Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Rules of Thumb for my Family Tree

FWIW: Here are some of the rules I follow when deciding whether or not to include someone in my family tree. This is just off the top of my head.  If I've missed someone or inadvertently implied that I don't consider someone family, please let me know so I can fix it.

1) Publicly post only deceased relatives.
2) When sharing with others, share deceased and any living up to first cousins.
3) Include biological, adopted, foster, etc. relatives and their immediate in-laws: parents, siblings, siblings' spouses. Some exceptions when assisting close cousins with their genealogy. Including generations of relatives for every in-law is just too many people to keep track of. [If I were requested to add a family tree, I probably would because I love my in-laws! 8-) ]

For recently deceased:
4) Don't include all marriages.  Include those that yielded children, the last marriage, marriages mentioned in important sources, like obituaries, etc. This is not hard set.  I tend to ignore it more with ancient relatives, but with relatives recently deceased, I'd rather not advertise someone's difficulty staying married by listing seven spouses.
5) Don't publicly post information concerning mental health, including death by suicide.

6) Where many variations in spelling exist for old families (prior to about 1900?), adopt an American spelling and an immigrant spelling.  For instance Cussen (native Irish ancestors) and Cushing (descendants in the US), or Donley (native Irish ancestors) and Donnelly (descendants in the US).
7) Record a source for all information.
8) Publicly, post only basic information: birth, marriage, death. This is to encourage serious genealogists to contact me for additional information (sources, burial, places of residence, etc.) which I am happy to share (within privacy constraints) and to share information that they may have about the family in question that I do not have.
9) Include individuals ...
Tier 1: for whom primary sources exist (birth, marriage, death certificates, land records, wills, ...)

Tier 2: from living family members closely enough related to know from personal knowledge and family interviews; corroboration with primary sources preferred
Tier 3: some secondary sources, such as census records, obituaries, grave markers, biographies, town histories, etc.
Tier 4: Published, well-researched, well-scrutinized genealogies (such as Douglas, Pierce, Matthew Cushing, ), corroboration with primary sources preferred
Tier 5: Posted genealogies which cite any of the above sources

Don't include:
Posted genealogies/trees with no source citations, or that cite only other posted genealogies, including LDS IGI and AF information, and Rootsweb and other like sites

But ...
Unsourced information can be used to start research that, once substantiated, can be added to my tree. Authors of posted information can be contacted for leads or sources that might lead to substantiated information added to the tree.

10) Respect living family wishes regarding public information, such as fathers of children born outside of a marriage, etc.
11) Don't stir up old family feuds!

Lydia LaBrune Schirmer 1882-1955

Lydia LaBrune is first seen in the family of Jean-Baptiste and Catherine Dooley LaBrune at the age of 13 in the 1895 state census.  In 1900, she is described as adopted. And that is all we knew. Very recently I was contacted by a couple of Lydia's great-grandchildren who had discovered through a living relative that Lydia was believed to have a sister by the name of Verda Moore, who lived in Cedar Rapids in the 1930s. A few hours of research uncovered a good deal of Lydia's origins.

Lydia and Verda and another sister, Bessie, were the children of Emma Gooding and Oscar Arnold.  Emma and Oscar married in about 1879 (they are together in 1880 in the census in East Cascade, Dubuque co.).  The girls were born in about 1880 (Verda), 1881 (Lydia), and 1883 (Bessie).  In 1885 the family is together in Cascade; "Lida" and "Virdia" are both there! According to divorce papers (as reported in the newspaper), Oscar was abusive and abandoned the family in 1885 in Cascade.  In 1887, Emma filed for and was granted a divorce and custody of the kids.  That's the last information I found for them. I couldn't find any more trace of Oscar, Emma, or Bessie. In 1895, Lydia was with the LaBrunes in Jefferson twp and Verda was living with Lewis and Liddie Board and family in Cascade (both in Dubuque co., Iowa). In 1902, Verda married William Gearhart in Dubuque. They had four kids, then William died in 1909. Verda then married Daniel Moore in 1911. I found a newspaper article saying she filed for divorce for cruel treatment in 1920, but apparently they resolved their differences, at least for a while, since they were together as a family in 1930. In 1962, Verda Gearhart was buried next to William Gearhart, so I'm not sure of the history of Verda's relationship with Daniel Moore.

Found more information, regarding Emma Arnold.  She was the daughter of Thomas Jefferson Goodwin and Eliza A. Summers.  She is with them in the 1870 census in Cascade. Her father died in about 1882 and is buried in Cascade.  In 1887 her divorce was filed in Sioux co., in the far western side of the state, far from Cascade. Her mother, Eliza Goodwin was there in 1900 and I suspect that Emma had gone to live with her mother who had relocated there. In about 1894 Emma married Lars Peterson and they had four or five children together.  They live next door to Emma's mother in 1900 in Hawarden, in Sioux co.  In the 1900 census, I also found a clue as to how Emma's daughter, Lydia, came to be adopted by Jean-Baptiste and Catherine LaBrune.  A few houses away from the Goodwins and Petersons in 1900 are Caspar and Adaline Luchsinger.  Caspar's first wife was Jean-Baptiste's niece. His second wife, Adaline, was also related to the LaBrune family.  So when Emma gave up or lost her children, Lydia may have found a new family through their Luchsinger neighbors. By 1910, both Emma Peterson's and her mother's families had moved out to California: Emma to East San Diego, Eliza to LA. I believe that Eliza Goodwin died between about 1910 and 1918.  Emma Goodwin Arnold Peterson passed away in 1940 in San Diego.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Irish Origins

If you're Math-phobic, skip this article.  It will explain and demonstrate a proposed method to assist in locating Irish ancestors.

A valuable resource used to trace families back to Ireland is Sir Robert Matheson's Surnames in Ireland (1909). One of my first posts showed how common (or rare) some of the Irish surnames in our family tree were in Ireland in the 1800s, when all of our known Irish ancestors came to the United States. The bulk of Matheson's report is a table showing the number of births registered for every surname (family name) in Ireland in 1890, and the distribution of these births by province (Leinster = eastern Ireland, Munster = southwestern Ireland, Ulster = northern Ireland, Connaught = mid-western Ireland).  Some of the important things to know about this index are: (1) related names are combined and reported as the most common name; (2) 1890 is after the Great Famine (aprox. 1845 to 1852) and deaths and the enormous exodus of emigrants from Ireland in the mid and late 1800s had decimated the population (Population was growing very rapidly before the Famine, peaking somewhere around 8 million people, but was down to about 3.5 million at the time of Matheson's data in 1891), so this data may not accurately portray the distribution of families in the early 1800s; and (3) rare family names, for which less than 5 births were registered throughout Ireland, are not included. In spite of the limitations, because of the sparsity of census-like information in Ireland, this is a valuable resource.

I have used this book from time to time to give me a general idea of where a branch of my Irish ancestors came from. Because comprehensive searching of data has not been easy (at least in the past), I have not actually found any of my ancestors using this data.  But I hope to.

It has occurred to me that this information can be used mathematically to narrow a search for an ancestor. The listings in Matheson's table are essentially the probability of finding a family with this surname in the various provinces.  Using Hogans as an example:

Surname    Births in:        Ireland              Leinster             Munster            Ulster            Connaught
Hogan                              193                    59                     115                   5                     14

can be recalculated as

Surname    Probability of birth in:  Ireland      Leinster         Munster            Ulster            Connaught
Hogan                                          100%          31%              60%                 3%                   7%

[Because of rounding, numbers don't add to 100.] So I would expect that my Hogan family was most likely from southwest Ireland, but may also have been from eastern Ireland. It is unlikely they came from northern or western Ireland.

I recently found a marriage record that Mrs. Hogan's maiden name was Rice. Matheson's data for Rice is:

Surname    Births in:      Ireland              Leinster             Munster            Ulster            Connaught
Rice                                 99                     33                     18                   48                     0

and can be recalculated as

Surname    Probability of birth in:   Ireland        Leinster       Munster         Ulster         Connaught
Rice                                               100%           33%            18%             49%               0%

Nearly half of the Rice families were in northern Ireland, where there weren't many Hogans, but there were many in eastern Ireland and several in southwestern Ireland. By combining this data, multiplying the probabilities that both families were present in the province, and normalizing:

Surnames    Probability of marriage in:   Ireland      Leinster     Munster     Ulster      Connaught
Hogan-Rice                                           100%         46%           49%         6%              0%

Note that this method assumes that the bride and groom were actually from the province in which they were married. In this case, a Hogan and Rice married in Ireland were likely from eastern or southwestern Ireland, only slightly different from the conclusion I would have drawn from considering Hogan alone.

Applying this to the other families in our family tree for which I know both surnames:

                   Probability                                                                                                        Start in
Surnames   of marriage in:   Ireland      Leinster      Munster       Ulster       Connaught      counties:
Hogan-Rice                        100%          46%           49%            6%              0%             Dublin

Donnelly-Larkin                  100%          38%            7%           50%              5%       Dublin, Armagh

Cushing-Casey                   100%            6%           87%            0%               8%       Cork, Limerick

Casey-Brady                      100%          60%           12%          20%               8%            Dublin

Shannon-McHugh              100%            5%            2%            56%             37%             ?
Waters-Murphy                  100%          24%          76%             0%              0%          Wexford
Murphy-Stafford                 100%         78%             9%           13%             0%       Wexford, Dublin

Unfortunately, I don't think the underlying data for this table still exists.  If it did, we could further analyze this data by county.  In Matheson's table, he also indicates in which counties the most births occured.  Using these (unquantified) indicators, I estimated the most likely counties in my table, above.  The only test I have on this method is that the Cushing-Casey family is known to come from Co. Limerick, near where it joins Cos. Tipperary and Cork. The table above tells me that the family was very likely from Munster province (correct), and the county notes would have sent me to Cork and Limerick counties.

Unfortunately, at this time, there are very few couples in my tree that were married in Ireland and for whom I know the wife's maiden name. In the table above, only three are direct ancestors, and for the one most strongly placed (Cushing-Casey) we already know where they're from.  The other four families are parents of in-laws in my tree to help others connect to our family, but not of enough interest to search their origins.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cushings: Our Viking Origins

[posted 15 Sep '14; added to web site 23 Jan '15] Our known genealogy only goes back a few hundred years: to the early 1800s for most of our branches, to the early 1600s for some.  While searching for Cushings in Ireland, I've browsed several books that either claim to know or speculate about the origin of the name and how Cushings came to be in Ireland. The one thing they all agree on is that Cushing is not a native Irish name.  I've included some of the different origin theories on the Cushing page of my genealogy web site.  The one most interesting to me, though I have not found any research to support the specific link to the Cushing family, is that Cussen (and like names) is derived from "Cu's son", Cu having been a Viking land owner in the vicinity of Galbally.  On the other hand, the most widely accepted theory is that an English knight with a name like Cousins came to the Cork area during the Norman Invasion of Ireland in the late 12th century.  [While the primary invasions occured in 1169 (eastern Ireland) and 1171 (eastern and southern Ireland), the influx of people from Normandy continued through about 1190.  All of this is considered the Norman Invasion.]  Over the centuries, they were "hibernicized", losing their foreign identity and becoming "Irish".  They had estates in the Cork area, until these were taken away and given to the Bowen family (Bowens Court) in about 1662 as part of the policy begun by Cromwell to replace the Irish with English. This once prominent family is taken to be the source of the Cushen and related families in Munster province (southern Ireland).

Rendering of what a Viking Cushing may have looked like [ 8-) ]
Recently, I was reading through the introduction to a well know Cushing genealogy, The Genealogy of the Cushing Family, An Account of the Ancestors and Descendants of Matthew Cushing, Who Came to America in 1638, the 1905 updated edition by James S. Cushing. In it he presents research that says that a great Viking warrior, son of the Viking conqueror of Norway, was exiled from Norway in about 900 C.E. He and his large group of followers eventually landed in what is now France, taking and settling a territory that came to be known as Normandy. (Norsemen, from Norway, conquered Normandy, ...)  Skipping 150 years of genealogy, descendants of these Vikings included William the Conqueror and his nobles, who conquered England in 1066 CE and issued lands and titles to his kinsmen, including one who had adopted the surname Cusyn.  So skip ahead another 120 years or so to a Cusyn descendant that took land in southern Ireland and established the Cushens of Munster Province. (By the way, descendants in England became the Cousins and Cushings and related of England, one of whose families was the subject of this Cushing genealogy book and to whom most of the Cushings in North America can trace their roots.)

The irony, then, is that whether you accept Cu, the Viking who conquered land in southern Ireland in the 9th or 10th century CE, or a Cousin nobleman who arrived during the Norman Invasion, a descendant of Vikings who conquered Normandy in the early 10th century CE, the origin of our Cushings is likely, ultimately, Viking.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ellen Cussen Welch

[posted 11 Sep '14; added to web site 22 Jan '15] Ellen was the youngest of Dennis Cussen and Katherine Casey's Irish-born children, born near Galbally, Limerick co., Ireland in 1841. She was living with her family in Fort Winnebago, Wisconsin in 1850 and 1860. In 1869 she married Michael Welch, a butcher from nearby Juneau co. They settled in Necedah where twins Katie and William were born in 1870.  Ellen's sister, Mary Cushing Lupient, also lived in Necedah in 1870. I believe that Necedah was part of land recently (ca. 1840s) purchased from Native Americans and was experiencing rapid settlement and growth. It is located on the Yellow River, which flows into the Wisconsin River near Portage, so perhaps there was a fair amount of river traffic to and from Portage, and that is how Michael and Ellen met.

In 1883, Katie died.  In 1886, the "M.W. Welch building" was destroyed in a major fire in Necedah. It looks like they sold their home and moved away shortly thereafter. I can't find any record of them until Ellen Walsh, a widow, dies in Chicago in 1913.  She is mentioned in her brother's death notice in Chicago in 1908, so was probably in Chicago at that time.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Current McClintock Hypothesis

Briefly, James and Mary McClintock are found in Wheeling, Virginia in the 1850 US census.  James is a ship's carpenter, born in Ohio.  Just two houses away are John and Hannah McClintock and family.  John is also a ship's carpenter, born in Ohio, and just a couple of years older than James. My guess would be that John and James are brothers. They are in Wheeling, where McClintock tradition says James was born; James is a ship's carpenter, as he was in the 1870 census where I first found our James McClintock.  The Wheeling James seems to be ours. When John died in Wood county several years later, his death certificate listed his parents as Noble and Ellen McClintock. It is reasonable to assume that John and James were both sons of Noble and Eleanor McClintock.

There are some inconsistencies, though:
1) Family tradition says James was married to Ann Wilkins.  There is no mention of a first marriage to a Mary, as in the 1850 census. (However, the ten year gap in ages between the first two children shown in the 1870 census is a good indication that the first child was born to a first marriage, and the others were born to a second marriage.)
2) From census records for Noble and Eleanor, and a daughter Elizabeth, and from the earliest known land record in 1825, I would conclude that Noble and family immigrated from Ireland to the United States in the mid-to-late 1820s.  This is inconsistent with James and John census records indicating they were born in Ohio, W. Virginia, and other places, prior to that year. (However, a death record for Elizabeth says she was born on the ocean in 1808, indicating a family immigration in 1808.)

To shore up the addition of Noble and Eleanor and family to our family tree, I am searching for any records supporting two marriages to James McClintock and supporting an earlier immigration of Noble and family to the US.  If you know of any such records, please contact me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Understand Online Data!

I just spent a couple of hours trying to uncover some additional information from . Yikes! I found lots of copies of my family tree (available for free at, but with non-sensical siblings and residences and naturalization records and added wives, etc. This is a problem with any family tree, but I am surprised to see such egregious errors among the trees since data sources are so readily available there.

This is not unique to . Recently, I found some data in an online database at that seemed too good to be true. When I read the description of the database, it turned out that some of the information in the index was user submitted through the IGI and ancestral file collections. In other words, there was no source of information given to back up the data. I admit that I don't investigate every piece of data found in online databases, but if it is an important new find, I look up the film number (on associated with the specific record to see if it was user submitted or came from a county clerk or a transcription of original records in a courthouse. We've been lulled into thinking that if it's in a database, then it is accurate/true data.

Whatever your source of data, document it. At least someone can go back to check the source someday if there is some question about accuracy. I'm guessing that many others who research their family history treat sources like I do. I record every source. But I don't post them. My expectation was that serious (amateur) genealogists would want to contact me for my sources, thereby allowing me to make contact with them. After hundreds of hours uncovering this information, I did not want to simply give it away without at least meeting a cousin who may have information I don't. Apparently, most people prefer to anonomously copy what I've made available. But also note, serious genealogists want you to contact them.

Oh, well. Just be aware that simply because you find information in a database from a well know entity, like or, does not mean that the information is accurate.

[I am not discouraging the use of these great services. I use FamilySearch often, as well as sites like and others. My point is that you should understand what the primary source of the information was and judge it's accuracy accordingly.]

Sunday, August 17, 2014

In Search of McClintock Origins

   Our McClintock information goes back as far as James McClintock, thought to be born in Wheeling, Virginia in about 1820.  (West Virginia wasn't formed until 1863, when the western part of the state was so opposed to Virginia's inclusion in the Confederate States that it broke away and aligned itself with the Union.)  James' origin came from senior members of our branch of the McClintock family, who have since passed away.  As best I know, their source was a family bible, known as the Covington Bible, that contained birth, marriage and death dates for the families of Robert Lee McClintock, the fifth of James' six sons that we know of, and his wife, Catherine Covington.  Over the years I've been able to verify most of the names, places and dates, establishing this bible as a reliable source of information. According to the Covington Bible, James was married to Ann Wilkins, born in 1831 in Union county, Kentucky.

   The earliest record I have that is definitively the family of James McClintock is the 1870 US census of Bells Mines, Kentucky, a tiny town in Crittenden county, on the Ohio River (the same river that runs through Wheeling, West Virginia) that no longer exists.  In other words, the first record isn't until James is fifty years old.  Ten years later the family is located in adjacent Hopkins county, a little further inland. I've tracked several of the kids to and through Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan and California.  Recently, I've been trying to confirm what little I know and find more about James and Ann.

Marker of James McClintock in Earlington, Kentucky
Marker of Ann McClintock in
 Lehigh, Oklahoma (

     I found these grave markers through .  James was buried in Earlington, Kentucky in 1886.  Ann was buried in Lehigh, in the Choctaw Nation of the Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, in 1900.  I've searched online records extensively, but have not found anything definitive about James and Ann prior to the 1870 census.  I have three major leads:

1) I found a birth certificate for Albert B. McClintock, born in Crittenden county, Kentucky in 1859 to James A. McClintock. This matches the Covington bible information, except for a six day difference in birth dates, i.e., it's almost certainly a match.  The birth record lists the mother as Ann Dobbs, not Ann Wilkins.  This raises a host of questions that I will try, as time allows, to resolve. I am now wondering what the source of the Covington Bible information is, if it was recorded more or less contemporaneously with events, or if it was all from a family genealogist, and may contain errors.  Ann Wilkins may be a married name, Dobbs a maiden name. I have searched for Dobbs families and Wilkins families in the Union county area, and in West Virginia, but have not found a likely match. To do: get copy of birth certificate; talk to owner of Covington Bible, revisit census records, contact remaining senior McClintocks.

2) I found a James and May (Mary?) McClintock of the right age in Wheeling, Virginia in 1850.  He was a ship's carpenter, as was our James in the 1870 census in Kentucky. He lived next door to a John McClintock, 5 years older, who was also a ship's carpenter, and I assume the two of them were brothers. One of John's kids was born in Kentucky. I was on the verge of accepting this James as ours, but have now traced John and James through census records to Wood county, West Virginia, where James and his family were living in 1870.  The family names are not those of our Kentucky family, so I've had to give up on the Wheeling, West Virginia McClintocks as our ancestors.

3) Several years ago I contacted a McClintock genealogist who had compiled a book of hundreds of McClintock families, and included our own.  According to his research, James was the son of Noble and Eleanor McClintock, Irish immigrants living in Harrison county, Ohio, not far from Wheeling. He cited records that prove the relationship, but also mentions brothers John and James in West Virginia. I was hoping to confirm the link to Noble, but given the 1870 census record discrepancy, I'm less certain of this. To do: get copies of sources cited.

If you have any information on James and Ann (and possibly James' first wife and family), please leave a comment.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Some Dooleys in St. Louis: Party and Recovery

Some e-mail I sent to family a few years back:

Hi, everyone.

It's a common goal in genealogy to trace your family history back just far enough to find a connection with the family tree of Charlemagne. I think that just about everyone with European ancestry is somehow tied to him, so if you can find the connection you can claim that you're related to royalty.

Well, here's the best I've come up with so far ...

Our Dooley ancestors came from Callan, Co. Kilkenny, Ireland to Dubuque, Iowa in the late 1830's. One branch of the family, the only that I know of with the name of Dooley, settled in Saint Louis around 1860. ... [Our parents] had Dooley 2nd cousins in St. Louis ... One of these Dooley cousins, Joseph, married Edmer Anheuser, a granddaughter to Eberhardt Anheuser, the original owner of what later became Anheuser Busch brewery. (By 1829, Joseph remarried, and I don't know what became of Edmer Anheuser.) So there's our link to American "royalty".

[Follow on e-mail:]

Hi, again.

This is so ironic, you may not believe it's true.

So, the other day I sent a message about how we're connected to Budweiser through Joseph Dooley, a cousin in St. Louis. Joseph had a twin brother, William, who married Cornelia Howe. Cornelia's father was the inventor of TUMS (the famous antacid)! William was the Secretary of Dr. Howe's company, the Lewis-Howe Company. So apparently the Dooleys were well prepared for both the party and the recovery.

Another interesting coincidence: The William & Cornelia Dooley house is now part of the Webster University campus (I think it houses the English Dept.). The Dooleys must have been living there when [private] went to school there (previously Webster College) in the early '40s. It was "The Dooley House" when the University bought it in about 1984, and has now been renamed Pearson house. The Howe house, next door, is now also owned by the University. These houses, and Webster U., are located in Webster Groves, near St. Louis.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Covington Family in Rhea co., Tenn. & Crawford co., Ark. 1800s

Rhea and Meigs Counties, 1840

I believe that our Covington family is descended from Richard Covington, born in about 1775. It's likely he himself was born further east, probably Virginia or one of the Carolinas, but census records indicate that all of his children were born in Tennessee, beginning before 1810.  The earliest record I have found so far is the 1840 US census, showing Richard, his wife, and twelve children living in Rhea County, Tennessee, in the southeast corner of the state.  Rhea County is located in the Tennessee River Valley, in the Appalachian Mountains. Two of their sons were married and lived nearby: John, also in Rhea County and William, across the Tennessee River in the newly formed Meigs County.


Cherokee Connection?

Indian Removal (graphic from Wikipedia)

The Covingtons were in this location probably as part of a natural westward expansion into fertile farmland along the Tennessee River. But perhaps there is a Cherokee connection.  In the late 1830s, the US government forced the Cherokee Nation to move from their territory to the Oklahoma Territory, their very difficult journey known as the Trail of Tears. (This was part of a broader displacement of the largest eastern tribes during the 1830s.) The Covington properties were just outside of the Cherokee territory in 1840. The Cherokee followed two routes, both beginning at the Tennessee River between Meigs and Rhea Counties. (Click on the graphic caption for a larger image.) By 1850, most of the family had moved to the Fort Smith, Arkansas area, which was near the other end of the Cherokee route and just across the border from the new Cherokee territory. Family history claims there was "Native American blood" in the Covington family.  I have not found any records showing Native Americans in the family, but records are sparse. I wonder if the Covingtons were just a family in a westward expansion, or whether they had family in the Indian Territories.

Crawford County region, from 1850

I'm guessing that Richard and his wife passed away in the early 1840s.  In 1841, three of the kids were married in Rhea co.: Sarah and Anna married Silas and Thomas Conley (brothers?) on August 17th, and Jackson married Rebecca Smith in December. By 1850, William, John, James "Mat", Lorenzo, Rebecca, Gregsby and Richard, i.e., half of Richard's kids, were all in Richland township, in Crawford county, Arkansas. Crawford county was on the western edge of Arkansas, bordering the (Oklahoma) Indian Territory. Jackson and Anna (Conley) were back in Rhea co. I haven't found the other five.  By 1860, Jackson, Rufus and Louis join Mat in Crawford county, in Mountain township, bringing to 10 of 14 kids that came through Crawford co..  The remaining four are Sarah and Anna Conley and Richard's oldest son and daughter, that I have not been able to identify.  As the 12 known families continued to spread out, I lost track of most of them.  From census and marriage records I assembled the following Covington family tree:

(If you're in the OurFamilyForest family but don't know how you'r related to these folks, click on the genealogy link to our family tree on the right side of this blog, type in the name of your nearest deceased family member [father, grandfather, etc.] [last name, first name], click on the "list" button, click on your relative, then select the pedigree tab.  One of the branches of your tree should be a Covington.  If this doesn't work for you, contact me.)

Accuracy of the Covington Family Tree

Census records contain all sorts of errors, including ages, places of birth, and name spellings, the 1840 enumeration does not include names of those counted, and relationships are not shown prior to 1880.  There are very few vital records (at least available through to support (or refute) the guesses I've made.  So there is plenty of opportunity for errors in the above family tree.  However, given the proximity of these Covingtons to each other in the towns where they were located in 1840, 1850 and 1860, assuming only making reasonable assumptions based on their ages, and matching ages with the 1840 data, the Richard Covington family tree I've assembled is a very reasonable estimate. As more evidence becomes available, I will modify the tree as appropriate.  (If you have any data that either supports or refutes some part of the family tree, please contact me or leave a comment.)

Family Names

It was common in the South to name children after prominent people.  The Covingtons include an Andrew Jackson, Lorenzo Dow, James Madison, and Martin Van Buren.  Presumably, these namesakes represented values important to the Covington family.  At the time of Andrew Jackson Covington's birth in about 1820, Andrew Jackson was a war hero for his victories against the Creek Indians and the British in the War of 1812 and victories over the Seminole and Creek Indians in The First Seminole War in 1818, subsequently was responsible for taking Florida from the Spanish, was a very successful planter and merchant, had been Tennessee's first US Representative in 1796, and owned about 40 slaves. He was a Tennessee hero long before his election to two terms as US President in 1828 and 1832. (Note that Jackson's battles with the Creek and Seminole Indians does not mean he was "anti-Indian".  In other battles he was allied with Creek, Choctaw and Cherokee Indians, and two of his three adopted children were Native Americans.) Lorenzo Dow Covington was born in about 1827, near the end of a 30 year tenure of the very popular traveling preacher after whom he was named, Lorenzo Dow.  Dow was eccentric but eloquent, often shouting, insulting, and telling jokes. Very unconventional in the conservative religious services of the time.  He travelled throughout the United States, on foot, "did not practice personal hygiene", carried only the clothes on his back and a box of Bibles to give away.  He was a fierce abolitionist, often making him unpopular in the South. There are several Lorenzo Dow Covingtons, probably indicating their profound admiration, and may indicate the Covingtons were anti-slavery.  James Madison served two terms as President, from 1809-1817. He, too, was a slave owner.  Not being an historian, it is not clear to me why Madison would be a popular choice for naming children, other than that he was President at the time.  He tried to use the US Army to protect Indian lands against encroachment by settlers.  If the Covingtons had ties to the Cherokee near whom they lived in the 1830s, this may have endeared Madison to them. Martin Van Buren Covington was one of Richard Covington's grandchildren, and was born near Van Buren, Arkansas in 1839, right in the middle of Martin Van Buren's single term as President of the United States, so his name probably has more to do with circumstance than admiration.  Van Buren was anti-slavery, though opposing abolition. I believe it was common in the South for people to be anti-slavery as immoral, but against Federal abolition of slavery as an encroachment on States' rights, so Van Buren's position may have resonated with many in the South.

1860 Murder in Van Buren

On Saturday, October 13 1860, the town of Van Buren had been "called out to muster".  I'm not sure whether this was a regular town militia training, or whether is was a recruitment day for the US Army.  For a little historical context, Abraham Lincoln was elected with only 40% of the popular vote the following month, and in December southern states began seceding from the United States, including Arkansas in May of the following year.  There was heated debate over the issues of slavery and States' rights and many European-Americans in Arkansas were probably upset that there was apparently so much open land just across the river in the Oklahoma Indian Territories, but that they could not settle on it. In the early evening of October 13, 1860, two local troublemakers, brothers Ben and Silas Edwards, shot and stabbed to death Andrew Jackson Covington, then his 17 year old son, Richard, who tried to intervene, and then his brother, Rufus.  The reason was allegedly some combination of troublemakers and a family feud.  The Edwards brothers were caught and jailed, and one of them was shot by an angry group of Covington family and friends who tried to intercept the arresting officers. From an Edwards genealogy, I know that neither of the Edwards brothers died that day, but I do not yet know what happened following the murder. (If you have access to the compilation of newspaper article published in Van Buren Press: 1859-62 Volume 1, I"m very interested in learning the rest of this story.)  The families of Jackson and Rufus may have been split up following their deaths.  I can't find Jackson's family in 1870; I found two of Rufus' kids living with another family.

Fort Smith

Fort Smith, just a few miles from Van Buren, was on the Arkansas-Indian Territories border, was/is the second largest town in the state, and had a reputation for a very tough, "wild west" town.  Often death certificates of Covingtons who had moved away will show Fort Smith as a birthplace, because when asked while living they undoubtedly said they were from near Fort Smith, an easily recognizable place.

My Covingtons: On to Texas and Indian Territories

My own Covington family descended from James "Mat" Covington, and his oldest son, John.  He married Mary McLaughlin in Crawford co. in 1873, where Sarah, their oldest daughter was born the following year, then moved to join his father's family in Denton co., Texas in about 1875.  Both families were there in 1880.  John died in 1900 and was buried in Lehigh in the Pushmataha District of the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory, later Lehigh, Coal co., Oklahoma.  (A booming town in the early 1900s and later as a coal mining town, but since the Depression has become nearly a ghost town.) I don't know what became of James and Winnie Covington's family.  They scattered in the 20 years between the 1880 and 1900 censuses.  I have picked up the trail of John and Mary's family (which is what led me back to the Covington's in Arkansas and Tennessee in the first place).

Unanswered questions

1) What is the Kuykendall-Covington connection?  I know of two marriages(John C. to Sarah K. in Franklin co., Arkansas in 1872, and Lorenzo Dow C. to Parthena K. in 1881 in Crawford co., Arkansas) but there are multiple instances well prior to that of Covington kids living with Kuykendalls and of Covington and Kuykendall neighbors in various places.
2) The Van Buren murders:  What happened to the Edwards brothers? What was the feud about? What became of Jackson and Rufus' families? Where are Jackson and Rufus buried?
3) Where were Richard & family before 1840 (children's births indicate Tennessee since at least 1810, but can't find in census)?  Where did they go after 1860?
4) Strays that might link to previous marriages: Who was 9 year old Jasper Brown, living with Lorenzo and Eliza Covington in 1850 and 1860 in Richland? Who was John Hardin, living with this same family in 1860? Who was 5 year old Richard Loyd, living with William and Mary in Richland in 1850?
5) James "Mat" Covington was married to Martha in 1850 and 1860, but Winnie in 1870 and 1880.  Were they the same person, or did James remarry?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Covington Murders, October 1860, Van Buren, Arkansas

VAN BUREN PRESS, Oct __, 1860


     Mr. Duxmaw (?)--- Sir: I deem it a duty --- being an eye-witness --- to give you an outline of the dreadful affair that occurred last Saturday, the 13th of October, the terror of which will long remain in the minds of those who witnessed it, and one that will stain the reputation of our long peaceable city. And the blood of the murdered men will stain the streets and pavements of her terra firma for many days and weeks; it has been already four or five days since the horrible crime was committed, and the blood is still to be seen spread over the streets and pavements --- "The blood of murdered men shall rise." What horrid spectacle to see three mudered men lying in a pile --- two brothers and a son --- murdered by the villainous hands of two brothers who have always been a pest and terror to the whole country ever since they arrived at the age of 15 years, and who have already cost our county twelve or fifteen thousand, and who been running at large sometime without notice. But on Saturday I suppose they thought they would bring themselves into notice by killing three good citezens by the name of COVINGTON, it being a public day, and everybody was called out to muster, as it was the regular day appointed for that occassion. There was quite a large number of people in attendance, and the day passed off with peace and quiet up to the hour of the killing, which was about five O'clock in the evening, when the fight was commenced by one BENJAMIN EDWARDS, who draw a gun and shot JACKSON COVINGTON, and then ran upon him and knocked him in the head with his gun; but while he was accomplishing this horrible deed, his brother SILAS stabbed COVINGTON's son, who ran up to protect and save his father, but alas, he was too late. He was stabbed and killed by that notorious villain, SILAS EDWARDS, and then, after accomplishing that wilful deed, he ran up to where the young man's father lay, and thrust his large bowie knife into him three or four times, as though he was killing a wild beast of the forest. He then ran across and came into contact with RUFUS COVINGTON, who met him with hands only, and would, had there been no intereference from any other source, saved his life, but he was knocked in the head with rocks, by some two persons, but I do not know who, and then the said villain rose and stabbed him two or three times, killing him almost instantly. The two EDWARDS then made for their escape, but were pursued by our energetic officers and brought back and lodged in jail, where they will remain until the next term of Circut Court, when it is to be hoped they will be dealt with according to law.
     This, Sir, is about as an impartial view of the affair as I can give. Although an eye-witness, there were many things done that I could not correctly memorize, I therefore give this statement as near as I can without doing injustice to either party.            An Eye-witness

{Same paper as above - right under above story}
Van Buren, Oct. 15, 1860
     After the arrest of the muderers, an attempt was made by the excited populace to take from the officers and hang them without trial. But by the determined will and strenuous efforts of the officers having them in charge, they were got to jail. On Tuesday, the two EDWARDS were brought before JUSTICE HATTAWAY for examination under guard of twenty-five men to protect them. By advice of council, they waved an examination, and were ordered back to jail. On their way back, when within about forty yards of the jail, two brothers of the murdered men armed guns brought them all to a stand; the guards, seeing their determination to fire, gave way when one fired and brought them to the ground, and the other firing directly after. The younger EDWARDS was shot in the body and arm, the other through the thigh and arm; neither of them were mortally wounded, and up to our going to press are recovering slowly.
     Our advice to all parties interested is to let the law take its course. See if there not a remedy there; if not, it will then be time enough for the people to take the law into their own hands. We think there is a remedy, and we trust that no good citezen will give countance to any act that will bring disgrace upon our city, and place a stain upon our fair name, that time will never efface; but give to the officers of the county a cordial and ready support in the maintenance of law and order.

Oct 26, 1860
Benjamin Edwards that was committed to jail for shooting and killing in connection with his brother, the three Covingtons, and who was shot by other brothers of the murdered men, on the day of examination died from his wounds on Sunday night last.  He leaves a wife and infant child.  Silas Edwards is considered in no danger at all, his wounds being but slight.

Nov 30, 1860
Silas Edwards, charged with killing the Covingtons, has had an examination before R C Hattaway, ESQ. and committed fully for murder.

New Albany Daily Tribune
Tuesday, October 16, 1860, New Albany, Indiana
 A dispatch from Van Buren, Ark; dated the 13th says:—
After a regimental muster which was held here to-day, three men, named Ruftis and Jackson Covington, brothers, and Richard, a son ot the latter, were killed by two brothers named Silas and Ben Edwards. Several others were badly cut and otherwise injured on both sides. An old feud existed between the parties, but the Edwards', who have long been the terror of this part of the State, are the aggressors. While trying to make their escape they were overtaken a short distance from town by the constable and his posse and lodged in the jail.
   A large crowd nearly succeeded in taking the prisoners from the constable and hanging them upon the streets, and afterwards surrounded the jail for that purpose but were finally pacified.  The people are much excited and it is feared that the prisoners will yet be lynched. It is the most atrocious affair that ever was known here.

Found on Google Books:
History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas: From the Earliest Time to the Present, Including a Department Devoted to the Preservation of Sundry Personal, Business, Professional and Private Records ; Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Etc., Etc (Livre numérique Google)
Higginson Book Company, 1889 - 1382 pages
On October 13, 1860, a muster day, Benjamin and Silas Edwards were the murderers of Jackson Covington and his son, and Rufus Covington, at Van Buren. It was some feudal trouble; Benjamin stabbed Jackson Covington, and Silas stabbed his son, and then made for Rufus and stabbed him, leaving the three dead bodies in a pile. The Edwards were imprisoned, and when brought out for trial, and witnesses not being ready, they were being taken out of the court-yard gate, the infuriated mob shot at them and killed one and wounded the other. He was imprisoned, but later on burned his way out of jail with a candle and escaped.

Questions: What was the feud? What happened to the families of Rufus and Jackson?  Where are the Covington brothers buried?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Famille LaBrune à Dubuque, l'Iowa, E.U.

Jean-Baptiste LaBrune était benjamin de, je crois, cinq enfants nés à Philip et Ann LaBrune.  De leur voyage de la France, je sais peu: une des enfants est née entre 1835 et 1840 en France et Jean-Baptiste est né à l'Ohio aprés le recensement en 1840 et dans 1850 la famille était arrivée, moins deux enfants, à Dubuque, Iowa, une destination populaire pour les immigrés français. (Avant la Vente de la Louisiane en 1803, la plupart de la territoire entre la rivière Mississippi et les montagnes Rocheuses appartenait (au moins en excluant les peuples indigènes) à la France, à l'exception de quelques années sous le contrôle de l'Espagne. Cette territoire était en plus grande partie ni développée ni explorée, donc la rivière Mississippi était la frontière d'une étendue sauvage, du point de vue des Etats-Unis. Beaucoup de trappeurs français se sont installés dans des lieux comme Dubuque le longue de la rivière d'où ils faisaient commerce de peaux avec l'Est.) Donc la famille LaBrune a quitté la France vers la fin des années 1830s, aurait pu voyager d'abord au Québec, et se cheminait vers les villes françaises à l'autre côté de la rivière Mississippi.  Il est possible que quelques uns des enfants avec eux ne soient pas leurs propres enfants (les noms des individus n'étaient pas enregistrés dans le recensement de 1840) ou qu'ils se soient mariés ou installés quelque part en route ou qu'ils aient péri. Je crois que les familles qui se déplacaient en migration vers l'ouest avaient tendance à s'installer quelque part pendant quelques années, puis continuer, donc il se peut que notre famille LaBrune est restée faire de la cultivation des années à l'Ohio avant de reprendre la route à Dubuque. Le fils aîné, George, s'est marié à Dubuque en 1846.  Peut-être il y est allé et puis a persuadé ses parents d'amener la famille là-bas. J'ai très peu d'information sur leur voyage.  En tout cas, en 1850 la famille était aux parages de Dubuque où elle est restée de nombreuses années. Ann est morte en 1868 et est enterrée dans le cimetière Catholique St. Joseph.  Lisez mon post antérieur sur Philip, mais il a disparu. Il est possible qu'il s'est déménagé à l'Ohio et s'est remarié après la mort d'Ann.

L'enfant aîné, George, s'est marié à Domathilde Breault à Dubuque en 1846. Elle est née à Montréal en 1826 et je suppose qu'elle avait un assez fort accent français parce que la plupart des traces écrites lui assignent les noms de Mathilda ou Martha ou Mary.  Ils ont élévé neuf enfants aux environs de Rickardsville: Mary (m. Peter Limoges), Celina (m. Casper Luchsinger), Josephine (m. John Liebold), Caroline (m. Amab Cousley), George Nicolas (m. Adeline Crevier), John B (resté célibataire), Joseph (m. Josephine Limoges, soeur cadette de Peter), Edmire (quelques fois dit Adeline m. Martin Cunningham), et Mathilda (m. John Schwind). Quelques uns des enfants se sont déménagés vers l'ouest à Sioux City et la Dakota Territory (Mary Limoges, Celina Luchsinger, George N. LaBrune, and Joseph LaBrune). Tôt dans leurs mariage, George et Martha étaient propriétaires d'une taverne sur la route des diligences qui traversait Rickardsville, mais tous les recensements disent qu'ils étaient fermiers.  George est mort en 1873.  Lorsque leur fille, Mathilda, s'est mariée en 1866, Martha est allée vivre avec elle à Dubuque. Martha est morte en 1914 et était enterrée à côté de George dans le cimetière St. Joseph à Rickardsville.

Trois des cings enfants dans la famille de Philip et Ann à l'Ohio ont disparu: un fils né en fin des années 1820s en France, Nicholas né vers 1831 en France (ce dernier était avec la famille dans le recensement de 1850 à l'Iowa, mais puis a disparu), et une fille née en fin des années 1830s en France.  Je continue à chercher des traces écrites d'eux.

Jean-Baptiste, le benjamin de la famille et le seul né aux E.U., s'est marié à Catherine Dooley, une voisine à Jefferson Township originaire de l'Irelande.  Jean-Baptiste a eu du succès comme fermier.  Ils ont élévé six enfants: John P (m. Elizabeth Rooney), Anastasia (m. James Hogan), Mary (morte à l'age de 19 ans), Daniel (resté célibataire), et Lydia (m. Frank Schirmer).  Trois autres enfants sont morts très jeunes: William (1 mois), Thomas (2 ans), et Josephine (3 ans).  Je crois que Lydia est née Lydia Maxwell, une voisine de la famille LaBrune, et était adoptée par eux après le décès de ses parents.  Anastasia s'est mariée à James Hogan à St. Louis, où ils ont élévé leur famille.  Le frère de Catherine Dooley LaBrune (mère d'Anastasia), William, était épicier prospère à St. Louis et sa femme était de la même famille que les Hogans.  Anastasia et James se sont fait leurs connaisances chez l'oncle William, sans doute. John, Daniel et Lydia sont restés aux environs de Dubuque.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

LaBrune Update

I had a few LaBrunes floating around in my data that I've attached to our family.

Jean-Baptiste LaBrune was the youngest of, I believe, five children born to Philip and Ann LaBrune.  About their journey from their native France I know only that one of the children was born in the mid to late 1830s in France and Jean-Baptiste was born in Ohio after the 1840 census and that by 1850 the family, minus two of the kids, was in Dubuque, Iowa, a common destination for French immigrants. (Prior to the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, most of the land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains was French territory, though for a short time under Spanish control.  This land was largely undeveloped and unexplored, so the Mississippi River was the edge of wilderness, from the point of view of the United States.  There were many French trappers that settled in places like Dubuque along the Mississippi where they traded their pelts with the East.)  So the LaBrunes left France in the late 1830s, may have gone first to Quebec, and were making their way west to the French towns across the Mississippi.  Some of the kids with them may not have been their own (no names are given in the 1840 census) or may have married or settled somewhere along the way or may have perished.  My sense is that families that migrated west tended to settle in the east, then move on after a few years, so maybe they spent a few years farming in Ohio before deciding to move on to Dubuque.  The oldest son, George, married in Dubuque in 1846.  Perhaps he had gone ahead and persuaded his parents to bring the family.  There is very little information about their travel.  In any case, by 1850 they were in the Dubuque area where they remained for many years. Ann died in 1868 and is buried in St. Joseph's Catholic cemetery.  See my earlier post about Philip, but he disappeared.  It's possible he moved to Ohio and remarried after Ann's death.

Their oldest known child, George, married Domathilde Breault in Dubuque in 1846.  She was born in Montréal in 1826 and I assume she had a heavy French accent since most records name her Mathilda or Martha or Mary. They raised nine children in the Rickardsville area: Mary (m. Peter Limoges), Celina (m. Casper Luchsinger), Josephine (m. John Liebold), Caroline (m. Amab Cousley), George Nicolas (m. Adeline Crevier), John B (did not marry), Joseph (m. Josephine Limoges, younger sister to Peter), Edmire (aka Adeline m. Martin Cunningham), and Mathilda (m. John Schwind). Some of the kids moved west to the Sioux City area and to the nearby Dakota Territory (Mary Limoges, Celina Luchsinger, George N. LaBrune, and Joseph LaBrune). Early in their marriage, George and Martha operated a tavern on the stagecoach road through Rickardsville, but every census record lists George as a farmer. He passed away in 1873. When their daughter, Mathilda, married in 1886, Martha went to live with her in Dubuque, Martha passed away there in 1914 and was buried next to George at St. Joseph's Catholic cemetery in Rickardsville.

Three of the five children in Philip and Ann's family in Ohio disappeared: a son born in the late 1820s in France, Nicholas born in about 1831 in France, and a daughter born in the late 1830s in France.  I'm still looking for traces of them.

Jean-Baptiste, the youngest of the family and the only one born in the United States, married Catherine Dooley, an Irish-born neighbor in Jefferson township. Jean-Baptiste did well as a farmer there. They raised six children: John P (m. Elizabeth Rooney), Anastasia (m. James Hogan), Mary (died at the age of 19), Daniel, and Lydia (m. Frank Schirmer).  Three other children died as infants: William (1 month), Thomas (2 years), and Josephine (3 years).  We think that Lydia was born Lydia Maxwell, was a neighbor of the LaBrunes, and was adopted by them  after her parents passed away.  Anastasia married James Hogan in St. Louis, where they raised their family.  Catherine Dooley LaBrune's (Anastasia's mother) brother, William, was a successful grocer in St. Louis and was related to the Hogans.  Anastasia and James undoubtedly met at uncle William's house. John, Daniel and Lydia stayed in the Dubuque area.