Will DNA Help in Getting Around the Hill?

In the twenty-four years of doing genealogy I’ve learned to not take other researchers’ information for granted without retracing their work. I knew this fairly early on and when reviewing my database I still find branches of the family tree which need pruning and a bit or a lot of support.

For the CLONCH line I relied heavily on Ralph Hayes’ genealogy work as a guide. I gave him credit for information I quoted and was not able to corroborate through my own research. In time I was able to confirm much of his work but questions have remained.

One of these was the parentage of Dennis CLONCH, a twelve years old boy living in the same household as Nancy CLONCH, widow of Dennis CLAUNCH (spelling of the surname changed after his death). Someone at some time thought his parents were John CLONCH and Elizabeth DOSS. In a timeline frame this just didn’t work for me.

It is my belief he was the son of John’s brother William CLONCH and his wife Ann Eliza HILL. Dennis CLONCH aka Dennis HILL was not mentioned in the will of William CLONCH which may have lead an earlier researcher to assume he was the son of John CLONCH, John being the only other known male CLONCH in the area during this time period. The CLONCH families in Mason County, West Virginia, were all descendants of Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY through their sons, William CLONCH and John CLONCH. They also had two daughters whose children passed on the husbands’ surnames, not the CLONCH name.

In my last two posts Difficulty Getting Around the Hill and Here We Go Dancing ’round the Hill I discussed the paper trail I found which supports my assumption that Dennis CLONCH and Dennis HILL were the same person.

When I shared Difficulty Getting Around the Hill with Ralph I wondered if he knew what I planned for this post when he replied:

Actually this Dennis was the son of the milkman.

How does DNA fit into the picture?

When I received the results of my brother’s DNA test at Ancestry I first looked at the closest matches. I searched for surname matches. Nothing new showed up so I began looking deeper into the more distant matches to help with some of my brick walls.

One of my brick walls is John COOLEY b. 1827 in Missouri. During this period of time ALL of my American ancestors were in Old Virginia. I searched for matches with ancestors in Missouri and found a match in the Distant Cousin range with the Missouri location but not for the COOLEY surname. You get the gist of this. I was all over the place, grasping at straws.

Although I wouldn’t suggest this method of searching through DNA results, it turned up, by accident or coincidence, a match with R.S., an Ancestry member with a small tree of 15 people. In the tree was R.S.’s great-grandfather Albert Henry HILL born 11 September 1876 in Missouri. He did not have parents but the year and place of birth was a match for Albert seen in Dennis HILL’s household in Saline County, Missouri, in 1880. This was before I began going over the HILL (line), before I wrote The Mysterious Ann Eliza HILL, wife of William CLONCH, and the two posts which followed.

rsfamilytreeIs the date of birth seen in the Dennis Hill family Bible enough proof?

If R.S.’s Albert Henry HILL was the son of Dennis HILL and Dennis was the son of my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH, then R.S. and my brother would be (half) 4th cousins (being descendants of William’s two relationships). The 6.5 cMs shared DNA (across 1 segment) fits in the relationship range fourth cousins once removed or third cousins three times removed. I know less than 7 cMs is not considered reliable – only about 5% of  matches in this area may have a common ancestor. R.S. has no shared matches with any of my brother’s matches. I was stumped until I learned Ancestry does not show shared matches for persons who share at the Distant Cousin level. They only show shared matches up to fourth cousins.

HillmatchMO

There are at least a dozen people who descend from Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY who have tested and have matches with my brother. I need to:

  1. request access to their DNA results on Ancestry or
  2. ask them to check their matches for R.S. as a distant cousin or
  3. request they upload their results to GEDMatch for comparison.

When my brother’s DNA results came in I waited a few weeks before I began reaching out to his matches. R.S. quickly replied but was a bit wary of my theory pertaining to his Albert Henry HILL being the son of Dennis HILL aka Dennis CLONCH. I fully understood his hesitation to not accept everything I was telling him as fact. Our contact is touch and go. Ancestry messaging from the DNA page didn’t work. My email provider was blocked by his and I had to use a different email account. His computer was fried and had to be rebuilt.

While trying to keep in touch with R.S. I began checking out the CLONCH matches. Some I messaged back in June and others this past week. So far only one person has gotten back to me. Since I have done a lot of reverse genealogy for the CLONCH line I already had many of the matches’ lines at least partly documented. These are the ones who had trees or who I recognized.

DNAmatchesNow the waiting begins….

Since making contact with the matches is taking longer than I expected it may be a while before we can test Ralph’s (just joking) theory about Dennis being the son of the milkman. Or even begin thinking about DNA giving us proof Dennis HILL was the son of William CLONCH and Ann Eliza HILL or the son of Ann Eliza HILL and another man or the son of an unknown child of Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY.

It’s a bit frustrating to have to wait but I’m going to look on the bright side. While working on the paper trail for Ann Eliza HILL and Dennis HILL, I found a bible transcription and an obituary, and located the married children of Dennis HILL. I don’t give up easily when doing genealogy research. In this case finding a living descendant of Dennis’ son Albert  – with a DNA match to my brother – pushed me find more or was it genetic memory?

Will DNA help in getting around the Hill? I’ll keep you posted on any new developments.

bestwishescathy1

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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Look Who’s Using DNA for Genealogy Research

In mid-March I received this message from one of my siblings:

Just wanted to let you know that I ordered a DNA kit from ancestry.com. I will send you the results when I get them. Hopefully it will be useful in your research.

When his results came in late May he sent me this message and screenshot:

Hope this doesn’t mess up your research too much.

ethnicityI thought he was holding out on me, waiting to let me know only after he came to visit for Mom’s 80th birthday. But the results truly did not come in until early morning of the day he was to arrive in Luxembourg.

He turned administration over to me as he thought I would know better what to do with the test results as he does not do genealogy.

I haven’t done DNA testing but my second cousin Laura [daughter of Geraldine Dempsey Workman (1931-2007) – the first person I know of who worked on our family tree] shared her DNA page with me earlier this year. Since Laura and I share great-grandparents (William Henderson DEMPSEY and Laura Belle INGRAM) 3/4 of her matches did not have anything to do with our common line. It however helped me to get a feel for Ancestry’s DNA page before my brother’s results came in.

The ethnicity results (above) of 100% European were to be expected although it blew the theory of a Native American connection right out of the water. Or so I thought. Where do the 10% Italy/Greece fit into our family tree?

After a week or so of trying to figure out some kind of system to work through the matches on Ancestry I decided to download the raw DNA data and upload to GEDmatch. After the kit (A131214) was tokenized and while I was waiting for the batch processing to complete I did a heritage test.

Admix Results (sorted):

# Population Percent
1 Early Neolithic Farmer 43.00
2 Western European/Unknown Hunter-Gatherer 25.49
3 Ancestral South Eurasian 18.91
4 Caucas-Gedrosia 7.59
5 NearEast 1.65
6 Amerindian 1.43
7 Ancestral South Indian 1.20

1.43% Native American DNA for my brother. I understand he got about 50% of his DNA from our father and 50% from our mother (European). Family tradition is the NA connection is through our paternal grandmother Myrtle Hazel ROOP‘s mother Rebecca Jane CLONCH. If I keep doubling the percentage (which may not be scientifically correct) I get 91.52% at the 4th great-grandparent level. Dennis CLAUNCH and Nancy BEASLEY are the only known set. Another ancestor at this level was Levina DOSS who had her children with an unknown man. The unknowns are COOLEYs and TREADWAYs.

I admit this was just a game I was playing before I begin to get serious about using the DNA results for research purposes. But who knows, maybe I’m on the right track.

Oh yes, Laura and my brother are “predicted 2nd cousins” and share 381 centimorgans across 15 DNA segments.

bestwishescathy1

© 2016, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

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52 Ancestors: #29 Sarah Ann TREADWAY 1828-bet. 1900-1910

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #29 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #29 Sarah Ann TREADWAY 1828-aft. 1900

My 3rd great-grandmother married in 1851. In the Marriage Records of Meigs County, Ohio, the name of the groom, John COOLEY, and the name of the bride, Sarah A. TREADWELL were entered by the same person who made all other entries on the page. This was followed by:

“The State of Ohio Meigs County, ss. This is to certify that on the 9th day of September A. D. 1851 I joined in marriage John Cooley & Sarah Ann Treadwell by virtue of a license for that purpose (signed) H. S. Lawrence J.P.”

All of the entries on the page included “A true copy” except for this one. Does the original scrap of paper still exist? All entries for 1851 are in the same handwriting. I skipped back through the “Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1” database at FamilySearch, 50 images at a time, and discovered that the entire volume appears to have been written by the same person, most likely at the same time. This would mean that it is a copy made at a later date. Is it a copy of the original book or a marriage record book made up from loose leaf papers found in the court house?

Did the clerk who copied the Justice of the Peace’s information make a mistake? Did H. S. Lawrence, J.P., make the error in his records? In all records produced after this event, my Sarah Ann’s maiden name was spelled TREADWAY.

TREADWELL or TREADWAY, that is the question!

  • Daughter Ida’s 1870 birth record has as mother Sarah Jane TREADWAY. [line 1515]
  • Children Calvin and Sally‘s death records have TREADWAY for the mother’s maiden name.
  • Finally, an unknown great-granddaughter of granddaughter Lorena Ellen CLONCH (md. 1st James Noyce SMITH, 2nd John TOMSHACK) has the family bible in which Sarah Ann is listed as TREADWAY. [For more than 10 years I haven’t been able to find out who the great-granddaughter of Lorena Ellen CLONCH is or where this statement came from. Maybe she will see this and get in touch.]

Why am I worrying about one record which may have the name wrong? Because I wonder if it’s possible that they (Justice of the Peace and the clerk) got it right on the marriage record and records produced later were in error.

To further complicate things, I don’t know who Sarah’s parents were. I have not been able to locate her in the 1850 census. I’ve tried all combinations of Treadway, Treadwell, and even Tracewell. In later census records she was listed as being born in Virginia and West Virginia. Her parents’ places of birth are also seen as Virginia or West Virginia. Since these are for the years 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900 it is very likely that she/they was/were born in an area of Virginia that became part of West Virginia in 1863.

Opening a Little Door in a Brick Wall

As previously discussed in 52 Ancestors: #28 John COOLEY, Sarah was seen in the 1860, 1870, 1880 and 1900 census with her husband John COOLEY.

I dug a bit deeper on the 1900 census this week and made a wonderful discover!

1900censuscooley
1900 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Falls > Belva [ancestry.com]
1900 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, West Virginia
Falls District, Belva Precinct
Enumerated on the 29th day of June 1900
HH #358-358
Cowley, John head W M Oct 1827 72 married 45 yrs MS MS MS day laborer
_____, Sarah wife W F Apr 1828 71 married 45 yrs mother of 12, 0 living WV WV WV
Wilson, George boarder W M Oct 1849 (sic) 50 widowed WV WV WV day laborer
_____, Jenett granddaughter W F Apr 1891 9 single WV WV WV

In my story about Sarah’s husband John, I wrote:

At first glance the census listing for 1900 was overlooked as the surname was misspelled and John and his parents’ places of birth were seen as Mississippi instead of Missouri. A marriage record for John’s youngest daughter Minnie O. COOLEY helped to make the connection. Minnie married George WILSON (1849-aft. 1900) on 8 March 1900. She did not live long enough to be enumerated on the 1900 census but her widowed husband and a daughter from a previous relationship are seen living with John and Sarah COOLEY (misspelled Cowley) in Belva.

It bothered me that George WILSON was listed as widowed and a boarder in 1900 as he had married the COOLEY’s daughter Minnie three months before the census was enumerated. Shouldn’t he be seen as son-in-law? When I first found the marriage record I noticed that under Remarks “mail Geo. Wilson” was written in on the register. When was it mailed in? Could the license have been dated 8 March 1900 but the marriage took place later? I dug deeper and found that George WILSON was not 50 years old as seen on the marriage and census entries. He was 12 years older, born about 1838 to John G. J. and Delilah WILSON of Wood County. This was the county where Sarah and John had lived when their first child was born. Could there be another connection?

What to do? Whenever I am at an impasse I look at the children. Sarah’s daughter Minnie O. was the mother of two illegitimate daughters.

The youngest was Ellen COOLEY whose 1894 birth record included the name of her father E. E. BAKER. Since she was not given the father’s surname I assume that her parents were not married. I found no trace of her after this.

The older daughter was Nettie COOLEY who was seen as Jenett in 1900 with her COOLEY grandparents. No birth record was found for her. Does the line on the census where the surname should be mean a repeat of the head of household’s surname or of the person enumerated just above her? Could George WILSON have been her father?

I followed Nettie through her marriage to Carl Iven GLENN in 1917 (no parents listed) and her death in 1926 (mother Minnie COOLEY, father not known). In the 1920 census Carl and Nettie were seen with her daughter Freda COOLEY age 8 and a brother-in-law (of the head of household) Charles E. HAYES age 8. As I had already laid Minnie to rest in 1900 I did not even consider that the HAYES boy could be a Nettie’s brother. Then I wondered if Nettie’s father might be a HAYES but without documentation this was only speculation.

Not considering ALL possibilities had been a big mistake! I checked the births in Mason County for the parents of Charles E. HAYES. Luckily Mason has a birth register that is typewritten and in alphabetical order – many children were recorded without their given names. In 1911 I found a male child born on 25 January 1911 to Ben and Minnie HAYSE (sic).

A quick search of the marriage records and I had Benjamin Sterrett HAYES Jr. age 60 marrying Minnie O. WILSON age 37 on 19 October 1910, three months before the birth of the child. A search for Benjamin HAYES in the 1910 census clinched it! Minnie, housekeeper, and her children Nettie and Ellen are in Benjamin’s household and listed with the BAKER surname. Why BAKER on the census when she used WILSON a few months later when she married? Where are Ben and Minnie in 1920? Why was Charles seen with his sister Nettie in 1920?

I knew that Nettie died in 1926 and that her widower had remarried. A search for Charles E. HAYES in the 1930 and 1940 census did not turn up any results. At FamilySearch.org using parents’ names to search I found Charles’ death certificate. He died in 1927, six months after his sister Nettie (both of tuberculosis), the informant was her widower Carl GLENN. Could this mean that Nettie raised her brother and her husband had taken over when she died?

FAG Angela Harkins  (#46845221) WV Mason Hambrick Cemetery Minnie O. Hayes
FAG Angela Harkins (#46845221) WV Mason Hambrick Cemetery Minnie O. Hayes, used with permission.

Time to check Find A Grave, usually one of the last places I look for information. I should have tried there first as several of my questions were answered.

Angela Harkins (FAG contributor #46845221) had photos of gravemarkers and information on Minnie and her daughter Ellen who married in 1912 and in 1915, had a son in 1916, and died a few days later. Her mother Minnie O. COOLEY died in 1919. There was no death records for either lady. However the mystery of Minnie O. Cooley’s whereabouts and death have now been solved.

Sarah’s Children

And now the information on the children of my third great-grandparents Sarah and John is more complete (47 grandchildren):

  • Ch 1: Calvin COOLEY (1853-1912) born 10 October 1853 in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia. Calvin married Mary MacNeal CAMDEN (1855-1931) on 14 November 1872 in Cooper Township, Mason County, West Virginia. They had 10 children. Calvin died on 10 June 1912 in Columbus, Franklin County, Ohio. His widow never remarried.
  • Ch 2: Melissa F. “Lucy” COOLEY (1855-1898) born about 1855 in Cedarville, Ohio. Melissa married Henry Hartman BIRD (1833-1900) on 19 March 1871 in Meigs County, Ohio. Henry was a widower with 4 children. Melissa and Henry had 10 children. She died 23 March 1898 in Bashan, Meigs County, Ohio. Her widower is not known to have remarried.
  • Ch 3: Harrison COOLEY (1859-1870) born about 1859 in Missouri. Harrison died before the 1870 census.
  • Ch 4: Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) born 11 February 1861 in Ohio. Tobitha married Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. Tobitha and Alex were the parents of 9 children. She was widowed in 1910 and died on 16 December 1913.
  • Ch 5: Sarah Ann “Sallie” COOLEY (1865-1939) born 25 June 1865 in West Virginia. Sallie married Joseph Riley WAUGH (1860-1921) on 14 March 1882 in Gallia County, Ohio. Sallie and Joseph had 10 children. She was widowed in the 1920s and died 7 December 1939 in Standard, Kanawha County, West Virginia.
  • Ch 6: Robert Ulysses S. Grant COOLEY (1868-1882) born about 1868 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. Robert died on 2 November 1882 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia.
  • Ch 7: Ida COOLEY (1870- ) born 5 April 1870 in Letart Township, Meigs County, Ohio. No record has been found for her after the 1880 census. It is not known if she ever married or had children. She is the next mystery child who needs to be solved.
  • Ch 8: Minnie O. COOLEY (1873-1919) born 3 May 1873 in Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia. Minnie had two illegitimate daughters, one with E. E. BAKER.  Minnie married(1) George WILSON (1838-1900?) on 8 March 1900 in Dixie, Fayette County, West Virginia. She married(2) Benjamin Sterrett HAYES (1850-aft. 1911) on 19 Oct 1910 in Mason County, West Virginia. They had one son. Minnie died on 21 December 1919.
  • Ch 9: Timothy COOLEY (1876-1913) born 6 June 1876 in Hannan District, Mason County, West Virginia. Timothy married Lilly E. CROOKSHANK (1879-1961) on 19 September 1897 in Clay County, West Virginia. They were the parents of five children. Timothy died in December 1912 or 1913 (not confirmed). His widow remarried, had two children with her 2nd husband, divorced, married again, divorced, and went back to using the COOLEY name until her death.

Sarah Ann TREADWAY died sometime after the 1900 census. No death record has been found for her or her husband John COOLEY. They were in their early 70s when the 1900 census was enumerated and it is likely that they died before the 1910 census. However, as there is still the possibility that they were missed in 1910 and died before 1920, I continue to list them as died after the 1900 census.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading about how I go about solving these little problems in my family tree. I didn’t mean for this to turn into a research lesson. What would you have done differently? Your comments may help me with Sarah’s daughter Ida COOLEY.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #28 John COOLEY 1827-aft. 1900

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #28 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #28 John COOLEY 1827-aft. 1900

Door29lomoJohn COOLEY is the second brick wall in my series of posts for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. I’ve walked the full length of this brick wall searching for a door that will get me to the other side.

A small window that allows me to take a peek at what may be on the other side of this brick wall was created by Michael COOLEY, owner and administrator of Michael Cooley’s Genealogy Pages.

Michael and members of the John Cooley Mailing List work on finding information on the early American COOLEY lines and finding male descendants who are willing to take the Y-DNA test to prove the connections. Although emphasis is on the male line, members may opt to discuss a female line to get around road blocks.

My John COOLEY has been included in the list of Patrilineal Descendants of John COOLEY (ca.1740-1811) of Stokes County, North Carolina.  His line is “greyed out” as the assumed connection has not been proven. I shared information on living male descendants with Michael and hope at least one will take the Y-DNA test and be included on the Y-DNA Signatures of Early American Cooleys.

This Side of the Brick Wall

My 3rd great-grandfather John COOLEY was born in October 1827 in Missouri. I don’t know who his parents were. What I do know is that they, or at least his mother, had to be in Missouri in late 1827 [per 1900 census] when John was born.

The earliest record found for John was for his marriage in Meigs County, Ohio, in 1851.

1851marriage
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18059-119253-85?cc=1614804 : accessed 25 Oct 2011), Meigs > Marriage records 1819-1852 vol 1 > image 270 of 277.

John COOLEY married Sarah Ann TREADWELL on Tuesday the 9th of September 1851 in Meigs County, Ohio. They were married by H. S. Lawrence, Justice of the Peace. The bride’s maiden name is most likely not correct.

There are several reasons for this belief:

  • Their daughter Ida’s 1870 birth record lists Sarah Jane TREADWAY. [line 1515]
  • Their children Calvin and Sally‘s death records have TREADWAY listed as the mother’s maiden name.
  • Finally, a great-granddaughter of their granddaughter Lorena Ellen CLONCH (md. 1st James Noyce SMITH, 2nd John TOMSHACK) has the family bible in which Sarah Ann is listed as TREADWAY. [For more than 10 years I haven’t been able to find out who the great-granddaughter of Lorena Ellen CLONCH is or where this statement came from. Maybe she will see this and get in touch.]

John was not located in the 1850 census. It is not known if he left Missouri soon after his birth or only just before he married Sarah. He could have lived anywhere between the time of his birth in 1827 and his marriage in 1851.

In 1853 John and his wife Sarah were living in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, when their first child Calvin was born. John’s occupation was listed as sawyer on his son’s entry in the birth register.

Daughter Melissa F. was born about 1855 in Cedarville, Ohio, according to her death certificate. Was this Cedarville in Greene County or Cedarville (historical) in Clinton, County? If this is reliable, Melissa may have been born while John and his little family were on their way west to Missouri. Was he going back to be with his family?

By 1860 John, a laborer, had moved his family to Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri. John, Sarah, and their children Calvin, Melissa (seen below as Lucy), and Harrison, age omitted, are living in the boarding house of Frederick and Elizabeth King, immigrants from Germany. Young Harrison was born in Missouri.

1860Cooleycensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > MO > Lafayette > Lexington > HH#523-582; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu628unit#page/n282/mode/1up : accessed 6 April 2014

They did not remain in Missouri for long as they were back in Ohio when my 2nd great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY was born on 11 February 1861.

After Tobitha’s birth John was moving his family back and forth between Mason County, West Virginia, and Meigs County, Ohio. Or at least it appears this way when comparing the places of births of the children on the census. Sallie b. 1865 and Robert b. abt. 1868 are seen as born in West Virginia on the 1870 census when the family was living in Meigs County, Ohio. Ida, who was born in April before the census, was found in the Meigs birth register. Harrison, who was the youngest member of the family in 1860, appears to have died before the 1870 census. John, as a sawyer in 1853, is once again working in a sawmill in 1870.

1870censuscooley
1870 U.S. Federal Census > OH > Meigs > Olive > HH#319-304 [ancestry.com]
John’s oldest children began to marry in the early 1870s giving us an idea of when the move to Mason County may have become more permanent. Daughter Melissa F. “Lucy” COOLEY married Henry Hartman BIRD (1833-1900) on 19 March 1871 in Meigs County, Ohio. Son Calvin COOLEY married Mary MacNeal CAMDEN (1855-1931) on 14 November 1872 in Mason County, West Virginia. Both of these children are seen as residents of the county they married in. The move to Mason most likely was between March 1871 and November 1872.

After coming to Mason County two more children were born: Minnie O. on 3 May 1873 in Arbuckle District and Timothy on 6 June 1876 in Hannan District. Even with six children in his household in 1880 John “adopted” two young children whose mother was born in Missouri. Was their mother a sister, niece or cousin of John COOLEY?

1880censuscooley
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Arbuckle > Sheet 210A > HH #200 [ancestry.com]
Following the 1880 census John’s daughters Tobitha and Sarah married.

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY married Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) on Thursday the 19th of August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. The day after their marriage, in Mason County, “a heavy storm of wind, rain and lightning, came up. The rain poured down in torrents, with flash after flash of lightning and peal after peal of thunder. It was a fearful afternoon and got so dark that lamps had to be lighted in the business rooms. During the time the lightning struck the Court House at the extreme point of the cupula, and descending the lightning rod jumped from it to the metallic roof, and from there to the spouting, clearing away about one half of the spouting on the east side of the house, following the spouting along until it again came in contact with the rod, when the fluid passed on down the rod into the ground. The rod is probably what saved the building.”[1] What a dramatic day after the marriage of my 2nd great-grandparents. It must have been a good omen as the marriage lasted 30 years, until the death of Alex at age 68. And to think that five months earlier Alex’s marriage to his first wife had been dissolved at that same Court House.

Sarah Ann “Sallie” COOLEY married Joseph Riley WAUGH (1860-1921) on the 14th of March 1882 in Gallia County, Ohio.

Unfortunately not all news was good news during these times. John and Sarah’s 14 years old son Robert Ulysses S. Grant COOLEY died of typho-malarial fever on 2 November 1882 in Arbuckle District. Malarial fever was prevalent in the area at the time. The parents may have been ill or caring for others in the family as one of Robert’s sisters gave the information on his death. This may have been one of the older married sisters as Ida and Minnie were 10 and 8 years old at the time.

article2
The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 Feb. 1885. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
John and his son Calvin had some bad luck with horses in the 1884-1885. Calvin lost one of his team horses in June 1884. It had “died from scours, supposed to be caused from eating some weed that has made its appearance in our pastures, and of which considerable complaint is being made.”[2] In February of 1885 John’s horse fell on the ice on Nine Mile creek and hurt itself so badly it had to be killed.[3]

John’s son Timothy COOLEY married Lilly E. CROOKSHANK (1879-1961) on 19 September 1897 in Clay County, West Virginia. Most likely the COOLEYs and the CLONCHs moved to that county about the same time.

John and Sarah lost a daughter Melissa F. “Lucy” BIRD who died on 23 March 1898 in Bashan, Meigs County, Ohio. This was also about the time that the COOLEYs and the CLONCHs moved to the Dixie/Belva area of Fayette County, West Virginia.

At first glance the census listing for 1900 was overlooked as the surname was misspelled and John and his parents’ places of birth were seen as Mississippi instead of Missouri. A marriage record for John’s youngest daughter Minnie O. COOLEY helped to make the connection. Minnie married George WILSON (1849-aft. 1900) on 8 March 1900. She did not live long enough to be enumerated on the 1900 census but her widowed husband and a daughter from a previous relationship are seen living with John and Sarah COOLEY (misspelled Cowley) in Belva.

1900censuscooley
1900 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Fayette > Falls > Belva [ancestry.com]
John and his wife Sarah were in their early 70s in 1900. Calvin, Tobitha, Sallie and Timothy were the only children remaining. No record has been found of their daughter Ida born in 1870 and last seen in 1880.

John and his wife were not found in the 1910 census. It is very likely that they passed away during the decade as they were getting on in age. I would have liked to have found a death record for John COOLEY with the names of his parents listed on it but that was not to be. By the end of 1913 only daughter Sallie WAUGH was still living.

Sources:

[1] The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 Aug. 1880. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
<http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1880-08-25/ed-1/seq-2/>

[2] The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 June 1884. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1884-06-25/ed-1/seq-3/>

[3] The Weekly register. (Point Pleasant, Va. [W. Va.]), 25 Feb. 1885. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84026817/1885-02-25/ed-1/seq-3/>

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #27 Mary E. “Polly” DOSS ~ An Unwed Mother, Not a Spinster

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #27 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Hard to believe that we are halfway through the year and beginning the 2nd half of the challenge this week.

52 Ancestors: #27 Mary E. “Polly” DOSS ~ An Unwed Mother, Not a Spinster

My 3rd great-grandmother Polly never married. She wasn’t a spinster. She couldn’t have been since she was my ancestor. She was the mother of eight children all from a bond she had with one man my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH.

Polly was the daughter of Levina DOSS. Period. One unmarried mother in my family tree would be easy to take. But two is a bit harder. Polly’s mother Levina had up to seven children and left no trace of who the father of these children may have been. Or maybe she did leave something to identify the father(s) but it hasn’t been found [yet]. Why did these ladies, mother and daughter, never marry? Did they want to avoid total dependency on a husband?

Single Woman vs. Married Woman

Although life may have been harsh, Polly possessed more rights as a single woman than a woman who was married. A single woman had a say over certain matters in her life. She could own property, enter into contracts, act as executor of an estate, or serve as a guardian. A married woman’s legal identity essentially ceased to exist when she married. A husband owned whatever belonged to his wife with the exception of personal items such as clothes and jewelry.

Levina or Lavina

Polly was born in Pittsylvania County around 1816. Per her mother Levina DOSS’s 1820 and 1830 census details she was the 6th of 7 children in the household. The censuses are the only documents I have seen with Polly’s mother’s name – Levina. No documents have been found for Polly’s mother’s name being spelled Lavina. I believe, that since Polly named a daughter “Lavina” after her mother, others have assume that her mother’s name was also spelled this way.

Roots in Pittsylvania County, Virginia

The Doss family has strong roots in Halifax and Pittsylvania County, Virginia. In 1755 Levina’s grandfather James DOSS received a land grant for 272 acres in Halifax County, an area soon to become part of the newly created Pittsylvania County in 1767. This land grant was located adjacent to Beechtree Creek and Staunton River.

Pittsylvania County lies in south midland Virginia, bordering on the North Carolina line. Bordering counties are Bedford (northwest), Campbell (northeast), Halifax (east), Caswell in North Carolina (southeast), Rockingham in North Carolina (southwest), Henry (west/southwest), and Franklin (west/northwest). The neighboring counties are important as we find marriages of Polly’s brothers, Thomas DOSS in Caswell in 1827 and Phillip DOSS in Campbell in 1835.

Early Census Analysis

In 1820 Polly is the youngest female in Levina’s household. Other members are four brothers, an older sister, her mother, and most likely her grandmother Elizabeth DOSS née LESTER who was widowed in 1812.

1820censusdoss
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania [ancestry.com]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Levina Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (William b. abt. 1811 & Phillip b. abt. 1814)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (unknown son b. bet. 1804-1810)
Note: no males 16-18 yo (therefore Thomas was 19 & under 26 yo)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Thomas b. abt. 1801)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 1 (Mary E. b. abt. 1816)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (unknown daughter born bet. 1795-1804)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Levina b. abt. 1775)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (poss. mother Elizabeth b. abt. 1750)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 2
Free White Persons – Under 16: 4
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 8

Can you tell that I love to do these?

By 1830 Polly and her younger sister Elizabeth were the only children living with their mother Levina. Next door was Polly’s brother William and her uncle Eben ANGEL, a Baptist minister and husband of Levina’s sister Elizabeth.

1830censusdoss
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Pittsylvania [ancestry.com]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Page No. 348
Levina Doss
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Elizabeth bet. 1821-1825)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Mary E. b. abt. 1816)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Levina, b. 1771-1775)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

Polly’s Siblings

  • Sib 1: Thomas DOSS (abt.1801-1881) born about 1801 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He married(1) Elizabeth EADS (abt.1802-bet.1860-1867) on 6 March 1827 in Caswell County, North Carolina. He married(2) Martha Forbes GORDON (1824-1881) on 28 April 1867 in Chariton County, Missouri. Thomas died on 1 April 1881 in Chariton County and was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in same county.
  • Sib. 2: [–?–] (female) DOSS born bet. 1795-1804
  • Sib. 3: [–?–] (male) DOSS born bet. 1804-1810
  • Sib. 4: William DOSS (abt.1811-1888) born about 1811 in Pittsylvania County. He married Elizabeth BARBER (abt.1814-1898) on 12 May 1828 in Pittsylvania County. William died 22 November 1888 in Mason County, West Virginia.
  • Sib 5: Phillip Valorius “Phil” DOSS (abt.1814-aft.1880) born about 1814 in Pittsylvania County. He married Elizabeth BAILESS (abt.1815-aft.1880) on 25 December 1835 in Campbell County, Virginia. Phillip died after 1880.
  • Mary E. “Polly” DOSS born about 1816 in Pittsylvania County, died bef. 1892 in Mason County, West Virginia
  • Sib. 7: Elizabeth “Betsy” DOSS born bet. 1821-1825. She married(1) John CLONCH (abt.1810-bet.1844-1847) on 15 February 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio. She married(2) John William STEED (abt.1806-aft.1880) on 26 October 1848 in Gallia County, Ohio. Betsy died after 1880.

DOSS Families Move to Mason County, (West) Virginia

In the 1830s Polly and her siblings, with the exception of Phillip, moved to Mason County in what would later become West Virginia. The DOSS siblings were a tight bunch. It is not known if their mother Levina was still living and made the move with the group or if she had died and the children moved on.

William CLAUNCH (aka CLONCH), with whom Polly DOSS was living, was enumerated between her brothers William and Thomas in 1840 in Mason County. In William DOSS’s household was a young lady who fits the age group for their sister Elizabeth. None of the households had an older woman, and neither did their brother Phillip, who remained in Pittsylvania. It is believed that Levina DOSS died between 1830-1840.

1840censusdossclaunch
1840 U.S. Federal Census > (W)VA > Mason > page 214 [ancestry.com : accessed 3 July 2014]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Thomas Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (Philip, Charles & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (too old to be a son from this marriage)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Judah)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7
William Claunch
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mariah J.)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Polly)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 3
William Doss
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (William & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (could this be John Clonch?)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (sister Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (wife Betsy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 3
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 8

Polly’s Life with William CLONCH

In 1850 Polly DOSS is seen in William CLONCH’s household with their four children who are seen with the DOSS surname. The fourth child, Jeremiah age 2, is believed to have died before the 1860 census as he is not listed in that census or later mentioned in the will of William CLONCH. Jeremiah was the name of William’s grandfather.

1850censusclonch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0959unix#page/n368/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

During the 1850s Polly’s oldest brother Thomas moved with his family to Chariton County, Missouri. Her brother William and sister Elizabeth remained in Mason County.

By 1860 Polly was no longer using her nickname and is seen as Mary CLAUNCH (CLONCH). She is in William’s household with their children John W., Alex, Luvina, Elizabeth, Thos. E., Joel and Charles H. Also in the household was John W. CLARK age 64 whose relationship to the family has not been determined.

1860censusclonch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1361unix#page/n434/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

Mary E. DOSS and her partner William CLONCH had four children before and four after the 1850 census. They are listed here with the surnames they were known to have used in later years.

  • John William CLONCH (1840-1919) born in December 1840
  • Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) born 2 March 1842
  • Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) born about 18 March 1846
  • Jeremiah DOSS born about 1847, died bet. 1850-1860
  • Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-aft.1899) born about 1851
  • Joel CLONCH (1852-aft.1910) born in January 1852
  • Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) born in November 1852
  • Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) born on 10 November 1855

The American Civil War period (4 Feb 1861-23 Jun 1865) brought changes for Mary E. DOSS and her family. Mary’s oldest son John William CLONCH married Sarah Jane FOSTER (1840- ) on 20 February 1862 in Gallia County, Ohio.

Less than a year later the father of her children, William CLONCH, died on 20 January 1863. William had the foresight [or maybe Mary influenced him] to write a will leaving his land to Mary and her children.

will
[Source: West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722%5D
There was a bit of trouble caused by his will. Mary’s step-daughter Mariah Jane also brought forward a will which was not admitted as the last will and testament. The will found in the Will Book is not an original, only a copy. William left his mark on the will and Matthias Long must have been the person who wrote the will for William. On the 1840 and 1850 censuses both adults in the household of William CLONCH could not read and write.

Life After William

I can’t imagine what Mary’s life would have been like if William had not left her the land that her children farmed. In 1863 Mary’s daughter Lavina Ann married James William PATTERSON (1836-1911) in Point Pleasant and her son Alexander married Mary Ellen LEMASTER (1847-1921) in Gallia County, Ohio. Alex’s marriage did not last as Mary Ellen was involved with her brother-in-law John whose marriage ended in divorce in 1864 when John and Mary Ellen moved in together. [A Little “Peyton Place” (Part II)]

By 1870 only three children were living at home with Mary: Joel, Elizabeth, and Charles Henry [who was mistakenly listed as Francis]. Next door was her sister Elizabeth DOSS with her second husband John STEED. Mary’s daughter Lavina was living with her husband in the same district several households away.

1870censusclonch
1870 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendenen > Sheet No. 147B > HH#228-230 [ancestry.com]
John W. and Mary Ellen and children; Alexander and Mary Ellen’s sister Rebecca and children; and Thomas Eli, who was single, were not located in the 1870 census. John’s son Emanuel was born in February 1870 in Mason County per his death register entry which places him in the county in 1870. How could it be that Mary’s three sons were missed? Could they have been omitted when the census was copied? Are they on the original census?

Life may appear to have been quiet during the 1870s for Mary and her family. There were no marriages but thirteen grandchildren were born. Her daughter Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” had two children out of wedlock. Alexander [who was still legally married to Mary Ellen] fathered two more children with Rebecca LEMASTER. John fathered five children with Mary Ellen. Only Lavina’s four children born in the 1870s were legitimate.

A Divorce and Two Marriages

The 1880s began with a divorce and two marriages.

Alexander CLONCH finally divorced Mary Ellen LEMASTER in March 1880 in Mason County, West Virginia. I wonder if he might have taken advice from his mother. Mary may have wished that William had done the same with his wife Ann Eliza HILL so that she could marry the father of her children.

At about the same time, Charles Henry CLONCH married Nancy Susan WOODS (1864-1928) on 24 March 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio, and Thomas Eli CLONCH married Missouri Catherine SCHULTZ (1862-1942) on 14 May 1880 in Gallia County, Ohio.

In 1880 Mary and all of her children except for John are enumerated on Sheet No. 245A+B in households #195-200 (Lavina), #197-202 (Alex), #198-203 (Thomas), #202-207 (Joel and Charles with their mother Mary) and #203-208 (Elizabeth Jane). Only Mary’s oldest son John W. CLONCH was in Cabell County with Alex’s ex-wife Mary Ellen LEMASTER with whom he now had seven children.

1880censusclonch2
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Clendennin > ED 93 Sheet 245B HH#202-207 [ancestry.com]
Mary’s son Alexander married Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY (1861-1913) on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. He was the last of her children that she would see getting married.

As harsh as life could be for single women, they ironically possessed more rights than those who married. A single woman had her own legal identity, could enter into contracts and own property, allowing her to have some say over certain matters in her life.Read more : http://www.ehow.com/info_10071412_life-like-single-women-1800s.html

Mary E. DOSS died before 1892 when her children are seen selling the land left to her in William CLONCH’s 1863 will to their sister Lavina. All of Mary’s children, except for young Jeremiah, survived her.

Joel who had remained single finally married in 1893 at the age of 41. John W. at long last married his Mary Ellen in 1895. Betsy who had a third child out of wedlock in 1884 married a man half her age in 1899 and disappeared [I have not been able to trace her after the marriage].

Mary E. DOSS’s children continued “to be fruitful and multiplied” bringing the total grandchildren to 60. The youngest and last surviving died in 1994.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #26 William CLONCH abt. 1807-1863

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #26 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. It’s hard to believe the first half of this wonderful challenge is ending this week.

52 Ancestors: #26 William CLONCH abt. 1807-1863

On the 17th of January 1863 my 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH wrote his Last Will and Testament.

January the 17th 1863
This is my Last Will and testimony wherein I do wish to will my Land to Mary Doss and her Children John William Doss, Alexander Doss, Loving Ann Doss, Elizabeth Jane Doss, Thomas Eli Doss, Joel Doss and Charles Henry Doss and my wish is that the said Mary Doss and her said heirs shall hold the percession of said Land and to work it at their option untill the said Mary Dosses Death and then to be Equally Divided between said Children and that the said Land shall not be transfered out of the family if it is that the said transfer shall not stand and I do will Mariah Jane Petterson three Dollars and I do will John William Doss one horse and Alexander Doss one young mare and Loving Ann one 2 year old Colt and my tools and implements stay on the farm of all kinds to stay on the farm for the use of the family and I have made this my will and do acknowledge the same to be my volunter act and have this the day above written caused my name to be written and have fixed my mark and seal to be made.
William -his mark- Clonch
Attest
Matthias Long
Mary Ellen -her mark- Doss
Sarah Jane -her mark- Doss
in addition to the foregoing will it is my will that Thomas Doss Has My Big Gun.[1]

Mary E. DOSS and William CLONCH were never married and the children mentioned are “theirs.” The five boys and Elizabeth Jane used the CLONCH surname following William’s death. Only “Loving Ann” used the DOSS surname when she married a year later in 1863.

I believe that there is a reason why William and Mary never married. That reason is Ann Eliza HILL, the woman he married in 1832. She was the mother of Mariah Jane mentioned in the will. This is a complicated story which I will get to as we go back in time.

After drawing up his will, William CLONCH died three days later on 20 January 1863 in Mason County, (West) Virginia, of typhoid fever. His occupation was listed as gunsmith. The informant was Mary CLONCH, his widow. His widow? They lived together for over 20 years and had 8 children together, does this make her his widow?

Was this Mary CLONCH the same person as Mary E. DOSS seen in his will? I would say yes as she was seen with him in the 1860 census as Mary CLONCH and in the 1850 census as Polly DOSS.

Two months later William’s will was presented at a court held for the county of Mason at the courthouse:

At a Court held for the County of Mason at the courthouse therof on Monday the 2nd day of March 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of William Clonch deceased, was this day produced in Court and proven by the oaths of Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, the subscribing Witnesses thereto, who made oath that said writing was signed and acknowledged by the said William Clonch by his marking his mark thereto, and at the same time acknowledging the same as and for his last Will and Testament in their presence and at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other, they signed their names as witnesses thereto, and that the said Testator was of sound mind and disposing memory to the best of their knowledge, and belief. Whereupon it is ordered that said writing be recorded and admitted to probate, as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch decd.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.[1]

Mariah Jane and her husband John PATTERSON also tried to present a writing that they purported to be the last will and testament of William CLONCH after the first had been applied.

John Patterson and Maria Jane Pattersons Children and heirs at law of William Clonch deceased having come into court after the application had been made to Submit a certain writing purporting to be the last Will and testament of said Clonch to probate moved the court to recind their Judgement on said Application. And thereupon the Court having condisered thereof doth reconsider the same, and doth continue the further hearing of the same to the next term of this court.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.[1]

A month later at the next term of court the hearing was continued and a decision was made concerning which writing was his last will and testament:

At a court held for the County of Mason, at the Courthouse thereof on Monday the 6th day of April 1863.
A writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of William Clonch deceased, bearing date on the 17th day of January 1863 was this day again produced in Court by Mary Doss and other legatees named in said will, in order to be proved: and John Patterson and Maria Jane Patterson his wife appeared by Charles P. T. Moore Esq. their Attorney and opposed the proof of the said Will. Whereupon divers Witnesses were sworn and examined and the parties aforesaid, by their counsel fully hears; on consideration whereof it is the opinion of the court, that the said William Clonch deceased, at the time of executing the writing dated on the 17th day of January 1863 was of sound and disposing Mind and Memory, and that he was under no influence, And Matthias Long, Mary Ellen Doss, and Sarah Jane Doss, subscribing witnesses to the said writing, having testified in court, that the said William Clonch signed and published the same in their presence as and for his last Will and Testament, that they subscribe their names as witnesses thereto in the presence of the said Testador, and in the presence of each other, and at his request, and that the said Testador was of sound mind and memory as far as they knew or believed; it is ordered that the said writing bearing date as aforesaid, be recorded as and for the last Will and Testament of the said William Clonch, deceased, Except the memorandum thereto annexed, and that same be also admitted to probate. And it further ordered by the court, that the said John Patterson, and Maria Janes Patterson, pay to the said Mary Doss and other legatees in said Will their costs by them in this behalf expensed.
Copy Teste James H. Holloway Clk.[1]

[1] Transcribed by Cathy Meder-Dempsey, 25 September 2011
[Source: West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971; Mason Will book, v. 01A 1833-1875; Page 166-167 (image 104); online https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18256-40179-14?cc=1909099&wc=10916722]

John and Mariah Jane PATTERSON were ordered to pay the expenses of Mary DOSS and the other legatees in the will. Did Mariah Jane’s $3 inheritance cover the costs?

The land left to Mary E. DOSS and her children by William was sold by his heirs in 1892 to Louvenia PATTERSON, seen as Loving Ann DOSS in the will:

In Mason County deed book 53, page 202, dated 29 April 1892, John W. and wife Mary E. Clonch, Alexander and wife Bertha (sic, Tobitha), Charles and wife Mary, Thomas and wife Missouri, Joel and wife Betsy, heirs of William Clonch to Louvenia Patterson all of the Mason County, West Virginia, property in Clendenin District, Mason County, West Virginia. According to these records, William Clonch is the father of the Doss children. Note: I don’t have images of or a true transcript of this record. A look-up would be appreciated.

Moving Backwards

With his last will and testament out of the way I can continue back through the years and hopefully answer some of the questions about the relationship William CLONCH had with Mary DOSS.

1860censusclonch
1860 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > District 2 > Page 46 > HH#345-316; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1361unix#page/n434/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

William was last seen in the 1860 census, his surname spelled CLAUNCH, with his “wife” Mary and their children John W., Alex, Luvina, Elizabeth, Thos. E., Joel and Charles H. Also in his household was John W. CLARK age 64. Unfortunately prior to 1880 the relationship to a head of household was not noted on the census.

 

1850censusclonch
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 422A HH#842-853; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu0959unix#page/n368/mode/1up : accessed 27 March 2014

In 1850 William CLONCH  is seen with Polly DOSS and four DOSS children. Three of these are the same as seen in 1860 but with the CLAUNCH name. The fourth DOSS child, Jeremiah age 2, is believed to have died before the 1860 census as he is not listed in that census or mentioned in the will. Jeremiah was the name of William’s grandfather.

Now that we’ve seen the 1850 and 1860 census, here is a complete list of Willliam’s children that he had with Mary E. “Polly” DOSS:

  • John William CLONCH (1840-1919) born in December 1840
  • Alexander CLONCH (1842-1910) born on 2 March 1842, husband of Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY
  • Lavina Ann DOSS (1846-1945) born about 18 March 1846
  • Jeremiah DOSS (1847-1850) born abt. 1847 and died bet. 1850-1860
  • Elizabeth Jane “Betsy” CLONCH (1851-1899) born abt. 1851
  • Joel CLONCH (1852-1910) born abt. January 1852
  • Thomas Eli CLONCH (1852-1913) born in November 1852
  • Charles Henry CLONCH (1855-1925) born 10 November 1855
MRIN00536 1945 Lavina Patterson death announcement
Charleston Daily Mail, August 3, 1945

Lavina Ann and Jeremiah never used the CLONCH or CLAUNCH surnames. In 1945 Lavina, the last surviving child of William CLONCH, died. The informant on her death certificate did not know who her father was. Polly DOSS was listed as the mother. Her relatives boasted that she was 109 years old when she died. Her age on her death certificate was 106 yrs 4 mos 18 days. She was actually 10 years younger than the age in this clipping — but still nearly 100!

In the Beginning

My 3rd great-grandfather William CLONCH was the son of Dennis CLONCH and Nancy BEASLEY. They were married on 8 November 1803 in Mecklenburg County, Virginia. They moved to Kanawha County, Virginia [now West Virginia],  about 1806 as Dennis was on the tax lists of Mecklenburg County in 1805 and of Kanawha County in 1806 and 1809. He was on the 1810 Kanawha County census with his wife and three children: William and his older sister Elizabeth and another female who remains unidentified. Dennis died during the 1810s as his wife Nancy was the head of household in 1820 through 1840 in Mason County.

William had 3 known siblings:

  • Sib 1: [–?–] CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. This sister remains unidentified.
  • Sib 2: Elizabeth CLONCH, born bet. 1805-1809 in Kanawha County. She married Meridith PARSONS (1805- ) on 26 February 1825 in Mason County, (West) Virginia. She died before 1840.
  • William CLONCH was born about 1807 in Kanawha County.
  • Sib 3: John CLONCH was born about 1810 in Kanawha County. He married Elizabeth DOSS (1817-1880) on 15 September 1842 in Gallia County, Ohio. He died between 1844-1847 most likely in Mason County.
  • Sib 4: Sarah CLONCH was born about 1811 in Kanawha County. She married William WILLIAMS (1808-1850s) on 4 January 1832 in Mason County. After his death and before 1860 she married James William GALLIWAY (1832-1880).

The Years in Between

William CLONCH of Mason County, Virginia, married Ann Eliza HILL (1812-1895) of Gallia County, Ohio, on 20 August 1832 in Gallia County, Ohio.

claunchhillmarriage
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XD4V-KPD : accessed 21 Jun 2014), William Clauseck and Ann Eliza Hill, 20 Aug 1832; citing Gallia, Ohio, United States, reference p220; FHL microfilm 317652

By 1840 William and Ann Eliza were living in separate households in two states.

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Mason County, (West) Virginia
Page 214
Claunch, William
1 male 30 & under 40 yo
1 female 5 & under 10 yo
1 female 20 & under 30 yo
3 persons in household
1 person engaged in agriculture

1840 U.S. Federal Census
Gallia County, Ohio
Galliapolis
Eliza Claunch
1 male under 5 yo
1 male 5 & under 10 yo
1 female 20 & under 30 yo

William did not have children in his 1850 household who would be old enough to also be seen in 1840. So what are we seeing in these listings? Apparently William and Ann Eliza broke up and William took Mariah Jane who was born about the time that her parents married. Mary E. DOSS may be the woman living in William’s household as she would be giving birth to their first child John William CLONCH in December 1840. But who are the young boys seen with “Eliza CLAUNCH” in Gallia County?

When researching our family history we never know what bones we may dig up that might have best been kept buried. This lady intrigued me enough to search further. As far as I could tell most CLONCH researchers believed that Ann Eliza HILL died or divorced William CLONCH however no record of divorce was found.

Imagine my surprise when I found a record for Anna Eliza CLAUNCH, widow of Wm. C. CLAUNCH, marrying Andrew GAUSE on 26 March 1842 in Kanawha County, Virginia.

1842marriage1
http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage
1842marriage2
http://www.wvculture.org/vrr/va_view.aspx?Id=12568001&Type=Marriage

Could this be a coincidence or was this the same lady who married William in 1832? Ann Eliza HILL’s husband William CLAUNCH (later seen as CLONCH) did not die between the time of the 1840 census and her remarriage on 26 March 1842. Why did she give this false statement? When William made his will in 1862 he mentioned only his daughter Mariah Jane from his marriage to Ms. HILL – no sons!

Mariah Jane CLONCH (1831-1863) born bet. 1831-1833 in Mason County, (West) Virginia, married John PATTERSON (1814-1863) during the year before the 1850 census. Mariah Jane and her husband John were last seen in April 1863 when her father’s will was recorded in court and they were ordered to pay expenses. They have not been located in the 1870 census. Four of their five children and one child from John’s previous marriage were located. It has been assumed that Mariah Jane and John died bet. 1863-1870.

What about the boys seen with Ann Eliza in the 1840 census? Since the pre-1850 censuses name only the head of household we cannot be sure that the boys were even related to Ann Eliza. But what if they were her children? The older boy, or one of about the same age, was found with her in 1850 along her new husband and younger children. The youngest of the two boys was not with her in 1850. Her story does not end here as I followed her until her death. It will be saved for another day.

In 1850 John W. CLARK, who was seen with the William CLONCH family in 1860, had his own household. In this household were only Nancy CLONCH age 75 and Dennis CLONCH age 12. How is Dennis related to William CLONCH? Could he be Ann Eliza’s younger son?

1850censusclark
1850 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Mason > 38th District > Sheet No. 185A HH#333-334

The young boy named Dennis CLONCH seen in the 1850 census appears to be a grandson of Nancy BEASLEY and DENNIS CLONCH. But who was his father? Earlier researchers believed him to be the son of William’s brother John CLONCH. John did not have his own household in 1840 and may have been in his mother’s household. He married in 1842 and died between 1844-1847; his widow remarried in 1847. Since John died before the 1850 census it was believed that Dennis was his son as he was living with Nancy CLONCH.

It is my belief that Dennis was the son of Ann Eliza HILL and may not have been acknowledged by her husband William CLONCH as his. Was Dennis the result of an extramarital relationship that caused the breakup of their marriage?

Dennis (1838-1893) was born 8 March 1838 in (West) Virginia. Dennis CLONCH married Mary Ann BAKER (1842-1920) on 16 Nov 1858 in Gallia County, Ohio. They had a son named John William CLONCH born on 19 March 1860 and died on 9 February 1861. The first name given to the child may have been what caused an earlier researcher to assume that he was the son of John. Dennis began using the HILL surname on 21 February 1862 when he enlisted in the Union Regular Army at Gallipolis, Ohio. Neither Dennis CLONCH nor Dennis HILL were mentioned in the will of William CLONCH in 1863. He moved to Missouri about 1871 and died in Miami, Saline County, Missouri on 31 July 1893.

Postscript I:

Over a dozen years ago when Ralph Hayes shared his research and the scandalous happenings in the CLONCH family, he wrote, “Now wasn’t that a little Peyton’s Place.” Last December I used his phrase as the title of two blog posts about the “scandals”:
A Little “Peyton Place” (Part I) and A Little “Peyton Place (Part II).

Postscript II:

I thought this would be an easy write-up. Writing in chronological order didn’t work as I kept getting hung up on the wife’s part in the story. But the wife was not my ancestor. I wanted Polly to have a larger part in William’s story than his wife had. How did I do?

Mary E. “Polly” DOSS, my 3rd great-grandmother, will be the star of next week’s 52 Ancestors installment.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

52 Ancestors: #15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is my 15th contribution to Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

52 Ancestors: #15 Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY 1861-1913

I used the information in my genealogy database to write this impromptu obituary in honor of my great-great-grandmother. I don’t have access to West Virginia newspapers for the time period and do not know if an obituary was printed for Tobitha.

Obituary of Tobitha Cooley Clonch

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” Clonch, 52, passed away in December 1913 of unknown causes.

Tobitha was born in Ohio on 11 February 1861 to John Cooley and Sarah Ann Treadway.

She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband Alexander “Alex” Clonch; three children, Timothy, Bertha and an unnamed babe; stepdaughter Barbara Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gillispie; her siblings, Calvin Cooley, Melissa F. “Lucy” Bird, Harrison Cooley, Robert Ulysses S. Grant Cooley, Ida Cooley, Minnie O. Wilson and Timothy Cooley; grandchildren Bertha Almeda Smith, Lallie P. Dunlap, Georgie Dunlap, Arnold Dunlap, Arlena Dunlap, and Piercie Roop.

Survivors include her daughters and sons-in-law, Lorena Ellen and John Tomshack, Frances “Fanny” and George W. Dunlap, Rebecca Jane and Walter F. Roop, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and John H. “Harry” Krise, and Ida Bell and Lewis W. Holbert; her son Harrison Sanders Clonch; her stepdaughter and stepson-in-law Emma Sidosa “Emily” and William Alexander Clonch; her stepson and stepdaughter-in-law Joseph E. “Joe” and Jenny Clonch; her sister and brother-in-law, Sarah Ann “Sallie” and Joseph Riley Waugh; two sisters-in-law, Mary Cooley and Lilly E. Cooley; 16 grandchildren, Lorenzo Aber Smith, James Leonard Smith, Edward Moses Smith, Joseph Tomshack, Josephine Tomshack, Alex H. Tomshack, Virgie Dunlap, Earl Lawrence Dunlap, Lacy Shelton Roop, Myrtle Hazel Roop, James Henry Roop, Walter Gordon Roop, Edith Estelle “Edie” Roop, Reeva Estelle “Reeba” Krise, Harry B. Krise, and Alton Elmer Krise; 5 stepgrandchildren George William Clonch, Iva Mae Clonch, Edith Emmeline Clonch, Eber Joseph Clonch, and Alexander Michael “Alex” Clonch.

Funeral arrangements are unknown. Burial was in Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive.

MRIN00038 Clonch, Tobitha and Ida
Tabitha Ann COOLEY with her youngest daughter Ida Bell CLONCH. Photo courtesy of James A. Smith (2000)

My great-great-grandmother Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY was born on 11 February 1861 in Ohio, a week after the beginning of the Civil War. She was the 4th child of John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY (TREADWELL). It is not known where in Ohio she was born. Her date of birth was taken from her gravemarker.

1860Cooleycensus
1860 U.S. Federal Census > MO > Lafayette > Lexington > HH#523-582; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu628unit#page/n282/mode/1up : accessed 6 April 2014

If her mother had a normal pregnancy, then Tobitha was conceived in Missouri! Sarah was about four months pregnant when Mr. Shields, Assistant Marshall, visited the COOLEY family in Lexington, Lafayette County, Missouri, on 8 September 1860. He found John, Sarah and their children, Calvin, Lucy F., and Harrison, living with seven other families in the boarding house of Frederick and Elizabeth King, immigrants from Germany.

The little family had been on the move from the time of John and Sarah’s marriage on 9 September 1851 in Meigs County, Ohio. They lived in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, where Tobitha’s father John worked as a sawyer in 1853. They may have lived in Cedarville, Ohio, or made a stop there in 1855 before going on to Missouri. They did not remain in Missouri for long as they were back in Ohio in 1861 when Tobitha was born.

1870cooleycensus
1870 U.S. Federal Census > OH > Meigs > Olive > HH#319-304; online https://archive.org/stream/populationschedu1242unit#page/n243/mode/1up : accessed 6 Apr 2014

She remained the baby of the family until the end of the Civil War when her sister Sallie was born. Tobitha’s family lived in the Arbuckle District of Mason County, West Virginia, in 1868 when another  brother Robert was born.

The family was enumerated in the 1870 census in Portland Post Office in the Olive Township of Meigs County, Ohio.  Father John was working in a sawmill and feeding a family of six children which now  included baby Ida.

1880cooleycensus
1880 U.S. Federal Census > WV > Mason > Arbuckle > Sheet No. 210A > HH # ; https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18801408unit#page/n9/mode/1up : accessed 6 Apr 2014

The 1870’s were spent for the most part in Mason County, West Virginia, were Tobitha’s two youngest siblings, Minnie O. and Timothy were born. On the 1880 census we see Tobitha as Ann T. She was the oldest of the children still at home as her older brother and sister had married. Tobitha, like her parents, could not read or write.

Tabitha Ann “Tobitha” COOLEY married Alexander CLONCH on 19 August 1880 in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio. Alex was divorced from his first wife and the father of children (ages 4, 6 and 13) he had with another woman, his ex-wife’s sister. He was 19 years older than Tobitha — or twice her age! All of these things could have put quite a strain on the new relationship but Alex and Tobitha made things work. She helped raise Alex’s little ones and had 9 children with him during their 30 years of marriage:

Ch 1: Timothy CLONCH born 20 December 1881 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 7]. He died before 1898.
Ch 2: Lorena Ellen CLONCH (1883-1961) born 10 March 1883 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 10]
Ch 3: Frances “Fanny” CLONCH (1885-1943) born 30 April 1885 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 4: Bertha CLONCH (1887-1898) born 9 December 1887 Arbuckle District, Mason County, West Virginia [line 14]. She died before 1898.
Ch 5: Rebecca Jane CLONCH (1888-1950) born 6 Jan 1888 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 6: Sarah Ann “Sallie” CLONCH (1890-1979) born 20 Jun 1890 Mason County, West Virginia
Ch 7: Harrison S. CLONCH (1893-1970) born 11 February 1893 Beech Hill, Mason County, West Virginia [line 25] [delayed certificate of birth]
Ch 8: [–?–] CLONCH (1894-1894) born 6 Oct 1894 [line 32] died 13 October 1894 [line 13], both in Clay County, West Virginia
Ch 9: Ida Bell CLONCH (1896-1981) born 5 March 1896 Smithers Creek, Fayette County, West Virginia [line 63]

As previously discussed in Alex’s story, Tobitha’s young family lived in Mason County until about 1893 when they moved to Clay County and then to Fayette County about 1895-1896.

I believe that Tobitha’s parents John and Sarah COOLEY may have made the move from Mason County to Clay County and then Fayette County at the same time as Tobitha and Alex. John age 72 and Sarah age 71 were living in Belva, Falls District of Fayette County in 1900. They may have died between 1900-1910 or before 1920 if they were missed in the 1910 census. I doubt that they lived longer and no records have been found for their deaths in West Virginia.

Tobitha’s daughters Lorena, Fanny, Rebecca, and Sallie were married by 1908. When Alexander CLONCH died 9 June 1910 at the age of 68 he left Tobitha with daughter Ida 14 and son Harrison 17.

Tobitha received Alex’s Civil War pension as a widow and for Ida who was considered a minor until she turned 16. Harrison most likely lived at home with his mother and sister but we cannot be sure as they were not found in the 1910 census.

2014-04-09_185027
“United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-17556-56250-18?cc=1832324&wc=M9WY-MC3:881461769 : accessed 13 Nov 2013), Clinebell, William L. – Clore, Nancy J. > image 581 of 681.

On the Veterans Administration Pension Payment Card Tobitha’s date of death is seen as 10 December 1913. This conflicts with the date 16 December 1913 seen on her gravemarker. Was the marker misread? Did the Veterans Administration employee make an error? When the bureau was notified on 19 March 1914, did they receive a death certificate?

Tobitha died three and a half years after Alex and six months before the beginning of World War I at the age of 52 years. She was buried beside her husband of 30 years in the Clonch Family Cemeterey in Mount Olive, Fayette County, West Virginia. Their markers read:

Alex Clonch
March 2, 1842 – June 9, 1910

Tobitha Cooley Clonch
“His Wife”
February 11, 1861 – December 16, 1913

James Grady Auxier (2C1R ) shared per email 2 June 2000 the dates of birth and death he read off of the gravemarkers of Alexander and Tobitha Clonch in the Clonch Family Cemetery in Mount Olive. Kaci Foster (4C1R, 6C, 7C) read the cemetery on 17 March 2005 and shared the cemetery listing on Fayette County Footprints, a myfamily.com site administered by Betty LeMasters and Becky Shuff. The dates from both readings match. However I would be very happy if someone would visit the cemetery and share photos of the markers with me.

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

John COOLEY and Sarah Ann TREADWAY

Door18COOLEY

John COOLEY (Oct 1827-aft. Jun 1900) and Sarah Ann TREADWELL (sic) (Apr 1828-aft. Jun 1900) married in Meigs County, Ohio, 9 September 1851. In 1853 they were living in Parkersburg, Wood County, (West) Virginia, when their oldest son Calvin was born. John COOLEY’s occupation was listed as sawyer on his son’s birth record. By 1860 the family was living in Missouri. In 1870 they were back in Meigs County, were John was working in a sawmill. In 1880 they were living in Mason County, West Virginia. By 1900 John and Sarah were in Fayette County, West Virginia. In their household was a widowed son-in-law and a granddaughter.

In the 1850s when John COOLEY was in Wood County there was another man of this surname in the county, William COOLEY and his wife Drusilla Stewart. Their marriage record has not been found however descendants say that they married in Ohio were Drusilla was born. They had the following children in Wood County: Rachael born 18 Jun 1856, Sarah Angeline born 4 Oct 1857, and Sarah A. born 12 Dec 1859.

I believe that there must be a connection between John (b. Oct 1827) and William (b. 1825) as both were born in Missouri, married in Ohio, lived in Wood County at about the same time. Census listings for William have been found from 1860 to 1920; William’s and Drusilla’s death records have been found.

The 1850 census listings for John and William COOLEY may be a very important piece to the puzzle. William Washington COOLEY’s death certificate lists his father as Isaac COOLEY. Online postings from descendants tell the story that his parents died when he was 7 and that he had a brother Charles and a sister Sarah. It is not known if this is documented.

TREADWAY or TREADWELL

Sarah’s surname has been seen as TREADWELL and as TREADWAY. Two of her children’s death certificates list her as Sarah TREADWAY. Daughter Ida’s birth record lists Sarah Jane TREADWAY. A family bible lists TREADWAY. However the marriage record lists TREADWELL.

Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that Sarah Ann TREADWAY was the daughter of Henry TREADWAY of Wood County, (West) Virginia, I have attached her to his family in my gedcom file. I like to do this “for research purposes” as it makes it easier to compare things. Henry had children named Calvin and Melissa and these are names that Sarah gave to her first born children. Sarah has not been located in the 1850 census. Was she living with one of her siblings? Henry’s oldest daughter per 1830 census has not been identified. Calvin, Helena, Alcinda, and Melissa, the other children of Henry TREADWAY have been located in 1850 — Sarah is not living with them.

This couple has me hitting my head against a brick wall that doesn’t want to budge.

Addendum:

The will of Isaac COOLEY (below) names four children: William, James, Thomas Marian, and Harriet. Therefore John COOLEY and William Washington COOLEY were not brothers. Could they have been cousins?

Submitted by michael_95073
Note added Mon Mar 4 20:30:55 2013

Transcription of the will of Isaac Cooley, dated April 3, 1838 in Randolph County Missouri:

Known all men by these present that on the third day of April in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and thirty-eight that I, Isaac Cooley, of Randolph County in the State of Missouri being of sound mind and disposing judgement, but low and weak in bodily strength and health do on this day dispose of my effects in the following manner. I give and bequeath to my son William one dollar. To my son James one dollar. To my son Thomas Marian one dollar and to my daughter Harriet one dollar. And I give and bequeath to my beloved wife [my home place] (crossed out) Nancy Cooley to have and to hold during her life time, my land and at her death I want the land to revert back to my son Thomas Marian and his heirs and assigns forever. After all my just debts are paid I want the above disposition of my effects made between my children of the one part and my dear wife Nancy Cooley of the other.

I leave my friend Thomas K White my executor to carry into effect __ _ In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and affixed my seal on the above.

[Source: http://ancestraldata.com/Notes/index.cgi?1167835947+%2Fahnentafel%2F256%2Flineages%2Fjohncooley-desc.html]