Tag Archives: Ohio

Malvina Morgan: Two Lives

Of all four of Jesse Morgan’s children with his first wife, Malvina Morgan was closest in age to my great-grandmother, Harriet Morgan (Stout), her half-sister. She was probably also the closest emotionally to my great-great-grandmother, Mary Bassett Platt Morgan, her father’s second wife.

Malvina Morgan 1835-1917

I had high hopes of being able to flesh out the life story of Malvina, because my mother passed on family memories of Malvina. For instance, she said that Malvina owned a store in Colorado and that she came back to Ohio to visit her step-mother Mary. It is possible that my mother even encountered Malvina on one of her visits to Harriet (Hattie) Ohio, but mother would have been a very young girl.  It is more likely that mother’s beloved grandmother Hattie (Harriet Morgan Stout) talked about the Morgan siblings.

But the Colorado part of Malvina’s life that my mother knew about was the second chapter. The first chapter set in the East and the second chapter set in the West. In the last half of her life she lived an independent life, far from the life of her childhood and the first chapter of her life, when she was a wife and mother.

Malvina’s Childhood

Malvina was born in Chautauqua County, New York in 1835, and would have been a toddler when her parents, Jesse and Mary Pelton Morgan moved to Ohio.  When Malvina was about three years old, her mother died.  I have no evidence of where Malvina lived as a very young child, but in 1838, her father married Mary Bassett, the widow of Asahel Platt, and they set up housekeeping in Killbuck, Ohio.

Two years later, in 1842, Jesse and Mary Bassett Morgan had a baby girl, Harriet (Hattie). Malvina was seven years old, and probably living in Killbuck with her father (when he was not ‘on the road’) and her step-mother.

In July, the 1850 census counted Malvina, now fifteen years old, living with Mary Morgan and the eight-year-old Harriet in Killbuck. The census report says the Malvina was in school that year. Although it was not common for girls to get education into their teens, it is not surprising that the well-educated former teacher, Mary, would ensure her step daughter went to school. In October of that year, Mary received word that Malvina’s father, Jesse, had been killed in Sacramento California in the month of August.

Chapter One: Malvina’s Married Life

In 1854, when Malvina was only 18 years old, she married 20-year-old Austin Grimes from Mina, Chatauqua County, New York.  Since her mother’s family still lived in Chatauqua County, I can only speculate that she met him while visiting family, or perhaps moved back there to live at some point.  The 1855 New York census shows Austin and Malvina living in Mina, next door to an Andrew Grimes, who was Austin’s older brother.  Later that year, Malvina gave birth to their first daughter, Eva.

Austin was working as a farmer and they continued to live in Chautauqua County, where their second daughter, Eva was born in 1858. The 1860 census shows the family in Ripley, New York, a town on Lake Erie and not far from their previous home in Mina.  By 1863, Austin (and probably the rest of the family) was living in Cornplanter, Pennsylvania and Austin had a new career in the oil fields.  His Civil War draft registration lists him as  “refiner”. However it also lists him as “single.”  Since the 1870 census lists the family together again, I can only assume the “single” is an error. The 1870 census again has Austin working in the oil fields in Cornplanter, this time as an “engineer.”  Emma (15) and Eva (12) are attending school, and the family has taken in two roomers to help make ends meet. One of those roomers is a 15-year-old nephew of Austin.

Austin clearly was interested in cashing in on the oil boom in Verango County, Pennsylvania, which started about 1860–the first major oil boom in the United States.  It becomes clear how important the petroleum industry was to that area when you look at some of the place names like Oil Creek, Petroleum Center and Pithole City.  The towns were rough and raw and the demand for labor must have been great for this farmer to suddenly turn into an oil refiner or engineer.  And by 1880, at the age of 46,he was a Fireman at an oil well.

If being a fireman on an oil well sounds dangerous–it was.  The job entailed removing dangerous gases building up in oil wells and putting out the sometimes explosive fires.

We know that in 1881 Austin Grimes died in Long Island, New York. The family had moved to Queens, New York, some time prior to the 1880 census. Whether it was an accident on the job or some other cause, he was just 47 years old when he died and left Malvina a widow at the age of 46. I was hoping to be able to find an obituary, or some confirmation of how he died, but it does seem probable that an accident on the oil fields caused his death.

Chapter II: Malvina Goes West as an Independent Woman

Because of the missing 1890 census reports, I do not know how long Malvina stayed in the east before moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado, but it turns out that mother was right–she lived in Colorado.  The Colorado Springs City Directories for 1900, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1910, 1912, 1914 and 1916 all list her. That means that all of the wandering Jesse Morgan’s for children from his first marriage followed in his footsteps and went west.  Carlos ended up in Montana, Charles in California, and Louise in Denver. Whether Malvina owned( or worked in) a gift shop as mother said, cannot be proven from the census reports or the City Directories, as no occupation is listed in any of them.

I did not spot any relatives near her at the addresses listed in Colorado Springs, although there are many Grimes’ in the Colorado Springs cemetery. Malvina moved at least four times, each time living in rented rooms.  She went from 837 W. Huerfano, to the Gough Hotel, spent at least one year at the YWCA in 1910 and then lived at the St. Charles Rooming House on South Tejon Street.  It seems to have been a lonely life, but perhaps she was able to travel frequently, since we know that she visited Mary Morgan in Killbuck Ohio more than once.

She outlived all three of her siblings and died in April 1917 in Colorado Springs.  She is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in that city, as Mrs. M. L. Grimes.

I have the feeling that one of the unidentified pictures in my great-grandmother’s photo album may be Malvina Morgan Grimes, but for now, I have only this sketchy information and my imagination.

How I Am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • Harriette (Hattie) Morgan Stout, who is the daughter of
  • Jessie Morgan and Mary Bassett Morgan.
  • Jessie Morgan with his first wife Mary Pelton is the father of
  • Malvina Morgan Grimes

Research Notes

Federal Census Reports: 1850, Killbuck, Holmes, Ohio; 1860, Ripley, Chautauqua, New York; 1870, Cornplanter, Venago, Pennsylvania; 1880, Queens, New York, New York; 1900, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Colorado

New York State Census: 1855, Mina, Chautauqua, New York (on line at Ancestry.com

James Morgan and his Descendants, North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, Ancestry.com (on line)

Colorado Springs City Directories, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, Ancestry.com (on line)1900, 1902, 1904, 1905, 1910, 1912, 1914, 1916, Malvina Grimes, widow.

Find a Grave, M. L. Morgan, Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Civil War Registration, Austin Grimes, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registration Records (Provost Marshal General’s Bureau; Consolidated Enrollment Lists, 1863-1865); Record Group: 110, Records of the Provost Marsha

New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1948, Austin Grimes, 1881, Long Island City, New York

 

Carlos Morgan – Mystery Photos and History Gaps

Carlos Morgan 1832 to before 1899

Carlos Morgan, the second son of Jesse Morgan has presented me with more questions than I can answer in a reasonable amount of time.  Carlos is the son of my 2nd great-grandfather, Jesse Morgan with Mary Pelton, Jesse’s first wife.  Since I am descended from Jesse’s 2nd wife, Carlos does not qualify as a close relative.

On the other hand, I would like to find some descendants of Jesse Morgan that trace back to his first wife because that might mean finding more information about Jesse. So I continue to plod through the records of Jesse’s four children. Last week I wrote about Charles Morgan, the oldest son. Charles (or Charley) had six grandchildren who lived in California, so I might some day find a connection through that family.

Meanwhile, Carlos’ history proves slipperier than that of Charles and includes mystery photos.

Carlos Morgan

Photo from St. Joseph MO that I believe is Carlos Morgan circa 1880

This photo comes from the photo album of Hattie Morgan Stout, Jesse Morgan’s child with his second wife. The name of the subject was not on the photo, so I originally included this handsome man in the “Unknown” file. As I wrote earlier, I had hoped it might be Jesse Morgan, but research proved that was impossible. For a look at what I learned earlier about this photograph, follow that link above.

What the Photo Can Tell Me

The photo is what was called a “carte de visite”  A paper photo is pasted on a cardboard backing that is roughly 2 1/2 x 4 inches. Carte de visites did not show up in the U. S. until 1859, and usage died out be 1889. Furthermore, the curved corners and fact that it shows most of the body instead of just the head, narrows it to 1874-1880.

Back of photo

Back of Carlos Morgan’s photo. St. Joseph MO

Photographers advertised their services on the back of the photos, and in this case the photographer was W. J. Rea’s Grand Central Gallery, Cor. Fourth & Edmond Streets, St. Joseph, Mo.  Records I found about the photographer W. J. Rea showed that he moved from Canada to Michigan to St. Joseph and on to California.  It looks like this portrait had to have been taken in 1880, probably the only year he was in St. Joseph. The only problem I have is that if the photo was taken in 1880, Carlos was 48 years old.  Does he look 48 in that picture?

Could Carlos Morgan have had his photo taken in 1880 in St. Joseph Missouri?  It is time to look at a timetable of his life.

The Pattern of Carlos Morgan’s Life

Born in Chautauqua New York on June 2, 1832, Carlos was about five years old when his mother and father moved to Killbuck, Ohio. A year later, his mother died. The four children were parceled out to relatives, and I did locate his older brother with their maternal grandparents back in New York. However, Carlos is not living with that family in 1840 and since Jesse Morgan and his widow both had  very large families, I have not tracked down a family where Carlos might be living. (It does not help that the 1840 census lists only the head of household by name–so Carlos would be a tick mark in the 5-9 year old category.)

I assumed he had gone back to Pennsylvania or New York with family, but he might have lived with some extended family in Ohio, because in 1850, at the age of eighteen, his is living with a family in Hardy Township, Holmes County, Ohio. That is near Killbuck where his parents previously lived, and where my great-great-grandmother Mary Bassett Morgan was living that year.

So at 18, Carlos is living with a man identified as a “tinner” and Carlos is working as a “tinner”. His education had ended with eighth grade, so he has been working for some time.

A tinner can mean a person who mines for tin or a tinsmith.  As far as I know there were no tin mines in Hardy Township, so the latter definition is the one for Carlos.  My grandfather on the other side of my family, Cliff Kaser, worked with tin a generation later in Holmes County.

While living with another family, Carlos learns of the death of his father in far off California. While I had no knowledge of his relationship with my great-great grandmother, the fact that his half sister, my great-grandmother kept his picture and his wife’s indicates to me that the family might have been closer than I realized.

Carlos Morgan’s Beautiful Wife

Apparently Carlos started west to find his fortune. He meets Jane Anne Warfield of Dubuque Iowa and they are married in St. Louis on October 22, 1857. The marriage certificate indicates that he, too, is a resident of Dubuque, Iowa. Why did they go to St. Louis to marry? His bride is only 19. Did they have to run away? Perhaps marriage regulations were less stringent in Missouri and they did not need her parent’s authorization. (If you know, please leave a comment with the explanation.) Or perhaps they are merely following the migration of Jane’s brother Charles Warfield to Missouri.

Learning Jane’s name was a surprise.  In Hattie Morgan Stout’s photo album, I had found a picture of a beautiful woman, in fact, the most beautiful woman in all my antique photos.

Wife of Carlos Morgan

In 1860 they are living in Plattsburg Missouri with Jane’s brother’s family. Carlos and Jane have a one-year-old daughter, Minerva. I find no further mention of Minerva Morgan, so must assume that she died in childhood. Jane’s brother is a tinner like Carlos.  Jane’s father also lives with them.  So my insatiable search for story senses some connections.  Perhaps Carlos was working as a tinner and met Jane’s brother in Iowa and that led to the marriage. But since Jane’s father is living with them just three years after the marriage, perhaps he did not object, after all.

Plattsburg, during the Civil War was split between northern and southern sympathizers, but I am inclined to think the Morgan/Warfield family group did not stay until the war started.

Most importantly, Plattsburg is just 30 miles from St. Joseph’s Missouri.  Since Plattsburg was a railroad center, transportation to St. Joseph–where the young man’s photo was taken– would have been easy.  This creates some pretty good evidence that Carlos might have gotten his portrait photograph taken in the larger town.

Since I have not found an 1870 census listing Carlos, I do not know for sure when he left Plattsburg, Missouri, but by 1880 he was living in Bozeman Montana and still working as a tinner.

I find no Civil War military record for either Carlos or his brother-in-law Charles Warfield. They might have lit out for the unnamed territory that became Montana at the outset of the Civil War to avoid military service. Or they might have migrated along with the hundreds that joined the mid-1860s gold rush to the area. At any rate,Bozeman, founded in 1864, would have been the typical fast-growing, rough-and-tumble town of the country’s wild west. Both men are listed as unemployed for half the year, so perhaps Jane, who is listed as a milliner, was supporting the family.

Although I have found no information on Carlos’ death, his wife Jane is living as a widow and working as a seamstress in Butte City, Montana by 1899. That indicates that Carlos died in his sixties. The City Directories there continue to list her as late as 1914, but, like Carlos, I can find no evidence of her death.

Jane’s Photograph

You can tell by the light tone of her eyes, that they were an icy blue.  This photo is also paper on cardboard, but is a larger format that same along a little later than the carte de visite of Carlos. These are called Cabinet Photos.

Back of photograph

Back of Carlos Morgan’s wife’s portrait. Elliott Photographers in Butte MT.

The pencil notation, which looks like the handwriting of my Grandmother, led me to believe that Carlos’ wife was named “Hattie”. However, since I know that he married Jane Anne–unlikely called Hattie–the note must mean the photo belonged to Hattie (Stout).

Here the photographer advertises himself on both the front and the back of the photo. Brothers John A. Elliott and George E. Elliott were working together in Butte Montana in 1890 and 1891, and John alone has existing photos dated as late as 1909. Since the back of this photo has a logo including both their initials, I have to believe the photo was made about 1890.

The couple were living in Bozeman in 1880, but by 1889, the year that Montana became a state, Jane was living alone in Butte.  As I mentioned above, she is listed in City Directories as a widow and a seamstress, so it seems appropriate that she may have had a photograph made as a kind of advertisement. However, just as in the case of Carlos’ assumed photograph, she looks a bit young for the date. Jane would have been 54 in 1890.  Butte and Bozeman are not that far apart, so she might have gone to Butte earlier for a photo when she lived in Bozeman. However, if the date is earlier than 1890, then the histories of the Elliott brothers that I have read must be wrong.  Its a dilemma.

So, with some gaps, I have traced  Carlos Morgan’s moves from his birthplace in New York to Ohio, Iowa, Missouri and finally Montana. Ever Westward.

How I am Related

  • Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of
  • Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the daughter of
  • Vera Stout Anderson, who is the daughter of
  • Harriette (Hattie) Morgan Stout, who is the daughter of
  • Jessie Morgan and Mary Bassett Morgan.
  • Jessie Morgan with his first wife Mary Pelton is the father of
  • Carlos Morgan

Notes on Research

Federal Census Reports: 1850, Hardy Township, Holmes, Ohio; 1860, Plattsburg, Clinton, Missouri; 1880, Bozeman, Gallatin, Montana.

Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-2002, Ancestry.com, Carlos Morgan and Jane Warfield, 1857.

James Morgan and his Descendants, North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, Ancestry.com, on line.

Butte Montana City Directory, 1899, Jane A. Morgan, widow, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989, Ancestry.com (on line).

Harriette Anderson Kaser Remembers Scary Places

And Speaking of Scary Things–Today is my brother’s Birthday! Happy Birthday Paul William Kaser.

Elizabeth O’Neal’s Genealogy Blog Party at Little Bytes of Life suggested an October theme–The Scariest thing you’ve found in your genealogy research. You can see more scary family history by clicking on the link to her site.

Last year I shared my mother’s story of the Dead Body, which is certainly one of the strangestHere’s another of mother’s scary memories.

The Haunted Shack and Scary Anderson House on Mile Hill

Old Anderson Farm

Old Anderson Farm, Photo courtesy of Herb Anderson

The family of my grandfather, Leonard Guy Anderson (aka Daddy Guy) owned a house just outside of Killbuck, Ohio on Mile Hill.

Guy’s uncle had planted extensive orchards on the property.  Mary Brink Anderson, Guy’s Mother, lived there when Guy married Vera Stout (my grandmother). She gave the farm to Guy and Vera and that is where they lived when my mother and her two brothers were pre-schoolers.

That house must have seemed like a mansion to the toddlers, Harriette Anderson (my mother) and her brother Bill. Baby Herb was too young to run around getting into mischief with his slightly older siblings.  But the big old house provided plenty of opportunity for scary adventures. And to add to the fun, there was a smaller house that the children were ABSOLUTELY FORBIDDEN to enter. So of course they did. And there was a shack with a mysterious and scary history. The buildings gave plenty of opportunity for imagination to run wild.  In her 90s, my mother remembered her childhood.

Harriette Anderson Kaser:  An artist lived at the end of the lot by the big Anderson orchard. [She was not sure of the name but thinks it might have been “Bus Close who married Wanda Orr.” See Note at end]

HAK: We weren’t allowed to go there and play. I think mother and dad really believed the scary ghost stories about that house. Mary Leckrone lived in a farm house nearby. We (Harriette and her brother Bill) went down and played with her. 

HAK: The fruit farm (the Anderson house on the hill) had a beautiful house. There were two farms up above Welcome—Anderson and Allison. They got deeds from the government. Maybe after the Whiskey Rebellion. [I have yet to check this out.]

This is the house where the Anderson and Stout family gathered for a family picture in 1909 when Harriette and Bill were about 3 and 4 years old.

Caroline Anderson Bird

Family portrait at Anderson Farm. Photo from 1909. Harriette and Bill sitting on their grandfather’s lap in right front. “Daddy Guy in white shirt and necktie in back row center and Vera in front of him holding baby Herbert.

HAK: Down the road ½ mile a little shack was supposed to have been a stop on the confederate soldier’s route. [She first said underground railroad and then changed to confederate soldiers.] We kids would stand outside and yell because we wanted the ghosts to come out. Then hearing noises.

[Note: There are persistent rumors that Southern soldiers marched through Holmes County, but no evidence that rebs ever made it that far north in Ohio.]

HAK: We were not allowed to go in the basement. An outside stairway went down. I remember a side door that went down to basement. Water in the basement made it more scary. (Note: Apparently the children didn’t follow orders about not going into the basement of the shack!)

The three children about seven years before this story.

Who would think these angelic children could be so ornery?

HAK: Mom and Dad (Vera and Guy Anderson) would tell us ghost stories about the place.

Guy Anderson had acquired a parrot somewhere, and its presence added to the unusual and scary atmosphere of the old house.

HAK: The parrot would follow us when we went there to play. (The parrot followed them into the forbidden territory.)  It  would say “Mama’s calling.”  She (Vera) was always scolding the parrot for following us.

Poor Vera. Nobody seemed to pay attention to her commands! Neither the children nor the parrot! But a horse had more sense than the kids and the parrot.

HAK: An old horse, “Old Jim” wouldn’t go near the old house (because of ghosts.)

[Note: she switches back and forth between shack and artist’s house, so it is not clear which is which.]

Mary Brink Anderson and others

Guy Anderson and Vera (holding Herbert). Guy’s mother Mary Brink Anderson. Back Jennie McDowell King. 1909

No wonder their mother was afraid to let them play in the haunted house’s basement. Daddy Guy, who was always a jokester, had Vera scared with his tricks, and besides he had the Celtic talent for story telling.

HAK: Daddy Guy was a great story teller—making up stories about these houses.

HAK: Dad (Guy Anderson, aka Daddy Guy) used to hide in the house and make noises to scare Bill and me away. Your Grandma Vera was very susceptible to ghost stories and Guy would scare her.The big farmhouse on the top of the hill had two stairways. A back stairway led from the kitchen to a back door. Dad would go up and pound on the floor to scare mother. The kids knew what he was doing and they would go with him.

I always thought of my mother as fearless, and it is clear she got her training early as she and her brother defied the ghosts in the scary old farm houses.

Mother’s family did not stay in the house very long. By the time her brother Bill was old enough to start school, they had moved back into town.  I always thought my grandmother just was not cut out to be a farm wife. But thinking about her superstitious nature and the ghost stories and Daddy Guy’s tricks, the farm may have been just too scary.

Read another of Harriette’s Scary Memories here.

Note:  I have asked the helpful people on The Killbuck Gang Facebook page to help me figure out who the artist  was that mother refers to in this story. Turns out Bus Close and Wanda Orr were a more recent generation–the time just doesn’t match up.  But someone has suggested that Bus Close’s FATHER was an artist, and I’m trying to determine if that’s who mother was thinking of.