It’s all in the details, Frank Cox.


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Recently, I have been doing some housekeeping in my family tree.  Things like do I have a birth record, marriage record and death record? Do I have a census record for all available years? Do I have an obituary?  As I go through this exercise, I add details to my ancestors’ files that might be on those records such as occupations or cause of death.  These are all details I want to include when I write their biographies.  My end goal is to at least paint a bit of a picture of who these people were.

This brings me to my 2nd great grandfather, Frank Cox.  I’ve mentioned Frank before when I discussed his daughter Blanche and again as I presented his parents, John and Mary.   Frank married Arabelle McCullough in Missouri in 1888 and they had 5 children–Raymond, Blanche, Mura Mae, Anna and Jessie.  In 1907, Frank married Molly Schwepker in Missouri and in 1910, Jessie was living with her aunt and uncle in Knox County, Indiana.  The big mystery is what happened to Arabelle between Jessie’s birth in January 1904 and Frank’s marriage in 1907.

As I examined Frank’s documentation, I found some things that I had previously overlooked.  In 1880, he is living with his half-brother Thomas Azbell In Sandborn, IN.  What struck me as odd was he was listed as married, however, no wife was listed.  It was also well before 1888 when he married Arabelle.   Hmmm.  I kept searching and found an Eliza J Cox with a two year old daughter named Carola living with Daniel Hollingsworth in the next township.  Eliza is listed as Daniel’s daughter.

In the June 24, 1881 edition of The Western Sun, an altercation between Frank and a John Cooper was reported.  The article mentioned that Frank had been estranged from his wife for two years which would be consistent with the 1880 census information.  A compilation of family histories, “Descendants of Some Early Settlers in Knox and Sullivan Counties, Indiana” found at, provided further evidence that Frank Cox married a Jenny Hollingsworth, daughter of Daniel, although an exact date was not included in the document.

So Frank had a family before the one he had with Arabelle.   What happened to Jenny and Carola?  With a little work, I was able to piece together the rest of Jenny’s short life.  It would seem that Jenny was able to secure a divorce from Frank.  In 1884, Jenny married James William McFadden.  He appears to be the brother-in-law of one of Jenny’s sisters. In 1888, the McFaddens were living in Sullivan County and Jenny gave birth to a son (Jesse) in February.  She died a few days later, likely from complications.  James went on to marry again and had another son, Philip.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been as lucky determining what happened to Carola after her mother died.  Did she stay on with her step-father James McFadden? Or was she raised by one of her Hollingsworth relatives?  Was she even alive?  Other than the 1880 census, there really is no paper trail for my 2nd great aunt.  Hopefully a shred of evidence will surface in the future.




Who is Harriett Murray and where did she go?


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Been a while, huh?  I am bound and determined to get one segment of the family tree published by the end of the year so here I am asking the hard questions once again.

I’m in the process of cleaning up my Winkler ancestors.  Good ol’ George is still throwing up road blocks, especially where this supposed half sister Harriett Murray is concerned.  According to the Historical and Biographical Atlas of Knox County, Indiana, George’s parents were George and Sophia (Gross) Winkler, and George was born in Tennessee.  I still can’t find any trace of them in 1860 or 1850 in Indiana, Kentucky or Tennessee.  It’s likely the surname was somehow misspelled.  At any rate, I’m not putting in too much effort to find them at this time.

Harriett Murray is another matter altogether. She shows up in 1880 living with my 3GGrandparents (George and Josephine) in Edwardsport and is listed as a half-sister to the head of the household, namely George.  So back to 1870 and 5 year old Harriett can be found with her parents Samuel and Sophia Murray  in the Wheatland area.  Samuel is listed as being 50 and Sophia 30.  If this Sophia is George’s mother, she would be more like 50, not 30.  It wasn’t uncommon for ages to be wrong on the census rolls back then.  In fact, there was a Samuel Murray who married a Sophia Dillon in nearby Daviess County in 1860.  It’s not completely out of the question that Sophia Dillon could be Harriett’s mother, instead of Sophia Gross.

So, it’s hard to say what happened to Samuel and Sophia between 1870 and 1880.  I’m guessing Sophia died.  Samuel may or may not have died.  It was commonplace for single dads, especially older ones, to dump their kids on the relatives.  The problem now if figuring out where Harriett went.  There aren’t any 1890 census records due to the fire at the Library of Congress, and vital records were crappy during that era.  Sadly, nothing is coming up in my search.

Harriett, where did you go?

How Abraham Lincoln found his way into my family tree…


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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is the 1st cousin 3x removed of the husband of my 1st great grand aunt

As I expected, and predicted, I have wandered off on a tangent or two as I try to put together my family’s history.  Probably my most interesting tangent so far is the one that led me to the Lincoln family.  It’s not a direct link between me and the 16th President of the United States, but a wild and crazy path that winds through the Ohio River Valley.

It’s probably not that surprising that a connection was made to Lincolns.  Anyone who grew up in Knox County, Indiana should be more than aware of the fact that Abraham’s family supposedly passed through our community in 1830 as the family moved from Spencer County, Indiana to Illinois.  There’s a historical marker on the Illinois side of the Memorial Bridge stating this very fact.  Not to mention that many an Indiana fourth grader has visited the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in Spencer County during a class field trip, including myself.

Abraham’s family tree is fairly well known and can be viewed at  His parents were Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks.  Thomas’s parents were Abraham Lincoln and Bathsheba Herring.  This is what set off the alarms in my head since my Lincoln tangent includes Bathsheba Herring Lincoln.  It’s a rather unusual name and one most won’t easily forget.

So what is the path that goes from me to Mr. Lincoln?  As I mentioned earlier, it’s not a direct path and we have no common blood relatives.  The connection is through a marriage and many purists will discount the claim based solely on that.  Regardless, I think it’s cool that I could even make a connection to anyone, let alone one of the greatest leaders of our country.

Without further adieu, here’s the relationship path:

  1. Me
  2. my mother – Phyllis Keller DeMoss
  3. my grandmother – Dorothy Cardinal Keller
  4. my great-grandmother – Ethel Thompson Cardinal
  5. my great-great grandparents – Frank & Sarah (Butler) Thompson
  6. my great-grand aunt – Edith Thompson Williams
  7. my great-grand uncle (Edith’s husband) – Everett Williams
  8. Everett’s mother – Mary E Lincoln Williams
  9. Everett’s grandfather – Benjamin Lincoln
  10. Everett’s great-grandfather – Thomas Lincoln
  11. Everett’s great-great-grandfather – Josiah Lincoln
  12. Everett’s 3rd great grandparents – Abraham Linkhorn and Bathsheba (Herring) Lincoln (who are also Abraham Lincoln’s grandparents)
  13. Abraham’s father – Thomas Lincoln
  14. Abraham Lincoln

So there you have it.  My 5 seconds of greatness.

Commemorate: January 1st to 3rd


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From my database….


  • Harry S. Mattox
  • Mary Keller Biernbaum
  • Ephesians Harden
  • Jessie Cox Cook (b. 1904)
  • Irvin Gilmore (b. 1876)
  • Philip Glass (b. 1902)
  • Helen Horst Ready (b. 1924)
  • Benjamin Lincoln (b. 1830)
  • Henry A Mattox (b. 1885)


  • Susanna and Nathaniel Bunnell (1665)
  • Mary and Milton Bartlett (1867)
  • Candace and Enoch Carnahan (1879)


  • Emmet Beamon (1959)
  • Morton Biskind (1981)
  • Joanna Miller Bonnell (1793)
  • Glen Howder (1983)
  • Rosena Howder Raridan (1996)
  • Sarah Jones (1895)
  • Clyde Lindsey (1988)
  • Ralph Myers (1918)
  • Thomas Reedy (1932)
  • Samuel M. Reeve (1925)
  • Charles R. Riner (1983)

A Double Tragedy


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On Sunday, July 6, 1930, the Johnson family of southern Knox County suffered a double tragedy when they lost two of their menfolk.  Prominent Johnson Township farmer Clark Johnson, 79, passed away at home, the result of a stroke.  It was his second and it had been reported that he had been in ill health for some time prior to his death.  Clark was born February 29, 1852 in Knox County, the third of four sons to Thomas and Catherine (Lane) Johnson.  Clark also had several half-brothers and sisters, most of which had resided in the area.  He married Louisa Bailey on December 31, 1876 in Knox County and she survived him.  Together they had 8 children, 5 of which who were still living, and numerous grandchildren.

Also losing his life on that day was Clark’s grandson, Lawrence Tewalt.  The 20 year old apparently was at the family farm keeping vigil at his grandfather’s bedside, after possibly partaking in festivities over the Fourth of July holiday.  At some point he decided to get some relief from the July heat and went for a swim in the nearby White River with his younger brother and several cousins.  He became fatigued and went under, not resurfacing.  It took several hours for the neighbors to recover the body.  He was born in 1909 to William and Bessie (Johnson) Tewalt in Knox County.  He married his young widow Elsie Dunning in 1929.  They were residing in Terre Haute where Lawrence worked in a glass factory.  He also left behind a brother, Donald, and two sisters, Evelyn and Julie.

Services for both men were held on July 8th at the Decker Methodist Church.  Clark was interred at Greenlawn Cemetery while Lawrence was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery.

Note: Clark Johnson was a first cousin of my third great grandmother, Sarah Roderick Thompson.



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For those who aren’t familiar with and Family Tree Maker, they will provide you with “hints” from their vast collection of databases to assist you in finding your ancestors.  As more information is integrated into their collection, new hints are generated for everyone in your database, not just those you are currently working on.

Boston Area

This morning I was blessed with some additional information for my Sarah Ireland ancestors.  For starters, more information was uncovered for Sarah’s great-grandparents, William and Elizabeth Quincy Smith.

  • Reverend William Smith was born on January 29, 1706 in Charlestown, Massachusetts.  He married Elizabeth Quincy on August 3, 1740 in Weymouth, Massachusetts.  He passed away on September 17, 1783 in Weymouth at the age of 77.
  • Elizabeth Quincy Smith was born in 1721 in Braintree, Massachusetts to Colonel John Quincy and Elizabeth Norton Quincy. She preceded her husband in death on October 1, 1775 in Weymouth at the age of 54.

Elizabeth’s line was extended several generations, going back to the Plymouth Colony.  Once I make an initial pass through my initial tree, extensively studying both the Plymouth Colony and the New Haven (CT) settlement will be near the top of my list of things to do.

  • Elizabeth’s father, Colonel John Quincy, was born July 21, 1689 in Boston to Daniel and Anna Shepard Quincy.  He married Elizabeth Norton in 1715 in Massachusetts and died at the age of 78 on July 13, 1767.  A location wasn’t provided.
  • Elizabeth Norton Quincy was born to Reverend John Norton and Mary Mason Norton on March 15, 1695 in Hingham, Massachusetts.  She died in 1769 at the age of 74.
  • Daniel Quincy was born Boston on February 7, 1650.  He married Anna Shepard on November 9, 1682 and died on August 10, 1690.
  • Anna Shepard Quincy was born in 1663 in Massachusetts.  No information has been collected on her death at this time.
  • Reverend John Norton was born in 1651 in Massachusetts.  He married Mary Mason on November 29, 1678 and died on October 3, 1716.  He was the second minister of Hingham and is reportedly buried in the Tomb of the Three Ministers in Hingham.
  • Very little is known about Mary Mason.  She was born in 1651 and died in 1740.

On the other side of Sarah Ireland’s family, additional information was discovered regarding her 2nd-great-grandparents, Nathaniel and Mary Bunnell.  Nathaniel married Mary Searing in 1690.  She was born in 1672 in New Jersey.  Also unearthed was that Nathaniel’s mother, Susanna Whitehead Bunnell, died on February 13, 1733 in Elizabeth, NJ.

Updated related Pedigree Charts:  Sarah Ireland, Captain Nathaniel Bonnell, Colonel John Quincy and Elizabeth Norton.

Henry and Nancy Cunningham Thompson


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My 4th great grandparents are Henry and Nancy Cunningham Thompson.  They are the grandparents of John Frank Thompson.

Henry was born on March 9, 1803 in Virginia.  Some researchers have identified his parents as Robert Thompson and Margaret Gray.  He ventured westward at some point prior to 1830, settling in Washington Township in Gibson County, IN.  He married Nancy Cunningham on April 20, 1830 in Gibson County.  Not a lot is known about Nancy since she died prior to 1850 when the Census listed each person individually.  She is thought to have been born between 1805 and 1810 and died between 1846 and 1850.  Henry died in 1853 and is buried in Vermillion County, IL.  It’s not obvious what he was doing that far from home since the boys remained in the Knox-Gibson area for the duration of their lives.

Henry and Nancy had six children that were alive in 1850 or later.

  • Stewart (1832-1904) married Margaret Jones (1841-1911) in 1858 in Knox County.  They had eight children – Florence, Alice, Eleanor, Thomas, Nancy, Maggie, William and Emma.  According to newspapers of the time, Stewart was a prominent farmer in Johnson Township.
  • Margaret (1835-?)
  • Robert C (1837-1880) married Sarah Roderick (1837-?) in 1860 in Knox County.  They had six children – Charles, Riley, Ora, Frank, James and Robert.
  • Sally (1840-?)
  • Elenor (1843-?)
  • Henry G. (1846-?) married Isadore Jones in 1866.  They had one daughter named California.  After 1870, Isadore and California cannot be found in any of the databases.  Henry disappears until the 1910 census which lists him as a widower working as a cook for the Anthis household in Decker.

The whereabouts of the girls is unknown after their father died in 1853.  They are not showing up in the 1860 census records or the Indiana marriage index.

It doesn’t appear that any of Henry’s sons fought in the Civil War, based on a quick glance of the 80th Indiana Infantry rosters.  Most of the men living in the Knox, Gibson area belonged to that regiment, although it’s not out of the question for them to have  joined up with another unit.

Washington Township is in the north central part of Gibson County, IN, bordered by the White River on the north.  It sits east of Patoka.

Vermilion County IL is west of Lafayette, IN along the Indiana-Illinois border.

John M Butler and Tamer Pool


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John and Tamer Pool Butler appear to be my dead-ends for the Butler line.  They are my 4th great-grandparents.

John M. Butler was born in Kentucky about 1813.  Tamer Pool was born in Indiana about 1814.  They were married in Jennings County, IN (north of Louisville, KY) on October 13, 1831.  It is currently unknown who their parents were.

They had eight children that lived past infancy:

  • Eli Thomas
  • Joseph W
  • Nancy J
  • James O
  • Jemima
  • John P (or D)
  • Sarah
  • Robert

In 1850 the family was recorded to be in Blue River, Johnson Co, IN (north of Columbus IN).  By 1860, John and Tamer were living in Clay County, IL (west of Olney, near Flora).  By this time, only James, Jemima, Sarah and Robert were still at home.   Based on later census data, Eli was married with children, location unknown.  Joseph had married Delilah Wright and they had a son, John F., prior to moving to Clay Co, IL, where they lived next door to John and Tamer.  It’s believed that Eli wasn’t far away since both Eli and Joseph mustered with the 98th Illinois Infantry.  Unfortunately, Joseph didn’t make it home as he died in Georgia in June 1864 and is buried at the Marietta National Cemetery.  Delilah remarried later that year to Joseph Pool and moved back to Indiana with John F and Loretta, who was born in 1861.  Joseph Pool was quite a bit older than Delilah, so it’s possible that he was a younger brother to her mother-in-law.  Nancy and John P’s whereabouts after the 1850 census are unclear.  It’s possible that Nancy married a D.S. Ulrey, but anything past a marriage record supporting this hasn’t surfaced yet.

The whereabouts of nearly everyone in this family, except Eli and Joseph’s families, is unknown after the 1860 census.

Amanda Newcomb & Eli Thomas Butler


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Eli was born in 1832 in either Indiana or Illinois.  It appears he was actually married twice, the first time to an unknown person who died sometime between 1861 and 1867.  The first marriage produced at least four children–John S, Eliza, Mary C, and Naomi.  I have been unable to locate an 1860 census for this family so the mother can be identified. Based on the birth locations of the children, they probably resided in Illinois at the time.  Eli served during the Civil War in the 98th Illinois Infantry.  They mustered at Noble, IL which is west of Olney.  After the war, he then moved to Knox County and married Amanda.  The whereabouts of his first family are unknown after the 1870 census.

Amanda was born in 1840 in Ohio and married Eli Butler in 1867 in Knox County, IN.  They had eight children, five of which were still alive in 1900.  The children that have been identified through census records are Robert, Nancy, Annie, Benjamin, and Sarah. Nancy did not appear in the 1880 census so it is assumed she died.  It’s possible there was at least one additional birth after 1880, most likely a girl.  Amanda died in 1901 and Eli followed in 1911.  According to his obituary, he had five surviving children.  Sarah, Robert, and Benjamin were called out by name, however, there were two additional daughters that were not so easily identified–Mrs. A Myers and Mrs. John Ridgeley.  One of them is Annie, however, which is a mystery.  Annie married Henry Williams in 1897, but their whereabouts are unknown after the 1900 census.  I haven’t been able to determine if Henry died or they were divorced.  I’m assuming Annie remarried, but have not been able to match her up with either a Myers or a Ridgeley.  Residential locations for the five survivors was not included in the obituary.

Parents for both Eli and Amanda are still questionable.  In fact, Amanda is wildcard prior to 1867.  She was 27 when she married Eli which is old by standards for the day for first marriages.  This made me consider that she was remarrying as well.  A search came up empty for an Amanda Newcome(b) in 1860, however, there were several Newcome households in Johnson Township, Knox County very near each other.  In one household was an Amanda Crisap, servant age 18.  In another was a Nancy with several younger children, likely related to Amanda.  The Newcomes were originally from Ohio, as were the Crisaps.  The question now is: was Amanda married to one of the Newcomes between 1860 and 1867? or did she assume their last name for some reason?  It’s a mystery and one that probably won’t be answered easily.