Tuesday, November 25, 2014

52 Ancestors: #47 James Whitlow Trees, Still a Democrat

Portrait taken from 1888 History of Rush County
J. W. Trees, of Manilla, was in town today on his way to Indianapolis.  He is still a democrat.  (Columbus Daily Herald; Columbus, Indiana; 5 Apr 1892)

I was amused when I ran across this article about my 4th great grandfather, and I can only guess at what the writer was implying.  A biographical sketch of James W. Trees also mentions that "he was ever a democrat." (History of Rush County, Part II)  It seems that he readily expressed his political views.

James Whitlow Trees was born March 21, 1818 in Clermont County, Ohio.  Adam Trees and Mary Ann Hill were his parents.  His middle name came from his Irish grandmother, Elizabeth Jane Whitlow.  James migrated with his family to Rush County, Indiana on March 27, 1823.

At the age of 20, James decided to pursue a career of medicine.  He went to the small town of Milroy, Indiana and studied under Dr. Samuel Barbour, who was one of the earliest physicians of Rush County.  While he underwent medical training, he also was a clerk at a dry goods store. James received his physician's license from the Indiana Medical Institute in May of 1841.  A few months later, James set up his own medical practice in Manilla, Indiana.

He married Catherine Mull on September 18, 1842 in Rush County, Indiana.  The couple had six children together, but only three sons lived to adulthood: Ethan Allen, Leander Mull, and Cyrus Ebon.  The three youngest children -- Lavanche, Maggie, and Marshall -- all died at a young age.

Around 1852, James W. Trees entered into a mercantile partnership with Jacob and Cyrus Mull, his father-in-law and brother-in-law.  According to William DePrez Inlow, author of In Old Kentucky, "It was common at the time for physicians to engage in business in addition to their profession."

By 1864, Dr. Trees had sold his medical practice to his son-in-law, Dr. J. J. Inlow, and was operating his own dry goods store in Manilla. "By strict attention to his profession, he amassed a goodly fortune.  He and his two sons, Ethan A. and Cyrus E., were of the staunchest business men in the county." (The History of Rush County, Part II)  According to the Indianapolis Journal, the store was robbed in 1875; the burglars got away with $500.

An early map of the town of Manilla, Indiana.  The land Dr. Trees owned is highlighted. 
In 1872, the small town of Manilla received state-wide attention when James W. Trees discovered several fossilized bones of a mastodon on the farm of his neighbor, A. J. Westerfield. (You can see the farm in the map shown above.)  The Indianapolis Journal reported that the fossils "were in a remarkable state of preservation."

The residence of Dr. James W. Trees in Manilla, Indiana.
On April 25, 1895, a Shelbyville newspaper stated that James W. Trees was dangerously ill. He died a short while later, on May 4, 1895, and was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Shelbyville, Indiana.

Recently, I made an interesting discovery.  There is a subdivision in Manilla, Indiana named after James W. Trees!  Looks like I need to make a trip to Manilla so I can see his house (shown at right) and his subdivision!  {Update:} I visited the Trees house in Manilla on July 5, 2015 with my family.  The current owners told us that when they renovated the building, they found an underground passageway that connected the house to the doctor's office across the street.  One of the front rooms in the house was fitted out for a funeral parlor.  When a patient died, the body was discreetly brought into the house via the tunnel.

July 5, 2015.  My brother and I in front of James W. Trees' house in Manilla, Indiana.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

52 Ancestors: #46 Malachi Cooper, 13 Year-Old Patriot

My fifth great-grandfather, Malachi Cooper, was barely 13 years old when he enlisted for service under General Nathanael Greene (who is also a relation of mine) in Guilford County, North Carolina.
Malachi was born on the 14th of April, 1762 in Pasquotank, North Carolina, to David Cooper and his wife Elizabeth Wilder.  Both Malachi and his father served in the War for Independence. Some Cooper descendants claim that the Battle of Cowpens was fought near David Cooper's plantation in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

"Battle of Guilford Courthouse" from Wikipedia
On March 15, 1781, Malachi fought at the Battle of Guilford Court House, a pivotal battle in the Revolutionary War's Southern Campaign. After two hours of intense fighting between General Nathanael Greene's forces and the British troops under Lord Cornwallis' command, Greene withdrew his weary soldiers.  His retreat preserved the strength of his army, while Cornwallis' frail victory cost him over a quarter of his men.  Cornwallis was later heard to say about the battle: I never saw such fighting since God made me.  The Americans fought like demons.

Although I don't know of any other battles he participated in, Malachi served in the militia for six more years.  At the close of the war, Malachi was still a young man of 20 years.  He made his way to Edenton, North Carolina, and there he married 17 year-old Anna Wilkinson.  The couple had a total of 12 children; all except one lived to reach adulthood.  Their eighth child, Anna Cooper Green, was my fourth great-grandmother.

Around 1795, Malachi, his wife, and their small children migrated to the new state of Kentucky. Malachi's younger brother Edward and his bride Susanna traveled with them.  According to a family history written by Clyde Toland, the Cooper clan made the journey by pack train, crossed Daniel Boone's Wilderness Trail, and settled in the foothills beyond Cumberland Gap.  Malachi and Edward are described as "a pair of tall, silent brothers."

Malachi Cooper served on the first grand jury in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1797.  The jury returned indictments for retailing liquor without license, profanity, and gambling.  When the jury retired to consider their verdicts, they were compelled to go outside since there was no room to meet inside.

In 1806, Malachi was granted 135 acres of land on Fishing Creek.  As an ordained Baptist minister, Malachi Cooper established the Old Fishing Creek Church in Pulaski County and ministered there for many years. Two of his sons, Levi and James Cooper, also became Baptist ministers.

After the death of his wife in 1820, Malachi began to disperse his land holdings in Pulaski County. Records of these transactions are found in Pulaski County deed books.  In 1825, he "sold" 100 acres to his son Milton Cooper for $1 "in consideration of love and natural affection he entertains for his son."  However, two years later Malachi sold 235 acres of land to his son Asa, for $700.  (Pulaski County, Kentucky Deed Books)  I wonder why he practically gave land to Milton, but expected Asa to pay a substantial amount.

This is the only known signature of Malachi Cooper, an endorsement on a 1782 currency certificate.
Malachi's name has been spelled a number of ways: "Malleki" in his father's will, "Malikiah" in D.A.R. records, "Malikah" as a member of the Pulaski County grand jury, "Malekiaha" in probate records of his son Asa's estate, and finally as "Malicha" in a family history written by his grandson James Wilkinson Cooper.  Malachi himself signed his name as "Malicha." Perhaps this is how he spelled and pronounced it. However, he may have copied someone else's writing, since he signed other documents with his mark. I've decided to use the common Biblical spelling of "Malachi."

Malachi Cooper's monument erected by the DAR
Photo taken by James Arnold of the Daniel Guthrie Chapter SAR in June of 2006.
Malachi Cooper was living at the home of his grandson, Dr. Stanley Cooper, in Rush County, Indiana when he passed away in the fall of 1843.  (A few sources say he died in February of 1845.)

In the summer of 1978, a local DAR chapter erected a monument for Malachi and held a dedication ceremony at Pleasant Run Cemetery in New Salem, Rush County, Indiana. Unfortunately, his first and last name have been reversed on the plaque.  I have a copy of some correspondence that discusses the error. Some effort has been made to correct the mistake, but nothing has been done yet.  More than 30 years have passed since the plaque was installed, and I would really like for it to finally be corrected.  Malachi Cooper should be honored with an accurate monument.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

52 Ancestors: #45 Maria Dent, Who Lost a Very Important Paper

Maria Bird, age 82, upon her oath declares that she was granted a pension under the Act of March 9,1878 as the widow of William Bird, who was a Private in Capt. Robert's Co. of Ky Militia, War of 1812. And that in June 1883, she lost her pension certificate in some way, she does not know just how, whether it has been misplaced or lost in some way.  She has made diligent search for the same and has been unable to find the same.  She asks that she be given a new certificate in lieu of the one lost. (War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files, 11 Sept 1883)

At the time Maria appeared in court, she was living with her son Edward's family, which included eight children. (That might explain how something could be lost.)  I assume she was given a new certificate, since "certificate on file" was scribbled on the statement recorded by the notary public.

Maria Dent, my fourth great-grandmother, was born on November 7, 1801 in Stafford County, Virginia.
According to her obituary, she became an orphan at the age of three.  Her father was lost at sea; her mother died soon after. She came to Kentucky in 1811 with her uncle, James Smith.  The only information I have about her uncle is that he was listed as a bondsman on her marriage license.

Maria married William Bird on November 7, 1822 in Nicholas County, Kentucky on her 21st birthday. The couple soon settled in Decatur County, Indiana, where they raised nine children.  She lived there the rest of her life.  In January of 1888, Maria slipped on some ice and broke her leg.  She never recovered from the accident and died on the 27th of January.  She had outlived her husband and four of her children.

There was none more kind as a neighbor, more devoted as a wife, more loving as a mother, and more dearer as a grandmother than she.  In the days of her widowhood, her every aim and interest was centered in her children and her grandchildren.  Very few visits did she make to any of them that she did not leave some token of remembrance, or some deep kindness done by her dear old hands, to tell them that her presence had been there. (Excerpt from Maria's obituary in the Saturday Review, Greensburg, Indiana, 14 Feb 1888)

Monday, November 3, 2014

52 Ancestors: #44 Isaac Inlow, Undone by His Son

Taken from In Old Kentucky, a History of My Forbears
My 4th great-grandfather, Isaac Inlow, came from a large family.  His parents, James Inlow and Mary Wilson, had 15 children; Isaac was the 14th child.  In 1840, Isaac married Lucinda Bell in Fleming County, Kentucky.  Isaac, his wife, and their five children moved to Manilla, Rush County, Indiana about 10 years later.

Isaac was a respected farmer and a man of tireless energy; he was numbered among the wealthy and influential citizens of Rush County.  He helped to found the Christian Church at Manilla and remained a faithful member there throughout his life.  Isaac was also a member of the Knights of Pythias.  At two different times, he was tendered a nomination to the legislature of the Democratic party, but Isaac chose instead to live a quiet life in his Rush County home.

However, Isaac's second son, John William Inlow, was his undoing.  John was a man with big ideas... and a spendthrift. He had great visions of doubling his father's assets.  John invested a great deal of his father's money in real estate in Indianapolis.  According to the Indianapolis Journal, on March 14, 1871, John purchased a lot for $2,300. (That's roughly equivalent to $45,000 today!)   Then, his scheme backfired, and John lost his father's money. Isaac was forced to to sell the Manilla farm in 1879.  John ended up as a floorwalker at the New York Store (aka Pettis Dry Goods Co.) in Indianapolis, a position he held for many years.

After he lost his farm, Isaac and his wife moved 50 miles away to Alexandria, Indiana, where his oldest son, James Elliott Inlow, was practicing as a doctor.  When James relocated to Hancock County, Isaac and Lucinda returned to Manilla.  In 1894, Lucinda Inlow died.  At the time of her death, she was completely blind.  It then fell upon the youngest son, George Jefferson Inlow, to care for his elderly father.  George worked as both a carpenter and a druggist in Manilla.  Isaac Inlow died at George's home, at the age of 89, from a stroke.

(Much of the biographical information in this blogpost comes from the book In Old Kentucky, a History of My Forbears, Book 3 by William DePrez Inlow, published in 1950.)