Friday, October 25, 2013

A Jones Wall

You might say that I have three of the worst surnames to try and research – Johnson, Smith and Jones My Johnson line is probably the most significant because it is my own surname and we have pretty good proof that the line connects with a famous ancestor, President Andrew Johnson.  Although, I must feel that I felt an even more significant connection on the day that I stood on the land that my 3rd Great Grandfather settled on near Hampton, TN.  My Smith line is also interesting with a fascinating ancestor like Jacob Cunningham Smith – I feel like there is still a lot to learn about them.  However, I feel like there is hope to discover something new on both of these lines.  I don’t have quite the same faith in my Jones line.

My grandfather died at the young age of 35 in a hunting accident and his grandfather also died at the young age of 34, just 10 days before his youngest son was born.  I don’t know what he died of – possibly pneumonia or a farming accident of some kind.  However, I know that he left his widow with two small young boys and heavily pregnant with another son.  Almira or Elmira (I’ve seen it spelled both ways) was born in 1850 in Van Buren Co., IA.  She married John Lyons Tannahill on 22 Dec 1866 when she was 16 years old.  They had a young baby born just about 9 months after their wedding who died either at birth or shortly thereafter.  Just a year later on 10 Aug 1868, Elmira gave birth to Samuel Oliver Tannahill and on 2 July 1871 she gave birth to George William Tannahill.  Elmira and John Lyons Tannahill moved sometime after George’s birth to Chautauqua Co. KS along with Elmira’s parents, Henry Valentine Jones and Huldah Harrington.  On 19 Apr 1873, Elmira became a widow at the age of 23, and on 28 Apr 1873, she gave birth to her third son, John Lyons Tannahill, my great grandfather.

Elmira Jones Tannahill Pennell
Elmira Jones eventually remarried to Samuel Pennell in 1875 in Kansas.  They seven more children and it is interesting to note that while most of them stayed  the Oklahoma-Kansas area, several traveled north to live in the Lewiston, Idaho area.  When Almira’s brother, George Washington Jones moved to Southwick, two of his sisters followed suit as did his Tannahill nephews.
Sam Tannaill & John Lyons Tannahill
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It is easy to find information on the parents of Elmira – since she is recorded with her parents in the 1850 and 1860 census records.  Finding additional information of their ancestry has definitely been problematic.  Several years ago, I received a copy of some research that was done by Eldora Garlinghouse.  It turned out that her husband’s mother was Elmira’s niece through her brother, George Washington Jones.  The notes that she had made were really invaluable.   It allowed me to build a database built around the Jones family…and I must say it hasn’t been easy.

Henry Valentine Jones
Henry Valentine Jones was born on 14 Feb 1827 somewhere in OH.  According to the notes by Mrs. Garlinghouse, he was the son of Henry Washington Jones.  I have a name of Susan Turner as the potential mother of Henry Valentine Jones.  However, I have found nothing that directly connects Henry Valentine Jones with Henry Washington Jones or Susan Turner.  In fact, I have never been able to figure out when Henry might have lived in Ohio.  There are a multitude of Henry Jones and you can’t be sure which one is a connection.  Henry married Huldah Harrington on 19 Dec 1847 in Van Buren Co., IA.  They were the parents of:
  • George Washington Jones m. Eliza Jane Briscoe m2 Harriet Mae Yates
  • Almira Jones m John Lyons Tannahill m Samuel Pennell
  • Jacob Jones d. young
  • Henry Valentine Jones m. Aunt Duck (only name that I have)
  • Edwin B. Jones d. after 1870
  • Mary Alice Jones m.  Francis Marion Thompson
  • Sarah Frances Jones m. William Martius Blackington m.2, George T Hicks

George’s family ended up near Southwick, ID (near Lewiston, ID) as did Mary Alice Jones and her family and Sarah Frances Jones.  As with many families, when one family migrates somewhere – it doesn't seem long until other family members follow along.

Henry Valentine Jones and Huldah Harrington both lived out the remainder of their lives in Chautauqua Co., KS  Huldah died in in 1898 and Henry died in 1904.  It seems that no matter what I have tried, I have never been able to figure out exactly who and where Henry’s family came from.  I know that he was born in Ohio and immigrated to Iowa at a pretty young age.  He also married someone whose family had also come from Ohio, suggesting that there might have been a connection between the families.  Really the only thing that I have ever read that suggests where the Jones family was a biography that was published in an early local history that was about a “Who’s Who” of the region.  It stated that Samuel Tannahill’s family came from Wales I have no idea if that was something that made up of if it has some kernel of the truth.
I feel as if I have made a lot of progress on Almira’s family and their descendants, but I wonder if I ever will make any progress on their ancestry.  

There seems to be too many strikes against me to make much progress.  I don’t have specific locations previous to Van Buren Co., IA, I can’t be sure that Henry Valentines’ father was Henry Washington Jones nor do I have a clear view of who is siblings or mother might have been.  They weren't wealthy enough to leave documentary tracks beyond the standard census records.  So even though I continue to pound on that brick wall – I wonder if I ever will make progress on my Jones wall!