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edwardssl book

Leave the blood feuds at home

family treed
I imagine the conversation between my ancestors, James Allen Huston and his wife, Amanda Hogan Huston, went something like this, "James, we are so far away from our families here in Oregon. Our baby girl and young boy will not get to know their grandparents, or the place where you were you and your family were some of the first to build homes. I know we just purchased this land and the journey out was so hard, but perhaps we could sell the land. This is unproven land, and it's so rainy here. We could use the money to return to Illinois by boat, because I'm sure not doing that Oregon Trail thing again. No way."

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.

Figuring out the timing is something I'm still working on. Here is a shot of James A. Huston's profile in You can see the events for which I have sources.

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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  sorry it's tardy! (11+ / 0-)

    moving, packing & painting have been getting in the way of my genealogy fun for far too long.

  •  my apologies to the group!! (5+ / 0-)

    I had to take care of a dishwasher issue at Home Depot. So sorry to make you all wait for your genealogy fix!

  •  Steamship! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edwardssl, Jim H, larmos, hayden, slksfca

    Back in those days, there was no Panama Canal, so they either had a land crossing there, or else they went all the way around Tierra del Fuego.  Either way, a non-trivial journey.

    That wagon crossing must have been awful for them to choose that option.  A much bigger journey than crossing the Atlantic.

    I've been looking at some immigrants who didn't entirely bond with the US of late.  Quite a bit of Atlantic crossings, two shipboard deaths, and one back in Germany.  That last one, there's a surviving picture of the house he died in, but none of the man himself.

    Funny the surviving shards and relics that we try and weave stories and pictures from.

    Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

    by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jul 27, 2012 at 02:37:09 PM PDT

    •  I've been wondering this. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Land of Enchantment, edwardssl

      I did a little research to see what I could learn about travel back then, but there are just so many tangents to, I'm glad you mentioned it! Need to do some reading on those kinds of journeys. I wonder how long that would have taken?

      I assume once they got to NYC they took the train to Illinois.

      My German?/Polish? Fuhrwerks apparently went back and forth a couple of times, but I just can't find them in the books at all. They were post 1882.

      You are so right about what survives. We take any piece we can to feed it into the story. So we can understand just a little.

      Wow, 2 deaths. Were they older folks? Youngsters?

  •  I have a similar problem (4+ / 0-)

    finding information on gggrandpa, William Tanking, who had apparently gone out west to California from Wisconsin for 10 years to prospect for gold.  He was on the 1860 Wisconsin Census, and he was on the 1870 Wisconsin Census.  Plus he married in 1870.  So he left and returned withing that time span.

    The only way I found out that he had been in California all that time was from the obituary I found a few years ago, and later found in his 50th wedding anniversary writeup in the local paper.  

    But I haven't found any records of him being in California.  I'd really like to know where he was and what he did.

    Anway, I'll have to come back later this evening to participate more and put up the volunteer schedule.

    Thanks for the diary, larmos!

  •  better late than never (5+ / 0-)

    stories like this make me wonder how many folks in my tree had voyages like this in between census' that I don't know about.

    One curiosity is on my wife's side. gg-grandfather living in Nebraska, marries a woman from Montana, but still living in Nebraska on the census. Next census is in Montana. Did he travel to Montana where they met then moved back to Nebraska then back to Montana? Or did she travel to Nebraska then convince him to move back to her native Montana? No idea. I'm sure some detective work could figure that out, but I've been too preoccupied with other branches for the time being.

    Too many branches, and not enough time!

    Great diary. I remember a previous one of yours talking about this family. The PNW will miss you, bon voyage!

    •  we will miss it too, (5+ / 0-)

      but we're keeping our house here. I expect we'll be back at least once a year, the house gives us a perfect excuse. We're renting it.

      And, for the record, I was kidding about the rainy thing. I think that the weather here is better than any place on earth. How I love it here!! I know Illinois is my home, but this is where I feel at home. (how I love wearing jeans in the summer!)

      Your wife's gg-grandfather is a puzzler too. Don't you wish you had a journal or something. And all this traveling back and forth just seems sooooo hard. How could they have done it. Planning for our modest 3-day trip (stopping lots because of an oldish car) is frustrating enough.

      •  weather (4+ / 0-)

        I have to admit, I tend to get a little exasperated when it's mid-to-late July and I'm STILL wearing sweaters. But that's nothing a quick summer trip down to visit family in Texas won't fix :-)

        And being originally from Montana, I would like to have a bit more snow - but you can't have everything, I guess.

        •  15 minutes in the South (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... would cure you of that.  Easy.

          Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

          by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jul 27, 2012 at 07:13:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Jim H, you like snow? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim H, Land of Enchantment

          Move here to Milwaukee. We can ship all you want down
          to Montana.

          I can`t stand that fluffy stuff even after shoveling it for
          more than ohhh I guess thirty years.

          Now Texas, my growing up home state, I can`t argue with you there.

          Old men tell same old stories

          by Ole Texan on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 10:22:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  love snow (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Land of Enchantment

            I live in Portland, Oregon now - we're lucky to get a single day of snowfall a year. And even then it doesn't stick around all day.

            My wife is from Salt Lake City and not a fan. Probably because she lived there all through high school and knows of the headaches snow can cause adults. I left Montana at age 10, so I just remember what fun it was.

            •  Good morning Jim H (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim H

              Portland uh? I have never gone up north that far, at least not yet. The father of my step sister went to live there in the late 40`s and died in Cleveland, Ohio. I have heard the natives up there are very friendly.

              Thanks for sharing your views on snow. That issue will yank a conversation with me each time. My wife is just like yours in that she has never picked up a shovel at least during winter. She says shovels are very heavy. I agree although I have a snow-thrower that I use.

              Leaving one`s home grown stomping grounds is always in the mind of back home. I hope Portland will treat you nice.

              Old men tell same old stories

              by Ole Texan on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 05:34:23 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Children born & died too (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H, slksfca, edwardssl, larmos

      I have found several people listed twice on the Census.  Some are at school, or just married.  One was a merchant seaman, counted on the merchant marine census as well as by his family at home.

      Grab all the joy you can. (exmearden 8/10/09)

      by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jul 27, 2012 at 04:22:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Very interesting open thread (4+ / 0-)

    larmos. Thank you for such an interesting evening of reading, and learning from you.

    I hope all is now well for you at home with Mr. larmos and
    your moving and packing, especially your appliances.

    Now take it easy and have a nice remainder of the day.

    Old men tell same old stories

    by Ole Texan on Fri Jul 27, 2012 at 05:04:21 PM PDT

    •  thanks for the kind words! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim H

      Things are going well, but slowly. Seems every choice we make for our house seems to cause more problems (e.g., buying an appliance that couldn't be located as far away from the sink as ours was to be, so had to purchase different one...)

      It's one thing after another conspiring against our progress. But, we are all together and comfortable and safe, so there's not too much to complain about!

      I hope you have a great weekend.

  •  Just heard from a second cousin (3+ / 0-)

    on my mothers side earlier this week. She had come across a post I had made regarding my mothers mothers side of the family and emailed me. That pushed me to finally download RootsMagic to my new Windows 7 machine so I could get my old Family Origins database converted over and accessible on the new box.

    Now we're swamping family photos and I am working on identifying people for her. Our common Great-Grandfather looked a good bit like Kurt Russell in his Wyatt Earp role. Good looking man.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Fri Jul 27, 2012 at 06:01:53 PM PDT

    •  this is so cool (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Andrew C White, Jim H

      How are you liking roots magic? I installed a copy on my mac (using one of the virtual windows products). It has sooo many features. Randy Seavers of has shown some awesome looking reports that he has generated. There's the Timeline Report, the "who was there" report--really cool stuff.

      We must see pictures of this Kurt Russell look-alike ancestor. I'm so jealous that you "caught" a cousin with one of your  posts!!  

      •  I haven't really had a chance to use it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim H

        much yet. But I was a big fan of Family Origins and see that it is clearly the same product just repackaged and enhanced.

        I haven't read up on the new photo feature of DK. Does someone have shorthand instructions for posting a picture? I could just do it the old way to my flicker account I suppose.

        "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

        by Andrew C White on Sat Jul 28, 2012 at 02:25:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sorry I'm back so late with the volunteer list (3+ / 0-)

    Here's our current schedule

    Aug 3    Ole Texan
    Aug 10  open for adoption
    Aug 17  open for adoption
    Aug 24  Alexandra Lynch
    Aug 31  jeanette0605

    We've got two openings coming up soon.  Can we get a volunteer or two for those?

    It's late (for me, anyway) and I'm exhausted, so I'll check in tomorrow for all the volunteers beating down the door to adopt a date. :-) I'm sure many of you will be trickling in and out, as usual.

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