Monday, December 31, 2007

Asiatic Cholera devastates pioneers in Coles County, Indiana in 1851

In 1851, Asiatic Cholera devastated Coles County, Illinois. According to an article written in the Charleston Courier on July 31, 1851 , over 250 people were stricken with the disease, and according to physicians of the day, "In nearly every fatal case, if not all, the predisposing cause has been traced to imprudence in diet, and more especially the eating of young potatoes, beans, cucumbers and other like matter." This is as good a reason as any my five-year-old can come up with for not eating his vegetables. I have provided the link for the full article below.

The Cholera and its Ravages at genealogy trails

The Cholera epidemic does explain the absence of so many of the settlers found in the 1850 census, including Elizabeth Ann Minis and the two elder children. Since I have had such difficulty in tracking Edward and Emily, I decided to focus on the other African-American settlers within this small community of New Albany. It appears that the majority of the elders within the community were born in Virginia, the second generation born in Kentucky, and George Manuel and Elizabeth (unknown maiden) Peyton were born in North Carolina.

I focused today's search on George W. Manuel, since he appears to be a leader in the community and he is also married to Lucy Minnis. I was hoping to find some trace of her paternity; however, I made a interesting discovery. In the 1910 census, George W. had listed his mother as being born in Ireland. As stated before, family legend has Edward as being of Irish decent and I wondered if perhaps Edward and George were related.

That's when the ick factor kicked in. Since I had decided last night (no, sleep has not made me change my mind only hard evidence will do) that Lucy and Edward were siblings, I am emphatically hopeful the "kissin' cousins" scenario does not apply in this situation. Sure my reaction stems from modern day bias but admit it, kinda yucky right!

I have listed the names of some of the settlers for those of you who are interested: Lucy Dupree, Isom Briant (Bryant), George W. Manuel, Zachariah Bowen, Sophia and J. Fuller, Joseph and Sarah Martin, Lewis, Sophia, and Andrew James, Melissa Olmstead, Edward and Emily Minis (Minnis), William and Keziah Stern, H.B. Owens, and H. Brown.

Several of these surnames were listed in Paul Heinegg's book Free African Americans of Virginia and North Carolina. However, thus far I have been unable to trace these individuals to anyone listed in his online book. I have placed an order to buy his book, but it was out of print and they said they would notify me when it is in. I eagerly await the day.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

So I was thinkin' about Emily?

I decided to search the other residence for an Emily or Permelia in the 1850 census. I found Elily Olmstead (pretty close to get one wondering, huh) who may be the daughter of Melissa and William Olmstead. I could not find her in later census. Problem is that she is ten in 1850, making her birth circ 1839/1840. This is a five to ten year age difference depending on which census you're looking at for Emily.

My mom got pretty excited and woke up at 7 a.m. this morning to copy a bunch of records she and her sister had located back in the early 90's, when the sole method of research meant getting into your car and driving to the source, ie Libraries, County records offices. Luckily she was living in Kansas at the time. I happened to call as she was getting ready to go to Post Office and she was pretty happy to be reminded that its Sunday. So, in about four days I should have scads of new material to play with, whoopee!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ancestry dot-com rocks!

Alonzo Minnis, 102-years-old

Merry Christmas to me! My husband's Christmas present to me was I have now logged many data entry hours, and finally have time for some research.

My mother sent a bunch of information on the decendents of Edward and Emily. It's funny, but I've had it for over a month but my mom had been packed in a 2008 calender and since it will soon be the new year, I finally located it. I felt both excited and stupid!
Anyway, including the following article there was a four page linage chart detailing the births and deaths of the Minnis' children, children's children...did I say that right? And so on. This is why I was on Ancestry for the last ten hours, neglecting my poor children (bad mommy will have to make it up to them tomorrow by taking them to see a movie) I bet my husband now regrets getting this present, but I'll love him forever.

The following is a summary of an article written about Edward's son, Alonzo Minnis, when Alonzo was 102-years-old. It was published in the Daily Capital newspaper. The picture was taken by Bill Snead, about 1960. If anyone wants a copy of the full article let me know.
Alonzo explained that he came with his father, two brothers and four sisters to Kansas when he was about 12-years-old. He said, "My Daddy fetched a colony out from Illinois. There were about eight or ten wagons. And I walked almost all the way, killing game for the wagon train."

The colony settled near St. John. Alonzo recalled Kansas in it's early days of statehood. "Out near St. John there was nothing but snakes and coyotes." In 1893, Alonzo went to Oklahoma for the Cherokee Strip opening and homesteaded 160 acres. Alonzo summed up his life, "My long life comes from the Lord. And I've had a pretty good time. I try to live right so people will like me."

I have (I think) solved the 'who is Elizabeth Ann Lee' question.Mary Cogman is half-sister to the other children. I thinks she is the daughter of Elizabeth since she was born in 1852. There is a gap of about four years between her and Ruth. The most exciting moment was when I "found" Edward Minis in the 1860 census (hiding on the page before his family under the name Morris, pugh). He was working as a laborer in the neighboring farm.

I also have decided, with no contrary proof to deter me, and lack of sleep causing me not to question my deductive reasoning skills, that Lucy Minis is related to Edward (probably his sister). After all the coincidence of their proximity, surname, and closeness in age is too hard to ignore. I also found, much to my surprise that Lucy Minis Bryant remarried in 1858 to Charles Manuel. She was listed in the Indiana Marriages as a Mrs. Lucy Ann Briant. Isom was still alive in 1852 because he purchased 40 acres of property. Maybe he and Elizabeth Ann and the children caught something and died. Unfortunately, I learned that there are no gravestones in the Tuscola Negro Cemetery, and I have not learned whether there any death records.

I am still trying to find the connection between Lucy Dupree, born in 1790 and Melissa Olmstead, born in 1805. Olmstead is her married name. She married William Olmstead in 1838, in Coles, which means they were there prior to the 1840 census. I spent an hour searching 106 pages of the census for Coles County, Illinois. There were twenty-four "free persons of color" in the County, but Lewis James was the only African-American listed as head-of-household. The others were listed under whomever they were working for so there were no names.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

WOW! New Information

For those who have looked at this blog, I have additional information I will be sharing. I admit I have become a bit obsessive in researching my genealogy. It is certainly addictive, as many know. I welcome any feedback that you have and welcome the opportunity to meet any distant cousins out there.