Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ella Pillsbury 1859-1943, Long-time Iowa Resident (52 Ancestors #12)

Ella Pillsbury was born about 1859 in Omro, Winnebago, Wisconsin.  She was the fifth child of William C. Pillsbury and Eliza Cooper, both born in Maine.  Her parents may have settled in Wisconsin as early as 1850.

By 1870, the Pillsbury family had moved to Iowa where Ella married James Houston on 28 December 1878 in Osage, Mitchell, Iowa.  Yes, Houston. That was the spelling of the surname on the marriage record.  Hmm.  The surname was spelled Hutson or Hutsen in other records.  James may have been from Scotland so I’ve wondered how Houston or Hutson would be pronounced with a Scottish accent possibly resulting in such spellings. 

The first child born to James and Ella was L. Alva Hutsen[1] - my great-grandfather.  He was born in October 1879[2]Ella Hutsen and Alva were living in the household of her parents in Wayne, Iowa.  She was married but husband James was not listed.  In fact, I have yet to find him anywhere except the marriage record.  Presumably he returned because another son, William C. Hutson was born in 1885.

Ella must have tired of James’ absence because she filed for divorce in 1895 based on abandonment. James failed to respond to the 30 day newspaper notice of action so the divorce was automatically granted.  The next day, 10 Dec 1895, she married John Henderson.  Three children were born to this union: Clyde Ellsworth Henderson on 28 June 1897[3], a daughter in October 1899[4] and another son, Lawrence Kenneth Henderson in 1901[5] [6].

Ella and John had been married about 22 years when he died in 1917.  She continued to live in Mitchell County for the rest of her life with her son Clyde.  Ella died in 1943 of breast cancer.

About Omro, Winnebago, Wisconsin
Source: FamilySearch Wiki
Located along one of Wisconsin's first transportation and communication routes, the community of Omro developed quickly on the Fox River. French fur trader and blacksmith Charles Omreau had a trading post here and give his name to the future city. Founded in 1842, Omro grew from a village in 1849 to a commercial center in 1857. By 1880 Omro was a stop on the railroad line and home to county fairgrounds, several mills, glass factory, carriage factories and had more than 2000 residents.7  [Click images to enlarge.]

About Wayne Township, Mitchell, Iowa
Source: FamilySearch Wiki
Wayne Township is in the extreme northeastern part of Mitchell County comprising all of the Congressional township 100, range 15, except the northern tier of the sections. Minnesota borders it on the north, Howard County on the east, Jenkins Township on the south, and Stacyville Township on the west.  It has an area of 30 square miles and for the most part is a rolling prairie land, watered by the Wapsipinicon River and its tributaries. This beautiful water course enters the borders of the township on section 7, flows in a south and easterly course to section 34, from whence it enters Jenkins Township. Along the Wapsipinicon there is a good body of timber the heaviest of which is on sections 27 and 34. The soil is a productive dark loam which is as well suited for agriculture as any part of Mitchell County.


[1] Hutsen as spelled in the 1880 U.S. federal census for Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa.
[2] Ibid.
[3] World War I draft registration card
[4] 1900 U.S. federal census, Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa.  She was unnamed at eight months old.
[5] 1920 U.S. federal census, Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa. 
[6] Lawrence may have been living with his half brother Alva Hutson in McKinney, Renville, North Dakota according to the 1915 North Dakota state census.
[8] History of Mitchell and Worth Counties, Iowa ... and biographies of representative citizens. History of Iowa, embracing accounts of the pre-historic races, and a brief review of its civil and military history ..Springfield Ill., Union Publishing Co. 1884. Page 526.

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