84 Years Ago Today

On September 7, 1929, eighty-four years ago today, Samuel L. Beeney (1857-1929), my 3rd great grandfather, died in Newark, Licking Co., Ohio. Following his death, Samuel was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark.

Headstone of Samuel L. Beeney
Headstone of Samuel L. Beeney

Samuel was born in 1857 the son of Charles B. Beeney (1815-1903) and Christiana Lyons (1824-1901). In 1880, Samuel married Eva Flora McLaughlin (1863-1899), with whom he had five children before their divorce: Charlotte, Bertha, Walter, Alice, and George (my 2nd great grandfather). Throughout his life, Samuel was an educator, eventually opening a Business College in Newark.

Samuel L. Beeney
Samuel L. Beeney

The following is Samuel’s biography from the History of Southeastern Ohio and the Muskingum Valley 1788-1928, by Thomas William Lewis (Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1928):

As an educator of high standing Samuel L. Beeney contributed materially toward Newark’s advancement, and his attention is now devoted to business affairs, in which he has been equally successful. He was born January 13, 1857, in Eden township, and in both the paternal and maternal lines represents old and highly respected families of Licking county. His father, Charles B. Beeney, was a native of England and in early life made the voyage to the United States in company with his parents, Jesse and Mary Beeney, who located in Licking county, Ohio, in 1828, hewing a farm out of the wilderness. Jesse Beeney was a member of the Church of Christ and an adherent of the democratic party. Charles B. Beeney was a cooper and later engaged in farming. Success attended his well directed labors, and his religious and political views coincided with those of his father.

In Licking county Charles B. Beeney married Miss Christiana Lyons, a native of Ireland, in which country her parents, John and Margaret E. (Carlisle) Lyons, were married. They left the Emerald isle in 1837 and cast in their lot with the pioneer farmers of Licking county, Ohio, where they spent the remainder of their lives. Mr. Lyons was a Presbyterian and conscientiously followed the teachings of his church. Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Beeney resided for a number of years in Newark and both passed away in this city. Their family numbered five children, of whom Samuel L. was the second in order of birth. His brother, John W., was born April 1, 1855, and became a teacher. In later life he followed agricultural pursuits and on June 30, 1927, was called to his finale rest. By his marriage with Mattie Warthen, of St. Louisville, Ohio, he had three children : Robert and Howard Beeney ; and Mrs. Mamie Lewis, of Trauscona, Manitoba, Canada. John W. Beeney is survived by his second wife, Mrs. Lena (Metzner) Beeney, to whom he was married in Utica, Ohio, and Edward L., their only child, is living in Newark. Margaret, the next in order of birth, is deceased. Marie is now Mrs. Hugh W. Gorley and makes her home in Newark. Emma is the wife of Henry W. Hansberger, a prominent realtor of Newark.

Samuel L. Beeney received his early instruction in the rural schools of his native township and completed his studies in the Teachers Training School at Utica, Ohio. For eleven years he was a public school teacher and in 1885 opened the Newark Business College, of which he was sole owner. As principal he successfully conducted the college for twenty-nine years, developing an institution second to none in the character and thoroughness of its instruction, and since 1914 has been a solicitor for the Hooper Franklin Insurance Agency, making his headquarters in Newark. He specializes in fire insurance and has mastered the art of salesmanship. Endowed by nature with more than one talent, he is an able writer and a frequent contributor to various newspapers. Mr. Beeney established the Ohio Teachers’ Journal, which he edited and published for four years, when he transferred his interest to the National Educator published in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Beeney is a strong champion of those movements and projects which make for good citizenship and was active in the war savings campaign. In politics he is a democrat, and his religious views are indicated by his affiliation with the Church of Christ. Traveling affords him much enjoyment, and he has visited nine countries, including the Holy Land, thus broadening his outlook upon life. He is interested in those things which have cultural value, tending to raise the individual to a higher level, and his personal qualities are such as make for strong and enduring regard.

180 Years Ago Today

On April 11, 1833, one hundred and eighty years ago, Thomas McLaughlin (1809-1891) and Margaret Wilson (1812-1891), my 5th great grandparents, were married in Knox Co., Ohio. Following their marriage, Thomas and Margaret relocated to Licking Co., Ohio, where they had nine children.

Marriage Record for Thomas McLaughlin and Margaret Wilson, 1833
Marriage Record for Thomas McLaughlin and Margaret Wilson, 1833

Record Transcription: “I do hereby certify that on the 11th day of April AD 1833 by virtue of a license from the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas of the County of Knox Thomas McLaughlin and wife Margaret Wilson were legally joined together in marriage by Me a Justice of the Peace in and for said County given under my hand Jacob Spurry, J. P.”

Thomas McLaughlin (1809-1891) and Margaret Wilson (1812-1891) were the grandparents of Eva Flora McLaughlin (1863-1899), who married Samuel L. Beeney (1857-1929). Eva and Samuel were the parents of George Benton Beeney (1890-1970), the biological father of my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992).

Fearless Females Challenge: March 19 – Surprising Fact

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

While researching my ancestry I have discovered a few surprising facts, some of which include some of my female ancestors. One of the surprising facts involving a female ancestor I discovered is the fact that my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992), was adopted. Growing up, I never knew that she was adopted and that her parents, William Phylitis Davis (1876-1960) and Mary Magdelene “Linnie” Williams (1883-1968), were not her biological parents. I also never knew that she spent many years of her adult life trying to find out more about her biological parents. I learned about this from my grandfather, William Kernan (LIVING), who sent me newspaper clippings telling the story of when Maxine met her biological mother, which was also a surprise (that she met her biological mother). From this meeting with her biological mother, Maxine not only learned the circumstances of her adoption, but also details about her biological parents, George Benton Beeney (1890-1970) and Gladys M. Cook (1894-1957). She learned that her parents were young and not ready to have a family, and that her biological father was from Ohio, which is where he eventually returned following their separation and divorce. When I found this out, I thought how difficult it must have been for Maxine to learn this all; but also how wonderful it must have been for her to find her biological parents and get to meet her biological mother.

Maxine's Reunion with her Biological Mother: Maxine (center), Gladys (right), and Linnie (left)
Maxine’s Reunion with her Biological Mother: Maxine (center), Gladys (right), and Linnie (left)

Fearless Females Challenge: March 11 – Tragic or Unexpected Death

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

In my ancestry, I have a few female ancestors that died young, though I have far more that lived beyond the age of 65. For example, Anna Elizabeth (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918), my 3rd great grandmother, died at age 49; Emoline Pauline (Reynolds) Lapham (1844-1886), my 3rd great grandmother, died at age 42; Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg (1841-1870), my 4th great grandmother, died at age 29; Eva Flora (McLaughlin-Beeney) Elben (1863-1899), my 3rd great grandmother, died at age 36; and Jennie M. (Lightcap) Heldman (1872-1905), my 2nd great grandmother, died at age 32. However, each of these died from disease, rather than tragic or unexpected circumstances.

In addition to those that died young from disease, I have three cases where a female ancestor died from tragic or unexpected circumstances. The first of these is the death of Elizabeth “Betsy” Ann (Adams) Thornton (1818-1852), my 5th great grandmother. Betsy, her husband, Simeon Toney Thornton (1818-1917), their children, and other members of their family left Missouri for the Oregon Territory along the Oregon Trail. While still traveling on the trail, but after they had arrived in the Oregon Territory (near present day Heppner, Morrow Co., Oregon), Betsy went into labor and died during a difficult delivery on September 9, 1852 at the age of 34.

Betsy (Adams) Thornton
Betsy (Adams) Thornton

Another case is that of the death of Mary Comfort (Knowles) Dunton (ca. 1801-1845), my 4th great grandmother. Mary’s death, which took place on July 20, 1845 in Hancock Co., Illinois, is something of a mystery for me. She died at the age of 44 on the same day as her husband, James Cyrus Dunton (ca. 1800-1845). Presently, I have not been able to uncover the cause of their deaths. However, I have found that this county of Illinois was home at this time to many Mormon settlers (particularly around Nauvoo), who faced continuous persecution. I have read that around the time of Mary’s death, Hancock County was experiencing significant numbers of deaths resulting from disease and/or starvation that resulted from the persecution of Mormons in that county connected to the Mormon Wars. Joseph Smith (1805-1844), founder of the Later Day Saints, had been killed in Carthage, Hancock Co., Illinois by a mob a few months short of a year before Mary and James’s death. plunging the Mormon community into a difficult time. Although I have not been able to find any information that indicates that Mary’s death (or that of her husbands) was in anyway connected to these events, or that they were even Mormons, I do know that their son James Harvey Dunton, was a Mormon, and left the area with the Mormons.

Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois in the 1840s

The third case is that of the death of Mattie (Blankenship-Worthington) Ward (1903-1944). Mattie was the second wife of my 2nd great grandfather, Ernest Jacob Worthington (1885-1939), and the step-mother of my great grandmother Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006). Mattie died on April 10, 1944 in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas after a tornado hit their home. Mattie was thrown from her bed and crushed to death in the wreckage of the home.

Headstone of Mattie (Blankenship-Worthington) Ward
Headstone of Mattie (Blankenship-Worthington) Ward

123 Years Ago Today

On March 20, 1890, one hundred and twenty-three years ago today, George Benton Beeney (1890-1970), my 2nd great grandfather, was born in Utica, Licking Co., Ohio the son of Samuel L. Beeney (1857-1929) and Eva Flora McLaughlin (1863-1899).

Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (First Page)
Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (First Page)
Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (Second Page)
Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (Second Page)

The above record of George’s birth shows his name as just “Beeney.” A corrected record was made on the registry of births, which shows his full name. (A free online index of this record can be found by clicking here.)

George Benton Beeney was the biological father of my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992), who was first married to Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979). George and his wife, Gladys M. Cook (1894-1957), separated and later divorced soon after Maxine’s birth. Following this, George eventually returned to Ohio.

Family History Through the Alphabet – A is for Adoption, Agee, and Addiction

This week’s Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge features the letter A. Some noteworthy A’s I have run across while researching my ancestry include Adoption, Agee, and Addiction.

(Note: Although I already posted my entry for the letter Z, I started this challenge with the letter G. So, I have yet to do posts for A-F.)

A is for Adoption

When I began researching my ancestry, I had no idea that my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth Davis (1912-1992), was adopted. As I began piecing together my notes, my grandfather sent me scans of a letter that was published in a newspaper in Oregon that Maxine wrote. The article, which used aliases to hid identities, recounted what Maxine had learned from her adopted parents about her biological parents and the circumstances that led to her adoption. Because of her initial contact with the newspaper, she was able to get in touch with her biological mother. She always wanted to meet her biological father, but never got the chance as no one knew, as I later learned, that he returned to the state of his birth, Ohio. Through her biological mother, Maxine was able to fill in some details about her past. The following photo shows Maxine (center) with her adopted mother, Linnie (left), and her biological mother, Gladys (right).

Maxine’s Reunion with her Biological Mother: Maxine (center), Gladys (right), and Linnie (left)

Adoption, as I have come to understand it, is just another wonderful surprise in undertaking genealogical research. It has been fascinating to learn about the family that raised and shaped my great grandmother into the person she became (the Davis family who adopted Maxine), and it has been equally fascinating to learn about the family that brought her into the world (the Beeney family). I take the advice of many who research and discover adoption and are able to find the biological ancestry, in that I include both the adopted and biological families in my research, for both are important to the life of my great grandmother.

A helpful article for those just starting to research adoption in their ancestry is Maureen Taylor’s “All About Adoption Research” on Genealogy.com.

A is for Agee

Agee is the maiden name of my 2nd great grandmother, Lois Beatrice (Agee) Wellin (1897-1983), who married Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977) and was the mother of Alice Lucretia Wellin (1916-1985), who married Theodore Alexander Lapham (1910-1955). Although the Agee surname, or rather its original spelling of Agé, is French in origins, little is known with certainty regarding its meaning.

There are a number of theories regarding the surname’s meaning, however. One argues that the surname derives from the French word “âgée,” meaning “old,” and is thus perhaps an ornamental surname. Another theory argues the name derives from a Biblical name—that of Agee the Haratite, who was the father of Shammah, one of King David’s “might men” (II Samuel 23:11). In this account, the name is said to mean “fugitive, a valley, or deepness.” Another theory attempts to claim that the surname derives from “Ajean,” an adaptation of “á Jean,” which means “of Jean.” This theory has been refuted as Agee or Agé has no etymological connection to “Ajean.” Another theory argues the surname is of Visigoth origins, with a meaning that is unknown. A final theory argues that the surname is a variant of the French name “Augé,” which derives from “Agér,” a name that is Germanic in origins and derives from “Adalgar.” This Germanic name, which is similar to the English name “Edgar,” is composed of two words, “adal,” meaning “prosperous,” and “gar,” meaning “lance” or “spear,” giving the image of a successful warrior.

Agee Monument in Wilbur Cemetery, Wilbur, Douglas Co., Oregon

A is for Addiction

While researching my ancestry I have discovered that genealogy can be rather addicting. I had no idea when I started researching my ancestry for a school project nearly a decade ago that I would still be doing it. I’m not totally sure why genealogy is addicting, but I suppose it is fascinating to learn where you come from and what the lives of your ancestors were like. Or perhaps Van Wyck Brooks is correct in that there is something selfish in researching our ancestry, for as he puts it, “Nothing is so soothing to our self-esteem as to find our bad traits in our forebears. It seems to absolve us.”

Click here to learn more about Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge (Clicking this link will take you to another site.)

Genealogy Challenge: Your Longest Gravestone Line

Records from cemeteries are one of many sources we all use in tracing our ancestry. This past Saturday (October 13, 2012), Genea-Musings posted one of his SNGF (Saturday Night Genealogy Fun) challenges entitled “Your Longest Gravestone Line.” The rules for the challenge are: (1) Determine what is your longest unbroken line of ancestral gravestones – how many generations can you go back in time? Do you have photographs of them? (2) Tell us and/or show us in a blog post of your own, or in a comment to this blog, or in a Facebook status or a Google+ stream post.

I found this challenge to be somewhat difficult, as my four “cardinal branches” have gaps in each gravestone line. For my Kernan branch, my 2nd great grandfather, George Edward Kernan (1884-1960), doesn’t have a headstone, unlike his son and his father. For my Lapham branch, my 2nd great grandfather, Horace Iriving Lapham (1869-1927), doesn’t have a headstone, unlike his father, son, and granddaughter. For my Hamilton branch, my 2nd great grandfather, Rufus Bert Heldman (1870-1944), doesn’t have a headstone, unlike his father and son. For my Sebok branch, I can only trace back to my 2nd great grandfather, Frank Sebok (1875-1951), who has a headstone, as does his son.

Beeney Monument in Cedar Hill Cemetery

Exploring my Find-A-Grave collection, however, has revealed that my longest gravestone line among all my branches is from my Beeney branch, the biological family of my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth Davis (1912-1992). Maxine was born in 1912 the only child of George Benton Beeney (1890-1970) and Gladys M. Cook (1894-1957). When Maxine was a month old, she was adopted by William Phylitis Davis (1876-1960) and Mary Magdelene Williams (1883-1968), who knew George Beeney.

For my Beeney branch, my gravestone line consists of the following:

1. My paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth Davis (1912-1992), born Maxine Beeney, buried in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon.

Headstone of Maxine Elizabeth Davis
Headstone of Maxine Elizabeth Davis

2. My 2nd great grandfather, George Benton Beeney (1890-1970), buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark, Licking Co., Ohio.

Headstone of George Benton Beeney

3. My 3rd great grandfather, Samuel L. Beeney (1857-1929), buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark, Licking Co., Ohio.

Headstone of Samuel L. Beeney

4. My 4th great grandfather, Charles Beeney (1815-1903), buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Newark, Licking Co., Ohio.

Headstone of Charles Beeney

5. My 5th great grandfather, Jesse Beeney (1785-1870), buried in Bell Church Cemetery in Knox Co., Ohio.

Headstone of Jesse Beeney

Jesse Beeney immigrated with his wife and children in 1821 from Sussex, England. Research has shown that he is the son of William Beeney (ca1752-?) and Elizabeth Gallop (ca1741-?). Where William is buried is not presently known.

A gravestone line for Maxine’s adopted family, my Davis branch, has a break in it. Presently, the burial location for the father of Maxine’s adoptive father is unknown, unlike that of Maxine’s adoptive father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather.

142 Years Ago Today

Jesse Beeney Headstone

On August 26, 1870, one hundred and forty-two years ago today, Jesse Beeney (1785-1870), my 5th great grandfather, died in Licking Co., Ohio at the age of 85.

Jesse was born in 1785 in Crowhurst, Sussex, England, and came to live in Licking Co. Ohio, whee he was a farmer, by 1840, living in Eden and Washington throughout his long life. He also lived in nearby Knox Co., Ohio. His wife, Mary, preceded him in death in 1857. Jesse was buried next to Mary in Bell Church Cemetery in Morgan, Knox Co., Ohio.

Jesse Beeney (1785-1870) and his wife Mary are direct ancestors of George Benton Beeney (1890-1970), the biological father of my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth Davis (1912-1992), who married Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1971).

227 Years Ago Today

Jesse Beeney Headstone

On July 25, 1785, two hundred and twenty-seven years ago today, Jesse Beeney (1785-1870), my 5th great grandfather, was born in Crowhurst, Sussex, England.

The identities Jesse Beeney’s parents has not been confirmed, though it is claimed that they were William Beeney and Elizabeth Gallop. In about 1803, Jesse married Mary Ann UNKNOWN (ca. 1784-1857). After which, Jesse and Mary had at least eight children. In 1821, Jesse, Mary, and their eight children left England for the United States, settling in Licking Co., Ohio where Jesse was a farmer. Jesse died in Licking Co., Ohio in 1870. He was buried at Bell Church Cemetery in Knox Co., Ohio.

Jesse Beeney, and his wife Mary, are direct biological ancestors of Maxine Elizabeth Davis (1912-1992), my paternal great grandmother, who was born Maxine Beeney, and was the first wife of Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979).