Monday, August 26, 2013

Military Monday - 1883 List of Pensioners

The US 1883 List of Pensioners listed soldiers or their dependents that were on the pension roll as of January 1, 1883. It gives the name of each pensioner or dependent, the cause for which pensioned, the post-office address, the rate of pension per month, and the date of original allowance.  The list covers pensioners from all wars.

The list is available on, but the searching seems to be hit or miss. I found two of my Matson ancestors by paging through the Mercer County, Ohio sections in the database. I knew John Matson lived in Mercer County, but didn't know about Eliza Matson. I also didn't know that any of the Matsons were in Mercer County this early. I always wondered why my Creeden family chose to relocate from Clinton County to Mercer, so the fact that there was already family there helps to explain the move.

I've been a member of The Ohio Genealogical Society for a little over a year now and was pleased to see them merge their regular and Civil War memberships. Since I was a regular member, this gave me access to years of Civil War newsletters that I hadn't seen before. One of their newsletters had the 1883 List of Pensioners for Mercer County and I was surprised to find an additional Matson listing.

The newsletter article explained that Michael Elliott is creating an updated database which adds the name of the soldier (in cases where a widow or dependent parents were listed), the unit in which the soldier served, years of birth and death, and cemetery. Michael's updated databases are available for sale through the Summit County Genealogy Society. The databases for Northeast and Northwest Ohio are available now. Additional sections of Ohio including coverage of Mercer and Clinton counties will follow.

Michael's database added that Eliza was the widow of Jarez L. Matson, who served in Company G of the 79th OVI, and died in 1863. John Matson also served in the 79th OVI and is buried in Buck Cemetery.

The third Matson in Michael's database didn't show up on Ancestry since it was listed under Mary A. Watson!

Michael's database corrected this to Mary A. Matson and added that she was the widow of Thomas J. Matson who served in Company F of the 60th OVI. Thomas died in 1864 and is buried in Salisbury National Cemetery.

Despite some of the errors, this is a nice resource if you have ancestors who served in the Civil War or earlier wars. If your ancestors were from Ohio, you might also want to check out the additional information compiled by Michael Elliott.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mystery Monday - Who was Manda Bolls?

Last week I posted about some of the mysteries surrounding Dennis Creeden. Dennis used the name Daniel or Dan in some records which seemed very curious since he had an older brother named Daniel. Dennis and Daniel were sons of my 2x great-grandfather Timothy Creeden and I thought that finding out more about them might shed some light on Timothy. Instead, when I looked into Daniel's past, I found another mystery.

Daniel Creeden in Celina, Ohio, 1934
Most of the records on Daniel are pretty straightforward. He married Lena Gleadall (or Gleagall) in 1902 and they had two children, Ned and Ida Bell. Sadly, both children died young and Daniel and Lena eventually divorced. Daniel lived out his life in Mercer County, Ohio and died in 1962 at the age of 84.

Daniel and Lena's Marriage Certificate in Highland County, Ohio, 1902
Daniel's parents' names are misspelled as T. Creed and Mary Madison (should be Matson), but otherwise the facts for Daniel on the Marriage Certificate seem correct. I've seen Lena's last name spelled as Gleagall, but in this record, it is Gleadall. The marriage license was filled out on April 29 which was Daniel's birthday and Daniel's age of 26 places his year of birth at 1876.

Daniel's birth is where the mystery comes in. The only records I can find for a Creeden born in Clinton County, Ohio are for a David Creeden, born April 29, 1876 to Timothy Creeden and Manda Bolls. Timothy was married to Mary Matson, so who was Manda Bolls? I haven't found any other records for a David Creeden or Manda Bolls in this time period.

The birth took place in Wayne Township, Clinton County, Ohio, but the residence of the parents was given as Clark Township. I knew from the 1870 and 1880 census records that Timothy lived in Richland Township, so maybe that was the residence of Manda Bolls.

I couldn't find a trace of Manda Bolls in the census, but in the 1870 census Clements and Nancy Bolls are on the same census page as Timothy and Mary Creeden. So it would seem likely that Timothy knew the Bolls family.

1870 Clinton County Census Records for Bolls and Creeden Families
In the 1880 census, Daniel is listed with Timothy and Mary and is 4 years old, placing his year of birth at 1876. I couldn't find the Bolls family in this census.

1880 Clinton County Census for Timothy Creeden and Family
The Creeden family moved to Mercer County in the mid 1880s and Timothy died in 1899. In the 1900 census, Mary is living in Mercer County with several of her children, including Daniel. Daniel's birth month and year are given as April 1876.

So, who was Manda Bolls? Was this just a mistake in the Clinton County Birth Index? If she was the mother of Daniel, would it be likely that the child was raised by Timothy and Mary? Another possibility is that there was another Timothy Creeden in town, but I haven't found any evidence to support that. Is it possible that Timothy's neighbor reported the birth for them and wound up being recorded in the index?

Daniel used the birth date of April 29 on his WWI and WWII draft registrations, so it seems likely to me that the birth index is indeed for my Daniel. His year of birth on the 1870 and 1880 census records was 1876, but it varied in later census records from 1874 to 1877. His draft registrations and obituary had 1877. I think it's possible that the name on the birth index entry is Daniel instead of David, but that still doesn't explain Manda Bolls being listed as the mother.

Name on birth index
Name on 1880 census
My initial searches for Manda or Amanda Bolls turned up a couple of possibilities, but nothing definite. An Amanda Boles lived in neighboring Fayette County, Ohio and was married to Henry Brown. She died in 1925 in Fayette County.

Amanda Boles Brown Death Certificate, 1925
This Amanda was born in Virginia in 1859 or 1860, so she would have only been 16 or 17 in 1876. From census records, she married Henry Brown in 1875 or 1876. According to the 1910 census, Amanda had 14 children and 7 were still living! I've tracked down a few of her children, but 14 will be a challenge.

I haven't come to any conclusions on this yet. Daniel was treated the same as the other children in his father's will and the 1910 census showed that Mary Creeden gave birth to 10 children and 8 were still living. Mary's sons James and Patrick had died before 1910, so Daniel would have been included in the 8 living children. The only record showing anything different is the birth index, so that is certainly a mystery.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mystery Monday - Dennis Creeden

When I started researching my Creeden family, I tried to track down information on my great-grandfather Charles Creeden's siblings in the hopes I'd find out more about their parents. Charles' brother Dennis has turned out to be just as elusive as their father, Timothy Creeden.

Dennis Creeden
The first information I found on Dennis came from the Mercer County Genealogy Society. Someone had contributed a tree for my family, but there was no information on who did the tree or what sources were used. The tree contained this information for Dennis:

Dennis L. Creeden
    Born: 08 Sep 1879, Clinton County, Ohio
    Married Nellie Burton on 21 Jan 1901, Mercer County, Ohio
    Died: 1/17/1930

From a Clinton County Birth Register for 1879, the information on Dennis' birth appears to be correct. The birth register listed his parents as Timothy Creeden and Mary Ann Matson and his location of birth was Richland Township where Timothy's farm was located.

The data in the 1880 census for Clinton County also shows that Dennis was born in September 1879. Note that he has an older brother Daniel born in 1876.

The next record I found for Dennis was his father Timothy's will, written in 1899. Timothy left all of his children an equal share of his personal property except for Dennis, whom he only left $35. What did Dennis do to be singled out? I'll probably never know the answer to that!

After Timothy's death in 1899, Dennis' mother Mary moved the family to a house in the town of Celina, Ohio. Dennis was not living with them in the 1900 census. I found a possible record showing that Dennis was working as a blacksmith for the railroad. If this is him, he's using the name Daniel! His brother Daniel is listed as living with their mother Mary, so this is very curious.

A marriage record from Mercer County appears to verify the marriage information that the genealogy society gave me. I noticed that Dennis was using the initials D.J. which might explain why he was so hard to find. Then I noticed that his name was spelled out in the bottom of the Marriage Certificate and it was Daniel! What's the deal with Dennis using Daniel?

I wondered if it was really Daniel that married Nellie, but Mercer County records had information on Dennis and Nellie regarding his father Timothy's land. On June 15, 1901 Nellie Burton Creeden filed against Dennis Creeden for alimony money which involved Timothy's land.  On December 2, 1901 Nellie Burton (the court gave her the right to restore her maiden name) quit claimed a deed to John Kramer. This was "filed for record" on Dec 6, 1901. Wow! So, Nellie and Dennis divorced after only a few months of marriage.

The next record I found for Dennis was his WWI draft registration in 1918.

Now he's using Dan John! At least that fits with the initials D.J. that he used on his marriage license. Even though the birth date is off by a year, I'm pretty sure this is Dennis. The occupation is blacksmith again and he gives his brother Charles A. Creeden as next of kin. Interesting that he gives Charles' residence as Pueblo, CO. Their sister Julia lived in Pueblo, but I don't know if Charles ever did. The location of Biggs, CA is interesting too and might be a clue as to where Dennis was in the 1920 census. In his mother Mary's obituaries in 1925, Dennis' brother Edward is said to be living in Briggs, CA and the location for Dennis is just given as Cal. I couldn't find a Briggs, although there is a Briggs Terrace. It's possible Edward was in Biggs too.

There are a lot of mysteries here! Why did Dennis use the name Daniel? Why was he singled out in his father's will to only receive $35? Why wasn't he living with the rest of the family in 1900? Why did he and Nellie divorce after being married a few months? Where was Dennis in the 1910 and 1920 census records? Is his date of death correct?

I haven't been able to find census records for Dennis in 1910 or 1920 or a record of his death. I'm going to concentrate on California records next since Dennis was there by 1918 and still there when his mother died in 1925. I probably won't be able to solve all of the mysteries surrounding Dennis, but hopefully can find some more information in the census.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Pearl Chilcutt Willis with Son and Grandkids

My great-grandmother Pearl Chilcutt Willis is holding my Mom. Standing in front are my Mom's uncle "Sug" and her sisters, Audrey and Anna. The picture was taken in the early 1930s in Maryland or Pennsylvania.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Ferdinand Desch's Will

Ferdinand Desch was my 3x great-grandfather. He was born around 1825 in Germany and settled in Mercer County, Ohio. He married Katharina Anthony in Mercer County and their daughter Catharina was my 2x great-grandmother. Ferdinand died in 1884 and is buried in the St. John cemetery in Mercer County. His wife Katharina died in 1879, but her mother Margaretha Anthony was still living with the family when Ferdinand died in 1884. Following is Ferdinand Desch's last will and testament.


In the Name of the Benevolent Father of All, Amen:

I, Ferdinand Desch, of the town of St. John, County of Mercer, and State of Ohio, being about 59 years of age, and being of sound and disposing mind and memory, Do Make, Publish and Declare this my Last Will and Testament, hereby revoking and making null and void all other last Wills and Testaments by me made heretofore:

   FIRST:--My Will is that all my just debts and funeral expenses shall be paid out of my Estate, as soon after my decease as shall be found convenient.
   SECOND:--I GIVE DEVISE AND BEQUEATH TO my son Charles Desch the entire sawmill and two acres land commonly called Millport and two lots on which the mill stands situated in the town of Chickasaw County of Mercer State of Ohio.
(Item Two) To my son John Desch living at Celina to keep for his share all that property which he has received already but he shall have no claim hereafter.
(Item three.) To my beloved daughter Catharina Desch all that property which she has received already but she shall have no claim hereafter.
(Item four.) To my beloved daughter Mary Desch wife of Bernard Gast the sum of Thirteen hundred dollars of which seven hundred dollars are paid already ballance due for her share amounting to six hundred dollars.
(Item five) To my belov. daughter Anna Desch wife of William Desch the sum of Thirteen hundred dollars of which Three hundred dollars are paid, ballance due for her share One thousand dol.
(Item six) to my son Jacob Desch. Eighty acres of land situated on the north east side of Section (14) range (3) town (7) and he has to pay to the administrator of my smaller children the sum of Fifteen hundred dollars.
(Item seven) To my beloved daughter Elisabeth and Mina shall have their claim of Three thousand doll($1500 each) on the Eighty acres of Section 14) Town (7) range (3) laying along the half section line, the ballance of said land shall be used for the benefit of my whole family.
(Item eight.) To my beloved son Joseph Desch shall have the Eighty acres of Land in Granville Tp. Mercer Co State of Ohio situated in Section 28. Town (5) range 2 on the north side of said range.
Item nine) To my beloved son Bernard Desch the Eighty acres of land in Granville Tp. Mercer Co Ohio situated in Section 28) Town 15) range 2) on the south side of said range.


(Item Ten.) To my beloved son Ferdinand Desch my youngest child the old place on which I live commonly called the old home situated in Section 14) Town 7.) range three (3) east.
(Item Eleven.) I appoint my beloved son Charles Desch to act as Administrator for my younger children.
Item Twelf.) That  my beloved mother in law Margaretha Anthony shall have a right to live on the old place as long as she lives.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF. I have set my hand to this, my Last Will and Testament, at my house, this 17th day of March, in the year of our Lord, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Eighty Four.

Ferdinand Desch made his mark.

   The foregoing Instrument was signed by the said Ferdinand Desch in our presence and by him published and declared as and for his last Will and Testament, and at his request and in our presence, and in the presence of each other, we hereunto subscribe our Names as Attesting Witnesses at his home this 17th day of March A.D. 1884.

Signed by ? and Joseph J. Reichart, resides at St. John.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sunday's Obituary - Hiram H. Creeden

   Hiram H. Creeden, son of John and Minerva Creeden, was born at Paulding, Ohio, March 4, 1875, and departed this life September 19, 1935. On February 10, 1909 lie was united in marriage to Hallie Purdom. To this union was born one daughter, Northa. He was in the retail grocery business in Bloomington for 27 years, making many friends, as he had an amiable disposition, a kind father and husband, a good neighbor and always a liberal giver to any worthy cause.
   Although shut in from the world and its busy life, he always had a hearty welcome for his friends who visited him.
   His mother dying when he was a boy, he went to make his home with his uncle, Abe Stone and wife, Callie. Their kindness he appreciated very much. He served Wilson Township as a very efficient clerk for 14 years and trustee for two years.
   He leaves to mourn their loss, his wife and daughter, Mrs. Northa Quint, of Dayton, two sisters, Mrs. Flora Norris, of Winchester, Ind., and Mrs. Stella Pyle, of Traverse City, Mich., and a host of friends.
   He had been in falling health for years and for eight months had been bedfast, at the Five Oaks Rest Home in Dayton. In the twilight of Thursday evening September 19, 1935, he met his Master face to face saying to his friends, "All is well."

As fall the leaves so drop the days in 
   silence from the tree of life;
Born for a little while to blaze in action in 
   the heart or strife 
And then to shrivel with Time's blast 
   and fade forever in the past. 

In beauty once a leaf was seen;
To all it offered gentle shade men knew 
The splendor of its green that cheered 
   them so, would quickly fade! 
And quickly, too, must pass away all 
   that is splendid of today. 

To try to keep the leaves were vain 
Men understand that they must fall; 
Why should they bitterly. complain 
When sorrows come to one and all? 
Why should they mourn the passing 
That must depart along the way?

We wish to extend our heart felt. thanks to those who in any way assisted us during the illness and passing away of the husband and father. We especially thank H. L. Littleton, Rev. Leasure, wife and daughter. and the dear and near friends that served as pallbearers, also the friends of Dayton and relatives of Xenia for their flora tributes.

Hiram's father John Creeden was the half-brother of my 2x great-grandfather, Timothy Creeden. I found a shorter obituary for Hiram Creeden published on Sept. 21, 1935, but it didn't provide many details. It is interesting that this one was published on November 11, 1935, a few weeks after his death. I'm not sure of the newspaper, but would guess that it was from his hometown paper in Wilmington, Clinton County, Ohio since it mentions Wilson Township where he was a clerk.

The obituary answered my question of whether or not Hiram's father John Creeden was also the father of Flora and Stella. There was almost a 20 year gap between Hiram and Stella's birth, so it's possible that they had different mothers. However, I've seen the mother of the daughters given as Minerva on other records.

I hadn't seen the names of Abe and Callie Stone before, so I'm not sure if they are related to the Creedens or to Minerva's side of the family. The sad poem is by Edgar Guest.