Monday, September 12, 2011


The more I look into this woman's life, the more questions I have.  Another mystery.  Rebecca is the sister of my descendant, John Harvey Moyer.  This should not be confused with John's daughter, Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnelly, who died and was buried in 1919.  I find it endearing that that John Harve named a daughter Rebecca and then his sister Rebecca actually names one of her sons John Harve.
Rebecca was born February 1851 or 1854 in Indiana.  Her birthday is listed as 1851 on the 1900 census and on the 1880 census, it states that she is 30.  When she was 6 years old her family is listed on the 1860 federal census in Hickory Grove, Wisconsin.  She married Franklin Lafayette Williamson on 17 November, 1870 in Saunders County, Nebraska.  She was 16 years old at the time and he had returned from serving in the Civil War for three years.  This leads me to believe that her birth year was 1854, but it will get even more confusing.
In 1880 the family is living in Benton, Iowa.  At this time there are five children in the family, Elizabeth, George, John Harve, Bert and Charles.  By 1885 they have moved across the border to Plattsmouth, Nebraska and we are lucky to have a state census that year.  Rebecca is 29 and has six children.  Her first child, Elizabeth is listed as Lizzie Cunningham and step-daughter to Frank Williamson.  Frank is listed as a farmer.
In 1900 the family is living in Nebraska City, Nebraska.  Rebecca lists 11 of 12 children living.  She has 7 children at home.  Frank's occupation is listed as a teamster.
Here's where it gets real interesting.  I was able to locate an Iowa marriage certificate for a Rebecca Williamson who's parents were George Myers and Sarah Beasly.  She states that she is WIDOWED!  Her new husband is an immigrant from Germany named John Rousch.  He was 38 at the time of the marriage and Rebecca lists her age as 47.  Anyone interested in viewing the information can find it by clicking on this link:
The next document I look to is the 1910 census.  First I find Rebecca and John Rousch living in Nebraska City and Rebecca's daughter Louise and her husband, John Petty is living with them.  The only weird thing on this census is that Rebecca's name is listed as Helen on the census.  But don't doubt this is our Rebecca because you will see that she lists 11 out 12 children living.  She is 50 years old and living next door to her other daughter, Hattie Biggs, and her family!
Where is Frank living in 1910?  Frank is also living in Nebraska City doing odd jobs.  He is also listed as being a widow.  Makes things a bit confusing, eh?  Maybe it was cheaper than a divorce......
I haven't been able to pin point Rebecca's death date or where she is buried but in 1925 and in 1930 Rebecca's second husband, John Rousch is found living with Louise and her husband still.  This happens to be Louise's second husband, Bert Musselman.

Here is a list of her children:

Elizabeth (Cunningham) is found on two censuses living with Rebecca.  The 1880 Federal and the 1885 Iowa state census.  She is listed as a step daughter with the last name of Cunningham on the 1885 state census.
George, born about 1872 in Nebraska, married Rosa Pool 1895 in Nebraska and they had one child, Bessie R Williamson who was born 1905 in Nebraska, in 1906 George married Louisa Hammond at Council Bluffs, Iowa.  No known death date.
John Harve, born December 22, 1873 in Nebraska. He married Cora or Clara Crow about 1899.
Bert, born March 22, 1875 in Nebraska.  He married Ella Howery September 3, 1907 in Nebraska.  He died December 1967 in Nebraska City, Nebraska.
Charles Edward was born about 1880
Bessie Mae was born February 7, 1883 in Nebraska
Hattie Belle, a twin born February 5, 1886.  She married Jonathan Biggs July 18, 1900 in Nebraska City.  She was only 14 years old at the time.  She died  August 19, 1933 in Omaha, Nebraska.
Mattie, a twin born February 5, 1886.  I have two marriage certificates for her.  On March 6, 1902, she married Guy Pearman in Nebraska City.  Then on April 10, 1911, she married Ezekial Dutton.
Roy was born 1890 in Nebraska.  He married Myrtle Anna Horner on November 14, 1914 in Nebraska City.  I do not have a death date for him.
Louise, born January 18, 1894, married John S. Petty on October 12, 1908 when she was 14 years old.  She later married Bert Allen Musselman on October 11, 1911. Both marriages were recorded in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  
Olive Pearl was born June 3, 1897 in Nebraska City.  She married Abraham Lewis on September 25, 1916 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  She went by Ollie and she is buried at the Hazel Dell Cemetery in California.  She died on May 12, 1983.
Here are the questions I have about Rebecca:  Did she have a daughter Elizabeth with another man before she married Franklin Layfette Williamson?  Why did she and Frank list themselves as widowed?  Where and when did Rebecca die?  What was she like?  Did she have contact with her brother, John Harve, and my great great great grandfather?  Maybe these questions will never get answered but my inquiring mind just can't help but wonder!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Elsie May Moyer Stanfield 1883-1943

One of the many mysteries has been solved.  Doing family history is so fun in that there are so many ways to find clues and get the answers to the many questions that arise.  This time, just being snoopy helped me.  My great great grandmother had two sisters by the same mother.  Their dear mother, Nancy McQuinn, died eight years after marrying their father, John Harve Moyer.  They were raised by him until they were married and they were all quite young when she died.  I was lucky enough to get information about the youngest sister Rebecca or Becky, but the only information I had was from the 1900 census that listed Elizabeth as the other sister.  I took a peak at someone else's family tree and noticed that they listed the sister as Elsie May.  I am always skeptical about assuming someone else's work is accurate, but since there were no other leads, I decided to look into it.  I am happy to report that when I received a copy of Elsie's obituary, it was confirmed that Mrs. O.W. Montgomery was indeed a living survivor as Elsie's sister.  The obituary also mentioned a surviving brother, Ed Moyer living in Miles City, Montana. 
I have found varying information about Elsie's date of birth.  Her obituary says she was 60 at the time of her death and that she was born February 27, 1883.  I find this peculiar because in my great great grandmother's obituary it says that she was born February, 17, 1883!  That would only make them ten days apart.  Just shows that sometimes the person who is giving the information to the newspaper doesn't always know the right dates or possibly the newspaper made a mistake.  I recently recently read an obituary of a relative where I know the information was incorrect.  It's all a part of the adventure!  The 1900 census lists the girls names and birthdays like this:

Stella, daughter, Nov 1881, age 18, actual birthday 17 February 1883
Elizabeth, daughter, Nov 1883, age 16
Rebecca, daughter, Nov 1884, age 15, actual birthday 22 June 1885

This is the census that has a lot of errors concerning the family.  I keep trying to figure out who it was that gave the information.  It may have been the grandparents of these three sisters, George and Sarah Myers, or maybe it was one the nieces or nephews that were living with the family.  It would make sense that they might not necessarily know everyone’s birthdates.  My theory is that if I do enough research about each person on that census and I find whoever has the correct birthday is probably the one that gave the information!  It could also have been John Harve, himself.  Sometimes dads don’t always remember the birthdates of their children.  It is also curious that all three of the girls have November birthdays. 
It is interesting to note that the surname Myers is listed on this census and that Elsie's children all list her maiden name as Myers on their marriage certificates as well as she used it on her own marriage certificate.  Both Rebecca and Estella use the name Moyer on their own marriage certificate.  See my post on that controversial subject of Moyer vs. Myers.
Elsie May was born in McPaul, Iowa.  I am assuming that she was the middle child of the three girls.  The only thing that gives me that information is the 190o Federal census that lists the girls in the order of Estella being the oldest and Rebecca being the youngest.  This is the only census that I have with the girls living in the same household before they all go and get married.
Elsie married Isaac Huff Stanfield on October 28, 1900 in Harpster, Idaho.  He was a native to the Dayton, Washington area.   On the 1900 census, he is living with the Calkin family in Mt. Idaho, Idaho.  Mrs. Millie Calkins maiden name is Myers and she is the daughter of George and Sarah Myers and sister to John Harve.  She is Elsie’s aunt.  Isaac is doing farm work for them on their farm.
Isaac and Elsie lived in the Dayton area for awhile and then around 1918 they are living in American Falls, Idaho.  Before 1930 they return to Dayton, Washington and Isaac dies on October 20, 1938.  Elsie passes away five years later on April 18, 1943.  They are both buried in the Dayton City Cemetery in Dayton, Washington.
They had five children, but only three lived past childhood.  They are as follows:

Clarence Stanfield, not sure on the dates
Tabitha Elizabeth Stanfield Workman Abraham, born March 13, 1905
Mabel Irene Stanfield Stevens Tate, born July 13, 1907
Anna May Stanfield, born March 29, 1910 and died May 6, 1911
Lucile Stanfield Skelton Stump, born in 1914

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The handsome George E “Coon” Myers was born 1862 in Iowa. He was the youngest son of George and Sarah and carries the same name as his father, George.  The first official document we find about him on is the 1880 census in Pohocco, Saunders, Nebraska.  At 18, he works on the farm with his parents and his brother, Charles.  Charles soon gets married on December 24, 1880 in the same county.
George marries Dora Belle Garrean on December 4, 1888 in Cass County, Nebraska at the age of 26.  They have the following children:

  • Roy Lee Myers, born 16 July 1884
  • Charles Oliver Myers, born 27 Jan 1888 in McPaul, Iowa
  • George Israel Myers, born 6 March 1889 in McPaul, Iowa
  • Sarah Mae Myers, born 10 October 1892 in Dayton, Washington
  • Edith Ethel Myers, born 13 May 1893 in Dayton, Washington
  • Gertrude Lily Myers, born 13 March 1895 in Dayton, Washington
  • Ray Myers, born 13 April 1896 in Dayton, Washington
  • Bert Orval Myers, born 1 May 1897 in Dayton, Washington

The great thing about knowing where each child was born is that it narrows down when the family moved from Iowa to Washington.  This family lived in McPaul, Iowa where my great great grandmother, Estella, was born and at the time of her mother’s death.  So that tells me that they lived in Iowa and Idaho at the same time.  Roy and Estella were cousins close in age.

I have very few stories or documents on this man.  He had children who lived full lives and I am very interested in hearing stories about the lives they led.  The one story that has been passed on is from Edith’s grandson.  He shared this with me:

George Coon  died on July 8, 1898 at the age of 36. No one knew for a long time when he died, so when I notified the Grangeville Library about seeing if they could find this death date in a newspaper. They found it and sent me a short obituary. Then my grandfather remembered a story he had heard as a small boy about George. It seems that George worked for a freight company and on that fateful day of July 8, 1898, he was carrying freight in a wagon to Grangeville. He stopped a couple of minutes, got off the wagon, something spooked the horses and they rolled the wagon over him, killing him instantly. The kids went from several aunts and uncles until they finally got old enough to get on their own. My great grandmother (Edith Ethel Myers), George's daughter married at an incredibly young age of 13, mainly because no one in the family was able to take care of her, so she got married.”

Here is a family photo of Dora Belle and her children later in life.  I don’t have much background on when or where these photos were taken but I am just really happy to have them to look at! 

Dora Belle Garrean Myers Reynolds, the mother of these lovely children is seated second to left on the bottom row.

Monday, March 28, 2011

George and Sarah Myers

Here is the treasure of the week!  My cousin Steve Phillips provided this to me.  He is a descendant from George "Coon" Myers. 
I'd like to attach the photos to a their grave on but I am having a heck of a time finding where they were buried and when!  I spent the day Friday with my best genealogy buddy ever at the Idaho Historical Library.  I looked through all of the newspapers from Grangeville, Idaho for the year 1904.  The newspaper was only weekly at that time so there were only 52 issues to check out.  Unfortunately, I did not find anything.  But I will not stop trying.  There's got to be a trace somewhere and I'm determined to find it!  So here are the photos Steve was willing to share. Maybe someone out there will be able to give me more information on where George and Sarah died and where they are buried. 

Aren't they a cute couple?  Steve has Sarah's last name as Bisbee and I believe this is a transcription error.  I have found a marriage certificate from Clinton, Indiana and the name is stated as Beasley.  The pictures were take by Elite Studios in Grangeville, Idaho.  Enjoy the photos!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally

Rebecca and Estella hardly knew their mother.  She died in 1888 and they soon moved from Iowa and away from the their mother's family.  I felt thrilled when I found this very informative obituary from the Lewiston Tribune, dated Saturday, July 24, 2010.  It is about Rebecca's youngest daughter, Della Irene Donnally Kemp and gave me some more information about her mother.

Della Irene Donnally Kemp, 92, of Grangeville, passed gently away at home with her family at her side Thursday, July 22, 2010. Della, the youngest of seven children, was born in Thurman, Iowa, April 28, 1918, to William Moses and Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally. About three months after she was born, her mother died of influenza and the family traveled by train to Mount Idaho, where she resided for 87 years. She has lived in Clarkston with her daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Mike Moriarty, for the past several years.
Della was raised in Mt. Idaho by her aunt and uncle, Maude and Andy Donnally, while her brothers, Frank, Harvey, Charlie and Lloyd, and her sisters, Hazel and Esther, were raised at the Children's Home in Lewiston.
She went to elementary school at the Country School in Mount Idaho, which was on the hill above her home. She graduated from Grange-ville High School in 1936, where she enjoyed school activities including basketball, sewing, algebra, track and field. Since there were no buses, Della walked the 3 miles from Mount Idaho to Grangeville to attend school.
She enjoyed fishing and old-time dances in Mount Idaho. She would attend social activities in a horse-drawn sled during the snowy winters. In 1937, Della graduated from My Ladies Beauty School in Boise.
While she was a senior in high school and working at the Idaho Hotel, she met and fell in love with Bill Kemp, even though he came in with his muddy boots to clean up in the restroom, which she then had to clean as part of her job. They were married by the justice of the peace in Lewiston, Nov. 30, 1940. They began their married life at the family's Salmon River Big Bar sheep ranch, a 27-mile horse trip from Forest, Idaho, near Winchester. The family herded sheep regularly from the Salmon River to the Buffalo Hump area on foot and horseback.
Della helped run the sheep camp and, in August 1941, came out on horseback to Forest and traveled on to Grangeville for the birth of their first son, Billy. Two weeks later, she went back on horseback to the sheep camp.
In 1944, Della once again rode horseback from the Salmon River to Forest, traveling on to Cottonwood, where a second son, Ricky, was born. The family later moved to their home in Mount Idaho. During this time, Bill and Della ran the Pine Grove Dance Hall in Mount Idaho. Their third child and first daughter, Becky, was born about the time the dance hall closed in 1947. In 1950, their fourth child, Connie Ruth, was born, and nine years later daughter Kaylynn came along!
Della was a full-time homemaker, dedicated to making sure her husband and children were raised with love and care. Always taking an active part, Della was a Cub Scout den mother and Camp Fire Girls leader, where she was honored for 30 years of service, a chapter mom for Demolay and a Job's Daughter adviser. She and Bill were always proud of the fact that their family had two past master counselors of Demolay and two past honored queens of Job's Daughters. She also volunteered with 4-H, Triple Bar Drill Team and was a school volunteer.
Della was a 50-year member and past noble grand in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodge, and a 50-year member of Mountain Queen Chapter No. 11 Order of Eastern Star, serving in various positions and making lifelong friends. She most enjoyed the kitchen and banquet committees that she chaired. She was a charter member of the
Grangeville Eagles Auxiliary No. 539 and was the
Idaho state president in 1988. She and Bill both enjoyed working the many Eagles breakfasts for which the Eagles are widely known. She spent many years up at Fish Creek either with the Camp Fire Girls, the Eagles campouts, or teaching her grandchildren how to fish.
Some of Della's fondest memories came from her time spent bowling with her OK Rubber Welder teammates, Maxine, Opal and Shirley. Oh, the stories she would tell of her team travels to many different bowling tournaments! Bill had just as much fun watching them bowl as the girls did rolling their balls down the alley.
Della enjoyed picking huckleberries. She did not like to give out her secret spots, but if you went with her you would come home with lots of berries. She also enjoyed going "mushrooming" with Bill. They would bring back gallons of mushrooms and spend hours cleaning and canning them for friends and family. She spent many summer hours fishing at Mallard Creek with Jack and Mary Eagle. She always looked forward to their summer visits and bringing home lots of trout to freeze for the winter.
Besides bowling, she loved to crochet and sew. The last 7 years she spent building quilts for all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was always working on some sort of project for one of her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. The quilts and afghans are loved by her family just as much as she loved creating them. When she wasn't crafting or sewing, Della was reading - she was a voracious reader and loved stories of all kinds.
Della was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, William; her son, Billy; her daughter, Connie Ruth; and all of her brothers and sisters.
She is survived by her son, Rick Kemp and Connie of Woodburn, Ore.; her daughters, Becky Moriarty and Mike of Clarkston, and Kaylynn Irusta and Bob of Boise; her sister-in-law, Lois Donnally; brother-in-law Walter Kemp and Frances; her grandchildren, Chris Hardy and Linda, Tony Hardy and Rebecca, Blaine Moriarty and Dusty, Alan Brown, Michele Fredrickson and Zach, Reiko Kemp and Fred, and Kaitlyn Irusta; and her great-grandchildren, Ashley, Sarah Jane, Tate, Trae, Parker, Kalea, Katie and Ava, with another on the way.
She will be missed dearly by her little dog Penny, all of her family who loved her deeply, and many, many lifelong friends in Grangeville and Mount Idaho who are left with many wonderful memories.
The family would like to thank her longtime doctor, Daniel B. McIntosh, and Tri-State Hospice for their caring and help in the last days of her life.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to
Grangeville Eagles Auxiliary No. 539, Grangeville Rebekah Lodge, American Diabetes Association or Tri-State Hospital Foundation.

Graveside services will be held at Monday at the Mount Idaho Cemetery. The Eagles Auxiliary will conduct a ritual ceremony followed by a reception at the Eagles Lodge in Grangeville. Visitation is from to at the Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally passed away January 31, 1919 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  The death certificate states that she was buried in McPaul (Thurman), Iowa.  Della was less than a year old.  It is sad to think that Rebecca didn't know her mother, Nancy McQuin Myers, and Della also did not have much time with her mother either. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moyer or Myers?

That is the question and I will let you be the judge.  For the longest time I didn’t believe that the people on the 1900 Federal census for Harpster, Idaho were related to me because they used the last name of Myers.  I wanted it to be true because there was three generations contained in one document, but it took a lot of research to convince me.  My maternal great grandmother was Estella Moyers and I had a marriage certificate to prove it.  But after studying and finding the census trail for their lives, I am convinced that they are indeed the same family.  Here is the trail of documents I have been able to locate for the George and Sarah Moyer family:

30 Jan 1840  CLINTON, INDIANA     
George MOYERS  and Sarah BEASLEY
marriage certificate

17 Aug 1850 District #130, White, INDIANA
George Moyer                     30                   b. Virginia
Sarah Moyer                        24                   b. Virginia
John Moyer                          9                      b. Illinois
Elizabeth Moyer                4                     b.  Indiana
Eliza Ann Moyer                0                      b.  Indiana

1860  Hickory Grove, Grant, WISCONSIN
George Moyer                     40                   b. Virginia
Sarah Moyer                        39                    b. Virginia
John Moyer                          18                    b. Illinois
Elizabeth Moyer                14                    b.  Indiana
Emma C Moyer                  10                    b.  Indiana
Rebecca                                6                      b. Indiana
Amelia                                  4                     b. Wisconsin
Charles                                 1                       b. Wisconsin

17 Nov 1870  SAUNDERS, NEBRASKA         
Frank WILLIAMSON and Rebecca MYERS
Marriage certificate

12 June 1880 Pohocco, Saunders, NEBRASKA
George Myres                     62                   b. Virginia
Sarah Myres                         58                   b. Virginia
Charles Myres                     21                    b. Wisconsin
George E Myres                 17                     b. Wisconsin

Charles A MYERS and Mattie OXFORD
Marriage certificate

3 June 1885   State Census for Center, Cass, Nebraska
George Myres                     66                    b. Wisconsin
Sarah Myres                         62                   b. Virginia
George Myres                     21                    b. Iowa

25 July 1900  Harpster, Idaho, IDAHO
John Myers               58                   b.Illinois
Stella Myers             18                    b. Iowa
Elisabeth                  16                    b. Iowa
Rebecca                    15                    b. Iowa
George Myers         91                    b. Virginia
Sarah Myers             72                   b. Virginia   

From these documents we can see that at some point before 1870 the Moyer family starts using the name of Myers.  Family legend says that there was a run in with the law and that was why there was a name change.  I don’t have anything to prove that theory yet.  It is interesting that John Harve and Charles A end up going by the name of Moyer again.  I have very little records about Elizabeth and Emma/Eliza who were born in Indiana.  I have located several marriage certificates for Rebecca Williamson’s children and it is interesting to note, they listed their mother as Rebecca Meyers or Myers. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011


When I was in college, I had the opportunity to compete in DECA on a national level.  May 1992 Ricks College took a group of students down to Anaheim, California for a fun-filled week.  I remember meeting other college students from all over the United States and telling them I was from Idaho.  It was quite comical and predictable.  They would say, “Where, Iowa?” and then I would say, “No, Idaho!”  Seriously, do people know where Idaho is?  Why are there two states that sound so much like each other, Idaho and Iowa
Well, I never knew then that someday I would be fascinated by a place in Iowa, but for the last two years, I have been.  It is a place called McPaul, Iowa.  McPaul is located in Fremont county near the Missouri River and the state of Nebraska.  If you try to look it up on the internet, it is nonexistent.  The only town that remains is Thurman and from what I’ve been told, McPaul floods quite often.  I feel like this was a special place for my Great Great Grandma Estella Moyer.  The first time I heard about McPaul was when I read Estella’s obituary.  It named McPaul as her birth place. 
The next time I saw mention of the town was on Estella’s sister’s death certificate.  Her name is Rebecca Moyer Donnally and she died January 31, 1919 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  It also states that she was buried in McPaul, Iowa.  I have been on the hunt for the name of Estella’s and Rebecca’s mother for quite some time now.  On Rebecca’s death certificate her mother is listed as Mary McGuym as mentioned in my first post. 
Well, just this week, I discovered a website that listed marriages that took place in Fremont county and there was listed a J H Myers marrying a Nancy McQuinn on March 20, 1880.  I thought this might be who I was looking for.
The last name McGuym hasn’t checked out since I found Rebecca’s death certificate.  There doesn’t seem to be anybody with that last name.  I looked at the original and found that it had been typed.  That gives me two theories:  1)The person writing the name may not have heard correctly or was a rotten spellar or 2)The person transcribing and typing from the original county document may have thought a Q looked like a G.  That’s really not too hard to do.  I’m sharing because I deal with this a lot in doing my research especially with this family line!!  It happens all the time.
I proceeded cautiously but I felt really good about it.  I contacted the person in charge of the website and got a reply in the same day!  This is a really good sign because that means that the person is not dead and generally loves genealogy!  This woman is amazingly smart, resourceful and I just feel lucky to have her helping me out and living right there in Iowa!
She got back to me and told me that she knew where Nancy was buried and the death date!  This would be essential in knowing if this was the right couple because John Harve is widowed by 1900 and his girls were born in 1883 and 1885.  Her death date would have to be after that.  This is what the inscription on her tombstone says:
Nancy A. Myers, wife of J.H. Myers, died February 25, 1888, age 30 years, 4 months, 17 days.  This grave is located in the Thurman cemetery.
Well, that fit into the timeline.  It would be under statement to say that I was thrilled.   Elated and floating while I made dinner, thinking that the pieces were finally coming together!!  Why does genealogy do this to me?  I just don’t know but it is such a rush that once you discover a secret that seems hidden, you just want to do it again and again, over and over.  I did have a wee thought that it would be really disappointing to find out that it wasn’t the right person but I pushed that doubt aside.
No wonder there are sweet ties to this place.  Not only is my Great Great Grandmother born there but her mother and her sister died and are buried there.  John Harve returns to Iowa after his children get married in Idaho and one of his daughters, Rebecca and her husband William Moses Donnally also go back to the area.  This is when Rebecca dies from influenza after giving birth three months prior to a daughter, Della.
Well, the breakthrough that confirms that I actually have the right people is when my sweet new friend from Iowa (an angel) sends me a copy of an 1880 Federal census from Scott, Fremont, Iowa that shows John H Myers, carpenter (age 37) married to Nancy Myers (age22) and a son Edward Myers (age 17).  Oscar Edward Moyer is John’s first son from his first wife, Mahala Schull.  Well, this sealed it up for me.  This is definitely the Great Great Great Grandma I’ve been looking for.
I’ve had a little fun looking up the McQuinn family this week.  I think I’m going to need to start a new blog just to keep them straight. 
I can’t tell you how helpful people in the genealogy realm are.  They bend over backwards for you.  I didn’t ask her to look up extra information for me, but she did.  I had been looking for an 1880 census for years and she finds it in a day.  I’m still missing the 1870 Federal census and the 1885 Iowa state census for anyone interested in joining the fun!  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all if I’m not the one to find it.  I’m so excited to make friends with people in Iowa and I won’t even be sad if people think I say “Iowa” when I really said Idaho anymore!  In fact, it will probably warm my hear thinking of that special place near the Missouri River.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Anna Belle Irwin Moyer Ventures West to Idaho

Anna Belle Irwin married John Harve Moyer's oldest son, Oscar Edward Moyer in Nebraska. They were married 20 August 1887 in Nebraska City. According to the 1900 Federal census, they were living in Omaha City the same year before venturing to Idaho. Here is a picture of their family and a story about their adventure. At the time of Anna Belle's travels, six of the following children were accompanying her and the oldest, Ora May would have been 12 years old.

Top Row: Arthur Vernon, Ora May, Anne Gertrude, Harve Edward, Francis Olive

Bottom Row: Wilda Marie, Anna Belle Irwin Moyer, Lester "Buck" Melvin, Oscar Edward Moyer

As told by David C. Chandler, by cousin Dennis DeFord, April 3, 1988, relayed from Trudie Moyer, daughter of Anna-Bell Irwin Moyer.

Anna-Bell Irwin was born in Fremont County, Iowa 5 Feb 1871. Annie lived with her mother Maria (Reeves) and father Burwell Irwin, until his death about 1880. Annie at age nine and Maria and remaining children moved in with Maria's brother, Amos Reeves, in Riverton, Ross County, Iowa, until Approx. 1883, at which time Annie moved to live with her older sister Rachel (Ada) and Will Thompson in Nebraska City, Otoe Co. Nebraska for a period of three to four years, until her marriage to Oscar Moyer in 1887. Annie and Oscar lived in Nebraska City, Nebraska until 1891. In 1892 through 1894 they returned to "Plum Hollow," (see note)Fremont County, Iowa and then again returned to Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1895 thru 1897. In 1898 through 1900 they moved to Douglas County, south Omaha, Nebraska. In 1900 Oscar went to Grangeville, Idaho by himself looking for work. He stayed with his father who lived there in a two room cabin. Oscar found a job and sent for Annie and the children to come out west via railroad. As the story is told by "Trudy," Gertrude Moyer, one of Annie's children, in 1988, at the age of 93, this was an exciting adventure for the family as they were told by friends and neighbors that the territory they were heading for was Nez Pierce Indian country, and these Indians were most noted for stealing young members of white families. In any case Annie was still young and not quite fearless, but had a lot of determination. She and her kids proceeded off to Idaho, where Oscar would meet the train and bring his family to town of the Moyer abode. Everything went well, until the train stopped at what they thought was their destination. Annie and family departed the train virtually in the middle of no-where and sure enough Oscar was nowhere in sight. In fact nothing was in sight except the tail end of the departing train. After waiting around for a while, Annie took action. We somehow managed to obtain a borrowed horse, loaded children and baggage on and proceeded to walk in the directions given to her for the Moyer place. Going down a trail, Annie saw some lights in the distance, as it was getting dusk. This poor caravan was certain that behind every tree was a savage Nez Pierce Indian just waiting to grab them. In their haste to find sanctuary, one of the children fell off the horse and cut his head on a rock. Annie was frantic, but remained calm in the eyes of her children. She found some bushes, and instructed the kids to stay put and remain very quiet until she returned. When the door opened, Annie stumbled backwards, for what she saw was a very large Indian squaw. It turns out that the Indian woman was quite civilized and questioned Annie as to why she was out roaming around after dark alone. Feeling somewhat mullified and realizing there was no one else to turn to for help, Annie told her plight of heading down the trail to meet "many white men,” but unfortunately she had an accident with one of her children. They both hurried back up the hill with medicine and bandages and after cleaning up the injured child, they all returned to the Indians cabin. The squaw asked Annie to spend the night, but Annie remembering the stories told to her were sure the Indian braves would soon return and take her children from her. So Annie respectfully declined the offer again stating that there were many, many white men out looking for her, and that she had better move on. Moving much further down the trail away from the Indian's home, Annie found a place for her and the children to spend the night out in the open country. The next day heading out again, lo and behold she met up with good old Oscar coming up the trail, apparently not knowing he was a day late in meeting the train. Trudy says her mind must have blanked out the following scene and words as to what Annie had to say to Oscar. We do know that Annie was a spunky, spicy person, and it is supposed that after Oscar told her that the job he hired on for, was only for one day, the poor Indian's probably ran when they heard Annie's war cry.

This is such a fabulous story that needs to be passed on. I love the spirit of Annie and her courage in a scary situation. It sure paints a picture of the attitudes of the entering an unknown territory. Thanks for sharing this one with us Vivian!  Oscar and Annie ended up divorcing in 1912, but here is a picture of them in later years, also provided by Vivian.

Note: Plum Hollow. The same as the present town of Thurman. It began as Fremont City in 1856, and later for some years was called Plum Hollow, The post office being designated Plum Hollow from 1857 to 1885.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The 1900 Federal Census is my favorite....USUALLY!

Usually, the 1900 census is my favorite. It tells you lots of good stuff. The birth month and year for each individual, how many years they were married and how many total children were born and how many that are still living. I wish they would put all this information on every census! Why don’t they?
My fascination with my Moyer family began with researching my great great grandmother, Estella Irene Moyer. Estella was married to a gentleman by the name of Ard Church on 29 April 1900 and then in 1902 she married Owen Montgomery both in Grangeville, Idaho. This information was obtained from Idaho marriage certificates. Estella was born on 17 Feb 1883, according to her obituary. The first clue I had for her life was found on the 1900 census for Harpster, Idaho, and it states that Stella Myers is 18 at this time.

On this census she is listed with her father, John Myers and he is widowed. So I don’t know her mother’s name. The census states that John was born in Illinois August 1841. The last name on this document is Myers for the entire household. This was a huge question if I had the right family for a long time because on Estella’s marriage certificate her last name is Moyers. It will take several posts but I am convinced that anyone who follows my posts will also know that this is the correct family.
The next person listed on the census was Stella’s sister, Elisabeth, and then their other sister, Rebecca. All three have birthdates in November. November 1881, November 1883 and November 1884. And they were all born in Iowa. Estella’s obituary states that she was born in a place called McPaul, Iowa. This township is in Fremont county. I always have to keep in mind that there may be some errors in the giving of information because in Estella’s obituary, her birthday is stated as February 17, 1883.
The next six people listed on the census are John’s nephews and nieces from his brother, George “Coon” Myers. George died in a tragic accident in 1898 and now the children are living with their uncle and their grandparents. The siblings are Charles (age 16), Roy (age13), May (age 10), Girtie (age 4) and Ray (age 2). The census tells me that Charles and Roy were born in Iowa and May, Girtie and Roy were born in Washington. May was born in Oct 1889 and that would say that they came to Washington before that time. I’m also wondering if little Ray ever knew his father since he is born in the same year as the accident of his father.
The great thing about this census is that it gives me three generations! Estella is my great great grandmother and her father and her grandfather are on this census. George and Sarah Myers are listed next on this census. I get a sense that this family really sticks together in tragedy. John has lost his wife at some time and his three girls are helping with raising their cousins. Grandpa and Grandma are their too helping out and living in a very crowded home.
I have a theory. I have to wonder about the discrepancies on this census. We have to understand that the nephews and nieces on this census end up using the name Myers all of their lives. John and John’s children go by Moyer. George and Sarah start out by Moyer and then end up changing their name to Myers at some point and their youngest son uses that name too. The theory is that someone besides John or his daughters gave the information for this census. I feel pretty strongly about this especially because of the last name but also because the girl’s birthdays seem a little off. It seems odd that they were all born in November…..
The other thing that I feel like I have to throw in the mix, just for fun, is that Estella is also listed on the 1900 census with her new husband, Ard Church in Mt. Idaho, Idaho, Idaho. The census is dated June 6, 1900. The census with her father is dated July 20, 1900. Don’t you just love a good mystery? The enumerator is the same person on both census. Anyone want to throw out some of their own theories on this one? I would love it!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


John Harvey Moyer

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a conference about genealogy and technology. It was called RootsTech. The conference was held in Salt Lake City, Utah and my dear friend and cohort in genealogy accompanied me on the trip. The theme for the conference had to do with discovering the advances in technology available to all levels of genealogists. Topics such as DNA, virtual cemeteries, bloggining, geocoding and variety of other subjects were explored! Envision computer experts and genealogists of the greatest kind!! Microsoft, Dell,,, were just some of the sponsors represented at the conference.
Before the conference began, we were alerted by e-mail that Maureen Taylor would be attending the conference. Maureen is also known as the Photo Detective. She is an expert in spotting pictures and telling you what time period they were taken. She gathers clues from poses, clothing, hairstyles and other information provided by you. My grandfather has a photo hanging in his home in Boise, Idaho that was taken of his great grandfather, John Harvey Moyer. Behind that photo is a photo of a woman that he has no clue to the woman’s identity. I tried to sign up to meet with Maureen on the same day I got the e-mail, but to my chagrin all of her spots on all three days of the conference had already filled up. Plus there was just the small detail, that I needed to ask my grandfather if I could borrow the picture, which was his heirloom, and take it down to Salt Lake with me.
So I decided I would call him and ask him if I could take a picture of the two photos. He agreed and I stopped by his house in Boise on my way out of town. So running late as usual, I visited my grandfather, took the pictures of the photos and mustered the courage to ask him if I might be able to take the originals to these pictures just for the weekend. These pictures are very unique. They have been encased in an oval frame with bubbled glass. They don’t just lay flat. From top to bottom, the pictures measure about two feet. The paper is not like photographic paper that we have today. It is more like cardboard and the edges of the pictures and peeling away and deteriorating quickly. Already short on time, I asked and my grandfather graciously agreed to let me borrow these precious photos for the weekend! I was elated.
Now all I had to do was hang out near the booth where the Photo Detective would be at and hopefully not miss too many of the really cool classes that were being offered. We arrived late on Wednesday night and got some sleep before arming ourselves with laptops and our genealogy pedigrees. I took along my gigantic photos in a white plastic garbage bag. Our hotel was across the street from the Salt Lake Convention Center and we walked the long corridors until we found all the genealogy gurus. You can spot them a mile away. They have a very unique style that can only be appreciated and loved once you delve into the world of genealogy. We found our perspective registration lines, received a really cool backpack, CD, and syllabus to get us started. Pam, my cohort, and I had already brought bags for our laptops so we were shuffling around our things in a way that would be convenient to carry all these belongings. Once settled, we headed for the escalator and headed for the vendor hall where we might find Maureen Taylor, the great Photo Detective. I was armed and ready with my photos in hand covered by the great white garbage bag!
You would never believe it, I still can’t believe it, but as we are heading down the stairs the first person I see coming in the opposite direction is none other than the one person I hope I get to visit with today! It was her, the Photo Detective. I was in shock and awe. I couldn’t help but stare. Pam knew right away by looking at my expression. There was no explanation needed. She headed for the registration booth for presenters. I couldn’t miss my chance. I followed her. They were having some trouble at the booth locating something for her. This was my big chance to ask if she might take a look at these most unusual and unique family heirlooms. The person at the booth asked if he could help me but I politely told him I was waiting for “her,” motioning to Maureen. She turned and being very gracious allowed me to explain how I tried to sign up to see her and that she was booked out for the entire conference on the first day of receiving the notice. She told me that it filled up in five hours!
She was interested in seeing my photos. We stepped aside and I pulled them out of my tall white kitchen garbage bag with the red pull string. I explained that the tall man with the white hair and moustache was my great great great grandfather, John Harvey Moyer. He was born in 1841. My research tells me that this man had three wives, Mahala Schull, Mary McGuym and Effie Barnhouse. My great great great grandmother would be Mary but I don’t know much about her. In fact, I am lucky that I know her name. I found it on a death certificate of one of her three daughters, Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally. Mahala is the mother of Oscar Edward Moyer and that information was obtained from his marriage certificate. Now, Effie is the interesting one because John married her when he was 75 and she was 16 years old. Talk about robbing the cradle, but if legend has it correctly, this man lived to be at least 100 and so that would mean that they had 25 years together! The marriage certificate gave me this information and the fact that they were married March 25, 1914 in Coucil Bluffs, Iowa.

So I quickly shared this information with Maureen. She was able to tell me right away that these pictures were taken at the same time and in the 1920s. The woman in the picture is sitting next to a mirror and Maureen commented that “it was a very nice pose because you could see the profile and features of both sides of her face.” The clothing she was wearing is what gave the time frame away. Maureen did say that the man was wearing clothing from an older time frame but because of his age, this is common for an older man not be up with the trends of the times. Maureen also mentioned that it looked like he had some kind of rash on his left hand. Also, Maureen felt like this was a married couple, in her expert opinion, I believe so too.

Effie Barnhouse Moyer

With this information and the history I feel like the picture is most likely Effie Barnhouse. My grandfather inherited this photo from his father who got it from his mother, Estella Irene Moyer. John Harvey Moyer is her father. Her mother was Mary McGuym who died before 1900 and Effie is John Harvey Moyer’s new wife. Interesting enough, Effie is about ten years younger than his daughters. Estella moved from McPaul, Iowa about the time she was 5 years old, according to her obituary. The family moved to Dayton, Washington and then eventually Idaho. John and the family are in Harpster, Idaho on the 1900 Federal Census. John is also living with his parents and lists that he is a widow. His youngest brother, George Moyer died in 1898 so George’s children are also living with John and his daughters and his parents. Later in that same year, George’s first son, Oscar comes from Nebraska to look for work and later his wife joins them with their six children. I am curious to know how comfortable it was to have that many people under one roof? No wonder my great great great grandmother, Estella, gets married to Owen Montgomery in 1902!
After I visited with Maureen Taylor, we visited the Exhibit Hall and booths with wonderful resources. While at the booth, we saw a giant scanner used for copying books. They use this to make family histories and bibles available online. Because I still had my white garbage sack in hand, I asked if they would be able to scan something like the huge picture. He placed it on the scanner and my super terrific friend and cohort in genealogy, Pam, happened to have a card/disc from her video camera that she could save it for me. Thus, now you can see and view these two heirlooms for your own viewing pleasure.
Going to this wonderful Conference inspired me to start a blog. I’ve never blogged anything. In fact, my spell check is alerting me that it does not even recognize the word, BLOG. I am hopeful that I can connect with other people who are related to me thru this Moyer line. I hope that we can share photos like these and that we might also share stories behind them and keep their memories alive. I look forward to hearing from my cousins all over the world and sharing any information that I have.
There is a little bit of a mystery here and if anyone who is related to the Moyers could help me out, I’d be forever grateful. After moving to Idaho, John Harvey returns to McPaul, Iowa. In fact, that’s where he marries Effie in 1914. Rebecca married William Moses Donnally in Idaho and they move to Iowa also. A few months after giving birth to her youngest child, Della, Rebecca dies January 1919 in Iowa. The Donnally’s move back to Idaho. I’m not sure what happens to John and Effie Moyer after 1920. I don’t have a death date for either of them. I’m also wondering how this portrait ends up in my Great Great Great Grandmother’s house in Idaho. Did she go back to Iowa and visit? Or did John and Effie come west to Idaho to live permanently? On the 1920 census John and Effie had three children listed, Harold, Maggie and Carl Leroy. I would love to make the connection with them. There is a possibility that they or their children may still be living.