Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Philips. Lots and lots of Philips.

A few weeks ago, I came in contact with a distant cousin, Philip Hodges. We share a great-great grandfather, David Philip Dean. I sent a short email laying out the history of the name "Philip" in our family. I realized I'd never written it up for this blog, so here it is:

The first known Philip in our direct ancestry was Johannes Philip Welsheimer. "Johannes" was his baptismal name. Normally, this name is not used except in legal and religious contexts. So, he would have been known as "Philip". Philip was born around 1730 in Berlin and immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1766. He was one of a surprisingly large number of "Pennsylvania Dutch" to enter that colony in the early to mid 1700's. This article discusses some of the legal and practical barriers that were put in place to ensure the new Germany-speaking settlers wouldn't change the essentially English character of the colony. Whatever his reasons for emigrating, he was dedicated to his new country and eventually served in the Revolutionary War as a gunsmith. 

His son, also named Philip, immigrated to the U.S. with his father. He was born in 1757 in Berlin, which made him 9 at the time of immigration. He may have been the only family member to come with Philip I, or he may have had a brother named Frederick. It's also possible that a wife or daughters were present but not considered important enough to record. Philip II was a stocking weaver. His original apprenticeship papers have been preserved. They were drawn up between his father and a stocking maker named Adam Edleman in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1770. The name Edleman suggests that the Welsheimers were part of the German-American community in Pennsylvania and may have preferred to make important deals, like apprenticeships, with fellow Germans. Philip II eventually married a woman named Catherine Hull whose ancestry I have not been able to trace but may have been a member of the Hull/Holl family, a Germany Dutch family involved in cloth manufacturing. Regardless of his feelings about his fellow Germany immigrants, he, too, served in the Revolutionary War, in the 3rd Battalion of the York County Militia. 

Philip II was quite successful and bought a good deal of land in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia. In July of 1811, he left home in Cumberland township, Pennsylvania, to walk to the coast where he planned to find a ship headed back to Germany. He wished to buy high-quality looms there that he could not purchase in the United States. However, he died of (apparently) natural causes en route to the ship. His body was found weeks later on the road. 

Philip Welsheimer III was the son of the stocking weaver. He was born in 1791 in what is now West Virginia. He grew up there, was a successful farmer, and married Catharine Duley. Their family Bible was the subject of a previous post on this blog. He moved his family from West Virginia/West Pennsylvania to South Salem, Ohio in the 1830s. He died there in 1864. South Salem is where the Dean family was living, as well. Philip's daughter, Anna, married Abram Dean. In 1847, Abram and Anna Welsheimer Dean moved to Des Moines, Iowa. Their youngest son was born there. He was named David Philip Dean, in honor of his grandfather. 

David Philip was the last common ancestor I shared with Philip Hodges. However, the name lives on in both lines, clearly. I'm descended from David Philip's son, Carl Philip Dean, and then Carl's son Philip Carlyle Dean. Both my father and brother are Philips. Except for Anna, who passed the name into the Dean family, we have an unbroken line of Philips back to the 1730s!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Welsheimer Bible

Earlier this Fall, I was contacted by Suzanne Godfrey who was looking through her mother's estate. Her mother had owned an antique store. Among the wares was a family bible from 1828 belonging to Philip Welsheimer and his wife Catherine Duley, my 4xgreat grandparents. Because I had made a Wikitree page for them, Suzanne contacted me and offered to send the bible. I'm so grateful!

It's an amazing book. It includes a list of family members and dates written before the New Testament, locks of hair (not clear from whom), letters, and school reports.

If the outside of the Bible had any decoration it has long since worn off.
The Bible is about 12"x14"

The inside front. On the left it says "DWU(?) 3.50", presumably a price.
On the right it says "Philip Welshimer"

The front page of the Bible. Publication date 1828, probably in New York.

These pages are before the New Testament. The first page lists the marriage of the couple who presumably first owned the Bible, Philip and Catherine Welsheimer:
Philip Welshimer and Catharine Duley was married March the 28th AD1814.
Philip Welsheimer Sr. was born in Burkley Co. Virginia March the 11th 1791.
[Note: Berkeley County is now in West Virginia]

Second page of the family records:
Daniel Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born January the 30th AD1815
William H. Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born November the 12th AD1816
James Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born January the 22nd AD1818
Anna Welshimer daughter of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born January the 16th AD1819
[Anna later married Abram Dean and is my 3xgreat-grandmother]

The third page of the family records (but the dates are later than on page four):
David Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born July the 9th 1833
Catharine Welshimer daughter of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born July the first 1835
Mary E. Welshimer daughter of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born March the 21st 1838
Samuel F. Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born February the 27th AD1842 

The fourth page of the family records (but the dates are actually earlier than page three):
John H. Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born April the 10th AD1820
Maria Welshimer daughter of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born Dec the 7th AD1821
Emily Welshimer daughter of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born February the 10th AD1823
Sydney Welshimer daughter of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born Dec the 16th AD1824
Frederick Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer was born July the 1st AD1827
Ludowick Welshimer son of Philip and Catharine Welshimer as born February the 22nd AD1829
Philip Welshimer son of Philip and Catherine Welshimer was born June the 8th AD1831

Maria died January the --- AD1822 aged --- days
Katharine the wife of Philip Welshimer Sen departed this life Oct 14th 1849
Frederick Welshimer son of Philip and Katharine Welshimer died February 13th AD1852
John Welshimer son of Philip and Katharine Welshimer died February 15th AD1852
Philip Welshimer Sen departed this life July 21st AD1864 aged 73 years 4 months and 10 days

Most of the entries are written in the same hand, but, except for the death of Maria in 1822, the deaths listed on the last page are written in a different hand. This makes me think that most of the entries were written by Catharine Welshimer, since the first death listed, after Maria's, is hers in 1849. In that entry, and in the later death entries, her name is spelled differently ("Katharine") as well. Whoever wrote the original had lovely handwriting. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Patriotism and Symbols of Hate

While the rest of us were celebrating Veterans Day, someone drew a swastika on the chalkboard in the student center at my university. There are arguments over who drew the symbol and what it means. Many students assume the swastika is related to other white supremacist propaganda that sprang up recently on campus. The College Republicans issued a statement saying it was a liberal false-flag operation. Regardless of who is to blame, this symbol of hate hurts the whole community.

My family and I are not the direct targets of white supremacy. I can only imagine how people who are the direct targets must feel right now. I do feel hurt and betrayed by the use of this symbol, though, on behalf of other members of my community and as a proud American.

Grandpa Cunningham in Germany, 1947
Both of my grandfathers were part of the World War II war effort, as were both of my husband's grandfathers. My maternal grandfather was a career Air Force officer who spent most of the war in Ohio but was sent to Germany and France soon after to help with the reconstruction of those nations. He saw first-hand the destruction the Nazis had wrought. He left behind a young family (my mother was just an infant) in order to serve his country.

My paternal grandfather was a Marine. He stormed the beaches in the South Pacific and fought in well-known battles like Guadalcanal and the invasion of Okinawa. He literally went through hell, and would later say that the only thing that got him through that war was the knowledge that, if the U.S. won, his sons would not have to fight it again. He first son, my father, was born while my grandfather was fighting overseas. He did not meet him until a year later.
Grandpa Dean, just before he left for WWII

My husband's maternal grandfather was an Army doctor in Michigan. His father's father was on submarine crews in the Atlantic. [UPDATE: My apologies, but I got this wrong. My husband's maternal grandfather was stationed in Michigan for part of the war but spent part of it in the South Pacific. He was certainly in New Guinea at one point. His paternal grandfather's submarine duty was also in the South Pacific, not the Atlantic.] They sacrificed so much. It sickens me to think that some punk kid whose greatest sacrifice has probably been using an older-model smart phone would draw the symbol of their defeated enemies on a chalkboard.

I don't usually consider our students to be entitled or bratty. I'm making an exception for this one. Similarly, I don't usually believe in significant differences between the generations, but in this case I can't believe that any Millennial (or GenXer or Baby Boomer) who would draw that symbol is worthy to kiss my grandfathers' boots, or those of any member of the Greatest Generation who gave so much to free our country and others of that taint of fascism.

I blogged last time about Hiram Brattain, my only direct ancestor to fight in the Civil War. I feel similarly about the symbolism of the Confederate flag. With all due respect to those who have Southern ancestry (as I do myself), that flag is a sign of treason. Our nation went through unspeakable horror to remain an undivided nation and rid ourselves of slavery. Whenever I see the Confederate flag flying, especially here in the North, I'm literally sickened that the descendants of men and women who gave, in Lincoln's words, "the last full measure of devotion...that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from this earth," would display such absolute contempt for their ancestors and our country.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hiram Brattain and the Civil War

This Veterans Day weekend, I was reading Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson. It's an excellent, highly readable history of the Civil War. I strongly recommend it.

It started me thinking about our family's relationship to the Civil War. Although I've blogged before lateral relatives who fought for the South, as far as I know, my only direct ancestor to fight in the war was Hiram B. Brattain, who fought for the Union. He would have been my 3xgreat-grandfather. I've found two published accounts of his service. The first, reproduced here, comes from a book called Those I Have Met or Boys in Blue, written by Samuel Harden in 1888. The following excerpt is from pages 104-105:
about some

H. B. BRATTAIN   Was my Second Lieutenant in Company H, 69th Indiana Volunteers, and I first became acquainted with him in August, 1862. He was born in Wayne county, Indiana, near Boston, six miles South of Richmond, October 23, 1832, and was married to Miss Louisa Wiseheart May 28, 1853, at Mechanicsburg, Henry county, Indiana. Of this union the following children have been born: Miss S. J. Brattain, married to J. P. Deane, of Des Moines, Iowa; Miss C. A. Brattain, married to Edwin Fulton, of Lynchburg, Ohio; Miss M. A. Brattain, married Frank Castle of Alexandria, Indiana; C. A. Brattain, married to Allia Herron, of Alexandria, Indiana; J. C. F. Brattain, married to Indiana Howard, of Alexandria; J. B. Brattain, resides at Elkhart, Indiana; Will Brattain, resides at Middletown, Indiana, and Frankie E. Brattain, deceased. 
Mr. Brattain came to Madison county in 1835, where his father entered land four miles South of Fishersburg. Here he remained many years, when he removed to Henry county. At the breaking out of the war he enlisted in Company F, 8th Indiana Volunteers (three months service) and participated in the battle of Rich Mountain, West Virginia. At the expiration of his term of service, he re-enlisted in Company H, 69th Indiana Volunteers, July, 1862, and was elected and commissioned Second Lieutenant of that company; was in the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, and resigned at Memphis, Tennessee, December 20th, on account of ill health. 
He was made a Mason at Clarksville, Indiana, in 1853, and an Odd Fellow at Middletown in 1863. He is a member of Lew Tyler Post G.A.R. at Alexandria. I have known Mr. Brattain for many years, at home and in the field, and he was never found wanting in an emergency. He was a brave man and a good officer, and well liked by his comrades. He now resides in Middletown, Indiana, where he and his estimable lady belong to the Methodist Church, and are held in the highest esteem.
The second source that describes Hiram Brattain's service was History of Henry County, Indiana, written by George Hazzard in 1906. The following excerpt was found on pages 257-258:
Hiram B. Brattain, husband of Philander Wisehart's elder sister, Louisa, was also a soldier of the Civil War. He was a private in the same company and regiment as Philander Wisehart, and when the latter received his death wound at Rich Mountain, he was present and received from him his dying words, "Tell mother I am willing to die and feel that all is well." The regiment was mustered out of service on August 6, 1861, and Mr. Brattain returned home where he remained until Aug 8, 1862, when he was commissioned Second Lieutenant of Company H, 69th Indiana Infantry. He was mustered into the service of the United States, August 12, 1862, and on the 19th of the same month departed for the front with his regiment. On August 30, 1862, at the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, the regiment was terribly cut up and a large part of it captured. After exchange, the regiment was re-organized, but Lieutenant Brattain was compelled by increasing disability to resign March 27, 1863. He returned to Middletown, where he has since lived, enjoying the confidence and respect of his fellow citizens."

The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah! 

Friday, March 31, 2017

Presidential Connections

To be honest, I've avoided thinking much about the presidency recently. However, over on wikitree, a contributor named Frank Gill posted this really useful list of presidents with Mayflower connections. Since the Dean line also has Mayflower connections, I'm re-posting it here and highlighting our relationships with these presidents. I've literally highlighted those Mayflower ancestors we share, and below I've discussed what this means for our relationship to those presidents.

U.S. Presidents With Mayflower Pilgrim Ancestry

By Contributor June 25, 2014
When it comes to running for President of the United States, it never hurts to be able to claim Mayflower ancestry. Several presidents could trace their lineage to one or more of the 102 passengers who sailed on the famous ship that drifted across the Atlantic Ocean for over two months in the fall of 1620 before landing at Plymouth Rock.
John Adams and John Quincy Adams
Only four generations separated the second president from his Mayflower forebears. Those Mayflower passengers were John Alden, Priscilla Mullins and her parents William and Alice Mullins. John Quincy Adams, sixth president and son of John Adams, obviously shared the same ancestors.
Zachary Taylor
The 12th president was also the second cousin of James Madison, the fourth president. As for his Mayflower ancestry, Taylor is descended from one of the more illustrious Mayflower passengers, William Brewster and his wife Mary. Also in his Mayflower line is Isaac Allerton.
Ulysses S. Grant
Of all the Mayflower passengers, Richard Warren may have the most living descendants. The first president who could trace his ancestry to Warren was U.S. Grant, the 18th president who also was the victorious Union general during the Civil War.
James Garfield
Sometimes it is better not to know your ancestry, especially if you find out there was an axe murderer or rapist in your direct line. Garfield’s Mayflower ancestor, John Billington, was convicted of murder and hung. It was the first execution in the Plymouth colony. Billington was a signer of the Mayflower Compact but later became a troublemaker and shot and killed a fellow colonist. Garfield’s other Mayflower ancestors were Elinor Billington, John’s wife, and their son Francis.
John Calvin Coolidge
Recent research credits “Silent Cal” with Mayflower ancestry through Pilgrims William and Alice Mullins, John Alden and wife Priscilla Mullins, and Edward Doty. This of course makes Coolidge a cousin of the Adamses.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Many sources only cite FDR’s Dutch ancestry through the Roosevelt (derived from van Rosenvelt) line, and his French Huguenot heritage through the Philip de Lannoy (changed to Delano) line. Despite his Dutch surname, FDR has more Mayflower ancestry than any other president. Both his parents, who were distant cousins, had Mayflower lines. Roosevelt’s Mayflower ancestors include John Tilley, Joan Hurst, Elizabeth Tilley, John Howland, Isaac Allerton, Mary Norris, Degory Priest, Mary Allerton, Richard Warren, Francis Cooke and John Cooke. Through Warren FDR was more closely related to U.S. Grant than to Teddy Roosevelt, who shared FDR’s last name but was only a fifth cousin.
George Herbert Walker Bush and George Walker Bush
The Bush family has been able to transform its image and present itself as a Texas clan. But over the generations they were actually New England Yankees with quite a bit of Mayflower ancestry. The Bush Mayflower ancestry comes from John Tilley, Joan Hurst, Elizabeth Tilley, John Howland and Francis Cooke. Henry Sampson, a forebear of Barbara Bush, is an ancestor of G.W. Bush but not his father. An interesting note on Howland is that he was washed overboard in a storm during the Mayflower journey but was miraculously rescued. By surviving he became an ancestor to two Bush presidents and FDR.
Several First Ladies also had Mayflower ancestry, including Lucretia Garfield, Frances Cleveland, Edith Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower and Barbara Bush.
Almost half of the 102 passengers and 30-40 crew members aboard the Mayflower perished before the brutal first winter was done. Cold, disease and malnutrition all played prominent roles in reducing their numbers. But those who survived were progenitors of generations of Americans who have always had a built-in advantage in America, including an unobstructed path to the presidency.
“Ancestors of American Presidents, 2009 Edition,” Gary Boyd Roberts, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009
“The Complete Books of U.S. Presidents,” William A. DeGregorio, Barnes and Noble, 2004

All of the relationships are through the Kinney-Dean line, none from the Manary connections to the Mayflower. Here are the details of the relationships to me, so you can calculate your own relationships from there:

President Taylor: 5th cousins, 8x removed

President Grant: 6th cousins 6x removed. Grant was also a neighbor 

President Coolidge: 8th cousins, 3x removed

President FD Roosevelt: 7th cousins, 4x removed, through Richard Warren and Francis Cooke, as well as Thomas Pope, who came to New England during the Great Puritan Migration, and lived in Massachusetts in the 17th century. He was an ancestor of FDR's mother and his daughter married a Bartlett, eventually leading to Lydia Bartlett, mother of Simeon Bartlett Kinney. Personally, I was more interested in a connection to Eleanor Roosevelt. Unfortunately, while she is a descendant of Mayflower passengers, we don't share any ancestors.

Bushes 1 and 2: 8th cousins, 3x removed. Although we do share a relationship through Francis Cooke, we're actually more closely related through a variety of New England notables from the 17th century. The most recent relative is Jonathan Bangs, who was an ancestor of George Herbert Walker Bush's mother. His daughter married a Nickerson, and the Nickersons married into the Kinney family. He was born in Plymouth in 1640.

For some reason, Millard Fillmore was left off this original list. He was a descendant of Stephen Hopkins, making him my 6th cousin, 6x removed. 

Unsurprisingly, many of the U.S. Presidents are descendants of the Great Puritan Migration and therefore our distant relatives. Otherwise, we have no known presidential connections except for one: Abraham Lincoln, interestingly, is the descendant of one of the early Puritan settlers in New Netherlands, William Bowne. One of Bowne's great-granddaughters supposedly married a Baird, and the Bairds married into the Dean line. If this lineage is correct, it would be the only presidential connection through our Scotch-Irish ancestry, and would make Lincoln a 6th cousin, 6x removed. To be honest, though, I've always found the Baird connection to New Jersey to be pretty sketchy. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Ernest Justus Hancock

Edward, Earnest, and James Hancock
No date on the photo, but must be in the early to mid 1860s

This is part 3 of my series on my great-great grandparents. Ernest Justus "E.J." Hancock, and his wife, Julia Etta Kinney, could not have been more different from the subjects of my first two posts, David and Jennie (Brattain) Dean, although their children married. The Deans and Brattains were descendants of Midwestern farmers, from families that been earlier colonizers of the areas that had been conquered from Native peoples in Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa. In some cases, earlier generations of Deans/Brattains had left the South because of their opposition to slavery. The Brattains, for example, were original Quaker. Some members of both families were active members of the abolitionist movement. Although their lineages included Revolutionary War soldiers and other brave and resourceful men and women, they didn't come from a background of particular wealth or fame.

The Hancocks and Kinneys, on the other hand, came from older and more patrician stock. They were descendants of the Jamestown and Plymouth colonists, respectively, with all of the positives and negatives such descent implies. Ernest and Julia met and married in the state of Washington, as some of the first members of their family to leave Virginia or New England.

Ned, Ammon, Ernest, Charlotte, and Lilly Hancock
Around 1865 (Lilly was born May 1864)
Ernest Justus "E.J." Hancock was born November 24, 1854, in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of Ammon Goode and Elizabeth Charlotte (Hewitt) Hancock. I won't write much about his childhood because I discussed his father in great detail in an earlier post. Suffice to say, he was born seven years before the start of the Civil War into a family with a tobacco factory, large tobacco plantations and, therefore, they had enslaved a large number of people. The Hancocks were wealthy. E.J.'s father had to petition President Johnson for a pardon in 1865 because he owned more than $20,000 in property. I don't know exactly how much his father was worth, but $20,000 in 1865 is worth nearly $300,000 today. In other words, the Hancocks were one of the families whose wealth was based on forced labor, who had the most to gain by keeping their workers enslaved, and who were in a position to finance the fight to maintain the slave economy. Although E.J. and his siblings were too young, and his father was apparently too old, several of their cousins were officers in the Confederate army.

Despite Gone-With-the-Wind-inspired fantasies of poor white folks devastated by war (a war, remember, that they had started because labor extracted through terror was cheaper than paying people), the Hancocks were clearly well off after the war. Undoubtedly, some of their wealth was lost, (wealth, again, extracted through violence from the bodies of enslaved people), but in 1870, they were still living in the same house, still owned the same tobacco factory, still owned at least some tobacco plantations (I'm not sure about all of them), and still employed Black servants (1). Ernest. and his brothers could afford to go to college; both Ernest and his younger brother, Ned, attended the Virginia Military Institute, matriculating in 1875. Ned graduated in 1879, but E.J. left the university without graduating and moved west to Coupeville, Washington (2).

Why did he go there? His uncle, Samuel Hancock was on Whidbey Island by 1860, and in the Pacific Northwest significantly earlier (3). Another uncle, Francis "Frank" Hancock, who was married to Hester Hewett, likely a cousin of E.J.'s mother,  lived there from 1862-1870, before moving to Stillaguamish flats (4). Presumably, the good reports from his family, and having a support network already in the region, inspired Ernest's choice of location.

Aloha Farm in 1899. The people are E.J., Julia, and Vera Hancock.
The woman in the center was a local teacher.
According to his profile in An Illustrated History of the State of Washington by Harvey Kimball Hines, (published 1893, p. 568), Ernest moved to Washington in 1879, then returned to Virginia in 1881. He apparently spent the next couple of years making arrangements for a permanent move back to Washington, which took place in 1883. He bought 45 acres on Whidbey Island and built Aloha Farm. My great-aunt Lillian, his granddaughter, wrote that the family no longer remembers why the farm was named "Aloha". E.J.'s wife, however, had some connections to Hawai'i, so it's possible that the farm got its name after their marriage.

There were plenty of racial tensions in Washington, just as there had been in Virginia. Most centered around the status of Chinese immigrants. Like many immigrant groups, the Chinese community on the west coast met with social and political barriers put up by white Americans. The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the most significant anti-Chinese legislation of American history. Interestingly, Ernest denounced the Act, writing, "The Chinese, by industry, pay strict attention to their own business, and studying their employers' interest, have created a demand for their labor, and it is only justice that they be allowed to fill the demand." (6).

Justus, Virgil, and Vera Hancock, who all miraculously
survived to adulthood
Ernest married Julia Etta Kinney on March 3, 1886. Julia has a fascinating history of her own, which I'll discuss in another blog post. Genealogically speaking, though, their marriage combined the Hancock's First Families of Virginia line (going back to Jamestown) with the Kinney's Great Puritan Migration lineage (going back to the Mayflower). Ernest and Julia had four children. Their three sons were Eugene Ammon, Justus "Jut" Lee [that Lee middle name just kills me], and Virgil Kinney. Their only daughter, Vera Houghton, was my great-grandmother. 

Ernest. was clearly successful in Whidbey Island, no doubt helped along by his family's ill-gotten money. He was one of the founders of the Island County Bank of Coupeville in 1892, and elected its first vice-president. Unfortunately, the bank closed in 1893, when "the cashier absconded with the funds, spending them in the 'most disreputable dives in Seattle'" (7). The bank building itself still stands, however. Ernest also owned "an immense amount of city property, and [had] many other profitable investments" (5) in addition to Aloha Farm. 

Ernest died on August 1, 1924, in Coupeville. He was 69 years old.

1) "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 September 2015), S G Hancock, Virginia, United States; citing p. 62, family 468, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 553,137.

2) VMI Roster Archives, available here:



5) An Illustrated History of the State of Washington by Harvey Kimball Hines, 1893, p. 568

6) quoted in Coupeville, by Judy Lynn, Kay Foss, and the Island County Historical Society.. . Arcadia Publishing, 2012.

7) Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Coupeville - National Park Service

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sarah Jane "Jennie" Brattain Dean

This is a continuation of my series of posts on my great-great-grandparents. Last time, I wrote about David Philip Dean. This post is about his wife, Jennie Brattain.

Sarah Jane Brattain, known as "Sally" or "Jennie", was born November 7, 1855. I had always heard the name pronounced as "Bruh-TAYN", but on-line sources suggest it's usually rhymes with "satin". I don't know if our family line pronounced it differently than others, or if her maiden name came down through the generations with an incorrect pronunciation. In the census of 1860, the family name was spelled "Bratton", suggesting the census worker, at least, heard it more like the "satin" pronunciation (1).

Jennie was the eldest child of Hiram and Louisa May Wisehart Brattain. Unlike her husband, who was born in an area that had only recently been conquered for white settlement, Jennie grew up in an area that was already well integrated into the United States. Indiana had been a state since 1816. Both of Jennie's parents had been born in Indiana and came from families that had moved there from the South in the 1820s or 30s. Family records claimed Jennie was born in Alexandria, Indiana, however, I cannot confirm that with primary documentation. Her family was living in Alexandria in 1880 (2), and perhaps they had been there at the time of her birth, but my first record of the family is in the 1860 census, when they were living in Fall Creek Township, Henry County, Indiana (1). This is where Louisa grew up and where many of her siblings lived.

Jennie was born six years before the start of the Civil War, in which her father served. Hiram Brattain joined Company F, 8th Indiana Volunteers, at the beginning of the war. Later that summer, he fought in the battle of Rich Mountain, West Virginia, where his brother-in-law, Jennie's uncle Philander Wisehart, died in his arms. His regiment mustered out of service on August 6, 1861. Hiram remained in Indiana until August of 1862 when he was commissioned as second lieutenant of Company H, 69th Indiana Infantry, just in time to fight in the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, one of the most complete Union defeats of the war. Most of the men in his regiment were captured by the Confederates, but he luckily escaped. He served until March 27, 1863, when he was forced to resign for health reasons (3).

I can imagine it was a difficult time for Jennie, with her father away and her mother left to manage Jennie and her younger siblings, Augustus and Catherine. (Eventually, the couple had a total of eight children). Luckily, her mother's family was nearby, and her father's family was not much farther. Her father had a farm in those early years, but after the war they relocated to Middleton, Indiana, where in 1870 Hiram listed his occupation as "druggist" (4), and in 1880 as "running sawmill" (5) (Clearly, the degree of specialization required to be a druggist was not what it is now.)

Jennie married David Philip Dean on August 22, 1876, in Des Moines, Iowa, at the age of twenty (6). One mystery I have yet to solve: how did they meet? Did Jennie spend some time in Iowa? Her father had lived there briefly as a child, so perhaps he had friends or relatives there with whom she was staying? Or did David travel to Indiana? This seems more likely. David's maternal grandfather, Philip Welsheimer, lived in Ohio, but he had bought land for his sons in Indiana. David had several Welsheimer uncles in northern Indiana in the 1870s. Perhaps he went to visit or to work for one of them and met Jennie while there? Regardless, they were married in Iowa, not Indiana.

I wrote about their married life and their large family in my previous blog post. I won't repeat it here. I will end with one more mystery, however. Jennie is buried in Coupeville, Washington, next to her husband. According to her Find-A-Grave site, she died March 27, 1919, in Seattle. However, I can find no death certificate or other proof that she died in Washington and not in Iowa. If she did die in Washington, she must have done so very soon after moving there.

[Update]: I guess I just hadn't looked recently for her death certificate. I can't find an image of the original, but FamilySearch has the record for Sarah J. Dean, daughter of Hiram Brattain and Louise Wisehart, dying in Seattle, Washington, March 27, 1919. No cause of death is available in the index record, at least.


1) "United States Census, 1860," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2015), Hiram Bratton, Fall Creek Township, Henry, Indiana, United States; from "1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population," database, ( : n.d.); citing p. 126, household ID 74, NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 803,266.

2) "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2015), Hiram Brattans, Alexandria, Madison, Indiana, United States; citing enumeration district 21, sheet 103B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0293; FHL microfilm 1,254,293.

3) Harden, Samuel. 1888. Those I Have Met, or Boys in Blue. William Mitchell, Publisher. Available On-line here:

4)  "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2015), Hiram B Brattain, Indiana, United States; citing p. 13, family 100, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 545,822.

5) "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 August 2015), Hiram Brattans, Alexandria, Madison, Indiana, United States; citing enumeration district 21, sheet 103B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0293; FHL microfilm 1,254,293.

6) "Iowa, County Marriages, 1838-1934," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 January 2015), David P. Dean and Sarah Brattian, 22 Aug 1876; citing Des Moines, Polk, Iowa, United States, county courthouses, Iowa.