Tag Archives: Killbuck

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.

 

Penmanship Samples, a Family Heirloom

My handwriting is terrible. Some very old penmanship samples showed me just how awkward. My struggle with writing made me admire my grandmother’s Spencerian script even more. But she was not the only person with good handwriting back in her day.  If you look at the penmanship of most of the entries in the autograph books of Maude and Vera Stout, you will see many examples of children who might have studied penmanship with a master.

One day when I was visiting her, she showed me three pieces of paper with fanciful birds, drawn by pen in swooping lines of every-changing width.  I gaped. The person who created these penmanship samples was an artist. In fact, the drawings were promotional material. Advertising differed in the 1880s from today’s TV and websites. So did penmanship.

  The International Association of Master Penman, etc. provides a haven for those who think penmanship counts. They introduce F. W. Tamblyn, who moved from itinerant penmanship teacher to penmanship by mail courses. If you love beautiful penmaship, you may want to givve their site a look.
Penmanship Sample

This is smaller than the other two penmanship samples, also done by J. S. Johnston of Millersburg, Ohio. Like the other two, it is on ruled paper like children used in school.

They were all signed by J. S. Johnston, Millersburg, Ohio, and two of them designated that Mr. Johnston was a Penman.  My grandmother had kept them folded in a drawer for more than sixty years.

Itinerant penmanship teachers swarmed over the countryside in the 1800s. At that time, penmanship fell under the category of vocational training.  For those of us researching court documents and old legal papers, we become familiar with the handwriting of clerks hired for their beautiful and clear penmanship.

Grandma Vera Anderson explained that the penmanship teacher would come to town (Killbuck, Ohio) and set up outdoors near the center of town, creating these awesome examples of his work and handing them out to the children who gathered around.  Of course, he really wanted the youngsters to run back home and tell their parents about the wonderful drawings and that they could sign up and take his class so they, too, could make their writing a work of art.

In this one I admire the delicate suggestion of tree limbs in the background of the top bird, and water behind the lower bird. And how beautiful that U. S. A.!

Penmanship Sample

Two graceful birds in penmanship sample by J. S. Johnston of Millersburg, Ohio. Note he made an error in writing Millersburg! 7 3/4″ wide by 9 1/2″ tall.

 

I think of the skill needed to make these penmanship samples with a scratchy metal pen dipped again and again in a pot of ink and I get the shivers.  Even if he had never studied the concept, he was working with negative space and balancing the decorative designs around the page so that they fit into the whole.  His composition draws the eye just where he wants it.

I wonder how long it took for him to create something like the complexity of the drawing below? I can almost hear him talking to the gathered children as his hand flew across the paper. He told them how these lines form part of letters in handwriting, and wouldn’t they like to be able to do this, too?  Here, take this paper home and show your Mother and Father. I will be here all week giving lessons in penmanship.

Penmanship Sample

Very detailed picture made by penmanship teacher, J. S. Johnson of Millersburg Ohio, on ruled paper like a child’s school tablet. 7 3/4″ wide x 10″ tall.

When I inherited the drawings, I framed them properly as a work of art should be framed. Now they are well over 100 years old, and protected.

I think of these examples of penmanship, and the children’s desire to write beautifully in the autograph books whenever I hear the current discussion of whether it is practical to teach script in school any more, since everybody prints or keyboards.

Poor Mr. Johnston, the penmanship teacher, would be bereft.

As I would be without these gorgeous penmanship drawings.

Note: This post is a response to the weekly prompt of the 52 Ancestors project started by Amy Johnson Crow.    This week’s prompt: Heirloom