Tag Archives: Holmes County

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.

 

Willliam McCabe Anderson Home From War

William McCabe Anderson

William McCabe Anderson

William McCabe Anderson, born in Pennsylvania, knew Ohio as his home from the time he was a toddler. He probably expected nothing more from life than to grow crops and livestock and build a legacy for his own children as his father had done. Travel and adventure came to other people.

William Becomes a Soldier

But he  became a soldier fighting for the Union at the age of twenty when he joined the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  As I wrote earlier, (follow the link for the story) Will was luckier than so many of the soldiers who fought in the Civil War. As a soldier, he saw more of the country and had more adventures than he could have dreamed of. But mostly, he was lucky because he survived.

The young man, no doubt hardy from working on his father’s Ohio farm, toughened up even more as his company marched for weeks and fought in two disastrous battles. His luck seemed to give out at the Battle of Chickasaw when he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for nearly a year.

His mother, Isabella McCabe Anderson named him for her brother William McCabe. Perhaps he inherited the toughness of his Scots-Irish McCabe forebears, along with the middle name of William McCabe Anderson. For whatever reason, Will survived when many of his fellow prisoners died from the harsh conditions in their unique prison in an old covered bridge.

The Soldier Comes Home

In November 1864, he returned to his mother and father, John and Isabella McCabe Anderson in Monroe Township, Holmes County Ohio. It would have been a joyful reunion, tinged with sadness. Will’s oldest half-brother, Erasmus, did not survive the war, and his next oldest half-brother, John, who may have joined on the same day as Will, if so, had not yet have returned, per Ohio Soldier Grave Registration. (I have a research mystery here because of a conflict between the Grave Registration information and other reference materials. And then there are the many John Andersons from Ohio in the Union Army)

Those waiting to greet Pvt. William McCabe Anderson, besides his parents John and Isabella Anderson, included his older sister Sarah Jane Anderson McDowell, and Margaret Anderson Lisle, both now married and living nearby. Younger sisters Amy and Caroline, close as two peas in a pod, were still living at home on the farm, as were young brothers 16-year-old Joseph (to become my 2x great-grandfather) and 12-year-old Frank.

Three and a half years later, Will married Eliza Armstrong (Elizabeth J.) who lived on a neighboring farm. Her father came from Ireland, as did William’s ancestors the Andersons and the McCabes.

William the Farmer

The Agriculture non-Population schedule of the 1870 Census of Monroe Township in Holmes County Ohio shows that Will wasted no time in establishing one of the outstanding farms of the area.  By that year, he and Eliza had two children, one-year-old Effie and two month old Olive.  William was farming a 117-acre farm, with more than half of that in “improved” fields.  The value of his farm stood at $3500.

It is clear from the schedule that he cultivated sheep rather than dairy cows, although he owned nine head of cattle and six “swine” (probably for family use).  He grew corn and winter wheat and some oats, but he sheared his sheep and sold 200 pounds of wool.  Forty bushels of potatoes and three tons of hay completed the output of the farm with an estimated value of sold products $703.

Ten years later (1880), the agricultural schedule asks slightly different questions, but we see that he estimates that his total value of the farm has risen by $2000, and total acreage reported decreased slightly, due to the loss of 27 acres of woodland and gaining ten acres of tilled land. Unlike 1870, when he appeared to do the work by himself, he now hired people over an eight week period at a cost of $100.  Will values total products sold at $400.

On the farm, he has added 100 pounds of butter to products sold, and his sheep birthed 40 lambs. He sold ten sheep and slaughtered one.  The sheep yield more than twice as much weight of wool as in 1870, and his herd of swine increased from six to twenty-one.  Poultry was not counted in 1870, but in 1880, he has 56, and has gathered 200 eggs.  His production of corn stays steady with ten acres being devoted to corn, six acres to oats, with the harvest increasing form 40 to 225 bushels and twelve acres to wheat.

Potatoes harvest stays about the same, and fruit, which wasn’t asked on the previous census seems to be an important crop. 100 apple trees and 25 peach trees take up five acres.

During this decade when farming takes most his time, life events occupy his attention as well. In 1972, his brother John, just 36 years old, dies from a fall from an apple tree on his nearby farm.

William Loses Family Members

The following year, Will and Eliza had a son, Gilmore. Son John Edward (called Edward) came in 1873. Another son, William,  born in April 1875, died five months later.  Then in February 1877, William’s wife, Eliza, died.

Eliza, just thirty-two when she died, left William with four young children from five to ten years old.  His mother Isabella, now a widow, moved in with him to help with the house and the children, and is listed as the housekeeper in the census taken on June 5, 1880. However Will is ready to have a second wife, and on June 24 he married Mary Jane Cox (called Jane).

Another terrible blow came to the family in 1881 when Will’s oldest daughter, Effie died at eleven.

In 1883, his brother Joseph (my  great grandfather, died (as the result of injuries suffered in a fall from a tree–like his older brother John). Despite the tragedies that struck the family, and despite his war-weakened health and hard work on the farm, William found time for civic duty. He  served both as a Township Trustee and as Treasurer of Monroe Township.

In 1890, the census Veteran’s report identified Will. (The 5th line down)  William Anderson; Private; Company B; Name of Regiment 166 [16th] O [Ohio] Inf [Infantry]; Date of Enrollment 12 Dec 1861; Date of Discharge 13 Oct 1864 Length of service 3 years 1 month and 19 days.

1890 Census Veteran's Schedule.

1890 Veteran’s Schedule of the Federal Census for Monroe Township, Holmes County, Ohio.

Honored at the End of Life

Will and Jane had been married for twenty-two years when he died at the age of sixty-one.  He had survived the Civil War and his time as a Prisoner of War to become a respected member of the community. The county newspaper, The Holmes County Farmer, published his obituary on June 26, 1902 on page one.

William McCabe Anderson obituary

Holmes County Farmer, June 26, 1902. Front page obituary for William McCabe Anderson.

In 1985, the editor of a history of Holmes County wrote about the effect of William McCabe Anderson’s wartime experience.

“Being housed in a damp barn so weakened his lungs that he was affected the remainder of his life, a contributing factor towards his death…..His widow collected $91 monthly in a government pension stemming from his Civil War service.”

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 and Isabelle McCabe Anderson, the parents  of
  • William McCabe Anderson

Notes on Research

United States Federal Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1890, Ohio, Holmes County, Monroe Township.

United States Federal Census Non-Population – Agriculture Schedule, 1870 and 1880, Ohio, Holmes County, Monroe Township. Census Place: Monroe, Holmes, Ohio; Archive Collection Number: T1159

(1870)Roll: 38; Line: 25; Schedule Type: Agriculture.

(1880)Roll: 67; Line: 1; Schedule Type: Agriculture.  Both accessed at Ancestry.com

Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, 1867 Marriage License of William  Anderson and Eliza J. Armstrong, Holmes County, Ohio. Image from Family History Library film number 000477145. Accessed at Ancestry.

Ohio, County Marriages, 1774-1993, 1880 Marriage License of William Anderson and Martha J. Cox, Holmes County, Ohio. Image from Family History Library film number 000477146. Accessed at Ancestry.

Obituary of William M Anderson: (Picture used came  from Margaret Anderson Lisle’s scrapbook containing family information.) Newspaper: Holmes County Farmer, Newspaper Date: 26 Jun 1902, Newspaper Page: 1 Column: ; Repository: WAYNE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY (WOOSTER, Ohio)

Find a Grave.com, William M. Anderson

United States Federal Census Non-Population – Veterans Schedule, 1890, Ohio, Holmes County, Monroe Township. The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Number: M123; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Record Group Number: 15 Accessed at Ancestry.

Holmes County (Ohio) Republican, series entitled Camp & Field, by Capt. Theodore David Wolbach. Published Feb 24, 1881 to August 17, 1882.  Accessed at the website dedicated to the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, 

Holmes County Ohio to 1985, Holmes County History Book Committee, Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1985, Millersburg, Ohio.  page 7 William Anderson  Out of print.  (Accessed partial article from a family tree on Ancestry.)