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

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Friday, September 26, 2014

The Dead Do Tell Tales – Sarah McLaughlin Age 8 - John McLaughlin Age 6 - Scott County Illinois

As you know, if you are a regular reader of my blog, I love genealogy!  I am always amazed when I find little known information that finds new connections for people lost to history so long ago.  I will try to recap my latest case and the way I feel about it.

I am writing a book about my 4th great grandfather, Berriman McLaughlin.  I fell in love with his name when I first connected to him so many years ago.  2014 seemed to be the year for me to concentrate on him and his family and write about them all.  I started the book, but many interruptions slowed me down.  But when a few minutes were available I wrote, and of course, doing that meant I would see little details that I needed to investigate further.  That is really the fun of this type of project.

My plan was to also write about each of Berriman’s twelve children and their families.  I started with the oldest child, Daniel McLaughlin and his wife Elizabeth Utt.  It was short story as this couple was pretty much a normal family. 

Next was the second child, John McLaughlin and his wife Verlinda Wilcoxen.  I didn’t really know much about John as he died in 1849 at a young age of fifty.  His wife, Verlinda, died in 1835, while the couple still lived in Ohio.  Most family researchers assumed John also died in Ohio, but now I am sure he went to western Illinois after Verlinda died, and took his four young children with him.  That is where his parents and siblings had gone.  It would make sense to go where there would be family support.  Plus some of Verlinda’s brothers went there as well.

It was finding an old newspaper article published in 1841 Morgan County, Illinois that started my newest interaction with the dead.  It was a notice of John McLaughlin filing a petition concerning the estate of his father-in-law, John Wilcoxen.  It mentioned his children, Elizabeth and Hercules, both infant heirs of Verlinda McLaughlin.  This convinced me that John died in Illinois not Ohio.  It also sent me on a search to find out more about Elizabeth and Hercules.  The two older children, Sarah and Barryman, were obviously old enough to not be considered infants.

In trying to pin down the births of John and Verlinda's four children, I checked all censuses for them to try to draw a conclusion about their order in the family.

It was when I was investigating the oldest child, Sarah, that I discovered the two children mentioned in the title of this story.  Sarah, daughter of John and Verlinda, married Squire Barnes.  When I found her and Squire in the 1870 Scott County, Illinois census, there were two McLaughlins living with them. Sarah age eight and John age six. My question immediately was, who are these two children?  It would seem logical that they were the children of a brother, but who?  I had investigated Hercules and had his children figured out, that only left Barryman.   The book by Steven K McLaughlin, The McLaughlins, didn’t know that Barryman had any children, it only said Barryman was killed in a fight in 1867 and his widow (unnamed) married Andy Lawson.  With that bit of information I found Barryman married Nancy E. Swearingen in 1857 in Greene County, Illinois.  It now seemed perfectly logical that the two children would be Barryman’s.  Many new mysteries now came into the picture.  

Yes, Mrs. Emeline McLaughlin married Andrew Lawson in 1869 in Morgan County, Illinois.  In 1870 Emeline Lawson was in the household of Andrew Lawson, but not her children, they were in the household of Sarah McLaughlin Barnes.  In the 1880 Scott County census, Sarah (the 8 year old in 1870) had married Andrew Moore and her sixteen year old brother, John (the 6 year old in 1870), was living with that couple as Andrew’s brother–in-law.  

I still didn’t know for sure that they were Barryman’s children.  But when I found Sarah McLaughlin Moore’s (the 8 year old in 1870) memorial on Find A Grave it said she died in 1939. I went to and searched Illinois Deaths 1916-1947.  There she was, and her death certificate said her father was Berryman Mcglacin and her mother Emma Swangaim.  Yes, terribly misspelled, but I know it is Barryman McLaughlin and Emeline Swearingen.  These are indexed records and the handwriting was probably poor for the indexer’s input, but I know what the names are.  Thank goodness the informant knew enough about Sarah McLaughlin Moore's parents to get it close.  This lady lived a long and fruitful life, from about 1860 to 1939, at least eighty years.  

Things I will probably never know?  Did Emeline leave her children with her sister-in-law because her second husband didn’t want them in the house?  Andrew Lawson was twenty years older than Emeline, so maybe that was a problem. Or maybe they were just visiting their Aunt Sarah Barnes the day the census taker called. They counted everyone in the house on that day.  Indication is that the children were on their own.  In 1880, sixteen year old John was living with his newly married sister and her husband, Andrew Moore.  I don’t know what happened to John McLaughlin (the 6 year old in 1870) .  Did he marry?  Did he die early?

What happened to Nancy Emeline Swearingen McLaughlin Lawson after Andrew Lawson died is another mystery.  I am happy to have connected Barryman McLaughlin (1825-1867) to his two children after these many years.  Now, dear reader, you know why this is such a fascinating thing to do.  Many times I put the book about the family of Berriman McLaughlin (1776-1850) on the back burner.  But there was always a small voice urging me to keep plugging along.  I believe now that these children needed to be identified and connected to their parents.

Happy hunting to you – and to me as well.  Patj

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