Thursday, May 30, 2013

Convoluted Connections

Throughout the fifteen years or so of genealogy research I’ve run into many families that interconnect with my own lines.  However, I’m not sure that I’ve ever come across one family that connects through marriage with three of my separate family lines.  It doesn’t hurt that they all lived near the same small town (Lyons) in Burt Co., NE.

I’ve always grown up hearing the Frey surname.  I knew that I had cousins who were Freys and a couple of aunts who were married to Freys.  I assumed that they were probably related…but not closely, and I had not examined the lines to look.  A few years ago, a cousin asked me to look into my great great aunt’s family line.  Aunt Fern was born on 7 Apr 1916 to Lenn Craig and Edna A. Frey.  That was really all I had to go on.  So, I first started exploring the census records and came across a family file that said that Edna Frey was the daughter of John Wellington Frey and Matilda Augusta Eichler.  Those names were familiar…so I checked census records and that was the family that Edna was recorded with as their daughter.  However, I noticed several other names that were familiar.  I checked my database and found out that I had two different John Wellington Frey’s and two Matilda Augusta Eichlers and they suspiciously had the same dates.  After merging these duplicate records, I started to try and fill in the blanks.  Working through census records, I entered each child and their birthdates or years as the case may be.  So here is the family that I came up with:

  • Howard E. Frey b. 23 Aug 1890 d. 1 Jun 1960
  • John Edward Frey b. 9 Sep 1892 d. 5 May 1971
  • Charles Wellington Frey b. 26 Oct 1894 d. 11 Mar 1972
  • Edna A. Frey b. 23 Nov 1898 d. 9 Mar 1990 m. Lenn Craig m. Hank Suhr
  • Lewis A. Frey b. 19 Feb 1901 d. 28 Aug 1988
  • Arthur Glen Frey b. 1902 and d. 5 Aug 1938
  • Harold P. Frey b. 1906 d. 1998
  • Mildred E. Frey b. 1909
  • Grace H. Frey b. 1911 d. 1934 m. Herbert Suhr

Howard Frey with wife Alice Gage and son Orlando Frey.
There were definitely some familiar names.  The Howard E. Frey was someone I had hear about often from my grandmother as Uncle Howard.  He was married Alice Irene Gage who was my great grandfather’s youngest sister.  I think I might have met her when I was quite young, but I know that I heard often about her and their son Orlando Frey.  I’m almost a little scared to look much into John Edward Frey’s wife, Nellie Inez Peterson…because there is another Peterson connection with the Gage’s (I think that I will leave that until later).  Next comes Charles Wellington Frey.  His third son, Marvin Dean Frey, was someone I got to know some as Mark Frey.  As I remember, he had a great sense of humor and nice smile…although I must admit that I spent more time visiting with his wife…my cousin Edna Ilene Gage (daughter of Pete Gage and Elizabeth Pearl Mathison)  So…thus far Howard as married one Gage sister (to my great grandfather) and his nephew has married a Gage niece.

As I mentioned earlier, Edna Frey married Lenn Craig.  Their daughter, Fern was married to Ernest Shawver – the younger brother of my great grandmother (Florence Shawver Gage). 
Fern Craig and Ernie Shawver
To complicate things further, Charles Wellington Frey was married to Lenn Craig’s sister, Ilene.  At least Lewis Frey brought in another line…sort of.  He married Edna Elizabeth Gallup who was the daughter of Hugh Gallup and Jessie Shawver.  Now it gets even more confusing.  Hugh Gallup was my great grandfather’s uncle (Ora Silas Gage) and Jessie was my great grandmother (Florence Shawver Gage)’s sister. Then we come to Arthur Glen Frey…he married Aida Elizabeth Shawver – younger sister of my great grandmother (Florence Shawver Gage).   He tragically died at the young age of 36 years old in a car accident…and he was killed with John Bacon, his brother-in-law…who was the previously mentioned Jessie Shawver’s second husband (after Hugh Gallup.)

Edna Gallup & Lewis Frey
Let me summarize…Howard Frey m. Alice Gage.  His nephew (Mark) married Alice’s niece (Edna).  Alice and my Great Grandfather (Ora Gage)’s uncle’s (Hugh Gallup) daughter (Edna Elizabeth Gallup) and thus are the tie-ins on the Gage/Gallup side of the family.

On the Shawver side…it might be just as complicated.  Edna Frey’s daughter (Fern) married Ernest Shawver.  Edna’s younger brother, Arthur married Aida Elizabeth Shawver – who was Ernest Shawver’s older sister.  Arthur was killed in a car accident with John Bacon, who was the second husband of Jessie Shawver (she was previously married to Hugh Gallup – mother of Edna Elizabeth Gallup)  Jessie was also the older sister of Ernest and Aida Shawver.  Her younger sister (Florence Shaver Gage) married my great grandfather (Ora Silas Gage).  So you might understand why it took me a while to try and understand…this convoluted mess!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

As we visited Freeze Cemetery near Potlatch, ID - the Cottonwood trees were
shedding their  cotton and it looked like snow on the ground.

Memorial Day has always been a favorite time of year for me.  Not because of camping trips or other types of recreational activities...but because of the special family time that we had when I was a child.

The morning that we chose to decorate the graves - usually Saturday - was always a flurry of activity as Mom would be cutting every fresh flower she could find.  The sage and chives were not immune...if it had a flower, we cut it.  Mom usually would have me cutting a large bouquet of pansies and it was always iffy if we would have many roses or irises.  If the spring had been too cold and wet then we wouldn't have roses and if it had been warm, then the irises were gone.  Usually we had to borrow irises from someone else...because we had to have irises for Pop Friddle's grave.  Actually this is one my personal favorite blog entries that I have written - please check out "OK, Pop, Turn Over" to read about Pop Friddle and the irises.  Today, it was rather a sad bunch.  Didn't have enough to make a really spectacular bouquet but the intent was there.

Every year I think of my grandparents on Memorial Day.  After they moved back to the valley, we usually did the job together.  Even as my grandparents health was failing, they still made the effort.  I always enjoyed hearing the stories.  When we went to a grave, it seemed that every sentence started with "I remember..."  It is funny that it still does and it is just Dad and I now.  The sentences usually end now with - I really miss them!

I don't mean to make it sound maudlin or depressing, because it really isn't.  I was lucky to have either known most of these relatives or some great stories about the.  While my mother didn't remember her grandfather that well...she certainly remember my grandmother and great grandmother when they put the stone in - see The Gravestone for that story.  The stories that my grandmother and mother would tell about Aunty Jones and Uncle Henry helped me keep my memories fresh.  I never knew my mother's father or the little brother that was stillborn - but through my grandmother's memories, I learned about them.

You might say that in many ways I am the keeper of the family stories.  Probably because I found such wonder and fascination with listening to the stories from my grandparents and mother.  I even have a few of my own...I remember one year when my parents were out of town and I had to go and take care of the cemeteries.  Grandma Marian decided that I needed help or at least company and she came with me.  We had a wonderful day - she knew many of the graves that we visited but we talked about each person.  Even though she had a hard time walking around, when we visited her parents and little brother's grave at Moscow, she got out her canes and walked to the grave.  It might have been the first time that she had been back since they had died.  I had been going to that spot since I was in college when my great grandmother worried that no one put flowers on her little Gary's grave.  Gary drowned in the Palouse River when he was just eight years old and thoughts about him were ever present in Grandma Florence's mind and heart.  So, I promised her that Mom and I would see to it that there were flowers on Gary's grave.  After Grandma Marian and I ate dinner, we traveled up to Freeze cemetery to visit more family members.  Grandma got a little nostalgic at this point, because were just a few miles away from where she had raised her family.  It bothered her that she had buried Grandpa Frank down near Canby, OR and she wondered out loud, how much it might cost to move him to Freeze, because it was so much closer to home.

For the next several years, Grandma talked off and on about moving Grandpa Frank and when my mother died after Christmas in 2005, she made up her mind.  She had Grandpa Frank and his sister exhumed and cremated and my aunt brought their ashes back to Lewiston.  On Memorial Day in 2006, we buried my Grandfather and his sister next to another sister who had been buried there and as a family gathered to celebrate the occasion and have a family reunion.  Now Grandma is there with him and they are finally back home.

So, however you celebrate or remember Memorial Day, please take a moment to think about some of the relatives and friends who have passed on.  Perhaps take a moment or two to tell a funny story or reminisce about your loved ones.  If they are remembered, then they never truly leave us.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Happy 100th Birthday, Grandpa Gwen!

Gwen Shearer - Graduation - 1931

I loved my Grandpa Gwen.  As a child, I recognized that there was never anything that was simple or easy about Grandpa…and that became even more apparent the more I knew of him.  Today would have been his 100th birthday.   Gwen Dean Shearer was born in Anatone, Asotin Co., WA on 20 May 1913 to Nettie Pearl Moody and Floyd David Shearer.   He was the middle of three sons with an older brother named Buford Carl Shearer and a younger brother named Aaron Lee Shearer.  They moved from Anatone out to the Tom Beall Road near Lapwai when he was still a young boy.  I don’t know if there was anything happy or frivolous about Grandpa’s childhood.  His father was an often cruel and hard man and Gwen’s beloved mother and brothers were often the target of his cruelty.   Grandpa Gwen graduated from Lapwai High School in 1931 as the Class President, and probably left his parent’s home as soon as he was able. 
There isn’t a lot I know about his 20’s.  I know that he worked for a while as a butcher and also as a deputy for either the county or the city.  I also know that he had what was probably his first sawmill just outside of Culdesac.  I learned probably after he had died, that Grandpa had been married to someone else before my grandmother.  He had married Imogene Painter probably around 1940 and they were divorced before 1945.  The funny thing is…my grandparents were very good friends with Imogene Painter and her second husband Clyde Sweet.  Grandpa even bought his cars from him.  In the early 1940’s, I think Grandpa Gwen started his mill up on McCormack Ridge.  I know that he was close friends with my natural grandfather (Richard Tannahill) because they worked rather closely together.  Grandpa Richard would haul the lumber down from Grandpa Gwen’s mill and I know that a lot of it was sold at Grandma Cappy’s lumber yard.  When Grandpa Richard died in 1946 in a hunting accident (Daddy’s Gone), Grandpa Gwen and Grandma Cappy must have drifted together and they married about a year later on 12 Sep 1948. 

Gwen with Betty (Left)  & Joan (Right)
I don’t think that my grandparent’s marriage was ever an easy one.  Both were strong willed people.  While I think Grandpa Gwen appreciated my grandmother’s intelligence, business acumen, and people skills – he had a very difficult time communicating affection.  They tried to have a child not too long after they married and the baby boy was born dead.  That was the only natural child that Grandpa Gwen had.  When he married my grandmother, he gained two step daughters.  There was never much of an emotional connection with the oldest (my aunt Joan) but he definitely connected with my mother, Betty.  I think that my mother always knew that her step father loved her…but I am not sure he was ever able to show it.  Grandpa Gwen’s childhood made him a very difficult person to understand and be close to.  Grandpa Gwen had exceptionally high standards for his step daughters and wife…but also for himself.  Those standards were often very hard to match.
Gwen & Cappy - abt 1968
Grandpa Gwen closed the sawmill on McCormack Ridge in 1949, and worked exclusively at his mill in Orofino, Idaho.  For the next several years, he commuted home on the weekends while working up at Orofino during the week.  On Thanksgiving day in 1956, the Orofino mill burned to the ground.  For a man who could be somewhat difficult to be around when he was gone most of the week working…became very difficult to be around when he had little to do.  He had been pursuing a large timber purchase in the Clearwater National Forest at about the same time.  That purchase came through and in 1957, he began building his mill at Elk City, ID. Within a few years, Grandma moved up there with him full time.  While they had some difficult financial struggle for a time, the mill became a success. 

Gwen at his Elk City mill.
In the early 1970’s, Grandma and Grandpa began building a new home.  It was to be at the top of the hillside and was to be their dream home.  They moved into that home in 1972.  I can remember going up there as a young child and wandering all over the yard and driveway looking for rocks or climbing down the hill to snitch some of Grandma’s strawberries.  There were wonderful summers of going up to see the Grandparents and spending time fishing and camping.  There were wonderful Christmas’s playing in the snow and the toboggan that they bought us.  Those  Elk City Christmas’s were special to all of us.  I remember one occasion when I was up staying with my grandparents one summer when Grandma and I went to town.  We picked up the mail and a few items at the local store and Grandma bought be a red squirt gun.  Grandpa Gwen wasn’t the type who was openly affectionate or playful…but that red squirt gun brought it out of him.  When we got home, he was
The Red Squirt Gun
sitting in his chair reading the newspaper and I crept up behind him and aimed my new red squirt gun at his bald head.  Pretty soon, I found myself captured and my red squirt gun was confiscated.  He then attacked me unawares…and I was able to get it back and retaliate.  Before I left to go home…Grandpa had got the squirt gun back.   When we returned at Christmas time…he had stored some water in the fridge to make it very cold and came down one early morning and promptly woke my sister and I up with an icy blast.  Since we were now part of the fun, we all went in and quietly and Grandpa did the same to my brothers.  It took several squirts of cold water for one of my brothers to finally awaken.  For a few years we traded the squirt gun back and forth…until they moved down from Elk City to Clarkston, WA when I finally got the squirt gun back.  Even then, I knew that it was something special and I put it in my jewelry box.  I suppose that is why I still have it to this day.
Grandpa Gwen & Grandma Cappy - abt 1982

Illness struck my Grandpa Gwen in the seventies with a heart attack.  He retired and my grandparents moved back to the Lewis Clark Valley.  They moved into a home and took a dream vacation to Alaska.  When they returned home, they found that Grandpa had a blood disease and would have to have blood transfusions ever three weeks for the rest of his life.  After that, their life was full of doctor appointments, blood transfusions and some family activities.  A few years later, Grandma got ill as well.  As she got sicker, Grandpa Gwen took such wonderful and loving care of her.  For the first time in their lives – they were no longer battling but instead taking care of each other.  When Grandma suffered that heart attack on the August day in 1985, Grandpa Gwen was alone.  While we had noticed changes in his personality for several years, it became much more noticeable.  We knew that something else was wrong, but his strong will and determination was difficult to overcome.  In late 1986, Grandpa had to go into the hospital and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  The diagnosis wasn’t a shock to us, but his quick disintegration was.  It seemed within a few weeks that he had difficulty knowing who we were.  We would walk into the room and he would be talking to my grandmother as if she was still there with him.  He was moved over to the Lewiston hospital a few weeks later and one morning in late January 1987 he passed away.

My Favorite picture - Taken in the 1950's
in the Redwoods.  
After my grandmother’s death, Grandpa Gwen told my Dad that when the time came, he would really prefer if Dad just went out and built him an old fashioned pine box.  Grandpa wanted something simple and not overly churchy...he always felt closer to God in the forest. Mom and Dad kept that in mind and when he had died, they chose a simple wooden casket to reflect my Grandpa’s wishes with a simple service.  During his service, Grandpa’s business colleagues and friends heard about a different Gwen Shearer than the one they knew.  As they walked out, they commented to each other that they had never heard of Gwen Shearer doing something as silly as playing with a squirt gun…my Dad’s uncle who was also a good friend of my grandfather’s just looked at them at told them…Gwen Shearer wasn’t your grandpa…he was theirs!  So Grandpa…on your 100th birthday…I am not going to remember you as were during your last years…but rather, I’m going to think of you waking me up with that squirt gun and playing with your grandchildren in the snow.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18, 1980

I was 13 years old in 1980.  I can remember that year vividly.  I was in seventh grade and my mother had had some pretty serious ongoing health issues that year.  By May, Mom was starting to feel a bit better and things seemed to be going back to normal.  It was a Sunday morning and we went about doing our normal activities.  The TV was never turned on as we began our morning.  By early afternoon, Dad and my brother were doing yard work and my other brother and I were up at the school playing basketball.  Mom noticed that our cat began acting strangely.  She was pacing around and yowling…which was unusual for her.  The sky began turning dark like a huge storm was approaching.  Mom started calling everyone into the house and yelled for my brother and me to come home.  Something strange started drifting down like rain…yet it wasn’t rain – it was ash.

May 18, 1980 was a landmark day for anyone who lived in the Pacific Northwest…especially if you lay in the path of Mt St. Helens.  Everyone who lived here can tell you what that day was like - it was etched in our memory. For weeks we had been watching the news and listening to the nightly updates on the activity of the volcano.  We saw old Harry Truman declare that he would not leave his mountain.  There were beautiful pictures of a near perfect looking snowcapped peak and a pristine lake in front of it.  We heard from the geologists what could happen.  We learned about the connection of seismic activity and the volcano’s awakening.  From March to May 18, 1980, we learned a lot of things.  My grandmother’s diary in 1980 begins most entries on what Mt St Helen’s was doing that day.  She noted the small eruptions of steam out of the crater and the several small earthquakes.  Grandma talked about the news reports and stories about old Harry Truman.  Every night we saw something about the volcano.  It was kind of exciting…until May 18th and then it was frightening.
There was a large earthquake at 8:32 am that caused the entire north face of the volcano to collapse and then there was a huge eruption with an 80,000 feet ash column that rose from the volcano.  Those beautiful glaciers in an instant became a mud flow that decimated everything in its path.  Within seconds, 57 people died who lived around that volcano.   The pristine forests, beautiful lake and scenic vistas were replaced with something that had been laid bare of all life.  We didn’t have the 24 hour news channels back then and had to wait for the evening news and special reports to find out what was happening.  It was only a few hours after the eruption when we began having ash fall from the sky.  Within a short time, there was a few inches of ash on the ground in the middle of late spring day.  It almost looked like snow had fallen and you couldn’t see too far in front of you because the visibility was so bad.  The news reports cautioned people to stay home and only drive if absolutely necessary.  They didn’t know what the ash would do to the engines in the cars.  While Lewiston, ID received a couple of inches of ash, Spokane, WA just a 100 miles northeast had 4-5 inches of ash on the ground.  There were other cities that even had more ash.  Ash reached eleven states and drifted around the world for two weeks. 

We hadn’t yet seen the famous footage of the volcanic eruption, that wouldn’t happen until the next few days.  When I set off the next day to walk to school, I was wearing an air mask.  My seventh grade physical geology class was quite interesting.  We paid close attention and questioned our teacher on what had happened.  We were much more knowledgeable than we had been earlier that year.  All of the news reports had educated us on what was going on…I don’t remember if we saw it on the Monday news…it might have been later in the week….but that footage that was taken that showed moment by moment the destruction of Mt St Helens was mesmerizing…and is still mesmerizing today.
Life was different back in 1980.  We had a limited amount of television channels to watch and most of the news was on in the evening.  The newspaper was filled with reports of ash amounts in all of the surrounding areas and dire warnings of caution around the ash.  No matter how old I grow, I will never forget that day.  I won’t forget the darkening sky, the falling ash, my terrified cat who could tell something was happening before the rest of us, or the footage of that eruption and pictures of the towering ash column that stretched over the volcano.  There has been intermittent activity at Mt St Helens during the past thirty three years since it erupted.  I can remember driving along the Columbia Gorge years after the eruption and still seeing the remnants of the ash along the road…and after all this time, life seems to be growing back slowly but surely around the volcano.  It is hard to believe that it is 33 years ago today…I don’t think that I will ever forget May 18th or the days that followed.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

My Mom...Betty Tannahill Johnson
I am the daughter of a fabulous mother.  She was strict, loving, wise and fun.  I don’t know if there is a better combination in my opinion.  I had her for thirty eight years until she passed.  I miss her every day and will always miss her.  However, I was lucky.  I had a wise and wonderful mother to guide me, nurture me and love me.  Not all children are as fortunate as I was – and sometimes it takes a special woman to mother a motherless child.

Cappy and her mother Sophie!
My grandmothers were both as fortunate as I…they too had loving mothers who helped guide them through life.  Grandma Cappy had her mother until sixty eight years old and Grandma Marian had her mother until she was almost seventy one years.  While I never had the discussion with Grandma Cappy…Grandma Marian and I agreed that you never stopped missing your mother even if you were lucky to have them a long time.  However, Grandma Sophia (Mom Friddle) and Grandma Florence weren't quite so lucky.  Both lost their mothers had a young age.
Rebecca Jane "Frankie" Pitsenbarger Shawver
Grandma Florence’s mother was Rebecca Jane “Frankie” Pitsenbarger .  Frankie was the daughter of William Pitsenbarger and Mary Amick.  Grandma Florence was the third of six children, she had and older sister and brother and a younger brother and sister.  The youngest sister died at a year of age.   When Frankie died in 1904 tuberculosis, she left behind five motherless children.  The oldest who was 13 and the youngest was only three. When Grandma Florence’s father, George Christian Shawver, remarried two years later, it must have been a daunting task that faced her. 
Tamsey Perry Shawver
Tamsey Omiska Perry was a widow herself, and had one young son.  When she married Chris Shawver, she gained five more children.  From everything that I have heard, she took that role very seriously.  I never heard my Grandma Florence say one negative word about Tamsey and she always called her mother.  I always saw Grandma Florence as one of the kindest and gentlest of women.  I've been told that she was a great deal like her mother…and Grandma Florence regarded Tamsey as her mother.  She took on the care of those motherless children but more importantly, she loved them as a mother should.  Every one of her children held her in the highest regard.  It takes a special kind of strength and love to take someone else’s children and treat them as your own.   I never knew Grandma Shawver, but I know that my Grandma Florence missed both of her mother’s every day for the rest of her long life.

Buena Vista Bailey Dollar
Grandma Sophie’s mother was Buena Vista Bailey and I think that my grandmother knew very little about her mother.  Buena Vista Bailey was born in 1872 and she too lost her mother at the age of five to tuberculosis.  Her father married a widow who also had several children.  Buena Vista married John Dula Dollar on 21 Apr 1889 when she was 17 years old.  She had her son Claude in 1890, daughter Bessie in 1891 and Grandma Sophia was born on 27 Jan 1894.  Just a few short months later on 14 Apr 1894, Buena Vista died.  I don’t know what the exact death cause was…perhaps it was the effects of childbirth, but I suspect from what I have learned of late that it might have been tuberculosis as it seemed rampant within her family.  Her mother died of tuberculosis and I know of two siblings who also suffered from the disease.  Grandma Sophie was left with her Grandfather and step grandmother, Lulu Pearce.  When her father remarried a few years later, (John Dula Dollar m. Cleopatra Gentry on 28 Mar 1897), Grandma Sophie stayed with her grandfather and step grandmother.  Lulu Pearce was absurdly young to be called a grandmother.  She had married Alexander Monroe Dollar when she was nineteen years old and now she was twenty-six.  From what I know of Grandma Sophie’s childhood – she was spoiled and coddled by her adoring grandmother.  She never learned to do the things that young women learned back in the early years of the twentieth century.  When her grandfather died in 1908, her grandmother knew that her father would take his daughter back to live in his house.  Lulu feared that Grandma Sophie would be nothing more than a nanny to her younger siblings and when the time came; she strongly encouraged Grandma Sophie to elope…which she did.  I gather from one of Grandma Sophie’s nieces (through her full sister Bessie) that they weren't too fond of the step mother.  She was called “Old Pate!” and Bessie didn't have much good to say about her stepmother.  She had had to live with her father and stepmother, while Grandma Sophie had stayed with her grandfather and step grandmother.
David Carl Friddle & Sophia Dollar - After their elopment
There is a lot I don’t know about Lulu Pearce…I know that she remarried within a year after her husband’s death and moved to nearby Ashe Co., NC from Johnson Co., TN.  She again took the mothering role to her second husband’s grandson.  Grandma Sophie was able to go back and visit Lulu before she died.  That must have been a wonderful reunion.  Grandma Sophie hadn't seen her for over 40 years, and she was able to be with this woman who was the only mother she had ever known.

So, as Mother’s day approaches…I think of my own wonderful mother as well as my grandmothers.  We share a common bond in that we had wonderful and long lasting relationships with our natural mothers.  However, I must also honor all the women who taken on the role of motherhood to children who they never gave birth too.  So…I honor Grandma Tamsey Shawver and Grandma Lulu Dollar and thank them for taking on the role of mother to Grandma Florence and Grandma Sophia.  As they helped shape them into the wonderful women that they became in life…they have also helped shape me as their great granddaughter.  Happy Mother’s Day Momma…and all of the other Mom’s out there whether you gave birth to your children or took them into your heart!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Mysterious Four (Children of Micajah Pennington)

Micajah Pennington and Rachel Jones had 10 children.  We know that number exactly because of a copy of bible entry that was found in the Revolutionary war pension of John Barton, husband of Elizabeth Pennington.  We also know a great deal of information about some of the children – but there is little known about the rest.

Elijah Pennington is the oldest of Micajah’s children.  He was born on 9 Dec 1761 probably in Wilkes Co., NC.  It is possible that he was actually born in what today is known as Grayson Co., VA – but it is difficult to ascertain the exact location.  There are several land entries in the early Ashe Co., NC records that reflect the name Elijah, but there is no way to be sure that it is the same Elijah that was a son of Micajah’s.  There is a record that suggests that he married a Susannah Kelley around 1800 and rumor is that he left the North Carolina and Virginia area for Tennessee.  There are a lot of genealogists who have tried to make Elijah fit within their family, but I’ve never seen any records that definitively suggest that where Elijah lived, if he married and had children and where he died. 
When I first started researching my family line, the research director of the Pennington Research Association at the time, told me that my family descended from Micajah Pennington through his son, Levi.  It seemed to make sense, since my ancestor’s name was also Levi – it is extremely common to find a son named after a father.  However, that line fell apart with closer attention to the facts.  Levi Pennington was born 21 Dec 1767 probably in Wilkes Co., NC or Grayson Co., VA.  He likely married and had children and seemed to live in the Ashe Co., NC area until at least 1810 and perhaps as late as 1815.  The only Levi found in Ashe Co., NC after that point, is my ancestor Levi b. 1794.  According to early Ashe Co., NC land records, he had land and paid taxes.  However, I’ve never been convinced that he actually stayed in Ashe Co., NC.  I believe he might have traveled to Lee Co., VA with his brother, Edward.  There are a few stray Pennington in the general area that I’ve never been able to identify…an Edward in Watauga Co., NC and another Micajah that turns up.  They could be sons of Levi or possibly Elijah.  The lack of records after the early 1800’s could mean just as easily that he died.  He would have been thirty three in 1800 and whether he traveled elsewhere or died young, I’ve seen no record that answers that question.

Rachel Pennington was born 26 Dec 1771 in the same general area as her brothers.  Her sisters are listed as being born in the Hollow of the Yadkin River on the east side of Blue Ridge and New River in Wilkes Co., NC.  Someone more familiar with the geography of the area might be able to say where that is exactly.  I have often wondered what happened to Rachel.  While there are hints of what happened with her brothers, I’ve never seen anything on Rachel.  It is likely that she died young either as a child or as a young wife, because I’ve never seen anything further on her.
The last of the children of Micajah Pennington and Rachel Jones is Benajah Pennington.  He was born on 15 Jun 1782 in Wilkes Co., NC.  Benajah has been a square peg that doesn’t seem to fit any of the genealogical holes that anyone tries to fit him in to.  There is a group of Pennington descended from a Benajah Pennington that have been thought to have been descended from him…but that Benajah was born in 1770, twelve years before Micajah’s son.  For a while, I thought he was married and had a child – but later found out that the woman I had looked at was married to a Benjamin and not a Pennington at all.  There is a record from about 1813 in Barren Co., KY that gave Power of Attorney to Zephaniah Bell to go to Wilkes Co., NC to attend the business for him in connection to the estate settlement of his father.  However, there are records of a “Micajah Pennington” after that date – so who knows if Micajah actually had died in 1813.  There are no further records after that point that can absolutely be identified as becoming to this Benajah Pennington.  That 1813 record is the last known record of the Benajah Pennington who was born in 1782.

I have written about some of the children of Micajah Pennington and Rachel Jones.  Edward Pennington and his large family are highlighted in Complex Family Ties – Edward Pennington Family and Edward Pennington & Pennington Gap.  Mary Pennington Bowling and her Kentucky descendants are briefly described and I describe the discovery of the bible record of the Micajah Pennington family in Finder’s Delight.  Johanna Pennington Dickson and her family is also highlighted.  I’ve not yet talked about Sarah Pennington Johnston and her family…or a whole lot about the family of Micajah Pennington, Jr except for the confusion between him and other Micajah’s in Generationsof Micajahs .   There are lot of stories yet to be share about these children of Micajah – however, I don’t know if we ever will find much more about Elijah, Levi, Rachel or Benajah…but the other six certainly left a large number of descendants.