Monday, February 6, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Charles Hardin Dawson Family

The following letter Mary (Swearingen) Lossing received from a cousin.  Both woman were descended from William and Nancy (Cleveland) Dawson.  Mary's ancestor was Thomas Lewis Dawson, the 7th child and Idamae's ancestor was Charles Hardin Dawson, the 9th and youngest child.

Mr. & Mrs.  Archie R Morley, Rt. 2, Box 154, Gaston, Oregon                  April 7, 1965
Dear Cousin Mary:

                I am Idamae Dawson Morley, eldest of 4 daughters, born Nov. 24, 1905 at Shelton, Neb.  My father, George Washington Dawson, and his brother, Joseph Wylie, came to Neb. As young men, where both married and remained until their deaths at Shelton.

                My grandparents – Charles Hardin & Elizabeth Digby.

                We just received your letter.  I found it interesting.  My husband handles every thing from the genealogy angle, but I though I would write, and perhaps toss in a few side lights.  I notice you and I are near the same age.  My father was so interested in learning something about his family, but knew very little.  I had heard him mention cousins Laura; no doubt Laura V Jan 8, 1858-Nov 22 1900, who I believe was a daughter of Thomas.  Also he talked about a cousin Douglas who was a bro. of Laura I believe, Sept 9, 1861 – Aug 27, 1923.

                My father was the youngest in a good size family.  He and a twin sister were born after my grandfather, Chas. Hardin went to war.  Grandfather saw my father just once, when dad was 1 week old.  The twin died – but when, I never knew; whether at birth, or later.  Nine-months later grandfather Chas. Hardin, died on the battle field with pneumonia.  A close family friend who served in the armed forces at his side, told grandmother that her husband was buried in a box (most were not) and in a trench.

                Later the family home burned, and with it, family records.  A Bible was saved.  The little I have has been gleaned from it.

                Chas. Hardin was 24, his wife Elizabeth Digby 20 at the time of marriage.  No note is made of a previous marriage.

                Their children a little life sketch of the Chas. Hardin’s children are as follows.

                Catherine –b.  May 26, 1846, d. 1920 or 21 – Married Henry Axton April 18, 1868.  They had two children, Ida Mae and Charles – both deceased.  Chas. Was a Quaker Minister, a very tall and very handsome man.  He died about 20 years ago.

                Benjamin Franklin – b. Dec. 6, 1851, d. Nov. 25, 1874.

                A Bible was put under his chin to hold his mouth in position during embalming and some of the fluid discolored the pages.  We still have that stained Bible.

                William Irvin – b. June 4, 1854 – April 1912?

                Uncle Will had a large family of daughters, several of whom are still living.  Back in 1912 the death of Uncle Will, his wife and daughter, Georgia, age 13, made news headlines all over the nation when they were clubbed to death in their beds. (Now – things like that happen too often to make headlines.)  Georgia, in panic, ducked under the bed-clothes.  Her head was beaten completely off.  The only thing that saved others of the family, some of whom were yet unmarried, was that it was Sat night, and the girls were visiting in friends homes.  George had cried to go to, but her sisters said she was too little.

                Mary Jane – b. June 7, 1857 – d. around 1910 or 1912.

                I remember my father sending her money.  She died of T.B.  I know the relatives seemed to think her husband was a no account.

                Joseph Wylie – Feb. 25, 1860-1903   Shelton, Neb.

                Died of T.B. of the throat.  He and dad came to Neb. As young men – to Shelton, where both are buried.  He had no children.  His widow never remarried.  She died out here in Wash. About 13 yrs. Ago.

                George Washington -  b. Jan. 6, 1863 near Newport, Ind. – Nov. 9, 1949, Shelton, Neb.  Born at Newport, Indiana.

                My fathers heart played out finally.

                He and Uncle Jo were both farmers.  My father retired and moved into Shelton a few years before he passed away.

                My father was a tall, handsome man, black hair, blue eyes, an excellent tenor singer – my mother a school teacher before marriage.

                A year ago a grand-daughter of Catherine Dawson, fell heir to an old photo album of Catherines, and sent me some of the photos.  I am very curious about some of them.  Among them was a prize, grandfather Chas. Hardin in his uniform, the only photo we have of him.  It shows a striking resemblance to my dad.  There was also a letter he had written his wife, while in the war.  The sender, wrote on the pictures the corresponding names on the album pages, which could be accurate, still pictures may have gotten changed.  One for instance puzzles me.  Its of a man & wife – her name listed is Catherine Sigler.  My fathers sister Catherine married an Axton, his sister Mary, married a Sigler.  This womans features resemble the Dawsons eyes.  I wonder if it is perhaps an error and should be Mary Sigler.  The photographers name is on the photo – Jas. S. Shaff – Seneca, Kansas.  A tin type of a lady who also has the Dawson type of eyes s named as Elsie [?] Dawson.  I haven’t the remotest idea who she is.

                Then there are Joseph Digby and Franklin Digby.  Joseph looks like a handsome Indian, long hair, blanket around his shoulders:  perhaps a part breed.  Joseph Digby looks like an up and coming business owner.  There is no resemblance at all in the faces.  The Indian could have been clowning but I doubt it.  Other photos I got tracked down if I didn’t already know.  G.R. Dawson who looks like a youthful dandy, I found to be George Riley, son of Wm, b. 1841 – d. 1922.  Other photos were my fathers brothers.  The lady who sent these to me knows even less about the family than I.  The one who perhaps could have enlightened us most, died perhaps 5 or 6 yrs. Ago.

                Now, just a little about our selves.  My husband became interested in genealogy a number of years ago, and its amazing how far he has run back in his family 26 or 28 generations.  On mine, there are so many deadends because Indiana did not keep up the records too well.

                Our family owns the Indiana State Capitol.  Whether its thru the Dawsons or Digbys, we do not know.  If we were back in that area my husband would dig thru old newspapers files etc and see what he could find out.  All we know is this.  My father told my husband and me that an ancestor of his gave the property to the state of Indiana to put the Capitol on, but with the clause that if the capitol should ever be moved, the property was to be returned to the donner, or heirs.  The time came when it was going to be moved.  Only one thing prevented it.  Dad said some of his cousins began to brag as to how they would spend their share.  This news got back to the the State Fathers, so they took a new look at the legal papers, and for the first time realized what all was envolved, so the capitol was not moved.  My grandmother had been receiving threatening letters, threatening to harm her children if she didn’t hand over certain amounts of money where this fortune should become hers, so she was relieved when it fell through.  It could have been hers – or its possible this was after her husbands death, so her through heir.  A few years ago some teachers were on a tour through that capital.  One asked why its in such an undesirable location, crowded around on all sides by down-town Indianapolis.  The guide said it was tied up in some legal entanglements.

                I am sure my father had a sister who died at age of 4, not his twin, but I fail to have it in my list for some reason.

                Now a little about our family.  I have 3 younger sisters; my age 59 to ?.  All my sisters have gone to college – so have I – all have at one time been school teachers.  My teaching however has been different.  They taught in grade school.  I taught only art classes, most of this in Junior High or High schools, and the last 20 years I limited it to Oil Painting.  I also taught private adult classes.  I am a conservative Artist.  In other words, my paintings resemble the thing I have copied.  My last 2 – Grand Canyon at Sunset, and Niagra Falls.  We travel considerable of summers – 2 yrs ago we took 5 weeks tri down into Mexico and spent 5 days in Mexico City.  I sketch as we travel, we take color slides, then home again – I paint from things we have seen.  I am an active member of the Oregon Society of Artist.  We have a membership of right at 1000 members.  My husband and I are also members of a Camera Club.  We are quite amature in that yet – since some of the members have gained world recognition for their work.  They photo for perfection in balance, etc., we take pictures we want to tell a story.

                I have not taught now for going on 3 years.  I am enjoying the leisure of developing my own talent.  I give an exhibit open to the public, once a year in our home.  As many as 200 have been to my home exhibit in one day.  I also exhibit at Fairs, Art Centers, etc.  It is a pleasing hobby and pleasant pass time.

                My husband is a high-school teacher, a linguist.  We were in Portland, Ore. 7 years, but are out of the city now.  We enjoy our present location very much.  Since he is a teacher, we have moved off and on.  This is our 6th state to have lived in.  We moved to the North West, costal area, 30 years ago.  Out here, we have sank down our roots.  We like it here, we plan to retire here.  It’s the only place in our travels we have had any desire to settle down.  The climate is never sever, nature is lovely the year around.  It isn’t all perfect, but even so, the best we have found.  When I say the coast, this includes area from northern Calif. to Canada; but we prefer it down in Ore., to Wash., a bit more sunshine.

                Our family consists of a son and a daughter, and 5 grandchildren.             

                This has been a rambling letter, but I thought it might be of interest, at least in part to you.

                                                                                                Very sincerely, your cousin
                                                                                                Idamae Dawson Morley (Mrs. A. R. Morley)
                                                                                                Rt. 2 Box 154, Gaston Oregon

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