I thought this Veteran’s Day that I would talk about an uncle of mine who was a soldier for the Union Army during the Civil War and died in 1862 at the age of 22, having had no chance to leave much of a legacy.
Clayton Webb Shaw’s short life consisted of: being born, which happened on the 8th of May, 1840 in Clermont County, Ohio, (he was the oldest son of John Shaw and Idea Webb); growing up; volunteering in 1861 in the 5th Ohio Cavalry O.V.C., Company M (as a musician); dying.
Reports of his death are a bit confusing.
The regiment that he joined was organized at Camp Dick Corwin, at the end of 1861, and the men who signed up were in for a three-year stint. The regiment was composed mostly of men from Hamilton and Clermont counties in Ohio.
On February 26, 1862, the 5th received orders to report to Brig.-Gen. W. T. Sherman in Paducah, Kentucky. So off they went.
On the night of March 15 the regiment dropped down to Pittsburg landing and the next evening an expedition, consisting of six squadrons of the regiment, was ordered in the direction of Corinth and when 5 miles from the landing, in front of Shiloh chapel, was suddenly fired upon by a considerable body of the enemy. A charge was immediately made, in which several prisoners were taken.
On April 4 the second battalion of the regiment had a sharp skirmish with Confederate cavalry, infantry and artillery at Crump’s landing, in which the battalion had 2 wounded, but brought in 14 prisoners.
At the battle of Shiloh the regiment was constantly under fire. Gen. Grant giving direct orders to it and assigning it various difficult and dangerous duties and positions in the field. The behavior of officers and men throughout their virgin battle was highly commended by both Gens. Grant and Sherman. The regiment advanced with the army in the slow “siege” of Corinth, and had its share of picket duty and other exposure.1
Here is a list of their battles, skirmishes, etc.: March from Danville to Savannah, Tennessee, March 10-11, 1862. Expedition to Mobile & Ohio Railroad to destroy bridges March 14-15. Beach Creek Bridge, Tennessee, March 13. Near Eastport, Mississippi, March 14. Burnsville March 14-15. Reach Pittsburg Landing March 15. Skirmish Pittsburg Landing March 16. Reconnoissance toward Corinth March 16. Black Jack Forest March 16 (Detachment). Near Shiloh Church March 24 (1st and 2nd Battalions). Expedition to Chickasaw, Alabama, and Eastport, Mississippi, April 1. Near Monterey, Tennessee, April 3. Crump’s Landing April 4 (Detachment). Battle of Shiloh April 6-7. Corinth Road April 8. Beech Creek Bridge April 13 (3rd Battalion). Affair with Cavalry April 14. Advance on and siege of Corinth, Mississippi, April 29-May 30.
So right away Clayton’s company was pretty much thrown into the blender. Okay, so far we can see Clayton’s company’s activities up to and beyond Shiloh. And then Clayton dies. This is where things get a bit confusing. According to the ‘Graves Registration Card’ found at ancestry.com, Clayton died at Shiloh, Tennessee, KIA on May 22, 1862.
But…the Battle of Shiloh occurred April 6-7. The Union Army was advancing to, and sieging at Corinth, Mississippi from April 29-May 30. So how did he die at Shiloh? Maybe he was in a picket type situation, or they were reconnoitering in the area and there was a skirmish he died in.
Here is the story as told by his brother James:
James F. Shaw ….son of John and Ida (Webb) Shaw…Five children were born to this union:…Clayton, enlisted at the beginning of the Civil war in the Fifth Ohio Cavalry and died at Pittsburg Landing soon after the battle…2
So according to his brother, Clayton died at Pittsburg Landing, which is also what the Battle of Shiloh is called, shortly after the battle. (You can see the landing on the map above.)
But then we get to his headstone, the one that was applied for that honors his service:
He volunteered in Co. M 5th O.V.C. October 3, 1861 Was in the battle at Shiloh Fields. Sent home sick, arrived May 9, died on 22, 1862 Aged 22 years 19 days3
His headstone states that he died at home due to illness. However, it doesn’t specifically state what kind of illness. Was he recovering from wounds received in battle? Did he catch one of the prevalent diseases that killed many his fellow soldiers? Regardless of what illness killed him, it looks like he was not actually killed in action, but died at home surrounded by his family–I guess if you have to go, it’s not as bad as dying in a muddy, bloody field of battle.
In the end, despite the confusion on the details of his final days, Private Clayton Webb Shaw died in service to his country. So I thank him, and am only sorry that he is one of many young men whose life was cut so brutally short by war.
Here is a slide show of three of the only decent images I could find online regarding Shiloh, or the 5th Ohio, (the company is unknown in that image though). Found these at the National Archives.
From—5th Ohio Cavalry Soldier Roster – Official Roster of the Soldiers of the State of Ohio in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1866, Volume 11, by Ohio Roster Commission (Joseph B. Foraker, Governor, James S. Robinson, Sec’y of State and H. A. Axline, Adjutant-General), 1886.
Farming has always been known as a dangerous job, even more so when complicated machinery started being invented to make farming faster and more efficient, as the machinery was built with very little to no thought of operator safety at the time.
That being said, the following farm accident which occured about 1811 was caused by a scythe, a very old timey, uncomplicated and simple tool, although, apparently, still extremely dangerous:
“When [(Dr.) John George Rogers] the doctor was a lad only fourteen years old, William Goble, a farmer living near Bethel [Clermont County, Ohio], was severly and it was thought fatally cut by a scythe upon his back and shoulder, and a messenger came for his father to come and dress Mr. Goble’s wounds; but the father being miles away on his professional duties, his wife persuaded her son, John, to go and attend the wounded man. The boy went, examined and dressed the wounds, and sewed them, putting in eleven stitches an inch and a half apart, and such was his success that his father on examining him the next day, declared it to be a perfect surgical job.”1
Dr. John George Rogers was one of the most noted of the physicians and surgeons of the pioneer days of Clermont County, who practiced at a time when it was necessary for great sacrifice of personal comfort for the taking of long, arduous rides over poor roads in sparsely settled districts.
After having acquired the knowledge usually taught in the schools of his day, John was placed under the instruction of his father at home…His father, having a large practice, was often away from home and many of the duties were placed on his son, who in boyhood acquired great dexterity in extracting teeth, bleeding and many of the operations of minor surgery, as well as dispensing medicine in the absence of his father. When fourteen years of age, William Goble, a farmer near Bethel, was severely and thought to be fatally wounded by a cut from a scythe upon the back and shoulder, which in the absence of his father, the boy was compelled to attend. He took eleven stitches into the wound, with such success that the next day, upon examination, his father pronounced a perfect surgical job.2
The William Goble of this story was my 4x great grandfather. He managed to survive the accident, and surgery, and went on to live another 40 years, still farming. No doubt due to the loving care administered by his wife Ruth, and of course the ‘perfect surgical job’ of his young doctor.
Sources: 1. The History of Clermont County 1795-1880, by Louis H. Everts. p414 2. History of Clermont and Brown Counties 1913, by Byron Williams p
Charlotte Hatch is my great grandmother. I have vague recollections of meeting her in the early ’70s after we had moved back stateside from overseas. Mom, (as she was known by close family), along with a couple of other folks, probably including her daughter Evelyn, drove up from Ohio to visit at the time. Unfortunately I was too young for the visit to have made much of an impression, but hopefully by telling a bit of her story I can make up for that.
Charlotte was born in Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, Ohio on October 10, 1888. She was the daughter of Dillon Franklin Hatch and Almira Brooks and the youngest of their four children. But she only knew one sister and one brother growing up, the eldest son, Harry Douglas, had died at the age of 9 while the family was still living in Vermont.
Her father Dillon was the supervisor of a furniture factory which left the Hatch family comfortably well off. The couple used their good fortune to make sure their children received a well-rounded education, including music lessons. Charlotte learned to play the violin, and possibly the piano. She appeared in the local paper a multitude of times regarding some musical or singing performance, or sometimes simply as part of the local social gossip.
1906-05-13, Sunday, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), page 54 (GenealogyBank.com>newspaperarchives) Social News of the Week Miss Helen Roblee of 9812 Lamont Ave., N. E., entertained five of her friends at an apple blossom luncheon on Monday. The guests were the Misses Mary Fitzpatrick, Helen Whitslar, Charlotte Hatch, Nina Smith and Hazel Lane.
1908-04-14, Tuesday, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), page 7 (GenealogyBank>newspaperarchive): In Society Miss Belle C. Hart gave the second of her series of parlor recitals Saturday afternoon at 111424 Mayfield-rd., S. E. Those taking part were Lois Runge, Charlotte Hatch, Elliott Stearns, Harold Huhne, William Fristoe, Carl Patton and Numan Squire assisted by Miss Olive Harris, Miss Lilian Aokley and Miss Anita Runge, accompanists.
1908-12-27, Sunday, Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), page 24 (GenealogyBank>newspaperarchive): Music and Musicians Music in the Y.W.C.A. The musical organizations of the Y.W.C.A. have been considered important enough to be given a department of their own, with a committee voted entirely to their interests.
The members of the music committee…are most enthusiastic, and want to do all in their power to see this new department become a center of helpfulness and joy and inspiration. Most excellent work was done last year in laying the foundation of these organizations, and they have already become indispensable. In the coming year they ought to grow rapidly in numbers and efficiency.
The orchestra is doing splendid work under the directions of Miss Belle C. Hart. On Monday evenings its twenty members meet for practice at the association building, where they have a most enjoyable time. The members are:
First violins…Miss Charlotte Hatch…
Charlotte attended East High School in Cleveland, and graduated in 1908.
Less than a year after graduating from high school, Charlotte, at the age of 20, was married to a young man by the name of Montral Goble Shaw March 8, 1909.
While putting together timelines and mapping out Charlotte and Mont’s lives, something immediately stands out — Montral Shaw and his family were from Clermont County, Ohio which is clear down at the bottom of the state, as opposed to Charlotte’s stomping ground in Cuyohoga County, which is at the top. How on earth did these two people, from such distance challenged places, meet. Thankfully, because I do research on siblings and not just my direct lines, the answer to the question became clear. Charlotte’s brother Herbert attended Denison School, which is located in Licking County, as did Mont and even Mont’s sister Viola Shaw, all at about the same time (1900-1904ish).
So it is quite possible that Herb and Mont met at Denison and became friends. Maybe Mont came home with Herbert for a visit during a holiday or break, saw Charlotte, and ‘POW’ it was love at first sight! (Although they wouldn’t be married until a few years later.)
So now these two young newlyweds began to make a life together. And a year later, in May of 1910, Charlotte and her husband are found renting a farm in Jackson County, Ohio. Mont was supporting his wife as a fruit farm orchidist, while Charlotte was learning how to manage her new home. She was also preparing herself for the birth of their first child, Evelyn, who would be born in three months time. She must have been nervous, excited, and also anxious because her mother was very far away, and this would be a time that a daughter would want her mother around. Maybe her mother took a trip down to Lick Township, around the time Charlotte was due, to help her first grandchild come into the world.
Charlotte with her son John. Montral[?] is standing in the shed/barn. This picture was taken about 1913/1914.
After living in Jackson County for only a few years, they packed up their household goods and moved up north to Huntsburg Township in Geauga County where we find them by 1913, according to the birth of their second child John. Here they bought a farm which they owned until December of 1920 at which time they sold the farm and moved to Texas.
Above are the deeds for both when they bought 60 acres of property in Jackson County in 1915, and when they sold the same property in 1920 in preparation to moving to Texas.
When the railroad line was introduced in Cameron County, Texas a large land boom began taking place. (This is about as far south as you can get in Texas, without being in Mexico or the ocean). Agents from the area went out hawking all the great land deals to farmers in the midwest in order to bring new blood, and white people, into the area. There were even special trains being used to bring these new land owners to town. It sounds like Montral’s brother Norman heard about this great deal, proceeded to buy land, sight unseen, then convinced his brother and Charlotte to pack up their household belongings, and now five children, and come with him.
Here is the story as told by my grandmother Lois, who was only 9 months old when they made this trip:
It was December of 1920 – I was 9 months old, the farm had been sold and a new overland touring car purchased. It was loaded with the five children Evelyn 10, John 11, Margaret 6, Gertrude 4, and me 9 mo., Mom and Pop and the basic necessities of travel for a trip to the Rio Grand Valley in southern Texas.
Now in 1920, traveling more than 2000 miles over the highways of the day was not an adventure for the timid. My knowledge of the trip is strictly from the recounts in bits and pieces heard as I grew up. Pop loved to tell the tale with pleasure in the memories, while Mom sarcastically set him straight with the details of the discomfort and misadventures. She always hated Texas!
The reason for this safari was to farm a piece of land in the Rio Grand near Mercedes, Texas which Pop’s brother, Uncle Norman had bought sight unseen.
On the trip down I was awarded the top seat in the Overland a laundry basket made into a bassinet. I’m sure I was held on laps too, but I wonder if the trip created my fear in cars that lasted thru many years of travel all over as an air force wife. They called me a back seat driver when I was 4 & 5 years old. There were floods in Arkansas on the way down and Pop stripped the gears on the Overland and Mom and us children were put on a train for Little Rock, where Pop rejoined us after repairs were made.
Why Uncle Norman, an intelligent person I had always assumed, would buy land sight unseen and then let his younger brother make such a trip, I’ll never know.1
When the family arrived in Mercedes they found the land Uncle Norman had purchased had no water available – so they rented some land that did. It raised great truck crops but seems they couldn’t sell much as they couldn’t ship it north for some reason. The second year they were able with the other farms in the area to send a shipment of tomatoes north, 2000 bushels. A neighbor went with the shipment and evidently skipped with the money.”
Things did not work out as planned. Two years later they moved back to Ohio, leaving everything behind to be shipped. Pop sent money for shipping, but their things were never sent. Winter was coming on, and they had no winter clothes. John H and Evelyn [the two eldest children] lived with John and Sally Shaw in New Richmond for about two years (1922-1923) Pop and Mom moved to Westerville Jersey Farm in 1923 and the family was reunited.
Life in Texas was very unpleasant for Charlotte, especially when she developed malaria. So she would have been very relieved to be heading back to Ohio in 1922, where the weather was milder and the scorpions and malaria were non-existent.
By 1923 the family is back in Ohio, reunited, and living in Westerville, Delaware County (see Ohio map above), trying to get themselves back on their feet. Charlotte was also pregnant with their sixth child.
Nancy Jean was born 5 Feb 1924, but sadly she didn’t live long past her 1st birthday, as she died on the 21st of Mar in 1925. She was the only child of Charlotte’s who died young. They had one last child, Mary Ellen, who was born when Charlotte was 43 years old.
Charlotte was the practical one in their marriage. Like most domestic goddesses, she did the majority of the work: raising the children, taking care of their home, feeding everyone, doing all the laundry, managing, etc. Most of her life the cooking was done on a stove that was heated using wood and coal. Laundry was done in a tub with a washboard.
And while the life was hard and sometimes exhausting, Charlotte always let her children know that she actually enjoyed living on the farm much better than in a city.
Lois — “She liked to bake – always seemed to have cookies on hand – and made ice cream in refrigerator, which tasted like heaven to us kids. She passed on her mint-making skills to her granddaughter and namesake. Charlotte!”
Lois remembering her parents:
Pop seemed always the optimist, living from his dreams perhaps as much as his labors. A mischievous eye, finding joy in so much of life, loving to tell stories of people and events which we heard over and over but didn’t mind as he greatly enjoyed the telling. Mom, the realist, was more pesimistic she had to deal with the numerous tasks of each day, ending in weariness, I’m sure.
When we girls would be dressed up for some occasion he would say “you look very nice, but you will never be as pretty as your Mother”. This never hurt our feelings as by then Mom had gained quite a bit of weight and as we had little money she had no fancy clothes. I’m sure it boosted her ego a little. And she was very pretty before she became so tired and worn. Later when she could afford to go to the hair dresser she looked much prettier and had nicer clothes. She came from a city family and though not rich they had two “hired girls” in those days.
According to their daughter Lois, Charlotte and Mont made another move in 1947. The move kept them in the same county, but their address was now in Powell.
Early in 1947 they bought the farm at Powell, Ohio, in partnership with John and Bertha Shaw. There was a big apple orchard, and many a fall day was spent by the grandchildren in picking up apples for cider. Then the aunts, uncles and cousins would come to make applebutter. The children picked up apples, the women sat in the kitchen peeling, and the men “stirred” the applebutter, while drinking the cider (they had all the fun!)
Charlotte and Montral continued to live and work on their farm in Powell for many more years. Montral passed away in 1976 leaving everything including the farm to Charlotte. He was 90 when he died. Charlotte went on for another 8 years before she died in 1984 at the age of 95.
Her last letter to her daughter Lois was written August 14 of 1984 and talked about the mundane bits of everyday life, including the problems she was having with her current crochet project. Two weeks later she passed away. (I wonder if she was able to finish her afghan.)
Of Centerburg Charlotte H. Shaw Charlotte H. Shaw, 95, of Centerburg, died Aug. 31 at St. Ann’s Hospital.
She was a member of the Centerburg United Methodist Church.
Mrs. Shaw was preceded in death by her husband, Mont G. Shaw; two daughters, Evelyn Nevitt and Nancy Jean Shaw; a brother, Herbery Hatch; and a sister, Frances Herterprime.
She is survived by one son, John H. Shaw, Centerburg; four daughters, Mrs. Margaret Bevelhymer, and Mrs. Gertrude Van Tassell, Westerville; Mrs. Lois Shephard, West Bath, ME; and Mrs. Mary Ellen Adkins, Lucasville; 22 grandchildren, four step-grandchildren; 44 great grand-children; and seven great-great grandchildren.
The funeral service was Sept. 4 in Centerburg with Rev. Mac Kelly officiating. Burial was in Eastview Cemetery, Centerburg.
1 (Uncle Norman [Ewing Shaw] served as Secretary of the State of Ohio for several years under both Democrats and Republicans, he was a Democrat, He was killed in an auto accident in 1930 at 54 years of age. Rockhouse State park in Hocking County Ohio is dedicated to him for his conservation policies. Editor of Ohio Farmer Magazine.)
Theodosia (aka Theodocia) is believed to be the name of Clayton Webb’s mother. Her being named as one of the administrators of John Webb’s estate seems to give credence to this theory.
At a special court of the Common Pleas, June 8, 1805 — John WEBB deceased. Administrators Theodosia WEBB & William WELLS.
Theodosia and John Webb are believed to be the parents of Clayton, John, jr., and William Webb, and possibly others. (Her last name is given as Clevenger, because it is said to be Clayton’s middle name, I have no evidence of any such thing; doesn’t mean it isn’t true, I just have no evidence of it.)
Using the ages of their children, we can assume they were born in about the mid-1700s. We know when John, sr. died because of his probate record from 1805. The only death date I could ever find for Theodosia was after 1811, because in a will for their son William, who died in 1811, Theodosia was again named an administrator.
So, over all the years that people have been researching the Webb family, the only death date they could come up with for Theodosia was ‘after Oct something 1811.’
While I was researching Clayton Webb’s land records in Hamilton County, Ohio something in one of the documents caught my eye.
The above deed was dated 1821, and it clearly shows ‘Theodocia Webb‘ as one of the witnesses to this deed. In fact I saw her signature as a witness on three of Clayton’s deeds in this time period.
The main take-away from this document is that, obviously, Theodosia Webb was alive in 1821 when she witnessed these documents. Which means she died 1821 or later. Once again land records show their worth.
I am curious why am I the first to make note of this information, in all the years folks have been researching the Webb family? Because if they have, I have seen no evidence of it in online family trees.
I have always wondered if I was wasting my time researching what appeared to be already thoroughly researched surnames. But this just proves that even though others have researched, and even written books about a particular ancestor and their descendants, there can be something new to learn.
I don’t remember seeing much of my great Aunt and Uncle Ruth and Herman Shepard when I was growing up. But I do remember some of the stories my mother would tell about Herman and his barn storming days, and how Grandma Dick use to like telling Ruth all about Herman’s old girlfriends. (Dick was kind of mean that way.)
Herman and Ruth never had any children of their own, and since I know lots about where Herman came from and his growing up years, but little about Ruth, other than she didn’t want Herman flying anymore when they were married, I thought I would improve that lack. (I have to say, she must have been a saint to put up with her mother-in-law Dick.)
Ruth Mae Kring was born the 1st of March in 1908, the daughter of Lowell Athelston Kring and Tressa Belle Hults, in Ohio. She grew up with two brothers and one sister: Ralph M., Vaughn A., and Esther. The family lived in Mifflin, Franklin County, Ohio where in 1930 her father was working as a welder for the Oxiste Company, and her mother raised the kids, as was typical of the times. Ruth, by 1930, was working as a sales clerk in a local department store.
Ruth and Herman were married in 1934 in Franklin, Ohio.
Ruth’s father Lowell’s parents, Andrew Kring and Mary Alma Kramer, were of German descent.
Andrew’s parents were Conrad Kring and Catherine Siedner (nothing is known about Catherine’s family).
Conrad was an Evangelical Church minister, and apparently made up his mind, at 12 years of age, that a life of ministry was calling to him. This ministry led the family to move around from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Kansas, and finally back to Ohio where they made their final stop. Andrew grew up with 11 siblings.
Conrad’s parents were George and Magdalena Fry Kring, of Bedford County, Pennsylvania.
George Kring was the FIRST generation Kring born in the United States. He made a living as a shoemaker, a farmer and a minister (George would use his barn on the Sabbath to minister to the people living close to their farm). When he was young George spent much of his time making boots, harnesses, and shoes for George Washington’s army, and helping his father work on the farm. George hated working indoors, he wanted to be outside enjoying nature’s bounty.
George had a great urge to join the fight during the revolution as a drummer, his father discouraged his dreams, no doubt preferring his son home safe with the family. So home George stayed. George’s second wife was Magdalena Fye, of whom their son Conrad was born.
Magdalena Fye was born in Saxony, Germany. Her parents (whose names we do not know) came to American when she was a young child. The political strife going on in their homeland at the time was great incentive to move somewhere else and make a better life for themselves and their children.
The original Kring emigrant was Johan Jost Kring. He came to America with his brother. They were from Haigler, which is now in Western Germany. As teenagers, they left Germany to avoid service in the Thirty Years War and went to the Netherlands for several years before immigrating to Philadelphia on the ship Two Brothers. They arrived in America on July 21, 1751. They settled in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. John was also a cobbler.
I can not find much on Ruth’s mother’s side of the family, the Hults they are more elusive. It looks like Ruth’s great grandfather Henry Wells was born in England and came to America in 1850, when he was 15. He traveled on the ship Amazon with his mother, Sarah, and 6 siblings. Sarah was not with her husband (dead?), and never married after emigrating. She supported the family as a seamstress.
The Hults themselves appear to come from Illinois before moving to Ohio, where James W. Hults, Ruth’s grandfather was born. I do know that her maternal grandparents were James W. Hults and Cora Belle Wells. And a death record for James indicates that his parents were Milton Hults and Margaret Dempsey. (Dempsey is probably Irish.) One online tree indicates that the Hults line descends from the immigrant Benjamin Holsaert of the Netherlands born about 1675. There are no sources with this statement.
So, an admittedly cursory search into Ruth’s ancestral background. But it was a fun frolic up a different family tree.
We have lots of letters from Ruth and Herman that will be showing up in future posts, and I am looking forward to them giving more insight into Ruth and Herman’s lives.
Well-Bill will be gone to Washington State tomorrow – & Evelyn leaves tomorrow nite so I shall be all alone. And Bill had to check the beds & bedding back in today so we have one daybed for all of us tonite. Nice life —
Bill wants me to stay here as he can get back to see me at times & there is a chance that he will be sent back to Pendleton Field in a month or two. Here is a proposition — Would you like to come out the last of May & stay until things are decided. Then if I decide to come back to Ohio you can help me with the children which would be one h– of a job alone. Bill is still trying for flight training –
it will be either that or overseas — and you will want to see him before he goes.
I am going to try to get a second hand bed next week to do me. The kids are having a good time with their Easter basket this A.M. And bill hasn’t had a day at home yet. We went to a formal dance at the Officer’s Club last nite & had a very good time. I initiated the skirt & it held its own with all the other formals & I had one Tom Collins a& after one fast rhumba it started its effects but I managed to conrol myself. I only wish Bill could stay for it would be so much fun to go all the places with him. We have got to go a little in spite of this dam army– One day Bill will come home & pack to go somewhere
& then come back & unpack.–It keeps you guessing till you don’t care whether it happens or not.
Well Sue must have her bath so please write & let me know if you will come or not. Bill wants you to & he wants me to stay for a couple of months at least. I might have gotten ready & come back with Evelyn but we now know what might happen.
Stephen Goble and his first wife Elizabeth had, according to online trees, seven children. Sadly only one, a son, lived to adulthood and had a family of his own, Stephen Porter Goble, who was born in 1832. When Stephen senior died in 1889 his will left all his property to his 5 daughters (whom he had with his second wife Alice), clearly indicating that none of his son Stephen’s heirs were to receive a farthing:
Item 2nd — It is now considered by me that my deceased son Stephen P. Goble, having in his lifetime received his full share and proportion of my estate and assets, It is my wish and will that his heirs viz; the heirs of the said Stephen Goble, deceased, shall not inherit or have any part or portion whatever of my said estate, or of any estate or assets of which I may die seized.1
As one can see in the reading of the will, there was actually nothing nefarious going on, Stephen had already given Stephen Porter his share of the estate, probably when he had married. The fact that Stephen Porter’s heirs are mentioned instead of Stephen Porter himself also clearly indicates that his son had died previous to 1889, so of course I was curious as to why he had died before his father. The possibility of it having happened during the civil war was pretty high as he was of an age to have enlisted.
I found one online tree that had this to say regarding his passing: ‘met his death in 1866, by a shot fired from the gun of a trespasser.’…and that was it. All I could think was – ‘Seriously, that’s all you wrote? Weren’t you curious about the details?’ But this did give me a clue that he probably wasn’t killed in the war. The Goble family website has the following entry for Stephen Porter:
“Stephen Porter Goble died May 30, 1866. He and a farm hand were going through his farm on the lane when they saw a stranger walking through the wheat field. This would cause the wheat to be mashed down so that it could not be harvested. They called to the stranger who turned and shot Stephen P. Goble. The farm hand took Stephen on the farm sled to the house and a doctor was sent for. Stephen P. Goble died, leaving a wife, Frances S. (Ashburn) Goble, and three young children and a farm.”
The above story being shared by a descendant of Stephen Porter had been passed down for several generations through the family. However, thanks to the good old internet, and those great folks who are digitizing newspapers as fast as they can, here is the story as found in a Minnesota newspaper just days after the event3:
At this time, I can find no record of the perpetrator of the crime having ever been caught.
This event is an interesting and excellent example of how family stories change over the years, where the basics of the story turn out to be mostly true, but the details get all muddied up at each telling.
The murder of his son and the loss of 6 children with his first wife, were not the only devastating things to happen to the family. I caught this horrible bit of news in an 1885 paper:
The house of Stephen Goble, near New Richmond, O., was destroyed by fire.4
Who knows what precious heirlooms were lost to the family. Thankfully no lives were. So, we can be relieved that this wasn’t a Goble doing the murdering, but a Goble getting murdered. Although I am sure Stephen Porter would have preferred to have not been the subject of this gruesome post.
Will probated April 10, 1889, Wills of Clermont County, Ohio, 1800-1915, Book P, p. 512-517 [image on FHL digital images of these wills is 303-305 of 669].
Told to Jean E. (Coddington) Bogart by her mother Marguerite (Frey) Coddington and her Aunt Dorothy E. (Frey) Lanter. Goble family website
A Horrible murder…, Taylors Falls Reporter, June 2, 1866, page 23, col. 4; Stillwater, Minnesota weekly.
The introduction of steamboats on the Ohio River in 1811 revolutionized river travel during the first half of the nineteenth century in America, and by the 1820s the Ohio was bustling with more boats than you could shake a stick at. Early travelers using the river for transportation spent much more time and energy getting from place to place because they had to power the boats themselves. This technology made travel on the water faster and more efficient. The only drawback was the steamboat’s tendency to explode, but this drawback was more than made up for with the speed they could achieve to meet tighter schedules, traveling against the current, and by being able to take more passengers and higher value cargo upstream.
Although most of the earlier steamboats came from Pittsburgh or Wheeling, it wasn’t long before Cincinnati also emerged as a significant player in the industry. “Cincinnati shipyards launched twenty-five steamboats between 1811 and 1825, and the number only increased after that period. The industry and the transportation system that it developed helped Cincinnati to become one of the most important cities in the West prior to the Civil War.”1
One of those early pioneers of this revolution in river travel was my 3x great Grandfather Stephen Goble, Sr.. Stephen was born in 1804 in Clermont County, Ohio the son of William Goble and Ruth Beck. He was named after his paternal grandfather. The lure of the Ohio River called to him, and one can easily imagine the appeal to a young man of the early 1800s, watching the hustle and bustle of the steamboats traveling up and down the Ohio at all hours of the night and day, with many heading to St. Louis and New Orleans. It must have been quite a sight to see.
The thrill of adventure was so alluring to Stephen, that at the age of 15 he had left his family in Bethany and eventually ended up working on the steamboats running the river. By 1826, at about the age of 22, he had become an engineer on the first two lever engine boat that started in Cincinnati, the Wm. Tell.3 I found the following wonderful news articles in the Ohio papers. They give us a hint of his early adventures.
River News, Daily Port Register. Arrivals. Personal. Several weeks ago we noticed the death of Capt. Embree,…Capt. Embree was one of the earlierst steamboat captains in the west…In the year 1828 he built a boat at New Richmond, Ohio, on which such venerable steamboatmen as Captain John Conner, Robert Davis, and engineers James Temper and Stephen Goble, Sr. each served terms as youthful engineers.4
Shipping News: Miscellaneous — Stephen Goble probably the oldest river engineer living, was here Thursday. He was on the Wm. Penn[Tell], the first two lever engine boat that started from Cincinnati, and also on the Marion the second of the same class. He is now 84 years old, hale, hearty and in possession of every faculty. He lives up the river near New Richmond, and made the trip on the Bonanza as the guest of his old frine Mac Ketchum. He was greatly interested in the changes that have occurred since his day.3
River Intelligence: Personal. Stephen Goble, an old time engineer, was on the Wm. Penn, the first two lever engine boat, that started out from Cincinnati and also on the Marion, the second of the same class. He is now eighty-four years old, hale and hearty and in possession of every faculty. He lives up the river near New Richmond.5
River Intelligence: Personal. A correspondent at New Richmond writes us that the item in the Gazette a few days ago in regard to Stephen Goble was not altogether correct, he being in his seventy-eighth year. The Wm. Tell was the first steamboat he went out on as engineer from Cincinnati, in the year 1826.6
We don’t know exactly how long Stephen worked on the river as an engineer although one paper reporting his death indicated that he was involved with the river for over 40 years and other sources say until he retired, which could be at any time.7In the 1840 census he is listed as being engaged in agriculture, so he was probably involved with both occupations during his lifetime. He was now an adult and had settled down with his first wife with whom he had married in 1824, Elizabeth Brown. His second wife was Alice Brown (sister of Elizabeth), our ancestress, whom he married in 1841. She was about 14 years younger than him. Together they had five daughters of whom Sallie is my gg grandmother, and one son.
Goble—March 24, Stephen Goble, at New Richmond, O, aged 85 years.8
It is a pity that we can’t go back in time and relive Stephen’s river adventures with him. It must have been a thrilling time.
Wednesday, March 27, 1889; Evansville Courier and Press (Evansville, Indiana), page 3, col. 6. The article indicates that he was involved with the river for over 40 years, but I do not know how accurate the information is because they also state he left a widow. Alice had died a few years earlier. It is possible that he both farmed and still was involved with the river over the years.