Thursday, March 26, 2009

Are you OK?

How many times a day do you use the expression "OK" (okay)?
Have you ever wondered where the term came from?
During the elections of 1840, one of our ancestral relatives, Daniel Leffel, was responsible for making this a popular form of expression that has lasted down to our time.

Read the article below for the full story (text version printed below the scanned copy):

Below is the text version of the above article:Ohio Archaeological and Historical Publications, Vol XIII, Columbus, 1904, page 350-354by J. Warren Keifer.
O. K.
The above is the most used form of expression in the commercial world, and is used in the United States oftener, perhaps, in conversation, than any other purely arbitrary expression in the English language.
It has no classic origin or derivation; it has no linguistic, Greek or Latin, root: it cannot be claimed for it even the dignity of an American slang birth: nor is it an abbreviation of an established expression or form of words properly found in any language. Its universally accepted meaning is well understood, yet not until recently has any dictionary or lexicon given it a place, or undertaken to tell its significance. It is used to attest the accuracy, genuineness, or approval of whatever it is placed upon. It is not usually used in composition, or in connection with other words, or phrases. Its meaning is so ample and complete that it defies misunderstanding, and requires no qualifying words to explain or amplify it. It is used, literally, around the world. Not only the business men in banks, mercantile houses, private business offices, insurance companies, etc., in America, use O. K. to avouch the correctness of statements, accounts, bills of all kinds, etc., but the American and English legations, consuls, etc. in all countries where they are found, especially in all parts of the world in which ships enter and depart, use the same O. K. to express their approval of all official business documents or papers. In all the principal and subordinate departments of our government, O. K. is now in more or less common use by officials and clerks to attest their approval, satisfaction or the accuracy of whatever they favorably pass judgment upon. Its use extends to wherever the English language is used, but more particularly in connection with trade and commerce. It has no synonym; nor no substitute; it stands unique, and alone, for its use. Its meaning is —All Correct. Its origin came from the mis-spelling of the two words — all correct.
The origin of the expression — if it may be so called — was in the exciting Harrison political campaign of 1840.
According to the then custom of organizing and attending political meetings, Whig and Democratic, the people went in processions, sometimes for long distances, to the appointed places where they were to be harangued by the orators. Great rivalry existed between parties to hold the largest meeting at a given place, and to have the greater numbers in the processions, the most persons on the same wagon drawn by the most horses, and the most flags, and banners, on which were usually mottoes supposed to be the most expressive and catchy, especially in the matter of attracting the populace and expressing the sentiment of the people.
A notable Whig convention was held at Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio, September 15th, 1840, which General William Henry Harrison, the candidate for President, addressed (it is said for two hours) and at which Hon. Moses B. Corwin (cousin of Thomas Corwin) of Urbana presided. In the grove of John A. Ward (father of the now famous sculptor, John Q. A. Ward of New York City) twelve tables were set, each 300 feet long, from which the people were fed barbecued oxen, sheep, etc., with cider (the popular beverage of that campaign) and all in abundance. Addresses were made during the day and evening by Ex-Governor Metcalf of Kentucky, (in a buckskin hunting shirt, it is said), Arthur Elliott, a Mr. Chambers, of Louisiana, and Richard Douglas, of Chillicothe.
An enthusiastic Whig farmer from Jackson Township, Champaign County, rigged up a wagon, drawn by many horses, with a platform thereon to accommodate his neighbor- farmers, to join a procession and to attend this convention. A banner was suspended over the platform on which was rudely printed the inscription: THE PEOPLE IS OLL KORRECT.
According to the recollections of some, who pretend to remember, the inscription was: THE FARMERS IS OLL KORRECT.
23 Vol. XIII.
The material part, however, is the last two words, and their mis-spelling.
Democratic newspapers seized on the bad spelling of this inscription and displayed it as an evidence of the ignorance of the Whigs and the supporters of General Harrison. Samuel Medary of Columbus, Ohio, famous then for his zeal in publishing campaign-democratic literature, and in assaults on the Whigs, made much use in his paper of this farmer's illiteracy. Democratic orators carried this banner-motto around on hand bills and exhibited it to their shouting hearers, much to the disgust and chagrin of the Whigs.
One Daniel Leffel, a typical early-time tavern-keeper, an unusually, even for that time, enthusiastic Whig and supporter of Harrison, the proprietor of the Sugar Grove tavern, located just west of Springfield, Ohio, on the National Road, thought it best to ward off the odium heaped on his party by the rustic farmers illiteracy by accepting the situation and making the most of it. So, before the campaign ended, he caused the letters 0. K. to be painted immediately over a front door of his Sugar Grove tavern, in large capital letters, and thence forth gave it out, that they meant that his tavern was "Oil Korrect."
This is, with little doubt, the first place these two letters — O. K. — were used with the artificial meaning they now so universally possess. From this use, with this meaning, at first little by little locally, matters were O. K.-ed, until now millions use the expression without doubt as to its meaning, or question as to the propriety of its use, or without inquiry or knowledge of its origin.
Dan Leffel built better than he knew — so the Jackson Township farmer. O. K. has conic to stay.
Whatever of local differences there may be as to the details of the farmer's banner-inscription, or as to the great Urbana- Harrison convention, there is a concurrence as to the mis-spelling of the words — all correct, and that they were, on the banner, spelled "Oil Korrect."
The Sugar Grove House (thus inscribed) was used as a wayside tavern — a stopping place for movers using the National Road as a throat to pass to the great west — some "cheer" was dispensed there to local and other patrons — stories of gambling, etc., etc., have been told as a part of the entertainment furnished — for about forty years, and only ceased when the mover and cattle-driver ceased to move, or drive, by ordinary road, as in the good old times. Dan Leffel is dead, and some question whether his life and character were such as to secure for him an 0. K. for the better world. However, this may be, his use of the letters 0. K. will go on so long as the English language is written.

The House (shown above) a few years ago, with the picturesque land around it, passed to the ownership of the Ohio State Masonic Home. The stately buildings of this Home, where practical, fraternal charity is now dispensed, over towered the old tavern.
It was spared until 1901, then torn down to further clear and beautify the Masonic Home grounds. The originally inscribed letters "0. K." remained above the door about sixty
years and until the brick upon which they were painted were removed and scattered by the destroyer.
Attempts have been made to otherwise account for the origin of O. K. as so generally used, on suppositions, and theories, and probabilities, but only the foregoing has any real foundation.
O. K. is found in the Century Dictionary where it is said: "The origin is obscure; usually said to have been originally used by Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the U. S., as an abbreviation of All Correct spelled (whether through ignorance or humorously) Oil Korrect: but this is doubtless an invention."
Another speculation there refers the use to "Old Keokuk," an Indian Chief, who is said to have signed treaties with the initials, "O. K."These suggestions as to a definition are all inventions, born of a desire to find a plausible origin for the much used expression.
Additional articles can be found online by googling "Daniel Leffel".

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mystery Photo Identified?

About 10 years ago, I was given two photocopies of old photographs. (They were not high quality/resolution copies.) One was of our great-grandpa, William B. Wilson. The other was identified as the sister & brother-in-law of William Wilson. The photocopies came from the Alma Wilson Barnes family.

This first photo is of William B. Wilson. He married Mary Polly Huff 7 Dec 1858 in Collin County, Texas. She died about 1899 in Oklahoma. William died in 1920 in Oklahoma.

The second photocopy (below) given to me had the following notation:

"Coss & Bess -- Sister & Brother-in-law to William Wilson"

I have never been able to figure out just who Coss & Bess were.
I thought maybe "Coss & Bess" meant who the picture was to not who the picture was of.
The research into William Wilson's family showed he had two siblings -- both sisters. One was named Mary and she married Jacob Helms. Another older sister listed in the Collin County, Texas 1850 census, was only known as E. G. (or J.). It was not known what happened to her. William's wife, Mary Huff Wilson, had a brother by the name of Cosley. I thought perhaps this could be him -- but his wife's name was Tempie.
So the "Coss & Bess" written on the picture remained a mystery to me because it did not fit any of the family.
Last month, I found the following picture on Find A Grave.  As you can see, it is the same picture as the one above, only in a little better condition. It was attached to the memorial page for W. J. Roberts who was buried in the Hess Cemetery in Jackson County, Oklahoma.

William J. Roberts was born 12 Dec 1829 in Tennessee. He lived in Collin County, Texas from 1850 to the 1890's. William married Sarah E. J. Wilson on 22 Jun 1856 in Collin County, Texas. According to their family, Sarah Elizabeth Jane Wilson was the sister to our William Wilson and the daughter of James and Martha Wilson.

This helps to solve another genealogical mystery. Years ago, my uncle Wilber told a story about his Grandpa (Charles B Wilson) visiting "Roberts" relatives in Portales, NM in the early 1900's. I could never figure out how the Roberts in his story were related to our Wilsons. He also talked about a gunfight that took place in Texas involving the Wilson and Roberts family. After the gunfight, the Roberts family moved away. The Roberts moved to Oklahoma and some of their children moved to Portales, NM and lived there in the 1910 census.

So the wife of William J. Roberts, Elizabeth Jane Roberts, appears to be the daughter listed in the 1850 Census for the James Wilson family. That would make her the sister to William Wilson. "Bess" is sometimes used as a nickname for Elizabeth.

Any additions or corrections to this information concerning the William & Elizabeth (Wilson) Roberts family would be appreciated.

Margaret Leffel Headstone - Bethel Cemetery

Anna Margaretha Abendschon Leffel was born 10 Jan 1760 in Berks County, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter of Reinhold Abendschon & Anna Wilson. Margaret married John Leffel about 1775.  Margaret and John had the following children: Samuel (1777-1862), John (1780-?), Daniel Leffel (1783-1863), Jacob (1785-1878), Elizabeth (1787-1874), Mary (1789-1871), Anthony (1791-1870), Sarah (1794--1872), Thomas (1796-1856), James (1799-1887), Margaret (1801-1849).
John died in 1801 in Virginia. In 1817, Margaret moved to Clark County, Ohio with son, James Leffel, to be close to her other children who had moved into Ohio three or four years earlier. Margaret died 5 Jul 1829 and was buried in the Bethel Cemetery, Clark County, Ohio.

Here we are trying to decipher the small engraving on the bottom of the headstone.

We will take all the help we can get in deciphering the message on the headstone.
Give it a try.
Partial transcription:
Lifes labor (done) as (sinks) the (clay/day)
Light from its load the spirit flies:
While heaven and earth combine to say
____ blest the rightous when he dies

Stewarts of Putnam County, Tennessee

Stewarts of Putnam County, Tennessee

Harrison Stewart & Henry Stewart families of Putnam County, Tennessee
Taken 1865-1871
We need help in identifying everyone in photo.
boy?, Harrison Stewart, Elizabeth Brown Stewart, Sarah Brown Stewart, lady?, man?

People in yard - left to right
man?, boy?, Henry Riley Stewart, Elizabeth Brown Stewart (sitting), Sarah Stewart, lady?
Man in suit could be Jacob Stewart, brother to Henry

Henry Stewart returned home from the Civil War in April 1865. He married Elizabeth Brown in December 1865. She died in August 1871.

Harrison Stewart was the son of Jesse Stewart and Jemina West.  His grandparents were Joseph Stewart and Sarah Gilbert.  The following story of the Joseph and Sarah Stewart Family was given to me by the author, J T Stewart of Watertown, Tennessee.

 By J.T. Stewart, a descendant of Jesse Stewart

Joseph Stewart left Jefferson County and arrived with his family in Overton County, Tn. then Jackson about 1800. This makes him one of the county’s earliest settlers. Joseph’s parents were Samuel Stewart and Lydia Harrison of Augusta County, VA where Joseph was probably born about 1740. Joseph’s father Samuel received a grant of 508 acres from Lord Granville in Rowan County, NC and the family moved from Virginia to North Carolina about 1758. Joseph Stewart is listed in the Rowan County Tax List of 1761 when he came of legal age. Joseph and Samuel are mentioned in the "Wachovia Diary" under date of 24 Aug 1761 in Stokes/Forsyth Co., NC this being a diary of the German Moravian sect which settled in Stokes, Forsyth and Surry Co., NC.
In 1779, Joseph Stewart sold the land he had received by inheritance from his father in what was then Surry Co., NC and traveled westward. Tax lists show he was in Washington Co., NC now Tennessee for the years 1780 through 1783. By 1784 Joseph Stewart was in Jefferson Co., and court records show he was there as late as Aug 1796. The earliest date Joseph shows up in Overton/Jackson Co. is 1801. He and Thomas McBride are listed on old church minutes, 25 July 1801, as messengers from Roaring River Baptist Church to the Green River Association of Baptists in Barren County, KY. On 23 Sep 1823 Joseph Stewart received a land grant from the state of Tennessee. On 14 Feb 1824 an Overton Co. deed from Jesse Stewart to John Lee, refers to the will of Joseph Stewart wherein Jesse Stewart received land by virtue of the will. Thus it would appear that Joseph Stewart died between 23 Sep 1823 and 14 Feb 1824. 
Joseph Stewart married Sarah Gilbert and they had 12 children, all of whom came to Overton Co. with Joseph about 1800.  
The children are listed as follows with a few lines of biographical data when known.
Lydia Stewart b. ab. 1762 m. to Abraham Howard. Abraham died in Jefferson Co. 1795. Lydia had 8 children and she and the children moved to Madison Co., Ill before 1820. The Howards are prominently mentioned in "History of Madison Co., Illinois" Saline Township as being some of the earliest settlers.
Joseph Stewart Jr. b. ab. 1764. He may have been married twice, 1st to Sarah Copeland as LDS records show and 2nd to Jane or Jennie Davis. He left Overton Co. and lived in wilderness area of Bledsoe Co. in the 1820’s on land he had surveyed. In Aug 1827 he bought 55 acres of land on Roaring River from Caleb Willis. In Apr 1828 he sold the 55 acres to James Dodson, his brother-in-law. About this time he reportedly went to Johnson Co., Ark. The names of his children are not known but David K. Stewart b. Overton Co. 1813 and William H. Stewart b. Overton Co. in 1823 may have been two of them.
Margaret (Patsy) b. ab. 1768 m. to James Dodson. Very little is known about James Dodson except he seems to have been fervently religious as the minutes of the old Spring Creek Baptist Church had this entry for Apr 1845: "Brother James Dodson liberated to sing, pray, and exhort when he feels like doing so in the bounds of the church." Names of the children are not known except John Larkin Dodson who m. Mary Ann Curtis may have been connected.
Benjamin Stewart b. ab. 1772 d. 1847 Overton Co. m. twice 1st Sarah Davis 2nd Polly ? not Polly Mayfield as some sources show. Benjamin Stewart was a farmer and Baptist preacher and is mentioned several times in minutes of the old Spring Creek Baptist Church. He lived in Bledsoe Co. for a while on land he had surveyed in the wilderness area. He had 12 children, 9 by his 1st wife. His will is recorded in Overton Co. deed K-333 July 1841 which was later proven in Nov 1847, he left all his property to his wife Polly, but deeds do not show how Polly disposed of the lands she received. None of the children were in the will, and to date their names are not known.
John Stewart, b. ab. 1772 d. 1846 Overton Co., m. 1st Elizabeth Norris 2nd Keziah ?. They had at least 4 children: John C.; Melinda m. Wm. K. Wyatt; Robert; and Margaret m. Benjamin Whitehead. All of John’s descendants appear to have left Overton Co. shortly after he died. A descendant of Benjamin and Margaret Whitehead has turned up in Vine, Cal.
Nancy Stewart, b. 1775 d. in Overton Co. after 1850, did not marry.
Elizabeth Stewart b. ab. 1778 m. 1798 to John Raney, a Rev. War veteran. Elizabeth was his second wife. There were 6 or so children. One son William b. 1812 was married to Elvira Gist a daughter of Russell and Nancy Isham Gist. The John Raney family went to Independence Co., Ark. where he died in Feb. 1847, age 92.
Sarah Stewart b. ab. 1780 m. 19 Dec 1802 James Matthews. James was in the War of 1812 and his military records show he was killed in the battle at Talledega, Ala. On 9 Nov 1813. Sarah applied for a pension and listed 7 children. The children were: John Matthews m. Sarah Shookman-Shoukman; Sarah m. William G. Roberts an early tax collector of Overton Co.; Cynthia d. young; Lawrence m. Agnes Poston; Elizabeth m. Peter Fite; Nancy m. Caleb Cooper; and Dorcas m. Hiram Pitts. Other sources list other children as James, William, and a son who accidentally shot himself, but Sarah made no mention of them in her pension application of 12 Feb 1817. A Richard Matthews, 59, b. NC appears on the 1850 Pulaski Co., Missouri census. He is probably the same Richard Matthews who on Overton deed F-208 Apr 1830, deeded 150 acres on Roaring River to David Stewart and expected "one square rod including the grave of my father." The father may have been Lawrence Matthews and James and Richard brothers sons of Lawrence. 
Samuel Stewart b. 15 Mar 1781 d. Overton Co. ab. 1822, m. Polly Kitchner. Children were: Sarah J. b. 1802 m. Joshua Stapp; John Gilbert b. 1811 m. 3 times 1st Margaret Copeland, 2nd Sarah Ruth Allison and 3rd Amanda Tennison; and Samuel B. b. 1815 m. Elizabeth W. Matthews. There was also a Benjamin K. Stewart b. 1808 closely connected with this family who quite likely was a son of Samuel also.
William Stewart b. ab. 1786 died in Lee County, Iowa in 1837 m. 1st Elizabeth VanHooser and 2nd Rebecca Lewellyn. Children of first wife were: Squire, Riley, Levi, William Jackson, and Urban Van. This family went to Madison County, Illinois, where some of the children joined the Mormon movement in its earliest stages and went on to Utah. A great number of descendants are to be found in the western part of the country. Levi Stewart for instance had 28 children by 3 wives although his second wife, Margery, and five children perished in a fort fire at Kanab, Utah. Morris Udall former Senator from Arizona and one time presidential candidate was a descendant of Levi Stewart.
Jesse Stewart, youngest child of Joseph and Sarah Gilbert Stewart b. July 1790 died ab. 1862, m. to Jemima West daughter of Stephen and Mary Belk West. Jesse Stewart was an early Baptist preacher and was ordained to preach according to Rev. J.H. Grime Baptist Historian at the old Roaring River church also known as "Twelve Corners." Incidentally the name "Twelve Corners," according to Mr. Mark Copeland who was familiar with the old church before it was torn down came from the architectural shape of the church that being in the shape of a cross, which of course has twelve corners. Children of Jesse Stewart and Jemima West were as follows: Janey b. 26 Feb 1813; Preston Stewart b. 12 July 1815 d. 20 Mar 1875 bur. Stewart Cem. In Putnam Co., Tn m. 10 May 1835 Jane Brown; Harrison b. 7 May 1817 d. 1 Jan 1893 bur. Smellage Cem., Putnam Co., Tn m. Sarah Brown; Hirum b. 30 Mar 1819; Enon b. 6 May 1821 m. 4 Jan 1845 White Co. to Sarina Cordle; Ceburn b. 10 Feb 1823 d. 19 Mar 1879 m. Dorinda Brown; Asa b. 19 Feb 1825 m. 17 Oct 1855 Sarah Davis; Anthony D. b. 21 Jan 1827 m. Mary A. ?; Erviney b. 22 Oct 1829 m. T.A. Porter; Levashure b. 17 Oct 1831 m. 5 Oct 1853 Angeline Finley; Almarinda b. 14 Jan 1834; Jemima b. 19 Jan 1836 m. 9 Dec 1864 in Todd Co., KY Francis Marion Seger; Mary b. 21 Feb 1838 d. 10 Aug 1874 m. B.A.W. Davis; and Sarah b. 1839.

Note:  There was a John Stewart family in Overton Co. living on Ashburn Creek in the early 1800’s but no relation to Joseph Stewart. This John Stewart’s children were: Josiah; Gibson; Fleming; Levina m. John McDonald; Nancy m. Obadiah Hickey; Lucinda also m. Obadiah Hickey when Nancy died; Penelope m. William Payne; and Jane .m Benjamin R. Harrison

Rush Springs Cemetery - Roenna Box Headstone

Roenna Johnson Box was the grandmother of our Grandma Baldwin - the mother of Caldona Jane Box Leffel.  Grandma said she could remember her grandmother Roenna living with them when she was small.

The Rush Springs Cemetery is in Rush Springs, Grady County, Oklahoma. Rush Springs is one of the oldest communities in Grady County. In 1901, our Box and Leffel families moved from Texas to the Rush Springs area. They probably lived in-between Rush Springs and Rocky Ford, since they attended church in Rocky Ford.

Roenna Johnson Box was the daughter of Luke Johnson and Anna Hellums.  She was born 15 October 1822 in Alabama - probably in Cahawba County but it could have been Fayette County.  When she was about 16 years old, Roenna married Grief Johnson Box, who was her half-1st cousin.  They were the parents of 10 known children, but in the 1900 Census, Roenna states that she gave birth to 13 children and only 4 were still living (in 1900).  That means she outlived nine (9) of her children.  So sad.:(

Roenna Johnson Box died in 1904 and was buried in the Rush Springs Cemetery. Here are pictures of the cemetery and her headstone.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Josephine Box Cunningham


Josephine Box, daughter of Thomas and Clarkey (Carpenter) Box, was born on the 8th of June 1849 in Henderson County, Texas.  Family stories say Josephine was very beautiful and had gorgeous long auburn hair. It appears that she also had a determined and feisty personality. Josephine was the youngest child and only living daughter in the Box family. Her parents moved from Henderson County to Ellis County, Texas in the mid 1850's.

In 1856, when Josephine was about 7 years old, her parents came in contact with the Mormon Missionaries. Thomas and Clarkey Box were converted the the Mormon religion and in April of 1856 were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS Church) in Ellis County, Texas. The Box family along with other Mormon converts in the Ellis County area formed a small branch (congregation) of the Mormon Church in Ellis County, Texas.

Sometime in 1857, the Box family migrated to Utah to live in "Zion" with other Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). They lived in Salt Lake City once they arrived in Utah. Thomas Box became quite well known in Utah and became friends to the leaders of the LDS Church including Brigham Young. In 1858, Thomas Box married a plural wife, Malinda Marden Pratt. She was a widow of Parley P. Pratt, one of the twelve apostles in the LDS Church.

In the 1860 Census for Salt Lake City, Thomas Box is listed in the 13th Ward and gives his occupation as a merchant. In addition to his wife Clarkey and their three children (Thomas, William Jeff., and Josephine), the Box household also includes Thomas's plural wife, Belinda (Marden Pratt) Box and her children from her marriage to Parley P. Pratt. Belinda had five children, including a teenage son. It could not have been an easy task to combine two families with pre-teen and teenage children. By the 1870 census, Belinda Pratt Box had taken her children and moved out of the Box Household. What caused this split between the two families is not known at this time.  

The Box household of 1870, includes Thomas, Clarkey, sons; Thomas & William, Josephine and two year old Emily Box.  Emma is the illegitimate daughter of Josephine. It is not known who the father of Emma (Emily) might be.
1870 Federal Census, Salt Lake City, Utah
Josephine married Dennis Cunningham in 1871. Dennis was a Civil War veteran traveling through Salt Lake City on his way to California, when he met Josephine. They were married in 1871 in Pallisade, Nevada. In addition to Josephine's daughter, Emma; Dennis and Josephine became the parents of Thomas J., born 1872, Margaret born in 1875, and Willie born in 1877 (two other daughters would also be born to Dennis and Josephine after they moved from Utah.)  In 1876,  Three year old son, Thomas Jefferson Cunningham died of scarlet fever just a week earlier than his half sister Emma, who also died of scarlet fever.  How heartbroken the family must have been when both little Thomas and Emma died.
Salt Lake Herald, 1876-04-09, Page 3, Utah Digital Newspapers,
Salt Lake Herald, 1876-04-15, Utah Digital Newspapers,
Both, Emma and little Thomas, are buried in the Salt Lake City Cemetery next to each other. There is no headstone for either Emma or Thomas.  Eva Silvis Usher, a cousin from the Carpenter family is buried next to them.  Dennis Cunningham is listed as the adoptive parent for Emma in the Salt Lake County, Utah Death Record book, while both Dennis and Josephine are listed as the parents of  young Thomas J. Cunningham.

Dennis Cunningham could not be found in any other early Utah records -- so, who was Dennis Cunningham and where was he from and what happened to Dennis and Josephine? My research had hit a brick wall at this point. I was unable to find any further records in Utah for Dennis and Josephine after the deaths of their children. They seemed to have disappeared. They could not be found in census records, land records, newspaper records, Mormon Church records, and/or Catholic Church records of Salt Lake City or or any place in Utah .

Then several months ago (Jan 2009), one of the Dennis and Josephine Cunningham descendants contacted me and sent the following family story.

So here is the rest of the story about Josephine Box Cunningham according to Cunningham family tradition:
"Josephine was supposed to marry Brigham Young, although she did not want to marry that "old man." She supposedly informed her parents, after much dispute, that she was going to marry the next man that rode into town (Salt Lake City).
Along came Dennis Cunningham on his way to California from Dubuque, Iowa in 1871. Dennis had served in the Union Army, 2nd Kansas Volunteer Calvary from 1861-65 mustering in & out of Leavenworth Kansas. Josephine ran out into the street to greet him as he rode into town. She had auburn hair and my grandmother said her father said she was beautiful. Despite the fact that he was a confirmed 31 year old, Irish Catholic bachelor, they were married in Salt Lake much to the dismay of Brigham Young and Josephine's parents.
My grandmother, Margaret (Dunn) was born in Brigham City, Utah in 1875. She was a year old when little Thomas and Emma died.
In about 1876, the family moved to Fruitland, New Mexico. They lived on a farm, according my grandmother, as one day Billy the Kid rode onto their property and Dennis went out to greet him after he had hid his family. Their second daughter, Katheryn (Shultz) was born in 1883 and then their third and final daughter Josephine (Lacy) was born in 1884.
Josephine Box Cunningham died in 1884 or 1885 due to a ruptured appendix. (She may be buried in the Fruitland Cemetery).
Dennis took the girls back to Dubuque Iowa as my grandmother stated that he did not get along with the Mormon side of the family as they were never able to convert him. My grandmother stated that there had been a lot of turmoil with his in-laws. We were led to believe that they were ran out of Utah by Brigham Young.
Dennis left daughters at a Catholic convent in Dubuque, Iowa. Josephine lived with Catharine Cota (Dennis' sister or niece). Margaret and Katheryn stayed at the convent until Margaret married John J. Dunn of Dubuque and Katheryn was able to be on her own and then she married Theodore Shultz.
Dennis left his Civil War metals with my grandmother at the convent to remember him by. His service metal was given to me by my uncle and has spurred on my interest finding out their story.
Dennis lived in a boarding house in 1885 in Iowa City and worked as a plasterer. He finally went out to California in 1892, but returned to Doon, Iowa by 1915 and lived out his life with his daughter, Katheryn and died in Duluth, St. Louis, Minnesota in 1923. I do not believe that he ever remarried.
Josephine Cunningham became an RN, married a dentist, Robert Lacy and then divorced him when her daughter was a year old. She never remarried and lived her after-marriage life in San Francisco. She definitely inherited her mother's determination.
My father told us that all of Thomas and Clarkey's family money was given to the Mormon Church to purchase the organ in the SLC cathedral.
I grew up in Southern and Northern California and many summer vacations were spent driving to Helena, Montana via Salt Lake City and hearing the stories about Dennis and Josephine and their flight from their Mormon family."

Note: Census records, military records, death records and an occasional newspaper records support the above Cunningham Family Tradition. For more specific source information, please leave a query in the comments and I will post what source information I have researched thus far. This family (along with sources) can be found on my familytree.

Josephine and her husband, Dennis Cunningham, moved to San Juan County, New Mexico in the early 1880's. They lived in La Plata, which is just a few miles from Farmington and Fruitland. The Dennis and Josephine Cunningham family was enumerated in the 1885 New Mexico Territorial Census in La Plata, Rio Arriba County (San Juan County formed in 1887). The following children were listed in the family: Maggie, a daughter aged 10 born in Utah; Willie, a son aged 7 born in Utah; Katie, a daughter aged 3 born in New Mexico; and, Josephine, a daughter aged 6 months born November in New Mexico.  This is the only record where son, Willie, is mentioned.

1885 New Mexico Territorial  Census, La Plata Dist., Rio Arribo County, New Mexico, 12 Jul 1885

Josephine Box Cunningham, died of a ruptured appendix on 9 Jun 1888. After Josephine's death, her husband, Dennis, took their daughters back to Dubuque, Iowa and placed them in the care of a Catholic Convent.  Little Willie must have died prior to that time because no mention is made of him after the 1885 census.  San Juan County, New Mexico in the late 1880's would have been a very isolated and rough place to raise three young daughters.  During that time period, there are numerous stories of outlaws who tried to run or scare off the farmers and Mormons.  Several of the early pioneer families (particularly the Stevens families) left the area because of the threat of outlaws and Indians.  In the above story sent by a descendant, Dennis hid his family when Billy the Kid rode unto his property.  It is no wonder Dennis took his daughters back to Iowa to live in a more civilized and safe environment.
After taking his daughters and leaving them at a Catholic Convent in Iowa, Dennis Cunningham returned to live in San Juan County, New Mexico. He can be found living in La Plata, San Juan County, New Mexico in the 1890 Veteran's Schedule. He homesteaded land in La Plata and became active in trying to bring irrigation to the area. Next to the La Plata Cemetery is a ditch called the Cunningham Ditch.

I have wondered if Dennis returned to New Mexico to be near the place where he buried his beloved Josephine? Although, no grave marker has been found for Josephine in the La Plata Cemetery or surrounding San Juan County cemeteries -- at least in online or printed cemetery listings.

Dennis was probably born in Iowa, but both of his parents were born in Ireland. In most records, his birth place is given as Iowa but one listed Ireland and one referred to him being born on the ship coming to America. Dennis can be found in the 1850 Census and 1860 Census in Dubuque, Iowa in the household of John and Margaret Cunningham.  Family tradition says that his father's name was McCarty and the father died on the voyage from Ireland.  His mother, who was expecting Dennis at the time, remarried John Cunningham aboard the ship. More research needs to be done concerning his family.

As a Civil War veteran, Dennis received a Civil War Pension from the Federal Government.  One of the questions asked on the pension application, dated 5 Jun 1909, was: "places of residence since leaving the service have been as follows:"  In response, Dennis wrote the following: "Discharged in Washington DC 1866, went to Powder River, Wyo. and Sacramento, Calif. from 1866 to 1872, moved to Salt Lake, Utah 1872, remained till 1876.  Started East with a bunch of cattle and was on the road three years, residing in Laplata N. Mex. in 1879, which has been his residence since."

Handsomest Bachelor on the La Plata
Dennis Cunningham can be found mentioned several times in New Mexico newspapers during the late 1890's.  He is referred to as "Dennis Cunningham, farmer from La Plata".  A 1903 newspaper from Albuquerque, New Mexico states the following:
By 1915, Dennis had moved back to Iowa and in 1920 was living with his daughter, Katheryn (Theodore) Schultz, in Minnesota. Dennis Cunningham died in 1923 in Duluth, Minnesota.

Source for Dennis Cunningham's Civil War Pension:
Publication Number: T289. Publisher: NARA 
State: Kansas Arm Of Service: Infantry Regiment: 12; Company: E 
Name: Cunningham, Dennis 
Died: 21 Apr 1923 at Duluth, Minn. 
State/arm Of Service: Kans. Inf. Additional services: B. 2 Kansas Inf., E 3 Kansas Cavalry, G. 8 U.S. V. V. Infantry 
Date of filing: 30 Sep 1890 Certificate No.: 719.359 Application No. 961.727 Roll Number: 153 

Please refer to the blog post on Josephine's parents, Thomas and Clarkey Box, for more information about the Box Family.

Additional information on the BOX or CUNNINGHAM families would be greatly appreciated.  I would love to hear from descendants of these families.  Thanks.

A Wee Bit of Irish

Those of us who descend from the Baldwin family have a wee bit of Irish in us. Our Lindley and Hadley families lived in Ireland in the late 1600's and early 1700's.
The Lindley and Hadley Families were our Irish Quaker Ancestors. Information about them can be found in a book called, "Immigration of the Irish Quakers Into Pennsylvania, 1682-1750" by Albert Cook Myers, M.L., Swarthmore, 1902. (Reprinted by Genealogical Publishing Co., 1985.)

Below is the information on our ancestor Simon Hadley from page 340.

And here is the page of information on James Lindley, page 336.

Below is a part of a letter written by one of our early relatives, Robert Parke, to his sister back in Ireland. (We are related to the Parke family through the above Eleanor Parke Lindley, wife of James Lindley.)
Chester Township
10th Month 1725
Dear Sister Mary Valentine,
...There is not one of the family but what likes the country very well and wod If we were in Ireland again come here Directly it being the best country for working folk & tradesmen of any in the world, but for Drunkards and Idlers, they cannot live well any where, it is likewise an Extradin healthy country...
Unkle James Lindly & family is well & Thrives exceedingly, he has 11 children & Reaped last harvest about 800 bushels of wheat, he is a thriving man anywhere he lives, he has a thousand acres of Land, A fine Estate.

To see where these families fit into the familytrees, go to the Ancestry of Jess William Baldwin database on RootsWeb. The link is at the top of the blog on the right hand side. Click on the red Ancestry of Jess William Baldwin.