Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - Cpl. Francis Marion Jones

It's hard to read but this tombstone marks the grave of Corporal Francis Marion Jones [source TNGenWeb], brother of my 3xgreat-grandfather Joseph Jones. Francis was born in Jefferson County, Tennessee in 1844. He enlisted in the Union Army on 6 May 1863, mustering into the 9th Tennessee Cavalry on 15 August 1863 at Camp Nelson, Kentucky.
Francis was assigned to Company B, commanded by his cousin, Captain John A. Thornhill. The 9th Cavalry fought in a number of battles in and around Jefferson County between December 1863 and January 1864, including the Battles of Mossy Creek and Dandridge. These were fought not too far from the Jones & Thornhill homes. Francis' muster roll states that he had deserted by "20 February 1864 Nashville, Tennessee." I think it likely that he deserted while the army was in Jefferson County, after the battles near his home.

Francis was captured and held at Morristown, Tennessee in present day Hamblen County by Confederate Major General Breckinridge. His prisoner of war record via Fold3.com is below:

Corporal Jones is buried in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Hamblen County, Tennessee, near his Thornhill cousins. It is likely that his mother Elizabeth Thornhill Jones is buried in one of the unmarked graves in this cemetery as well.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music & Family History: Harry O'Brien, clarinetist

The musical gene on my Dad's side of the family must have been passed down from my great-grandfather, Harry Edward O'Brien. Harry was the son of John J. O'Brien and Matilda Jane Lambert, who I have previously featured in the blog, and grandson of John O'Brien from Ireland. He was born on 16 November 1884 in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Illinois, and died on 7 August 1957. The following is an extract from a longer section on Harry O'Brien in my currently unpublished O'Brien Family History volume.
[Photo source: Mike O'Brien]
Harry was a clarinetist who traveled with band leaders Neil Innes, John C. Weber, Bohumir Kryl, and John Philip Sousa about 100 years ago. He played in orchestras, and in theatres such as the Murat in Indianapolis.

The photo above shows him endorsing the Boehm system clarinet. Harry later patented a crystal reed mouthpiece and invented his own clarinet key and primer, and manufactured crystal mouthpieces from his shop on 75th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. For a time he was the only one in the world making crystal mouthpieces for musical instruments. Two clarinets with O'Brien inscribed mouthpieces are in the National Music Museum at the University of South Dakota (NMM 4850 and NMM 14182). The collection of historic musical instruments donated by Sir Nicholas Shackleton to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland contains a small clarinet labeled "O'Brien, Indianapolis, 1929-1950".

Harry filed and received two patents from the US Patent & Trademark Office:
- 1,401,634 - mouthpiece for musical instruments (patent received 27 Dec 1921)
- 2,205,695 - clarinet key (patent received 25 Jun 1940)

Sometime between 1910-1911, Harry left Shelby County, Illinois for Indianapolis. He married Blanche Lamon in Indianapolis on 18 February 1912. According to his World War I draft card signed 12 September 1917, Harry and Blanche resided in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis, Indiana. He was tall, medium build, with brown hair and brown eyes.
[Photo source: Mike O'Brien]

In the 1920 US Census, Harry & Blanche appear in Washington Township, Marion County, Indiana. He is shown as a manufacturer of musical goods. He ran an advertisement in the July 1937 issue of Popular Mechanics (page 134), image via Google Books.
The following text was found on Clarinet Perfection:
O'Brien originally made the Selmer Clarion crystal mouthpieces.  Identified by only a couple of flutes (indentations on the side of the mouthpiece). 
The O'Brien mouthpieces quality varied over the years.  In the early 1980s a cousin of the original O'Brien created mouthpieces from time to time.  These mpcs were not considered the "prime" mpcs
Earlier mpcs the glass could be slightly darker, even slightly pink.  On many of these models their would be a date etched on the glass.  The original mpcs from the early 1940s, made by the Harry O'Brien, were less clear and had more air bubbles.  So I guess the more "pure" the crystal in the mpc the less desireable they are.
There was also a mold change in the 1950s as the original mold was broken.  The older mold had 3 grooves on each side (6 total). The newer 1960's mold had 1 groove on each side.  The original Harry O'Brien (passed away in the 1950s) and he also manufactured clarinets. The son continued to make Selmer Primer clarinets in the 1940s as the father stopped.  Pete Fountain apparently used these clarinets along with the mouthpieces. 
OCB stood for "Off Center Bore". These models were popular with jazz and classical clarinetists during the 1950s through the 1980s.  O'Brien is said to have put really good facings on his mouthpieces. In general it's thought that O'Brien has been underrated as an artists just because of his status as a manufacturer and retailer.  Tony Scott (pictured below) played a crystal mouthpiece during his jazz recordings years in the 1950s and 1960s.  The OB* was described as a "medium" and his most popular facing.
Photo credits for the 3 images above, http://doctorsax.biz/OBrien_OCB3.htm
Vintage O'Brien mouthpieces from the early '50s & '40s are sought after and continue to be played by musicians worldwide.

I owe a huge bit of thanks to Mike O'Brien for sending me a collection of photos. These are a real treasure and I'll be posting some from time to time.

Harry had a fascinating life and I hope to learn more about his days as a musician. My Dad & my sister have continued the musical tradition, and my son shows a real interest in all things music at the age of 2.

Rootstech mobile app update

The Rootstech mobile app has been updated today with iPad support. If you downloaded the app last week, go get the update now. The News and Twitter feeds look much better with the screen on landscape mode. The app should be a very good tool for this week's conference.

Mappy Monday - Jefferson County, TN in 1836

This map of Jefferson County, Tennessee was originally created in 1836, and reproduced by Billie McNamara in 1995 (via TNGenWeb). This is a great map to get a sense of where the Jones family lived in the county. Robert Jones Sr's father, Thomas Jones, purchased land on an island in the middle of the French Broad River on the border with Cocke County. The island was across from Taylor's Bend (named for Parmenus Taylor). I'll have more on Thomas Jones next week.

This map is also useful for understanding where Dandridge, the county capital, is in relation to Mossy Creek. Both places were the sites of battles in the Civil War.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Women in the Family: Matilda Jane Lambert O'Brien

Earlier in the week I wrote about John J. O'Brien, coal miner in Shelby County, Illinois. John met Matilda Jane Lambert in Shelby County, and they were married on 6 April 1876 (John was 22, Matilda was 19). Matilda had moved to the county from Adams Township, Parke County, Indiana, where she was born on 19 November 1857 to parents Henry Donham Lee Lambert and Sarah Brown.

In the 1860 US Census, Matilda appears as 4 years old, with her older sister Emeline (6) and younger sister Alice (1), and they're in Piattsville, Adams Township. Her father Henry was a physician in this census. I'll have more on Henry in a future post.
By 1870, the Lamberts had moved from Parke County, Indiana to Rose Township, Shelby County, Illinois. Henry was now a farmer, with Sarah keeping house. Youngest brother William Leander Lambert was born in Indiana in 1863, so the family moved to Illinois some time between 1864-1870.
Below is an assumption of the route they may have taken from Parke County to Shelby County via Google Maps, although it may have been a wagon ride straight across from Rockville:
In 1880, Matilda appears as Jane O'Brien. She's keeping the house and the family has John Henry O'Brien (3) and Alva O'Brien (3 months).
The 1900 US Census shows quite a bit more information. By then, Matilda and John had been married 24 years. They had 7 children (6 still living, as Alva no longer appears in this census). The census lists both of Matilda's parents as born in Pennsylvania.

This record is also interesting because it shows all of the O'Brien children either working or in school. Son Henry worked in a restaurant. Daughter Annie worked as a millinor, and my great-grandfather Harry O'Brien is shown working as a clerk in a restaurant (probably the same restaurant as brother Henry).

In the 1910 Census, she appears as Jennie M O'Brien, age 53. She could also read and write. Her children in the household were all working in various professions - tailor, law office, musician.

By 1920, she and John were empty nesters (and she was listed as Matilda in the census). In the 1930 Census, she was 73 years old & living in the household with her daughter Rose O'Brien Miller and husband.

Matilda Jane Lambert O'Brien died on 31 May 1933 in Tower Hill, Shelby County, Illinois. She was buried on 2 June 1933 in Glenwood Cemetery.

Rootstech mobile app

In addition to the main website and following event happenings on Twitter (or Flipboard), the Rootstech conference has a new mobile application for the 2012 event. I downloaded the app to both iPhone and iPad. This will be a great tool for those attending in person, and very useful for those of us trying to follow remotely. I like the app as a green alternative to printed meeting materials, and it allows for schedule changes and updates to be communicated direct to attendees.

The app is a free download on the iTunes store, and for Android if that is your platform of choice.

While the app works on the iPad, it really is optimized for the phone (and that's ok). Downloadable conference documents are nice. If the organizers produce an update for 2013, having an app that displays conference materials full screen for iPad/tablets would be great. [UPDATE - the app has been updated on 30 Jan 2012 and now includes iPad support. This is a really helpful improvement.]

In my primary field (not related to genealogy), I attend international public meetings at least 3 times per year. We have produced mobile sites, but an app has advantages by being able display information on meeting times & locations even if wireless or mobile connectivity is not available.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January 1848, New Orleans to Veracruz

The Tennessee 5th Infantry regiment arrived in New Orleans by 28 December 1847. This was the departure point for Veracruz, Mexico. "The fifth regiment of East Tennessee volunteers, numbering 684 privates, arrived at New Orleans on the 28th, and went on board the ships Tahmaroo and Mississippi, about to start for Vera Cruz." [source, Niles' National Register via University of Vermont].

This excerpt from J. Jacob Oswandel from the beginning of January 1847 provides some flavor of scene in New Orleans for arriving troops:

"Saturday, January 2, 1847 - This morning, after breakfast, orders were read for each captain of their respective companies, to give each company ten passes to go to New Orleans. Louis Bymaster and myself got passes and soon afterwards started for the city. We walked it all the way, which is about five miles from our camp-ground; we, of course, first struck for the St. Charles Hotel, here we met some of our own company, and some belonging to the Louisiana regiment; after we had several drinks and good lunch, we left the hotel and walked around the city, and we find it to be a beautiful and well planned city."
"Along its levees you can see moored to the shore hundreds of steamboats, at one section of the city arriving and departing for Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis, besides hundreds of flat boats and barges. Also hundreds of sea-going ships at another section of the city, arriving and sailing for London, Liverpool, and German ports; besides steamships to Havana, Galveston, Panama, St. Domingo, New York, Boston, bringing the merchandise of the whole world to the warehouses of the merchants of New Orleans."

From New Orleans, the department troops would have followed along the Gulf Coast to Corpus Christi, Texas before arriving in Mexico. By 13 January 1848, the 5th Infantry was encamped outside Veracruz.

[source, Niles' National Register via Google Books]

I have ordered a copy of "Down the Tennessee" by Richard Mitchell Edwards. This is supposed to describe the journey of the 5th Infantry to Mexico. According to his Muster Roll on Fold3.com, Edwards was a Corporal in Company C. He was 24 years old when he departed Knoxville in late 1847. Company C made the journey to National Bridge with Company G, in which my Jones ancestors were enlisted. Edwards' account of the journey should be an interesting read.

New Orleans is a location which features prominently on part of my wife's side of the family. Some of her relatives would have been in New Orleans at this time. I'll revisit New Orleans in future posts.

Mexican War map & Mexico City

The map below is from The Mexican War: A History of Its Origin, by Edward Deering Mansfield (Jan 1848). This shows the road to Mexico City from Veracruz via National Bridge and Jalapa, where the Tennessee 5th Infantry was stationed.

While Company G did not advance to Mexico City, I traveled there in March 2009. It was a beautiful city and I hope to go back in the future.

One Week in on the Blog

So I've finished my first week on the blog and will try to settle into a pattern for the next few weeks. I've been pleased with it so far and appreciate the input I've received. I'll be adding more extracts from the family history research I have previously collected on the Jones and O'Brien lines. With Rootstech coming up I'll also have something on it & their conference iPhone app (nicely done by the way). And the start of the new season of WDYTYA next week with Martin Sheen as the season premiere looks to be good.

A look ahead at upcoming posts:
- More on the Tennessee 5th Infantry's journey down the Tennessee & Mississippi Rivers to Mexico
- Jefferson County, Tennessee during the Civil War
- Women in the Family feature on Matilda Jane Lambert, wife of John J. O'Brien
- Music & Family History feature on Harry E. O'Brien, clarinetist & crystal reed mouthpiece inventor
- Jones family migration from Tennessee to Indiana in late 1870s
- Friday Photo

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Photo

Family History TV

It seems as though there has been an explosion of genealogy or family history television programming over the past year. As a fan of these shows, it's a nice alternative to other types of "reality" TV and formulaic medical or police dramas.

The third season of NBC's Who Do You Think You Are begins next Friday, 3 February, 8pm Eastern. Full episodes from seasons 1 & 2 are available on NBC's website (and I believe, on their iPad app). The British original is also really good, and episodes can be found on YouTube (search for "Who Do You Think You Are BBC" and you can find many episodes broken into 4-5 parts). I really wish the BBC would make full episodes available online or through an app, but I can't find one through the US iTunes store. [Update - there is also a CBC version, and an Australian version on SBS.]

PBS has several series related to genealogy and history. A new 10 part series titled Finding Your Roots hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr begins on Sunday 25 March, 8pm Eastern. This series follows up to Faces of America from 2010, which was also hosted by Gates. PBS also has a program called the History Detectives. PBS has a nice new iPad app as well with segments from the show. It would be really great if you could see episodes from older seasons on the app, and maybe that will be a feature that will be introduced in the future (hint hint - please add more episodes!).

I have really enjoyed BYUtv's The Generations Project. If you have an iPad, I recommend the BYUtv app, where you can watch full episodes. Episodes in the first two seasons were longer (40-50+ minutes) and went into more detail on how the research was conducted and the motivation behind the episode subject. The current 3rd season has gone with a shorter 25 minute format. The central theme of "finding your why" remains, and it is still a good show.

And if you finish all of these episodes and are looking for more, try Ancestry's YouTube Channel. They have a very informative series of webinars and videos.

John J. O'Brien, Illinois coal miner

My 2ndgreat-grandfather was John J. O'Brien (son of John O'Brien, who I have already posted about on this blog). He was born in LaSalle County, Illinois in July 1854. According to his obituary, the family moved to Shelby County, Illinois when he was seven years old, about 1861.

[Photo source, Mike O'Brien, from larger picture of Shelbyville area coal mine in 1903]

John married Matilda Jane Lambert in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Illinois on 6 April 1876, and they had the following children:

1. John Henry O'Brien - born 8 Sept 1877, died 29 Oct 1944
2. Alva O'Brien - born March 1880, died in infancy after June 1880
3. Annie A. O'Brien - born July 1882, died before 1927
4. Harry Edward O'Brien (my great-grandfather) - born 16 Nov 1884, died 7 Aug 1957
5. Rosa Isabelle O'Brien - born 17 Feb 1887
6. Guy E. O'Brien - born 4 May 1890, died Mar 1909
7. Roy O'Brien - born 4 Dec 1893, died 13 Aug 1962

The O'Briens appear in the 1880 US Census in Rose Township, Shelby County, Illinois. John's occupation is listed as working in a coal mine. According to a page on Shelby County coal mining history, John O'Brien operated the O'Brien Coal Mine.

My Dad's cousin, Mike O'Brien, has provided me with a copy of this great photo from 1903 showing John O'Brien as foreman of a group of coal miners in Shelbyville, Illinois:
The Annual Coal Report of Illinois from 1911 shows John's mine produced 128 tons of lump coal (pretty small compared to some of the other mines in the county).

John died in Shelby County on 25 Aug 1927, after fighting illness for over a year.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Music & Family History

From time to time I may post music that has some connection to the places where my family has been or was from. Music plays a big part in some of my family lines, particularly as I start to post about my great-grandfather, Harry O'Brien, grandson of John O'Brien, who I have featured on several posts.

I heard this song on the drive into the office this morning (WAMU's Bluegrass Country) - not sure if this is the same band, but it is a good version and the clip is from Tennessee. Here's Sierra Hull & Highway 111, playing Little Girl of Mine in Tennessee. I thought of my Tennessee ancestors, and I think they'd appreciate this.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Early maps of East Tennessee

Maps and visuals enhance the experience of family history research. Over the years of researching my East Tennessee ancestors I've found some good maps online. Posting a few here, first from the 1834 Map of East Tennessee, extracted from Charles C Royce's Cherokee Cessions map via TNGenWeb:

Here's an extract from Mathew Carey's 1814 General Atlas showing East Tennessee (and source link):

Women in the Family: Elizabeth Thornhill Jones

My posts so far have centered around fascinating men on my Dad's side, John O'Brien and Robert Thomas Jones Sr. This post highlights Robert's wife, Elizabeth Thornhill Jones. When Robert Sr. and son joined the 5th Infantry and went off to fight in the Mexican War in 1847, Elizabeth stayed behind with their nine children in Jefferson County. She must have been a strong woman, as she lead the household in the 1850 & 1860 Censuses before moving in with her daughter Sarah Melissa Jones Daniel in the 1870 Census.

Elizabeth Thornhill was born in Culpeper, Virginia in 1808 to parents Joseph Thornhill and Sarah Westall. Sometime after Elizabeth was born, her parents moved from Culpeper, Virginia to Jefferson County, Tennessee. She had at least one older brother, Richard Thornhill (22 Oct 1805-15 Dec 1876), and at least two younger brothers John, Alexander, and youngest sister Sarah Jane. I would be interested to know more about the journey from Culpeper to Jefferson County, what it was like for a family between 1810-1819. Culpeper features prominently in my family across several different lines, so I will have quite a few upcoming posts about this part of Northern Virginia.

It is possible their route followed present-day I-81, like this route courtesy of Google Maps:
Once in Jefferson County, Elizabeth's family lived very near the Jones family. I posted previously a copy of the marriage record for Robert and Elizabeth ("Betsy" in the record) dated 20 October 1824. In the 1830 US Census, Robert Jones is listed as head of household next door to Sarah Thornhill, Elizabeth's mother.

It is unclear if Robert Sr. made it back to Jefferson County from Memphis after he mustered out of the 5th Infantry in July 1848, but certainly Elizabeth had to bear the news of her oldest son Robert Jr. drowning at Muscle Shoals, Alabama in December 1847. Elizabeth and children were living near to Robert's parents, Thomas and Nancy Jones, so it is likely she was able to look to them for some support, and to her siblings and their families in Jefferson County. [Update 4 February 2012 - See posts on The Sad Fate of Robert Thomas Jones Part 1, Part 2]

The 1850 Census record in the 13th District of Jefferson County shows the family:
In the 1860 & 1870 Censuses it is noted that Elizabeth could not read or write, although she did have an estate worth $300 in 1860.

The Civil War years brought more difficulty in Jefferson County, and more heartbreak for Elizabeth. Two battles were fought in Jefferson County in December 1863 & January 1864, probably near the Jones & Thornhill homes. Elizabeth's nephew John A Thornhill served as Captain of Company B in the 9th Tennessee Cavalry for the Union. Elizabeth's son, Francis Marion Jones, served in Thornhill's company. Francis deserted the company in Nashville by February 1864 and started walking home to Jefferson County. He was captured by Confederate troops in Jefferson County (probably very close to his home) and held as a prisoner of war. He is buried in Hamblen County, Tennessee in Cedar Grove Cemetery alongside other members of the Thornhill family. On 24 June 1864, John A Thornhill and 16 of his men met a violent end in Jefferson County [I'll have more on this in future posts].  All of this must have been incredibly difficult for a single mother such as Elizabeth.

John O'Brien in the War of 1812 & Battle of Lake Erie

My 3xgreat-grandfather John O'Brien continues to be an interesting character to research. Not only did he live to be 108 years old, but his obituary states that he was a cabin boy in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and "he well remembered the British chagrin over Perry's victory in which the English fleet was destroyed on Lake Erie in September 1813." I thought this was a bit of legend, until this evening finding his War of 1812 Muster Roll on Fold3.com's War of 1812 Service Records for Lake Erie.
The service record states that he entered the Navy as an ordinary seaman on 10 July 1812. He would have been 18 years, 6 months old. He was stationed on the USS Niagara on 2 August 1812, on Lake Erie.

I need to read more about the Lake Erie campaign during the War of 1812 (for future reading see reference material from the Erie Maritime Museum). The USS Niagara features prominently in the lore of the Battle of Lake Erie, in which Commodore Oliver Perry led the US Navy to a decisive battle over the British.

The Erie Maritime Museum has a log of the battle (see http://www.eriemaritimemuseum.org/maritime_museum/History/battle_of_lake_erie/Battle_Log.htm). An interesting site on art of the Battle of Lake Erie can be found at http://www.battleoflakeerieart.com/. An account of the battle written by William W. Dobbins, can be found on Google Books. See History of the Battle of Lake Erie, etc.

John O'Brien continued his service in the US Navy throughout the Erie Campaign. He was on board the USS Somers when it was captured by the British on 12 August 1814 near Fort Erie, Ontario (across the lake from Buffalo, New York). He must have been released or escaped from capture, as he was active in the roll dated 10 April 1815.

I am interested to hear my Dad's take on this discovery, as he has sailed on Lake Erie many times and visited many of the sites that John O'Brien would have seen during the war. I visited Niagara Falls about 8 years ago. John O'Brien may have seen the Falls as well.

At this time, I do not have other records of John O'Brien's adventures at sea after the War of 1812, but he certainly must have had many. His obituary states that he continued as a sailor until returning to America in 1831.

John O'Brien is buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Shelby County, Illinois.
Photo credit for John's headstone goes to Eileen Bridges via Findagrave.com.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Puente Nacional & the Mexican War

By the time the Tennessee 5th Infantry arrived in Mexico in January or February 1848, most of the major battles had ended. They were charged with guarding the Puente Nacional (or National Bridge) on the road from Veracruz to Mexico City. The bridge still exists today (see the Wikipedia entry). It was built in 1806 and originally called the Puente del Rey.

There are quite a few accounts from soldiers who fought at the bridge and traveled through the area. I'm going to link to some of these accounts here in order to keep track of them for reading later.

Service Afloat and Ashore by Lt. Raphael Semmes is worth a full read.

Rootstech next week

I'm not able to travel to the Rootstech Conference next week, but many bloggers will be there and of course, one can follow the Rootstech conference via Twitter. I've added a Rootstech feed to my Flipboard. If you have an iPhone or iPad I highly recommend this free app. This is also a useful tip for other searches you many be interested in following. Just add a feed to Flipboard and you can easily flip through the latest posts. This has seriously changed the way I follow news and events.

The Rootstech week at a glance is posted at http://rootstech.org/schedule, and a list of official bloggers is available at http://rootstech.org/bloggers. The Twitter feed for the conference can also be found at http://twitter.com/#!/search/rootstech. I am hoping to catch some of the sessions remotely.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tennessee 5th Infantry in the Mexican War

It appears my trial of Fold3.com has paid off in finding my 4th great-grandfather Robert Thomas Jones Sr., his son Robert Thomas Jones Jr., and some others connected to the Jones family in Company G, Tennessee 5th Infantry. This Company was led by Captain John Reese, and mustered out of Knoxville in early December 1847.

The regiment traveled down the Mississippi River and arrived in Veracruz, Mexico, sometime before February 1848. According to the Company Muster Roll on Fold3, they did not muster out on 31 December 1847 "because the regiment was put on different vessels in the Mississippi River and was in the eve of going to sea consequently it was impracticable to muster them on that date."

They did eventually arrive at Puente Nacional (National Bridge), near Jalapa, Mexico, and were stationed there in March and April 1848. I'll have more on Puente Nacional and Jalapa in a future post. There is an interesting description of this area and the Mexican War in a book titled Service Afloat and Ashore by Lt. Raphael Semmes, US Navy (dated 1851, found on Google Books).

Company G returned to Memphis, Tennessee by 20 July 1848. I would be interested to know more about the journey from Tennessee, down the Mississippi, along the Gulf Coast to Mexico and back to Tennessee during this time period. I have seen reference to a book titled "Down The Tennessee" by Richard Mitchell Edwards, who served in the 5th Infantry during this campaign. I have not found a digital copy yet (if someone out there reading this has a copy, please send it along).

Grant Jones, who joined Company G at the same time as Robert Sr and Jr, returned to Jefferson County, Tennessee to marry Matilda Kerr by 31 December 1848. I don't know if he is related to my Joneses, but Grant, Matilda and family appear in the 1860 US Census in the Kansas Territory. Ewen J. Newman, another Jefferson County resident who served with Robert Sr and Jr, returned to Jefferson County to marry Caroline Jones on 15 February 1849. Caroline was Robert Sr's second daughter and sister to my 3rd-great-grandfather, Joseph Thomas Jones. At this point, I do not know if Robert Sr made it back to Jefferson County and died before the 1850 Census.

[This connection to this chapter of Mexican history is also interesting for me given my Mexican heritage from Mom's side of the family tree via my Granny, Lydia Campuzano Reid. I'll have more on the Campuzanos from Sonora in future posts.]

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Jones Volunteers in the Mexican War

Robert Thomas Jones and several relatives served in the Tennessee Infantry during the Mexican-American War of 1846-1848. According to the Mexican War records for Tennessee on Fold3.com, Robert served in Company G, 5th Tennessee Infantry. His son, Robert Thomas Jr, also served in the 5th Infantry. The 5th was commanded by Col. George McClellan.

Robert Sr. mustered into service in Knoxville, Tennessee on 10 November 1847. He appeared on the muster roll from 10 November 1847 to 29 February 1848, on the roll for March and April 1848. He mustered out on 20 July 1848 in Memphis, Tennessee. The roll shows that he was last paid $21 for clothing through 30 April 1848.

Robert Jr. appeared on the roll as Thomas Jr., age 20. He also mustered in with the 5th Infantry in Knoxville on 10 November 1847. He accidentally drowned rowing through Muscle Shoals, Alabama on 17 December 1847.

I am still researching the service of the 5th Infantry during the War. I'd be interested to know if the company arrived in Mexico. There are other Jones names in the 5th Infantry, some of these could have been relatives of Robert Thomas Jones Sr & Jr.

Jones Family in Jefferson County, Tennessee

My Jefferson County, Tennessee Jones line will feature prominently on this blog. I'm starting off with a review of the family of my 4th-great grandfather on my Dad's side, Robert Thomas Jones. Robert was born in Jefferson County about 1806. It is unclear exactly where he died. He served in the Mexican-American War and was discharged from TN Company G, 5th Infantry on 20 July 1848 in Memphis, Tennessee. According to family lore passed down from Forrest Wayne Daniel, and from the Mexican War pension files, Robert Thomas Jones Sr fell off a boat and drowned in the Mississippi returning from the Mexican War on about 22 July 1848.

Robert married Elizabeth "Betsy" Thornhill in Jefferson County on 20 October 1824. They were married by their neighbor and pastor Duke Kimbrough, who was the pastor at Dumplin Baptist Church for 36 years.

[Source: Tennessee State Marriages: 1780-2002]

Robert and Elizabeth had at least the following children, all born in Jefferson County:

1.     Robert Thomas Jones Jr, born 1825, died on the way to the Mexican War, at Muscle Shoals, Alabama, on 16 December 1847.

2.     Catherine Jones, born 1826. Catherine married Stephen Murry on 5 June 1845 in Jefferson County.

3.     Margaret Caroline Jones, born 1831, died 8 February 1894 in Virgin, Kansas. Caroline married Evan J. Newman on 15 February 1849 in Jefferson County. Caroline remarried (after either divorcing or annulling her marriage to Newman) on 25 July 1865 to Anderson Walker.

4.     Emeline Jones, born August 1832. Emeline married Joseph Lampkins on 13 March 1859 in Jefferson County.

5.     Adaline Jones, born 1835. Adaline married James W Cline on 27 March 1859. She married James H Miller on 12 October 1865.

6.     Joseph Thomas Jones, born 1837, died in Boone County, Indiana. Joseph married Mary K. Green on 25 February 1856 in Jefferson County. My Jones line is descended from Joseph Jones.

7.     Mary E. Jones, born 1839, died about 1900. Mary married Isaac N. Rankin in Jefferson County on 26 October 1859. She married Charles Jolly on 29 February 1876 in Hamblen County.

8.     Martin Jones, born June 1842, died January 1918 in Jefferson County. Martin married Mary F Cusey in 1862.

9.     Francis Marion Jones, born 1844, died in the Civil War.

10.  Sarah Melissa Jones, born 11 August 1846, died 2 July 1888 in Boone County, Indiana. Sarah Melissa married William Gilbert Daniel on 23 October 1862.

In the 1830 US Census in Jefferson County, Tennessee, Robert (written as “Robt”) Jones appears in the census (approximately 20 to 30 years old). He was living with a son under the age of five (Robert T Jones), a daughter under the age of five, a daughter between the ages of six and ten, and his wife, who was listed as being between the age of 20 and 30. Later census records of his children show Robert as being born in Tennessee.
The 1830 Census also shows Robert Jones living next to Sarah Thornhill, Elizabeth’s mother. Sarah Thornhill was listed as Head-of-Household, living with a son between the ages of six and ten, a son between the age of ten and fifteen, a daughter under the age of five, a daughter between the ages of six and ten, a daughter between the ages of fifteen and twenty. Sarah was between 40 and 50 years old in 1830, putting her date of birth somewhere between 1780-1790. 
In the 1840 US Census for Jefferson County, Tennessee, Robert Jones appears as living in the Northern Division of Jefferson County (later Hamblen County) with one son under the age of five, one son between the ages of six and ten, two daughters under the age of five, two daughters between the ages of six and ten, two daughters between the ages of ten and fifteen, and his wife Elizabeth, who is listed as being between the age of 30 and 40.
I will have a separate blog post about Robert's service in the Mexican War. By 1850, Elizabeth appears in the census as head of household. She is also in the 1860 and 1870 US Census in Jefferson County, Tennessee. Elizabeth died on 8 February 1879 in Jefferson County.
At least 5 of Robert and Elizabeth's surviving children and their families moved from Tennessee to Indiana in the late 1870s. I'll follow their journey to Indiana and points beyond in future posts. In addition, I'll take a look back at Elizabeth's journey from Culpeper, Virginia to Jefferson County, Tennessee. 

A Family Mystery - the O'Brien girls

According to a story told to me by my grandfather Keith D. Jones, John O’Brien sent his daughters to a convent. In the 1860 US Census, six O’Brien girls appear in a convent in LaSalle County, Illinois. It is unclear if they are all related. I am still researching the O'Brien girls in this census record and looking for more information that might connect them to John O'Brien.

Mary Virginia Joyce – Superior of Convent, 30, born in New York
Martina Conley [Martina Connolly] – Sister of Charity, 25, Massachusetts
Mary Uda (or Ada) – Sister of Charity, 36, England
Mary Hough – Sister of Charity, 29, Ireland
Eliza Sanderson – Pupil, 22, Scotland
Margaret Sullivan – Pupil, 20, England
Bridget Woods – Pupil, 13, IL
Catherine O’Brien – Pupil, 14, IL
Alice O’Brien – Pupil, 8, IL
Mary O’Brien – Pupil, 12, IL
Ann Corcoran – Pupil, 19, IL
Anna Maria O’Brien – Pupil, 8, IL
Isabella O’Brien – Pupil, 7, IL
Agnes O’Brien – Pupil, 2, IL
Additional pupils listed

Using the information from the 1860 US Census, I wrote to the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild (lscgg.org). Ms. Jobst of the LSCGG provided me with information on the convent:

            Dear Patrick,

I think the convent was connected to St. Patrick’s Church. In the 1870 Census Martenas Conly age 36 Sisters of Charity was at St. Aments Asylum. The Sisters of Charity came to LaSalle in 1855 and opened a grade school. It closed in 2001. You might want to write to St. Patrick’s Church in LaSalle and see if they have any records. I hope this helps.


            Jean Jobst
           Corresponding Secretary

Ms. Jobst also provided me with a news clipping from The Catholic Post dated 7 April 2002 on St. Patrick’s Church in LaSalle:

St. Patrick’s, LaSalle
Founded: 1838; Families: 531; Pastor: Father M. Duane LeClercq

One of the oldest parishes in the diocese, St. Patrick’s was the first permanent Catholic parish established at LaSalle. Organized in 1838 by Vincentian Fathers, the parish also has the distinction of a church building that is 150 years old.

At the time of its organization, the priests of St. Patrick’s attended the Catholics of practically one-third of the state of Illinois, and many out-missions were formed from the parish. Later congregations were formed and temporary churches built at such towns as Virginia, Beardstown, Springfield, Peoria and Dixon.

The original St. Patrick’s Church, built of logs, was placed on Third Street. In 1846 the cornerstone of the present church was laid. Work was finished in the spring of 1851 and the church was consecrated in April 1853.

As the Catholic population increased around LaSalle and more parishes were founded, the activities of the priests at St. Patrick’s were gradually restricted. The grade school in LaSalle was opened by Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in 1855 and members of that order staffed the school until last year [2001].
             Following the revision of their mission assignments, the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul (based in Evansville, Ind.) ended 146 years of service to the parish at the conclusion of the 2000-2001 school year.

In 2006, I wrote to the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, in the hopes of locating something on the O’Brien girls and the convent at St. Patrick’s Church. The Communications Director at the Daughters of Charity forwarded my inquiry to the Archives Department. Carol Will of the Archives Department replied that they had no records on individual students from the school, and she suggested I try the diocese in Peoria. The diocese was unable to locate records.

I did find a death record for Sister Martina Connolly in the Cook County, Illinois Death Records on FamilySearch.org. She died on 22 October 1908 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Chicago.

Of the O’Brien girls listed in the 1860 Census, I have been able to locate information on Anna Maria O’Brien. In the 1870 Census, she appears as a domestic servant in the household of wealthy farmer William Longworth in Dimmick, LaSalle, Illinois. She appears as 16 years old, born in Illinois (both parents of foreign birth).

In the 1880 US Census, Anna O’Brien appears in Chicago, living with her sister Kate O’Brien (age 35). Both are listed as dress makers.

Anna Maria O’Brien died on 10 February 1914 in Chicago, Illinois. Her death certificate from the City of Chicago Department of Health states that she was approximately 55 years old and single.

The local Shelbyville newspaper included a brief obituary on Anna O’Brien on 11 Feb 1914:

            Sister is Dead

            John O’Brien Receives Message of Demise of Anna O’Brien

John O’Brien of this city received a message Wednesday morning telling him of the death of his sister, Miss Anna O’Brien, which occurred at the home of her half brother, Mike Dooner, in Chicago. Death came suddenly. Mr. O’Brien and his son, Henry O’Brien, left Wednesday forenoon for Chicago, and Mrs. Anna Stretch and Miss Rose O’Brien will leave for Chicago tonight to attend the funeral. Miss O’Brien was well-known here, where she has visited.
Anna O’Brien was buried at Mt. Olivet Cemetery on 13 Feb 1914.  

Some open research areas are to explore the relationship with Mike Dooner, and see if I can find them in the 1900 and 1910 Census. 

O'Brien Family Comes to America

On my Dad's side of the family, our O'Brien line came to America from County Clare, Ireland. Our known records on the O’Brien family begin with John J. O’Brien, who was born in County Clare, on 25 December 1793. He died in Middlesworth, Shelby County, Illinois on 29 October 1901. 

My grandfather Keith D. Jones painted this picture of John J. O'Brien in 1960, as a copy of an original painting by Shelbyville, Illinois artist Robert Root (1864-1937). On the back of the painting is a note about John O'Brien's lifespan covering three centuries and that the information appeared in Ripley's Believe It or Not.

A copy of John's obituary from the Shelbyville Democrat on 7 November 1901 is below:

In Memoriam.

In the spring of 1793, about the time that George Washington and John Adams were inaugurated for their second term as president and vice president of the United States, there was born, in a hut on the banks of the Shannon river, in the county Clare, about 10 miles northwest of Limerick, Ireland, a bright faced, healthy Irish boy. Wednesday last at his home near Middlesworth that baby, now long since a centenarian, passed from earth to the great unknown world beyond.

Uncle Johnnie O'Brien, probably the oldest man in Illinois, and one of the oldest in America, was a remarkable character. After the death of his parents, when he was but eleven years of age, he ran away to sea. From 1804 until 1831 he drifted from pillar to post, his life being that of a common sailor on the old wooden sailing vessels that were then in vogue, and many and interesting were the tales he could tell of his experiences on the water. His memory was very retentive. His first experience in naval warfare, though at that time he was only a cabin boy twelve years old, was in the great battle of Trafalgar, where on October 21, 1805, Admiral Nelson in command of the English squadron whipped the combined fleets of France and Spain, and the impression made on his young mind was never effaced. He well remembered the British chagrin over Perry's victory in which the English fleet was destroyed on Lake Erie in September 1813; their consternation over the results of the battle of New Orleans in January 1815 and their great rejoicing over Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo in December of the same year.

In 1831, tired of the sea, he came to America to make his home and seek fortune among the pioneers of the middle west, settling near LaSalle [Illinois], where he was married and to this union four children were born, three of whom are still living, John O'Brien of this city and Mrs. Agnes Gillette and Miss Anna O'Brien of Chicago. These children were left motherless when quite young and just prior to the civil war Mr. O'Brien moved to Shelby county, later marrying Miss Margaret Fagan, sister of Andrew and Christopher Fagan of this city, who survives him.

In 1832 he exercised his right of suffrage casting his first vote for Andrew Jackson for president, and it was with great pride that Uncle Johnnie, only a few days before his death said: "I cast my first vote for Andy Jackson in '32 and I have never missed an election since and always voted the democratic ticket, and voted it straight."

A few weeks since he had the misfortune to fracture his hip and, although for a time he seemed to improve, the struggle was too unequal and on Wednesday the end came.

The funeral occurred from the Church of the Immaculate Conception on Washington street, of which Mr.O'Brien had been a long member. Friday morning at 10 o'clock Rev. Father Martin officiating, and was attended by a large concourse of friends to pay their last tribute of respect to this venerable citizen.

John appears in the 1840 US Census in LaSalle County, Illinois. He is also in the 1855 Illinois Census in LaSalle. By 1870, he and family had moved to Shelby County, Illinois. He is also in the 1900 US Census in Shelby County. More to be posted later.


A First Post

I've been tracing my family history for over twenty years, and have decided to kick up things up a bit by diving back into the blogosphere. I've titled this blog Frequent Traveler Ancestry, as my Jones and related branches were certainly that as they made their way to the United States and beyond. I am hoping to be able to break through some long-standing brick walls, connect with other researchers, and share my discoveries in a new way. I may also use the blog to show connections between my own travels and previous journeys by family.

My Jones line was in North Carolina in the mid 1700s, and appears in East Tennessee around the time Tennessee became a state. Current research has me focusing on Jefferson and Grainger Counties between 1790-1820. Members of my Jones family left Jefferson County, Tennessee for Boone and Montgomery Counties in Indiana around 1879. I am also tracing various branches of my and my wife's family along the Atlantic Coast, Midwest, and as they journeyed west to California.

I have a very extensive tree on Ancestry.com, but I am hoping to use this blog to highlight my research and share portions of work on several family lines. I also intend to self-publish the work I have collected to date in order to preserve this information for my children and other researchers who may be following these family lines.