Category Archives: Ohio

A Snapshot of Warren Hay’s Farm in 1860


Warren Hay, my great-great-great grandfather, was born into a family of farmers. He had a farm in Hanover Township, Ashland County, Ohio. On August 20th, 1860 the federal government conducted an agriculture survey of the area.

Warren had 44 acres of land, 34 that had been “improved,” and ten that hadn’t. The cash value of the farm was $1200, and he had equipment worth $300.

He had five horses, three milch cows, three cattle, forty-two sheep, ten pigs, with the total value of the livestock amounting to $450. He had one hundred bushels of Indian corn, fifty bushels of oats, and sixty lbs. of wool.

Sadly, Warren died four years later, in 1864 at the age of 42.


The Conners — Always On The Move

John W. Conner, uncle and namesake of my great-great grandfather, John W. ‘Pap’ Conner, poses with his wife Catherine Sheets and their dog.
John W. Conner, uncle and namesake of my great-great grandfather, John W. ‘Pap’ Conner, poses with his wife Catherine Sheets and the family dog.

The father of my great-great grandfather, John ‘Pap’ Conner, was born in May of 1819 in Virginia, probably in Augusta County. That’s according to multiple sources, including the 1900 census, on which the census man had mistakenly recorded John’s father name as John Senior. For years I thought his name was John Conner, Sr. But it was a mistake. Whether the census man had poor hearing or Grandpa Conner had dementia, we will probably never know the circumstances behind the story.

For years I’d been wondering why I could never find any trace of the family. I was looking for a patriarch with the wrong name. I developed all sorts of theories. Was it because they were hillbillies who shunned society, including the census man? Did they harass him? Did they scare him away, perhaps taking a shot or two at him, refusing to cooperate with the federal census? Or was it because they were a bunch of illiterates?

Well, none of these theories proved correct. They may have been illiterate hicks, but there was no avoiding the census man. They were there all along, recorded with just about everyone else.

I include these details not to denigrate the Conner clan, but to record what their lives were like. Not being able to read and write I’m sure was a huge burden.

The clue that broke through the brick wall was finding information from Pap Conner’s death certificate, which I was about to order from the vital records folks in Iowa, and which I may do anyway to confirm what I’ve learned. Someone had transcribed details from Polk County death certificates, including maiden names of the mother’s of the deceased. And, lucky for me, this included John Conner’s mother. Her maiden name was Reed.

A cursory search of Ancestry and other genealogical databases brought up only one couple with the names Conner and Reed, and they fit perfectly into the time frame. And they had a son named John who was born in Ohio in 1846. A perfect fit, besides of course, the name confusion from the 1900 census.

This was enough to convince me that James Conner and Nancy Reed were John ‘Pap’ Conner’s ma and pa. A few days after this terrific discovery I tried tracking them through the census. It took a little effort because they seemed to always be on the move.

In 1850, James and the family were living in Trenton Township, Delaware County, Ohio. This is probably where John was born in August of 1846. A decade later, in 1860, they had moved further west to La Harpe Township, Hancock County, Illinois. They continued pushing west. In 1870, the family was recorded living in Jackson Township, Andrew County, Missouri. Ten years later, in 1880, the Conners were still in Missouri, in Polk Township, Nodaway County, minus son John, who was living in Iowa.

By 1900, John Conner had been in Iowa for at least 25 years. He had married Ellen Lint there in 1875. James was still alive, living with John and his family on a farm in Washington Township, Polk County, Iowa. Of course, the census man recorded his name as John Senior, resulting in years of futile searching on my part. Now, however, the puzzle has been solved.


The Draft, Civil War Style

Warren Hay Civil War Draft Registration
Warren Hay, an ancestor on my paternal grandmother’s side, is recorded as having registered for the draft during the Civil War. By 1863, the North was desperate for soldiers. The draft was not popular, leading to riots in some places.

I think this is the first Civil War draft registration I’ve seen for a family member. In this instance, it is Warren Hay, ancestor of my grandmother Marilyn. He lived in Ashland County, Ohio. His younger brother Isaac is listed, too. The original is at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


Summit County?

A map of Summit County, Ohio with the municipalities and townships labeled.
A map of Summit County, Ohio with the municipalities and townships labeled.

I’ve been looking for the birthplace of my great-great grandfather John Conner for a very long time now. Someone using the site Ancestry has added it to their family treeSummit County, Ohio.

I’ve looked through the sources for this, but can’t find anything to back it up. Whether or not, John was born in Summit County I don’t know. I have found any evidence either way. I’m recording it here, so I have some sort of log of it.

What makes me a bit cautious is the name of his wife. The person has it as Mary Ellen Catherine Lint. I have never seen Ellen C. Lint referred to as Mary Ellen. Perhaps two people are being confusingly merged together into one. I’ve seen it happen before.

For example, Martha Ann Marsh, who married Henry N. Hill, and Martha Ann Hill are two distinct individuals, but sometimes get confused.

Ellen’s birth date is recorded as August 6, 1848 in Story County, Iowa. In fact, she was born in Pennsylvania on August 20, 1850. This is well documented. I’m not sure why there are so many errors on this particular family tree.

But I will be following up on the reference to Summit County to see if I can find any documentation linking the family there. Summit County is centered around Akron.


Last Resorts

An obituary notice for my great grandmother, Augusta Lentz Fromke, who was born and confirmed in Germany. It gives quite a lot of detail that I hadn’t learned elsewhere.

One of the best ways for finding out more information on a person — the names of parents, birthplaces, etc. — is to send away for a copy of the death certificate. I try not to do it too often, since it can cost a bit of money, but every once in awhile a branch on the family tree requires it.

Such is the case with my great-great grandfather, John Conner. I know the name of his father, also John, because he is living with the family in 1900 and is recorded on the federal census. However, trying to find where the family lived in Virginia and later Ohio is proving too elusive through other channels of research.

So I am forced to order a death certificate for John the Younger. Since I don’t know where John Senior died, I don’t want to risk sending money for nothing. I need more details on what happened to him. I’m assuming he died in Iowa, like his son, but who knows. Maybe he ended up living his last days elsewhere with another daughter or son.

The process in Iowa for ordering a death certificate is a bit strange, in my opinion. Requests must be notarized. Very odd, indeed, for a descendant researching the family tree. A bit excessive. If Grandpa Fromke was still among us, I’m sure he’d be willing to do it for me.

But there’s no way around it at the moment, so I will have to find a notary, hopefully one willing to do it pro bono, and then send off a check or money order for $20. I haven’t written a check in ages.


James Hill, Shoe-maker


Here is more evidence supporting my theory that James Hill of White Deer Township — then in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania and what is now Union County — is my ancestor, the same James Hill who married Sarah Tidd and died in Hardin County, Ohio in 1862.

In White Deer Township in 1796, James Hill is living in a small cabin and working as a shoemaker. A John Hill is nearby, residing in a cabin, presumably a larger one. He, too, is a shoemaker.

My ancestor, James Hill of Hardin County, Ohio—born in June of 1763 in Pennsylvania, was also a shoemaker.

James Hill was a shoemaker by trade.”


Is It Elizabeth? Or Jacob?

After all these years, I think I have finally found ’em.

This past Tuesday I was searching on Ancestry and came upon a woman named — which is not common — on a “Tax & Exoneration” list, whatever that means. Usually a woman mentioned by name during this period means she is widowed. Sometimes, rarely, she may be single and unmarried. Otherwise, it would be the name of her husband in her place. She would go unnamed.

Elizabeth Hill is her name. From 1778 to 1780, she is listed, living in White Deer Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. White Deer is now, apparently, in Union County.

Is Elizabeth Hill the mother of my ancestor James? Or is she an aunt and Jacob his father? Who knows. At least, now however, I have names and a location to focus on. This should be the breakthrough I have been hoping for.

What sealed the deal for me is a name scribbled out below Elizabeth and Jacob, William Jordan. You see, William Jordan is the father of a woman named Mary Jordan. Mary married a man named James Hill.

Jacob Hill is recorded right after Elizabeth. James Hill had a grandson named Jacob A. Hill. This has been confirmed by DNA testing.

After 1780, Elizabeth Hill disappears from White Deer Township, at least in the records she does. Did she die? That would be my guess. Of course, she may have simply moved, to another town or into another household. She may have remarried.

In 1781 a woman named Elizabeth Hill was living in a place called Northern Liberties near Philadelphia. She was still there in 1790, living with three boys less than 16 years old and one female, her age unknown.

In 1790 James Hill is living in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He is the only male in a household of six, meaning he and Mary likely had at least four daughters.

William Jordan and his brother Samuel are living nearby. William died on  January 8, 1795 in White Deer Township, Northumberland County.

If this James Hill is my ancestor, then he would go on to marry a woman named Sarah Tidd, who went by the name Sallie, and they would settle in Ohio.

I don’t know what happened to Mary Jordan or their four daughters. One may be Rebecca Hill, who was born in 1785 and married Samuel Tidd, a brother of Sarah.


September 19, 1837

Someone has apparently found a newspaper clipping mentioning the death date of my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather Martin Tidd. According to the collection of obituaries gleaned from two newspapers in Ashtabula County, Ohiothe Ashtabula Sentinel and the Conneaut Reporter — he died on September 19, 1837. Ashtabula County is north of where he lived, in Kinsman, which is to the south, in Trumbull County. The clippings are apparently bound together in a book, currently located somewhere among the holdings of the Western Reserve Historical Society, which also has a large portrait of him. He was a veteran of the Revolution and what is known as the Yankee-Pennamite wars.