If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance. George Bernard Shaw

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Descent from the Cross

This wood-cut is from the John Robert McQueen Family Bible. I had intended to post it around Easter, but I got busy with end-of-the-year activities with my boys. But, summer is here - so hopefully I will get back on my schedule!

And after these things, Joseph of Arimathea (because he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews) besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus. And Pilate gave leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 
                                                                                                                                                   John 19:38


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

John Cruse (1859-1904) - Son of Zachariah Cruse & Rachel Ellen Lane

A continuing series on the probable children and grandchildren of Jeremiah Crews and Elizabeth Harland. This week we start a series on the grandchildren of David Cruse and Jane Jewell through their son Zachariah Cruse and Rachel Ellen Lane. A great portion of this information comes to me courtesy of Marian Kay Cruse Abbott.

John Cruse was born just before the outbreak of the Civil War in May 1859 to Zachariah and Rachel (Lane) Cruse in Vigo County, Indiana (1, 6, 10). Since his parents were living in Honey Creek Township the following year when the census was taken, it seems likely John was born there. Zachariah's mother, Jane Jewell Cruse. John was the oldest child of Zachariah and Rachel.

I have been unable to locate the family in 1870 census. According to family records it is believed that John's parents, Zachariah and Rachel, died between 1876 and 1880 and within two weeks of each other. John was between 17 and 21 years of age. He had six younger brothers and sisters behind him, with the youngest, William Thomas Cruse, having been born in 1876. In 1880, soon after his parents died, 21-year-old John is found living in the household of Edwin H. McPheters and working as a servant and farm laborer (2).

Not long after the 1880 census, John must have left Vigo County and moved to Illinois, for on 29 December 1884 he married sixteen-year-old Anna Miranda Misner in Crawford County, Illinois (3, 6, 7). Amanda, the daughter of Leander Misner and Martha Jane Davidson, was born in 1868 in Indiana (4, 5). It is possible that John and Miranda were part of the same family groups that left Indiana and moved to Illinois, for Leander and Martha Jane Misner's daughter, Stella Misner, was reported on the 1880 census to have been 8 months old and to have been born in Illinois. All their other children had been born in Indiana (4).

John and Miranda had three daughters. Lena Rachel Cruse, born 27 November 1887 in Annapolis, Crawford County, Illinois. Amy Jane Curse, born 7 May 1889 in Vigo County, Indiana. Josie Cruse born in 1892 (8).

Miranda passed away a day before Christmas on 24 December 1898 in Crawford County, Illinois (8). She was buried in the Prairie Grove Cemetery in Crawford County, Illinois (8, 9).

John was only 39 years old when Miranda died, but for some reason it appears as if he placed his daughters with others and moved in with his brother in Prairieton in Vigo County, Indiana, for he is found living there with brother Thomas Cruse when the census was taken in 1900 (10).  The census records him working as a farm laborer, so it does not appear at least on the surface of things as if he was sick and unable to take care of himself, so the reason for moving and sending his girls elsewhere to live is not clear.

That same year, 13-year-old Lena Cruse was a boarder in the household of Elva Williams and living in Crawford in Licking County, Illinois. Eleven-year-old Amy Cruse was living in Clark, in Melrose County, Illinois, in the household of Benjamin Wheeler. Eight-year-old Jose Cruse was living with her aunt and uncle Joe and Emma (Misner) Cruse in Crawford in Oblong County, Illinois (11).

John died four years later on 4 February 1904. He appears to have somehow "frozen" to death, as that is listed as the chief and only cause of death on the death certificate (6). Family members have stated that when John died, the winter weather prevented them from taking his body back to Crawford County, Illinois, for burial beside his wife. Consequently, he was buried in Hull Cemetery in Vigo County, Indiana, but there is no marker (8).

(1) 1860 U. S. Federal Census, Vigo County, Indiana, Honey Creek Township, household of Zachariah Cruse.
(2) 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Vigo County, Indiana, Honey Creek Township, household of Edwin H. McPheters.
(3) Illinois County Marriages 1810-1934, courtesy of Marian Kay Abbott.
(4) 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Crawford County, Illinois, household of Leaner Misner (as Mizener.) (5) Birthdate and father's name for Anna Miranda Misner from 1880 census (4). Mother's name courtesy of Marian Kay Abbott.
(6) Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. John Cruse's death certificate. It should be noted that the date was "unknown," but the month and year given as May of 1861. This year is obviously an error since John is found in the 1860 census with his parents. Parents names are stated on death certificate. Father's birthplace was Indiana, but mother's birthplace was unknown. 
(7) John's death certificate (6 above) gives Amanda's maiden name. 
(8) Information on courtesy of Marian Kay Abbott. 
(9) Find a Grave (website): https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=69314720&ref=acom.
(10) 1900 U. S. Federal Census, Vigo Couty, Indiana, Prairieton Township, household of Thomas Cruse. This census gives the birth month of May which coincides with the death certificate (6 above). 
(11) Census record research of Marian Kay Abbott. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Throwback Thursday: McQueen Bible, Eve with Cain and Abel

The John Robert McQueen Bible may have been given to him and first wife Sarah Barclay, daughter of Robert Barclay and Sarah McKenzie, upon their marriage in 1856. By this time, John's father, Milton McQueen, and Sarah's mother had married, so they were also step-brother and step-sister at the time of their marriage. They were also cousins, as John McQueen and Nancy Crews were John's grandparents but Sarah Barclay's great-grandparents.

The Bible itself was published in 1850. Woodcuts were a common art form in pictures in Bibles of this era.

Below is the picture of Eve with Cain and Abel.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Throwback Thursday: The Unknown Man

Once in the flight of ages past, 
  There lived a man, and who was he?
Stranger, how e'er thy lot be cast,
   That man resembles thee,
The clouds and sunbeams o'er his eye,
   That once their shades and glory threw,
Have left in yonder silent sky,
   No vestige where they flew.

(Author Unknown)

This photograph was found in the old trunk my grandfather brought from his mother's house. There was no name, and the mystery has persisted as to who he is.

Probably because he is so darn handsome.

I believe this is a carte de visite, which was created about 1854 but become popular about 1859 and beyond the Civil War. It has a more sepia cast to it than a cabinet card would, and less ornamentation. It probably dates from about 1860 to 1880.

Part of the mystery surrounding the mystery man is that he does not look like any of the McQueens or Whiteheads. I have often wondered if perhaps it was Emile Corbello who married Tennessee Anne McQueen. He was French and likely had a dark look to him.

Or perhaps it was Thomas Rock? He was a well-to-do gentleman, and he certainly traveled a lot. There are a number of records of his having been in Orange County while practicing his profession as an attorney.

 Then again, it could be some suitor who simply wished to leave one of the McQueen or Whitehead sweethearts a picture of himself.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Letter from Urah Whitehead to Anna Lee McQueen, 1919

Urah Whitehead as a young boy.

Today, for Throwback Thursday, I am sharing a letter from Urah Whitehead to his sister Anna Lee Whitehead McQueen. I previously shared a postcard from Urah to Anna Lee that you can see here.

Today's letter is dated the 4 March 1919 and is only about two weeks before the postcard was sent.

Although Scott McQueen would later go to work for the Gulf Oil Pump Station, at this time he was still living on his father, James Polk McQueen's property, probably in the log cabin, and was farming. Undoubtedly the rain hit them hard that year. As for the "babies," Urah is undoubtedly referring to Russell McQueen, aged 9, and Woodrow McQueen, aged 4. (Daughter Dagma had not yet been born.)

The full transcript of the letter is below.

Flagny, France
March 4, 1919

Mrs. Anna Lee Mcqueen
Chester Texas

dear Sister. I recd your letter to day. Was sure glad to hear from you all again. I was sure glad to know you all were well. Well Sister I know you all did have a good time with all the games and singing at your house. Gee but how I do wish I could have been there to heped you spread some Joy. Tell teh Babies that was sure sweet hello's they sent me. Well Sister you said you all were having so much rain over there that you all couldn't hardly do any thing. it very seldom ever ceases raining over here. I have been over here now very near eight months and we have not had as high as three days right straight a long with out it didn't rain some. Well Sister I don't know I am coming home but I guess it be some times this summer. I am well. i must say good-bye. With much love and many kisses to you all from your Bro in France 

Urah Whiteehad
36.M P. Co.
A. E. F.
A. P. O. 796

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Amelia Cruse Dawson (1873-1940)

This is a continuation of a series of articles on the possible children and grandchildren of Jeremiah Crews and Elizabeth Harland of Madison County, Kentucky, and Vigo County, Indiana. Today's information comes from Marian Kay Abbott with some of my own quick research. 

Amelia Cruse was born in February 1872 in Vigo County, Indiana, (5) to James and Edith (Moore) Cruse (10). She had one sister, Julia Cruse, born in 1870. While James and Edith had several other children, none of them lived long, and Julia and Amelia were the only children to reach adulthood.

On 22 April 1874 James Cruse died. A year later, on 31 May 1875, Edith died. Julia was five years old, and Amelia was three. She did not remember her father, which is not surprising, but she did remember her mother being laid out for the funeral, which is quite surprising for a child of three. For more on James Cruses' death go here. 

The girls, now orphans, were thrust into the court system, and William Carpenter was given charge of at least the girls' meagre financial situation. For more on that go here.

The girls were also spearated. Julia is found in 1880 living in the home of Jeremiah and Gertrude Blocksom as a "servant." Being separated so young, Amelia, at least, was not aware she had a sister until she was nearing 30 years of age (8). For more on Julia's life go here and here

Amelia went to live with David and Lucinda (Gilbert) Smith. David and Lucinda married on 12 April 1855 in Hamilton County, Indiana (1). Five years later, in 1860, David and Lucinda, with their daughter and two sons, were living in Washington Township in Hamilton County, Indiana (2).  I have been unable to find David and Lucinda in the 1870 census, nor do I know how they came to adopt Amelia after the death of her parents. 

By 1880, David and Lucinda and their two sons, along with Amelia Cruse, had moved to Washington Township in Clark County, Illinois, where they were enumerated in the census that year. Amelia is listed as "adopted," although her surname of "Cruse" is still given. David was a farmer as were his sons, Albert and William (3). 

As a sidenote - and one of interest which I have never seen before - the 1880 census has a category which is titled "Is the person [on the day of enumerator's visit] sick or temporarily disabled, so as to be unable to attend to ordinary business or duties? If so, what is the sickness or disability?" Now, I have, of course, seen this category, but this census notes that Lucinda (Gilbert) Smith, who was 45 years old at the time (a year older than her husband), was unable to attend to her duties due to change of life.  Honestly, I have never seen that before, and I am not quite certain what to make of it (3). 

On 1 September 1895, Amelia Cruse married John Dawson in Clark County, Illinois (4, 5).

A quick perusal of records yielded no information on Dawson before his marriage to Amelia. A more thorough search of the records will be needed. Even the census records in regards to his birth are not clear. The 1900 census states he was born in August of 1860 in Illinois (5). However, the 1910 census gives his birthdate as 1871 and in Indiana (6). 

On the 3 December 1896, Amelia gave birth to the couple's first child, a son they named Clyde Leslie Dawson (11). Two years later, on 28 May 1898, Amelia and John had a second child and daughter they named Helen (9). There appear to have been no other children born after Helen (12). 

John and Amelia left Illinois and had moved to Harrison Township in Vigo County, Indiana, by 1900. They would remain here for the rest of their lives. In 1900, John's occupation seems to be "car refiner rr." The word refiner is easy to read, and "rr" probably refers to railroad. I am not certain about the word "car" (5). 

About 1902, Amelia learned she had an older sister. It may have been Julia, or her husband John Whiteside, that contacted Amelia, for she states in her deposition for a pension on her father's behalf that she knew nothing of the witnessess concerning her parent's death or service as John Whiteside was handling all of the details. Two years later, about 1904, Julia and Amelia formally applied for Civil War pension benefits based on the fact their father and mother died while they were minors under the age of 16 (8). For more on that go here

The 1910 census finds John and Amelia still living in Harrison Township in Terra Haute. John was now working as a foreman on a "washing" gang. They were living in Ward No. 3 on South Street (6). 

I have not located either John or Amelia in the 1920 census, but by 1930 Amelia is found as a widow. She was still living in Terra Haute in Vigo County and with daughter, Helen Dawson, who was 33 years old. Amelia was working as a seamstress, while Helen was working as a clerk. They were still living in Ward No. 3 and were renters on Poplar Street (7). 

Amelia entered St. Anthony's Hospital in Terra Haute about 15 January 1940. She never went home, dying there on 27 February 1940. Dr. Van Arsdall attended her during this time. Her cause of death on her death certificate was given as "chronic endo-carditis, chronic myocarditis," and both of those were due to "chronic artheriosclerosis." She was, of course, stated to be a widow. Her usual place of residence was 309 S. 13th Street in Terra Haute. Daughter Helen gave the information for the death certificate, she knew nothing of her mother's family history, and the death certificate clearly states "family history unknown" (9). 

Amelia's obituary from the Terre Haute Tribune, 28 February 1940 (13), reads as follows:

Amelia Dawson, 309 1/2 South Thirteenth Street, died at 10:30 o'clock Tuesday morning at St. Anthony's Hospital.  Surviving are one son, Clyde, of Chicago, and one daughter, Mrs. Helen Denges, of Terre Haute.  Funeral services will be held at 3 o'clock Thursday afternoon at the Gillis Funeral Home, with Rev. A. J. Esperson officiating.  Burial will be in Highland Lawn Cemetery.


(1) Hamilton County, Indiana; Index to Marriage Record 1850 - 1879 Inclusive Vol, W. P. A. Part One 1850 - 1859 Part Two 1860 - 1869; Book: 1; Page: 315.
(2) 1860 U. S. Federal Census, Hamilton County, Indiana, Washington Township, David Smith household. 
(3) 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Clark County, Illinois, Wabash Township, David Smith household.
(4) Research of Marian Kay Cruse Abbott.  
(5) 1900 U. S. Federal Census, Vigo County, Indiana, Harrison Township, John F Dawson household.
(6) 1910 U. S. Federal Census, Vigo County, Indiana, Harrison Township, John Dawson household.
(7) 1930 U. S. Federal Census, Vigo County, Indiana, Harrison Township, Amelia Dawson household.
(8)  Civil War Pension Records for Julia Whitesides and Amelia Dawson (James Cruse), courtesy of Marian Kay Abbott.
(9) Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. In regards to Amelia Cruse Dawson: Birthdate is likely an error (see footnote #10). Also, the birthplace is given as Illinois, which is also clearly an error.
(10) Amelia's death certificate gives he birthdate at 5 March 1873, however, all census records indicate the birthyear was 1872, including the 1900 (source #5) which is closest to the event and may well have been given by Amelia herself. Also, Helen did not know of her mother's family history, and the death certificate even notes "family history unknown." It should be noted that the tombstone give the birthdate as 1873, and the information on Amelia's page on www.findagrave.com also gives the birthdate on the death certificate.
(11) Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
(12) 1910 census (see footnote #6) indicates that after fifteen years of marriage only two children were born and two children lived, with the youngest, Helen, being 11 that year. So it appears that no other children were born to Amelia, and if they were, they were born after 1910 and did not live to adulthood.
(13) Obituary courtesy of Marian Kay Cruse Abbott. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Thursday - Bible Woodcut "Deluge"

Today, on Throwback Thursday, I share a woodcut from the John Robert McQueen Family Bible published in 1850. 

This is titled "Deluge." 

The picture is a bit sobering to say the least. 

"In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened." Genesis 7:11