Thursday, June 14, 2012

George H. Webster, Who’s Your Daddy? Part 2

Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

My last post covered a "time line" of sorts of Henry David and his brother John Wesley Webster, a tour of the 1860 to 1910 census.

Now, let's review Henry and John's obituaries and their family groups.


I have copies of Henry David’s obituary and John Wesley’s obituary.  There is no publication data on either.  I also have a short death notice/obituary on John, for which I do have the publication data.

Henry David’s obituary states he is survived by, three children, Mrs. J. T. Bowles of DeKalb Illinois; George Webster, Chicago; and E. H. Webster of “this city”.    I believe “this city” is in Lee County Illinois where I find E. H. (Ernest) living in the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census.  Henry is also survived by 7 grandchildren: Hazel, Persis and John Webster of Chicago; Marjorie Bowles, DeKalb and Clara, Charles and William Webster of “this city”.

John has two obituaries, one (the short version) claims he is the “fond father” of Mrs. Lettie Lashbrook of Minneapolis, Minn., Mrs. Carrie Bullock and Geo. H. Webster. The second obituary (the long chatty version) claims John has two adopted daughters.  One is clearly Mrs. Carrie Bullock, the other daughter’s name is MIA on my copy of this obituary, but states she lived in Minneapolis.  This second obituary states John is also survived by George H. Webster, of Chicago; Ernest Webster, of Dixon, Ill.; Frank Webster of Vesper, Kansas, who are nephews and a niece; Mrs. J. T. Bowles, of DeKalb, Ill.  I have identified all the players, err, nephews, except for Frank.  

(I have come to the realization in all this review and writing, and more review, that I originally misread this obituary.  I did not pick up on the verbiage about George H. being a nephew.  I had been told by family members that George was ‘adopted’ by John and Lorinda, as was Lettie or Letta Clifford Lashbrook. Upon typing and careful slow re-reading of this obituary several times, I now realize that this second obituary does not claim George H. is a son, or an adopted son, but rather a nephew, to which I say, BINGO!!)


From the diggin’ and searching and comparing and the burning of a few brain cells, these are the children and grandchildren for Henry David, and his wife Josephine.

1.)  Clara, born ca 1855-56, she marries John T. Bowles, and has a daughter Marjorie.

2.)  Ellen, born ca 1857, who dies young and is buried in Floyd County Iowa.

3.)  George, born ca 1861, who I believe marries twice, oh, ya, just to keep things interesting.  First he marries one Caroline Fluent, with whom he has 2 daughters, Lynne and Marion.  I know very little about them, and my source for what I do have is a web page with memories of a granddaughter of George and Caroline.  I believe that some of the memories are somewhat inaccurate, but, the basic story makes sense with all the other research I have done.  Some of the statements I have not been able to substantiate, and I believe that this granddaughter has slightly confused some of the actors in our little family play.  What I do know is that Caroline died in 1888 and is buried in Floyd County Iowa.

In 1893 I find a marriage record for a George H. Webster and Mrs. Ida M. Pabst, who I believe to be Ida M. Bemis (you surely remember that surname, it is Lorinda’s maiden name).  Census records, as well as marriage and death records and indexes provide us with 3 children for George and Ida, Hazel, Persis and John W. Webster.

There is a George H. Webster buried in Floyd County Iowa who died in 1938, I have several hints that lead me to believe this could be our George.  I have not been able to discover where he died.

4.)  Ernest H., mentioned in Henry’s obituary as son, according to the 1900 census has a wife, Anna and 3 children, Clara, Charles and William.

Children or adopted children of John Wesley and Lorinda Bemis Webster:

1.)  Letti Clifford, aka, Letta Clifford Lashbrook.  Referred to as adopted daughter, and our family tradition is that she was indeed adopted by John and Lorinda.

2.)  George H. Webster, who I believe to be one and the same as above, the natural born son of Henry D and wife Josephine.  Our family tradition had said George was also adopted by John and Lorinda and we do find him on the 1870 and 1880 census reports living in their household.

3.)  Carrie, who will marry William Bullock and have 3 children: Ellen, Letta Lillian and Carrie.  No family tradition or stories about Carrie have come down to us.


I have not included all the tidbits I have picked up the last few days in my research.  There are holes in this research.  Some information I would love to have that would help fill in the holes has not been found online, yet.  It may or may not ever be there.  I have some ideas for future research trips.  I need some obituaries for others in this clan, maybe they will help, maybe they will not, I would still like to have them.  I have found at least 2 family trees online at Ancestry that have some intriguing goodies, photos and the such.  I have not contacted the owners of said trees.  Those trees have a number of holes, where I have information.  I am thinking about that.


The challenge here was to see if I could discover TWO George H. Websters, born between 1859 and 1862 one living with Henry David Webster AND one living with John Wesley Webster on the same census.  So, were there two Georges for the 1870 and the 1880 census enumerations?  Short answer, not that I found.

Born about 1861, George is not found on the 1860 census with Henry and Josephine.  That said, the 1900 census claims he was born in October of 1859.  Yikes!

1870 George is enumerated with John Wesley and Lorinda Bemis Webster, as is Man's ancestor, Letta Clifford.

1880 George is enumerated with John Wesley and Lorinda Bemis Webster

1885 George is enumerated with his first wife, Carrie.

1900 George is enumerated in Chicago with wife Ida and three daughters, Minnie Webster (who I believe is Ida's daughter, age 13;  Hazel Webster, age 5; Persis Webster, age 2.

1910 George is enumerated in Chicago with wife Ida, Hazel (horribly misspelled on the index at Ancestry, but correctly at FamilySearch), Persis and son John W.  In 1910 George and Ida have 3 children, Hazel, Persis and John W. Webster.

1920, I cannot find George in this census, anywhere, but, Ida is still in Chicago and her son John W. is living with her.

1930, I have not found George on the 1930 census either, but, Ida is still in Chicago, this time her married daughter Hazel is living with her (as well as Hazel’s hubby and 2 of their children).

I have some suspicions about where George was during the 1920 and 1930 census.  My theory/suspicions come from that web page, that I mentioned earlier, the memories of a granddaughter.  She mentions that he traveled extensively in North and South America.  That could easily explain why I did not find him enumerated with his wife, Ida.  I can see tracing down that story could be quite interesting.


My tangent research has ended for the time being.  I will do some additional input and note making.  I may contact some of those other researchers.  At this point I feel reasonably comfortable with the lineage as I have outlined it.  Writing down all the findings, sorting through, has helped me organize all those census reports, marriage and death records.  I remembered what it is like to have 10 to 15 net tabs open at the same time, checking this data base and that.  It was a nice break from book projects.  I have some items to add to my to do list.

It has been fun, not sure you all are one bit interested, but, I have had an exhausting, exhilarating, and fun week.

I believe the wild idea/thought I had the other night about George H. being the son of Henry David Webster and the "adopted" son of John Wesley Webster is correct.

This photo has been seen before here at Reflections, on July 23, 2009 on a post titled, A photo brick wall, Clifford-Webster style.  At that time I suspected they were the Websters and Letty Clifford.  I believe that even more so now.  Therefore, I suggest the following identifications:   Seated:  Lorinda Bemis Webster and John Wesley Webster.  Standing, Letta Clifford and George H. Webster.

And, here, is the photo that was published in the long obituary of John Wesley Webster in 1913, publication data unknown.

So, George H. Webster, who is your daddy??  In my opinion at this point in the research process, both Henry David Webster and John Wesley Webster of course.  Brothers raising one son, family ties, ties that bind.

* And that is the lineage as I find it with the current research, the current status quo.  In the future, with additional research and information I may prove myself wrong.  Would not be the first time, nor will it be the last.


LindaRe said...

If only obituaries contained the facts, and nothing but the facts. Good job searching and I like the way you presented the information.

Joan said...

I love old obits with their colorful description, side notes, commentaries, but you are right --- re-reading is necessary --- also note taking helps.

Good post and series.