Light Bulb Find

Do you get ‘light bulb’ hints? Since I have my RootsMagic software connected to my Ancestry tree, I get a yellow ‘light bulb’ next to someone’s name whenever there is a new Ancestry hint.

When I opened the software today, I had several of those hints sprinkled thru the first 5 generations of my tree. One of those light bulbs was for my great-great grandmother, Mary Foster Crawford.

That ‘hint’ was a link to a ‘story’ posted by another researcher. That story appears to be an obituary clipping from an unknown source.

I’m guessing that unknown source was the West Lebanon newspaper. I

Hoping to find the obituary online, I checked I didn’t find an obituary to ‘match’ the story, but I found a version that is close.

Death Message
Word was received of the death
of Mrs. Mary Foster Crawford, 86,
of Dodge City, Kas., a former res-
ident of this place, who passed
away at her home form complica-
tions. Mrs. Crawford was born
in Warren County, August 28,
1842 three miles northwest of this
city, on what is now the George
Astell farm, and was the fifth
child of Zebulon and Caroline Os-
trander Foster, pioneer residents
residents who same from Ohio to
Warren County in 1833. She was
married to Marion Crawford,
March 4, 1860. If 1884 Mr. and
Mrs. Crawford moved to Dodge
City, Kas. Mr. Crawford was a
Civil war veteran and died Au-
gust 23, 1889. Surviving are four
children. Mrs. Ida Sherman, of
Tacoma, Wash.; Mrs. Lida Lighter,
of Rolla, Mo., and Judson and Nel-
son Crawford of Dodge City, Kas.
She was a member of the M.E.
Church. Burial in cemetery at
Dodge City.

“Death Message,” Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Indiana), 26 January 1929, page 11; digital image, ( : viewed online August 2019).

I checked the Library of Congress newspaper database to see if there was a West Lebanon, Indiana newspaper online. I did find the West Lebanon newspaper on Unfortunately, I did not find the 1929 edition of the newspaper online. 

This little light bulb hint and my search led me to a copy of an obituary that I had not seen before! Thanks to the original poster of the ‘story’ on Ancestry and thanks Ancestry for suggesting the story to me!

Little Clue

My husband and I recently returned from a two-day research trip to the Midwest Genealogical Library in Independence, Missouri.

This was a chance to immerse ourselves in a large collection of books related to genealogy and history. During this trip, I was hoping to find little clues buried in what are often called ‘mug books’. These ‘mug books’ are county histories that also contain biographies. Many genealogists are cautious about the use of these biographies since the families sometimes ‘glorified’ the information they submitted to these histories.

Even though I’m aware of their common name, I’ve often found ‘little clues’ in these county histories. Thus, I was hoping to find such histories for several counties in Missouri and Indiana so I could gleam tidbits to help with my Crawford research.

Unfortunately, I only found a few of these histories. One source that I did find was for Collin County, Texas. Collin County is where Mary Anna Crawford, wife of Milton Merriwhether Foster and her daughter, Susan Jane Foster Hunter Stimson died.

The information I found was about the Stimson family. It did not provide a lot of specific details. However, it does identify a child of Susan Jane Foster Hunter Stimson that I did not have in my database.

Collin County Pioneering in North Texas
by Capt. Roy F. Hall and Helen Gibbard Hall
c1975, 1994
Published 1994 by
Heritage Books, Inc.
Bowie, MD

page 299
Stimson Family

Erasmus Stimson who had been born in England, April 14, 1762 came to America and settled in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He and his wife, Lucy had seven children. Their youngest was Isaac who was born January 30, 1799, in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Isaac and his wife Rachel first moved to Kentucky, then to Texas. They had twelve children born from 1819 to 1839. They were, in order of their births, Edward C., Martha J., Amanda P.F., Abigail O., Daniel M., Maryan E., Isaac W., Lucy F., Rachel B., Soerateas H. Clemantine P. and Josea F. They cam to Texas with the Abston family The two families were slave owners and it is believed that they migrated to Texas to find a more favorable climate for slave ownership. On August 15, 1864, Sarah Abston paid taxes on fourteen slaves. Isaac Stimson paid taxes on eight slaves. His son, Daniel M. Stimson paid taxes on two slaves. John Abston, who was very old at the time of the migration, had fought in the American Revolution at the Battle of Kings Mountain. He is buried in the Abston Cemetery (or Elias Belew Cemetery one mile north of Lavon). The fifth child of Isaac and Rachel Stimson was Daniel M., born April 26, 1827. He first married Sarah F. Abston, a daughter of John. They had six children, John W., Isaac P., Rachel A., Sarah O.J., Dan and Jim. After Sarah’s death, Daniel M. married Susan Foster Hunter, They had one child, Rufus. After Susan’s death, he married Mary Hewitt who was teaching school in Rockwall. They had two children, Nora who married A. P. Barry from Georgia and Fannie Belle who married William Francis Boyd, son of Mordicia M. and grandson of Joseph Boyd.

One little clue. One little clue that identifies a child. One little clue that adds a descendant to this family.

I will keep digging – one little clue at a time.

Revolutionary Ancestors

Were any of your ancestors in the colonies prior to the American Revolution? If so, have you tried to identify ancestors who may have fought in the Revolutionary War?

Since I am a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), I already knew that one of my ancestors provided patriotic service during the war: Nathaniel Hammond of Connecticut.

I had also started collecting documentation to prove William Buckles on my mother’s side of my tree. 

Beyond that, I didn’t know which of my ancestors might have served. Thus, I needed to create a list of ancestors who might have served so that I could research them in Fold3 and the DAR databases. 

To create a list of potential people, I needed to know who was of the appropriate age to serve. I found a wiki on FamilySearch that lists various wars and suggests ‘Ages of Servicemen in Wars.’ 

Using that information, I was able to create a marked group of those whose
     Birth date is after 1715 AND  Birth date is before 1767

Using this group, I created a custom report to list the names, birth dates and birth places. (Note: I should have added the death date and death place to my report.) 

I saved the report as a text file so that I could open it in Excel.

When I opened the text file in Excel, I had almost 270 individuals in my list.

Since this list was NOT limited to ancestors, I had to manually figure out who on the list was an ancestor. 

To help identify those ancestors, I created a marked group in RootsMagic for my ancestors. This allowed me to have an alphabetical list of ancestors in RootsMagic and compare it to the list of potential revolutionary war ancestors in my Excel spreadsheet.

After marking the ancestors on my list of potential revolutionary war people, I was down to 20 names.

I then looked up those 20 names using the DAR Ancestor Search site. 
Of my 20 ancestors of the appropriate age to have served, only five of them had service information in the DAR database. An additional 2 men were in the DAR database, but their service information is questionable. 
Revolutionary War Patriot Ancestors

Potential Patriot Ancestors – DAR designated ‘Must Prove’

Ancestors of Appropriate Age but NOT in DAR database

  • Richard Beckerdite
  • Frederick Briles (Broyles)
  • Theodore Hale
  • William Harding — LOYALIST
  • John Iglehart
  • John Ralston
  • John Ricketts
  • Benjamin Rush
  • Crafford Rush
  • James Story
  • Green Wells
  • Nathaniel Wells
  • Oliver White

Now that I have identified potential revolutionary war participants, I can watch for their names in county histories, court records and other documents. 

100 Years Ago

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible! music) is to:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 18 May 1919 – 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

My Grandparents

  • Leon Crawford was living with his parents at 504 Ave G in Dodge City
  • Winnie Letha Currey was likely living with her sister, Myrtle. Winnie traveled from Kansas City to Dodge City in 1918 to help Myrtle with the birth of her first child, Dorothy. Winnie and Leon were married on Christmas Eve in 1919 at Myrtle’s house.
  • Edward O. Briles and his wife Pauline (Mentzer) Briles were likely living in Woodson County in 1919. Edward’s World War I draft card indicated they were living in Everett Township, Woodson County in June of 1917. By 1920, they had moved to Allen County.

My Great Grandparents

  • Judson Foster Crawford and Josie Winifred (Hammond) Crawford were living at 504 Avenue G in Dodge City, Kansas.
  • Hiram Miles Currey was living at 4108 Penn Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri. His wife, Winnie May (Hutchinson) Currey, was no longer living.
  • Edward Grant Briles and Frances Artlissa (Ricketts) Briles were living in Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas
  • Charles Oliver Mentzer and Nettie Adell (Wells) Mentzer were living in Everett Township, Woodson County, Kansas.

My Great-great grandparents

  • Mary Foster Crawford was living at 911 Second in Dodge City, Kansas. Her husband, Washington Marion Crawford, was no longer living.
  • Richmond Fisk Hammond was living in Sawtelle Soldier’s Home in Los Angeles, California. His first wife, Sarah Ellen (Ralston) Hammond was no longer lving.
  • Sarah Jane (Thompson) Briles was living in Neosho Township, Coffey County, Kansas. Her first husband, Noah Washington Briles, was no longer living.
  • James Marshall Ricketts and Rachel Elmeda (Christy)Rickets were living in Liberty Township, Woodson County, Kansas.
  • Emeline (Minnick) Mentzer was living in Center Township, Woodson County, Kansas. Her husband, George Mentzer, was no longer living.