Monday, June 23, 2014

Charles Ward Pillsbury, Mid-West Farmer (52 Ancestors #25)

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

I'd like to introduce you to another of my mid-western farmers.

In 1856, near the Fox River and Lake Winnebago in the small Township of Omro[1], Winnebago county, Wisconsin, Charles Ward Pillsbury was born[2] to William C. Pillsbury and Eliza Cooper Pillsbury.  His brothers and sisters were:

James Pillsbury 1847-
Susan Pillsbury  1850-
Emma Pillsbury  1851-
Ella Pillsbury 1860-1943

Charles was my third great uncle[3].

The Iowa Years
Charles lived in Wayne Township, Mitchell County, Iowa beginning sometime before 1880[4].  He spent much of his boyhood and young adult life on his parent’s farm.   In 1891, he married Eva from which this union brought two children: Helen in 1892[5] and Harold in 1898[6].  He had a farm of his own in Wayne Township for about ten years.

Seemed like life was good.  And then…

The Minnesota Years
Possible route from McIntire (near Wayne), Iowa
to Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. Yahoo Maps
(click to enlarge)
Parkers Prairie in Otter Tail County, Minnesota became home for Charles’s family by 1920[7].  He and Eva were 62 now.  He owned the house and the farm.   His son Harold was married and worked as a laborer, maybe on the family farm.  Helen wasn't in the household; maybe she was married.

But why did Charles move here?  This small town, surrounded by rivers and lakes (an oxymoron -- he’s in Minnesota for goodness sakes), is 280+ miles or so from Wayne Township and nearly 150+ miles north of Minneapolis, Minnesota[8].

In about ten years, Charles and Eva would be living with Harold and Wilma, his wife.  All would remain in Parkers Prairie for the rest of their lives.  Eva died in 1931, Charles in 1933, Harold in 1934.  They are buried in Parkers Prairie Cemetery.

Future Research
  • Locate land and property records
  • Obtain birth, marriage and death records
  • Obtain funeral and cemetery records
  • Learn more about life in Iowa and Minnesota

[2] Year: 1860; Census Place: Omro, Winnebago, Wisconsin; Image 10. Lines 25-32
[3] Steve Morse Relationship Calculator
[4] 1880; Census Place: Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa. ED : 315. Image 10. Lines 9-12
[5] Year: 1900; Census Place: Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa; Roll: 448; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0122; FHL microfilm: 1240448. Image -.  Lines 95-98
[6] Registration State: Minnesota; Registration County: Otter Tail; Roll: 1675772; Draft Board: 2. Draft Card : P. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
[7] Year: 1920; Census Place: Parkers  Prairie, OtterTail,Minnesota; Roll: T625_849; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 160; Image: 382.
[8] Google map 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

William E. Hutson, Farm Hand and Thresherman (52 Ancestors #24)

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.
Carol M. Highsmith, "Iowa Hay Rolls",
betw 1980 and 2006

Once again I'm profiling an ancestor from Bailey Village, Mitchell County, Iowa.  My great-great Uncle William Ernest Hutson[1] left a puny record trail.  This fellow became more of a research challenge for basic records than originally expected.  My other ancestors have spoiled me.

Like his older brother Alva Leo Hutson, William was born in the small village of Bailey in Wayne Township, Mitchell County, Iowa. The best indication of his birth date of 19 Mar 1882 came from his WW I draft registration card[2].  He was the second child of James Hutson and Ella Pillsbury Hutson Henderson.   William may not have known his father very well or at all based on statements in the divorce record about his father’s abandonment of the family. He was thirteen years old when his mother married again to John Henderson.   In some records, William was identified with the surname of Henderson.  William also had two half-brothers: Clyde Ellsworth Henderson and Lawrence K. Henderson.

William E. Hutson's signature on
WWI Draft Registration Card
The farms in Wayne Township served as employment for William.  He worked as a hired man on the David S. Hockens [Hawkins] farm[3] and the Richard W. Carter farm[4].   On his WW I draft registration card he listed his occupation as thresherman[5] on the Tom Gallup farm in Athol Township, Spink County, South Dakota[6].  This job site seemed rather curious since it was nearly 400 miles from Wayne Township[7].  William’s brother Alva had a homestead in McKinney, Renville County, North Dakota at the time so I mapped the distance between towns.   Not very close to stop by for supper.

Source: Google Map:  
William’s mother died in 1943.  Her obituary stated that William cared for her until her death in McIntire near Bailey Village.  He would have been about 61, she 84.   While not a reliable source, the obituary does suggest that William was still in Bailey Village in 1943.

The trail goes cold from there.

Did he remain in Bailey Village?  Did he ever marry?  When and where did he die?  Searches in Iowa, Minnesota, Arizona and California where his Hutson and Henderson kin lived have been to no avail.  William has now become my first “modern day” ancestor for whom I have not located some basic records.  So far, she said hopefully.

Photo Credit: Carol M. Highsmith, "Iowa hay rolls", betw 1980 and 2006; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA ( : accessed 17 June 2014)

Future Research
  • Locate records for marriage, death and grave site
  • Locate Hutson kin

[1] Steve Morse relationship calculator
[2] Registration State: Iowa; Registration County: Mitchell; Roll: 1643186; Description: Draft Card H; U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
[3] Year: 1900; Line 80. Census Place: Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa; Roll: 448; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0122; FHL microfilm: 1240448. Description: Enumeration District : 0122; Description: Wayne Township including McIntire Town.
[4] Year: 1920; Census Place: Wayne, Mitchell, Iowa; Roll: T625_503; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 152; Image: 310. Description: Enumeration District : 0152; Wayne Township including Bailey town, those parts of Meyer and McIntire towns in this Township.
[5]  “thresh” verb \ˈthresh, ˈthrash\:  to separate the seeds of corn, wheat, etc., from the plant by using a special machine or tool.  Thresherman, one who threshes.
[6] See Footnote 2
[7] Mileage by car based on 2014 Google map

Monday, June 16, 2014

Clyde E. Henderson, Iowa Native (52 Ancestors #23)

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

His parents, John Henderson and Ella Pillsbury Hutson Henderson greeted a brown-eyed, dark haired boy on 28 June 1897 in Bailey, Mitchell County, Iowa[1].  They named him Clyde Ellsworth Henderson.  He became the younger half-brother of Alva Leo Hutson and William E. Hutson, both sons from his mother’s first marriage to James Hutson.  Another brother, Lawrence K. Henderson, would come along in a couple years.

To me, Clyde would have been my half great-great uncle.[2]

He lived in the small village of Bailey for at least 20 years attending the local school through the seventh grade[3].  He registered for the draft in 1918 reporting that he worked for Mr. M.S. Carter in Bailey[4]

Draft Registration Card WW I,
Clyde E. Henderson

By 1920, Clyde moved about 20 miles north to live in LeRoy, Mower County, Minnesota.  He was married then, to Louise V. Bach.  Over the next 20 years[5], he worked as a laborer at a quarry, a rock crusher company and the railroad.  He and Louise had three children: Lloyd, Merrill and Marilyn.

Clyde and Louise’s whereabouts after 1940 are a mystery to me.  He may have been living in Chester, Iowa in the 1950’s based on a brief mention of a Clyde Henderson in the Austin [Minnesota] Daily Herald.  He died on 28 Feb 1983 in Rochester, Olmsted, Minnesota[6].  He was buried in Wayne Cemetery (near Bailey) in a shared grave with his parents[7].

Future Research
  • Obtain records for Clyde’s birth, school, marriage, employment and death
  • Determine location of Clyde and Louise after 1940
  • Contact descendants of Clyde and Louise

[1] Registration State: Iowa; Registration County: Mitchell; Roll: 1643186. Description-Draft Card : H. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line].
[3] 1915 Iowa State census, Township: Bailey. Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925. Original data: Microfilm of Iowa State Censuses, 1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925 as well various special censuses from 1836-1897 obtained from the State Historical Society of Iowa via Heritage Quest.
[4] See footnote 1.
[5] 1920, 1930 and 1940 U.S. federal censuses,
[6] Minnesota, Death Index, 1908-2002 [database on-line]. Original data: State of Minnesota. Minnesota Death Index, 1908-2002. Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Department of Health.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Hannah E. Brown Ballenger, My Great-Great Aunt (52 Ancestors #22)

This is another article for the series "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks", a challenge by Amy Johnson Crow on No Story Too Small.

The Informative Marriage License

On the 23rd of August 1900, Hannah E. Brown of Hillsboro, Highland, Ohio married Joe Ballenger from Kentucky.   Hannah, the youngest daughter of Thomas Brown and Jane Clark, was my great-great aunt.

Marriage record for Hannah Brown and Joe Ballenger 
Hannah and Joe’s marriage record was one of the richest such documents I have in my collection. While I still plan to transcribe the document,  here's just a list of delectable data:

  1. Bride’s name and age:  Hannah Brown, 24
  2. Bride’s residence: Hillsboro, Highland, Ohio
  3. Bride’s parents:  father’s surname - Brown, mother’s maiden name – Hill [see note below]
  4. Bride: not a widow or divorced
  5. Groom’s name and age: Joe Ballenger, 33 on undecipherable date
  6. Groom’s occupation: painter
  7. Groom’s place of birth and residence: Kentucky
  8. Groom’s parents:  father - B. B. Ballenger, mother’s maiden name – Jane Collins
  9. Groom: previously married once and has no wife living
  10. Both: not nearer kin than second cousins and no impediments to marriage
  11. Rev. J. P. Curran expected to perform the ceremony
  12. Church:  As. G. [possibly Assembly of God]
  13. Signed by H.P. Morrow, Deputy Clerk, and possibly bride and groom
  14. Marriage license completed in Probate Court, Hillsboro, Highland, Ohio
  15. Certified on 23 Aug 1900, Number 56961
  16. Filed and recorded on 27 Aug 1900, signed by Probate Judge:  O. H. Hughes
Note:  After Hannah’s parents divorced, she lived with her mother’s brother and his wife Mahlon Clark and Margaret Hill Clark.  The 1880 census recorded Hannah as the adopted daughter of the Clarks.

Hannah's sister and my great grandmother Ida May Brown Kendall continues to be an elusive ancestor. By researching sideways, hopefully a cousin connection may appear through Hannah Brown Ballenger and Joe Ballenger. 

Future Research
Follow-up on people named in marriage record
Track Hannah and Joe in census records
Identify and track any children
Determine if Hannah was legally adopted

Marriage record:
Hannah's middle initial:  Thomas Brown's Civil War Pension Record