Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Miss Eliza Hamilton. "their history, so far as application to her sex, was her’s."

Thus a newspaper obituary writer determined Miss Eliza Hamilton's seventy-year life be summed up by reading her brothers' obituaries that had appeared there earlier. Her "died" notice was published February 16, 1900 in the Greensburg Standard, Indiana newspaper.

Miss Hamilton was sister to Cyrus and Thomas Hamilton, early prominent pioneers to Decatur County Indiana. I posted information about them in 2010. My ongoing investigation of the Hamilton/Morgan connection has been greatly helped by the obituary collection nicely indexed and available from the Greensburg, Decatur, Indiana County Library.  Thank you so very much to the folks at Gene Alogy! 

Obituary, Cyrus Hamilton
[August 27, 1879, Decatur News]

Cyrus Hamilton was born July 14, 1800, on McBride’s creek, in Burbon (now Nicholas) county, Kentucky; was married to Polly McCoy on the 22nd of February, 1822, and with his wife and his brother James E. and family, left the home of his boyhood to find, and found a new one in the then unbroken wilds of this county. On the 11th of March succeeding they arrived at the locality  since so well known as their hospitable homes, where both made a permanent settlement, and which has been their home ever since. In March of last year he was seized with disease of the kidneys and bladder, from which he was a terrible sufferer, with only fitful relief, until Tuesday last. (August 19th) about 1 o’clock when death came to his relief. 
Of the many early settlers of this county few have been better known to their citizens—for more actively and [illegible]  connected with her moral and social development. A Christian man—one of the “Sandcreek” (Kingston) Presbyterian church; an ardent temperance man, and a radical abolitionist, from the very inception of those movements, he assisted in the organization of these societies throughout his section of the country, —addressing the people thereon wherever he could get listeners.Though not an orator—not so much as a ‘speaker’ —he was a fine talker, and never failed to interest those who would hear him—though often his remarks feel upon prejudicial ears and he had to wait long for the fruits of his sowing. Those ears, however, and he lived to rejoice in the end. 
Mr. Hamilton came of a long lived race. In the years 1822 and 23 his mother, widow with four sons and eleven daughters emigrated to this country; four were then married, the others single; all but one lived till just past middle age and four of the daughters—Mrs. Sally Donnel, Mrs.Minera Donnell, Mrs. Jane Lowe and Miss Eliza Hamilton—and three of the sons James E., Thomas and R. M., are still living. Mother Hamilton lived to up in the seventies and the two sisters and a brother who settled here lived to a still greater age. Cyrus was the father of six children and about twenty five grandchildren, and he was the first death in his own or his children’s families. 
 For forty-seven years and seven months lacking three days, “Uncle Cyrus and Aunt Polly” had traveled the path way of life together, whether sharring its joys, together buffeting its misfortunes. He has been called home, she, bowed by age and disease, can tarry but a short while ere the winged messenger shall call for her. Funeral services were held at Kingston on Wednesday afternoon, and attended by a large concourse of relatives and personal friends of the deceased; sermon by the pastor, A. T. Rankin. —Standard.
These Hamiltons are family to Garrard Morgan's sister Mary "Polly" Morgan who married R. M. [Robert Marshall] Hamilton mentioned above. 

My own great great grandmother Eliza Ann Hamilton Morgan, married to Garrard Morgan, doesn't yet appear to be connected to these Hamiltons. Both groups immigrated to Indiana from Nicholas County, Kentucky. Eliza Ann is the daughter of James Hamilton, who is the son of John Hamilton

Thus far I haven't found any Roberts mentioned  in that family ancestry. Decatur County, Indiana information about Robert Marshall Hamilton, indicates he descended from a line of Roberts.

Hmmm!  Much still to do.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Now Available! Needle and Thread; a Life Story of Helen Melvina (Mellie) Groesbeck (1852-1930)

Our book of Great Grandmother Helen Melvina "Mellie" Groesbeck Morgan is finally printed and available. What a wonderful journey cousin Karen and I have shared—gathering, collaborating, sorting, compiling, and writing her life story.

When we candidly declared several years ago that "we would write our grandmother's history" we had little knowledge of what that would entail. Now knowing, we have produced a 172 page history comprised of text, articles, clippings, letters, poems and pictures of her exemplary life—one well lived.

Let me know in the comment field below if you would like to purchase a copy of the book for $35.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

“Here lies a Christian wife, a Christian mother and a Christian neighbor.”

Mary Morgan Hamilton (sister to Garrard Morgan 1806 - ? ) is grandmother to  Mary and Walter Rankin.

[ February 8, 1884, Greensburg Standard]
Mrs. Mary [Morgan] Hamilton:

Mary Hamilton, wife of Robert Marshall Hamilton, died at 4:30 o’clock Saturday afternoon last, at the family residence four miles northeast of this city, after an illness of over three years of consumption, in the 72nd year of her age. Funeral services were held at 10 a.m. Monday at the residence, conducted by Rev. A. T. Rankin, after which her remains were laid to rest in the Hamilton burying grounds in the Kingston cemetery.

“Aunt Polly” was a sister to the late Captain James and Gerrard Morgan, two well known and popular citizens of this county in former years. She was born in Nicholas county, Kentucky, and with her widowed mother, Mrs. Sarah Morgan, and three brothers and a sister, emigrated to this county in 1823. They settled on the east part of the farm now owned by R. R. Cobb, one mile east of this city, which remained the family home until after the marriage of all the children and the decease of the mother.

At this backwoods home, on the 25th day of Sept., 1834, Robert M. Hamilton and Mary Morgan were united in marriage, and at once made their residence on the farm that until death thus separated them has been their pleasant and happy home. Here were born to them six children, one of whom died in childhood, another about a year ago in his young manhood, while the other four reside in the neighborhood—all of them respected members of society.

In her early youth  [while growing up in Kentucky] “Aunt Polly” made profession of her faith in Christ and connected with the Christian church. Sometime after her marriage [in Greensburg, Indiana] she transferred her membership to the Sandcreek (new Kingston) Presbyterian church, in which communion she continued until her decease, bearing witness through her long life to that Faith that sustained her to her long afflictions and was her comfort in her hour of dissolution.

Let her epitaph be written. "Here lies a Christian wife, a Christian mother and a Christian neighbor." O.T. (February 8, 1884 Greensburg Standard)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hamilton - Morgan connection. Miss Mary Rankin, Walter's sister.

In my attempt to "figure out" our Hamilton - Morgan family connections I've read through a great many Decatur, Indiana county obituaries. 

Some of them call out to being shared. (Continued from here.)

Rites Set for Ex-Resident
Miss Mary Rankin [died 10-26-1973] To Be Buried Here

Graveside rites for Miss Mary Rankin, 89, who died at 12:15 p.m. Thursday in the Methodist Memorial Home at Warren after a brief illness, will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Kingston Cemetery. The Rev. Herbert Townsend Jr., pastor of the Kingston United Presbyterian Church will conduct the services. The body has been cremated.

Since July, 1850 Miss Rankin had been a guest at the home at Warren.

A descendant of pioneer families of Decatur County, Miss Rankin made her last visit here at the time of the annual Donnell-Hamilton-McCoy reunion on Aug. 5.
For over a half century, Miss Rankin was preminently identified with church, health ahd club activities in this community.

Born on May 16, 1884 on the family farm at McCoy’s Station east of Greensburg, Miss Rankin was the daughter of John T. and Sarah Hamilton Rankin. In disposing of the bulk of her acreage in Dec. 1950, Miss Rankin terminated a farm relationship with the John Menkhaus family covering 45 years.
Her father died on Dec. 28 1914. At the time of death on Nov. 2 1942 her mother, Mrs. Sarah Hamilton Rankin, then 97, was the oldest resident of Decatur County.

Miss Rankin was a granddaughter of the Rev. John T. Rankin who was a prominent figure in the anti-slavery movement before the Civil War. The former residence of the Rev. Rankin a Ripley, Ohio, has been preserved as a historic home.

After attending the McCoy Grade School and Greensburg High School, Miss Rankin completed her high school education at Western College for Women, Oxford, Ohio.

Subsequently, she enrolled at Oberlin College t Oberlin, Ohio from which she was awarded an A.B. degree in 1906 and a M.A. degree later. She was listed as the oldest graduate of Oberlin College.
The oldest member of the Kingston United Presbyterian Church, Miss Rankin was active in church assignments throughout her life. She served as president of the Whitewater Presbyterial Society and engaged in women’s activities of the Kingston Church.

From 1928 to 1939, Miss Rankin was the executive secretary of the Decatur County Tuberculosis Association. During this period the county association gained citations from the state association: for several successive years. She was a former secretary of the T. B. Secretaries’ Association of Indiana and held membership on the board of directors of the Indiana Tuberculosis Association. Her experience in the health field was recognized as an assignment as

Rites Set (continued from page one)
A case worker in Boone County.

One of the organizers of the Greensburg Department Club, Miss Rankin was a former president. She also served as president of the Progress Club in the Kingston Community, the Greensburg Business and professional Women’s Club and the Greensburg Music Club. She was a mbmer of the Giv-Un-Take Garden Club for an extended period.

As a world traveler, she has visited Australia, new Zealand, Alaska, The Holy Land, Italy, Germany and Central America. In addition she had traveled in every state in the United States, relating her experiences in travel to numerous groups.

During and after World War II, she was director for Decatur County of women’s work in the civil defense program.

Surviving Miss Rankin are a number of cousins.

from - Greensburg Daily News, Decatur, Indiana Library, Obituaries. Thank you very much!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mary Rankin and her brother Walter.

Garrard Morgan's sister Mary "Polly" Morgan was married on September 26, 1834 to Robert Marshall Hamilton in Greensburg, Indiana. They were married in the home they would live their lives out together in. Their daughter Sarah Morgan Hamilton married John T. Rankin and they had one daughter Mary. 

Six years ago I asked the question, what happened to Mary Morgan Hamilton's granddaughter (Mary Rankin) who appeared to be named Mary for her grandmother?  

According to the Social Security Index Mary lived from May 16, 1884 until October 1973, and died at the age of 89.

Mary was her mother Sarah’s only living child in the 1900 census. Sarah claimed she had four children and sixteen-year-old Mary was then her only living child. Census numbers evidence such sadness.  

May 6, 1890

Walter, son of John T. and Sarah Rankin, died Tuesday, May 6, 1890, in the 9th year of his age, of diphtheria, and was buried at Kingston Wednesday morning. He was a promising boy, and his parents feel deeply their loss. It seemed specially sad that, the disease being contagious, so few of their many friends could attend the funeral. Their beautiful home at McCoy seemed darkened by the angel of death. But the parents have the Christian hope of meeting the loved one in the beautiful world. He will be missed by his Sabbath school teacher and from his place in the church at Kingston, of which he was a baptized member. Services at the house and grave were conducted by his uncle, Rev. A. T. Rankin, and the body put to rest in his grandfather’s, R. M. Hamilton, beautiful lot in the cemetery. His sister, younger than he, has recovered from the same. It is hoped there may be no other cases.   From The Saturday Review.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Great great grandmother Eliza Ann Hamilton Morgan's obituary.

Eliza Ann Hamilton and Garrard Morgan (about 1895)

I believe this picture may be the one Eliza Ann referred to in her 1895 letter posted here  written from her Champaign, Illinois home to daughter-in-law Mellie Morgan in Salt Lake. 

In the letter Eliza Ann described a beautiful silk darning bag relative Rettie Green sent her. She told Mellie she’d written her [Rettie]  “as sweet a letter of thanks as I was able to do and sent her our Pictures as they had asked for them”

Garrard's passing was probably soon afterwards. Family records say it was in 1889 which is not correct.  He was living when Eliza Ann wrote the following letter (linked above) to Mellie.  
Champaigne, [Illinois] April 29, 1895
My dear Daughter [Helen Melvina "Mellie" Groesbeck Morgan]
"It is Monday morning and wash day but I must not let another day pass without writing to you—my dear one. I have thought of you each day as it passed and knew I ought to write you, but so many things to do and have done. I have been kept busy and have had so many enexpected [sic] letters to answer from the children and nieces and nephews and even a great niece that it seems a task for me to write; but nevertheless, I have written. This makes the thirteenth letter this month. Yest, this is your Pa’s birth month and all the children have written him such nice affectionate letters and he puts all the letter writing upon me. Says he cannot wright—I am sorry to say it is true—he cannot collect his thoughts. I am very fond of writing letters, but oh how I dread to write your Pa’s."
The preceding year Garrard and Eliza's son John Morgan died in Preston, Idaho and was buried in Salt Lake City, Utah. This notice appeared August 29, 1894 in the Greensburg, Decatur, Indiana New Era newspaper.

Five years later Mellie Morgan received a letter from Eliza's youngest brother Garrard Morgan Hamilton dated  July 9, 1900:
“Your very kind and welcome letter came in Saturday, July 7th … Eliza Morgan, John’s mother is now in Middletown Neura County Indiana living with her son, Dr. Wm. Morgan. She came near dying last winter in Chicago but she pulled through all right and the last from her was doing very well. 

Mrs. Eliza A. Morgan died at Middletown, Henry county, Ind, at residence of her son, Dr. W. H. Morgan, on April 13, 1901, and was interred in South Park Cemetery here on April 19, 1901.

Mrs. Morgan was born at Carlisle, Ky., July 2, 1815, and was the daughter of James P. and Margaret Hamilton.

She was married to Garrard Morgan in 1832 and removed to Greensburg, Decatur county, Ind. In 1834. In 1857 they removed to Illinois.

Mrs. Morgan joined the Christian church at Carlisle, Ky., under the ministration of Elder John Rodgers and has always continued a consistent and faithful member of that church.

Four sons survive her. Also her youngest brother, G. M. Hamilton of this place.

Thank you to the librarian at the Greensburg, Decatur County, Indiana Public Library linked here  for generously providing the obituary notices for this post.  

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Elizabeth Thompson Groesbeck and money! From her journal.

February 13, 1867 Nicholas wrote the following from his mission in England home to Elizabeth, ... “If you see him [Porter Rockwell] please to remember me to him and remember me to all of my renters, or your renters, for it is all one, William Showell, Smith McGarth and wife and all others. Please in your next to state what rooms are empty, if any; it does very well to fill up with, and it interests me some at the same time. Please state whether blacksmith shop rented or not; when you wrote last you did say who rented it and was not certain how long they would keep it.”

An account of Elizabeth’s generous nature was shared in the March 2009 Capitol Hill Neighborhood Council Bulletin (pictured above). A family, destitute because of illness and unemployment, rented a cottage (according to some reports this was the house at 76 West 200 North) from the Groesbecks. A puzzled friend asked the husband where he got the money to pay the rent. The man replied, “We receive the rent money from Mrs. Groesbeck. She comes around with the rent money a day or two before her husband comes around to collect it.”

Discovering Elizabeth's 1875-1883 journal clarifies many things. She felt entitled to direct some of her family's money to things she valued.  The account preserved in this 2009 Community Bulletin is reflected further in these journal entries.
March 1st 1877 I rose prity early went down stairs get the churning redy then I went upstairs to do the work there   found Brother Groesbeck rather cross about sum vases that Mellie had got for apreacnt [a present] for me   this maid me feel raither bad as he had let agrait meney thousands of dolers go   I felt to say never mind those litel vases they wold not brake eneyone up   make your self happy as you can for I shall spen all the money I git holt of    I attended a funerel in the after noon of a littel boy by the name of Olson [Olaf Chas. Olson 1872-1877 (]
January 1878 Wednesday 16th I went to the picture gallery and thare I seen apicture of Jeneral Washington  I liked it and bot it   paid tenn dalers I knew that my Husband wold not like to have me spend
And thus Elizabeth needed to do some things in secret.