Monday, March 28, 2011

George and Sarah Myers

Here is the treasure of the week!  My cousin Steve Phillips provided this to me.  He is a descendant from George "Coon" Myers. 
I'd like to attach the photos to a their grave on but I am having a heck of a time finding where they were buried and when!  I spent the day Friday with my best genealogy buddy ever at the Idaho Historical Library.  I looked through all of the newspapers from Grangeville, Idaho for the year 1904.  The newspaper was only weekly at that time so there were only 52 issues to check out.  Unfortunately, I did not find anything.  But I will not stop trying.  There's got to be a trace somewhere and I'm determined to find it!  So here are the photos Steve was willing to share. Maybe someone out there will be able to give me more information on where George and Sarah died and where they are buried. 

Aren't they a cute couple?  Steve has Sarah's last name as Bisbee and I believe this is a transcription error.  I have found a marriage certificate from Clinton, Indiana and the name is stated as Beasley.  The pictures were take by Elite Studios in Grangeville, Idaho.  Enjoy the photos!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally

Rebecca and Estella hardly knew their mother.  She died in 1888 and they soon moved from Iowa and away from the their mother's family.  I felt thrilled when I found this very informative obituary from the Lewiston Tribune, dated Saturday, July 24, 2010.  It is about Rebecca's youngest daughter, Della Irene Donnally Kemp and gave me some more information about her mother.

Della Irene Donnally Kemp, 92, of Grangeville, passed gently away at home with her family at her side Thursday, July 22, 2010. Della, the youngest of seven children, was born in Thurman, Iowa, April 28, 1918, to William Moses and Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally. About three months after she was born, her mother died of influenza and the family traveled by train to Mount Idaho, where she resided for 87 years. She has lived in Clarkston with her daughter and son-in-law, Becky and Mike Moriarty, for the past several years.
Della was raised in Mt. Idaho by her aunt and uncle, Maude and Andy Donnally, while her brothers, Frank, Harvey, Charlie and Lloyd, and her sisters, Hazel and Esther, were raised at the Children's Home in Lewiston.
She went to elementary school at the Country School in Mount Idaho, which was on the hill above her home. She graduated from Grange-ville High School in 1936, where she enjoyed school activities including basketball, sewing, algebra, track and field. Since there were no buses, Della walked the 3 miles from Mount Idaho to Grangeville to attend school.
She enjoyed fishing and old-time dances in Mount Idaho. She would attend social activities in a horse-drawn sled during the snowy winters. In 1937, Della graduated from My Ladies Beauty School in Boise.
While she was a senior in high school and working at the Idaho Hotel, she met and fell in love with Bill Kemp, even though he came in with his muddy boots to clean up in the restroom, which she then had to clean as part of her job. They were married by the justice of the peace in Lewiston, Nov. 30, 1940. They began their married life at the family's Salmon River Big Bar sheep ranch, a 27-mile horse trip from Forest, Idaho, near Winchester. The family herded sheep regularly from the Salmon River to the Buffalo Hump area on foot and horseback.
Della helped run the sheep camp and, in August 1941, came out on horseback to Forest and traveled on to Grangeville for the birth of their first son, Billy. Two weeks later, she went back on horseback to the sheep camp.
In 1944, Della once again rode horseback from the Salmon River to Forest, traveling on to Cottonwood, where a second son, Ricky, was born. The family later moved to their home in Mount Idaho. During this time, Bill and Della ran the Pine Grove Dance Hall in Mount Idaho. Their third child and first daughter, Becky, was born about the time the dance hall closed in 1947. In 1950, their fourth child, Connie Ruth, was born, and nine years later daughter Kaylynn came along!
Della was a full-time homemaker, dedicated to making sure her husband and children were raised with love and care. Always taking an active part, Della was a Cub Scout den mother and Camp Fire Girls leader, where she was honored for 30 years of service, a chapter mom for Demolay and a Job's Daughter adviser. She and Bill were always proud of the fact that their family had two past master counselors of Demolay and two past honored queens of Job's Daughters. She also volunteered with 4-H, Triple Bar Drill Team and was a school volunteer.
Della was a 50-year member and past noble grand in the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekah Lodge, and a 50-year member of Mountain Queen Chapter No. 11 Order of Eastern Star, serving in various positions and making lifelong friends. She most enjoyed the kitchen and banquet committees that she chaired. She was a charter member of the
Grangeville Eagles Auxiliary No. 539 and was the
Idaho state president in 1988. She and Bill both enjoyed working the many Eagles breakfasts for which the Eagles are widely known. She spent many years up at Fish Creek either with the Camp Fire Girls, the Eagles campouts, or teaching her grandchildren how to fish.
Some of Della's fondest memories came from her time spent bowling with her OK Rubber Welder teammates, Maxine, Opal and Shirley. Oh, the stories she would tell of her team travels to many different bowling tournaments! Bill had just as much fun watching them bowl as the girls did rolling their balls down the alley.
Della enjoyed picking huckleberries. She did not like to give out her secret spots, but if you went with her you would come home with lots of berries. She also enjoyed going "mushrooming" with Bill. They would bring back gallons of mushrooms and spend hours cleaning and canning them for friends and family. She spent many summer hours fishing at Mallard Creek with Jack and Mary Eagle. She always looked forward to their summer visits and bringing home lots of trout to freeze for the winter.
Besides bowling, she loved to crochet and sew. The last 7 years she spent building quilts for all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was always working on some sort of project for one of her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. The quilts and afghans are loved by her family just as much as she loved creating them. When she wasn't crafting or sewing, Della was reading - she was a voracious reader and loved stories of all kinds.
Della was preceded in death by her husband of 54 years, William; her son, Billy; her daughter, Connie Ruth; and all of her brothers and sisters.
She is survived by her son, Rick Kemp and Connie of Woodburn, Ore.; her daughters, Becky Moriarty and Mike of Clarkston, and Kaylynn Irusta and Bob of Boise; her sister-in-law, Lois Donnally; brother-in-law Walter Kemp and Frances; her grandchildren, Chris Hardy and Linda, Tony Hardy and Rebecca, Blaine Moriarty and Dusty, Alan Brown, Michele Fredrickson and Zach, Reiko Kemp and Fred, and Kaitlyn Irusta; and her great-grandchildren, Ashley, Sarah Jane, Tate, Trae, Parker, Kalea, Katie and Ava, with another on the way.
She will be missed dearly by her little dog Penny, all of her family who loved her deeply, and many, many lifelong friends in Grangeville and Mount Idaho who are left with many wonderful memories.
The family would like to thank her longtime doctor, Daniel B. McIntosh, and Tri-State Hospice for their caring and help in the last days of her life.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to
Grangeville Eagles Auxiliary No. 539, Grangeville Rebekah Lodge, American Diabetes Association or Tri-State Hospital Foundation.

Graveside services will be held at Monday at the Mount Idaho Cemetery. The Eagles Auxiliary will conduct a ritual ceremony followed by a reception at the Eagles Lodge in Grangeville. Visitation is from to at the Blackmer Funeral Home in Grangeville. Condolences may be sent to the family at

Rebecca Ann Moyer Donnally passed away January 31, 1919 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  The death certificate states that she was buried in McPaul (Thurman), Iowa.  Della was less than a year old.  It is sad to think that Rebecca didn't know her mother, Nancy McQuin Myers, and Della also did not have much time with her mother either. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moyer or Myers?

That is the question and I will let you be the judge.  For the longest time I didn’t believe that the people on the 1900 Federal census for Harpster, Idaho were related to me because they used the last name of Myers.  I wanted it to be true because there was three generations contained in one document, but it took a lot of research to convince me.  My maternal great grandmother was Estella Moyers and I had a marriage certificate to prove it.  But after studying and finding the census trail for their lives, I am convinced that they are indeed the same family.  Here is the trail of documents I have been able to locate for the George and Sarah Moyer family:

30 Jan 1840  CLINTON, INDIANA     
George MOYERS  and Sarah BEASLEY
marriage certificate

17 Aug 1850 District #130, White, INDIANA
George Moyer                     30                   b. Virginia
Sarah Moyer                        24                   b. Virginia
John Moyer                          9                      b. Illinois
Elizabeth Moyer                4                     b.  Indiana
Eliza Ann Moyer                0                      b.  Indiana

1860  Hickory Grove, Grant, WISCONSIN
George Moyer                     40                   b. Virginia
Sarah Moyer                        39                    b. Virginia
John Moyer                          18                    b. Illinois
Elizabeth Moyer                14                    b.  Indiana
Emma C Moyer                  10                    b.  Indiana
Rebecca                                6                      b. Indiana
Amelia                                  4                     b. Wisconsin
Charles                                 1                       b. Wisconsin

17 Nov 1870  SAUNDERS, NEBRASKA         
Frank WILLIAMSON and Rebecca MYERS
Marriage certificate

12 June 1880 Pohocco, Saunders, NEBRASKA
George Myres                     62                   b. Virginia
Sarah Myres                         58                   b. Virginia
Charles Myres                     21                    b. Wisconsin
George E Myres                 17                     b. Wisconsin

Charles A MYERS and Mattie OXFORD
Marriage certificate

3 June 1885   State Census for Center, Cass, Nebraska
George Myres                     66                    b. Wisconsin
Sarah Myres                         62                   b. Virginia
George Myres                     21                    b. Iowa

25 July 1900  Harpster, Idaho, IDAHO
John Myers               58                   b.Illinois
Stella Myers             18                    b. Iowa
Elisabeth                  16                    b. Iowa
Rebecca                    15                    b. Iowa
George Myers         91                    b. Virginia
Sarah Myers             72                   b. Virginia   

From these documents we can see that at some point before 1870 the Moyer family starts using the name of Myers.  Family legend says that there was a run in with the law and that was why there was a name change.  I don’t have anything to prove that theory yet.  It is interesting that John Harve and Charles A end up going by the name of Moyer again.  I have very little records about Elizabeth and Emma/Eliza who were born in Indiana.  I have located several marriage certificates for Rebecca Williamson’s children and it is interesting to note, they listed their mother as Rebecca Meyers or Myers. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011


When I was in college, I had the opportunity to compete in DECA on a national level.  May 1992 Ricks College took a group of students down to Anaheim, California for a fun-filled week.  I remember meeting other college students from all over the United States and telling them I was from Idaho.  It was quite comical and predictable.  They would say, “Where, Iowa?” and then I would say, “No, Idaho!”  Seriously, do people know where Idaho is?  Why are there two states that sound so much like each other, Idaho and Iowa
Well, I never knew then that someday I would be fascinated by a place in Iowa, but for the last two years, I have been.  It is a place called McPaul, Iowa.  McPaul is located in Fremont county near the Missouri River and the state of Nebraska.  If you try to look it up on the internet, it is nonexistent.  The only town that remains is Thurman and from what I’ve been told, McPaul floods quite often.  I feel like this was a special place for my Great Great Grandma Estella Moyer.  The first time I heard about McPaul was when I read Estella’s obituary.  It named McPaul as her birth place. 
The next time I saw mention of the town was on Estella’s sister’s death certificate.  Her name is Rebecca Moyer Donnally and she died January 31, 1919 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  It also states that she was buried in McPaul, Iowa.  I have been on the hunt for the name of Estella’s and Rebecca’s mother for quite some time now.  On Rebecca’s death certificate her mother is listed as Mary McGuym as mentioned in my first post. 
Well, just this week, I discovered a website that listed marriages that took place in Fremont county and there was listed a J H Myers marrying a Nancy McQuinn on March 20, 1880.  I thought this might be who I was looking for.
The last name McGuym hasn’t checked out since I found Rebecca’s death certificate.  There doesn’t seem to be anybody with that last name.  I looked at the original and found that it had been typed.  That gives me two theories:  1)The person writing the name may not have heard correctly or was a rotten spellar or 2)The person transcribing and typing from the original county document may have thought a Q looked like a G.  That’s really not too hard to do.  I’m sharing because I deal with this a lot in doing my research especially with this family line!!  It happens all the time.
I proceeded cautiously but I felt really good about it.  I contacted the person in charge of the website and got a reply in the same day!  This is a really good sign because that means that the person is not dead and generally loves genealogy!  This woman is amazingly smart, resourceful and I just feel lucky to have her helping me out and living right there in Iowa!
She got back to me and told me that she knew where Nancy was buried and the death date!  This would be essential in knowing if this was the right couple because John Harve is widowed by 1900 and his girls were born in 1883 and 1885.  Her death date would have to be after that.  This is what the inscription on her tombstone says:
Nancy A. Myers, wife of J.H. Myers, died February 25, 1888, age 30 years, 4 months, 17 days.  This grave is located in the Thurman cemetery.
Well, that fit into the timeline.  It would be under statement to say that I was thrilled.   Elated and floating while I made dinner, thinking that the pieces were finally coming together!!  Why does genealogy do this to me?  I just don’t know but it is such a rush that once you discover a secret that seems hidden, you just want to do it again and again, over and over.  I did have a wee thought that it would be really disappointing to find out that it wasn’t the right person but I pushed that doubt aside.
No wonder there are sweet ties to this place.  Not only is my Great Great Grandmother born there but her mother and her sister died and are buried there.  John Harve returns to Iowa after his children get married in Idaho and one of his daughters, Rebecca and her husband William Moses Donnally also go back to the area.  This is when Rebecca dies from influenza after giving birth three months prior to a daughter, Della.
Well, the breakthrough that confirms that I actually have the right people is when my sweet new friend from Iowa (an angel) sends me a copy of an 1880 Federal census from Scott, Fremont, Iowa that shows John H Myers, carpenter (age 37) married to Nancy Myers (age22) and a son Edward Myers (age 17).  Oscar Edward Moyer is John’s first son from his first wife, Mahala Schull.  Well, this sealed it up for me.  This is definitely the Great Great Great Grandma I’ve been looking for.
I’ve had a little fun looking up the McQuinn family this week.  I think I’m going to need to start a new blog just to keep them straight. 
I can’t tell you how helpful people in the genealogy realm are.  They bend over backwards for you.  I didn’t ask her to look up extra information for me, but she did.  I had been looking for an 1880 census for years and she finds it in a day.  I’m still missing the 1870 Federal census and the 1885 Iowa state census for anyone interested in joining the fun!  It wouldn’t hurt my feelings at all if I’m not the one to find it.  I’m so excited to make friends with people in Iowa and I won’t even be sad if people think I say “Iowa” when I really said Idaho anymore!  In fact, it will probably warm my hear thinking of that special place near the Missouri River.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Anna Belle Irwin Moyer Ventures West to Idaho

Anna Belle Irwin married John Harve Moyer's oldest son, Oscar Edward Moyer in Nebraska. They were married 20 August 1887 in Nebraska City. According to the 1900 Federal census, they were living in Omaha City the same year before venturing to Idaho. Here is a picture of their family and a story about their adventure. At the time of Anna Belle's travels, six of the following children were accompanying her and the oldest, Ora May would have been 12 years old.

Top Row: Arthur Vernon, Ora May, Anne Gertrude, Harve Edward, Francis Olive

Bottom Row: Wilda Marie, Anna Belle Irwin Moyer, Lester "Buck" Melvin, Oscar Edward Moyer

As told by David C. Chandler, by cousin Dennis DeFord, April 3, 1988, relayed from Trudie Moyer, daughter of Anna-Bell Irwin Moyer.

Anna-Bell Irwin was born in Fremont County, Iowa 5 Feb 1871. Annie lived with her mother Maria (Reeves) and father Burwell Irwin, until his death about 1880. Annie at age nine and Maria and remaining children moved in with Maria's brother, Amos Reeves, in Riverton, Ross County, Iowa, until Approx. 1883, at which time Annie moved to live with her older sister Rachel (Ada) and Will Thompson in Nebraska City, Otoe Co. Nebraska for a period of three to four years, until her marriage to Oscar Moyer in 1887. Annie and Oscar lived in Nebraska City, Nebraska until 1891. In 1892 through 1894 they returned to "Plum Hollow," (see note)Fremont County, Iowa and then again returned to Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1895 thru 1897. In 1898 through 1900 they moved to Douglas County, south Omaha, Nebraska. In 1900 Oscar went to Grangeville, Idaho by himself looking for work. He stayed with his father who lived there in a two room cabin. Oscar found a job and sent for Annie and the children to come out west via railroad. As the story is told by "Trudy," Gertrude Moyer, one of Annie's children, in 1988, at the age of 93, this was an exciting adventure for the family as they were told by friends and neighbors that the territory they were heading for was Nez Pierce Indian country, and these Indians were most noted for stealing young members of white families. In any case Annie was still young and not quite fearless, but had a lot of determination. She and her kids proceeded off to Idaho, where Oscar would meet the train and bring his family to town of the Moyer abode. Everything went well, until the train stopped at what they thought was their destination. Annie and family departed the train virtually in the middle of no-where and sure enough Oscar was nowhere in sight. In fact nothing was in sight except the tail end of the departing train. After waiting around for a while, Annie took action. We somehow managed to obtain a borrowed horse, loaded children and baggage on and proceeded to walk in the directions given to her for the Moyer place. Going down a trail, Annie saw some lights in the distance, as it was getting dusk. This poor caravan was certain that behind every tree was a savage Nez Pierce Indian just waiting to grab them. In their haste to find sanctuary, one of the children fell off the horse and cut his head on a rock. Annie was frantic, but remained calm in the eyes of her children. She found some bushes, and instructed the kids to stay put and remain very quiet until she returned. When the door opened, Annie stumbled backwards, for what she saw was a very large Indian squaw. It turns out that the Indian woman was quite civilized and questioned Annie as to why she was out roaming around after dark alone. Feeling somewhat mullified and realizing there was no one else to turn to for help, Annie told her plight of heading down the trail to meet "many white men,” but unfortunately she had an accident with one of her children. They both hurried back up the hill with medicine and bandages and after cleaning up the injured child, they all returned to the Indians cabin. The squaw asked Annie to spend the night, but Annie remembering the stories told to her were sure the Indian braves would soon return and take her children from her. So Annie respectfully declined the offer again stating that there were many, many white men out looking for her, and that she had better move on. Moving much further down the trail away from the Indian's home, Annie found a place for her and the children to spend the night out in the open country. The next day heading out again, lo and behold she met up with good old Oscar coming up the trail, apparently not knowing he was a day late in meeting the train. Trudy says her mind must have blanked out the following scene and words as to what Annie had to say to Oscar. We do know that Annie was a spunky, spicy person, and it is supposed that after Oscar told her that the job he hired on for, was only for one day, the poor Indian's probably ran when they heard Annie's war cry.

This is such a fabulous story that needs to be passed on. I love the spirit of Annie and her courage in a scary situation. It sure paints a picture of the attitudes of the entering an unknown territory. Thanks for sharing this one with us Vivian!  Oscar and Annie ended up divorcing in 1912, but here is a picture of them in later years, also provided by Vivian.

Note: Plum Hollow. The same as the present town of Thurman. It began as Fremont City in 1856, and later for some years was called Plum Hollow, The post office being designated Plum Hollow from 1857 to 1885.