Monday, May 13, 2013


My brother and I just returned from a two-week excursion that included visits to some places associated with ancestors on our father's side of the family. My grandmother was a Whitney, Hettie Ann Whitney Skaggs (1877-1963), and we found her father's grave in the cemetery in Gentry, Arkansas. Edward L. Whitney (1846-1905), including information about his family, is described at a Whitney website:
Ed was claimed to be over seven feet tall. He always had to bend over to go through doors, and he would always sit down to have his picture taken. Nancy had grown up in Berlin, Wisconsin where her parents, Norman and Miriam Clarke were married. They were members of the Seventh Day Baptist church there. Her mother taught in an early pioneer school there. Her mother's parents, Jeremiah and Mercy Davis, had been early settlers in Berlin, moving first from Allegheny County, New York to Milton, Wisconsin in the early 1840's. They were charter members of the Berlin Seventh Day Baptist church in 1850.

Edward's address given on his marriage certificate (1876) was Plymouth, Iowa. The names of his parents, Ebenezar and Anna Whitney, are also given on the certificate.

Ed and Eve were married in Berlin (Green Lake County) Wisconsin in 1876, but moved to Iowa in 1878. They are listed there in the 1880 U.S. census. ....

1882 was apparently the year of the move to Dakota Territory. ...
Edward and his family moved back to Berlin, Wisconsin in 1890. .... Edward joined the Seventh Day Baptist church there by baptism, July 1892. His wife Nancy had been baptized and joined at age 16 (May 21, 1870); [with] their daughter Cora (baptized December 2, 1900) [they] were dismissed by letter to the Gentry, Arkansas, Seventh Day Baptist Church, November 9, 1901. (Hettie, their oldest daughter, was baptized & joined December 19, 1891, and Laura, second eldest daughter, October 27, 1894; both dismissed by letter to Milton, February 1902.)

They moved to Gentry, Arkansas in 1901. Edward died there in 1905. Eva married Martin Maxson in 1913. She died in 1917.
Not far from his grave was a Civil War memorial. I was curious about whether it would be Union or Confederate. It turned out to be a Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) memorial dedicated to those who had fought to preserve the Union. Whether Edward had served I have not yet discovered. So far, I am happy to report, I have found no evidence that any of my ancestors ever owned slaves and — although they lived in border states all of which were slave states — a good deal of evidence that they detested the institution.

We then traveled to Christian County, Missouri, to try to locate the grave of my grandfather, Rev. James Leroy Skaggs's father, Rev. Leroy Fouse Skaggs (1845-1930), described as being near Boaz, Missouri. GPS was no help (Boaz doesn't seem to exist in Garmin) but we received a lot of assistance in the city hall in Ozark. Several people there helped us locate the cemetery — the Frazier Cemetery near where Boaz is (or was — we never went through anyplace with that designation). Many Skaggs graves are there including that of Grandfather's brother Hannibal. And we found the grave of Leroy Fouse Skaggs about whom I've posted recently. It was in a section containing many family graves including a depressing number of unnamed "Infant Skaggs" gravestones, one after another.

Exploring these locations was a very good part of our thoroughly enjoyable travels.

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