Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 41 – Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928)

By – Don Taylor

52 Ancestors 52 Weeks - Week 41
No Story Too Small

Sometime you have an ancestor for whom you know there are a lot more stories about them. Arthur Durwood Brown was such a man. There are several of Arthur’s grand children still alive. I hope that some of them contact me with additional stories and information about Arthur and his life. He was a remarkable man, a pioneer who settled in some of the most isolated places in the North Dakota and Minnesota.

Bio - Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928)

Arthur Durwood Brown was born on 5 December 1869 in Saline, Washtenaw County, Michigan. He was the second child of eleven children born to Henry and Marion Sanford Brown. There are many conflicting records regarding Arthur’s birth year. The 1920 Census indicates he was 56 years old and thus born in 1863. On the other end of the spectrum, the 1900 Census says he was born in December of 1870.[1] His death certificate and his grave marker both indicate he was born in 1868. I am quite certain that he was born in December of 1869 because of the 1870 Census that clearly indicates that he was seven months old when the census was taken on 2 August of 1870.[2]

Arthur Durwood Brown
He grew up in Saline, which is a small community about ten miles south of Ann Arbor. It was on the Detroit-Hillsdale-&-Indiana Railroad line that came to Saline in 1970. About 1883, when Arthur was 14 years old, the entire family migrated west to Jamestown, North Dakota. Arthur’s youngest brother, Edward, was born in North Dakota in January 1884.[3]

Jamestown was an up and coming new town. It was founded in 1872 and incorporated as a city in 1883.[4] It is not clear to me how or where he and Mary Elizabeth Manning met nor where they were married, but all records indicate they married on 19 Oct 1892. Arthur would have been 22 years old and Mary just 16.

Arthur Durwood Brown
Either before he moved to Minnesota or shortly after the marriage they moved to Minnesota. In either event, they established residence in Sylvan Township, Cass County, Minnesota and had their first child, Clyde Leroy, in February 1884. By June 1896, they had moved back to North Dakota where Victoria was born. Moreover, by 1897, when Clarence was born, they returned to Minnesota. The 1900 Census reports that young couple lost a child[5]. Based upon the four-year gap in children, the child probably was born and died between 1899 and 1900 in Minnesota. We do not know the child’s name or sex.

Based upon the birthplaces of the children, the family seemed to move back and forth between North Dakota and Minnesota many times.

North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota

Children whose birthplace is unknown were omitted.

Clifford, my grandfather, was born in 1903 in Kidder County, North Dakota. Martin was born sometime between 1904 and 1906 and Dorothy was born between 1905 and 1907. Sadly, Arthur’s two youngest children at that time, Martin and Dorothy, died from measles sometime before 1910.

In 1909, Arthur received a Land Patent for 120 acres in Merkel, Kidder County, North Dakota. It was for the N1/2-NW1/4 and the SW1/4-NW1/4 - Section 34, Township 144 North Range 72. It is interesting to note that Arthur’s brother Edward married Dertha Merkel. Today, Merkel township has a population of 39 people scattered over nearly 60 square miles of land.[6]

In 1917, the returned to Minnesota where Arthur received a land patent for 160 acres in Township 138 N, Range 029W, Section 7, NE1/4-Nw1/4, N1/2-NE1/4, SE1/4-NE1/4. (Modern GPS 46.7911918, -94.4073918 is NW Corner of L shaped property.) Today this is a very rural area of Backus in Cass County.

Arthur’s two oldest boys served in World War 1. Clyde went into the Army, went to France, where he met his wife Yvonne, and returned from the Great War with is new bride. Clarence went into the Navy and served aboard the USS Shawmut, a mine layer that operated in the North Sea during much of World War I.[7] The 47 year old Arthur didn’t serve in The Great War staying in Minnesota; his daughter, Delores was born in 1917. His last child, Nettie, was born in 1921[8] a year after his first grandchild, Marie (Clyde’s daughter), was born.[9]

1868 FATHER 1928
Photo by Mark Matson
Arthur died on 27 August 1928, at the Walker Hospital, Walker, Cass Co., Minnesota of carcinoma of the liver.[10] He was 58 years old. He was buried at Gull River Cemetery, in Pillager, Cass County, Minnesota.[11]

Further Actions:

· Coordinate with relatives what I have for accuracy.

· Find out if there are any stories regarding how and where Arthur and Mary met.

List of Greats

  1. Arthur Durwood Brown
  2. Henry Brown
  3. Benjamin Brown

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[1] 1900 Census,,, 1900; Census Place: Township 136, Crow Wing, Minnesota; Roll: 761; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0069; FHL microfilm: 1240761.

[2] 1870 Census,,, 1870; Census Place: Saline, Washtenaw, Michigan; Roll: M593_708; Page: 316A; Image: 86; Family History Library Film: 552207.

[3] 1885 Census - Dakota Territory, NDSU Archives, Page 44-018. Brown, W. H., et al.

[4] Wikipedia --,_North_Dakota

[5] 1900 Census,,, 1900; Census Place: Township 136, Crow Wing, Minnesota; Roll: 761; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0069; FHL microfilm: 1240761.

[6] City-Data.Com --

[7] Wikipedia --

[8] E-Mail from Les Crider - 2001-01-13, Art & Mary Brown & Children & parents info.

[9] Find a Grave, digital images (, Marie F Brown - Memorial 79865796.

[10] Minnesota, Division of Vital Statistics, Certificate of Death, Arthur D Brown.; Minnesota Historical Society.

[11] Find a Grave, digital images (, Arthur D Brown - Memorial # 87334615.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Susan R. Vinson Howell (1848-1910)

Source cleanup for Susan R. Vincent 

Sometimes you know that you have done wrong. I had a lot of information regarding Susan R. Vincent/Vinson and as I looked at her information I saw that many of my sources were missing and were cited poorly in other cases. Much of what I had was done on Ancestry years ago and the citations pointed to Ancestry.Com, but didn’t have enough detail for someone without access to my Family Tree Maker or without access to my tree on Ancestry to access find the information. Not good. So, I decided to clean up my sources and make sure that they stand on their own. I left the links that Ancestry puts in to the source document but I also added a copy of the document into the attached media. I set the media to “private” because I don’t care to have my copies of the data uploaded back to Ancestry. I really hate it when I do a search on someone and the search results include other people’s copies of census pages. I also wish that Ancestry wouldn’t return things I’ve posted in my searches, or I wish that at least they'd give me a button to turn that off. So anyway, for Susan I cleaned up my sources, changed my preferred name for her from Vincent to Vinson, and did some more research to add a bit more detail into what I know about her life.

Bio – Susan R. Vinson Howell (1848-1910)

No Story too Small 
Susan R Vinson was the third child of John and Lenora Busbee (possibly Beasley) Vinson in Halifax County, North Carolina, on 22 August 1848.[i] The only source for this date is her grave marker, however, the date is consistent with the 1850, 1860, and 1900 Census records. I have been unable to find her or her husband Peter F. Howell in the 1870 Census. The 1880 Census indicates that she was 33 and she should have been 31 at that census date. I believe this to just be an error in that census.

In the 1850 Census, she and her family were listed with the surname "Vincent" and were living in Halifax County, North Carolina. The 1850 Census does not describe relationships, however, it appears that their family consisted of both her parents, her siblings, Virginia and Elizabeth, and an aunt, Eliza Beasley. It also appears that her grandmother Elizabeth Vincent (Vinson) and another aunt, Nancy Vincent (Vinson) lived next door. Her father was farming the land.[ii]

Halifax County
Courtesy: Wikimedia
There is a name change for her mother in the 1860 Census, from Lenora to Ellenior [Eleanor?] and a change in birth years from c. 1818 to c. 1825, which indicates to me a different wife. There is also a four-year gap between Susan and her next younger brother, James. Because of this, I believe that Susan had a stepmother and the rest of her siblings were half siblings. The 1860 Census also indicates the family surname as Vinson and that they were living in the “Western District,” Halifax County. (Again note the 1860 Census does not indicate relationships within the household.) Their post office was Weldon, which probably was the closest town.

I am sure that the Civil War was a difficult time for a young teenage girl. Shortly after the war, on 10 Dec 1866, the 18 year old young woman married Peter Fletcher Howell. Peter was a CSA Veteran who, although from Halifax County, had joined up in Virginia to be part of Virginia’s 61st Infantry Regiment. As might be expected, 10 months later they had their first child, Anna Lee [or Annalee] on 8 October 1867.

(I have been unable to find the family in the 1870 Census.)

There is a six-year gap between Anna Lee and John D. That would make me think that there may have been another child born to Susan between 1868 and 1872, however, the 1900 Census indicates that she had five children all of whom are living. So, now I am really confused because I'm pretty sure that she had seven children.

Snapshot of 1900 Census showing Susan R Howell as having 5 Children
  • Anna Lee         8 Oct 1867
  • John D              about 1873
  • Augusta            about 1875
  • Martha F           about 1877
  • James D            2 Sep 1879
  • David B            3 Oct 1881
  • G. C.                 -- Feb 1884

I speculate, that she had more than the five children noted in the 1900 census and that she actually had eight children, three of whom had passed before 1900. I certainly need to do more research to prove this speculation.

During the 1880 Census, they are living in Faucetts [Faucett] Halifax County, North Carolina, USA. Susan is keeping house for Peter and their first five children.[iii] In 1886, her oldest daughter, Anna Lee was married.

(There is no 1890 Census, so we aren’t sure where the Howells were then.)

In 1892, Susan had mail that was unclaimed at the Weldon Post Office.[iv] I believe this is evidence that the Howells moved to Conocondy [Conoconnara] township before 1892. Certainly, they are in Conocondy during the 1900 Census.[v]

Her son, David Bushrod Howell, was married on 26 December 1907.

Marker for Susan R Vinson
wife of P. F. Howell
Courtesy: Find a Grave
Susan R Vinson Howell died in her home in Tillery (which is Connoconnara township) the night of 28 Feb 1910,[vi] probably sometime after midnight early in the morning of March 1st.[vii] Her body was shipped by train from Tillery to Weldon[viii] (approximately 17 miles). Her funeral was “held at the Baptist Church,” conducted by pastor, Rev. J. G. Blalock.[ix] Today there are four Baptist Churches in Weldon. Further research is necessary to determine which church the funeral was held at. Interment was at Cedarwood cemetery.[x]

Susan R Vinson Howell led a simple life. She was the daughter of a Halifax County farmer, married a Civil War veteran who farmed the land in Halifax County after the war, She had fat least five and probably 8 children, and died at age 61 in Halifax County as simple farmer’s wife.

List of Greats

  1. Susan A Vinson
  2. John Vincent

Things to do

  • Search for a timely and/or primary source for Susan’s birth.
  • Research Susan R. Vinson Howell’s children closely for a missing 8th child and for the deaths of several of the children before 1900.
  • Research which of the Baptist Churches Susan’s funeral was held at.


[i] FInd-A-Grave, Memorial# 82126013 - Susan R Vinson Howell.
[ii] 1850 United States Federal Census Ancestry.Com, 1850; Census Place:  , Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: M432_633; Page: 34A; Image: 73. [Family 636\   - John Vincent
[iii] 1880 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.Com, 1880; Census Place: Faucetts, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 966; Family History Film: 1254966; Page: 627C; Enumeration District: 137; Image: 0720. Family 175.
[iv] Roanoke News (Weldon, NC, ), Newspapers.Com, 1892-04-28, Pg 5 -  Unclaimed Letters.
[v] 1900 United States Federal Census, Ancestry.Com, 1900; Census Place: Conocondy, Halifax, North Carolina; Roll: 1199; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 0027; FHL microfilm: 1241199. Howell, P. F.
[vi] Roanoke News (Weldon, NC, ), Newspapers.Com, 1910-03-03, Pg 3 - P. F. Howell.
[vii] FInd-A-Grave, Memorial# 82126013 - Susan R Vinson Howell.
[viii] Roanoke News (Weldon, NC, ), Newspapers.Com, 1910-03-03, Pg 3 - P. F. Howell.
[ix] Ibid.
[x] FInd-A-Grave, Memorial# 82126013 - Susan R Vinson Howell.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

William D. Hales - (1871-1943)

No Story too Small 
I decided to do some research for my stepdaughter. We know almost nothing about her 2nd great grandfather, William D. Hales, or his wife Katie. So, I thought he would be a good person to look at in much greater depth. My process it to use Ancestry.Com as a starting place. I have a subscription and it works well for me as a starting point. It provides quick and easy access to the various census records that can do a lot to determine a person’s life.

I was able to find and follow William through the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 censuses with very little problem. I had to understand more about his life to find him in the 1940 census, because he was in another state that he apparently had no previous history. I was also able to find him in several city directories, but nothing definitive about his birth or his death and only an estimated year regarding his marriage from the 1900 Census.

My next step in the process is to use Family Search and see if I could find clear information about his Birth, Marriage, or Death -- no such luck.

Newspapers then become my next source for searches. Thanks to Genealogy Bank, I was able to find his death date. I might have ignored the short notice if I hadn’t known that William was in Kansas City in 1935 and Independence, Kansas in 1940. I also found a couple other articles at Genealogy Bank regarding his life. Then I searched Newspapers.Com -- Va-Va-Va-Voom! There were about 20 articles regarding his life -- lots of great information. Once I assimilate all of that information from the newspapers regarding his life, I’ll be able to return again to further research. There is a lot of information to document and source. Here is what I've learned so far:

William D. Hales (1871-1943)

William D. Hales was born in Maryland in October 1871[i]. I do not yet know who his parents were. Nothing is known of his childhood, but when he was 19, in 1891, he married Katherine “Katie” Harmon[ii].

In 1900, William is an electrician renting a home at 2002 Walbrook Ave, Baltimore, Md., living with his wife and three young children, Mamie, Catherine, and Arthur.[iii] The family moved to Frederick, Md., and was living at 127 South Market Street.[iv] William worked for Frederick Gas & Electric, (FG&E) Company[v] and attended the Methodist Episcopal Church.[vi] In August of 1904, William left FG&E, and started his own electrical construction and supply office at 61 E. Patrick Street. Business was booming for William as he rewired Frederick City Hall and put in a new switchboard there. He also installed dental and medical equipment on West Patrick Street.[vii] He was a leader who presided over a special service held for men at the City Opera House.[viii] He was also a member of the Order of Knights of Pythias.[ix]

William was outspoken regarding individuals doing electrical repairs or installation who weren’t experienced or trained.[x] He was a registered voter and was selected to be on the Grand Jury for Frederick during September 1906.[xi] He was also involved in the community and was a baseball umpire.[xii]

2929 Walbrook Ave today
Thanks: Google Maps
By 1910, William and the family moved to 1819 Whitmore Ave in Baltimore where he continued to work as an electrician.[xiii] They moved again, this time to a three-story townhome at 2929 Walbrook Ave.;[xiv] a building that stands today although appears abandoned.

The family moved again, this time to Philadelphia, where William worked as an Engineer for a Casualty Company. In 1920, besides his wife, his daughter Mamie, her husband Ivan Snyder, and their six-year-old daughter, Mary K. lived with them.[xv]

By 1924, the family had moved back to Baltimore and lived at 4900 Liberty Heights Ave, in Gwynn Oak, (Baltimore).[xvi] The address is now a “Food Stop” grocery and fast food. His wife, Katherine, would live there until her death in 1935. William continued to working as an engineer for the Maryland Casualty Insurance Company and became a supervisor by 1929.[xvii] (Maryland Casualty Insurance Company is now part of Zurich American Insurance.)

Maryland Casualty Insurance Company headquarters
The 1930 census indicates the couple still living on Liberty Heights Ave. and William working as a mechanical engineer for the insurance company.

According to the 1940 census, William was divorced and living in Kansas City, Kansas in April 1935.[xviii] Meanwhile, Katie was still living at the Liberty Heights Ave house when she died in February of 1935, so, it appears that the two divorced sometime between 1930 and 1935. In 1940, William was still working, now as a safety engineer, at Casualty Insurance and living at the Booth hotel in Independence, KS.[xix] His time in Independence must have been short lived because he was back in Kansas City staying at the Snydorhoff hotel in Westport (Kansas City) when he died on 17 August 1943.[xx] His funeral was by Stine & McClure funeral home, however, I do not know, yet, where he was buried.

List of Greats

  1. Catherine B Hales
  2. William D Hales

Actions still needed

  • Birthdate: Determine William D. Hales exact birthdate.
  • Parents: Determine William’s parents’ names.
  • Marriage: Determine wedding date of William and Katherine.
  • Death: Determine where William is buried.
  • Children: the 1910 Census indicates that Katherine had had four children of which only three were living. Find out about the 4th, unknown, child.

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[i] 1900 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2004.), Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 616; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0227; FHL microfilm: 1240616.
[ii] 1930 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2002.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626,), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, 1930; Census Place: Baltimore, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 871; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 0670; Image: 33.0; FHL microfilm: 2340606.
[iii] 1900 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2004.), Year: 1900; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 17, Baltimore City (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: 616; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 0227; FHL microfilm: 1240616.
[iv] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1902-05-30, Pg 3 - The Social World.
[v] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1904-08-18, Pg 3 -  Brief Bits.
[vi] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1903-04-18, Pg 5 - Church News.
[vii] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1905-06-28, Pg 3B - Brief Bits.
[viii] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1905-04-03, Pg 3 -  Mass-Meeting for Men.
[ix] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1906-07-26, Pg 3 - PITHIANS TO HOLD A BAZAAR         .
[x] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1906-05-15, Pg 3 - Condemns Wire Tinkerers.
[xi] Baltimore American (Baltimore, MD, ), Genealogy Bank, 1906-08-16 - Pg 5 - Frederick County Court.
[xii] The News (Frederick, Maryland),, 1906-08-15, Pg 3 -  Eagles Play Ball
[xiii] 1910 United States Federal Census (Ancestry.Com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2006.), Year: 1910; Census Place: Baltimore Ward 15, Baltimore (Independent City), Maryland; Roll: T624_558; Page: 8A; Enumeration District: 0252; FHL microfilm: 1374571.
[xiv] Ancestry.Com, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data - Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page.  Check the directory titl), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, Baltimore, Maryland, 1914 - William D Hales. Hales, Wm D Supt h 2929 Walbrook Av.
[xv] Ancestry.Com, 1920 United States Federal Census (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.Com Operations Inc, 2010), www.Ancestry.Com, Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 24, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1627; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 733; Image: 1055.
[xvi] Ancestry.Com, U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 (Beta) (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2011.Original data - Original sources vary according to directory. The title of the specific directory being viewed is listed at the top of the image viewer page.  Check the directory titl), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1924 - William D Hales. Hales, Wm D (Kath) eng h4900 Liberty Hts av.
[xvii] Reading Times (Reading, PA, ),, 1929-04-04, Pg 13  - Careful Driving Urged by Speaker.
[xviii] Ancestry.Com, 1940 United States Federal Census (Online publication - Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.Com Operations, Inc., 2012.Original data - United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627), Ancestry.Com, http://www.Ancestry.Com, 1940; Census Place: Independence, Montgomery, Kansas; Roll: T627_1247; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 63-30.
[xix] Ibid.
[xx] Kansas City Star, Genealogy Bank, Kansas City Star - 1943-08-19, Pg 13 - Deaths - William D Hales.