Monday, August 10, 2015

Jesse Thomas Sr.: Might As Well Be John Doe (52 Ancestors #21)

Jesse Thomas Sr.

An infuriating Quaker.

Might as well be John Smith or Doe. Seems Thomas was a very common surname among the Quakers in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Very common. Hair pulling frustration common. And (of course) there are (at least) two Jesses.......

Now, I'm sure my 3rd great grandfather didn't mean to be so difficult, and buried somewhere deep in the tomes of Quaker history lie the answers. Alas, a trip to Swarthmore is not in my future any time soon.

So today, as I write this short sketch, the answers I seek remain buried.

I admit I do have ulterior motives for this post. A little fishing expedition. The more we all can get out onto the world wide web, the more chance there is for someone; anyone, anywhere; to stumble across it and perhaps supply a missing piece of the puzzle. Genealogy appears to be a solitary pursuit, you know, with the Cave and all, but it is only successful with collaboration.

Also I might add, that I have avoided this for a while.  Quaker genealogy really is a study unto itself and I must admit that it boggles my mind and makes me cranky.

So here is what I know.
  • Jesse Thomas Sr. was born about 1786* in Chester Co., PA. His parents UNK to date.  FYI there are 41 heads of household in Chester County in the 1790 Federal Census with the Last name of Thomas. Forty One! Thirty two of those households report male children under 16. (Jesse would have been 4 at the time) By 1800 there are 30 heads of household, by 1810 (eureka!) there is but one Jesse listed in Chester County with 2 young adults and one child. (The 1786 Pennsylvania Census of Taxpayers lists 52 Thomas'.... but let's not go there)
  • He married Rebecca (or Rebecah) Hampton in 1808* in Chester Co., PA They were members of the Fallowfield Monthly Meeting in Chester Co., PA. 
  • Rebecca (Rebecah) was born May 12, 1790 in Bucks County, PA, the daughter of Jonathan Hampton and Elizabeth Phillips. This is one case where there is actually more recorded info on the woman than the man!
  • The couple had at least 11 children, according Quaker records. You'd think with 11 descendants there would be numerous people looking for Jesse, wouldn't you?
  • In 1820 the family requested removal from the Fallowfield Monthly Meeting in Chester Co., PA. in preparation to move to Ohio. They requested admittance to the Stillwater Monthly Meeting in Belmont Co., OH.
  • In 1839 the family is listed in the Deerfield Monthly Meeting records in Morgan Co., OH.
  • In 1842 Jesse is listed in the Chesterfield Monthly Meeting in Athens Co., OH, having died in February. He is recorded as being buried at Plymouth. Could that be Plymouth, Washington Co, OH?  There is a Jesse Thomas listed in the 1840 census residing in Westley Twp, Washington Co, OH - Plymouth is in Westley Twp. Plus my grandmother (the Genealogy Queen) has in her notes that the family was from Westley Twp.

*Dates are from other family trees. I usually don't use this type of information as I have not been able to source it, but I am including it this post as a stepping off point.

As I mentioned above, there are a few records for a Jesse Thomas born in 1791 to a Phillip and Hannah Thomas. He was born in Chester but the family attended the Goshen Monthly Meeting - probably not our guy.

There is a record of a Jesse Thomas "accomplishing" his marriage in 1806, but it was recorded in the Philadelphia Northern District Monthly Meeting - probably not our guy.

And that is it. That is all I know.  If only my Genealogy Cave was equipped with a time machine .......

Well, a girl can dream.

©2015 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Jesse Louis Twining: A Well Lived Life (52 Ancestors #20)

Jesse Louis Twining was my 2nd great grandfather. Since I wrote about his wife last week, I felt compelled to carry on with the family. Jesse, I discovered, was quite interesting!

Born in Iowa, died in Iowa. But that did not hinder him from having an adventurous life. Perhaps he felt the need to stay put due to his unsettled childhood.

Born, as I said, in Washington IA on August 5, 1850 to a circuit riding pioneer minister father and a homesteading mother. Through his father he was a descendant from the old Puritan stock that settled Massachusetts. He was the only child born to his mother, who had married his father as a recent widower with 6 small children all under the age of 8!

For the first decade or so of Jesse's life the family moved around a lot. Relocating in one small Iowa town or another as his father was called to establish churches and do missionary work.

For all the traveling about, Jesse did receive a fine education. He was schooled for a time in Washington IA and attended Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant. It was there Jesse decided to pursue the noble profession of medicine.

Jesse headed to Chicago IL to pursue his medical training and studied at Northwestern University. (where 10 years later one of my Faulkner ancestors would study medicine!)

Jesse was finishing his residency in October 1871 at Mercy Hospital in Chicago when, on the night of the 8th, the Great Chicago Fire broke out. And, yes, several of my Irons ancestors also lived through that fire - the more I write these stories the more I marvel at "coincidence".

After his graduation Jesse returned to IA to practice medicine and surgery, working as a railroad surgeon in Creston, IA for the Burlington Railway franchise. But he took the pain and suffering of his patients to heart too much and gave up the profession in 1874. Healing was still in his blood, however and he settled in Corning, IA that year as the owner of the town's drug store. His profession was listed as druggist on the 1880 U.S. census.

In 1876, while on a shopping trip to nearby Brooks, IA, Jesse met his future bride, Flora Rowley,  as she shopped for draperies with her father. Apparently it was a match made in Heaven, as the two were wed in October of that same year.

Jesse and Dell, as he was fond of calling his new bride, made their home in Corning for the next 50 years. The couple has four children, three daughters and one son.

Jesse was very active in community life, he served as Mayor of Corning in 1881 to 1882 and again in 1891 to 1892. He was a member of the School Board. He was a past master of the Masonic Lodge in Corning, of which he was a member for 57 years. He was also a Knight Templar, a Knight of Pythias and a Shriner; and belonged to the Blue Lodge and Eureka Chapter no. 77 at Corning; the Bethany Commandery at Creston; and the Kaaba Temple of the Shrine at Davenport, IA.

In 1896 Jesse left the drug store to become a traveling salesman for Arbuckle Brothers wholesale tea and spice co of Kansas City, MO. His territory was Southern IA and Northwest MO. He retired in 1926.

It was said that Jesse Twining was a loving, kind, friendly person who adored his wife and children. He was a good story teller, had many fascinating experiences to talk about, had a fine sense of humor, and was a bit if a tease. "He was one of the most popular men in the county".

Jesse and Dell left Corning after Jesse's retirement to spend their senior years in Des Moines, IA in the home of their oldest daughter Bessie and her husband Irv Potwin.

Jesse Twining died April 7, 1933 just 4 months after the death of his beloved wife. He was 82 years old. They are buried together at the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Corning IA.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Flora Dell Rowley Twining: A Settled Life (52 Ancestors #19)

Flora Dell Rowley was born 12 Nov 1857 in Peoria IL. She was the youngest of five (some say that number was six) children born to the Rev. Rossiter C. Rowley and Rhoda Ann Vredenburg.

Flora spent her youth mostly in Illinois, her father had been assigned a post in that young state as a Methodist church circuit rider. First residing in Peoria then later in Galesburg where in 1860, the family was moved when her father left the Methodist Church to join the Presbyterians. It was here that Flora recalled accompanying her father to church and sitting in a big chair in the pulpit beside him.  As she grew, Flora took an active part in church music as she was blessed with a beautiful voice and musical talent.

In 1876 Rev. Rowley was called to plant new churches in Adams Co, IA, assigned to the towns of Brooks and Nodaway. Shortly after the family's arrival in Iowa Flora met, and quickly married, her husband Jesse Louis Twining. Jesse was the son of the Rev. E. W. Twining and Priscilla B Ashby. Flora had met her future husband while on a shopping trip with her father to purchase draperies for their new home.

The marriage took place 25 Oct 1876 in Corning IA, where the couple made their home for 50 years. It was officiated by both the bride and groom's fathers, as both were men of the cloth. Jesse was a druggist by profession at the time of their marriage, later he became a travelling salesman for the Arbukle Coffee Company. To them were born four children, three daughters and one son.

Not much was written on women then and Flora, "Dell" as she was fondly know to her husband, was no exception.  Painting a picture of her life with only a handful of public records is a challenge. I can imagine that life was pretty good in Corning the later part of the 19th century. Accounts of the time portray her as well liked, being active in both church and club work. The daughter of the town's preacher would surely have brought her favor. "She being one with a happy bright disposition endeared herself to all who knew her."

Main Street Corning, IA c.1900
Flora looked after her invalid mother until her death in 1890. Later she cared for her father and mother-in-law during the last years of their lives, as well as her own father until his death in 1912.

In  1918, Flora faced what every parent fears, the death of a child. Her second daughter, Anna Jeanette "Nettie" died at the age of 35.

Flora Dell Rowley Twining
Sometime between 1925 and 1930 Flora and Jesse moved to Des Moines, to spend their golden years with their oldest daughter Carrie Elizabeth "Bessie" Potwin and her husband Irv. Carrie and Irv had recently become empty nesters and were enjoying the first of their grandchildren,  It was there that Flora passed away after a short bout of pneumonia, two weeks before Christmas, 13 Dec 1932.

Her husband passed the following April.

Flora is buried in the Walnut Grove Cemetery in Corning IA. She rests with her parents, her daughter and her husband