Honoring One of Those Who Got Us Here


One of ’em is Nancy Reed Conner,
my great-great-great grandmother

Finally, I can see Grandma Conner’s grave with my own eyes, thanks to a volunteer at Find A Grave, who snapped a pic for me today. Volunteers are terrific, aren’t they?

I was afraid the marker might be damaged or missing. Unfortunately, the roots of a nearby tree have been displacing the base of the gravestone for quite some time so that it is leaning pronouncedly.

Nancy Conner is buried in Maryville, a town in northwest Missouri not far from the borders with Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas.

For years I didn’t know her name. I didn’t know much about her. But thankfully her son’s death certificate recorded her maiden name, Reed, which helped to piece together the family tree.

She was born in Ohio, though precisely where hasn’t been pinned down. She married James Conner in Delaware County, Ohio, where their son John W. Conner was born in 1846.

Because James was illiterate, I don’t know how he would have preferred the spelling of his surname or even if he cared. My guess is that he didn’t.

Illiteracy and a certain back-country, hill-billy backwardness may help to explain why the name is spelled Connor on Nancy’s gravestone. Granddad passed on stories to my father about how odd the Conners were.

To me, it makes them wonderfully colorful characters. I can’t imagine what it’s like not to be able to read and write. I think it would drive me nuts.

Now if we could only figure out where her husband James is buried. I hope he is resting in a marked grave somewhere. I’d love to know what happened to him.

He lived until at least 1900, when he is recorded living with his son John W. in Washington Township, Polk County, Iowa. He was born in May of 1819, so he would have been eighty-one years old. I can’t find him after that, so I am assuming he died sometime during that decade, 1900 to 1910. But where?

Where did he end up? Did he stay with John and Ellen until his death? If so, then where the heck is buried?




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