52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, My Family Tree, Paternal Side

Week 20: Cousin Bait

For this week’s theme for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, the topic is “cousin bait”. Where I sometimes look ahead and in my mind begin processing what I’m going to write about for the upcoming week, this week I was a bit hesitant as I wanted to make sure what she meant by “cousin bait”. I know it’s meeting cousins essentially, and for all intents and purposes what I wrote about on my DNA week would work for this week too. In that post I wrote about the cousins that I have connected with that are DNA matches. But this week I will discuss 2 cousin’s I’ve met because of my blog.

My Morgart Cousin

It’s been close to two months since I was contacted via Facebook Messenger by Linda. I was surprised as they were doing some research on Peter Morgart and came across my blog. It caught me by surprised, but I suppose it shouldn’t have.

I wrote about Peter Morgart early on as I was so excited to find out my 5th-great-grandfather fought in the American Revolution at the battle of Yorktown and saw Cornwallis surrender to George Washington.

And here I had a fellow Morgart descendent find my post and then contact me!

I was just a little excited. Linda was away on vacation when she contacted me so we haven’t really delved into our families but we got as far as my 2nd-great-grandfather, George Washington Morgart, is the brother of her great-grandmother, Rachel Snell Morgart. There is about a 13.5 year age difference between the two, George being the oldest male, and Rachel being the second-youngest female (there were 10 total children born to their parents, Andrew Jackson Morgart and Rebecca Margaret O’Neal).

George Washington Morgart

George Washington Morgart was born 20 Aug 1849 in Providence Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of a farmer, and the apple didn’t fall far from the tree as he became a farmer, too. When his father died 19 Aug 1870, George inherited his father’s land and the role to take care of the family as he was the oldest son. His brother, James Henry, was also to assist in taking care of the family, but he was just 12 when his father passed.

On 27 June 1872 George married Mary Ann Ritchey. They had at least 5 children that I can confirm, Charles Jackson Morgart, Edward Daniel Morgart, Anna Rebekah Morgart, Stella Mary Morgart, and Altie Pearl Morgart.

He died unexpectedly 5 May 1895 at the age of 45. He was a well-respected citizen and a practical farmer who “died tilling the same soil where he was born”.

Everett Press, Friday 10 May 1895 found using Newspapers.com

Rachel Snell Morgart

Rachel Snell Morgart was born 24 February 1863 in Providence Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. She was the 8th of 10 children born to Andrew Jackson Morgart and Rebecca Margaret O’Neal. But unlike George who farmed the land he was raised on, following the steps of his dad, Rachel went west.

In the 1885 Census for North Dakota Territory, at the age of 22 Rachel Morgart is listed as a teacher. In 1895 she married a farmer and minister, Daniel Halfpenny, who was also Canadian. In 1908 he became a Naturalized Citizen of the United States.

Rachel and Daniel went on to have 5 daughters: Dorothy, Ruth, Margaret, Mary Kathryn (Margaret & Mary Kathryn were twins) and Rebecca between 1896-1908.

She passed away 29 September 1937 in Fargo, North Dakota after being in a car accident on 5 September 1937. It notes that the car was driven by her son but I don’t see a son on any of the censuses from 1900 to 1920. Perhaps it was a son-in-law?

Minneapolis Star, 1 October 1937, found on Newspapers.com

My Childers Cousin

I think I spooked this cousin off because he had once done genealogy and found my blog as well. Our common ancestor is Randall Childers who I wrote about on the week that the theme was Multiple. We will keep him anonymous and just call him “He”, but he messaged me about 2 weeks after Linda and I was so excited about the brick wall he mentioned that I sent him my Thrulines of what options were being suggested for where the line stops and I never heard from him again.

Stupid, stupid, Becky.

But I have been a good girl and haven’t emailed him again. I’m here should he want to talk again. He descends from Randall Childers and Sara Fesler’s youngest son, Charles Peter Childers, while I descend from their daughter, Bertha. Bertha is also on the younger end of Randall and Sara’s children being seventh out of 9 children, with Charles being #9.

In Conclusion

I am so happy I have met both He and Linda. I look forward to being able to touch base more with Linda to put more pieces of our genealogical puzzle together. I am hopeful I hear back from He at some point. I really need to control my enthusiasm sometimes.

I enjoyed learning what I have about Rachel Morgart Halfpenny and find her so brave to head west to teach. I could never do something so adventurous. I wonder if her reason for moving west is something that has been passed down through her family. Her younger brother, William Baltzer Morgart, also headed west and was buried in Idaho, perhaps he has something to do with it?

As for George, his family fell apart shortly after his death. His daughter, Altie, died 3 months after he did with heart issues, his wife committed suicide 13 years later, and his oldest son did the same 9 years after his mom. Just sad. I don’t think my great-great-grandmother ever got over the loss of her first husband (she re-married Bartley Hughes who owned the farm next door a few years after George passed away) and daughter. I have yet to find anything to figure out why my great-grandfather, Charles Jackson Morgart hanged himself.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, My Family Tree, Paternal Side

Week 9: Multiples

The week 9 prompt of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is “multiples”. I am taking an indepth look at my great-great grandfather, Randall Childers, who my cousin Darlene referred to as “the bigamist” as he moved away and remarried having multiple wives.

Found it amongst a box of photos at my Dad’s with “Randall Childers” written on the back.

Randall Childers was born in Wells Tannery, Pennsylvania when it was still a part of Bedford County on 17 January 1840 to Abraham Childers and Mary Ann Green. He was the oldest of their 3 children (Mary Ann had another son, Jonathan Weiser, from a previous relationship), the others being Rachel (1842-1876) and Fayetta (1844-1924). His dad was a chair maker while his mother kept house.

The Civil War

In 1861 at the age of 21 Randall enlisted for the Union joining the 77th Volunteer Pennsylvania Infantry as a part of Company A and saw action in the following battles:

  • Battle of Shiloh
  • Siege of Corinth
  • Battle of Stones River
  • Tullahoma Campaign
  • Battle of Chicamauga
  • Siege of Chattanooga
  • Atlanta Campaign
  • Battle of Resaca
  • Battle of Kennesaw Mountain
  • Siege of Atlanta
  • Second Battle of Franklin
  • Battle of Nashville

Sarah Jane Fesler

In December 1865, Randall mustered out of the army at the close of the Civil War. He returned home to Pennsylvania where he married Sarah Jane Fesler around 1866 (I have yet to find a marriage record for an exact date, this was noted on the 1900 census that they had been married for 34 years). In December 1866 their daughter, Mary Etta Childers was born. This union would provide a total of 9 children:

  • Mary Etta Childers – 1866-1941
  • George Harry Childers – 1868-1941
  • Abraham Childers – 1870-1946
  • Jennie Childers – 1873-1934
  • William Dodson Childers – 1876-1959
  • Elizabeth Helen Childers – 1883-1968
  • Bertha Childers – 1886-1963
  • Bessie Viola Childers – 1890-1963
  • Charles Peter Childers – 1893-1970

Jobs

After initially coming back from the war, Randall’s occupation was listed as “laborer” but by 1880 it was listed as a miner on the census. He began receiving a Civil War pension in 1879. By 1900 he is listed as a farmer, a vocation he takes with him when he moves to Tennessee by 1905. On his pension papers he changes where his payment goes and lists himself as a widower, noting his daughter, Jennie Childers (or Mrs. A.S. May) as his closest living relative).

I always thought it strange that Randall moved to Tennessee as I didn’t recall any relatives there. But after doing extra research on him, during the Civil War he was stationed at Whiteside Bridge. Though Loudon is not even the county where the bridge is located, it’s not that far.

Wife #2

On 8 July 1907, Randall Childers marries the former Nancy Elizabeth Rockey (I believe this is a married name, still trying to find her maiden name) in Loudon County, Tennessee.

During his 12.5 years of marriage to Nannie Childers, for 11.5 years Randall was married to two women simultaneously as Sarah Jane Fesler passed away on 19 January 1920. Sarah still lived in Pennsylvania with their children.

I’ve not seen an obituary for Randall but the post listed on Sarah’s Find A Grave clearly states they had “issues”. I have no idea what the “issues” were that made my great-great-grandfather to move a few states south and begin a new life, but they must have been something.