Monday, April 28, 2014

Hannah Covenhoven/Conover and Abram Montanye

One of the family names that has always fascinated me was that of Montanye.  It has been spelled or misspelled many different ways depending how you look at it.  Thanks to Lois Stewart and the Society of the Descendants of Johannes De La Montagne – I know a lot more about the family that I probably would ever had learned on my own.  So, I have tried to fill out information on my small branch of this family.

My great great great grandmother was Phoebe Ann Montanye, the daughter of Abram C. Montanye and Hannah Covenhoven/Conover.  I have an uncle who still remembers seeing her during her last years she was alive.  He has often recounted the story that he and his family went to visit her and they walked into the room and she reached under her bed for something.  He was never sure if it was going to be a cookie or her chamber pot…thankfully for him, it was the cookie.  Phoebe married her schoolteacher, Silas Gallup, on 12 Feb 1859 when she was just barely 15 years old, and their first child was born just a year later, my great great grandmother Edith Phoebe Gallup.  I have spent a lot of time researching information on she and her children, but I have always struggled a bit more with her parents and siblings.

Abram C. Montanye was born on 2 Jan 1806 in Charleston, Montgomery Co., NY to James Montanye and Keziah VanDuyn.  (Keziah’s last name is a guess by several researchers that I have worked with and have reason to trust their judgment.)   Abram was the middle child of seven children.  They were:
  • James Montaney b. 1799 d. 1857 m Lois Mary Avery
  • John Montaney b. 1800 d. 1854 m. Alida Shufelt
  • Edward S. Montanye b. 1803 d. 1850 m. Miriam Mary Rockwell
  • Abram C. Montanye b. 1806 d. 1884 m. Hannah Conover
  • William C. Montanye b. 1808 d. 1895 m. Rachel Rockwell
  • David Montaney b. 1812 d. 1870 m. Eliza A Williams
  • Elizabeth Montanye b. 1814 d. 1889 m. Isaiah Rockwell

There is a lot that I don’t know about Abram Montanye’s siblings and their families.  I have made a stab on occasion to fill out my information, but I suspect that it might be project larger than I want to tackle at the moment.  However, compared to what I know about Abram Montanye’s family, I know very little about Hannah Conover and her family.

The first record that I was able to find mention of was that of a marriage between Abram Montanye and Hannah Conover/Covenhoven conducted at the Baptist Church at Rider’s Corners in Charleston, Montgomery Co., NY.  The marriage was performed by Rev Elijah Herrick on 25 Dec 1827.  That was my best and most significant piece of information.  I also made a guess that the Mary Covenhoven that married a John Tallmadge might be a sister to my Hannah Covenoven and perhaps the Angelina Covenhoven who married Charles Kellogg might all be related.  However, that didn’t really help me figure out who Hannah’s parents were and what her real name was.  I have heard it as Conover and as Covenhoven.  The fact of the matter is – is that it might be both names.  Conover might be an Americanized version of Covenhoven.  The only lucky thing about Hannah was that she died on 29 Nov 1888 at the age of 81.  Because it was after 1880, there was the possibility of a death record, so I saved the money and sent off for Hannah’s death record. I didn’t get a lot more than her parent’s names from that record – that of Abram Conover and Mary.  So, while I might guess that she had a sister named Angelina and another sister, I have no proof nor anything that leads me into another direction as yet. 

One of the few bits and pieces that I was able to discover from the Montgomery Co., NY genweb site was a listing that Abram and Hannah were buried at the Rockwell Family Farm.  It seemed that no matter who I asked or who they asked, we were never able to find that cemetery.  At least up until last year when I got the delightful email telling that Hananh and Abram (the links will take you to the Find a Grave listing - were buried in the Priddle Road Cemetery in Esperance, Schoharie Co., NY.

Here is the family of Hannah Conover/Covenhoven and Abram Montanye:
  • Polly Montanye b. 1828 d?
  • Angelina Montanye b. 1829 d. ?
  • Nancy Mary Montanye b. 1833 d. 1878 m. Chester Irving Gardiner
  • William Judson Montanye b. 1834 d. 8 Jan 1918
  • John R. Montanye b. 20 Sept 1835 d. 8 Jan 1918 m. Harriet Brate
  • Elizabeth b. 1837 d. ? m. Frederick H. Smith
  • Harriet Montanye b. 1839 d. 1922 m. Charles Barkley
  • Sarah Jane Montanye b. 1842 d. 1837 m. William A Young
  • Phoebe Ann Montanye b. 1844 d. 1927 m. Silas Gallup
  • Hannah E. Montanye b. 1852 d. 1906 m. Frederick Cady French

Monday, April 14, 2014

Alexander Monroe Dollar

My great grandmother – Sophia Dollar Friddle, was raised by her grandfather and step grandmother.  So, I realized early on in my genealogical searches with my mother, that he was a significant person.   Beyond the fact that I am descended from him, he had a huge part in shaping the life of my great grandmother and therefore my grandmother and mother who had a profound part in shaping who I am.  However, Alexander Monroe Dollar has never been an easy man to pin down, genealogically speaking!

Alexander Monroe Dollar was born about August 1838 depending on what document you look at.  Some say it is August 1839 – but  August 1838 is the date that makes the most sense.  He was probably born in Orange Co., NC.   His parents were William Henry Dollar and Jane “Jennie” Sparks.  Their marriage date was 22 May 1838 in Orange Co., NC.  So, while the date of 1839 might look like a more reasonable time after marriage to have a child, William Henry Dollar and Jennie Sparks second child, William Henry Dollar, Jr was born on 4 Jul 1839 so the August date proves to be even more unlikely.  Supposedly, Alexander Monroe Dollar was born in Orange Co., NC and shortly after his birth; William Henry Dollar brought his small family via wagon from Orange Co., NC to Ashe Co., NC.   William Henry Dollar was blacksmith by trade and worked as most did during that time frame as a farmer as well.  I am sure that he left Orange Co., NC because he was a younger brother and didn’t have much in the way of prospects in terms of owning land.  The Dollar family lived in the North Fork township of Ashe Co., NC near the town of Solitude. 
At the age of 18, Alexander Monroe Dollar married Elizabeth Pennington, the daughter of Levi Pennington and Elizabeth Henson on 17 Jan 1857 in Ashe Co., NC.  On 6 Apr 1858, their first child is born, Amanda Jane Dollar.  I have often wondered if Elizabeth Pennington had more pregnancies and lost them in miscarriages because there seems to be quite a gap between their first two children.  

Like many young men of his age, Alexander Monroe Dollar enlisted as a Confederate Soldier in Co. L, 58th Infantry Regiment, North Carolina on 20 Jul 1862.  I suspect that he wasn't too good of a soldier because he deserted on 9 Feb 1863 at Big Creek Gap in Tennessee.  Went home long enough to get his wife pregnant with their second child and perhaps plant his crops and returned to duty on 10 Dec 1863.  Once again he deserted a second time near Dalton, Georgia on 19 Mar 1864 and went over to the enemy.  He took the Oath of Allegiance on 10 Oct 1864 and I assume came home sometime later.  His younger brother enlisted on the same day and also deserted, returned to duty and then was declared unfit for duty and spent the rest of the war as a hospital nurse at La Grange, Georgia.  Both were part of the 58th North Carolina which I have been told had one of the worst desertion rates in the Civil War.  Since most of these soldier came from the Ashe Co., NC area, I suspect that these deserters felt free to return home and live their lives without much in the way of repercussion, makes me think that they weren't too devoted to the Confederate cause.
Alexander and Elizabeth’s second child was John Dula Dollar b. 3 Oct 1863 in Creston, Ashe Co., NC (he is my 2nd great grandfather).  Their third child Emeline Caroline Dollar was born on 15 Mary 1866 in Ashe Co., NC.   Their family was complete with the birth of their youngest child, Roby Smith Dollar on 18 Apr 1868 in Ashe Co., NC.

Census records tell me that in the 1860 census, Alexander and his young family are living near his father.  By 1870, they are living next door to his father-in-law Levi Pennington.  It is interesting to note that Elizabeth’s brother is also living with him and his listed as insane.  Levi Daniel Pennington had received injuries during the Civil War and returned home mentally ill and spent the majority of his life in a mental institution after the war.  By 1880, Alexander Monroe is probably still living in the same place, but his father in law has passed away and at this point, he is listed as a wagon maker, while 17 year old John Dula Dollar is listed as a shoemaker and the younger two are also members of the household.  Their oldest daughter is living half the county away with Elizabeth’s brother, Larkin Pennington.  It was sometime in the next few years, that Alexander Monroe Dollar and Elizabeth Pennington that they left Ashe Co., NC and traveled over to Johnson Co., TN (a neighboring county) and traveled up to settle in what is now the Laurel Bloomery part of Johnson Co., TN near a town called Shingletown.  Elizabeth’s uncle Andrew Pennington lived there with his family and perhaps told them of the availability of land. 

It is unknown as to when Elizabeth Pennington died, but it was sometime after their move to Johnson Co., TN in 1883 and Alexander Monroe Dollar’s marriage to his second wife, on 9 Jun 1887 to Sarah “Lulu” Rebecca Pearce.  There is no known location as to where Elizabeth is buried or any idea as to when she died exactly or what she died of.  She would have been somewhere in her early to mid 40’s in age.    Their daughter Emeline marries Caleb Wills Noland in 1881 at the age of 15.  Sometime after their move to Johnson Co., TN, Alexander Monroe Dollar along with his younger brother John Wesley Dollar and son, John Dula Dollar have a small mill.  I am not sure if they were producing lumber or shingles which is how the area derived the name Shingletown.  All that is left of that signifies the location of that mill, is a small road sign that says Dollarsville road. 

John Dula Dollar married Buena Vista Bailey in 1889, he was 24 and she was 17 years old.  Very quickly two children came along in 1890 and 1891 (Claude & Bessie) and then my great grandmother was born in 1894.  Buena Vista died in April of the same year…and so John Dula was left with three small children and probably turned to the only people he could, his father and step mother.  Alexander’s second wife, Lulu, was actually a midwife and was present when my great grandmother was born.  I am sure that Lulu had primary care of my great grandmother through those first few months of life and certainly after her mother’s death. 
In 1897, John Dula Dollar remarries and takes his oldest children to live with him and his new wife.  Somehow, Lulu convinces him to leave his youngest daughter with her grandfather and step grandmother.  So that his house that in the 1900 census, my great grandmother is living with her grandparents in the little house in the holler as I like to call it.  I know from stories that I have heard, that my grandmother was rather spoiled and could do pretty much whatever she wanted.  I don’t know if the grandmother did the spoiling or perhaps both grandparents.  However, when Alexander Monroe Dollar died on 14 Aug 1908 in Silver Lake, Johnson Co., TN, my great grandmother’s life of leisure was about to end.  Her father was making noises about taking her back to live with him, and her grandmother convinced her to get married instead.
John Dula Dollar's young family - taken about 1895 -
Claude on the left, John Dula holding Sophia and Bessie on the right.

There are so many details missing from this story about Alexander Monroe Dollar.  I don’t know exactly where he was born nor do I know where he was buried.  I know that he was referred to as Monroe or “Roe” Dollar and probably never went by Alexander or Alex.  He worked at times as farmer, carpenter or wagon maker and as a mill worker.  I have never seen a photo of him or either one of his wives.  There is still so much about him that is shrouded in mystery…and at this point, there is no one to ask.  My great grandmother died before I turned 12 and she was probably the last living person who knew him.  There is a lot more that I wish I knew about this great great great grandfather of mine!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Then & Now

My great grandparents had a large family of children…and even a larger group of grandchildren.  If they were still alive, their descendants would number at least 182.  My father is the oldest of their 33 grandchildren.  At 74 this summer, he is thirty years older than the youngest of their grandchildren.  So, while we knew about the cousins, aunts, and uncles on his maternal family, it really wasn't until a fairly recent time when we met some of his paternal side of the family.

Dad’s father died in 1975 and while I remember him – I never really got a chance to know him or his own family story.  My grandmother was the primary source of information.  She spent three years back in North Dakota and got to know his side of the family…probably because her family was so far away.  There were many times that she talked about Cousin Lois or Hazel, Uncle Wash or Uncle Frank.  She had a several pictures with her father–in–law and his siblings Wash, Frank, or Maggie.  About 15 years ago, I “met” a cousin who helped make those pictures come alive in a whole new way.  Among the pictures was one of my grandmother holding my father and another woman holding a baby.   

Grace Carlson Johnson holding Lowell Johnson and Marian Gage Johnson holding Gene Johnson

What started was several conversations on the phone with our cousin Lowell and his lovely wife, Bonnie.  One of the first things that we learned was that Lowell was just 19 days older than my father.  So, for the first time in his life, Dad actually had a cousin who was the same age as he.  Lowell and Bonnie provided a wealth of information about many of the Johnson family especially those that stayed in North Dakota.  They are the most wonderful kind of researchers – the type that collects things like obituaries, photographs of graves and news articles and are willing to share the wealth.

The Three Frank's - Cousins Frank Stewart Johnson &
Frank Washington Johnson & Uncle Frank Smith Johnson 
So, in the process of research our family’s rich history – we have had the delightful added bonus of meeting some of these cousins who live a few states away.  I've made it back twice to see where my father was born and where his family lived in North Dakota and to meet the only cousin who is the same age as he.  There is a certain irony that his father’s name was Frank as well.  Both my father’s Dad and Lowell’s Dad were named for their uncle Frank. Perhaps that is why that picture of the two women holding babies was taken.  Both of the Frank’s became a father that long ago July.  So…above is a picture of the two cousins in their mother’s arms…and another taken in fall of 2012…Can you see the family resemblance?

Left to Right - Cousins Gene & Lowell Johnson - Fall 2012