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Using Civil War Pension Records to Trace Calvin Croy’s Wanderings

sarah-angeline-ison-smith-and-calvin-harrison-croy-about-1898-buck-ok

Calvin Harrison Croy and Sarah Angeline Smith Croy (My father labeled this Buck, about 1898. With the research sited below, more likely 1901.)

I’ve often emphasized  the singular importance of acquiring any Civil War Pension Records of your immediate ancestorswhen doing genealogical research. Well, while working on an article I’m writing—one requiring a careful look at the pension records of seven Croy brothers of Washington County, Ohio —I found one more reason those records are so important. By looking closely, you can track any moves they made over time.

If you look carefully at the address of the applicant on every application (and often there are many) and any doctor’s examination through the years, you can create a very detailed timeline of where your ancestor lived and moved. My great-grandfather, Calvin Croy, was the only brother who left Ohio. I’ve traced his movement through census records and the birthplaces of his children, but the information in his NARA pension records provides so much more detail—and raises a few questions as well.

The timeline below traces the movement of Calvin Croy from when he returns home from the Civil War until his death. Unless noted the information can be found in his pension papers housed at the National Archives.

  1. July 20, 1865-Discharged from Co. B 31st OVI at Louisville, Kentucky
  2. August 1865-1870: Dunbar/Veto, Fairfield Township, Washington County, Ohio
  3. 1872-1884: Coshocton, Coshocton County, Ohio Note: December 12, 1872, Calvin married Sarah Angeline Smith in Coshocton, Coshocton County, Ohio; in pension records Calvin gives, on to separate occasions, 1882 and 1884 as the date he headed west. Son William was born August 5, 1883 in Coshocton, Ohio, hence my estimate.
  4. June 10, 1885-August 1887: Humbolt, Speicer Precinct, Richardson County, Nebraska Note: 1885 Nebraska Census provides start of residency. #4 & 5 show a confusing discrepancy! Son Albert Lloyd born August 11 1887 in Nebraska on census records but Calvin applied for a pension in Taylor, Kansas May 1886 and is listed on the Kansas Grand Army of the Republic Report for January 1, 1887. The Nemaha County, Kansas is right below Richardson County, Nebraska so their home may have been on the border or…?
  5. May 1886-1889: Taylor, Seneca, Nemaha County, Kansas Note: Lists occupation as farmer. A further discrepancy lists Burlingame, Osage County, Kansas as an address in 1889 and son Lloyd’s WWI biography notes his education in Burlingame.
  6. 1890-1894: Pleasanton, Linn County, Ohio Note: 1892 in the Kansas Grand Army of the Republic Report is the first time he lists his occupation as miner and may account for the moves the family made #7-9.
  7. March 1895-September 1895: Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas
  8. June 1896: Taylor, Seneca, Nemaha County, Kansas
  9. 1897-December 1900: Pleasanton, Linn County, Ohio Note: son Justus married Mary Elizabeth Ison December 24, 1900 then moved with family to Oklahoma.
  10. 1901-1905: Buck/Carbon/Krebs, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) Note: these towns, all listed as post offices on pension records during this time period are within 5-10 miles of each other.
  11. 1907- death on June 12, 1922: Henrietta, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma

While imperfect, the information provides a clear picture of a family in motion after leaving Ohio. Only after setting foot in Henrietta did Calvin find roots.

Next week I explore the fabulous SEARCHABLE Missouri County Plat Books and where my grandmother’s mother Gillie Morris[s] was born. But if Missouri is in your blood, go there now!

ONE FOR THE ROAD TO OHIO: breaking down brick walls…

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Ohio_Canal

The Ohio Erie Canal went right by Canal Lewisville, Coshocton County, OH

I head to Ohio this coming week for the Ohio Genealogical Conference and two weeks of research and discovery. At the conference, I will be inducted into the Society of Civil War Families of Ohio. Now, I’ve acquired numerous awards and certificates in my life and was never  big on ceremony, certificates, or standard celebrations, but this is different. It isn’t for me. It is for the seven men, the sons of Jacob Croy and Margaret Pugh Croy, who served with the Ohio Volunteers in the Civil War. I wrote a series of articles regarding them. To read more, click “Civil War” to the right of this post.

So my “One for the Road” comes out my work, in advance of my trip, fine tuning and organizing my research. My lesson, oft repeated, I repeat once more. It’s important.

Keep returning to your brick walls, those ancestors with typical names (or dusty pasts); the ones who elude you. Why? Okay, I know you’ve heard it before, but here it is again. New information is uncovered, discovered, and digitalized all the time.

When I plugged Henry Smith into Ancestry.com, I expected little, but got a treasure. Henry, the father of my great grandmother, Sarah Angeline Payne Smith who married Calvin Croy (my great grandfather and one of the Civil War brothers mentioned above), left a will.[i] It was one of the new probate records recently added to Ancestry.

Look what returning to Henry uncovered:

  • On 1 March 1883 the will of Henry Smith of Tuscarawas Township, Coshocton County, OH was filed with the court.
  • In the will he bequeathed “to my beloved wife Sephrona Smith the lot and house in which we live numbered (154) and 155) the one half of each lot divided east and west, South half and situated in the town of Canal Lewisville, Coshocton, State of Ohio…”
  • Sephrona (Sephronia in some records) had full rights to the land “to sell and convey or otherwise control…according to her own judgement.”
  • The will was signed in his own hand on 3 May 1879.

So never stop looking! With this find, I go to Ohio with confirmation of their home in Canal Lewisville, along with lot numbers. Can’t wait to get there!

Picture from Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=507197
[i] Will Records, 1811-1912; Probate Place: Coshocton, Ohio. Ancestry.com. Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998 [accessed April 2016]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Ohio County, District and Probate Courts.

How Calvin and Sarah Met (or the Geographical History of the Payne, Markley, and Croy Families)

 

Coshocton County Townships

Coshocton County Townships

Coshocton County, Ohio was formed out of Muskingum County in 1811.

The above map should help process things as we move along. (If I name a township in this post without indicating a county, assume Coshocton County, Ohio.)

 As noted in the previous post, to understand how Calvin Croy and Sarah Angeline Smith met and married, you must follow the couple’s family connections in Coshocton County. We were introduced to Sarah’s mother, Sephronia Payne Smith, and father, Henry Smith, in the last post. In this post I attempt to mine the family relationships of the Sephronia’s family and the Croy family in Coshocton County, Ohio. The goal: explain how the paths of Calvin and Sarah crossed (with some interesting diversions in between.)

The Payne’s lived in Coshocton County from at least 1820 when Sephronia’s father moved there with his shoe and boot repair business. (More on them in the previous post.) Their children, known and living into adulthood, were Samuel Felch (1810-1868,) Sarah (1812-1903,) Sephronia (1823-1903,) Selena (1826-between 1901-1910,) and William (between 1828-1834-about 1869.) Let’s take a look at the marriages, migration, and life experiences of these children.

The story is the sad but resilient tale of pioneer life. Zerah Payne and Fredrick Markley lived near each other in Tuscarawas Township in 1820. Fredrick Markley, died in 1828 leaving his wife, Rachel, with Nathan (11,) David (9,) Selena (5,) an unknown female, and Catherine (1.) The Payne family had also suffered a loss with Zerah Payne dying in1831. David Markley married Selena Payne on June 9, 1843 (Yes, Selena, just to make it confusing, each family had a Selena.) By 1850 David and Selena lived with her sister, Sephronia Payne Smith and Henry Smith, in Licking County, Ohio just southwest of Pike Township.

The rest of the Markley children connected in some way to the Payne family by 1850. Samuel Felch Payne had first married an Elizabeth Rice in Coshocton on March 4, 1830. Before 1850, Elizabeth died and Samuel then married Selena Markley, September 16, 1850. He likely met Selena Markley because she was living next to (or near) Samuel’s mother Amy Payne in Jackson Township. (Selena Markley is listed in two places in Jackson Township, Dwelling 301 next to Amy Payne who cared for Samuel’s son James, and # 278.) Then, on March 4, 1852 William Payne married Catherine Markley. Following me so far??? Samuel, William, and Selena Payne married Selena, Catherine, and David Markley.

After their marriages, in about 1858, Samuel and William Payne took off with their families to farm in Vincennes, Knox, Indiana. Samuel’s mother Amy Payne had died before 1860. They took the Markley matriarch, Rachel Markley, with them but after 1860 no record exists for her. Their hopes and dreams were not realized in Indiana. Illness ravaged them. On February 10, 1866, Selena Markley Payne died. Then, on January 17, 1868, Samuel Felch Payne died. Their son Gibson died about that time as well. The rest of children were shipped out to family, three to David and Selina and one to Catherine. Finally, in late 1869, William Payne died along with their son, Thomas. Catherine Markley Payne returned home to where everyone now lived in Canal Lewisville along the border of Tuscarawas and Keene Township.

With the deaths of Samuel and William, only the daughters were left. In 1870, two of them, Sephronia Smith and Selina Markley, lived three houses apart and between them lived Samuel Payne’s children Rachel, Eliza, and Burd. In the Smith house lived Sarah Angeline.

Coshocton County and Canal Lewisville figures geographically into the lives of the Croy family as well. In the late 1830’s, as documented in previous posts, Andrew Croy and his sons moved to Coshocton County with the growth of the Eerie/Ohio Canal. Jacob Croy, father of Calvin, lived in Mill Creek and White Eyes Townships. Most important to this story is the brother who stayed and settled in Lafayette Township, David Croy. Woodworking ran in the family. Father Andrew owned a sawmill in White Eyes Township. David, followed his footsteps and worked as a sawyer in White Eyes and Lafayette Townships. His son Robert followed suit, working as a sawyer in 1870 and then as a sawyer in 1880 in Keene Township.

No, I didn’t forget the original title of the post: How Calvin and Sarah met. After the Civil War, Calvin was living with his brother Nathan down in Fairfield Township, Washington County, near Marietta, on the homestead with his father and mother where he is listed as a laborer in 1870. Then his father died in 1872.

As noted two posts back, Calvin had a restless spirit. It is likely that he jumped at the chance to move out from under his older brother’s shadow and go work with his cousin in Keene Township. They may have even formed a business together. At any rate, by 1880 Calvin was working as a sawyer in Keene Township. He and Sarah lived only 24 houses apart from cousin Robert Croy. (How close were they to Canal Lewisville? My grandfather, Justus Croy, born on October 10, 1879 lists Lewisville as his place of birth on the World War I draft card.)

By the way, when searching your family be careful and check the originals carefully. I found error in the transcription of  townships, names, and households from the original. An 1820 census included two to three townships on each page and all were listed as one township! Needless to say, but I will, my brain is fried. I’m happy to return to fiction for a few days!

And look at this! Written in 1881, this History of Coshocton County contains a hint as to the parentage of Amy Felch, someone I had no definitive information on before. Yes, the piece contains some errors, but not many. And THAT is where I go next, following Zerah Payne and Amy Felch Payne back in time and ancestry. See ya then!

“MARKLEY DAVID, Tuscarawas township; farmer; was born October 13, 1819, in this township; son of Frederick and Rachel (Cartmill) Markley. David’s father came to Coshocton county in 1803 and located in Bethlehem township on the Walhonding river. His ancestors came from Maryland and are of German descent. David’s father died when the boy was but nine years old, from which age Mr. Markley has depended entirely on his own industry and management for success, and it is but just to state here that he has by honest and judicious economy obtained an ample competence for his family and himself, and to do a liberal share in assisting in all charitable and religious enterprises of his neighborhood. He also takes a live interest in education. Mr. Markley was married July 9, 1842, to Miss Selina, daughter of Lera and Ann (Felch) Payne. Mrs. Markley’s grandmother was Sarah Knox, sister of General Knox. They are the parents of fourteen children, nine of whom are deceased, viz: Caroline, William F., Christena Frances, George E., Charles D., Mary Melissa, Judge Harper, Lily May and Edward; and five living, viz: Samuel Asberry, Minerva Catherine, Emma, Annie E. and David, Jr.”

 Information for this post taken from:
  • com census data for Ohio between 1820 and 1880 and Vincennes, Knox, Indiana 1860, 1870 (Yes, I know I didn’t use the “official” style…look back to other posts. I do know how.)
  • Marriage information comes from Ancestry.com. Marriages, Coshocton County, Ohio, 1811-1930. Provo, UT: Originally compiled by Miriam C. Hunter Coshocton Public Library, 1991.
  • N. Hill, Jr. Ed., History of Coshocton County Ohio: Its Past and Present, (Newark, Ohio: A.A. Graham & Co., 1881) Pg 743
  • Note: repeating family names given for numerous children are Samuel, Asbury, Judge, Justus, Amy

Treat #9 for a New Year: Personalities of Calvin and Sarah Croy Come to Life

“A quarrel arose in the Croy family, especially with Grandpa Croy, when Dad and his brother were allowed to attend the new high school nearby and did not go to work in the coal mine after finishing grammer school. It was Grandma Croy who insisted and finally got her way, ‘to send the first Croy’s to a higher school,’ as she said. Grandpa had no use for ‘educated brats.’ It seems that Grandma Croy always looked after the interests of Charles Henry’s boys.

Since Dad and his brother did not work in the coal mine like their cousins, Muriel and Calvin, they had to do house chores and were ‘left out’ on many things…In the spring of 1921, after a dispute with Grandpa over the new electric lamps (Grandpa made everyone screw the lamp bulbs out when not in use,) Dad had to leave the house. He had just finished high school and it was time to get out. Grandma packed his things, gave him 10 dollars, secured the money with a safety pin in his front pocket and warned him of the big city people. He also got to take his shot gun. Dad left the Henryetta train station bound for Kansas City.”

From the written memories of William Croy, son of William David Croy who was the son of Charles Henry Croy and grandchild of Calvin and Sarah Croy, my great grandparents.

This period of time was a tipping point in family history. After this both my father and aunt graduated from high school and even “higher school” was possible for the generations that followed.

Our ancestors’ personalities, like our own, are more nuanced than any romanticized stereotypes. Only reminiscences, the memories of others that are written down, provide us with those insights. The grandchild who came to live with Sarah and Calvin Croy in 1910 when his mother died passed on a memory through his son that reveals the struggles of two older people as they address changing times.  Once again I encourage writing letters, diaries (blogs,) and memories…even when some memories might best be disclosed after the effected parties have left this world.

Treat #5 for a New Year: Sarah and David Croy

Sarah Angeline and son David with son DanielI found this gem wile rummaging through papers at my parent’s house last fall. Written on the back was “Sarah and David Croy with unknown child.” This photo helped as I identified the “Croy Boy” picture from an earlier post. I find comparing and contrasting photos with known elements to those with unknown elements extremely helpful. So who was this “unknown child” and when was the picture taken? It seems to have been a special occasion, most likely surrounding the birth of this new child. Sarah was great grandmother Sarah (Payne, Smith) Croy who died in 1932. David, a brother of my grandfather, married first Nellia Cannon and then Velva Louise Moody with whom he had two children. The first, Daniel, was born in 1930, and the second, Betty, was born in 1936. Based on this information, the child is probably Daniel Croy, and the picture was taken not long before Sarah’s death in about 193o-31.