Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ancestor Legend - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 33

Week 33: Ancestor Legend. What is your favorite ancestral legend or family lore? Who originally told the story and what was the claim? Have you been able to prove the story true or false? What steps did you take to do so?

Lima News depiction of the courthouse on Sept. 2, 1923
One my favorite family legends was told by my father about his grandparents, Sheriff Charles Creeden and his wife Anna. In the story, the sheriff, his wife, and two brothers that had been deputized defended the Mercer County, Ohio Courthouse and Jail from an uprising that occurred during a celebration for the new courthouse opening in 1923.

From an earlier post: As my Dad's story went, the Klan had a parade in town, most likely as an anti-Catholic demonstration. Their leader was arrested for disturbing the peace and was being held in the Mercer County Jail. Members of the KKK showed up to demand the prisoner's release and a standoff ensued. Charles was at the front door of the jail and his wife Anna was at the back door. She was said to be a very good shot! The group came up and demanded that their leader be released, but Charles said that wasn't going to happen. The gang said, "Who's gonna stop us, you and what army?". Charles pointed to the roof where his deputies and members of the Knights of Columbus were standing with guns raised and said, "That one!". The story gets a little hazy as to what happened next, but some kind of melee broke out and there were injuries on both sides.

My Dad's story ended with on a humorous note with one of Charles' brothers resigning as Deputy Sheriff. and leaving town while wearing Charles' best suit! I was able to prove that most of the story was true from publications from the Mercer County Historical Society and newspaper articles. The newspaper accounts said that the sheriff and his men turned the fire hoses on the crowd to disperse them. As far as the brother leaving in Charles' best suit, I'll probably never know the answer to that. His brother Joshua was a Deputy Sheriff and left town for Michigan, so my guess would be that part of the story is about him and there probably is some truth to it.

Part of the courthouse legend was that Charles' wife Anna Niehaus Creeden was the jail matron and an excellent sharpshooter. One of my Dad's stories said that she did some target practice with Annie Oakley! I haven't been able to prove this, but Annie Oakley was born in neighboring Darke County, Ohio and she often returned to Ohio.

Another intriguing legend from my Dad was that Charles' father Timothy Creeden may have had a child with a Cherokee woman. I haven't found any information indicating that this is true or false. I obtained the Guion Miller application for an Ida Creeden married to a Timothy, but this Timothy was alive in 1906 and mine died in 1899. I recently found Timothy, Ida, and their daughter Nellie in the 1900 US Census in Arkansas, so I can safely rule them out. I am currently investigating a curious birth record for a David Creeden, born to Timothy Creeden and Manda Bolls in Clinton County, Ohio where Timothy lived. David's birth date is the same as Timothy's son Daniel and the writing on the birth record could be read as Daniel instead of David. I haven't found any other trace of David or Manda so far and I cannot find a separate birth record for Daniel. This one is still a work in progress.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.

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