Thursday, June 23, 2016

Surnames of early settlers

Last week's blog shared the importance of preserving information descendants have about their ancestors so that future generations will not forget their past ancestry.  Often in writing my manuscript about Isaac B. Werner and his community, I have asked readers to look for old photographs.  This week I am urging readers of the blog to review the surnames I am sharing to see if family names appear.

Homesteads and Timber Claims, Albano, Stafford Co., KS

This map was copied by me from  Stafford County History, 1870-1990 and I do not know who to credit with making the original map.  It identifies those settlers who originally claimed homesteads and timber claims in Albano Township.  I copied it while doing research in order to enlarge it, and this copy is of my enlargement, which is still difficult to read because of labeling each of the 36 square mile sections in the township, all of which are subdivided.  The sections are numbered 1-36, beginning in the upper right and continuing in horizontal rows until concluding with #36 in the lower right corner.  Some of the divisions differ, with a larger or smaller claim.  The identification "TC" indicates a timber claim.

You will recognize some of the names from earlier blogs, for example Isaac H. "Doc" Dix has both a homestead and a timber claim in the north half of Section 31.  Isaac's two claims are in Section 33, his homestead in the lower-left corner and the timber claim that was assigned to his brother Henry in the upper-left corner.

Claims were limited to 160 acres, but you will notice that not all claims were in the corners of the sections.  For example, California Smith claimed 160 acres in the center of Section 21 and Mattie M. Beck and Peter A.N. Beck (no known relation) claimed rectangular properties in Section 18.  In addition, not all the claims were a full 160 acres.

To help you read the surnames, I will list them by section number:  #1 Pelton, Hunt, Frack, Wenzel; #2 Eddingfield, Long, Toland; #3 Smith, Williams, Webber; #4 Wasson, Neelands, Dunlap; #5 Neil, Bowling, Weeks, Clark; #6 McKibben, Mainline, Lynch; #7 Curtis, Smith, Goodwin, Markham, Martin; #8 Stambaugh, Shilt, Osgood, Curtis, Rex; #9 Neelands; #10 Cubbage, Neelands, Loftiss; #11 Frack, Pixley, Bowker, Bair; #12 Wenzel, Moody, Moore; #13 Cubbage, Davidson; #14 Tanner, Kackelman, Newton; #15 Toland, Loomis, Bedenhamer, Dilley, Stimatze; #16 Neelands, #17 Grunder, Hart, Frazee, Toland; #18 Beck, Rea, Hainline, James; #19 Smith, Skinner, Fox, Tousley; #20 Hall, Furman, Fitch, Rice; #21 Blanch, Rice, Smith, Stimatze; #22 Tobias, Frack, Carnahan; #23 Tanner, Davison, McHenry; #24 Davison, Hazelton, Goodman, Tompkins, Gibbs; #25 Bushell, Goodman; #26 Davison, Tobias, Cullison; #27 Stimatze, Campbell, Graff; #28 Shattuck, Frack, Henn; #29 Holbrook, Wasson, Vosburgh; #30 Webber, Rearick, Smith; #31 Dix, Fountain, Rogers; #32 Barker, Vosburgh, Rowe; #33 Werner, Ross, Bentley; #34 Mayes, Bonsall, Gareke, Shoop; #35 Young, Cullison, Smith, Tompkins, Dumen; #36 Reynolds, Jacobs.

You will notice as you read the surnames that I did not repeat the surname if the property extended into another section nor if more than one person with that surname made a claim.  You will also notice that many of the claimants were women.   For example, in Sections 24 and 25 you will see the surname of Gibbs, which indicates a claim by two unmarried sisters who occasionally visited Isaac to admire his trees or buy seed potatoes. Sometimes when families arrived they would each build separate residences, whether dugouts, soddies, or shanties, so that each member of the family could claim 160 acres.  This was especially true of siblings.  For example, Jerome M. Vosburgh and his wife claimed the southeast quarter of Section 29 and his unmarried sister Persis Vosburgh claimed the adjacent northeast quarter of Section 32.  Single women were entitled to claim their own homestead; however, when Jerome's wife died and Aunt Persis assisted her brother in caring for his children, some neighbors attempted to claim Persis' quarter, saying that she no longer maintained her own home on the land.  Isaac Werner and other neighbors supported the right of Persis to claim the property as a single woman and supported her contention that she did maintain her own home there.

I hope some of you with ancestors in this region will take time to study this drawing of Albano, Stafford Co., KS and consider whether you have stories or images to share with me.

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