Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chapter 6: Meet the Fockers...I mean, Fawkners

Family history "finds" don't happen in a logical order. And, with Google and a proliferation of online databases, we now find things that we might never have found 15 or 20 years earlier. It is hard to remember just how it happened, but several years of Internet searching brought Ida Fawkner into view.

Ida's short family history was collected in a 1940-41 Illinois Society D.A.R publication (it can now be found on  Writing about 1917, Ida identified herself as a daughter of James C. Fawkner. Ida said she had been born in Iowa in 1858. Was this the same James C. Fawkner who married Julia Angell in 1862 in Missouri? If so, he had had an earlier family.

Describing the Hendricks County, Indiana, family of Isaac Stephens and Sarah Harper, she stated that Elizabeth Turner Stephens married James C. Fawkner 13 July 1854 in Hendricks County. She added that the couple moved to Montrose, Iowa, by 1855, where they had two daughters:

  •  Ida Kemp Fawkner, born 19 July 1856
  • Josephine Elizabeth Fawkner, born 12 September 1858.
In a paragraph headed "THE HISTORY OF IDA K. FAWKNER," she wrote: "In winter of 1857 parents took Ida to see Aunt Mary Sears, Lucas Co., Iowa. Returning home in Feb. 1858, all suffered from severe, snowy weather. As a result, Ida, a mere baby, lost her hearing, not to be restored. She was educated in a school for the deaf, and since 1875 has resided in Indianapolis."

Here was the Sears name again -- something we will come back to. For the moment, consider what else Ida told of the Fawkner family.  Her father, James C. Fawkner, was the son of John C. Fawkner and Anna Faulkner, who had married in Orange County, Virginia, in 1828. James had four siblings:

  • Elizabeth A. K., born 10 August 1832,
  • John E., born 27 February 1835,
  • Cyrus, born 21 May 1837, and
  • George S., born 23 May 1839.
Ida noted that her father served in the 2nd Missouri Cavalry and that, after John C. Fawkner died in 1839, his mother remarried to Wesley B. Sears in 1841. This, indeed, is the family we've been tracking in earlier posts.

Oh, one more thing to which we will eventually return... Ida stated that he grandfather, John C. Fawkner (who died nearly 80 years before Ida wrote her account), was born 3 December 1777 in England, adding that, when he came to America, he met a distant cousin, Anna Faulkner. When married in Orange County in 1828, "John C. Faulkner changed the name to Fawkner, so his wife might have at least a change in the spelling of her name when married."

We will eventually put this last bit of information about the origins of John C. Fawkner to the test, but his four sons -- James, Cyrus, John and George -- will keep us busy for several weeks. In next week's post, we will pick up the Fawkner trail in Montrose, Iowa, but only after we encounter yet another surprise.

Oh, one more thing: Ida made absolutely no mention of her father's second family.

LESSON: Always do a literature search, using resources like the DAR online catalog, FamilySearch, Google Books, and PERSI. Remember: authored works have authors, and authors sometimes hold back information.

Note: Photo, believed to be Ida Kemp Fawkner, courtesy of Micah Karl.

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