Saturday, March 6, 2010


One of my nephews asked for some help last week for a school assignment. Could we give him some information or stories about our family history? What the heck, I went for a short term membership in and started looking up names. Luckily, one of my uncles had already done some research so I had some names and dates to work with. It got really interesting real fast.

Just for the heck of it I’m going to post what I found here. Part of this is purely selfish. We have readers from all over, and who knows, maybe somebody will recognize a name or a date. Some problems that I did run into. I get the feeling that my family was born with a double or triple dose of itchy feet. After 1800, nobody got married in the state he or she was born in. And nobody stayed in the state he or she was born in. A William Elmore was born on the east coast, probably Pennsylvania, about 1798. By 1905 his grandson was in Roseburg, Oregon by way of Indiana, Kansas and Colorado. According to another family tree I hooked up with, his brothers and sisters were named Robert, Elizabeth and Mary Ann.

He married a Sarah Caroline Taylor in 1821 in what would become West Virginia. The couple had six children. James Larkin in 1823, William Jefferson in 1824, Alpheus 1826, Elizabeth A in 1831, Robert T in 1831, and Mary E in 1842. Sometime after the birth of their last child and before his death after 1870 William Elmore moved to Indiana

In the 1840’s two of the sons, James Larkin and Alpheus, moved to Ohio. Interestingly enough, the two brothers met two sisters from the Foster family; Dorcas and Jemima. James married Dorcas and Alpheus married Jemima. James was my great, great, grandfather.

According to census information on James and Dorcas had a houseful of children including my great grandfather Seymour R Elmore. Other brothers and sisters included Lewis, Margaret, James, Caswell, and Srina. Over the years the family lived in Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Oklahoma. No real information about how he made a living. Probably a farmer. J The family seems to run heavily to farmers.

Dorcas Foster was born in 1829 in Ohio. She died in 1912 and rests in Ingalls, Oklahoma. We have a letter she wrote to great granddad in 1907. She wrote vaguely about coming west to visit the family in Oregon, but I doubt anything came of it. Decent handwriting, interesting grammar and spelling. I suspect she spelled the way she pronounced the words. Bin for been, crick for creek, that sort of thing. She must have written it in the summer or early fall. The weather’s hot. Most of the garden produce is either dried or in the jars. She must have had an orchard because she talks about the fruit she’s put up that season. Some friends must have known she was going to write because she asks if the land in Oregon is good for farming and if the “price is dear.” There’s rumors of the “black smallpox” (a real disease, a hemorrhagic form of small pox) in the neighborhood. And that it’s more deadly that “the cholery” (cholera). Diseases we don’t have to worry about anymore. How times have changed.

Seymour R Elmore was born in 1861 in Iowa. He went by Sam, can’t imagine why. He married in the 1880’s. Officially great grandma was Elisabeth Isabelle Hadley. But, in every entry I can find she was Lizzy B. Her parents were Joseph and Mary Hadley. We do have battered copy of the New Testament and Psalms stamped A J Hadley 1862 with the written inscription “civil war.” So he must have served during that war. And here I spent a lot of time trying to find A J Hadley or A Joseph Hadley only to find out that whoever stamped the testament got the initials turned around. He was Joseph Addison. Go figure. Just thankful someone held onto that poor battered little book.

The Seymour and Lizzy B had six children. Three in Kansas, one in Colorado and the last two, including my grandmother Edith, in Roseburg. Family history says great granddad worked for a rail road company, don’t know which one though. After Roseburg, they moved up to Donald (that's wide spot in the road up in the northwest corner of Oregon) and bought a farm. The couple finally ended up in Eugene. Mom remembers a small house on a double lot.

There were a lot of berries and a big garden. The house had straight chairs and a couple rockers. All the clothes were kept in chests, no closets, according to mom grandpa made his own rag rugs and that was what they had on the floor. The house was built before indoor plumbing so great grandma used a pump at the dry sink and heated her water with the wood stove. Oh, and an outhouse. The house had a full basement and that’s were the furnace, the laundry and several years worth of canned goods were stored. Grandma made her own butter and if it came out too light she’d soak a carrot in it for awhile to color it up.

I stumbled across another family tree with ties to the Elmores. It takes the family back to the early sixteen hundreds. Family names from the 1700's also include Todd, Stafford, and Ellyson. Frankly, the closer it gets to 1600 the more I was going “unh hunh, maybe.” All during the colonial years and the revolution the family stayed pretty close to the east coast. One generation and no British army to keep them east of the Allegheny's and the cork was out of the bottle. Two generations and we were on the west coast.

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