Thursday, September 24, 2015

Chapter 22.1: Breaking News: Cyrus was Thrice-Married!

Breaking News: Cyrus W. Fawkner married three times after all.

I have more than once told genealogists that writing is a good way to clarify what you don't know. Sometimes, that paragraph needs just one more piece of information to tell the real story. Well, something similar can be said about cleaning off your desk. Sometimes, you rediscover that forgotten file that reminds you that you should have known more than you remembered when you were writing that paragraph.

Last week's post (Chapter 22) is a case in point. First, you probably haven't noticed, but I sneaked been back into my Blogspot account to the next day to "update" the article about Cyrus W. Fawkner. While playing around in an online historical newspaper index, I found a one-paragraph article documenting the death of Cyrus' second wife, Ann Ogden, and added that piece of information to last week's post. A convenient thing about digital publication is that it is easy to quietly edit what you published the day before.

Then, a couple of days later, while sorting through piles on my desk, I discovered two documents that proved something I had written wrong. I had written about Cyrus' two marriages -- to Laurie Came and Ann Ogden -- and remarked that Cyrus hadn't matched his brother, James, in the marriage derby. I also told of Cyrus' son, Charles W. Fawkner, marrying Ellen Robinson 27 February 1890. While writing last week's blog post, I had glanced at an index entry for the 1890 marriage (Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900, At first I thought, oh my, Cyrus had married a third time. But on second thought, knowing that in his Civil War pension documents Cyrus had specifically said he had been married only twice, to Laurie and Ann, that "C. W. must have been Cyrus' son, Charles W. Fawkner. Born about 1869, he was a just the right age for an 1890 marriage.

Yes, he was, but guess what I found in my files? I found copies of both the application for license and the marriage return. The groom was 51 years old and the bride, 37. The marriage registration clearly states that the groom's parents were Jno. C. Falkner and Ann Faulkner -- the John C. and Ann Fawkner who lived in Hendricks County, Indiana, in the 1830s, and had a son named Cyrus.

So, now I know that Cyrus, like his brother James C., married three times.  I'm still not sure what happened to his son, Charles W. That research question is not high on my list of research priorities, but I would like to know if he produced any more Fawkner descendants.

Yes, I will now go back to last week's blog and add a correction note.

LESSON: Nothing you write is perfect. Don't let the fear that you might have made a mistake keep you from writing. But, also look back through your files from time to time to see if something new catches your eye.

Image source: Livingston County, Illinois, Marriage Applications, Book 5, p. 442, Family History Library microfilm no. 1,401,629.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Chapter 22: Cyrus W. Fawkner, Horse-dealer, Saddler, Harness-Maker

Remember Cyrus, the deaf barber in Minneapolis (Chapters 15-16)? He was probably named after his Uncle Cyrus, the Indiana-born brother of James C. Fawkner. Born 21 May 1837, Cyrus Fawkner was the fourth child of John Fawkner and Ann Faulconer. Compared to his brother, James, Cyrus seems to have lived a more ordinary life. I say "seems to" because we only get brief glimpses through the fog of time of moments in lives lived more than a century ago.

Cyrus was 22 when he married Launie Cames 22 June 1859 in Hendricks County. There is some uncertainty about the bride's name because the 1860 census (June 1860) recorded Cyrus Fawkner  with an apparent wife, Mary, age 18, born in Kentucky. "Launie" likely was a mispelling of Laurie, because a Laurie Fawkner was buried in the East Danville Cemetery about 1860. Possibly, she was possibly the 7-year old Laura E. Cames in the 1850 household of Richard and Eliza Cames of Madison in Jefferson County, Indiana. 

In 1860, Cyrus lived in the county seat Danville. The census enumerator did not record an occupation for Cyrus. His apparent wife, Mary, was 18. Mary probably was Laurie; in response to a pension bureau questionnaire in 1898, Cyrus stated he had been married only twice -- to Laura Cames and Ann E. Odgen (see below). While the pension file obfuscation about James C. Fawkner's marriages puts a researcher on guard, no evidence has been found for a marriage of Cyrus to a woman named Mary. Some doubt remains because he 1860 census reported that Mary had been born in Kentucky, while the 1850 daughter of Richard Cames was born in Indiana (her brother was born in Kentucky). The 1860 census was taken 1 June, so if Laura/Launie’s death date is later than June 1, the two women are likely the same. The death date may be carved on the gravestone, but has sunk below ground level.

Much of what is known about Cyrus comes from his Civil War pension file (application 1,051,754, certificate 916,816). Having lost his young wife, Cyrus probably had little reason to stay home. He enrolled in the Kentucky Cavalry, 8th Regiment, 21 August 1862 and mustered out 23 September 1863. He held the rank of private and regimental saddler. He was received to duty as “Syrus Faulkner." During May 1863 he suffered from typhoid fever. Why did Cyrus enlist in Kentucky? Good question; no good answer yet.

Back home after the war, Cyrus probably sold horses with his brother George. An 1863 IRS tax assessment list for Hendricks County listed “Fawkner & Bro.” as horse dealers. In 1865, C. W. and G. S. Fawkner were listed as operating a harness manufacturing business.

Toward the end of the war, he enlisted again in the Indiana Volunteers, 154th Regiment in April 1865. A saddler, he was discharged August 4 as a private at Stevenson, Virginia. Soon after coming home, he married Ann Ogden 8 October 1865, and rejoined George in a harness-making business in Danville. IRS assessment records show that they were still in business together in March 1866, but by June, Cyrus had moved to Fairbury in Livingston County, Illinois, where Cyrus opened his own saddlery business. Cyrus had probably left Danville by April, when the Danville business was known as Fawkner and Dunnington.

Cyrus and Anna had two children in the next few years: Alice (about 1866) and Charles (about 1869). Both the 1870 and 1880 censuses reported Cyrus' Fairbury occupation as harness-maker. Cyrus and Anna had two more children: Minnie, born about 1872, and Frank, born about 1879. The family lived in town on Locust Street. His pension application indicates that, sometime between about 1888 and 1891, he moved to Naples in Scott County, Illinois, where he again was a saddler.

It is not known if Cyrus has any living descendants. His son, Frank, married a Missouri woman abut 1907, but censuses don't indicate any children. When an April 1898 Pension Bureau questionnaire asked "Have you any children living?" Cyrus listed only the two sons -- Charlie W. and Frank J. The daughters might have died young. He also told the Pension Bureau that the only two people -- his wife and daughter -- that knew how he had sustained a hernia had died. A Bloomington (Ill.) newspaper reported that Cyrus' wife, Ann, died 2 January 1888 of consumption. An 1891 newspaper article reported that Minnie, "afflicted with the consumption," had returned home to Fairbury after being sent away for a year to southern Illinois.

Charles married Mrs. Ellen J. Bowers Robinson 27 February 1890 in Livingston County. (Update: The C. W. Fawkner who married Ellen Robinson was not Charles, but his father, Cyrus. See Chapter 22.1, 24 September 2015). For the moment, nothing more is known about Ellen.was possibly living in St. Louis in 1900. Charles Fawkner died about 1915, buried Naples Cemetery, Scott Co. Illinois, but has not been found with certainty in the 1900 or 1910 censuses.

Frank was possibly in Jones County, Iowa, in 1900, and was in St. Louis in 1910. However, he was soon back in Scott County, Illinois, where he married Mary Hoffarth in 1911. Censuses don't report any children. . Frank Fawkner died 5 Feb 1945, Beardstown, Cass County, Illinois, and was buried in Antonia, Jefferson County, Missouri.

Ill-health forced Cyrus into the Soldiers and Sailors Home in Quincy, Illinois, where he lived in 1900, Quincy, Adams County. Cyrus applied for a pension 26 August 1891. All in all, he appears to have lived a mostly ordinary life for a Civil War veteran in the last decades of the 19th century. Next week, we will dig deeper into his Civil War pension file and learn about his later years in soldiers' and sailors' homes in Quincy and Danville, Illinois.

LESSON: Writing this week's post reminded me of a simple lesson. We just can't know everything about all the members of an ancestral family. We can't follow every descendant. There just isn't time. We have to pick and chose and focus on energy on questions we most want to answer.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Chapter 21: Back to the Beginning -- Elizabeth A. K. Fawkner

After a week off with the loons Up North, it's hard to know where next to take this blog. I certainly didn't think I'd still be spinning out the Fawkner story after 20 weeks. Let's backtrack a bit before moving forward.  Way back in Chapter 4, we used guardianship records to identify James C. Fawkner's four siblings: Elizabeth A. K., John E., Cyrus W., and George S. Learning something about them might help us better understand James' family. (You might want to go back and review Chapter 19 to recapture the big picture).

I'll start with the oldest, Elizabeth -- a convenient beginning because the Thursday deadline is looming and I know less about her than James' brothers. Seventeen year-old Elizabeth married Eli Morgison, 5 April 1849 in Hendricks County, Indiana. The name variously appears as Margason and Morgason. Little is known about their life together, but several pieces of fragmentary evidence offer a sketchy outline. In 1850 and 1860, they lived near Wesley and Ann Sears in Marion Township. By 1870, they had moved to Bowdre Township in Douglas County, Illinois. Eli and Elizabeth had 10 children: John W., L. A. (female), James, Edgar, Nancy, Joseph, Dan, A. J. (m), and Kemp, and a baby girl.

The family likely went west to Douglas County about 1864, between the births of Dan and A. J. ("Jackson" in the 1880 census). The Morgison's presence in Douglas County might explain James C. Fawkner's move to Coles County in the early 1870s. An 1875 land ownership map showed Eli or E. Morgason owning about 433 acres just east and southeast of the town of Hinesboro.

Eli Morgason probably died about 1874. When Nancy, using the name Nannie, applied for a passport in 1918, she stated that her father was born at Lexington, Kentucky, and lived continuously in the United States from 1824 to 1874. (She had previously applied for a passport in 1910 as an unmarried dentist). Nannie was living in Coles County, Illinois, when she made her application. In 1920, Nannie was living in Oakland, Coles County.

Absent a photo of Elizabeth, Nannie's passport application photo -- indistinct as the image is -- may give some idea of what Elizabeth Fawkner Morgason looked like.

Her son, Kemp Morgason, was still living in Bowdre Township in 1900. The household included wife Adelia, 29, Helen, 3, and  Blanche, 1.  Kemp moved back to Terre Haute Township, Vigo County, Indiana, by 1910. He married Adelia Watts, daughter of George Watts,  21 February 1890 in Coles County, Illinois.

That's all, folks. That's all I know for now about the Morgison/Morgason family. However, the family's residence in east-central Illinois provided an important piece of evidence in the story of James C. Fawkner's life. It was Elizabeth whose 1892 affidavit implicitly denied her brother's second marriage to Elizabeth Stephens (see Chapter 11). Elizabeth stated that she had been present at the funeral of James' first wife (Elizabeth Sears) in the spring of 1854. Elizabeth Morgason, of course, knew James's third wife (Julia Ann Angell) well, but told the pension board that James "was never married to another except the claimant and surviving widow (Julia Ann).

LESSON: It almost always pays to follow siblings of your main person of interest. In this case, following the Morgason family to Illinois helps explain why James C. Fawkner moved from Missouri to Coles and Douglas counties of Illinois.

Source for photo of Nannie Morgason: National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 449; Volume #: Roll 0449 - Certificates: 250-499, 03 Jan 1918-05 Jan 1918.