Tag Archives: Hammond

Tombstone Tuesday: Hiram and Eva Margaret (Stoehr) Hammond

Hiram and Eva Margaret (Stoehr) Hammond were a couple who, at the surface, appeared to have little in common.

Hiram, who was said to have been born on 26 February 1813 in Ohio, first appeared in public record when he purchased land in Jackson County, Iowa Territory in the spring of 1845.1 Presumed to be in his early thirties at this time, Hiram spent the next nine years honing his skills as a farmer before purchasing one hundred and sixty acres of land near Volga, Clayton County, Iowa.2 Although there are speculative connections potentially linking Hiram to the family of War of 1812 veteran Jonathan Hammond and his wife Lovisa Herrington, no connections have yet been verified.

Eva Margaret Stoehr, on the other hand, settled in Clayton County, Iowa alongside her parents and siblings.3 She was said to have been born on 02 March 1831 in Weißenstadt, Wunsiedel, Bavaria, the daughter of Lorenz Stoehr, a master tailor who was a veteran of the Napoleonic wars, and his wife Barbara Feicht.4 She immigrated to America aboard the Solon, arriving in New York in 1853, and settled alongside many from her home village in northeastern Iowa.5

Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, digital image (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 13 July 2014), photograph, Hiram H. Hammond (1813-1896), Memorial No. 84463650, and Eva M. (Stoehr) Hammond (1831-1906), Memorial No. 84463738, Garnavillo Community Cemetery, Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa; photograph by Ken Johnson, 2016. Note: The third headstone belongs to daughter Amelia Hammond (1857-1872).

When the couple married in Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa on 02 December 1854, Eva was likely just twenty-three years old while Hiram was forty-one.6 Although they were married by a German Lutheran minister, Hiram, unlike Eva, was neither German nor Lutheran.7 Eva was literate and came from a family of skilled craftsmen; Hiram was a farmer and could not write his own name.8 The couple went on to have the following known children: Amelia (1857-1872), Matilda J. (1859-1947), Louisa Barbara (1861-1936), John William (1865-1931), and George H. Hammond (1867-1934).9 In addition to losing their daughter Amelia when she was fourteen years old, it is believed that the couple lost two additional children at young ages.10

The Hammond family farmed near the community of Volga in Clayton County for thirty years, eventually moving to Henderson Prairie near Clermont, Fayette County, Iowa in early 1885.11 They saw success as farmers, and by 1893, as Hiram entered his eighties, he and Eva decided to retire to the nearby town of Postville, Allamakee County, Iowa.12

Despite their vast difference in age, language, and culture, these Iowa pioneers celebrated more than forty years of marriage together. Hiram H. Hammond died on 23 August 1896 in Postville, Allamakee County, Iowa, and Eva Margaret (Stoehr) Hammond died there a decade later on 01 October 1906, both having suffered cerebral hemorrhages.13 They are buried side by side in the Garnavillo Community Cemetery in Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa.14

Copyright © 2018 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.
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The Search for Y-DNA for Hiram H. Hammond

For years, about all I’ve known about the parents of Hiram H. Hammond has boiled down to the origins that were reported in four census records over a span of twenty-five years:

SOURCE FATHER MOTHER
1870 U.S. Federal Census1 Foreign Foreign
1880 U.S. Federal Census2 England Scotland
1885 Iowa State Census3 Native Native
1895 Iowa State Census4 Native Native

While Hiram, an Iowa farmer, was consistent in declaring that he was born circa 1813 in Ohio, he was apparently less certain about the origins of his parents. Or was he? Hiram may not have spoken for himself when the census enumerator came to the door; responses could have been given by his wife or another member of his household if he was not available. It’s also possible that some information might have been added by the enumerator after the fact, based on memory alone. Given that Hiram lived among many immigrants, his wife included, his parentage may have been presumed to be foreign as well.

In any case, this lack of consistency leaves me with questions today. Who am I looking for? Were Hiram’s father and mother born in England and Scotland, respectively? Or were they native-born with English and Scottish ancestral origins? If that’s the case, it would not be the first time that one of my ancestors took the question of nationality a little too far.

Now, however, I’m a bit closer to solving the mystery of Hiram’s parentage, thanks to a little something called Y-DNA. The Y chromosome, as explained by Family Tree DNA, “is passed almost unchanged from father to son,” so it can be useful in determining the origins of a surname and to make connections with cousins who share the same chromosome.5 In Hiram’s case, I hoped this would prove to be very useful.

Hiram is my fourth great grandfather; as I am descended from his daughter, thus immediately breaking the chain of father-to-son Y-DNA, I began tracing the descendants of his son with the hope of finding a living male relative who would be eligible to take a Y-DNA test. After reaching out to a distant Hammond-by-marriage in Iowa and an apparent game of hot potato with my letter of inquiry, I finally made contact with a Hammond-by-blood in Arkansas. Bingo! It was time to pull out the genetic guns, so to speak, and test this (wonderful! willing!) cousin’s Y-DNA.

There’s not much to be too excited about right now – as of yet, there are no matches on the 67-marker test – but there is always the chance that someone who shares Hiram’s Y-DNA will choose to test with Family Tree DNA in the future and in doing so establish a long-lost genetic connection. I’m prepared to monitor this account – and the Hammond DNA Project – for years, if that’s what it takes! A more pro-active approach, however, would be to find a living male descendant of another Hammond line that I suspect could be connected to Hiram.

“Old Log Cabin,” Jackson County, Iowa, 2010; digital image courtesy of user dadmw1, Panoramio, Google Maps. This cabin is situated approximately one mile south of the land purchased by Hiram H. Hammond in 1848.

My earliest records of Hiram H. Hammond come from his years in Jackson County, Iowa, where he acquired land in 1848. According to an 1852 Iowa census, Hiram was neighbor to an Andrew Hammond,6 and although Hiram moved away shortly thereafter,7 in 1854, Andrew remained in Jackson County with a new neighbor, Philow Hammond.8 I suspect that these Hammond men may have been sons of War of 1812 veteran Jonathan Hammond, who lived in Ohio, Hiram’s stated place of birth, during the appropriate period of time. Several of Jonathan’s other known sons include Orin Hammond, Reuben Hammond, and Lemuel Brooks Hammond, and intriguingly, a nephew also bears the somewhat distinctive name Hiram H. Hammond.9 However, more research is necessary to prove the relationships among the members of this particular Hammond family and to determine whether Hiram himself could feasibly be a relative.

If such a connection still seems plausible, or if another potential connection is found elsewhere on the paper trail, well, then it will be time to trace another line of male descendants for a willing Y-DNA test participant! 

Copyright © 2016 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.

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Tombstone Tuesday: Fred and Matilda (Hammond) Thoma

Fred and Matilda (Hammond) Thoma, or Fritz and Tillie as they were known in their community, spent their childhoods and the entirety of their married lives in the same rural county in northeastern Iowa. Fred Thoma was born to Bavarians Wilhelm Heinrich and Anna Margaretha (Poesch) Thoma on 4 December 1857 in Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa.1 Matilda Hammond was born to Hiram H. and Eva Margaret (Stoehr) Hammond on 4 May 1859 in Volga, Clayton County, Iowa.2 While Matilda’s father was a native of Ohio and an early settler in Iowa, her mother hailed from the same Bavarian village of Weißenstadt as Matilda’s in-laws.3

SCAN0126

Grave of Mathilda Thoma (1857-1947) and Fred Thoma (1857-1924), Garnavillo Community Cemetery, Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa; image date unknown, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2015.

It seems likely that the couple crossed paths as children, although they lived in separate communities; the Weißenstadt immigrants were surely a close-knit bunch. Fred and Matilda married on 29 December 1879 at the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Clayton Center.4 The next year found them living in Garnavillo, where Fred was a clerk in his late father’s country store.5 That autumn, the couple became parents to the first of their eventual five children: George Hiram, Leonard Christopher Julius, Ludelia Maria, Roselyn Anna, and Norma Evaline.6 All but Norma survived to adulthood; sadly, she died in a diphtheria outbreak when she was ten years old.7

What few details are known of Fred and Matilda’s lives come from recollections of their granddaughters.8 The first thirty years of their marriage were spent in the town of Garnavillo, where Fred later had a restaurant and then worked as a laborer.9 Matilda was said to have been a midwife who delivered many children in Clayton County, although such skills were not recorded in the census. Fred allegedly had a fondness for drink, so when Matilda received an inheritance, she bought a farm away from town – and the saloons.10 The empty nesters enjoyed life in the countryside for the next fifteen years until Fred’s death in Clayton on 10 January 1925.11

As a widow, Matilda spent time in the homes of her daughter and granddaughter. In 1930, she experienced a different climate in Houston, Texas; by 1940, she had returned to the Midwest and resided in Wisconsin.12 It was there in Bridgeport, Crawford County, Wisconsin that she died on 21 August 1947 when she was approaching ninety years of age. She is buried beside her husband at the Garnavillo Community Cemetery.13

Copyright © 2015 Melanie Frick. All Rights Reserved.

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A Dastardly Act: Making the News in 1893

Mrs. Hiram Hammond barely had a chance to settle in to her retirement in the town of Postville, Allamakee County, Iowa, before an unfortunate event warranted her a mention in the local newspaper.1

PostvilleReview29May1893Hammond.jpg

“Local Review,” The Postville (Iowa) Weekly Review, 29 May 1893, p. 1, col. 4; digital images, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 18 February 2014).

As reported in The Postville Weekly Review on 29 May 1893, “Some miserable sneak thief stole some potted house plants from the residence of Mrs. Hiram Hammond, on Tuesday night. The most contemptible part of it was that those not carried off were mashed and destroyed. They were left out of doors without thought of danger. A man that would do such a dastardly act is not a safe member of society in any respect.”2

Well then! I can only imagine that poor Mrs. Hiram Hammond – born Eva Margaret Stoehr – must have been most distressed at this unexpected turn of events. She had likely only recently moved to town, while her husband prepared to put their farm up for sale.3 Hiram had turned eighty that year, while his wife was over sixty.4 After years of labor on their farm, they must have looked forward to a quiet life in town.

Postville was certainly not a large community, yet apparently large enough that a man (or, perhaps much more likely, a teenage boy) could get away with a destructive prank. However, if this was the worst that Postville had to report, it seems that things really may not have been all that bad! One can only hope that in the years to come, Mrs. Hiram Hammond was able to enjoy her potted house plants without further incident.

What is one of your favorite stories about an ancestor that you’ve found in a historic newspaper database? There are several excellent databases out there; so far, I’ve had positive experiences with Chronicling America (free) and NewspaperArchive (subscription). Be aware that different databases may offer access to different areas and periods of coverage. Also be sure to find out whether your local library provides free access to any useful newspaper databases, which can often be accessed from home.

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An Ancestor with an Alias

When I learned that George Hiram Thoma of Garnavillo, Clayton County, Iowa used an alias as a young man, it took me by surprise. He was born to Fred and Matilda (Hammond) Thoma in 1880,1 and the state census indicates that he remained in his home county in northeastern Iowa at least until 1895.2 At some point thereafter, according to family lore, George left home and bicycled across Iowa. Whether he went by bicycle or not, it was said that his move may have been spurred on by his poor relationship with his father.3

GeorgeHiramThoma

George Hiram Thoma, seated left, with an unidentified young man, ca. 1900; digital image 2013, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2014.

Records place George across the state in northwestern Iowa on 23 March 1902, at which time, using the name George A. Neilson, he married Anna Leota Fenton in Ashton, Osceola County, Iowa.4 This was no trick of penmanship or recorder’s error; three affidavits, written by George, his mother, and his younger brother, were attached to the marriage document decades later, each attesting to the fact that George A. Neilson and George Hiram Thoma were one and the same person.5 It is worth noting that George still named his correct place of birth and even the correct names of his parents on the original marriage document, with the exception, of course, of assigning the Neilson surname to them as well.6 Evidently, he was not prepared or had no reason to invent an elaborate backstory regarding his origins.

None of the affidavits, however, explained why George had married under an assumed name.7 One has to wonder whether his wife even knew what she was getting into! Prior to his marriage, I suspect that he might be found in the 1900 U.S. census as George Thoma, a clerk in Belden, Cedar County, Nebraska. Notably, he boarded with a family by the name of Nelson, and a Nielsen also resided in the household.8 Although this may or may not be the correct George Thoma, we do know that within weeks of his marriage, he moved to Center, Knox County, Nebraska, where he was an employee of the Edwards and Bradford Lumber Company.9

Within a few years of his marriage, George relocated with his family to Sioux City, Woodbury County, Iowa. There, his daughter’s birth was recorded with the surname Neilson,10 and according to the city directories, George continued to use his assumed name at least until 1909.11 I have been unable to locate the family in the 1910 U.S. census – they had likely left Sioux City by that time to return to Nebraska, where they moved from place to place for the next decade. However, they had certainly reverted to the use of the Thoma surname no later than World War I.12

Was this alias purely symbolic, in order to emphasize George’s separation from his father, or, perhaps, the ties that he forged with another family? Or was it part of an effort to hide, whether from his father, from love, or from the law? This is one family mystery that I would love to solve!

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Across Generations: The Power of a Snapshot

If you will be spending the holidays with family this year, bring along your camera. No, your phone doesn’t count – dust off your real camera for a change, and, if you have the opportunity, plan on snapping a few two, three, or even four generation photographs.

JackieRoselynMatildaHammondThoma

Jacqueline (Cuzins) Hedeman, Roselyn (Thoma) Friend Cuzins Chaney Bohringer, and Matilda (Hammond) Thoma, ca. 1940-1947; digital image 2010, privately held by Melanie Frick, 2013.

Why? This is one of only two photographs that I have of my third great grandmother, Matilda (Hammond) Thoma of Clayton County, Iowa. Matilda was born in 1859, and spent most of her life in the same county. She married and raised five children, four of whom survived to adulthood.1

Matilda is pictured here with her daughter, Roselyn, center, and her granddaughter, Jacqueline, left, who links arms with her mother. The occasion may not have seemed important at the time – only Jacqueline is facing the camera, and Roselyn and Matilda seem to have been caught unaware – but not only is this a rare photograph of Matilda, it’s also the only picture that I have of her with her daughter and granddaughter. This priceless three-generation photograph seems to have been a casual snapshot, likely taken by a family member.

After her husband’s death, Matilda lived with Roselyn in Texas,2 and later with Jacqueline in Wisconsin,3 suggesting that she had a close relationship with both women. This photograph was probably taken at some point after 1940, when Jacqueline would have turned twenty.4 Both Roselyn and Matilda passed away in 1947, Roselyn at age fifty-four,5 and Matilda at age eighty-eight.6

Seeing Matilda here with her daughter and granddaughter gives a glimpse into what she may have been like as a younger woman. Matilda wears a comfortable pinafore over a striped dress, her white hair fixed in a bun high on her head. Roselyn looks very much like her mother, right down to her nose and ears. She wears a short-sleeved eyelet dress. Jacqueline wears the bright lipstick of the era and a smart buttoned dress. Her sleeves are rolled up; it must have been a warm day. Jacqueline, too, resembles her mother, and, in turn, her grandmother.

I, for one, am very happy that someone just so happened to take this photograph. I’m even happier that this relatively flimsy print managed to survive seventy years. Even a snapshot can become a treasured family photograph.



SOURCES
1 1910 U.S. census, Clayton County, Iowa, population schedule, Guttenberg, enumeration district (ED) 209, sheet 4-B, p. 25 (penned), dwelling 76, family 77, Mathilda Thoma; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 November 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 397.
2 1930 U.S. census, Harris County, Texas, population schedule, Houston, enumeration district (ED) 209, sheet 5-B, p. 7201 (penned), dwelling 82, family 107, Mathilda Thoma; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 November 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication T626, roll 2349.
3 1940 U.S. census, Grant County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Wyalusing, enumeration district (ED) 22-56, sheet 1-A, p. 7201 (penned), dwelling 82, family 107, Matilda Thomas; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 20 November 2013), citing National Archives microfilm publication T627, roll 4481.
4 “Iowa, County Births, 1880-1935,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 20 November 2013), Jacquelin Thoma Cuzins, 1920.
5 “Texas, Deaths, 1890-1976,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 20 November 2013), Roselyn Bohringer, 19 May 1947; citing certificate number 19651, State Registrar Office, Austin; FHL microfilm 2218598.
6 Wisconsin State Board of Health, death certificate, Matilda H. Thoma (1947), Vital Records Office, Madison.

An Iowa Farmer: Clues from the Agricultural Schedule

When Hiram H. Hammond of Postville, Allamakee, Iowa died in 1896 at the age of eighty-three, the local newspaper stated, “By constant application to his farm and frugal habits, Mr. Hammond acquired a comfortable competency.”1 Although it is believed that he was born in Belmont County, Ohio, little is known about Hiram Hammond before his debut as a farmer in northeastern Iowa.2 It is there that the paper trail begins, and agricultural schedules, an underutilized resource, offer fantastic detail about his experience.

HiramHammondAgriculture1850

1850 U.S. census, Jackson County, Iowa, agriculture schedule, Jackson, p. 299 (penned), line 29, Hyram Hammons; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing “Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880.”

An 1848 land transaction placed Hiram Hammond in Jackson County, Iowa, which is located along the Mississippi River.3 In 1850, Hiram, 37, was recorded as a laborer in another household.4 He did not own any land, but he had five horses and one milch cow, together valued at $260. His farm machinery and implements were valued at $20. Hiram had harvested 100 bushels of wheat, 60 bushels of Indian corn, 75 bushels of oats, 10 bushels of peas and beans, and 6 tons of hay. He had also produced 100 pounds of butter, and the value of his animals slaughtered came to $20.5

By 1854, Hiram had moved on to nearby Clayton County, Iowa, where he married a German immigrant, Eva Margaret Stöhr, and started a family. In the years to come, Hiram saw success as a farmer,6 and, although seemingly absent in 1860, he appeared in the 1870 and 1880 U.S census and agricultural schedules.

In 1870, Hiram, 57, lived with his wife and five children under the age of twelve.7 His farm was valued at $2500 and his livestock at $1400; he possessed 180 acres of land, the majority of which was woodland. Hiram also owned fourteen sheep, eight horses, seven swine, seven cattle, and six milch cows. He produced 300 pounds of butter, and 75 pounds of honey.8 In 1880, his farm was valued at $3240; although his acreage was smaller than in 1870, more land was in use. The value of his farm productions of the past year came to $1461.9 All told, this was a far cry from Hiram’s first appearance in the agricultural schedule.

Hiram continued to farm throughout his seventies. Eventually, he and his family moved to nearby Fayette County, before, as Hiram neared eighty, he and his wife retired to town.10 In 1893, he advertised the sale of his farm, “comprising 200 acres, situated two and a quarter miles from Postville on the Clermont road.”11

How can you learn more about your ancestor’s farm? Agricultural Schedules were recorded from 1850-1880, and provide a wealth of information about the land, livestock, crops, and other farm productions, from butter and cheese to maple syrup and honey, of your ancestor. Search for your ancestor through “Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880” on Ancestry.com. Be aware that the agricultural schedules may span two pages, and consider comparing your ancestor’s farming operation to those of their neighbors. How did they measure up?



SOURCES
1 “Gone to Their Rest,” The Graphic (Postville, Iowa), 27 August 1896, p. 1, col. 3; digital images, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 23 October 2013).
2 “Gone to Their Rest,” The Graphic (Postville, Iowa), 27 August 1896, p. 1, col. 3.
3 U.S. Bureau of Land Management, “Patent Search,” database, General Land Office Records (http://www.glorecords.blm.gov : accessed 23 October 2013), entry for Hiram Hammond, Dubuque land office, doc. no. 4358.
4 1850 U.S. census, Jackson County, Iowa, population schedule, Jackson, sheet 294-B, dwelling 187, family 187, Hiram Hammons; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing National Archives microfilm M432, roll 124.
5 1850 U.S. census, Jackson County, Iowa, agriculture schedule, Jackson, p. 299 (penned), line 29, Hyram Hammons; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing “Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880.”
6 “Gone to Their Rest,” The Graphic (Postville, Iowa), 27 August 1896, p. 1, col. 3.
7 1870 U.S. census, Clayton County, Iowa, population schedule, Volga, p. 6 (penned), dwelling 39, family 40, Hiram Hammond; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing National Archives microfilm M593, roll 383.
8 1870 U.S. census, Clayton County, Iowa, agriculture schedule, Volga, line 28, Hiram Hammond; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing “Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880.”
9 1880 U.S. census, Clayton County, Iowa, agriculture schedule, Garnavillo, p. 7 (penned), line 7, Hiram Hammond; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 October 2013), citing “Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880.”
10 “Gone to Their Rest,” The Graphic (Postville, Iowa), 27 August 1896, p. 1, col. 3.
11 “Farm for Sale,” The Graphic (Postville, Iowa), 29 June 1893; digital images, Newspaper Archive (http://www.newspaperarchive.com : accessed 23 October 2013).