My great-grandparents, Mae and William, Sarah and Lewis, Mary and Frank, and Martha and John, were all born in the 1840s and 1850s, and most of them lived into the 1900s and 1930s. At a young age, they beheld four years of civil war – or the war between the states – that wreaked its havoc as it massacred and mutilated the American people, destroyed the South, and left America full of walking wounded and dead. Then they watched while the industrial revolution continued to transform America into a completely new, more unified, mass consumer society. It was the height of the Victorian age, and science and capitalism were the new gods of world power. My great-grandparents bought mail-order from catalogues. They saw kerosene lanterns and gas light give way to electricity. They were all children of the horse & buggy era, but they knew perfectly well that railroads now ruled over all this land. Some of them even witnessed the birth of the automobile and the first aeroplanes and motion pictures, and then radio, but none of them, however, knew what television would do to their children and grandchilden.
Flora May Gandy (1856-1935) and William Henry Holsinger (1853-1930) — the parents of my grandmother Margaret
My great-grandmother Flora May Gandy was the daughter of Nancy Ellen Williams (1831-1883) and Asbury Preston Gandy (1825-1909).
- She was born 29 December 1856, in Troy, Davis County, Iowa.
- Married 14 June 1877, in Cottonwood Falls, Chase County, Kansas, to William Henry Holsinger (1853-1930).
- She died 19 February 1935, in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.
This is a photograph of Flora May, possibly taken in her early 20s. To see it larger, click here.
Flora May, the eldest of the Gandy siblings, had several brothers and sisters, four of whom survived childhood:
- Lily A. Gandy (1858-1859)
- Chester F. Gandy (1861-1941)
- Orlando Gandy (1863-1865)
- Allie M. Gandy (1865-1865)
- Florence Jane Gandy (1867-1953)
- Mary Eleanor Gandy (1869-1961)
- Francis A. Gandy (1870-1871)
- Willie E. Gandy (1872-1901)
- George Walter Gandy (1874-187_)
- Leah Gandy (1876-187_)
- Mary Ellen Gandy (1878-187_)
Flora May was the eldest daughter of Asbury and Nancy, and the only child born in Iowa, where her parents had been married on 11 December 1853 in Lee County.
Flora most probably did not remember any of her infancy in Iowa, and was not yet two when her parents brought her to the new territory of Kansas. She did not know this was part of the great movement to make the new territory into a free, not a slave, state. The family relocated south of Council Grove (on the old Santa Fe trail) into the Flint Hills, settling on the Rock Creek by the Cottonwood River in 1858.
In 1859, they were all deathly ill with malaria, and were brought by other early settlers to the settlement that would eventually become Cottonwood Falls – at that time barely a few cabins (or so I assume), nothing like the quaint old town it would become during Flora's long lifetime, and which we can still see today.
The town became the center of the new county of Chase, and her parents played quite a role in that growth. She and her husband would also dedicate their lives to the young town in Kansas. In 1873, when she would be just seventeen years old, the new county courthouse was dedicated, a beautiful structure of native limestone which still stands at the center of town – the oldest functioning courthouse in Kansas.
When Flora was twenty, she married William Holsinger (who was 24). Barely six years later, in 1883, when May was not yet 27, her mother Nancy Ellen died.
Her father soon re-married and moved all the family out west to San Diego, California. Of all the Gandys who had lived in Cottonwood, Only Flora May, already married and with two living children, stayed behind in Kansas with her husband and children.
Some years later, around 1900 or 1901, the children all became ill with one infection or another, and Flora May decided that for their health they would all go out to recover in the famous climate of California, where her father and brothers and sisters appeared to be thriving. My grandmother said that her mother and the other children all traveled by train to San Diego, and brought a huge basket of food with them for the trip.
It is possible that this trip took place just after her brother Willie had died of dysentery on a troop ship returning from the Philippines, and this could mean that there was also a motive of reuniting the family to share their grief. This possibility has not yet been confirmed, and the story as told by my grandmother and her daughters always has revolved around the more pleasant cause of the children's recovery being the motivation for the big trip west. But the traditional timing for the trip is very close to Uncle Willie's death, and thus the potential narrative of grief must be considered.
Whatever may be the case, the trip made a lasting impression on the youngest daughter, Margaret (my grandmother). She often spoke to me of that trip, and how impressed she was with California and San Diego. I wish now I had written down some of her stories at the time she told me them, forty years ago, so that I could tell you exactly what year it was when they made the trip out west.
Ten or twelve years later Margaret would return to San Diego, meet her husband, and there eventually raise her own family. At the time, however, mother Flora May and children all returned to Kansas, where she and William lived out the rest of their days. In the end, except for Arabella, all the children eventually left Cottonwood.
William Edgar, however, returned home to die in his parents' house at the young age of 37.
Flora was active in local organizations, even helped found some of them, notably the Methodist Church, the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Shakespeare Study Club.
She died at home. Her mortal remains were placed in the Prairie Grove cemetery outside of town.
In 1920, William and May were living at 241 Broad Street, Cottonwood Falls.
My great-grandfather William Henry Holsinger was the son of Julia Ann Walter (1832-1906) and Daniel Holsinger (1827-1863).
- He was born 16 May 1853, in Hagerstown, Wayne County, Indiana.
- William Married 14 June 1877, in Cottonwood Falls, Chase County, Kansas, to Flora May Gandy (1856-1935).
Their children are listed immediately above.
- He died 28 July 1930, in Cottonwood Falls, Chase County, Kansas.
Here is a photograph taken when he was about 18 years old. To see it larger, click here.
William had two brothers and a sister who survived childhood:
Nancy Jane Holsinger (1854-1911) George W. Holsinger (1857-1932) Jacob Walter Holsinger (1860-1928)
William was but a child of three when his family moved from Indiana to Kansas in 1856. Perhaps he remembered the trip. They may have come by steamboat down the river to Saint Louis, perhaps by another boat to Kansas City, and then by wagon into Kansas territory. Or, alternatively, they could have gone by wagon all the way, crossing from Illinois into Missouri. Since Missouri was a slave state, and they were northerners, it could not have been... easy, politically, but there was a great movement among free-state supporters, and no doubt they would have made use of this support system to stay safe. The physical demands of the trip were possibly far more intense than any political considerations.
Perhaps they came in a larger group, and only split up after reaching Kansas. Or perhaps their group was formed in St. Louis or Kansas City. What we do know, according to scant historical reference, is that "In June, 1856, Nathan Cory, Daniel Holsinger and Gabriel Jacobs settled in the [Toledo] township." (from William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, 1883)
Some day one of you may discover more details, perhaps in the archives of the Chase County Historical Society. Or not. Until then we must be satisfied with the image of a three-year-old boy riding in a wagon.
Most likely they came out the Santa Fe trail and turned south at Council Grove, heading south for the Cottonwood River. However they came, they arrived Father and Mother and two kids took up farming several miles east of Cottonwood, in Toledo township. Daniel was also a cobbler, and no doubt young William learned to respect his father's tools of that trade.
The Holsingers were Brethren (a Pennsylvania Dutch creed), also known as Dunkards (for their practice of full immersion baptism). Along with two or three other Dunkard families who came with them to Kansas, they met for prayers at home. The land where the Holsingers settled was near the mouth of Jacobs Creek, on the Cottonwood River. At the time it was in a mile-wide strip of land on the western fringe of Breckenridge County, but in 1860 it was transferred to Chase County.
William and his sister Nancy were joined by new babies in their new home, notably George W. (22 December 1857) and Jacob Walter (16 March 1860). George is said to have been the first white child born in that part of Kansas that would later become Chase County.
William's father, Daniel, died when the boy was only ten years old. His mother Julia remarried (Henry Reeve) and the family moved to another farm three miles northwest of town.
William subsequently attended grade school in Cottonwood Falls, and later Spalding's Business College in Kansas City.
William was the last of our family to speak German in America — like his ancestors had for three generations before him, ever since emigrating from Europe to Pennsylvania.
William became a local businessman, instrumental in the founding of a local bank, the Exchange State Bank, and worked as a cashier there. He prepared the first set of Abrstract Books for Chase County. Active in local Republican politics, he served as county surveyor and local postmaster, and attended at least one national party convention (1924) as a delegate. He is briefly mentioned (by name, only) in Prairyearth (the intense book about Chase county, written by William Least Heat Moon).
It is said that he was also instrumental in the development of a streetcar line which ran from the center of town, down the main street, and across the old bridge over the river, then uphill to the railroad junction of Strong City. Family lore has it that he was quite upset with the Santa Fe railroad company, when they chose to bypass the town in favor of a route on the north side of the Cottonwood River. With hindsight, however, we can see that this development actually preserved the older, more isolated feeling of the now "quaint" town of Cottonwood Falls.
Some of the above information is taken from a "historical sketch"
written by my grandmother's sister, Arabella.
You can find it online at http://skyways.lib.ks.us/genweb/chase/SubSketch/SubSketchH/SketchHolsingerFamily.html.
Chase County is located in the Flint Hills region of eastern central part of Kansas. Because the rolling hills and stony soil were not generally conducive to farming, the area has remained cattle range land since the 19th century. This allowed for the survival of many native prairie grass species which were eliminated from farming areas. As a result, the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve – part of the national park service – is now located in Chase County, with its headquarters approximately three miles north of Cottonwood Falls.
My great-grandmother Sarah Harwood was the daughter of Mary Tomer [Tower?] (1821-1880) and Nathan Thomas Harwood (1819-1898).
- She was born about 1845, in Ross County, Ohio.
- Married 11 September 1873, in Van Buren County, Iowa, to Lewis Cass Payne (1848-1894).
- Died 1881, in Van Buren County, Iowa.
Here is my great-grandmother Sarah, apparently at a young age – remember that she passed away when she was only in her thirties.
Sarah had brothers and a sister, some of whom survived childhood:
- Charles Athen Harwood (1846-1926)
- Benjamin Franklin Harwood (1850-1920)
- John T. Harwood (1852-1893)
- Caroline Jane Harwood (1854-1897)
- William Harwood (1856-1861)
- George W. Harwood (1858-1927)
- Henry Harwood (1860-1904)
Sarah and her brother Charles were the oldest, and the only children born in Ohio, both in Ross County, where their parents had married on 29 January 1843. Their mother Mary was born in Ross County on 28 November 1821. Her father had been born on 8 April 1819 in Ohio. Sarah and Charles' younger brothers and sister were all born in Van Buren County, Iowa, where the young family had relocated by 1849.
Sarah would have been about four years old when the family moved en masse from Ohio to Iowa. Not only she and her brother and mother and father, but many other members of the family also relocated to Iowa. Aunts and uncles, cousins, grandparents, many of them joined the move west around 1849.
They apparently all settled nearby each other, as we can see the next generation was born in or around Van Buren County, and the older generation (which had been born and married in Ohio) would die in Iowa. This is how it appears from the birth, marriage, and death dates: that the entire family, like a clan, picked up and transfered to new land in the west. It must have been quite an experience for a young child of only four years old, with her baby brother only two or three toddling along after her.
As the eldest girl, with half a dozen children following after her (and only one younger sister – the rest all boys), Mary no doubt was the lead helper to her mother in all the housework. Was this perhaps why she delayed marrying, because she always had so much work at home? I wonder. Back then it was the custom of women to marry younger, but Sarah was pushing thirty when she finally married Lewis Cass Payne on 11 September 1873, in Van Buren County, Iowa. Lewis was about three years younger than she.
The story behind why she would wait so long, or why she would choose him, is lost to us now. But we can tease a few speculative thoughts from what little we know. I have already mentioned the fact that she had so many younger brothers and only one baby sister, and there was plenty of work for her at home on the farm. Whatever the reasons for her waiting, she was well on the way to becomming an "old maid" – as unmarried women were called, disparagingly. On the other side of the equation, there is the possible fact that her husband was a bastard, I mean: he was seemingly illegitimately born, carrying the last name of his mother, and father unknown. Was Sarah the only woman around those parts who would marry him? Or was he the only one who would marry her? These are mean-spirited, petty questions, but considering the circumstances...
But neither of those facts, or suppositions, or impressions, or even imaginings, about the two young persons, have anything to do with how hard it was to live on a farm, to work every day and night, in winter, summer, spring and fall. That was what mattered. Could you make the land bear, or not? Apparently they could. But it was hard work, I believe.
Perhaps Sarah worked so hard that it just plain killed her. Her daughter was four, and her son one year old, when she herself died around the age of only thirty-five years, in 1881.
Sarah Harwood, (aka Mrs. Lewis Cass Payne), was buried in 1881 in Millers Chapel Cemetery, Mt. Zion, Van Buren County, Iowa.
Sarah and Lewis had two children (Lewis later remarried)
Mary Oletha Payne (1876-1926) Charles Elfrey Payne (1879-1947)
My great-grandfather Lewis Cass Payne was the son of unknown (-) and Kesiah Paine/Payne (182_-186_).
- Lewis was born 1848, in Belmont County, Ohio.
- Married 11 September 1873, in Van Buren County, Iowa, to Sarah Harwood (1845-1881).
- Re-Married 22 October 1883, in Van Buren County, Iowa, to Hannah J. Pender (1849-1920)
- Lewis died February 1894, in Van Buren County, Iowa.
Lewis had no known brothers or sisters
This man is an enigma to me. For years I thought it would be near impossible to figure out who his parents were, or where he came from. Neither my mother or aunt, his grand-daughters, knew anything about him except his name and that he was a farmer. But recently my cousin Xandra, with her patient and thorough research, has uncovered a few names and dates.
We can now be relatively certain that he was born in Belmont County, Ohio, the only child of Kesiah Paine, who had been married (A. Jackson Sears 182_-186_), but apparently she had no children by this husband. Then, she had only one child, Lewis, who bore his mother's last name. Either this information is wrong, or my great grandfather was an illegitimate child.
One way or another he made his way west to Iowa, and settled in Van Buren County. Apparently most of the family remained in Ohio, unlike the Harwoods.
In 1873, at the age of twenty-five, he married Sarah Harwood, who was about three years older than he. She bore him two children before dying in her thirties, when their youngest (my grandfather Charles) was barely two years old.
They were farmers.
About two years after his first wife died, Lewis remarried on 22 October 1883, to Hannah J. Pender, the daughter of Richard Pender and Mariah Mellis. Hannah had been born on 28 December, 1849, in Keosauqua, Van Buren County, Iowa. In the 1880 Census she was listed as a servant in the household of H.H.Disbrow. By marrying, she gained a household of her own, and two children, Mary Oletha Payne (1876-1926) about seven years old, and Charles Elfrey Payne (1879-1947) about four years old.
Hannah was, I am told, much loved by my grandfather Charles, and when she died two days before my mother was born, Charles and Margaret agreed to give Hannah's stepdaughter(Charles' sister)'s middle name to my mother.
Lewis and Hannah had no children. In February 1894, at barely the age of fifty-five or fifty-six years, Lewis Cass Payne died in Van Buren County. He was buried in Fellows Cemetery.
His second wife survived him, living (on the farm?) until 1920.
My great-grandmother Mary A. Burgess was the daughter of William Everington Burgess (1830-1903) and Jane R. Leet (18__-1891).
- She was born 5 August 1851, in Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin.
(Before that time, the general area now called Somers township was still known as Pike River, and it had been an early rival with Kenosha City [or Southport, as it was first known] for primacy among settlers.)
- Mary Burgess married 28 September 1878, in Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin to Frank Cogswell (1846-1912).
- She died 1926, in Seattle, Washington.
Mary had ten brothers and sisters, most of whom who survived childhood:
- (-)132 F i Mary A. BURGESS was born 5 Aug 1851. Mary Burgess Cogswell lived at the town of Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin in 1902. Marriage information is from a copy of a wedding invitation found at the Kenosha County Historical Museum. Mary married Frank COGSWELL Dr. on 28 Sep 1878 in Somers, Kenosha Co., WI.
- (-) 133 F ii Martha Emma BURGESS was born 30 Oct 1852. Emma Burgess Buswell lived at Winona, Minnesota in 1902. Martha married Charles BUSWELL.
- (-) 134 F iii Virginia L. BURGESS was born 11 Mar 1855. Virginia Burgess lived at the town of Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin in 1902. She was not married.
- (-) 135 M iv Charles L. BURGESS was born 15 Mar 1857. Charles married Elizabeth VAN ALSTINE on 14 Jun 1882 in Somers, Kenosha Co., WI.
- (-) 136 M v Edwin Cyrus BURGESS was born 23 Aug 1859. He died 1945. Edwin Burgess lived at 6218 Michigan Ave., Chicago, Cook County, Illinois in 1902. Edwin married Unknown UNKNOWN.
- (-) 137 M vi George F. BURGESS was born 23 Jan 1861. He died 14 May 1938 and was buried in Oakwood Cem., Kenosha Co., WI. George Burgess lived at the town of Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin in 1902. Birth and death information from his tombstone. George married Margaret F. SINCLAIR on 21 Oct 1897 in Somers, Kenosha Co., WI. Margaret was born 10 Jan 1873. She died 15 May 1969. Margaret was from Somers, WI according to her marriage record. Birth and death information was from her tombstone.
- (-) 138 F vii Dela BURGESS was born 25 Apr 1863. She died 27 Jun 1863. Information on this family from a speech given by William E. Burgess Jr. at Petrified Springs Park, Kenosha County, WI in 1936. !Dela Burgess died as an infant.
- (-) 139 M viii William E. BURGESS Jr was born 29 Oct 1865. He died 1953. William E. Burgess Jr., gave a speech at a family gathering at Petrified Springs Park, Kenosha County, Wisconsin in 1936. His notes from that speech listed many of the Burgess family members and children. It also identified the location of the saw mill started by Benjamin Burgess in 1836. William lived at 4905 Dearborn St., Chicago, Illinois in 1902.
- (-) 140 F ix Hattie Josephine BURGESS was born 8 Mar 1868. She died 1944. Information on this family from a speech given by William E. Burgess Jr. at Petrified Springs Park, Kenosha County, WI in 1936. In 1902, Hattie was living at Porterville, California. She was married at the Presbyterian church at Somers. Her marriage was listed in LDS film #1404984 section 4. Hattie married Clayton Brooks REASE on 15 Apr 1896 in Somers, Kenosha Co., WI. The marriage record of Clayton shows the spelling of his name as Reas. The marriage record states that he was from Poterville, CA, and Hattie was from Somers, WI.
- (-) 141 M x Burdette H. BURGESS was born 9 Nov 1870. He died 1925. Burdette Burgess lived at 240 South Water St., Chicago, Illinois in 1902. Burdette married Jenny Maud SHERWOOD. Jenny Maud Sherwood was the daughter of George Porter Sherwood and Nellie Maud Hastings.
- (-) 142 M xi Robert Clark BURGESS was born 9 May 1873. He died Dec 1964. Robert C. Burgess lived in Chicago, Illinois in 1902.
My great-grandmother Mary was the eldest of eleven children, and only one died in childhood. She must have had her hands full, helping her mother take care of all the household, cooking, cleaning, washing, baking, etc. Yet for all the hard work, I suspect there were plenty of good times, too. To a man, and a woman, her family was all very prominent in the local area, having been among the first settlers of Pike River (or Somers, as it came to be called), coming out from New York State in 1835 and 1836 and 1837, the first wave of settlers from the East. But Mary knew none of those first years, for, by the time she was born in 1851, the countryside was widely settled, the first harbors all laid down and guarded by lighthouses, and the railroads were now well along in construction.
There would have been fresh fruits and vegetables from the gardens, wheat and corn flour from the grinding mills, horse-shoes and nails from the blacksmiths, and even catalog buying from the big stores down in Chicago.
There was family everywhere, uncles and aunts and cousins galore. Her grandfather, Charles Leet (her mother Jane's father), was quite an important man thereabouts. Had one of the finest houses, built years before she was born. The local town government and church used to meet in his parlor until they built their own buildings. Her grandfather Burgess (father's father) had died back in the 1830s, leaving his son to run the saw mill they had opened – first saw mill in the area, that maybe even had a hand in building Charles Leet's fine house on the hill. Her grandmother Amanda was the daughter of Alfred Foster, one the first exploring settlers of this part of Wisconsin. All of them had other children who had other children, so I imagine there must have been some big family gatherings, especially around the holidays or at weddings and funerals.
There was also the great war, whose coming was foreseen, whose progress was horrible, four years of slaughter and grief, and whose end was accompanied by the assassination of the the president, a man from next door, even, in Illinois. Mary's brothers were all too young to enlist, but her mother's brother, George Leet, did so, and survived, and returned to inherit his father Charles' farm. Mary was only ten when the war broke out in 1861, but by the time it ended, in 1865, she was almost 14. Coincidentally enough, that is only half a year from the age I was when President Kennedy was killed.
No doubt there were other family members, some of them killed, others wounded, and neighbors, too. In our modern age, with our own history of wars in Europe and around the world, we tend to forget that more Americans died in the war between the states (or Civil War), than in all our other wars. It was the pre-eminent and predominant event in the history of all their lives, overshadowing even their parents' and grandparents' emigration from the east thirty years before.
At the same time, Mary's life was accompanied by a sudden upswing in manufactured goods, railroad transportation, telegraphy, and many other modern industrial changes that even in her childhood came into her little world of Pike River, or Somers, as it came to be called. She lived in a small country town, but it was only a mile from a larger town, Kenosha, and lay midway between the booming cities of Chicago and Milwaukee. Although her home town remained agricultural, and other towns she would live in would be farm towns, the American civilization was transforming throughout her lifetime, from agricultural homeland to industrial powerhouse.
I don't know how Mary met Frank, her future husband, who had grown up fifty miles to the west, out in the farming back country around the Fox River. But somehow they met, and, as educated, sensitive young men and women, they exchanged books – I still have one he gave her several years before they married in 1878. The love of literature was a quality they passed on to their children and grandchildren, and beyond.
Mary would have been 27 that year they were married, which was quite late, in those days, for a young woman to be married. But then again, both she and Frank were of middle class New England and New York stock and that class tended to wait until everything was ready for them to begin life together. No rushing into things. Plan, and prepare. Frank was 32 when they married, and had been already practicing medicine in Kansas for more than a year after graduating from Northwestern University in Chicago.
With her marriage, Mary left Somers, Wisconsin, far behind, and went off with her new husband to Kansas. She gave up her old home life on the shores of Lake Michigan for a life far far away from her parents and uncles and aunts and cousins and brothers and sisters, a new life out on the prairie with only her husband, and the children who would be born to them, and such new friends as she could make for herself out in Lincoln, Kansas. I do not doubt she was lonely, and homesick, but on the other hand, she was her own mistress now, not the eldest daughter who always had to do everything, who always had done everything to help her mother and all the other children, not to mention the huge family all around her.
I know she was a reader, and suppose she was a writer, too. There must have been letters between her and the family she left behind, but such letters, if they ever existed, have been lost long ago. For that matter, there must have been many letters between her and Frank the years before they were married. I have only seen one letter that her husband Frank wrote, many years later, when the four children were almost all grown, and he and Mary had been on a trip out west to Seattle to revisit old haunting grounds from their younger years together. It was to some sort of relative back in New England, and he had never mailed it. My grandmother, his daughter, had it in her possession when she died.
Mary's husband, the country doctor, was rather a wandering man, and after a short spell in Lincoln, Kansas, and later in Madison, Wisconsin, he took his wife and oldest children away to Washington State in the 1880s – certainly they travelled by railroad – and out west there, Frank doctored his way around a young, wild Seattle, then took them out into the countryside where he even served as town marshall (and doctor, I assume) of Oakesdale for a while, before they finally returned to settle down again – as much as Mary would ever get him to settle down – for ten or fifteen years at least – in Lincoln, Kansas, where his youngest child, my grandmother, was born. There he became quite respected, serving as county coroner, but never quite earning enough to comfortably support the growing family. My aunt once told me she remembered her grandmother Mary complaining how her husband had so very rarely allowed her to buy even a new dress for herself.
And I think again of those younger days, when she must have been happier, just to have a few pennies to spend on ribbons or thread, or perhaps a handkerchief bought new from a catalog from one of the big stores in Chicago. Or maybe, I say again, she preferred being mistress of her own house. Probably both feelings came to her.
And I imagine she pinched herself, and pulled herself together, and found comfort in the children, all growing so well, so healthy, thank God for the simple blessings. But if only we had a bit more....
There is some evidence that Mary went back home to live for a while, in 1902. This was, however, the same year that her brother-in-law, Frank's last living relative, passed away, and he may thus have had to come back to Kenosha County to handle those affairs, perhaps even before his brother died, and certainly after, when he inherited the family lands around Silver Lake.
In their last years, Mary and Frank returned to Seattle. Her eldest daughter, Caroline, was already living there with her husband, a professor of German at the University of Washington. It was also there that their youngest child, Nell, met her young sailor boyfriend Morris, and married him. Mary's grand-daughter Jane (my aunt R.I.P), told me she remembered her grandmother as a sweet little old woman who loved her dearly and whom she equally loved. Jane (which was also Mary's mother's name, remember) would sleep over with her and they would tell each other secrets – almost all of which have been lost, except those few that might be buried in the notebook journals my aunt kept writing for years on end until she died just a few years ago.
Frank had died in Seattle, in 1912, four years before Mary's granddaughter Jane was born. Jane was ten years old when her grandmother Mary Burgess Cogswell died in 1926.
Mary was buried in Evergreen Washelli cemetery on the far north side of Seattle. Her husband Frank's remains had been shipped back to Silver Lake, Salem township, Wisconsin. So, in death, they were parted. Or not, if you believe in....
Mary and Frank had four children who lived to adulthood:
Caroline Dustin Cogswell (1882-1970) Robert John Cogswell (1884-1966) Daniel Burgess Cogswell (1887-1951) Nell Jane Cogswell (1890-1963).
My great-grandfather Frank Cogswell was the son of Caroline Duston (1804-1885) and John Cogswell (1800-1892).
- He was born , at Silver Lake, in Salem Township, Kenosha County, Wisconsin.
- Married , in Somers, Kenosha County, Wisconsin, to Mary A. Burgess (1851-1926).
- Died , in Seattle, Washington. Remains returned to Wisconsin for burial in his parents' family plot at Salem Mound Cemetery, at the corner of North Cogswell Drive and Highway 50.
Frank had two brothers and one sister who survived childhood:
Caroline Duston Cogswell (1827-1855) Augustus Cogswell (1831-1890) Charles D. Cogswell (1838-1902)
My great grandfather Frank was the youngest child of his family, so young that the eldest, his big sister, turned 19 the year he was born. By the time he came into life, the family was established on their large tract of farm and forest land 50 miles east of Lake Michigan, on the rolling lands around Silver Lake, in Salem Township. Perhaps you can see the two tracts marked "J.Cogswell" in section 8 on this township map, just to the left, and then above, the rather round body of Silver Lake.
No doubt Frank learned wood chopping and farming and fishing and hunting and how to handle horses and other animals. But he must have shown an early spark of intelligence, which led his parents (I especially suspect his mother, whose father was a doctor back east) to make plans for him. He was to be educated.
His older sister married Doctor M.F. Irwin on November 26, 1846, when Frank was an infant of two months old. This event must have made their mother proud (remembering her father). But then, nine years later, the young wife died, on March 30, 1855. That must have cast a sad pall over the entire family. I believe this tragic loss led to Frank's mother's rededication to the mission of providing the best education possible for her youngest son. Frank himself must have been thunderstruck by the sudden reality of death hitting deep into his own family. Perhaps he, too, at the young age of nine and ten, contributed to his intellectual destiny, by turning to literature to ease his childish grief over the loss of his older sister.
Did Frank read out loud from scripture to the family after the loss of the eldest and only daughter? Then, the first Christmas without her must have been a woefully sad time for all. Perhaps Frank's childish voice, reading to them by candle-light (or lamp), would make them turn back toward life in those long nights of winter, when every tread of their mother's foot upon the kitchen floor would make the older boys, and father, remember how their sister, daughter, had bustled about the kitchen for all those long years until she had gone away....
It is just possible that Frank had in some way actually worshiped his sister from afar. Caroline had been nearly twenty when Frank was born, and no doubt felt enormous love for him as only a young wife can, hoping for her own child to come. Furthermore, being so much older, she never had been a tormentor of her baby brother, nay, had long outgrown such childish tendencies. As a result I imagine Frank looked up to his oldest sibling with special reverence and tenderness. She had gone out into the world and married a doctor and then had a child, and then... was taken away from them at a tragic, young age. I believe that this loss must have affected the young boy, and awakened sympathies within him upon which we can only speculate.
His schooling had, no doubt, already begun. The local school house was, I believe, located near Balls Corner, an old crossroads nearby Silver Lake, in the township of Salem. One hundred and thirty years later, in the summer of 1981, while visiting the area with my first wife (mother of Frank's great-great grandson), I had the old schoolhouse pointed out to me behind a roadside apple pie stand at Balls Corner. It was locked shut, but I remember thinking in some small wonder that maybe my great grandfather and his brothers and sisters had passed through that door and struggled with their lessons inside.
After reaching the early limits of what farm children would be taught at the local schoolhouse, young Frank was sent about thirty-five miles east across the Wisconsin landscape to an early frontier educational institution, Allen's Grove Academy. This was too far to travel every day, so he must have boarded with a local family. Indeed, there was probably a tradition of students boarding with good families there.
Allen's Grove Academy — We were much pleased to make our first visit to this school, a short time since, and to find a very pleasing moral and educational atmosphere about it. There is an absence of pretension, and the presence of solid reality, not always found in Western schools—or Eastern ones either, for that matter. There is needed, and as soon as times permit will be erected, a larger and better building. Mr Montague, the Principal, is assisted by Miss Nelson and Miss Burnham. A fine well trained Normal Class of 15 has just gone out to take schools.
(Wisconsin Journal of Education, Volume VII, 1863.[Google books online])
At the time of that writing, 1863, Frank would have been 17 years old and probably already graduated or about to do so. You will note the comment "A fine well trained Normal Class of 15 has just gone out to take schools." In those days, to become a teacher in a local schoolhouse in the west, one studied at a "Normal School."
The next step in Frank Cogswell's educational career was to attend Beloit College. Fifty some miles from home, he would again, naturally, have lived in a rooming house or other arrangement with a local family, or perhaps some institutional arrangement or residence hall. We cannot be sure how or where he lived, but we can come to understand that already Frank had spent several years away from home, living far from his parents' rule and direct guidance. To a certain extent, I believe this contributed to his later wanderlust, not to say refusal to set up medical practice near his parents' home in Kenosha County.
In the Annual Catalogues of the Officers and Students of Beloit College for the Academical Year 1865-'66, and for the Academical Year 1866-'67, the name of one Frank Cogswell of Salem, appears twice on the lists of Normal and Preparatory Students, for both the years of 1866 and 1867. He would have been twenty and twenty-one years old at that time.
In 1879, according to the memoirs of Elizabeth N. Barr ("a native and old settler"), Frank Cogswell M.D. was in business in Lincoln, Kansas.
Oakesdale—Population, 927. Has one school house, valuation $1,500. In 1901, expended for public improvements $1,500. Has no city indebtedness; $2,000 cash in treasury. Average wages paid day laborers, $2.00; for man and team, $3.00. City has chief of police and two constables, average salary $50 per month. Frank Cogswell, Mayor. (from Biennial report of the Bureau of Labor of the State of Washington, 1903.)
"Death Ends Career of Local Physician"
From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1912
Dr. Frank Cogswell, a resident of Seattle since 1907 and a physician of considerable practice and reputation, died yesterday. Dr. Cogswell was born in Salem, Wis., Sept. 7, 1846. He attended Allen Grove academy and Beloit college. In 1876 he graduated form the Northwestern Medical school. Dr. Cogswell was married to Miss Mary A. Burgess, Sept. 28, 1878. He established a large practice at Lincoln, Kan., and there his four children were born. Dr. Cogswell practiced for a time in eastern Washington, near Spokane, returned to Madison, Wis., in 1903, and four years later removed to Seattle. He made his home in this city at 4730 14th Ave. NE. He is survived by his widow and his children, Caroline, Robert, Daniel and Nellie. The funeral will be held from the residence tomorrow afternoon. After the services the body will be sent East for burial.
(Dr. Cogwell's date of death was March 22, 1912.)
My great-grandmother Martha McCauley was the daughter of Eleanor Latimer (1821-1874) and Alexander McCauley (1818-1890).
She was born 1851, in ______.
Married 1874, in Owen Sound, County Grey, Ontario, to John Japheth Ebenezar Thomas (1847-19__).
Died 1927, in Seattle, King County, Washington State.
Martha had brothers and sisters who survived childhood:
(-) Mary Ann b 1847; (-) John S b 1848; (-) Matthew b 1850; (-) Eliza b 1853; (-) Samuel b 1855; (-) Ellenor b 1857; (-) Alexander b 1860; (-) Margaret b 1862; and (-) William b 1864.
My great-grandfather John Japeth Ebenezar Thomas was the son of Mary "Ann" Morris (1810-1896) and John Thomas (1810-____).
He was born 1847, in , County, Ontario.
Married 1874, in Owen Sound, County Grey, Ontario to Martha McCauley (1851-____).
Died 193_, in Alameda County, California.
John J.E. Thomas had brothersisters who survived childhood:
(-) (-) (-) (-)
With my great-grandmother Martha, and her "boy" – later beloved husband Johny (great grandfather) – we have an extraordinary opportunity before us to enter into their world, and the world of Martha's brothers and sisters and cousins, especially, by means of a series of letters written to Martha between 1869 and 1882.
The collection I hold contains one hundred and two letters, almost all of them addressed to Martha, or later, to Martha and John together. I have painstakingly transcribed their difficult handwriting and am in the slow process of publishing them, as edited, for public reading at Dear Martha.
From the letters we learn that Martha was one daughter of a large family, a fact known from genealogical records, but even more, we learn that she and her sisters and brothers and cousins, and we assume by extension most of their aunts and uncles before them, were in the habit of writing and visiting with one another on a fairly regular basis.
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