Thursday, November 29, 2012

They Farmed... what else?

I have had difficulty telling the story of my Jackson County, Indiana ancestors. They didn't fight off indians, the Civil War wasn't fought there. It wasn't the site of any major historic events. I've seen signs like nothing happened here in such and such year, which could be a sign found in Jackson County.
On a family level I know major life events occurred here. Such events were seldom recorded. Diaries, letters and so on are generally the places we find these events recorded. I have a transcript of one letter, that of Isis Browning-Forgey, with instructions she wanted carried out after her death. My family lived in a small town so these events also often made news and were recorded in the local Brownstown Banner Newspaper under such headings as "Freetown facts and fancies". Thankfully these newspapers have been digitized to the year 1923.
After reading the available papers I now have a much better picture of my ancestors lives. The Forgeys in Jackson County were primarily descendants of Hugh Forgey and Elizabeth Wray. A son of Hugh's brother, James Forgey, William was a blacksmith in Seymour.
I am still trying to amalgamate everything I've found into a unified story. My impression of the people of Jackson County is that of a practical, pragmatic people. They didn't have many material possessions. They often lived below there means. They worked hard and enjoyed visiting family and friends during their free time. Hunting, Fishing and Sunday Baseball games (Red Forgey was a pitcher) were also pastimes they enjoyed.
Contagious disease was a major cause of death in early times up to the early twenties. Without antibiotics entire families were wiped out by disease. There was a high child mortality rate as can be seen in the list of deaths for 1884.
The people of Jackson County, in general, were very receptive to new technology. They installed electrical wiring and phones as soon as they could afford to. Complaints were lodged when the phone company raised it's rates from 50 cents a year to $3 per year an increase of 600 percent. Cline Forgey signed the complaint. The switchboard for the phone company was is Rinda Denny's house. The job of operator was a 24/7 job. An alarm would go off when there was a call at night.
It seems the early Forgeys had strained family relationships? Maybe the belief in strict discipline and the never ending farm chores caused rifts. I noticed Hugh Forgey did not refer to Leander and William as beloved sons in his will? He referred to others in such a way. The newspapers seem to support a less than close relationship between father and sons. It appears that Hugh traveled to Arkansas and Oregon without the family. William Forgey disappeared at one point without notifying his family. He also spent time in Iowa as a teenager. It was implied that he was difficult to handle, and needed to apply himself more to his studies?
It was interesting to find some health history too. It surprised me to find out that my great-grandfather was diagnosed with heart trouble in 1900. It's hard to say whether that was an accurate diagnosis. His son, my grandfather, also had heart trouble. He had to have a pacemaker. My Great-Grandmother Isis and her daughter Edna had Diphtheria in 1900. It was said they had it again?
There was talk about my great-grandfather William (Spud) Forgey opening a combination furniture and undertaking establishment. I don't think this ever happened? He was going to go into business with a brother-in-law.
My grandfather shows up in the paper as Dick Forgey in 1923 (His name was actually Charles Lynn Forgey). He was apparently hiding his identity so my grandmother wouldn't find him. I had no idea he had returned to Indiana in 1923 to visit his family. He also went to Detroit to visit brother George (Claude). I don't know how the visit went but he returned to California and in 1925 his wife and daughter joined him. Sounds like he was separated from his wife, my Grandmother, and his daughter, my mother, from 1923 to 1925. There isn't any mention of my grandfather's service in the Marines in the Brownstown Banner. I think my Great-Grandfather was quite angry with my Grandfather. As I understand there were no pictures of my grandfather in the family house. Perhaps my grandfather fell in with a bad element. As early as 1884 there were complaints about drunken teenagers (see article right).
My Great-Great Uncle Leander Forgey seemed to be the most stable of the early generation. He had a large family of 11 children. Being such a large family they encountered every conceivable problem which a family could face at that time. They had numerous illnesses such as TB and Spinal Meningitis. One of their daughters died at age 3. A son died at age 28 of TB. He, John Forgey, was deaf from the age of 9 and attended deaf school in Indianapolis. He learned the printing trade there. He later went west to pursue a career as a Cowboy and contracted TB.
Many of the Forgeys ran small businesses in southern Indiana. William "Red" Forgey (Leander's son) was a very successful businessman. He ran a grocery and Barber Shop in Freetown for 62 years. His brother Clyde ran a Grocery store in Surprise. Their cousin (my Great-Uncle C. C. Forgey) owned a Cream Station. Some of his sons also owned the Forgey Food Liner from 1955 to 1967.
Cline Forgey, another of Leander's sons, was a school teacher and sold real estate and insurance on the side. Sounds like his Aunt Sarah Ellen Forgey/George also studied to be a school teacher in the early 1870's. I don't know whether she ever taught school?
I found out that my Great-Grandfather William Wray Forgey spent two years in the far west, but no other details were given. I would like to know exactly where he went?
I am happy that The Banner waved gloriously over the Forgey "The Forgey Mansion" LOL,  I filled in many gaps in my knowledge of the family.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Civil War Pension CD

I received the Civil War Pension file on CD from the National Archives a little more than a week ago. In the past it took months to get the file after they received your order. It now can take as little as 3 weeks. I got mine about 2 1/2 later weeks after ordering. I was shocked to find out how much the price has increased since I last ordered a Pension file. It now costs $80 dollars for a copy of the full file. So I ordered 8 pages at a cost of $30. Ordering is much easier than in the past. The last Pension I ordered in early 2000 I had to make out a form and snail mail it to them. Online ordering now speeds up the process.

I was thrilled with the contents of the file I received for James H. Owens. It confirmed my relationship to him. It confirmed that he was the same man who appeared on the 1900 Census in Kansas. It resolved conflicting information. Both James and his wife Christina claimed to be widowed while both were still living. They evidently were falsifying some of their information for their own reasons.
So the missing James H. Owens has now officially be found!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Exasperated White People?

No, it's not what you think. This has nothing to do with the 2012 Elections. When I came upon this, "All the white people are exasperated",  did bring to mind recent events.
I found these manuscripts at Virginia Memory Governor's Letters . I've been transcribing them. They are difficult to read so may contain some errors.
Our relation David Owens plays a key role in the negations with the Native Americans for the release of  prisoners who were part of the white settlement south of the Ohio River. They were being held prisoner in what is now Indiana.
Ft. Nelson 13th April 1784 (To James Sherlock)
This letter will acknowledge the receipt of by Mr. Coleman + the Indian messengers. I now find them back accompanied by Mr. David Owens who speaks the Tongue, and will inform you of everything more particularly than I can write. I expect you home this spring with all the Prisoners. The Governor from my recommendation of you has not been forgetful of you. For god's sake do not do my discredit. Your own Fortune in this great mission depends on your perfect conduct.
I sent a small talk to the Shawnee as well as the Wyandots: You are to interpret them, and if Mr. Owens can assist you. I am glad to find their disposition are for peace ________shall once more for ever hold the ____ chain of friendship together never to be broken.
I would have dispatched your messengers immediately, but I wished to have our Chiefs of this country to hear what I had to say in answer to the speeches I received, as well as to do honor to the messengers of our Brothers the Shawanese + Wyandots.
Your detention during this winter Jeffersonville be rather advantageous than detrimental; especially as I have hopes it paves the way for your bringing in the Prisoners without fail, and you have just reason not only to assist but be in a great measure assured of receiving to yourself a valuable consideration for any prisoners you bring in, from the Parents Guardians or friends of them respectively; exclusive of the views I have from Gov. in your favors. In short expect yourself on this occasion + there is next to a certainty of your being a man of consequence seen hereafter.
Genl. Clark is one of the comdrs. Appointed to threat with the Shawanese + others arrived. When he does I shall be enabled to find the necessary invitation for our meeting Shawanese but at any rate as the Wabashe tribes are expected in. I shall depend on your return to interpret for me. Your return is expected as quickly as possible.
I am highly displeased with Mr. Benjamin Pyatt for daring to tell such lies to our brothers. All the white people are exasperated at the news, but hope no regard will be paid to anything said by such a fool. Rest assured that agreeable to your present good conduct you have it in your power to do a great deal for yourself, in which you will always command the assistance and good office of ___Sir.
You friend + Humble Serv.
George Walls

Mr. David Owens
You are hereby in consequence of your appointment as Indian Interpreter, to proceed in Company with the Shawanese messengers, taking in your care the Speeches I send to the Shawanese + Wyndots you are to deliver these speeches to Mr. James Sherlock and give him all the assistance in your power to render essential Service to your Country. You are to advise with Mr. Sherlock what is, or may be expedient for the public Good, having in View that you Return to this place as quick as may be done without injuring the public welfare, + that in case Mr. Sherlock should not be immediately ready to accompany you, that you use your Best endeavours to bring home under your Escort all the prisoners which may be ready for your taking in charge from Mr. Sherllock.
Given under my hand at Fort Nelson (Falls of Ohio)
This 13th April 1784
Signed Geo. Walls
Maj. Comdr.

Copy of a Talk to the Shawnese Sent them by David Owens + two Shawanese Runners the 14 April 1784
Your messengers arrived in Saply? And we received them with Friendship as we would do our own flesh + Blood, which they can assure you of. We also received your good talk, and rejoice to find your Heart as good + inclined to Peace which is also our Desire as your Messengers will inform you.
Will lose no time in finding your good talks to our great Chiefs and your Elder Brother the Governor of the Big Knife. In the mean time we will not believe any foolish Stories to your prejudice + Atho Some of our Blood has been lately spilled at limestone Creek on our Side of the Big River, yet we are willing to believe it was the Cherokees who did it without your Knowledge or consent, however we shall soon drive out the bad Spirit from among them which has caused them to be so long be so long blind to their own good. We are sorry their misbehavior puts us to the necessity of Chastising them and are glad to hear your intention of putting a Stop to their Bad conduct this Spring.
Altho we cannot meet you immediately to treat, yet the Path is now open and cleared from the Briars and thorns that might hurt your feet, so that any of you Peaceable men may come in friendship and see us and Shake hands + Smoke and talk with us at any time until matters are finally Settled to the Satisfaction of us all and when they? Chiefs to leave us they may depart in Peace and friendship.
Brothers We are sorry for the Death of your great chief wry-neck, + consoles with you for his ___ We wish he had lived to see us once more lay hold of the strong chain of friendship, never let go.
We are glad to hear you desire no more Liquor to be sent into your Nation, as it always hinders both you and us in good intentions. If you may be a friend that we will do all in our Power to put a Stop to it; but Several of our Foolish People we hear have taken it among you without our knowledge or consent, which we are very Sorry for. We hope will be as good as your Promise in delivering up our flesh and blood this Spring which now taken prisoners in the time of War, as we long much to see them again. We are glad to hear you have given our messenger a good reception, + expect he will bring our flesh + Blood with him on his return.
Done at Fort Nelson of Ohio April 13th 1784.
Geo. Walls
Maj. Comd.

Speech to the Wyandots sent by the same messengers at s. Time
We have received your good speech by the Shawanese Messengers with four Strings of white + Six Strings of Black Wampum, which we accept as a Token of you friendship, + of the Sincerity of your Hearts.
I have Sent your talk to your Elder Brother the Govr. and the great chiefs of the big Knife + as soon as we receive an answer we will send to you and appoint a time and place of meeting in order finally to confirm the Peace we are both so desirous should take--------- among us, as well as to receive from your hand our flesh + blood which were taken prisoners in the time of War, which we make no doubt you will bring with you according to your promise.
Brothers. I hope you will not listen to ____foolish Stories, but believe that we are Sincere in wishing to hold fast the chain of Friendship forever. In token of which I send three Strings of white wampum.
Done at the Falls of Ohio April 12 1784
Geor. Walls
Maj. Comdr.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mapping Owens Family

I mapped out the state and county locations of the Owens family. The descendants of James Owens of Booths Creek in Virginia remained in the West Virginia area for many generations. I beleive he is likely related to our Owens family. We have not been able to establish the exact relationship.
The descendants of John Owens Sr. and Jr. relocated to Kentucky and Indiana.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

More markers to separate them

I have certainly found, and been given, a great deal of information which will help me separate all of the Johns, Georges etc..
This indenture naming James Owens Jr. is helpful because it identifies the James referred to as Junior as being married to Fanny. The other James married to Sally Broshears must be the James referred to as Senior? So now I know that my James D. Owens didn't own the property near the Broshears on Turtle. That was James Owens Sr..

From Karen Degroote
A great source of information about the John Owens 2 and Susannah family are the probate/orphans court records. We get the names of all the children which helps to identify the family group when they relocate from Pennsylvania to Kentucky. The ages are helpful to although, unfortunately, ages aren't provided for individual children. We can come up with a general age range
Since David made his own choice of guardians we know he is over 14 yrs. of age which was the age when you could select your own guardian.
Same for John Owens 3:

The minor children of John Owens 2

This probate document gives date ranges for children without names:
Age ranges presented in probate papers April 3, 1781:
  1. One under 5 months. "He being under 5 months old." Do they mean boy?
  2. Twins 2 years 5 months
  3. One child 4 years 6 months
So we have a couple of children born before 1776 and 4 between  1776 and 1781.
Matching the children with the ages is the challenging part. Although the order in which the children are named in the probate may be a hint to the birth order?