01 December 2010

COG: There's one in every family!!

An interesting theme to work with for the 100th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy. Who to chose???
I think I will expand on John G Cohoe, born 1847 and died 1943... I have bits and pieces of his life through stories that have been passed on to me.

Though born and raised in Ontario, Canada on one of the family farms, he elected early on in his life to leave the family lands and go out into the world. With a degree (which I have not verified, by the way... hmmm, maybe I should do that!) of mining engineer, his first foray out was to go west to Montana and work some of the small mines there. Then he heard the news about the Comstock Lode in Nevada and proceeded further west. He partnered with a couple of men and staked a valid claim in Virginia City, Nevada. Apparently, his partners were not as respectable and duped him out of his claim and money. That would be the first and last time that he lost money on one of his ventures.

Being somewhat discouraged, he headed back east to Minnesota. The Mesabi Iron Ore mines were just being located and mined. Known there as Capt J G Cohoe, he was very instrumental in discovering one of the larger mines and helped run it for several years... he ended up buying a lot of stock and came out of there a very rich man. According to a cousin, the naming of Virginia City, Minnesota came about due to John G Cohoe's influence. At this time, he also met several important men with whom he stayed in contact throughout his life. As I can't verify these connections.... I will leave it as it stands.

John G Cohoe was married for the first time about 1868 in either Ontario or New York, and had 2 children by his first wife, Elsie. I found evidence of a divorce in 1888 in San Francisco, CA... And Elsie stayed in California with a sister until she died in 1915.
Then it gets tricky as there seem to be 2 other wives from various sources, one of which I have evidence of a death certificate in Memphis, TN. The man got around!
Eventually, he died in Biloxi, Mississippi, while living with his 4th wife, Ella. In Biloxi, he was a charter member of the Biloxi Golf Course and was very active in local politics and businesses, according to several newspaper clippings. Biloxi is on the list as a location for research!

So, why was he a 'one of a kind', the one in every family??? He never followed the norm and was considered somewhat of an outcast by a very conservative family. He left the farm to seek his fortune elsewhere. And he did... but he was a dreamer, a traveler, a salesman, and always seemed to be on an adventure or at the very least, not at home!

One of my cousins has called this the 'dream gene'. And unfortunately, several in our family has this trait. Some have been successful, but sad to say, most have not. It seems like it all started with the illustrious, perhaps notorius? John G Cohoe.

Here's a timeline put together from censuses, voter registrations, etc:
1847 - born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada
1852 - Oxford County, Canada (West)
1868 - approx - Married to Elsie Farrington, probably NY
1870 - Chautauqua, NY - Cheesemaker
1871 - Welland, Ontario, Canada - Farmer (helped bring cheesemaking to Welland)
1880 - Chautauqua, NY - Miner, Silver
1888 - Divorced from Ella, San Francisco, CA
1889 - possible marriage to Elizabeth Sheppard (California)
1890 - Tulare County, CA - Voter Registration
1905 - possible marriage to Elizabeth Crowell (Memphis, TN)
1912 - Elizabeth Crowell Cohoe dies
1914 - Fishing at Long Key Camp in FL - home is listed as Memphis, TN
1916- Marriage to Ella Nichols (Michigan)
1920 - Biloxi, Mississippi - Retired Manufacturer
1930 - Biloxi, Mississippi - Retired Manufacturer
1943 - dies at 96 and is buried in Memphis, TN

29 July 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - 1838 Marriage Certificate

Back in 2002, I believe, a post was made to the Cohoe surname forum about a marriage certificate that had been found stuffed in a piece of framed embroidery. 

The marriage certificate was the original 1838 certificate for my 3rd great grandparents, Francis Cohoe and Elizabeth D Willson.

I was not able to collect it at the time due to distance and I suggested that it be taken to a local museum or archive. I figured that I would never get to see this piece of my own family history as it was too fragile to ship anywhere.

Last summer, 2009, my husband and I decided to take a vacation to Ontario, Canada to do some of my family research and visit the museums and battlefields.

I decided to track down the people who had found the certificate. It took a little digging and a friendly neighbor of theirs, but I located them. I gave them a call to see if they still had the certificate. 

They DID!!! AND they gave it to me. I was totally thrilled to have this piece in my hands.

Since it was held at a Friend's meeting, all the people present signed the certificate, including the newly wedded couple.

I have since had it cleaned and preserved in archival materials, with a copy hanging on my wall.

This is truly a family treasure and I am still amazed that I ended up with this piece...

21 July 2010

Wordless Wednesday - John G Cohoe

Picture of John G Cohoe, third from left. His picture was added later, don't know when photo was taken for sure. Only known photo of John G Cohoe. He's my 2 great grandfather.
Andrew Wilson Cohoe 1841-1921, Justus William Cohoe 1844-1907, John G Cohoe 1847-1943, Harriet Cook Cohoe 1839-1934, Daniel Bedell Cohoe 1849-1942, Francis Willson Cohoe 1853-1928

19 July 2010

In the beginning...

I’ve finally decided that I should start a blog. I’ve read several blogs and they are quite good, so we will see how mine turns out! I can’t promise that I will blog every day, or even every week… but definitely now and then!

Why now? Because it’s time that I actually put to words some of my thoughts, passions, discoveries and insights.

I am the family historian. I declared this title in 1998, around the time that Genealogy and research were starting to make the news. Yes, I caught the bug from a magazine article. It was a tiny little paragraph, I think now, about Cyndi’s List. And it’s led me on a wonderful adventure so far, including finding cousins and discovering family I never knew about. A bunch of research trips and many an hour researching online and still, I am fascinated by the puzzle. It’s a crazy, mixed up kind of puzzle and every little piece found gives me immense satisfaction and a joyful zing in my heart.

I don’t have really that many famous relatives… at least none have shown up yet. And a bunch were farmers, but some were printers, lawyers, jewelers and musicians and I’m still discovering more as I go along. But since they didn’t stick out so much, didn’t make the news, kept to themselves pretty much… it has made the research more challenging. And ever so much more rewarding when I discover them in various hiding places.

And I research my husband’s line as well, and since I didn’t grow up with his stories and tales, it’s a little harder. I remember, early on, after asking about his family and recording what I had so far, discovering through census records that he had great aunts who were twins. When I told him what I had found… he said, “Oh, yeah… Gertie and Gussie… I knew about them”. Thanks a lot, hun!

Some of the family lines I am researching… on my side: Paternal surnames : COHOE (all spellings), CAMPBELL (MS, TN), BELL (MS, TN), JOHNSTON (MS), FARRINGTON (NY, Canada), WILLSON (CANADA). Maternal surnames: ORR (KY), POE (OH), FEILDING (OH, Ireland), MALONEY (OH, Ireland), THOMAS (OH, WV), WILSON (OH).


Of course, there are lots more out there. I’ve done pretty well in my research… most of them have been found in the Censuses and other public records. I am now working on finding siblings and the elusive relative or two that can’t be found. And I have not ‘crossed the pond’ on the majority of my surnames.

So now, you know a little about me and my research. I will work on this just like I work on the family history… a little here and a little there. My plan is to write about my journey thus far on this interesting voyage of discovery. More to come!