After a busy semester that included a book deadline, I’m getting back to posting my old genealogical notes onto this blog.
This is a picture of my great-great-grandparents, Josiah and Margaret Williams. They are my mom’s paternal grandmother’s parents, buried (along with so many other of my maternal relatives) in the Pilcher Cemetery near Brownstown, Illinois. I tell the story, here, of exploring that cemetery during my high school years and recording the inscriptions. I tell the story of the Williams family here.
Josiah was 20 years older than Margaret, and was first married to her older sister Winnaford. The sisters’ birth name was Brown—and the Browns are an interesting family in my ancestry.
In my genealogy files I have Brown family notes from another genealogist, Glenore Cole, but I don’t remember when Glenore sent these to me. (The pages are yellow, so I’m assuming it was back in the 1970s, when I did so much genealogy.) According to the notes, James and Eliza (Baldwin) Brown are the early ancestors of this branch—my 6-great-grandparents.
They were the parents of: James Brown, born Apr. 29, 1708 in Middlesex Co, VA, died March 3, 1784 in Culpepper Co., VA. Married in c. 1736 to Elizabeth Poole, born April 1719 in Gloucester Co., VA. Her parents were George and Elizabeth Poole.
The children of James and Elizabeth:
1 Hezekiah, born 1738 in Spotsylvania Co., VA, died Aug 29, 1821 in Frankfort, KY. Married to Anne Stubblefield, second marriage to Mrs. Sarah Long.
2 James, born April 19, 1742 in Mansfield, near Fredericksburg, VA, died June 24, 1825 in Bourbon Co., KY Married to Ann Davis on Nov. 15, 1764. Mary (c. 1740-Nov. 29, 1764). Married James Michael Rice George Henry (c. 1745 – after 1821). (Glenore Cole’s notes indicates that James’ and Ann’s son William Brown was an early settler of Sangamon Co., IL—as were my dad’s ancestors whom I discuss here. Did these families on my dad’s and my mom’s side of the family know each other during early 1830s? As with my dad’s ancestors, William Brown has a nice history in John Carroll Power’s 1876 History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois, pp. 146-148.)
Hezekiah Brown moved to Frankfort, KY in c. 1799. His first wife, Anne Stubblefield was born in c. 1747, possibly in King George Co., VA, and died before 1784. Her parents were Thomas and Ellen (Hackley) Stubblefield. Hezekiah and Anne’s children:
1 Ellen (Nelly), born April 22, 1764, died Sept. 1856, married to Matthew Newton Clarke
2 Mary (Molly), born c. 1766, died beofre 1819, married William Waters
3 Frances (Frankey), born Feb. 27, 1768, died Nov. 12, 1835. Married Rodham Priest Thomas, born c. 1770, died before 1819.
4 Jael (Jaly), born c. 1771/2, died before 1805.
5 Hezekiah, born c. 1773 in Culpepper Co., VA, died in 1845 or 6 in Fayette Co., IL. His two wives were – — Danks (or Daniels), and Delilah Currance. So Hezekiah, my 4-great-grandfather, was the pioneer of Fayette County, IL., but so was his sister Elizabeth:
6 Elizabeth (Betsy), born c. 1774. Married to Allan Thompson. I’ll talk about them below.
7 Ann, born 1775, married to James Mason and then Matthew Templeman
8 Lucy, born Feb. 10, 1782, died Oct. 3, 1863, married John D. Richardson
9 Henry (Harry), born c. 1783. Married to Mary Fitzgerald
Hezekiah (II) and Dorrance Currance’s children:
1 William D. (9/6/1798 to 4/26,1859), married Mary Hunter Currance
2 George D. (9/7/1803 to 12/17/1847, married Nancy Carneal
3 Henry (born 1809, probably in Logan Co., KY died 10/16/1856 in Fayette Co. IL, married Susan Pilcher (on May 3, 1832) and then Ann (Austin) Nichols (1819 – March 20, 1899) on Nov. 22 1841. He served in the Black Hawk War in Illinois.
4 Two daughters.
Henry and Ann Brown’s children:
1 Winnaford Ann (born 1834, died before March 1858), married to Josiah Williams on Dec. 5, 1852 by Rev. Benjamin D. Mahon.
2 George, born 1836
3 Margaret Adeline, born 1838, died July 28, 1893. Married on March 25, 1858 to Josiah Williams, who had been married to her older sister.
So we’re back to Josiah and Margaret Williams, my great-great-grandparents, whose daughter Susan married John Crawford—and they are my mom’s paternal grandparents, buried beside my own grandparents in the Pilcher Cemetery near Brownstown, IL.
Josiah and Margaret are buried in the same cemetery; I always wondered if Josiah’s first wife, Margaret’s sister Winnaford, is buried there, too, but there is no grave marker to know.
This is the line of my direct ancestors, but I need to back up and talk about my 4-great aunt, Elizabeth (Brown) Thompson, who was sister of my 3-great-grandfather Henry Brown’s sister. The 1878 History of Fayette County, Illinois mentions Elizabeth twice, though not by name, but rather as the mother of Vandalia pioneer Benjamin Ward Thompson (pp. 25, 60). The history indicates that the Thompsons moved to Fayette County in 1819 and settled a mile and a half south of Vandalia, in township section 29. 1819 was the year Vandalia was founded! Thompson, who was 13 that year, lived the rest of his life in Vandalia and was considered one of the beloved “old settlers.” The history indicates that “Mr. Thompson’s father died when his son was twelve years of age; consequently he was thrown entirely upon his own resources. He struggled alone, and the fact of his having so repeatedly been elected to important positions is the best commendtar that can be passed upon his life and character as a man and citizen” (p. 60).
B. Ward Thompson married Susana Bayle in 1828. Although Thompson is buried in the old Vandalia cemetery, Susanna is buried among my Pilcher and Gatewood ancestors in the Winslow Pilcher family cemetery. Nearby is Susanna and Ward’s daughter, Elizabeth, who married a son of Rev. Benjamin Mahon (my 3-great uncle in that family), whom I mentioned above as the pastor who married Winnaford and Josiah.
Back to Elizabeth Thompson. Her son was a notable Vandalian, and two of Elizabeth’s daughters married notable Vandalians.
One, also named Elizabeth, married John A. Wakefield, another early settler of the Vandalia area—and the first white settler of Otego Township, where most of my mom’s side of the family settled. Wakefield wrote a history of the Black Hawk War which is still considered an important primary source for that tragic conflict. His Find-a-Grave page provides some of his interesting life.
Another of Elizabeth’s daughters, Margaret, married Frederick Hollman, a German immigrant who was a key person in the establishment of Vandalia in 1819-1820. He was a member of the Ernst colony, a group of impoverished Germans under the leadership of Ferdinand Ernst, who settled in Vandalia in late 1820. Although Ernst died young and Hollman moved away, other members of the colony became important figures in later Vandalia history. My first book, High on the Okaw’s Western Bank: Vandalia, Illinois, 1819-1839, had an entire chapter devoted to the Ernst Colony, and I also wrote two articles on the colony, including this one.
So these two important early Vandalians are related to me by marriage: nephews-in-law of my 3-great-grandfather Henry Brown.