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

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Sunday, June 7, 2015

Catharine Edinger Collins 1825-1901

For years I have thought Catharine Edinger was the mother of my 2nd great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Edinger. What is the problem you may ask?  The problem is that there is no proof of that "assumption".  Yes, everywhere Catharine and her husband, Daniel Collins, moved to, Benjamin was not far away or very long in following them.  Compelling yes, but not actual proof.  Of course, Catharine could be an older sister, but I don't find that a likely scenario.

I have thought, "someone knows some little hint that can give me some confidence in my assumption".  This is why I am a firm believer in folks writing the things they have heard from their relatives.  Well, I finally found just a little glimmer of a hint.  Someone posted a picture of Catharine on  I don't usually pay much attention to these as often the person is guessing as to who is in the picteue --but this was different.  The posting also said what the back of the photo had written on it.

"Walter Edinger's step grandmother Collins in Nebraska".

Walter Edinger was Benjamin's youngest child and would be a grandson of Catharine if my "assumption" is correct.  Granted, the writer said "step grandmother".  I figure it was a spouse, or a child, writing what they knew or had heard. And they knew there was something unusual in the relationship of Benjamin and Catharine, but what that was seemed to have been never told.  Unusual because I believe Benjamin was born out of wedlock.

This does not detract from the love I have for my 2nd great grandfather at all.  Benjamin did not have an easy life.  Losing his first wife, Sarah Cornwell, shortly after Walter was born, being already the father of four little daughters at that time.  Not able to care for them, so farming them out to various families in Edgar County, Illinois.

Why do I admire and love him?  Because when he decided to pack up and go to Kansas, where Catharine and her husband had gone, he gathered his family and took them along.  He kept his little family together in all kinds of situations.  Many men would have deserted this family and disappeared.  He married two more times and neither was an especially happy marriage.  Perhaps due in part to his personality, but none the less they did not add much happiness to his life.  He went on to father two more sons with his third wife, Isabel Britt.  He died at the Montgomery County, Kansas Poor Farm in 1915.

So the citation on the back of that photo was an exciting find for me.

At last, someone was stating what I had thought for years.  I guess you know it doesn't take much to get a genealogist excited.  I am more convinced than ever that Benjamin Edinger is the son of Miss Catharine Edinger.

Stay tuned for even more developments in Benjamin's story.   Patj


Vicki said...

It was exciting for me too! I am the one who found that photo. I have tried and tried to piece it together, searching as you have to no avail. Benjamin Edinger as my Great Great Grandfather. My line is Benjamin Edinger, William Walter Edinger, Dow Edinger, Richard Edinger and then me.

I would love to visit with you. my email is vickimadden at outlook dot com or 918 397 8107

GenPatty said...

Hi Vicki,
Sorry to be so late in answering your comment. I took a vacation from my blog for awhile but I am back now. My line is Benjamin Edinger>Mary Ann (Anna) Edinger> Goldie VanBuskirk> Gerald V Craig to me Patricia Ann Craig. I remember talking to Dow and his wife by phone on one of our genealogy trips to Oklahoma so many years ago. They were so nice to talk to. Thanks so much for posting that picture of Catharine Collins. It is the closest clue I have ever found.