Monday, July 28, 2014

George Christian Shawver - 2nd Family

So, I’ve told the story of the first family in George Christian Shawver – 1st Family and the next step is to tell the story of the second family.   So the story continues in 1891.  As I have already given a background to both George Christian Shawver and Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger, it is the sister, Rebecca Jane “Frankie” Pitsenbarger who is the primary focus of the second family. 

Rebecca Jane was the youngest daughter of William Pitsenbarger and Mary “Polly” Amick.  She was born on 28 Jan 1870 near the Kanawha River near Shawverville, WV.  According to some papers that “Frankie’s” oldest son had, she was married to a Moffat.  I’ve never found any trace of this marriage in records.  So, she was probably about 18 years old when her sister Sarah Emaline and her husband moved to Iowa and took her along as help.  I don’t imagine that there was a lot for in her West Virginia or for Chris Shawver and his wife.  There wasn’t much in the way of good land to buy, not many options for the women in terms of marriage to someone who wasn’t related to them.  (This didn’t stop William Pitsenbarger and Mary “Polly” Amick as they were actually first cousins.  Mary Amick’s father, Jacob was the older brother William Pitsenbarger’s mother Elizabeth Amick.)  So, the story continues in Iowa in 1891.

I don’t know when Chris left Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger with her sister, Frankie,  but I suspect that it was sometime in the spring.  Judging by the births of both Sarah’s fifth child and Frankie’s first child, they would have become pregnant sometime in early January, and I would assume that the both pregnancies were known by early spring.  Being in the same household, I imagine that Chris and Frankie probably left during that spring in 1891 for Tacoma, WA area.  Tacoma was a booming down in the 1890’s and it was somewhere that no one would know them or question them about their marital status.   So, on 13 Oct 1891, Chris and Frankie’s oldest daughter, Jessie Mabel Shawver was born in Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA.  Her half-brother Samuel Tony Shawver was born on 12 Oct 1891 in West Virginia – so both sisters were probably in labor at about the same time on either side of the country.

It is unknown when Chris and Frankie left Tacoma but they are next found in Malvern, Mills Co., IA on 21 Jan 1894 when their oldest son, George William Shawver was born.  In 1897, a second daughter, Florence Christine Shawver (my great grandmother) is born in Decatur, Burt Co., NE.  My assumption is at that point that Chris Shawver has bought his farm and is living on the Shawver homeplace somewhere between the towns of Decatur and Lyons Nebraska.  A second son, Dewey Dountain Shawver is born on 25 May 1899 and daughter Jeanette Ann Shawver is born on 28 Jan 1901 on her mother’s 31st birthday.  A fourth daughter, Alice Faye Shawver, was born on 31 Oct 1902…but she died a few months later on 19 March 1903.  So Chris and Frankie’s family was complete – but their life together was to be short lived.
Frankie's gravestone - George Christian Shawver's name is on the other side.  Buried at Hillcrest Cemtery, Decatur, NE

According to what I've been told by my relatives, Frankie died on 10 May 1904 of quick consumption  I can’t confirm the death cause because there are no death records available  However, she must have become sick fairly severely because she was taken to Omaha, NE where she died in the hospital there.   There was a postcard in my great grandmother's album of the hospital noting that "This is where our mother died in 1904!" Frankie left behind 5 children with the oldest only being 13.
Photo of Chris & Frankie's Children - Probably taken about 1905
Left to right: Chris holding Nettie, George, Florence with Jessie and Dewey in the front

Here is a list of the children of George Christian Shawver and Rebecca Jane "Frankie" Pitsenbarger:

  • Jessie Mabel Shawver b. 13 Oct 1891 Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA d. 01 July 1897 Lyons, Burt Co., NE  m. 7 Oct 1909 Hugh Gallup- 4 children m.. John Francis Bacon 14 Jun 1919 - 5 children
  • George William Shawver b. 21 Jan 1894 Malvern, Mills Co., IA d. 23 Jan 1983 Billings, Yellowstone Co., MT m. 10 Feb 1915 Clara Adele "Midge" Bacon - 8 children
  • Florence Christine Shawver b. 14 Jun 1897 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 8 Mar 1991 Canby, Clackamas Co., OR m. 4 Sep 1917 Ora Silas Gage (my great grandparents) - 10 children
  • Dewey Dountain Shawver b. 25 May 1899 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 18 Oct 1995 Moscow, Latah Co., ID m. 28 Sep 1919 Alice Elizabeth Davidson  - 3 children
  • Jeanette Ann "Nettie"  Shawver b. 28 Jan 1901 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 31 Aug 1987 Roseburg, Douglas Co., OR m. 10 Dec 1917 Clarence Edward Davidson - 13 children
  • Alice Faye Shawver b. 31 Oct 1902 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 19 Mar 1903 Decatur, Burt Co., NE

Friday, July 25, 2014

George Christian Shawver - 1st Family

There has been a family story that for years I have hesitated to write down because I didn’t want to hurt some family members.  It wasn’t that they didn’t know the story, I just don’t think they wanted it publizied.  It is as my Grandma Cappy used to say “You don’t air your dirty laundry in public!”  I have been asked by multiple people to tell this story…so I guess it is time.

Many years ago, my mother and I were enjoying a visit with one of my uncles.  He had a bit of a “salty” sense of humor and he began regaling us with the story of my great grandmother’s father.  This wasn’t something that my mother and I had ever heard.  So we were both astounded that we had never heard the story and asked my grandmother about it.  Her comment was that he was a “good man” and not to say anything around my great grandmother who was in her early 90’s at the time.  It was something that she was embarrased about and didn’t like to think about it.  Fast forward to today, and as far as I know, there are only a few people who knew him personally still alive –so here it is!

George Christian Shawver aka Chris Shawver was born at Fowler’s Knob, Nicholas Co., WV on 6 Aug 1867 to George William Shawver and Elizabeth Matilda Legg.  Chris was the ninth of eleven children.  As the story goes, he married Sarah Emaline Pitzenbarger on 26 Aug 1883 when he was 16 years of age and she was 22.  As my grandmother told me, it was an arranged marriage with a neighbor and he wanted to marry her younger sister.  On the surface, this might make sense – but the facts don’t quite support the story.  The marriage actually occurred six days after Sarah Emaline gave birth to their first son, Harvey.   There are a few items about this these events that don’t quite mesh for me.  Harvey was born in Sioux City, IA according to just about every piece of documentation that I have been able to find.  Sarah Emaline and Chris were married in Nicholas Co., WV.  So…this pushes me to ask a few questions.  Is the birthdate for Harvey incorrect or the birth location?  If the data is correct – does it make sense that Sarah Emaline traveled from Iowa to West Virginia so soon after childbirth or is the year possibly wrong?  I don’t think there is a question in my mind that Harvey is closely related to Chris because he looks too much like him not to be.  Having said that – could Harvey be one of Chris’s siblings sons.  I don’t think that is a question that can be answered.

So back to Chris and Sarah Emaline – they have two daughters in fairly quick succession with Ethel Leota born on 28 May 1885 in Nicholas Co., WV and Mary M. born on 27 Jul 1886 in Hungington, Cabell Co., WV.  Sometime between 1886 and March 1890, Chris and Sarah Emaline move to Sioux City, IA.  This is where the story really gets interesting.  When they made the move from West Virginia to Iowa, they brought along Sarah Emaline’s younger sister, Rebecca Jane “Frankie” to help with the children.  Chris and Sarah Emaline’s fourth child, Marvin Ross was born on 20 Mar 1890 in Sioux City, IA.  Sometime afte the birth of Marvin in March – Chris and Frankie took off and left Sarah Emaline in Iowa with those four children and pregnant with a fifth child.

Sarah Emaline was in a very difficult position – far from where her parents lived and any other person who could help her.  Her family was not wealthy and she certainly must have had little to know money.  I would guess that her parents must have sent her money in order to come back to West Virginia.  I know that I was told by one of Mary’s grandchidlren that those children remembered that trip back to West Virginia well.  Their mother was heavily pregnant and I am sure they were scared and unsure of everything.  It must have been a cold fall, because the girls remember sleeping on the floor of hotel with the cold wind blowing under the doors and through the walls.  Not only that, they also remembered rats and mice scurrying across the floor.  Harvey would have been about eight years old, Ethel probably six and Mary about five and Marvin a young baby.

Once they arrived back in West Virginia, life was not easy for the Sarah Emaline and her children.   Sarah Emaline was born on 19 Aug 1861 in Nicholas Co., WV to William Pitsenbarger and Mary Amick.  By the time, Sarah Emaline came back to West Virigina, only one of her siblgins was still living at home and her children ended up spending a lot of their time doing a lot of work around the farm which is probably the reason that Harvey left home fairly young and joined the Army.  I find all of the children living with their grandparents in the 1900 census with only brother Jacob living with them and Sarah Emmaline is living somewhere else.  I would guess she was working somewhere else and sending money back. 

I know from family stories that William Pitsenbarger died in October of 1901.  He was working out in the barn and was pinned against the side of the barn and crushed and died a short time later.  Sarah Emaline ended up marrying a widower named Jacob Clark Sevy on 6 May 1912.  I don’t think a divorce ever occurred between her and Chris Shawer so doubtful it was a legal marriage.  Jacob Sevy died on 26 Dec 1916.  In the 1920 census, Sarah Emaline is with her daughter Mary Shawver Booker whose husband had husband had died in 1918 and her sons Marvin and Samuel.  In the 1930 census, she is living with her son Sam and his wife in West Virginia and by 1940, she is living with her daughter in Montgomery Co., IN.  It is interesting to note that Mary is listed with the last name of Whittington but I think that it is a mistake by the census taker.

In about 1930, Chris Shawver went back to West Virginia to visit family.  We have a photo album full of photos from this visit.  I was told by one of Marvin Ross Shawver’s sons that his father remembered one afternoon while working at a bank that a man came in and never came to the window but stood near the back and stared at him for quite a long time.  He realized that the man was his father.  Marvin made no effort to say anything to him and neither did Chris Shawver.

On 13 Apr 1931, Chris was found hung in a barn.  He had committed suicide.  No one knows the exact reason – whether it was being found out about the first family or if it was because of financial difficulties.  His oldest five children probably knew about some of their other siblings – but the younger children knew nothing about the first family. 

Sarah Emaline lived the rest of her life with her daughter Mary Shawver Booker and died on 17 Aug 1947 in Linden, Montgomery Co., IN.  She had outlived both her husband and her sister and died at the age of 85.

Left to Right:  Ethel, Mary, Harvey, Marvin & Sam
Here is a list of the children of George Christian Shawver and Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger:

Back Left - Unknown, Unknown, Toni (Harvey's stepdaughter)
2nd Row - Left - Nona McVey Shawver, Ethel Shawver Boone, Jessie Shawver Bacon, Mary Shawver Booker
Front - Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger Shawver Sevy (Taken abt 1942)
  • Harvey Shawver b. 20 Aug 1883 in Sioux City,  IA d. 26 Jun 1971 in  San Francisco, CA m. Mary E. Brady – 1 step daughter
  • Ethel Leota Shawver b. 28 May 1885 Nicholas Co., WV d. 17 Sept 1948 Selma, Alleghany Co., VA m. ? Jones – 2 children m. Charles Amos Boone 27 Oct 1909 – 8 children
  • Mary M. Shawver b. 27 July 1886 Huntington, Cabell Co., WV d. 6 Apr 1978 Montgomery Co., IN m. James Vernie Booker 28 Dec 1904 – 3 children
  • Marvin Ross Shawver b. 20 Mar 1890 Sioux City, Woodbury Co., IA, d. 11 Sep 1968 Huntington, Cabell Co., WV m. Nona Willie McVey abt 1920 – 3 children
  • Samuel Tony Shawver b. 12 Oct 1891 Huntington, Cabell Co., WV d. 23 Nov 1974 Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., WV m. abt 1926 Elsie Enola Shields - no children

Monday, July 7, 2014

Two Lake Sisters

When you first begin doing genealogy research, the first thing you try to do is document your direct ancestors to the best of your ability or resources.  It isn't until later that you start to look a little more closely at the family ties that begin to emerge.

The Gallup genealogy is an extremely well researched and documented family line.  I think the first genealogy of the family was published in 1896.  I think that the majority of documented descendants of the Gallup family descend through John Gallup and Hannah Lake.  Hannah Lake was born about 3 July 1621 in North Benfleet, Essex, England and died aft 28 Feb 1680 in Ipswich, Essex Co., MA.  She was the daughter of John Lake and Mary/Margaret Reade.  She married John Gallup in 1642.  I am not sure when she immigrated from England.  I have seen the date of 1644 for her father's arrival in New England, but looking at the marriage date of Hannah, I suspect that it must be a bit sooner, because Hannah's oldest child was born in 1644 at the earliest.  There is also the date of 1635 that is on her gravestone, which I believe is probably closer to the least it was most likely before 1640.

Hannah married John Gallup in 1642 at the age of 21.  They very quickly started their family.  Their children were:

  • Hannah Gallup b. 14 Sep 1644 in Boston, MA d. 20 Jan 1724 Norwich, CT m. Stephen Gifford
  • John Gallup III b. Sept 1646 Boston, MA d. 14 Apr 1735 Stonington, CT m. Elizabeth Harris
  • Esther Gallup b. 24 Mar 1652 New London, CT d. 30 Sep 1717 Taunton, MA m. Henry Hodges
  • Benadam Gallup b. Dec 1655 Stonington, CT d. 2 Aug 1727 Stonington, CT m. Esther Prentice
  • Christobel Gallup b. 1657 Stonington, CT d. 17 Sept 1754 Plainfield, CT m. Peter Crary
  • William Gallup b. 18 Apr 1658 Stonington, CT d. 15 May 1731 Stonington, CT m. Sarah Chesebrough
  • Samuel Gallup b. 1659 Stonington, CT d. bef 1687 m. Sarah Chesebrough
  • Elizabeth Gallup b. 8 Mar 1662 Stonington, CT d. aft 1726 Westerly, RI m. Henry Stephens
  • Mary Gallup b. abt 1664 Stonington, CT d. 1672-1687 Saybrook, CT m. John Cole
  • Margaret Gallup b. 1668 Stonington, CT d. 1689 Suffolk, MA m. Joseph Culver

Hannah Lake lost her husband at the Great Swamp Fight at Narragansett Fort, South Kingston, RI on 19 Dec 1675 during King Philip's War and he is buried in a mass grave at the Fort.  There are also many other notables of New England families that died in the battle.  There were about 70 men who were killed including John Gallup as well as 300 or so of the Narraganeett tribe. Hannah is thought to have died on 28 Feb 1680 and she is buried at Whitehall Cemetery in Mystic, New London Co., CT.

Martha Lake was born about 20 Jul 1627 in North Benfleet, Essex, England.  I use the "abt" for many of the births that I see for these old families because most of the dates that we have are not of the actual birth but rather their baptismal which we is what we have as a written record.  Martha probably came over with her parents around 1635-1640.  Martha married Thomas Harris on 15 Nov 1647.  Thomas Harris was the son of Thomas Harris and Elizabeth Hills and probably came over with his parents in 1631 from England.  He was born on 25 Apr 1618 in Hatherup, Gloucester, England and died on 2 Aug 1687 in Ipswich, Essex Co., MA.  His occupation is listed as Ferryman.

I don't have as much on this family but here is the list of children that I have:

  • John Harris b. 7 Jan 1653 Ipswich, MA d. 21 Nov 1732 Ipswich, MA m. Grace Searle
  • Elizabeth Harris b. 8 Feb 1654 Ipswich, MA d. 1 Feb 1734 CT m. John Gallup III
  • Margaret Harris b. 6 Aug 1657 Ipswich, MA d. 18 May 1750 Ipswich m. John Staniford
  • Mary Harris b. 31 Jan 1660 Ipswich, MA d. bef 1696
  • Ebenezer Harris b. 1663 Ipswich, MA d. 14 Apr 1751 Plainfield, CT m. Rebecca Clarke m. Christobel Crary (Christobel was the daughter of the above Christobel Gallup and Peter Crary)
  • William Harris b. 12 Dec 1664 Ipswich, MA d. 31 Dec 1751 m. Sarah Newman
Martha & Hannah Lake are both my 9th great grandmothers.  I descend through Hannah's children John Gallup III and Benadam Gallup and through Martha's daughter, Elizabeth Harris.  I haven't untangled as much of the Harris line as I have the Gallup line, but I wouldn't be surprised that there might be more genealogical connections.

Now if you do a little research into Hannah and Martha's ancestry...there is a certainly a surprise or two.  If it is correct, their line includes Kings of France, England and Germany going back to at least Charlemagne. Personally, I think anytime you try to go to much past 1600, you run into a lot of trouble with proof.