Leverenz Family

Portland, Oregon

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Family photos are no longer just in a shoebox or a family album under the coffee table. Family photos are everywhere - in your iPhone, on your computer, posted to social networking sites like Instagram, Facebook or Flickr. It seems difficult to keep tabs on where all our images are going.

Three Generations of Pioneer Women

Three Generations of Pioneer Women

Recently, my 2nd cousin Donna Williams Cooley, sent me photos of my 4th great grandmother, 3rd great grandmother and 2nd great grandmother. 

Harriet Wheeler BentleyHarriet Wheeler, my 4th great grandmother, was born in Constantia Township, Oswego, New York. According to some sources, she was born on on St Partick's Day, 1799. At 19 years old, she married Gideon Bentley. The young couple lived in for a time in New York, Kentucky, Ohio and finally settled around 1835 in Pike County, Illinois. When they first moved to Pike County, land was only $1.25 per acre.  There we no railroads, no stores, no churches, no schools, no roads to speak of other than those that were made as people traveled from one farm to another. They would have lived in a small log cabin, living off wild game, corn bread, honey and whatever vegetables they could grow. Transportation was hoseback and ox wagon. They were truly "Prairie Pioneers".

The Bentley's had 11 children five sons and six daughters. Their third child was a daughter, they named Harriet Esther my 3rd great grandmother, born in 1824 while the Bentley's we still living in New York.

Harriet Esther Bentley LoveHarriet grew to womanhood in Pike County, and in 1843, married  William Henry Love,  the oldest son of another local farmer, Irish immigrant Samuel Love.  William and Harriet had eight children, all raised in Pike County. They maintained their farm throughout their 40+ years of marriage. Harriet died in 1885 and William passed away in 1899. 

The Love's oldest daughter, Frances Cornelia Love, my 2nd great grandmother, was born in 1845 at the family farm in Barry Township, Pike County. Frances married Joseph Benton Williams in 1870, when Frances was 25 years old and Joe was 30. The Williams family had settled about 20 miles East in Scott County, Illinois, the next county over.

Frances Cornelia Love WilliamsSoon after their marriage, Frances and Joe moved west about 300 miles to Dallas County, Iowa and farmed. Their first son, Leander, was born there, but by 1873, they moved to a new farm in Sedwick, Cowley County, Kansas, and there two more sons, William and Charles (my great grandfather). By 1877 they were back in Iowa, this time moving to De Soto County. There they had their other three children, Harriet "Hattie", Loretta "Etta" and Lewis.

Frances and "Old Joe" as he was known, stayed in the De Soto area, eventually retired from the farm and moved into town. Joe passed away in 1919 and Frances in her later years, lived with her daughter Hattie Williams Sutherland and her family. She died in 1931. Both she and Joe buried in the Oakland Cemetery in De Soto.

 

 

 

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Margaret Sleeth Hacker - A Remarkable Recovery & Life

Margaret Sleeth Hacker - A Remarkable Recovery & Life

Margaret Sleeth Hacker 

The Remarkable Recovery & Life of Margaret Sleeth Hacker

On December 5, 1787, young Margaret Hacker, age 11, was visiting in the home of her newly-married sister, Mary Ann (Hacker) West.  A younger brother of Edmund West, Mary Ann's husband, was also there.  Suddenly, two Shawnee Indians, accompanied by the renegade Leonard Schoolcraft, forced open the door and entered the cabin.  One of them immediately tomahawked Mary Ann.  The boy, who had been taking some corn from under the bed, was dragged out by his feet and tomahawked twice in his forehead, a gash being made directly above each eye. Margaret had been standing behind the door.  One of the Indians aimed a blow at her, which she tried to evade, but she was struck on the side of her neck.  Although the force of the blow was not enough to knock her down, she fell to the floor and lay quite still, as though she had been killed. 

The Indians and Leonard Schoolcraft then proceeded to take some milk, butter, and bread from the press, placed the food on the table, and calmly sat down to eat.  Meanwhile, Margaret was silently watching all that they did.  Following the meal, the group scalped Mary Ann and the boy and plundered the house.  They even emptied feathers from pillows and carried off the ticking.  When they left the cabin, they dragged Margaret some forty or fifty feet by the hair, threw her over a fence and scalped her.  She was still alive, and the renegade Schoolcraft said, "That is not enough."  One of the Indians then thrust a knife into her side and left her.  Fortunately the point of the knife came into contact with a rib, and did not injure her much.

The next day Margaret was found in bed at the house of "old Mr. West," her sister's father-in-law.  She was able to tell what had happened at her sister's home and said she "went to sleep" after being thrown over the fence, but was awakened by the scalping.  After she had been stabbed and the Indians had left, she tried to cross the fence and go back to the house, but as she was climbing the fence she again "fell asleep" and fell back.  She then walked into the woods, sheltered herself as best she could in the top of a fallen tree and stayed there until morning.

Margaret Sleeth Hacker (1776-1815)She remembered that no one had been left alive at her sister's house, so she proceeded to old Mr. West's.  She found no one at home and the fire was nearly out.  However, the hearth was still warm, so she lay down on it.  The heat soon gave her a sickly feeling which caused her to get up and go to the bed.  Mrs West and two of her daughters had gone to Jesse Hughes' house the day before to ask for help in finding "old Mr. West," who had not come home. Jesse Hughes' daughter Martha had not returned home, either.  Jesse Hughes and the two West girls went to Edmund's and Mary Ann's cabin, discovered what had happened, and Jesse returned to his own home to defend his family, as it was too late in the day to mount a search for the Indians.  It is likely that Mrs. West and her daughters remained at the Hughes' home overnight.

"Old Mr. West," (Edmond West, Sr.) was bringing in his fodder when Leonard Schoolcraft and the Indians came upon him. He was killed by the savage party. They had already captured Martha Hughes; however, she was ransomed by her father in 1790.

Margaret Hacker survived her injuries, grew to womanhood, married Peter Hardman in December of 1797 in Harrison County, Virginia. The family moved 260 miles west, to Greene County, Ohio in 1808. Peter and Margaret had eleven children. She reportedly wore a wig to hide the loss of her hair.  She died July 20, 1815, at the age of 39. Her death is reported to have been caused by a nasal hemorrhage, which may have been a consequence of the blow from the Indian tomahawk years earlier.

Portions of this account were found in the 1881 publication, “From "The History of Greene County" (Ohio) by R.S. Dills* and and "The Border Settlers of Northwestern Virginia" by Lucullus Virgil McWhorter (1915)

Scott Leverenz
Portland, Oregon

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19 Ancestors That Gave Us Independence

19 Ancestors That Gave Us Independence

Since it's Independence Day, I thought I'd share my family research finds from [FamilySearch.org], which is owned and maintained by the LDS Church. They have a web service called "Relationship Finder" and I've been able to link our family line some of the brave individuals that signed the Declaration of Independence.

Our family is related to 19 (one-third) of the 56 individuals that signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.

The chart below indicates the name of the signer who is our relative and then shows our (my) actual relationship to that person. Your’s may vary, depending on our relationship. Then, the the next column indicates the colony they represent. Many were actually born in other states or countries. The last two columns show the immediate family line connection, so with Gilbert, it's Jeanne's (the maternal) side of the family Jeanne's side and the with Williams, it's Lew's (the paternal) side of the family, by way my grandmother, Hazel.

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Remembering Our Family Veterans: The War of 1812

Remembering Our Family Veterans: The War of 1812

Our 5th Great Grandfather, Richard Samuel Wood was a veteran of the War of 1812, fighting against the British and their Native American allies in the Battle of the Thames in 1813. He was mustered on August 30th, 1813 at Newport, Kentucky and served in Captain Mason Singleton's Company, Colonel George Trotter's First Regiment from Kentucky.

For those of you who need a refresher on the War of 1812, The Battle of the Thames occured when British troops had occupied Detroit until the US Navy gained control of Lake Erie, leaving them without supplies. The British and their Native American allies, The Shawnee, were forced to retreat north, up the Thames River to Moraviantown. The American forces, under the command of William Henry Harrison (our future president), drove off the British and defeated the Shawnee, which in the ensuing battle their leader, Tecumseh, was killed.

Richard Wood was born in 1781 in Amherst County, Virginia where he grew up on the banks of the James River. It was here that Richard met and married 5th Great Grandmother, Celia Gregory in 1803. 

In 1800 there were only two states west of the Appalachians — Kentucky and Tennessee. Early starters in the The Great MIgration west, in 1806, Richard and Celia moved to Prestonville, Gallatin County, Kentucky located on the south bank of the Ohio River. Here they farmed and had ten children, including our 4th great grandmother, Sarah who was born in 1808. (Sarah went on to marry Matthias Williams)

In 1818, the moved once again westward to what was then the American Frontier Ridge Prairie, Madison County, Illinois, just NE of St Louis. Soon after the move, three of their children, Martha, Elizabeth and Richard all died from billious fever. Then, in November of 1819, Celia also died of billious fever, leaving Richard with 7 children to raise.  Sarah, was just 11 years old at the time. 

In the 1820 Federal Census, Richard Wood, now a widower, was living in Ridge Prairie, Madison County, Illinos, located just NE of St Louis. He was living between Isaac Conley and the widow of his brother Rev. John Conley, Hester "Hessie" Conley. 

The following year, on January 1, 1821, widower Richard married his widowed next door neighbor, Hessie Conley.

In March 1826, Richard and Hessie moved about 80 miles  south, to Morgan County, Illinois in March, 1826.  Here, they raised their families over the next 40 years, where his 2nd wife, Hessie, died in September, 1861. Our War of 1812 veteran, Richard Wood, died June 20th, 1865, at the age of 84. 

Morgan County, Illinois

 

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The Christopherson Quandary

The Christopherson Quandary

Angie's paternal grandfather, Cherrolf "Chips" Olaf Christopherson was born in 1910 in Angus, Minnesota, but that was about all we knew. She did not have the  names of his parents, or any of his siblings, except one, Hank, who worked with him on Bainbridge Island at the creosote plant.

For years she could not find anything about them and online results came as dead ends. Until recently, when Ancestry.com updated and improved the algorithms for AncestryDNA. One of the matches that came up was for a 3rd cousin that she'd never seen before, with 792 people in her family tree AND it was unlocked. The only shared surname was "Christopherson", so in reviewed her family tree, we found only two Christophersons... Hans Christopherson, born in Norway in 1859 and Tena Christopherson, born in 1894 in Angus, Polk County, Minnesota. Tena passed away in Seattle on (coincidently), Angie's 10th birthday March 20th, 1973. Digging further into Tena's family tree, we were able to view the 1910 Federal Census that was attached to her profile and found a Henry Christopherson, four years of age living in the household. When I read her the other names, "Mable, Howard, Clarence.." "Wait", she said, "Clarence, I remember a Clarence."

Yes, but there was no Cherrolf. Pondering the situation, we realized that the census was taken on April 15, 1910 and Cherrolf was born in October.

So, onto the 1920 census for further investigation. In the same county, but a different town, Brandt, we found Henry, Clarence and Jerrold, but no Cherrolf. Knowing that census takers sometime made mistakes with difficult names, we figured that the "Jerrold" was indeed "Cherrolf" as he was exactly shown as 9 years old. Bingo. 

Several hours later we were able to paint, with a wide brush, Cherrolf's family tree. His father, Hans, had arrived in America in 1882 at the age of 25. 

He found his way to Polk Couty, Minnesota and married Anna Bertina Christianson, also from Norway. She was 10 years his senior. The had four children, Carter, Anna, Oscar and Tena. Tena was the sibling we found in that AncestryDNA match. On further research we found Anna Bertina had passed away and he married a 2nd time in 1894-96 range (yet to be verified) to Anna Olson. Anna was also from Norway, born in 1876. The had eight sons, starting with Howard who was born in 1900, followed by Clarence, Francis, Henry (Hank), Raymond,  Cherrolf (Chips), Kenneth and Ellsworth. 

So far, we have found that six of the eight boys all relocated from Minnesota to the Seattle area, and all the brother's children lived in the Seattle area, too.

We're still working on finding the cousins and contacting the AncestryDNA match from Ancestry.com, but we're well on the way to filling out the branches of the Christopherson tree.

Hans Christopherson Family Tree

 

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The Mystery of Jones Vs *Jones

The Mystery of Jones Vs *Jones

Our 3rd Great Grandfather (or 2nd Great Grandfather for the older generation), Jacob L Jones, was born in 1850, in the county seat of Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio the the third child of parents Daniel Jones and his wife Margaret Riegel Jones. Daniel was working as a "house carpenter" and living next door to Margaret's parents, Jacob and Anna Reigel, along with the Riegel's twelve children. 

When the family moved West the 800 miles from Ohio, west to Madison County, Iowa they landed in Jefferson Township where farming became a way of life. Jacob's future wife, Barabra Gutshall lived in the area where her father was one of the first settler's in the Jefferson area.

Jacob married Barbara in 1872 and they lived and farmed in the area where their four children were born, Ida, Aletha (Letha), Primrose and son George. I've not yet tracked down when Barbara died, but it was some time between 1879 and 1884, when Jacob married his 2nd wife, Anna Margaret *Jones, who was 8 years his junior. I've added an asterisk to the non-blood related Joneses to help keep which Jones is which.

Anna's family had lived in Iowa for several years prior, her uncle being on of the first white settlers in the area. Anna's parents, George Worth *Jones and Hanna Maple had also migrated from Ohio to Iowa several years prior to our Jones Family. George and Hanna had ten children. George had been married twice prior to marrying Hanna, but I've been unable to deterime if they had any children. While Anna was the oldest of the 10 children, the second born was son Theodore "Thede" Charles *Jones, who was just one year younger than Anna. 

When Jacob married Anna in 1884, they had eight children, Sylvia Faye, Jacob Earl, Carl Oliver, Zelma Belle, Gladys Anna, Vera Jenney, William Wallace and Hannah Luenne. The two oldest children were born in Nebraska and the rest were born in Madison County, Iowa.

Technically, when Jacob had his second family from a *Jones, all the children became blood-related Joneses as they are half siblings to Ida, Letha, Primrose and George.

Then, it happened. 

This is where it gets confusing. 

Anna's brother, Theordore "Thede" *Jones married Jacob and Margaret's daughter, Ida. So, essentially, Ida married her step-uncle. 

Thede and Ida eventually settled and lived on the Jones Ranch in Dawson County. They had six children, Bessie Lenore (married Burtch), Letha Mae (who died at age 16), Theodore Clinton, Jessie Joy (married Sutton), Hope Ida (married Tripp) and Rose Priscilla (who die at age 1). 

With Ida's maiden name being Jones and her married name being *Jones, all their children, while by birth are *Jones from their father's name, by blood due to their mother Ida being a blood related Jones, are really Joneses, of the non *Jones type.

Hopefully this helps explain the confusion of Jones vs *Jones.

Below is a diagram showing the connection between the two families

Jones Family Tree Chart

 

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Samuel Hubbard & Tacy Cooper

Samuel Hubbard & Tacy Cooper

Being the progeny of a long line of Roman Catholics, the idea of a religious family background seems to come with the "Gilbert - Laturno" territory.

But, dear cousins, we have deep roots in our ancestry connected to the Seventh Day Baptists.  Seriously.  This branch reaches back through Grandpa Gilbert's side of the family to our 8th Great Grandparents, Samuel Hubbard and Tacy Cooper, born into similar religious persecution experienced by the Puritan's who landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620.

Samuel was born in Mendalsham, Suffolk, England in 1610 and his future wife Tacy Cooper was also born in Mendalsham in 1608. 

_Quick history lesson: by the mid-1620's, the state of religion in England was in an upheaval. Remember at the time, the King of England was also the head of the Church of England. When Charles I became King in 1725, Parliament increasingly opposed the King's authority. By 1629, King Charles dissolved Parliament (not unlike our President dissolving Congress and the Senate) in an unsuccessful attempt to neutralize his enemies, which included numerous lay Puritans. With the religious and political climate so hostile and threatening, between 1629 through 1640 (The "Great Migration") approximately 20,000 colonists migrated to New England. This included nearly half of the residents of Mendalsham, Suffolk, England, which included our 8th Great Grandparents. End of history lesson._

Samuel emigrated to Salem, Massachusetts around the age of 23 on the ship "James Grant".  Soon, he joined the church at Watertown in 1634. At that time, the Congregational Church was the ONLY church in Massachusetts in those early years and the leaders wanted to keep everyone under control - thinking and worshipping the same. Tacy Cooper arrived at Dorchester June 9, 1634. 

Seems our 8th Great Grandmother Tacy refused to go to church on Sunday.  She believed that Saturday was the Sabbath and that was when she intended to go to church.  When Samuel and Tacy were married in 1636 he, naturally, adopted her strong beliefs. 

They moved to western Massachusetts to escape the authorities and their daughter Ruth was the first white child born there in 1640.  Springfield, Massachusetts was still not quite far enough away from the long reach of the church.  They were given the ultimatum go to church on Sunday like everyone else, or face prison.  The only alternative was to leave the Commonwealth of Massachusetts forever.

So they moved to Rhode Island, which was founded by Roger Williams to create a place of religious freedom. After several additional forced moves (onset by threats of imprisonment) by 1671 our 8th Great Grandparents were among the six Charter Members of the Seventh Day Baptist Church in Newport, Rhode Island. One of their core beliefs as Seventh Day Baptists is that the Sabbath of the Bible, the seventh day of the week, is sacred time. 

Samuel made his living as a farmer and a carpenter. He died at his home in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1689. Tacy died in 1697. They had  four daughters and one son. Their daughter, Bethia, is our 7th Great Grandmother, who married Joseph Clarke in 1664 in Westerly, Rhode Island. The next several generations of the family were closely involved with the church, right up through our 4th Great Grandfather, Deacon Thomas Babcock.

So, next time you take a Sunday off to relax and chill... be sure to give thanks to our 8th Great Grandmother, Tacy.

Scott Leverenz
Portland, Oregon

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Thomas Gilbert & Rosina Harmer

Thomas Gilbert & Rosina Harmer

Thomas Gilbert & Rosina Hamer


One of the many “Gilbert” mysteries is the origins of Grandpa Gilbert’s father, Thomas Harmer Gilbert. About all my mother knew was that 
1. he was born in England, and 
2. he was from the area known as Lincolnshire.

Not much to go on when you’re doing genealogy research

Of course, I had many questions, including: *What as this father and mother’s name? What was his mother’s maiden name? Where were they from? What year did Thomas immigrate from England to the United States? - Did his parents also migrate, or did they stay in England. - Did he have any siblings? - If so, were there older, any younger? - Male? - Female? - Did they immigrate to the US with him?*

Really, it’s a tough one to crack, with very little to go on.

Well, after several years of trying, I’ve finally been able to put some pieces together on the life of Thomas Harmer Gilbert, our elusive Great-Grandfather.

For starters, Thomas was from Woodchester, Gloucestershire, England, not Lincolnshire. Guess the family mythology was a little off on that one. 

Gloucestershire is about 2 hours drive due West of London.

Once I was able to verify to location of where Thomas Harmer Gilbert was from, I was able to find his baptism record.

Thomas Gilbert & Rosina Harmer

This was like the damn bursting open. I was able to verify his actual date of birth, which was July 11th, 1845 and location,  in Woodchester, Gloucestershire, England. As you can see, I was able to then found both his father’s and mother’s name, which, as far as I know, no one in the family knew. Once I had their names, I then found their marriage record. Thomas Gilbert married Rosina Harmer in 1843 in Rodborough, Gloucestershire.

Harmer!

So, that’s where our Great-Grandfather got his middle name! 

Thomas Gilbert & Rosina Harmer

Rosina’s father’s name was Thomas Harmer who was born in 1795 in Stoud, Gloucestershire and he married Maria Wilkins in 1815. They had five children, including Rosina, who was born in 1827. She had two sisters, Harriet and Ellen, and two brothers, George and Alfred.

Sadly, just two weeks before young Thomas Harmer Gilbert’s first birthday, Rosina died at the young age of 19 years old. This was in July of 1846.

It should be noted that when Thomas married Rosina, he was listed as a widower in the parish record. I've not been able to find anything on his first wife. In the 1851 Census of we find Thomas Gilbert married to his third wife, Rebecca living in Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire.

When Thomas Harmer Gilbert was 16 years old, we find him now in America, living in Dewitt, Clinton County, Iowa, working as a farm laborer, living with his father, Thomas Gilbert and his step-mother, Rebecca. This according to the Iowa Census of 1861.

Fast forward to 1870, he was living and working as a farm laborer on the farm of Lewis and Margaret Sayre, in Welton, Clinton County, Iowa. Then, by the end of the 1871, at the age of 26, he had wooed and married the boss’ daughter, Delila Jane Sayre, our great-grandmother. 

Still working on finding out their actual arrival date from England to America. At this date, I’ve been unable to find Thomas Gilbert’s mother's name. There is much more information on Rosina’s family, the Harmers. Also searching for what happened to Thomas & Rebecca Gilbert. The last record I can find, from the 1880 Federal Census, they are living in Odebolt, Iowa with Thomas working as a "land agent" at the age of 71 years and Rebecca listing her occupation as "housework" at age 72. I’ve not been able to find the dates of the death or where they might be buried.

Scott Leverenz 
Portland, Oregon

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Jean Issac Roussin & Madeleine Giguères

Jean Issac Roussin & Madeleine Giguères

I’ve been able to track our 11th Great Grandmother back to Tourouvre, de l'Orne, Basse-Normandie, France. Her name was Heniette Durand and my current research indicates she was born in 1555.

Her granddaughter, Madeleine Giguères who was born in 1605 married a man named Jean Isaac Roussin, born in 1597. They married on June 12, 1622 in Tourouvre, France. Madeleine and Jean had 7 children. Unfortunately Madeleine died at the age of 45 years old in 1650. That same year, Jean and two of their children made the decision to leave Tourouvre and move to New France (Quebec) in Canada. When they arrived Quebec was not much more than an outpost. The city contained only about thirty homes in 1650. Eventually, his son, Nicholas moved from Tourouvre to Quebec and they farmed adjoing properties for many years.

Jean remarried in 1655 to Marie Letard (sometimes spelled Letart, Letard, or Lessard) and they had one daughter, Marie. Jean Isaac Roussin died in at L'Ange-Gardien, Montmorency, Quebec in 1688 at the age of 91.

He is recognized as a pioneer of Quebec and his name and the name of his son, Nicholas (our 9X Great Grand Uncle) are on several monuments around the L'Ange-Gardien, Quebec, area, which is abour 10 miles northest of Quebec on the northside of the St Lawrence Seaway. (See photos below)

Scott Leverenz
Portland, Oregon
Roussin Plaque Quebec Canada

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