Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Bernice E. Sell

Bernice E. Sell
b. 31 January 1876
d. 12 October 1899
daughter of
J.C. & Emily M. Sell
buried at Kingston Cemetery
Kingston, Caldwell, Missouri

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Backward Glance - William Silas Bemiss

Most of the biographical information we have about William Silas Bemiss comes from his daughter-in-law, Maud (Morgan) Bemiss. In 1964, Maud shared her knowledge of the Bemiss family with her daughter, Virginia, who then put it in typed format. We, the family, are the grateful recipients of that effort.

William was born in Pennsylvania, probably Erie County, on May 19, 1854. He was the son of Silas T. and Keziah (Nason) Bemiss. He lived with his parents and sister, Phoebe, in Union Township and Union City, Erie County, Pennsylvania, until the time of his marriage. He was shown as working in a handle factory in 1880, at least five of which were in the area at the time: Stetson's Handle Factory, North East Township; Dodge's Handle Factory, Harbor Creek; Dodge's Handle Factory, Harbor Creek; Westcott's Broom Handle Factory, Union City; Wattsburg Handle Factory (1884 History of Erie County, PA).

On January 2, 1878, William was married to Olive Orrel Webster in East Green, Erie County. Olive was born in 1855 in Michigan, the daughter of James and Jane (Shreve) Webster. Their first two children, Fredrick James and William Henry, were born in Pennsylvania. The family removed to Kansas by January 22, 1884, when an unnamed daughter was born who did not survive. Three more children were born to them in Kansas: Nellie May, Chester Andrew and Charles Edward.

William's family located on a homestead north of Grinnell, Gove County, Kansas, just south of the Saline River across from a spot called 'Haverkamp Grove.' After proving up on the homestead, they moved into Grinnell, living just north of the train depot. The Union Pacific depot building was removed to Oakley, Kansas.
On June 26, 1905, according to Maud, a picnic was planned out at the Haverkamp Grove. William was driving a wagon with his wife and Maud's mother, Virginia Caroline (Topping) Morgan. The team ran away as they were approaching a canyon. William was thrown out but hung onto the reins and was dragged to his death. The women escaped with only bruises. William was 51 years old at the time of his death. He is buried in the Grinnell Cemetery.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Backward Glance - James Orson Brownell

 One of my most elusive ancestors, James Orson Brownell continues to intrigue me as I search to learn more about him and his life. The initial source of information was his granddaughter, (Myrtle) Pearl Brownell Schick, who shared what she knew with my mother. She did not know that his first name was James.

According to Aunt Pearl, 'Orson' was born in New York; married to Frances Jackson, who was born in Canada; and died sometime before the birth of their son, James Orson Brownell, in a railroad accident in Canada, presumably about 1868 as James was born in May of 1869. This basic data became my starting place.

Orson's parents were William and Parmelia (Freeman) Brownell. His earliest Brownell ancestor in America was Thomas Brownell, who was born in England in about 1608 and died in Rhode Island in 1664. Orson had one brother and three sisters, all of whom were born in New York. In 1850, William's family was living in Napoli Township, Cattaraugus County, New York. Orson was living at home and was reported to be 21 years old.

In 1860, Orson and Frances were enumerated in Cold Spring Township, Cattaraugus County. Their first child, Stella, or Ella, was one year old. This leads to the speculation that Orson and Frances were married in about 1857. According to Ella's death and burial information, her birthdate was November 13, 1858. 

Cold Spring Township, Cattaraugus County, New York. 1860.

Apparently, Orson did die in about 1868 as Aunt Pearl stated, because Frances married a man named Mortimer Clark on February 13, 1869, in Colesburg, Iowa, just a few months before James Orson was born on May 20th in that same town. Orson's parents and brother, Preserved, had moved there as early as 1856.

There are still many questions to be answered concerning Orson Brownell. Thankfully, we had a starting place!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Backward Glance - John Hargreaves

Ellen Hargreaves, daughter of John
It has been difficult to determine the parentage of John Hargreaves of Burnley, Lancashire, England. Using census records, John was born about 1811. There is a John Hargreaves who was the son of James and Bennet (Yates) Hargreaves who was born January 14, 1810, in Burnley. Many people believe he was the John Hargreaves who is the subject of this 'glance.' Partially based on the fact that John's first daughter was named Bennet, I am inclined to agree, though I haven't yet seen any documentation to substantiate it.

John married Elizabeth Dobson, presumably around 1834. However, there is a record of a marriage bond for a John Hargreaves and an Elizabeth Dobson dated April 8, 1845. If this is the correct couple, it would mean that John was probably married before, as his daughter Bennet was born about 1835. John had at least nine children, all of whom were born in Burnley. It is certain that Elizabeth Dobson was the mother of at least the youngest six.
  • Bennet Ann, abt. 1835. md. Luty.
  • Elizabeth, abt. 1837
  • John, abt. 1840
  • James, abt. 1845
  • Robert, Apr. 12, 1847. md. Dewhurst.
  • Sarah, abt. 1850
  • Ellen, Jun. 2, 1853. md. Pratt.
  • Isabella, Jul. 22, 1854. md. Hoyle.
  • William, abt. 1856. md. Knox.
This family lived on Church Street in 1841 and on Godly Lane in 1851. Both Ellen and Isabella emigrated to Canada with their husbands.
Church Street, Burnley, Lancashire, England - 1841
 John's occupation was recorded as a tailor on the census. The Hargreaves family in general was connected with the cotton industry. A James Hargreaves of the same area is recognized as the inventor of the spinning jenny.

John Hargreaves seems to have died between 1856 and 1861, as Elizabeth is found on the next three censuses (1861, 1871, 1881) listed as a widow. She died in 1885. 

Obviously, there is a great deal more to be learned about John and his family, but we do get a glimpse into John's life with the details we do have.

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