Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Friday, August 31, 2018

#143--William D. Hannah Goes to School

Schools are starting up all over the United States so how appropriate that the blog topic for the week is school.  I knew that my grandfather, William D. Hannah, went to Wentworth Military.  So I decided that I would find more about that school and his time there.  Archive.org has all the catalogs for Wentworth on line.  So I was able to find a great deal about the school in the late 1880's.

Wentworth Male Academy was founded in 1880 by Stephen Wentworth in Lexington, Missouri.  He employed Benjamin Hobson to run the school, who turn hired  Sandford Sellers.  Sellers graduated from Virginaia Military Institutue, as the head of the school and incorporated many of their traditions into Wentworth.  In 1882 Wentworth was renamed Wentworth Military Academy.

William was born in 1870 in Butler. Missouri.  I assume he attended the schools there, either public high school or Butler Academy.   However, in 1889 William is on the register of Wentworth, but not for the previous year or the next year.  So I think that he attended for what might be his senior year as he would have been 17 years old.  The school offered three courses of study:  classical, elective and business.  Since he attended Dickson College in Pennsylvania, and the catalog is states that the classical course for for college preparation, I think he did that one.  That curriculum covered English, Mathematics, Latin, Greek, History and Science. Tuition for highest grade was $50 Room and Board $250.

The daily routine looked like this:

Each cadet was required to have two uniforms.

William in his Uniform

I have a number of questions for my grandfather about his time at Wentworth.  Why did he go and for what year?  Did he graduate?  Did it prepare him well for Dickinson College?

Friday, August 24, 2018

#142--George Newell Hannah--Farmer

When most people think of the census, they think about people being counted, their ages, occupations and relationships.  However, they are other kinds of census schedules.  One that I like a lot is the Agricultural Census Schedule, which focuses on farming.  For each farm it gathers information in several different categories:  land, livestock, and produce.  Since many of my ancestors were farmers,   this schedule tells me exactly what their farms were like.

I have previously blogged about the farms that were run by my great great grandfather, John M. Hannah (.#12--The Farmer.Not in the Dell )and my great great aunt, Sarah Ann Hannah Mitchell (#18--Sarah Ann Hannah--Farming on Her Own).   So for this week’s blog, I am going to focus on my great uncle, George Newell

The schedule I looked at for George was the 1860 Agricultural Schedule.  At that time George was 32 years old.  He had married Mary Ann Markey in 1855 and by 1860 they had two young children.  George’s farm contained 80 improved acres and 7 unimproved acres.  His farm, which was in Prairie Township in Edgar County, Illinois, was valued at $1700 and the implements used on the farm were worth $50.

George owned 2 horses, 2 milch cows, 2 other cattle, and 45 swine, all valued at $301.  His farm produced 3000 bushels of Indian corn, 150 bushels of oats, 100 pounds of butter, 40 pounds of cane sugar.  In addition, the animals slaughtered were worth $50.

Unfortunately, the Agricultural Census Schedules for 1870 and 1880 are not available for George.  However, the regular census indicates that he continued to farm.  So if I could, I would ask him about farming in those years.  Did he acquire more land?  Get more live stock?  Raise different crops?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

#141--Family Legends: James Hannah and the Pretty Maid

This week’s theme is family legends.  All families have legends about their ancestors.  Some involved being related to royalty or famous people, others involve having the family name changed at Ellis Island, while still other might involve ancestors who came over on the Mayflower.  Most family legends may have a little truth in them. 

In my family the legend involved the reason that James Hannah (1772--1828), my emigrant ancestor,  came to the United States in the late 1700’s.  As the story goes, James, a younger son,  came from a well-to-do family in Derry Ireland.  The family owned a Bleaching Green.  These were large grassy areas where linen cloth would be laid to be bleached by the sun.  James evidently fell in love with one of the family maids, who of course is always described as pretty.  This was totally unacceptable to James's  parents, who beat him so he fled to the port and sailed to the United States, probably landing in Philadelphia. 

That is a nice story, some of it may be true.  From my research, I am pretty sure that the Hannahs did indeed own a bleaching green.  Bleaching Greens were very common in that part of Ireland.  I have a letter in which a cousin describes going to Ireland, meeting with the Hannahs, and seeing the bleaching green. 

Now did James fall in love with the maid and flee.  Maybe, but probably not.  I think if he had loved her, he probably would have married her and brought her to the States with him.  I think that being a younger son, he did not see much future for him in Derry, so he decided to migrate.  However, it is a nice story. 

I have not been able to trace the origin of that story so if I could talk to James Hannah, I definitely would ask him why he left Ireland and came to the United States. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

#140--Catherine.Hannah--Youngest Sister

This week’s theme is youngest.  I decided that I would blog about my great grandfather’s youngest sister, Catherine, as I knew very little about her.

Catherine was born on October 2, 1836 to John M. and Charity (Mears) Hannah.  Catherine was their youngest child and their sixth daughter.  Catherine had three older brothers—George Newell Hannah, Oliver Hannah, and John Wesley Hannah, and five sisters--Sarah Ann, Nancy, Elizabeth, Albertine, and Mary Sayres.  When Catherine was six, her mother died.  Since her father did not remarry, I suspect that she was raised by her older sisters.

On July 25, 1855 Catherine married William S. O’Hair.  In the 1860 census William is described as a farmer with real estate valued at $8000.00 and person property valued at $2000.00.  Living with them was a 7 year old girl, named Margaret E. Devers.  I cannot determine why she was there.  There are indeed Devers in Edgar County, but could not figure out what her relationship was to the O'Hairs and none is listed in the census.  Ten years later, in 1870, William S. O’Hair was described as a stock dealer with real estate valued at $2500.00 and property valued at $6475.00.  William also served as the sheriff as Edgar County.  Catherine died in 1870.  She is buried in the Hannah Family Plot in the Edgar
Cemetery in Paris Illinois.

I still do not know much about Catherine.  I would like to know if she went to school, how her brothers and sisters treated her, what it was like to be married to the sheriff, and who Margaret Devers was.  I also am curious about why she is buried in the Hannah cemetery plot and not her husband's family lot.

Monday, August 6, 2018

#139 William Fisher Richards--Oldest Picture

Tintype Camera

Oldest?  Oldest ancestor?  Oldest document?  Oldest brick wall?  Oldest picture?  All were possibilities for this week’s theme, but the one I liked the most was my oldest picture.  I inherited some very old tintypes of my ancestors.

If you have seen tintypes, you may know that the people look very stiff and formal and no one ever smiles.  That is because it took about a minute to get the image onto the iron plate (Yes, they are called tin types, but they are actually on sheets of iron.) and no one can smile for that length of time and not move their mouth.  Any movement will lead to a blurry image.  That is why they are stiff and unsmiling.

This is  William Fisher Richards, my great great uncle. He was born in 1879 so I am guessing he is about 6 or 7 in this picture.  There are many things I like about his picture.  The way his hair is parted, his big eyes, the hat that he is holding in this hands, and the fact that only one of his feet is on the floor.  The chair he is sitting in is pretty impressive, too.  That is a whole lot of fringe on the bottom!

I would love to know where it was taken, what if anything, he remembers about going to the "tintypists," how hard it was not to move, and if he ever wore that hat.