Saturday night fun, 6 May 2009


Randy, at Genea-Musings, has posted this questions for tonight's Saturday-Night Fun:  Where were they in 1909?


1) Which of your ancestors were alive in 1909?2) Tell us where your ancestral families were living in 1909. What country, state, county, city/town, etc. Who was in the family at the time? Use the 1910 census as "close enough."3) Have you found each of these families in the 1910 census? 4) Write a blog post about your response. Or write a comment to this post.

Of my grandparents, only my maternal grandmother Bernice Alvin Davault was alive in 1909. She was born in 1902 and was significantly older than my grandfather.  She was living in Anna, Union County, Illinois. I have found most of my ancestors who were alive in 1910 in that census. So I will only mention if I have NOT found a particular person.

Mother's side


  • Rufus Alvin Davault, d. in 1920, was living in Dongola, Union County, Illinois. His wife Eva (Dukes) died when my grandmother was 2, and so she was living with her aunt and uncle.
  • Robert Lucky Van Hoesen, d. 1949, was living in Thayer, Oregon County, Missouri in 1909. His wife
  • Dulcie (Green) Van Hoesen, d. 1953, also was living in Thayer.


Great-great grandparents

  • Daniel Chandler Davault, d. 1916, and his wife Christina Elender (Dayvault) Davault, d. 1912, were living in Dongola, Union County, Illinois, in 1909.
  • Rebecca Ann (Bohanon) Dukes, d. 1926,  has remained elusive to me after 1905 at which time she was living in a county adjoining Union County, Illinois. I only know her death date from family information. Rebecca's husband Thomas P. Dukes died in 1882 in Kentucky.
  • Albertus Louis Van Hoesen, d. 1910, was in El Reno, Canadian County, Oklahoma, in 1909. His wife Carrie Annie (Burton) Van Hoesen died in 1897.
  • Learner Ramey Green, d. 1920, was living in Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri in 1909. His wife Martha Anna Mathes (Inman) Green died in 1898.

Father's side


  • Fred Olson, d. 1966, was in Titusville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1909. That was the year he married his wife
  • Nellie Bly Hunt, d. 1956, who was living in Tryonville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1909
  • Ira Newell Lee, d. 1940, was living in Kane, McKean County, Pennsylvania in 1909.
  • Mary Elizabeth (Overbeck) Lee, d. 1956, was living in Kane, McKean County, Pennsylvania, in 1909.


Great-great grandparents

  • John Olson, d. 1924, was living in Dahoga, Elk County, Pennsylvania, in 1909, as was his wife
  • Louisa Jansdatter (or Johnson), d. 1916.
  • Henry Hunt, d. 1920, was living in Tryonville, Crawford County, Pennsylvania, in 1909. His wife Clarissa O'tillie (Watson) Hunt had died in 1900.
  • Nancy J. (Magee) Lee, d. unk.:  I do not know what happened to Nancy after she and her husband Addison Harrison Lee were divorced in 1878. Addison died in 1880 in a boiler explosion.  So I have not found her on any census after 1870.
  • Frank Overbeck (aka Fernand Vanhoverbeke), d. ca. 1911, was in Brookville, Jefferson County, Pennsylvania in 1909.  His tombstone has no date; there is no death certificate found; and I need to peruse his pension file more carefully to see if I can figure it out or get close. I know he was alive in 1910 as he had remarried. Frank's wife Margaret (Baughman) Overbeck had died in 1901.




Beth Van Hoesen


Sometimes censuses can take us back for several generations and sometimes they don't. I tried to discover if two friends who live in Philadelphia and share a common surname were related.  I was able to get one of the friend's family back to around 1840 using the censuses, but could not get before 1910 for the other.

The other night, I found out that the mother of a long-time Internet friend was a friend to Beth Van Hoesen, an artist. Because I've done a lot of Internet searches for Van Hoesens, I had seen links to articles about Beth many, many times. But I really knew nothing about her, and I still don't really know much about her art.

All Van Hoesens in the US are descended from one immigrant ancestor and are thus related. My mother was a Van Hoesen, so I don't have to go far up the tree to find it. It turned out in my quick censuses analyses that Beth and I are more closely related than I would have thought.  Her family had some more unusual locations and names which made them easy to track.

I started out with Beth who, I found out, was born in 1926 in Boise, Idaho. Idaho is an unusual place to find Van Hoesens. Because she was born before the last census that is available to us, I found her in the 1930 census. She was living in Mesa, Adams County, Idaho.  You can see that her father Enders was born in New York around 1898.


I found her father in the 1920 census living in Mesa, Adams County, Idaho, with his father David, who was a widower.  David was also shown as being born in New York and was working as the manager of an orchard.  Also noteworthy is the presence of a brother, two years younger, Mynders.


They were not living in Idaho in 1910, so I searched New York and found them fairly easily even having to deal with the ubiquitous spelling issues when dealing with "Van Hoesen."  Since this household has an Enderse and Mynderse of the right ages, this has to be the right family. They are found in Cortland, Cortland County, New York.  My Robert C. Van Hoesen was born in Preble, Cortland County! Three Van Hoesen brothers came with their father from the Hudson River area to Cortland County around 1806.  So now we're narrowing the options and expanding the possibilities that Beth might be related to me.


In 1900, D.W. and Enderse Van Hoesen are found again in Cortland, Cortland County, New York.  David is a lawyer.


There is little to the census of 1890 which was mostly destroyed in a fire. So jumping back to 1880 can be a problem.  However, in this case since we had a middle initial and the year of birth (1864), I was able to identify him in the household of Henry M. Van Hoesen  in Preble, Cortland County, New York.  His father is Henry M. and mother is Maggie A. Henry is 43 years old which would place his birth around 1837.


At this point I had trouble finding them in the censuses, but from a genealogy of our branch of the Van Hoesens in Preble, we know that there was  Henry M. Van Hoesen who was the 11th child (scroll down to the list of children) of Gerrit and Catharine (Van Buskirk) Van Hoesen of the right age. According to the genealogy manuscript (done by descendant of one of these children and herself a genealogist for the DAR in Washington D.C.), Henry was married to Maggie A., just as we saw in the census. I also have the will of their father.

Henry M. Van Hoesen was the brother to my Robert Cravath Van Hoesen who was the 5th child in that family. Beth Van Hoesen and I are third cousins twice removed.




What sparked my interest in genealogy


Randy at Genamusings has posted this week's edition of Saturday Night Fun. I have to say my story about what got me interested in genealogy isn't too terribly exciting.  My brother-in-law Walter, who lives in Rhode Island, first told me some stories he'd learned, not about his own family, but about his wife's.  She had an Italian stowaway for an immigrant ancestor. I think it was her grandfather although I could be off by a generation. I knew I didn't have any Italian stowaways in my background, but I thought perhaps I had ancestors who had stories just as exciting.  And I was right. I do. As it turns out my brother-in-law, who was around ten when his family moved to Rhode Island has no Rhode Island roots. I, on the other hand, have many. It was fun to discover that some of my ancestors are buried not very far from his house, and he (and my husband) grew up in an area where my ancestors lived during King Philip's War.


Long-sought resolution for Robert Van Hoesen


Now I feel the pressure to make sure that this lives up to my "major genealogical find" statement on Facebook.  It may seem small to some, and so background information is necessary to understand why this was such a great find for me.

I began my genealogical adventures in 2000. The surname I chose to begin with was Van Hoesen figuring that it was unusual enough that I wouldn't feel like I was looking for a needle in a haystack. Although I have to say now I would realize that all the possible spelling permutations can make the family difficult to find in census records. My maternal grandfather was Hugh Edgar Van Hoesen, born 1910 in Thayer, Oregon County, Missouri. I knew his father was Robert Lucky Van Hoesen and his grandfather was Albertus Van Hoesen. Most of the information came from Robert Lucky Van Hoesen's death record, so the names of his parents were given as well as his own place of birth -- Clarksville, Iowa.

I was very quickly able to move backwards in the censuses despite the possibilities for unusual spellings to 1850 in Cortland County, New York.  Only the 1860 census was not to be found. I found that Albertus Van Hoesen's father was Robert C. Van Hoesen.  Doing Internet searches on the Van Hoesen family turns up several genealogies which consistently place this Robert C. Van Hoesen of the right place, age, and time into the well-known Van Hoesen family which came to New Amsterdam in 1639 (this may be off by a year or two). However, he is a "dead-end" on all of those family trees with no children or death listed.

So the line looks like this:

Robert C. Van Hoesen, b. 1821 in Preble, Cortland County, New York; married to Electa Wells

Albertus L. Van Hoesen, b. 1847 in Pennsylvania; married to Carrie Burton; d. 1910 in El Reno, Canadian County, Oklahoma.

Robert L. Van Hoesen, b. 1879 in Clarksville, Butler County, Iowa, married to Dulcie Green; d. 1949 in Memphis, Shelby County, Tennessee.

I have also visited the graves of the three generations before Robert C. Van Hoesen in Preble, New York.

Parts of these three generations had moved from Preble, New York to Huntley, McHenry County, Illinois, to Butler County, Iowa to Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri.

However, I had been unable to determine where Robert C. Van Hoesen had died. He appears in no cemetery records, probate records, or deeds indicating death in Butler County, Iowa. The last known piece of information I had on him is the Iowa state census in 1895 when he resides in Clarksville, Iowa.

Then about a year ago, I started looking at newspapers for Clarksville, Iowa. I obtained the microfilm through interlibrary loan from the State Historical Society of Iowa.  It was a treasure trove for me and I found hundreds of newspaper items on the Van Hoesen and Burton families.


This item from the 28 May 1896 edition of the Clarksville Star indicated that Robert C. Van Hoesen had moved to Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri.  W.B. (Byron Wells, but he usually went by "Wells") is Albertus's younger brother who also lived for a time in Clarksville although he has been particularly elusive on censuses.


cs1896july9The Albertus Van Hoesen family followed shortly thereafter as indicated by this 9 July 1896 article.


Every issue of the Clarksville Star beginning in 1873 has been microfilmed except for those from the entire year of 1897. Albertus's father-in-law Hugh F. L. Burton died in the year 1897.  Since his mother-in-law only twice, I think, appeared in the paper, I figured there was not much reason for me to continue to peruse the papers into 1898. I sent the microfilm back.




In the meantime, the Albertus L. Van Hoesen family shows up in the Willow Springs, Howell County, Missouri census in 1900.  I discovered that Albertus's wife Carrie had died when I found the record of his second marriage!  I eventually got the details on Carrie's death as I wrote here and subsequently found more information related to Carrie's death in Carrie's mother's widow's pension application.  Through Albertus's pension file, I found the details of his location at death and subsequently found him in a cemetery listing for El Reno.  For these three generations I had all birth, marriage, and death information except for the death information for Robert C. Van Hoesen.  He did not appear in the 1900 census in Willow Springs. He did not appear in tax lists, probate files, or deeds in Howell County, Missouri.  He did not appear in any cemetery listing just as his daughter-in-law Carrie had not (even though, at least in her case, she was indeed in a cemetery which had been read and should have been there).There was absolutely nothing to indicate that he had ever stepped foot in Willow Springs except the note of his leave taking in Clarksville.

So I wondered. Perhaps Robert never made it all the way to Willow Springs. Perhaps he died enroute.

Then it occurred to me. If he did die enroute or otherwise, perhaps the family had written back to Clarskville and sent the news.  Of course with that missing year of 1897, there was the great possibility that it could have been that year and nothing would be found.  I re-ordered the microfilm, and this is what I found yesterday in the 26 January 1898 edition:




You can click on the image to see the larger version. However, this is a letter that "Bert" Van Hoesen wrote back to the folks in Butler County, Iowa,  to let them know how he was doing.  Even though it's a wonderful find on its own merits of general information, specifically it contains the following :



So now I know: Albertus's father Robert Cravath Van Hoesen died in Willow Springs, Missouri, probably in 1897,  and is buried in the Willow Springs City Cemetery where his daughter-in-law is buried. It sounds like he must have bought enough "room" for three which would indicate that Robert's grave must be next to Carrie's.  I believe I looked at the tombstones around Carrie's at the time I was there, so it is probable that there is no headstone, although maybe it's a hard-to-read headstone.

Finally a resolution to this man's life.


Reading a book three times

Reading a book for the third time seems to have a magical effect on me.  This year (for our homeschooling), I have read three or four books which I am reading for the third time.  I have gotten so much more out of two of those books than I did before that it has given me pause to consider just why that might be.  The two books that have struck me this way are the Iliad by Homer and Arguing About Slavery by William Lee Miller.  Both of these books are very detailed-- so detailed the the first reading requires mental effort to be expended just keeping characters and action straight.  The second time through, those things were familiar, so I caught on quicker (and it may be that I'm just slower than others).  BUT the third time, I have been able to appreciate the subtler aspects of those works.  In the Iliad, I was able to notice and pay (more) attention to the vividness created through the metaphors and similes.  Now I think I understand why people who know appreciate the Iliad more than the Odyssey.  The Odyssey is a rolicking story capturing the attention through the action.  Full-bodied language is more evident in the Iliad and creates memorable images.

Arguing About Slavery is different.  It takes careful reading to keep people and events straight.  Because the mental processes are so occupied, some of the subtler nuances can easily be missed.  John Quincy Adams is the hero of this book.  What  a man. I admire his father and I admire the son.  (Read John Adams by David McCullough--his name makes me wonder if he is related to the McCulloughs that were in Franklin County, Pennsylvania in the last half of the 18th century).  JQA was a very clever man or "crafty" like Odysseus which was perceived as a good thing--modern connotations not withstanding.

What I had missed in previous readings was the humor of the book and the cleverness and patience of JQA.  This book would make a fabulous movie. It could be a movie at least as good as the Amistad and Wilberforce. Just as we saw the adherance to principle by the principal parties (yes, I did that on purpose) in those movies, we see it in Arguing About Slavery.  We see conflict as the southerners do all they can to "gag" any petititons made to Congress. We see eloquent use of language by JQA.  Not the least we see the many raging parties of opposition, not only for and against slavery, but also between those who saw different ways of ending slavery. Even though I got the gist of what was going on before, I felt as if I were there in this reading.  I wanted to cheer as the intelligent JQA outwitted the southerners who would otherwise silence him.

The book begins with the 24th Congress which met for the first time in December 1836.  During that time, petitions to the House requesting an end to slavery in Washington, D.C. escalated.  All, northerners and southerners alike, understood that constitutionally slavery could not be ended in the existing states.  However, now, the southerners were so fearful of losing their majority in the legislature (which they had because of the overbalancing effect of the 3/5 clause counting slaves as part human/part property), that they began each Congress with a "gag rule" to prohibit any introduction of petitions requesting an end to slavery.  JQA, the former president of the United States who did not believe it to be demeaning to step "down" to the lowly role of a congressman if he could serve his country, led the fight sagaciously and cleverly against those who would diminish civil rights by prohibiting petitioning government.

Get the book.

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