A Soldier’s Story: Francis O. Cheney of Co. B, 192nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry on this Civil War Saturday

On this Civil War Saturday our guest contributor is Deborah A. Carder Mayes. Debbie is a genealogist, writer and speaker. She’s sharing her Civil War ancestor, her great grandfather Francis O. Cheney with us today. There’s more info about Debbie at the end of this post but first let’s learn this Civil War soldier’s story.

**Several years ago, I joined the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War. Any woman whose direct ancestor served in the Union forces during the Civil War is eligible to join. Joining DUVCW is a great way to honor your ancestor and assure that he is not forgotten.

Most of the able-bodied men in my family living during that time served. Here is a little info on my great grandfather, Francis Owen Cheney, who is the ancestor I honored by joining DUVCW.

Civil War Saturday - Francis O. Cheney

Francis O. Cheney

Francis Owen Cheney was born on October 25, 1847 in McLean County, Illinois. His great uncle, Jonathan Cheney was the founder of the town, Cheney’s Grove in McLean County. Many of the Cheney family, including William and Rebecca (Love) Cheney followed Jonathan to Illinois. Three of their eight children were born there before they made their way back to Ohio where they remained for the rest of their lives.

On May 20, 1869, Francis, who was known as Frank, married Martha Jane Uncapher in Marion County, Ohio. She went by her middle name, Jane. She was the daughter of John M. Uncapher and Barbara A. Rimmel and was born on February 2, 1851 in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. Her family was Pennsylvania Dutch and she spoke their German dialect fluently.

Francis and Jane had nine children, Una Belle, Elizabeth Etta, Hillis Ray, Emma O., Silas, Haymond William, Elmer Albertus and Francis Elzie, who were twins, and my grandfather, Earl J. Cheney.

After the war, Francis lived most of his life in Allen County, Ohio but he lived in Marion County, Ohio for about two years and in Morgan, Cooper, Lafayette, and Benton Counties in Missouri for four years. Francis and Jane lived in Missouri shortly after they married. They probably went there because land was cheap. Either they were homesick or they did not prosper in Missouri because they returned to Ohio by 1872 where they moved to Allen County and remained.

While on duty at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia, in March, 1865, Francis, a private in Co. B, 192nd O. V. I., was disabled by disease of the lungs, heart, fever, and pleurisy and treated at the hospital in Harper’s Ferry. He was discharged at Winchester, Virginia on September 21, 1865.

In 1891, he was a resident of Allentown, German Township, Allen County, Ohio. He was 5′ 9″ and had a fair complexion, light hair, and hazel eyes. He weighed 145 pounds. In 1899, when he was a resident of Shawnee Township, Allen County, Ohio, he was 5’7″. He applied for a veteran’s pension and received $8 a month. He was still a resident of Shawnee Township in 1902 and remained there until his death. In 1912, his pension was raised to $13.50.

Pvt. Francis O. Cheney Shawnee Cemetery, Allen County, Ohio

Pvt. Francis O. Cheney Shawnee Cemetery, Allen County, Ohio

Francis died on November 20, 1912. After his death, Jane moved into the home of her son, Francis Elzie Cheney, in Lima, Ohio. She died on November 27, 1931. Francis and Jane are buried together, a few feet away from his parents, in Shawnee Cemetery, Allen County, Ohio.

You can read learn more about Debbie, her writing and programs on her site:
Rambling Along the Ancestral Trail – Deborah A. Carder Mayes Genealogy & Family History.(http://cardermayes.weebly.com/blog) Debbie’s passion for genealogy began over seventeen years ago when she started exploring her family history. She soon became active in her local genealogical community.

In 2001 as a library volunteer, Debbie began helping others with their own family research. She began presenting lectures and workshops in 2004 and researching for clients in 2008. Currently, Debbie is a writer for the In-Depth Genealogist magazine, and their blog Going In-Depth. She also writes for her own genealogical blog, and is writing a book on her father’s family history.

**This post, Military Monday-Francis Owen Cheney, can be found on Debbie’s blog under the category, Ohio Civil War Ancestors and was posted on April 7, 2013.

I asked a question at the end of yesterday’s post . . . .

George & Mary Ellen Williams Marshall Farm

George & Mary Ellen Williams Marshall on their Farm

Did you read my post yesterday, I see the soldiers – do you? If not I’d really appreciate it if you would take a minute to read it. That way today’s post will make more sense. Just scroll down to the previous post or click here.

OK now that you’ve read it and you’re back, let me tell you what I was thinking. After realizing that I do see the Civil War soldiers when I visit different battlefields I realized it’s only a very short step to our own family research.

As genealogists or family historians we see, we feel, we experience our ancestors. That’s why we research them, because we can “see” our ancestors. It’s incredibly similar to seeing the soldiers. Not only do we see our family members with our mind’s eye, we want to know more about them and their lives. They aren’t just names and dates, they were living, loving, imperfect people who passed across the face of this earth. It’s their lives that resulted in our own.

Because we are the ones who see our ancestors we know we are charged with the task of making sure they are not forgotten to history. We’re the ones whose job it is to learn and tell their story, to preserve their memory for future generations.

Because of this insight we’ve been given the responsibility of remembering our ancestors, researching them and writing about their lives and experiences. Actually it’s pretty exciting that we are given that mission.

So to all of us who spend time in city directories, researching obscure occupations, staring endlessly at photos and federal censuses, then writing about those finds – keep on! Persevere! You’re doing a great job researching your family and they are pleased.

I asked a question at the end of yesterday’s post but I know I don’t have to ask today. I already know, “You see your ancestors.”

William Holmes #52Ancestors

William Holmes

William Holmes

WILLIAM HOLMES is my 3x great grandfather on my maternal side. He was born 25 April 1810, in Carroll County, Ohio. William was the oldest son of Obadiah and Rebecca (Thomas) Holmes, who both came from Virginia.

As one of Obadiah and Rebecca’s eight children he married Margaret Jenkins (Junkins) on 2 September 1830 in Tuscarawas County, OH. While living in Tuscarawas County located in eastern Ohio, William and Margaret had nine children. Their second child, daughter Rebecca (Holmes Williams) is my 2x great grandmother.

William farmed pretty much his entire life. By the early 1860s he and nearly his entire family moved to Allen County, Ohio. This exodus west across the state included several of his older children, already married besides the kids still at home. At least two of Williams’ siblings made the move and his parents Obadiah and Rebecca. I find this astonishing because both Obadiah and Rebecca had to be around 82 or 83 years old when they moved. Obviously no one was left in Tuscarawas County to care for the old folks so they had to move too. Accompanying the Holmes family in the great move was the Williams family. Two of William Holmes daughters, my 2x great grandmother Rebecca and Hannah (Anna) married into the Williams family.

Holmes Land Liberty Township Hardin County Ohio

Holmes Land Liberty Township Hardin County Ohio

This great migration is going to be the focus of my genealogy research. Two dozen families from infants to 80 year olds moved 175 miles across Ohio. Why? Better farm land? Was there an epidemic? Did the Civil War have anything to do with it? It’s time I do a little research to find out!

William and Margaret lived in Allen County until 1874, when they moved to Liberty Township in Hardin County, OH just a few miles east. I found where William and Margaret lived in Hardin County on an 1870s plat map. My genea-sister and I made the 30 minute drive and wandered the area where they lived. I am very fortunate to be able to walk in my ancestors footsteps almost whenever I want.

William Holmes Property in Hardin County Ohio

William Holmes Property in Hardin County Ohio

According to the History of Hardin County, William and Margaret were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he had attended since 1829. He was a Class Leader for twenty-five years and was Steward and Trustee. William Holmes, three sons, six sons-in-law and seven grandsons were all Republicans.(1)

William died at the age of 82 on December 22, 1892 in Allen County, Ohio.

Thanks for reading about my 3x great grandfather William Holmes. If you have a Holmes in your family tree email me at cindy@genealogycircledotcom. Let’s share info. I’d love to hear from you!

William Holmes Property/Cemetery

There’s a cemetery on William Holmes’ property

(1)The History of Hardin County, Ohio: Containing a History of the County, Its Townships, Towns, Churches, Schools, Etc., General and Local Statistics, Military Record, Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men, History of the Northwest Territory, History of Ohio, Miscellaneous Matters, Etc., Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co. 1883, online, Google Books, http://books.google.com/books?id=aNQ4AQAAMAAJ pg 1005, 27 March 2012

Silas Williams #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Silas Williams

Silas Williams

This week on my #52 Ancestors post I’m going to reach back into the 18th century. Today I’m writing about my third great grandfather Silas Williams.

It was in researching this Williams family branch that my sisters and I launched our genealogy research “careers”. Look what you’ve done Silas Williams! You’ve created several genealogy monsters in our family. (Good for you!) So I have a special affection when I write about this area of my family tree.

Silas was born 20 August 1796 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Abel and Sarah James Williams. Silas was the sixth child of Abel and Sarah’s eleven kids. The family moved to Greene County, Pennsylvania for a few years and finally ended up in Tuscarawas County, Ohio. I’ll go into the reason for the move to Ohio in a future post when I write about Silas’ father Abel.

St. Matthews Church, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

St. Matthews Church, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Silas would spend the rest of his life in Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio. He married Sarah (Sally) Lappin 15 July 1819. He was 22 and she was 20 years old. Like his father before him Silas was a prolific man. He and Sally had eleven children. My second great grandfather Isaac was their seventh child. These folks were hard working farmers. If you’ve ever seen the rolling hills of eastern Ohio you’ll know farming there wasn’t easy.

After eleven children and 20 years of marriage Sally died 11 September 1839 at 40 years old. Silas eventually married Susannah Wilkin 19 November 1846. Silas and Susannah had a son Thomas in 1847. Silas passed just a year later 1 October 1848 at 52 years old.

Silas’ story was first unearthed by my sister Mary Ellen about 1997-ish. Several trips were made from west to east across Ohio by my sisters and myself as we walked the steps of our 3x great grandparents. We stopped at St. Matthew’s cemetery and took photos of Sarah and Silas’ final resting place. On a whim I tried the door of the little white church next to the cemetery and to my surprise was able to walk in. What a simple yet beautiful place to worship.

St. Matthews Church Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

Silas Williams Headstone St. Matthews Church Cemetery, Fairfield Township, Tuscarawas County, Ohio

After several long looks around I saw two framed photos on the back wall. A few steps brought me face to face with Silas and Sarah. What an amazing find! Silas had donated the lot St. Matthew’s was built on so he and Sarah were remembered with their photos still hanging on the rear church wall. How many times does that happen in genealogy research! Another family member contacted the church and was able to have copies of those photos made. That’s the photo of Silas seen above.

Silas Williams was a husband, father, church-goer and farmer. I’m sure in retrospect Silas felt he lived a pretty uneventful life but nearly 218 years after his birth I’m sharing his story here. Your story is my story Silas and I’m very proud of it.

P.S. I’m a much better photographer today than I was in 1997! :)

I Found My Dad on Facebook!

Cam and Flora Nantz Frueh children 1922

Cameron and Flora Nantz Frueh children 1922

I’ll bet we’ve all done it. Posted old family photos to our Facebook timeline. Maybe someone in your family has started a family Facebook page so the entire clan can share their pics. This very scenario happened to me with some pretty spectacular results.

It all started at the beginning of the year with my New Year’s resolution to organize my family history files. My first step was to take the easy route and scan family photos with my Flip Pal. Documents would get scanned later. As I uploaded my scanned pics to my laptop to file I’d also post a few to my Facebook page. It was always fun to get other family members reactions to the old pics. Occasionally someone would comment when a particular photo jogged their memory.

Soon one of my cousins started a family Facebook page so everyone could post and enjoy each others photos. Great idea! I’ll just mention here that this Facebook group consists of first cousins. All of our parents were children of Flora Nantz and Cameron Frueh. So I posted lots of pics to the Facebook page, some without any kind of identification in the hopes another family member had a similar photo with names.

That’s when it happened! Another cousin puts the photo (above) on our Facebook page. He identifies his mom as the 5 year old in first row far right. There she is with the rest of her siblings at an older sister’s First Communion. The significance? My father is in this photo! In the back row, far left stands my eleven year old dad!

John, Adolph, Mary Frueh

John, Adolph, Mary Frueh
23 April 1922*

I have a copy of a photo of my dad as an infant but the rest of the pics I have of him are all as an adult throughout the rest of his life. I’ve never seen a photo of my dad as a child! I can’t tell you the swell of emotion I felt as I looked at my dad as a young boy. I have to say I touched his little boy face on my computer screen with tears in my eyes.

Now the incredible irony here is that I have digital copies of several photos from yet another cousin last November. It’s the second photo here. My sisters and I took a guess at who these kids were but had no idea since there weren’t any names on the photo. Imagine! I had a photo of my dad (on the left) as a kid and didn’t even know it! Let me tell you learning to date photos has now become a priority.

The takeaway here other than the fact that I’m over the moon having a photo of my dad as a child? Don’t give up hope of finding a photo, some information, a document, anything that will provide answers in your genealogy research. Use all avenues available to you. Courthouses, libraries, online databases and even Facebook. Don’t ever, ever give up! Because one day when you least expect it your info will show up!

*I found the date of my aunt’s First Communion on FamilySearch.org. They have the Diocese of Toledo, Ohio Parish Records from 1796-2004.