Genealogy & Family History Community
I can imagine this conversation so easily, because I found myself having a similar conversation with my own husband just a year ago. Being halfway across the country when something bad happens is hard. Last June Mr. Larmos' dad almost lost a battle with a particularly nasty blood infection. We had a very hard time getting Mr L from the Pacific NW to East Tennessee, and we spent a tense night at our home getting updates via text message from his brothers who were there. After going through that, we knew we didn't want any more of those nights. Moving closer would be the only way to avoid being at the mercy of airline schedules. There were lots of reasons to move back, but none more important than family. (It certainly is not going to be the midwest's weather!)
I did not know about the PNW connection of my ancestors when we decided to move from Illinois to the PNW in 2002. (I discovered it when I found an obituary of my great great grandmother amongst my Dad's Dad's stuff.) I was surprised to learn that I was not the first in my family to venture this far west--I had thought that everyone had been in Illinois for some time.
Our trip west was not uneventful. We drove my car and a large moving truck pulling Mr. L's old car. We broke down in South Dakota, and had to unload and load into another truck all of our stuff in the dark (and we were lucky that we got to do that, instead of waiting until Monday). The modern Oregon trail is not without its hazards, clearly, but nothing to compare with the route of the Oregon pioneers.
After finding the obituary, I wanted to know more about when and where they were, when they were in Oregon, and what their journey was like. My ancestors were in one of the last bunches of people who traveled the trail. Most of the historians talk about migration through 1866, but not after. They, like so many other families would have likely left their home near Springfield, IL and traveled first to St. Louis, and then on to join a wagon train out west.
The young couple left central Illinois for the West sometime between September 1865 (he is on IL tax records, see below) and Feb 14, 1866 (DoB of Mary Francis Huston, born in OR). I have no official record of her birth, but she was reported to have been born in Oregon in 1866. Their next child was born, according to census records in Illinois in the year 1868, so that means their trip back occurred sometime between 1866 & 1868.
I figured if they went to Oregon, it was likely to buy land, so I also searched land records to find more clues about their time out west. I found a James Huston listed in the land records, but he is not using hi middle initial, A, which he usually does. I can't confirm this to be him, but the time seems roughly right (June 1866).
I would need to find records from Jackson county to see if there were records of its sale, which I would expect to find sometime before 1868, when their next child was born in Illinois.
Amanda, James and their two young children returned to Illinois by steamship, according to their daughter's, my great-grandmother, obituary. I have not looked too seriously yet, for their records from NYC, but that is another thought I have to help narrow the window of time in which they were in Oregon.
Mr. L and I seem to be on somewhat parallel tracks through time with the Hustons, coming to the PNW, but being pulled back to central Illinois, back to our roots. Back to the land that the Hustons lived on for 175 years. I love the PNW, and feel very sad about leaving this beautiful place, but the pull toward home is stronger than the love I feel for this place. It's time to go home. It's time to take my son, Mary Francis's husband's namesake, home.
We leave next week, but, we're not going by steamship.