Thursday, May 5, 2016

Once in a Lifetime Part 3

It was hard to say good-bye, as it always is. But good-bye it was, and on we drove back towards Oregon. We left West Virginia and crossed Ohio, then Indiana and Illinois and stopped at the eastern border of Iowa. We had planned on doing a little family research in Iowa and our first stop was Pioneer Cemetery in Scott County. My mother-in-law was a 'Brown' and her great grandfather and grandmother are buried here. Their names were Horace T Brown 1812-1854 and Alma Barber Brown 1816-1881.

Their daughter Angenette Brown, 1851-1867 is buried here also. She died at age 16.

There are a few other family members here also, and this is where Susan Alford Brown, (Alma's sister-in-law) was buried. 1830-1855

 Her little son George is buried beside her 1855-1856.

 It was a very pretty small cemetery among rolling farmland.
There was a stone wall around the cemetery and this cool old stone shed in one corner.
Seen from this photo of the wall, you can see the back of the shed was actually built into the wall.
Next we drove on to Des Moines, a large city. We were looking for a small cemetery in a suburb called Polk City. Our GPS took us out a gravel road that ended abruptly at the Des Moines River where a fisherman was trying his luck. So we backed up and tried again, this time with success. We were looking for the United Brethren Cemetery, which is in back of what is now a Methodist Church.

This is where ancestors of my father-in-law's mother are buried. We found the stone for the insurance man's great, great, great grandmother and grandfather and his great, great grandmother. Wow! Their last name was Fagan.

John Fagan (1806-1878) and Ann Gooden Fagan (1809-1875)

Their daughter Margaret Fagan Barrick is also buried here. (1839-1880)

This was a lovely spot, and wonderful to find these relations.
Next we drove to south Iowa and Ringgold County. This time we were looking for my side of the family. My great aunt Minnie used to come back here each year to visit her relatives. My grandfather was born here, and although they left the area when he was in high school there was much they talked about. We drove around to several little towns, all in the space of 20 miles or so, including Mount Ayr, Delphos, Malloy, Benton, and Diagonal. All very small towns and each unique in their own ways.
My grandfathers family lived in Benton, which is 3 miles from Mount Ayr, the county seat.


We found this little cemetery way out in the country after much difficulty (like our new car being covered in Iowa mud). Many of my great-grandmothers family are buried here. It was fenced but a good walk from the car. There were cows all around, curious and bellowing, and I thought perhaps one curious female was about to chase me back to the car.

The fence stopped them....
We then drove to yet another small cemetery in a place named Knowlton, which no longer exists. Again, fairly difficult to find. We stopped and asked the farmers...and then succeeded in tracking it down.
Centenary Cemetery, Knowlton
My great, great grandparents: Hannibal Jones (1832-1880) and Lorania Ely Jones (1833-1903).
Our biggest surprise was finding their oldest daughter Virginia (Jennie) Jones Asher (1852-1901) buried here. I had not previously been able to find her burial place.
And then, last but not least we drove to Western Iowa and Missouri Valley where both my ancestors and the insurance man's ancestors had farmed and lived.
In Harlan, Shelby County we found the burial place of the insurance man's great grandfather's brother Andrew Mager Brown (1854-1925) and his wife Rachel. His great grandfather had lived and farmed here also, but had eventually found his way west to Oregon.
This was a much larger cemetery, and we were only able to find the graves with the help of the men mowing and tending the sites. They gave us the phone number of the man who had a map of the cemetery and he was able to direct us to the right spot. We drove on south through Missouri Valley down to Harrison County and Cass Township. Here we were looking for Frazier Cemetery, the burial place of the insurance man's great, great, great grandfather Ammon Sherwood (1807-1893). We were running out of time and daylight that day. We discovered there were two cemeteries, Frazier and Old Frazier, each in a different little town. We only had time for one so we chose Old Frazier and found it was the wrong one. But at least we got to see the area where they farmed and lived.

One thing about doing family history research, is that it's striking that so many of our family lines came through Iowa. Both the insurance man and I had relatives that were poor farmers generally. Much the same in our backgrounds. We enjoyed looking around and discovering Iowa and appreciated the hard labor that must have gone into farming and feeding their families.

We headed west and drove through Nebraska. We had a terrific downpour one day, and because of that lost our way and went north out of our way about100 miles. But due to that we drove through the small town of Plainview, NE which happened to be where my father-in-law's grandfather immigrated to the United States to after leaving Denmark. It was a German community at that time, and again they were farmers there before leaving for Idaho. An unplanned but delightful mishap.

It took several more days of traveling through Wyoming, Utah and Idaho to reach Burns where we stopped for a quick visit with my in-laws before heading for home-sweet-home. As I titled these three was a once in a lifetime trip for us.



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