Monthly Archives: July 2020

Tombstone Tuesday – July 28, 2020 – Benjamin C Davis

Benjamin Davis was born in Virginia on September 18, 1809. Benjamin Davis was married to Letitia Robinson in Botetourt County, Virginia on January 11, 1830. They left Virginia with Letitia parents, Thomas and Susannah (Brooks) Robinson and some of her siblings after the birth of William in 1831. They settled for a few years in Darke County, Ohio. where the next three daughters were born; Mahala (1832), Sarah Ann (1833) and Adaline (1835).

By the time of the 1850 Federal Census, Benjamin C. and Letitia Davis lived in Pleasant Township, Allen County, Indiana. They had six children: William, Mahala, Sarah Ann, Adeline, Columbus (1838), Betsey (1843). Benjamin’s wife ,Letitia (whose name I have seen spelled many ways, this spelling comes from her tombstone) died on November 15, 1851 in Pleasant Township, Allen County, Indiana. She was buried in the Brenton Chapel Cemetery in Pleasant Township.

Benjamin married Margaret Smith on January 27, 1852. She was the oldest daughter of James and Susannah (Overly) Smith, Margaret Smith was 22 years old and Benjamin was 44 years old. She was the same age as Benjamin’s oldest son, William Davis. By the time of the 1860 Federal Census eight years later, the older Davis children have grown and married with the exception of Betsy. Benjamin and Margaret have now had children of their own; James(1853), Joseph (1856), Martha (1857), Mary (1859). Margaret and Benjamin added two additional daughters after the 1860 census ; Lucinda Margaret (1863) and Elnora (1866).

Margaret died after the birth of Elnora and before the 1868 marriage of Benjamin to Hannah Elizabeth Spencer Snyder. There is no information about Margaret’s death. She is listed as the mother of her children on their death certificates. Whitley County has the recorded marriage record for Benjamin and Hannah Elizabeth Spencer Snyder in 1868. By the 1870 Census, Benjamin and Hannah are raising Benjamin’s children and they live in Pleasant Township, Allen County, Indiana.

By the 1880 Federal Census, Benjamin and Hannah are living in Timber Hill, Kansas. Benjamin is seventy one years old and Elizabeth is thirty nine. They have six children living with them; Margaret (1864), Elnora (1867), Ira (1871) Elzine (1874), Emma J Snyder (1864)and Florence M Snyder (1867). The Snyder girls are Hannah’s daughter.

Benjamin wrote his last Will in January of 1883.

Benjamin C Davis Will – January 27,1883

All of the children listed above are listed in the will. It is surprisingly legible when you zoom in on it. It was found on Ancestry.

One hundred and thirty four years today, Benjamin died on July 28, 1886, at the age of seventy seven. He is buried in Bates Missouri in the Morris Cemetery.

Rest in peace, Benjamin

Love, Jan

Benjamin is the husband of my third Great Aunt.

Tombstone Tuesday – July 21, 2020 – William Edward Best

William Edward Best was born to Conrad and Catherine (Louks) Best in Dereham Township, Oxford, Ontario, Canada. Conrad and Catherine (Louks) Best had eight children; Sarah Ann (1824), Miriam,(1826) John Landon,( 1827) Hiram (1830), Thomas(1834), Catherine (1836), William Edward (1839), Caroline (1842). In the Canadian 1851 Census, Wm Edward is listed with his parents and siblings. He is 13 years old.

The following is an edited transcription of text from “Portrait and Biographical Record of Genesee, Lapeer and Tuscola Counties, Michigan” available free on Google Books. Some of the dates here conflict with dates from other sources.

 “William E. BEST, M. D., of North Branch Township, Lapeer County, was born in Oxford County, Dereham Township, Canada, January 20, 1840, and is a the son of Conrad and Catherine (Louks) Best. The father was born and reared in Germany, and the mother was native of the Green Mountain State (Vermont). Conrad Best came to this country when only a lad and here undertook farming and it was upon his father’s farm that our subject had his early training and education, attending first the common-schools and when twelve years of age entering Victoria college at Coburg, of which institution his father was one of the founders.”

Note added by a George Best, a Best Family Historian: His father was a farmer in Dereham Township, Oxford County, Ontario (he did not live in Michigan as the Biographical account implies) and we have no knowledge of his being the founder of a college but perhaps he was a contributor.

“A year later he entered the University of Toronto, where he went to prepare himself for the ministry, but after two years in that institution he came to the decision that he was not a fit subject to undertake the sacred duties of the profession and change his object in life.”

 “The young man now took a course of study at Rolph’s Medical School in Toronto after which he entered the University of Philadelphia whence he graduated in 1860, being then less than twenty-one years of age. Having now received his degree of doctor of Medicine, he returned to Canada, and as his father had died during the year he devoted himself for some time to settling up the estate and remained there for two years. In 1863 he returned to the States and took a position as Assistant surgeon at St. John’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he was retained for six months, but as he was dissatisfied here he sought and obtained another position as Assistant Surgeon in the United States Navy which he filled until the close of the war.”

 “In the fall of 1865 the young doctor came to North Branch and began the general practice of medicine which he has since continued here without change of residence. He was married February 22, 1868 to Elisabeth Dunham of North Branch, a daughter of Nathan Dunham of this place. To her was born one child–Elizabeth B, but when this unfortunate little one was but three days old it was bereaved of a mother’s love and care as Mrs. Best died April 3, 1870.”

Note added by George Best: I have since learned that her date of death was 6 Apr 1868.

“Dr. Best’s second marriage took place December 25, 1871, and she who became his wife was Rachel Jane Lamiman of North Branch. She is now the mother of one child–Alena Maud, who was born March 14, 1873. They have lost three children, all dying in infancy.”

(This excerpt was shared on Ancestry by George Best and we have been in contact and compared notes several times…

The following Bio was found on Findagrave:

“He was a Physician and Surgeon. He immigrated to the United States in 1863, he served in the US Navy from 1863-1864 during the Civil War. He married Elizabeth Dunham on the 22nd of February 1867 in North Branch, Lapeer, Michigan and they had one daughter, Elizabeth Catherine Best. Elizabeth died on the 06 of April 1868. He then married Rachel J. Lammiman in December of 1869. They had one daughter Alena M. Best and several children that died in infancy. On the 15th of February 1894 he married Emma Nichols in Essex, Essex, Ontario, Canada. There were no children to this marriage.”

William Edward later left Michigan for Oregon where he settled in Cottage Grove. He continued to practice Medicine but it appears that he never obtained a license to do so with the state of Oregon. There are a number of newspaper article about trials in Oregon which seem to refer to these event. He was always acquitted..This maybe a good blog for a different time.

One hundred and twelve years ago, Dr William Edward Best, died in his office in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

Dr. William E. Best is buried in the Maple Grove Cemetery in North Branch, Michigan in the Best Plot.

Rest in peace, William Edward Best!

Love, Jan

William Edward Best was my fourth Great Grand Uncle.

Special Thanks to George Best for sharing so much of this data on Ancestry so that Best Descendants like myself can find information about our family members.

Tombstone Tuesday – July 14, 2020 – Rachel Best

Rachel Best was the daughter of Hiram and Agnes (Cartmel Addison)Best. She was born in Oxford, Ontario on April 29, 1870. Hiram and Agnes had four children; Sarah Ann (1858), Addison (1869), Rachel (1870), Mary Agnes(1873). In the 1871 Canadian Census, Hiram and his family are listed in South Oxford, Dereham. They have three children; Sarah, Addison and Rachel. Hiram is a farmer.

Agnes Best died on March 10, 1873 a few short weeks after the birth of Mary Agnes who was born on February 10, 1873. Hiram married Alice Thomas. In the 1881 Canadian Census, Hiram and Alice are listed with Addison and Rachel. The Census is very difficult to read. I am sure that Mary Agnes is listed as well

One hundred and thirty two years ago, Rachel Best died at the age of 18 years 2 months and 15 days just as her life was getting started. The Tombstone states that Alice is her mother but Agnes was but she died when Rachel was two years old so Alice raised her and surly Rachel thought of her as the only mother she ever knew.

Rest in peace, Rachel

Love, Jan

Rachel is my first cousin four times removed.

Thanks to the Canadian Tombstone Project for providing the photos.

Tombstone Tuesday – July 7, 2020 – Deborah Hendryx Leet

New Stone for Jonathan and Deborah Leet
Original Stone for Deborah Leet

Deborah Hendryx was the daughter of Nathaniel and Mary Ann (McGrail) Hendryx. She was born 1786 near Albany, New York. Nathaniel and Mary Ann had six children; Deborah (1786), Abraham (1792), Lydia (1793), Olive (1795), Nancy (1797), Rachel (1799). Nathaniel served in the New York Militia during the Revolutionary War under two different commanders. After the war he returned to the Albany area to his family and his home. A short time later, his home was destroyed by a fire with all his worldly possessions lost. The family left New York and settled in the Susquehanna River Area of Pennsylvania for several years before returning to Albany. In the 1810 Federal Census, both Nathaniel Hendryx and Jonathan Leet are recorded in the Caneadea , New York.

Deborah Hendryx and Jonathan Leet /Leete married in 1807. Jonathan served in the War of 1812 with the New York Militia. Jonathan and Deborah had ten children. The first eight were born in New York. The ten children are; David (1808), Victor (1809), Nancy (1814), Daniel (1815), Amy (1819), Lucy (1820), Maynarsia (1821), Lydia (1823), William (1831), Polly (1834). Jonathan and Deborah left New York and moved to Michigan sometime after 1823 birth of Lydia. They are found in a Michigan Territorial Census record in 1833. The two youngest children, William and Polly were born in Oakland County, Michigan according to birth and death records. By the 1840 Federal Census, Jonathan and Deborah have left Michigan and moved on to Wabash County, Illinois where Deborah’s father, Nathaniel, had moved over twenty years before in 1819. Several of Jonathan and Deborah’s adult children remained in Michigan where they had married and started families by the time of their parents move. The remaining adult children followed Jonathan and Deborah to Illinois.

Tintype photo of Deborah and Jonathan Leet which was shared on

By the time of the 1850 Census, Jonathan and Deborah have two children who remain living with them; William and Polly. In the 1860 Federal Census, an eighty year old Jonathan and a sixty-nine year old Deborah are living in Lukin, Lawrence County, Illinois. Jonathan died in 1861 and Deborah petitioned the government for his pension.

One hundred and forty-nine years ago on July 7, 1871, Deborah Hendryx Leet died in Wabash, Illinois. She is buried next to her husband in Hallock Cemetery.

Rest in peace, Deborah,

Love Jan

Deborah Hendryx Leet is my fourth Great Grandmother.

Tombstone Tuesday – June 30, 2020 – Emmett E.H. Fisher

Emmet H. Fisher was born on January 13, 1860 in Wells County, Indiana. He was the son of Daniel and Sarah Jane (Shull)Fisher. Daniel and Sarah had nine children; Emmet (1860), Matilda (1861), Clare (1863), George (1865), Elmer (1866), Rachel(1867), Daniel(1871), Della (1874), Mary (1877). Daniel had three children from his first wife, Sophia Myers who died in 1857. They were Elizabeth (1851), William Henry (1853), and Margaret (1855).

I am first cousins to both Daniel Fisher through his mother, Elizabeth Crites who is my fifth Great Aunt and his first wife was the sister of Elizabeth Myers who is my three times Great Grandmother making Sofia my fourth Great Aunt. Jesse Crites and Daniel Fisher were first cousins and they married sisters; Elizabeth and Sophia Myers. Jesse Crites and Elizabeth Myers are my three times Great Grandparents.

In the 1870 Federal Census, Daniel and Sarah (his second wife) are living in Wells County Indiana. They have 9 children living with them. The first three, Elizabeth, Wm Henry, and Margaret are Sophia and Daniels children and Emmett, Matilda, Clara, George, Elmer and Rachel are Daniel and Sarah’s children. Emmett is still in school but also claims to be helping with the farm. The family lives in Markle, Indiana.

In the 1880 Federal Census, Daniel and Sarah have eight children living at home; Emmett, Matilda, Clare, George, Elmer, Rachel, Daniel, Della and Mary. Emmet is working on the farm with his father. The three older children have married and left home.

Mary Alice Young and Emmet E. H. Fisher

On August 3, 1887, Emmet H Fisher married Mary Alice Young in Wells County, Indiana. By the 1900 Federal Census, Emmet and Alice have seven children; Lola (1887), Flossie (1888), Iva (1890), Frank (1892), Glenn (1895), William (1897), Carl (1900). By the time of the 1910 Federal Census, The children living with Emmet and Alice are Frank, Glenn, William, Carl and a two year old daughter Delores. Emmett has been a farmer his whole life. In the 1920 Federal Census, Emmet and Alice have two children remaining at home, nineteen year old Carl and eleven year old, Delores.

I do not find the Fisher family in the 1930 Federal Census.

This is likely around 1930 before Emmet died.

Eighty nine years ago Emmett died in Uniondale, Indiana on June 30, 1931. He had chronic vascular disease.

Emmet’s death Certificate.

He is buried in Markle Cemetery in Markle, Indiana.

Rest in peace, Emmett!

Love, Jan

Emmett is my second cousin four times removed….It’s complicated!