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02 November 2016

#30DayFHWChallenge Day 2



Day 2: Think of your ancestor as a character in a novel, and describe him or her in a few short paragraphs. What color are her eyes? What is she wearing? How does she carry herself? What kind of voice does she have?

Thinking of an ancestor as a character in a novel is easy when said ancestor IS a character in a novel.  The above illustration is Howard Chandler Christy's interpretation of how Jonathan Zane looked. Jonathan Zane was my 4th great-grandfather on my Dad's side.  Jonathan, along with his older brothers Col. Ebenezer Zane and Silas Zane, settled Wheeling, WV in 1769 along with some others from the Moorefield, Hardy Co. WV area. Of course both were in VA at that time. Wheeling was first called Zanesburg but they changed it at some point. I've also seen his character described in other books. Since I know better than to inadequately try to better what someone has done, I will describe him as quoted.

Two men in the brown garb of woodsmen approached. One approached the travelers; the other remained in the background, leaning upon a long, black rifle.

Thus exposed to the glare of the flames, the foremost woodsman presented a singularly picturesque figure. His costume was the fringed buckskins of the border. Fully six feet tall, this lithe-limbed young giant had something of the wild, free grace of the Indian in his posture.

He surveyed the wondering travelers with dark, grave eyes.
The Last Trail, Zane Grey

At one point in the book, his own brother says, "Jonathan does not seem to realize that women exist to charm, to please, to be loved and married. Once we twitted him about his brothers doing their duty by the border, whereupon he flashed out: 'My life is the border's: my sweetheart is the North Star!"

Zane Grey describes the brothers as similar in appearance. "Colonel Zane laid his hand on his brother's shoulder, and thus they stood for a moment, singularly alike, and yet the sturdy pioneer was, somehow, far different from the dark-haired borderman."

And the woman in the book who falls in love with him, describes him as follows:
He was clad from head to foot in smooth, soft buckskin which fitted well his powerful frame. Beaded moccasins, leggings bound high above the knees, hunting coat laced and fringed, all had the neat tidy appearance due to good care. He wore no weapons. His hair fell in a raven mass over his shoulders. His profile was regular, with a long, straight nose, strong chin, and eyes black as night. They were now fixed intently on the valley. The whole face gave an impression of serenity, of calmness.
Helen was wondering if the sad, almost stern, tranquility of that face ever changed, when the baby cooed and held out its chubby little hands. Jonathan's smile, which came quickly, accompanied by a warm light in the eyes, relieved Helen of an unaccountable repugnance she had begun to feel toward the borderman. That smile, brief as a flash, showed his gentle kindness and told that he was not a creature who had set himself apart from human life and love.
The Last Trail, Zane Grey

In Myers' History of West Virginia, Sylvester Myers quotes
De Hass' Extracts from Withers' Border Wars
Ebenezer Zane's Brothers.
(De Hass' Extracts from Withers' Border Wars.)
In the spring of 1771 Jonathan and Silas Zane visited the west and made explorations during the summer and fall of that year. Jonathan was, perhaps, the most experienced hunter of his day in the west. He was a man of great energy of character, resolution, and restless activity. He rendered, efficient service to the settlements about Wheeling in the capacity of sp3^ [sic] He was remarkable for earnestness of purpose and energy and inflexibility of will, which often manifested itself in a way truly astonishing. Few men shared more of the confidence and more of the respect of his fellow men than Jonathan Zane. He was one of the pilots in Crawford's expedition, and it is said, strongly admonished the unfortunate commander against proceeding; as the enemy were very numerous and would certainly defeat him. He died in Wheeling, at his residence, a short distance above the site of the old first ward public school. He left large landed possessions, most of which were shared b}^ [sic] his children.
 Benjamin Blumel, in The Zanes: A Frontier Family, also quotes Withers, saying, "The brothers, Ebenezer, Silas and Jonathan, who settled Wheeling, were also men of enterprise, tempered with prudence, and directed by sound judgment. Ready at all times, to resist and punish the aggression of the Indians, they were scrupulously careful not to provoke them by acts of wanton outrage, such as were then too frequently committed along the frontier."

Blumel also quotes a genealogical manuscript by Alma A. Martin, saying, "While Jonathan Zane was involved in many battles with the Indians he did not consider himself an Indian fighter or killer. There is a family story that Jonathan was sitting peacefully in a tavern in Wheeling, in the later days, when a stranger came up to him and asked how many Indians he had killed. Jonathan was so angry and insulted that he got up and walked out without finishing his drink."  At one point in the book Blumel refers to Jonathan Zane as "Deathwind" but he was NOT known by that name. Jonathan as well as his Zane siblings got along with certain tribes, such as the Wyandot tribe of Chief Tarhe. Tarhe's daughter fell in love with and married Jonathan Zane's brother. So the Zane family definitely didn't have problems with all tribes, certain ones, yes. Especially the ones the British soldiers stirred to attack Ft. Henry in Sept. 1777 and Sept. 1782. Col. Ebenezer Zane also had a guide named Tomepomehala who accompanied Jonathan Zane and Ebenezer Zane's son-in-law, John McIntire, on their survey of what became Zane's Trace in southern Ohio to Maysville, KY.

The man known as Deathwind, le vent de la mort (French), or Atelang (Lenape) was Lewis Wetzel. Wetzel was well known by the Native Americans and his scalp, had someone taken it, would have been a major coup. He had a reputation for having little patience or mercy. His parents and sisters had been killed by members of a tribe which left him angry.  

01 November 2016

#30DayFHWChallenge Day 1


Day 1: Write a letter to an ancestor you've never met. Include questions you've always wanted to ask him or her, plus some that reflect what you've already learned about your ancestor (for example, "Do you enjoy your new job?" or "How are you coping with your father's death?"). Read editorial intern Madge Maril's response to the prompt if you need inspiration.

Map showing Robert Zane's land in NJ

Dear Robert Zane,
What must it have been like for you to live during the English Civil War, have to leave England during Cromwell's time as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland?  After being born in Yarcombe, England in 1642, leaving for Dublin, Ireland must have been a big change. But you met your wife there. You also sailed from Dublin, to New York and back in 1673 on the Mary of Salem. You then returned to Elsinburra (now Elsinboro, NJ) aboard the Griffith (or Griffin in 1675 with other Quakers who were looking for somewhere to settle. This led to what is called "The Irish Tenth" or "Fenwick's Colony". Again, you returned to Dublin. In 1677, aboard the Mary of Dublin, you returned to  West Jersey where you settled along Newton Creek, near Salem.  On that trip, you were accompanied by your son, Nathaniel Zane. You lost your wife, Margaret, sometime before sailing or during the trip. It couldn't have been easy to care for a young child on a voyage like that. Do you enjoy living in Fenwick's Colony or as some people call it "The Irish Tenth"?  Was it a huge adjustment or were you able to easily adjust? 
Curious,
Your 7th great-granddaughter
Yarcombe, Devon, England to Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland to Elsinboro, NJ

Elsinboro, NJ to Gloucester, NJ

30-Day Family History Writing Challenge



My love of genealogy is not something shocking to many people who know me.  I was the kid who always loved sitting with the older people in the family and listening to family stories. Couple that with my love of history and the fact that I rather enjoy researching things and well, it makes sense. Anyone who knows me well, also knows that I am rather nitpicky and somewhat exacting about details. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. When it comes to genealogy, it's a good thing.  So when I found that  Family Tree Magazine had a 30-Day Family History Writing Challenge, I decided it might be something to do. I may or may not complete it, my health issues and how I am feeling will determine that. But, I haven't been inspired to write anything for a long time so it's definitely going to be a challenge.

In case anyone is curious, the image above is one I found and then edited. The image originally had different pictures. Of random people. So I chose my own pictures.  The picture on the right is an artist's rendition of Jonathan Zane. The family picture on the left is of Charles and Sarah Merritt and their combined children. The information I have says it's Myrtle Pickett, Mabel Pickett, Hazel Merritt, Oscar Merritt, Charles Merritt holding Kathryn Merritt, Sarah Merritt (standing behind Charles) and Russell Pickett. But judging by the ages of the girls in the front, the baby CANNOT be Kathryn. Mabel Pickett was born 19 Feb. 1911. Hazel Merritt was born 14 Oct. 1911. Myrtle Pickett was born 9 Sept. 1912. Kathryn Merritt was born 15 Dec. 1913. The older three girls look a good bit more than one to two years older than the baby. Now an explanation. Charles Merritt first married Grace Runion. Then he married Sarah Ann (Runion) Pickett after Grace passed away.

Sarah and Grace's father was William Newton Runion (1836-1932). William married Sarah McCloud (1846-1873) on 23 May 1867. She died 27 Feb. 1873. Then William married Lydia Pickett 27 Jan. 1874. Lydia died 13 Mar. 1883. He then married Margaret Stevens. Margaret died in 1886.  Lastly, he married Eliza Catherine Wilcox on 12 Oct. 1887. Between his four wives, he had 18 children. I am skipping his children with his first and fourth wives to make this less confusing (it's confusing enough as it is without adding in all of the siblings). With Lydia, William Runion had four children: James, Sarah (b. 30 Jul. 1878), Minnie Bell and an unnamed daughter.  With Margaret, William had Grace (b. 30 June 1885), Ira Clay (1886-1975) and James Marion (who died at birth). Lydia's parents were Aquila and Mary Pickett. They had a number of children in addition to Lydia (b. 1845). One of their sons was Jason Pickett (b. 1840, d. 19 May1904). He married Sarah Craver (9 Oct. 1867) and had two daughters. According to census records, their daughters were: Cora (b. 1869) and Dora (b. 1872). After Sarah died, he married Martha Ann Joseph (known as Annie). They married on 28 Dec. 1875. They had Marshall (b. 1876), William Joseph (b. 13 Nov. 1878), Ora (b. 10 Sept. 1881), Otis (b. 10 Sept. 1881), and George H. (b. 1886).  After Jason Pickett died, Annie married James Michael Handley and they went to NE sometime between 1905 & 1910 (see below) for awhile. By the time James Michael Handley died in 1915, he and Annie were back in Vermilion Co., IL. In fact, Jason Pickett who died in 1904 and James Handley who died in 1915 are buried in Pleasant Grove Cem., Oakwood, Vermilion Co., IL. There is a marker for Annie there as well but it has no death date. She did remarry after James Handley died to a John W. Smith. He died in 1919 and is buried at Oakwood Cem., Oakwood, Vermilion Co., IL. I have no actual info on what happened to Annie after Smith died. She is NOT listed as being buried in Oakwood Cem. and as I said, the Pleasant Grove Cem. has a marker for her with no date of death. It's possible she remarried a fourth time after John W. Smith died. If so, I have no concrete record of it. Here are pics of her with Jason and James (none with John-she had a thing for those J names huh?) as well as pics of the headstone for Jason, James and Annie. You might notice the stone looks rather similar. That's because three of the four faces have names on them. Jason one on side, James on the opposite and Annie (as Annie Smith) on another side. The fourth is blank.
Martha Ann "Annie" Joseph Pickett & Jason Pickett
James Michael Handley & Martha Ann Handley
Jason Pickett

James Michael Handley

Martha Ann "Annie" Joseph Pickett Handley Smith


Confused yet??? I'll add a graphic that shows how people are connected.


William Joseph Pickett, William Russell Pickett, Sarah Ann Runion Pickett (before Feb. 1911).
William J. Pickett married Sarah Ann Runion 30 Jan. 1898 in Vermilion Co. Illinois. Yes, they were first cousins, his father and her mother were siblings. The Jason Pickett family moved to Vermilion Co. IL sometime after 1880 as the 1880 census shows them in Hendricks Co., IN still. I am unsure when Sarah went to Vermilion Co. IL. Sometime between their marriage and 1910, William and Sarah, along with his mother, Annie, who had remarried after Jason died. She married James Michael Handley in 1905. By 1910, William and Sarah Pickett, James and Annie Handley, George H. Pickett, Marshall Pickett, Ora Pickett and Otis Pickett were all in Nebraska. The Handleys, Marshall, Ora and Otis were all in Merrick Co., NE while George and William were in Platte Co., NE. George Pickett is in Platte Co., NE, Monroe Twp. Supervisor's District 3, Enumeration District 186, Sheet 2A, Line 9, House number 16, Dwelling 17.  William Pickett is in Platte Co., NE, Monroe Twp. Supervisor's District 3, Enumeration District 186, Sheet 2B, Line 5, House 24, Dwelling 25. Listed with William is his wife Sarah, and William R. (listed as their 6 yr old son). William R. Pickett is William Russell Pickett (b. 1904). He went by Russell, likely because having two Williams in the house was confusing. William Joseph went by Willie from what I can tell. Russell was the son of William Joseph Pickett's brother Ora. But he was raised as William and Sarah's son. William and Sarah had a daughter, Mabel (b. 19 Feb. 1911). Sarah was two months pregnant, when, on 22 Feb. 1912, William died after an illness of several weeks. His funeral was held at Monroe Congregational Church and he was buried at New Hope Cemetery (on the church grounds).

Here is a transcript of his obituary from The Columbus Telegram 1 Mar. 1912.
PICKETT--William Pickett died at his home at O'Kay at about 1 p.m. on Thursday of last week, after an illness of several weeks. He was a little past 33 years of age. He became converted in 1907, and lived a quiet, christian [sic] life, beloved and respected by all who knew him. Deceased leaves to mourn his demise a wife and infant daughter, an adopted son, a mother, a step-father and four brothers, besides a host of friends. Funeral services, conducted by Rev. G.H. Philips of Monroe, were held at the Congregational church Sunday afternoon, and the body was laid to rest in New Hope cemetery. Those from a distance who attended the funeral were two brothers and a number of old friends from Central City, and the father and a brother-in-law of Mrs. Pickett.
Area outlined in red shows location of unmarked grave of William J. Pickett

O'Kay  is an small rural area in Monroe Twp., Platte Co. The photo below shows where O'Kay, as well as Monroe. Cong. Church and New Hope Cem. are from the town of Monroe, NE. The yellow shaded area shows where William and Sarah lived. Exactly where, I am unsure. I've circled the church and cemetery in red. The town on Monroe is southeast of both of those along the Platte River.

OK, so we've got cousins William and Sarah married. And they're raising his nephew William Russell. So, Sarah is Russell's adopted mother/aunt by marriage/first cousin once removed. Yeah I know. But it gets more convoluted, just wait.  As I said, William and Sarah had a daughter, Mabel and then seven months after he passed away, Sarah had their second daughter, Myrtle (b. 9 Sept. 1912).  By virtue of being William's cousin, that makes Sarah the first cousin once removed of her own daughters. Yeah, told you it got more confusing didn't I?  Just wait....

As noted in William's obituary, Sarah's father and one of her brothers-in-law came to NE for his funeral. I am not sure if she returned to IN with them at that time or waited a bit. I do know she was definitely in NE until after 9 Sept. 1912 as her daughter was born in NE. I am not even 100% sure which of her brothers-in-law was at the funeral but I have a guess. Departing from Sarah for a bit...
Charles and Grace Merritt
Grace Runion (Sarah's younger half-sister) married Charles Alvin Merritt (b. 23 Dec. 1887). Grace was a few years older than Charles. They married 30 Jun. 1908 in Hendricks Co., IN.  Their son, Charles Oscar (known by family as Oscar) was born 5 Jul. 1909, their daughter Hazel Agnes was born 14 Oct. 1911 and their daughter Mary Kathryn (per Sarah's Bible, also spelled Catherine in places) was born 15 Dec. 1913.  Grace Merritt passed away 14 Feb. 1914.
Marriage License, Charles Merritt and Grace Runion

So, Sarah's husband William died in 1912, her sister Grace in 1914. At some point Sarah and the three children, Russell, Mabel and Myrtle, end up back in Indiana. Sarah's alone raising three children ages, 10, 3 and 2.  Charles is alone and raising three children, 5, 3, and 2 months. On 18 Nov. 1914, Charles Merritt and Sarah Ann (Runion) Pickett married in Hendricks Co., IN. She was 9 yrs older than he was. But the age difference didn't seem to matter. Between them they had her adopted son Russell Pickett (10), his son Oscar Merritt (5), her daughter Mabel Pickett (3), his daughter Hazel Merritt (3), her daughter Myrtle Pickett (2) and his daughter Mary Kathryn (11 months).

Marriage License, Charles Merritt and Sarah Pickett




Sarah & Charles Merritt, 50th Anniv. Nov. 1964 with daughters: Myrtle Eggers, Mabel Copenhaver, Hazel Weaver

Not surprisingly, they went on to have two sons together. Their sons were: Marshall Woodrow (b. 1 Nov. 1915) and Aaron Alvin (b. 18 Sept. 1919). (I do not have pictures of all of the kids as adults unfortunately.) When Charles died in 1971, they'd been married nearly 57 years.

Mary Kathryn lived with her maternal grandfather, William Newton Runion and his fourth wife, Eliza. She is in their home on the 1920 and 1930 census. Both are in Eel River Twp., Hendricks Co., IN.  The 1920 census has her name as Mary K. Merritt and the 1930 census has Mary C. Merritt. Sarah's Bible has her listed simply as Kathryn. Her marriage license uses Mary Catherine.  Charles and Sarah Merritt are listed in Middle Twp., Hendricks Co., IN in 1920 and Center Twp., Hendricks Co., IN in 1930. Yeah having synonyms for twp. names is odd in my opinion. This shows where the various twps. are located.
Hendricks Co. IN, 1920


Now to make it more interesting.... Charles Merritt was the son of John Wesley Merritt (1843-1921) and Lydia Louzina Lamb Merritt (1856-1895). Their other children were: Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Merritt McCloud (1874-1959), Nora Belle Merritt Eggers Wilson (1876-1953), Anna Luettie "Annie" Merritt McCloud (1880-1965), Lillian Mae Merritt (1880-1883), John William "Bill" Merritt (1883-1960), Elizabeth Tessie Jane "Janie" Merritt Maden (1885-1966), an infant son (1888) and twins, Della Frances Merritt (1891-1960) and James Wesley Merritt (1891-1973).  You'll notice Lizzie and Annie both married men with the last name McCloud. If they're related to each other via the McCloud side, it's distantly enough I've yet to find it.  Also, the first wife of William Newton Runion, father of Grace Runion Merritt and Sarah Runion Pickett Merritt, was a McCloud. But if there's a connect between her family and those of Lizzie or Annie's husbands, I haven't found it.

Lydia Louzina Lamb Merritt & John Wesley Merritt

Nora Belle Merritt (her Find a Grave spells it "Bell" but the other records I've seen, including her obituary which is one of the pics on Find a Grave show it as "Belle") married George Granville Eggers. Nora Belle was born 18 Jul. 1876 and died 21 Feb. 1953. George Granville Eggers was born 26 May 1874 and died Nov. 1945. George Granville Eggers and Nora Belle Merritt married 27 Oct. 1895 in Hendricks Co., IN. Their children were: Opal Lorena Eggers (1896-1927), Elmer Harold Eggers (1906-1978), Ottie Adolph Eggers (1907-1985), Arley Wayne Eggers (1909-1984) and Vera Irene Eggers (1913-1997).  After George Granville Eggers died in 1945, Nora Belle married James Wilson (1867-1958) on 22 Jan. 1947. George Granville Eggers is buried at Hadley Friends Cem., Hadley, Hendricks Co., IN. Nora Belle Merritt Eggers Wilson is buried near her father, John Wesley Merritt at Knights of Pythias Cem., Lizton, Hendricks Co., IN (as are many of her siblings and their spouses, including Charles and Sarah Merritt).  The graves of both George Granville Eggers and Nora Belle Merritt Eggers Wilson are unmarked. 
Opal Lorena Eggers (in white), George Granville Eggers, Nora Belle Eggers (dark dress), Arley Wayne Eggers, Doc Eggers, Harold Eggers.Approx. 1910-12.

The middle son of George and Nora Eggers was Ottie Adolph (O.A or "Doc") Eggers. He was born 27 Nov. 1907. He married Myrna Turner and they had a daughter, Noretta Eggers. After they divorced, Doc married Myrtle Pickett. Yes, I've mentioned that name before. She was the daughter of William J & Sarah Pickett, and the step-daughter of Charles Merritt. As in the same Charles Merritt who is the brother of Nora Belle Merritt Eggers. They married 19 Dec. 1932 in Paris, Edgar Co., IL. Doc & Myrtle had two daughters, Norma Eggers and Virginia Eggers. Since Noretta, Norma and Virginia are living I am not listing additional information about them. 
Doc and Myrtle Eggers

Norma, Virginia, Doc and Noretta Eggers, mid-1940s.
Doc passed away 25 Aug. 1985 and Myrtle 10 Aug. 1989. Both are buried at Cloverdale Cem., Cloverdale, Putnam Co., IN. 

I owe being bitten by the genealogy bug ("What's that?" you ask. I'll explain.) to both Myrtle Eggers and her sister, Hazel. Technically, cousin/step-sister but they never made that distinction, and Charles Merritt was the only father Myrtle knew since William J. Pickett died before she was born. Grandma and Aunt Hazel both would often tell family stories when I was little. So, I grew up hearing those stories and being interested in them. For some odd reason as a kid, I seemed to easily pick up and memorize names, dates and relationships. I wish now I had written the stories down.  One thing that I recall hearing a bit about was my Grandma not knowing where William Joseph Pickett was buried. Somewhere in Platte Co., NE. It was a brick wall for me from my late teens when I began digging up clues to family history.  It frustrated me for over 20 years!  Finally in 2012, I got a few clues. I found the transcript of his obituary which led me to the community of O'Kay and the "Cong. Church". That led me to finding Monroe Congregational Church and I found it was on the National Register of Historic Places. That led me to a Wikipedia entry on it, which in turn led to pictures on Wikimedia Commons. The user who had photographed both the church and cemetery was gracious enough to double check his files to see if he by chance had a picture of Willie's grave. He didn't. But he was going to be in the area and offered to double check when he was. He arrived and there was a caretaker there mowing. The caretaker had the register so along with the information I was able to give him, they were able to find the grave in spite of it being unmarked. He still took pictures for me. I was thrilled to finally bust through that wall after more than 20 yrs of wondering. That's part of why I enjoy genealogy. Well combined with my love of history.

Now that I've rambled on....
The picture on the left, as I said was Jonathan Zane. He was my 4th great grandfather on my Dad's side. He lived in (and helped settle) Wheeling, WV along with his brothers. Col. Ebenezer Zane is considered the founder but brothers Silas and Jonathan were with him.  Col. Ebenezer Zane is an ancestor of the author Zane Grey, who when he found journals written by Ebenezer decided to write a fictional series based on the journals. That resulted in the Ohio Border Trilogy of Betty Zane, Spirit of the Border, & The Last Trail. The Zane family was interesting. I've mentioned them a few times though so I won't go into it here.

Now I am off to catch up hopefully. Only day 2 and my rambling introduction (possibly unnecessary) has me behind already. Oh well. It's my post, I'll ramble if I want to!