26 April 2015

The Fruits of Genealogy - Treasures of Every Type

Genealogy has brought me a lot of reward; Discoveries, self-satisfaction, education.  Even tangible rewards as other historians come into items belonging to my ancestors and find me to give them to.  Emotionally, genealogy has impressed on me the importance of family; My sense of place, not just in my family tree, but in humanity.

Interesting how all that relates to what is perhaps my greatest reward so far -- meeting my second cousin Tony.  My great-aunt Jennie Long (nee. Hall, 1879-1968) was a family historian herself, and she passed all her research and treasures onto her grandson Tony.  Fortunately she also passed on an interest in the hobby, which is also a treasure.  Tony blesses me, continuingly sharing treasures from great-aunt Jennie's files and collections.

Here is another (click on images to enlarge) --

D.S. Leach, Corpral(sic) W. Bishop, Both members of Co. C 33rd Regt Ills Vet. Vol  
Jan the 2nd, 1865 
This is SUPER interesting to me and requires further research.  Great-aunt Jennie's father, my 2xg-grandfather George Hall (1845-1908) was in the 26th Illinois.  He also re-enlisted as a Veteran.  But as faithful readers of this blog know, way over on the other side of my family tree my 2xg-grandfather Henry Martin Walker, Sr. was serving in Co. A of the 33rd Ills.  And this CDV is dated EXACTLY two months before these two soldiers were in the railroad accident that killed my ancestor!

What I do know is this, the 33rd Ills was nicknamed "The Normal Regiment" because most of its members were from the Bloomington-Normal area of Illinois.  GG-grandfather George Hall might have been in the 26th Ills but guess where he was from?  You guessed it, the Bloomington-Normal area.  First guess is these are his friends.  In any case, my intuition tells me there is a lot of back story.

And here we have another thing Genealogy gives me -- excitement, hope, and a sense of anticipation about what new discovery might be right around the corner.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

22 April 2015

Hear the Earth Rumbling? A Brick Wall Falls!

After more than TEN years looking, I have FINALLY found the gravesite of my 2xg-grandfather Henry Martin Walker, Sr.!  He is apparently interred in an unmarked grave at Chalmette National Cemetery in New Orleans. (The recorder got the initials wrong in the above record book.)

There are a lot more details I need to gather before updating this blog with a proper post; Including calling the cemetery superintendent's office tomorrow to confirm the record.  There is no listing for any of the men from the trainwreck on any public National Park Service database.  Does the NPS not include men in unmarked graves? 

But this news was way too big for me to not shout it to the world! 

Genealogy Happy Dances all-around!

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

Newspaper Account #1 of Railroad Accident that Killed Henry Martin Walker, Sr.

From the The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois) newspaper · Mon, Mar 13, 1865 · Page 1 (click on image to enlarge):
between Terrebonne and New Orleans

  The 33d Ill. Vet. thrown off a railroad track.

                Nine Men Killed and 72 Wounded
(Special Correspondence of the Pantagraph.)
Algiers, La., (Opposite New Orleans)
                                         March 3d 1864(sic)
     ED. PANTAGRAPH: -- A terrible railroad accident occurred yesterday on the U.S. military railroad leading from this place to Brashear City, by which a large number of men of the 33d Illinois regiment were killed or severely injured.  Bloomington being the original headquarters of this regiment, and three of the companies having been chiefly raised in McLean County (Cos. A, Capt. Dutton, formerly Capt. Potter; C, Capt. Lewis, formerly Capt. Roe; and G, Capt. Russell, formerly Capt. Moore,) I embrace the earliest leisure to send you and account of the sad affair;
     The 33d has been, as your readers know, for several months guarding stations on this railroad.  Having been relieved and ordered to join A.J. Smith's corps, near New Orleans, they were loaded in the regular train yesterday morning, and came on eastward without accident, until a point was reached twenty-seven miles west of this place.  Here a horse which had been for some distance running ahead of the engine near the track, suddenly attempted to cross, and was [ ] run over and torn to pieces.  The engine, tender and first two (flat) cars passed over the obstruction and remained on the track; but half a dozen or more of the following cars (box and flat) loaded with troops, were thrown off and piled together in a horrible mass of fragments; beams, trucks, baggage, guns and equipments in inextricable confusion, intermingled with crushed, dead, and dying men.  Several of the rear cars, with the passenger cars containing most of the officers and the citizen passengers, remained on the track and no one was injured on them except by jumping off.  This was the case with Cos. C, Capt. Lewis; F, Capt. Gray, formerly Capt. Roberts; I, Capt. Lyon, formerly Capt. Lawton; and K, Capt. Higgins, formerly Capt. Lippincott.  Co. B, Capt. Gill, formerly Capt. Morgan, was on the two forward cars and suffered but little.  The chief injury was sustained by Cos. A, Capt. Dutton, formerly Capt. Potter; D, Capt. Rosengrant, commissioned but not yet mustered, formerly Capt. Pope;  E, Capt. Pratt, formerly Capt. Elliott; G, Capt. Russel, formerly Capt. Moore.  The company (H, Capt. Smith, formerly Capt. McKenzie) st Boutte station, was not on the train, the accident having occured(sic) three miles west of that place.
     The moment the train stopped, the officers and all the men who were not completely disabled, rushed to the rescue, and began laboring with Herculean energy to extricate their mangled comrades.  After an hour's work in the wreck, all the dead and wounded were got out and the most severely injured were conveyed to a neighboring house, where Drs. Rex and Antis, the regimental surgeons, performed the needful operations and dressed the wounds.  The train from [ ] city having means while arrived, the regiment, with the surviving wounded were loaded on a boat and transferred to the hospital.  The accident appears to have been one of those unavoidable ones for which no blame can be properly attach to the officer of the train, and certainly after its concurrence all was done that could be, and in the promptest manner, to remedy the effects.
     Orderly Sergt. Spillman F. Willis, of Co. A, was instantly killed and crushed out of all sembance of humanity.  Five or six others were taken out dead; and others died within a few minutes after being carried to the house.  Charles Howell, of A, with severe internal injuries, died on the train on the way to the city.  Nine were dead when I made up the list last night, and I shall probably have others to add before closing this.
     I append a list of the dead and wounded, made up by a careful and thorough canvass of the train by myself, and by conference with company commanders after our arrival here.  I think my old readers know my accuracy in my old trade as reporter, well enough to accept this list as reliable.  It includes a few or none who are not for the present disabled for duty, although many will be able again in a few days.  Scores were more or less bruised, jarred and sprained, who are not on the list.  Of Cos. A and D, scarcely a man escaped unhurt.  With these preliminary remarks, I submit the list to the anxious eyes of the hundreds of your readers who had near and dear friends killed on the train.
Spillman F. Willis, .......1st Sergeant, Company.......A
Charles G. Howell.........Private.............."...............A
Charles Greening...........Recruit.............."..............A
H. M. Walker...................."..................."...............A
Jerome Wolfe......................"..................."..............A
John B. Melvin..............Private..............."..............D
Joseph Waldon..................."..................."..............D
Walter Webster..............Recruit.............."..............D
Robert Barkley......... .....Private..............."........ ....[ ]
[  ]
     March 3d., 10 A.M -- I have just heard from the hospital.  Maj. Pope has visited the wounded boys this morning, and reports all are doing well.  He did not, however, find Zuraf of A, who was one of the severely wounded.  This young man lay for nearly an hour under a pile of heavy trucks and rubbish, with as large force of men working at him who could get to him, before he was extricated.  Although thus held down, and considerably cut and bruised, he seemed much less hurt when taken out than was suspected, and no bones appeared to be broken.  In his case as in others, however, some days may pass before the full extent of his injuries will be manifested. 
     Every one speaks with astonishment of the courage and cheerful endurance of Pettibone of Co. D, a recruit of only a few days standing, both legs amputated below the knee.  He bears his mutilation like a hero, and will have all the chances of recovery that a strong spirit can give him, but the result is of course doubtful at best.  Adam Willis of D, has a frightfully extensive laceration in the flesh in the region of the hips, and is in great danger.  Several others of the severely injured may yet die; but I am glad to report that up to this hour no additional deaths are reported.
     It is not impossible that this accident may delay the departure of our regiment to the front.  -  Respectfully [ ], 
                                                   Edward J. Lewis

As a reminder, Henry Martin Walker, Sr. was my 2xg-grandfather, and the Capt. Dutton named above was my 2xg-granduncle, and brother in law to Henry.

This is the first in a series of three or four newspaper articles I will be posting on the railroad accident.  I am sorry for the omissions illustrated with the empty brackets, but the bottom half of the scan is very poor, and the smaller the font the more impossible to read.

From the description of the location, I used Google Earth and I think I have a good idea where it occurred.  More to follow on that subject.

My search for my 2xg-grandfather's grave continues.  I am going to search where the remains of those killed with him are interred.  He might also be there.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

14 April 2015

A Lot of Hard Work for Little Reward? : The Essential Need for "Hope" in Genealogy

Presented here is the marriage record for my 4xg-grandparents Sylvanus Smith and Roxa Rich.  It is impossible for me to express the difficulty in locating it!  Note the groom is in the bride's place, and the bride is in the groom's place.  Note that Sylvanus's name has been made into a nickname and Roxa's first name is completely different.  Ugh!

And then, when I finally find the card, after all the hard searching, what is my reward -- all the treasured boxes are blank. :-(  Double Ugh.

But wait!  I did get a date, and from that I can search periodicals and local records.  I can research the name of the minister and find out his church, and look for records there.  Finally, I now also have alternative names for my ancestors to research with, especially Roxa's alternative name of Constant.

"Glass half full," you might say rolling your eyes.  Perhaps.  But I see potential and possibility!  "Hope" is essential to the hobby of genealogy.  It is a treasure hunt where we hope for the next big find, and are rewarded with little nuggets as we follow the trails.  Without hope there is no heart, and without heart, the only people willing (literally from human "will") to play the game would be paid professionals.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

13 April 2015

Brothers Israel W. Hall (1799-1865) and Jeremiah S. Hall (1809-1888)

From page 11 of Danvers, Illinois community history, 1987 (Danvers, IL: Danvers Historical Society, 1987) (click on the images to enlarge) -- 

    Israel W. Hall was born February 5, 1799 in Salem, New Hampshire, the son of Joseph and Hester Woodbury Hall, both of English descent.  Israel was a shoemaker by trade.  he came to Illinois in 1834 by way of Detroit, Michigan settling where Danvers now exists.  In 1836 he and Matthew Robb laid off the town of Concord which later became Danvers.  He was a justice of the peace and also the first postmaster of the village.  He was a member of the Methodist Church, his home being used as a church for fifteen years.
    Mr. Hall married Polly Stickney in Salem, New Hampshire on April 27, 1834.  There were three children, Alice, wife of Jacob McClure, Otis W. Hall, and Cynthia H., widow of Thomas C. Dodge, then wife of John R. Morrison.
    Mr. and Mrs. Israel Hall are buried in Stouts Grove Cemetery, Mr. Hall dying in 1865 and Mrs. Hall in 1888. 
    Jeremiah S. Hall, a brother of Israel Hall was born April 21, 1809 in Salem, New Hampshire.  When seventeen he went to Boston to learn the brick layers trade.  He worked in various towns in New England before bringing his family into Illinois in 1834.
    Jeremiah was married in 1832 to Miss Jane Combs of  Nashua, New Hampshire.  They were the parents of five children.
    Jeremiah was among the first to successfully establish a prairie farm in the Danvers area rather than from timber land.
    Jeremiah's wife died in 1874 and he died in 1888.  Both are buries in Stouts Grove Cemetery.
Jeremiah Smith Hall was my 3xg-grandfather and his brother Israel was quite obviously my 3xg-granduncle.  In terms of Danvers history, Israel is considered a "founder" and Jeremiah an "early settler."

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

09 April 2015


As I have previously documented my 2xg-granduncle Harvey Dutton was a genuine hero at the Battle of Cache River also known as the Battle for Cotton Plant.  I found this picture of the historical marker on the web --

I burst with pride whenever I read those words "Thirty-Third Illinois."  At last count I have found four relatives who fought in the 33rd Illinois.  Two behind my mother served in Company "C," and two behind my father served in Company "A."  Remarkable when you consider my Mom was born in Arizona and my Dad in Nebraska, and they were married in California.  Not much there to point to Illinois.  Except a lot of research.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

27 March 2015

Eyewitness Account of Death of Henry Martin Walker, Sr. (1829-1865)

I have previously documented the tragic death of Henry M. Walker, Sr. my 2xg-grandfather in a Civil War railroad accident near New Orleans, in March of 1865.  I was blown away to find this eyewitness account, not just of the railroad accident, but the death of my 2xg-grandfather!

From page 261 of HISTORY of the Thirty-Third Regiment Illinois Veteran Volunteer Infantry IN THE CIVIL WAR: 22nd AUGUST, 1861. to 7th DECEMBER, 1865 by General Isaac H. Elliott, published in 1902 --

All those who were able soon commenced the work of relieving the suffering. Under the command of Col. Elliott the men moved like well-regulated machines. Ropes were procured and the cars were pulled apart and held in place until men could gather up the dead and wounded. Several of the boys were thrown into ditches and held down by the cars until drowned. We could hear their cries but could not get at them until too late to save them. One, a member of A Company, a nephew of Capt. Dutton, who had been with us but a short time, thus gave up his life. How different the ending from what his imagination had pictured it!  He was drowned like a rat in a trap, even without having seen an armed rebel. After the body of the poor boy had been removed from the ditch, the scene of Capt. Dutton standing over him, the tears running down his face as efforts were being made by the comrades to bring back the young life that had been snuffed out so quickly, and the earnest appeals of the Captain to work faster, will remain with me as long as life lasts.
Capt. Harvey Dutton was my 2xg-granduncle and a true hero of the Civil War as I have documented on this blog.  But this soldier above erred in his account.  Let's return to Capt. Dutton's own account of the tragedy in the same book --
The killed were: 1st Sergt. Spillman F. Willis, Vet.; Private Chas. G. Howell, Vet.; Private Chas. Greening, Private H. M. Walker, and Private Jerome Wolf.  A peculiarly distressing feature of this affair to me was not only that Company A had lost its noble, brave and efficient Orderly Sergeant, and another veteran of three and a half years of faithful service, but that of the five new men from my home, as before mentioned, three of them, one my brother-in-law, now lay dead.
There was no nephew of Capt. Dutton killed.  There was no nephew of Capt. Dutton serving in the same company!  The "nephew" whose body the soldier saw Capt. Dutton shedding tears over was in fact Capt. Dutton's brother-in-law and my 2xg-grandfather Henry M. Walker, Sr.!!!

His grave is not listed in the National Park Service database or the Sons of Union Veterans database.  I am one step closer to finding his grave in that the soldier also relays the "dead and wounded" were carried to the nearest farmhouse.  More research is necessary.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

26 March 2015

3/28/1889 Kansas Obituary for Norman Dutton (1810-1889)

From the March 28, 1889 edition of the Barton County (KS) Democrat --
    Deacon Norman Dutton, who departed this life on the 18th day of March, 1889, was born in LaMoille county, Vermont, Feb. 14th, 1810. In early life he removed to the state of Ohio, where be resided some two years, when he went to Illinois, and after visiting a short time in Morgan county, he settled permanently in Metamora, Woodford county, Illinois, where he lived until 1888. In February of this last named year, be removed to Great Bend, Kansas, near which city he purchased a farm, on which he lived until he was called to close his earthly career.
    Deacon Dutton, while yet quite young, became a christian, and united with the Congregational church, in which church he labored and served as deacon for over 40 years.
     He was a man of deep convictions, firm fidelity to his principles. He understood that to be a christian meant full devotion of life, its energy, its time and its highest thoughts and efforts to advance the cause of righteousness and truth on earth and to make men better and holier. Moved by such principles he in early life espoused the anti-slavery cause and labored for the destruction of American slavery 'till its overthrow. Being an early abolitionist he knew for long years what it was to be despised and persecuted for righteousness'sake. This treatment he meekly bore in the spirit of his Master knowing the cause was the cause of truth.
    Deacon Duton was also a life-long laborer in the cause of temperance. In an early day he became a believer in prohibition and labored for its advance ment 'till 'he died. So earnest was his life, that all his long life he bore a prominent part in the struggle for the advancement of these great movements, and in all christian work. He was truly a Soldier of the Cross.
    A pioneer spirit pervaded his life so that he, when 78 years old, came to this new country and began to improve a farm with the ardor of a youth. .
    Although be resided here only a little more than one year, be had gained the respect and the friendship of all his neighbors as a very large attendance at his funeral services, testifies, His action, earnestness and his mild, christian spirit will ever remain a benediction on the lives of his new friends in this community where he spent the last year of his life.
    Deacon Dutton lived to enter his 80th year. Death came to him suddenly and called him to his mansion where Christ is.
    He leaves behind him a companion. two children and several grand children, and a host of relations and, friends, who mourn their loss, but not without being fully persuaded that he has departed to be with Jesus. 
    "For so he giveth his beloved sleep."   J. J. A. T. Dixon.
I have documented previously in this blog that Norman Dutton's body was exhumed from Kansas and re-interred in Oakwood Cemetery, Metamora, Illinois.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker

21 March 2015

Gyle "Dean" Haney (May 14, 1946 - December 6, 2014)

Longtime valley resident Gyle "Dean" Haney died December 06, 2014 at his home in Jackson, surrounded by his entire family. He was 68. His family and friends provided the following. 
Dean was born in Emporia, KS to Jefferson Haney and Jeanne Fleming (nee Irwin) on May 14, 1946. As children, he and his four siblings learned to appreciate the art of travel early. 
While his father pursued his own education and then later worked as a school administrator, Dean's family moved from Kansas to Japan, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan and finally to Worland, Wyoming in 1960. There he devoted his energy to basketball, hunting and fishing. After graduating from Worland High School in 1964, Dean traveled extensively throughout the West, Mexico, and Alaska before meeting his wife, Patty Strasheim, in Jackson in 1973. Jackson would remain a base for the rest of his life as he balanced his love for the hills of Wyoming with a passion for the ocean and sailing. 
Dean always sought hard, challenging work as a commercial fisherman, logger, driver, and road construction supervisor. He worked on jobs from the Alaska Pipeline in the 1970's to the Jackson Lake Dam in the mid 80's and the Mystic Seaport Museum in 2002. And between those jobs he worked in every corner of Wyoming building dams, roads and runways. 
He was gifted with a profound intellect and was a voracious reader who was passionate about ideas, books, music, politics, and sports. 
Above all, Dean was immensely proud of and devoted to his family, including his parents, wife Patty, daughter Jessica (born 1980 in Juneau, AK) and son Josh (born 1983 in Ft. Smith, AR). He felt fortunate to have spent his last month enjoying the company of friends and family from Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Oregon, and Hawaii. And the highlight of that month one last road trip to his sailboat in CA with Josh, Jessica and her husband, Paul. 
As one lifelong friend put it, "Here's the thing about Dean: He lived life as few people do. A man with not much higher education, he was one of the most intelligent guys I have ever known, truly a Renaissance man in the sense of having a powerful curiosity, an engaging wit and an all consuming passion for life. Oh, yeah, he was also one of the best friends a person could ever have." 
We will miss him. We are glad we knew him. 
He was preceded in death by his father in 1988 and a brother, James Jay in 2000. 
He is survived by his wife Patty, daughter Jessica Haney Wireman (Paul) of Jackson, son Josh of Brooklyn,NY., his mother Jeanne I. Fleming, sisters Carol Carden (Pat) and Mary Kay McCoy, a brother Joe Haney (Elaine) and Sister-in-law Ginger Haney Burnham and numerous nieces, nephews and great nieces and great nephews. 
A small celebration of Dean's life was held on December 13th at the Old Wilson School House. 
A Memorial Fund has been established through Jackson Youth Hockey and charitable donations may be made online in Dean's honor to the Dean Haney Memorial Fund at jyhockey.org. Donations may also be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society online at donate.lls.org or by phone at (888) 557-7177.
This obituary was obtained at the website for the funeral home here: http://www.valleymortuaryjackson.com/fh/print.cfm?type=obituary&o_id=2857141&fh_id=13508

Dean was my first-cousin Patty Strasheim's husband.  Patty's mother Betty Jo was my dad's older sister.

Copyright © 2015 by Kevin W. Walker