension for William F. Barr because he was not pensionable under existing law because he did not serve for 60 days.

There was also a Confederate Pension file on for William Franklin Barr, filed by Mary E.P. Barr. It appears William Franklin Barr served in the Confederate Army in Virginia.

Corporal James Lowe
James Lowe filed a survivor's pension application under the Act of 29 January 1887 from Burleson, Johnson County, Texas. He was born on 20 March 1820 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Lowe died on 1 July 1898. Lowe enlisted in the 5th Infantry in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Lowe's application is interesting because it includes dates when his part of the Company was stationed at National Bridge, Mexico. The application notes they reached Veracruz on 7 January 1848, and only went as far as National Bridge. They were at National Bridge on 29 February 1848 through 21 June 1848. They departed Mexico on 26 June 1848.
William G. Atkinson
William Atkinson served as a musician & drummer in Company G. He later served in the 2nd US Cavalry between 1855-1858 (his file states that he was committed to an asylum in 1858 but later released). He died in Russellville, Tennessee on 9 April 1919. He was born on 25 September 1830 in Lexington, Virginia.

Atkinson's pension file was very large (easily over a 100 pages). It looks like he lived a long, colorful life and was married 4 times. Atkinson filed a survivor's pension.
Atkinson's application states that he was in Quincy, Illinois in 1867, Omaha, Nebraska in 1868, Louisville, Kentucky in 1869, Russellville, Tennessee in 1877, Terrell, Texas in 1887, filed his pension in Baxter County, Arkansas in April 1897, and eventually returned to Russellville.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Military Monday - Leo Reid, Flight Training in 1944

This photo is of my grandfather, Leo Morris Reid (second from the left on the wing), with fellow Air Force pilots. Most likely this was taken some time between August & October 1944 in Merced, California, when he was stationed there for flight training. I think the plane is a BT-13A.
I don't know who the other pilots are in the photo. In any case, it's a great shot, from a photo album passed down to my Mom.

I'll have quite a bit more on Leo and his Air Force service in May & June. I have his original pilot logs (which is why I'm placing this photo between August & October 1944).

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Note on the Weekend

This quick trip was special for a lot of reasons. This one was just with my daughter, so we had a good time just the two of us flying to Indy & visiting with my parents. We saw my aunt & cousins, and spent a good part of Friday and Saturday hearing stories from my Dad on the family.

Saturday evening I poured through boxes of old family photos, copied some great ones and brought back some more for careful scanning. I really need to get my parents a scanner for these photos (recommendations welcomed on a reasonably priced, portable digital scanner). I learned quite a bit of new stories, many have triggered research ideas.

Until this weekend I had no idea that my Gumpy (my Dad's dad) had been a lifeguard in the summer of 1938 at Indiana Dunes State Park. Dad has a postcard that my Gumpy sent back to his family (showing their address in Indianapolis at the time, which was a new find). I'm scanning the postcard, and I took a copy of the great photo of Gumpy as a lifeguard at the time. This was a cool find, as I also worked as a lifeguard through high school, college, and at the IU Natatorium in Indianapolis.

Here are some writing & research reminders from the weekend for future posts:

- Roy Jones and streetcars in Indianapolis
- Semi professional football in Indy in the late 1930s (my Gumpy played quarterback for a semi pro team in Indianapolis around this time)
- Allison Engine Company in World War II
- Battle of Coral Sea, May 1942 (Lowell O'Brien served in the Navy and was in this battle)
- My grandmother, Blanche Allene O'Brien
- Search for a Passport or other travel record for Harry O'Brien, Dad mentioned he may have traveled to Europe with a band at one point
- The Jones family in Indianapolis in the 1940 Census
- The O'Brien family in Indianapolis in the 1940 Census

Boat Building at the State Museum

This weekend my daughter and I made a quick trip to Indianapolis to see my Dad's last boat building class at the Indiana State Museum.  Since February, the class has been building a flatiron skiff, an example of the type of boat frequently built in the 19th Century in Indiana. Dad's class uses no power tools and traditional woodworking methods.
Doug Jones & the Meteor

The weather yesterday was a bit raw for a boat launch, but they put it in the Canal anyway.

If you're in the area or considering a trip to Indianapolis, I recommend a visit to the Indiana State Museum.

Dad's website can be found at, and he will next be building a boat with interested students at the Johnson County Museum in Franklin, Indiana on Saturday mornings, mid June through July. His classes can also be found at Eagle Creek Park in Indianapolis.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Photo - Urbi et Orbi, San Juan

Photo by Patrick L Jones - 29 May 2004, San Juan, PR
The photo above was taken in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico along a wall next to steps in the plaza across from El Morro. This area is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Old San Juan.

I'm not Catholic, although my Mexican ancestors were. I took the photo because the stencil tag stood out against the white wall, the person in black recalled "Rage Against the Machine"'s Battle of Los Angeles album cover. "Urbi et Orbi" means "for the City and for the World" and signifies a Papal message.

I previously posted a series of street art photos. In addition to museums in various places, this is something I keep an eye out for on my travels.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Emily Rachel Davis

I meant to post this yesterday. My third-great-grandmother Emily Rachel Davis, wife of William Allman, was born in 172 years ago, on 18 April 1840 in Fairmount, Vermilion County, Illinois. Her parents were Azariah Davis and Jane Connor, and I'll have more information on the two of them in future posts.
Emily Rachel Davis Allman (photo from Rachelle Emens)
Emily's mother Jane died in 1842. Her father Azariah Davis married his second wife Hettie Redman on 3 January 1843. In the 1850 US Census, Emily appears in the household under her middle name Rachel, 10 years old.
Azariah died in 1857, and Emily moved into the home of her uncle Henry Van Meter Davis and his second wife Catherine. In the 1860 US Census, taken on 25 June 1860, she is in the household of Henry and Catherine as "Rachel E Davis", and she was 20 years old.
Emily married William Allman on 7 February 1861. He had been a farm laborer with a relative of the Davis family in Vance Township. I previously posted the 1870 US Census image showing Emily, William and family. After William died in February 1875, Emily managed the farm, with assistance from her children and brother Eli Davis.
By 1900, Emily had moved to Sugar Creek Township in Boone County, Indiana to be near her daughter Agnes Lydia Allman and son Ura James Allman. Emily was working as a house cleaner and living in the household of Thomas Bradshaw and his family.
By 1920, Emily had returned to Vermilion County, Illinois, and was living in the household of her daughter Dora Jane Allman Runyan, husband Eli Runyan and their children.
Emily Rachel Davis Allman died on 2 August 1924 in Boone County, Indiana.