Category Archives: family

Ann Marie Smith, Church and Family

If you are a family history researcher or blogger, you will understand why I have been reluctant to tackle this particular family line. SMITH. But the Smiths are not going to get any easier to figure out if I keep ignoring them.  So here is my great-grandmother, my father’s grandmother, Ann Marie Smith (Butts).

Ann Marie Smith 1835-1917

parents of Mame Kaser

Henry Allen and Ann Marie Butts, about 1880

Ann Marie Smith, my father’s grandmother, joined five other children when she was born in Knox County,Ohio on the 12th of April, 1835. The children ranged from three years old to ten. Isaac, their father, the shoemaker, must have mended a lot of shoes to be able to feed his large family.

Her parents, devoted Catholics originally from Maryland, took her to the mission that would become St. Luke Catholic church in Danville Ohio to be christened the following July.

HISTORICAL NOTE:  Four years after Ann Marie Smith’s  baptism, a traveling priest began serving the Danville area.  Jean-Baptiste Lamy would be Annie’s priest when she was a young child. He built the first wooden church to serve St. Luke Church in 1840, before he departed for New Mexico in 1850. This means Father Lamy would have presided over the baptism, christening and infant deaths of the Smith children that came after Annie.  Willa Cather’s book Death Comes to the Archbishop covers the New Mexico life of Father/Archbishop Lamy.

For the rest of her life, Annie would know only Knox County, Ohio as her home, and St. Luke as her church.  The beautiful brick church, with its soaring interior, still serves the area.

While every child certainly was welcomed with love, little Ann Marie must have been a special delight because Mary (Krigbaum) and Isaac Smith had suffered the loss of an infant girl in 1833.

I wrote a bit about Ann Marie’s married life when we read her husband, Henry Allen Butts’ letters home from the Civil War, but I recently realized that I had not looked at Ann Marie’s earlier life at that time.

Ann Marie’s Early Life

During the early years of her life, the Smith family kept growing. But before she gained more siblings, three-year-old Ann lost a 7-year-old brother (George). In the same year, her mother Mary Smith gave birth to another girl who died in infancy, Priscilla Bell Smith.

Then the curse–if they believed in such things–was lifted and five-year-old Annie gained a close playmate when Isadore Orilla  joined the family in 1840. I believe Mary felt particularly close to Isadore, because Annie honored her sister by using her name for my grandmother. Mary Isadore Butts (Kaser) received the names of her grandmother Mary and her aunt Isadore.

Three years after Isadore joined the family, Mary presented another boy, James, and in 1845, the youngest, Joseph Dalice, joined the family.

With a new baby , and a total of eight offspring in the house, Mary Smith no doubt had mixed feelings about her oldest daughter, Mary Jane’s marriage and departure. The oldest son, John Henry also married in 1845. Mary Jane had reached 20 and John (also called Ivan) would now be 22.

Adding Children and Losing Children

In 1847, when Ann Marie reached twelve her mother gave birth to another girl baby who died in infancy.  Poor Mary. She had lost three children in infancy and one at only seven years old. Another shock hit the family when Ann Marie reached fourteen years old.  Ann Marie’s older brother Jeremiah died in a farm accident when he was only twenty-two. Of twelve children Mary Smith had given birth to, only seven survived to 1850.

[In 1849 William Smith, 21, may also have married and lived in another county with an uncle named George, but I need further research on this since there are dozens of  William Smiths to sort out.]

When the census taker wrote down the facts in 1850, he showed 15-year-old Ann Marie as the oldest of the children still at home. The others were sister Isadore (10) and brothers James (8) and Joseph (6). Although their mother Mary apparently could not read and write (at least in English), the Smith children all attended school and became literate. In 1860, Ann Marie still lived at home at 25 years of age–probably already considered a spinster. (The census shows her as 24.)

The Spinster Meets Her Man

In 1860, Henry Allen Butts showed up in the Pennsylvania census living in a boarding house.  How he met his wife Ann Marie Smith remains a mystery to me. Political division stalked the land, and most expected war to break out. Henry, who presumably had not yet met Annie, joined a Pennsylvania Regiment of the Union Army for a year.  When he mustered out, he apparently moved to Ohio. His father had died in 1846, and I am not sure where his mother was by 1860.

Records show that Ann Marie Smith and Henry Allen Butts married August 23, 1864.  They obviously had met nearly a year before that, as their first son, Giles Allen (called Alan or Allen), came “prematurely” a month after the marriage.

The Civil War Intrudes

The war continued to rage in 1864. Henry did not own land, and did not have a skill to rely on, so he joined the Union Army in Ohio. Since Henry had already served a one-year stint with the Union Army from Pennsylvania,  I can think of no reason other than financial that he would leave his “Dear Wif” and the baby he obviously doted on. His love for both of them shines through his letters, regardless of grammatical and spelling challenges.

If Ann Marie felt frightened and alone when her husband left for the front, things only got more troublesome when her brother John also joined the war.

The oldest boy in the Smith family John Henry Smith, enlisted at the beginning of 1864, even though he was already forty years old and married with children.  Henry Allen Butts mentions John Henry in a letter to his wife “Annie”. Annie had told Henry in a letter from home that her brother had gotten a leave and visited with his children.  The visit, in retrospect, suggests a bittersweet memory.  John Henry fought through several severe battles with his unit and died of wounds he received near Nashville Tennessee before 1864 ended.

It is easy to see Mary’s problems during 1864 with her husband gone and money in short supply. She is offered a job helping out as a housemaid, but Henry doesn’t approve of that, so she struggles along, without borrowing and without working outside the house.

Although Henry fought under Sherman in the famous March to the Sea, he survived to return to Ohio and invest in a small farm. More fortunate with babies than her mother, Ann Maria Smith gave birth six times and all six lived to adulthood, although one daughter died at 26.  Ann’s father died in 1886 and her mother died in 1892.

After the War

I encourage you to read the story of the rest of Ann’s life which I covered in this post about Henry’s first letter home.  Rooted in Knox County, near the small town of Danville, Ann Marie lived until April 1917 when she was 82 years old.  My father would have been eleven years old when she died, and remembered both Ann Marie and Henry Butts.

A memoir written by Homer Blubaugh tells more about Ann Marie, so devoted to her church that she would walk a few miles to church carrying her youngest baby, known for her enormous vegetable and flower garden.

Ann Marie Smith lies buried in the Catholic churchyard in Danville, Ohio. (I believe her grave is unmarked. Her husband’s grave was unmarked until a veterans’ organization erected a Civil War Veteran monument.) St. Luke church shepherded her into the world with a christening, brought her solace throughout her life and saw her departure. Henry survived her and died in 1920.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser (Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Paul Kaser, who is the son of
  • Mary Isadore Butts (Kaser), who is the daughter of
  • Ann Marie Smith (Butts)

Notes on Research

  • History of St. Luke Church and Father Lamy, the St. Luke website.
  • Death Comes to the Archbishop , Willa Cather.
  • United States Census, 1850, Millwood, Knox, Ohio; 1860, Union, Knox, Ohio;1870, 1880, 1900, Harrison, Knox Ohio; 1910, Union, Knox, Ohio.
  • Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, Record for Henry A. Butts, Ancestry.com
  • Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, Annie M Butts, Knox County, pg 1158,  Ohio Department of Health and Ancestry.com
  • Smith Family Bible,  Isaac M. Smith and family. Family Bible in possession of family of Joseph Dallas Smith; Elizabeth Ferretti Smith Rotterman, near Cleveland Ohio, 2016. Hand written Bible page transcribed by Mary Martha VonVille on Family Search.org https://familysearch.org/tree/person/M7BQ-48D/details
  • “A History of the Henry Allen Butts Family” by Rev. Homer Blubaugh, Saint Mary Church, Lancaster, Ohio.  This is a combination of documented and anecdotal information about the Butts family from Ohio. Some was gathered at family reunions. Some is downright wrong, but some is quite interesting. My copy was sent by Butts descendent Helen Findon in 2003. The document says Revised May 11, ’92 – Rev. Homer Blubaugh. Copies in the authors’ possession.

Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell, The Meek Grandmother

Sarah Jane Anderson 1833-1893

The Early Years in Pennsylvania

Emma Allison, first wife of John Anderson, gave birth to Sarah Jane Anderson on their farm in Washington County in western Pennsylvania in mid summer-July 9, 1833. Baby Sarah had a brother, Erasmus, three years old when she was born, and three years after she was born younger brother John came along.  However, the next year, her mother died.  Sarah probably did not remember much about her mother, because Emma died when Sarah was only four years old.

[NOTE:  Some family trees name an older sister of Erasmus, Mary, but I have found no proof other than a reference in a Holmes County history that says Emma gave birth to four children.]

The Scene Shifts to Ohio

Her father John Anderson, needed a caretaker for this three young children, quickly married Isabella Sarah McCabe and the family began to grow.  By the time they moved to Ohio in 1843, the young Sarah had two more siblings, Margaret and William.

In Ohio, her father bought a 140-acre farm in the fertile land of Monroe Township, and the family began to attend the Church of Christ in Welcome, near the farm.

In  Holmes County,  Ohio when Sarah Jane Anderson was about to turn ten years old, another sister, Amy, was born.  Three years later a sister, Caroline joined the family and then brother Joseph J. Anderson, my great-grandfather was born in 1848. The 1850 census for Monroe Township, Holmes County, Ohio, listed eight children in the family of John and Isabella Anderson, ranging in age from two (Joseph) to twenty years old (Erasmus). Sarah Jane  had turned 17 a month before the August census.

Sarah Jane Anderson Meets James McDowell

Several McDowell families lived in the same township and neighboring Killbuck, Ohio and somewhere, probably at the church where they would later be married, Sarah met James Coleville McDowell. The teen-aged Sarah must have been impressed by the six-years-older school teacher. Two of his siblings also taught school, bringing some extra respect to this farm family.  They married on March 25, 1852. [Two months later, Sarah’s stepmother gave birth to the youngest son of John Anderson, Franklin]

In September the following year, Sarah gave birth to their first son, John Anderson McDowell. The family grew as most did in those days, with a new infant appearing every two years. Sarah and James McDowell’s family included

  • 1853: John Anderson McDowell
  • 1855: Matthew Thomas McDowell
  • 1857: Alice McDowell
  • 1862: David McDowell
  • 1865: An infant son named William, died at five months old

Sarah Jane Anderson – Life as a Mother

Sarah’s children and life brought both joy and pain.  It appears that Alice McDowell suffered from debilitating “rheumatism”/ arthritis.  In the 1860 census, Sarah’s husband, James’ sister Martha was living with the family, perhaps to help with the children.  In 1860, James’ occupation is not listed, but although they are living in the rural township of Monroe, he does not own land equivalent to surrounding farmers, so I’m guessing that he was still teaching school.

The Civil War occupied everyone’s attention, particularly with both her brothers Erasmus and William enlisting.  In 1862 word arrived that William had disappeared, probably taken captive by the South. In 1863, her brother Erasmus died at Vicksburg.

When Sarah was 37, she and James and their four children lived in Oxford, an earlier name for Killbuck, Ohio–having moved back to town from the farm. According to the 1870 census, James is employed as a grocer and the children, ranging from six to sixteen years old, attend school.

In 1872, the family reels from shock when Sarah’s brother John falls from a fruit tree on his farm and dies at just thirty-six years old.  At the end of the decade, her father, John Anderson dies. It was in late 1870 that Sarah began to suffer from stomach and liver problems, according to her obituary.

On the positive side during the 1870s, Sarah must have been very proud of her oldest son John who graduated from Normal school and begins a teaching career, becoming Principal of the school in Millersburg Ohio, the county seat for Holmes County. By the end of the decade, he has advanced to Superintendent of the Millersburg schools.

Grandmother Sarah Jane

Daughter Alice, on the other hand no doubt upset her mother when in 1879 she  gave birth to a daughter, Jennie, without having been married.  Alice and Jennie lived with Sarah and James McDowell  until she married William Eyster in 1881.  Alice then had two sons, Harry in 1883 and Clyde in 1886.

In October 1879, her son Thomas, a farmer in Holmes County, had presented Sarah with a grandson, and in 1881 son John and his wife also had a son. They went on to have seven more before Sarah died and a total of fourteen children.

At 46, Sarah had become officially a grandmother. Although her son David, a farmer, married, he did not have children.

Suffering Pain

By 1890 (according to her effusive obituary) Sarah suffered “extreme and almost constant” pain from 1890 to 1893.  In December of 1893, at the age of  sixty, Sarah contracted the flu and died.

Obituary

Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell Obituary from Margaret Anderson Lisle’s scrapbook.

Sarah did not live to see her oldest son elected to Congress in 1899 and serve two terms before being defeated in a primary election. She missed his rise in education circles with increasingly important jobs throughout his lifetime.  She did not live to be part of the Anderson-Stout family picture that I have posted many times before. Her daughter Alice, grand-daughter Jennie and several of her siblings are in that picture.

After giving the facts of her life, her obituary goes on to say:

Some of her characteristics for which she was noted were truthfulness, meekness and promptness. Her disposition was strong and firm in whatever direction she was inclined . She was plain and economical in apparel. Her greatest delight was to entertain company, and no labor was spared to provide for their satisfaction even when such labor was a great weariness of the flesh. She was kind and forgiving, often befriending those whom she knew had purposely and greatly wronged her. She was an agreeable companion; always very industrious, prompt and successful in the management of her part of the duties of a home. She was a kind and loving mother, always possessed with a disposition to assist and encourage all in every good deed and work. Her friends were many. Almost without an exception her neighbors and acquaintances were her warm and obliging friends.

After reading the description of Sarah as “Meek”, I wonder at the contrast between her and many of the other women in my past.  And that “Plain and economical in apparel” is interesting, too.  I wish I had her picture. She may be one of the unidentified women in my great-grandmother Hattie’s photo album, but I have no way of knowing.

By 1900, we find Sarah Jane Anderson ‘s  husband James McDowell living with their son David who was teaching school. David returns to farming and we find James  living alone in 1910. He passed away in 1916 having outlived Sarah by 23 years.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Leonard Guy Anderson, who is the son of
  • Joseph Anderson, who is the son of
  • John Anderson the father  of
  • Sarah Anderson McDowell

Notes on Research

United States Federal Census Records, 1850 and 1860, Monroe Township, Holmes County, Ohio; 1870, Oxford, Holmes County, Ohio; 1870, Monroe Twp, Holmes County, Ohio; 1880, Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio; 1880, Monroe Twp., Holmes County, Ohio; 1900, Millersburg, Ohio; 1900 Monroe Twp, Holmes County, Ohio; 1900 Coshocton, Coshocton County, Ohio; 1900, Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio; 1910, Ashland, Ashland County, Ohio; 1910, Killbuck, Holmes County, Ohio; 1920, Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio; 1930, Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio.

Biographies of Members of Congress

Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, Holmes County, Ohio, James McDowell and Sarah Anderson, March 25, 1852, Ancestry.com, Film #000477144; David McDowell and Cambie Gray, 9 Oct, 1884, film #000477146.

Find a Grave

Revisiting the Andersons of Holmes County Ohio

Among the things that getting a DNA test has done  to influence my research–I discover ancestors I skipped over when I wrote about members of their family. That has been the case with both my maternal line of Andersons and my paternal line of Kasers.

DNA strand

DNA strand from pixabay

Here at Ancestors in Aprons,  I don’t talk specifically about my DNA test results and what I’m finding.  If you want to follow my DNA journey, please subscribe to my newsletter, where each week I feature new discoveries. The newsletter also has reminders of the week’s posts, a list of recipes, family names, and auxiliary materials.  Sign up by clicking here.

 

Last week I remedied an oversight in the Andersons by talking about my great-uncle William McCabe Anderson. (My attention had been drawn to Will because of a DNA match.) William, first son of the 2nd marriage of John Anderson to my grandmother Isabella McCabe, survived the experience of a P.O.W. during the Civil War.

As I looked at Will Anderson, I realized there were other Andersons that I had missed.

A Recap of the Andersons I Have Introduced

Caroline Anderson Bird

Family portrait Anderson and Stout, 1909

For identification of everyone in the Anderson and Stout family picture above, follow this link.

Leonard Guy Anderson, my maternal grandfather. You can see “Daddy Guy” in the photo at the top of the page–an ancestor in an apron. I have written about Guy’s second wife, Vera Stout Anderson many times. I was named for her and spent a great deal of time with her when I was young.

Bernard Franklin (Ben) Anderson, great-uncle, was Guy’s brother. I wrote about the tragic loss of his young wife and his family, which presented quite a tangle. His descendants included his nephew Telmar, Guy’s son by his first wife and brother to Rhema Anderson Fair (below); Estil Anderson Sr., Ben’s only son; and Estil Anderson Jr.

Mary V. Brink Anderson and Joseph J. Anderson, my grandfather’s parents. Joseph was the next to youngest son of Isabella McCabe  and John Anderson, and died young.

Isabella McCabe Anderson and her husband John Anderson, my great-great grandparents moved the Andersons from Ohio to Pennsylvania. Isabella lived a long time– long enough that my mother knew her great-grandmother, who sits in the center of the family picture above.

Great-Great Uncle Erasmus Anderson (actually a half-uncle of my grandfather), a soldier in the Civil War had a series of posts dedicated to his letters from the front and description of his service and death during the Civil War.

Margaret Anderson Lisle, great-great aunt. Margaret, the first child of John Anderson and his second wife, Isabella McCabe, played the role of family caretaker.  It was Margaret who wrote to Erasmus during the war. It was Margaret who kept a family scrapbook with locks of hair and obituaries. It was Margaret who raised her own family and the grandchildren who needed a parent.

Franklin Anderson, great-great uncle– my grandfather’s uncle who raised him when his father died. Franklin was the youngest of the Andersons family.

Caroline Anderson Bird, great-great aunt.

Amy Anderson Roof, great-great aunt.  Caroline and Amy were the two youngest children of Isabella and John Anderson, and close in every way for the rest of their lives.

I also wrote about the generations after my Grandfather–

Rhema Anderson Fair, my mother’s half sister.  The daughter of Guy Anderson and his first wife, Lillis Bird.

William J. Anderson. My Uncle Bill could be a rascal, as in the story I told about his running away, but my mother’s older brother held a place in my heart as a favorite relative.

Herbert Guy Anderson, son of Guy Anderson and his 2nd wife, Vera Stout Anderson. My uncle Herbert was my mother’s younger brother.

And I have written many times about my mother, Harriette Anderson Kaser. (I’ll let you use the search function to find those articles and pictures.

Andersons in Waiting

Which Andersons still wait to have their stories told?  Well, I am currently working on Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell and her family.

I have not written about John Anderson, last child of John Anderson and his first wife, Emma Allison Anderson.  I have a puzzle to solve about John’s possible service in the Civil War before I can write about this man who died from a farm accident in his 30s.

The first child of John and Emma may have been a girl named Mary who married before the Andersons left Pennsylvania. But information on Mary is scarce.

And of course, each time I research a great-great aunt or uncle, I discover their children and grandchildren, new cousins galore.

Are You an Anderson?

Anderson is such a common name that even in the small county of Holmes in Ohio, I find Andersons that are not visibly related to my John Anderson line.  I keep hoping to meet someone who holds the key to where John Anderson (1795-1879) came from and who his parents were. Perhaps there is a family Bible. Perhaps an earlier Anderson wrote a family history. Until then, John Anderson is one of my brick walls, and I will continue to explore the families that came after him.