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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Francesca Yribarren & Serafin Berecochea

Francesca Yribarren & Serafin Berecochea

Francesca Yribarren was born in May of 1875 in Northern Spain, not far from border with France, in the town of Olondriz. She arrived to America in 1892 . 

Sereoktsfin Osanvla "Serafin" Berecochea was also born in Northern Spain, on August 20, 1874. The 1900 and 1910 Federal Census indicates his arrival to America in 1890, while the 1920 Federal Census shows it was 1892.  

Francesca and Serafin were married and living in a San Francisco apartment building at 621 Pacific Street near Columbus Ave in June of 1900. Serafin was employed as a day laborer. Francesca was pregnant at this time and gave birth the family’s first child, Edward Joseph Berecochea on August 5, 1900.  Three years later, while still living in San Francisco, daughter Mary was born on March 4th 1904.

The family had moved to Seattle, Washington where Seferin was employed as a Marine Fireman and Francesca was running a boarding house for additional income. Their son, Frank William was born on July 13, 1907.

Tragedy struck in 1909 when their fourth child, an unnamed infant, was born and died on September 24, 1909.

Then, in 1911, on February 24th, Francesca was murdered in their home by Joseph A Allison. Then, two month later, her grief-stricken husband is sent to prison for the the fatal shooting of a random man in a bar. 

You can read newspaper accounts from The Seattle Times http://leverenz.com/berecochea

Edward, Frank & Mary Berecochea

Their three children were sent to live with relatives. 

Edward was living with Martin Yribarren at his farm in Tranquility, California west of Fresno in Sept of 1918, as indicated on his WWI draft registration card. The assumption that this is Francesca’s brother is based on the facts that they both share the last name, they were both born in Spain, their birthdates are close in years, their arrival to America is the same year (1890) and when Francesca and Serafin were married they were in living in nearby San Francisco.

As of the 1920 Federal Census he's living in Calexico, California on the US-Mexico border just north of Mexicali, Mexico, working on a sheep ranch as a laborer. He's living with his father, Serafin Berecochea, now out of prison, who is also working at the sheep ranch as a foreman. 

As indicated in the 1920 Federal Census, Frank at age 12 was living with an aunt, Eulalie Frechou (age 53) in just south of Fresno in Monroe, California. His cousins Mike (24) and Peter (23) were also living in the household. It’s possible that Eulalie is Martin and Francesca’s sister, but this has not been confirmed.

I've been unable to confirm where Mary was living, but I did find in the 1920 Federal Census a Mary Berecochea living with a family in Los Angeles. She is listed as "daughter" and the age is correct - 15 years old. The head of the household is listed as George Berecochea and his wife is Henrietta. They also have another daughter listed a June Berecochea age 13. Both George (65) and Henrietta (45) are listed a being born in Spain, with their both arrival dates 1898.  *It’s important to note that could be a coincidence.*

Serefin's WWI draft registation card shows him living at 128 N 4th El Centro, Imperial, California as of September 12, 1918, at 44 years of age.

Scott Leverenz
Portland, Oregon

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