Randy Seaver in his blog, Genea-Musings suggested that we look at where our ancestors were 100 years ago. I thought I’d take a stab at it more from a location perspective. In October 1917, my ancestors were in Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota. Just “I” and “M” states. My paternal side are the “I” states; the Roberts were in Illinois and the Scotts were in Indiana. My maternal side are the “M” states; the Browns were in Minnesota and the Montrans (Barbers) were in Michigan, except for my grandmother, Madonna (Donna) who lived in Massachusetts for a short time.
My paternal grandfather, Bert Allen Roberts, was 14 years old. His father had died in 1908 and he was living with his mother, step-father, brother and two sisters. It isn’t clear if they were living in Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana (1910) or in Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois (1920), but I think they were still in Indiana.
Bert’s 71-year-old grandmother, Patience Ann (Marshall) (Dean) Roberts was living in Sesser, Barren Township, Franklin County, Illinois.
Bert’s 34-year-old mother, Clora Dell (Scott) (Roberts) Adams was married to Hosea Adams. It is unclear if they were still in Turman, Sullivan, Indiana, or if they had relocated to Hutsonville, Crawford County, Illinois in 1917.
Clora’s father, Samuel Vaden Scott, had remarried Lavina Allmend after the death of Amanda Jane Haley. The 57-year old was living in Goode Township, Franklin County, Illinois.
My paternal grandmother, Essie Pansy Barnes, was 14 years old. She was living on the farm near Turman, Sullivan County, Indiana.
Essie’s father, Joel Clinton Barnes, was 60 years old and living on a farm near Graysville, Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.
Essie’s mother, Marada A. (Lister) Barnes, was 50 years old and living with Joen on the farm near Graysville, Turman Township, Sullivan County, Indiana.
My maternal grandfather, Clifford D Brown, later known as Richard Earl Durand and even later as Richard Earl Brown, (Grandpa Dick) was also 14 years-old. He lived with his family in Backus, Cass County, Minnesota.
Clifford/Richard’s father, Arthur Durwood Brown, was 48-years-old and living in Backus, Cass County, Minnesota.
Clifford/Richard’s mother, Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown, was 39-years-old and living with her husband, Arthur, in Backus.
My maternal grandmother, Madonna Mae Montran, (later known as Donna) was married to Thomas Valentine Rooney (her second marriage). (It does not appear that she ever took his surname.) They were probably living in Wrentham, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, although they may have located to New York City about that time. Madonna’s father died before 1900 and I have been unsuccessful in determining his parents.
Madonna’s (Donna’s) mother, Ida Mae (Barber) (Montran) (Fisher) (Holdsworth) Knight was living with her 4th husband, Harvey Knight in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan.
Ida’s mother, Sarah H (Blackhurst) Barber was also living in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan. Her husband, Frank Barber, died earlier in 1917.
Thirteen of my direct ancestors were alive in September 1917. That is all four of my grandparents, six of my great-grandparents, and three of my 14 known great-great-grandparents.
Based upon their locations in 1917, I can say my father’s line came from Illinois and Indiana and my mother’s line came from Michigan and Minnesota. I have abirthplace chart that shows where my ancestors were born that tells a somewhat different story. Grandpa Dick was born in North Dakota but was in Minnesota in 1917. Similarly, my great-grandmother, Mary (Manning) Brown, was born in Kentucky but was in Minnesota in 1917.
My life locations provide some of greatest location distances of anyone I know. I was born in Portland, Oregon; I hail from Minnesota, having lived there during most of my youth and over 35 years total. Over the years, I have lived in Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Montana, California, Virginia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Georgia, and Maine. Now, I live about 3,200 miles away from my birth location of Portland, Oregon, in Portland, Maine.
Handy Genealogy Handbooks – “All You Need to Find Genealogy Resources FAST!”
James Robert Mannin (1867-1937) – Second Great Grand Uncle
I don’t know much about my second great grandfather John William Manning. I thought I might learn more by researching his son, my great grandmother’s (Mary Elizabeth Manning Brown) half brother James Robert Manning. I had many questions about “Bobby” as ‘grandma Brown called him. My great-aunt Delores wrote to me in 2005 regarding “uncle Bob” and mentioned he had moved to Washington State with his wife Martha. Uncle Bob had two sons, Grant & Herbert that she knew.[i]
Holding Township is Northwest of Saint Cloud
Saint Anna is in Avon Township just south of
Holding Township. Source: Google Maps
I had seen him in a couple censuses so I knew something of him and his life, but not too much. The earliest place I find a record for him is in the 1885 Minnesota Census[ii]. It shows him, along with is sisters Mary and (Phebe) Jane living near Saint Anna in Holding Township, Stearns County, Minnesota with their grandparents, Enoch and Menorvi (Minerva) Mannan (Mannin).
The 1895 Minnesota Census shows Enock (Enoch) and Minerva Mannin living in Township 134, Cass County, Minnesota. Living with them are Robert, his wife, and their two oldest children, Pearly and Earnest R Mannin[iii]. Neither the 1885 nor the 1895 Minnesota censuses provide relationship information. That is probably why many people associate Robert as being the child of Enoch and Minerva when Robert would be their grandson. That Robert is not Minerva’s child is evidenced by the 1900 Census that indicates Minerva’s had nine children, five of whom were still living[iv]. Her children would have included:
John William – Died in 1888. Isaac Wilson – Living
in 1900.Nancy Ann – Living in
1900.Meredith – Unknown – Presumed dead (No reverences to him
after 1870 Census) Sarah Jane – Living
in 1900.Mary Ermaline –
Living in 1900.Gresella – Died in 1897 Prudence – Living in
1900.Charlie – Unknown – Presumed dead (No references to him
after the Civil War).
By my logic, Robert could not have been one of Minerva and Enoch’s children. Therefore, there must be an error in the Family Search trees for Robert.
1900 – Had Robert and family still been living with Enoch and Minerva in 1900, the relationship would have been clearly identified. However, in 1900, Robert shows up as James R Mannin living as a farmer in Township 135, Cass County, Minnesota with is wife, Martha, and children. In 1900, Martha had had four children all of whom were living. They were:
Pearlie Mannin Daughter Born: Mar 1892.
Ernest R Mannin Son Born: Nov 1894
Minnie Mannin Daughter Born: Jul 1897
Nora M Mannin Daughter Born: March 1899
It is important to note that the wife and two eldest children have the same names and respective ages as in the 1895 Minnesota Census. This evidence helps establish that Robert Mannin was known as James R Mannin in 1900. We will also see that Robert James Mannin and James Robert Mannin, and parts thereof are used interchangeably throughout the years. In addition, Mannin and Manning are used interchangeably.
The 1905 Minnesota Census shows James R Mannin still in May Township, Cass County, Minnesota. He had been in the state for 21 years and in the enumeration district for 6 months. With him are is wife Martha and six children:[v]
Pearle age 13
Ernest R age 10
Minnie age 7
Nora M age 5
Clara age 4
Herbert age 1
The 1910 Census finds Robert J Mannin living in May Township, Cass County, Minnesota. Living with him are his wife and six children. It is interesting to note that Ernest R is E. Raymond in this census.[vi].
The 1920 Census find James Mannin with his wife Martha, his son Herbert, and another son, Frank (aged 7) still living in May Township. Also living with them is their daughter Nora, her husband Elde Wagner, and their son Arthur[vii].
James Mannin, Head, Owns Mortgaged, M, W, 53, M, Read, Write, Born Kentucky, Farmer, General Farm, Own Account
Martha Mannin, Wife, F, W, 49, M, read, write, Kentucky,
Herbert Mannin, Son, M, W, 15, S, attended school, Minnesota
Frank Mannin, Son, M, W, 7 4/12, S, Attended school, Minnesota
Elde Wagner, Son Law, M, W, 26, M, read, write, Minnesota, both parents Wisconsin, Farm Laborer, Working Out for wage.
Nora Wagner, Daughter, F, W, 20, M, read write, Minnesota,
Arthur Wagner, Grandson, M, W, 1-9/12, Minnesota
1930 – Sometime between 1920 and 1930, James Robert Mannin and family moved to Yakama, Washington where they are found in the 1930 Census[viii]. With James Robert are his wife Martha and his youngest son, 17 year-old Grant. I believe that Frank and Grant are the same child; however, I am unable to confirm/validate that assertion so far.
Then on Rootsweb I was able to find “Davis Family of England, Ohio & Minnesota & McGuire family of Virginia, Kentucky & Minnesota[ix]” which included James Robert Mannin and his pedigree. It says he died on 22 Dec 1937 in Yakima, Washington. It provided his mother’s name of Evelyn Brynard and his wife’s maiden name as Martha Jane McGuire. I don’t accept these as new facts, yet; however, I do accept them as clues for further research.
Open a discussion on Family Search to move Robert under John William and make him a grandson to Enoch, not a son.
Continue researching James Robert Mannin’s parentage (particularly sources for his mother Evelyn Brynard)
Research James Robert Mannin’s wife, Martha Jane McGuire.
[iv] 1900 Census (National Archives and Records Administration), Ancestry.com, 1900 Census; Minnesota, Cass, Township 134, District 0048 Sheet 5.
[v] 1905 Minnesota State Census, Family Search, James R Mannin, May township, Cass, Minnesota; citing p. 1, line 17, State Library and Records Service, St.Paul; FHL microfilm 928,772. : accessed 20 November 2015). https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SPSF-L9Q.
[vi] 1910 Census (NARA), Ancestry.com, Year: 1910; Census Place: May, Cass, Minnesota; Roll: T624_693; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 1374706. Record for Robert J Mannin.
[My first cousin, once removed, Sharon Marie (Larson) Huffman, recently passed away. Among her documents was one where she wrote of some of her memories regarding her grandparents, my great-grandparents Arthur Durwood and Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown. Many thanks to Tim and Julia for providing me a copy of Sharon’s memories and giving permission for me to present them here. I have done minimal editing of her writing.]
Grandpa Arthur and Grandma Mary Brown
My grandfather Arthur Brown was a young farmer in the hills of Sylvan Township, near Brainerd, Minnesota. He was born in 1868 and died in 1928. If I understand correctly, he was born in Lansing, Michigan. At the age of 21, he married Mary Elizabeth Manning. She was 14 years old. Together they had 12 children, two of which died in infancy.
Arthur Durrwood and
Mary Elizabeth (Manning) Brown
Grandpa died at the age of 60. Mom thinks that he had Cancer, but that they didn’t call it cancer in those days. She was only ten years old. We were never to know this grandfather.
Grandma Brown was born in Kentucky around 1876. Giving birth to 12 children back in those days left her with a lot of hard work. She was quite a woman. I have the most respect for her memory. I loved her so very much. This grandma became one of my very best friends.
My earliest memories of her are of her visiting us while we lived in Brainerd. But it was after we moved to Motley and I was a teenager that I truly came to appreciate her presence in my life.
Many times she would sit us down and tell us of her earlier years. She worked very hard to raise her family often. I don’t think it was easy. There were six boys, and four girls. She didn’t have modern conveniences and I’m sure there must have been tons of laundry, meals to cook, vegetables to raise, chickens to feed, and all kinds of other chores. Medical crisis were often handled by herself, as doctors were not as accessible as they are today. She told of her baby dying in her arms, scarlet fever among the children, and one son falling against the stove and injuring himself badly. Sons gone to war, coming home with Malaria, losing her wonderful husband at such a young age and her home to fire while she was with him as he was dying. She also told of bankers coming to try to foreclose on her land and people trying to take her children. She stood firm, shotgun in hand.
Grandma helped deliver babies back then and I think was present at the time of my birth in the house across the street from her own where my Aunt Nettie and Uncle Earl lived. This was in 1940.
Grandma had a little house of three rooms when I first remember going to her house. My Uncle Dick lived with her. He was still suffering the effects of Malaria and had a hard time getting around without a cane and sometimes two. She cared for him daily. She had a bedroom, kitchen, and living room. At one side of the living room was the bed and dresser for my uncle. They had no inside bathroom at that time and it was only a short time before I left Minnesota in 1973 that they had a toilet installed at one end of her bedroom. It was a crowded little house, and yet there was always room for company. It was also around that time that they changed the “pitcher” pump for a pressure pump. I don’t remember her ever having a hot water heater.
Grandma Brown & Uncle Dick Brown
Grandma and Uncle Dick raised a large vegetable garden every year. There wasn’t a weed in it. I’d see her out with the hand pushed cultivator cleaning the rows between the veggies. Most nights you could also hear the water being pumped through the garden hose to water the garden, after the pressure pump came into being. Then when harvest time would come she would can the vegetables, pickle most everything that could be pickled, and make jellies, relishes, chow chow, and also can fruits that they had picked and some they bought at the store. All of these things, plus potatoes, onions, squash, and melons, were stored in the little cellar under the kitchen. When he could, Uncle Dick would catch lots of fish, hunt deer, and raise chickens so they would have meat to add to their diet. My favorite Christmas gift from her would be a pint jar of wild plum butter.
Flowers were also a joy in her life. She would make little flowerbeds in the sand and coax many kinds of flowers into life. She took great pride in raising beautiful gladiolas, dahlias, pinks, pansies, and others. What a special day when you were presented with one of her prize flowers as a gift.
For many years, Grandma would bake her own bread. Her fingers were gnarled and sore from Arthritis, but she kneaded the bread dough anyway. I t was a great treat to have Grandma’s home made bread toasted with peanut butter on it. I t was only later in her life that I would encourage her to buy bread from the store so her hands wouldn’t hurt so badly.
Grandma always saw too it that we had something to eat if we went to her house. There were times when we came home from school at noon and there would be no lunch – No one home. We would go over to her house and she would fix us something and send us back to school. There were times when Mom would go to her for something to feed us kids. I regret the times when she would send something over in her canning jars, and we would not wash it but just put it out behind the house. Then she would have to come and get them and wash them up to save for next falls canning season.
Another thing my grandma did was make hand made quilts. She had a treadle sewing machine and did a lot of the stitching by hand. She made use of many old clothes. Instead of just throwing them away, she would put them in a quilt. I t was quite often that you would see a piece of your old dress in one of grandma’s quilts.
She would become upset when we would take them out in the yard and sun bathe. Not only because we were getting the quilts dirty, but that we were “half naked” in our bathing suits. How I wish I had one of them now. It would never be used outside on the grass. It is because of her being a Christian that I am today. She led us to Sunday school and taught us from the Bible. She not only talked being a Christian, but she lived what she talked. I have never met a person so trustworthy in my whole life. You could tell her something and it never went any further. She didn’t gossip at all. She would never take anything that didn’t belong to her either. When Mom lived in Mound, Minnesota, she would come to visit Grandma on the weekends. She would bring food to be used while there and occasionally there would be some left over. I t took a lot of talking for me to convince her that Mom wanted her to use up what was left over so it didn’t go to waste. She would say, “That belongs to your mother.”
The strength she had never ceased to amaze me. One time she had a headache and was laying on the couch. She took some liniment and was rubbing it on her forehead. Some ran down into her eye and started burning. Quietly she got up and went to the sink to wash it out. Never a peep out of her. We finally realized what had happened and helped her wash it out of her eye.
Not being able, as a young lady, to go to school she wasn’t well educated. She would send us to the store with her “shopping bag” and a “list” of things she needed. We would always chuckle as we tried to figure out what she needed. She wrote things as they sounded to her and that would sometimes be bred, mlk, egs, serel, and other staples. I n spite of not being educated she was a member of the Woman’s Relief Corp, the Assembly of God Church, and other organizations. She read her Bible as best she could, memorizing many verses and chapters.
She truly loved each one of us kids. She became our source of comfort and security. She was always there for us. As I became older and would bring my own children to visit her, I acquired many memories. We would prepare a meal and then I would help her with the dishes. She would hold the dishpan in her lap and wash and I would dry and put away. The heat from the dishpan helped ease the pain in her legs and the hot water helped with her hands. After we would get everything put away, she and I would sit with a cup of tea and visit. How I loved those times of fellowship with her.
Grandma also loved my children very much. I t would tickle me when she would call my son Forrest so many different names trying to say it right. Sometimes he was Forrester, Foster, Foister, and then she might get it right. When he was just a baby, she thought he had fingers long enough to be a piano player some day. Tim, she called “the investigator.” She knew him quite well as he grew up loving to take things apart. Renee, her “pretty little girl” and Todd was the baby.
We never went to Grandma’s that she didn’t want us to spend the night. She said she would make a bed on the floor for us. She didn’t want us to go home in the dark. That is one of the reasons that when my Uncle Dick said that we were coming too often, that it was too hard on grandma that it broke my heart. I don’t think she would have been happy knowing he had told me that. She loved having us come.
It was a sad day when we moved from Minnesota to Idaho and I had to say goodbye to my dear grandmother. I was visiting her and telling her how afraid I was to fly. I just knew that I would die in a plane crash. She reassured me, telling me I was going to be just fine She hugged me and told me she loved me, and that God did too and He would look out for me. I left her with a longing and sadness in my heart over leaving her behind. Years passed and we had moved to Alaska. She had moved from her little home to a nursing home. When I was able to come back to see her I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to see her again and feel her love. I t was not to be. My sister, Barbie, and I went to the nursing home and Barbie said to her, you remember Shari don’t you grandma? She said yes, and turned away from me, talking about Barbie picking a bouquet of flowers out of her Poinsettia plant. She was in another dimension. She didn’t know me anymore. It broke my heart.
I wasn’t able to come back for her funeral. She died on Mother’s Day in 1983. Gone to be with her heavenly father. The one she had served all of her life. Our loss was Heaven’s gain and I’m sure the angels welcomed her with open arms for she truly was one of them.
Mary Elizabeth and Arthur Durwood Brown
Children born to them were:
100 Years ago – Arthur Durwood Brown (1869-1928) & Mary
Elizabeth Manning (1876-1983)
Arthur Durwood & Mary Elizabeth Brown
One hundred years ago, Arthur Durwood Brown was renting a home with his wife, Mary Elizabeth Manning Brown in Merkel Township, Kidder County, North Dakota.
Their household contained six of their children; Victoria Cecelia, Cora Elsie, Clifford Durwood, Edward Lewis, Arthur Eugene, and the baby, Charles William, who had been born in July. Two of their boys, twenty-year-old Clyde Leroy and seventeen year old Clarence Arthur had already left home. Three of their children had already died. One child whose name is unknown was born and died before 1900. Two more children, Martin and Dorothy, died as infants from the measles sometime before 1910.
Location of land patent for 120 acres.
Arthur received a land patent for 120 acres N1/2-NW1/4 & SW1/4-NW1/4 – Section 34, Township 144 North Rang 72 West of the 5th Principal Meridian. The 45-year-old Arthur and his 38-year-old wife, Mary, must have been working that land. It is unclear if he was working someone else’s land as a “farm laborer” as well.
The big news of the day was that President Wilson was preparing to visit the Panama Canal. The Canal officially opened in August, however, Wilson was going to go by ship, the steamship New York to Colon and then shift to the Oregon to traverse the Canal. In addition, the twelve Federal Reserve Banks opened their doors. The Federal Reserve Banks would change the way America banks.
Wrigley’s was advertising its new, launched in 1914, Doublemint Gum, which had double the flavor and was double wrapped.
The International news of the day related mostly to the War. Blizzards were sweeping over Belgium and Northern France paralyzing the war effort there. Meanwhile, on the Eastern front, Cracow in Galicia (today Poland) was burning.
Mary’s parents both died when she was a child. Arthur’s parents had come to North Dakota in the 1880s but nothing is seen from them after 1885, so it is presumed they had died long before 1914.
Arthur’s siblings were:
Nettie May – Life and location unknown.
Charles D – Life unknown. Charles moved to Montana before 1891.
Mary – Life unknown. Mary had married a Clark and their location is unknown.
Almond (Ahmond) – Life unknown.
Clifford Gerome – Living in Tappen Township, Kidder County, North Dakota
William Henry – Life and location unknown.
Clyde Hewett – Died in a train accident.
Frederick – Dead – Unknown cause.
Ada –Ada married Benjamin Mayers (or Meyers) their life and location is unknown.
Edward Warberton was married to Dertha Merkel and lived in Merkel Township, Kidder County, North Dakota, USA.
Mary’s sister Phoebe Jane’s first husband Clyde Hewett Brown (Arthur’s brother) died and Phoebe had remarried. She and her new husband, William Richmond, lived in Sylvan Township, Cass County, Minnesota. Arthur and Mary would locate to Sylvan Township a few years later. Mary’s half brother’s (Robert Manning) location is unknown.
The Browns were Methodists and probably attended church in Robinson, about eight miles away. Likewise, the children most likely attended school there.
The 1910 Census indicates that nearby Arthur and Mary Brown lived the Merkels. I wonder if Merkel Township was named after John Merkel. John Merkel was the head of the household and had seven of his children living with him. One of those seven was Dertha whose husband, Edd Brown (Arthur’s youngest brother) was a “hired hand.” Also living with them were five of Edd and Dertha’s children making for a 15 person household.
Life was certainly tough out on the plains and with winter coming on preparations for the winter must have been completed.
In writing about Arthur and Mary’s life 100 years ago I realized how little I know about their siblings. Tracing their will be an important next step in understanding the life of Arthur & Mary.
daily tribune. (Bismarck, Dakota [N.D.]), 17 Nov. 1914. Chronicling America:
Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.
For many years, I have been hearing the stories that my 3rd Great Grandmother, Minerva Tolliver Manning was “Full-Blooded Cherokee.” I’ve never believed it and have written about the possibility of Minerva being Native American a few times before. Please see:
Ever being the skeptic, I considered that my grandmother had really gotten pregnant from a different man other than whom she said was the father. She was apparently estranged from her husband at the time of her pregnancy and anything is possible. (She never suggested that her husband was the father.) If the man she always said was the father actually was, then my mother’s half-sister will show the same genetic information on their X-chromosome.
My half-aunt was tested and sure enough, they are half sisters, which we expected. What is really cool is that for a person’s 22 chromosomes they are a mix of each of their parents, however, for the 23rd chromosome, the XX, a girl receives one X from their mother and one X from their father. The mother’s X is a blend of her parents but the father’s contribution is passed on with little to no change. That means that if two girls share the same father then one of the X chromosomes is identical between the two girls. My mother and my half-aunt share one X exactly, so we know, beyond any doubt, they share the same father.
% contribution atDNA
% cont. of X Chromosome
Mom & Half Aunt
John W. Manning
As you can see from
the above table, a person’s 2rd Great-Grandmother provides four
times the contribution to an X chromosome than to the normal atDNA
contribution. If Minerva was full-blooded Cherokee as family history says then,
alternating sex through generations, her 2nd great-granddaughters should
have about 25% Native American contribution. Not there. According the test results from 23 & Me,
their identical X-chromosome shows no Native American contributions.
What is very interesting is that although both my mom and my
aunt are over 99% European, there is a .2% Sub-Saharan contribution overall and
it is on the X chromosome. Looking at
only the shared X chromosome it appears to be between 4% and 6% of the X contribution.
That would be in keeping with a 4th or 5th Great-Grandparent’s
contribution. If Minerva were ¼ to 1/8th
Sub-Saharan African, she would have had about the right percentage to “pass” as Native
American. From the DNA evidence that
appears to me to be much more likely of a scenario than for Minerva to have
My Mom’s X results
My Aunt’s X results
As the saying goes, a mother knows her own children, but fathers can be a surprise. As such, I’m confident that Clifford/Dick was Mary’s child. I am also confident that Enoch and Minerva believed that Mary (and her sister Phoebe) were their granddaughters. Mary and Phoebe were orphaned and Enoch and Minerva raised them for a while.
Although reasonable and likely, there is always a possibility that someone else jumped into the mix. I know next to nothing about Mary’s parents, John William Manning and Eliza Jane Fannin. It is always possible that John William Manning wasn’t Mary’s father. Mary had a half brother, Robert, but we are not certain if he was John’s child or Eliza’s child who took on the surname of Manning. In either event, I don’t believe that line will provide much in the way of proof. Rather, Minerva had five daughters, Nancy Ann, Sarah Jane, Mary Ermaline, Grisella, and Prudence Manning. Their female descendants will have the mtDNA that would show Native American ancestry if Minerva were, in fact, Cherokee.
I’ll continue research for the descendants of Minerva and see if any of them are interested in testing, but as things sit currently, I am confident that Minerva was not Native American.