Monday, February 08, 2016

The Civil War Journal of John M. Laurie - Part 1

John M. Laurie an ordinary citizen that was put in extraordinary circumstances. He was born about 1839 in Pennsylvania. As with many of our immigrants from Ohio he arrived here in Brown County after the Civil War. John served in the Ohio Volunteers - Sept 28, 1861 to Oct. 12, 1864 Company F 34th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteers Infantry - Chapmanville, West Virginia. From his obituary it says that he served three years in the Civil War, marched with Sherman from Atlanta to the sea, and for a number of months endured horrors as a prisoner of war at Libby and Belle Isle. He was discharged at Columbus, Ohio.
After his service, he moved to Booneville, Missouri. John had a land-grant application for 40 acres in Booneville, Missouri dated 8 July 1885. Signed by Rutherford B. Hayes, President; William H. Crook, Secretary. He moved his family to Indiana about 1875 and resided at RR1, Mt. Liberty, Indiana near the Brown and Bartholomew county line.

John Laurie married Elizabeth Little in Missouri in 1867 and they had six children: Albert “Bert”, Maud, Frank, Clyde, Mary, and Annie. Some of you may remember Bert Laurie who was the animal caretaker at the Brown County State Park. Albert Laurie was the recipient of the following document written by his father. Known as “Bert” Laurie, he farmed and lived on Spearsville Road outside of Beanblossom for many years until his death in 1962.
The following document was given to his son, Paul, and after his death, since there are no children, his wife, Juanita M. (Pat) Laurie is in possession of the original document detailing a fascinating historical report about the Civil War and the engagements that John Laurie encountered. Since her father-in-law, Bert Laurie, was well-known in Brown County, she wanted to make a gift of this document to the Brown County Historical Society. Please note, the memoranda is copied verbatim (misspellings, etc.) as taken from the original hand-written copy. This is a transcription of his journal kept while on the march by John M. Laurie.


Camp Piatt, May 1, 1864
We left Camp Toland this morning about ten o’clock and arrived here about eight o’clock. Altho the distance between here and Charleston is but ten miles. Yet we, that is Duffies Brigade, had to be ferried over the river. A tedious operation lasting over four hours. Whiskey seems to be very plenty and not a few of the boys are mighty inebriated. We are in the first Brigade composed of the 2nd & 3rd Virginia Cavalry and 34th O.V., General Duffie commanding.

Peytona, May 2nd
Arrived here in good time. Had supper cooked before dark. I was one of a detail to remain at Piatt and get cartridges. The Q.M. wouldn’t let us have them. We got soaking wet while waiting for them. Then started to rejoin our Regt., and didn’t catch up untill well within two miles of this place. The Column didn’t leave Piatt untill late in the day and they rode fast to make up lost time. Rained last night, all day today and drizzling rain now. Very comfortable, it is.
Near Chapmanville, May 3rd
Today we passed along the old route and are now near the scene of the first engagement our Regt. had with the Rebles Sept. 26th 1861. I hope we may be as successful on this expedition.
(John M. Laurie’s journals go on for many more pages. More to come in later blogs.)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Who Was Jeremiah Rushton?

George Rushton of Hamilton County, Indiana

The Rushtons that first came to Indiana all settled in the same area. These families all settled in Morgan and Hendricks County in the same time period with land patents from 1827 to 1837. All were usually right around the Morgan-Hamilton County line. In tracing back my third great grandfather, George Rushton, I first had to separate him from the other older George Rushton. This has been a process of over 10 years to get these two families separated and the job is not done yet. They all came from the same area in North Carolina, Randolph County, so that has made it even harder. A lot of researchers for a lack of good documentation have lumped these families all into one group – the family of William and Dorothy Rushton, but I believe there are at least 2 distinct family groups. The only problem that has not been resolved is the appearance of these two George Rushtons. My great grandfather, George and Sarah (Needham) Rushton eventually moved eastward to Hamilton County, Indiana.

In working on the older George Rushton who married Sarah Conner I came across a mysterious man, Jeremiah Rushton. He doesn't seem to fit in anyone's family tree on-line. He seems to have lived during the Revolutionary War and he is associated with these families in this same area. He doesn't show up in any census that I can find anywhere either.

A Jeremiah Rushton got a land grant in 1837 April 5 in Morgan County. In 1852 August 24 in a land transaction in Morgan County a group of people went together and sold land to Jourdan and Agnes (Rushton) Page and these sellers were: John & Priscilla Rushton of Hendricks County, George & Sarah Rushton, Joel Rushton, and Katherine Campbell all of Morgan County, from the Estate of Jeremiah Rushton. I think this shows a distinct family group who are all probably some kin of Jeremiah Rushton.

I have found references to a Jeremiah Rushton living during the Revolutionary War in New York and that he came to Indiana. From the Library of Congress website from the Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Volume 43, page 288 on Jan. 25, 1848 we find a reference to a Jeremiah Rushton. “By Mr. Richard W. Thompson: The memorial of Jeremiah Rushton, of Morgan County, in the State of Indiana, praying remuneration for moneys paid by him for government land, which had been entered previously.” Is this the same mysterious Jeremiah Rushton? It clearly states where and when he was living – in Morgan County, Indiana in 1848.

In another reference, the book “American Migrations 1765-1799” page 330 we find another reference to a Jeremiah Rushton. “Jeremiah Rushton Memorial – Cumberland 1786. He served with the Westchester Refugees from March 1781 until he left NY in 1783; he received no pay. Claim for two horses, clothing. Rejected. (13/26/429-430).

If this is the same Jeremiah Rushton this would give a reason as to why he was so mysterious. The Westchester Refugees were Loyalists and fought on the British side in the Revolution. They were considered criminals after the Revolution and their property was confiscated. Most left New York and went to Canada. Maybe this Loyalist decided to stay in the U.S., but was very mindful to avoid anything to do with the government until about 60 years later. Also some were known to have deserted from the British army.

In going back to tie him to this family going back through other researchers’ family pages I found a reference to a Campbell family bible. It names four of the above children: Agnes, Katherine, and Joel Rushton. Another that is named in it is a Jeremiah Rushton who is born in 1805. This one certainly wouldn’t be old enough to be the older Jeremiah Rushton from New York, but could he be a son? There certainly isn’t a Jeremiah Rushton mentioned in any census during this time either younger or older. Could this younger Jeremiah Rushton have got the land grant, died, and then not leaving a family left it to his siblings? (So many loose ends?) The naming conventions in the Rushton family have been very traditional in studying my own family line. What I hope to present with this query is more research on this Jeremiah Rushton. Is there more documentation out there somewhere that could help fill in these family lines. I also hope all those that have their family trees on-line will take a look at this and just not jump at the easiest thing to do. If you don’t have documentation of your family ancestry then please just don’t put up anything that easily, but mistakenly ties up a loose end for you.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dr. George P. Story of Story, Indiana

The Story Inn, formerly the Wheeler Store in Story, Indiana

Dr. Story was another one of our early doctors that settled in Brown County. He was born about 1809 in Pennsylvania and first settled in Ohio as a young man. He was first married to Catherine Shelenburger and they had their first and only child, David. After Catherine’s death while still in Ohio. Doc Story married a second time to Jane Morrison with whom he had two more sons, Enoch and George Story.

Dr. Story moved his family from Morgan County, Ohio to Van Buren Township, Brown County about 1851. In that year he got a land grant from the government for 173 acres and settled in what is now the village named after him, Story, Indiana. At the time he received his land grant the county was still considered mostly wild country although most of the Indians had left by this time. The description on his land patent read, “south of the Indian Boundary Line.” If you visit Story, Indiana there is a sign here that marks the area as being on the Ten O’Clock Line boundary.

Doc Story served the area as their physician for about thirty years. He was postmaster of a post office called Valley Hill from 1860 to 1879. This may have been what Story was called before it was named after him. The post office of Story was never officially named until 1882. His sons all married women from Brown County, but didn’t stay here long. His wife, Jane died in 1872 and is buried in the Christiansburg Cemetery. He then married a third time to a lady named Sandusky Percifield. By 1880 his sons had moved west from Brown County to Kansas and Missouri. Doc Story sold his land in 1882 to John Noblet. He then headed west himself. He is said to have moved to Dudleyville, Illinois. That is the last anyone from Brown County had ever heard from him.

His house still stands in the little village of Story just west of the Story Inn. The small community where he had lived and practiced medicine was called Storyville for many years, but had been shortened over the years to Story, Indiana. In the photo above you can see Dr. Story's house in the distance on the left of the photo.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Brown County Doctors - Dr. Stephen B. Mossop

This starts a series on the doctors of Brown County in the 1800s-to early 1900s. A list dated 1881 was found in our book “History and Families of Brown County” published by the Historical Society. We are trying to add to the list as we find more and do some research on some of the lesser known doctors that practiced in Brown County. On some of the later doctors such as Drs. John F. Genolin, Frank L. Tilton, Samuel C. Wilson, and Alfred G. Ralphy we have more information and even photos of these men. Some on the list come up quite frequently in coroner’s reports and sometimes in advertisements in the old newspapers. So my associates and I will gather whatever information we can find on these lesser known doctors and present them in this blog.

The subject of this post is Dr. Stephen Mossop of Schooner Valley, which is in Washington township. I usually start to look for them in the census in the year that is closest to the date they were found on the list mentioned above, and then I go backward from that date. To condense this information and to form a timeline it is put back in order from oldest to newest. We start from the first time he was found in America. Following Dr. Mossop in the census from 1850 he is found living in Campbell County, Kentucky where he is listed at age 34 born in Ireland with an occupation of doctor. His wife, Ellenor, age 24 is also born in Ireland.

By 1860 he has moved to Brown County, Indiana. Stephen is age 45, wife Ellen is age 33, and by now a son named William age 9 born in Kentucky. In the 1870 census Stephen is age 54 living in the same place with wife Eleanor age 44. The son, William, is not with them at this time. By the 1880 census we find Stephen Mossop, M.D. age 62, listing him as married, but he is living alone now. His wife, Ellen Mossop, age 54 has moved to Johnson Township by this time living in Thomas Madgett’s family with her son, William age 29. Ellen is named as a sister to Thomas Madgett. Ellenor and Stephen may have separated by this time. No divorce record could be found for them, although. Jumping forward to the 1900 census neither Stephen nor Ellenor can be found. So it is assumed they may have died before this time.

The son, William, by this time is abt. 50 living as a boarder with the Ed Thickstun family. His death record was found in Brown County where he died March 5, 1922 and buried in the Duncan Cemetery. It names his father as Stephen and mother as Elner Matgett, both born Ireland. The son, William, had only a short obituary saying he died in Belmont age 71, born in Newport, Kentucky, and never married. His parents were Stephen and Ellenor Mossop who came to this country from Ireland in the 1840s.

Checking cemetery records since William’s death record names Duncan Cemetery, we find Stephen Mossop listed, with no dates on his stone. Elenor is given a death date of January 31, 1892 and from Ennis, Ireland. Checking another type of record, Circuit Court cases, the last entry found for Stephen Mossop was in 1893 when he filed a lawsuit.

I wanted to see if I could find something on Stephen and Ellenor when they first came to America such as a passenger list or a naturalization, but nothing was found. They could have been naturalized anywhere along the way from when they first entered America to Kentucky to Brown County, Indiana. Although checking on the website I was surprised when I found their marriage record. Stephen Mossop married Eleanor Madgett on April 23, 1849 at Drumcliff, Clare, Ireland. His father was listed as William Stephen Mossop. Her father was John Nicholas Madgett.

I took one last try to find something on them on and got a hit. A short notice in a Fort Wayne newspaper states he was a recluse, an eccentric character, and he died in October 1894. Here was a few clues about his personality. It also stated he was the first practicing doctor Brown County ever had. Another article said that he was a graduate of Dublin University. Final dates for Stephen Mossop is he was born abt. 1816 in Ennis, Ireland, County Clare. He died on October 15, 1894 in Brown County, Indiana. He, his wife, Eleanor, son William, and brother-in-law, Thomas Madgett are all buried together at Duncan Cemetery. I will keep looking for other records for Dr. Stephen Mossop’s life in America and Ireland to help us know more about this Brown County doctor. If anyone can help with any other information on this Irish doctor please let us know.

P. S.

I finally found where Stephen B. Mossop was naturalized. I got to thinking, if he wasn't naturalized in Campbell County, Kentucky then where was the next largest city – Cincinnati, Ohio just across the river. Yikes, I remembered, a lot of our immigrants to Indiana came through Cincinnati. So there he was, Stephen Mossop age 34 departed from Canada on August 15, 1849 and arrived in Buffalo on August 20, 1849. His declaration for citizenship occurred on March 5, 1851. It just took a little experience and some detective work, but I found him. He had come through Canada from Ireland.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Jesse Brown - Still a Mystery!

Every summer my friend and I like to take our annual drive down south to our neighboring Jackson County. They are reputed to grow the best melons in the state. Their soil is very fertile and sandy being mostly bottom land where White River runs through it. There are a few hills in the north and west side of the county though. Every time we drive southerly through this area I think of my third great grand parents, Jesse and Polly (Porter) Brown. This area from my best guess is where they first settled when they came to Indiana from Floyd County, Kentucky. They eventually ended up in northern Brown County in the hilly country - like their home state. Why did they move again? They came from the hills of Kentucky. Maybe they didn’t like the marshy bottom land of Jackson County for a home.

Jesse Brown’s origins, born 1805, are still a mystery to me. Of course, the Brown surname is one of the more difficult names to research. There were so many Browns living in Floyd County at that time. As you come back to Indiana to do research for the Browns in Jackson County the numbers decrease quite a bit. That still doesn’t make it much easier, but at least you narrow down the families you need to research.

There were two other Brown families living here at the time though. A Thomas Brown family living in the same area apparently has been well researched and most don’t think my Jesse is any relation to them. There was a John Brown family in the area for a shorter amount of time that seems promising. This John Brown left a few documents during his time here, but still no connection to my Jesse Brown has yet to be proven. If Jesse Brown owned land in Jackson County that would’ve helped, but he didn’t. There are a few small details that could go toward being small scraps of evidence to connect them.

John Griner & Lucy Brown Griner (Jesse Brown's Grand Daughter)

After John Brown died in 1837 a woman named Lucy shows up in the 1840 census living alone in the same location. Probably it was his wife, but also she could have come here mid census with an entirely different family. Jesse Brown’s oldest son, named his daughter, Lucy. John Brown died with his land going to Probate Court, but the only other persons named in it were his heirs, no names, and a son named John A. Brown Jr. He apparently had more children because they show up in the 1830 census. There are several females with the Brown surname married in Jackson County that had no ties to the Thomas Brown family. There are so many little pieces of information that have been collected that it’s unsure if they even tie in. Sometimes it gets more confusing when you try to use other’s research. You have to actually prove their research before you can even try to find a tie to your family.

It seems there has to be more documentation out there somewhere to be found. I haven’t researched this family in a few years. Maybe more records have become available. You also never know that maybe a few years ago, I might have missed something important being inexperienced. Also, since a few more years have passed I’ve learned a lot more about where to find the records. It’s about time to refresh myself on this case and pay another trip to Jackson County. I’ll have to stop by the local vegetable market and get another one of those good melons!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Decoration Day as Mom Used to Call It!

L to R: Holcomb - Georgia, Morphew - Tennessee, Vonda Dunn - Indiana, Gave - ?, Bytner - Michigan

Growing up my mother's family always celebrated Decoration Day in a big way. She was a Kentuckian and family was everything to them. She and her sisters would get on the phone the first thing and order flowers to be put on all her family members graves, we were in Indiana at the time. Then the sisters would all get together and make the trip down south to see the graves and visit. Always a big meal ensued during the visit which would bring together long seen cousins. It was a big event that we all looked forward to every year. My mom and her sisters didn't have a lot of money, but they always seemed to have enough for those flowers. Sometimes they chipped in together, sometimes they would buy artificial ones and decorate them theirselves depending on what the money situation was that year, but they never missed a single year that I can remember. many of these great family traditions are gone now. These memories still linger and that's probably why I look forward to my yearly visit to Kentucky to see my cousins. It's not on Memorial Day anymore, but I never fail to visit one or two of the cemeteries and remininsce. My dad's family also celebrated Decoration Day every year the same way. My dad being a 'guy' just didn't get into like the women in the family.

This Memorial Day I spent the morning a little differently at a local Program Honoring our Veterans. A friend asked me to go because he was speaking. It was a great day watching the Honor Guard, my friend the speaker tell his stories of service, listen to the bagpipes, and listening to final taps. It was truly a moving experience. Not one person left with a dry eye and without a sense of great respect for these veterans and the ones that were lost. My friend is a Vietnam Vet and this was the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. My brother, Richard, served there also and I have never thanked him for his service. I'm going to correct that today.

My dad, Vonda, was in WW2 and served in the Phillipines. I'm putting a photo above of my dad and some of the men that he was in Basic Training with. He took the time to write on the back of it their names and the state that they hailed from. I may never meet these men, but if anyone knows these veterans and I would tell them also, Thank you for Serving Your Country. If anyone knows these men I would like to know whatever happened to them. I'm afraid I don't know their full names, but they may remember my dad. Let me know if anyone has any information on them. If you notice in the foreground they had a pet bear.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Keeping Interest in a Genealogy Society.

Program - On the Trail of Henry Cross, Stonecarver

It has been up to me as President to keep our members interested in coming to our meetings, not to mention attracting new members. Our Society had grown stale and our meetings were humdrum. Yes, we had interesting speakers and of late more modern topics to present. That only goes so far, at least in my opinion. If I belong to a Club or Society I want to do fun things and share my accomplishments. I’m sorry to say we’ve lost some of our older members the past couple of years, but hopefully we’ve lost the old order of being a humdrum society. I want my genealogy buddies to enjoy being in a club, to enjoy doing the type of things that I do, and to learn and do new hands-on techniques.

Of course, there is always going to be one or two members that don’t like change. Then I also have to think of those that are not able to go out and do more active things like cemetery hopping. So I, as President, have to learn to balance all these different personalities and physical types. So we give them a mix of different types of programs. A couple of years ago I started taking our meetings out into the county in different locations so that maybe we could draw in new members. It also let the locals get an idea what our Society was about. Every on-location meeting was very well attended, so much better than our stay-at-home meetings.

So last year we instituted a new Summer-on-the-Road series of programs/activities. It was a big hit. We’re going to do that again this year, but with an overall theme – Summer of Cemeteries. Once the idea was presented among our members we’ve had multiple questions and comments. We’re still in the planning stages, but we plan to go up to October as long as the weather holds. We’ll have a sit down portion for the older folks with a short program or talk. Then we’re off to our local cemetery for some fun. In June we’ll have our Annual Picnic with a visit to Greenlawn Cemetery. In September or October we plan to visit the Deckard Cemetery. Plans for the other months in between haven't been set yet.