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