in 52 Weeks
While researching my ancestors I sometimes wonder at the personal strength they must have had to face the many adversities in their lives. Particularly when I discover the death of a spouse or child, I consider, with admiration, how the rest of the family carries on. I suspect many found strength through their faith, and the practical aspects of their lives. My farming ancestors would need to continue to care for their livestock and crops. Additionally, most these farming families were large and a widow or widower must find a caretaker or provider for young children. This week I consider the case of my great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Ellen Hammond.
Elizabeth Ellen Hammond 1844 – 1928
Elizabeth Ellen Hammond was born on 2 July 1844, in Holmes County, Ohio, to Mary Elinor Spicer, age 33, and John Milton Hammond, age 45. She was their 8th child, although two of their children had died prior to Elizabeth’s birth. By 1857 the family had relocated to Mercer County, Ohio, just west of Celina. It was in July of 1857 that Elizabeth’s older sister Eliza Jane married John King. The Hammond farm was very near the King farm in Mercer County. Six years later, Elizabeth Ellen Hammond married William H King, older brother of John King, on 26 March 1863. Elizabeth and William had three sons and two daughters: Homer 1864, Theresa 1867, Wm Franklin 1869, Charles 1871, Jenette 1875.
Life and Loss
Elizabeth experienced several personal losses in her early life. Two of her siblings had died in 1851. Then in 1872 two of her young children, Theresa and William Franklin, died of “brain fever” just a month apart. (Brain fever is an antiquated term that probably referred to scarlet fever.) In September 1873, Elizabeth’s sister Eliza Jane and brother-in-law John King succumbed to typhoid fever, leaving behind 6 children. Although their infant son Henry Logan King died a month later. Then, in July 1876, Elizabeth’s mother Mary Spicer Hammond died. But, perhaps the hardest loss was when William died on 24 September 1876 after a brief illness at the age of 43.
John Hammond farm
John Hammond farm:
east 1/2 of NE quadrant of sec 21 of twp 5 south, range 1 east
King family farm
King family farm and cemetery:
Location of King Family Cemetery and King Farmhouse
Above is a present-day map of Mercer County, OH with locations of the King and Hammond farms. At right is Elizabeth Hammond King Springer from about 1890.
Brain fever describes a medical condition where a part of the brain becomes inflamed and causes symptoms that present as fever. The terminology is antiquated. Conditions that may be described as brain fever include:
- Encephalitis, an acute inflammation of the brain, commonly caused by a viral infection.
- Meningitis, the inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
- Scarlet fever, infectious disease whose symptoms include sore throat, and headaches.
From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_fever
Elizabeth, at the age of 32, found herself a widow with three young children, ages 10, 5 and 1. Her mother was deceased, as was her closest sister. To make matters worse, William had mortgaged the farm just a year before his death and the first balloon payment was nearly due. William King’s probate record is a wealth of information about his finances and how Elizabeth navigated her early widowhood.
Download William King's probate documents
I’ll write a post sometime about this probate file and some of the more interesting items.
According to the probate records, various men were hired to perform the hard labor on Elizabeth’s farm. The harvest in the fall of 1876 was enough to pay the first balloon payment on the mortgage. There was an estate sale that also raised some money, but it was not much. Most items sold for less than $1, except for the livestock. But, there was enough money for Elizabeth and her children to purchase the basic necessities: food, fabric, shoes. The estate administrator, Mr. Addy, then arranged for a private sale of the farm and that paid off the mortgage and settled the remaining debts. Elizabeth was left with just a few hundred dollars. So, she did what any prudent woman of her time did, she remarried.
Elizabeth Ellen Hammond King married Joseph Springer in Mercer County, Ohio, on 29 May 1878, when she was 33 years old. Joseph Springer was 30 years old and worked as a farm laborer. He was a first cousin to the husband of Elizabeth’s youngest sister Savilla. Elizabeth and Joseph had one son. Jesse Jasper Springer was born on 12 April 1880 in Rockford, Ohio. By all accounts, Joseph Springer was a good surrogate father to Elizabeth’s other children. Sadly, Joseph passed away on 15 June 1900, in Black Creek Twp, Ohio, at the age of 52. They had been married 22 years.
A Final Chapter
Elizabeth and Jesse managed on their own for awhile, but again Elizabeth decided to remarry. This time she married a widower, 12 years her senior! Elizabeth Ellen Hammond King Springer married Phillip B. Kuhns in Mercer County, Ohio, on 2 July 1908, when she was 64 years old. Phillip had 9 adult children and had been a widower for about 4 years. The marriage lasted almost 4 years, Phillip passed away on 4 March 1912 in Mercer County, Ohio, at the age of 80.
Elizabeth spent the next several years renting a home in Celina with her son Jesse, while he worked as a laborer in the construction industry. Then, in 1925 she went to live with her daughter Jenette (Netta) in Ft. Wayne, IN. Netta was married to Charles Cavender since 1895 and had 4 children. The Cavender’s lived at 722 Home Ave, Ft. Wayne. It was at this home that Elizabeth Ellen Hammond King Springer Kuhns passed away on 3 February 1928 at the age of 83 years and 7 months. Elizabeth is buried in Prairie Grove Cemetery.
My great-great grandmother showed a lot of strength in the face of so much personal loss. The deaths of young siblings, young children, and 3 husbands must have tested her resiliency. Elizabeth also faced the financial challenges that many women of her era did. I have wondered how she would describe her life and it’s adversities. She probably viewed herself as an ordinary woman, and a farmers wife, dealing with issues common to women of her time.
- Profile for Elizabeth Ellen Hammond, ‘Osborn‘ family tree, Ancestry.com; https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/13493206/person/12114415294/facts
- Entry for Elizabeth Ellen Hammon, Marriage Record; Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses. FHL film# 000914956
- Entries for Treasy E King and Wm King Jr., Death Record; “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” database with images, FamilySearch; DR Place: Blackcreek Township, Mercer, Ohio, United States, source ID vol# 1, page 30, lines 25 and 26; Mercer County Courthouse, Ohio; FHL film# 914954, image 59 of 326.
- Entry for William King, Probate Record, Probate Case Files and Indexes 1852-1900; Probate Place: Mercer County, Ohio; Probate Case# 1810
- Entry for Elizabeth King, Marriage Record, Marriage Records. Ohio Marriages. Various Ohio County Courthouses. FHL film# 000914956
- Entry for E. E. Springer, Marriage Record, Mercer County Probate Court Records, page 432, Marriage License Application, certificate# 863
- Entry for Elizabeth Kuhns, Death Record, Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1928; Roll: 02; Certificate: 3185
- Online memorial for Elizabeth Ellen Hammond Kuhns, FindAGrave.com, memorial# 29882564; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/29882564/
Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne, lived at over 20 addresses around Indianapolis between 1876 and 1942. I thought it would be interesting to see all the old buildings and homes where he lived in my hometown of Indianapolis.
My great grandfather, David Louis Osborne (1848-1942), was a widower with two young sons in 1886 when he married Jennie Warbington (1857-1918) in Minneapolis on the 27th of May. I decided it was time to put sources to the story.
While working on a family photo project I decided it would be fun to compare side-by-side my father and his parents, at similar ages, to try and discover a family resemblance.
Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third.
A handwritten letter from Sarah Tucker Lafary to the then president of the United States, Grover Cleveland. It was her last appeal for a War of 1812 pension, sadly the pension was denied. The letter gives a glimpse of a woman who had no formal education, a poor farmers wife, then widow, mother of nine, she probably just wanted some independence through an income of her own.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 2: Challenge
So much about genealogy research is a challenge, perhaps the most common challenge is the ‘brick wall,’ meet Sarah Smith. 18?? – 1846
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 3: Unusual Name
The surnames in my tree are typical of common western European names. However, the name that is unusual among these names is MY surname: LaFara.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 6: Surprise!
Just when you think you know everything about an ancestor, surprise! I thought I knew most everything about my paternal great grandfather David L. Osborne, 1848-1942.
For all of us who are procrastinating about labeling photos I have one thing to say, “Be considerate of the genealogist of the future!” My maternal grandmother was very good about labeling old family photos, and there is one, in particular, I found very informative.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 10: Bachelor Uncle
My uncles are the marrying kind, sometimes more than once!
I had to go back four generations for a bachelor uncle, my great-great-great uncle Conrad Rumple, 1833-1911.
Conrad was an older brother to my great-great grandfather on my matrilineal line, William Rumple, 1839-1912.
My great-great grandparents, George Lafary and Catherine Landon, had a relatively small family, three of their six children survived to adulthood. However, they both came from large families of nine siblings and nearly all survived to marry and have children.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 13: In The Paper
It’s fun to find articles in the paper mentioning one of my relatives. Mostly they are birth, marriage, divorce and death events. But, it’s the oddball articles in the papers I like the most.
52 Ancestors, in 52 Weeks – Week 14: Brick Wall
We all have a brick wall, that one ancestor who defies all research. I decided I would work at my brick walls by generation, I broke through the last of my 3rd great grandparent brick walls, now I am working on 4th great grandparents.
I realized I did not have a date of death for my great, great grandmother, Catherine Landon Lafary. A fresh search uncovered the date and much more. Out of place, but once discovered, everything fell into place.
I have many favorite photos among my collection of family artifacts. Currently, my favorite photo is of two little children from 1916 who were a complete mystery to me until last spring.