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.


  1. "The loons Up North..." those are birds, right? ;-)

    Great story, Jay!

  2. Yup, the loon is the state bird of Minnesota. Seems some of the Fawkners were a bit loony, too.