Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Hindsight - Wabash Pct. Coles County, Illinois - 1850

In my latest quest for finding why Dennis Meech moved from Franklin County, Ohio to Coles County, Illinois this listing of the people in Wabash Pct. Coles County in 1850 is quite telling.  Supposing that a young man wouldn't just hit the road and suddenly stop over in Coles County long enough to get married and then move on to Kansas, I figured there must be a reason beyond accidental happenings.  I admit I have thought about this previously, but could not find a name that meant anything in the history of Dennis Meech.  Not until I found some new things about his history in Franklin County, Ohio did I stumble on a lead.

I need to start by saying I am eternally grateful that he DID go to Coles County and marry Margaret Pryor -- or I wouldn't be here today.  They are my second great grandparents on my father's side.

The above list shows names that have a connection to Margaret Pryor and MAYBE a connection to Dennis Meech as well.  About 3/4 of the way down the left hand column is John PRYOR, Margaret's father.  Two farms above him is Robert Veach.  This meant nothing before I found out that a "close friend" and possibly a relative of Dennis Meech in Ohio was Willis Stevens and his wife was Lavina Veach.  Why do I know Dennis and Willis Stevens were close friends?  Because Willis Stevens gave permission for Dennis to marry his first wife Sarah Jane Milloway in 1848 in Franklin County, Ohio!  Dennis was under age 21 and Willis signed as his guardian giving Dennis permission to marry.   Actually I have known of this for a couple of years, but because of my recent renewed attempts to find more about Dennis' mother Catherine, I have concentrated once again on this impossible family. Sarah Jane and their baby boy died shortly after 1850 and that may have inspired Dennis to leave a sad neighborhood. 

One of my geneaological theories is that if the ancestors are not co-operating, stop, and move on, and come back another day.  This was finally that famous "another day".  That is why I renewed my interest in them.   This was that "later".

Will this latest find help me find the maiden name of Dennis' mother?  Probably not, but it does help answer the original question of why Dennis came to Coles County.  I imagine he heard from Willis Stevens that there were jobs on the farms in Coles County where many Veach families farmed.  The close vicinity of Robert Veach and John Pryor leads me to believe this may be where Dennis worked and met Margaret Pryor. 

Dennis had nothing to hold him in Franklin County Ohio after his mother died about 1855 and he lost his young wife, Sarah Jane Milloway, and baby son.  His mother Catherine, had married second to Henry Huffman and had five children by him. Catherine died shortly after the youngest, Sarah Ann was born in 1853.  I am still looking for the death place and date for Sarah Ann Huffman Reaver, as she is my last hope of finding Catherine's maiden name.  Catherine joins the many other ancestresses that I am looking for.  They are a special challenge.

If you are wondering why such a detail as why Dennis went to Illinois is important to me --- I can only say genealogists want to find every detail of their ancestors lives that is possible.  It brings them to life. 

Years ago I copied the 1855 Paradise Twp, Coles County Illinois State Census because I have so many ancestors and their families there.  I checked it today and yes, Robert Veach is farming there in 1855 about the time Dennis arrived in Coles County.  I am almost positive Dennis Meech worked for Robert Veach and met Margaret Pryor that way.  I guess it doesn't take much to make a genealogist have a good day!!

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