Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Grandmother Said?

I have a brick wall I’ve been chipping at for about 35 years, and I thought I’d run it by you:

My grandmother Ruby Reed left a hand-drawn family tree that indicated that her mother’s father (1822—1863) was killed in the Civil War.

So the only evidence that you have that your grandmother's mother's father was a Prosser is this family tree?  And some people of that surname in a later census found in the household of others?

Ruby’s mother was Rhoda Ruth Prosser, who was born in Hillsdale, Michigan in 1860.  Rhoda’s younger brother Charles was born about 1863, and their mother (also named Rhoda) remarried, to Henry Jones, in 1865.  I have not been able to find the Prossers on the 1860 census of Hillsdale, and of course by 1870 they are listed with Henry Jones. 

Where is Charles in 1870?

Although you do not mention Robin Wilsey in this post as the father of Rhoda Ruth, you state that is the case in your blog according to her death record. There is an R. Wilsey in the 1860 census in Michigan (Tuscola, Fremont, p. 27), with a wife Rhoda and a three-year-old daughter, Rhoda. Are you sure that this is not your family of interest. Rhoda, the daughter is born in Michigan, but it looks like they came from Canada just before 1858.
So one has to ask what the basis is for the assertion that Rhoda Ruth is born in Hillsdale, Michigan in 1860. Could it be that the Rhoda in the household of R. Wilsey in 1860 is this person?

If that I nos the case than Ruby Reed's mother's (Rhoda Jones) father would be a Wilsey, not a Prosser. Is is possible that Rhoda Wilsey, wife of R. Wilsey (aka Robin) remarried to a Prosser and that the man who died in the Civil War was Wilsey and her mother remarried a Prosser, only to marry Henry Jones at a later date prior to 1870?

It’s taken me a long time to learn of Rhoda Prosser Jones’ death (she was indeed hit by a train – or possibly murdered) in 1883, and even longer to understand that she would not have received a pension, because she had remarried. 

But her children under certain circumstances would have in the event of her marriage.
So, I have the Civil War pension records for every male Prosser who fought in a Michigan regiment during the Civil War.

In looking at the list of Michigan soldiers from Hillsdale county (on the Hillsdale US GenWeb), there is one Prosser – Lewis Prosser, who was 17 in (presumably) 1861.  That seems way too young, as Rhoda was about 30 when my great grandmother was born.

So, I have two questions:

1.        Would it be productive to explore the military records of all the Prossers from Michigan, who fought in the Civil War?  I’ve looked on Fold3, and they only have index cards.  According to the Civil War Soldiers & Sailors, there were 7 Prossers who fought from Michigan, and some of those names I recognize as being men I have pension records for.  For that matter, since Prosser is a fairly unusual name, maybe I should explore ALL Prossers who fought on the Union side!

I would focus on those who died in the war.

2.       And, since Prosser is an unusual name, it has occurred to me that perhaps my great-great-grandfather wasn’t alone in the state of Michigan, that perhaps he had brothers or cousins there as well.  And perhaps I should explore the families & ancestries of those other Prossers.  I’m doing a proof argument on Charles Prosser (who died in Chicago in 1910), and in arguing that the two Charles Prossers in Michigan during the right time period are not my great-grandmother’s brother, I’ve discovered that those other two Charles Prossers are actually related to each other – 2nd cousins.  AND, what is stranger still, all three Charles Prossers had sons named Earl.

So who was Earl?

I would also look at the Wilsey families in the area to the same depth, but believe because they were new to the area you might not find much.

So, any hints you could give me would be greatly appreciated!

My sense of this is that Robin Wilsey and Rhoda Wilsey of the 1860 census are the parents of your Rhoda.

That Rhoda Wilsey would married a Prosser prior to 1863 and have Charles.

That Rhoda would then marry Henry Jones. will will will will and will you will you as you is a you and a you a you

And then Henry would kill her, but that is just a guess.

Hope this helps.


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